C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cafe bar in for more trouble
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 3
The high-profile cafe bar and grill at Nirjhar Vatika, Sector 5, “Five Degrees”, is in for more trouble. The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has marked an inquiry as to how a cafeteria was being run there when the agreement between HUDA and the eating joint had not been executed yet.

The eating joint came into the limelight after Jaipal, a gunman attached to senior Punjab-cadre IAS officer KBS Sidhu, was critically injured while he was reportedly accompanying the bureaucrat’s son.

As part of the inquiry, HUDA officials are also inquiring as to how the promoters of the eating joint had applied for the licence of a bar whereas the tenders for the allotment of the place had been floated for just a cafeteria.

Vandana Disodia, Estate Officer of HUDA, said: “We are enquiring into it. I have asked my officials to get all the violations checked tomorrow. We will get the cafeteria inspected. The agreement for running a cafeteria there has also not been executed by HUDA”.

The request for an agreement to run a cafeteria at the place was made in September and HUDA till now has not given any permission for the same. The HUDA officials are also probing a complaint of liquor being served on the premises before the incident.

The HUDA officials have also found that in violation of the allotment conditions, the promoters of the place have raised a wall and covered the restaurant with glass on the all sides. The entire structure has been renovated by installing a false ceiling and carrying out POP work, which is not permitted. “When an agreement doesn’t exist, the same can’t be run,” said another senior official.

Enquiries reveal that the promoters of “5 Degrees café bar and grill” have sought permission to run a bar from the Excise Department, which is under process. However, the HUDA officials have insisted that the tenders floated for the allotment of the place were just for a cafeteria and not for running a bar. For the New Year party, the promoters had reportedly got a one-day permission to serve liquor.

District Excise Taxation Commissioner Madhubala said: “The permission for running a bar at the place is under process. A license can be given for a day before the regular licence is provided but I am not aware whether they were given the same or not as I was on leave”.

Meanwhile, the HUDA officials insisted that even if the Excise Department had given the permission, HUDA won’t allow the serving of liquor in a public park. “It is located in a public park. Even if the Excise Department allows it, they should ask us for an NOC because in any case a bar cannot be allowed in a public park,” they said.

Heads in HUDA likely to roll for ignoring violations

Before the December 25 inauguration of the café bar and grill, it took over three months for the promoters to cover the original structures with glass on all sides and raise a boundary wall. But, HUDA officials failed to take notice of the construction. Some heads in HUDA are likely to roll for ignoring the violations.

Chinks in police probe

* At the time of the incident, the police failed to gather vital evidence from the spot. The other two policemen accompanying Jaipal have not been put to proper questioning yet.

* They were also spared of any medical examination. The mobile locations of the crucial eye-witnesses have not been ascertained. A number of persons were at the spot, but the police have not bothered to question them. The other policemen had claimed that it was an accidental firing, but the broken furniture and liquor bottles tell a different story.



Jyoti murder case
Father resumes fight for justice
Says he was threatened by MLA’s men on day of evidence
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 3
In a major twist to the Jyoti murder case, the father of the victim, Buti Ram, who had turned hostile, resumed his battle against Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary today. He said he was held at gunpoint while on the way to Panchkula on the day of evidence in the court and made to say that he doesn’t know Chaudhary. Buti Ram, along with his counsel, met Commissioner of Police Rajbir Deswal and also submitted to the Commissioner a CD carrying the recording of the incident when the men pressurised him and offered money saying that he should keep mum or else he would be eliminated.

Buti Ram had turned hostile on December 23 before the court saying that he doesn’t know who Chaudhary is. He also said he did not give any supplementary statement to the police. After coming out from the court, Buti Ram started crying, raising questions that very day.

Following the appearance of Buti Ram, the police gave him a security guard to reach back home in Hoshiarpur and asked his counsel to move an application before the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well. Meanwhile, an application would also be moved in the court about the reason behind the hostile statement of Buti Ram.

Buti Ram, in his application, has talked about the threats and torture he constantly received, particularly from December 1 to the day when he turned hostile in the court, i.e. December 23. He said Chaudhary’s wife also came to his residence on December 22, before the day of evidence, and offered him Rs 21 lakh.

Buti has named certain men in his application to the police, requesting security and registration of a case under sections 323 and 506 of the IPC against all those who threatened him, including the MLA’s wife.

