C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Now UT plans trams, not Metro!
Solar city scheme also on anvil l Slums to be a thing of the past
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
On fast track to solve traffic problems in the city, the UT Administration is chugging towards the scheme of introducing trams instead of the Metro. There is also a plan to make Chandigarh a solar city.

Slums, too, would be a thing of the past and the administration is in the process of preparing a report on Chandigarh’s architectural heritage. The report is being forwarded to the Centre and “subsequent to its approval, the enlisted heritage of Chandigarh would be notified”.

These facts were underscored by the UT Administration in an affidavit filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court while seeking six months’ time for the completion of the city’s master plan.

The affidavit by UT senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal included the tram scheme in the list of proposals yet to be finalised. The affidavit said the matter was discussed with the UT Director (Transport) and feedback has been sought from RITES, the consultant engaged in the preparation of comprehensive master plan of Chandigarh.

Kaushal said the “solar city” project to maximise the use of solar energy was in the process of being finalised by the department concerned of the UT Administration. It would entail earmarking land for infrastructure and setting up of solar plants.

He added that a state-level policy needs to be finalised for making the city slum free. Referring to the issue of “preservation of Chandigarh’s heritage”, he said the reports of the experts committee had been principally approved by the Administration’s advisory council. “The recommendations include delineating/identification of heritage zone, heritage precincts and heritage buildings, along with stipulations of additions and alterations in the same.”

The affidavit was placed before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia. Taking it on record, the Bench extended the deadline for the city’s master plan and fixed August 31 as the next date of hearing.

The Bench also segregated the Tata Camelot case from the master plan matter and fixed July 26 as the next date of hearing in it. Senior counsel appearing for Tata Housing Mukul Rohatgi requested the court to hear the matter for the vacation of the interim stay on the project.

Tata also defended its upcoming multi-storeyed project in Kansal village by arguing that neither does the project fall in the catchment area of the Sukhna Lake, nor was it in violation of Punjab’s New (Periphery) Control Act.

HC told about Centre guidelines

The High Court was on Wednesday informed that guidelines had been received from the Centre, “vide which it is mandatory to delineate an eco-sensitive zone around the Sukhna Lake Wildlife Sanctuary”. The guidelines impose restrictions on certain activities and developments



Work begins on creating wildlife corridor from Sukhna
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The UT administration has launched a massive afforestation drive to create a wildlife corridor between the reserve forest area and the regulator end of the Sukhna lake, a stretch spanning nearly 1.4 km. The move is aimed at preventing unauthorized construction, already under way in some places, which may disturb wildlife.

In the first phase the administration will spend Rs 25 crore to acquire 50 acres of land in Kaimbwala village. The passage will connect the land being used for agricultural purposes with the forest located behind the lake as also the forest reserve.

Confirming the development, conservator of forests Santosh Kumar said: “The pathway for wildlife will be demarcated as a ‘no development zone’. The growing wildlife population often resulted in animals straying into nearby settlements in Kishangarh and Khuda Ali Sher in the union territory and in Kansal in Punjab.

At least 1,000 saplings were planted last week by a group of people that included about 500 students of local schools and colleges. The initiative involved eco clubs, NGOs and resident welfare associations. The drive will be followed up until the saplings grow into trees.

“Merely planting saplings doesn’t serve any purpose. Growing trees involve greater responsibility and such an effort will give more credibility to all plantation drives”, said Kumar.

Covering an area of about 26.5 square km, the UT reserve forest area has sambars (large deer), spotted deer (Chittal), pangolins (anteaters), wild boars, jackals, Indian civets, jungle cats, porcupines, ‘Hanuman’ langurs (Old World monkeys), Rhesus monkeys, Indian hares, mongooses and squirrels among other animals. Recent findings by the Wildlife Institute of India have even indicated the presence of leopards.

Said Kumar: “There have been several cases of wild animals, particular deer, straying into human settlements. Construction activity means greater human presence, which isn’t healthy for wildlife”.

It has been pointed out that the administration will need to take the utmost care in building silt retention dams in the forest reserve area, as was done in the past. The water trail through the forest reserve already has 154 reservoirs.

While there is no denying reservoirs had contributed in a big way towards expanding the city’s green cover and saving water, experts however feel their number were are a little more than necessary.



Judge bribery case
CBI submits documentary evidence in court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today submitted a 126-page documentary evidence on record in court in the judge bribery case. In the first hearing of the case today ever since the chargesheet was filed, the CBI submitted the evidence following which the case was adjourned to April 11.

