C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT’s plea to increase ESZ radius near Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary  
Punjab unmoved, sticks to its decision
  Says decision to have 100 metres eco-sensitive zone taken by state Assembly
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Despite the UT’s insistence, Punjab is sticking to its decision to have 100 metres eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.

In the recent inter-state coordination meeting among representatives of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana for declaration of the eco-sensitive zone around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, Punjab conveyed to the UT that the decision to have 100 metres ESZ was taken by the state Assembly and it had already been approved.

The minutes of the meeting, which are available now, highlights that Punjab Chief Wildlife Warden Dhirendra Singh submitted in the meeting that Punjab Forest Department had already got ESZ of 100 metres approved in the area falling within Punjab.

When contacted, Dhirendra Singh, said, “Since the state government has taken the decision at the highest level, therefore, there is no question of reconsidering it. The UT has requested us to increase the ESZ but it is the decision of Punjab cabinet, so we can not do anything. Punjab has forwarded their draft proposal to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), now, the Ministry will take the final decision, he said.

Whereas, UT Chief Conservator of Forests-cum-Chief Wildlife Warden Santosh Kumar said in the meeting he submitted before the representatives of Punjab and Haryana about the importance of ESZ and the UT’s zone (which varies from 2 km to 2.75 km) around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. Despite the UT’s request, the Punjab government officials were not ready to increase their area of ESZ, he said.

He further said they had taken up the matter regarding Punjab’s proposal of ESZ with the Ministry of Environment of Forests (MoEF).

In the meeting, Haryana’s Chief Wildlife Warden Amarinder Kaur assured the members that after marking proper features for delineating the boundaries for protected areas falling within Haryana state, the ESZ will be declared and forwarded to the MoEF.

Ministry seeks UT’s objections on Punjab’s proposal

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has sought point-wise objections from the UT Administration on the Punjab government’s proposal to reduce the radius of the eco-sensitive zone around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. The Ministry in its letter to the Administration has also sent a copy of Punjab’s proposal, seeking a detailed reply on all the points that the UT feels can harm the wildlife sanctuary. Recently, the UT Administration in a letter to the Ministry had opposed the Punjab government’s proposal.

Punjab’s draft proposal

The Punjab government in its letter to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests stated that in its Cabinet meeting on August 8, 2013, it was decided that ESZ (areas falling within Punjab) around Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary should be 100 metres from the boundary of the sanctuary.



Nexus detected between building branch officials, property owners
 Passed ‘non-compoundable violation’ as compoundable
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Teams of UT officials, who yesterday inspected around 25 commercial buildings for violations, have stumbled upon a well-organised nexus between the staff of the building branch and property owners to facilitate passing of the “non-compoundable violation” as compoundable.

In the report submitted to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer, Mohammed Shayin, the inspecting teams are learnt to have pointed out the manner in which the Rule 5 of the Punjab Capital Development and Regulation Act was misinterpreted to pass on the benefit to stakeholders in the case of Elante Mall. Erring officials, while getting the approval for “non-compoundable violation” from the PAC, Upper, presented the facts in such a manner that the approval for the non-compoundable violation was given by charging the fee for compoundable violation, thus also causing financial loss to the state exchequer.

The officials found on the basis of so called clearance, an unsigned layout plan was released to the Mall authorities. Similar violations were detected in the reports submitted by all the three teams led by AEO Rahul Gupta, SDM (South) Kashish Mittal and SDM (East) Danish Ashraf. Sources said as staff members of the building branch were suspected to be hand-in-glove with the building owners, services of the MC and the UT Engineering Department were utilised. 



Shootout incident at Five Degrees in P’kula
Gunman critical, shifted from PGI to Fortis, Mohali
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 27
The condition of gunman Jaipal, who suffered gunshots on the New Year’s Eve, when he was accompanying the son of a senior Punjab cadre IAS officer KBS Sidhu at Five degrees restaurant in Nirjhar Vatika here, has become critical. The family members have shifted him to Fortis Hospital, Mohali, from the PGI.

The Panchkula police officials who visited Jaipal said that after he showed signs of improvement, he was admitted to a private ward at the PGI, but suddenly he developed complications following which he was shifted to the ICU at Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

Inspector Malkiat Singh, Station House Officer of the Sector 5 police station, said, “Our Investigating Officer went to Fortis Hospital in Mohali and spoke to doctors regarding Jaipal’s condition. They said that he was critical. They also said that it was only after 10 days that they would be able to tell about his condition as he was under observation.”

Jaipal’s statement has still not been taken by the police due to his critical condition. The family members of Jaipal said that they were not getting the desired attention at the PGI, so they decided to shift Jaipal to Fortis Hospital ,as his condition was deteriorating.

Investigating Officer (IO) Balwant Singh said, “We have been in constant touch with the family of the victim, as we have to take Jaipal’s statement. We want t know what exactly happened on the new-year eve. But now, after his condition has deteriorated, the doctors at Fortis told us that they would be able to tell about Jaipal’s condition after 10 days.”

On the New-Year eve, Jaipal suffered gunshots in which bullets hit him on his head.

The eating joint, Five Degrees, courted controversy when Jaipal was injured when he was reportedly accompanying Sidhu’s son, Sehaj Sidhu. After the incident, the Punjab Police had also ordered a probe and withdrawn Sidhu’s security. 

