C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Savita Bhatti opts out, deals blow to AAP
  Sends email to party high command, cites ego problems, differences among workers as reasons
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
In a major setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), its candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat Savita Bhatti has opted out of the elections.

AAP workers gather outside Savita Bhatti's residence in Sector 19 to persuade her to reconsider her decision of not contesting the Lok Sabha elections.
AAP workers gather outside Savita Bhatti's residence in Sector 19 to persuade her to reconsider her decision of not contesting the Lok Sabha elections. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Savita Bhatti, who was fielded to take on the Congress’ likely candidate, former Union Railway Minister and sitting MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, shot off an email to the AAP office in Delhi and its Chandigarh unit, stating that she was not interested in contesting the elections.

The AAP had given the ticket to Savita Bhatti, wife of the late Jaspal Bhatti, on March 1.

Sources said in her email, Bhatti said as the city unit of the AAP was divided and party volunteers had ego problems, she did not want to contest the Lok Sabha elections. However, she said she would continue to work for the good cause of the AAP, the sources said.

On International Women’s Day yesterday, she had held a rally at the Sector 17 plaza where she pitched for the safety and protection of women. However, in the evening she decided against contesting the elections.

The sources said she was unhappy as she was not getting much support from party volunteers in the city after her candidature was announced.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Bhatti said she had withdrawn her candidature from the Chandigarh seat and communicated her decision to the party high command.

The observer of the Chandigarh unit of the AAP, Rupinder Kaur Dhaliwal, said last night she received a call from Bhatti saying that she did not want to contest the elections.

“I requested her to reconsider her decision, but she did not agree,” said Dhaliwal.

Though the party high command is yet to accept her decision, the sources said the names of city-based businessman Naresh Garg Bobby, a Chicago-based NRI, Dr Munish Raizada, and another businessman HK Arora were doing the rounds for the AAP candidate from the city.

Bhatti sent the email last night after attending a party workers' meeting at its Sector 21 office. While Bhatti's supporters said some party workers were not allowing her to function properly, others said she was not campaigning properly, which was required to win the Lok Sabha elections.

SMSes, emails were sent to party high command against Bhatti

After the announcement of Bhatti's name as the AAP candidate from the city, a number of AAP leaders had distanced themselves from her campaign. Even on the first day of her campaign on March 2, only a few people had turned up at the Sector 17 Plaza. There was resentment among party volunteers, who alleged that she was not approachable and did not respond to their calls and SMSes. Some of them had started sending SMSes and emails against her to the party high command.

Volunteers question her silence on Railgate

At the meeting held in Sector 21, AAP volunteers had questioned her silence on Railgate involving sitting Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal. An AAP volunteer said the party’s founder leader, Arvind Kejriwal, had announced Bansal’s name in the list of "corrupt politicians". It was also decided to highlight Railgate and other scams before the public, but Bhatti told the meeting that she would not say negative things about rival candidates. When Kejriwal and other senior AAP leaders could highlight corruption-related issues of senior leaders of the Congress and the BJP, why was Bhatti hesitating in raising such issues in Chandigarh? he questioned.

Political drama outside Bhatti’s residence

After sending her email to the party high command, Bhatti did not meet party workers. The sources said she had take medicines for blood pressure and was sleeping. In the evening, she left for the Golden Temple in Amritsar without meeting anyone. Earlier in the day, several supporters of Bhatti sat outside her residence in Sector 19 and requested her to reconsider her decision. A party volunteer, Meena Sharma, while addressing mediapersons, however, hit out at Bhatti. She said Bhatti had cheated the party and if she was not interested in contesting the elections, she should not have accepted the ticket at the first place. As Meena Sharma’s was leveling allegations against Bhatti, the latter's supporters confronted her and heated arguments took place among them.

Bhagwant Mann to submit report

Satirist-turned-politician Bhagwant Mann, who recently joined the AAP, has been deputed by the party high command to look into the issue. After Bhatti’s decision not to contest the Lok Sabha elections, Mann will meet her as well as party workers. He will submit a report to the party high command about the situation in the local unit of the party. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mann said he would meet party workers on Monday to hear their point of view. He would also meet Bhatti and submit a detailed report to the party high command. Sources said Mann would also suggest names of probable candidates in case Bhatti did not reconsider her decision.



Reality Show effect
Panchkula hospital sets up special room for rape victims
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 9
Taking a cue from a popular reality show in which a rape victim narrates the trauma she had to undergo in a hospital after being physically abused, the General Hospital authorities in Sector 6 here have decided to set up a special room for rape victims.

After viewing the programme, the authorities realised that there were many difficulties a rape victim had to face right from the time of admission to examination and treatment following which the decision was taken.

The authorities will also provide clothes to the rape victims and prepare their medico-legal reports (MLRs) in the hospital itself. This has been done to save the victims from embarrassment and ensure confidentiality.

The room will be part of One Stop Crisis Centre, approved by the government at each district hospital.

The initiative has been taken by Principal Medical Officer Usha Gupta, who has asked all doctors of the hospital to see a recording of the episode.

"On the show, a rape victim narrated the difficulties faced by her in a hospital after the crime. She said everyone started staring at her when she went for a medical examination to the hospital," said Gupta.

Realising the embarrassment and hardships faced by victims of sexual abuse, we decided to set up a special room for the them near the gynaecology ward. "Now, the victims will not have to move from one place to another. In that room itself, a special team of doctors will examine them and police officials can also meet them there," said the doctor.

"We have observed in the past that the hospital has to wait until the police get clothes for rape victims. We have now made all arrangements on our own. An examination kit has also been exclusively arranged for the victims," said Dr Sunil Gambhir, who works at the hospital.



Water supply to be hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
There will be low-pressure water supply in the city tomorrow evening and Tuesday morning due to the replacement of a sluice valve on the 1,200 mm PSC pipeline of the Kajauli Waterworks, Phase III, near Gharuan village.

