C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CITCO petrol station wanting in fire safety norms
 A majority of others also lack mandatory system in place
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
tribune news service

Chandigarh, May 24
The petrol station owned by the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) on the Madhya Marg in Sector 9 has run into rough weather with the fire and emergency services department of the Municipal Corporation (MC) commenting with a memorandum that “sufficient fire safety equipment as per norms and approved drawings/plans have not been installed” so far.

The petrol station has been found wanting in the mandatory installations of a terrace water tank of 5,000-litre capacity, manually operated electric fire alarm system, yard hydrants with accessories and foam component, and hose reels of 30 metres.

The issue of safety at gas stations, covered under the National Building Code of India, 2005, Part IV, gains importance in the context of petrol fires being disastrous and difficult to handle.

The CITCO gas station is not alone as various gas stations have received similar notices during the past one year. Petrol station owners feel that the MC had made “unnecessary” demands about a year ago.

Amanpreet Singh, general secretary of the Chandigarh Petrol Dealers Association, said: “Certain loopholes as pointed out by the fire departments did not mean anything on the ground. In routine, a stringent action plan, including education and regular checks on safety measures, are carried out by oil companies.”

He said certain deficiencies pointed out in the list were not practical including terrace water tank of 5,000-litre capacity, manually operated electric fire alarm system, yard hydrants and foam component and hose reels.

Another gas station owner, requesting anonymity, said: “Fire at a petrol station was not like a normal fire and water and other accessories would be meaningless in the vicinity of the area. Work at the international level shows that instead of depending on staff to throw sand and water, the fire station staff and even workers at the gas station should be taught to put in place a mechanism of cutting the oxygen supply to the tank in case of an emergency. The handling needs specialised expertise.”

Kamlesh, Additional Commissioner, said the fire department was working in coordination with the oil companies to ensure the implementation of all safety mechanisms at gas stations.



PGI Director’s Post
Three names sent to PMO for final selection
 Dr Amod Gupta, Dr YK Chawla, Dr Raj Bahadur in race
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, May 24
The names of three shortlisted candidates for the post of PGI Director have finally been forwarded to the Prime Minister’s office for final selection. Interestingly, it is for the first time in the history of the institute that the institute’s body has recommended three names for the post and has allowed the Prime Minister to have the last word.

The appointment process faced a setback recently following a notice by the National Scheduled Caste Commission to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry seeking an explanation on not having a representation of SC/ST members in the selection panel.

In response to this, the ministry had stated that there were no specific guidelines pertaining to such representation in the selection procedures of such high-level posts at the institute.

Those shortlisted are Dr Amod Gupta, head of the PGI’s ophthalmology department, Dr YK Chawla, head of the PGI’s hepatology department, and Dr Raj Bahadur, Director-Principal of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. Their names have reached the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). Dr Chawla is leading with 85 marks, closely followed by Dr Amod Gupta who secured 80 marks. Dr Raj Bahadur has got 77 marks.

The selection process so far had been unprecedented with the introduction of sub-committees, personal interviews and sending three names to the ACC.

The PGI’s former Director, Prof KK Talwar, had superannuated on April 30 and Dr V Sakhuja, head of the nephrology department and the senior-most faculty member, is officiating as the Director.



PU Chancellor backs Syndicate
 Upholds filling of key administrative posts
Neha Miglani
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, May 24
Panjab University Chancellor and Vice-President of India Hamid Ansari today upheld all decisions taken by the Syndicate in filling key administrative posts.

The development is important in the context that the Chancellor’s office was flooded with letters by certain PU fellows and RTI activists, alleging discrepancies in the filling of key administrative posts at Panjab University (PU) and demanding that the posts be advertised again.

In a meeting convened by the Chancellor in New Delhi, the case of repeated advertisements for top PU posts was brought up for discussion with Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti.

