C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Match chokes traffic at Mohali
It took hours to get the traffic moving. All this while, the SP and DSP (Traffic) were on duty inside the stadium
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 12
Poor management of traffic during the match between India and Sri Lanka virtually brought the town to a grinding halt today.

While senior Punjab Police officials were busy welcoming VVIPs and their families at the PCA Stadium, motorists were caught in a jam from Kumbhra Chowk to Phase XI and other roads around the stadium.

They made frantic calls to the police control room, and some vehicles of the PCR did reach the spot, but it was difficult to streamline the traffic. It took more than three hours to get the traffic moving. The SP (Traffic) and DSP (Traffic) were on duty “inside” the stadium.

An annoyed Kanwaljeet Singh, a resident of Sector 68, who was held up in the jam for over 40 minutes, has requested residents to undertake a campaign to get the stadium shifted outside the town.

“Every time there is a match, not only are those living around the stadium inconvenienced, but also the town gets choked as the stadium has come up in a populated area,” Ranjeevan Singh, a resident of Phase X, stated.

“The government should develop a sports village, complete with infrastructure, including ample parking,” Amit Sharma, a student who got late for his tuition due to the jam, suggested.

A round of the stadium revealed that while the Mohali police had made elaborate security management on roads leading to the stadium, only a few cops were spared to regulate the traffic on other major roads. No proper traffic diversion plan was in place and everything was left to the motorists. “There should be a proper diversion plan for all major roads that may get jammed,” a police official remarked.



Rs 250-cr blueprint for sprucing up Dhanas 
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Chandigarh Housing Board has drafted a blueprint for a Rs 250-crore project for new facilities, particularly in education and healthcare, at Dhanas village.

Dhanas does not fall in the planned grid of the city and lacks many basic facilities like sewerage and street lighting.

The project needs the approval of the ministry of housing and poverty alleviation. The UT claim has been strengthened with the special JNNURM award at New Delhi recently. Under the project, the village would get schools, dispensaries and even a hospital.

Mohanjeet Singh, chairman of the CHB, said: “The ministry has shown a positive response, particularly after the national award under JNNURM scheme for being the best city in earmarking land for the poor for 2008-09. For the first time, the housing board would be involved directly in the construction of infrastructure. The project would be an opening to initiate similar projects in other rural areas.”

With overflowing drains and non-existent streetlights, Dhanas does not have any semblance of being part of City Beautiful.

Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a former chairman of the panchayat samiti, said: “UT villages, particularly Dhanas, are a neglected lot. It takes long to even get a ration card made. Also, there is no underground sewerage.”

“Milk Colony at Dhanas is under the MC limits, but even that area needs attention,” he said.

In a related development, the UT has initiated a scheme for slum dwellers. Official data reveals that the slum population of the city is 23,841 families in 18 colonies. A project worth Rs 1,200 crore had been undertaken in 2006 and nearly 356 acres have been earmarked for the construction of 25,728 houses.



Who will assess PU evaluation system?
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
In what could cast a question mark on the evaluation process at Panjab University, an observer has noted that “certain teachers evaluated a bundle of 20 papers in 30 minutes whereas the stipulated time is three hours”.

For years, the PU has had “limited evaluators”. Despite repeated efforts of the authorities to reform the evaluation system, a majority of teachers never voluntarily opted to check answer sheets.

There was opposition to the installation of CCTV cameras at evaluation centres during the last senate meeting. Some felt there was still time for the “mindset to change to bring about transparency in the system”.

While the authorities said the attitude of examiners was casual, objection was raised by some who said the PU staff on duty at the evaluation centre needed to be more vigilant.

“Unless the university has more teachers checking answer sheets, quality evaluation is not possible,” Prof BS Brar, a member of the special committee formed to look into the evaluation system, stated.

In September, stunning facts were brought to light by the observer for the April 2009 examination. In the proceedings of this meeting it was quoted: “If the evaluation system is not streamlined, the number of re-evaluation cases will increase. Some teachers evaluated one bundle of answer books in just 30 minutes (whereas the stipulated time is three hours), not only playing with the future of students, but also making a mockery of the system.”

