C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Water harvesting
Residents don’t care much
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Despite mandatory orders, there has been negligible response to the mandatory installation of water harvestting systems in plots measuring a kanal and above, particularly in buildings constructed before 2008.

The issue gains importance in the context that an order of the Chief Administrator dated October 16, 2008, read: “All buildings that are, or will be, located on a plot measuring one kanal and above shall have a rain harvesting system to recharge groundwater. All existing buildings shall install such a system within two years from the date of issuance of this order”.

Functional Systems

  • State Judicial Academy, Sector 43
  • EDC Building at IT park
  • UT Guest House, Sector 6
  • GCG, Sector 11
  • Office Building, Sector 11

Agency at work

The UT administration has asked the Central Ground Water Board to prepare a report on rainwater harvesting. The administration is already in possession of a report prepared by the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, on “Capturing Rainwater: A way to augment Chandigarh’s water resources”. The Centre has suggested a project model worth Rs 14 crore for all 56 sectors.

The Central Ground Water Board’s (CGWB) pre-monsoon data for 1991-2006 showed that Sector 10 recorded a decline of 16 metres in the water table and in Sector 31, the fall was 10 metres. The city has no source of direct supply from river waters.

So far, there is no official data on the number of rainwater harvesting systems in place on bigger plots. No new building of a kanal or above is now given a clearance for construction without the installation of the system.

Explaining the underground water levels, SC Sharma, Superintending Engineer (Public Health), said: “The city has about 150 deep tubewells drawing underground water from the deep aquifer at a depth of 60 metres. The levels are sinking fast. The watertable in the upper aquifer has not been touched at all.”

Some projects have been completed and work on the installation of water harvesting systems is under way at Deluxe Building, Sector 9, Paryavaran Bhavan, Sector 19, Government Rink, Sector 10, and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



PGI Study
Watchout, but don’t lose heart, if young!
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
While medical experts and health policy makers are perturbed over the increase in cardiovascular diseases in the country, a study conducted by the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) has revealed that a substantial number of young population in northern India has fallen prey to it.

The study conducted on 1,003 patients who suffered heart attack revealed that 8 per cent of them fell in the age group of 21 to 40 years.

Though patients as young as 18 years have reported with heart attack at the PGI, the figures of the recent study by doctors for risk factors among patients with heart problems involving vessel wall revealed that 79 patients, a little less than 8 per cent, were found to be between 21 and 40 years of age.

The results are of great concern for the medicos as chances of heart attacks among people below the age of 45 years have been discarded by the fraternity a couple of decades ago.

The silver lining of the study, however, is that the gravity of the situation can be reduced to a satisfactory level by monitoring and controlling the factors of hypertension, diabetes, smoking, lipid levels, cholesterol and family history, says Dr Manoj Kumar Rohit, associate professor, Advanced Cardiac Centre, PGI.

The findings and recommendations are being prepared for further submission to the World Health Organisation, he adds.

Hypertension, smoking, alcoholism, drugs, and modern lifestyle, besides a strong family history, are the primary reasons behind the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases among young patients, explains Dr Rohit.

In the study, it has been found that after hypertension, the second most prevalent factor among the total number of patients is smoking.

A total of 314 males who suffered heart attack were smokers. Further, calorie-rich junk food intake is increasing among the youth and physical activity is on the lower side of the graph.

And, the rising consumption of tobacco is adding to the problem, says the cardiologist.

According to Dr HK Bali, a renowned cardiologist, things have changed for the worst and at least 20 per cent of people going to cardiologists are below the age of 40 years.

Earlier, a person with 45 years of age was presumed to have no heart problem, but at the moment age remained no criteria for suspecting a person for heart disease, he adds.

Moreover, heart disease in India occurs 10 to 15 years earlier than in the West. And it is presumed that by 2020, India will have the largest cardiovascular disease burden in the world.

