C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rs 17 lakh, jewellery stolen from house
family was away to attend a wedding when theft took place; servants missing
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 20
In a major theft in the city, an amount of Rs 17 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 13 lakh were stolen from a house in Sector 8, Panchkula, when the family was away to attend a wedding last night. The police suspects it to be the handiwork of a domestic help, who, along with his accomplices, is at large.

The house belongs to Vijay Jindal, a businessman, who had gone to attend a wedding at the Sector 5 Parade Ground around 9 pm last night. When the family members returned home at 1.30 am, they found all doors open and their domestic help Tapan and Jindal's other servant Anil (who was employed on Tapan's insistence) absconding.

An amount of Rs 17 lakh was stolen, besides jewellery worth Rs 13 lakh.

Both Tapan and Anil were residing in the servant quarters at the house. Tapan, a resident of Bengal, was working with the family for the past 15 years and had got Anil employed with the businessman. His other friends, Bhanu and Bunpy, often used to visit the residence and they are also at large.

"When the family members reached home, they found all doors and lockers open. They looked for Tapan and Anil's luggage, which was also missing," said a police official.

He said, "The family tried to contact Tapan's friends, but they were also found to be missing, creating suspicion that all of them executed the crime together."

Since Tapan was working with the family for the past 15 years, Jindal employed his friend Anil. The police verification of the servants was not done.

Inspector Mukesh Kumar, SHO of the Sector 5 police station, said, We are making efforts to nab the domestic help and his accomplices."

The police has not been able to crack the case of theft of Rs 25 lakh from the house of BJP leader Krishan Dhull at Sector 12-A, Panchkula, which took place in June this year.



Thieves on the prowl in city
Strike at two houses; four cases of vehicle thefts reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Thieves are on the prowl in the city. Two house burglaries and four vehicle thefts have been reported from the city during the past 24 hours. Thieves struck at two houses and decamped with cash and valuables in separate incidents. A third theft was reported from an SCF in Mani Majra.

In the first incident, Jagdish Parshad, a resident of Sector 29, reported that thieves broke into his house and took away a mobile phone, gold and silver jewellery and Rs 40,000.

The complainant was not at home when the incident took place. When he returned, he found the front door open. The thieves had broken open all cupboards and ransacked the house. The police was informed and reached the spot with a dog squad.

A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered at the Industrial Area police station.

In another incident, Komalpreet Kaur, a resident of Sector 31, reported that an amount of Rs 5,000 and a gold necklace were stolen from her residence. A case has been registered at the Sector 31 police station.

Mukesh Gupta, a resident of Motor Market, Mani Majra, reported that an amount of Rs 12,000 was stolen from his SCF last night.

Besides, four two-wheelers — three bikes and a scooter — were stolen from the city.

Sudarshan Singh, a resident of Sector 35, reported that his motorcycle (CH-01AF-2553) was stolen from near Hotel Solitare, NAC, Mani Majra.

Ashish Kumar, a resident of Sector 21-A, reported that his Yamaha motorcycle (CH-01S-1397) was stolen from Azad Market, Sector 20.

Sumit Sharma, a resident of Maloya village, reported that his Pulsar motorcycle (CH-01AB-2073) was stolen from the parking of Elante Mall in the Industrial Area.

Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Sector 49, reported that his Honda Activa scooter (PB-23J-7339) was stolen from Housing Board Colony, Sector 49. Cases of thefts have been registered in this regard.

Thefts on the rise

A total of 1,210 theft cases have been reported this year -- 688 auto thefts and 522 other thefts. Besides, 200 house burglaries have been reported so far this year.



Rs 32,000 stolen from wedding venue in P’kula

Panchkula, October 20
An amount of Rs 32,000 was stolen from a bag from a wedding venue at Kisan Bhawan, Sector 14, Panchkula. The hand of juvenile thieves is suspected in the crime.

A case has been registered on a complaint of a resident fo the Saket complex in Delhi, Uday Veer, who had come to attend a wedding and was putting up with his family at Kisan Bhawan.

He said he had left his bag containing cash and ATM cards in the room while attending the wedding at Kisan Bhawan. When he came back, he found the cash missing. However, the ATM cards were there.

Inspector Dalip Kumar, SHO of the Sector 14 police station, said, “It could be the handiwork of minors. We are also interrogating the staff deployed at the bhawan during the wedding.” — TNS



Panchkula CBI Special Magistrate dies of heart attack
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 20
Panchkula CBI Special Magistrate-cum-Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Atul Marya (38) died of a heart attack this morning. Marya was considered one of the best judges in Panchkula and Chandigarh.

Marya was jogging on his treadmill at his residence in Sector 14, Panchkula, this morning when all of a sudden he complained of severe chest pain and vomited. He was taken to the General Hospital,Sector 6, Panchkula, and suffered an attack on the way in the car.

A team of doctors spent around 35 minutes trying to revive him, but could not succeed. Marya is survived by his wife and two sons.

"We tried hard for around 35 minutes. We then told the family members that nothing can be done now. However, the family requested to take him to a private hospital hoping for a miracle," said Dr Sanjeev Trehan, Senior Medical Officer.

