C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT's share in Budget slashed 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram has reduced the share of the UT under the Plan head by 7.21 per cent. A hike of 4.38 per cent has been given under the non-Plan head in the Budget for the next financial year (2014-15).

It is for the first time since 2002 that the Union Government has reduced the share of the UT under the Plan head. All these years, the share of the UT had been incresed.

Under the Plan head, against the allocation of Rs 876.05 crore for the current fiscal, the Union Government has allotted Rs 812.85 crore. It is Rs 63.2 crore less as compared to the current fiscal.

Under the non-Plan Budget, against the allocation of Rs 2,615.56 crore for the current financial year, the Union Government has fixed the Budget at Rs 2,730.25 crore, an increase of Rs 114.69 crore. The non-Plan allocation will go towards the committed expenditure on salaries and other recurring expenses borne by the Administration.

The major share of the UT Budget will go towards education (22.9 per cent), health (15.1 per cent), urban development (23.2 per cent), transport (15.3 per cent), housing (4.9 per cent), and social security, social welfare and empowerment of women (3.3 per cent).

UT Finance Secretary Saravjit Singh said efforts would be made to provide better infrastructure and implement the “IT and responsive governance system” in the next fiscal.

He said the Administration proposed to dedicate 2014 to women and efforts would be made to promote the safety of the girl child and encourage girls’ education.

Besides, an amount of Rs 5.27 crore has been earmarked for the Disaster Risk Reduction Plan for various departments in pursuance of the directions of the Planning Commission.

Development works to be affected

The cut in the share by Rs 63.2 crore under the Plan head will affect work on various projects, including construction of government hospitals, schools, community centres and housing projects. 

What the city beautiful gets

* Rs 20.50 crore for strengthening/upgrading power distribution

* Rs 25 crore for opening 18 new schools, two new government high smart schools and upgrading schools

* Rs 13 crore for the promotion of the Model Solar City Programme

* Rs 13 crore for replacement of 50 condemned buses

* Matching share of ~60 crore for the purchase of 400 buses under the JNNURM

* Rs 7.92 crore for information technology and e-governance

* Rs 12 crore to provide free education up to the elementary level under the RTE Act

* Rs 18.24 crore under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan

* Rs 4.41 crore for strengthening rural infrastructure

* Rs 19.45 crore for strengthening the GMSH-16

* Rs 4.60 crore for strengthening the 100-bedded hospital at Mani Majra

* Rs 4 crore for upgrading the polyclinic at Burail village

* Rs 67.68 crore for infrastructure at the GMCH-32

* Rs 23.30 crore for government employees' accommodation

* Rs 30.35 crore for roads and bridges under the Administration

* Rs 4.80 crore for modernisation of police

* Rs 50 crore for the development of city roads and construction of underpasses under the MC

* Rs 14 crore for solid waste management

* Rs 15 crore for augmentation of the city water supply system

* Rs 10 crore for strengthening the city sewerage 



Challenging appointment of PU VC’s wife costs advocate dear
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Repeated attempts by an advocate to challenge the appointment of the Panjab University Vice-Chancellor’s wife have cost him dear. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has not only dismissed the petition filed by advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti with Rs 10,000 costs, it has also referred the matter to the Bar Council.

“We are also of the view that lending one’s name to such litigations does not fall within the domain of the professional licence issued to an advocate for performing his task as counsel. As to whether this amounts to professional misconduct or not is for the Bar Council to consider,” the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Arun Palli asserted.

Appearing in person before the High Court, Bhatti was seeking the quashing of the Syndicate decision of January 4 to appoint Dr Neera Grover. Taking up the matter, the Bench observed: “None of the material annexed to the petition really emanated from the petitioner, an advocate appearing in person. But, the notices issued by one Dr RD Anand, advocate, formed the basis of the petition.”

The Bench said it had earlier also taken note of the fact that Dr Rajinder Kumar Singla and Dr Anand had been filing petitions challenging the same appointment and findings of a Single Judge that the appointment had been made according to the university rules.

An appeal in the matter was withdrawn with the liberty to file a PIL, which was disposed of with the observation that only “the competent aggrieved party can approach the court”.

The Bench said: “Despite that, yet another PIL was filed by the petitioner only on the grounds that he was a student of the same university. It is obvious to the court that the petitioner was a name lender and the petition was an abuse of the process of the court….

“The application has been filed seeking recall of the order passed earlier predicated on the plea that the Chief Justice of the HC is an ex officio fellow of the Senate, which takes the decisions. The fact, however, remains that the nature and status is only ex officio and the Chief Justice does not attend such meetings or participate in any decision-making process nor Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul ever participated in any meeting of the Senate because various matters emanating from the university are listed before this court.”



Answer sheets found dumped outside post office 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 17
In a shocking revelation, board answer sheets of practicals that were sent to the CBSE office by various schools ahead of the board exams in the region were found dumped outside the post office in Sector 8, Panchkula, today.

The post office was to dispatch these immediately to the regional office of the CBSE in Sector 5, Panchkula.

The answersheets, which were supposed to be “confidential”, were dumped in gunny bags.

Regional head of post offices Jagdish Chander was unavailable for comments. Assistant Superintendent of post offices in the region Liyakat Ali said, “I will look into the matter.”

