C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Population boom
At 32%, Mohali way ahead of state average 
Literacy rate 2nd highest in state after Hoshiarpur
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 8
Punjab’s newest district is riding high on the economic boom that has boosted investments, job opportunities and incomes in Chandigarh’s periphery. Fuelled by soaring property prices in the ‘City Beautiful’ and with many vying to own homes on its outskirts, Mohali district has posted a population growth rate of 32 per cent over the last decade, which works out to be almost double the state’s average of 17.64 per cent.

However, there has been decline of 6.27 per cent in the population growth rate since the 2001 census, a state-level phenomenon.

With the total population now officially pegged at 986,147 (males: 524,989; females: 461,158), the number of inhabitants have risen by 227,830 since the 2001 census. The biggest population growth (41,126) has been recorded in Mohali town.

Provisional 2011 census figures reveal this unparalleled decadal growth has not only pushed up the population density to 878 per square kilometer but the five-year-old district has joined the league of the state’s three other districts - Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar - that have the highest density. In the 2001 census the population density in the Mohali area (which was not a district then) was 629 per sq km, meaning that with its creation as a district in 2006 there was an influx of population with infrastructure development simultaneously taking place.

The district has registered a literacy rate of 84.9 per cent, which is a close second in the state after Hoshiarpur district with a literacy rate of 85.4 per cent. Despite the fact that the literacy rate in Mohali district is far higher than the figure of 76.7 per cent for Punjab and that it is the second highest in the state, yet there has only been a marginal rise in the district-level literacy rate when compared to the 2001 census figures.

However, when it comes to the gender ratio the district has not fared as well. The gender ratio of 878 females per 1,000 males has placed Mohali at the 14th position among the state’s 20 districts.



City surpasses Chandigarh in gender ratio
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 8
When it comes to gender ratio, Mohali, which is otherwise perceived as Chandigarh’s poor cousin, has sprung a surprise. It has overtaken both Chandigarh and Panchkula by recording the highest gender ratio of 912 females to 1,000 males.

The total male-female population of the city has been put at 86,068 and 78,542, respectively. In contrast, UT’s gender ratio stands at abysmally low of 818 females.

Similarly, with a literacy rate of 84.9 per cent, Mohali compares rather well with Chandigarh, which has a marginally higher literacy rate of 86.43 per cent. A total of 1,40,082 persons out of Mohali’s total population of 1,49,751 that is above six years of age are literate.

In the provisional 2011 Census figures, the total population of Mohali city has been recorded at 1,64,610 compared to 1,23,000 since the 2001 Census has recorded an increase of 41,610. This includes 86,068 males and 78,542 females. Mohali has been adding 4,100 persons a year or about 11 a day.

Out of the total figure of 1,64,610, children up to six years of age are 14,859 (7,910 males and 6,949 females). Mohali witnessed a population growth rate of 33 per cent in the last decade, which is far higher than 17.01 per cent recorded by Chandigarh and the national figure of 17.64 per cent. In all, Mohali has 40,125 households, including just 32 homeless persons. 


* Just 41,610 added to the city’s population in 10 years or 4,161 per year

* Literacy rate: 84.9 per cent

* Gender ratio: 912 per 1,000 males (Highest in the tricity)

* Density of 830 per sq km



Accident accused flees, cops remain mute spectators
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
An accident accused managed to flee after knocking down a cyclist, killing him on the spot, right in the presence of the police, which remained a mute spectator to the incident here today.

The mishap occurred on the road separating Sectors 49 and 50 when a cyclist, Kankad Kumar, was hit by a speeding crane.

Eyewitnesses said the cyclist was dragged to some distance by the crane, whose driver failed to apply the brakes even after hitting the cyclist.

They said a PCR vehicle was stationed right across the road but failed to intervene, enabling the accused to escape with ease.

They said the policemen came forward only when a passerby approached them and pleaded for help for the injured cyclist.

The incident led to an uproar from passersby who had witnessed the incident. Agitated residents of the area also damaged the windowpane of the crane even as the driver managed to flee.