In fact, heart diseases among younger population are proving more fatal than in older people as the former presume that they cannot suffer such a disease and ignore symptoms, leading to aggravation of the condition and culminating in a silent heart attack, he says.

Because of this, there are more casualties among young people who suffer heart attack, says Dr Bali.

With prevention being the only viable solution to reduce the risk of heart disease, regular medical check-up after 35 years of age is a must, suggest the cardiologists.

What you can do

  • Visit cardiologist regularly if it runs in family
  • Take 40-minute brisk walk daily
  • Avoid heavy smoking, drinking
  • Avoid red meat, sweets having khoya, vanaspati ghee
  • Avoid cashew nuts; almonds are fine
  • Desi ghee’s daily intake shouldn’t exceed 5 gm


At the time of a heart attack, the victim feels chest pain, sweating on forehead, vomiting, nausea and heaviness in the centre of the chest, which spreads towards shoulder and lower jaw. In such a situation, the victim should be given an aspirin along with a tablet of sorbitrate under the tongue. If it doesn’t help within five minutes, another tablet can be put under the tongue and the patient must be shifted to the hospital



Fee Waiver at PU
Staff’s ignorance handicap for special students
Neha Miglani/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Belying Panjab University’s claim of providing free education to differently abled students, Kirti Agnihotri, a visually challenged girl enrolled at the music department was made to pay complete fee for staying at the hostel and for studying in MA (first semester).

The office staff, she was told, did not have any instructions and a refund would be made if such a scheme existed. While the university may be enthusiastic to waive the fee of sportspersons, some of who can effortlessly pay the fee, schemes for differently abled students are yet to be implemented on ground.

The possibility of more cases where such students paid complete fee this year cannot be ruled out. Some students do not approach officials for fear of action by teachers.

“There have been cases in the past where students were harassed by teachers for bringing the matter to the notice of the authorities,” another visually challenged student claimed on the condition of anonymity.

Having topped the entrance exam, Kirti refused to seek admission to colleges in her hometown, Hoshiarpur, as she wanted to study at the PU.

“This is a prestigious university and I wanted to join the campus. Since I topped the entrance exam, I was allocated the hostel on priority. Although I was upset about not getting a fee waiver, I did not want to beg for it,” she said.



Fire at HDFC Bank
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 24
In a major fire that broke out in the Phase XI branch of HDFC Bank here this afternoon, furniture and computer peripherals worth lakhs of rupees were gutted. An automated teller machine (ATM) installed in the bank was also damaged in the blaze.

A short circuit was the cause of the fire. Being a holiday, the bank was closed. Branch manager Rohit Dwivedi said important records of clients and valuables lying in the chest were safe as the fire did not reach the basement.

The first one to notice the fire was a guard deputed at the ATM. On seeing thick black smoke billowing from beneath the shutter, he informed the police control room (PCR) and bank officials. RD Sharma, an ASI on PCR duty, said they reached within three minutes of being informed and found that the fire had damaged the ground floor housing the bank. The air-conditioning system and false ceiling were also destroyed. The DSP (City-II), RS Sohal, visited the spot to assess the loss.



Open House
Sweets alone not adulterated
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Are only sweets in the market adulterated? If one goes by newspaper reports, one would definitely answer in the affirmative.

The Chandigarh administration has recently disclosed recoveries of adulterated sweets from different parts of the city. It has claimed to have destroyed at least 7,500 kilogrammes of alleged spurious and adulterated sweets. Earlier, it used to be spurious ‘khoya’ with unhealthy contents, now it is unclean surroundings that has marred the festive spirit.

Spurious product is brought from Uttar Pradesh and transported to different parts of the state. Anti-adulteration drives have also failed to curb the menace. Such drives are only carried out near Diwali or some other festival.

Adulteration has affected other food products as well.

An equal check is required to save common household items, including tea, coffee, spices and vegetables from the ghost called adulteration.

