C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Robbers attack family, injure 9
  Decamp with Rs 5 lakh, jewellery from outskirts of Kelo village in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 29
Members of the suspected “Bangala gang” or the Kala Kachha gang struck at a makeshift accommodation of a Muslim Gujjar family last night and decamped with Rs 5 lakh and gold and silver jewellery after injuring nine persons near Kelo village here.

The police inspect the crime spot near Kelo village in Mohali on Monday
The police inspect the crime spot near Kelo village in Mohali on Monday; (below) one of the injured, Rehman Ali, under treatment at the GMSH, Sector 16. Tribune photos
one of the injured, Rehman Ali, under treatment at the GMSH, Sector 16.

Four women were among those injured. The condition of one of them, Neeko, who is admitted to the PGI, is stated to be critical. Two other injured, Noor Mohammad (40) and Jakoob Ali (20), have also been admitted to the PGI. The other victims, Ali Mohammad (70), head of the family, Rehman Ali (Ali Mohammad’s son-in-law), Attro (Noor Mohammad’s wife), and Sonia, Safoora and Hussaini (Ali Mohammad’s daughters) are under treatment at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh. They are stated to be out of danger.

“All victims sustained head injuries. The robbers attacked them with lathis,” said Mohali SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti. He said the modus operandi of the gang was similar to that of the Kala Kachha gang.

According to Saleema, a member of the family, the robbers, numbering around 15, were speaking in the Bangala dialect. Armed with sharp weapons, they struck at around 1.30 am at tents pitched by the family near the railway line on the outskirts of Kelo village on the Landran-Sirhind road.

“We were sleeping when the robbers struck. They attacked us and took away our steel trunk which contained the cash and jewellery,” said Saleema, adding that she managed to save her life by running away from the spot along with her child.

The robbers spared only children and a servant, who seemed to be mentally unstable, said DSP Navreet Singh Virk, who visited the spot along with SSP Bhatti. “The steel trunk was found 1 km away from the crime spot,” said the SSP. The police have registered a case under Sections 395, 397, 458, 459, 148 and 149, IPC, at the Sohana police station.

How help arrived

After the attack, the family members reached a gurdwara in the village and made an announcement for help. “Following the announcement, villagers informed the police and rushed the injured to the hospital.”

Past incident

The last such incident had occurred on the night of July 23 when six robbers, armed with lathis, struck at two farmhouses at Seonk village and took away gold jewellery and cash from two caretaker migrant families.

Old rivalry behind attack?

The police believe the attack could be the outcome of old rivalry among community members. “The robbers did not touch the mentally unstable servant. This shows that they knew about his condition. Rivalry among the community members is common and we are working on this angle,” said DSP Virk. 



Probe report finds 3 DSPs, 2 ASIs guilty of lapses
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 29
Five Haryana police officials, including three Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs), involved in the investigations of the sensational Jyoti murder case are in for trouble as they have been found guilty of lapses that led to the acquittal of Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary and the other accused.

Holding the policemen responsible for the lapses, a report in this regard by the Commissioner of Police has been sent to Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) SN Vashisht. The director (prosecution) has been asked to look into the role of the public prosecutor as the latter has also been indicted in the report.

The indicted policemen are DSP Virender Sangwan (investigating officer, who presented the first chargesheet), DSP Ajay Rana (then SHO), DSP Suresh Kaushik (member of the SIT), ASI Jai Singh and ASI Surender Pal.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, DGP Vashisht said, “The probe has indicted these officers and departmental action has been initiated. While the Commissioner of Police or the Deputy Commissioner of Police are competent to take action against the ASIs, in the case of the DSPs, we will be writing to the government for action.” An explanation has been sought from the indicted policemen.

Meanwhile, the police are set to file an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. “One of the grounds on which the appeal will be filed is that the court did not appreciate the prosecution evidence,” said Commissioner of Police Ajay Singhal.

A three-member committee, headed by Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police Rahul Sharma, was constituted by the Commissioner of Police to “analyse” the judgment.

A day after the Doon MLA and his aides were acquitted on September 11 in the sensational Jyoti murder case, the court had pointed out several loopholes in the investigations that led to the acquittal. 

