C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pvt schools rue non-uniformity in land rules
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, December 12
Contradictions in the handling of school affairs by the Chandigarh Administration over the years have led to a piquant situation, with over 50 schools knocking at the doors of courts after they were virtually pushed against the wall by the Chandigarh Administration.

While schools in the national capital are being charged only Rs 100 per acre for the unbuilt land on their campuses, schools in the city are paying as high as Rs 10,800 per square yard, even on account of the un-built area. This is because schools are also being charged 2.5 per cent lease money, the same as commercial property in Sector 17.

“The commercial property is allowed 100 per cent coverage of the land paid for with floor area ratio (FAR) of 5 but is case of schools, only 15 per cent of the plot is allowed to be constructed with an FAR of 0.5. This being the fact, the schools are paying 16.6 per cent lease on their constructed area compared to 2.5 per cent in Sector 17,” a school principal said, requesting anonymity because “I don’t want to rub shoulders the wrong way against the administration through the media”.

For example, Vivek High School was allotted six acres, of which construction has been done on about one acre. Yet, they pay 2.5 per cent annually as lease money for the six acres. Till 1990 the practice of the Chandigarh Administration was similar to Delhi and open fields were charged a nominal lease at Rs 100 an acre annually.

Accepting that private schools, too, need to have adequate green cover for playgrounds, they feel that they should be a charged different pattern for the built-up area and the open space. Schools feel that the original practice, which was once followed in Chandigarh, should be reintroduced.

The stand of the administration has placed over a lakh students in more than 50 schools on tenterhooks. “I feel the matter needs to be settled between the warring parties once and for all because the unsavoury situation has schools and parents, in particular, caught up in the rigmarole of uncertainty and time spent on unnecessary paper work rather than academic exercise. Schools have also sought intervention of Shiv Raj Patil, UT Administrator, on the issue,” another principal said.

Independent Schools Association feels that the administration was unnecessarily adorning the role of a bully instead of a facilitator or guide. “Under the garb of CBSE norms, Ram Niwas, Education Secretary, seems to have personalised the entire education. He thinks he is some crusader against private schools who were nothing more than private entrepreneurs doing nothing more than making money,” said president HS Mamik.

Independent Schools Association has announced numerous times that they are in favour of implementing the “RTE in toto”. “However, the reaction of the administration is to the contrary, whereby they are painting the private schools as villains. The schools are demanding that as per the RTE, the administration has responsibilities which need to be addressed, including mapping of Chandigarh and database of school-going children,” Mamik said.

Private schools are appealing to the administrator to intervene in these issues and involve private schools in finding a lasting solution to the implementation of the RTE. They fear that due to the lack of cooperation and bullying attitude of the education secretary, the entire issues may go into litigation again. “Is someone listening?” asked a principal of a public school.

The Home Secretary has vehemently denied all allegations of any bias in the past.

It appears strange that no action has been taken by the administration to put their own schools in order. It seems from their attitude that the RTE was only meant for education of the underprivileged in private schools. No government school appeared in news for any big irregularities except routine inspections by the Home Secretary where “he delivered lectures on healthy living”. Going by the logic, all government schools should be giving excellent results, which is not the reality.

Those who started late are the worst sufferers. Certain schools, including St John’s and Sacred Heart, both in Sector 26, were given land for free in 1960s. Till 1982, institutes got the land at rates between Rs 10 and Rs 60 per square yard. In 1996, the rate was revised to Rs 1,800 per square yard. Some of these schools were also required to fulfill the criteria of five per cent reservation for children of the economically weaker sections. As many as 40 schools were approved.

In 2003, the administration proposed to go ahead with an auction of plots for schools at a reserved price of Rs 16,000 per square yard which was protested against. Ultimately, two school sites in Manimajra sold for Rs 10,500 per square yard. It is worth mentioning that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had stayed its final decision on resuming the land allotted to as many as 24 schools against whom the administration had initiated resumption proceedings as these schools did not follow the EWS quota.

“The schools against which resumption proceedings have been initiated were allotted plots/sites much before 1996. The EWS policy is not applicable to the private schools who did not have a provision for the same in their allotment letters,” it has been argued in the court.

High Rate

Schools in the national capital are being charged only Rs 100 per acre for the unbuilt land on their campuses, schools in the city are paying as high as ` 10,800 per square yard, even on account of the un-built area



Violation of Land Preservation Act
2 Green Earth Society employees held
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 12
The Punjab Forest Department has detected that a large chunk of land in eco-fragile Shivalik Hills, in possession of Green Earth Society, was being levelled in violation of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) near Tanda village.

Two persons, Shera and Tarsem Lal, who were found levelling the hillock, have been booked under Sections 186 and 353 of the IPC and under Sections 4, 5 and 19 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA). While the forest officials were taking the machinery, used in the levelling, to the police station, Tarsem Lal, an official of the society at the site, forcibly took away the tractor trolley used by them.

Though the forest department had lodged the complaint with the Nayagoan police on December 8, the case was registered on December 11. Forest officials alleged that the police had delayed registration of the case.

Reacting to the case, chairman of the Green Earth Society Col BS Sandhu said the land in question was agriculture land and it had already been de-notified from the provisions of the PLPA, 1990, and there was no sense in the forest department lodging the case. The forest department should get the land records checked, he added. Col Sandhu is also the chairman of the World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS).

SHO, Nayagoan, GP Singh said the case had been registered against the persons who were present on the spot. He said they were yet to verify the role of the chairman of the society, as he was also present at the spot.



