C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Prime parking lots’ auction decision not reached
Bids for these were lower than last year’s
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The auction of some of the prime parking lots in the city, including Sukhna Lake in Sector 5, and CMC Hospital in Sector 17, could be not be finalised today as the bids received for them were lower than the rates at which they were allotted last year.

The Municipal Corporation (MC) authorities feared the emergence of a cartel of parking contractors, which “deliberately” kept the bids low, even when the number of cars in the city had increased manifold in the last one year.

Though the MC had put five of the 25 parking lot sites on auction today, only one, opposite Jagat and Anand Theatres in Sector 17, was leased out at a bid of Rs 8.25 lakh per annum against the reserved price of Rs 6.27 lakh. Last year, this lot had gone for Rs 9.10 lakhs. Six bids were received for the lot.

The MC officials, who were expecting a similar or a better response for the other prime sites of Sukhna, CMC and the commercial complex of Sector 34, were in for a shock when the bids received were even lesser than last year. The Sukhna Lake parking lot, which was leased out at Rs 19.10 lakh per annum last year, attracted a maximum bid of Rs 18.10 lakh.

Similarly, the CMC and the Sector 34 parking lots, which were leased out last year for Rs 22.22 lakh and Rs 28 lakh, respectively, today attracted bids of Rs 21.50 and Rs 21.35 lakh. According to MC officials, a final decision on the acceptance of these bids will be taken tomorrow by the Parking Committee. For parking lot in front of the MOH office in Sector 17, no bidder turned up.

Confirming this, MC Commissioner, Prerna Puri, said since the bids were less than the leased amount received last year, the final decision on their acceptance had been left on the Parking Committee. Incidentally, the lease of the CMC parking lot expired in October last. The MC authorities had tried to auction it in October itself, but no successful bids were made.

Sources in the MC said in all probability, some contractors had joined hands to form a cartel to ensure low bidding. “Even before the auction started, nearly half a dozen prospective contractors had divided the lots amongst themselves and decided their maximum bids,” said an MC official, who claimed to be privy to their conversations.

The two observers from the MC, councillors Pradeep Chhabra and Saurabh Joshi, also raised objections on the low bids and called for a re-auction of the sites. Interestingly, contrary to the stand of the observers, some of the MC auctioneers were in favour of accepting the low bids on the plea that there were not many takers for the parking lots. “There has been a decline of five per cent in parking revenue for the MC as contractors are leaving midway,” said an official.

Denying the formation of any cartel, a contractor, on condition of anonymity, said that the business was not a very lucrative, as the cost of running the lot had gone up, whereas the parking rates were not being increased.

Cartel at work?

The Municipal Corporation (MC) authorities feared the emergence of a cartel of parking contractors, which “deliberately” kept the bids low, even when the number of cars in the city had increased manifold in the last one year

‘No such thing’

There is no such thing as a cartel here. The business is not very lucrative, as the cost of running the lot has gone up, whereas the parking rates are not being increased

— A contractor



Malnutrition high among city children: Study
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Survey

Chandigarh, January 11
When it comes to malnutrition among children (0-5 years), the City Beautiful too has an ugly record, just like the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

It may sound unbelievable but this urbane city has a high rate of malnutrition with 31.6% of stunted (height for age), 23.6% underweight (weight for age) and 11.9% wasted (weight for height) children in the age group of 0 to 5 years. The figures are only slightly better than Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, with 59% stunted; 42% underweight and 11.4% wasted children.

According to a study undertaken by the paediatrics department of the PGI, which was published in November last in the Indian Paediatrics journal, a survey of 597 children (332 males and 268 females) found that malnutrition was prevalent in the urban, rural and slum areas of the city. The research group studied 359 urban, 60 rural and 178 slum children.

In urban areas, 39 (10.9%) were found underweight, 62 (17.3%) were stunted and 29 (8.1%) were wasted. The figures were considerably higher in slums where 32 (18%) were underweight, 105 (59%) were stunted and 32 (18%) were wasted. Similarly in rural areas, 18 (30%) were underweight, 23 (38.8%) were stunted and 10 (16.7%) were wasted.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Bhavneet Bharti, a paediatrician at the PGI and one of the researchers of this study, said these figures were definitely better compared to the national average estimated in the recent NFSH-3, where 42% were underweight, 20% wasted and 48% stunted.

She said the city’s economy has, however, been growing at a very fast pace, the performance of various nutritional indicators is certainly far from reassuring and needs further emphasis on other aspects of nutrition. These findings suggest there is a need of overall development in slum areas. There is a requirement for reorienting the focus of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

The survey also revealed that child stunting among lower socio-economic strata was 60.3% as against 17.9% for mothers who belonged to higher socio-economic strata. This is corroborated by a study undertaken by the UT health department on children attending Anganwaris. The Health Department figures show that 42% children in the age group of 0-5 are malnourished. As per figures of 2011, children of slum area Anganwari Centres were more underweight than rural and urban areas. In urban areas like Sector 40 (11.25%) children, Sector 41 (19%), in rural areas like Hallomajra (39%), Dhanas (32%) and Palsora (32%) were found underweight. However, 57-58 % children of Pandit Colony and Adarsh Colony (slum areas) were found malnourished.

