C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


After rain, the deluge
*Record-breaking downpour *12 feared washed away *24 cases of house collapse * Army out in Panchkula, Ambala *All trains from city cancelled * Airport flooded, flights disrupted *Road traffic severely hit
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Panchkula, August 3
Record-breaking downpour of 30 cm in the past 24 hours wrecked havoc in the city and adjoining areas today. It claimed at least five lives. At least 12 persons are feared to have been washed away. About 24 cases of house collapse have been reported. The downpour also brought rail, air and road traffic to a halt.

The rainfall disrupted life in the city, Panchkula, Mohali, Patiala, Ambala and adjoining areas. The Army was called out to assist the civil administration in some parts of Panchkula, Ambala and Patiala districts as it struggled to cope with desperate calls for help from marooned residents and stranded motorists.

Traffic on the Chandigarh- Ambala highway was diverted through alternate routes and trains were cancelled.

It was a nightmare for thousands of persons as the Army and civil authorities pressed boats into service for relief and rescue operations. Food packets were distributed from boats in Mauli Jagran in Chandigarh and dropped through air in Tiwana, Patiala. The Army was pressed into service in Rajiv Colony and Natwal village in Panchkula to evacuate residents.

In Chandigarh, rescue operations are on to evacuate people from Sanjay Colony and Charan Singh Colony where boats were pressed into service. The Red Cross distributed 2000 food packets.

Over 100 families were evacuated from their houses in low-lying areas in Behlana near the Airport. In urban areas, water entered homes. Sewege lines in Sectors, 43, 44, 33 and 34 were clogged.

Hundreds of vehicles were stranded for hours together on the Ambala-Chandigarh and Chandigarh-Kalka highways. A stretch of the Chandigarh -Ambala highway near restaurant Drive-in 22 caved in.

Four deaths were reported from city. At least three persons were feared dead in Panchkula. Sonu (20) was washed away by gushing waters in the Bapu Dham Colony in the morning. His body was found near the causeway going towards Railway Station.

In another incident, Kamal (7) and Naina (4) died when a jhuggi collapsed in Janata Kumhar Colony early morning.

A scooterist had a miraculous escape when his vehicle fell into a pit on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near Hallo Majra.



3 feared washed away as rivulet floods slums
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
Three persons, including two children, are feared to have been washed away as the seasonal rivulet passing through Rajiv and Indra colonies near Sector 17, flooded the area this morning.

Though the district administration has not confirmed any death, the residents of the colony claimed that a youth, Agya Prasad, and two children were washed away as the water level in the seasonal rivulet rose. Six other persons were reported missing from the colony. The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni, however, claimed that there was no report of any casualty.

The Army was called in by the district administration to evacuate marooned residents of Rajiv Colony and Natwal village and Nawan Gaon at about 11 am. As many as seven officers, eight JCO’s and over 160 jawans from the 121 AD Regiment and 119 Assault Engineers, were deployed for the rescue operations. As the water current in the seasonal rivulet passing near Rajiv and Indra colonies was strong, it was difficult to move the boats towards the colony, and then reach on the other side of the nullah. Three boats were used to ferry residents from Rajiv and Indra colonies to safety. They have been put up in the temporary relief camps erected in the government schools in Sectors 15 and 17, and food is being provided by the Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board.

In Natwal village and Nawan Gaon, more than 70 persons were marooned on the common land surrounded by nine feet of waters in the Tangri river on all sides. These people had taken the land for contract farming of melons and watermelons, and as the water level in the river rose, they were stranded. It was only in the afternoon that the Army reached there and began evacuating the people in boats. By six in the evening, all of them had been brought to safety. These people have now been put up in the village dharamshala and in chaupals.

As the incessant rains continued for the second day today, the entire district was virtually flooded. As compared to yesterday, when there was just 201 cusecs of water, water was passing through all eight spans of the Ghaggar bridge. The worst hit were Rajiv Colony, Indra Colony and Budanpur village in Panchkula, Khatik Mohalla and Bitna Colony in Kalka, villages near the Sarsa Nadi on the Pinjore Nalagarh road, and Natwal and Nawan Gaon village in Raipur Rani block. At several places the edges of the roads, including national highways, were washed away. Some culverts on the Panchkula- Naraingarh Highway, a culvert near Chowki village, near Mauli Jagran in Panchkula, and the approach road of a bridge near Burj Kotian was also damaged.

