C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ex-Home Secy NK Jain acquitted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Twelve years after the sensational rape-on-wheels case involving former UT Home Secretary NK Jain and four others as accused came to light, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Anshu Shukla today acquitted all accused in the gang rape case. Besides, the court also disposed of another case of rape and kidnapping registered on the complaint of the same victim at Panchkula against businessman MK Jain and political leader Manoj Pal.

NK Jain and the others were acquitted after the victim turned hostile in court and refused to identify any of her alleged rapists. Even though the DNA of the victim had confirmed that she had physical relations with accused Surinder Sharma, the charges of rape could not be proved against anyone.

The case of gang rape and criminal conspiracy was registered against former Chandigarh Home Secretary NK Jain after he was accused of framing a resident of Sector 8, MK Jain, in a rape case.

The case was registered against NK Jain, Ram Lal, Surinder Sharma, Narveer and Baldev Kumar. The case, which came to be known as the rape-on-wheels case, was registered on August 15, 2002.

According to the prosecution case, the victim, who was then 21 years old and hailed from Shimla, was allegedly raped and thrown out of a car near the Sector 33 petrol pump on August 14, 2002.

On regaining consciousness, she stated to the police that businessman MK Jain took her from a computer centre at Sector 20 on the pretext of providing her a job and then gave her a cold drink laced with an intoxicant on the way to Panchkula and later raped and dumped her. However, the investigation carried out by the Chandigarh Police found that the victim was not raped by MK Jain as he was playing golf at the Golf Club that day. The police had stated that former UT Home Secretary NK Jain, along with others, had hatched a conspiracy to falsely implicate MK Jain in the case due to a property dispute.

In 2010, the court had framed charges of gang rape against NK Jain and others.

In September 2011, the victim turned hostile in court and refused to identify any of the accused following which they were acquitted today.

Businessman acquitted in another rape case

In a separate case of rape registered on a complaint of the same victim in Panchkula against city-based businessman MK Jain and another person Manoj Pal, the court acquitted both accused today.

The case was registered in February 2003 at Panchkula after the victim alleged that she was drugged and abducted by both accused from Amartex Chowk, Industrial Area, in Panchkula. Later, rape charges were added during the investigation. In March 2014, she alleged in court that MK Jain had raped her. She was not appearing in court and she had deposed in court only after warrants were issued against her.

Counsel for MK Jain Terminder Singh said MK Jain was playing golf this time too when the victim has accused him of kidnapping and raping her. "It turned out that there was a property dispute between NK Jain and MK Jain, which was the cause of the entire dispute. Call records also proved that the prosecutrix used to communicate with NK Jain. An eyewitness, who was an auto driver and NDPS convict, was caught with the car of one of the conspirators," said Terminder Singh.

Important dates

August 14, 2002: The victim alleges businessman MK Jain raped her in a moving car near Sector 33.

November 2002: Chargesheet filed against former UT Home Secretary NK Jain and four others after investigations revealed that NK Jain hatched a conspiracy to frame MK Jain in the case.

February 8, 2003: The victim again alleges MK Jain and his associate Manoj Pal raped her in a moving car near Amartex, Industrial Area, Panchkula.

May 2010: The court frames charges against NK Jain and four others in gang rape case.

September 2011: The victim fails to recognise NK Jain and the others in court, turns hostile.

September 2013: The court frames charges of gang rape against MK Jain and Manoj in the 2003 case.

March 2014: The court acquits all accused, including former UT Home Secretary, in the rape-on-wheels case.



3 MC officers, Selvel Media under CBI scanner
Preliminary inquiry registered; civic body office raided
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The CBI has registered a preliminary inquiry against three officers of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and a private firm, M/s Selvel Media Services Pvt Ltd, for allegedly favouring a private company in the maintenance of public toilets and advertising.

CBI sources said in the inquiry, the names of three MC officers, SK Bansal, SR Aggarwal and RC Dewan, and M/s Selvel Media Services Pvt Ltd were mentioned.

As part of the investigations, CBI sleuths today seized some documents from the MC office in Sector 17 and also raided the company’s premises in Delhi.

According to the sources, the preliminary inquiry has been registered against the MC officials and the private company for allegedly giving undue benefit to Selvel Media in bagging a tender for the operation and maintenance of 86 public toilets and advertisement between 2007 and 2012.

The tender was allegedly manipulated and the advertisement payment waived, the sources said.

Selvel Media initially bagged the tender to maintain 86 toilets in 2007 at a cost of around Rs 8,000 per toilet with an enhancement of 10 per cent every year for five years. The sum was finalised at around Rs 12,000 per month. After five years, three companies applied for the work, of which only two qualified. Selvel Media again bagged the contract at a cost of Rs 17,303 with an increase of 10 per cent per year.

"The company was initially satisfied at around Rs12,000 per month per toilet and then the tender has been allotted for Rs 17,303. The hike of over Rs 5,000 per toilet per month raises eyebrows. The company was maintaining toilets earlier for Rs 12,000 and it initially quoted the rate of Rs 19,000 but easily agreed for Rs 17,303 after negotiations.

Significantly, all 86 toilets were kept in two groups and there was no competition in the tender. The entire process shows things have been done to favour a company,” a CBI official said.

BJP councillor Satinder Singh had raised this issue at a House meeting recently.



