Vox Populihttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/vox-populi-17/

Vox Populi

It has been over a year that we have been reading reports about the arbitration proceedings in the ongoing battle between the Chandigarh Housing Board and Parsvnath that has cost CHB about crores of rupees.

Shameful act

It has been over a year that we have been reading reports about the arbitration proceedings in the ongoing battle between the Chandigarh Housing Board and Parsvnath that has cost CHB about crores of rupees. It is a really a matter of shame that the meeting is postponed every time on the request of either of the two parties for reasons best known to them. As a result,the CHB has lost a sum of about Rs 1 crore in the form of payments to the three arbitrators at the rate of Rs 1 lakh per arbitrator per sitting. This amount excludes the money spent on hotels,air tickets and administrative expenses. The latest sitting was again adjourned,as per Newsline report dated October 27. This time the amount paid to the arbitrators was @ Rs 1.5 lakh. It is a pity that due to the dispute between the CHB and the Parsvnath builders,hundreds of investors in the project continue to wait for their homes. Yet there is no guarantee that the matter will be resolved soon. There are reports from the chairman of the CHB that the Board has gone bankrupt and is unable to even pay salaries to its staff. It is a matter of grave concern that such avoidable and wasteful expenditure continues to occur due to the irresponsible acts of the officers/officials of the CHB which is not prepared to face the arbitrators at every given date. A high-level enquiry is called for to investigate the reasons for such adjournments. The CHB has also announced that it will have to cancel all the ongoing rehabilitation projects for want of cash. The October 27 news reports say the CHB has sought money from the Chandigarh Administration to continue with the projects in hand for which the Administration has written to the Centre for bailing out the CHB. This is a sad development. The practice of such arbitration cases should be immediately done away with to avoid wasteful expenditure of the taxpayer’s money. Instead,legal proceedings should be initiated in fast track courts to get the desired results in short periods thereby saving the hard-earned money of the citizens who pay taxes to the government.

R K KAPOOR Chandigarh

Policing the tricity

This refers to news item “4 snatchings and a theft in an hour send police into tizzy” (The Sunday Newsline,October 24,2010). Of late,there has been a big spurt in criminal activities mainly chain/bag snatchings and incidents of thefts in the tricity. There is a growing feeling of fear and insecurity in the heart and minds of the residents due to such re-occurring incidents. The media reports indicate that “two youths” use motor cycle/scooter continue to commit such crimes at their will and police are yet to nab them. While UT police must be making all efforts to nab them but they so far have been able to escape the police trap which is causing the crime graph of the tricity to rise and thereby damaging their otherwise good reputation. It is suggested that police may use lady police officers as decoy morning walkers/females moving in isolation at vulnerable spots along with simultaneous monitoring and keeping vigil on such alleged criminals (including random checking of suspected two wheelers) in a bid to nab them at the earliest. It goes without saying that the residents of Tricity are feeling the heat of such incidents which have gone unabated in the recent times and the police may also take the help of residents/Residents welfare bodies etc to arrest them and bring much needed reprieve for them.

S K Gupta

Chandigarh

Appoint more information commissioners

After the recent elevation of Meenaxi Anand Chaudhry as State Chief Information Commissioner (CIC),the Hooda government would soon have to appoint more Information Commissioners (ICs). Though Section 15 of the Right to Information Act (RTI),2005 provides that maximum ten ICs can be appointed,in recent years their strength in State Information Commission has at the most reached at six i.e. in 2008. After the resignation of Ashok Mehta after he found himself involved in a controversy and retirement of another,Lt Gen (Retd) JBS Yadav,the State Information Commission was functioning with just four ICs excluding now-retired CIC,G Madhavan. Though the RTI Act provides that appointment of CIC/IC would be made by a committee comprising Chief Minister,Leader of Opposition and a Cabinet Minister,it must be ensured that retired bureaucrats do not succeed in convincing the powers-that-be to get them adjusted in these positions. The Babus always view this body as a post-retirement hub for their rehabilitation. Pertinent that though the Act lays down that persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law,science and technology,social service,management,journalism,mass media or administration and governance be appointed to such posts,it has been witnessed that choice of ruling elite has mostly confined to ex-IAS officers as if they are possessing all such qualities. Of course,the competent bureaucrats who had an illustrious service record with a habit of always upholding transparency in administration need to be appointed but suitable persons from other walks of life also needs adequate representation. I have no regrets in pointing out that ever since implementation of RTI five years back,there has been continuous efforts by our present bureaucracy in convincing the political executive to bend/amend the Act so as to dilute the spirit of the historic people’s legislation. The Indian bureaucracy always desires to work under a veil of secrecy. This is perhaps the reason why the archaic Official Secrets Act,1923 still finds a place in statute book. If desired fruits from RTI are yet to be reaped,the primary factor responsible for it is our colonial minded Babudom. I hope Hooda Sahib,who earlier this year reduced the amount of cost for obtaining information under RTI would endeavour to make the search and selection of new ICs more broad-based. HEMANTKUMARAmbala

Need to counsel students

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The Facebook ghost and the school seem to have larger animosity than apparent. The school after having met the parents decided to reduce suspension to 40 days,students to write 500 words essay of apology and doing community service and asking parents to be present in the school. I wonder if any educational calendar has a provision of suspension of some students,then reducing without any law-recognised disciplinary body,asking students to write essay like of criminal admission in 500 words,and assuming powers over some parents to be present in school during hours of students doing community service. Some of the Principals favouring prior and recent version of punishment need look into as parents if similar hammer falling on them when they were students,or as parents of these students,what would be their emotional and social status? They themselves were children first,students and teachers and then parents. Being Principal,society endows them with greater sagacity to deal better than parents. I am not letting defaulting students free,but the age old conventional method of punishment has not been updated in the light of Human Resources Management. The students and their parents are not seen as human but defaulters alone culpable for punishment only,then where is the application of in-school counseling and administrative bodies such as DEO,CBSE or some well meaning philanthropists to help students to sit in classes,not to lose academic excellence for them and for the school. The so pious schools need to be bold enough to hold open session inviting all section of society for brain storming decision. Here the teacher and school have forgotten all good done by same students and set target to teach a lesson. All actions of punishment are easily applicable,how do we find an elixir that could raise all type of students to genii level,as almost all schools and tutorials are business and conventional.

Wg Cdr TL Bhardwaj,Chandigarh