C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Primary classes closed till Jan 12
Biting cold, fog throw life out of gear in city; 15 flights cancelled, trains delayed
Tribune News Service

 Frozen dew drops on grass in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Icy cold: Frozen dew drops on grass in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan 

Chandigarh, January 5
The prevailing inclement weather has forced the UT Education Department to extend the vacation for primary school students till January 12.
The schools will, however, remain open for higher classes.

This is the second extension in the vacation announced by the department for government schools in view of the ongoing cold wave, which has thrown life out of gear in the city.

The maximum temperature recorded today remained below normal for yet another day. The day temperature was 9.1°C,

slightly better than yesterday’s 8.4°C, but it did not bring any respite for the people who preferred to remain inside their offices and homes.

People shivered as the day began with foggy weather conditions. The visibility at the airport in the morning was less than 100 metres. Only one flight could take off from the airport today. The poor visibility led to the cancellation of 15 flights.

The sun appeared for a brief period at about 2 pm, but failed to lessen the chill. The minimum temperature recorded today was 4°C.

Surinder Pal, regional officer of the local Met Department, said there was likely to be no respite from the cold wave conditions for the next two days. The weather was expected to improve after January 7.

Extreme cold conditions have been witnessed since the beginning of this year. The New Year day recorded 11.3°C while the minimum temperature was 4.2°C. 

Shatabdi late

The poor weather conditions have affected the movement of trains. Due to poor visibility, a number of trains chugged in late at the city railway station on Saturday. While the Garib Rath from Ajmer reached Chandigarh six hours late, the Sadbhavna Express from Lucknow reached six hours late from its scheduled time of 10 am. The Shatabdi Express from Delhi reached 30 minutes late. The Unchahar Express was also running late by over five hours. 

Order applicable to private schools also

Officials of the Education Department said the latest order of the government to keep primary classes closed till January 12 would be applicable to all private schools in the city



Councillors fail to utilise development fund
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Councillors of the local municipal corporation had proposed that the ward development fund should be increased from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 1 crore, but last year a majority of the councillors failed to utilise their fund.

While five councillors spent less than Rs 10 lakh from their ward development fund, seven councillors utilised an amount ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.

With these councillors failing to utilise their funds, residents of their wards are still awaiting basic amenities like streetlights, play equipment in parks and widening and recarpeting of roads.

Congress councillor Sheela Devi from ward number 12 failed to spend even a single penny from her ward development fund. Another Congress councillor and Senior Deputy Mayor Rana Kashmiri Devi from ward number 14 has utilised only Rs 3.41 lakh from her ward development fund.

BJP councillors are also not far behind. BJP councillor from ward number 21 Heera Negi has spent only 3.47 lakh from her fund. BJP councillor from ward number 26 Desh Raj Gupta has spent only 6.85 lakh from the fund.

Some councillors have utilised their full amount. Mayor Subhash Chawla, Congress councillor from ward number 5, and former Mayor Pardeep Chhabra, Congress councillor from ward number 3, have utilised their full fund. BJP councillor from ward number 18 Satinder Singh and Congress councillor and Deputy Mayor Satish Kainth from ward number 20 have spent Rs 38.61 lakh and Rs 38.42 lakh, respectively.

BJP councillor from ward number 8 Arun Sood said recently he got playing equipment of Rs 22 lakh approved for his ward. He also received a letter in this regard. However, the expenditure had not been included in the list, which showed only Rs 8.70 lakh against his name. He said a large number of works in his ward were carried out using MC funds worth crores.



Punjab MLA's driver hurt in ‘accidental firing’
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 5
Punjab MLA Rana Gurmeet Sodhi's driver was shot at outside Sodhi's residence in Sector 4, Panchkula, here this evening. The shot was allegedly fired from the gun of one of the two gunmen of the MLA with whom the driver was sitting. The victim, Gurwinder Singh, was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The police has not been able to record the victim's statement. It is being claimed that the gunshot was fired accidentally.

The shot was fired from the official gun of Rishipal, who is attached with the MLA.

“We were sitting outside and talking when Rishpal's gun went off accidentally and Gurwinder got hurt. He is completely fine now,” said Constable Ashwini Kumar, the second gunman who was present on the spot at the time of the incident.