The CBI had filed the chargesheet on March 4 in the Special CBI Court of Ritu Tagore against Justice Nirmal Yadav (retd) and four others under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Sources said the CBI today submitted documents related to the Solan land deal for the execution of which Nirmal Yadav allegedly took the money of Rs 15 lakh. Besides, the evidence is also believed to contain documents relating to (a) the property dispute case which was fast tracked allegedly by accused Nirmal Yadav; (b) call details showing that accused Delhi-based hotelier Ravinder Singh was in touch with former Haryana Additional Advocate General and co-accused Sanjeev Bansal and Nirmal Yadav on the day of the decision of the property dispute case which she allegedly fast tracked; and (c) statements of scores of witnesses including that of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, to whose residence Rs 15 lakh in cash was wrongly delivered in 2008 when the case first broke. In addition, the CBI has also submitted documents relating to the initial investigation of the case carried out by the Chandigarh Police. Special prosecutors for the CBI, BP Singh and Pawan Dogra, submitted the evidence today.

The CBI has alleged in the chargesheet that Nirmal Yadav (retired) fast-tracked a property dispute case she was hearing and then ruled in favour of the party represented by Sanjiv Bansal, then Additional Advocate General, Haryana, who paid her Rs 15 lakh through her “close friend”, Delhi-based businessman Ravinder Singh, days after the verdict.

Meanwhile, counsel of accused Ravinder Singh, urged the court to discharge the accused from the case as there was no evidence against him. The request was turned down.

Apart from Nirmal Yadav, others named in the chargesheet are local advocate and former Haryana Additional Advocate General Sanjiv Bansal, Delhi-based hotelier Ravinder Singh, property dealer Nirmal Singh and Rajiv Gupta.

The Chandigarh police had first registered the case on August 13, 2008, when a packet containing Rs 15 lakh was wrongly delivered at the Sector 11 residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, another judge of the High Court. Justice Nirmaljit Kaur reported to the police following which it came to light that the money was actually meant for Justice Nirmal Yadav. The case was then handed over to the CBI.



Co-op housing society head held for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Central Bureau of Investigation’s anti-corruption branch on Wednesday arrested the president of the Chandigarh Sector 16 Cooperative House Building Society, Kulwant Singh Gill, in Sector 50 for demanding a bribe for transfer of a share certificate.

CBI sleuths said according to the Gill had sought a bribe of Rs 1 lakh to be paid to the government officials concerned for transfer of a share certificate related to a flat purchased by the complainant. On the basis of the complaint a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was filed and a trap laid for the suspect, who was caught red handed in the act of seeking and accepting illegal gratification from the complainant.

Further investigations into the matter were continuing, the CBI added.



UT dist magistrate, IG (prisons) in HC contempt loop
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, April 6
The Punjab & Haryana High Court on Wednesday ruled the UT district magistrate and inspector-general of prisons had, prima facie, had shown scant regard for the court’s orders in a parole matter. Both were, on the face of it, also held blameworthy for willfully disobeying court orders in at least three cases.

Issuing a statutory contempt notice to the two officials, a division bench of the court asked them to show cause “why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for willfully disobeying the orders passed by this court”. With this it is clear both the district magistrate and the inspector-general of prisons are in the high court contempt loop.

The directions by justices Satish Kumar Mittal and M Jeyapaul came on three petitions filed by a Sector 33 resident, Parveen Kumar, and two others. As the case came up for hearing, counsel for the petitioners informed the bench the prayer for the latter’s release on parole was initially rejected on the ground that the owner of the house where the petitioners wanted to avail of the parole facility had declined to vouch for them.

After they challenged the orders the high court allowed the petition with a direction to the respondents to reconsider the case for temporary release within two weeks. The counsel asserted the respondents had again rejected the prayer on the ground the house of the convicts was found to be locked and, following enquiries, the address of the fathers of the petitioners was not known.

“In the subsequent orders the authorities have not considered the directions given by the high court,” the counsel added. The bench said: “On perusal of the earlier orders as well as the impugned order, we prima facie come to the conclusion that the ruled UT district magistrate as well as the inspector-general of prisons have exhibited scant regard to the orders passed by the bench of this court and have not cared to comply with the directions issued earlier by this court.

“Both authorities appear to have willfully disobeyed the orders passed by this court, not only in this case, but also in two other cases where similar orders were passed by this court. This conduct amounts to contempt of court”. 



SP, SHO booked for hurting religious sentiments
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 6
An SP and an SHO have been booked by the police on thecharge of hurting religious sentiments of a community.

SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said both SP (D) Pritam Singh and SHO of the Phase VIII Police Station Kulbhushan Sharma were today booked under Section 295-A of the IPC.

He said Patiala IG PS Gill had been asked to investigate the case. Both these officers were suspended on March 30 on the charge of removing the turban of a protester during an agitation held by members of the Rural Health Pharmacist Association.

The case was registered on the statement of Jagjit Singh, a resident of Guru Nagar Abadi, Verka, Amritsar.

Taking a serious view of the incident, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had ordered the registration of the case against both police officials after receiving the report of an inquiry conducted by Additional Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Singh Kainth.

The incident of the removal of a Sikh’s turban had snowballed into a major issue and a number of religious organisations had demanded the arrest of the police officials concerned for hurting religious sentiments of the community.

The incident occurred on March 28 when members of the association were cane-charged by the police while they were marching towards the PCA Stadium.



