C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chaos prevails on city roads
Transport officials caught unawares as hundreds of SSC aspirants jostle for space in buses
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Students hanging on to the doors and windows of a bus.
Students hanging on to the doors and windows of a bus.

Chandigarh, October 21
Thousands of aspirants who came to the city today to appear in the Staff Service Commission (SSC) examination had a tough day reaching their destinations. They were seen precariously hanging on to overcrowded bus doors.

Transport authorities of various states were caught unawares as there weren’t enough buses available. In the absence of any space, they preched themselves atop the bus roofs.

Around 15,000 aspirants from neighboring states had arrived in the city to appear for the exam, which was held at as many as 30 centres in government schools and colleges of the city.

Those appearing in the exam mostly belonged to villages of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. They were seen roaming on the roads for want of local bus facility. At the Inter-State Bus Terminus in Sector 17 and 43, the students were seen jumping onto the buses from the windows instead of doors.

They were hanging out of the jam-packed moving buses, turning a blind eye to the risk involved in it. Those who failed to get a space inside or on to the doors of the buses climbed the rooftops.

A large number of students were seen at all the bus stops in the city. Whenever a bus stopped, they were seen jostling for space by pushing each other’s away. It was a total chaos.

Abhay Singh, a resident of Panipat, said: “I face similar situation every time I visit the city to appear for various exams. Everyone is in a hurry to either reach he bus stand or the railways station so that they can reach home early”.

As soon as the exam ended, the city roads witnessed over-loaded three-wheelers zooming between examination centres, Sector-17 bus stand and ISBT-43 to drop the candidates.

Sanjay Nain, a candidate from a village near Sonepat, said: “I had missed my train last time when I had come to take the railway examination just because I avoided travelling in overcrowded local bus to reach the railway station. The UT administration should mobilise more buses on the days when such examinations are to be held, so that the candidates can easily reach the bus stand and railway station”, he said.

Gurnam Singh, a traffic marshal with the Chandigarh Police, stated that the special buses should be driven on days when there are competitive examinations being held in the city to avoid any kind of mishap. The planning should be done in advance by the administration.”

Auto-rickshaw operators have a field day

As the students did not have many options to travel, the auto-rickshaw operators were seen making a quick buck on Sunday. They were overloading the passengers throwing caution to the winds.

One caught for impersonation

Mani Bedi, principal-cum-chief coordinator, Government College for Girls (GCG-42), alleged that Nirmal Singh, resident of Naina, Kaithal district, Haryana, was caught appearing in the SSC examination in place of actual candidate Ravinder Kumar. The accused has been arrested and a case has been registered.

Vendors overcharge

Vendors at the bus stand too overcharged the students for bottled water as there was not enough drinking water at the ISBT in Sectors 17 and 43.



Deshraj told me he’d give his statement later, ASP tells CBI
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
“I am unaware of any deal or demand of Rs 5 lakh bribe made to Inspector Anokh Singh by SP Deshraj for twisting statements in the departmental inquiry against him. I had gone to meet SP Deshraj on the morning of October 18 to record his statement as I am the inquiry officer and he is the 10th witness in the departmental inquiry. Deshraj told me that he will get his statements recorded later so I had to return,” Additional SP Shivcharan, who is under scanner as he finds mention in the recorded conversation told this to the CBI during his interrogation at their Sector-30 office today.

ASP Shivcharan, who had applied for a week-long leave yesterday, was summoned to the CBI office this morning after his leave was cancelled by the UT SSP following a CBI communiqué to the police that the ASP’s presence was required for recording of statements into the case. Shivcharan went to the CBI office at 10.30 am and was grilled for over three hours by the CBI sleuths. The statements of Shivcharan today to the CBI that Deshraj asked him to come later have emerged as another strong evidence against Deshraj with the CBI as Deshraj was at that time finalising the alleged deal of Rs 1 lakh bribe with Inspector Anokh Singh for giving him a clean chit. It was on the evening of October 18 that the CBI had laid a trap at the Sector-23 residence of SP Deshraj and arrested him while accepting the first installment of Rs 1 lakh bribe.

Shivcharan was conducting both the departmental inquiries against Inspector Anokh Singh, SHO Sector 26 police station, which were initiated on a report by Deshraj.

Arrested IPS officer, SP (city) Deshraj Singh, was the 10th witness in the departmental inquiry against Anokh Singh and only his statements were pending. Statements of SP Deshraj before Shivcharan were crucial in giving a clean chit to the Inspector in the departmental inquiry against him.

In the recorded conversation Deshraj is heard telling Anokh that the report by an IPS officer never goes waste and that Shivcharan met him in the morning.