“Gurwinder and the two gunmen were sitting near the shed outside the MLA's residence. Suddenly I heard a gunshot and saw blood oozing out of Gurwinder's body. Rishipal was crying,” said an eyewitness, who works at the Panchkula Municipal Corporation office, which is in front of the house.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Nazneen Bhasin, who is holding the additional charge of Panchkula, said, “A police team had gone to the PGI to record the victim's statement, but doctors said he was being operated upon  and his statement could not be recorded.”

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Virender Sangwan said, “Preliminary investigation suggests that it was an accidental fire. However, since the victim's statement is yet to be recorded, we cannot say for sure whether the firing was intentional or accidental.” Doctors at the PGI said the victim had suffered serious injuries in the lower abdomen. Gurwinder is under observation.

Four years ago, a similar shooting incident had taken place outside the same residence where one of Sodhi's employees had received bullet injuries. At that time also, the employee had claimed that he received injuries in accidental fire.

"It was an accidental fire. We were inside the house when the incident took place. We took the victim to a hospital. Thankfully, Gurwinder is fine now," said Anumeet Sodhi, son of the MLA. 


Sewage raises stink; students inconvenienced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The blockage of sewage at Government Model High School, Sector 22, has been causing inconevenienc to the school staff and students. The sewage has been blocked since three weeks.

A school teacher said the blockage had created a major problem in the school. "It is difficult to enter the toilets. Despite having such a serious problem, no action has been taken in this regard," he said.

The delay in the construction of rainwater harvesting system is also an addition to the present problems. The debris in the courtyard has created a nuisance . Many believe that the problem of sewage blockage can quickly be solved if the work of rainwater harvesting is completed on time. The pending work of the rain harvesting is blocking the entry of the sewage machine that can open the blockage.

A teacher, however, said the school building had become old and the intervention of the Education Department was required to solve the issue. Meanwhile, the principal of the school, Bharati Sharma, said the problem of sewage blockage would be solved soon.



Encroachments intact; estate office to issue notices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Thanks to the casual approach of the estate office, nothing has changed on ground even a month after the district administration gave warning to the junk dealers and other squatters to remove encroachments.

Last month, the estate office had announced an encroachment drive in the Industrial Area, Phase I and II, but at the last moment the encroachers were given time to act on their own. In November last year, Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Shayin had called a meeting of the district administration officials to ensure that the encroachments were cleared.

It may be mentioned that a recent survey by the UT estate office to ascertain the ground situation in the Phase I and II in the Industrial Areas has revealed that a number of plots, which were not allotted and valued for crores of rupee, were encroached by the junk dealers right under the nose of the authorities.

Based on the survey, the estate office will soon start issuing notices to those, who have been misusing their premises. A total of 492 plots- 204 in the Industrial Area, Phase -I and 288 in the Industrial Area, Phase II- have been identified under the misuse category. Officials in the estate office revealed that under the UT’s conversion policy, around 125 plots had got permission for conversion and of these around 25 had already been converted.

Few years ago, the UT estate office had resumed nearly 60 sites. These sites were in the Phases I and II. The estate office had served notices to the people, who were misusing industrial plots without the conversion of the land under the UT administration’s conversion policy. Many had been served notices at a rate of Rs 500 per sq ft.

The junk dealers, sitting alongside the railway line or opposite to the petrol pump and in open plot near the newly converted hotels in the Phase II and at certain points in the Phase 1 are doing their business on the encroached land. Of the total 1,781 plots, encroachments of different nature were found on the 84 vacant plots.

Not only the encroachments are creating unhygienic conditions, the junk dealers are eating into the revenue. In a recent decision, the administration has fixed the allotment price of the plots in the Industrial Area at Rs 29,000 per sq yard. A senior official pointed out that due to the political interference, the recent demolition drive at the Marble Market, Dhanas, was not taken to its logical conclusion.



Justice sought for victim
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 5
As many as 200 people gathered today at Plaza, Sector 17, to seek justice for Jyoti, who was found murdered near Sector 21, Panchkula.
These people had also actively staged protest against the Delhi gang rape case.