After the outcry, the police traced the vehicle to its owner, Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Mani Majra. However, it was found that the owner was not driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. The police has started efforts to identify the accused. “The accused fled apparently out of fear of facing public wrath. The owner of the crane was summoned to the police station but it came out that he was not driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. A hunt is on to identify the accused. He will be arrested soon,” said Kirpal Singh, SHO, Sector-34 police station.

The victim, Kankad Kumar, was a native of Bihar and was residing in Jagatpura village of Mohali. He is survived by his wife and a child. 



CCTV cameras go missing
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Panchkula, April 8
Four years after an NGO installed closed circuit TV cameras at five traffic intersections in the town with much fanfare, all the four CCTVs at the Sector 11/15 roundabout, one of the busiest, have been found stolen . It is however a different matter that none of the CCTVs, installed at a cost of Rs 1.5 lakh per four cameras at each intersection, functioned ever since they had been installed.

What is surprising is that the local police was unaware of the theft and hence it is not known when exactly the CCTVs were stolen.

The other locations where the CCTVs were installed are Majri Chowk in Old Panchkula and at the intersections at Amartex, Sector 17/18 and the Mansa Devi T-point. All the CCTVs were reportedly connected with the police control room.

A police official said on condition of anonymity the initial aim of setting up the CCTVs was to keep a check on traffic violations as also help in reducing the crime rate in the town. “However, as the system frequently encountered technical glitches the CCTVs could not remain connected to the PCR”, he added.

Panchkula superintendent of police Maneesh Chaudhary was unavailable for comment as he was reportedly out of town. Concerned about the sharp rise in crime in Panchkula, the Haryana government in 2009 proposed installation of 67 CCTVs at important locations as both a surveillance measure and as a deterrent. However, the plan is yet to materialize even though the Haryana police sanctioned Rs 2.35 crore for the project.



Lecture Shortage
68 students denied permission to take exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
As many as 68 students pursuing graduate and postgraduate courses as part of the Department of Evening Studies, Panjab University, found themselves left in the cold today after being denied permission to sit for their second paper of the final examination of their respective courses.

The reason: They had not attended the mandatory 75 per cent lectures required of them during the academic session.

A week ago, on April 2, the students had been allowed to appear for their first paper after they paid up a fine of Rs 153 each as stipulated in the university rules. However, the students are required to obtain special permission from the Vice-Chancellor to appear for the subsequent papers. As luck would have it, the students were unable to get permission since Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti had left for overseas to attend a conference.

However, officiating Vice-Chancellor Bhupinder Singh Brar, who is Dean, University Instruction (DUI), said the university could give a maximum of 30 grace lectures - 10 each under a discretionary quota of the department chairperson, the university Syndicate and the Vice-Chancellor. “But even this will not be sufficient considering that the students have recorded a shortfall of anything between 50 to 170 lectures. How does one make an allowance for such large absenteeism? Is the university expected to lower its academic standards to permit these students to appear in the exams, when they did not attend any lectures?” he questioned.

Students, on the other hand, complained that they had not been given advance information. Blaming the department for putting up the notice only two days before the exams, Divya Singal, a B.Com-I student, who missed her exam today, said: “Initially, a notice was put up to show attendance shortage on March 31, but when this issue cropped up, another notice was put up and this time the date was March 29.”

“Our plea is that we should have been told by the department well in advance about the shortage so that we appear as private candidates. But due to lack of communication between the VC office and the department, we missed the deadline for private exams also,” she added.

Tarun Gupta, another B.Com student, was spotted outside the DUI office showing a letter signed by the department chairperson stating that “the chairperson has no authority to exercise the powers of the VC/Syndicate. 

Student files petition

One of the students, who is supposed to be “well connected”, is learnt to have filed a petition in the District Court for not having been informed at least a week in advance about the lecture shortage. 


Residents gherao police post over inaction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Lack of co-ordination between two police stations came to the fore today when family members of a missing youth learned that their kin had in fact died in an accident a week ago and his body had been lying in the hospital mortuary as “unclaimed”.

Over 50 residents of Sector 25 staged a protest and gheraoed the Sector 24 police post for alleged police inaction this evening.