Wrong turn claims youth’s life
Tribune News Service

Rajan Vinayak
Rajan Vinayak

Mohali, December 12
Haphazard parking of vehicles by visitors to the weekly Apni Mandi in Sector 62 (Phase VIII) today resulted in the death of a 24-year-old BTech student Rajan Vinayak here this evening. The victim, who was driving a motorcycle, was crushed under a speeding vehicle on the road separating Phases VII and VIII here.

While Vinayak died on the spot, his pillion rider was rushed to the GMCH-32, Chandigarh, in a serious condition. He was stated to be unconscious.

After buying vegetables from Apni Mandi, the victims, while taking a wrong turn, fell down after being hit by a car. Before the boys could react, a speeding school bus crushed Rajan under its front wheel.

The pillion rider, identified as Pankaj Kumar of Palampur, was thrown to a distance due to the impact of the hit. However, no one noticed the number of the vehicle that crushed Rajan.

SHO of the Phase VIII police station Sanjeev Bhatt said the boys took a wrong turn towards Chandigarh. The deceased was residing as a paying guest in Chandigarh. The SHO said the family of the deceased in Muktsar had been intimated about the mishap.

A visit to the spot revealed that there was no regulation of traffic by the police and effective width of the busy road was reduced due to wrong parking of vehicles.



Mayors hamstrung by short tenures
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The city’s first citizen, the mayor, continues to be a mere “rubber stamp” due to a combination of factors, prime among them being he has no executive powers and is vested with short tenure of only a year. In the neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh where the term of a mayor is much longer, ranging from two-and-a-half to a maximum of five years.

Like every year since the corporation came into existence, the debate on the Chandigarh mayor’s tenure has again been revived ahead of elections to the post on January 1, 2011. The reason behind the limited tenure is a clause in the Punjab Municipal Act, 1996 that states during a five-year term of an elected municipal body the mayor’s post can be held only twice by a “general category” candidate, including once by a woman, twice by a “scheduled caste” person, including once by a woman, and once by only a woman irrespective of the category.

Chandigarh MC records reveal a pattern based on tenures for members of the state assemblies was followed while framing norms for the mayor’s term.

As a result the city has been suffering in the way of development due to the mayor’s short term. MC records show not even a single mayor since the civic body was formed 14 years ago has been able to implement a single project. Most of the projects that have been cleared continue to be on hold with every new mayor remaining clueless about projects initiated by his/ her predecessor.

In Himachal Pradesh, where only its capital, Simla, has a municipal corporation, the mayor is elected for a term of two-and-a-half years even though there is a “reservation system” similar to that in place in Chandigarh. This helps in allowing a mayor to work more efficiently for the city’s development.

In Punjab mayors of towns and cities in different districts enjoy a five-year tenure after being elected.

According to Chandigarh MC reports, a legal committee headed by nominated councillor KS Raju was set up in 2005 to examine extension of the mayor’s term from one year to two-and-a-half years.

The panel submitted a proposal that the MC could follow the “Simla model” where a mayor, irrespective of the “reserved category”, would have a two-and-a-half year term.

The committee also proposed that this would also improve the performance of the mayor in terms of completion of projects and planning in the long-term for the city.

In 2006 the proposal was sent to the central home ministry for Parliament’s approval, but till date nothing has happened.

Projects hanging fire

  • City’s first multilevel parking in Sec 17 (proposed in 2005)
  • Dog pound (2006)
  • First community parking in Sec 19 for residents (2008)


Cramped living conditions bane of daily wagers
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Jahangir (35) from Calcutta has no option but to live with his family of five in an 8’x 8’ unhygienic rented accommodation in Burail village.

The members of his family include his wife, two children, both pre-teenagers, and his mother, who live in one cramped room, where they cook, wash clothes, get entertainment and sleep.

This is not the tale of a family residing in any slum of the city, but of thousands of families which are living in such pitiable conditions in the village Burail, which is located in the heart of the city. In 10 to 12 small rooms built on a plot of around 10 marla, people like Jahangir are residing on rent, who have a similar story to tell.

A majority of them are daily wagers who are from other parts of the country. They try to save as much money as they could by living in unhygienic conditions so that they could send maximum money to their families at home.

Employed in a metal factory in Industrial area Phase I, Jahangir say he is paid a meagre amount of Rs 4,000 per month due to which he is left with no option but to live in such a condition as he has to make both ends meet. He is not the only one who is having such a difficult life but others are also facing the same situation.

His neighbours, some of whom are working as labourers and others who run their own small business establishments earn a similar amount per month and are also living in such dingy accommodations.

"I would like to move to a better place but with my low salary it is not possible to get anything better," said Jahagir. "I can't dream of taking on rent or buying anything in the city due to sky-rocketing rates." There are thousands of people who live in houses like this in Burail village. Entire families live together, with little or no privacy as husbands, wives, grandparents and children all mix up together in the limited space.

Sayad Alam, originally belonging to Bihar, living in the village for the last six years, told The Tribune that he has been living with his four other companions in a small room by paying Rs 1,500 per month. Here privacy seems an alien word. Most homes have their doors open throughout the day. “No one steals anything,” says Sayad.

“It has become a struggle for me to even find an 8’x8’ room in the village on rent, as there is a long queue of people waiting and rents in village are touching sky high” said burger seller, Sublesh of Uttrakhand, who is residing in Burail for the last six years. He revealed that the authorities have not bothered to check on the details of the tenants in the villages for the past six years, but his landlord visit every second day to check that no extra person has been accommodated in the room to avoid any financial loss to him.