Police set to move HC

The police are set to file an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. “One of the grounds on which the appeal will be filed is that the court did not appreciate the prosecution evidence,” said Commissioner of Police Ajay Singhal.



cheating case
Birender’s missing aide Batra booked
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 29
There is trouble for BJP leader Birender Singh’s aide Vibhore Batra, who is missing. The Panchkula police today lodged an FIR against him after a number of high-profile persons alleged that he duped them and fled. The police questioned his personal security officers to get information about his whereabouts.

Commissioner of Police Ajay Singhal said, “We have lodged a cheating case against Batra for duping people.” Earlier, a case was registered against him in Punjab for duping people.

After reports that Batra was missing appeared in the media, several persons, including former Haryana Director General of Police Lakshman Dass, alleged that Batra had duped them of crores of rupees. Apart from several others who alleged that they gave over Rs 25 lakh each to Batra, the police said the owner of a renowned hotel in Panchkula also approached them stating that Batra had taken over Rs 50 lakh from him on the pretext of setting up an orchid business in Himachal Pradesh and claiming that he would share the profit. Several political functions were held at his hotel, but Batra did not pay the bills.

The police today found a new Land Rover in Panchkula which was used by Batra.

“Several transactions have been made in his 12 bank accounts on August 27 and 28. Withdrawals and deposits of Rs 5 to Rs 10 lakh have been made,” said a police official.

The police have found that the leader did not carry his passport before going missing.

The case

Five days ago, Batra’s mother Arun Batra lodged a missing complaint with the local police stating that her son had gone to Delhi and did not return. She said he had gone to Delhi as was disappointed over the distribution of the party ticket. 



Setback to prosecution in rape case
  DNA samples of accused cops do not match with those obtained from victim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
In yet another setback to the prosecution in the Khuda Lahora rape case involving five UT police constables as the accused, the forensic report in the case has revealed that the DNA samples of the accused do not match with the samples obtained from the victim at the time of the registration of the case. The report prepared by the Central Forensic Scientific Laboratory (CFSL) was placed before the court today during the resumed hearing of the case and taken on record.

While there are five accused police constables in the case, the DNA samples of none of the five accused have matched with those obtained from the victim. With the forensic report in the negative, the case is likely to tilt in favour of the accused. The CFSL report is one of the strongest evidence to confirm that the accused were involved in the crime.

On December 19, 2013, the UT police had arrested and dismissed five constables —Jagtar Singh (23), Akshay (24), Sunil Kumar (23), Himmat Singh (24) and Anil (25) — on allegations of rape and molestation of the victim. According to the complaint, the accused had raped her at gunpoint and also forced her to consume contraceptive pills.

Earlier, the victim had turned hostile in court and retracted from her statements. Later, she had moved court stating that she turned hostile under pressure. However, the petition was dismissed by the court.

The case has now been adjourned to October 1.

How is DNA matched

When a sexual assault is committed, the offender’s DNA may be left on the victim’s body or clothing or at the crime scene. An offender’s DNA is obtained from many different sources, including his saliva, sweat, blood, semen, hair and skin cells. CFSL labs then compare DNA profiles collected from the crime scene with the DNA profiles of potential suspects to see if they match. The samples of the suspects are matched with the evidence collected from the victim’s body and/or clothing and bedsheets.



Poor quality of food, stay during study tour
Civic body stops part payment to travel agency
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Following the controversy surrounding the study tour, the MC has stopped a part payment of Rs 8 lakh to the tour operator. Some councillors had submitted a written complaint against the poor quality of food and stay during the study tour.

Former Mayor and councillor Subhash Chawla had submitted a complaint to the MC Commissioner regarding poor services provided by the Panchkula-based travel agency hired by the MC for the nine-day study tour to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata.

Confirming the development, MC Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta said the MC had only paid Rs 20 lakh to the agency. As councillors had submitted complaints against the agency, the MC had stopped the remaining payment of Rs 8 lakh to the agency, he said.

“The MC is still scrutinising the bills and other details submitted by the company,” Gupta said.

In his complaint, councillor Subhash Chawla had submitted that the delegation of councillors and officers was not provided what they were promised by the agency. The agency had promised five-star hotels everywhere and sea-facing cottages in Havelock Island in Andaman but the hotels provided by the agency were not five star. Besides, in Havelock, the condition of the hotel was pathetic, Chawla had submitted.

Besides Chawla, several other councillors had given a negative feedback about the hotel in Havelock. During the study tour, SAD councillor Malkiat Singh was taken ill. He is still admitted to AIIMS, New Delhi.

