C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


65% turnout in Panchkula MC poll
Polling for 20 wards passes off peacefully; results tomorrow
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 2
The first-ever elections to the Panchkula Municipal Corporation today saw 65 per cent of the total 2.30 lakh voters exercise their right to franchise. The elections for the 20 wards in the corporation passed off peacefully. As many as 231 booths were set up for polling. A police force, comprising 1,475 officials, was deployed to maintain law and order.

Counting will be held on June 4. The results will also be declared the same day.

The highest turnout of 88.05 per cent was reported from ward No. 20. The ward comprises the Ramgarh area and other villages.

Surprisingly, ward No. 9, the main urban area of Panchkula, saw the least polling of 48 per cent. Ward No. 9 comprises elite sectors like 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 18. This ward has over 11,000 voters.

Of all booths in ward No. 8, which comprises the Mansa Devi Complex, Bhainsa Tibba and Saketri, the maximum polling of 67.65 per cent was reported from the booth at Government Primary School in Bhainsa Tibba.

In ward No. 11, comprising the Budanpur area and Sectors 16 and 17, the highest polling of 75.08 per cent was reported from a polling booth at Government Primary School, Budanpur.

In ward No. 18, comprising the Sector 20 flats, the highest polling of 78.81 per cent was reported from a booth at Government Middle School, Kundi.

Duty magistrates and supervisors were seen moving in their respective polling booths to keep a check on violations.



Candidates hire bouncers to guard polling booths
Voters manhandled; police swings into action, detains 9
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 2
Armed bouncers were roped in by some candidates during the municipal corporation elections today to guard polling booths. Dressed in black, the bouncers were seen at most of the polling stations.

Standing guard in support of their respective candidates, the bouncers allegedly manhandled voters owing allegiance to other candidates. Alerted by voters, the police swung into action and detained nine bouncers from different polling stations till the election process ended.

One of the bouncers, allegedly hired by Bhavna Gupta, a contestent from ward No. 10, was nabbed with a sharp weapon at St Soldier’s School, Sector 16, while the others were nabbed from Rally village, which falls in ward No. 14. Sources said the bouncers nabbed from ward No. 14 were hired by Lily Bawa, another candidate.

Six bouncers each were found deployed at the BKM Vishwas School and Saupin's School polling stations in Sector 9. There were allegations that the bouncers were hired by Bhavna Gupta. However, she denied the allegations.

Abhi Mehta, husband of Ranjeeta Mehta, a rival of Bhavna Gupta in the elections, alleged that the bouncers threatened him when he objected to the violation.

“Taxis were used to transport voters to polling booths. When I objected, a bouncer manhandled me and issued threats,” said Abhi Mehta.

Six bouncers, allegedly hired by Lily Bawa, were deployed outside a polling station in a government school in Rally village. Lily denied the allegations, saying that they were family friends.

Sources said the bouncers were hired by candidates so that nobody could object to any violation being done by them. Deputy Commissioner of Polcie Ashwin Shenvi said, "We have detained nine bouncers from various polling booths."



Bogus voting reported in Panchkula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 2
It was a day of bogus voting in Panchkula. A number of residents found that their vote had already been polled. High drama was witnessed at polling booths in Satluj Public School and Sector 2 when an elderly couple found that their vote had already been cast. The couple, TC Sharma and Sushila Sharma, kept waiting for 40 minutes. The two even approached officials present at the booths seeking help, but to no avail.

Clockwise from top: Voters queue up to cast their vote at Sector 20 in Panchkula on Sunday. A man in police custody for allegedly casting a bogus vote at a polling booth in Sector 20. The Haryana police holds a flag march. A supporter gives a demo with a dummy EVM at a polling booth. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal

They had to return home without exercising their right. Four persons complained of bogus voting. They said the officials were not even checking the identity cards of voters.

"The officials should have made arrangements to check bogus voting during the elections," said a resident.

“Candidates should not adopt unfair means to win the elections," said Sakshi Bhandari, who is contesting from Ward Number 2.

On learning about the bogus voting, Assistant Commissioner of Police Krishan Kumar Hooda reached the spot and pacified the agitated residents. Hooda assured the residents of doing the needful. “We have asked the complainants to meet the presiding officer," said Hooda.

A dummy voter was arrested from a polling booth in Sector 20 while the other was nabbed from a polling booth in Sector 14.



