C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Martyrdom day a token celebration
Only 12 councillors attend MC function to pay homage to national heroes
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
It seems the people’s representative in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation were too busy to spare a few moments to pay respect to martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation.

In an apparent reflection of the casual approach of councillors, both elected and nominated, only 12 out of the 36 elected representatives attended a function organised by the MC to observe Martyrdom Day at Terraced Garden in Sector 33.

Mayor Subhash Chawla said every councillor should rise above the party lines and attend such functions. On a question of taking action against councillors who did not attend the function, the Mayor said there was no provision of taking action against anyone for not attending the MC function.

Leader of the Opposition in MC Arun Sood said the SAD-BJP councillors had more respect for martyrs as compared to the Congress. The MC had not sent proper invitations, therefore many councillors failed to attend this function, he said.

Interestingly, councillors of both the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine were absent from the function, whereas all MC officials attended the function.

Former Mayor and councillor Pardeep Chhabra said everybody should pay homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation. F&CC member and councillor Mukesh Bassi said: “We should salute the heroes.”

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal laid a wreath at the martyrs’ pillar in Terraced Garden and paid homage to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.

Martyrs’ kin honoured

Swinder Kaur, wife of sepoy Mela Singh; Jaswantjeet Kaur, wife of 2nd LT Ajit Singh; Gurinder Kang, wife of Capt Balbir Singh Kang; Harbinder Bajwa, wife of Maj MS Bajwa; Kanta Lakhanpal, wife of Maj DP Lakhanpal; Satish Kumar, wife of Sqn Ldr JD Kumar; Shamsher Kaur, wife of sepoy Mukhtiar Singh; Neelam, wife of sepoy Nand Lal; Svita Rana, wife of Lt Col SS Rana; Harinder Paul Kaur, wife of Brig BS Shergill; Rajinder Kaur, wife of Lt Col Sujan Singh; Neema Rawal, wife of lance naik Vikram Singh; Santosh Kaur, wife of grenadier Nanak Singh; Sudesh Sharma, mother of Capt Atul Sharma; Devinder Singh Sandhu, father of Lt Rajeev Sandhu; Manohar Singh, father of Capt Hardip Singh

Councillors who remained absent

Congress: Senior Deputy Mayor Rana Kashmiri Devi, councillors Sat Parkash Aggarwal, Poonam Sharma, Darshan Garg and Sheela Devi

BJP: Arun Sood, Saurabh Joshi, Asha Jaswal, Rajesh Gupta, Satinder Singh, Heera Negi, Davesh Moudgil, Rajinder Kaur Rattu and Desraj Gupta

SAD: Harjinder Kaur & Malkiat Singh

BSP: Jannat Jahan Ul Haq and Naresh Kumar

Independent: Gurcharan Dass Kala

Nominated: Anoop Sunny Gill, Aruna Goel, Amrit Tewari, Shagufta Parveen and Surinder Bahga

Who attended the function

MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, Mayor Subhash Chawla, Deputy Mayor Satish Kainth, councillors Mukesh Bassi, Pardeep Chhabra, Gurbax Rawat, Raj Bala Malik, Harphool Chander Kalyan, Babu Lal, DS Sandhu, MP Kohli and Sat Paul Bansal

Bansal for congestion tax

Union Railways Minister and MP Pawan Kumar Bansal is in favour of imposing congestion tax. On the martyrdom day function, he said there was no harm in paying little amount for better services.

Martyrs’ pillar

The martyrs’ pillar is a 17’X 3” high three-faced pillar with a hexagonal star-shaped base made of black granite. It bears the names of 33 martyrs belonging to Chandigarh.



Their sacrifice goes unrecognised
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 23
On the Martyrdom Day of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru, officials of the Panchkula Administration preferred to laze around at home.

The three freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives for the nation, were not even paid floral tributes.

The Mini Secretariat at Sector 1 wore a deserted look, with the officials putting in no efforts to observe the day.

Various school and college students took out processions to mark the day, but it is sad that the Administration officials did not do anything to make the day special.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda joined a rally in Ambala to pay tributes to the martyrs.

Tarsem Garg, president of the Residents Welfare Association, Sector 7, said, "We can never forget the supreme sacrifice of the three." "The revolutionaries had envisaged an independent India. The officials should have done something to recognise their service to the nation," said Vishal Sharma, a resident of Mansa Devi Complex (MDC), Sector 4. Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar did not respond.

