C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mohali power-less
Touted as Punjab’s city of the future, it was declared a ‘no-cut zone‘
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 11
Mohali, Punjab’s city of the future, IT destination and a declared “no-power cut zone ”is reeling under unprecedented power cuts -- six hours scheduled and another two to four hours unscheduled -- everyday. It is highly unlikely that residents will get respite in days to come. So brace yourself for the worse.

In neighbouring Zirakpur and Dera Bassi, technical faults are the order of the day and residents have to often make do with only a couple of hours of power.

“Other than the scheduled cuts, we spend hours without electricity as there is always a delay in fault repair,” said Anjali, a resident of Zirakpur. Badana village remained without power for eight days as a faulty transformer could not be replaced.

In Mohali Phase IX, X and XI are the worst-hit.

Said Punjab State Electricity Board chairman YS Ratra: “We had thought that we would be able to tide through the summer months without power cuts, but the demand for electricity has shot up by eight per cent this year and there is not enough supply. We have no option but to cut down on domestic and commercial supply. There are no cuts on industry.” he said.

Mohali, being an IT destination, is among the very few cities in Punjab where power supply was to be cut only in case of extreme shortage. But since the past one year the situation in Mohali has been as bad as any other city in the state.

Sources say the state has not bought electricity from the open market this year due to lack of funds. The board buys power worth several crores each summer but this season there are clear orders from the government to the board that no electricity has to be bought.

Harmanpreet Singh, municipal councillor from Phase 3B1, said the board had no business to hike tariff for services not rendered. “Is it fair to make people pay even for the services not rendered by the board,” he asked.

For shop owners this has been the worst year. “There were no power cuts last year. Other than discomfort, we are suffering losses in thousands everyday,” said Taranjit Singh of Phase VII.

Manmohan Singh Lang, a representative of residents of Phase VII, said the cuts were ill-scheduled. “The elderly as well as children sleep in the afternoon but there is no electricity till 5 pm.”

Harpreet Oberoi, XEN, said they were doing their best to keep the supply uninterrupted. “The growth in the area has been sudden we are trying to cope up. Moreover, most of our lines fall in the choe terrain and when flooded these become inaccessible and hence the delay in repairs.

  • 10-hr power cut in sectors; industry spared
  • Small businesses incur heavy losses
  • Badana village sans power for eight days
  • Delay in repair of faults order of the day



Beer comes in milk tanker
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
The Panchkula excise and taxation department seized 120 cases of beer from a milk tanker on the Barwala- Raipur Rani road here today.

Of these, seven cases were of canned beer, while the rest were bottles of Kingfisher brand.

The contraband was being smuggled to Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.

District excises and taxation Commissioner J.S. Chahal said the tanker was loaded with the beer amounting to around Rs 70,000 in Chandigarh.

Apart from this, the department with the help of the local police has confiscated over 20 trucks of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) during past three months, said Chahal.

The total cost of the confiscated consignments is estimated to be over Rs 1.5 crore, he said.

Inquiries revealed that the smuggling of the IMFL from Chandigarh had seen an upsurge during the past few months because of demand from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and some parts of Uttar Pradesh.

Liquor was also being smuggled to some parts of Punjab and Haryana from the city.

In fact, Chandigarh has been serving as a dry port for liquor smugglers as the quota limit for vends there had been lifted a few years ago.

Taking advantage of the system, the smugglers have been supplementing their supplies to other states through Chandigarh.

However, the increased sale of liquor in the city has been filling the coffers of the Chandigarh excise and taxation department.

Unconfirmed sources said it was estimated that the sale of liquor would touch the figure of 50 lakh cases during this year in the city, which has a population of around 10 lakh.



World Population Day
City just can’t take more
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Even as World Population Day is being observed with vows to control population, the city is bursting at its seams. Compared to a global annual population growth of 1.3 per cent, the city’s population is growing at an alarming 3.4 per cent.

The city has the highest per capita income and density of vehicles in the country and this is taking a toll on its infrastructure. As per the Census report of 2001, Chandigarh’s population has crossed the nine lakh mark and is likely to double in 20 years.

The rise in population is a challenge to city planners, who have to meet the increased demand for urban services like housing, water and sewerage.

Interestingly, the city was designed for a population of five lakh. The population density is next only to Delhi with 7,900 persons living in an area of 1 sq km.

The population density of Delhi is 9,339 persons per sq km. In 1961, the city’s density was 1,052 persons per sq km which rose to 7,900 persons per sq km in 2001.

“The population of Chandigarh doubled in 19.5 years and is likely to double again in 20.5 years,” Sunil Gulati, former director, census operation, said.

“The population of the city has been on the rise with people from other states settling down here to enjoy the excellent civic amenities, better educational and medical facilities, quality urban planning and open spaces,” officials in the Chandigarh administration said. Now, people are opting for Panchkula as Chandigarh has become overcrowded. The town is growing at the rate of 100 per cent every year. Mohali stands next with a 57 per cent annual growth.



Additional Seats Some colleges do it, some don’t
Sandeep Rana

Chandigarh, July 11
Panjab University's move to increase 10 to 25 seats in city colleges seems to have brought confusion rather than respite to students.

Some colleges have increased 10 to 25 seats in courses like BCom, BCA and BBA while some have not increased seats at all. There are some others which have increased seats in all courses.

The colleges like Government College, Sector 11, DAV College, Sector 10, and Government College, Sector 46, have not increased seats in any course as the authorities feel that they can't do so till they they receive written orders from Panjab University. “We can't increase the seats till we receive orders in black and white. We are expecting an official letter in a day or so and July 15 has been fixed for the admission to additional seats,” said Dr Shyam Sundar, dean, Government College, Sector 46.

Colleges like Government College for Girls, Sector 11, and MCM DAV College, Sector 36, have increased the seats. “During the meeting, it was told that the seats were to be increased and thus there was no point in waiting for the orders. Moreover, we don’t want to keep students confused and waste their time,” said principal of Government College for Girls, Sector 11.

