C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Islands spring up on the Sukhna bed
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

parched and pathetic

once it brimmed with water

Dry bed of the Sukhna lake near the regulator end of the water bod small islands seen dotting the lake.
Dry bed of the Sukhna lake near the regulator end of the water body; and (right) small islands seen dotting the lake. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan 

Chandigarh, April 29
The most unwanted sight of dry patches on the Sukhna bed is back for the walkers who tread the serene settings near the Regulator end these days. More disturbingly, the dry patches are looking out of the lake bed in the shape of small islands.

About 250m short of the Regulator end, any visitor can see bigger-than-a-cricket pitch-sized patches of land having sprung out of the lake. In the immediate neighbourhood of big islands, small table-sized islands, too, dot the area.

"It is going to be a tough summer and the lake will likely spring up bigger dry patches as the real summer has not really set in yet. More than two and a half months of scorching summer heat means more dried patches," said Santosh Kumar, UT Conservator of Forests, while talking to this correspondent.

Less than a normal rainfall, last monsoon, was no good news for the pristine water beauty, which means big “emotional” support to the city residents.

"The city received only 760 mm of rainfall last year against the ideal requirement of 1100mm for the good health of the lake. We need to be prepared for drying up of a portion of the lake bed."

Created in 1958, the lake had an average depth of 18 feet originally, which has now reduced to less than approximately 8 feet only. The size of the approximate 3 sq km water body has reduced to half.

The rainfed lake was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills. The lake is 1.52 km long and 1.49 km wide. After completion in 1958, the water-spread area of the lake was 188 ha and the average depth was 4.69 m. It had a depth of 18 feet originally, but due to heavy silt deposits, the depth reduced to 8 feet 6 inches and area to 1. 5 sq km.

The National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, in its preliminary report, has hinted that by June half of the lake may dry up. The lake bed is spread over approximately 340 acres.

Visitors throng the Sukhna Lake when it is full to the brim; and (right) dry patches visible with the onset of summers.
Sukhna woes: Visitors throng the Sukhna Lake when it is full to the brim; and (right) dry patches visible with the onset of summers. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Nothing is working

n One of the proposals of the UT Administration was to supply drinking water from the Southern sectors, which was shot down due to heavy costs involved

n Besides the heavy cost on laying long supply lines: one set of tubewells had an average life of three-four years only

n The UT also considered digging up the Sukhna. The proposal was rejected by a committee of the administration because it entailed heavy expenditure

n Experts have pointed out that the lake's water holding capacity has recorded an average annual loss of 1.52 per cent since the lake was created

n Experts say as Sukhna is not a natural lake, it faces a grim future in case of lesser than normal rainfall. At present, silt continues to be a big occupier of the lake space despite best efforts, say UT officials



City slips to third position in per capita income in country
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Chandigarh has lost the distinction of being the city with the highest per capita income in the country. In the national ranking, the city has ranked third. The top position has been grabbed by Goa and the national capital has been ranked second.

In the latest data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, it has been pointed out that the per capita income of the city stands at Rs 1,28,634 compared to Rs 1,28,743 in 2009-2010. On the other hand, the per capita income of Goa and Chandigarh stand at Rs 1,92,652 and Rs 1,75,812, respectively. The city was, however, far above the national average figure of Rs 60, 972.

Though no official reason has been attributed to the fall in the per capita income, delay in implementation of a number of crucial projects, resulting in poor generation of job opportunities, was said to be one of the reasons. In proportion to the increase in the city population, job opportunities had not increased. Against the projected generation of 40,000 jobs with the setting up of the IT park, only 18,000 jobs could be created there.

Quoting statistics, officials said till 2008, the city ranked high in the national ranking.

In 2008, Chandigarh had once again bagged the top position in the country, while Goa had clinched the second position. The constantly increasing per capita income of Chandigarh had multiplied about 2.5 times between 2000 and 2008.

While the average per capita income of Chandigarh was Rs 44,502 in 2000, it had increased to Rs 1,10,676 in 2008. Comparatively, it had increased to Rs 1,28,634 in 2012, meaning an approximate increase of Rs 18,000 in the last four years.

The statistics corroborate the belief that though the city has firmly moved away from the primary sector in terms of occupation, the job generation has been primarily restricted to the service industry and there has not been much industrial growth. Some of the projects cleared under the conversion policy and multiplex policy have yet to see the light of the day. The contribution of the primary sector - agriculture and allied activities has been regularly decreasing since 1999-2000.



aiee exam
Tough time for city students in Bathinda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Around 4,000 students from the tricity appeared in two All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) centres in the city today. Meanwhile, it was harrowing time for students from the tricity and surrounding areas who had to appear at the examination centres in Bathinda and Kurukshetra.

While the examination in the city went well, students appearing in examination centres out of the city were at the receiving end.

Anil Sanan, a parent of one of the applicants who had applied from Chandigarh at a Bathinda centre, said earlier they were informed that the examination centre for his son was at DAV College Bathinda. Later, they came to know that the examination centre had been shifted to Mata Sita Ji Degree College, Bathinda, without any intimation to the students.

City students said the examination at Mata Sita College started 45 minutes late and students were promised that they would be given extra time at the end of the exam. However, students were asked to hand over the answer-sheets 20 minutes earlier than the scheduled time.