Disability not a stumbling block for these voters
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

A polio-afflicted woman comes out of a polling booth in Sector 20.
A polio-afflicted woman comes out of a polling booth in Sector 20.

A woman in a wheelchair on her way to cast her vote in Sector 2.

Panchkula, June 2
Being physically challenged could not act as a stumbling block for some of the voters, who despite their physical problems, came to cast their votes. Notably, such voters could be seen on wheelchairs, crutches. Even elderly voters were seen coming to the polling booths with the help of sticks, in large numbers.

Vishu Sharma, a physically challenged voter, said, "I just want to exercise my right to vote and elect a governing body for my city. For that reason I have come to cast my vote."

Rajbir Singh (88), who had come to cast his vote in Ward 14, said, "I know it will be difficult to stand in long queues. Though I am too old to walk, I thought my vote could get the right person in the chair."

Despite difficulties, they managed to cast their vote peacefully. "My son was telling me not to go out and vote but I insisted on exercising my franchise," said Veerlata, a physically challenged voter.

She further added, "When the candidates work so hard, can't we help them by casting our votes."

DC arranges lunch for patrolling parties

Panchkula: During the Panhckula Municipal Corporation elections, the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police got lunch arranged for the patrolling parties.

The patrolling parties, who were deployed in each ward, were provided lunch in their respective vehicles.

As many as 1,475 police officials were deployed on duty in Panchkula district.

Each ward had a patrolling party along with officers of the rank of inspectors and gazetted officers over them to keep a check in each ward.

"All seven SHOs were in charge of arranging food for the patrolling parties” said DCP Ashwin Shenvi. — TNS



Multi-crore Scams
Accused acquitted as CBI fails to prove charges
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Cases of multi-crore bank scams registered by the CBI over the past few years have fallen flat in the CBI court with the prosecution failing to prove the charges even in a single case. Even as the CBI said its cases were foolproof and it would file appeals before the high court, all accused in four multi-crore bank scams have either been discharged even before the trial could begin or acquitted by the court after hearing the case in the past six months. The court acquitted the accused, giving them the benefit of the doubt in all cases.

The scams looked big at the time of the registration of the cases. In all cases, public sector bank officials were booked for sanctioning loans worth crores on the basis of forged documents, causing a huge loss to the state exchequer. In others cases, bank officials were in the dock for making illegal investments worth crores.

“All such cases were source-based and though the CBI lodged FIRs in all cases, it could not prove the cases in court as no direct evidence was available with the CBI. Blame it on the shoddy investigation of the CBI or otherwise, the prosecution could not link even a single accused with the commission of the crime. They projected a huge loss to the bank in the FIR, but in court they could not project how the bank had suffered a loss,” said advocate Rabindera Pandit, who has been on the side of the defence in most of these cases.

All accused have been acquitted by the CBI Special Court of Vimal Kumar.

“Realities or truth apart, the fundamental and basic presumption in the administration of the criminal law and justice delivery systems is the innocence of the alleged accused till the charge is proved beyond shadow of reasonable doubt on the basis of clear, cogent, credible or unimpeachable evidence. Mere suspicion, however strong it may be, cannot take the place of proof. Graver the charge, greater should be the standard of the proof required. In view of above material facts and well-settled principles of law, it is evident that the prosecution has not produced clear, cogent, credible and convincing evidence to prove the guilt of the accused. Therefore, it is held that the prosecution has failed to prove the guilt of all accused. The prosecution has failed to prove guilt of all accused up to the hilt beyond a shadow of all reasonable doubt. Thus, by giving the benefit of the doubt, all accused are acquitted of charges framed against them,” the CBI court said while acqutting seven accused in a multi-crore bank scam recently.

October 2012
Rs 2-crore loan scam
Bank involved: Punjab National Bank
Court verdict: Seven acquitted

The CBI Special Court acquitted seven persons in the Rs 2-crore bank fraud case involving officials of Punjab National Bank (PNB) as accused. The court had acquitted PNB managers SB Gupta and RK Chaba, senior manager RK Dhar, chartered accountant Harish Soni and property evaluator SR Bakshi after the prosecution failed to prove the charges against them. In addition, two civilians, Ashish Kapoor and Seema Kapoor, to whom the loan was sanctioned, have also been acquitted.

