C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


School buses fail to turn up
Strike by operators inconveniences hundreds of students, parents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 19
Hapless parents were forced to return home along with their wards when school buses failed to turn up at the identified stops this morning. The bus operators announced a strike late last night and a majority of parents were caught unawares.

Classroom attendance fell to less than 50 per cent in a majority of schools. Only a handful of parents used personal vehicles to drop their wards to school.

It was late last evening when the bus operators’ association, protesting against the alleged high-handedness of the district police, decided to go on a strike. It is protesting against the challaning spree launched by the local police following a road accident near Saha in Ambala in which 13 schoolchildren were killed on January 2.

The strike put hundreds of students and parents to inconvenience as they kept waiting for the buses in the chilly morning hours. “I waited for the bus at the daily stop for nearly an hour. I was forced to return home when the bus did not turn up,” said Rahul of class IX at Sector 20. Three other students who were waiting for another bus at the same bus stop also had to go back.

A majority of buses which come from Chandigarh also did not turn up. “The strike forced many students to stay back at home and the presence in many classes was only up to 50 per cent,” said Krit Serai, principal of Sutlej Public School, Sector 4. Anjali Marriya, principal of Chaman Lal DAV High School, Sector 11, also said the attendance was thin today.

The president of the bus operators’ association, Sanjay Kapoor, said they had decided to call off the strike as the district administration had agreed to consider their demands. It had been agreed upon that the police would not stop school buses for checking during school hours, he said. Instead, they would be checked when they are parked at their parking place or the bus operator would present his bus before the authorities whenever asked for it, he said.

“We have assured the authorities that the guidelines of the High Court will be complied with,” he added.



asi paper leak scam
Two constables turn hostile, dismissed
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The UT police has taken stern action against two constables who had turned hostile in court in the infamous ASI paper leak scam of 2008. Senior police officials have dismissed the two constables who were key witnesses in the scam, but failed to support their statements before the court and deposed against the department, thus weakening the police case.

Police sources said constables Jai Bhagwan and Ashok Kumar had been dismissed as they failed to identify the two prime accused in the recruitment scam, Joginder Dahiya and Sanjay Rana, before the court.

The constables were prime witnesses in the scam, but turned hostile in the court of the District and Sessions Judge in January 2010. When the statements of the constables were recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC at the time of the scam, they had told the Magistrate that the accused had offered them question papers in return for huge sums of money. However, during trial, they took a U-turn and told the court that they could not recognise the accused.

As per the police case, Sanjay Rana had not only provided question papers to the candidates, but also transported them to their examination centres. The candidates had allegedly paid Rs 10-15 lakh each to Joginder Dahiya. Rana, who is considered a confidant of Dahiya, is the prime accused in the case.

The constables had earlier told the police that a few of the candidates who appeared for the recruitment test solved the question paper on the night of January 26 at a school in Ateli village of Mahendragarh district, Haryana. The written examination was conducted on the morning of January 27 in Chandigarh. The accused were arrested five months after the scam came to light when the Delhi Police arrested Sanjay Rana. The case is presently undertrial.

The recruitment of constables has been hanging fire ever since. Even as the paper was conducted again, anomalies were detected in the physical examination tests and the entire recruitment was stayed yet again pending CBI clearance.

In addition, a recent departmental inquiry has found constables Sunil Kumar, Amardeep and Shamsher guilty of their alleged role in the scam. The three are already under suspension.



UT estate office ‘misplaces’ property records
Adversely impacts MC’s tax collection
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) continues to grope in the dark with regard to the realisation of property tax from over 50 per cent defaulters among 1,848 tax payees as the estate office has “misplaced” or “lost” the relevant records.

The property of a majority of tax defaulters came under the purview of the estate office, but they were required to deposit property tax with the MC. The MC has a list of defaulters in its possession, but does not have addresses and other relevant records of the properties. As a result, there are a number of property owners who have not deposited commercial property tax since 2004, when it was introduced in the city.

MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach said the MC was regularly communicating with the estate office for seeking details of the property of defaulters, but it had failed to supply the records to date.

In the wake of the missing records, there has been a negligible increase in the collection of property tax in the last three years. The area under the jurisdiction of the MC has increased manifold during the period under study. In the current financial year (2011-2012), the collection target was Rs 19 crore, but the department could manage only Rs 14.02 crore till December. During the last financial year, the MC had managed to collect Rs 14.42 crore. In 2009, the tax collection was about the same. A senior official said as per a provision under the Commercial Property Tax Act, if any property was rented out by the owner, the authorities could attach the rent to recover the pending tax amount and it would come in the kitty of the MC.

As per another clause, if the owner is using the property, the MC could attach the movable and later immovable property to collect the pending tax. Expressing helplessness, the official said it was a setback to the authorities as they could not take stringent action against the defaulters.


No Padma awardee for UT yet again
Admn finds none ‘worthy’ of recommendation to Centre
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
For third year in succession, the UT Administration 4has failed to find a ‘worthy’ contender for recommendation for the Padma awards, the country’s civilian honour. The city has a population of more than 11 lakh, comprising a galaxy of eminent scientists, educationists, artists, theatre veterans and social workers.

The Administration has received at least 15 applications from residents, requesting recommendation on basis of their eminence, but it has not found even one worth forwarding to the Centre for consideration.

Requesting anonymity, a senior official said, “We did not find any name on the list worthy of a recommendation for the country’s top civilian awards.”

UT Home Secretary Anil Kumar has said, “We have sent two names from the Chandigarh Police for consideration for President’s Medal, but none for Padma awards.” Past year, it had to face embarrassment as prominent theatre artiste Neelam Mansingh bagged the Padma Shri. Though the Administration had failed to see her as a worthy contender, her name was reportedly recommended from Delhi.

The Administration last forwarded names in 2009. It it recommended the names of Dr Raj Bahadur, director-principal of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and Dr Ranbir Chander Sobti, Panjab University Vice-Chancellor. Professor Sobti was chosen for the Padma Shri.

It was the usual practice for the Padma Committee to invite recommendations from states and union territories. Those were then assessed and the names shortlisted sent to the PMO. The awards were given by the President on January 26.

The Administration had shortlisted names for the state awards, to be given by the UT Administrator on Republic Day.

“The names have been shortlisted. The list will be sent to the Administrator for his nod shortly,” said an official with the Administration.



siblings murder
Thought of entering house haunts me: Mother
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
It has been a month since her teenaged children were murdered at their residence in Sector 41, but the thought of living in the same house haunts her. Malti Devi, their aggrieved mother, is presently residing at her brother’s house in Sector 15 and feels traumatised at the thought of entering the house.

She says her world has come to an end. She drives solace from the fact that Rahul, the accused, has been caught and will be punished, but the trauma of losing her children has been unbearable for her.

“I am satisfied with the police investigation. It worked hard to crack the case. My children will not return. We have got the house whitewashed and held a ‘havan’ there,” Malti said.

“But it will be difficult for me to stay in that house where the echo of my children’s giggles will haunt me,” she added while talking to Chandigarh Tribune.

“Whenever I enter the house, I look for Gaurang, who used to be always sitting on the couch watching television. My daughter used to play prank and hide behind the door, my entire world has come to an end now,” she said.

“I initially found it difficult to believe that Rahul could stab my son, who was a football player. I will wish for a death penalty for the accused, he has no right to live,” she said.

Meanwhile, the accused, Rahul, who is in custody of the crime branch, was interrogated today. Sources said he was frequently changing his statements. The police has ruled out the involvement of any other person in the crime and would be sending the blood, DNA and hair samples of the accused to the CFSL for matching them with those recovered from the crime scene.