A postal official said on condition of anonymity, “The staff must not have been aware that these are practical answer sheets of students of Class X and XII. I agree that these should have been kept under lock and key till these were sent to the CBSE office.”

It is not the first time that the post office has shown such carelessness. Earlier, Chandigarh Tribune had reported how confidential documents sent by the regional office of the CBSE to various schools were found dumped in a similar manner.


Better Chandigarh
Encroachments a pain in MC’s neck
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Encroachments in city markets are a major problem which the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation (MC) is trying to deal with for so many years. Till date, however, they had failed to find any solution to the menace.

Apart from surprise raids in city markets to check encroachments, the Municipal Corporation (MC) has failed to make any comprehensive policy to solve the problem.

Corridors of various markets in the city have been encroached upon by vendors who are using the space to sell their food items and display goods. These encroachments in corridors and pavements leave little space for people to walk.

In a recent survey conducted by the MC, it was found that the city has over 6,000 roadside vendors who had encroached upon city markets and roadsides.

There is a need for comprehensive policy on the encroachment issue.

Deployment of staff on a rotational basis

With a large number of complaints of encroachments pouring in, the MC’s Enforcement Wing has started deploying its staff on a rotational basis in city markets. Sunit Dutt, inspector (Enforcement Wing), said to tighten the noose around encroachers the sub-inspector in a particular area was shifted every two hours.

Sources said the step was taken to break the alleged nexus between the enforcement staff and the shopkeepers in various markets.

Damajeet, a city resident, said encroachers getting challaned and then returning back to the same place had made a mockery of the MC. “After the officials leave the markets, encroachers came back within a few hours,” he said.

Cancellation of allotment of shops

MC officials believe that cancellation of allotment of shops that are found renting walls and pillars to the vendors is one of the solutions to get rid of encroachments in the markets. Sources in the Enforcement Wing said sometime ago they had written to the Deputy Commissioner requesting for the cancellation of shops of those who rent out walls facing the shop and corner pillars to the vendors. However, no action had been taken against the shopkeepers.

Adequate police staff must for Enforcement Wing

The absence of adequate number of police force to conduct anti-encroachment drives is one of the major drawbacks the MC’s Enforcement Wing suffers. The wing is handicapped without the police force, which is required to assist MC officials in safely carrying out drives. At present, there are only 11 police personnel available with the civic body to conduct drives. The MC recently demanded additional police force, but to no avail. Another problem the MC officials face is a fear of getting dragged into controversy by women encroachers who level serious allegations against them in case they act tough with them. “There is not even a single woman constable with us to conduct the drive due to which we are helpless,” said an official of the Enforcement Wing.

Merchandise markets

The UT and the MC should identify vacant places in different sectors, where these vendors can be allowed to sell their merchandise similar to the concept of Apani Mandi. The vendors can be allowed to sell their products in the merchandise markets that can be organised each day at different sectors.

Identify repeated offenders

The Municipal Corporation needs to computerise the record of challans issued to vendors and shopkeepers so that the repeated offenders could be identified and heavy penalty could be impose on them.

Increase fine on violators

The fine of ~500 imposed on violators has failed to act as a deterrent. The vendors who earn in thousands don’t mind paying the fine if the MC officials catch them. In 2013, the High Court suggested to the UT Administration to consider enhancing the fine of Rs 500 to Rs 10,000 in order to ensure that people are deterred from violating rules.

Need for combined serious efforts

There is a need for combined serious efforts from the UT Administration, Estate Office, MC, public and traders to remove encroachments from city markets. Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said different wings of the administration should plan a policy to remove encroachments. “A joint team of all departments needs to be constituted, which comes out with a comprehensive policy to deal with the problem,” he said.x


We are soon going to come up with a new system to check encroachments in city markets. At present, we are targeting Sectors 17 and 22 to make them encroachment-free.— — Sunil Bhatia, Additional Commissioner, Chandigarh MC

Residents’ Take

Encroachment leads to chaos in the markets. The situation is worse during weekends as a large number of people make a beeline for shopping. Stern steps should be taken to check the encroachments.— Madan Lal

There is a need for stricter enforcement of law to check encroachments in the markets. It can be done by deputing enforcement staff in the prominent city markets.— Kamal Tiwari 

Vendors encroach upon parking areas of the markets. The parking in Sectors 22, 19 and 15 is crowded with “rehris” and goods displayed on the ground making the area congested.— Ajay Bhatia 

It is high time the MC should act swiftly to check the encroachments. Action should be taken against field officers of the Enforcement Wing who fail to clear the encroachments.— Amar Lal Nagpal

The MC has miserably failed to keep a check on encroachments in commercial areas. The vendors are doing brisk business in all markets and the authorities have turned a blind eye to the menace.— Joshil Sharma



Awareness camp for senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 17
Under its ongoing Senior Citizens’ Rights Awareness Campaign, the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) organised an awareness camp at the District Courts complex here.

RK Sondhi, District and Sessions Judge, and Sunil Chauhan, Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-Secretary of the DLSA, addressed a gathering of senior citizens here today.

The gathering was informed about various provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

The DLSA is organising various camps in Panchkula till February 28 to spread awareness about various provisions of the Act.