A reality check

During a Parliamentary debate, Member of Parliament Shailender Kumar had stated that: “Urea and oxitocin are added to milk, which in turn increases risk of abortion and impotency.” He spoke on adulteration of mustard oil, use of coal tar dye in pulses, tea and coffee. He also made a reference to use of chemicals in vegetables.

Milk is one of the most adulterated food items supplied everyday to a majority of households. Some drives are carried out, but nothing concrete happens. A majority of the milk supply comes from villages in the adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana.

The issue involved is not just dilution of milk, but also the addition of chemical synthetics which are very harmful. Spices, which are sold in open, are adulterated.

Lead chromite is added to turmeric; copper salt is mixed with pickle; rangoli is mixed with salt; vegetables are given injections for faster growth; metabil yellova is added to sweets and injections are given to cows for a greater yield.

The government, on officially fora, in the past has accepted that harmful chemicals like oxytocin, calcium carbide and urea are more than often used for faster growth of vegetables, ripening of fruits and adulterating milk. The additives are unhealthy and results are not difficult to guess.

We have the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, in place to address the grievances of consumers, however, stiffer rules are needed for better public delivery.

Adulteration Act

The Act came into existence to protect public from poisonous and harmful food; sale of substandard products; and interests of consumers by eliminating fraudulent practices.

The Act has clarified that an article of food shall be adulterated if: article contains any other substance; has been prepared, packed or kept under unsanitary conditions; the article is obtained from a diseased animal; or contains any poisonous or other ingredient which renders it injurious to health

The Act provided that guilty will be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months and up to three years and with fine up to Rs 1,000.


The initial legislation had loopholes and did not deliver the expected results. The Act has been amended three times in 1964, 1976 and in 1986. The Act does not provide for mandatory standardisation of food products. Food inspectors are not properly trained and sometimes do not even know how to take a sample. Some even don’t know how to preserve a sample before sending it for testing. The inspector to population ratio, too, is missing from the Act. Another difficulty was that a buyer had to inform the seller that he was taking the sample for testing. Under such circumstances, no guilty trader would give his sample and this often led to an uncomfortable situation. A consumer, who gave his sample for testing, was refunded the amount only in case the sample was adulterated. The amount was usually high for many complainants to bear.

It has also been pointed out that the matter needed expert handling even by the judiciary. The procedure made it difficult to make the accused guilty. Citing shortage of staff as the main reason, the food and adulteration wing attempted to wash its hands off the issue. It stated that regular checks were needed for better standardisation of products. The department, already much lesser in number than the desired strength, lacks testing laboratories. The staff is ill-equipped and needs better training.

Retailers are not in a position to ask manufacturers to give guarantee on the quality of the product. No system is in place, on ground, for the retailers to verify the product they circulate in the markets.

In one of the court cases, the UT CJM expressed the inability of four unqualified inspectors to conduct the tests. The administration has lost a majority of cases pertaining to food adulteration in the court. Even the legal procedure is very long.

Food Safety Act

Raising the expected standards of food products and punishment, the latest anti-adulteration law has made food adulteration punishable with a maximum of life imprisonment. The manufacturers can be fined up to Rs 10 lakh.

A uniform licensing pattern will be adopted for the entire country. Under the existing circumstances, there are differences in rules for different governments, which have made things easier for offenders. Several subjects, which were not earlier under the ambit of the Health Ministry, had to be transferred which led to a slight delay in formal notification of the Act.



No policy on protection, maintenance of trees
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 24
To the utter shock of tree lovers, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and the Mohali Municipal Council, the government agencies maintaining the town for the last over three decades, do not have a policy on protection and maintenance of trees. More shockingly, neither agency has a count of the trees, dead, diseased, decaying and healthy ones.

The result is slow death for hundreds of fully grown trees across the city and no remedial measures. Horticulture officials admit that hundreds of trees, especially along the roadside, are dead or are decaying.

Due to mindless chopping at the top of trees by the electricity department to protect overhead power cables, many fully grown trees are dangerously leaning towards the roadside, posing a grave danger to road users.

