C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


housing scheme for staff
High Court raps UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today virtually rapped the powers that be in Chandigarh for building their vote bank by constructing flats for slum-dwellers, while ignoring tax-paying employees.

The rap on the knuckles came during the hearing of a petition filed by Phool Kumar Saini and 19 others. They were seeking directions to the Chandigarh Housing Board and another respondent to implement the Self-Financing Housing Scheme-2008 on a leasehold basis for 99 years for Chandigarh Administration employees.

The housing scheme for employees of the Union Territory, Chandigarh, was launched in February 2008. The draw of lots was held on November 4, 2010, and approximately 3,950 employees were declared successful. However, nothing was apparently done by the CHB. Even acceptance-cum-demand letters were not issued to the successful applicants and “bureaucrats at the high level were sleeping over the matter”.

The petitioners added that the CHB was apparently more interested in providing houses to encroachers. They were getting houses and tenements free of cost as “in all this the CHB gets an opportunity to do bungling”.

On the other hand, the successful applicants like the petitioners having a legitimate right to get a house by making payment as prescribed in the brochure were “left in doldrums”.

The petitioners claimed that they were also being “prejudiced severely”. According to the conditions imposed by the CHB, the petitioners could not apply or buy any other property in the tricity till the possession of the flats was offered to the successful allottees. Meanwhile, the possession was expected to be offered shortly to the successful candidates in another general housing scheme launched simultaneously in 2008. Besides, the delay in completing the project would significantly escalate the cost of construction.

“Thus, the petitioners would have to pay much more for the same construction as against what they would have been required to pay in case the construction had been initiated timely by the CHB. Moreover, the petitioners have to pay heavy rent for the accommodation since they vacated the government accommodation allotted to them”.

The respondents said they were considering getting the refund of the amount with interest as the scheme was not being executed.



Former SSP, others accused of Rs 4-crore extortion
Accused in immigration fraud cases says he paid the money in three years; IGP marks inquiry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
An accused in immigration frauds in the tricity and owner of Healthyway Immigration Company today claimed that certain senior police officers, including former UT SSP Naunihal Singh, allegedly extorted Rs 4 crore from him during the past three years.

Amit Kakkar, who was booked in different cases of fraud after more than 350 complaints against him from residents of the city and neighbouring states and is out on bail, has submitted a complaint of extortion to UT IGP RP Upadhyaya, who has marked an inquiry into the allegations. There were 11 FIRs registered against him in 2011.

It has been alleged that four UT police officers, along with two associates, extorted Rs 4 crore from him during the past three years. Kakkar said he had also filed a complaint with the CBI in this regard. Besides Naunihal Singh, the names of DSP Anil Joshi, Sub-Inspector Rajdeep, Inspector Diwan Singh and two civilians — Karan Arora, owner of Planet Bulls and a former SBI manager — are also mentioned in the complaint.

However, the submission of a complaint three years after the bribe was allegedly demanded, has raised question marks on the authenticity of the complaint.

Interacting with mediapersons today, Kakkar alleged that after his arrest in the immigration fraud in August 2011, all police officials who were part of the SIT connived with each other in order to extort money from him. Kakkar said while he was in police remand, the then SSP, Naunihal Singh, introduced Karan Arora, owner of Planet Bulls in Mohali, and told him that Karan would come on his behalf and would help him. He ended up selling his two 10-marla houses in Sectors 42 and 43 worth around Rs 7 crore to meet the demands of police officials.

Kakkar alleged that on August 18, Sub-Inspector Rajdeep Singh called his father to the Sector 36 police station and demanded money to close the case. He said SI Rajdeep, Karan Arora and Jaswinder Walia, associates of Naunihal Singh, collected the money from him in three instalments.

The demand was fulfilled only on the promise that they would not falsely implicate his wife and mother in any of the cases.

Why was the accused mum till now?

Why now? Amit Kakkar has alleged that the police was extorting money from him since 2011 when he was first booked. Why has he submitted the complaint now after the term of the then UT SSP, Naunihal Singh, is over. Why didn't he approach the High Court, the UT IGP or even the Police Complaints Authority earlier?
There is no documentary or recorded evidence to substantiate the allegations that any money has been paid to the officers named in the complaint.
The accused also got an ASI of the Punjab police arrested in 2012 by the CBI for taking a bribe of Rs 45,000 from him. If he could approach the CBI for a bribe demand of merely Rs 45,000 by an ASI, why didn't he approach any other agency for the Rs 4 crore demand and kept paying the money?
There were over 300 complaints against Kakkar when the FIR was registered. Were all the complainants fake and stage-managed? Is it possible for the police to stage-manage such a huge number of complainants?
Kakkar claims he has been acquitted in some cases. However, a perusal of the records reveals that he has been acquitted by the court in those cases in which he paid back the money to the complainants whom he allegedly defrauded and thus the complainant took back their complaints.

It's a conspiracy against me, says Naunihal Singh

The allegations were denied by former UT SSP Naunihal Singh. "It's a deep-rooted conspiracy against me. I had taken strong steps during my tenure against vested interests in the establishment and fraudsters and criminals in the city. This is an attempt to malign and defame me and I am sure the truth will prevail," he said, adding that effective crackdown on immigration frauds was a landmark in 2011, bringing succour to hundreds of petitioners who had been defrauded by numerous immigration firms and companies, including Healthyway.



