C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cleaning of road gullies yet to begin as monsoon nears
Open manholes, clogged drains still found all over city
Every year before the onset of monsoon, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation sanctions lakhs of rupees for cleaning road gullies. However, nothing concrete comes out of it as the gullies remain blocked and manholes are left uncovered. In Panchkula, it appears the funds allocated for this task are only spent on paper. In Mohali, the newly set up municipal corporation has yet to shed the tag of municipal council and undertake the job.
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
That the tall claims made by the municipal corporation on arrangements made for the coming monsoon are mere eyewash has been shown by the incident in Raipur Kalan three days ago in which a seven-year-old boy died due to an uncovered manhole. In fact, such mishaps are waiting to occur in other city areas in spite of the authorities’ claims to have conducted “special drives” to ensure proper maintenance of road gullies.

At a meeting specially called on June 8 to review the monsoon arrangements, civic officials assured MC chief engineer SS Bidda that, in line with the UT advisor’s instructions, sanitary workers and sweepers had been told not to pile up leaves and solid waste over gullies when sweeping the roads. Most sectors were covered by special teams set up for task of cleaning road gullies.

According to MC norms, road gullies should be covered with cement lids for safety purposes and covered with iron mashes to level them with pavements. But is the civic body following these rules?

During a visit to Sectors 33, 51 and 56 it was found most of the road gullies were in a broken condition or uncovered. Many were being used for dumping garbage, dry leaves or other waste gathered when the roads were swept. As a result the road gullies are choked during the rainy season every year.

Similarly, the lackadaisical attitude of the department concerned can be gauged from the fact that a portion of earth dug a few months ago to construct a water gully in Sectors 26, 29 and 34 was still open. While visiting Sectors 49 and 50 it was found lids of some manholes were missing and others left uncovered.

However, Bidda claimed it was not possible for the MC to check all the 40,000 manholes in the city on a day-to-day basis. “The special drives conducted by the civic body are for ensuring road gullies are regularly cleaned but not for checking manhole covers,” he said.



Civic Affairs
Cleaning of road gullies yet to begin as monsoon nears

Photo feature

Danger Ahead



Open trenches dot greenbelt in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 11
Beware if you are walking through a greenbelt in Mohali. After the laying of underground cables, dug-out trenches have been left uncovered, posing a grave danger to pedestrians. The permission to lay the cables was granted by the Mohali Municipal Corporation and no official has bothered to check the telecom company concerned.

Only last week, a stray bull had died after being trapped in such a trench in the Phase X market here. Since the uncovered trench was 8-ft deep, the animal apparently could not pull itself out. This is not an isolated incident, residents have been complaining about the careless work being undertaken by the contractor engaged in laying the cables. A random survey of the greenbelt along the road from Phase 3B2 to Phase XI reveals that 6 to 8-ft trenches have been left behind by the contractor.

In Phase 7, an open trench has been left next to the market while in Phase 8, two trenches have been left uncovered right next to the busy traffic junction where passengers wait for buses.

Mohali Municipal Commissioner Varun Roozam said as per the terms and conditions, the company had to restore the greenbelt back to its previous position. He said he would look into the matter.

In the Phase 3B2 market, shopkeepers have covered a trench with branches.

Gross Neglect

The local administration has been riding high on the development agenda, but has forgotten to undertake the annual exercise of cleaning road gullies and covering open manholes.



Civic body still in slumber
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 11
In view of the approaching monsoon season the town’s municipal council has yet come out of its deep slumber as officials have failed to clear choked road gullies.

Residents have complained gullies in most sectors are in a bad shape with a majority of them choked with solid waste. The worst affected areas are in Sectors 10, 15, 16, 19, 4, 14, 17 and 18. The problem of rainwater discharge in Sector 20 and 21 is peculiar, the residents claimed.

SK Nayar, president of the Citizen’s Welfare Association, said rain has played havoc in Sectors 9, 10, 17 and 19 every year. “Knee deep rainwater accumulates at various places in Sector 15, creating a flood-like situation. The rainwater also enters houses in low-lying areas”, he added.

A Sector 17 resident, Ravinder Kumar, said: “The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) had undertaken widening of ‘B’ roads in Sectors 17 and 16. But after the work was over the authorities left the extended width of the roads uncarpeted while the old surfaces were recarpeted”.

Meanwhile, municipal council president Ravinder Rawal said tenders would be floated for repair or construction of road gullies after the monsoon rains ended. “It’s not possible to repair them now as the rainy season is likely to begin in a week or so. Efforts will also be made to clear all road gullies, stormwater channels and sewage lines to ensure free flow of rainwater. Work on cleaning all obstructions in ‘nullahs’ and seasonal rivulets flowing through the city is on to ensure they don’t overflow during the monsoon season,” he added.



