C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Commercial shows in school auditorium
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Giving two hoots to the norms, the management of Sector 27 Moti Ram Arya Senior Secondary School is allowing money-making activities to run their auditorium.

One such commercial event by Amway was organized at Hardyal Mahajan Memorial Auditorium on the school premises this evening. Amway conducts its promotional events almost every Sunday at the auditorium.

This is barefaced violation under the Capital Act 1952, and a notice under Section 8-A should immediately be served to the school authorities, officials believe but reiterated that the authorities had turned a blind eye to this barefaced violation of the land allotment rules applicable to educational sites. The principal of the school could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

When Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar was apprised of this, he retorted that it is illegal to hold commercial activities in the school premises and stern action would be taken against the school authorities. “This calls for serious attention. I will issue a notice to the school authorities”, he said.

Nevertheless, the management of the school has been regularly renting out its auditorium for the fashion shows, music concerts and private company’s promotional events which hardly have any connection with the education purpose, but for a “price”. Ironically, this price varies depending upon the season, too.

The cost of hiring the auditorium, show organisers disclosed, in winters is Rs 13,000 and for summers it is around Rs 15,000. They further said this rent was applicable only for two hours and anything between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000 would be charged beyond this time.

Earlier, music concerts by the Wadali brothers, Urdu and Sufiana poetry by qawwali maestro Aslam Sabri and ghazal singing by noted vocalist Penaz Massani were some of the events that were held in the auditorium. Sources confirmed that a fashion show was organised at the auditorium in September and the Oriental Bank of Commerce, too, had organised a joint cultural programme of all banks in the auditorium some time back.

Under the regional cultural education (RCE) allotment, barring the school functions, no other commercial event could be allowed in the auditorium at the school premises.

In Bhavan Vidyalaya-27, too, the school has an auditorium and some offices in the basement which is against the UT building bylaws. The education department has asked the school authorities to submit a copy of the sanctioned building plan of the auditorium along with permission for habitable use. Despite stern warnings issued earlier by former Director, Public Instructions (Schools), S K Setia, that their recognition would be cancelled if they use the auditorium without official permission, functions are regularly being held there.



Compensation Row
Landowners’ patience runs out
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 28
Patience is running out for landowners and shopkeepers of Zirakpur whose land was acquired by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to fourlane the Chandigarh-Ambala section of the national highway.

After waiting for almost two weeks, the landowners today protested against the delay in the paying them compensation as per the market rates.

At a meeting held on December 16 at Delhi between Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways T.R. Baalu,, the union minister had ordered for formation of a joint committee of SDM Dera Bassi and project director of the NHAI to work out the compensation for the acquired land and shops as per the Punjab Land Acquisition Act and submit report within a week. But none of the officials were available for comments.

President of the Zirakpur Market Welfare Association Mahavir Aggarwal stated that the flyover and toll plaza had started functioning now but the compensation yet not given. He also said if the government could not solve the problem soon they would step up the protest.

Earlier, the Mohali administration had told the NHAI that it would not be allowed to charge toll on the four-lane section unless it paid compensation to the villagers whose land had been acquired for the project.

Around 82 acres, falling under the revenue estate of 22 villages, had been acquired for project. The authority had withheld the land compensation of 13 villages after the evacuees had refused to accept the low compensation rates announced by the SDM, Dera Bassi. Though the commissioner, Patiala division, had in April last enhanced the compensation several times, it was not accepted by the NHAI that is learnt to have approached a local court.

Against the awards announced by the SDM, the landowners had said they were 10 times less than the market rates.



While the UT administration and various clubs have decided to skip the New Year celebrations in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks
Party on in Taj
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
While the UT administration has forgone all its initial plans of a grand New Year bash in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, the move seems to have failed to impact many like The Taj, Sector 17.

Giving a serious blow to the sensitivity exhibited by the city residents so far towards the deceased, an advertisement about an event being held at The Taj invites people to celebrate the New Year eve saying, “If destruction has become global, we have to make laughing and dancing also global in the same proportion to counteract it. Why be sad?”

While the advertisement indicates the sales of passes at Taj Festivity desk, the hotel authorities have denied any connection with the event.

“We have nothing to do with this advertisement. It’s pure business and I am just giving them my venue and food. What do you want I should shut my business?” said Anil Malhotra, general manager, The Taj.

However, contrary to his claims, Avneet Obroi, MD, 365 nights, event management company organizing the event, confirmed the collaboration.

“Yes it’s a collaborative event. We have signed a contract with the Taj and that is why the passes are being sold there. The administration is not celebrating just because they know their event will be a flop. Moreover, about the advertisement all I have to say is that while the kin of the terror attack victims are continuing there lives and even the Taj Mumbai is celebrating then what is the issue in this city?” he said.