The case: According to the CBI case, in 2007, a loan of Rs 2 crore was sanctioned for building an institute of hotel management at Zirakpur by the PNB. The loan was sanctioned in the name of AV Kings Oak Hotels and Resorts Private Limited. The CBI had registered a case of corruption and criminal conspiracy against the seven accused after it came to light that no such institute was constructed, for which the Rs 2-crore loan was sanctioned and the loan was obtained as part of a conspiracy.

December 2013
Punwire scam
Bank involved: Co-operative Bank
Court verdict: Two acquitted

The court acquitted three persons, including two former officials of Chandigarh State Cooperative Bank, accused in a Rs 11-crore Punjab Wireless Limited (Punwire) scam, dating back to 1998. According to the CBI case, which was registered in 2000 after an inquiry by the UT Administration, the three were accused of indulging in a criminal conspiracy to cause a loss of crores of rupees to the bank through illegal investments. The court had acquitted former Managing Director of Chandigarh State Cooperative Bank Jagtar Singh, then General Manager Vinod Sharma and Executive Director of Punwire Ved Parkash of the charges of cheating and corruption. 

The CBI had stated that the then bank officials ‘“wrongly invested” Rs 11 crore in Punwire and its sister concern PNCL between September 14, 1998, and October 7, 1998. According to them, a huge investment was made whereas in the bank vouchers, it was termed as short-term loans.

The court found no direct evidence linking the accused to the case, resulting in their acquittal.

March 2013
Rs 28-cr PNB scam
Bank involved: PNB
Court verdict: Seven discharged

The CBI court had discharged seven persons, including former General Manager of PNB BP Chopra, in the Rs 28-crore scam. The court discharged the accused, six bank officials and a businessman, in the case even before charges could be framed against them. The case dated back to 2008 when the CBI had booked six PNB officials and a businessman for allegedly embezzling Rs 28 crore. The money was disbursed as a loan to set up a captive power plant. The plant, however, was never set up, the CBI had stated.

The accused, who were discharged included former PNB General Manager BP Chopra, former General Manager NK Mehta, Deputy General Manager RS Alagh, senior managers AS Rana, RK Dhar and SK Raizada, and a local businessman, Manoj Goyal.

In 2006, a Chandigarh-based company, Balaji Magnese Private Ltd, had applied to the PNB for a loan to set up a captive power plant at its site manufacturing ferrous alloys in Gagret, Himachal Pradesh. Gagret is around 200 km from Chandigarh. The company has an office branch in the Mansa Devi Complex.

13 May 2013
Shubham Hospital scam
Bank involved: PNB
Court verdict: Five acquitted

The case involved a partner of Shubham Hospital, Panchkula, and several officials of Punjab National Bank. Sandeep Sharma, a partner of Shubham Hospital and Diagnostic Centre in Sector 20, Panchkula, employees of the PNB and a former secretary of a housing society were acquitted of charges of corruption framed against them.

The court acquitted five accused --- three PNB officials (the then Chief Manager, SN Mahajan, Senior Manager RK Chaba and Manager Shashi Bhushan Gupta), advocate Mahinder Singh and Geeta Ram Thakur, former secretary of the Bishanpura Cooperative House Building Society in Zirakpur.

According to the prosecution, Sandeep had managed to secure a loan of over Rs 2 crore from the PNB on documents related to 23 flats in various societies of Panchkula. Investigations revealed that the papers of the flats were forged and the PNB had sanctioned the loan without verifying the documents. All accused in this case, too, were acquitted for want of evidence.



Obesity in children can lead to liver disease: PGI study
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Obesity in children, if not controlled timely, can lead to liver cirrhosis, resulting in either death or an urgency for liver transplant in adulthood. This has been concluded by researchers at the PGI in a study conducted on 64 obese children from across the northern region.

The study, conducted on obese children aged between five and 15, found that 52 per cent of them had abnormal liver enzyme, while 30 per cent had abnormal metabolic syndrome, both of which are clear indicators of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

The study found that the calorie intake (in the form of junk food and sugar-rich beverages) among these children, who manifested symptoms of the NAFLD, was much higher than the prescribed levels and their physical activity was poorer.

