C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City-Baddi rail link might throw IT park off track
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The controversial Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), Mani Majra, is again in news. The prestigious project of the Chandigarh Administration is coming in the way of the Chandigarh-Baddi rail link.

The UT has already spent crores on creating the infrastructure and has allotted land to different IT companies in Phase I and II. But the future of phase II and the another controversial IT habitat project, a public-private partnership (PPP) of the Chandigarh Housing Board and Parsavnath builders, is now at stake as Northern Railways has sought acquisition of land for the 33-km-long stretch of the proposed line passing through Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and UT.

A senior railway official said intimation, along with the tentative alignment plan and villages falling near the proposed alignment of the track, had already been sent to the concerned land-acquisition collectors of all the states in September 2007.

The final alignment and survey plan was sent to the concerned states on September 30, 2008, by the deputy engineer survey, Northern Railways. The field survey for the project, included in the railway budget 2007-2008, was started in September 2007.

Though the states concerned were already aware about the project in 2005, the actual survey started only in 2007 only. Apart from cutting through the phase II of the IT Park, the proposed track diagonally cuts through 123 acres of land allotted for the IT habitat. The project had raised many an eyebrow for being located right on the edge of the Sukhna Lake.

Sources in the railways said since it was an ambitious project affecting the economic development of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, it could not be scrapped. The alignment has been worked out after going through all aspects. The UT was well aware that there is a proposed track passing through the area, still it allotted land to IT companies and for IT habitat.

The official said since Himachal Pradesh has been pushing the project with the railway ministry, the former was being intimated about the objections being raised by the UT. It is learnt that there are some constructions in Punjab’s Naya Gaon master plan area covering Kansal and Naya Gaon areas.



On ‘Chhat Puja’ eve, Sector 42 lake in a mess
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
On the eve of the "chhat puja," the new lake in Sector 42, inaugurated with much fanfare by UT administrator SF Rodrigues on October 29, is showing signs of stinking. In fact, the new lake is set to be become another white elephant for the Chandigarh Administration with the municipal corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) raising a bill of Rs 1.78 lakh for the pumping of water from the corporation tubewell into the artificial water body. Noble intentions of the administration in developing the new lake for the relaxation of the residents of the southern sectors and as an alternative spot for the performance of rituals on religious functions such as "chhat puja" and "ganesh puja" notwithstanding, the lake is in a mess as a visit to it revealed today.

Floating polythene bags, bottles and garlands on the surface of the water and use of the lake for bathing purposes, despite a ban, continued unabated. In fact, the worst is yet to come when the lake would be used for "chhat puja" for the immersion of flowers and other ritual materials tomorrow, virtually leading to its "choking". Sources said after major religious functions the entire water of the lake would have to be drained out. As many as two drainage pipes had been provided to drain out the water into the N-choe.This could prove to be an expensive affair for the "fund-starved" engineering department. Though the execution of work by the independent architect Vinod Joshi was carried out in record time to beat the deadline set by the administration yet the mandatory works such as laying of paver blocks and completion of the two decks and landscaping of the lake complex is yet to be accomplished. The construction of one of the toilet complexes has just started.

Meanwhile, official sources claimed that the commercial kiosks were being developed in the complexes and income from them would be used for the maintenance of the lake.



Sickness drives two to death
Three suicides in tricity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Depressed due to their prolonged ailments, a woman in her late thirties and a rickshaw-puller ended their lives in different parts of the city today.

According to the police, the deceased 38-year-old Rosy, who was a diabetic, was found hanging by her family at her Sector 55 residence here, a little after midnight. She reportedly went to her room and locked it from inside at around 10 pm. The family broke open the door, when their repeated knocks went unanswered at around 12.20 am. They found her hanging from the ceiling fan hook and informed the police.

The police said no suicide note was found from the room and quoting family members said the woman was depressed due to her ailment. She is survived by her husband, two, daughters and a son. The police ahs initiated inquest proceedings into the death.

In another incident, Punnu, a rickshaw-puller in his mid-forties ended his life by hanging at his residence in Sector 52, here, this evening. The death came to light when his wife, Babita, came back home at around 7 pm and found her husband hanging. The police was informed about the incident, which took the body into its custody and sent it to the Sector 16 Government Multi Specialty Hospital.

The police said Punnu was suffering from some chronic disease and his wife was also not keeping well. He had two children and was depressed over his inability to make ends meet.



Youth hangs himself
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 3
A 24-year-old resident of Sohana, Mohammed Rafi, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself with a dupatta at his house late last night.Unconfirmed reports said the victim was under influence of liquor when he allegedly ended his life.

