C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


RTE deadline now Jan 31
Fresh instructions bar schools from converting vacant reserved seats into general for students
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Adding more confusion to the already muddled issue of the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, the UT Administration has issued yet another set of instructions, incidentally eight in line, during the past six months, extending the date of application for these seats to January 31.

The instructions are also bound to leave hundreds of general category students in the lurch, who were waiting for the conversion of over 2,000 empty RTE seats into general. Schools have been asked to inform the department about the number of vacant seats by February 14. They have been asked not to fill the vacant seats “till further orders”.

“The UT has failed to do its homework and is out to bully us now. As many as 2,200 out of the 3,000 reserved seats are vacant. What if we get no takers till February? No general student will wait till then. Will the UT pay us for empty seats? The RTE doesn’t allow any administration to bully schools. Every time their incompetence to implement the Act comes to the fore, they issue fresh instructions,” said an office-bearer of the Independent School Association.

One of the key postulates of the instruction letter has asked schools to overlook the neighbourhood criteria while giving seats. This means a child from any part of the city was eligible. This is clearly in defiance with the admission policy under the Act where only children from the concerned or neighbouring sectors are being allowed to apply.

“There can’t be two different interpretations of the Act for government and private schools. Neighbourhood criteria are mandated by the RTE and cannot be altered with un-notified instructions. We are bound to abide by the Act and that is what we are doing,” said Gurpreet Bakshi, chief administrator of St Kabir School.

The schools are also shocked at the UT’s “decision” of paying schools for RTE seats on the basis of their monthly claims for reimbursements. “I have not got any letter, but to my knowledge, the Administration has no constitutional power to delete or alter the neighbourhood criteria. As far as the reimbursement is concerned, a meeting is yet to be held, so how can any decision be taken? We have no problems in filling the RTE seats, but identify the children for us through proper child-mapping,” said Independent School Association president HS Mamik.

Ironically the UT, which has religiously been instructing private schools, has failed to put its own house in order. Following its repeated plans, it ended up publishing the botched-up child-mapping results which failed to find any eligible candidate in city slums for admission under the RTE.

Similarly, the department is yet to give a thought to issues like school development plan, reduction in disparity between private and government schools, maintaining classroom teacher ratio or hiring new teachers.



RTE act
Only a few schools submit forms
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 16
The seriousness of private schools regarding the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act can be gauged from the fact that only one-third of these institutions have bothered to submit self-declaration forms to the district education authorities.

It is mandatory for every private school in the district to submit a

self-declaration in Form I regarding the facilities available in the institution under Rule 11 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act. Under the rules, any private unaided school imparting education at the pre-primary, primary or upper primary levels need to submit the form for getting recognition from the education officer of the respective district.

Sources said there were 394 private unaided schools in the district, out of which only 120 schools had submitted the self-declaration forms. The last date to submit the forms was January 11. The government had issued a notification in this regard on October 12 last year following which three months time was given to schools to submit the required information.

The schools were asked to furnish details regarding the strength of students, teachers, area of the school, area of the constructed portion and facilities being provided to students. Recognition certificates would be issued by officials concerned only if these schools were found to be working in accordance with norms and standards specified under the Act.

District education officer Narinder Singh said show-cause notices were being issued to schools which had not complied with the directions. At a meeting held here today, block primary education officers were asked to find out why schools falling in their areas had not submitted the forms.

He said the self-declaration forms submitted by schools would be examined after which an inspection would be carried out by various teams. In case some shortcomings were noticed, the schools would be asked to remove all those before March 31, 2013, failing which the schools would be asked to close down.

As per reports, any school which got established after the enforcement of the rules will also have to fulfil all norms and conditions laid down by the government for the implementation of the said Act.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, had come into force from April 1, 2010, and is to be fully implemented by March 31, 2013. The aim is to give basic education to all children falling in the age bracket of six to 14 years.



UT in spruce-up mode, but survey futile
Proposal to ‘liven up’ area beyond Sector 17 plaza impractical

Akash Ghai/Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
The UT Administration today carried out a “futile” survey in the area beyond the main plaza in Sector 17 for making it lively by sprucing up the environs and getting some tourist outlets functioning. The area remains dark and dead after office hours every day.

Senior functionaries of the administration are said to be trying to “liven up” the area, particularly during evening hours. However, survey officials said they did not know what they were doing. “The exercise is totally impractical,” a senior functionary said.

During the survey, it was found that about 90 per cent offices were being run on the ground floor of these buildings. “We have sent our report to the UT Adviser,” said Rahul Gupta, assistant estate officer. Terming the survey a futile exercise, a senior official of the administration, requesting anonymity, said nothing would come out of it.

