C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT rejects proposal to convert industrial sites to freehold
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
In a major blow to city industrialists, the UT Administration has rejected their long-pending demand for converting industrial sites from leasehold to freehold.

The Finance Department of the UT Administration, in a communication sent to the Director, Industries Department, has stated that a proposal for the the conversion of industrial sites from leasehold to freehold has not been found feasible.

A committee, under the chairmanship of the UT Adviser KK Sharma, took the decision. The move will affect owners of 1,540 industrial sites of different sizes in the Industrial Area, Phase I and II.

Sandeep Sahni, president, Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, said they were demanding conversion of leasehold industrial plots to freehold on the pattern of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Earlier, UT officials had told them that the Administration was considering conversion of industrial plots from leasehold to freehold on the Delhi pattern. However, the recent decision of the Administration would put brakes on the growth of industries in the city, he said.

At present, almost 50 per cent of the plots in the Industrial Area are freehold, while the remaining are leasehold. Most industrial plots have either changed hands on the basis of the power of attorney or are under litigation due to family disputes over division, causing a revenue loss to the UT Administration. Industrialists believe that allowing the conversion of industrial sites from leasehold to freehold will help industrial units grow.

Chander Verma, chairman of the Chandigarh Industrial Converted Plot Owners Association, said the UT was earning Rs 10 lakh per year from the Industrial Area as lease money and to collect this amount, the cost of salary of the staff was more than this amount. If the Administration converted the leasehold rights to freehold, the Administration would earn more than Rs 500 crore from the conversion, which could fetch an interest of around Rs 60 crore per year, 100 times more than the lease money.

Other important decisions

* The Administration has considered the demand for allowing IT and IT-enabled services in the Industrial Area and has sent a proposal in this regard for legal examination and the Administrator's approval.

* A proposal for introducing automobile repair work and warehousing in the Industrial Area has not been found feasible at present

* The matter related to need-based changes in the Industrial Area has been referred to the Chief Architect for consideration. The Chief Architect's reply is yet to be received.

Industrialists write to Ministry of Home Affairs

The Industries Association of Chandigarh has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) against declaring automobile repair work as a non-feasible trade in the Industrial Area. In the letter, the association has termed the decision as "whimsical" and an attempt to "terrorise industrialists".



Female foetus found in hospital toilet 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 11
A six-month-old female foetus, with its head crushed, was found dumped in a toilet seat of a female washroom at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, here this morning. An employee, Kamlesh, found the foetus dumped in the commode.

The foetus is believed to have been thrown in the toilet late at night.

This is not the first such incident. Seven incidents have been reported during the past nine years where foetuses have been found dumped in toilets at the hospital, raising several questions.

“A safai worker went to clean the toilet in the morning and found some blockage. When he checked with a wooden stick, he found it was a foetus,” said a Class IV employee at the hospital.

Dr Sanjeev Trehan, Senior Medical Officer, said, “We have checked all women patients who were expecting and were admitted to the gynaecology ward during the past 24 hours, but did not get any information about it. We checked the CCTV footage, but nothing was found.”

He said, “It seems someone came from outside and has done this shameful act.”

Questions have been raised as to how a stranger can enter the hospital with a foetus and dump it in this manner.

The local police visited the spot. Police officials said they were investigating the matter and records of all those who had made entries at the gynaecology ward were being checked along with the video footage. A case has been registered at the Sector 5 police station.

After the incident, a staff member was deployed outside the washroom to keep a check on those using the toilet.

On August 18 last year, a five-month-old male foetus was found dumped in the toilet. So far, no breakthrough has been achieved in any of these cases.

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashwin Shenvi said they were looking into the issue.

7th such incident

This is not the first such incident. Seven incidents have been reported during the past nine years in which foetuses have been found dumped in toilets at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, raising several questions.



Jewellery stolen from Hotel Parkview room
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A major theft of jewellery and other valuables worth over Rs 3.5 lakh was reported from Hotel Parkview in Sector 24 today. The police is scrutinising the CCTV footage of the hotel to get a clue. It has registered a case of theft under Section 380 of the IPC at the Sector 11 police station.

Thieves reportedly decamped with a jewellery box belonging to a woman, who had come from Kota, Rajasthan, with her husband and relatives to attend a wedding in the city and was staying in the hotel.

The theft was reported from a room on the second floor of the hotel. The couple was here to attend a wedding function in a Sector 17-based hotel today. The incident occurred when the wife of Prabhjot Singh, a resident of Kota in Rajasthan, was having a shower. Prabhjot Singh had gone to the adjoining room where his in-laws were staying at the time of the incident. The theft reportedly occurred at 10 am.