The police had to intervene as the family of the deceased refused to lower the body alleging that he had ended his life after being beaten up and insulted by neighbours.

The body was lowered after two hours when the police booked six neighbours on charges of abetment to suicide.

Police investigations indicated that few hours before the incident, the victim was badly thrashed by his neigbours when he had objected to his girl being beaten up by the neighbour’s girl. The victim’s mother had intervened to save him from the assault.

A few minutes after being brought home, the victim locked himself in his house and ended his life.

On the basis of statement given by Sinder, wife of the victim, the police has booked Amrik Lal, Bila, Krishan Lal, Golu, Honey and Mamta. Raids were being conducted to arrest the suspects.



When pulls and pressures drive life away
The city has witnessed over 70 incidents of
suicide so far, this year
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Domestic disputes, failure in studies and illicit relations are taking a toll on city residents as an average of over seven persons commit suicides in a month in Chandigarh.

The perusal of the figures of incidents of suicide reported in 2007 revealed that most of the suicide victims were housewives, migrant labourers and youngsters bogged down by the fast competitive lifestyle, but the city was shocked with the suicide of a top Punjab IAS officer last month and an IPS officer last year.

The city has witnessed over 70 incidents of suicide so far, this year. The city has 8.8 suicide victims after every one lakh persons. The rate of suicide victims in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal is between 10.3 to 13.3 after every one lakh persons. The city is at 21st place in the country as far as number of suicides are concerned.

Sources in the police say most of the suicides are reported from the southern parts of the city. Out of the total 88 suicides reported last year, 21 per cent of the victims were found to be employed with private companies while 18 per cent of the victims were housewives followed by migrant labourers at 15 per cent of the total number of victims who killed themselves.

About the youngsters, the police said four per cent of the victims were found to be students while rest of the victims belonged to different strata of the society. As per national statistics, suicidal tendencies are growing fast among students and minors. It is pertinent to mention here that in year 1999 there were 800 minors, who committed suicides in India, but the figures drastically rose to 5857 in 2007. On an average, 16 minors commit suicide in India every day, said a police officer.

Most of the suicide victims were from the age group of 15 to 29, indicating that the younger generation is more prone to suicidal tendencies. As per the last year’s figures, 29 male and 21 females, belonged to this age group. However, in the age group of 30 to 44, 31 men had killed themselves, while seven women ended their lives.



Diarrhoea in Majri
Patients reach GMSH-16
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The patients suffering from acute dehydration kept on reaching at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16 increasing the figure of admitted patients from Majri to 15. Later, four of the patients were discharged after their condition improved substantially.

The patients who were admitted with complaints of vomiting and loose motions, included three children and one woman.

“The child started vomitting early in the morning and within hours his conditon started deteriorating after which I took him to the medical camp set up at the village by the health authorities,” said Kishan Lal, father of Prem alias Kamal, a six-year-old boy admitted here. The doctors there, however, referred the case here as the condition of boy was sensitive, he said.

Similar was the case with Saurabh (2) and Bir Davinder (4) who were lying on the adjoining bed. Seven others who were still under treatment were in a stable condition.

Jatinder Singh (21) who was admitted in a critical conditon yesterday said he visited the Majri on the night of Saturday as a member of the bhajan party to perform a ‘jagran’ in the village. Though other members of his party were hale and hearty he started feeling nauseated and started having loose motions. His conditon worsened before he was brought here.

The other patients who remained under treatment at GMSH include Rani (55), Rakesh (40), Geja Singh (45), Paramjit Kaur (40), Sheela Devi (65), Reeta (24), and Bahadur (60).



Health dept collects 10 samples, water supply 
dept says no leakage

Tribune News Service

Kharar, November 3
The health department today collected 10 samples of drinking water from village Majri today after an outbreak of diarrhoea. These samples have been sent for examination and its report will be submitted within next ten days.

While the health department has blamed the faulty water supply for the outbreak, the public health and water supply department officials deny any leakage of water pipes. The officials pointed out that they have not got any reports of leakage of drinking water pipes leading to the village.

The public health department has constituted four teams that will check and plug any major or minor leakage in the private connections in village. Village Majri gets water supply from two tubewells installed in the area. The same tubewells also supply drinking water to areas of Fatehpur, Sialba and Khera.

Meanwhile, the official number of patients has now reached 403. Doctors attending to the patients said that none of the cases are acute. Tonight only two patients are being hospitalised at the makeshift medical camp put up at village Majri dharamshala. A total of 50 patients was admitted to this camp. All others were relieved after being administered the necessary intravenous fluid and medicines to control dehydration.