Paying more for eating out
Hotels levying service charges arbitrarily
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Arbitrary service charges by local hotels and restaurants have added to the hole in the pocket of customers already burdened with VAT (value added tax) and service tax while eating out.

Being charged on account of providing “excellent services”, there is no uniformity in the rates of different hotels. The bill of a restaurant in Sector 26 shows service charges of Rs 46.27 on a bill of Rs 1,711 while the bill of a hotel in Sector 34 shows charges worth Rs 91 on a bill of Rs 1,115.

As it is, eating out in the city is getting expensive as more and more eateries are adding service charge. Besides the price of food, people have to now churn out 12.5 per cent as VAT, 3.09 per cent as service tax and service charges.

While restaurant owners might be passing the tax amount to the government and the charges to workers, it is ultimately the customer who is being forced to bear the brunt of the enhanced charges. While not all outlets are taking service charges, a number of those charging it have not mentioned it in menu cards. “Restaurants serving liquor are paying 5 per cent extra tax to the administration. So in a way, they are recovering the amount from customers,” a hotel manager said.

Harpal Singh Kalra, an entrepreneur, said on his bill worth Rs 15,000 in a restaurant located on the Madhya Marg, he was charged Rs 1,500 as service charges, which was “absolutely arbitrary”.

“When I asked the reason for the service charges, I was told that these were a replacement for the ‘tip’ paid earlier. They distribute the money uniformly among all the workers. My contention is that we pay tip only if we are satisfied with the services, but here we were not, so why pay?” he asked.

Justifying the levying of service charges, Ankit Gupta, secretary of the Chandigarh Hospitality Association, said: “In the changed scenario, service charges were a normal development in the hospitality sector. I agree that these charges should not be levied without providing quality services. The industry and customers need to meet on a common forum. We can also discuss the amount that hotels should levy as special charges.”

Manmohan Singh Kohli, a former president of the Chandigarh Hotel Association, said: “Service charges differed from place to place going by the quality of service available as was an accepted norm everywhere.” AK Malhotra, general manager of CITCO, said there was nothing wrong with service charges, only the services needed to tally with the charges.

There needs to be a mechanism to regulate all additional charges from the customers. The issue is worth a debate.”

Shalini Mehndiratta, an HR head in an IT company, said: “All charges in the hotel should be reviewed by the administration and no charges should be levied arbitrarily.”

Charges Galore

Besides the price of food, customers are now paying 12.5 per cent as value added tax (VAT), 3.09 per cent as service tax and additional service charges varying from hotel to hotel.



hockey meet
Chandigarh lads thrash Rajasthan 17-2
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The Chandigarh senior men’s hockey team kicked off their campaign with style, as they thrashed the Rajasthan team by a margin of whopping 15 goals in their opening match of the 1st Senior National Hockey Championship being held at the Sports Authority of India Centre, Bhopal, today.

The hapless Rajasthan team was nowhere in the match, as Chandigarh lads were in total control of the proceedings throughout the match.

Centre half Ramandeep and Gagandeep led the tirade with four goals each to complete the final tally 17-2.

Where the first half witnessed nine goals from the sticks of the local team, Rajasthan could not open its account till then. The other contributors for the winning side were Preet Inder Singh, Kulbhushan, Gurjant Singh and Gaurav Tokhi with two goals each. Gangandeep Singh (junior) sealed the team’s victory with his last minute goal. Meanwhile, the Rajasthan team also managed to reduce the margin by scoring two goals.

Immediately after the victory, the elated captain, Gaurav Tokhi said over the phone that it was totally the team’s effort. “The team put up a good show. Starting the tourney with a win is a healthy and encouraging sign for us. This victory with a huge margin would also help us in the league stage of the tournament,” added Gaurav.

Team coach Narinder Singh Sodhi also expressed happiness, but also cautious the team not to be content. “I am happy the way my boys have played. But this is just a start and many good teams are yet to be faced in the coming days,” said Sodhi.

Chandigarh will take on Assam in their next outing, which has already lost to Karnataka by 3-0 in its earlier match.


Counselling, admission goes online for PEC
Admissions to 6 engineering colleges through AIEEE kicks off
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The online system of admissions to six prestigious engineering colleges in the region through the All India Engineering Entrance Exam (AIEEE) has kicked off with 5,800 applicants registering in the first week.

For the first time ever, three rounds of counselling and admission to regional engineering colleges is being done online. However, PEC University of Technology will host the fourth and the final round of admissions to the engineering colleges.

