C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Thumbs up to education
City to have 4 new govt schools

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Chandigarh administration has decided to open four more government high schools in the city. The schools will be located in sectors 50-B, 50-C, 53-B and 54-A. The new schools, including two schools announced recently in sectors 48 and 49, will cater to at least 6,000 students.

The total number of high schools will now be 36.

Director public instructions S.K. Setia said the proposal had been approved by the home secretary-cum-education secretary Krishan Mohan.

The drawings of the new schools have been submitted to the office of the chief engineer, administration, for estimates and the civil work involved. The project is likely to be completed within a year.

Setia said, “These schools would be constructed on the most modern pattern and would have all facilities which could be expected in the modern education system. Our target is to complete the construction within one year.”

The schools will be constructed in an area of about four acres each. There will be provision for adequate drinking water and the rooms have been designed in such a way that there will be proper ventilation and light. There will be a provision for a ramp for physically challenged students.

Meanwhile, a team headed by the chief engineer visited the Government High School, Hallomajra, and proposed to demolish the rear of the building to construct a multi-storeyed building there. The DPI (S) said, “ The basic problem is space constraint in the school and a permanent solution is construction of a new school outside the congested location. There is no scope of further addition to the existing building as there is neither any space nor is the present structure safe to carry the load of additional construction.

The details of the earmarked sites have been asked from the department of town planning and work is expected to start soon. The administration has also made some extension in existing school buildings to meet the rush of students in the wake of closure of residential schools following a high court decision.

A three-storeyed block consisting of 18 classrooms has been constructed at the primary wing of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 8. Four new classrooms have been built at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sector 18, while a three-storeyed block comprising 12 classrooms has been erected at Government High School, Sector 29.

At Government High School, Sector 42, a two-storeyed block consisting of 10 classrooms has been built and a provision for six more classrooms has been made at Government High School, Milkman Colony, Dhanas.



Application refused without draft for Rs 10
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The engineering department of the Chandigarh administration today refused to accept an application submitted under the Right to Information Act seeking details regarding manpower deployment in the office and the field.

The application was rejected saying that the charges for the same would be accepted only through a bank draft. The fees for the application is Rs 10. Chandermukhi, a senior councillor whose application was refused, has submitted more than 50 applications to different departments of the administration and the MC and has always paid in cash.

“I have always paid in cash because it is an easier way to avoid the tedious way of getting a bank draft. I was amused at the answer because while offices of the administration on the fourth floor of the secretariat have always accepted cash for the applications, the office on the first floor refused it. The notification of the RTI clearly mentions cash as an accepted mode of payment,” she said.

V.K. Bhardwaj, chief engineer, said: “The matter will be sorted out at the earliest.”

Chandermukhi said: “I looked for the information officer of the works and establishment wing of the engineering department and went to his office. The officer gave the application to his juniors who came back and said they could not accept any application without a bank draft. I argued with them quoting other instances where I paid in cash but they refused to listen.”



Bricks just got cheaper
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 25
The district administration has managed a “good deal” with brick-kiln owners, despite the withdrawal of the control order fixing the rates of brick.

Against the market rate of Rs 2,200 for 1,000 bricks, the administration, in negotiations with the union of brick-kiln owners, has been able to bring down the rate to Rs 1,740 per 1,000.

In a recent amendment to the Haryana brick supplies control order wherein the rates of bricks were fixed by the government, it has now been left to the district administration to negotiate with the brick-kiln owners and procure bricks at the rates agreed upon by both parties.

Deputy commissioner Neerja Shekhar constituted a committee headed by SDM Varinder Dahiya to expedite the matter by deciding the rate of brick procurement. A meeting of the president of the brick-kiln association, and officials of the food and supplies department, panchayati raj and HUDA was held with officials of the district administration in this regard.

While Rs 1,740 will be charged for 1,000 bricks, Rs 210 would be charged as transportation charges. A sum of Rs 225 would be charged for a distance of 10 to 15 km, Rs 240 for 15 to 20 km and Rs 240 plus Rs 4 for every additional km above 20 km.

The rates of tiles have been fixed at Rs 1,940. “Though it is not binding on brick-kiln owners to accept our rates, they have accepted the recommendations of the committee,” Dahiya said.