At a recent meeting of the MC House, BJP councillor Satinder Singh had raised questions over the study tour.

In his two-page questionnaire, Satinder Singh had raised several questions and asked the respondents to supply documentary evidence, wherever required.

The civic body is yet to respond to Satinder Singh’s questionnaire.

Rules violated while finalising agency

Sources said MC officials had not followed the mandatory norms while finalising the travel agency as no tenders were invited. The mandatory public notice for inviting quotations was also not issued, before finalising the Panchkula-based travel agency.

Sightseeing tours!

Councillors and MC officials, during their nine-day study tour earlier this month. The Administration had approved the study tour to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata. However, the councillors went for sightseeing along with their family members, splurging the public money.

Rs 20 lakh already paid

MC Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta said the MC had only paid ~20 lakh to the agency. As councillors had submitted complaints against the travel agency, the MC had stopped the remaining payment of ~8 lakh to the agency, he said.

Facts & figures

* Total expenditure on the tour: ~28 lakh

* Advance payment to the travel agency: ~20 lakh

* Tour was for 20 people — five officials and 15 councillors

* Nine other persons (family members of councillors) also went on the tour


Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
‘Clean Hands’ campaign launched
Students urged to inculcate hand-washing habits; civic body says it will create awareness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
A ‘Clean Hands’ campaign under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched by KK Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33 D, today.

During the occasion, Sharma also released a poster on Clean Hand, which was prepared by the Municipal Corporation.

While addressing the students, the Adviser said, “Children are most vulnerable to infections. Hence instilling good personal hygiene in them such as hand-washing habits is vital for their health and well being.”

Sharma said cultivating the habit of hand washing is not only limited to children, but parents and teachers should also wash their hands as they can pass on the germs to their children.

“Keeping the hands clean is a form of social responsibility. It will help reduce infections. The simple act of washing hands with soap and water can save many lives,” he added.

The Adviser lauded the projects and efforts of the Municipal Corporation and Education Department about creating mass-level awareness under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

At the event, a demonstration clip on clean hands was also screened for the students wherein they were sensitised on the prevention of communicable diseases by doctors from the Health Department.

Meanwhile, others present at the event included Municipal Corporation Mayor Harphool Chander Kalyan, Vivek Partap Singh, Commissioner; Rajiv Gupta, Joint Commissioner’ Kamlesh Kumar Bhadoo, DPI (Schools); Dr PS Bhatti, Medical Officer of Health; Indra Beniwal Principal, school teachers and the school students.

objectives of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

n To pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi, the Centre has launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

n The MHRD launched the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya campaign from September 25 till October 31 in all its schools.

n The campaign focuses on creating awareness about cleanliness and motivating people to maintain hygiene for their well-being.



Shashi Sharma alleges threat to life, seeks police security
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 29
A day after former Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) leader Shashi Sharma alleged manhandling by Ambala MLA Venod Sharma; the complainant met the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and sought security alleging that he feared threat to life.

“He manhandled me and why did not the police take any action? Why wasn’t an FIR lodged against him? Only because he is powerful,” said Shashi.

Sharma said if the police won’t take action on his complaint, he, along with his supporters, would take to streets.

Meanwhile, refuting all the allegations, Venod Sharma claimed that Shashi was frustrated over not getting the party ticket from Kalka that he had sought.



Street vendors gherao MC office
Demand implementation of Street Vendors Act; to meet senior civic body officials 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Street vendors gheraoed the municipal corporation office and demanded implementation of the Street Vendors Act today.

The street vendors continued their protest till 5 pm and did not allow any official’s car tomove out during the protest. The officials used another gate to come out from the MC building.

Finally in the evening, the MC officials assured a meeting of the protesters with the senior MC officials tomorrow on the issue.Protesters under the banners of The Footpath Cycles & Rehri Fadi Workers Union and the National Association of the Street Vendors of India (NASVI) have been demanding licence to every street vendor and freedom from the atrocities on them by the police, Estate Office, the MCC and the Health Department of the UT Chandigarh.

One of the main demands of the union is to implement the “Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014” in the UT Chandigarh, which is already in practice in around 23 states. This Act of Parliament of India was enacted to regulate the street vendors in public areas and protect their rights.