SBI employee jumps to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 31
An employee of the State Bank of India (SBI) committed suicide by jumping from the fifth floor of the office building in Sector 5 here this evening.

The victim, identified as Harnek Singh, a senior messenger, hailed from Dera Bassi. Harnek Singh took the extreme step after the office hours.

The victim was found lying in a pool of blood 15 minutes after the incident. A doctor of the bank was called to the spot, who declared him dead. The victim's body has been kept in the mortuary of the General Hospital, Sector 6, here.

CCTV footage showed that during the day, Harnek Singh went near the window from where he jumped eight times. An employee said they thought he was going about his work as usual.

Inspector Malkeet Singh, SHO of the Sector 5 police station, said, “The victim was depressed for the past three days. Everything was fine on the office and the family front, according to our investigations.”

In the CCTV grab, Harnek Singh was seen sitting on a slab near the window in the evening for 20 minutes, waiting for all cars in the parking area to leave.

The victim is survived by his wife and three children. One of his sons and daughter are married. 



Notice to Bansal for ‘inciting’ communal feelings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Congress candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat Pawan Kumar Bansal is in for fresh trouble as Returning Officer Mohammed Shayin has issued a show-cause notice to him for inciting communal feelings while seeking votes during a visit to Mauli Jagran on March 26.

The notice has been issued on the basis of a complaint made by state executive member of the BJP Hitesh Pandit to the Returning Officer. In the notice, the Returning Officer said inciting communal feelings of members of a particular religion was in violation of the model code of conduct. The Congress leader has been asked to explain his position within three days. Meanwhile, the Returning Officer has issued an advisory to the president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee in connection with alleged remarks made by the women wing of the Congress relating to BJP candidate Kirron Kher's personal life. The party has been asked to refrain from such criticism. 



Navratra fest: Over 1 lakh devotees throng Mansa Devi temple on Day 1
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 31
Over 1 lakh devotees thronged the Mansa Devi temple here on the first day of the Navratras today. There was no formal inauguration of the Navratra festival this year due to poll code.

Deviating from the earlier practice, no VIP passes have been issued this year. Only the elderly, the ailing and the physically challenged have been allowed separate entry. However, some senior government officials managed to get separate entry.

Officials of the administration were seen only at the time of receiving Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia and his wife, who had come to take part in a havan at the temple this morning.

Till 7.30 pm, an amount of Rs 15.40 lakh was received as offerings at the shrine on the first day.

Besides, 10 items of gold and 62 of silver were received as offerings. No foreign currency was offered by the devotees today.

“We have come all the way from Rajpura to pay obeisance at the temple. I come here every year during the Navratras,” said Vivek Singh, a devotee.

The elderly and the physically challenged failed to get the golf cart facility as it was made available only to the Governor today.

“We thought we would also be able to use the golf cart. As the elderly and the physically challenged find it difficult to climb stairs to pay obeisance, the golf cart facility was introduced for their convenience. However, they were deprived of the facility today," said 80-year-old Rajbir Singh, a devotee.

At the time of obeisance by the governor, the devotees were asked to wait for some time, which led to jostles, but the situation was brought under control in fifteen minutes.

Nakas were set up around the temple to keep a check on anti-social elements.

Yograj Singh visits temple

Yograj Singh, father of cricketer Yuvraj Singh, also visited the temple to pay obeisance on the first day of the Navratras.

Legal literacy camp

To make the devotees aware of their legal rights, the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Panchkula, started a special legal literacy camp at the shrine. The camp will continue throughout the Navratras.

Exhibition on importance of vote

Devotees also got to see the ongoing exhibition regarding the importance of vote at the temple. The exhibition is being held at Bhandara Bhawan. The devotees were asked to cast their vote on April 10.



Discount at PGI chemist shops: Truth remains far from reality
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Fifteen days after the chemist shop, Shivangee Medicos, offered 57.2 per cent discount on medicines at the PGIMER, other chemist shops in the area are also in the fray to woo patients with discount claims as high as 70 per cent. The 57.2 per cent discount on medicines, so far, is being claimed as the highest in nation. Patients are, however, being disappointed upon bracing the reality.

Two chemist shops located in the old shopping complex at the PGIMER, Goyal Chemist and Durga Chemist, have put up boards claiming discounts as high as 70 per cent on medicines and surgical items. Regular visits to the area, however, revealed that at Shivangee Medicos, stocks of a number of medicines were not available and high discounts (above 57 per cent as claimed by Shivangee) was applicable on only few injections, surgical items and generic medicines.

Arun Kanwar (name changed), a patient, who visited the area two days ago to buy Telma and Atorlip (medicines for controlling high BP), could not find the prescribed medicines at Shivangee Medicos. When he visited the other two shops, he was told that only 15 per cent discount was available on the medicines, contrary to the boards of discounts available on medicines displayed in front of the shops.

Shankar Tiwari, another patient, who needed Flunil, could avail only 15 per cent discount on the medicine. The medicine was unavailable at Shivangee Medicos.

Owner of Shivangee Medicos Shailesh Sanwaria accepted that supply of medicines had been consuming time. “But 90 per cent of the stock has been restored,” said Sanwaria.

Raj Goyal, owner of Goyal chemist, said discounts up to 70 per cent was applicable only on injectable medicines used in chemotherapy and few others, but not on tablets, since margins were lesser in these.

