C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chandigarh’s shame
N-choe: Stream of filth
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Le Corbusier, while planning the City Beautiful, very consciously, retained the water bodies flowing through the natural terrain. Records show that "despite, his love of the machine aesthetic, Le Corbusier was determined that his architecture would reintroduce nature into people's lives." He thought that "Victorian cities were chaotic and dark prisons for many of their inhabitants".

the red zones

On map, N-Choe still bears the stamp of Le Corbusier's vision of the City Beautiful with neatly laid out architectural settings and an enviable retention of the natural order. On ground, his dream for serene water bodies, resembling the charming natural setting of Mark Twain, lies in a shambles.

The N-Choe originates from behind the Punjab and Haryana High Court, ordains a repelling look in Sector 10, becomes sickening in Sector 42 and nauseating near the world famous PCA stadium in Mohali. Residents of the city, living along the N-Choe, in middle of the city, are a peeved lot because life has become a nightmare with the stench, germs from the rotting vegetable waste and the vectors of protozoan parasites in forms of flies and mosquitoes. Passing through the central part, N-Choe flows from the North to the South, entering the adjoining township of Mohali, near Kajheri village.

The Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) conducts a monthly inspection and the results are shocking. The Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand(BOD) and Chemical Oxygen Demand(COD) determine the organic pollutants found in surface water bodies, as useful measure of the water quality. The BOD figure for January 2010 shows that it varied from four mg\l in the Leisure valley, Sector 10 to 41 mg\l at the exit Point near Kajheri. The figure was recorded as high as 65 mg\l in December 2009. A figure of more than 100 mg\l has been recorded, at the Exit Point, several times, in the past. These figures have crossed the danger level.

Very importantly, the figures for Dissolved Oxygen (DO), during the same period fell to zero at the Exit Point near Kajheri while it was as high as 10.2 mg\l in the green lawns of the Rose Garden, Sector 16 — not fit even for basic marine life.

During times when there is no water flowing from the hills, it was surprising to see a stream gushing in the 'choe' in the Bougainvillea Garden, Sector 3 adjoining the Haryana Chief Minister's residence. There have been reports of inflow of sewerage from the tents of security personnel on VVIP duty, in the past. In the same garden, there is a stream carrying sewerage from the HLA Hostel, located nearby.

The thick volume of water gives enough indication that it was flowing out from the sewers, as well. The clean looking, but, polluted sewers water ordain a dirty look from Sector 23 onwards and become black near the Exit Point. It does not require an expert's mind to conclude that the flowing liquid had also added contents of untreated household kitchen waste which starts emanating an obnoxious smell.

Gaurav Gautam, running a shop near the N-Choe outlet in Sector 42, said " residents of the area have given representation to the corporation and the administration, in the past, over the unhealthy living and breathing conditions in the vicinity of the area, however, to no avail".

Maj Gen(retd) Charanjit Panag, a regular morning walker in the Leisure valley, too, has a long list of representations and reminders to quote that were sent to the Chandigarh Administration, in the past. He led the Tribune team to the Bougainvillea Garden and showed an open pit on the 'choe' tract. The water collection is the sewerage outpouring from the adjoining areas."

An official managing a sump in the garden, requesting anonymity, admitted that "a portion of the sewerage was being flown into the choe. We mix it with fresh water to kill the foul odour".

"The 'choe' is a seasonal rivulet and we had no rains for long, so where is this water coming from? Of course, from houses of biggies living in the viscinity of the area" General Panag added.

A little downstream, one can see a drain from the MLA Hostel, in the adjoining quarters, flowing straight into the 'choe'. Remove, the cover of leaves and one can discover gushing sewerage waters entering the choe".

A senior official of the engineering department of the Municipal Corporation, requesting anonymity, said "it is an established fact that a large number of residents and commercial establishments are putting their sewer into storm water. Only recently, a private doctor was found guilty of flowing his hospital sewer into the storm. Retired teachers from Punjab Engineering College have approached the authorities, in the past, about foul smell, flies, mosquitoes and other hygienic problems related to the troubled 'choe'.

The official said that the biggest problem in implementing a strict law was that we don't have any powers except warning the defaulters. A strict action against guilty can set examples for others to deter from allowing their sewer flow into the storm water". Kuldip Singh Kahjeri, the area councillor, said "the sewerage lay-out is old and undersized at places. The pipeline has technical loopholes in its laying, too. "

Following repeated complaints by the residents, Gen(retd) S.F.Rodrigues, a former Governor, made a personal visit to the spot before recommending a sewerage treatment plant.