Today’s survey by the estate office aimed at furnishing complete details of shops as well as offices being run on the ground floor of the buildings. A surveyor said: “We have done the survey, but we don’t know for what. The administration cannot ask private offices or banks, particularly on the ground floor, to clear their premises for some ambitious project of the administration to promote tourism.”

The survey was conducted following the directions of the Adviser, KK Sharma, to the UT Administrator who wanted to infuse “life” into the area.

This is not the first time that the administration or the municipal corporation has chalked out a plan in this direction. About half a dozen projects of beautification of the business hub by the MC were either kept in abeyance or scrapped for over a decade.

“What will they do after getting the details of shops and offices in the area? Are they planning to evacuate the offices from here to give the place to shops? I am unable to understand the initiative,” the official remarked.

Past failures

In the budget of the current year, the MC had allocated Rs 1 crore for improving the infrastructure in the sector. But the past record of the projects -- some of them are over a decade old -- is poor as most of the projects have failed to see the light of the day.

Classic examples include projects like multi-level parking; conversion of circus ground into an exhibition site; and making plaza a vehicle-free zone. These have been put in the cold storage for the last over five years. As per the records of the MC, the proposal of five multi-level parkings was mooted in 2005. The authorities planned to construct a multi-level parking on each corner of Sector 17. But the projects have yet to start.

Another project recommended in 2006 was to make plaza a vehicle-free zone, which has been shelved. As per the proposal, the authorities suggested that all parking lots near the plaza should be closed and landscaping should be undertaken at those sites.

Similarly, a project of Rs 60 lakh for converting the circus ground in Sector 17 into an exhibition ground for proper maintenance of the space has been lying pending for over seven years. The proposal to construct a boundary wall around this open space and provide it with proper public toilets and parking space near the ground has been hanging fire.

In 2009, the corporation commenced work on an amusement park near the general post office in Sector 17, but it has not been completed yet.



Man robbed of Rs 10 lakh
Name had figured in 2002 PPSC scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
A Sector 33 resident, Gurdeep Singh Manchanda, whose name figured in the infamous PPSC scam in 2002, was robbed of Rs 10 lakh near his house this evening by two motorcycle-borne men who had covered their faces. Manchanda is the franchisee owner of Western Union Money Transfer and was one of the accused in the PPSC scam, which featured former PPSC chairman Ravi Sidhu as the prime accused.

The robbers were waiting for him at a turn near his house and fled with a bag containing the cash after hitting him with a rod at 8.30 pm. The victim was returning home on a scooter after closing his shop in Sector 32.

“Two men with their faces covered and riding a yellow bike intercepted me after hitting me with a rod. The pillion rider threatened me and snatched the bag. I resisted, but he hit me with the rod and fled,” the victim said.



UT depts, MC owe Rs 2.72-cr power dues
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
While a common man is all set to churn out heavier amounts in electricity bills as part of the proposed 66. 67 per cent power tariff in the next financial year, the UT Administration has failed to recover Rs 2.72 crore from various departments of the Administration and the municipal corporation (MC).

According to engineering department records, the Punjab Civil Secretariat has a pending amount of Rs 1.73 crore. To recover the dues, the Administration had communicated with the department several times, but to no avail. Similarly, the public health department owes Rs 10.02 lakh and the police department Rs 3.72 lakh. The education department and the estate office owe Rs 54,000 and Rs 77,000, respectively.

Not just the UT, several departments associated with the MC also figure prominently on the list of defaulters. The MC is reported to have outstanding power bills worth at least Rs 61 lakh. The block development and panchayat department of the UT also owes Rs 27,000.

The Administration is also under process to recover at least Rs 12 lakh from various individuals. The cases are buried in procedural wrangling.

A senior official of the Administration said the wing of the department concerned had sent reminders to the departments concerned, but to no avail. Certain departments like the Punjab Civil Secretariat have contested the bills as to be showing a “disputed amount”. The cases are yet to be decided.

The official added that the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) allowed them a debt amount of 1 per cent. The figure of Rs 2.72 crore was well within the prescribed limits. The Administration had a commendable recovery rate of 99 per cent.



714 deaths on city roads since 2007
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
A “black book” on accident figures to be released by the Chandigarh Traffic Police on the occasion of the inauguration of the road safety week, starting tomorrow, reveals that 714 fatal accidents have been witnessed in the city over the last five years. The cause of 95 per cent of these accidents was human error.

