C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ban on mining hikes construction cost
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 16
The blanket ban on mining in the riverbeds in Haryana by the Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken its toll on the construction activity in the district, with both realtors and the common man feeling the pinch of unprecedented hike in the input costs.

Even as Panchkula district is witnessing a real estate boom with the entry of the big realtors in the district, a sharp increase in the cost of sand and gravel (bajri) threatens to upset the budgets of the major projects and housing for the common man.

A random survey revealed that the prices of building material have increased by almost 40 per cent during the past couple of months, as people have to buy gravel or sand at about Rs 1,600 to 1,650 per 100 cubic feet. Earlier, the rate varied between Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,250 per 100 cubic feet. The prices could increase further as the stock stored with the crushers was almost finished.

Rakesh Gupta, who is constructing an 8-marla house in Sector 11 here, said: “I had signed the contract for constructing two and a half story house. Earlier, the prices of cement and steel had increased by 15 to 20 per cent and now the increase in sand and other building material has enhanced the construction cost. Now, I have shelved the idea of constructing the half storey on the second floor.”

Suraj Parkash, a building contractor, said he had suffered a loss of about Rs 2 lakh as he had signed various building contracts with building material like sand at Rs 1,200 sq foot about three months ago. He said earlier he used to get sand or grit at Rs 1,200 per 100 cubic foot, but now he was getting it at Rs 1,600, thus causing him loss to the tune of Rs 20,000 per 10-marla house.

Owner of a stone crusher, Vijay Aggarwal, said they had been sitting idle for the past one month, as there was no material available. He said there were around 225 stone crushers in various parts of the district, but only few were left with the stored stocks.

He said some of the crushers were bringing the material from the Baddi area in Himachal Pradesh or Mullanpur area in Punjab to meet the demands. He said transportation charges were adding to the costs of the material, which was being further passed on to the consumers.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court last year allowed mining in the state without environment clearance till February 28 as a stop-gap arrangement so that the development projects and construction activities were not hit.

However, the state government failed to get environment clearance from the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. It sought another extension for one year from the high court, but Deepak Kumar, a resident of Gurgaon, opposed the plea and told the court about his pending petition in the Supreme Court in this regard.



PEC ex-principal loses Rs 23.48 lakh to lottery trick
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Even the educated class is not immune to the lure of the lucre. Dreaming big to turn a millionaire overnight allegedly rendered Dr Om Sharan Sehgal, a former principal with Punjab Engineering College (PEC) here, bankrupt at the hands of tricksters, who lured him into transferring Rs 23.48 lakh to their accounts, saying he had won a Spanish lottery worth Rs 56 crore.

The matter was reported to the police in March, when Dr Sagar, a resident of Sector 16, lodged a complaint with the police. The police inquired the matter and found that the tricksters had used several branches of the ICICI Bank in various parts of the country to get the money transferred to their accounts and made phone calls to Dr Sagar from Spain and various parts of the country.

A case of cheating and criminal conspiracy had been registered under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code after seeking legal opinion, the police said. Dr Sagar’s wife is a doctor and his two sons run a clinic at their residence in Sector 16.

The investigating officer, sub-inspector Rakesh Kumar, said Dr Sagar alleged that he got an e-mail in December from an unknown person, informing that he had won a Spanish lottery for Rs 56 crore. The sender of the mail asked him to provide his particulars, along with bank account numbers, so that they could transfer the amount he won in the lottery to his account directly.

Dr Sagar told the police that after a few days, he got a call from an unidentified man, who said his money had been sent to the Mumbai branch of the RBI, and told him to transfer some money into an account for processing charges.

Thereafter he received several phones calls, including one from a woman, who introduced herself as a manager with the RBI, asking him to deposit money in ICICI Bank accounts for income tax charges and other processing fees. DR Sagar claimed that he had paid Rs 23.48 lakh in this manner, but did not get anything.

During enquiry, it was found that the accused had got the money transferred to different accounts in different parts of the country, including Darjeeling and Mumbai, Rakesh said. “We are also trying to find out if international calls were made from India using codes of other countries or were routed through some other channel, besides getting details of the persons who operated the bank accounts in which Dr Sagar transferred the money. Dr Sagar had deposited cash and had receipts of all amounts he had deposited,” Rakesh said.



