C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rs 13.17 lakh looted at gunpoint
Robbers strike in Panchkula on day new Haryana DGP SN Vashisht takes charge 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
Robbers welcomed new Haryana DGP SN Vashisht, who assumed charge at Sector 6, Panchkula, today, with a broad daylight robbery when they allegedly looted Rs 13.17 lakh at gunpoint from two employees of a security agency.

The victims were carrying cash, which had been collected from PC Jewellers, Sector 14, Paras Down Town Mall, Zirakpur, Aditya Birla, Sector 14, and Vishal Mega Mart, Sector 5, and were on their way to deposit the amount in a bank in Sector 10 when their van was forcibly stopped by three robbers (faces covered) near Sector 5, Panchkula, this afternoon.

Of the total amount robbed, Rs 7.76 lakh had been collected from PC Jewellers, Rs 2.18 lakh from Vishal Mart, Rs 2.05 lakh from Aditya Birla and Rs 1.22 lakh from Paras Down Town Mall.

A case of robbery has been registered at the Sector 5 police station.

“I had collected cash from PC Jewellers, Paras Down Town Mall, Aditya Birla and Vishal Mega Mart, and was going to a bank in Sector 10. Suddenly, a Ford Fiesta car intercepted our van at an isolated place near Vishal Mega Mart, Sector 5,” said Jaswant Singh, driver of the van.

He said, “Two of the three occupants came out and dragged us out of the van. While one of the robbers held the other employee, Sanjay, another robber pointed a gun at me. They asked for the bag containing the cash and threatened that otherwise they would kill us.”

Scared, the victim handed over the bag to the robbers.

“Investigation are under way. Interestingly, only today the agency men did not have a gunman with them, which has raised our suspicion. We are also looking at the possibility of the Zen gang's involvement in the robbery,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Virender Singh.

While Jaswant has been working with the agency for the past four years, Sanjay had joined the agency six months ago.

Interestingly, Haryana DGP SN Vashisht took charge at the office in Sector 6 today. The crime spot is close to the office. 



Handiwork of Zen gang or stage-managed? 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
Following the robbery, the police is working on two theories. It feels the white Zen gang could be back in action in Panchkula or the robbery could be stage-managed.

Meanwhile, even as fear has gripped city residents after this daring robbery, Station House Officer of the Sector 5 police station Nupur Bishnoi seemed least bothered about the issue and said, “I don’t want to think about the robbery right now. I am busy with the DGP’s farewell at Moginand.”

“The white Zen gang uses a Zen car. However, this time the miscreants used a Ford Fiesta. We are trying to find out whether they are the same miscreants, who have changed their car or a new gang,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Virender Singh.

Though the modus operandi of the robbers was quite similar to that of the Zen gang, the police is working on the other theory as well.

“We are quizzing the victims also since the gunman was not there with them today when the loot took place,” said another senior officer.

The white Zen gang has been active in the township since 2007 and the police has not been able to bust the gang so far. Around 10 daring robberies have been committed by them in the city.

“The white Zen gang targets only employees who carry huge amounts and even in this case, the employees of the security agency were carrying a huge amount to a bank when they were targeted. We are also looking at the possibility of the robbery being stage-managed,” said the officer. 


The white Zen gang targets employees who carry huge amounts and even in this case, the employees of the security agency were carrying a huge amount to a bank when they were targeted. We are also looking at the possibility of the robbery being stagemanaged — a police officer 



CTU tyre auction scam unearthed 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Vigilance cell of the UT Police has unearthed a major scam in the auction of condemned batteries and tyres of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses and has booked a former CTU GM (now dead), three CTU employees and two scrap dealers in a cheating and corruption case. The police has arrested a scrap dealer, Deepak, who was the successful bidder during two CTU auctions in February 2010.

Former CTU GM Surinder Dahiya, who has passed away, is an accused in the case. The police said the scrap dealer, in connivance with the former CTU GM and three other CTU employees, won both auctions fraudulently. The three CTU employees, Arun Kumar, Surinder Singh and Shamsher Singh, and another scrap dealer Anil are also accused in the FIR. They are yet to be arrested.

Inspector Dulip Rattan of the UT Vigilance cell said the CTU held two auctions of condemned batteries and tyres in 2010. While the auction of 250 condemned batteries of buses was held in depot number 1 of the CTU in the Industrial Area on February 16, 2010, another auction of 2,000 condemned tyres of the CTU was held at their depot in Sector 25 on February 17, 2010.