PGI Survey - Prevalence of malnutrition in the City

Areas Stunted Underweight Wasting Wasted and

(height for age) (weight for age) (weight for height) stunted

Slum (178) 105 (59%) 32 (18%) 32 (18%) 18 (10.1%)

Rural (60) 23 (38.3%) 18 (30%) 10 (16.7%) 3 (5%)

Urban (359) 62 (17.3%) 39 (10.9%) 29 (8.1%) 4 (1.1%) 



Fiza, neighbours hurt in clash on trivial issue
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
Fiza, a divorcée of former Haryana Deputy Chief Minister, Chander Mohan, was today injured in a bloody clash with family members of her neighbour over a petty issue of the latter’s children playing cricket in a garden near her house.

The neighbour, Sanjay Aggarwal, his wife, Neeru, and their three children also received injuries in the clash. While Fiza was admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, with head injuries, Sanjay Aggarwal was admitted to the Government Civil Hospital, Phase 6, here.

The argument between Fiza and neighbour Sanjay Aggarwal over the issue turned violent when both parties exchanged brick bats. DSP, City-II, DS Mann, said on the basis of medical examination of the injured persons, a counter FIR had been lodged.

Unconfirmed reports said that Dilip Mahjan, the advocate of Fiza, and another peron, Tarun, were also injured in the clash. Soon after the argument broke out, the police was called to solve the matter. But as the police left, both parties again had a clash.



College students apply the balm
National School Games incident
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Coming in support of the boys from Kerala who were bashed up by their local counterparts yesterday, students from Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11 here, today stood with the visiting team throughout the day assuring them of a comfortable stay without any threat from any quarter.

The visiting players at the 57th National School Games were a scared lot after the fight with the local lads over differences in a softball match played yesterday.

Twelve college students reached Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, where the team was putting up and presented them bouquets. They stayed with the team in their room and later even accompanied them to the ground.

Prabhpreet Singh, a student, said, “We were upset at the treatment meted out to the visitors to our city by the local lads. How could they do this in a land which is famous for a royal reception to its visitors?”

He said, “We cannot compensate the damage done. However, we will try our best to give them some memories, which they can carry home and tell their folks that they had gone to a place of warm-hearted people. We want them to come back.”

“We want them to take back good memories of the city with a hope that they will come back again for the national school games,” Prabhpreet added.

Gautam, another student, said, “We helped the injured players pack their bags and luggage in the evening. The visitors were scared of some other fight with anyone. Obviously, we thought we shall stay with them till they left.”

The group was, however, not allowed an easy entry to the school. After repeated requests to officials, the group was allowed entry. The group of visiting students included Priyanka, Indu, Rishi Verma, Devinder Singh, Harmandeep Singh, Manit Birla, Rahul Ranjan, Maninder, Mukul and Luvneet Thakur.


Presenting perfect picture of promises not kept
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
The UT Administration’s tall claims of equipping the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Sector 43 with state-of-the-art facilities have fallen flat.

Plans to provide the ISBT with innovative technology, including electronic boards displaying information about the arrival from and departure of buses to important destinations and proper medical facilities along with a crisis management team and panel of doctors to handle any kind of exigency, announced by the former UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues, remain a distant dream.

The ISBT, conceived as a state-of-the-art facility, has failed to live up to its reputation as even the most basic amenities are lacking. Inadequate parking space, unkempt platforms, dirty washrooms and shortage of waiting halls greets thousands of commuters visiting it.

General Rodrigues, during his visit to the ISBT in 2008, had asked senior officers of the Administration to equip this public-utility project with state-of-the-art facilities using innovative technology. He had decided to create proper medical facilities at the bus terminus. He had said an effective communication system be established to respond to medical needs in case of bus accidents. A medical room, with a bed and first-aid kits, was set up, but shut a few months later.

He had also directed the officers to evolve an effective mechanism to keep a check on rates being charged by shopkeepers and to ensure that passengers were not overcharged or harassed in any way. This mechanism was never set up. A packet of chips that cost Rs 20 was being sold for Rs 25 and a bottle of mineral water of costing Rs 15 for Rs 20.

The Administration had promised to equip the bus terminus with an air-conditioned waiting lounge, having seating capacity of around 15, for the ISBT where hundreds arrived every minute. With the contract for two-wheeler parking not being renewed, people were at the receiving end. With paid parking always full, scores of visitors, especially frequent travellers, had to park their vehicles at the ISBT unsure of safety.

The contract for sanitation of the terminus expired around a year back. Since, then only a handful of employees hired by the transport department had been looking after sanitation. Heaps of debris and garbage remained scattered on the platform used by scores of passengers, making surroundings unhygienic. The pre-paid booth was not functional, as a result of which passengers were being fleeced by auto-rickshaw drivers.

Assuring, indeed

I will look into all problems and take necessary action~

Anil Kumar, Home-cum-Transport Secretary

ISBT-43 a shambles

The underground parking for two-wheelers has remain unused for more than a year. The contract has not been allotted to anyone, forcing visitors to park their vehicles in the open.