Instances were quoted where teachers only had one look at the bundle and came out of the centre. In other cases, the time taken by the evaluators was too less and if the observers objected, the examiners threatened to walk out.

“Since the past two years, there have been incidents of pen-down strike during evaluation time. Teachers must take responsibility to check a minimum number of answer sheets,” Dr Meena Sehgal from the department of psychology, said.

As a result of the meeting, recommendations were forwarded to the Syndicate for approval and later to the senate on December 6. It was approved that as per UGC guidelines, evaluation of 250 answer sheets would be made compulsory for all teachers and it would be made a part of their service rules. For re-evaluation, it was decided that instead of an interval of 21 days after the examination, the answer sheets would be processed and sent to the examiners immediately after the exam. “There are three sessions of three hours each during an evaluation. A teacher is given 20 papers to be checked in three hours, which means about 9 minutes per paper. The committee had recommended that instead of a few teachers who come for checking each year, there should be a minimum number of answer sheets that each teacher would check,” Prof VK Walia stated.



Verdict in Beant case next year
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
After 14 years, the verdict in the case pertaining to the assassination of former Punjab CM Beant Singh is finally going to be pronounced in March 2010.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has given its nod to the three-month extension sought by the trial court for deciding the case and has set March as the deadline.

The case was to be decided by December after an earlier extension of three months. The trial court headed by Additional District and Sessions Judge RK Sondhi had sought permission of the High Court to hear the arguments beyond the permissible time period of seven days from the date of closing the defence evidence and also to pronounce the judgment beyond the prescribed time period of 15 days of the completion of the arguments.

In separate letters written to the High Court, the trial court had cited hundreds of witnesses and documents as reason that made the case very lengthy.

In an earlier communication, the High Court had directed the special trial court, which is held at Burail Jail (where the accused Paramjit Singh Bheora is lodged), in April 2009 to dispose of the case within six months. However, the period was extended up to December 2009 when an extension was sought.

In the letter, the CBI and defence counsel had stated that they needed a month to conclude the arguments and in addition to this, another month was required to complete the judgment.

The CBI had claimed that Bheora had helped another accused, Jagtar Singh Tara, in bringing the car used in the blast that killed Beant Singh. Bheora was lodged along with Tara before they escaped through a tunnel in 2004. Tara is still at large while Hawara is facing death row.


BPL card holders’ details to go online
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 12
Finding blatant violation of norms in the preparation of below poverty line (BPL) cards in the district, the administration has decided to put details of such card holders on its website.

While it will make everything transparent, it will prove a deterrent against malpractices regarding such cards, says Additional Deputy Commissioner Ashok Sangwan.

He ordered the cancellation of 20 such cards issued at Raipur Rani. The district administration had ordered an inquiry following a report in these columns on September 1.

The process of elections to the Assembly had commenced at that time and the inquiry was slowed down, apprehending a political backlash, said sources in the administration.

While the inquiry was yet to be completed, it was observed that rich persons in many parts of the district, besides Budhanpur, had managed to get such cards.

Around 13,000 BPL cards had been issued in the district and thousands of persons holding those cards did not fulfil the criteria required.

Most rich card holders had allowed their servants to use those cards to get grocery items. A number of such persons in urban areas had managed to obtain BPL cards.



Banks told to tighten security
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 12
The police on Thursday asked all bank managements to install CCTV cameras of good quality at the banks within a month and employ armed guards.

The SP, Manish Chaudhary, who held a meeting with bank officials, said action would be taken against them if the banks were found lacking in this regard. He informed the bank managers that the security of banks had been increased by the police.

TR Verma, LDM, Punjab National Bank, told all bank officers that if they had any problem regarding CCTV cameras, alarms and deployment of armed guards, they could meet him so that necessary action could be taken by the police.

Meanwhile, the district police claimed that Dhirender Rawat, allegedly involved in four burglaries and belonging to New Delhi, surrendered in the court of the CJM, Panchkula. In another case, Dharminder of UP was arrested during a naka at Sector 20.

He and his accomplices, Vijay and Rahul, residents of Mauli Jagran, Chandigarh, allegedly committed theft at the shop of a tailor at Madanwala in Pinjore in October.