Marya had done a PhD in law and was recently appointed CBI Magistrate in Panchkula after holding another court in the district. His promotion was due.

Jaibir Singh Hooda, Additional District Judge, who has recently been posted to Kaithal from Panchkula after promotion, was in a state of shock. He said, "We were batchmates and got our first posting together at Sirsa. He was such a happy-go-lucky person that every morning he would first send good day wishes to all his contacts on either Facebook or WhatsApp."

He said, "When I shifted my luggage from Panchkula on October 13, I met him and he told me that whenever I happen to visit Panchkula next time, I should stay with him at his residence. Little did I know that we were meeting for the last time then."

Marya had actively participated in a camp of the District Legal Services Authority at the Mansa Devi temple during the Navratras.

Karwa Chauth

Marya's wife Anju Marya was preparing to observe the Karwa Chauth fast for the long life of her husband, but fate had something else in store for her. The family was in a state of shock and inconsolable.



Miscreants involved in youth’s kidnapping identified: Police
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 20
The local police claims to have identified the miscreants involved in yesterday’s kidnapping of an insurance agent at Phase IV here. According to the police, the victim, Gurpreet Singh, was beaten up and later kidnapped by his girlfriend’s "new friend" and his acquaintances last night. Gurpreet Singh was thrown near Sohana village by the accused, one of whom has reportedly been identified as Meeka. Gurpreet Singh has been admitted to the Civil Hospital at Phase VI here.

Area DSP Rajinder Singh Sohal said the victim had an affair with a girl for the past three years. She was his colleague in an insurance company.

“Yesterday, the girl, along with a youth (believed to her new friend), visited the victim’s residence at Phase IV to collect her roll number for her compartment exam. Gurpreet Singh was attacked by four or five youngsters, armed with baseball bats, sticks and rods, at around 10 pm last night and taken away forcibly by the assailants in their Accent car,” said the DSP.

In his statement, the victim said he had not seen the youngster, who came with the girl, before.

“We have identified the accused. Our teams have been raiding their possible hideouts. They will be arrested soon,” the DSP said.

The police has registered a case of attempt to murder and kidnapping under Sections 307, 364, 348, 349, 323, 506 and 427 of the IPC against five persons at the Phase 1 police station.



Winter shocker: No woollen jersey in school uniform
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
After a delay in getting the summer school uniform, students of UT government schools are now in for a jolt regarding the winter uniform. Schools are procuring the winter uniform without any woollen jersey or sweater.

In the winter school uniform, provided free of cost under the RTE Act, boy students will get a full-sleeved shirt and a pair of trousers, while girls will get salwar-kameez (girls of primary classes will get a tunic and a full-sleeved shirt).

In 2010, the Education Department gave a woollen jersey each, besides other basic apparel to the students. However, in its latest directions issued to the government schools, there is no provision for any woollen apparel.

“What is the difference between the summer and winter uniform if there is no woollen garment in the winter uniform,” questioned Sachin Sharma, who runs an NGO in Chandigarh.

According to him, the purpose of providing benefits like school uniform is to serve as a motivation for students, especially those from a poor background, but the exercise does not seem to be yielding the desired results.

Vinod Sharma, president of the Government Teachers Union and head of Government High School, Sector 34, said there should be a provision for a woollen garment in the winter school uniform. Earlier, the department used to provided warm socks to the students along with a sweater. “We will give a representation to the department soon on the issue,” he said.

A government school head said on condition of anonymity that free benefits like school uniform, mid-day meal and free notebooks were started keeping in mind students belonging to a poor background. However, the half-hearted approach had failed to yield the desired results. The department should provide all facilities. If it was a shortage of funds from the Central Government, the UT Administration could arrange funds on its own, he said.

Government schools have already begun the process of procuring the winter school uniform and are hoping to distribute the uniform among the students by the end of next month.

DPI (S) Kamlesh Kumar, who recently joined the department, said he would look into the matter.



Better Chandigarh
Poor garbage collection blot on City Beautiful

Chandigarh may be one of the most planned cities of the world but its way of handling garbage leaves much to be desired. 
The Tribune reporter Rajinder Nagarkoti finds out that the waste generated is not yet being segregated

Workers unload garbage at the Dadu Majra dumping ground. Tribune Photos: S Chandan

Heaps of garbage lie close to a public park at Sector 41 in Chandigarh.

The Municipal Corporation spends crores of rupees on the purchase of garbage-lifting vehicles, garbage bins, and rehris, but it has miserably failed to put in place the basic mechanism for the collection and segregation of garbage at the household level and at the Sehaj Safai Kendras (SSKs).

As there is no mechanism for the segregation of garbage, neither at household level nor at the MC level, the garbage, which can be recycled after proper segregation, is being dumped at open spaces.

The MC officials and councillors hardly bother to hold drives to make the residents aware about the importance of garbage segregation. They even do not encourage the residents for the same. As a result, there is no improvement in the garbage-collection system.

Shiv Kumar, manager of a private bank who resides in Sector 38, asked why would a city resident segregate garbage at his home when he knows that the private contractor, who comes to collect garbage at his home, would ultimately mix the segregated garbage in his rehri.

