C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Students: 1,000, rooms: 5, Principal: none!
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 9
The big talk about quality education-for-all notwithstanding, the Government High School, Sector-19, Panchkula, is a shining example of how unconcerned Education Department authorities are about India’s future-in-the-making.

The school attracts students from the not-so-privileged sections of the society which probably explains the reasons behind the official apathy.

There are more than a thousand students enrolled in the school which, incredibly, has only five rooms at its disposal. And to make matters worse, no Principal has been assigned to the school since January.

The poor infrastructure has resulted in a majority of students being forced to sit outdoors, braving the vagaries of weather be it the merciless heat, rain or dust storms.

The situation is so miserable that at least three students had fainted during the past four days while classes were being taken outdoors, said Ms Raksha Sharma, Physical Instructor.

A student, Vijay, who fainted before this correspondent today and was given first-aid by classmates, said : “Most of the students sit outdoors as a matter of routine, there being no classrooms to accommodate all of us. We feel exasperated under the blazing sun which is affecting our health and studies.”

A teacher of the school, Ms Usha, said: “ Though a new school building has been allotted to the senior classes in the Sector-19 only, yet we cannot move there as it is awaiting inauguration. The present school was basically meant for primary classes only.”

The high school is bursting at seams with 20 classes, each having two sections, with every section comprising 50 students on an average.

Though the school authorities have erected some tent-like structures to house the classes yet the problem remains undressed.

The school discipline is also in tatters. One can see students having a field day roaming outside the premises during the school hours with neither teachers nor boundary walls offering any resistance.

Another interesting fact is the school building is often lent for marriage parties and other functions which creates a big nuisance in the area.

The senior-most teacher of the school, who is also the science in charge, said: “The parties do happen but only after the MC has given the permission for it.”

The District Education Officer, Ms Kanta Malik, when contacted, said nonchalantly: “We have referred the matter to the higher authorities who will decide on the future course of action.’’ Incidentally, the school is awaiting the action for the past many months.

Perhaps, the DEO’s response best sums up the sense of urgency with which government schools’ problems are taken up in the district.



Stone crushing units cause air pollution
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

A stone crusher creates air pollution in Burj Kotian village, near Panchkula, on Wednesday
A stone crusher creates air pollution in Burj Kotian village, near Panchkula, on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Burj-Kotian (Panchkula), May 9
Air pollution being created by stone crushing units and plying of heavy vehicles and other goods carriers on a kuccha road linking Morni with Ambala-Kalka National Highway-22 has virtually taken over the vegetation. Thick clouds of dust have brought misery to residents of over half-a-dozen villages and their livestock.

Spread over 105 acres in Burj Kotian village, about 30 crushers have functioning from the area that was declared Stone Crusher Zone by the state government in 1992. Throwing norms to winds, these stone crushers have been causing air and water pollution, thus endangering ecologically the areas in the foothills of Lower Shivaliks here for the past over two decades.

Residents of the affected villages have lodged their protest many times against the negligent behaviour of the government. Demanding carpeting of the road and closure of certain stone crushers, the irate villagers have even blocked the busy Ambala-Kalka National Highway-22 a couple of times.

Mrs Janam Begum, sarpanch of Burj Kotian village, along with over 100 villagers today reached the office of the Deputy Commissioner and threatened to block the highway if their demands were not fulfilled soon.

Mr Ajmer Singh, a members of the Block Development Committee, Pinjore, said that repeated representation to the administrations had failed to yield any results in the past over 10 years. He added that not only the stone crushers but even the damaged road and mining at a large scale on the Ghaggar River bed had been causing huge air pollution.

“The level of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) in this area is so high that even the sun is partially visible many times,” laments Mr Ajmer Singh.

A visit by The Tribune team to the stone crushers zone revealed that a majority of the units had been lacking proper pollution control devices. Water sprinklers were hardly functional at some stone crushers. Poor plantation inside the premises of these units was dying a slow death.

Mr Rajendra Gupta, president of the Burj Kotian Stone Crushers Association, denied violation of norms by the stone crusher owners. He, however, claimed that the problem aggravated in summers and especially at the time when winds below.

Taking serious note of air pollution being caused by stone crushers and plying of heavy vehicles on a kuccha road, linking Morni with Ambala-Kalka National Highway, the Haryana Pollution Control Board (HPCB) has issued notices to violators for not complying with guidelines of the board. The board authorities have also asked the violators to file their replies in 15 days from the date of issuance of the notices.

