C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


With plots up for sale, ‘betting’ suspicions rise
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 26
The worst apprehensions of bona fide applicants about GMADA encouraging “betting” on plots in its Aerocity housing project appear to have been realised. Just a day after the draw of lots was held for 226 plots in only two of the categories (500 and 400 square yards), over 40 per cent of the plots are already up for sale.

Though letters of intent for the plots would be allotted only after clearance from the Punjab & Haryana High Court, negotiations are being conducted with the successful applicants to strike deals. Most of the investors who are wooing them are real estate agents based in and around Delhi.

However, the draw of lots for the remaining 3,700 plots in different categories is still to be held during the next two weeks.

“By not restricting one plot per family, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority has circumvented the rules and regulations to allow maximum betting on its plots. It is clear the Punjab government is itself turning to property dealers”, said Manjeet Sethi, a resident of Phase 3A.

In fact, the Aerocity project is turning out to be a godsend for investors and real estate developers. At yesterday’s draw a number of those present at the venue were real estate agents from places as far away as Hisar, Gurgaon, Panipat, who are specially camping in Mohali. They could be seen striking deals for plots with the successful applicants. Some of the enterprising ones have taken shops on rent and are throwing tea parties to establish local contacts.

Rajesh Berwal, a real estate agent from Hisar, said his

consortium of investors had applied for 1,200 plots. There were many such cases wherein individuals had grouped together to apply for a large number of plots.

“Since GMADA had specified that an individual could apply for any number of plots, it was nothing less than playing a lottery”, remarked Anil, another real estate developer.

Alarmed by the aggressive style of the real estate agents from the NCR, the Mohali Property Consultants Association is crying foul over GMADA’s failure in checking the activity of unregistered real estate agents. Said SS Walia, president of the Mohali Property Consultants Association: “Outsiders will bring a bad name to the city.

GMADA officials failed to check property dealers who were conducting their business during the auction”, said Walia.


‘Plots will soon be out of reach’

Analysts point out that with more investors and real estate agents (especially those coming from in and around Delhi) the prices of the plots could “literally touch the sky”. Since a number of moneyed investors (who have applied in bulk) are bound to hit the jackpot in the draw or will buy the plots from successful applicants, the prices are bound to go out of the reach of the common man, they added.



More and more people donate bodies
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Shedding their inhibitions and dismissing myths, the number of city residents coming forward to donate their bodies after their deaths has been steadily increasing. PGI, which received only one cadaver in 20 years till 2004, is now seeing three or four people coming every day to pledge their bodies so that their organs could be useful for needy patients or for dissection in medical schools.

Till now a total of 800 people have pledged their bodies.

Interestingly most of the pledges are coming from people who are in their sixties and above. Only yesterday the general secretary of the Senior Citizen Association, Chandigarh, Surjeet Kaur, 70, and a member of the association, Kulbir Singh, 63, pledged their bodies to PGI’s anatomy department. Their motivation was to “serve humanity” even after their deaths.

“I didn’t want that my body goes waste after my death. While the body would be used for the benefit of humanity, it would save my relatives from many hassles of going through rituals”, said Kulbir.

Earlier on July 14 Reeta Mairikrux, a 70-year-old domestic help with a Sector-36 based family pledged her body. In fact the people of region have suddenly woke up to this great humanitarian cause and for last 2 years more than 150 forms of pledges were reaching us, said Dr Daisy Sahni, head of the anatomy department. Recently there was a spurt in number of people willing to donate their bodies and at least three forms were being received at the department every day, she added. She termed awareness among masses over the issue as a main reason behind it. The messages being flashed in media have played a big role in creating awareness among the people regarding it, she said. The motivation behind pledging of body by Reeta Mairikrux, was a news report on TV channels. She decided pledging her body after hearing of Jyoti Basu, former Bengal chief minister, on television, whose body was taken to hospital for research as per his desire.

However this is always a big decision by the donor as well relatives. “While the emotions hold back relatives

from donating a body, the apprehensions of the deceased not being able to attain ‘moksha’ for not being cremated with rituals is again a big roadblock”, said another senior doctor.

The number of cadavers reaching PGI has also witnessed an increasing trend. In 2006-07 only three bodies were received. The next year in 2007-08 the number of bodies doubled to six. The hospital is expecting big increase in the number of donors in near future.

On Friday the PGI here has received the body of Sudershan Jain of Sector-20-A for teaching and research. Body of Surendra Kumar was donated on July 6. Fulfilling the last wish of his wife, Manohar Lal Dewan donated body of Raj Rani (94), who died on May 19.

While the bodies of people died of natural death are used for research and study purpose, the cadavers of brain dead people are used for transplanting the organs. The eyes, kidneys and liver of brain dead can be used fro transplant.


