C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Retention of ‘de-earmarked’ govt houses against rules
Admn notice to 7 IAS, IPS officers
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Getting tough with the seven IAS, IPS officers for retaining “de-earmarked” government accommodation against rules, the UT Administration has served notices on them.

According to sources, the Estate Office has slapped notices on Anil Malik, RK Khullar, Rajiv Sharma, all IAS officers serving in the Haryana Government, RK Rao, former IAS officer of the Haryana cadre and former Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner, and SS Srivastava, Parag Jain, Gaurav Yadav, all IPS officers of the Punjab cadre, for explaining why they should not vacate the government accommodation being retained by them. The officers who are otherwise eligible for government accommodation in the city will be allotted alternative government accommodation, the sourced said.

While some of the officers like SS Srivastava and Anil Malik had got houses “de-earmarked” in their names against their entitlement, officers like Parag Jain, currently posted in New Delhi, and Gaurav Yadav, currently posted at Jalandhar, had retained the houses allegedly in contravention of the allotment rules.

RK Rao had retired a few months ago and was reportedly retaining the house against rules. RK Khullar and Rajiv Sharma have reportedly been retaining two houses - one in Chandigarh and one in the place of substantive posting in Haryana.

The sources informed that the officers had been given 21 days’ time to reply to the notices.The notices were issued in the backdrop of an affidavit filed by the Chandigarh Administration in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the issue of the “de-earmarking” of the houses by certain officials and their subsequent retention by them even after their repatriation to their parent cadres.

In the affidavit, the UT Administration had stated that it was “actively considering” disallowing this practice of “de-earmaking” of the house as part of measures “to ensure objectivity and transparency” in the allotment process under the Government Residences (Chandigarh Administration General Pool) Allotment Rules of 1996.

Under the proposed amendments to the Rules, “the officers posted in Chandigarh, who have been residing in the “de-earmarked” houses, shall vacate such houses once they are repatriated to their parent cadre or transferred from the post for which the house was “de-earmarked”. “The officers on deputation in Chandigarh vacating the “de-earmarked” houses will be allotted the houses as per their entitlement, subject to the availability of the houses,” stated the affidavit.

“Instances have come to notice where some officers are reported to have been maintaining two residences, one residence in Chandigarh and another at the place of their posting outside Chandigarh on the pretext of substantive charge in Chandigarh by showing their field posting as Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and Deputy Inspector Generals as additional charges.” “Such officers who are having official residences in the field and at the same time maintaining the Chandigarh Pool House in the garb of substantive charge in Chandigarh should be asked to vacate such houses within three months, failing which they will be liable to pay penal rent as per norms,” the affidavit said.



No afternoon water supply in city for fortnight
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The city will have no afternoon water supply in the coming fortnight. The water supply will be affected due to a major repair in the Bhakra canal by the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB). The city will not be getting 37 million gallons per day (MGD) out of its total share of 67 MGD.

The supply in the evening, too, will be affected during the repair period and there will be supply of water only for one-and-a-half-hour due to the shortage of water in the Kajauli waterworks.

An announcement in this regard was made at a special meeting chaired by the MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria today. As instead of 67 (MGD) of water, the city will get only 30 MGD during these days out of which Chandigarh will have to give 5 MGD water to Punjab and one MGD to Chandimandir as their routine share from the Kajauli waterworks.

Officials at the meeting informed that to meet the routine water requirements for a fortnight, the MC authorities have installed 12 temporary pumps at the Kajauli waterworks to pump the water from the canal. They would be able to get 25 MGD of water by this arrangement.

Officials said the BBMB authorities gave a short notice to the MC for making temporary arrangements to tide over the crisis.

“We were informed about the repair six days ago, which is too short.”

The demand of water in the city is 100 MGD and has availability of 87 MGD. Chandigarh is receiving 67 MGD of water from the Kajauli waterworks, while 200 tubewells in various parts of the city provide 20 MGD. From April onwards, the demand of water will, automatically, increase many folds, due to peak summer season.

It may be mentioned that the board had informed the corporation a few days ago that from April 6 to 20 due to major repairs in the canal, the city will not able to get its routine share of water supply.

Postpone repair work’

The MC Commissioner has directed the Chief Engineer to send a communiqué to the BBMB authorities requesting them to postpone the repair work of Bhakra canal as next few months are considered most crucial for the requirement of water by the residents of the city.

