C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Plan readied to restore city’s decaying heritage
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Vagaries of weather seem to have taken a toll on the building of the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10 of Chandigarh
Vagaries of weather seem to have taken a toll on the building of the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10 of Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Manoj Manajan

Chandigarh, March 13
That Chandigarh’s long neglected architectural heritage has physically deteriorated over the years is now official with a high-level committee appointed by the UT administration blaming their pathetic condition on lack of maintenance and the vagaries of weather.

The report of a subcommittee, formed as part of the expert committee on preservation of Chandigarh’s architectural heritage, which comprises UT chief architect Sumit Kaur, Punjab Engineering College University of Technology director Manoj Datta and Chandigarh Housing Board chief engineer GS Rosha, observed “there were definite signs of neglect due to poor and unplanned maintenance”.

During the course of preparing the report, which was tabled at the UT administrator’s advisory council meeting held recently, members of the panel made several visits to the Capitol Complex including the civil secretariat, assembly halls, Punjab & Haryana High Court and the ‘Open Hand’ monument. The other buildings visited included the Government Museum & Art Gallery in Sector 10, the 17 Bays building in Sector 17, Neelam plaza in Sector 17 and government residential houses (type 13) in Sector 22.

Going into the reasons for the deterioration of the buildings, the panel said unsound construction practices like honeycombing of concrete, inadequate cover to the reinforcement and faulting detailing practices were responsible for this. “Besides, weathering effects such as carbonation, chloride attack, ingress of water and temperature variation have also resulted in the physical deterioration of the buildings”, it said.

With a view to restore the building to their original form, members of the panel proposed setting up a technical appraisal committee headed by the secretary (engineering). In the first phase it was recommended that work should be undertaken on the buildings in the Capitol Complex besides the Government Museum. The committee estimates the administration would require Rs 33.35 lakh for repairing, cleaning and scrubbing the concrete facade of these buildings and the task would be completed within three to six months.

Key problem areas

  • cracks on and corrosion of reinforcement in various buildings
  • Discolouration with algae and fungus deposits on exposed surfaces
  • Honeycombing of concrete at many places due to improper mixing, improper compaction
  • Seepage of water from floors/roofs
  • Concrete peeling off at edges from thin elements
  • Vegetation growth on walls, terraces, fascias/junctions
  • Diagonal cracks in masonry walls
  • Roughening of concrete surfaces due to weathering

Estimated cost of restoration (phase I)

  • Civil secretariat - Rs 16.81 lakh
  • Assembly hall building - Rs 6.87 lakh
  • Open Hand - Rs 1.33 lakh
  • Punjab & Haryana High Court - Rs 5 lakh
  • Govt Museum & Art Gallery - Rs 3.34 lakh

Total est. cost: Rs 33.35 lakh



Newer buildings in tricity not quake-safe
Region sits on high-risk seismic zone
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The city and its surrounding areas, which fall in the seismic zone IV indicating high susceptibility to earthquakes, also have dangerous “active” fault lines beneath the region. Seismologists classify these fault lines as a product of strain released from within the Earth that eventually lead to tremors on its surface.

Teams of investigators from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur together with Japanese experts have been conducting research on these active fault lines for almost a decade now.

The dynamic nature of these fault lines indicates the city’s vulnerability to earthquakes, say seismologists. “There are active fault lines (which is a product of deformation within the Earth) near the Himalayas that have been named the ‘Chandigarh fault’ and the ‘Pinjore fault line’ since they are located in these regions. Since these fault lines are active, the city is more prone to tremors,” said Dr JN Malik of the civil engineering department, IIT, Kanpur.

Besides this research, the Geological Survey of India submitted another report to the UT administration four years ago, giving a sectorwise break up. Among other conclusions the report suggested areas including Manimajra, Chandimandir and places close to Nada Sahib and the city’s train station are more prone to destruction.

Seismic investigators have urged the administration to ensure stricter rules for construction. Expressing concern over the quality of material used to build new buildings, scientists opined older construction in the city was safer.

“By and large houses in Chandigarh are seismically designed but there’s growing concern over the new buildings coming up in the city. Older buildings and even the heritage structures are safer. Newly constructed buildings are not as strong,” said Dr ON Bharghav, a seismologist who was earlier with the Geological Survey of India.

Experts have also appealed for a more constructive intervention of the UT administration’s risk and disaster management wing.

“The administration must have stricter rules for newly constructed buildings and ensure better quality of material are used,” said AD Ahluwalia, a former geology professor at Panjab University.

