C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Stir hits banking services
Residents bear the brunt as bank employees go on two-day strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Residents of the tricity bore the brunt of a two-day strike of public sector bank employees which began today.

Among those at the receiving end was Sadhya Jarial (40). She had to struggle for around half an hour in front of a cash deposit machine of the State Bank of India, Main Branch, Sector 17, to make a transaction from her account to her son, who lives in Delhi and urgently needed money.

Since the employees were on strike, she had no option but to use the cash deposit machine for the transaction.

Adding to her woes was a security guard deployed near the machine who told her that it would not be possible to transfer money from one account to another through the cash deposit machine during the strike. However, the guard was ignorant and she managed to transfer the money.

Work pertaining to cash transactions and cheque clearance in public sector banks was hit. People faced a tough time as the standby arrangements of cash deposit machines made by the SBI were not enough.

Long queues were seen at ATM booths as people feared that due to the strike, the machines might run out of cash tomorrow.

"It is strange that banks have not made any standby arrangements for the deposit or withdrawal of cash in emergency situations for their customers," said senior citizen NJ Mohan, who visited two ATMs this morning, but could not find cash in any of these. "What is the purpose of having so many ATMs when there is no cash in these to deal with an emergency situation," he said.

Convener of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) HBS Batra said as the Indian Banks Association (IBA) had cancelled a meeting, scheduled for February 13, to discuss the demands of the forum, they would call an emergency meeting this week to chalk out a new strategy.

He said the forum was demanding a wage revision, which was due since November 1, 2012. The employees were demanding a 30 per cent hike in the salary, while the IBA had proposed only a 10 per cent increase, which had been rejected by the employees.

Their demands also included regulating the working hours of officers (five-day week) and offering appointment on compassionate grounds.

The functioning of private sector banks was not affected as their employees did not participate in the strike.

A locked SBI branch.Problems faced by public
Banking services hit
ATMs run out of cash
No staff deployed by the bank at cash deposit machines to guide public

(right) A locked SBI branch.

Cash deposit machines
Cash deposit machines of the State Bank of India are available at its branch at Bank Square, at its administrative office near Sindhi Sweets in Sector 17, at its PGI branch and at Booth No. 57, Scooter Market, Sector 40.



Oldest Case in District Courts
Juvenile court acquits accused in 29-year-old murder case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
A local court today acquitted an accused in a 29-year-old murder case, the oldest running case in the District Courts. The juvenile court acquitted Khushwant Singh after the prosecution failed to prove the charges against him. The accused was 12 years old at the time of the murder and was first summoned as an accused in the case in 2008.

Khushwant, now 40, was accused of murdering 24-year-old Inderjeet Singh, who was found hanging in a rented accommodation in 1985.

After 23 years of the incident, Khushwant had been summoned as an accused by the court in 2008 while allowing an application of Allah Singh, father of deceased. Allah Singh, who died during the pendency of the case, had moved an application seeking directions to summon him as an accused, claiming that his blood was found on the vest of his deceased son.

Khushwant’s family members — brother Harpreet Singh (52), father Hardev Singh (80) and mother Rajinder Kaur (73) — were acquitted by the court in August 2013.

The body of Inderjeet, a native of Patiala, was found hanging at his rented room at their house in Sector 34-D in July 1985.

On a complaint of Inderjeet’s father Allah Singh, the police registered a case of murder on September 24, 1985, but investigations revealed that Inderjeet had committed suicide. On Allah Singh’s demand, the CBI registered a murder case on September 21, 1990, but filed a cancellation report three years later. On December 22, 1994, the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Chandigarh ordered a re-investigation after declining the cancellation report. After a series of writs and probes, the case was admitted in the sessions court on February 26, 2002.

'Our lives have been ruined'

“The case was continuing for the past 29 years and changed our life completely. Innumerable hearings of the case, coupled with the financial burden, literally ruined us. There was a sword hanging on us all the time even though we were innocent. The acquittal brings no happiness or contentment now, as we have already suffered enough during the trial,” said Harpreet Singh, Khushwant’s elder brother, who was acquitted in the same case last year.

Complainant had died

Allah Singh, a resident of Patiala, fought for justice into the alleged murder case of his son ardently. He died in December 2011 at his Patiala residence much before he could see the judgment in the case.

Case investigated 5 times

As Allah Singh was not satisfied with the investigation carried out by the police, which claimed it was a suicide, the court asked the CBI to investigate again. Investigations were conducted five times, of which two concluded that it was a murder, while the rest claimed it was a suicide. The case involved over 2,000 hearings all these years.



42-year-old man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 10
A 42-year-old man allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan with the help of an electricity wire in the Chandimandir area. The incident came to light this morning. The victim, Sanjeev Kumar, was staying alone in a house on Khangesra Road in the area. He was working as a manger at a petrol pump in the same area.

The police have ruled out the possibility of foul play. The victim was reportedly depressed.

With the help of the police, Sanjeev Kumar's colleagues took him to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where he was declared brought dead.

Dr Sunil Gambhir, head of the postmortem department at the hospital, said the postmortem examination had indicated death due to hanging.

The body has been handed over to the family. The victim is survived by his wife and three children (a daughter and two sons), who live in Kurukshetra.

This morning, when Sanjeev Kumar did not turn up at the petrol pump, his colleagues went to his nearby residence and found his body hanging from a ceiling fan.



24-yr-old motorcyclist crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 10
A 24-year-old youth was crushed to death by a vehicle near his house in Barwala late last night. The victim, Amit Sharma, was going home on his motorcyle after dropping a friend when he was hit by the vehicle.

The victim was the brother of a priest of a temple in Barwala. He was working as a conductor with a private bus service and was the youngest of three siblings. His father had died long ago due to cancer. The police have registered a case at the Chandimandir police station.