As the theme of National Road Safety Week this year -- “Accidents bring tears, safety bring cheers” -- emphasises the significance of obeying traffic rules, the figures of road fatalities on city roads over the last five years present a grim picture.

The traffic police will also be launching a book on road safety which will be included in the syllabi of schools and students will be made to undergo a compulsory test on traffic rules. DSP (Traffic) Vijay Kumar said they had sent a proposal to the education department and it would be implemented soon for students of class VI onwards.

As per statistics and analysis of road accidents mentioned in the book, the roads of the city are fast turning into death traps, with the number of pedestrians and two-wheeler driver deaths reaching an all-time high. Out of the 129 fatal accidents in the city last year, 49 were pedestrians and 22 cyclists. Traffic police officials said over 80 per cent of the deaths in road accidents involved pedestrians and two-wheelers as the victims.

A total of 147 road accidents were witnessed in the city since 2007 and 142 in 2008. The number of accidents rose to 164 in 2009. The number of deaths was 132 in 2010 and 129 in 2011.

The police attributes the large number of deaths to sheer carelessness and violation of traffic rules. Moreover, the roads are not pedestrian-friendly.

“We have managed to reduce the number of road fatalities in the city over the years due to sustained drives against drunk driving, which is the cause of a majority of road fatalities,” said Vijay Kumar.

  • A total of 147 road accidents were witnessed in the city since 2007 and 142 in 2008. The number of accidents rose to 164 in 2009. The number of deaths was 132 in 2010 and 129 in 2011.
  • The police attributes the large number of deaths to sheer carelessness and violation of traffic rules. Moreover, the roads are not pedestrian friendly


Battle lines have been drawn
30 candidates left in fray at Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi; eight withdraw papers

Tribune Reporters
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 16
Battle lines have been drawn. With today being the last day to withdraw nomination papers, a total of 30 candidates have been left in the fray from the Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi constituencies after eight candidates withdrew their nominations. In the three newly created constituencies, there are a total of 4,86,750 voters.

Resentment prevails among the local party cadre of Congress and SAD for landing “para shoot” candidates in Mohali and Dera Bassi. The last minute entry of Bir Devinder Singh (former Kharar MLA) on ticket of the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) from Mohali has forced the Congress and SAD candidate to rework their strategy. The Congress candidates in Kharar and Dera Bassi are facing opposition from certain local leaders.


Apart from six candidates of registered political parties and Independent candidates, Paramjit Kaur (Akhil Rashtrawadi Party), Jasmer Singh (SAD, Amritsar), Achal Singla, Karamjit Singh, Lt Col Gurparkash Singh Virk and Joginder Singh Jogi, all independents, the prominent candidates left in the poll battle from Mohali are Balbir Singh Sidhu (Congress), Balwant Singh Ramoowalia (SAD) and Bir Devinder Singh (PPP). Political analysts believe that Mohali will witness a triangular contest.

Returning officer Amit Talwar said there were 1,65,357 voters registered in Mohali. A veteran politician who minced no words while taking credit for helping the deserted brides of NRI grooms and Punjabi youths languishing in jails abroad, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, is banking on the popularity of Punjabi singer and actor, Harbhajan Singh Mann, to take on the might of Balbir Singh Sidhu, who has the advantage of his hometurf.


From the Kharar constituency, 11 candidates, including those of registered political parties and Independents, will contest the poll. The candidates in the fray are Ujjagar Singh (SAD), Jagmohan Singh (Congress), Arjan Singh (BSP), Harnek Singh (PPP), Gurmeet Singh (Independent), Harmesh Singh (SAD, Amritsar), Mohan Singh (Akhil Rashtrawadi Party), Hari Singh Sodhi, Karnail Singh, Ravinder Singh and Kamal Kishore, all Independent candidates.

From the Kharar constituency, there is a subtle opposition to the Congress nomination of Jagmohan Singh Kang from the seat. After Rajbir Singh Padiala (a senior Akali leader who joined Congress over a year ago) was denied Congress ticket, a number of his supporters are unlikely to join Congress candidate Jagmohan Singh Kang. A rebel Congress leader, Kamal Kishore, from Kharar is also posing a threat to Kang. The anti-incumbency factor apart from the differences among the Congress leaders can benefit the SAD candidate. There are a total of 1,59,417 candidates in the Kharar Assembly segment.

Dera Bassi

With Manpreet Kaur Dolly, the daughter of Akali stalwart late Capt Kanwaljit Singh, and Deepinder Singh Dhillon in the poll fray from Dera Bassi segment as Independent candidates, the other prominent candidates, NK Sharma (SAD) and Jasjit Singh Randhawa (Congress), face a real threat. Out of the total 14 candidates, nine have been left in the fray with the remaining withdrawing their nominations. The others in the fray are Satish Sharma (BSP), Bhagwant Singh (PPP), Deepinder Dhillon, Jaswant Singh, Manpreet Dolly, Mann Singh and Gurjit Singh, all Independents.

