C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No limit to deputation
110 policemen from Punjab, Haryana are overstaying in Chandigarh, some for over 35 years
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
It is not only the education department where a number of teachers from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana have overstayed their deputation period of five years. Police personnel from the two states also continue to be on deputation to the UT police for between 30 and 35 years.

Ignoring all norms and overstaying the stipulated period, as many as 110 police personnel from Punjab and Haryana have overstayed the five-year deputation period. Around 40 policemen are on deputation here for more than 35 years.

But interestingly, in the reply to a query about overstaying under the RTI Act, the UT police has only provided information regarding constables and head constables and not provided information about inspector and DSPs.

According to rules, which clearly say “the initial period of deputation may be extended up to five years by the administrative department concerned and in a rare case of special nature, if exigencies so require in public interest, such a period may be extended beyond five years”. But the list has names of several employees who have been working here for the past more than 35 years.

The rules mention that those who have served for a minimum period of five years in their parent cadre can be sent on deputation. However, there are number of policemen who have come on deputation to Chandigarh without spending five years in their parent cadre.

The rules also state that no employee can be sent on deputation when the probation of the employee has not been cleared by the parent state.

However, there are cases of policemen working on deputation without probation having being cleared by their parent cadre.

Recently, the Central Vigilance Commission had marked an inquiry to the Chief Vigilance Officer, Chandigarh, on the issue of the overstaying of employees on deputation to various departments of the UT Administration.



CTU to withdraw 60 ordinary buses from long routes
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Chandigarh Administration does not seem keen on running buses of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) on long routes.

After withdrawing 20 heating-ventilation and air-conditioned (HVAC) buses from long routes, the CTU is now withdrawing 60 ordinary buses from long routes, citing low occupancy.

The Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and the local MP, Pawan Kumar Bansal, said though the top priority of the CTU should be a well-organised and efficient local mass transport system, the agreement with neighbouring states on long-route buses should not be ignored.

Buses would be plied on short distances, to towns like Ambala, Baddi and Kalka, besides other short routes. The CTU had been running the HVAC buses on short routes.

UT Advisory Committee member Devi Dyal said, “Buses are being withdrawn to please influential private operators who have interest in plying buses from Chandigarh on long routes.”

He added, “The Punjab Roadways and the Haryana Roadways have started new luxury buses to their fleets and plying those on high-occupancy routes. Plying buses on long routes is in the interest of the CTU.”

Sources said low occupancy was being quoted as the reason for withdrawing buses.

“This is not just depriving residents of comfortable travel, but also resulting in losses to the CTU. There is a high demand for CTU buses, but officials are not aware of it,” said Arjinder Singh, who preferred to travel to Delhi by a CTU bus.



Brangelina to go in for big, fat wedding near Chandigarh
TNS and Agencies

Chandigarh/Los Angeles, march 31
It is official. After several months of silence and speculation, the madly in love couple Brangelina has finally decided to be man and wife.

Following in the footsteps of Russell Brand and Katy Perry, the Hollywood’s most-viewed and often-clicked duo has decided to skip their traditional ‘white wedding’ and go in for a Hindu-style marriage ceremony.

But it will not be the quaint Kerala backwaters, the dainty Goa beaches or a royal Rajasthan palace when it comes to the venue for the dream wedding. The vows will be exchanged at a fort a few miles from Chandigarh on April 15.

“It is finally happening. Angelina Jolie seems to be quite eager to tie the knot. She is finally ready to be Mrs Brad Pitt and is getting excited about it,” said a confidante of the couple from the Beverly Hills over telephone.

“Angie and Brad have given in to the demand of their brood that wants a legal stamp on their relationship,” she added.

Although Angie reportedly wanted the wedding at their $60-million French chateau, Brad had Springfield, Missouri, his hometown, on mind. But after they had a word with their spiritual guru, the couple zeroed in on India, and finally Chandigarh.

The secret preparations had been going on now on for some six months and top wedding planners had been hired for the job. Brad flew in on a chartered aeroplane to personally overlook the arrangements on March 1.

Since Hollywood director Kathryn Bigelow was then shooting for her film in the city, his visit was linked to the project. The elaborate ceremony would have all paraphernalia -- elephants, horses, flower decorations, traditional Indian and Western food and Bollywood music.

Needless to say, almost the entire Hollywood glitterati would descend on Chandigarh to party. John Travolta would fly down in his private jet with his daughter Ella.

Tom Cruise and Katie Homes, Brangelina’s friends, would come in their chartered aeroplane as well. Jennifer Aniston, Brad’s ex-wife, would be the special guest.

