C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


85 pc city buildings vulnerable to quakes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
About 85 per cent of city buildings will not collapse but can get damaged in a major earthquake. However, all houses in villages of Chandigarh may not be so safe, says Dr A.S. Arya, National Seismic Adviser, Government of India.

He was talking to mediapersons after a day-long state-level sensitisation programme on earthquake risk management. Explaining this he said Chandigarh was in zone IV of seismic activity. The calculation of vulnerability of buildings means any earthquake which has an intensity of 8 on the Modified Mercalli (MM) scale can damage buildings but not lead to their collapse. The MM scale is different from Richter. The latter tells about the magnitude of the earthquake while the MM tells about the consequences of an earthquake on a particular place.


  • Height of building does not matter.
  • Technique used in construction is critical.
  • City will have model building code to include planning for earthquakes.
  • Even existing buildings can be made safer.
  • Major public buildings need retrofitting.
  • Chandigarh lies close to fault line.

On public buildings in Chandigarh, he said some of them have been built before the building code came into place. These buildings have no earthquake-resisting features. Existing buildings can be retrofitted to make them safer and Dr Arya has asked the Chandigarh Administration to make schools, colleges, libraries, hospitals, power houses, cinemas and satsang bhavans safer through retrofitting.

Dr Arya said he had suggested that the building bylaws have to be changed in the city. We have laid down specific parameters. Talking about these he said, “RCC slabs have to be put just below the roof and just above the upper frame of the doors. This experiment had been successful in several places. Existing houses can also put an RCC slab but the design of the same is different.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, who attended the one-day programme, said the model building code as prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) had been provided and it would be sent to the Administration for further action.

About 11.1 million homes will be damaged nationwide in case of a major earthquake, Dr Arya said.



UT Administration on lookout for sites to dump garbage
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Handicapped by paucity of space, Chandigarh is scouting for places to dump its waste. With more than 350 metric tonnes of garbage being generated daily and limited land at its disposal, the Chandigarh Administration has requested the Punjab Government to allot some waste land which can be used as a garbage dump.

The administration has asked neighbouring Punjab to identify waste land which needs to be filled up for future use. The garbage will be dumped by Chandigarh in a systematic manner. Punjab is yet to give any reply on the matter.

The logic of the administration is that Chandigarh has limited land and the adjoining states should also share some burden for maintaining the city which is the joint Capital of Punjab and Haryana. Sources said Punjab might impose some user charge and impose strict monitoring.

The administration says it will provide a mix of loose earth to keep the stench under control. Also the administration proposes that it will provide a top layer of soil when the waste land is filled up with garbage.

All parameters of safety, control and dumping of garbage which the administration applies for its existing dump at Dadumajra near Sector 38, will be followed if Punjab agrees. Citing the example of Delhi, officials said land fill sites there have been turned into beautiful landscapes. Chandigarh is asking for waste land and not any fertile land or environmentally fragile land, said officials.

Already the Chandigarh Administration is carrying out a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) sponsored ‘demonstration project’ for the management of solid waste in Chandigarh. This is for collection, segregation, storage and transportation and disposal of garbage.

Incidentally, a proposal of the Municipal Corporation to generate electricity from waste is gathering dust. The MC had selected the ‘plasma’ process as it is seen as a profit-making eco-friendly technology. The waste will be disposed mechanically and in a pollution free way. This entails segregation of plastic.



City to have 80 Sehaj Safai Kendras
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Sanitation facilities in the city are all set for a major facelift with the commissioning of at least a dozen Sehaj Safai Kendras (SSK) for garbage collection later this month.

The scheme is part of the ongoing tie-up of the UT Administration with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Out of the total budget of Rs 3.5 crores for the first phase of the scheme, half the amount will be covered by the CPCB.

At least two centres are complete in Sector 17. Other sites in the list include Sectors 4, 9, 29, 30 and the Modern Housing Complex, Manimajra. A total of 80 SSKs are planned under this scheme in the city.

Sources in the corporation said at the recent meeting of the of the CPCB and UT officials, need for the active participation of citizens for the success of the scheme had been clearly underlined. Meetings have also been held with the Business Promotion Council and the Traders Association, Sector 17.

The waste picked up from shops and houses will be dumped at the common waste disposal centres of the SSK. The scheme will bring a change to the common scene of garbage scattered near bins and open spaces.

“Active participation in the scheme was assured by the traders. Bins will be installed in front of all shops. The garbage will then be picked and disposed at the SSK. This is aimed at stopping the spread of filth on pavements and other open places in the markets”, a councillor of the MC said.

It was also felt that citizens needed to be made aware about the separation of waste. “The biodegradable waste needs to be separated from the plastic and the polythene. This is important in the context of the project which will help generate power from waste”, the councillor said.