At several places in Panchkula, the Municipal Council’s failure to get the road gullies cleaned came to fore as water flooded the roads and drainage system collapsed. The main roads in the township were flooded and water had accumulated around all main roundabouts. The internal roads in Sectors 10, 12, 12- A, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, Mansa Devi Complex, Industrial Area and in Budanpur and Railley villages were also flooded. Water entered several houses in Sectors 10, 15, 19 and in Railley and Budanpur villages and in some factories in Industrial Area Phase 1. Traffic snarls were witnessed at the Sector 7 / 8 roundabout and at the Housing Board chowk.

Because of the downpour, a number of minor accidents took place in the township as well as on the Panchkula- Naraingarh Highway. A Wagon R slipped on the highway near Barwala and banged into a tree on the other side of the road. In another incident, a truck had overturned on the highway, while several vehicles had slipped off the road.

The power supply to most parts of the district was disrupted as water entered the cable trenches of the power house in the Industrial Area, and several poles were broken. The supply was restored to most parts of the town around 5. 30 pm.



6 labourers feared washed away

Dera Bassi, August 3
There were reports of six labourers of an industrial unit having been washed away in Tiwana village. Unaware of the flood, over 12 labourers were trapped inside Sudan Cylinders Limited, an industrial unit near Lalru. While trying to swim out of the flood by making a human chain, the water current broke the chain, following which six of them were feared to have been washed away, said Mr Dharam Singh Tiwana, a former sarpanch of the village.

Meanwhile, flood water overflowing from the Ghaggar and other rivulets played havoc with road network, damaging the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Chandigarh-Patiala, highway, besides other main and link roads in Patiala and Ambala districts. Reports have also come regarding breaches in the SYL canal near Rajpura, affecting the nearby areas. The district administration has sounded an alert. The strong current of water washed away the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at various places between Dera Bassi and Jharmari village in Lalru near Ambala border. With the sinking of a small bridge over the Jharmal river, a tributary of the Ghaggar, traffic was suspended on the highway.

Similar was the situation on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway. Knee-deep rain water that had virtually filled the highway, disrupting the heavy volume of traffic on the highway.

Traffic heading towards Chandigarh to Ambala was directed to take the Zirakpur-Rajpura-Ambala route.

The heavy rain also damaged the Mubarikpur-Ramgarh road. Flood water emerging from Ramgarh and Funcity also washed away a bridge in Morthikri village. OC



Southern sectors flooded, chinks in drainage exposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Besides the downpour, poor maintenance, bad planning in the southern sectors and even the natural slope which carries water to Sectors 34, 35, 44 and 43, contributed to the flooding of these areas in the city.

The city had a record 30 centimetres of rain while the drainage system had not been laid to handle such amounts of water. In the older sectors the storm water drain can take in half an inch of water in one hour. In the newer sectors the intake of storm water is one inch in one hour. Here the city was lashed by very heavy rain and UT engineers say “we are helpless in such situations.”

Between 3 am and 9 am it poured without a break.

The poor maintenance of storm water drains showed up as several drains were found blocked like the one in Sector 21-D. Mr Rajan Sharma said he woke up to knee deep water.

The worst flooding occurred in Sectors 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47. This was due to the latest double laning of the road passing through these sectors. The new road is at a height than the existing one. There is no drainage to allow the water to cross the road. The natural flow of water gets blocked and water enters homes as it did today. Last monsoon also water had entered many homes at these places and the Administration had said it would “do something”. Sources admitted that the drainage had to be re-designed in these areas and new lines had to be added.

Another example of bad planning is Mauli Jagran which is on the natural flow of water. Illegal construction further blocked the flow of water. The Administration had to deploy earth moving equipment to divert rain water, which is expected to clear by tomorrow morning.