Sondhi told the gathering that senior citizens were the strength of society and the youth could learn from their experiences.

He said most of the children failed to realise that helping a parent in the older years could be one of life’s greatest joys and a time when you could learn from that person like never before in your life.

Chauhan said comprehensive and effective action plan for the protection of life and property of the senior citizens must be formulated at the earliest.

Panel advocate Manbir Rathi also gave a lecture at the camp and encouraged the senior citizens to guide the younger generation with their wealth of wisdom and experiences in different fields.



Lucky withdraws candidature in favour of Pawan Bansal
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The former deputy Mayor and Congress district urban-1 president, HS Lucky, has officially withdrawn his candidature in favour of former union railways minister and sitting Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Lucky, who had revolted against Bansal and had even filed his candidature against Bansal for the Congress ticket for Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, today sent an SMS to AICC General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed, who is also in-charge of Chandigarh seat, and intimated him about the withdrawal of his candidature in favour of Bansal.

Sources from the Congress in Delhi said after receiving an SMS from Lucky, Shakeel Ahmed had informed the senior party leadership about the development.

When contacted, HS Lucky confirmed the development and said he had already announced his support to Bansal therefore today he withdrew his nomination as well.

MP Pawan Bansal said there was no revolt in the Congress city unit and it was only a media creation. All leaders were working together for the party’s victory.

Six candidates, including Bansal and Lucky, had sought the Congress ticket for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. 



Cong, BJP workers clash over inauguration of projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
It was a day of tension and drama at Mauli Jagran and Vikas Nagar over the inauguration of three projects by Congress Mayor HC Kalyan, which was opposed by BJP councillors and their supporters. The arguments between the two fronts turned ugly when the Congress and the BJP supporters clashed outside the Community Centre at Mauli Jagran.

The Mayor was supposed to inaugurate the projects in the ward of BJP councillor Rajinder Kaur at 11 am today, which were already inaugurated by the BJP councillors and residents of the ward on Sunday.

The BJP supporters reached the community centre and the shopping centre in the morning and blocked the gates to restrict the entry of the Mayor. Soon, the Congress supporters also arrived and started raising slogans. Witnessing the situation getting tensed, the Mayor’s visit was delayed and the Chandigarh Police asked both the Congress and BJP councillors to amicably solve the issue.

The Congress councillors, including Pardeep Chhabra, Satish Kainth and Darshan Garg, arrived at the Mauli Jagran police post, while the BJP councillors, including Satinder Singh, Rajesh Gupta and Asha Kumari Jaswal, held a meeting in the presence of the police and decided to hold a meeting at the MC office at 1.30 pm to resolve the issue.

In the meeting, the BJP councillors demanded that the Mayor should revive the Day Market project in Mauli Jagran, which was discontinued in 2012, only then they would allow him to inaugurate the projects. The Mayor and the Congress councillors, however, turned down the demand and decided to visit Mauli Jagran to inaugurate a new community centre.

At 3.30 PM, the Mayor, along with other Congress councillors, reached Mauli Jagran. However, they were not allowed to enter the community centre for the inauguration. The BJP and the Congress supporters entered into arguments and clashed with each other.

Amid protest, the Mayor after one hour finally managed to enter the community centre for the inauguration. The Mayor inaugurated the project by merely pushing the ribbon, which the Congress supporters were holding. Within a few minutes, the Mayor came out of the community centre. While he was moving out, the BJP supporters manhandled him.



Veterans doubt its implementation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Finance Minister's announcement in the Parliament today that the government has accepted the long-pending demand of the ex-servicemen to implement the concept of One Rank One Pension (OROP) has been welcomed by the veterans. However, the foremost issue being debated is how and when would the scheme be implemented.

Given the government’s stance in the past, especially Defence Minister AK Antony’s statement in the Parliament that OROP cannot be implemented because of legal and administrative issues and the fact that the budgeted amount of Rs 500 crore is too little to meet the requirement, has left some former soldiers wondering about the efficacy of the announcement. The figures quoted recently in the Parliament for implementation of OROP was Rs 1,750 crore.

Ex-servicemen have been demanding OROP for over three decades but successive governments have paid lip-service to it apart from making promises and including the issue in their election manifestos. Announced in the run-up to the General Election, OROP implies same pension for the same rank and same length of service. At present, pensions for equally-ranked personnel retiring at different times are variable, courtesy the manner of pension fixation on implementation of the Pay Commissions.

“If the government has agreed to implement OROP, then better sense seems to have prevailed; though it is obviously an election sop because BJP leader Narendra Modi had also announced it and now the Congress-led coalition is following suit,” said former Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi said. “The veterans would no doubt be delighted about implementation of OROP, but the fear is that though it has been announced, it may be held up later citing non-availability of funds,” he added.

There have been huge anomalies in pay and pension fixation by the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Pay Commissions, some of which are still to be addressed. On the other hand, several anomalies have been resolved and the difference in pensions has been narrowed down considerably for many ranks. Jawans at the lowest rung and officers in the ranks of Major, Brigadier and Major General continue to be affected, where the difference in pension is between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 per month.