The earthquake that occurred over a century ago in 1905 in the Kangra valley and killed over 20,000 people has been the worst in the in the lower Himalayan belt so far, experts feel. The quake had an intensity of 7.8 on the Richter scale and, apart from buildings, it destroyed the towns of Kangra, McLeodganj and Dharamsala. “There could be another jerk anytime since the tectonic plates are dormant till date,” said Ahluwalia.

Chandigarh in seismic zone IV

India’s entire land mass has been classified into five seismic zones with zone V being the most vulnerable to earthquakes. Kangra along with Sikkim, parts of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands fall in this zone. Chandigarh and Delhi fall in zone IV, which is also prone to serious tremors.

North India vulnerable

In the past five months regions in northern India have witnessed earthquakes of mild to moderate intensity. The most recent are:

Feb 10, 2011 — Northwest Kashmir-(magnitude: 5)

Feb 18, 2011 — Delhi (magnitude: 2.3)

Nov 7, 2010 — Jammu & Kashmir (magnitude: 5)

(Source: Indian Meteorological Dept)


The city is located 5,736 km from Honshu, the epicenter of massive earthquake in Japan, as calculated by the Central Scientific Instruments Organization (CSIO), Chandigarh. “Efforts are being all over the world made to devise a mechanism to predetermine or predict such earthquakes, but there has been no development so far. Observatories have been set up in Chandigarh, Nauni and Sudnernagar to gauge the intensity of the quakes,” said CSIO director Pawan Kapur.



Covering an extra mile against corruption
Deepankar Sharda

In sight of victory: Kenyans James Mutna (right) and Patrick Kamau, who came first and second, respectively, in the marathon
in sight of victory:
Kenyans James Mutna (right) and Patrick Kamau, who came first and second, respectively, in the marathon. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

AGE NO BAR: Dharam Pal Gudha of Meerut, who claims to be 113 years old take part in the marathon
AGE NO BAR: Dharam Pal Gudha of Meerut, who claims to be 113 years old, and (below) five-year-old Harjot Kaur take part in the marathon.

AGE NO BAR: Five-year-old Harjot Kaur take part in the marathon

Chandigarh, March 13
For participants of the second Chandigarh Marathon it was a “funday”, as they enjoyed immensely participating in the marathon at the Rock Garden here today. Under the pleasant climate and loud music, number of participants from across the country participated in the marathon for “Run for the spirit of city and to take stand against corruption.”

The centre of attraction golfer Jeev Milka Singh, boxer Vijender Singh and ace shooter Abhinav Bindra were also present to boost the moral of participants in all categories- full, half and fun run, respectively.

The marathon witnessed a large number of participation in the dream run (fun run) of 5 km as local lads, lasses and children, along with their family, ran for fun in the marathon.

International golfer Jeev Milkha Singh flagged off the full marathon of about 43 km early this morning. Later, boxer Vijender Singh flagged off the half marathon of 21.095 km.

Ace shooter Abhinav Bindra with his physiotherapist Clandia Lepeva and former cricketer Dinseh Mongia presided over the run and participated in the 5 km run for fun.

Adding glamour to the event, some famous local stars also made their presence felt to the gathering by entertaining them.

Participants danced to the tunes of Indian Idol contestant Sheena Chawla and a giddha performance by a local college was the star attraction.

James Mutna (2:17:22 seconds) and Patrick Kamau (2:19:57) both from the hub of athletes won the top honours in the men’s (overall) full marathon category and won 1 lakh and Rs 75,000 as prize money, respectively.

Indian athlete Arvind Yadav (2:20:55) finished third and got Rs 5,000 as prize money.

In men’s (Indian) category, Army athletes won all the three top honours when KC Ramu, Satya Prakash, Lakshman Das finished first, second and third, respectively. They were awarded Rs 50,000, 25,000 and 15,000.

In women’s (overall) category, Bhagwati from Delhi bagged the gold medal with Rs 50,000, Vaheeda Khan from Rajasthan, bagged silver medal with Rs 25,000 and Ranjana Singh bagged bronze medal with Rs 15,000.

In the half marathon event, Elam Singh of Pune Police bagged gold medal, including Rs 50,000 in the men’s (overall) category. In the same category, Lidtu Tekelu from Ethopia and local lad Angrej Singh secured second and third position, respectively and won Rs 30,000 and 15,000, respectively.

In men’s (Indian) category, Gautam Tyagi, Inderjeet Singh of Army and Amit Kumar of Ambala won the top honours and bagged Rs 25,000, Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000, respectively.

In women’s (overall) category, Priyanka Singh Patel of Railways finished first and won Rs 25, 000, while Neetu Kumari and Seema, both from Delhi, finished second and third position and bagged Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000, respectively.

cheerful students

The city lads and lasses from colleges were also seen taking part in the event. “We are a group of eight girls and we are here for fun. We came to know about the marathon through our friends and we came to participate in the fun run,” said Mehak Wallia, a student of MCM College. “We usually come here to walk, but today after watching such a crowd, we decided to be part of it,” said Gurpreet Singh, a student of UIET department of PU.