Filthy facts

l There are no reports of regular cleaning of the ‘choe’

l  The visibly transparent sewerage in the Northern sectors become black near the exit point in Kajheri.

l  Residents complain of unhealthy living conditions the red zones



550 jhuggis, 15 pucca rooms demolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
An anti-encroachment drive was carried out today in Pocket No. 8, Mani Majra, Chandigarh, to remove unauthorised constructions raised on about 49 acre of the acquired land.

The drive was carried out under the supervision of SDM (E) Abhishek Dev, Additional Commissioner PK Sharma, Municipal Corporation, LAO Ashwani Kumar, besides DSP BS Negi and DSP Jasbir Singh Cheema along with  nearly 450 police force and anti-riot machinery.

Six JCBs along with enforcement trucks, labourers and other machinery pooled in from the estate office and MC was used in the demolition drive.

In the demolition drive, approximately 550 jhuggis were demolished. About 15 pucca rooms were also demolished.

After removal of the encroachments, physical possession of the vacated land measuring about 47.5 acres was handed over to the Municipal Corporation.

About 2 acre of the land, which is under stay from the dispossession, was not taken up for the demolition.



Police ‘inaction’ in accident case 
Lawyers go on strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Litigants were left in the lurch and had to settle with fresh dates for their cases after the district courts Bar Association went on a token strike here today. The association was protesting against the alleged inaction by the Punjab Police against the accused responsible for the death of an advocate in a road accident on January 26.

The strike coincided with the last working day of eight judges who have been transferred on the completion of their tenure.

A delegation of approximately 250 lawyers led by the association’s secretary Malkit Singh Jandiala, met Punjab police chief PS Gill, who in turn directed the SSP Mohali to entrust the case to a senior police officer and to arrest and challan the accused within 10 days. He also asked him to submit the complete report to his office within the given time limit. Earlier, the Bar Association warned the Punjab Police that it would go on a chain hunger strike if no action was taken against the policemen who allegedly failed to arrest the accused.

Vijay Paul Singh practising in the district courts died in a road accident on January 26 near Mundi Kharar after a car hit the motorcycle on which he was riding pillion behind his friend Jarnail Singh. Another advocate, Amrit Pal Singh, who was an eyewitness to the incident, had testified to the police. He had rushed both the Vijay Paul Singh and Jarnail Singh to the PGI, where the former succumbed to his injuries. On regaining consciousness, Jarnail Singh narrated details about the accident and had alleged that the police had dilly-dallied on the matter on one pretext or the other.

Shelly, an advocate, who took the initiative to take up the matter, said if the police did not take strong action this time, they would proceed on an indefinite hunger strike in front of the DGP’s office. 


Uproar outside immigration firm office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Tempers ran high outside the office of a Sector 42-based immigration consultant here this afternoon when people accused him of defrauding them of thousands of rupees on the pretext of sending them abroad.

The disgruntled people alleged that the consultant had taken six per cent of the amount to be shown as bank balance in their accounts, of which the company had never given them any proof. After the visas were refused by the embassies, the company refused to provide the details of the bank and the amount shown leaving them in utter confusion.

The scene got further flared up when an advocate, claiming himself to be associated with the consultant company, had a heated debate with mediapersons. The drama went on for a couple of hours before a police party reached the spot and placated the complainants.

The complainants accused that the company had taken Rs 90,000 from them to show a bank balance of Rs 15 lakh, which was mandatory for the visa formalities, besides taking Rs 45,000 for processing the cases. They alleged that they were never given any evidences of the amount shown in their favour and no one paid heed to their repeated requests.

Sensing trouble, Rekha Thakur, the centre head of Healthyway Immigration Private Limited, as ISO 9001:2008 certified company since 2005, came out to talk to the complainants along with her staff.

She said the company would entertain and satisfy anyone having complaints. However, she refused to talk to them before media and went inside, when people asked in open about the money taken to show bank balances.

Talking to TNS, Lachman Das Arora of Bathinda alleged that he had entered into an agreement with the company to send his son to Canada on study basis. “The company demanded Rs 45,000 as the processing fee. I gave Rs 5,000 cash and deposited the rest of the amount in their account from Bathinda. They took another Rs 90,000 (i.e. six per cent) of the total amount to be shown through a bank. However, the case was refused by the embassy on December 31 and when contacted for reason, the company refused to entertain him,” alleged Arora.

