C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Flow of polluted water from Kansal area into Sukhna Lake
UT to move High court
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
As the Punjab Government has failed to make arrangements to stop the flow of sewage from the Kansal area in Punjab into Sukhna Lake, the UT Administration has now decided to raise this issue in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The committee constituted to save Sukhna Lake has sent a number of letters to the Punjab Government but to no avail. If the UT Administration officials are to be believed, this polluted water is one of the major reasons behind the problem of weeds in the Sukhna.

According to information, the sewerage line that passes through different areas of Punjab also passes through the Kansal area. In the Kansal area, there are some cracks in the line and from there, the water enters into the Sukhna sanctuary and further into the lake. Sources added that as the water passed through fields before entering the Sukhna, pesticides, which farmers used in their fields, also entered the lake. The problem of polluted water increased in the rainy season.

At the last meeting of the committee constituted for the conservation of Sukhna Lake, the members expressed resentment over the ignorance of Punjab Government in saving Sukhna Lake. While the UT has sent several letters to the Punjab Government to stop the flow of sewerage from the Kansal area to Sukhna Lake, the neighbouring government is yet to respond to the UT Administration over the issue.

A senior official of the UT Administration said now the committee members had decided to send a last communication to the Punjab Government through Adviser to the UT Administrator regarding the issue and if the neighbouring government this time as well did not respond, one of the committee members would raise the issue in the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the case hearing in connection with Sukhna Lake.

How this happens

The sewerage line that passes through different areas of Punjab also passes through the Kansal area. In the Kansal area, there are some cracks in the line and from there, the water enters into the Sukhna sanctuary and further into the lake. Sources said as the water passed through fields before entering the Sukhna, pesticides, which farmers used in their fields, also entered the lake.

‘Weeds linked with polluted water’

In an affidavit filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently, the UT Administration had stated that the flow of sewerage from the Kansal area, which enters into Sukhna Lake, had started resulting in severe weed problem in the lake. There was no planning for the disposal of sewerage for houses already built in the area. The Naya Gaon Nagar panchayat is well aware about the natural slopes towards Sukhna Lake, but was doing nothing to save the water body.



Steep rise in construction cost
Recent ban on mining near rivers has led to spurt in prices of sand, gravel etc
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The increase in the prices of raw materials has resulted in a hike of at least 25 per cent in the total cost of construction in the city. The ban on mining near rivers in the region has not only led to a spurt in the prices of sand and gravel but due to the shortage of these materials, some projects of the UT Administration and Municipal Corporation have reportedly halted as well.

Besides the prices of raw materials, the cost of labour has also hit hard the dreams of people, seeking to have a home of their own.The prices of sand, cement, bricks and wages have almost doubled during the past two years.

While 1,000 bricks were priced at Rs 3,500 two years ago in 2010, the same quantity is now being sold between Rs 5,600 and 5,800. Similarly, the prices of 200 cubic feet of sand and gravel have doubled to Rs 3,000 and Rs 8,000, respectively. Two years ago, these were available for Rs 1,400 and 4,500 only.

Also, the price of a cement bag, weighing 50 kg, is now around Rs 320, which was available at a price of Rs 225 two years ago. The prices of steel, one of the major components in the building construction, have also registered a jump of nearly 20 per cent.

Gurdeep Singh, a Sector 42-based building contractor, said the increase in the prices of raw materials had resulted in the hike of around 25 per cent of the total cost of construction.

Anil Kumar, another contractor, said around two years ago if the cost of constructing a house was around Rs 10 lakh, it had now touched between Rs 14 and 16 lakh.

Bachan Singh, a Sector 45 resident who had recently constructed two additional rooms of his house, added that initially his contractor had demanded Rs 2.25 lakh as construction cost, but was now demanding Rs 3.10 lakh for the same work.

It is not only the private construction but the government work is also suffering. A senior official of the Chandigarh Engineering Department said they were also witnessing the problem of shortage of sand and gravel and the cost of many projects had increased in the past two years. But he added that besides hike in the cost of raw materials, there were other factors behind the hike in the cost of projects.