Meanwhile, Rajbir Deswal said: “We have decided to lodge a case on Buti Ram’s complaint. We will seek legal opinion in the same. A zero FIR can be registered as the incidents have happened in Punjab and Mohali but we will seek legal opinion.”

Surprisingly, Buti Ram had informed the local police in Hoshiarpur on December 12 that he and his family had a threat to their life and they were being pressurised, but the police did not take any action.

In his complaint, Buti Ram has explained how at 4 am when he made his start from Hoshiarpur to give evidence against the MLA in the court, his taxi was stopped forcibly by four armed men in Mohali and they thrashed him badly. “I was asked to come out and held at gunpoint. I was thrashed by the men who asked me to say in the court that I didn’t know who the MLA was,” said Buti Ram.

He said he was followed by the MLA’s men to the court, who warned him against saying anything else than what they had taught him.

Police condoned Buti Ram’s security

Questions have been raised as to why the police did not provide him security even though it knew Buti Ram is a key witness in the case and he is a poor man fighting a battle for justice against an MLA. Buti had earlier apprehended threat to his life but still he wasn’t provided security. 



Jyoti murder case: A helpless father narrates his ordeal
Says was thrashed at gunpoint, family threatened
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 3
A tailor by profession, Buti Ram kept fighting alone in the face of alleged threats of elimination by MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary's men, but no one came to his rescue. Buti had complained to the local police at Bhunga village in Hoshiarpur on December 12, but to no avail.

Despite kowing well that Buti is a key witness in the Jyoti murder case, the police failed to provide him security.

A helpless Buti, who alleged that he was thrashed and held at gunpoint before appearing on the day of evidence in court, did not know how to face his family after turning hostile. Instead of going back home to Hoshiarpur, he went to his sister's place in Jalandhar and did not come out for three days, crying on his misfortune.

The allegations made by Buti Ram in his complaint stated, "A Ludhiana resident (middleman) contacted and told me that Chaudhary had asked the police not to investigate much and had purchased them as well. On December 1, 2012, the Ludhiana man and his wife took me in a car to a nearby dhaba for tea. They threatened me of dire consequences. I switched on my phone and recorded the conversation, later converting it into a CD."

Buti and his family constantly received threats against saying anything in court. On December 6, he submitted a medical certificate, claiming he was not well. Finding serious threat to life, Buti submitted a complaint to the local police post in Bhunga, but no action was taken.

On December 22, a day before evidence in court, when Buti Ram, his daughter Ishu, and a local advocate reached Mani Majra, Buti received a call from Jyoti's maternal uncle that Buti's wife was seriously ill. When they reached Hoshiarpur late at night, they saw that everything was fine and Buti was again threatened of being eliminated along with the family, stated the complaint.

"Chaudhary's wife came to our house offering Rs 21 lakh. She said that though Rs one crore were to be offered, because around 45 witnesses were already in their favour, we would just be given Rs 21 lakh. She said they had already won the case and if I did not listen the entire family will be eliminated," said Buti.

Without losing hope, Buti again left for Panchkula with his advocate in the wee hours, leaving Ishu behind, when his car was forcibly stopped. Four people allegedly thrashed him at gunpoint and asked him to say that he did not know Chaudhary and the other accused, said Buti.

In his complaint, Buti has mentioned that some middlemen referred to themselves as the Chandigarh Police officials. He has also named an MP in his complaint. Buti said he had requested the Haryana Police for security, but to no avail.

"I might be kidnapped or my entire family might be killed anytime. So, I may be given security," pleaded Buti in his complaint to the police today.

A determined Buti Ram, once again fighting for justice for his deceased daughter, said: "I have already lost my daughter. I won't let the accused be let off so easily. I will continue my fight.”

Conversation on the CD

The mediator asked Buti to accompany him to a nearby dhaba for tea. Buti goes with an acquaintance.

Mediator: Baat karni hai. Mard vali zubaan hai to bolo (We want to talk. Be a man)

Buti Ram: Karan vaali baat hai to karlenge (If it is worth talking, I will talk to you)

Mediator: Bada achha or bada business hai un logon ka. Apne sale se hi puchh lo. Madam se baat karaun kya? (They have a huge business. You can ask your brother-in-law. Should I ask ma'am to talk to you?)