While Deepinder Dhillon, who had fought the last Banur byelections on Congress ticket, claims to have given a serious challenge to the Congress candidate, the SAD candidate faces a threat from Manpreet Dolly who is fighting a decisive battle to retain the political legacy of her father. Her mother Sarabjit Kaur is supporting her daughter in the cause. On the other hand, the brother of Dolly Jasjit Singh Bunny is standing with the SAD candidate. The Dera Bassi segment has 1,61,976 voters.

Returning officer Dera Bassi Rajesh Tripathi said 16 candidates had withdrawn their nomination papers, including covering and Independent candidates. Now, the constituency is going to witness a contest among four candidates, including the rebels of main political parties.

Elections symbols allotted

Independents and candidates of registered political parties from the Kharar, Mohali and Dera Bassi constituencies were allotted election symbols like glass tumbler, gas cylinder, sewing machine, auto rickshaw, ceiling fan, iron, candles, batsman, whistle and saw.

Thirty candidates are left in the fray from the Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi constituencies. Para shoot candidates of prominent parties may face the heat from the local leadership as rebel make the battle tough for the “outsiders”.



Finally, admn swings into action
Sends communiqué to DC on food service tax

Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Finally the UT administration has woken up to deal with the issue of ‘service tax’ being charged by most of the prominent restaurants arbitrarily in the city. The UT home department has recently sent a communiqué to UT Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh directing him to initiate appropriate action immediately. Brijendra Singh said he would look into the matter and initiate action accordingly.

Despite an order passed by the Chandigarh administration on June 30, 2006, that no service charges could be levied on food and beverages being served in restaurants here, a number of prominent restaurants across the city have been violating rules with impunity by adding charges, ranging between 8 per cent and 12 per cent to their bills of late.

The local administration does not know as to which department would be able to deal with the issue. City-based advocate Ajay Jagga had brought the matter to the notice of the administration in February, 2006.

As several restaurants have been levying service charges for the past few years, another representation was given to the then UT Adviser Pradip Mehra in January, 2011, who forwarded the same to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Commissioner Excise and Taxation immediately. The DC had marked it to the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC), but the AETC however, again had sent it to the consumer affairs department on the grounds that the matter came under their purview. Interestingly, the consumer department again sent the complaint back to the DC’s office only to land on the desk of the AETC again.

Jagga had sent another representation to the UT administrator two months ago.

Interestingly, UT AETC Naresh Dubey was of the view that the service tax did not come under his department’s jurisdiction, as it was not any kind of tax prescribed by the competent authority but only self-devised charges levied by certain commercial establishments.

“I am not going to give up till the matter comes to its logical conclusion,” said Jagga.

“The charges go to the common fund to be given to the staff for good service,” claimed owners of restaurants. Under law, the restaurants can charge only VAT (12.5 per cent), service tax (3.09 per cent) on food and beverages.



Prabhpreet recollects brawl
Deepankar Sharda

Tribune News Service

Prabhpreet with his mother at his home in Sahorra village near Kurali on Monday. Tribune PHoto: VICKY GHARu

Chandigarh, January 16
The recent brawl between the Kerala and Chandigarh handball teams during the semi-final match of recently concluded 57th National School Games has left Prabhpreet Singh, handball team player, in a state of shock. While representing the city, the ace striker received a serious knee injury during the match. The incident will keep him out of action for at least a month giving him hardly any time to prepare for the upcoming trials for the selection in Junior Indian Handball team.

Prabhpreet, who was a student of SD School, Sector 32, and a trainee at Sports Complex, Sector 42, said: “I was taking a shot and was pushed by a player of the opponent team during the match. The team played a rough game and led to the situation. Our coach also requested their coach to play a fair game but the situation remained the same,” said Prabhpreet.

While taking about the incident, he blamed the visiting side for the incidence that took place and created the bad image of the host team. “Even after all the rough play, we kept our cool as we knew that we have to play the finals the next day,” said Prabhpreet. “We were leading the game since the very first minute. How could we bash them up? I, along with my counterpart, Vikender, was targeted every time.

Vikender received a punch in his ribs while taking a shot for which a player was also shown red card. Even after the match when we were shaking hands, the team members of Kerala was saying something about us,” said Prabhpreet Singh. He added, “We don’t know after that what happened but later we got to know that the members of the other sports like cricket, who were watching the match showed their anger to visiting team for their behaviour on field,” said he.

