C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kejri draws people in hordes
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal’s charisma saw city residents come out of their homes on a Sunday afternoon during his first-ever roadshow in the City Beautiful.

Patriotic songs such as "Maa tujhe salaam", "Kranti" and "Vande Matram" boosted the morale of AAP supporters, who had gathered at the Hallo Majra roundabout for Kejriwal’s roadshow.

The roadshow, which started at around 10 am, one hour behind schedule, from the Hallo Majra roundabout, saw people join in hordes from all walks of life. The support from the public in Chandigarh appeared immense.

Kejriwal visited southern sectors, colonies and villages and blamed the Congress government for doing little for the downtrodden and those living in colonies and villages. Fancy slogans and catchy songs were the highlights of the impressive roadshow.

During the roadshow, Kejriwal halted his cavalcade at several places and addressed city residents. During his speech, he was waving at people and appealing to residents with folded hands to vote for AAP candidate Gul Panag for the Chandigarh seat.

AAP workers distributed synthetic Nehru caps with AAP slogans and its poll symbol (broom) printed on both sides among residents.

At several locations, children dressed as Kejriwal, welcomed the AAP leader and his team. Some families were seen distributing bottles of water, bananas and biscuits among AAP volunteers.

Interestingly, the UT Administration had given permission for only 10 vehicles for Kejriwal’s roadshow, but countless number of cars, motorcycles, auto-rickshaws and mini-trucks became part of the roadshow as it moved around in the city.

Kejriwal said Panag wanted to serve the common man and she followed the party's basic principle of fighting against corruption.

The response from the public in Chandigarh was great and the police were trying hard to maintain law and order and avoid any untoward incident. The roadshow finally ended at Mani Majra at 3.15 pm.

A dream come true for young couple

It was dream come true for 38-year-old Vikram Singh Thakur, a relationship manager in a bank, and his 35-year-old wife Nidhi Thakur, to participate in Kejriwal’s roadshow. The couple said by sitting at home, it was not possible to change the corrupt system. "You have to come out from your comfort zone and be part of the change," the couple said.

Roadshow exceeds time limit

The permission for the roadshow was from 9 am to 12 noon. However, it continued till 3.15 pm. The UT SSP requested Kejriwal to cut short his schedule following which Kejriwal’s cavalcade did not enter the slum rehablitation colony in Dhanas and Khuda Lahora, which was earlier on its route plan. UT Election Department officials recorded Kejriwal’s roadshow.

Pickpockets have a field day

Three city residents became victims of pickpocketing during Kejriwal's roadshow. Jeet Singh of Sector 38 reported that his purse containing Rs 11,000 was stolen during the roadshow. The purse of Hardeep Singh, who garlanded the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, was also stolen.

Ankit Kumar of Ramdarbar lodged a Daily Diary Report (DDR) at the Sector 31 police station stating that his purse containing Rs 400 and some documents was stolen during the roadshow.

Why is Modi scared, asks Kejriwal

  • Kejriwal said, “Why is Modi scared if I am contesting from Varanasi? Why is he contesting from two constituencies?"
  • Ridiculing the “so-called Modi wave”, Kejriwal alleged that both Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi were hand in glove with business tycoon Mukesh Ambani.
  • On the alleged attempt by political parties to purchase votes, he said, “To purchase votes, they will offer you money, clothes and valuables. Accept all of it except liquor as it is harmful for health, but cast your vote for the AAP."



Aam Aadmi Party roadshow spells traffic chaos
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Commuters faced a tough time during the Aam Aadmi Party’s roadshow as traffic jams were witnessed at various places when party leader Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters were meeting people.

While a major traffic jam was witnessed at Zirakpur at 10.15 am, another jam was witnessed at the Hallo Majra light point soon after. The traffic jams were cleared after Kejriwal and his supporters moved ahead to other parts of the city.

The Chandigarh-Ambala highway witnessed traffic jams as Kejriwal’s supporters blocked one side of the road at various places to receive their leader.

A long queue of vehicles was seen on the road. A large number of AAP activists had gathered to welcome Kejriwal, who exchanged greetings with them while sitting in his car. Much to the disappointment of party activists, Kejriwal refused to come out of his vehicle.

The police had a tough time managing traffic in Chandigarh, which witnessed traffic jams in Sectors 15, 23 and 22, and at the Housing Board roundabout due to the roadshow.



Low turnout at BSP supremo Mayawati's rally in Sector 25
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati failed to pull a crowd at a rally in Sector 25 today. While BSP leaders were expecting a turnout of over 40,000 people, hardly 5,000 people turned up at the venue to listen to Mayawati.

In the city to support BSP candidate Jannat Jahan, Mayawati addressed the gathering for about 35 minutes.

BSP leaders had hired vehicles and buses to ferry people to the venue. However, the pick-and-drop service could not mobilise the expected turnout.

While the buses were parked at a distance from the venue, the parking area at the rally ground for visitors was largely lying empty.

The enthusiasm among the people was also missing as they arrived silently at the venue.

People reached the venue by 1 pm. However, the BSP supremo arrived at 3.20 pm. A majority of those who attended the rally was from villages and colonies. The thin gathering at the venue also included people from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

Anticipating a huge gathering, the Chandigarh Police had made tight security arrangements with large number of policemen deployed at the venue.

