C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Metro may be underground
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
Chandigarh may have a Metro in the next five years. The ambitious Metro project, for which initial studies have been done, not only proposes to link the city beautiful with satellite towns of Panchkula and Mohali but may even connect it to the industrial town of Baddi in Himachal Pradesh.

At a meeting in Chandigarh last week, which was attended by Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, Haryana chief secretary Promila Issar, adviser to UT Administration Pradip Mehra and Urban Development Ministry secretary M Ramachandran, it was decided to prepare a DPR on two corridors of the seven which have been identified by RITES.


PGI Government College, General Hospital, Sector 17-Interchange, Sectors 8, 7, 26, Grain Market, Transport Nagar, Railway Station, Manimajra, Motor Market and in Panchkula, Swastik Vihar, Sector 6-Mansa Devi Complex.


Motor Market, Panchkula Bus Terminal connecting Sectors 7, 8, 11,12, Maheshpur


Sukhna Lake, Mohali Railway Station via Secretariat, Sector 9, Sector 17 Inter-change, Sector 17, Sector 17 ISBT, Sectors 22, 34, 43, Bus Terminal, Sector 52, and in Mohali Sectors 62, 69, Sohana, Sectors 68, 67, 66.


Dadu Majra, Sectors 38, 37, 36, 35, 34, 33, 32, 31 Industrial Area and Airport.


IT Park, Kishangarh-Transport Nagar - Sectors 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 and 105 in Mohali.


Dadu Majra, Sector 93 Mohali.

Corridor VII

Sectors 14, 25, 38, 40, 55, 58, 73, 74, 91 and 93 in Mohali.


Zirakpur and ends at Panchkula Bus Terminal passing through Airport-Sector 14 and Sector 11 Panchkula.

The governments of Punjab and Haryana and the UT administration is likely to set up an empowered group to work out the mechanism for going ahead with the project proposal which enjoys support of all three partners. Simultaneously, a comprehensive mobility plan for the city will be prepared for which the Centre can also be approached.

The corridors to be taken up initially will be those which have large volume of passenger traffic. The RITES, which did the initial study, had recommended construction of elevated corridors but there were some reservations due to the city’s claim to heritage status. The proposal under consideration at present says that Metro would be underground in the city and elevated in other areas.

Though the present volume of commuter traffic in Chandigarh may not make Metro look profitable, the link has been planned with the future in mind. Those pressing for a Metro for Chandigarh point out that such trains were planned in European cities over 100 years back and were not profitable then. They say Chandigarh, which is among the best planned cities in the country, needs an efficient public transport as its population and that satellite towns is bound to rise due to coming up of projects such as IT parks.

Punjab, Haryana and the UT administration have already agreed to the need of improving bus network in the city by covering more areas and introducing quality buses.

Though the cost of the project and the likely time frame will be detailed in the DPR, ministry officials said that if the project approvals come in time and every aspect is closely worked out, the Metro can start its run in Chandigarh in five years.

They said that much will depend on the way the stakeholders want the Metro to shape up in the city.

The UT administration has been pressing for a Metro in the city, the officials said.



The gang of 4 that loves all that jazz
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Rising jewellery thefts across the tricity at opulent parties have a common string - they are supposedly being committed by a gang of teenagers that has struck thrice in a fortnight using the same modus operandi.

A day after thieves decamped with ornaments costing Rs 5 lakh at a ring ceremony at Hotel Taj, the police has gathered enough evidence which points towards the fact that five-star parties are a soft target for this gang of four, all teenagers, among them a girl.

Based on CCTV footage, the police has zeroed in on a teenaged girl whose image appears in two recordings in two theft cases in the city in the past weeks.

In a theft on December 30, thieves struck at the house of Talwaar Jewellers in Sector 9 and decamped with a purse kept on a chair which contained diamond earrings and a mobile. Yesterday’s theft in Hotel Taj was committed in similar fashion.

The teenage girl appearing in the CCTV camera footing obtained from the Taj is also seen in photographs at the house warming ceremony in Sector 9.

In Panchkula, a similar theft was committed at a private party some days back. The same girl was caught in this case. However, no case was registered as the theft was small and the stolen jewellery was recovered from the girl.

Modus operandi

Four teenaged boys under 15 always come well-dressed to five-star parties. The gang most likely hires an informer, who may be a DJ or caterer, and targets cash. “Each time the jewellery bag disappears within seconds,” a police official said.