Notices to residents

In the last four days, the specially constituted 14 teams of the MC to check water wastage in the city have issued 181 notices to residents of the city. 



Tremors felt in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
City residents experienced tremors at nearly 5 pm today. The quake that measured 5.7 on the Richter Scale had its epicentre 363 km from Delhi.

Although it lasted barely a few seconds, city geologists said since the quake was “shallow” in nature, it could have caused more damage in the parts where it originated.

“A shallow earthquake means whose diameter is less and is considered to be more serious in nature. In this case, the focus or the centre of the earthquake beneath the earth was 12.5 km in diameter, while in the Japan earthquake, it was nearly 25 km. Such shallow earthquakes are said to be more dangerous since they are more concentrated and focused,” said city geologist AD Ahluwalia, former chairperson of the department of geology, Panjab University.



Liquor to cost more in city from May 1
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Getting drunk will cost you more from May 1. The next time you gulp beer to beat the heat, be ready to shell out Rs 5-10 more.Ditto for all major brands of whisky whose prices will shoot up by Rs 15-30 per bottle following a steep hike in various taxes in the Excise Policy 2011-12 announced by the Chandigarh Administration today.

The policy makes a departure from the existing system of allotment of liquor shops by inviting applications by introducing a system of inviting tenders for the allotment of the liquor vends.

According to the policy, the assessment fee, the import fee, the export fee, the permit fee and the re-validation fee have been enhanced by 10 per cent each. However, the value added tax(VAT) remains the same at 12.5 per cent.While the minimum retail sale price of beer has been hiked by Rs 5 per bottle of 650 ml, the minimum retail sale price of the Indian Made Foreign Liquor(IMFL) goes up by Rs 5 to Rs 20 per bottle.And for the country liquor, the minimum retail sale prices has been increased by Rs 5 to Rs 7 per bottle.

The registration fee for all types of liquor brands has also been hiked by 33%. The reserve price for IMFL licence in pre-fabricated temporary structures has been fixed at Rs 45 lakh, while for country liquor in this category it would be Rs 37 lakh. The reserve price for the IMFL licence in SCO/SCF/ Shop/Booth will be Rs 36 lakh.The liquor merchant applying for country liquor licence in SCO/SCF/shop/ booth will have to shell out a reserve price of Rs 32 lakh.

Similarly, the excise duty on the IMFL will be increased from Rs 20 per proof litre to Rs 23 on cheap, economy, medium, premium brands. For semi-deluxe and deluxe brands it will be Rs 25 per proof litre, while for ultra premium brands it would Rs 40 per proof litre.

The excise duty on beer having alcoholic content up to 5.25% from Rs will go up to Rs 9 per bottle. The revised excise duty on beer having alcoholic content exceeding 5.25% will be Rs 15 from Rs 10.The wine, champagne, cider and liqueur from will attract an excise duty of Rs 12 per bottle - a hike of Rs 2.

Similarly, the licence fee for foreign liquor will go up to Rs 5.25 lakh from Rs 3.75 lakh. The licence fee for beer per brand will be increased from Rs 65,000 to Rs 90,000. The licence for country liquor now cost Rs 2.6 lakh as against the current Rs 2 lakh.

The department stores will have to shell out Rs 3.10 lakh from the current licence fee of Rs 2 lakh. The bars will have to pay Rs 3.10 as against the current annual licence fee of Rs 2.5 lakh. Similarly, there had been an increase of 55% in the licence fee of bars in clubs.

Point, counter-point

The hike in various levies on liquor will make it costlier for the consumers. The introduction of the tender system will encourage the liquor mafia from the neighbouring states to monopolise the liquor business in the city. Sat Pal, Liquor merchant

The tender system will give a level playing fields to all players in the liquor trade.In fact, the existing liquor merchants will have an edge as compared to outside players as they already have necessary infrastructures, including the premises in the city. — VK Singh, UT Finance Secretary



PU students to get grades in exams now
Nod to semester system in PG courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Semester system would be implemented in all post-graduate courses offered by Panjab University (PU) in its teaching departments and affiliated colleges from the academic session 2011-2012.

Additionally, grades would be allotted to students along with marks in all under-graduate and post-graduate course examinations. A special committee, formed by the university Senate at its meeting on March 29, took these decisions today in a meeting.

The members announced that students enrolled in both post-graduate degree and diplomas courses this year would be evaluated through the semester system of examination in which exams would be held twice a year instead of the annual system in which exams are held once a year.