The inquiries against Inspector Anokh were initiated for willful disobedience and insubordination as Inspector Anokh had failed to inform Deshraj about a theft at an MLA residence on September 28.

14-day judicial custody for ASP

The CBI court on Sunday remanded SP (City) Deshraj Singh in judicial custody of 14 days after the investigating agency sought his judicial remand. He will now be produced in court on November 3. Counsel for the defence SK Garg on Sunday sought the recorded conversation of Deshraj with Inspector Anokh Singh from the CBI and pleaded the court to direct the CBI to provide the same. The defence pleaded that they had to move the bail application thus they needed to know the details of the alleged transcript. The CBI officers told the court that they needed to consult their senior officers on whether they could provide the transcript to the defence counsel or not and would give the decision on Tuesday



SP (City) lodged in Barrack No. 10 with ten other prisoners
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
SP (City) Deshraj Singh entered the premises of the Burail jail at 10.30 am and was lodged at Barrack Number 10, which is usually meant for public servants and high-profile officers arrested in criminal cases. It is the same barrack where former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore had spent a considerable amount of time after he was imprisoned in the Ruchika molestation case.

Deshraj will share his barrack with 10 other prisoners, including two police officers.

Deshraj will share the barrack with Sub Inspector Naveen Sharma who was caught taking Rs 5 lakh bribe by the CBI last month. Naveen saluted his senior as he entered the barrack.

Another Sub Inspector Kulwarnjeet Singh Cheema of the Mani Majra police station who was arrested last month by the CBI for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 is also lodged in the same barrack and also saluted the officer.

Jail sources said SI Naveen and SP Deshraj shared a conversation for some time. Deshraj then went to rest in the small barrack, which is adjoining the main barrack. As many as 10 prisoners are lodged in the main barrack which also has a television facility since it lodges high-profile criminals.

Sources said Deshraj was served jail food and no one came to meet him on Sunday.



Labourer dies as wall caves in
Tribune News Service

A rescued labourer being rushed to the hospital.
A rescued labourer being rushed to the hospital. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Chandigarh, October 21
A labourer died and two others were injured after a six feet wall at a hotel site under construction in Sector 18 caved in this evening. Sita Ram, a labourer, whose body was taken out from the debris after an intensive operation by the police and fire brigade was declared brought dead at the hospital.

Two others labourers, Umesh Kumar and Manoj Kumar, were rescued and are admitted to the Government Multi Speciality Hospital with injuries. The rescue operation went on for an hour.

As many as 12 labourers were working at the under construction site of Jallundhur Hotel in Sector 18 opposite the church at the time of the incident and three were trapped in the debris as the wall collapsed. Another four of them managed to save themselves, the remaining were trapped in the mud and were pulled out by a team of the fire brigade.

Sita Ram who died is a resident of Burail and hails from Nepal. The police has booked contractor Krishan in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304 A of the IPC. The case has been registered at the Sector 19 police station. He is absconding.

It was found that the owner of the building was carrying on the construction without getting the building plan passed from the estate office.

DC Mohammad Shayin said the work was being carried out despite the owner being issued notice for executing the work without approval.

The DC said the victims would be compensated. Senior UT administration and police officials reached the spot as the rescue operation was being carried out.


Ride on city roads gets adventurous
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

A damaged road in Sector 22, Chandigarh.
A damaged road in Sector 22, Chandigarh.

Chandigarh, October 21
Despite the municipal corporation making tall claims of having initiated work on various roads in the city, commuters' ordeal seems far from ending.

A number of roads, especially in the southern part of the city, are potholed.

However, the civic body is yet to get most of the damaged roads repaired.

What needs to be done?

Of the total 1,000 V-6 roads in the city, re-carpeting of nearly 300 roads (covering about 150 km) is yet to be started. Most of the roads in southern sectors lack maintenance. These have not been repaired for months. While main roads in the city, including Madhya Marg and Jan Marg, that connect Sectors 7, 8, 9, 20 and 17, are being repaired and maintained regularly, those inside the residential areas and less-populated areas are yet to catch the attention of the civic body.

A road in a pathetic condition in Sector 38 (West), Chandigarh.
A road in a pathetic condition in Sector 38 (West), Chandigarh. 

Damaged roads

The main roads separating Sectors 33 and 34 have not only developed potholes, but are also uneven. Even the road surrounding the roundabout which divides the two sectors is highly uneven and leads to waterlogging during rainy season. The condition of the slip road leading to Sector 35 is no better. Roads around residential areas in Sector 22 and those inside Indira Colony, Ramdarbar and Bapudham, also need repairs. The main road separating Sectors 38 and 38 (West) and Sectors 20 and 21 need to be levelled.