MC Additional Commissioner TPS Phoolka said there was no law under which they could direct the landlord as to how many tenants he or she could accommodate in one room. The corporation could only check on the illegal construction in the villages and the job of verification was conducted by the police department, he added.



Hospital faces plethora of problems
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Working conditions at gynaecology departments in city hospitals reflect little change even five months after Bulbul, a migrant labourer, lost her newborn allegedly due to medical negligence at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, (GMSH) in Sector 16 on July 21.

The situation has, in fact, deteriorated at the GMSH, where the department is now left with six gynaecologists. With one of these six doctors proceeding on a fortnight-long medical leave beginning yesterday, the strength has been reduced to five in a department, which five years ago, had 18 doctors.

Staff shortage, overcrowding of OPDs, lack of space and the ever-increasing number of patients at the hospital continue to keep doctors on their toes throughout the day.

Apart from attending to a daily average of 250 patients, doctors are also required to attend to patients in the general ward, the labour room, the operation theatre and the family planning clinic.

The staff examined a total of 6,005 patients in the gynaecology OPD last July alone. In addition, 740 babies were delivered.

The situation at the GMCH, another hospital run by the UT administration, is no better.

With over 4,000 deliveries every year, the department is working with less than half its sanctioned staff of 16 senior residents. Six posts in the department have for long been lying vacant. Out of the 78 beds in the hospital, six beds at the Post Natal Room have been lying redundant as a leakage in the ceiling remains un-rectified for the past many years.

“For tackling the rush in the hospital, we require at least 100 beds”, says Dr Anju Hurriya, head of the gynaecology department. As of now, we have been managing the situation by forcing the patients to share beds, she said.

GMCH director-principal Dr Raj Bahadur told Chandigarh Tribune that he intends to set up an exclusive unit for mother and childcare. A floor in the proposed F block of the hospital would be earmarked for the purpose to solve the problem, he said.

GMSH spokesperson Dr MP Singh said they expected the situation to improve in future as the recommendations made by the committee constituted for inquiring into the Bulbul case were being actively considered by the UT Administration.

Docs on toes

Staff shortage, overcrowding of OPDs, lack of space and the ever-increasing number of patients at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, (GMSH) in Sector 16, Chandigarh, continue to keep doctors on their toes throughout the day



BJP bats for workers of unorganised sector
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
A meeting of morcha presidents and conveners of cells of the local unit of the BJP was held here today under the presidentship of state president Sanjay Tandon.

Mahendra Pandey, national coordinator of morchas and cells and Prahlad Patel, national president of the Bharatiya Janata Mazdoor Mahasangh, were also present.

Addressing party activists, Pandey said the voter of the country had become aware of the dirty caste-based politics and had rejected the parties trying to get votes on the basis of caste, religion and community. “This is clear from the recent results of Bihar Assembly elections,” he added.

Patel said lakhs of people were working in the unorganised sector, but the Central government had not prepared any policy for their welfare. The BJP is committed to work for the welfare of the people working in the unorganised sector, he claimed.



Theft At Wedding Function
Police fails to make headway
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The police has failed to make a headway in a theft case at CITCO run Shivalikview Hotel on December 10, when a bag containing Rs 8 lakh and jewellery was stolen from a wedding function.

The face of the suspect, believed to be a 11 year-old boy, could not be recognised in the CCTV footage seen by the police. The video footage of the wedding got recorded by the hosts of the function was also seen by the police.

Anil Bhasin, who had booked the venue for the wedding function of his daughter, said a boy was seen running with the bag towards the exit and another man standing at the entrance was seen waiting for him. “When the boy ran towards the exit, there was no security guard at the entrance and it was negligence on the part of hotel authorities,” he said.

The CCTV footage shows the boy trailing the bag and waiting for an opportune time to lift it. Anil Bhasin said the money had to paid to dispose of the bills for the function.



No let up in snatching cases
PCR vehicle meets with accident, 3 cops hurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Despite increased vigilance, snatchers kept police on its toes on Sunday, too.

Tej Kishan, a resident of Sector 66, Mohali, reported to the police that while he was crossing the traffic junction of Sectors 31 and 32 in Chandigarh, three motorcycle-born youths snatched his bag containing Rs 300 and some valuables.

Soon after getting the message, a PCR party tried to reach the spot and on the way was hit by a speeding car. Due to the impact of the hit, the driver of the police gypsy lost control and the vehicle overturned.

Three policemen in the gypsy - Surinder Kumar, Phool Kumar and Surinder received injuries.

In another incident, Rachna Rani complained that three youths snatched her purse containing Rs 1,000 and some valuables. In the evening, a Bapu Dham resident complained that two scooter-borne youths snatched Rs 10,000 from him. 



Two cops suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Three policemen - Parveen Kumar, Malwinder and Gurmeet Singh - were suspended and a Home Guard volunteer, Anil, was dismissed from duty when DSP South and DSP PCR, in separate checking, found them sleeping while on duty. 



Vegetables go dearer again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
There has been increase in the prices of vegetable due to the onset of the winter. Prices of most of the vegetables have seen a rise of Rs 5 to Rs 10 as compared to the last week.



Woman receives 70 pc burns
Admitted to PGI in critical condition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
A 21-year-old woman suffered burn injuries when her clothes caught fire while cooking food at her jhuggi in Sector 12 here today.

The victim, identified as Khushbu, stays in a jhuggi near the laundry plant of the PGI with her husband and one-and-half-year-old daughter, Nirmal.

According to information, Khushbu was putting kerosene oil in the earthen stove when accidentally her sari caught fire. She suffered 70 per cent burn injuries and was admitted to the PGI in a critical condition.

