C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


IPS officer Saji Mohan, three others convicted
Found guilty of drug pilferage; sentence to be pronounced on Monday; Jammu and Kashmir constable acquitted of all charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Shalini Nagpal today convicted a 1995 batch IPS officer and former zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Chandigarh, Saji Mohan, in a case of drug pilferage. Three other co-accused in the case, including a former Superintendent of the NCB, Balwinder Kumar, have also been convicted while another accused, Saji Mohan's PSO, has been acquitted of all charges.

The court convicted Saji Mohan under Sections 21-C and 29 of the NDPS Act, holding him guilty of drug pilferage and sale of heroin. The quantum of sentence will be pronounced on March 11.

The court has, however, acquitted Saji Mohan under Sections 59 (1) and 59 (2) of the NDPS Act.

The other accused in the case, who have been convicted under Sections of NDPS Act, are the then NCB Superintendent, Balwinder Kumar, Saji’s then PSO Naveen Kumar and an informer, Naseeb Chand, who was accused of pilfering drugs and selling these. Jammu and Kashmir constable Devinder Pal Singh is the only one out of the five accused to have been acquitted of all charges.

The case

The case of drug pilferage was registered against the then NCB Director, Saji Mohan, and four others on March 14, 2009, after inputs were received by the NCB, Chandigarh, from the ATS, Mumbai, that Saji Mohan pilfered drugs during his tenure here. According to the case, Saji Mohan "manipulated" the contraband seized from various places in Punjab and Jammu during his tenure and added slaked lime to the contraband to enhance its quantity.

According to the prosecution, Saji Mohan, along with the four others, pilfered heroin from 13 unclaimed seizures, which were stored in the storeroom of the NCB headquarters in Sector 2 in August 2009. The ATS, Mumbai, had first booked the IPS officer in January 2009 when he was caught with 12 kg of heroin following which the NCB, Chandigarh, had begun investigations, which revealed that Saji Mohan, during his tenure as the NCB Director here, mixed slaked lime in the drugs, keeping aside the "pure" for his personal gain.

Former NCB Superintendent breaks down

Former NCB Superintendent Balwinder Kumar, who was out on bail, was shocked at the verdict and broke down many a time after the orders were pronounced. The Superintendent was earlier hopeful that he would be acquitted. “God is there to take care of me,” he said. The former NCB employee broke down as he informed his colleagues, family and friends on the phone outside the court that he had been held guilty and would have to face a minimum of 10 years in jail. He is at present working in Uttar Pradesh.

Charges against the accused

Saji Mohan: Pilfered and manipulated the contraband seized from various places in Punjab and Jammu and added slaked lime to the contraband to enhance its quantity. The mixing was done at the site of the seizure, wherever possible. In some cases, the entire seized material was brought to the office of the Zonal Director, NCB, where it was packed and sealed after mixing slaked lime in it. The subordinate staff were aware of the pilferage and cash seized from the spot was distributed among the residing staff. Heroin, weighing 10 kg, was handed over to a drug smuggler from Jammu, Nasib Chand.

Balwinder Kumar: A former Superintendent of the NCB, he used to actively mix slaked lime in heroin along with with Saji Mohan.

Naveen Kumar, a constable with the Jammu and Kashmir Police and attached with Saji Mohan as PSO, disclosed that he, along with Balwinder Kumar, mixed lime in heroin and handed it over to Saji Mohan.

Naseeb Chand: He formerly worked as an informer of the BSF, the Customs and Excise Department and other government agencies, and used to get money from them. He disclosed that he crossed the Indo-Pak border several times and was lodged in Pakistan jails many times. Saji Mohan offered him Rs 50,000 per kg for the sale of heroin in the open market and gave him Rs 1,000 as daily expenses.

Who is Saji Mohan

Son of Subedar Major Varghese Yohannan (retired), Saji Mohan did an animal husbandry and veterinary course from Jabalpur University before clearing the Civil Services examination in his second attempt. He also received a bravery award during his posting as the Superintendent of Police, Doda, in 1999. He remained in Doda until 2006 and then joined as the Zonal Director, NCB, Chandigarh.