Brig KS Kahlon (retd), former director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, said. “Most of the affected people are from the lower ranks and the implementation of OROP, with consequent increase in pension, would be a great benefit for them."

Expressing doubts about the efficacy of the announcement, Brig Harwant Singh (retd), president of All India Defence Brotherhood, said, "Only Rs 500 crore has been earmarked for the scheme, which for one fiscal comes to Rs 40 crore per month. Given that there are about 30 lakh ex-servicemen in the country, it translates to just Rs 150 per month per pensioner. We hope this is not just a political gimmick and some other benefit is being confused as OROP. The picture would become clear only when the government issues a notification."

“So far, the government was repeatedly claiming that there were legal and administrative difficulties in implementing OROP. But hurdles seem to have bee vanished ahead of General Election. With an announcement during a budget speech on the floor of the House, it would be virtually impossible for the government to backtrack,” remarked Major Navdeep Singh, a lawyer dealing with the service matters. “Moreover, the government has done nothing to even properly address long-standing anomalies pending from the Fourth Pay Commission (1986) onwards till the Sixth Pay Commission (2006), and has been heaping ruthless litigations on defence veterans and disabled soldiers up till the Supreme Court,” he added. 

The Centre’s Interim Budget has not gone down well with the middle class as there is no change in the income tax slabs. The reduction in the prices of fridge, TV and mobile phones will only increase the expenditure as the general price rise has not been addressed in the Interim Budget, feels a cross-section of city residents.

The Budget has taken care of all segments but a lot could have been done to improve the economy. It is good that income tax slabs have been left untouched. Rebate in interest on educational loans is also laudable. However, the Budget neglected the health sector.— Amar Singh Uppal, Retired govt employee

The Budget is merely an eyewash before the General Election. The government has failed to put a check on industrial giants that are exploiting natural resources. The SMEs should have been given more sops to accelerate the country’s growth.— SK Garg, Industrialist

The Budget came as a big disappointment to the poor. Nothing has been done to address their problems and the price rise. The decrease in excise duty on small SUVs is surprising as these are a major source of pollution in cities. Further, the cost of diesel cars should have been increased. — KL Nayyar, retired govt employee

The Budget is youth-friendly as it focuses on education, technology and electronic gadgets. Personally, I am happy about the excise duty on SUVs being slashed as I am going to buy one. The rebate in interest on educational loans will help students to pursue higher studies.— Sukhmandeep Singh Sidhu, student

The interim budget is on the expected lines. In view of the forthcoming General Election, the Finance Minister has tried to present a populist Interim Budget by reducing excise duty, which will make small cars, fridges and India-made mobile phones cheaper. But it is too late now. Instead of ‘Antrim Budget’, it should be termed as ‘Antim budget’. It is disappointing that the budget has not touched taxes.— Ajay Jagga, advocate

The Interim Budget is a desperate attempt to save the Congress from getting a severe beating in the forthcoming General Election. There is no relief to the 70 per cent population of this country, which still strives to manage two square meals a day.— Surinder Bhardwaj, president, JDU city unit

The Interim Budget is directionless. It is just to please the electorate ahead of Parliamentary elections. The Finance Minister showed scant concern towards hastening the pace of economic growth or creating more jobs. It will hardly improve the condition of the common man who is reeling under the burden of loans and corruption. The Budget lacks objective. — Vishal Gera, MNC employee



CII welcomes Interim Budget 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The reduction in excise duty on all products and focus on checking fiscal deficit during the next fiscal, as announced in the Interim Budget, have been appreciated by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“The focus of the Finance Minister on checking the fiscal deficit of 4.6 per cent for the current fiscal year is commendable,” said Jayant Davar, chairman of CII northern region and co-chairman and managing director, Sandhar Technologies Ltd.

“In his budget speech of 2013-14, Chidambaram had targeted fiscal deficit of 4.8 per cent for the current fiscal. The fiscal deficit for 2014-15 has been pegged at 4.1 per cent and revenue deficit at 3 per cent clearly shows the government’s resolve for a fiscal consolidation plan,” he added.

“Focus on reviving the manufacturing sector was one of the key objectives of this year’s Interim Budget,” said Zubin Irani, deputy chairman, CII northern region, and president- Building and Industrial Systems (India), United Technologies Corporation. “The decision to reduce the excise duty by 2 per cent to 10 per cent on all goods falling under Chapter 84 and 85 of the schedule to the Central Excise Tariff Act is a welcome move. This will provide necessary impetus to the manufacturing sector, which witnessed growth contraction during the year,” he added. 

Budget for health sector up

The budget allocation for the health sector in Chandigarh has increased from Rs 105.03 crore to Rs 122.74 crore this year with emphasis on both primary as well as secondary care facilities in the city.

Amid severe staff shortage at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, Rs 19.45 crore has been sanctioned for strengthening of the hospital. Also, Rs 4.60 crore has been allocated to strengthen the 100-bed hospital at Mani Majra along with Rs 4 crore for the upgradation of the Poly Clinic at Burail village (near Sector 45), Chandigarh, into a 50-bed hospital. Rs 1.25 crore has been sanctioned to implement new initiative for Genetic Screening Test for newborns.

In addition, Rs 67.68 crore has been earmarked to run the Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, for infrastructural facilities.

