C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


The big battle: Chandigarh votes today
6,13,939 voters to seal fate of 17 candidates; tight security arrangements in place
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

A hoarding displayed by the Election Department in the city urging voters to exercise their franchise
A hoarding displayed by the Election Department in the city urging voters to exercise their franchise. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, April 9
The city is all set to go to the polls tomorrow to decide the fate of 17 candidates in the fray for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. Among the main contenders for the seat are Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal, BJP’s Kirron Kher, AAP’s Gulkirat Kaur Panag and BSP’s Jannat Jahan.

The UT Election Department has made elaborate arrangements for the elections in the city. Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been kept at polling booths under tight security.

A total of 519 polling booths have been set up across the city for 6,13,939 voters to exercise their franchise. Among these, 167 booths have been declared sensitive.

All necessary arrangements, including checking of EVMs, have been made at the polling booths. Polling staff have been provided the necessary material required on the polling day.

The Election Department has deployed 2,472 polling personnel, three companies of central paramilitary forces and 3,848 personnel of the Chandigarh Police, including 18 DSPs and three SPs, to ensure peaceful polling. Teams of the Election Department will visit the polling stations to ensure that the model code of conduct is not violated. Adequate transport arrangements, including buses, have been made for ferrying the polling staff to their respective booths.

The poll process will be videographed at all polling stations and “web casting” has been arranged at the 167 sensitive polling booths. Teams at the polling booths have been provided with back-up EVMs in case any EVM developed a snag.

Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer Mohammed Shayin said, “Everybody in the field will report to me. I will monitor the sensitive booths through web casting from my office.”

Government employees on election duty have been asked to reach the polling stations after casting their vote.

Info that may come in handy for you

Polling hours: 7 am to 6 pm

What you need to carry to the polling booth (any one of these)

  • Voter ID card
  • Voter slip
  • Identify proofs such as passport, driving licence

No. of polling booths: 519

Sensitive booths: 167

Dial for help
Helpline numbers: 1950, 0172-2700322

Know your polling booth by sending SMS
BTH voter card No. to 9216164606

Dreading queues?
Send SMS — QUE polling booth No. to 9216164606

Officials you can contact

  • Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Office Mohammed Shayin: 8146111222
  • Joint Chief Electoral Officer Tilak Raj: 9780909277

Model polling booths in city and facilities available

  • Live telecast: All polling stations in the city will be equipped with two cameras each, one inside and the other outside the booth, to telecast live images on official portals
  • e-poll monitoring system: Residents can get information about the polling percentage throughout the day by logging on to the official website -- ceochandigarh.ni.in
  • Pick-and-drop facility: Senior citizens will get the pick-and-drop facility free of cost in case they have nobody at home to take them to the polling station. They need to call the helpline numbers of the Election Department.
  • Wheelchairs: The physically challenged will have to call on the helpline numbers in advance and ask for wheelchairs at polling booths, which will be privided as per the demand
  • Volunteers: NSS volunteers will be available at all polling stations to assist voters
  • Waiting rooms for senior citizens: In case there are long queues, senior citizens will get the waiting room facility
  • Signage: Signage will be displayed at all polling stations to guide voters



Bansal tops poll expenditure chart
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal has topped the chart of expenditure incurred on the election campaign in the city for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. According to the records submitted by the Congress, Bansal spent Rs 26.65 lakh on the campaign.

Of the 17 candidates in the fray, 14 candidates have declared their expenditure on the campaign.

Aam Aadmi Party candidate Gulkirat Kaur Panag has spent Rs 18.86 lakh in the campaign, including the road show that cost her Rs 50,000 only. BJP candidate Kirron Kher spent Rs 18.64 lakh on the, including Rs 4 lakh spent on BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s rally in Chandigarh.

The national parties have spent a major part of the money on printing election-related material, including pamphlets and banners. A large amount has also been spent on petrol and hiring vehicles.

Independent candidates managed their campaign by spending less than Rs 1 lakh.

Deepak Shukla, an Independent candidate who preferred to walk across the city to woo the voters, spent only Rs 6,650 on the campaign apart from Rs 25,000 as security for contesting the poll.

Similarly, Dharmender Singh, contesting from the Bahujan Mukti Party, spent Rs 14,979 on the campaign, besides the security amount.