Owner of the other shop, on condition of anonymity, said the board on discount is not for misleading patients. “It has been put up to let patients know the range of discounts available on a variety of medicines and surgical items,” added the owner of the shop.


Chandigarh Votes 2014
‘UT residents should have a say in decision making’
Kirron Kher: BJP-SAD candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat shares her 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.

When Punjab was partitioned in 1966, Chandigarh was given the status of a Union Territory. It was kept as one of the common links between Punjab and Haryana. This town has now grown tremendously during the past 48 years. Punjab and Haryana have their own problems. In the light of this, I and the local unit of the BJP are in favour of retaining Chandigarh as a Union Territory.

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.

I am not satisfied with the present working of the Union Territory, though being a Union Territory it has to be administered through a representative of the Union Government. The question of administrative structure is arguable but the residents of Chandigarh should have a definite say in the decision-making process. At present, officers from different states keep coming and going from here and implement policies according to their own whims, without taking the residents into confidence.

I am in favour of giving more powers to the Municipal Corporation but unfortunately, the Congress-ruled MC could not properly exercise even those powers, which it had. The local MP, in spite of being a member of the Municipal Corporation as well as a minister in the Union Cabinet, could not give any positive direction to the Municipal Corporation nor could he get more powers for the Municipal Corporation.

In my view, the local administration should be more responsive to the people. People should have a say in decision making. We have to fix accountability and responsibility of the rulers. There should be a single-window system and, above all, the administration has to be taught how to respect the dignity and honour of the common man.

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

Though there is a dire need for involving the residents in the decision-making process and giving more powers to the people’s representatives, I don’t think that the time is ripe for making Chandigarh a city state with a Legislative Assembly. This proposition has to be seriously debated and all its pros and cons have to be studied in depth before moving into that direction. No decision should be taken about it in a hurry.

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?

Panchayats of all these six villages were abolished and merged into the Municipal Corporation a long time back. The successive Congress-led corporations and their local MPs have failed to provide them with even the basic civic amenities, which are basic to human living.

All these areas should be developed into sectors by providing basic amenities to its residents and any policy for them should be finalised only after their involvement, consultation and consent.

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

The Indian Constitution recognises the Panchayati Raj Institutions with a 3-tier system i.e. Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad. We should respect the constitutional provisions. These villages should be developed as model villages by providing them with all necessities of lifelike school, college, hospital, roads, etc. Though they should be retained as villages, they should be provided with all the facilities on a par with the sectors.

What is your 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 BJP is in favour of “slum-free” India, which includes “slum-free” Chandigarh also. It is the basic duty of the government to provide a house to every citizen, in colonies, in the villages or in the city. We would try to construct a sufficient number of multi-storeyed flats so that every resident of Chandigarh can own a house, even if it is a small one, to live in.

“Slum-free India” can be made by providing residential accommodation to all the poor people. The present rehabilitation policy by the Congress government has failed. Neither has it been able to rehabilitate all the slum-dwellers nor has it been able to remove all the slums. Rather, their policies have encouraged more and more slums. No city can afford migratory population beyond a particular limit in spite of the fact that the Constitution gives the right to every citizen to go and settle in any part of India. There is a strong need for formulating a clear-cut policy on this issue by rising above narrow political consideration.

How should the UT be developed: As an IT hub, education hub, convention city, health tourism city, tourist destination or...?

Chandigarh has the capacity to develop manifold and in multi dimensions. All attempts should be made to encourage the activities in the town and we should have a balanced approach instead of concentrating all energies only in one direction.

Since Chandigarh is the gateway to three states, can it be promoted as a tourist destination? If yes, how?

Yes, it can be. We can develop a number of places in Chandigarh like the Rock Garden, Rose Garden, museums, etc, as attractive places for the tourists. We can provide suitable hotels at cheaper rates where even a common man can come and stay. If we properly plan it, we can make use of even the surrounding places from the tourism point of view, with Chandigarh as the central place. We can cater to the needs of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh also with Chandigarh as the central place.

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

The Chandigarh Administration and the Congress-led Central government have done nothing for the youth. Unemployment is a major issue for the youth today. We have to create employment opportunities for the youth. We have to bring such projects, companies and institutions which can give employment to the youth.

The youth have to be involved in the decision-making process of the government. We have to provide more job-oriented courses in various educational institutions and increase the number of seats in various courses so that a student with first division can get admission to the course of his choice.

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 can certainly be developed into a world-class modern city. In spite of the tall claims, the local MP has done nothing in this direction. I am in favour of the Metro in Chandigarh, which can be later extended to the surrounding areas like Ambala, Kalka, Kharar, Kurali, Ropar and Ludhiana.

If you have the will power, which the present government never had, you can push for the Metro. Otherwise, it will just keep on being discussed in meeting after meeting without any solid achievement. I will, with all my will power, fight for the Metro in Chandigarh.

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

The building bylaws of Chandigarh need to be reviewed. They were framed when our population was just 2 to 3 lakh, which today has crossed the figure of 11 lakh. Outdated bylaws have to go and we have to have bylaws, which are more practical and realistic. The beauty of the city has to be maintained but not at the cost of its residents. Internal changes in your own houses, especially in the houses allotted by the Chandigarh Housing Board, should be regularised. Thousands of notices issued by the Estate Office for the resumption of residential and commercial buildings should be withdrawn and high penalty being imposed on the residents even for the so-called small violations be drastically cut to make it within the reach of the common man. I will get the building bylaws reviewed.