Meanwhile, the vigil at Taj has been increased, the police will deploy one beat person on guard at hotel parties to avoid such thefts. 

Rs 1 lakh stolen from car

Chandigarh: Getting his car serviced cost a city resident dear as thieves decamped with his bag containing over Rs 1 lakh by breaking open the window of the car here today.

Abhi Bhasin had come to Swami Automobiles to get his car serviced. The cash bag was lying in another car which belonged to his friend. As Abhi went inside the showroom with his friend, thieves broke open the back window of his car and fled with the booty.



Traffic projects hit speed bump
Inordinate delay invites Administrator’s ire

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Issues that affect the lives of thousands of residents have been put on the back burner by the UT engineering department, so it seems. Proposals like installation of traffic signals, providing more slips roads, road dividers on busy intersections, widening of road sections and additional parking are pending since the last couple of years.

An official review of the pending road engineering proposals has revealed that the issues are stuck in official correspondence. Some of the issues were initiated when Gen S.F. Rodrigues (Retd) took over as Administrator more than three years ago.

The delay in implementation of several projects by the engineering and architecture departments has invited the ire of the Administrator. Pointing towards “misplaced” priorities, sources, citing examples, said the widening of a rotary on the busy Chandigarh-Panchkula-Kalka road was sent to the chief engineer way back in February 2005.

Similarly, a sum of Rs 5 crore has been spent on providing cycle and rickshaw tracks, but the proposal on street lighting is pending since 2005. Another proposal for a road divider on Udhyog Path and a parking on the V3 road between the grain market and Sector 26 is pending approval.

The engineering department is yet to implement proposals for closing intersections on roads leading to southern sectors and for construction of more slip roads at 13 points identified on Udhyog Path and Shanti Path.



Join new posts, JEs told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
A day after it was reported in these columns how a section of powerful JEs had stalled transfers, the Chandigarh administration today got cracking, directing that its orders be implemented.

All JEs were asked to join their new posting by lunch time. Sources said senior officers taking note of the news item told the engineering wing that the orders dated December 6 held in abeyance since be implemented with immediate effect.



Bird flu: Poultry farmers slash egg prices
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 17
The poultry farm owners of the district have started to feel the heat of avian flu in West Bengal. The price of eggs has been reduced to Rs 135 for 100 pieces during the past couple of days. Earlier, the same quantity was sold for Rs 170 by the poultry farms.

The district produces more than 50 lakh eggs per day from its 117 poultry farms housing around 62 lakh birds. The eggs from these farms are mainly lifted by dealers from New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

However, denying any risk of virus in the region, the poultry farm owners said even this time the panic among the consumers had no basis like the previous years. The poultry farmers had to suffer huge losses in 2006 and 2007 even as no case was reported from northern part of the country. The virus in the birds was reported from Maharahstra and Manipur at that time.

“No sale was reported from the poultry farms in the region for the last two days due to a sharp decline in the demand,” said president of the Haryana Poultry Association Darshan. “However, the entire stock was lifted today at the reduced prices,” he said, adding that it reflected that the panic of the flu had started subsiding among the consumers of the region.

The district administration, taking no chance, has asked the officials concerned to visit the poultry farms regularly to ensure proper cleanliness, collection of samples and to monitor the situation.

There was a reason to believe that the region was not prone to the problem, said deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria. The poultry farms in the region were being run by an organised sector here while it was not so at the places from where reports of flu were pouring in, he said. Moreover, no poultry product was imported from threat region here. Rather, it was being exported from this part of the country, which further reduced the chances of flu affecting the birds of the region, he added.



Sec-43 bus stand lacks even basic facilities
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Thousands of bus passengers are facing a plethora of problems due to incomplete terminal building and scanty basic services.

The new terminus has neither an enquiry counter nor a cloakroom.

This multi-crore complex, work on which started in 2004, is still without a medical room, cash collection centre, transformer room, cloak room, automatic teller machine, station supervisor/traffic manager room, crèche, fast food centre, and incomplete waiting rooms, toilets and ticket counters. Neither the Transport Department nor the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking ever undertook a study or survey before commissioning the so-called ultra-modern complex was made fully operational with shifting of major operations from the existing Sector 17 Inter-State Bus Terminus.

The plight of the passengers is not difficult to imagine. Most of them do not know whom to approach for redressal of their grievances, including the basic civic amenities.