Similarly, one Jatinder Kumar of Ludhiana claimed that he had given Rs 70,000 for sending his daughter-in-law on nursing visa to Canada. Vicky Sharma of Dhuri, who claimed to be a member of Balwant Singh Ramoowalia’s Lok Bhalai Party, alleged that he had also given Rs 80,000 for study visa to England. The company later told him to go to Cyprus or Georgia.

Meanwhile, in a dramatic turn of events later in the day the company reached a compromise with the complainants in the police station after refunding the dues. The SHO of the Sector 36 police station said, “As no formal complaint was made, hence, no police action was taken into the incident.” 



NGO to study silting of water bodies
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Taking a step further to save Sukhna Lake from silting, the Chandigarh administration has asked the Society for Promotion and Conservation of Environment (SPACE), a local NGO, to study the silting of water bodies constructed in the area since 1975.

SPACE earlier conducted a study on the impact of soil conservation measures in the catchments of Sukhna Lake on groundwater, soil and geology. SPACE is going to start work on the project from April 9 and the data collected by it would help in keeping a check on the silting of the lake, said Dr SS Grewal, president of NGO.

These water bodies helped in reducing the rate of soil erosion in the catchment area of Sukhna Lake substantially. The study conducted by the NGO showed that the erosion, which was 160 metric ton per hectare per year in 1988, had been brought down to only five metric ton per hectare per year due to the construction of silt detention dams.

The catchment area of Sukhna Lake was a thick forest, replete with flora and fauna around 40 years ago. In 1958, its water spread was 230 hectares and average depth around 4.69 metres, but due to heavy silting the depth got reduced to two metres in 2004. The artificial three-km rain-fed lake (1.52 km long and 1.49 km wide) had lost almost 60 per cent of its storage capacity within the first 10 years.

However, the lake, which was dying due to heavy inflow of silt, was saved by building and monitoring of 190 water bodies in its catchment area.

According to Dr Grewal, since 1975 the Chandigarh administration had constructed 190 water bodies in the catchments to keep a check on the land erosion and silting of Sukhna. These water bodies were meant to accumulate the water from catchments area before the same water is flowed in to Sukhna when the silt sets down in these water bodies.

During the last study the NGO discovered that 132 earthen dams were still intact while others had flattened bearing vagaries of weather or some other reasons. Since no detailed topographic survey of sites was carried out while planning and designing so data on storage capacity and submergence area was not available.

Moreover, no precise record of volumes of silt received, storage lost or silt removed during de-silting of the lake was available till now, said Dr Grewal.

Now, the NGO would asses the water holding capacity, and quantum of silt deposited in addition to the condition of these bodies. It would also be assessed that which water bodies needed de-silting so that these were not filled with soil to the brim and silt was not flowed towards Sukhna, said Dr Grewal.



Property dealers slam collector rate hike
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 5
Piqued over the arbitrary increase in the collector rate announced by the district administration, property dealers here said the higher rate would affect their business badly but also cause a loss to the exchequer.

Haryana State Property Dealers Welfare Association president Suresh Aggarwal stated the former deputy commissioner, without taking property dealers and others concerned into confidence, had hiked the collector rate from 33 per cent to 54 per cent, which he asserted was “unjustified”. “Even in Chandigarh, where property rates are almost double those that are prevailing here, the administration has not raised the rate”, he observed.

Aggarwal said the collector rate in residential areas in Chandigarh was about Rs 25,000 per square metre, while here the administration had fixed the rate at Rs 32,000 per sq yard - 30 per cent higher than the previous rate. “This is bound to slow down development in the township as there would be no sale or purchase of residential and commercial properties. This will also result in the exchequer incurring a loss”, he added.

Aggarwal said he had met local MLA DK Bansal and had apprised him of the matter. He added the latter was also convinced that the collector rates had been unjustifiably raised and had assured him he would take up the matter with deputy commissioner Amisha Garg.

“Our businesses will suffer if the collector rates are not lowered to about 10 per cent. We will also meet Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda if the district administration fails to redress our grievances,” he stated.

Association chairman OP Oberoi, its patron and Chandigarh ex-mayor Surinder Singh and general secretary Satish Mahindru along with various property dealers from the town and adjoining areas were among those present on the occasion.



Patil assures solution to auto-rickshaw union 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Giving hearing to all 45 complaints filed in public hearing session today, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil disposed off most of the complaints on the spot and remaining have been marked to the departments concerned for comments.