The Administration has also received Rs 50 lakh for developing the Regional Trauma Centre, in addition to Rs 1.52 crore for the implementation of scheme of Mental Health Institute and Rs 5.68 crore to run the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children and for the up gradation of Regional Institute for Mentally Handicapped.

Rs 6.5 cr fall in allocations for transport sector

Under the transportation head, the UT Administration has received Rs 124.94 crore. A decrease of Rs 6.53 crore has been witnessed as compared to the last year’s allocation of Rs 131.47 crore. The key projects under transportation head will be for the MRTS/BRTS, replacement of 50 condemned buses, purchasing 400 buses under JNNURM, expansion and up gradation of ISBT, Sector 43, and development of ISBT 43.

More funds earmarked for education sector

Under the education head, the UT Administration has received Rs 10.74 crore more for the next fiscal year.

Last year, the Administration received Rs 151 crore, but this time, it received Rs 161.74 crore for development in general education (Rs 126.31 crore), primary education (Rs 3 crore) and technical education (Rs 32.43 crore).

Under this head, the UT Administration will be spending funds for the construction of 18 new school buildings and two new smart schools.

Besides, Administration will also carry out projects of new college in Mani Majra, construction work of Government College of Commerce and Business Administration, etc.

Funds shrink for urban development

The Chandigarh Administration has received Rs 188.48 crore, decreased amount of Rs 71.52 crore as compared to Rs 260 crore this fiscal year.

Under this head, the Administration has planned to utilise funds for the construction of a new secretariat building with modern facilities, works related with Punjab and Haryana High Court, construction of creches, senior citizens homes, Anganwadi centres and construction of roads, etc. 



Families flay reduction in excise duty on luxury items
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
As the Interim Budget was announced today, Chandigarh Tribune spoke to two families in the city to know what they were looking for in the budget and what impact the budget has on their lives.

According to GPS Sethi (55), a bank manager residing in Mohali, the government has come up with a few welcoming steps like in the area of basic requirements such as fridge, TV and mobile phones. Also, he expressed his joy on the announcement of rebate on educational loans. He said, "However, there should have been some relaxation in the income tax. The government should take note of the fact that as the incomes rises, there is a need to modify the slabs."

Gurjeet Kaur (51), the banker's wife and a teacher by profession, feels that the parents, who rear girl children, should get some relaxation in income tax.

Sethis have two daughters, Kimi (24) and Tarunveer (21), who are pursuing PhD and MA, respectively.

Kimi believes the government has its own constraints and makes the budget keeping all aspects in mind.

Tarunveer said, "I think that there should not be any benefits in case of luxury items, like cars."

Running a departmental store in the city and having spent his lifetime in earning better to give his two children better education, Arun Kumar Gupta (54), a resident of Sector 23 in Chandigarh, feels that the government should have given priority to relaxation in income tax. He asked, “How important was a grand television or any other luxurious item to a person who struggles to meet his basic needs?”

His wife Sushma Gupta, a government official, said, “There is no relaxation on service tax or VAT. The cost of fuel continues to rise. How would common man benefit from the Budget?” 



MC House meet tomorrow to be a futile exercise
UT allocates Budget of ~136.6 crore to the civic body 
Amit Sharma
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, February 17
With the UT already allocating Rs 136.6 crore as the Budget of the Municipal Corporation (MC), the General House meeting of the civic body to discuss its planned Budget of Rs 334.4 crore will be more or less a futile exercise.

The Budget proposed by the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) of the MC will be tabled before the MC House on February 19.

Section 86 sub-clause 1 of the Punjab Municipal Act states that, ‘the municipal government shall, not later than the first week of February, adopt for the ensuing year a Budget estimate which shall be the estimate of the income and expenditure.

BJP councillor and leader of Opposition in the MC House Arun Sood stated that in 2013, he had raised the issue of passing the Budget and sending it to the UT Administration for final nod. However, the MC failed to take note of it, he added.

A SAD councillor and a member of F&CC, Malkiat Singh, said, “The House meeting will be just a formality. The deliberations on the Budget will make no sense.”

Major (retd) DS Sandhu, a nominated councillor, stated that the process to plan the Budget should start soon after Mayoral elections in January and by the month end, the Budget should be approved and sent to the UT Administration for its consideration and final nod. 



Renovation of Nehru Hospital to be delayed again
Gets Rs 200 cr less than requirement
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Leaking roofs of wards and operation theatres, huge cracks in buildings, seepage in the offices of the faculty and frequent short-circuits courtesy over 50-year-old power cables.

The miserable state of PGIMER's Nehru Hospital is set to prevail even this year as the budget allocation of Rs 200 crore is much below its requirement. Also, the PGIMER has so far not obtained the actual estimate for the complete renovation of the Nehru Hospital, the oldest building of the institute, and the two research blocks.

The Nehru Hospital houses more than 1,000 patients at any given point of time.

Even two years after the Central Government first allocated funds for completing the renovation of these old buildings, not even a patch on the buildings has been repaired till date.

While officials concerned have been reiterating that a major renovation of all the buildings is under way and soon the work will be allotted, sources in the PGIMER Administration confirmed that the NBCC, the company which has been allotted the contract for the complete renovation, is yet to figure out the estimates for the work.

