C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Powerless residents low on water pressure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The municipal corporation’s tall claims of no water crisis notwithstanding, a majority of areas in the city are facing an acute shortage. However, the ground reality is that residents of most sectors are complaining of low pressure of water supply, especially during evening hours.

The worst affected are those residing on the first and second floors of houses and apartments. Residents of Sectors 20, 21, 38, 40, 43, 50, 51 and 60 said they had been facing water scarcity for the past many days.

Federation of Sector Welfare Associations chairman PC Sanghi said issues of water shortage and low pressure were discussed at a meeting held last April between MC officials and all resident welfare associations and chaired by mayor Anu Chatrath.

He stated the mayor assured the RWAs residents would not face any water woes this season as enough availability of supply had been ensured. However, Sanghi asserted the authorities had done nothing to improve water supply in the city.

Residents say they have to line up in front of tankers both in the morning and evening to fill buckets of water to meet their daily requirement.

“You cannot live like this - it seems we’re living in some desert area. We have to carry water every day to meet our daily needs,’” said Rajat, a Sector 43 resident.

Unscheduled power cuts have also thrown life out of gear. The problem is rather acute in southern sectors due to the long, unannounced power cuts throughout the day.

Residents of Sector 44 were at the receiving end with a six-hour unscheduled power cut today. The situation was the same in Sector 45 and Burail village. Even the residents of Sector 22 had to face the heat as there was no electricity from 11 am to 1.30 pm.

Besides, various parts of the city are facing voltage fluctuation due to which coolers and air-conditioners do not work. While unscheduled cuts have been a routine for over three months, the electricity department blames it on extra load due to the increase in the number of electrical appliances used by consumers, resulting in frequent tripping. 



Mohali no better
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, June 21
Unannounced power cuts are back to haunt Mohali residents. With the mercury rising, powers cuts varying from 15 minutes to an hour are being imposed everyday. Officials in the Punjab State Power Corporation admit that with power being diverted to the agriculture sector, urban areas are facing crisis.

The state government has been claiming that it is supplying eight hours of power for paddy plantation. “Instead of imposing long cuts, we are resorting to shorter power cuts so that the urban consumers do not face much difficulty,” an official stated.

Today, there were more than seven power cuts of varying durations. Amarjit Kaur, a resident of Phase VII, said with the unreliable power scenario, managing household chores had become very difficult for working women with limited time.

Some residents even complained of their gadgets being damaged due to voltage fluctuation. Naresh Sharma of Phase IV said power cuts had begun after a gap of about 10 days. People had heaved a sigh of relief thinking that the power corporation had improved the supply in the state as a result of which cuts were not being imposed.

Earlier, cuts were imposed for four to five hours, but since the residents were aware of the timings, they had scheduled their work accordingly. Another resident, Sukhwinder Singh, said the government had failed to provide basic facilities though SAD ministers kept making tall claims regarding the development of Mohali. 



P’kula, too, suffers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 21
Residents had to remain without power for over five hours in various parts of the town here late last night.

Many residents were forced to step out in the open or sleep on the roof as inverters also gave up. The main reason for the power breakdown was a snag in the substation located at the Industrial Area, Phase II. The entire city was plunged into darkness at about 9 pm. The power went off in various sectors, including Sectors 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17 and 19. While the power supply was restored after midnight, it remained inconsistent till noon.

Ramesh Chand Dhiman, a resident of Sector 11, said it was very difficult to bear the sweltering heat and the power cut only added to their problems. He said the electricity department should be prepared to meet such eventuality.

SK Nayyar, president of the residents welfare association, said the UHBVN was unable to rectify a fault at the earliest. He said even during the day, there was frequent fluctuation of voltage, which forced them to turn off electrical appliances, including refrigerators and air-conditioners.



It’s hot, and humid, too!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The gruelling heat wave tightened its grip over the city today even as it continued to reel under high humidity.

The maximum temperature, 41.5 degree Celsius, though marginally less than 41.4 degree Celsius yesterday, was three notches above normal for this time of the year.

The minimum temperature was 32.8 degree Celsius, three degrees above normal, as against 29.1 degree Celsius yesterday, according to Met department officials.

The sizzling conditions, made worse by hot winds, kept a majority of people indoors in the comfort of their coolers and air-conditioners.

The humidity remained between 27 and 50 per cent and the combination of soaring heat and high humidity levels made conditions worse for residents.

Weather officials said conditions were not likely to improve much in the next couple of days and the monsoon was still seven or eight days away.

The Met department forecast a mainly clear sky tomorrow, with thundery development expected towards the evening and night.