Taking serious note of the complaint made by the Chandigarh Auto Rickshaw Union regarding replacement of diesel fuel used auto rickshaws with LPG, Patil asked the officers that why only auto rickshaws were being converted into LPG mode. He assured the union that he would discuss their case at length with the officers concerned and sort it out accordingly.

Responding to the complaint of Jaswinder Kaur of Palsora village for causing mental torture and harassment by her neighbours, Patil asked the SSP to do the needful at the earliest.

Dinesh Kumar had made a complaint that booths in Rehri Market of Sector 22 were allotted to rich and ineligible persons. Patil asked him to give names of those ineligible persons so that he could get it examined.

Patil asked the finance secretary to extend all possible help from Red Cross to Rajesh Kumar who made a humble request for financial assistance to save his life from chronic disease of renal failure.



Regular water supply still a dream
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 5
Tall claims of the state government to turn Mohali into another Singapore fell flat, as the residents here are still struggling for regular water supply.

Even as the mercury is rising, some areas here have already started experiencing water shortage with no solution to the problem expected in near future.

Getting adequate water has become a distant dream for residents of Mohali.

A scheme, drawn up more than six years ago, to provide 20 mgd (million gallons a day) of canal water to Mohali through an independent line from Kajauli waterworks under Phase V to meet the requirement of the growing town has failed to make any headway so far.

The fund-starved municipal council has failed to install tubewells in certain parts of the town to meet water shortage.

Complaints have poured in from residents regarding the low water pressure in some parts of the town.

Manjeet Singh Sethi of Phase III-A said water was being

supplied at a low pressure for the past 15 days as a result of which overhead tanks could not be filled.

Similar views were aired by Manmohan Singh Lang, former municipal councillor residing in Phase VII. He said a tubewell in the area had got out of order which had resulted in shortage of water over the past two weeks. Water was available only till the first floor and overhead tanks remained empty.

Parkashwati, municipal councillor residing in Phase IX, said residents were having a tough time, as low pressure water was being supplied and that, too, for a limited time.

She said water was supplied at 7.30 am for about an hour or so. The problem had been going on for the past about one week.

A resident of Sector 68, Manoj Aggarwal, complained that water was available only at the ground floor level.

HPS Dhillon, executive engineer, Water Supply and Sanitation wing, said he had not received any major complaint regarding the water shortage .

He said there was a big gap between demand and supply of water. The demand of water in summer was 23 mgd against the available 13.4 mgd.

“Mohali gets only 10 mgd of water from Kajauli waterworks and the rest of the supply is made available from tubewells,” he added.

While water supply to a major part of the town is provided by the Water Supply and Sanitation wing, the civic body takes care of water supply to Industrial Phases VI, VII, VIII, IX and GMADA to Sectors 66, 67, 68 and 69.



Re-allottees await implementation of orders
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 5
A week after the financial commissioner (revenue), Punjab, issued a notification enabling the re-allottees to get the conveyance deed of their properties registered at allotment rates, a number of re-allottees are still waiting for the orders to be implemented.

Officials in the office of the sub-registrar were not entertaining the application, as they had not received the orders of the FCR. Certain clarification regarding the payment of instalments had to be clarified.

Since the government passed the orders, a number of persons have been making queries at the offices of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and the sub-registrar. Amanpreet Singh Thind, tehsildar, clarified that on the basis of the copy received today, the process to register the conveyance deeds has begun.

Earlier, the FCR had allowed the conveyance deed at allotment price to the first buyer from the original allottee of the plot and not to subsequent buyers. The first buyer had been allowed to make the full and final payment before going for the CD.

Manoj Aggarwal, president of the joint action committee of all residents’ welfare associations, said the waiver was a big relief to the re-allottees. Apart from the waiver for re-allottees, the deadline to get the CD registered has been extended to June 30. The previous deadline had expired on March 31.

Earlier, the allottees had to deposit between Rs 50,000 and Rs 4.5 lakh, depending upon the size of their respective plots, to get the conveyance deed of the property registered



Deadlock between powermen, Saketri residents ends
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 5
The residents of the city heaved a sigh of relief as the 10-day deadlock between the powermen and the residents of Saketri village over the hostage drama ended as both the parties reached a compromise and agreed to withdraw cases filed against each other here today.

The powermen had threatened not to attend to the complaints filed by the residents of the city regarding faults occurring in this sweltering heat and were demanding actions against those villagers who had manhandled the board employees.

Powermen were on agitation since March 26 when board employees, including two SDOs, junior engineers and several linemen, were held hostage by residents and were freed after five hours on the intervention of the police and the administration.

