C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Student's Rape
Another U-turn by victim
Moves application in court, says she turned hostile under pressure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Taking yet another U-turn in the rape case involving UT constables as the accused, the 17-year-old rape victim today moved a handwritten application in the court stating that she wished to record her statement in the case again as she was under tremendous pressure during the previous hearing when she turned hostile.

She stated that she was allured with false promises of money and marriage by one of the accused, which made her turn hostile.

The victim had turned hostile during the last hearing on March 21. In the application moved in the court of Additional District and sessions Judge Anshu Shukla today, the victim stated that she had come to the court for justice as she had been forced to retract from her original statement earlier.

The girl also submitted a 35-minute audio recording in a CD on how she was pressured by the wife of accused constable Anil to change her statement before the previous hearing. She then turned hostile.

The court has adjourned the case to April 16, when the application will be decided.

During the previous hearing, the victim had stated that she had a relationship with Akshay, one of the five accused, and intended to marry him. She had stated that she did not know the other four accused.

Taking a U-turn in the application moved today, the girl said, "I had given my statement under pressure while deposing in the court during the previous hearing. I was forced and misled to give my statement. The facts stated in the FIR registered on December 19, 2013, and what all I stated before the magistrate when the case was registered are completely true and factual. I have been a victim of gross injustice and thus I have come before the court seeking justice," she said.

The girl said, "During the last hearing, I was under a lot of pressure. I urge the court to listen to the audio CD recording of how I was being pressured. I request you to record my statement again so that justice prevails."

The girl said she also possessed a video recording of the CD of how she was pressured to turn hostile. The recording was also played in the court today and four witnesses were examined.

What the audio recording contains

The girl is questioned in the audio CD by the wife of accused constable Anil whether she wants to marry Akshay and she answers in the affirmative. Anil's wife got in touch with the victim a month ago. Anil's wife is pressuring the victim to change her statement before the court and she has been asked to open a bank account in which they will deposit Rs 10 lakh and the "remaining amount" later.

In another application moved today by the victim's brother, security has been sought for the victim fearing a threat to her life.

The case

The case was registered on December 19, 2013, after the girl complained to the police that she was raped by the accused over a period of two months at gunpoint.

The case was registered against UT constables Akshay, Sunil, Jagtar, Himmat Singh and Anil. The victim is a Class X student at a government school.

The minor girl, who was harassed by the five constables, was on the way to commit suicide when she narrated the incident to her brother. Her brother informed the area councillor, who informed the police following which action was taken.

A peep into the case

  • December 19, 2013: The girl complains to the police that she was raped and molested by five constables at gunpoint.
  • March 6: Court frames charges against five constables.
  • March 21: Girl retracts from her statement, fails to identify any of the accused, except for constable Akshay, with whom, she said, she had a relationship.
  • April 2: Girl states in the court that she was forced to turn hostile.



For colony voters, elections are a tamaasha
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Spicing up the election scene: Poll candidates have become a hot topic of discussion among women of Colony No. 4 in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, April 2
“Kaun si sari khareed rahi ho April 10 ke liye. Is baar shahr mein bade bade abhineta chunav ladh rahe hain (which sari are you buying for April 10. This time, big actors are contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the city)," Sheela Devi, a resident of Colony No. 4, was heard asking another resident of the colony, Gutka.

“Humka aiysi sari chahiye, jaisi Gul Panag madam ke pass bhi nahi hai, jo kal sham ayin thi hamare ghar par (I need the kind of sari which even Gul Panag doesn't have, who visited our house in the colony yesterday)," said an excited Gutka, a first-time voter, at a shop, where she had come for shopping along with her friends.

The shopkeeper, Karan Singh, asked them in a lighter vein, “Vote dalna bhi hai, ya bas nayi sari khareedni hai (Are you going to cast your vote or you just want to buy a new sari?)"

“Yeh dono madam pichhle ek hafte se yahan dukan par aa rahi hain, aur matdaan ki bare mein khoob sari baatein karti hain (for the past one week, the two ladies have been visiting this shop and discussing the elections)," Karan Singh said.

"Jokes apart, colony women voters do not appear to be serious about the elections. All they are interested in is talking about the dresses being worn by BJP candidate Kirron Kher and AAP candidate Gul Panag during the campaign," he said.

A resident of Colony No. 4, Shashi Tewari, said for the past few days, every evening there was a "party atmosphere" in the colony as candidates turned up for canvassing. Voters, especially women, used the opportunity to don new clothes and jewellery.

"Annoyed" with the elections and canvassing by the candidates in Hallo Majra, where little development work has taken place, a woman, who was buying spices, told other women standing nearby, “Tamaasha kar rahein hain sab, humein koi zarurat nahin hai vote dalne ki (All of them are indulging in a tamaasha. There is no need for us to vote."