Sobti today said: “The meeting was held to discuss certain other issues and was not called for the case of filling key posts. However, the matter came up for discussion in the meeting and the Chancellor said the Syndicate was empowered to take all decisions and under no circumstances will the posts be re-advertised.”

However, despite a nod by the Chancellor, uncertainty prevails over the interviews scheduled for the posts on May 26 and 27. Asked about the status of the interviews, university officials declined to comment.

The possibility of holding yet another Syndicate meeting before May 26 to discuss the VC’s interaction with the Chancellor cannot be ruled out. The key posts to be filled include that of the Registrar, Dean College Development Council, Controller of Examinations and Associate Dean College Development Council.

Issues raised by Senator

PU Senate-Syndicate member AS Bedi wrote a letter to Chancellor Hamid Ansari saying: “It was decided that a corrigendum would be issued on the basis of qualifications laid down by the UGC for all these posts. It was also decided that sufficient time would be given for calling fresh applications in terms of the changed qualifications/nature of appointment, which was not done. The VC failed to give a 15-day notice to candidates who had been called to apply through an all India advertisement.” Earlier, he had written to the VC objecting to the qualifications approved by the house of syndics, saying that administrative experience must be added as a qualification.

Syndicate supreme

The Syndicate is empowered to fill key posts and under no circumstances will the posts be re-advertised. Hamid Ansari,PU Chancellor



Result cards to replace marksheets
 CCE card will be cumulative assessment of Classes IX, X
Sumedha Sharma
tribune news service

Chandigarh, May 24
After the stress-free CBSE Class X board examination, which turned optional this year, students have another reason to cheer. The continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) result cards will replace conventional marksheets issued ever since the board’s inception in 1952.

The new report card, which was finalised by the board in Delhi on May 11, will not just be bigger in size, but will also be the first of its kind for students who will be evaluated on their 13 non-academic aspects using descriptive indicators and grades.

The new report card will be the cumulative assessment of both Classes IX and X and will be awarded to all students irrespective of whether they appeared for the board exam.

It will be divided into three sections and further into two sub-sections each, elaborating on the performance in scholastic areas, co-scholastic areas and co-scholastic activities. It will mention the students’ formative assessment

(co-scholastic) and summative assessment (scholastic) and the final grade point on a scale of 10.

Another section will grade a student on a five-point scale for their performance in work experience, art education and physical and health education. They will also get a descriptive analysis of their thinking skills, social skills, emotional skills, attitude towards teachers, schoolmates, school programmes, environment and value systems. The CBSE had introduced the CCE system from Class IX in 2009 and made the Class X boards optional in 2011. Under the system, students are evaluated on the basis of semester summative (I and II) and formative (I and II) assessments.

CBSE Class X results delayed again

While the continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) cards may be an attempt to make Class X board evaluation stress-free, it has led to an unprecedented delay in the declaration of results. The results were initially planned for May 16, but were postponed to May 20 and eventually to May 25. The board, however, still claims to be working on the compilation of report cards and has refused to declare the next date for the results.



Hike in water tariff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
At a time when the city is facing a major water shortage the UT administration has hiked tariffs by issuing a notification amending the existing bylaws on water supply.

Under the new bylaws institutions, which include all educational institutes, hostels, hospitals and clinics, community centres and clubs recognized by the administration, will have to pay Rs 12 per kilolitre (kl) as against the existing Rs 8.

Residential buildings being used for professional purposes by doctors, architects or other professionals would also come under this category. The tariff for industrial, semi-industrial and commercial establishments as well for construction or renovation has been hiked to Rs 15 from the existing Rs 11. The penalty for misuse of water has been increased to Rs 2,000 from Rs 500.

New water charges
Usage                    Old rate                   New rate
1 kl to 15 kl            Rs 1.75                   Rs 2
15 kl to 30 kl          Rs 3.50                    Rs 4
30 kl to 60 kl          Rs 5                        Rs 6


Finally, GMADA decides to take over cleaning of N-choe
 * Estimate of Rs 44 lakh prepared * Work to be given on contract 
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 24
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), which has been passing on the work of cleaning the N-choe to the local civic body over the past one year, has finally decided to take over the responsibility and an estimate of Rs 44 lakh has been prepared to clean the choe.