In his statement to the police, Prabhjot Singh said the thieves stole a jewellery set from a briefcase and ransacked the entire room. The police said rooms were booked Prabhjot Singh's relatives for the stay of their guests who had come from different cities for the wedding.

DSP (Central) Ashish Kapoor said the CCTV footage of the hotel, particularly of the gallery in which the rooms were situated, was being scrutinised, but nobody was seen entering the room at the time the theft was reported.

The police also questioned some hotel staff members, who were attached to these rooms for service. A team of fingerprint experts and a dog squad also inspected the spot. 


Traffic police gets tough
Fines 19,850 two-wheeler riders for not fastening helmet properly
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A random survey by the UT traffic police has revealed that a majority of the deaths involving two-wheelers in the city were caused as the riders did not fasten their helmets properly. This year, as many as 39 two-wheeler riders have died in accidents.

To address this menace, the UT traffic police has started challaning the two-wheeler riders who fail to fasten their helmets properly, letting the straps hang loosely.
Traffic police personnel challan offenders at Sector 9; and (below) a youth rides a two-wheeler without wearing a helmet at Sector 10 in Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari
Traffic police personnel challan offenders at Sector 9; and (below) a youth rides a two-wheeler without wearing a helmet at Sector 10 in Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

From a negligible three challans issued for such an offence till October last year, the number of offenders fined for not fastening their helmets properly has gone up to 19,850 this year.

The figures issued by the UT traffic police further reveal that another 31,750 two-wheeler riders have been challaned for not wearing a helmet at all.

“We went through all the videos of fatal accidents and realised although the rider was wearing a helmet, grievous head injuries leading to death were caused due to the non-fastening of the helmet. We then started challaning those riders who did not fasten their helmets to force them in doing so for their own safety,” said the Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Maneesh Chaudhery.

In addition to this, the number of challans for jumping the traffic signal has nearly doubled since last year.

Last year, the UT traffic police challaned as many as 18,837 offenders for jumping the traffic signal. This year, 31,620 such offenders have already been challaned.

The number of four-wheeler drivers fined for various offences has also gone up. As many as 13,789 offenders have been challaned for not wearing seat belts against 8,557 fined last year, and 280 challans were fined for smoking while driving this year.

The number of offenders driving without a specific number plate too has recorded an increase with the police issuing 4,785 challans this year, against 1,400 last year.

A traffic police officer attributed the increase in the number of challans to the rise in the number of barriers set up in the city, with as many as seven inspectors deployed on the traffic duty.

In all, the UT traffic police has issued a total of 1,94,837 challans this year besides impounding 11,055 vehicles. The total amount of fine collected is Rs 6,81,22,850.



Mixed response to Rahul’s statement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s recent statement that India's next government would be a ‘government of the youth’ has bagged a mixed response from residents of Chandigarh.

Tanveer Sharma, student

Youngsters are the backbone of the country and their participation in governance is very important. At the same time, however, we need to have senior people in the government for their experience and guidance, as it will lead to better governance.

Tarlochan Singh, student

Youths can transform the country if given a chance. The country has already tried senior politicians, who have failed miserably in making any difference at the groud level.

Parneet Brar, student

Giving power in the hands of the youths can bring a change in the system and transform India, as fresh ideas will bring new innovations. I feel the country should try a young government.

Manpreet, student

Young politicians are well-educated and they have the exposure to politics that will help in transforming the country. Once they form a government they will naturally get the experience.

Nirmal Dutt, retd professor

The statement made by Rahul Gandhi seems more like a political slogan in the wake of the upcoming elections, as I feel that the government should have a blend of the young and the old. Young leaders can channelise their energy in making a difference, with the help of the experienced senior leaders.

Raj Kumar, shopkeeper

I feel the government comprising only the youth will not help the country until and unless there is someone experienced to guide them. A balance between the two is the need of the hour, which will help in transforming the nation.



Open shed: An act in futility?
Being built to address patient rush at New OPD, may add to inconvenience
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The attempt of the PGI authorities to address the heavy rush of patients at the sample collection centre of the New OPD Block by setting up an open shed for fee payment and registration of lab tests is all set to add to the patients’ inconvenience.

According to the official spokesperson of the PGI Manju Wadwalkar, the shed is being set up to streamline the system of conducting laboratory tests.
A huge rush at the registration counters of the New OPD Block; and (below) open sheds being built to shift the counters outside the building at the PGI in Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari
A huge rush at the registration counters of the New OPD Block; and (below) open sheds being built to shift the counters outside the building at the PGI in Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

“The idea is to facilitate the patients and manage the ever-increasing rush at the counters in a better way,” said Wadwalkar.

The shed that is open from three sides, however, will make patients brave the vagaries of weather, be it scorching heat in summers, chilling winters or downpour during monsoons, while they queue up in the open, instead of standing inside the building.