Yesterday, three patients were referred to various hospitals in Chandigarh and today three patients were referred to the PGI Chandigarh and Government Medical College and Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh.

Patients started pouring in at the Boothgarh government hospital on November 1 evening. The health department is camping at the village and has started the chlorination of drinking water. Health education is also being imparted to the villagers. For the night shift one medical officer, two pharmacists, staff nurses and other staff has been deputed.



Photography jaunt costs him his life
Tribune News Service

Policemen and divers fishing out Ranjan Nelson’s body from Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Monday.
Policemen and divers fishing out Ranjan Nelson’s body from Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, November 3
A photography excursion to Sukhna Lake cost a youth his life. He reportedly slipped from a tree trunk into the murky waters, here this afternoon, while posing for a photograph.

The deceased Ranjan Nelson (22) of Baltana was a pastor in a local church and had gone to the lake with his friend and employer’s son Yaman. The incident took place at around 3.20 pm at the regulatory end, when he was posing for a photograph and slipped into the waters.

Yaman said Ranjan told him to take his picture while he was balancing himself on a slanting tree trunk. “His hand was coming before his face and I asked him to move it aside. In the process, he lost his balance and fell. I rushed to his help and jumped into the water, but he moved away from me while making an attempt to save himself.” I extended a tree branch to him, but he could not catch hold of it and disappeared into the water.”

He further added he called the police, which reached the spot and launched rescue operations. Meanwhile, he informed his parents too.

People alleged though, the police reached in time and launched rescue operations, but they were not fully equipped to handle the situation.

The police did not call the trauma van and had no arrangements to provide first-aid to the victim. Not only this, the police control room vehicle did not have a stretcher and then as soon as the victim was fished out, the cops picked the victim up by his limbs believing him that he was no more.

Emotions ran high when Ranjan’s mother, Veena, reached there. In an emotional outburst she held Yaman responsible for the incident. Both the families later went to the Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital, where the body was shifted for a postmortem.

Yaman’s father, Ashok Kumar, a resident of Sector 32, said he raised Ranjan as his own child. In a visible upset condition, Ashok Kumar was pleading with Ranjan’s family not to hold him responsible for Ranjan’s unfortunate death and said he was with the family in the tragic hour and could understand their grief.

Ruling out possibility of any foul play behind the death, SHO of the Sector 3 police station Har Sahai Sharma said it was an accident. He said the water at the regulatory end was about 20 feet deep and there was silt underneath it, where the body was struck. The postmortem would be conducted tomorrow to ascertain the cause of the death, he added.

Meanwhile, the police has initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC in this regard.


Tenements near IT Park
Report finds structures illegal
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Sub-divisional officer (buildings) A.S. Maini today submitted a report on the coming up of illegal tenements on a piece of agriculture land in Kishangarh, adjoining the IT Park, with the deputy commissioner’s office.

Taking notice of a news, “Illegal construction on farm land”, published in Chandigarh Tribune on October 28, the deputy commissioner R.K. Rao had directed UT estate officials to inspect the illegal tenements. SDO (buildings) A.S. Maini visited the site before preparing the report.

The official, in his report, stated that as many as 105 hutment made of mud and mortar along with a crèche and 16 toilets had been raised at the farmland, which was against the Punjab Periphery Control-1952 norms.

Throwing rules to the winds, former sarpanch of Kishangarh village Prem Singh raised these single-room pucca “numbered” houses on his around one-acre land located adjoining the road leading to IT Park in Kishangarh.

The labours, migrants from UP and Bihar, have been engaged by Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Limited, which is developing a five-star Hotel Grand at the IT Park.

Terming it an “illegal” construction and “misuse of agriculture land”, Hargunjit Kaur, land acquisition officer, Chandigarh administration, has recommended in her report to issue notice under Section IV and VI to the owner of the land.

Officials of the estate office confirmed that notice under Section 16 would be served on violators later.

“As soon as the ‘HC award’ for dispossession of land comes, the administration would take action against such defaulters,” said an official.

The officials also confirmed that the assistant general manager of Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Limited Rajinder Singh, who happens to be the overall in charge of the Hotel Grand project, agreed that the land for accommodating labourers was taken on rent at Rs 1.44 lakh per annum because it was just 2.5 km from the hotel site.

The former sarpanch along with a woman panch and others had already been under the scanner of the authorities for selling small plots in the Kishangarh area in violation of the Periphery Control Act.



