C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Diwali Safety measures
Leaves of firemen cancelled 
Fire Brigade tenders to be stationed at sensitive sites
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The Chandigarh Fire and Emergency Department today cancelled the leaves of all firemen and directed them to join their duty with immediate effect at their respective fire stations as part of preparations for Diwali. They have been instructed to station its fleet comprising 10 water tenders, seven water boosters and two hydraulic platform-cum- turn table ladders at sensitive sites to curtail the risk of fire mishaps during the festival.

On the other hand, the Enforcement Department has constituted 13 special teams under the Sub-Divisional Officer and Executive Engineer to check encroachments in the city. The teams have been directed to conduct surprise checks in markets and verify receipts issue by the department. It has also been decided that violators will have to pay double the amount of challan if found without receipt or if they illegally encroached upon the MC land in the market.

The sites considered sensitive includes main market of Sector 22-D, Sadar Bazar near police station Sector 19, Grain Market, Sector 26, Main market of Sector 15, 46, Hallo Majra, Mauli Jagran and Burial near the dispensary so that the response time could be minimised. Strict instructions have been issued to the employees, deployed on fire duty, to use safety equipments like fire safety suits and helmet while dealing with any fire mishap.

Municipal Corporation Additional Commissioner-Cum-Chief Fire Officer T P S Phoolka who held a special meeting here today said that they had asked the Estate Office to provide a list of sites and number of license holders of crackers issued by the department so that the Fire Department would check whether they were following the fire norms or not.



A Tribune Special
Gambling in city areas
Police looks the other way
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
A sizable decrease in the number of gambling cases this year is in no way reflective of the roaring business rampant in different places all over the city.

Against the 323 cases registered in 2009, the police registered only 110 cases till October-end, with various money games going on unabated.

A cot spread in a street of Sector 25 in broad daylight, being managed by agile youngsters uttering gambling jargon, best showcased the money betting exercise continuing unchecked in the city. Similar arrangements, with slight innovations, are also reported at Colony V, Burail, Attawa, Mauli Jagran, Dadu Majra and Mani Majra.

Gambling, at the specified centres, largely, does not involve big cash. The Tribune correspondent, watching the game of luck, in Janta Colony, was asked to try his luck at “chakar”(roulette).

The innovation of roulette has the option of trying luck on 30 numbers. A spin on the roulette can earn between Rs 100 and Rs 500. The other option available at the site is “parchis”(slips) carrying pictures of potential gift items that a gambler could win.

“As far as cases registered under the provisions of the Prevention of Gambling Act are concerned, the police action is very limited and restricted only to maintain the crime graph. In the absence of any strong will to curb the menace, the police action, whatsoever it is, will fail to yield the desired results,” sources in the UT Police headquarters said.

DySP (Central), Jagbir Singh, said, “There is no gambling activity to my knowledge. We will verify the facts, particularly allegations of police officials turning a blind eye, before any action.”

Last year, the police was left red-faced when the UT home secretary directed the SDM (South) Prerna Puri to conduct a raid in Burail village after complaints about rampant gambling poured his office. Several persons were caught indulging in gambling during the raids, which were simultaneously conducted in different parts of Burail.



750 new cars to hit city roads on Dhanteras 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
It’s raining cars on Dhanteras (November 3) this time. More than 750 new cars will hit the city roads on this “auspicious” day alone.

Local car dealers today confirmed that there had been a hike in the car sales graph this year compared to last year. In fact, there has been an over 50 per cent increase in the number of cars being bought by customers on this day compared to last year.

“We have bookings for over 25 cars for this day. The number is expected to cross 30 on Wednesday,” said Prestige Honda General Manager Manoj Kaushal. “We usually sell approximately 40 to 45 cars in a month. Selling more than 30 cars on a single day is certainly exciting business,” said Kaushal.

As only two dealers in the city are selling these luxury cars, sales of Honda cars is expected to cross 50 for sure, he added. “This year our business is better compared to 2009. Last year we sold approximately 15 to 20 cars on ‘Dhanteras’,” said Kaushal.

Maruti Suzuki dealers, too, are having a great business this Diwali season. A total of six dealers of Maruti Suzuki in the tricity are said to have booked over 350 cars for Wednesday.

“Last year’s Maruti sales were comparitively less at around 250 cars on ‘Dhanteras’ day. But this year, the booking has crossed 350 with the figure expected to touch 400 on Wednesday,” said an official of Berkley, a local Maruti Suzuki dealer.

Hyundai dealers in the tricity claimed that they expected a sale of approximately 100 cars on Dhanteras. A Chevrolet dealer said, “If we go by the booking figures, we are expecting to sell around 50 cars in the city.”

The story of Ford is no different. “The response is overwhelming on ‘Dhanteras’. We expect a sale of approximately 45 cars on the day,” said a Ford dealer at Industrial Area, Phase I, here.

On the other hand, four dealers of Tata are claiming to sell 35 to 40 cars.

“We have planned to purchase our first car on ‘Dhanteras’ only. Today we came to book it and we will take the delivery on Wednesday,” said Arun Kumar, who come at Maruti showroom to purchase his first car. Purchasing a car on ‘Dhanteras’ would surely bring good luck and safe driving,” said Namita, another customer.