Aroma Murder
Suspended UT SP in the dock for destroying evidence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Suspended UT SP Deshraj Singh is in the dock for allegedly destroying evidence and concealing facts in the chargesheet in the sensational Aroma murder case of 2012. One of the accused in the case has submitted a petition in the court seeking the registration of an FIR under Section 201 of the IPC against Deshraj and the then in charge of the Sector 22 police post, Sub-Inspector Rajiv Kumar.

Deshraj is out on bail in the CBI case of corruption registered against him in October 2012. The Aroma murder case was reported in January 2012 when an NRI, Harminderjeet Singh, was murdered outside Aroma Hotel in Sector 22 following a clash with a group of youths. The hearing of the petition has now been adjourned to January 29 for arguments.

SP Deshraj, who was then ASP (Central), was heading the investigations at the time the murder occurred.

Mohali resident Sukhjit Singh, one of the accused in the case, has alleged in the petition filed in the court today that the police concealed vital facts regarding the CCTV footage obtained from Aroma Hotel in the chargesheet and there is no mention of the footage anywhere in the case records submitted in the court.

However, while opposing the bail application of the accused earlier, the UT police had told the High Court that the accused had been arrested on the basis of CCTV footage obtained from the hotel. Based on this claim, Sukhjt had earlier filed an application in the court asking for the CCTV footage but the prosecution submitted a reply that no such footage was available with them.

The UT police had received another setback in the court last week when a key eyewitness in the case, Roohbir Singh, had deposed in the court and stated that the victim, Harminderjeet Singh, was crushed under the wheels of the Endeavour car of the accused as they were trying to flee after a violent clash with him. This is also contrary to the claims of the police which had stated that Harminderjeet Singh died after being beaten up by the accused.

The incident had occurred past midnight on January 13, 2012, when 28-year-old Harminderjeet Singh was killed outside Aroma Hotel in Sector 22. The victim, an MBA student, had recently returned from Ireland and had gone to the Aroma coffee shop when he got into a scuffle with a group of youths. He was murdered on the spur of the moment and the attack was not preplanned, the police had said in the chargesheet.

The police had then arrested Sukhjit Singh Sooch, a Mohali resident, Harsimranjeet Singh (28), a resident of Sector 44, Chandan Singh (24), Sandeep Kumar (27) and Gautam Singh (23), all residents of Burail, Anand Singh (27) and Mahavir Singh (25), both residents of Sector 41, and Prashant Kumar Dabral (31), a resident of Sector 49.

It is clear that the UT police tried to conceal facts in the case and had not attached the CCTV footage in the chargesheet which was with them. The petition has been filed seeking the registration of a case against SP Deshraj Singh and the in-charge of the police post, SI Rajiv Kumar.

Tarminder Singh, advocate



CAG finds GMCH on the wrong foot
Says it kept 7 rooms reserved for VIPs
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Jostling for space in medical wards and the emergency ward at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, while thousands of patients keep struggling to find a private room every day, the hospital kept seven of the 44 private rooms reserved for VIPs last year.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the hospital for reserving "unreasonably higher number of private rooms for VIPs".

During 2012-13, the hospital failed to put on record the use of these seven VIP rooms. The hospital has no records to specify the number of days patients used the room. (see box)

"Allotment registers show only the names of patients who occupied VIP rooms. All other particulars are not given, which show the intended misuse of VIP rooms," the CAG noted in the 2012-13 audit report.

The hospital sees at least 150 new patients in the emergency ward every day. There are only 50 rooms available in the private ward located in Block C of the hospital. Of these, four are reserved for sick staff, two for sick students while seven private rooms are reserved for VIPs, leaving merely 37 for common patients.

The hospital also failed to produce the receipts of the rent paid by patients who occupied private VIP rooms. The auditing body has sought the details of the total number of applications received during each month of the year (2012-13) and the number of patients who were allotted a private room. The CAG has also sought the waiting list of patients for allotment of rooms. 



Meant for the poor, this Raen Basera hasn't seen one
Unaware of facility, the homeless spend bone-chilling nights at the mercy of the elements
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

The Raen Basera for homeless people at Phase 1, Mohali.
The Raen Basera for homeless people at Phase 1, Mohali. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, January 13
The district administration-run Raen Basera, meant to provide shelter to the homeless, is being used as a fire station guest house here.

Shockingly, no poor or homeless person has ever spent even a single night at Raen Basera, located in front of the Mohali Fire Station in the Industrial Area, Phase 1, here, if the entries made in the register are any indication.

The register of this shelter house shows only eight entries during last year and one entry this year so far. Interestingly, the entries show that the shelter house was used by some fire officials four times. Three entries belong to a Lucknow-based person, who stayed here on different occasions.

In the entries, the mobile numbers or vehicle numbers of all visitors have been mentioned, clearly indicating that they were neither poor nor homeless.

Mohali MC Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta said he had issued orders to fire officials to take a round of the town in fire vehicles late in the evening every day and bring homeless persons to the shelter home to protect them from the bone-chilling weather.