“Arey BSP councillor Jannat Jahan nein kuchh nahin kiya; Narendra Modi ki party hi kuch kar sakti hai is colony ke liye (BSP councillor Jannat Jahan did little for the colony; only Narendra Modi's party can do something for the colony)," said Manu Kumar, who works as a gardener at Elante Mall.

Khushi Ram, who runs a tea stall at Dadu Majra, is happy with the election fever in the city as he is doing brisk business for the past one week because of it.

Ram Charan and his four friends were discussing the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party candidates over a cup of tea at Dadu Majra. “Ek baar Aam Aadmi Party ki madam ko vote toh dena chahiye; baki parties ko toh pehle bhi parkha hai (We should vote for the Aam Aadmi Party madam; we have tried the other parties earlier)," said Ram Charan.

Countering him, his friends said they favoured "Narendra Modi's BJP". Interestingly, they were not aware that Kirron Kher is the BJP candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.

“Hum toh kamal ko vote daleingein (We will vote for the lotus symbol)," said one of them.

16 colonies in city

There are 16 colonies in the city, of which Dhanas, Ram Darbar, Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 25 Colony, Dadu Majra Colony and Maloya comprise a major chunk of the voters.

According to the Election Department records, there are around 3.50 lakh voters in colonies and villages in the city.



Aam Aadmi Party sets up sting team
Fears rival parties may use liquor, money to swing votes in their favour
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Apprehending that flow of liquor and cash by rival parties in colonies and villages, especially during the last week of campaigning, may alter the poll scenario, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has formed a team of 50 volunteers, which will carry out sting operations to expose any such attempt by the rival parties.

The AAP will provide spy cameras and other devices to record any such attempt by workers of other political parties. An AAP volunteer said parties, in a bid to woo voters, were likely to distribute cash and liquor bottles among colony and village residents.

Munish Kumar Raizada, campaign manager, AAP, Chandigarh, said they had formed a team of volunteers, who would work in different wards of the city. They are getting a good response from all sections of society in the city. We are suspecting that rival parties may lure voters with cash and liquor in colonies and villages to swing votes in their favour," he said.

Raizada said the volunteers would record any such activities in spy cameras, mobile phones and voice recorders. The AAP would then submit the recording to the UT Election Department and the UT police for action, he said.

AAP volunteer Gurjusjit Singh said they had already placed the order for spy cameras, which would be given to the team members. They had undertaken this initiative as they wanted the elections to be fair, he said.

Why colonies, villages are important

Villages and colonies on the periphery of the city are the gateway to success in the Lok Sabha elections. With around 57 per cent voters of the city residing here, these areas will play an important role in deciding the fate of the candidates. According to the revised list of the Election Department, around 3.50 lakh voters of the total 6.13 lakh are from villages and colonies.

Mani Majra, which includes Mani Majra village, alone has 48,103 voters. Dhanas, Ram Darbar, Bapu Dham Colony, Burail, Kajehri village, Sector 25 Colony, Dadu Majra Colony, Maloya Colony and Hallo Majra village comprise the major chunk of voters in villages and colonies.



Tribune Impact
Polling booths to have wheelchairs
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The UT Election Department has decided to identify infirm and differently abled voters and the polling stations in the city where they are registered so that wheelchairs can be provided to them for casting their vote. This was decided at a meeting chaired by the Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mohammad Shayin, here today.

The meeting decided that block-level officers would prepare a list of voters who were not in a position to move from the polling station gate to the place where the EVMs were kept.

The difficulty faced by infirm and differently abled voters was highlighted in these columns today. The report mentioned how an 82-year-old city resident, Nirmala Kumari, was fighting for the cause of such voters.

There are several infirm voters who fail to cast their vote as they are unable to cover the distance from the polling station gate to the enclosure where EVMs are kept. The Returning Officer said once the list was ready, the department would be able to decide how many wheelchairs were required and the polling stations where these were needed.



Candidates chirp

Kirron Kher @KirronKherBJP

8.45 am: Good morning Chandigarh! Meeting people & listening to their problems/issues is making me determined to fight for them. I am here to stay.

8.48 am: Help me bring back the original glory of Chandigarh. We are in d age of development. It is important to empower women & create jobs 4 all.

Gul Panag @GulPanag

7.26 am: Almost always the coterie is the beneficiary, people almost never.

2.14 pm: Superlative interaction with the Bar of the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

2.18 pm: Overwhelmed with solidarity & support to the fight against corruption. Being an MP is not a part-time job & I don't take up part-time jobs.


Chandigarh Votes 2014
Dhumal hits out at UPA govt
Addresses public meeting at Dhanas, seeks votes for Kirron Kher
Tribune News Service

Former CM of Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal with BJP candidate Kirron Kher during a public meeting at Dhanas on Wednesday. Also seen in the picture are BJP city unit chief Sanjay Tandon and former MP Satya Pal Jain. A Tribune photogrpah

Chandigarh, April 2
A former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Prem Kumar Dhumal, today addressed a public meeting in the favour of BJP candidate Kirron Kher, at Dhanas. In his address, Dhumal said Kirron Kher is the daughter-in-law of his state. Lambasting his rival party, he said, “I have lost the count of money that the Congress siphoned off in various scams over the last decade.”