Brar's spokesperson Paramjit Singh said, "The authorities observe the Martyrdom Day of all 
freedom fighters on the same day."

The execution

Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case and ordered to be hanged on March 24, 1931. That schedule was moved forward by 11 hours to 23 March, although Bhagat Singh was not informed about it until the day arrived. Bhagat Singh was hanged on March 23, 1931 at 7.30 pm in Lahore jail with his friends Rajguru and Sukhdev. The jail authorities then broke the rear wall of the jail and secretly cremated the three martyrs under the cover of darkness outside Ganda Singh Wala village.



Cops to hone their English skills
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Having given up on policemen's Hindi/Punjabi skills, the UT police wants its men to try English for 'better communication' with the educated people. The police has tied up with experts to make the newly recruited constabulary, especially from Punjab and Haryana, comfortable with the language.

"There have been cases when the constabulary on traffic duty are uncomfortable in interacting with educated persons," said a police officer.

The modalities of the classes are being worked out and constables in batches will be attending the classes.

UT DIG RS Ghuman said the constables who don't speak English will be given a crash course in spoken English. "The exercise will also help in developing soft skills of police personnel," he said.

The DIG, who was interacting with members of the Residents' Welfare Associations, said: "City residents are sophisticated and we are giving training our staff to develop their communication skills."

Surinder Shrama, president of the Sector 15 RWA, said: "Better communication skills of policemen will help in better coordination between the residents and the police. Many retired officials from the Army, civil services and banking sector reside in Chandigarh who interact in English. If policemen start interacting in the same language, there will be better communication and it will be good for the police too," Sharma said.



Bajwa’s swearing-in causes chaos on road
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Haphazard parking of vehicles near Congress Bhawan in Sector 15 led to long traffic jams on Madhya Marg.

A large number of party workers had come to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa.

Buses and cars ferrying Congress workers were also parked on the inner roads of the sector.

Sahil Chauhan, a resident of Sector 15, said the buses were parked on the narrow roads leading to traffic congestion. “There was no designated parking place for the vehicles which led to chaos,” he said.

Another resident Vikram Singh said: “The police should have ensured that the residents don’t get harassed due to haphazard parking.”

The vehicles were also parked on the road between the Sector 15-16 light point and Sector 15-16 roundabout, internal road of Sector 11 opposite Sector 15.



35-year-old raped at Pinjore

Panchkula: A 35-year-old woman was allegedly raped by a taxi driver at Pinjore on Saturday evening, the police said. She had hired the taxi to go home.

The victim, a resident of Pinjore, was thrown off the moving vehicle at an isolated place, sources said. — TNS



holi rush
2 trains to have more coaches
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
As the festival of colours is round the corner, the Railways has decided to add coaches to the Lucknow Express and Unchahar Express to ease the Holi rush.

Both the trains will have additional coaches for two weeks.

A general sleeper class coach will be added to the Lucknow Express from March 25 to April 8.

The Unchahar Express will also have an additional general sleeper class coach.

The Ambala division of the Railways had recently sent a report to the higher authorities about the long waiting list of passengers willing to go to their hometown in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for Holi.

The average waiting list of theses trains touched 300. The Lucknow Express and Unchahar Express have 17 coaches each.

Senior divisional commercial manager Gulshan said the Ambala division had asked the higher railway authorities to add coaches to these trains after monitoring the ticket booking details to facilitate the passengers.


Abducted girl traced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
The seven-year-old girl, who was allegedly forcibly taken away by a Zirakpur resident, was traced to Kurukshetra yesterday.

The accused, Harpal, is yet to be arrested.

The police said the accused abducted the girl on March 21 when she was alone at her house in Colony Number 5.

The police took the accused's father, Munna, in custody. He told the police that his son had taken the girl to Kurukshetra.

On learning that the police had rounded up his father, the accused called up the police asking it to hand over the girl to her parents. The medical examination of the girl has confirmed rape attempt.

A case has been registered. In another case, two persons tried to outrage the modesty of a girl. The police is trying to identify the accused.



Surprise check at District Courts complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
A surprise inspection was conducted at the District Courts Complex in Sector 43 by Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge TPS Mann today. Justice TPS Mann took a round of the entire complex, including the courtrooms and the service block.

