C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


For once, no North-South divide in city
Both parts have a near equal share in the record 73.84 per cent voter turnout 
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The city's North and South had a near equal contribution to the record voter turnout during the elections for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat held yesterday. Of the total votes polled, the sectors, villages and colonies in the south accounted for 50.35 per cent, while the remaining 49.65 per cent came from the northern areas of the city.

Voters from both these areas turned up in large numbers to exercise their franchise. Breaking the previous record of 68.9 per cent voting in the 1984 elections, the city saw a voter turnout of 73.84 per cent this time.

Over 73 per cent of the voters residing in Sectors 1 to 10 and Kaimbwala, which fall in the northern part of the city, turned up to cast their vote. Of the 9,883 votes, 7,307 were polled.

Similarly, in Sectors 16 to 23, 36,749 of the total 51,124 voters cast their ballot.

The voters in colonies and villages in the city's North also showed enthusiasm in exercising their right. Of the total 3,00,381 votes in the northern part of the city, 2,25,076 votes were polled.

The southern part of the city accounted for a little more then 50 per cent of the total voter turnout. Of the 3,13,558 votes in the southern part, 2,28,238 votes were polled. 

City's north

Sectors 1 to 30, Mani Majra, Mauli Jagran, Raipur Kalan, Makhan Majra village, Industrial Area, Phase I, Raipur Khurd and Daria village.

City's south

Sectors 31 to 52, Sectors 61 and 63, Maloya village, Dadu Majra, Industrial Area, Phase II, Ram Darbar, Hallo Majra and Faida village.



UT’s female voters lead the way
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Female voters in the city outnumbered their male counterparts by exercising their right to vote in the elections held yesterday for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.

While 74.15 per cent female voters exercised their franchise, the poll percentage of male voters was 73.57. Of the 2,81,051 female voters, 2,08,413 voters turned up to cast their ballot, while 2,44,901 of the 3,32,888 male voters exercised their franchise.

Full of enthusiasm, female voters thronged the polling stations. In colonies and villages, female voters came out in large numbers to decide the fate of 17 candidates in the fray for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.

The polling booths (84 A to 84 K) in Dhanas witnessed a huge female voter turnout. Of the 6,772 female voters, 5,770 voters cast their ballot.

Booth No. 363 in Kaimbwala village witnessed a female voter turnout of 93.22 per cent. Similarly, booth No. 438 A in Hallo Majra saw 92.01 per cent female voters turn up to vote. Of the 413 voters, 380 cast their votes.

Female voters in urban areas also came out in large numbers to vote. Among the urban areas, Sectors 16, 22 and 23 witnessed an average 72 per cent female voter turnout. 

97.87% turnout at booth

Polling booth No. 192 at the anganwari centre in Sector 26 recorded a female voter turnout of 97.87 per cent. Of the 423 female voters, 414 cast their vote.



Discrepancies found in stocks of liquor vends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The UT Excise Department has detected discrepancies in the stocks of the vends that were found distributing liquor on the basis of coded slips to supporters of two major political parties on April 8.

Though officials were tightlipped about the findings of a report that was to be submitted today, the department is in the process of issuing notices to the erring liquor vend operators. “They will be asked to explain how they were selling liquor on basis of coded slips,” said an official.

The department is learnt to have found discrepancies in the case of around 350 cartons of liquor.

The department had conducted raids to get hold of the coded slips and currency notes of a particular series allegedly used by the political parties to distribute liquor free of cost among their supporters. However, it failed to find the coded slips.

The department had challaned all four vends in Sectors 19, 27, 34 and Colony No. 4 under the Punjab Excise Act, 1914.

The department was studying the quota of liquor lifted by the vend operators in the past few days.



New OPD timings at GMSH-16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The OPD timings of Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, and its allied dispensaries will change from April 16. The new OPDs timings will be from 8 am to 2 pm.

These dispensaries include AYUSH dispensaries, Community Health Centre, Mani Majra, Community Health Centre, Sector 22, and Polyclinic, Sector 45.

The new timings will remain effective till October 15 this year.

The timings of ESI dispensaries in Sectors 29 and 23, the UT Secretariat and the Punjab and Haryana High Court will not change. 


Kirron, Gul hot favourites: Punters
Place Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal at the third position
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Kirron Kher, BJP
Kirron Kher, BJP

Gul Panag
Gul Panag, AAP

Pawan K Bansal
Pawan K Bansal, Congress

Chandigarh, April 11
After yesterday’s record-breaking polling percentage, BJP candidate Kirron Kher and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Gul Panag are the hot favourites to win the lone Lok Sabha seat from the city, say bookies. The election results for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat are scheduled to be out on May 16.

