C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chandigarh’s shame
N-choe: Who is to blame
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
While thousands of city inhabitants are at mercy of the germs breeding in stench of the N-Choe, technical loopholes in the existing sewerage system coupled with unplugged holes, all over the city, don’t show any ray of hope for redemption, in the near future. All representations by city residents seem to have fallen on deaf ears and the administration appears blind to ignore a visible disaster on the horizon.

Chandigarh Tribune, yesterday exposed how the N-choe had become Chandigarh’s shame. Starting right from the stench on the choe tract near the residence of the Haryana Chief Minister’s residence in Sector 3, the polluted stream flows into the coveted Leisure Valley of Sector 10. The waters turn morbid Sector 24, onwards. Showing no improvement in water quality while flowing through Sectors 36 and 42, the water presents a ghastly sight and terrible smell near the Exit Point in Kajheri village. It has also become a major health hazard.

So who are the guilty? The short answer is that there are many – some are obvious culprits but in other cases the culpability is more diffused hidden by unauthorized underground sewerage pipes that flow sneakily into the choe. Here are some of the main culprits.

MLA Hostel

MLA Hostel: Its dirty backside
MLA Hostel: Its dirty backside

MLA Hostel: Its backside
MLA Hostel: Its backside

The first visible culprit is, hold your nose, the high profile MLA Hostel and its inmates. Besides the dug up portion on the choe tract near the Haryana Chief Minister’s residence showing open sewerage, a little downstream the residual waters of population housing in the MLA Hostel can be seen flowing into the stream, particularly during early morning hours and late evenings.

An employee on duty at the sump, yesterday, confided the fact that normal water was being discharged into the drain along with a sewerage pipeline carrying city waste, in the North. Denying the information, a senior officer of the administration said “this happened in the past”. “The error existed because the sewerage line was placed at a higher platform. The height allowed the sewer to flow back into the choe. The error had been corrected with a special sump, at the venue”, he added. The officer accepted that he could deny that “the machine went out of order, some times, and the residents pay the price, in return”. The fact remains though that sewage is flowing into the choe ostensibly from the Hostel

Yatri Niwas

As the choe meanders its way through the city its seems to gather more muck. At Sector 15, at one point of time there were reports of sewerage leakage from the Yatri Niwas, a UT undertaking and the ‘dhobi ghat’(washerman’s spot) , opposite the road. The corporation claimed to have blocked the breaches. At the venue, the visible stream of the dirty water could not have come from anywhere else except a human habitation. So what excuse can the Municipal Corporation come up? So far, no new ones.

Attawa Chowk

By the time it reaches Attawa chowk, there is a thick flow of sewerage from the residential area running into the ‘choe’. Also visible are scores of empty plastic water bottles (unless not lifted by the rag pickers) and smashed glass, as well. A group of retired teachers from Punjab Engineering College, living in the vicinity of the ‘choe’, are learnt to have approached the corporation and the administration, in the past. “There was a slight improvement, however, things are back to the normal stink now”, a resident said.

Naresh Kumar, a local businessman, said “I have a very simple question to ask. If administration claim negligent sewer entering choe was correct, why does the stream get thicker here?. The volume goes on increasing till its Exit point. There is no source of water for the seasonal rivulet. Naturally, the dirty water flows from the houses and hotels”.


Near the Exit Point, unlike the city quarters where underground sewerage pipes silently polluted the natural ‘choe’, Kajheri has open pipes that empty its sewerage into the choe. Even a blind cannot deny the pitiable living conditions in the colony. “The smell could have a dead man walking”, said Paramjit Singh, a local resident said. The area lacks adequate sewerage lines in the city. Kuldeep Singh Kajheri, area councilor, said “the sewerage lines are faulty, at several places and the matter has been brought before the concerned authorities, in the past. The stream which should be dry in this part of the year ordains the form of a perennial river in our area.”

Despite these glaring lapses, officials play pass the buck rules when it comes to accountability. Maintenance of the N-Choe is under purview of the administration. On ground, the main contributors to the filth of the choe are sewerage outlets, from different sources, under the purview of the Municipal Corporation. Under the existing circumstances of ‘no action’ and ‘ new committees’ to make suggestions, which are never implemented, residents will continue to bear cross of the obnoxious smell and accompanying ills, till their patience runs out. Devesh Pandey, a software engineer, said “we will be forced to come on to the streets”.