Sixteen-year-old Kavita Sahu and her brother 15-year-old Gaurang Sahu were brutally murdered at their Sector 41 residence on December 16. The police has arrested Rahul, who is a drug-addict, and wanted to develop physical relations with Kavita. He killed the two after she objected to her advances and her brother confronted him.



assembly poll
Police on tenterhooks
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 19
Not used to aggressive checking of vehicles, especially government vehicles, the Election Commission’s orders to frisk all vehicles have put Mohali policemen on their tenterhooks. Not wanting to be caught napping during a surprise check, policemen can these days be seen on roads frisking vehicles.

The seizure of unaccounted cash and seizure of liquor, especially from government vehicles, is learnt to have made the Election Commission officials believe that the police needs to deal with violators sternly. Now, all vehicles with red and blue beacons atop are specially being checked.

Sources said a report of the senior officials of the Election Commission planning to conduct a mock drill by trying to smuggle in cash or liquor has twice seen all officials on road checking vehicles. A senior official confided that despite objections by senior officials travelling in official cars, the checking was being done. Everyday, cash and liquor were being recovered.

To make the matter tougher for policemen, the Election Observer (police) has been regularly checking various police nakas at odd hours.

Till a few days ago, the policemen ruled the roost, but with the elections round the corner, they have come under the commission and find them helpless in disobeying the orders.



Candidates leave no stone unturned
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 19
In the run up to the Assembly elections on January 30, candidates today entered the second phase of the door-to-door campaigning in Mohali. The candidates, along with their entourage, today held meetings at various markets and wen door to door in residential areas.

The SAD candidate, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, brought along NK Sharma, the SAD candidate from Dera Bassi and sitting Banur MLA and Jasjit Singh Bunny to campaign for him.

The leaders went from Phase V market to Phase III-B1 rehri market. Every effort was being made to handover pamphlets to shopkeepers and visitors to the markets.

On the other hand, the Congress candidate, Balbir Singh Sidhu, today took out a padyatra in the residential and commercial areas. Taking a dig at the SAD candidate, Sidhu said he had been serving the constituency for the past more than 20 years.

As the Congress and SAD candidates campaigned in urban areas, the PPP candidate, Bir Devinder, went to rural areas. Addressing nukkad meetings in Duan, Balolpur, Jhujjar Nagar and other villages, he said he believed in reaching out to masses.

Bir Devinder Singh while commenting on other candidates said, “The aim of of Sidhu is to be an MLA and earn money as he is a businessman and he takes politics as a business than service. On the other hand, SAD candidate Ramoowalia is like a Siberian bird who would never visit the region after elections, he added.

Trying to take on the might of prominent candidates, the BSP candidate, Manav Mehra, while addressing a gathering at Jujhar Nagar said, “Both Congress and Akali leaders have always neglected rural areas near Mohali. The colonies and villages surrounding SAS Nagar are in a pitiable condition. All leaders have only beautified urban areas while rural areas are in a bad shape.”

He also addressed meetings at Udham Singh Colony, Phase VIII B, Industrial Area, Mohali, Mohali (village), Phase I, Barh Majra and Jujhar Nagar.



Criminal tracking project hits roadblock
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), a Central government project for connecting all police stations and supervisory offices across the country for sharing crime and criminal information while automating the functions at the police stations, has hit a roadblock in the city.

Sources said the year-long exercise had hit a roadblock as the firm, which was shortlisted for the project, had withdrawn from the project. Sources added that the firm was demanding much higher amount against the figure calculated by the UT administration.

A senior official of the UT administration said the firm was demanding more than Rs 12 crore but the consultant hired by the UT administration had estimated the project cost around Rs 4 crore to Rs 6 crore.

The official added that as the firm was demanding more money, the administration was not ready to pay this much amount and finally the firm withdrew from the project. He added that he UT administration would soon float new tenders.

With the implementation of the CCTNS project, the record of all types of criminals would be available only with a click of a button.

The system would bring about a revolutionary change in the working of the Chandigarh police and also increase its credibility in the eyes of the public.