As per bookies, candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal’s chances of winning the Chandigarh seat are very less. They have placed Bansal at the third position.

Requesting anonymity, a bookie said Rs 100 bet would return Rs 55 if Kirron Kher or Gul Panag becomes the Member of Parliament (MP) from the Chandigarh seat. A person doesn't pay any money at the time of placing a bet but has to pay up in the event of a loss or gets paid if the bet pays off, he said.

On the other hand, if a person predicts Bansal’s victory he will get Rs 166 on the bet of Rs 100, he said.

In the betting market, the lower the returns promised, the more popular is the given candidate considered. A punter said that high percentage of polling meant, people had voted for change. Since Bansal was the sitting MP, they have placed him at the third position.

On BJP candidate Kirron Kher, punter said Kirron Kher would get more votes due to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s wave. Meanwhile, they predicted that youngsters voted for AAP candidate Gul Panag, he said. 



Polling process: ‘A lot still needs to be done’
Though efforts were put in to facilitate voters, the arrangements could have been better, say residents

The Election Department in future should not befool voters by making false promises to attract them to the polling booths, instead they should lay stress on educating the common man on the right to vote and how much it means in a democracy.
— Tarlochan Singh, first-time voter 

The voting system was well organised. Physically challenged and senior citizens should be given a facility of pick-and-drop vans, equipped with wheelchairs by the Election Commission of India. The confidentiality was well maintained this time.
— Dr Sunita Sharma, lecturer, PGIMER

The Election Department made it convenient for us to identify our polling booths by issuing slips. But the process of verification should be improved. They should start early and lists should be prepared before the polling day.
— Mohammad Aslam, trader

The focus of the Election Commission should be to streamline the polling process. People hesitate to vote due to harassment at the hands of polling officers demanding documents for getting their missing names added to the voter list.
— Alam, PU student 

In future, the Election Commission should include deploying of wheelchairs and pick-and-drop facility on every polling station rather than making this facility available on demand, as hefty funds are allocated for the conducting the elections.
— Vidhi Bugra, a student

The Election Department should go high-tech to facilitate voters on the polling day. Even though they had initiated it this time, yet it was not effective due to faulty internet connections.
— Manmit Tiwana, a student

I feel that there should be extra EVMs at the polling booths. There was only one electronic voting machine per booth this time. Had there been more EVMs the queues would have been shorter.
— Saurabh Mahajan, businessman 

None of the above (NOTA) option needs to be widely publicised among voters who have lost faith in the polling process due to fielding of corrupt politicians by various political parties.
— Aditi Kant, a student

The UT Election Department has not worked out a system in which voters don’t have to stand in long queues to vote. It kills time and senior citizens feel harassed.
— Shawik Ghai, PU student 

There should be more awareness among residents, as many still do not exercise their franchise. The awareness drive should continue even after the elections are over.
— Tushar, a P’kula resident



Record turnout adds to the worries of Congress, BJP
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
A record turnout of voters in yesterday’s elections to the Chandigarh parliamentary seat, which otherwise should indicate the vote for change, has rather added to the worries of the two major political parties, the Congress and the BJP.

As the details of the area-wise polling percentage trickled in today, the AAP factor seems to have made dent in the traditional vote bank of both the Congress and the BJP. Unlike the last elections when the winning Congress candidate led by over 58,000 votes, it could be “literally” a photo finish for the winning candidate.

Even in the general elections prior to 2004, the margin of the winning candidate has been around 20,000. The trend will be indicative this time also.

Bhupinder Brar, a professor in the political science department, Panjab University, said high percentage polling is indicative of either youngsters favouring AAP or people going with the Modi wave. “The first factor seems stronger this time”, he added.

Significantly, the result will not only affect the political career of Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Basal, it will also reflect upon the BJP leadership’s decision to bring a parachute candidate amidst initial opposition within the local unit.

A section of voters, who did not favour Congress due to anti-incumbency factor, gave their vote to AAP, as they did not approve of an outsider in the BJP. “The winning probability of the BJP could be only due to the Modi wave and not due to the local factors”, pointed political analysts.

AAP’s performance in the elections will be an indicator of acceptance of the party’s ideology among city residents. The reports indicate that of the 23,000 first -time voters, a large number have exercised their franchise with full gusto.

In case of Mani Majra, a high percentage of polling is indicative of the BJP eating into the vote bank of the Congress. The Congress is, however, hopeful of having cashed in on its base in colonies and villages.

Summing up the issue, a senior Congress and a BJP leader admitted that though it was largely a triangular contest, in certain urban area areas it could be the BJP versus AAP. In certain areas it was the Congress versus the BJP.