‘Run better this time’

Sunita Godhra, Asian marathon gold medallist, 1992, was seen co-ordinating the event. She is also Indian record holder of running 76 full marathons and 123 half marathons. “I am happy to be a part of the event. The first edition of the marathon, however, received a cold response, but this time the event is better than earlier,” said Sunita. When asked about the less participation in professional marathon, she replied: “Being a small region, the participation got affected, but if such events are organised on a regular basis, Chandigarh Marathon could be as good as marathons in Mumbai or Delhi,” said Sunita adding that many of her students participated in the event

Boxer Vijender Singh said he was working hard for the upcoming World Championship and first Asian Boxing Championship. “I am working hard in a training centre at Patiala. My focus is on the upcoming first Asian Games, which will be held in May and after that I am aiming for a gold medal in the World Championship.” He further added that such marathons spread a message of fitness among people.

Winners Speak

Priyanka Patel, winner of the Mumbai Marathon, 2011, said: “The facilities were good during the run, but it was less competitive than the marathon of other big cities.”

Seema and Neetu, from Delhi, who secured first and second position in the same event said: “The experience here was amazing. We think that its level can be raised if these kinds of events are organised on regular basis. It will also give exposure to neighbouring states,” they added.

James and Patrick, Kenyaian athletes who won the top honours in men’s (overall) category said: “The only difference we witnessed here was a flat course, whereas in our country the marathon is organised on slope (golf) path.”

Run for Fun

The marathon witnessed several fun runners from the city and also from abroad. “I was at my friend’s place. He told me about the marathon being run here, so I registered myself in the morning to compete in the race. It was fun,” said Carl Larsson from Sweden after finishing the half marathon race.

“We are here for a meeting of our NGO, but we planned to spend some time while running as Indian food is, too, heavy,” said Nigel from UK.

Budding athletes

The event witnessed several young participants in the fun race and the youngest among them was a 5-year-old Harjot Kaur. “I love to run”, this was all she said while running with her father.

“My mother registered my name here, she is a constable and she wants to see me in police. I participated to fulfill her dream,” said Rajesh, a 13-year-old student of GMSSS, Sector 19.

“I come to run every Sunday at the Lake with my father, but he told me to participate in the marathon,” said Savya, a 10-year-old boy.

Road ahead...

Ace shooter Abhinav Bindra, who took part in the fun run of 5 km told TNS team about his preparation for the forthcoming first World Cup Shooting Championship of the year. “I am looking forward to the upcoming first World Cup Shooting Championship to be held in Sydney to register a quota in Olympics, to be held in London. I am undergoing a special training at my shooting range. I am in a good shape and hoping for better results,” said Abhinav.

going strong at 113

Dharampal Singh Budha, who claims to be 113-year-old, participated in the fun run. “I was in the city for the recently concluded Veteran Games, where I won three medals.

“I am an athlete since childhood and it is my dream to beat Kenya in athletics,” said a 65-year-old Ramdass, who is an ex-serviceman.

“I usually run for these kinds of marathons not for winning any medal, but to keep myself fit,” said a 50-year-old Ravinder Singh, Air force ( retired).


Excise Policy
Renewal of liquor licences
‘UT losing crores every year’
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
At a time when the UT excise policy for the next fiscal year is round the corner, its major feature, renewal of licences to existing licensees, is being questioned. By adopting the renewal mode for most already existing licensees by the authorities, the exchequer has reportedly been incurring a loss of crores every year, local resident Sanjay Aggarwal has alleged in a representation to the UT administration.

The model excise policy in 2006-07, drafted by the joint working group of the Union Ministry of Food Processing, had stated that every year, fresh applications would be invited from the general public, along with a non-refundable fee of Rs 10,000.

In Chandigarh, licences were issued through a draw of lots in 2006-07 and presently, there were 215 licensees (150 IMFL and 65 countrymade liquor) in the city.

Since 2006, the authorities did not invite fresh applications and had been renewing licences of most contractors, he claimed. He has raised objections on the mode of renewal of licences, allegedly in contradiction to the excise policy for 2006-07, in which the administration had introduced a tax predominant system.

Besides being detrimental to the exchequer and boosting the mafia and cartel system, the mode of renewal of licences also denied the right to livelihood to other persons, as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, Aggarwal stated. Before 2006-07, licences were issued through auction, but to discourage the liquor mafia, the administration had adopted a tax predominant system that year.

