C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rs 20 cr to help IT entrepreneurs
IT policy aims at making two individuals (one woman) e-literate in every household
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
To provide assistance to Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) and young entrepreneurs in the IT and IT-enabled services (ITES) industry, the UT Administration will create a Venture Capital Fund with a corpus of Rs 20 crore.

It was the highlight of the Information Technology and Electronics Policy 2013 of the Chandigarh Administration, which was accorded approval by UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil today.

Besides, the policy also aims at making two individuals (at least one woman) in every household e-literate. The policy also proposes the setting up of IT incubation centres at some identified colleges where students of the respective colleges would be allowed to launch startups.

With the motive of providing financial assistance to every government department to carry out IT-related projects, it has been mentioned in the policy that all the departments of the UT shall be mandated to earmark necessary plan funds for e-governance annually.

A senior official of the UT Administration said the policy aimed at leveraging the IT and electronics to further boost the socio-economic developmental in the UT by promoting various e-governance initiatives, bridging the digital divide and promoting the IT and Electronics Industry.

The policy has many unique and national firsts. The policy envisions the creation of an electronic/digital resource by the IT Department, which would enable officials as well as citizens to have an easy access to important information like rules, regulations, notifications, etc. Besides, making provisions for creating a venture capital fund, the policy also includes incentives and provisions for entrepreneurs in the field of IT and electronics at various levels, he added.

In order to implement the new policy efficiently and effectively, the IT Department is preparing a detailed action plan, which would be followed by an implementation plan.

Top 13 features of Information Technology and Electronics Policy 2013

  1. To make two individuals (at least one woman) e-literate in every household.
  2. A Venture Capital Fund, with a corpus of ~20 crore, shall be created to provide funds to MSE and young entrepreneurs in the IT and IT-enabled services industry.
  3. IT Incubation Centres will be set up in some colleges, where students of the respective colleges would be allowed to launch startups.
  4. Use of technologies, near field communications, cloud computing and social media, shall be promoted for delivery of public services "anywhere, anytime & through any device".
  5. A knowledge resource/digital library to be set up to maintain a repository of documents for use by the general public and the government authorities.
  6. Use of emails to be stepped up for (i) responding to email-based correspondence of citizens and (ii) for intra and inter-departmental communication within the Chandigarh Administration.
  7. All the departments will be mandated to earmark necessary plan funds for e-governance annually.
  8. Facility to be set up for user friendly e-Vault and email IDs for lifelong archiving for each citizen, company and departments to enable them to secure their digital dialogue, correspondence and important documents.
  9. Chandigarh to have smart city infrastructure like (i) city wi-fi and (ii) fibre-ready homes, etc.
  10. Facilitating creation and upgrade of IT infrastructure for interactive education at schools and promoting advanced virtual classroom courses.
  11. The IT Department will facilitate participation of micro and small enterprises IT units in tender/RFP issued for procurement of IT goods/services.
  12. Electronic Technology Transfer, IPR, etc, will be made incentive-based through friendly tax regime for industries which adopt technologies developed by Indian institutes/organisations/laboratories.
  13. The IT Department would work towards notifying Chandigarh as a Brownfield Electronic Manufacturing Cluster.



UT yet to fully implement earlier policy
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Though the UT Administration today unveiled its Information Technology & Electronics Policy 2013, it is yet to fully implement the IT policy 2000.

In the IT policy 2000, the Administration had announced that there would be a Task Force in each department, which will be responsible for the implementation of the IT policy in the departments. It was also announced that the Task Force will meet at least once a month and monitor the progress of the department's IT plan. However, these task forces are only on paper. The condition of IT-related services in various departments is so bad that they even did not

update their official websites. The information displayed on the websites of different departments is outdated and even names of the officials have not been updated.

In the previous policy, the Administration had announced that a single window clearance should be provided to all IT companies interested in setting up units in the city. But, the IT companies faced objections from various departments. A representative of an firm based in the IT Park said there was hardly any coordination among the departments and ultimately it was the IT companies which faced problem in setting up and running their units in the city.

The policy was aimed at providing public services to the residents through e-governance but till date the Administration has failed to provide online services of birth and death registration, new electricity connections, etc.



Long-route buses not to ply in city
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
In future, the UT Transport Department will not ply long-route buses on the local routes, as these are not structurally designed for the same. An assurance to this effect has been given by the department after the issue of loss of revenue due to the plying of AC buses on the local routes instead of long routes, for which they have been designed, was tabled in Parliament.

After the audit para on revenue loss of Rs 58.97 lakh due to initially non-operation of 20 AC buses and later operating them on the local routes was tabled in both Houses of Parliament during the last session, Director-General of Audit (Central Expenditure), in a communication to the UT Adviser, had sought comments on the issue.