Besides, the city has a natural slope of about 60 metres from Khuda Ali Sher village near Punjab Engineering College to Sector 48, having the lowest lying point. This means all water rushes down south wards. Besides, exists a natural inverted slope, which makes water flow down Sectors 21, 22, 34, 35, 43, 44 and on to Phase VII, Mohali. This slope is such that water from Sectors 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 42, 43, 44, 20, 21 and 22 flows towards it.

In Kishangarh, a bandh being built to divert water away from the upcoming IT park, breached, making water rush into the village. Behlana village is a low lying area.



Crisis management system comes a cropper
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The crisis management system of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) came a cropper as the season’s heaviest rainfall so far proved to be a nightmare for residents in certain parts of the city.

Even as residents were left high and dry, the authorities looked the other way. This was more than evident at Behlana village where over 100 families of the Mann House locality were stranded on the roofs of the houses for several hours.

It was left to villagers to evacuate them to safer places.

“It is surprising that no senior official cared to visit the village and offer help to affected persons,” said Mr Darshan Singh, Chairman, Zila Parishad.

Criticising the “step-motherly” treatment to villages by the UT Administration, he blamed construction of a concrete boundary wall by the Air Force for the floods.

The Mayor, Ms Kamlesh, toured several parts of the city along with MCC Commissioner, MP Singh. She was visibly upset over poor storm water drainage system in Mauli Jagran, Dadu Majra and other slum areas.

Hundreds of motorists had a harrowing experience on the Chandigarh-Kalka highway as swirling waters flooded the Housing Board Chowk. With a number of vehicles developing snags on the highway, the police had a tough time regulating traffic.

On other roads, it was the same story with flooded roads and roundabouts testing the patience and driving skills of motorists.

The Ambala-Chandigarh highway near Hallo Majra suffered damage due to caving in of the storm drain. Traffic had to be stopped on one side of the road.

The Meteorological Department recorded 375 mm of rainfall from 8.30 p.m. yesterday to 5.30 p.m. in the city today.



Commercial flights cancelled
Airfield water-logged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
All flying operations, including commercial traffic, was suspended to and from Chandigarh as incessant rain in the past 24 hours resulted in the airfield being water-logged. Besides, the civilian air terminal adjacent to the Air Force Station was heavily inundated.

“Operations were suspended as parts of the runway as well as taxi tracks have been water-logged,” Air Officer Commanding 12 Wing, Air Cmde S. S. Tilloo, said. “If the rains stop tonight we expect to resume operations tomorrow,” he said. Apart from the water clearing-off, the entire runway, taxi tracks and dispersal bay would have to be cleared of debris and pebbles before aircraft are allowed to move.

Both Jet Airways and Indian Airlines cancelled their flights today owing to the downpour and passengers were ferried to their destinations by coaches or taxis. Jet officials said they had cancelled its operations in Chandigarh.

A senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said they were taking measures to drain out the water, but declined to elaborate. He also maintained that flights by scheduled operators were cancelled not because of the situation at the airport, but inclement weather.

Parts of the Air Force Station get flooded as it is a low-lying area. The area towards Zirakpur was particularly hard hit. Even the approach road to the Air Force Station was flooded.

The car-parking area at the civilian terminal was heavily flooded and entered the airport building, affecting normal operations. The taxitrack connecting the civilian apron to the runway also remained submerged, which led to aircraft being parked on the runway yesterday and passengers had to be ferried on buses.

Officials said rain water from Hallo Majra village and surrounding areas flowed towards the airport, causing flooding. The newly constructed concrete perimeter wall of the Air Force Station prevented the dispersal of water towards Zirakpur.

Air Force officers said the wall, which was made due to security reasons, would have restrict the flow of water, both inside the airfield and outside, but “adequate” drainage points had been provided. “This time, however, the downpour was unprecedented and appears to have broken past records,” an officer said. “A permanent solution to this, such as closing down or diverting some drains, needs to be found,” he added.

Monsoons in the past were a trying time for the Air Force authorities as rain water from surrounding areas, particularly near runway 29 facing Zirakpur, would get flooded. One of the benefits of the perimeter wall was to stop the inflow of water into the airfield.

The Air Force had a plan to raise the level of the taxi track connecting the civilian apron, but the plan was shelved as it was thought that rain water would not pose any problem.