GMADA XEN horticulture HS Dhaliwal says he has repeatedly written to the MC to leave space around trees while laying concrete-paver blocks and also leave space around trees while recarpeting parking areas.

As per GMADA officials, trees that attain five years of age are handed over to the MC. MC executive officer Vijay Kumar Gupta says trees have never been handed over to the MC.

“Ever since I took over three months ago, I have not seen any official register pertaining to the tress. We have not been handed over the parks,” he says.

“The trees suffer double assault, first, by laying of concrete-paver blocks around trees and then by ruthless and unplanned cutting of tree foliage by the electricity department,” says a senior official of GMADA.

A random survey of road berms across the town narrates the same sorry state of affairs. Along the new road widened from Phase 1 to Sector 70, GMADA has planted new saplings right under the overhead power cables.

Similarly, tree saplings have been planted under power cables on the 200-ft road from Sohana to the Sector-81 Knowledge City.

Along the main road leading from Phase 5 to Phase 11 after meandering its way through phases 3B2 and 7 to 10, there is no one to take care of fully grown trees. Some of the trees have uprooted concrete-paver blocks.

‘New policy being framed’
Horticulturist HS Johal, who has recently taken over as GMADA technical adviser (horticulture), says it is a serious issue. “I am trying to frame a policy that will define the distance from a road, keeping in view underground and overhead essential roadside services. No proper section along the road has been defined for plantation of tree saplings.”

‘No count of trees’

Says Vijay Kumar Gupta, MC executive officer, “We have no count of trees. GMADA has not handed over trees to us. We instruct contractors to leave some space around trees while laying concrete-paver blocks.”

Stress sans direction

It appears that the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s repeated stress on increasing green cover in Mohali has gone off the mark. Instead of undertaking plantation in a planned manner in green belts, tree saplings are being planted along roadsides. There is no policy on periodic and proper pruning of trees to ensure that trees grow straight. It is not being seen whether overhead power cables hamper growth of trees.



Festive Season
Whitewashing charges touch the roof
Acute shortage of painters for houses, business establishments
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
With Diwali round the corner and people keen to refurbish their houses and business establishments, whitewashing wages have gone up exorbitantly. Average daily labour that normally costs between Rs 200 and Rs 250 is now between Rs 300 and Rs 400.

Residents of the city feel shocked over the rates being demanded by painters for the labour.

Usually painters work on contract for a fixed amount. Charges are worked out after considering rates of labour and raw material.

There is an acute shortage of painters for houses and business establishments. It is a sort of a specialised job and only trained and experienced labour can do it.

According to Arif, a wall paint contractor, it is difficult to find labour these days. He says he has to engage roadside labourers from the Sector 20 and Sector 45 labour chowks, who lift building material like bricks and sand.

He has disclosed that most of the labour, which comes from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, has gone home to celebrate Diwali and Chhath puja. Elections in Bihar have led to a large number of labourers going to vote.

This has had its impact on the labour market. With the rising demand, daily wages have also gone up.

Even the raw material costs have gone up by at least 20 per cent. Ramesh Sharma of Sector 18 says he whitewashes his house and business premises on Diwali every year.

“Although there is always an increase in costs, those have gone up substantially this year,” he says, adding that it is probably because of the overall rise in prices of other commodities.



Conference on radiology ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The 13th annual conference of the Indian Society of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at the PGI concluded here today. In the morning session, interventional radiologists from various institutes presented research work, followed by discussions on neurointerventions.

In some patients who suffered from stroke, the underlying cause might be narrowing in the carotid artery, which was the main artery supplying blood to the brain.

In such patients, the patency of the artery could be restored by inserting a stent across the narrowed segment.

This procedure, known as carotid stenting, was dwelt upon in detail by Dr Rajeev Suri from the University of Texas Health Sciences Centre, San Antonio, US.

Other conditions dealt with were intracranial aneurysms, which were focal abnormal dilatations of a blood vessel in the brain and arteriovenous malformations, which were abnormal tangle of vessels in the brain.