BSP leaders’ faux pas

  • BSP leaders from Punjab, while addressing the gathering, forgot that they were in Chandigarh and asked people to vote for the party on April 30, when polling is to take place in Punjab, while the city will go to the polls on April 10.
  • Even though there were enough chairs available at the venue for women, BSP leaders were repeatedly asking party supporters to provide more chairs for women, claiming that a huge crowd had arrived.
  • At around 1.30 pm, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) road show crossed through the Sector 25 rally ground attracting the attention of people who had arrived for Mayawati’s rally. They were seen rushing towards the road to have a glmpse of the AAP rally.
  • There was just one sofa on the stage for BSP supremo Mayawati while all others were standing on the stage.
  • Two separate stages with sitting arrangements were set up for VIP supporters of the party. The stages were close to the main stage so that those sitting there could get a clear view of the BSP leader.



Boy held for kidnapping minor girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The UT police today arrested a 17-year-old boy for allegedly kidnapping a minor girl in the city. The girl is a student of Class XII and was recovered from Sonepat in Haryana.

The police acted on a complaint of the girl’s parents, who alleged that the boy, who was her classmate in Class XI, had kidnapped her.

The girl was recovered and handed over to her parents. The boy was produced in a court and sent to the Sector 25 Juvenile Home.

A case has been registered at the Sector 34 police station.



Pedestrian dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
A 35-year-old pedestrian died after he was hit by a motorcycle on the road dividing Sectors 37 and 38 last night. The victim has been identified as Amar Singh, a resident of Maloya village.

The police have arrested the motorcycle rider, Surender Kumar, a resident of Buterla. Amar Singh received a severe head injury and was declared brought dead. The victim was unemployed. 



‘Need for Mayor-in-Council system in City Beautiful’
Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat shares his vision for the city with Chandigarh Tribune

What is your take on how the Union Territory is today? Should it remain a Union Territory or be transferred to either Punjab or Haryana, as was initially intended.

Chandigarh has completed 47 years as a Union Territory. Two new generations have come up during this period. They identify themselves as residents of the UT. Almost everyone in the city, irrespective of his place of origin, wishes to see Chandigarh as a Union Territory alone. This is also an emotive issue for the residents. I subscribe to this view and have always advocated the retention of its present status.

Are you satisfied with the way the UT is administered - with an Administrator (Punjab Governor) reporting to the Union Government? Should the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh be given more powers? Give us your governance model for the UT.

The present system of administration has not been able to be adequately responsive to the yearnings, aspirations and the needs of the people. Twelve lakh people often find their views and needs being given a short shrift by the non-representative bureaucratic set-up. There is, therefore, the need to empower the elected Municipal Corporation with more functions, functionaries and funds. Leaving aside some major administrative functions like law and order, higher education, tertiary healthcare, wildlife, environment and forests and Master Plan, the other functions should be transferred to the Corporation with a Mayor-in-Council system where the Mayor and three Executive Councillors have executive functions and responsibilities.

Should Chandigarh be made into a City State with a Legislative Assembly? Explain the contours.

A Legislative Assembly for Chandigarh will not be a viable proposition as it would entail the imposition of more taxes on the people. For a paradigm change in the administration, the Mayor-in-Council system, as suggested above, or the alternative of setting up a Metropolitan Council with powers akin to a State Assembly and a share in Central revenue, will be a good workable system. In such a case, we can do without a Mayor-in-Council and retain the MC as at present.

Should the six villages (Burail, Badheri, Butrela, Attawa, Kajheri and Palsora) within the sector limits, which stick out oddly, be retained or acquired and turned into sectors?

In accordance with the assurance held out by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to the people of 22 villages in Chandigarh in 1980, none of the existing villages should be razed to rebuild them as part of the grid sectors. They do not stick out oddly but are a veritable part of the true heritage of Chandigarh which was built after demolishing 28 villages. What needs to be done is to develop these villages as model villages after holding extensive consultations with the residents.

What is your plan for the other villages around the city of Chandigarh - how should they be developed?

The same holds good for the other villages of Chandigarh. The adjoining areas of Punjab and Haryana have seen unprecedented urban development, notwithstanding the provisions of the Periphery Control Act. There is, therefore, no reason why the villages of Chandigarh in the periphery be discriminated against. These should be allowed to grow on the same lines, ensuring planned development with the administration acting as a facilitator.

What is our plan for the slums of the city? Should they be removed and their inhabitants rehabilitated? Are you satisfied with the ongoing rehabilitation plans? Should migrants into the city be encouraged or discouraged?

The rehabilitation plan in Chandigarh is perhaps the finest in the country. About 45,000 families living in slum clusters have been re-located in built-up dwelling units in areas with the necessary physical and social infrastructure. With the completion of the scheme to rehabilitate another 15,000 families, Chandigarh will become the first slum-free city in the country. There is no question of encouraging or discouraging the migrants. The Constitution of India accords the right to every citizen to settle anywhere in the country. However, an excellent living environment has to be provided to every resident of the city and more of general housing schemes have to be launched.