"The fact remains that the main accused is an MLA and it is only reason that even after procuring the arrest warrants, the police was not able to nab him and his accomplices," said Prabhloch.

He said, "Jyoti was brutally murdered. How can the police be so insensitive? She was butchered to death and her soul is crying for justice."

"After the Delhi gang rape, there is an urgent need to create awareness," said another protestor.

The protestors raised slogans and said that they would not take a sigh of relief till the police acts responsibly.

Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary and his accomplices have been booked under Section 302 of the IPC in Jyoti murder case. Even after 49 days , after the case was filed, the police has failed to make any arrests.



PGI to make use of nanotechnology

Chandigarh, January 5
In a first, the Department of Forensic Medicine, PGIMER, will soon be able to determine the closest time of death of the deceased by making the use of nanotechnology.

At present, the technologies being used by forensic experts across the country can only determine the time slot within which the death occurred. The new technology will enable the experts to know the time of death more precisely.

Highlighting the merits of the technology during a National Symposium on Technological Advancements in Forensic Applications at the PGIMER, Dr Dalbir Singh, Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine at the institute, said: “At present, experts are able to find out that within the last how many hours the person would have died.”

“For instance, one can at best find out that the deceased might have died within the past 12 hours or 24 hours or more. But with the use of this new technology, forensic experts can determine the closest time of death, with a difference of maximum of one hour,” Dr Dalbir added.

The department has been working over the technology for the past one-and-a-half year. During the symposium, Prof TD Dogra, president of the Indian Congress of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, stressed on the need for integrating various fields of several forensic medicine and science to aid the investigative agencies and the justice delivery system.

Dr RK Gorea, principal, Guru Nanak Mission Medical College, Banga, talked about the importance of bite marks and their role in forensic investigations.

Dr SK Dhattarwal of PGIMS also talked about the importance of forensic odontology. Dr Asha Dhir of CFSL, Chandigarh, talked about the empowerment of security forces through body protective armour.

Other topics of interest that were presented included forensic document examination, forensic DNA technology in criminal cases and fingerprinting the dead, statistical models for estimating the time since death. — TNS



Haryana plans scheme to check road accidents
To open road safety clubs in schools and colleges at the district level

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
With a view to reducing road accidents, the Haryana Government is considering to implement a unique scheme under which arrangements would be made for truck drivers to take rest and get their goods protected.

Also, road safety clubs would be opened in schools and colleges at the district level.

This was stated by Ramendra Jakhu, Additional Chief Secretary, State Transport Department, while addressing the gathering at a state-level function organised to observe 24th Road Safety Week at Panchkula, near here, today.

He said negotiations were going on with some companies to formulate this new scheme for truck drivers. It was observed that truck drivers do not get proper rest due to intoxication and continuous driving. Also, they do not sleep as they carry goods worth lakhs of rupees. Therefore, in many cases accidents occur due to excessive fatigue and lack of sleep.

He said the Haryana State Transport Department would set up road safety clubs in schools and colleges at the district level in order to impart training and information regarding road safety rules to the youth.

Jakhu said a provision of Rs 45 lakh had been made for setting up of these clubs.

He said: “Road safety is not only the responsibility of any organisation or institution, but also it is the collective responsibility of all of us, which we all have to perform”.

Ramendra Jakhu said: “Ninety per cent of the accidents occur due to over speeding. Every person should follow each and every rule, only then we can be able to reduce road accidents”.

Speaking on the occasion, Haryana Transport Commissioner Sumita Misra said the state government had improved 670 accident-prone areas out of the about 1,000 such areas in the state.



Housing society panel suspended over irregularities
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 5
The management committee of Sartaj Cooperative Housing Society, Ghandauli village, Mohali, has been suspended by the authorities concerned following some complaints of alleged irregularities.

According to sources, some of the members had complained to the deputy registrar, Mohali, that some of the members of the committee were trying to sell the land belonging to the society to a private builder, Atlus Builders, following which the official while suspending the committee issued a show cause notice.

The assistant registrar, Dera Bassi, Jagdish Kumar, has also been asked to look after the managerial works of the committee till further orders.

On the other hand, Ashok Kukreja, president of the society, termed the allegations baseless and claimed that the committee had tie up with the private builders, which would now give plots to all the members.