Yuvi arrives amidst dhol, bhangra
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
It was an emotional moment for ace-cricketer Yuvraj Singh when his mother Shabnam Singh embraced him as soon as he reached his residence in Mani Majra this evening.

Fans gather outside Yuvraj’s residence to have a glimpse of the cricket star in Mani Majra on Wednesday. Tribune photo: S Chandan“This is the best moment of my life. My dream has come true and I have been enjoying each and every moment,” said an ecstatic Yuvi who was evidently overjoyed with Team India having lifted the World Cup.

Yuvi, who landed around 4.15 pm, was accorded a warm welcome at the Chandigarh airport. His fans and friends received him amidst the beats of ‘dhol’ and ‘bhangra’.

Yuvi’s mother had decorated the house with flowers to welcome her son. A large number of fans and neighbours gathered to have a glimpse of “Player of the Tournament in ICC World Cup” at his residence as soon as Yuvi reached home.

“Since I was born and brought up here in the city, I wanted to meet my near and dears ones, especially after the feat,” said Yuvi, who was scheduled to reach Chandigarh yesterday but could not make it as he missed his flight.

When asked “what’s next”, Yuvi grinned and quipped ‘kadhi-chawal’.

“Today I will have my favourite home-made dish kadhi-chawal,” said Yuvi with a smile.

He immediately came to business, saying: “As the Indian Premier League is round the corner, I am focusing on it right now. I have only a day to spend with my family and friends.”

However, marriage does not seem to be on the priority list of this star cricketer. “Abhi unntiss ka hua hoon; chaalis ka toh nahi (I am 29 not 40),” said Yuvi jokingly when asked when he intended to tie the nuptial knot. “Yaar shaadi umar dekh kar nahi kee jaati (marriage has no link with age). Whenever I get the right girl who suits my family and me, I will marry,” said Yuvraj.

“My son has conquered the world. I am very happy for him,” said Yuvi’s proud mother, Shabnam Singh.

Yuvi, who will lead Pune team in the forthcoming fourth edition of the IPL, is scheduled to leave the city tomorrow. 

‘Sachin is a Bharat Ratna’

When asked for his comments over suggestions that Sachin Tendulkar be conferred the Bharat Ratna, Yuvi replied, “Come on friend, Sachin himself is a ‘Bharat Ratna’ ”.

Pak team were ‘big hearted’

Declining to comment on the latest outburst by Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi against Indians. Yuvi had a tongue-in-cheek description for the Pakistani cricket team. “I can only say that they (Pakistanis) turned out to be big-hearted people by dropping five to six catches during the crucial semifinal match,” said the all-rounder smilingly.



Flight timing changed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The arrival and departure timings of Jet Airways have been rescheduled.

According to sources, flight (9W-2649) will arrive in Chandigarh from Delhi at 8.20 am and flight (9W-2650) will depart from Chandigarh to Delhi at 8.50 am.

Flight (S2-238) from Bengaluru to Delhi and Delhi to Chandigarh will arrive at 4.55 pm and flight (S2-235) will depart from Chandigarh to Delhi and Delhi to Bengaluru at 5.25 pm.

Sources added that another Jet Airways flight (9W-319) will arrive in Chandigarh from Mumbai at 11.50 am and on its return journey, flight (9W-320) will depart from Chandigarh to Mumbai at 12.25 pm



Can we afford to waste drinking water?
The Municipal Corporation has constituted 14 special teams comprising officials to check water wastage in the city, which have been issuing notices regularly to defaulter residents for misusing water during the morning hours. But it’s heaven for residents of most colonies as only three out of the Union Territory’s 18 colonies have been included in their ambit. Only two out of the UT’s total 22 villages are being checked for water wastage. 
Aarti Kapoor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Even as city residents, particularly those staying on the first floor have begun facing difficulties in getting the normal water supply, those residing in colonies and villages are in contrast a blessed lot, as they seem to be availing uninterrupted water supply without spending a penny and without fear of being challaned for misuse of water.

The Municipal Corporation has constituted 14 special teams comprising officials to check water wastage in the city, which have been issuing notices regularly to defaulter residents for misusing water in the morning hours. But its heaven for residents of most colonies as only three out of the Union Territory’s 18 colonies have been included in their ambit. Only two out of the UT’s total 22 villages are being checked for water wastage.

During a visit to a Janta Kumhar colony in Sector 25, it was found that tap nozzles were missing and water was flowing continuously and those passing from near by the taps were least bothered about the wastage of water as the MC had has not installed any water meter in these colonies. Those residing were not being penalised for this gross wastage of precious water.

Then again, in Indra Colony, it was noticed that wherever the taps were in order, dwellers seldom bothered to close them even when not in use. Majority of residents of the colony said that it was the government’s property and nobody in the colony could do anything to check the wastage. Resultantly, one could just stand and see hundreds of gallons of precious water being wasted.