Since the inclusion of the para in the CAG report was the result of non-submission of a reply by the department concerned, the Special Secretary (Finance) asked the Director Transport for action taken report on the issue. The Director Transport, in his reply, has stated it would ensure that the long-route buses were plied on long routes only.

Incidentally, almost a month after the UT Transport Department stated that it would ply long the route-buses on long routes only, the top brass of the Administration passed a contradictory order to withdraw long-route buses from 15 routes. The buses are likely to be put on local or sub-urban routes, said sources.

Withdrawal of buses from long routes causes loss

CAG has pointed out that the CTU suffered a loss of around Rs 3 crore, as the long-route buses of the state transport undertaking could not complete the scheduled kilometers allowed under the reciprocal agreement with the other states. Owing to the withdrawal of buses from long routes amid staff shortage, the undertaking could not earn the projected revenue as per the kilometers allowed.



Pinki’s murder: Police fail to make headway
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Even six days after the body of 11-year-old Pinki was found in the forest area of Palsora village in Sector 52, the Chandigarh police is still groping in the dark. Though the police have continued a search operation in the area, they have failed to make any headway in the case.

Police sources stated that certain people of the area, who were under suspicion, were questioned. However, the police failed to get any information that could help in cracking the case. “We have been tracking the movements of suspicious people and questioning them. The police teams are also meeting local residents to get a clue that can lead us to the accused,” the sources added.

Pinki, a Class VI student and resident of Palsora, had gone missing on November 27. Her body was found in a jute sack in the forest area in Sector 52. The post-mortem report revealed that she was sexually assaulted and before being strangled to death.

Pinki’s mother Gudda Rani stated that they were waiting for the police to nail the accused. “I am completely shattered after the incident. We hope the police arrest the killers,” she said, in a choked voice.

The police have announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for providing information about the accused.

Meanwhile, the bhog ceremony of Pinki will be held tomorrow from 11.30 am to 1 pm at the gurdwara in Palsora.



Areas demarcated for NGOs
Asked to sterilise 300 stray dogs per month
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Municipal Corporation (MC), Chandigarh, has divided the city into two zones for the non-government organisations (NGOs) involved in the sterilisation of stray dogs. It was after the NGOs had a jurisdiction issue that the MC decided to divide the area and ask the NGOs to sterilise more than 300 stray dogs a month.

The NGOs roped in for the work by the MC include the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the People for Animal (PFA).

Joint Commissioner of the MC Rajiv Gupta stated earlier there were three NGOs doing the job. Later, a Panchkula-based NGO withdrew due to some problem. The two NGOs were facing a jurisdiction problem that was affecting the sterilisation work. "At the last meeting, we have divided the city in two zones. The road separating sectors 17 and 18 has been demarcated as the boundary for the areas of operations of both the NGOs. While the PFA will operate towards the West side of the city, the SPCA will work on the East side," Gupta stated.

Showing concern about the increasing number of stray dogs in the City Beautiful, the Joint Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation stated that earlier both the non-government organisations were sterilising around 100 dogs per month. Now, they have been asked to increase the number up to a minimum of 300 to control the population of stray dogs in the city.

The number of dog bite cases in the city has also been a cause of concern as till November 14, the number has touched the 4,689 mark. Recently, Manish Kumar, a resident of Sector 22, was bitten by dogs twice within a period of three days.

In a survey conducted in 2012, the UT Animal Husbandry Department pegged the number of stray dogs in the city at 7,847.


Tourism Fest ends on a high note
Tribune News Service

Foreign artistes perform at the concluding function of Tourism Fest in Chandigarh on Saturday
making waves: Foreign artistes perform at the concluding function of Tourism Fest in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, December 7
The first edition of the CII Tourism Fest concluded with high hopes of integrated tourism circuit for the region. Experts from government officials of four main states, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and J&K, along with private industry, mooted the formation of seamless tourism across Northern India that simplifies the tax structure and makes travel easy and comfortable for the visitors visiting these states for the tourism purpose.

Arjun Sharma, chairman, CII Tourism Fest, called upon the states to come together and market the tourism potential of the region as a whole.

He said besides the religious and heritage tourism of the region, the state government could promote the rural tourism and lifestyle tourism, for which proper coordination among the representative states was required. There was also a need to form a joint committee of all states concerned to carry forward the recommendations of the meet.

Jayant Davar, chairman, CII Northern Region, said the fest would hopefully help in prompting the tourism of the region, both among the domestic as well as foreign tourists.

Manmohan Singh, president, CII Chandigarh, said another major contribution of this festival was that it brought all the stakeholders at one platform and discussed various inter-state issues at length. The issue of delay in starting of international flights from the Chandigarh Airport was hurting the tourism industry in the region, and the fest called for early commencement of international flights from Chandigarh.