Top officers in the administration claimed that the choe tract was very clean uptil, Rose Garden, Sector 16. They, however, offer no justification for the all pervasive stench, which is heightened during the early mornings and late evenings, Northern portions of the city. Not denying MC and administration claims of attempts at plugging loopholes, the authorities cannot deny a greater care needed for plugging open drains supplying bulk of the polluter, at different points along the choe in the entire city. Will they act now? Chandigarh holds its breath and its nose.


School-bookseller Nexus
Education dept to move consumer court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The UT education department is all set to move consumer court to put an end to the school-bookseller nexus. The department has decided to move to court demanding directions against the city book-sellers for allegedly forcing the parents to buy complete set of school books, including the stationary items. Claiming it to be an unfair trade practice the UT education department will seek directions against book-sellers, as done in case of school bus-operators.

The decision was taken today when a mother of a student of Moti Ram Arya School, Sector 27, approached the Home Secretary, complaining against a Sector 22-based bookstore.

“I have the complete book set of my elder child and just wanted four books for the younger one. The book-seller refused to give me loose books and forced me to buy the whole set, failing which I was refused to get any books. When I have the books already then why should I be forced to buy a new set with all the unwanted stationary? The school had asked us to go to a particular shop only and refused to intervene so I was forced to approach the education department,” said the complainant.

Following this an inspection team went to the bookstore. “We have issued a show-cause notice to Moti Ram Arya School and will be taking an action. We had asked all schools to display a list of books giving details of the publishers, but the schools have “suggested” a bookseller to parents. Our inspection has found all private schools guilty of it and they will have to face a stern action now,” said a senior official of the education department.’

Box: Education department has appealed the parents to submit a written complaint if any school forces them to buy books from a particular bookstore or even if the book-sellers force them to buy complete sets of books or stationery 



Power board staff protest unbundling
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 6
On a call given by members of the Technical Services Union (TSU) and the PSEB Employees Federation, workers of the Mohali division burnt an effigy of the Punjab Government in protest against the move of the authorities concerned to unbundle the power board.

The protesters sat on dharna, raised slogans and condemned the move of the government to unbundle the board.

While addressing the gathering, Lakha Singh of the TSU said employees were already on a path of agitation in connection with their long pending demands and instead of conceding to their demands, the government was making efforts to unbundle the board, which had led to resentment among employees.

The protesters said the government was planning to give the charge of the power board to three private companies, which would not only put the jobs of employees on stake, but consumers would also have to pay more for power.

Bassi Pathana: On a call given by the state unit, members of the local Technical Service Union, PSEB, staged a rally and burnt the effigy of the state government in support of their demands.

Addressing the rally, Harmesh Kumar, president, and Pushpinder Singh, secretary, lashed out at the government and the management of the PSEB over the move to privatise the board.

They vowed to oppose the move and demanded the scrapping of the Electricity Bill, 2003 in the interest of the state and employees.

They demanded the filling of vacant posts on compassionate grounds and sought fresh recruitment.

They termed the government move a conspiracy to terminate the services of its employees and expressed solidarity with state unit in intensifying the struggle.



Admn in trouble over players’ age
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The decision of showing the door to 21 budding players from the state-run sports academies has put the Chandigarh Administration in dock.

The reason behind the step was that the players were found overage in the advanced medical examinations conducted recently by the authorities here. The decision, however, led the players (seven from hockey academy, two from football academy and 12 from cricket academy) in a dilemma, as most of them are stating that their ousting from the academies would spoil their sports career in its initial stage.

Some players, along with their parents, said they were not at fault when they were inducted in the state-run academies after passing all trials and medical examinations conducted by the authorities. On the other hand, the sports authorities claimed that these players did not submit “genuine” birth certificates that time. “Now when the digital X-ray was conducted on all junior players of the three academies, the reports of these players were not in consonance with the date of birth certificates,” said JPS Sidhu, joint director, Chandigarh sports department.

On being asked, how the players cleared the medical examinations during their admission, Sidhu said proper tests were conducted at the GMSH, Sector 16, at the time of admission, but somehow they were through. “But now after the digital X-ray tests, which were conducted in February, the truth came to fore, following which we decided to discharge them,” said Sidhu.