Visitors are overcharged by shopkeepers, with no check being enforced by the UT Administration. The practice has been going on since the terminus got operational.

Only a handful of employees hired by the transport department have been looking after the sanitation of the terminus. The contract expired around a year back.

As the pre-paid booth is non-functional, passengers are being fleeced by auto-rickshaw drivers.



240 bookings on last day
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Local Registration and Licensing Department had a field day today when at least 240 vanity numbers of new vehicle registration number series CH01-AL were booked on the final day of booking of numbers.

Vehicle owners’ enthusiasm led to the booking of as many as 619 numbers during the booking days and the auction is likely to be held tomorrow. With the overwhelming response, the department has received the drafts worth Rs 50 lakh as booking amount.

Sanjeev Kohli, Registration and Licensing Officer, said: “The new series has evoked more interest than the last series as we have received over 200 more applications compared to those filed for the previous AK series”.

Notably, the last CH01-AK-series, which has numbers, AK 47 and AK 56, had evoked huge interest among the lovers of vanity numbers. It had attracted about 400 bookings but finally only 93 numbers had gone for the auction that time. The department had pocketed Rs 48,02,100 from the previous auction on October 7, last year. 

Demand draft, not cash

This time, the RLA did not collect cash as booking amount. Instead it has taken advance payment for participating in auction through demand drafts. “The demand drafts of the unsuccessful bidders would be returned to them immediately after the auction,” said Sanjeev Kohli, RLO. Earlier, the department used to take the bidding amount in cash and it took between four and six months to the unsuccessful bidders to get their amount back.

A Last time, it was not CH01-AK-001 but CH01-AK-0007, which had fetched the highest amount i.e. Rs 4,21,000.



No Kaushalya water for Sukhna
Haryana turns down UT Administration’s request
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
In a yet another jolt to the UT Administration’s efforts to preserve the city’s landmark Sukhna Lake, the Haryana government has turned down its request to provide water from the Kaushalya Dam in Pinjore to the Sukhna Lake.

The Haryana government, in its recent communication to the UT Administration, stated that it would not be able to provide water from the Kaushalya Dam to fill the Sukhna Lake.

A few months back, the Administration had requested the Haryana government to provide a separate water line from the line which the government was laying from Pinjore to Panchkula to end the water crisis in Panchkula.

A senior official of the UT Administration said they were trying everything to save the Sukhna Lake and in this process, they had also sought the help from the Haryana government.

The official added that rain was the major source of water to the Sukhna Lake and it had not rained well in past year.

The lake had not filled to its capacity and therefore, they had sought water from the Kaushalya Dam, he added.

More water in the Sukhna Lake would suffocate the weed that grew in the swamp. The weed would not be able to come above the water level and die.

Sources said the Haryana government had informed the UT Administration the Kaushalya Dam would provide 18.40 cusecs of raw drinking water to Panchkula and adjoining areas and the project cost was around Rs 200 crore.

The project was started to end the water crisis in the Panchkula district and therefore, it would be not possible for Haryana to give water to the UT Administration for the Sukhna Lake, the sources added.

Water crisis in Panchkula

At present, 170 tubewells are the only source of water supply to Panchkula. The present requirement of the town is 24 MGD (million gallons per day). Panchkula is receiving 19.03 MGD from tubewells. HUDA officials had given an estimate that Panchkula needed 3.24 MGD from the Kajauli waterworks and 5.40 MGD from the Kaushlya Dam.



PGI eyes bigger pie in Medicity
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 11
In what may come as a major blow to the hopes of private hospitals and companies to open their establishments in GMADA’s upcoming Medicity, there are reports that the PGI, Chandigarh, is planning to get allotted most of the project area to set up super specialised centres for patients.

According to sources, the PGI is interested in getting more than 60 acres of the land for setting up four highly super specialised centres out of the 97 acres acquired by the development authority for the Medicity. Talks in this regard have been going on between GMADA and those of the PGI over the past about 10 days. The land for the Medicity project is located at a short distance from the PGI.

Sources said GMADA had offered to give land to the PGI for its specialised centres in some other part of Mohali but the latter declined to accept the proposal.

It is learnt that the PGI authorities want to set up a cancer unit, mother and child care unit, liver transplant unit and a drug de-addiction centre in the Medicity. They are also interested in setting up a training and research centre if adequate land was made available by GMADA.

Funds for the project would come from the Central Government.

The Mohali authority fears that the PGI might ask to allot the land of the Medicity at subsidised rates or at the rate at which it was acquired from the farmers. This would lead to a financial loss to GMADA and the step might invite some audit objections.

It had planned to carve out four 10-acre chunks for big hospitals which were interested in setting up their units in the Medicity and another five chunks measuring five acres each. The remaining land was to be put to different uses out of which some part had to be earmarked for laying of roads and providing other services. Medicity was planned as a self-contained campus, with the best of housing facilities for the doctors and the paramedical staff.

Queries about the Medicity project from hospitals like Fortis, Max and others from across the state were received by the development authority. The authority had decided to allot the land in the Medicity to reputed health-care chains. Plans were being chalked out to organise an auction for the land but these could not make any headway as a code of conduct in connection with the Assembly elections in Punjab was enforced in the last week of December.