Patient jumps to death at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Tormented by a chronic lung disease, a 50-year-old resident of Nainital allegedly jumped to death from the fifth floor of the PGI’s Nehru Hospital here this morning.

Though the victim, identified as Krishan Kalra, left no suicide note, the police said his family told the investigators that he was depressed over his ailment. Kalra was taking treatment from the PGI since April 10 and was re-admitted on May 9. He took the extreme step around 8:30 am when his wife Radha Rani and son Gaurav were not around. He was admitted to the male surgical ward in the hospital.

The police said Gaurav said that his father, suffering from acute infection in his lungs, complained of pain to his mother sent his mother to call a nurse. He (Gaurav) went to the washroom and finding him alone, Krishan Kalra went to the balcony and jumped from there. Gaurav, a BSc (IT) final year student, told the police that within minutes he left his father in the ward, he heard his mother crying for help, saying his father had jumped.

Kalra, who had a tyre repair shop, is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter, who is married. "I was sitting with him the entire night. He was in deep pain, but did not show any signs that he could commit suicide. He had four injections during the night to reduce pain and the last one was given around 6.30 am. He took tea with some biscuits a little while later. I could never imagine at that time what was going in his mind," Gaurav told the police.

Radha Rani said her husband was suffering from the disease for the past over two months and had earlier taken treatment from a hospital in Delhi. He was also worried about the mounting expenditure on his treatment.

SHO of the Sector 11 police station Inspector while ruling out foul play behind the death said the body was handed over to the family after post-mortem. The police has initiated inquest proceedings.



Hottest day in May so far
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Playing havoc with their Sunday’s plans, the weather God showed no mercy on the city residents, as the day’s temperature reached 42 degree Celsius, four degrees above the normal. The maximum temperature on Sunday was, however, 0.7 degrees less than the temperature recorded on April 19 last month. But it was 1.4 degrees above from the yesterday’s high. The minimum temperature, however, dropped to 23.9 degrees Celsius, 3.8 degrees less than the Saturday’s low.

The relative maximum and minimum humidity was pegged at 49 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively. The wind speed was recorded at 6.2km/hr. While Hisar in Haryana recorded the highest at 47 degrees Celsius and the minimum at 27.3 degrees Celsius, Patiala and Ludhiana sizzled at 44 degrees Celsius and 43.8 degrees Celsius with minimum temperature of 23.8 and 23.2 degrees Celsius, respectively.

With the Western disturbances still prevalent, the Met officials have predicted hotter days ahead.

The officials said the city might receive a downpour or a dust storm, once the maximum temperature crossed the 44 to 45 degrees mark.

“Variation in the day and night temperatures has led to the rise in mercury,” said Surendra Paul, director, India Meteorological Department, adding that radiations at night become faster and this leads to bright sunny days coupled with increased temperature.

“May is likely to witness brighter sunny days. The days will get hotter and longer,” said Paul.

However, the Met office has predicted partly cloudy sky with possibility of dust storm or thundershowers with light rain at parts of Punjab and Haryana in the next 24 hours.



Virus attack sends EO website into spin
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
In a classic example of the UT administration’s oft repeated exercise of ‘good intentions but poor implementation’, details of property in the city posted on the estate office’s official website, www. sampada.in, have failed to be an authentic source of information for the public.

The site has been infected with a virus warning you not to open it. However, if you open it the data is incomplete. Moreover, a sizeable portion of the scanty information posted on the site is factually incorrect. The administration has already been informed that certain property already sold was shown as ‘open’ for a purchase. In several other cases the status of many of the properties involved in litigation are not reported adequately.

The website has been infected with a virus with a ‘malware warning’ displayed on the screen saying the site has been “infected with HEUR: Trojan.Script.Generic”. It reads: “Warning - visiting this website may harm your computer. For more information about how to protect yourself from harmful software online, you can visit StopBadware.org”.

During certain searches through other sites, the screen reads: “Try another search to find what you're looking for.” The original website had only a fraction of details of the entire property in the city and the exercise has not been followed up thoroughly to obtain all the details of property in the UT.

Said Parampal Singh, a property dealer: “If we open the site the screen very often asks us to wait as the ‘relevant information would be updated very soon’. The wait, in many cases, lasts days and even months”.

Talking to The Tribune, UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar said: “We’re working out details on connecting the estate office’s site through our information technology department. Initially the project was expected to be run in collaboration with a private bank. However, things didn’t work out as planned. We’re now involving the IT department to post all details of property in the city on the UT administration’s official website”.

