C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


7 held for Harminder’s murder
‘Fast food owner of Sector 48 instigated his workers to commit the crime’
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
The Chandigarh police has arrested seven youths accused of killing Harminder Singh (28), a resident of Sector 55, following a scuffle on the road outside the Aroma traffic light-point in Sector 22.

All accused were produced in court, which remanded them in two-day police custody.

The accused have been identified as Harsimranjeet Singh (28), a resident of Sector 44, Chandan Singh (24), Sandeep Kumar (27), Gautam Singh (23), all residents of Burail, Anand Singh (27) and Mahavir Singh (25), both residents of Sector 41, and Prashant Kumar Dabral (31), a resident of Sector 49.

Ranjodh Singh, SHO, Sector 17 police station, said one of the accused, Sukjit Singh Sooch who owns the Scorpio recovered from the crime scene, was yet to be arrested. The police also recovered Sukjit’s mobile from the vehicle.

Sukjit has returned from Canada and is at present residing at a house in Phase XI, Mohali.

The police stated that Harminder was standing outside Hotel Aroma and was having ice-cream. The group got into a heated argument with him, following which it beat him up. As the group began to flee after bashing him up, Harminder took out a rod from his car and chased them. In return, they again attacked him.

The police stated that after the incident, Harsimranjeet and Sukjit went to the former’s house in Sector 44 and in the morning, asked a friend to go to Aroma and check what had happened after they left the crime scene.

The SHO said Harminder suffered severe injury marks near his left eye and a fracture near knee of the left leg. However, the SHO claimed that it was not clear whether Harminder was run over by an SUV. “We are yet to establish whether Harminder died of injuries or was run over by a car,” he said.

According to the police, Canada-returned Harsimranjeet Singh runs a fast food shop in Sector 48 and had brought his workers to Aroma for having ice-cream.

The SHO said it was yet to be established as to who hit Harminder with a sharp-edged weapon.

Harminder’s body was cremated after postmortem today.

“I feel Harsimranjeet Singh, the owner of the fast-food shop, is the culprit as his workers can’t dare to attack someone without the consent of their employer,” said the deceased’s brother Amrinder Singh.



Admn proposes 66.67% hike in power tariff
Awaits Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission nod
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
The UT Administration in its Annual Revenue Requirement (ARR) and Tariff petition for financial year 2012-13 submitted before the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has proposed a hike of 66.67 per cent in power tariff.

The new tariff would be effective this April after the approval of JERC. With the proposed hike the tariff in Chandigarh would come at par with the neighbouring towns of Panchkula and Mohali. A senior official of the UT Administration said they had submitted the petition and now the JERC would decide the tariff structure.

As per the petition, the lower segment which consumes less than 150 units would be more affected. The UT Administration has proposed a hike of 66.67 per cent for the domestic consumers who consume less than 150 units. As per the existing tariff plan, residents in the category of 0-150 units pay Rs 2.10 per unit, but in the petition the Administration has proposed Rs 3.50.

But in the category of above 150 units, the Administration has proposed a hike of 31.57 per cent. Those who consume more than 150 units were paying Rs 3.80 per unit, but now they would have to pay Rs 5 per unit.

In the commercial category, the UT Administration has proposed two slabs system, 0 to 20 units and above 20 units. At present, there is a flat rate of Rs 4.10 per unit in the commercial category, but in the petition the Administration has proposed Rs 5.50, a hike of 34.14 per cent in the below 20 units category and Rs 6, a hike of 46.34 per cent in the other category.

As for the reason behind the hike, the Administration has mentioned that to recover a loss of Rs 332 crore (169 crore in 2011-12 and 163 crore (projected) in 2012-13) the hike is necessary. Besides, expenditures of power purchase, fuel cost and employee cost have also increased.

Fixed charges

The UT Administration has proposed Rs 15 per month as fixed charges for the domestic consumers. At present there are no fixed charges. In the commercial category, the Administration has proposed Rs 100 per month as fixed charges against the existing rates — Rs 5 (0-20 units) and Rs 60 (Above 20 units).

Proposed hike in Punjab and Haryana

Not only the UT Administration, the electricity departments of Punjab and Haryana have also applied for a hike in power tariff. The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has applied for a 55 per cent hike in power tariff, whereas the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) have applied for around 40 per cent hike.



UT Administration sits over appointment of 81 doctors
Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, faces acute staff shortage
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Despite the fact that Government Medical College and Hospital , Sector 32, (GMCH-32) is facing an acute shortage of resident doctors, both senior and junior, the UT Administration is sitting over the appointment of 81 doctors, some of whom were selected three months ago.