These conditions could now be treated through non-surgical endovascular techniques using coils and glue.

Prof RV Phadke from department of radiodiagnosis, SGPGI, Lucknow, and president-elect of Interventional Radiology Society, spoke on complications during endovascular treatment of aneurysms and management.

A new technique, flow disruptive technology in aneurysm treatment, wherein a modification of blood flow in the brain was done, was discussed.

The day ended with the valedictory function and vote of thanks by the head of the department of radiodiagnosis, PGI, and chairperson of the conference, Prof N Khandelwal, professor MS Sandhu, vice-chairperson, and Dr Paramjeet Singh, organising secretary.

Prizes were given to participants for paper and poster presentations and quizzes conducted during the conference.



Incinerator gathering rust at GH-6
It is obsolete, says Civil Surgeon

Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

A view of the unused incinerator at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula.
A view of the unused incinerator at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, October 24
The incinerator installed at the General Hospital, Sector 6, about 13 years ago, is gathering rust as has been lying unused for about nine years. The building where the incinerator has been installed is in a dilapidated condition. The cost of the incinerator is about Rs 15 lakh.

Being used for the disposal of hospital waste, it was set up under the aegis of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The incinerator later developed a snag and remained defunct for several months. It was repaired and was used for half an hour daily.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr VK Bansal, said disposing of biomedical waste through the incinerator had become obsolete as soiled or blood-soaked bandages, surgical gloves after surgery, IV sets, urine bags, aprons, injections, syringes, needles, discarded surgical instruments, culture dishes and glassware were not segregated.

Dr Bansal said waste bins of various colours were being used in the hospital, where biomedical waste was segregated as per new guidelines of the WHO. He said as patients and attendants did not know the proper use of these bins, biomedical waste was further segregated in a separate room.

He said the work of disposing of biomedical waste generated from the hospital, community health centres, primary health centres and dispensaries in the district had been outsourced to a private agency, notified by the state Pollution Control Board. He said hazardous waste was just 15 per cent of the total waste and if this was not segregated and disposed of with normal waste, the entire waste could become hazardous.

He said infected waste like soiled dressing, amputated or removed body parts and culture media was disposed of in black bags, catheters and glucose bottles in red bags, sharp instruments and syringes in blue bags and general waste in black bags. The authorities here also ensured that biomedical waste was properly segregated at the locak level before it was disposed of, he added.

He said another reason for discontinuing disposal through incinerator was that it did not have an air pollution control device and released a lot of toxic gases when operated. The running cost of the incinerator was also quite high, he added.



Foreigners, too, gear up for Diwali

William Arthur, an IT professional from Belgium, working in a city-based IT company, is spending extra hours in the market to purchase candles, colourful lights and other handicraft material to decorate his rented house in Sector 9 on the occasion of Diwali. Peter Thomas, another IT professional from the USA, is busy in the evening clicking photographs of temples and business establishments illuminated with lights.

Not only Chandigarhians are gearing up for festival of lights, foreigners, too, are excited to celebrate the festival in traditional style. About seven IT professions from various countries are here on the occasion.

They are pretty much enthused to participate in the festival of lights. “I am really excited to wear traditional Indian dress and to light fire crackers on Diwali,” said cheerful Arthur. Most of them are excited to see the whole of the city fully engrossed in the festive spirit.

“It is amazing to see the entire city decked up for the festival. The social system is so rich that allows everyone to celebrate the festival with same fervour, irrespective of caste and religion,” Peter said.

“The greatness of this country lies in its diverse culture as recently I celebrated Dasehra with same pomp and gaiety,” added Peter. Many of them have never experienced the lightning of firecrackers before due to stringent laws in their country prohibiting firecrackers.

Festive rush

Most women want to go shopping to Sector 22 these days in an attempt to make a good and cheap buy on products lying on ‘pharis’ on the market pavements. There is no place to even stand during the rush hours in the evenings.