The Mohali authority had acquired 97.425 acres of land that falls in Ferozepur Bangur village for the Medicity project. Though initially 151.71 acres were acquired for the project, part of the land had to be left out after the Indian Air Force authorities had objected to its acquisition, saying that it falls under the buffer zone. The land was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Farmers were given a compensation of Rs 1,46,22, 611 per acre for the land acquired under the project.

Hospital’s plans

It is learnt that the PGI authorities want to set up a cancer unit, mother and child care unit, liver transplant unit and a drug de-addiction centre in the Medicity. They are also interested in setting up a training and research centre if adequate land was made available by GMADA.



32 structures pulled down
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
A team of the enforcement wing of the District Town Planning Department demolished 32 buildings, including a godown and three factories, at Rajipur and Surajpur, near here, today. These buildings were built in violation of the Periphery Act. Besides shamlat land of the villages was encroached upon by some of the owners, said Hitesh Sharma, District Town Planner.

It was on December 31 that the team had to return without carrying out demolition of these buildings when the villagers started pelting them with stones.

Today, the officials, accompanied by a heavy police force, reached the spot at 11 am and started demolition of the unauthorised constructions. All the encroachments had been removed by 4 pm. Four JCB machines were pressed into service.

In addition to a cement godown and three paver block factories, 28 shops were also removed, said the DTP.



Bus stop shifting irks Panchkula residents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
The residents of Sector 19 blocked the traffic in Industrial Area Phase I in protest against the shifting of the local bus stop today. The new location of the bus queue shelter will make them tread at least 300 metres more, they claimed.

Today, the workers of the Municipal Corporation demolished the shelter in order to raise the new one in front of plot No. 87. Soon the residents from Sector 19 and Abhaypur village gathered on the spot and blocked the road protesting against the move. They alleged that the bus stop was being shifted under pressure from the owners of an industrial unit who did not want it in front of their building.

The bus stop was already at least half a kilometre from the residential area and for rushing to offices in the morning I have to start off early to reach the bus stop, said Roshan, a local resident.

Though the bus stop location could have been shifted towards the residential area, the authorities had decided to shift it towards the opposite side, said former councillor of the area Ramesh Barthwal.

Municipal Corporation executive officer KK Jain said the shelter was demolished to raise a new one on the instructions of HUDA. 



Code violation: Notice to BSP candidate 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
After unsuccessfully contesting the recent Chandigarh MC election as a BSP candidate, Manav Mehra today filed his nomination papers from the Mohali constituency on the party ticket. The candidate, who was accompanied by a convoy of vehicles and slogan-raising supporters on the way to the office of the returning officer (RO), Mohali, to file the nomination papers, received a notice from the RO. “Against the norms of the Election Commission allowing only five persons along with the candidate within 100 metres of the RO’s office, the BSP candidate came in a large convoy of vehicles. He has been asked to explain his position,” said the RO, Amit Talwar.

After filing the nomination papers, Mehra, a former Ranji player, said: “I will work for the uplift of the villages”. Soon after the BSP candidate filed his nomination papers, the office of the RO found that his covering candidate Sukhdev Singh had filed incomplete papers. To remain as covering candidate for the BSP candidate, he would have to file his papers again.

Earlier, the Congress candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu filed his nomination papers. “The SAD and the PPP think that anyone from outside can come and contest the elections,” he said, claiming that the party was in a comfortable position. The SAD candidate from Kharar, Ujar Singh Wadali, also filed his nomination papers today.



Shot in arm for Cong candidate 
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, Jan 11
Though two Congress rebels have filed their nominations from the Fatehgarh Sahib Assembly constituency against the official candidate of the party, Kuljeet Singh Nagra, who is considered to be a member of Rahul Brigade, the latter got a shot in the arm as he succeeded in getting the support of senior Congress leaders, grass-roots-level workers and councillors. He, along with senior leaders of the PPCC, visited Congress leaders’ houses. He also managed the support of those Congress leaders and workers, who were sidelined and were annoyed with the working style of Dr Harbans Lal. A large number of student leaders and workers from colleges and universities have thronged Fatehgarh Sahib and they are visiting the houses of their friends and relatives to get support for Nagra.

Senior Congress leaders of the area RN Sharma and Subhash Sood said they were Dr Harbans Lal’s supporters but the former minister had committed a mistake by revolting against the party, which gave him all name and fame. They said the Congress men were loyal to the party not to an individual, so a majority of the leaders and workers have taken unanimous decision to support Nagra. They said it would be beneficial for the area as he enjoyed a close rapport with Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. He can get central funds and big project for the area.

Meanwhile, Nagra has started visiting villages and he is getting good response. He was accorded a warm welcome at Sirhind during six corner meetings. He is seeking votes on his unblemished career as a student leader and in politics.