The Chandigarh Hospitality Association also raised the issue of granting infrastructure status to the Tourism and Hospitality Industry with the Union Ministry of Tourism on the sidelines of the CII Tourism Fest.

Ankit Gupta, secretary of the association, said since tourism was a capital-intensive industry, the granting of the infrastructure status would help it in various arenas like getting cheaper finance. He also asked for implication of the taxes for the Hospitality Industry.

Anil Kumar, Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Tourism, Chandigarh Administration, chaired the valedictory function here at Hotel Shivalik View in Sector 17. He also congratulated the CII for organising a successful and much pertinent tourism fest.

He also released a book by celebrated Chef Manjit Gill, The Secrets of Indian Gastronomy, showcasing India’s age-old philosophy and secrets behind various recipes.

All pavilions of the fest attracted a great number of holiday lovers who benefited from a wide range of special itineraries, special and attractive packages, unexplored destinations and great holiday deals from various state and country tourism boards.

Also, mesmerising dance performances by the national as well as the international dancers during the International Dance Show won the hearts of the city residents.

The fest witnessed participation from Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Delhi in addition to overseas participation from China, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia (Silver Sponsor), Turkey and Ethiopia.



national crafts mela
Closing ceremony called off as tribute to Mandela
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Chandigarh joined the world today to pay tributes to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who died at 95 yesterday.

The official closing ceremony of the National Crafts Mela was cancelled at the Kala Gram today in view of the demise of the international icon. Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia also did not attend the valedictory function of the CII Tourism Fest at Hotel Shivalik View in Sector 17, Chandigarh. The gathering at the annual function of the Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre at the Panjab University here also paid homage to Mandela by observing two-minute silence.

As many as 300 artistes were to perform at the closing ceremony of the National Crafts Mela that began on November 29. The North Zone Cultural Centre in association with the Chandigarh Administration had jointly organised the event.

Organiser of the festival, DS Saroya, director, NZCC, said Nelson Mandela’s death was a big loss to the world. “All the artistes were ready to perform at the closing ceremony of the crafts fair but we chose to cancel it as a mark of tribute to a man, who reinforced the conviction in non-violence after Gandhi,” he said.

People from all walks of life paid tribute to him today.

Former world president of Rotary International RK Saboo said he had the privilege to meet the Gandhi of South Africa in 1996 when he was the chairman of the Rotary Foundation and working for polio eradication around the world. “Nelson Mandela inaugurated a conference in the morning and in the evening, we all danced together. One could see a man who suffered so much during his lifetime. He not only removed the inequality in the society but also united people,” Saboo said, adding that Mandela truly extended Gandhi’s non-violence teaching through his “weapon” of reconciliation.

The head of German Cultural Centre, Goethe Institute, Chandigarh, Surinder Singh Maken, said he took the human dignity to new heights. “His demise has created a void in the world but people across the world must carry forward his legacy with equal sensitivity and commitment. The world needs more icons like Mandela and Gandhi today,” he said.

City-based theatre actor and musician Kamal Tiwari said, “His teachings would keep guiding the humankind till the very end.”



Gram Panchayat elections
Candidates get poll symbols
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Returning officers today distributed election symbols among candidates, who have filed their nomination papers for the post of sarpanches and panches for the elections of 12 gram panchayats.

Some of the candidates also withdrew their nominations as today was the last day to withdraw the nomination papers.

The UT Election Commission OSD, Tarsem Lal, said they were still compiling up the information.

He added that as the sarpanch for the Raipur Kalan panchayat had been already elected, therefore elections would be held for the 11 posts of sarpanch.

Besides, villagers will also cast their votes for 120 posts of panch as 12 panches have been elected unopposed.

The residents of 12 panchayats will cast their vote on December 15. As many as 13 villages of the UT Administration fall under these panchayats. There are 12 posts of sarpanch and 132 posts of panch. The elections will be held in village panchayats of Behlana, Rairpur Khurd, Rairpur Kalan, Makhan Majra, Daria, Mauli Jagran, Kishangarh, Kaimbwala, Khuda Ali Sher, Khuda Jassu, Khuda Lahora, Sarangpur and Dhanas.



Irate villagers block Kurali-Siswan road
Protest against illegal mining and crushers; blockade lifted after five hours
Tribune News Service

Villagers protest at the Khizrabad Chowk near Kurali on Saturday
Villagers protest at the Khizrabad Chowk near Kurali on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, December 7
Hundreds of agitated residents of Khizrabad and nearby villages blocked the main road, connecting these villages to the Kurali-Siswan road.

The traffic was blocked after an accident between a tipper and a motorcycle leaving the motorcyclist seriously injured. The agitated residents were up in arms over plying of tippers in their area, which were being used for transporting the material of illegal mining and crushers there.