During his tenure in Chandigarh, Saji Mohan was regularly in the news for cracking down on "high-profile" drug peddlers, owing to his "excellent networking skills" with the local media. Saji Mohan was transferred to Kochi from Chandigarh on December 31, 2008, and arrested a month later by the ATS, Mumbai. Saji Mohan was posted as the Deputy Director of the Enforcement Directorate in Kochi when he was first arrested by the ATS in January. He had cracked down on major drug-smuggling gangs in Chandigarh, which included a recovery of 4 kg of heroin, worth Rs 4 crore in the international market.

The 1995-batch Jammu and Kashmir cadre IPS officer headed the zonal office of the Chandigarh Narcotics Control Bureau for about two years and maintained a high profile throughout this period.

Saji Mohan was also extensively quoted by the media when the NCB team arrested a notorious drug peddler, Raju, who indicated towards the involvement of a few Chandigarh Police officers in the drug-trafficking racket. Based on Saji Mohan’s report, six officers were placed under suspension.

Another big arrest carried out during Saji Mohan's tenure was of peddler Paramjit Singh of Attari village and Burundi national Festus Benson, in December 2007. Over 10 kg of heroin was recovered from their possession. NCB officials had then claimed that the contraband was being brought from Afghanistan to India via Pakistan.

How the case unfolded

March 14, 2009: NCB books Saji Mohan and four others in a case of drug pilferage

October 6, 2009: Police files chargesheet

November 11, 2010: Court frames charges against Saji Mohan and four others

December 2012: Court amends charge

March 8, 2013: Saji Mohan and three others convicted.

Will move HC, says officer

Looking calm and composed after the orders were pronounced, Saji Mohan said he would file an appeal in the High Court. “Majboori hai, aur kya kar sakte hain,” he said, while talking to mediapersons.



Just another day for women; say functions serve little purpose
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
International Women's Day was just another day for scores of women working in several government departments in Chandigarh, who continue to face hardships at the workplace and endlessly wait for the fulfillment of their demands despite assurances and ritualistic celebrations on the day.

Terming the brouhaha over the day as "meaningless", a majority of the women working in government departments feel that it serves no real purpose. They believe that rather than wasting time and money on organising functions to mark the day, the authorities should take up issues for the welfare of women in their departments. They say for the past more than a decade, urgent issues raised by them have often been pushed under the carpet by officials.

Women made to sweep office

For the women staff of the Railway Mail Service of the Department of Posts, the celebrations to mark the day started with brooming the office as the sweeper did not turn up. It was a tough task for most women employees, who suffer from painful shoulder conditions owing to sitting on low chairs and high tables while stamping and sorting out mail. Pointing out their grievances, the women staff said for the past 15 years, they had been demanding a dormitory and a separate washroom to relax, but nothing had been done in this regard. The demand for a pick-and-drop facility for women staff on night duty at 10 pm had also been ignored by the department.

Women staff hold protest

Women employees of the Indian Council for Child Welfare today staged a protest at the venue of a function organised by the UT Social Welfare Department to mark Women's Day. They were protesting against the non-fulfillment of their demands regarding recruitment of staff and revised perks.

Creches short of staff

Thirteen posts of teacher have been lying vacant in creches for the past one year. The workload of two creches is being handled by one teacher. As a result, the dropout rate of toddlers in 26 creches, which are managed by just 13 teachers, has reached 30 per cent in the past one year. Similarly, 15-odd posts of helper are lying vacant in the creches due to which the department has to hire the services of daily wage workers.

Last year, at a meeting of the executive committee, the pay scales of the staff were revised from January 2011. However, so far, the arrears have not been given to them. The decision of the committee on the basic pay and the DA for teachers has also not been implemented.

Helpers get a pittance

The honorarium fixed for each helper deployed in creches is a meagre Rs 1,000 per month. The helpers have to work for nine hours. For the past six years, representations have been given to the board to revise the honorarium to get professional helpers, but the demand has not been met. It has been pointed out a number of times that due to the meagre honorarium, the authorities are unable to find professional helpers for creches due to which children are not provided the required care and handling.