PU student struggles to get father’s name changed
Careless attitude of varsity employees
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Careless attitude of Panjab University employees has come to the fore as the name of the father of a BCom (final year) student was erroneously changed to “Manmohan Singh” on his detailed marksheet (DMC).

The student (name withheld) today ran from pillar to post, pleading for correction, till senior functionaries finally noticed him and guided him in the PU’s administrative block.

By this time, he had already shelled out Rs 60 on the correction form, since a PU employee told him that it was mandatory to get the form filled for getting the correction done.

“The DMC mentions that within six months, students can get correction done, but nowhere was it mentioned that no fee is charged for it. I was made to buy a correction form and for two hours, I could not identify who is the dealing authority to get the correction done,” said this student of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26.

Among other “strange” encounters that this student had in the PU administrative block was that an official told him that he had to produce his marksheets of Classes X and XII to prove that his father’s name is not “Manmohan Singh”.

To this, the student responded, “Panjab University has issued me the DMC in BCom I and II, my father’s name can be verified from your own records first.”

On much insistence, when PU PIN number of the student was entered in the database, the correct name of his father appeared. Finally, the correction slip was issued with correct name of his father and mother.

In what has become a cause of harassment to many such students, coming each day to the PU to get some or the other work done, there is no signboard or guide map in the administrative block, indicating branches. “A student is lost in the administrative block. If there is a proper guide map on whom to contact in case of general queries, like getting correction done in DMCs or any other problem, they will not be groping in the dark,” added the student.



CBI charges ex-NCB head with seeking bribe
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a charge sheet against former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal director Sunil Kumar Sekhri in the CBI special court for demanding a bribe.

The agency had arrested him on September 6, 2009 in Delhi after he had reportedly sought the bribe from a factory owner for not registering a narcotics case against the latter. It registered a case of corruption against Sekhri under sections 7 & 13(2) read with section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. He was later granted bail on October 14, 2009.

The complainant, Rajesh Dua, had alleged Sekhri along with the superintendent of his office had raided the premises of his factory in Baddi on July 23, 2009 and inspected his firm’s records. He claimed though the records were correct Sekhri took them away and told him (Dua) to visit the former’s office in Chandigarh.

Dua stated he met the suspect on July 24, 2009 and the following day in the former’s office. He claimed Sekhri returned the firm’s records but demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh from him (Dua) to refrain from filing a narcotics case against him.

Dua stated he expressed his inability to pay the bribe in response to which Sekhri asked him to meet him near a cinema hall in Prashant Vihar in Delhi. He said he met Sekhri there where the latter again demanded Rs 5 lakh.

Dua added he had received a notice issued by the suspect on September 2, 2009 in which he was asked to produce his firm’s records of the past three years by September 15, 2009.

“I called up Sekhri on September 3, 2009, on his mobile phone number 09417095800. He asked me to meet him on September 5, 2009. On reaching his office I was told he was in Delhi and he demanded a bribe of Rs 2 lakh. Subsequently, I filed a complaint against him with the CBI after which a trap was laid for him”, Dua stated.

Investigations later revealed the complainant’s father, Ram Swarup Dua, had sent a complaint on May 1, 2009 to the director general of the Narcotics Control Bureau in which he alleged a company, Euphoria India Pharmaceuticals, was involved in selling narcotic drugs.



Rival groups clash at Nada Sahib gurdwara
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 1
Tempers began running high when members of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HSGPC), many of them brandishing swords, burnt an effigy of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar near the Nada Sahib gurdwara here today.

Panic gripped the area when the members, led by Jagdish Singh Jhinda, gathered there to burn the effigy. The latter, however slipped away from the scene when members of the gurdwara got into a fight with the HSGPC members.

Though the HSGPC members, who had brought two effigies of Makkar with them, succeeded in burning one of them they were stopped when they attempted to burn the second effigy by members of the gurdwara and the local SGPC who by then had gathered in large numbers. The HSGPC members also tried to block the NH 73 highway but were stopped by the police who arrived there in force.

A few people sustained injuries in the clash but when the cops turned up they fled from there along with their swords. The local police has stepped up security outside the gurdwara in view of threats made by Jhinda, who had recently announced HSGPG would “take over” all the gurdwaras in Haryana run by SGPC.

The manager of the Nada gurdwara, Bhupinder Singh, said they were fully prepared to foil any attempt by HSGPC members to take over the place. “We’ve already reported the incident to Makkar to decide on the further course of action”, he added.



Chemist shot at
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 1
In a firing incident, Ravinder Singh, owner of Singh Medicos, near AKS Colony on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway was seriously injured here late this evening.

The police said the family members took the injured to the GMCH-32, where his condition was said to be stable. The police suspects that the motive behind the crime could be property dispute.

According to the police, the incident occurred around 8 pm when an unidentified miscreant asked the shopkeeper for a medicine, while Ravinder turned back, the accused shot him at his abdomen area and managed to flee.

One of the shopkeepers told the police that he heard the gun shot and immediately took the injured to a chemist shop where he found that Ravinder received a bullet injury and he immediately informed his family, the police added.