Last week, Rajat, a resident of Gobindgarh, lost his life after a mishap with a tipper in the area. Today’s accident in which Jaspal Singh Palli sustained serious injuries after being hit by a tipper (Registration number, PB 12T 0120) triggered the protest.

Khizrabad’s panchayat member Rana Kushalpal and others, including Satnam Singh and Mehar Singh, said despite repeated complaints, the authorities failed to stop the illegal mining and crushers in their area. “The roads are narrow here and surely not meant for big trucks and tippers. The police and the administration are very close with the miscreants being involved in mining and other such activities,” alleged the residents at the spot.

They added that the illegal activities should be curbed in the area with immediate effect otherwise they would intensify the protest. Constitution of a ‘sangharsh committee’ was also announced by the residents to deal with the hazard.

The police reached at the spot to pacify the agitators. The traffic blockade lasted for around five hours and was lifted after an assurance of action from senior police officers.



Cops given tips to deal with cyber crime
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 7
A special workshop on ‘Prevention and Investigation Techniques’ was today organised at the Police Community Hub at Sector 14 to impart important tips to deal effectively with the cyber crime, particularly the banks related frauds, to the Panchkula police officers.

Panchkula Police Commissioner Rajbir Deswal and Manpreet Singh, a renowned cyber crime expert, presided over the workshop, which was attended by several senior officers of Panchkula police and certain bank officials.

Giving details, Panchkula Commissioner Rajbir Deswal said, “We have chosen about 50 Investigating Officers from the rank of head constables to DSP, to give them tips for effectively handling the cyber crime cases, particularly online banking frauds and cards misuse.”

To apprise them of the new techniques being adopted by cyber criminals to give shape to their nefarious activities, we have also discussed certain cases at length, he said.

The police commissioner added that cyber crimes were growing substantially which is why the IOS were needed to be trained in the field from time-to-time. “Workshops, training programmes and symposia on the issue will be held in my jurisdiction timely,” said Deswal.

Cyber expert Manpreet Singh explained how fraudsters deceive prospective targets and how to proceed with regard to the collection of evidence and what measures are to be taken to prevent such frauds.



Policemen to don suits for Punjab Investors Summit
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 7
The Mohali Police is all set to shed its ‘khaki’ uniform and would don a corporate look by putting on formal suits and ties for the Punjab Investors Summit on December 9 and 10.

All the cops, who would be deputed on duty during the two-day event at the Indian School of Business, have been ordered to put on nicely ironed formal suits. The policemen have been asked to wear duty cards for identification while on duty.

The step has been taken to impress the bigwigs of business world from across the country and abroad.

While all the cops, irrespective of their ranks and designations would put on suit, only Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Inder Mohan Singh have got the directions to wear his ‘khaki’ uniform.

When asked whether the Police Department would provide the dresses to all the cops, Mohali SSP Inder Mohan Singh denied, saying that the policemen would put on their own dresses. “Colour of suits is no restriction,” said the SSP.

Meanwhile, giving details of the security arrangements during the summit, SSP Inder Mohan Singh said about 1,000 cops would be deputed in and around the venue on the two special routes, earmarked for the special guests.

All the security arrangements would be supervised by the Patiala range Inspector General Paramjit Singh Gill.

“Under the arrangements, as many as 12 superintendents of police, 30 DSPs, 40 inspectors and 150 non-gazetted officers would be deputed to supervise the arrangements in different pockets. Apart from that, four Quick Reaction Teams, four Anti-sabotage teams, mounted police and women police would be stationed near the venue,” said the SSP.



Now, UT to file tariff petition for one year only
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
As the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) is yet to finalise rules and regulations for the multi-year tariff (MYT) system, the UT Electricity Department has decided to file tariff petition for only one year instead of multi years for the next financial year, 2014-15.

The JERC had directed the department to propose a multi-year tariff regime effective from 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, but the commission itself failed to finalise the rules and regulations.

UT superintending engineer (electricity) MP Singh said they had started the process to file the tariff petition for only one year. The National Tariff Policy notified by the Central Ministry of Power on January 6, 2006, had directed the Electricity Regulatory Commissions of all states to implement the multi-year tariff model.

They were waiting for the final rules and regulations, which would be finalised by the JERC. As and when the commission will finalise it, they would start the process of preparing the MYT. But for the next financial year, they would file only one-year tariff petition, he added.

Under the new system, the Electricity Department will submit a three-year trajectory of the expected revenue, expenditure and losses on the basis of which the JERC will determine the power tariff tentatively for the next three years at one go.