Fatal mishaps down 20 pc
Traffic cops credit it to special drives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Chandigarh traffic police has claimed that due to its sustained enforcement drives and awareness programmes, there has been a 20 per cent decline in fatal accidents during the current year against the corresponding period last year.

The traffic police said the decline in fatal accidents was a result of an in-depth study of accident- prone areas in the city, especially in southern sectors and the periphery. Following this, traffic policemen were withdrawn from northern sectors and deployed in southern sectors.

Senior traffic police officials said sustained enforcement drives coupled with correctional measures helped in reducing fatalities in road mishaps. Motorists indulging in overspeeding and drunken driving were booked in large numbers.

This in spite of the fact that 3,000 vehicles were being added every month in the city.

Besides, the traffic police has also stepped up enforcement and booked 58,249 motorists for violating various traffic rules and regulations till June 24 this year as against 52,864 offenders booked in the same period during last year. The police is targeting youths in its awareness drives as studies have shown that many youths have lost their lives in road mishaps.



Milkmen protest against stringent Act
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
The Chandigarh periphery milkmen union has demanded the scrapping of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, implemented by the Punjab government as it was too tough on offenders.

The demand was made by the union at a rally here today in protest against the alleged anti-people policies of the government. The protesters later gathered outside the office of the deputy commissioner and submitted a memorandum.

Baljinder Singh Bhagomajra, general secretary, said under the new law a milkman would have to undergo 10 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakh would be imposed on him if the quality of milk was not found to be as per the standards. If a milkman did not have the required licence for selling milk, he would be fined Rs 5 lakh.

He said such stringent measures only gave rise to corruption.

Launching an attack on the health department, the union alleged that officials collected funds from dairy owners operating in the area and issued receipts in the name of the milkmen union, Mohali, even when no such union existed in the area earlier. Such a union was formed only last week.

It demanded that the authorities concerned should stop taking samples of milk.

It said that the dairy development board held awareness camps to “defame” milkmen and popularise milk plants. The protesters claimed that they were not supplying adulterated milk.

The general secretary demanded that the authorities should make arrangements for the provision of pure feed for the animals because substandard feed had affected the quality of milk.



Water bodies undergoing degradation: experts
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Lake hydrology experts today warned that that all the lakes and reservoirs in India, without exception, were in varying degrees, undergoing environmental degradation.

Inaugurating a five-day training course on hydrology of lakes for sustainable human benefits, Dr KD Sharma, director, National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, said the main cause for continued degradation of lake environment has been public apathy and government indifference.

Delivering a lecture on lake management in India, Sharma along with colleague VK Choubey pointed out that degradation of these water bodies was due to encroachments from domestic and industrial effluents and silt.

Wastewater, domestic effluents, organic, inorganic and toxic pollution from industrial effluents, storm water runoff, toxic agricultural pesticides and organic pollution from human settlements spread over areas along the periphery of the lakes and reservoirs were mainly responsible for environmental degradation.

“India is well known for the huge variance in its lakes, but the data is nebulous. A census of lakes and identification and assessment of their problems both in the urban and rural areas is lacking. There is no orderly or scientific census of lakes. Though there is a distinction between fresh water lakes and brackish water lakes, just as the lakes of southern peninsular India are distinct from those of the Himalayan region and natural lakes from manmade reservoirs, there is no scientific evaluation,” said Sharma.

A listing done by the Ministry of Environment and Forests identified 2167 natural lakes (wetlands) and 65253 man-made lakes (wetlands) but the detailed listing is limited to only 340. Attempts are being made to publish a directory giving the latest information both on the basis of ground verification and remote sensing technology. Since data on lakes is not scientifically compiled, it is difficult to provide analytical solutions to the problems and hence a generic approach, said Sharma.

Experts pointed out that a part of the problem was ambiguous laws, too many corrupt and confused authorities, plethora of land owning government agencies, political vested interests and absence of a clear lake environment policy.

Sharma said, “Restoration actions taken for lakes such as the Chilika, Loktak , Dal and Nagin, the Bhoj Wetland (Bhopal lakes), Harike, etc., were often delayed due to involvement of several sectoral ministries at the Central and state level which lacked basic understanding in adopting a joint approach since lakes or wetlands are not delineated under any specific administrative jurisdiction.”