Accused Deepak was the successful bidder in both auctions. An inquiry into the complaint of alleged discrepancies during the auction was marked and it came to light that Deepak won the auction and claimed 250 batteries worth Rs 24 lakh by submitting false and fabricated documents. He got the batteries for Rs 17 lakh in alleged connivance with officials.

The police said according to rules, it was mandatory for scrap dealers to get a clearance certificate from the Pollution Control Board to claim the batteries. Deepak projected himself to be the proprietor of two factories in Rohtak and thus won the auction. However, inquiries revealed that he was not the owner of the factories and all documents furnished by him were false and fabricated. He has been booked in a case under Sections 195 and 420 of the IPC.

In the second auction of 2,000 tyres too, Deepak managed to procure the condemned tyres in alleged connivance with then CTU GM, who put Deepak’s name as the claimant of the condemned tyres while actually, another scrap dealer, Satbir Singh, was the actual bidder.

Satbir Singh, who is the complainant in the case, had successfully bid Rs 9.41 lakh in the auction of the condemned tyres and he deposited the amount, However, he could never claim the tyres as scrap dealers Deepak and Anil claimed them fraudulently.

The accused, Deepak, was arrested and sent to judicial custody after the court rejected the prosecution’s plea for police custody of the accused.

Accused booked after death

The Vigilance cell of the police has booked CTU former GM after he died and his name is in the police FIR. Moreover, half of the condemned tyres meant to be auctioned in 2010 are still lying at the CTU depot. They could not be claimed by the accused after Satbir Singh submitted a complaint and an inquiry was marked.

“Entire system is corrupt”

The complainant in the case, Satbir Singh, said he had faced a harrowing time as despite having deposited the amount, he could never claim the tyres. “I have been running from pillar to post for the past two years. The police inquiry took two years and I deposited nearly Rs 10 lakh and still could not claim the tyres due to 'high-level' corruption,” he said. 

6 booked

A former CTU GM (now dead), three CTU employees and two scrap dealers have been booked in a cheating and corruption case 



Hurricane Sandy: first-person account
‘For all of us, it was a living hell’ 
Mamta Vashishta, an NRI from Chandigarh, lives through the Sandy hell and tells Kanchan Vasdev on the phone how it was like at Fords in New Jersey 

It was like living a scary movie. Behemoth winds were blowing, doors and windowpanes of our houses were shaking, the sky was ashen and it was raining in torrents. It was for the first time we encountered such a disaster even though we were told about the impinging danger as disaster management teams had already informed us.

It was a week before the hurricane that we received a warning on our automated telephone system that we would be facing a natural calamity, but we should keep calm and confine ourselves indoors.

On Monday afternoon, it was like a demon let loose on us. As if it would carry us along. We latched our doors and windows so as not to let the fury inside. Thankfully, we were warned in advance that we were able to stock our house with food items and torches. There was no electricity, no gas and we were not connected with the world. All channels of communication were snapped.

The afternoon appeared like a dark night, the earth seemed to shake and we could hear the winds taking away the chimney of our neighbours, fencing of our garden and the side wall of our house. Nothing was visible outside even during the day.

It was the longest nightmare of our life and seemed it would not end. We didn’t feel like eating but forced fed our seven-year-old daughter Diya. She was scared to her bones. It was a task to calm her down. We chanted prayers and told her God is with us. We hugged and told each other that we have to survive this for each other. This too shall pass, was a one liner that kept coming back to me. None of us could even have a wink of sleep. It was a long and tiring night. We had not imagined we would survive this. Tuesday morning was no better. It did not mean any silver lining in the dark clouds for us.

The afternoon was actually a bright and sunny morning for us. The hurricane was over. We jumped with joy but were still fear-struck. We opened the door only to find uprooted trees, damaged parts of houses and washed away lawns. It was a picture of complete devastation. We have survived. Our government really helped us tide over the worst crisis.

Life is limping back to normal. We look forward to start going to work that would be in a week. Electricity is being restored.

(Mamta Vashishta is a software engineer living in Fords, New Jersey, with her husband Amit Vashishta and seven-year-old daughter Diya. She was a resident of Sector 23 before she emmigrated to the US in 1998.) 



12-year-old boy dies in mishap 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
A 12-year-old boy, Ashish, died while a woman was injured after a speeding i10 car hit their Activa scooter near the railway light point this morning. A woman, Krishna Gupta, who was riding the Activa scooter with the boy, was injured critically and has been admitted to the PGI.

Ashish is a resident of Shanti Nagar and the injured woman is his landlady.

The police said the woman sold phenyl bottles door to door in Mani Majra and used to take Ashish along with her on her scooter.