A shopkeeper, who was closing business for the day, heard Amit's shrieks. On reaching the spot, he saw the victim lying in a pool of blood. He took him to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where Amit was declared brought dead.

"The shopkeeper told us that Amit was alive when he was being taken to the hospital," said Jwala, the victim's brother.

The victim, who recently joined as a conductor, was planning to open a shop near a school in the village.

Victim’s mother faints

With his death, the world came crashing down for Amit’s mother who had lost her husband to cancer earlier. She wasn't told about her son's death and was just informed that he had got injured. As soon as she saw her son’s body being brought in a mini-truck, she fainted.

"Last night, when my mother asked why Amit had not returned, we told her that he had got injured while going to his friend's place," said Jwala.



Foetus found dumped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
A foetus was found dumped in the Industrial Area here this morning. The police have registered a case under Section 318 (concealment of birth by secret disposal of body) of the IPC in this regard.

The police said the four-month foetus was found dumped at a garbage bin. The incident came to light when a passerby, Mulayam Singh, saw the foetus and called up the police.

The police are trying to find out who left the foetus in the garbage bin.

The foetus was sent to the gynaecology department of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. Two foetuses have been found dumped in the city this year.



Security plate challans challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Seeking to restrain the traffic police from issuing challans for vehicles without high security registration plates (HSRP) and to direct the UT Administration to open more outlets for issuing the same, a city-based advocate moved court today.

The suit for mandatory injunction seeking directions to the UT Home Secretary, and the Registration and Licensing Officer (RLO) to open more outlets has been filed in the court.

The petition for permanent injunction seeking directions to the UT SSP (Traffic) to refrain from challaning for the HSRP violations has also been included in the same suit.

The petition also seeks directions to the UT Administration to open more outlets for issuing these plates as it is a time-consuming process. The court has reserved the petition for March 29 for arguments.

The petition also seeks to restrain the UT traffic police from challaning vehicles for at least six months as the present system is not fully equipped.

Advocate Arvind Thakur has stated in the petition that the process to issue these plates suffers from various irregularities pertaining to staff, technical system and functioning.

“There are more than 3 lakh vehicles registered in Chandigarh and one can see long queues every day at the counters providing these plates. There is no help desk to guide vehicle owners and getting the plate is an unnecessary waste of time and energy,” states the petition.

“The traffic police should refrain from challaning for at least six months till the present system is revamped,” states the petition.



Rush at RLA counters in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Chaos continues at the sub-offices of the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) Office in Sector 42 and Industrial Area as vehicle owners seeking high security registration plates (HSRP) face harassment.

The contractor, who has been awarded the work of installing the number plates, is not providing additional staff despite being told to do so. A proposal to increase the number of centres where these plates are installed is pending decision.

The rush of vehicle owners increased after the Chandigarh police started challaning vehicles without such plates (series CH 01 AN to CH 01 AW).

To ascertain the situation, RLA Kashish Mittal visited the sub-office in Sector 42.

At the Industrial Area sub-office of the RLA, a long queue of applicants can be seen everyday.

Site for installing number plates shifted

The site for installing the high security number plates at the Sector 17 office of the RLA has been shifted to the open ground in the front of the office. At the industrial area, the authorities have been asked to use the open space adjoining the CTU Director’s office for the purpose.



Draft policy
Uninterrupted power supply proposed for industrial units
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
To promote the industry in the city, the UT Administration has proposed uninterrupted power supply to such units in its draft industrial policy.

According to the draft policy, “The industrial units will be exempted from the purview of statutory power cuts, restriction of peak load hours and the weekly off power cut."

Power connections will be provided to industrial units on a priority and power will be available to these at industrial/commercial tariff, depending upon their location/zone.

In the policy, the UT Administration has stressed the need for simplifying the procedures. Emphasis will be laid on providing assistance to those wanting to start an enterprise in Chandigarh. The proposed procedural simplifications include having a common application form to reduce paperwork, self-certification for knowledge-based industries and holding single window committee meetings.

The policy has also stressed on setting up a testing lab for industries, creation of a business facilitation council, setting up of an entrepreneurship development centre and interest on delayed payments to MSMEs.

The Administration has sought suggestions of various departments and industrialists' associations on the draft policy. After considering the suggestions and objections, the Administratin will notifiy the policy.

How UT Admn plans to simplify procedures

Common application form to reduce paperwork
Self-certification for knowledge-based industries
Environmental clearance to green category industries, including knowledge-based industries, for 10 years
Redressing the grievances of local entrepreneurs by holding single window committee meetings
Setting up a business facilitation council comprising members of industry associations, the Industries Department, Estate Office, MC and the anti-pollution department

11 objectives of the policy

To recognise and facilitate industrial growth based on the needs of industries
To create congenial environment for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises
To evolve an appropriate mechanism to promote industrial growth
To maximise production and achieve higher productivity
To upgrade technology of industries by providing them technical and financial support
To promote sophisticated hi-tech industries
To promote export-oriented and import-substitute industries and marketing-related industries
To encourage activities allied to the industry
To create industry-friendly environment by simplifying rules and procedures
To attract NRI and foreign investment by developing world class infrastructure
To integrate and provide the single window facility to smaller trades and provide facilitation support

Comparison with the draft policy of 2009

In the draft policy of 2009, the UT Administration had details how it planned to set up the Industrial Area (Phase III), which included 60 per cent new units and 20 per cent existing units for expansion. However, in the new draft policy, the Administration has only mentioned about Phase III without giving any details.

The Administration has included assembly of battery-operated vehicles and knowledge-based industries in the new policy, which were not included in the old policy.

Like the old policy, the Administration is once again silent over the implementation of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006, in the Industrial Area, Phase I and II. Though industrialists are demanding that certain trades should be allowed to them under the Act, the Administration is mum on it in the draft policy.


