C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rainfall 17 mm, Temperature drops to 37.9°C
Rain brings relief, misery
Provides respite from sweltering heat, uproots trees; several sectors go without power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Hailstorm, accompanied by 17 mm of rainfall, lashed the city this evening, bringing the much-needed relief for residents from the sweltering heat, but not without throwing normal life out of gear. The rainfall resulted in blackouts in different parts of the tricity. The electricity complaint centre was flooded with calls from affected residents.
Boys enjoy the rain while playing football in Sector 22, Chandigarh, on Friday
WORLD CUP FEVER: Boys enjoy the rain while playing football in Sector 22, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Being the office closing hours, motorists were caught unawares as city roads and roundabouts were inundated with water. There were reports of uprooting of trees from various parts of the city, which resulted in power failure. Many areas had not received power supply till late in the evening.

Due to high-velocity winds, a number of power cables were snapped in the city, while electricity poles were uprooted in Zirakpur, leading to power failure.

In Chandigarh, Sectors 30 and 32, and some other souhtern sectors were mainly affected, while in Zirakpur, the Baltana and Patiala road areas remained without power. The traffic signals on a pole at the Hallo Majra light point tilted leftwards, making it impossible for commuters to see the signals.

Residents of Sectors 21, 22, 23, 30, 32, 35 and 56, Daria and Khuda Alisher complained of a breakdown in the power supply. Uprooting of trees in the Industrial Area, Phase I, and Sector 46 damaged power supply lines.

Residents of Sectors 30 and 32 complained that no official was responding on the 24X7 helpline numbers given by the Electricity Department.

Met officials said today’s pleasant weather would not last long as the forecast for the next four days was dry weather with the maximum temperature likely to hover between 42 and 43°C.
Young girls enjoy the changed weather at Sukhna Lake on Friday
Showery surprise: Young girls enjoy the changed weather at Sukhna Lake on Friday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

After rain, the temperature in the city dropped to 37.9°C, one degree below normal, which was this year’s lowest in June. The minimum temperature was 26.2°C, one degree below normal.

Attributing today’s rainfall to “convective heat that develops into clouds of water, resulting in sudden rainfall”, an official said there was no indication of early monsoon in the city. In the coming days, there will be an increase in the temperature in the city, the official said.

According to the forecast for the next four days, the sky will be mainly clear. There is a possibility of rain on June 18 and 19. Tomorrow, the maximum temperature is likely to be around 40°C and the minimum temperature around 26°C.

Power cables snapped

Due to high-velocity winds, a number of power cables were snapped in the city, while electricity poles were uprooted in Zirakpur, leading to power failure. The power supply has not been restored till the filing of this report.



Water woes in P’kula to stay as Kaushalya Dam goes dry
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
The controversial Kaushalya Dam that was constructed at a cost of Rs 240 crore has disappointed city residents as it has gone dry. Ever since the dam has been completed, the city continues to remain parched as it has not been able to fulfill even the minimum requirement of the city.

The Irrigation Department has now sought permission from the Central Water Commission (CWC) for the construction of three more dams on the Ghaggar to solve the water problem.

Earlier, the dam was caught in a controversy for allegedly being constructed at an escalated cost without proper surveys. Some activists had alleged that the dam was not constructed for the city residents, but was meant to benefit certain builders.

Executive Engineer of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) Preet Mohan said, “We have lost hopes from the Kaushalya Dam. Ever since the dam has been completed, the city has just got 2 to 3 MGD of water. The city is facing a water shortage. We will now look for other sources to meet the water shortage.”

Sources said there was a problem in the storage of the dam. The Irrigation Department is now left with only one alternative: to divert the waters of the Ghaggar towards the dam till the other three dams come up. The dams have been recommended at Deewanwala, Dangrana and Shamla on the Ghaggar.

“The Kaushalya Dam has dashed our hopes,” said an official of the department on condition of anonymity.

Panchkula is being fed by tube well water. It has 190 tube wells. The demand is around 27 MGD, while the supply is around 22 MGD. If there is a power failure, the water supply gets suspended. The Kaushalya Dam, the new source for Panchkula, has failed. It was to provide 9.7 MGD of water in the normal season and 20 MGD in the rainy season.

Objections were raised over escalated cost of dam

Objections were raised when it was pointed out that the sanctioned cost of the Kaushlya Dam in 2005 was Rs 51 crore and it escalated to Rs 217 crore when the construction work started in 2008.

It was pointed out that the breadth of the wall of the dam was extended from 12 ft to 30 ft by the department. It was also alleged that the main motive behind extending the breadth of the dam wall was to facilitate two private builders.

The HUDA has laid a pipeline from the dam to Panchkula city to provide drinking water, which cost Rs 23 crore, but it failed to serve the purpose.