Dhumal said, “Narendra Modi was the in charge of Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh for eight years. And the way to Himachal Pradesh is through Chandigarh. Both the places will be equally benefited after the NDA government comes to power at the Centre.”

Hitting out at the UPA government, Dhumal said, “Our soldiers were mercilessly beheaded by Pakistanis but the UPA government was unmoved. Instead of taking a strong action against the neighbouring country, its Prime Minister was welcomed by our Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and served delectable delights at Jaipur. We need a prime minister, who can deal with the troubles posed by our neighbour with an iron hand. India does not need a PM who is only a spectator to serious issues.”

In her address, Kirron Kher asked people why they had elected Pawan Kumar Bansal as MP when he did not perform well. She advised local voters to weigh the merits of the contenders before casting vote.

Kher said, “It is possible to replicate the development model of Gujarat in Chandigarh. Our party will work towards ensuring basic facilities such as uninterrupted power and clean water. We will also bring industry, which will generate employment. Besides, we will keep a check on inflation, especially the prices of essential commodities and LPG. If you are looking for development, then vote for BJP.”

Dhawan seeks support for Kirron Kher

Former union minister and senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan, along with councillor Gurcharan Dass Kala and about 500 party workers, carried out a ‘padyatra’ in Mani Majra and Burail village.

He was welcomed with garlands made of flowers and currency notes. Dhawan was also weighed against ‘ladoos’. Seeking votes for Kirron Kher, Dhawan assured traders that the problems of Mani Majra will be solved on priority after the BJP comes to power.

Anupam Kher in city today

  • Bollywood actor Anupam Kher will be in the city on Thursday to campaign for his wife and BJP candidate Kirron Kher.
  • Anupam Kher and his wife will address a public meeting at Sector 15 in the evening.
  • A BJP leader said Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor would also visit the city on April 6 to campaign for Kirron Kher.



Jannat Jahan: BSP candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat shares her vision for the city with Chandigarh Tribune
‘Lal dora in all villages should be extended’

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 should remain a Union Territory. It is getting ample finance for development from the Government of India, which will not be possible after its transfer to Punjab or Haryana. The status of Chandigarh will lose its political significance if it is transferred to either Punjab or Haryana, as they have to take care of their own cities.

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 old system of the Chief Commissioner being the head of the Chandigarh Administration needs to be brought back by reviving the post of the Chief Commissioner. Since the Governor of Punjab has been additionally given the powers of the Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the development of Chandigarh has been put on the back foot, because the Governor, in the present scenario, has no time to look into the affairs of Chandigarh and development has slowed down. As a present councillor, I do strongly feel that there is a need to give more powers to the corporation as in the present system, the councillors have to face a lot of problems because the officials of the Administration do not listen to the councillors as they are not under the corporation and are answerable to only the adviser.

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

There is an urgent need for a political system in Chandigarh as presently it is governed by a bureaucratic system in which public representation is not there. Bureaucrats function in their own way without taking public welfare into account. The grievances of the public in this system are not given due consideration. Rather, the bureaucrats impose their own will and orders. The public of Chandigarh finds itself lost in their cumbersome procedures and style of functioning.

With the provision for a political system in Chandigarh, the public will have its representatives in the Vidhan Sabha where they can raise their needs related to public welfare and are free to take decisions.

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?

Chandigarh sectors have been developed in modernised architecture. The location of these villages in the sectors preserves the village culture in the city of Chandigarh. Therefore, these villages may be continued as model villages. Secondly, people with low income who cannot afford high rents get rented accommodation in these villages at nominal rates.

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

All these villages should have basic amenities like clean water supply, proper sewerage system, roads, electricity, schools, dispensaries and community centre. I feel that the lal dora in all villages should be extended.

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?

Initially, when the slums came up in the city, the Chandigarh Administration did not take any remedial measures. Due to construction activities in the sectors developed and the rising demand for labour in the industry, the inflow of migrant labourers increased with the passage of time. Therefore, to eliminate the slums, steps need to be taken by the Administration. Such biometric survey needs to be conducted again so that everyone who is eligible should get their two bedroom flats.

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

Yes, it should be developed as an IT hub because Chandigarh and its surroundings have many colleges but the problem is that after studying, the youth have no job opportunities in the city and thus remain unemployed. Investors come to the city with fanfare for developing their commercial complexes but the procedure of building bylaws is cumbersome. Inconvenience is caused to them by the hierarchy of the Estate Office and other related service departments because of which the investors decide to abandon their projects. This is the reason why there are no takers for plots in the IT sector at Kishangarh and those who have purchased plots there have abandoned their proposals in between. Similar is the condition of other commercial projects in the city.