Liquor prices set to go up in city
Excise policies of Punjab, Haryana put UT in a fix
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Liquor prices are all set to rise in the city. The UT Excise and Taxation Department is in a fix over drafting the excise policy for 2013-2014 after having incurred a projected loss of over Rs 75 crore due to closure of around 27 vends. Counting on the losses due to the closure of roadside vends following an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, officials are wedged between the new excise policies announced by Punjab and Haryana.

An official said the quota of the Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and country-made liquor would be brought down to provide relief to the licensees, who had been crying foul over the "huge" existing quota: two crore proof litres for the IMFL and 27 lakh proof litres for country-made liquor.

The official said the "populist policy" of Haryana was giving sleepless nights to the department, especially because of the competitive rates in Panchkula. Besides, the UT was under constant pressure from the powerful liquor lobby of Punjab to bridge the gap between the liquor prices in the UT and Mohali.

He said the UT was likely to continue with the existing policy of inviting tenders and might increase the excise duty and the assessment fee.

Last year, the UT had increased the minimum retail price (MRP) of the IMFL and country-made liquor by 40 to 50 per cent. However, due to huge quota, licensees kept selling liquor much below the MRP.

The UT is "struggling with the issue" of closing down vends on government land and along roadsides. Officials apprehend major losses in Mani Majra in the wake of the new policy of Haryana. The existing policy of fixing the minimum reserve price of a liquor vend based on the highest quoted price of last year for the respective vend and further increasing it by 20 per cent is also being debated.

What you can expect

  • Liquor and beer prices set to rise
  • Number of vends to come down
  • Liquor quota likely to be brought down
  • Projected loss due to closure of 27 vends around Rs 75 crore
  • Holograms to be introduced



Auction of liquor vends gives dept a high
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 8
The auction of the Panchkula liquor vends fetched a huge amount with the liquor vends of Sector 10, Sector 12A and Sector 14 going at the highest amount of around Rs 6.80 crore. The auction was held at the DC office, Sector 1, Panchkula. The second highest liquor vend went for approximately Rs 2.60 crore.

The allotment of retail outlets and groups outlets of Country Liquor and Indian Made Foreign Liquor were opened in the presence of a committee headed by Panchkula Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner (Sale Tax), Panchkula Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner (Excise) and bidders. The Excise and Taxation Commissioner (R), Ambala Range, was also present as observer.

It was told that total 19 groups of Indian Made liquor Foreign (IMFL) and 21 groups of Country liquor have been allotted. In country liquor total bid amount is Rs 31, 78, 54,887 against last year bid amount of Rs 23,95,90,000 which has been increased by 32.57 per cent.

While in Indian Made Foreign Liquor total bid amount is Rs 59, 23, 67,672 against the last year bid amount Rs 36, 86, 35, 021 which has been increased by 60.69 per cent. In Country Liquor maximum increase of 52 per cent is given by group no.14 (Mattanwala, Bana and Ramgarh) which has been allotted to Labh Singh and in Indian Made Foreign Liquor maximum increase of 125 per cent is given by group no. 12 (Bhainsa Tibba, Swastik Vihar and Sector 3, MDC, Panchkula) which has been allotted to Azad Singh.

In Indian Made liquor Foreign liquor the maximum revenue is contributed by group no 19 in (Sector 10, Sector14 and Sector 12A/Rally) amounting to Rs 6, 81, 51,551 which has been allotted to Salim Khan and in Country Liquor maximum revenue is contributed by group no 19 (Buddenpur, Industrial Area Ph-2 & Abhaypur) amounting to Rs 2, 64, 25,000 which has been allotted to Mukesh Kumar. Two groups were reserved for SC category in each, Indian Made Foreign Liquor and Country Liquor. One group was reserved for BC (A) category in each, Indian Made Foreign Liquor and Country Liquor.