The role played by voters of the consolidated vote banks of industrialists, ex servicemen, regular UT employees, contractual employees, and community based votes cannot be ignored. 



Voters make most of discount offers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Residents thronged hotels and restaurants in large numbers today to avail discounts after casting their votes on Thursday.

The Chandigarh Administration roped in these hotels and restaurants to provide privileges of discounts to voters.

"We issued 80 discounted bills today. Youngsters, families as well as professionals visited us and availed discounts. They all carried their voter ID cards," said Yogesh, manager, Hotel Aroma, Sector 22.

The number was even higher in the outlets alongside the Madhya Marg.

"There was enthusiasm among the residents. They were all aware of the discount offers. We saw over a 100 groups visiting us and asking for discounts on bills," said Neeraj Bajaj, owner of Sindhi Sweets, Sector 8.

The residents also availed free health services offer. Over 100 patients walked in for a free eye check-up at the Grewal Eye Institute today. The discounts at 41 hotels and restaurants will continue till April 13.

At healthcare institutions, the discounts can be availed throughout the week starting today.



Lok Sabha elections: Now, city candidates to campaign in other states 
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

BSP candidate Jannat Jahan on an outing with her family at Elante Mall

Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal spends time with his family at his residence in Sector 28
(Top) BSP candidate Jannat Jahan on an outing with her family at Elante Mall; and (Belo) Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal spends time with his family at his residence in Sector 28, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune Photos: Manoj Mahajan and Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, April 11
Even after the elections are over for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, city candidates have no time to rest.

Now, Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal, BJP candidate Kirron Kher and AAP candidate Gul Panag, will campaign for their respective parties in various parts of the country, especially in the neighboring states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

Bansal today began campaigning for the Congress in the Zirakpur and Balongi areas of Mohali district. Bansal, who also spent time with his family members, especially with his grandchildren, said, “ Today I held meetings with party workers to analyse the polling scenario in Chandigarh. Besides, I will now campaign for the party in nearby areas of Punjab, where polling for the Lok Sabha elections will take place on April 30”, he said.

Similarly, Gul Panag, who also held a number of meetings with party workers to thank them for their support, said, “In the coming days I will stay here and will meet all the party workers. After that I will campaign for AAP candidates in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Mumbai, she said.

Kirron Kher, who has already left for Amritsar to campaign for BJP candidate Arun Jaitely there, said, “I will now campaign for party candidates in Punjab and other states.

BSP candidate Jannat Jahan said, “I cleaned my house as during elections things were scattered around in the house. Then I went for shopping and lunch with my children. Her husband Hafiz Anwar-Ul-Haq held a number of meetings with party workers”, she said. 



Jannat Jahan served notice

Chandigarh, April 11
The UT Election Department today served a notice to BSP candidate Jannat Jahan-Ul-Haq and two other candidates for failing to submit their poll expenditure with the department. The candidates have been asked to submit a reply within seven days.

All the candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections had to submit the details on poll expenditure till April 9. Jannat, Kanwaljit Singh of CPI (ML) and Reena Sharma, an Independent candidate, failed to submit their expenditure details. Officials stated that the notices were delivered to the candidates. The Congress candidate had showed maximum expenditure of Rs 26.65 lakh. — TNS



VIP sectors in P’kula record lowest polling
While just 5.4 per cent voters exercised their franchise in Sector 6, voter turnout in Sector 7 was 6.81 per cent
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 11
VIPs in Panchkula did not prefer to vote in the general elections this time.

The two posh sectors 6 and 7 recorded the lowest voter turnout. While Sector 6, Panchkula, recorded just 5.4 per cent voter turnout, the figure stood at 6.81 in Sector 7.

In Sector 6, there were a total of 2,358 voters and only 126 of them cast their vote. In Sector 7, only 331 of the 5,187 eligible voters exercised their right to franchise.

At one of the booths in Sector 6, the voter turnout was mere 4.71 per cent and at the second booth, it was 6.09 per cent.

In contrast, Sector 2, which is home mainly to defence officers, recorded a good turnout of 66.83 per cent. There were a total of 3,622 voters in the sector and 2,425 visited polling booths yesterday.

Villages fare better

Even as voter awareness campaigns were held more in Panchkula town rather than villages, the former recorded lesser polling.

Awareness campaigns and discounts offered to voters at restaurants, beauty saloons etc did not seem to have made the desired impact on voters.

Villages in Barwala came out with a fairly high turnout. A booth at Asarewali village recorded the voter turnout of 95.07 per cent. As many as 328 voters voted out of 345 voters there. Other villages in Barwala recorded close to 74 per cent voter turnout.

U-turn by Chowki villagers

Interestingly, Chowki village, which had declared to boycott the poll, recorded a high voter turnout of 78.66 per cent.