Vehicle-owners misuse pedestrian paths in Sec 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
Pedestrian paths that have been built to facilitate pedestrians in Sector 17 here by the Municipal Corporation have become a shortcut for vehicles near parking lots. To facilitate pedestrians in Sector 17, the corporation has constructed one pedestrian path each in the Sahib Singh and Empire Store parking lots and two more are in the pipeline.

During a visit to Sector 17, it was found that both pedestrian paths were used by four-wheeler commuters to utilise the other side of the parking lots of the area. As no sign had been installed on the pedestrian paths, commuters were also using these for parking their vehicles.

MC Chief Engineer SS Bidda said after the completion of all four pedestrians paths, zebra crossing signs would be put up to earmark these as a walking paths for the public.

He said the parking of vehicles on these paths would not be allowed and a fine would be charged from the violators.

A senior citizen Ram Joshi, who visited Sector 17, said that it was strange that there was no check of the authorities on the misuse of the pedestrian paths right under the nose of the MC.



Another incident of snatching reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The UT police was left with egg on its face again, with an incident of snatching reported near the road separating Sectors 15 and 24 here today. This was the fourth incident of snatching in the last four days. The number of incidents of snatching reported this year had already crossed 50.

Mridul of Sector 23 was targeted by two motorcycle-borne youths while he was walking towards Sector 24 this morning. They thrashed him and snatched his mobile phone and wallet.

The victim failed to note down the registration number of the motorcycle.

A case was registered at the Sector-11 police station and an inquiry was initiated.

The police has launched investigation into the snatching incident.



Harbhajan Mann given key post
Tribune News Service

Harbhajan Mann Chandigarh, April 21
The Punjab Government today appointed famous singer Harbhajan Mann as the chairman of the District Planning Board, Mohali, with immediate effect. He replaces the MLA from Derabassi, NK Sharma, who has been appointed a Chief Parliamentary Secretary.

It is for the first time that a singer has been appointed chairman of the District Planning Board. The post is equivalent to the rank of minister of state.

Sources said the appointment had been done to take on sitting Congress candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu. Mann becomes the second singer after Hans Raj Hans to be picked by the SAD. Mann was not available for comments as he is presently in Canada.


Challans out, notices in
STA action on vehicles sans pollution-under-control certificates
Tribune News Service

A motorcycle being checked at a pollution check centre in Chandigarh on Saturday
A motorcycle being checked at a pollution check centre in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, April 21
Acting tough on vehicle-owners who travel without pollution-under-control certificates, the Chandigarh State Transport Authority (STA) has decided to issue notices to violators instead of challans. The violators will be given a week to produce the certificate.

At present, vehicle-owners not possessing the certificate have to shell out Rs 1,000 as fine. But it has been seen that instead of getting their vehicles passed from authorised pollution check centres, violators show the challan receipt whenever stopped for checking.

To curtail this practice, the STA has now directed its teams to issue notices to violators so that they do not take the leverage of challans to escape the law. STA official Balbir Singh said officials on duty had been told to issue notices.

Officials have also been asked to randomly check the 27 pollution check centres that issue certificates to ascertain if those have been issued after thorough checking.

The STA had sealed two pollution check centres for discrepancies last year. To check the genuineness of certificates issued by various centres in the city, an STA team had carried out an inspection of all centres in December last year.

Discrepancies regarding maintenance of record or staff had been found at seven centres. All centres had been issued show-cause notices to rectify discrepancies and report it.

The STA had directed owners of centres to keep equipment in serviceable condition and adhere to norms for issuing certificates. Enforcement officials had been told to inspect centres randomly.



Highway parking a nuisance
Tribune News Service

Tractor-trailers and trucks parked beside the Zirakpur-Solan highway at Baltana
Tractor-trailers and trucks parked beside the Zirakpur-Solan highway at Baltana. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Zirakpur, April 21
Parking of trucks and tractor-trailers on both sides of the Zirakpur-Kalka highway has become a big traffic nuisance here. This cause not only problems to shopkeepers and residents of the area but also cause chaos and traffic jams on the busy highway.

The trucks, carrying building construction material, including sand, stone and bricks, are being parked by suppliers at the highway to sell material.