Pact not executed

After the shooting incident at Five Degrees, a probe was conducted by officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority. The premise of the eating joint was sealed as it was found that the agreement was not executed and was being run illegally. 

What happened on the New year’s eve still remains a mystery?

Even after four months of the incident, what exactly happened on the New Year’s Eve that led to the incident remains a mystery. The police also investigated Sehaj Sidhu, who told them that at the time of the incident he had left Five Degrees and the gunmen (Jaipal and two others) stayed back. It was Jaipal who could tell about the real picture. Though the other policemen said that it was an accidental firing yet the manner in which Jaipal suffered the injuries was doubtful and underthe scanner. 



Despite treatment available, ‘third sex’ faces stigma due to low awareness
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Welcoming the recent judgment by the apex court granting legal recognition to the ‘third sex’, beneficiaries and their families are still expressing concerns over their social acceptance. If the statistics at the PGIMER are anything to go by, the level of awareness, however, on the existing medical treatment for the ambiguous genetalia seems low among the general public.

Despite the treatment for ambiguous genitelia being readily available at the PGIMER for the past over 7 years, merely 50 patients have opted for correction. Also, in the past four years since the PGIMER started the facility of complete gender reassignment, merely four persons have opted for the treatment. All these four persons (from across the region) were abandoned by their families and one had attempted suicide.

“I feel that social acceptance cannot be ensured to a person until he or she is either a male or a female. Until there is correct sexual function (without ambiguity), he or she cannot ensure long-term psychological and social well-being,” said Dr Santosh Kumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, PGIMER.

Sharing a case study, Dr Santosh said the patient had slit his wrist twice after his family abandoned him. He found an officer who agreed to marry him on condition of gender reassignment.

In persons born with ambiguous genetalia, there are corrective treatments involving organ reconstructing and hormonal reassignments. Persons who are physically normal but have psychological abnormality, complete gender reassignment is the right solution, he said.

The treatment involves three specialities including urology, psychiatry and endocrinology.

Dr KP Singh, endocrinologist, at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, said, “The best way of diagnosing ambiguous genetelia is during the birth of a child. Gynaecologists and pediatricians need to be sensitised to ensure that blood and genetic tests are done for diagnosis of ambiguous genetelia. After obtaining the report, parents must be sent to endocrinologists for necessary consultation.”

How to identify abnormality and whom to approach?

While medical experts play a major role in identifying ambiguous genetelia during child’s birth, hormonal abnormalities can only be identified during the growth of the child. Parents must be watchful of any gender abnormality in children. If suspected, they must approach endocrinologists first.

What is ambiguous genetalia?

Any baby born with neither complete male or female genetalia or having features of both is found to have ambiguous genetalia. The disorder can be corrected and can transform any such person into a compatible male or a compatible female. 

What did the Supreme Court’s judgment state?

The Supreme Court has granted recognition to transgenders as the third sex, allowing them the right to record their gender identity in documents like voter ID, passport and others.

How much gender reassignment costs at the PGI?

It costs between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh, depending upon the nature of procedures required.



Mohali admn drops pamphlets to appeal to voters
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 27
The residents, particularly children of the district, appeared to be excited when they saw a chopper raining pamphlets, containing a message to cast their vote.

The chopper, which was especially engaged by the Mohali administration under its special Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) drive from Patiala Aviation Club, started dropping pamphlets in the town at around 5.45 pm.

Several people were seen coming out of their houses to get the pamphlets. “It’s really a very good attempt to attract attention,” said Raminder Singh, a resident of Phase I.

Giving details, the district electoral officer-cum-deputy commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu said a total of 1.20 lakh pamphlets were dropped in various parts of the district including Kharar, Mohali, Zirakpur and Dera Bassi.

“The motive was to generate awareness among voters to come out of their houses on April 30 and cast their votes,” Sidhu said.

He added the administration has set up to achieve target of 85 per cent polling. The administration has also been distributing invitation cards (prepared just like wedding cards) to the voters randomly.

At Zirakpur, a motorcycle rally by members of the Chandigarh-based Road Survivors Club was also organised. The bikers passed through all residential complexes of the town to spread the message.

Apart from that a skit was also organised by the employees of Gillard Electronics at Paras Down Town Square in Zirakpur.

Sidhu added that there are 6,16,854 voters in the district, out of which 3,26,222 are males and 2,90,632 are females. About 20,000 new voters were enrolled this time.


Better Chandigarh
Cycle tracks fail to serve purpose in City Beautiful
The concept of V-8 roads or cycle tracks, which was planned to ensure a safe ride for cyclists and rickshaw-pullers, is slowly fading away. The pitiable condition of cycle tracks discourages cycling. The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently asked the UT Administration to ensure identification and utilisation of these tracks.
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Ram Tirath (35) has been pedalling down to Sector 28 from Kishangarh village ever day during his 15-year stay in the city. He, however, has hardly ridden his bicycle on the cycle tracks. Courtesy: Pitiable condition of the tracks and absence of lights on them.
Ram Tirath pedals on a cycle track in Sector 26, Chandigarh.
Ram Tirath pedals on a cycle track in Sector 26, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

This is not a lone case. Everyday thousands of cyclists pedal on the busy roads of Chandigarh risking their lives to avoid potholes on these tracks that often lead to a flat tyre.