“The website was touted as a user-friendly exercise, saving harassment and inconvenience. Information would be available on a click and would also help avert shady property deals with an open data bank. However, the exercise holds no merit if it doesn’t work”, said Mohan Singh, a senior banker.

Files to be digitised

The UT estate office has decided to digitise all files to impart greater efficiency in its services to the public following the finance department’s nod for the Rs 2-crore project. Assistant estate officer Hargunjit Kaur said the office had already set in motion the process of digitising its 70,000-odd files. “The entire exercise will take about six months,” she added.



PEC yet to look into missing answer sheets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
A day after the reported disappearance of examination answer sheets of second-year civil engineering students, PEC University of Technology is still to investigate the incident and verify details.

Ironically, even as varsity officials expressed ignorance about the matter, a senior lecturer (name withheld) on duty is said to have conducted a re-test to replace the answer sheets. “The case hasn’t come to me yet and when it does I’ll take suitable action,” said Manoj Dutta, director of the university.

“Teachers have the liberty to conduct any special tests in between mid-semester and end-semester. In the past some similar incidents occurred in which students who stole answer sheets from a teacher’s room were caught later. Hence we cannot rule out the possibility of the students being involved. It’s beyond comprehension what tests are actually been talked about. The special tests of the last mid-semester exams are still pending,” said a college professor on condition of anonymity. This teacher in the PEC’s civil engineering department is said to be “serious about her work”.


Open House Response
UT needs more police stations in South

Sanjeev Singh Bariana's write up in the 'Open House of the Chandigarh Tribune's, on May 3, on deteriorating law and order is a fact eliciting piece. The life in Chandigarh that used to be rocking is now under a cloud of fear, disbelief and terror. Snatchings, thefts, waylaying and robberies have become a common feature in daily life. The police remain clueless in a large number of cases. Criminals appear to be laughing their way.

Police Beat system is getting extinct. Earlier the beat constable was known in the locality by name. Patrolling by beat staff deterred the criminals. The influx of population, in the third phase sectors of the city, has necessitated the maintenance of law and order, more specially, in this area. The existing Police Stations in South included Sectors 34, 36 and 39 which have to have to bear the entire load of maintaining law and order, in the entire belt.

Southern sectors are most vulnerable. The entire belt is bordering the the neighboring town of Mohali where it is very easy for a culprit to escape after committing a crime in sectors spanning from 48 to 61.

Setting up Police Stations in the belt is a big necessity.

Statistics revealed in the article are alarming by any standard. Be it safety of senior citizens, chain snatching, robberies, car thefts and burglaries, the city is not safe. A common man looks towards the police set up for protection but remains bewildered at the rate of crime in the city.

As General Secretary of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council, I have attended many meetings presided over by the City SSPs. In each meeting, Police officials come out with same confidence building measures.

Identical problems are pointed out by the residents. Nothing happens on ground. The only finding is shortcomings in policing due to shortage of staff.

— Satish Chandra Sharma, General Secretary, Chandigarh Social Welfare Council

Changed lifestyle needs changed policing

Recent incidents of chain, purse snatchings and burglary, in different parts of the city, revealed that the crime has become a part of the city scape. "Safety a casualty on the city roads" in the Chandigarh Tribune, recently, should serve as a wake up call for the planners(administration) to look into the matter, urgently. A work plan is needed, urgently, for our providers(police).

One big problem, rising each day, is youngsters carrying huge amounts of money. The money has a direct link with rising incidents of alcoholism, gambling and addiction. Alarming unemployment added to the rush of the migratory labour are other major factors contributing to rise in incidents of crime.

It would be unfair to paint the entire police force black. At the same time, it is equally important to accept the fact that the same flock also has black sheep needing to be cleared from the flock. We also know the fact that our police is understaffed, inadequately funded.

This, however, does not absolve the police from its unaccountability, in certain matters.

We live in dangerous times. The matter was brought home by the Prime Minister when he had expressed concern over the "inadequate police strength" in the country, recently.

Two big issues are a reform in the existing policing system and a coordinated regional planning with adjoining states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh

— S.K. Khosla, Sector 40C, Chandigarh.

Don't blame police for everything

It is always easy to blame the police for every incident of crime.