A terminal building which handles 1,000 buses a day does not have enough of toilets, drinking water fountains and even proper drop-off and meeting point facilities for passengers and their acquaintances.

Besides, the frequency of local buses has also been increased to the PGI, Panjab University, Sector 17 ISBT, the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Civil Secretariat.

Even after three days of starting operations, the authorities could not provide the adequate basic facilities at the site.

Without parking facilities, all three-wheelers and rickshaws are parked on road side in front of the bus stand, from where they pick up passengers.

“It is ridiculous to start so many routes along with night bus service from the bus stand, which is not completed and lacks the needed facilities. It should have only be started after completing all work here”, said Ram Parkash, a Kulu-bound passenger.

Meanwhile, the Administrator of Chandigarh, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), who visited the bus terminus, ordered that the promised state-of-the-art facilities would be provided at the terminal and it should be completed by the end of next month.

CTU director P.S. Shergill said the decision had been taken to shift all buses to Shimla, Nahan, Patiala, Delhi and Ambala to the new bus terminus in a phased manner by September, 2008.



Child panel wants punishment for erring doctors
Tribune News Service

Delegates attend the regional seminar on female foeticide organised in Chandigarh on Thursday by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Delegates attend the regional seminar on female foeticide organised in Chandigarh on Thursday by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, January 17
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) today held in Chandigarh the first in the series of regional seminars to address the issue of female foeticide in India.

The commission began its pursuit from northern states, the worst affected. The sex ratio in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh is 798, 820, 896 and 845.

In the city for the seminar, Dr Shantha Sinha, chairperson of the commission, and Sandhya Bajaj, member, said the commission had decided to conduct public hearings to address the issue in the North India. “We plan to hold dialogues with the Medical Council of India and urge them to impose ethical standards on nursing homes. We also want them to cancel registrations of the erring doctors,” said Sinha, adding that the commission would also write to state governments to ask local bodies for ensuring daily monitoring of ultrasound clinics.

Bajaj shared experiences from Nayagarh in Orissa where she led a team which got 10 doctors convicted for sex determination. “These doctors were indiscriminately killing foetuses. To make money, they were even killing male children. We got them convicted,” said Bajaj. Highlights of today’s seminar inaugurated by Haryana Governor AR. Kidwai were state-specific presentations by officers.

Sunil Gulati, director, census operations, Haryana established a co-relation between low status of women and the falling sex ratio. In his analysis of amenities at households levels, he found that lack of amenities like safe drinking water, toilets, cooking fuel, etc impacted the status of women.

Dr Manjit Bains, director health services, UT, gave a brief presentation on the measures adopted by Chandigarh to tackle the issue. He said the sex ratio at birth in the city had improved from 773 in 2001 to 860 in 2006. Punjab’s experience was shared by Dr V.K. Goyal who said Punjab had secured eight convictions under PNDT Act.

Another initiative with promise was taken by the National Institute for Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) in 30 villages of Kurukshetra district where the sex ratio is the lowest in Haryana. Sulochana Vasudevan, joint director, NIPCCD, said street plays had helped effect mindset changes among communities.

“Such projects are essential considering fertility rate in Haryana has come down from 4 in 1992-93 to 2.69 in 2006 (NFHS-III). This decline had affected the girl child more especially because of easy availability of sex determination techniques.”

A presentation on the status of implementation of the PC and the PNDT Act was made by Dr I.P Kaur from the Health Ministry, Government of India.



Oil conservation function begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Continuing the oil and gas conservation since 1991, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas yesterday bagan Oil and Gas Conversation fortnight, 2008, with a function at Baba Makhan Shah Lobana Kendra, Sector 30, here.

The conservation function has been organised throughout the country to focus special attention with an objective of creating mass awareness about the importance of conservation of oil and gas, protection of environment.

Pradeep Chhabra, mayor, Municipal Corporation, UT, inaugurated the function. Chhabra said, “Limited resources should be put to maximum utilisation. These natural resources are scarce and as well as non-renewable”.

V. K. Yadav, chief regional manager, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Chandigarh, said, “A mass rally, cycle rally, drawing and painting competition, quiz competition, LPG and kerosene clinic are been held. Emphasised would be on the younger generation to cultivate the habits of judicious use of these scarce and natural resources.



Session on US elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The American Corner at the Central State Library, Sector 17, here today organised an interactive session on ‘Elections in the United States of America’ by Joel Ehrendreich, first secretary, chief of external political and political-military unit, US Embassy, New Delhi.