Kalka Assembly segment, which comprises mostly villages, showed a good voter turnout of 69.2 per cent. It was 61.97 per cent in the last Lok Sabha elections. Panchkula Assembly segment recorded 61.9 per cent polling this time. The number was 57.7 per cent during the last general elections.

3-tier security for EVMs

y Tight security arrangements have been made around the strong rooms in the BEL Colony where EVMs have been kept till May 16, the day for counting of votes.

y Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashwin Shenvi said a three-tier security had been arranged for the purpose. The inner cordon is manned by the BSF, second by commandos and the outer cordon by the district police. In addition, frisking parties, each headed by Inspector, have been deployed at the entry gates for round the clock security.



Day after polling, candidates spend time with family
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 11
After hectic canvassing for over a month, candidates of different political parties spent their day with their family members and meeting party workers.

While candidates of three major political parties - Congress, BJP+HJC and INLD - spent their day in the constituency itself, the AAP candidate had to rush to Ludhiana to attend the bhog of one of his party activists’ relative.

There was a rush of party workers at the houses of candidates while the AAP activists decided to assemble at the party office in the evening.

The Tribune team spoke to candidates of the main parties, namely Raj Kumar Valmiki (Congress), Rattan Lal Kataria (BJP+HJC), Dr Kusum Bala Sherwal (INLD) and SP Singh (AAP) on the day after polling to know their next course of action. 

Dr Kusum Bala Sherwal (INLD)

  • Preparing tea for guests and family members, Dr Kusum Bala Sherwal did not seem to be tired even after canvassing in odd hours in the constituency for over a month. She was busy in kitchen when The Tribune team reached her house in Sector 16, Panchkula, on Friday.
  • “People have showered a lot of love on me. The party and its ideology have been widely accepted by people both in rural and urban areas. During the election campaign, I could make out that public want a change, so they voted for the INLD,” she said, adding, “To provide educational and health care facilities in rural areas are my top priorities.”

Rattan Lal Kataria, (BJP-HJC)

  • “I was so busy in elections that I forgot that my mother, Parivari Devi, had come from Ladwa to meet me. I woke up a little late today and had breakfast (oats-meal) with my family,” said Rattan Lal Kataria.
  • “Party workers are visiting me and giving feedback about the elections. In the evening, I will go to Ambala to attend an assessment meeting,” the BJP-HJC candidate said.
  • “Had Kumari Selja contested from Ambala, it would have been an interesting fight,” he believes.
  • “Declaring the Shivaik belt as a backward area and provide it with a special industrial package on the pattern of Baddi and Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh will be my priority if I wins the seat,” Kataria said.

Raj Kumar Valmiki (Congress)

  • “I am missing my grandchildren who left early this morning after elections. I woke up late, had breakfast with my family members and now chalking out future plans,” said Raj Kumar Valmiki.
  • “There was no Modi wave here as voters came out in large numbers to vote for the Congress,” he claimed, adding: “The constituency is deprived of higher and technical education. To provide a rail link between Chandigarh-Panchkula and Yamunanagar and setting up a university in Panchkula will be my top priorities.”

SP Singh (AAP)

  • “The show must go on,” claimed SP Singh, the candidate of AAP.
  • An early-riser, Singh was on his way to attend the bhog of one of AAP activists’ relatives in Ludhiana. “I will be back in Panchkula by evening to attend a review meeting,” said Singh.
  • “We will head towards Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab to strengthen the party and support its candidates there,” he said.
  • “The AAP has penetrated in rural as well as urban areas. The party is growing stronger day by day. The Modi factor will not work at all in this Lok Sabha elections,” Singh said, adding: “The AAP’s main aim is to eradicate corruption.”



NIH study comes under criticism in High Court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The study conducted by Roorkee-based National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) in the Save Sukhna campaign came under criticism today. The amicus curia or the “friend of the court”, Tanu Bedi, indicated that the study did not touch essential issues such as the lake’s catchment area.

NIH, on the other hand, alleged that the UT Administration was apparently not serious about the lake’s conservation and never involved itself with the institute on the issue.

As the case came up for resumed hearing before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Augustine George Masih, Bedi said the institute’s own scientist pointed out again and again that such issues were beyond the scope of study; and another research was required.

Referring to previous orders in the case, Bedi said the NIH and the UT Administration were discussing issues such as payment, but it was imperative to take into consideration the court’s expectations in the matter. The court wanted the study to be carried out by experts. But some of the experts bodies recommended during the course of hearing were never considered.

The NIH through counsel Onkar Singh Batalvi alleged that the Chandigarh Administration failed to even comment or make observations on its recommendations in the report.

