C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sukhna in for makeover
Major project to spruce up the area near the Regulator End
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Coming up

n Garden of Silence and Nature Interpretation Centre
n Beautification, landscaping and gazebos
n Walkways, trekking trails and aquatic life centre

Chandigarh, June 25
The picturesque Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh’s most-frequented tourist spot, is set to don a new look with major overhaul of the existing infrastructure resulting in the addition of better landscaping, new walkways, trekking trails, gazebos, besides the Garden of Silence at the Regulator End. Close on the heels of the upgradation of facilities on the front side near the Chandigarh Industrial Development and Tourism Corporation (CITCO) cafeteria area, the UT Administration with financial assistance from the Union Ministry of Tourism has embarked on a major project to spruce up the area at the rear end of the lake leading the Garden of Silence near the Regulator End.

“The project is a part of the integrated development of the Sukhna Lake with a view to providing more facilities to the visitors and attract tourists to the popular tourist spot,” Ram Niwas, Home-cum-Tourism Secretary, informed.

AK Malhotra, CITCO’s general manager(tourism), said a specially laid meandering cycle track amidst the landscaped area would go a long way in promoting cycle tourism in the lake area. Besides, the fish pond at the regulator end of the lake will be upgraded as an aquatic life centre with colourful images of water animals, including dolphins and whales, he added.

Currently, landscaping and beautification of the existing environs, construction of new walkways, trekking trails, tourist seating places and public conveniences is in progress at the rear side of the lake. Already the ministry had sanctioned a grant of Rs 5 crore for the beautification of the lake and more funds are in the pipeline for “the development of the tourist interpretation centre”.

Officials said these walkways and trekking trails would ultimately be connected to the Garden of Silence and the Nature Interpretation Centre, which were almost ready. While tourists and visitors would be able to meditate and do yoga at the Garden of Silence, the Nature Interpretation Centre would offer a peep into the Sukhna’s ecosystem, flora and fauna and migratory birds through pictorial representation.

With picturesque Kasauli Hills of the lower Himalayas in the backdrop, the popular Sukhna Lake was conceived by architect Le Corbusier and his team who planned Chandigarh in late 1950s.



Early arrival of monsoon catches tricity by surprise
Last year it knocked city door on July 5; 60 mm of rainfall recorded on Saturday morning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Chandigarh received its first monsoon showers early this morning, with the meteorological department saying that the South-West monsoon had hit the region in advance than its scheduled timing.

Records of the met department show that last year the monsoon had hit the region on July 5. Officials said this year as the conditions were favourable for the advancement of the monsoon, it arrived early in the city.

Officials predicted more rain during the next two days in the city. The city received 60 mm of rainfall this morning with dark clouds hovering over the horizon. The maximum temperature recorded today was 30.5 degrees Celsius and minimum 24.2 degrees Celsius. In many areas, electricity supply was affected after the heavy rain, which was accompanied by fast winds.

The Met Department has forecast partly cloudy weather with the possibility of rain or thundershowers accompanied by thunder squall at some places tomorrow. The maximum temperature is expected to hover around 32 degrees, while the minimum temperature will be 24 degrees Celsius. The officials said the monsoon this year was likely to be 97 per cent of its long period average (LPA) over North-West India, comprising Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.



Applicants at PU forced to buy handbook with admission form
Reason: Ignorance of students, apathy of postal dept
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

OCET result declared

The results of the other common entrance test (OCET) were declared by Panjab University on Saturday. The exam was conducted for admission to various departments including department of laws, school of communication studies, department of English.

We have informed applicants to download the department admission form, which costs Rs 50. This amount is refundable in case the student does not get admission in the department where he applied. There cannot be a more student-friendly process.

AK Bhandari, Controller of Examination

Chandigarh, June 25
Blame it on the ignorance of applicants or the apathy of the postal department employees, the Panjab University’s handbook of information worth Rs 500 is being “forcibly” given to applicants along with the “department admission form”.

Feeling cheated, certain students who bought multiple forms to apply in various departments and courses under the other common entrance test (OCET) were spotted returning the extra handbooks back to the post office on Friday. However, the applicants were told that the forms once sold could not be returned.

Incidentally, these forms can be downloaded from the university website free of cost and are also available at the helpdesks put up by student organisations near the post office on the campus.

