C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Estate Office, MC put on notice
Told to clear service tax dues of Rs 34.31 crore and Rs 7.53 crore, respectively
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Central Excise and Service Tax Department has slapped a notice on the UT Estate Office and the municipal corporation (MC) for non-payment of service tax.

The Estate Office has pending dues of Rs 34.31 crore, while the MC is yet to pay Rs 7.53 crore to the department.

The department has issued a notice to the Estate Office for clearing the pending dues, to be recovered from lessees on account of service tax. According to the guidelines issued by the Centre, owners of leasehold commercial properties auctioned by the Estate Office and those who have converted industrial sites into commercial have to pay service tax. Besides, the Estate Office has to pay service tax on the rent of commercial properties, rent of the Parade Ground, reserved land and mobile tower fee.

The notification issued by the government states that all lessees of commercial property auctioned since July 1, 2007, are bound to pay service tax at the rate of 12.36 per cent per year on the lease money/ground rent charged by the Estate Office.

Similarly, in the notice issued to the MC, the department has asked it to pay service tax on leasehold commercial property (plots, buildings, eating joints and petrol pumps). Besides, the department has also asked the MC to pay service tax on festival stall charges, revenue from the craft centre, cable operators, telephone towers, rent of taxi stands, car bazar, ground rent, apni mandi, community centre and selling of space for advertisements.

An official of the Department said they had sent a notice to the Estate Office and the MC and were waiting for their replies.



Kings XI Punjab, too, under the scanner
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
IPL franchisee KPH Dream, which owns Kings XI Punjab, has come under the scanner of the Central Excise and Service Tax Department for alleged non-payment of service tax.

The department has issued a notice to Kings XI Punjab for the "trade" of wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik with Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL season five.

An official of the department said they had issued a notice for the payment of service tax of around Rs 6 crore. In the notice, besides the "trade" of Dinesh Karthik, tax was calculated on other services such as "business auxiliary, manpower recruitment and supply".

Col Arvinder Singh, COO, Kings XI Punjab, said they had received the notice, but it was not Kings XI Punjab, but Mumbai Indians who would have to pay the service tax as they had not paid the tax.

Dinesh Karthik, Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper, had moved from Kings XI Punjab to Mumbai Indians ahead of the IPL season five. Karthik was bagged by Mumbai Indians for over Rs 10 crore.

It is not the first time that the Service Tax Department has issued a notice to Kings XI Punjab. In 2010 also, a notice pertaining to service tax was issued to it. Besides, the department had also issued a notice to cricketer Yuvraj Singh on his income from two seasons of IPL and endorsements.

Kings XI Punjab is owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, industrialist Ness Wadia, Karan Paul and Mohit Burman.



Back after studying in Oz, youth held for stealing SUVs
Belongs to well-off family settled in the US
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The crime branch of the UT police has arrested a 27-year-old Australia-returned student in a case of theft of luxury cars. The accused belongs to a well-off family settled in the US and had stolen two Fortuner SUVs, both of which have been recovered from his possession.

The police has arrested Sarvervir Singh, a resident of Sector 50, in the case. The accused had recently gone to Australia on a student visa and returned after the completion of his course in hotel management there. He is a graduate and a permanent resident of Ropar.

Describing his modus operandi, DSP (Crime) Satbir Singh said the accused used to steal high-end vehicles in order to satisfy his craze for a lavish lifestyle.

The accused used to disguise himself as an agent of a car dealer and used to identify persons who had purchased new Fortuner SUVs from Toyota Pioneer Agency, Industrial Area, Phase I.

After the identification a new buyer, he, in the guise of a company engineer, used to visit the new owner on the pretext of giving a demonstration regarding the new features introduced by the company.

He used to then ask the family members to bring all keys of the vehicle, including the duplicate ones.