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

There is no doubt that Chandigarh is the gateway to three states. Chandigarh is popular for its architectural concept among the foreigners but very little is being done by the Chandigarh Administration to promote it as a tourist destination. There are many proposals in this behalf on paper but when the issues of making finance available for the implementation of these plans arise, the Administration goes on the back foot due to red tape. Therefore, I feel Chandigarh bylaws should be flexible so that new projects come up in the city.

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

It is a fact that the youth is the future of our country. The Chandigarh Administration has no specific plans for the development of the youth. To encourage the development of the youth, the Chandigarh Administration should encourage the industry so that it gives employment and we should encourage youngsters to form ‘Youth Forums’. Financial aid be should given for the implementation of their plans. Because of unemployment and frustration among the youth, they are going in the wrong direction of drugs. The drug mafia should be curbed by the police and our youth should be safeguarded. There is no centre in Chandigarh where the youth can assemble and form plans for the development of the city. So, we need a centre for our youth.

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

Chandigarh is already an example of a contemporary and modern architecture and has a place in the list of modern cities of the world. The building bylaws of Chandigarh need to be amended to allow the construction of buildings on a new pattern and grant relaxations. Therefore, there is a need for flexibility in the building bylaws. Development of underpasses, better roads, international airport, better sanitation, sewerage system, proper lighting, maintained green belts are the constituent factors for a world-class modern city. Yes, I am in favour of the Metro project as it will curb the problem of traffic congestion and will be pocket-friendly for the commuters.

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

The building bylaws were framed in 1952, i.e. 62 years ago. No doubt some amendments have been carried out but these are with ifs and buts. During these 62 years, the scenario has changed like building designs, building material, interior and exteriors. The officials of the Estate Office or the Chief Administrator, Adviser to the Administrator are adamant on sticking to the old-age bylaws and do not accept the changed world scenario of buildings. They should accept the changes and allow the demand for changes in the building bylaws. The people of Chandigarh face a lot of problems by getting notices for need-based changes in CHB houses, buildings and the penalty is too high. Therefore, I feel that need-based changes should be allowed and all notices should be withdrawn. I feel that leasehold industrial plots should be converted into freehold so that the people in the industry can take loans on property and expand their industry. With this, the people will not be harassed in litigation for ownerships.



Ambala votes 2014
Bir Ghaggar, Kharag Mangoli residents to boycott poll
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Shortage of potable water is one of the problems faced by residents of Kharag Mangoli village in Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, April 2
Bereft of basic amenities, residents of Bir Ghaggar and Kharag Mangoli villages here have announced to boycott the elections for the Ambala constituency scheduled for April 10. Unaware on the “none of the above” (NOTA) option on the electronic voting machine, a choice to reject candidates, the villagers are in the dark, thanks to the lack of information spread by the District Administration.

Even after 65 years of Independence, the villagers are deprived of basic civic amenities despite the areas being a part of the Panchkula civic body. An elected municipal councillor of the MC also resides in Bir Ghaggar village.

Villagers are actively taking part in the rallies being addressed by candidates and are questioning the leaders about the works being done in the past five years.

As per official records, Kharag Mangoli village has 5,584 voters, including 3,053 men and 2,531 women, while Bir Ghaggar village has 3,058 voters, including 1,618 men and 1,440 women.

In both villages, 8,642 voters will exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections, but basic civic amenities are till a distant dream for them.

“Bir Ghaggar village elected its own panchayat in 1974. The villagers are in a quandary about the status of their movable and immovable properties with the government declaring the village unauthorised in June 2013,” said Vinod Kumar, Municipal Councillor (MC) of the area.

“The villagers are prepared to pay for 30 hectares of lands to the Forest Department in lieu of the present land of the village but none of the government officials either from Haryana or the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment is ready to hear their voice,” said Kumar.

Replying to queries of DK Bansal, MLA, Panchkula, in the Assembly recently, Savitri Jindal, Urban Local Bodies Minister, Haryana, had said: “There is no proposal to provide streetlights at present in these villages as Bir Ghaggar is situated on the forest land measuring 13.62 hectares and is unauthorised. Kharag Mangoli is situated on the HUDA land and is an unauthorised colony.” Nesti Devi, a resident of Kharag Mangoli, complained of facing health hazards due to contaminated water supply in the colony. The residents have dug up waste deep pits to get potable water because of low water pressure in the area.

“We youngsters will vote for the leader who will solve our problems. Otherwise, we will exercise the NOTA option,” said an educated youth.



Bansal launches mobile app for safety of women
Tribune News Service

Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal, along with his wife Madhu Bansal (third from left), during the launch of “I’m 4 Pawan Bansal”, a mobile application, at a women’s meeting at Sector 28 in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, April 2
Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal today launched a mobile application for safety of women. The application will also be used for canvassing. The app, I’M4 Pawan Bansal, which will be available in both Android and iOS operating systems, allows one to feed up to five mobile numbers of those could be useful in case of emergency.

On sensing trouble, one has to simply open the app and press a button, ‘click me’. The app will send the SOS message to the contacts along with the exact location of the user.