An extension to the waiting area for patients visiting the counters for the registration of lab tests and depositing samples, the shed is being set up adjacent to the entry to room number 25, which is currently closed.

Present system

Patients who need to undergo a lab test first deposit the fee at any of the fee counters. Then they take the receipt to the sample collection window of room number 25. After standing in a long queue, patients are issued a vial for depositing the blood sample. They then stand in another queue for getting the sample extracted, following which they are asked to revisit after a few days to collect the report. This entire exercise often consumes over three hours, with the patients standing in long queues all the while.

Proposed system

The shed will have two or three counters for the payment of fee and registration for taking vials. For giving the samples, however, patients will have to visit the old counter. Sources said the patients might be provided with chairs to sit under the shed, but they would have to wait for their turn in the open area, though with a roof above their heads.

Building plan raises question

Between 8.30 am and 1 pm, over 300 patients give their samples at the counters, while the actual number of visitors turns out to be three times the number, as most patients are accompanied by at least two attendants.

The lack of space for accommodating these patients and their attendants raises a big question mark over the planning and architecture of the New OPD building, which was set up much later than the Nehru hospital--the oldest building on the PGI campus.

A senior PGI official, requesting anonymity, said, “While the Nehru hospital, which was set up in 1966, still manages to accommodate patients in the radio-diagnosis department (that involves several tests), the New OPD building that came up in 2001 is already having problems in handling the patient rush at the sample collection centres.”



CHB fails to act against violators 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
When it comes to taking action against illegal constructions, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) chooses to look the other way.

A resident of Sector 42, Deepak Chadha, has complained to the CHB authorities against major illegal alterations done by the ground floor occupant.

Due to the shifting of the load bearing walls, cracks have developed at the first and second floors of the block. Such is the state of affairs that even after one-and-half years, the CHB officials have failed to get the illegal alterations removed.

Geeta Parnami, who lives on the second floor of the house, lamented that repeated representations, requesting the CHB to direct the ground floor occupant not to make changes in violations of the laws had failed to make any impact.

"So much so that even after cancellation of the allotment due to building violations, the allottee did not stall the work," said Deepak Chadha.

"A fresh complaint made to the UT Adviser on September 20 has been down marked to the XEN of the enforcement wing, Jatinder Singh, who is already aware of the violation," added Deepak. 



Only 3 of 25 HUDA commercial sites auctioned
Hina Rohtagi
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 11
In yet another setback for the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), only three out of 25 commercial sites were sold today during an auction held at the HUDA office, Sector 6, Panchkula, this morning.

Last year also, just three commercial sites out of 36 were sold. Surprisingly, the three sites sold this time are only booths. Not even a single showroom was sold today. The highest reserve price of the showroom in Sector 7, Panchkula, was Rs 8.13 crore. The auction lasted hardly for 1.5 hours.

Only 14 applicants had come for 25 sites of the HUDA. After failing in the auction last year, the authorities were expecting some relief this time.

While two of the three booths sold are in Sector 11, the other is in Sector 15. The booths went in for a price just ten per cent higher than the reserved price.

According to the HUDA authorities, small booth without basement in Sector 11 went to the bidders, Virender Gupta and Neeru Gupta, for a price of Rs 1.10 crore against the reserve price of Rs 1.0045 crore while a built-up booth with basement in Sector 11 went to a bidder Om Prakash at a price of Rs 1.11 crore against a price of Rs 1.0045 crore. A service booth in Sector 15 went to the bidder Kulwinder Giri at a price of Rs 1.55 crore against the reserve price of Rs 1.4081 crore.

The sites were sold at an increased price of 10.03 percent. Heated arguments also took place when the auctioned sites were cancelled and again the auction was held after the authorities said that a hike of minimum ten per cent is mandatory.

The HUDA has now planned to hold the auction in another two months.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Administrator Sharandeep Brar, said, "The hike of ten per cent is good."

Student found serving water

A student of Class VII of a local school was seen performing the chores of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) at the auction of commercial sites at Sector 6, Panchkula.

He was serving water and other refreshments to the visitors. The victim, Raj (name changed), was seen serving water and other eatables in the school uniform.

He said that he was hired for Rs 200 by the authorities. However, HUDA authorities claimed that the child was hired by the contractor and not by them.

Taking a serious note of the issue, Estate Officer Vandana Disodia said she would definitely look into  the matter. “The child was hired by the contractor and not the HUDA staff. I will surely look who made the child work,” she said.

Raj is a resident of Ramgarh. His brother Ravi (name changed) who was accompanying him was rendered speechless when asked as to why the child was being made to work that too after skipping his school. 



Low visibility hits flight operations
Harries travellers as two flights take off three hours late due to inclement weather
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The ghost of low visibility has returned to haunt the authorities of the Chandigarh domestic airport.