UT plans to revamp schools, build new ones
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
In a bid to reverse the ailing conditions in the city’s government-run schools the UT education department has floated three proposals involving an expenditure of crores of rupees to upgrade the schools, teachers and desks.

According to these plans the administration will set up 40 new schools in the coming two years and hire 1,500 regular teachers. However, the most striking feature is ‘upgradation’ of furniture in existing schools.

Under this project the department will survey all schools and prepare reports regarding the number, quality and even age of the furniture in them. Following this exercise the deficiency ratio will be worked out and each school will get the “latest” furniture.

“This is the first time that we will conduct such a survey. I think desks are an integral part of education and in another six months or so every city student will have a new and polished desk,” stated DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia.

As far as construction of new schools is concerned, he said according to the proposal these would be “way better” than the existing government schools. “These schools will have the best in infrastructure, facilities and academic environs. We will try to provide the essence of a good private school at the expenses of studying in a government school and education will undergo a complete makeover,” added Bhatia.

The third aspect which the education department will deal with is the staff crunch that has been plaguing government schools for a long time now. According to Bhatia, the department will get into the hiring mode once the proposal is approved. Under it skilled teachers will recruited and the department will work towards improving staff satisfaction to ensure complete efficiency.



Free-for-all in Burail jail leaves 7 hurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Members of a dreaded gang of highway robbers today clashed with murder suspects in Burail jail here this morning following a dispute between both groups. The police said seven of the prison inmates belonging to both factions were injured in the fight.

A case was yet to be registered by the cops at the time of filing of this report.

Sources close to the police said the incident occurred at about 11 am in the prison compound when jail officials brought out the undertrials belonging to both factions from their barracks for different reasons. While members of the gang of alleged highway robbers were brought out to facilitate their meeting with visiting relatives, those of the other group had been brought out to be produced in court.

This turned out to be a recipe for disaster as members of both groups, who had been nursing grudges against each other, began fighting among themselves when they came in close proximity in the area located in front of the jail canteen and workshop.

The sources said the groups ferociously attacked each other leaving an unprepared jail staff completely shaken. The two groups also reportedly hurled stones at each other. Members of both factions were later taken to the Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32 and the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16 for medical aid.

The police said Harinder Singh Tinnu along with his accomplices and kingpins of the gang of highway robbers, Jaipal Singh and Gurshahid Singh Pawar alias Shera of Ferozepur, were brought out of their barracks when their relatives arrived at the jail to meet them. On the other hand, Parmatama, Sonu, Kuldeep and Arjun, suspects in the murder of a Bapu Dham colony resident, Deepak, last August, were being taken for their hearing in the court.

Though all seven undertrials were injured in the clash, among the more grievously injured were Tinnu who suffered an injury on his nose while Sonu sustained a head injury.

DSP (south) Vijay Kumar said all the injured were medically examined. “The medical report on the nature and grievousness of the injuries is awaited. Further action would only be taken on the basis of the medical reports and inputs from the jail authorities about the incident. We are inquiring into the matter at this stage”, he added.

Despite repeated efforts the deputy inspector general of Burail jail could not be contacted for his comments on the incident. 


Dutiful(l) bodies!
Encroachers gain from division of powers
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Encroachers in rehri markets of the city have been ‘befooling’ the authorities in the absence of clear powers with the UT estate office and the municipal corporation (MC) to remove encroachments in these markets.

The MC is responsible for encroachments in passages and the estate office for rooftops where shopkeepers dump their goods.

During a visit to various rehri markets, it was found that most of the shopkeepers had not only encroached upon passages of the markets by putting their products there, but few of them had even made small stores on the roofs to store products.

At Sector 15, owners of small-time eateries had been using roofs for storage of their LPG cylinders. At Sectors 19 and 22, booth owners had constructed additional storage space on rooftops to store their stocks.

One of the shopkeeper at Sector 22, dealing in cloth, complained that they had informed the MC and estate office authorities a number of times about the encroachment in passages and rooftops, but no action had been taken against anybody in the market till date.

He said most of the encroachers had been using their roofs to store their products whenever the MC enforcement team visited the market.

A few shopkeepers of Sector 19 complained that it had become a pattern for every shopkeeper in the market to construct a store on the rooftop to hide their products during any anti-encroachment drive by the MC.

They revealed that officials of the estate office did not visit the area for inspection, but only issued notices to shopkeepers for encroachment on their rooftops.

As per estate office records, around 60 notices had been issued to the shopkeepers in the last two years for violating building bylaws.

During a recent mock drill conducted by the fire and emergency service, station fire officer ML Sharma said they would send a letter to the estate office to conduct an anti-encroachment drive in the rehri markets as it was difficult for them to conduct their operation in case of a fire.