When contacted MC Superintending Engineer, Building and Roads (B and R), Mukesh Anand said, "The work on a number of roads has already been initiated. All roads will be re-carpeted by the year-end. The delay in inviting tenders for patch work led to the problem."

Tenders have been floated 13 times over the past year. However, a few bidders came forward as the MC failed to revise its estimates in accordance with prevailing market rates. The civic body, rather, continues to depend upon Punjab PWD (B and R), common schedule of rates.

Some roads have outlived

Admitting that some of the roads in the city have even outlived, Anand said, "The re-carpeting of the road separating Sectors 33 and 34 has not been done since 2006. The situation is similar at Sector 38. The re-carpeting of these roads tops the priority list.

residents speak
In the past 10 years, I have rarely seen the MC officials repairing potholed roads. The road adjacent to the mela ground is constantly jammed with traffic and irregular lanes of vehicles. Not only is the road full of potholes in many places, heavy traffic adds to the misery of commuters. I avoid taking this road between 2-4pm and 5-8pm as in the absence of traffic policemen, traffic jams are a routine affair on the road

Tavneet Duggal, a resident of Sector 34

It becomes difficult for us to commute on these ill-maintained roads. Our area, especially around the lights, often witnesses traffic congestion problem which gets intensified due to potholed roads. In order to avoid bumping into potholes, commuters drive in a zig-zag manner

Nikhil Garg, a resident of Sector 38

Roads in the sector are full of potholes. With the onset of festive season, traffic jams become a routine occurrence. Despite shoddy repairs done by the municipal corporation, roads are in a bad shape. The roads must be widened as these see a huge flow of traffic everyday

Neelam Dhupar, a resident of Sector 34



Complaints against banking, insurance sectors go up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
As per the number of cases filed in the UT Consumer Forum, banking, insurance and real estate are the three sectors that have had the maximum number of complaints against them by consumers in Chandigarh.

"The cases being filed against banks and insurance companies have gone up considerably over the past four years," said officials at the forum.

"The nexus between banks and insurance companies has been resulting in maximum cases being filed against the two sectors. In a majority of cases, which have come up in the past couple of months, the consumers complained of inadequate information (the terms and conditions) being provided by the banks and insurance companies," said an official.

"The cases related to service sector have increased over the past couple of years because the overall standards of services are going down. The emphasis is on quantity and not quality. Customer satisfaction takes a back seat once the payment has been received," said another official.

Records available with the forum state that earlier the highest number of cases used to be filed against telecom companies.

"The complaints against the companies (for poor network) are not being addressed at the forum now," said the official.

Consumers, meanwhile, said, "It is blind faith that results in consumers' harassment. Neena Yadav, a resident of Sector 24, who had appealed in the forum against a private insurance company, a few years ago, said, "The agent became friends with my husband, soon after paying two-three visits for describing the policy. Considering him a genuine person, we opted for the policy he suggested. We later came to know about the other terms and conditions through a policy statement-which the agent had concealed from us."

Number of cases filed in previous quarter (April to June)

Banking : 1,890
Insurance: 2,865
Real estate: 1,202

In a majority of cases, which have come up in the past couple of months, consumers complained of inadequate information (the terms and conditions) being provided by the banks and insurance companies



Open House Response
UT doing little to contain dengue

It is a matter of concerns for all local residents. The alarming number of dengue cases in the city, pin point to the casual approach of the UT Health Department in initiating sincere and effective preventive measures to control dengue. The authorities concerned have regularly been informed about the rising dengue cases, but the department seems to be unaware about the gravity of the situation. The officials of the department concerned claimed to have initiated regular fumigation drives in the city ahead of the rainy season. However, media revealed that the fumigation drive was not initiated by the department until mid-September when near about 50 per cent of the cases had already been reported in the city.

Puran Kant

Sector 37, Chandigarh

Administration must ensure proper hygiene

Dengue is assuming almost epidemic proportion with each passing year and is potentially getting more dangerous than malaria particularly in the absence of any vaccine or drug having dependable efficacy against this virus, which is capable of rapid genetic mutations.

The administration should check all leaking water supply lines, drains to ensure proper hygiene. Keep swimming pool water well-treated and circulated, disburse oil film on water surface of ponds and pools and there should be periodic rotational fogging with different pesticides.

Subhash Vats


Residents, authorities both are to be blamed

This year more than 141 cases of dengue have been reported till date. The mosquitoes often breed in stagnant water that may include water stored in open vessels, accumulated in empty vessels like flowerpots, tyres left out in the open and stagnant sewer pipes. Humid conditions prevailing in the area has become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes.