Two flights, scheduled to take off between 8 am and 9 am, were delayed by three hours due to inclement weather today.

Jet Airways’ outbound Chandigarh-Delhi-Bengaluru flight, which was supposed to depart at 8.10 am, took off at 11.30 am while SpiceJet’s Chandigarh-Delhi flight left the airport at 11.45 am instead of 8.35 am.

The delay put travellers to inconvenience. Many passengers had to cancel their flights. The airlines, on the other hand, had a tough time rescheduling flights.

Today's delay heralded the onset of winter. Last year, the airport remained shut for two weeks as low visibility affected flight operations.

Chairman of CII Council (Chandigarh chapter) Manmohan Singh said, "It is strange that even a slight change in weather incapacitates a city like Chandigarh." He said as the winter was approaching, the domestic airport authorities should upgrade its instrument landing system (ILS) to the CAT-II level so that the flights could land and take off even during bad weather.

He said such delays brought a bad name to the city which was ill-equipped.

As per information, the present ILS at the airport is operating at the basic CAT-III level and cannot handle the flight landing or departure if the visibility goes down below 1.2 km.

For the past years, there has been a demand to upgrade it. At the CAT-II level, the system will be able to handle the flight landing and departure within the visibility of 400-500 metres.

A senior manager of a private airlines said despite air traffic growing rapidly, the authorities failed to get the system upgraded.

"Flight operations will be affected in the winter. Things can be even worse if the ILS is not upgraded on time," he said

An instrument landing system (ILS) is a ground-based instrument approach system that provides precision guidance to an aircraft approaching and landing on a runway and ensures safe landing during reduced visibility due to fog, rain or blowing snow.

Airport director HS Toor could not be contacted despite repeated calls. 

ILS needs to be upgraded

Chairman of CII Council (Chandigarh chapter) Manmohan Singh said, "It is strange that even a slight change in weather incapacitates a city like Chandigarh." He said as the winter was approaching, the domestic airport authorities should upgrade its instrument landing system (ILS) to the CAT-II level so that the flights could land and take off even during bad weather. 



High-velocity dust storm hits city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A dust storm having a velocity of 40 km per hour hit the city this morning.

Met officials said increased moisture and low pressure building up in the central part of the country resulted in the high-velocity storm. The Met department has predicted another storm in the next 24 hours.

Met department director Surinder Pal Singh said in the past five years, the city had witnessed a number of storms. He said an increase in the number of concrete structures in the tricity had also resulted in climate variability. Deforestation was also a matter of concern, he stated. As per the Met forecast, there will be a partly cloudy sky with the possibility of thundershowers with mist in the morning and evening. The maximum temperature on Saturday is expected to be 30 degrees Celsius and minimum temperature will be 24 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature recorded today was 28.2 degrees Celsius which is four notches below the normal while the minimum temperature was 24.2 degrees Celsius.



Plays havoc with Ramlila organisers’ plans
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 11
The high-velocity dust storm wreaked havoc, damaging tents on Ramlila grounds. Devotees at Mansa Devi Temple had to face the nature's wrath.

Organisers of Ramlila had to set up the stage for the third time at Shalimar ground.

A member of the Adarsh Ramlila Dramatic Club said they suffered losses to the tune of Rs 3 lakh due to the storm.

"Workers have been setting up the stage since morning," said an artiste. Due to bad weather, the organisers had to suffer a loss of Rs 1 lakh a few days ago. Even the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad were also damaged.

The Ramlila organisers had to reschedule the event due to inclement weather.



Women and child helpline launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The UT social welfare department launched a women and child helpline '181' on the International Day of the Girl Child today.

The helpline will be set up at various places in the city, including the railway station, bus stand and office complexes.

Senior citizens and physically challenged persons can also avail the service.

Chairperson of the high-powered committee, Union Government, Dr Pam Rajput launched the helpline and also released brochures, posters and stickers for creating awareness. UT social welfare department director Rajesh Jopal stated that the helpline would cater to the needs of victims of domestic violence, marital dispute, eve-teasing, deserted women and children, beggars and child labour.

Besides, it will also provide career guidance and pre-marital counselling and for legal aid and hospital services. Rajput said ensuring the girl child's safety should be the top priority of society. Dr Aadarsh Kohli, department of psychiatry, PGI, delivered a lecture on 'innovative methods for girls' education'. Dr Priti Arun from Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, laid emphasis on the importance of imparting education to the girl child. Winners of painting and slogan-writing competitions were given cash prizes by the chief guest. 



Auction of vanity numbers on Oct 19, 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) will be conducting a two-day open auction of vanity numbers on October 19 and 20. The venue for the auction will be the open space adjoining the basement of the RLA's office.