Her husband is a carpenter and employed with a contractor, it was learnt. The jhuggi of the family was also destroyed in the incident.



PGI doc awarded

Chandigarh, December 12
Dr Gaurav Sanghi, senior resident, Advanced Eye Centre at PGI, has won the “Best Paper Award” in the recently held Vitreo Retina Society of India conference at Mysore, Karnataka.

The award is given in the memory of Dr JM Pahwa for the best research contribution in the field of retinal diseases. Dr Gaurav conducted this research under the supervision of Dr MR Dogra and Professor Amod Gupta, Advanced Eye Centre.— TNS



Hunger a boon, too

Hunger can prove a boon under some circumstances. This was the experience of one of the employees of the PGI who had been put in lock up by the police on December 4 under preventive measures. Seventy-four contractual employees were arrested when they had gathered at the Sector 11 police station when eight of their colleagues were detained after a clash with security staff at the PGI. After their release the next day, while many of them had been complaining that police did not provided blanket to them, one of them said he did not feel any cold throughout the night. The reason was not that because it was not cold during night. In fact, they remained hungry throughout the night as police failed to provide any food to them. “Jab bhookh se bura haal ho, to thand kisko lagti hai,” said Tirath Pal, one of the employees.

Painful stretch

With the population and the number of vehicles in the city booming at a maddening pace, the chaos on roads seems to increasing with each passing day. It has virtually become an ordeal for the people to move on roads. What to talk of cars, three-wheelers and two-wheelers, even the pedestrians find it difficult to go from one place to another, or to cross roads or intersections. In particular, the stretch from the Chandigarh-Punjab barrier on the Chandigarh-Ambala road to the Tribune Chowk remains a problematic point. The traffic police have tried various remedies like manually controlling the traffic at peak hours without much success for the simple reason that volume of traffic is too much in the city. It will take much more than half-hearted and shoddy traffic planning. Is somebody listening?

Official privilege

Living in Sector 16 is a pleasant experience to walk to Rose Garden every morning. Except for a select group of regular walkers, the garden has young lovers occupying different benches and exchanging their overnight notes. It is more interesting to see official vehicles driving in and out of residential accommodation of a number of top officers of UT, Punjab and Haryana staying in residences adjoining the garden during the early morning hours. If one ventures to Sukhna Lake for his morning walk, he will find certain officials on their morning walk along the lake. A senior citizen, requesting anonymity, said: “I have been coming to the garden for the past more than a decade. I am always peeved to see the official vehicles taking officers for their morning walk to the lake. With the beautiful Rose Garden right next to their residential quarters, I don’t see any reason they should be driving to the lake in their official vehicles.”

Good Samaritan

Tribune messenger Vinod was in for a rude shock last week when he found his purse missing. He had his driving licence, his PAN card, his voters ID card and other important documents in his wallet. He came to a Tribune correspondent asking for a call to the SHO of Sector 31 to file a report in the daily dairy report (DDR). This he needed to show the offices from where he would have to seek duplicate papers for his lost documents. Next morning, he called the reporter concerned and informed him that he had found his lost documents. A young employee with the Whirlpool group had found the wallet on road. He checked the documents and contacted Vinod. Vinod asked him for his name to which he replied “Let me be anaam (without a name).” Vinod said: “The incident is very pleasant not because I got my documents, but because the person had spared time out of his very hectic schedule to trace me and hand me over the property when he did not even know me.”

(Contributions by Arun Sharma, Anil Jerath and Sanjeev Singh Bariana) 



Kathakali performance a rare treat for art lovers
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 12
The city art lovers were treated to a rare but delightful experience of watching the kathakali classical dance form by Bangalore-based acclaimed dance maestro Probal Gupta at the Baithak programme of the Pracheen Kala Kendra yesterday evening.

The recital was entertaining and educative since Probal explained the minutest details and nuances of kathakali, which is rarely performed in our region.

Probal commenced the recital, performing the Thodayam Poorva Rangam of kathakali recital. The composition written by the Raja of Kattayam about 250 years back came alive, as Thodayam runs paying obeisance to Lord Ganesha, Krishna and Goddess Mookambika (Saraswati) for successful completion of the dance performance.

A pure dance number, Thodayam is composed in four different talas, Chempada, Tripuda, Jhampa Panchari, which he explained during the performance.

Probal moved on to the Padam titled “Lokadhipa Kanta”, which was choreographed by his guru Sri Fact Padma Nabhan and an excerpt from Dakshayagan Saki, the consort of Lord Shiva.

In the second Padam “Paripahimam Harae”, Probal delineated the popular Daryodhana Vadhan, which was readily relished by the audience.

He depicted Draupadi with open hair coming to Krishna, cries and reminds him of the tremendous humiliation that she faced while being dragged to the heavy court by Dussasana. Based on Karanaya Rasa, the composition was choreographed by his guru in raga Navarasam and tal Chempada. Probal concluded the recital with his masterpiece “Narakasura Nadham” taken from Bhagavat Purana.

This is a Sambhoga Shringara Padam based on the luring of Nakhra Tundi to Jayanthan set in raga Malika and tal Chempada.

The special feature of the recital was that Probal Gupta performed dressed as a female dancer in Stree Vesam genre of the dance, which, too, is a rarity. The use of cumbersome Sanskrit texts used in the script were, too, difficult to grasp, but the immaculate emotional expression, body gestures and eloquent dance movements conveyed a lot, as if any dance form has its own language.

Kendra director Kathak guru Shobha Koser honoured the artistes.