The views surely contradict the fact that the city has kept the Christmas celebrations low key to pay their tributes to victims and martyrs and the Muslim community even offered Id prayers wearing black badges to condemn the attacks. Various entities like the Press Club has also skipped the annual celebrations and will hold a candle meeting to exhibit their solidarity.

While many private hotels are organizing events but most of them like a Panchkula-based resort has been sensitive enough to pledge a part of it’s earnings to the Maharashtra CM Relief Fund while the Taj seems to forgotten the brunt faced by its Mumbai counterpart.

“Business is fine but advertising this way is surely insensitive. If the Taj is in collaboration, it should have respected the sentiments of the city residents,” asserted a highly placed official in the Chandigarh tourism department.



Probe against ASP eyewash: Pandey
To take up issue with the Administrator
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Arvind Kumar Pandey, who accused ASP (central) Madur Verma of thrashing him up at his office at Sector 17 police station on Friday, said today that he would take up the issue with the UT Administrator seeking a judicial inquiry into the incident.

Talking to the TNS, Pandey said he had no faith in the Chandigarh Police, which would go all out to shield its senior officer. He claimed that he had enough evidence against Verma, who claimed that he (Pandey) had remained in his office for not more than two-three minutes.

Pandey further stated that the inquiry would turn out to be nothing else than eyewash as, Verma being an IPS officer, senior police officers would try their level best to save him.

Throwing a challenge to the police, Pandey said the inquiry office SP (Traffic) HS Doon should conduct the probe in a transparent manner. He would come with evidences and both parties should be questioned about the incident before the media.

The closed-door inquiry would fail to deliver justice as there were all sorts of pressures on the inquiry officer, including from Verma’s wife, who is an IAS officer. He said things would only get clear if they conduct the probe in a transparent manner, as he had strong evidences to support his claims.

Pandey further claimed that he had witnesses also, whose name he was not disclosing, fearing that the police could intimidate them to change their statements, thus stressing the need to conduct the probe in open.

Pandey alleged that Verma had threaten him that day that he would take him in his Gypsy and dump him on highway after beating him up. He claimed that he could recognize gunmen of Verma, if produced before him. 



Two killed in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 28
Two persons, including a 20-year-old youth, were killed while another was seriously injured in two accidents in the district since yesterday night. The deceased have been identified as Balwinder (20), a resident of Khatola village, and Narender Pal (33), a resident of Sector 26.

According to the police, Balwinder was going towards Barwala from Mattanwala when his bike collided with a tractor coming from the opposite side resulting in his death while his friend Balram sitting on pillion was also injured in the accident.

Similarly, Narender Pal was killed when his motor cycle skid at the Ghaggar bridge yesterday night while he was returning from his job.

In yet another incident, Pardeep Kumar (32), a resident of Mani Majra, was found dead at the railway track near Subhash Nagar locality. The deceased was working at a petrol station and was looking for a better job.

The general railway police has registered a case in the matter and the body was handed over to relatives after a post mortem was conducted at General Hospital, Sector 6, here today.



Woman hangs herself
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 28
Barely four months after marriage, a 28-year-old woman committed suicide by hanging herself at her house in Dasmesh Nagar, Nayagaon, here today. The body of the victim, Suman Rani, was found hanging in the morning.

Her husband Ashwani Kumar, who is a driver, was not at home when she committed suicide. In a suicide note, the victim has written that she was not happy with her marriage. But, she has not held her husband responsible for the incident.

A police official said, she has mentioned in the letter to hand over the body to her sister and brother-in-law to perform the last rites.

The police found that it was their second marriage.

The police has not arrested the husband, as the victim’s family did not want to file any case against him.

The police has initiated the proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC and sent the body for a post-mortem to the local civil hospital.


Despite lok adalats, pending cases on the rise
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
It was a year of lok adalats, mega lok adalats, pre-litigative lok adalat and even working Sundays as a part of the ambitious project "Samadhan-2008" by the Punjab and Haryana High Court with an aim to bring down the huge backlog of cases in the district courts.

But the project seems to be losing its pace as despite numerous efforts made to keep a tab on the pendency the backlog continues to rise in the various sessions courts and lower courts in the city.

A comparison of the pending cases in the district courts in the month of July and in December shows that pendency has still risen despite all efforts to curb it. While the figure of pending cases stood at 91,450 in July this year, they have crossed the 1,00,000 mark in December, registering an increase of almost 10 per cent.

Major portions of these pending cases are those pertaining to Section 138 IPC of cheque bounce complaints. This legal luminaries claim constitute to almost 50 per cent of the backlog. Other than organising lok adalats that disposed of traffic challans, cheque bounce cases and matrimony disputes, the courts also saw inauguration of a mediation centre as a part of "Samadhan-2008" project. The mediation centre disposed of six cases after its inauguration in May this year and helped couples on the verge of parting ways reunite.