The RLA will auction numbers in the 0001 to 0100 series on October 19 while the remaining will go under the hammer on October 20. Kashish Mittal, RLA, said since such an auction was being held for the first time, an applicant would be allowed to deposit only one draft. The RLA said against a draft of Rs 25,000, a participant could go in for one or more bids. He said it had been observed that in the system of advance booking, applicants were resorting to forming a cartel to keep the bid money low. As a result, the RLA had to cancel the bid of auctioned numbers twice.



Estate Office employees in trouble

Chandigarh, October 11
A few employees of the UT Estate Office are in the dock for fraudulently transferring the general power of attorney (GPA) of a house. A Sector 38 resident, Rajbir Singh Randhawa, reported to the police that five persons, including his father and younger brother, along with two Estate Office employees had fraudulently transferred the GPA of his house in their names on Friday. The employees have been identified as Sanjay Watts and Ashok Bisht.

Randhawa alleged that he had cancelled the GPA of his house, which earlier was registered in the name of his father Mukhtiar Singh, but the accused fraudulently transferred it in the name of his younger brother Satbir Singh. The police said before lodging an FIR, a probe was conducted. A case has been registered at the Sector 17 police station. — TNS



Differently abled welcome SC decision
Say Centre and states need to implement the orders in letter and spirit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre and state governments to provide three per cent reservation in jobs to differently abled persons.

The apex court observed that it was an "alarming reality" that the differently abled persons were unemployed due to various social and practical barriers.

Welcoming the decision, Harman S Sidhu, chairman of the NGO ArriveSafe, called the observation a sad reality.

“The SC had to remind the governments about the plight of the differently abled persons. It will still be a tall task for the differently abled persons to get the jobs,” said Sidhu.

Sidhu said: “Once, I tried to apply for a government job under this category, but failed to convince the bureaucrats that I was physically challenged, despite being in a wheelchair. I was asked to get another medical certificate, specifically for applying to the job, though I had a ‘certificate of disability’ given by the country's premier institute, AIIMS, New Delhi.”

Sidhu said the differently abled people with relatively lesser disabilities managed to get jobs because of connections with high-ups, while those who really needed jobs had to face red tapism.

In its order, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre and state governments to compute the number of vacancies available in all the "establishments", i.e. departments as well as public sector undertakings, and identify the posts for differently abled persons within three months. The governments have been asked to implement the decision without default.

Harman S Sidhu, chairman of the NGO ArriveSafe; and (right) Panchkula resident Mohit Batra welcome the Supreme Court decision of reserving  3 per cent jobs for the differently abled in the government service at both the Central and state level.

Panchkula resident Mohit Batra, who was appointed as a junior engineer in the Punjab Mandi Board in 2001 on the post reserved for the differently abled, said the real hurdle will be implementation of the orders.

“I was appointed as a junior engineer in the Punjab Mandi Board in 2001 on the post reserved for the differently abled, on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. These orders, however, have not been implemented in the true spirit. The Punjab Government has failed to advertise the reserved vacancies time and again. Moreover, the reservation in promotion of the differently abled is yet to be implemented,” said Mohit.

Atul Kaushal, Chandigarh-based Punjab Government employee Gives hope to many

A physically challenged person was previously considered ineligible to apply under the general or any other quota, by the virtue of stringent medical conditions. This exclusion was not right in principle. So, the SC decision allows the physically challenged persons to apply for the government service. This quota, if implemented properly, gives hope to many persons of leading a life with dignity, which is a fundamental right of all the citizens.

Atul Kaushal, Chandigarh-based Punjab Government employee 

Mahesh Kamboj, Panchkula residentI completed a course in electronics from an ITI, but I am forced to do petty jobs as I could not avail myself of the quota for the differently abled. Governments make a lot of promises, but when it comes to the implementation, nothing is done. Society, too, is not sensitive towards the differently abled. I hope the decision of the apex court will be implemented in its true spirit.

Mahesh Kamboj, Panchkula resident



96-year-old World War-II veteran honoured 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 11
A 96-year-old World War-II veteran, Narinder Singh, who had remained incarcerated for four year as a prisoner-of-war, was honoured here today and given a lifelong monthly financial assistance by a non-government organisation.

Even as his has sought judicial intervention for grant of financial benefits for his service, Bangalore-based Flags of Honour Foundation has started paying in Rs 3,000 per month. The first check was handed over to him by Brig Abhay Bhargava, director of the foundation’s northern region.

Another check of Rs 25,000 was given to him by Brig Manjit Singh, Director Sainik Welfare Punjab, as a welfare grant. Narinder Also spoke about his experiences of the war on the occasion. A large number of ex-servicemen were also present on the occasion.