P’kula police to shift nakas every day
Arun Sharma
Tribune news Service

Panchkula, December 12
In order to give relief to residents from series of police nakas, the Panchkula superintendent of the police has asked SHOs in the respective police stations of Panchkula, Kalka, Pinjore and Raipur Rani to keep on shifting the place of nakas every day.

This practice will not only have a surprise element for the criminals, the general public would not feel harassed to be checked at the same point each day.

One police naka will be set up daily, especially at night, under all police stations in Panchkula. However, two nakas would be set up by the SHO of Sector 5 police station as it has a bigger area under its jurisdiction.

Earlier, it was a practice that nakas were put at a fixed place for many days and that also at multiple spots in a limited area. This used to put the commuters to harassment as many of them had to face many nakas on tier route. Now, one person need not go through more than one police check in same sector and with change in place of naka every day criminals would find it difficult to escape, said the SP.

SHOs have also been instructed not to take the help of the Police Control Room vans for the purpose as these would be required to strengthen the security in the area in winters when the fog provided a safe passage to the anti-social elements, he added.

The nakas at national highway 73, under police stations of Chandimandir and Raipur Rani, are altogether important as this route is frequently used by liquor smugglers to supply the contraband from Chandigarh to other parts of the country.

A naka has already been set up near Parwanoo barrier at Kalka since a girl was kidnapped by four persons on January 9 and fled towards Himachal Pradesh in a car.



Haryana again urged to share airport road link cost
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Mohali, December 12
With the Airports Authority of India (AAI) finalizing the architectural designs and building maps of the proposed international terminal to be set up at Chandigarh airport, Punjab has again asked Haryana to share the cost of constructing a road that will eventually link the airport with Panchkula

The Haryana government, one of the stakeholders in the joint venture company set up by AAI for the airport, has been asked to share 50 per cent of the cost to be incurred in acquiring land for the 11 km-long circular road that will link the airport with the Panchkula-Kalka national highway.22 after passing through Sectors 3 and 21 of Panchkula. The issue is likely to be taken up at a forthcoming meeting between Haryana, Punjab and UT officials.

For acquiring 300 acres of land for the international terminal and related infrastructure, Haryana has already paid Rs 230 crore as its share towards the cost of land.

Meanwhile, on behalf of the Punjab government, the Greater Mohali Area Development (GMADA) has been conducting parleys with its Haryana counterpart, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Giving its logic, GMADA officials believe that with the coming up of the road from Chatt village (on the Zirakpur-partial road) to Sector 21, Panchkula, Haryana would also stand to benefit as it would provide a free access to airport-bound traffic. Economic development in the area would also get a boost after the road opened, the officials added.

Sources close to GMADA said with land acquisition prices touching Rs 1.5 crore an acre, the cost incurred in building the road could run into crores of rupees. On its part the Punjab government has decided to go ahead with constriction of the road up to the Ambala-Zirakpur highway in Zirakpur.

At a recent meeting convened by the Punjab chief minister GMADA officials were instructed to go ahead with the project. “For Punjab bound traffic the road would serve as a route bypassing Chandigarh”, said GMADA chief administrator VP Singh.

UT, Haryana seek road linkages

At a meeting held recently the UT administration and Haryana government also sought approach routes to the international terminal proposed to be set up at the Chandigarh airport. While the former has been told the internal terminal could be approached through the upcoming road linking Sector 82 with the Zirakpur-Patiala road at Chatt village, Haryana has sought realignment of the road proposed through its territory. Instead of joining the road diving Sectors 20 and 21, it has been proposed it should link up with the road dividing Sectors 3 and 21.



Energy conservation rally

Panchkula, December 12
In order to create awareness on energy conservation, the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam has decided to take out a rally here tomorrow. The employees of the department, along with schoolchildren, would participate in the rally to be taken out in all parts of the town after starting from Vidyut Sadan in Sector 5 in the morning.

An exhibition regarding the energy conservation would also be inaugurated by Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar on Tuesday. Along with painting and poster making competition, the slogan writing and model display would also be organised on the occasion, said PK Goel, XEN (operation), Panchkula. — TNS



Open House
UT security: From bad to worse
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Sunday morning papers were replete with reports of locks of 12 shops in different parts of the city broken by burglars and money stolen and goods lifted. There were six cases of snatchings. The catch of the situation was that all the incidents did not occur at a single place. Burglars “literally” had a free run in Sectors 19, 24 and 27. On the same day, snatchings, in the city, were reported in Sectors 16, 19, 41 and 42.

Locks of nine shops broken in Sector 32, last Wednesday, was just another incident to show the collapsed security in the Union Territory which prided itself among the safest cities in the country, till a few years back. The streets are no longer safe, particularly after the sun sets in and the night engulfs the once serene environs. Ladies, in particular, want to rush back indoors with fear of sudden attacks lurking in every corner of the city.

On ground things are far worse. Ladies are not safe on city roads as was evident from the data of police reports on chain snatching flashed in newspapers daily. People, particularly seniors, don’t feel safe, even in the enclosed boundaries of their homes. There have been several incident when they were attacked behind the walls of their houses.

While this article could be another one in line of showcasing ineffectiveness of the police, however, ground realities of no visible action for improvement definitely underline the need for a far greater concentrated campaign by the residents and the media.

The public needs to question the authorities who offer the same excuse of no fresh recruitments. Let us also accept the fact that the population of the city has grown from about five lakhs a few years to nearly 12 lakh now.

Fairly speaking, the new SSP has only inherited a legacy of the rot that set in over the passage of time. Despite his best efforts the results will be unlikely more so till basic policing was revived. Under the existing availability of manpower and the burgeoning population, if that was impossible, an alternate approach which could be translated on ground results was the only way out.