Scheme for women entrepreneurs launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
On the occasion of International Women Day, the Central Bank of India launched a scheme for women entrepreneurs. Cent Kalyan is a loan scheme dedicated to providing easy and hassle-free finance to women entrepreneurs. The maximum loan that a woman can avail under this scheme would be Rs 1 crore without having any collateral security and third party guarantee.

In another event, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) decided to observe this day as Nanhi Chaan Day for the Northern region. Pikender Singh, regional director of the CII, northern region, said: “We will distribute saplings among all members of the CII and ask the them to sensitise their workforce on foeticide.

Women achievers honoured

The Chandigarh Social Welfare Board honored 23 women achievers here today as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations. UT Finance Secretary VK Singh gave away the awards to the women. Ninette Vas, wife of UT Adviser to Administrator KK Sharma, inaugurated the seminar on “Combating Discrimination against Women”, organised by the board.

Kendriya Vidyalaya-31

The Sai Tara Ummat Foundation and the Station House Officer of Sector 31 police station, celebrated the day at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31. Ninette Vas, wife of UT Adviser to Administrator, was the chief guest on the occasion. Twenty-eight women who excelled in different fields were honoured on the occasion.

State-level function

The UT Social Welfare Department organised a state-level function at the Bal Bhawan in collaboration with Chandigarh Child and Women Development Corporation, State Mission for Empowerment of Women, Indian Council for Child Welfare and Chandigarh Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes here today. KK Sharma, UT Adviser to the Administrator, was the chief guest. The theme of the function was “promise is a promise - time for action to end violence against women”.

BSNL staff congratulated

More than 100 BSNL women employees from all over the offices in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali participated in a function at Chandigarh Telecom District. BSNL circle president RL Moudgil congratulated the women staff on behalf of the union. He explained different roles played by women in the most effective manner.


March to honour women

Carrying placards, a large number of people today marched to the Sector 14 Government College for Girls from the district courts, Panchkula. The function was organised by the District Legal Services Authority. Diya Rathi, a student of class III, prepared all placards for the march. Manbir Singh Rathi, DLSA, legal aid counsel, said people from various associations and units in Panchkula joined the march to honour women.

Special evening for teachers

The staff of The Gurukul, Sector 20, Panchkula, was in for a big surprise as McDonald’s in Fun Republic, Mani Majra, organised a fun-filled special evening for the teachers on the day. An initiative of McDonald’s store manager Rohit Punj and senior assistant manager Kubesh, the programme made the staff feel special. Games like musical chair and statue and dance were also organised.



Woman overcomes social barriers
Earns Rs 1 lakh per month by making fertilisers
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 8
Chanderkala, a woman from the interior Haryana, has overcome all social barriers for the battle of life and is earning Rs 1 lakh per month today. The woman, who sometimes even guards the dense jungles in her area in Rewari, catches earthworms and makes fertilisers.

Chanderkala, who hails from Mahendragarh in Rewari, was among those who were honoured by the state Forest Department at the Forest Complex, Pinjore, Panchkula. Over 1,000 women working with the Forest Department were honoured on the occasion today.

The woman, a widow, started her work from just Rs 2,000 in 2001 and now, she has about 50 men and women taking training from her in this field.

“Only I know how I felt when my husband died after receiving an electric shock. Both my son and daughter were small at that time. I met one of the officials of the Forest Department at my village where I realised that I can do this work,” said Chanderkala.

She said: “For about one year, I was given the work of guarding jungles in my area. Initially, I was afraid of the work, but gradually my work became my passion. Then I started with the work of catching earthworms and making fertilisers. Now, I make fertilisers worth Rs 1 lakh per month”.

Chanderkala today has about 30 women in her group. She started teaching other men and women of her village how to make fertilisers.

“In the interior Haryana, a woman in 'ghoonghat' is not even allowed to move out of the house. Only I know how I managed to do this work. Today, my son is an engineer in Gurgaon and my daughter is pursuing B.Sc,” said Chanderkala.