The dam is defective, says advocate

Vijay Bansal, an advocate who was the first one to file an RTI application seeking details of the dam, said, “The dam is defective. It has problem in the storage. It cannot retain water. We have sent a number of recommendations to the higher authorities.”

Irrigation Dept blames it on poor rain

“It is our bad luck that there has been less rain since the time the dam has been completed. We got the rainwater measured in the 77 sq km catchment area. The water could not even reach the minimum level of the dam,” said a senior officer of the Irrigation Department.

Dept seeks permission for 3 more dams

The Irrigation Department has sought permission from the Central Water Commission for the construction of three more dams on the Ghaggar to solve the water problem in Panchkula.



BJP leader Malhotra may replace Patil
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra (82) is likely to be the new Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator.

According to sources in Union Home Ministry, his name is among the front runners for the post. Even local BJP leaders also lobbying for Malhotra’s name in Delhi.

The sources said the present Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator, Shivraj V Patil, had already conveyed to the Congress high command and even the President’s office that he was ready to offer his resignation.

During the Lok Sabha election campaign for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, BJP leaders, in their speeches on a number of occasions, had mentioned that if the BJP came into power, it would ensure the transfer of UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil.

On January 22, 2010, Patil was appointed Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator. His tenure will end on January 21, 2015.

Legal tangle

Following the 2010 SC judgment, it will be difficult for the BJP government to remove Governors, who are yet to complete their tenure. A five-member Constitution Bench had then stated that the power to remove a Governor could not be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner and it would have to be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons.

Sports administrator

Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who was born in Lahore in undivided India, represents the Punjabi community. Malhotra is a sports administrator and is the senior vice-president of the Indian Olympics Association. Malhotra had also remained the Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly. In 2008, the BJP had announced Malhotra as the party’s chief ministerial candidate during the Delhi Assembly elections. While Malhotra easily won his Greater Kailash constituency, the BJP had failed to dislodge the Sheila Dikshit government. 



NIELIT starts work from Sector 26 guest house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Sector 17, has started work from a guest house in the NITTTR, Sector 26, after its building collapsed in the recent fire incident. Besides, it has also restarted its training programme at the NITTTR, Sector 26, and Government Model Senior Secondary Schools, Sector 10 and 16. The NIELIT, an autonomous scientific society of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, processes government data for various utilities.

Its major works includes generating water and power bills of Chandigarh and collecting property tax (commercial). It recently also started digitising data for the recruitment of sweepers in the MC and government teachers in Himachal Pradesh. The Chandigarh office of the NIELIT was also the nodal centre for the National Population Register.


administrator’s advisory council
MP unavailable, Admn calls off meeting
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The meeting of UT Administrator’s Advisory Council (AAC) scheduled for June 16 after a gap of over one and a half years, has now been cancelled by the UT Administration courtesy non-availability of newly elected Member of Parliament (MP) Kirron Kher and the UT’s failure to prepare agenda for the meeting in time.

The last meeting of the council was held on November 30, 2012. It is worth mentioning here that till date, the council has failed to serve the purpose for which it was formed. Only six meetings have been conducted since it came into being.

A senior official of the UT Administration said the meeting for June 16 has been cancelled and the date for next meeting will be finalised soon.

On reasons of cancellation, the official said MP Kirron Kher was not available on June 16 and there was some delay in finalising the agenda for the meeting.

When contacted, MP Kirron Kher, who is in Mumbai, said she had conveyed to the Governor’s office that she would be in Chandigarh after June 27 for four-five months. She added that she doesn’t know how the UT Administration finalised June 16 for the AAC meeting.

The MP further said she came to know that the Administration was now planning to hold the meeting on June 19, but it would also not serve any purpose, as she had prior engagements, which she cannot cancel at the last moment.

Kher said she was hopeful that the UT Administration and the Governor’s office would convene the council’s meeting after June 27 so that she could attend it as it was related to the people of the city and she was committed to work for them.

The AAC, under Administrator Shivraj Patil, was first constituted on April 1, 2010, for a period of two years. After its first term ended in 2012, Patil had directed to extend the term of the council by one year, which ended on March 31, 2013. Thereafter, in November 2013, the UT Administration reconstituted the council. At present, the AAC has 34 members. The previous council had 42 members.

As per the guidelines framed by the Administration, the members of the advisory council are nominated by the UT Administrator from amongst the persons belonging to different sections of the society, generally residing in the union territory of Chandigarh.



sector 17 building collapse
Estate Office seeks report from UT Chief Engineer
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
After getting reports from experts that adjoining building (SCOs 117-118) is under an immediate serious threat, the UT Estate Office (EO) today wrote to the UT Chief Engineer to give its report on removal of debris from the site (SCOs 114-116) from where the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) was operating. This building in Sector 17 had collapsed on June 8 following fire.