Raising Day celebrations
Indian Army team scales 18,000-foot-high peak

Chandigarh, September 29
A mountaineering expedition organised by the 14 Mechanised Infantry to Mount Deo Tibba as part of its 38th Raising Day celebrations was flagged in at Chandimandir Military Station today by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen KJ Singh.

Staring-off from Ambala on August 25, the team was successful in scaling the 18,000 feet peak in the Pir Panjal range after braving unpredictable high altitude weather conditions and harsh terrain. The expedition also gave members an opportunity to interact with the locals enroute and also study the flora and fauna of the region.— TNS



UT Home Secy’s post
Haryana Government for extending Anil Kumar’s tenure
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Haryana Government has recommended extending the present Home Secretary Anil Kumar’s tenure for one more year For the post of UT Home Secretary, the Haryana Government has recommended for extending present Home Secretary Anil Kumar’s tenure for one more year.

On the letter of the UT Administration wherein the UT had sought a panel of three IAS officers from the Haryana Government for the post of the UT Home Secretary, the Haryana Government has written to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the UT Administration saying that this time they would not send any panel rather thay would recommend extending Anil Kumar’s tenure for one more year.

The three-year tenure of the incumbent Anil Kumar, will come to an end on December 8 this year. He had joined the UT Administration on December 9, 2011.

A senior official of the Haryana Government said at present the code of conduct was in force in Haryana due to the Assembly elections therefore they could not send any fresh panel. Besides, there are many other reasons for which they have recommended extending of Anil Kumar’s tenure, he said.

Recently, Anil Kumar had also written to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda stating that the UT Administration sidelined the Haryana cadre officials.

Kumar wasn’t the first choice

In 2011, the Haryana Government had sent a panel of three Haryana cadre IAS officers, namely PK Das, RR Jowell and Anil Kumar, for the UT Home Secretary’s post. Then, the UT Administrator, Shivraj V Patil, had recommended the name of Das but the Ministry of Home Affairs chose Kumar as the UT Home Secretary.



4 traders in dock for evading Market Committee fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Even as the traders of the Sector 26 Vegetable and Fruit Market led by senior BJP leader, Harmohan Dhawan, today met the UT Home Secretary, demanding a stop on the checking to plug evasion of Market committee fee, the State Agriculture Marketing Board (SAMB) has initiated the process to serve show-cause notice upon four commission agents for the evasion of market fee.

During an inspection conducted out by an SDM on September 23, it was found that the commission agents by not adhering to the terms and conditions of the licence violated provisions of the Punjab Agriculture Produce Markets (General) Rules 1962 and the Punjab Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1961. On being pointed out, all the erring traders deposited the market fee to the tune of around Rs one lakh the subsequent day.

After scrutinising the record, the office of the State Agricultural Marketing Board found that there was malafide intention to evade the Market Committee fee. The Secretary, State Agricultural Marketing Board, has directed the department to serve show-cause notices to the traders asking them to reply within seven days as to why the licence should not be suspended under the relevant act.Earlier in the day, Harmohan Dhawan, along with other traders from the fruit market met the UT Home Secretary, demanding a stop to the harassment of the traders in the name of checking. 



CSIR celebrates foundation day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
A lecture on the importance of anesthesia in the modern day medical procedures and an open day for visitors to its laboratories marked the foundation day celebrations of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), here today. 

Delivering the foundation day lecture, Dr Anjan Trikha, professor, department of anesthesiology, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, said the best way to take care of the patient was to leave nothing to chance. This made the job of an anesthetic more critical because though the surgical risk remains the same, the risk of giving anesthesia changes with age and other factors.Earlier, Dr Amod Kumar, Acting Director, CSIO, highlighted aims and goals of CSIR and its contribution in the field of science and technology. 



Ist Indian journal of neurosciences gets recognition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Annals of Neurosciences — the first Indian journal of neurosciences having a PGI neuroscientist Dr Akshaya Anand as the editor, has found recognition in PubMed — an international library of select research journals. 

A publication of the Indian Academy of Neurosciences, Annals of Neurosciences is a two-decade old journal. “It is the only basic neuroscience journal communicating Indian face of neuroscience skill development which can be easily scaled as a national model for other Journals,” said Dr Akshaya Anand. 



11 PGI doctors leave for J&K
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
A team of 11 doctors led by Dr Sanjay Jain, professor,internal medicine, left for for Flood-affected J&Kon Sunday.