Hundreds of families stranded atop houses
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 3
Hundreds of families living in over 25 villages were stranded atop their houses following the continuous heavy rain that has played havoc in this subdivision.
The raging Ghaggar, flowing at a record 2.40 lakh cusecs and above its danger level, left a trail of destruction, damaging crops and washing away protective spurs near the Lion Safari of the Chhat Bir Zoo.

Rain water entered about 20 villages and threw life out of gear. There was a flood-like situation in villages Tiwana, Bahura, Bahuri, Alamgir, Dehar, Amlala, Nayagaon, Pragpur and certain other villages where the villagers were taking shelter atop their houses.

More than 25 families of Nayagaon village, near Chhat Bir Zoo, were caught inside their houses early in the morning. Nine members of a migrant family were caught unawares in a farmhouse, located on the bank of Ghaggar river in the village.

At Chhat Bir Zoo, the half portion of a strengthening bundh, adjacent to the Lion Safari, was washed away. The furious Ghaggar kept the zoo authorities on their toes the whole day.

Officials of the district administration, and local administration including Mr Tejveer Singh, the DC, Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, Patiala, Mr Deepak Raj Garg, SDM Dera Bassi, along with senior officials of the Drainage Department, visited various flood-prone villages.

The DC assured to airlift the families who have been marooned at a farmhouse in Nayagaon and their houses in Bahuara-Bhauri and Tiwana villages in case the flood water did not recede by evening.

He also directed the officials concerned to supply food packets to the stranded families in these villages.

Mr Deepak Raj Garg said that the over 2000 food packets have been arranged for the families stranded in the flood. He, however, added that a helicopter could not be arranged due to technical problems to airlift the people.



Irate residents raise slogans against HUDA
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
As Sector 19 here was flooded once again today, the irate residents took to the streets in the morning and raised slogans against HUDA officials. The Chief Engineer, HUDA, Mr K.K. Bhugra, asked the local engineering wing to place sand bags on the embankment of the railway line culvert passing through the sector. As a team of HUDA officials led by the SDO, Mr R.S. Bedi, reached the spot in the evening to place the sand bags, residents did not allow them to make “temporary arrangements” saying that these would not last long.

Traffic snarls in most part of the township were the order on Tuesday morning. The examination of the Haryana Public Service Commission was scheduled for today, but a number of examinees from the township were caught in the traffic jam and could not reach the venue (Lajpat Rai Bhavan), Chandigarh, in time. Ms Kalawati, a resident of Chowki village, said she reached the examination centre in Chandigarh at least one-and-a-half hour late because of the traffic jam, and was not allowed to appear.

If anti-social elements had a good time looting the wares that flew in from the jhuggis in Rajiv Colony, it was residents of Nawan Gaon who came to the rescue of the marooned people on the village common land. At least 32 residents were stranded here, when the villagers tied ropes and made a floating pathway on the Tangri river to begin the rescue operation, before the 70 Army jawans along with district administration officials reached here.

The flood like situation, for once had MC President Seema Chaudhary from the INLD and Congress MLA, Chander Mohan, united in their tirade against HUDA. Both leaders said proper arrangements should have been made to avoid the situation in Rajiv and Indira colonies.

The Army had a tough time evacuating residents from Rajiv and Indira colonies, with the latter refusing to leave their homes. Of the thousands of residents marooned here, only 250 moved out to safety in the relief camps set up by the district administration.

The boundary wall of the Chandigarh Air Force Station was washed away and the rain water then entered a number of nearby houses.

The body of a girl caught in the shrubs at the banks of the Ghaggar in Bhankharpur was noticed by villagers who informed the police.

Over 300 truckers were stuck at Dera Bassi. They climbed atop their vehicles and were later rescued with the help of ropes. Their trucks were submerged in the water.

Mr Mohan Singh of Kuranwala village survived by clinging to an electricity pole when washed away by a seasonal rivulet in the village. He was on his way to deliver milk.

Rain water entered various industrial units in Mubarikpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru. Raw and finished goods worth crores of rupees were destroyed as the rain water accumulated in the godowns. Teams of insurance companies were seen visiting the affected industrial units. Household goods were also damaged.