There will be no pumping of water tomorrow from Phases III and IV of the Kajauli waterworks to the waterworks in Sector 39, Chandigarh. 



Couple held with 147 kg of poppy husk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
The operations cell of the UT police today arrested a couple and recovered a huge consignment of poppy husk from their possession.

The accused, Sakir Sheikh and his wife Noor Jahan, residents of Baltana in Mohali, were arrested with 147 kg of poppy husk. DSP Satbir Singh said the accused were a notorious couple involved in drug smuggling in northern India. “The poppy husk was seized from a Mahindra XUV 500 (CH 01 AU 3786) at 4 am today near the Judicial Academy in Sector 43,” he said.

The arrests were made at a naka set up by a team of the operations cell, Sector 26.

Preliminary interrogation revealed that the accused, Sakir Sheikh and his wife Noor Jahan, used to bring the contraband from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, and further supply it in different parts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

They have been involved in smuggling for over one year. The accused were produced in the court of the Duty Magistrate today, which remanded Sakir Sheikh in three-day police custody and Noor Jahan in 14-day judicial custody.



Sector welfare assns to meet on April 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
The elections of the executive committee of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) will be held on April 20. The term of the present committee will end in the month of April.

The date for the elections was finalised at the FOSWAC meeting at Sector 35 Community Centre, today.

The general body meeting will be held to elect chairman, vice-chairman and general secretary of the association. A three-member committee comprising SL Goel as convener and SM Madan and RS Gill as members has been constituted to hold the elections.

Representatives of the Resident Welfare Associations (RWA), affiliated to FOSWAC, are required to send the Electoral College of their RWAs in the prescribed Performa by March 25 so as to prepare the Electoral College of FOSWAC.

The groups of RWAs willing to contest elections have already started organising meetings to plan the strategy for the elections.

Recently, different RWA’s, affiliated to the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations, held a meeting under the chairmanship of Hitesh Kumar Puri, former general secretary of FOSWAC.

It was decided, during the meeting, that the group led by Puri would field their candidates for all the three posts.



Chemist shop offering 57.2% discount opens at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
Patients were a relieved lot as a chemist shop providing 57.2 per cent discount on all medicines opened at the PGIMER today. The shop is located in the old shopping complex (rear side of the Oral Health Sciences Centre). The contract for running the store has been allotted to a Sector 45-based chemist.

So far, the highest discount offered by the existing chemist shops at the PGIMER is scaled at 15 per cent for branded and 30 per cent on generic medicines, which is made mandatory under the contract.

The 57.2 per cent discount quoted by the chemist for the PGIMER's first shop on discount-based allotment is the highest offered by any chemist across the country.

A similar shop is already running at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, the highest discount quoted in its latest tender, floated recently, was 56 per cent. The maximum discount bid at AIIMS, Rishikesh, was 56.2 per cent.

Sources said the terms and conditions of the new contract also included a provision where the institute could impose penalties on the chemist for not stocking certain medicines.



Light rain, hailstorm likely in city today

Chandigarh, March 9
There is likely to be light rain along with hailstorm in the city tomorrow, the forecast of the Met Department said. This will bring down the maximum temperature.

Records of the Met Department revealed that in the last five years the city had not received any hailstorm at such a short interval.

Met department director Surinder Pal Singh said that the hailstorm would be due to the active western disturbance at the lower latitude. He said that there were chances that in the next 24 hours, the city would receive light rain and there would be a hailstorm. This will lead to a fall in maximum temperature and rise in the minimum temperature. He said that due to regular rain, March, this year, had been the coldest as compared to the ones in the last 10 years. Records of the past 10 years revealed that the maximum temperature recorded was between 36 and 38 degree Celsius. The Met recorded the maximum temperature at 25.8 degree Celsius which was one notch below the normal and minimum temperature of 11.6 degree Celsius. — TNS



Residents in a fix as Cong, BJP delay naming candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
The delay in announcing candidates contesting from the Chandigarh seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections has left city residents wondering as to whom they should elect as their representative. The Congress and BJP are yet to name their candidates and the decision of the Aam Adami Party (AAP) candidate, Savita Bhatti, to withdraw her name has further left the residents confused. Only the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Janata Dal United (JDU) have announced the name of the candidates for the Chandigarh seat.

The residents feel that the political parties should declare candidates well in advance so that they can analyse each candidate and know their potential before exercising their right to vote.

Ishan Tayal, chairman, Chandigarh Youth Association, said since the names of candidates of various parties were yet to be announced they were in a fix over which candidate they should support. “Our association has 250 youths as members and we have planned that we will deliberate before casting our vote. We need time, but, the delay in announcement of the candidates has also delayed our meeting”, he stated.

Sanjeev Kapoor, a resident of Sector 37, echoing similar views said that the parties should have announced their candidates when they had released their manifestos, so that the residents could make up their mind. A month is left for the elections in Chandigarh and the nominations are to be filed on March 22. The city will go to the polls on May 10.

The two parties that have announced the names of the candidates are the BSP and the JDU. The BSP is fielding Janat Jahan Ul Haq and JDU has fielded Surinder Bhardwaj. Nikhil, a resident of Sector 15, said that only after all the parties declared their candidates he would decide as to whom he should vote to power.



10,000 residents submit Form-6
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
During two-day special drive conducted by the UT Election Department to encourage enrollment of new voters in the city, over 10,000 residents submitted their Form-6 at various centers in Chandigarh.

UT Joint Chief Electoral Officer Tilak Raj said that they got good response from the residents and more were expected to submit their forms in the coming days.

The forms will now be received at the office of Election Department at Town Hall Building in Sector 17.



Venod Sharma a fair-weather friend: Haryana BJP chief
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 9
BJP state president Ram Bilas Sharma today criticised former Congress leader Venod Sharma for taking such moves in politics. Ram Bilas Sharma who was here to visit a relative here said that Venod was a fair-weather friend.