The courts also saw celebrities like Suniel Shetty visiting the courts after a local court issued his non-bailable warrants. Even the Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal visited the courts to get his cross-examination done in a defamation case filed by Captain Amarinder Singh in 2002.

Cash-at-judge’s door case:

Among the much talked about cases the one that shook the judiciary was the cash at judge's door case.

Among the accused was the former Haryana advocate general Sanjeev Bansal. There are four other accused. The investigation in the case is still on by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The bribery scandal involving Punjab and Haryana High Court judges rocked the city this August, and Bansal, who allegedly sent Rs 1.5 million in cash to a judge's residence, was behind bars for 55 days. The High Court was rocked by the bribery scam after a packet containing Rs 1.5 million cash was delivered in August 13 at the Sector 11 residence of appointed High Court judge Nirmaljit Kaur. Bansal later told the police that the money was meant for another High Court judge, Nirmal Yadav.

German tourist: Another sensational case that again raised a question mark on the safety of women was the German tourist rape case. The charges have been framed in the case and the orders are expected to be pronounced next year in the case as the trial of this case is moving at a fast pace. The tourist was abducted from Hotel Taj in Sector 17.

Anuradha murder case: In the Anuradha murder case, the daughter of the deceased Osean Sandhu, turned hostile and didn't support the prosecution. Another prosecution witness model Noor Kataria retracted to her statement. The trial of this case is also moving at a fast pace and the statements of the deceased's sister would be recorded in January 2009.

Orders pronounced: 20 convicted in HSSSB Recruitment Scam: Among the significant judgements pronounced, this year was one convicting 20 accused, including the then secretary of the Haryana Subordinate Services Selection Board (HSSSB) AP Jain.

After a trial of 19 years in the recruitment scam of taxation inspectors, the CBI Special Court of Jagdeep Jain sentenced AP Jain, to rigorous imprisonment of five years in August this year. Among those convicted were the five former members of the board, who were sentenced to RI of three years.

Embezzlement: Additional District and Sessions Judge Raj Rahul Garg, exonerated Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, from all charges in the 20 lakh embezzlement case against her during her brief tenure as Chief Minister. After the Vigilance Bureau had given her a clean chit, she was acquitted in March this year.

Manisha murder case: Twelve years after the death of advocate Manisha Attri the court of Raj Shekhar Attri convicted Jatinder Mohan Singh under Sections 302 and 307, IPC in January this year. The accused was sentenced for life for murdering Manisha. Manisha was killed in an accident on February 25, 1996. During the trial, video-conferencing was held to elicit the opinion of experts from London if the accident was an intentional act, tantamount to murder.

Rape case against Barnala: The orders in the sensational case that hit the headlines in 2006, involving Gaganjit Singh Barnala, son of Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, are likely to be pronounced next year. Barnala was arrested on charges of rape in August 2006 and still awaiting judgment. There have been adjournments in this case this year. Barnala was arrested from his house in Sector 3 after his 45-year-old domestic help alleged that she was raped by the legislator in his official quarters. However, the 'victim'-cum-complainant took a complete U-turn and gave Gaganjit a clean chit.



‘Sohni lagdi’ released
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 28
Some people are born to lead whatever may be their calling. A few years back, young Daljit Gharuan shot into fame after winning a gold medal in athletics and represented Punjab in the national games. And today he won admiration for singing the pristine Punjabi folk in his album “Sohni lagdi” (So beautiful) released at Chandigarh Press Club yesterday.

The athlete turned singer claims that both sports and music give positive results only if practiced with dedication and discipline.

Brought out by the Sovi Entertainments, the album has nine songs, including five solos by Daljit, and four duets with Sarbjit Bhasin, under the music direction of acclaimed film composer Kanwar Iqbal, a veteran composer of over 300 albums and a dozen Punjabi films, including a Hindi feature film “Choodiyan”.

He said both the accomplished singers have a strong classical background, which was fairly reflected in their qualitative rendering of songs in the album. Co-singer Sarabjit Bhasin, a graded artiste of AIR, has been participating in concerts in the US, Canada and Europe, singing devotional songs, ghazals and especially verses of Shiv Batalvi.

Poet Rakesh Arora conducted the programme



Sukhna Lake squatters’ paradise
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
CITCO believes in competition as on one hand, it auctions shops for several lakhs at the Sukhna Lake’s cafeteria area while on the other hand, it turns a blind eye towards the illegal squatters selling eatables on the track.

The CITCO’s apathy clubbed with MC’s inaction has resulted in an open market for everyone.
A squatter does his usual business at the Sukhna Lake on Sunday.
A squatter does his usual business at the Sukhna Lake on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tiwari

According to sources, resentment is brewing among the shopkeepers in the cafeteria area over the alleged selling of eatables at the lake by the squatters. The sources revealed despite repeated complaints to the CITCO, nothing came out of it.