A case has been registered against Kuljit, a Zirakpur-based property dealers, after recording the statement of the injured, the SHO added.


Special festival Chd-Lucknow train from tomorrow
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
To keep pace with the expected passenger rush during the festive season, the Northern Railways has decided to introduce a Chandigarh-Lucknow special train.

Also, additional coaches will be attached to the existing long-distance trains on different routes.

The first such festival special Lucknow-Chandigarh Sadbhavna Express will run on November 3 and the train will have 16 coaches, including two AC-III and one AC-II.

Train number 2231 Lucknow-Chandigarh will leave Lucknow at 8.05 am and will reach Chandigarh at 6.15 pm. It will cover Ambala, Saharanpur, Roorkee, Moradabad, Bareilly and Shehjahanpur.

Train number 2232 Chandigarh-Lucknow will depart for Lucknow at 9.15 pm and reach Lucknow at 7.05 am.

Talking to The Tribune, GM Singh, senior divisional commercial manager, Northern Railways, said keeping in mind the Chhath Puja, a second special train Unchahar Express running on the Chandigarh-Allahabad route was likely to run on November 7, for which an approval was awaited from the railway headquarters in Delhi.

He said the anticipated rush had led to the introduction of this additional service. Though the waiting list for a few moderate and long-distance trains was getting longer, additional coaches could be attached after the numbers crossed the 100 mark on a few routes, he added.

Rajesh Jain, a city resident who has to reach Bareilly on Thursday, was happy to know about the new facilities introduced by the Railways. Last year, Jain had to cancel his plans to go to Bareilly after he failed to get confirmed bookings due to the festival rush.

According to railway sources, the Northern Railways worked in advance to introduce a special train, following petitions from several social and political organisations. The sources added that discussions were on to attach additional coaches to the existing trains running on busy routes.



BJP activists protest in front of DC office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held a protest demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office today for alleged harassment of residents of Colony No 5.

While addressing the protesters, Ramesh Kumar Nikku, Secretary and Swaraj Upadhyay, mandal president, said officials of the department were unnecessarily harassing the residents. Due to their negligence, several persons whose biometric survey was conducted in 2006 were unable to find their names in the lists but they had all their documents intact which was given to them by the officials at the time of the biometric survey.

Several persons are rejected only due to non-appearance of their names in the voter list of 2009 whereas they were having their name in the voter list of 2006 and 2010.

A deputation led by BJP Chandigarh unit president Sanjay Tandon met the Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh and submitted the memorandum. The Deputy Commissioner assured action in the matter.



Builders’ paradise, investors’ nightmare
Zirakpur cries for basic amenities 
Rajiv Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 1
Zirakpur also known as builder’s paradise and a reasonable alternative for those who can’t afford a house in the relatively expensive tricity, the urban conglomerate is woefully lacking in infrastructure.

To cater to a population of about one lakh, there is inadequate water supply, insufficient government schools and poor health infrastructure.

A grand master plan for Zirakpur has remained only on papers. Ironically, the state government has focused its attention in obliging the builders lobby rather than setting up infrastructure. Zirakpur, due to its strategic location, out on both sides of the Chandigarh-Ambala and Panchkula- Patiala highways has seen prices of land touching the sky.

But when it comes to amenities, it leaves the residents gasping.

The unplanned growth, encroachments, building violations, congested roads, traffic jams, potholed roads, heaps of garbage, erratic power supply and inadequate water supply has made Zirakpur an investor’s nightmare.

The rapid growth of approved and unapproved residential colonies had created mess in the town.

Showing poor management and giving benefit to developers, the Municipal Council had failed to check the unplanned development of the town. Now, it would be difficult to develop the town according to an approved master plan.

BUS STAND: There is no bus stand in Zirakpur. In December last, the municipal council had planned to construct a modern AC bus stand on the Zirakpur-Panchkula intersection near Paras Down Town square. MC official said the land where the modern bus stand was proposed is owned by the PWD and the PIDB would construct the bus stand.

WATER: About 34 tubewells have so far been installed here in 15 wards and 13 new tubewells would be installed in next year to meet the demand of water supply. The town will also get a share of Kajauli water, as Punjab government has given its nod to the Kajauli water proposal for Mohali. According to sources, the total number of water connections in Zirakpur is 8,457 till August 31.

HOSPITALS: In absence of government hospitals in the town, residents have been forced to go to Chandigarh or Panchkula in case of an emergency. Residents rue that the town has big malls, marriage palaces and multi-storyed buildings, but the local authorities fail to provide health facilities. The local administration said the work of 30-bed hospital was in progress and would be operational soon.

ROADS: Many roads in the town are in a dilapidated condition. The Pabhat godown area roads are in a deplorable condition. Even the recently constructed flyover not solved the traffic problems here.


For better infrastructure, the council has plans to strengthen roads. The work of laying of sewerage is mostly completed. The modern bus stand will be constructed by the PIDB near Zirakpur-Kalka intersection and planning was in process. Construction of 30-bed hospital is mostly completed. He claimed that soon the infrastructure of the town will be changed as per the master plan.