UT Finance Secretary VK Singh confirmed that the Chandigarh administration had received the representation, the feasibility of which was being examined. He said the matter was under consideration and a decision would be taken soon.

“Many local businessmen have started applying for liquor licences in neighbouring states like Punjab and Rajasthan, through which they have started earning crores,” said an old-time liquor businessman, on the condition of anonymity.

States like Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which also followed the tax predominant system, had earned about Rs 200 crore each year by way of applications.

“Not only this, the existing system promotes the cartel system. Issuing licences to the same contractors has resulted in the creation of a group of existing licensees, which is working against new players,” alleged the businessman.



Three years on, no uniform for postmen
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Call it the apathy of the postal department authorities or official red tape, the 200-odd postmen in the city have lost their inimitable identity - the khaki - with no uniforms being issued to them for the past three years.

The word ‘dakia’ (postman) instantly brings to mind a picture of a man in khaki riding a bicycle with a sling bag on the shoulder, distributing letters door to door, but that image has changed, at least in the city. The crisp khaki has given way to casuals, from trousers and shirt to kurta-payjamas, making the traditional ‘dakia’ appear no different from the delivery boys of the fly-by-night courier companies.

The traditional khaki uniform of the postman was changed to blue in 2004, but pressure from employees forced the department to revert to the original colour, which they had proudly donned since long. However, for the past three years, the city’s postmen have neither seen the blue nor the khaki uniform.

“No uniforms have been distributed for the past three years,” said a postman, adding that it was in 2008 when they were last issued one by the department. According to officials in Ludhiana depot, uniforms have been given due to delay in issuing of tenders for the supply of cloth.

As per rules, all postmen are supposed to get a set of uniform every year. Besides, they are entitled to a woollen coat and a trouser after four years, but that too hasn’t been given for the past six years, claimed postmen.

Requesting anonymity, a postman rued that the cloth for the uniform was usually substandard. He said while a lot of money is spent on sprucing up post offices, nothing is done to improve the quality of uniforms. “We are the face of the department, but seldom a thought is given to us,” he regretted.

A senior postman said they were provided barely 2.40 metres of cloth for the uniform, which is less for a decent fit.

When contacted, Chief Postmaster General KL Khanna turned a deaf ear to the entire issue. In response to this correspondent’s queries on the reasons for delay in issuing uniform, all he had to say was “you seem to know everything”.

And then after a long pause, he disconnected the call. SMSes sent to him subsequently for clarification also elicited no response.



37.4 pc children suffering from goitre: Study
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

No awareness

Interestingly, in Chandigarh with a literacy rate of 81.9 per cent higher than the average national literacy rate of 64.8 per cent, not many people are aware of the fact whether the salt they are using is iodised or not. The study found that more than 17 per cent of parents didn’t know that the salt they used in their houses contained iodine. Use of iodised salt was reported in families of 149 (84.2 per cent) children with goitre and 126 (83.4 per cent) control children in their daily life. Only 155 (45.5 per cent) of parents knew the advantages of iodised salt. Only 78 (23.5 per cent) of parents knew that iodised salt prevents goitre.

Chandigarh, March 13
In a first of its kind study in the world carried out by the Endocrinology and Community Medicine departments of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, in co-ordination with department of biophysics, Panjab University, has revealed that deficiency of iron also leads to goitre, a disease which leads to the enlargement of thyroid gland, leaving the patient with a swollen neck.

Till now, deficiency of iodine is considered as the main reason for goitre.

In a study, conducted with about 2,148 schoolchildren of Chandigarh, aimed to survey the prevalence of goitre in the post-iodised phase, the researchers found that though 98.1 per cent had sufficient iodine content, 37.4 per cent children were suffering from goitre and 24.8 per cent children had been suffering from anaemia.

The heamoglobin was significantly lower in children with goitre than in the control group, said Dr Bhansali, head, endocrinology, PGI.

A study conducted at Kangra valley in 1973, a sub Himalayan iodine depleted region, showed that after six years of iodised salt supplementation, there was an appreciable decline in goitre prevalence from 40 to 15 per cent.

After this, the government of India in 1987 decided to implement universal iodisation programme.

Despite being iodine replete, goitre continues to be prevalent in mild to moderate degree of endemicity in most states in the country. So a team of 12 researchers conducted a study on 2,148 schoolchildren of 75 schools of Chandigarh between the age group of six and 16 years.

It revealed that 15.1 per cent of them had goitre. The prevalence was even higher among adolescents between 13 and 16 years as compared to children between six and 12 years. The results of current study even showed that there had been not much improvement in this field in Chandigarh during the past 23 years of post-iodisation phase.