20 file nomination papers
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, Jan 11
Prominent candidates of all the political parties today filed their nomination papers in all the three Assembly constituencies that fall in the district. Yashveer Mahajan, Deputy Commissioner-cum-district election officer, said eight candidates filed their nominations papers from the Fatehgarh Sahib Assembly constituency with SDM-cum-returning officer. They are Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra of the SAD, his wife Balwinder Kaur (a covering candidate), Didar Singh Bhatti of the PPP, Kuljeet Singh Nagra of the Congress and his wife Mandeep Kaur (covering candidate), Kuldeep Singh of the SAD (A), Tirlochan Singh of the BSP and Harsimranjit Singh (covering candidate).

All the three candidates of the major parties organised their election meetings befor filling their nomination papers. Randeep Singh Surjewala, Cabinet Minister, Haryana, addressed the Congress rally while Balram Ji Dass Tandon, former minister, attended the SAD rally.

Surjewala accompanied Kuljeet Nagra to the SDM office to file his papers.

In the Amloh constituency seven candidates, Jagdeep Singh Cheema of the SAD, Gurmeet Singh Cheema (covering candidate), Gurdev Singh Khanyan (independent), Baljit Singh (independent), Jagmeet Singh Sahota of the PPP, Labh Singh Ahluwalia (independent) and Bikramjit Kaur Ahluwalia (covering candidate), filed their nomination papers.

In the Bassi Pathana (R) seat, Justice Nirmal Singh of the SAD, Harbans Kaur Dullo of the Congress, Bandeep Singh Dullo (covering candidate), Dharm Singh fo the SAD(A) and Mohinder Pal Singh of the PPP filed their nomination papers.

He said till today, 29 candidates have filed their nominations for all the three seats.



Randhawa worth Rs 8.2 cr 
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, January 11
When it comes to assets, movable and immovable, the Congress candidate from Dera Bassi, Jasjit Singh Randhawa, who filed his nomination papers today, leads the pack of prominent candidates in the fray from the Dera Bassi seat.

Compared to NK Sharma, SAD candidate, who has assets worth Rs 6 crore (including the assets of his wife), Randhawa has in his affidavit stated that he has total assets worth Rs 8.20 crore. Another prominent candidate, Dhillon, who today filed his papers as an independent candidate after being denied Congress ticket, has pegged the value of his assets at Rs 6 crore.

The Congress candidate has mentioned his movable assets (including his wife) worth Rs 1.61 crore and the immovable assets Rs 6.59 crore. On the other hand, Deepinder Dhillon has shown the value of his movable and immovable assets as Rs 5.82 crore.

Interestingly, Randhawa has stated that he and his wife have Rs 95,000 cash whereas Dhillon has shown that he (including his wife) has Rs 2.06 lakh cash.

When it comes to possessing vehicles, Randhawa owns a Skoda car and an Innova SUV compared to Dhillon’s Innova, Mitsubushi Pajero, Mahindra Balero and Nissan Micra.

In case of Sharma, the total cash in hand has been put at Rs 83,069, the value of total movable assets at Rs 2.13 crore and the value of his wife’s assets has been put at Rs 9.58 lakh. His total immovable assets have been valued at Rs 3.53 crore and that of his wife at Rs 2.85 lakh.

Gold power

Jasjit Singh Randhawa 470 grams (Rs 10 lakh)

Deepinder Dhillon 360 grams (Rs 5 lakh)

NK Sharma 645 grams (Rs 6.34 lakh)



Snag hits work at RLA office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
A snag in the main server of the local Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) resulted in harassment of those who visited the office at Sector 17 to get their work done today.

The counters dealing with the leaner’s driver’s licence were mainly affected. Work was suspended for about an hour in the morning. A large number of people were seen waiting for resumption of work while standing in long queues.

Though Registration and Licensing Officer Sanjeev Kohli denied any snag in the server today, an official with the department confirmed that the computers remained shut for about an hour.

“I have been standing in the queue for almost two hours. I have taken short leave from my office for the driver’s licence of my son. Now I have to submit full-day leave without any fault of mine,” lamented Suresh Kumar, an employee with a private firm.

Ajay Kumar was miffed as nobody in the department was telling the people standing in long queues the reason behind the suspension of work.

“All they were telling us was that the computers were not working. I have been standing in the queue since morning. God knows when my work will be done,” said Ajay, a student of Government College for Men, Sector 11.

Time cut draws flak

The RLA’s recent decision of a three-hour reduction in time to deal with learner’s driver’s licences attracted criticism from people.

Earlier, the timings were from 9 am to 4 pm. Now, the public windows to deal with learner’s driver’s licences would remain open from 9 am to 1 pm.

“Every day, over 100 persons, on an average, come here for licences. With reduction in time, the rush at the windows has started increasing. If they have reduced the time, the department should increase the number of public windows,” said Rajesh Kumar Shukla, a local resident.

On the other hand, Kohli claimed that the time had been reduced for public convenience. “After 1 pm, the counters can be used to deal with other cases. There will be no rush of persons seeking licences,” he said. 



CBI defends choice of special public prosecutor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today defended the appointment of advocate Anupam Gupta as special public prosecutor in the cash-in-bag case.

Former Haryana Additional Advocate-General Sanjiv Bansal, one of the accused in the case, had challenged the appointment of Gupta as special public prosecutor.