Tribune Impact
Day after, Excise Department officials crack down on liquor vends in city
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

The vend being sealed after checking the stock
The vend being sealed after checking the stock

Chandigarh, April 9
Waking up from slumber, the UT Excise Department today conducted surprise checks at the “erring” liquor vends to track down the coded slips and currency notes of similar series allegedly used by political parties to distribute liquor free of cost among voters.

Though officials failed to get hold of the coded slips, major discrepancies in the stocks of liquor at the vends came to light. Assistant Excise and Taxation Officer RC Bhalla said all four vends in Sectors 19, 27 and 34, and Colony No. 4 had been challaned under the Punjab Excise Act, 1914.

The officials began the raids at 10 am at the vends, including those in Sectors 34 and 27, Mani Majra and Colony No. 4. They reopened the liquor vends, which had been sealed at 6 pm yesterday due to the Lok Sabha elections, to check the stocks and discrepancies, if any. The stock was found short as compared to the other days. The officials, however, failed to find the coded slips and currency notes allegedly used for the distribution of liquor as the evidence was reportedly destroyed after the distribution of the stock.

"Officials of the Excise Department are on the job. Once they submit their report, action will be taken against the owners of the vends concerned. The officials have been asked to submit their report by Friday," said Anil Kumar, Home Secretary, UT.

Inquiries revealed that the onus of checking the illegal distribution of liquor is on the election observers and the police. “The police and the observers could have easily checked this malpractice. The modus operandi of the party workers was visible to one and all,” said a source.

Modus operandi

According to sources, the coded slips were destroyed after the distribution of liquor. The vendors were given the payment in advance, and accordingly, the stock was kept ready by the vendor. Salesmen were asked to finish the stock soon after its arrival. Some vend owners were also present to ensure smooth distribution of liquor.


From their mouth: Why you should vote for them
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
On the eve of the Lok Sabha elections, candidates for the last time appealed to voters for their support. While Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal sought votes for being “accessible”, BJP’s Kirron Kher and AAP’s Gulkirat Kaur Panag appealed to voters to vote for change and for better development. Meanwhile, BSP’s Jannat Jahan sought votes for being clean, honest and hardworking.

‘I have been accessible’

“Be it in the field of health, education, infrastructure, slum rehabilitation or other fields, I have been working for the overall development of the city, which the residents can see. I have remained steadfast in my work. I have always been accessible to voters, like a man next door. When people will be out to vote on April 10, I appeal to the voters to think twice before choosing their candidate. It is up to them whether they want to vote for a performer whom they have seen all these years or outsiders whom they have hardly seen in the city.”

Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress candidate

‘I am here to deliver’

Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Kirron Kher hugs a supporter in Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: S Chandan
Anupam Kher, husband of Kirron Kher, comes out after meeting Savita Bhatti at her residence in Sector 19 on Wednesday
Anupam Kher, husband of Kirron Kher, comes out after meeting Savita Bhatti at her residence in Sector 19 on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

“This election is not about promises but about delivering. Promises have been made in the last 15 years, but nothing has changed. I appeal to voters to vote for BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s good governance model. As I have received immense support from city residents. I am sure that the BJP will win from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.”

Kirron Kher, BJP-SAD candidate
AAP candidate Gulkirat Kaur Panag interacts with a polling agent at the party office in Sector 21, Chandigarh, on Wednesday
AAP candidate Gulkirat Kaur Panag interacts with a polling agent at the party office in Sector 21, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

‘Make an independent choice’

“Time has come for residents of Chandigarh to take control of the city. Residents’ participation in decision-making should increase. This is our time, Chandigarh’s time, to put an end to corruption that other politicians have gifted us. This is your vote and you can vote for anybody you want as your representative. Don’t be swayed by what you hear, make an independent choice. Your’s and your children’s is at stake.”

Gulkirat Kaur Panag, AAP candidate

BSP candidate Jannat Jahan with her supporters in Chandigarh on Wednesday
BSP candidate Jannat Jahan with her supporters in Chandigarh on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

‘Give BSP a chance’

“I appeal to voters of City Beautiful that they should vote for an honest and hardworking candidate, who always remains with them. I can assure them that even after the elections I will continue to fight for their rights. In the past, people have given chances to candidates of other parties, but this time, they should give the BSP achance.”