The residents of the village, led by sarpanch Mohan Singh, assured the board men that in future they would not face any problem when they come to the village for checking power theft. They also returned the video camera and the LLM, which were issued in the name of the board employees concerned.

State president of the HSEB Employees Union Kanwar Singh Yadav said there had been some confusion among the villagers and added that those found guilty of power theft had deposited the fine imposed by the department. He said they were withdrawing the protest with immediate effect and urged the workers to join their duties immediately so that the people did not have to face any difficulty.

Besides sarpanch Mohan Singh, village women Harbhajan Kaur and Swarn Kaur, tehsildar Satish Singla and XEN PK Goel were among those present during the meeting called to resolve the issue.



Residents protest at health dept
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 5
Residents of Pabhat village today protested at the office of the Public Health Department against the inadequate water in the area.

They claimed that from the past 15 days they had faced acute water shortage. The residents alleged that last month the electric motor of one of the two tubewells had stopped working.

Despite repeated complaints, the motor had not been repaired or changed.

“We are suffering from acute water shortage after the motor of another tubewell also stopped working”, said one of the residents.

The Public Health Department officer said the matter was in his knowledge.

He said the motors of the both the tubewells would be repaired by tomorrow.



Entire selection record of Dr Raj Bahadur summoned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today summoned the entire record of selection of Dr Raj Bahadur as the Director-Principal of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) - 32.

Taking up a petition filed in public interest, Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal also issued notice of motion to the Union Ministry of Health, the Chandigarh Administration and the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for April 28.

In the petition, advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal has sought directions for the removal of Dr Bahadur as the Director-Principal on the grounds that he was appointed on “deputation” in direct violation of notified “recruitment rules” for the post.

The petitioner claimed that the UPSC never granted concurrence to the “deputation” and repeatedly asked the Chandigarh Administration for sending fresh proposal, complete in all aspects, for filling up the post in accordance with the recruitment rules.

Lakhanpal further claimed that at least four letters by the UPSC to this effect were on record. But these were deliberately concealed by the Chandigarh Administration. The committee did not bring the letters to the UT Administrator’s knowledge. All matters pertaining to the issue were hushed up and the illegal “deputation” was continuing till date.

The Chandigarh Administration intentionally violated the notified rules and filled up the post of principal at its own level. It had no jurisdiction, as the selecting and recommending authority was only the UPSC even in case of deputation. Moreover, his initial one-year “deputation” was wrongly made through a tailor-made corrigendum published by the Chandigarh Administrator to favour him despite the fact that he was maintaining “lien” with the same institute.

He was also age-barred being 56 years at the time of applying for the post of principal in the GMCH. Not only that, the period of “deputation” has been recently extended second time for one more year retrospectively up to October 30 by the Chandigarh Administrator without consultation with and information to the UPSC. This was despite the fact that on June 4 last year, he had attained superannuation age of 58.



Punjab refuses more water supply to UT
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The municipal corporation’s objective of providing uninterrupted water supply to city residents has received a setback with the Punjab government’s refusal to allow expansion of the Kajauli phase V and VI scheme.

Sources close to the UT administration said the scheme envisaged supply of an additional 40 million gallons per day (mgd), of which the city’s share would be 29 mgd with the rest 11 mgd for Punjab and Haryana. Pipelines would be laid on 14 feet of land in Mohali for both phases.

The sources said advisor to the UT administrator Pardeep Mehra had written twice to the Punjab government in this regard. Earlier, when the proposal was sent to Punjab, it was rejected on the ground that the state would not provide land free of cost for this project to Chandigarh.

Later on a proposal was sent to Punjab that the UT administration would pay about Rs 30 crore for this land on commencement of this project, but till date the government of that state has not respond to it.

Mehra was hopeful Punjab would agree to the revised proposal or at least the matter could be settled across the table.

Punjab principal secretary SC Aggarwal said due to rising demand of water of Mohali residents and farmers in the area it was not possible for the state to follow the 1983 agreement. “We have therefore decided not to supply more water to Chandigarh”, he added.

The sources stated that the pattern of sharing water supply from the Kajauli waterworks between different beneficiary states, including Punjab and Haryana, was decided upon in 1983 by the home ministry and was being implemented till date. The sources added Punjab was getting 10 mgd of the 80 mgd water being supplied to Chandigarh from the Bhakra main line from the four phases.

The sources said officials of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and the Chandigarh municipal corporation held a meeting on this issue, during which the GMADA chief administrator pointed out that as Mohali’s population was steadily rising with the water requirement consequently jumping manifold, GMADA wanted the pipeline of phases V and VI to be laid exclusively for supplying water to Mohali.