The members also gave nod to the allocation of grades to students in all courses offered by the PU teaching departments and affiliated colleges. These grades would be awarded to the students in addition to the marks allotted to them.

However, the committee, which comprised senior administrative functionaries of the PU and certain principals of affiliated colleges, has kept the decision pending for the implementation of the semester system in under-graduate courses.

“Since the syllabi for bachelors in commerce (B.Com) has already been prepared, there could be a consideration of implementing the semester system for B.Com to begin with in colleges,” said Dr Jagwant Singh, faculty member, GGDSD College, Sector 32, who was also a member of the committee.

The members said a clarification was awaited on the decision taken by the Senate at its meeting held on March 29 on the implementation for the semester system in affiliated colleges for under-graduate courses.

The meeting was held in the presence of PU functionaries BS Brar, Naval Kishore and AK Bhandari, teachers Karamjeet Singh and Jagwant Singh and college principals AC Vaid, SS Randhawa and BC Josan.

In yet another crucial meeting today, the online application process for colleges to seek affiliation from the PU was approved in principle. “However, the final nod would be given once the online module is prepared and sanctioned by the committee members,” said Dr Karamjeet Singh.


Governor invites pvt industry to meet 
internal security needs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Stating that the central paramilitary forces need a wide variety of equipment for modernisation and upgrading their capability to meet emerging security requirements, the Governor of Punjab, Shivraj Patil, called upon the industry to join hands with the government for fulfilling this requirement indigenously.

Delivering the inaugural address at Secure North-2011, a seminar on internal security organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here today, the Governor said that internal security and defence was nothing but a concept of long-term planning, which requires cooperation between the public and private sector enterprises along with the civil society. He listed specialist vehicles, communication systems, surveillance equipment and night-vision devices as some of the areas where the private sector could undertake research and development as well as serial production. The Governor pointed out that there were only about 13,000 police stations and 30 lakh policemen in the country for a population of 1.2 billion, which was inadequate. He said that statistics revealed that in the past 10 years, deaths on account of the Naxal movement did not cross 700 per annum and due to terrorism were less than 3,000 per annum where as the country witnessed over 32,000 murders annually. General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen SR Ghosh said the government was constrained to spend heavily on defence and internal security. 



Awareness Meet
GMCH to start day care centre for thalassaemia patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
In an attempt to bring some relief to the patients suffering from thalassaemia, the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, here is to start a separate “thalassaemia day care centre” dedicated solely to the care of such patients. This will facilitate the patients who are already undergoing treatment at the hospital along with catering to the overflow of patients at PGI.

It was revealed by GMCH director-principal Dr Raj Bahadur at a “thalassaemia awareness meet” organised by the department of paediatrics, at the hospital. A number of thalassaemia patients and their parents, faculty members, residents and doctors were present on the occasion. Dr Deepak Bansal, associate professor, pediatric hemato-oncology, PGI, delivered a talk on the subject following which he along with Dr RK Marwaha, professor in charge, pediatric haematooncology, department of paediatrics, PGI, interacted with patients and doctors and answered their doubts and queries regarding the disease.

Dr Geetanjali Jindal, assistant professor, department of paediatrics, GMCH, who is also looking after thalassaemia patients said thalassaemia is an inherited disorder that is transmitted from parents who are the carriers of the disease. It can be prevented by prenatal and antenatal diagnosis before the birth of the baby. The thalassaemia is a group of disorders that prevent the body from producing a sufficient quantity of high quality blood. Blood is a vital fluid that brings nourishment to the body's organs and tissues and carries away waste substances.

Hence all patients with thalassaemia major require lifelong regular blood transfusions.

In contrast, thalassaemia minor (or thalassaemia trait) is not serious and results only in mild anaemia that usually goes unnoticed.

However, the precaution at the time of marriage of such people can help in reducing the chances of having children suffering from this disease, she said. When two people with thalassaemia minor marry, their child may get thalassaemia major. So anymore with thalassaemia minor should go for genetic counselling before marriage or having a child.

There are chances of having a child with thalassaemia when both partners in marriage have thalassaemia minor. 



Absence at Ward Meeting
Mayor recommends disciplinary action against six SDOs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Municipal Corporation (MC) Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh (Pali) has recommended disciplinary action against six SDOs for not attending the ward committee meeting of Sector 46 scheduled for today. He has asked MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria to take disciplinary action against them.