Jannat Jahan, BSP candidate

Polling booths with maximum, minimum voters

EVMs being checked at a distribution centre in Sector 26
EVMs being checked at a distribution centre in Sector 26. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Maximum voters
No. of votes: 1,610
Booth No. 236, CTU, DM Complex, Industrial Area, Phase I: 

Minimum voters

No. of votes: 244
Booth No. 344, St Xavier’s School, Sector 44

A first in 2014 Chandigarh Lok Sabha poll

  • No. of voters has crossed the 6 lakh mark
  • 23,000 first-time voters registered
  • Voters have the option of NOTA (none of the above)
  • Bollywood personalities are contesting from Chandigarh
  • Aam Aadmi Party, a new party, has entered the fray

Exercise your franchise and get discounts

  • Hotels, restaurants, private hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostics labs to offer 30 to 50 per cent discounts on services.
  • Free popcorns and cold drinks for the first-time voters (aged 18 to 25) at city malls after casting vote.
  • Voting certificate for the first-time voters
  • 15 to 20 per cent discount on shopping at selected shops.

CCTV cameras for sensitive booths

The Returning Officer (RO) will be able to view sensitive booths sitting back in his office. The CCTV cameras have been installed at all the 167 sensitive booths. The access to the CCTV cameras is reserved with the RO only and a few others.



Kings XI team urges people to exercise their right to vote
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 9
The Mohali district authorities have involved cricketers of Kings XI Punjab, to create awareness about the right to vote during the Lok Sabha elections scheduled to be held on April 30.

The players, who had come to the PCA Stadium here today for practice sessions, participated in a signature campaign launched by the Deputy Commissioner.

The players who took part in the signature campaign were Virender Sehwag, Murali Kartik, L Balaji, Shiv Sharma, Rishi Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mandeep Singh and others. By participating in the signature campaign, they sent a message to the voters to exercise their franchise.

Parveen Kumar Thind, additional electoral officer-cum- additional deputy commissioner, said the awareness created through the Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme will bring good results.



Six-year-old campaigns for grandfather
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 9
This election campaign is special, indeed. Rehat (6) is seeking vote and support for her grandfather Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, SAD candidate from the Anandpur Sahib constituency.

With support pouring in from a number of residents, the child's efforts seem to have paid off. Rehat accompanies Chandumajra on campaigns. She has been addressing residents at various places in the town.

Chandumajra said Rehat does not know much about politics but that does not matter to her. "She enjoys meeting people and has learnt the art to convince them," said Chandumajra, adding that she had entered politics.

Rehat is a student of Class I at Yadavindra Public School.



Wheelchairs for physically challenged, senior citizens
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
As many as 25 senior citizens and physically challenged residents today lodged their request with the UT Election Commission for wheelchairs and pick-and-drop facility to reach at polling stations to cast their vote for the Lok Sabha elections scheduled tomorrow.

As per records of the UT Election Department, there are about 10 per cent voters who fall under the category of senior citizens.

Officials of the Election Department said that they had received calls from urban voters about the wheelchair facilities while there was not much demand for these from the villages and colonies.

Sanjay, a resident of Dadu Majra, who is afflicted with paralysis on the left side of his body, said that he was clueless about the wheelchair and pick-and-drop facilities being provided at the polling stations. Even though the Election Department officials turned up at his place to give him the election slip yet nobody told him about any such facility.

An official said that through the helpline number, residents could inform the officials about the timing of their visit to the polling station so that the department could make the wheelchairs available before their arrival at the booth.

UT Joint Chief Electoral Officer Tilak Raj said the helpline was working round-the-clock for lodging the requirement for wheelchair and pick-and-drop facilities to the residents. He said that these facilities would be open to the voters tomorrow. He further said they should inform about their requirement an hour before they needed them so that the arrangements could be made before their arrival.

He said that the Election Department had tied up with Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, and Government Medical College, Sector 32, for assistance if they needed more wheelchairs. The UT Election Department has set up a helpline for the physically challenged and senior citizens who due to their health reasons or physical disability are unable to vote.

Ask officials for it

UT Joint Chief Electoral Officer Tilak Raj said the helpline was working round-the-clock for lodging requirement for wheelchair and pick-and-drop facilities for the physically challenged, and senior citizens. He said that these facilities would be open to the voters on Thursday. He further said they should inform about their requirements an hour before they needed them.



