C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Countrymade weapons much in use
82 pc firearms used by criminals in city since 2000 illegal
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The long wait for procuring a valid arms licence has not helped in lowering the crime rate. Firearms used by criminals in various incidents reported in the city show that their supply is much greater than the licensed ones. Over four-fifth, 82 per cent, of the firearms used in different crimes in the city during the last nine years were illegal.

In the period from January 1, 2000, to September, 2009, of the total 88 cases registered under provisions of the Arms Act, as many as 72 cases pertained to the use of countrymade weapons in the crime.

Going by the fact that it is not easy to obtain a licensed weapon, criminals prefer to go for an easy and cheap purchase. A countrymade pistol, called ‘katta’, is readily available in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. For obvious reasons, the major one being avoiding easy identification, a criminal will not opt to use a licensed weapon.

Giving details, a senior police officer said, “Criminals prefer using a ‘use-and-throw’ weapon. Even those weapons that are recovered cannot be traced to their source. It is incredible that despite full public knowledge about the weapons being easily available in the neighbourhood, state governments concerned have done nothing substantial to check the problem. It is very difficult for us to carry out any investigation or ground action in the territory of another state.”

“In normal routine, the process of getting an arms licence is a tedious one. A gun manufactured at an ordnance factory costs between Rs 85,000 and Rs 1 lakh,” said Rajesh Sharma, president of the local unit of the Anti-Terrorist Front.

Sharma retrieved data on the use of illegal and licensed firearms in crime in the period between January 1, 2000, and September, 2009, to analyse crime trends in the city.

Information provided by the Chandigarh police revealed that of the 88 cases registered under the Arms Act, licensed weapons were used only in 16 incidents, of which three were of suicide and the rest involved their use in self-defence.

National Crime Record Bureau studies showed that of the 33,428 murders committed in 2007 in the country, only 598 murders (1.79 per cent) were committed using licensed weapons.

Readily Available

‘Katta’, a countrymade pistol, is easily available from Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh as well as several places in Bihar. The pistol, priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 5,000, is made from crude raw material, including water pipes and steering wheels. The weapon is available through a ‘source’, which can be a goon from the local colony, who gets a share in the purchase.



Monkey menace spreads, no solution in sight
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Shashi Jhingan, a resident of Sector 7, always takes a good look outside through the heavily grilled front window of her house, stepping out only if she does not see any rhesus monkey. Like her, those living in many other city areas have begun to hesitate before venturing out.

“I cannot feed my daughter in my house’s balcony and I have stopped preparing pickles and drying ‘papad’ or clothes on the terrace,” says Rama, a housewife residing in Sector 15.

Perched atop buildings, gates, cars and telephone and electricity wires, these dreadful monkeys are constantly on the lookout for people carrying eatables and do not hesitate to attack them. These are known to have entered homes and helped themselves from refrigerators.

Residents of Sectors 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, 22, Panjab University campus and the area around the PGI have endless tales to narrate about the continuing monkey menace in the city.


The Chandigarh Forest Department’s helpline numbers for registering any complaint on the monkey menace are 0172-2700217 and 2700284

Those who have been affected have complained about the problem several times to the civic authorities, but there seems to be no foolproof solution in sight.

UT Chief Wildlife Conservator Ishwar Singh says officials of his department have been trying to help city residents to scare away the monkeys by hiring those owning ‘langur’ (larger black-faced monkeys).

He has conceded they are at a loss to figure out a permanent solution to the problem. Ironic as it seems, the monkey menace has resulted in people caging themselves in their homes and offices alike to avert the possibility of attack.

Among the places worst affected is the PGI, where relatives of many patients worship monkeys, who Hindus think are gods. They indulge the animals with food in the hope that the Hanuman deity will be suitably propitiated and cure their relatives admitted to the hospital.

The monkey menace is no less evident at the university campus, where it is a familiar sight to see groups of simians relaxing in hostel corridors. Many students, especially girls, are too terror-stricken to step out of their rooms.

With the UT administration’s inability to curb this menace, many affected residents now have to depend on the services of those owning ‘langur’, which these monkeys fear.

Indeed, if there is one category of people that appears to be the biggest beneficiaries of the monkey menace, it is the ‘langur’ owners, who are cashing in on the situation by charging between Rs 6,000 and Rs 7,000 per month to scare away monkeys.

Panjab University have hired three and the PGI two private ‘langur’ owners to deal with the menace. Some residents of Sector 10 say they have collectively shelled out about Rs 14,000 for arranging a ‘langur’ owner to stay in their area to combat the menace. Ironically, even the Chandigarh Forest Department has hired two ‘langur’ owners for Rs 6,000 each.