He used to exchange the spare original key of the vehicle with another key that he had cleverly procured from the service centre at the agency. He would steal the targeted vehicle during night hours. During interrogation, the accused reportedly confessed to having stolen two Fortuner vehicles, one each from Sector 37 and Sector 42. After stealing the vehicles, he also prepared fake documents of the vehicles with the help of a computer. Following his disclosure statement, both stolen vehicles were recovered from his possession, which were with fake number plates. These two cars were stolen on April 15 and June 29 by the accused.

The accused was produced in court and remanded in three-day in police custody.

Modus operandi

Used to cleverly fetch keys of Fortuner SUVs from the service station of Toyota agency
Targeted new Fortuner vehicle owners in the city
Visited the owner's house disguising as a company engineer
Called for duplicate keys on the pretext of giving a demonstration
Exchanged the duplicate key with the key fetched from the agency
Stole the vehicle using the duplicate key at night



Mystery shrouds PGI doctor’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A PGI resident doctor died under mysterious circumstances today. While sources said she died after injecting a dose of a medicine over two weeks ago allegedly in an attempt to commit suicide, that landed her in the ICU, the police said investigations were on to ascertain the exact cause of her death.

Vatsala (37), a senior resident with the department of urology at the PGI, was admitted to the ICU on June 29. According to the police, she allegedly injected a dose of medicine and informed a colleague about it on the phone, who immediately rushed to her hostel room and took her to the Emergency.

She was a resident of Married Doctors’ Hostel on the PGI campus and had been staying alone after separating from her husband, said the police. After hearing about the incident, her family reached the PGI today.

“Preliminary inquiry has indicated towards suicide. However, we are still investigating whether she was under any kind of stress either because of the workplace or due to her personal life. She is learnt to have been a hardworking doctor,” said PGI police post in charge Usha Rani.

Suicide cases

September 2009: A 26-year-old junior resident employed with the PGI committed suicide. His body was found hanging in his room in the Kairon Block hostel.

April 2010: A junior resident of the blood transfusion department allegedly committed suicide by jumping off the fourth floor of Kairon Block

September 9, 2011: A senior dermatologist (61) at the PGI committed suicide after setting herself on fire at her government residence



Leaving course midway to cost PGI junior docs dear
Panel recommends hike in penalty
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Resigning from the PGI in the middle of a course is going to cost doctors dear. The institute will increase the penalty on junior residents leaving the course midway.

Going by the recommendations of the standing academic committee of the institute, every junior resident will have to pay Rs 75,000 as penalty, up from the existing Rs 50,000, on tendering resignation within six months of joining the course.

The penalty for leaving after two years will be increased from Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 2,25,000, according to the recommendations of the committee. The PGI has been struggling with a shortage of staff, while the number of patients, both inside the Emergency as well as in the OPDs, has been consistently on the rise.

Owing to the shortage of staff, the institute has been finding it hard to improve patient care. A senior official of the PGI said these seats of junior residents, once vacated, continued to remain vacant throughout the course.

The standing academic committee also resolved that another round of counselling be held after starting the session.

“A fourth counselling should be introduced, which should be held in the third month of that session, and students selected in pursuance of the fourth counselling should be merged with the those of the next batch so that seats of residency created because of such resignations are not wasted patient care services at the institute run smoothly,” the committee has recommended.

Fourth counselling
The academic committee has recommended that a fourth counselling be held to fill posts of junior residents, created due to mid-course resignations, to ensure smooth patient care.


Pilgrims feel harassed
500 passengers complain of poor services, unhygienic conditions
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Around 500 passengers from the region on board the Bharat Darshan train of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) had a harrowing time during the six-day journey to Shirdi from July 13 to 18, as they had to travel in unhygienic conditions and erratic electricity on the coaches.

They alleged coaches had no electricity when the train halted at a destination. The washrooms were not cleaned during the journey. When the pilgrims reached Shirdi, the food served by the IRCTC staff was not hot.

The passengers complained they had repeatedly requested the officials concerned to make proper power and food arrangements and get the washrooms cleaned, but in vain.