The N-choe, which passes through various parts of the town, was cleaned up in June past year after the The Tribune had highlighted that filth and muck flowed through the nullah. The choe remained in a state of neglect over the past one year after both the GMADA and the municipal corporation declined to take the responsibility of keeping it clean. Weeds had once again grown up in the area.

Sources said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed both GMADA and the corporation in February this year to decide as to which agency would maintain the N-choe, but the cleaning of the nullah had to be ensured.

A meeting was held in the office of the Chief Administrator, GMADA, on May 11, where it was decided that the civic body would not be able to clean the choe due to paucity of funds. The responsibility had to be taken over by GMADA, after which estimates for the work were prepared, which amounted to Rs 44 lakh.

Talking to The Tribune, Additional Chief Administrator, GMADA, Parveen Kumar Thind, said the work of cleaning the choe would be given on contract in the coming few days. The contractor would be asked to clean the choe from one end to the other and later maintain it for three years.

Thind further said the choe entered from the Chandigarh side and went right up to the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), covering a distance of about 2.5 km.

Though the Chandigarh authorities had installed machinery to pump back the sullage from the union territory’s boundary, some of it entered the choe. In Mohali, sewage water fell into the choe at various points, creating unhygienic conditions for residents living close by.

In June past year, the GMADA had cleaned embankments on both sides of the choe from the Leisure Valley up to NIPER. The choe was blocked with bushes, dry leaves and other waste material.

Later, the GMADA had told the civic body through a letter that the development authority had cleaned the choe as a special case on the directions of the government even when the responsibility of maintaining the developed infrastructure in the town lay with the civic body, as per Section 35 of the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Act, 1995. The cleaning was done on a one-time basis and the council was asked to take care of the cleanliness of the choe in the future.



Police officials worried about their health
  Cite strenuous duty, erratic schedules, long duty hours
 SI suffered heart attack on Monday while on duty
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Yesterday’s incident of a cop suffering a heart attack has left several police officials worried about their health. “This has been the third incident of this kind since January and the second in the past six days. Many of us have started worrying about our health, seeing the high level of stress and the long hours and erratic schedule of duties,” said an inspector.

The story was no different when this correspondent talked to several cops. Yesterday’s incident of sub-inspector Sukhwant Singh suffering a heart attack while on duty and a paralytic attack to the station house officer of the Sector 17 police station, Hardit Singh, on May 18 reflected that all was not well with the working of the force.

“Many a time, we do not find time to meet our families due to long working hours. Erratic schedules, strenuous duty and high work pressure are affecting our health,” said an SHO.

Referring to Bakshish Singh’s death on the night of January 17, he said Bakshish was on duty for the past 18 hours that fateful day and he could not have meals that day due to work pressure.

Senior Superintendent of Police Naunihal Singh said, “It is very unfortunate that my men are becoming victims of stress. All steps are being taken to combat it.”

He added that one had to learn to tackle work-related tensions and pressures. “In an effort to de-stress cops, I started a weekly parade for them,” he said.

He said Sukhwant, the SI who suffered a heart attack yesterday, was posted in the women’s cell, where the stress level was almost negligible.

According to the latest medical check-up report, around 400 cops had high cholesterol level while around 300 were detected to be suffering from hypertension.

About 225 cops were found obese while around 190 were found diabetic. About 1,000 cops were declared unfit for long running whereas 303 were found suffering from other ailments.

A training program on stress management and a medicine-free life was organised at the Police Lines in Sector 26 here yesterday.

Lectures were delivered on the issue and cops were given tips to lead a healthy life. About 400 police officials and their families attended the programme.

Men in khaki under stress

May 23: Sub-inspector Sukhwant Singh (56) suffers heart attack at the local district courts. He is taken to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, from where doctors refer him to the PGI. His condition is stable and he is recuperating.