Among Bollywood celebrities, the Bachchans, Shah Rukh Khan and the Roshans had confirmed their presence for the mega-event.

However, the eagerly awaited extravaganza had thrown the government into a tizzy. The first major concern was security of the celebrities.

The civil aviation authorities had been flooded with requests to allow permission for the landing of so many aircraft in Chandigarh. “We have been inundated with requests for private aeroplanes to land. We may have to use the makeshift Army runway,” says an official, requesting anonymity.

“Last March, when a Pakistan air force flight landed with its Prime Minister, we thought that we had had the most strenuous day of our lives. But now, with so many Hollywood celebrities flying in, we will be literally on our toes for the next fortnight,” he added.

But there were others who could not thank their stars. Chandu Lal, a sweetmeat-maker at Mani Majra, had got a big order for ‘jalebis’, to be delivered at the venue.

“Two foreigners came to my shop a few weeks ago. They tasted my stuff and returned after some days to place a massive order. I have got all the money in advance. I may get to see the wedding,” he gushed.

The biggest secret was the couple’s trousseau. While the names of Vera Wang and JJ Valaya were doing the rounds, no official announcement had been made so far.

Fairytale wedding? Definitely not on the first day of April. Brangelina will walk the aisle, but not some time soon. Happy Fools’ Day folks! Let us celebrate the spirit.



pu senate meeting
Semester system at undergraduate level put on hold
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Witnessing strong opposition to the Panjab University (PU) decision to introduce the semester system at the undergraduate level in all 188 affiliated colleges from 2013, the Senate today decided to put the PU order on hold till the university and colleges are ready for it.

Responding to the agenda item for the semester system, a majority in the House was of the view that the examination system would collapse if the PU decided to go ahead with its plan.

The PU had decided to act on the suggestions of the four-member committee, which recommended the introduction of the semester system in a phased manner for better implementation and its extension to postgraduate courses after examining the hitches involved.

Although the University Grants Commission (UGC) had always been in favour of the semester system at colleges, the PU decided that feedback from teachers, college authorities, the examination branch and students would be taken before implementation.

Senate members said the letter sent to colleges for the implementation of the semester system should be immediately withdrawn and further modalities should be worked out. Members suggested that the PU recommend internal evaluation at colleges to shift to the semester system. The university decided to add more members to the committee to look into the issue.

“The recommendations have been accepted. The committee will be extended with the addition of more members to discuss the issue further and design a mechanism for effective implementation of the system,” said Dr Dalip Kumar, a Fellow and committee member.

With the fresh decision, the introduction of the semester system at colleges would be delayed by at least two years and would be introduced after a final nod by the Senate.



burail wall
HC tells CHB to complete work in four months
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A brick wall will now separate Burail from Sector 45-A.

Acting on a petition filed in public interest, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Chandigarh Housing Board “to initiate and complete the necessary steps” for the construction of wall within four months.

The directions came on a petition filed by the Residents Welfare Federation, Sector 45-A. In its PIL against the Chandigarh Administration and other

respondents, the association had sought a direction for construction of the brick wall “as per the layout plan issued by the respondent Chandigarh Housing Board vide a drawing”.

The counsel for the petitioner, Ashok Sharma Nabhewala, had contended that the wall was to constructed for dividing Burail and Sector 45-A.

As the case came up for hearing, the Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover observed: “We had requested Sanjay Kaushal, standing counsel appearing for Chandigarh Administration, to ascertain as to whether the Chandigarh Housing Board was responsible for erecting/constructing the brick wall and if so, what would be the stand of the Board.

“Kaushal, after interacting with the authority concerned, informed the court that as per the approved drawing there was a provision for a brick wall and if the same was not in existence, the Housing Board would do the needful in this regard”.

The Bench added: “Evidently, the wall is not in existence as the petitioner has laid the material before the court to show that the construction of the said wall has not been undertaken.

“If that be so, the Housing Board will be duty bound to construct the wall. We accordingly, direct the board to so act and initiate and complete the necessary steps in this regard within a period of four months from today”.

Nabhewala had earlier contended the brick wall was necessary “to protect the public/ residents at large from the daily traffic jams and further provide them security by the partition by raising the construction”.

Giving reasons for filing the PIL, he had added: The authorities kept silent and did not pay any attention to the genuine needs of the public at large”.


Passengers at the Chandigarh Railway Station
Passengers at the Chandigarh Railway Station.
Birds have found shelter at the station
Birds have found shelter at the station. Tribune photos: S Chandan

Railways should deliver on its promises, say residents of tricity
In the fourth and concluding part of the series, Chandigarh Tribune seeks the suggestions of residents to improve the condition of the Chandigarh Railway Station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Although, the Railway authorities have introduced a new weekly train to Mumbai, residents across the tricity, hailing from Southern India, feel that the city needs to have a better connectivity with the important cities in South. The residents said in order to promote tourism in the city, the authorities needed to introduce new trains, besides providing world-class facilities at the station.