Chandumajra clarifies on remarks against Soni
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 31
The issue of showing disrespect to Ambika Soni by Professor Prem Singh Chandumajra took a new turn when the latter clarified that the words “72 saal di buddhi” in respect of her age were said simply and with good intention.

The SAD candidate, Chandumajra, tried to clear his position in his reply to Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu, District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, who has been asked to send a report in this connection by Punjab Chief Electoral Officer VK Singh yesterday. The DEO has served a notice to Chandumajra to file his reply in this regard.

In his reply, Professor Chandumajra stated that the word “buddhi” in question is being used commonly in the state for a person who crosses a certain age.

“There is no intentional on my part to use it as derogatory,” said Chandumjara, adding that it was used in positive tone just to indicate that she (Soni) had never contested the Lok Sabha elections earlier.

Chandumajra also said he would refrain from using these words in the future.

Meanwhile, DEO Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu also sent the report to the CEO in this connection. In the report in question, prepared by the Assistant Returning Officer, Anandpur Sahib constituency, it has been stated that by using such words, Chandumajra appeared to project himself as a younger candidate than Soni.

The report stated that “though the language used may be in bad taste, as acknowledged even by the Chief Minister of Punjab, there seems to be no violation of the model code of conduct as such”.

The DEO has also sent a video CD of the event to the CEO. Notably, the “uncalled for comments” by Chandumajra invoked much criticism from Congress leaders of the area. 



Mohali election office launches toll-free helpline
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 31
To check any violation or illegal activity relating to the election campaigns by any party leader or supporter, the Mohali district election office has launched a toll-free helpline here.

Giving details, Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu, district election officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, said the helpline, having toll-free number 18001802099, would remain operational round the clock till the culmination of the elections here.

“If any person sees any illegal activity by any political leader or his/her supporter in relation to the election campaign, rallies or other such activities, he/she can lodge a complaint with this helpline. The name of the complainant will be kept secret,” said Sidhu.

He said as many as 500 special groups, comprising 5-10 persons each, have been formed to generate awareness regarding ethical voting in the district.

“Apart from spreading awareness about the importance of ethical voting and the right to vote, these groups will also keep a vigil on defaulters in this regard,” said Sidhu.

Notably, in the district’s three constituencies, Kharar, Mohali and Dera Bassi, there are 6,16,854 voters (3,26,222 men and 2,90,632 women). A total of 685 polling booths would be set up, where 4,306 election officers would be deputed on the election day.

The first rehearsal of election officers would be conducted on April 6 from 10am to 2pm.



ambala votes 2014
Kataria’s wife Banto leads election campaign
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 31
Banto Kataria, wife of BJP-HJC candidate from the Ambala Lok Sabha seat Rattan Lal Kataria, led the election campaign after senior BJP leader Ram Bilas Sharma failed to turn up in the Raipur Rani and Barwala areas.

While Rattan Lal is campaigning in Ambala and other segments, Banto has launched a mass contact programme in Panchkula and Kalka segments of the constituency.

Accompanied by Shashi Sharma, district president of the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), and his supporters, Banto, along with Vishal Seth, district president of the BJP, and other party workers, is addressing public meetings to allure voters.

Banto today addressed public meetings in Raipur Rani and Barwala seeking votes for her husband.

She appealed to the residents to vote for the BJP.

Banto accused the ruling Congress in Haryana and the UPA Government at the Centre of robbing the county in the past over 65 years.

Vishal Seth opened a party office in Barwala as Ram Bilas Sharma failed to keep his date with the public.

Ram Bilas Sharma was to address public rallies in Raipur Rani and some other areas, besides opening the office in Barwala.

Vishal Seth appealed to the people to bring Rattan Lal Kataria to power.

Those present on the occasion included Parmod Singla, state executive member, Gian Chand Gupta, Shamlal Bansal, Rekha Sharma, all senior BJP leaders, said Vikas Paul, media coordinator, BJP, Panchkula.



Anandpur sahib votes 2014
12 Cong leaders join SAD
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 31
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate from the Anandpur Sahib constituency Professor Prem Singh Chandumajra got a shot in the arm when 12 Congress leaders of the Kharar area joined the party in the presence of Sukhbir Singh Badal this evening.

The local leaders, who joined the SAD today, included former president of the Block Congress Committee Kamal Kishore Sharma, former municipal councillors Harinderpal Singh and Sarabjit Kaur, vice-president of the Kharar Mahila Congress Kamaljit Kaur, general secretary of the Mohali District Congress Committee Sudhir Sood Kansal, Roshan Lal Kansal and Raghbir Kansal.

While welcoming the Congress leaders, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the Congress would be wiped out completely from Punjab during the coming Lok Sabha elections.



AAP candidate SP Singh interacts with residents

Panchkula, March 31
SP Singh, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from the Ambala Lok Sabha seat, during a door-to-door contact programme, interacted with residents of various sectors and Abheypur village here today. Singh also shared the party’s vision and ideology with the public.

Accompanied by the party activists, Singh interacted with residents of Raila and Railly villages. He appealed to the elderly, young and women to vote for the party for corruption-free governance.

