Monsoon Fury: No lessons learnt
Chandigarh, June 8
Residents had to face a harrowing time with water entering their houses from overflowing drains and sewers. The problem is more acute in low-lying areas, but all this has failed to wake up the MC authorities who have done little to clear clogged choes and drains even as the monsoon is expected to hit the city in the next 20 days.
While the MC authorities have taken care of fixing the problems ailing the areas around the judges’ residences by spending close to Rs 1 crore, not much headway has been made to find a solution to the perennial problems that lead to the flooding of the N-choe that passes through Leisure Valley, Rose Garden and Kajheri village before flowing into SAS Nagar.
The choe is blocked with bushes, dry leaves and other waste materials. Even stones placed on the passage for decoration poses a threat of further choking, experts believe.
Surinder Pal, chief engineer, said: “Work to remove the obstruction in the choe has already been undertaken from the Sector 52-53 side to Shanti Kunj. The work was delayed due to an unauthorised causeway carved by a school in Sector 36, but the entire choe would be made free from all obstructions within 10 days.”
A random survey of the city revealed that a majority of roundabouts on the roads, especially Sectors 21-22-34-35, 24-25-14-15 and 31-32-45-46 are usually trouble spots during the rains.
The potential water flooding areas are opposite Hotel Parkview in Sector 24, road separating Sectors 15 and 16 (which is about 10 ft below normal ground level), houses at the rear of a hotel in Sector 34, Bapu Dham Colony and other areas in Sectors 24, 28, 44 and 45.
Though the MC has prepared a roster for its officials and staff for the cleaning of roads and drainage system from April till June, nothing concrete has been done so far due to inefficient management and the laid-back attitude of safai karamcharis.
Dry leaves, polythene bags and other waste is usually swept in the nearby drainage. Earlier, the leaves used to be burnt, but now with a blanket ban on it, instead of dumping the waste at the designated Sehaj Safai Kendras, the safai karamcharis leave these in piles along the road. As a result, the drains get choked.
Superintending engineer (public health) RK Goyal said seven teams of 10 persons each on the roster had been put on duty to clean road gullies and drainage points, but admitted that there was a problem due to the lackadaisical attitude of the safai karamcharis.
The health supervisor, health and sanitation wing, PK Pushkarna, said though the safai karamcharis had been directed to dump leaves and waste only at designated places, they seldom do so.
Chandigarh, June 8
While Fortis Hospital stopped the treatment of fresh referral cases after the expiry of the empanelment term on May 17, the Army authorities recently displayed notices at its Referral Centre at Sector 29, stating that until the issue of overcharging and harassment of beneficiaries was not resolved, the scheme would not be extended.
The notice states: “No referral is being given for Fortis Institute and Multi Speciality Hospital as agreement has not been signed for the reasons - (a) overcharging ECHC; (b) charging extra money from ECHS beneficiaries; and (c) making veterans run around to get referrals during emergencies”.
The Army authorities and the Fortis management refused to comment, but maintained that “efforts were on to resolve the issue”.
An Army spokesman said they had received several complaints from ECHS beneficiaries about the shabby treatment meted out to them. He said several complaints regarding overcharging had also been received.
However, the director of Fortis, Dr Ashish Banerjee, denied such incidents, maintaining that they were in contract with the ECHS since 2004 and since the same wasn’t renewed, they had stopped accepting new indoor patients. Another official of the hospital, on the condition of anonymity, claimed that the settlement of the outstanding payments of crores of rupees by the Army had become a bone of contention.
Claims and counterclaims notwithstanding, the impasse is going to cause suffering to patients, but the allegations of harassment are not unfounded. Readers would recall the incident where representatives of the ex-servicemen association of Chandigarh and Mohali had staged a dharna outside Fortis Hospital in May to seek the release of the body of a warrant officer.
While the ex-servicemen association and the family members of the deceased had accused the hospital of harassing them and not releasing the body, Fortis had denied the allegations and stated that the patient was not registered as member of the ECHS at the time of admission and the authorities were not ready to reimburse the expenses on his treatment.