LS poll buzz
BJP sounds poll bugle, announces 2 campaigns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The local unit of the BJP today announced two campaigns, “One Note, Kamal Par Vote” and “NaMo Tea Party” ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Party’s national secretary and in charge of the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, Aarti Mehra, said these campaigns would start tomorrow and continue till February 18. Under these two campaigns, the party workers will propagate their PM candidate Narendra Modi and the party’s vision in the City Beautiful, she said.

City BJP president Sanjay Tandon said the party was targeting 490 booths. To run the “One Note, Kamal Par Vote” campaign successfully, the district presidents, ward presidents and booth in charges will be involved in it. They will go to their respective areas with a colorful box, flags and masks of Modi. People can contribute amounts from as low as Rs 10 to a maximum of Rs 1,000. Every citizen will be given the message of the BJP’s national president, Rajnath Singh, which says the country needs a change in the political system, he said.

About “NaMo Tea Party”, he said the party workers would meet morning and evening walkers in the city green belts and have a cup of tea with them. The workers will also hold interactive sessions with people at different places. This programme has been aimed at popularising the messages and aims of Narendra Modi, he said.

BJP to launch hi-tech campaign

In the coming days, the city unit of the BJP will also launch a hi-tech campaign. The BJP has almost finalised the strategy of hi-tech campaign involving the setting up a call centre and campaigning on social networking sites. The city residents can join the BJP’s Mission +272 by giving a miss call on 8528852800.

Party survey

Sources said on the basis of a survey of the vote percentage of different parties, which was carried out by the BJP in Chandigarh, the party leaders were saying that the AAP was their competitor, not the Congress. The survey report has given around 43 per cent vote share to the BJP, 23 per cent to the AAP and 20 per cent to the Congress.

Jain, Dhawan absent

Former MP Satya Pal Jain and former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan were conspicuous by there absence at a press conference. Though Aarti Mehra clarified that Dhawan was busy in some family engagements and Jain was in Delhi, Dhawan’s supporters said he was not invited to the press conference.



AAP not to receive new applications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has closed the process of receiving application forms for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.

The information was displayed on the AAP’s official website: “No new forms will be received by the party for the following constituencies (which also include the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat) after February 8 (midnight). The Political Affairs Committee of the AAP reserves the right to consider more applications (received beyond the February 8 midnight) in special situations”.

Earlier, more than 250 persons had applied for the AAP ticket.

Meanwhile, the Association of Computer Traders and Professionals has unanimously elected Naresh Garg ‘Bobby’ president of the association. Garg, who is also president of the Sector 20 Computer Market Association, has also applied for the AAP ticket from Chandigarh. 



Big plans for ‘Kalyugi Mama-Bhanja’
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
To target the Congress on the corruption issue, the BJP high command has approved the “Kalyugi Mama Bhanja” street play prepared by the local unit of the party.

The play was staged by the artists of the Art and Culture Cell of the Chandigarh unit of the BJP to expose former Railway Minister and sitting MP Pawan Kumar Bansal’s role in the railgate scam. The local artistes have been called by the party high command to Delhi where they will stage the play before senior party leaders. The play might be included in the BJP’s national campaign.

City BJP president Sanjay Tandon said if the play was approved by the senior leaders, then it will be used as part of the national campaign against the Congress on the corruption issue. During the Lok Sabha elections, the party workers will stage the play in different parts of Chandigarh, he said.

Abhishek Sharma, chief of the BJP’s Art and Culture Wing, said earlier senior leaders had called them to Delhi in January but due to some engagements they failed to stage the play there. He said they had roped in seven theatre students who were also party workers. These youngsters had performed across the city and the play had received a huge response from the public, he added.

After the railgate scam, in which the nephew of the sitting MP Pawan Kumar Bansal was arrested by the CBI, the local unit of the BJP had used street theatre to target Bansal and the UPA for their alleged involvement in corruption.



CTU all set to get 49 midi-buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The ageing fleet of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) is all set to get 49 midi-buses with the proposal being forwarded to the Finance Department of the Chandigarh Administration for its final approval.

The CTU had received six bids for midi-buses. After getting the nod of the Adviser to the UT Administrator, the Transport Department would purchase the buses, possibly by the end of this month.

Besides, the process to purchase 400 low-floor buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNRUM) has been initiated. After opening the technical bids, the department is in the process of opening the financial bids.

Having failed to procure AC and non-AC buses through tendering in the last two years, the Chandigarh Administration ultimately decided to go for midi-buses, a low-floor bus larger than the traditional mini-bus.

These buses would be purchased apart from the Air-Conditioned low-floor and non-Air-Conditioned semi-floor buses that would be added to the Chandigarh Transport Undertakingfleet.



MC proposes budget of Rs 85.5 cr
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 10
The Mohali Municipal Corporation had proposed a budget of Rs 85.5 crore for the financial year 2014-15. The proposed budget, which is about 20 per cent higher than that of last year, had been sent for approval to the Director, Department of Local Government, Punjab.

The proposed expenditure of the corporation for the next financial year stands at Rs 84.7 crore.

The projected income from the grant of the government in lieu of octroi is Rs 50 crore and from property tax Rs 20 crore. Two other major sources of projected income will be octroi from electricity (Rs 5.50 crore) and advertisement tax (Rs 5.00 crore). The income from water supply and sewerage charges had been raised from last year’s figure of Rs 1.20 crore to Rs 1.30 crore this year.

The civic body’s projected expenditure on development works is Rs 63.30 crore which was 74 per cent of the proposed income. The expenditure proposed on the establishment is Rs 18 crore which is 21 per cent of the projected income. Last year Rs 12.20 crore had been proposed under this head. The expenditure for contingency is Rs 3.4 crore.

The corporation has failed to spend the entire amount it had proposed on development works in last year’s budget. In 2013-14, it had proposed an expenditure of Rs 50.64 crore on development works but was able to spend only Rs 24.57 crore till December and hopes to spend Rs 46.45 crore by March 31. The expenditure proposed for next year is Rs 63.30 crore.