A number of PGIMER doctors and philanthropists also contributed money and funded the cost of 150 kg medicines to be taken to the flood affected areas. 



Sanitation workers protest at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Chaos prevailed in front of PGI Chief Security Officer PC Sharma’s office when nearly 50 sanitation workers of the hospital demanded action against a BSc student who was caught red-handed stealing articles from a fellow hostellers’ room today.

She admitted to having stolen pens, undergarments, books and other articles from different rooms.

On the suggestion of the CSO, the protesters filed a complaint and an inquiry was marked against the accused.

On the basis of the findings, the authorities will take a call on whether to forward the complaint to the police, said an official.

Allege discrimination

The protesters demanded action against a BSc student who was caught stealing articles from a fellow hostellers’ room. They said earlier a case was registered against a sanitation worker on a similar complaint, but this time the accused was let off by the authorities.



world tourism week
Qawwals captivate audience 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Sham-e-qawwali remained the key attraction on the third day of being organised by Chandigarh Tourism and STEPS. Renowned qawwals Quadar Niazi, Hayder Nizami and Hasan Nizami enthralled the audiences at the Sector 17 Plaza with their famous numbers and also responded to the demand of the audience by singing qawwalis of their choice. Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Shayin was the chief guest on the occasion.

The Government Museum and Art Gallery hosted a quiz, in which around 150 students from various government schools participated. Director Tourism Kashish Mittal gave away prizes to the winners. The first position was bagged by Ronnie Mandal and Puru Sharma of GMSSS-16, second spot was clinched by Nirmal Sharma and Anju Sharma of the same school and the third prize was bagged by Anshuman and Chandan of GMSSS-21.

The exhibition of shortlisted photographs witnessed a huge crowd at the Sector 17 Plaza. A street play on the theme “national integrity” was performed at the Sector 42 lake.

‘Run for Tourism’

The “Run for Tourism” was flagged off by Conservator of Forests Santosh Kumar from the Open Hand Monument. Around 700 students from various government schools took part in the run that concluded at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10.



Major reshuffle in Police Dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Police Establishment Board today ordered the transfer of 111 personnel of the UT police with immediate effect.

As per the transfer orders, 105 police officials of the Chandigarh Police, including 56 sub-inspectors, 42 assistant sub-inspectors and seven head constables have been transferred from their present postings.

6 DSP-level officers transferred

In addition to this, six Deputy Superintendent of Police-level officers were also transferred. The DSPs include Ashish Kapoor, BS Negi, Satish Kumar, Guriqbal Singh Sidhu, Dr Navdeep Singh Brar, and Deepak Yadav. While Ashish Kapoor has been deployed as the DSP (police control room), Guriqbal Singh Sidhu will be handling the post of SDPO (Central). Dr Navdeep Singh Brar has been posted as the ASP Traffic (South, R&D and Road Safety) and BS Negi as the DSP Headquarters-cum-SSO to IGP. Satish Kumar and Deepak Yadav have been posted as DSP (IRB). 



Study tours are an exercise in futility, say residents
The recent nine-day study tour of councillors to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata kicked off a debate on the need to organise such a junket when previous trips failed to improve the quality of life in the city. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers if it was acceptable to spend public money on such tours.

Just leisure trips

Study tours are educative and helpful in emulating and implementing model works carried out by other authorities, provided the projects are undertaken objectively and earnestly. In the present case, the councillors and other officials, accompanied by their relatives, just went on a leisure trip to far-off islands and metro cities.

Prabhpreet Kaur, Mani Majra

No positive outcome

Study tours have not yielded any positive outcome to date. The pity is that such tours, which are more of pleasure trips, are called study tours, thereby robbing the term “study” of its piety.

SC Luthra, MHC, Mani Majra

Have yielded nothing

In many cases, reports of the so-called benefits to be accrued from these tours have not been submitted by the councillors. In the past eight years, the civic body has already spent around Rs one crore on such tours that have yielded nothing.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

No concrete works undertaken

MC councillors have gone on study tours for more than six times in the past 10 years. They were supposed to gain knowledge on road construction, management of parking spaces and system of drinking water supply, and then implement these in the city. However, nothing concrete has happened.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

All projects get jettisoned

By the time councillors return from these jaunts, their term of office comes to an end. Jettisoning the projects, they brace themselves up for the next elections.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Such junkets not needed

Study tours undertaken by councillors and MC officials have rightly attracted the ire of the media and residents for their futility. There is no need to organise such junkets.