He said there had not been much of a change in the encroachments done in passages of the markets.

According to MC records, teams kept conducting anti-encroachment drives in the rehri markets to clear passages and cut hanging rods on which shopkeepers usually displayed their wares.

In April, a special anti-encroachment team, along with fire officials, was constituted by the corporation to keep a check on encroachments in rehri markets to curb incidents of fire.

There was no coordination from the enforcement wing of the estate office for complete removal of encroachments from the rehri markets of the city.

Estate Office Or MC?

When contacted, senior MC officials said they were only responsible for removing encroachments in passages of markets and were not concerned about encroachments regarding building bylaws. Officials of the estate office claimed that they had issued notices to violators of building bylaws and no action would be taken against them till the case was over. A joint drive had never been conducted by the estate office and the MC in rehri markets of the city.



Adding insult to injury
Livestock stolen, police unmoved
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Dairy farmers in the city are a harried lot. With the rising incidents of livestock theft in the city and ‘inaction’ on the part of the police, they are losing their animals to cattle thieves.

Leave apart making any effort to track down the culprits, the police has not even been registering cases of theft and prefer to pass complaints off by making entries in daily diary reports (DDRs).

Even DDRs are registered after a lapse of a few days by ‘distorting’ facts, mentioning that the animals ‘went on their own’ to make it a non-cognisable offence. Most of the time, illiterate farmers go back home, believing that a complaint has been registered.

“Police officials are using the same language they use while writing reports about missing persons. How can an animal tethered properly go on its own? Even if an animal is unleashed, it will not be able to travel out of the city,” says a dairy farmer.

Sharing his experiences with the police, Paramjit Singh Kala of Shastri Nagar at Mani Majra, said two of his buffaloes having newborns had been stolen from his cattle shed in April this year.

About 10 months ago, two of his buffaloes were stolen. He used to sleep in the cattle shed near his animals, but the thieves managed to take away his animals.

He reported the matter at the Mani Majra police station, but the police made him report that his buffaloes had gone on their own and he did not suspect anyone behind their disappearance.

On being contacted, the SHO of the police station, inspector Partap Singh, maintained that the animals were not kept properly at a safe place.

A case of theft was not registered on the complaint, he added. “He had signed on the statement. If he has any grievance, he can approach us any time,” the SHO said.

This was not an isolated incident. The police had earlier made DDR entries of theft of four buffaloes from Kishangarh village.

The complainants, Baljit Singh and Surinder Pal Singh, alleged that the police had distorted facts to register DDRs. They also alleged that the DDRs were lodged after six days.

On May 28, residents of Kajheri village caught two cattle thieves red-handed carrying 12 stolen buffaloes. The villages thrashed them before handing them over to the police.

The same day, the police registered another case of theft of two buffaloes and three calves of Shakuntla, another resident of the village, who had lodged a complaint with the police earlier.

In another similar incident, Suresh of Faidan village had accused the police of not registering a case about theft of his livestock.



Brain-artery angioplasty gives new lease of life

Chandigarh, June 21
If you thought angioplasty was only for treating heart blockage, ask 67-year-old Darshan Kaur of Jalandhar. With major blockages in the arteries supplying blood to her brain, she had been suffering from constant dizziness and other problems, besides having problems in walking.

With three stents implanted in her blocked arteries, which restored normal blood supply to her brain, Darshan Kaur was hale and hearty today andng those to be related to her age. When she consulted some doctors, they failed to diagnose the real problem and kept treating her for cervical spondylitis.

After she underwent angiography at a private hospital on the advice of Dr HK Bali, it was revealed ng those to be related to her age. When she consulted some doctors, they failed to diagnose the real problem and kept treating her for cervical spondylitis.

After she underwent angiography at a private hospital on the advice of Dr HK Bali, it was revealed cation department will deal with is the staff crunch that has been plaguing government schools for a long time now. According to Bhatia, the department will get into the hiring mode once the proposal is approved. Under it skilled teachers will recruited anformed angioplasty under local anesthesia. It took merely two hours and cost Rs 2.5 lakh.

Explaining the procedure, he said, “All three arteries were treated during the same sitting and three stents were implanted. To prevent chances of any small clot goinformed angioplasty under local anesthesia. It took merely two hours and cost Rs 2.5 lakh.

Explaining the procedure, he said, “All three arteries were treated during the same sitting and three stents were implanted. To prevent chances of any small clot going to the brain, a special filter was put beyond the blockage. She recovered fast and was discharged within two days.” — TNS



GMADA razes 20 illegal structures
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 21
Tension prevailed in Phase I when enforcement staff of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) demolished around 20 illegal structures here today. The police had to canecharge when the encroachers allegedly pelted the demolition squad with stones.