City students appearing at a Bathinda centre also complained about mass copying, and in the absence of infrastructure, even four students were made to sit on a single bench.

CBSE regional director RJ Khanderao said the matter would be inquired and report would be sought from the officials on duty.

Students along with their parents who reached at the examination centres a day before in Kuruskhetra had a tough time finding a place to sleep as the examination rush led to hotels left with no vacancy.

Meanwhile, students found physics to be the toughest of the three subjects in the exam. While the students found mathematics to be average in toughness, the chemistry section was the easiest of the lot.

A subject expert of a coaching institute said there were a few questions that were wrong in almost all sections.

Mathematics had two questions wrong, which were related to “Set Theory and Calculus”. The physics section, too, had a wrong question, which was related to “Structure of atom and nuclear physics”. A question related to chemistry confused the students since it was difficult to understand what the examiner wanted. Hence, it could not be written off as wrong but it wasn’t completely correct either, he said. 


Stray dogs thrive; Admn, MC lack coordination
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
In a classic example of lack of coordination between the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation, the UT Administration is planning to scrap the dog-pound project, for which it was proposed that a place should be earmarked for sterilisation of stray dogs, stating that it is not required as two NGOs were already doing the job. The Municipal Corporation is mulling hiring services of more private doctors as the authorities feel that the two NGOs were not enough to sterilise around 6,000 stray dogs in the city.

Source stated that in the recent meeting of the state animal welfare association, its members recommended that that as no state all over India had constructed a dog pound for sterilisation of stray dogs, the local NGOs, in a joint venture with the local civic body, perform this work for a nominal fee. It was suggested that the dog pound project be scrapped and an animal incinerator be set up in the city for a proper disposal of animal carcasses.

At the meeting, it was felt that as the two NGOs, the People for Animals and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, are sufficient to carry out sterilisation of stray dogs and to take care sick dogs by hospitalising them round the clock, there was no need for the construction of a dog pound.

The ground reality is different. At the last three meetings of the MC House, a majority of the councillors had raised the issue of rapidly increasing population of stray dogs in their areas.

Problem of stray dogs

As per the records of the corporation, last year 500 dogs were sterilised by the two NGOs hired by the authorities. The officials of the corporation said they had instructed both the NGOs to make a cut on the left ears of the sterilised dogs after completing the process so that one may know that they have been sterilised. One of the senior officials accepted that a number of times the same dog is caught by the NGOs for sterilisation, as the cut made on the ear was not clearly visible. According to the MC MOH, BK Salwan, for sterilising a single dog, the SPCA charges Rs 775 and the PFA is doing this work free of cost.

At a meeting of the house, the MOH expressed helplessness in controlling the population of stray dogs, stating that as the authorities have not earmarked any place for sterilisation of stray dogs, they have to depend on the local NGOs. At the last meeting, he had said after the construction of a dog pound in the city, the department could properly monitor sterilisation of stray dogs.

Four years ago, the UT Administration had earmarked space for a dog pound. During the last financial year, the MC had allocated Rs 10 lakh for this project which was increased to Rs 1 crore in the budget of 2012-13. But now the project has been scrapped by the administration.

Dog owners booked

While incidents involving stray dogs are a common occurrence in the city, the owners of at least nine pet dogs have been booked by the Chandigarh police in the last one year. Four of the cases have been settled out of court with the owners agreeing to compensate for loss to the victims of dog attacks.

Carcasses incineration centre hanging fire

The MC proposal for setting up an incinerator for carcasses has been lying in the cold storage for the last four years. Every year the budget proposal for the same is tabled in the House and approved but till date no work has commenced on it. In the MC budget of 2012-13 also the authorities have allocated Rs 1.60 lakh for this project. In the report the authorities stated that at present a private contractor bury carcasses with the help of the MC machinery. The authorities have also earmarked space for the incinerator.

Some suggestions

* The MC Additional Commissioner, TPS Phoolka, said he would put up a proposal that after sterilising stray dogs, the NGOs should put a band around their neck, which should be clearly visible. He said to control the stray dog population in the city, sterilisation work has to be stepped up.

* The president of the PFA, Payal Sodhi, suggested that the resident welfare associations should involve in sterilisation of stray dogs by informing the NGOs about the dogs in their surroundings. In fact, strict implementation of dog bylaws in the city will also help in dealing with this problem. She said for the last five years, not even a single case of rabies in the city had been registered, which indicated the effective implementation of stray dog care project in the city.

* Nominated councillor DS Sandhu said for sterilisation of stray dogs, besides the two NGOs, the MC should hire private doctors also. This will not only lessen the burden of sterilising dogs on the two NGOs, but also lead to proper monitoring of stray dogs.



Cash crunch hits small flats scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Work on the Chandigarh Small Flats Scheme-2006, which is being executed under the Slum Rehabilitation Project of the Chandigarh Administration, has come to a grinding halt due to a paucity of funds faced by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the nodal agency appointed by the administration for the scheme.

The contractors engaged in construction of the flats have stopped work due to a huge backlog of payments, running in to lakhs of rupees. A total of 25,728 flats will be constructed in sectors 38 (w), 49, Ram Darbar, Dhanas and Maloya.