Meanwhile, many parents and their children claimed that they were not informed about the additional seats. Vinod Kumar, a parent, who was waiting to meet SD College principal, said: “We should have been informed about the additional seats as those who scored less marks than my child have got the admission.” 


Mansa Devi temple to don new look
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
The Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board has planned to give a new look to the temple and its adjoining area. In the new plan it is proposed not to change the basic structure of the temple, however, the major changes would be made in the building of the main temple so that maximum use of the space available inside the temple could be used.

For the convenience of the devotees two new entry points have been mooted and it has also been planned that an elevator would be set up at the shrine so that aged people or those who have problems in climbing the stairs could pay their obeisance at the temple.

While the expression of interests have already been invited for the construction of a sarovar at the temple, the board has planned to handover the old sarovar to a Chandigarh-based company, which would take care of it and install a drinking water cooler on the pattern of Sector 17 in Chandigarh without any charges near the spot. The company would arrange serving of drinking water to the devotees waiting in long queues for offering their obeisance during the festivals.

The sarovar to be constructed at an open space in front of the library would be measuring 10,000 square metres. However, the feasibility of water resources for the purpose is being studied.

While talking to The Tribune, the chief administrator of the board Rajinder Kataria, who is the deputy commissioner of Panchkula, said during festivals the devotees had to face lot of problems. Lakhs of people from the region as well as from far off places visit the shrine during Navratras every time. At present the visitors have to climb hundreds of stairs before reaching the sanctum sanctorum through a single entry point resulting in heavy rush.

It is proposed that two gates are constructed on both sides of the library and the platform of the sanctum sanctorum is extended removing the steps inside the temple to make a big hall to create more space for the devotees to take part in the daily ‘aarti’.

The rooms on one side of the sanctum sanctorum presently housing stores and cash counting room would also be shifted further to create more space.

The area in front of the temple from the gate of the temple to the railway crossing would be converted into the pathway and all the buildings in the area, including quarters of employees at the temple and a dispensary, would be demolished so that there is no congestion in the area.

The donation boxes in the temple would be fixed at appropriate places and the cash would be taken out to the counting room without opening the box. While the four-lane road leading to the shrine from Sector 5 would be widened to six-lane, a 6-acre parking lot would be developed near the railway crossing. Following it another 12-acre parking is also planned, he said.



Hi-fi talk falls flat

The transport authorities speak of plans for hi-fi GPS (Global Positioning System) in CTU buses and at bus queue shelters. But how much do they care for existing infrastructure?

As seen in the picture, an iron frame stands vacant. It is supposed to carry the timetable of buses which halt at the stop. The flex sheet on which the schedule is mentioned is torn off. The bus timings are now anybody’s guess.

Killer sand

Sand and construction material stacked along road berms has become a nightmare for road users. Rains further increase the risk of road accidents. Due to lack of planning and poor enforcement, contractors undertaking development works stack the material on roads without putting up a warning.

The construction material flows into the storm water drains, thereby chocking the system.This cause flooding of roads. The issue has been repeatedly raised during weekly meetings of senior officers, but none cares.

Helpline of no help

In the era of globalisation and competition, the BSNL continues to be a typical government department. The nigam taking several days to attend to complaints. The helplines continue to be "helpless". Its slogan of "connecting India" should be read as "disconnecting India."

Doctoring a degree

Doctors practising allopathy, homoeopathy and ayurveda in the city have affixed MD after their names on boards displayed outside their clinics, even though a majority of them do not possess the degree. In today's era of super-specialty, these doctors know that a higher degree, preferably from foreign shores, is bound to attract more patients.

Trouble meter

ML Malhotra and his neighbour MS Kanwar complained to the authorities that they could not read their power meters which were located outside their houses, installed in a cupboard with no window. The department, responding quickly to the complaint of the senior citizens, erected a pole in front of their houses and installed the meters on the pole. But it decided to keep these unlocked. Now the elderly citizens are keeping their fingers crossed for fear of anti-social elements damaging the meters.

Metal-lic thieves

Fed up with metal covers disappearing from junction boxes of streetlight poles in Mohali, the MC has decided to turn to fibre. The junction boxes are being targeted by thieves, some of whom are children. The police, disinclined to treat the “minor theft” with any seriousness, usually lets of the young thieves. But with covers disappearing, the naked electric wires pose a grave danger to resident’s lives.

The civic body now plans to replace the metal covers with those made of fibre.This may reduce the number of thefts. However, it is to be seen how it plans to tackle “daring” thieves who pinch conductors made of brass from inside the junction boxes.The MC officials are scratching their heads to find a way out. 



More parks go into private hands
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Buoyed by cost cuts and better upkeep, the municipal corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) is all set to outsourcing maintenance of more parks and green belts in the city.

Parks in southern sectors have greatly improved though in some wrappers and overflowing dustbins, especially in Sector 46, are an eyesore. Residents says earlier grass was not cut for months. Now the situation has changed with gardeners seen working regularly.

The MCC is in the process of floating tenders for upkeep of parks in Sector 15, the green belt in Sectors 18, 19, 21 and 37, the Hibiscus Garden in Sector 36 and the Moonlit Park in Sector 22. The horticulture department has given nine green belts and parks to private contractors for maintenance. The MCC has given the green belt in Sectors 7-C, 20 and 46, the Sector 46 Garden of Shrubs, the sector 47-C and D parks, two parks in Sector 32, the Sector 36 Leisure Valley and the Sector 11 Ixora and Poinsettia Garden to private contractors.

Ram Lal Sharma, a resident of the sector 47and a regular visitor to the green belt, said: ““It’s too early to comment about the upkeep as the work has only begun. The grass is being cut regularly and dustbins cleared.”

Sources in the horticulture wing said the contractors had to ensure nourishment of plants.The grass had to be cut 20 times a year and weeding and hoeing undertaken regularly. Arun Kumar Kansal, XEN, horticulture department, said privatisation had not only helped in improving the condition of parks but also reduced the maintenance costs by 50 per cent. 