The other feature of the app is informing the user about the latest in the Congress and Bansal’s campaigns and also inviting the user to become a volunteer.

Bansal launched the app in a special women’s meet organised in Sector 28. Speaking on the occasion, he said he wanted the city to be safe for women and there should be zero tolerance for any crime against women.

Chandigarh needs mature representative in Parliament: Bhattal

  • The film actresses, who are fighting elections for the Chandigarh seat, would not think of doing it again once they would be defeated by Pawan Kumar Bansal, stated former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal while addressing a rally in Manimajra on Tuesday evening.
  • Bhattal said the residents of the City Beautiful knew that the city needed a seasoned representative in the Parliament and not those who joined it on probation and were not certain how they would they spare time for the city.
  • Bhattal said it was surprising that both the parties, the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), could not find even a single candidate from the city and had to depend on Bollywood actors to represent the city.



Anandpur sahib votes 2014
Chandumajra’s kin leave no stone unturned
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 2
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate from the Anandpur Sahib constituency Professor Prem Singh Chandumajra has definitely an edge over his nearest rival Congress candidate Ambika Soni when it comes to involvement of family members in election campaigning. While the entire family members of Chandumajra, along with his several relatives, are toiling hard in the field to ensure his success, the election campaign of Ambika Soni is being managed mainly by the local senior Congress leaders, including Jagmohan Kang and Balbir Sidhu.

To win the hearts of voters for Chandumajra, for whom the forthcoming elections are just like a “do-or-die battle”, his wife Balwinder Kaur, his two sons Simranjit Singh and Harinder Pal Singh, two daughter-in-laws Navpreet Kaur and Kulwant Kaur, nephew Harwinder Singh Harpalpur and other relatives have taken charge of different areas in the constituency. There, Chandumajra’s kin are holding meetings and doing door-to-door campaigning in his favour.

While the women members of the family, including Balwinder Kaur, Navpreet Kaur and Kulwant Kaur, are busy to win women votes in Mohali and peripheral villages, Simranjit Singh and Harinder Pal Singh have been active in the Nawanshahr, Banga, Garhshankar areas.

On the other hand, Ambika Soni’s Delhi-based son Sonu is only one from the family, who has come in his mother’s constituency to help her in the election campaign.

“Certainly, this is not an issue. I am her (Soni) younger brother and we all Congress activists are one big family. Soni madam too treats all of us as her family members,” said Kharar MLA Jagmohan Kang, adding Soni would win with a margin of over 1 lakh votes.

In Mohali area, Soni’s campaign is being taken care by Mohali MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, while Chamkaur Sahib MLA Charanjit Singh Channi and KP Rana are looking after the proceedings in the Chamkaur Sahib, Ropar and Nangal areas.



Electoral roll revision duties
Admn violates MHRD directive?
Rules say faculty can be deputed only on holidays, during non-teaching hours & non-teaching days
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
In gross violation of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Department of School Education and Literacy, the UT Administration has deputed school teachers for electoral roll revision duties during school hours.

As per the guidelines issued by the MHRD to all education secretaries of states/UT under Section 35 (1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act-2009, — regarding implementation of Section 27 — the ministry specified that duties relating to electoral poll revision will be undertaken on holidays and during non-teaching hours and non-teaching days.

However, in violation of the guidelines, a large number of teachers in UT have been assigned electoral duties.

Teachers — who have been deputed for the electoral process — say despite the Supreme Court judgment and MHRD instructions, the administration was using their services at the cost of students’ future.

Sources said as school teachers had been deputed for the electoral process for over a month now, students were bound to suffer.

Though the guidelines were issued on September 13, 2010, the UT Administration failed to implement the same.

Meanwhile, UT Returning Officer Mohammad Shayin said, “Due to staff shortage in Chandigarh, we have deputed school teachers for the electoral process.”

What the law states

Section 35 (1)

The Centre may issue such guidelines to the appropriate government, or as the case may be, the local authority, as it deems fit for the purposes of implementation of the provisions of this Act.

Section 27

No teacher shall be deployed for any non-educational purposes other than the decennial population census, disaster relief duties or duties relating to elections to the local authority or the State Legislatures or Parliament as the case may be.



Youth voice
Girl students feel insecure, annoyed with politicians, bureaucracy
Tribune News Service

(From left) New voters Ritu, Pardeep Singh, Amit Kumar, Divashree Bedi and Pooja at the Government College of Art in Sector 10, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, April 2
None of the candidates of the major political parties contesting the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat appeal to the students of the Government College of Art, Sector 10. They say neither of the candidates had raised any of the problems that they face on day-to-day basis.

Girl students complain about the lack of security. They say since the day they joined this college, no day passes when one or the other girl student does not face eve-teasing outside the college.

On a number of occasions, complaints were also lodged but in vain.

Pooja finds it ‘useless’ to vote in the elections, as neither the bureaucracy nor politicians took action against the eve-teasers who have been a nuisance outside their college. “What else do we expect from our representative if despite several complaints, the problems that we face on a routine basis stand unsolved,” she said.