The administration has a big role to play in checking the spread of dengue. Though the officials claimed that they initiated regular fumigation in the city, the residents deny that claim and said that the sanitation work done was not satisfactory.

The residents and the authorities both are to be blamed. The councillors are people’s representatives and are accountable to them. It is the common man who suffers because of non-cooperative attitude of the authorities. Keeping in view the gravity of the situation, the authorities as well as general public should act together. The authorities should set up a separate emergency wing in hospitals for the dengue patients.

Vadya Sagar Garg

Mani Majra

Admn claims fall flat

The tall claims of the Chandigarh Administration and Municipal Corporation fell flat with the death of a nine-year-old boy at GMCH-32. Moreover, overcrowded hospitals with dengue patients expose the working of the authorities concern. In GMSH-16 alone, 500 cases of ferver comes daily, Civil Hospital, Mohali, reported more than 60 confirmed cases and 25 confirmed cases at General Hospital, Panchkula. A large number of patients are also coming to the city from adjoining areas.

There are 139 confirmed cases have been reported so far in the Chandigarh alone as compared to 182 cases in 2006, 99 in 2007, 167 in 2008, 25 in 2009, 73 in 2011. Neglected periphery areas, including southern sectors, are the victims where basic amenities never reach. The parents are reluctant to send their children to schools and parks to play in fear of dengue.

Chandigarh Administration as well as the Municipal Corporation is not serious in tackling the matter. Awareness campaign should have been started when signal case of dengue was reported. Fogging seems to have been done in the VVIP areas only. Arrangements for plenty of platelets in the hospital should be made.

Kulbhushan Kanwar


Patients not given proper treatment

Administration is to be blamed for its failure to check spread of dengue in the city. It has been noticed that the Health Department had not devised any plan for controlling the disease. Moreover, it has been putting up wrong figures of patients visiting the city’s hospitals.

Even this year, there have been two deaths in the city that has found no mention in the health bulletins issued by the department. It has been reported that over 500 patients visit the premier hospitals of the city every day. These patients are being accommodated in the hospitals in conditions that are simply pathetic. People who have been detected with dengue are getting one or two day’s treatment only.

It is a matter of concern that an all time high number of 265 confirm cases have been reported, of which 165 are from the city alone. The residents should keep drinking water covered and ensure that not even a small quantity of water accumulates at any place.

Satish Chandra Sharma


Deadly dengue

With the dengue outbreak in the tricity, there is a need to intensify preventive measures. Prevention mainly depends on control of and protection from the mosquito bites, which can be done by eliminating its habitats .

This is done by not allowing stagnant water in containers, trash cans and flower pots. There should be limited exposure to mosquitoes, which can be done by wearing fully-covered clothes and staying indoors two hours after sunrise and before sunset. The Health Department must carry on spraying in the city along with surveying the vulnerable and high-risk areas. Distribution of mosquito coils, medicines, water sanitising powder for standing water, cleaning dirty by lanes and creating awareness about importance of maintaining hygiene must be done. Also, students can be engaged to spread awareness in different areas through posters, pamphlets, newspapers and radio.

Shruti K Chawla


Awareness programmes should be intensified

With rising cases of dengue, it is time to intensify the awareness programmes on the disease through posters, pamphlets, advertisements and radio. All strata of society need to be aware of the dreadfulness of the disease and how a few simple measures can protect one from the disease. The main reason for dengue outbreak in the city is lack of preventive measures taken by the health department. This year, not much vector control measures like fogging, spraying and entomological surveys were done. Lack of adequate control measures, timely action and lack of disease surveillance have led to the current situation. It is high time the Health Department officials pulled up their socks and intensify the preventive measures like fogging, spraying and surveys.

Large number of employees must be involved to fight dengue menace. City hospitals must also gear up.

Vineet Kapoor


Admn wakes up late

A sense of fear has gripped the city residents with rising number of dengue cases in the tricity.

The present situation belies the tall claims of the civic body as well as the Chandigarh Administration. A majority of residents contracting the disease were from villages and other periphery areas. This shows the lethargic and ineptness of the Administration to handle the situation. It is astonishing to see the Administration increasing the drive against dengue after its spread. Health budget needs to be increased to a considerable extent.

Apart from creating awareness, complete ban on sale of cut fruits is the basic need of the hour. There is a greater need to make adequate arrangements to ensure proper sanitation, especially of the slum areas.