How should the UT be developed: As an IT hub, education hub, convention city, health tourism city, tourist destination or...? Since Chandigarh is the gateway to three states, can it be promoted as a tourist destination? If yes, how?

Chandigarh is being developed as an IT hub, education hub and a tourist place as well. The excellent healthcare system also attracts people from the whole of North India. There is a great potential to develop Chandigarh as a tourist destination. The forest area of the Sukhna provides an ideal locale to develop eco-tourism with an alternative track through the forest becoming a great attraction. With high quality medical institutes, the city can also come up as a health tourist destination. Chandigarh has the scope of being developed as an important international convention city, a hop away from Delhi. With the extension of watch hours at the airport, international flights will soon start operating from here. What is needed is to build a modern state-of-the-art convention centre.

Is Chandigarh doing enough for its youth? What else should be done?

Though excellent educational facilities exist in Chandigarh, yet much more needs to be done for the youth. The IT Park, various educational institutes like the medical college, dental college and the Institute of Hotel Management offer good facilities to the youth. But what is needed is greater emphasis on skill development. One such initiative was taken when a Skill Development Centre was announced in last year's Railway Budget for the training of youth in Railway-related trades. Many such institutes are required to impart skills to the youth for gainful employment or self-employment oriented activities.

Can Chandigarh be developed into a world-class modern city? How? Are you in favour of Metro? What should be done to speed up the work?

Chandigarh has its limitations of size. It was not intended to be and is not a mega city though the satellite towns of Mohali and Panchkula together may make it one. What is needed for Chandigarh is world class social and physical infrastructure. It is already on its way to becoming one such modern world class city. Ten new trains have been started in the last one year. There is a need to devise and build upon the concept of Chandigarh Capital Region on the lines of the National Capital Region. A Mass Rapid Transport system would be necessary for the future. Such a project has a long gestation period. What has to be ensured is that this work is taken up in right earnest.

Should the UT's building bylaws remain stringent to retain its character or should they be made flexible?

In retrospect, one feels that the planning of Phase-II and Phase-III sectors lacked adequate vision as it did not take into account the socio-economic conditions of the EWS, LIG and MIG groups and the needs of the expanding families. Because of financial constraints, they were not able to shift to bigger houses and had to resort to need-based changes in CHB flats. More than 95 per cent of these flats have undergone such need -based changes. Being fastidious about the redundant bylaws will not take us anywhere. What is needed is to be pragmatic about it. The entire matter needs to be looked into afresh without binding ourselves in a time warp. Not only regularisation of alterations made but encouragement and incentivisation of renewal of old existing units is required. The building bylaws need to be dynamic with flexibility to permit change in the existing socio-economic scenario.


Uttarakhand CM hits out at Modi
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

A vehicle belonging to the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, being used to transport material for the rally
A vehicle belonging to the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, being used to transport material for the rally

Chandigarh, March 30
Taking a dig at BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat today called him ‘Corporate gharano ka laadla’.

The Uttarakhand CM was addressing a rally at Sector 40 in the evening organised by the Uttarkhand Congress Cell, Chandigarh, in the favour of the Congress candidate for Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Rawat alleged that in the Narmada Sagar project in Gujarat, the union government had allocated money which was meant for Gurjarat residents and farmers but the fund for the said project was diverted to facilitate the Ambanis.

Rawat said Modi could not unite his own state, how can he unite the entire country?

He also termed Modi as ‘bazigar’ and ‘jaadugar’ adding that the BJP was making a false propaganda that ‘Ek jaadugar aayega aur ek din mein desh ko badal dega’.

Rawat said people were not fool and they know the reality of the alleged false propaganda of BJP.

He alleged that the BJP was trying to win the elections on false promises and slogans, but the Congress was contesting on the development plank.

“BJP is spending crores of rupees on branding one person, which is much more than the election expenditure of all the parties,” he claimed.

Came here for my true friend: Rawat

  • Appealing to the gathering at the rally to vote for Pawan Kumar Bansal, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said, “While casting your vote, you must keep in mind that you have to vote for the future of the country, and only the Congress can ensure a bright future. Pawan Bansal is not just the leader of Chandigarh but of the country as well.”
  • “Aaj mein apne sache dost Pawan Bansal ke liye aaya hu,” Rawat said.
  • The Uttarakhand Chief Minister said Bansal was always concerned about Uttarakhand and he played a key role in the Centre releasing a grant of Rs 7,400 crore to the state.
  • There are over one lakh voters in the city, who have their roots in Uttarakhand.



Kirron, Gul will return to Mumbai after poll: Jannat
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
BSP candidate Jannat Jahan Ul Haq today promised to get the need-based changes in houses legalised, regularise contractual employees and develop infrastructure in villages and colonies if she wins the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.

Addressing the gathering at the rally ground in Sector 25 here, Jannat Jahan termed the two bollywood stars contesting the Chandigarh seat as outsiders who will return to Mumbai after elections to fulfill their professional commitments.

Referring to the BJP candidate, Kirron Kher, and AAP’s Gulkirat Kaur Panag, Jannat said bollywood stars sign their assignments al teast two years in advance. “They will not leave crores of rupees for you and will return,” she stated.