“However, when NIH asked for the last installment of its payment for carrying out the study, the UT Administration began raising questions on its study,” Batalvi argued.

The High Court, on a previous date of hearing, had directed the Chandigarh Administration to furnish its comments and observation on the draft report submitted by NIH on its integrated study on Sukhna Lake. The Bench headed by Chief Justice Kaul had also directed the Administration to release the payment to NIH, Roorkee, for carrying out the study.

Digging deep into the Save Sukhna campaign, the institute had earlier suggested with a slew of measures, which if implemented could prolong the lake's life. It suggested the checking of evaporation to preserve water in the lake. The report also recommended an increase in the overall capacity of the lake; and lowering the capacity of check dams. Data collection and awareness programmes were included in some of the other recommendations.

The report suggests reduction in evaporation. “Certain evaporation retarding chemicals are available which are known to reduce evaporation. However, to avoid any possible negative impacts of such chemicals on the flora and fauna of the lake, they are not recommended for Sukhna Lake. Instead, it is suggested that a physical method such as reduction of exposed water spread area be adopted for the lake because evaporation is predominantly a surface phenomenon”.



Bariatric surgery better than weight loss regimen: PGI study 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Persons who have body mass index above 32.5 and suffer from lifestyle disease such as diabetes, bariatric surgery is a successful method to improve quality and longevity of life as against common weight loss measures. This was revealed in a study conducted by the PGIMER on 31 obese patients (from the northern region) to test the efficacy of bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery).

“People who are obese are likely to suffer from diseases such as diabetes, heart ailments as well as joint problems. Hence, their life expectancy is usually 10 to 15 years lesser than a person who is fit. People who are tired of weight loss regimen and have co-morbidity (other diseases) often lose self-confidence and suffer undue stress,” said Dr Rajesh Gupta, additional professor, one of the researchers, while addressing mediapersons here today.

The patients were divided into two groups of 14 and 17. The group of 17 patients was treated with medical therapy for weight loss while 14 patients underwent surgery for weight reduction. The study found that the patients undergoing weight loss surgery, “there was resolution of diabetes and hypertension in 36 per cent and 29 percent patients respectively while none in the other group (which followed therapy for weight loss), showed improvement. 



Residents up in arms against liquor vend
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 11
Residents of Phase I here have opposed the opening of a liquor vend/“ahata” at a site located opposite houses and near a school in the area.

They staged a protest near the proposed site today. They also requested the estate officer of the Greater Mohali Development Authority (GMADA) to visit the site to make an assessment.

The House Owners Welfare Association, Phase I, sent a letter to the Deputy Commissioner regarding their resentment against the opening of the liquor vend/“ahata” in the locality.

The letter, which was signed by several residents, said the liquor vend/“ahata” was being opened in a vacant space near showrooms 28-29. To the rear and front of the vend/“ahata” site were residential areas. Besides, a school (Shastri Model School) was located nearby. The association expressed apprehension that the vend/“ahata” could become a source of nuisance to the residents and adversely affect their security, particularly of women and children, as unscrupulous elements might frequent the vend/“ahata”.

The association quoted the Rule 35(2) of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, which states that the Collector should ascertain local public opinion in regard to the licencing of the premises in question. It also referred to the Rule 11 of the Punjab Liquor Licence Amendment Rules, 2014, which states that the administration reserves the right to refuse permission for a particular location to a liquor vend for reasons of public morality, public health and public order.

The association urged the Deputy Commissioner that, in view of the difficulties of the residents, the permission to open the vend/“ahata” should be cancelled immediately.



Rly pointsman deposes in Samjhauta blast case
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 11
In the Samjhauta blast case, a Railway pointsman deposed before the special National Investigating Agency (NIA) court here today and stated that he saw around 15 bottles of white liquid lying on the tracks after the blast.

The pointsman, Babu Ram, stated that after two boogies were detached from the train due to the blast, he saw around 15 bottles of some white liquid lying on tracks, which were emitting foul smell. He added that he informed the Government Railway Police about it.

Apart from Babu Ram, two more persons deposed before the court today.

Phool Kumar,a junior engineer, told the court that he had carried out the physical inspection of coaches after the blast.

Ashok Kumar, a gatesman, gave a formal witness.

In the wee hours of February 19, 2007, as many as 68 persons, mostly Pakistan nationals, were killed when blasts took place in two bogies of the Samjhauta Express, a peace train, at Diwana village near the industrial town of Panipat. The train was going from Delhi to Attari, the last station on the Indian side. The passengers were to board the train to Lahore in Pakistan the next day.

The NIA, in its chargesheet, had stated that many Hindu activists had hatched a conspiracy to blow up the train following which four were arrested, including self-styled godman Swami Aseemanand.