With hundreds of vehicles developing technical snags on roads, the mechanics had a field day and charged at will. For a change, the vehicle owners did not mind paying them.



Motorists stranded as commuters scurry for shelter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
A large number of motorists were stranded across the city on water-logged roads.
A man who was trapped at the Aroma Chowk told Chandigarh Tribune that there was neither any traffic policeman nor any electricity at the place till 12 noon.

Motorists were stranded for a long time at the Aroma Chowk, as a CTU bus broke down. A wheel of the bus went into a caved-in part of the road, blocking traffic for a long time.

The situation created tension amongst commuters, who were scurrying for cover from the downpour as well as to reach their offices in time.

There was tension on the Aroma Chowk when a CTU conductor slapped a rickshaw-puller for coming in the way of the bus.

Another CTU bus got stuck in a caved-in part near The Tribune Chowk, disrupting traffic. A part of the road over a storm water line caved in near Hallomajra, leading to the disruption of traffic for more than two hours. The traffic was restored by opening one part of the road. A scooter fell into the caved-in part of the road near Hallomajra. However, its rider jumped to safety.

A strange situation developed there, as a crane started pouring back soil into the crater. The scooterist came back running, asking the crane to stop till his scooter was extricated. The scooter was broken to pieces. The crane driver could not see the submerged scooter.

The Piccadily and Hotel Line roundabouts saw traffic stranded for long time. Traffic moved at a snail’s pace at the Dakshin Marg because of water-logging.

Disruption of traffic was visible at the Housing Board Chowk but was restored after the Traffic Police reached the spot.

The police has been deployed at major swollen causeways across the city to advise commuters not to cross these.

The causeway leading to the railway station in the Industrial Area, where a body was discovered, has virtually been closed with the police deployed at the place.

The road dividing Sectors 24 and 25 was blocked after water level rose to around 4 feet on the road.

Children of Saint Stephen School in Toga village went to the first floor of the building after water level rose to more than 3 feet. The school was virtually cut off. Villagers staged a protest, saying that the level of the road was raised to around 3 feet with no water outlet being created across the road leading to the flooding of the area and destroying crops.

Daddu Majra faces danger of being flooded with the Patiala ki Rao reaching danger mark. The bridge near Kajheri village developed cracks and the Administration is working over time to plug the cracks in the bridge.



Mohali bridge damaged
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 3
Many areas of the town and several villages in Mohali subdivision got flooded as rain continued to lash the area for the third day today.
Although no loss of human life was reported, houses collapsed in Chandialan Sudan village under Kharar subdivision, while a bridge near Manauli suffered damage. An ox was reported to have died in a village while unconfirmed reports said a few buffaloes in Mohali’s Sector 71 were electrocuted.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar MLA, said he took a round of various affected villages. Nearly 12 houses in Chandialan Sudan village had collapsed and arrangements had been made for providing rations to the affected families. He said the damage to the Manauli bridge had created difficulties for residents of a number of villages.

The MLA said water had entered a large number of houses in Behrampur, Bhagomajra and other villages. Among the affected villages were Chapparchiri, Santemajra, Desumajra and Daon. The loss to the crops would be assessed.

The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, said that the administration was on the alert. A flood control room was monitoring the situation.

In Mohali roads caved in at three places — Chawla Chowk, near Fujistu and near Quark Express. Water had also entered the telephone exchange in Phase X and the fire brigade had to be called to pump out the water. It is reported that some equipment of the exchange was damaged.



Rain keeps away councillors from House meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The downpour had a fallout at the most unlikely of places, the meeting of the House of the Municipal Corporation as most councillors failed to show up.
Even as it poured in the city, officials - inspected the flooded areas. The local member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Mayor, Kamlesh, Municipal Commissioner, MP Singh and Deputy Mayor Pradeep Chhabra were among those who visited the affected people.

While it rained cats and dogs, the Bharatiya Janata Party think tank was busy framing statements on the ineffective drainage system due to which roundabouts and sectors remained in knee-deep water.

In a joint statement issued, councillors Rajesh Gupta and Gian Chand Gupta criticised the Mayor and the Municipal Corporation for failing to prepare a comprehensive scheme to deal with rain water.