Top it all, the squatters are not spoiling the business of the licensed shopkeepers who are paying lakhs as monthly rent but are also responsible for littering on the track.

The lake-goers buy eatables from these squatters, who are sitting all through the entrance of the lake and then litter the entire area. Moreover, their placement on the track adds to the chaos right at the entrance only.

“We have written several times to the authorities but all in vain,” rued one of the shopkeepers.

According to sources, taking notes of the complaints, the encroachers were indeed removed earlier but they resurfaced after a month.

They also claimed the police and other authorities were hand-in-glove with the squatters and this explained how they were always back in business after any encroachment drive.

When contacted, Mayor Pradeep Chabra said they had removed the encroachers many times but they kept coming back. Moreover, CITCO was duty bound to inform the MC about the problem.



80 students back from Army camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Around 80 students of KB DAV-7 and Government Model High School (Timber market), Sector 26, reached the city yesterday after attending the “Army attachment camp” held at Ferozpur sector.

The camp was a collaborative initiative of Yuvsatta and HQ Western Command that was organised to inculcate a sense of pride in being Indian and to promote a spirit of patriotism among students.

“It was like a dream come true. Till date I have just seen tanks, field guns and mortars in films or on TV, but it was my first chance to see the valor of the Indian Army. I was too excited to meet the soldiers who were very nice to all of us. Seeing them I feel motivated to join the Indian Army,” said Jayant of KB DAV-7.

“Children stayed with the Indian Army’s functions of artillery and infantry units. The children were excited to see all-important weapons from close and even got a chance to fire from small weapons,” said Parmod Sharma, coordinator, Yuvsatta.

The excited lot of students also presented the soldiers around 1,000 beautiful handmade “Patriotic picture postcards” prepared by them with the messages of love for the country and peace on earth. The visit christen as “Shorya Saptah” ended with the visit at Golden Temple, Amritsar. 



Engineer who drowned in Goa cremated
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 28
The last rites of a Mohali-based IT engineer, Aseem Gill, who had drowned at a beach in Ratnagiri, Goa, was peformed at Mohali crematorium here today. The victim, along with his two colleagues, had drowned on Friday evening. He was working with Infosys, Pune, for the past one year.

The body of Assem was brought to his phase 3B 2 residence from Goa by his father, DPS Gill. Assem (24) is survived by his parents and younger brother.

Friends and relatives paid their tributes to the mortal remains of the victim before the body was consigned to flames. Heart rending scenes were witnessed at Aseem’s residence as the family had lost a young member.

A family member said Assem was part of 11-member group of Infosys engineers who had gone for excursion to Goa .

The trio went in deep waters despite warning and were swept away by strong waves.



Dhirubhai Ambani remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
“Acquisition of knowledge and creation of wealth has always been a part of our culture, that is why we worship goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati together,” said Dr R B Grover, director, Strategic Planning, department of Atomic Energy and director, Homi Bhabha National Institute of Atomic Energy, while paying tributes to late Dhirubhai Ambani. He was at Panjab University today for delivering Dhirubhai Ambani Oration during the Dhirubhai Ambani Commemoration Day and Indo-US joint symposium held under the aegis of Chandigarh regional centre of II.Ch.E and department of chemical engineering and technology, PU.

Taking to mediapersons, he expressed his fears about the crisis that India might have to face in terms of energy if all the resources available were not used to the fullest. He briefly highlighted new emerging technologies to produce energy and also gave various steps to overcome them.

“Even if we use all resources available to us, even then we would need to import 30 per cent energy by middle of the century,” he said. Of all the emerging fields, he emphasised on using nuclear energy to overcome this problem.

He stressed upon the need to reuse spent fuel. He was awarded the Shri Dhirubhai Oration Award for his contribution in the field of energy.

Meanwhile, the second day of CHEMCON-2008 started with the celebration of Shri Dhirubhai Ambani commemoration day on the occasion of his 75th birth anniversary. Dr A R Kidwai, Governor of Haryana, inaugurated the function and congratulated the department of chemical engineering and technology on its Golden Jubilee and its continuous service towards the field of education and research.

Prof G D Yadav, chairman of National Organising Committee of CHEMCON-2008, talked about the visionary leadership of Shri Dhirubhai Ambani under whose guidance the Indian industry saw its new rising phase and remembered him as an epitome of entrepreneurship.

Prof R C Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, highlighted various steps taken by the varsity in promoting alternate sources of energy like using solar heating plants in hostels and canteens.

Gopal Jha, senior vice-president of Reliance Industries Ltd. said, “Dhirubhai Ambani inspired courage and commitment among common people to achieve their dreams.”

Distinguished chemical engineering alumni of PU, Prof. Rajinder Kumar, IISc, Bangalore, Prof Arvind Verma, Purdue University and Prof S K Sharma, Emeritus Professor, PU, were felicitated on the occasion.