Sources in the CHB revealed that under the Jawaharal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM), the administration was sanctioned Rs 564 crore, out of which Rs 552 crore has already been paid. The remaining amount for the project was to be funded through the money to be earned from the land allotted to Parsavnath Builders for a housing project at the IT park. But, after the builder went to the court, the funds to be earned from the project never came.

Out of the land deal, the CHB got Rs 514 crore but the Income Tax Department slapped a notice on it asking for Rs 300 crore as tax. Though the board has deposited Rs 60 crore as tax so far, the Income Tax Department was still demanding the remaining amount. The trouble for the board compounded further when the Central Government prevailed upon the administration to deposit Rs 272 crore, which it had earned in the Parsavnath land deal, in the consolidated fund. In the entire process, the CHB earned a little money and as a result work on the small flats project has also been affected.

Even as the shortage of funds is derailing the project, the CHB is planning to construct two-room flats instead of one room flats and the Union Finance Ministry has agreed to sanction Rs 1,022 crore for the project. Officials point out that after completing 50 per cent of the work, a change in the design was being worked out to convert them into two-room flats. Under the revised plan, on every one care of land, 72 or 140 flats are to be constructed.

On completion of the project, a nominal rent, varying between Rs 828 per month and Rs 1050 per month, is to be charged from the allottees. As planned earlier, the estate office has been entrusted with the job of allotting the flats to slum dwellers who have been identified in a survey.

Under the project, flats have been allotted to slum dwellers of Kabadi Colony, Kalyan Colony and Kuldeep Colony in Sector 49. The residents of Kumhar Colony have been allotted pre-fabricated structures in Sector 38. At Dhanas, 8,448 flats constructed by the CHB are yet to be allotted.

The occupants of Ambedkar Colony, Gursagar Colony, Nehru Colony, Rajiv Colony and Shahpur Colony are yet to be allotted flats. A senior official of the CHB has said since the cost of work has gone up, fresh tenders are being called. 

CHB in dire straits

Out of the land deal, the CHB got Rs 514 crore but the Income Tax Department slapped a notice on it asking for Rs 300 crore as tax. Though the board has deposited onlt Rs 60 crore as tax. The trouble for the board compounded further when the Central Government prevailed upon the administration to deposit Rs 272 crore, which it had earned in the Parsavnath land deal, in the consolidated fund. In the entire process, the CHB earned a little money and as a result work on the small flats project has also been affected



MRs allege harassment by pharma companies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Pharmaceutical companies were not only duping consumers by fixing the prices of medicines in an irrational way, the managements of these companies were involved in exploiting the work force also. This was alleged by the North Zone Co-ordination Committee (NZCC) of various medical and sales representatives associations here today.

A convention of the NZCC was held at Kisan Bhawan, which was attended by more than 2,000 medical representative from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Chandigarh. The meeting was also attended by the members of the National Federation of Sales Representatives Union (NFSRU), a national-level body of medical representatives having over 25,000 members.

To fight for employees’ rights, we have affiliated with the NFSRU, said Ajay Sharma, organising secretary of the committee.

Sharma said a medical representative has been forced to work up to 12 hours a day and no overtime benefits are given to him. They are even subjected to harassment on the pretext of sagging sales targets, he alleged.

Demanding that the MRTU and PULP Act should be implemented in all the states of the country, which provides the status of worker to medical representative, the members of the NZCC said standing orders for work should be defined by the companies while giving appointment letters to their employee.

The Sales Promotion Employees (SPE) Act is there to protect medical representatives but the companies circumvent it and they are subjected to mala fide transfer to far-off places so that they did not have any option but to quit the job, he said. 



Khudda Lahora a picture of neglect
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Stinking drains, potholed roads and streets without street light greeted Vivek Pratap Singh, Municipal Commissioner and other officials of the Municipal Corporation who visited Khudda Lahora village here today. The visit was a part of the “Councillor at your door” programme started by councillor Saurabh Joshi.

The residents of the Khudda Lahora Colony and the representatives of various associations, including market associations, residents’ welfare association and other welfare associations, participated in this programme.

An open drain at the entry of the village has proved to be a bane of the residents of the village, especially during the rainy season. The place has not only turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes, the cannabis grown in and around the drain attract anti-social elements.

The residents complained that there was no street light on the bridge over the drain making it unsafe for the residents during nights.

One part of the village does not have proper roads. The villagers informed the commissioner that there was no community centre at the village. The commissioner asked RC Dewan, Superintending Engineer, to prepare a report in this regard so that appropriate steps could be taken to redress residents’ grievances. 



New immigration policy of Canada draws flak
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
More than one lakh Punjabis are likely to be affected by a controversial decision of the Canadian government to close the files of candidates who had applied for immigration under the federal skilled workers (FSW) category before February 28, 2008.

A protest will be launched against the move in Chandigarh on April 30.

The Conservative government in Canada has decided to create, what it terms, a fast and flexible immigration system and which will eliminate backlog in the federal economic immigration programme. The new policy aims at recruiting skilled labour that addresses the country’s immediate labour market needs.

The proposal, which was put in the Canadian budget on March 29, will be implemented soon. The government plans to refund fees and return applications of all those who applied before February 28, 2008.