The highest projected expenditure in the sphere of development is on the strengthening and maintenance of roads for which Rs 13.80 crore has been fixed. A sum of Rs 8 crore is proposed to be spent on the construction and repair of footpaths, Rs 4 crore on the payment of streetlight power bills, Rs 7.5 crore on the payment of the power bills for tube wells and Rs 3 crore on the maintenance of the water supply and sewer systems. A sum of Rs 7 crore has been proposed for solid waste management.

Uma Shankar Gupta, Commissioner of the corporation, said the projected budget for the next financial year was 20 per cent higher as compared to last year. He said the civic body would spend its funds on two new projects in the next financial year. These were starting of the city bus service, for which Rs 2 crore had been proposed. Besides, Rs 2 crore had been proposed for availing itself of consultancy services for various projects.

The corporation has also sought approval for the creation of 20 new posts of clerk-cum-data entry operator as the workload has increased due to the work related to property tax. There is also a provision for deploying 12 security guards for taking care of the office and other properties of the corporation.

Budget 20 per cent higher than that of last year
Projected expenditure Rs 84.7 crore
Property tax to bring in Rs 20 crore
Rs 2 crore earmarked for city bus service
Rs 2 crore to be spent on consultancy services
Rs 13.80 crore for maintenance of roads



Computer teachers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 10
Hundreds of computer teachers blocked traffic on the Mohali-Chandigarh road today evening. The protestors were moving towards Chandigarh to stage a protest in front of Punjab Chief Minister’s residence.

Earlier, the teachers, who started gathering in front of Punjab Director General (School Education) office at Phase 8 from early morning, staged a protest there.

Raising slogans against the state government, the protesting computer teachers were demanding to implement civil service rules and timely release of their pay.

The state president of Computers Teachers Union, Punjab, Gurwinder Singh said Parkash Singh Badal had conceded their certain demands including timely release of their wages. “Despite the CM’s instructions, the officials concerned seemed to be least bothered about those demand.” He added that the teachers were not given their salaries since December 31. “We will intensify the protest if our demands were not met,” said Gurwinder Singh.



Landran deaths
Father, sons cremated

Mohali, February 10
Heartrending scenes were witnessed at Landran cremation ground where Jagtar Singh and his two minor sons Guaravdeep Singh aka Jaggi (14) and Arshdeep Singh (12) were cremated today evening.

Due by poverty Jagtar committed suicide by consuming celphos powder after murdering his two sons last night. The postmortem report of the trio confirmed that Jagtar Singh died due to poisoning while cause of death of both the children was strangulation.

After the postmortem, the police handed over the bodies of the victims to the kin after sending their viscera to the State Forensic and Chemical Laboratory for further tests. Both the brothers Arshdeep Singh and Gauravdeep Singh were cremated on the same pyre. Their inconsolable mother Charanjit Kaur and grandmother Gurdev Kaur fell unconscious several times. — TNS



Robbery case
Police investigating call details to trace culprits

Panchkula, February 10
Following the anonymous letter, informing about the thieves who ransacked their house last month, the police are looking into the matter stated that the phone number mentioned in the letter belonged to a Himachal Pradesh based driver. ‘The mentioned number belonged to a driver and we interrogated him. He said he was not aware of any such incident and he has no enmity with anybody, said the police. Police said we also got to know that he visited Kalka about one month back. We are tracing dumps of the mobile phones used in the area. On Sunday Chandigarh Tribune reported about an anonymous letter that was sent to the family whose house was struck by the thieves. Thieves had decamped with Rs 2.75 lakh in cash and jewellery worth Rs 12 lakh.

The letter, which was addressed to Megha, the owner, contained the details of the thieves, including their mobile numbers. It was also stated that the youths tried to make him a partner but he refused. — TNS



Cops come to collect 3-month-old viscera
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 10
A day after Chandigarh Tribune’s report about viscera of an Army man dumped in the mortuary of the general hospital, cops today collected the viscera and dispatched the same to Forensic Science Laboratory, Madhuban, Karnal.

Assistant Sub Inspector Janak Raj from the Chandimandir police station, on behalf of the Investigating officer (IO) Naseeb Singh of the case, today deposed before the doctors and sought clearance to take the viscera. The doctors were told that as two murders took place after the death of Ahmed, they got busy and forgot to collect viscera.

The report of the viscera could have unravelled the mysterious death of the Army official, Bilal Ahmed, who was working at the Chandimandir Cantonment. He was found dead on the night of November 19, 2013, at his quarters. The viscera were required to be sent within two days of the postmortem of the deceased to FSL, Madhuban, Karnal, by officials of the police station concerned. However, over two months on, the viscera was still lying in the mortuary.

Police investigations had revealed that Bilal consumed poison accidentally. To know the exact cause of the death, doctors had sought further assistance by way of a chemical examination report.



Better Chandigarh
Traffic chaos rules city roads
With rampant bottlenecks giving a tough time to commuters daily, the UT Administration and the traffic police need to make concerted efforts to streamline traffic in the City Beautiful to provide relief to people
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Stranded commuters at the Sector34-35 traffic light point.
Stranded commuters at the Sector34-35 traffic light point. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, February 10
Incessant honking, vehicles jostling for space, commuters waiting in long queues and traffic police personnel prodding motorists to clear the road.

Traffic snarls have become the order of the day.

With the volume of traffic in the city growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years, congestion and bottlenecks have increased during the peak hours.

Going by the data available with the Traffic Police, bottlenecks are usually witnessed at the main and arterial roads, besides the city’s entry points while coming from Panchkula and Mohali.

While the heavy volume of traffic has added to chaos on the roads, the traffic police also seem ‘helpless’ in regulating the movement of vehicles.