Jannat told the gathering, ‘Main Chandigarh seat ko jeet kar behan ji ki jholi mein dalna chahti hun’ (I want to win this seat for BSP supremo Mayawati).

Banking on her achievement of getting approval for laying of sewer pipes in Deep Complex, Hallomajra, Jannat said what the Congress MP could not do in the last 15 years, she managed to do it in only two years of her term as a municipal councillor. “The lines would be laid at a budgeted cost of Rs 9 crore,” she added.

Jannat also promised of making Urdu an optional language in the government schools here once she got elected as the Member of Parliament (MP).

The BSP candidate also assured people of bringing new IT and industrial policies for the city.

Mayawati, Jannat differ on promises

The BSP candidate, Jannat Jahan Ul Haq, made several promises to the people before the arrival of party supremo Mayawati. However, Mayawati, while addressing the rally, stated that her party did not release a ‘ghoshna patra’ as they believe in doing work.



BJP, BSP leaders join Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
A local BSP leader, Jatinder Yadav, along with his supporters joined the Congress during a function held at Rajiv Gandhi Congress Bhawan in Sector 35 here on Sunday.

Besides, two BJP leaders, namely Salememut and Ramlingam, along with their supporters joined the Congress.

Welcoming the leaders, CTCC president BB Bahl said the party would be strengthened with their joining.

Among those present were Poonam Sharma, HS Lucky, Jagat Sharma, Manjit Singh, Pawan Sharma. Harmel Kesari, Pardeep Chhabra, Parpit Brar, Rajiv Moudgil, Praveen Duggal, Vijay Rana, Maninder Dhillon, Bhupinder Singh Badheri.

Earlier, Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal was welcomed in Sector 15 where a public meeting was organised by the Sector 15A Residents Welfare Association.



Kirron Kher has a hectic Sunday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
BJP candidate for the Chandigarh seat Kirron Kher today carried out an aggressive campaign in the city.

After paying obeisance at the gurdwara in Sector 30 at 7.30 am, Kirron headed for canvassing. With a big band of supporters and celebratory drumbeats, began her road show from the Ward No 18. Later, the caravan reached the Police Lines, Sector 26. From there, she left for the Arya Samaj Temple in Sector 22 where a weekly programme on the occasion of 'Hindu Nav Varsh Vikrami Samvat: 2017' was under way. She also visited the EWS Colony in Sector 49 and Hallomajra. She was accompanied by Harmohan Dhawan, a former union minister.

In the evening, the BJP candidate met a delegation of the Housing Board Federation and also attended public meetings at Shantinagar of Manimajra and Sector 32.



Notice to BJP

Chandigarh, March 30
The Returning Officer (RO)-cum-DC, Mohammed Shayin, has issued a notice to the BJP for not maintaining the record of poll expenditure as per the instructions of the Election Department.

Official sources stated that the expenditure was not being recorded properly following which the party has been asked to give an explanation. The BJP has fielded bollywood actress Kirron Kher from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. — TNS



Elections nothing but dance of democracy
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
It was a refreshing change from the debates we get to watch on every news channel these days and from the intellectual writing that we get to read in all newspapers during the election season. Listening to an informal group discussion among government employees was a different experience.

The theme of the discussion among government employees as they whiled away their lunch break in Sector 17 plaza was simple: India needs a spring in the political scenario since Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi are two sides of the same coin. The discussion on political scenes at the national and city levels was hot and animated and the only thing cool was the breeze.

Tulsi Das, a government employee, led the discussion with the panache of a seasoned moderator. Do you really think the candidates are taking the electoral process seriously? Haven’t all the parties made a mockery of the system? Don’t these elections seem like an IPL auction where candidates are being sold? Is it worth exercising our franchise? Das threw a volley of questions at the group.

While sipping his tea, his collegue Desh Raj was the first to stick his neck out. “Aam Aadmi Party’s arrival has only created more ruckus and confusion,” he said. “It is difficult to say if any party will win a majority and sustain a stable government. I think the Delhi episode (of a short-lived government) will be repeated at the national level.”

Meanwhile, Ajay Garg found wondered that there have been strident cries for a government that can eradicate corruption even as government offices were the most corrupt places. “Prices shoot through the roof and no party has any plan to control inflation,” he said.

“Election campaigns have turned into a daily soap aiming for high TRPs, with everybody busy attacking one another. Glamorous faces, including Gul Panag and Kirron Kher, who have no idea about the problems of the common man, are being flown in from Mumbai and fielded for the seat here,” he said raising his pitch and concern.

The mercury rose to a new high when their colleague Ravi Bhushan wondered why candidates do not share a platform, take questions from the common people and reply on the spot.

“All of them are busying campaigning in their own domains,” he said. “We want to hear all candidates and their strategies on one platform, not just their representatives on TV debates,” he added.

With pessimism binding them all, another employee suggested that the government workforce was the most ignored lot of voters. “Since we don’t protest on streets, no candidate made any effort to mention us,” he said.



youth voice
Players want parties to spare a thought for sports as well
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
City players are screening manifestos of various political parties expecting a policy for the welfare of sports and sportspersons.