“In major parts of the country, obese children are still considered to be healthy and thus not subjected to investigations. Abnormal liver enzyme is a problem leading to the NAFLD, which is in the form of chronic liver disease,” said Dr BR Thapa, Head, Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology at the PGI and lead researcher.

“Diagnosis of the disease has become easier now, but the level of awareness among children, their parents and even physicians is less. The diagnosis thus gets delayed and after a decade, the individual is likely to require a liver transplant,” Dr Thapa said.

“Obesity is a pre-disposing factor for the NAFLD,” the study has concluded. The study was conducted over a period of one year (between 2009 and 2010) on children visiting with common complaints of pain in the abdomen and vomiting.

What is NAFLD

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is one cause of fatty liver, occurring when a layer of fat is deposited in the liver. The fat is not deposited due to alcohol but related to insulin resistance.


Acathosis nigricans, brown or black hyper pigmentation around the skin (neck), stretch marks on different body parts and high blood pressure are common among these children.


While there are no medicines available till date for controlling or curing the onset of the NAFLD, only diet control and increased physical activity can prevent it. Avoiding fatty meals, junk food, bakery products, cold beverages, sweets and fruits rich in sugar and calories like mango, chikoo, banana and grapes can control the calorie intake, say experts.

They suggest that children must adopt one outdoor game as part of their daily routine to get rid of excessive fats. Playing for at least two hours a day or running 5 km a day is a must for children.



Watch out! You are paying more as VAT in restaurants
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
The Chandigarh Administration is getting rich at the cost of restaurant goers, thanks to a wrong taxation formula being used by restaurant operators while charging the value added tax (VAT). As a result, VAT is being charged on the total food bill amount in contravention of the new tax regime.

Highlighting the issue of restaurant operators charging VAT in an arbitrary manner, Ajay Jagga, a social activist, said it was putting an unnecessary burden on consumers.

VAT is to be charged on 70 per cent of the food bill amount, but instead it is being charged on 100 per cent of the bill amount. Service tax is to be charged on 30 per cent of the food bill amount.

Since restaurant operators are charging VAT on the entire food bill amount, customers end up paying more as tax than what is stipulated under Rule 2 C of the Service Tax (Determination of Value Rules).

In the Budget for 2013, the service tax component has been defined as 30 per cent of the food bill amount. According to legal provisions, in a food bill of an AC restaurant, 70 per cent is the value of the goods, while 30 per cent is the value of the services. The legal position is absolutely clear that VAT is to be charged on the food value and service tax is to be charged on the value of services.

“For every Rs 100 being spent by a customer in a restaurant, he or she ends up paying Rs 3.75 extra”, he said.

On the issue of service charges, the Consumer Affairs and Excise Department has done nothing to stop the illegal practice. Despite the anomaly being pointed out, the Chandigarh Administration has done nothing to stop the fleecing of consumers.



Open House response
Check leakage to save water: Residents

Consume water judiciously

To tide over the water shortage, first of all pipe leakages should be plugged by the administration. Water should be supplied thrice daily so that unnecessary storage can be avoided. Residents must ensure that float valves in the overhead PVC tanks work properly and water does not overflow from these tanks. Standby pumps and motors should be available at bore wells for use in case of their failure. Also, residents should consume water judiciously.

IPS Anand, Manimajra

Make people aware

In summers, water intake increases, and it goes a waste as people water lawns and gardens. Water wastage goes out of control in every house owing to big bathtubs installed in bathrooms, washing cars or two-wheelers and sprinkling water on roads. People even don’t close valves when overhand tanks overflow. It is important to check water wastage and make people aware of it by organising camps. The cost of water, too, should be increased like people fear for paying electricity bills.

OP Garg, Patiala

Promote water harvesting

Come summers and the region groans under the scorching heat, leaving everything under the sky jittery. We tend to go overboard and invent ways and means to beat the heat. All said and done, one gets the goose bumps as the fleeting idea of your share of water woes come calling, all of a sudden. As you wake up to a dry morning spell with a poor water supply and no afternoon supply of water, you scurry to store adequate water for the day in cans and canisters or any utensil that we lay our hands on. The entire system goes for a toss as the stored water falls short to cater to the bare minimum needs. The upper floor residents are the worst affected. The administration should think of a workable solution to the problem. With a view to tackling the problem, it must rope in certain NGOs to do a precious little by way of promoting the concept of water harvesting in the city. It must also kick-start a relentless campaign to make people aware of the value of a single drop of water through the social media or by holding talks. Watering of gardens and washing vehicles should be restricted to a once-a-week activity, which would go a long way in checking the menace.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