Traffic snarls are mostly witnessed during the peak hours from 9am to 10pm and from 5pm to 7pm.

Rampant traffic jams have been reported at the Press light point on the Madhya Marg, Sector 9-10-16-17 roundabout, Transport Chowk, Railway light point, Housing Board light point, Aroma light point, The Tribune roundabout, Kisan Bhawan roundabout, Sector 34-35 light point and the ISBT roundabout in Sector 17. Long queues of vehicles can be witnessed at these vulnerable points, affecting the smooth flow of traffic.

Traffic police officials say a number of proposals and suggestions, including construction of underpasses and flyovers, are under consideration to ease congestion during the peak hours.

The problem

The city has a total of 68 traffic light points. Over 1 lakh vehicles, on their way from Panchkula and Mohali, enter the city daily in addition to the over 9 lakh vehicles registered in Chandigarh alone. The high volume of traffic along with a large number of traffic junctions literally chokes the city during the peak hours.

Efforts to ease chaos

Synchronisation of lights

First mooted in 2007, the synchronisation of some traffic lights was carried out to reduce the commuting time. Currently, light points from the Transport light point to the Housing Board light point have been synchronised. Likewise, those from the Press light point to Aroma light point to Piccadily are also synchronised.

A commuter, travelling at an average speed of 50-60 km per hour, gets the same signal at all light points from the starting point.

However, the synchronisation fails during heavy flow of traffic at these points. In such a scenario, the traffic police switch off the lights and regulate vehicles themselves.

To reduce commuting time and bottlenecks, the traffic police have planned to synchronise light points on the Vikas Marg, from where traffic coming from Punjab enters the city.

Automatic traffic control

In 2009, the UT traffic police had installed an automated traffic signal at the Sector 34-35 light point which could automatically sense the density of vehicles and change the light accordingly. The signal was installed on an experimental basis. However, the ATC failed to provide any respite and was not extended to other signals in the city.

More plans

While focusing on lane driving, the traffic police have sent a proposal to the engineering department for the construction of more cycle tracks, installation of iron grills to close the road divider near roundabouts - to stop illegal entry of vehicles, switching on ATC signal on blinker mode at some points and installation of light points at some junctions.

More traffic lights are likely to be installed at Sector 19-27-20-30 roundabout, the intersection near St. Kabir School, Sector 26, Sector 18-19-20-21 roundabout, Sector 42-43 roundabout, Sector 35-36 roundabout and Sector 36-37-23-24 roundabout.

Present Status of Metro Project

Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) related to the ambitious Metro Rail Project. Recently, all three stakeholders had agreed upon the terms and conditions of the MoU and the approval of the same was conveyed to the Government of India.

Earlier, the administration had altered the MoU circulated by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD).

The changes were introduced to allow all three stakeholders to reach a consensus for the execution of the project.

The administration had done away with the public-private partnership (PPP) mode and it was decided that all three stakeholders would have a 25 per cent stake in the project, while the remaining 25 per cent would be financed by the Government of India.

Status of underpasses

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation will construct the city’s first underpass at the ISBT-17 roundabout. A total of eight underpasses are proposed to be constructed in the city. These include ISBT in Sector 17, Tribune Chowk, UT Press Chowk, Transport Chowk, Piccadilly Chowk, Kisan Bhawan, Matka Chowk and Cricket Chowk.

The project has been hanging fire since 2008, when it was allotted to the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB). The CHB had carried out topographical survey, geo-technical investigation, underground utility survey, traffic survey and it was decided to construct three underpasses at Press Chowk, Transport Chowk and Picadilly Chowk in the first phase. The project, however, could not take off due to the unavailability of funds. The project was transferred to the MC by the UT Administration two months ago.

Metro Project will have 2 corridors

The Metro Project will have two corridors having a total length of 37.57 km. A substantial part of the Metro Line will be in Chandigarh. The East-West Corridor will extend from the Transport Terminal in Mohali to the Grain Market in Panchkula. The North-East Corridor will be from the Capitol Complex in Sector 9 to Gurdwara Singh Shaheedan in Sohana. The total cost of the project is expected to be around Rs 10,900 crore. It is proposed that within the sectoral grid of Chandigarh, the Metro will be underground. Milestones have been erected along the route of the Metro. The first corridor is expected to be made operational by 2018.

Change in infrastructure is the need of the hour. City’s traffic has grown by leaps and bounds with a large number of vehicles plying on the roads every year. Despite sincere efforts, we face parking issues. We need wider roads, overbridges and more slip roads. Slow movement of vehicles and a large number of rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws have added to the chaos. We’ve deployed extra police force, issued maximum number of challans and created a Facebook page to address public grievances. The police are on their toes to ease chaos at all times.
— Maneesh Chaudhery, SSP (traffic)



Chandigarh Beopar Mandal poll on Feb 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The elections of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) will be held on February 21.

An election sub-committee was constituted in this regard today. The panel members include Sat Pal Gupta as its chairman, Diwakar Sahoonja, BK Sood, Purshotam Mahajan and Sunil Gupta.

In the recent general house meeting of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, its president, Charanjiv Singh, had submitted his resignation to the chairman and dissolved the executive body as its two-year term had ended.

Thereafter, chairman Sat Pal Gupta had requested him to work as the acting president until a new president was elected.

Charanjiv Singh said, “The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal is a recognised body of traders having representation in the Administrator Advisory Council, Value Added Tax Advisory Committee, Labour Welfare Board, Direct Taxes Advisory Committee and other related bodies.



NRHM staff call off strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Employees of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) today called off their strike following assurance from the UT Administration that their grievances will be addressed.

Medical superintendent (MS) Dr Satbir and deputy medical superintendent (DMS) Dr GS Diwan assured the union that the case of regularising all 850 employees will be sent to the Centre for approval.