On their mind is a policy to upgrade sports infrastructure, job openings for sportspersons and improvement in coaching system.

“I think sports should be given the attention it deserves. If nurtured well, we can win more medals at international events and improve the country's standing on the medals’ tally. In their manifestos, political parties should stress on providing extensive coaching to players, which is the basic requirement to improve a player’s performance,” says Pushpinder Singh.

“The government should lay stress on providing basic amenities to players at the grass roots level. Love for sports and its benefits should be propagated. The government should come up with plans to secure the livelihood of players,” adds Parminder.

Sameer Sharma and Manish say the government needs to offer incentives to attract more youngsters towards sports. “Sports is not a priority in our country. The political parties should not only frame good policies but also ensure proper utilisation of funds and smooth functioning of institutions such as Sports Authority of India (SAI),” the duo adds.

Vivek, local handball player, points out that politicians make promises and forget them once they are elected to power. “In the past, many proposals have been made for the benefit of sportspersons. However, they either did not materialise or were not implemented properly. Many players are unaware of various schemes of SAI and schemes run by state governments.”

“The money for development of sports is being misused. The CWG (Commonweath Games) scam is one such example. There has to be a proper check in the system to stop corruption. Also, the government needs to publicise the facilities for players,” said Vivek.



Candidates chirp

Kirron Kher @KirronKherBJP

8.54 am: Good morning Chandigarh! Yesterday d show of strength by our supporters at d BJP rally was mesmerising. Let's now change d destiny of our city.

9.02 am: My commitment to Chandigarh is 4 life. I have dealt with my life with courage & conviction. That is what I'll give to our city. Dedication.

Gul Panag @GulPanag

7.33 am: Development in Chandigarh can be best illustrated by stepping into a pothole and splashing water on others.

7.41 am: Most party manifestos are at best an intellectual exercise, with a high degree of commonality. It's the intent to implement that's missing!



city poll facts
Bansal won his first election in 1991

  • Sitting Congress Member of Parliament (MP), who is contesting the Chandigarh seat again, had won his first Lok Sabha election in 1991.
  • Then, Bansal, who had contested on the Congress ticket, had defeated his nearest rival, BJP’s Satya Pal Jain, by 15,095 votes.
  • Bansal had got 76,628 votes while Jain polled 61,533 votes.
  • Bansal had won four Lok Sabha elections, in 1991, 1999, 2004 and 2009.



ambala votes 2014
Congress candidate Valmiki makes poll pitch
Focuses on development works carried out during the Hooda regime
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
Congress candidate from the Ambala Lok Sabha seat Raj Kumar Valmiki and local MLA DK Bansal addressed 23 public meetings in the city and its vicinity today.

Banking on the development works carried out in the city during the Bhupinder Singh Hooda regime, the Congress leaders sought votes from the residents of Mahandev Pura, Saketri, Bhainsa Tibba, Kharag Mangoli, Maheshpur and Madanpur villages.

Public meetings were also organised in Sectors 7, 18, 17, 8, 9, 10, 14, 12-A, 11, Labour Chowk, Sectors 16, 15, 4, 25, 28, 20 and 19 today.

During his election campaign in the Kalka segment of the Ambala parliamentary constituency, Valmiki visited over 12 villages and addressed public meetings at some places yesterday.

Accompanied by the party leaders and workers, Valmiki reached Bhairon village and addressed a public meeting there. He also visited villages, including Basola, Bare Godam, Kauna, Issarpur, Surajpur, Ambwala, Bir Ghaggar and Chandimandir.

Valmiki was also accompanied by former district president of the Congress Om Prakash Devi Nagar, Rajesh Kauna, chairman of the Zila Parishad, Manveer Kaur Gill, former president of the Panchkula Municipal Council, Ranjeeta Mehta, general secretary, Haryana Congress (Women Cell) and some others.

While Valmiki covered the Kalka segment, local Congress MLA DK Bansal, along with Satnam Singh Chattha, chairman of the Congress Coordination Committee, Gurpreet Singh Bedi, a senior Congress leader, addressed a meeting of the party workers at the Congress camp office in Sector 12 and asked them to penetrate in the rural and urban areas and motivate public to vote for Valmiki.

Bansal also held a meeting with over 15 village sarpanches in Barwala in the evening and sought votes for the Congress on the basis of development works taken up in the state during the Hooda government.



Congress gave stepmotherly treatment to Ambala: Kataria

Panchkula, March 30
Accusing Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of shifting all major projects and other development works to his home district Rohtak, Rattan Lal Kataria, BJP-HJC candidate from Ambala, said Panchkula was given peanuts in the past 10 years. Addressing a gathering of city-based advocates in Sector 3 here, Kataria alleged that the Congress, during its tenure, had given stepmotherly treatment to Ambala and did nothing for the township.

Kataria promised industrial packages to Panchkula on the pattern of industrial hubs in Baddi and Nalagarh towns of Himachal Pradesh.

Kataria also addressed public meetings in Sector 9, and Sector 5. He also addressed gatherings in Sector 21, Naggal and Moginand and Bir Ghaggar villages.