The mishap occurred when the speeding car (CH 04 L 4700), driven by Sandeep Kumar, also a resident of Shanti Nagar, collided with the scooter of the woman. Krishna lost balance and she and the child fell on the road. The tyres of the car ran over Ashish, killing him on the spot.

The police has arrested Sandeep, who works at a needle factory in the Industrial Area, in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304 A of the IPC.

The police said Ashish’s father was a painter and he was a student of a government school in Mani Majra. The boy is the youngest of seven siblings and is survived by his parents and six brothers, the eldest one being 30 years old.

The case was registered on a complaint of Ashish’s brother Satish. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed when Ashish’s family members saw the body of the child.

“I used to stop him from going with the woman, but he was fond of enjoying the ride and loved chocolates,” said a family member.

The police said Krishna used to occasionally give some money to Ashish from her earnings and thus he liked going with her for selling phenyl bottles.

He used to skip school on certain days. Family members of Ashish said they had asked the boy not to go today, but since he insisted, he was allowed to go. 



Water supply to be hit today 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Water supply will be affected in Chandigarh tomorrow evening due to maintenance work at the 66 kV grid substation at the Kajauli waterworks in Sector 39.

An official spokesman said there would be normal water supply in the morning from 3.30 am to 9 am. However, the pressure will be low in the evening from 6.30 pm to 9 pm. 


Dengue: Mohali Admn found wanting
City doctors say situation alarming with 123 confirmed and 221 suspected cases
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 31
With the confirmation of 123 dengue cases and 221 suspected cases in the district, the district administration has certainly failed to control the spread of dengue.

Out of total 123 confirmed cases, as many as 68 have been surfaced from urban area while 55 have been reported from rural area, which indicate that the disease has spread equally in both rural and urban areas despite the claims of regular fogging by the district administration.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, a doctor from a private hospital (requesting anonymity) said, "When we had told that the disease was spreading in the area, we were instructed by the district administration to restrain from giving such statements. Now with the rapid increase in the dengue cases in both urban and rural areas, the situation is nothing less than alarming." The doctor added that the number of dengue patients in private hospitals was much more.

Mohali civil surgeon Dr JS Cheema, too, admitted that the situation was alarming here. "So far, our laboratory has 107 confirmed cases while the other 16 cases have been confirmed by PGI lab, Panchkula, and other labs. As many as 221 samples are under testing and about 30 samples from here are also under testing at Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32. The situation is not good. We are making extra efforts to control it by intensive fogging," said Dr Cheema while claiming that the Civil Hospital in Phase VI was fully equipped to deal with the patients.

On the other hand, the Mohali Municipal Corporation claimed that it has spent over Rs 15 lakh on fogging only so far. Dr Cheema said fogging is the most effective preventive measure to check the disease.

Meanwhile, the district administration and health authorities today held an emergency meeting to review the situation here.

"From now onwards, we would start fogging in the town twice a day. We will increase the number of fogging teams. We will also depute teams of officials, who will go door-to-door to aware the people about preventive measures of the disease.

The story is not different in Chandigarh where the disease has already claimed two lives and as many as 260 dengue cases have been reported so far.

Lashing out at the district administration for its failure to control the disease, the area's MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu claimed that it (the administration) was making false claims about intensive fogging.

"I have never seen any fogging being undertaken in my area. If it is claiming that over Rs 15 lakh has been spent on fogging only, then it is surely giving wrong figures. I demand the authorities to inquire into the matter," said Sidhu.



LPG price hike hits NGOs
Organisations opt for traditional ‘tandoors’ or diesel-run stoves
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Even a few weeks ago, Theatre Age, an NGO, had comfortable means to prepare food for 62 underprivileged children at Sector 24 government school.

However, with the increase in LPG prices the NGO is finding it difficult to purchase expensive cylinders. The NGO members are now using traditional tandoor to cook food. “We have no other alternative, said the founder of the NGO, Zulfikar Khan. He said, “Our major source of income is donations. We collect and sell old newspapers to arrange for resources for our poor children. The recent hike in cylinder rates has hit us hard. We need more than five cylinders in a month. Now, we are cooking everything from chapatis to other dishes on the tandoor.

The condition is more or less same with other NGOs as well. They are finding it difficult to cope up with the inflation in basic commodities.

“We are facing hard time due to the hike in prices, said Neelam Kullar, convenor of Panchkula-based orphanage ‘Ashiana’. She said, “We have 59 inmates besides staff of eight to nine people. Given the strength, one full cylinder is consumed within three days.”

Although generous people keep sending donations, the government must also think about increasing the annual grants given to us in the wake of hike in prices, said a senior official of Ashiana.