Sources close to the administration say two years ago, an expert committee had floated a proposal to rehabilitate the monkeys in the tricity after a PIL was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The court had observed that since the administration had already made arrangements by hiring ‘langurs’, there was no need to set up a rehabilitation centre for monkeys.

Mina Gill, a resident of Sector 10 in her late 40s, was bitten by a monkey only last month and had to be injected with anti-rabies injections. Narrating the incident with fear still writ large on her face, she said she had gone to collect her washed clothes from the lawn when a group of monkeys grabbed her and bit her on the leg. “Luckily, my maid was present in the lawn and she shooed away the monkeys. Otherwise, it could have been worse,” she recalled.


Sector 10 resident Gaganmeet, in her late 30s, decided not to take a risk at her daughter’s 10th birthday party. Apprehensive that monkeys would disrupt the party, she decided to get three ‘langur’ owners to be present during the occasion. She managed to get two of them free of cost from the UT administration and hired the third for Rs 4,000 for the evening. Not surprisingly, she was more concerned that the ‘langur’ owners arrived on time.



32 fresh cases of gastroenteritis reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The tricity continues to be in the grip of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea, with 32 fresh cases being reported at various government hospitals. The total number of cases reported in the city’s government hospitals in the past three days crossed the 130 mark. This number could be much higher as several patients were seeking treatment from private hospitals and clinics, said a UT health official.

Eighteen patients, including two adults, reported today at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, one at the PGI emergency and 15, including three children, at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32. This seems to have become a daily pattern.

Dr NK Arora, medical superintendent, GMSH, maintained that the situation was under control and a number of patients had been discharged after treatment.

It could not be called an outbreak as these cases had been pouring in from various sectors and colonies, he said. “Gastric problems follow a seasonal trend. Most gastric infections increase due to hot weather conditions, causing bacteria to proliferate rapidly, spoiling food and water and increasing the risk of infection,” said Dr Vipin Kaushal, medical superintendent, GMCH. “There are a large number of food establishments in the city that do not follow the requisite standards of hygiene in preparation, storage and distribution, leading to more cases of gastroenteritis,” he added.

The main symptoms of gastroenteritis were vomitting, fever, weakness, dehydration, giddiness, abdominal pain and muscle cramps. Hygienic conditions kept the risk of gastroenteritis low.

Chopping boards should be washed and dried properly. One should never leave food for long hours and stale food should not be used. Always make use of pure and chlorinated bottled water, said doctors.

According to experts, “Gastroenteritis can be easily cured at home if the condition is mild. It requires a lot of rest and oral rehydration. Immediate medical attention and hospitalisation is a must if the condition does not improve. Patients need to be given intravenous treatment and antibiotics.”



PSPB Hockey
Match-fixing comes to city
Sanjay Bumbroo and Parvesh Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The match between ONGC-B and ONGC-A was a mockery of the game as the juniors left the goal gates open for their counterparts to score at will during the ongoing 28th PSPB Hockey Tournament at Hockey Stadium in Sector 42 today. The reason was to allow them a sizeable margin (more than 15-0) to enter the final. Team B eventually lost 21-2.

Team B pulled out their senior players and instead, pushed extras into the field. One of the three rested players, requesting anonymity, said it had been decided by the team management that team B would not resist the moves of team A so that the senior team could win by a margin of at least 15 goals.

Indian Oil Corporation were already in the final. In the first match of the day, BPCL defeated ONGC-B 12-2.

In case ONGC-A won by a lesser margin against team B, they would have lost the chance of entering the final. Team B lost the match to allow the seniors to enter the final.

Visitors to the venue were in for a rude shock to see team B not even defending the goalpost. A spectator said, “Defenders would stand outside the ‘D’ and allow attackers to enter and score at will. Even the goalkeeper did not make any attempt to save goals.”

Reacting to a media query on the mockery of a match, an official of ONGC-A said, “It is none of your business to interfere in our gameplan. The game has been played fairly by our supporting team to allow the better-deserving team to enter the final. There is no malice intended. The move is only a part of the gameplan.”

A senior player said, “The tournament should not allow two teams from the same organisation unless they are competing against one another professionally.”

A senior ONGC official, terming the allegations as baseless, claimed that some players were being rested as they had received injuries during the yesterday’s match.

Officials said team A were stronger than team B and there would be no surprise if the former won by a big margin.

An eminent hockey player who was present during the match, on the condition of anonymity, said that the step of the ONGC was only an attempt to secure a place in the final.

“Such a step is totally uncalled for as it lowers the morale of others, who want to play for the country,” he added.



Citizens’ Voice- N-Choe
It is time for government to act

The government has been talking a lot about pollution by vehicles and strict laws are being enacted. But the state is not bothered about the air and water pollution caused by discharging untreated sewage into the rain-fed choe. Even in Ludhiana, Patiala and Moga, we have sewage flowing and the government doing nothing.