Highly placed sources disclosed that a team of board officials visited the Stone Crusher Zone in Burj Kotian and Chandimandir and found two stone crushing units — KK Stone Crusher and Sandeep Stone Crusher — located in Rampur Siuri village near Chandimandir sources of massive pollution. Apart from this over six other stone crushers in Burj Kotian village were also found violating norms.

Meanwhile, the team also found that a 3.5 km kuccha stretch of the Chandimandir-Morni road the main source of air pollution. Mr Bhagwan Singh, Environment Engineer of the board, revealed that plying of heavy vehicles on the road was the main cause of air pollution in the area.

Feeling the gravity of public grievances, Mr Samir Mathur, Chairman of the Haryana Pollution Control Board, has also written to Mr Brejindra Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, for immediate carpeting of the road. 



No compromise on encroachments: Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
There will be no compromise on the issue of illegal encroachments on government land in the city, including violation of all rules and bylaws by certain unscrupulous elements. This was said by Gen S.F.Rodrigues (retd), Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, while addressing a meeting of the Advisory Council here today.

He made it clear that there could be no compromise on this issue as even the Supreme Court and high courts had given clear rulings in different judgements to prove the point. He impressed upon the members of the Advisory Council the need to sit together and find an answer to this problem through dialogue with the heads of various religious organisations responsible for illegally encroaching on the government land.

General Rodrigues said four sub-groups, constituted by the Administration for improving the working conditions of footpath workers in different trades, removal of encroachments and unauthorised religious structures, application of tools of e-governance and good governance and bringing about education sector reforms and initiatives, have given valuable suggestions.

Giving an account of a wide-ranging series of steps, General Rodrigues said the Administration had completed survey of vacant sites and a detailed analysis was being done for their best profitable use, for the benefit of the people. He said the Administration had also made an effort to put all properties of Chandigarh on its website and in the next two months every detail would be available for the convenience of the residents.

With a view to controlling the cattle menace and improving the hygiene and sanitation in the villages, General Rodrigues said the Administration had evolved an action plan for setting up a milk village near Maloya to accommodate about 20,000 cows and buffaloes.

General Rodrigues further said the Administration was aware of the increasing water and power demands in the city and had taken various measures for improving these basic public utility services. He said an ambitious plan was being put in action for controlling traffic hazards and improving the transport system. Those present on the occasion included Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor, and Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the Administrator.



MC ignores encroachments on greenbelt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Certain residents have made unauthorised openings into the proposed green belt in Sector 44-A.
In fact, if the residents are to be believed the funds earmarked for the greenbelt had allegedly been diverted to some other works. And even as the residents of the area from house No. 390 to 401 desperately need the greenbelt, the authorities concerned have turned a blind eye to the alleged encroachments.

In a written statement, the residents have alleged that certain residents in the area have installed doors by breaking the wall adjoining the greenbelt in connivance with the officials concerned. Moreover, generator sets kept in the area emit toxic fumes besides being a source of nuisance.

A resident rued that while an anti-encroachment drive was launched by the authorities about four months ago, the encroachments on greenbelts escaped their attention.

This happened despite repeated representations made to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh by the affected residents.



Summer vacations from May 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The Punjab Education Department today declared summer vacations in all government and government-aided schools from May 15, 2006, to June 30, 2006. Orders to this effect have been issued.
This year the summer break has been advanced due to the ongoing heat wave.



Passing thru

Acharya Prem Bhatia
Acharya Prem Bhatia Founder President, Vishav Bharatiya Yog Sansthan, Delhi

How is yoga helpful for tennis players?

When you practice yoga, you develop harmony between your mind and body, thereby strengthening both. Yoga is of great benefit to sportspersons as it relieves you of strain. Tennis is a game of concentration, flexibility and at the same time you need strength and rhythm. Since the game tends to be fast, you have to take decision in a fraction of a second. That’s where yoga helps a lot as it makes you mentally alert and physically lithe.

Is there any age limit for taking yoga exercises?

No, any person, irrespective of age, sex or stature can take yoga classes. However, the set of exercises differ for them. As there are different exercises for young and sportspersons, there are mild “asanas” for common people who just want to remain fit. Our sedentary lifestyle is responsible for rise in number of patients. This can be prevented if you practice yoga for 20 to 25 minutes a day.

Any tip for our readers?

Steady breathing is very important because it increases energy in the body which in turn leads to good health.