The corporation will make efforts by engaging NGOs and welfare associations to make citizens aware about the proper disposal of the waste material. The city has already declared Sectors 27, 28, 15 and 35 as bin-free. However, the problem of segregation of the waste still persists even in these sectors.

One of the suggestions for the segregation of the waste was to use separate coloured bags for different wastes. “It was felt that the MC could take up the initiative of supplying the bags of different colours to citizens to put their waste in respective bags before disposal”, a councillor said.

It was elaborated that the second phase constitutes the remediation of existing dumping ground by covering, capping and closing nearly 20 acres of re-claimed area and converting nearly 10 acres of low lying site for the development of a sanitary land-fill site.



DC issues order on vehicle use
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Taking action against the reported misuse of the official vehicle by the Chairman of the Market Committee, Chandigarh, the office of the Deputy Commissioner has 
issued an order saying “the vehicle should 
not be allowed to be taken out of the city without getting written permission from the competent authority”.

The order also reads that the log book is personally signed by the Chairman and by the driver as well, the consumption of petrol\diesel should not exceed 150 litres per month, and there are no cuttings in the log book and if there are cuttings, they are attested”.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, Chairman, Market Committee, earlier had said that he was not aware of any restrictions on the use of vehicle nor had any information about filling the log book. He said the nature of his job demanded heavy travelling to mandis and other outlets.



Virus affects PNB services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Banking in 870 branches of Punjab National Bank all over the country remained suspended for half an hour, here today. The national network supporting the systems, located in Delhi, developed a snag leading to a complete collapse of the “Anytime, Anywhere Banking” services.

All operations, including ATM services, came to a standstill and customers had to cool their heels before the system became functional again. The PNB Senior Manager (IT), Mr K.K. Mahajan, said virus was found in the data server that catered to 870 of the 4,000 branches of the bank.



Sumeet becomes Suman at PU
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Panjab University examination branch, true to its reputation, has goofed once again. This time the affected person is Sumeet Verma, a student of SGGS College, Sector 26, who completed his B.Sc in April, 2003.

To Sumeet’s surprise, the degree certificate issued by the university after three years of his graduating not only changed his name, but also his gender.

Continuing to be Sumeet Verma in all university documents, including all marksheets issued by the university at the end of each year of graduation, (in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively), Sumeet transformed into “Suman Verma’’ in the final degree certificate issued to him. The clerical staff, while filling the degree certificate have even ticked ‘daughter of Mr M.R. Verma (Sumeet’s father)’ against his name, striking off the ‘son’ option.

The error put Sumeet in a fix. His hunt for a job after graduation became an enormous task as the degree certificate failed to establish his identity. But what annoys him more is the university’s approach to his problem, which wants him to pay for the error committed by them.

“When I went to the university for correction of my name and gender on the certificate, the staff there told me to pay Rs 150 and apply for a duplicate certificate. Why should I pay for a mistake, which I have not committed? It should be the university that should be correcting the error for me?” he argues.

To avoid the embarrassment of showing his erroneous degree certificate, Sumeet, however, relied on producing the final marksheet to his prospective employers. “The formality of getting a job always ended at producing the degree certificate. I had to convince the employers to accept my final marksheet so that I could escape the embarrassment of showing the erroneous degree certificate,’’ says Sumeet, who is now employed with a bank here. According to a university official, such errors do occur due to occasional work overload.



MC asked to release water connection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld a decision of the Permanent Lok Adalat (Public Utility Services) releasing a new water connection to the owner of a disputed property in Sector 23 here.

Earlier, the three-member adalat through a majority decision had ruled that the water supply to the disputed property could not be denied by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh. The adalat had acted on an application filed by Veena, who is the owner of the first and second floors of the house.

In her application, Veena claimed that she had been living at the first and second floors since July 29, 2000, after purchasing the property. The ground floor of the house is under the possession of Mr Amar Lal and Ms Anita Rani.

There is only one water connection for the house and Mr Amar Lal, allegedly with a view to grab the property, stopped the water supply to the upper floors. However, Ms Veena then moved the court and obtained a stay order on her dispossession on January 1, 2003.

Veena then applied to the corporation to provide separate water connection for the first and second floors. However, the corporation contended that under the Chandigarh Water Supply Bylaws the new water connection could not be released to her.

Corporation officials also argued that the water supply to the premises was disconnected on September 9, 2004, due to non-payment of the bill amounting to Rs 14,026.

Terming water as the “elixir of life”, the adalat, comprising Mr R.P. Bajaj and Mr K.C. Jaggi, Chairman and Member, respectively, ordered that Veena would pay two-thirds of the total arrears of the bill.