— DPS Bhullar, operating three-wheelers at Mohali

Living close to a source of pollution is a nightmare. We are using mosquito repellents, insecticides and other measures to stop the breeding of mosquitoes near our houses. The Mohali MC needs to put in more effort in cleaning operations so that residents living in areas close to the choe are able to lead a disease-free life.

— Manjit Kaur, a housewife

The polluted water has affected different sources of underground water. This water is used to grow vegetables. Our milch cattle come in direct contact with the sewage. The value of fields close to the choe has gone down. We also have a right to a pollution-free environment. The Chandigarh and Mohali authorities need to stop the water from entering the choe.

— Dr Jasdeepak Singh, resident of Kambali village

The state is responsible for our woes. When the PUDA authorities failed to provide sewerage and gave physical possession of houses to allottees in Phase IX, the owners had no option but connect their sewage outlets to the storm water drains, which ultimately joined the choe.

— Malkiat Kaur, resident of Phase IX

Mohali is like any other Indian town, which has a garbage and sewage problem. This does not fit in the concept of a planned town. For the time being, more trees should be planted along the choe to bring down the unpleasant odour.

— Surinder Kaur, resident of Phase X

Citizens’ Voice

We invite our readers to share their views and suggestions for publication on how to clean up the N-Choe which was once a pride of the City Beautiful.

Please e-mail or write to the Editor-in-Chief at nchoe@tribunemail.com or The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh along with your contact address and phone number.


Open House Response
Environment in periphery under threat

Le Corbusier's Chandigarh is fast assuming an unmanageable proportion, particularly in absence of an integrated map for its future growth. Thanks to the on-going development in the suburbs and the government favoring the builders, it will soon to difficult to distinguish between the city and its periphery.

The increasing congestion along with the accompanying load of pollution and poor quality of life had led a sizeable population looking for haven in open areas, adjoining the city. Low housing prices and alternate job opportunities have been big factors in the population shift to the neighbouring areas. Improvement in the transportation system has also contributed significantly to the population shift.

In the current scenario, environmental concerns have taken a backseat. Absolute neglect on account of following examples of urban settlements that have virtually collapsed, while looking at our future, could lead the system to a point of no return. Serious action, incase delayed could lead to an unpleasant situation.

The pressure on land is rising, day by day, with construction of multi-storeyed buildings in the entire periphery including Kharar, Zirakpur, Mullanpur and further even on the peripheries of the adjoining towns of Panchkula and Mohali. The greenery is vanishing and the natural fauna is being hampered. The biggest culprits in the rising water use and the greenhouse gas emissions are these satellite towns.

The suburban life is not sustainable unless a matching provision for availability of water and other infrastructure was put in place, well in advance.

The need of the hour is to take care of our planet and avoid it to be a mere money minting avenue by destroying it. A paradoxical but generally true statement is that if you want to be good to your environment, stay away from it! It's better to move to high-rise apartments surrounded by plenty of concrete than to push the construction in open areas as had been done in California. This will help in lessening global warming.

Kimmi Vaneet Kaur Sethi, Mohali

Grid map of the city may be altered

Seemingly, the areas raised on basis of the pristine Corbusien logic will remain to the centre of 'Greater Chandigarh' quite like Cerda's grid in today's Barcelona, as a reminder of the starting point of the city. Barcelona, as it grew, retained its 'linearly disciplining' espalier, but Chandigarh of tomorrow, apparently will obfuscate its grid in the diffused space being produced under 'project -planning'- the condition detested by the modernist planners.

Evidently, in project based planning an activity established first, promotes others akin to it.

As Chandigarh Administration does not permit large-scale construction activity in its periphery, entrepreneurs opportunistically moved to the neighbouring states in areas next to Chandigarh. They attained cheaper land, and freedom to build by circumventing strict Chandigarh building bye-laws and lengthy procedures. The private College of Engineering that originated under similar circumstances in Punjab's territory (North- West of Chandigarh) sowed the seed of educational activity in the area. On the road leading to it, a film-shooting centre materialised capitalising on a traditional old structure. For the moment, the project does not seem materialising, on ground.

Is it a coincidence that Chandigarh Administration has initiated similar kinds of projects on the same axis? Was the location of the aforementioned educational institute incidental or a conscious decision based on prior information that the administration was going to have such sorts of developments in the said direction? Was administration's decision to house educational and film city in this direction influenced by the pre- existing activities of the nature described?