78-year-old woman sets example of courage
Gives hot chase to chain snatchers; injured

Panchkula, March 8
The real woman who brought out the significance of the International Women’s Day today was the 78-year-old Bimla who chased two criminals, running to a distance just to get her friend’s chain back which they had snatched. Unfortunately, Bimla fell down and got injured.

A gold chain of a 73-year-old woman, resident of Sector 10, Panchkula, was snatched by two miscreants, wearing helmets, on the pretext of asking about her son. The victim, Raj Kumari, was seeing her friend Bimla off when one of the miscreants approached her and asked about her son whose name plate was put up outside.

“One of the snatchers approached me and asked about my son. I said that he wasn’t at home and that he was at his office. Suddenly, the youths snatched my chain and fled. My friend Bimla tried to chase them,” said the victim.

Bimla said, “The youth was near me. I thought I would get hold of him. But unfortunately, I slipped and fell. I hurt my palm and knees.”

Surprisingly, the snatching spot is just 200 meters away from the police post, Sector 10. The victim alleged that several phone calls were made at the 100 number but no help reached the victim.

“My wife called up on the 100 number six times, but no one answered. Then I called up five times on the official phone number of DCP Ashwin Shenvi. But even he did not respond. I can just say that the police machinery has failed in Panchkula,” said Mohit Batra, son of the victim.

It was after Batra, who was in Chandigarh during the incident, called up on the Chandigarh police control room that the latter confirmed the alternative number of the Panchkula police control room.

The station house officer of the Sector 5 police station reached the spot and assured that the criminals would be nabbed soon.



DRDO to double strength of women scientists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Commemorating the International Women’s Day, The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) organised a seminar on “Women in Science, Education and Research” (WISER-2013) at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory’s ranges at Ramgarh near here today.

Over 350 women scientists, technologists, officers and staff from different laboratories of DRDO from across the country attended the seminar. The focal theme of the seminar was to highlight the contribution of women in science, education and research.

In her inaugural address, Mamta Sharma, chairperson, National Commission for Women, said social ills like gender inequality, child marriages, women trafficking, foeticide and dismissal sex ratio continued to haunt the country. Pointing out that the lack of implementation of various government uplift schemes was a big lacunae, she emphasised the need for society as a whole to be sensitised to curb crime against women.

Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Director-General, DRDO, Dr VK Saraswat, in his presidential address, stressed the need for the empowerment of women for the all-round development of society and the nation.

He said at present women formed only about 14 per cent of the scientific manpower in the DRDO. This, he said, would be increased to 30 per cent over the coming years.

Stating that education for and economic empowerment of women was essential, he said at DRDO headquarters, more and more women were being given plural corporate responsibilities, which had resulted in many women scientists heading important defence projects.

Director, TBRL, Dr Manjit Singh, emphasised the role of education, which, he said, was the best way to empower women to infuse confidence in the girl child to bring about a fundamental change in the outlook of society and to achieve the goal of gender equality.



Recovery of service tax
UT Admn to issue public notice to lessees of property
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to issue public notice for the recovery of service tax from the lessees of property. The UT Estate Office will be issuing the notice for the recovery of service tax, running into crores of rupee.

Acting on a communiqué from the Central Excise and Service Tax Department regarding the pending dues to be recovered from the lessees, the UT Estate Office has been pressing upon the lessees to pay the service tax. The Central Excise Department has threatened to attach UT’s property, if the tax is not paid on time.

As per the notification of the Centre, owners of the leasehold commercial properties auctioned by the UT Estate Office and those who have converted industrial sites into commercial, have to pay the service tax. All lessees of the commercial property auctioned since July 1, 2007, are bound to pay the service tax at the rate of 12.36 per cent per annum on the lease money/ ground rent charged by the UT Estate Office.

On the leasehold properties auctioned in the city, the lease money is charged for a period of 99 years from the lessees. The service tax division of the Central Excise Department has already taken a note of the failure of the UT Estate Office to recover the service tax.