Meanwhile, workers from the Industrial Area, Panchkula, visited the party office and expressed their desire to join the AAP. The workers were campaigning for the party for the past couple of days, said a spokesperson for the party. — TNS



Keep money, caste out of poll campaign, says Gandhian scholar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Department of Gandhian and Peace Studies today organised a special lecture on peaceful elections by Prof N Radhakrishanan, a renowned Gandhian scholar, activist and Chairman, Indian Council for Gandhian Studies.

Prof Radhakrishanan said, “Elections are to be fought in an atmosphere of calm contemplation and not on acrimonious, noisy, violent and confrontationist mode. The youth and civil society should take up responsibility to create awareness among those involved in the election campaign on the need to usher in an atmosphere of peace.”

“A free and fair election demands an atmosphere of peace and harmony. The role of citizens, particularly the youth, should not be confined to casting vote during the elections,” added Prof Radhakrishanan.

“Choosing a candidate representing a political party or otherwise is important. Citizens have to be alert and watchful on the very nature of the election procedure adopted by the candidates and their parties,” said the Gandhian scholar.

“Political parties and their candidates should also realise that winning the election should not be the be all and end all of their aim,” he added.

“The power of money, appeal to caste, religion, provincial feelings should be kept out of the campaign process,” said Prof Radhakrishanan.



Will probe Cong scams again if elected: BJP
Releases ‘chargesheet’ against Pawan Kumar Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
BJP city unit president Sanjay Tadon today said if the BJP came to power, it would reinvestigate all scams, which took place in the city during the last 15 years of the Congress regime.

Tandon today released a ‘chargesheet’ prepared by the party highlighting the scams allegedly done by Congress leaders. He pointed at the infamous railgate and the booth scam, in which Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal's name had also cropped up.

The CBI has given a clean chit to Bansal in the railway bribery scam while the inquiry is pending in the booth scam.

Addressing a press conference, Tandon said, "If the BJP comes to the power, all these scams will be investigated properly. Bansal might have been saved in the court of law but his fate will be decided in the court of people. The voters of Chandigarh will root out the corrupt."

Tandon said after Narendra Modi's rally, BJP workers have started working at block level as well. He termed AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal's roadshow as 'flop show'.

Meanwhile, ex-MP Satya Pal Jain addressed BJP workers at Bhaskar Colony, Sector 25, after inaugurating the party's election office. He said every vote going to Congress would increase corruption, inflation and unemployment while the ones going to BJP will help in making Narendra Modi as the next PM, who will put an end to corruption, price rise and unemployment. 



Bansal threatens to take legal action against Jain, Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Reacting to the BJP’s move, Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal today threatened to take an appropriate legal action against BJP leaders - former MP Satya Pal Jain and the party’s city unit president Sanjay Tandon.

He said the duo was frustrated after being denied the party ticket for the Chandigarh seat.

He termed the allegations made by the BJP city unit chief as baseless. In a press conference today, the BJP had released a ‘chargesheet’ against Bansal and the Congress.

Referring to Jain and Tandon, Bansal said, “The two leaders are making wild, baseless, malicious and slanderous allegations, for which I reserve a right to take appropriate legal action.”

The Congress candidate said, “I can’t let them play with my reputation. The allegations they made today made it clear that they can bring political discourse to shatters.”



Differences of opinion among BJP leaders
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Local BJP leaders have differences of opinion on key issues.

During two debates held recently, BJP city unit president Sanjay Tandon had said if the city voters elect Kirron Kher, the party’s candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, and Narendra Modi became the prime minister, the first thing that they would do was to get the UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil transferred out. However, the party candidate refrained from making a comment on the issue. Rather, she had said being the city unit president, Tandon could issue such statement but she doesn’t want to comment on it.

Patil’s transfer is not the only issue where BJP leaders have different views. Kirron Kher and other BJP leaders have a difference of opinion over targeting the Congress candidate in connection with the railgate scam. While senior leaders such as ex-MP Satya Pal Jain and Tandon leave no chance to attack Bansal on the railgate issue, the party candidate had, on number of occasions, maintained that she did not want to make the campaign ‘personal’.

Separate media cells

Besides different viewpoints, senior party leaders have separate media cells.

While the BJP office issues press notes about the statements of the BJP city unit chief Sanjay Tandon, the statements of ex-MP Satya Pal Jain and former union minister and senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan are issued by their respective media cells.

Dhawan ‘ignored’ at Modi’s rally

The rift among the senior BJP leaders had come to the fore at BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s rally at Chandigarh recently.

Feeling ‘ignored’, senior party leader Harmohan Dhawan had initially refused to sit on the stage. On learning about it, BJP city in-charge Aarti Mehra, sent ex-MP Satya Pal Jain and the party's city unit president Sanjay Tandon to persuade him to come on the stage.

Finally, Jain and Tandon had succeeded in getting Dhawan on the stage.



Jolt for BJP as senior leader joins Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The local unit of BJP got a major setback today as its senior leader and a former chairman of the party’s minority cell, Maulana Mohammad Kasim, along with 40 party workers joined the Congress. Kasim had been associated with the BJP for the last 15 years.

Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal and president of Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) president BB Bahl welcomed him and his supporters into the party fold during a ceremony held at Rajiv Gandhi Congress Bhawan in Sector 35 here this morning.

Soon after joining the party, Kasim said he was fed up with the BJP, which has “lost its sheen”, adding that he had lost faith in the party’s leadership. He said the Congress had worked for the city’s development and he was proud to be a part of it today.