Following a notification issued by the PU on June 21, applicants hastily filled the department admission forms. This notice said that the applicants who had appeared in the OCET were required to fill admission form and submit it in the departments of their choice before July 4, irrespective of the declaration of the OCET results.

“By the time I realised that the form being sold by the post office and those being given by student leaders is the same, the postal department refused to take back the two handbooks I was given uselessly,” said a B.Com passout of the GGDSD College who applied in LLB, English and mass communication courses and was sold off three handbooks by the employees. “I did not trust the student organisations and wanted to buy form from the post office. I was told by a post office employee that the form is inside the handbook and I am required to buy different forms for different courses under the OCET,” said Gaurav, who applied for admission to the department of law and mass communication.

PU’s Registrar-cum-Controller of Examination AK Bhandari expressed his disbelief at students’ ignorance. “We have informed applicants to download the department admission form, which costs Rs 50. This amount is refundable in case the student does not get admission in the department where he applied once the OCET results are out. There cannot be a more student-friendly process,” he said.

On being questioned about the confusion among applicants, a postal department employee said, “The sale of handbook of information is too less this year. It is the university’s role to inform students about the correct procedure,” said an employee.



20 CCTV cameras to keep vigil in Panchkula
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 25
In view of the rising crime in the town the district police would soon install 20 CCTV cameras at the entry and exit points of Panchkula district to keep tab on the anti-social elements.

These cameras were being installed under the outdoor surveillance system, announced by the State Government, and would be directly linked with the police control room.

According to sources, expressions of interest were invited recently and tender had been allotted to a private company for installing CCTV cameras at all entry and exit points of the district.

The main spots include the Parwanoo-Kalka road, Nalagarh-Pinjore road, Old Panchkula, Housing Board Chowk, Morni road, Ramgarh road, Industrial Area, Phase I and II, besides Zirakpur-Panchkula road, sources added. 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. The Haryana police had sanctioned Rs 2.35 crore for the project.

Confirming the same Superintendent of Police Maneesh Chaudhary said expressions of interest were invited recently and the tender had been awarded to a private company. The work of installing the cameras would be completed within next two weeks, he added.

Earlier, an NGO had installed a CCTV camera at Sectors 11/15 roundabout, Majri Chowk in Old Panchkula and at the intersections near Amartex, Sectors 17/18 and the Mansa Devi T-point about four years ago.

All CCTVs were reportedly connected with the police control room.



Health dept to study obesity-related problems in schoolchildren
Kids of well-off families are overweight, have dental caries and suffer from poor vision, say experts
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The health department of the Union Territory of Chandigarh has decided to launch a special drive to study obesity-related complications among students of many private schools here.

Though the names of the schools are yet to be finalised, the programme to assess the health condition of students will be initiated after the summer vacations are over next month. The study will help in formulating programmes and schemes for the health care of children.

The decision has been taken after the findings of a medical examination of schoolchildren last year revealed that the number of children from well-off families suffering from obesity, dental caries and poor eye sight was much more than the number of children living in slum areas. Thirty per cent of the examined students, however, were found to be undernourished.

The city has 267 schools, including private and Kendriya Vidylayas, with 2,21,775 students on roll.

While children living in poverty eat home-cooked fibre-rich food most of the time, those belonging to well-off families consume more junk food and chocolates, said Dr Paramjyoti, nodal officer of the school health programme while citing the reason behind obesity among students. Even as there was a great awareness among the masses over health hazards of consuming junk food, many students were found carrying burgers, noodles or pastas in their lunch boxes, she said. A study by the PGI six years ago in 2005 also revealed that half of the schoolchildren were overweight. The study conducted by the department of endocrinology, PGI, at that time even pegged the number of adolescents prone to diabetes, in private and public schools of the city, at five per cent. "Less physical activity, intake of fast food which is not nutritious and mental stress adds to the risk," said Dr Anil Bhansali, head of the department of endocrinology, PGI.


MC flouts orders of Commissioner
Contractual employees appointed as central public information officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Flouting orders of the Municipal Corporation Commissioner to appoint only regular employees as central public information officers (CPIOs) under the Right to Information Act (RTI) in every department, four wings of the MC are still giving preference in appointing contractual employees on these post.

Three departments of the MC have given the charge to officials who are below the rank of designated officers for these posts.