“We did nothing wrong. We did not sell our land as the society land can’t be sold under the rules. In fact it’s a tie up with Altus and all the members would get plots,” said Kukreja adding that he would call a meeting of members to clear the situation.

The society, having 276 members, has a total of 44 acres of land. Out of the total 44 acres, the registered land of chunk under its name is 32 acres while for the rest 12 acres; the society has given advance money. Rest of the payment is yet to be given to the land owners.



Organisation for Social Justice wants murder case registered
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 5
The Organisation for Social Justice today demanded the registration of a murder case and a probe by an independent agency into the death of two students of Thapar University that took place two years ago.

Members of the organization, which has been formed by various bodies, staged a dharna outside the office of the deputy commissioner and submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister seeking action against the suspects.

The protesters said keeping in view the orders of the high court and the findings of the probe conducted by DIG ( Crime ) Kanwar Vijay Partap Singh, a case should be registered under Section 302 of the IPC and an independent agency be entrusted with the investigation into the death of the two students.

They also sought action against the SDM for allegedly lodging a wrong FIR and trying to destroy evidence to save his son, who was one of the suspects.

Gagandeep Singh Bains, a resident of Phase VI, Mohali; and Gaurav Verma, a resident of Delhi, both were the students of the Thapar University and were killed near Rajpura in September 2010.

Gagandeep Bain’s father had sought a CBI probe into the case. 



Drive to enrol new voters from today 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 5
The revision of electoral list resulted in addition of 39,975 new voters in Mohali district. With the addition, the total number of voters has reached the figure 5, 62,528.

The number would increase further as the authorities are all set to begin a special drive to enrol young voters who have recently crossed the age of 18 years.

“The drive would begin tomorrow and would culminate on January 25,” said Parveen Kumar Thind, additional district election officer-cum-additional district commissioner (Development), Mohali.

He said, “The youth clubs, educational institutes and social workers would be roped in for the purpose.”

Now, the number of voters in Vidhan Sabha Constituency 52, Kharar; constituency 53, SAS Nagar; and constituency 112, Dera Bassi; are 1, 84,324, 1, 84,949 and 1, 93,255, respectively.

The correction in the voter’s card or any other objections in this connection would also be entertained during the span from January 6 to 25.



Govt seeks suggestions, objections
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 5
A few days after the completion of the ward formation, the government has issued a notification seeking suggestions and objections by the public.

"Within a period of 15 days, residents can give their suggestions and objections, if any, to us. The notification has been issued for the public only," said a senior official of the Panchkula civic body.

Despite the completion of the process, the situation remains uncertain as the final decision still lies in the hands of the court. Not only the ward delimitation has been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, but the case pertaining to the status of municipal council and municipal corporation is also pending.

Recently, the administration approved the formation of 20 wards in the city. The Panchkula MC will comprise11 wards, apart from Pinjore and Kalka.

Six wards have been reserved for women, three for Scheduled Castes and two for Backward Classes. To reserve the wards, a lottery system was adopted by the administration. "Earlier, there were 31 representatives and now with the formation of the wards there will be 11 representatives in the township," said BB Singhal, former MC vice-president. 




chandigarh scan
Book released

Nek Chand(centre) on the launch of a book in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Nek Chand(centre) on the launch of a book in Chandigarh on Saturday. A Tribune photograph 

The book, “How India Lost and Won Freedom”, authored by VP Mehta, was released at the Rock Garden by Nek Chand on Saturday. The book gives an incisive account of the freedom struggle. It describes the process of conquering India by the British as very peculiar and unique in the Indian history because all the conquerors entered India from the north-west through the Khyber Pass but in the case of the British, the East India Company entered India from the south and east of the country for the purpose of trade only.

Talk on numerology

"Even as the world is moving towards the era of nanotechnology but the disciplines, such as astrology, numerology, and palmistry, traditionally grouped under “occultism” have surfaced with a vengeance," former CCA principal Dr SS Bhatti said in his address on “numerology:fact and fiction”, organised by the First Friday Forum during its monthly interaction programme at the Punjab Kala Bhawan on Saturday. He stressed that each of the nine numerals from 1 to 9 covered approximately 800 million people around the globe. "Numerology is an esoteric discipline because it is neither a science nor an art. It is a vast body of facts, studiously collected over a lifetime," he said.