Another student, Ritu, says even though their college is located in the centre of the city, girls avoid staying late in the evening due to the insecure environment outside the college premises. “If this is what the youth is getting from the system, why should we vote for someone who will be in the city for a few days and would leave once the elections are over?” she adds.

Divashree Bedi, whose bag was snatched last year, had a tough time to lodge a police complaint. She approached a number of officials but only got assurances that the thief will be nabbed. Divashree says she has lost faith in governance and would not go for voting on the polling day.

However, Pardeep Singh, a first-time voter, is excited about voting. He says he is going to contribute towards formation of government in the country by exercising his right to franchise.

Amit Kumar is not even interested in discussing party manifestos. He has decided not to cast his vote in the elections as he believes that his single vote cannot change anything in the city.



Ambala votes 2014
Congress men fail to unite
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 2
With just one week left for the Lok Sabha elections, rift within the Congress does not seem to end. Congress candidate from the Ambala constituency Raj Kumar Balmiki is receiving no support from the party workers who owe allegiance to Kumari Selja. Sources said a list of all party workers who were not cooperating with Balmiki in the elections had been prepared. It would be forwarded to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar.

Even on the day Balmiki got the ticket and he organised a press conference, all Congress presidents of various wings and local Congress leaders were present.

However, member of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) Pratap Chaudhary, District Congress president Mukesh Malhotra, Vyapar Mandal president Kuldeep Chitkara, district Mahila Congress president and different councillors remained conspicuous of their absence.

Sources said Balmiki's supporters approached the Selja group several times for help in campaigning.

“On March 30, we were to start our door-to-door campaign. We called these people, but they did not join us. So, we were asked to give a list of all those who were nursing a grudge against Balmiki to the Haryana Chief Minister,” said a source from the party.

Even Ravinder Rawal and local MLA DK Bansal were seen together at Balmiki’s celebration party for getting the ticket, but those owing allegiance to Selja were not seen.

“In fact, Balmiki has been fielded by Hooda, and Selja was earlier the MP from this constituency. That is the reason they are not cooperating with us,” said another supporter.

Meanwhile, Balmiki did campaigning in villages of Mullana in Ambala today.



Staff strike
Safai Mazdoor Federation chief gets show-cause notice
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 2
Even as employees of the sanitation wing of the Municipal Corporation here went on a day’s strike yesterday, the civic body authorities today issued a show-cause notice to the president of the Safai Mazdoor Federation of the corporation to give a reply on the strike within three days or face action. In a letter sent to Suraj Bhan, Additional Commissioner (Technical) BD Singla stated that the sanitation work was struck on April 1 without giving any prior information in this regard.

He pointed out in the letter that even employees working on a contractual basis were also obstructed from doing the sanitation work.

The work was also being struck on Fridays without giving any notice in this regard to the authorities concerned. Such activities harmed the image of the corporation.

Singla said the demands of the employees had nothing to do with the corporation as such and had to be conceded to at the state level.

Moreover, employees of other civic bodies in the state had not gone on strike on April 1.

He asked Suraj Bhan to give a reply for such an action within three days, failing which further action would be initiated against him.

Singla also questioned two contractors who had supplied safai sewaks to the civic body for striking work on April 1.



Traders observe half-day shutdown at timber market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
A half-day complete shutdown was observed by timber merchants at the timber  market of Sector 26 here today. The protesting traders demanded that VAT rates of 12.5 per cent on timber in Chandigarh should be brought down to 5 per cent as were applicable currently in Punjab and Haryana.

“The higher rates on wood and timber in Chandigarh have adversely affected the timber traders in Chandigarh and diverted the trade to the neighbouring states,” the protestors said.

Umesh Sood, president of the Timber market Association, said in spite of the recommendation of the Excise and Taxation Department and the Finance Department, the VAT rates on timber had not been reduced and file was still lying pending. The traders are losing business to Panchkula and Mohali.

Charan Jiv Singh, president, Beopar Mandal, said it was high time the UT Administration must take some immediate steps to stop the worsening of business in the UT due to higher VAT rates.

He also recommended the VAT to be brought on a par with the neighbouring states in the cases on blankets, pulses and toys.



Awareness campaign for voters begins in Mohali
People urged to vote without being influenced
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 2
A Voters’ Awareness Signature Campaign was started by Mohali Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu here today in order to ensure maximum voting during the Lok Sabha elections to be held on April 30. The Deputy Commissioner said there was 67 per cent polling during the last Lok Sabha elections. Now, a target of 85 per cent polling had been set up and to achieve it, the awareness campaign had been initiated.

To generate awareness through social media, a “Facebook page” had also been generated. To motivate the young voters, programmes like nukkad natak and competitions such as painting, speech, poetry, etc., were being conducted in different schools and colleges.

He said 20,000 new voters had been enrolled in the district and 6,16,854 voters would exercise their franchise here.