Illegal Shortcuts
Threat to lives of road users
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, November 3
The UT administration has failed miserably in applying brakes on illegal shortcuts created on city’s busiest one-way roads endangering lives of road users.

A random survey of the city roads revealed that a large number of the one-way roads in the city are plagued by the menace. One can see that people have made the shortcuts on these roads either by removing railings or by dismantling pavement blocks along the road dividers in Sectors 17, 22, 34, 35, 38, and on Vikas Marg leading from Sector 47 to 39 to make the matters worse. No policemen are seen checking motorists from using these shortcuts on the busy roads as violations are committed in the broad daylight, said a Sector 47 resident.

These shortcuts are a boon for anti-social elements, which often use these to escape from the police after committing snatchings or indulging in eve teasing, added another concerned resident of the area.

Advocate Rohit Bajaj, a resident of Sector 38, said, "A pass along my house has been changed into the road and people are passing through it very easily, creating a great fuss for people. We have already brought the issue in the notice of the councillor of our ward."

Gursimranjit Singh, a commuter said, "These passes are helpful for public as it saves time."

A senior official of the UT administration said, "We are tracing these illegal shortcut passes everywhere in Chandigarh. In some parts of the city we have blocked these passes and the rest will be blocked in a short period and we have also appealed to the public to not to do such type of activities which creates problems for others."



DAV Sodomy Case
15 days on, inquiry report still awaited!
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Even 15 days after an inquiry was marked into a two-month-old sodomy case, the report is yet to be received.

The course of action in the case of alleged sodomising of a class VII boarder of DAV School, Sector 8, seems far from clear as not only the administration but also the principal are yet to receive the report of the probe initiated after the incident was reported by The Tribune on October 19.

While those at the helm tried their best to push the incident, the second to be reported in the school, under the carpet, the school authorities confirmed the victim approaching them a month before the incident was reported.

As in an earlier conversation with The Tribune, in charge of the hostel Vinod Shastri had said: “The incident happened around the time the first incident was reported and child had come to us. We had separated him from the accused and I don’t understand why newspapers are reporting it now?”

However, school authorities marked a fresh inquiry and took a statement in writing from students but the process seemed to have taken way too long.

DPI (S) UT Samwartak Singh had marked the matter to DEO, who denied receiving any report till today. Even principal Vibha Ray claimed to be still waiting it.

This wait though doesn’t seem anything more than just an effort to hush up the matter by many in school.

“If they knew of the incident around two months ago and had done the needful by secluding the victim then what were they probing? The delay is not due to rigorous investigation. It is instead to dilute the issue. The report has been followed by major controversies, still nobody is reacting to it. Where is the management?” said a school official on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, DAV-8 manager B.C. Josan expressed ignorance on the status of the report and other ongoing issues.

“My area of work is so huge that entire effort goes into managing it. Moreover, principal is supreme and managers are just to assist her in normal functioning of the school. Still I will speak to her,” he said.



Residents forced to live amid filth
MC sleeps as garbage piles up
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, November 3
The tall claims of the municipal corporation authorities notwithstanding, heaps of garbage are commonplace in almost all localities of the city. As a result, residents are being forced to put up amidst stench emanating from the garbage.

The situation is particularly bad in areas of Sectors 15, 22, 24, 29, 48, 50, 51. Residents complain of living amid filth and stink, which pose a grave health hazard.

They accuse the municipal corporation of turning a blind eye to their problems.

Neena, a resident of Sector 51, said sweepers of the area were not regular in their work. “I have been residing here for the past three years and have rarely seen sweepers at work. There should be a check on their activities,” she said.

Due to the filth and garbage, children have been unable to play in public parks, which have become dumping grounds. Garbage can be seen scattered outside bins in most parks.

Santosh, a resident of Sector 29, said: “Several complaints have been submitted to the municipal corporation authorities but to no avail. “The authorities clean only posh sectors like northern sectors. But in case of developing sectors reality speaks for itself.”

The residents also feared they there was a real threat of outbreak of diseases like malaria in the area due to litter and garbage. Municipal corporation mayor Pardeep Chabra said: “We have already issued notices to erring persons and the problem will be solved soon. Strict action will be taken against the violators.”



Consumer Courts
HUDA told to pay interest to complainant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed chief administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), to pay an interest of 18 per cent per annum to a complainant on deposited amount of Rs 3,34,548 for the allotment of one kanal plot in Urban Estate, Faridabad, from the date of such deposit.

The forum also directed HUDA to pay Rs 3,500 as cost of litigation to the complainant.