The IRCTC chief regional manager, RK Sondh, admitted that there was an electricity problem on the train as the batteries installed on these old coaches had poor backup. He said the authorities got those batteries replaced whenever the train halted. He has not received any complaint about the food but if any passenger comes with one, he will look into it and take necessary action, he added.

A passenger, KR Dewan, said they had not received proper services on the train despite paying Rs 2,825 per member for the journey. He said they had to lodge their protest against poor services time and again but no action was taken by the officials to solve their problem.

Another passenger, Sachin Kumar, said it was a bitter long journey experience that he and nine members of his family would never forget. He would not recommend a journey by the IRCTC special trains to any destination after experiencing the services offered by its staff.

Meanwhile, the passengers held a protest against the IRCTC at the Chandigarh railway station.



Declare service tax or face arrest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A word of caution for those who evade service tax. With the passage of Finance Bill 2013, those who fail to deposit service tax may face arrest and imprisonment up to seven years.

But, before taking such harsh steps, the Central Excise and Service Tax Department has decided to give one chance to people to pay service tax. It has started Service Tax Voluntary Compliance Encourage Scheme (VCES), 2013.

An official of the Service Tax Department here said a person could declare his tax dues, for which no notice has been issued, before March 1. The defaulter is required to make a truthful declaration of all his pending tax dues on or before December 31, 2013, and make payments, he added.

The official added that this was for the first time that service tax rules had been amended to invoke the criminal procedure code (CrPC) in line with the customs and central excise. Earlier, the officials did not have any power to arrest a person for service tax evasion. The Section 91, which was incorporated in this year's Finance Bill, provides for power to arrest a person for non-payment of service tax, he added.



Student who nabbed snatcher to be rewarded with Rs 10,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A day after a 19-year-old student showcased utmost bravery and presence of mind while apprehending a snatcher, senior police officers today announced a reward of Rs 10,000 for him.

He will also be given a commendation certificate.

IGP RP Upadhyaya appreciated Sachit Khanna, a BCom student at Khalsa College.

The incident had occurred at 9 pm on Tuesday night when 56-year-old Paramjit Syan, a resident of Sector 42, was returning home from a temple in Sector 43. As she reached a narrow lane near her residence, a person on foot approached her and pulled her purse. When the woman screamed, the youth pushed her to the ground, ran over her chest and fled with the purse.

Sachit, who was at home in Sector 42-B, rushed outside and asked the woman what had happened. Paramjit told her a youth snatched her purse. Sachit then ran in the direction given by the woman and soon saw the snatcher running in Sector 43.

Sachit chased the snatcher for some distance and ultimately nabbed him. He then bashed him up following which a huge crowd gathered. The woman, Paramjit, also reached the spot and identified the snatcher. The police was then called which took the accused to the police station.



Accused watched television show to murder taxi driver
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
Simarjit Singh and Raghbir Singh, who allegedly murdered a taxi driver, said a television show gave them the idea to commit the crime. The two allegedly murdered Ram Shromanipal, aka Guddu. The duo was arrested by the Mohali police today.

"During interrogation, Simarjit Singh and Raghbir Singh claimed that they had planned Guddu's murder after watching a serial based on crime. They wanted to sell the Innova car in another state after murdering the driver," said the police.

Both Simarjit Singh and Raghbir are unemployed. After murdering Guddu, they had taken the vehicle to Uttar Pradesh to sell it, but could not get succeed as the documents of the vehicle were not complete.

The victim's vehicle was registered with a Phase III taxi stand. The accused had hired the taxi on the night of July 10. After murdering Guddu, they threw his body into a canal near Ludhiana. The body was recovered by the Ludhiana police from near Dehlon. The police treated the body as unclaimed and cremated it after waiting for two days.

Simarjeet Singh and Raghbir Singh were taken into custody yesterday.

Owner of the taxi stand, Paramjit Singh, lodged a complaint with the Matour police that his driver had gone missing. Paramjit Singh is reported to have received a phone call on July 13 from the Meerut police in UP that his Innova car had been found abandoned.