The EO has also asked the Chief Engineer to inspect the adjoining building and give its report on whether the building can be retrofitted or need to be demolished. In case it needs to be demolished, the EO sought to know the ways in which it could be razed safely.

Confirming the development, Assistant Estate Officer (AEO) Rahul Gupta said they have sought report from the Engineering Department. The EO will consider all safety measure before taking any action in this regard, he said.

The Municipal Corporation (MC) has already written to the UT Estate Office to withdraw the occupation certificate of the adjoining building for safety reasons.

In the earlier reports of experts, it was mentioned that the adjoining building is under an immediate serious threat as the building, which had collapsed on June 8, was part of a cluster of buildings with every building connected to each other. Pillars, iron rods and other iron material of the adjoining building have been damaged. Besides, the concrete of the building has also fallen apart, the reports pointed out.

Apart from the adjoining building, the UT Administration has already revoked Section 144 of the CrPC imposed on other buildings in the row where the NIELIT building stood. However, the restriction will continue for the building adjoining the NIELIT.

Power, water bills may get delayed

Delivery of electricity and water bills is likely to be delayed. A senior UT official said as the NIELIT was handling the work of preparing electricity and water bills, there is likely to be a delay of 15-20 days in distribution of bills for the months of April and May. Though till May end, the NIELIT had transferred the data to their central server in Delhi, generation and delivery of bills would take time, he said.



Sectors 76-80 lack basic infrastructure
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 13
In the absence of any basic infrastructure, residents of Sectors 76 to 80 are forced to live in hell-like conditions.

The developing sectors, which have come up in the Mohali Municipal Corporation’s jurisdiction from January 2014, have potholed roads, dilapidated sewerage system, wild growth all around and ill-maintained parks in the name of facilities.

The residents alleged that despite giving several reminders to the authorities concerned for paying attention to their area, nothing has been done so far.

“Despite being a part of the so-called ‘model town’ of the state, we are virtually living in hell-like conditions,” said Guriqbal Singh Shergill, chairman of the Sector 76-80 Welfare Association.

“Roads in the sectors are in a poor state and driving vehicles, particularly two-wheelers, on these potholed roads is dangerous. Most of the roads have no streetlights so one can easily imagine the plight of road users here,” said Shergill.

He said the government had not made any proper sewerage arrangement here which led to waterlogging in several parts of the area. While showing such waterlogging at the entrance of the local booth market, Shergill said several shopkeepers were not in a mood to open their shops due to poor arrangements here.

A shopkeeper, who runs a grocery shop in the market, said no customer comes to his shop due to waterlogging near the market.

“Due to wild growth all around, danger of poisonous reptiles and insects lurks all the time,” said Narinder Singh Kang, a resident of the area.

Security is another matter of concern as several unscrupulous elements can be seen roaming in the area, which has abundance of cannabis plants.

The residents said earlier the area came under the GMADA jurisdiction, to which they had paid a lump sum amount as development charges.

“After the Mohali Municipal Corporation has extended its boundaries in January, our area comes under MC limits and the corporation has started demanding property tax from us for developmental works,” said Shergill.

The ugly picture

The developing sectors, which have come up in the Mohali Municipal Corporation’s jurisdiction from January 2014, have potholed roads, dilapidated sewerage system, wild growth all around and ill-maintained parks in the name of facilities.



Water, power supply hit in P’kula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
The downpour this evening left the city powerless and waterless.

Power supply to Sectors 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19 and 25, Mansa Devi Complex Sectors 4, 5 and 6, Chandimandir area and other sectors was disrupted for hours.

As Panchkula is fed on tubewell water, power failure hit the functioning of tubewells, which resulted in no water supply in the city. The public health wing of the HUDA used motor pumps as a stop-gap arrangement but it took time to resume the supply.

“There is no light and water ever since it began raining. The Administration should have sufficient back up arrangements to deal with such situations,” said SK Nayar, the president of Residents’ Welfare Association of Panchkula.

The city also saw waterlogging on internal roads and roundabouts. Sectors 10, 11 and 19 were the worst-affected. Power was restored in a few sectors till filing of this report.



Liquor vend being run from green belt in Panchkula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
Cocking a snook at the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a liquor vend is being run from a green belt area, that too in front of a temple, in the Industrial Area, Phase I, here. The administration has turned a blind eye to the same.

The local residents and devotees who throng the temple are a harassed lot. They complain that it becomes difficult for them, especially women, to cross the area due to the presence of the vend.