Despite the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s intervention to ensure a safe ride to the cyclists in the city by developing cycle tracks and illuminating them, the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation (MC) have not done much to promote cycling in the city.

The existing tracks in the northern sectors are either blocked or potholed. The tracks along the V-3 roads of southern Sectors 18, 19, 20, 21, 35, 37, 44, 45 and 46 are in a bad shape posing a threat to cyclists.

Cyclists can be seen maneuvering their bikes to avoid large potholes. The tracks, however, on the Udyog Path have been re-carpeted leaving the stretch along Sector 18. The cycle tracks on V-3 roads in a few sectors have even disappeared due to dumping of garbage, malba or wild growth. A cycle track in Sector 21 has almost disappeared exposing the tall claims made by authorities of maintaining the tracks.

Two-wheelers use a cycle track on a road separating Sectors 42 and 43 on the Sector 43 side in Chandigarh
Two-wheelers use a cycle track on a road separating Sectors 42 and 43 on the Sector 43 side in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Bala, a resident of Sector 33, said: “The cycle tracks had literally turned into dumping grounds, which not only lead to inconvenience to cyclists but also affect the residents who prefer to walk on these tracks”.

Cycle tracks in a few sectors, including Sector 19, are also utilised for parking vehicles.

Peddling on cycle tracks becomes more difficult during the night hours because of the absence of lights. The cyclists are forced to ride on the main roads during the night, which adds to the probability of being hit by vehicles.

The MC installed lights on cycle tracks in Sector 23. However, the lights were either stolen or broken by anti-social elements.

Manu Singh, an enthusiast who frequently rides a bicycle, said: “The cycle tracks have so many potholes that cyclists and rickshaw-pullers avoid these for the fear of a flat tyre. In this case, the tracks are being used by residents to take their pets out for a walk”.

In the absence of any check by the traffic police to discourage the motorists and two-wheelers from using the cycle tracks, the condition of the tracks have further worsened.

Sahil, a resident of Sector 15, said: “Despite home guards being stationed at the entry of the cycle tracks, motorists can be easily seen driving on these tracks. PCR vehicles are often seen moving on the cycle tracks.”

Punjab and Haryana High Court's take

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, concerned about the safety of cyclists in the city, has to intervene to ensure proper maintenance of the cycle tracks in the city. The HC in November 2013 had directed the Administration to make the cycle tracks operational in the city. The court had also made it clear that the Administration should ensure easy identification and utilisation of the tracks. The court had said a large number of cycle tracks in the city were in a bad shape and granted two months’ time to the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation to repair these tracks, failing which action would be taken against the authorities concerned. The HC on April 18 had asked the UT Administration to specify whether the cycle tracks across the city are illuminated. The HC had asserted that the UT Administration should file a detailed affidavit with respect to the location, nature and dimension of the cycle tracks and whether lights have been provided on those tracks. The court has asked the UT to deploy more home guard volunteers to regulate the traffic.

Accidents involving cyclists on the rise

Chandigarh was originally planned for a population of 5 lakh. However, the city has expanded rapidly in the past few decades and the population has crossed 11 lakh. With the growing population, the number of vehicles in the city has touched the 9-lakh mark, turning the city roads unsafe for the cyclists. Accidents involving cyclists are on the rise in the city. Around 50 cyclists have lost their lives in road accidents in the past three years, while scores of cyclists got injured during this period. A senior police official said accidents involving cyclists were on the rise due to the increasing traffic. The Chandigarh Police has also proposed the construction of cycle tracks alongside roads witnessing maximum accidents. Over 100 engineering proposals to improve the traffic situation forwarded by the traffic police to the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation are lying pending for the past several years. These also include construction of more cycle tracks.

The policy

As per the policy, a cycle track is re-carpeted every five years. Every year, a budget of around ~50 lakh is spent on maintaining these tracks.



KK Jerath’s 16-year-long legal battle ends
Former UT Chief Engineer was booked in eight cases of corruption; gets clean chit in all
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
A 16-year-long legal battle, eight cases of corruption, several court hearings, huge expenditure incurred to contest cases by the prosecution, unending harassment and a blot on career!

This is the story of former UT Chief Engineer KK Jerath, who, after a seemingly endless and exhausting legal course lasting over a decade, has been acquitted of all the cases against him.

Jerath, who faced a tormenting legal battle since 1998 with as many as eight corruption cases registered against him, now stands clear of all the cases with the court delivering the verdict and acquitting him in the lone pending case against him last month.

Earlier, Jerath had been acquitted in five other cases. One of the remaining two cases was cancelled and another was clubbed with another case.

The way the UT’s Vigilance Cell had slapped umpteen cases of corruption on the official over a decade ago (since 1998), only to result in acquittals, has raised many eyebrows and left several questions unanswered.

“I’m happy to have been acquitted. But who will pay for the harassment and humiliation I suffered for all these years? I was on a top-ranking post, was stripped off my powers, dismissed from service (now revoked by the HC) my family suffered and for what? Have any of the charges been proved? The way different courts have acquitted me one by one clearly depicts that it was a conspiracy against me,” said Jerath.

“All the cases were registered at the behest of the then UT Home Secretary Anuradha Gupta. She had a grudge against me and tried to ruin my career in every way,” he alleged.