— MC president NK Sharma


n Population: One lakh (approx)

n Area: 18 sq km

n Projected income from different sources: ` 23.60 crore (2010-2011)

n Housing projects: 70 existing and 13 up coming

n Water connections: 9,000

n Health: 3 ill-equipped dispensaries and seven sub-centres

n Public Transport: No public transport



Sewerage treatment plant a distant dream
Rajiv Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 1
Despite massive urbanisation followed by a heavy influx of population, Zirakpur Municipal Council (MC) has failed to put in place a sewerage treatment plant. As a result, 2.5 million gallons (approx) a day of sewage generated from the urban conglomerate is being discharged in Sukhna Choe.

The MC has already spent lakhs of rupees to lay sewerage network across Zirakpur. But in absence of the sewerage treatment plant, the untreated sewage is polluting Sukhna Choe. Sources say that MC had failed to handover the land to Punjab Sewerage Board to set up the Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP).

Recently, the Punjab Pollution Control Board had asked the MC to set up a sewerage treatment plant and set the deadline for its construction till March 2011. The board had also asked the MC that if they failed to meet the deadline it would have to pay Rs 2 lakh bank guarantee for an extension.

“The sewerage laying work is being carried out by Punjab Sewerage Department and around 85 per cent work has been completed. However, the council failed to hand over the land to the sewerage board for setting up the STP and till now the water is being released into Sukhna Choe,” said an official of the sewerage department.

MC sources said a case regarding the land in Singhpura village for the plant was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The pollution control board had asked the MC to finalise another land to set up the plant till March 2011, sources added.

According to the sewerage board official, the work of sewerage laying was in progress and would be completed by year end. The department had started the installation work of the Main Pumping Station (MPS) at Singhpura village where the STP is likely to be set up. The official said the pumping station would only help to extract the untreated water and would further dispose it in Ghaggar.

Official sources informed that the cost of sewerage project under the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) was ` 52.19 crore and a grant of ` 18 crore (approx) has been sanctioned for the sewerage treatment plant (STP) by the Central government and the state government under the Urban Infrastructure and development of Small and Medium Town (UIDSMT) scheme.



500 GMADA plot holders to get allotment letters
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 1
As the wait of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) applicants to a get letter of Intent (LOI) is getting longer, there is a good news for hundreds of plot holders in previous housing scheme.

Around 500 plot holders in the housing scheme, who could not be issued allotment letters due to a court stay, would soon be issued the allotment letters. This would pave the way for starting construction on their plots. The development follows GMADA winning the land acquisition case of Knowledge City, Sector 81.

GMADA legal adviser Harmel Singh said the litigations pending with the Punjab and Haryan High Court regarding land acquisition for Sectors 76 to 80 are also likely to be solved in the light of the Supreme Court’s judgement, as they have also been filed on similar grounds. GMADA has already moved the application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding Sectors 76 to 80.

On the issue of refunding the earnest money of the unsuccessful applicants, the GMADA is likely to miss its deadline of Diwali to start the process of refunding.

“Since we are busy with the issue of sending letter of Intent to the successful applicants and other related issues, the refund would start by November end,” said a GMADA official.

More than three lakh unsuccessful applicants would now get their refund. Of the total, around ` 9,400 crore collected from 3.20 lakh applicants, the authorities will refund around ` 8,500 crore to the unsuccessful applicants and banks that financed the applications.

AK Bhandhari, general secretary of the Public Cause, an NGO, said earnest money should be refunded soon.

“GMADA should ensure that the unsuccessful applicants, who got their applications financed through banks, should get refund of a portion of the interest charged on the financed earnest money,” said Bhandhari, but GMADA officials are non-committal about any directives to the banks to refund a portion of the interest charged.

“To protect the rights of applicants, authorities should refund the money so that applicants are compensated for the six months interest charged by the banks,” said Manjeet Singh, another applicant.



Municipal Corporation in Mohali
Council, 45 villages approve proposal
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 1
Elected representatives of most villages under Assembly constituency have shown interest in the formation of the Mohali Municipal Corporation.

Panchayats of 45 villages have already submitted proposals showing their approval.

The general house of the local civic body had also cleared the proposal of upgrading the municipal council into a corporation last month and the matter has now been sent to the authorities concerned for approval.

The chairman of the Mohali District Planning Board NK Sharma said today that the approval of the local Municipal Council and the representations given by panchayats of 45 villages had been sent to higher authorities.

He said if the recent Census would not had caused any hurdle, Mohali would have got the corporation by March.

When asked how the formation of the corporation would help in development of villages because villages like Madanpur, Mohali, Shahi Majra, and Matour that were under municipal limits were in a state of neglect, Sharma said funds had now been sanctioned for the development of some villages.

He said ` 80 lakh had been sanctioned for roads in Kambali and ` 1.8 crore for Kumbra. The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) would be giving a sum of ` 1.5 crore for providing basic amenities in Madanpur and ` 6 crore would be spent on developing Sohana.



Draw for UT housing scheme on Nov 4
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Come Thursday and UT administration ‘babus’ will be another step closer to owning their dream home. Keeping its promise, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is holding the draw of lots for the UT Employees Special Housing Scheme a day before Diwali, on November 4.