It is not the question of rush that gains importance. It is the question of lacking security arrangements at the place. The market place is not organised.

Though some vendors have paid the fees and are sitting at the right place, a sizeable majority near the Kiran theatre is sitting in the parking place, which is illegal.

While Col Kanti Singh (retd) was grumbling about “a lacking system” at the venue, his wife Manju said, “Leave aside your discipline for a moment. This is festival season. The rush is a symbol of gaiety. Let others enjoy. Look at those girls doing “mehndi”. They come from the adjoining colonies. Karva Chauth is probably among the only few days in the entire year when they can earn some money.”

Out of bounds

Before the installation of the CCTV cameras at intersections in the city, the senior police officials said the cameras would bring transparency in the functioning of the traffic police personnel. However, this is not the case. Outsmarting their top officials the traffic police personnel have been positioning themselves away from the range of these cameras to avoid being caught in the act.

It has been noticed at several intersections in the city where the cameras have been installed the policemen stand at a distance from these intersections and catch the violators.

“It is clear that they have something to hide while dealing with traffic violators and hated to be seen on cameras,” a motorist pointed out. A senior traffic police officer said the other day that they had issued directions to the policemen in the field to stay within the view of the cameras.

Not all enjoy New Year bashes

As October nears it end, professionals in particular are busy planning their year end holidays. Dinesh, a senior manager in a private company, has already had a couple of sessions reasoning out with his bosses why he should be allowed the holiday after December 25.

“Handling a comparatively senior position in my office, however, not the top one, from the last five odd years, I am not taking leave on the year enders adjusting majority of other colleagues. My wife and kids are grumbling every time. At least on a couple of occasions I landed home well after 10 pm and cajoled my family into watching the television programmes and promising them long vacation ahead. The vacation rarely came as the schools opened in the New Year and my wife, too, joined back her duty,” said Dinesh.

He was more peeved when majority of his friends started flouting their vacation plans well in advance. He has asked his colleagues to flag their vacations well in advance and is praying (which he rarely does otherwise) for a year-end party with his family in case he could manage a small space.

“I am thinking of taking my family to Shimla, however, I am also prepared to go just till Kasauli in case my boss left me a little before it was dark. I guess even a local club would do in case he left a little later.”

A Good Samaritan

In a gesture that would encourage her to pursue her dream to study more, Asmaa, a visually impaired student of Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, whose father sells earthen pots and vessels in Mani Majra, has now been offered Rs 500 per month by an avid Chandigarh Tribune reader.

An employee of Panjab National Bank, Chandigarh, Rajnish offered her this scholarship after having read the article about Asmaa’s courage and about her two other siblings, who are also visually challenged. He then contacted the college authorities and offered help to this child.

Contributions by Ramanjit Singh Sidhu, Anil Jerath, Sanjeev Singh Bariana and Neha Miglani



Chatrath, Bansal nominated to AICC
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Adding another feather to her cap, MC Mayor Anu Chatrath, is among four senior leaders nominated as All-India Congress Committee (AICC) members by the party high command.

Union minister for parliamentary affairs and water resources Pawan Kumar Bansal, current president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), BB Bahl and veteran trade union leader Ram Pal Sharma are the other leaders nominated to the apex body.

Who will be Cong chief?

The Congress will declare the name of CTCC president either on October 26 or 27. In fact, nomination of BB Bahl as the AICC member has given rise to speculations in the Congress circles that former MC Mayor and Mahila Congress president Lalit Joshi Bhardwaj is set to become the first woman CTCC president. With the 2011 municipal corporation elections round the corner, Congress wants a grassroots worker at the helm. However, nomination to the AICC is no “disqualification” for the post of the CTCC president, the sources add.

The list was approved by AICC president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

While the nomination of senior leaders, including Bansal and Bahl, was expected, the nomination of Chatrath at the young age of 44 is seen as a major step towards the empowerment of women in the city.

Chatrath will complete her one-year term as the MC Mayor on December 31.