Saga of corruption cases

Feb 2, 1998: Accused of receiving kickbacks for issuing supply orders

October 26, 1998: Irregularities while issuing tenders

Feb 24, 1999: Caused loss of Rs 62 lakh to state exchequer

March 3, 1999: Inflates estimates while allotting tenders

March 15, 2000: Misuse of vehicles

July 8, 2000: Misuse of funds during official journeys

timeline of cases
A peep into the cases that were registered against KK Jerath and the court judgments:

FIRST VERDICT: (pronounced on March 3, 2012): The court of the then Additional District and Sessions Judge Preeti Sahni delivered the first verdict in the corruption and criminal breach of trust case against Jerath in March 2012.

The case: A loss of Rs 36 lakh had been projected in the FIR through the misuse of vehicles and deployment of official staff at the official residence of KK Jerath. The case was registered on March 15, 2000. It was alleged that Jerath’s family misused the vehicles for private use from 1990 to 1997.

Excerpts from the judgment: “Whatever evidence the prosecution has led has failed to prove the charges against the accused that he had misused the official vehicles for his private use as well as availed the services of a government official for his private use. There is no such evidence on the file,” said the court.

SECOND VERDICT: (pronounced on October 4, 2013): The court of District and Sessions Judge SK Aggarwal had pronounced the verdict in the corruption case which was registered on March 3, 1999.

The case: As per the prosecution case, Jerath was accused of an inflated estimate while inviting a tender of work for a 1-KV independent feeder for grid sub-stations. It was alleged that Jerath wanted to allot the work to his ‘favourite’ contractor. There were a total of seven accused in the case, including Jerath and other officials of the Engineering Department.

Excerpts from the judgment: “The prosecution case is doubtful. The prosecution has failed to bring home the guilt of the accused for the commission of the offence charged against them,” said the court.

THIRD VERDICT: (pronounced on November 25, 2013). The court of the then Additional District and Sessions Judge Preeti Sahni had pronounced the verdict in the case, which was registered on July 8, 2000.

The case: Regarding sanctions accorded by Jerath to send subordinates to Delhi to attend official meetings, causing losses to the state exchequer. It was alleged that the official car was misused by showing bogus tours of his subordinates by using the official car.

Excerpts from the judgment: “The prosecution witnesses have failed to prove that there was any dishonest intention on part of the accused or by sanctioning journeys in the subordinate car, he had obtained any pecuniary advantage,” the court stated.

FOURTH VERDICT: (pronounced on December 12, 2013). The court of the then ADJ Preeti Sahni pronounced the verdict in the case, registered on October 26, 1998. There were a total of nine accused in the case.

The case: As per the prosecution, a loss of 35 lakh was projected due to allotment of higher rates given in one item of a composite tender having several items.

Excerpts from the judgment: “The prosecution has failed to prove the charge against the accused that they being public servants had misused their official position and had adopted any illegal means to gain any illegal benefit,” said the court.

FIFTH VERDICT: (pronounced on February 7, 2014)

The case: Registered on February 24, 1999, Jerath and six others were accused of causing a loss of Rs 62 lakh to the exchequer during the execution of building works at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. The prosecution version was dismantled by a committee of the Administration, which found that there has been no loss and the CVC accepted it.

Excerpts from the judgment: “Taking into account the entire evidence on file, the prosecution has failed to prove the charge against the accused that they being public servants had misused their official position and had adopted any illegal means to gain any illegal benefit. Their act and conduct is in no way found to be criminal misconduct,” said the court.

SIXTH VERICT (pronounced on March 27, 2014)

The case: The case was registered on February 2, 1998.

As per the prosecution, kickbacks worth lakhs of rupees were accepted by Jerath for issuing supply orders during his tenure as the chief engineer. His name also appeared in the diaries of the middlemen — Dinesh Sharma, Suresh Sharma and Sunil Kalia — recovered during raids by the Income Tax authorities at their residences. During the trial, all 18 firms denied paying any money to him. There are a total of 22 accused in the case.

Excerpts from the judgment: “The investigation is a tainted one. The investigating officer did not carry out a thorough investigation and he foisted numerous persons to face the agony of the trial for a considerable long period of more than 16 years, without any fault. There is no ring of truth in the prosecution version,” stated the court.



Health team rues lack of police help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Crisis Intervention Team of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32 —which reaches out to mentally ill patients — continues to lack support from the UT police.

Chandigarh Tribune had, a week ago, highlighted how a mentally ill woman, based in Mani Majra, had locked herself and her two children inside the house.

After failing to convince his wife to open the door, the woman’s husband had contacted the crisis intervention team for help. The team had contacted the area police but to no avail.

Several such instances have come to the fore wherein the crisis intervention team has not been offered assistance by the police.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Sukhchain Singh Gill, had earlier said a nodal officer could be appointed to help out the team. However, nothing has been done in this regard so far.

“The children of a woman were at the receiving end due to their mother’s illness. The girl could not take her BCom exams as her mother did not let her go out. This is not the lone incident of its kind. Several such families are in need of help. However, without police assistance, we are helpless,” said Dr BS Chavan, head, Department of Psychiatry, which manages the crisis intervention team. 

Helpline numbers

As of now, the crisis intervention team and HBT work from 9 am to 5 pm. Both the teams can be contacted at 9888876632 and 0172-2605111

What Mental Health Act means?