Rescue Operations Gone Awry
Fire dept fails to feel the heat
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The disaster at a dumping ground in Sector 31 on December 6, in which nine persons lost there lives, has once again exposed the inefficiency of the officials of the fire department of the municipal corporation in handling such emergency situations.

It is not the first time when a rescue operation has ended disastrously due to flawed decisions of the non-technical head of the department and the authorities have failed to fix the responsibility on erring officials.

On December 6, after finding seven bodies, the rescue team of the fire department abandoned the operation, believing that no more victims were trapped in the debris even as some families kept pleading that two more labourers were still missing.

The next day when the rescue team restarted the operation, they found two more bodies from the scene.

Senior officials seeking anonymity said under the rules, no official can stop a rescue operation of the fire department till their head, who leads the team, decides to stop it.

The leading firemen or sub-fire officer has to tell the official concerned to stop the operation as nothing more can be done at the scene.

However, so far nobody has bothered to identify the officials who had asked the team to stop the rescue operation.

During a fire in Sector 22 earlier this year, four persons lost their lives and the MC authorities constituted a committee to probe the incident and asked it to give a report to see if firemen were at fault during the rescue operation.

The committee found a number of flaws in the rescue operation and submitted its report to the department.

However, the corporation shelved the report and took no action against any official.

Also, a fireman died in a rescue operation last year after he went for the mission without wearing the protective fire suit.

Under the fire safety rules, it is mandatory for the fireman heading the team not to allow anyone enter the scene of fire without taking necessary precautions.

In this case too, the department has not initiated action against any official for negligence.

In yet another case of negligence, a person lost his life in the raging Patiala ki Rao choe after holding on to a tree branch for two hours, as the firemen could not arrange for a rope to rescue him.

The officials dumped the negligence case on the plea that it was not humanly possible for them to save the victim.

Surprisingly, the authorities concerned have not punished even a single fireman for dereliction of duty during major rescue operations in the past two years.

Consequently, people continue to lose their lives as the emergency services lack technical know-how or equipment to handle such crisis.



Advertisers have their way at markets
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
While posters and banners carrying advertisements dot the walls and pillars of main markets of various sectors, the municipal corporation authorities prefer to look the other way.

Under the Advertisement Act, if any company, organisation or an individual pastes or hangs an advertisement without the permission of the corporation, the authorities can not only remove it but also issue a notice to the violator.

However, emboldened by the lack of action against them, most local education institutions and fast food corners fail to seek permission from the authorities concerned to display their advertisements.

Even if the authorities get their advertisements removed from the marketplace, these resurface in no time, knowing well that no action will be taken against the advertiser.

A fast food owner says it is easy and cheap publicity for small outlets that cannot afford much on advertising.

He says as most marketplaces are packed with people, pasting or hanging of advertisements at strategic places helps them get publicity spending little.

Officials of the municipal corporation say they have been unable to crack down on such violators as they do not have the staff to spare.



Autos without fare meters to face music

Chandigarh, December 12
The Chandigarh administration will challan auto-rickshaws running without fare meters, an official press release said here today. Announcing action against defaulters, it said: “It has been observed that auto-rickshaws running in the UT are either not fitted with fare meters or fitted with faulty ones. And, those fitted with meters are not making use of them and are charging at their will from passengers. Overcharging is an offence.”

The release added: “Any operator found driving auto-rickshaw without fare meters or faulty meters or overcharging will be challaned under the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act. A week’s time for the implementation is given for corrective measures. Auto-rickshaw operators will be required to affix the rate list approved by the administration inside their vehicles for the general information of passengers. The passengers can lodge a complaint with the secretary, State Transport Authority (0172-2700159).

“It is also clarified that once LPG stations get functional, the existing petrol/diesel auto-rickshaws will be required to convert their vehicles to LPG ones. Existing auto-rickshaw operators (petrol/diesel) are advised to convert their vehicles to LPG ones before the deadline. No new permissions for LPG auto-rickshaws will be given after March 31, 2010.” — TNS



Dancing musical fountain in Sec 71
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 12
Night-time entertainment has been unveiled for residents here in the form of a dancing musical fountain, which blends music, water effects and colours, to present an aesthetically exhilarating experience.