Admn to tighten noose around coop societies
Chandigarh, June 8
A meeting on the GPA issue, in which office-bearers of the housing societies from Sectors 48 to 51 have been invited, is slated to be held by RK Rao, DC-cum-registrar of cooperative societies (RCS) on June 12.
Following complaints that the managements of certain societies had been levying illegal charges on GPA holders opting for the transfer of flats in their names, the RCS decided to act tough against such committees. Among the steps being mulled by the administration is the appointment of an administrator for erring societies which did not toe the administration line, sources said.
While the administration recently came out with a transfer policy for GPA holders fixing Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000 as charges for category A, B and C, respectively, certain committees were levying illegal charges amounting to several thousands for the transfer, apart from the administration-approved fee.
The Chandigarh Social Welfare Council had recently brought the matter to the notice of the Home Secretary-cum-secretary cooperation Ram Niwas. Acting on the council’s representation, Ram Niwas had directed Rao to hold meeting with the
Officials clarified that the charges, other than those levied by the administration, were illegal and the GPA holders should not pay those. The transfer policy formulated by the administration would be implemented in letter and spirit and the society management trying to skirt the transfer policy would be penalised, the officials added.
Chandigarh, June 8
Last year, lakhs of rupees collected at the rate of 250 per application went unaccounted for as the money was not deposited with any government account and no income tax returns were filed.
Documents obtained under the RTI Act reveals how various colleges reportedly tried to cover up the expenditure by producing bills that had “inflated” and “inexplicable” expenditure.
At Government College for Girls, Sector 11, the interviews for the posts of lecturer were held in two phases from 27.6.2008 to 2.7.2008 and 12.7.2008. According to information provided by the college, it earned around Rs 1,12,000 from 402 applicants.
However, in response to an RTI application, the college authorities initially claimed the income to be Rs 1,00,500 and expenditure Rs 1,00,504, which actually was of the first phase, and it took another appeal to get it to disclose the details of the second phase.
As per those details, the college claimed to have earned Rs 10,750 and spent Rs 8000. The details of this expenditure are yet to be furnished. As for the remaining amount of Rs 2,750, it claimed that it was adjusted with the excess expenditure of the first phase, which incidentally was only Rs 4.
While the orders issued by the then Director, Higher Education, clearly mentioned that the applicants should only be provided with refreshments, the bills submitted reflect repeated entries of lunch provided to as many as 49 or 50 persons on various interview dates.
If the applicants were to be given only refreshments and the committee comprised of not more than seven members, who were the other 50 who got lunch through this money?
While all committee members, including the DHE’s nominee, principal, Dean College, vice-principal and the DSW’s nominee received due honorarium, none of them has reportedly filed income tax returns for it.
While efforts to contact Promila Kaushal, principal of the GCG-11 proved futile, VB Khanna, local RTI activist, has demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter.
When contacted, DK Tiwari, DPI (Colleges), said he would look into the matter.
Report on Postgraduate Government College, Sector 11, tomorrow
Sec-52 colony water supply restructured
Chandigarh, June 8
The colony, which was connected to the Sector 37 waterworks, has now been attached with Sector 52 waterworks.
Superintending engineer RK Goyal said: “The problem arose because their supply line was overloaded due to diversion of water for ongoing construction work in Sector 42. Now, when the colony supply has been linked to Sector-52 waterworks, their problem will be solved.”
The decision, among others, was taken at a water supply review meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Engineer SK Bansal, SE RK Goyal and other executive engineers of corporation here today.
The corporation has observed that societies that don’t have underground tanks/boosting arrangement should be asked to build the same of adequate capacity at the earliest and overflowing of underground tanks in the individual societies/institutions be checked immediately.
On CPWD Colony, Sector 7-B, the officials said the colony had its own underground tank and distribution system and a snag, if any, could be rectified at the CPWD level.