When informed that no entry of any poor person was found in the register at the shelter home, he said he would pull up his staff and check why the orders were not being obeyed.

During a visit at Raen Basera, Chandigarh Tribune team found it locked from outside this afternoon. The keys were found lying with an official of the fire station.

“It should be open round the clock as the Mohali MC has provided two watchmen for day and night shifts,” said another MC official.

Raen Basera has five rooms with 10 beds and two washrooms. “Sometimes poor people come here to stay,” said the attendant. However, he could not show any entry in the register to substantiate his claim.

The Supreme Court has issued orders that it is the duty of the district administration to ensure that no homeless person dies of cold by making adequate arrangements for them.

It is not that there are not any homeless persons in the town. A visit to the town in the late evening hours revealed that several homeless persons, including beggars, were spending the night in the open, braving the chilly conditions.

A 70-year-old woman beggar, who belongs to Rajasthan and spends her nights in the open here, said no government official had ever come to her help. “We don’t even know that such a shelter home exists,” she said.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu said the administration had created infrastructure. “It is sad if it is not being utilised by those in need. Apart from the government staff, I will talk to some NGOs and social workers to apprise the homeless of the the facility available here,” said Sidhu.


ls elections
AAP forms nine teams for city
Tribune News Service

Resentment among old workers

Though AAP leader Yogender Yadav on Monday announced nine party teams for the coming Lok Sabha poll, there was resentment among old AAP workers of the city. Certain old workers said they had been with the party for more than one year but now people, who were handling Haryana matters, had been given responsibilities in Chandigarh.

Chandigarh, January 13
Keeping in mind the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has divided the city into nine zones and teams have been constituted for each zone.

The senior AAP leader and member of the national executive of the party, Yogendra Yadav, said today that for the Chandigarh parliamentary seat, they would prepare a city-specific manifesto in which they would try to tackle city-specific problems.

Without naming former Union Railway Minister and Local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, Chandigarh observer of AAP Rajeev Godara said in Chandigarh, political leaders were even involved in corruption in the allotment of booths. He said in the coming election, they would make the booth allotment scam, slum rehabilitation, problems in the administrative setup the key issues.

The scam pertaining to the allotment of boots in Krishna Market, Sector 41, had come to light in February 2011 and former UT Additional Deputy Commissioner PS Shergill, in his report, had pointed out the involvement of top politicians and senior officials, including city MP and former Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, former Mayor Pardeep Chhabra, former UT Adviser Pradip Mehra and former Deputy Commissioner RK Rao.

More than 200 persons, including doctors, NRIs, IT professionals, hoteliers, have applied for AAP ticket from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.

Savita Bhatti joins party

Savita Bhatti, wife of late comedian and director Jaspal Bhatti, today joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). She is a strong contender for the party ticket from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.

It is an important joining for AAP after the joining of Nirmal Kaur, wife of legendary athlete Milkha Singh.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Savita Bhatti, who filled in her membership form at her residence in Sector 19 here, said she had joined AAP to fulfil the dream of her husband.

She said her family had unofficially been working as “aam aadmis” for the last 30 years as they were fighting corruption and other issues but today she had officially joined the party.

“AAP is a ray of hope for the common man to change the corrupt system of the country. Now, with the emergence of AAP, the other parties have also started seriously taking up issues which affect the common man, which was missing earlier,” she said.

Meanwhile, former nominated councillor and president of the Chandigarh Industries Association (CIA) MPS Chawla also joined AAP.



‘Extensive AAP coverage no hype’

Is media creating a hype on the Aam Aadmi Party or presenting the true picture? Chandigarh Tribune talked to city residents to seek their views

It is a phenomenon that can not be ignored. The Aam Aadmi Party has empowered the common man in the country in real terms. Fear in the non-performing and corrupt officials is increasing with each passing day.
— SS Lehal, industrialist

The media is only showing the ground realities about AAP. The same media was earlier showing the activities of the Congress and the BJP. Now, a number of people are joining AAP daily and the party workers are working to change the corrupt system in the country. People want to know everything about AAP. Therefore, the media is showing the activities of AAP.
— Kamal Kishore Sharma, AAP member and IT professional

The media is playing a good role by showing the ground realities. The people of this country are now fed up with red tape, corruption and dirty politics. In AAP, people have seen a ray of hope. Therefore, the media is rightly performing its duties. In the near future, AAP will become a revolution in this country.
— Surinder Bahga, nominated councillor

By giving undue coverage to AAP, the media has created hype about the party. The measures like anti-corruption cell, public darbar, etc, are already being taken by many state governments but the media is giving extra coverage to the activities of AAP. Even in Chandigarh, councillors regularly meet the public.
— Satish Kainth, Congress councillor and former Deputy Mayor

There is no doubt AAP has done well in the Delhi Assembly elections. The party is also getting public support but not to the extent the media is presenting. The media is trying to create a wave in favour of AAP. The media should show only the ground realities about AAP.
— Mukesh Bassi, Congress councillor

The media is only presenting the facts before the public. It is showing activities of not only AAP but also other parties like the Congress and the BJP. People will make up their mind and vote for the right candidate. The media is rightfully performing its duties by showing the activities of AAP.
— Charanjiv Singh, president, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal

Whenever a new thing comes, people become excited about it. Similarly, AAP is getting a good response from the public, which also includes media persons. Only time will tell how AAP will be able to deliver on its promises.
— Satinder Singh, BJP councillor

If the media does not show the activities of AAP, then how people will come to know about the aims and objectives of the party. People want to see a new and honest system in the country. Therefore, the media is giving a good coverage to the activities of AAP.~
— MPS Chawla, AAP member and industrialist



Opposition boycotts MC Lohri function over Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
While the Municipal Corporation today celebrated Lohri with much fanfare, the Opposition, including the councillors of the BJP, SAD, BSP and Independent councillors, boycott the function.