— G.S. Paul



Deputy Mayor asked to join probe
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 9
The police today directed Deputy Mayor Harmohinder Singh Lucky to join investigations into the case of theft of expensive garments from an exclusive women garments showroom in Sector 17. The notice was issued a day after the police impounded his Skoda car allegedly used in the theft.

The crime branch of the police, which is reinvestigating the case after the issue was highlighted by a section of the media, questioned Mr Alok Jain, owner of the shop, and its manager Balbir Singh.

Sources in the crime branch said both owner and the manager failed to satisfy the investigating officials regarding certain points that led to the alleged hushing up of the entire episode. Mr Jain was asked to explain why the mention about the women and the car was missing from his statement as had been stated by the watchman, Nand Kumar.

The sources said both Mr Jain and Mr Balbir Singh failed to provide satisfactory reasons for not mentioning the name of watchman in the complaint lodged with the police.

Meanwhile, the police served a notice on the Deputy Mayor asking him to join investigation into the theft tomorrow. It was handed over to his father as he was not available at home.

Meanwhile, the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr B.K. Mehta, kept the bail application of the salesman, Raju, pending till May 17. Citing a letter written by Mr Alok Jain to the IG, Chandigarh, that he was satisfied with the investigation and the recovery had been made, the counsel for the salesman said he be granted bail. However, the judge observed that the issue was till being investigated.

No police protection to watchman

Though the police has started reinvestigating the case and a number of persons have been questioned, no police protection has so far been given to the night watchman, Nand Kumar, who had stated before the police that he saw two women coming in a car to take clothes from Raju.

The action of the police in protecting the watchman is questionable as the identification parade has not been done so far.

Jain not sure about shop’s address

In a copy of the letter sent to the IG, Chandigarh, Mr Alok Jain, owner of Sweet Girls Station, while stating that he was satisfied with the investigations and the recovery made, apparently forgot to mention the address of his shop. In a addition in the letter made with pen, the SCO has been stated as 94-95, whereas the actual address is SCO 96-97, Sector 17, Chandigarh.



Computerise village work, says DC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 9
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, today called for the computerisation of work in villages where the sarpanches were educated.
The Deputy Commissioner, who was speaking at the first meeting of the District Development Committee here, said in such villages funds could be allocated for the purpose. He emphasised that there should be all-round development in villages in the new district.

He asked officials to look into the possibility of using rainwater for irrigation purposes in Dera Bassi and Majri blocks.

He also told officials of the PWD to ensure that roads were kept in good shape, particularly the Mohali-Chuni, Mohali-Mullanpur, Kharar-Chuni and Majri-Khijrabad roads.

Mr Tejveer Singh also held a meeting with police officials on law and order.



Three nominated to MC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 9
The Haryana Government has nominated three Congress leaders, Mr Sanjiv Chopra, a former president of the Congress, Mr Surat Singh Lohat, a local Senior Congress leader, and Mr Bipan Singla, industrialist, as Municipal Councillors of Panchkula Municipal Council.

With the nominations of three persons as Municipal Councillors, lobbing among the Congress leaders have started gaining momentum for a meeting to be held to decide the fate of Mr Tarun Bhandari, the MC chief.



Meenaxi administered oath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The Haryana Governor, Dr A.R.Kidwai, today administered the oath of office to former Chief Secretary, Ms Meenaxi Anand Chaudhry, as State Information Commissioner at the Haryana Raj Bhavan here.
Those present on the occasion included Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Speaker Haryana Vidhan Sabha, Dr Raghuvir Singh Kadiyan, Finance Minister, Mr Birender Singh, Education Minister, Mr Phool Chand Mullana and Chief Information Commissioner, Mr G. Madhavan.



SBI honours Gurneet Tej
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The SBI today organised a special function to honour Ms Gurneet Tej, daughter of Mr Surinder Singh Tej, Chief Sub Editor of the Punjabi Tribune, who secured the second rank in the Civil Services Examination, 2005, conducted by the UPSC.
Mr Hemant Contractor, Chief General Manager of the Chandigarh circle, felicitated her.



Woman cop nabbed taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 9
A woman Head Constable of the local police was arrested by officials of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on a charge of accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 here today .
According to bureau officials, Ravinder Kaur was allegedly caught red-handed by a vigilance team led by Zora Singh Brar, DSP, while accepting the amount from Mrs Rajwinder Kaur.