As per norms, no person to whom a licence for retail liquor outlet is granted should establish the same on such premises as is situated at a distance of less than 150m from the main gate of a recognised school/college/bus stand and a place of worship.

The residents said they had submitted a memorandum to the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner SS Phulia, but to no avail.

The Deputy Commissioner didn’t respond to repeated calls and messages.

“Women can’t move out in the evening as boys gather on the road itself and consume liquor in the open. Devotees feel embarrassed when they visit the temple,” said Kartar Singh, general secretary of the Sector 12A Welfare Association.

The residents said the place allotted to the liquor vend was near the market and not at the said place. Also, it was occupying the place that was meant for the park.

Shikha, another resident said: “Once in the evening, I was coming back to home. Some boys, who were openly drinking liquor on the road itself, passed lewd comments at me. I felt so unsafe that I had to call my parents to pick me up.”

“The elderly who used to take a stroll in the park are being forced to stay indoors as the vend is located there. If we point out the issue, workers at the vend threaten us,” said Narender Singh, a resident.

What the norms say

As per norms, no person to whom a licence for retail liquor outlet is granted should establish the same on such premises as is situated at a distance of less than 150m from the main gate of a recognised school/college/bus stand and a place of worship.



Shortage of premium and popular brands of beer, liquor
Bacchus lovers at the receiving end in Chandigarh
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The shortage of premium and popular brands of beer and liquor has hit the city, putting the Bacchus lovers at the receiving end.

As a result, the prices of beer and liquor have shot up. The city residents are being forced to visit liquor vends in the neighbouring areas of Mohali and Panchkula to purchase their preferred brands.

The liquor contractors are blaming the UT’s Excise and Taxation Department for failing to “rope in” liquor and beer manufacturers to bring down the ex-distillery prices (EDP) of different brands.

Enquiries with different liquor contractors reveal that with the carry forward stock of the previous year nearly exhausted, they have no other option but to increase the prices from anything Rs 100 to Rs 120 per bottle. Premium brands like Miller, Foster and Budweiser are not available as the Excise Department is yet to settle their EDP with manufacturers concerned.

Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner RC Bhalla claimed that labels like Kingfisher and Thunderbolt had been approved and others were in the process. Even on Friday, there was stock of the approved labels as limited permits were being issued.

Pawan Sharma, a Sector 42-based contractor, said teh shortage of beer and liquor had badly hit their business.

Like beer, the shortage of different brands of Indian Made Foreign Liquor has also hit the market. The Excise Department has even failed to bring the liquor manufacturers on the table to agree for the EDP. As a result, the prices of the different brands of liquor have also been increased by 15 per cent to 20 per cent. Sat Pal, a veteran liquor contractor, said he had already increased the prices of popular brands like Royal Stag, Mc Dowell, Blenders Pride and even scotches.

Controversy over the ex-distillery price

For the past seven years, the UT Excise Department “systematically” allowed the liquor manufacturers an upper hand in annually increasing the ex-distillery price (EDP) of different brands of liquor by over 45 per cent. This resulted in the prices of different brands of liquor rising systematically over the years. All the while, the same brands of liquor were being sold at comparatively lesser rates in Punjab and Haryana. Now, the UT has insisted that the EDP of the UT should be on a par with that of Punjab.



Auction: City’s heritage furniture fetches Rs 18 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
While the UT Administration failed to preserve its heritage items, the Chicago-based Wright Auction House once again auctioned heritage furniture lots of the City Beautiful.

The auction took place on June 12 in which four heritage furniture items were auctioned for Rs 18.28 lakhs.

In the auction, five furniture lots designed by Pierre Jeanneret, a cousin of Le Corbusier, the first Chief Architect of the city, was put under the hammer.

Two dining tables from the cafeteria at Panjab University, Chandigarh, were auctioned for $5,000 each. A pair of lounge chairs were auctioned for $11,875 while a set of four chairs were auctioned for $8,750. However, there were no takers for a lot of four chairs.

Jeanneret had designed chairs, tables, stools and racks for government offices in the late 50s. However, the furniture was replaced in the late 80s and early 90s. After tossing out the heritage items in the backyards or stores, most of the UT departments had auctioned these as a part of junk, unmindful of their worth.

During his stay in Chandigarh, Jeanneret designed several pieces of furniture. Some of the prototypes are present at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10.



medico-legal case
PGI loses eye donor due to delayed post-mortem
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
While over 700 patients have been awaiting cornea transplant due to paucity of eye donors at the PGI, an alleged failure on the part of the institute to quickly communicate with the police and conduct autopsy led to the loss of a potential eye donor today.

The family of an accident victim, who died yesterday, had given consent for donation. However, the Senior Medical Officer’s (SMO) failure to inform the police diluted the shelf life of the deceased’s eyes as the post-mortem was conducted today.