The complainant, Darshan Singh, a resident of Mani Majra, stated that he deposited a sum of Rs 3,31,548 through Oriental Bank of Commerce, Mani Majra, Chandigarh, along with the application for allotment of one kanal plot in Urban Estate, Sector 46, Faridabad (Haryana), with HUDA.

Thereafter, HUDA through a public notice in newspapers announced the draw of lots for plots, including those of Sector 46, Faridabad, on March 19 and 20, 2007 but it did not hold the draw for Sector 46, Faridabad.

The complainant alleged that on account of non-consideration of his application by not holding the draw for the sector, he lost an opportunity to take part in a draw for another sector in which plots for the same category had been offered.

He added that HUDA had not mentioned in the brochure any clause for not holding draw of lots for any sector, thereby putting him to loss.

HUDA, in a statement in writing, pleaded that the scheme was closed during a meeting held on June 21, 2005 under the chairmanship of Haryana Chief Minister.

Thereafter, the amount of Rs 3,31,548 was refunded to the complainant within six months from the date of brochure and there were only eight plots of one kanal in Sector 46, Faridabad, which were allotted to oustees.

It was further submitted that the brochure was published only for the un-allotted plots in various sectors of Urban Estate, Faridabad.



Reduce retail price of petrol, says Dasgupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The Empowered Committee of Finance Ministers has demanded that the ministry of petroleum and natural gas reduce the retail price of petrol as the international price of crude oil have reduced drastically.

Talking to media persons after chairing the meeting of the committee, chairman and finance minister of West Bengal Asim Dasgupta categorically said the retail prices of petrol, diesel and LPG should be slashed immediately. “With the price of crude oil having reduced by almost half, since the time the government affected a hike in June, the government should reduce the prices,” he said.

He said when the prices of petroleum products were hiked, the state governments were asked to reduce the sales tax on petroleum products so as to provide relief to consumers.



Flight safety discussed at conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The Western Air Command (WAC) annual flight safety council meeting was held at the Air Force Station, here today. The purpose of the meeting was to review various air accidents, lessons learnt and inferences drawn thereof.

Air Marshal P.S. Bhangu, Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO), WAC, delivered the opening address, followed by a review of accidents and incidents by Gp Capt C.P. Yadav, Command Flight Safety Officer, WAC.

The meeting was attended by over 100 representatives from the Army, Navy, Hindustan Aeronauticals Limited (HAL), Air Headquarters and WAC, as well as from all units of the WAC.



MC becomes strict about field staff’s movements
Record register lacks necessary details
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 3
The municipal council has tightened the hold over the movements of field staff during duty hours in order to improve the functioning of the civic body.

It has been learnt that the field staff did not record all the details about their movements because of which authorities were unable to know how much time a particular employee had spent in the field and what was his output when he was away from the office.

Sources said the executive officer of the council Amna Kumar Goyal called for officials of the engineering wing in the morning today to discuss some issues, but was told they were out in the field. He then checked the movement register of the wing and found that the staff had only recorded the time when they left the office for field work, but no information was provided as when they would report back at the office. The column indicating the staff’s return time has never been filled by members of the field staff.

Goyal issued an official order meant to be followed by employees of the engineering wing, office superintendent, licence superintendent, accounts section and sanitation wing. The order stated that employees working in the field would have to record the time of their reporting back at the office and also the purpose of remaining in the field. If any employee failed to work in accordance with the official order, he would be treated as absent, and administrative action would be initiated against him.

Goyal said he had asked the field staff to remain in office from 9 am to 11 am, except in an emergency, so that various directions could be passed on to the field staff, and even public could meet them when they visited the office in connection with various problems. He said in many cases members of the staff were not found in office even at about 9.30 am, while they claimed they were in the field.



Special clinics opened at General Hospital
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 3
In what may come as a relief for local residents, the health authorities today started special clinics free of cost at the General Hospital here.

Haryana financial commissioner and principal secretary, health, Anuradha Gupta who inaugurated the clinics to be held between 3.30 pm and 6.30 pm, said patients would have to pay nothing for super-speciality services as part of a pilot project in the state.

Moreover, patients would be entitled to get diagnosis tests prescribed by doctors at special clinics done at the hospital itself and the tests not available at the hospital would be referred to private laboratories empanelled by the hospital at a discount, said Gupta.

On special clinics, medical superintendent of the hospital Dr V.K. Bansal said consultation would be provided to patients with complaints of hypertension on Sunday. While asthma cases would be dealt with on Tuesday, cases related to menopause and puberty would be taken up on Wednesday.