Notably, several lakhs of rupees are being spent on the players in these academies, which were being run by the Chandigarh Sports Council. Here, in the academies, the players are being given all facilities, including board, lodging, education, diet, kits and training free of cost. According to an official, the annual expenditure on each player here is between Rs 50,000 and Rs 70,000.

The worst affected in the case is the Chandigarh Cricket Academy from where as many as 12 players out of 24 budding cricketers have been ordered to discharge. To get the first batch in the academy, which came into existence three years before, the administration had spent lakhs of rupees on the trials, which were conducted in several states of the country then. After that no player was inducted in the academy.

However, ML Sharma, director, Chandigarh sports department, when contacted said two players of the cricket academy would be re-examined.

The names of the trainees, who have been discharged on the overage issue are as follow: Junior football: Gourav and Prabhjot Singh. Junior hockey: Parampreet Singh, Gurjot Singh, Jaspreet Singh, Amritpal Singh, Arvinder Singh, Kawaljit Singh and Sumeet Pal. Cricket academy: Akhil Jakhmola, Amrinder Pal, Pushkar Sharma, Aseem Wadhwa, Sajid Yusuf, Avneet, Saurav Vaswan, Davesh Sharma, Rahul, Naveen Kumar, Kapil Kumar and Hemant Singh.



Curbs on kerosene retail distribution
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The UT administration has imposed restrictions on the retail distribution of kerosene to be sold in the Union Territory, Chandigarh, subject to various conditions.

An order passed by the Department of Food and Supplies and Consumer Affairs, UT, Chandigarh, said the card holders who are holding single LPG cylinder shall be entitled to draw the supplies of kerosene of 3 litres per month from their respective kerosene-disbursing pump where their ration card stands registered. It further stated that the card holders having single unit (one member) and senior citizen shall be entitled to draw the supplies of kerosene up to 4 litres per month, whereas the card holders having 2 to 3 units shall be entitled to draw the supplies of kerosene up to 8 litres per month. The cardholders having more than 3 units shall be entitled to draw the supplies of kerosene up to 12 litres per month.

These orders would be applicable with immediate effect.



Mystery fever in Panchkula identified
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 6
An undiagnosed disease, which has been baffling the residents of the city during the past about three weeks, has now been identified as paratyphoid-A.

Six persons have been identified to be suffering from the disease.

The main cause of the spread of this disease has been attributed to the mixing of sewage in the underground drinking water pipes.

Civil surgeon Dr Kamla Singh, talking to The Tribune, said she had been receiving complaints of high-grade fever, which remained undiagnosed during the past about 20 days. She said the officials of the health department, led by Dr Jagmal Singh, along with SEN and SE of the public health, HUDA, had a combined survey of the Sectors 6, 11, 4 and 25.

They also took water samples of the area, along with the blood samples of the residents, which had been sent for testing and the results of which were expected in a day or two.

Dr Kamla Singh said they had also received reports about people suffering from high fever in Kalka and the department had collected water samples there too and sent the same for testing.

She said, however, only four cases of typhoid were identified there.

She said the department had also launched a campaign to have a combined survey of the urban Panchkula and were collecting water and blood samples.



Tributes paid to Devi Lal
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 6
Tributes were paid to former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal by his followers at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Sector 3 on his ninth death anniversary today.

A “Sarv Dharam Sabha” was organised by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) workers, led by MLA and district president Pardeep Chaudhary.

Addressing the party workers, Chaudhary said Devi Lal had not only served the people of the state, but gave new direction to the people across the country. He said the leader had also made his contribution in the freedom of the country at the age of 14 and also went to jail. 



PU to adopt rainwater harvesting
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Taking a giant leap forward in practically implementing the popular slogan “Save Water. Save Earth”, Panjab University is all set to utilise rooftops of all buildings in the campus to harvest rainwater at a large scale.

Boasting of becoming the first university in the country to plan the “rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge to ground water”, university officials formally announced the project at the Senate meeting held on April 4.

To accumulate excessive rainwater in the campus, which is being wasted currently, 56 structures will be prepared on ground at different locations in the campus, which will accommodate 100 cubic metres (cum) of water each.