Office-bearers elected

The new executive committee of the Indian Institute of Architects, Chandigarh (Punjab chapter), has been elected for the next two years during a ceremony, held at PHD Chamber of Commerce, Chandigarh, on Saturday . Architect Manmohan Khanna has taken over as the chairman of the chapter. SD Singh and Sarbjt Bahga have been elected as the vice-chairman and honorary treasurer of the chapter.

Self-defence camp

A week-long self defence camp has been organised for women at SCO 193, Sector 16, Panchkula. The camp has been organised by CKD Martial Art School of Education. Master Bikram S Thapa said women of all age groups were requested for enrolment. He said self-defence was the need of the hour.

Scholarship programme

Doaba Institute of Engineering and Technology (DIET) - a unit of the Doaba Group of Colleges - has been selected for the Schneider Electric India Foundation Scholarship. DIET is among the 12 institutes selected for the scholarship in the region. The scholarship is given to the deserving students, pursuing their second year engineering programme in any of the streams (Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics, Computer Science). Under the scholarship the full tuition fee of the selected students is sponsored by the Schneider Electric India Foundation for the entire degree course— TNS



Panel to meet on Jan 7
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The six-member panel of the Education Department, set up about two months before on the directions of the National commission for Minority Educational Institutes, will hold its first meeting on January 7 to evaluate the cases it received so far.

The panel has been constituted to make recommendations regarding the institutions, seeking minority status certificate, to the commission for further consideration.

One of the panel members said the panel would examine and screen the cases of the schools to find out if they were fit for the status as per the rules framed for the purpose. “The panel has the power to reject the cases if they don’t fall within the rules framed for the purpose,” said an official.

The schools, who have applied for the minority status, include Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 41 and Sector 45, and kids-r-kids School, Sector 42.

The panel members, include Chanchal Singh, Deputy Director, School Education-1, Sudhir Prashar, Assistant Controller (F&A), Ram Kumar Sharma, District Education Officer, Sunil Bedi, a subject expert.

As per information, the schools are seeking the minority status due to the Supreme Court’s order, in which the court had declared that 25 per cent reservation for the economically weaker section (EWS) students would not be applicable to the unaided minority schools. There are several others schools in Chandigarh, including Vivek High School, Sector 38, New India Public School, Sector 18, St Kabir, Sector 26, Saupin's, Sector 32, whose cases are pending with the commission.

Some government officials, however, said several schools were not ethically right in seeking the minority status as they were not formed for the welfare of any community and they did not give preference to any community during their admission process.

Among the schools in Chandigarh, who have the minority status certificate, include Carmel Convent School, Sacred Heart Public School, St Anne’s Convent School, St John’s High School.



PSA test to be held on February 14
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The special problem solving assessment (PSA) test of the CBSE will be held for class IX and XI on February 14. The board has made it mandatory for all its schools to conduct the test for the students of the two classes this academic year.

This test will assess the life skills and its basic motive is to assist the students in acquiring problem solving and decision-making skills through the exams. The test, carrying 60 questions of 90 marks, will be presented in the shape of multiple choice question (MCQ). It will assess a student's ability to comprehend and analyse quantative reasoning, qualitative reasoning and language conventions.

The quantitative domain of the PSA test will emphasise on logical and numerical reasoning, based on humanities, arts and social sciences, while qualitative domain will check mathematics and science reasoning. In language conventions different aspects of written communication will be tested.

The test will assess a student’s ability to process, interpret and use information rather than assessing a student’s prior subject knowledge. Rakesh Sachdeva, principal of DAV, Sector 15, said the items in the problem solving assessment test would be designed to improve generic and higher order thinking skills.

For Class IX, the problem solving assessment test will be counted for the formative assessment-4, which is 10 per cent of the total assessments of the academic session. This assessment will also be carried forward to the FA-4 in Class X. The students will have the option of improving their PSA Score in class X as they can sit for the test with class IX students for the next academic session. The best scores will reflect in the final certificate, if applied for improvement. For class XI, the students will get a certificate by July this year. 



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