A study conducted in Chandigarh 37 years ago in 1973 reported the goitre prevalence is about 16.4 per cent.



Emphasis on laparoscopic surgery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The department of obstetrics and gynaecology, PGI, organised a one-day workshop on various types of hysterectomies. Removal of uterus, which is the second most common gyane surgery, can be performed abdominally, vaginally or with laparoscopic assistance. Vaginal route is now the most preferred approach both by surgeons and patients.

Dr PC Mahapatra, president of FOGSI, cautioned that safety of patients should be the main criteria for deciding the route of surgery.

Even difficult surgeries where uterus is large and surrounded by adhesions could be removed with laparoscopic assistance.

Using the phrase from keyhole to no hole surgery Dr Mahapatra performed a vaginal hysterectomy with sutureless technique. Radical oncosurgery called the Wertheims hysterectomy was performed on a woman with early stage cancer of cervix by Dr SK Giri.

He cautioned that the more radical a hysterectomy is, there are more chances of damage to structures like urinary bladder.

These radical surgeries require great surgical skills. Dr Patnaik removed a uterus with large fibroid with laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy.

Surgery was also performed on a woman, who had a mass protruding from vagina following removal of uterus, which is a complication of hysterectomy.

Various other issues like medical management, endometrial ablation in women with heavy bleeding were also discussed.

The workshop concluded with a panel discussion on difficult situations in hysterectomies.



Urban complex to come up in Barwala block
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 13
The face of Panchkula district is set to change with a new urban complex set to come up at Jalauli and Mouli villages in the Barwala block. Spread over 8,000 acres, the Barwala Urban Complex will include residential, commercial, industrial and institutional plots.

Around 2,500 acres have been earmarked for the residential area, on which 10 to 12 sectors will come up.

The rest of the area will be reserved as agriculture zone, which will include space for agro-based industries, poultry, dairy farming and milk chilling station.

The residential areas will be located near the Barwala town on the National Highway No. 73 and will have plots of varying sizes up to one kanal.

Around 20 per cent of the area will be earmarked for the economically weaker section of the society.

The aim of the new urban complex is to provide housing to maximum number of families in the area. The department is planning to maintain the population density of 120 per acre in the residential area.

The town planning department has already notified around 8,000 acres in the controlled area in Bhareli, Barwala, Riwad and Bhaganpur villages. No one is allowed to carry out construction activity in the area without the permission of the state government.

A similar urban complex is likely to come up at villages around the Raipur Rani block.

A senior official in the district and town planning department says with the layout plan ready, the department is finalising the details and the final draft proposal will be sent to the higher authorities for their approval.

He adds that the process is likely to take a few more months, which will be followed by acquisition of land.

In view of the industries coming in Barwala, the new township will solve the problem of housing besides inviting commercial initiatives, he adds.

Panchkula Extension-II

The state government has approved the Kotbilla-Behla Urban Complex (Panchkula Extension-II) to be set up at Alipur and Kot Billa villages located on the National Highway 73. At least 24 sectors will be developed in the area, spread across an area of 6,500 acres. Out of these, 500 acres have been handed over to the Haryana State Industries and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) to set up an industrial park.

Kalka Urban Complex

The HUDA is likely to offer residential plots in Sectors 27, 28 and 30 this year. Out of the proposed 11,000 acres in Kalka Urban Complex, HUDA has already acquired around 500 acres and is in the process of taking the possession of the same.



Arterial Road
3.5-km stretch to be widened
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Easing Traffic

The decision has been taken keeping in mind the increasing vehicular load on the business street that caters to major commercial areas of Mohali, apart from the residential pockets

Mohali, March 13
One of the busiest 3.5-km-long sections of the arterial road passing through Phases IV, V, III-B1, III-B2 and VII of Mohali will be widened. After conducting a survey of the underground services, the engineering department and the town planning department of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) have given their go-ahead to carving out of a dual carriageway.

The width of both sides of the carriageway will vary between 30 and 33 feet, depending on the space available.

GMADA Chief Administrator Saravjit Singh has already held a series of meetings over the issue.

District Planning Board chairman NK Sharma said the decision had been taken keeping in mind the increasing vehicular load on the business street that caters to major commercial areas of Mohali, apart from the residential pockets.

On Saturday, a team of officials comprising Senior Town Planner Gurpeet Singh, Superintending Engineer Jatinder Mohan, executive engineer (public health) Sunil Kansal, executive engineer (electrical) AK Kataria and other officials carried out a survey of the area.

Without disturbing the tree cover in the roadside green belt, a central verge in the green belt will be created.

Instead of a metalled road, concrete pavement blocks will be used to lay the widened road.

The road will be widened without disturbing the flow of traffic on the existing road. The entire project, expected to be over in five months, would cost around Rs 12 crore.