Similarly, residential and commercial developments originated in Punjab and Haryana boundaries along the South-Eastern territory of Chandigarh- the exacerbated forms of the 'per chance' planted activities. Are such developments, the products of 'trend planning' and 'leverage planning' (the market-led planning styles) inevitable under the present circumstances?

Anil S. Thakur, Victoria, Australia.

Let periphery grow for safety of Chandigarh

To ease its over-population, Chandigarh needs to feel pretty cozy in presence of its cousin townships of Panchkula and Mohali. These developed as its suburbs and are well governed by respective State Governments, with proper care for vital needs such as water, roads, street lights, sewerage, sanitation and health care, besides top-notch educational centers. Housing development trends not only caught fancy of the residents in metropolitans, even small towns did not lag behind.

There has been an abundance of housing complexes and multi-storeyed apartments in Kharar, Zirakpur, Mullanpur even in the secluded isolated areas. The surrounding roads are dotted with high-rise dwelling monuments the king-size. Some houses are still uninhabited for the reasons that either those have not been completed by the companies or the buyers poke noses due to high prices in the recession hit time.

No proper civic facilities exist at the moment. Since, it is essential to accommodate the aspiring population in modern style houses with all facilities, it is imperative that Government helps the companies/builders in the matter and also keep taboo that there is no haphazard growth. A plethora of various groups of colleges have also mushroomed-indeed good sign for healthy education-so, the new developing area can cater to the needs of students and the more there are houses , the more it is beneficial for the students or other residents.

Time is not far when foreign students will also come to study, so, the emphasis should be on all facilities provided by the concerned so that Chandigarh may not feel choked and throttled by the influx of students and visitors and maintain its pristine purity. Chandigarh should be thankful to its cousins for that matter.

Gurmit Singh

Common Area Development Authority needed

The biggest need of the hour is a common Area Development Authority which should have a unified plan, in place, for the growth and development of different facilities in Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula and its neighbouring areas.

Growth on any side will cast a definite impact on the City Beautiful. The impact, particularly on account of power, roads, health and education, needs to be equally distributed in new areas to prevent an overburdening on the City Beautiful.

All structures need to be cleared by the competent authorities before any construction activity is allowed. We are aware of a large number of cases where the builders went ahead with the construction without due permission from the concerned government. This leads to a piquant situation for the buyers as well as the government, which is faced with the problem of poor investors who probably had paid the entire bulk of their saving for a house.

No project should be cleared from the table of the administrators till it showed adequate infrastructure, in place. The construction should not impede flow of water bodies in the natural terrain which otherwise could lead to a situation what we faced in Mumbai, recently.

RC Bector, Sector 6, Panchkula

Accept the growth and plan for future

I think it is not possible to stop the growth of human settlements in the periphery. Anyone who can afford it, in the entire region, will like to have his house in the City Beautiful or in the adjoining areas for the obvious reasons of the facilities available.

Instead of groaning over the growth in the periphery, public and public awareness groups need to be calling on the government seeking a map for the projected growth in future. They need to speak about their apprehensions and the government needs to be replying to all queries to dispel all misnomers, if any. Government accountability needs to be transparent at each step.

Nitin Raghav, Sector 15, Chandigarh



Managing dry leaves a hassle for MC
Plans to take tips from farm varsity in Haryana instead of PU
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Heaps of dry leaves can be seen lying unattended all over the city as the municipal corporation lacks an effective mechanism for its disposal. In March, a car had caught fire from the burning leaves at a parking lot in Sector 17.

Tina, a resident Sector 35, said dry leaves outside her residence had not been lifted by the corporation for the past one month.

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is planning to approach Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, to suggest infallible measures to manage dry leaves in the city during spring season. At the Finance and Contract Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Mayor Anu Chatrath, members opined that as the corporation had failed to manage the dry leaves in the past few years, they should write to Haryana Agricultural University and ask them to suggest some permanent solution to dispose of these leaves.

Keeping in view the huge quantity of leaves, the committee approved 20 additional tractor trolleys for the collection of dry leaves, in each ward, so as to transport them from these areas. Strangely, Chatrath, who heads the committee, or any other member did not bother to make a suggestion that the authorities should seek suggestions from environment experts of Panjab University instead of approaching the university in Haryana. They also did not try to find out as to how this problem was being managed earlier by the authorities. Expressing surprise on the decision of the corporation, a local environmentalist said, “Why the authorities need advise from Haryana Agricultural University on this issue?” Suggesting foolproof measure to the authorities, for this problem, he said they had just to shell out around Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 for every sector, for constructing pucca pits and collect the leaves in it.

He said after five to six months the corporation would get free quality fertiliser for their green belts. In 2002, the then UT advisor, Neeru Nanda, had initiated a project called “Sahaj Safai” and “Khad Banao Kendras” in Sectors 15, 21, 26, 27, 33 and 36. Under this project, the authorities in these sectors installed infrastructure for decomposing dry leaves to make fertiliser and further use it in green belts of the city. The sources in administration pointed out that the project was not working at present, as the authorities had failed to manage it.