In his dissenting order, Mr J.S. Kohli, another Member, was of the view that the new water connection could not be released to the complainant as she did not fulfill the provisions of the bylaws. Mr Kohli suggested that water supply should be immediately restored to the premises after payment of the two-thirds of arrears by Veena and one-thirds by Mr Amar Lal.

A sub-meter should be provided for the first and second floors to avoid any dispute over water consumption and separate billing should done for the two owners, Mr Kohli added.



“Adopt a mother to save child”
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The silky brown salwar kameez takes you by surprise. After all you do not expect UK-based Chairperson of a non-government organisation to wear traditional Indian dresses. As you overcome the feeling of awe, Lady Odile Slynn’s wrist watch with Tricolour catches your eye.

It is, perhaps, her love for India that brings her to the country every now and then for charitable work — you surmise. That kind of explains her call to the NGOs in India to work together in close coordination for meeting common objectives. And to adopt a mother to save the child.

Suppressing temptation becomes impossible. Shifting uneasily in the chair, you ask her awkwardly, “Do you love India and things associated with her?” Before you realise the vagueness of your quarry, she smiles, “Oh, yes! I guess I was an Indian in my previous birth.”

Showing you the watch after pulling up the sleeves, she utters, “I brought this from Assam. Lovely isn't it?” Making herself comfortable in the study of Sector 16 advocate brothers Anil and Ranjit Malhotra, she adds, “I have travelled all around the globe with my husband Lord Gordon Slynn — the senior-most Judge of the House of Lords. But India is closest to my heart. That is why I am moved by the poverty here.”

Adjusting her spectacles, she asserts, “My first encounter with poverty in India was during a visit to a tiger reserve. The tribals invited me for tea. I was apprehensive but could not say no. After all, I could not hurt their feelings. I was touched by their hospitality. In UK, people just do not invite strangers for a cup of tea. Now, I try to give what I received..... Yes, I am doing my bit.”

Giving details of her programme in India, she says, “I am associated with Kolkata-based 30-year-old organisation Children in Need Institute (CINI). I like working with it because it is not a western NGO.”

Pushing back the chair, she add, “Most of the NGOs try to tackle the problem of street children. But no one takes care of mothers before the children are born.... We basically tell people to take care of the mother so that the child is healthy. In fact, we sponsor the mother when she is six months pregnant till the child is born and vaccinated. No, we do not distribute food, but spread awareness on how to use the food.”

Lady Slynn adds that they raise funds through trusts and corporate people in the UK because people in India are willing to donate for HIV and for street children, but not for nutrition. As far as Indian diaspora is concerned, they donate for the welfare of their native villages. The problem with the NGOs in India, she asserts, is that they do not work together in close co-ordination. Lack of direction and funds is another thing.

That is true. But are there any case of misutilisation of funds by the NGOs on the UK? “No, not at all. All the NGOs have to be registered. And then there is the charity commission. The audit reports have to be submitted to it. Also, an NGO cannot spend more than 25 per cent on the administration. Moreover, there is constant monitoring. We send reports to the donors from time before birth till the baby is 18-month-old.”



IAF abolishes dual control of tech training schools
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Indian Air Force has moved the administrative control of all its technical training schools, heretofore functioning under various operational commands, to the Training Command. The move will do away with the ambiguity of dual control and rationalise training activities.

According to sources, the Training Command will now be responsible for all administrative as well as training issues pertaining to its numerous Technical Type Training Schools (TETTRA). The switchover was executed last month.

Earlier the Training Command was responsible only for training aspects, while for all other issues the schools were under the control of the operational command under whose geographical jurisdiction they were located. In Punjab for example, there are four TETTRA schools, which were earlier administered by the Western Air Command, though for training activities they were responsible to the Training Command. This led to a peculiar situation.

There are about 20 TETTRA schools spread across the country. These are responsible for training pilots, engineers and technical personnel on engineering aspects of a particular aircraft.

“In other commands, the emphasis is always on operations and serviceability of the fleet, with training activities getting relegated into the background,” an IAF officer remarked. “Being under one command for all matters, training activities would be more focused and sorting out issues would be simpler,” he added. IAF officers said that such a move had been under consideration for a long time.

TETTRA schools are significant because all pilots, engineers and technical personnel have to pass through their portals before they take up assignments in aircraft operating establishments. IAF personnel often have to undergo courses in more than one TETTRA school when they more for one type of an aircraft to another.

This also reflects on the service conditions and manpower planning in the IAF Unlike as in some major air forces, where technical personnel specializing on a particular aircraft or in a particular stream stick to it, IAF personnel find themselves working on a variety of aircraft through their careers.

IAF policy also permits technical personnel being rotated between fighter, helicopter and other streams. One reason for this, perhaps, is that IAF personnel are required to serve by rotation in all commands and adequate vacancies for accommodating them in a particular stream may not be possible.