When asked about the way Venod Sharma appreciated Modi in his “yagya” at Kurukshetra, Ram Bilas said, “Wherever he sees that the person is expected to come to power, he will start praising that person to show that he is there to give full support.”Our party cannot accept him,” said Ram Bilas.



Transactions above Rs 25 lakh to come under EC’s scanner
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
To check the flow of black money in the run up to the parliamentary elections, all the financial transactions above Rs 25 lakh will come under the scanner of the UT Election Department.

On the directions of the Election Commission of India, the department has instructed all the financial institutions to monitor all such suspicious financial transactions or withdrawal from any individual account. Mohammed Shayin, Returning Officer, Chandigarh Parliamentary Constituency, said instructions had been issued to the banks.If the monitoring officials felt that the withdrawal was suspicious in nature, he would have to report the same to the election authorities and also to the Income Tax Department.In case the transaction was traced back to any candidate, the IT Department would initiate legal action as per the provision of law. The rule will be applicable not only to an individual account but also to the NGOs and other oganisations, it is learnt.The expenditure monitoring officials have also been asked to keep a watch on persons carrying more than Rs one lakh in order to prevent malpractices. 



Cong media cell providing wrong info 

The Congress is a divided house in the city and many senior Congress leaders are not participating in the party’s “padayatra” programme. But to make the programme a successful one in the eyes of the media, the media cell and official spokespersons of the Congress are issuing wrong statements.In the official press note issued to the media on a number of occasions in the last one week, the Congress leaders managing the media cell, have given names of those leaders who not even participated in the padayatra. But the Congress leaders should understand that providing wrong information to the media will ultimately put their credibility at stake.

When Gadkari’s reply left journos thinking

A journalist’s query about the name of the BJP candidate for the Chandigarh seat for the Lok Sabha election from BJP leader Nitin Gadkari confused all the journalists present there when Gadkari replied that the person wearing spectacles and a sweater wouldn’t be the BJP candidate. The answer left everyone thinking, it took sometime to realise that the BJP leader was referring to the same journalist who had asked the question from Gadkari.

Minding their tongues

With the appointment of Dr Vandana Gupta as the Medical Superintendent of GMSH-16 last week, officials in the UT Health Department, comprising mostly men, are gearing up to bring some sophistication in their language. As all three important posts, including that of the Director Health Services and the District Health and Family Welfare Officer other than the Medical Superintendent, are now occupied by women. A no-nonsense environment is fast emerging giving the men a tough time as they crack jokes at workplace.

Police info leaked

The UT traffic police was taken aback earlier this week when information pertaining to its nakas was shared on what's app and later put on its facebook page. While it is not known how the information was leaked, the traffic police learnt its lessons to change the spots of nakas and quickly removed it from its official facebook page.

Not such a novel way to protest

To attract attention of the authorities and the media as well, climbing on water tanks by protestors seemed to have become a fad these days. Three such incidents - two at Kharar and one at Landran village - occurred in Mohali district last week. Firstly, the staff nurses of the Director Health Services had climbed a water tank near Kharar Civil Hospital to press their demands. Then the members of the Unemployed Multi-Purpose Health Workers (Male) Union followed their footsteps after two days and climbed up another water tank in the area to stage protest. After them, members of the Veterinary AI Workers Union did the same thing at Landran village. The novel way to protest posed some trouble to the local police in handling the situation and even failed to make any impact on the authorities concerned.

Contributed by: Rajinder Nagarkoti, Amit Sharma, Aneesha Sareen, Ritika Jha Palial and Akash Ghai



CT scan centre becomes operational at GMCH-32
 Tests to cost 40% less at the in-house centre than private centres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
Two decades after bearing with the exorbitant costs of CT scan services, patients at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, will now find some relief.

The hospital after running a trial for about one month has made its in-house CT scan centre operational.

A total of about 1,200 CT scans have been conducted at the centre that has been set up at the Department of Radiodiagnosis costing Rs 14 crores.

Poor patients (BPL) will be provided a free-of-cost service at this centre,
said an official from the hospital.

The service until now was available via a centre running on a public private partnership mode where the costs were 40 per cent higher (Rs 500 for head) than government hospital rates and the condition of one poor-free test per 10 poor patients existed.

Now, the cost will be lesser and the waiver for poor patients will no longer be limited. Apart from high costs, closing the centre that had been running on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, the hospital has also put an end to the malpractices that existed in that centre.

The hospital first floated the tenders for starting its own CT scan centre in 1999, but it failed to complete the process. Sources in the GMCH administration revealed that the case was never pursued.

In 2004, the hospital outsourced the service to a private company without charging any rent. The centre that was being run by private players courted several controversies ranging from fleecing patients to violating terms of the agreement pertaining to poor patient funds.



Girls’ gatka prowess on display
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 9
Gatka (a martial art) by girls of class 4 and a BA first year student were the centre of attraction on the concluding day of Spring Fest organised by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) at Yavnika, Sector 5, Panchkula.

Perneet Kaur (10) took training from a Gurdwara in Sector 38, Chandigarh, and had come to perform in the Spring Fest for the first time. She is the youngest girl in the group.

Stunts were displayed using heavy nets and swords. Also the girls showed acts by covering their eyes with a black cloth.

Nidhi, a student of BA first year of Government College, Sector 1, Panchkula, was seen displaying dangerous acts.

For Nidhi, gatka is not only her passion but a need as well after her father’s death.

“My father was really fond of the Sikh martial art so after his death I joined the training at Sector 38, Chandigarh. This is my first performance and it feels great to perform at such abig platform,” said Nidhi.

Meanwhile, the two-day fest concluded today. It was concluded by the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner SS Phulia. Several other officials of the HUDA were also present during the concluding ceremony.

Several competitions including mono-acting and kite flying were also held among various school students. The winners were felicitated by DC Phulia.