On other hand, Manavpreet Singh, captain of the host team said, “The other team was not aware of the new rules. According to new rules, if a player is caught playing foul play, he is sent off from the field after showing a red card. When the referee showed the red card to a player of Kerala team, they started opposing the decision and started playing roughly. Being a host team, we were avoiding it. Our team was the best team and we were leading the match since beginning so there is no question of expecting favouritism from the officials. We have also defeated Delhi in finals.”



Double murder
Police zeroes in on two youths
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 16
In the gruesome double murder of Shikha, and her daughter Priyanaka in Harmilap Nagar of Baltana, the police is learnt to have achieved a breakthrough by zeroing in on two youths who had spoken to Shikha on the day of the murder. But they are yet to be identified by the police.

Instead of using their own mobile phone to call up Shikha, the youths borrowed a mobile phone from a vendor. The youths, believed to be in their early twenties, told the vendor that their phone’s battery was low.

Though it could not be confirmed whether the police had rounded them up or not, sources said the two had the mobile number of Shikha and spoke to her for a second from the mobile of the vendor.

It appears that after ascertaining that the victim was at home, the two youths went there to commit the crime.

The analyses of the used condoms led the police to the two youths who had met the victim a few hours before her murder.

After questioning the two, the police ruled out their involvement in the murder. So far the police has questioned over five persons and is pinning hopes on the two youths.

The circumstantial evidence indicates that after gaining entry to the house, the assailants slit the throat of Shikha. Before leaving the place, the assailant(s) ransacked the house.

Earlier, the police had questioned Vineet, boyfriend of Anchal, and her father Pradeep.

The victims, who were murdered on January 12, were the mother and younger sister of one of the four girls who had allegedly made an MMS clip of an estranged friend after stripping her in a car in October last year in Panchkula.



Reflection of religious zeal of Pak men in uniform
Tribune News Service

Former Army Chief Gen VP Malik (second from left), along with Tridivesh Singh Maini (left), releases a book ‘Warriors After War’ in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: S Chandan
Former Army Chief Gen VP Malik (second from left), along with Tridivesh Singh Maini (left), releases a book ‘Warriors After War’ in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, January 16
The newer generation of Pakistani officers has a very high commitment to Islam and protecting its ideals as compared to officers of the earlier era, including those who had fought against India in various wars.

Stating this while releasing a book, “Warriors After War” based on interviews of 26 Indian and Pakistani retired military officers reflecting their views on bilateral relations, here today, Gen Malik said the contents of the book reflected the religious zeal of men in uniform across the border and their psyche that they could not afford to bring about any harm to Islam. The zeal he said was also revealed from diaries captured from Pakistani intruders during the 1999 Kargil conflict.

Another significant aspect brought out in the book is the “confession” of one of the Pakistani officers in his interview that Pakistan had been using military personnel dressed in civilian clothes as raiders against India.

Gen Malik said the contents of the book, edited by Richard Bonney, a British historian, Tridivesh Singh Maini from the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, and Tahir Malik, a Pakistani author, also revealed that there was a fair amount of bitterness about the Partition prevalent in the psyche of people on the other side.

Brig Satish Issar (retd), a military analyst and an author, said the book should generate a thought process on the course of action to be adopted by both the countries in future. Former ambassador PS Sahai said though there was no ingrained hatred in Indians towards Pakistan, efforts were required to bridge the trust deficit on both the sides.



Traffic rules
Police tightens noose around violators

Panchkula, January 16
The district administration and police authorities have tightened noose around traffic rule violators, especially school bus drivers.

While Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar has directed the Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil), Panchkula and Kalka, to convene a meeting of all educational institutions located within their respective jurisdictions and ensure that all safety measures of transportation of schoolchildren were being implemented, the police personnel checked all buses plying in the district.

A total of 43 challans were issued by the Pinjore Police. Similarly, 20 challans were issued by the Sector 5 police while the Kalka Police challaned eight school bus drivers for violating traffic rules.

On the other hand, the Deputy Commissioner said the executive engineer, construction division, PWD (B&R), Haryana, Chandigarh and Panchkula, would submit a report to the respective Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil) after identifying convenient points for school bus stops.

Brar added that the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Panchkula, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Rural), Ambala, and secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Panchkula, would challan cabs, private college buses, and auto-rickshaws, which were not found complying with safety measures and various provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act/Rules. — TNS



Notice to BSP candidate for violating poll code
Tribune News Service

Officials of the election office seize posters during a drive at Balongi village in Kharar on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, January 16
After getting a notice for violating the guidelines of the Election Commission while filing the nomination papers, the BSP candidate has again landed himself in trouble.