Haryana roadways short of staff
Commuters face inconvenience as buses remain off road
Sanjay Bumbroo

Tribune News Service
Staff crunch in Haryana roadways have left the residents at the receiving-end with around 20 buses remaining off-road in the absence of drivers and conductors. Interestingly, the routes witnessing huge rush have been closed following the shortage of staff leading to inconvenience to daily passengers.

According to information, the Haryana Roadways was having a fleet of 36 buses plying from various parts of the town to neighboring Chandigarh but due to the staff crunch the local authorities were forced to withdraw buses from various routes.

About eight buses (route No 90) were plying from Ramgarh village to Chandigarh’s ISBT, Sector 17, but now only four buses were plying in the route.

Similarly, two out of four buses were plying on the route No 85-Sector 20 to Sector 17. The bus services from the Sector 5 ISBT to Sector 17 ISBT-route No 83 and 84-have been stopped causing inconvenience to the city residents especially the students who study in various educational or professional institutions in Chandigarh.

Sources said that the Haryana Roadways was facing shortage of drivers and conductors in the city. Even though there a few buses were available but due to staff crunch had made these non-functional.

There was also shortage of staff at the bus terminal as out of the total 8 only three members were available as they had been promoted to the post of conductors. There was one inspector and one standby conductor at the terminal. Confirming the same ISBT, Sector 5, in-charge, Satbir Singh Dhankad, said that they have already apprised the higher authorities in this regard and were hoping to receive some of the staff by April end as the state government was going to recruit more staff on April 2. After one-month training, the newly recruited drivers and conductors would be posted at various stations, he added.

The BJP leader Sanjay Ahuja said that the authorities had been assuring the city residents by incorporating new buses and appointing staff for the past more than ten years.

He added that the government should think of initiating steps to introduce new buses seriously in the city as large number of employees and students visit the neighbouring city daily.



Security cover outside religious sites

Mohali, March 31
Against the backdrop of elaborate security arrangements in the town, no untoward incident was reported here today. Keeping in view of prevailing tension due to Rajoana issue and today’s ‘Ram Navmi’ processions, a special security cover was provided outside the religious sites of the town.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mohali SSP, GS Bhullar, said that a large number of policemen were deputed on the routes of procession. — TNS



Opening of liquor vends opposed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 31
The residents of Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) are up in arms against the opening of six liquor shops at Mata Mansa Devi shrine area thus hurting the sentiments of the people in the region.

In a memorandum to the Commissioner, excise and taxation department, Haryana, Devinder Mahajan, president Residents Welfare Association Sector 4 MDC, said that no liquor shop has to be opened in the area of 2 km of the historic shine where lakhs of devotees, not only from the region but also from across the country visit everyday during ‘navratras’ to pay their obeisance.

Mahajan added that small liquor vends have been opened on all the roads leading to the shrine. He said that one of the shops was being opened on the road leading to the IT park where hundreds of young IT professionals work, which could pose problems for the people living in Sector 4.

He urged the Commissioner to shift these vends to some other places in order to avoid any resentment among the general public.



Four escape unhurt
Tribune News Service

The car that overturned near the Kumbra-Sohana traffic light point in Mohali on Saturday
The car that overturned near the Kumbra-Sohana traffic light point in Mohali on Saturday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Mohali, March 31
Four persons had a narrow escape in two separate accidents, at Sector 70 and Sector 68, respectively, here this morning.

Jagjit Singh, twenty-four years old from Sohana, who was driving his Hyundai I-20, escaped unhurt when his car turned turtle in a bid to save another car, coming from wrong side on the highway at Sector 70 here. The incident occurred around 9.30 am while Jagjit Singh was on his to Chandigarh from his residence.

In the second incident that occurred near municipal Council office in Sector 68 at around 10.30 am, three occupants, Sukhjit Singh, Rajiv and Vikrant, of two were cars had miraculous escape in the head-on collision. Sources said, Sukhjit Singh was driving Esteem car while Rajiv and Vikrant were in Accent car when the vehicles collided.



zirakpur flyover
New road cuts comes up on highway
Distance reduced by 5 km
Parmod Mehta

Zirakpur, March 31
Commuters will soon get a new road cut in the divider, situated beneath the flyover in Zirakpur at National highway No 21. The new road cut will not only help in curbing traffic problem at Zirakpur but also in avoiding commuters from covering an additional distance of 5 kms to reach the mere distance of 200 mts. The PWD has started work to make cut in divider from Friday.