“After visiting the site, we observed that the water up to the underground tank of CPWD colony was being supplied in sufficient quantity by the corporation, as there were no complaint of water shortage in Sector 7-A and D. So from our side, everything is in order,” said the officials.
It was also decided to initiate the proposal for implementation of phases-V and VI of Kajauli waterworks to augment water supply in the city.
In areas where the problem of low pressure was felt in summer like Sectors 38-D, 18-A and 21-D, tubewells with less discharge would be re-bored.
Chandigarh, June 8
Delay in earmarking the area allotted at the ISBT to the railways by the UT transport department has been cited as the reason for the same.
“Since the proposal for shifting a few counters to Sector 43 is in progress, the UT transport authorities told us that proportionally they would take away a portion of the space from us in Sector 17. Due to this, we stopped the renovation work to avoid surplus expenses,” said a railway official.
While CTU director ML Sharma says there is no delay on their part and the railway department may shift anytime, divisional railway manager HK Jaggi, on the other hand, claims that there is an agreement yet to be signed between the two and they have not been handed over the possession of the Sector-43 area allotted to them.
Insiders add that owing to the summer rush till July 5, the railway authorities are deliberately delaying the transfer of a few counters to Sector 43 for public convenience as the Sector 17 counters are centrally located and are easy to approach.
The ceiling of the railway centre at Sector 17 was to get a new look, according to an earlier decision. However, only a portion of it has been completed and the work remains pending.
Partnership Initiative Programme
Chandigarh, June 8
After deliberations and taking city’s holistic view, the administration has identified six key areas for the participation, which include alternative innovative education, female foeticide, drug de-addiction, social welfare, tree plantation and sanitation and removal of garbage.
The aim of the programme is to create the feeling of ownership in these participative agencies, which will generate extra zeal, enthusiasm and dedication in their work. The administration will conduct a seminar on June 10 at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, promote the programme in the city.
Addressing a press conference today, Home Secretary Ram Niwas said the vision of the administration was to involve interested organisations and individuals who were committed to social cause.
The administration will provide all essential infrastructure and the organisations will have to manage the resources made available and ensure their optimum utilisation for the uplift of the underprivileged and disadvantaged sections of society.
Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said the administration had made an effort to systematise and organise the participation programme between the government and volunteer agencies so as to provide a free flow of information between the two, making this programme a success story.
The nodal officers of various programmes said 27 NGOs in the field of health, 35 for afforestation, 59 for sanitation, 28 for education and 42 for social welfare had been registered so far.
Jadeja’s victims protest against police
Chandigarh, June 8
The protesters alleged that Jadeja had duped around 1,000 persons to the tune of Rs 3 crore after promising them to double the money deposited with him.
The protesters shouted slogans against the Chandigarh police and accused it of inaction on various complaints lodged by the victims.
They stated that other than the Gujarat police, the Delhi police had also booked Jadeja for fraud, but the Chandigarh police refused to proceed in the matter, claiming that the offence did not occur under its jurisdiction.
Pappu, president of the Sansi community, said even as the victims claimed that they had given money to the agents of Jadeja, the police was trying to pass the matter to the Gujarat police.
Pappu threatened that if the police failed to take action against the accused, they would be forced to intensify their stir and block roads.
Jadeja was arrested last Sunday by the Gujarat police for duping scores of people by promising to double or triple their amounts through his divine powers.
School bus operators likely to raise charges
Chandigarh, June 8
At present, the operators are charging from Rs 500 to Rs 600 per child depending upon the route.
“What can we do, when the city administration is burdening us in spite of the other inflated running cost of the buses? The safety of the children is our prime concern and we are not against the installation of speed governor device, but the impact will surely be on the parents ’s pocket,” said Manjit Singh, president of the association, while saying that the administration is least considering their long pending genuine demands.
The association also opposed the administration’s decision to hike the permit fee from Rs 670 to Rs 25,000, which is 40 times more and the buses span to be fixed for 15 years’ period just as per the transport policy applicable on other passenger buses. “Where is the justification, when a school bus that covers between 2 lakh km and 3 lakh km in a span of 15 years be compared with other transport buses, which covers over 6 lakh km,” said Nirmal Singh, general secretary.