Several residents of Colony Number 5 told this correspondent that every month authorities installed a new aluminum taps in their colony but anti-social elements were always quick to steal them to make some quick buck.

MC Chief Engineer SS Bidda said that all the colonies and villages had been included in the special checking of water wastage in the morning hours and those, which had been left out would also be included in the ambit of these teams.

While others residing in various sectors of the city are not only having to shell out hefty amounts every month for an average eight to 10 hours of water supply, they are also faced with rigorous fines in case they are caught wasting water. The condition of the residents living on the top floors becomes very precarious during the summer season due to low pressure and mismanagement of water.

MC suffering loss

Official records state that the MC is suffering an annual loss of 22 per cent in collection of water tariff. Residents of several villages and colonies owe the MC Rs 9 crore while several departments of the UT Administration and the Punjab government owe the MC Rs 5 crore. 

279 notices issued since April 1

The MC has issued 279 notices to residents of various sectors from April 1 to 6 for misusing or wasting water as per the water supply bylaws. Interestingly, no politician or government officer has yet been issued a challan notice.



Laying Down of Paver Blocks
MC adopts dual policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Councillors of the Municipal Corporation (MC) are adopting a dual policy on the laying of paver blocks in the city. While on the one hand, the Road Committee which met here today, directed the department to prepare a policy for the laying of paver blocks in the city,on the other, a majority of councillors refused to discuss this issue in the last general house meeting since this was an election year.

The committee meeting, which was chaired by Bhupinder Singh, directed the officials to prepare the paver-laying policy, which would be discussed at a special meeting convened on April 15. Interestingly, the councillors at the committee meeting took to task officials of the road wing for not inspecting sites before laying paver blocks. The members opined that the department should not allow laying of paver blocks of different sizes in the city. A uniform policy should be framed to avoid imbalance in laying down of paver blocks.

At the last house meeting, a report was tabled by the authorities that laying of paver blocks in all open spaces in the city would have ill-effect on the surface area.

The report of the corporation stated that the UT Administration was promoting rainwater harvesting to increase the sub-soil water level but the ruthless laying of paver blocks on all surface area would result in further lowering of the groundwater level in the city.

The report also pointed out that due to paver blocks, there would be additional burden on the storm water drainage system. Meanwhile, the committee has approved paver blocks worth Rs 87 lakh for various sectors in the city.



‘A danger to greenery’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
A delegation comprising DS Chahal, president, and SK Khosla, secretary, Chandigarh Residents Social Welfare Federation, met the Commissioner and Mayor Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, in connection with the perceived loss being caused to greenery and health of citizens by installing paver blocks.

Members of the delegation said without considering their effect on the present and coming generations of trees and general plantation, paver blocks were being used indiscriminately.

The delegation said the process of installing paver blocks almost seals the possibility of aeration for the grown-up trees, as roots and stems get choked by concrete. They said the paver blocks are being put without leaving any scope for plantation of the future generation of trees.

They said that instead of huge public money being spent ruthlessly on the installation of paver blocks, this could be spent on other useful purposes like laying down underground electricity wires. Further, they brought to the notice of the Commissioner the sub-standard material seized from a truck in Dadu Majra being used in paver blocks.

The authorities concerned assured the delegation that the haphazard installation of paver blocks would be stopped to save trees.



Repair Work in Bhakra Canal 
Panel to sort out water supply shortage 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
A special meeting regarding the upcoming shortage of water supply held here today under the chair of Municipal Corporation Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh along with water supply and sewerage disposal committee chairman Jatinder Bhatia to monitor the arrangements made by the authorities to deal with the water crisis on account of repair work in the Bhakra canal. Later, a team of committee members also visited Kajauli water works and inspected the alternate arrangements to sort out the shortage of water supply.

After the inspection, Bhatia said that a team headed by a SDO along with 3 junior engineers of Public Health wing, MC, junior engineer of the irrigation department and electrical department, Punjab, and a JE from Chandimandir were appointed round the clock to supervise the work to restore full water supply from the Kajauli Water works.

He said that although there was no time with the MC Public Health team to retain the full water supply after the short call to repair the Bhakhra Main Line BML, the Municipal Corporation had arranged 15 motors at the site to lift water from the river water canal.

Each motor has the capacity of lifting 2 million gallon per day (MGD) water, which will be 30 MGD of water.

At present, the MC is maintaining the level of water with the help of 5motors lowered in the river water canal to lift 10 MGD of water. He said that if there would be any requirement to lift more water then the rest 10 motors will be lowered in the river water to restore the water supply.


Devotees from outside have problem staying overnight
No rooms available in temple complex
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 6
Devotees coming from far off places face problem finding accommodation near Mata Mansa Devi Temple, as the new Laxmi dharmashala is yet to be handed over to the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board (MMDSB) by the PWD B& R department.

Sunita Sharma, a resident of Delhi, talking to the Tribune here today said that she along with her husband and two children had come to pay obeisance at the historic shrine yesterday. However, as she could not find an accommodation in the temple complex she had no option but to book a hotel room for two days.