The situation has changed in the last decade due to public awareness of the need for sustainable environment in general, not of lakes alone. This awareness has led to public protestations, legal interventions and also public participation in restoration actions.

Suggesting solutions, Sharma and Choubey said the first step was to survey and inventories all water bodies and categorise them. “The next step is to initiate action on integrated water resources management (IWRM) with specific emphasis on lakes and reservoirs at the basin or sub-basin levels. The existing acts, legislations, and laws need to be integrated suitably into a single specific legislation together with new legislation,” said Sharma adding that the establishment of River Basin Organisations is the most important step towards sustainable lake management.



Fauji Beat
Curb over-ambitiousness to reduce suicide cases

THE field manual titled as “Suicide and Fratricide: Dynamics and Management” brought out by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) has listed many factors for the officers to uphold the dignity of the troops. Only one of these is tackled in this small piece.

This factor deals with poor command and control, increased workload and senseless demands made by the superiors. The main weakness of the Indian Army today, stems from the “senseless demands” that the senior officers make on their juniors. This is because of their over-ambitiousness to climb to the next rung of the promotion ladder at any cost. The result is that the seniors give unreasonable tasks to their unit commanders, which the latter cannot accomplish within the stipulated time. This, besides increasing the workload, derails the command and control set-up and sends jitters down the spines of the unit commanders, which percolate to the junior commanders and jawans. How can you expect normal behaviour from the troops who are constantly under pressure?

As it is, finding your enemy in counterinsurgency operations is like finding a needle in a haystack. If the senior commanders curb their over-ambitiousness and stop expecting miracles from their subordinates, the suicide and fratricide cases will automatically come down.

Ex-servicemen show the way

The State Electricity Boards in most states run into huge financial losses because of power thefts, illegal connections and non-payment of bills. The case of Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (HBVN), where even a waiver scheme of Rs 1,600 crore in 2004, did not help, is no different.

It was in December 2005, that HBVN turned to the Haryana Ex-Service League (HESL) and outsourced the task of meter reading, billing and cash collection to ex-servicemen. This has not only resulted in phenomenal rise in revenue collection but has also provided a second career to about 6000 ex-servicemen.

Yet another project where the Haryana Government had failed to make any headway was survey of families below poverty line (BPL). This task too has been entrusted to the HESL. Nearly 3,400 ex-servicemen have been employed on it to complete the task in three months.

Command Hospital update

During his visit to the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, on June 20, the director general medical services (Army), Lieut-Gen Saibal Mukherjee, said the hospital was among the best in the armed forces and could easily be compared with any of the corporate hospitals in the country.

To enhance professionalism and clientele satisfaction, the hospital blood bank has started facilities for component therapy for the critically ill cases requiring specific blood components thereby optimising the utilisation of life saving blood transfusions.

The Centre for Assisted Reproductive Techniques has been revived and is all set to provide specialised services to young infertile couples. The gynaecology department also has the facility of IUI laboratory. The department of radiodiagnosis provides imaging services to over 250 patients every day. And the average workload of the hospital laboratory is 2,400 investigations per day.

On an average, over 1,300 patients come to the outdoor patient departments (OPDs) every day. In each OPD, first 20 numbers are reserved for the senior citizens. A separate car park has been provided for the veterans who are over 70 years of age. — Pritam Bhullar



Tributes paid to Major Sagar
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 25
Defence personnel of the city and surrounding areas remembered martyr Major Sandeep Sagar on his death anniversary, here today. A floral homage was paid to the martyr at the Major Sandeep Sagar Chowk at the Sector 7-8 and 17-18 crossing.

Professor Harbans Lal and his wife Raksha, parents of the martyr, along with other relatives, paid tributes to him.

They recalled that Sandeep was a brave young man, who believed that ‘the welfare of the country comes first, the welfare of the soldier second and the welfare of the self last”.

A wreath was also laid at the memorial on behalf of the GOC-in-C, Western Command. Families of other martyrs also attended the ceremony.