Public hearing session on Dec 12

The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission will hold a public hearing session on the multi-year tariff system on December 12 at the Arts College Auditorium, Sector 10. Residents of the city can submit their suggestions and objections before the commission on the multi-year tariff system.



Sexual harassment
Police to question PEC Dy Director on Monday

Chandigarh, December 7
The Chandigarh Police are going to question the Deputy Director of PEC University of Technology on Monday after a case of sexual harassment was registered against him on the complaint of an Associate Professor of the institute. The police have booked Dr AM Kalra, Deputy Director, PEC University of Technology, and a former Director, Dr Manoj Datta, in the case. The police have made no arrests in the case so far.

DSP (Central) Ashish Kapoor said the accused would be questioned on Monday. “The case is under investigation and we will be questioning the accused,” the DSP said. The victim, in her complaint submitted to the police last year, had alleged that the Deputy Director sexually harassed her. She had been struggling for the past three years to get a complaint registered against Kalra, who is a Professor in the Civil Engineering Department. The victim has accused the former PEC Director of being hand in glove with Kalra and not taking action against him for the past two and a half years when she complained to him. — TNS



Centurion blood donors honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Five centurion blood donors from the region were honoured at the annual function of the Chandigarh Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre here at Panjab University. Besides, 200 donors got felicitation for donating blood in the last one year.

Among them, Ajay Malhotra from Bassi Pathana has championed the cause of blood donation by giving his blood for 123 times. Ajay (51) said late Dr Jai Gopal Jolly was the one who inspired him to donate blood.

“Due to his efforts, we spearheaded blood donation movement in our area and now our small town is known as the city of blood donors in the state,” he said.

According to him, all six members of his family are also active in this social cause. “Together we have donated blood for 470 times in past two decades,” he said.

Chandigarh-based senior advocate Manmohan Lal Sarin (65), who was honoured for donating blood for 114 times, got the inspiration from the home as his mother-in-law Kanta Saroop Krishan is one of the pioneering personalities in Chandigarh for the cause of blood donation.

He said there was a time when people had a lot of misconception about donating blood. But now, society was quite aware of the importance of donating blood and people these days didn’t hesitate about coming forward and helping others.

Yogesh Sood (52), a resident of Chandigarh, said: “Since I looked very fragile, I was not allowed to donate blood many a time. But it did not discourage me and I continued to donate blood to serve society. My example also shatters the myth that blood donation leads to weakness”.

Honoured for donating blood for 114 times, Mohali-based Jagtar Singh Benipal said cooperation from the private sector was required to take this moment to the next level.

“Most of the private hospitals in the region do not have their own blood bank and they also charge hefty amount from the needy. Private hospitals must make the blood available at cheaper rates, for which they must make efforts set up their own blood banks and sustain them with regular blood donation camps,” he said.

For Parwanoo-based Parveen Punj (47), blood donation began with helping somebody in the neighbour in 1986. Since then, he has donated blood for 104 times.

Besides them, more than 200 donors, who donated blood from August 15, 2012, till August 14, 2013, were also honoured at the function.

KK Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator; Dr AK Grover, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University; and RK Saboo, former world president of the Rotary International, were among several prominent Rotarians and guests who attended the function. RK Saboo commended the donors for their continued support in saving precious lives.

Rajan Kashyap, chairman of the managing committee of the Chandigarh Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre, Sector 37, said there was a dire need to have more individuals and organisations coming forward to join the blood donation movement and organising regular camps to meet the growing need for blood transfusion in the region.



Voluntary blood donation to pick up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
India is expected to source its 100 per cent blood supply through voluntary blood donation in next 4-5 years. This was stated by Union Health Secretary Lov Verma during an annual function of the Chandigarh Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre at Panjab University today.

Lov Verma, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said nearly 60 countries in the world were already sourcing their 100 per cent blood supply through voluntary blood donation. As per the ministry’s report, currently 84 per cent of the blood supply in India was managed through voluntary blood donation, the figure which was increasing annually by 2-3 per cent.

“The annual demand for blood is approximately 12 million units in our country, and even if three per cent of the population donates blood regularly, the country can meet its annual blood requirement,” he said.

The ministry, he said, was taking a lot of initiative to motivate the masses to donate blood and save thousands of life.

The WHO had urged the countries to work toward reaching the goal of obtaining 100 per cent of their blood supply through voluntary blood donation by 2020, he said.

He said the National Aids Control Organisation would be setting up four state-of-the-art regional centres of excellence for transfusion medicine in Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai with an annual collection of more than 1 lakh units.

He assured all possible help to the Chandigarh Rotary and Blood Bank Society from the next financial year budget of the ministry.



‘Government not doing enough for ex-servicemen’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
As the Armed Forces Flag Day was commemorated across the country yesterday, as is the practice every year to express solidarity with soldiers and veterans, it also focused attention on the Central and state governments’ endeavours for the welfare of the service community, which many felt are lacking.