Every police officer shall take into protection any person, within the limits of his station, whom he has reason to believe to be dangerous by reason of mental illness.



Paid parking: 3 contractors fined for not following norms
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Municipal Corporation (MC), has penalised three parking contractors for not following the guidelines laid down for paid parking. The parking contractors were fined as their attendants were not wearing uniforms and not using electronic ticketing machines.

A team of MC officials had inspected the parking lots on April 7, during which the violations were detected. The fine was recently imposed on the contractors.

MC officials said the paid parking contractors at Fun Republic in Mani Majra and Sector 9-D were fined Rs 1,000 each after their parking attendants were found issuing parking slips manually and not wearing uniforms.

The contractor of Sector 8 (Zone-1) was fined Rs 1,000 after the vehicles were found parked in a haphazard manner and the parking attendants were not using electronic ticketing machines.

Kashmira Singh, superintendent of the MC’s Enforcement Wing, who also holds the additional charge of paid parking in the city, said, “Several complaints have been received regarding different parking lots.”

“We will continue these inspections to ensure that the norms laid down by the MC for paid parking are being followed,” said Singh.

The civic body has also received complaints from residents alleging ‘over-charging’ by parking attendants at different parking lots.

The MC recently received a complaint against a parking contractor -- hardly 50-meters away from MC office -- for ‘overcharging’ commuters.


* Parking attendants need to wear uniforms

* CCTV cameras at the entry or exit points

* Electronic ticketing machine

* Presence of one attendant at 50 meters

* White line to demarcate parking space for cars

* Space earmarked for vehicles of differently-abled.



MC General House to meet today; councillors not ‘informed’ about agenda
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Even as the Municipal Corporation (MC), is all set to hold its General House meeting on April 28, the councillors have not been informed about issues to be discussed at the meet.

As per official rules, an agenda has to be provided to the councillors at least 72 hours before the meeting.

Though the councillors have been informed about the meeting, the issues of discussion have not been revealed.

BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi said, “We have not been given any information on the nature of discussions that will take place at the meeting. We will end up discussing nothing, which will be a total waste of time.”

The BJP councillor also wrote an email to the Mayor stating as per the MC regulations under Section 11and 12, “the mode of sending notice of business to the members: The list of business under Section 57 shall be sent at the registered address of each member of the MC.”

The email further reads, “I've failed to understand that we will be attending the meeting whose minutes are not known to the members of the House except the Mayor”.

Meanwhile, Mayor HC Kalyan said, “Since the model code of conduct is in force, no agenda can be passed in the House meeting. As such, discussions will be held on the action taken reports of different developmental works.”

“If any action taken report is ready, we will discuss that or else the councillors will be asked to discuss issues of their concerned wards,” added the Mayor.

On this, SAD councillor Malkiat Singh said, “If the action taken report has to be discussed in the House, we should have been provided the copies of the reports so that we can participate in the discussion.”

Official sources said the action taken report on a majority of the ongoing projects and development works were yet to be prepared. As such, discussions on those issues will not be possible during the House meeting.



Anandpur sahib votes 2014
Families divided over voting
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 27
A drastic change is visible in the political scenario in the city. Generally head of the family took decision to support a particular candidate. Women and youngsters simply followed the diktat and voted the candidate chosen by the head of the family. But, the prevailing Modi wave, tall stature of Ambika Soni and popularity of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have caused conflict among several families.

In several cases, youngsters are not ready to listen to their parents and wives are defying their husbands over voting a particular candidate.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mohali resident Soni Ram, head of a family said he wants to vote for Akali candidate, as he desires to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of the country. He said, “My wife, son and his wife do not agree with me as they are backing AAP. My daughter likes Rahul Gandhi so her choice is obvious.” He added that he wished all members of his family to follow his suit but was helpless.

Similarly, Harvinder Kaur, a schoolteacher, is not ready to listen to her husband when it comes to voting this time. “My in-laws and Husband are staunch supporters of the Congress. But I am going to vote for Modi. I am not going to listen to my husband who is trying hard to convince me to vote for Congress,” said Harvinder Kaur confidently.

The story is no different in rural areas. Sujan Singh of Landran village said he supports the SAD. “Earlier, my wife and two sons never asked any question when I told them to vote for the party. This time, the situation is different. Both of my sons (in their early 20s) now were trying to influence me to shift my loyalties and support AAP. When I refused, they told me clearly not to tell them where to vote this time,” said Sujan.



Special SMS training given to poll officials
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 27
The polling officers in the district imparted special training to presiding officers, alternative presiding officers, BLOs sector officers and polling officers regarding sending timely information through SMS during the elections on April 30.

“Through SMS information regarding initiation of vote casting, time to time percentage of poll, number of polling agents and other relevant information would be sought from the polling staff,” said Mohali district electoral officer-cum-deputy commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu while inspecting the final rehearsal of polling staff for forthcoming elections on April 30.

While issuing special instructions to the polling officers to perform their duty with utmost dedication and transparency, Sidhu cautioned that no voter should face any problem unnecessarily at the hands of the officers. Sidhu said in view of elections, polling staff of SAS Nagar, Kharar and Dera Bassi was trained in regard

“After getting the requisite election material the staff would be dispatched for their respective polling booths through buses, where relevant arrangements for the staff have been made,” said Sidhu.