A senior UT police official said the CCTNS would help investigate, detect and also prevent crimes. There would be a citizen’s portal too, which would provide information on crimes and criminals to the citizens.

He added that it would also help passport and immigration offices verify the records of applicants.



Workshops for auto, bus drivers
Tribune News Service

A policeman apprises auto drivers of traffic rules at Sector 12 in Chandigarh on Thursday
A policeman apprises auto drivers of traffic rules at Sector 12 in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, January 19
As part of the 23rd National Road Safety Week, the Chandigarh Traffic Police today organised workshops for auto-rickshaw drivers in front of the PGI at Sector 12 and the ISBTs at Sectors 17 and 43.

More than 550 auto-rickshaw drivers participated in the workshops. They were apprised of the significance of following road safety measures. Thousands of road safety pamphlets were distributed.

The Chandigarh Traffic Police also organised a workshop for school bus drivers and teachers at the Sector-23 traffic park. More than 300 drivers and teachers participated in it.

Literatures on road safety was distributed. The participants were given tips on road safety. A film on road safety was also shown to them.



Residents protest police ‘inaction’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Protesting against police inaction in the case involving the alleged abduction of a 16-year-old girl, over 50 residents of Mani Majra today gheraoed the police station and raised anti-police slogans.

Krishan Kumar, father of the girl, said it had been over a month since his daughter, a class-X student of the Jatindera School, has been abducted. He alleged that the police had taken no action to arrest the kidnapper despite identification.

He claimed that Sonu, a resident of Mauli Jagran, had abducted his daughter.

He added that the police had failed to trace his daughter despite raids at their hideouts in Kalka.



world heritage city status
Admn wakes up to pilferage, sale of the invaluable
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Chandigarh has finally decided to save its heritage. UT’s senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal today told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that artifacts or heritage furniture would not be sold.

He said instructions in this regard had been issued to all departments in Chandigarh. The assertion came on a petition filed in public interest by lawyer Ajay Jagga on the issue of world heritage city status for Chandigarh.

His counsel Alok Jagga argued that the pilferage of heritage items was endless and the UT was not serious on the issue. He said heritage items were being pilfered in the absence of guidelines on maintaining an inventory.

Kaushal also told the court that the issue of framing guidelines for the preservation of heritage items was being seriously deliberated upon and details would be placed on the court record. The case would now come up on February 2.Jagga had sought directions to the Administration to pursue an application dated October 23, 2006, filed with UNESCO, and prepare and submit requisite information demanded by the body in compliance with “operational guidelines for implementation of the World Heritage Convention”, required for conferring the status.

His counsel had already submitted that the Chandigarh Administration be asked to preserve heritage property of Chandigarh in terms of original form and design material.

An inventory of antique furniture, artifacts, tapestry and other material collected by the Administration from various heritage buildings be prepared and steps be initiated for their preservation, he had demanded.

“During the pendency of the petition, all repairs in Le Corbusier’s creations be taken up, keeping in view the mandatory undertaking of UNESCO, which will help in getting the world heritage city status, enhance international tourism and ensure the protection of these creations for all times to come,” the petition read.



submission of expenditure plans
Admn to take 2 weeks more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The UT Administration will take at least two more weeks to submit proposed expenditure plans to the Centre for the 2012-16 Five-Year Plan. Budget plans for the next five years, submitted by various departments, were discussed during a review meeting here yesterday. Sources revealed that the plans were yet to be finalised.

This was the first time the Administration was sending proposed expenditure plans for the Five-Year Plan. A senior official with the UT Administration said they have received the budget plans of almost all departments.

He added that they would finalise the plans in a week and submit those to the UT Administrator’s office, after which the plans would be forwarded to the Centre.

The sources added that the delay had been caused by the lacklustre attitude of various departments in submitting plans. The Centre would prepare its Five-Year Plan after receiving expenditure plans from all states and union territories.