Fire at Sector 21 school
Chandigarh, June 8 According to fire department officials, the principal reported about the fire at 4.10 pm and two fire engines were rushed to the spot. The blaze was put off within 20 minutes before it could spread further. The fire officials said the fire could have been caused either by a short circuit in the overhead high-tension cables adjacent to the boundary wall of the school or by a burning stub.
Chandigarh, June 8
According to fire department officials, the principal reported about the fire at 4.10 pm and two fire engines were rushed to the spot. The blaze was put off within 20 minutes before it could spread further.
The fire officials said the fire could have been caused either by a short circuit in the overhead high-tension cables adjacent to the boundary wall of the school or by a burning stub.
District administrative-cum-judicial complex
Mohali, June 8
The GMADA had recently got the land vacated from the Radha Swami Satsang. If one goes by the tentative area of 14 acres required for the project, the land cost comes to around Rs 50 crore. The high cost of land is becoming an impediment in starting work on the complex, admitted a senior official in the administration.
Sources reveal that though the district administration has written to the state government for releasing funds so that possession of the land could be taken from GMADA, the files were stuck in the official rigmarole. Unnecessary queries were being put up by one or the other department on the project file. Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, Prabhjot Singh Mand said the case file had already been sent to the department concerned.
As the project file was moving at a snail’s pace, it was the district residents who were suffering in light of inadequate space from where the district administrative complex and the district courts were functioning. “While the SAD government talks of making the Sector 62 of Mohali only next to Singapore, it is not bothered about providing basic amenities in the three-year-old district,” said Balkar Singh, a resident of Landran.
Balbir Singh Sidhu, Kharar, MLA, said Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should direct GMADA to give the land free of cost. “Since the money earned by PUDA/ GMADA is taken away by the state government, it does not really matter as the money paid to GMADA for the land could be taken back by the state government,” he said while adding that he would raise the issue in the Vidhan Sabha.
While the funds for the district administrative complex were to be released by the finance department, the funds for the judicial complex had to come from the Home Department. “There should be a single nodal agency to ensure speedy decisions. The way things are going it might take another few more years to acquire the land and start work on the project,” said an official.
Incidentally, the approval of the site was given in a meeting of the building plan approval committee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Manjeet Singh Chauhan, president of the Mohali District Bar Association, who is a member of the building plan approval committee, said unnecessary delay in starting work on the project would not be tolerated.
Sources did not rule out the possibility of the controversial site at Sanetta village and another in Badmajra village being considered for the project. Though the district administration officials completely deny any such move, sources said since the land at the two sites were panchayat lands, the government could easily use it at lesser costs. However, there was lot of opposition by lawyers and political leaders to the two sites.
Zirakpur, June 8
From the past two days, Vikas Nagar and Prashant Vihar have either been getting very low or no supply of water at all.
Pankaj Gupta, a resident of Pabhat village, alleged that this dirty water was not fit for consumption. Residents also complained that they were suffering from stomach infection due to impure water supply.
Vicky Sharma, a resident of Vikas Nagar, said there was a leakage in water supply pipe and no one from the department concerned had visited to check the problem.
The water supply official was not available for comments regarding this issue.
No respite for Prideasia
Chandigarh, June 8
Clearly stumped by Parsvnath's options to the administration to "wriggle out" of the housing project, the administration has now referred the matter to UT senior standing counsel, Anupam Gupta, for legal advice.
Recently, Parsvnath had demanded the revision of the terms and conditions of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the CHB, including allotment of land on pro-rata basis.
Official sources said Prideasia (IT habitat project) was a prestigious project for the IT Park area aimed at attracting top-notch IT professionals and NRIs. If the project falls through, it would send a wrong message to investors and the IT sector, the sources said adding that all efforts would be made to save the project.