Even politicians follow north-south divide
Make a beeline for southern sectors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The great north-south divide in the city is not only restricted to infrastructure, even political parties have followed the divide while wooing voters during campaigns that ended last evening.

Guided by the voters strength, the four major political parties during their month-long campaign focused more on the colonies, villages and urban areas in the southern and eastern parts of the city.

Analysis of the public programme conducted by the four major contestants —the Congress, BJP, AAP and BSP clearly indicate that their visits to the elite areas were restricted to road shows and few padyatras. Incidentally, the voters in low-density areas like Sectors 3, 4, 5, 9, 10 and 11 were never contacted by any of the political party.

On the other hand, the parties concentrated on areas like Mani Majra, Mauli Jagran, Hallo Majra, Colony No, 4 and different rehabilitation colonies.

Justifying their strategy, insiders in the parties point out that in Sectors 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10, the number of voters are 1,249, 5,305, 3,332, 1,719 and 1,332, respectively, dissuaded the candidates from concentrating there.

On the contrary, area like Kajehri village, Maloya colony, Dhanas, and ManiMajra have 14,034, 11,408, 28,721 and 48,103, respectively.

Political analysts reveal that the colonies and villages in the periphery of the city account for 57 per cent of the total votes.

Not only the local party leaders and candidates, even Bollywood and political figures who came from outside the city to campaign for their candidate focused on the southern sectors.



election day
P’kula dances to tune of democracy
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 9
As Panchkula goes to polls tomorrow, voters are all set to choose their MP from the Ambala constituency.

Of the total 375 polling booths in the district, 180 have been set up in Panchkula and 195 in Kalka.

Polling will start at 7 am and will end at 6 pm. A total of 3, 50,258 voters from Panchkula and Kalka legislative constituencies would cast their vote. There are 194,080 voters in Kalka and 1,56,178 in Panchkula. In Kalka and Panchkula, there are 72,522 and 90,623 voters, respectively.

Fourteen candidates are in the fray. The four main candidates are -- Congress candidate Raj Kumar Balmiki, Indian National Lok Dal candidate Kusum Sherwal, BJP candidate Rattan Lal Kataria from BJP and AAP candidate SP Singh.
Election officials give money to Home Guards volunteers and students of Government College for having food at Sector 14 in Panchkula on Wednesday
Food for thought: Election officials give money to Home Guards volunteers and students of Government College for having food at Sector 14 in Panchkula on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Duty Magistrates have been appointed to check untoward incidents. Security has been stepped up. Police personnel from Gujarat Border Wing (176 officials) will be deployed at sensitive areas.

Police Commissioner Ajay Singhal said 50 nakas would be set up in the district tomorrow. As many as 1,200 police personnel would be deployed in Panchkula and Kalka.

Around 54 criminals, who were out on parole, have been taken into custody. In the Panchkula-Ambala Commissionerate, 4,403 were seized.

The police said they they seized four pistols, nine countrymade pistols, three knives and 45 cartridges. They also seized 9,973 bottles of liquor.

Show identity proof and get inked

Residents who do not have voter cards can show their identity cards to vote. Passports, driving licences, service identity cards issued by the State and Central Governments, Public Sector Undertakings, public limited companies, passbooks, PAN cards, Aadhasr cards, smart cards issued by the RGI under the NPR and MNREGA job cards can be used for voting.

First-time voters

  • Of the total 7,788 first-time voters (in the 18-19 age-group), 4,135 are from Panchkula while 3,653 are from Kalka.
  • In Kalka, there are 39,037 voters in the 30-39 age-group.
  • In Panchkula, there are 40,927 voters in the 30-39 age-group.
  • There are 1.61 lakh women voters.
  • The administration has adequate EVMs
  • There are 527 ballot units (BUs) and 413 control units (CUs)

On alert

Four companies of the Gujarat Border Wing, five reserves of the ITBP, one reserve of the BSF have been put on election duty. Fifty nakas will be set up and 79 patrolling parties have been constituted. Police Commissioner Ajay Singhal said they had launched a special campaign to apprehend POs, bail jumpers, parole jumpers, most wanted criminals and to seize illegal arms. Around 54 POs and two criminals were arrested. Action against 2,741 persons was taken. An amount of Rs 14.88 lakh was recovered.



Now, watch polling process live
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 9
Poor Internet connectivity in remote areas of the district may hamper web casting at 51 polling booths of Kalka and Panchkula segments of the Ambala Lok Sabha seat.