37-acre wheat reduced to ashes
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 11
Standing wheat crop worth lakhs of rupees was reduced to ashes in a fire that broke out due to sparking in the overhead power distribution cables in Lakhnour and Baronpur villages near here this evening.

Squarely blaming officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for not rectifying lose wirings, the affected farmers lamented that the crop in about 25 acres of land had been affected. After fire tenders failed to reach the spot on time, the villagers using tractors ploughed the fields to check the fire from spreading. “Had the fire tenders reached on time, the loss could have been checked,” said sarpanch of Lakhnour village, Bhupinder Kaur.

She pointed out that for the last many months, the PSEB officials have been repeatedly requested to remove the lose wiring. At a particular spot, the wire hanging from a transformer had also not been properly tied. “After the fire broke out, the villagers called up No. 102. But the call ended at the Chandigarh fire station. Then we had to call up at the Mohali police control room and the fire tenders came. By then the fire had been controlled,” said Chaju Singh, who lost the crop standing in two acres. Ironically, most of the affected farmers had taken land on lease from landowners. Sensing the mood, NK Sharma, chairman of District Planning Board, assured the affected persons that an action would be taken against the erring PSEB officials. He also assured of adequate compensation at the earliest.

Ambala: Wheat crop on 12 acre was gutted in a fire in Lakhnaur Sahib village, near Ambala City, this afternoon. The wheat crop on three acres each of Sarwan Singh, Gurdyal Singh, Jang Singh and Pal Singh was destroyed in the fire. The wheat crop was ready for harvesting.

The fire spread in the fields with in a short time following the high speed winds in the open fields. Two fire tenders were pressed into service, but the entire crop was destroyed.

According to victim farmers the loss could be in lakhs of rupees.

The cause of the fire could not be ascertained so far. The villagers alleged that power department did not properly maintain the electrical wires crossing through their fields before the harvesting season. They were of the view that in most of the cases the fire erupted due to short-circuit. The victim farmers demanded compensation of their losses.

Around 11 acres of wheat crop was gutted in Kaulan village, near Ambala City, yesterday following short-circuit in electrical wires. OC



Yet another goof-up by Panjab University

Could there have been an excuse for the outdated information and erroneous messages in Panjab University’s information diary released this year?

A look at the amusing message “for” the Vice-President and PU Chancellor M Hamid Ansari on the third page of the diary shows that the error was an interesting reading. In what appears to be a classic case of a comical goof-up by an institution of highest academic standards, under the headline “Message for the Chancellor”, the body text actually contains the particulars and academic profile of the chancellor, rather than a message for him.

It appears to the reader that the university is making an effort to tell the Chancellor his own credentials. Not just this, a slightly detailed look at the diary reveals that the total number of departments has been quoted less than the actual number. Even the PhD courses offered are more than those mentioned in the diary now!

Planning their holidays already

With mercury shooting North, city residents have started planning vacations to escape from the blistering heat. In order to save money, instead of travelling alone, families are tying up with their friends and relatives so as to avail lucrative packages being offered by hotels and travel agents to big groups.

Interestingly, certain airline companies are offering special holiday packages. The top destinations on the holiday list include Canada, England, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. They are the most favoured ones. Shivani Kathuria, a company secretary, said “It is just April and it is already sizzling. Imagine what will happen in May and June? I plan two trips, this summer. Our family goes to Manali in the first week of May and to Sangla valley for another week in June. Looks like no outdoor games for kids this summer.”

Illegal comfort

Majority of “special” illegal buses for different destinations in Punjab plying from Mohali are jam-packed. The biggest reasons are passenger convenience and the speed in reaching the destinations.

Passengers prefer these buses despite the fact that they face the inconvenience of travelling by private vehicles or special vans of the transport services to the makeshift illegal bus stop in Mohali, Phase II.

Anjali Gupta, a college lecturer, said “For nearly a decade, whenever I am travelling to my hometown in Amritsar from Chandigarh, I prefer a bus from Mohali. This is because the seating arrangements are very comfortable and I reach much faster than travelling by the state transport”.

She said “a common passenger is only concerned with the quality of services. It is for the state government to interfere in the matter and get the services regularised. On the other hand, why does the government not improve its own services to dissuade public from using illegal services?

Is MC watching?

The Press Chowk (Sector 9-8-17-18) was inundated with water when the Tribune reporter was hurrying on way to his office on Sunday afternoon.

He did not have time to stop, however, it was fun to watch a couple of children pouring water over each other.