The dead body along with the death certificate/declaration of death certificate should be transported within 3-5 hours of the person’s death to the department of anatomy, PGIMER, Chandigarh (or to any other nearby medical college/institute).

Helpline numbers: 0172-2755201/275502 (9 am to 5 pm); (after 5 pm) 0172-2706478/994208201, 9914208202;Emergency Reception: 0172-2746018/2756565 (24 hours)



Police cracks down on ‘antisocial elements’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The police today rounded up 22 people said to be “antisocial elements” and those with a criminal background in Mauli Jagran. It also arrested a woman wanted in a case of attempted murder during a special search operation.

A team consisting of over 100 cops as well as Punjab police commandos, led by DSP (Crime) Satbir Singh, were deployed in the operation that began at 5 am and lasted seven hours. The SHOs of four police stations including those in Sector 19, 29, Manimajra and Industrial Area also participated in the exercise.

“The operation was launched to keep a check on activities of people with a criminal background as also those suspects in various cases. We want to maintain records on them and had prepared a list of such people living in the area in advance and then conducted the search”, said Satbir. The police said the woman, identified as Satyawati, a resident of Mauli Jagran, was wanted in a case of attempt to commit culpable homicide after allegedly assaulting a team of policemen and smashing their scooter earlier this year. Besides, 22 people of the locality, who were booked or arrested for various crimes, were rounded up and taken to the police station.

“They were released after verifying their present activities. Satyawati was produced before a local court that remanded her to judicial custody”, Satbir added. Police said search operations would be conducted in other areas in the coming days to “send a signal to antisocial elements in the city that they could not escape from the law”.



High-speed calculations now possible in PU
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
A super computer for performing high-speed calculations and scientific derivations will now be available to Panjab University students within the campus.

Scheduled for inauguration this week by Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti, a “high-performance computing cluster”, which is a super computer, having 48 computers integrated in a single system, has been set up by PU’s coveted-department of physics.

A unique, air-conditioned lab has been especially designed for this purpose in the department. Through this super computer, research scholars and teachers will have access to high-speed computing at their respective terminal in their classrooms in the department.

The law that accommodates this super- computer enables extension of the system up to 640 computers in future.

In what could prove to be a boon for other science and mathematics students of the university as well, the physics department has considered providing password access to other PU students, who require the service for research purpose.

Training sessions for teachers and research scholars on how to utilise the service of this computing cluster have already begun at the department level by experts from Bangalore.

With the installation of this system, PU research scholars and teachers would no longer have to visit other technical centres to do calculations and simulations at super-sonic speed.

“High speed computing is very important in science

and the construction of this lab has been successfully completed within a month. The grants received from the CAS scheme of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Union government’s department of science and technology (DST) and Rs 5 lakh from the PURSE grant were utilised to create the lab, which has the potential for extension in a big way,” said CS Aulakh, chairperson, department of physics, PU.

“The lab will be inaugurated this week and the students can do high-speed calculations in their respective rooms now. On the technical front, the super-computer will be handled by our faculty Vipin Bhatnagar,” added Aulakh.

Bhagya Raju Kasina, an expert from Wipro Infotech, who is currently training the students and teachers at the department, said: “This system is 100 times faster than what is being used by students in this department.”

Having learnt already how to access the new method for doing calculations, students in the department expressed their excitement. “We have practically experienced that the simulations and calculations that used to take months to operate, now take few seconds,” said Supriya, who is doing her PhD in nuclear science in the department.

Saman, another research student of the department, added that the super computer helped them “reduce the time and error in performing calculations.” Another student, Kulbir, said: “We went to IIT- Chennai, representing the department, last year to know more about using the super-computing system for calculations. But then the money and maintenance was an issue. We are glad that the university provided funds for this new lab.”


Shopping mall culture yet to pick up
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Though Chandigarh and its satellite towns of Panchkula and Mohali may be offering world-class standard of living, shopping mall culture is yet to catch the fancy of its residents.

In fact, the five shopping malls-cum-multiplexes in the tricity have become entertainment destinations only, with business activity in those leaving much to be desired.

Blame it on high rentals, overhead costs and dominance of traditional markets in the tricity, business centres at shopping malls are virtually avoided by shoppers.

This is despite high footfalls of movie-goers at multiplexes, which is the saving grace for shopping mall owners.

A random survey of malls in the tricity has revealed that except for the DT Mall, a major chunk of commercial space in other malls is still not being utilised even years after completion.

Chandigarh’s first shopping mall, the Fun Republic, is having problems in attracting major companies since its inception a few years back.

The situation at the Centra Mall and the Shalimar in Panchkula is no different. Having come up during recession, these malls are still reeling under the after-affects of recession, sources say.

The Big Bazaar at the Paras Down Town Square in Zirakpur is the only crowd-puller as it offers daily-use and luxury items at discounted price. Otherwise, there is nothing much for shoppers in the commercial area.