Leader of the Opposition Arun Sood said they were not against the festival but against the politicisation of the function by Mayor Harphool Kalyan. He questioned why the MC every time made ‘tainted’ local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal the chief guest for a function. There are so many personalities in the city who can be invited as chief guest but to give political mileage to Bansal, they mostly invite Bansal as chief guest, he added. Moreover, every time the MC chooses a Congress councillor’s ward for Lohri celebrations. The Senior Deputy Mayor and the Deputy Mayor were not consulted by the MC while finalising the Lohri programme, he added.

Meanwhile, the MC today celebrated Lohri at Dassehra Ground, Sector 40. Local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal was the chief guest at the celebrations. The theme of the Lohri celebration was “Say no to violence and crime against women and girl child”. 



Citizen’s database to become a reality
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Department of Information Technology has created a “State Resident Data Hub” (SRDH) by utilising the data collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for issuing Aadhaar cards to the residents of Chandigarh.

Prerna Puri, IAS, Secretary Information Technology, said the enrolment of Chandigarh residents had crossed 97 per cent of the total population in Chandigarh and 86% residents had got their Aadhaar cards. She said the data in the SRDH could be used to identify beneficiaries of various government schemes like social security pension schemes, slum rehabilitation schemes, scholarship schemes and public distribution system.

The SRDH has been posted by the Department of IT on the servers provided by the NIC, Chandigarh, at its Network and Data Centre. The SRDH is a repository of the UIDAI data of the residents, along with their demographic data and photographs. The biometric details of iris and fingerprints are not stored at the state level, and are available with the UIDAI CIDR only. This helps the state government in maintaining a lean database and ensuring the privacy of the data.

It paves the way for accurate identification of beneficiaries at the time of disbursal of benefits among them, later followed up by multiple perspectives of analysis such as distribution, the pattern of use, the comparison of eligibility criteria across multiple schemes, etc. The SRDH would enable various departments to verify and weed out erroneous and fictitious data from their records.

The Chandigarh Administration has already notified Aadhaar as a valid proof for address and identity for various welfare schemes being run by departments, boards, corporations, public undertakings and agencies under the aegis of the Chandigarh Administration.



Nod to power projects

Chandigarh, January 13
The standing finance committee chaired by UT adviser KK Sharma today gave in-principle approval for four projects to provide uninterrupted and better power supply to the city.

The projects include the setting up of 66 KV sub-station at Sector 26 along with an underground cable from 66 KV IT Park grid sub-station, 66 KV transmission line with an underground cable from Sector 32 to Sector 34 grid sub-station. — TNS



PGI yet to ply battery-operated carts on campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Two weeks after a bank donated four battery-operated golf carts to the PGIMER for ferrying patients within the campus, the institution is yet to put these to use.

The golf carts, meant to bring down the pollution level and defy the movement of fast-moving vehicles on the campus, are lying unused in the transport wing of the PGIMER.

Officials in the PGIMER administration said since a detailed layout defining the route, travel time and availability was to be prepared, it might take them a few more days to ply the battery-operated vehicles on the campus.

Sources said the institution was also facing a shortage of drivers while these carts would require four designated drivers throughout the day. Also, charging stations for these vehicles will have to be installed on the campus.

These carts were donated by the State Bank of India to the PGIMER on January 1 with the aim of providing free of cost shuttle service to patients.

The carts will also ferry the PGIMER staff if needed, to save time in transferring blood samples, other documents quickly from one department to the other.

The need of these carts is higher around the New OPD Block and Nehru Hospital/ Emergency since these are the most visited areas by the patients.



MC blind to encroachments in Dadu Majra
To increase the area of their shops, traders construct walls in the middle of the corridor, block passage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Municipal Corporation (MC), Chandigarh, seems to have turned a blind eye towards the encroachments by shopkeepers in Dadu Majra market.

Goods and grocery items displayed by shopkeepers in front of their shops is a common scene in the city markets. However, shopkeepers in Dadu Majra went a step ahead in making the mockery of the MC rule book by constructing walls in the middle of the corridor in a bid to extend the area of their shops. However, the encroachment has resulted in blocking of the passage meant for visitors to the market.

Mandeep Singh, one of the residents nearby, said errant shopkeepers should be penalised for encroachments and the walls constructed by them should be demolished. “It seems that the MC is indifferent to the encroachments in Dadu Majra. Taking advantage of the lax attitude of the authorities, many shopkeepers have erected walls in the corridor and display their goods at the cost of public convenience. The authorities should act against the encroachers at the earliest,” Singh stated.