A case under Section 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) of the IPC has been registered.



5 school buses impounded
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 18
Five school buses were impounded by the district transport authorities here today as the drivers were not carrying the required documents at the time of plying these vehicles.

Another bus of Chandigarh University was also impounded during the drive carried out in the morning near the Phase VIII police station as the driver failed to show the required documents.

Prem Singh Saini, ADTO, who had carried out the drive, said the schools whose buses were impounded were Vivek High School, Doon International, Brilliance World, Sacred Heart School and Swami Ram Tirtha Senior Secondary School.

When asked whether the drivers of these school buses had the required licences, Saini said one driver did not have the licence while another’s licence had expired. He said that fines were imposed for flouting the norms. Buses were released after the fines were paid by the offenders. A sum of Rs 33, 500 was paid by five offenders while others had still to make the payments. It was highlighted in these columns today that guidelines and directions given by courts as well as Punjab Government norms on the plying of school buses were being flouted here compromising the safety of children.

A Tribune team had yesterday found that buses at various schools were not adhering to the norms. The violations ranged from the lack of trained conductors, the absence of proper first-aid boxes and failure to display the name and the contact number of the school concerned. 



Wildlife board gives nod to 250-bedded hospital at PGI

Chandigarh, July 18
The State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) in meeting chaired by UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil today in principal approved the wildlife clearance to projects like 250-bedded hospital at PGI, multi-level parking in Sector 17, slum rehabilitation housing scheme in Maloya and CHB housing scheme in Sector 52 and 56.

A senior official of the UT Administration said the UT Administration would not send the file to the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for final clearance. The administration has already given environmental clearance to these projects, he said.

The 250-bedded hospital at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) will come up near the F-block of the institute at an estimated cost of Rs 115 crore.The three-storey basement parking lot has been planned to have a capacity of 900 vehicles. The proposal was mooted in 2010 and a ceremony to initiate construction held just an hour before the code of conduct for the municipal election was to come into force. Since then the project has been facing hurdles. The building plans for the parking lot took almost two years to be approved.The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has decided to go ahead with the construction of around 12,544 two-room tenements at Maloya. — TNS



Poet Gopal Das Neeraj casts a spell
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Hindi poet and lyricist Padma Bhushan Gopal Das Neeraj left the audience spellbound on the opening day of the HIFA's four day cultural bonanza at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 6. Neeraj (88) recited poems, including 'karvaan guzar gaya', 'gubaar dekhte rahe'. Known for his evergreen songs like 'dil aaj shaayar hai' and 'phoolon ke rang se', the poet has maintained a literary touch in his compositions.

Padma Bhushan Krishen Khanna was given a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the field of art. Kuldeep Sharma, Speaker, Haryana Vidhan Sabha, was the chief guest.

Krishen Khanna stated, "While passion for art is what keeps an artist going, recognition, support gives them impetus."



Ayn Rand's 'Night of January 16' staged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A team of young artistes from the Wings Theatre Academy, St Kabir, presented Ayn Rand's, 'Night of January 16' to a houseful audience.

The play was a dramatic trial that unfolded in a courtroom. The plot was centered on a trial being held to decide whether Bjorn Faulkner was murdered by his secretary Karen Andre.

The Jury, for this trial was selected from within the audience, making the outcome unpredictable to the performers, as well as to the audience.

The outstanding performances of the actors succeeded in transforming the theatre into a courtroom, with the audience actively involved in the trial to decide whether the defendant, Karen Andre was guilty of murdering her Boss, Bjorn Faulkner, who, on the night of January 16, allegedly fell to his death, when in the company of his secretary.

Performances by the prosecutor (Jacob Flint), played by Amarinder Singh Dosanjh and the defense Attorney, portrayed by Surya Mittal, enraptured the audience, as they called witnesses whose testimonies built conflicting stories and added to the climax of the play. Excellent portrayals by Ranbeer Sidhu, as 'Guts' Regan, Inayat Sood as Karen Andre, Anushka Singh in the role of Nancy Lee Faulker added to the suspense. The play was directed by Zubin Mehta.