Joel talked about the election process and other related information, and about the profile of the candidates contesting the elections. Students were excited about the contents of the session and asked several questions on foreign policy, globalisation, social and cultural life in the US.



Sunidhi Chauhan makes flash appearance
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 17
Renowned singer Sunidhi Chauhan paid a flying visit to Zirakpur today. She was here to collect the allotment letter of the two flats she had booked in Bollywood Heights here.

According to Sanjay Garg, partner in the Bollywood Heights project, the young singer arrived with her parents, sister and some family friends to collect her papers. She had booked the two flats almost nine months back. Sunidhi left within an hour of her arrival.

The promoters of the project claim that other than Sunidhi Chauhan, Amisha Patel. Ajay Devgan, Isha Koppikar, Hans Raj Hans and a host of film producers and directors have booked flats with them.



No more flats, please

The High Court orders disallowing multi-storey apartments in the northern sectors come as a relief. High-rise buildings will be an eyesore and will ruin the city’s basic character. In fact, there are far too many flats in the southern sectors already with no space for children’s park. The green cover is also negligible as compared to the northern sectors.

There are not many cities in the North which are livable, Chandigarh is an exception. Let the authorities not tamper with the beautiful maiden lest it turns into an old hag rather prematurely.

Kavita Khanna, Chandigarh

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‘Media not playing its role’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
“A section of the media is not playing the essential role of the fourth estate and is rather becoming a source of entertainment and consumerist industry”, said A. J. Philip, senior associate editor, The Tribune, while inaugurating a two-day national seminar on “Morality and public life”, organised by the Department of Philosophy, Panjab University.

Tracing the origin of the press to the 16th century, he highlighted that even in India, the earliest form of a newspaper was taken out by missionaries. Coming back to the present day, he said the role of the press needed to be redefined in the light of changing values in the era of globalisation and consumerism.

Prof Ramakant Angiras, in his keynote address, expressed certain anxieties towards the value erosion and its impact on Indian culture and its ethos.

Prof S K Kulkarni, dean of university instructions, PU, while presiding over the session, expressed the need of understanding value and public morality in the context of multiple changes which were taking place at the local as well as the global levels.

Earlier, Dr V T Sebastian, chairperson and director of the seminar, introduced the theme and highlighted that this seminar was intended to base upon a thesis that political, social and economic transformation of Indian societies would not yield the desired results, if there was no simultaneous progress in the moral transformation of the society.

In the first technical session, there were two presentations made by Prof Satya P Gautam from Department of Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Dr H P Sah from the Department of Philosophy, PU. Prof Gautam spoke on “Rethinking Morality in Public Life: Considerations for Contemporary Indian Context”. Dr H P Sah presented a paper on “Understanding a Strained form of relation between morality and public life”.

He cited the controversy that surrounded around the artistic freedom of M F Hussain and Taslima Nasreen on one hand and issues and questions those emerge from fundamentalism of conservatives on the other.

The session was chaired by professor emeritus Dharmendra Goel of Department of Philosophy, PU. The last session had two presentations, one by Dr Sudhir Kumar from the Department of English, Panjab University, who read a paper on “Literature, Public life and Morality:

A Gandhian Perspective” and another by Rajiv Godara, general secretary, Sampuran Kranti Manch, Haryana, spoke on right to information, contemporary Indian politics and morality.



Missing Girls
UNFPA gets art students to paint problem
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Missing girls are on everybody’s mind. After the government, it’s United Nations Population Fund- India’s (UNFPA) turn to celebrate the girl child in its own way. The organisation in collaboration with Centre for Media Studies (CMS) has this year launched a project called “Delighting in Daughters”.

Meant to use visuals for mindset change, the project is based on a national level competition involving final year art students of BFA and MFA streams. As many as 88 colleges across the country have been contacted; 49 have confirmed participation including Government College of Art, Chandigarh, where UNFPA-CMS representative held an orientation workshop today.

Shweta Vij, a researcher with CMS, could not but feel floored by the enthusiasm of local talent. Though UNFPA has invited 10 figurative painting entries, per art college, for the final contest, local students didn’t know where to stop. “It will be a mighty job for the college to shortlist the final 10 works. We will close entries on February 29, following which a jury of eminent artists will judge the works,” said Vij. There will be three final awards and 50 nominations, to be awarded Rs 5000 cash awards each. The three winners will get UN certificates and Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 each in the order of merit.