Narinder is presently residing in Mohali and has no source of income, medical benefits of canteen facilities from the army. His case came into limelight after he filed a writ petition before the Armed Forces Tribunal last month, seeking grant of benefits for services rendered during the War as are being paid to similarly placed World War–II veterans belonging to Kerala.

Narindar had been recruited into the Royal Indian Army Service Corps in May 1939 and served in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Libya with the British forces. In 1951, along with other British troops, he was captured by the Germans in Libya and remained a prisoner-of-war till 1945 in various places including temporary prisoners’ barracks in Greece, camps in Italy and then Germany. He, along with other troops, was freed by the US Army and was moved to France and then to England before returning home. 



Unlicensed travel agents to face action 

Mohali, October 11
The district administration has announced that it is mandatory under the law for travel agents to get themselves registered, failing which action would be taken against them.

This was stated by Additional Deputy Commissioner Parveen Kumar Thind here. The last date for the registration of travel agents and those selling air tickets was October 31.

He said that applicants would be issued licences. All registered agents would have to compulsorily mention their registration numbers in all advertisements issued by them. The necessary directions in this regard had been issued to the SDMs of Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi and the SSP, added Thind. —OC



MP releases ‘Masjids of the Tri-City’ 

Mohali, October 11
A coffee-table book, “Masjids of the Tri-City,” was released by Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, Chandigarh, at a function held at Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology yesterday.

The guests of honour included Maulana Shakil Ahmed Qasmi, Chairman, Chandigarh Wakf Board, and Anish Ahmad, Representative, Punjab Wakf Board.

The book has been authored by Aneesh Bhanot and Pawan Joshi and details the history of nine masjids of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali and the service they are providing to the community. It is the fourth in a series, after books on the gurdwaras, temples and churches of the tri-city, and is dedicated to Neerja Bhanot, the brave air hostess who gave up her life while saving others during a plane hijack. —OC



DGP announces Rs 1 lakh reward
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 11
A week after an amounf of Rs 16 lakh was looted from two petrol pump employees in Panchkula, the Haryana Director General of Police (DGP), SN Vashisht, has announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who provides information about the robbers who committed the crime outside a bank at Amravati Enclave in Pinjore, Panchkula.

“There were clues with the police which point to the involvement of certain criminals. There is also apprehension that they might strike again at some other place, the reward has been announced,” said Commissioner of Police (CP) Rajbir Deswal.

Vashisht has also directed the police to make all efforts to track down the criminals and prevent recurrence of such crimes.

It was on October 3 when at least five armed robbers looted Rs 16.08 lakh from two employees of a petrol pump at Amravati Enclave, Panchkula, when they were on their way to deposit the money (collected from the pump) at a nearby branch of State bank of India (SBI).

When the petrol pump employees, Harish and Kamaljit Singh, tried to chase the robbers, who had come in a white Etios car, one of them reportedly fired into the air.

The strike by the youths was very much similar to that of Zen gang robbers who have been on the prowl in Panchkula since 2008.



PU gives golden chance to students
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
In a decision that will benefit hundreds of students, Panjab University has decided to give a one time golden chance to those who had appeared for the postgraduate examinations while the annual system was still in place, but could not appear for the compartment or apply for the improvements as the university shifted to the semester system.

This special chance will be given to the interested students in April 2014.

All postgradute courses of the varsity and its affiliated colleges shifted to the semester system in 2011. Students who had appeared for the examinations before the new system was introduced were in a fix, as for re-appearing for the exam or for applying for any improvements they were supposed to appear as per the new system.

Under this system, students had to appear for two examinations, based on the revised syllabus, to clear their compartments.

The issue was raised during the recently held Senate meeting, after which a committee was constituted to work out the modalities.

Senate member Munish Verma, while raising the issue in the Senate, had stated that the decision to shift to the semester system without giving a window to the students who appeared for the examinations while the annual system was in place discouraged many of them from applying for compartment exams or improvements.

The committee recently held a meeting to finalise the modalities and decided that students would have to pay Rs 10,000 to avail themselves of the benefit.

PU Controller of Examination (COE) Parvinder Singh said students from any previous session could apply for the compartment exam or improvements.

“The students will not have to study the new syllabus, as the question papers would be set as per the old syllabus,” said the COE.



PU Syndicate takes U-turn
Says video recording of meetings will not be provided under RTI Act
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Taking a U-turn to a decision taken over a year ago to ensure transparency, the Panjab University (PU) Syndicate has decided that the video recording of the Syndicate meeting will not be provided under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The sudden decision was taken in the Syndicate meeting held on October 8, though there was no such proposal regarding the same in the agenda.

Sources said the Syndics had several times raised objections that the heated debates and arguments within the meeting, which were video recorded, were provided under the RTI, which affected their image.

Sources said another reason that provoked the Syndics to take the decision was the members being targeted by the affected party.