On June 16, MC Commissioner Prerna Puri had issued an order according to which all branches of the corporation were directed to appoint regular employees as CPIOs in view of the sensitivity of various issues involved in the supply of information under the Right to Information Act.

MC sources reveal that the decision was taken as it was not possible to fix the responsibility of any contractual employee for delay in giving information under the RTI Act. Moreover, no action can be taken can be taken against a contractual employee under the RTI Act.

MC records reveal that in the colony and licensing branch, chief engineer’s office, fire and emergency cell and the circle office (B and R), the departments have appointed retired contractual employees as CPIOs who are holding the post of superintendent. Whereas gazetted officers are available in every department for appointment on this post.

The orders also directed that only those officials who are fulfilling the criteria of Section 5 of the RTI Act should be designated as the CPIO and appellate authority. As per Section 5 (2) of the RTI Act, a gazetted officer could be appointed as the CPIO in a government office. In the computer cell, the Swaran Jayanti Shastri Rozgar Yojana cell and the mechanical branch, ineligible employees have been appointed as CPIOs.



Booth scam
Action sought against fraudulent allottees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Global Human Rights Council (GHRC) today demanded initiation of criminal action against the fraudulent allottees of Krishna Market in Sector 41-C, who had allegedly sold their premises against the norms of the Estate Office.

In a representation to the UT Administrator and Inspector General of Police, chairperson of the council Arvind Thakur alleged that the transactions of booths occurred in connivance with the Estate Office officials. He also attached a list 50 allottees who illegally sold or rented out the premises in violation of the terms and conditions of the allotment.

He also threatened to move the court in case immediate action against booth allottees and Estate Office official was not taken.



Health booklet for police personnel out

Chandigarh, June 25
Plagued with stress and other health-related complications, the Punjab Police has come out with a booklet to educate its personnel. Inspector General of Police, Punjab, RP Meena undertook a study to check the health status of 4,200 commandos deputed in the five commando battalions of the Punjab Police.

During a medical check-up of 3,761 commandos, 1,293 were found to be suffering obesity, hypertension, diabetes, Hepatitis B, C liver disorders and high cholesterol. — TNS



PGI centre to hold camp at Naya Gaon today
Inhalant drug abuse on the rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The PGI Drug Deaddiction and Treatment Centre will conduct a community camp at Naya Gaon in Mohali tomorrow to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Tobacco has been the gateway to alcohol and hard drugs like opiates and cannabis. In recent years, inhalant drug abuse or volatile substance abuse has gone up.

Recent research at the centre has focused on the issue. The common substances in this category are typewriter correction fluid, adhesive glue, permanent markers and petrol.

These products, which are easily available, are so common that parents and teachers do not perceive these as harmful and do not understand the consequences of their use.

Another challenging issue is the diversion of medicines like anti-diarrhoeal drugs, cough syrups and pain killers. Studies have revealed that per capita consumption of alcohol in Punjab is the second highest, next only to Kerala.

A report has suggested that the under-21 drinking population has increased from 2 per cent in 1991 to 14 per cent in 2006. The average age of initiation into regular drinking has also come down to 13.5 years in the state.



Poor drainage system floods houses
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
Heavy rain that lashed the town early this morning brought misery for residents as water had entered a number of houses in various parts of the town due to poor drainage.

Many people were caught unaware as they were sleeping when the downpour started. Water entered their houses which damaged their sofas, carpets, computers and other items lying at a low level.

Flood like situation prevailed in Phases I, IIIB2, V, XI and Sector 71. Fire brigade had to be called to pump out water as road gullies were choked in some areas. Roads in various low lying areas also got flooded, but water had drained out by the time traffic started.

Former municipal councillor Sukhminder Singh Barnala said water had entered nearly 1,000 houses in Phase XI. He said he had rung up the executive engineer, the SDO and the junior engineer of the department concerned but none of them turned up for hours to see the plight of the residents.

The estimate for laying bigger storm water pipes was not passed on to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority in time by officials of the public health department, he added.

Ravinder Bansal, a resident of Phase IIIB2, said both GMADA as well as the Municipal Corporation had failed to give any relief to residents who had suffered over the years whenever a heavy rain lashed the area.

He said the civic body had laid a pipeline at a cost of Rs 2.85 crore, but it had failed to mitigate the problem.