Expressing solidarity with the BJP and Kataria, Varinder Singh, a local leader, joined the party along with supporters at Khangesra village. Vishal Seth, district president of the BJP, accused the former MP, Kumari Selja, of abandoning the constituency after wining the elections. — TNS



Supporters, activists disappointed as Kejriwal leaves roadshow midway
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activists and the public waited for over three hours to have a glimpse of Arvind Kejriwal, national convener of the party, who was forced to cut short his roadshow due to bad health this afternoon.

Nearly 500 party activists had assembled at the Sector 16 market to have a glimpse of Kejriwal. A majority of the party supporters lined up along the road dividing Sectors 16-17 until a group of nearly 100 motorcyclists reached the venue.

Poor security arrangements were clearly reflected along the route earmarked for the roadshow. There was chaos on the road starting from the Housing Board Chowk to the T-Point on the Kalka-Ambala Highway opposite Sector 20 when a cavalcade of over 2,000 vehicles followed the car carrying Kejriwal and his associates from Delhi.

Throwing traffic rules to the wind, the party supporters were seen triple riding on motorcycles during the roadshow in the absence of any traffic police personnel at the venue. The public virtually blocked the road dividing Sectors 16 and 17 when the vehicles reached the venue.

AAP candidate from the Ambala Lok Sabha seat SP Singh and senior party leaders were also travelling in an open jeep during the roadshow.

Resentment prevailed among the party activists in Sector 14 and Sector 20 when Kejriwal gave them a miss and preferred to leave for Delhi as his health deteriorated due to the hectic schedule of the election campaign.

Later, Geeta Singh, wife of SP Singh, and other party workers pacified the gathering in the Sector 20 market by briefing them on Kejriwal’s health.

Later, SP Singh, who was accompanying Kejriwal till the Zirakpur traffic light point, himself visited Sectors 14 and 20.



Anandpur sahib votes 2014
Ambika Soni interacts with villagers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 30
To feel the pulse of the rural areas of her constituency, Ambika Soni, Congress candidate from the Anandpur Sahib constituency, made a round of villages located in the periphery of the town here.

Ambika Soni, accompanied by Mohali MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, MLA Navtej Singh Cheema and other senior local leaders, went to Saneta, Bakarpur, Sohana villages and other parts of the town.

Kicking off her campaign after paying obeisance at Singh Shaheedan Gurdwara at Sohana village, she held meetings with the residents of Bakarpur, Saneta, Sohana villages and some parts of the town as part of her canvassing.

Lashing out at the ruling party in the state in her speeches, Soni said the Akalis had brought the state to almost bankruptcy.

“They (Akalis) are befooling the people in the name of development. I virtually see no development here,” said Soni during her meetings with the rural folk.

“Certain ministers of the ruling government are involved in illegal mining, drug mafia and other illegal activities and exploiting the people of the state,” said Soni.

She said the financial condition of the state had collapsed and its employees were not getting their salaries on time.

Soni also defied the SAD’s claims of step-motherly treatment with Punjab by the Congress-led UPA government, claiming that she along with the sitting MP Ravneet Singh Bittu had disbursed grants in crores from their MPLAD funds for the development of the Shri Anandpur Sahib constituency.



Navratra fest begins today
No VIP passes at Mansa Devi temple this year
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
This Navratras, VIPs would have to queue up with the common devotees as the District Administration has issued no passes. The nine-day Navaratra fest would begin at the Mansa Devi temple tomorrow.

The District Administration said everyone was equal before god and special cases would only be entertained. This time, no invitation cards had been published due to the poll code of conduct.

SS Phulia, Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, said: “If any senior citizen requests us to enter the temple, we will allow him the entry. Special cases are always entertained.”

SP Arora, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, said: “Every devotee is a VIP for us. We will ensure that proper facilities are provided to everyone.”

Every year, around 5,000 passes are issued. Separate gates are installed for the VIPs. The Haryana Chief Minister and other dignitaries would make an entry through VVIP Gate Number 3, while other VIP officials would enter the temple through VIP Gate Number 2.

Legal awareness camp

A legal awareness camp by the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) would be inaugurated on the temple premises by District and Sessions Judge RK Sondhi.

Special arrangements

  • 42 CCTV cameras have been installed to keep a check on anti-social elements at the temple.
  • 30 medical officers would be on duty to deal with any medical emergency. Ambulances from the General Hospital, Sector 6, have also been arranged to rush patients.
  • 65 temporary toilets have been set up for the devotees.
  • 111 sweepers have been deployed at the temple to ensure cleanliness.
  • Special beds have been arranged in the emergency ward of the General Hospital.

Security up

Security arraignments have been beefed up ahead of Navratras. As the festival is coinciding with the Lok Sabha elections, a special vigilance would be kept on anti-social elements. As many as 750 police personnel have been deployed at the temple. No VIP or dignitary would inaugurate the fest tomorrow.



Kathak renditions mesmerise audience
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Jatinder Kaur, a member of Gurgaon-based Gurukul Music and Dance Society, 'Kastoori', organised a Kathak celebration event at the IETE auditorium in Sector 30, here, today.

A plethora of Kathak renditions were staged. The event began with 'gurustuti,' a ceremonial prayer.