Doctors from the General Hospital will provide consultation on all three days to patients visiting these clinics.

However on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, doctors from Fortis Hospital, Mohali, will be available for consultation for problems relating to diabetes, endocrinology, cardiology, and neurology.

While Dr K.P. Singh, an endocrinologist, will be available on Thursday, Dr H.K. Bali, a cardiologist, would visit the clinic every Friday. Similarly, Dr Harpreet Mann will provide his services to patients with neurological problems on Saturdays.

In addition, the hospital staff will run oral health clinic throughout the week.



Driving through this road is a nightmare
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, November 3
The Choice road, connecting the densely populated Baltana to the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway, presents a picture of neglect. The indifferent attitude of the authorities in maintaining the road has resulted in a nightmare for thousands of commuters who use it daily.

Residents claim that everyday around 10 to 12 minor accidents are witnessed on this road. They asserted that the bad condition of road has led to cervical and spinal disc problem among the road users. “The concerned authorities are responsible for giving us these diseases but have turned a blind eye to the situation,” added residents.

The road witnesses traffic of small vehicles to heavy ones in large number. It is narrow and un-metaled road. Monsoon showers have left large potholes on the road and the road is inundated after every spell of rain as there is no drainage system on the roadsides. The road is also heavily used since it is a shortcut to and from Panchkula.

“The road has hardly ever been repaired”, says Ashwani Sharma, a resident of Saini Vihar. “I bought a new luxury car last month but due to the deplorable condition of the road my car needs a frequent repairs”, he adds.

“I am suffering from a cervical problem, it pains me when I use this road”, says Nirmaljeet Singh, a resident of ward number 14. He adds: “We had complained to the authorities so many times but every time we meet them they give us false assurances”.

Narinder Sharma, President, Municipal Council, Zirakpur admitted that the road was in a poor state. “We plan to make a concrete road and a proposal in this regard has already sent to the concerned department”, he said adding that potholes would be filled with pebbles and patchwork would start shortly.

However, the officials of Municipal Council claim that lack of funds is going to prove the biggest hurdle in development. “We have only funds for patch work, not for proper road-carpeting,” said an official.

For a township that has mushroomed in the most unplanned manner, it's hardly a surprise that the woes of the residents here seem endless.



Anganwari workers sit on hunger strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Members of the Anganwari Employees Federation of India sat on hunger strike against the alleged dictatorial attitude of the Punjab government in Sector 34 here today.

One of the members went on fast unto death. The agitated representatives of the union threatened to intensify their stir if the authorities failed to change their stance. Union leaders also sought a fair probe into the matter.

They said if their demands were not fulfilled, all members of the union would go on fast unto death.

Santosh Kaur, who was sitting on fast unto death, said: “Even after the lapse of six months, 48 workers have not been allotted stations and they have no other source of income to live on.”



Amenities for Kumhar Colony sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Jai Ram Joshi, former president of the local unit of the BJP, today demanded immediate provision of drinking water, roads and sewerage in the newly set-up New Kumhar Colony and Dairy Complex at Maloya.

On the invitation of resident welfare societies of the Kumhar Colony and Dairy Complex, Joshi undertook a “padyatra” and found that basic amenities continued to elude residents even though the administration had rehabilitated potters in this colony as also gawalas along with their milch cattle.

Residents pointed out that no toilets had been provided and women were forced to defecate in the open.

At the conclusion of the “padyatra”, a public rally was addressed by Joshi, who assured inhabitants of taking up their problems with the administration.

Nand Ram and Sher Singh, president and chairman, respectively, of Kumhar Welfare Association also spoke.



PU security ‘virtually’ on stake
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
While Panjab University is going all out to make its campus technologically sound, what’s with computerising the entire system, revamping examination system with its technology and even providing wi-fi system to its denizens, university’s safety is “virtually” on stake.

In the present scenario, where recent bombings and terror threats have taken place all through the internet, making wi-fi system becomes all the more pertinent.

However, after a reality check, one would know that not all’s fine in the paradise. When over the years, the university has not been able to keep a check on the entry of outsiders, keeping a tab on its “virtual intruders” too comes under scanner.

If the inside sources are to be believed, though the authorities have been able to ensure that the wi-fi system cannot be easily hacked and misused, nevertheless there is nothing like “foolproof”.

Admitting this, one of the university’s technicians say, “We are already in the process of registering the computers, laptops with the network card which has a unique identification number, called MAC. This identification is as unique as an EMIE number of a mobile phone. But even after that’s done and a student of the university willingly gives his or her PC to somebody for using it, it certainly can’t be controlled”.