Officials of the Punjab water supply and sewerage department have also claimed Chandigarh is currently getting a bigger share of water as per the norms of the central health and environment augmentation.

It may be mentioned here the union urban development ministry had sanctioned expansion of phases V and VI of the water supply scheme for Chandigarh under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) at a meeting held with urban development, secretary M Ramchandran. The ministry sanctioned Rs 171 crore for the project, of which 80 per cent (Rs.134 crore) was in the form of a grant and was to be provided by the central government under JNNURM and 10 per cent each was to be shared by the UT administration and the municipal corporation.



20,000 houses lie vacant in city
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Blame it on fear psychosis among landlords, about 20,000 houses, mostly belonging to NRIs, are lying vacant in Chandigarh. This is despite the fact that thousands of persons are in search of decent and affordable rental accommodation in the city.

Even as Chandigarh prepares for house listing operations as part of the 2011 census scheduled to begin on April 15, this phenomenon has been creating artificial shortage of rental accommodation in the city.

In fact, data compiled as part of the 2001 census, which was released last year, revealed that 19,692 (eight per cent) of the total 2.44 lakh houses were unoccupied in the city. Interestingly, a substantial number of the vacant property is one kanal (500 square yards) and above in Sectors 2 to 30.

“With the law heavily loaded against us, renting our properties, which is worth crores of rupees, is a risky affair. Property disputes take years to resolve, not to mention lots of money which NRIs can ill afford,” said Sucha Singh Gill, a Canada-based NRI, who owns a 500 square yard house in Sector 21.

Besides NRIs, most of the people working in other parts of the country, who have residential properties in the city, also prefer to keep their houses vacant. Given Chandigarh’s living standards, these people prefer to settle in the city post-retirement. Most of them prefer to keep a caretaker and do not wish to engage in property disputes with tenants, observers said.

Observers claimed that a large number of investors buy residential properties for investment purposes. Monetary considerations by way of rental income are not the major incentive for the NRIs to buy property in Chandigarh.

“In fact, NRIs want decent accommodation whenever they visit Chandigarh for vacations. Residing in high-end hotels is a costly affair. That is perhaps the reason why NRIs and people settled in other parts of the country prefer to keep their properties vacant for personal use,” Aman Sharma, a property consultant, added.



A feast for poetry lovers
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 5
The city residents enjoyed the 
choicest verses presented by eminent poets at a kavi sammelan organised by the Haryana Sahitya Akademy in association with the department of information and cultural affairs, Haryana, at the Randhawa Auditorium here today.

The poets included Haryana Rattan awardee litterateur Uday Bhanu Hans, Ved Parksh Ved, Vinay Vishwas, Pragya Verma, Madhav Kaushik, Master Mahender, Mohinder Ajnabi and Surender Sharma.

Themes of recitations covered a whole gamut of issues, including political, socio cultural and economical problems of society.

While Surender Sharma doled out six humour packed poems, including “Sarupnakah ki naak”, local poet Madhav Kaushik rendered a ghazal with a philosophical content and Rubais by senior poet Uday Bhanu Hans were well received.

Dr Mukta, director, Haryana Sahitya Akademy, welcomed the guests, while BS Balhara, project director, honoured poets. 



Scooters catch fire near girl’s hostel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Under mysterious circumstances two scooters caught fire in the parking of Girls Hostel No. 2 at the Panjab University this morning.

A report has been registered at the Sector-11 Police Station by the university authorities.

Although ruling out the possibility of rivalry, the university security officials said the CFSL would look into the matter. In another accident on the campus, a student was attacked by a swarm of honeybees, when the branch of a tree close to the department of laws fell down.

The victim escaped with minor injuries though university officials said measures would be taken to deal with the menace of honeybees.



Honeybees attack students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
In a drama that lasted for half an hour in the parking lot of the department of laws, Panjab University, today, a swarm of honeybees attacked some students who were standing beneath a tree which had a bee hive. Although honeybees attacked three students, they managed to escape and no major injury was reported.

The incident took place when an apparently fragile branch of the tree parted and fell suddenly. The bee hive, which was located on the same branch, fell as well and the honeybees scattered in all directions, attacking a few students. A motorcycle, which was also parked beneath the tree, also got damaged when the branch fell.