With the new cut, the commuters from Patiala, Ambala, Panchkula and that of Chandigarh will have the option of two cuts either for U-turn or to divert before or after Kalka roundabout. Even the commuters from Panchkula will not have to make wrong entry to reach at Paras Down Town Square.

Apart from this, roadways buses from all the directions can have an easy access to reach and stay at under construction bus-terminal at Zirakpur. The NHAI project director AK Dhaiya said that around 11mt wide cut had been sanctioned below the 18-mt wide span of the Zirakpur flyover near JP Hospital. The work was under progress by the PWD.



Bio-medical waste treatment plant
UT not to go ahead with project at Dadu Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Chandigarh Administration today refused to set up a common bio-medical waste treatment plant at Dadu Majra under the public-private partnership.

As a petition on waste disposal filed in public interest by Ominder Singh Oberoi and other residents came up for hearing this morning, UT senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal expressed the Administration’s unwillingness to go ahead with the project.

The assertion is significant as the bio-medical waste disposal scheme has been a prestigious project for the Chandigarh health department and was to be set up under public-private partnership for disposal of bio-medical waste of all the health institutions, government and private, in the city.

Appearing before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover, Kaushal said: “The Chandigarh Administration is now of the view that due to the huge costs of scarce land in UT, it may not be in public interest to award the project for setting up CBWTP to a private entity on a public-private partnership. Kaushal added that the Administration had reconsidered its decision.

Just about a year ago, the Chandigarh Administration had informed the High Court that the new bio-medical waste treatment facility was being set up at Dadu Majra. It is being set up by Alliance Environcare Company Limited at a cost of Rs 6, 52, 52, 930.

Kaushal had, in fact, told the Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the facility would be “sufficient to meet the requirement of all the hospitals in the city, including the PGI”.

Oberoi and other residents had filed a PIL in 2007 against the burning of bio-medical waste without any air pollution control device in place. Directions had also been sought for the installation of air pollution control device. The coming up of seven-storeyed out patients’ department allegedly against the zonal plan had also been challenged.

The petition had, in fact, brought to fore the alleged hazards faced by th people living in the vicinity of Sector 16 government multi-specialty hospital.



SDO claims assault by contractor

Chandigarh, March 31
An SDO posted with the UT electricity department was allegedly assaulted by a contractor on Saturday.

The police said the incident occurred in the afternoon when SDO Naresh Kumar came to inspect electricity work carried out by the contractor at Government School in Sector 26.

The SDO had an altercation with contractor Madan Goyal as he was not satisfied with the work of the contractor, which led to the scuffle.

In the complaint to the police, the SDO stated that the contractor had hit him with a wooden block. He alleged that the contractor had then injured himself in order to save his skin.

The two were then rushed to the 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16. — TNS



Truck catches fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A stationed truck caught fire at scrap market near Hallo Majra this morning. The police said driver of the truck Rajesh Kumar went home to have food after parking the truck that was loaded with 44 refrigerators that were to be delivered in Ludhiana.

Around 11 am the truck owner, Anil Behal, noticed that the truck had caught fire.



PU to follow UGC-defined API
Annual Performance Index formed by university to be withdrawn
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Taking yet another U-turn, the Panjab University Senate today decided to go by the Annual Performance Index (API) Performa defined by the University Grant Commission (UGC) for the promotion of teachers and for fresh appointments.

Bringing an end to the ongoing debate over API scores, the Senate decided to withdraw the API Performa defined by the thirty-member committee formed by PU.

The house had a rigorous discussion on the API Perfoma and decided that uniformity should be maintained in selections of teachers as well the other staff members, including librarians.

The university had advertised around 315 teaching posts asking the applicants to fill API form as per UGC Performa. Later, due to various reasons, the university decided to prepare its own API Performa and issued a corrigendum asking the applicants to apply for the posts again as per the new Performa.

However, it was discovered that the API defined by PU had many flaws following which a committee was formed that was supposed to meet soon.

Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) president Akshay Kumar said, “We have been raising the issue that the UGC has also formed a committee to re-work on the API Performa. Following which teachers demanded setting aside of the API Perfoma formed by PU. The university should wait for the UGC to make changes in their Performa before making any appointment.”

The house discussing the appointments decided that PU could make the urgent appointments, if required, before the Senate election and the hunt for new vice-chancellor ends.

Teachers prefer UGC’s api

We have been raising the issue that the UGC has also formed a committee to re-work on the API Performa. Following which teachers demanded setting aside of the API Performa formed by PU. The university should wait for the UGC to make changes in their Performa before making any appointment.