UK Queen’s birthday celebrated
Tribune News Service

British Deputy High Commissioner David Lelliott (third from right) celebrates the Queen’s birthday in Chandigarh on Friday.
British Deputy High Commissioner David Lelliott (third from right) celebrates the Queen’s birthday in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, April 11
Keeping up the old tradition of celebrating the Queen’s birthday, the British Deputy High Commissioner David Lelliott marked the celebrations at his official residence here on Friday.

The British Deputy High Commissioner raised a toast in the Queen’s honour.

Lelliott said, “It’s an old tradition, which is usually celebrated in Britain in the month of June as the weather is pleasant that time. However, the British High Commissions across the world usually celebrate the Queen’s birthday in April.”

He, however, said the Queen’s birthday falls on April 21. Addressing the gathering, Lelliott said, “The Queen’s birthday is being celebrated for the first time in the City Beautiful.”

While adding a little humor to the evening, the Deputy High Commissioner said, “In Delhi, the British Commission marks the celebrations in the month of February. Like all countries have National Days, when they celebrate the end of the British Empire, we don’t have any such day. So our equivalent National Day is the Queen’s birthday.”

Meanwhile, the most talked about topic at the celebrations was the Lok Sabha elections. Asked about the elections, Lelliott said, “I have been closely following the elections. I’m quite impressed with the way the polling was conducted in the city on April 10.” 



Mohali Deputy Commissioner asks officials to remain alert
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 11
Following a growing number of complaints of land grabbing by preparing fake registries and other related documents by land mafia in the district, Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, cautioned the related officials to remain alert in this regard.

After a meeting with the senior functionaries of the district, the Deputy Commissioner said land mafia were active here. So there was a need to keep vigil on the miscreants involved in the illegal activities.

The Deputy Commissioner said certain government officials might be hand in glove with the mafia.

“If any government official was found involved in such activities, he/she will not be spared,” said Sidhu.

Other senior officials, who attended the meeting, included Mohali ADC Parveen Thind, ADC Punit Goyal, Mohali SDM Lakhmir Singh, Kharar SDM Sukhjit Singh and Dera Bassi SDM Sanjeev Kumar.



Training conference at Air Force High Grounds

Chandigarh, April 11
The Annual TETTRA (Technical Type Training) Conference was conducted at the Air Force Station High Grounds here today.

Senior officers deliberated upon various issues related to specialised training needs and standardising guidelines and policies.

The conference was inaugurated by Air Marshal Paramjit Singh Gill, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command.

He exhorted the Air Force commanders to work out the future infrastructure requirements and share information related to various developments in the field of training and provide a platform to the air warriors, equip them with the best operational capabilities to face various challenges in future.

The conceptualisation of formal technical-type training commenced at the Air Force Station, High Grounds, in September 1987. Ever since, a number of TETTRA schools have been set up to impart specialised technical training on aircraft and weapon systems to pilots, engineers and technicians of IAF. — TNS



Sanjay Dikshit appointed general election observer
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 11
The Chief Election Commission of India has appointed Sanjay Dikshit as general election observer for the Anandpur Sahib constituency for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

District electoral officer-cum Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu said Dikshit, an IAS officer, was staying at the Rural Development and Panchayat (Development) guest house in Sector 62, Mohali. He would listen to complaints relating to the poll every day from 10am to 11am.

Any complaint regarding the violation of the model code of conduct could be made at Vikas Bhawan on telephone No. 0172-5096497.

He was also available on his mobile No. 89684-32142. Complaints could also be made through email at generalobserver_rupnagar@yahoo.in.

He said Dikshit could also be contacted at the PWD guest house, Rupnagar, and the Small Saving guest house, Nawanshahr. He could also be contacted on the PWD guest house telephone numbers 01881-220223 and 220459. Besides, complaint regarding the elections could be made on fax No. 01881-220453.



Health  brief
Conference at GMCH-32

Chandigarh: A two-day biennial conference of the Gastrointestinal Infection Society of India, GISICON-2014, was inaugurated at the Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, here on Friday.

Professor Kartar Singh, gastroenterologist and Head, Department of Gastroenterologist, PGIMER, inaugurated the event. The conference aimed at addressing issues related to infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract of the human body. Issues like cholera, typhoid fever were also discussed. About 150 delegates attended the conference on Day 1. — TNS



Industry interaction week ends

Chandigarh, April 11
The Industry Institute Interaction Week (IIIW) — being held at PEC University of Technology — ended today. The Aeronautical Department organised an expert lecture by Jimmy Kansal, deputy director, Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), Chandigarh.