Sunkaria asked for the minutes of the ward committee meeting and assured to take stringent action against the officials.

A ward committee meeting of Sector 46 was convened by the Mayor today for which prior information had been given to officials concerned for attending it and for discussing the grievances of the ward. All the members of the ward committee and 15 senior citizens were invited as special guests for the meeting. But no official turned up for the meeting. The members complained to the Mayor that this practice had been going on for a long time.

Members also said that most of the time clerical-level employees were sent by the departments concerned, to attend meetings, who did not even prepare the list of grievances which were discussed at the meeting. This is one of the major reasons as to why the grievances of the areas are not resolved by the officials.

The Mayor said that majority of the councillors complained that none of the officials of the corporation attended the ward committee meetings even if they were informed by the members. 



Three children go missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Three children in the 5 to 8 age group went missing from their residence in Maloya last evening. Two of them are brothers.

Karan Singh, father of the boys, reported to the police that his two sons -eight-year-old Lucky and five-year-old Sagar- failed to return home last evening. Their neighbour’s son eight-year-old Gopal is also missing.

The children are wards of security guards while their mothers work as domestic help.

“The three were last seen playing together in the neighbourhood and then went missing. Their father thought they were at a relative’s place nearby but that was not the case. A missing report has been lodged. We managed to trace the fourth child,” said Inspector Charanjeet Singh, SHO, Sector 39 police station.



Sex scandal case
Five seek discharge

Chandigarh, April 4
Five accused in the Jammu and Kashmir sex scandal case have sought discharge from the case, as witnesses have turned hostile in the past hearings. They included Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Raman Mattoo, former J&K ministers; Iqbal Khandey, IAS official; Anil Sethi, former Additional Advocate General (AAG); and Mohammad Ashraf Mir, former DSP. The five moved an application in court today demanding that they shall be discharged keeping in view that the witnesses turned hostile.

The court has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to respond to the application moved by five accused. — TNS



Trees uprooted to widen roads
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Mohali, April 4
Lack of vision on the part of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has taken a toll on a number of tress planted about an year ago along the road from Franco light point to Phase IV rotary.
The row of trees that has been cut along the road from Franco light point to Phase IV rotary in Mohali.
The row of trees that has been cut along the road from Franco light point to Phase IV rotary in Mohali. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

In order to widen roads and shift overhead transmission line, contractor engaged in shifting of the power cables has chopped off a number of trees.

“ The second line of trees had been planted keeping in mind the fact that since the carriageway had to be widened, the thick tree cover along the road would go as the trees would have to be cut. Hence, the second row of trees (planted a distance from the road berm) would offer the green cover,” confided a GMADA official. It was learnt that the horticulture wing of GMADA officials had expressed their displeasure at the axing of trees. “Once the road is widened, there will be no space to plant more saplings. In a similar manner, trees along the road from Balongi to PCL traffic junction have also been uprooted to make a way for road widening,” said the official.



60,000 throng Mansa Devi temple
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 4
More than 60,000 devotees paid obeisance at the Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine near here on the first day of the ‘Chaitra Navratra’ festival that began with traditional fervour today.
Devotees line up to pay obeisance at the Mata Mansa Devi temple in Panchkula on Monday.
Devotees line up to pay obeisance at the Mata Mansa Devi temple in Panchkula on Monday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, accompanied by his wife Asha, who is vice-president of the Haryana State Council for Child Welfare performed yajna on the occasion of first Navratra and paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum. Principal Secretary to CM Chhatar Singh, Principal OSD, MS Chopra, OSD, BR Beri, Deputy Commissioner, Ashima Brar, shrine board and district administration officers also participated in the yajna.

The Mansa Devi shrine is one of the 51 shakti peeths mentioned in the ‘Tantra Chudamani’ and is believed that the forehead of Sati fell at this place.

Meanwhile, the shrine board received cash offerings of Rs 12, 38,244, UK pound 25, US $, Australian $ 10, Canadian $ 10 and New Zealand $ 30. Besides this gold jewellery Rs 4 lakh and silvery jewellery worth Rs 3 lakh were received on the first day of the 9-day festival.

Meanwhile, the Navratra mela started with religious fervour and enthusiasm in Kalka and Pinjore today.

On the first day of the mela, thousands of devotees from Kalka, Pinjore, Panchkula, Chandigarh, Parwanoo, Solan and adjoining villages of Kalka paid obeisance at Kali Mata Temple.