The sight was interesting as the scorching summer heat already seems to have set in. The only problem at hand was the fact that water was leaking from certain city water line. The water could not have come from anywhere else.

Cop with sense of duty

The SHO of the Sector 39 Police Station, Inspector Janak Rana, has provided his personal, as well as the official mobile phone numbers, to senior citizens offering them to call him at any hour, in case they need his help.

The SHO made this announcement during a meeting with the senior citizens, recently. Besides, he also advised the elderly citizens living in the area to instal central locking systems, steering wheel locks in their cars.

He also asked the senior citizens to take away the documents of their vehicles before leaving them outside their residence at nights.

“The police has a long lists of do’s and don’ts for us. When it comes to action on ground, senior citizens are faced with a very poor response. I hope, the officer gives a tip or two to his staff, as well.

Will switching over to BSNL help?

The recent decision of the state government asking various departments in Panchkula to switch over to BSNL, in order to save money, has drawn flak from the general public.

The calls will now be charged at STD rates because the concerned BSNL area falls under the Ambala circle.

Majority of local residents are using mobile connections under the Punjab circle. Making a call to a police officer will mean higher STD rates, under the new set-up.

A senior police official said that their investigative work was likely to suffer as a section of the public might be dissuaded to make calls at higher rates.

Contributed by Neha Miglani, Anil Jerath, Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Ramanjit Singh Sidhu and Sanjay Bhumbroo



44th green belt inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Adviser to the UT Administrator, Pradip Mehra, today inaugurated the 44th green belt in the city at Sector 48. The 3.5 acre green belt, developed by the Municipal Corporation, has 3,500-feet long walking track, several flowerbeds and children playing equipment along with benches and dustbins.

While addressing the gathering after dedicating the green belt to residents, the Adviser urged them to use it with responsibility. He assured that the southern sectors of the city would get equal or even better treatment in terms of infrastructure development.

He revealed that huge investment was being made in these sectors. The Beant Singh Memorial and Centre for Performing Arts is being developed, which is around 80-90 crore project. Once completed, it will have a library, auditorium, cafeteria etc. The area around the N-Choe is also developed and landscaping is being done. The Nehru Centre for Performing Arts in Sector 34 is also in the pipeline, he said.

He apprised that the Ministry of Tourism had given nod for developing 5 theme-based gardens for the city and all of them would be in the southern sectors, for which fund of around Rs 25 crore had been allocated by the ministry.

Mehra also ensured residents of resolving various issues highlighted by the area Councillor and the Resident Association, including issue of completion certificate, building temple and gurdwara in the sector, creating a playground for children etc.

He also urged residents for the optimal utilisation of water and asked the MC Chief Engineer to have proper infrastructure in place for use of tertiary water. He said that this was a partnership and the administration could only become successful in its ventures if the citizens were enthusiastic and committed to the cause and lend their hands in the efforts.

On the occasion, Chandigarh Mayor Anu Chatrath revealed that the MC had already dedicated 22 gardens to its residents. She reiterated of fulfilling all promises made, but made clear that it was possible only if the residents contributed in their own small ways.

Area Councillor, Jatinder Bhatia, representatives of various resident associations and residents of Sector 48 were present during the function.



‘Appoint nodal authority accessible to RTI activists’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The RTI Activists’ Federation (Punjab) today held its foundation conference at Law Bhawan, Sector 37, here, today. Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal presided over the conference, which comprised 150 activists from all places of the state. The conference was inaugurated by RI Singh, state Chief Information Commissioner (CIC). Ritesh Lakhi, Editor, PTC News Channel, (Punjabi), and Darbara Singh Kahlon, State IC, jointly released the Punjabi version of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, published by the federation for free of cost distribution in Punjab.

Singh in his inaugural address exhorted the gathering to resort to the RTI Act for demanding samples of roads and buildings’ material for eradication of corruption in construction work.

The conference amongst others passed a resolution calling upon the Punjab Government to appoint a nodal authority (in the Home Department) that could be accessible on hotline to the RTI Activists, and would be under obligation to get investigation conducted into the complaint within 48 hours of receipt of the complaint.

The foundation conference unanimously elected its executive committee, with Advocate HC Arora, as its president and Anil Vashisht of Jalandhar as its secretary. RS Bains, advocate, has been elected as the chief patron of the federation. Rajinder Kumar Gupta of Chandigarh and Jagat Singh of Hoshiarpur have been elected as patrons of the federation. MS Rathi of Panchkula and Ramesh Sharma of Dhuri have been elected as the two vice presidents of the federation.