Jiya Lal (60) was rushed to the PGI at around 10 am yesterday after he was hit by a bus in Kurali. He died around 4 pm yesterday. As social workers insisted on grafting of his eyes, the family contacted the police post for speeding up the post-mortem. “However, the police here told us that they were not even aware that the hospital has received a medico-legal case. Since the Kurali police was informed only after we spoke to the cops here, the post-mortem got delayed and eyes could not be grafted in time,” said Vikas Sangar, the deceased’s son.

The delay in post-mortems has been irking numerous families at PGI who keep waiting for release of bodies. A visit to the Advanced Trauma Centre outside the SMO’s room today revealed that a number of people had queued up outside the room along with investigating officers from various neighbouring districts. Notably, nobody was available in the SMO’s room from 9 am to 11 am today.



Cong MLA backs villagers’ protest
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 13
Mohali MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, along with some Congress activists, supported the protest of Balongi village residents by sitting on a dharna along with them at the village here today.

Sidhu, who is also president of the Mohali District Congress Committee, said the demands for which the residents of the village were protesting were genuine as the state government and the District Administration were doing nothing except befooling them by making false promises on the issue of starting developmental works here.

BC Premi, a resident of the village, has been sitting on a hunger strike for the past nine days in the protest.

Speaking on the occasion, Sidhu said it was a matter of shame that the administration had acquired panchayati land worth Rs 4.40 crore of the village out of which they had hardly spent Rs 2.27 crore on sewerage and other miscellaneous works.

“There is no account of the balance amount of Rs 2.10 crore,” Sidhu said.

Issuing a warning to the Akali-BJP Government, Sidhu said if it failed to meet the demands of the residents, the Congress workers would be forced to block traffic on the Mohali-Kharar Highway.



Chandumajra changes stand on paid parking issue in Mohali
Says Municipal Corporation to decide on it after its elections
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 13
Prem Singh Chandumajra, newly elected MP from the Anandpur Sahib Constituency, apparently changed his stand on the paid parking issue in Mohali.

Chandumajra, who used to claim during his election campaign that he would not allow paid parking in the town, today categorically said the issue would be handled by the Municipal Corporation after its elections.

Notably, the elections of the Mohali Municipal Corporation are on the cards.

“After its elections, the elected body of the Municipal Corporation will decide whether the paid parking concept would be introduced in the town,” said Chandumajra at a meeting with senior functionaries of the district and representatives of the Mohali Beopar Mandal and market associations here today.

However, Chandumajra directed the senior officials of the department to involve the people of the town before taking such decisions.

Several businessmen and residents of the town had already lodged their protest against the paid parking concept in the town.

“Mohali has no such big markets like in Chandigarh, which attract customers from not only Chandigarh but also from far-off places”, said a local shopkeeper.

Chandumajra assured the residents of the town that the cleaning of N-choe passing through the town would be conducted soon to solve the stinking problem in various parts here.

He said to meet the water demand in the town, as many as 15 tube wells would be made functional soon.



Samsung service centre penalised, told to pay Rs 10K as compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Samsung service centre here has been penalised for refusing to repair the defective refrigerator after dismantling it. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the service centre to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation for mental agony to the complainant.

The complainant, Pardeep Mittal, a resident of Sector 9, Panchkula, said he took his Samsung make double-door refrigerator to the authorised service centre of Samsung (opposite party). After inspection, an engineer of the opposite party said the refrigerator would be repaired subject to an estimated cost of Rs 8,500.

“Accordingly, the service centre retained the refrigerator with a promise to deliver it after three days in a perfect working condition after repair,” the complainant said.

“However, the opposite party failed to deliver the refrigerator even after seven days. On a visit to the service centre, it was noticed that the refrigerator was dismantled and lying in a bad condition. On asking, the opposite party told that it could not be repaired and it is only scrap,” the complainant said.

The opposite party said the machine in question was approximately nine years old and its repair was subject to availability of parts. If the parts were not available, the same could not be repaired.

“We are of the opinion that if the refrigerator was not fit to be repaired, then it was the duty of the opposite party to refuse the repair at that very moment before taking it into its possession. The opposite party should have considered at that time as to whether the parts, to be replaced/repaired, are available with it or not. If the service centre would have checked the stock in advance, it could have informed the complainant accordingly before dismantling the refrigerator. Keeping the defective refrigerator in its possession, issuing job card and even giving estimate of repair of Rs 8500 had made the opposite party liable to render the promised service. The dismantled refrigerator will remain with the service centre,” the forum said.