The GMCH authorities had selected 39 senior residents (SRs) in November and 42 junior residents in December, but their appointment letters have not been issued till date. Interestingly, the JRs were supposed to join on January 1, but their fate continues to hang in balance, thanks to the UT Administration’s procedural delays.

Confirming that the appointments are pending with the UT Administration, Director-Principal of the GMCH-32 Dr Raj Bahadur said the process for finalising the candidates for SRs and JRs was completed in November and December, respectively.

“All formalities at our end have been completed and the list of successful candidates has been sent to the health department for approval,” he added.

UT Health Secretary Anil Kumar said he wasn’t aware of the appointments of SRs, as he had joined only on December 9. However, in the case of JRs, the appointments were held up, as there was some confusion over the reserved category quota.

Officials at the GMCH said 39 posts of SRs and four casualty service officer posts had been lying vacant for quite some time. “The recruitment process was initiated in October and completed within a month, but the UT health department had till date not accorded their approval,” they added.

Incidentally, this isn’t the first time when appointments of SRs have created a controversy. In July last, the UT health department’s inordinate delay of one-and-half months in issuing appointment letters to 86 SRs was highlighted in these columns. As a result of which, many SRs did not join, leaving many vacant posts unfilled.

The process for the recruitment has been, in fact, going on for the past two years, with the GMCH authorities advertising the posts at least four times.

Sources said the shortage of SRs existed in all departments, including anaesthesia (four), general medicine (five), general surgery (13) and gynaecology (two) and neurosurgery (five).

“JR posts are vacant in general medicine (13), general surgery (10), ortho (five), paediatrics (four), dermatology (two) and radiotherapy and oncology (three),” they added. A senior doctor said, “The authorities must understand our work pressures and realise the importance of clearing such files in public interest.”



Checking child malnutrition
Admn fails to utilise central grant
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Despite Chandigarh featuring along with the states having a high rate of child malnutrition, the local administration has failed to utilise the central assistance, worth over Rs 30 lakh, to improve nutrition and health status of children here.

The latest local audit and inspection report by the Comptroller Audit General revealed that the local office of the Child Development and Project Officer-1 could not utilise around 75 per cent of the central assistance under the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls-SABLA last year and around 40 per cent of the grant under the supplementary nutrition programme (SNP) in 2009-10. The non-utilisation of central assistance resulted in denial of benefits to many needy persons.

UT Home Secretary Anil Kumar said, “I am not aware of the matter. Let me check it first, only then I would be able to comment.”

Under the SNP scheme, nutritious food is served to vulnerable children (0-6 years) and pregnant and lactating mothers, while SABLA is aimed at providing high-quality nutrition to adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years. Notably, the Centre has selected Chandigarh under the SABLA scheme and granted Rs 7.18 lakh for 2010-11. The report revealed that the department could utilise only Rs 1.92 lakh in the entire year and the remaining amount of Rs 5.25 lakh had to be surrendered.

Similarly, the department had received a total grant of Rs 64.59 lakh under the SNP scheme for 2009-10. Out of the total, the department could spend only Rs 38.83 lakh and the remaining Rs 25.75 lakh remained unutilised. Despite being pointed out, no reply was furnished in both cases by the department.

Malnutrition high in urban kids

Notably, urban parts of the city have a high rate of malnutrition, with 31.6 per cent of stunted (height for age), 23.6 per cent underweight (weight for age) and 11.9 per cent wasted (weight for height) children in the age group of 0 to 5 years


Thieves make hay at MC parking lots
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Free parking sites of the municipal corporation (MC) at prominent places in the city have turned into nuisance spots as the authorities have failed to manage these properly.

In October last year, the traffic police had brought to the notice of the MC authorities that the theft cases in vacant parking lots near Sahib Singh in Sector 17 and on Himalaya Marg in Sector 43 were on the rise. In a written communication, the police department had asked the civic body to either allot these sites to parking contractors or manage these on their own to check the theft incidents.

When contacted, MC sub-divisional officer Avatar Singh said as per the request of the police, the proposal of converting these sites into paid ones had been sent to the B&R department. As the department had no manpower, the B&R had to provide staff for the purpose,” Avatar Singh added.

He said the proposal pertaining to the conversion of two other parking sites, including Sector 20 and Mani Majra, was also pending with the B&R department.

Records of the corporation revealed that for the past six years, the pilot project site of first multi-level parking located near Sahib Singh in Sector 17 had not been allotted to any contractor. Resultantly, due to the non-allocation of the site, theft cases of vehicles in the parking lot were on the rise and authorities were also suffering a great loss in terms of revenue.