The two-day Indo-US joint symposium started today and will culminate in a workshop in which new ways will be discussed to bring in energy technology revolution and overcome the global problem in the field of energy. 



159 cadets for R-Day camp in Delhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
A contingent of 159 cadets, including 58 girls, from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate put up their final stage rehearsal today at the Air Force High Grounds auditorium before moving to Delhi to participate in forthcoming Republic Day parade.

A cultural programme based on regional and folk theme, which would be presented by the cadets at Delhi during competitions amongst the NCC's 16 directorates, was staged here.

Presiding over the function, deputy director general, NCC, Brig Rajendra Singh, addressed the cadets and exhorted them to put their best foot forward during the forthcoming camp.

He also inspected the camp and reviewed the activities of the cadets during the Pre-Republic Day Camp, which had commenced on December 1. The camp is the final preparing ground for cadets selected to attend the Republic Day C Amp at Delhi.

The directorate’s contingent would be led by Lt Col R Solanki.

During the camp, the cadets underwent rigorous training in drill and march past and other activities. They will also be taking part in the best group and individual event competitions, including aero-modelling, ship modelling, best cadet, national integration and cultural events.



City Scope
Looking ahead for better times
Raveen Thukral

2008 was a bad year and thankfully it's ending. Unlike other years, which turn out good for some and bad for others, no one has practically remained unaffected by the events of 2008 and the ongoing global recession is the common link.

Just put the words "2008 was a bad year" in Google search and over 90 million related results pop up. These results are manifold as compared to a similar word search in the previous years. Click on any article, be it on economy, environment, industry, music or even relationships, they'll all tell you how bad the year was.

While the global meltdown has affected India's projected growth rate only marginally, the falling Sensex, a slow down in recruitments, layoffs and the general negative sentiment in the market has touched almost everyone. But more than the meltdown, it's the recent Mumbai terror attack or India's 26/11 that has shaken the confidence of every citizen and left him more insecure than ever before.

The numerous bomb blasts - Rajasthan, Delhi, Banglore and Ahmedabad- have all added to the feeling of insecurity among people. And events like Orissa's anti Christian violence have been blot on our secular credentials.

As if all this was not enough, the year is ending with the images of the brutal killing of Manoj Kumar Gupta, an executive engineer of the Uttar Pradesh public works department (PWD), who allegedly refused to contribute money for Chief Minister, Mayawati's birthday bash. The outrageous incident has once again exposed the falling standards of our politics and politicians, which surprisingly keep setting a new low after every shameful incident, as if there is no end to it.

Closer home in Chandigarh, while these national and international events affected all, the year was an immensely controversial one. Thanks to the growing differences between the city's administrator, Gen (Retd.) S F Rodrigues, his adviser, Pradeep Mehra, and the lone elected representative, Congress MP and Minister of state for Finance, Pawan Bansal, the administration stands totally divided with officials working at cross purposes.

The net result of this rift, which is now in open and is no less than a no holds barred slugfest, is that the working in the administration has virtually come to a standstill with officers hesitating in taking any decisions. Demands of a CBI inquiry into the controversial mega projects, including the Medicity, Filmcity and Theme Park, are gaining momentum much to the inconvenience of Rodrigues, who has been pushing these projects through.

Another fallout of this rift has been that officers do not trust each other. An atmosphere of total distrust prevails in the administration and the city will not move an inch forward unless some tough decisions are taken to change things by those sitting in the Home Ministry in New Delhi.

What is perhaps required now is a total overhaul of the administration and a new team which works rationally, logically and with positive synergies to deliver results rather than frittering away their energies in squabbles. The city has already paid a heavy price because of the ongoing clash between the bigwigs and cannot afford to carry on like this.

As far as the mega projects are concerned, the issues and objections raised by Mehra on both the Medicity and Filmcity, relating primarily to the undervaluation of land cannot, be brushed under the carpet. They need to be looked into thoroughly and only an independent investigation, as suggested by Mehra, could clear the doubts that exist in the minds of the public.

And now coming to my favourite yearend pastime- making a wish list for the coming year. Frankly speaking I hate making resolutions since they are rarely kept, wish lists however, provide a silver lining and hope to the despondence that sneaks in when one looks back at all the sad events in the year gone by.

So for a start I wish that unlike a violent 2008, the coming year remains peaceful and we do not have anything similar or even something close to 26/11; wish that the administration in the city makes it's working transparent and citizen friendly; wish the city roads become safer for all us; wish better law and order and a responsible and responsive police force; wish an enlightened citizenry caring more about rules and regulations rather about themselves; wish less unnecessary controversies but more work that makes the city really beautiful to work and live; and wish you all a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2009.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com



MC pays no heed to residents’ problems
Sewerage pipeline leakage since 6 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Residents of Sector 38-B are a harried lot. For during the past six months they are forced to live under unhygienic condition due to a leaking sewerage pipeline in their locality.