“First, the MC should develop its system of segregation of garbage and then only residents can play their part,” he says.

Deepika Singla, a resident of Sector 27, said the MC should provide polythene bags or dustbins of different colours to the residents and create awareness on garbage segregatopm. Simultaneously, the MC should also develop its system of garbage segregation. The MC and residents should work together for a proper segregation of garbage, which will ultimately improve the garbage-collection system in the city, she said.

Failed projects on garbage segregation

Coloured bins

The Chandigarh Pollution Control Board and the UT Administration issued directions that coloured bins should be installed in vegetable and meat markets so that the segregation of garbage could be done at the markets itself. The coloured bins were placed at the markets, but not much response was received from the residents.

Door-to-door collection of segregated garbage

This project was launched by the UT in 2001. NGOs and the residents' welfare associations were involved in this project. The contractor had to collect garbage in specially designed rickshaws with two separate bins. The project did not take off.

Sehaj Safai Kendras

The MC started this project in 2002 and proposed the setting up of 132 such centres in different sectors. The proposal involved the segregation of the garbage collected from houses at the centres, where coloured bins were to be installed. The authorities had decided that special provisions would be made for domestic-hazard waste. No provision has yet been made for the segregation of garbage at these centres, which have become mere collection centres, from where garbage is sent to the garbage-processing plant at Dadu Majra.


  • MC should provide dustbins/bags of different colours to residents for segregation of garbage.
  • The MC should tie up with a private firm, which can earn revenue by advertising on these bags.
  • Garbage collectors should be directed to keep different boxes for the collection of different types of garbage.
  • Days should be fixed for the collection of different types of garbage.
  • To implement a proper segregation project, the MC should first start a pilot project in a society or in a block of a specific sector. Garbage collectors can refuse to collect garbage of any household, who have not segregated it.
  • Waste from slaughter house, hospitals, fruit and vegetable markets should be done collected separately. *Sanitation Inspectors should be empowered to fine those throwing garbage at public places other than the designated ones.
  • Awareness campaign on cleanliness should be started in schools, places of work, commercial areas.
  • Vacant posts of safai karamcharis should be filled.
  • Special medical care should be provided to safai karamcharis.
  • Proper supervision of safai karamcharis and the contractors' employees needed.
  • The MC should take feedback from residents’ welfare associations and market associations.
  • Not only the MC officials, but also councillors should be given power and responsibility to check the presence of safai karamcharis in their respective areas.
  • Proper training in garbage collection and its segregation should be given to safai karamcharis.
  • Uniform of safai karamcharis should be made mandatory.
  • Individuals should take responsibility to clean the city because ultimately it is our City Beautiful.

Other measures that failed to take off

  • A pilot project started by the MC for the collection of garbage in Sector 22 last year failed soon after its launch. Under the pilot project, the MC hired a contractor for garbage collection. The rates were fixed for the door-to-door collection of garbage. After protests by sanitation workers and political interference, the project was scrapped.
  • The three mechanised sweeping machines purchased at a cost of Rs 5 crore failed to produce good results on the sanitation front. Moreover, the maintenance of the machines is quite high.

20% garbage is dumped without processing

The city generates 350-400 tonnes of municipal solid waste daily that is managed by the Municipal Corporation. There is one garbage processing plant in Dadu Majra, which, at present, is processing approximately 80 per cent of the garbage while the rest is being dumped at the dumping ground without processing.

Only Dadu Majra dumping ground, no alternative site

The existing dumping ground at Dadu Majra is fast filling up. While the need for an alternative site has been felt, owing to a shortage of open spaces in Chandigarh, no area has been identified for an alternative dumping ground. A proposal was made to the Punjab Government for the allocation of some land for the purpose, but to no avail.

What Residents say

The MC should adopt the ‘Arrow Bio’ system, which takes trash directly from collection trucks and separates organic and inorganic materials through gravitational settling, screening and hydro-mechanical shredding. The system is capable of sorting huge volumes of solid waste, salvaging recyclables and turning the rest into biogas and rich agricultural compost. Garbage collection and street scrapping should be done twice daily. The MC should strictly implement the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules-2000 and Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.

Ajay Jagga, Advocate

In Chandigarh, garbage collectors collect garbage from door to door using single bin for all types of waste. Improper disposal of garbage can cause serious health problems. In order to solve such problems, the first step will be educating the general public on garbage disposal and recycling, and setting up recycling centres. Overall, it seems that a change of attitude is needed as well as more resources to manage different recyclable materials.

Kusum Lata, Lecturer, resident of Sector 44

At present, there is no segregation system in Chandigarh. A collector comes to our home and puts all garbage in a single bin. After that, from safai kendras to the dumping ground, nothing is done to segregate the garbage. It is all due to a shortage of manpower and the careless attitude of our political leaders and authorities. A majority of people engaged by the private contractors either work in the houses of senior bureaucrats or politicians and councillors, which is badly affecting sanitation in the city.