With the MoU nowhere providing for changes in the terms and conditions, the senior standing counsel would have a tough job on hand giving legal opinion on the vexed issue.
The CHB had gone on record claiming that the terms and conditions of the agreement could not be altered almost three years after the allotment of the project to the real estate developer.
In the backdrop of the fact that the developer had been defaulting on over an amount of Rs 300 crore to the CHB for a long time, relations between the realtor and board seem to have reached a point of no return. In fact, allegations and counter-allegations between Parsvnath and the CHB bode ill for an "amicable settlement" of the problem.
Parsvnath had already deposited an amount of Rs 517 crore against the total bid amount of Rs 821 crore. As per the agreement, the CHB was to be paid an amount of 30 per cent of the total amount from the sale of the residential property with the total earnings being to the tune of Rs 1,600 crore. A major portion of this amount was to be utilised by the board for the ambitious project of slum rehabilitation of the Chandigarh
With work coming to a standstill at the project site and the investors making a beeline for the refund of their deposited amounts, the project seems to be in doldrums. Besides, the project was under the scanner of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for alleged irregularities in the allotment of the land for the controversial mega projects.
Chandigarh, June 8
The rally, organised by the State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh, was flagged off from three venues, the first batch of cyclists flagged off from Lal Bahadur Shastri Colony, Sector 56, second batch from Colony No 5 and third from the bus stand, Ram Darbar.
The aim of the programme was to give out the message to be safe from HIV and to remove the stigma and discriminations attached to the HIV-AIDS.
In addition to this, an awareness programme was also organised by the society at the Student Centre, Panjab University, and UT Home Secretary, Ram Niwas, was the chief guest of the function, who also led the audience to pledge to fight against
Dr MS Bains, director, health and family welfare, said the campaign would encourage people to break the silence and barriers to effective HIV-AIDS prevention and care.
Dr Vanita Gupta, project director of the society, Chandigarh, while presenting the report on the current scenario of HIV infection in the city, said it was very important that everyone joined hands in this fight.
The facts revealed that about 450 HIV+ cases were found in the city, out of which 140 had AIDS and were taking treatment from the AR+ Centre, PGIMER.
Chandigarh, June 8
Despite the fact that the Deputy Commissioner’s inquiry report has given it a go ahead, while recommending for evaluating technical aspects through Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy, it states: “There are hardly any success stories of successful operation of solid waste management plants in the country… it is the first plant of its kind, which has started taking up the entire solid waste… despite high level of moister.”
The councillors object that the specifications of the machinery installed by Jaiprakash Associates Ltd were not as per the detailed project report (DPR).
A visit to the site revealed that this unit is successfully converting over 90 per cent of the city’s solid waste into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) in the form of loose fluff, bales, brickets and pallets, while conforming to all parameters prescribed by the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee.
Though the brickets and pallets are not being produced regularly due to the cost effectiveness of the product, the officials confirmed that the plant has a capacity to produce RDF in the shape of pallets and brickets also, if demanded.
A sub-committee, headed by councillor Chandermukhi Sharma, had pointed out that the specifications of the machinery did not match the project report and it had exceeded the projected cost.
The plant has been established on the built, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis and not on public private partnership (PPP) pattern. On BOOT basis, the entire funding and responsibility of making the plan functional rests with the promoter who can make suitable modifications, if necessary.
The plant has been set up at a total cost of Rs 30 crore as against the projected cost of Rs 23 crore. Since its conception plan in 2005, it has been suffering political roadblocks.
Ironically, the sub-committee, in its meeting, has put on records the statement of Mohinder Bikram Singh, the then XEN of MC, who was the technical arm of the committee, testified that, “Wherever the alterations are made, it is for the betterment.”
The quality of RDF produced is based on its calorific value that in turn depends upon the quantum of moisture content. More the moisture, lesser the calorific value and vice- versa. The experts told that RDF should not have more than 15 per cent moisture for its proper usage.
According to report of the Central Pollution Control Board, the moisture content of Chandigarh garbage is around 64 per cent. To bring down the moisture to a level of 15 per cent a rotary dryer has been installed in the plant.