Duet dance

Below 10 years: Saumya and Manpreet, DC Model Sr Sec School, Sec-7, Panchkula

Above 10 years: Diyanshi and Muskhan, Satluj Public School, Sec-4, Panchkula

Mono acting

Below 10 years: Deepti, Moti Ram Arya School, Sec-7, Panchkula

Above 10 years: Tanish, New India Sr Sec School, Panchkula

Open category: Jashanpreet Singh

Kite flying

Below 10 years: Amanjet, Satluj Public School, Sec-4, Panchkula

Baby show

6 Months to 1 ½ Years: Aniqa Fatima (Girls); Vir Ranveer Singh (Boys)

1 ½ to 3 years: Ekansh Nain (Boys); Lavanya Vig (Girls)

3 to 4 years: Shourya Malik



Ration depot owners to educate voters
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 9
Panchkula Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer SS Phulia, today presided over a meeting of the Ration Depot owners of the district to help the local administration educate voters about their voting rights during the Lok Sabha General Elections, 2014.

While addressing the gathering, he said that the depot owners dealing with the general public directly and could easily make them aware of their right to vote. He said that voter lists were also available on all 375 booths where they could check their name. In case the name was not there, the resident could apply on the spot along with his/her two passport size photographs, residence proof and age proof. Form 6 is available on all the booths.

Panchkula SDM-cum-ARO Gurmeet Singh said that while buying ration, they could ask the residents for their voter ID card and if they didn’t have it then the public could be advised to do so. 



Woman constable injured

Chandigarh, March 9
A 26-year-old lady constable of the UT police, Poonam, was injured when her motorcycle was hit by a speeding Swift near the roundabout of Sector 3. The incident occurred when the constable was going towards Sector 3 and Swift was going to Sukhna Lake around 12.30 pm. The Injured Poonam was rushed to GMSH-16 in a police vehicle and accused driver Harinder was also taken to the hospital. However, the accused fled from the hospital.

Police said a person who introduced himself as Trilok Singh managed to take away Harinder along with him. He told the cops that he has close links with with the higher ups in police and fled when the statements of the Poonam were being recorded, sources said.

An FIR was registered and the car was seized at Sector 3 police station. Police said Poonam was going for her duty in Sector 4 from Sector 3 police station when the incident took place.

Police investigation revealed Harinder is a resident of Barnala and a woman was accompanying him in the car when the incident occurred. — TNS



anandpur sahib lok sabha seat
Locals see red as parties field outsiders
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 9
The main political parties, Congress and SAD-BJP combine have more trust on outsiders, when it comes to fielding the candidate from the Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency.

If SAD-BJP combine has given chance to Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, who originally hailed from Chandumajra village in Patiala district as their candidate in forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party has repeated former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s grandson and sitting MP Ravneet Singh Bittu. Bittu too belongs to Payal village, located in Ludhiana district.

This has left the local leaders and activists of both the parties, annoyed and led to angst among the members of these outfits.

“I must say that several party activists and potential leaders are upset. Every time, leaders of Mohali area are being ignored”, said a senior leader of the SAD on the condition of anonymity.

He claimed that several local SAD leaders were upset over the development (ticket to Chandumajra) and were not participating in his election campaign.

“Our party had already borne the brunt in last elections by ignoring the local leader and fielding Daljit Singh Cheema, who lost to Bittu by a margin of over 67,000 votes. In Mohali district only, Bittu had taken lead of over 52,000 votes,” added the SAD leader.

Similarly, some of Congress leaders and activists of Mohali area are unhappy over fielding Bittu again though they avoided coming on record in this connection.

“Taking cue from Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) recent win, the party high command should give chance to some new face and local leaders,” said a Congress leader on the condition of anonymity.

Before Bittu, Congress and BSP combine had fielded their joint candidate Shamsher Singh Dullo, twice. Dullo too, originally hailed from Khanna, Ludhiana. While in 1999, he had won against SAD candidate Satwider Kaur Dhaliwal by a margin of 80,000 votes but lost to Sukhdev Singh Libra, also a resident of Khanna, Ludhiana, by a margin of 30,000 votes in 2004.

Local leaders of both the parties felt that they were being ignored when it comes to big elections. “The voters of Mohali district are literate and aware. They should not be taken for granted every time by the big parties. If AAP would manage to field any local potential candidate from the constituency, it could change the entire scenario in the constituency,” said a local.

Notably, the Anandpur Sahib constituency (general), having 15.27 lakh voters, has Mohali, Roopnagar, Anadpur Sahib, Kharar, Chamkaur Sahib, Nawan Shahr, Balachor, Banga and Garhshankar. 



11,024 new voters in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 9
A special drive to register new voters witnessed tremendous response in Mohali district as a total of 11,024 new voters got themselves registered at the booths, especially set up at various points for the purpose.

The Mohali Deputy Commissioner, Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu, said that 685 special booths were set up in the district for the purpose. “New voters began coming to the booths since morning. I am happy that youngsters showed interest in getting themselves registered”, said the DC, who visited several booths to inspect the proceedings there.Sidhu said that earlier there were 5,96,775 voters in Mohali district, and now, the number had increased. “In the last Lok Sabha polls, about 67 per cent votes were cast. This time, we are targeting 85 per cent voting in the coming elections. Special campaigns were conducted to educate voters. 

Punjab Chief Electoral Officer VK Singh also inspected several booths in Mohali on Sunday morning. He was accompanied by Mohali Additional Deputy Commissioner Parveen Thind. Both the officers asked the new voters about their problems if faced during the process of getting themselves registered.

People at several special booths complained of harassment and being fleeced by the photostat shopkeepers as the registration forms for new voters at these booths were in short supply. “No forms were available at the booth when I went there at 12 pm today. I was given one form and asked to get it photocopied from a nearby shop. The shopkeeper asked me to pay Rs 15,” alleged Kulwant Singh, who went to a booth at Desumajra village. Similar complaints came from a booth at Balongi village. The forms at the booths in Phase VII, Mohali, were also exhausted and people were being asked to get those photocopied on their own.