Though the Central and state governments have doled out several rehabilitation schemes and financial benefits for the ex-servicemen, there is a general perception that these, by and large, do not measure up to the demands posed by the prevailing socio-economic environment, and both the serving soldiers as well as the retired fraternity are not being given their rightful dues.

The funds generated through donations made by the public on Flag Day are used, through the Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) and State Sainik Welfare Organisations, for the rehabilitation of battle casualties, welfare of serving personnel and their families and resettlement and welfare of ex-servicemen and their families.

“No government is doing enough for the ex-servicemen. It’s just a lip service,” said Brig IS Gakhal (retd), former Director, Defence Services Welfare, Punjab.

“The AV Singh Committee of the officer cadre restructuring of the Armed forces had stated that given the current retirement age of military personnel, they had a 20-year productive lifespan still available, which ought to be put to use by sidestepping them to paramilitary forces, but that has not happened,” he said.

Brig Gakhal pointed out that even though the Punjab Government had stipulated a quota of 13 per cent in government jobs, just about three per cent is being utilised. Even benefits like non-functional upgradation of pay scales as recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission had been made applicable to all government organisations except the Armed forces, he said.

Pointing out that neither critical issues pertaining to national security nor the welfare of serving and retired soldiers was on the government’s radar, Brig Kiran Krishan (retd), convener of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, Haryana, said the basic grievance of the service community was that military personnel retire at a young age and there were not enough rehabilitation avenues available for them to ensure social and financial security.

“Given the training spin-offs, retiring military personnel ought to be absorbed in government jobs or the paramilitary forces,” he said.

“The paramilitary forces deployed to combat Naxalism are seeking to hire ex-servicemen on a contractual basis to deal with IEDs, which shows that their expertise and training is required. Why cannot they be absorbed as regular personnel?” he questioned.

“There are some serious shortcomings in the system mandated to look after the interests of the services. The Department of Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare (DESW) in the Defence Ministry, for example, has no veteran representative,” said Major Navdeep Singh, a lawyer dealing in service matters.

“It is also this department that has been consistently filing appeals in the Supreme Court against the orders of High Courts or the Armed Forces Tribunal that have granted relief to disabled soldiers. India is perhaps the only country where 90 per cent of the appeals in the Apex Court are against relief granted to disabled soldiers,” he said.

He also pointed out that a joint secretary-level officer hired on a contractual basis by the KSB in a “non-government capacity” was later sidestepped as OSD (Pensions) in the DESW to fight court cases against the ex-servicemen. Ironically, his salary of Rs 60,000 per month is being draw from the Flag Day fund, which is meant for the welfare and rehabilitation of the service personnel.

“While there seems to be little interest on part of the Central government, state governments are undertaking welfare measures at their own convenience and there is wide disparity in benefits given out by different states,” said Col CJS Khera (retd).

“While Punjab has started recruiting ex-servicemen, it is not enough and they are not being given the desired status or the right opportunities,” he said.

“Recently, the Central government enhanced the pension for reservists from Rs 600 per month to Rs 750 per month, whereas the minimum basic pension even for unskilled people in the country is Rs 3,690. Even anomalies relating to the past three pay commissions are yet to be settled. What more can be said about the government’s attitude,” he said.



Two houses develop cracks

Chandigarh, December 7
The Municipal Corporation and the Estate Office authorities swung into action when two houses developed cracks due to an unauthorised construction raised by one of their neighbours at the Kashmiri colony in the Bapu Dham area.

A team of the enforcement wing of the Estate Office reached the site and stopped the resident of House No. 421 from further constructing a three-storey house. — TNS



‘Ajaatghar’ condemns casteism, regionalism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
A Hindi play 'Ajaatghar' was staged at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, here.

Directed by Shyam Juneja, the play tried to expose casteism and regionalism prevalant in the society. The play denounced caste prejudices and posed some questions like why are we fighting for castes and why is there lack of freedom to live anywhere without the tag of regionalism.

The story of the play revolved around two characters who go to attend a village fair. However, suddenly riots start and they take shelter in a deserted house. Their inner insecurities are exposed when they begin doubting each other amid riots.

The play was penned by Rameshwar 'Prem' while Karan Bisht composed the music.

Actors Paramjit Pamma and Abhishek Pahwa played the lead roles.



Tricity choir ushers in Christmas celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The performance of the tricity choir at St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, here set the stage for chritsmas celebrations in the city.

Organised under the aegis of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), Chandigarh chapter, the choir held multi-lingual Christmas celebrations and performed the "Story of Christmas", a concoction of classical, semi-classical and traditional music with Christmas as its theme.