A senior official in the department said the authorities had approached a few parking contractors in the last two months, to take over the site, which was approximately 12,000 square feet. But the contractors denied to take over the parking lot, on the plea, that it was mostly being used by service vehicles of restaurant owners or employees of the electricity department who refused to pay parking fee, which caused monetary loss to them.

Sources in the corporation said the conversion of a parking site in Sector 43 into a paid one had been put off by the B&R as the construction of hotels was going on in the area.



Land acquisition
GMADA in a fix
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 14
With farmers, whose land was acquired for the Medicity project, preferring cash payment instead of going in for the land pooling scheme, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is in a fix.

In order to make the payment to farmers, GMADA is now holding talks with various banks for securing loans. Talks are on with the Oriental Bank of Commerce, Canara Bank, State Bank of India and Dena Bank to work out the loan prospects.

GMADA had planned to allot the land to reputed health care chains.

Sources said as per the new phenomenon witnessed by GMADA, between 60 per cent and 70 per cent farmers, whose land was acquired for the Medicity project, were interested in taking cash payment from the development authority and were reluctant to go in for the land pooling offer.

GMADA officials have not been able to comprehend why farmers were opting for cash payment when most of them had gone in for the land pooling scheme in the case of Ecocity. Farmers are being given a compensation of Rs 1,46,22, 611 per acre for the land acquired by GMADA under the project.

They were also free to avail the facility of land pooling scheme in case they desired to do so.

Farmers, who were not interested in taking the compensation amount, could get a plot measuring 1,000 sq yds for residential purposes and 100 sq yds for commercial use. Such plots were to be allotted in Ecocity, Phase I.

GMADA had acquired 97.425 acres falling in Ferozepur Bangur village for the Medicity project. Though initially 151.71 acres were acquired for the project, a part of the land had to be left out after the Indian Air Force authorities had objected to the acquisition of the land saying that it fell under the buffer zone. The land was acquired under the Land acquisition Act, 1894.



Ground employees’ stir enters second day
Flight cancellation harrows passengers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Air passengers from the city had a harrowing time at the Chandigarh airport on account of the cancellation of Indian Airlines flight following a strike by ground staff in New Delhi today.

The only flight from the city to Delhi was cancelled, leaving at least 100 passengers stranded at the airport. The strike entered its second day today. The airlines operated its flight to and from the city yesterday.

Private carriers, including Jet and Kingfisher, accommodated maximum passengers. Taxis were also arranged for a few others.

Confirming the cancellation, Air India officials at the airport claimed that maximum efforts were being made to avoid inconvenience to passengers.

However, on the status of the flight tomorrow, they refused to divulge anything, but said an alternative action plan was ready in case the flight did not take off.

In a double whammy for stranded passengers, fare hike by other private airlines caused further inconvenience. Hit by the strike, the Indian Airlines has decided not to take any fresh bookings till further orders.



Theft case solved, jewellery worth Rs 7 lakh recovered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 14
The district police claimed to have solved a case of theft which took place at the house of an Army officer in Chandi Mandir area on December 21, 2011. Jewellery worth Rs 7 lakh has also been recovered from the accused.

One of the accused, identified as Rajesh Kumar, son of the maid working at the house of the Army officer, had allegedly took away cash and valuables worth over Rs 10 lakh. According to the police, Rajesh burgled into the house of the Army officer on December 21, 2011, when the family was not at home.

The police arrested the accused from Kale Khan in Delhi on January 1, while his accomplice, Gurcharan, a resident of Kurukshetra, was arrested on January 12.

The police, after recovering jewellery from the accused, produced him at court from where he was sent to judicial custody.



Chandigarh scan

Talk delivered

Indian Air Force officers visited Doaba Group of Colleges, Campus-I, here and briefed budding engineers and managers on career prospects available to B Tech and MBA students in the Indian Air Force (IAF). The students were given detailed information about the procedure to join the IAF and the avenues, pay, perks and service conditions available to IAF officers. The presentation was a lively interactive session with the students asking questions and IAF officers replying to their queries. Manjit Singh, the executive vice-chairman, welcomed the Indian Air Force officers and emphasised the role of the IAF in the defence of the country. He exhorted the students to volunteer themselves to serve their homeland by joining the Indian Air Force.

Prize distribution

AKSIPS-65 Smart School organised its prize distribution and felicitation event ‘Impressions’ for the primary and pre-primary wings in the school premises. Jasdeep Kalra, executive director of AKSIPS group of schools, presided over the function. Kids were awarded for their achievements in various literary and co-curricular activities. The pre-primary kids were the happiest lot as they were the winners all the way-be it fancy dress, recitation, dramatisation, inging/dancing or the moral based awards. Students from classes I to V were the winners of various house-competitions and inter-class activities like story board, thematic presentation etc.