Welfare body rues lack of basic amenities

Chandigarh, July 18
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC) has shot off a letter to Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde pointing out the failure of the UT Administration in addressing problems faced by residents. FOSWAC chairman PC Sanghi said they had urged the home department to restore the position of Chief Commissioner in Chandigarh in place of Governor-cum-Administrator.

FOSWAC also wrote about the pitiable condition of roads, poor drainage system, defunct streetlights,

ill-maintained parks and congested markets.

The association has demanded that building bylaws in the city should be relaxed and need-based changes in CHB houses be regularised. — TNS



2 snatchings reported

Chandigarh, July 18
Two snatching incidents were reported in the city today. Sunena Sharma, a resident of Sector 41, said two motorcycle-borne youths snatched her purse near sabzi mandi in Sector 40.

Rajbir Kaur, a nurse, said two motorcycle-borne youths snatched her purse near Industrial Area, Phase I. Rajbir was with her friend on a two-wheeler. They tried to nab the youths, but the duo managed to flee. — TNS



Third-party evaluation for govt students
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
For the first time, the UT Education Department is going to conduct a third-party evaluation to assess the academic performance and co-holistic skills of its students in government schools.

The evaluation aims at ascertaining the performance and achievement level of the local students as to where they stand in terms of their Intelligence and emotional quotient level.

The department, as officials informed, has already considered a Delhi-based NGO Paratham to conduct the evaluation-cum-achievement survey. Paratham is one of the largest NGOs in India in the field of education. It is working for quality education to the underprivileged children for the last two decades. The NGO’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) evaluates the relevance and impact of government education programs every year.

Officials said for now, the performance of classes III and class V students of all government school would be evaluated. Some more classes can be added but it has yet not been finalised. The UT has roughly 28,000 students for both these classes in 107 government schools.

Officials said, “The exercise aims at improving the education standards and is a kind of maiden effort to find out the capacity level of its students and then take appropriate step to fill the deficiencies, as the report will suggest.”

Insiders feel that the survey would bring interesting facts especially of the performance level of the students of schools located in villages and slum area schools where the general impression of the education standard is very poor.

A senior official said the project was being considered on priority basis and soon the NGO would be officially entrusted for the exercise. Overall budget would not be more than Rs 3 to 4 Lakh.

Before starting the exercise, he said the NGO would be asked to submit a report as what should be performance level benchmark that the students must possess and then on the basis of those standards, the survey would evaluate the local children on ground.



admission to class xi
Over 8,000 students apply for second round of counselling

Chandigarh, July 18
Over 8, 000 students applied for the second round of counselling for admission in Class XI, whose last date for submission of forms was today.

Among the students who applied included the one who wanted to change their school and stream besides several fresh candidates who did not apply for admission in the first round of counselling

As per the school wise vacant list released by the UT education department, above 4,300 seats are up for grab in the second round out of which nearly 3,600 seats are for science, commerce and arts streams and rest for the vocational courses.

In science stream a total of 966 seats are available out of 396 science stream seats are vacant for general category, 170 seats for schedule caste quota, 57 seats for sports quota, 105 seats for physically handicap quota and 238 seats for other categories, including defence personnel, freedom fighter children and Kashmiri migrant.

In comparison to this, commerce stream has 357 seats available for the second counseling, including 159 seats for general category and rest for the reserved categories

As far as Arts stream are concerned, options are open in all the government schools. Compared to rural schools, the urban schools have however less seats. In total 1,035 seats are available for general category and 1,230 for reserve categories. — TNS



Teachers oppose longer working hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Over 400 government schoolteachers gathered here at the Masjid ground, Sector 20, and opposed the recent proposal by the UT Education Department to extend the school timings of the teaching staff by one and half hours every day.

They said the day the department would issue the notification for the increase in their timings; the teachers would start their indefinite protest against the move.