Informing this, DP Dattana, chief executive officer (CEO), Shri Mata Devi Shrine Board, said special arrangements were made to cope up with the heavy rush of the devotees. A team of doctors was also deployed to deal with any emergency.

Keeping in view the safety of the devotees, special police and home guard personnel have also been deputed. CCTV cameras were also installed to keep a strict vigil. Traffic police personnel had also been deputed for the regulation of heavy traffic on the NH-22.

Vendors make hay

The fruit vendors hiked the rates at will and continued to fleece the devotees who purchased the same for offering to the Goddess.

Fruit Market price Rate per Kg

Apple Rs  90 Rs 140

Grapes Rs 40 Rs 80

Orange Rs 50 Rs 80



Authorities’ apathy laid bare
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Panchkula, April 4
The “apathy” of the authorities towards Sanskritik Kendra Bhawan library at the Mata Mansa Devi temple complex here is evident from the fact that it has been functioning without a librarian for long. At present, an attendant has been performing the duties of a librarian.
The library at the Mata Mansa Devi temple in Panchkula.
The library at the Mata Mansa Devi temple in Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Lakhs of devotees who throng the temple every year during Navratra fair are not aware of the existence of the library in the shrine complex. Even the authorities have failed to put up any board to provide information to people in this regard. Even though the authorities have decorated the library by laying mattresses and carpets to attract visitors, poor maintenance of books and scripts raises eyebrows.

As per information, the then Chief Minister, Chaudhary Bhajan Lal, had inaugurated the Sanskritik Kendra Bhawan on June 15, 1994. There are over 3,000 books in the library which include Mahapuran, Ramcharit Manas, Mahabharat, Shreemad Bhagwat Gita, Hindutva, Tritya Netra, Gou (Cow) Seva, Brief Garudpuran, Meditation, books on Law and Vedas and other books on the life and works of Mahatma Budha, Shankracharya, Swami Vivekananda and Jain religion. The centre has over 100-year-old manuscripts.

Sources said only a few students of PhD came to the centre for their research work.

A large number of books have been stored in sacks.

MMDSB chief executive officer DP Dattana said earlier a clerk used to maintain the library. Due to the shortage of staff, he was shifted to the main shrine complex.



MC under fire to enhance building map fee
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, April 4
The Zirakpur municipal council has come under fire for enhancing the building map fee, yet doing little to provide basic amenities to its residents.

A potholed road in Baltana, Zirakpur.
A potholed road in Baltana, Zirakpur. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Residents rued that the council is merely interested in generating revenue and is doing nothing for the welfare of the residents, as it has failed to provide the basic amenities like better roads and water to the residents of the area.

They claimed that the fee hike should be met with corresponding increase in the services but the roads continue to be in a shambles in most of the area. Residents demand that the council should provide better basic amenities before charging more.

However, MC official claimed that the council was making concerted efforts to provide civic amenities to all colonies. Official said the council had passed Rs 9 crore for providing better roads in this financial budget. Last year, the council had spent Rs 7 crore (approx) on carpeting of the roads, he added.

Residents alleged that despite repeated representations to the Zirakpur municipal council about the re-carpeting of the road, nothing has been done for it.

“I am residing in Zirakpur for the past 12 years but the development projects of the MC are following at a snail’s pace. There only motive is to fill their bags with money and they are least concerned about the residents’ welfare,” says Raman Sharma, a resident of Zirakpur.

Another resident said, “We strongly demand that the MC should roll back the hike in building map approval fee.”

Chairman of the district-level planning committee of Mohali and Zirakpur MC president NK Sharma stated that the issue of hike in the building map fee would be discussed at the coming Zirakpur municipal council meeting.



New DC takes charge
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 4
Varun Roozam Varun Roozam today took over as the Mohali Deputy Commissioner (DC) in place of Parveen Kumar, who has been posted as the director, Small Savings and Lotteries. The new incumbent was earlier Muktsar Deputy Commissioner.

The new DC was today welcomed by Additional Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Singh Kainth and other district-level officers.

Soon after taking over, he took stock of the ongoing development works in the district and urged the officers to justify their duty.

He also assumed the additional charge of the Commissioner, Mohali Municipal Corporation.



How reliable is this 44-yr-old transport system?
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The system was introduced 44 years ago, but residents of the city still have to wonder whether the bus they have boarded will take them to their respective destination.