Rajinder Pandey, Manager of an IT firm 

Like foreign countries, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation should also work together with the city residents for effective door-to-door garbage collection. Either the MC should provide residents with separate bins or they should be asked to buy them on their own so that garbage is segregated at the house level. The MC should also train its staff in the collection of different types of garbage. Days should be fixed for the collection of different types of garbage like kitchen waste, paper waste, etc.

Mannat Arora, an entrepreneur

Sanitation in the market areas is pathetic. Moreover, the MC workers come at around 6 am and claim to have cleaned the market area whereas shopkeepers open their shops at around 10 am. They always find garbage scattered in the area. They should come after 10 am so that traders can check their presence and can direct them to clean the market area properly. Besides, the MC should provide one or two garbage bins in each markets and the responsibility to maintain them should be given to the respective market associations.

Anil Vohra, Gen Secy, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal 

Chandigarh needs major improvement in its garbage disposal system to maintain its status of City Beautiful. Though there is a structured system of domestic garbage collection and its disposal, the same is virtually non-existent in the commercial areas, especially the Industrial Area. Chandigarh also needs to move to the next level of segregating biodegradable and non-degradable garbage and process them properly. The main focus should be on developing systems for ensuring maximum recycling of waste.

Sandeep Sahni, industrialist

We need to place more bins for recycled and biodegradable waste. The sanitation inspectors need to be empowered to fine those throwing garbage at public places other than the designated ones. We need to mechanically modernise garbage collection and its dumping process. An awareness campaign on cleanliness should be started in schools, work places and commercial areas. We should change our attitude towards safai karamcharis and honour their dignity of labour. May be a 'jaadu ki jhappi' does the trick.

Mohit Sood, trader, Sector 26 Grain Market



Reporters’ diary
Cricket buffs seek women’s help for tickets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Standing in a women’s queue is always beneficial. During the third ODI between India and Australia at the PCA Stadium, Mohali, youths were seen seeking help from their sisters and girlfriends who fetched them the tickets without any hassle. This also helped them keep off the serpentine queues.

Councillors’ freebies

If a politician enters your shop, don’t expect to get money from him for the shopping. Similar thing happened with a Sector 10 shopkeeper when a Congress councillor entered his shop and purchased knickknack worth around Rs 1,000. Earlier, the councillor demanded more discount than the offer made by the shopkeeper. When the Councillor got 15 per cent discount on the stuff, he gave a smile to the shopkeeper and said: “likh lena”. When another customer asked the meaning of “likh lena” from the shopkeeper, he said: “iska matlab dubara paise mat mangna”.

Publicity mongers or educational institutes?

Private schools in Chandigarh are known for their fetish for the attention of the media. One such school took it too far by issuing a press brief of a faculty member’s daughter’s wedding, who also happened to be the principal of one of the schools in Kharar. The press note mentioned that it was a high-profile marriage of the tricity and many renowned personalities graced the occasion. These days, most of the schools have hired the services of private media professionals to ensure good coverage even for their small activity in the school.

Education Department going the MC way

Like the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the UT Education Department has too begun study tours. Recently, a group of seven officers, including senior officials, visited Mount Abu to study the mid-day meal kitchen made in Braham Kumari Ashram. This was done at the behest of UT Administrator Shivraj Patil who wanted a similar system to adopt here. However, nothing much has come out in the public about the possible recommendation of the study tours, even as the officers came back from the study tour about two weeks ago. Many in the department have a doubt whether the department follows the footsteps of the MC or actually makes some changes after their field visit to Mount Abu, the city of hills.

Tongue twister

A senior official of the Chandigarh Police was left embarrassed while holding a press briefing when he got stuck on tongue twisting names of banned capsules recovered from a drug smuggler. On witnessing a sudden pause, a few journalists attending the briefing came to the police official's rescue and recited the names of the capsules. The official gave an innocent smile and moved ahead with the press briefing.

Efforts to be applauded

To spread awareness and help the city residents in properly dumping ‘malba’, the MC this week spread messages through newspapers and other media. For this step to make Chandigarh a ‘malba-free city’, Mayor Subhash Chawla’s and MC Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh’s effort should be applauded.

Rail passenger's complaint

Right to complaint is the mantra that the Railway passengers love to follow in the city. After the revision of tariff of Shatabdi, one of the passengers sent a message to the media that the Railways had curtailed the facilities it extended to its passengers. The one-litre water bottle given to the passengers had been replaced by half-litre water bottle. Even the quantity of the dinner served to passengers had been reduced from 150 gm to 100 gm. Green salad had also been withdrawn.


The UT police faced much embarrassment this week after a police commando was beaten up at the ISBT-43. While incidents of assault on the police are already common, a police commando, who had received special combat training, too, failed to defend himself and received injuries. To add insult to injury, the accused managed to escape easily.

Mockery of English

A recent invite sent by a spokesperson for the Panchkula police regarding the launch of a book of Commissioner of Police Rajbir Deswal left the recipient flabbergasted. The message stated “You are Cordinally (cordially) invited at police community hub sector 14 Panchkula as Sh Rajbir Deswal C.P Ambala -Panchkula realising (releasing) his new book”.