Buti: Nai tussi dasso ki gal hai (No, you tell what's the matter)

Mediator: Pehle wali to baat nahi rahi. Naye rate ki baat hai. Pehle bhi dasiya, ab hum 20 denge (The situation is not the same anymore. Now, they are offering new rates. We informed you earlier as well; now we will give you ~20 lakh)

Acquantaince: 20 to kam hai (Rs 20 lakh are not enough)

Mediator: Chalo… jaise bhi main madam se manage karun, 21 lakh de dunga (I will try to convince ma'am to give you Rs 21 lakh)



Officer’s security cover withdrawn
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The Punjab Police has with immediate effect withdrawn the special security cover of two constables provided to IAS officer KBS Sidhu, whose gunman suffered a gunshot wound in his temple while he was accompanying his son at the 5-Degrees restaurant here on New Year’s Eve. Interestingly, the third policeman, who was present on the spot, is not even on the rolls of security duty.

The service revolver and wireless set (walkie-talkie) of the security man have been confiscated.

Although senior police officers remained tight-lipped on the issue, questions are being raised as to what was the security personnel provided to officer doing in the company of his son who had gone partying. The police also did not have any answer with regards to the identity of another senior officer accompanying his daughter as security at the same venue when the incident took place although a senior officer said, “They are looking into the mater”.

“There have been certain more cases of wards of officers misusing the position of their fathers in the past. The issue is expected to be dwelt upon and a decision taken in principle, for future, as part of the special investigation ordered into the matter,” an ADGP, requesting anonymity, said.

The police also did not offer any answers with regards to the security personnel carrying walkie-talkie sets at the restaurant because these are required for specific communication, usually with the police control room.

Sources said Sidhu had been given a special security cover on his request to the state government following his transfer to Delhi in August 2013. “He had cited his active involvement in security of the state during the militancy as the reason for his demand for the security cover, which the state government had accepted,” the sources said. Sidhu also said he did not have an accommodation in Delhi so he needed a security cover till the time he got one. Sidhu is still maintaining his official residence in Sector 19, the sources added.

Sidhu had Head Constables Jaipal Singh and Manjinder Singh in his security cover provided by the Punjab Government. Jaipal, who suffered a gunshot wound in the temple, is recuperating at the PGI. Interestingly, the third policeman, ASI Varinder Yadav, was attached with Sidhu much before he had been shifted to Delhi.

A senior officer said: “No son or daughter of an officer needed to be provided any security cover except in exceptional cases. The probe report, this time, is expected to be highlighting the specific loopholes in the security cover system for future amendments”.

Fact file

* The police do not have any clear answers as to how the gunshot was fired and by whom. The police have sought help from forensic experts.

* What was Varinder Yadav, formerly in the staff of Sidhu, doing at the spot.

* The preliminary report is silent on the security staff carrying walkie-talkie sets at the restaurant. 


Cut in power tariff sought
On the lines of Delhi Govt, residents also want energy audit in UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Asking the UT Administration to take a cue from the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, city residents want a reduction in power tariff.

Residents also want an energy audit of the UT Electricity Department on the Delhi pattern.

Charanjiv Singh, president of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM), who had filed objections before the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC), said the UT Administration could easily reduce power tariff by reducing the transmission and distribution losses.

“At present, these losses are around 18 per cent, but with proper planning, it can be reduced to five to seven per cent. The benefit can be passed on to the consumers by reducing power tariff,” he said.

Chander Verma, chairman of Converted Plot Owners’ Association, said the administration should collect their dues from defaulters. By collecting these dues, which run in crores of rupees, the administration can increase its income and with that can easily reduce power tariff, he said.

Sanjeev Sagar, president of Chandigarh Industrial Area Tenants’ Association, said on the Delhi government pattern, the UT Administration must conduct an energy audit.

“If the administration conducts a proper audit, they would come to know about its losses, which are due to the negligence on the part of the power department. The administration should not pass on losses to the consumers,” he suggested.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Kamal Kishore said the UT Electricity Department could easily reduce power tariff, but lacked will.

“They can easily stop power thefts through “kundi” connections in colonies, but the department hardly launched any crackdown on these illegal connections. Energy audit is the need of the hour,” he added.

Gopal Joshi, general secretary, UT Powermen Union, said there was no shortage of funds with the UT Administration and they could easily provide subsidy to residents. 

Advocate writes to Administrator

Advocate Ajay Jagga, in a letter sent to the UT Administrator, said the department should reduce power tariff immediately and conduct an audit through the CAG. He stated the UT Electricity Department had failed to do a proper audit or the assessment of losses and requirements, despite this being pointed out by the JERC. 