Organisers of community kitchen in temples and gurdwaras are also feeling the heat. The manager of Nada Sahib Gurdwara, Mukhtiar Singh, said the recent hike in prices has drastically affected their budget. Sector 30 mandir, he said, is using diesel-run “bhatti” (stove) instead of LPG.”

Zulfikar Khan said the government must allow NGOs to have more number of cylinders. Even local sales tax on LPG must be exempted for the NGOs, he said.

AK Bhatia, patron of All India LPG Distributors Federation, North Western region, said local administration in Chandigarh can come forward and exempt 12.5 per cent VAT on LPG for NGOs to give them some relief.

Admn can provide relief  to NGOs

AK Bhatia, patron of All India LPG Distributors Federation, North Western region, said local administration in Chandigarh can come forward and exempt 12.5 per cent VAT on LPG for NGOs to give them some relief.



Stray dog menace
Formulate scheme, HC tells UT 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Less than six months after The Tribune launched a campaign against the stray dog menace, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the states of Punjab and Haryana, along with the Union Territory of Chandigarh, to frame a comprehensive scheme.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain directed that the scheme should be “in the form of rules or otherwise”, keeping in view a judgment and decree of a Delhi court and “comprehensive guidelines for dog control and management”, framed by the High Court of Bombay in “CWP No. 1596 of 1998”. The Bench asserted: “On the lines of the rules and judgments/guidelines, comprehensive scheme(s) shall be formulated by the respondent/authorities within a period of two months from today and those would be effectively enforced/executed thereafter”.

Disposing of the petition, the Bench concluded: “The respondents, after formulating the scheme(s) within two months, shall place the same before the court to signify that action, as directed, has been taken”.

The petition, in public interest, was filed to check the problem, even through their “destruction”.

In his petition, Mohali’s former municipal councilor Kuljit Singh Bedi had claimed that stray dogs in the recent past had created terror in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, and were “endangering human lives of all age groups”.

Bedi had added in his petition: “In case it is not possible to control the stray dog menace by way of sterilisation, they can either be put in the four walls of cattle/dog pounds or even be destroyed in legal chambers”.

In an attempt to substantiate his contentions, the petitioner also enclosed clippings of news reports carried in these columns.

In one of the news reports, The Tribune had quoted the municipal corporation as saying that in the previous census in 2007, the city harboured 13,425 dogs. Of these, 7,712 were kept as pet dogs by households and 5,713 were stray dogs. Among the stray dogs, 3,541 were males and 2,172 females.

The 2007 census had also revealed that even in the old Sectors of the city, the stray dog figure was more than 100. There were 113 stray dogs in Sector 7, 115 in Sector 15 and 220 in Sector 20.

In new Sectors, the figure was even higher. The report revealed that Sector 44 had 215 dogs, Sector 47 had 160 and Sector 45 had 143. 

What the guidelines say

The guidelines lay down that no stray dogs shall be killed as a rule, subject to the exception of critically ill, violent, fatally injured or rabid dogs. These also lay down that violent, diseased and incurably ill and mortally wounded dogs and those capable of transmitting diseases as identified and diagnosed by a qualified veterinarian be killed in a humane manner.



CTU comes up with user-friendly website
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
At last, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), which runs a fleet of around 230 buses daily covering 47,000 km, has come up with a user-friendly website that would enable people to check the detailed route plans and the route numbers.

The recently launched website, apart from seeking feedback and having a complain redress mechanism, also enables the commuters to see the timings of the buses running on distant routes.

CTU Director, TPS Phoolka, said the website would enable the users to get details on various facilities provided by the CTU and information of bus passes and download forms for issuing of passes. The applications for the recently advertised posts of drivers in CTU have also been invited online.

The CTU director said a telephone number and an email address have been provided so that people can get information on late running buses, general information on local buses and to lodge complaint against bus crew.

Officials feel the website would be of great help to visitors who use the CTU bus service to commute. The website also provides information on Inter State Bus Terminus, Sector 17 and 43.

People can also consult a coloured map of the detailed route plan, which will be visible to the user when they searching for routes online.

“For many destinations, people have to change two or more buses. The website will also suggest the route numbers,” pointed out Satish Sharma, a frequent user of the public transport.



Admn opens information kiosks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The UT Administration today opened two information kiosks. One meant for providing information on availability of vehicle registration number and another, Tourist Information Kiosk, provides information on Chandigarh, hotels and etc.

UT Advisor KK Sharma said vehicle registration number availability kiosk would enable the residents to check the availability of the vehicle registration number. The software for the kiosk has been developed by the NIC-UT Chandigarh. The kiosk will soon be operational at RLA in Sector 17. The touch screen kiosk would enable people to learn about the availability of registration numbers in the ongoing as well as previous series. The kiosk would make it convenient for the general public to choose the vehicle registration number, he added.