The voting will be conducted from 7 am to 6 pm on April 30. After completion of vote casting, the polling officers have to seal the EVMs and other material and deposit the same at the proper station from where it was issued. He also appealed the polling staff to cast their votes and special arrangements have been done in this regard.

The additional district electoral officer-cum-additional deputy commissioner Parveen Kumar Thind said in the absence of voter card, the voter could cast the vote by showing passport, driving license, authorized photo id, bank pass book, PAN card, Aadhar card, Smart Card, MGNREGA job card, health bima card, pension documents, provided that name of the voter must exist in the voters list.



AAP can upset calculations of bigwigs
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 27
If the political aficionados of the area are to be believed, the underwater current of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could upset the calculation of the two major parties, the Congress and SAD in the Anandpur Sahib Parliamentary constituency.

“Undoubtedly, the main contest seems to be between Congress stalwart Ambika Soni and Shiromani Akali Dal old war horse Prem Singh Chandumajra. But one can not take AAP lightly here,” said Harminder Singh Mavi, state president of Panchayats Union, Punjab.

Even local leaders of both the Congress and SAD admitted that AAP could fetch a good number of votes from both urban and rural areas. Interestingly, the leaders of both the parties claimed that the AAP factor will not disturb their vote bank but affect their rival.

The AAP leaders too are confident of good performance. “People are fed up with both the BJP and Congress and want change. As we are getting good response during our election campaign from rural and urban areas of the constituency, we are hopeful of good results,” said Ajit Singh Bhambra, convener of AAP in Mohali. The party is hopeful that most of the silent voters, neutral ones and youngsters will favour them.

The AAP party got a shot in arm today when several Akali Dal Taksali leaders and activists announced to join the party at Kumbhra village. The residents of Gadana village too have announced their full support to the party.

While Congress activists and local leaders are confident of huge backing of voters due to SAD’s anti-incumbency factor and big political stature of Ambika Soni in comparison of her rivals. Prem Singh Chandumajra is confident of getting a sizeable number of votes for him being local. “People will reject Ambika Soni as she is a paratrooper,” said Chandumajra, who along with his family members and supporters is in no mood to leave any stone unturned to win. 



Akali workers to keep night vigil
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 27
While the political parties and their candidates are infamous for distributing free liquor and cash to woo voters just ahead of the election day, Akali candidate Professor Prem Singh Chandumajra from Anandpur Sahib Constituency issued interesting direction to his workers to keep special night vigil to check the Congress activists from such activities.

In his message to all the Akali activists, Chandumajra alleged that his nearest rival Ambika Soni and her supporters had started such activities in the rural areas. “The Akali activists would start “theekri pehras” (night vigil) in all the villages to check these nefarious activities of the Congress. Catch them and hand them over to police and make complaint to the election commission,” stated Chandumajra. He also appealed to the voters not to accept any liquor or cash from the Congress activists.

In reply to Chandumajra’s message, Mohali Congress MLA Balbir Sidhu termed it all rubbish. “They wanted to start theekri pehra so that they could not be caught red-handed. We are not distributing any liquor or cash. It’s the Akalis who are involved in such activities. By making such statements, he (Chandumajra) wants to befool the people” alleged Sidhu.



Open House response
Allowing need-based changes need of the hour
The newly constructed slum rehabilitation colonies have led to many problems for its occupants as well as the city residents. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers what measures should the Administration take in order to provide adequate space and facilities to slum dwellers and check violations in these colonies?

The occupants have shown resentment regarding the inadequate space to adjust the family members. But at least there must be a portion of lobby for multipurpose use in the house. Need-based changes must be allowed to cover more area and to adjust the family members.

Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh

Vote bank policies make farmers suffer

First, farmers suffered on the acquisition of their land because they were not able to purchase the same acreage at nearby places due to high rates in Punjab. Secondly, the Administration has not provided them any rehabilitation in the city. And now, the slum-dwellers are suffering due to vote bank policies.

Col BS Mathauda (retd), Mohali

Unlawful activities should be checked

The slum-dwellers come in contact with local politicians for every small and big problem, who in turn, give them shelter to gather their vote bank. There have been instances of dacoity, murder, snatching and so on by the offspring of these slum-dwellers. In view of their big families, they find it difficult to adjust in one-room accommodation (provided by the Chandigarh Administration). To avoid this problem, it should be dealt with at the very outset and no leniency should be shown in establishing the slums.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh

Wake up call for Municipal Corporation

While not much can be done to create more floor space in the one room of the tenement already constructed and occupied by the erstwhile slum-dwellers, the least that could be and must be done on a priority basis by the Municipal Corporation (MC) is to improve the cleaning of frequently choked sewer lines, increase water supply and make arrangements to remove the accumulated garbage daily. Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has not only erred in providing the required size of sewer pipes, but it has also failed to calculate the proper water requirements of these residents.

SC Luthra, MHC, Manimajra

Design flaws have led to poor implementation

As one moves around City Beautiful, an image of a ‘City of paradoxes’ emerges. On the one hand, there are well-maintained landscaped rotaries and on the other, people are forced to survive in shanty slums for a living. Before implementing any scheme for slum rehabilitation, a detailed study of not only the number of slum-dwellers but also their lifestyle patterns and average family sizes should have been taken into consideration. This is a case of design failure, where basic needs are sidelined and added elements are included, which serve no purpose. Thus, instead of providing balcony, the available space should be expanded to include a separate kitchen and additional room so that a family can get privacy and decent living space.