PUDA staff resort to pen-down strike
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 3
Members and supporters of the PUDA Mulazam Talmel Sangharsh Committee resorted to a pen-down strike here today in support of their long-pending demands.

Jarnail Singh, convener of the committee, said their stir was started on December 4. Every day five employees went on fast to press the authorities to accept their demands.

Their demands include introduction of a pension scheme, allotment of plots to the remaining employees, increase in the service period by two years on the Punjab Government pattern, promotion of eligible Class IV employees to the posts of supervisor and the grant of the technical scale to supervisors.

Baljinder Singh, co-convener of the committee, said the pen-down strike was held by PUDA employees throughout the state today. The protest would continue till January 8 and if their demands were not met by then, a massive protest would be organised on January 9.

He added that if the demands of the employees were not met, they would be compelled to gherao PUDA officers.



LPG price hike unjustified, says federation 
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 3
Condemning the steep rise in the price of LPG cylinders, the local Consumers’ Protection Federation demanded a rollback.

PS Virdi, president of the federation, said the Central Government had given a “free hand” to oil companies to increase the prices of petroleum products frequently. Now, from January 1, the price of a non-subsidised LPG cylinder had been raised by Rs 220, which was unjustified, said Virdi. “The prices of essential items were already very high and the increase in the cylinder price will put additional burden on the consumer,” he said.

The federation sought setting up of a special committee by the Centre to keep the prices of essential items in check. It said the oil companies should not be given powers to raise the prices of petroleum products on their own.

The president appealed to the Punjab Government to cut VAT on LPG, petrol and diesel to give relief to the common man in the state.

The federation also flayed the decision of the Punjab State Power Corporation to hike the power rates by 13 per cent. The consumers’ hope that the formation of a corporation would bring some relief to them had been belied.

On the one hand the rates were being raised periodically, on the other hand the corporation had failed to check power transmission losses and stop power thefts through “kundi connections”.

The president said the Punjab Government had in its own survey found that there were a large number of unauthorised colonies in the state. He said residents of these colonies were stealing power worth lakhs of rupees through ‘‘kundi connections”.

“Losses incurred due to power thefts were being made up by the corporation by burdening the common consumer. The corporation should take effective steps to check these losses,” said Virdi.



Residents yet to get Aadhaar cards
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, January 3
Resentment prevails among residents of Kalka and Pinjore and the surrounding areas towards the negligent attitude of a private company that is responsible for the preparation of Aadhaar cards. They have not got their cards even after nine months.

Residents alleged that they had been facing inconvenience in the absence of Aadhaar cards.

Kehar Singh, Lakshmi Devi, Usha Rani and Mamta Rani, all members of a family and residents of Chandikotla village, near Chandimandir, alleged that they had got their names registered for Aadhaar cards, in March 2013, but have not received the same yet.

Jagdish Kumar, Bharti and Tisha of Parade Mohalla, Kalka, also got their names registered for the same in June 2013, but they also did not get their cards.

Official sources at the Department of Unique Identification Number, GoI, Bengaluru, said they had not received data regarding Aadhaar cards from the Kalka and Pinjore areas.



Police still clueless
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 3
As pressure is mounting on the police to probe the circumstances leading to the firing incident in which a Punjab Police gunman, Jaipal, was critically injured, a three-member team of police officials today landed at the 5 Degree restaurant to get hold of circumstantial evidence from the spot.

On Friday, the police were still clueless about the circumstances leading to the firing from Jaipal’s service weapon. Rather than questioning all those present at the party, the police are waiting for the gunman to recover before his statement can be taken. The gunman continues to be critical in the ICU at the PGI in Chandigarh.

On the basis of inputs given by the police team, senior police officials admitted the circumstances indicated to a scuffle before the firing. The police, however, are still insisting that it was the gunshot from Jaipal’s service weapon that led to his injury.

The police have recovered walky talkies and service revolvers of the other two policemen: head constable Manjinder Singh and ASI Virender Yadav.

Kin suspect foul play

Jaipal’s family, while attending to him at the PGI, has told the police that they suspected some foul play.

Will wait for victim’s statement: Cops

“If we register a case under Section 285 of the IPC for negligently using the weapon, it might contradict Jaipal’s statement if he alleges foul play. So we are awaiting his statement,” said the Commissioner of Police, Rajbir Deswal.