Sharma said tenders for the work would be floated soon.

Apart from widening the road, more space will be created in the front and rear end of commercial areas.

Parking lots witness chaos everyday, as no space is left for the movement of vehicular traffic. This forces visitors to park their vehicles on the main road.

Benches, billboards and mailboxes will be provided on both sides of the road and landscaping will be done on the entire stretch. The Mohali municipal corporation has been asked to put up speed limits boards, reflectors, catseye, and other road signage.



Open House Response
Booth allotment scam the tip of the iceberg

With reference to your Open House Question: “News concerning the booth allotment the scam which has come to light through inquiry report of PS Shergill, a former ADC,” there are different questions that have arisen largely due to different voice of the Congress and the BJP.

I believe, the way various scams take place and ultimately die their own death, this one, too, will also meet the same fate. The print/electronic media has been instrumental in bringing out a large number of scams over the years to the knowledge of general public, but rarely the media has ever shouldered the responsibility of getting the guilty punished.

The media generally reports the news. After several years of no results, the general public often forgets the issue. Public memory is too short.

I retired from the Army and have been fighting a court case for the past four years to get my property vacated from tenants.

Unfortunately, the corrupt practices and delays will never allow me to enjoy the fruits of my hard-earned investments. Through a letter dt 18/10/10 to the Estate Officer UT, Chandigarh, I had highlighted the suffering and delay due to corruption/gratification by the then AEO and a Superintendent Enforcement in the Estate Office of the Union Territory.

The name of the masterminds in the current case under discussion happens to be the ones involved in my case, as well. I have suffered for the past two years. The after-effects of my letter and the inquiry have now given me a little relief. If this relief was given to me earlier, I wouldn’t have lost the case in the lower court.

Brig MJS Sandhu (retd)

Ugly turn

Booth allotment scam in Sector 41market seems to be just the “Tip of the iceberg.” Several other frauds of such nature are likely to have taken place in other markets of the city as well.

As per news reports, the manner in which booths meant for the rehabilitation of the poor and deserving vendors and handcraft- pullers have been grabbed by some persons through “corrupt” means, certainly needs to be investigated.

The incident has taken an ugly turn as mudslinging is on among political organisations.

The report submitted by former ADC PS Shergil, which gives a complete picture of the booth allotment in the city, is shameful. The involvement of officials in the Estate Office in granting illegal license and including ineligible persons in the list for allotment of booths by accepting “bribes” can’t be overlooked.

Politicians and bureaucrats have also been accused in the scam. Corruption of such a magnitude must be investigated. All those involved in such illegal activity must be identified and brought to the book. The genuine persons must be given their due.

RK Kapoor

Media should play active role

The magisterial inquiry of ADC PS Shergill that puts the city’s bureaucrats, police officials and politicians under the scanner has come as a shock to the city residents.

The media has been abuzz with the reports emanating from various quarters and statements of politicians. The issues raised during the election year, elections to the MCC are slated to be held at the end of the year.

Nevertheless, the issue of allotment of the booths to fire victims needs to be examined. “Allotment/transfer of built up booths in any sector on lease/hire purchase-basis,” mandated that the victim must possess a “rehri” license and own a “rehri”, “bahongi” and working on it since the issue of the license, not own a commercial site/shop in the Union Territory, Chandigarh, Mohali or Panchkula, in his own name or in the name of any member of his family, dependent on family income from all sources does not exceed Rs 7,500 per month for which he shall have to furnish an affidavit duly attested by the Executive Magistrate, Chandigarh, to this effect.

He/she does not suffer from any contagious disease for which he shall furnish a medical certificate for fitness.

There is a provision for inviting objections through the public notice for inclusion/deletion of names by the competent authority, in the light of these provisions, repeated surveys conducted by the officials of the estate office smell foul. The question is why this was not taken in account then by the competent authorities. Does the inquiry report take cognizance of this fact? Fire in “rehri phari” markets have occurred on a number of occasions. Was the occurrence of such fires probed thoroughly?

In the booth scam, the inquiry attempts to bare the collusion of politicians, police and estate officers. Politics in government offices is also well known. Rivalries in offices, though goes unreported, is well established. Unfortunately, governance of the city by the deputations from Punjab and Haryana has also sown seeds of rivalries. We have seen many heads rolling on this account.

Pawan Bansal, demanding an inquiry by the CBI, is a sign of his maturity. He has rightly demanded that PS Shergill should be made the complainant. Otherwise, CBI should take suo motu cognizance of Bansal’s statement and initiate its proceedings in the case. The public is eager to know the truth. The CBI should probe this issue.