“Since commuting is not a major problem in the tricity, given its compact size, traditional markets dominate the retail sector here,” argues Jagdish Arora, president of the newly-formed Chandigarh Business Council.

Chandigarh Beopar Mandal chairman Charanjiv Singh says shopping malls are still looked upon as elitist by common shoppers.

“This, coupled with the faith inspired by traditional shopkeepers, is the reason for the thriving of markets at sectors in the tricity,” he adds.

With almost all big brands having their presence in major markets of the tricity, shoppers get a better deal at sector markets, say observers.

They feel that when commercial space is available at much cheaper rates at other sectors, companies also prefer non-mall areas.

Shoppers and movie-goers have their arguments. “Distances in the city make it convenient for shoppers to go to Sectors 17 and 22,” says Pooja, Sharma, an IT professional who has shifted from the National Capital Region to Chandigarh recently.

Why less business at malls?

  • High rentals and overhead costs
  • Small sizes and less variety of goods
  • Perceived to be elitist by consumers
  • Network of major shopping centres
  • After-affects of economic slowdown and recession

Distance to blame

Accustomed to an easy lifestyle, residents of the tricity seem to have given the thumbs down to shopping malls for shopping as those are situated away from the centre of the city and on the periphery. As major needs of residents are met in neighbourhood markets, shopping malls are naturally a second choice.



Three more malls to spice up city life
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Chandigarh entertainment scenario is set to be spiced up with the coming up of three shopping malls-cum-multiplexes.

Come next year, the City Beautiful will have three shopping malls, the TDI Mall at Sector 17, the Piccadilly Shopping Mall at Sector 34 and the City Emporium at the Phase I, Industrial Area, a development that will go a long way in offering more entertainment options for residents and tourists.

In fact, with the start of the TDI Mall in place of Jagat Theatre, the city centre of Sector 17 will get its first shopping mall, adding another feather to the cap of the “heart of the city”. Another mall is coming up on the area of the KC Theatre in the sector.

The City Emporium is touted to be one of the biggest in the region and will compete with an adjoining mall, the Centra Mall.

In fact, a large number of commercial buildings are coming up at the Industrial Area after the Chandigarh administration allowed conversion of industrial plots for commercial purposes under its conversion policy.

The Piccadilly Mall at Sector 34 will provide much-needed entertainment avenues to residents of southern sectors, who have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years in the backdrop of the coming up of cooperative group housing societies in Sector 48 onwards.

A spokesman of the TDI Group has said the TDI Mall will provide world-class entertainment facilities to visitors of Sector 17 as it is situated in the centre of the city.

“Since it is the first shopping mall to be developed in the commercial hub of the city, its early start will prove its USP,” he has added.

Entrepreneur Chander Verma feels that with the coming up of the international airport and Metro to Chandigarh, more shopping malls are the need of the hour.

“As Chandigarh is turning into a cosmopolitan city, such entertainment options must increase to put the city in the metropolitan league, he argues.

College student Shruti feels that the character of Chandigarh has changed over the years. Besides traditional markets, more shopping malls, which can cater to ever-growing needs under one roof, are needed, she says.

“Shopping malls provide a more secure place for entertainment, food and shopping during late-night hours to visitors, particularly girls,” she quips.

Observers feel that with the decline of traditional cinema halls, multiplexes-cum-shopping malls are a necessity in the modern world.

In fact, more shopping malls will lead to competition, making entertainment and shopping affordable to the common man, they add.

Why more shopping malls?

  • Chandigarh capital region emerging as new metropolitan region
  • People’s entertainment and shopping preferences changing
  • Shopping malls more secure places for women
  • High per capita income in Chandigarh can sustain more malls



Some parks can be playgrounds

As a sports lover, I would like to make the following suggestions:

  • Schools and colleges, both private and government, should promote sports. A cue should be taken from those who are performing well.
  • City-level events involving parents and senior citizens will help generate greater excitement.
  • Hockey and football need to be encouraged. These are low-cost high fitness games.
  • Successful sportspersons should be invited to deliver talks and hold workshops in schools/colleges.
  • Some of the green belts and parks should be exclusively marked for playgrounds.

Vivek Atray
Chandigarh administration.

Involve senior and retired players

The administration can follow some basic ideas to work out an effective plan for the promotion of sports in the city.

  • The administration /MC need to coordinate with the area councillors and the Resident Welfare Associations to chalk out a plan for the promotion of sports. Youngsters and sportspersons need to be actively involved.
  • A nominal fee can be charged and members should be issued cards for using the facility. Fee can be collected on a quarterly or monthly basis.
  • The play timings need be fixed so as to avoid any inconvenience to residents.
  • To upgrade the infrastructure, involvement of corporate houses, well-known people living in that particular area and Public Sector Companies should be sought.
  • Senior or retired players need to be roped in.