Probably the matter needs a broader discussion. The police are solely not responsible for the rising road accidents in the city, drunken driving, brawls in discotheques involving wards of the rich and the influential. The police also cannot be blamed for the murders in houses and the fights over property often resulting in bloody fights.

I am not trying to give a clean chit to the police functioning. Call it staff shortage or changed priorities where the beat constable concept has been washed out, city residents don't have any direct interface with the cops in the area. The VVIP security, VIP duty and the rallies and 'dharnas' consume a sizeable portion of the police workforce. The planners need to intervene and settle the matter, before it is too late.

The force deployment is ultimately overseen by administration which has been influenced by the Centre, in case of UT.

The need of the hour is redrawing the entire administrative pattern of the police in the UT. The role of the administration, police and the residents needs to be clearly documented. An action plan for a safer city environs needs to be worked out. In the situation of lesser police force in the markets and sectors, the concept of private security needs to be explored and implemented, with a strict control mechanism in place.

Most importantly, the police too has to set examples with exemplary punishments for erring cops for others to dissuade in future.

— Amarbir Singh,Colonel (retd), Chandigarh.

All public places need CCTVs

Burglars thrive where law and order machinery is absent. They are a rule unto themselves as far as their striking power in stealing cars and bikes, snatching and even killing the older people at home, is concerned.

They are ruthlessly impatient in their pursuits and do not stop short of achieving them, by hook or by crook. Chandigarh Police needs to employ latest gadgets in policing, particularly in investigating matters and preparing an effective data bank on all activities and cases.

The unemployment, the wrecked economic conditions and despondency had led youngster going astray. The police adopt lackadaisical approach while dealing with certain cases which linger on, indefinitely. Patrolling should be intensified and more CCTV cameras should be installed to keep track of the suspicious movement, particularly in public places.

While CCTV cameras have been installed in the city, we should be regularly given reports on its findings and public errors, as well.

Police should emulate the security agencies on job in New York who, recently, scuttled a move to explode a car bomb at the busy Times Square . The suspect was arrested, immediately.

— NC Rana, Panchkula

Review regulations for UT

Chandigarh is akin to America, Canada, Australia where the Europeans settled by ousting/displacing the Red Indians and aboriginals. Here, the land of scores of villages was acquired to make room for the new capital city. People from erstwhile Punjab as well as other states settled here making it a veritable demographic jungle and a melting cauldron of regional languages, customs, ethos and beliefs of India.

Leave apart gold, even the iron is not safe in Chandigarh. On the night following June 25, 2009, the cast iron covers of sewerage manholes in the front court yards of houses in two streets of Sector 40 - A, were stolen by scaling low boundary walls. Again, on the night following April 21, earlier this year, the heavy iron railings (with concrete foundations) fixed by the Municipal Corporation on the eastern side of the sub park within those very streets of Sector 40 - A, were found removed.

The affluence of the neo-riche of the tri-city has made them easy-going, aloof, snobbish, and slaves of their own servants.

Resultantly, colonies have mushroomed which are safe haven for anti-social elements. To ward off criminals from bee-lining to the city, under different garbs, it should be made incumbent (as in China) for every person to get permit from his native state to work here. The UT should also maintain a data. Car should be allowed only to a person who has a parking place. No house without a parking place should be cleared.

S.S. Beniwal

The spate of burglaries and snatchings in the city, in the recent past, has raised many an eyebrow in the public life as well as the police circles. Rising graph of the motor vehicle thefts too is a matter of concern. Please write to us, not exceeding 250 words, your perception on safety in the city, your experience, if any and suggestions for a safer city environs. Write at openhouse@tribunemail.com to the Incharge, Chandigarh Tribune, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh



Bansal unveils news portal on tricity
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
In the backdrop of Chandigarh emerging as the IT hub, online journalism came here today with the launch of a comprehensive news portal for the tricity of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula and its periphery.

In fact, turning a new leaf in the online journalism scenario in the city, Gurukul Vidyapeeth, a name to reckon with in the region for imparting quality technical education, today dedicated the first-of-its-kind news portal -121newsonline.com — to public.

Pawan Bansal, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources, launched the website in the presence of city Mayor Anu Chatrath at the Chandigarh Press Club here. Lauding the unique initiative of Gurukul Vidyapeeth in the field of IT, he hoped that the website would go a long way in disseminating information about the Chandigarh and its vicinity to the target audience.