The meeting was called upon by the joint action committee of local teacher unions, which appealed to the department to review the said proposal.

Ravinder Sharma, joint secretary of the committee, said the proposal should be rolled back since the department was trying to impose their decision on the local teaching community. On the other hand, officials of the Education Department said the proposal of the extension of the timings was part of the compliance of the Right to Education Act.

At present, the teachers work for 36 hours a week, which is being proposed to increase for 45 hours a week. However, teachers said the department should first work for implementing the other crucial provisions of the RTE Act, including required infrastructure and teacher, pupil ratio.



Boys keen on taking up women studies at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
In a reverse trend this year, boys have outnumbered girls in seeking admission in Panjab University's (PU) Department of Women's Studies. For a total of 17 seats in the MA course — conceptualised with the idea of empowering women — 87 boys have applied this year. The number of girls is 83.

“The trend indicates the rising interest of boys in feminist studies to diversify their knowledge. Increased job opportunities in national and international NGOs can be the other reason,” said a faculty member.

“The focus on gender in civil services is also the driving factor for the increased number of boys applying for the course,” said chairperson of the department, Manvinder Kaur. Sources, however, hinted at the possibility of the motive of availing hostel seats while preparing for professional exams behind the enrolment of more boys.

The department has also started screening students during counselling to check for defaulters who come with the purpose of availing hostel seats. Over the years, the quality of students has improved at the department, said the faculty members.

According to these educationists, even the mindsets of the boys have changed and many of them could be seen overcoming their chauvinism.

The total number of applicants has increased from 100, last year to 170 this year. Of the total 100 applicants seeking admission, last year, 53 were boys while 47 were girls.

Over the last couple of years, the course has gained popularity due to the increased interest in feminist studies across the world. The department offers MA in Women's Studies and PhD Programme in Women's Studies. The courses interpret women's experiences as well as aims to change women's condition through a transformation of consciousness, social forms and modes of action. 



Mixed response to SC verdict on quashing NEET
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Mixed response came fromlocal students and PMT teachers over the SC verdict on quashing National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for the admission in medical colleges across the country.

It was for the first time on May 5 that a single entrance test was held for admission in various medical colleges for undergraduate courses.

However, the private medical colleges moved petition to the SC against this move and in its verdict. Today, the Apex court quashed the common entrance exam. The admission for this year’s NEET however will not be affected, said the verdict.

Dr Arvind Goyal, a city-based Biology teacher, said NEET aimed at bringing transparency in the admission process especially in the private medical colleges but with this decision the management of the private colleges would again have their control over their admission process.

“Lack of the academic uniformity in the state boards and national boards might have played a crucial role in quashing NEET,” he said

A student, Pallav Sharma, said: “NEET was a relief from the multiplicity of medical entrance exam but the whole drama will again start. The corruption in private colleges will not be over too.”

However, many other welcomed the decision. “The students were under tremendous pressure because of the single exam. Now, if they don’t perform well in one exam, they still can perform well in other entrance exams,” said a student Abhimanyu. Another student said that the first ever NEET was also not well organised. There were several mistakes in the question paper.



Traffic awareness campaign

Chandigarh: A traffic awareness campaign was launched in Government Model Senior Secondary School, Karsan, Chandigarh, by the Traffic Police, on Thursday in cooperation with school management committee. In the programme students were informed about the traffic rules and the importance of it in daily life. Useful guidance was provided to the students about pros and cons of traffic rules.

Rhyme competition

Gurukul Global School hosted inter-school rhyme competition where 35 students from 10 schools across tricity participated. The aim of the competition was to showcase the talent of the young ones and aimed to bring in educational and moral learning with informative and spirited approach. Firs three spots and consolation prizes in the second group were bagged by Ekalavaya - Mount Carmel, Akriti - Bhawan Vidalaya, Jhaanvi - Saupins, Shauraya Vardhaan - Chitkara International and Ada Mohan - Bhawan Vidalaya, respectively. — TNS



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