Sanjay Sharma

Promote other games as well

Sports form an important part of the city. However, much importance is given to cricket. I am the founder of Mega Mountain Bike Expeditions and Crank Extreme, the only dedicated mountain biking company and community to promote mountain biking as sports and leisure activity in the country and Chandigarh at large. I devoted six-and-a-half years to the IT and BPO companies, but my passion made me quit the job.

I have approached the Chandigarh administration to allow us to design and build a mountain bike park in or near the city so that mountain bikers can enhance their skills and can also attract youngsters to adopt this thrilling sport, which is one of the best sports in demand and is also practised in Olympics and Asian-level games. Sadly, no response has been received so far.

Chandigarh is a world-class city with a natural history as well as contemporary recreations. Establishing well-designed mountain bike park and trails will be in line with Chandigarh’s world-renowned forward thinking.

The most important thing is that our administration has to understand the demand for mountain biking.

Vineet Sharma

Specify play areas

Sanjeev Singh Bariana in his article-“Sports in city need fresh look” has rightly pointed out that the city lacked enthusiastic approach to any kind of sport other than cricket. It is true that Chandigarh has football and hockey grounds all over the city, but these remain unused.

A callous approach in identifying the potential areas and lacking plans to goad more people on to the fields is not working at all. Play areas need to be specified, as children playing football and cricket in parks may put senior citizens to inconvenience. Even parents are seen playing footballs and tennis with their wards. A number of times tennis balls hit us at the Sector 46C Shrub Garden. Kids also cycle on the tiled path in the park.

Parents and walkers can be seen entering into arguments everyday.

There is nobody to stop this ugly practice in these parks.

Moreover, when the park is irrigated, it stinks badly. Yes, I agree that the city needs to design an insignia for the city which teams should carry.

R K Kapoor

Where are the playgrounds?

While elaborating his views through an exhaustive article “Sports in city need fresh look”, Sanjeev Singh Bariana has rightly stressed that the administration should prepare an exhaustive list of sportspersons residing in the city.

At the moment, there seems to be no comprehensive and firm policy of the Chandigarh administration to promote sports in the city. The sports policy is required to make the city a vibrant leading edge area with adequate infrastructure. It is needed to promote talent, adopt maximum disciplines of games, coordinate activities of sports and education departments and to promote the spirit of sportsmanship.

Presently, there is a greater need in harnessing talent at the grass-root level. The sports policy should be for an elaborate procedure for selection of potential sportspersons. Out of about 12 lakh population, including 22 villages in the city, the best players should be selected.

The policy should be to reward players right from the elementary school level. But unfortunately, the City Beautiful does not have any playground despite having about 2,000 parks, including greenbelts. Of course, there are big stadiums like football, hockey and cricket, etc. In the absence of playgrounds, children have been left with no choice but to play in bigger gardens, greenbelts and parks of the sectors. These places are not meant for playing cricket or other games, as a number of times injuries are inflicted on visitors, senior citizens, especially morning and evening walkers. All this is snatching the beauty of parks. On occasions, children create nuisance in the parks by abusing each other, which is altogether intolerable.

It is not out of place to mention that several times brawls take place causing enmity between neighbours over petty issues. But where should children go? Earlier, schools were authorised to allow children of the respective sector to play in the school’s playground. But this could not last for long.

If the administration really has the will to promote sports, first of all, where new sectors are now being carved out or are in its infancy, it should earmark specific playgrounds. In southern sectors, especially in Sectors 39 to 47, along with the forest area, space for playground can easily be carved out and well maintained to promote various sports activities.

(SK Khosla)
Sector40C, Chandigarh

Open House Response

-Do you think sports form an important part of the city, particularly in context of state-of-the-art infrastructure and open spaces for different games. Mail your views on the subject and suggestions for improvement to the openhouse@tribunemail.com 



Peace fest gets off to majestic start

Chandigarh, September 26
The fifth international peace fest organised by the Chandigarh Press Club in association with the Gurukul World got off to a majestic start on the club premises here today. Supported by Yuvsatta and Ghungroo Musical Club, the international multi-cultural evening was made memorable by brilliant music and dance performances by foreign artistes.

The acclaimed dance ensemble “Koulers Gadiamd Reunion Island Folklore” from France captivated the audience with their sleek performances.

Besides, the well-known Raqsahilal Belly Dance group from Spain, too, won applause. Peace fest coordinator Pramod Sharma said the fest was held in memory of Gandhian peace activist Didi Nirmala Deshpande. — OC



Focus on health problems among elderly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The coordination committee of the Central Government Pensioners Associations and the Railways Senior Citizens Welfare Society organised a seminar on health problems, especially of the stomach, intestines, renal and rectum, faced by senior citizens here today.