Bansal said Kasim’s joining would further strengthen the Congress.

BJP city unit president Sanjay Tandon said at present, Kasim was not holding any post in the party.

Meanwhile, Bansal carried out a padyatra in Palsora in the morning.



Kirron, Gul outsiders, says Jannat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
BSP candidate Jannat Jahan today targeted BJP and AAP candidates during her election campaign.

She termed Kirron Kher and Gul Panag of the BJP and the AAP, respectively, as ‘outsiders’. She said they were attracted to arc lights and never tried to understand the problems faced by city residents. She added, “I am the city’s daughter and understand the problems of its residents better than outsiders."

While campaigning in Hallomajra and Sector 17 market, Jannat said the BSP was the only party that would equal take care of every section of the society.

The BSP candidate said public was now fed up with the fake promises of the BJP and the Congress.



Gul Panag says AAP aims at participatory democracy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Gulkirat Kaur Panag today said she would strive to ensure that spending of the allocated budget was planned in consultation with people. She added that execution of projects would be overseen by citizen committees.

During her election campaign today, she interacted with residents of Sector 38. She also visited the markets of Sector 30 and 32 and spoke to shoppers and shopkeepers urging them to vote her to victory.

Panag said, "Ours is an honest party with humble means .We don't have a budget to organise big rallies or ferry people by buses or trucks. Public response to our campaign has been spontaneous and overwhelming. It speaks volumes about their commitment to the AAP's fight against corruption."

In the evening, Panag visited Palsora village and Sector 55 where she emphasised that the AAP's ideology was of Swaraj and a truly participatory democracy.



Political parties lack vision for city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Main political parties do not seem to have a vision for Chandigarh, opine city youth. Students of Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42, believe that most candidates in the fray for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat are ‘paratroopers’ and are clueless about the problems being faced by residents of the city.

Komal Beniwal, asked, “Why these new faces, who all of sudden want to represent us in the Lok Sabha, did not visit the city during the last five years to know the basic problems here. Neither the sitting MP nor the glamorous faces met the residents to discuss their problems.”

Abhilasha commented that for the past few weeks, the candidates were raising voice against corruption, adding: “Is it the only issue that bothers city residents? Why the national parties did not finalise the names of their candidates two years ago so that they could familiarise themselves with the issues concerning the city?”

Rupa grumbled, “Why a single manifesto is drafted by a national political party despite the fact that each area has its own problems?”

Jasleen does not find any candidate talking about his/her vision for the city. “The candidates claim that they will get all the projects and pending files cleared from the union government, but don’t list out the projects they are talking about,” she remarked. Monika suggested that candidates should draft their own manifestos so that local issues are included in it.

Shivanki says, “The contenders for the Chandigarh seat are not even familiar with the city, let alone the problems its residents encounter. “Merely having born in the city is not enough,” she said. Pooja says if the political leaders had fulfilled the promises they had made in the past, a number of problems in the city would have been solved by now.



Voters sensitised to EVMs, NOTA option
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Election Department, Chandigarh, today conducted awareness about electronic voting machine (EVM) and “none of the above” (NOTA) option available to voters.

A team from the department visited rural and remote areas of the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency, and sensitised residents to the duties and responsibilities of voters and candidates, and the election system.

Awareness camps were also conducted at Lal Bhadur Shastri Colony, Ambedkar Awas Yojna, Badheri and Adarsh Colony to create awareness about the NOTA option.

On April 1, the department will sensitise residents of Dadumajra from 6 am to 8 am, Buterla from 8 am to 10 am, Shahpur from 4 pm to 6 pm and Rajiv Labour Colony from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Industrial & Tourism Development Corporation Limited (CITCO) will offer 35 per cent discount on food (excluding buffet) in Hotel Mountview and Hotel Shivalikview and 20 per cent discount on food in Hotel Parkview on April 10 and April11 to those who will cast vote on April 10. They will be asked to produce voter-ID card and show the ink mark on their fingers.



Working women face whom-to-vote dilemma
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The working women in the city seem to be facing a sticky dilemma on whom to choose among the candidates in the fray from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha constituency.

While leaving the Working Women Hostel 24 for their offices in the morning, the women, gripped in election fever, were heard speaking their minds out on who will be the last man standing and making the difference this election.

An entrepreneur, Harpreet Kaur, said, “Reality show banaake rakheya hoya elections da parties ne. Jo jinne draame karuga uhnu une votes milenge. Voters nu samajhde ki ne politicians?”

Her colleague Neelama, who was getting late for her office, made a brief comment, “The candidates either have a PhD in corruption or in acting. Not even a single contestant has any idea about the ground realities and the needs of city residents.”

As the issue raked up, more sparked comments started pouring in. Meena, a telephone operator, said, “Today, all politicians are seen going door to door asking for votes, trying all the funny stunts from throwing inks, showing black flags and accusing each other, but the moment voting gets over, they all will vanish from the scene for the next five years. They will forget all the scams and all the blame games.”

Supporting her friend, Shikha, a government employee, was quick to add, “There is nothing wrong in giving a new face a chance. We have already suffered for a decade now. Who knows, those who talk about revolution and eradicating corruption may do so. Though the female candidates in the city have landed up late, they are making efforts to reach out to people.”