HUDA administrator Neelam Pradeep Kasni was the chief guest on the occasion. To a request for installation of better railings and ban on display of hoarding outside the memorial, Neelam assured full support.



GMADA gives a year’s time to plot owners

Mohali, June 25
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has given one year’s time to owners of vacant plots to carry out construction on the sites allotted to them more than eight years ago. The extension has been given till December 31, 2007, after which there is a plan to resume vacant plots. Earlier, the date fixed for the resumption of plots was December 31, 2006.

More than 11,500 plots of various sizes are lying vacant and many of these have become garbage dumps. The plots were purchased and sold several times over the years for earning profit. Many of these were allotted more than 20 years ago.

According to PUDA rules, an allottee is given three years for construction. He is given five years if he pays an extension fee for every year.

It is learnt that GMADA , which has adopted several PUDA rules, is planning to follow HUDA pattern as far as construction on sites is concerned. HUDA gives two years to allottees to carry out construction after which they have to pay an extension fee every year for not carrying out construction for a period of 13 years before the resumption process starts.

The GMADA has sent the proposal to the government for approval. If the government agrees to frame a policy on the HUDA pattern, all persons who had been allotted plots more than 15 years ago would be given one year’s time to carry out the construction after which the resumption process would start. — OC



Councillor accused of gobbling up deposit
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
Two residents of Phase X have alleged that a municipal councillor, who was running cooperative societies along with her husband, was not returning the amount deposited with them as fixed deposits.

Iqbal Kaur and Harminder Singh Kaura alleged at a press conference here today that Amteshwar Kaur and her husband Amarjeet Singh were neither paying the interest on the amount deposited with them nor returning the principal amount.

Iqbal claimed that she had deposited Rs 9.15 lakh with Amarjeet but when she asked him to return the money he refused to do so. She said she had written a letter to the superintendent of police last month asking him for help. She said she was a disabled senior citizen living alone and depended solely on her pension.

Kaura also alleged that the couple owed him Rs 2.75 lakh which he had deposited in the form of fixed deposits with their societies. But the amount was allegedly not being returned to him, despite several requests.

Amteshwar could not be contacted for comments.



Girl beaten up by parents
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
A girl was allegedly beaten up by members of her family in Phase V here today when they found her in the company of a boy who claimed to have married her.

On seeing the girl being beaten up, the boy raised an alarm after which shopkeepers of the area tried to save her. The boy claimed that he had been in love with the girl for the past several years and was now married to her. He added that her parents were opposed to the marriage.

The father of the girl, however, claimed that his daughter had not got married and the boy had tried to run away with her when she had come to the town in connection with the marriage of her older sister.

The police also reached the scene and was shown documents relating to the marriage of the two persons.



Press Club invites entries for awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Chandigarh Press Club has invited entries for the third annual awards of excellence in journalism for 2006-07. The awards are being offered in the categories of the best investigative report award; the best news photograph award; the best television news report award; and the best headline award.

“The awards aim to raise and recognise the standards of journalism in the region,” said Balwant Takshak, president of the club.

The awards have been sponsored by Prem Dutt Sharma, chairman, Pandit Yagya Dutt Sharma Memorial Trust, Chandigarh, in memory of his father, Yagya Dutt Sharma, a former Governor of Orissa.

The awards are open to print journalists/photographers/TV reporters/desk journalists based in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. No participant can submit more than two entries, but these must be published/telecast between January 1, 2006 and May 31, 2007.

Any person who has been conferred the award would not eligible to apply in any category for the next three years. The last date for submission of entries is June 30.



4 more shikaras at Sukhna

Chandigarh, June 25
The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) today added four more shikaras to the existing fleet of only two at the Sukhna Lake. The department invited mentally-challenged children to have a memorable ride on six beautifully coloured shikaras with balloons all over on the occasion.

These children travelled to the lake on the hop-on, hop-off double decker coach. Managing director, CITCO, Jasbir Singh Bir said CITCO had always considered it a pleasure to include the underprivileged and mentally-challenged children as special invitees on some important events organised by it. — TNS



Tenant ordered to vacate house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 25
Following court orders, a tenant in Sector 9 here was sent packing today from a rented accommodation for failing to pay the rent. Owner of the house M.K. Goyal said he rented his house to one Ashok Vaid in 1994.