With no route map or a timetable, around 517 CTU (Chandigarh Transport Undertaking) buses have caused losses running into crores while plying in the tricity which has a population of almost 16 lakh.

Despite the Union Territory being governed by ‘bureaucrats’ who are always on a lookout for a foreign junket, particularly to western countries, to ‘understand tourism and transport’, the list of ‘educated and distinguished’ bureaucrats starting from city lad Pradip Mehra (Adviser), Ram Niwas (secretary transport) and TPS Phoolka (director, transport), have failed to comprehend that a good public transport system needs a time table and a route map.

In addition, visits to several bus shelters showed that a number of these did not have timetables and local route maps. Barring a few, who travel by local buses everyday, passengers, either outsiders or not regular ones, were clueless about which bus to board to reach their respective destination.

“In the absence of a route map, how would I know which bus would take me to Sector 51?” questioned Ranjan Gupta, who came from Delhi and had alighted at The Tribune Chowk in Sector 29.

At 50 bus queue shelters (BQSs) across the city, the CTU authorities have installed a public information system (PIS) while as many as 100 buses have been equipped with the global positioning system (GPS) that cost the authorities Rs 80 lakh. The remaining 50 BQSs (excluding built-operate-transfer shelters) are yet to get the advanced bus-tracking system.
A non-functional global positioning system at a bus stop near PGI, Chandigarh.
A non-functional global positioning system at a bus stop near PGI, Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

The money spent on the PIS seems to have gone down the drain, as most of the systems are out of order. Power thefts and outages are stated to be the main reasons behind the problem.

A Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) official said power theft had become a major problem for them. “It seems to be a handiwork of some three-wheeler operators, rickshaw-pullers and drug-addicts,” said the official, adding that auto drivers were making the most of opportunity.

Some miscreants just for fun sake damage the system. “We have lodged complaints with the police and principals of schools and colleges in this regard,” said the official.

The authorities concerned maintained that they had pasted the timetable and bus route map at almost every BQS around two years ago, but some mischievous elements did not let those stay for long. “While these flexes are still intact at several BQSs, we will soon paste these again,” said TPS Phoolka, newly appointed director of the CTU.

Whatever the reasons may be, non-functional system leaves commuters clueless about the bus routes and their timetable.

“The system that has been installed at a few BQSs is of little help as most of them are lying non-functional. What is the use of installing such a system if it does not benefit commuters,” asked Shilpa Sharma, a local resident.

A college student, Nitisha Goyal, appreciated the global positioning system in buses. “All local buses and BQSs should be equipped with the system immediately. It guides one to reach his or her destination.

Besides, the system also helps make bus drivers more responsible as it keeps a tab on them throughout the day. Besides, the authorities should also paste timetables to help passengers, in case the IPSs are out of order,” said Nikita.

Installation of GPS and PIS

The systems were installed in November, 2009, after seven years of pending proposal and trials spanning over three months at a cost of Rs 86 lakh. In the first phase, 100 semi-low floor buses and 50 BQSs were equipped with the system. 

CTU fleet

Starting from small fleet of 30 buses in 1966, the CTU now has 517 buses (including 100 buses of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission scheme) in its fleet. While 217 buses are plying on long routes, the rest have been catering to the local commuters in the tricity and its vicinity. As many as 30 are low-floor AC buses and 34 are AC mini buses, while the rest are ordinary ones. The local operation starts from 5 am to 9 pm.


This undertaking has earned Rs 66,44,63,128 on account of route receipt which is Rs 8,61,33,281 as compared to the last year. Still the public transport runs into losses. 

Frequency of buses

The average frequency of buses on a particular local route is around 15 minutes


Following installation of speed governors in local buses, the CTU has managed to reduce the fatal accidents from 21 (during 2009-10) to 3 during the current year.

Number of daily commuters

According to an official estimate, between 1.25 lakh and 1.50 lakh commuters use the local public transport. The occupancy ratio of local routes is 125 per cent during the peak hours and 40 per cent during the day and late evening hours, whereas the average occupancy is 82 per cent. 

Battery back-up of PIS system

The PIS system comes to a standstill whenever there is a power cut in the area. “Though the system has a 15-minute battery back-up, it is of no use as several areas of the city witness over four-hour power cuts normally in summer. 