With feminism taking over the issue, Nidhi Patla, an employee in the private sector, said, “There is a lot of difference between the reel and real political lives. Women, who look good on screen, may or may not make good politicians. You ought to know the city by its roots and pulse.”

With the question bouncing back in the circle, soon sharp remarks were drawn, “What’s the point of voting for seasoned politicians whose past smacks of corruption and have scams in their kitty? It’s better to give a chance to someone younger and willing to perform,” said Poonam, a sales girl.

Late for work, but not for a discussion, Mamta jumped into the debate saying, “An episode of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ is yet to be aired. Once it is broadcast, we will be able to make up our minds. Else, we will use the option of none of the above (NOTA) this election.”

The last word heard from the women circle was, “Any party that provides us with an assurance of safety, security and better employment, be it new or old, our vote will go to it.”

Speaking out

The candidates either have a PhD in corruption or in acting. Not even a single contestant has any idea about the ground realities and the needs of city residents.

— Neelama

There is nothing wrong in giving a new face a chance. We have already suffered for a decade now. Who knows, those who talk about revolution and eradicating corruption may do so. 

— Shikha

What’s the point of voting for seasoned politicians whose past smacks of corruption and have scams in their kitty? It’s better to give a chance to someone younger and willing to perform.

— Poonam

An episode of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ is yet to be aired. Once it is broadcast, we will be able to make up our minds. Else, we will use the option of none of the above (NOTA) this election.

— Mamta



Candidates chirp

Kirron Kher @KirronKherBJP

9.41 am: Please tweet me your suggestions/advise. It may not be possible for me to meet all individually but my heart is full of warmth for you.

10.21 am: I do get upset with hate tweets or horrible personal remarks about me & my family but I know such people r doing their job assigned to them.

Gul Panag @GulPanag

7.55 pm: Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you:) — Senator Mike Duffy

City poll facts

Only Jain defeated Bansal

* It was only BJP’s Satya Pal Jain who had defeated Congress’ Pawan Kumar Bansal.

* Jain got the better of Bansal in 1996 and 1998.

* In the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, Jain had defeated Bansal with a margin of 23,969 votes and in the 1998 elections, Bansal fell short of 10,366 votes and lost the seat to Jain. 



Cops check Guv’s golf cart 15 times
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 31
It is an appropriate example of ‘once bitten twice shy’. Before Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia and his wife Shanti Pahadia could sit in the golf cart at the Mansa Devi temple, here, police officials scanned the entire cart 15 times.

To keep a check on it, two police officials were assigned the duty.

Fearing that the last year's incident not repeats itself when a 3.5-ft-long snake had crept in the Governor’s golf cart on the temple premises, the police officials, who were exclusively meant to take care of the cart, were on a "special duty" since 8.30am.

The Governor and his wife visited the temple today on the first day of the Navratras. After having a miraculous escape from the plane crash on Thursday, he was here to pay obeisance.

"The vehicle was first washed in the morning. Then after cleaning the same and thoroughly checking its seats, the vehicle was handed over to two police personnel who were deployed only to check if no reptile or insect enters it," said an official at the shrine.

The police officials parked the vehicle outside the bhavan where Pahadia was to preside over a havan ceremony.

"We are checking it time and again after every 15 to 20 minutes. In fact, it is a forest area so any insect or reptile can creep in,” said a police official on duty.



Poets leave audience in splits
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
To mark Rajasthan Day, a Hasya Kavi Sammelan was organised at the Tagore Theatre today.

The event was organised by the Rajasthan Parishad.

The poets — Chirag Jain, Arun Gemini and poetess Reetu Goyal — left the audience in splits.

Swatantra Kumar, Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, NWR, was the chief guest.

With the election fever gripping the country, the poets took a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. Sanjay Jhalla anchored the event.

The only woman artiste, Reetu, added melody to the evening with her poetry on womanhood.



Ailing patient needs help

Chandigarh, March 31
Anil (11), who is suffering from blood cancer, is in dire need of Rs 3 lakh for his treatment. His father, Sita Ram, a resident of Mansa district in Punjab, is unable to make both ends meet. 

Anil needs chemotherapy over three years. At present, he is getting treatment at the PGI, Chandigarh. Those interested in helping him can contact Sita Ram at 9779150855. — TNS



GGDSD students stage protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
As many as 70 students of GGDSD College, Sector 32, today staged a protest against the college management for not issuing roll numbers to them for the academic session examination.

The under-graduate examinations of Panjab University are scheduled to commence from April 2.

The students alleged that the college management had conducted their practical examinations — which commenced from March 10 — without informing them that they would not be issued roll numbers for the theoretical examination.

“The college authorities have already fined us. They also issued no dues slips for the attendance shortage. Why haven’t the roll numbers been issued to us?” alleged the students.

Assuring the protesting students, GGDSD College registrar Jagwant Singh said, “Those students who have cleared the internal examinations, their cases will be considered tomorrow.”

Singh said students having short attendance due to medical problems will also be considered on human grounds.

On students who did not take the internal examinations, Singh said, “These students will not be allowed to appear in the final examinations. As per PU norms, students need to score 25 per cent marks in internal examinations along with 75 per cent attendance.”

A protesting student said, “I did not attend college as I was unwell. The college management did not accept the medical report issued by a government hospital today. This has complicated matters.”

Meanwhile, the students called off the protest following assurance from the college management.