He was accompanied by District and Sessions Judge SK Aggarwal. They met all the Judges and Magistrates during the inspection.

The complex was inaugurated last month and a help desk was set up on Friday. There are a total of 20 courtrooms in the new complex.



Residents welfare bodies take traffic complaints to IG
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
In an interaction with IG RP Upadhyaya, the representatives of the Residents Welfare Associations put up queries related to wrong parking, traffic congestions and traffic violations.

The representatives met the IG at the traffic lines in Sector 29. The representatives of the RWA from Sector 7 complained that the school buses plying on V-6 roads were a threat to senior citizens.

An association member from Sector 8 said vehicles parked behind showrooms in Sector 8-C led to traffic congestion outside houses.

Residents of Sector 7 said the Sunday car bazaar was a nuisance.

The members asked the IG why the traffic policemen had failed to check helmet-less riding.

JN Sharma, another member, from Sector 51, said beat boxes should be adequately staffed. SP (Traffic) Maneesh Chaudhary said his department was even-handed and dealt with all violators without any bias. "We have even fined the IAS and IPS officers. If a resident notices any violation, he/she can click the picture of the violator and upload it on Facebook," Chaudhary said. A representation was submitted by the Federation of Sector Welfare Association Chandigarh.

The IG said efforts would be put in to tide over the residents' problems. "In the next meeting, we will table an action taken report on the issues," he said.



25 receive tricycles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Tricycles and wheelchairs were distributed among 25 differently abled persons at a camp during a national workshop on disability through the lens of art and culture organised by the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies in Sector 26.

A souvenir was also released on the day. Experts said the motive behind providing these devices to the differently abled was to facilitate their physical mobility and routine activities.

Professor and head, department of rural development, NITTTR, Chandigarh, Dr JS Saini said the need of the hour was to provide entrepreneurship-based vocational education to accelerate the pace of economic empowerment of the persons with disability.



World Tuberculosis Day
A question mark over number of TB patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Even 10 months after the Union Government declared tuberculosis (TB) a notifiable disease, the UT health department has not been able to record the exact number of TB patients in the city.

Reason: A majority of private hospitals and clinics in the city have failed to get registered with the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP). The issue was highlighted in these columns on January 19.

As per official figures, a total of 2,745 new TB patients were notified in the past one year. However, these comprise only those being treated at government institutions.

The significance of the notification of TB patients was to ensure that the patient was tracked till the completion of the treatment. Dropping out of treatment is common among these patients. "For ensuring a proper follow-up, notification is very important, said Dr Anil Garg, state TB officer.

The notification also assumes significance since TB is a highly contagious disease and keeping track of the TB patients helps in gauging its spread among others exposed to the registered patients.

The diagnosis and the treatment of pulmonary and extra-pulmonary tuberculosis is available free of cost at government-run institutions, including government hospitals and dispensaries.

On May 7, 2012, the Central Government declared tuberculosis a notifiable disease.

This primarily expected the healthcare providers, including clinical establishments run or managed by the government, private institutions and NGOs, to get registered with the RNTCP and provide details of the tuberculosis patients visiting them regularly.

What is a notifiable disease?

It's a disease that is identified as a major health problem accounting for substantial morbidity and mortality in the country.



Man dies in accident

Zirakpur, March 23
A security guard of a private company died in an accident at Singhpura T-point near Zirakpur. The deceased was identified as 36- year-old Bora Singh, hailing from UP.

He was returning from duty and became victim of an unknown vehicle, while crossing the highway at around 8:30 pm. He was rushed to GMCH Chandigarh where he succumbed to his injuries.— OC



Pensioners should mentor youth, says ex-chief secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Punjab’s former Chief Secretary and president of the Government Pensioners Association KD Vasudeva today called upon the pensioners to play a proactive role in making the youth ideal citizens. Vasudeva asked them to use their rich expertise and knowledge in initiating skill-development programmes for the youth.

Vasudeva was speaking at a seminar organised by the Punjab Irrigation Retired Engineers' Welfare Association at the Institute of Engineers. The seminar aimed at motivating the youth to contribute in the nation building.



rte act
No clarity over filling of seats
Vivek Gupta
Triune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Uncertainty looms over the filling of vacant seats reserved under the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act in the private schools of the city.