Fake Encounter
Probe report goes missing
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
An important document inquiry report submitted by a police official as evidence to be produced by the defence in the alleged fake encounter killing of Kulwinder Singh by seven Punjab Police personnel, including SSP Surjit Singh Grewal, is untraceable.

This fact came to light when J.P. Virdi, ADGP, came to get his statement recorded before the court after warrants had been issued against him.

When the ADGP came to get his statement recorded, it was found that the inquiry report that he had submitted in the case was not traceable. According to sources, the inquiry report stated that the accused were not involved in the case and were innocent.

The victim was killed in a “fake encounter” in July 1989 allegedly by the accused on the Tangori Kurda road under the Sohana police station, Mohali. In 2002, the district and sessions judge, Chandigarh, framed charges of murder and abduction against the police officials.

A CBI probe also held them guilty.

The court had earlier framed abduction charge against Surjeet Singh Grewal and ASI Amarjit Singh while murder charge was framed against Birbal Das, Gurcharan Singh, Nikka Ram, Chanan Singh and Dayal Singh.

It was alleged that Surjeet Singh Grewal and Amarjeet Singh, along with some CIA personnel, had raided a house in Phase V, Mohali, in search of “terrorists” Dhyan Singh, Kulwinder Singh and Jagbir Singh.

During the raid, Phulwinder Singh was shot and Kulwinder Singh was picked up by the raiding party.

Kulwinder was killed by Birbal Das, the then SHO of the Sohana police station, Gurcharan Singh (head constable), Nikkaram (head constable), Chanan Singh (ASI ) and Dayal Singh (constable) on the intervening night of July 23 and 24, 1989. In spite of having sufficient knowledge about the identity of Kulwinder, his body was cremated as that of an unidentified extremist. The police personnel had also submitted a false report and tampered with the photographs of the deceased.



AC hall for attendants at GMSH-16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
An air-conditioned waiting hall has been commissioned for attendants at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16 (GMSH). The hall has a capacity of 60 seats.

The health department has also introduced patient-friendly service for attendants at the ICU/CCU. There is a provision for coffee, free telephone service, dish connection, cold drinking water and washroom facilities. Attendants of patients admitted to emergency will be seated in the hall to decongest the ward area.

An announcement system has also been set up to inform attendants about the condition of patients from time to time or for any other requirement.



Computer glitch adds to patients’ woes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Patients and staff of GMSH-16 had a harrowing time today, as the computers were non-functional due to some technical problem since last evening.
Patients stand in a queue for a long time as the computers in GMSH-16 were non-functional on Friday.
Patients stand in a queue for a long time as the computers in GMSH-16 were non-functional on Friday. —A Tribune photograph

"They do not realise the inconvenience that is being caused to the patients who have to stand in queues for a much longer period as the registration cards of all patients coming to the OPDs are being made by the staff manually," remarked staff members, who have to put in double effort due to the non-functional computer network.

The staff at the counter say that apart from patients they, too, are hassled as after the registration time is over, they have to go and feed the entire record on computer, in order to maintain a record of all patients coming to GMSH-16. "We take all precautions to ensure that no registration card is left unrecorded,” said a person, who feeds the record manually.

Medical superintendent Dr Usha Bishnoi said this was due to some technical problem but very soon all the computers would be rectified.

A patient from Patiala, who was under treatment at the GMSH, went through a hard time due to this. He said, “I have been here for the past three hours but I did not get the registration card due to the computer problem.” There were many such cases when the patient had to wait for hours due to manual registration, admitted doctors.

On an average, more than 500 new patients come to the OPD at GMSH everyday, excluding the old cases. With the entire registration work being done by the staff on duty by hand, it takes much longer to complete the entire process.

If the authorities could spare a thought to get the computer network restored, hundreds of patients and the staff on duty could be saved from a lot of inconvenience. 



IA penalised Rs 15,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Indian Airlines to pay Rs 15,000 in compensation for harassing an NRI family.

The airlines has also been asked to pay Rs 3,000 as cost of litigation.

The petitioners, Sukhdeep Singh Gill (31), Sarvjeet Kaur Gill (27), and Imann Singh (2½ yrs), had booked tickets with the airlines from New Delhi to Singapore and the seats were confirmed on February 21, 2007.

On February 21, the family left for IGI Airport and got their boarding passes and their luggage was also taken. However, they were removed from the flight and the baggage was unloaded.

The petitioner averred that they later learned that some other passengers had been taken onboard in their place.

Gill rued that he had suffered losses as he was not able to reach the destination on time.

His son had fallen sick and the family had to stay in a hotel from February 21 to March 20, 2007, he claimed.

In reply, the airlines accepted that the petitioners had purchased tickets.

However, the airlines contended that after the issuance of boarding pass, the petitioners failed to show up at the gate for boarding in time.

The forum observed: “The complainants in the given circumstances can be compensated for harassment suffered by them for not letting them fly on February 21, 2007 and not for any consequential losses which they may have allegedly suffered after February 22, 2007 because the tickets of the complainant were revalidated for travel on IC 859 for which they didn’t show up for boarding.”



Elderly have been marginalised: CJ
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A symposium on challenges faced by senior citizens was organised by the CII in collaboration with Impact Senior Living Estates and Indian University for Continuing Education and Advocacy Centre here today. Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain said the erosion of the joint family system and the emergence of nuclear families had marginalised the elderly.

The Planning Commission has said about 92 per cent of working Indians do not enjoy any formal old age income.

“Since the ageing population is required to be supported through provisions like pension and other social security measures, it has been argued that the elderly constitute an economic burden on the community,” he said. Harpal Singh, deputy chairman, CII northern region and Impact Group, stated that the “demographic ageing of societies represents one of the major challenges of the 21st century.

The steady increase of older age groups, both in the absolute numbers and in relation to the working age population, will have a direct bearing on relationships within families, equity across generations, lifestyles, family solidarity and a host of new issues.”

The panelists also discussed the problems of housing, legal challenges and healthcare to senior citizens.



MC to install sodium lamps in villages
Tribune News Service 

Chandigarh, July 11 
The electricity committee of the MC today decided to replace the 250 watt light fittings with 150 watt high pressure sodium vapour lamp fittings (HPSVL). 