SK Khosla

Sector 40 C, Chandigarh

Open House Question

The arrest of Superintendent of Police, Desh Raj, in a case of corruption has exposed the menace of corruption within Chandigarh Police. The level of corruption can be gauged from the fact that a Station House Officer (SHO), who commands a large area for maintaining law and order, had to pay bribe to his seniors. It throws open several questions about the state of affairs in the police department. Write your suggestions on what needs to be done to bring down the corruption in the police department to openhouse@tribunemail.com



Police Commemoration Day observed
Tribune News Service

Police personnel reverse their guns as a mark of respect  at Sector 17 in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Police personnel reverse their guns as a mark of respect at Sector 17 in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, October 21
On occasion of Police Commemoration Day, parade was held in Home Guards Ground near police station, Sector 17, Chandigarh, in the memory of martyrs. Contingents of Chandigarh Police and Haryana Police participated in the parade and paid homage by reversing arms.

Alok Kumar, DIG, who was the chief mourner, read over the names of 574 officers and jawans, who lost their lives in the cause of duty, during the last year.

The DIG lauded the sacrifice of these martyrs, who lost their lives while protecting the security and the integrity of the country. He paid homage to the martyrs by laying wreath on the memorial, which stands constructed in the lawns of police station, Sector 17, Chandigarh. He was followed by other officers of police and paramilitary forces, serving as well as retired, in paying the homage.

Haryana police holds function

Panchkula: The Haryana police held a function to mark its commemoration day at the Police Lines, Sector 26, Panchkula, today. Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) Ranjiv Dalal presided over the function.

All senior officials, including Panchkula Commissioner of Police KK Sharma and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Parul Kush were present on the occasion.

Dalal said 570 Jawans sacrificed their lives this year. Four of them were from the Haryana police while others were constable Raj Kumar, a resident of Jind, constable Sanjay Kumar, a resident of Sirsa, constable Ram Niwara from Panipat and constable Mahabir Singh from Faridabad.



foundation stone laying ceremony
Differences between MC officials, councillors come to fore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Differences between the MC officials and councillors came to the fore during the foundation stone laying ceremony of Government Primary School in Sector 49 today. Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga seemed upset over the fact that he was not invited to the function.

"Despite putting in efforts for setting up the school, the officials have ignored me. I did not receive any written invitation or an official phone call for today's function. This is highly disappointing. I believe that the officials were taken aback with the questions that I had raised during the last General House meeting," said Bahga.

He added that he received a call from another councillor HC Kalyan at 4.30 pm today while the function was scheduled for 5 pm. "Kalyan did not know that I was not invited to the function."

City Mayor Raj Bala Malik laid down the foundation stone of the school in Sector 49. While addressing a gathering, the Mayor said, "The project is coming up at a cost of Rs 323.73 lakh on an area of 24,758 square feet. It was a long pending demand of the residents living in various housing societies."

The total plot area of the school will be 1.133 acre.

Three storeys of the school will be completed within 18 months. Ground floor will comprise six classrooms, principal's room, office, two toilets each for girls and boys. On the first floor, seven classrooms, staff room, lab, two girls and boys toilets will be constructed.



District admn fails to rein in practice
Service charges on food items
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Paying no heed to the orders issued by the Chandigarh Administration, the district administration has failed to take action against owners of restaurants levying service charges on food items.

The orders were issued by the Administration on the directions of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs that had declared that the practice was illegal. The restaurants levy service charges ranging between 5 per cent and 10 per cent in addition to other taxes.

Earlier, the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner had already clarified to the Administration that it was not their area and such service charges were illegal and could not be levied.

Bringing the anomaly to the notice of the UT Administrator, Ajay Jagga, a city-based lawyer, said no action had been taken by the home department on the issue despite several representations made in this regard in the past one year.

"These illegal service charges are being collected in Chandigarh by various restaurants in the city, despite the fact that in 2006, following the orders of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the Chandigarh Administration had ordered an inquiry and these charges were declared illegal.



Monica’s death
Kin, students seek justice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Relatives and students of the deceased, Monica Goyal, 36-year-old computer teacher, who died under mysterious circumstances last week, held a candlelit march seeking justice for her. She was declared brought dead on last Monday at the Sector 16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital. While her in-laws claimed Monica had hanged herself to death, her parents accused her in-laws of murdering her. They also protested outside the Sector 19 police station on Thursday, alleging foul play.

Today, several members of the family and friends, besides students and teachers of New India Public school, where Monica used to teach, held a candlelit piece march, starting from Monica's parental house in Sector 17 to Sector 17 plaza. They also went to her in-laws' house and shouted slogans against them.



‘Heroes’ of Ramlilas
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
Meet these city-based artistes who have been performing at Ramlilas for over two decades.