Award ceremony

Prizes were given to meritorious students of Rayat Bahra College of Engineering and Biotechnology for Women, Mohali.

Gurvinder Singh Bahra, chairman of Rayat and Bahra Group of Institutes was the chief guest of the event. While awarding prizes to students who excelled in academics, the chairman encouraged them work hard work continue such performance.

Prof. R.S. Salaria delivered a motivational talk, speaking on ethical and human values, and their need in the well being of society.

Tribune Reporters



Red Cross to train police in first aid
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 14
The Red Cross at Panchkula will impart training to the police personnel in first aid. This was stated by Subhash Kapoor, the president of Raod Safety Organisation on the concuding ceremony of Road Safety week here today.

This will help in saving lives of injured and ill people who need shifting to hospitals in emergency cases, he said.



HUDA shifts bus queue shelter to ‘please’ industrialists
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 14
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) on Wednesday shifted a bus queue shelter from Industrial Area, Phase I, to some other place just to “please” industrialists.

Even as the residents of Sector 19 protested against the shifting of the shelter, the authorities preferred to keep mum on the issue. While the existing bus queue shelter had already been demolished, the residents objected to the construction of the shelter at the new site.

Sources said on June 3 last year, a letter was written to the municipal council requesting to shift the bus queue shelter from plot number 82 to plot number 84.

The reason cited behind the move was the presence of a bus queue shelter near T-point on the B road going towards Sector 19 of Panchkula. “As the traffic volume is much more than any other road in Industrial Area, it is requested to shift the shelter at the earliest in public interest,” read the letter.

The T-point is at a reasonable distance from the existing bus queue shelter and it was learnt that the owner of plot number 84 objected to the setting up of the shelter in front of his industry. Following which HUDA Chief Administrator gave his nod to shift the bus queue shelter further at least 300 metres away from the residential area.

On visiting the place, it was found that HUDA officials while demarcating a new site for the bus queue shelter did not bother to consider the plot meant for truck parking in the beginning of Industrial Area,” said Dev Raj Sharma, general secretary of the Joint Action Committee, Sector 19. While no official from HUDA was ready to comment on the issue, Chief Administrator DPS Nagal did not take the call.



Security stepped up ahead of poll
Tribune News Service

Policemen check a bag of a commuter in Zirakpur on Saturday
Policemen check a bag of a commuter in Zirakpur on Saturday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Mohali/Zirakpur, January 14
With the Punjab Assembly elections nearing, the Mohali police has stepped up security in the district to prevent any untoward incident.

Heavy police force has been deployed at the entry and exit points to Mohali, Dera Bassi and Kharar. Nakas have also been laid in the district.

Mohali SSP GS Bhullar said the police teams had laid nakas in the border areas of Mohali district to keep a check on anti-social elements.

He said the police had been asked to check all vehicles, including four-wheelers and two-wheelers.

In Zirkapur, police teams along with a dog squad was told to inspect hotels, theatres, mall and other public places.

Zirakpur SHO Yogi Raj stated that around 350 weapons were confiscated.

He said licences of those holders would be cancelled who had not deposited their weapons so far.

The police said it stopped a car which had a fake number plate with Government of India written on it. The driver of the vehicle failed to produce the documents following which he was challaned.



Robbery might have been the motive behind murders
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 14
Even as the police is yet to identify the assailant(s) involved in the two-day-old double murder of Shikha and her daughter Priyanaka at Harmilap Nagar in Baltana, investigations indicate that robbery may be one of the motives behind the gruesome act.

The assailant(s) seem to have ransacked the house while looking for cash or jewellery.

Ornaments worn by Shikha were found missing. The police said it was scrutinising the call details of the victims’ mobile phones.

Meanwhile, circumstantial evidence indicates that after gaining entry to the house, the assailants slit the throat of Shikha. Before leaving the place, they ransacked the house.

Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said family members and friends of the deceased were being questioned. “We are hopeful of cracking the case,” he said.

A police official said it was learnt that Anchal’s boyfriend Vineet was also staying in Harmilap Nagar. We are working on various theories and after going through the circumstantial evidence, it seemed that the criminal was not a professional killer.

“However, we have collected some vital clues. The police has also contacted Vineet Kumar, a resident of Baltana, who is believed to have enmity with Shikha’s elder daughter Anchal,” the official added. The police spoke to him on phone.