Maj-Gen MS Kandal (retd) was the chief guest and Dr Atul Joshi was the keynote speaker. Over 250 senior citizens participated in the seminar.

“Do not feel embarrassed to talk about problems of the rectum or anus as some conditions can become serious and even life-threatening if not taken care of in the initial stage,” Dr Atul Joshi advised senior citizens.

He said problems relating to the rectum and anus were getting more common. These included haemorrhoids, abscesses, incontinence and cancer of the rectum.

“It is a myth that bleeding from the rectum is indicative of piles.

This myth is all pervasive and some physicians also think that. It needs to be emphasised that such patients need to be diagnosed before initiating the treatment. It is possible that the problem may not be piles alone, but a complication and the patient may end up as a cancer case,” he stated.



CSIR foundation day observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) observed the foundation day of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) here today.

Dr DV Singh, chairman of the Central Road Research Institute’s research council, emphasised on the role of agrionics in rural development through intervention of technology for making agriculture and food processing scientific and more productive.

A three-day national bilingual conference on agrionics and food processing instrumentations was also inaugurated on the occasion as a part of CSIO’s golden jubilee celebrations.

In his inaugural address, Dr Manjit Singh, Director, DMR, Solan, talked about genetic development in mushroom and emphasised on creating awareness among rural people for food processing instrumentation, exploitation of environmental resources and bridging the gap between traditional farmers and the research and development community.

About 15 lectures and 60 papers are expected to be presented by researchers during the conference, which is being attended by over 200 delegates from across the country.

CSIO staff members who retired during the past year after completing 25 years of regular service in the CSIR were also honoured.



Jagjit Singh spells magic
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, September 26
Displaying a brilliant potential for professional excellence ghazal king Jagjit spelt magic of melody, diction and mesmerising vocalism in a charity concert organised by the Sher-e-Punjab Foundation at the Tagore Theatre here today.

Commencing with a socially relevant ghazal “ koi hindu koi Muslim koi issayi hai…” he made to shift to romanticism with “sham mehke tere tassuvur se..” and more before bringing alive the pathos of unrequited love in Shiv Batalvi’s Punjabi “meinu tera shabaab lai baitha..”

The Sher-e-Punjab Foundation donated Rs 5 lakh to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for the Leh victim.



Admn claim on paintings denied
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Clarifying on the Chandigarh administration’s claims to have recovered 17 Le Corbusier paintings from his possession, Jaswinder Singh, son of Gianiji, closely associated with the French architect, said those were mere blueprints (ammonia prints), which were like photocopies of tracing papers.

The architect said he had been asked by the administration to make moulds or models which could be crafted with drawings or sketches. These had been provided by administration.

Interestingly, Jaswinder said, “I had given the now-questionable drawings voluntarily to the SDM. The drawings are not original.”

It had been reported that the administration recovered Le Corbusier’s works from the possession of Jaswinder in a raid, which the architect denied vehemently.



Quota backlog decision hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Chandigarh Scheduled Caste and Backward Class Employees Welfare Association has hailed the order of Chandigarh administration to its officials to fill the backlog of these two categories in services under them. Sukhdev Singh, president of the association, said with this, their long-standing demand had been met.

In a letter to all departments heads in the union territory on September 20, the Home Secretary mentioned that instructions issued by Government of India issued from time to time on the subject were not being complied with by various departments.

He directed the officials to take steps to fill the backlog, if any, and asked them to maintain reservation rosters in the prescribed format.



Musical play mesmerises audience
SD Sharma

Panchkula, September 26
A solo act musical play enacted by Shekhar Sen at the Inderdhanush auditorium brought alive the mystical significance of the holy utterances of the 14th century saint poet, Kabeer on Friday.

The rare theatrical performance was organised by the information, public relations and cultural affairs department, Haryana, in which acclaimed actor, singer, composer and director Shekhar Sen presented his 290th show.

Shekhar enacted 38 characters in the play embellished by 45 short bhajans composed in 43 ragas. He remained at his best, as he brilliantly made instantaneous shifts into diverse roles to enliven the characters by modulating his voice and employing all acting skills. The light effects, music and rendering of vocals were the lifeline of the show.

Following the path of righteousness, Kabeer had vehemently denounced the caste system, orthodox beliefs and exhorted people against all illogical rituals and ceremonials and talked much ahead of the times earning the wrath of many religious patriarchs.

Earlier chief guest Urvashi Gulati, chief secretary, Haryana, along with Dr KK Khandelwal IAS, Shiv Raman Gaud, IAS, lighted the traditional lamp and later honoured the artiste.



I-T reshuffle
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has effected a minor reshuffle in the income tax (IT) department in Chandigarh. PK Chopra, IT ombudsman, Kolkata, has been posted as IT ombudsman of the North-West Region after the retirement of Pamela Bhandari, IT ombudsman here.