Contributed by Deepankar Sharda, Rajinder Nagarkoti, Vivek Gupta, Amit Sharma, Aarti Kapur and Hina Rohtaki



Residents at the mercy of private collectors
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
While the Municipal Corporation has miserably failed to formulate a policy on uniform rates to be charged by the contractors from the residents for door-to-door collection of garbage, the residents are at the mercy of these private garbage collectors. The private contractors fix the garbage-collection charges according to their whims.

Sources in the corporation said no contractor had so far been fined for overcharging as no such norms had been laid down in the current terms and conditions. According to the corporation records, there are around 5,000 employees of different contractors who are engaged in the door-to-door collection of garbage in the city.

Surinder Sharma, president of the Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) of Sector 15, stated it was the duty of the MC to regulate garbage collection. However, in the absence any such system in the MC, the garbage collectors charge their own rates. “The residents in our sector pay Rs 70 per kitchen and there is no control over the garbage collectors as to whether they will come regularly or not,” he said.

Ankit, a resident of Sector 20, says: “In our area, things are managed by contractors and safai karamcharis, who charge on their own and there is no one to regulate the collection charges."

Satish Chander Sharma, chairman, Group Housing Societies Welfare Council, said there was no fix time of these contractors to collect garbage. They come at their own convenience. Moreover, they are also selective in lifting garbage, he added.

In a single sector, the garbage collection charges vary from Rs 40 to Rs 125 for garbage collection. In fact, there is no check of the authorities on the time span in which the contractor should increase the charges.

Residents’ have even complained to the Municipal Corporation about these private contractors, but to no avail.

Former Union Railway Minister and Member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal last year had pointed out at a House meeting that there were many faults in the garbage collection system in the city, especially in those areas where the authorities had outsourced the work.



MC taking serious steps, says Joint Commissioner

Why is MC sleeping over the issue of poor sanitation in city?

The MC is very seriously making efforts to make the city clean. Earlier, there was a shortage of manpower and machinery, but now they are hiring more safai karamcharis, tractor-trailers and dumpers.

Why residents keep complaining that the MC staff do not lift garbage from bins regularly?

The MC, in association with the NIS, is developing a “Bin Tracking System”. With the help of this system, they will be able to ensure regular lifting of garbage. They are also in the process to construct an “automatic weigh bridge” near the garbage processing plant to check which dumper placer has brought how much quantity of garbage. In the coming days, no garbage-lifting vehicle would go direct to the dumping ground. It would first go to the plant and then dump the garbage at the dumping ground.

These are only proposals. How will the MC effectively implement them?

Work of each officer will be supervised by his senior. It will ensure proper implementation of proposals.

Why is the MC not serious about the segregation of garbage?

The MC is taking some steps in this regard. It has now decided to set up two plants in Sector 26 and 26 for reducing the quantity of bio-waste being transported to the garbage processing plant at Dadu Majra. Kitchen waste from some hotels and vegetable and green waste from various parts of the city will be shifted to the plant for producing biogas.

Why are there no strict rules to deal with violators who litter the city?

Recently, the MC has filed cases against a number of violators in the court. In some cases, the court had also imposed a fine or awarded punishment to the violators.



DRDO ex-chief for setting up aerospace commission

Chandigarh, October 20
Calling for the establishment of a National Aerospace and Defence Commission to give an impetus and right direction for indigenous research and development as well as local entrepreneurship, former Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and former Director-General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation Dr VK Saraswat said technological gaps exist in research institutes and the industry and this needed to be filled.

Delivering a talk on the “Emerging Scenario in Aerospace and Aeronautics in India” to members of the Chandigarh Chapter of the Aeronautical Society of India here, Dr Saraswat stressed upon the need for synergy between different agencies and stakeholders to overcome the technology deficit.

Stating that India was poised to emerge as the third largest aviation market by 2020 after the US and China, which opened a huge window of opportunity to local stakeholders, he said research and development had a major role to play in enhancing the country’s industrial base. While ensuring low cost, highly efficient automation, he said the focus must be on the growth of small and medium scale industry.

Dr Saraswat, who is the president-elect of the Aeronautical Society of India’s national executive, also delved upon the emerging technologies in the aviation field that have implications for India. He spoke about the new types of fuels, propellants, alloys and materials that would be required and the vast efforts that would be required for the country to become self-reliant in this arena.

He also gave an overview of the missile and aerospace projects that are currently underway in DRDO. — TNS



Student exchange programme
Strawberry Fields receives first batch of students from Milan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh: October 20
The Strawberry Fields World School, Sector 26, today received its first batch of students from Milan as part of an exchange programme that was initiated earlier this year. Four girls and two boys from the Collegio San Carlo, a prestigious school in Milan, Italy, that dates back to 1869, will be staying with their host families for two weeks, sampling Indian food, visiting places of cultural and historical relevance, and most importantly being part of Indian homes, experiencing their life with much enthusiasm and excitement.

As part of the exchange, the same Indian students will later in the summer of 2014, be hosted by their Italian guests in a similar arrangement. This reciprocal exchange will be an annual feature between the two schools and will be offered to students of Class 11. During the two-week stay, the students from Milan will also be attending classes at the Strawberry Fields and will take part in some of the curricular activities with a view to provide them a holistic feel of living and studying in India.