Aeshvarya Thakur, Chandigarh

Better facilities required to avoid illegalities

The Chandigarh Administration must ensure that the rehabilitated slum-dwellers cannot sub-let or sell their previous dwelling units. Also, at least two rooms should be provided in houses in the rehabilitation colonies.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Complaints by dwellers are not justified

The complaints of residents of the rehabilitation colonies regarding the inadequate space are not justified. Even when they have got it free,they expect large houses from the government. Who is to be blamed if they are having large families? In fact, the government should restrict such freebees for two children per family or the population of the country will go on increasing, thus creating trouble for the middle-class people to pay more taxes for the fault of the others.

IPS Anand, MHC, Manimajra

Amend building plans to rehabilitate dwellers

One-room flats constructed for the slum dwellers at various places in Chandigarh cannot accommodate even a small family of four members not to speak of the bigger ones. In order to make the city slum-free, there is a dire need to amend building plans at least for the rehabilitation of slum-dwellers.

Ravinder Nath, Chandigarh

Basic facilities needed to survive

These people, residing in the rehabilitation colonies, have a family of five to seven persons each and require at least two rooms and a small kitchen along with a washroom to stay comfortably. These flats must have small earmarked area for the occupants to park their rickshaws, rehris and auto-rickshaws because they generally have these means to survive. The flats should have proper water, sewerage and sanitation facilities. Otherwise, these areas will become worst than the slum areas.

JS Minhas, Chandigarh

Beggars should not be choosers

A pertinent question arises as to how and why have we made beggars the choosers? They are not the sufferers of natural calamities or governmental policies. Then why the Administration has to rehabilitate such illegal occupants, thereby rewarding them instead of punishing them? If they desire bigger houses, they should arrange it on their own.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Check on employment issues to avoid migration

The solution to this grave problem lies in the states of the migrants’ origin which should offer adequate jobs and all facilities to them so that they do not migrate to other states for their survival. Moreover, the politicians must desist from making the issue a dirty vote bank politics for their selfish goals. Also, the number of migrants should be restricted or they should be given two-room accommodation where the family is large. Nothing more can be done beyond this. 

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

User-friendly approach needed towards occupants

Slum rehabilitation colonies being constructed by the Chandigarh Administration are the need of the hour. These colonies serve directly the users and indirectly, almost all the residents of City Beautiful. There is a need to make these colonies user-friendly to the extent possible. The Administration should provide parks, schools and a dispensary adjoining these colonies, to make the residents feel better about these colonies rather than the illegal ones. The department should consider their necessity, demands, arrange need-based changes at subsidised rates and be strict to violations in these colonies.

Varun Arora, Chandigarh

Admn should keep tab on misuse of resources

The city residents are facing a lot of problems due to the rehabilitation of the slum-dwellers as they are being provided water and electricity at a very low rate and they misuse the same causing bigger problems. But nothing has been done by the officials of the Chandigarh Administration to check the misuse.

Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

Give attention to basic needs

To check violations in the new slum colonies, the basic needs should be given proper attention. The foremost thing is to make a separate kitchen, so that the smoke does not engulf the whole room, in which the inhabitants are living. Need-based changes should be allowed, if they are more than five family members.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

MP should table the matter before higher authorities

The owners of different categories of houses found it difficult to construct rooms with toilets as per their family requirements as they are are scared of demolition notices being served to them. In my view, the present Member of Parliament (MP) Pawan Bansal should have taken up the matter with the Ministry of Home affairs to resolve the issue. 

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Allowing enlargement means violation of rules

It is an undeniable fact that the rehabilitation houses offered by the CHB are too small to accommodate big families of labourers, who rapturously enjoyed under the wide canopy of sky for many years. Most of them had even rented out shanties charging a hefty monthly sum from their self-made tenants. If they alter the allotted buildings to enlarge the covered area, this would again mean violation of rules calling for action against them as was done to evacuate them by dismantling their huts.

Gurmit Singh, Mohali

Steps need to be taken soon to avoid illegalities

The very purpose of constructing low cost units for EWS in the process of rehabilitating colonies and slums-dwellers by the Chandigarh Administration seems to be falling flat. Before demolishing their jhuggis, they should have seen and assessed the family size. If these basic things are not looked into soon, then it is very likely that the newly uprooted dwellers would resort to self-styled modifications and all kinds of alterations, illegal commercial activities and illegal sale and purchase.

BM Dhawan, Chandigarh

Committee should frame strict rules and norms

A committee should be constituted to solve the problems of slum-dwellers. Strict rules and clauses should be framed to deal with the needy. It should recommend the terms and conditions so that the people restrict themselves to misusing the benefit which is given by the Administration.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

Slum-dwellers should feel obliged

Space and facilities for housing the slum-dwellers is a subjective matter. It depends on the size of the family. Initially, persons in search of work roam around and then build unauthorised slums for their stay. Slowly, they bring their families and the slum areas expand on government land occupied by them illegally. So, according to me, they should feel highly obliged with the one-room unit provided by the Chandigarh Administration.