The committee recommended agenda items worth Rs 85.87 lakh for development works. 

It also approved the shifting of streetlights on V-5 roads in Sector 32-A and B for Rs 3.45 lakh, replacement of 2x40 watt existing fittings with HPSVL 150 watt fittings on V-5 road in Sector 49-A and B at the cost of Rs 5.88 lakh; in Burail for Rs 7.88 lakh; Attawa for Rs 1.89 lakh; Butrela for Rs 1.34 lakh; and Badheri for Rs 3.66 lakh.



Mother of five moves court for maintenance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The mother of five children has now approached the district courts here seeking maintenance costs from her husband who had deserted her for his sister-in-law.

After matrimony of 35 years and five children, Devi Chand deserted his wife, Satnam Kaur, for his sister-in-law, Kulwant Kaur.

Satnam, a mother of five children, out of whom two are married, has sought for maintenance as Devi Chand has been splurging his salary on Kulwant. Satnam asserted that out of the three children, two were girls and no one was earning. Devi Chand works as an electrician in the office of chief engineer, electricity department, UT.

She stated that Kulwant Kaur was her youngest sister and was married in Bhabnali village in district Una, Himachal Pradesh (HP).

Kulwant’s husband died in 2001 after which Devi Chand allegedly developed illicit relations with his wife’s sister and splurged his salary on her.

Satnam got a complaint registered against her husband at Gargret police station in HP but no action was taken. In the petition, she further stated that her husband was of low moral character and had had numerous extra-marital affairs.

It was mentioned that in 1994-1995 the respondent had brought a married women to his house and had resided there for many days.

Thereafter, the respondent threw Satnam Kaur out of the house and the latter was forced to live with her younger sister in Mohali. She added that Devi Chand had told the complainant that he would not give anything to her out of the retirement benefits.

Furthermore, Devi Chand and Kulwant had built a house at his native village where they were now living together. Satnam Kaur pleaded before the court that she was living in starvation as there was no breadwinner in the family, thereby requesting for grant of ad interim maintenance to the tune of Rs 12,000 per month.



Owner can’t get hold of his stolen car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
If the allegations of Jagdish Singh Sarpal are to be believed, the UT police and its counterparts in Punjab are least interested in handing over to him his stolen car that was recovered days after it got stolen from his home last month.

Sarpal alleged that his stolen car was parked at the Dera Bassi police station, after the Punjab police recovered the abandoned vehicle from the national highway.

Sarpal, a resident of Sector 33 here, had lodged a police complaint alleging that his car (CH-01-Y-3616) was stolen from outside his home on June 17, following which an FIR was registered on June 21.

Talking to The Tribune, Sarpal alleged that ever since his car got stolen, the police was least interested in taking any action. “The FIR was registered four days after my car got stolen. On June 26, the investigation officer came for the first and the last time to inquire about the theft.

On July 3, the Dera Bassi police approached me, saying that my vehicle was parked at the area police station, adding that it had met with an accident.

Sarpal said he along with a constable of the UT police went to the Dera Bassi police station. “I was shocked to see the condition of the vehicle. No doubt, the vehicle had met with an accident, but all the valuables, including important documents, car stereo, speaker and other accessories, were missing. Even the front windscreen was missing”, he alleged.

Though the police claimed that the vehicle was recovered in that very condition and maintained that the windscreen was broken during the accident, Sarpal has a different version. “If the windscreen had broken during the accident, the glass would have fallen within the vehicle, which was not the case,” said Sarpal.

Now, the Chandigarh police is waiting for official intimation from the Dera Bassi police, following which they can lift the vehicle and hand it over to the owner.

A harassed Sarpal has now written to the area SHO, appealing to him for necessary action to enable him to get the possession of his own vehicle.

According to Sudharshan Thakur, SHO, police station, Sector 34, “We have not got any formal intimation from the Dera Bassi police. They approached only the owner.”



Where offices ‘reserve’ areas in parking lots
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Mismanagement and irregularities on part of parking lot contractors and attendants continue to haunt visitors to city markets.

Be it reserving of parking space by certain offices by marking specific areas in the parking lots or leaving behind of vehicles by people in haphazard manner, the authorities concerned have failed to address the problem.

On the other hand, people end up paying for the suffering they undergo at the hands of parking lot operators.

Regular visitors to the Sector 34 parking lot rue that Milkfed has “reserved” some area in the parking lot in front of the office building and does not allow others motorists to park their vehicles there.

Milkfed has demarcated the area by installing barricades preventing other motorists from parking their vehicles there.

A security guard of Milkfed has been deputed to man the area “reserved” by the office. Milkfed authorities have installed a parking signboard bearing its name.

Prabhjit Kaur, an employee of a private company, rues that the parking lot attendants never come forth to assist them in parking their vehicles or are never seen streamlining the vehicles parked in a haphazard manner. They are only interested in taking the money.

Sources in the corporation say the authorities concerned have never take action against the contractor for not complying with the guidelines.

Under the norms, the contractor is liable to face a challan for over-parking and also if vehicles are not parked in designated areas. In the absence of any inspection, contractors allow motorists to park their vehicles in areas outside of parking lots to make extra bucks.

Sources add that recently the fire department had highlighted the menace of haphazard parking of vehicles after a fire broke out in Gopal Sweets in Sector 35 and the failure of the contractor to provide clear passage to vehicles.

Fire tenders could not reach the scene due to haphazard parking. The department had called a meeting but nothing was done to improve the situation.

A corporation official adds that under the rules, if the contractor is caught violating the rules repeatedly his contact is liable to be terminated.

On reserving space at parking lots, SDO parking Arjit Singh clarified that there was no such provision and termed the practice as unauthorised.

He, however, maintained that he was not aware of the issue and would take action against the violators.

He also stated that action was being taken against contractors not complying with the terms and conditions enshrined in the contract.



Cop dies of snake bite
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A constable with the UT police, Jagbir Singh, died after he was bitten by a venomous snake when he was walking in the open ground of police lines of Sector 26 here this evening.