The second kiosk is the Tourism Information Kiosk, which is modelled on the mobile application, was launched by the Department of Information Technology, in September this year. The Tourist Information Kiosk provides information on Chandigarh, hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants, etc. This kiosk would be placed at the UT Guest House.

Secretary Tourism DK Tiwari said the Tourism Department would assess the needs of the tourists coming to Chandigarh to enhance the utility of the Tourism Information Kiosk.

Prerna Puri, Secretary, Information Technology, said Department of Information Technology is also considering the use of kiosks for providing various other services in various public institutions such as government hospitals.



UT employees get six-month extension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Following in the footsteps of the Punjab government, the UT Administration today issued an order to give a six-month extension to all the UT employees after the retirement. The age of retirement is 58 years.

The order issued by the Chandigarh Administration stated: “Chandigarh Administration has decided to accord six months of extension for the time being to Group A, B, C and D employees of the Chandigarh Administration who are superannuating on October 31, 2012. This decision has been taken as an interim measure in pursuance of the Punjab Government notification dated October 8, 2012; vide which the Punjab Civil Services Rules have recently been amended. The concerned employees who are seeking extension would have to give an option within seven days, i.e. on or before November 7, 2012, to their department expressing their willingness to continue in the service.”

The UT Administration, which follows the Punjab service rules, took this decision after studying the notification issued by the Punjab government, in which it had given a one-year extension to its employees after the retirement age of 58 years.

The Administration, however, has not issued any directions regarding the benefits that would be availed by the employees during the extension period. The Punjab government had decided that the employees would be given due promotions during this period and would also receive other financial benefits. The salary and other perks would remain the same.

Confusion prevails

As the order covers only those superannuating on October 31, employees who are retiring on November 30 or later are still confused as to whether it would extend to them too. Senior UT officials are keeping mum on this issue. Requesting anonymity, an official said that they would clarify the issue in the coming days.

Retirement parties already held

As the Administration issued orders around 8pm, those employees who were due to retire today, gave retirement parties. Requesting anonymity, an employee who retired today said he came to know about the orders when he was celebrating with his family members at his retirement party. 



Fraudsters target customers in banks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
It seems fraudsters are targeting customers in banks as two such incidents were reported today in separate banks.

Two girls stole Rs 80,000 from a woman in Punjab National Bank (PNB), whereas a conman whisked away Rs 7.92 lakh from a cashier of HDFC bank posing as friend of a customer.

In the first incident, two girls stole cash worth Rs 80,000 from the purse of a woman who had come to the PNB in Sector 19.

Indu Anand, a Sector 27 resident, reported to the police that she was helping an elderly woman filling form when the cash in her bag was stolen by the two girls.

A case has been registered in Sector 19 police station.

The second incident took place at a HDFC bank in Mani Majra.

Harsh Vardhan Ahuja reported that an unidentified person cheated Rs 7.92 lakh from cashier Rupinder Kaur.

The incident occurred when Narinder Arora, who runs a business under the name Style Himachal Salt Supplier, gave the amount to cashier Rupinder Kaur to deposit it in his current account.

The cashier told him he can collect the receipt later, follwoing which he left the bank.

As Narinder went outside the bank, another person, who was standing with him, returned to the bank and asked the cashier to hand over the amount to him. He said his friend Narinder does not want it to be deposited.

The cashier handed over the amount to that person. Later, the cashier came to know that Narinder doesn’t know the unidentified person.

A case under Sections 420 of the IPC has been registered in Mani Majra police station and police is scrutinsing CCTV footage in both the cases.



Hurricane Sandy: NRIs on city visit worried
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Repercussions of hurricane Sandy, which has crippled life in the US, are being felt in Chandigarh too. The calamity has left visitor's from the US, who are in the city, worried for their loved ones.

Raznee Dewan, a resident of Flushing Queens, New York, who arrived in the city about two weeks ago to stay with her parents, is a worried wife. She says, “I am continuously in touch in with my husband and really anxious about the weather disturbance.” She says that when she last spoke to her husband, he told her that the overall situation was still critical.