The long list of eligible applicants includes not only officials belonging to the UT cadre but also former and serving deputationists from Punjab and Haryana IAS and IPS cadres. This is in addition to both former and serving officials belonging to the Punjab and Haryana Civil Services.

In fact, the list of eligible applicants for the draw includes advisor to UT administrator Pradip Mehra, UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, a Punjab cadre IAS officer, former IGP of UT police Shanti Kumar Jain, Mahabir Singh, DIG (operations), Amarnath, former CEO of the Chandigarh Housing Board, and assistant estate officer Hargunjit Kaur, a Punjab Civil Service officer, as well as many serving and nonserving officials.

The scheme, which was announced almost three years ago in 2008, has a total of 7,666 eligible applicants under four different categories.

The scheme had its own share of controversies beginning with a section of employees of Panjab University and other institutions challenging its inclusiveness. Four Delhi Finance Corp employees had also moved court over the eligibility of deputationists in the scheme.

The scheme had been since then hanging fire with the court reserving its judgment for almost a year. The judgment only came in the first quarter of this year.

64 applicants in category B from C

A total of 64 applicants in category C will be considered eligible for category B in the draw of lots. This was done following a recent petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court over eligibility of certain applicants after revision of payscales. Another five applicants in category B are likely to be considered eligible for category A by virtue of the same order.



Anticipating cracker injuries, PGI to work round the clock
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Anticipating a large number of emergencies like every year due to cracker injuries, the PGI has made elaborate arrangements to provide immediate treatment to patients reporting here. The doctors will remain deputed on special emergency duty round the clock at the Advanced Eye Centre, from the morning of November 4 till the morning of November 7 to attend to patients on arrival.

The people has been advised to bring all eye emergencies to the Advanced Eye Centre of PGI, said the spokesperson.

The Emergency services at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and Government Multispecility Hospital, Sector 16, will also be strengthened for any emergency on Diwali night.

Last year, a total of 150 cases of severe burns and eye injuries due to crackers from in and around Chandigarh were reported at the these hospitals. Out of these four patients lost vision in one of their eyes. The things were no different during previous occasions. Two years ago in 2008 there were 147 people who came to city hospitals with different types of injuries. The preceding year the number was 123.

It is observed that there were many among injured who were onlookers. Sukhwinder (17) a resident of Kaleke village in Barnala district of Punjab and Titu (11), from Kachhwa village of Karnal in Haryana, who lost one of their eyes last year for no fault of theirs except that they were bystanders when the children were busy bursting crackers.

Majority of such incidents, however, were the result of carelessness and absence of the supervision by elders. After the injury in the eye the patients should be taken immediately to an ophthalmoligist as only he can assess the exact damage to the eye, says Dr Amit Gupta, associate professor, department of ophthalmology, PGI.

There can be the burning of cornea, a chemical injury, perforating injury or a blunt trauma to such patient. In case it takes time to reach a doctor the eye should be washed gently if possible, so that the dust or other hazardous substance are removed from the would, he said. 

Precautions for Diwali

n Elders must remain present with children while bursting crackers.

n Use long stick with candle tied to its end to ignite crackers

n Don’t direct flying crackers towards people or buildings.

n Don’t bend over crackers while lighting them.

n Don’t light crackers in hands.



Take out inhalers if you are asthmatic 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Firecrackers generate gases, which irritate the delicate airways of the lungs and worsen the condition of people with asthma, bronchitis or any other respiratory ailments making Diwali a tough time for such patients. This was discussed by medicos and asthmatic kids in the city who were brought together by pharmaceutical company in order to create awareness regarding the harmful effects on pollution generated by use of crackers on Diwali here today.

Crackers contain potassium nitrate, carbon and sulphur and when they are burnt harmful gases like sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, manganese and even cadmium are generated to the woes of the people suffering from respiratory ailments in the surrounding areas.

According to a study conducted by the Chest Research Foundation (CRF), Pune, the burning of firecrackers increases the level of sulphur dioxide 200-fold above the safety limits prescribed by World Health Organisation (WHO). This gaseous air-pollutant along with other noxious gases emitted from the burning of firecrackers aggravates the risk of triggering an attack in 30 million asthmatics in India and also has the potential to cause new cases of asthma. Fireworks are one of the provoking factors for childhood bronchial asthma, particularly in children between 6-12years and it has now been established that 26 per cent of the people without any prior history of respiratory ailments develop symptoms of coughing, wheezing and breathlessness especially during Diwali.

Dr Amit Kumar Mandal, consultant pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, who was present on the occsion said, "Every year on Diwali, there are about 10-15 asthma patients in the OPD who require emergency treatment due to aggravation of their asthmatic symptoms and in few cases even require hospitalisation. Beginning from Diwali till the end of February, there are more than 30 per cent more cases of asthma reported in the OPD. It only makes sense for all to restrict if not completely avoid firecrackers and show concern for others, he said.

Cautioning the asthma patients, the doctors said it was advised that asthmatics be well prepared with inhalers and adhere to their prescribed medicine strictly during these days.

It has been established that firecrackers cause severe health hazards even in healthy people.