The incident happened around 5.30 pm when Jagbir came to the ground. He was posted at the police station, Sector 36, and was living in the police lines, Sector 26. Jagbir had two sons and a daughter.

After being relieved from duty, he came to the ground. Jagbir was asked to hand over a ball by some children playing nearby. It was learnt that the snake might have bitten him while he was picking the ball.

Jagbir later went to his friend’s place, where he complained of pain in his hand, following which he was given a painkiller. Minutes later, Jagbir became unconscious and was taken to a doctor, who referred him to the hospital.

Jagbir Singh was immediately rushed to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, for treatment, where he later died.



Housewife attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A housewife of Sector 39 here attempted suicide this evening after quarrel with her in-laws. Babita (36), who consumed over 30 sleeping tablets, is struggling for life at the PGI. Babita’s husband Rakesh is in jail for the past one year.

Babita had been living separately from her in-laws with her three children. According to Babita’s brother Raj Kumar, she went to her in-laws place this evening to ask for papers of a shop that she owned in Sector 39 so that she could give it on rent and fend for her children.

Her in-laws “misbehaved” with her and “tortured” her to such extent that she came back home and tried to kill herself. The police is yet to register a case.



Report on affordable housing soon
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
The 11-member panel headed by Deepak Parikh, chairman, HDFC, formed to suggest the measures for providing affordable housing to the masses in the country is to submit its report within a couple of months. This was stated by the union minister of state for housing and urban, poverty alleviation minister Kumari Selja, here, today.

The minister, who is member Parliament from the area, was talking to mediapersons after convening district monitoring and vigilance committee meeting. The country needs at least 24.7 million of houses for the economically weaker sections and middle class and this is expected to grow in future, said the minister. The panel has been asked to suggest the measure so that affordable housing could be devised in the country at a time when the cost of construction has been shot up, she said.

For the City Development Plan (CDP), the Centre has allocated a budget of Rs 50,000 crore and the demand from small and medium towns was much more under the plan than the bigger cities, she said while adding that the money for the projects planned for greater Panchkula would be released as soon as the plan is sent to the Centre.



Denied his due, jawan threatens fast
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 11
A home guard jawan, attached with the Punjab Police a few years ago, has accused the department of not fulfilling the promise of deploying him as a regular employee.

Ranbir Singh had saved the lives of a large number of people by detecting and disposed of a bomb planted on the railway line near Rajpura.

At that time, senior police officials had assured him of providing him with a regular job in Punjab Police.

The jawan said on February 25, 1999, he had disposed of a bomb planted on the railway line near Ghaggar overbridge at Rajpura.

“I had picked up the bag filled with detonators and explosives and thrown it away from the railway line just before the Ganganagar-Haridwar Express from Rajpura was to pass,” he said.

In spite of repeated requests and bringing the matter to the notice of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and various ministers, nothing had been done to secure him a permanent job, he rued.

“After getting assurances from senior police officials, I even gave up my job. Now, I am doing menial jobs at Rajpura,” he said. Demanding deployment in Punjab Police as a regular, he said he would resort to hunger strike if his demand was not met.



Mohali fire brigade crippled by staff shortage
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 11
Staff shortage, old vehicles and poor equipment plague the Mohali fire brigade, making it ineffective to tackle a major blaze.

Every time there is a major fire in the town and surrounding areas, fire tenders have to be called in from Chandigarh and other areas to bring the situation under control. Even though Mohali was given the status of a district about two years ago and town has been expanding, no attention is paid by authorities concerned to improve the lot of the fire brigade, which was set up here in 1978.

Sources said the fire brigade had only two regular firemen against the requirement of 46. However, 11 employees were working as firemen on contract basis. There were only four drivers, even when 12 were needed according to norms. Similarly, there was only one leading fireman against the requirement of 12. Therefore, against an eight-hour duty fixed for personnel, many of them had to work for 12 hours and at times even for 24 hours whenever there was an emergency.

It is learnt that the fire brigade has only two fire tenders, one water bouser, one mini fire tender and one fire jeep. One of the fire tenders is more than 25 years old (1982 model) and the other is about 14 years old (1994 model). The water bouser was purchased in 1996 and the mini fire tender in 2001. Fire jeep (1983) was also about 25 years old.

The demand for a sky lift to tackle fires in high-rise buildings has also not been entertained as the cost of the vehicle is about Rs 5 crore. The government had decided that the vehicle be purchased jointly by civic bodies of nearby towns, but the plan has failed to materialise as it is reported that other civic bodies were reluctant to contribute funds for the sky lift.

Water hydrants for use in case of emergency have more or less “disappeared”. Even the fire brigade is unaware of their exact locations. The department of public health has now been asked to provide hydrants on the main pipelines at about 12 places in the town. The water supply point at the fire station is functional only during supply hours. Fire brigade employees arranged a motor to pump water from an underground water tank having a capacity of one-lakh litre in the absence of 24-hour water supply, but pumping water required extra time.

The local fire brigade attended fire calls from Mohali and also areas like Ropar, Kurali, Kharar, Morinda, Chunni and 



Chemical worth Rs 21 lakh seized
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, July 11
A team from agricultural department, Punjab, seized a chemical worth Rs 21 lakh, which was stored and transported in an unauthorised manner.

The agricultural department got the news that a chemical (a pesticide) was stored and was being sold without license and registration at a Zirakpur godown. On the basis of secret information, the director of agricultural department, B.S. Sidhu, gave directions to deputy director Harmanjit Singh and officer Sher Singh to put up a barricade yesterday. They stopped a truck on the basis of suspicion. The truck was loaded with drums filled with methyl parathion. The truck driver told the officials that the chemical was being transported to another state.

According to Harmanjit, the company involved, Agricultural Chemical Export Pvt. Limited, Zirakpur, imports the chemical from a Chinese company. The department has taken samples from four drums and sealed the godown with 32 drums.