The Haryana election department had introduced web-casting at 1,000 polling booths. In Ambala, 100 booths were selected and out of them 51 were set up in Panchkula district (30 in Kalka and 21 in Panchkula segments). "For the first time, the state election department has introduced web-casting for the convenience of people who can watch the polling process on its official website (www.ceoharyana.nic.in)," the chief electoral officer hadstated.

Sources in the department said remote areas had poor connectivity.

Manju Aggarwal, in charge of the web-casting team, said web-casting had been introduced in polling booths set up in urban areas only.

About NOTA

The Election Commission has introduced NOTA (none of the above), an option to reject all candidates, on the 16th button of Electronic Voting Machines in the state. The use of the option will entirely depend on a voter. It is for the first time that the election department has introduced NOTA. It has even launched an advertisement campaign to educate the general public.



Urban areas given a miss
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 9
As all parties are focusing on rural areas, the urban population says it has not even seen the faces of candidates.

"They didn't even bother to visit us," said Vikas Verma, a resident of Mansa Devi Complex (MDC), Sector 5, Panchkula.

Prabhu Sharma, a resident of Sector 6, said, "Not even a single candidate came to our sector."

He stated: "I have just seen banners. All candidates are based in Panchkula, still we have not seen them."

Vishal Singh, a resident of Sector 15, said: "Hoardings convey nothing."

Areas such as Bir Ghaggar, Kharag Mangoli, Rajiv Colony, Indira Colony, Budanpur, Devinagar and Kalka have more than two lakh voters.

Raj Kumar Balmiki, Congress candidate, said: "We have covered all areas."

Vikas Paul, BJP's spokesperson, said: "In urban areas, it is difficult to go door to door. We were given only 25 days to campaign."

"There are more than 100 societies in Mansa Devi Complex and Sector 20 of Panchkula. Our volunteers visited the areas,"said Anand Prakash, senior AAP leader.



Voter records differ in Kalka segment
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 9
The Kalka Assembly segment has the lowest number of voters even though records of the chief electoral officer (CEO), Haryana, and the district election officer (DEO), Panchkula, differ.

The records of CEO Shrikant Walgad show that 1,56,328 voters in Kalka segment (83,761 men and 72,567 women) will exercise their franchise. However, the total number of voters in the segment is 1,56, 178 (83,656 men and 72, 522 women) in the DEO's record.

Similarly in Panchkula segment, the CEO's record shows 1,94,392 voters while there are 1,94,080 (1,03,457 men and 90,623 women) voters as per DEO's record.

In Kalka, the first timers (3,653 voters aged between 18 and 19) will outnumber oldies (33,551 voters who are 80 plus) while in Panchkula segment 4,135 first timers and 3,297 elderly persons will cast their vote tomorrow.

The Ambala Lok Sabha constituency, reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates, covers Panchkula and Ambala and part of Yamunanagar districts. The constituency covers 10 segments, including Kalka, Panchkula, Naraingarh, Ambala Cantonment, Ambala City, Mullana (SC), Sadhaura (SC), Jagadhari and Yamunanagar.

With the highest number (2,25,199) of voters in Ambala City, the constituency has 1,69,22,27 in all out of which 9,09,708 are men and 7,82,519 are women, claims the CEO.

Apart from this, Naraingarh has 1,68,353 voters, Ambala Cantonment 1,70,991, Mullana 1,92,065, Sadhuara 1,93,986, Jagadhari 1,93,286 and Yamunanagar 1,97,627 voters.



Who will make the most of fake votes?
Hina Rohtaki

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 9
Fake voters will play a major role tomorrow. Reason: The district administration has not bothered to cancel votes made on addresses that do not exist in Mansa Devi Complex at Sector 4.

Despite bringing the matter to the notice of the authorities, nothing has been done. The issue was published in these columns two days ago.

As per list, Sant Prakash and Satinder Pal reside in house number 157(K) while the address given by Raman Chopra is house number 153. The addresses are wrong.

Around 22 votes have been made on an address in Sector 17. Later, it was found that only two persons stay there.

Davinder Mahajan, president, Resident Welfare association, MDC, Sector 4, said: "An FIR should be lodged against such people. The administration should cancel all fake votes."

The residents alleged that the authorities did not verify facts.

Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Gurmeet Singh said: "The complaint was filed with booth-level officers. We will keep a check on such voters tomorrow."

A few residents, who could not find their names on the voter list, raised a hue and cry this evening. They said election campaigns were eyewash and the ground reality was different.

Mahender Kumar Bhardwaj, a resident of Sector 6, said his wife and daughter had filled in Form 6 twice but when they asked officials concerned about their voter cards, they were told that their forms had been misplaced.

"Why should we face a tough time getting our voter cards made? In September, we submitted all documents to the booth-level officer. When we enquired about our votes, he said he could not find the papers. Each time, we get the same reply," said Bhardwaj's daughter Nidhi Bhawani. A complaint has been forwarded to the Chief Electoral Officer of Haryana.



Political scene hots up in Mohali
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 9
To ensure a good turnout in the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April 30, the authorities are roping in cinema houses, radio stations and industrial houses. They are even distributing T-shirts among residents exhorting them to exercise their franchise.

To promote voting, two-minute video clips are being screened at PVR cinemas near Kharar. The clips have been video-graphed at different places. Students, lawyers, sanitation workers, singers, doctors and housewives are shown expressing their views. These will be shown to moviegoers till April 30.

Sources said the district administration had tied up with 92.7 Red FM, which has 26 lakh listeners, to create awareness about the voting right. The campaign, which will start tomorrow, will involve 10 radio jockeys who will visit different parts of the district, meet people and hold events. They will also distribute gifts among winners.

Parveen Kumar Thind, Additional District Electoral Officer-cum-Additional Deputy Commissioner, said chopper would be hired to distribute poll-related pamphlets. In Mohali district, 20,000 such pamphlets will be distributed.

He said T-shirts with 'Vote on April 30' written on them were being given to auto-rickshaw operators and safai sewaks. As many as 3,000 such T-shirts will be given under the Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaign.

Thind said industrial houses such as Philips, Mahindra & Mahindra, Vodafone, Ranbaxy and Godrej had been approached for election awareness purposes. Their workforce had been addressed by officials concerned encouraging them to actively participate in the poll.



Forum to deal with plaints against mobile operators
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Chandigarh consumer courts will now again start entertaining mobile phone service and billing disputes.

In what may be termed as a sigh of relief to hundreds of mobile phone subscribers across the city, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, which governs the consumer courts, has in a communiqué to the courts and state governments, clarified that the consumer fora were competent to entertain consumer disputes involving telecom service providers and consumers.

Earlier, the consumer courts had stopped entertaining disputes relating to billing and services provided by mobile companies following a National Commission order in year 2010.

With this, the aggrieved subscribers, who were left with a little remedy in case of billing disputes, will again be able to approach the consumer court against the deficiencies and malpractices of the mobile service providers, said advocate Pankaj Chandgothia, president of the Bar Association of Chandigarh Consumer Forum.



Pensioners’ meet today

Mohali, April 9
A general body meeting of the Punjab Government Pensioners Association will be held at the Rose Garden in Phase 3B-1 at 11 am on April 10. This was decided at the meeting of the executive of the association.

General Secretary of the association Mohan Singh said the meeting has been convened to discuss the future strategy for issues of delay in payment of third installment of arrears, non-release of DA installment announced and other unmet demands of the pensioners. — TNS



Giscon begins tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The departments of Medicine and Microbiology, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, will organise the 4th Biennial National Conference of gastrointestinal infection society of India- ‘Gisicon 2014’ on April 11 and 12 at the college auditorium.

Professionals from the field of Gastroenterology, Medicine and Microbiology will bring an insight into the growing complexity of the disease and the latest strategies for their successful management.



Rayat techies’ vehicle to compete in Texas race
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 9
Ten budding engineers of Rayat and Bahra Institute of Engineering and Biotechnology are all smiles as an 'all-terrain vehicle ' (off-road) designed and fabricated by them has been selected to compete in "Baja SAE Race Event" at Texas, USA.

As many as 100 teams will be taking part in the race, which is scheduled to be held from April 24 to 27 at El Paso, Texas. A total of seven teams have been selected from India.

While unveiling the vehicle, the Rayat and Bahra Group chairman Gurvinder Singh Bahra, said the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) was organising the competition on the grounds of the University of Texas at El Paso.