The lower Manhattan continuous to be under water for last three-four days. All the major public services are suspended and there is even a problem with the communication network, says Raznee. Her husband Varinder Kamboj is an IT consultant there. “I think this is the worst hurricane New York has seen so far, and I am keeping my fingers crossed," she says

“I am worried for my family”

Jasbir Walia, 46, a resident of Denver who arrived in Chandigarh to attend a wedding, is worried about his wife. He says that his city Denver, in Pennsylvania, is battling the worst hurricane. “I spoke to my wife today and she told that the whole town has been without power for the last many days. The continuous rain and falling temperature has further complicated the problem," he said

He says that the communication network kept snapping during the entire day and he felt quite helpless not being able to go to his family. “I had planned to go back to the US on November 5, but as per the latest reports, most of the flights have been suspended," he said.



We are safe, says teacher accompanying local school team to NASA
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
“We are perfectly fine and the climate here (in Washington) is pretty much like what we have during the monsoons in India,” were the words of Rashmi Sain, a teacher at St Stephens School, Sector 45. She is accompanying 14 local students on an educational trip to NASA, USA.

The students are scheduled to catch the return flight from the Newark International Airport, New Jersey, this evening and are expected to land in Delhi tomorrow at 8.30 pm. They will be arriving in the city by road on October 3.

“We took the right decision to shift our base to Washington since New York is among the worst hit areas from the hurricane. Right now it is raining here and yesterday it was a pleasant sunny day,” said Rashmi. She added further, “We are about to leave for the Newark airport. The kids are busy in packing their stuff and it will take about 5 hours for airport from Washington by road. Our flight is scheduled to leave at 8.30 pm and we are schedule to check-in before 5.30 pm. We are lucky to have booked our return tickets from this airport, as the tunnel leading to the second airport (JKF airport) is closed due to the hurricane. The flight is on schedule and hopefully, we will be reaching the city on time,” said Rashmi.

When asked about the experience over there, she said, “The trip was prefect but we missed the visit to New York City. All the kids have enjoyed their trip and everything has been as planned.” On the role of the school she said, “ The response from the parents and our head master has been very positive. They were in regular touch and offered all support. I can understand the feelings of the parents, but I can assure them there is nothing to worry about.”



Market associations hiring pvt guards to deal with parking problems
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
To deal with the parking problem in markets during the festive season, some market associations have hired private security guards to manage the parking lots.

Jagdish Kapoor, president of the Market Welfare Association of Sector 19 D, said that this time they have hired two security guards to manage the parking in the shopping area of Sector 19 D. The shopkeepers of the market are already parking their vehicles on the backside of the market so that the customers can find enough space to park their vehicles in the front side, he added.

He added that they would also request the police to provide policemen to help deal with the parking problem in the market area, especially during the evening hours.

Ramji Manchanda, president of the Market Welfare Association of Sector 19 B, said that they have started hiring private security guards from last four years. But this year they increased the number of security guard from two to five. He further added that their association has already marked lanes for the parking of two wheelers and four wheelers.

The Market Welfare Association of Sector 22 D, popularly known as Jewellers Market, had started deploying private security guards in the year 2000. The president of the association, Arvind Jain, said that they have deployed 10 security guards in the morning hours and five during the night.

This year, the Shastri Market Welfare Association of Sector 22 has also hired six security guards to manage parking in the area. The association president, Tejinder Pal Singh, said that they started using the services of private guards from October and with the deployment of these guards, they have managed to minimise the parking problem around the market.



Health Dept collects samples of sweets from 8 shops in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The UT Health Department today collected samples of sweets from eight shops in Sector 23, 34 and 46.

In Sector 46, samples of coconut burfi were taken from Uttam Sweets while samples of khoya burfi were collected from Gobind Sweets. In sector 34, Khoya burfi and kalakand samples were picked up from Himachal Sweets and Ma Durga Sweets respectively.

During the check conducted at Sector 23 in the evening, khoya burfi, kalakand and burfi with silver work were collected from Jalandhar Sweets, New Krishna Sweets and Jullundur Sweets respectively.

These samples will be sent for clinical examination and the reports will be releases in about two weeks. 



Nurses stage protest over delay in salary at GMSH-16 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Around 10 contractual nurses staged a protest at the Government Multi Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, today, against the delay in their salaries. Although, there were no disruptions in the services, the demonstration went on for about 30 minutes.

“We have not been provided salaries in the past two months and there is no clarity over it even now. I have been working here for the past 9 years and never have our salaries been provided on a regular basis,” said Mumtaz, one of the nurses.

There are a total of about 55 nurses working on contractual basis at the hospital. Of these, about 15 were on duty when the protest was staged in front of the office of the Medical Superintendent at around 10.00 am.

On the other hand, the officials said that no such notice of any strike had reached them. They also said that the cause of delay in providing salaries was the change in the service provider. “Of the 55 contractual nurses who have been working with us, about 24 have been selected for the posts sanctioned under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and have joined under these posts today. The service provider may have withheld their salaries. As soon as the amount gets released from the Central Government, we will provide them their salaries,” said Medical Suprintendent Dr Rajiv Vadera.