Differently abled await PU nod
With exams starting next month, PU still following old pattern
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Physically-challenged and visually-impaired students of Panjab University are at the receiving end these days.

The reason: these students are struggling to seek information whether Panjab University has adopted fresh guidelines to conduct the written examination for persons with disabilities or not.

With the examination of all streams commencing next month, the authorities are still following the old pattern even though a special committee had drafted fresh guidelines for physically-challenged students.

The proposal of fresh guidelines for physically-challenged students was approved in the Syndicate meeting. However, the same can be implemented only after the Senate’s approval.

Recently, a visually-impaired student of the Department of Public Administration had written a letter to Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover inquiring whether the university had adopted new guidelines for physically-challenged students or not.

In the letter, the student informed that the Centre had issued new guidelines last year for conducting written examination for persons with disabilities, but the same had not been implemented by the university.

Last year, a special committee was constituted to draft the revised guidelines following directions by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Disability Affairs.

The committee had drafted the guidelines as per which, a physically-challenged student could choose his own scribe or reader with less qualification than the candidate appearing for the exam.

At present, the university provides a scribe or reader to the candidate for the examination.

The committee also proposed to give additional time by changing the compensatory time — 20 minutes per hour of the examination — for persons who seek help from a scribe and reader.


* Last year, a special committee had drafted the revised guidelines following directions by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Disability Affairs.

* The proposal was approved in the Syndicate meeting. However, the guidelines cannot be implemented until the Senate does not give its approval.



575 receive degrees at Dev Samaj convocation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
As many as 575 students received degrees at the 28th annual convocation of Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, on the college premises here today. The students were from the 2011-12 and 2012-13 sessions.

Prof Paramjit S Jaswal, Vice Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, was the chief guest.

Prof Naval Kishore, Dean, College Development Council, Panjab University, was the guest of honour.

Principal Dr Meera Modi presented the annual college report and highlighted the college achievements in academics as well as the non-academic sphere.

She lauded the staff and students for their meritorious contribution to the college.

The students — who were conferred degrees — were from five different streams, including Post-graduate Diploma in Computer Applications, BA, BCom, Bachelors of Computer Applications and Bachelor of Business Administration.

Thirty-two students were awarded certificates of academic excellence, while eight students of the 2011-12 session and eight of 2012-13 session were awarded scholarships under the aegis of the Vimal Bhargava Charitable Trust.

As a philanthropic initiative, two outgoing students of the Department of Fashion Designing, Monika and Preeti, were gifted sewing machines by the Rotaract Club of the college.



PU & college notes

Course for PhD, MPhil research scholars begins

A seven-day short term course for PhD and MPhil research scholars today commenced at the UGC Academic Staff College, Panjab University. As many as 31 research scholars from different institutes attended the programme.

Prof Karamjeet Singh, director, Academic Staff College, said, “An innovative package of basic statistics in research methodology is being offered to students.”

Prof BS Ghuman, Public Administration, was the chief guest and highlighted the significance of research in university rankings and discussed different aspects of research.

Prof Kanchan Jain and Prof Narinder Kumar, senior professors, Department of Statistics, Panjab University, were the key resource persons of the course.

Workshop on capacity building ends

A two-week training workshop on ‘Capacity building training programme for faculty and research scholars in Social Sciences’ concluded at Panjab University today.

The workshop — organised by the ICSSR North-Western Regional Centre — saw participation from teachers and research scholars from various 
universities and colleges of Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

Prof Som Deo, former Dean, University of Rajasthan and Academic Consultant, ICSSR, New Delhi, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The creation of knowledge is more difficult than its dissemination, he said.

Dr Ravinder Kaur, course co-director, presented the workshop report. — TNS



From schools

Books donated to underprivileged kids

Mohali: To inculcate social responsibility, Oakridge International School urged its students to donate their old books to underprivileged children. Students along with their parents donated old books, fruits and clothes to underprivileged children today. On the event, school principal Pranjala Das said, “The activity was organised to bring students closer to the harsh reality of life. This will urge them to help and work hard.” The school also initiated the “Oakridgers random act of kindness week” to inculcate social responsibility among students. The students were also urged to help their parents. — TNS



Eminent educationist K Atma Ram passes away 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Eminent educationist and social activist, K Atma Ram (89), passed away following a brief illness today, in the morning.

Her last rites were performed at the crematorium, Sector 25, in the evening.

A former Director Public Instructions (DPI), Punjab, Ram was also a nominated councillor in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation from 2002 to 2006.

She was also the principal, Government College for Girls (GCG), Sector 11, from 1966 to 1975.

“During her tenure as the principal of GCG, Sector 11, during the 70s, she organised several blood donation camps at the college,” said Swaroop Krishan, president, Blood Bank Society.

Ram was also Senior Vice President of the Women’s Hockey Federation and president, Chandigarh Women Hockey Association.

YP Vohra, general secretary of the Chandigarh Hockey Association, said, “She was a good administrator and human being. She contributed towards the promotion of hockey”.

Prof SK Gupta, Vice President, Chandigarh Hockey Association, condoled Ram’s death. He said, “She was a remarkable colleague.”

Ram’s husband Diwan Atma Ram was an eminent lawyer. She is survived by her son, Rajiv Atma Ram, a prominent lawyer and daughter, Dr Anita Thakur. 



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