Tips for Patients

n Make pre-Diwali, preparations like dusting and painting of house in the absence of asthmatic patients.

n Avoid stepping out during the evenings and arrange indoor activities with friends and family.

n Be regular with your prescribed dose of inhalers, without fail.

n Carry ‘Quick-Relief’ inhalers

n Consult a doctor immediately if any of the asthmatic symptoms aggravate. 



Fire safety norms thrown to the wind
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Visitors to the ongoing Chandigarh Crafts Mela at Kalagram should be prepared to enter the site at their own risk, as there is gross violation of fire safety norms. Interestingly, the Chandigarh Administration has not bothered to communicate with the Chandigarh Fire And Emergency Services Department regarding the arrangements to be made for such events.

While visiting the fair it was found none of the fire safety regulations prescribed by the Fire Department were being followed by the stall owners and organisers.

According to the official release, the administration claims that lakhs of people have so far visited the fair during the past four days. However, the fire safety arrangements that have been made at the fair clearly depict how serious the administration and the Municipal Corporation’s fire department are about the safety of the people.

The Chief Fire Officer of the Chandigarh Fire and Emergency Department, TPS Phoolka, said they had made sufficient fire arrangements at Kalagram at their own level, as the administration had not chalk out any plan for it.

Strangely, the electricity connections, which are supposed to be given from the wooden poles as per the fire and safety norms, were given from iron poles at the site. Most of the electricity wires hanging at the poles could lead to a major fire incident.

According to fire norms, a fire tender should have been stationed near the eating joints as they were running their business in temporary huts made up of dry grass and were using LPG cylinders in their kitchens. In case of emergency, if any mishap occurs the firemen can take immediate action to tackle the situation.

During a visit to the fair it was found that a fire tender was parked outside the block of the eating joint. An official said on the condition of anonymity that if any mishap occured, it would take a fire tender over five minutes to reach the scene. This would defeat the purpose of parking special fire tenders at the site, he added.

Another fire tender was supposed to be parked near the stage, according to the fire norms, as the performers used a number of electronic gadgets during their programmes and if any fire incident occurred due to short circuit it could be taken care of in time. But it was found that the fire tender, instead of being parked near the stage was parked in the parking lot of Kalagram.


n No communication between the Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Fire And Emergency Services Department regarding safety arrangements for the event

n No fire safety norms are being followed by the stall owners and organisers. LPG cylinders were being used openly in the kitchens of eating stalls

n Electricity connections, which are supposed to be given from the wooden poles were given from iron poles at the site

n A fire tender was parked outside the block of the eating joint where
as it should be stationed near the eating joints.

n Fire tender instead of being parked near the stage where there were electronic gadgets was parked in the parking lot of Kalagram



Military intelligence observes 69th raising day

Chandigarh, November 1
The Corps of Military Intelligence observed its 69th raising day at Chandimandir military station here today, with an entertainment programme followed by a bara khana for officers, JCOs and other ranks of the Corps, along with their families, being organised to mark the occasion.

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen S.R. Ghosh, Major General--General Staff, Maj Gen SH Kulkarni and Brigadier General Staff (Intelligence) Brig Raj Kumar, were among those present at the event along with several senior retired Corps officers. Col N. Srinivasan, Commanding Officer of the Liaison Unit extended his warm felicitations to personnel of the unit. — TNS



To strengthen PCR, five Gypsies inducted

Chandigarh, November 1
In an attempt to strengthen the Police Control Room (PCR) the Chandigarh Police today inducted five Gypsies, which were withdrawn from other wings, into PCR.

UT SSP Naunihal Singh today summoned all PCR vehicles to Police Lines, Sector 26, and conducted an inspection of the vehicles. The SSP ordered repair and maintenance of the vehicles and wireless sets, which were not working properly. The SSP said the idea behind summoning all vehicles and the PCR staff to the Police Lines was to improve interaction among them as the entire force was working in shifts.

The SSP instructed the PCR staff about special duties and patrolling during the festive season and about their deployment. The police today transferred 135 personnel from various units to the PCR, which now has a strength of 450 personnel, including three inspectors and a DSP. — TNS



Liquor vends get 2-day extension

Chandigarh, November 1
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has extended the time limit for the defaulting liquor vendors by two days to deposit their rent arrears. At the general house meeting held on last Friday it was decided that all the 24 defaulting liquor vendors should deposit their rent dues within 48 hours otherwise their vends would be sealed by the authorities.

A senior official said that the decision to extend the date had been taken on the request of vendors. The official said those who would not clear their rent dues by Wednesday evening, their liquor vends would be sealed by the department. The department collected Rs 36 lakh today from the defaulters as rent arrears. Out of total amount of about Rs 1.2 crores due against them the department has so far collected Rs 57 lakh. — TNS



’84 riot victims meet DC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
A women’s delegation of the 1984 riot victims today met the Deputy Commissioner, Brijendera Singh, after the latter had refused them permission for a self-immolation bid. The delegation also handed him over a representation of its demands.

Members of the delegation alleged that even after 26 years, the UT Administration had not released the package announced by the union government for the victims.

Fearing any untoward incident, the police was deployed in front of the DC’s office in Sector 17 since morning.