Besides this, the demand to give increment for 2013-14 was also agreed upon by the MS and DMS.

Earlier during day, the employees held a rally from the Civil Dispensary in Sector 22 to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.



2 kidnapped youths return
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 10
In yet another case, two unidentified persons allegedly kidnapped two youngsters with their car at gunpoint from the Phase 7 market last evening. The victims, Harnoor and Gaurav, however, returned today and told the police that their captors released them at Nabha and fled with their i-20.

In their complaint, the victims alleged that Harnoor, who stays at Kharar, had come to meet his friend, Gaurav, last evening.

The victims alleged that when they were seated in the car at Phase 7, two unidentified persons kidnapped them along with their car at gunpoint.

However, the police say there are several loopholes in their version.

Mohali DSP (City 1) RS Sohal said, “It seems to be a concocted story. We are verifying the facts. Both the victims originally hail from Nabha. Investigations are on.”



Drunk cop suspended

Panchkula, February 10
A police official, posted with the traffic wing here, was suspended following a complaint that he was in found in an inebriated state on duty.

ASI Shiv Kumar, who was issuing a challan to the complainant at the Majri Chowk, was found in an inebriated condition.

His medical examination confirmed the presence of alcohol. — TNS



Police claim to have vital clues
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 10
In Naya Gaon shooting case in which three masked robbers looted cash worth Rs 1.5 lakh from a jeweller after firing gunshots, the Mohali Police zeroed in on some history-sheeters of the Tricity.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune DSP (City 1) RS Sohal claimed that the police was close to solving the case. “We are zeroing on some habitual criminals of the Tricity. After going through the area’s mobile call details dump of the day of incident, we have shortlisted some mobile numbers. These belong to some habitual criminals and have been found switched off after the incident,” said DSP Sohal. He said during raids to the houses of these persons, they were found missing.

“Raids are on to nab them”, said DSP Sohal, refusing to give further details about the miscreants.

On February 4, three motorcycle-borne robbers snatched a bag, containing cash around Rs 1.5 lakh, from a local jeweller Subhash Chander (55) after opening fire at him near his house in Adarsh Nagar, Naya Gaon. The victim had received two shot of bullets, one in right thigh and another in left ankle, in the shootout and was shifted to PGI in critical condition.

The police claimed to found some clues regarding a robbery incident, which took place at a builder’s residence in Phase 3B-1, Mohali, on the same night.

DSP Sohal claimed that the police got some vital clues of the incident in which as many as six armed robbers, who covered their faces with monkey caps, looted cash, jewellery and other valuable items, worth over Rs 40 lakh from the house of Sohan Lal Arora after making his four family members and a maid, hostage at gunpoint.



speaking out: racism against north-east people
‘Minorities shouldn’t be targeted’

To a certain extent, the North-East people are themselves responsible for discrimination and racism against them. They stay isolated and are shy of mixing up with others. We don't have any kind of hatred or ill feelings towards them. Language is a barrier in interacting with them. But as a whole we tend to be co-operative and friendly with them.

Piyush Rana, Dept of Mathematics, PU

I condemn the Delhi racist attack and murder of Nido Taniam. It is very unfortunate that such incidents still happen in this modern society. Nobody should be considered superior or inferior on geographical and cultural basis. I will like to strengthen the feeling of equality and security among the North-East students by giving them due representation in student politics.

Gurdit Singh Dhillon, president of the SOI, PU

The Indian Constitution provides for 'Right to Equality'. Therefore, there should not be any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, culture and origin. All human beings are equal. The minorities should not be targeted. It is very sad to hear about the death of the North-East student. I wish there should be an end to such racist violence. Peace and harmony should prevail in society.

Shivjeet Bharti, Dept of Mathematics, PU

We face discrimination in every field. Being a minority community, we are being treated very badly. Our girls are subjected to eve-teasing and stalking. People tend to dominate us in Chandigarh also. I appeal to the authorities concerned to take steps for our security and protection. We should also be treated equally.

Stanzin Galdel, Dept of Public Administration, PU

The North-East people are not being discriminated. The murder of Nido Taniam in Delhi might not be a racist attack and there could be some other reason behind the murder. Being a sports person, I have travelled far and wide in India and have never experienced any sort of racist discrimination. There has been similar incident of violence against African students in Jalandhar too but later on it turned out to be a group clash.

Abhinav Sharma, University Business School, PU

It is very sad that racism is still being followed in our country. In the university also, North-East students are not liked much. Similarly, there is a gap and lack of communication between Punjabi, Haryanvi and local students. They need to break these geographical shackles.

Jasvir Singh, UIET, PU

Whatever is happening is wrong. It will further harm the integration of the country. Our country is still fighting regionalism and communalism. Someone should not be killed because of his origin and religion. Justice should be provided to Nido’s family and culprits punished.

Vinay Misri, UBS, PU

I have my best friend from the North-East in Panjab University. They are always helpful and cooperative. They are also good at heart. But unfortunately, they are subjected to racial discrimination by fellow citizens. People treat them like second grade citizens. This is totally wrong and I am completely against it. They should be given due respect and treated equally.

Neha Rajput, civil services aspirant




Dealing with rush

It is a pitiable sight to see students boarding a crowded bus, on its way to Chandigarh, at the Housing Board Chowk in Panchkula and Railway Station. Commuters, which include a large number of girls, can be seen jostling for space in buses. These overloaded buses are accident-prone. In such a scenario, the onus of negligence is on bus drivers and the premier health institute, PGI, which is quite unfortunate. Such accidents can be avoided through a proper queue system at the bus stops. The conductor should be careful and not allow passengers to board buses if full to the brim. This is possible only when there are sufficient buses to accommodate as many passengers. It is a common sight to see commuters hanging from the railings of buses, putting their lives at risk. Better management of the existing fleet of buses plying in the Tricity is the need of the hour.