MC must be taken to task

It is true that with the approach of harsh summer days, water problem surfaces in the city. There is an acute shortage of water in the houses as the flow is so low in the morning that one can't even take a proper bath. Even, water stored in the overhead tanks can't be used for bathing purpose as it is very hot due to the scorching sun. Tank water cannot be used for drinking purpose because it contains impurities due to algae and insects. The Municipal Corporation must be taken to task for failing to provide potable water to the residents of the City Beautiful.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Complaints bear no fruits

The demand for water is increasing world over and Chandigarh, though a modern city, cannot be an exception. As per official record, Chandigarh claims 87 MGD availability of water. Even then, people are facing acute water shortage. Two years ago, the MC received two prizes from the Union Ministry of Urban Development for having 332 litres of water per capita per day in this city of more than one million people, which has the highest per capita quantum of water. But, still people are starving for water. There are various hydrants, water lines, taps, etc, that continue to leak for days together and lakhs of gallons water is wasted daily. There is neither any check on this frequent flow of water, nor inhabitants make a complaint to officials concerned. Even making a complaint to the MC Commissioner does not bear fruits. In a report, out of around 2,000 regular employees, now only 250 have been left to supervise the water supply in the city. There seems to be no post of water patrollers who are supposed to check leakages in the city.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Learn to save water

Shortage of water in Chandigarh is a big problem, especially in southern sectors and colonies No. 4 and 5, where people virtually come to blows over water. The tall claims of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation regarding ensuring uninterrupted water supply from 16 to 20 hours to the city residents fall flat. One should not blame the supply for the shortage of drinking water, but it is due to wastage. The city needs 116 MGD water daily against the supply of 87 MGD. Out of the 87 MGD, a large amount of water is wasted on washing cars and watering lawns. Instead of blaming the government, we should learn to save water.

Kulbhushan Kanwar, Chandigarh

Take steps to conserve water

Apart from low pressure of water supply in the residential areas of most sectors of Chandigarh, commercial areas, especially Sectors 17 and 34, are also facing acute shortage of water. The supply is so erratic that even underground storage tanks in the commercial areas do not get filled up and demand is met through water tankers. One should avoid wastage of potable water and take steps to conserve it.

RPS Chopra, Mani Majra

Open House question

Class X school-based board exams have resulted in a large number of students scoring 10 CGPA, compared to the CBSE board exams. Educationists have raised questions over the lack of uniformity in the overall assessment of students under the school-based board exams. What needs to be done by the CBSE to strengthen the academics that is losing its importance under the Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation. Write your suggestions to openhouse@tribunemail.com.



Need to write software in vernacular languages: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Renowned software expert Dr FC Kohli, known as the Father of the Indian Software Industry, said there was a need to write software in vernacular languages. Dr Kohli, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Consultancy Services, was speaking at a brainstorming session on “Strategy for Enhancing Quality of Engineering Education” organised today at Panjab University.

Dr Kohli said: “Software in India are being made in English only. But, we should not forget that 900 million people in India do not speak English. Therefore, to satisfy their computer needs, we need to write software in vernacular languages as is being done in countries like China, France, Saudi Arabia, etc.” He also stressed that India should develop the hardware industry as well.

Calling upon the education system to be more contemporary, Dr Kohli said more focus should be towards training the teaching faculty as per the contemporary industrial needs, using modern technology in teaching and upgrade of laboratories.

“We should also concentrate on regular updating of syllabus and the necessary hardware,” Dr Kohli said.

Dr Kohli said India produced as many PhDs as the US. Therefore, India had no business to be poor and backward. “Although the country is afflicted with many problems, this also suggests that the solutions and possibilities are also many,” he said.

He patiently answered the queries of the faculty and suggested several steps to transform the engineering education in India.

Giving an example of the College of Engineering, Pune, of which he is a member of the Board of Governors, he emphasised the complete autonomy of institutes in financial matters, syllabus revision, examination system, etc.

He said faculty should be sent to institutes like IITs for training and also should be encouraged to do PhD with paid leave.