Later the delegation met the DC, who assured them of putting their case forward to the UT administration officials for an early release of package.



Deadline extended for filing VAT returns

Chandigarh, November 1
There is good news for the traders who could not file their VAT returns, as the Chandigarh Administration has decided to extend the deadline by 15 days.

According to a press note issued by the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) here today these assessees could not file returns due to the blockage of their TIN numbers.

The press note said the Union Government had made it compulsory for all TIN holders to submit their PAN numbers along with the VAT returns. Over 3,000 TIN number holders had failed to submit PAN numbers. — TNS



Dept fails to review archaic teaching methods
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Contrary to its self-proclaimed progressive attitude, the UT education department has failed to either review or change the archaic teaching techniques practiced in primary sections of the city government schools.

While their private counterparts have incorporated integrated computer technology coupled with various psycho-academic teaching techniques, government school students continue to struggle with the 3 R’s (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic) in old chalk and talk classrooms with occasional facility of abacus and building blocks being an added advantage.

Interestingly, it’s not the usual “lack of funds”, which has made primary education the most ignored aspect of the government school education, but it’s the lack of proper monitoring system that has kept the city government schools aloof from ongoing educational renaissance.

As part of the ongoing Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) project, it’s not just the regular training programmes, which are being organised for teachers, but they are also being provided with special learning kits, which, however, are barely seen in any of the schools.

“The SSA aims to make learning more activity based and has taken all steps to ensure this. The education of pre-primary or play-way classes is book free and we give different things like abacus, VCDs, etc, but surely they are not being utilised fully. The main problem is that there is no system to analyse the teaching techniques of city teachers and make them accountable for it. There is no dearth of funds or material, but it’s the initiative, which lacks on part of the teachers. The main defaulters are principals, who ignore primary classes, as they do not account for their result analysis,” said a senior official of SSA.

Private Schools

n Psycho-academic analysis of student’s performance

n Interactive classrooms

n Apt student-teacher ratio of 1:30

n Smart classrooms, including LCD’s, VCD’s or even touch screens

n Regular teachers-parents interactions

n Regular educational trips, camps

n Celebration of all festivals and organisation of various competitions

n Optimum attention to sports activities

n Grooming sessions

n Identification and nurturing special talents

Govt Schools

n Black boards

n Average teacher-student ratio 1:40

n Minimalist student-teacher interaction

n No record or observation of student’s psycho-academic performance

n Technology confined to occasional use of VCD’s or audio recorders

n Educational trips and tours once a year

n Sports activities utterly ignored

n Examination performance, sole concern in classes

SSA has made education activity based and it is being practiced in all schools. There are training programmes and orientations, but no review system per say.

— DEO Chanchal Singh



Play on declining moral ethics
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, November 1
As many as 20 child prodigies from the slum area staged a Hindi play “Janaza Kalyug Ka” under the aegis of Apang Sewa Samiti at the Randhawa auditorium here today.

They attempted to juxtapose the growing decline of moral ethics in society and rising corruption in every sphere of life, mainly the governance and politics, which prompt hypocrite and dishonest people to twist things to their benefit.

Though socially relevant issues raised in the play were not certainly within the conceptual grasp of the too young and naïve actors, but they enacted the sequences well under the direction of GS Sandhu.

However, lack of professional expertise could be apparently noticed.

Chief guest Dolly Guleria, acclaimed folk and Sufi maestro, complimented the actors and donated Rs 11,000 for the Apang Sewa Samiti. Accompanied by guest of honour Deepak Narang, she felicitated Dr Bhola Singh and Bindu Sharma for their significant contribution.



Harrowing time for pvt candidates

Chandigarh, November 1
Private candidates, who came to Panjab University’s Aruna Ranjit Chandra Hall to buy examination forms, had a harrowing time standing in long queues. Students claimed that the university should have made provision of multiple counters for the convenience of students.

The timing to procure the forms lasted till 4 pm with a lunch break from 12.30 to 2.30 pm. Post lunch, the queue got longer with only one window for girls and boys, respectively. Later, towards the closing hours, the students were being diverted to the basement of the administrative block where the forms were subsequently being sold.

“It was a tough time waiting here for the forms and I have been waiting here since two hours as the lunch break started at 12.30 pm. The university could have made multiple counters to dilute the rush,” said a candidate. — TNS



Bhupinder Brar takes charge as DUI 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Dr Bhupinder Singh Brar, a professor of political science at Panjab University, has taken over the charge of Dean University Instructions (DUI) today.

Brar is also dean research of the university as well as director of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) for northwest India.

Brar had also held positions of coordinator of the UGC Special Assistance Programme as well as coordinator of the Centre for Defence and National Security Studies at Panjab University. “The social sciences and humanities need a boost in the university. We are already doing well in sciences due the Vice-Chancellor’s efforts and have already been rated at the top among other universities, similarly we will also work towards excelling in other disciplines,” said Brar. He has published four books and over 60 popular articles. Among his latest works is an edited anthology, “Globalisation and Politics of Identity in India”, brought out by Pearson Longman in early 2008. He also serves on the editorial boards of five other journals, including Contemporary Political Theory (Palgrave-Macmillan, UK).