The fact that the bullet was fired from Jaipal’s gun has been established. Other policemen claim it was an accidental firing.

CCTV camera footage fails to provide any clue

The Commissioner of Police said the CCTV camera footage of the incident was procured, but nothing was found in it.



A public ‘inconvenience’ 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The public toilet at the Sector 38 motor market has remained shut for past several months, causing inconvenience to the shopkeepers.

Shopkeepers say there are over 200 people working at the motor market, who have to face problem due to the closure of the public toilet.

One of the shopkeeper said hundreds of people visited the market everyday to get their vehicles repaired. They, too, complained about the public toilet being locked, he said.

“Due to the toilet being locked, the visitors urinate in open near the motor market,” said a shopkeeper.

Shopkeepers and workers demand that the toilet should be opened at the earliest.



Taking loan from subordinate not advisable: MHA panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
A committee set up by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to review the suspension of services of SP Desraj Singh, who was accused of graft, had pointed that taking a loan from a subordinate is not advisable especially in the circumstances prevailing in the Chandigarh police. The observation by the committee was put up before the CBI court during the resumed hearing of the bribe case today.

The defence counsel has been taking the plea that Desraj was in need of money as his family was not keeping well and he had also taken loan from his own supervisor, the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP). The CBI had caught Desraj on October 18, 2012, while accepting bribe of Rs 1 lakh from the Station House Officer of Sector 26 police station, Inspector Anokh Singh. The bribe was allegedly being accepted in lieu of giving him the clean chit in departmental inquiries initiated against him.

"The committee is aware of the fact that there was a dispute between the senior officers and Inspectors/Sub Inspectors of the Chandigarh Police. The case of bribe is reported to have happened as SP Desraj Singh and other senior officers were trying to discipline the subordinate officers. Therefore, this committee is aware that there is a possibility of some subordinate officials trying to frame senior officers, especially this officer as he has levelled charges against some subordinate officers," the committee observed.

"The committee, therefore, considers that there is a possibility that some subordinate offered to given the officer a loan and thereafter, misrepresented it as bribe."

Desraj is currently out on bail and charges have been framed against him in the bribery case.

MHA official deposes before court

SK Jain, presently posted as Director Provisioning, Ministry of Home affairs (MHA), today deposed before the CBI court in the graft case against UT SP Desraj Singh.

The MHA official identified his signatures on the prosecution sanction accorded to the CBI to prosecute the SP. He stated before the court that he signed the sanction for prosecution on June 26, 2013, in the name and on behalf of the President of India.

The MHA official was also cross examined by the defence counsel advocate Vishal Garg.

Meanwhile, Inspector Anokh Singh sought exemption from hearing today as he was on leave. The Inspector is the complainant in the case and is yet to record his statement in the court.



JERC draft regulations shock residents
Consumers to get one-third of the profits earned by power dept but will have to bear two-thirds of the losses
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
In its draft regulations for Multi Year Distribution Tariff, the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has apparently adopted double standards.

The JERC has recommended that while one-third of the profit earned from power tariff will be passed on to consumers, the remaining will be kept by the Electricity Department. However, in case of losses, consumers will be bearing two-third of the amount while the Electricity Department will absorb the remaining loss.

City residents are against such recommendations. The Chandigarh Defence Colony Welfare Association has already filed its objection to the JERC.

President of the association, Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd) said such kinds of recommendations were not acceptable. Moreover, the JERC had given very less time to file objections. Though their association has submitted its objection, there were many residents in the city, who could not submit their objections on time, as the language used in the draft regulations was complex. The documents were technical in nature, he added.

Major General Sudesh Kumar (retd) said the JERC, in its April 2013 order, had announced that there would be no hike in power tariff but the department was allegedly raising the tariff arbitrarily in the form of fuel and power purchase cost adjustment (FPPCA). Moreover, determination of the FPPCA was very complex and beyond the ken of understanding of the common man. Resultantly, the consumers were at the receiving end, he added.

Pre-paid power meters

On the point of pre-paid power meters, SD Bali, a member of the association, said on December 5, the department publicised a notice through newspapers that residents could purchase meters from the open market. However, meters were not available in the market so far. Moreover, the department was not technically equipped to install such meters, he claimed.

Air Vice-Marshal RS Sandhu (retd) said till the time the department provided such pre-paid meters, they should put on hold advance consumption demand (ACD) charges levied on consumers. “They have already imposed charges between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 on the basis of average power consumption,” he added.