One fails to understand that incase the city had the law and order under control and no threat perceptions from terrorists, why was the state security, in bulk being deployed for “safeguarding” the VIPs and VVIPs which included the bureaucrats and the politicians.

Shock snatchings

Walking on city roads is no longer safe, at least not for the ladies. Leave apart the less crowded parks, snatchers are striking in the crowded markets.

What might sound interesting, Sector 17 which is in the heart of the City Beautiful and naturally the most crowded business hub for residents and visitors has witnessed approximately several incidents of chain snatching, this year alone.

Till June, this year, at least 74 incidents of snatchings were reported, in the city and the police claimed to have solved 24 among them.

In a small example, wife of a senior colleague, a few days back, felt a sudden jolt on her shoulder last week when she went shopping. The attacker, a lady herself, pushed her violently as also shouted curses. The victim was too shocked to even react and if she was wearing a necklace could not have anything to safe herself.

A police ‘chowki’ is located not very far from the spot of the incident, however, a visit to the spot revealed no significant police patrolling in the area.

Even if not expecting hauling up of the accused, police needs to ensure public safety, in future. At least the rush hours need to be aptly managed.

Morning walkers continue to face the wrath of the chain snatchers. Senior citizens, in particular, are the most affected and naturally the most affected. Not just the routine snatchings incidents in the parks, elders have been attacked even at their houses, in different parts of the city.

Police absence on ground

Call it shortage of manpower or poor planning, or, whatever one would like to, the matter of fact is that a policeman on the streets, particularly in residential areas, has gone missing. Old residents will remember that the cop manning a particular area was known to the entire locality. Except for gypsies parked in the turnings on the main road, a policeman doing the rounds is a very rare sight.

Not that public thought regular police interaction would bring them any pleasure, it is just desirable that at least socially conscious citizens of any locality should be in regular touch with the law and order providers in their area.

Highlighting police side of the story, it is worth mentioning that recent data showed that the UT had a total of 2,712 police personnel against the sanctioned strength of approximately 5,000. There have been subsequent recruitment drives, however, the number gain has not been sizable enough make any visible impact. At least one third of the total staff is engaged in security of the officers or is deployed in the police lines.

In a data sample showcasing a broad job profile of the local police in to 2009, police covered 253 rallies, 152 demonstration, 64 processions, 5,644 meetings, 33 anti-encroachment operations, 142 cultural events, 307 examinations, 411 religious functions, 222 relay fasts, 53 special search operations, 105 sports events, 23 assembly sessions and 809 miscellaneous events.

ATM frauds: a new frontier in crime

More than three dozen cases of fraudulent withdrawal of cash have been reported from the tricity in the past less than a month. ATM machines of State Bank of India and State Bank of Patiala, in particular, have been targeted.. There has been no communication from the bank, on the front of fake withdrawals or any follow-up action.

While no official is giving any official statement, sources on a note of anonymity have conceded that the problem could be on account of certain loopholes in the mechanical set-up of the machines. It is an accepted fact that majority of the ATM machinery, in the banks under question, look pretty outdated. There was also the problem of a sizable number of machines being unmanned.

While banks, unofficially, have said that the matter was under investigation of experts and a solution would soon be worked out. ATM card users want the banks to come out openly on the issue informing them about how safe their cash was in the ATMs and also about what was being done incase of those who had suffered on account of fraudulent withdrawals.



Rosy days ahead for Rose Garden
Over 8,000 plants to be planted; kids play area made attractive
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Roses in full bloom; and (right) workers ready the new rose plants, which are to be planted at Zakir Rose Garden in Chandigarh
Roses in full bloom; and (below) workers ready the new rose plants, which are to be planted at Zakir Rose Garden in Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, December 12
The largest rose garden in Asia - Zakir Rose Garden - which fell on bad days due to administrative apathy in recent years, is set to don a new look.

Rosy days seem to be ahead for one of the major tourist attractions in the city with the Chandigarh administration initiating a comprehensive pan for the revamping of the garden. However, the administration’s effort may not bear fruit during the forthcoming Festival of Gardens in February/March next year, as it would take a few more months to put the garden in its splendour again.

The plan is part of the theme garden concept approved by the Union Ministry of Tourism as part of tourism promotion in Chandigarh.

To begin with, over 8,000 plants have been brought from Bengaluru to be planted in the garden. Besides, the kids play area has already been made attractive with the installation of children-friendly play equipment.

Home-cum-Tourism Secretary Ram Niwas said the re-furbishing of the Rose Garden was part of administration’s ambitious plans to exploit the tourism potential of the major tourist spots in the city.

In the years to come, Chandigarh will emerge as a major tourist centre with the coming up of major new gardens and sprucing up of the existing gardens, he added.

Earlier, the administration had appointed eminent horticulturist, Dr Satish Narula, as the consultant-cum-adviser for developing various theme gardens in the city. One specific task given to Dr Narula was the preparation of a status report and suggests measures to revamp the Rose Garden. The concept and design was later approved by the administration.

“The new designing of Rose Garden has been done keeping in mind three aspects - education, recreation and tourism,” Dr Narula told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

Besides, to keep visitors’ interest alive, certain landscape features would be created. As the garden is a favourite spot for morning walkers, a few lowly trimmed fragrant flowering shrubs would be interspersed to the garden.

Spread over 30 acres and created in 1967 under the guidance of Dr MS Randhawa, first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh, Rose Garden in the largest rose garden in Asia.