Returning officer Amit Talwar today issued a notice to the BSP candidate, Manav Mehra, for carrying posters and banners without seeking any permission from the Election Office.

The RO had earlier issued a notice to SAD candidate Balwant Singh Ramoowalia for publishing posters without giving details to the election department.

The RO also impounded the vehicle of the BSP candidate as it did not have the relevant papers. The BSP candidate has been given a notice to explain his position.

Meanwhile, the SAD has alleged that the Congress candidate, Balbir Singh Sidhu, was holding public meetings at Aganwadi Centre in Chau Majra village. SAD spokesperson said the meeting had violated the modal code of conduct.

He said a written complaint along with the pictures were being sent to the returning officer (RO), Mohali. The RO said he was yet to receive any complaint in this regard.



Zila parishad chairman removed from post
Tribune News Service

A no-confidence motion was passed against the chairman of the zila parishad, Rajesh Kona, at the Mini Secretariat in Panchkula on Monday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, January16
Zila parishad chairman Rajesh Kona was removed from the post after out of the total 10 members, seven passed a no-confidence motion against him here today.

The seven opponents of Kona had given an affidavit in this regard to Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar last month following which a meeting was held today.

Rajesh Kona, Champa and Bimla Devi did not attend the proceedings. After waiting for half an hour the seven members, Ajaib Singh, Fom Lal, Veena, all from the Congress, along with Jeet Ram, Ramesh, Preeto of the Indian National Lok Dal and Independent candidate Mahesh voted for the removal of Kona and deputy chairperson Champa.

Rajesh Kona and Champa had assumed charge on August 16 last year.

In fact, Ajaib Singh was a strong contender for the chairmanship of the parishad last year, but the luck favoured Kona and he was elected to the post.

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar said a meeting would be held soon so that the election to the posts of chairman and deputy chairman could be held.



City Beautiful? No way!
Industrial Area cries for attention of Admn, MC authorities
Tribune News Service

Potholes dot a road stretch. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 16
Broken roads in the Industrial Area here speak about how the UT Administration and the municipal corporation (MC) have neglected the area. Traders say they never feel that this area is a part of City Beautiful, going by the poor infrastructure in Phases I and II of the Industrial Area.

Industrialist Gulab Jain said they had submitted representations to the authorities concerned on a number of occasions, but to no avail.

In the rainy season, it became difficult to drive on potholed roads, he said. Industrialists had been paying the Administration taxes, but it had failed to provide basis infrastructure here, he added.

Echoing similar views, Rakesh Mehta, another industrialist, claimed that the MC overlooked their problems as it was not a residential area. He said when they raised the issue of potholed and broken roads with senior officials, the authorities started patchwork for a few days, but later, left it incomplete.



API jinx stays put
Only 12 of the 33 members turn up

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Even as the lack of a specified academic performance index (API) continues to haunt Panjab University recruitment, professors and deans seem least interested in finalising it.

In what has become a regular feature now, only 12 of the 33 members turned up for the joint meeting to finalise the index, which was the key measure of teachers’ academic and research performance for recruitment and promotion.

The committee comprised senior faculty members and deans of various departments. While deans gave the previous meeting a miss, it was the turn of professors this time around.

“This an important issue, which needs to be dealt with soon . It affects recruitment and screening. The faculty created a hue and cry when the university decided to opt for the UGC-recommended API formula. When it is time to formulate our own formula, there is lack of interest,” said a member.

The members held committee conveners responsible for informing them late. “We get calls half or an hour before the meeting. We have lectures scheduled. The API is important. We wish to finalise it with clarity and discussion. We should be informed at least two days in advance,” said a dean.



Hope for the obese
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Nine bariatric surgeries, known as stomach reduction for reversing obesity, carried out by the PGI in the past five months, have shown encouraging results, with patients getting rid of lifestyle diseases like type-II diabetes and hypertension.

Though bariatric surgery has been available in the private health sector for long, the PGI started it five months ago in its general surgery department. The follow-up on the nine cases operated upon so far had shown that blood sugar levels of almost all patients was in control, with reduction in their weight.

According to Dr Rajesh Gupta, surgical gasteroenterologist with the PGI, obesity was not just a cosmetic problem, but a life-threatening one as many diseases like diabetes, sleep apnoea, hypertension, osteoarthritis, heart problems and high blood pressure were related to it.

“After the surgery, the patient starts losing weight gradually. Between three and six months, the loss is considerable,” he elaborated.