Pawan Parmar Singh, CIT (TDS), and HC Negi, CIT (II), posted in Chandigarh, will swap their positions.



PGI director gets award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Prof KK Talwar, PGI director, was conferred the annual Coeur d ‘Or’ (Heart of Gold) award by the Kalra Hospital SRCNC (Sri Ram Cardio-Thoracic and Neurosciences Centre) in Delhi today.

The award was given in recognition of his services in cardiology in the last three decades and-a-half. Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju was the chief guest on the occasion.



Two years on, work on underbridge yet to begin
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Two years have passed since the laying of the foundation stone of a railway underbridge on level crossing 125 at Vikas Nagar, but work is yet to start.

The Railways have been maintaining that there are some technical delays, which have prevented the start of work. About 36 trains pass through this crossing in 24 hours.

This means that the crossing remains closed for more time than it is open. Hundreds of vehicles remain stranded for a long time on this road, which has high traffic density.

The foundation stone has been laid after persistent demands of people in the surrounding areas. People coming from Panchkula to Chandigarh and vice versa are worst hit when a train is scheduled to pass.

People say they have to wait for quite some time at the crossing everyday. The problem gets worse during peak hours in mornings and evenings. Sometimes it takes an hour to cross the railway crossing.

The scene at the railway crossing during peak hours is to be seen to be believed. Long serpentine queues, including heavy vehicles, can be seen on both sides of the crossing. Sometimes traffic is blocked, turning everything chaotic.

Sandeep Sharma, a regular traveller on this road, says the crossing is closed most of the time as a train has to pass about every 40 minutes. Sometime people have to wait for two trains before they can move.

There have been accidents as pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders try to cross while the crossing is closed. The Railways do not offer any compensation since it is claimed to be trespassing.

Thousands go to Panchkula or come to Chandigarh everyday using this route. Since there is no alternative route, commuters have to suffer the delay.

They have been appealing to the Railways to start work and complete it at the earliest so that the precious time of commuters is saved.

The railway authorities agreed that there was delay in the starting of work, but assured that it was being taken up at priority and it will start soon.



Vidhan Sabha session, India-Oz Test match
Police carries out search operation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 26
In the wake of forthcoming vidhan sabha session and Test match between India and Australia at the PCA stadium, the Mohali police today carried out search operations in paying guest (PG) accommodations in Nayagaon, Phase IX, X and XI, and Sohana.

A special search operation was carried out in the area of Nayagaon and Janta Colony under the supervision of Superintendent of Police (city) Sukhwant Singh Gill. Certain suspicious vehicles have been rounded up.

In Phase X, Station House Officer Sanjeev Bhatt carried out search operation at PG accommodations around the PCA stadium. Besides, similar search operations were carried in Sohana and surrounding areas. Special nakas were set up in the district to check suspicious vehicles.



BJP leader condemns RTI Act
Officials concerned not providing information
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 26
The district administration here has mocked at the Right to Information Act, as the departments concerned are not providing any information.

Addressing the mediapersons on Friday, senior BJP leader Gyan Chand Gupta, said despite three applications filed under the RTI Act, the district administration had failed to provide information about the process and eligibility criteria for allotting the BPL cards.

Gupta said in reply to their first application, the authorities only provided information that 13,181 persons got benefited under the BPL scheme.

He said, out of these 8,269 persons from the slum areas in the city and surrounding villages, while 3,427 persons from the Barwala block have been given the BPL cards.

He questioned how it was possible that the food and supplies department had issued only 1,485 cards to the poor in Kalka, Pinjore, Raitan, Doon, and Raipur Rani blocks.

Even the officials had failed to provide the details of how much rice, sugar wheat and kerosene was being distributed during the last financial year.

He said when he demanded the soft copy of the report, the RTI officials said he would have to deposit Rs 3,800 for 380-page report.

He claimed that though the state government had reduced the charges from Rs 10 to Rs 2 per page, the department was still charging Rs 10.



‘Punjab ignoring war widows’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 26
At least 85 per cent of the war widows in Punjab were living in a deplorable condition and the Punjab government was doing nothing to ameliorate their condition, said Sudesh JB Singh, the president of the War and Defence Widow Guild of India.

While addressing a press conference here, the widow of General Gurbax Singh said she was deeply concerned over the poor condition of widows and squarely blamed the state government for being the worst state when it came to looking after the war widows and ex-servicemen. She also pointed out that the state government had done nothing to rehabilitate or re-employ the families of the war widows.

She said if the government could not protect the families of the martyrs, future generations could not be encouraged to join the Armed forces. She said through the available resources she was trying to take up with the state government the case of war widows.

She said while raising the issue of war widows, she had met the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and chief ministers of all states, but no constructive outcome had come.



Parks or garbage dumping sites?
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The green belt in Sector 40, which is one of the oldest green covers in the area, presents a picture of neglect.