At one point of time, the garden had over 20,000 plants of 1,600 varieties. The Festival of Gardens held every year in February/March is a big hit the residents and also finds a mention in the National Calendar of Festivals.

However, in 2009 the total number of varieties was pegged at only about 750 in 1,122 labelled flower beds with some of the varieties having multiple beds.

There were about 50 unlabelled beds. On the other hand some of the varieties did not even have single bed and a substantial number of beds was empty giving a shabby look to the garden.

Dr Narula informed that the new concept of theme garden would hold the curiosity of the visitors. This purpose would be accomplished without disturbing the basic design and repositioning some of the varieties and creating new concept sections.

Casanova, whisky, cabaret, dulhan.... it’s really funny

Various sections in Rose Garden, including the section on funny names, would be developed under the revised plan. The funny varieties being planted include casanova, whisky, chamapgne, cabaret, dulhan, cleopatra, king’s ransom, lady X, deepak raag, kiss of fire, miss universe, olalla, maxy, fragrant lady, woman’s realm, arabian nights, hi-fi, united nations, careless love, bull’s bed, valentine, ballet of Punjab, jawani and Ben Hur.

A new experiment

In the backdrop of use of a particular type of rootstock over years and various other ailments, there is a decline in rose plants. Besides, there is no uniform growth of plants in the same bed. For the long-term conservation of rose species and varieties, the administration is collaborating with Institute of Himalayan Bio-Resources, Palampur, to test the 26 rose varieties in the plains at the Rose Garden and the Botanical Garden here. “These varieties will be tested first time in the world in plains and the successful experiment would go a long way in saving the declining Rose Garden,” Dr Narula claimed.



CHB scheme in city’s vicinity boon for builders
Pradeep Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, December 12
The Rs 50-lakh two-bedroom flat scheme floated by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) in Sector 51 here today is set prove a blessing in disguise for the recession-hit builders in Chandigarh’s periphery.

With virtually no takers for the thousands of the apartments coming up in Chandigarh’s peripheral towns, the CHB scheme would be used by builders to sell their apartments to the investors and end users, who cannot afford a dwelling unit in Chandigarh.“Chandigarh is virtually going out of the reach of the middle and lower middle class, given its high prices. In such a scenario, the apartments in Chandigarh’s vicinity, which cost between Rs 20-30 lakh, can catch the fancy of home seekers,” argues BK Sanghi, president of the Haryana Cooperative Group Housing Federation. Builders claimed that with better designs and connectivity, the apartments in the periphery were a better bargain than the CHB property. In fact, the slow pace of work on the CHB’s projects was one of the reasons for the people to look for a dream house in nearby towns.

It may be recalled that even after over two years, the CHB is yet to begin construction at the site of the general housing scheme in Sector 63.The fate of special UT employees scheme, whose draw of lots was conducted is no different with the housing project struck in the administative rigmarole.

Another Zirakpur-based builder Sunil Bandha claimed that while periphery builders provided state-of-the-art amenities to the allottees, the CHB’s layout plan and design continued to be archaic. In fact, strict architectural norms and CHB’s conservative outlook in planning and execution of the housing projects was a major reason why the allottees get a raw deal.

Suman Sachdeva, a government servant, who is looking for an apartment, said though Chandigarh provided best of the amenities, the property was beyond the reach of the common man. It makes sense to buy two apartments in the periphery to part finance the housing loan than try your luck in the Rs 50 lakh apartment scheme. In fact, it would take at least three years before the actual possession would be offered by the board, while periphery offers ready-to-move apartments.



Chilly winds continue to sweep city
Air traffic hit for the third day
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Chilly winds continued to sweep the city and its adjoining areas for the third day today.

Weather office sources said the chilly winds were a direct offshoot of the western disturbances, which had picked up following snowfall in higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. The maximum temperature in the city today was 20.8 °C, while the minimum was 8.5 °C.

Air traffic once again was hit for the third consecutive day today due to the morning fog. Kingfisher’s Delhi-Chandigarh morning flights at 9.05 and 10.15 were cancelled, while GoAir Airlines also cancelled its flight to Mumbai, which was scheduled to depart the Chandigarh airport at 7.15 pm.

Meanwhile, Jet Airways Delhi-Chandigarh flight was delayed by over two hours. It landed at the Chandigarh airport at around 12.30 pm.

City residents pulled out more woollens following dip in the night temperature as cold winds from the northern hills brought more chill to the city today. Cold winds are likely to continue, the weathermen said, attributing it to the prevailing western disturbance in Jammu and Kashmir.

The poor and homeless were seen protecting themselves by lighting bonfires on the roadside. However, the morning chill played a spoilsport for the morning walkers.

According to the Met department officials, there was an increase in the moisture level in the air. The wind velocity was recorded at 3-4 km per hour. Humidity was recorded at 95 per cent in the morning hours. It is bound to increase if it rains, the Met department said.

The weatherman has predicted clear sky for tomorrow with mist or haze in the morning. The night temperature is also likely to dip further.



Minus railings, causeway turns into death trap
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The failure of civic officials to replace the stolen railings installed on the causeway leading to Makhan Majra village on the city’s outskirts has led to the road becoming a virtual death trap for commuters and passersby. Only a few days ago a migrant labourer had a providential escape after he lost control of his bicycle and fell into the drain flowing alongside, suffering multiple fractures in his limbs.

Village residents are ruing the callous indifference of municipal corporation officials who have not done anything even five years after the railings were stolen.