Cricket cuisine at Hotel Shivalikview
Chandigarh, June 8
The bar and restaurants at the hotel have donned the contours of “cricketing thump”. The hotel team has christened cricketing terms for snacks and dishes like a mocktail, the Dhoni’s punch.
Someone who is fond of tea would be treated with “Cricket Kiss”. It would have tea of choice served with 60 parts of water and peel of lemon.
Another drink “googli” would have eight parts of apple juice, sugar syrup (one tea spoon) with fresh lime soda or juice to dilute with. The “lords special” drink will get eight parts of tomato juice, worcestershire souce, fresh lime and salt/pepper.
Apart from this, the hotel has special snacks to offer. In non- vegerarian segment, you can ask for “third umpire” and “zed chicken”. The Lankan delight would get you “tandoori jhinga”. The tangri kababs have been named as “chicken short leg” and by Shivalikview flipper, they mean golden “fried chicken”. The “caught and bold” would fetch you “donaali kabab” on seekh having both mutton and chicken.
Elaborating further, Jagan Bains, food and beverages manager, Hotel Shivalikview, said the special menu had been designed by his team consisting of chefs and bar tenders, keeping in mind the interest of customers of all all age groups.
“Actually, we had earlier introduced it during the recently concluded IPL series and it was a hit. And it would be a good experience to enjoying cricket on two big screens while enjoying drinks and snacks”, he said.
The vegetarians, too, would savour with wider choice. The specially planned vegetarian dishes would have “sixer”, which mean “chandi ke sikkey”, the “stumps” means “honey chilli potatoes” and stuffed paneer tikka has been named as “Nadafgarh Ka nawab”.
“Doosra” , a term in cricket got popular when it got associated with Sri Lankan spinner M Muralidharan and Indian player Harbhajan Singh when fingers were raised over their bowling technicalities, but here you would get “kathal ke kabab”, if ask for “doosra.
AK Malhotra, general manager (tourism), CITCO, said the idea was cropped up to attract the customers in these trying times of global meltdown. “Like any other strategy of the hospitality industry, it was our business boosting endeavour in times of recession. Cricket is treated as religion in our country. The people can get attracted to if they are served dishes bearing cricketing names”, he said.
Though the menu has been designed, keeping in mind the Lord’s World Cup, officials confirmed that these snacks and drinks would be available in normal hours also. “ We would continue this menu as a permanent feature if people would like it”, said Malhotra.
DAV College, Sector
Chandigarh, June 8
It has recently launched a postgraduate programme in IT, commerce, English, bio-informatics, biotechnology, chemistry, mathematics, zoology, psychology, public administration, sociology and PG diplomas in various fields.
The new four-year BPEd and MBE programmes have also been launched in past few years. In addition, there are innovative career-oriented certificate and add-on courses for the students, including industrial chemistry, counselling and guidance, translation (English to Hindi), journalism and electronic hardware maintenance.
In addition to the regular graduation courses, there are postgraduate diplomas in computer application, marketing, mass communication, personnel management and labour welfare.
The college, which was earlier an all-boys’ institution, has turned into a co-educational academy and has been recently declared as the “model college” by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), also the label of college with “Potential for
The infrastructure and the student support facilities in the college are the prime appeal. Among other things, the college boasts of a rich alumni wing.
This includes prominent sportspersons like Kapil Dev, Yuvraj Singh, Yograj, Dinesh Mongia, Jeev Milkha Singh and golfer Irina Brar.
Beside a placement and research cell for the students, the college has a seminar complex for audio-visual aids, two auditoriums, a cyber café, 23 laboratories and a gymnasium. Beside this, there is a coffee house and a separate canteen on the campus.
Last date for submission of completed forms: July 6
1. BSc (hons) bio-informatics
Postgraduate diploma (evening)
1. Postgraduate diploma in computer application
Career-oriented add-on courses:
1. Translation (English to Hindi)