The residents rue that despite the fact that they have lodged numerous complaints with the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, nothing has been done to permanently fix the problem. The corporation employees have failed to fix the leakage even after working on it several times in the past.

The stagnant water has not only become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and all sorts of insects but has also rendered a major part of the road useless. Moreover, the stinking water is also adversely affecting the road as it is continuously seeping into the road making it weak.

It seems the corporation employees have found the problem as a source of making money. By fixing the problem time and again and after some time to repair the road, they would certainly get chances to make extra bucks, stated an infuriated resident facing the problem.

“It seems MC officials are hardly bothered for our area, despite repeated complaints nothing has been done to fix the problem, complained another resident.

When contacted Pardeep Chabra said, “The problem was brought to my notice today only, I have already asked the concerned officials to fix the problem.”



519 projects completed, says Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Speaking on the projects taken up by the MC during this year, the outgoing Mayor Pardeep Chabra, claimed to have a fruitful year. He was addressing mediapersons today to mark the end of his tenure. While listing the achievements, Chabra said during this year, developmental works worth Rs 240 crore were taken up for execution. In B&R circle of MC, about 519 works have already been completed and the remaining in progress and nearing completion, he said.

Further he claimed that in various committees of MC, developmental works amounting to Rs 165 crore have already been approved. He said two national awards were bagged by MCC for the city in water supply and sewerage management system and drainage bear testimony to the developments.

He said while the pilot project of night food street in Sector 14 near PGI has been received well, even the upcoming night food street would lend a unique character to city’s night life. He further added that development of green belts in nine villages, which were transferred to MC last year, is also one of the major works. Clearing the air regarding the controversial garbage disposal plant, which remains non-functional even after months of its inauguration, Chabra said every possible effort would be made to ensure its purposefulness.



Stone of Sensory Park laid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Pawan Kumar Bansal, local MP and Minister of State for Finance and Parliamentary Affairs, today laid the foundation stone of the “Sensory Park” near the Blind Institute, Sector 26, Chandigarh. This park will be developed by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation over about half acre of plot near the Blind Institute with an estimated cost of Rs 12 lakh. 

This park will benefit the visually impaired persons and would be a nice place to visit for the people of surrounding areas. Providing MS flat railing over brick masonry to walls having only one baffle-walled entry/exit towards the V-6 road will enclose the park. It will also have 6 feet wide and 500 feet long cement concrete footpath all around the park with an approach to 14’x14’ hut at the centre of the park.

Proper lighting and sound arrangements will also be provided. Various aromatic plants and shrubs such as jasmine, lavlena, raat ki raani, albertine, mint, neem, tulsi and pudina, etc. and other plants and shrubs which provide a sense of touch, taste and sound such as lamb’s ears, strawberry tree, bamboo, poppy, grape plant, chives and quince, etc. will also be provided.

Bansal on the occasion said it was the social responsibility of every citizen to support the physically challenged people. Visually impaired people should be given due education, support and opportunity so that they become self-dependent and can come equal to normal individuals. He also informed that the government is going to release the brail coin.

He further announced Rs 3 lakh contribution from his MPLAD fund towards the development of this park. Pardeep Chhabra, Mayor of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, while speaking on the occasion said this sensory park would be India’s first park for the visually impaired people and the team of councillors brought this idea during their visit to Bangkok and Singapore.

The Mayor further spoke that for ward No 19, development works worth over Rs 200 lakh are in the pipeline, which would be completed in the near future.

Prominent those who were present on the occasion were area councillor Sarita Sharma, nominated councillor Resham Chand Jakhu, chief engineer SK Bansal, SE Yogesh Gupta, X-en (horticulture) Arun Kansal, X-en (roads) Sanjay Arora and other officials along with secretary KR Sood and the principal of the Blind Institute.



Few takers for platform tickets
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, December 28
There are few takers for platform tickets at the Chandigarh railway station. Thanks to the apathy of the railway authorities, the sale of platform tickets has hardly registered any increase despite the passenger traffic going up several times in the past few years. The Railways just sell 25 platform tickets a day. Hundreds of persons visit the station to drop or pick their near and dear ones.
The empty ticket sale counter at Chandigarh railway station.
The empty ticket sale counter at Chandigarh railway station. A Tribune photograph

A visit to the railway station revealed that checking of unauthorized entry to the station is not on the priority of the Railways. “The authorities are never tired of claiming that they are making extra efforts to nab the ticketless people. But it is true that the people are visiting the railway station without platform tickets. This is causing huge loss to the railway authorities but they are least bothered about the issue”, observed a passenger at the station.

There are two counters to sell the platform tickets. Neither the public purchases the ticket, nor the railway officials try to stop them to enter the station. Each ticket costs Rs 3. This correspondent saw hundreds of people entering into the railway station without getting the ticket and no official was there to check the tickets.