The team members from the Rayat Bahra institute are Abhinav Sharma (captain), Aakaash Bose, Ankit Girdher, Paras Bhardwaj, Navdeep Dimri, Gurbir Singh Benipal, Kartik Dogra, Abhishek Choudhary, Parminder Singh and Hitesh Sharma. Dr Jujhar Singh and Ashwani Kumar are the faculty advisers.

The team captain Abhinav Sharma said, "The project, costing Rs 35 lakh, was funded by the management and students of the institute, and various industrial groups. It took us one year to develop the vehicle."

The vehicle weighed 235 kg and is powered by a 10 BHP, 305 CC Intek engine donated by Briggs & Stratton Corporation, USA. The frame of the vehicle has been made using AISI 1018 tubular steel pipes. The vehicle has hydraulic disc brakes and independent suspension.



No diktat, UT teachers to vote for candidate of their choice

Chandigarh, April 9
The Joint Action Committee of Teachers, UT, today asked its members to vote for the candidate of their choice.

A meeting of 31 members of the committee was held wherein it was decided that union members would be allowed to vote for the candidate of their choice.

The convener of the meeting, Bhag Singh Kairon, said the committee had appealed to the teaching community not to get be mislead by any statement and cast their vote to the candidate of their choice.

Kairon said there were around 5,500 teachers in the UT. He added that under the model code of conduct, government employees could not directly favour or disfavour any political party. — TNS



Canadian education fair on April 13

Chandigarh, April 9
A mega Canadian education fair will be held at a local hotel on April 13.

The event to be organised by Charms Education and Immigration Services (P) Ltd will see as many as 25 Canadian colleges and universities providing consultancy service to the students interested in studying aboard.

Charms Education and Immigration Services (P) Ltd. CEO Manish Paitka said new Canadian rules for students and plans to promote international education would come into effect from June 1, 2014, under which students would get right to do part-time work for 20 hours per week off campus. — TNS



Entrance test for LLB 3-yr course on June 9
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, has changed the date of entrance test for the LLB 3-year course - 2014.

PU Controller of Examinations Prof Parvinder Singh said the entrance test will now be held on June 9 instead of June 8.

Recently, the ABVP had submitted a memorandum to the PU Vice-chancellor demanding that the seeking date of the entrance test for the LLB 3-year course should be changed as it clashed with the date on which a Delhi university was holding the entrance exam.



Workshop on biorisk management held at PU

Chandigarh, April 9
A two-day workshop on biorisk management concluded at Panjab University (PU) here today.

Dr Cecelia V Williams of Sandia National Laboratories and associated with International Biological Threat Reduction and Global Security Programs addressed the workshop. The workshop laid emphasis on protection of immediate environment and community while dealing with biological and infectious substances.

The Head of Department of Microbiology, PGI, Dr A Chakorbarty, said doctors and residents as well as PhD students should get hands on training in biorisk management.

Dr Gopal Pandey from Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) stressed introducing biosafety and biosecurity as a specialised course at the university level.

Anupam Kher visits PU

Bollywood actor Anupam Kher visited the Department of Indian Theatre at Panjab University here on Wednesday. “I had expected that the theatre department will be developed and equipped with advanced technology, but there is no such thing,” stated Kher, who studied theatre at the university in 1974-75. — TNS



from schools
Voter awareness

Chandigarh: The NSS unit of Shishu Niketan Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 22, organised a rally to make people aware of the importance of casting vote. School principal Amita Khorana flagged off the rally. She said the rally would serve the dual purpose of creating awareness about the value of vote among parents through school students as well as making children responsible citizens of tomorrow. Carrying placards with slogans such as "My Vote, My Right", "Your vote counts" and "Let's vote", the NSS volunteers covered the entire Sector 22.

Environment activity

Mohali: Students of Sant Isher Singh Senior Secondary School, Sector 70, Mohali, participated enthusiastically in an activity on the importance of 3 Rs of the environment, namely Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, on the school campus on Wednesday. They expressed their innovative ideas through discussions and making projects using their drawing and writing skills in their respective classes. School director Hardip Kaur Gill and principal Pawandeep Kaur Gill briefed the students about the importance of 3Rs.

Toddlers welcomed

Toddlers received a warm welcome from senior students in the guise of their favourite cartoon characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and doraemon, on the first day of the new academic session at St Soldier's School here. — TNS



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