Jasveer Yadav, a devotee from Karnal, said that he along with his old parents had come to pay obeisance at the shrine. He said after reaching here they decided to stay for 9 days at the shrine complex. He said, as there were no rooms available in the dharmashala they had to spend the night in tents set up by the authorities.

According to sources, about 15 rooms in old Lajwanti dharmashala have already booked in advance by the devotees. The new dharmashala, consisting of 45 rooms, 6 large and 8 dormitories, was also complete. The work on the new project was started about two years ago and would cost around Rs 10 crore.

The MMDSB chief executive officer said that the new dharmashala had not been handed over to the board by the PWD B & R authorities. He said once they get the possession of the dharmashala the devotees would be adjusted there.

The XEN PWD B & R PK Goel said that Laxmi dharmashala was nearing completion and tenders for the construction of the boundary wall and the parking area would be floated soon. He said they were hoping to complete the project by the end of this month.

Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav and Gopal Kanda, finance minister and local bodies minister, respectively performed Yajna on the occasion of second Navratra and paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum.



Samples of ‘kuttu’ flour taken
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Following reports of a large number of people falling ill in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh after consuming contaminated ‘kuttu’ flour, the local health authorities, lifted samples of the flour from five shops in Sector 26 and Mani Majra. Kuttu flour is used in preparing food and snacks during Navratra festivals for people who observe fast.

Officials from the health department lifted 3 samples from the wholesale grain market of Sector 26 while two samples were lifted from retailers in Mani Majra.



Vacant posts to be filled
MC to have 50 councillors
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 6
The Mohali Municipal Corporation is expected to have 50 councillors, including the Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor. A provision of Rs 203.17 lakh has been made in this year’s budget for these vacant posts apart from various other posts, which will be filled by additional officials.

Although “freezing of boundaries” ended on March 31 after the work related to 2011 census got over, the process of extending the limits of the upgraded civic body has still not begun.

It is learnt that the budget provisions for 50 councillors and others have been made by the civic body on the pattern followed by other corporations in the state. It will, however, not be clear as to how many councillors the Municipal Corporation will have till the limits of the upgraded body are marked. The budget provisions for vacant posts were made so that the civic body would not have to face any financial problems in case the elections to the upgraded civic body were held during the current financial year.

Apart from elected representatives, the corporation will also have a senior legal adviser, deputy controller, finance and accounts, superintending engineer, executive engineer, assistant town planner, medical health officer and law officer.



Violators get one-week warning to vacate
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 6
Giving a warning to shopkeepers who have encroached upon government land, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has asked them to vacate the area within a week, failing which a demolition drive will be carried out.

A total of 25 persons have encroached upon the government land in Sector 66. Shopkeepers selling furniture, building material, those running welding units, flour mills and even a school have been given a warning by the GMADA officials, who visited the area today.

According to reports, a demolition drive was to be carried out today, but later the shopkeepers were given one week time to vacate the area, failing which, GMADA would demolish the shops that had come up illegally on the government land.

GMADA officials also asked persons who had opened up shops behind the market area in Phase X to close their business as it was violation of the norms.



Three commissioners in three months!
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 6
The work in the Mohali civic body started moving at a very slow pace ever since it was given the status of a Municipal Corporation about three months ago, thanks to the indifferent attitude of the government, which has so far not been able to appoint a full-time commissioner for the corporation.

Three commissioners were appointed in the past about three months and running the civic body was only an additional charge for each one of them. By the time the official managed to know about the town and chalk out plans for development, the additional charge was withdrawn from him.

Parveen Kumar, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Mohali till April 3, was the first commissioner of the upgraded civic body. After about a month time, the additional charge of the corporation was given Saravjit Singh, Chief Administrator, GMADA. On April 4, the charge of the civic body was given to the newly appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Mohali district, Varun Roojam. 



Residents want amenities as per brochure
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 6
Members of the Royal Estate Apartment Owners Association, Zirakpur, alleged that the builder of the apartment has failed to provide the promised amenities mentioned in the brochure to the residents.

The members, including president of the association Col Hardit Singh, VV Manchanda, SK Sharma, Anand Bakshi and others said they invested their hard-earned money to get their dream houses, but the builder failed to keep his promise of providing round-the-clock power, inter-com system, security and adoption of fire safety measures, they alleged.

Residents also said they had submitted their complaints to the builder several times, but nothing had been done so far. They demanded authorities to fulfill their promises made in the brochures.

The builder of the company, on the other hand, denied the allegations, claiming that all the basic amenities mentioned in the brochure had been provided to the residents. He added that they were taking maintenance charges from the residents and providing them with necessary services.



Dhaba owner launches ambulance
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 6
You may find it hard to digest, but a dhaba owner here has set up an example for others by launching a private ambulance on his own expenses for accident victims of Zirakpur.