Grid system

On January 23, 2006, the CTU had introduced innovative grid system for bus routes with an offer of Rs 5 per ticket for any destination on a particular route of any single bus. But the system also had invited criticism as it was not feasible for most of the routes as commuters had to board at least two buses to reach distant destinations. Now the transport has mixed systems-grid and point-to-point for commuters. Almost 100 buses have been put on point-to-point system, whereas the rest are plying as per the grid system. 



CTU incurs Rs 1.50 cr loss per month
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), already running in losses worth crores, has been burdened with an additional loss of approximately Rs 1.50 crore per month.

As many as 20 air-conditioned buses, which were added three months ago at a cost of Rs 3.05 crore to ply on long inter-state routes, are not being pressed into service for what they have been originally envisaged. While around 15 of them continue to be parked at the local transport depot, the remaining five have been pressed in to local service.

The authorities have no convincing reply on the issue. Talking on the issue, CTU Director TPS Phoolka said that the documents of some of these buses were yet to be prepared. “And secondly, we are also facing staff shortage, so they have been made non-functional,” said Phoolka adding that these buses would start running on the local routes soon.

When asked as to why these buses would not be pressed into service on long inter-state routes, for which they were meant, he preferred to reserve his comments.

The decision of putting these buses off the long routes just causes the transport a whopping loss of around Rs 5 lakh daily. The decision not only costs the transport department dear but the local commuters are also being deprived of some benefits as the fare of these buses are set only 15 per cent more than that of the ordinary buses. On the other hand, the travelling cost in air-conditioned bus of any private transport is more than double of the ordinary buses.

Talking to Tribune, Jagdish Singh, president of CTU Employees Union said that they have taken up the matter several time with the authorities but all in vain. “We have written letters to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, the Union Home Minister, Union Road Transport and Highway Minister and UT Administrator Shiv Raj Patil regarding the issue. But it (the issue) is yet to be solved. We do not know as to why these buses are not being plyed on long routes,” said Singh. 

Buses Unsafe for Local Routes

The CTU staff feel that putting these buses on local routes is very unsafe, as these vehicles are not fit to run on the city roads. “Firstly, these buses do not fulfil the prescribed requirements and specifications for local route buses as height of these buses is around one-and-a-half feet more that that of the prescribed height of a local bus. These buses cannot run on the left side of the roads due to roadside trees thus pose threat to lives of other commuters. The buses have a separate cabin for driver, which is not allowed in local buses as it hinders visibility inside the bus. As the seating arrangement of these buses is 3X2 (one row of three-seater and the other with two-seater), less space is left for those passengers who travel standing. The doors of the buses are very narrow thus not suitable for local passengers,”

— Raj Kumar, general secretary, CTU Employee Union 



Students protest against non-issuance of roll numbers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
A day before their final exams, nearly 60 students of the department of evening studies, Panjab University, who were not issued roll numbers due to the attendance shortage created a ruckus on the campus, along with certain student leaders by restricting entry of vehicles at gate number 2 opposite Sector 15.

Succumbing to the pressure of the students, who were being supported by certain student organisations, including the Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Student Organisation of India (SOI), university officials permitted these students to appear in the first exam tomorrow.

However, the students were later asked to submit a representation to the department chairperson giving details of their medical and extra-curricular certificates. These students did not fulfill the criteria of 75 per cent lectures out of the total lectures delivered, which is the minimum criteria for appearing in the exams.

Rallying around the campus and gate number 2, these students shouted slogans against the university authorities for nearly 40 minutes and attempted to stop vehicular movement inside the campus. This eventually led to intervention by the university security and UT police, who were reported to have lathicharged the students.

“There are several students of the evening department who have relevant certificates of blood donation camps and other cultural programmes. Certain others could not complete the criteria of attendance due to the medical reasons. None of their certificates were accepted by the department,” said Dinesh, a student leader.



PUSU submits memo to VC
Asks to take action against complaints of eve-teasing on campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) today submitted a memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor and Dean Student Welfare asking them to take action against complaints of eve-teasing on the university campus.

PUSU activists protest outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office at Panjab University on Monday.
PUSU activists protest outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office at Panjab University on Monday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

PUSU president Sukhjit Singh Brar said their organisation strongly condemned the role being played by the university security, who turned a blind eye to the incidents of eve-teasing, claimed students.

“Eve-teasing has become a menace for girls outside their hostels, as boys are spotted slowing down their cars and bikes to ogle and pass comments. Despite presence of the university security on the hostel gates, they act like mock spectators,” said Brar.