Congress MLA from Kharar Balbir Singh Sidhu went to various waterlogged areas and listened to the problems of residents. He said the Mohali civic body, which was upgraded to the level of a corporation, failed to clean road gullies and residents had to suffer due to the irresponsible attitude of the authorities concerned.

Public health officials were not available for comments despite attempts.

ZIRAKPUR: The downpour also lashed Zirakpur and its surrounding areas early this morning, flooding streets and disrupting normal life.

Traffic on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway remained disrupted for half-an-hour in the morning. Major intersections and internal roads were waterlogged. The rainwater entered various residential colonies among which Punjab Modern Complex, Pabhat godown road and Dhakoli were the worst hit.

Residents demanded preventive measures from the Zirakpur Municipal Council before the arrival of monsoon.



Authorities clear blocked sewerage
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
The blockage of sewer water in Kumbra village, which was adversely affecting about 100 families, was today cleared by officials concerned on the directions of the Deputy Commissioner.

Naib tehsildar, BDPO, and others reached the village along with a police party to provide an outlet to the drain which was blocked by another resident of the village. A JCB machine was also arranged to clear the block.

According to reports, Jaswant Singh, who had allegedly blocked the drain, tried to obstruct the work. He sat in the area which was to be dug up to provide an outlet. However, the work could be carried out only after Jaswant Singh and his wife were taken away by the police.

As no proper outlet for sewer water was available in a part of the village, unhygienic conditions prevailed in this area. Dirty water even flowed into the houses of some people.

Balwinder Singh, president of the Mohali unit of the Panchayat Union, said a dispute over the flow of sewer water was going on over the past 12 years, but the authorities concerned had failed to find a permanent solution to the problem.

The drain was got opened several times by government officials after residents raised their voice in this regard, but was allegedly blocked again every time by Jaswant Singh who lived in the village.

However, Jaswant Singh, who retired from the Air Force, had claimed earlier that he had blocked the drain only after he had won the case filed in a court in this regard. He said the direction of the flow of dirty water was moved towards the area where he lived after a pond in the village was filled.



MC Commissioner checks pre-monsoon preparations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Municipal corporation (MC) Commissioner Prerna Puri inspected the cleaning of road gullies and other pre-monsoon preparations at Bapu Dham colony and adjoining areas here yesterday.

She issued directions to the engineers concerned to place covers on road gullies and clear road gullies after lifting garbage immediately.

She directed them to check the areas which faced water-logging in the past years and make arrangements to clean the areas.

She also directed MC medical officer health to sensitise sanitary workers and sweepers against piling up leaves and solid waste over road gullies at the time of sweeping roads.

She inspected the progress of the tertiary treated water supply to Sector 29-C and the bridge near the Housing Board chowk at Mani Majra. 



Keeping Boundary Areas Clean
Mohali, UT civic bodies’ officials to meet
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 25
The Mohali Municipal Corporation has decided to take up various issues with the civic body in Chandigarh in order to keep the boundary areas clean.

Assistant Commissioner of the civic body Parveen Kumar Thind said a few agenda items had been enlisted which would be taken up with their counterpart in the Union Territory. The boundary areas where Chandigarh roads were linked with Mohali had to be kept clean. People had started dumping malba along one of the roads which was to be removed.

Even streetlights on this part of the road were not functioning.



Opposition parties decry hike in rates of diesel, LPG
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 25
The BJP, the CPI and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) have decried the recent price hike of diesel, kerosene and LPG announced by the Congress led UPA Government at the Center.

BJP state treasurer Gyan Chand Gupta said rates had been increased to benefit the large industrial houses in the country. He said it had become difficult for common man to survive in the prevailing condition of escalating prices. He said there was acute shortage of cooking gas and the same was available for Rs 700 per cylinder in the black market. He alleged the government had failed to stop the black marketing of cooking gas.

Kalka MLA Pardeep Chaudhary said the increase in the diesel prices would lead to increase in the prices of the essential commodities. He termed the extreme rise in price as a blow to the faith reposed by common man in the UPA to produce able governance.

CPI leader Mehar Singh also reacted sharply to the uncontrollable price rise. He said people living below the poverty line were already facing difficulty in making both ends meet. He said poor people had to purchase kerosene in black market due to the faulty public distribution system and the further increase would make life difficult for them.