Sonu Sethi, an owner of the Sethi dhaba, situated on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway said most often there was no dedicated ambulance service in Zirakpur.

This initiative would be helpful to the residents here, he added.

He said the ambulance would be parked outside his dhaba and would be available 24/7.

He also said that to get the service one could contact at 9888577438.



General Hospital to get nursing college soon
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 6
The district health authorities are planning to start a nursing college on the hospital complex, as the General Hospital in Sector 6 is being upgraded from 150 to 300-bed hospital on the lines of the PGI, Rohtak.

According to sources, district health officials held a meeting recently and a proposal has been sent to the state health minister, Rao Narinder Singh. The sources said the officials present at the meeting had unanimously endorsed the proposal and if the project saw the light of the day, the young girls would not have to move to far off places to get training in nursing.

It is notable here that the General Hospital is the only government hospital, which provides cardiac healthcare and other facilities to more than five lakh people of the district. The hospital is being upgraded from a 150-bed facility to a 300-bed one.

Construction of a new block is on and is likely to be completed by December.

The setting of the college would also help the hospital authorities where more than 2,000 to 3,000 patients visit OPD daily. As the hospital has the well-qualified staff, the nursing students would be able to get quality education and practical training at the hospital.

Unavailability of specialists round-the-clock and paucity of sanctioned posts for staff nurses and lab technicians at the General Hospital has turned it into a referral hospital, as people prefer to get treated at the PGI, Chandigarh.

The sources further said at present the parents of the nursing students had to shell out huge amount to get training in private nursing colleges, which were ill-equipped and the students do not get practical training. With the opening of the government nursing college in the city, the students from the city and its adjoining town, including Zirakpur in Punjab and Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh, would not have to pay exorbitant fee.

Confirming the same, Civil Surgeon VK Bansal said a meeting of the health officials was held recently and added that if a nursing college was opened, this would not only help the students in the region but also the hospital in providing better care to the patients.



Awareness programme on drug resistance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The department of microbiology, Government Medical College Hospital, (GMCH), has decided to conduct an awareness programme on drug resistance in order to observe the World Health Day on April 7.

Besides, organising a symposium on “Antibiotics Stewardship : Need of the Hour,” the faculty members, residents and paramedical staff members of the institute will be sensitised on the occasion, said Prof Jagdish Chander, head, department of microbiology, GMCH.

Bacteria that causes common and life-threatening infections is becoming increasingly more resistant to antibiotics. This is due to the widespread use and misuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals, said Dr Chander.

The WHO calls on the public, prescribers, policy-makers, pharmaceutical industries and food animal production sector to take action - prescribe and use antibiotics responsibly, monitor and track antibiotic usage and resistance and promote the development of new antibiotics.

In February, a formal proposal to create India’s first-ever antibiotic policy has been submitted to the Union Health Ministry. Under the draft policy, several drugs will now be sold only against prescription while several others would be available only for hospital use and not in pharmacies, he added.



Funds flow in for research work at PGI
Agencies pump in Rs 26 cr as compared to Rs 5 cr in 2005 

Chandigarh, April 6
The work being done by researchers at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is being recognised by the funding agencies in the country, as well a abroad, as the flow of funds for projects submitted by doctors of the PGI have increased five times during the past five years.

As much as Rs 5 crore was available for the PGI doctors from these agencies in 2005, this amount touched Rs 26 crore last year.

According to sources, the organisations that recognised the capability of researchers at the PGI in handling medical research projects and extended the grants include, the Indian Council for Medical Research National Academy of Medical Sciences, Defence Research Development Organisation, and Department of Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), World Health Organisation and the National Institute of Health, USA.Two major projects that attracted funds include research on various effects of HIV and development of nano-medicine for the treatment of tuberculosis. While the researchers at the PGI are preparing to conclude the work on the effects of HIV, the work on nano-medicine for tuberculosis after facing a roadblock of three years is expected to gain momentum as Rs 70 lakh has been received by the PGI for setting up a laboratory for the purpose. In fact there have been nearly 150 ongoing such projects at the PGI while a lot others are under consideration of different bodies and governments departments for the approval and funds.

While the School of Public Health, departments of medicine, microbiology, virology and parasitology are busy studying infections and diseases like malaria and kala azar, the department of nephrology is conducting research on diseases related to modern lifestyle.. — TNS



Home Secy seeks inventory of heritage items
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The home secretary today asked heads of different departments of the Chandigarh Administration to prepare an inventory of heritage items, currently in their possession.

He has also sought a detailed report on the items, which have been auctioned or sold.

He was chairing a special meeting of all the heads of departments regarding preservation of heritage furniture/items, sketches/moulds/tapestries or any other item designed/related to Le-Corbusier and his team. A list of inventory, from different departments, has been sought at the earlier.

As a special measure to assist different departments in identifying the heritage items, including furniture, a committee has been constituted including the principal, College of Architecture, principal, College of Arts and a senior architect of the UT.