“The present allocation of Rs 200 crore under planned head will be suffice only to purchase some basic equipment. But the complete renovation will require a huge amount,” said a PGIMER official requesting anonymity.

Sources revealed that the PGIMER authorities were contemplating a rehabilitation plan for the Nehru Hospital. However, they were not keen on it in view of possible inconvenience to patients.

Cracks on the boundaries of the balconies on the first floor of the building are visible even from the road outside the PGI, which leads to Sector 11. The iron bars meant to support the building can be seen hanging from the balcony of the hospital building. The condition of the other old buildings at the hospital, including the Research Blocks A and B, which house a number of departments of the PGI, is equally poor.

While these buildings have never undergone a major renovation ever since they were constructed in 1963, the institution claims to be spending Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh on the maintenance of these buildings annually.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had sanctioned a grant of Rs 200 crore to the PGI for completing the renovation of the Research Block (Rs 150 crore) and the Nehru Hospital building (Rs 50 crore) in September 2011.



AAP to field strong candidate against Bansal

Chandigarh, February 17
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be fielding a strong candidate against sitting Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal. This stated by AAP's national spokesperson Atishi Marlena while interacting with mediapersons here today. Atishi, who was in the city to attend a seminar in Gandhi Bhawan, said the Chandigarh seat was important for the AAP.

Pawan Kumar Bansal's name was on the list of 'corrupt politicians' released by the AAP founder Arvind Kejriwal recently.

Atishi Marlena, 32, a key intellectual face of the AAP, said the process to finalise the candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat was on. Though they had interviewed only seven ticket aspirants in the city so far but in the coming days, they would interview more people, she said.

Justifying Arvind Kejriwal's resignation as Delhi CM, she said the AAP was voted to power to fight corruption. There was no point continuing with the government when they could not table the Janlokpal Bill in the Assembly. She alleged that the Congress and the BJP had a secret pact, adding that the parties were together on the issues of corporate funding to political parties and criminals contesting elections.

Youth wing in the offing

During the seminar, AAP volunteers announced that the party would also form the local chapter of the Chhatr Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS), AAP’s student and youth wing. — TNS



Experts deliberate upon country’s financial sector 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 17
A one-day national seminar on the country’s financial sector was organised by the Department of Commerce at Government College for Girls, Sector 14, here today.

The event was sponsored by the Department of Higher Education, Haryana.

SS Prasad, financial commissioner and principal secretary, Higher Education, Haryana, was the chief guest. As many as 80 delegates from various states of the country participated in the seminar.

During the two technical sessions, Professor Anil Mittal from the University School of Management, KUK, and Professor Manjeet Singh from the School of Management Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala, addressed the delegates.

In his address, Professor BS Bodla, chairperson from the University School of Management, KUK, stressed upon the need to work on meeting challenges and exploiting opportunities offered by the changing landscape of the Indian financial sector.

College principal Dr Harvinder Sharma thanked the audience for accomplishing the objective of the seminar in letter and spirit.



4 deaths reported from P’kula dist
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 17
A 44-year-old man died after he slipped in the bathroom at his residence in Kalka near Panchkula this morning. The victim, identified as Mahesh Kumar, was getting ready for work when the incident took place.

The victim was rushed to a local hospital where he was declared brought dead. Kumar who was working with a private firm in Parwanoo is survived by his wife and two children.

Station house officer of the Kalka police station inspector Ajay Disodia said they got intimation from the hospital about the matter and it was found that the victim suffered a head injury when he slipped in the bathroom leading to his death.

Six days ago, a 39-year-old man who was in the city to take an exam, died after slipping in the bathroom while brushing his teeth. The deceased Ramandeep, hailing from Jind, was staying at the government quarters, Shiksha Sadan, Sector 7, when the incident took place.

Yesterday, body of a 28-year-old boy was found in Maddahwala in Pinjore near Panchkula. The victim, Vikram, had gone out for some work. Later his body was found in the bushes of his farms. The father of the victim had alleged murder as injury marks were found on the body.

In charge of the police post Maddhawala, Bhagwan Das said, “We will not go by what the father is alleging. He may come up with any statement tomorrow. We are waiting for the post-mortem reports.” Though injury marks were found but Das said that it could be a natural death.

In another shocking incident, a 24 year-old-boy was found dead at Upper Mohalla in Kalka here today. The victim, identified as Alam Geer, who was working in a company at Parwanoo and a native of Bihar, was residing in the same locality.

Though the police have not received the post-mortem reports, however they found that he was a habitual alcohol consumer and had gone out after telling his roommates last night. It is being suspected that he was in an inebriated state when he went and as he fell unconscious, he died of cold.

The police officials said that they were working on all angles.



Farmers’ exhibition a big draw 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 17
The farmers’ exhibition organised near Fateh Burj at Chappar Chhiri village proved to be a big hit among farmers.

Today hundreds of farmers from various parts of the state and the neighbouring states visited the exhibition to gain knowledge about latest technology, advanced equipments, other business opportunities related to agriculture, hybrid seeds and other things on display on the stalls.