Civic amenities absent in southern sectors
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The southern sectors in the city that have always been meted out a step-motherly treatment paint a picture of neglect. Garbage and debris dumped on the roadsides and stray cattle are common here. The Tribune team visited Sectors 47, 48 and 49 to see the ground realities.

Garbage problem

Heaps of garbage and debris in various parts of these sectors are a common sight. The residents of Sector 47 C and D regretted that the problem had remained unaddressed and they continue to live by the filth. Similar picture was witnessed in the open ground behind Sector 48 motor market opposite residential societies. Sehaj Safai Kendra both in Sector 47 and 48 is also a long-pending demand of the residents.

The garbage in the open ground opposite to the Punjab and Haryana Advocates Enclave in Sector 49 also shows a picture of misery. Residents of the societies in the area stated that the open space has turned into an eyesore and the authorities concerned were turning a blind eye to it.

Non-functional streetlights

Various roads in Sectors 47, 48 and 49 have non-functional streetlights much to the chagrin of commuters during late hours. The problem is acute at the V-3 roads in the sectors. Aman, a resident of Sector 48, stated that streetlights in some parts of the sector were not functional. “Streetlight is a major issue that needs to be looked into. I feel while the authorities concerned should repair the non-functional streetlights in our sector, there is a need to install more lights to provide more security to the residents of the sector,” he added.

Stray cattle menace

Stray cattle is another cause of worry for the residents of these sectors. Animals can easily be seen occupying the parks and walking down the roads. Residents complain that it becomes difficult to drive during night lest a motorist rams the vehicle into a stray animal. Residents believe that the unrestricted entry of stray cattle from Jagatpura village and other areas of Mohali has only worsened the situation.

Years on, problem of stagnant water persists

The problem of stagnant water in the low-lying area near Goodwill Enclave at Sector 49 here, which houses Oriental Insurance, private teachers and railway societies, is a matter of concern for thousands of residents. Residents have been repeatedly writing to the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation (MC) for over last five years, but the authorities have failed to act upon their complaint. 

official speak

Special emphasis will be laid on providing better civic amenities to the residents of southern sectors. The problem of sanitation will be looked into.

HC Kalyan, Mayor

Upgrading infrastructure in the southern sectors will be a priority during my one-year tenure. Sectors 47 and 48 fall under my ward and I will ensure non-functional streetlights are repaired soon. As maintenance of V-6 roads lies with the UT Administration, I will coordinate with it. Developing neighborhood parks as playgrounds will also be taken up. 
Davesh Moudgil, Deputy Mayor

Residents highlight deficiencies

TThe MC should ensure better sanitation to facilitate residents stepping out of their societies for a walk. A large chunk of land next to the Dinosaur Park in Sector 49 needs to be made cleaner to provide a better environment to thousands of residents staying in the sector. 

— SK Jain, Sector 49 resident

Though the MC has inaugurated the community centre in Sector 49, the bookings for the centre are yet to be opened. The authorities concerned should ensure that the residents can avail of the facility at the earliest. I have applied for booking the centre, but have not got any response from the MC so far. 

— Vivek Bhatia, Sector 49 resident

Non-functional streetlights are one of the major problems we face frequently. The authorities should ensure that all the streetlights are functional so as to provide a safe environment to the residents of our sector.

— savita rani, Sector 47 resident



Community centre gets lift

Chandigarh, January 3
Soon, community centres in Chandigarh will have a provision of lifts to make it more user-friendly. The community centre at Sector 22 is the first in the city where a lift has been installed at the cost of around Rs 20 lakh. The centre was inaugurated in 2012.

Area Councillor Pardeep Chhabra stated that there was demand from the residents, especially the elderly, to have a lift at the community centre. “The lift has also made the centre disabled friendly,” he stated. Chhabra further said soon, another floor would be added to the centre.

Mayor HC Kalyan said in future, more community centres would be equipped with elevators for the convenience of citizens. The Councillor stated that the community centre spread on an area of over 1.08 acres would also have an e-Sampark centre and it would be inaugurated in the coming week. — TNS



‘Make arrangements to facilitate delegates’

Mohali, January 3
Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu today directed officers to make necessary arrangements to facilitate foreign delegates and others who would be coming to Chappar Chiri for the Progressive Punjab Agriculture Summit.