“There have been a few incidents when the Syndics who had spoken against particular colleges were threatened by the college management for speaking against them,” said an official.

PU officials, however, said the video recording of meetings was started after the House members used to complain that the minutes of the meeting were not recorded properly.

“The recording started after numerous complaints were received about tampering of the proceedings,” an official said.

It was initially decided that the video recording would help in keeping the record of the discussion held at the meeting and statements made by House members. Later, those interested in viewing the proceedings of the meetings filed RTI applications, however, they were denied the CDs.

The issue of providing the recordings under the RTI was raised again in the House on which it decided to take legal opinion. After seeking legal opinion from three senior lawyers, who recommended that the university needed to provide the recordings to public under the RTI Act, the decision was taken.

A senior Syndicate member, disappointed with the decision said the Syndicate meetings were not personal meetings. The issues related to students, teachers, colleges and the PU were discussed in the meeting and everyone should have the right to view the proceedings of the meeting.

“The university will now again have closed-door meetings, which is not in the public interest," the Senate member added.



PU dept to take part in INO project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Physics Department of the PU would participate in the prestigious India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project being set-up near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The Department of Science and Technology (DST), GoI, has sanctioned a grant of Rs 1.50 crore in this regard.

The Physics Department has also closely contributed to the experimental part of the Higgs Boson Research.

The department’s participation in the INO project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1,200 m for non-accelerator-based high energy and nuclear physics research in the country. The expenditure on the whole project is expected to be Rs 1,600 crore, which is supported by the Centre.

Over 50 scientists from the PU and about 14 other institutes and universities in the country have come together to form the National Neutrino Collaboration Group (NNCG). The research team at the Physics Department of PU includes Prof JB Singh, Assistant Prof Vipin Bhatnagar, Assistant Prof Ashok Kumar and Assistant Prof JS Shahi.

Engineers, technicians and research scholars would also be involved during the implementation of the project. The sanctioned grant will enable the group members, engineers and research scholars to participate in all aspects of this world class neutrino experiments being set up in India.

The group would be actively contributing to the research and development work for INO detector development, which will be used for the detection of Neutrinos coming from atmosphere. 



Schools seek review of policy
Vivek Gupta/TNS

Chandigarh, October 11
UT Government schools have demanded a review of the current school uniform procurement policy following a delay in the procurement of the summer school uniform due to hectic official process involved in its purchase.

As reported by Chandigarh Tribune yesterday, many of the government schools still could not distribute their summer school uniform due to pending technical issues, despite the fact that the season was at its fag end.

“The delays seemed imminent in winter purchase too, said a school head, seeking anonymity.

He added that the winter uniform supply would not come before the third week of next month as most of the schools placed their winter school uniform order just now. Thereafter, a lot of time would be required for getting the quality clearance from the lab test. Another school head said during the summer uniform purchase, schools got their lab report after a month. “If the similar delays persist during the winter purchase, the winter uniforms can’t be distributed before December end or January first week,” he said.

Vinod Sharma, president of the Government Teachers’ Union and also the Head of Government High School, Sector 34, said the Education Department must review the existing school uniform policy given the consistent delay faced by government schools in purchasing the uniforms.

“For winter uniform also, the schools have issued two-three tenders after which the response from suppliers have begun,” he said.

“One of the ways is that the department should allow cluster-wise procurement rather than individually directing each school to procure their own uniform supply,” he said.

RK Sharma, DEO, said the decision to decentralise the uniform purchase through government schools was taken as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Though the present system had improved a lot as compared to the recent months, the matter would be discussed whether the changes were possible in the current system, he said.



Students spread message of love, joy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 11
Saupin’s School here celebrated the ‘Joy of Giving’ week in an innovative way by thanking their neighbours who always extend a helping hand in every possible way. As part of the activity, children went to different places like Fortis hospital, Max hospital, Ivy hospital, BSNL exchange, fire station and police station and to their neighbours, spreading the message of love and joy by giving small tokens of love and affection.

Members of the Saupin’s Community Service Organisation of the school also visited Pingalwara, which is an annual feature.

They donated colouring books, copies, erasers, colours, school bags, water bottles, lunch boxes, Savlon bottles and other essentials to them. The school advocates social awareness and has endeavoured to inculcate in children a sense of compassion, responsibility and caring towards society. Children look forward to this visit. Head Mistress Goldie Kapany said the joy obtained by engaging children through acts of giving at a very young age made them more compassionate towards society.



Teams battle it out on Day 1 at ‘Efficycle’
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Showcasing a new innovation in the prototype three-wheel electric-human powered hybrid vehicle, Griffins, a team of engineering students from College of Technology, Coimbatore, have designed a vehicle that has automatic gear shifting system that runs with the help of sensor that senses the speed of the vehicle and changes the gear itself. The team with the new innovation is hopeful of taking over other teams in the endurance race to be organised at the Panjab University’s UIET Department during the event ‘Efficycle’.