Poll issues

Residents who are already enrolled as voters in Chandigarh or have filled the enrolment form can check their names in the electoral list, as simply having voter ID card won’t ensure a voting right, but the name in the electoral roll will.

How to check your name in electoral roll

* The residents can check their names in the electoral list by logging on to the website of the Chandigarh Election Department - www.ceochandigarh.nic.in http://www.ceochandigarh.nic.in/

* One can check one’s name in the draft roll, which will be published and available at the office of the ERO concerned to confirm that one’s name exists in the roll.


"Each city resident who is a voter or has applied for the voter card should check their names in the electoral list. One who doesn’t find his name in the list should contact the ERO concerned for the inclusion of his name in the list." —Tilak Raj, UT Joint Chief Electoral Officer

UT Election Dept Helplines

1950, 0172-2700322 and 1800-180-2095

You can send your election-related queries at letters.ct@gmail.com mailto:letters.ct@gmail.com

Contributed by Amit Sharma



HSRPs: Tall claims must have a strong foundation

The enforcement of the rule on affixing the high security registration plates (HSRPs) on to vehicles without making proper arrangements is like putting the horse before the cart. The challan drive must stop. The Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) must pull up vendors and increase their strength by at least 50 per cent. More counters should be opened so as to decrease the waiting time. Also, online facility should be thought of in this regard, as it would ease the whole process effectively. The aim should be to affix the HSRP to the vehicles and not make money from the hapless people.

Colonel RD Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt

Admn must empathise

Senior officers of the UT Administration must work for the betterment of the society. They should leave aside the official luxuries and take a personal interest in the proceedings affecting the general public at large. Sitting in AC rooms have never solved a problem. There is no use affixing high security registration plates (HSRP) to vehicles in Chandigarh. I feel this is only a medium to harass the public unnecessarily.

Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

More vehicles, less outlets to complete the process

The whole process has made the life of vehicle owners miserable. Considering the large number of vehicles in the city, residents are facing a lot of hardship and inconvenience in completing the formalities related to this lopsided policy. The infrastructure available to carry out the work of affixing the HSRP does not match the number of vehicles in the city. The whole process should be simplified and decentralised at the earliest. A time period of 30 days to complete the whole process is not enough. It should be, in fact, a minimum of three months. More and more outlets should be opened to facilitate the public in this regard.

Jagdishpal Singh Kalra, Chandigarh

HSRP services should be at sector level

To avoid harassment to residents and achieve the targets of this programme, the government must learn the art of efficient management through pulse polio campaigns and Aadhaar card camps held in the city in the recent past. The HSRP services should be provided at the sector-level. And then after three to four rounds, the programme should be centralised at a few places. Timing is another factor that must be kept in mind.

Gurdeep Singh, Chandigarh

Admn must cut the coat according to the cloth

I fail to understand why the authorities concerned are making car owners so panicky for no rhyme or reason? It is an ill-conceived move of the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) and is grossly unjustified for various reasons. Without having a requisite infrastructure in place to deal with the huge rush, the authorities concerned cannot just announce a cut-off date and expect vehicle owners to complete the whole process within the stipulated time.

SC Luthra, MHC, Mani Majra

Online system should be introduced

Affixing of high security number plates to vehicles is another gimmick to make more money and put the vehicle owners to unnecessary inconvenience. The authorities must not rush. For future purposes, the vehicle owners must be given the HSRP during the time of purchasing the vehicle itself. For existing car owners, an online system should be introduced.

Mili Mahajan, Kurali

Employees must work on holidays too

The public is being subjected to harassment by workers who have been assigned the job of affixing high security registration plates (HSRPs) to vehicles in Chandigarh. Standing in unending queues is like a ‘paid torture’. To ease the situation, the traffic police must be asked to halt the challan drive till the time the situation returns to normal. Moreover, the licensing authority must work on Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays till the backlog is cleared.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Manpower should be increased

The Chandigarh Transport Department, complying with the Supreme Court orders, gave a timely warning to residents through numerous ads in leading newspapers to replace RCs by HSRPs. They even bound the owners to fixed dates, but residents chose to ignore the same. Now the police have started issuing challans. The solution to the problem and the whole commotion lies in increasing manpower, so that the backlog is cleared. In this way, the regular work will also not suffer.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

Owners must apply for the plates beforehand

The Registration and Licensing Authority of different sectors of Chandigarh should give contract to various depots and should hire as many vendors as possible to streamline the process of affixing high security registration plates to vehicles. The vehicle owners should apply for the registration plates beforehand so as to avoid unnecessary harassment at the hands of vendors.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

UT Admn used to causing trouble to public

There was ample time for the UT to implement this programme. It appears that procrastination and causing trouble to the public has become a habit with the authority. The authorities concerned should either extend the last date or involve more vendors in the process.

Tarsem Bhardwaj, Chandigarh

Admn should be compassionate

To start with, the applicant is first fleeced by various vendors sitting on the premises of the RLA office in the Industrial Area. They charge exorbitant rates for just typing an application, putting a file cover and photocopying the documents. The rates should be fixed by the authorities. The applicant is then made to stand in a long queue in an open space, exposed to sun and rain, to hand over the application. And the same procedure is repeated while depositing the amount. The real ordeal starts once the applicant reaches to affix the plate on a given date. One ends up spending hours just to affix a number plate to the vehicle. An online facility would definitely help.

Col Gursewak Singh (retd), Mani Majra

Dept must invite online applications

The Chandigarh Administration should simplify the process to replace the number plates with HSRP. They must provide the residents with a provision to apply for the same on the internet as well. The authority should enable an applicant to deposit the processing fee at e-sampark and other such centres. There is an urgent need to decentralise the system. Online applications should be invited by the department for the convenience of the public. The intimation for submitting of documents should be given to the applicants on the internet along with an appointment on a fixed date, time and venue for affixing the HSRP. This would avoid rush on the premises. Different groups of sectors should have more such centres to help speed up the process and put the commotion to an end.

Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh

Government must extend the last date

Why are the UT Police issuing challans to vehicles when the basic infrastructure is incomplete? It is just troubling people. And not having enough vendors to carry out the process is adding to the woes of he residents. I think, the government should extend the last date and let residents heave a sigh of relief till then.

Rita Raina, Chandigarh

Registration authorities, police must coordinate

With each passing day, the number of vehicles on the roads in the City Beautiful is increasing by leaps and bounds. This is also increasing the responsibility of the registering authority. The number of vendors deployed to carry out the work is far less than the required number, resulting in a great rush and hence, chaos. Fear of challans leads the time-bound local vehicle owners to make a beeline for the quick completion of the whole system. There should be a proper and effective coordination between the registration authorities and the Chandigarh police to make the whole process stress-free.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh

Existing vehicle owners should not need HSRPs

Good sense and sound judgment requires that the HSRP should be made mandatory only for new registrations and not for the existing vehicle owners.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

RLA has failed to come to the rescue of residents

The new policy is causing a lot of difficulty to vehicle owners. The city residents have to stand in long queues for hours altogether. In many cases, they even miss out on their working hours, so as to complete the whole process within the stipulated time. The Registration and Licensing Authority has failed to come to the rescue of the residents.

Aishwarya, Mohali

Authorities unaware of public grievances

It is not for the first time that the public is being harassed. Many a times, due to poor planning of the authorities concerned, residents have suffered in the past and they continue to suffer. The authorities are largely unaware of the grievances of the residents. They frame public policies while sitting in air-conditioned rooms. Little do they know how much trouble it causes to the residents who have to bear the brunt of their poor decision.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Authorities to blame for laxity

The authorities are to be blamed for their inability to ensure timely service. It is the laxity on the part of the said contractor that makes the vehicle owners suffer. I feel that the authorities must cater to the safety necessities of commuters rather than be rigid on presentational measures.

Shruti Marwaha, Mohali

Halt challan drive

In the long run, the high security plates will benefit the public, that is for sure. But the authorities must be considerate enough for now. The challan drive must be halted for time being.

Ranju, Chandigarh


Affixing new registration plates a Herculean task for residents
Rajmeet Singh

Getting high security registration plates (HSRP) for vehicles has become a Herculean task for the city residents. Thanks to the vision of the policy-makers in the Chandigarh Administration, which has made the entire exercise a classic case of putting the cart before the horse, it has made residents face a lot of harassment.

Without putting in place the necessary infrastructure to handle the rush of applicants, the authorities have set a deadline for different series and if that was not enough, they have even passed instructions to the traffic police to start the challan drive.

The authorities, while signing the agreement with a private firm, entrusted with the job of affixing the HSRP to vehicles, have definitely overlooked the ground reality. With over 8 lakh vehicles registered with the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) and around 200 being added every day, the queue of vehicle owners applying for the HSRP seems unending.

The authorities claimed that despite repeated public notices, it is the failure on the part of vehicle owners that has landed them in such a situation. They blamed residents for not adhering to the instructions. They said now because of the fear of challan, owners are now coming to the RLA counters for the completion of the whole process. Nevertheless, the authorities have indeed failed to ease the rush.

With only three counters, one each at the Sector 17 office, Sector 42 Sports Complex and at the SDM office in Industrial Area, Phase I, hardly 100 vehicles are able to get HSRPs. Official statistics reveal that ever since the RLA started the work of affixing the HSRP to vehicles in 2013, over 80,000 vehicles have been provided with the new plates.

Vehicle owners said despite promises to start an online application and a fee payment facility, the contractors have failed to start the same, citing problems on the part of the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The NIC is entrusted with the responsibility of providing the data.

On the pattern of the online facility for depositing application forms for passport, where the applicant is called on a designated date, the Chandigarh Administration should also start a similar facility at e- sampark centres to ensure that the whole process is smooth.

While the UT sorts out the technical glitches, it should direct the service provider to open more mobile centres to affix the plates to the vehicles. It should also issue instructions to the traffic police to postpone the challan drive.



In view of the coming Lok Sabha elections, complaints of unaccounted flow of liquor and cash to woo the voters are pouring in from all over the city. The Election Department has also issued instructions against the malpractice as part of the model code of conduct. What needs to be done to check the menace and bring forth transparency in the conduct of elections? Please write your comments with a passport size picture to openhouse@tribunemail.com.



Computer navigation in knee replacement surgery

Soft tissue balancing through computer navigation in total knee replacement surgery (TKR) has revolutionised lives of patients undergoing knee replacement. It helps restoring the normal biomechanics of the knee. This was stated by Dr Harsimran Singh, director, joint replacement, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, after receiving appreciation award from managing director B Braun, Medical India Pvt. Ltd. Dr Harsimran said the benefits of modern implants are supplemented by the accuracy in surgical techniques provided by computer navigation.

100 take part in glaucoma walk in city

A glaucoma walk from Rock Garden to Sukhna Lake was organised on the occasion of the sixth World Glaucoma Week. The glaucoma week is observed from March 9 to 15. The Glaucoma Society of India, PGI Glaucoma Support Group, advanced eye centre, PGI, have joined hands to increase awareness in this regard. The walk was flagged off by PGIMER director professor Y Chawla. It was attended by around 100 people. The general public was invited and movies for spreading awareness were shown in both English and Hindi languages on the occasion. The event was followed by an informative session related to glaucoma by Prof SS Pandav. “The informative session has truly enlightened us. We were apprised of so many facts that we did not have a clue about,” said a participant.— TNS



A clarification

In the news item on blood donation camp conducted by The Tribune Employees Union, it was inadvertently mentioned that the camp was conducted by Dr Paramjit Kaur from the Department of Transfusion Medicine, GMCH 32. The camp was conducted by Dr Ravneet Kaur, Prof and Head of the Department of Haematology and Medicine, GMCH, Sector 32. 