The summit will be held from February 16 to 19 at the historical village in the district. Sidhu, who was addressing the officials at a meeting in the district administrative complex here, asked them to ensure cleanliness of the ground near Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Jangi Yadgar. The DC also directed officials of the PWD and the GMADA to start the renovation work on link roads on a priority basis. — OC



NSS volunteers hold cleanliness rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
An awareness and cleanliness rally for highlighting “youth for healthy and clean India” was today organised by Panjab University NSS volunteers.

The rally was flagged off by Dean Students Welfare Professor Navdeep Goyal. The rally moved to Khuda Lahora village adopted by the NSS unit of PU campus.

The NSS volunteers interacted with schoolchildren and villagers and sensitised them to cleanliness. Notebooks and stationery items were also distributed among anganwari students of Khuda Lahora and Khuda Jassu villages.

The volunteers prepared langar on the gurdwara premises of Khuda Lahora. The langar was served to the volunteers and the community members from the village.



PUTA opposes proposal to appoint civil servant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) today opposed the proposal to appoint civil servant for the post of PU registrar.

In a communication sent to PUTA members, the association stated that when the university had its process of advertising the post and calling application on the norms set by the UGC, then why this system had been proposed by the committee constituted by the PU Vice-Chancellor.

PUTA suggested that the authorities should finalise the qualification for the registrar and appoint it at the earliest to avoid any problem in the routine affairs of the university.

The association requested the authorities that the post should be filled by March 31, 2014. The issue would be tabled in the Syndicate meeting scheduled tomorrow.

Besides, PUTA also informed its members that as the second amendment for the API, which was for capping, had yet not been accepted by the Syndicate and the Senate.

The association demanded that the API should not be applicable to those teachers who had already completed or were about to complete their period of eligibility for promotion.

PUTA said the screening for interviews had already been fixed in January and these would be held as per the present API score method approved by the Syndicate and the Senate.



Teachers knock DPI’s door
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Today, a delegation of the Joint Action Committee of teachers, Chandigarh, met Kamlesh Kumar, DPI (Schools), to discuss its various long-pending demands.

The demands included promotion of all cadres of teachers, including JBT and TGT, and streamlining of purchase of school uniform for the session 2014-15.

The JAC also demanded filling of vacant posts of all cadres of teachers on a regular basis. It also asked for equal pay for equal work for all cadres of teachers, including guest faculty teachers and computer teachers.

The DPI (Schools) listened to the delegation very patiently and assured that all issues would be settled before March 31. DEO Ram Kumar Sharma was also present in the meeting.

The delegation members included Bhag Singh, Savinder Singh, Khushali Ram Sharma and Ranbir Singh Rana.



Dept rejects teachers' claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The UT Education Department today clarified that the major claim made by computer teachers, who are protesting for the past 10 days, is not justified.

In a press statement issued today, the department said the claim of the computer teachers that the Punjab rules were applicable to them was not accurate. They were not UT employees, and therefore, the Punjab Civil Services rules were not applicable to them.

The department said it set up computer labs in various government schools with an objective to impart computer training/education to students of those schools. With this objective, the department hired the services of computer teachers on a contractual basis through an outside agency.

Though their services were hired for short duration, their contracts were renewed from time to time keeping in view the interest of students. At the time of renewal of contracts, salaries were also increased many times. This led to the audit objections, too, and, therefore, further renewal of their contract is also under question.

It said: “Now the computer teachers, who are working on a contractual basis, through an outside agency have approached the department with the request to regularise their services. It has been clarified to them that they have been engaged through an outsourcing process and not posted against sanctioned vacancies of computer teachers. Further, they are not on the roll of the Education Department. On the basis of bill/claim received from the outside agency, the payment is released to the said agency”.

“In view of the above details, the request of computer teachers, working on an outsourcing basis through an outside agency, to regularise their services cannot be acceded to,” the department said.

As per the orders of the Apex Court in the Uma Devi case, the regularisation of employees working on a contractual basis and engaged through outsourcing was not possible, the department stated in the release.

DPI Kamlesh Kumar told The Tribune that the department had already moved a proposal to hike their salary by 25 per cent, besides assurance for the winter salary, too.

Since they were engaged on an outsourcing basis, there had no scope for regularisation. They should cooperate with the department and end this protest as it was not an amicable solution, he said.

UT Adviser's effigy burnt

Today on the 11th day of their protest, several computer teachers and data entry operators gathered at the Sector 20 Masjid Ground and burnt an effigy of UT Adviser KK Sharma. The computer teachers said they did it so as he threatened us to expel us from our current job.