The size of the stomach was reduced to reduce and limit food intake, he said. There were three types of surgery and the one decided upon depended on individual problems, he added. The types of surgery were restrictive, malabsorptive and a combination of the two, he explained.



National Road Safety Week begins today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
With an aim to spread road safety awareness, the 23rd National Road Safety Week will begin tomorrow. UT Adviser KK Sharma will inaugurate the seven-day event at the Chandigarh Traffic Park in Sector 23 here.

The event will begin at the Sector-17 plaza, where an exhibition on road safety rules will be organised. The police will conduct awareness camps at colonies on all seven days.

A helmet rally for girl students will be organised on January 18. A panel discussion on road safety awareness will be aired live on 92.7 FM at 8.30 am, on All-India Radio at 2.30 pm and on 94.3 FM at 6.30 pm the same day.

On January 19, a workshop for auto-rickshaw drivers will be held at the PGI and the Inter-State Bus Termini at Sectors 17 and 43. A driving training workshop for school bus drivers will also be held the same day.

On January 20, a trauma response workshop by the PCR wing and the traffic police will be organised at the PHDCCI. Experts from the GMCH and the PGI will address the audience.

This will be followed by a workshop for rickshaw-pullers, where reflectors will be distributed. A workshop for CTU bus drivers will be held on January 21.

This will be followed by a conference on road safety at the Government College in Sector 46. A training workshop on road safety for taxi and truck drivers will be held on January 22.

The closing ceremony will be held at the Tagore Theatre the next day. The police will honour those persons who have adhered to traffic rules.



Campaigning picks up
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 16
Vice-president of the Youth Akali Dal, Mohali unit, today accompanied the SAD candidate, Balwant Singh Ramoowlia, during the door-to-door campaigning in the town. The Akali leader spoke about the development works undertaken by the SAD government during the last five years. Accompanied by Harbhajan Singh Mann, the SAD candidate promised the voters to turn Mohali in to an IT hub. Meanwhile, the Congress candidate, Balbir Singh Sidhu, intensified campaigning and took out a padyatra. He appealed to residents to support him. He said he would promote industry in the region to open up new avenues of employment. Sidhu also addressed number of corner meetings in Sohana, Kumbra, Dharamgarh and Kambala.



Right to Service Act for UT?
Admn mulls its introduction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
On the pattern of Punjab, the UT Administration is mulling the introduction of the Right to Service Act in Chandigarh to ensure timely delivery of various services to residents and penalise bureaucrats who deliberately go slow on the implementation of the Act.

Senior officials with the UT Administration held a meeting on this issue today. Sources said the Administration was going through the Acts of Punjab and Delhi.

It was mulling how many services could be brought under the Act. The Punjab government had promised the delivery of 67 citizen-centric services.

At present, senior officials with the Administration received a number of complaints on a daily basis from residents regarding delay in services.

The departments included the municipal corporation, the estate office, the Registration and Licensing Authority, the police, the education department, the food and civil supplies department and the Chandigarh Housing Board.

By implementing the Act in Chandigarh, the UT Administration was hoping to bring about positive changes by cutting red tape and corruption.



Power tariff hike petition
JERC invites residents’ objections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
On the proposed power tariff hike petition filed by the UT Administration, the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has invited objections from city residents.

On the UT Administration’s proposal, residents can submit their objections either online or by attending commission’s hearing on January 24 in Chandigarh.

The UT Administration has proposed a hike of 66.67 per cent for domestic consumers who consume less than 150 units. Residents in the category of up to 150 units pay Rs 2.10 per unit. The Administration has proposed Rs 3.50 per unit.

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 are paying Rs 3.80 per unit. Now they may have to pay Rs 5 per unit.



Chandigarh scan

Blood donated

At least 132 persons donated blood at a camp organised by the NSS unit of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, as part of Kapoor Singh memorial blood donation camp on Monday. The camp coincided with the platinum jubilee of the Sikh Education Society.

Anti-encroachment drive conducted

A special anti-encroachment drive was carried out by the enforcement wing of the municipal corporation at the Patel Market in Sector 15 on Monday. During the drive, material like readymade garments, shop counters and chairs lying on passages of the market were removed. Encroachers were issued 50 challans.

STA workshop

Chandigarh has 27 pollution-check centres, which issue pollution-under-control certificate to vehicle-users. To sensitise the pollution-check operators about the need to issue genuine certificates, the State Transport Authority (STA) organised a workshop at the community centre in Phase I of Industrial Area on Monday. The STA Secretary advised owners of the centres to keep the equipment in serviceable conditions and adhere to the latest norms for issuing certificates. He advised the participants to get their equipment calibrated at regular intervals.