The BJP leaders, later, visited the colonies to take stock of the situation. They criticised the Mayor for postponing the meeting of the House without assigning a reason for the same. 



Panchkula schools closed today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni, said today though various parts of the district were affected because of the heavy rains, the administration, with the help of the Army, brought the situation under control.

She ordered all government and private schools in the township to be closed tomorrow. At a meeting of district officials held late in the evening, the DC took stalk of the situation and asked those in charge of various departments to prepare for any eventuality.

She said a flood control room had been set up at the Sector 5 police station. Officials would be present there at all times to monitor the situation. The telephone number of the flood control room is 0172- 2560200.

The DC appealed to residents of Rajiv Colony and Indra Colony to vacate their jhuggis and shift to relief camps. She said no food would be provided in the colony, but arrangements for food and water had been made at the relief camps. She said other than the government schools in Sectors 15 and 17, the Community Centre in Sector 19 could also be used to shift people from the affected areas.

Chandigarh: Incessant rains forced the authorities of all government and public schools in the city to close their institutions today.

The downpour impeded the movement of buses, auto rickshaws and the parents ferrying children to schools. This resulted in very thin attendance thus forcing the authorities to declare a holiday. Many of the public schools have advised the parents not to send their children to school tomorrow, if it continued to rain. However, the DPI (Schools), Mr D.S. Mangat, said there would no holiday tomorrow in government-run schools.

The rain water inundated the roads leading to a chaotic situation as the private bus operators, which ferry children to most of the schools, could not ply the vehicles. Mr Manjeet Singh, president, Bus Operators Union, said a very few buses could pick the students and they had to be dropped back after the school authorities concerned declared a holiday.

The Education Department did not declare a holiday in the government schools despite thin presence of the teaching staff and students. The rain water entered the premises of the schools located in the low lying and slum areas. Portion of the outer wall of Government High School in Mauli Jagran collapsed.

After the rain water blocked the entry to St Xavier School in Sector 44, the management had no option but to close the school. A holiday was also declared at St John’s School, Sacret Heart, Carmel Convent and St Anne’s Convent School, Manav Mangal and Saupin’s. DPS Public School has declared a holiday tomorrow. 



PGI closes operating theatres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Due to the downpour here today, the fifth floor operation theatres (OT) of the PGI have been closed, according to an official announcement here today.

The lists of surgery patients have been re-prioritised. Except for emergency surgeries, other surgeries have been re-located on the fourth floor OT by extending.

Offices, schools, colleges, the Panjab University campus, shops and commercial establishments in the city presented a deserted look today, forcing people indoors.

The massive nine-storeyed Civil Secretariat building housing the offices of the Governments of Punjab and Haryana recorded thin attendance, as did the offices, directorates and boards and corporations of the UT Administration and the two state governments in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

In Chandigarh, several sectors turned into lakes with the underground stormwater system once again failing to cope with the downpour. This led to flooding of a large number of sectors in northern as well as southern sectors of Chandigarh.

In several sectors, waste leaking from underground sewage mixed with stormwater and forced its way into residential houses through toilets, flooding bedrooms and kitchens. Furious residents wanted to know why the Municipal Corporation was charging sewerage cess from them if it could not maintain the city’s system.


* A tree in Chandigarh’s Sector 11-A collapsed during the downpour damaging overhead powerlines and knocking out electricity supply to half the sector. Electricians from the Electricity Department laboured for hours to restore the supply.

* The compound of Government School in Sector 11 was flooded. The wall of the school had to be broken to drain out the rain water.

* A girl student on her way to college had a narrow escape when the scooter she was riding stopped in the midst of a waterlogged road in Sector 10. She fell down along with the vehicle. The vehicle was “lost” in the swirling waters. The two-wheeler could not be located despite the fact several passersby joined the search.

* A milkman carrying two cans of milk on a motor cycle lost balance and fell on his side on a flooded road. The rainwater entered the cans spoiling the milk.

* Chaotic scenes were witnessed in the electricity complaint office in Sector 10 with residents from surrounding sectors making a beeline to lodge complaints of power breakdown. Harried staff at the complaint office did its best to attend to the complaints but were short of staff.