The first lecture in the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering was given by Sudhir Garg on ‘Steel scenario’. The second lecture was given by Mukesh Jaiswal, president SESA Strellite Ltd, Orissa on ‘Challenges and opportunities in mining and metallurgical industries in India.’ — TNS 



Business News
Backup Plus portable drive

Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ:STX) has introduced Backup Plus FAST portable drive. This new Seagate® Backup Plus FAST drive features a super speed USB 3.0 interface to deliver transfer speeds up to 220MB per second.

New shades of lip gloss

Lotus Make-Up has introduced five new exciting shades of Ecostay nourishing lip gloss. It is a long-lasting and lustrous lip gloss, which has a unique lightweight and high sheen formula. It is enriched with evening primrose oil, grape seed oil and vitamin E.

Denim collection

John Players has launched new denim collection. This season's collection offers multiple style stories in varying hues and patterns. John Players Jeans Collection 2014 is priced at Rs 1,499 onwards and is available in the stores countrywide.

Health portal

Healthians.com aims at answering many questions that you think before taking a preventive health check-up. The portal offers step-by-step guidance for the preparation of tests and comes with 360-health information, including price comparison between different hospitals, hassle-free appointment booking across the country.

Spring Summer collection

In view of Baisakhi, Liberty has launched Spring Summer 2014 collection. — TNS



tricity  sCan
Book release

A book written by 15-year-old Aryan Wadehra ‘The Vibrant Colours of Life’ was released by noted writer Dr Jaideep Singh Chadha today. Published by Sanbun Publishers, New Delhi, the book includes stories and poems on a variety of issues. Aryan has been penning down stories and poems ever since his early childhood days.

Heritage function

The Chandigarh Chapter of INTACH in association with the Heritage Conservation and Education Services (HCES), organised the screening of short films made by the students of St. Johns, Saupins School, Vivek High, Strawberry Fields and St. Kabir School, as part of their international venture ‘Open Future-Filmit India Film Festival’. VK Kapoor, convener of the INTACH’s Chandigarh chapter, presided over the function. Purnima Datt, director, HCES, and Neenu Vij, a city-based artist, awarded certificates to the students. — TNS



Bullying in Schools
CBSE asks for feedback
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
To curb the menace of bullying in schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has sought feedback from principals, teachers and counsellors on its official website.

The feedback questionnaire is divided into three parts, and further into sub-parts.

The questions are based on the teachers’ observations regarding behaviour of students, use of physical strength on each other, teasing students on the campus and on social handles and phones, frequency of the intolerable conduct, response of the victim, level of seriousness of the issue and instances when the matter was brought to the notice of the authorities, besides measures to address the issue.

Even as a majority of school principals across the city have claimed that no bullying activities took place in their institutions, students and their parents alleged that they had been subjected to the menace.

Dr Arvind Goyal, an academician and parent, said, “It is a welcome move by the CBSE. Bullying is a serious issue as it suppresses the personality of a child. It may even cause long-term psychological damage.”

Goyal said, “Bullying is rampant in boys’ schools. Sometimes, parents are forced to change the school no matter how difficult it may be. Most of the cases go unreported due to the fear of being bullied even more by the offender.”

A student on the condition of anonymity said, “I shudder to go alone to the washroom at my school. Seniors lock us inside the washrooms. The most problematic areas are the playgrounds during the recess time, the parking lots after school hours and the school bus.”

“If we take a delicacy in our tiffin, the bullies snatch it from us and we have to stay hungry. Senior boys push us off seats in the bus. Even the conductor does not stop them,” added the added.

Principal of St. John’s High School, Kavita Das, said, “We have already filled the CBSE form and given our feedback. However, our students don’t indulge in bullying. Though it is a human tendency to become aggressive, it can be curtailed with a strong value system.”

Echoing a similar view, Inder Mohan Kaur, principal of Government High School, Sector 24, said, “No bullying incident has been reported at the school. I’ve given strict guidelines to teachers to ensure that no bullying incidents take place on the premises.”



UILS felicitates its top students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The achievers of the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) — of the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic sessions — were felicitated during the annual day function at Panjab University (PU) today.

Prof Sangeeta Bhalla, UILS director, presented the annual report of the department.

UILS alumni — Karanveer, Devnoor, Tanishth, Harsimran, Kannal, Bisman, Harshbir and Ramandeep Neetu — were felicitated on the occasion.

As many as 30 students were awarded for having the highest attendance in their batches during the three sessions, while 64 students were awarded as the toppers of their respective semesters.

Mooters, who won accolades during the current academic session, were also felicitated.

Nine students were awarded for their achievements in moots held at the Army Institute of Law, Rayat College of Law and Amity Univerity, Lucknow. The students were awarded for their achievements in research competitions, client counselling, declamation, essay writing, acting, story writing and poetry writing competitions held at the national level.