Sidhu said the young voters exercising the franchise for the first time would be recognised and certificates of appreciation would be given to them.

He appealed to the people of the district to vote freely and without being influenced.



Election observer addresses polling staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Dr Vishwas Mehta, the election observer for the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency, today addressed the polling staff at the Law Auditorium, Panjab University. He explained to them the basic parameters related to the election and highlighted the importance of a free, fair and transparent election.

Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer, UT, Mohammed Shayin and his team gave a demonstration on the election monitoring system.

Dr Mehta also visited the polling booths under the Area Returning Officer (ARO) 11-cum-Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, Rajiv Gupta.

During the visit, he inspected the basic facilities at the polling booths, including ramps, drinking water, toilets, internet facility, electricity etc.

He directed the booth level officers to help voters on the day of polling, April 10, and ensure that signages installed at polling stations should be in Hindi as well as English language.

He instructed the ARO that additional rooms near polling stations may be used as waiting rooms for senior citizens.



Need to review municipal bylaws: Gul

Chandigarh, April 2
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Gulkirat Kaur Panag today held a yatra covering sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51. She said, “The BJP and the Congress have no right to call the AAP anarchist. The only examples of anarchy in the history of Indian democracy have been during the communal riots that took place under the questionable watch of the mainstream political parties, where justice eludes the victims." She added, “Our government took a few days to order an SIT probe into the 1984 riots, which the BJP and the Congress failed to do in 30 years.”

Addressing a city specific issue, she advocated the need to review the municipal bylaws, which in her opinion should be made more flexible while not threatening the inherent character of the city.

The AAP candidate also met members of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association. Her day out ended with campaigning in markets in Bajwara, Attawa and sectors 22 and 42. — TNS



Rs 4.6 lakh seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The static surveillance teams constituted to put a check on flow on liquor and cash during the Lok Sabha elections today rounded up two persons and recovered Rs 4.6 lakh from their possession.

The team of the South Division, headed by Executive Magistrate Parveen Mittal, along with Sub-Inspector Jai Singh set up a naka near Hotel JW Marriott, Sector 35, and recovered Rs 1 lakh from the driver of car (CH-01AW-0096), identified as Daljit Singh, a resident of Sector 42.

In another case, Rs 3.60 lakh was recovered from the driver of a car (UK-07A-4331), identified as Harish Suri, a resident of Panchkula.

Daljit and Harish were handed over to the SHO of the police station concerned for further verification and necessary action.



From Schools
Orientation programme

Chandigarh: Tribune Model School, Sector 29, organised an orientation programme for the parents of students of Kindergarten to Class V today. The hour-long session aimed to educate parents into the strategies introduced for the benefit of the students.

Havan ceremony

Sharda Sarvhitkari Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 40, organised a havan ceremony on the school premises today. The principal and the faculty members recited the gayatri mantra. School principal BS Kanwar shared his thoughts. The hawan ceremony concluded with the shanti paath and “Om Dhawni”. Sweets were also distributed amongst the students and other present at the occasion.

Programme for parents

Ajit Karam Singh International Public School (AKSIPS), Smart School, Sector 41, organised an orientation programme for the parents on its campus today. Executive director of AKSIPS group of schools, Jasdeep Kalra, welcomed the parents. Dr Jyoti, the resident doctor of AKSIPS-41, gave tips on health and hygiene to the students. This was followed by a PowerPoint presentation where parents were acquainted with the motto of the school, ‘Education is life’. A new policy of education was also introduced. The parents were apprised of the CCE pattern and its features, including intellectual, physical, emotional and social aspects. The future agenda of activities and follow-up of the curriculum was listed and a hand-out was given to the parents. School principal Jagjit Sekhon interacted with the parents.

Welcome Day celebrations

St. Joseph Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, celebrated ‘Welcome Day’ on the campus today. All the classrooms were decorated with colorful charts, balloons and toys. An introductory session of students made them familiar with their classmates and teachers. The students participated in activities, including clay modelling, puzzles and flash cards. They also recited rhymes and played on the swings decorated with balloons and colourful buntings.

New academic session

The academic session 2014-15 commenced at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31, today. A special assembly was conducted to welcome the students. The morning assembly began with the invocation to Ma Saraswati. The principal greeted the students and motivated them to study hard.

Youth Parliament

A two-day orientation programme on the 18th National Youth Parliament — being conducted by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs — at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV), Sector 25, commenced today. The programme is being held under the guidance of D Choubey, Under Secretary and his team mates, including Suresh Kumar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Regional Office, Chandigarh. As many as 32 teachers from different JNVs of Chandigarh, Jaipur, Pune and Lucknow region are participating in the event. The organisers said the main objective of the workshop was to equip the participants about the organizational and procedural aspects of the Youth Parliament. It will be mandatory for all the Navodayas to organise a Youth Parliament. This is an effort on the part of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti to imbibe leadership qualities among the students.