In fact, Chatrath’s nomination over other senior leaders is seen entrusting of important position to her in the organisational set-up even after December 31 when she ceases to be the Mayor.

It indicated a bigger role for the lawyer-politician in the party’s organisational set-up, a senior leaders said.

Party sources said an AICC meeting is scheduled for November 2 to discuss current political situation in the country and AICC members’ list had been declared in advance so that they could provide meaningful inputs at the meeting.

The sources said it was not the final list of the AICC members, as the local Congress unit could send around seven member for the apex body.

The rest of the members from minorities, scheduled castes and backward classes would be co-opted to take care of the interest of these sections of society, a senior leader said.



Land acquisition
BJP wants judicial mechanism
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
With acquisition of land for mega projects raising a lot of dust in Chandigarh, the BJP has suggested setting up of a judicial mechanism to monitor the land acquisition to ensure a better deal to the farming community.

An authority should be set up at the district, state and the national level with members drawn from the judicial background. The acquisition should specify objective, land quantum, payment and rehabilitation of affected persons, a BJP representation to the President said.

The land should be acquired on the actual market rates and farmers should be allowed to share dividend in the future projects

— UT BJP chief Sanjay Tandon

“The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 is not equipped to do justice to farmers as governments in various states are playing as a middleman for the capitalists. There is an urgent need to re-introduce the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2007, and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007, in the winter session of Parliament,” the representation stated.

Land acquisition should be done for country’s security purposes and infrastructure facilities and not for profitable projects of private companies. Keeping food crisis in the country and land fertility productive land should be conserved, like the forestland. Barren, un-irrigated and less fertile land should be acquired for projects, it stated.


  • Introduce amended land acquisition Bill in the winter session of Parliament
  • Give market rates for the acquired land
  • Farmers’ rehabilitation precede land acquisition
  • Set up judicial mechanism to monitor land acquisition
  • Acquire only barren, less fertile land for the projects

Moreover, more options should be kept for the compensation and rehabilitation and project-affected persons should be given right to negotiation, it said.

To give a better deal to farmers, the land should be taken on lease. Farmers’ ownership rights should remain in tact and after the termination of projects, the farmers or his successors be restored the land. In fact, no lease should exceed 99 years.

Local BJP president Sanjay Tandon demanded that the land should be acquired on the actual market rates and farmers should be allowed to share dividend in the future projects.

Demanding that rehabilitation should precede acquisition, it said the land should be returned to the farmers if the acquired land was not utilised in the next five years.

Just before the May 13, 2009, parliamentary elections, the Lok Sabha had passed the two Bills. However, the Bills fell in the Rajya Sabha with the Congress blaming the failure on the BJP.



Work on sewerage project deficient, says Kang
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 24
In a letter to local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia, former Congress minister Jagmohan Singh Kang has alleged that the quality of work on sewerage being executed in Kurali city by GMADA at a cost of Rs 36 crore was of substandard quality and not according to the requirement.

He said it had been brought to his notice that substandard material was being used in the project, workmanship was not up to the mark and design was faulty.

The sewerage pipe of around 8 inch diameter was insufficient to carry sewerage of the town.

The Kurali municipal committee has already lodged its concern and complained regarding this many a time to different quarters.

“I had visited the site along with council president Kurali Harmesh Rana and other persons on October 14 to have an assessment and found that complaints in this regard are very much true. As you are aware that a lot of exchequer’s money is being spent on the project, I apprehend the entire money will go down the drain if the material used is inappropriate, substandard and of poor quality,” he said while seeking probe into the matter.

A copy of the representation has been sent to Chief Secretary, Punjab, Secretary, Local Government, Director, Local Government, Punjab, Vigilance Director and Deputy Commissioner, Mohali.



Protest by Sec-49 housing society
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Residents of the Labour Bureau Cooperative House Building Society, Sector 49, staged a demonstration at the society complex today. They were protesting against the failure of the society mangement to deposit lease money with the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB).