Haryana-based farmer Chaudhary Pratap Singh and his son Raj Pratap Singh, who came from a village near Pehowa, said they had purchased seeds of hybrid Indian plum (ber), which a stall from Gujarat Agriculture Department was selling. “We would grow its plants on the boundary of our fields under experiment. It might prove to be a new venture for us,” said the father-son duo.

They told that they were also planning to buy certain advanced agriculture equipments to increase their yield. “The exhibition proves to be a big help for us,” said Raj Pratap Singh.

Another progressive farmer Jagdish Lal, who came from a village near Yamunanagar, Haryana, said he had booked an aerator (the device used for mixing air with another substance, such as soil or water) and special cages from a company’s stall for his fishery business.

“Apart from handsome price, I also got subsidy here. I acquired valuable knowledge about my business too,” said Jagdish Lal.

“It’s a good attempt by the Punjab Government. Such types of exhibitions should be organised at least once in a year,” said Bhola Singh, a farmer from Fatehgarh Sahib.



Business news

CRI launches stainless steel submersible pumps

CRI pumps are going to introduce a complete range of stainless steel pumps. CRI’s pumps are marketed in more than 100 countries. The company is now launching the SS range in India. The submersible pumps are made from corrosion resistance stainless steel with built in check valve for more longevity and hygienic. All vital components of the pump models are made of 304/316 grade stainless steel.

G Soundararajan, vice-chairman, CRI Pumps, announcing the launch said, “Around 400 models have been launched ranging from 0.5 hp to 300 hp.”

Mahindra FES showcases hi-tech tractors

Mahindra and Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector has displayed its complete range of tractors and farm mechanisation solutions at the Progressive Punjab Agriculture Summit- Agri-Tech 2014 Exhibition. The Agriculture Summit is being organised to catalyse the process of improving the sustainability and economic viability of farming and also showcase the latest technologies.

BBM Voice now available for Android and iPhone

A new version of BBM is available for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry customers along with lots of exciting new features. Android and iPhone customers will now be able to make free voice calls to BBM contacts over a Wi-Fi or data connection with BBM Voice, as well as access BBM Channels. In addition, BBM customers on Android, iPhone and BlackBerry smart phones will have more to chat with fast one-click sharing of photos, documents, voice notes and more.

Titan Eye Plus launches progressive lens

Titan Eye Plus launched a new range of specialised progressive lenses in the Titan portfolio- specifically designed to suit the viewing comfort of different consumer groups. Titan has the widest range of progressive lenses which includes Elan Horizon first, Elan Panorama and Titan Sportz. Titan lenses start at Rs 2,095 and go up to Rs 75,000. — TNS



Now, go online to share study notes
3 city youths develop website for students of Classes VI to XII to share notes, tips
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Sharing notes on education was never this easy.

To revolutionise the field of education, a group of three youths have devised a website that will enable students, from Classes VI to XII, across the Tricity to share and access study notes.

The team of Kunaal Satija, an IT engineer; Harman Bajaj, a freelance developer; and Hardik Dhamija, a passout from Panjab University’s University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET); has developed the website —www.EduRev.in.

The trio took up the initiative nearly a year ago. Within six months, the first prototype was built up, which was a concoction of an ERP and a support system for school students.

Following this, the trio dedicated the next six months in gathering feedback from students of various schools. A colloquium was also organised which saw huge participation from senior educationists, parents and students.

The first module was a study tube, where students could share notes in the form of text or even a video with an algorithm. The second was the world of quizzing, which included a question bank of more than 10,000 questions for chapter revision, competitive exams, aptitude, GK, sports and even movies.

More than 5,000 students from schools in the Tricity and across Punjab and Haryana joined the tube.

The study tube has a diverse collection of learning material, sample papers and revision notes in the form of more than 6,000 lectures shared by teachers and students of different regions.

“We are working to add new features to the module. We will launch a college module in March. This will be followed by our app,” said Hardik.

Study made easy

The first module is a study tube, where students can share notes in the form of text or even a video with an algorithm. The second module comprises the world of quizzing, which includes a question bank of more than 10,000 questions for chapter revision, competitive exams, aptitude, GK, sports and even movies. It has a diverse collection of learning material, sample papers and revision notes in the form of more than 6,000 lectures shared by teachers and students of different regions. 



PU student council takes stock of girls’ hostels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The inmates of various girls’ hostels in Panjab University (PU) shared their grievances with the council members of the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) during a door-to-door visit by the former today evening.

The hostellers told the council members that they faced problems such as power outages, irregular water supply and unhygienic surroundings.

“Problems of water shortage, power cuts and unhygienic surroundings need to be addressed at the earliest. We face acute water shortage and have to stand in long queues to take shower. I get late for my classes almost daily,” said a hosteller.

“Power cuts are rampant. I have to study at night but cannot do so. This is affecting my study,” said another hosteller.

Meanwhile, the council members took note of the students’ problems and assured them that these will be addressed soon.



UILS chairmanship row: PU Senators go on hunger strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Demanding the legitimate right of rotation for the post of chairperson of the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), two senators of Panjab University went on an indefinite hunger strike against Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover today.

The senators — Dr Ajay Ranga, fellow and assistant professor (law) UILS, and Varinder Singh — staged a dharna outside the V-C’s office throughout the day.