Man with boisterous laugh

It is the boisterous laugh of 45-year-old Ashok Chaudhary that sets him apart from the other actors playing Ravana in the city.

Since 1984, Ashok has been performing for the Azad Dramatic Club, Sector 20, entertaining the crowd with his acting skills. He has also been awarded for playing the role. “I started with soft roles at Ramlila, but very soon I realised that I could fit well into Ravana’s role, and then my journey started,” he said.

He informed that in the last 29 years, he has played other characters too, but Ravana’s character remained his main forte. “Though it’s a very challenging job, I play this role with the immense passion, and that perhaps is the reason why audience relates to me,” he said.

In pious mode

38-years-old Sanjay Kumar, a high court employee, has been playing Ram’s character at Sector 7 Ramlila for the last 21 years. It has had a positive influence on his life, he feels. “I have left all the bad habits over the years, as I kept playing this role,” said Sanjay. He said Ram was such a character that could not be played without internalising him, and for this a person required constant discipline in life. “I have seen how the audience seeks Ram’s reflection in me when I perform this role on stage, he said.

Jack of all trades

40-year-old Vikram Bisht was 10 years old when he first performed at a Ramlila, and since then he has donned several roles. “I don’t like to restrict myself to a particular role and that is the reason I have played different characters,” said Vikram, who is playing Ravana at Sector 28 Ramlila. He said that all the characters in Ramlila are interesting and challenging and always demand extra efforts from artistes. His father was the founder of Sector 28 Ramlila, a legacy that he is carrying on.

Leaving positive impression

For the last 25 years, there has not been even a single year, when 40-year-old Bachittar Singh, a government employee, has not performed on the stage. Known for portraying Kaikai and Surpanakha at Sector 21 Ramlila, Bachittar Singh said that even though he often played negative characters, he always tried to leave a positive impression on the minds of the audience, so that they could learn something from the negativity.

“I think every character of Ramayana has relevance even today. For example, Surpanakha symbolises jealousy, and Kaikai is an example of ambition, which is a common problem these days. Ramlila is the best platform for teaching us how to make a balance in life,” said Bachittar Singh.



Navratras offerings abound with dollars and pounds at Mansa Devi shrine
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 21
It is not just the Indian currency that is being received at the Mansa Devi temple during Navratras, but foreign currency is also being offered by the devotees.

Till now the shrine has received foreign currency from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, USA and Canada. “Every year we receive foreign currency. Even today, devotees have donated a lot of dollars and pounds,” said DP Dattana, chief executive officer of the shrine.

Around Aus $70, Canadian $60, US $175 and GBP 420 have been offered by the devotees.

Dattana further said, “We are expecting more foreign currency in the last two days. By the end of the week, the target of the last few years would be crossed for sure.”

It is not just the non-resident Indians or foreigners who offer the foreign currency, but even the local devotees.

“Though I reside here in Panchkula, I had received some dollars from my aunt who lives in the USA. So I decided that this time, for a change, I will offer those dollars to the Goddess,” said Nandish Swaha, a resident of Sector 12.

“I have come to visit my cousin’s place in India. They told me that this is a religious fair and the Goddess Mansa is paid obeisance during these nine days. We don’t have such fairs in our country. It is good to be a part of this fair,” said Catherine, who had come from England.

She further added, “It is great to be a part of such religious events. I am surprised to see how much faith the Indians have in their gods and goddesses.”

As many as 90,000 devotees visited the temple to pay obeisance today, with donations amounting to Rs 12 lakh. Till now the shrine has received Rs 68 lakh in donations.



Theft at PNR Jewellers
Police yet to identify accused
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
A day after jewellery worth Rs 7 lakh was reportedly stolen from PNR Jewellers in Sector 34, the police has failed to identify the accused seen in the CCTV footage.

Four women had managed to whisk a diamond set right under the nose of the jeweller on Friday afternoon.

Pardeep Bansal, the owner of PNR Jewellers in Sector 34, complained to the police that four women with their faces covered managed to steal a diamond set worth Rs 7 lakh from his shop.

Staff members and the security guard were on duty at the shop.

As per the police FIR, the four women got off two separate rickshaws outside his shop and were wearing long coats. While one of the four sat in the security guard's chair outside, complaining of suffocation and another stood close to the counter, the other two walked into the shop. "To distract our attention from the counter, the woman at the counter went to ask the security guard for a light to smoke a cigarette," said Bansal.

As the security guard went around looking for a matchbox, the woman re-entered the shop and picked up a diamond set off the counter and hid it in her jacket.