“We are going to organise a huge rally on January 8, along with UT Subordinate Services Federation, Safai Karamchari Union, Chandigarh, and CTU Employees Union,” said the computer teachers.

They said unless they were assured an increase in salary on a par with the contractual teachers and assurance of their regularisation process, they would continue to protest against the department.

Today, five computer teachers also sat for a day-long hunger strike. They said the low wage forced them to take such extremes steps.

“We gave several representations to the department, but to no avail. We will sit on the dharna till the time we are not paid on the basis of equal work and equal pay,” said Poonam Taprial, president, Chandigarh Computer Teachers Union.



Gharuan varsity gets global recognition

Mohali, January 3
Chandigarh University, Gharuan, has been conferred the membership of the International Association of Universities (IAU) making its education and degrees globally acceptable and recognised.

Announcing the membership, Vice-Chancellor Dr RS Bawa said the university had joined a group of selected prestigious 20 universities of India.

Dr Bawa said the association currently had more than 600 member institutions from more than 120 countries. They had joined hands with a mission to build a worldwide higher education community by offering a forum and a variety of services to higher education leaders who shared common values and interests and who wished to exchange with their peers on issues of global concern.

The VC said among the benefits for the students and the faculty of any member university under the IAU were entitlement to participate and contribute to international research projects, workshops and conferences worldwide and the global acceptance and recognition of their degrees, research and work experience.

The IAU had also formed the global academy jobs portal, which was useful for academicians worldwide for sharing their research findings among their peer groups and getting the necessary feedback and response from other members who were currently working on the same platform or research field, said Dr Bawa. — OC



350 medicinal saplings planted at SD College

Chandigarh, January 3
The valedictory function of the NSS special camp was held at GGDSD College, here. The camp was organised under programme officer Harender Kumar and Ruchi Sharma where NSS volunteers pledged support to the causes concerning society.

The valedictory function commenced with the felicitation of chief guest Dr AK Vashisht, chairman, UBS, Panjab University.

Students shared their experiences of social service with the audience and also pledged to make it a part of their routine lives.

Dance groups from the underprivileged sections of Bapu Dham colony namely “question mark” and “build India” were the highlights of the programme.

The NSS volunteers presented patriotic songs and traditional Punjabi Heer. A skit on women empowerment was performed highlighting the plight of girls in society. Abhishek Watts and Kajal Mittal were declared the best volunteers.

In the morning, the NSS volunteers planted 350 medicinal saplings on the college campus and gave the message of green environment. The plantation drive was initiated by Dr Aruna Saini, Haritima Society, who motivated the students to adopt the planted trees and nurture them during their stay on the college campus. — TNS



From schools

Storytelling competition

LKG students of Bhavan Vidyalaya, Panchkula, showcased their talent in a storytelling competition. The judges for this event were parents of the LKG students. The students were judged on their presentation, pronunciation, props and expression. All students spoke confidently. Mothers, too, felt honoured to be part of the competition and appreciated the efforts put up by the little performers. Dhwani Gulati was adjusted first for her unmatched confidence and expression. Vidushi Jindal and Tanishdev Kochhar stood second and third, respectively.

National school games

Sharda Sarvhitkari Model School, Sector 40, Chandigarh, is all geared to host the national school games, which are going to be held on January 6. More than 600 students from all over the country will be participating in this mega event. Sukhbir Singh Badal will be the chief guest and Avinash Rai Khanna, Member, Rajya Sabha, will be the honorary guest among others.

Students told to follow traffic rules

A lecture on traffic awareness was delivered by Gurnam Singh, chief coordinator, traffic marshal, along with Des Raj, traffic official, UT police, on the occasion of a NSS camp at PMLSD School, Sector 32. The students were made aware of the cause of accidents. It was very educative as the students were told to follow the traffic rules.

Road-safety quiz

An inter-school road-safety quiz was conducted by the Ambala-Panchkula commissionerate at the Police Community Hub, Police Station, Sector 14, Panchkula. Rajbir Singh Deswal, Commissioner Police, was the chief guest. For level 1, DAV Public School, Ambala, Public Girls School, Panchkula, Valley Public School, Panchkula, have been adjudged winners. For level II, Sishu Niketan Public School, Panchkula, DC Model Senior School, Panchkula, and DAV Public School, Ambala, were the adjusted winners. — TNS



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