It has already questioned the father of the girls, Pradeep Jindal, who was not staying with the family. Priyanka’s sister Anchal was in Ludhiana along with her friend.



Mudslinging begins
SAD misused funds, alleges Cong candidate
Tribune News Service

Congresss candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu campaigns at Industrial Area in Phase III of Mohali on Saturday
Congresss candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu campaigns at Ind

Mohali, January 14
Congress candidate from the Mohali constituency Balbir Singh Sidhu today alleged that at the behest of SAD president, the Akalis had gobbled up most of the funds released under the Shagun scheme which was launched for the welfare of the unprivileged.

Illustrating his allegation, Sidhu said principal secretary of the social welfare department TR Sarangal had marked an inquiry on January 13 into the implementation of the Shagun scheme throughout Punjab after the Rs 3 crore scam came to light at Faridkot.

He said joint secretary TK Goyal, additional director Lakha Singh, joint director Bindu Walia, deputy director Anjana Sandhu and Rohi Ram were asked to probe the matter and submit their report within 10 days. But the inquiry could not be initiated due to political pressure.

He said the Akali leaders were using the funds released under such welfare schemes for wooing voters. He said an audit of all welfare schemes would be carried out.



Only lifetime members invited to PU alumni meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Panjab University has made it mandatory for all its alumni to become lifetime members of Panjab University Alumni Association (PUAA) to participate in alumni meet scheduled for January 27. The move has left hundreds of alumni who are registered as general members shocked and crying foul.

“The members ship fee for being a general member is Rs 200 while that of lifetime member is Rs 1000. They can give extra benefits to lifetime members but cannot bar us from coming to the alumni meet. Is this move aimed at collecting more money? If not, then PU or the association should give a justification for the same,” said an alumni.

As per the notice displayed on website, Panjab University is organising its second alumni meet on Jan 27, 2012. The notice says: “While this will give an opportunity to alumni to interact and refresh their memories of the golden years at their alma mater, the university shall also be honouring those alumni who obtained their Doctorate/Post-Graduation/Graduation degrees from Panjab University in or prior to 1975. The pre-requisite is that the alumnus should be registered as a Patron/Life Member.”

The general members of PUAA have decided to meet the VC in this regard. “ Alumni meet should be open to all members, irrespective of their membership type. It is not about money. Somebody might want to be in the association only for a while, why then insist on lifetime membership?” questioned a general member of the PUAA.



CBSE to set up 24-hr helpline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Encouraged by the immense response to its help lines activated during the examination season, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to set up a round-the-clock call centre to facilitate interaction between students and parents and the board.

The call centre, expected to be operational from February 15, will not only help parents and students to deal with exam-related stress, but will also enable them to access information pertaining to schools, syllabi, exams, fee structure, results etc. Parents and students will also be able lodge complaints. “All stake holders feel that in view of the ongoing reforms, a healthy two-way interaction is a must for everybody’s benefit. This call centre will offer counselling for exams, evaluation matters, and other day-to-day issues related to students. The modalities are being worked out,” said a senior official from CBSE Delhi.

The move has left schools elated which feel that they will now get a window to address problems and get solutions regarding day-to-day problems being faced in CCE, the new evaluation system. “Quite often we are in doubt over recommendations of the new evaluation system. This help line will provide speedy answer to our queries,” said an office bearer of the Independent School Association.



Notice to DEO for Jan 18
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
A local court today issued a notice to the District Education Officer (DEO) for January 18 in connection with the winter school timings of city schools.

Global Human Rights Council (GHRC) chairman Advocate Arvind Thakur stated that earlier he had filed a PIL in which the court had directed the DEO and Director, Public Instructions (Schools), to pass an order regarding the school timings till January 14.

He added that as the respondents failed to follow the court’s directions, he filed a fresh application today.

The PIL stated that due to the fall in temperature, school should change the timings.



Missed a lecture? Go to Smart Classroom!
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
With the introduction of ‘Smart Classroom’ in Government Colleges, students, who for some reason have missed classes, will now have the opportunity of getting a copy of the lecture they missed. Colleges have decided to upload the study material on their websites which students can access anytime.

Professor Dalip Kumar of Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42, said that the college has decided to upload all the lectures taught on their e-portal so that the students can have access to the content of lectures sitting in their homes. “We have already initiated the project and soon the students can download the study material taught from the college website.”

DPI (Colleges) DK Tiwari said that the students would be able to access the lectures given by the teachers through this innovative mechanism. “It is up to the college principals to initiate the practice which would help students get the study material they missed,” Tiwari said.



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