Wild growth irks residents
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 11
Many parts of the town have been invaded by congress grass much to the chagrin of residents. Though authorities concerned have been making efforts to remove the weed, not much is evident on the ground.
Congress grass has enveloped the public health centre in Phase 3B1, Mohali.
Congress grass has enveloped the public health centre in Phase 3B1, Mohali. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Congress grass can be seen along roadsides and in vacant spaces in residential as well as industrial sectors.

The grass and wild growth has not even spared the premises of health centres and other government institutions.

Thick wild growth and congress grass can be found in certain areas of the Civil Hospital, Punjab Health Systems Corporation and even on the premises of Primary Health Centre in Phase III B 1.

Councillor Phool Raj Singh living in Phase VII said vacant spaces in his ward were full of wild growth and congress grass.

He said certain parks had also been covered with congress grass. He said after receiving complaints from residents, he requested civic body officials to get it removed but to no avail.

Council president Rajinder Singh Rana said work on removing congress grass had been started in the industrial area. Some parts of the residential areas had also been cleared. The pace of work was slow owing to staff shortage.



Hafed employee killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
An employee of Hafed was killed when a vehicle hit him near the Sector 6 hospital here today. The deceased has been identified as Yaad Ram (45), a resident of Brara village in Ambala district.

Yaad Ram was going to office on his bicycle when a vehicle hit him near the Sector 5-6 roundabout, killing him on the spot.

The police has registered a case and sent the body for a postmortem.



Apni mandi raided
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 11
A team of officials lead by district health officer Dr S.P. Surila conducted a raid on apni mandi in Sector 68 here today. The team consisted of sub-inspectors Harbans Singh, Nirmal Singh and Bodh Raj.

The team destroyed open and rotten fruits and vegetables and removed sugarcane juice carts from the mandi. Unhygienic fruit juice was also disposed of.

Samosas and jalebis being prepared under unhygienic conditions were also destroyed.

Vendors were instructed to keep the eatables under cover, lest they should face strict action.

Spice and condiment sellers fled the scene on seeing the team.

Dr Surila warned vendors against selling unhygienic and rotten fruit and vegetables in the mandi, as consumption of such food could cause diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, jaundice and other waterborne diseases during rainy season.

He further appealed to public not to take such food in rainy season.



Mohali forest complex construction begins
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 11
Tikshan Sud, Punjab minister for forests and wildlife preservation, launched the construction of the state-of-the-art forest complex in Sector 68, Mohali. R.C. Nayyar, financial commissioner, forests, and senior officers of the forest department accompanied him.

The complex, being constructed in a two-acre plot, will be in the form of five inter-linked towers of 100 feet height and will incorporate green building design principles, solar passive architecture, structural glazing etc.

The construction is being undertaken through funds provided by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation for the ongoing “Punjab Afforestation Project” and partly through loan to be taken by the Punjab state forest development corporation from HUDCO.

The complex will accommodate all offices of the Punjab forest department and the forest development corporation presently located at many different offices in Chandigarh and Mohali. The balance space will be leased out to the forest development corporation so that maintenance of the complex may be made without budgetary support from the state government.

Nayyar said construction would be completed on top priority basis within 15 months. Punjab small industries and export corporation has been engaged for supervision of the construction. The complex has been designed by Renu Khanna and Associates, Panchkula and the contract for construction of this complex has been awarded to Sandhu Contractors, Chandigarh.

Tikshan Sud said Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal was being requested to lay the formal foundation stone for the project shortly.



IT dept should gear up

Most of people file income tax returns at the eleventh hour. Thus, the forms should be readily available. Although income tax return forms are available on the Internet and e-filing of returns is possible, everybody does not have access to Internet. 

As information regarding TDS and advance tax is easily available on the government website, the income tax department should not ask for original TDS and advance tax challans. The department should immediately process the pending IT refund cases. Moreover, time for receiving the forms, which is till 3 pm now, should be extended. 

Gayan, Chandigarh



Scholastic Steps
Home away from home
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, July 11
The start of the new academic session almost always sees mushrooming of paying guest (PG) accommodations. With more outstation candidates coming to the city, this business expects a boost in business.

Gone are the days when one would search for such accommodation in advance; your best bet now is the Internet. One can find a number of PG listed online. Another growing trend is turning to booking agents, who ensure PG accommodation on a commission of Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500. Flipping through classified ads of newspapers is another option.

A decent accommodation with an array of facilities comes easy. Within a range of Rs 1,500-Rs 3,500, one can get a cooler, a small TV set and average food. Not many accommodations provide laundry service. The rooms are generally on a sharing basis-two to five girls per room. The bathroom has to be shared by at least three to six girls. And PGs in this range rarely have parking facilities. Moreover, they are not located in ‘posh’ areas.

In the higher range one can live comfortably in a plush sector. The rooms are fully furnished with marble flooring and exotic bathroom fittings. Personal almirahs, comfortable beds , expensive mattresses, air-conditioners, parking space, Internet and laundry service, attached bathrooms with room and food of choice are other facilities. So if you are ready to shell out money, you can enjoy the comfort of home away from home.


  • Ensure that PG accommodation is registered
  • That all identification checks are done by owner
  • Accommodation should be near your college
  • Don’t rely on tiffins, opt for PG accommodation offering food
  • Ensure proximity to market for daily requirements
  • Get verification done from nearby police station



Outstation students colour cityscape
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, July 11
The outstation crowd, indeed, lends a flavour to college campuses and the city too. There is not one place in the city which hasn’t felt their presence, be it the famous points, shopping centres, eating outlets or markets.

These youngsters can be spotted at hang-out zones like Café Coffee Day, Barista, Hot Millions and KFC. The city sees the crowd mostly from Bhopal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Mizoram, Assam and Punjab. Most outstation students prefer to take up PG accommodation or rented flats with friends. In any case, they get the opportunity of staying alone with loads of freedom away from parental control .

Local rickshawpullers and auto drivers tend to overcharge these outstation students. Thus, one should be careful while hiring transport. Sharing autos is always more feasible for daily travelling.