The CBI, in its reply, stated that the appointment of Gupta was absolutely lawful and valid and the application moved by Bansal should be dismissed as he has no locus standi to challenge the appointment.

The CBI said given the position of Bansal within the legal and judicial system, the imperative of appointing a prosecutor of proved professional competence was evident.

The reply read, “Writ large over the application is the irony of an accused wanting a prosecutor of his choice or to his liking, a prosecutor who will be more ‘fair’ to the accused than to the prosecution and for whom the interests of the accused constitute a higher priority than the interests of justice itself.”

The CBI pointed out that Supreme Court advocate KTS Tulsi, who had been an Additional Solicitor-General of India, had represented former Justice Nirmal Yadav in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this case.

It also noted that Bansal was represented in another case by Sushil Kumar, a leading criminal lawyer from Delhi, who was also the counsel for A Raja in the 2G spectrum case.

The CBI asked why the accused wanted to deny the right or liberty to the agency when they could be represented by the counsel of their choice. The special CBI court deferred the hearing for February 4.



Over 100 victims enquire, 3 more vehicles identified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
A day after the biggest haul of stolen vehicles, worth Rs 4 crore, from an inter-state gang, the UT police remained flooded with calls from complainants across various states, asking if their stolen vehicle was among those recovered.

Over 100 victims of car theft approached the UT police today and three more vehicles were identified as stolen in the past year. Yesterday, the police identified 12 of the 58 vehicles recovered.

Investigating officials said complainants from Gujarat and Mumbai, besides far-flung districts in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan whose vehicles had been stolen, approached them and they were verifying whether their vehicles were among those recovered on the basis of their chasis numbers.

The three cars that were identified today were one Santro stolen from Delhi, one Bolero and one Scorpio. The Bolero and Santro cars which had been identified, were stolen from Chandigarh and Zirakpur past year.

Hardeep Singh, an agriculturist based in Baltana, identified one Scorpio car that was stolen from outside his residence in March past year as his.

The police had arrested six members of an inter-state gang, identified as Bhim Pattan, Dharam Pal, Sunil Kumar, Suresh Kumar, Harvinder Singh and Rambir, and recovered 58 cars from their possession. The accused used to tamper with chasis and engine numbers and dispose of vehicles in Nagaland.



It gets worse for arthritics in winter
Beware of temperature changes; surgery not a must
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
No season is a comfortable one for a person suffering from arthritis. But come winter, joint pains tend to increase, compounding problems for arthritics.

Doctors say changes in temperature can cause swelling around inflamed joints, causing more irritation to surrounding nerves, which increases pain and stiffness.

“This happens because the cartilage that protects the ends of bones slowly weaken and joint fluid loses its ability to absorb shocks, resulting in stiffness, loss of movement and joint pain,” said Dr Neeraj Gupta, orthopaedic surgeon with the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital.

Sometimes, atmospheric pressure is also associated with severe knee pain. Temperatures that quickly rise or fall are the result of changes in barometric pressure.

The drop in pressure causes the body’s tissues to expand, causing the already inflamed areas to swell more, resulting in increase in pain.

Moreover, knee pain may get aggravated into arthritis during winter as people tend to confine themselves within their homes and adopt a sedentary lifestyle.

Dr Sameer Agarwal, associate professor with the orthopaedics department at the PGI, said the reason for more cases of arthritis being noticed now was increased awareness, lack of exercise, obesity and weak bones, adding that some kind of daily exercise was important.

There are about 100 types of arthritis, of which osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common. While osteoarthritis is related to wear and tear of joints, rheumatoid arthritis is related to bigger joints.

The treatment may vary over time and may be different, depending on the kind of arthritis. It is not necessary for every patient to undergo surgery.

“Only between 20 and 40 per cent cases require an operation. The rest can be cured by medicines, exercise and physiotherapy,” said Dr Gupta.

Types of knee problems

Stiff knees: When it gets cold, many feel stiffness in the knees, especially when getting out of bed in the morning or after sitting for a long time. Even people who do not have a knee problem experience stiffness.

Aching knees: Cold weather results in aching knees for many individuals, especially those who are middle-aged or older, have past knee injuries or suffer from arthritis.

Swollen knees: Individuals sensitive to the cold may find their knees swelling during winter. Those who have been injured in the knees in the past are likely to have swelling.

Inflammation: Knee inflammation is common during winter. Researchers say changes in barometric pressure or the way the body’s receptors react to temperature may be the reason

Preventions help

The best way to avoid cold-related aches and pains is to stay warm. Dress appropriately, whether indoors or outdoors. If the body is warm, joints will not stiffen and hurt. Warm muscles and joints are less likely to snap or have a spasm which can lead to pain or injury.

Take enough fluids and keep the body well-hydrated. Dehydration causes muscle cramps, soreness and general lethargy. Drink hot beverages often to stay warm and hydrated.

People with low bone density and those suffering from osteoporosis must be extra cautious as they stand a higher risk of joint damage.

Stick to a regular exercise routine. It gives the body increased joint mobility, greater muscle strength and healthy bone density. Those who do not usually exercise should start with a mild routine before trying something strenuous.

Joints should not be subjected to sudden jerks and physical overload.