CTU officials inspect ISBT-43
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) officials today visited the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Sector 43 here to check facilities there. Sanitation was their prime concern. CTU manager SP Parmar paid a visit with other officials to check cleanliness.

The contract for sanitation at the terminus expired around a year back. Since then, a handful of employees hired by the transport department had been looking after sanitation.

In the absence of adequate staff, there were heaps of debris and garbage on the platform used by passengers.

Official sources said the department would increasing the strength of employees looking after sanitation shortly.



Packaged drinking water unit sealed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 19
The Panchkula drug control department has sealed a unit of packaged drinking water for flouting norms here today. The factory was being run without any valid licence, said Pooja Chaudhary, Panchkula Drug Control Officer.

“Such units require a licence under the Bureau of Indian Standard norms,” she said.

A unit at Industrial Area in Phase II was, however, found manufacturing packaged drinking water without obtaining any such licence, she said.



spurt in crime
BJP-SAD councillors meet IGP

Chandigarh, January 19
A delegation of BJP-SAD councillors, led by BJP local unit president Sanjay Tandon, met IGP PK Srivatsava today and expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the city.

Tandon and other councillors said cases of snatching, murder, dacoity and extortion were rising in the city and residents had been feeling unsafe.

The councillors brought to his notice the problems regarding law and order in their wards and sought an increase in police patrol in inner localities of residential and commercial areas. — TNS



5 councillors file papers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Five nominations papers were filed for elections to the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) of the municipal corporation today. Pardeep Chhabra and Subhash Chawla filed their papers from the Congress.

Harjinder Kaur and Rajesh Kumar Bittu filed their papers from the BJP-SAD combine. Nominated councillor Satpal Bansal also filed his papers.

BSP backs Cong nominees

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has decided to support Congress candidates.





100 challans issued

The enforcement wing of the MC removes encroachments from Krishna market, Sector 41, Chandigarh, on Thursday
The enforcement wing of the MC removes encroachments from Krishna market, Sector 41, Chandigarh, on Thursday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

The Municipal Corporation issued 100 challans for encroaching government land on Thursday during a special encroachment drive carried out in Krishna Market and other parts of Sector 41. During the drive, material like readymade garments, shop counters and chairs lying in the passages of the market and rehris were removed. Five trucks were loaded with the seized material. The drive was carried out on the orders of Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach, and under the supervision of enforcement inspector Kashmira Singh along with five sub-inspectors and supporting staff of the enforcement wing of MC.

Inspection by Mayor

Raj Bala Malik, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, on Thursday, carried out an inspection along with RC Diwan, superintending engineer (public health), and executive engineers. She inspected the ongoing construction works of two UGRs, at Sectors 28 and 29, which are being constructed for storage and supply of tertiary treated water to various parts of the city.

National seminar

A one-day national seminar on ‘Representation of Woman and Dalit: Perspective of Sikhism’ opened with an overwhelming response on the PU Campus here on Thursday. The seminar was organised by the Department Of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies, Panjab University, in collaboration with the Punjabi Academy, Delhi. Professor Jaspal Kaur Kaang, chairperson, Department of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies while welcoming the participants said that today there was a need to hold on to the Sikh traditions of langar, pangat and sangat and stop chasing material pursuits. She stated that gurbani should not only be read but should be practiced in real life. She further emphasised the need for more such seminars and discussions to awaken the masses and to bring them back to the values enshrined in gurbani. Professor RC Sobti, Vice Chancellor, questioned the technology driven development process at the cost of human values and relations and expressed his anguish over the general concern with the self in today’s world.

Help for war widows

In a unique display of benevolence, the Atharva Group of Industries - a Mumbai based business group has given financial assistance to war widows and other widows of ex-servicemen from Chandigarh on Wednesday.

Inter-college quiz

With an emphasis on Nuclear safety and clean energy options, an inter-college quiz contest was organised at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, by the college physics department, a press note issued here said today. The function was organised in collaboration with the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT).