Living away from home, the expenditure has to be regulated with loads of precaution. Some students chose to splurge once a while after cutting down on extra expenses in whatever way they can.

For food, most of them rely on sector markets. The food is cheap at dhabas and outlets in these markets. From non-veg to Chinese to typical Punjabi food, the options are many. A once-a-while splurge at Hot Millions, Oven Fresh and Gopal’s is not uncommon.

Outstation students shop mostly from their hometowns. But yes, once a while, rehri markets in the city are a good bet. For branded showrooms, one can head to Sectors 17, 9, 10 and 22. Also there are shops in Sector 10 where you can get second-hand clothes of Tommy Hilfiger and Esprit at reasonable rates.

The outstation students have given the city’s night life a new high altogether. While partying, girls make sure you are not compromising on security, rest is all good.

Bargaining at any place, any market is not a bad idea. So be on the lookout and be confident while purchasing anything. Once,one gets the hint that you are new to the city; you will end up making loss.

So from accommodation to living, transportation, shopping, eating out, partying out, just makes sure you are getting yourself the best deal.



Flying high on students’ money
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
“100% placement guaranteed or money refunded. Join us and fly to your dreamland. Training in foreign countries.” Such assurances are sure to grab the attention of any youngster looking for a job. And when the profession is aviation and the job a glamorous one, many a young girl will fly on wings of fancy.

With economy booming and the aviation industry expanding at a fast pace, the past few years have witnessed mushrooming of airhostess training institutes in the city. Be it the city’s oldest marketplace in Sector 22 or the new swank office complexe on the Dakshin Marg, young girls clad in striped shirts tucked in smart skirts, colourful neck ties or scarfs and stockings, are a common sight.

The question is are these aspiring airhostesses getting the freebies and jobs that they were guaranteed by the institutes before they paid lakhs of rupees for training? Unfortunately, many such training institutes are turning their back on gullible youngsters after they get their money.

There are about 35 such institutes in the city, charging anything between Rs 1 to Rs 1.5 lakh per student for a one- year diploma. In 2006, the number of aviation institutes was merely five, a seven-time increase.

And their entrants, estimated at 5000, is not only from the city but from neighbouring towns of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal too. Most of these institutes have just a room or two to run courses.

When this correspondent visited one such academy, he was told:“ We have alliance with many airlines, domestic and international airports.Your job is secured. In one year you will be flying”. Asked if they could show documents to back the claim, “sorry we don’t have them at the moment”, was the answer.

Students have a different tale to tell. “They claim tie-ups but when the time comes they wash their hands of the matter,” said Gurpreet of Solan who has spent over Rs 2 lakh on the course and her stay in the city.

“The students are merely being taught spoken English and given tips on personality development ”, said Gurleen.

These academies lack infrastructure and appear more like corner shops. A few have mock airplane cabins for training.



Confusion over OBC quota mars AIEEE counselling 
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Failure of the union ministry of human resource development to issue clear-cut directions regarding the OBC quota for admissions to educational institutions is making parents of the OBC candidates run from pillar to post.

The confusion regarding implementation of the reservation quota has now reached the AIEEE (All-India Engineering Entrance Examination) joint counselling that began at Panjab University yesterday. The counselling is for admissions to engineering courses in Punjab Engineering College (PEC) (deemed university), Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET), UIET (University Institute of Engineering and Technology) and department of chemical engineering, both affiliated to Panjab University.

What has added to the confusion is the pattern of the admissions that has changed this year, with all candidates, irrespective of their category, being called for counselling based on their ranking in the entrance examination. As there is no clarity regarding the seats reserved for the OBC candidates, they are being given seats according to their merit. But whenever the quota is announced, the seats will have to be re-distributed and general category students might be downgraded so as to accommodate the OBC students.

DCET and UIET are affiliated to Panjab University and the university is still awaiting Government of India’s response to its budget of Rs 1,066 crore for increase in seats and infrastructure needed for the OBC seats.

As for CCET, which is a UT college, the delay in implementing the reservation quota is due to the fact that the UT administration is yet to get the guidelines from the Centre. Similar is the case with PEC, which is a deemed university.

Coordinator of the joint counselling V.P. Jhingan said: “We are yet to get guidelines regarding the OBC reservation.”

Nevertheless, parents of the engineering aspirants are only demanding that at least the authorities should make it clear that whether they are going to implement the quota this year or not so that they are no longer on the tenterhooks.



Students fund education of teachers’ wards
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
While lakhs of students from 178 Panjab University affiliated colleges pay hefty fee, they are hardly aware of the fact that they are contributing towards the education of the wards of college teachers.

Each student who seeks admission to any of these colleges contributes Rs 30 towards the college development fund and half of the amount goes into funding the NRI-sponsored category students. And the college teachers get 50 per cent fee waiver for their wards under the NRI and NRI-sponsored categories.

Each year, all college students contribute around Rs 32 lakh towards that fund. In the year 2004, Rs 11 lakh was used for funding NRI-sponsored wards of college teachers, in 2005, it was again Rs 11 lakh while in 2006, it was approximately Rs 13 lakh. On an average, around 17-18 children benefit from this concession.

This year, though the NRI-sponsored category has been scrapped by the court, according to dean, College Development Council, B.D. Bhudhraja, Rs 16 lakh have been kept aside for the purpose out of the total Rs 32 lakh.

Similar benefit is also extended to the teaching and non-teaching employees of Panjab University from the higher education fund. Interestingly, in the university, this benefit is extended only in the general category and not in the NRI category and in self-financing courses. The wards of university employees get a 50 per cent fee waiver on tuition fee alone. While in the university, the concession has been going for more than a decade now, it was extended to affiliated colleges only in 2003 much to the annoyance of many PU fellows.

A section of senators, including Mukesh Arora, Prabhjit Singh, Tarsem Bahia, Ajaipal Singh Gill and others, believe that such concessions should be given to the non-teaching Class C and D employees who can’t afford education otherwise and not to lecturers and professors who get paid between Rs 20,000 and 40,000.