May 18: Inspector Hardit Singh suffers paralytic attack. He has been recuperating at the PGI after having undergone two operations.

January 17: Inspector Bakshish Singh dies following cardiac arrest. At the time of the incident, he had gone to handle a group clash at Ram Darbar. He was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he breathed his last.



Greenbelt in use as parking lot
* Grills around park damaged by residents * Construction material also being dumped
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 24
Residents of the new housing board colony at Sector 19 here have encroached upon the greenbelt developed by the horticulture department of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

The residents have not only damaged the greenbelt by parking four-wheelers and two-wheelers there, but have also damaged the grills around the park. Not only this, even a bus of a private school can be seen parked in the greenbelt.

The horticulture wing of HUDA had developed the park on 640 metres of the 800 metres of open space in the area.

The department had constructed a boundary wall, besides installing grills around the park to restrict the entry of stray animals. The department had also planted a number of saplings in the area.

A resident of the colony, on the condition of anonymity, said the waterworks department had broken the boundary wall for the entry of JCB machines into the park for digging a tubewell bore.

Later the residents, finding no place to park their vehicles near their houses, started parking vehicles in the greenbelt thus.

One of the residents, who was constructing a house in the area, was dumping construction material in the park.

Around 25 per cent of the residents of the old housing board colony at Sector 19 have encroached upon almost all greenbelts in the area. There are over 800 apartments in the colony.

About 200 ground-floor residents have covered the 30 square feet each of open space in front of their flats with a three or four feet high boundary wall, leaving virtually no parking space for those on the first floor.

HS Malik, superintending engineer, horticulture wing, HUDA, said they had transferred the greenbelt to the municipal council (MC) many years ago and the MC was maintaining it now. He said HUDA had nothing to do with the greenbelt.

MC executive officer KK Jain said he was not sure whether the park was with them or HUDA.

He said he could comment on this only after enquiring into the matter. He said action would be taken against private vehicle owners for parking vehicles in the greenbelt if it was under their jurisdiction.

HUDA has nothing to do with it

HS Malik, superintending engineer, horticulture wing, HUDA, said they had transferred the greenbelt to the municipal council (MC) many years ago and the MC was maintaining it now. He said HUDA has nothing to do with the greenbelt.



510 parks handed over to 2 firms
* Responsible for maintaining, cleaning parks 
* To be paid Rs 2.42 crore annually

Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 24
After several rounds of deliberations, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has finally handed the work of maintaining 510 parks across the town to two private firms, Kartik Electrical and Rajinder Singh and Sons.

In withdrawal from the earlier practice of multiple agencies handling parks, the two firms will be paid Rs 2.42 crore annually.

These two private firms will be solely responsible for all type of jobs, horticulture, civil, electrical, public health and guarding, of parks. The firms have also hired around 200 persons required for the job.

Over the past one week, the parks have been handed over to the two firms in phases after checking the existing level of facilities, apart from the work of maintaining six major gardens like Neighbourhood Park and City Park, Sector 68.

In the contract signed with the firms, GMADA has ensured that firms are responsible for complete maintenance and cleaning of the parks.

Following the development, the municipal corporation has been divested of the responsibility of looking after some of the parks. “Once the running contract between the corporation and private parties to maintain some of the parks is over, the parks will be handed back to GMADA,” says GMADA Additional Chief Administrator Parveen Kumar Thind.

He inspected the machinery being deployed by the firms to maintain the parks. The entire town has been divided into three zones.

In zone 1, the annual contract of looking after 53 sector parks at Sectors 61, 65, 69, 70 and 71 and six major parks has been handed over to Kartik Electricals for Rs 74.26 lakh.

Similarly, the other firm will look after 451 parks at Sectors 48, 53, 59, 61,62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69 and 70 for Rs 1.68 crore.

Under the contract, the workforce engaged by the contractor will have to sport specific uniform.