The colleges for which the joint admission process is taking place includes PEC, Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET), Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA), University Institute of Engineering and technology (UIET), University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET) and PU’s regional centre at Hoshiarpur.

Being a deemed university, each year PEC admits 50 per cent students from the UT and 50 per cent from across the country. The CCET and CCA, both being under the UT Administration, admit students in the ratio of 85 per cent and 15 per cent corresponding to students from the UT and all over India, respectively.

The PU’s UIET, UICET and regional centre, however, are open to admitting students from across the country with no reservation for Chandigarh students.

“In 2010, only the registration of applicants was done online, but counselling and allocation of streams was done manually at PEC. The last date for registering online is June 24,” said Sanjiv Kumar, PEC faculty member and coordinator for joint admissions to engineering colleges.

Asked about admissions through the direct admission of students abroad (DASA) this year, he said: “This year, the NIT, Suratkal, will be admitting students through the DASA and once it has verified documents, we will only be required to cross check facts in case of any doubt. The verification process is tedious and steps will be taken by the NIT at the time of admitting these students.”



No smart card, no ration from Sept 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
From September 1, only those above poverty line (APL), below poverty line (BPL) and antyodaya anna yojana (AAY) families which have smart cards will be eligible to draw rations from fair price shops where they are registered.

Kerosene will also be issued only to those which have smart cards. This was announced by the UT food and civil supplies department here yesterday.

To enable APL, BPL and AAY families to get their smart cards, the department would organise an updation survey and smart card enrolment camp.

Only those APL, BPL and AAY applicants who had already submitted their applications to the department would get an opportunity to add or delete names and update their details, such as change of address and spelling correction, if any.

The smart card enrolment camp for APL, BPL and AAY families would be held shop-wise. Those eligible APL, BPL and AAY families which did not turn up for the survey or the camp could get enrolled online by August 31.



180 challaned for traffic violations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
As many as 180 traffic violators were challaned by the local police in a single day under its special drive today.

While 57 cases were of drunken driving, 94 challans were issued for miscellaneous traffic offences. The police also impounded five vehicles today. The police has also collected a cash worth Rs 19,400 from fines at the spot.

A total of eight ‘nakas’ were set up at different places across the city for the purpose. In the drunken driving cases, the vehicles were handed over to the persons who were accompanying the drunken drivers. Those who were driving alone, their family members were called by the police to pick the vehicles. “The drive will continue in the coming days,” said the police. 



ICICI Bank asked to refund Rs 95,000
Tribune news Service

Mohali, June 11
The Mohali District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed ICICI Bank to refund Rs 95,000 that was withdrawn from the account of an account holder without his permission.

Holding the ban responsible for deficiency in service, the bank has been directed to pay Rs 20,000 on the account of harassment and another Rs 6,000 as litigation charges to the complainant.

The orders were passed by the forum comprising BS Mehandiratta, president, Dr SS Dhaliwal and HK Ghuman, both members, on the basis of a complaint lodged by Sandeep Lakhanpal and Savitri, both residents of House No. 1827, Phase VII, Mohali.

The complainants stated that they are having joint saving account in the bank. On February 2010, Sandeep went to the USA to pursue further studies. From there, on August 11, 2010, he got an amount of Rs 1,100 transferred through the Internet banking to his wife on the occasion of Teej. On the same day, after some time, a SMS message was received from ICICI Bank on his wife’s mobile stating that “due to upgrade, you will receive a code from us, you are advised to send code back to us to enable us to complete the upgrade. Send the code to 02264469364 within two months.” Being busy, his wife did not pay much attention. Then she received a call and the caller asked for the number received through SMS on the pretext that it was a security code to prevent fraud.

After listening to the bank authorities, the forum stated that the transfer of the disputed amount could not have taken place by mere disclosure of URN.

To transfer funds from one’s saving bank account to another person’s account requires user ID and a password to log in into the account.

For the reasons recorded above, the bank has been held guilty of negligence.



Awareness against child labour

On the World Day Against Child Labour, the Emax Group of Institutions organised a series of activities in labour colonies for creating awareness to prevent child labour and to generate awareness about requirement of basic education in human life. Free books, copies, etc, were also distributed among children of labourers. Om Parkash Aggarwal, chairman of E-Max Group of Institutions, said the International Labour Organisation has estimated that some 165 million children in the age group of 5 to 14 years are involved in child labour.