Demanding a CBI inquiry into the financial bungling, the members alleged that the CHB was set to resume the plot due to non-payment of lease money, amounting to Rs 46,68,086.

All members of the society had been regularly depositing ground rent and land cost in the society’s bank account, but the money had not found its way to the CHB.

The CHB issued a show-cause notice to the society on October 6, asking it to deposit the amount in 15 days, but the management had failed to deposit the amount, according to a press note.



PU re-advertises key administrative posts
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Competent educationists opt for jobs in private universities and the corporate sector rather than settle for senior positions in government aided institutions like Panjab University. This appears to be the line of reasoning of PU officials for not having found suitable candidates and, hence, advertising for certain top administrative posts again.

The issue has evoked heated discussion and speculation in different lobbies within the Senate, the varsity’s highest governing body.

An advertisement for the post of PU Registrar has been put out for the third time. The posts of dean of the college development council (DCDC) and director of public relations (DPR) have been advertised a second time. Interviews for the post of associate dean of the college development council will take place for the first time, although in the past additional charge has been given to senior teachers.

The most obvious implication of giving an additional charge to teachers for these posts is the reportedly deteriorating relations between colleges and the university, which was also discussed at the PU Senate meeting held on October 10.

Even as the university is now making efforts to improve its relationship with the colleges, a section of fellows have claimed the process of selection of senior functionaries is being unnecessarily delayed.

While the post of registrar is being lying vacant since only a month, the posts of DCDC and controller of examinations for more than two years and the post of DPR is vacant since a year.

“The last date for applying is November 15 and the scrutiny of applications will not be done for another few months. Then the interviews would take another few months. The university is just buying time and delaying the process,” said a PU fellow on condition of anonymity.

Contrary to the statement of the senators, the university officials have a different explanation on the issue. “Previously the selection process was done by a high-powered committee comprising of 9-10 members and eminent vice chancellors had been invited to select the persons for these positions.

They didn’t find a suitable candidate and these posts are important enough to be held by only competent people”, said PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti.

When asked about the reason for not being able to find “suitable” candidates for the post, he stated: “Privately run institutes are flourishing at the city’s periphery.

In PU, the person is required to work within a frame of rules and everything is accountable to government and the country’s parliament since it is providing us funds.”

“There are restrictions here whereas in the corporate sector there is freedom and comparatively more money.

I can’t leave the university in the lurch by appointing just anyone. We’re waiting for the right people who can take it forward,” Sobti said, adding “selections would be done within a month of the last date for filing applications.”



Light moments at St John’s
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Urging former students of St Johns’s High School, Sector 26, to serve the whole world as one family and think big in terms of contributing to the entire creation, Brother Philip Pinto, global head of the congregation of Christian Brothers, today interacted with members of the Old Boys Association of the school.

Lauding the efforts put in by the St John’s Old Boys Association (SJOBA) in saving the girl child, after brother motivated them to help eradicate the evil practice of killing the girl child, Pinto expressed his desire to meet the boys.

He said former students should not limit themselves to their school, community or family, but go out and serve the world.

“I am here to tell you to look beyond a particular community or school and instead contribute to the world which needs people like you. If your God is big, you will be able to embrace the whole world. People need your generosity,” Pinto said.

He began his presentation with a prayer “All is holy, all is one..” and later showed a video clipping reflecting how small we are in this huge creation and the only thing with which we can really make a difference is love and compassion.

Amidst nearly 30 members of SJOBA, brother cited the example of Satish Kumar, an old man residing in London, and narrated how he resolved to stand up for what he believed in and toured capitals of four countries that were equipped with nuclear power at that time to oppose it.

On the occasion, principal of the school Kavita Das said, “Brother Pinto is a thinker, a person who does not take things at face value nor does he believe in traditional ways until they are meaningful.

He has come to interact with SJOBA members since he felt that out of 600 schools under his purview globally, this is one alumni association that can really make a difference.”



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