The defaulters include property owners who have got their sites converted from industrial into commercial under the UT conversion policy, those who have got their residential sites converted into nursing homes, those who have paid earnest money on lease hold commercial plots and those who have paid transfer fee for transfer of leasehold properties. In all such cases, the property owners are being asked to pay the service tax.

Demolition notices irk residents

Continuing with the drive against “non-sanctionable” building violations, the Assistant Estate Officer on Friday issued notices to owners of 150 residential premises in Sector 22 B and C. Officials said the violators were given 15 days to remove the violations or face demolition. Recently, the estate office had issued notices to shops in Sector 19. The notices have been issued under Section 10 and 14 of the Estate Rules 2007. Suriner pal Chuahan, president of the Marla House Association, said a large number of residents gathered in Sector 22 to protest against the notices. He said field staff of the estate office had been threatening them.



Slapping incident
Advocate, head constable not keen on pursuing controversial case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
The controversy in the alleged advocate slapping case is learnt to be heading for an amicable end. Available information suggests both the advocate and the head constable have made it clear that they do not want to pursue the matter.

Their statements were recorded today by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Registrar, Vigilance, Shekhar Kumar Dhawan, in pursuance of a High Court order. It is believed that Chandigarh Police head constable Ramesh Chand and Punjab’s former Senior Additional Advocate-General Rupinder Singh Khosla narrated the sequence of events to the Registrar during the fact-finding inquiry. Indications are that they told the Registrar that they wanted the controversy to come to an end.

Dhawan is expected to submit his report by March 11. The on-going strike by the advocates also comes to an end on the same day. The High Court today remained largely deserted with just about 150 advocates coming to the court complex. The strike was almost complete, with the advocates staying away from the courts. In their absence, some of the litigants took upon themselves the task of arguing the matters. None of the cases were dismissed in default.

The High Court on Thursday had marked an inquiry into the incident after taking cognizance of the matter. The advocates too resolved to resume work from Monday after the Bench on the judicial side directed Dhawan to carry out a fact -finding inquiry into the brawl. The Bench observed after going through the FIR, that an independent inquiry by an independent person was needed.

The order added that the Registrar (Vigilance) would carry out a fact-finding inquiry after hearing head constable Ramesh Chand and advocate Rupinder Singh Khosla and submit the report on March 11. Till the next date, the investigation into the FIR by the police would remain stayed.

The Bench had also added that it was a matter of common knowledge that an untoward incident happened on the court premises on February 26, which led to some altercation between a police official and some members of the bar. On the complaint of the police official, the police had registered the FIR on March 4 at the Sector 3 police station after a gap of one week, and the Bar Association had passed a resolution on March 5 condemning the registration of the FIR.

They have made a request for taking cognizance of the matter, as the bar feels that the FIR was registered on the one-sided version of the police official and the version or viewpoint of the bar members was not even inquired into.

Litigants from far-off places a harassed lot

Chandigarh: It was for the third day the litigants from far flung places had to face harassment due to the strike at the Punjab and Haryana High Court. They had come to attend the hearing of their case today. Suneeta, a resident of Jind, who had come to attend a court hearing, said that her case did not come up for hearing today and her whole day was wasted. In the District Courts in Sector 43 too, the litigants were seen facing inconvenience due to the strike. — TNS



Tribune employees donate 100 units of blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Hundred units of blood were donated during a blood donation camp organised by The Tribune Employees Union on the occasion of International Women’s Day on the premises of The Tribune here today. The President of the Tribune Trust, Justice SS Sodhi (retd) while inaugurating the camp appreciated the efforts of the union for holding the blood donation camp. Bonny Sodhi, wife of Justice SS Sodhi, said it was a good gesture towards women who have always been good mothers, sisters and wives.

Balbir Singh Jandu and Anil Kumar Gupta, president and general secretary, respectively, of the union informed the gathering that it was the 39th consecutive blood donation camp by the union and 10th on the International Women’s Day. The camp was conducted by a team of doctors led by Dr Paramjit Kaur, Department of Transfusion Medicine, GMCH, Sector 32.