A common enough concept globally, this formal exchange allows students valuable opportunities for cross sharing, especially in a world that has shrunk, making the world a much smaller place. Also, with job opportunities expanding in Asia, and India being seen as a country that is exotic, it is with much anticipation and curiosity that students are embarking on this experience.

With a brief stopover at the Dubai airport and the Indira Gandhi International Airport at New Delhi, the six youngsters arrived at Chandigarh this morning and were received by the school authorities, host families and students.

"A lot of planning has gone into finalising the formal and informal itineraries of the guests. While the school will do its bit in providing them a wholesome experience, including getting them to participate in the upcoming sports day, the host families have lined up their own list of activities," said Shabnam Singha, the high school coordinator.

"While some are taking their Italian guests to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, others have lined up special Indian culinary feasts, music and art sessions and sharing of stories of mutual interest," she said.

Sangeeta Sekhon, principal of the school, said: "The school is intent on making the fortnight-long stay of their overseas friends a very special experience. We want them to carry back with them good and happy memories. They should see an India that is high on energy, intelligence, warmth and hospitality."



11 councillors oppose P’kula MC meeting
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 20
The second house meet of the Panchkula Municipal Corporation which has been scheduled for October 24 has invited protests by eleven councillors. Alleging that their opinions were not sought for while making the agenda, the councillors have asked the MC officials to prepare a new one.

The new agenda that has been made by the officials has 20 points but there is nothing new for the Panchkula residents. After the previous meet, one finds no difference in the township and the residents are at the receiving end at every count. Usual points of cleanliness, street lights, parks and roads form the agenda this time. Apart from developmental works in selective wards, just one additional work has been included which involves of constructing a parking space inside the Fire department's office in Sector 5, Panchkula.

Interestingly, this time purchase of nine new motorcycles is being asked for the employees who would go around in the limits of MC doing various chores. Also deployment of security guards and supervisors to help in removing encroachments is mentioned in the agenda.

"All the councillors were not asked for their opinions and the points mentioned in the agendas are actually of selective councillors," said the councillor of Ward 13, Ravi Kant Swami.

He said, "Why is it that the developmental works of only four wards have been carried out in the agenda? Don't our wards require any development?"

A meeting was urgently called by eleven councillors this morning who said that they won't let this meeting take place. Sources said that the meeting can be postponed for October 26.

"Not even a single development work of Pinjore and Kalka area has been mentioned in this agenda. councillors of this area were not even asked once by any official. We won't let this meeting take place and if still it is held, we will protest," said Satinder Tony, another councillor.



Open house response
Trained staff must at parking lots

People-friendly approach required

Though Chandigarh is not a criminal- infested city, still we are not able to create a faith amongst vehicle owners like in Delhi and Noida. You will be surprised to know that even in Noida we are habitual of leaving keys of vehicle with the parking contractor and he takes care of the same. A people-friendly approach is the necessity. Having a lot of strict rules with CCTV and digital parking lot can also be suggested.

RK Garg, RTI Activist

Mockery of paid parking

The paid parking staff should take full responsibility of vehicles parked there. It has been observed that attendants at the Tagore Theatre or other places, where some function is held, go away before the end of the programme. What does the paid parking mean then? This practice should be checked.

IPS Anand, Chandigarh

Small cars should be preferred

A smaller car occupies less space, not only on roads but also in parking lots. There is a mad rush particularly amongst the urban rich to sport bigger and flashy cars. It is here that the government has a role to play by embarking on hard decisions. There is a need to formulate norms to allow entry of cars in government-controlled parking lots only, up to a definite size, and not beyond that. This restraint is bound to discourage plying of bigger cars on roads, which, in turn, will reduce bumper-to-bumper driving and will also ease the movements in parking lots.

SC Luthra, MHC Manimajra

Cancel contracts of violators

The contractors of paid parking sites, across Chandigarh should see to it that there is an attendant at every parking site, to guide the vehicle user. The attendant should be polite and wear a proper uniform. The Municipal Corporation should definitely ensure that the contracts of paid parking norms are followed properly by the paid parking contractors. Besides this, they should have the power to cancel the contracts of such contractors, who don’t follow these norms.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Concrete policy needed

There is need to frame a strict and concrete policy because the present policy is quite lax and being violated by the contractors. It is surprising that MC has no power to cancel the contract.

Vidya Sagar Garg, Panchkula

Commuters should act responsibly

The parking attendants are illiterate and rude. Even people have no sense of parking their cars. Irresponsible and callous attitude of vehicle owners is reflected from the manner they park their vehicles right in the middle of the way that makes it hard or near impossible for one to get his/her car/two-wheeler out.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Metro is a solution

Bad driving licensing policies, no checks on road sense and etiquette ail our system. Having overloaded existing spaces, we now blame the administration for congestion. Conceived policy that makes cars cheaper and poor transportation is another culprit. Metro is the solution.