Tenure ends but not deputation in MC
 Admn fails to call back its employees
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
It seems that after sending officials to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) on deputation, the UT Administration has conveniently forgotten to call them back even after expiry of their term. The classic examples of this are the two employees of the UT Administration whose tenure expired in September last year, but the administration has not ordered for their repatriation till date.

MC records show that MC authorities had called two mortar mates from the UT Administration in 2009, three JEs from Himachal Pradesh and one from Punjab to fill the vacant posts in the road wing of the MC.

MC Chief Engineer SS Bidda said as they have not received any instructions for the repatriation of these employees, so were continuing with their duties. He said the UT Administration had to give instructions for any employee to be repatriated.

Sources in the MC said even though the deputation period of these two employees expired, the MC promoted them from mortar mart to the JE in January this year in the departmental promotion committee (DPC) meeting.

Going by the records of the past four years, there had been no promotion in the road wing of the MC despite the employees in the department being eligible for it. Of the 11 employees fulfilling the criteria for promotion to JE, four of them had obtained the national trade certification, mandatory for the promotion to the post.

The UT Administrator had instructed the administration that if the departments had eligible employees for the posts lying vacant in their departments, the authorities should give promotion to their own employees instead of calling employees on deputation from other states.



Booth Scam
BJP accuses admn of inaction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Sanjay Tandon, president of the local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), yesterday blamed the Chandigarh Administration for not taking action on the booth scam report in which Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has been indicted.

Tandon said a meeting of BJP core committee condemned the administration for delaying the action on the report on one pretext or the other. He said the BJP had served an ultimatum to the administration to take action on the booth scam report. The party would launch a mass agitation from June 11 if the administration fails to take action in the case by June 10.



Rawal resumes office of Municipal Council chief
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 24
Amid the chanting of hymns and beats of dhol, Ravinder Kumar Rawal today resumed the office of the president of the Panchkula Municipal Council at the MC building in Sector 4 here this afternoon.

Hundreds of supporters of Rawal and other councillors congratulated him for being reinstated as the president by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Notably, the bench of Justice MM Kumar and Justice AM Jindal had yesterday also set aside the impugned judgment of the single judge, vide which the state of Haryana in January was directed to conduct and complete the election process of the Panchkula Municipal Council president within four weeks.

Rawal was elected MC president on May 13, 2008, defeating VK Sood of the BJP. Civil Judge (senior division) and the judge of the Municipal Election Tribunal, Panchkula, Anshu Shukla, had declared Rawal’s election void on May 4, 2009.

Subsequently, an appeal against tribunal’s orders filed by Rawal was also dismissed by the appellate authority -- the District and Session Judge, Panchkula -- on June, 2009. Thereafter, Rawal had approached the high court for quashing both the orders, but lost the same before a single judge.

Elated over his reinstatement as the MC president, Rawal while talking to the media said his main focus would be the all round development of the town. He said already more than two years had been lost in court cases and now it was their duty to fulfil the aspirations of the local people who had elected them. He also promised that works, such as re-carpeting of roads, repair and maintenance of streetlights and parks would be carried out in all wards of the city without any biased approach.



Water supply dept asks GMADA for funds
 Hotline connection to water tank
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 24
The department of water supply and sanitation has asked the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to release funds to the tune of nearly Rs 44 lakh for a hotline connection to the underground water reservoir in Phase X.

Sources said that in a letter written to the GMADA divisional engineer last week, it was stated that the hotline connection to the reservoir was lying pending since the past one year.

The Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) had now given the approval required in this regard. The water supply wing had been asked by the PSPCL to deposit a sum of Rs 43,88,260 immediately and the funds were to be provided by GMADA.

It was further pointed out that a hotline connection to the underground tank was very essential to pump water to nearby areas, especially in the summer months.

As the power supply in summer got disrupted due to cuts, pumping of water got adversely affected putting residents to inconvenience. As such funds should be released at the earliest so that a hotline connection was made available for uninterrupted power supply.