“During a day, around 500 persons visit railway platform to receive or see off their relatives, but only a few purchase the platform tickets. Even the authorities have closed their eyes on the issue,” said Sadhu Singh, an autorickshaw owner at the railway station.

The seriousness of the situation can be checked from the fact that nobody is bothered to check platform tickets. While talking to this correspondent, Subhash, a platform visitor, said: “I came here to see off my friend, who is leaving for Jodhpur. I have not purchased the platform ticket as I know nobody will asks for it here.”

While denying the allegations, Surinder Singh, deputy station superintendent, said, “ On a regular basis, we are selling 25-30 platform tickets, not only this even the challans are being issued to the violators.



Mumbai Attacks
Police to set up quick reaction teams
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 28
Keeping in view the Mumbai terror attacks, the police has decided to set up quick reaction teams in the district. Around 40 personnel have already been sent for the training in handling sophisticated weapons at the Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP), Bhanu.

“It was the need of hour that our jawans learn to handle the weapons, as the criminals as well as terrorists were using the modern technology in perpetratring the crime,” Sandip Khirwar, superintendent of police, Panchkula, said.

The personnel will be trained in handling self-loading rifle, light machine gun, AK 47, carbine and INSAS.

The INSAS rifle, which was earlier being used by the armed forces and is broadly based on the famous Kalashnikov AK-47 action, with many modifications have been inducted in the police forces and the Panchkula police has got some of them recently.

The police has also got a dog squad and one more has been asked from the headquarters, said Khirwar.



Tributes to martyrs
Tribune News Service

Residents of Harmilap Nagar take out a padyatra to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Mumbai terror attacks on Sunday.
Residents of Harmilap Nagar take out a padyatra to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Mumbai terror attacks on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, December 28
For paying tributes to the soldiers who died in the Mumbai terror attacks, the Residential Welfare Association of Harmilap Nagar conducted a “padyatra” here today. 

In this “padyatra”, hundreds of people from the locality, including men, women and children, participated that was started at 11am near a gurdwara before culminating at the temple of Harmilap Nagar.



NSS camp at P’kula college
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 28
The NSS volunteers organised a cleanliness drive at Government Girls College, here yesterday.

The volunteers cleaned the campus of bush, waste material and watered the plants. The experts from different fields, including yoga, health and spirituality delivered lectures on the occasion.



Students undertake project on retail stores
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Students of Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences (DBIMCS) undertook a live research project in retail stores located in the city yesterday under the guidance of Technopak Advisors Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, an independent research agency.

A spokesman of the institute revealed that there were nine students of MBA final year who took part in this research project. While talking about the projects, the spokesman stated that it was based on customer expectation and satisfaction regarding various retail products being 
sold at different retail stores in India.

The spokesman further added that through this research the students were collecting primary data with the help of questionnaires and by analysing it.

Zora Singh, chairman, Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes (DBGOI) appreciated the effort put by students for completing this project.



Recession fails to affect food business
Harpreeti Bassi

Chandigarh, December 28
It seems that instead of sitting and wining over the market slump, the Punjabis prefer burping away their stress. It is their passion for food that earns the city restaurants handsome money and has saved them from tumbling down. Nonetheless, the five star restaurants, did suffer due to a nominal decrease in the number of customers.

A visit to a Chinese restaurant, Sector 26, revealed the place had a huge rush of people standing outside, waiting to get a table. It is evident that without facing a major bump from recession, the city foodies are pouring into food joints, leaving them jampacked.

“We have not experienced any slowdown here fortunately. There is absolutely no change in the number of customers coming in,” Naveen Kavdwal, assistant manager, Copper Chimney, said.

Following the global meltdown, the eateries were expected to reduce their charges, but on the contrary there are some here that have observed an increase in the number of customers without reducing the prices.

“We have organised a see food and wine festival due to which there has been a substantial increase in the number of customers,” Neeraj, head, Purple Rice, said.

Peter Gomes, the unit head of Manor, had something similar to say. “We keep on introducing something new, because we always get a very positive response from people here.”

On the other hand, five star hotels in the city have still reported a marginal decline in the turnout of customers. “We have not been affected much, still there has been around 5 per cent decrease in our customers,” claimed R.K Singla, general manager, Hotel Mountview, said.

Anil Malhotra, General Manager, Hotel Taj, denied being affected by the market slump, however, the staffers of the hotel suggested otherwise.



LIC distributes scholarships
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Chandigarh division of LIC of India organised a function for the distribution of membership certificates and scholarships to the beneficiaries of Aam Admi Bima Yojana and Janashree Bima Yojana, at the Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, today.

Pawan Kumar Bansal, Honourable Union Minister of State for finance and Parliamentary affairs, Government of India was the chief guest.