According to the villagers, the UT administration had erected railings on both sides of the causeway some 12 years ago. Beneath the causeway flows waste water discharged by industrial units. During the rainy season industrial water often overflows on the causeway, flooding it and making any movement almost impossible.

Since streetlights along the causeway remained out of order, some thieves taking advantage of the darkness at night removed some of the railings to sell them as scrap, thus making the causeway very dangerous to pass through and endangering the lives of passersby using this road every day.

The residents complained though the railings had been stolen a long time ago the civic body never bothered to install new railings on the causeway. They said they despite meeting MC officials several times in the past urging them to replace the railings nothing had been done so far.



Audit of CSD records by CAG sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Members of the All-India Defence Civilian Canteen Employees Union have sought an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General into the utilisation of income from the Canteen Stores Department (CSD) that runs canteens for defence personnel. In a representation to the President and the PM, the employees said based upon certain inputs, the CAG wanted to audit the records of CSD outlets in units concerning turnover, profitability, utilisation of profits and accounting procedure, but was denied access to documents by the Army.

There are 4,500 CSD outlets in the country that form the largest retail chain network in India. The representations claims that their annual turnover is Rs 8,500 crore with a profit of over Rs 500 crore, which is being spent by the Army in the name of welfare without prior sanction from the government. They have threatened that in case the government does not allow the CAG to audit CSD transactions and meet their demands, they will resume their agitation from December 29.



Ropar teacher addresses US conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Radha Saini, Vice-Principal, Rayat-Bahra College of Nursing, who was one of the 12 foreign delegates given fellowship to speak at the 2010 Advancing Ethics Research Conference, highlighted unethical conduct of research in developing countries, with a focus on clinical trials in neonates and children. Saini attended several plenary and workshop sessions, and participated in workshops that addressed investigator responsibilities in the ethical conduct of research.

The conference that focussed on Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM &R) was held in San Diego, California, from December 5-8. The PRIM&R advances the highest ethical standards in the conduct of biomedical, social science, behavioural, and educational research and is dedicated to improving communication among professionals involved in international research. 



Fun, frolic mark kids’ carnival

Chandigarh, December 12
Fun and frolic was the hallmark of the kids’ carnival at DAV Public School, Sector 39-D, here today. Children in the age group of 3 to 11 years showed their dance talent by tapping on popular Bollywood beats. Sameer, head of Rock Star Academy, judged the participants.

School principal Jaskiran Harika appreciated the efforts of young children and told the parents to encourage their children to participate with zeal in extra-curricular activities, which were important for their overall development.— TNS



Ashima, Amanat shine in painting contest
Tribune News Service

Budding painters take part in The Tribune painting competition
Budding painters take part in The Tribune painting competition
Budding painters take part in The Tribune painting competition

Chandigarh, December 12
A painting on Sukhna Lake by Aashima Shandalaya from Sector 20, Panchkula, bagged the first prize in The Tribune painting competition held at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, here today.

While a painting on Rock Garden by Amanat Singh, a resident of Sector 21-D, bagged the second prize, the third prize went to Bhavika Manchanda from Phase IX, Mohali.

Earlier, eminent jury had a tough time in shortlisting winners from hundreds of children, who participated in the competition.

The jury included Ravinder Kumar Sharma, Anita Gupta, senior faculty members from Government College of Arts (GCA); Inderjit Gupta, former faculty member from GCA; and Parneet Kaur, an NCERT national award winner.

Dr DS Kapoor, principal, GCA, and NPS Randhawa, director, Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, were the chief guest and guest of honour, respectively, at the contest sponsored by Ind Swift Limited and Mansa Print and Publishers Limited.
Tribune Trustee Justice SS Sodhi, accompanied by his wife Bonny Sodhi, takes a round of the venue Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Sunday
Tribune Trustee Justice SS Sodhi, accompanied by his wife Bonny Sodhi, takes a round of the venue Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photos: Vinay Malik

Justice SS Sodhi, Trustee of The Tribune Trust was also present on the occasion.

Other winners

Jatin from Sector 32 (fourth prize); Abhinav from Maloya village (fifth prize) and consolation prizes were given to Harkanwal Kaur from Sector 47-C, Vanisha from Sector 21-A, Tanish Modi from Sector 16-D, Anirudh Mehra from Sector 38-B and Rohit Kumar from 32-A.

Winner speaks....

Aashima said in her paintings she preferred capturing the real environs and bringing diversification through colours and imagination.



Cultural extravaganza concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
A spectacular two-day cultural extravaganza organised by students of Sharda Sarvhitkari Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 40-D, concluded here today.

The function coincided with the competition of 25 years of the school. The school was decorated with silver festoons and scarves and even the notice boards echoed the theme of silver.

PK Sharma (HC), DPI, Schools, Chandigarh, presided over the function, while Narenderjit Rawat, general secretary Vidya Bharti, was the main speaker.

After the guard of honour by NCC cadets, the programme began with the lighting of a lamp before Goddess Saraswati.

After the beautiful choreographed “Ganesh Vandana”, students recited shabads.



Trends in cardiac nursing discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Good communication skills and human touch are of great therapeutic importance and it’s not only while giving medications but also while giving care that one has to be compassionate. This was stated by Professor KK Talwar, director, PGI, here yesterday.

He was addressing participants during the nursing workshop on “Trends in cardiac nursing - Exploring the past and looking into future.”

Emphasising the role of nurse in the management of cardio vascular patients, he highlighted the importance of developing manual for nurses working in the cardio vascular units during the workshop. The 10-day workshop is going on in the National Institute of Nursing Education. Ramesh Thakur, organising secretary, apprised the participants about the theme and objectives of the workshop.



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