Satish Chandra Sharma, Chandigarh

Complete existing works first

Instead of organising such tours, the focus should be on completing and implementing existing projects: the night food street, fish market, park for visually challenged, modern “dhobi ghats” and rainwater harvesting in government buildings. Improving the quality of life of residents on a par with that enjoyed in developed countries is paramount.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Hire professionals instead

If the Administration implements Le-Corbusier’s plan in letter and spirit, there will be no need to send councillors on study tours. Instead of organising such tours, professionals should be hired for carrying out development works when needed. Money spent on previous trips should be recovered from the councillors who failed to carry out any improvement.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd), Mohali

Send experts

Instead of sending councillors, experts in the particular field should be sent on such tours. All reports submitted by the councillors after such tours should be checked for their authenticity.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh

Retired officers must accompany councillors

The Chandigarh Administration should nominate retired defence officers and bureaucrats to accompany the councillors on study tours. They will be of great help in preparing project reports to achieve fruitful results, transparency and economy, all for the betterment of the City Beautiful.

Col Balbir Singh (retd), Chandigarh

Sheer wastage of public money

The recent study tour of MC councillors — that too along with their families — cost Rs 28 lakh of taxpayers’ money. This is a sheer wastage of public money. The funds could have been used for providing better civic facilities, parking system and streetlights besides checking stray dogs and cattle menace.

Jagdishpal Singh Kalra, Chandigarh

A clear case of cheating

Study tours are a clear case of cheating and misappropriation of funds by councillors. The role of MC remains localised and does not require studying arrangements in other cities or nations.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Probe needed

There are no provisions in MC rules to organise study tours using public money. How can the Administration allow such illegal tours? This needs a CBI inquiry.

Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

Set a precedent

Councillors enjoy junkets every now and then. They do so because those before them had done the same and no action was taken against them. The recent tour to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata has rightly drawn criticism from all quarters for the wastage of taxpayers’ money.

RK Kapoor, USA

Fine councillors if unusual expenditure found

Councillors must prepare a detailed report of activities performed by them during the tours. If there is any unusual expenditure, they must be fined.

Pradyumn Gupta, Chandigarh

Residents still deprived of basic amenities

Despite several study tours conducted in the past, many residents are still deprived of basic amenities. The Chandigarh Administration must ensure that these tours benefit city residents.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Review the process

Study tours always generate controversy due to their futility. There is a dire need to carefully review the whole process. The government has spent nearly Rs 95 lakh on these tours, which could have been used for other development work.

Vidya Sagar Garg, Panchkula

Councillors must visit their ward first

Instead of organising study tours to other cities, councillors must first visit every nook and corner of their ward. They should talk to residents, listen to their grievances and try to devise methods to get rid of the problems plaguing the area.

Dr Navkirat Chauhan, Chandigarh

Talk to residents

The best “study” the councillors can undertake is by talking to residents in their ward. People elect them for development of their areas and to resolve their issues, and not for them to grind their own axe.

Colonel RD Singh, Ambala Cantt

Implement councillors’ recommendations

The study tours need not be futile. These may produce the desired result and lead to an improvement in the quality of life if the recommendations made by the councillors are implemented.

Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh

Can help in adopting better methodology

There are many cities in India and abroad that have successfully implemented projects that could not be executed in Chandigarh due to lack of sufficient information. Councillors with a keen interest and definite plan should be encouraged to visit such cities to study the methodology and technology.

Ravinder Nath, Chandigarh

Rajmeet Singh
MC needs a greater role, not junkets

The recent study tour of municipal councillors to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata has drawn flak from different sections of society. Many feel that nothing useful comes out of such junkets.

In absence of any well-defined policy on the purpose and productivity of such tours, ugly scenes were witnessed in the MC House when the elected representatives tried to defend their tour that the Opposition members termed “splurging of public money on sight-seeing”.

While the MC is yet to come out with a public document on the purpose of study tours undertaken by councillors from 2004 to 2011, records reveal that around Rs one crore have been spent on 11 such tours in these seven years. Interestingly, since 2004 councillors have visited Chennai and Bengaluru thrice and Kolkata twice. The destinations are not limited to India. Sixteen councillors went on a tour to Singapore and Bangkok in 2007 at a cost of over Rs 15 lakh. However, the park for the visually challenged set up in Sector 26 following the study tour to Singapore has failed to serve the desired purpose.