Thomas Mathew T, managing director, LIC of India, VK Sharma, Ashok Shah, Raghupal Singh and Pardeep Chabra presided over.

A cultural programme was also presented. 



Admn insensitive towards people

This refers to the article published on December 22 “We and our law enforcers” written by Raveen Thkural. It is true that human life is cheap in our country and we are insensible to the loss of human lives. The everyday road accidents are horrific. The police registered cases and the chapter is over but never tried to improve the system. The speed limits are not checked.

The terrorist attacks in many cities and the recent Mumbai terror attacks are the most tragic.

Most of the politicians are either corrupt or have criminal background. Even big politicians give wrong statements such as “Small incident in big cities” and “Small and routine”. People of India have shown their unity and integrity for the country after the Mumbai terror attacks.

The people were full of emotions, thousands of people came on streets throughout the country to express their anger and anguish over the tragedy. They have formed chains and light candles to express solidarity with those who lost their near and dear ones.

The Mumbai terrorist attacks happened a month ago but the people of India still await the positive results.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh


Laws are hardly imposed and corruption is rampant. As pointed out, over loading of school vehicles is a common site even in Chandigarh but the police turns a blind eye to all such violations. They wake up only to enforce the laws when some tragedy happens and forget it again in a few weeks. Public memory is short and cops know this well.

Parents are also to be blamed for their callousness. They in fact encourage such violations by allowing their children to travel in overcrowded buses and autos.

The writer’s reference to save animal campaigns while there are no campaigns for saving human lives is a cold and a bitter truth.

Simran, Chandigarh


Thukral has rightly said one could not generalise as exceptions and good Samaritans were always there but the bitter truth was that we were indeed insensitive to others and not us. But in certain cases we the people are also responsible for various happenings and thus are insensitive towards us especially our youngsters when they do not wear helmet and expose themselves to danger.

But by and large our law enforcers are squarely responsible for man-made happenings. The authorities swing into action only after such unfortunate fatal accidents/incidents take place. Even the Mumbai terror attacks could have been averted, had timely action been taken? It is only after the attacks, blame game started and security beefed up at vulnerable points across the country.

Actually, most of the tragic incidents happened repeatedly because there is no regular check up on the part of our administrative machinery. Every year, the Chandigarh administration’s tall claims that all drains have been cleared, has explicitly exposed the poor storm water drainage system when several miss happenings took place in the city when a storm water sewer passing through gave way in the incessant rain. Some of the city bigwigs visited the area and as usual, enquiry initiated, compensation made at the cost of taxpayers and forgotten every thing to wait to repeat such fatal incidents.

It is not only that because of inefficient and sluggish epidemic like cholera, dengue, and other equally killer diseases such as typhus and typhoid take place, but also there are many fatal incidents take place because of neglect of the concerned officials. In the city, there are number of unmanned open manholes, naked obsolete and broken electricity wires, choked drains, unsafe buildings and bridges are seen in open posing serious threat to the lives of the citizens. Besides, there are large number of broken roads, uncovered trenches, non-functional streetlights, wild congress grass which is a breeding ground for snakes particularly during rainy season, contaminated water being supplied to the residents always vulnerable to the human lives.

Owing to all these infirmities, several precious lives have been lost and are being lost. The need of the hour is that the concerned staff should visit regularly and identify the dangerous spots to plug the loopholes. Disaster management task force should be fully equipped with the latest techniques along with trained manpower. Failure to this, strong action must be taken against the guilty established through legal and transparent procedures so as to a lesson for others. NGOs should also play an equal role in bringing out the truth.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh


There are times when we just close our eyes to the happenings around us and let it pass but it sends shivers down the spine. Yes, so many save animal campaigns, why can't we have a “Save the children' campaign.”

The administration should come down heavily upon such violations. We look upon the government to take strict action against these “overloaded” three wheelers and give us some peace of mind and a safe environment for our children to travel.

Meena Kaur, Mohali


It is true that human lives are cheap in India. Thousand persons loss their lives in road accidents but our authorities did not care to improve the system. The rules passed by Parliament and Vidhan Sabhas are not implemented. Even the rulings of the Supreme Court are also not implemented properly by the concerned establishments. In fact we are insensible toward others.

The leaders’ statements on Mumbai terrorist attacks should be condemned. The Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister on the Mumbai's terror attacks said it was a small incident that had happened in the big city and the Kerala Chief Minister said even a dog could not visit at the resident of Unikrishanan’s house, a commando, who had sacrificed his life for the nation. They take every incident as small and routine being insensitivity. They do not understand the pain and grief of people.

The Indian people had shown their unity, lit the candles, make human chains, expressed their solidarity, sympathy emotions with those who lost their near and dear ones.

ML Garg, Chandigarh


I have often travelled on the NH 73, the road on which five students were killed, and my submission is that why educational institutions were allowed to come up on the highways by the politicians?

Anil, Shimla 



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