Deputy Mayor Davesh Moudgil stated that constructing walls in the middle of corridors was totally illegal and had to be removed immediately. “The authorities will be asked to check the encroachments and construction of walls in the market,” Moudgil added.

Kashmira Singh, Superintendent, MC’s encroachment wing, stated that they were responsible for removing the temporary encroachments in the city. Demolishing construction of structures and walls outside the shops was the job of the engineering wing of the MC, he added.



Club celebrates polio-free certification for India
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Rotray Club of Chandigarh Midtown is celebrating the declaration of India as a polio-free country by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Besides, the club has launched a Save the girl child campaign.

As part of the celebrations, the building of the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, was illuminated. The campaign initiated by the club saw its president Deepak Sood, secretary Dr Rita Kalra and other Rotarians visiting the delivery complex of the General Hospital to celebrate Lohri dedicated to the newborn girls. On the occasion, 15 baby girls were presented goodies. They Rotarians also blessed them for a bright and healthy future. The campaign will continue till January 19.

Meanwhile, to celebrate the polio-free status, Rakesh Aggarwal, the governor of Rotary International District 3080, visited the Rotary Club, Chandigarh. He complimented the Chandigarh unit of the club for celebrating the achievement by illuminating the Neelam city building in Sector 17 Plaza.



NCC training camp for girls concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
As many as 114 cadets from the No.1 Chandigarh Girls NCC Battalion attended the winter annual training camp that concluded at the Government College for Girls, Sector 42, here today.

The cadets were trained in drill, firing, service subjects like map reading, field craft, battle craft, health and hygiene, leadership traits and other aspects that will make them disciplined, independent, and successful in life.

The cadets were also taken to the small arms range at Chandimandir for live firing practice. They also attended sessions on personality development and social issues like abuse of drugs and alcohol, besides visiting the Old Age Home where they interacted with senior citizens.

A rally against female foeticide and dowry was also conducted at Kishangarh village. The camp culminated on January 12 with a closing address by Col APS Johal, CO 1 Chandigarh Girls Bn NCC.

Additional Director-General NCC, Major General AS Chima and Chandigarh NCC Group Commander, Brigadier JS Arora, inspected the camp facilities, reviewed the training and addressed the cadets.



construction of sports complexes
Inquiry ordered against two firms
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 13
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has ordered an inquiry against two firms, which have constructed as many as seven sports complexes in various parts of the town.

GMADA chief administrator AK Sinha ordered to stop the pending payments of the firms with immediate effect after ordering an inquiry to fix the responsibility of the firms and the GMADA officials who were responsible to supervise the work there. The inquiry would be conducted by the GMADA chief engineer.

Sinha said the poor workmanship was evident. “Now I want to confirm whether they (the firms) have used any substandard material in the sports complexes or not. I have ordered to stop their payments, which run in several crores, with immediate effect,” said Sinha.

The chief administrator said the role of GMADA officials, who were responsible to supervise the project time to time, would also be checked in the inquiry. “No guilty will be spared,” said Sinha.

Poor conditions and several defects in the newly built sports complexes at Sectors 59, 61, 63, 65, 69, 71 and 78 were highlighted in these columns under the heading “Rs 26 cr spent, but stadia not fit to hold events” on December 26.

Most of these complexes were inaugurated around two months ago and are yet to be opened for public.



Fog: 3 trains delayed

Chandigarh, January 13
Dense fog continues to affect the rail traffic. Railway officials said three long-route trains were affected due to the fog. The Howrah Kalka was delayed by 12 hours, Unchahaar Express by more than 7 hours and the Chandigarh Lucknow Express by more than two hours.

Meanwhile, the Met Department has forecast fog during the night and the morning tomorrow. An official said there were chances of rain by the end of this week which would improve the weather situation. Fresh western disturbances can brighten chances of rain on January 17 and 18 in the city. — TNS



Illegal commercial establishments razed in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 13
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today razed commercial establishments constructed and being run illegally on the Sohana-Lakhnur road here today.Debris lies scattered after illegal commercial establishments were demolished by GMADA on the Sohana-Lakhnur road on Monday.

Giving details, GMADA Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Sukhpal Singh said as many as 15 commercial establishments, including saw mills and marble shops, being run illegally on the land acquired by the GMADA were demolished during an anti-encroachment drive.

Debris lies scattered after illegal commercial establishments were demolished by GMADA on the Sohana-Lakhnur road on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu



ground reality
Residents demand dedicated parks for children
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

During a reality check, Chandigarh Tribune correspondent Deepankar Sharda finds grounds at government schools in bad shape. Residents, including children and elderly persons, have demanded dedicated playing space for children.

The bad condition of the playground at the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 21, Chandigarh, on Monday.
The bad condition of the playground at the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 21, Chandigarh, on Monday. Tribune photos: Parvesh chauhan

Chandigarh, January 13
Patting their backs after announcing a pilot project to overcome the problem of less playing area for “gully” children, the Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh administration seems to have put themselves in a trouble-dock.

The pilot project aims to open the grounds of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 21, for “gully” children after school hours.