Media should play a constructive role in reporting the matter. Reproducing baseless allegation contained in a report first deserve to be weighed on merit.

The scams have become good tools in the hands of rival political parties to defame the other and are designed to secure votes in the ensuing elections.

Satish Chandra Sharma

Another inquiry needed

I am of the firm opinion that PS Shergill carried out the inquiry in connection with booths honestly.

Now, the points to be considered is were there any flaws in the allotment of booths? It should be appreciated that he had the courage to bring out the mismanagement in allotment of booths. I feel another inquiry should be ordered by the CBI to come to the right conclusion.

Wing Com AS Dhillon (retd)

Not acted well

The very fact that the Shergill report was submitted much after he was repatriated to Punjab speaks of personal vendetta against those he disliked during his tenure as an ADC with Chandigarh Administration.

Shergill has acted over enthusiastically and exceeded his authority by keeping the official papers of the Chandigarh Administration beyond the period of his stay. He should have handed over the records of the inquiry to the concerned for appointing a new inquiry officer in the “booth allotment” scam.

Charanjit Singh



Reporters' Diary
Gossip preoccupies city cops

Traffic in the city is regulated by a sizable number of cops. Quite often they are seen gossiping in a corner while vehicles are stuck in traffic jams at roundabouts. On Friday, their apathy was laid bare when some youths entered into an altercation with the CTU staff resulting in a traffic jam on the road in front of the PGI. The jam left commuters stranded for an hour.

Cheering the visitors

The ICC-Cricket World Cup match between West Indies and Ireland on March 11 at the PCA stadium witnessed a large number of Irish supporters. Not only the visitors, but the city residents could also be seen cheering the players during the match. These supporters said as the colour of national flags of Ireland and India resembled each other, they wanted the team to win.

Killer stretches

New roads in developing sectors of Mohali are becoming killer stretches. The 200-ft wide road from Phase V traffic junction to SCL factory and another from Sohana to Sector 66 are being used by youngsters to accelerate their vehicles, often resulting in fatal accident. In the past one month, two persons lost their lives on the roads, with the latest being the death of Tarandeep, son of a former Mohali municipal councillor.

POLISHING SKILLS: With cricket fever gripping the city, children sweat it out at a park in Mohali
With cricket fever gripping the city, children sweat it out at a park in Mohali. A Tribune photograph

Cricket fever

In-form Tendulkar and Sehwag are a bliss for Team India. Their performance in yesterday’s match against South Africa (though their effort went in vain as the team lost the match) was something that no cricket fan would wish to miss. “How can one concentrate on studies during the World Cup?” said Jasmine, a student. Parents, too, find it hard to stop their wards from watching the television. “My son always insists on watching Sachin and Sehwag in action,” said Rakesh Malhotra, a resident.

Boring discussion comes alive!

Apart from handling administrative issues, senior officials at Panjab University can certainly make the dullest discussion interesting! Recently, during a panel discussion held on the PU campus, BS Brar, Dean, University Instructions (DUI), was spotted using the art of mediating a discussion to change the audience’s mood. While leaving the law auditorium, where the panel discussion was in progress, an alumnus of PU who graduated from the university in 1964 said, “The speeches by the speakers got so boring that the only person who lifted the discussion was the moderator.”

Contributed by Arun Sharma, Rajmeet Singh, Deepankar Sharda, Akash Ghai and Neha Miglani



How relevant are cultural events?
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 13
Despite an increasing popularity of cultural events being hosted by departments of Panjab University, a few students feel that such events hold no significance. According to a random survey conducted on the PU campus, such events are termed as a “brand building process” by students.

However, a few opined that brand building helped uplift the status of these departments.

Certain popular fests like “Soch”, “Patchwork”, “Goonj” and “Cyanide” are held on the campus every year. But a question arises, do students really gain from such events? “One learns a lot from such events,” said Gagan, a student.



New vocational course
CBSE gets schools’ thumbs up
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 13
With the CBSE getting a thumbs up from a large number of city schools for “Beverage Services”, the board’s latest vocational subject, things seem to be falling in place for those aspiring to be beverage managers, cocktail churners and bartenders.

“The course may become a revamped version of traditional home science. It may be the only Class XII subject to witness full attendance,” said principal of a city school.

Introduction of four other vocational courses-food production, mass media studies, media production and geospatial technology is also on the cards. The CBSE and National Council of Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) will issue joint certificates to students.

The board had sent a letter to all schools on February 3 asking them to send proposals to start the courses and claimed to have received encouraging response from the city schools. “It will be one of the most sought-after vocational courses,”said RJ Khanderao, regional director, CBSE.