Only three months ago, GMADA had cleared the encroachment and was planning to fence the cleared area. But the encroachers again sat on the land.

Mohinder Kaur, a woman inspector of the Mohali police, received injuries on her face during the protest. Soon after the stone pelting, lathi wielding cops chased protesting women, hitting some of them in the melee. There were few women constables to control the encroachers, who were led by women.

GMADA’s estate officer Balbir Singh said the land was earmarked for a park. In the past, GMADA had been facing problem in removing the encroachments due to political interference. 



Mining goes unchecked in Ghaggar: Residents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 21
Concerned over the illegal mining activity going on in the Ghaggar, residents of Burjkotian and Fatehfurdianwala today visited the office of the Deputy Commissioner to submit a memorandum for stopping the mining.

However, as Deputy Commissioner Ashima Garg was not present in her office they had to return.

Talking to the media here today, Salim Mohammad said despite the ban on mining in the state, illegal mining activity was going on and heavy machinery, including JCB machines, could be seen in the Ghaggar and other rivulets passing through the district during late night hours.

He said the government should take immediate action against those who were indulging in such practices. He said the contractors were not paying the levy to the government, thus causing great loss to the exchequer.



Fire at junk shop in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 21
Fire broke out in the shop of a junk dealer in the Industrial Area here this morning, destroying large quantities of stored items.

According to information, the fire broke out around 5.30 am and the fire brigade was informed. Three fire engines were pressed into service and it took nearly two hours to control the fire. The cause of the fire could not be ascertained.

Avtar Singh, station fire officer, said the shop was located near the fire brigade’s office and they could reach the spot soon since it was early in the morning and there was no traffic. He said a timber store was located nearby and the fire could have spread if the situation was not brought under control on time.



Visually impaired, now cops don’t hear him
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Visually impaired Kunji Ram of Sector 27 has accused the Chandigarh police of not paying any heed to his complaint against his ground-floor neighbour, whom he has charged with harassing him and members of his family by disrupting water supply to his government apartment.

A junior assistant with the Punjab’s animal husbandry department, Kunji Ram alleged that he had made repeated complaints to the police, seeking its assistance, but to no avail. He said his neighbour had been using foul language against him and his wife and creating nuisance.

The SHO of the Sector 26 police station, inspector Shri Parkash, said he was not aware of any such complaint. He maintained that the complainant never met him on the issue. Rubbishing the claims of the SHO, Kunji Ram said the SHO had come to his residence, but did not take action.



7 injured as maxi cab overturns

Panchkula, June 21
Seven persons, including two women, were injured when a maxi cab overturned near Narayangarh here today.

According to sources, there were around nine persons in the maxi cab, which was coming from Baghbali and was heading for Narayangarh. The vehicle was going at a full speed and overturned near a turning point, as the driver lost control over it.

Two women, who were identified as Pushpa and Durga, both residents of Baghbali, received serious injuries and were rushed to the Sector 6 General Hospital for treatment. The injured were discharged from the Narayangarh Civil Hospital after providing first aid. — TNS



Class XI
Only 4 of 120 seats in Govt College filled so far
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 21
Only four students have so far taken admission in Class XI in Government College here, as against 120 seats even when the institution is starting four diploma courses in hotel management and a postgraduate course in IT from the coming session.

After the Punjab government announced its decision that the government colleges had to admit students in Class XI in the medical and non-medical streams, the Government College authorities here swung into the action and launched a poster, pamphlet and SMS campaign.

The admissions were to be given on the first-come-first-served basis. Teachers also went around to make the students aware that the admission to Class XI could be taken in the college.

The admissions were to start on June 10 and to go on till June 22. However, only four students, two in the medical and two in the non-medical stream, had taken admission in the college till today. The date of admission has reportedly been extended to July 4, though the college authorities had not received any official intimation in this regard.

College principal Nirmal Gupta said the students had probably not approached the college, as admissions to Class XI had still not been done in Chandigarh and most students preferred to study in Chandigarh schools. She said the students would approach the institution as soon as the admission process in Chandigarh got over.

When asked why the college was admitting the students on the first-come-first-served basis, Gupta said she would prefer to admit the students with 50 per cent marks or above. However, if the seats remained vacant and the number of students below 50 per cent marks was large, she might have to bring down the cut off percentage.

The principal said the college was introducing MSc (IT) and diploma courses in hotel management in the coming session. The hotel management courses were food production, bakery and confectionary, food and beverage and accommodation operations. Event management was being introduced as an add-on course in addition to 10 such courses already going on in the college.