Manmohan Kumar Garg, CEO of Gurukul Vidyapeeth, said this would be the first complete news portal about Chandigarh and surrounding areas as it was packed with useful information about a variety of issues, besides the current news and views for the public. The scope of the news portal would be widened to neighbouring states particular and the country in general in the months to come. The primary objective was to serve the society and made this world a better place to live in, he added.

The online news portal scores over other websites as it encompasses among others public opinion, public grievances, reach us for rescue, women empowerment, right to education and expert comments, beside special columns such as "Kids Zingalala" and "Youngistaan". Public opinions and grievances can be sent to editor@121newsonline.com.

Software developer Shivani Sachdeva, who designed the news portal, asserted that: "This project was totally a new learning experience for us.

Developing a news portal in such a short period of time was a tedious job but I enjoyed working on it. I think it is just the beginning and as the time passes by its will become more informative and presentable," she hoped.



Food for thought for Railways

Within a couple of days of complaining to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) about limited choice for food menu in the New Delhi-Kalka Shatabadi Express, the service provider has been penalised by the Railways.

“Our quality control professionals are working so that such a thing is not repeated,” an IRCTC communication to Jagga said.

While Railway subsidiary’s promptness in taking action is a welcome break from delaying tactics of the government departments, the question arises why service provider was allowed to take the passengers of the prestigious train for a ride for such a long time. Surely some food for thought for the Railway!

Byte(ing) experience

A police official took a reporter from electronic media for a ride the other day, when the latter rang up him up saying, “Sir, aapki byte chahiye” (sir, I want your byte for a news story). The official, who was in a rather jovial mood, played with the words and said, “You would be booked under Section 325 of the Indian Penal Code for causing grievous injuries, as biting someone is a criminal offence.” For a moment the answer left the cub reporter surprised.

Water woes

With the summer at its peak, scarcity of drinking water is taking a serious turn in many parts of the region. Over 10 villages in the city area are facing acute shortage of drinking water and residents are left with no alternative except to hire water tankers for Rs 300.

Inquiries revealed that due to the mismanagement on the part of the public health department, UT, situation had moved from bad to worse.

Villagers of Hallo Majra, Raipur Khurd, Raipur Kalan, Darua and Makhan Majra said they received drinking water twice a day and that too for half an hour. They said the UT administration had announced to augment the water supply scheme two years ago, but no steps had been initiated so far, causing inconvenience to residents of these villages.

Long queues of men, women and children can be seen daily along with pots and buckets in front of public taps. In many upper areas of the villages people keep on waiting for drinking water, but are disappointed when it fails to reach the tail end villages.

Despite representations to the municipal authorities, there has been no improvement in the water supply.

Meditative morning

The new “chime tree” at Rose Garden is just another fascination in the city beautiful. The mellow sound produced by hundreds of chimes hung with this iron structure (the iron tree that is) at once grabs attention.

With the winds forcing the chimes to produce meditative sounds, the area surrounding the tree is quite an attraction for children and visitors. The other day I was at Rose Garden for a routine morning walk and, to my surprise, initially I saw three youngsters sitting close to the tree to meditate and by the time it was my second round across the garden, the number increased to 10!

Cement dealers and Sachin

The dealers of a cement company, who were invited for the company’s annual meet at Zirakpur, were surprised when they saw the chief guest there. It was none other than cricketing demi-God Sachin Tendulkar, accompanied by Bollywood actress Mandira Bedi.

The ‘living legend’ spent around two hours at the venue, where he not only interacted with the audience but also distributed prizes to the winners of a quiz played at the spot.

“It was the biggest surprise of my life as nobody had any inkling that Tendulkar would be there at the venue. The dealers were instructed by the company to send one person only on one card. The company successfully kept the secret.

But now we have many things to tell to our families, friends and acquaintances about our meeting with the most adorable cricketer in the world,” said Bharat Bhushan, who came from Bathinda to attend the meet.

New clientele

After banks, training academies and professional colleges are targeting their prospective clients from among the families of those who are being handed down land compensation to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to acquire land for airport city.

“When land compensation was handed down for the international airport at Jheorheri village, a number of beneficiaries had sent their children to professional academies.

We hope that this time again, a number of villagers would send their children to professional academies,” said owner of an academy who had been visiting the area since the past few days.