More than 80 people participated in the musical performance today.

Arvind Joel, general secretary of the YMCA, Chandigarh, said through today's performance, people experienced the true mosaic of India. The performance also reflected how cosmopolitan the tricity was, he added. 



Footpaths on bridges needed

With an increase of residential areas in Pinjore and Kalka, two bridges, one on Pinjore-Kalka road near civil rest house, and another near railway crossing on Pinjore-Nalagarh road, have become accident-prone.

Both of them are national highways. Pedestrians find it extremely difficult to walk on these bridges, especially at night.

The authorities concerned are requested to build footpath alongside the bridges.

These footpaths will help pedestrians to move on these bridges.

BR Dhiman, Pinjore

Justice for Ruchika

In the Aarushi murder case, finally, after over five years, both Aarushi and Hemraj have got justice. However, residents of the tricity now want to know when will Ruchika get justice?

The accused, former DGP SPS Rathore and the others, including the institution where the victim studied, who allegedly forced Ruchika to take the extreme step, are yet to be punished. The wounds of her friends and relatives are yet to heal. The Ruchika case is entangled in a legal cobweb. If Aarushi and Hemraj can get justice, why can't Ruchika?

AK Sharma, Chandigarh

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Tricity Scan
All-women SBI branches

Chandigarh: Chairman of the State Bank Group Arundhati Bhattacharya inaugurated the personal banking branch at Sector 17 as "All Women Branch". It is one of the 27 all women branches of the State Bank of India in Chandigarh Circle, inaugurated simultaneously by the chairman. The bank has initiated steps to ensure that there is at least one all women branch at each district in the Circle. Bhattacharya also planted saplings to convey the message of environment conservation. Lingaraj Mahapatra, chief general manager; PSP Rao, Manoj Khattar and Neeraj Vyas, general managers of Network-I, II and III, respectively; Naresh Malhotra, general manager, Zonal Inspection Office; and Kumar Sharadindu, general manager (MCRO) were present.

Office spaces at EDC allotted

The Department of Information Technology's Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC) in Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) is all set to have cent per cent occupancy by young entrepreneurs. The Department of Information Technology, Chandigarh Administration, has finalised allocation of office spaces at the EDC. Earlier, bids were invited from the IT entrepreneurs for allocation of bays at the EDC. In all, 47 bids were received from 21 bidders. The business plans submitted by the bidders were evaluated by the selection committee chaired by Prerna Puri, secretary, Information Technology, and comprising representatives from the departments of finance, estate and industries.

Woollens distributed

Aryans Group of Colleges, Chandigarh, organised a special function at the Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, Chandigarh, on Saturday to distribute winter wear among the students. The function marked the 65th birthday of Aryans Group founder Prof DC Kataria "Roshan". Aryans distributed winter wear, sweets and fruits to around 150 students.

Course in endoscopy

Mohali: The Trinity Hospital and Medical Research Institute has opened Endoscopic Spine and Knee Speciality Hospital at Zirakpur. The occasion also marked introduction of the 4th Endoscopic Spine and Knee Course-2013.

MOU signed

Desh Bhagat University has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Mashal University of Afghanistan. The MoU was signed by Vice-chancellor of Mashal University GS Mohammadi, who had visited the university here as head of an Afghan delegation. Pro Vice-chancellor of Desh Bhagat University Dr Shalini Gupta said the aim of the educational exchange programme was to provide opportunities to the students and faculty of the universities to interact on important national and international economic, social, cultural and educational issues. Chancellor of the university Dr Zora Singh said India and Afghanistan were not only close neighbours but also share rich cultural ties. "Now, we are going to lay the foundation of educational ties between the two universities through this educational exchange programme," he said. — TNS



St Soldier’s celebrates its 20 years of existence
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 7
Seven-day celebrations to mark the completion of 20 years of St Soldier's School, Phase 7, began with much fanfare here today.

The mega event begun with an exhibition 'Panorama' inaugurated by RJ Khanderao, regional officer, CBSE, showcasing the holistic growth and development of the institution from a one-room structure. Several teachers, who had completed a decade of meritorious service in the field of education, were honoured.

Besides showcasing the various achievements of the school, staff and students at state and national-level events, the students also set up a special 'St Soldier Food Court' dishing out mouth-watering delicacies.

In the evening, tiny tots staged fabulous shows depicting 'the bounties of nature', 'tribute to flora' and 'Fabulous Fauna', reiterating their message not to cage birds and animals.

Earlier, in her welcome address, school principal Vinender Tiwana showcased the school's journey through a PowerPoint presentation. The week-long celebrations would continue till December 14.



From Schools
Slogan-writing contest

Chandigarh: The NSS, legal literacy & peace club of the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, organised slogan writing and drawing competitions to mark the International Human Rights’ Day. The theme of the competitions was protection of women. Members of club also delivered speeches to spread awareness among students about human rights.