Babu Ram Dhiman, Pinjore

CHB auctions a sham?

The Chandigarh Housing Board was established in the early nineties as a ‘No-profit-no-loss’ construction wing of the UT Administration for the benefit of city residents. Following the property boom in the city, the board ‘changed’ its track and framed policies to fill its own coffers; more than private builders could even imagine. It fixed the minimum reserve price of each of its auctionable property exorbitantly high, giving jitters to the bidders. More than 30 booths constructed by the CHB — to cater to 600 duplex houses of the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra — are currently not operational. The residents are left with no other option than to yield to the monopoly of a few shopkeepers in the area. The housing board should ensure that the booths become functional at the earliest.

SC Luthra, Mani Majra

Readers can send their feedback at letters.ct@gmail.com



Students left in the dark
PU’s failure to take decision on affiliation raises concern about exams
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Students of Shri Dhanwantry Ayurvedic College, Sector 46, are clueless about whether Panjab University will be conducting their examinations for this session or not.

Till date, thanks to the delay in decision on the affiliation of the college, neither the exam schedule nor the admit cards have been issued by the university.

The students of the college today submitted a memorandum to the Dean, University Instructions, Prof AK Bhandari, requesting the authorities to declare the schedule and issue roll numbers to the students, so that they could appear for the MD exams. The students also met the Controller of Examination to discuss the issue.

A spokesman of the university said the PU Syndicate was looking into the matter. In January, the university authorities had tabled the matter before the Syndicate. Ignoring the seriousness of the matter, the Syndicate deferred the decision.

Sources said the university would again table the issue during the upcoming Syndicate meeting on February 22, for the final decision.

The university has already cancelled the admission of all the 50 students of the ayurvedic college for the session 2013-14, by sending back their admission forms to the college authorities. The fee that the college management had deposited was also returned by the PU authorities. The action was taken after the college lost its affiliation.

Students, meanwhile, said the college management was misguiding them by making excuses. They said the management was claiming that soon the college would get affiliation from the Department of Ayush, following which the matter would be resolved.

decision on feb 22
In January, the university authorities had tabled the matter before the Syndicate. Ignoring the seriousness of the matter, the Syndicate deferred the decision. Sources said the university would again table the issue during the upcoming Syndicate meeting on February 22.



Students say no to violence against women
Tribune News Service

A students’ theatre group stages a play, "Nari Shakti", at the GCG, Sector 11, Chandigarh, in association with an NGO, Jagori Grameen, on Monday.
for women’s cause: A students’ theatre group stages a play, "Nari Shakti", at the GCG, Sector 11, Chandigarh, in association with an NGO, Jagori Grameen, on Monday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, February 10
Over 200 students converged on the Post Graduate Government College for Girls (PGGCG), Sector 11, to support the global campaign One Billion Rising for Justice.

The campaign, which seeks justice for women and girls facing violence and discrimination, is being held under the aegis of the NGO Jagori Grameen, its South-Asian coordinator this year.

The event was a joint initiative of the societies for gender equality of the PGGCG-11, PGGCG-42 and PGGC-11.

Dressed in pink and white T-shirts--bearing the slogan One Billion Rising For Justice--and using dance as a unique medium, the students from the three colleges spoke out against all forms of discrimination and violence inflicted on women.

The students chanted slogans, sang songs, staged a street play and took part in a flash mob in support of the campaign. The corridors and grounds of the PGGCG-11 reverberated with the students’ impassioned cries for justice and putting an end to violence against women. 



SFS opposes fee hike at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Objecting to Panjab University Fee Committee’s decision regarding 10 to 20 per cent hike in the fee of various courses as well as hostel, the Student for Society (SFS) today demanded its rollback. Representatives of the students’ organisation submitted a memorandum against the decision to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Arun Kumar Grover.

SFS president Arishdeep called the decision arbitrary. Referring to the fee structure of Kurukshetra University and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, Arishdeep asked when both the universities charged much less tuition and hostel fee, then why was PU planning such a steep hike?

The memorandum stated that while a BA student had to pay Rs 216 as tuition fee at JNU, at PU it stood at Rs 1,140 per annum. Similarly, for MA and MSc, while JNU had the same fee structure, PU charged Rs 1,260.

“For more than a decade, only self-financed courses are being introduced by the university. These are running on money extracted from students,” said another SFS leader, Sachinder Pali.

He criticised the students’ council for supporting the fee hike. He asked whether the job of the students’ council was to work in the interest of students or just become a tool in the hands of the authorities?

The SFS president said if the authorities failed to heed to their request, they would stage a protest against the decision.



ABVP urges youth to vote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad today urged youngsters to cast their vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

To make the youth aware of the importance of getting their voter ID cards prepared, the students’ organisation started a campaign, which will end on February 20.

As per the Election Commission's data, the number of young voters is not adequate, and a majority of the youngsters do not get themselves registered, said ABVP’s co-convener in Punjab Ashutosh Tiwari.

“Our primary aim is to create awareness of the importance of voting and making an informed choice,” he said.

Apart from distributing registration forms, ABVP also plans to campaign against corruption, security threat and price rise.

“We are not asking for votes for a particular political party. This is an awareness drive. But we will definitely campaign against the rampant corruption during the Congress-led UPA regime,” said Vikas Sharma, president of the local unit.



Presentations focus on garment industry
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 10
The postgraduate students pursuing the bridge programme of garment manufacturing technology and fashion marketing management gave their final presentations at the Northern India Institute of Fashion Technology here today.

The jury that evaluated the presentations consisted of Shashi Kanwal, marketing head, Groz Beckert; Col Khaira, VP, human resource, Winsome; and Darpan Kapoor, MD, Kapsons.

The presentations focused on major issues concerning the garment industry. The projects undertaken included operator training, social networking, quality analysis and costing.