The students present in the parking during the incident began to run in search of shelter. A few of them brought fire extinguishers from the department and showered water in the area surrounding the bee hive. Within a few minutes, the students managed to prevent a major attack by the honeybees and the situation was within control in half an hour.



Many courses, no students
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Even as Panjab University has introduced about 20 new departments and centres, ironically several prior existing departments, especially those teaching different languages, hardly have any students.

Consider this: Not even a single student got enrolled for the diploma in Tibetan and also for the diploma of proficiency for internship in Tibet. Only one student got enrolled in the postgraduate diploma in Buddhist studies in the academic year 2008-2009. The department of Chinese and Tibetan languages, department of French and Francophone studies failed to attract a single new PhD enrolment from 2007 to 2009. The chairperson of the department of French confirmed that there were five students pursuing PhD currently, but no new enrollments took place in 2007 and 2008.

According to official figures released, the School of Communication had no new PhD enrolments, but the department chairperson confirmed that there were enrollments in 2007, 2008 and even fresh admissions in 2009.

Interestingly, no student in the Punjabi department applied for the certificate course in functional Punjabi, while only one student got enrolled in the diploma in translation (English to Punjabi) and two students in MPhil (Sri Guru Gobind Singh Studies) according to the latest official figures. The diploma courses in Urdu and Persian had only one student on the attendance roll each. The official figures revealed that MPhil offered in Sanskrit met a similar fate.

Although there were no takers for PhD in French, the one-year certificate course at the department of French remained amongst the most popular for the students studying a foreign language with 91 students enrolling in 2008-2009 and 145 students in 2007-2008.

Likewise, there were no takers for PhD, MA or even advance diploma at the department of German. However, as in the case of the French department, the certificate course in German too remains popular. But the sources say that most students apply for these certificate courses in order to retain cheap university hostel accommodation, while the relatively nominal fee charged by the university compared to private coaching institutions attracts other students.

“The university is opening new courses according to the requirements of the present times. As far as the language departments offering diplomas are concerned, fluctuation happens,” says PU Registrar SS Bari.

Official figures of 2008-2009

Diploma in Tibetan: Nil

Diploma of proficiency for internship in Tibet: Nil

Postgraduate diploma in Buddhist studies: 1

Certificate course in functional Punjabi: 1

Diploma in translation (English to Punjabi): 1

Diploma course in Urdu: 1

Diploma course in Persian: 1

MPhil (Sri Guru Gobind Singh Studies): 2



UILS re-appear exam from May 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Following a protest by nearly 110 students of Panjab University here today, the authorities have agreed to modify the dates of re-appear examinations of the University Institute of Legal studies.

Hundreds of students, who were unable to secure the minimum passing marks in the land law paper, had complained that the re-appear examinations had been scheduled, along with the routine exams of the department.

Expressing their inability to appear in both exams simultaneously, the students demanded for a change in the date sheet.

The students had also claimed that since the result of the exam, conducted in November 2009, was declared only a week ago, they had no time to apply for re-evaluation, as the re-appear examination would happen before the announcement of the re-evaluation result.

According to the new exam schedule, the land law exam, which was earlier, scheduled on April 28, will now take place on May 15.

The labour law exam scheduled for April 20 will now take place on May 14 and the third exam on transfer of property acts will now take place on May 18.

The students have also been told to fill the re-evaluation form and assured that the result of their batch would be released before the re-appear examination.



Exam starts today, but students without roll numbers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
A high drama prevailed outside the National Institute of Open Schools, Sector 11, here today when the parents and the applicants protested for not getting their roll numbers till date though the exam starts from tomorrow.

Over hundreds of students thronged the office today demanding a permission to be allowed to appear on the basis of online intimation slips.

“Our exams start from tomorrow and I have not got my roll number. The authorities say that they have posted all the roll numbers. It’s not our fault, so we are requesting them to grant us the permission to use online information slips, confirming our candidature, to appear for the exams,” said a student from Sector 43.

According to protestors, this discrepancy has become a characteristic of the institute where students have to face similar harassment every year.

The authorities, however, dismissed all allegations as the director MS Lamba clarified that only those who might have furnished a wrong address or found ineligible would not have got the roll numbers.

He also announced that the eligible candidates could gain entry to the centre through intimation slips which have a scanned picture of the candidate.



Trial in Boston case today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The trial in the Boston molestation case involving Panjab University student, Nitin Jindal, is scheduled to begin tomorrow in Boston.

Nitin, a fifth semester student of University Institute of Legal Studies, had been debarred from the university examinations scheduled to start from April 16.