The Conservative government feels that it should not be bogged down with the backlog created by the erstwhile Labour government. The move will affect three lakh people worldwide, most of whom are Indian and Chinese. Thousands of Punjabis have been waiting for immigration for the past eight years and will now stand no chance of immigration under the new format, which will fast-track immigration of 29 categories of skilled workers.

Advocate Rakesh Garg, who is also an applicant for permanent immigration and heads the Pre-2008 Canadian Back-loggers Association, said candidates from across the state would hold a rally in Chandigarh on April 30.

Garg said the association would also take up the matter with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and urge him to seek Prime Minister’s intervention in the matter as more than one lakh Punjabis would be affected by the move. Other aggrieved applicants, including Lajwant Bains and Jagminder Singh, claimed the decision was a repetition of the Komagata Maru incident and against the Continuous Journey Act, 2008, as it “goes against the first come, first serve principle. They said family reunification cases would also be delayed under the new policy.

The immigration hopefuls have established a prospective Canadian immigrations Facebook page. Garg said he was also in coordination with prospective immigrants from China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to launch a worldwide protest against the move.

the controversy

n The Conservative government has decided to close the files of candidates who had applied for immigration under the federal skilled workers category before February 28, 2008

n The move will affect three lakh people worldwide, most of whom are Indians and Chinese

n Thousands of Punjabis have been waiting for immigration for the past eight years and will now stand no chance of immigration under the new format



This year, 6,665 more houses for paramilitary forces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The Central Government has drawn up plans to construct as many as 6,665 dwelling units to provide official accommodation to the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel across the country.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sanctioned Rs 1,185 crore for 2012-13 for completion of the ongoing as well as new houses. The budget is up from Rs 719 crore provided in 2011-12 during which 2,397 houses were constructed.

The CAPFs include the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Shashtra Seema Bal, National Security Guards and the Assam Rifles. The combined strength of all the forces is close to nine lakh.

Similar to the armed forces, the CAPFs are also facing acute shortage of residential accommodations, especially for jawans and subordinate staff. While figures for different forces vary, depending upon the deployment pattern, the average availability of official accommodation for all CAPFs personnel is just about 15 per cent. According to the MHA's own admission, only one in seven persons gets official residential quarters.

The MHA had initiated a massive project to build about one lakh dwelling units in phases to increase the availability level of accommodation for the CAPFs to 30 per cent.



Staff shortage hits municipal council working 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 29
The fund-starved municipal council (MC) has also been facing another problem. The shortage of staff has hampered day-to-day work and projects. Besides clerical posts, those of junior engineer and executive engineer have been lying vacant for the last several months.

According to sources, of the 10 sanctioned posts of junior engineer, the council has only two. “One of them has to perform duty at the head office for at least three days a week,” an official has said on the condition of anonymity.

“One can guess how the council has been functioning,” the official has further said, adding that any work or project can be started only after the report of a junior engineer is received.

Against three sanctioned posts of executive engineer, the council has two. “They are overburdened. Work suffers a lot if one of them proceeds on leave,” another official has said.

He has added that several projects and routine public work have been suffering due to inadequate staff on key posts.

The clerical staff strength is not adequate. Against the 45 posts, only 31 have been filled. The number of sanctioned posts of subdivisional officer is 12, but it has 10.

Municipal council Administrator JC Sabharwal has admitted that work at the civic body has been suffering due to staff shortage.

“We have sent a communique to the state government. We hope that vacant posts will be filled soon,” he has added.



Goods worth Rs 10 lakh gutted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 29
Goods worth around Rs 10 lakh were destroyed in a fire that broke out at a shop in Railey village in Sector 12-A here this morning. The owner of the shop, Mahesh Gupta, received the information about the fire at his shop around 7 am. After informing fire officials, he rushed to his shop.

Two fire tenders were sent to the spot within 10 minutes. It took about an hour and-a-half hours for firemen to douse the flames.

A Panchkula tehsildar and police officials reached the spot to supervise firefighting operations. Gupta was a wholesaler and retailer of cigarettes and ‘beedis’.

He said the fire was due to a short-circuit in the refrigerator at the shop. He added that packets of cigarettes, provisions and stationery items worth around Rs 10 lakh were gutted.



Patients pay for authorities’ delay
  Selection of flooring material and other items for new block at General Hospital
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 29
Delay on the part of the health authorities in selecting flooring material and other items for the construction of the new block at the General Hospital in Sector 6 here has led to a delay in the completion of the building, leaving patients at the receiving end.
A view of the new block, which is under construction, at the General Hospital in Sector 6 of Panchkula.
A view of the new block, which is under construction, at the General Hospital in Sector 6 of Panchkula. Tribune Photo: S Chandan

According to information available, the authorities had decided on Kota stone, but later, opted for granite. As there was a steep increase in the cost of raw material, the contractor stopped the work.

The work was started about three years back. It was scheduled to be completed by December last year. The change in material for flooring and doors and windows caused a considerable delay in the completion.

With the completion of the block, the hospital was to be upgraded from a 150-bedded hospital to a 300-bedded one, on the lines of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences at Rohtak.

The hospital here was the only government hospital which provided cardiac healthcare. Though dozens of nursing homes and a private hospital had come up, those lacked latest medical equipment and facilities.

When contacted, the director-general health, Dr Narvir Singh, said estimates for the revised plan were being prepared and fresh tenders would be floated. He hoped that the work would be started soon after approval for revised estimates was received.

The unavailability of specialists round the clock and paucity of staff had turned it into a referral hospital, with patients preferring the PGI in Chandigarh. The overburdened staff and poor facilities had made things worse.



Open House Response
Vital UT projects in doldrums

At the outset, Chandigarh Tribune deserves all praise for highlighting projects, which have been in doldrums for years together entailing huge public money.

It is not only in the municipal corporation where poor planning prevails, but the Chandigarh Administration is equally responsible for this mess. To set things right, all right thinking persons have to ponder over this gigantic problem. First of all, in the absence of legislative assembly, Chandigarh is an island where top administrators come for a fixed tenure and go after the completion of their tenure, putting the projects envisaged by them into jeopardy. The municipal body, which is statutorily responsible for the provision and maintenance of basic infrastructure and services in the city, does not have the visionary look towards the basic needs of people. Faced with such a piquant situation, the urban local body is becoming increasingly dependent on the administration for its finances, cooperation and maintenance requirements. For instance, imposing house tax on the city residents, the MC had rejected the proposal, but the administration is bent upon to impose this unnecessary tax.

There are various projects, which have been envisaged by the administration as well as by the municipal corporation, could not see the light of the day because of non-visionary outlook, as the bureaucrats think Chandigarh is nobody’s baby.

There were mega projects like Medicity, Educity, theme park at one time, which topped the priority list of the administration, had to be shelved after spending exorbitant money, time and resources.

Just about a year ago, the Chandigarh Administration had informed the High Court that the new biomedical waste treatment facility was being set up at a cost of Rs 6.5 crore at Dadu Majra. This project would be sufficient to meet the requirement of all hospitals in the city. Now, it has been decided to drop this facility in public interest.

What to talk of these projects, even the allocated budget could not be spent in a planned way. A budget of at least Rs 17 crore from the current year’s budget remained unutilised till March 28, 2012, when orders were issued to all departments to utilise their unspent amount just within four days i.e. before March 31. As a matter of fact, out of Rs 17 crore, a major chunk of the amount would be spent by the UT Administration on improving government schools infrastructure, recarpeting of roads, health sector and to improve the transportation system of the city. Astonishingly, on one hand, there was budget of Rs 17 crore which includes to be spent on transportation system of the city, but CTU buses remained off the road because of shortage of diesel. Thus causing huge revenue loss to the exchequer. Similarly, gypsies of PCRs could not be provided diesel to run these PCRs.

In 2004, after a study tour to Chennai, councillors of MC had proposed rainwater harvesting arrangements at all government buildings. Even after passing of eight years, no rainwater harvesting system has been installed at any MC building.

Terminal market, which was to be started in Sector 39, has been abandoned. Night food streets are in doldrums, as several times, rates for reserve price at which these were to be auctioned had to be revised.

Owing to non-availability of contractors, the corporation had to incur a huge loss. The Sector-48 night food street could not take off. The MC, which is currently responsible for running seven primary schools in the city, has spent Rs 44,000 out of the total budget of Rs 5.4 crore allocated for the fiscal 2011-12, despite the fact that the school buildings at some schools are on the verge of collapse.

To streamlines the things in its right perspective, there needs to be frequent cooperation and consultation on the one hand between bureaucrats and on the other advisory council, councillors, NGOs, residents welfare associations so that public money is utilised properly for the right cause.

SK Khosla, Sector 40-C Chandigarh

‘Deliver services in time frame’

Residents of the city are definitely not pleased with the slow pace of utilisation of funds and implementation of approved projects under the plan outlay. The citizen charter under which a government official should be responsible and answerable to a citizen in delivering services within a time frame should come with immediate effect.

Citizens will experience a major change in the work culture in various corporation departments. The corporation officials should leave their lethargic attitude and speed up and deliver the services within the time frame or should blacklist contractors who are failed to deliver the services well in time. Dug-up roads, unfinished Mahila Bhawan and drains choked with debris are a common sight in the city. Officers should be responsible and be on their toes not just to finish the upgradation work, but to turn the so-called City Beautiful spic and span.

Despite having powers with officials to take decision, they just forward applications to low-level officials or juniors of the department in order to make money from the corporation or just making fun of the citizens. Even the citizen charter, which prescribes time frame for every application to be processed, failed to jolt the lethargic officials out of their slumber.

With an aim to making subordinate officials of the corporation serious about their jobs, the secretary, local bodies, should take action against those babus who cause undue delay in clearing any project because of their vested interests and are playing with the public money.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Who is responsible for delay?

It is shameful on the part of municipal corporation that there has been an inordinate delay in starting major projects in the city, which had even been accorded approval in the budgets of the last four years. Lakhs of rupees are allocated every year in the budget for these projects, work on which has not commenced so far, but no initiative is being taken by the authorities to chalk out plans for starting work on them. Who is responsible for the delay and such great losses?

A number of public utility projects like modern dhobi ghat, mechanised bird slaughterhouse, construction of dog pound, electric crematorium and many others are yet to see light of the day. After allotting a project to the departments concerned, a special team involving senior officials should be constituted to keep a check on the right utilisation of money, no unnecessary expenditure, specified time limit and proper coordination among different departments.

Anybody found violating the norms should be suitably punished and fined, so that it is a lesson for others too. Also, before proposing any project, the feasibility of the project must be studied by a team of officials involving experts. Only after careful surveillance, the project should be given green signal.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Sector 38-C, Chandigarh

Implement pending projects

A number of public utility projects have been approved by the municipal committee in the past, which are yet to be implemented in letter and spirit.

This is due to the laxity and casual approach of the departments concerned. Whenever any project is sanctioned, a team involving departments concerned should be constituted headed by senior government functionary to ensure that the project is completed within a specific time frame and is also implemented.

Proper liaison among the departments should be ensured and monitored. Any laxity on part of the official concerned should be viewed seriously and should invite stern action as per the service rules.

Before launching any new project, an opinion report should be prepared seeking advice from public. The services of expertise in the field and retired senior government officials should be availed in executing any new project.

The economic viability of the project should be deeply studied so that money spent on the project is not wasted or left unutilised for long period, as in the case of air-conditioned fish market constructed by the UT Administration in Sector 41 where 12 booths constructed could not be auctioned so far and are still lying vacant.

Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula

Need to overhaul existing system

There are a number of projects, which have become shuttlecock between the Chandigarh Administration and municipal corporation and, unfortunately, which have been cleared are not being implemented.

Actually, the Chandigarh Administration and municipal corporation have confused commuters due to overlapping of work. Being general secretary of a Resident’s Welfare Association, I have experienced it and failed to understand, as to which work is to be done by the Chandigarh Administration and which is under the municipal corporation? I am in Chandigarh since 1954, I still know the things better managed by the Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh.

The city needs basic amenities rather than white elephants like Administrator and municipal corporation, which have been forced to the residents to make way for political adjustments. Both of them are eating up major chunk of taxpayer’s money.

I wish to highlight a few burning projects, which, too, need an immediate attention, besides initiating new ones. These include collection and disposal of household garbage, which is the responsibility of the municipal corporation, who is cleverly shunning the responsibility; storm water drainage system is poorly designed and is inadequate to contain heavy rainfall; low water pressure is a perennial issue. The overhead tanks never get filled up. More so residents have installed their own pumping system to push water to the overhead tanks and cattle and stray dog menace should be checked along with nexus between government staff and people.

New projects were important, however, the existing system, too, needs to be a heavily overhauled for public welfare. But all this can be done if the UT Administration has own cadre, which can be made accountable.

Kulbhushan Kanwar, Sector-48, Chandigarh

Open House Question

The ongoing annual examination at Panjab University is, once again, witnessing cases of careless setting of question papers, causing harassment to students. Wite your opinion and suggestions for improvement to the openhouse@tribunemail.com



Residents go 12 hours without power

Panchkula, April 29
Residents of Sector 12 here remained without power for more than 12 hours last night after supply to the area was snapped after rain and a hailstorm. Power went off around 8:30 pm and was restored at 10:45 am today, despite repeated complaints of residents to the electricity department.

Rakesh Aggarwal, general secretary of the Residents Welfare Association, said they were informed by an official on duty at the complaint office that there was a fault in some cable box and it could only be rectified by the morning.

He added that it was unfortunate that residents had to go without power the whole night. He claimed that this had become a regular feature. — TNS



Foswac office-bearers nominated

Chandigarh, April 29
The first meeting of the newly formed executive of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (Foswac) will be held at Baba Makhan Shah Lobana Bhawan, Sector 30-A, on May 6. The elections to Foswac were held on April 22. The future action plan of Foswac will be discussed at the meeting, said PC Sanghi, chairman of Foswac.

Meanwhile, the chairman, in consultation with the vice-chairman and the general secretary, has nominated office-bearers, advisers and special invitees.

The office-bearers are: PS Bajwa, secretary; Sunil Kumar Chopra, joint secretary; RK Goyal, finance secretary; Jaspal Singh, additional finance secretary; JS Gogia, secretary; SS Bhardwaj, press secretary; and Pankaj Gupta, legal adviser. Major DP Singh (retd), Satya Pal Kaila, KL Aggarwal, Dr OP Verma, Narinder Bhatia have been nominated advisers while the special Invitees are SK Arora, Prem Kumar, KS Panchhi, RL Goyal, MS Rawat, RS Saini, Jaideep Kapoor, BM Khanna, SS Cheema, VS Dobhal, JS Brar and Kashmir Kaur. — TNS



Docs discuss emergencies at prisons 

Chandigarh, April 29
The Institute of Correctional Administration (ICA), Chandigarh, in collaboration with the PGIMER, Chandigarh, has successfully organised a two-day training programme on ‘Emergency Medical Care’ for doctors who have been posted in prisons. Fourteen doctors deputed at different prisons in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra participated in the programme. The aim of this training programme was to sensitise the officers and educate them on the skills needed during medical emergencies at prisons. The experts for the programme were doctors from the PGIMER.

Anil Kumar, Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration-cum-Director, ICA, Chandigarh, also interacted with the participants.

The topics discussed during the programme included cardiovascular emergencies in prison population, tuberculosis, respiratory emergencies in prisons, common gastro intestinal emergencies, HIV/AIDS, etc. — TNS



Pedestrian killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
An unidentified pedestrian was crushed to death under the wheels of a recklessly driven truck near the Kala Gram light point on Saturday. The registration number of the truck couldn’t be noted down. The police stated the pedestrian died on the spot.

House thefts

Theft was reported at a house at Sector 30 on Friday. The complainant, Tara Devi reported that thieves managed to decamp with one silver jewellery set and Rs 5,000. A case at has been registered at the industrial area police station. Another theft was reported at a house in Sector 38. The complainant, Ganesh Pandey reported that the thieves took away one gold ring and a pair of gold earrings from his residence. 



No plot allotment, says forum
Tells firm to pay registration amount, interest to complainant
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 29
The law helps only the vigilant. It is not possible for the forum to help a complainant when he has been lazy and inert. These observations were made by the Mohali District Consumer Forum while giving its decision in a property case.

Though the forum ordered the respondent, the JTPL, to refund the complainant, Bhupinder Sood of Sector 15, his registration amount of Rs 3,40,000, with 9 per cent interest per annum thereon, for a plot of 200 square yards, it rejected the plea of the complainant to allot him a plot, along with litigation costs and penalty for causing him mental torture and harassment.

In his complaint, Sood had sought the allotment of a 200-square-yard plot, for which he had given the amount to the opposite party on October 3, 2008, Rs 3 lakh as compensation for harassment and Rs 30,000 as litigation costs.

Sood had alleged that he was allotted the plot by the opposite party at the time of the prelaunch of its project following the payment of Rs 3,40,000 as the registration amount.

He had added that he continued to wait for the allotment letter, but came to know about the cancellation of his registration through an advertisement in a newspaper on May 5, 2011.

Sood had further alleged deficiency of service on the part of opposite party as he had not been issued any notice for depositing the balance and was still ready to pay it.

The opposite party had maintained that the complainant deposited the amount for registration.

It had added that it waited for the complainant’s response for a considerable time for fulfilment of formalities and further payment, but the complainant did not reply, compelling it to issue a public notice regarding the cancellation of registration.

The forum, comprising its president BS Mehandiratta and members SS Dhaliwal and HK Ghuman, held that the complainant had neither pleaded nor proved any communication with the opposite party regarding the status of registration or his intention to pay the remaining sale price.

It was the complainant’s duty to pursue his application and show the opposite party his readiness and willingness to purchase the plot, they added.

The complainant could not seek the purchase or allotment of the plot from the opposite party on the sale price in October 2008 when he had paid only 20 per cent.

The opposite party had claimed that it issued demand notices as well as a notice of termination, they further said.

The opposite party had failed to place on record any postal or courier receipts to show the dispatch to and delivery of notices to the complainant, they held.

The forum directed the JTPL to refund the payment to Sood only with interest.



Ru-ba-ru with litterateurs
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 29
The Punjab Arts Council and Punjab Sahit Akademi had organised a ru-ba-ru programme with renowned Punjabi author Om Parkash Gaso and poet Iqbal Ramuwalia from Canada at the Punjab Kala Bhavan here yesterday.

Credited with six literary publications, including two novels in English, Toronto-based poet Iqbal Ramuwalia enraptured audience with melodic renditions of his Punjabi songs before sharing his life struggles, humble beginning to a lucrative career of a teacher in Canada. Hailing from a sleepy village of Ramuwal near Moga, Iqbal had undergone all hardships an honest struggler should face, but his trait of hard working and honesty brought fruits.

One must be rational to accept that to born in poverty is not in your hand but to remain poor is a curse, be brave and fight to be a winner.

Most admired Punjabi novelist and litterateur, Om Parkash Gaso, however, was more articulate while analysing qualitative aspect in literature. The writers must propagate ethical and social values in their writings instead of bothering for meaningless love stories. With its inviting depth of tradition in the primitive folk and modern genres, the Punjabi literature has varied enriching contexts. He established an instant rapport with the audience with his modest and straightforward comments but all in lighter vein. He spelt wisdom in his writings, which he shared with the audience, especially his meetings with Amrita Pritam.

PAC chairperson Harjinder Kaur and PSA president Rajpal Singh spoke high about the living legends and felicitated them, besides Tarlochan Safri and Jarnail Singh from Canada. Col GS Bhuller conducted ru-ba-ru session.



Musical bonanza a hit with audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 29
Prominent singers of the region lighted up the 43rd annual edition of non-filmy musical bonanza “Ghazaliyat Plus” comprising songs by lyricist S Rakesh, which was organised by the Swar Saptak Club at the Law Bhawan auditorium here today.

The much-awaited captivating programme, designed and directed by S Rakesh, whose lyrics had been immortalised by legendary Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas and Usha Uthup commenced with rendition of “Ham to nachee hain” by Nidhi Narang.

Versatile Veenu Kautish won applause with “Kya ikk nazar mein hai” before Arti Gill doled out “Khuda ke Bandon se.”

Winner of Rafi memorial contests, Ram Tirath, mesmerised audience with his rendition “Jo shaks kabhi hansta hi na ho”, as the playback singer of all Jaspal Bhatti films and serials, Brijesh Ahuja spelt magic with S Rakesh’s popular ghazal “Ye peene waale bahut ajeeb hote hein” before he teamed up with Arti Gill for more numbers and leaving audience awestruck.

Veteran Neelam Chahan attempted to induce intoxication in “Thodi thodi piya karo”, while GS Lovely excelled with musical score for more non-filmy numbers by S Rakesh.

Chief guest Amit Talwar, SDM Mohali, honoured participating artistes, especially S Rakesh for his creative writings.



Chandigarh Scan
Painting contest

The Chhaya School of Art organised a painting competition for children of different age groups on Sunday. The competition was held in the community centre of Kendriya Vihar Society, Sector 48, in which students from classes nursery to X participated. More than 450 students participated in the event.

Members of the Sood Bhawan donate blood at a camp in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Members of the Sood Bhawan donate blood at a camp in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

World Asthma Day

To observe the World Asthma Day, Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya held a seminar on awareness, prevention and cure of asthma and respiratory allergic disorders. The seminar was organised at the zonal office, Rajyoga Bhawan, Sector 33-A. Dr Surender Kumar Gupta who runs a clinic at Sector 40 gave a presentation on the theme.

Language teaching workshop

The British Library organised English language teaching workshop on “Teaching listening skills” for English teachers and trainers on Sunday, a press note said here on Sunday. The basic aim of the workshop was on using British Library’s ELT resources effectively for teaching English and to discuss attitude towards teaching-listening, to discuss different types of listening in the real world and implications, to go over different sub-skills involved in listening, to introduce variety of listening activities for developing various sub-skills and to examine stages of listening lessons through a demonstration.

Mock test

Understanding needs of young civil services aspirants and stress level that they face while undergoing this prestigious examination, Abhimanyu IAS Study Group, Sector 36-D, on Sunday organised a simulated mock test for the civil services preliminary examination, which is to be conducted by the Union Public Service Commission on May 20. As many as 800 students appeared in the mock test. — Tribune Reporters



Drama at Syndicate meeting
 PU Vice-Chancellor adjourns it for half hour
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The Syndicate meeting held today witnessed a high-voltage drama and heated arguments on the issue of preparing master’s seniority list of teachers in Panjab University. The situation got so worse that the Vice-Chancellor adjourned the House for half an hour.

While Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti advocated for the seniority list, the agenda was strongly opposed by GK Chatrath, after which the House decided to have detailed deliberations.

One of the Syndicate members said it was utter chaos during the House over the issue, as the VC wanted that recommendations of the committee to have the seniority list should be accepted. The Vice-Chancellor went on record to state, “A master seniority list is a must for the university.”

Ashok Goyal and Dinesh Talwar also recorded their dissent over deferring the agenda.

However, a section of House members led by GK Chatrath deferred any immediate decision on the matter, stating that it required detailed deliberations.

“The decision regarding the seniority list can only be taken after going through all decisions of Senate and after deciding from when will the seniority list come in affect,” Chatrath said.

The House also accepted the recommendations of Sada Nand Committee regarding the terms and conditions under which teaching and non-teaching employees of Panjab University would be allowed to go on deputation. However, the House resolved that the total period of deputation would not exceed five years in the entire career of the employee plus two years of any other permissible leave. This two-year period would be exclusive of mandatory leaves such as maternity or childcare, etc.



Closed-door meetings are history now
 PU to provide video recordings of Syndicate, Senate under RTI
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Panjab University’s Syndicate meeting would no more be a closed-door meeting, as the House today decided to bring video recording of Syndicate and Senate under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).

Those interested in viewing the proceedings of Syndicate and Senate would now get DVD’s of the meeting.

Video recording of the Senate and Syndicate meetings started recently after numerous complaints were received about tampering of the proceedings. It was initially decided that the video recording would help in keeping the record of the discussion held at the meeting and statements made by House members.

As soon as the video recording of the meetings started, RTI applications were filled for the copy of the recording, however, the applicants were denied.

Later the issue of providing the recordings under the RTI was raised again in the House on which the House decided to take legal opinion.

PU had sought legal opinion from three senior lawyers who recommended that the university needed to provide the recordings to public under the RTI Act.

One of the Senate members said it was a welcome step, as now everyone would get to know what happens during the meetings and what are the issues discussed, which sometimes get unreported.

“The rationale behind recording the proceedings was to ensure transparency, which would have only achieved after the recordings are made public,” said a Syndic.

The university has also decided to provide all proceedings of the Syndicate and Senate recorded till date under the RTI.



Golden chance for UIET students demanded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Members of the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) today submitted a memorandum of demands to Syndicate members and Vice-Chancellor before the Syndicate meeting.

Various demands made by the students included golden chance for UIET students along with the current semester exams. “Many students have their reappears pending in only one or two exams and presently the students are only allowed to appear for the reappear exam after the semester is complete, which would lead to delay in completing their degree, which would also affect their placements,” said Manoj Lubana, SOPU campus president.

The list of demands also included provisions to take improvement exams in UIET, as it is in sciences and law departments. “The students must be given chance to improve their scores, as they can be able to sit in various placement offers,” he stated.

The demands made by the students further included provision of the system that students with reappear in any exam in first six months must be promoted to the next semester.

Lubana said examination fee for reappear exam in BDS is Rs 6,000 per exam, which is unnecessarily high and should be brought down.



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