Read Bapu Dham Contest

Yuvsatta, an NGO, launched a “Read Bapu Dham Contest” through their Kitab Ghar library in the Bapu Dham Colony, Chandigarh. Hushang Garmroud, an educationist and social worker, was the chief guest. Giving information about the initiative, Parmod Sharma, coordinator, Yuvsatta, shared that from the last four years, they are organising this annual 15 daylong event, in which their volunteers motivate young children to spend their time in reading books. The best young reader will be honoured with a new bicycle for the maximum number of books they will read. To popularise the culture of reading, Yuvsatta volunteers also organise programmes like book talks, story telling sessions, educational excursions, etc. The Kitab Ghar library has more than 500 active members in this slum settlement.

Janjagran abhiyan

The Bharatiya Janata Party, Chandigarh, lashed out at the Chandigarh Administration for their inaction in the booth allotment scam. While addressing mediapersons, Sanjay Tandon demanded an independent inquiry into the booth scam and resignation of central parliamentary minister Pawan Kumar Bansal till the pendency of the inquiry. He declared that the Chandigarh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party had given time till June 10 to the administration to take action in the booth allotment scam or the party has planned “Janjagran Abhiyan” on four issues, which includes corruption, inflation, black money and bad administration of the Congress, throughout the city from June 15.

Action demanded

FOSWAC demanded action against those cops, which are facing allegations of their involvement in crimes, forgery, rash driving, cheating, theft, robbery, rioting, murder, outraging modesty of women, rape, abetment to suicide, drug peddlers and suppliers and illegal possession of arms. Appreciating a web portal recently set up by the Chandigarh Police on Facebook, members said it would help in maintaining law and order with public cooperation and to keep a check on different traffic violators and erring constables.


A general body meeting of electrical staff union, Chandigarh, was held on Saturday to elect new office-bearers of the union. The union elected Rachna Ram as chairman, Dhani Ram as president, Mohammad Nadeem as vice-president and Harish Kumar as general secretary.

Condolence meeting

A condolence meeting of faculty members and research scholars of the department of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies was held on Friday to mourn the demise of Harnam Singh Shan, former professor and chairperson of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies. Recognising the contributions of Harnam Singh Shan, Dr Jaspal Kaur Kaang, chairperson of the department, said he was efficient and active in his academic activities.


A general body meeting of the Chandigarh Industrial Area Tenants’ Association was held on Saturday on the issue of proposed new rent. At the meeting, members raised long pending issue of rehabilitation of the tenant in the upcoming Industrial Area, Phase III. They also demanded that the Rent Act should be taken by the UT Administration after consulting tenant bodies.

Physiotherapy centre

An ultra modern physiotherapy centre has been set up on the premises of Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Sector 37, on Saturday. It was inaugurated by Senior Citizen Association secretary general DS Grewal. The centre will provide free of cost treatment to all senior citizens, along with counseling and recreational facilities.

Proclaimed offender held

Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said a proclaimed offender, Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Rajpura, has been arrested by the Matour police. He was wanted in a case registered under the Arms Act at the Phase 1 police station on March 25, 2000. A 31 -bore pistol, a live cartridge and one empty cartridge have been recovered from him, said SHO Matour police station, Tarlochan Singh.

Teachers’ protest

Members of RMSA teachers, who have been sitting on hunger strike for the last four days to demand regularisation of their job, on Saturday marched towards the residence of Mohali Deputy Commissioner. The teachers submitted the memorandum of their demands to the DC. Earlier, Congress, Kharar MLA, Balbir Singh Sidhu came in support of the protesting teachers.

Credit camp

The Lead Bank office, Punjab National Bank, Mohali, organised a farmers’ debt swap awareness-cum-credit camp at Majra village to sensitise farmers for making them free from the clutches of moneylenders. The major banks of Mohali district like Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Patiala, Punjab & Sind Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, UCO Bank, Punjab Gramin Bank and Co-operative Bank, etc, participated in the camp. Amit Talwar, sub-divisional magistrate, Mohali, presided over and the guests of honour were AGM RBI and Toolika Pankaj, DDM, NABARD. A large number of farmers, sarpanches from the nearby villages and bank officials also attended the function. PK Jain, chief lead district manager, informed that a scheme to swap the debt of farmers from the money lenders with the bank loans was launched by the Government of India and target of 3 per cent of the disbursed agricultural credit has been fixed for this purpose. Under the scheme, loan up to Rs 1 lakh can be given to a farmer on his declaration only. The main purpose of this camp was to make the farmers aware of the scheme and to provide loan to the farmers to redeem their outstanding dues to moneylenders.

CGPA meeting today

A meeting of the Central Government Pensioners’ Association (CGPA) would be held on Sunday at Shri Radha Madhav Mandir Complex in Sector 4 at 10.30 am. Stating this in a press release, CGPA general secretary Ram Parkash Gharu said members would discuss the problems being faced by the retired employees and try to resolve them by taking up the matter with the authorities concerned. — TNS



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