A ground reality check with the school authorities and the residents living nearby said the project stands nowhere even if it is executed in all sectors. A visit to the school revealed bad condition of its grounds.

As per the purposed project, the Municipal Corporation will deploy 2 security personals in the school and besides this the school will appoint its physical training instructor (PTI) to manage and take care of the school’s property. However, the PTI teachers are already opposing the decision taken by the school authorities and the Chandigarh Administration. And now, the bad condition of the grounds has tangled the situation further.

Also, the authorities failed to think upon the usage of grounds, on particular time, by section of youngsters. If the government school grounds will be opened for all then there might occur such situations where youth would stake their claim over space and children may remain deprived from using the grounds. There is no decision whether to open the grounds on holidays and gazetted holidays.

Problem of PTI teachers

In summers, the grounds will open from 4:15pm to 6:30 pm while in winters the timings will be 3:15pm to 5:50 pm. With this, the physical training instructors will work in three shifts including first half, second half and later in evening. At present, the PTI teachers’ are looking after sports activities of school, supervising classes of physical education and also looking after the extra-curricular activities of the school. And with this addition they will be burdened with another work. Also, these teachers are opposing the decision due to behavioural factor of the youth and children. “We are working as teachers not as security staff. Our duty is to look after school’s administration rather then looking after the property. What is the guarantee that the children or youth coming here will listen to us or respect us? They are not our students. If these gully players indulge in arguments with residents they can do the same with us. A teacher said, “We are responsible for giving performances. We manage teams and guide students to indulge in sports. How can the authorities expect us to perform a security guard’s job? We are fine, if students of our school are coming to play,” said another teacher.

Problem of Sunday and gazetted holidays

The authorities failed to come up with the decision whether to open the school grounds on Sundays or gazetted holidays. On holidays, if appointed, the PTI teachers will not come to perform their duties and the situation could lead to chaos inside the school. As per rules, the school remains close on holidays. Also, there is no provision of separate playing timings for girls.

Bad condition of grounds

The playing-grounds at the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 21, are already facing official apathy. Unleveled patches, non-covered swimming pool arena, bad condition of volleyball court and grass on athletics track reveal the actual reality of the ground. After this pilot project, if successful, the project will run across the city in 26 government schools and the conditions of all these school’s grounds is a real challenge to come over.


We face problem during holidays. School grounds are not good and there remains a high risk of damaging the property. According to me, the authorities should come up with dedicated parks for children to play.

We just need open space to play. The authorities instead of approaching schools should talk with residents and dedicate a ground in each sector especially for the purpose. Every sector has open spaces that are being used as either dumping grounds or parking lots. The authorities should stop such acts.
Manoj Kumar

Playing under the supervision of teachers will be like attending games-period. If we cannot enjoy the liberty then there is no use of any pilot project. The grounds will serve only youth.

We don’t have any vote bank so councillors neglect us. The authorities should understand that it is next to impossible to manage outside-crowd in schools.

Youth here is very rude. They are always ready to fight. They are not professionals and do commit mistakes while playing. On regular basis, they indulge in arguments and don’t even apologise if they injure any of us. If we suggest them to play in the school they argue with us.
Girdhari Lal

There should be a proper dedicated park for these youngsters. The councillors should understand the fact that childrenneed a separate place to enjoy. Even in family, we treat children in different manner. The vote bank should not be considered in this case.
Gurjeet Singh.

will resolve shortcomings of project

We have to start from somewhere and we are just taking a small step. The shortcomings, if possible, will be removed in future. There is no place for the local children. We are trying to provide some adequate space to these children. There were some shortcomings in the past and with experience we have come up with this proposal. We have to keep a balance between maintaining parks and providing playing space to children. We were asked to provide security in order to protect the school’s property that we have approved. We are ready to explore other options also. The proposal to come up with children’s playing park in every sector is good. However, it can be done if residents welcome this suggestion and allow us to maintain a park especially for children or youth for playing purpose. We are ready to provide the localities with best of the facilities but we need their support. We have to find a way.
— Vivek Pratap Singh, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation



Utilise night shelters effectively

Despite availability of ample space at night shelters, hundreds of people spend their night on streets in Chandigarh. The UT Administration should publicise the facility and its volunteers should reach out to the people in need. This will help proper utilisation of the facility and help the poor, homeless and needy. The attendants to the patients and visitors to the PGIMER, who are forced to sleep in the open, should also be informed about the availability of night shelters in the city. Secondly, the facility should be made available free of cost to the needy and underprivileged throughout the year. They should also be provided with bedding and blanket. On their part, people should offer donations so that the facility could be kept in a livable condition.
Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula

Streamline traffic, parking in Mohali

The recent move of the MC Office, Mohali, to introduce paid parking in some of the crowded and congested markets is not only expected to check the haphazard manner in which vehicles are parked but would also help in accommodating more vehicles in the parking lots. Moreover, the step would also bring under check the increasing number of cases vehicle thefts in the city. Besides, areas in the parking lots need to be designated for four wheelers and two wheelers. Apart from this, the authorities concerned should also initiate suitable measures to educate people to observe traffic rules. For example, parking of vehicles on roadside, especially in front of scooter market and other commercial centres, has become a common feature which needs to be strictly banned. Secondly, there is an immediate need to install CCTVs on the main traffic junctions to effectively reduce the increasing number of accidents, which generally take place due to jumping of red lights. Auto-rickshaw operators should be directed to pick passengers from the fixed ‘pick-up points’ and not from a roadside. Under-age driving should also be checked as most of such offenders drive recklessly. And last but not the least, there is an immediate need to set up a traffic park in order to create general awareness about traffic rules and road sense among children.
Arun Kumar Sharma, Mohali



Government schools reopen to thin attendance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Nearly two weeks after the winter vacations, government schools in the city opened today. Most of the private schools are opening tomorrow. There was low attendance in several government schools today, but department officials said it would improve in a day or two.