As many as 10 other senators of the teaching and non-teaching association lent their support to the agitating officials.

The senators said, “When the rules of rotation for the head of UILS are clearly defined in the PU Calendar and all different committees constituted for this purpose recommend the same, why is the V-C providing undue benefit to a few selected people?”

Ranga demanded that the issue of UILS headship should be withdrawn from the Syndicate's agenda.

On this issue, till date, two of the V-Cs including former professor RC Sobti and current VC Arun Kumar Grover had constituted four committees and had recommended the rotation of headship as per the PU Calendar.

Considering Rule 2.1 of the PU Calendar III, all committees recommend the rotation of headship as the chairperson among all faculty members, eligible.

“However, violating all committee recommendations, the V-C again appointed former chairperson for the next three years, who had already been heading UILS for more than four-and-a-half-years,” said the senators.

Keshav Malhotra, a PU fellow, said, "Democratic values are at risk. I appeal to the entire PU faculty to lend their support to the cause."

Meanwhile, PU Dean of law department Satpal Jain had earlier said that the Vice-Chancellor had constituted a committee on this issue and it was decided that the professor of the department would hold the position rotation-wise, which was subsequently implemented.

Stating that he had not received any representation from the faculty of department on this issue, Jain added, “If the faculty approaches me, I will examine the matter and forward it to the syndicate for consideration.”

Later in the day, Panjab University Syndicate in an official statement stated that it would consider the recommendations of the SS Johl Committee regarding the headship of UILS on February 22.

The Johl Committee includes Prof Veer Singh, Prof AK Bhandari, Prof Lalit Bansal, GK Chatrath, Prof Varinder Kumar, Prof Davinder Singh and DR Establishment.

The committee had unanimously resolved that the rotation of headship in the institute shall always be amongst the professors of law only, and the incumbent honorary head, being the only law professor in the institute, be appointed as the chairperson of UILS for a term of three years.

It further resolved that one vacant post of professor be filled at the earliest to introduce the system of rotation of head in the institute.

Student bodies support cause

The representatives of various student organisations as well as students of UILS on Monday submitted a memorandum to the V-C supporting the demands of the protesting senators. These included members of the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), Panjab University Student Union (PUSU), Hindustan Student Association (HSA), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and others. 



LLM students protest over exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
To protest irregularities in the question paper of jurisprudence, the students of LLM-first year, Department of Laws, Panjab University (PU), staged a dharna outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office today.

The jurisprudence examination was held on December 5, 2013.

INSO president Amit Sihmar said the questions were framed against the pattern set by the university.

“The questions were out of syllabus. Despite several oral and written representations to the authorities concerned, no action was taken,” Sihmar added.

Later Nandita Das, Dean Student Welfare (woman), assured the students that their case would be forwarded to the Board of Studies for necessary action.

Besides Sihmar, Harkirath, Amit Bhatia and other LLM students also took part in the protest.



From schools


Art & craft exhibition

The Social Science Club and Art & Craft Club of 
Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, organised an exhibition on the school premises today.
The event saw participation from students of Classes IV to XII. In the Social Science section, the students showcased projects on rainwater harvesting structures, physical features of India, different sources of credit, evolution of cricket, influence of religion and caste on politics, sectors of Indian economy, working model of a volcano, glacier and the formation of moraines, Sahara Desert, landscape of Ladakh, different sections of a river, soil conservation, drip irrigation, sea breeze — land breeze, different types of farming etc. The art & craft section 
included a variety of items including origami, thumb painting, rabbits made from cotton balls, glowing diyas and candles, trees made from cotton paintings, swing and ladder made of ice-cream sticks etc.

Declamation contest

A poster-making competition and declamation contest was organised at MDAV School today. Students of different classes took part in the competition. A rally was also taken out on the occasion. Prizes were given to the winners.

Science week

Science week was celebrated at GSSS, Mani Majra, today. Various activities and competitions were organised. The students of Class VI were taken for a field trip and educated on environment and the eco-system. Poster making and slogan-writing competitions were also organised for the junior and senior wing students. A lecture on adolescence was given by a senior doctor of PGI. Problems of adolescence were also discussed with the students. A quiz competition was also held for the students of Class IX and X.


arewell function

A farewell was given to the students of Classes X and XII of Golden Bells Public School, Sector 77, today. Chairman of the school Col (retd) CS Bawa presided over the function. The students and faculty members danced jived to the tunes of Bollywood numbers. A catwalk and question round was also held. The title of Golden Boy was given to Akshay Kumar and Golden Girl to Jasmine Kaur.

Students visit Rose Garden

The students of Shemrock School visited Rose Garden today. The students were encouraged to conserve the environment and avoid stagnation of water as it promoted mosquito breeding. They were also shown exotic varieties of roses. Principal SK Sharma urged the students to spend time in natural surroundings for a healthy body and mind.

Save girl child

A choreography on ‘Save the girl child’ was presented during the cultural fiesta at DAV School, Mohali today. The girl students gave a colourful Giddha performance. They also sang traditional folk songs such as “Madhaniyan Haye O Mere Dadeya Rabba, Dhian Jaman Ton Pehla Mar Janiyan,” which moved the audience. — TNS



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