Contributed by Pradeep Sharma, Ramanjit Sidhu, Anil Jerath, Neha Miglani, Akash Ghai and Rajmeet Singh



Leopard strays into village, rescued
Brought to Chhat Bir
Tribune News Service

Nangal/Zirakpur, May 16
Punjab wildlife officials today rescued a two-year-old female leopard after it strayed into Behrampur village, Nangal, from the neighbouring jungle in Himachal Pradesh. The wildlife officials had to tranquilise the traumatised wild beast before it was transported to the Chhat Bir Zoological Park near Zirakpur.

Villagers had alerted the wildlife officials about the presence of three big cats in areas around the village.

District forest officer (wildlife) SP Singh and his team reached the scene and tranquilised the animal. On arrival at the scene, the officials found some dogs barking at the animal and a group of villagers hounding it. The big cat was caught around 12.15 pm.

“Though pug marks of three leopards were found in the area, only one could be seen and captured. Others might have gone back to the jungle area,” said conservator of forests (wildlife) HS Grewal.

The wildlife officials termed it a rare occasion wherein a wild animal had been caught alive. Usually, forest officials end up fighting the wild beasts.

“Capturing it without causing any harm is a big achievement,” stated the conservator while examining the animal at the zoo.

Giving details of the rescue operation, the officials said after pushing back the onlookers, the wild beast was tranquilised. However, the team failed to catch the other two leopards and were searching for them, said the official.

With her legs tied, the unconscious leopard, caught in a net, was brought at the zoo this afternoon.

TK Behra, field director, Chhat Bir Zoological Park, said the baby leopard had been kept in a separate cage under the supervision of doctors. The initial health check-up of the leopard had already been conducted and it was recuperating, said the director.



State not getting its share of water: Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16In its reply before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Haryana claimed the state had not been getting its share of water from the Kajauli water works. As a result, Panchkula was going to face major water problem in the near future.

In the reply through engineer-in-chief Harmail Singh, it was stated that currently the water supply in Panchkula was entirely drawn from 250 tubewells. The ground water level was progressively going down and supply of canal water was critically important to meet water requirements of Panchkula.

Haryana also asserted the water supply to Kajauli water works adversely affected the supply of its share of water to Haryana from Bhakra system. As such, the Chandigarh administration should take up the issue for increasing the capacity of Nangal hydel channel as well as Bhakra main line.

During the hearing, Punjab asserted that final approval from the state chief minister would be taken soon to start work on laying the pipelines on the project.

Counsel for Punjab made it clear that the work on pipeline would be started only after undertaking from UT that they would not draw more than 150 litre water per person. It was added people of Mohali were facing shortage of water due to overdraw.

Minutes of meeting held on May 4 between the officials from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh was also placed on record.

During the meeting, Punjab said Chandigarh administration does not need that much water even in next 10-20 years. As such, the earlier memorandum needs to be revoked. Punjab Chief Secretary said after 10 years, the Chandigarh population could be more than 20 lakh. On that basis 40 gallon per capita demand of water, requirement will not be more than 80 MGD.

“Chandigarh has limited area and living space is exhausted. There is major scope of expansion in the areas of Mohali and those adjoining to it,” he concluded. The case will come up for further hearing on August 16.



Scorpio catches fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
A major tragedy was averted when a Scorpio car caught fire near Hallo Majra village here this afternoon. While no loss of life was reported in the incident, the car was charred.

The car (DL 3C AS 1237) belonged to Sanjeev Berry, a resident of Amar Colony, Delhi. The incident took place around 12.15 pm, when Sanjeev along with his wife, mother and brother was on his way to Chandigarh from Delhi.

“The car suddenly caught fire. We managed to come out unhurt,” said Sanjeev, who was driving the car at the time of the incident.

Nearby shopkeepers contacted the fire brigade, which reached the scene and brought the fire under control.

“The front portion of the vehicle i.e. its engine and bonnet was completely burnt,” said Sanjeev, adding that the reason behind the fire was not known. However, it was suspected that the incident occurred due to sparking in the car.

Meanwhile, the fire created panic among commuters, as it is one of the busiest stretches of the city. “The fire could have resulted in a bigger mishap had the fire brigade not come time,” said Ram Parkash, an eyewitness. Due to the incident, traffic was disrupted on the Chandigarh-Ambala road, near Hallo Majra village, for over half an hour and commuters faced a lot of inconvenience.