Also present on the occasion were Editor-in-Chief Raj Chengappa, Officiating General Manager Vinay Verma, Editor Punjab Tribune Varinder Walia, Editor Dainik Tribune Santosh Tewari, Tribune Model School Principal Vandana Saxena.



Union wants six teachers reinstated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 8
The Government Teachers Union, Mohali, has demanded the reinstatement of six schoolteachers who have been suspended by the Education Department. President of the union Kuldeep Singh Sidhu criticised the action and accused the department of carelessness in assigning duties to the teachers during the Class XII annual examination of the Punjab School Education Board.

According to reports, the teachers were marked absent from duty allegedly due to the lack of care in drawing up the duty schedule or giving due information about the work assigned to them.

Three of the teachers were reported to have been marked for duty at two different examination centres at the same time. In one case, the teacher had been transferred to Patiala but was put on duty at a Lalru examination centre without allegedly being informed in this regard. In another case, the teacher allegedly did not get information that he had been assigned duty at a Dera Bassi centre. In another case, the teacher suspended had undergone an operation and had been given exemption from examination duty.



Man calls 100, plays prank

Chandigarh, March 8
Women constables posted at the Chandigarh police control room had a harrowing time on the International Women’s Day as a Burail resident made repeated calls on the ‘100’ number seeking to talk to women police and said a blast will rock the city.

The police has registered a case of criminal breach of trust against a Burail resident, hailing from Bihar, who played a prank and called the police control room.

The intention behind the call, was just to interact with the woman police attending to calls at the control room, said the accused.

He claimed that the city will witness a blast in the next 10 minutes as he made a call at 9.30 am today. Within a few minutes after his call, he switched off the mobile used for calling.

The police, on investigation, found that Babal of Burail had called up the police control room. The police has arrested Babal.



Special courts to provide speedy justice to women

Mohali, March 8
The Punjab Government will set up special courts to provide speedy justice to women in the state. This was stated by Madan Mohan Mittal, Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Social Security and Development of Women and Children, here today. The minister, who was speaking at a state-level function on Women's Day, said the government was committed to fulfilling the pledge to provide security to women.

All efforts would be made for their empowerment and equality. Mittal said religious scriptures had given women the highest status. He condemned the incidents of crimes against women. He said there was a need to change the mindset of people. — OC



112 PGs raided

Mohali, March 8
The district administration today carried out a surprise check at 112 PG set-ups. According to sources, four teams were formed to carry out the checking in various parts of the town.

While three teams comprised junior engineers from the GMADA and the police officials, the fourth team had SDM Lakhmir Singh and GMADA Estate Officer Navjot Kaur among others. The owners were directed to provide information about their occupants to the police and fulfill the norms laid down by the GMADA on PG accommodation.

Though no challans were issued by the authorities, the PG accommodation owners were told by officials that they had no objection to running PG set-ups but it was mandatory for them to follow the rules laid down in this regard. — OC



MCM DAV students given warm send-off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
MCM College organised an exceptional farewell event, Celebration of Womanhood. The farewell event was a unique communion of the two revered traditions of farewell and Women’s Day celebrations.

Through a plethora of enthralling activities and performances, the MCM DAV sorority bade adieu to the outgoing members of their blithe family. The audience was captivated by the cultural show. The most captivating event was the Ms MCM Farewell Queen Contest.

The contestants adorned the ramp with their poise and charm. Sakoon was all smiles as she received the MCM Farewell Queen title. Shruti and Peffi were the first and the second runners-up, respectively. Amreen’s captivating smile won her the Ms Charming Smile title, while Nimrat bagged the title for Graceful Walk. Shradha’s flowing tresses won her the title of Ms Lustrous Hair and Teghasan was the Ms Glowing Skin. The title for Ms Beautiful Eyes went to Gurjeen, while Mandeep was adjudged the Ms Confidence.

Meanwhile, a farewell party was also organised at Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, for final-year students of Arts, Commerce and Computer Science streams. The gala event included modelling by final-year students. Setting the programme in motion, second-year students presented an array of dances, showcasing the wide multi-cultural canvas of the student population. Bhangra and Punjabi dance performers jolted the stage with vigorous steps and stirring high-spirited music. Manipuri students spread a wave of grace and gentility with soft musical notes working on smooth moves.