Ms Rajwinder Kaur’s son, Happy, was married to Jasvir Kaur, a resident of Phase XI, on March 26. A month later certain relatives from Jasvir Kaur came to her home in Phase I here . The relatives took her to the police station to lodge a complaint over a marital dispute. The case was then referred to the Women’s Cell of the police.

Hearings were held by the Women’s Cell. At today’s hearing, the Head Constable Ravinder Kaur allegedly approached Rajwinder Kaur and promised to get a decision in her favour if she gave her Rs 5,000. According to the police, Mrs Rajwinder Kaur expressed her inability to give the amount and the matter was allegedly settled for Rs 2,000.

Meanwhile, Rajwinder Kaur informed the Vigilance Bureau which later trapped and arrested the Head Constable in the presence of two witnesses, Mr Naresh Garg, SDO, and Mr Shiv Kumar, junior assistant, both working in the Punjab Irrigation Department. Head Constable Ravinder Kaur was booked under Sections 7, 13 (2) and 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 



2 shops burgled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 9
Burglars struck yet again at two shops in Sector 12 and decamped with cash and other goods worth thousands of rupees.
The incidents occurred last mid night when the burglars broke into a chemist shop — Bharat Medical Store — and another shop named Kaushal Stationary Shop.

The incidents came to light after the owners went to the shops this morning and found the locks broken.

The burglars had also taken away money from the shops after breaking opening the safe. They also ransacked the showrooms before fleeing from the spot.

After receiving the information, the police reached the spot and started investigating the matter. A case has been registered in this regard.



Angry husband sets house on fire

Chandigarh, May 9
In an interesting case, aman set his own house on fire after a dispute with his wife.
The incident occurred at about 5 pm in Colony no-5 when Virender Singh, a resident of one of the hutments, had a quarrel with his wife.

Angry over the tiff, he apparently emptied the stove and set the house on fire, informed his aghast wife Parmeshwari Devi. She refused to tell why he took such a step.

Luckily, the fire was doused by the neighbours before it could spread to the neighbouring hutments. However, all household goods, including beds, fan, TV etc were destroyed in the fire. TNS



Domestic help held with stolen revolver 

Chandigarh, May 9
The police has arrested the Sector 35-based advocate’s domestic help, who had allegedly stolen a revolver and Rs 72,300 belonging to his employer, in his native place in Bihar. The police claimed to have recovered the revolver along with the cartridges.

Accompanied by Uma Shanker, a relative of Jailesh, the police party reached Jailesh’s native village Damodarpur in Bhojpur district in Bihar. On May 6, Ums Shanker identified the accused and subsequently the police arrested him.

The police recovered the stolen revolver along with five live and one empty cartridge. The police said Jailesh told them that a shot had been fired by his employer on Lohri. He was produced before a local court today, which remanded him in police custody till May 11. — OC



City-based company bags animation contract
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Hollywood calling, indeed! Move over all ye film stars, musicians and technicians from Bollywood and Tollywood. Hollywood is now outsourcing animation contracts to city- based animation and production house, Compact Disc India.

Compact Disc, through its Singapore-based subsidiary, Interactive Creative Media, has bagged an animation contract worth $12. 4 million from a leading Hollywood production house. The project, ‘Hustle and Bustle’, is the first film to have been completely outsourced by a Hollywood production house, said the Managing Director of the company, Mr Gautam Seengal.

Explaining the concept of the film, Mr Seengal said ‘Hustle and Bustle’ was the story of two clumsy friends — one gets the powers of Spiderman and other gets the power of Superman. “The pre-production work of the movie has already begun, and considering the post production work, we hope to complete the film in about 34 months,” he said.

Other than this movie, the company has also bagged the $ 4.5 million contract from US-based production house, Red Octane, for another movie ‘Life After Death’ — a story of a young princess who travels through several birth- death cycles, in order to declare her love for a prince. Mr Seengal said that his creative team was involved in preparation of the script, character design, storyboard development, voice over and layout development. “A lot of work will be carried out in our studio at Kuala Lampur, Malaysia,” he said.

Compact Disc India, which is mainly into film production, had launched its animation division in 2002. In the past four years, projects worth $ 40 million have been outsourced to the company, the prominent one being a six-episode serial for the British Media Group (BMG). In fact, BMG outsources contracts worth $ 200 million to Indian companies, of which $ 13 million has been contracted out to Compact Disc India.

Mr Seenghal informed TNS that the company was also producing the first-ever Hindi movie, which would have an animated character, Zampano. It has shown interacting along with live characters, played by Ashmit Patel and Hrishita Bhatt.


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