Already, the university has a database of around 50,000 restricted sites, which includes porn sites and many such objectionable sites. “But the biggest problem that the wi-fi system faces is the proxy sites. There is an increasing practice among students to download illegal softwares and then through proxy sites, they can visit any of the restricted sites.

Interestingly, for some time, the university officials had even blocked some chat sites as they were increasingly being used. Annoyed with this, the students have even sent request mails as well as hate mails to the authorities to restart them immediately.

It must be mentioned here that the university had started the basic wi-fi facility some time back but the extended and advanced version only got started about three months back.



Officials vow to end corruption
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The Vigilance Awareness Week kicked off with a pledge-taking ceremony here today. Adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra administered the oath of integrity and transparency to officials and employees of the Chandigarh administration at the UT Secretariat, Sector 9, here.

All officials and employees took a pledge to strive for bringing about integrity and transparency in all spheres of their activities. They also pledged to work towards eradication of corruption in all walks of life and to remain vigilant and work towards the growth and reputation of their organisations.

UT home-cum-chief vigilance officer Ram Niwas said special telephone number 0172-2740012 had been installed for vigilance work so that corruption could be tackled and transparency could be brought about.

Finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, IGP S.K. Jain, special secretary finance Raji P. Shrivastava, SSP S.S. Srivastava, chief architect Sumit Kaur, chief engineer Krishanjit Singh and other senior officials took part in the ceremony.



Surprise check by transport secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Several employees of the State Transport Authority (STA) were found absent from work during a surprise check by UT home-cum-transport secretary Ram Niwas here this morning.

According to sources, almost half of the staff could not make it to the office even by 9.30 am. The employees would be asked to explain the reason for reporting late to the office.



Admn fixes kerosene rates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The Chandigarh administration has fixed the wholesale and retail prices of kerosene to be sold in the city.

In an order passed by the food and supplies and consumer affairs department, the wholesale price per kl is Rs 8,816.28 inclusive of VAT. The retail rate per litre is fixed at Rs 9.15. The above rates would be applicable with an immediate effect.



INSO activists seek probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The Indian National Students’ Organisation (INSO) today protested at Sukhna Lake against the killing of Kuldeep, a student of BA II, in a police encounter at Bhiwani last night. Around 35-40 protesters gathered at the lake around 11 am and alleged that the encounter was fake. They demanded adequate compensation for the aggrieved family and a fair inquiry by the Haryana government.

INSO president Vikas Rathee said: “If the encounter was real then why did the government announce a relief of Rs 5 lakh for the family of the deceased? A fair inquiry into the incident should be conducted to bring out the truth.”

The police arrested five persons - Vikas Rathee, Sunil, Karamvir, Aman and Vikas - from the scene. A case has been registered against them.



Illegal vendors a headache for residents

This is with reference to the article “Hafta ensures illegal vendors stay put” in The Chandigarh Tribune on November 1. The UT administration has tried to make the city ‘smoke and polythene free’ but, all in vain. The officers of the Estate Office and Municipal Corporation have tried to make the city encroachment free, but illegal vendors had been increasing day by day.

The Tribune had highlighted earlier that the markets of Sectors 17, 22, 19, 15 and the grain market of Sector 26 pay handsome amount to the officials concerned and they along with the police allow them to enjoy encroachments.

The vendors block all the space in markets, leaving no place for purchasers to move. It’s true to say that ‘The administration is indecisive to take action, the officers are weak and officials are corrupt’.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh

Polybags still in use

The shopkeepers have started using polythene bags but ‘without handle’, which does not cover the guidelines laid under the notification of October 2, 2008.

The notification order stated not to use polythene bags, irrespective of they are with a handle or without it. Now, it all depends on the public whether it takes it seriously and cooperate with the government in this direction or not. But the administration has not mentioned anything about big companies using he polythene bags. Moreover, the milk dairies like Verka, Vita etc are still supplying milk here in plastic packets. The milk can easily be supplied in glass bottles, as it used to be done earlier. Its usage should also be banned in packing of machinery, fertiliser,medicines and chemicals etc. In this way, Chandigarh can become a pollution-free city.

GK Chopra, Chandigarh

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



Varsity declared Centre of Excellence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Panjab University has achieved yet another milestone with the department of science and technology, government of India, granting it the status of “Centre of excellence for science and technology”. With the status, comes a grant of Rs 10 crore per year for a period of next three years. The grant is provided for the purpose of developing its research and design (R and D).