Not only will the scheme allow utilisation of surplus water which otherwise goes to the drains and squatters on the roads, it will also prove instrumental in lifting the declining ground water and prevent potholes created on the roads during the rainy season, claim officials.

The idea was formulated after a technical committee of the university conducted a campus specific study on the rainwater harvesting, which revealed that the average annual rainfall in the campus is 1,074 mille metres (mm) and the excessive water generated during the rain is 2,800 cum (cubic metres), which is being wasted.

The project, which is being sponsored by the Central Ground Water Board through the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, is currently at the planning stage and is likely to commence once the government releases the estimated cost which has been verbally assured, said the university officials.



Principals’ meet at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The principals’ conference of colleges affiliated to Panjab University was held at the mathematics auditorium of the PU here today. More than 80 principals participated in the conference, which was presided over by Prof SS Bari, registrar, Panjab University.

Lt General BS Dhaliwal, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, adviser (technical), Punjab Chief Minister and Fellow, PU, interacted with the principals on “Interactive Leadership” and emphasised the value of initiative, understanding and out-of-box thinking. Mrituyunjay Kumar, a specialist in library science, stressed the need of digitalisation of the libraries.

Prof Keshav Malhotra, associate dean, College Development Council, urged the principals to prepare database regarding examiners, so that in future remuneration to the examiners could be paid by directly crediting the same to their respective account.

He further requested the principals that all the colleges should make the payments to the university through Internet and RTGS Mode.



Website launched

Panchkula, April 6
The Kashmiri Pandit Sabha (KPS) launched its website www.kashyapvear.com to raise awareness among members and public about the activities of the community settled in the tricity. 

Vinod Razdan, vice-president of the sabha, said members of the community living not only in India but across the world would be able to contact local sabha members through the website. Razdan said people could also find match for their children within the community.

Meanwhile, the sabha organised its annual hawan at Shiv Temple, HMT complex, Pinjore, on Sunday in which over 500 people took part. A community kitchen was arranged in the evening.— TNS



Cement Scam
Firm told to withdraw from work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The municipal corporation has issued a notice to a contractor, Sarpriya Building Products with AK Sood Engineers, which was involved in the recent cement scam, giving the firm three days to withdraw from the project in Sector 17 which it had been allotted.

According to the notice, MC officials have asked the company to withdraw from all projects as the civic body had blacklisted it for the next five years. MC chief engineer SS Bidda said all these projects would be re-allotted soon.

MC officials said they have issued directions to the contractor that the Sector 17 project, work on which had already been begun by the firm, would have to be completed by them only. They added there are two road projects in the Industrial Area, work on which the contractor had already started.

The officials further said the contracts for two other projects recently allotted to the firm had been withdrawn and those for two other projects on which the company was yet to begin work had also been withdrawn. 



‘People’s movement’ against capitation fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,April 6
With the capitation fee menace assuming alarming proportions in the backdrop of the mushrooming professional colleges in Chandigarh’s periphery, a “people’s movement” is buidling up against social evil.

The ball was set rolling by an NGO, Sanjivani - a commitment, here today through a human chain which saw enthusiastic participation by hundreds of people from different walks of life, including students, educationists, businessmen and professionals.

It was resolved to make this initiative a people’s movement and rope in more students and parents, the major stakeholders, in campaign to rid the education system of donations/capitation fee which was eroding the very fabric of society. “The payment of capitation fee is like giving dowry for having a short-term relations of about four years with an educational institute,” the NGO alleged.

“With the the Right to Education becoming a fundamental right, the government should act strict against the unscrupulous educational institutions which were playing with students’ future,” a representative of the NGO said.

The organisation believes the capitation fee damages the education system in more than one way. First, it guarantee admission to a below average system. Second, the meritorious students who are poor, are denied admissions.

The NGO urged the All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE) to crack the whip against unscrupulous college indulging in taking donations for admission. A street play highlighting the menace of capitation fee was also staged by Ranjit Roy’s Chandigarh Art Theatre. The NGO can be contacted at sanjivaniacommitment@gmail.com.