Be it the stray dog issue or cattle menace, functioning of streetlights or strict policy against encroachers, these trips have contributed little in tackling any of the pressing issues of the city. This has been viewed adversely by not only the public but the Chandigarh Administration as well. Between 2006 and 2008, the UT had denied consent to such tours. It had contended that no fruitful results had come out of the previous tours. The practice, however, started once again.

It is strongly felt that the improvement plans can be correctly assessed by specialists and professionals of the concerned fields and there is no need to waste money on leisure trips of politicians. And if such a tour is undertaken and the councillors do not submit their report, they should be made to pay out of their pocket.

Another question being asked is that what is the purpose of spending public money on such tours when the MC is not empowered to take major decisions and is dependent on the Chandigarh Administration?

There is perhaps a need to empower the elected Municipal Corporation with more functions, functionaries and funds before allowing the elected or nominated representatives to undertake such tours.

Leaving aside some major administrative functions, other functions should be transferred to the civic body. Tours can come later.

* The writer is Chief City Reporter

open house question
The Chandigarh Administration has stepped up its campaign against the use of plastic bags in the city. The rampant use of non-biodegradable items, however, continues to cause harm to stray animals and the environment. What needs to be done to effectively ban the use of plastic bags?

Send in your suggestions in not more than 100 words along with a passport-size picture to openhouse@tribunemail.com.



Medical aspirants left in the lurch
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The recent interim order by the Supreme Court to allow private medical colleges to admit students — which have not been allowed to admit students by the Medical Council of India (MCI) — has lead to chaos among the medical aspirants.

The candidates stated that their future had been put at stake as the MCI was yet to conduct renewal inspections.

Priyansha Sharma, a medical aspirant, said, “The Supreme Court should have extended the date of admission and ensured that the inspection is conducted by the MCI before the students take admission. In case, the MCI rejects the seats, our year will be wasted.”

The SC had, its in order, mentioned that medical colleges should submit undertakings by the president/chairman and secretary of institutions running medical colleges that there is no defect in the medical colleges being run by them and they would also state that their deposit with the MCI, which is around Rs 10 crore, be forfeited by way of penalty if the statement made in the undertaking is found to be incorrect at the time of the next inspection.

The order also stated that admissions shall be given to students from the merit list prepared by the states and they shall be charged fees prescribed by the government medical colleges of their respective states and in no case, the admission shall be given after September 30.

Meanwhile Dr Arvind Goyal, academician and PMT trainer said, “The SC order has led to a catch-22 situation for the students. The students are not sure if the college will be finally recognised by the MCI. There is a risk that some deficiency may be pointed out later by the MCI and the college still remains derecognised. The future of students is at stake.”

What the supreme court order states

The SC had, its in order, mentioned that medical colleges should submit undertakings by the president/chairman and secretary of institutions running medical colleges that there is no defect in the medical colleges being run by them and they would also state that their deposit with the MCI, which is around Rs 10 crore, be forfeited by way of penalty if the statement made in the undertaking is found to be incorrect at the time of the next inspection.



election nullified
No appeal by DRs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Three days after Panjab University nullified the election of 19 department representatives (DR) of nine departments — who had not submitted their election expenditure accounts to the election officer — none of them appealed while the deadline lapsed.

A notice was issued to all the DRs that as they had not submitted the expenditure details in a stipulated time, their election had been nullified by the PU authorities.

As per the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines, all the DRs who had contested the elections, were to submit their election expenditure to the Dean Student Welfare (DSW).

The election of the UIET Department, which has the highest number of four DRs, has been nullified as none of the candidates submitted their election expenditure details to the DSW office.

The candidates were given three more days to submit their expenditure, for which a communication was also sent to the departments. However, no response was given by them. An official said there would be no re-election in these departments and the DRs will now be nominated. 

‘no response’

The department representatives were given three more days to submit their expenditure but they did not respond. 