“While driving the vehicle we can shift the gear system from manual mode to automatic mode with the help of sensors, which senses the speed of the vehicle and automatically shifts the gear,” said Rammoghen the team captain.

Ajay Sunder, another team member, said to ensure safety they had installed disc brakes in the vehicle, which was not, a common feature in the hybrid vehicles designed by students. The vehicle could go up to the speed of 25 km per hour, carrying two passengers, including a driver. The vehicle weighs 150 kg.

The day one of ‘Efficycle’ saw all teams battling it out in the technical inspection and static tests.

Technical inspection tests included the ‘go and no-go test’ where the dimensions of the vehicle were tested; Figure of eight test where the vehicle had to follow a path shaped 8 without touching the boundary lines; Safety Check where safety guidelines had to be followed and lastly the most essential Brake Test was held. Until and unless these tests are cleared, the teams do not be eligible for the dynamic tests to take place on day two. 



PU notes


The two-day national-level workshop on 'Mixology: Orientation and Modernism' concluded on Friday at Panjab University (PU). The University Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism (UIHMT) had organised the workshop under the banner of Infusion 2013. Students participated with continued zeal and enthusiasm. The day started with a session on Practical Mixology. Key resource person Saroj Gulati dealt in detail with the finer nuances of setting up a bar, its equipment and day-to-day working. Director, UIHMT, Prof RK Gupta, presided over the session and motivated the delegates. This session brought a lot of inputs and delegates thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially the flaring and the juggling acts. The active participation of delegates made it a two-way learning process.

Students win laurels

The Panjab University Campus Students' Council felicitated the girls’ team of gidda from the university, which won the first prize in the zonal youth and heritage festival. The team will now represent PU in the inter-zonal fest at Khanna on November 30. The council celebrated the success by felicitating them with a treat at the conference hall at the Student Centre, PU. — TNS



School notes
Festive spirit pervades tricity schools

St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School

Chandigarh: St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School celebrated Dasehra with great pomp and show. A mini Ramlila was presented by the students of classes IV and V. Various scenes depicted “Ram Vivah”, “Sita Haran” and “Ram and Ravan Yudh”.

Sri Guru Harkrishan Sr Sec Public School-40

Students of Sri Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary Public School celebrated Dasehra on the school premises. Students of classes VI to X performed the Ramleela and inspired the audience with a social message. At the end of the play, effigy of Ravana was set ablaze.

Banyan Tree School

In a special morning assembly, students of Banyan Tree School, Sector 48, highlighted the significance of Dasehra, through speeches and enactment. Students in colorful costumes of Lord Rama, Lakshman, Ravana and Sita enacted important scenes from their lives. They asked the students to burn the evil within them and follow the path of truth and goodness.

Bhavan Vidyalaya Junior, Sector 33

Bhavan Vidyalaya Junior celebrated Dasehra on the school premises. Ravana’s effigy made by the pre-nursery teachers and was burnt. The students also presented a small episode of ‘Ramayana’.

Guru Teg Bahadur Public School

The students presented a street play to celebrate Dasehra. The students were tastefully and ethically dressed up as various characters of the plays. The message of good over evil was shown through the play.

Students of St Kabir School enact a scene from the play ‘My Fair Lady’ at the Tagore Theatre in Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan
Students of St Kabir School enact a scene from the play ‘My Fair Lady’ at the Tagore Theatre in Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

PMLSD Public School, Sector 19

The auspicious Dasehra festival was celebrated in PML SD Public School with great fervor. The students prepared effigies of Demon King Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnatha.

New India Smart School, Sector 15

Panchkula: New India Smart School celebrated Dasehra with great zeal and enthusiasm. A special assembly was held on the occasion. The children made effigies of Ravana. Competitions like mask making, weapons making and painting were also held.

Shishu Niketan Public School, Sector-5, MDC

Shishu Niketan Public School, Panchkula, celebrated Dasehra with great enthusiasm. Students came dresses up in beautiful and colourful costumes of Ram, Sita and Ravana. Everyone appreciated jhankies of Ravana’s darbar and shabri with Lord Rama. Effigy of Ravana was set on fire. Principal Ranjna Bakshi told the importance of Dasehra and distributed sweets among the students.

DAV, Surajpur

Dussehra programme at DAV, Surajpur, commenced with the enactment of Ram Lila. Students mesmerised with their scintillating performances. The persona of Lord Rama was portrayed with dedication and alacrity. At the end, effigies of the three great demons-Ravana, Meghnatha and Kumbhkarna were set afire amidst crackers and fireworks. — TNS



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