High drama was witnessed when over 50 residents gathered at the police post and raised anti-police slogans.

Balram (22), a resident of Sector 25, had died in a hit-and-run case near Sindhi Sweets in Sector 8 on March 30.

The police had registered a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304 A of the IPC against unidentified accused at the Sector 3 police station.

All these days, the police failed to identify the body that was kept in the mortuary of GMSH, Sector 16.

While a missing person’s report was lodged at the police post-24 on April 2, the family members remained unaware of the fact that their kin had died in an accident.

This afternoon, a family member went to the GMSH-16 and identified the body in the mortuary.

The identification led to an uproar by colony members over the failure of police in identifying the body for over seven days.

“There is no coordination between the police stations. They did not even bother to circulate information about the victim,” said Chander, victim’s brother.

Mahavir Singh, SHO of police station-3, said no documents were found on the body that could have helped them identify the victim.

They had also advertised on the local television about the deceased.

“We had done our best to ascertain the identity of the victim. There is no inaction on our part,” he said. 



GMSH-16 OPD timings changed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The UT health department has effected a change in the OPD timings of Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector-16, and its allied dispensaries, including Ayush dispensaries, Community Health Centre, Mani Majra, Community Health Centre, Sector 22, and Polyclinic, Sector 45.

According to a press note, the new timings will be from 8 am to 2 pm and will remain effective from April 16 to October 15.

However, the ESI dispensaries of Sectors 29 and 23 and dispensaries at UT Secretariat, Punjab and Haryana Secretariat and the Punjab and Haryana High Court premises will remain unchanged.



‘Coolex 2011’ kicks off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Twenty four leading air conditioning and refrigeration companies are showcasing their latest products at “Coolex 2011”, an exposition organised by the CII. The four-day exposition was inaugurated by Chief Secretary, Punjab, SC Agrawal this afternoon.

The companies include Godrej, Onida, Videocon, Daikin, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Carrier, GE Appliance, Whirlpool, LG, Voltas and Samsung.

Exhibitors like Canbara Industries, GE Appliance, Motherson Climate Systems, Mitsubishi Electric India Pvt Ltd, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Sharp Business System India Ltd, Videocon Industries are the new entrants to the exposition.

Agrawal said the companies should come up with offers to exchange other less star-rated products with 5 star-rated ones, which were more energy efficient and helped conserve environment.



Safai workers ‘manhandle’ health official
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
A group of safai workers appointed by the municipal corporation’s medical health officers (MOH) department allegedly manhandled and used abusive language against health supervisor PK Pushkarana following an area inspection here today.

Pushkarana had gone to Bhaskar Colony, Sector 25, for a routine inspection when Sweepers’ Union president Sham Lal Dhaveri pressurised him to inspect the nearby Dadu Majra colony.

The official refused to inspect the colony stating that he had not received any official orders in this regard.

Pushkarana claimed that he was preparing an inspection report in his office in Sector 42 when Dhaveri along with a few other safai workers threatened and manhandled him.

When both sides approached MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria, the official asked the MOH department to give a report into the incident for further action.

The Sweepers’ Union said if the matter was not resolved by tomorrow or Monday, they would hold an agitation against the officer.



Workshop to review minimum wages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today convened a zonal workshop on fixation, review, revision and enforcement of minimum wages to workmen employed in the brick-kiln industry.

The workshop focused on the northern states like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh and Delhi. The workshop was held under the chairmanship of Justice BC Patel, a member of NHRC. Certain suggestions were given to redress the shortcomings, including important amendments in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, to ensure its proper implementation.



19 illegal structures razed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
At least 19 concrete structures were razed in a demolition drive carried out by the municipal corporation’s enforcement department at Mani Majra today.

The drive was carried out under the supervision of Joint Commissioner Kamlesh Kumar and assisted by enforcement inspector Kashmira Singh.

Officials said residents had encroached upon the government land along the Pipliwala town road by constructing concrete structures for residential and commercial purposes.

The violators had encroached on around eight feet of the land, which was reclaimed by the enforcement team with the support of 100 labourers, police force and two JCB machines.