The principal of a government school said the attendance was low due to Lohri today.

“The momentum is set to begin in the next two three days. The students will also be under pressure now because the final exams are set to begin,” the principal said.

The CBSE has already announced the dates sheets for Classes X and XII exams. Therefore, the students must concentrate on their studies.

The winter time schedule in government schools will remain in force till January 31.



PU proposes training courses for non-teaching staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Panjab University is coming up with a proposal for short-term training courses for the non-teaching staff for which funds will be allocated in the budget annually. The authorities are mooting this proposal keeping in view the fact that a majority of the clerical staff are facing problems while adopting new technology, which affects the working of the departments.

Panjab University finance and development officer Vikram Nayyar said it had become the need of the hour to train the clerical staff to cope with the new system.

He said the authorities would allocate funds for the courses in the next budget as per the requirement and these would be tabled in the next meeting of the Board of Finance for approval.

As per the proposal, each year four short-term courses will be organised for 35 to 40 clerical staff members of various departments. During the programme, the staff will be trained to keep a track of each and every document of their department and upgradation of the technology. The duration of the courses will be about a week, for which around Rs 2.40 lakh will be required.

Syndicate member Professor Karamjeet Singh, who has drafted the proposal, said the training would not be conducted during the working days of the university to avoid any inconvenience to the public. He said Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover had asked him to draft the orientation course for the non-teaching staff and make it a continuous process in future also.

A senior official of the university said besides imparting training to the staff, they should also be transferred to various departments so that they become acquainted with all types of work.

The records of the university revealed that last year the university had conducted a special orientation programme for the newly appointed clerks of the university. But it was not a regular feature and the authorities are now planning to make it a permanent feature to update the knowledge of the staff of the university.



Children’s theatre fest from Jan 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi in collaboration with the Education Department and the Department of Cultural Affairs is organising the Children’s Theatre Festival from January 17 to January 24 at the Sector 17 Plaza. The plays, enacted by students of government schools of the city, will be staged between 12 pm and 2 pm. During the course of the festival, different government schools will stage 20 plays that they had prepared during the theatre workshops last year.

Officials of the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi said various aspects of children theatre were explored through children theatre exercises and improvisations. The children went through many learning experiences and a lot of interesting games and exercises - theatre, mime, language, etc.

On January 17, students of GMSSS-35 will stage two plays - “Kagaz Ki Gudiya” and “Junk Hi Funki Na Koi Kaam Ki” and GMSSS-15 will stage “Kashmkash”.

On January 18, GMSSS-37 students will stage “Ek Phool Ki Chahat and Lalsa”, while GMSSS-15 will stage “Hum Aise Kyon Nahi” and “Ool Julool ya Jhamela”.

On January 20, three plays - “Insaniat”, “Jodi’s Fawn” and “Ho Gya Dipa Gol” will be staged by the students of GMSSS, Dhanas, GMSSS, Mani Majra Complex, and GMSSS, Sector 27, respectively. On January 21, students of GMSSS, Sector 8, GMSSS, Kirsan, Ramdarbar, and GMSSS, Sector 32, will stage “Apani Kahani”, “Jhoot Bole Kala Kaaua Kate” and “Meri Train Kahan Hai”, respectively.

On January 22, GMSSS, Sector 45, GMSSS, Dadumajra, GMSSS, Sector 20, will stage “Insaan”, “Ma Tujhe Salaam” and “Darr”.

On January 23, three more schools - GMSSS, Sector 10, GMSSS, Sector 21, and GMSSS, Sector 16, will stage “Akabri Lota”, “Healty Mom Healthy Family”, “Mahabharat” and “Padhai Ho”.

The festival will conclude on January 24 with GMSSS, Sector 19, GMSSS, Mani Majra Town, and GMSSS, Sector 47, staging plays, including “Pinki Aur Alian”, “Khichdi” and “Insaan”.



CAT 2013 results likely today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The results of the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2013 are expected to be announced tomorrow.

Indian Institute of Management (IIM) aspirants across the city are on tenterhooks as they await the announcement of the Common Admission Test 2013 results.

The exam was conducted from October 16 to November 11, 2013, across the country.

A total of 1,94,516 candidates appeared for the exams.



from schools
Gaiety, fervour mark Lohri celebrations

MDAV School-22
Chandigarh: MDAV School, Sector 22, celebrated Lohri with a lot of fervour. The students enjoyed different activities such as songs, poems and speeches on the school premises. The children were told about the importance of the festival through speeches. Eatables were also distributed among the students.