Dr Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Two rooms or open space is the only solution

Slum-dwellers in the tricity are a miserable lot nowadays. One room accommodation top a large slum dweller’s family is a cruel joke. How can a family stay in it? What about the privacy of the married couple? What will the children see and learn? In a hut or jhuggi, at least there is space outside, where the elders can sleep. In a multi-storied building, in which hundreds of slum-dwellers are housed, there is no choice but to rot in one room. So, the answer lies in providing at least two room apartments. If possible, it should be single units, with some open space around.

Colonel RD Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt

Feedback of occupants should be taken

It is really heartening to know that the Chandigarh Administration has come up with an exhaustive plan to make the city slum-free. Slums have always been a blot on the beautiful nature of the City Beautiful and should be done away with as soon as possible. But these schemes can only be successful if worked in cooperation with the occupants. The Administration must get proper feedback from the people rehabilitated in these colonies before planning the next rehabilitation.

Ranju, Chandigarh 

open house question

The condition of cycle tracks in the city remains deplorable despite the Punjab and Haryana High Court pulling up the UT in this regard. Write your comments with passport size picture to openhouse@tribunemail.com



Mistakes in Classes XI and XII NCERT biology books
CBSE fails to inform students about errors
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Call it the lackadaisical attitude of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) authorities or their apathy towards students that despite being errors in the Classes XI and XII NCERT biology books, the authorities have not taken any initiative to inform the students about the errors. Besides, they have also not clarified whether the answers keys of the All-India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Test (AIPMT) would be valid as per the information available in the NCERT books.

As per a recent RTI, under which information was sought from the CBSE whether it would upload the answer keys of the AIPMT-2014 on its website and make a provision for inviting objections from students and the public regarding the ambiguous questions and erroneous answers like it had adopted the practice for the Central Teacher’s Eligibility Test (CTET), the board failed to provide any information.

The RTI was filed after the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s judgement ordering the NCERT to correct the errors in the books. While the NCERT corrected some of the errors, it failed to rectify all of them.

As per the previous year’s data, there were glaring mistakes in the undergraduate medical entrance examination conducted by the CBSE.

In 2013, there were six errors in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG). In 2012, there were five errors in the PMT prelims exam, while there was one error in the mains PMT questionnaire. Likewise, there was one error each in mains and prelims conducted in 2011.

All these errors were due to the wrong facts, incomplete information, mentioned in the NCERT books, and due to negligence on the part of the examiner setting the paper. Despite previous years’ bitter experiences, the board still has not made any effort to learn from its mistakes.

Local academician and PMT trainer Dr Arvind Goyal, who had filed the RTI, said: “The reply sent by the CBSE is shocking. There seems to be no coordination between the NCERT and the CBSE. It simply shows the apathy of the CBSE officials regarding the issue.”

He said: “It is a glaring example of the CBSE’s apathy towards students. Their reply assumes more significance in view of the upcoming AIPMT. Many students don't even know that any corrections have been made in the NCERT books.” However, repeated attempts to contact CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi remained futile.



Military schools’ alumni meet

Chandigarh, April 27
The alumni of military schools met under the aegis of their organisation - Georgians Association (North) - for their annual general body meeting here. During the meeting, Col DS Grewal was elected the new president for 2014-15. 

The outgoing president, KS Manipal, handed over the charge to the incoming president with the permission of General BS Jaswal, former Army Commander (North), who is also the patron of the organisation. The president elect will announce the working team shortly. The participants then left for Military School, Chail. — TNS



Student bodies welcome semester system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Panjab University Syndicate’s decision on approving the semester system in all undergraduate courses has been welcomed by the student bodies.

Dinesh Chauhan, a senior leader from the Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), said: “We came to learn about the development in the newspapers today. There is a lot of excitement among the students across colleges. We are waiting for an official communication from the authorities so that we can spread the word”.

From the next session, the colleges affiliated to Panjab University will have the semester system (from the first year) for undergraduate courses. This was decided in the Syndicate meeting held under the chairmanship of the PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover on Saturday. The Syndicate unanimously approved the semester system for all colleges affiliated to the PU.

Sources said the members had a detailed discussion about the draft proposed for the implementation of the semester system in the colleges. Suggestions were given by the members that a special committee should be constituted to review the syllabus of all departments prepared by the Board of Studies before implementing it in the colleges. The sources said a detailed presentation on the semester system, along with its staff and infrastructure requirement, was presented by controller of examination Parvinder Singh in the meeting.

He pointed out that the colleges were facing problems to conduct two examinations, semester for postgraduate students and annual for graduate students, due to the paucity of space.

Under the semester system, a student could apply for the revaluation within 15 days on the basis of the result available on the Internet. The university has discontinued the practice of giving a golden chance to the students and would allow them to give reappear exam with the routine semester session only.

The CoE informed the Syndics that Registrar AK Bhandari had assured the examination branch that after the approval of the semester system, the staff would be allotted as per the requirement. 

Review of financial ban by Punjab

With the approval of the semester system, there has been a ray of hope with regard to lifting of the ban on financial aid given to the university by the Punjab Government. The government had proposed to the Vice-Chancellor that if the PU adopted the semester system, it could think of releasing aid to the university. The VC assured the Syndics on Saturday that he would meet Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal next week to take up the issue.



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 |