Stones of two gardens to be laid today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Minister for Tourism, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja will lay the foundation stone of the Garden of Conifers in Sector 52 and the Garden of Palms, Sector 42, on May 17.

The Chandigarh administration is making efforts for creating a hub of culture and tourism in the southern sectors of Chandigarh and recently a lake was created in Sector 42. Adjoining the lake area in the Leisure Valley, the administration plans to develop the Garden of Palms in about 25 acres. Alongside a tourism adventure park with cycle track to promote bicycle tourism has also been planned.

The Garden of Conifers will be developed in the Leisure Valley passing through Sector 52, Chandigarh. Conifers like pine, spruce, fir and its fleshy variants like juniper and yew will be mixed with evergreen vertical-shaped trees to give high attraction effect to the garden.

Tourist information centres will also be created along with public conveniences at the two gardens.



GMADA to hold camps for compensation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 16
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is in the process of organising special camps at various villages for the payment of compensation. The compensation of some of the landowners of the land (771.34 acres) acquired for the development of Aerocity Mohali could not be paid on account of various reasons. Out of the total compensation of Rs 1,174.26 crore, more than half of the compensation amounting to Rs 650 crore has already been paid to the land owners.

Payment of compensation is on since the past two weeks, but some of the land owners could not turn up to claim or receive their compensation owing to the reasons like incomplete revenue record, mortgage disputes (Matnaza), share holding disputes and incomplete claim forms.

To resolve the issues of landowners GMADA is organising the camps for Chhat, Kisanpura and Narayangarh at langar hall of Narayangarh village on May 18 and for Bakarpur, Chachu Majra and Manuali villages at Pancahata Ghar of Bakarpur village on May 20.



P’kula to have ISKCON temple

Panchkula, May 16
Considering the demands of devotees, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has decided to set up a temple in the city.

During a weekly “sankirtan” held today, Raj Govind Das Prabhu, an ISKCON devotee, said Krishan Kanti Das, who presided over a society function two days ago in the same sector, had announced that Gopal Krishna Goswami Ji Maharaj had agreed to the proposal and have asked them to take up the matter with the HUDA authorities for getting a suitable site for the purpose. — TNS



Interactive session
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations held an interactive session with Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Bansal and Mayor of the municipal corporation Anu Chatrath. Bansal said the Congress-led UPA government had a vision for the city in general and southern sectors in particular to develop it as a world class city.



CBSE directives
Practical sessions to replace traditional teaching style
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
“Do to discover rather than hear to believe”, the motto set by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in the first and pilot phase of Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation (CCE) is set to revolutionise science classes in schools.

Rolling out its latest set of directives, the board has asked all affiliated schools to replace the old talk and teach style with demonstrative activities, working models and regular practical classes.

The old concepts will now be explained to students with the help of various activities prescribed in the CBSE books.

These shall not only revamp the learning experience, but will also form prime basis of a student’s formative assessment, which forms 50 per cent of the total evaluation.

“One of the major objectives of the CCE is to make learning of subjects like science and maths more practical. Though the system of science practical has existed in schools for some time now, but it has been just for namesake in many schools. The latest guidelines issued under the CCE will not only ensure that practical get more importance, but even the style of evaluation would change with practical efficiency gaining importance over regular mugging,” claimed a member of the CCE committee.

As per rules, science teachers will ensure that they perform and demonstrate the activities prescribed in each lesson to the students. A record of student’s performance in each of these activities will be maintained and would be taken into consideration while awarding him grades for his formative assessment.

The ailing infrastructure, staff crunch and lack of motivation are bound to play a spoilsport in the CBSE’s ambitious plan of bringing about a scientific revolution in classrooms.

According to a recent in house survey conducted by the UT education department, more than 60 per cent government schools in the city are yet to have laboratories. The survey also brought to fore ailing conditions of several schools like those at Hallo Majra, Mani Majra, Dadu Majra, Khuda Alisher and Khuda Lahora where laboratories epitomise single cupboards containing few beakers and test tubes which have not been used till date.

“After visiting several schools, we found that some of those situated in rural areas and falling under the non-model categories have non-existent labs. There were also complaints of teachers making students to copy practical exercises from manuals and prepare files without doing any experiments,” said a senior UT official.

The department had announced allocation of several lakhs of rupees for construction of laboratories, but the progress of these projects is yet to be reviewed.

Are government schools ready?