Even as the UT Education Department prepared the list of private schools with vacant seats, there was no clarity whether these seats would be filled after private schools boycotted the department’s centralised admission process.

An official of the education department said the situation had become tricky for the department. “If the department fails to admit children from economically weaker section (EWS) to private schools, it will not only face major embarrassment, but can also lead to a protest by parents who applied for the admission of their children to these schools,” he said.

Meanwhile, Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, received nearly 90 applications from the EWS students in the past two days.

Who is to blame

City-based RTE activist Pankaj Chandgothia said both the private schools and the education department were to be blamed for the non-implementation of the RTE Act even in its third and final year of implementation.

As far as the department is concerned, it had failed to take any action against schools. The officials, moreover, have not been able to effectively answer queries raised by the schools, leading to confusion, he said. “On the other hand, schools are raising lame issues such as the reimbursement issue which are not a precondition for granting admission to students belonging to the EWS and disadvantaged groups,” Pankaj said.

Defending the stand of schools, HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association, said that none of the private schools was refusing to fill the reserved seats. The problem is that the administration had failed to implement the Act in its true form, he said.

“For how long can we continue to enrol students free-of-cost?” said Mamik, citing the bills pending for the past two years. He said in such a condition, schools would lose their quality standard. He reiterated that unless the department did not officially notify the main points, none of the 34 schools would enrol any child.

A senior official of the department said the government was looking into the issue. “As far as the implementation of the RTE Act is concerned, no one can shirk their responsibility,” he said.



15 more buses to ferry schoolchildren
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking with the assistance of the UT Education Department is all set to dedicate 15 more buses to the ferrying of government schoolchildren.

With this the total number of special student buses will reach 40. At present, 20 special buses are running in the morning hours and five in the afternoon on various routes.

Officials said the new buses would ply both in the morning and afternoon hours. “While improving the morning bus service, the move will give a major boost to the afternoon bus service that does not have a sufficient number of buses,” said a senior official of the department.

As per the education department’s data, there are more than 8,000 students using public transportation to commute every day.

While confirming the development, CTU General Manager SP Parmar said the new buses would be plying on roads within a week. “At present we are finalising the routes as per the data provided by the education department. We will soon issue the revised schedule plan for students,” he said.

The education department officials said after the new buses start plying, they would carry out a fresh analysis to see if any more buses were required.

Sources said it was Anupama’s death that triggered the debate on a separate transportation facility for the government schoolchildren. Anupama (17), a student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 18, fell off a CTU bus and died of her injuries at the PGI.



Two youths injured during SJOBA rally
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 23
Two youths participating in the St John's Old Boys Association (SJOBA) rally suffered injuries after their car lost balance and fell into a gorge at Pinjore.

The police reached the spot. Both the injured were rushed to a local hospital where their condition is said to be stable.

One of the injured youth was identified as Ravi Bhaskar.

Today was the second stage of the rally.

The rally is conducted annually by the alumni association of St John’s High School, Sector 26.



Training programme for hospitality students

Chandigarh, March 23
In order to align students' abilities with requirements of the hospitality industry, the UT Information Technology Department has introduced a programme at the Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology.

The CTOSS programme has been designed to polish communication, interpersonal, intra-personal and interview skills of students, along with their corporate grooming and to instil business as well as telephone etiquettes in students.

Officials said in the hospitality industry, soft skills were considered critical since it was part of the service sector and needed direct interaction with customers at every stage.

Prerna Puri, Secretary (IT), UT administration, said: “This training programme is an effort to enhance the quality of students in order to meet the demand for skilled manpower." — TNS



Jhankaar 2013 begins at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Jhankaar, the annual fest of Panjab University, was inaugurated today on the university campus.

The convener of Jhankaar 2013 gave a brief presentation which was followed by various events including face painting, rangoli making, poster making and T-shirt painting.

The first day concluded with the bhangra and gidda competitions in which students of various colleges participated. Different rock bands from North India took part in the "Battle of Bands".



120 students take part in painting competition

Chandigarh, March 23
Arya Samaj Mandir, Sector 18, today organised a painting competition as a part of the Holi celebrations. Over 120 children from various schools participated under various age categories on the temple premises.

Temple’s patron Kuldeep Khanduja said various events including gulaal holi, group song, bhajan sandhya and kavi sammelan will also be organised in the coming days. — TNS



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