Meanwhile, the enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Housing Board today demolished a place of worship in Sector 45-D that had been functioning from government land for several years. Encroachments on the government land allegedly carried out by at least six employees of the CHB were also removed by the staff.



Man dies at Fortis
Family to review report

Mohali, April 8
Tempers ran high at Fortis Hospital here today after the death of a Panchkula resident who had come to the hospital for angioplasty.

The patient died while undergoing an angioplasty here. Family members of the deceased were shocked, as the patient had himself driven to the hospital.

The members of the family took entire documents, including the death summary from the hospital to review the cause of the death. Medical director of Fortis Hospital Dr Gurbir Singh, however, said: “The patient had a long segment disease in the artery which was causing heart attack. The entire segment of the infaract related artery was stinted.” — OC



Anna Hazare’s crusade
Social bodies join in
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 8
Hundreds of people associated with various social organisations in the city have stepped out to support Anna Hazare for rooting out corruption from the country. Lawyers, including Panchkula Bar Association president Jagpal Singh, Satish Kadian, RS Sathi, BS Virk, Amit Singla and INLD leader advocate Vijay Bansal, held a demonstration at the district courts complex. 

Residents from various villages of Kalka, Pinjore, Morni, Barwala and Raipurrani blocks gathered near the mini secretariat and shouted slogans against the Central government for its failure to introduce the Lokpal Bill. A group of residents in Sector 20 also launched a signature campaign to express solidarity with the social activist.



Over 58,000 students to get uniforms
Tribune News Service

Ambala, April 8
A total of 58,567 students, which include 26,920 females studying in government schools in Ambala district, will be benefited with the state government’s recent decision to provide school uniforms costing around Rs 400 each.

According to sources, the state government is providing free education from school to higher studies. Under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, the government is also providing free cycles to girls, who have passed Class V from a village where no middle, high or senior secondary school exists.

In another scheme, bicycles are provided to the Scheduled Caste girls who take admission either in Class IX or XI and don’t have high schools or senior secondary school in their villages.

Education loan scheme for girls has also been implemented under which interest subsidy of 5 per cent per annum will be provided to girls to pursue higher studies in the country and abroad. Harinder Singh Saini, district project convener said uniform for male students would include shirt, trousers, stockings, belt and shoes. Whereas, uniform for female students would include a suit (salwar and shirt), stockings, scarf and shoes. He said the sanctioned amount worth Rs 2.34 crore had already been received for 2010-11.



Vijay, Nitika adjudged best students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Around 450 youngsters today participated in an annual cultural extravaganza “Roshaan” organised by the Aryans Group of Colleges (AGC) at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16.

VK Sharma, IAS, Secretary, Cooperation, Punjab, was the chief guest, while Dr Anshu Kataria, chairman, Aryans Group, presided over the function. Students presented a colourful programme which included bhangra, giddha, group dances and western dance. Students were honoured for their achievement in academics, sports, cultural and extra-curricular activities. Vinay and Jasmeet of BCA-VI, Vijay of BBA-VI and Nitika of MBA-IV were adjudged best students.

Among others present on the occasion included DC Kataria, vice- chairman; Rajni Kataria, Dr Parveen Kataria, director-general, Dr DP Singh, Dr AS Balgir and HK Saini of Indian Overseas Bank.

The event commenced on a spiritual note. Bhangra by Gurwinder and group set the stage on fire, while Haryanavi dance by Suman and her troupe left the audience spellbound. 



Seminar on education

Panchkula, April 8
A national seminar on “Education and empowerment” was conducted at the Swami Devi Dyal College of Education at Mauli in Barwala today. Eminent educationists, Dr Anil Gugnani (SIE, Chandigarh); Dr Dinesh Chahal, Dr Sushma Sharma (Kurukshetra University) and Dr YK Sharma (HP University) were among those who presented their papers on education and empowerment.

Dr Puran Singh (KUK), Dr Kulvinder Singh (Punjabi University Patiala) and Dr Ajaib Singh (Panjab University) were advisors in the seminar. — TNS



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