The status has now put the university in the league of top universities and has become the third university to attain the status after Delhi University and Hyderabad University. Prof T. Ramasami, secretary, department of science and technology (DST), Government of India, announced the same after the inauguration of computerisation of the university system today.

With the special grant, the university will be independent in deciding the utilisation of the money to promote research and design in science and technology. An elated Prof R. C. Sobti, reacting on the announcement, said; “This comes as a recognition of our hard work. We have been selected among 14 universities. The money can be spent on strengthening research.”

It must be mentioned here that the special grant money is only to be spent on carrying out research, and cannot be utilised to set up any building or infrastructure.



PU goes hi-tech
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Much awaited computerisation at Panjab University kick started was inaugurated by Prof T. Ramasami, secretary, department of science and technology (DST), Government of India, today. With this, university’s examination system will be completely revamped. For instance, OMR-based answer books will be introduced, and the results will also be computerised.

To support the computerisation of the system, the university has created new facilities in terms of hardware and software for automation of activities related to administrative block, teaching departments and all other student and faculty-related activities. The automation of the evaluation and preparation of the results will cut down the time of declaration of results and automated issue of the DMCs (detailed marks cards). The PUPIN system introduced in the university, integrated with the university automation, will go a long way for tracing the records of the students for lifetime.

A specialised data centre has been established for this purpose at the cost of around 90 lakh, which has got huge computing and storage capabilities. Prof Sohi of UIET said the system was upward expandable to meet any future needs of the university. A live demonstration was also given to show the real time operation of the various components of the automation system. Vice-chancellor R. C. Sobti said the whole automation system would be fully operational within a short span of time.

Meanwhile, the secretary of DST explained various facilities being offered to promote science and technology in the country. He further said although Panjab University was not declared as central university, still it ranked one among the three top universities of the country in terms of research and design.

He appreciated the efforts of Panjab University taking a quantum step in automation of the university system in making it paper-free.



With exams near and fewer teachers,
it is testing times for PU

Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The recent ouster of 58 teachers from Panjab University after the Punjab and Haryana High Court refused to given any relief in enhancement of the retirement age from 60 to 62 years has left the university in the lurch.

With the ensuing examinations, the university officials are now feeling a sudden void in the middle of the session. To work out a solution and to examine a stopgap arrangement for those professors who retired on October 31, a meeting of the chairpersons of the departments was held today in the evening.

It was decided that the chairpersons of the departments be authorised to appoint guest lecturers for the time being. However, it was decided that the guest lecturers would be paid Rs 250 per lecture and at the same time, their dues should not exceed more than Rs 10,000 per month.

For the post of guest lecturers, even those who have retired can also apply provided they are not above 65. Research scholars too can apply for the same.

According to sources, the situation arose as more than 31 teachers representing as many departments are yet to finish the syllabus of their respective subjects. To top it all, out of these 31 departments, around 30 departments have the semester system, meaning thereby, the course would have to be finished before the onset of examinations.

With the examinations approaching in the third week of November there is hardly any time left for recruiting faculty.

Also, it is pertinent to mention here that after the retirement of 58 teachers the university had given them the option to apply for re-employment within 10 days. Re-employment can be done for a maximum of three years provided the applicant is not above 63. Also, those teachers seeking re-employment have to submit an affidavit stating that they would not approach the Supreme Court for a relief in the retirement age.

If inside sources are to believed, already many teachers have applied for the re-employment scheme, including Dr Ved Prakash Upadhayaya, Neera Sahni, Prof K P Singh and others. But a section of the retired teachers falling in the category of those who have attained 60 have decided to approach the Supreme Court and not accept the re-employment offer.



From Schools
Jain awarded for contribution to education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
City-based entrepreneur and educationist Nidhi Jain has won the Indian Economic Development and Research Association (IEDRA)’s Indian Achiever award for her contribution in the field of education. Nidhi was bestowed upon with the award along with several distinguished achievers in various fields during the 49th National Seminar on 'Globalisation of Indian Industries and World Peace' organised recently in New Delhi.


State Institute of Education will organise 34th state level science exhibition for city schools from November 4 to 7. The main theme of this year’s exhibition is ‘science and technology for global sustainability’. More than 130 selected exhibits on agriculture and food security, harnessing energy, conservation of natural resources, combating climate changes, disaster management and mathematical modeling will be displayed by schools.

The exhibition is the culmination of the exhibition organised at first level held from October 21 to 24, wherein 80 schools participated.



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