From day scholars, Parneet III was declared Miss GGSCW-2012, followed by Aakriti as the first runner-up and Maya as the second runner-up. Harneet Kaur won the title of Miss Charming, while Harmeet was adjudged Miss Elegant. From hostelers, Krishmeet was declared Miss GGSCW 2012, followed by Arpita as the first runner-up and Suma as the second runner-up. Gagandeep Kaur won the title of Miss Charming, while Ramandeep Kaur was adjudged Miss Elegant.



Age no bar for this retired teacher; set to get PhD degree
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
Showing belief in the saying that there is no age for learning, this 65-year-old former PU official is all set to walk the stage on Panjab University’s (PU) 62nd Convocation where he would receive with a PhD degree in public administration. What he could not do throughout his carrier as an academician, BD Buhdiraja finally did it after his retirement.

For Budhiraja, his mother was his mentor who always wanted him to continue doing something new in the life.

“My mother always encouraged me to do something new in life which motivated me to get enrolled for PhD,” he said.

After doing his graduation in 1968 from one of the PU affiliated colleges, did his MSc in mathematics from Punjabi University; Patiala, in 1970 and entered the teaching profession. “I taught at a college for around 24 years. Then I joined as a principal at a college in Ludhiana,” he said.

He also remained as a Senate member of the PU for one term. Later, from 2004 to 2008, he worked as the Dean College Development Council (DCDC) at the PU. “I enrolled for PhD in 2007 under my guides RK Sharma and Charanjit Singh,” Budhiraja said.

He said his guide, RK Sharma, was younger to him and he enjoyed pursuing PhD under him. “More than a guide, he was my friend and a philosopher,” Budhiraja stated.

He will be among 334 students who would be honoured with the PhD degree during the convocation on March 10.

“I am really excited to take the degree along with the younger lot during the convocation,” said Budhiraja, who have a strong belief that life is a never ending learning process which would continue till end.

For him, PhD degree is not enough, he, now wants to write a book out of the research thesis that he had written.



Women's Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
International Women’s Day was today celebrated in various colleges of the city in the form of a signature campaign and a series of lectures. Panjab University students also organised a torch relay on the campus and a street play at the Student Centre.

Misconceptions cleared

The day was celebrated by the Department-cum-Centre for Women’s Studies and Development in collaboration with the Chandigarh Istri Sabha with a lecture by noted peace activist Syeda Diep, Founder-Director, Institute for Peace and Secular Studies, Lahore, on the theme “Women as Messengers of Peace: Past, Present and Future”. In the course of the lecture, she clarified most of the misconceptions regarding the women of Pakistan. She said there was not much difference in the status of women in India and Pakistan. To bring about change, it was essential for men to participate in the women’s movement.

Youth sensitised

The Department of Lifelong Learning and Extension, PU, in collaboration with the YWCA, Sector 11, celebrated the day with an objective to sensitise the youth on crimes against women. Renu Gandhi, Associate Professor at PU, while speaking on gender sensitisation, said crimes against women had become a social problem rather than being limited to any individual. It is therefore necessary to sensitise the youth on the issues of women’s entity, health, socialisation, acceptance of her economic development, empowerment and her decision-making ability.

Signature campaign

NSS volunteers of the Dev Samaj College of Education carried out a signature campaign to stop violence and crimes against women. Around 250 girls of the college came forward and shared their views on equal rights and justice for women. Dr Jyoti Khanna, principal, Dev Samaj College of Education, inspired the students to come forward for their rights and security.

Talk on adolescent health

The NSS wing of Government Home Science College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, organised a talk on International Women's Day. Dr Swapana Misra, a gynaecologist, delivered a talk on adolescent health and gynaecological problems. It was followed by an interactive session on psychological counselling. A workshop was also conducted to generate awareness about gender issues and values with special reference of the sub-urban and rural backdrop.



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