The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has set up the musical fountain at the Kargil Park in Sector 71.

The fountain has a pre-programmed and auto-sensing control system, 29 water effects, 60 lights of five colours, a sound system of 500 watts, an amplifier and eight speakers.

The maximum height of the water effect is 9 metres. The fountain has been installed at a cost of Rs 26 lakh.

As the music plays, various water effects shoot into the air, rise and fall, twist and dance, each lit by brilliant colours.

The water effects move or dance with the music and interpret each tune, whether slow or fast, classical or pop.

To achieve a co-ordinated performance, the fountain has been equipped with highly sophisticated hydraulic controls and circuit precision nozzles and special lighting under electronic controls and complemented by a sound system that gives even distribution of sound around the viewing area.

The job of interpreting the music and controlling the water effects and lights is done by an electronic controller.

The overall size of the frame with effect in the pool is 6 metres by 6 metres. The size of the pool is 8.5 metres by 8.5 metres.



‘Saudagar’, a treat for theatre lovers
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 12
The theatre aficionados witnessed yet another diverse form of drama with the Rang Vidushak Group, Bhopal, staging the 38th edition of their satirical play, “Saudagar”, in the ongoing TFT at the Tagore Theatre here today.

Based on Bertolt Brecht’s, “Exception and the Rule”, playwright Shrikant Kishore evolved the script suiting Indian milieu. It aimed to bring into focus the role of MNC’s, judicial system, class prejudices and inequality in societal segments and more ailing society and governance.

The play under the directorial elegance of acclaimed director Bansi Kaul remained loose in structure and rather confused because of a potent plot and a convincing storyline.

However, the actors, especially three clowns, Wasim Ali, Wasim Khan and Parmod, singers and dancers filled the stage with striking actions and human formations, besides Uday Shahane justifying his role.

Chief guest IAS MP Singh and acclaimed Urdu poet and senior bureaucrat Ramendera Jakhu Sahil sat through the programme.

Earlier sole actor, Prof Guarav Vij, effectively brought the issues of social concern in a scintillating but soul searching solo act experimental drama spectacle, “Pyasa Kaan- The Naked Truth”. Sculpted and directed by acclaimed playwright thespian Prof Pali Bhupinder, the play virtually traced the perpetual change in the socio-cultural and educational structure and ideologies, while debating the inability of masses to rise to the subsequent challenges.

The unprecedented emergency, naxalite movement, hippy culture and drug addiction, all were brought into the focus in a subtle manner with theatrical brilliance in the most challenging two hours solo performance.

The prevailing system of education, which is considered vital in shaping the character of any generation, came under heavy probing. The play depicted the aura of philosophical connotations and practical orientations drawing references of three generations of Prof Atma Ram, the protagonist. Constrained to negate his freedom fighter father’s perceived belief that education will make us masters of our destiny and will be a powerful instrument for social reconstruction, the protagonist bares the plight of teachers and students achieving everything sans respect, ideals and ethics.

The festival will conclude tomorrow with Rangkarmee, Kolkatta’s prestigious presentation of Sri Ganesh Mahima.



Baby dies of swine flu Seven more test positive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Mohali, December 12
A two-month-old baby boy succumbed to swine flu at Cheema Hospital in Mohali yesterday.

Meanwhile, seven fresh cases, including two doctors from the PGI, tested positive today.

According to Mohali district health officer SP Sureela, two-month-old Harshit, who was admitted to Cheema Hospital, died after being inflicted by the H1N1 virus. Health officials have quarantined those who had come in contact with the victim.

“Two doctors from the PGI tested positive for swine flu today and four cases from different parts of Punjab and one case from Haryana have been reported,” said GC Bansal, a UT health official.

So far, 210 persons have tested positive for the H1N1 virus in Chandigarh hospitals and over 25 have died in the region.

With a dip in temperature, health officials are concerned about the spread of the virus.

The last one-week has seen 10 deaths and 25 new positive cases in the city.



SHOs transferred

Mohali, December 12
In a major reshuffle, Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar has transferred Station House Officers (SHOs) of a number of police stations in the district.

Phase I SHO Harjinder Singh has replaced Harveer Singh, who has been sent to the Police Lines.