Seventeen students were felicitated for representing the university in inter-university sports competitions. The winners of quiz, extempore debate, singing and painting competitions and the ad-mad show were also awarded.

The institute handed trophies to the committee heads of the literary society, internship and placement cell, cultural society, client counselling competition, national conference, blood donation camp, moot court society and the Institute’s Newsletters Legal Eagle.



Salaries of two teachers delayed; VC orders probe
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Taking note of the complaint regarding the delay in the disbursement of salary to two staff members of the Music Department, Panjab University (PU), Vice Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover has ordered an inquiry into the issue.

The VC has directed the officer concerned to find out who was responsible for the delay in the disbursement of salary to the two staff members.

Sources in the university said the salary of Neera Grover, wife of the VC, had been delayed by a month and another employee, Arvind Kumar Sharma, by four days.

An official said the objection was raised by the Finance Department on the salary bills of both employees, as their joining reports were not attached with it.

As per the university records, Neera Grover joined the Music Department on February 5, 2014.

Sources said Grover had submitted her joining report to the Dean University Instructions (DUI) rather than the department chairperson.

Another faculty member, Arvind Kumar Sharma, who was re-employed in the department, also did not submit his joining report to the chairperson.

“Following this, the Finance Department raised objections on the salary bills of both the employees, which was sent to them by the chairperson of the music department for the disbursement of salary,” added sources.

Meanwhile, department chairperson Neelam Paul was not available for comments.

The issue

VC Arun Kumar Grover said a complaint had been received on which an inquiry has been ordered. The report will be submitted with the recommendations of the officer concerned. Action will be taken after that.



Baisakhi celebrated

Mohali, April 11
The Pre-primary wing of Saupin’s School, Sector 70, celebrated Baisakhi with great zeal today.

The students of pre-primary section wore yellow-coloured dresses for the occasion. They were informed about the harvest festival. They were also informed about the establishment of the Khalsa Panth in 1699. — TNS



PSEB Joint Secy to be demoted
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 11
With the apex court dismissing the appeal of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) joint secretary — regarding her claim to the post — the official will now be demoted to her previous post of deputy director.

The board had issued a notification on November 2, 2011, after ‘amending’ some rules for promotion and had elevated Paviter Pal Kaur — wife of former SAD MLA Dr Daljit Singh Verka — to the post of joint secretary on November 4, the same year.

Following this, senior legal advisor of PSEB, Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, had challenged the promotion in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had cancelled the board’s notification later.

Paviter had filed an appeal in the apex court, which had put a stay on it earlier. Now, the Supreme Court has dismissed Paviter’s appeal petition.

PSEB chairperson Dr Tejinder Kaur Dhaliwal, said, “We are yet to receive the apex court’s orders. After we receive the same, we will do the needful.”



Baisakhi celebrations

Mohali: The students of Gian Jyoti Global School, Phase II, celebrated Baisakhi with great fervour on the campus today. The students were briefed on the historical importance of Baisakhi, agricultural tools and harvesting season. They were informed about the Khalsa Panth and ‘Panj Piaras’ (five beloved ones). The girls of the junior wing wore traditional attire, including Prandi, heavy dupattas, jewellery and bangles whereas the boys were dressed as agriculturists. Special assemblies were organised for the senior as well as the junior wing.

Founder’s Day

The Lawrence Public Senior Secondary School celebrated its 30th Founder’s Day along with Baisakhi today. Students of all the classes, who had bagged awards in academics and sports, were honoured with gold, silver and bronze medals. The programme commenced with the school principal, Veena Malhotra, lighting the lamp. Meanwhile, the students of Class X conducted the assembly and sang a prayer.

Special assembly

Ajit Karam Singh International Public School conducted a special assembly to celebrate Baisakhi. The assembly commenced with a shabad and a brief speech highlighting the importance of Baisakhi. The students of Class IX gave a Bhangra performance. The pre-primary wing celebrated Baisakhi by visiting a gurdwara and taking part in fun-filled activities. The pre-nursery students danced on the beats of bhangra, while nursery kids made beautiful cards and KG students spoke on the festival. School principal Jasmine extended her wishes to the students.

Khalsa Panth

Baisakhi was celebrated with religious fervour at Ashmah International School today. The school was decorated with colourful charts, paintings and saffron flags. The staff and students were dressed up for the occasion. The students presented a colourful cultural programme. The programme commenced with a shabad ‘Shubh Karman te tab hu na Darru’. School principal Roopinder Ghuman briefed students on the importance of the day. She explained how the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, created the Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib to fight injustice and protect the weaker sections from tyrant rulers. — TNS



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