PU Notes
Dates announced

CHANDIGARH: At the University School of Open Learning, Panjab University, personal contact programmes for BCom-I (for Chandigarh students) having enrolment number 1 to 1,000 will be held from November 8 to 13 and for outstation students having enrolment numbers above 1,000, the programmes will be held between January 31 to February 5, 2011, informed the chairperson of the department today.

Weaving workshop

To impart weaving and design skills to fashion and lifestyle students, a six-day workshop “Tana-Bana” was organised at the University Institute of Fashion Technology. Two resource persons, KN Uniyal, a textile technologist, and Sammat Singh, an expert weaver, taught the students about basics of practical weaving and creative weaving. Students learnt not only operation of looms but also effects created by various types of weaves. They created fabric samples. — TNS



From Schools
Green consumer’s day

CHANDIGARH: “Sheesham”, the Eco Club of GMHS-36 celebrated the green consumer’s day with a great zeal today. Slogan writing and green salad making competitions were held to mark the day. In the slogan writing, Payal, a Class VII student, stood first, while Simran of Class IX came second. The third position went to Vanshika of Class VII.

Career fest

Stepping Stones Senior Secondary School, Sector 37-D, in collaboration with the Institute of Personality and Aptitude Testing, Sector 34, organised a two-day career fest today. Students from various schools participated, where various career options were discussed. Sunil Kumar, director academics of the school, appreciated the interest shown by the students and promised that such events would continue to be arranged in the future also.

‘Parvaaz 2010’

Embellished with vibrant colours, “Parvaaz 2010”, the school fete, was organised by New India Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, Panchkula, on the school premises. Nalini Mimani, district education officer, Panchkula, was the chief guest on the occasion. She urged the students to continue putting their sincere efforts and wishing them success in all future endeavours.

Anti-crackers rally

“Camphor”, the Eco Club of GMSSS-35 organised an anti-crackers rally in Sector 35 today. The students of the club carried placards, banners and raised slogans in support of the cause and interacted with passersby and residents to persuade them for using candles or diyas, instead of burning crackers for Diwali celebrations. School principal Raviraj Kaur flagged off the rally with an address to the students about damaging effects of crackers burning on the environment and health.

GTBP School

Green Planet, the Eco Club of GTBP School, Sector 15-C, organised an anti-crackers rally in Sector-17 Plaza. Members of the club carried placards, banners and slogans in support of the cause.

Pollution prevention day

GMSSS, Sector 32, celebrated pollution prevention day today. An anti-cracker rally was also organised, which was flagged off by chief guest Santosh Kumar, IFS, UT administration. District education officer Chanchal Singh was the guest of honour. The students of Class IX holding banners marched all around the sector giving the message to celebrate Diwali without bursting crackers.

Saupin’s School

Students of Saupin’s School, Sector 32, organised an anti-crackers rally today, where students carried placards, banners and slogans to support the cause. They interacted with passersby and shopkeepers. They persuaded the people to use candles and diyas, instead of burning crackers for Diwali celebrations.

Eco-friendly Diwali

The junior wing of KBDAV-7 celebrated “eco-friendly Diwali” on the school premises with a message “Say no to crackers”. The students dressed up in beautiful attires exhibited a small tableau of Ram Lila, signifying the victory of good over evil.

Students from Classes I to VII had put up an exhibition of diyas, rangoli, candles, decorated pooja thalis and made posters depicting “Safe Diwali 2010 with no fire crackers.”

Annual function

PANCHKULA: Distinctive theme of Bhavan Vidyalaya’s annual function featured accentuating relevant socio-cultural issues through a train journey “The Sadbhavana Express”, symbolising the journey of life. The audience was held spellbound as the students highlighted population explosion, poverty, inflation, corruption, female foeticide and child labour through a musical bonanza. Chief guest Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister for Water Resources and Parliamentary Affairs, exhorted the students to put the learnt lessons into practice to redeem their lives.

Drawing contest

Students of slum charitable school participated in the drawing competition organised by the Church of North India Charitable Trust Association to mark the Haryana Day in Sector 21 here today. About 50 students, residents of Maheshpur village, Madrasi Colony and Azad Colony participated in the competition.

Founder’s Day

MOHALI:As part of the Founder’s Day celebrations, Lawerance Public Senior Secondary School, Mohali, wore a festive look, as more than 500 primary students enthralled audience with their enthusiastic performance in a spectacular show entitled “Fashionaria” - A tryst with clothes.

CBSE joint secretary RJ Khanderao presided over the function and gave away academic excellence prizes. The programme concluded with the mighty beats of bhangra.


As a part of Diwali celebrations, the students of Saupin’s School, Mohali, took out a peaceful anti-crackers rally in Sector 17 to raise civic awareness and to sensitise the community about hazards of burning crackers. Around 150 students of Classes V, VI and VII participated in the anti-crackers rally, which was a part of the ongoing anti-crackers drive organised by the SCSO, Mohali. The rally was flagged off by school headmistress Goldie Kapany. The young eco-warriors went around holding placards and banners, denouncing the use of crackers and urging the people to quit bursting of crackers and to light lamps instead. — TNS



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