Kathak exponent Deepak Aurora evoked the atmosphere of yore. His breezy start, and rhythmic clarity gave a subtlety interpretation of the dance and touched the inner chord of the audience.

While the Kazakhstani duo, Asil and Aanaah, mesmerised the audience with their performances.

The organisers said the event was organised to introduce residents of the tricity to kathak and Gurukul Music and Dance Society.



150 take part in CME on epilepsy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Epilepsy is twice as common among children as among adults. Seven out of 1,000 children under the age of 16 are epileptic, while the incidents of epilepsy in adults are 3 per 1,000 worldwide. This was stated by experts at the PGIMER while addressing doctors from across the region during a Continuous Medical Education (CME) programme held today.

The one-day CME focused on “seizures and epilepsy in children: from knowledge to practical care”. Practical aspects of childhood epilepsies and common day-to-day problems faced in managing these children were discussed during the programme.

Nearly 150 participants, including postgraduate students, specialist trainees, general practitioners, pediatricians and those working in regional medical colleges, joined the CME from various parts of the North India. The sessions were informative and interactive with the experts responding to the queries from the delegates after their talks.

Dr Pratibha Singhi delivered a session focusing on parasitic cysts in the brain and management of this particularly common and important cause of seizures in children.



Pahadia to pay obeisance at Mansa Devi temple today

Panchkula, March 30
Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia will visit the Mansa Devi temple here tomorrow, the first day of the Navratras, to seek the blessings of the Goddess.

The nine-day Navaratra festival would begin at the Mansa Devi shrine tomorrow.

It is not the first time that Pahadia and his wife had a miraculous escape. During the last Navratras too they had a close shave when a snake entered their golf cart.

Panchkula City Magistrate Pooja Chanwaria said: "The Governor is coming to pay obeisance at the temple and would be here by around 11.40 am."

Though the administration has not invited any VIP or dignitary and no official inauguration of the event would take place due to poll code of conduct, Pahadia is making a personal visit to the temple after the mishap.

Officials of the administration have made sure that unlike last Navratras, no untoward incident takes place this time.

"After the last year's incident when a snake entered a golf cart, we have made full arrangements to tackle any untoward situtaion," said an official of the district administration. On Thursday, Pahadia, his wife and eight others had a narrow escape when their state government aircraft crash-landed seconds after it took off from the Chandigarh airport. — TNS



170 units of blood donated

Mohali, March 30
More than 170 units of blood were collected during a blood donation camp organised at Guru Harkrishan Trust Eye Institute at Sohana village here today.

The camp was held on the concluding day of five-day Gurmat Samagam at the hospital. To mark the occasion, a new trauma centre was also inaugurated here. — TNS



Health notes
Elderly attend workshop

As many as 100 senior citizens attended a health workshop on “heart disease risk in menopausal women”, at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mohali, on Sunday. Dr Anurag Sharma, senior consultant, cardiology, at the hospital, said based on the observations in his daily OPDs, cardiovascular diseases were rapidly taking a toll on women in the country. As per the WHO report, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) would be the largest cause of death and disability in India by 2020. The susceptibility ratio of men to women for CVD was 3:2 in the younger age group. After menopause, the ratio become 1:1, he pointed out.

Seminar on HIV/AIDS

A seminar on “HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control” was organised at the National Institute of Nursing Education, PGIMER, by the second-year students of BSc Nursing (4 years) on Friday. Over 200 students took part in the seminar. The activity was sponsored by the Red Ribbon Club and the States AIDS Control Society.

Orientation training

The Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, hosted an ICMR-sponsored seminar entitled “Orientation Training of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Experts for Adopting Health Promotion Approach in a Teaching Hospital for Reducing Patient Load in OPDs”. Dr LK Dhaliwal, head, Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics, PGIMER, delivered the inaugural address. She highlighted the benefits of adopting this approach in gynaecology OPD. — TNS



Teachers’ transfer policy on Net
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
After a year of coming up with the transfer policy for teaching and non-teaching staff of government schools, finally the Department of Education, Chandigarh, has woken out of its slumber and put the policy in the public domain by uploading it on the department’s official website.

With the policy going online, many educationalists may be transferred after its implementation.

The officials from the Education Department said there had been no change in the policy.

Though the policy was supposed to get implemented from the previous academic session of 2012-13, it still remains an eyewash as the department has failed to implement it.

The policy states that principles/headmasters/headmistresses shall be transferred after five years of completion of stay.

Lecturers/masters/mistresses C&V, teachers, JBT teachers may be transferred after 10 years of stay.

According to information, violating the policy norms there are numerous educationalist who have been serving over two decades in the same schools.

As per the policy, lecturers/masters / mistresses / C&V, teachers, JBT teachers who have put more than three years of service in their present schools may be shifted on the basis of request.

Performance of students may be taken into consideration while considering their transfers.

It also states that while transferring the heads of schools/teachers on administrative grounds, genuineness of the request on personal grounds having sufficient reasons on a case-by-case basis, may be considered and where the results of students are extremely poor, the period of the stay shall not be applicable.

In case of the non-teaching staff, including librarians, SLAs and LAs, the policy states that they may transferred after 10 years of stay.