Pension Benefits
Senior citizen’s charge against PSEB
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 6
A senior citizen, Harbhajan Singh, is peeved at the manner in which his retirement benefits have been withheld by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

“The department not only destroyed my service book, but jeopardised my career. They are now refusing to even pay my retirement benefits. I have complained to the President of India, the Punjab Governor and the Chief Minister, but to no avail,” he said.

Narrating his woes, Harbhajan Singh, who worked with the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) as an auto mechanic, retired after putting 35 years of service. In 1963, he joined Beas Dam Project Talwara Township and in 1968 he was promoted as the auto mechanic.

In October 1977, he was retrenched from the service and again appointed with effect from November 1978 on work charge and his service were to be governed by regularisation of the Mukeria Hydel Project. During his service period, the department lost his service book and it was not reconstructed despite several representations.

As a result of the non-availability of the service book, the department did not fix his pay and pensionary benefits could not be determined and his case for regularisation of job was not considered. Then in 1994, the PSEB issued seniority list of auto mechanics and his name appeared at the first position.

The selection committee, however, did not consider his seniority and he gave a representation in 1996. Instead of him, Bhupinder Singh, who figured second in the seniority list, was selected.

Ultimately he retired in September 1998 after putting 20 years of service in the Mukerian Hydel Project. He lamented that by not considering his case, the department had caused great injustice and mental torture to him. 



PU Notes
45 scholars for physics lectures

School in theoretical high-energy physics was inaugurated today at Physics department, PU, by dean of the faculty of science Prof AS Ahluwalia.

The school is sponsored by department of science and technology, Government of India, and also by physics department under the chairmanship of Prof MM Gupta and would continue till April 22.

According to sources, Prof Charanjit Singh Aulakh of Panjab University is the school director, while Dr CN Kumar and Dr Kuldeep Kumar are organising secretary and technical secretary.

As many as 45 PhD scholars from research institutes and universities across the country will attend four specialised lectures plus tutorial courses of 25 hours each in frontier areas of research.

Pradeep Memorial lecture

Prof MM Puri, Professor Emeritus in the department of political science and former Vice-Chancellor, PU, delivered the fifth Pradeep Memorial Lecture at Gandhi Bhawan, PU, here today.

The annual lecture is organised by the department of political science, PU, in memory of Prof Pradeep Kumar, who was both a student and teacher for many years at the department.

Students, teachers, former colleagues, etc attended the lecture and the family members of Prof Kumar were also present.

Prof TR Sharma, former chairperson, presided over the lecture and Dr Ronki Ram, chairperson, department of political science also spoke at the event.

Annual function

The sixth annual function of University Institute of Legal Studies was held today at the moot court hall of the department.

The prizes were awarded to the students, who secured top positions in their final examination.

The students who represented the institute and brought laurel in various national moot court competitions, seminars, client counselling competitions, paper presentations, sports and other academic activities were felicitated by the director of the Institute, Dr Sangita Bhalla. Special prize was awarded to the students for securing maximum attendance.

The department will hold a special function on Wednesday to honour the outgoing batch of 2010.


Department of science and technology, Government of India, has awarded a research project of Rs 380,0000 for three years to Prof SK Mehta, chemistry department, Panjab University.

Prof Mehta, honorary DAAD adviser and recipient of German DAAD fellowship, authors award of Royal Society of Chemistry, UK, JSPS invitation fellowship, Japan and Indo-German DST-DAAD Project Based Personnel Exchange Programme (PPP) has made several visits abroad for collaborative research.

He has contributed to the international scientific literature in the form of more than 100 research publications. — TNS



Admn Volte-face
Pvt schoolteachers off census duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Taking a ‘U-turn’ on its decision to assign teachers of various private schools in the city on census duty, the UT administration today cancelled its directive issued earlier, claiming it to be a “mistake”.

“Efforts have been made to depute employees from different departments for the task so that their routine work doesn’t suffer. However, it has been observed that some staff members of private schools have inadvertently been deployed. They may treat this public-notice as withdrawal of the orders for census duty,” read a clarification issued by the department today.

It may be noted the administration had recently put over 60 per cent of the total teaching staff of three private schools on census duty. The teachers were asked to report immediately for duty for 40 days failing which they could be punished with rigorous imprisonment for up to three years.

Principals of the schools concerned raised objections over the move that, according to them, was bound to hamper the normal functioning of the schools and completion of the curriculum.



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