It was later in the evening during stock checking that the jeweller realised that the diamond set was missing. The owner went through the CCTV footage of the entire day and found out the culprits. The police was informed about the incident and the CCTV footage is being used to identify the women.



Chandigarh Scan
Blood donation camp

Agrasen Jayanti was celebrated with great fervour at Aggarwal Bhawan, Sector 30, on Sunday. A blood donation camp was organised in the morning. It was inaugurated by Rahul Gupta, assistant estate officer, Chandigarh. Over 125 units of blood were collected at the camp. The chief guest also distributed certificates to students of computer courses and stitching centre, a few of the initiatives taken by Chandigarh’s Aggarwal Sabha for imparting skills to students from poor Aggarwal families. All the office-bearers were present on the occasion. An eye donation desk was also setup where 30 persons pledged to donate their eyes.

Office-bearers elected

The general annual elections of Chandigarh Nagrik Vikas Manch were held on Sunday. Satish Chandra Sharma was elected as the chief patron, while Teja Singh became the patron. The other office-bearers include Pawan Kumar Sharma, chairman; Mohd Sadik, Bhajan Kaur, Amar Jeet Singh Gujral, and Bhupinder Kaur Sarangpur, and RP Sharma, vice chairmen. Former Mayor Surinder Singh got elected as the president, while SS Bhardwaj became the secretary general.

Pumping station inaugurated

Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurated pumping station for tertiary treated water at Sector 28 on Sunday. In order to conserve the fresh water being used for irrigation purposes, a project for supply of tertiary treated water was conceived at a cost of Rs 36.72 crore in the year 2007 under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Out of the four underground reservoirs, three have been completed and commissioned. Work on the fourth UGR is in progress and it will be commissioned next month. With the commissioning of the pumping station, the northern sectors, including parts of Sectors 1 to 12 and Sectors 26 and 28, will receive water for irrigation of green belts, gardens, neighbourhood parks and houses having area of more than one kanal.

Panchkula Scan
Freshers’ party

On the onset of the new academic session, students of Panchkula Engineering College hosted a freshers’ party, “Aghaaz 2012” on the campus. The four-hour long event was well attended by students and management, who witnessed various cultural performances.

mohali Scan
Litigation camp

The Education Secretary-cum-Chairman of Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) is holding a special camp for disposal of court cases of employees of the education department and the PSEB. The camp is being organised to bring down the cases of litigation.

Technology festival

Robo-wars, an event where robots competed in a ring, and Robo-run, a new event in which move on a track as fast as possible, added new dimensions to Esperanza-2012, the ongoing four-day tech fest at the Doaba Group of Colleges, Kharar. The festival provided an opportunity to young minds to display their talent, exchange new ideas and experience new horizons. Budding technocrats participated in technical, cultural, literary and fine arts events. — TNS



pu senate
List of nominated members eagerly awaited
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
With the tenure of the new Panjab University Senate set to begin from November 1, everybody is awaiting the list of nominated members, which is expected to be released later this week. The strength of different groups of Senators in the House will depend on this list of 36 nominated members.

The candidates in fray for getting nominated to the Senate, including many PU teachers, are eagerly waiting for the list that would decide their fate. Interestingly, the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) president is also in the race to get nominated to the Senate.

Senior PU officials said that the last time, in 2008, the list of nominated members was declared on October 26, a few days before the new term began its tenure. It is expected that the names of the nominated members would be declared by the end of this week, they said.

The Vice-President of India, who is also the Chancellor of the university, finalises the list of nominated members.

Sources said that PU teachers who were nominated during the last tenure have once again tried their luck by sending representations directly to the Chancellor. “There are also many contenders who have applied for a nomination after recently losing the Senate elections,” sources said.

Senators who have been re-elected for the next term said that the list of nominated Senators will also decide the strength of different groups in the Senate. “Lobbying for the next term has been started by the two existing groups in the Senate; however, everything depends on the people who get nominated,” sources said.

There are a total of 91 members in the Senate, out of which 47 are elected, 36 are nominated, two are MLA’s from Punjab and the remaining seats are reserved for ex-officio members. The term of the Senate is four years.



Day of nostalgia at UIAMS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
It was a day of nostalgia for the 82 former students of the University Institute of Applied Management and Sciences (UIAMS) who attended the alumni meet, Samyukt, at Panjab University today.

The first batch of the UIAMS department passed in 2010, and 540 students have graduated from the institute so far. To make it a memorable day, the students were asked to share their experiences which were filmed by the faculty of the institute.

The department also created an alumni placement cell, which would be helping the alumni to look for alternative jobs if they are willing to shift their job.

The old students were also told about the ways to cope with job pressures and techniques to balance their personal and professional life.