Cleanliness drive

The Municipal Corporation organised awareness campaigns-cum-cleanliness drives in Maloya and Maloya Colony on Thursday. The campaign was in addition to the regular sanitation drive. Eight additional safaikaramcharies in Maloya village and 20 in Maloya colony under the close supervision of the senior inspectorate staff carried out the drive to maintain cleanliness in the villages.— TNS



Evaluation process gives CBSE schools a headache
Cumbersome work harries teachers, principals
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Central Board Of Secondary Education’s bid to collect Class X data electronically has left the city schools fuming. Required to fill-in over a hundred columns per child to record his/her performance, as per the board’s Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), teachers and principals are now a harried lot.

“The new system has reduced us to glorified clerks who are supposed to sit down fill hundreds of columns per child. And many times when we try to upload the data, the software does not accept it, and everything gets erased. The evaluation has simplified work for students, but increased it for teachers,” said an official of Independent School Association (ISA).

The system was introduced last year when CBSE made class X board examinations optional. Students now have a choice to sit for board-conducted exam or school exam. However, the certificate they receive from the board will be the same. Therefore, schools are required to submit assessment details for students.

The software built especially for this has separate columns to grade students for their academic achievements, co-curricular activities, sports and even areas like discipline and life-skills. Though being deemed a landmark, it has failed to impress schools, which found it cumbersome and ended up sending half-filled sheets to the board. This caused which delay in board results.

The worst hit were city’s government schools which messed-up on submission and had to repeat the exercise. “The software is too complicated and we don’t have very trained teachers. Only the class in-charge can be expected to upload right information, and they are not too tech savvy. Computer teachers may end up making a mistake in grades, which can cost students dear. The board should simplify it,” said the principal of a local government school.



‘Econo meal’ gets thumbs up at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Out to delight thousands of campus students, Panjab University Vice Chancellor RC Sobti has decided to introduce a special pocket friendly ‘econo meal’ at the Student Centre. Probably inspired by the Indian Railways concept of Janta University has introduced this meal priced at rupees 20 where student will have an option between karhi chawal and daal roti.

“While on one hand, the Student Centre shops were forced to increase prices, it perturbed the students. This will strike a balance between the two where students looking for cheap yet good food will now have an option. Sobti sir came to the Student Centre and after talking to the food shop owners decided on this,” revealed AS Ahluwalia, dean, Student Welfare The econo meal has got thumbs up from the student community.

“The Students’ Council had been in constant negotiations with the VC and has worked this out with him. It is a huge respite for students who are not so well off,” said Student Council president Pushpinder Sharma.

The NSUI meanwhile claimed this as result of their exhaustive struggle.



Effort towards saving a life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Social organisation Sankalp, started by the students of DAV College, have provided financial assistance of Rs 60, 000 to one-year-old Jatin, a cardiac patient, admitted at the PGI. A team of students today handed over the cheque to PGIMER for the treatment of Jatin.

Sankalp is a student-run association of the college formed to help critically ill children, who cannot afford treatment for their ailments. “There are innumerable children in India who die simply because of being deprived of apt medical treatment due to lack of finances. Sankalp renders them this help, with a hope to secure their childhood”, said Mrigya Samyal, vice-president, Sankalp.

Mrigya further said that Sankalp had direct channels of donation with the PGI to ensure proper utilisation of funds and keep a check on fraudulence.

Harpriya Kaur and few other students of the college started Sankalp in 2006, it gained popularity with time and now has a large number of students associated to the club.

The students held mega charity shows, nukkad nataks, rock performances and went across the tricity to raisee funds for the child battling for his life.

Mrigya said that the donations from students and the faculty of the college pours across the year that helps them take such initiatives. “Donations poured in as the interest and awareness grew. Meanwhile, the founder members of the organisation also keep donating the money for the social cause”,

Sankalp is also associated with orphange Snehalaya and conduct many events such as donation day.



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