Passing Thru

Sumita Dawra
Sumita Dawra 
MD, Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh

You are the MD of one of the richest sports departments in the country, what has been done for the welfare of sportspersons?

We have given enormous amount of cash prizes to various eminent players of Andhra Pradesh. Even the players from non-Olympic sports like chess, have been honoured with cash prize by SAAP. The basic idea is to motivate any promising sportsperson irrespective of the sport in which he or she has excelled.

Why Hyderabad plays host to so many sports tournaments of national and international level?

The hosting of the National Games-2002 and Afro-Asian Games in 2003, Hyderabad , had improved sports infrastructure in this city. The first ever Premier Hockey League (PHL) in floodlights are already in progress at the Gacho Bowli Stadium. From February 7 to 12, we have the biggest tennis tournament for women, WTA Tennis at SAAP Indoor Tennis Stadium. In shooting, we had the National Masters Meet and this year we will have international-level shooting meet here. The world junior volleyball meet will also be staged in Hyderabad this year.

— Arvind Katyal



Red Cross to manage Raen Basera
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Raen Basera, a night shelter in Sector-17, will now be run by the UT Red Cross Society. Presently the night shelter is being run by a contractor.

The decision was taken by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman of the Red Cross Society, Mr Arun Kumar, yesterday after a number of complaints surfaced regarding the mismanagement, and unhygienic conditions as well as substandard facilities ranging from stinking toilets to no fire-fighting arrangements.

Periodic checks by the Red Cross Society to pull up the contractor and upgrade the facilities did not work.

Mr Kumar said the society would improve the facilities, and repair white-wash the building, upgrade the toilet facilities, lay PVC flooring, providing clean drinking water and make provision for fire-fighting arrangements.

He said for the visitors, two kinds of rates shall be charged, one would be Rs 10 for every 12 hours and the other Rs 20 for every 12 hours. Some other conveniences such as quilt, blankets, cloak room facility would be provided after charging a nominal fee.

The Red Cross would also purchase new bedsheets and blankets. As the upgradation of facilities would involve extra cost, it has also been decided to lease out the upper floor for use as a cycle-stand and the adjacent canteen and STD, photostat, fax shop through open auction for cross subsidisation.



Basant Utsav on Feb 12, 13
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 5
The annual Chandigarh Basant Utsav will be held here at Leisure Valley, Sector 10, on February 12 and 13. The event aims at promoting tourism and festivity in the city.

The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr S.C. Poddar, Special Secretary (Tourism), Chandigarh Administration. The meeting was held here yesterday.

Those who attended the meeting included Mr S.P. Arora, Director, Public Relations, Chandigarh Administration, Mr S.K. Sharma, President, Environment Society of India, Ms V.N. Singh, Director, Musuem and Art Gallery, Mr Vijay Kumar, Tourist Officer, Chandigarh Administration and Joint Secretary of the Chandigarh Arts Council, and representatives from the Engineering Department, Municipal Corporation, Police Department, College of Arts.



Resident’s charge against PH Dept
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 5
A resident of Sector 69 complained that employees of the Department of Public Health dug up the ramp portion in front of his house for plugging a leakage but left without filling the area.

Mr Arishtpal Singh said today that the main water supply pipe passing from beneath the ramp area started leaking about two weeks ago. The ramp area was dug up for plugging the leakage. The employees left without filling the dug up portion. As entry to the house had become a problem I had to get the portion filled up on my own.

He said on Thursday another pipe started leaking and the area outside the gate was again dug up by Public Health employees. They left after plugging the leakage and entry to the house had become impossible.



Minor fire in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 5
A minor fire broke out at a sweet shop in Phase I here today.

According to fire brigade officials, the fire resulted due to a gas leakage from an LPG cylinder. It was immediately brought under control. No loss has been reported in this regard.



Jewellery, cash stolen
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 5
Gold jewellery and cash were stolen from a house in Phase VII here yesterday.

The theft took place when there was no one at home. It is learnt that some girls and a family were living in the rented accommodation but all had gone out in connection with various works.

The theft came to the notice when the girls came back in the afternoon. They saw that things were laying scattered in the house. They immediately informed Mr Chetandeep Singh, the other occupant, who then called the police.

It is reported that the thieves were in the house when the girls came back but they immediately fled after scaling the wall of the back courtyard.



3 thefts in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
As many as three theft cases have been reported from the city since yesterday.

According to the police, Mr Rajinder Singh a resident of Mal Majra village in Ludhiana district, alleged that his motorcycle had been stolen from the Piccadily parking in Sector 34.

Mr Daulat Ram of Sector 39 reported that someone stole jewellery, clothes and Rs 450 from his house. In another incident, Mr Jaswinder Singh, a Sector 45-D resident, alleged that his mobile phone was stolen from his car parked in the Punjab and Haryana High Court parking.


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