The nuisance continues despite several complaints being made by the residents as well as shopkeepers of the area.

They alleged that their complaints went to deaf ears, as the authorities concerned did not pay heed to the hazard.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Shiv Kumar, a resident of Baltana, said all encroachments and illegal parking were removed by traffic cops only recently during the Prime Minister’s visit, but the hazard returned to its place soon.

“I think that these suppliers must have greased the palms of the local police, which never initiate action against the nuisance,” said Mohit Kumar, a local resident.

When contacted, Navin Pal, traffic in charge, Zirakpur, pleaded ignorance about the hazard. “I will go there tomorrow and check it,” said Navin Pal.

With the parking of trucks round the clock, many small-time vendors, including tea stalls, dhabas, repair kiosks, have also started coming up along the road.

“These encroachers have also started creating problems and inconvenience with running their businesses illegally,” said Sakshi, a BCA student, who use the road daily to go to her college.

Vaibhav Sharma, an official of GMR Company, responsible for maintenance of the highway’s stretch, said he was aware of the issue.

“A special drive would be conducted to remove the menace,” he said.



New DRDO lab coming up in UT
Will focus on studying human physiology associated with high altitude
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The city would get its third defence research laboratory soon, as Chandigarh centre of the Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) scheduled to be commissioned from here this year.

The new laboratory, which is coming up near the IAF's No.3 Base Repair Depot, south of the Industrial Area-II, would be specially equipped for research in biotechnology and human physiology associated with high altitude and cold climate, DIHAR director Dr RB Srivastava said.

DIHAR is a laboratory under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) focusing on research and development in cold arid agro-animal technologies to boost agro-animal productivity for enhancing the availability of fresh foods for troops in remote and arid regions like Ladakh.

At present, two major DRDO laboratories are based in Chandigarh. These are the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, concerned with the study and evaluation of explosives, warheads and projectiles, and the Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment, involved in climatic studies, avalanche forecast and mitigation.

DIHAR's Chandigarh centre would also provide facilities for scientists from other DRDO laboratories to carry out research and development of technologies and equipment meant for cold weather applications. In addition, it would enable DIHAR personnel to carry continuous research activities throughout the year even when the northern sector remains snowbound and field activities are severely restricted.

"Research on human physiology is also an important aspect of our charter in order to understand the cognitive and physiological altercations due to high altitude and occupational stress and develop therapeutic strategies," Dr Srivastava said.

The centre would work on micro propagation of some endangered high-altitude medicinal plants and their conservation studies would be carried out by establishing tissue culture facilities. In addition, it will study the feasibility of isolating cold-resistant gene from high altitude plants and its transfer to various other plants species so that they can be grown in cold areas.

Work on the building is already underway. The DRDO will be reportedly incurring an expenditure of over Rs 40 crore towards establishing the centre, with includes Rs 15 crore for the land and the remaining being for equipment and allied facilities.



MHA agrees to repatriate Brijendra Singh to Haryana
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
In a significant development, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has agreed on the repatriation of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Brijendra Singh, who had sought repatriation to Haryana, his parent state.

Last week, after obtaining the approval of UT Administrator Shivraj Patil, the UT Administration had forwarded Brijendra Singh’s application, in which he had mentioned personal reasons for going back to Haryana.

Sources said the formal orders for repatriation would be issued only after the name of the next DC was finalised. The sources added that the Administration had written to the MHA that it would not relieve any official without replacement.

The sources further added that the MHA had cleared the name of Mohammed Shayin, a 2002-batch IAS officer from Haryana, as the next DC for Chandigarh. The sources said the file had been forwarded to the Department of Personnel and Training for further orders.

The Haryana government had sent Shayin’s name in the panel, along with those of 2002-batch officer Sameer Pal Srow and 2004-batch officer A Srinivas.

The Adminitration had forwarded the panel to the MHA to finalise the name of the next DC. Brijendra Singh had joined the Administration as DC on September 14, 2009.

His three-year period of deputation was to end in September, 2012. A 1998-batch IAS officer, he was the son of Congress leader Birender Singh.