YPS students win art contest in Pak

Mohali: Six students of Yadavindra Public School (YPS), Mohali — who had gone to the Aitchison College, Lahore, Pakistan to take part in the All-Pakistan Inter-School English and Urdu Declamations, Quiz and Art Competitions from March 28 to 30 — have bought laurels to the school. The team was adjudged as the overall winner of the art competition. In the English declamation contest (serious category), the first position was bagged by Angad Singh, while in the English declamation (humorous category), Tanay Gopal bagged the second spot. In the landscaping category, the first position was bagged by Mankeerat Kaur Narang and in the still art category, Azamvir Singh Brar bagged the second spot.

Parent-teacher interaction

Panchkula: An orientation week was organised at Woodlands House School, Panchkula. The authorities said the week was organised to mark the commencement of the new academic year. The main purpose is to acclimatise the children in a new environment and allow them to mingle with their peer group. Activities such as block-building, water games, story telling, singing, painting, dance, dressing up, bubble making, puppet show and floor games were organised. — TNS



Compartment cases
15 undergraduate students ‘miss’ exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
As many as 15 undergraduate students — who arrived to take the compartment examination at two city colleges today — were shocked to know that the exam had already been conducted yesterday. The students arrived at Government College for Girls and Post-Graduate College, Sector 11, to take the compartment examination.

As per the schedule of Panjab University, the under-graduate examinations of the 2013-14 session were to commence in these colleges today.

Though the PU website clearly states that the under-graduate compartment exams were scheduled for April 1, the students alleged that the authorities did not provide them information about the exact date.

The students demanded that the university should allow them to appear in the examination today and consider it a ‘golden chance’. They also demanded that the paper should be set as per the old syllabus.

Upon receiving the complaint, Panjab University Controller of Examination (CoE) Parvinder Singh visited the colleges and informed the students that those who had failed to appear in the compartment paper yesterday would be given a golden chance in June.

He, however, said the paper will be set up as per the new syllabus and as per the university norms.

Unfair means cases

On the first day of the PU examinations, the flying squad registered 13 unfair means cases against students for copying and carrying textbook material in affiliated colleges of the university. The Controller of Examination said special flying squad teams will be deputed in all those centres from Thursday where more than two UMC cases had been detected.



Google boy’s wit impresses students of British school
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 2
Six-year-old Google boy Kautilya Pandit interacted with students of a London-based school through video-conferencing recently. The wonder kid visited The Gurukul, Sector 20, and faced a volley of questions from students of The Baring Primary School, London.

Kautilya was accompanied by his grandfather and two sisters.

Impressed with his marvellous feat, the students of the London-based school gave a ‘thumbs up’ to the Google boy.

The British students —mostly in the age group of 14-16 years — were left speechless to see Kautilya answer their questions effortlessly.

The first question the Google boy faced was about the mountain range of France. Kautilya quickly retorted, the Alps.

Other questions ranged from the capitals of various countries to the highest mountain ranges.

Kautilya was quick and spontaneous while answering the questions.

Asked who Britain’s Prime Minister was, he replied, “I am not interested in England,” leaving the audience in splits.

His answers came as simply as his smile when asked about his unparalleled memory. “I just have it,” he said.

Kautilya’s presence was so captivating that the British students were eager to know more. The video conference gave them an opportunity to know the wonder kid.

Sanjay Thareja, director, The Gurukul, said, “We believe in spreading knowledge across the world. By facilitating the interaction between the British students and Kautilya, we’ve motivated students to strive for more”.



PCS judicial
5 PU students clear exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Five students of Panjab University have cleared the Punjab Civil Services (PCS) Judicial Examination in their first attempt. The results of the examination were declared today. Bisman Mann, a law student of the University Institute of Legal Studies, secured the eighth rank in the PCS judicial exam.

Mann said she is the only female student in Ludhiana to have cleared the exam. Her father SS Mann is an Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana.

Punjabi University LLM student Ramandeep Neetu bagged the 657the rank in the PCS Judicial Exam.

Neetu said she cleared the exam in her first attempt.

A resident of Mohali, Neetu said she did not take any coaching for the examination.

Discussing law as a career, she said, “This is one of the most respectable and flourishing careers provided one is dedicated to one’s profession. Unlike the popular belief, one should concentrate on the basic concepts of law instead of cramming the topics to clear the exam.”

Harshbir Sandhu, Tanisht Goyal and Arun Shori, students of the Law Department, PU, also cleared the exam in the first attempt.



VC, PU dons discuss students’ problems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Panjab University needs to adopt a better mechanism to resolve student-related issues on the varsity campus. The issue came up for discussion during a meeting of all faculty members held under the chairmanship of Vice Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover today. The move follows after the student representatives of all parties staged a four-day protest against fee hike last month.

The VC said, “The authorities need to frame certain rules to resolve an issue if interaction fails between the student organisation and them.”

The members also discussed that there was a dire need to upgrade the university’s infrastructure.

The VC also recommended that the suggestions of the re-employed faculty should be considered.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |