C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Govt schools in a mess, belie Admn's claims
Shortage of teachers, classrooms in Mauli Jagran schools plagues studies, finds Chandigarh Tribune 
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Students sit in a dingy classroom at Government Primary School, Mauli Jagran.
Students sit in a dingy classroom at Government Primary School, Mauli Jagran. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, September 2
Tall claims of the Chandigarh Administration fall flat as one enters Government High School, Mauli Colony, situated in the heart of Mauli Jagran, a highly populated suburb of the City Beautiful. Forget about the proper implementation of the RTE Act, the school fails to meet the normal yardstick of an educational institute.

Check this: The school runs in to two shifts. The morning shift is for students of Classes VI to X (secondary) and the afternoon shift is for students of Classes I to V (primary).

The school has just 12 classrooms for 27 sections of secondary classes and 35 sections of primary classes. Each section has between 50 and 60 students, with the total strength of the school over 3,800.

"It is a challenging task to teach students in such an atmosphere," said a teacher.

The school has converted its open space, maths and home science labs and even its storeroom into classrooms to accommodate the large number of students.

The verandahs of its two-storeyed building are fully occupied by students, who have to sit on "raw surface".

While the Administration has plans to start smart schools in Chandigarh, students here are yet to be provided basic facilities. A proposal for building classrooms was mooted several times. However, nothing has been done so far.

Adding to the students' woes is a shortage of teachers. Sections are at times merged to meet the shortage of teachers, which has worsened the teacher-pupil ratio.

RK Ranchan, Headmaster of the school, said the school needed to be developed properly and the authorities had been apprised of it. "Despite this, we are trying to manage a healthy atmosphere in the school in the best possible manner," he said.

The condition of other schools around Mauli Jagran is more or less the same. Government Primary School near the Mauli Jagran police station is being run from a cluster of 11 one-room flats of the Chandigarh Housing Board for over a decade now.

Schoolchildren are made to sit on the floor since the size of the rooms is too small to accommodate benches required for the over 350 students from Classes I to V.

A schoolteacher said, “No movement is possible in these congested classes. Even reaching the blackboard is an extreme struggle.”

Headmaster Sukhjit Singh said the government was constructing a new school building and the students would hopeful shift there by next year.

Another school near Mauli Jagran, Government High School (Vikas Nagar), has a comparitively better infrastructure since its building has recently been constructed.

Childen sit on the floor at Government Hogh School, Vikas Nagar, near Mauli Jagran.
Childen sit on the floor at Government Hogh School, Vikas Nagar, near Mauli Jagran. A tribune photograph

However, given the strength of the school, it still falls short of the required number of classrooms. Against 27 sections for primary classes and 25 for secondary classes, the total number of classrooms is just 19. Work of the construction of new classrooms has, however, started in the backyard of the school, which will take about a year and s half to complete.

A teacher said the RTE Act had increased the pressure on schools, especially those in the city suburbs, which have a huge population of migrants. Under the Act, the schools cannot refuse admission to any child. The government was yet to upgrade the infrastructure to meet the increasing demand, she said. Mauli Jagran School, which has been upgraded to the senior secondary level, is in a slightly better condition since the school has recently got 16 new rooms. However, the school faces a shortage of teachers. Trained graduate teachers (TGTs) are teaching students of Classes XI and XII. Principal Manjit Kaur said, “We have written to the authorities regarding the shortage of teachers. I am sure the situation will improve soon.” Dr Upkar Singh, DPI (Schools), was not available for comments. 



Child falls into ditch at school , dies
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 2
A two-and-a-half-year-old child drowned this evening after he fell into a ditch at the government school, Billa village, Ramgarh. The victim, Mohit, had come to meet his grandfather who is a peon at the school. He stays at the school as some construction is going on there.

The child, who hails from Sonepat, was taken to the general hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, where the doctors declared him brought dead.

“Mohit had come with his parents to meet his grandfather and had been putting up with him for the past three days. Some construction was going on at the school and for that purpose, the people concerned had collected water in a ditch,” said Mahavir Singh, the munshi of the Ramgarh police post.

“Mohit was playing in the evening. After a few hours, his father,Somweer Singh, started looking for him but could not find him. The child's grandfather, Sant Ram, saw his body floating in the ditch.” The body has been kept in the mortuary of the general hospital for a post-mortem examination, which would be conducted on Monday morning. Yesterday, a five-year-old boy got drowned after he fell into a four-foot-deep drum lying in the bathroom of his house at Indira Colony, Mani Majra, near Chandigarh.

The victim, identified as Dev, was taken to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh, where the doctors declared him dead. Dev was with his maternal grandparents at the home when the tragic incident took place as his parents had gone away for some work. It was Dev’s birthday yesterday. 



sector 34  firing incident
Wanted gangster active on Facebook
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
Wanted gangster Gurdeep Sekhon, who managed to escape after firing at a team of the Punjab police near Sector 34, Chandigarh, on August 30, has been found interacting with his friends on the social networking site, Facebook. Despite this, the police is clueless about him.

Interestingly, the gangster has been interacting on the social networking site with other wanted criminals, who, too, have their accounts. All of them have a long friend list and have uploaded their pictures also.

Gurdeep Sekhon had opened fire in Sector 34 after he saw some Punjab Police personnel chasing him in a car. The firing had created panic in the sector.

“Sekhon has a Facebook account under the name Gurpreet Sekhon Mudki. He has uploaded his pictures also. The profile picture shows Mudki with a pistol on his neck. He has a long friend list,” said a senior Punjab Police official on condition of anonymity. Sekhon is wanted in Punjab as he had allegedly murdered Happy Deora in Ferozepur in July this year.

The police official said Sekhon's accomplices such as Shera, Rocky and some other wanted criminals, were also on Facebook. “Shera has an account under the name Shera Khuban. He has also loaded his pictures. He is operating the account as his friend list is increasing,” added the official.

The police maintained that there was no status update on Sekhon's Facebook account ever since the firing incident took place, but his friend list increased this morning, indicating that he had operated it and accepted a request.

Asked why the police could not track these criminals through Facebook accounts, Dalbir Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), Punjab Police, said, “We are tracking their Facebook accounts minute by minute. They are not carrying mobile phones. They are using cyber cafes to operate their accounts. They keep changing their location.” The UT police has registered a case of endangering the life of others against Sekhon under Section 336 of the IPC at the Sector 34 police station.

Sekhon was travelling in a Fortuner, bearing a Punjab registration number, when he fired three gunshots at a Scorpio carrying a team of Punjab Police officials. Sekhon had reportedly come to meet his girlfriend. 

Long list of friends

}Gurdeep Sekhon has a Facebook account under the name Gurpreet Sekhon Mudki. He has uploaded his pictures also. The profile picture shows Mudki with a pistol on his neck. He has a long friend list~

— A police official

Criminals in touch

Interestingly, the gangster has been interacting on the social networking site with other wanted criminals, who, too, have their accounts. All of them have a long friend list and have uploaded their pictures also. 



PGI waiting hall turns patients' ward
Ritika Jha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
With a consistent increase in the number of patients visiting the PGI, the waiting hall at its Emergency Ward has turned into a patients' ward, accommodating more than 100 patients and their attendants, almost everyday.

The Emergency Ward at the PGI, on an average, receives 300 per cent more patients than its capacity of 100 beds. Flooded with an abnormally high number of indoor patients and an equal number of attendants, the Emergency Ward is in a dire need of expansion.

The ward received 56,755 patients last year. The average number of patient admitted per day was 226. The inflow of patients at the OPDs in the PGI has gone up to 18,49,015 annually. As many as 68,175 patients were admitted last year.

While the Advanced Trauma Centre has been set up to share the patient load at the Emergency, the situation at the Emergency Ward continues to be the same.

At the Advanced Trauma Centre, where patients for neurosurgery, orthosurgery and general surgery are being shifted, the occupancy reaches up to 140 against the sanctioned bed strength of 78.

PGI’s official spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said, “The capacity of the Emergency cannot be expanded beyond a limit. Despite setting up the Advanced Trauma Centre to share the patient load and running emergency services at specialised centres, the patient inflow could not be brought down. The situation can only be improved by enhancing the services at other medical institutes in the region.”

On an average, 11 to 13 new orthopaedic patients come in on any given day. Most of these are complex cases with multiple fractures and polytrauma and have been referred to the PGI because they cannot be managed by other hospitals, according to officials.

The already admitted patients receive less attention with every new admission in the ward, say sources.

With a total capacity of 1,900 beds, the institute has been catering to more than 3,000 indoor patients in addition to the 500 to 600 patients that arrive at the Emergency and the OPDs daily. 



Women power at play on Panjab University campus 
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Girls campaign for SOPU on the PU campus on Sunday.
Girls campaign for SOPU on the PU campus on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tiwari

Chandigarh, September 2
Women power is in play on the Panjab University campus. Considering the fact that girl students dominate the PU vote bank, all parties have mobilised their girl teams for campaigning in girls' hostels and teaching departments. Girls can be seen moving in hostels, delivering speeches on behalf of their party leaders.

Girls comprise 70 per cent of the total strength of the PU and have always played the deciding factor in the university politics. The parties have constituted teams of girls in each hostel, which have been entrusted with the task of attracting the maximum possible number of girls by highlighting their agenda.

Payal, a resident of hostel No. VII and SOPU supporter, said girls alone could decide the fate of candidates because of their huge strength. Gunpreet, another party supporter and resident of hostel No. IV, who has been assigned the duty of holding meetings with hostel inmates, said girls played a key role in ensuring the victory of any candidate.

Of the over 14,000 students on the campus, around 9,000 are girls.

PUSU has also deputed a girl in each hostel to hold campaigning sessions and discussions with the hostel inmates.

Pooja Lamba, a resident of hostel No. 1, is sharing her party ideology with the students to ensure that they vote for PUSU.

Besides the visits of student leaders to the teaching departments for seeking votes, girls' teams are also visiting the departments to garner support for their respective parties.

PUSU leader Sumit Gokhlaney said they had constituted a team of girls, which was responsible for campaigning in various departments and make students aware about the party’s agenda. 

Girls to be deciding factor in pu poll

Girls comprise 70 per cent of the total strength of the PU and have always played the deciding factor in the university elections. All parties have constituted teams of girls in each hostel, which have been entrusted with the task of attracting the maximum possible number of girls by highlighting their agenda. 



300 BPL families get rotten foodgrains
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 2
In a shocking revelation, around 300 BPL families in Sector 28, Panchkula, have been supplied decayed and fungus-ridden foodgrains by the district administration. The beneficiaries have got 35 kg each of these foodgrains.

Affected families lodged a complaint with the Food and Supply authorities following which a team of the department took samples.

"We received the foodgrains on Friday and these were stinking. We found that the foodgrains had decayed and were not fit for consumption. How can the authorities be so lax?" asked Hari Prasad, a resident of a colony in Sector 28.

He added, "We got the foodgrains from the local depot holder."

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ashima Brar said, “I have not received any complaint so far. The affected families can give me a written complaint on Monday and I will look into the matter.”

BPL families get foodgrains from local depots and each family is entitled to 35 kg of foodgrains as monthly rations. There are about 300 families in the colony that have got rotten foodgrains.

Vicky, another resident of the colony, said, “Do they want to kill us? We don’t even give such grains to animals. If we are poor doesn’t mean that anything can be passed on to us.” 


Open House Response
Community parking need of the hour

The vehicular density in the tricity is increasing day by day without any systematic check. As a result, the cars are parked on roads in front of houses, and anywhere and everywhere possible. The Chandigarh Administration has been proposing basement parking lots and community parking since quite some time but nothing concrete has come up so far. Chandigarh has only one community parking that is at Sector 19. The community parking and basement parking are the need of the hour as the residents need proper place to park their vehicles. Basement parking lots would be a great relief in places where there is no space on the ground. The Municipal Corporation has Rs 1.5 crore to build community parking but still no action has been taken. The authorities need to gear up before the situation gets worse. The requirement for constructing parking lots should be met as soon as possible so that the residents are able to park their cars in a proper place instead of parking them on the roads and obstructing the flow of traffic.

Isha Dahiya, Panchkula

Car Parking-a big hassle

Though Chandigarh is a small Union Territory, it has the maximum number of per capita cars in comparison to all the big cities, thanks to the growing wealth of the Chandigarh residents, particularly in the last 10 years.

Open House Question

The city only has a very few 24x7 eateries. Does Chandigarh need more such eateries? Should the Chandigarh Administration become more liberal in allowing other eating joints to keep open till late? Kindly write your suggestion or opinion to openhouse@tribunemail.com

Planners in Chandigarh Administration and Municipal Corporation have tried their bit to ease out vehicular traffic on main roads of the city by widening of the roads. They have built slip roads at junctions and created additional road space for ever-increasing vehicles in an effort to control vehicular congestion on the roads. Residential areas at night, present a dirty picture due to erratic and haphazard car parking. Coming to an area-specific parking problem, I, as a general secretary of Residents’ Welfare Association in Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, feel that suitable community parking should be provided on vacant spaces in the each pocket.

SC Luthra, Mani Majra

No provision for parking

On the parking issue, the Chandigarh Administration is in a deep slumber. All the huge plots have been converted into big commercial establishment but no provision for parking has been made.

Barinder Pal Singh Nagi, Mani Majra

Administration learns no lesson

Continuing uncertainty over the fate of numerous parking projects has become a cause of concern for not only vehicle users but also for the city planners. Only one of the community parking lots in Sector 19 has been made operational by the Municipal Corporation so far. Many of the projects are yet to be started and rests are under discussions.

But municipal officials accuse departments like Chief Architect or Department for Forest and Wildlife for holding up the projects by delaying permissions.

Sadly, the authorities did not learn any lesson from the past incidents to improve the parking scenario in the both residential and commercial areas of the city. Community parking is the need of the hour and parking in Chandigarh is one of the biggest issues today. There is a real need to upgrade the parking capacity of the city.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Separate set up for urban planning needed

The first and foremost thing in the matter of parking is that the apartment system or Apartment Act should be completely forgotten for all times to come to ensure that problem should not aggravate.

Any move to bring the Apartment Act will be suicidal for the city, as the city and its infrastructure are already overburdened. Needless to say that the formation of Housing Board in Chandigarh has contributed maximum to this chaos, as it brought the concept of multi-storied flats/houses without creating adequate parking slots, which is the major cause of parking problem in the city.

The administrative structure too should be given a look. An independent officer from the Centre or AGMUT cadre should be appointed as secretary with a single charge of urban planning. At present the charge is held either by home or finance secretary who are holding charge of more than 12 departments. Being overburdened with several responsibilities, they are unable to do justice to urban planning. Before the finalisation of master plan, no development of land should take place, barring urgencies. Unless there is a separate administrative set up, working for urban planning, the things cannot improve. Keeping in view the reality of limited space we must say 'no' to more housing, at least as of now.

The liberal and 'chalta hai' attitude must be curbed. The planners of late 90s and onward period has been ruthless as none had shown the vision at that time and none had paid respect to the original character of the city. The under-ground or basement parking is the only solution.

Ajay Jagga, Chandigarh

Public transport needs to be strengthened

City's major projects like Medicity, Educity, amusement park, which were started with much fanfare more than six years ago, have been scrapped owing to one reason or the other.

Similarly community or basements parking or under passes to solve parking related problem in the city have not been found favour in the corridor of power. Due to scrapping of these projects huge money of tax-payers has ruthlessly been wasted. The metro project framed a few years back is still in its infancy and may take years to complete.

It would be in the fitness of things if the personnel sitting at the helms and making statements daily should take a practical lead in this respect to be followed by other functionaries in the UT and further Panjab and Haryana government officers. Adviser to administrator needs to take a lead in this respect and he should start using bus from his residence to office and back.

Since the Administration has got the requisite infrastructure and manpower, it should start the work on war-footing so as to make the transport 'people friendly'.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Basement parking failed to gain residents' interest

Chandigarh, which was designed for a population of five lakh, is now carrying over 12 lakh inhabitants. Owing to the increased number of vehicles and ever-increasing population, the city residents are facing parking problems everywhere.

Chandigarh came into existence in 1966 and ever since its inceptions cars have been adding up tremendously. In 1967, the city had 940 registered vehicles, the number shot up to 4,96,086 vehicles in 2001. In 2007, the figure stood at 6, 67,713 vehicles. Presently it is estimated to be crossing a million marks.

The vehicle growth rendered the city infrastructure totally insufficient to give adequate parking space. Long queues of haphazardly parked vehicles could be seen in all major markets and residential areas, too, present a similar picture.

The Chandigarh Administration has been working overtime to solve the problems but has totally failed. To regulate the parking problems many proposals have been worked out, one of these relate to community parking in sectors. Such a proposal is not only devoid of safety norms it certainly has not evoked interest in the residents as well. So they continue to park their vehicles in and around their residences. Such an act in many cases leads to scuffles. In a case of parking rage, a neighbor fired shots at the other, causing alarm in the area and police intervention.

With no scope to expand space horizontally, it would be prudent to make provision vertically. The concept of basement parking has not gained favour with the residents as it is afflicted with many shortcomings.

The community parking needs to be promoted and it should be coupled with the concept of elevated parking lots as well. These would prove beneficial in the long run as well.

And like the fancy numbers for cars, the fancy car parking space may bring in revenue to the exchequer.

Satish Chandra Sharma, Chandigarh



Girl jumps into lake
Rescued by alert police constables
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
A 22-year-old girl, who was drowning in the Sukhna Lake, was rescued by the Chandigarh police constables this evening. Although the police stated that the girl accidentally fell into the lake, one of the eyewitnesses claimed that she jumped into the lake in a bid to commit suicide.

According to the police, a resident of Sector 38, fell unconscious while sitting on the stairs of the lake and fell into it at around 8.30 pm.

Sources said three constables, two of them deployed on VIP security, saw the girl drowning. Constable Sampuran Singh jumped into the lake while Rajesh Kumar and Varinder Singh helped him locate the drowning girl by lighting the torch.

The constables, after rescuing the girl, called the PCR that took her to the Lake police post from where she was taken to the Sector 3 police station. Her parents were informed about the incident. They immediately reached the police station.

The girl, in her statement to the police, has stated that she, while sitting on the stairs of the lake, fell unconscious and slipped into the lake.

Meanwhile, Chetan Thakur stated that he saw the girl jumped into the lake. He raised an alarm. “I was also sitting nearby and noticed the girl’s behavior was abnormal. Before I could understand anything, the girl jumped into the lake”, he said.

Investigation was on till the filing of the report.



Emergency number 100 fails to aid Panchkula residents
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 2
Vinod Kumar along with his wife was left alone in an isolated area near Raipurrani. He was robbed of his Verna car at a gunpoint by masked youths on his way to Panchkula from Paonta Sahib.

He immediately dialled 100 on his mobile, as anyone at his position would have, to contact the Panchkula police. The call, however, connected him with Yamunangar police control room.

The incident points to a shocking state of affair. Relying on the emergency number 100 would be a mistake for the Panchkula residents as the number hardly works. There have been several cases where victims have dialled the number during an emergency situation but failed to get any response.

It was on July 25, when an old couple, resident of Sector 27, Panchkula, was reportedly robbed of their Verna car by three unidentified youths near the Sector-26/27 road. The couple kept dialling the 100 number but failed to get a response.

“Some boys helped us. They too dialled 100 and found that no one was responding the calls. Then one of them called up an advocate who knew a police. Then the police came to help us,” said the couple.

“My father had met with an accident on the road dividing Sector 5 and 6. We kept calling at the 100 number. My son rushed to the police station and it was then a policeman came to help,” said Shikha Luthra, a resident of Sector 7, Panchkula.

Similarly in a Porsche theft case too, the owner kept dialling the 100 number but the call did not get connected.

When contacted the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) crime, Dheeraj Setia, said, “The fault is from the side of the company. Sometimes it depends on the connection of the person also who is dialling the number.”



MLA supports Congress candidate

Chandigarh, September 2
Poonam Sharma, Congress candidate for ward number 7 byelection, along with sitting Congress MLA Jagmohan Kang, today went door to door as part of her campaigning at Maloya village.

She promised the residents development of the colony and the village at par with the city sectors.

Poonam, who had contested from ward number 4 in the MC poll in December, had lost the seat to BJP councillor Asha Kumari Jaiswal. The bypoll will be held on September 15. — TNS



Provisions of juvenile Act given a miss
Training session reveals Mohali police's ignorance
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 2
Mohali police lacks knowledge on provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The fact came to fore during a training session of policemen up to the rank of inspectors conducted by Gopal Arora, Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Roopnagar, who also holds additional charge here in Mohali.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Gopal Arora said during the session, he had found out that the policemen were unaware of several provisions of the juveniles Act. Even information that was supposed to be displayed at every police station was missing.

“As per rules, the names and contact numbers of members of Juvenile Justice Board, comprising principal magistrate of the rank of Additional District and Sessions Judge and two social workers, should be on display at each police station. The information is not there in the local police stations,” said Gopal Arora.

Apart from this, there are no designated officer with special training to deal with the juvenile offenders were stationed here in these police stations.

“We have found out that even officers of the level of station house officers were not aware of the special provisions and safeguards for juveniles under the Act,” said Gopal Arora.

In a juvenile case, police are not supposed to register FIR. Only a DDR should be filed. “But here police are registering FIRs,” he added.

Besides, the juveniles should be given ‘homely atmosphere’ at the police stations and should be kept separately from other criminals.

The social status of the juveniles and the circumstances that led him/her to commit the crime should be recorded according to the rules.

“During the session, we found that the provisions were not complied with,” said Gopal Arora adding that a special training is being held to sensitise the police to deal with the juveniles.

“So far, we have held only two rounds. The next will be held in the coming days,” said Gopal Arora.

On the contrary, Mohali SSP GS Bhullar claimed that special officers have been assigned at every police station to deal with juvenile cases. “No case, pertaining to violation of the Juvenile justice Act, has been reported so far. Yet, if there is any shortcoming, I will check and do the needful,” said Bhullar.

So far, about 78 cases involving juveniles have been reported here in the district. 



Mohali residents lash out at Badal govt
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 2
There has been strong opposition to Tuesday's decision of the Punjab Cabinet to impose property tax in urban areas with residents here describing it as an unwarranted and unjustified financial burden at a time when they are already battling spiralling prices.

The reactions today ranged from "a step to turn freehold property into leasehold", "a blow to every section of society" to "making the common man pay for the government's failure to adopt the right economic policies".

Balbir Singh Sidhu, Congress MLA, who lives in Phase VII here, said the levying of property tax was "totally unjustified". By doing this, the government was "turning freehold property into leasehold". He said retirees, who did not get any pension, were already facing a tough time making both ends meet, and now the government decision would make them feel "as if they are living in rented accommodation instead of their own houses".

He said government revenue would come down as the sale and purchase of property, which was already very low at present, would further come down after the Cabinet decision.

A former senior vice-president of the then Municipal Council, NK Marwaha, said the decision was unjustified, and the levying of property tax on vacant plots in particular was meaningless. "A vacant plot owner does not earn any income from his property, but will have to pay to the government as well to the Department of Income Tax at the time of its sale".

He said on one hand the government wanted to help those belonging to economically weaker sections while on the other it proposed imposing property tax even on 50-yd plots. "Why had such taxes not been proposed in the state Budget? Why are these now being levied through executive orders?" asked Marwaha.

A resident of Phase IV, Jasbir Singh, said, "The government has been adopting wrong economic policies and the common man is being made to pay for its incompetence". He said inflation had already eaten deep into the housewife's budget and such taxes would make the family stagger under the burden.

However, defending the government's decision, prominent SAD leader Balwant Singh Ramoowlia said, "The government just wants residents to contribute a wee bit to the development of the state".

According to the Cabinet decision, property tax would be on a unit-area basis and be determined on the basis of the actual market value of the property in question.

A senior official said on houses measuring 50 yd and 100 yd, the tax would be Rs 50 and Rs 150 per annum, respectively. On houses measuring above 100 yd and other buildings and property, it would be charged on a unit-area basis. It would also be levied on vacant plots, schools and other educational institutions. The prices of properties would be fixed by the Deputy Commissioners and the other authorities concerned. However, cremation grounds, religious places, gaushalas and animal care centres would be exempted from paying the tax.



Snake scare at Mohali Colony
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 2
Residents of MIG Colony in Phase XI were up in arms against the ‘careless’ attitude of the local Municipal Corporation, which has led to huge wild growth in and around their locality.

“Due to these wild growths, our locality has become a habitat of dangerous reptiles like venomous snakes and other insects,” rued the residents.

“We have been virtually living under constant fear. Snakes surface in our colony almost every alternate day. One can see these reptiles roaming in the streets and entering homes,” said Paramjit Singh Rangi, a resident of the locality.

Expressing similar fear, Seema Devi said, “It is very scary to walk in the streets these days as snakes come out of the bushes so often. I don’t allow my children to go to the parks. See the wild growth in the area, why don’t the MC officials cut it?” said Seema.

The residents claimed that they have approached the authorities concerned several times and have apprised them of the problem. “Our complaints have failed to make any impact on the authorities,” said the residents.



UT to allot land to Armed Forces Tribunal
AFT’s Chandigarh Bench is the largest in the region 
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
The UT Administration has agreed in principle to allot two acres of land to the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) so that it could have its own premises to function from.

Sources said the UT administration’s decision was conveyed to the Tribunal recently and that land would be allotted near No.3 Base Repair Depot adjoining the Industrial Area Phase-II. Several other defence organisations including Border Security Force (West) and Defence Research and Development Organisation were opening up their offices in the area.

At present, the Chandigarh Bench of the AFT is functioning from an interim location at Chandimandir military station, and its courts and offices are housed in several modified barracks and outhouses.

“The next step would now involve demarcation of the land and fixing the price, for which several meetings are expected to be held,” an official said. “Since it would be a government-to-government transaction, the price of the land is expected to be lower than the prevailing market rate,” he added.

The Chandigarh Bench is among the largest of the AFT’s nine regional benches, having three authorised benches, though only two are functional at the moment. It has jurisdiction over the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.

This region has a very large number of serving as well as retired Armed Forces personnel.

Since the Chandigarh Bench started functioning about three years ago, it has handled around 10,000 cases, out of which 7000 cases have been disposed off so far, sources said. Some were transferred from the region’s High Courts while others were filed afresh.

There is a proposal to have a separate bench for Jammu and Kashmir, probably with courts based in Srinagar and Jammu. It was difficult for people from the state to travel all the way to Chandigarh to attend court proceedings.



SMO accused of 'rude behaviour'
Additional Director, CGHS, marks inquiry into matter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
A resident of the city has moved a complaint against the Senior Medical Officer (SMO) posted at the government dispensary at Sector 45, alleging rude behaviour towards him and negligence “which resulted in his mother’s death”.

The complainant, Kuldip Singh, has said his 84-year-old mother Rajinder Kaur, who was a cancer patient, died on August 13 this year. She had been availing herself of treatment under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).

“On August 11, we visited the dispensary to procure the medicines prescribed by Fortis Hospital, which has been covered under the CGHS, for my mother. The woman in charge advised us to get a fresh prescription issued from her colleague, Dr Rajneesh Singhal (SMO). However, on our request Dr Singhal started shouting at us,” said Singh.

In the complaint sent to the Additional Director, CGHS, the complainant writes, “Dr Singhal ridiculed us in the presence of other patients asking us how could we enter his room without his permission and a token. I told him that we gave the token number to his in charge while visiting her. And she put her initials on the prescription of the Fortis Hospital and asked us to show it to him for the issuance of a fresh prescription of the CGHS.”

Dr Singhal also refused to visit the bed-ridden patient. Upon the request of the other patients sitting in the dispensary, he issued a fresh prescription listing eight medicines out of which only two were available at the dispensary, according to the complainant.

“For the rest of the six medicines prescribed by him, he asked us to visit the dispensary on August 14,” Kuldip Singh said.

The Additional Director, CGHS, has marked an inquiry into the matter, a copy of which is available with the Chandigarh Tribune.

Rajinder Kaur had been treated at IVY Hospital, Mohali, from July 27 to August 4, this year and Rs 1,00,000 was spent on her treatment. “Keeping in view our affordability and problems we faced in getting reimbursement of medical expenses, we were advised to get treatment at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, which is on the panel of the CGHS. We got a requisition for one-time consultancy from the dispensary in charge and got the prescription for the issue of medicine from Fortis Hospital,” said the complainant.



Pizza delivery boy hurt in accident
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 2
Delivering a pizza within the assured time of half an hour cost an employee of Dominoz dear as he was injured seriously after his bike rammed into a stationary car near the bus stand at Sector 5, Panchkula. The victim, identified as Chandan (24), is a resident of Mauli Jagran. He was rushed to the general hospital, Sector-6, Panchkula, where the doctors referred him to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector-32,Chandigarh.

Chandan works at the Dominoz pizza outlet, Sector-9, Panchkula.

“In fact, the billing was got done at 8.44 pm and Chandan had to deliver a pizza at Sector 4, Panchkula. To meet the half-an-hour delivery deadline given by the company, he was driving rash,” said a police official.

“As he was driving rash, he did not see a stationary car and rammed into it near the bus stand,” he added. He has suffered serious head injuries.

Some time ago, a 24-year-old Dominoz delivery boy, Chetan Kumar, was injured seriously after his bike was hit by a car near the Alchemist hospital at Sector 21, Panchkula. He worked at Dominoz Pizza shop at Sector 20. 



Proposal to install solar tree near Sukhna rejected
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
The proposal of the UT science and technology department to install the country's first solar tree near the city's landmark Sukhna Lake has been rejected by the urban planning department of the UT Administration.

Mentioning that the installation of a solar tree near the lake will not be permissible as the area falls under the heritage zone, the UT urban planning department states that the move will also affect migratory birds coming to the lake every year.

Sources said now the department had asked the science and technology department to find another suitable place for the proposed solar tree in the city.

The sources added that after receiving the reply from the urban planning department, the officials of the science and technology department are looking for a new site.

A senior official of the UT Administration said they had made arrangements for the installation of solar tree and had already discussed the project with the company, who was to install the tree near the le, but now the department has rejected the proposal.

He added that around Rs 5 lakh was to be spent on the installation of the tree.

The sources stated that now the science and technology department was planning to install the solar tree at the roundabout of Sectors 42-43. As Sectors 1 to 30 fall under the heritage zone, officials thought that roundabout of Sectors 42-43 would be a suitable site for the solar tree, they added.

What is a solar tree?

A solar tree is a decorative means of producing solar energy. It uses multiple solar panels, which form the shape of a tree by assistance of poles. Besides serving the purpose to restore the sun's energy as a viable energy source, the solar tree provides lightening to the area at night. The solar trees have opened up new prospects for urban lighting in various cities of European countries. 

Widely used in European countries

The solar trees are widely used in place of streetlights or for lighting in parking lots in countries like Austria, Germany and the USA while India is yet to venture into this revolutionary urban lighting concept. The concept of solar trees was first developed in Vienna, the capital of Austria. 



Nayagaon residents protest at CM's house
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Residents of the NAC, Nayagaon, protest outside Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s house at Sector 2 in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Residents of the NAC, Nayagaon, protest outside Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s house at Sector 2 in Chandigarh on Sunday. A tribune photograph

Chandigarh, September 2
High drama was witnessed outside the residence of Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal at Sector 2 here when the residents of the NAC, Nayagaon, protested outside his house. Led by Kharar MLA and former minister Jagmohan Kang, the agitators alleged that they were not being provided the basic facilities at Nayagaon, Nada, Karoran and Kansal villages.

“It has been around five and a half years since the present SAD-BJP alliance came to power, but ironically no development has taken place and that too in an area adjoining the City Beautiful,” said Kang.

He added, “The incumbent Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal have been making tall claims of development, but the NAC, Naya Gaon, which is at a stone's throw from their official residence, is stinking due to lack of sanitation and proper sewerage.”

The protesters said the roads, too, were in a very bad shape and there were no proper streetlights, drinking water & power supply.

"House plans were not being passed due to which not only unplanned construction was going on unabated but the NAC was also losing on revenue. The NAC is on the verge of a financial collapse as the VAT funds, which were to be given to committees in lieu of cessation of octroi, were not released by the Punjab government. It has become difficult for the NAC to pay salaries to its employees and to foot its electricity and water bills,” said another protester.

It was after an official told the protesters that he would get a meeting fixed with the CM tomorrow in this regard that the protesters relent. They were assured that all their demand would be heard at the meeting.



Chandigarh scan
Cardiology summit

The Indian Cardiology Summit 2012 was organised by the ACE Heart and Vascular Institute at Chandigarh today. Renowned cardiologists discussed the best practices and latest advances in the field of cardiovascular diseases and therapies to cure them. ACE Director, Dr Puneet K Verma, and Dr RP Sapru inaugurated the summit by lighting a ceremonial lamp. It was followed by an inaugural address and introduction to the programme by Dr Sapru and Dr Verma. During the sessions of the summit, the participants shared the best practices from their wide array of experiences and also discussed approaches for preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases.The newer and more effective drugs for the management of a heart attack were discussed by Dr Anurag Sharma, a senior Consultant at Max Hospital, Mohali. Dr HK Bali from Fortis Hospital shared his perspective on treating complex coronary disease with angioplasty.


Bharat Vikas Parishad’s Madhav Eye Bank today observed the 27th National Eye Donation Fortnight 2012 in a function held at Indira Holiday Home, Sector 24, Chandigarh. The event was attended by over 200 people showing their solidarity towards the movement. The remarkable feature of the event was the felicitation of 18 members whose wards have donated their eyes after their death. These families hail from Chandigarh, Mohali, Derabassi, Mandi Gobindgarh, Amloh, Sirhind and other parts of Punjab. In another initiative, Bharat Vikas Parishad Charitable Medical Centre has introduced mobile eye services with the inauguration of a mobile van which will have all the basic facilities for eye care.


Desh Bhagat Institute of Management & Computer Sciences hosted a two-day entrepreneurship workshop by Nurture Talent Academy and Confluence-Business Summit of IIM Ahmadabad. The objective of the workshop was to provide the students a chance to learn how to generate ideas, make business plans, start new ventures, manage finance and launch products in the market. The theme of the workshop was ‘Idea to Execution’. Over 200 students from the host college as well as from other institutes of the state participated in the workshop. Inaugurating the event, director general of Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes Dr Shalini Gupta welcomed the IIM team saying that it was an honour for the institutes to host this workshop.

Student shines

Purnima Sehgal has topped the fourth semester of the MBA (off-campus) examination of Panjab University. She has topped in all the four semesters in the university. She has also been a triple gold medallist from Panjab University in BCom, BCom (Honours) and MCom examinations.

Study conducted

Citing recent studies conducted by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, which determined that H1N1 (swine flu virus) is now a part of the seasonal flu, city-based experts noted that annual flu vaccination is a must for high-risk groups. The vaccine is also crucial for healthcare professionals whose exposure to the high-risk groups remains higher, said experts from Chaitanya Hospital, Sector 44. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified children below 5 years of age, pregnant woman, adults with asthma, diabetics, heart disorder, liver, kidney, blood and cancer, and those aged above 65 years as high-risk groups.


Mohali-based institute Taaleem India announced the launch of Taaleem College of International Studies (TCIS) in collaboration with its academic partner, Asian International College (AIC), Singapore, in Chandigarh on Thursday. Jaiprakash Singh Hasrajani, CEO, Taaleem India, whose campus is in Sector 67, Mohali, said that students will be trained by exposing them to practical work situations through live projects, R&D, and internships.

Branch office opened

Health insurance company Max Bupa has opened a branch office in Chandigarh, extending its network to 16 branches across India. "With our branch office in Chandigarh we will be able to reach more customers in the region. We want to cover 1 million customers by 2015 and we are confident that Punjab and Chandigarh will play a key role in surpassing this milestone," said Max Bupa senior vice-president Sibaranjan Patnaik.

Township launched

Panchkula-based Idyllic Group today announced the launch of its integrated township in Panchkula Extension, part-11. This township, called Panchkula Eco City, will be spread in over 50 acres. Vishnu Goyal, director of the company, said that they were investing Rs 300 crore in the project, which would have 358 residential plots varying from 185-1000 square yard in size. He said that they will provide possession in 18 months from now.

—Tribune Reporters



Education Dept streamlines school inspection
Four senior officials appointed, will visit schools every 3 months
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, september 2
In order to streamline the inspection of government schools that has so far been irregular and ineffective, the UT Education Department has appointed four senior department officials to monitor the performance of all the government schools in Chandigarh at regular intervals.

The officials roped in for this exercise include District Education Officer Ram Kumar Sharma, Assistant Director (Vocational courses) Suman Sharma, Deputy Director-1 Chanchal Singh and Deputy Director-2 Saroj Mittal. The government schools, about 104 in all, have been divided equally among these officials. They are required to visit all the assigned schools every three months and submit their inspection reports that will also be uploaded on the department’s website.

Sources said the school inspection had already been started. The appointed officers were regularly visiting schools. Irregularities in maintenance work, poor implementation of continuous and comprehensive evaluation and shortage of teachers were few of the findings of the inspection committee, which is in the process of compiling its first report expected to be submitted in the first half of September.

A government school principal said the inspection would indirectly benefit the schools since it would officially document their discrepancies and infrastructure problems. “Moreover, it would also fix accountability on school authorities to fix the problem, which they can do at their own level, before the next inspection starts,” she said.

UT Education Secretary VK Singh said the step had been taken to maintain the quality of education and at the same time address the infrastructural issues based on the feedback from the officials appointed for the job.

A senior official said the regular inspection would assist in maintaining the decorum in schools and streamlining the communication between schools and the government department concerned.



PU poll: ABVP to go it alone
Party launches panel; two girls among candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyrathi Parishad (ABVP) has decided to contest the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) elections independently. The party today launched its panel which has two girl candidates.

After failing to win a seat during the PUCSC elections in 2011, which they contested in alliance with the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), ABVP has decided to contest independently this year.

The party has pitched Parvesh Chandel, a student of School of Communication Studies, for the post of president, while Geetika, an MA English student would contest for the seat of vice-president.

The party has decided to field another girl, Priya Ranjan, from the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) for the post of secretary, and Ankush, from the Centre for Social Work, for the post of joint secretary.

The party is contesting elections with an aim to ensure a violence free campus.

Last year, the ABVP had fielded a girl candidate for the post of vice-president in alliance with PUSU. However, she lost the election.



Hostel inmates lose sleep
Say supporters of PU student bodies come for campaigning late at night
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
It's not just the student leaders who are going through sleepless nights following the student elections at Panjab University (PU). The residents of PU hostels are going through the same trauma due to the late night campaigning in the hostels that continues till early morning.

After campaigning outside the girls hostels, all parties reach back to their tents at around 10.00 pm, and, taking a little break, different teams of party supporters then head for the boys hostels.

However, by the time parties reach boys hostels for campaign, most hostelers are already asleep.

The late night election campaigna has left many hostel residents annoyed as quite a few of them have had sleepless nights.

Ram Kumar, a resident of Hostel No 1, said that party supporters wake them up at mignight for discussing their manifesto. "Even if the room lights are switched off, the campaigners knock on the door hoping that someone would open the door," he said.

A law student residing in Hostel No 4 said that first of all the party members arrive late in the night, and secondly, on finding a room open, they sit through making boring conversations. "The parties should make the canvassing quick. However, they try to build a bond between the party and students by talking about all other issues except the manifesto," he said.

Even pasting "Do not disturb" on the room's door does not help, the students say. Sahil, a UIET student and hostel resident, said he has pasted a "Don't Disturb" poster on his hostel room's door, but still the party leaders knock.

One of the student leaders stated that they prefer to visit the hostels after the dinner to make sure that students are in their rooms.

Students complain that even if the party supporters don't knock on the door, the noise made by the campaigners moving in the corridor wakes up everyone.

What makes the situation worse in hostels is that all the parties visit the hostels in a gap of an hour and make sure to knock on every door. The situation is same in all the hostels. Interestingly, as per the Lyngdoh Commission recommendations, students are not permitted to campaign in hostels after 10.30 pm.



Abhinav is PUSU's presidential candidate

Chandigarh, September 2
Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), in alliance with the National Students Union of India (NSUI), today declared Abhinav Puri, a fifth-year student of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), as their presidential candidate.

After a series of meetings which continued throughout the day, PUSU decided to join hands with the NSUI for the forthcoming student elections. Interestingly, PUSU had contested last elections in alliance with the ABVP and had lost to the Student Organsiation of Panjab University (SOPU).

The UIET, being the biggest department on PU campus with a strength of around 2400 students, has once again emerged as the first choice of the party to pick a candidate from.

Meanwhile, SOPU leaders were also mulling over to join hands with the Hindustan Student Association (HSA). However, the party could not make any decision till Sunday.



PUSU promises better infrastructure
Tribune News Service

Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) president Sukhjit Brar addresses media persons during the release of the party’s election manifesto at Panjab University on Sunday.
Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) president Sukhjit Brar addresses media persons during the release of the party’s election manifesto at Panjab University on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep tewari

Chandigarh, September 2
A day before the nominations for the student elections, the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) released their manifesto with a long list of promises covering various departments, focusing on raising the standard of education by updating the syllabus and providing better infrastructure.

PUSU in its manifesto has claimed to be committed to making a change in the education system of PU by ensuring accountably to PU administrative branch and getting it completely computerised so that the results can be declared on time.

The party promises to come-up with a guidance and counselling cell for the students. The party manifesto this year has been divided under various sub-heads to attract students' attention.

PUSU leader Sumit Goklaney said that they have everything for the students of science, arts and law departments and for various self-financed courses as well. “Our major focus would be on getting the fee of self-financed courses reduced. We will also try to get a reduction in the fee for re-appear exams," he said. He stated that the party's priority would be to ensure a regular faculty, improved infrastructure, class rooms, libraries and washrooms in the arts department.

The party has also focused on long-pending issues of research scholars, including timely enrolment in PhD and awarding experience certificate to PhD students for taking classes during their research.

PUSU also promises to start convocation at the department level so that the students get their degrees on time.

Goklaney further said that improving accommodation on campus to ensure that the maximum number of students gets hostel is also a part of their agenda.



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