GMADA pockets Rs 83.26 cr from booth auction
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 11
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has earned a revenue of Rs 83.26 crore at an auction of convenience built-up booths being offered by it in different parts of the town. The bids received were 30 per cent higher than the reserve price.

As many as 704 booths were offered for sale in the first phase out of which 457 were sold out. Almost all the booths located on the ground floor were disposed of.

The maximum bid received by GMADA was for the ground floor booth located in Sector 69. The price offered for the booth was Rs 34,99,000 while the minimum price offered for ground floor booth was Rs 18, 50,000. However, a bid for Rs 26, 01,900 was received by GMADA for a first-floor booth in the same sector. The lowest bid in this category was Rs 12,00,000.

The second highest bid of Rs 31,50,000 was received by GMADA for a ground-floor booth located in Sector 59 while the lowest bid was for Rs 20,02,000. The highest bid for a first floor booth in the same sector was for Rs 15,26,500 while the lowest stood at Rs 11,20,000.

The second highest bid received for a first floor booth was Rs 26,00,000 which was located in Sector 67 while the ground floor booth fetched Rs 28,60,000.

Booths located in Sector 68 also attracted good response and the maximum bid given for a ground floor booth was Rs 31,00,000 while the maximum bid received for a first floor booth in the same sector stood at Rs 18,00,000.

The Mohali authority had fixed a reserve price of Rs 15 lakh for the ground-floor booths and Rs 10 lakh for the first-floor booths in developed sectors while the reserve price fixed for the ground-floor and first-floor booths in the upcoming sectors was Rs 12 lakh and Rs 8 lakh, respectively.

Keeping in mind the requirements of the common man, GMADA had decided to construct 2,000 convenience shops spread all over the town to cater to the basic needs of a vast majority of customers who prefer patronising small shops rather than big showrooms and malls.

As many as 24 sites were identified in all the sectors of the town under the project where a cluster of shops would be constructed at a cost of about Rs 24 crore. The project would be carried out in a phased manner. 



Panel to inspect schools for RTE compliance
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
A three-member School Inspection Committee will soon inspect all the schools in the district to verify compliance with the Right to Education Act. This was revealed by the district education authorities who today submitted to the local court a list of schools which have reported compliance with the RTE Act norms by filing self-declaration forms.

The government pleader today submitted the complete list of 116 schools of the district which have filed self-declaration forms with the District Education Officer for fresh recognition. Two defaulting schools have already been closed down, said the report. The report was filed by Jagat Singh, Headmaster, DEO Office, in connection with the case filed by Pankaj Chandgothia, advocate, who has sought implementation of the provisions of the RTE Act.

Chandgothia has pointed out that Rule 15 (2) of the RTE Act required the DEO concerned to make public the self-declaration forms, but it had failed to do so within the specified period of 15 days. Further, the forms were required to be scrutinised and the schools needed to be inspected to verify whether they fulfil all the requirements under RTE Act.

The three-member School Inspection Committee, comprising the District Elementary Education Officer, the Block Development Officer concerned and the village sarpanch concerned (in case of rural areas) or the councillor of the ward concerned (in case of urban areas). The letter has been issued by Parmod Kumar, State RTE Coordinator, Haryana.

After hearing the arguments, the court adjourned the matter to February 4 when a comprehensive report regarding complete compliance with the RTE Act will be placed on record.



80 from city bell CAT, girls mark entry
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
CAT-2011, has left the city in joy, with over 80 students securing above 97 percentile and more girls making it to the list compared to past 13 years.

Though the city has failed to get a 100-percentile scorer for second year in continuation, one can find solace in the fact that Ram Prasad Pemmasania, studying at IIT-Ropar who has been tutored in the city has made it to the country’s top nine scorers with 100 percentile.

The results for CAT (Common Admission Test), which is the gateway to 13 IIMs, the country’s premier institutes for management studies, and management studies departments in the National Institutes of Technology.

Students started receiving calls from two IIMs by the evening. City based experts claimed that the results were better than past year, adding that more students were expected to get IIM calls.

“You may give credit to many factors, but the fact that a 97-percentile scorer is getting IIM calls proves that students are benefited by the results. Past year, many 99-percentile holders had not got calls,” said a local educator.

With four making it to the city’s top 10, girls have marked their entry into the management arena. Arushi, who made it to country’s top 30 with 99.97 per cent, led the fair sex brigade.

“I am elated. When I decided to go for CAT, I was told that it was not a girl’s cup of tea. But see, I made it,” she said. Over 8,000 students appeared in the exam, conducted at Everron in Panchkula and Indo-Global College in Mohali.



Engineers steal the show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
In what has now become an indispensable part of CAT, 95 per cent of those who have scored above 97 per cent are engineers. IIMs had changed the pattern of the qualifying examination this year to aid more students from commerce and humanities backgrounds to come to the fore, but apparently, ended up helping engineers.

The CAT paper this time had only two sections instead of three. Till past year, the paper was divided into quantitative ability, verbal ability and data interpretation and logical reasoning. This year, the first section focused on quantitative ability and data interpretation and the second on verbal ability and logical reasoning.