— Akshay Kumar , president, Panjab University Teachers Association



PU puts science centre, planetarium on hold
Decides to reconsider proposal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Panjab University has decided to re-consider the proposal of constructing science centre and planetarium at its South campus.

On the objections raised by the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) and Senate members, the house decided to form a committee and re-look into the matter.

The house was divided over the issue of building the science centre in PU that would require around 7-acre land and would cost Rs 7.25 crore.

Strongly opposing to the proposal, PUTA president Akshay Kumar said the vice-chancellor should give a power-point presentation to the house as well as the PUTA to convince them for the project.

Officials said even the PU’s construction office has not given approval to the project as university does not fulfil all the requirements asked by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

Rabinder Nath Sharma, a fellow, said PU should not come up with the science centre in the campus as it would turn into a tourist spot.

“The science centre would disturb the academic environment and in the long run would disturb the privacy of the university,” he said.

Reacting to the objections raised by the house members, the Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti decided to form a committee under the chairmanship of GK Chatrath.

The members were of the view that the university should request the UT administration to allot land for the science centre at Sarangpur.

PU’s decision on other issues

  • Acting on The Tribune report, PU decided to pay back the applicants who would qualify the previous exam for various non-teaching posts. PU earlier invited fresh applications for various non-teaching posts without declaring the results of the post on which the written test has already been conducted. This forced the applicants, who are in the wait of the previous results, to apply again after paying Rs 750 for Class B posts.
  • On demand of Gurmeet Singh, Senate decided to offer scholarship to 30 toppers of PhD entrance test which was earlier offered to 20 toppers only. The students under SC and ST category whose names appear after top thirty students would be given Rs 10, 000 as annual stipend.
  • The issue regarding the transfer of teachers from Punjab to PU-affiliated government colleges in Chandigarh has also been raised in the meeting. RPS Josh, a fellow, said PU authorities have been repeatedly writing to DPI colleges (UT) for providing the guidelines for transferring to colleges in Chandigarh from Punjab.
  • The house also held a debate on introduction of teacher's evaluation, however, could not reach to any conclusion as the members had different views.



Colleges violating norms likely to face disaffiliation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Panjab University has decided to take stern action against the colleges that are running without teachers.

PU is in the process of preparing a list of colleges who have violated the norms. Such colleges can face disaffiliation, sources said. PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti likely to take up the issue in the Syndicate meeting to be held in April.

The Senate meeting witnessed heated discussion over the issue with Sobti holding the house members responsible for granting affiliations to such colleges.

Addressing the house, Sobti said the panel members visit colleges to check if they fulfill all the norms defined by the University Grant Commission (UGC) and PU. “It’s you all who recommend affiliation to these colleges. If you find the colleges violating any norms then objections must be raised by the committee that has visited the colleges,” Sobti said.

The colleges are supposed to pay Rs 15,600 basic salary to the teachers on contract. However, there are colleges that pay not more than Rs 6, 000 blatantly violating the UGC norms.

Janmit Singh, a fellow, without naming the college revealed that there is a college under PU that doesn’t have sociology teacher from over 20 years and still it is operating.

On demand of the house, the VC directed Naval Kishore, Dean College Development Council (DCDC), to prepare a list of colleges flouting the laws. The list would be tabled before the Syndicate for final decision.



Colleague corrupt, alleges Senator
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The matter of alleged tampering of the pension file of a sitting Senator came up during the Senate meeting held at Panjab University today.

Senator Ashok Goyal alleged that one of the sitting Senators manipulated the rules and regulations of the pension scheme in order to get better pension.

Ashok Goyal said the pension file was tampered by removing papers from the file and substituting the same by other papers with different dates and signatures so as to benefit the alleged member.

Ashok Goyal said a high-level inquiry should be conducted and those found guilty should be punished.

He also said if the allegations were found to be wrong then he would be liable for panel action. “I am ready to assist the inquiry panel in establishing the fraud,” Ashok Goyal said.

Reacting to the sensitive issue raised by Goyal, who was supported by majority of house members, the vice-chancellor assured that an inquiry would be conducted to verify the truth and action would be taken accordingly.



GCG-11 holds first alumni meet

Chandigarh, March 31
The Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, also known as GCG 11, held its alumni meet today. It was a memorable day for the college as alumni from over five decades gathered in the college auditorium. More than 100 alumni took part in the event, including those from early batches of 1960’s.

It was a nostalgic moment for the old students who walked down the memory lane. The alumni played tambola, sang songs and had ‘aloo chat’.

Poonam Bath, vice-president of the alumni association, said it was the first-ever alumni meet. — TNS



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