The case

The complainant, Pardeep Mittal, a resident of Sector 9, Panchkula, said he took his Samsung make double-door refrigerator to the authorised service centre of Samsung (opposite party). After inspection, an engineer of the opposite party said the refrigerator would be repaired subject to an estimated cost of Rs 8,500.



State panel stays conviction of CHB CEO, Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Two days after the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum sentenced Rodney L. Ralte, CEO, Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), and Mandeep Kaur, Secretary, CHB, to three months of imprisonment for non-compliance of court orders, the State Commission stayed the conviction today.

The case will come up for hearing on July 17.

The CHB today moved the State Commission challenging the forum’s orders. The counsel for CHB, Gagadeep Singh Wasu, told the commission, “There has been no malafide intention or willful defiance of the order dated January 11, 2013, passed by the commission. In fact, there was a building violation in the dwelling unit and it was removed in August 2013. Meanwhile, the UT Administration placed an embargo on conversion of residential leasehold property into freehold. Also, the CHB had consistently been writing to the Administration apprising it of the commission’s orders.”

The commission recalled the directions of conviction and fine against the CHB officers. Earlier, the two officers were fined Rs 5,000 each.

In its order dated January 11, 2013, the commission had directed the CHB to convert the complainant’s dwelling unit from leasehold basis to freehold basis and pay Rs 10,000 as compensation and Rs 5,000 as litigation costs. The order was to be complied with in 45 days.

Raj Kumar, a resident of Sector 45, had filed a criminal petition (under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act) alleging non-compliance of the above-mentioned orders of the commission.



Tenants too can land in trouble
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
With the UT police are still in the process of identifying persons responsible for the fire incident that led to building collapse in Sector 17 last Sunday, certain tenants of the building can also land in trouble.

The owners of building (SCOs 114-116) have informed the police that it was stated in the lease agreement that the tenants would be responsible for changes and for the maintenance of the building. The lease agreement was made in 1977.

A police official said they have gone through the contents of the lease agreement between 10 share holders of building and the government organisation. It clearly stated that the owners would not be responsible if the basic structure of the building was tampered with, the cop added.

The lease documents were submitted to the police by Nitin Trehan, a close relative of the owners.

The Chandigarh Police registered a case of death due to negligence after two firefighters died while dousing a major fire that broke out in the building of the NIELIT on June 8.

Meanwhile, the police have issued a reminder to the CFSL-36 asking them to visit the site for forensic examination on Friday.

Earlier, experts had only videographed the site and stated that the forensic tests would be conducted after fire is extinguished.



UT police get first woman ASP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
A woman IPS officer joined the UT police as Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP) today. She is the first woman ASP in the UT police.

Urvija Goel, IPS, batch AGMU-2011, is post-graduate in political science. Earlier she was posted as ACP, Shahdara North-East, New Delhi.



Faulty engine halts Shatabdi Express
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Hundreds of the passengers, who were commuting in the evening Shatabdi from Chandigarh to New Delhi, had a harrowing time as the train halted at Ghaggar for more than an hour.

Sources revealed that engine failure was the reason for the halt.

Passengers complained that no information was given to them about the technical fault, which the Railway Department took more than an hour to rectify. As per the scheduled time, the train number 12012 leaves Chandigarh at 6:20 pm and reach New Delhi at 9:55 pm.

But due to the fault, the train reached New Delhi at around 11 pm today.

Meanwhile, an official of the Ambala division revealed that two trains, which were plying from the city, have been cancelled and the routes of two trains have been diverted for RCC box launching at bridge number 246 in Kalanour yard double-line section.

As per a railway spokesperson, the trains cancelled on June 15 will be Sadbhavana Express 12231/32 Chandigarh to Sarangpur and 15011/12 Lucknow to Chandigarh Express.

Beside, the trains diverted will be 05903 Chandigarh to Dibrugarh, which will now ply via Mubarakpur, Panipat and New Delhi and the 54304 Kalka-New Delhi passenger train via Saharanpur and Meerut.



Class XI admissions
Few takers for online registration forms
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The number of students thronging government schools for availing prospectus for Class XI has crossed over 14,000 mark. However, the number of students applying for online registration has barely crossed over 50 mark.

National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) officials, who have been maintaining the data of online registration since 2011, said in the first year, over 500 students had availed the facility, however over the past two years the number has decreased considerably.

The officials also claimed that despite their entire infrastructure been burnt down in the major fire that broke down in NIELIT building on Sunday in Sector 17, the online process was delayed by only three hours.

At present, the NIELET authorities are working from temporary arrangements made in the computer lab of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10.

While some of the students claimed that they were not aware of the online registration facility, others said since there was no option of purchasing prospectus online and depositing documents, hence they preferred filling the forms manually.