However, after paying the rent for a few years, Ashok stopped paying the same and even refused to vacate the house. Following this, Goyal filed a writ petition in the court of district and sessions judge M.M. Sharma, who ordered the tenant to pay the due amount of Rs 1.25 lakh or leave the house.

Implementing the court orders, cops and a team from the court went to get the house vacated. Ashok Kumar agreed to leave the house immediately and packed up his belongings.



The authorities couldn’t care less
Rajay Deep

Chandigarh, June 25
Scattered concrete and bricks reclined the whole day on the Sectors 7-8 dividing road following last night’s accident in which a speeding car rammed into the divider on the road.

It seems only a major accident can shake the authorities concerned from deep slumber as the wreckage still lies in the middle of this busy road.

Last night, at about 11.30 pm, a speeding car rammed into the divider after the driver lose control.

Concrete and bricks got scattered on the road, causing great inconvenience to passersby the whole day.

“It has blocked half of the road and it is posing danger as it is close to the turning point,” said Gurpreet Singh Bansal.

Gauravjeet Singh Jagpal, an advocate, said, “It is a shame that the authorities could not remove the debris the whole day.”



Coordinate traffic lights

The traffic lights installed in front of Mansa Devi Complex on the Chandigarh-Kalka road do not provide for entry into Sector 7 while coming from Chandigarh. The entry road to the sector is wide enough for two-way traffic. To avoid driving all the way to the next traffic lights, a 10-second entry to Sector 7 should be provided. Also, there is no co-ordination of timing between the lights installed on the junctions of Sectors 8-9 and 9-10. After waiting on the red signal at one road junction, by the time one reaches the next signal half a kilometre ahead, there is red signal again. The timing needs to be coordinated.

S.L. Bhatia, Panchkula

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Radio jockey plays the cop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
A radio jockey with a private FM radio today chased and intercepted a truck driver, who sped away after hitting a cyclist near the Sector 29 and Industrial Area traffic lights point.

Talking to TNS, Sunaina Hooda, the radio jockey, said she saw a truck hitting the cyclist and the truck driver sped away from the spot. She asked her car driver to give a chase to the offending vehicle and managed to intercept it near the transport lights point in Sector 26.

She took help from police officers and narrated the incident to them. The police said both parties reached a compromise and no case was registered in this connection.


Kamala Devi of Saini Vihar, Baltana, reported to the police that motorcycle-borne miscreants sped away after snatching her gold chain from near the Sectors 27 and 28 traffic lights point this morning. She was waiting for a bus at a stop. In another incident, Mool Chand of Sector 19 filed a complaint with the police alleging that unidentified motorcyclists tried to snatch a purse of a woman near the Sectors 20 and 30 traffic lights point on Sunday evening. Two cases have been registered in this regard.

Vehicles stolen

Rajinder Singh of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, reported to the police alleging that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-W-2969) was stolen from his residence on June 23. Shiv Singh of Sector 51 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his motorcycle (CH-03-X-2162) was stolen from his residence on June 20. In another incident, Ashok Kumar of Pinjore filed a complaint with the police alleging that his motorcycle (HR-49-A-3100) was stolen from Sector 3 on Sunday.

Three cases of thefts have been registered in this connection.



Man booked
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
The police has booked a resident of Jagatpura village on the charge of attempting to rape a minor girl, here today.

According to the police, Sanjay Kumar allegedly was taking the 12-year-old girl on a bicycle in Sector 68 to a secluded area when he was spotted by the mother of the child, Manjeet Kaur. She raised a noise after which the suspect fled from the area, leaving the girl behind. The girl belongs to Kumbra village and suffers from a speech disability. Her mother who works as a domestic help in Sector 69 was coming back from work when she saw her daughter.



Man booked for suicide bid

Chandigarh, June 25
The local police has booked a Mauli Jagran resident for allegedly attempting suicide.

The police said Rajni of Mauli Jagran reported to the police alleging that her husband Vikas tried to end his life by hanging at their residence on Sunday afternoon. She raised the alarm and due to the timely intervention of neighbours, he was lowered from the hook and rushed to the Sector 6 Civil Hospital in Panchkula. — TNS



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