Sanjeev Sharma has replaced Phase VIII SHO Atul Soni.

Soni has been transferred to the Matour police station. Similarly, Phase XI SHO Deepinder Singh has been transferred to Lalru and he has been replaced by Sukhwinder Singh. Jogi Raj has joined as Zirakpur SHO.

The SSP said the transfers had been done in order to improve the efficiency of the police force. — TNS



PUTA president autocratic, allege members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Raising objection on the alleged “misinformation” spread by some office-bearers of Panjab University Teachers’ Association, 18 members of PUTA executive committee submitted a letter to president, Prof Manjit Singh, accusing him of working in an undemocratic manner.

The members alleged in the letter that the departmental surveys were done without consulting them and individual views must not be raised through PUTA’s platform.

They also claimed that facts of the survey should have been shared with the executive members and such a move had created insecurity in the minds of the teachers.

The reaction of the members has come in wake of the announcement of academic audit by the PU authorities due to which the departments of PU have been asked to furnish detailed information related to work load of the teachers, their time table, number of students and teachers, etc.

In response to the letter, PUTA president, Prof Manjit Singh, when contacted, said the matter was not as serious and the members did not even ask for a reply from him in this regard. “The members who have sent it are a party to the issue of filling up of vacant posts. During our first meeting, the resolution was passed that we will demand the filling up of vacant seats and the survey was done to highlight the gravity of situation.”

However, the PUTA executive body members stated that such a survey by PUTA will tar its image and a subsequent academic audit by the authorities will adversely affect the workload and re-employment scheme.

“The PUTA president has deviated from the motive of getting the Central status to PU. This is not a democratic way of working and we were not even consulted when such a survey was done. As members of the executive committee, we are answerable to the teacher’s community. The posts are to be filled according to the UGC regulations and if the president has to give any statement, it should be at a personal level, not in the name of PUTA,” said Jaspal Kang, member of the committee.

On being questioned on the course of action that will be followed by the executive committee, a member said, “If only two or three persons are using the name of PUTA, it will not be tolerated. There was no meeting called, none of us was even intimated that such a thing is being done in PUTA’s name. The matter would be taken to the general body and any person who misuses the name of the association will have to face consequences.”



Music marks annual day celebrations
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 12
The Indradhanush Auditorium came alive with vibrant and colourful performances of students of Small Wonders School, Chandigarh, at their annual day celebrations, “Odyssey 2009”, here today.

A potpourri of various cultures enthralled the spectators that appreciated the performances with loads of applause. Addressing the gathering at the event, school director Sandeep Singh said Odyssey was a product of hard work and commitment of the students and teachers.

The chief guest was chief administrator GMADA, VP Singh, while the guest of honour was Achla Dogra, principal GCG, Sector 11, Chandigarh.

Principal Heena Sharma read out the annual report highlighting the achievements of the school. The students of nursery presented aerobics, while play class danced on Ibiza. The tiny tots of LKG gyrated to the music of Arabic dance and the students of play class 3 and play class 4 presented a riot of colours with the colours of Brazil.

The Class I students presented tribal dance inspired by Zulu traditions from Africa. The students waltzed to the gentle moves of ballroom dance depicting the Victorian era. Nursery students presented a unique “Incredible India” programme, which was a salute and celebration of the success of India at the Oscars.

The students of LKG presented cowboy dance representing the countryside folks. 



Dance performance by students steals show
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 12
Junior wing of Shivalik Public School, Mohali, organised its annual day function here today. The function was presided over by Khushboo Goel, Assistant Commissioner, Mohali. The function started with a vandana.

Coordinator Baldeep Kaur read out the annual school report and highlighted achievements of the school in various fields.Japanese and Arabian dance mesmerised audience. Rain dance spread the message of “save water, save life”.

The scintillating dance performance “Hai Junoon” stole the show and “Singh is King”, a dance performance by young students, was appreciated by all.


African students at Aryans Institute of Management and Technology organised a special function to honour new African students on the campus in Nepra village, Chandigarh-Patiala Highway.

Dr Anshu Kataria, chairman, Aryans Group of Institutes, said a team of Aryans group paid a visit to Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka last year.



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