Mohit Sharma, an applicant for Class XI, said: “The whole counseling process should be made online. At present, we can only fill online registration forms but for purchasing the prospectus and depositing them we have to go to the campuses of colleges.”

The NIELET officials whined that after the schools get reopened in July they would face difficulty for the second counselling as the school would need their computer labs for classes.

On the third day, over 900 prospectuses were sold at the six designated schools.



1,130 posts in education department
Easy recruitment process proposed
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Learning from their past bitter experience of recruitment scam in 2009, the Education Department has proposed a new process for recruitment of 1,130 teaching posts.

Officials from the Education Department said as compared to the previous process where a candidate had to go through various parameters, which included, qualification, experience, written and interview in order to be eligible. This time, the department has proposed a easier process where only two written papers, including general awareness and subject, would be held.

They said the process was simplified in order to bring in transparency.

As per information, the department would conduct the recruitment drive for 1,108 posts of teacher, which include 683 posts for master, 342 posts for Junior Basic Training JBT (primary teacher) and 83 nursery teacher training NTT posts.

Also, the department would recruit 22 administrative posts, including one post for director (school education), deputy director (school education), deputy director (administration), deputy controller (F&A), section officer each, along with eight posts for senior assistant and clerk.

One of the officials demanding anonymity said: “Earlier, when there was weightage for experience, qualification and other parameters candidates use to get forged certificates, but with the elimination of these parameters there will be more transparency and the candidates will be purely selected on a merit basis.”

Sources said now, only two papers, including general awareness and subject of 100 marks each would be held in two phases - morning and evening - on a single day.

The officials said the department had sent the new proposal for recruitment to the Governor Office for approval.



school notes
Summer camp ends

The two-week summer camp, ‘Beat ‘D’ Heat’, organised for the children of junior wing, “Petals”, of PML SD Public School, Sector-32, Chandigarh, at the school concluded on Friday amid grand celebrations. The students took part in various activities, including meditation, yoga, instant cooking, brain and fun games during the camp.

120 take part in workshop

‘Rainbow’, a summer workshop, organised at Blue Bird High School, Sector-16, Panchkula, concluded on Friday. Craft presentations made during the workshop were also exhibited. Around 120 children between the age group of 4 to 14 years participated in the workshop and enjoyed learning various activities in a fun-filled atmosphere. — TNS



Jairam Ramesh interacts with ISB students in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 13
“Change has to be disruptive, it cannot be evolutionary. Change has to have a visible symbol of authority,” said Jairam Ramesh, former Union Rural Development Minister while interacting with students of the Indian School of Business (ISB) at its Mohali campus today.

The former Union Minister also discussed about the changing trends in the public policy domain and how administrative services could benefit from management students, among other issues.

Jairam Ramesh said he had been associated with the ISB since the days of its inception as he was a part of the group that conceptualised the idea of establishing a world-class management institution in the country in the form of the Indian School of Business.

“I was also present during the inauguration of the ISB’s Hyderabad campus,” said Jairam Ramesh.

The former Union Minister said he hoped to work in close association with the ISB in rolling out programmes for new-age professionals in the domain of public policy and training programme for mid-level professionals in policy formation, which should be more research and knowledge-driven now.



3,574 appear for CET
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
As many as 3,574 candidates from across the country appeared for the Combined Entrance Test (CET) of seven postgraduate courses at Panjab University (PU) today.

About 13,000 more candidates will be appearing for various job-oriented postgraduate courses at the university over the next three days. The CET for 38 PG courses began today and would continue till June 16.

PU Controller of Examination Prof Parvinder Singh said 88 per cent students appeared in seven entrance examinations today.

As many as 610 students out of the 695 appeared for LLM; 445 out of the 523 appeared for MSc Zoology (Hons School); 244 out of the 293 appeared for the MBE; 1,962 out of the 2,169 appeared for MSc Physics (Hons School), MSc Physics and Electronics (Hons School) and MSc Medical Physics; 23 out of the 37 appeared for MTech (Polymer), 254 out of the 298 appeared for MCom (Business Innovation) and 36 out of the 45 appeared for MEFB courses.



Install grills on top floors, PU hostel wardens told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Security officials at Panjab University today issued instructions to all hostel wardens to install grills on the top floors of their hostels. This decision has been taken after the suicide of Divya, a student of the biophysics department, who jumped to death from the sixth floor of hostel No 5.

As per the instructions, the wardens have been asked to install grills from fourth to sixth floor in their hostels to avoid any such incident in the future.

Divya was residing in the hostel No 1, which is a two-storey building. She went to the hostel No 5, which is six-storey building, to commit suicide. Chief security officer Jatinder Grover confirmed that such instructions had been issued to all hostel wardens. He said earlier, the authorities failed to realise that students could go to such an extent to end their lives. Hence, keeping in view this fact such a decision had been taken.