Among those, whose children have availed themselves of these benefits, include a former vice-chancellor, a former registrar, many senior functionaries of the university and colleges besides a large number of lecturers and professors.

“On one hand, the university has wrongly hiked the fee of NRI-category students in the middle of the session claiming to be going through financial losses, on the other, it is benefiting its own handful people through public money,” said an agitated PU student leader.

The university had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the then DUI, Veer Singh, in 2005 to look into the modalities of the concessions and after going through the details, the committee recommended to stop these concessions. But the university authorities did not bother to endorse or reject committee’s decision. 



Students hold awareness rally
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 11
Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutes (SVGOI), under the aegis of the social activities club of Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology, held an awareness rally in Sector 17 here today.

The rally, flagged off by SVGOI chairman Ashwani Grag, saw participation of at least 200 students who carried banners and placards with slogans like 'Save Water', 'Save Electricity', 'Plant a Tree' etc.



Students take recourse to correspondence courses
Sandeep Rana

Chandigarh, July 11
The fourth day of admissions in colleges saw a small number of students as most of the seats have already been filled. Only a few seats in arts and vocational courses are left.

The students who couldn’t get admission are now in a dilemma over what to do next. Most of them are planning to pursue correspondence courses. Some are even planning to take up one-year course and wait till the next year to get admission in the course of their choice.

“I wanted to take admission in BCom, but the cut-off was very high and I am forced to do BCom through correspondence,” said a student. “I couldn’t get admission in BCA, but I don’t want to waste my precious year and will go for some other stream where seats are available and will do a computer course along with that,” said another student.

The number of students from outstations is increasing year after year. With this, the demand for hostel seats has also increased and many students are forced to stay as a PG or in a rented accommodation. “The student of second and third years have already booked their hostel seats and we can’t ask them to leave the hostel. So, we are trying to adjust and give as many seats as possible to the freshers,” says A.C. Vaid, principal, SD College.



Consumer Courts
Computer centre fined for poor service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Land Internet Land, Sector 36, to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 for deficiency in service to a resident of Sector 44.

The forum also asked the computer centre to pay Rs 9,000 along with an interest 8 per cent along with Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation.

The petitioner, Jasbir Singh, stated that his wards took admission at the centre after depositing a sum of Rs 9,000. As per the declaration form, they were to be given 200 net hours, two basic courses, two ESPD courses and a holiday package. However, upon joining the institute, they found that their teacher was not qualified and basic amenities like furniture and library were missing.

The petitioner said the course was for a year, but after two months, they were told that the course had been completed.

The opposite party did not appear before the forum.

The forum said: “There is no doubt that the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, is a beneficial legislation specially enacted to confer additional consumer rights and to preserve and guard the existing one under the law.

The opposite party is hence directed to pay compensation to the petitioner.”



Team to check bogus docs formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
To check the unregistered/ unqualified doctors practising within the jurisdiction of the city, the health department has constituted a team of doctors, who have been successful in obtaining conviction for one such doctor and one case is under trial. A few cases are ready to be submitted to the police. A few of them have certificates, which only allow them to practise in the state from where they have obtained such registration.

The GoI issued an order on November 25, 2003, that no stream of alternative medicine other than Ayurveda, Sidha, Unani, homoeopathy, Yoga and naturopathy are recognised and anybody practising other than these disciplines will not use the term 'doctor'. 



Now, admn drivers to undergo training
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
After educating CTU drivers on roads safety norms, it is now the turn of drivers of the UT administration, the municipal corporation and the UT police to get trained during a two-day driving workshop at Children Traffic Park, Sector 23, from tomorrow.

The workshop will be organised under the supervision of DSP (traffic) Jasbir Singh Cheema in association with Chandigarh Motors Sports Association president S.P.S. Garcha.

According to sources, focus will be on educating drivers of the administration, municipal corporation and the UT police on curbing road accidents and ways of driving on busy city roads.

Instructions will also be given to drivers on steps to be taken in case of an accident.

The drivers will be taught on traffic management by the DSP and a team of the Chandigarh Motor Sports.

The workshop will also include a theoretical test, after which the drivers will have to clear a practical test. Cheema said the workshop, which began last month, was expected to help bring down the number of accidents on city roads.



Ward panels get more teeth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The city administration has given more teeth to ward committees. Officials would now be answerable to these committees.

On the basis of the recommendations made by MC commissioner and the DC, the administrator has approved ward committees. The chairman of the committee would be a councillor of the area and representatives of resident welfare associations would be members.

The committees have been constituted under the provisions of Section 41-A of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act and bylaw 3 of Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, 2005. The committees had been constituted keeping in view the interest of the city by giving due representation to eminent citizens.

Sources said certain changes had been incorporated. The issue of action taken report, presence of officials during meetings, and regular presence of members has been included in the guidelines.



UT wants Samvarthak to replace Setia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The Chandigarh administration is yet to accept the request of S.K. Setia, DPI (schools), to repatriate him to his parent state of Haryana, but it is learnt that it has recommended the name of Samvarthak Singh, one of the three HCS officers on the list sent by the Haryana Government recently.

The others on the list were Ramesh Krishnan and Ashok Bishnoi. Once approved by the UT administrator, the posting of the official would be decided. Sources said the top brass was keen on retaining Setia for some more time.

In the case of HCS and PCS officers, it was the prerogative of the administration to retain an official after seeking clearance from the respective state government.
Since another HCS officer and secretary of the CHB, Kamlesh Kumar, is also going to be repatriated to Haryana, the new officer could replace him.

Meanwhile, the administration would seek a fresh panel of officials from Punjab to replace J.S. Bir, MD of Citco, whose extension has been denied by the Centre.

As in the case of former home secretary, Krishna Mohan, Bir could continue until a replacement comes. The fast changing political situation in Delhi could benefit certain Punjab and Haryana bureaucrats who are on deputation with the administration and are awaiting repatriation. “Those who are about to be repatriated can stay on for a few more months. The ministries concerned would not take a  decision soon due to the political situation,” an official said.

The fate of the appointment of Ram Niwas as UT home secretary also depends on the survival of the UPA government.



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