Tension grips burial of body in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Preparations for burial of a Kumbhra resident at a burial ground in Phase IX, Mohali. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, April 11
Tension prevailed at Phase IX today when residents of the area opposed the burial of a Kumbhra resident at a burial ground here this morning. When the members of the Muslim community insisted on the burial at the site, the residents raised heckles, forcing the district administration to rush the police force to the spot.

While the residents alleged it was illegal, the leader of the community claimed that the burial ground was on the land of the Wakf Board.

Senior police officials had a tough time in controlling tempers. The stalemate ended after the district administration allowed the burial at the site with a condition that future burials would be allowed at an alterative site, to be allotted by the administration. “The issue has been lingering for long as GMADA officials have failed to solve it,” said a senior official who was present at the spot.

“After a meeting chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, it was decided an alternative piece of land would be allotted for the burial ground,” said SSP, Mohali, GPS Bhullar.

The residents of the community from Kumbhra village used it to bury their dead. NK Khan, a leader of the Muslim community, said the administration had taken the responsibility of arranging land for the burial ground. NK Sharma, chairman of the district planning board, also intervened in the matter.

SDM, Mohali, RPS Walia, said the existing burial ground in Phase I was also being examined. In future, the Wakf Board can use the Phase IX site for other purposes.



Snatching cases in UT go on unabated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Two incidents of snatchings were reported from different parts of the city today. Shhanti Devi of Kaimbwala village reported to the police and alleged that she was going on her bicycle when two unidentified motorcyclists waylaid her and snatched her earrings this afternoon near a liquor vend in Kaimbwala.

They also threatened her of dire consequences before leaving.

In another incident, Tript Kaur of Sector 49 reported to the police and alleged that an unidentified youth riding a Honda Activa scooter snatched her bag containing Rs 25,000 and some documents, from near her residence this afternoon. Two cases have been registered.

Liquor seized

The police arrested Krishna of Sector 29 from near her residence yesterday and recovered 15 quarters of country made wine from her. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.


Rinku of HP Gas Godown, Daria, reported to the police and alleged that a driver of a car (CH 01 J 4673) sped away after hitting him in the village yesterday. The car driver assaulted and threatened him. He was injured and admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. A case has been registered in this connection.


Samarpal Singh of Ropar reported that someone had stolen his Bolero Jeep from Sector 37-D on Friday night. A case of theft ahs been registered.



Residents’ plea to Patil on renovation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Members of the Government Employees Residents’ Welfare Association (type-13 JE), Sector 22, has accused Chandigarh administration officers of not taking interest in carrying out renovation of their houses.

Parmdeep Singh Bhabat, association president, said they had been requesting the administration since 2005 for renovating houses, but nothing had been done so far.

He said they had met the former UT Administrator, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar and Chief Engineer Surinder Pal in this connection a number of times.

They urged UT Administrator Shivraj Patil to order a high-level inquiry into the action taken on their representations submitted earlier.



Water supply to be affected today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
City residents, already reeling under water shortage, will have another tough time this Monday. The day’s water supply will be affected due to the replacement of 18 dia water supply pipeline at Sector 33-34 roundabout near Gulati Bhawan.

MC officials said due to replacement of pipeline, the water supply would be affected in various sectors from 9 am to 10 PM on Monday. Among the areas to be affected include Sector 20, 21 C and D, 30 to 34, 44 to 47, Industrial area, Phase I and II.



Play with socio-cultural relevance

Chandigarh, April 11
Students of National School of Drama, New Delhi, lighted up the second day of TFT- Punj Pani Rangmanch Baisakhi Theatre Festival with their performance in a play “9 Idiots Journey for Freedom” at the Randhawa Auditorium.

The play written and directed by Parveen Kumar Gunjan and Santosh Rana bared the contrasting situation of overall development for the privileged segment of society and poor living on footpaths and only nursing their distinctive dreams.

The play with a strong theme of socio-cultural relevance left audience spellbound.

Chief guest Dr KK Khandelwal, PSCM Haryana, declared formation of the theatre stage sets and props at a cost of Rs 20 lakh for use by any amateur theatre ensemble. — OC



Jassi’s magic floors audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 11
The acclaimed Punjabi pop singer Jasbair Jassi weaved magic with his voice and brought alive the grandeur of Punjabi folk music in the first ever two-day Baisakhi festival organised by the Department of Tourism, Chandigarh Administration, in association with Cinevalley Entertainment and PANACHE genesis at Plaza toady.

The programme veritably titled “Jatta Aayi Baisakhi” and “Baisakhi Da Jashan” witnessed Jassi at his best, who enthralled the vast assemblage.

Jassi unfolded the evening with a Gurbani "Awal Allah Noor upaya" before doling out his hit numbers.

Earlier, Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, inaugurated the fest graced by the Director, Tourism, and other senior officers of the Chandigarh Administration.