At present, there are nine girls’ and eight boys’ hostels on the PU campus and in each hostel there is an accommodation for 360 students. The hostels that were recently constructed have six-storey buildings.



ptu results
Quest students bag top positions
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 13
Ujjwal KC and Nava Raj Khatri won laurels to the Quest Group of Institutions by securing the first and the second positions in BTech (ME) 5th semester on the merit list of November 2013 examinations, conducted by Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar. Ujjwal secured 87.41 per cent marks whereas Nava Raj got 86.59 per cent marks.

Indo Global College of Architecture students bagged the first three top positions in semester 1, 3 and 5 of B Arch. Anamika Dagar with 83.89 per cent, Meenakshi Kaushal with 83.67 per cent and Sambhav Jain with 83.22 per cent marks got the first, second and third positions, respectively.

In the third semester, Ankur Manuja (83.11 per cent), Sanjana Jain (82.22) and Ravneet Kaur (81.67) cornered glory by securing the first, second and third positions. In fifth semester, Yamini Gupta (82.12 per cent), Vikas Sharma (80.94) and Uttam Singh (79.88) bagged the first, second and third positions, respectively.

A student, Vikas Rana, of the RBIEBT, Mohali, topped the B Tech (electronic and computer engineering) third semester exams with 80.93 per cent marks.



US college institutes award after city golfer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Albright College at Reading in Pennsylvania has instituted an international award in its bid to perpetuate the memory of its brilliant student and well-known Chandigarh-based golfer Samarvir Sahi.
Samarvir Sahi
Samarvir Sahi

The sprawling lush green campus of the college continues to have fragrance of its late student and Chandigarh-based golfer Samarvir as a tree dedicated to Sahi by the college authorities stands and grows there for over 19 years, reminding young students about the legacy left behind by Samarvir.

To further honour his memory, the management of the college have now instituted an international award named,”The Samarvir (Sam) Sahi Outstanding International Student Award”. Samarvir had lost his battle against cancer in November 1994.

The award is in the shape of a running trophy, accompanied by a citation. A crystal globe on a crystal base is given to the award winner for keeps. The award was based on a full four-year all-round performance plus criteria points emanating from Samarvir’s life as a student at Albright College.

The prestigious international inaugural award has been bagged by Danisha Higgs of the Bahamas and was given away to her at the annual Honours and Awards Banquet ceremony at Albright College, Reading in Pennsylvania recently.

What left the family of Samarvir elated was that the Abright authorities invited his family members from Chandigarh —- his sister Meenu Sahi, his niece Sairah Mamik and his father Gurpratap Singh Sahi, a retired Punjab Home Secretary —- to witness the inaugural award ceremony.

Among other invitees, Dr Inderjit Singh, a retired lead economist of the World Bank, who was Samarvir’s local guardian in the US, was also present.

Known to his relatives and friends as Monty, late Samarvir Singh Sahi, is generally recalled to memory at the time of the National Amateur Golf Tournament played in his honour at the Chandigarh Golf Club every year. Old timers still recall him as being one of the illustrious “foursome” among legendary Jeev Milkha Singh, Amandeep Johl and Harmeet Kahlon in their formative years.

From winning laurels in Chandigarh, Sahi (Monty) rose to see himself to captain the Albright College Golf Team in the United States.

“SAM”, as they called him, won the Best Men’s Golf Trophy and the prestigious Jacob Award for his outstanding all-round performance before graduating from Albright College in 1992.

When this ‘iconic talent’ fell victim to cancer a couple of years later, the Albright College authorities held a memorial service in his honour, planted a tree in the campus, which stands tall for 19 years.

The plaque at the base of the memorial tree reads, after his name “Esteemed Student and Beloved Friend.”

The depth of the feelings Samarvir generated and the legacy he left behind are encapsulated in the moving words used for him at the Tree Dedication Ceremony: “That in this land, far from family, but close to friends, Samarvir Sahi will be remembered”



Aakash Institute students excel in AIPMT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The students of Aakash Institute bagged top slots in the All-India Pre-Medical/ Pre-Dental Entrance Test (AIPMT)-2014, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

The institute authorities claimed that the students bagged 8 ranks out of the top 10 in the AIPMT. The name of toppers included Tejaswin, who secured the first All-India Rank, followed by Lovedeep S Dhingraha, who clinched the second rank, while the fourth rank was bagged by Shreyasi Shah. Ankush Phulia got the fifth position, Mayank Bhutada secured the sixth rank. The seventh position was bagged by Akshay G Kumar, Rohit Nathani secured the ninth rank and Mohak Gupta bagged the 10th position.



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