MC to celebrate Children's Day

Chandigarh, October 31
The Municipal Corporation will celebrate the Children's Day on November 14 at Nehru Park, Sector 22. This was decided by the Arts, Sports and Culture Committee of the corporation today.

The committee members have recommended to celebrate the day on the theme of "save girl child". It was also decided that an exhibition on the use of fire extinguisher should be organised.

The committee suggested to celebrate the Children's Day at the park as Pandit Nehru had addressed the people of Chandigarh after its formation at the park. The committee under the chairmanship of Gurbax Rawat decided that various competitions would be held on the day. — TNS



Man falls from PGI building, hurt

Chandigarh, October 31
A resident of Fatehgarh Sahib was critically injured after he fell from the fourth floor of the PGI here this evening. The victim, Sher Singh, sustained multiple fractures in the lower part of his body. The police is yet to ascertain whether it was an accident or a suicide attempt.

The incident occurred in the evening when Sher Singh had come to the city from Fatehgarh Sahib to meet his brother-in-law, who was admitted in the Advanced Trauma Centre of the PGI.

The police said Sher Singh was leaning on the wall when he fell. He fell on the balcony of the second floor and was immediately admitted to the hospital with injures.

Inspector Gurmukh Singh, SHO, Sector 11 police station, said they are yet to find out whether the man fell accidentally or if it was a suicide attempt. “We are investigating,” he said. — TNS



Tricity scan

Website launched

India's first almast reiki healing website www.almastreiki.com was launched by Mayor Raj Bala Malik on Wednesday. Councillor Davesh Moudgil was also present on the occasion. Almast reiki is an independent branch of traditional reiki that deals with reiki healing and facilitates healthy living in the modern day world. It also help helps in preventing various diseases such as depression, cervical, body aches, migraine and many more.

Green march

The eco-club of Swami Vivekananda Institute of Engineering and Technology (SVIET) today organised a green march on theme "Save, Serve and Value Environment" under the aegis of Tech Fest Green Campus Challenge (TGCC), an initiative of IIT, Mumbai. The march witnessed enthusiastic participation of over 300 nature-loving students and management of the college that started the march from the Rock Garden. The march was flagged off by Padamshree Nek Chand. The students carried messages concerning environment conservation. The management of the college distributed sapling at the end of the march.

Training on e-governance

In an effort to provide impetus for long-term growth and expansion of e-governance, an exclusive two-day training of UT officials began on Wednesday at SPIC -Centre of Excellence PEC Campus, Chandigarh. This training was organised by the Department of IT, Chandigarh. The training is designed to equip participants with the necessary background and understanding on structured approach for conceptualisation of e-governance. The training is one of the activities under the National e-Governance Plan with clear objective to sensitise departments about the role of e-governance in ensuring transparent, timely and hassle-free delivery of citizen-related services.


The Bhakra Beas Management Board has won the Gold Award for environment and Silver Award for corporate Social responsibility (CSR) activities. The award was received by AB Agarwal, Chairman and GS Wason, Director (HRD), BBMB, in an award distribution function, held at Hyderabad on October 30.The award was given by Dr Bhasker Chatterji, former Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.


D Sudha Jain, wife of professor IS Jain, former head of PGI’s Department of Opthalmology, passed away on October 31. The cremation will take place on November 1 at the Sector 25 cremation ground at 3.30 pm.

Office-bearer elected

On the directions of former Deputy Chief Minister Chandermohan, the state president of the women wing of the HJC (BL), Kusum Sharma , has appointed Meenu Sharma as the president of the women wing of sector 26,27,28 .Meenu Sharma has contributed in the welfare of the party and propagation of the party policies.

Medical check-up camp

On the occasion of the World Psoriasis Day, National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5, Panchkula, organised a two-day special camp for psoriasis patients. During the campaign, 200 patients from the Tricity, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir were examined. — TNS



Right To educaiton  act
Key issues yet to be settled
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Even as the UT Education Department on Tuesday announced the common admission schedule and pushed the private schools to reserve 25 per cent seats for the poor children under the RTE Act for the next academic year, there are still some key issues regarding the implementation of the Act, which are yet to be settled by the department and taking advantage of it the private schools are dilly-dallying in implementing the Act. Among the pending issues, formal notification of exact percentage, definition of economical weaker section and disadvantaged group students for the 25 per cent reservation in private schools are important ones .

HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association, Chandigarh, said while several schools in Chandigarh admitted students at entry-level classes under the 25 per cent reservation quota but there was still no notification by the UT Administration explaining how the seats would be filled from the weaker sections of society.

“Further we don’t have any clarification about exact criteria of family income fixed for the students from economical weaker section besides how much weightage needed to be given to OBC, SC and ST students," Mamik said.

DPI (s) Upkar Singh said the notification had already been sent to the Government of India for approval and hopefully the schools would be informed about the matter soon.

Another key decision, waiting the official nod, is about the formal notification of the per child reimbursement under the RTE Act. The private schools said the bills submitted by them for admitting students under 25 per cent reservation quota were pending with the Education Department for the past two years and no official confirmation on the bills had been received so far.

“The department must notify the per child reimbursement so that they too would not feel burdened because of it," said principal of Dr Rakesh Sachdeva, pricipal, DAV School, Sector 15 . According to the principal, decision about the pending issues must be taken at the right time so that the objective of the Act could be fulfilled and the poor students were given benefits.

A senior official of the department said the department had already prepared the blue print for the per child reimbursement and had sent the proposal to the higher authorities for approval. “Meanwhile, we have consolidated the list of students admitted by the private schools in past two years,” he said

Another issue is that In Chandigarh, the school, which were given land on concessional rates were under obligation to reserve 15 per cent of their seats for economically weaker sections (EWS) and as per the UT Administrations's notification in 2005, it was decided that fee charged from these students would remain nominal.

“But so far there is no clarity whether the EWS quota has been superseded by the RTE Act and if not, then how much reimbursement the private schools will get out of 25 per cent reservation under the RTE Act," said HS Mamik. DEO Ram Kumar Sharma said the issue was technical one, which would be decided at the higher level. “We are planning a meeting with private schools and all the issues will be discussed in length," he said. 



School to get legal literacy club

Panchkula, October 31
For the first time in Haryana students’ legal literacy club will be launched on November 1 at The Gurukul School, Sector 20, Panchkula, on the occasion of the Haryana Day. 

The club will be launched by the Haryana State Legal Services Authority in association with The Gurukul School. — TNS



From schools

Students remember martyrs

Students of The Millennium School present an item during the annual day function in Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vickey GharuRemembering the great martyrs of the country, students of The Millennium School staged play "Aashateet" on the first day of the school's annual function today. The students portrayed the lives and the supreme sacrifice of the martyrs, including Mangal Pandey, Jhansi Ki Rani, Bhagat Singh and Mahatma Gandhi. The enthralling performance from the kids left the audience spellbound.

Students of The Millennium School present an item during the annual day function in Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vickey Gharu

Slogan writing

To apprise the students of swamiji’s teachings a slogan-writing competition was held at GSSS, Dhanas, on Wednesday. The Students of classes VI to XII participated in the contest. Different questions regarding swamiji’s life and values were asked from the students. Principal Hermeet Kaur gave away the prizes to the winner and encouraged the teachers to arrange more activities in future.

Blood donation camp

A blood donation camp was held at Stepping Stones Senior Secondary School in collaboration with the Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh. The event is an annual feature of the LTS (Leadership Training Service) Club of the school. The staff’s commitment to community service could be seen during the event as many faculty members voluntarily donated blood. On the occasion, principal Anu Kumar stressed upon the significance of blood donation.

Hockey meet

The North Zone-1 CBSE Hockey Competition under-14 and 19 age group (boys') was organised at Gian Jyoti Public School, Mohali, on Wednesday. Players of GGSVM bagged the trophy by defeating Akal Academy, Baru Sahib, in the finals. The teams competed for three days. Chairman SGS Bedi and Principal Ranjit Bedi of Gian gave away the awards to the winners.

Mehndi competition

Students of GMHS-38 participated in a mehndi competition on Wednesday. Ravi from class VI was adjudged as the best in the competition. Headmaster Surinder Kumar encouraged the participating students and gave away the prizes .

National Jet Toy Making Olympics

Students of Saupin's, Sector 32, won accolades for the school by achieving a commendable position in the National Jet Toy Making Olympics, organised by Jet Toy Olympics in SAS Nagar. The programme was conducted by the Society for Automotive Engineers(SAE) ,Indore. The students presented a balloon-powered car that worked on the basis of Newton's Third Law of Motion. The team will now participate in the national-level Olympics to be held on December 21 in Indore.

Paper-reading contest

An english paper reading competition was held for the students of class II at St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School on Wednesday. Their fluency was appreciated during the event. Some of the participants also highlighted the importance of tradition and culture in our lives by speaking on the “Festivals of India”. The judges were highly impressed by the efforts of young orators. — TNS



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