No loans for small vendors: Survey
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The city is not yet financially inclusive when it comes to small vendors. Only 2.5 per cent of such workers in the city have access to bank loans.

This was revealed in a survey conducted by a post-doctoral fellow of Panjab University. Dr Seepana Prakasam, in her survey, studied the socio-economic condition of four classes of workers: barber, cobbler, laundry worker and bicycle mechanic.

In all, 50 respondents from each of the four occupational categories were randomly interviewed last year. Prakasam found the majority of these workers have to depend on money lenders, landlords and wholesalers, who charge high rates of interest ranging from 60 to 150 per cent.

With most of these workers (107 of 200 surveyed) having no savings, the situation becomes grim.

The workers surveyed by Prakasam were in the age-group of 24-35 years. A substantial proportion of them were illiterates and landless, who migrated from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Moving to Chandigarh, however, had helped them in raising their daily earnings. From an average of Rs 14.87 that they earned at their native place, their net earnings had gone up to Rs 137.52.

However, according to the World Bank’s standard norm of daily consumption expenditure of a dollar a day, almost all the vendors were still living below poverty line.

Of the four, barbers and bicycle mechanics are earning more. Cobblers are the worst in terms of income and savings.

The respondents, on an average, worked for 11 hours a day. The hard work, however, has its perk: 73 per cent of them had mobile phones.

The survey pertained to the migrant poor, mostly performing caste-based occupations in the city. They were forced to move to cities due to the dismantling of the Jajmani system prevalent in rural areas of North India. Under the Jajmani system, there was an exchange of goods and services between the land-owning higher castes and landless service castes.

But mobile phones galore
The respondents, on an average, worked for 11 hours a day. The hard work, however, has its perk: 73 per cent of them had mobile phones.



from schools
Chitkara students attend global conference

Chandigarh: Students of Chitkara International School participated in the Boston University United Nations Conference held recently in the USA. The conference focused on enhancing the experience of middle-school delegates and helping them Students in a jubilant mood after returning from a global conference at Boston University. build their public-speaking skills. Around 160 students from 20 schools from all over the world participated in the conference. The conference started with welcome speech of Director-General Natalie Mayer. The keynote speaker was Ambassador Jonathan Moore. A team of four students of the school had participated in Stanford United Nations Conference organised by Stanford University, California, last year.
Students in a jubilant mood after returning from a global conference at Boston University. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Farewell function

The AKSIPS Group of Schools organised “Dua-e-Rukhsat”: Dua (pray) for Class X students and Rukhsat (farewell) for Class XII students. The event started with motivational words by the executive director of the group, Jasdeep Kalra. Later, the outgoing batch of Class XII gave a brief introduction. They were presented with cards and suitable titles. Headboy Simranjit highlighted the significant role played by the school in helping the students in their holistic development. The winners of various titles were felicitated.

Students felicitated

Panchkula: “Rangeela Bharat”, a cultural programme, marked the annual prize distribution function of New India Senior Secondary School, Sector 15. The function was held with great enthusiasm at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh. District Education Officer, Panchkula, Savitri Sihag was the chief guest. The programme commenced with the lighting of the auspicious lamp by the chief guest, followed by “Saraswati Vandana”. A performance by the kindergarten students on “Dil Hai Chota Sa” was liked by the audience. “Prem Se Hum Ko Jeney Do” gave the message of loving animals. A dance drama, “Kali-Namo Devi, was well applauses. Tiny tots attired in bright dresses presented “Kali Teri Gut”, “Joota Hai Japani” and “Ram Naam Ladoo”. The spirit of unity and patriotism was revived by the play Bhagat Singh. Principal Sharda Gupta threw light on important events and the achievements in 2013. She said academics and co- curricular activities were both essential for the all-round development of the students. The students who excelled in sports, art and craft and in other areas were honoured by the chief guest. The chief guest appreciated the efforts of the students and urged them to continue making sincere efforts in all their future endeavours.

Shubham House wins quiz

A general knowledge quiz was organised for the students of Class III at Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 15. Students answered questions on universe, nature, sports and other interesting topics. Students of all the four houses took part in teams of four. Shubham House grabbed the first position.

Satluj School awarded

Satluj Public School, Sector 4, has been adjudged as one of the top schools of India by Digital Learning. The ceremony was held during School Leadership Summit 2014 at Delhi. More than 300 principals from various prestigious schools of India attended the ceremony. Principal Krit Serai said, “I dedicate the award to the hardworking staff and students. It is nice to know that education surveys and educational magazines award top schools, motivating them to do better.”

Avneet shines in drawing

Mohali: Avneet Kaur, a Class VI student of Saupin’s School, Sector 70, won the first prize at a drawing competition organised by My FM 94.3. Students from various schools of the tricity made drawings on the themes of “Save Fuel” and “Car pool”. The event aimed at making the students aware of the need to save fuel and motivate them to do their bit for the environment.

Students get warm send-off

A farewell party was organised for students of Class X at St Xavier’s High School. Students presented dances and took part in various games. The lucky ones walked away with prizes. During the ramp walk, the students showcased their talents to clinch various titles. Some special prizes were also given to the deserving students.

Gian Jyoti lift trophy

Gian Jyoti School won the third Gem Volleyball Trophy, defeating the hosts--Gem Public Senior Secondary School. The other schools vying for the honours included AKSIPS, St Soldier’s School, St Xavier’s School, Lawrence School, Golden Bells and Shishu Niketan. The participants were full of energy. Director HS Midha congratulated the participants. Principal Veena Bakshi applauded the sportsmanship of the players.

Annual sports meet

JLPL School, Sector 91, hosted their annual inter-school sporting event, Pearson Junior Olympics 2014. Over 100 students from various schools of the tricity participated in the event. They competed for the top honours in a variety of games: basketball dribbling, relay, sprint, circuit race, junkyard throw, etc.

—Tribune Reporters



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