St John’s students leave for NASA

Chandigarh, September 29
Students of St John’s High School today left for a three-day ATX programme at the Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The school authorities informed that the students were thrilled at the prospect of having lunch with an astronaut. Just as the Mangalyan orbiter Mission heralds the advent of a new era for ISRO, the students are excited to step on American soil. - TNS



Annual function 

Chandigarh: A three-day annual function got underway at Guru Nanak Public School. Performances were given by students of the pre-primary section. The programme included activities which conveyed messages such as “Save wildlife”, “Friendship”, “Aerobics-way to stay healthy”, “We love butterflies” etc. Nearly 400 children took part in event.

Students bag laurels

Khushi Rana, student of Class VI and Mehak Rana, student of Class IX, both from AKSIPS-45, have brought laurels to their school by bagging medals in the Chandigarh state sub-junior/junior athletic championship. Khushi bagged a gold medal in shot put and Mehak got a bronze medal in the 1-Km race.

Grandparents’ Day

Grandparent’s Day was celebrated at Banyan Tree School. The grandparents were welcomed in an Indian traditional style. Lovlin Sharma, co-ordinator formally welcomed the guests.

Programme for faculty

Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37-B, organised a faculty development programme on the campus on Monday.

Students visit traffic park

RIMT World School sent the students of pre-nursery and nursery on a visit to the Traffic Park on Monday. The students were sensitised on traffic lights, zebra crossing and miniature buildings.

Commander meets students

Panchkula: Commander Abhilash Tomy, is a highly decorated officer of the Indian Navy, bestowed with the nation’s second highest peacetime gallantary medal — Kirti Chakra –- met the students of St Soldier’s School, Sector 16, on Monday. It was a memorable moment for the students to meet the first Indian, second Asian and 79th non-stop, solo, circumnavigator of the globe. He narrated his sea voyage and his experiences of those 151 days that created a great impression on the minds of students.

Grandparents enjoy

The SCHOLARS Public School celebrated Grandparents Day on the campus on Monday. The students of the junior wing came to the school along with their grand parents. A glittering function was organised. — TNS



Research centre

A research resource centre has been started at Government College of Education, Sector 20. A six-month PhD course has been started at the centre. A total of 15 students hailing from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi have registered for the PhD course.

Artistes take part in a workshop on fine arts at Post Graduate Government College, Sector 46, Chandigarh, on Monday
Artistes take part in a workshop on fine arts at Post Graduate Government College, Sector 46, Chandigarh, on Monday. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan
A street play being performed by the Students for Society to commemmorate the 108th birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh at the PU on Monday.
A street play being performed by the Students for Society to commemorate the 108th birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh at the PU on Monday. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Cleanliness campaign

Prakriti — the environment society of the Post Graduate Government College for Girls (PGGCG), Sector 11, in collaboration with NSS organised a cleanliness campaign in the college on Monday.

MCM students shine

The budding actors of the MCM Dramatics club “Pervaaj” displayed their acting prowess as “Bhands”, which was a first time introduced category in dramatics and bagged the first prize in the Panjab University North Zone Youth Festival at Jhar Sahib, Ludhina.

Ode to Bhagat Singh

The Students for Society (SFS), Panjab University, organised a programme to commemorate the 108th birthday of Shaheed Bhagat Singh at the Student Centre. A bookstall was installed at the centre which displayed the writings of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his companions.

MPhil Punjabi applications

The Department of Punjabi, Panjab University, has invited applications for admission to MPhil (Punjabi) session 2014-15 up to September 30. Interested candidates, who have qualified the MPhil/PhD test of PU can submit their application forms in the office of the Department of Punjabi. The date of interview/counselling is October 7 (10 AM) in the office of chairperson, School of Punjabi Studies, PU.

PU screens ‘Dharti Ke Lal’

As part of the ongoing celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri Jyanti from September 26-October 2, the Department of Gandhian and Peace Studies screened the film ‘Dharti Ke Lal’. The film is based on the life, work, mission and contributions of Bharat Ratan Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri. The film, Gandhi, will be screened on September 30.

Human rights conference

An Asian Regional Conference on Human Rights and Dignity of Girls and Women began at ICSSR complex, Panjab University, on Monday. The conference has been organised by the Department-cum-Centre for Women’s Studies and Development, PU, in collaboration with the Garden of Hope Foundation Taiwan and Yuvsatta, an NGO.

PU don delivers colloquium

Panjab University alumnus and Professor Emeritus at PU Psychology Department, Prof Jitendra Mohan delivered the PU Colloquium on the topic of ‘Excellence: An Endless Pursuit’ at the UICET Auditorium. — TNS



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