63rd Annual Convocation of Panjab University
682 students receive degrees, medals
 Renowned mathematician Prof RP Bambah conferred the Degree of Doctor of Science, writer Prof Gurdial Singh conferred DLitt; UT Administrator urges PU to start research on photonics
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
As many as 682 students received degrees, medals and prizes at the 63rd annual convocation of Panjab University (PU) today. Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil presided over the function.

Students in a jubilant mood after receiving their PhD degrees during the 63rd annual convocation of Panjab University in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Students in a jubilant mood after receiving their PhD degrees during the 63rd annual convocation of Panjab University in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Parvesh Chauhan

While addressing the gathering, Patil urged the university authorities to start a research on photonics to preserve energy.

“The Chandigarh Administration will provide land for the projects required by the university. However, it won’t be able to spare funds for the same,” added the UT Administrator.

Congratulating the students who received degrees at the convocation, Patil said, “Though students have received their degrees, learning is an ongoing process and should continue throughout life.”

Padma Bhushan awardee and renowned mathematician Prof RP Bambah was conferred the Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa).

Eminent writer Prof Gurdial Singh was conferred the DLitt. (Honoris Causa). Udyog Rattan Award was conferred on Dr Sukhdev and Dr F C Kohli. Vigyan Rattan Award was conferred on Dr Nitya Anand and Dr Girish Sahni.

As many as 244 students received Degrees of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the function. Of these, 95 were men and 149 women.

The top three ranking students in each examination and those who obtained first division in various subjects were given degrees.

As many as 438 other faculty students also received degrees. Out of these, 85 were men and 353 women.

Degrees were given to the top three ranking students of M.Phil, M.E, MTech, MPharma, M.BE, MCom, M.F.C, MEFB, MSc (HS), M.Sc, M.Sc (TYC), MBA, MCA, M.Lib and Information Science, M.Ed, MPEd, MA, MA (Honours), BSc, BPharma, BA (Honours) Economics, BALLB (Honours), BA (Honours) Education BEd, BPEd and BEd (Special Education in Learning Disabilities).

PU Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover also gave medals to the toppers of all examinations held in the year 2013.

While addressing the students, the Vice-Chancellor, said, “The year 2013-14 has been momentous for PU.”

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-14, powered by Thompson Reuters placed PU in the bracket of 226-250 best universities in the world.

PU Registrar Prof AK Bhandari, Controller of Examinations Prof Parvinder Singh, PU Senate and Syndicate members, Deans, officers and a large number of teachers and guests were also present at the function.


* Ram Ratan Gupta (79) received the PhD in economics. Ratan said he had undertaken research work in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, and was gearing up to get his book published.

* As the function commenced, the names of a few student recipients were announced wrongly. This created confusion among the gathering. Later, the respective students exchanged degrees among themselves.

Bhavneet Bhatti is the first student from the Mass Communication Department of Panjab University to receive the PhD.


other top achievers

Ram Kumar, Additional District Judge (ADJ), FerozepurTime was no constraint for me’

Time was no constraint for Ram Kumar, Additional District Judge (ADJ), Ferozepur, to pursue his PhD. The ADJ received his PhD in Law at the 63rd convocation of Panjab University. Kumar said his topic for PhD was ‘Expanding the scope of role of expert victim in administration of justice — A critique.’ He completed his PhD under the guidance of Nishtha Jaswal, Chairperson, Department of Law.


I dedicate my achievement to late cousin’

Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Gidderbaha, Mandeep Mittal, also received his PhD of Law. His topic of research was ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. Mittal dedicated this achievement to his late cousin, who passed away in 2003 owing to a delay in the release of grant for his medication. He stressed upon the need to increase the number of judges and upgrade infrastructure.

Avtar SinghIlliterate parents motivated me’

Motivated by his parents, Avtar Singh (58), a 1987-batch IAS officer of Haryana cadre, received the PhD in Philosophy. “Though my parents are illiterate, they encouraged me to receive the best of education,” he said. Singh said he would continue reading books to keep himself updated.



BCS alumni go down memory lane
Tribune News Service

Alumni of Bishop Cotton School during their reunion at the Chandigarh Golf Range on Sunday.
Alumni of Bishop Cotton School during their reunion at the Chandigarh Golf Range on Sunday. Tribune Photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, March 9
As many as 115 alumni of Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, relived memories during a reunion function at the Chandigarh Golf Range here today. The annual reunion was initiated by the Old Cottonians’ Association (OCA) and alumni residing in India and abroad.

This was for the first time that a large number of former students from different batches — 1957, 1958, mid-60s and 2012 — marked their presence.

The event included a lunch and conference. A senior member of the association, Billy Gill, said “Bringing back old memories is always a joyful experience.”

As many as 12 senior staff members of the school were also in attendance.

Headmaster Roy Christopher Robinson said the function was attended by a large number of former students.

“All the members are happy to attend the reunion meet,” said BM Singh, All India President, Old Cottonians' Association (OCA).

BCS is the oldest public school in Asia. The Old Cottonians' Association (OCA) was formed in 1910.



Seminar on Ghadar Movement at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
Twenty-one presentations were given by various Indian and foreign scholars at the International Seminar on the Ghadar Movement, which concluded at Panjab University (PU), yesterday.

The seminar was jointly organised by the Indian Council of Historical Research with the Institute of Punjab Studies and the Department of History, PU.

The seminar questioned several existing notions of Indian and Punjab’s history and brought out the inexhaustible potential of the Ghadar Movement for rewriting Indian history.

The fact that over 90 per cent of Ghadarites happened to be Sikhs, and several groups supported the Ghadarite revolutionaries when they came to the Punjab, exposed the myth of Sikh loyalty towards the British.