‘Give information about drug abuse, get reward’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 21
The health and family welfare department will reward those giving any information about drug abuse while keeping the name of the informer confidential. This was stated by Health Minister Madan Mohan Mittal while inaugurating the 10th reorientation programme for PCMS dental doctors held on the premises of Punjab Health Systems Corporation here today.

He said the department would also issue appreciation letters to people who would come forward and help the department in nabbing violators of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act.

The minister urged all sections of the society to join hands in the fight against the drug abuse. He gave a strong call to all prominent leaders of the society, religious heads, opinion formers and other peer groups to come forward and wage a war against the social evils like drug abuse and female foeticide.

He stated that the department had launched a crusade against the nefarious elements indulging in the sale of habit-forming drugs and intoxicants.

He further informed that owing to the strictness of the department, the hookah bars had been forced to shut down in almost all districts of Punjab. Officials were asked to take prompt action if any complaint was received of any hookah bar.

Civil Surgeons from all districts of Punjab along with 160 PCMS dental doctors attended the programme at which lectures were delivered on latest technologies used in the field of dentistry. Dr Suchetan Pardhan, an internationally acclaimed dentist, delivered a lecture on implants and use of lasers in dentistry. A demo of the surgery was also given during the workshop.



‘Asha Jyoti’ opens today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The ‘Asha Jyoti’ women’s healthcare mobile outreach programme will be inaugurated tomorrow by the Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Pawan Kumar Bansal.

It is a population-based screening programme for women in the age group 45 to 60 years for the detection of breast cancer, cervical cancer and osteoporosis.



PU to revise affiliation rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
Panjab University is getting stricter in its dealings with the over 180 affiliated colleges. The university plans to devise a performa for the colleges which needs to be fulfilled for getting affiliation for the courses.

Standing council of College Development Council (CDC), in a meeting held recently, has decided to prepare a performa which would have to be fulfilled for applying for affiliations. The university has decided that the colleges failing to provide the required information will be denied affiliation.

Dalip Kumar, one of the members of the standing council, said that the colleges would now have to disclose complete details about the institution and facilities provided by them. “The colleges will now be giving details about the teaching, non-teaching staff, salaries paid, and the number of teachers,” he said.

Dinesh Talwar, another member, said that disclosing the details to the PU would help in curbing the exploitation of teachers who are not paid salaries as per their scale.

“Colleges in Punjab pay a few thousands to their teachers and claim that they are paying full salaries. However, now they would have to furnish documentary evidences to support their claims,” Talwar said.

The colleges applying for the new courses and for re-affiliation of the existing courses from the coming academic session will have to go through the stringent policy devised by the university.

University officials said that the inspection committee that would be visiting the colleges would also physically check that the colleges fulfil all the requirements as per the peforma.

The university is also uploading the details of each college on its website. This would also help the students to access information about the colleges.



PU panel visits college to probe delay in handing over answer sheets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The committee formed by Panjab University to probe the alleged delay of six days by Gujrnwala Guru Nanak College, Civil Lines, Ludhiana, in handing over answer sheets to the PU visited the college today and recorded the statements of the college staff.

The four member-committee which includes deputy registrar JR Dhiman, and Senators Ashok Goyal, BS Ghuman and Karamjeet Singh, stayed in the college for over three-hours.

According to PU officials, the compartment exams were held in the college on March 29 and 30 and when the PU staff went to the college on April 1 to collect the answer sheets, they were told by college authorities that there were no answer sheets to be given.

Later on April 7, when PU staff went to the college again for collecting answer sheets of some other papers, they were told by the college that answer sheets of the March 29 and 30 compartment exams were also with the college. The answer sheets were finally collected by the university on April 8.

College officials have denied all the allegations and claim that the delay was on the part of the university.

Sources said that the committee recorded the statements of the college principal and registrar examination along with other staff.

As it was complained that the answer sheets were kept in the office of registrar examination instead of a strong room, the committee also clicked the pictures of the room. The inquiry report would now be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor.



online exam
Students apprehensive about AIEEE
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
In order to end all apprehensions about the online format of the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), the Central Board of Secondary Education has clarified that the difficulty level of the online version will be the same as that of the offline version (the normal pen and paper test).

While the offline leg of this national level entrance examination will be conducted on April 29, the online version will be held several times over four days in May.

Being the first time, the students who have opted for the online version had been writing to the board about the doubt that the online question papers will result in both easy and difficult sets being prepared. "Multiple sets of questions papers have been prepared for AIEEE-2012. Subject experts who have prepared the papers have certified that the entire syllabi of mathematics, physics and chemistry have been covered by dividing the syllabi of each subject into appropriate number of units and choosing equal number of questions from every unit,” reads a recent circular issued by the director (special exams).

"We had received numerous communications from students, particularly the ones who are going for the online exam, and the most common fear they have expressed is of losing out on rank because of the unpredictability of the medium of examination and the difficulty-level of question papers. They should rest assured. In every set, each subject carries the same percentage of easy, medium and difficult questions. This ensures the same difficulty level of each set," said a senior official of the board.

Given the last year’s paper leak, the officials are ensuring complete secrecy about the modalities regarding conducting the examination. The centres have been asked to ensure proper infrastructure for the exam.



College claims 100 per cent placement
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 21
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, has succeeded in achieving 100 per cent placements for its MBA students at an average package of Rs 2,77,750 per annum, said college principal Dr MS Grewal.

He said that reputed companies, like Fair Deal Imports, Tata Teleservices, Max Media, Money Ambit, Aircel, Shri Nivas Agro, Glimpse Magazine, Solitaire Infosys and Massey Tractors have selected the students.

He added that these students had excelled in the field of academics and research and as many as 23 research papers had been published by students of this batch in international-level research journals. Further, a book entitled ‘Research in Business and Economics’ had also been published by the college which comprised of 25 papers contributed by the students.

Grewal also added that the six students of MBA first year have been placed for training by Business Standard Limited at a stipend of Rs 7000 per month.

Dr Gagan Deep Sharma, head of the department, stated that the success of the students in their placements could be achieved only because of the strong industry-academia linkages that the college is attempting to build.



Collage of 9 plays captivates audience
SD Sharma

Class Act: Renowned theatre personality Rajit Kapoor performs in the play “Kachre ki Hifazat”, held at Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh on Saturday
Class Act: Renowned theatre personality Rajit Kapoor performs in the play “Kachre ki Hifazat”, held at Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: S. Chandan

Chandigarh, April 21
The Durga Das Foundation, in association with the Tribune group of newspapers and Mumbai-based theatre ensemble Rage, presented a dramatic spectacle “One on One”, a collage of nine short plays at the Tagore Theatre here today.

All dramatised stories were radical in content, with dramatic and innovative themes and unusual endings, leaving something for the imagination of the audience. The repertoire covered subjects of all time relevance, from the elite and urban to the remote and marginalised segments of society, and stressed on morality, ethics, civic sense and humanistic values.

Opening with “The Bureaucrat”, the actors teamed up to analyse the state of affairs in India through the eyes of a senior retired IAS officer and his younger counterpart, aged 42 and 23 respectively. They recovered certain explosive truths close to reality but in a good humour. The next play “Kachre ki Hifazat” saw the genius of lead actor Rajit Kapoor spell magic, delineating the life of a sincere bodyguard of an insincere minister. His ‘theth’ Punjabi accent dominating the Hindi script spelt a genial laughter. ‘Bash’ was the next item, representing a young, modern couple from Pune narrating a party celebration with many unexpected twists and turns. Another story “Hallow Check” depicted an enthusiastic young woman seeking recognition of her achievements in the social service sector through the media.

Similarly other plays, “Load Shedding”, “Aabodana”, “Dear Richard”, “Creado Constance” or “Instant Behosh” focused on what the general public feels about issues of socio-cultural and political relevance. The main cast, led by Rajit Kapoor, Akarsh Khurana, Amit Mistry, Anand Tiwari, Anu Menon, Imran Adil, Neil Bhoopalam and Preetika Chawla played multiple characters. Foundation president Atul Khanna welcomed Justice SS Sodhi, General VP Malik (retd), bureaucrats KK Sharma, Brijendra Singh, Anil Kumar, VK Singh, DK Tiwari, MP Singh, Alok Kumar, IPS, and Naunihal Singh, IPS.



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