The ailing infrastructure, staff crunch and lack of motivation are bound to play a spoilsport in the CBSE’s ambitious plan of bringing about a scientific revolution in classrooms



PU out of bounds for private institutes
Can’t sponsor events, advertise on campus

Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Private educational institutes will no longer be permitted to sponsor events being held on the Panjab University (PU) campus or display their promotional material on the university premises.

These institutes, mushrooming in the city’s periphery, have found easy entry to the campus by doling out meagre amounts to sponsor festivals organised by various departments, pay for star nites or provide financial assistance for other events.

Huge hoardings and banners of these private institutes is common at every corner during such events. Executives of these institutes prepare databases for promoting their courses.

To fix the problem, a spontaneous agenda was presented at the university Syndicate meeting. Subsequently, a decision to do away with this practice was taken in the meeting on April 29.

Adding that these institutes had starting taking the liberty to advertise their courses on the PU campus, Punjab University Campus Students’ Council president Amit Bhatia said, “Verification must be done about sponsors by the departments organising such events.”

Confirming that the Syndicate members had given serious thought to the matter and passed a resolution to do away with the practice, Karamajit Singh, a Syndicate member, said, “The agenda was tabled spontaneously by the Vice-Chancellor and all members agreed to put a system in place to keep other private educational institutes out of the campus.”

“The members unanimously resolved to discontinue the practice of private educational institutes displaying advertisement material on the campus. They would not be permitted to sponsor events in the future, as proposed by the Vice-Chancellor,” added Director Public Relations, Sudhir Kumar.



Academic standards in govt schools slipping
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 16
Excelling in annual examination results no longer appears to be important for government-run schools in Mohali district. Rather, going by their performance in recent years, it seems to be the other way round.

In the middle standard results declared by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) on Saturday, the district’s government schools can be credited for being amongst the worst laggards by ranking 14th as far as districtwise performance of government schools in the state is concerned. Only three students in the district have figured in the merit list released by the board.

Ironically, the presence of wives of ‘VIPs’, be they bureaucrats, top cops or educationists, is the largest in government schools located in the town and its periphery. However, there are a few scattered exceptions of good performance also.

Take the example of Government Senior Secondary School in Phase 3 B1, where only 78 of the 146 students could clear the exams. The school, considered a preferred posting for VIPs’ wives, is located in the heart of the town.

Now take the case of Government Senior Secondary School, Nada. Of the total number of 44 students only 23 could get through the exams, which comes to a result of 52.27 per cent. This indicates falling educational standards despite the government spending crores of rupees on the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme.

Another school preferred by VIPs, Government Senior Secondary School, Mullanpur Garib Dass, has a pass percentage of only 21 per cent. Though this school has a quite a few ‘VIP’ teachers, only 16 of the 76 students could clear the exams. Similarly, only 14 of the 56 students at Government Senior Secondary School, Kurari, could get through, bringing the pass percentage to 25 per cent.

The worst performance has been that of Government Middle School, Dhurali, where of the total number of 16 students just four could clear the exams and Government Senior Secondary School, Jarout, where only 26 of the 117 students were successful.

There are some encouraging examples too. Government Secondary School, Matour, Government Middle School, Palheri, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Kharar, Government Middle School, Bhagsi, Government Middle School, Kuranwala and Government Middle School, Behlolpur have recorded a 100 per cent pass percentage.

Poor results

  • Located just a few kilometers from the Punjab & Haryana civil secretariat which houses the Punjab education minister’s office, only 16 of the 76 students of Government Senior Secondary School, Mullanpur Garib Dass, could clear the middle standard exams
  • Only three of the 27 students of Government Middle School, Batoli village, could get through the exams



DAV College principal transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Transfer orders of the DAV College, Sector 10, principal BC Josan were issued at the annual meeting of the DAV College managing committee today in New Delhi.

There was an item in the agenda regarding his transfer, along with the non-renewal of principal ship of another teacher of a Punjab College, which was tabled at the meeting and later passed.

According to sources, the wedding ceremony of a history teacher of the college, which was hosted on the college campus in December last, is said to be the reason behind Josan’s transfer.

There were also reports about “friendly terms” of the college principal to bridegroom’s father, who was holding a key post at the DAV managing committee in New Delhi.

Though, the college principal is yet to receive the transfer orders, the members of the managing committee have confirmed the reports.



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