He suggested that the Board of Governors should not only be on paper, but should be working and thinking members, who put in at least sometime towards the development of the institute.

He also stressed on the introduction of mathematics as a subject in all four years of engineering curriculum instead of just one year.

To a query, Dr Kohli answered that even the mushrooming of private engineering colleges should be considered as an asset to the country and should be encouraged to be productive and innovative. He also requested bankers for loans on subsidised interest rates for students.

Logo released

The logo of the UIET, Chandigarh, was also released on the occasion. Tejvinder Singh, a student of the institute, has designed the logo.



Liquor contractors run business illegally from industrial plots
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

An illegal liquor shop being run from the backyard of an industrial plot in the Industrial Area, Phase II, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, June 2
Not caring for the instructions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, some liquor contractors are running their business from industrial plots, alongside the main road in the Industrial Area,Phase II (Ram Darbar), here.

From among the liquor contractors, one has opened an illegal vend alongside a green belt, and a report in the same columns was published on May 6.

The contractors are running their respective businesses from a take-away window on the rear side of the industrial plot. Notably, the window faces the main road, which leads to traffic problems.

“They are making quick money by disobeying the instruction of the courts. No one is permitted to run their business from the rear side of any plot or home. Throwing the norms to the winds, these contractors are running their business from the main road which is wrong”, said a plot owner.

“I am unaware of the exact situation, stern action will be taken, if they are found running liquor vends from the rear side of the plot that faces the main road of the industrial area. They are permitted to sell liquor but under certain rules” said Beer Singh, Inspector, Estate Office.

“Owners of both vends belong to the area and take full advantage of their links with government officers. We are not against their business, but they have got to follow certain rules. If they are flouting norms, others should also be allowed to do so”, said a group of vendors.



Cong MLA demands open auction of mining sites
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 2
Even as reports of illegal mining in the district are being received, Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu has demanded that the government should conduct an open auction of mining sites.

Although 75 cases of unauthorised mining have been registered in recent months, no action has allegedly been taken against certain offenders said to be belonging to the SAD.

In a recent case in Gigemajra village, there were reports of illegal mining in a farmer’s fields. Four tractor-trailers and a JCB machine were impounded and a case registered against the owner of the fields and unidentified persons. The Congress MLA demanded that khud sites should be auctioned by the government. Unauthorised mining was causing not only environmental damage but also creating unemployment.

Sidhu said the government had misinterpreted the High Court orders on mining and stopped such activity from natural resources and shamlat land. He alleged that certain SAD leaders were indulging in illegal mining at night but the district administration was not taking action against them.

Besides, he said, at least 1,500 families who were linked to the mining business had been adversely affected. People had taken loans from banks to buy machinery and equipment for mining but were now in a difficult financial situation due to the government’s ban, he added.



PUDA staff to go on hunger strike
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 2
After a long wait of around 12 years for getting own houses from the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), its employees have now decided to go on a hunger strike to press for their demand.

“We are going on 15-day hunger strike from June 3 to June 18,” said Sukhdev Singh Saini, district president of the Punjab Field Workshop Workers Union, after holding a meeting of its members here yesterday.

Talking on the issue, Saini said the department had decided to allot plots to its employees about 12 years ago.

“Under the scheme, it was decided to provide plots of different sizes, including 150 sq m, 200 sq m, 250 sq m, 300 sq m, 400 sq m and 500 sq m, to the officials as per their category. A plot of 150 sq m had to be given to the fourth class employees, while the third class employees, junior officers and senior officers had to be given 200 sq m, 250-300 sq m and 400-500 sq m plots, respectively, but the scheme has been buried in files for unknown reasons,” said Saini, adding that initially some of the employees had got plots.

Saini said the union members had raised the issue several times before the authorities, but all in vain.

Jarnail Singh, senior vice-president, said: “Just see the irony, our department, which gives plots and sites to all people and housing societies, fails to give its own employees their dream houses".



Apni mandis
Consumers’ body complains against vendors
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 25
The Consumers' Protection Federation has complained to the Punjab Mandi Board about overcharging by sellers at apni mandis. Federation president PS Virdi shot off a letter to the secretary of the board stating that they had been receiving a number of complaints in this regard.

He said a federation team surveyed the apni mandi in Phase V on May 13 and the Phase VIII mandi on May 19. The team found that sellers were charging rates which were 20 per cent to 30 per cent higher than those displayed by the Kharar Market Committee.