And while transferring teachers on a request basis from rural areas/periphery, they should have completed their stay of two years and those teachers who have not served in schools of rural areas may be transferred to such places (teaching/non teaching).

No midterm transfer may be made except on administrative grounds. Those employees who are retiring within one year or less shall not be disturbed. The policy also states that in case of declaration of surplus post(s) in a school, vacant teachers having the longest stay in the school in the respective cadre may be transferred without taking into consideration the period of stay.

When Director Public Instructions (DPI,) schools, Kamlesh Kumar, was contacted regarding the implementation of the policy, he said: “The Education Department has been transparent in implementing the policy. Though there has been no changes in the policy, we have put it online to bring in more awareness.”



Admn bends rules to adjust official’s kin
Reshuffles 3 lecturers for the purpose
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The UT Administration in order to accommodate Kamaljeet Kaur, a lecturer of history and a relative of a senior official in the Education Department, has violated its own deputation policy, as she was transferred thrice within a span of less than one month.

As per the norms, an employee serving on deputation in Chandigarh (UT), if promoted by his/her parent state, needs to serve minimum five years in his/her parent cadre state before being called on deputation.

In gross violation of the rules, Kamaljeet, who was serving on deputation as a TGT teacher at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, was promoted here, and then transferred to Government Model Senior Secondary School, 37-B, on February 20 and then re-transferred back to prior school in Sector 15 on March 4, in less than a fortnight’s time.

Due to this major transfer goof-up, history lecturer Kiran Dutta, who had been suffering from a medical ailment, was transferred without taking her consent while she was on her medical commuted leave.

"Without giving me any prior notice, I was transferred while being on medical leave and told to report directly to the principal at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37." Dutta said.

Dutta alleged, “Just a day prior to the election code of conduct came into force, in order to accommodate Kamaljeet in Sector 15, the history lecturer there, Manjinder Kaur, was transferred to my prior school - Government Model Senior Secondary School 23 - and I was shifted from there to Sector 37." She said: "I had sent a written complaint to the DPI, Education Department, regarding the matter. I have not received any communication from him so far."

Deputy Director, School Education I, Chanchal Singh, who had issued the transfer orders, said: "This is not a matter of contention. There is a policy which states employees serving on deputation can be retained under certain conditions." However, Chanchal did not provide a reason for giving Kamaljeet three transfers in less than a month’s span.



Students develop life-saving glove
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 30
A team of students of Aryan Group of Colleges claimed to have developed a 'life-saving glove', which is said to be helpful to people prone to the risk of cardiac diseases.

The new innovation, developed by students of engineering and nursing, was launched today in the presence of Dr HK Bali, Director, Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, here. Showkat, Danish, Ishfaq and Adil, all Btech ECE students, and Rashpal Kaur, Alisha Khanna and Sonia, all nursing students, were the members of the team.

Terming the innovation a boon for cardiac patients, Dr Bali said it would help in reducing the number of cardiac patients dying each year due to lack of timely medical assistance.

Dr Anshu Kataria, chairman of group of colleges, said the glove, when worn by a patient, would monitor the pulse rate of the patient at frequent intervals.

"Any exceptional change in pulse rate caused due to cardiac disease, which is beyond the standard limit, will be detected by the glove and a call and an sms would be sent to patient's doctor and a relative automatically," Dr Kataria said.

Showkat said the project works both on battery and power supply. It also consists of a SIM card, which works under the Global System for Mobile (GSM) module. The contact number of doctor and relative of the patient are recorded in a micro-controller and can be changed by simple modification in the programme.

"Currently, the system is wired but we are planning to make it wireless," he added.



Vacation schedule of govt schools announced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
In a meeting of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of UT teachers held here today, under the chairmanship of Bhag Sing Kairon, all members of the committee unanimously expressed their gratitude to officers of the Education Department, Chandigarh, for considering and incorporating the views of the JAC while deciding the school timings and vacation schedule for all government and aided schools of the UT.

Kairon said during the meeting, the members also raised the pending demands of teachers that includes promotion of all cadres, including JBTs to master cadre, equal mobile allowance to all teachers having equal grade pay that were being paid with different rates, to grant equal work equal pay to teachers, regularisation of all categories of teachers.

New schedule

  • The summer vacations will be from June 1 to 30.
  • The winter break will be from December 25 to January 5.
  • Others holidays: November 22 will be a holiday.
  • Restricted holidays: October 24 - on account of Goverdhan Puja, October 25 - on account of Bhai Dooj,
  • Every second Saturday will be a holiday, except the second Saturday of November.



Parents take part in orientation programme
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 30
An orientation programme for parents of students of Mind Tree School, Kharar, was held on the school premises today.

While interacting with the parents, Principal Meenakshi Ahlawat said in order to provide the best to children it was necessary that the old system of reviewing be replaced with the dynamic teaching reviews.

Parents freely discussed their parenting problems and ways to motivate their child to do better during the interactive session. The principal advised the parents to follow a few simple steps at home that help their children enjoy school more.

"As parents, at times we tend to overlook small achievements of our children, which need encouragement. Praising your child for an improved behaviour too is an important part of parenting,” she said.

The parents were introduced to pedagogy, new subjects, assessment techniques and activities for the new session.



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