While coming together against the colonial state, the Ghadarites relegated their personal interests, thus, exposing the myth perpetuated by the Cambridge School of Historiography that Indians were incapable of rising above personal interests.



pu & college notes
Farewell function

The students of Commerce Department, Post-Graduate Govt College for Girls, Sector-11, bid farewell to the outgoing students of BCom-III. College principal Achila Dogra was the chief guest on the occasion. The function included an array of activities, including songs, dances, medleys, choreography, modelling and mimicry.

International students given farewell

The International Students Association gave a farewell to the outgoing international students enrolled in Panjab University (PU) and its affiliated college in Chandigarh. The function was organised at the PU Auditorium. PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun K Grover was the chief guest. He said PU was providing student-friendly facilities and a conducive environment to make Chandigarh a hub of international students. Students from 23 countries participated in the function.

Blood donation

As many as 160 students and staff members of the Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management (AIHM) donated blood. The event was organised in collaboration with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and sponsored by the State Bank of India, Sector 37. SBI regional manager, Madhukar Anand, said donating blood is a noble cause. AIHM principal Bharti Tyagi also echoed a similar view.

Dialogue on community engagement

An education dialogue on community engagement concluded at Panjab University (PU). The two-day event was organised by PU in collaboration with the British Council, ICSSR, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The event was aimed at assessing levels and quality of community engagement, analysing the best practices and meaning of social responsibility as practiced in India, innovative policies and practices in the UK in the field of public engagement and social responsibility.

Seminar on anthropology

A two-day seminar on anthropological perspectives of bio-cultural change — organised by the Department of Anthropology (CAS) — concluded at Panjab University (PU). The valedictory function was presided over by PU Dean, Research, Prof Lalit K Bansal. In his valedictory address, Prof Bansal stressed upon the role of anthropology in the contemporary society to meet with the several challenges of the 21st Century. Earlier, three academic sessions were held by Dr S Gangopadhyay, Prof AK Bhalla and Prof G Gandhi.

Farewell function

An array of dance and musical performances were part of the function organised to bid farewell to the outgoing BA students of Government College for Girls, Sector 11.

37 units of blood collected

The third blood donation camp was organised by Late Dr GC Mishra Memorial Education and Charitable Trust in association with the Lions Club, Chandigarh Central, Lions Club, Chandigarh campus and PGI Blood Bank at the Dr SS Bhatnagar University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (SSBUICET), Panjab University (PU). The students and faculty of SSBUICET donated more than 37 units of blood. The camp was organised in the memory of a former professor at SSBUICET, Late Prof GC Mishra. The camp was part of the ongoing SSBUICET's annual fest, Cynaide-2014. SDM (South) and RLA Kashish Mittal inaugurated the camp.

Research scholar gets award

The Mekaster Young Scientist Award for 2014 was conferred on Environment Studies research scholar, Kamalpreet Kaur, by the Punjab Science Academy during at the 17th Punjab Science Congress recently. Kaur presented her research work titled ‘Environmental implications of leachate generation due to the unscientific disposal of municipal solid waste’. She is currently working as assistant professor (environment) at Chandigarh University, Gharuan.

Conference at UIET

A three-day international conference on ‘Recent advances in engineering and computational sciences,’ organized by the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), PU, concluded today. Associate professor, Electrical Engineering, IIT-Roorkee, GN Pillai, participated in the conference. — TNS



Baking activity

Chandigarh: The students of senior baking club, Saupin’s School, Sector 32, participated in a baking activity on the school premises. The students along with their teachers Reema Sharma, Gursimran Anand and Kanika baked cakes, muffins and cookies. The students proved their worth as they baked and served fresh cakes and biscuits to their parents.
Students of Evergreen Academy Preparatory School present an item during their annual function at the Law Bhawan auditorium in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Students of Evergreen Academy Preparatory School present an item during their annual function at the Law Bhawan auditorium in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Story-telling session

The students of kindergarten, Saupin’s School, took part in a story-telling session. The students enacted stories ‘The Little Red Hen’, ‘Who’s my Mother’ and ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’. Every story had a moral theme. The students delivered dialogues with clarity and expressions.

Health check-up camp

Mohali: The Tiny Tots Foundation School, Phase 10, organised a health check-up camp for its students on the school premises today. The cam was organised in association with Indus Hospital, Mohali.

Annual Sports Day

Ashmah International School, Sector 70, celebrated its Annual Sports Day on the campus today. The students came dressed in colourful dresses.

Vidhan Sabha

The students of St. Soldier, Mohali, visited the Vidhan Sabha today. They were fascinated by the splendid architecture of Le Corbusier.

Kite-flying competition

panchkula: A kite-flying competition was organised at Doon Public School, Sector 21, today. The programme was organised under the aegis of the Spring Fest being held at the Yavanika Garden, Sector 5. A total of 12 schools participated in the event.

Spring carnival

EuroKids, Sector 9, organised a Spring carnival on its campus today. The campus was decorated for the occasion. Students along with their parents thronged the carnival. The event was organised to provide an opportunity to children to play and learn.

Students shine in NSTSE

The students of Holy Child School, Morni Road, Panchkula, brought laurels to the Tricity by gaining top positions in the National Science Talent Search Examination (NSTSE), 2014. The examination was conducted on February 2 this year under the aegis of the Unified Council, India. Anika Sharma, Atharv Kumar, Samdisha Singh and Gurleen Singh of Class 1 were the ‘national achievers’ (top 100) by securing the fourth, ninth, 12th and 59th rank at the national level. Pratishta Sharma and Tanvi Nagal of Class 1 bagged the first and third positions in the Haryana state. Monish Kumar D Reddy of Class 1 was the Tricity topper in his category. Students from India, Tanzania, UAE, Yemen, Oman, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, and Nepal participated in the Unified Council's flagship offering National Level Science Talent Search Examination. — TNS



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