In the memorandum, the students raised objections on the presence of only three guards standing near the girls’ hostels and only one guard near the ATM opposite girls hostel 6. “There are only two guards standing in front of the entry gates of girls hostel 4 and 5,” added Brar.

The students demanded that five to six more guards be deputed to cover the area between the Sector 14 market and girls hostel.

They added that the presence of the guards would also ensure that the students, particularly boys should not slow down their vehicles outside the girls hostel. Brar added that there must be notices put up on the campus saying “Eve-teasing is banned.”



MoU signed for exchange programme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology (SSIET), Dera Bassi, and Wayne State University (WSU), Detroit, the USA, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for exchange of students and research scholars, scientific materials and publications, development of joint programmes for education and research and recruitment of students for undergraduate and postgraduate studies from either country on a reciprocal basis.

For SSIET, the MoU will provide an opportunity for exchange of students to pursue further studies at Waynes, to complete their respective degrees or get admission to higher courses, change engineering disciplines using credits achieved in India and vice versa. It will also provide job opportunities.

On the other hand, WSU can use SSIET campus for undertaking higher quality research at economical rates, provide foreign direct investment for research laboratories and workshops where the top priority of research needs such as energy, nano-technology, medicine, and training will be met.



6,000 take AIPMT prelim exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Over 6,000 city students took the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) preliminary exam yesterday. The students who thronged over 120 tricity centres claimed that the paper was relatively easy and completely based on the Central Board of Secondary Education specified pattern and NCERT syllabus.

While a majority of the students found physics and biology paper easy, chemistry was a little tricky.

“The physics and biology sections were somehow on the expected pattern, however, it was chemistry, especially questions from organic chemistry, which left us hassled. They were tricky and left many confused between the two options,” said an aspirant.

What further added to the woes of the students is the negative marking, which left no room for guesswork.

Results for the prelims would be declared by the third week of April and successful students would be issued a new admit card for the main exam. The AIPMT final will be held on May 15 and the result for the same will be declared by June first week.



Affiliation issue evokes heated discussion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The issue of granting affiliation and extension for certain courses in Panjab University affiliated colleges evoked a heated discussion at the Senate meeting held on March 29.

Fed up of serious allegations levelled by certain college authorities against members of the inspection committees that visit these colleges to grant affiliation, certain fellows registered their strong dissent on this practice.

During a round of heated arguments on this issue, certain Senate members pleaded exemption from being sent to any college for inspections in future by the university authorities.

“Why would anybody waste an entire day to inspect a college located in the interiors of Punjab for a compensation of Rs 700 by PU? Either those members would be interested who are serious to contribute to the university or those who have their vested interests in that particular college. This is the reason why a majority of Senate members do not show interest in inspecting colleges,” said a senior fellow on the condition of anonymity.

However, certain university officials opined that since many fellows are unwilling to inspect the colleges for affiliation, the onus falls on the PU authorities for clearing all pending files of granting affiliation to various courses, which have provisional affiliation.

“Certain nominated members in the Senate do not even know what to inspect in a college. They are sent for inspection to PU affiliated colleges but would not know the significance of tallying the guidelines laid down by the University Grants Commission (UGC),” said a fellow.



From Schools
Orientation programme

CHANDIGARH: Stepping Stones School, Sectors 37 D and 38 A, organised an orientation programme for parents of students of the junior and senior block. The parents of Classes VIII and IX were briefed about positive parenting. Questions of the parents were answered during the seminar. The topics discussed were understanding of teen problems, obsession of mobile, TV and computer games usage, peer pressure, parents as emotional coach to make their child a winner and finally selection of suitable career options for the child. Rajneesh of IPAT (Institute of Personality and Aptitude Testing) conducted the seminar. Principal Anu Kumar addressed the parents and cleared their apprehensions.

NSS camp

A seven-day special day and night NSS camp was organised at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 47. Fifty NSS volunteers of Kendriya Vidyalaya participated in the camp. Volunteers visited “Snehalaya” being run by the social welfare department, Chandigarh Administration in Maloya village and met the destitute kids. The camp was inaugurated by MI Sondhi, education officer, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan. School principal CP Chaudhri motivated the volunteers. The volunteers have adopted “Chandi kusht ashram” near the Air Force Station, Chandigarh, and helped its inmates.



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