Sukhna Lake filled to brim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Sukhna Lake was filled to the brim within hours of the downpour last night. This morning the restaurant at the Lake Club was under two feet of water.
Officials rushed to open the flood gates at the regulator end located opposite the club. Had this not been done the waters could have entered the Rock Garden and the High Court complex.

The water released from the lake goes down the Sukhna choe onto Zirakpur and drains into the Ghaggar.



PUDA fixes terms for coloniser 
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 3
The Secretary of the Punjab Housing and Urban Development Authority, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, while disposing of an appeal for Janta Land Promoters Ltd, which had sought a licence to develop a part of Sector 91 of Mohali, has imposed a set of conditions on the company and also sent the case back to the PUDA Chief Administrator for a final decision on the issue of the licence.

Mr Sidhu, exercising the powers of the appellate authority under Section 33 of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995, in his 48-page order issued yesterday said that without prejudice to the outcome of the case, the company should deposit the first instalment of the external development charges, assessed at the standard rates, before the Chief Administrator entertained the case on remand.

The Secretary made a similar stipulation in respect of the bank guarantee. He also left it open to the Chief Administrator to assess rates higher than the standard external development charges. He also bound down the appellate company to take several steps with a view to demonstrating its financial strength and liquidity.

Although the change of land use order had provided that the company would be bound to pay the “land use change fee”, as and when levied by the government, the Secretary in his order directed that this amount would be secured in the form of a bank guarantee at the rate of Rs 1.50 lakh per gross acre. If higher rates were eventually fixed, the company would be liable to pay the higher assessed fee.

The order also said that it shall be the responsibility of the company to comply with all statutory requirements, including clearances, if any, under any other law, particularly the Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests notification dated July 7, 2004, issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, had issued an order on October 31, 2003, under which he had granted a change of land use to develop an integrated township, measuring 120 acres near Mohali to the company. Mr Puri had, while passing the order, overruled the views of senior department officers. The order was subsequently approved by the Chief Minister in his capacity as the Chairman of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Board.



Verma calls upon NGOs to check abuse of children
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today gave a call to the non-government organisations and voluntary organisations to launch a concerted drive to check the exploitation and abuse of children.

Presiding over the combined meeting of general body and executive committee of the Child Welfare Council, Punjab, at the Punjab Raj Bhavan in which representatives of all the districts of Punjab participated, Justice Verma said they were duty bound by the Constitution of India to ensure that children of tender age were not put to abuse and that they were not forced by economic necessity to enter into avocations unsuited to their tender age or strength. He said that it was the responsibility of society to give all children equal opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and society should ensure that they were protected from exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.

Expressing concern over the abuse of children especially of oppressed sections of society, Justice Verma said that they had to sensitise society against all these activities and make a collected drive to stop this. Emphasising the need for re-orientating the focus of education especially higher education in our society, Justice Verma said that the time had come to review the education system to restrict the higher education to the few selected who had talent and capacity to specialise in certain fields.

Other children should be given some avocation immediately after finishing their school level studies, for which they should be provided practical vocational education at the school level. Justice Verma said that it was matter of concern that 7.9 per cent of school going children were anemic whereas the rest 1 per cent were suffering from malnutrition. He said the physical standards of children from Punjab were going down due to malnutrition, pollution and junk food.

It was informed at the meeting that scholarship money for the deaf and dumb students had been doubled from Rs.100 to Rs. 200 per month and that the amount for eligibility of their parents have been also enhanced from Rs 24000 per annum to Rs 1 lakh per annum.

It was decided to hold the next Children’s Day function in Fatehgarh Sahib district after November 15 as Diwali was falling on November 13 this year.



Hi-tech equipment worth crores lying unused
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Failure of the Air Force to prepare a comprehensive proposal for procurement, installation and utilisation of hi-tech maintenance systems has resulted in non-utilisation of equipment worth over Rs 1 crore at various Base Repair Depots (BRDs).

Revealing this in its latest report, the Comptroller and Auditor-General has pointed out that TAFA ARC spray systems, procured at a cost of Rs 1.22 crore from the industry could not be utilised due to delay in commissioning or non-availability of vital components.