Destination Chandigarh
City a favourite among Afghan students
Neha Miglani/TNS

Chandigarh, March 13
Chandigarh is fast emerging as a favourite destination to pursue higher education among students from Afghanistan. Statistics indicate that Panjab University (PU) and colleges in and around Chandigarh have attracted a large more number of Afghan students in the current academic session, 2010-2011, in comparison to the past few years.

Of the 107 foreign students studying at PU in the current academic session, more than 25 are from Afghanistan and 30 of the 166 foreign students in colleges are from the same country.

In 2009-10, only six of the 66 foreign students sought admission on campus. This increase has triggered concern over the periodic verification of their visa among educationists in the city.

“University or colleges cannot do much to verify details of these students on their own. It is for the UT administration to ensure that periodic checks are made so that these students do not exceed the permissible time limit, as stipulated in their visa. These students must also be required to report to the nearest police station after each semester, which is good for their safety,” says Shelly Walia, former dean, international students, PU.

For Afghan students, the city is a favourite to fulfil their educational aspirations. “The city is safe for girls and students find it most suitable to study further. Many students from our country prefer studying in Indian colleges due to the unpleasant political atmosphere back home,” says a BA (III) Afghan student, pleading anonymity.

The rise in number of students admitted is not just restricted to city colleges and the PU. Similar cases have also been observed at colleges in Chandigarh’s periphery.

“It is because of the increasing interest shown by foreign students in our colleges that we have recently signed an MoU with Education Consultancy India Limited, established by the Government of India in 1981. The consultancy firm will assist in guiding students from 30 countries to Indian universities and colleges,’ says Dr Rajneesh Arora, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University.



Seminar on higher education

Chandigarh, March 13
The Association of British Scholars (ABS), Chandigarh, and department of public administration, Panjab University, organised a seminar on “Higher Education in India: Privatisation, Globalisation and Regulation” on PU campus yesterday.

Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti in his inaugural address talked about the changes in education in a barrier less, technology supported environment and UNESCO conceptualisation of a borderless transitional education.

YK Anand, head, Media Centre, NITTTR, Sector 26, commented on regulatory bodies lamented on their multiplicity. He outlined the new initiatives proposed regarding the regulation of higher education. — TNS



Fairy tales take centrestage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Little Hearts, the pre-primary wing of Sri Guru Harkrishan Model School, Sector 38, presented its annual show - “Wonderland” with fervour here today. The programme commenced with lighting of the lamp by the Principal, Harpreet Kaur followed by a welcome song by students.

A total of 250 students took part in the spectacular show that brought alive the world of child’s imagination, fantasy and fairy tales.

Students of pre-nursery presented action song “We got the whole world in our hands”. “Chanda Chanda Mama” again by pre-nursery class depicted how the child established relationship with elements of nature.

The tiny tots mesmerised the audience with their scintillating performance in the song “Kaun Hoon Main”. The little angels of nursery class dressed in glittering finery enthralled one and all with their dexterous moves and fine sense of rhythm in dance numbers “See My Wonderland” and “Nuki Nuki”.




Tiny tots after participating in a fancy dress competition during the Rose Festival at Panjab University, Chandigarh
Tiny tots after participating in a fancy dress competition during the Rose Festival at Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan


CHANDIGARH: The Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) campus president Udey Wirring on Saturday declared Jajwinder Singh Sidhu as the new party president during a press conference. The declaration was made amidst other members, including Simranjit Singh Dhillon, Hardev Singh Dhindsa and Simrandeep Sandhu.


The Save Education Forum (SEF), Chandigarh, organised a convention on the state of education in India with special reference to Northwest India at Panjab University here on Saturday. Delhi University Teachers’ Association former president Vijender Sharma said there was a global crisis in the education sector and millions of people in the USA and UK were protesting against the cut on education budget and transfer of burden onto the students.


The ongoing literary fest “Patchwork 2011” organised by students of the department of English and cultural studies saw competitions like face painting, poster making, rangoli, cartoon making, collage making and caption writing on its second day. Treasure hunt was another competition where teams of two were given around 14 clues and they had to find and click pictures of those on the campus. The main attraction of the fest is a play “30 days in September” being enacted in the English auditorium all three days. — TNS



From Schools & Colleges

Annual show

Chandigarh: Little Hearts, a pre-primary wing of Sri Guru Harkrishan Model School, Sector 38-D, presented their annual show-“Wonderland” on Sunday. Around 250 students took part in the programme that commenced with lighting of the traditional lamp by principal Harpreet Kaur. This was followed by a welcome song by students.

Alumni meet

PANCHKULA: A large number of students participated in the annual alumni meet organised at Government College, Sector 1, here on Saturday. Dr RC Goyal said the students were the assets of any educational institution. — TNS



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