50 examined at camp

Chandigarh, April 11
On the occasion of Dr Samuel Hahnemann’s birth anniversary (founder of homoeopathy), a homoeopathic camp was organised by Dr Harsh Sharma at his clinic in Mohali.

The camp aimed at spreading awareness about the efficacy of homoeopathy in various chronic and intractable diseases like parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and other surgical diseases like kidney stones and piles. More than 50 patients were treated during the one-day camp. — TNS



New Income Tax Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
BS Dhillon has taken charge as the new Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (North West Region). He is an officer from the 1975 batch of Indian Revenue Services (IRS).

Dhillon served in Jalandhar, Patiala, Srinagar, Panchkula and in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Maharashtra etc. He was serving as the Chief Commissioner at Jaipur since 2009 before being posted to Chandigarh.



Speaking Out
7,000 take IIT entrance exam
Tribune News Service

An IIT aspirant in a pensive mood after taking the entrance exam at DAV Public School in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Chandigarh, April 11
With the introduction of partial marking system for the first time this year, in which marks will be awarded even if a student answers one of the partially correct options, the entrance exam of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) was conducted across 35 centres in the city. Nearly 7,000 students took the exam here today.

According to official figures of the IIT, nearly 4.72 lakh students took the exam across the country and an increase of nearly 1 lakh students was observed this year. An increase in the number of girl students was also observed this year.

The exam, which the students said was overall an easy paper, was conducted in two halves. Paper I was conducted from 9 am to 12 pm, which the students said was relatively easier, and paper II from 2 to 5 pm. The papers I and II consisted 84 and 57 questions, respectively, and consisted questions from non-medical subjects physics, chemistry and mathematics.

There was a slight change in the pattern of negative marking also. “The students should have been selective about the choice of mathematics questions. The paper was lengthy and enough time was not given as compared to the number of questions and difficulty level,” said Sanjay Singh, a mathematics teacher.

On being interviewed, certain IIT aspirants said chemistry questions were simple, while physics questions were of a moderate level. “In the 489-point paper, paper II was a surprise and also the partial marking system, which means if a question had three correct answers and if the student marks any two, some marks will be awarded,” said a teacher.

Speaking Out

SumeetaPaper II was tougher than paper I. Even mathematics questions were tough and consumed a lot of time.

— Sumeeta

MandeepThe overall exam was easy. Me, along with five other friends, came from Patiala to give the exam in the city. We did not know that Patiala was one of the centres.

— Mandeep

— Manish DograThe exam was easy. Nowhere near the phobia that was created for the IIT exam.

— Manish Dogra


PriyankaThe mathematics questions were tough, but physics and chemistry was simple. I had to commute from Kalka to DAV Public School, Sector 15, to give the exam, as my exam centre was here.

— Priyanka

Analysis of the paper

  • Paper I (84 questions): Time: 3 hours, type: multiple-choice questions
  • Sections I and III: 3 marks each for correct answer, 1 negative mark for wrong answer
  • Sections II and IV: 3 marks for correct answer, no negative marking
  • Paper II (57 questions): Time: 3 hours, type: multiple-choice questions
  • Section I: 5 marks each for correct answer, 2 negative marks for wrong answer
  • Section II: 3 marks each for correct answer, no negative marking
  • Section III: 3 marks each for correct answer
  • Section IV: 8 marks for correct answer, no negative marking



City lads design educational networking portal
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Connecting to your alma mater can now be simpler and easier. Simplifying the ‘web reunion’ of students, alumni and teachers of universities and colleges, two young city based engineering graduates in their 30s, Manish Mittal and Vishal Kekre, have come up with a unique networking software.

Comparable to Facebook and Orkut, it has been designed specifically for educational institutions. Launched recently by UB group chairman Vijay Mallya, the web portal has now been adopted by the IMT, a business school at Ghaziabad.

The youngsters who wrote the software had worked with various firms after graduating from Regional Engineering College, Kurukshetra.

Eventually, they decided to create something of their own. Right from conceiving the idea of the portal to creating, advertising and marketing it, they did it all themselves.

From posting queries to the alumni about job prospects in the IT industry to chatting, the portal enables students, alumni and other people related to an institution to use it.

All one needs to do is set up an account and register, following which the administrator verifies details and grants permission to use it.

“We are on the verge of striking some other major deals with educational institutes, which cannot be disclosed at the moment. We will later look at other markets as well,” said Manish, who did his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, after graduation.

Analogous to the character of ‘Rancho’ (played by Aamir Khan in the hit film ‘3 Idiots’), the creators of this social networking site have a philosophical message for youth: “Do not follow the path others are taking. Set your own targets. Even if you are not very successful, you will at least have the satisfaction of being original.”



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