KVs reopen after summer break

Chandigarh, June 21
It was a harrowing time for students of 12 Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) in the tricity, who had to join the school after their summer break on a sweltering day today.

While the attendance was considerable in most of the KVs today, the parents, however, expressed their resentment on the decision of KVs to reopen on an extremely hot day.

The parents who had come to pick their children appeared rather worried. “It is extremely hot today and there are chances that the children get sick in such severe heat. The holidays should have been extended, at least till summers give way to monsoon completely,” said a parent of a Class VI student.

On being contacted, principal of KV, Sector 47, CP Chaudhari, said, “The schools have reopened as per the earlier schedule and it is same for all KVs across the country. If any notification is received from the head office in Delhi, the parents will be informed accordingly.” — TNS



Experts dwell on changing educational scenario

Chandigarh, June 21
The University School of Open Learning organised a DEC-sponsored two-day national conference on “Educational technology and its applications in distance education” at the ICSSR Complex, PU campus, here today. UIET director Renu Vij, Panjab University, inaugurated the conference. She dwelt on the changing educational scenario in the light of technological advancement. 

“Now with multimedia, retention and comprehension could be facilitated for the learners,” she said. Vij also shared her experiences on MELT (mobile, e-learning and technology). About 40 participants from different universities participated in the conference. Several papers were presented on various dimensions of ICT application in distance education, according to the chairperson, University School of Open Learning, PU. — TNS



PU receives 9,500 online applications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Nearly 9,500 online applications have been received by Panjab University for its centralised online admission process to BCom in its affiliated colleges.

According to Karamjit Singh, chief coordinator of the online admission process, for nearly 4,300 seats in different colleges affiliated to PU in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur, a whopping response was received.

Singh added, “It is heartening to note that during the first stage (from May 30 to June 21) of the centralised online admissions to BCom programme, the response have been positive and no complaint has been received yet. Students will be called for counselling at different timings to ensure their time is not wasted.”

In the second stage of the admission process, the forms received will be scrutinised and tentative merit list will be put on the website www.pubcomadmissions.com on June 28.

Objections, if any, will be received by June 30 and the final merit list will be displayed on July 2. The counselling for the colleges in Chandigarh will be held from July 5 to July 8 at the Gymnasium Hall, Panjab University.

The counselling for the colleges in Ludhiana will be held from July 10 to July 13 at FCD Government College, Ludhiana, whereas counselling for the colleges in Hoshiarpur will be held from July 14 to July 15 at DAV College, Hoshiarpur.

BCom Admissions

“A letter has been issued to all colleges that they are required to inform the coordinator of BCom online admission process about fee structures in their respective colleges so that the students can be informed accordingly,” said the admission coordinator



Deteriorating food quality in PU hostels
SOPU submits memo to DSW
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) today submitted a memorandum to Panjab University’s Dean Student Welfare (DSW) expressing concern over degradation in the quality of food and hygiene in mess and canteens of PU hostels.

SOPU members, along with party president Harshvardhan Jhinja and former student council president Amit Bhatia today met the DSW.

The memorandum stated that the university students were against the practice of allocating the mess and canteen contracts of the respective hostels to same contractors each year. It further stated, “No new contractor is ever given a chance, while the old contractors do not take interest in providing the best food quality to the students. The standard of food is degrading each year.”

The SOPU members received a large number of complaints regarding deteriorating food quality in the mess and canteens during a reach-out programme in all boys and girls hostels of the campus.

“The students demanded that whenever such meetings regarding the allotment of mess and canteen contracts are held, the students in the respective hostels should be permitted to attend the same, so that decisions are taken in compliance with the interests of the students.”



Help desks from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Allocation of help desks was done through the draw of lots in an all-party meeting of student leaders at PU campus today. The help desks would be set up by the student organisations from tomorrow to guide the students seeking admission.

Meanwhile, city colleges are also abuzz with activities, with the student organisations getting active to help the students seeking admission in the respective colleges also. The student organisations had set up their help desks at DAV College, Sector 10, today.



Cultural bonanza at Press Club
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, June 21
As many as 98 child prodigies participated in a cultural bonanza presented at the Chandigarh Press Club on the World Music Day.

The budding artistes displayed their best in the skills, which they learnt in a two-week long workshop organised by the Chandigarh Press Club in association with the Pracheen Kala Kendra.

Acclaimed artistes, Malkit Singh and Ravinder Sharma, had trained the participants. The child artistes in the age group of 5-15 years presented dances and songs, besides traditional folk dances. The arts and crafts work displayed included immaculate painting skills by the naïve learners.



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