Thanks to the apathetic attitude of the MC officials, the green belt is no longer frequented by residents, as they say the situation has only worsened with the passage of time.
Electric wires installed in flowerbeds of the green belt in Sector 40, Chandigarh
Electric wires installed in flowerbeds of the green belt in Sector 40, Chandigarh

Garbage is strewn in and around the parks. These parks, which once used to have plants, bushes and shrubs, now have dead plants. A majority of flowerbeds in the parks have been damaged, as electricity wing of the MC has dug up the whole area to lay electric lines for installing lights. Garbage, dustbins and stray dogs is all what joggers get to see whenever they come here for morning and evening strolls.

A group of senior citizens residing near the green belt said after the day-long work one felt like relaxing or taking a stroll in a park. But the parks in the area more or less looked like a jungle. “The MC seems to be least bothered to trim the grass or remove wild weeds. Since the park is close to our house, we prefer to come here only, but if the authorities continue to sleep over the issue, we will have to go to some other sector, ” said one of the residents.

They said the MC should put in efforts to maintain the green belt in the area. If the accountability regarding the maintenance of parks was fixed by the authorities, things would have been better, they added. Residents complained that polythene bags and left-over food littered parking lots outside parks. No gardener or caretaker is ever seen cleaning the area.

Residents opined that the department should have outsourced the maintenance work to contractors, if it was reeling under staff crunch.



Dearth of parking space in Mohali
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 26
With the number of vehicle owners growing, parking is becoming a major issue not only in markets, but also residential areas in Mohali.

The parking problem has reached alarming proportions and the GMADA authorities are helpless. Vehicles choking roads and footpaths have become a common sight in markets of Phases I, III B 1, V, VII and X and in residential areas where flats and small houses have been built.

According to a survey by the horticulture wing of GMADA some months ago, 88 of the 550 parks in the town are being used by residents to park cars. The problem is more acute in Phases I, X and XI. Later, the number came down when some resident welfare associations took the responsibility of maintaining the parks in their areas.

In several residential areas with small houses, people park cars on the roadside in the absence of garages or adequate space for a driveway, causing inconvenience to road users. SS Barnala, councillor living in Phase XI, said no provision for parking was made by the authorities concerned in certain pockets in his area as a result of which residents parked cars on roadsides or in parks.

He said there were around 4,000 flats in Phase XI and people living in these must be having about 2,000 cars, but there was no space to park vehicles. The vehicle density was rising and poor planning had aggravated the situation. Residents often quarrelled over wrongly parked vehicles on narrow roads.

Even though the authorities have put up no parking boards on the road near the district administrative complex (DAC), vehicles are often seen parked on the roadside, leading to congestion.

Suresh Kumar of Phase VII said the parking in front of the bank square near Chawla Chowk remained congested and people had no choice but to park vehicles on the roadside when they came for work.

The road near the court complex in Phase III B 1 is another traffic bottleneck. Cars are parked not only on the footpath along the gurdwara and the court complex, but also in front of the government school. It is learnt that the problem of parking was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, when he was in Mohali on August 26. Badal had directed the GMADA authorities to expand parking areas and also widen roads to avoid traffic congestion.



Floriculture a booming trade
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
More and more entrepreneurs in the city are taking to floriculture. Some of them have even started seed production of flowering annuals for export purpose.

Florists in the city have set up a number of nurseries. Shops are found in almost every corner of the city. In Chandigarh alone, there is a 10-time increase in the flower usage. Marriage palaces are the major consumers of flowers, cut flowers and loose flowers. The horticulture department has also played a major role in bringing awareness among people about the aesthetic use of flowers by organising flower shows every year.

The elite love to splurge on decoration of marriage palaces. The expenditure runs into several lakhs.

Prithvi Singh, a horticulturist, and a reputed florist in Sector 19, said educated farmers in the city’s periphery had started taking up the seed production of flowering annuals also.

He said seed production of flowering annuals was mainly dependent on manual labour and everyday surveillance was necessary.

“It has become uneconomical to produce seeds in countries like the USA, Europe and Japan due to high labour and high-energy cost, as the climatic conditions during winter months in Europe are unfavourable for seed production. To overcome this problem, foreign companies are looking for regions, where good quality seed can be produced at the minimum cost. The plains of North India have great potential for seed production due to better availability of labour and suitable agro-climatic conditions,” Prithvi added.

“Cultivation of floriculture plants fits well in the rotation of commonly grown crops, which further prompted many learned farmers of neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to undertake seed production on a regular basis. Another reason for the popularity of cultivation of flowers for seed production is better returns from floricultural crops than the traditionally grown crops,” he said.

Cut flowers and loose flowers are being received in the city from states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi and West Bengal. Bangalore is more popular for cut flowers and these are quite expensive.