A nodal officer, of the department concerned, will coordinate and liaison with the architecture department, UT, for the identification and preservation of heritage items.

The administration is also considering to make arrangements for proper placement and display of heritage items.



Clinics for ex-servicemen to rise by 2013
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The number of polyclinics under the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) across the country would be increased to 426 by April 2013.

This would take medicare for ex-servicemen to the country’s remotest areas as well as to Nepal from where a large number of Gorkha soldiers hail.

This was revealed at a national-level seminar on Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) organised by the Western Command headquarters at Chandimandir today.

At present, there are 227 defence polyclinics and 1,355 empanelled private hospitals of ECHS that provide medical cover to retired Army personnel and their dependents. 



Milk Colony, Dhanas, is now Sector 14 (West)

Chandigarh, April 6
Milk Colony, Dhanas, has now been christened Sector 14(West) by the Chandigarh Administration.

A communication to this regard has been forwarded by the office of the chief architect in the department of urban planning to the finance secretary and the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation. The re-christening looks like a repeat of what was done in the current Sector 38(West) which was originally a part of Dadu Majra village. — TNS



Devotional music soiree enthrals devotees
SD Sharma

Panchkula, April 6
Spiritual fervour pervaded the entire ambience of Mata Mansa Devi shrine complex, as devout pilgrims paid their obeisance to the Goddess on the fourth day of the ongoing Navratra festival at the temple here toady.

Adding melody to the otherwise serene environment, acclaimed versatile vocalist Rinku Kalia enthralled audience in a devotional musical soiree organised by the Haryana Public Relations and Cultural Affairs.

Commencing with a soulful composition, “Mera jeevan teri sharan”, she doled out bhajans, all in laudation of the Goddess.

As her mellifluous voice wafted across the milieu, she submerged the audience in devotion. Chief guest DP Dattana honoured the artistes. Prominent Sufi maestro Barkat Sidhu will perform tomorrow.



Lyricist Neeraj in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 6
Hailed as a favourite of the Bollywood music directors, litterateurs and connoisseurs, Padmabushan Gopaldas Saxena, also known as Neeraj, is in the city to light up a poetic symposium (kavya sandhya) to be held at Haryana Niwas tomorrow.

The programme organised by the Haryana Sahitya Akademi and Haryana Public Relations and Cultural Affairs department is aimed at sharing the literary journey of the epoch making legendary poet Neeraj, who had sculpted timeless songs, said Dr KK Khandelwal, IAS.

Neeraj had been at the zenith of his popularity with his songs like “Likhe jo khat tujhe” (Kanyadaan), “Ae bhai jara dekh ke chalo” (Mera Naam Joker), “Dhirre se jaana khatiyan me” etc.



Tributes paid to seafarers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Marking the National Maritime Day yesterday, members and families of the newly established Chandigarh-based Company of Master Mariners of India, got together at the Sector 3 War Memorial to pay tributes to those seafarers, who lost their lives in the sea.

National Maritime Day is observed each year to the maiden voyage of the first Indian ship SS Loyalty, from Mumbai to London on April 5, 1919. Chandigarh Home Secretary Ram Niwas, also paid the homage.

Wreaths were laid at the memorial by the Home Secretary, chairman CMMI, Chandigarh, Capt PS Sidhu, Capt MS Kahlon, chairman and Commander Lekh Raj of NCC Naval Wing, Chandigarh.

The buglers of the Chandigarh Police sounded the Last Post and a two-minute silence was observed as a mark to respect to the departed souls. 



Admissions under EWS Quota
Education dept fails to supervise process
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Over a decade after they first conceptualised it and several months after they began insisting on its implementation, the UT education department has abjectly failed to either review or supervise the admission process of children belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS).

This is even as a majority of the city private schools have in their communication to district education officer claimed to have filled 15 per cent seats under the EWS quota.

Directives issued by the UT education department in November, 2010, stipulate that the schools in the city first put up the list of applicants for these seats on school notice boards. This is then supposed to be followed by a draw of lots in the presence of the UT education department’s representative or representatives of the parents concerned. Wherever these representatives are not available at the time of draw, these draws are supposed to be video graphed. The list of selected candidates is then supposed to be put on the school websites or notice boards. However, the schools seem to have kept the entire admission process under wraps.

The UT education department, which is meant to oversee this process, has, on the other hand, failed to depute its representatives for the draw of lots. The department has confined itself to merely asking the schools to inform them about the number of seats that have been filled and have been left vacant.

UT Administration’s DPI (Schools) Sandeep Hans failed to respond to the repeated telephone calls made to him. A senior education department official, however, blamed the “lapse” on lack of enough time.

“We just gave 20 odd days for people to apply and asked schools to complete the admission process. It was, too, short a time to arrange for these verification measures. We will surely ask the schools to update student lists on their websites. There are a few schools that are yet to complete their admissions and we will try and depute our representatives to attend the draw of lots,” he said.