The federation president said during the May 19 survey it was found that ginger was being sold at Rs 200 per kg against the market committee rate of Rs 160. Green chillies were being sold at Rs 50 against the displayed price of Rs 40. Besides, capsicum was being sold at Rs 40 instead of Rs 25 fixed by the committee. He said the committee officials on duty at the mandi refused to take action against the sellers.

Virdi complained that 90 per cent of the sellers did not display prices at their respective sale points. The committee officials at the mandis did not bother to check the prices on their own, but sometimes imposed a penalty on an offender if the federation brought overcharging to their notice.



Over 1,000 students appear for JEE (Advanced)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Over 1,000 students appeared in the JEE (Advanced) exam held at different locations in the city today. It was the last stage of the two-tier entrance examination system launched for first time this year for the admission in undergraduate engineering courses in different colleges and institutions across the country.

The rank holders of JEE (Advanced), hitherto known as IIT-JEE, will seek admission in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian School of Mines-Dhanbad, which in total has 9,000 seats.

The entrance exam had two papers of three hours each. Both papers had three subjects - maths, physics and chemistry - carrying total of 120 questions with three marks each. Local experts said maths portion was difficult in comparison to physics and chemistry in paper I. Anil Verma, a city-based maths’ teacher, said that those students whose maths concepts were clear would not have found it difficult to attempt the questions, but for others, it must have been really difficult. Students said that vectors and calculus were most stressed upon topics in maths and some of the questions were tricky too.

As far as difficulty level in chemistry and physics was concerned, Suchit Verma of Fiitjee, Chandigarh, said that questions in these subjects were same as that of last year’s. “Chemistry was a balanced paper as it had seven questions from organic portion, seven from physical chemistry and six from inorganic portion,” he said.

City based physics teacher Vivek Gulati, said that numerical questions in physics were more conceptual in nature. Students with clear basics would easily crack the paper, he said.

As far as overall format of paper 1 was concerned, it was little different from last year’s too. In IIT-JEE, there used to be negative marking in questions having single correct option. But in JEE-Advanced, there is no negative marking in questions with single correct options. However, it introduced negative marking in integer-based questions, which was not there in IIT-JEE.

In paper II, stress was more towards passage-based questions in each subject. A student, Akash Mahajan, said that questions in each of the subjects in paper II was time consuming. “In maths paper, 11 questions were of class XII level and nine were of class XI level, he said.

Regarding chemistry and physics, Suchit Verma said that chemistry was a balanced paper than last year’s and physics had mostly calculation oriented questions. While paper I checked students’ precision towards concepts, paper II had questions checking their time-management skills, he said. In Chandigarh, Dev Samaj College, Sector 45, and Shivalik School, Sector 41, were among the local centres for the JEE Advanced, the result of which will be announced next month.



Degrees conferred on 289 engineering students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
As many as 289 graduate and postgraduate students of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University, Dr SS Bhatnagar University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), and UIET, PUSSGRC, Hoshiarpur, received degrees at a ceremony held at the PU Auditorium today.

Dr Fakir Chand Kohli, chairman Emeritus of Tata Consultancy Services, known as the Father of the Indian Software Industry, conferred the degrees on the students.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Fakir Chand Kohli said: “India produces 6,000 to 7,000 top-class engineers from IITs and the similar institutes in a year. About 3,000 of them migrate abroad for higher education and about 1,000 others opt for business management courses. This leaves an insufficient number of graduates who have received quality education to undertake masters and doctorate programmes”.

Suggesting solution to this problem, he said if the country could upgrade 50-60 other colleges, which admit students having more than 85 per cent marks, to the level of IITs, then India would be able to produce 25,000 to 30,000 top-class engineers.

Dr Kohli said India had 1,200 engineering colleges, but many of them were without adequate faculty, laboratories and libraries. India needed top-class engineers to innovate engineering processes, foster creative product development, to meet faculty requirements and to build strong and world-class graduate schools in engineering, leading to research, more masters and doctorates.

Dr Kohli also laid emphasis on faculty development, faculty collaboration and curriculum development. Curriculum should be frequently reviewed to obviate obsolescence, he said.

He also referred to the importance of electronic connectivity, networking and financial support to students.



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