He said all states in the country had the tradition of growing flowers, but the commercial growing of flowers was confined to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra in South, West Bengal in the East and Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana in the North.

He said, “The quality of our produce has been accepted worldwide.”



23 teachers honoured
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 26
Manav Kalyan Manch today organised a function at Hotel Flyover, Patiala, to honour 23 teachers. Around 21 teachers were given “Shresth Aacharya Award” and two received lifetime achievement award.

Brahm Mohindra, MLA, Samana, was the chief guest on the occasion, whereas Manjeet Singh Narang, Commissioner, municipal corporation and Dr Gurnam Singh, Dean, faculty of art and culture, Punjabi University, Patiala, were the guests of honour. They gave away prizes to teachers.

Mohan Lal Chugh, general secretary of the parishad, said Prof MR Garg of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law and Ranjit Kaur, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Sanour, had received the lifetime achievement award. Harpal Singh Teja, Tamandeep Kaur, Shahi Sharma, Rajveer Kaur, Kamlesh Gupta, Anupurna Mathur, Vivek Sharma, Parwinder Kaur, Baljit Kaur, Prof JS Chhabra, Manjot Kaur, Satwinder Kaur, Prof Jatinder Dev, Dr Davinder Kaur, Prof Sandeep Singh, Ritu Bhusari, Sandeep Dhuria, Harminder Kaur, Dhanna Singh, Narinder Kumar and Renu Sharma were also honoured. 



Appointments by VC
Syndicate gives go-ahead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Panjab University Syndicate today gave a nod to three appointments made by the Vice-Chancellor using his discretionary and emergency powers.

Rubbishing the claims of an RTI activist that the appointments had been made against the rules, the Syndics gave a go-ahead to the item in the agenda after a discussion on credentials of the activist.

In the meeting held today, registrar SS Bari was given the additional charge and was offered to resume duty in the department. Bari is nearing retirement and the selection of a new registrar is due. Eminent author and journalist Khushwant Singh has been recommended for the conferment of Doctor of Literature degree for his contribution to the field of journalism.

The issue pertaining to appointment of two associate professors who belonged to the SC/ST categories in the University Business School (UBS) was not taken up by the Syndicate. The cancellation of the appointments was to be reviewed in the wake of the fresh guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Case of selection panel for affiliated colleges, which was brought to the Syndicate following a fresh notification by the UGC, was referred back to the committee of Deans constituted by the Vice-Chancellor.

The new guidelines stated that the colleges be provided with the options of names of members of the selection panel, given by members of the board of control (BOC) of the departments in PU. The members argued that a uniformity must be brought in the process of selection by the BOC and the committee must review the matter again.

The Syndicate felicitated RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor. He has been nominated by the UGC to attend the East Asian Higher Education Co-operation Forum from October 13 to 15 at Kunming, Yunnan and China. He is the only Vice-Chancellor to be nominated for the forum.

AR Rao of the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences has also been selected for the conferment of Dr Manjushree Pal Memorial Award for best Pharmaceutical Scientist Award-2010 instituted by the Association of Pharmacy Teachers of India.

Shenggen Fan, director-general, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC, has been recommended for the Doctor of Science (DSc) degree; CNR Rao, national research professor and Linus Pauling research professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (Bangalore), has also been recommended for the conferment of the Doctor of Science (DSc) degree.

The Syndicate recommended that Som Nath Chatterjee, former Speaker of Lok Sabha, be given Doctor of Laws degree. While AK Sood of the department of physics, Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), has been recommended for the prestigious Vigyan Rattan Award.

The Syndicate also took note of the important visit of TKA Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, to Panjab University on October 9 to inaugurate the PU Radio Station and media centre on the PU campus.



Education road show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
A Canadian education road show was organised at Hotel Taj today to apprise students about education in Canada.

The road show was inaugurated by Scott Slessor; Canadian Consulate General, Chandigarh. Gurbans Sobti, Canadian Consulate General, Chandigarh, was also present.

Students were given an opportunity to interact with delegates from leading universities and colleges across Canada. Certain institutions also made on-the-spot admission offers to suitable candidates.



Jaspreet, Ritesh shine in paper reading
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 26
The department of management and commerce, Khalsa College, Patiala, organised a paper reading competition at the college campus on Friday.

A total of 32 students participated in the competition. College principal, Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha while addressing the students said it was significant to hold such competitions in this modern world wherein the students need to have multifaceted personalities.

Jaspreet Kaur (BCom II) and Ritesh (BCom III) won first prize. Lovepreet (BCom II) and Zivram (BCom I) secured the second position. Sandeep (BCom I) and Pooja (BCom II) bagged the third prize, whereas Dolly (BCom II) and Bipneet Kaur 
(BCom II) won the consolation prizes.

Dr Ubha and Prof Jasleen Kaur, head, the department of management and commerce, congratulated the students.



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