Students present an item during the 16th Ryan Minithon-2013 at Ryan International School, Chandigarh, on Saturday
Students present an item during the 16th Ryan Minithon-2013 at Ryan International School, Chandigarh, on Saturday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Science exhibition

Sacred Heart school, Sector 26, Chandigarh, won the overall trophy of the state level science exhibition held at the State Institute of Education, Sector 32. In the health theme, Avani Aggarwal and Riya Bansal of Class IX won the first prize. They had come up with a novel idea to treat HIV in their project. They will now compete in a national level competition.

Awareness on harmful effects of pollution

The Eco Club of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, observed the Pollution Prevention Day to raise awareness about harmful effects of pollution. On the occasion, poster making and slogan writing competitions were organised by Eco Club in-charge Saloni and fine arts teacher Bihari Lal in which around 100 students from Classes VI to XII participated. Holding banners highlighting the effects of pollution, students also carried out a rally that passed through the streets of Police Lines, Sector 26, Chandigarh.

Cultural fest

A spectacular cultural bonanza titled ‘Expressions’ was witnessed on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, Chandigarh. Students took over the stage and danced their way into the hearts of the audience. DPI Kamlesh Kumar graced the occasion as the chief guest. A Maharashtrian folk dance ‘Lavani’ portrayed various forms of the Goddess Durga.

Jr Championship League

The athletics team of Saint Soldier International School, Sector 28, lifted the Championship Trophy after winning the zonal final of the Idea Junior Championship League-2013 held at the Sports Complex, Sector 46. More than 1,500 students from the tricity vied for the coveted trophy. The school won 18 gold, 16 silver and 11 bronze medals at the tournament. The team also won a cash prize of Rs 20,000 for the best team.

Annual function

The primary wing of Stepping Stones Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, celebrated its 30th annual function on the school premises. The function, which had ‘Global Peace’ as its theme, was presented in four parts. The tiny tots of playway, pre-nursery and nursery were the first to take the stage. While the playway and pre-nursery students recited rhymes, students of nursery enthralled the audience with their song and dance performances. They also staged an English play - The Lion and the Rabbit.

Career counselling

A career-counselling workshop was organised at the AKSIPS Smart School, Sector 41, on Saturday. Students of Class X were given an insight into the various career options. They were told to choose their careers on the basis of their abilities and potentials. Jasdeep Kalra, the director of the AKSIPS Group of Schools, also addressed the students and told them to weigh the pros and cons of their actions before doing anything.

Annual sports day

The Sunshine Meadows School, Sector 35, organised its annual sports day on the school campus. India's sprint legend PT Usha was chief guest on the occasion. The school wore a festive look as students captivated the spectators with their enthusiastic performances. The tiny tots took part in athletics, cone race, hungry hippo race, hurdle race and building block race.

Swami Vivekananda remembered

In continuation with the 150 birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda, a special assembly was conducted by the pre-primary wing of Sharda Sarvhitkari Model School, Sector 40, Chandigarh. The tiny tots enacted scenes from the life of the iconic leader. School principal BS Kanwar appreciated the efforts of the students and highlighted the importance of Ramkrishan Paramhans, Vivekananda’s teacher, in Swami’s life.

Maloya school shines at science exhibition

Government High School, Maloya Colony, Chandigarh, secured the top position under the theme “Energy, health, innovation, agricultural and population education” at the 39th science exhibition held at the State Institute of Education, Sector 32, recently. The school won second position under the theme “Agriculture, environment at elementary and secondary levels”.

Tiny tots present dance items

Tiny tots of Holy Child School, Panchkula, celebrate the Rhyme and Rhythm Day on SaturdayPanchkula: The Rhyme and Rhythm Day was celebrated at Holy Child School, Morni road, Panchkula, on Saturday. The show saw students of nursery, LKG and UKG giving enthralling dance performances.

Tiny tots of Holy Child School, Panchkula, celebrate the Rhyme and Rhythm Day on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Students of Paragon Senior Secondary School during the 31st annual day function organised on the school premises in Sector 71, Mohali, on Saturday
Students of Paragon Senior Secondary School during the 31st annual day function organised on the school premises in Sector 71, Mohali, on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Table soccer tourney

Mohali: Students of St. Paul’s International School, Mohali, brought laurels to the school by winning medals at the North Zone Table Soccer Championship-2013. The tournament was organised by the Table Soccer Federation of India in association with the School Games Federation of India at Government High School, Sector-19, Chandigarh. In under-12 years category, the school won seven gold, one silver and two bronze medals. In the under-10 category, the school team won six silver and five bronze medals. — TNS



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