The alumni also promised to help their juniors in getting placements after completing their course. The day concluded with a cultural event, with teachers presenting dance performances too.



Talking books’ add fun to learning
Panchkula school is first in the region to introduce the book
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 21
In first of its kind in the region, talking books have been introduced in the syllabi of a Panchkula school. Getting the concept from United Kingdom (UK), The Gurukul, Sector 20, has introduced talking books in its syllabi which will teach children like a teacher.

Available in languages like English, Spanish, German, Chinese and French, there is a special decoder in the shape of dolphin which will narrate and explain the chapters. Even the stories, rhymes and vocabulary will be explained by the ‘dolphin teacher’.

“This has been introduced to add fun to education. The books look just like usual ones but the printing is coded. One has to touch a particular line or character with the ‘dolphin teacher’ and it will speak explaining the matter,” Harsimran Kaur, principal of The Gurukul.

She further added, “Parents are not aware of the correct pronunciation of many words. Moreover, there are parents who can’t spend all the time with their children. So, talking books can play their role.”

The ‘dolphin teacher’ is supported by a battery and it runs for a week after being charged. Though the concept has been introduced in the UK, these books have been introduced here keeping in mind the need of Indian students.

Instead of the normal and boring books, one learns along with the background of music too.

“The talking books have been introduced in the syllabus of juniors and by next year it will be introduced for the seniors as well,” added a teacher.

Even the characters in the text books speak when touched by the ‘dolphin teacher’. Recording can also be done in the decoder.

“It feels great when you learn things with the right accent. The best part is that when your parents or teachers are busy, your ‘dolphin teacher’ can teach you,” said Ritika, a student of the junior wing.

“As we are working, we could not devote time to our children. But now, the talking books can easily help my children learn,” said Vishu Dua, a parent, resident of Sector 20, Panchkula.



Researchers deliberate on physical education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
A three-day international conference on physical education and sports sciences is being held at the Gymnasium Hall of Panjab University. The second day witnessed researchers sharing their views on the physical education and sports sciences. Earlier, on the first day, more than 50 papers were presented by national and international speakers.

The main focus of the conference remained on health, physical education, sports and wellness in schools. Union Minister of Parliament Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal was the chief guest on the inaugural day.

The conference is being held under the aegis of the International Forum of Physical Education and Sports Science.



from schools
Personality development

Bharat Vikas Parishad organised its fifth personality development workshop in the current academic session. The organisation regularly conducts workshops for personality development of meritorious students studying in Classes IX and X of government schools, who belong to financially weaker sections of the society. Over 100 students attended the workshop. Om Kanojia, working with an IT company, through documentary films and PowerPoint presentation explained the students how they could develop leadership qualities why it was very important to take initiative and lead a team to climb the corporate ladder. Ashok Goyal, director, Saksharta Project, informed that there was a remarkable improvement in the students who had regularly attended the workshop in the past. He also distributed a book on Swami Vivekananda to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary.

Inter-school debate competition

Chandigarh: Vivek High School, Sector 38, hosted The Annual Interschool English Debate Competition. Twelve schools from the northern region participated in the competition. These schools included Vasant Valley School, New Delhi; Punjab Public School, Nabha; Pinegrove School, Sabathu; and city-based St John’s High School, Carmel Convent School, Sacred Heart School, Shivalik Public School, and Guru Nanak Public School. The topics for the debate ranged from “religion unifies humanity”, “building bridges, not boundaries”, “competition strengthens character”.

Awareness camp

On the occasion of World Osteoporosis Day, the health and wellness club of Gurukul Global School, Mani Majra, organised an osteoporosis awareness camp in collaboration with Arthroscopy and Spinal Endoscopy Centre, Chandigarh, on the school premises. UT Home and Health Secretary was the chief guest on the occasion. Dr Mohinder Kaushal, an eminent spine surgeon and renowned orthopaedic consultant, delivered a lecture on the disease. He said that “the silent epidemic of osteoporosis” should not be ignored, and that it could be treated.

Discussion on pre-schools

To generate awareness about the importance of preschool education in a child’s life, a session, “I Play I Learn”, was held for parents and children at Euro Kids, Sector 18, on Sunday. The participants aimed at generating awareness about role of specialist preschools in shaping a child’s future.

Science seminar

Panchkula: The Society for Promotion of Science and Technology in India (SPSTI) conducted an informative seminar on “Nobel Prize-2012 in Physics” at Hansraj Public School. The students were enlightened on research work done by Serge Haroche and David J Wineland, Nobel Prize winners in Physics this year, with a special emphasis on their work on quantum computers. — TNS



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