Brig Pradeep Sharma

Serious efforts lacking

I feel neither the MC nor the Chandigarh traffic police are serious about solving the problem of parking in the long run. The presence of some staff of contractor can help such situation. The markings for two and four-wheelers must be clearly done.

Wing Commander DPS Bajwa (Retd) Chandigarh

Response on email

Total mess in parking lots

Paid parking is a big pain in the neck for commuters. There should be an electronic display board showing the number of spaces available for parking. There is a total mess in parking lots. There is no segregation of various vehicles. Cars and scooters/bikes/cycles should be allocated specified spaces to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public. The staff employed by parking contractors are uneducated and rude. They needs to be properly trained and should wear uniform. The staff should be polite especially while dealing with women. There should be a complaint book both at the entrance and exit of such lots and MC officials must check it daily for necessary action.

— Harmohan Dhawan, former Union Minister and senior BJP leader

Response on FACEBOOK

Money-minting business

The system has to be organised. The objective for paid parking is to provide proper, organised and safe parking for vehicles, not mere entry fee. The present system adopted by the contractors is just money-minting business and nothing more.

— Rajesh Sharma, Congress leader

Automatic system needed

Staff deployed by contractors of paid parking is there to collect only money and they are least bothered whether the vehicle is parked right or wrong. There should be an automatic system at the entry of every parking lot, so that when the vehicle moves into the parking area the vehicle owner would be able to know that how much space is left and the parking attendant should not let extra vehicles enter the area.

— Chander Verma, Industrialist

Open house question

Despite being a well-planned and well-developed city, Chandigarh is still following the old method of collecting garbage by not segregating and recycling it. Even the system of door-to-door collection is dependent on private scavengers. What should be done to catch up with the garbage-collection system followed by most developed cities of the world. Write your suggestions to openhouse@tribunemail.com or Open House, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29 C, Chandigarh.



Bringing order to parking chaos
Comment — Kanchan Vasdev

Haphazardly parked vehicles, space constraints and rude attendants are nightmares for vehicle owners in the city parking lots.

The paid parking introduced by the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, has made little difference, despite the 24 paid parking lots generating a whopping Rs 24 crore for the corporation every year. Finding a slot even in paid parking lots continues to be a harrowing experience. The moment vehicle owners enter a parking lot they are faced with a shabbily dressed attendant, who shrugs his shoulders after charging the mandatory fee leaving commuters to fend for themselves. While the MC makes a big money out of auctioning the lots, it leaves the service part to the contractors, who claim they are hard-pressed to earn their money back and sometimes even face losses.

What requires to be done?

Perhaps, it is the MC, the contractors and the consumers alike to be blamed equally for the mess that prevails.

The MC should provide infrastructure and we can take a cue from the developed countries and replicate their computerised system of parking. Obviously, there would be no scope for any exemptions for any so-called VIPs or government officials from the fee. There ought to be special parking spaces for physically challenged persons. The civic body must spend a sizeable portion of the revenue generated by these lots to improve the parking system.

The contractors can at least ensure a dress code for the parking attendants, sensitise them to being courteous and make them accountable to every vehicle owner who has been let into the parking lot after paying the parking fee.

The onus of orderly parking also lies on vehicle owners who ought to display a certain self-discipline and civic sense. But till that happens, there must be zero tolerance towards anyone not abiding by the rules. Every parking lot must have an entry and exit gate with CCTV cameras to pinpoint the culprits who try and hoodwink the system.

It would not be out of place to mention the initiatives taken by traders in parts of Sectors 19 and 22 to ensure smooth parking.

There is perhaps a need for the MC to appoint, in association with the UT Traffic Police, traffic "marshals" to enforce parking rules on vehicle owners, attendants, and contractors, besides their own officials.

Mayor Subash Chawla says he himself is unhappy with the way these are being managed. But then why is he shying away from taking hard decisions. MC Vivek Pratap Singh’s announcement of gradually making all lots automated is a welcome, though belated step. But, that would be just one step towards bringing order to parking chaos and help make the city a better place to live and drive in.



Incorrect info at booking centre irks train passengers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The incorrect train number displayed at the notice board at the railway booking centre in Sector 17 has led to utter confusion among the passengers. Many of them were forced to visit the counters after failing to find any train with the displayed number during the online booking. The train number 14605 (Chandigarh Lal Kuan Express) has been incorrectly displayed as “01405” giving passengers a tough time. The officials are yet to take note of it.

“One of my friends visited the centre yesterday to book a ticket. He informed me about this train number. I kept searching for this train on the website, but a message flashed every time that no search results found. I then had to visit the centre personally,” said Anurag, who came to the booking centre today.

In fact, Divisional Railway Manager Anil Kumar visited the centre today. However, the error remained unnoticed. Sources said Kumar instructed the staff on duty to focus more on sanitation in the area and also directed them to clean the “pan stains” at the walls of the centre.

The DRM is learnt to have also directed the staff to improve the condition of the ceiling. Anil Kumar, when contacted, refused to comment on the matter.