Monetary returns are however secondary when the issue involved is of missing girls. UNICEF puts the figure at 50 million in India. “We wanted to use visual tools to create awareness and initiate a public debate. The nominated and awarded entries will be taken around India in a mobile exhibition. Abstract art won’t do for this contest,” said Vij, explaining why UNFPA chose students, that too artists. Awarded works will be prominently used in UNFPA collaterals; credit duly given to painters.



From Schools & Colleges
‘Taare Zameen Par’ in Shivalik Public
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 17
More than 100 tiny tots of classes pre-nursery to KG of Shivalik Public School, Mohali, participated in a fancy dress competition titled ‘Taare Zameen Par’ here today. Children came dressed up as tree, flower, fairy, king, nurse, doctor, butterfly, sparrow etc. Winners of the contest were Tanvir, Shweta, Vanshika, Muktiraj, Dipinder, Ishika, Pracheta, Geetakshi, Prabhleen, Yuraj, Deevanshi, Simranpreet.

RECRUITMENT: Angelique International Ltd, one of the fastest growing engineering, procurement and construction MNC conducted a recruitment drive for BTech students of 2008 batch at Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran. Eight students were selected during the drive and were offered an annual package of Rs 3 lakh each.

BLOOD DONATION CAMP: A blood donation camp was organised at Government College, Mohali, with the aid of Red Cross and NSS units of the college. As many as 98 students and teachers donated blood. The camp was conducted by the blood transfusion department of GMCH-32, Chandigarh.


ORIENTATION PROGRAMME: A teachers' orientation programme organised by The British School (TBS) for its Panchkula and Mohali branches, witnessed a galaxy of international educationists sharing their views on teaching methodologies and experiences recently. The programme, aimed at upgrading and refining the approach of TBS faculty in assessing the right form of teaching approach to be followed in class rooms, saw a series of workshops by eminent educationists from around the world.



From Schools & Colleges
Preetika best singer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Three-day winter carnival ‘MCC-2008’ started at Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, here, today. Charan Kamal Kaur, vice-chairperson, Shiromani Sant Khalsa International Foundation, inaugurated the carnival. Inter-school competitions such as stone painting, solo singing and cartoon making were organised which saw participation by students from various schools of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

Results: Cartoon making: 1 Arshkomal (St Kabir Public School), 2 Hitesh Jain (St Kabir Public School), 3 Jushi Singmar (St Kabir Public School); stone painting: 1 Rupika Goyal (St Kabir Public School), 2 Mannat Sharma (St Kabir Public School), 3 Shagun Mehna (DAV Model School); solo singing: Preetika Bhasin and Anamjit Singh (St Kabir Public School).

COMPETITION: Kirti Nanuan of Class IX secured the first place in the essay writing competition (senior wing) organised by the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board at Shivalik Public School, Sector 41, here yesterday. The competition was organised as a part of the awareness drive against female foeticide. The winners would get their prizes during the women’s meet on female foeticide to be held at Bhargava Auditorium, PGI, on January 19. Meanwhile, Gurbina and Shivani, both of Class IX, got the second and third places, respectively. Other results: Drawing (senior wing): 1 Manpreet Kaur, 2 Milandeep Kaur, 3 Amanpreet Singh; essay writing (junior wing): 1 Kyaba Nanuan, 2 Ruchika Preet Kaur, 3 Shweta; slogan writing (junior wing): 1 Himani, 2 Ustatleen Kaur, 3 Priya Sharma.

IT fest: Government College for Girls, Sector 42, organised an inter-state IT fest on the college premises today. As many as 200 students from 16 colleges of the city and adjoining areas of Punjab and Haryana participated. The fest was inaugurated by UT tourism director Vivek Atray. Anupama Arya, chief executive officer, Mobera Systems, Chandigarh, was the chief guest.

PLACEMENTS: Convergys visited GGDSD College today for placements. The company offered placements at Bangalore, Pune, Gurgaon and Mumbai. Out of 72 students, 28 were shortlisted for the second round and 16 were given offer letters.

BLOOD DONATION: DAV College, Sector 10, organised a blood donation camp today in association with the Lions Club Chandigarh Harmony. As many as 180 volunteers donated blood at the camp. Among prominent donors were principal S. Marriya, Dr Kavita Marriya, former principal Government Home Science College, Mamta Garg, joint director, Social Justice and Empowerment.



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