Kendriya Vidyalaya-31
Students and staff members of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31, celebrated Lohri with zest and fervour on Monday. The mood was upbeat and the students were absorbed in the festive spirit of Lohri. A bonfire was lit on the occasion. Dances, traditional songs and colourful giddha marked the occasion. Popcorns, groundnut and ‘rewari’ were also distributed.

Gem Public School
Mohali: Lohri was celebrated with a lot of fanfare at Gem Public School. Teachers and students sang Lohri songs like “sunder mundariye”. Director HS Midha inaugurated the function. The programme started with the traditional bonfire. Principal Veena Bakshi extended her wishes to students and staff members.

Century Public School
Students of the Interact Club of Century Public School, Naya Gaon, celebrated Lohri with the inmates of Mother Teresa Missionaries, Sector 23. The students interacted with the inmates and distributed sweets among them. After this, they visited the Senior Citizens Home in Sector 15, Chandigarh, to celebrate the festival with the elderly.

BMD Public School
Students of BMD Public School danced on the beats of bhangra during the Lohri celebrations. The children were made aware of the famous tale of Dulla Bhatti. Baldev Singh, chairman of the school, applauded the efforts of the teachers and students.

Sherwood Convent School
Students of Sherwood School celebrated Lohri to enliven the spirit of brotherhood. The students sang Lohri songs that added flavour to the festive occasion. The students danced around the bonfire with enthusiasm. The students were also given information about the significance of celebrating this festival.

Golden Bells
Lohri was celebrated with enthusiasm on the premises of Golden Bells Public School, Sector 77. Voices of ‘sunder mundariye’ were echoing on the campus. The students enjoyed a lot around the bonfire. Chairman of the school Colonel CS Bawa (retd) congratulated the students on the occasion and advised them to burn their evils in the bonfire of Lohri and live a life of truth and virtue.

Students and staff members of Lawrence Public School, Mohali, dance during Lohri celebrations on Monday.Lawrence Public School
Students and staff members of Lawrence Public School congregated to celebrate Lohri on the school campus. A colourful function was organised to celebrate the festival. Principal Veena Malhotra lit the bonfire. The students and the staff members encircled around the bonfire. Groundnuts and ‘rewari’ were distributed among everyone present on the occasion.

Students and staff members of Lawrence Public School, Mohali, dance during Lohri celebrations on Monday. A Tribune photograph

British School
Panchkula: Around 75 staff members of British School celebrated the auspicious harvest festival of Lohri on Monday. It was celebrated highlighting the importance of the festival, which ushers in the cheerful spring season bidding adieu to the dull winter. The teachers offered the traditional ‘til’ and ‘popcorn’ to the holy bonfire and prayed for the wellbeing of friends and family. Everyone sang traditional Punjabi ‘boliyan’ and danced around the bonfire. — TNS



from colleges
Bonfires add warmth to festivities

CGC, Jhanjeri campus
Lohri celebration was organised at CGC, Jhanjeri campus, with a lot of exuberance and fanfare on Monday. The bonfire, symbolising the burial of old beliefs and the rebirth of spring, was lit by Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chancellor, Chandigarh University, and Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, president, CGC. Around 100 staff members, along with 500 students of MBA, BTech, BBA, BCA and BEd, participated in the festival. Rashpal expressed concern over the declining sex ratio. He said the girl child should be equally welcomed into the family. Everybody should celebrate Lohri for both newly born girl and boy child.

GGSCMT, Kharar
The Guru Gobind Singh College of Modern Technology (GGSCMT), Kharar, celebrated Lohri with traditional songs and dance on Monday. Students and staff members of the college came together to celebrate the festival on the campus. The function was organised by the Dean Student Welfare Society of the college. Dr GS Virdi, director of the college, along with the chairman, GGSCMT, lit the bonfire.

Indo Global Group of Colleges, Mohali
Students of the Indo Global Group of Colleges, Mohali, celebrate Lohri on Monday.
The Indo Global Group of Colleges celebrated Lohri on the campus. A huge bonfire was lit on the occasion. The celebration was followed by a colourful function to make it memorable where children also got an opportunity to showcase their talents in a unique manner. The celebration commenced after lighting the bonfire by chairman Sukhdev Kumar Singla. Students and staff members encircled around the bonfire and groundnuts and “rewari” were distributed among everyone present there.
Students of the Indo Global Group of Colleges, Mohali, celebrate Lohri on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Gian Jyoti Group of Institutions, Mohali
The Gian Jyoti Group of Institutions celebrated Lohri on its premises with a lot of fanfare. The chairman of the Gian Jyoti Group, JS Bedi, addressed the students and the faculty members of the institute. The students presented bhangra, folk songs and giddha. Bhangra was the main highlight of the event.

Dance performance
The Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Catering & Nutrition, Sector 42, celebrated Lohri on Monday. The faculty members of the college made their presence felt on this auspicious festival. The students presented dance performance with full zest and zeal. Bharti Tyagi, principal of the institute, said: “Lohri is a time to bond with friends and family. Everyone is busy these days, but Lohri brings us together in the warmth of the bonfire in chilly winter enjoying with family and friends”. At this time, the company of students, co-faculty and family was priceless, she said. — TNS



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