ARC spray systems are used to spray metal composites on worn out surfaces of shafts and bearings to bring their dimensions back to original specifications. The metal composites, which come in the form of wires, are highly expensive and the use of the systems require a high-level of expertise. The systems were procured for 3 BRD, 7 BRD, 8 BRD, 9 BRD and 11 BRD in 2001-2.

The commissioning of the systems at 3 BRD and 8 BRD received in 2002, was delayed for want of the metal wires, while that at 9 BRD was delayed for want of non-lubricating air compressor and metal wire, the report noted.

The Air Force had earlier procured a similar system and associated equipment for 7 BRD, but since it required a dedicated non-lubricating compressor, which the BRD did not have, it could be used for only 10 hours between 2000 and 2003.

The CAG noted that while placing the second order in 2001 for five systems, Air Headquarters failed to realise that an identical system was already installed in 7 BRD, making procuring an additional machine unnecessary.

The surplus system was reallotted to the Repair and Maintenance Establishment (RAME), where it was commissioned in 2003. However, RAME informed Maintenance Command in January, 2003, that the utilisation of the system would involve procurement of additional equipment costing Rs 1 crore. Further, the role and task of the system did not require significant use of the system.



Free workshop on phone communication
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
A workshop on “Effective telephonic communication” for unemployed youth will be organised here tomorrow by an NGO, First Business Club.
According to Mr S.K. Gulati, chairman of the Chandigarh chapter of the club, the telephone was one of the most used instrument but the least cared for business tool. “Telephone has become such a regular feature of our business lives, it is easy to take it for granted and presume that we know everything about how to use it to good effect”, he said here today.

Yet there are numerous pitfalls of improper communication on the telephone. In order to make employers and employees aware of these, the club organise a performance enhancement workshop tomorrow at the Commonwealth secretariate in Sector 12.

The workshop is designed to bring efficiency, effectiveness and result orientation culture in business establishments in respect of telephonic communication, including inbound and outbound calls.



Hearing deferred in tehelka case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The General Court Martial (GCM) trying Col Anil Sahgal in the tehelka case deferred its hearing today as quorum of the court was not complete because three members were not present. August 4 has been fixed as the next date of hearing.

Besides the presiding officer and the judge advocate-general, the court consists of four other members, who are posted at different units and establishments in and around Chandigarh.

A colonel posted at the Ordnance Services branch at Army Headquarters was scheduled to depose before the GCM today, but he is now expected to be examined tomorrow.



Aeronautical society to hold seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Chandigarh Chapter of the Aeronautical Society of India will hold a two-day seminar on "Careers in aviation : Options and opportunities", in the City from October 15.

Commercial and technical aspects of civilian and military flying, including maintenance, research and development, indigenisation, airline support services and cabin crew would be discussed by experts in the field.



Motorist cheated by imposters
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 3
Kanwar Anand Bhushan, an executive of a private firm, had a harrowing experience last night at the hands of a group of persons claiming to be employees of an octroi post at Rajpura.

In a talk with TNS here today, he complained that he had been forced to part with Rs 1200 despite the fact that the baggage he was carrying in his car included household goods. He said he had been transferred from Bathinda to Chandigarh. “Yesterday, I was travelling in my Indica car (Regd No HP19A-4444) from Bathinda to Chandigarh along with household articles.

“After crossing Rajpura, a Tata Sumo (No PB-11 LT 8616) signalled me to stop at around 9.10 pm. I stopped at a lonely stretch. Three persons, came out and asked me for a transit pass. I told them I didn‘t have one. Moreover, I was carrying households alone. But they asked me to come out of the car and to pay a fine of Rs 1680. I asked for reasons but they told me that I had to pay the fine as I was carrying household goods in a passenger car.

They also told me that the transit pass was for Rs 80 and the fine was 21 times more than the actual fee. I demanded to speak with their senior officer and was told that Mr Avtar Singh was sitting at the front seat along with the driver. They finally agreed on Rs 1200 as fine. I was not given a receipt.”

When Mr Bhushan enquired at the octroi post at Zirakpur, he was told that no octroi was levied on household goods. In any case, it could not be more than Rs 10 and if one did not pay up, the fine was 21 times that was Rs 210.


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