Open auction
RLA puts Rs 60 lakh in its kitty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) earned Rs 60 lakh during its two-day open auction of registration numbers for “CH01-AV” series that concluded today. On Sunday, Rs 56,000 was the highest bid amount came for the number “1111”. The second highest bid of Rs 49,000 turned out to be for the number “9999”.

A total of 216 vehicle numbers were auctioned at the RLA in the two days. On Saturday, the number “0001” was sold for Rs 7 lakh.

The total revenue generated on Saturday amounted to Rs 48.62 lakh.

The number “0001” in the previous series of CH-01-AU was sold for Rs 6.25 lakh.

For the first time, the RLA did not call any pre-bidding application for the auction of numbers and held open auction for 100 numbers out of which 82 numbers of the CH01AV series were auctioned on Saturday.

The RLA earned Rs 2 lakh each from the auction of “0002” and “0003” numbers of the series.

RLA officials said before the open auction, documents and the draft for the reserve amount had to be verified by the staff.

The RLA is planning to draft a new proposal to auction vanity numbers. A senior official revealed that they were chalking out a proposal to get better response during auctions.



Two factories raided, sweets destroyed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 20
The District Health Authorities destroyed sweets in a large quantity being prepared under unhygienic conditions at two factories in the Zirakpur area, here. Dr Gursharan Singh, district health officer, Mohali, said during their raid at two factories, one at Lohgarh village and another at Kishangarh village, it was found that sweets were being prepared under unhygienic conditions.

“We have destroyed a large quantity of such sweets and also collected samples of packed sweets,” said Dr Gursharan Singh.

The health officer said a special drive to check hygiene and quality material at sweet shops and factories was underway under the instructions of the State Health Ministry.

So far, the health team has collected samples from at least 15 shops and factories. The drive will continue during the festival season when the sale of sweets is at its peak.



Make efforts to curb female foeticide: MP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal today stressed on the need to prevent female foeticide. He was speaking at a function organised to mark ‘Balmiki Diwas’ at the Congress Bhawan in Sector 35 by the SC cell of the party. A bhajan was also presented by the cell on the occasion that highlighted female foeticide was a bane for society.

“The practice of female foeticide was continuing in some parts of the country, despite women breaking existing barriers to prove their worth in every sphere. Take it as your mission to improve the sex ratio by taking all necessary steps to prevent female foeticide”, Bansal added.

The MP also attended a public meeting at Ram Darbar where residents took up their demands with him.



PU all set to revamp evaluation system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Panjab University (PU), known for late declaration of results, is planning to go for an overhaul by introducing various reforms in the evaluation system. Committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor will deliberate on mandatory and time bound evaluation process, during a meeting scheduled for Monday.

The committee will conduct an in-depth discussion on the evaluation system through which the suggestions will be invited to strengthen the evaluation system that generally leads to delay in declaration of results.

One of the committee members said, “Timely evaluation of answer scripts is one of the biggest challenges for the university. The teachers don’t come forward to evaluate the answer scripts which lead to delay in declaring the results.”

The university had taken a decision in 2009 according to which it was mandatory for all teachers of the PU and its 188 affiliated colleges to evaluate a minimum of 250 answer sheets. However, the decision could not be implemented. The teachers who evaluate answer scripts for the PG courses usually take the answer sheets to their house and take more than the required time to evaluate them which leads to delay in declaration of results.

PU Controller of Examination (COE) Parvinder Singh said that the committee members would be free to make their suggestions to overhaul the evaluation system. “To tackle the problem of delay made by the teachers in returning the evaluated answer sheets, we are planning to make the evaluation by the teachers a time-bound process within which they will have to return the answer sheets,” said the COE.

The PU officials said, “Efforts will be made to ensure adequate number of examiners is available for evaluating answer scripts.”

Previous initiative

The university had taken a decision in 2009 according to which it was mandatory for all teachers of the PU and its 188 affiliated colleges to evaluate a minimum of 250 answer sheets. However, the decision could not be implemented.



Students paint graffiti on roadside
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Hollywood stars and personalities known across the globe is the theme of graffiti being designed by the creative students of the Government College of Art, Sector 10, for the Street Art and Food Festival to be organised by the UT Administration. The students will be showcasing their art by painting around one-kilometer long roadside graffiti at the Sukhna Lake.

Bright colours and paintings have transformed the road leading to the Sukhna Lake enhancing the beauty of the lake. The art panels are put on both sides of the lake towards while moving towards the Rock Garden.

Seven students of Bachelors of Fine Arts at Sukhna Lake are designing the graffiti. Life-sized colourful puppets hanging from the poles was a major attraction last year, this year it would be elephants hanging from the poles. The students painting the graffiti include Dharampal, Hanit Soni, Harvinder Pal, Kashmir Singh, Gagan Sharma, Piyush Sharma and Sidhant.

Speaking about the theme Dharampal said that they have painted the face of Hollywood stars, including Heath Ledger and Johnny Depp. “The design will be a composition of artistes and their famous movie dialogues,” he said.

The students of Arts College will also paint the comic characters, including Mickey Mouse and revolutionaries such as Che Guevara.

The group of creative artists will also be making 3D paintings. The colorful graffiti will be completed in next few days for which students are working till late night.



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