Chandigarh Scan
Elbow joint replacement

Dr Vineet Sharma of the Advanced Hip and Knee Clinic, Sector 19, has performed an elbow joint replacement surgery, a first-of-its-kind surgery in the tricity. The surgery was performed on Kashmir Kaur (72) from Nawanshahr. The common indications for elbow replacement are rhematoid arthritis and previous fracture around the elbow joint. This surgery was uncommon in India due to lack of patient education and difficult surgical procedure, Dr Vineet Sharma said, adding the patients could move their elbow joint within 24 hours of the surgery and could go home after two days.

Memo submitted

Representatives of the Federation of UT Employees and Workers, Chandigarh, on Monday met Adviser to the UT Administrator KK Sharma and submitted him a memorandum in support of the demands of the employees of the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW). Employees of the electricity, water supply, roads, transport and health departments have decided to join the agitation of ICCW employees.

Workers’ strike

Employees of the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) will observe a strike on May 25 in support of their demands. The strike is being observed for the implementation of the revised pay scales wef from January 1, 2006.

Candle-lit march

As part of its nationwide agitation to protest against the deteriorating industrial relations in the bank, the Chandigarh unit of Punjab National Bank Officers' Association led by Rajinder Wali, secretary, and SK Arora, president, took out a candle light procession to the PNB House, Sector 17-B, Chandigarh, on Monday and handed over a memorandum to Archana Gupta, circle head, PNB Chandigarh. Members of the All-India Punjab National Bank Employees’ Federation, Haryana, also participated in the procession. The Punjab National Bank Officers' Association, representing over 17,000 officials of the bank, has launched a countrywide agitation to protest against the deteriorating industrial relations in the bank.


Workers of the Chandigarh Territorial Janata Dal (United) will hold a protest demonstration tomorrow at the Mani Majra office of the Municipal Corporation to protest against the indifferent attitude of the Chandigarh Administration concerning the following serious problems being faced by the people of the area.

Mohali Scan
Minister’s visit

Punjab Food and Supplies Minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon on Monday said the work of issuing unique identity number cards would begin in the next three days. Apart from giving identity to each resident, it would enable the cardholders to apply for gas connection and consumer oriented services. The issue was discussed at the District Grievances Redressal Committee meeting held here on Monday. Deputy Commissioner Varun Roozam and other district-level officials attended the meeting.

Panchkula Scan
Condolence meeting

A condolence meeting was organised for peace of the departed soul of Badri Nath Sahni, father-in-law of Ashok Mehta, former Haryana Information Commissioner and president of the Punjabi Maha Sabha at Sector 9 Shiv Temple, Panchkula, on Monday. Addressing the gathering, Prof Virender Singh, political Adviser to Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, expressed condolence with members of the bereaved family. 



From humble background to glory
 Sons of rusk-seller, Aayush & Piyush score over 90 pc
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh May 24
Living in a modest home at Mariwala town of Mani Majra, life could have been better for Aayush and Piyush Singla, students of GMSSS, Mani Majra. Both class XII commerce students did their father, a rusk-seller, proud as Piyush got a decent 95.2 per cent and Aayush scored 91 per cent.

“More than percentage, what makes me happy are tears of joy in the eyes of my parents. They are not rich, but tried their best to give me all comforts they could afford. My father would always say he landed up here because he never had an opportunity to study well, but wanted to live his dreams through me. I am happy that a part of his golden dream has materialised,” says Piyush.

“When people got to know about our marks, specially Piyush’s, they thronged our house to congratulate us. I felt great that my father was so much in demand, even in the media, because of our deeds. We owe our success to him,” chips in Aayush.

Aiming to be chartered accountants, they are avid players of chess and cricket and credit their success to their school. “It is a misnomer that government schools do not have quality education. We may not have air-conditioned classrooms, but we have teachers who stand by you and support you to perform even without tuitions,” they add.



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