Soft skills

The University Institute of Fashion Technology and Vocational Development organised a communication and presentation skills workshop for final-year MSc students on the Panjab University campus on Monday. The workshop was organised to polish their soft skills so that they could have an edge over competitors.

PU alumni meet

Panjab University (PU) will organise the second alumni meet on the campus on January 27. The one-day function, to be held at the main university auditorium, will include both felicitations and entertainment. Those who have obtained their doctorate, postgraduation or graduation degrees or have passed a lower examination prior to 1975 will be felicitated. — Tribune reporters



More action near Aroma
PCR Gypsy hit by car, driver arrested

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
In yet another incident, a PCR Gypsy stationed at the Aroma traffic light point was hit by a speeding Lancer car past night. The police arrested the driver of the car, who was reportedly driving in an inebriated state.

The police said the driver of the car, Jaspreet Singh, tried to flee, but was nabbed. The other occupants of the car were identified as Amarjeet Singh, Amarjoot Singh, Gurpreet and Manpreet Singh.

The incident occurred when the traffic policemen stationed at the traffic light point signalled the car driver to stop. As the PCR Gypsy tried stop the car, Jaspreet hit the Gypsy. He was nabbed after covering some distance. The medical examination of Jaspreet confirmed the heavy presence of alcohol in his body. A case under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act was registered against him. He was also booked for negligent driving and his car impounded.

The incident occurred two days after the murder of Harminder Singh, who was bludgeoned to death by eight youths following a drunken brawl, at the same traffic light point. The police had arrested seven accused while Sukhjit Singh Sooch was still absconding.



Western Command shooters hit bull’s eye

Chandigarh, January 16
The Western Command brought laurels after winning the National Shooting Championship for the third consecutive time. The 6th National Combat Forces Shooting Championship (NCFSC) was held at the Infantry School, Mahow (MP) Dec last year.

About 600 sharp shooters from 9 teams participated in the competition. The command team was awarded with overall championship after securing the highest aggregate points winning the 88th Carnatic Infantry Memorial Gold Cup and the prestigious NCFSC Banner. The team also won three out of five matches and was awarded with Chaudhury Trophy, Cariappa Trophy and the Rootes Group Cup. Lt Gen SR Ghosh, GOC Western Command, will honour the medal winners tomorrow in a ceremony at Military Station Chandimandir. — TNS



Cold wave to subside
Weather to be clear in 24 hrs

Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Residents are likely to get relief from the severe cold wave conditions prevailing in the tricity as the weather office has predicted the weather to become clear in the next 24 hours.

The met department has predicted a partly cloudy sky, with the possibility of thunder or light rain.

The maximum temperature on Tuesday will be around 17 degree Celsius and the minimum on Wednesday around 7 degree Celsius.

The maximum temperature on Monday was 17 degree Celsius, four degrees below normal. The minimum temperature rose to 11.2 degree Celsius, five degrees above normal.

The maximum relative humidity was recorded at 70 per cent while the minimum at 49 per cent. Surinder Paul, director with the meteorological department, said the sky would remain cloudy in the morning and would be clear later.

He said rain in the region would reduce with the improvement in the Western disturbances and the weather would be clear after 24 hours.



F&CC elections on January 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Elections to the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) will be held during the first General House of the municipal corporation, scheduled for January 23. The last date for filing nomination papers is January 19.

A notification to this effect was issued by the MC today. As per the MC Act, there were seven members in the F&CC, of which five were elected, with the Mayor and the MC Commissioner its ex-officio members.

Sources in the Congress revealed that a final decision on the names of the members of the committee would be taken by local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal in the next two days.

Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee chief BB Bahl had a meeting with elected councillors on this issue today. The members also discussed the constitution of sub-committees.



Jiti Sodhi cremated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Jiti Sodhi (89) of Sector 8, who died past night, was cremated at the electric crematorium in Sector 26 here today.

She is survived by Mahijit Singh Sodhi, her husband for 66 years, and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The ‘bhog’ would be held at their residence on Saturday.

She was a social figure and had lived here since the 1950s.

Along with JG Jolly and Kanta Saroop Krishen, she had been involved with the Blood Bank Society since its inception.



Girl run over by train
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 16
A 19-year-old girl was run over by a train at Sector 19 here today.

The deceased, identified as Akanksha, a resident of Baltana, was studying in Longowal Institute in Sangrur. She was on phone when the accident occurred. The Government Railway Police has sent the body for postmortem after registering a case.



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