‘UT has no right to intervene’

These admissions were made on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and were a voluntary exercise. The UT education department’s role was confined to just advertising these seats and has no business to intervene or question the process. The schools, however, should have displayed the detailed list of selected candidates on their notice boards. The authenticity of claims will come to fore on April 28, as all schools who volunteered for admission will be submitting detailed lists and documents to the High Court.

— HS Mamik, president Independent School Association



‘Punjabi compulsory in Class I’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 6
It is compulsory for all private schools to teach Punjabi from Class I and in case they fail to do so, then no objection certificates, issued to these institutions, can be cancelled.

This was stated by Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Education Minister, at a meeting held with the district education officers (DEOs) on the premises of the Punjab School Education Board here today.

The DEOs were asked to ensure that all private schools taught Punjabi from Class I and if it was not being done by certain schools, the matter should be brought to the notice of the government. It did not matter whether the school was affiliated to the CBSE, Punjab board or any other board.

The minister said the merit list of newly recruited 7,654 teachers had been prepared and the work of giving appointment letters and allocating their stations of work would begin from tomorrow. As per new policy, teachers would first be appointed in border, kandi and bait areas, where posts were lying vacant. He said while allocating stations of work, it would be kept in mind that differently abled persons, widows and unmarried girls were not sent out of the districts to which they belonged. Instead, they would be given stations of their choice.

While talking to mediapersons, Sekhwan said it was for the first time that 100 per cent attendance of teachers was seen during the academic session which started on April 1. Even the books which were given free of cost to students were distributed before the beginning of the session. Due to shortage of space in urban areas, students would have to study in double shifts in some government schools.

The minister constituted a three-member committee which would give suggestions to check copying during examinations. 



NET forms to be accepted in zoology dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Applicants of the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for arts, commerce and related subjects can deposit a copy of their forms at Panjab University’s zoology department room number 79.

Candidates appearing for NET-UGC in July are required to first fill up the online application form and apply through the UGC website. After the completion of the online procedure, they are required to submit two copies of the duplicate form, one copy each of the attendance slip and admission card, original back receipt and one photocopy of the receipt, along with two self-addressed unstamped envelopes at PU.

UGC NET coordinator, Dr VK Walia said in order to avoid any postal delay, students can submit forms directly at the NET centre set up in PU’s zoology department instead of addressing it to the university Registrar.



PU teachers anxious over delay in salaries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Having not received their monthly salaries since a week now, Panjab University teachers were today spotted inquiring about the same anxiously from a bank located on the university premises.

Many other teachers were spotted returning dejectedly from the ATM located in the Sector 14 market.

“It is extremely strange as well as frustrating that there is such a delay in giving salaries. On April 4, bank employees informed that even the salary break up was not ready,” said a senior faculty member on the condition of anonymity, who visited the ATM today.

Yet another teacher, who receives an SMS each time the salary is transferred in his account added, “For the last six days, I did not get any SMS so I came to the bank today since I was urgently in need of the money. I was disappointed to find out that till evening, the salaries were not transferred in the accounts.”

When contacted, university finance development office (FDO) Vikram Nayyar said, “The full and final instalment of arrears has been done and since the first few days of the month were off in the bank that is why it got delayed. The salaries have already been transferred in the teachers’ accounts.”



Paper checking charges
PU moots 30 pc hike
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
In a bid to facilitate compulsory evaluation of answersheets for postgraduate subjects by teachers, Panjab University is mooting a hike of 30 per cent in paper checking charges from the current academic session.

A special committee by the university authorities has proposed this hike and a final nod is awaited from the university’s supreme governing body - the Senate.

Even as the first committee formed to look into the examination system reforms last year, which was headed by BS Brar, proposed a hike between 25-30 per cent, university officials now claim that another sub-committee has proposed a further hike in the paper evaluation charges.

“There is a proposal underway to increase the evaluation charges substantially, but I cannot disclose the exact amount till it is finalised by the Senate,” said AK Bhandari, PU Registrar-cum-Controller of Examination.

Last year, the university Senate made it mandatory for teachers to check a minimum of 250 answersheets, which was a part of recommendations of Brar committee to fight the problem of delayed results due to non-availability of evaluators.

“Over the years, service remuneration for several things has increased and this hike was also due. With the increase in salaries, there are certain teachers who are not as enthusiastic to evaluate the answersheets. Earlier the charges for re-evaluating answersheets were higher than ordinary exams. Also there were several categories of undergraduate and postgraduates subjects. We had proposed simplification of all categories and had made all paper checking charges uniform,” said BS Brar, dean university instructions (DUI).

In yet another step taken by the examination branch, the university is gearing up to start early evaluation of the answersheets.

Taking a clue from last year’s experience, where the results were delayed for certain postgraduate subjects due to the reluctance of the teachers to check answerbooks, the university has taken this measure.

In the semester and annual examination conducted by PU in 2010, the examination branch of PU had a harrowing time searching evaluators for the postgraduate subjects, particularly in the disciplines of law, history, English and Punjabi.



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