In addition, the two sections were to be tackled sequentially, with separate time limits, unlike earlier, when students could divide their time between the sections as per their priority.

“The reasoning section came as a great help to engineers, who driven by practice, scored well. CAT belonged to engineers this year too. A little modification may help change the situation the next time,” said Hridesh Madan, director of Bulz Eye at Sector 8.



Ropar IITian scores 100 percentile in CAT
Success mantra: Besides hard work, being smart matters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Ram Prasad Pemmasania checked the website at least a dozen times to believe what he saw on screen. He had scored 100 percentile in the famed Common Admission Test (CAT) for admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). He is among only nine examinees in the entire country to have cracked this examination with full marks.

Unlike many aspirants who slog it out for the entrance examination, Ram claims to have studied only around three hours a day. “I did not miss playing cricket matches and watching new movies.”

Quizzing him about his success mantra, the young lad gave a slightly alternative path in comparison to the traditional special classroom task. “Hard work is not sufficient in qualifying an examination. Being smart is the catch to the situation.”

“I think it was my rigorous preparation for the mock tests which did wonders for me. I took so many of them that the technique and concepts seeped in and apparently my practice made me perfect in addition to a good knowledge of mathematics,” he remarked.

Having been a consistently high scorer throughout his academic career, an elated Ram is looking forward to joining the IIM Ahmedabad.

Born in a family of a Vellore-based businessman, Ram has fulfilled the dreams of his parents. He attributes his success more to his mother who, according to him, helped him a lot.

“She relocated to Hyderabad with me to get me better coaching for the IIT test. My parents gave their 100 per cent to me,” he ended on an emotional note.



Changes bring hope
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
CAT results were declared in the morning and the IIMs at Kozikhode and Ahmedabad made their telephone calls by the evening itself. According to experts, things were surely looking up.

According to Gurmeet Sethi, PT Coaching Centre, Sector 32, success seemed sweeter with the fact that six new IIMs had been opened.

“The opening of these institutes has widened opportunities for students as there are more seats. This is the fact which makes result appear better than past year,” he said.

The fact that many earlier institutes had decided to go in for diversification of campus for encouraging girls and commerce and business administration graduates will help many go a long way.

“Many IIMs will give extra weightage to girls and BCom and BBA candidates, in addition to taking class X or XII scores into account. This will increase chances of many non-engineering and below-99-percentile students to try their luck,” said Hridesh Madan of Bulz Eye, Sector 8.

New IIMs

These are located at Ranchi, Rohtak, Raipur, Trichy, Kashipur and Udaipur



City a training ground
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
In an encore of past year, Ropar can claim to be the alma mater of a topper while Chandigarh has found solace in being just a training ground.

In what is becoming a trend, the city equipped with numerous coaching institutes is turning into the Kota of the North, where students from far-flung areas come for training and institutes are left claiming credit.

“It will not be right to say so. The topper was from my institute. Students may not be residents here. CAT preparation, the only thing that matters in the exam, is done here. In an exam like CAT, students are divided by even 0.1 per cent. In many cases, a student with 99.99 percentile is as good as one with 100 per cent,” said Gurmeet Sethi of PT Coaching Centre, Sector 32.

Agreeing with him, Hridesh Madan of Bulz Eye added, “We should be proud of the training being given in the city. Our coaching facilities draw students from far-flung areas. What is the reason to worry?”

Second-time lucky

Arushi: An alumnus of the UIET, Panjab University, Arushi is among the country’s top 30 scorers. Daughter of a businessman, she had no specific success mantra and said she was just second-time lucky. “It was my second attempt and it paid off. I was more calm this time and belled CAT,” she chuckled.

Determination pays

Ankush Singla: For a boy who secured around 70 per cent in class X and 68 per cent in class XII, getting 99.2 percentile was next to impossible. But then, where there is a will, there is way. “I could not score much in the board exams because my father relocated for his business and I had to take care of home. I always knew that I had it in me. My success was delayed, but not denied,” he said.

Group discussion makes way

Eleven IIMs, barring those at Kolkata and Lucknow, have done away with group discussion and replaced it with a written essay test, followed by personal interview. This is expected to go long way in helping intelligent but introvert or public-speaking-phobic candidates.



Try these out

The CAT-2011 result is finally out. In the third online avatar, results have made or broken many dreams. For those who have secured above 97 per cent, the picture is more or less clear. What about those who have secured between 80 and 90 per cent? The real test starts now, deciding whether to retry or go to second-tier B-schools. If you feel that your first attempt took you by surprise, leaving scope for improvement, go in for next year. If it is your second or third attempt, try your luck with institutes which may not be IIMs, but have gained repute recently.

Try your luck at

BIM, Trichy


FMS, BHU, Varanasi

FORE, Delhi

IFMR, Chennai

IIFM, Bhopal

IMT, Nagpur

KJ Somaiya, Mumbai

LBSIM, Delhi

Nirma, Ahmedabad

TAPMI, Manipal

Welingkar, Mumbai

XIME, Bengaluru

UBS, Chandigarh

IIMs which have shortlisted candidates so far

Ahmedabad, Kozhikode, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bengaluru



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