During his trip to Boston, the Boston police framed charges against him on the complaint of a local girl, who alleged that Nitin tried to rape her. Though the matter has pacified on the campus, Nitin’s fate would be decided after the court trial tomorrow.

According to close friends of Nitin, a compromise is expected between the girl and Nitin and he will soon return to the city. “The discussions in the department have died down and the students are occupied with the upcoming exams,” said Nitin’s friend on the condition of anonymity.

When an effort was made to contact Nitin’s parents at his residence, a servant replied that the family members were not at home. He, however, confirmed that Nitin’s parents were in the city and not in Boston.



Govt teachers rue duty
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 5
Government teachers are protesting against the move of the district administration in deputing them on Census duty. Around 1,000 teachers are being deputed on the census in the district.

On the condition of anonymity, teachers lamented that teachers of private schools should also be put on census duty. According to information, one lecturer and six teachers from each school are to be deputed on the census duty.

Officials in the district administration -- the Census Commission of India -- had clarified that teachers could be put on the census duty. Each enumerator would be given 150 households and the duty would be from May to June.

The officials are waiting for the matric class examination papers and practical to end by April 15. Those on supervisor duty are already attending the training. Officials said the census had to be carried out from May 1 to June 15.



Pvt schools resent Census duty by teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The forthcoming National Census has put city private schools in distress with the UT Administration asking them to spare up to 50 per cent of their teaching staff for the month-long Census work beginning April 15.

School teachers assigned for the Census duty have been threatened with up to three years of imprisonment in case they failed to report for the Census duty. Such notices have been issued to five out of about 40 private schools, which were prompt to make the teachers available for the Census duty.

UT Administration officials were unavailable for comment. While UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas declined to respond to a total 10 calls made on his cell phone between 6 pm and 9.30 pm today, assistant estate official Hargunjit Kaur (the notice has been issued under her signature) had “conveniently” switched it off all evening.

While some senior officials of the UT education department speaking on the condition of anonymity, justified it as being “legal”, the school authorities are wondering how they can run their school for an entire month with a skeletal staff. The school authorities have in vain been trying to persuade Census officials.

“I have 20 teachers in my school, out of which 12 have been put on the Census duty. I received the letter around 5 pm on Thursday. It was followed by three holidays and today when I went to the Census office to sort it out, there was nobody to help. How do I run my school for the next 40 days? The session has just started. Both parents and we as a school cannot allow the students to suffer,” said sources in Ashiana Public School.

The condition is same for other schools like St Stephen’s, Sector 45, which has been asked to spare 14 teachers, including the administrative official.

“They have duped us. We initially got a letter from them asking us for a list of teachers, but they did not specify any purpose and now we have got this. How do we run the school with 60 per cent of our teachers rendered unavailable for a month? If parents start protesting against incompletion of the curriculum, will the UT Administration or the Census department shoulder responsibility? What is this threat of imprisonment? Are we criminals?” questioned a senior official of a private school.

Saupin’s School, Sector 32, is another school to have received a notice. But school principal ABS Sidhu refused to comment, saying that he needed to first understand the legal implications.

“The Census department has enough money. Why not outsource this work? Their notice may be legal, but what effect will it have on thousands of school students? They could have requested a teacher or two, but asking for 14 teachers is hardly justified. The Census department should get officials from other government departments,” said a school association functionary, who declined to be identified. “The Census department is intentionally victimising the private schools by making such an unprecedented demand,” he alleged.

Copy of the notice

Subject: Census Duty- House listing and Housing Census and Preparation of National Population Register- Appointment of Enumerator/Supervisor regarding.

In exercise of the powers conferred upon iTie under Sub-Section (4) of Section 4 and Section 7 of the Census Act, 1948 (37 of 1948) & Rule 5 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 and the powers delegated by the Chandigarh Administration vide. Notification No. 9/5/1 1-IH(I)- 2009/23832 dated December 16, 2009. I hereby appoint officials of your department as Supervisor/Enumerator for House listing, Housing Census and NPR (National Population Register) details of which are given overleaf.

By virtue of these appointments, they are deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code. They may note that refusing census duty is an offence, which is punishable with imprisonment up to three years.

The duties and responsibilities of the Supervisor/Enumerator and relevant provisions of the Census Act, 1948 and Citizenship Rules, 2003 are given in the Instruction Manuals of House listing & Housing Census and NPR for their information and compliance.

Name: Ms. Hargunjit Kaur (PCS) Assistant Estate Officer-cum-Census charge officer Urban) Signature ...X



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