Protest echoes in UT

Chandigarh: Representatives of various civil society groups organised a protest against the hike in prices of diesel and LPG at Sector 17 on Saturday. Those who spoke on the occasion included Manjit Singh, convener of the Chandigarh Jan Manch, Gopal Dutt Joshi, trade union leader, Indu Dhawan, activist of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association, Sardara Singh Cheema, convener of the Sahit Chintan, Shingara Singh, member of the Non-Teaching Employees Union of Panjab University, and Rakesh Kumar, convener of the coordination committee of Government and Municipal Corporation Employees and Workers.

‘Reduce VAT’

Ajay Jagga, president of the local unit of the Janata Party, has said the policy of deregulation of prices of fuel is resulting in recurring hike in fuel prices. The Chandigarh adminsitration and the governments of Punjab and Haryana should reduce state levies such as VAT on the pattern of West Bengal, he has demanded.

UPA flayed

Devi Dayal Sharma, secretary of the Communist Party of India, has criticised the UPA government for hike in prices of diesel and LPG. He has alleged that prices of essential commodities like ‘atta’, ‘dal’ and edible oils are at an all-time high under the current regime.



Tricity scan
Chandigarh SCAN
Function at blood bank

The Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre, Sector 37, observed its seventh anniversary on Saturday. The Adviser to the UT Administrator, KK Sharma, visited the centre. He said blood donation was one of the best ways to serve society and every citizen should participate for the noble cause.

Sports meet

The UT department of social welfare organised a sports and co-curricular meet at Snehalaya in Maloya as a build-up to the observance of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Various competitive events were organised, in which children of all age groups participated enthusiastically. Winners would be honoured by Director, Social Welfare, Varsha Khangwal, during a prize distribution ceremony on Sunday.


The president of the local unit of the BJP, Sanjay Tandon, has appointed Davinder Singh Aulakh vice-president and Chander Shekhar spokesperson of the unit.

Tributes paid

Defence personnel and family members of Major Sandeep Sagar paid floral tributes to him on his 12th death anniversary on Saturday. Prof Harbans Lal and Raksha, his parents, and their relatives paid homage to him.

Minor fire

A minor fire broke out in an office of a real estate agent at Sector 71 on Friday night. The office was located in the basement of a booth at the market. The fire was probably the result of a short circuit. When a passerby saw smoke coming out of the building, the fire brigade staff was informed. Office furniture and other items lying in the building were damaged.

Central grants

Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu has asked the Mohali Deputy Commissioner to give details, under the RTI Act, of grants given by the Centre in the past five years. He met the Deputy Commissioner along with his supporters and also asked him to provide information as to where the amount had been spent, the grants which could not be utilised and the reasons thereof.

Tribune Reporters



PUSU runs parallel counter
800 forms sold at DAV-10 on Day One
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Call it a run-up to the student council elections in September or blame it on the delay in releasing the prospectus by DAV College, Sector 10, a student organisation was running a parallel counter to sell the college prospectus today, though at the same cost.

On the first day of the release of prospectus, nearly 800 admission forms were sold at the college for enrolment to various courses in arts, commerce and science streams. College officials said the last date for submission of forms, downloaded or manually procured, for all courses was July 4.

Supporters of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) were spotted purchasing forms from the college counter and distributing it outside the college for students’ convenience. The prospectus being sold by the students carried the logo of the party to familiarise new students with the organisation.

“We are selling forms at exactly the same price. We are putting in effort and making the task easy for the college authorities. Students are the most benefited by this,” said a PUSU supporter outside the college. The college official who was in charge of form distribution disagreed with PUSU supporters.

He said, “We are not giving more than two prospectuses to any student to stop malpractice. If different students from the same student organisation come and purchase prospectuses, we cannot identify them or deny them a prospectus.” The college principal, BC Josan, was not available for comment.



PU grants special chance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Panjab University has granted a special chance, to be availed of in September or December, to students of all undergraduate and postgraduate courses who have exhausted all reappear and compartment chances.

The university has granted a special chance for improvement of performance for all courses, for the annual system in April and for the semester system in December or April next.

If a student of undergraduate or postgraduate class wishes to appear in one or two papers for improvement of performance, he or she can appear in September or October.

An examination fee of Rs 10,000, with Rs 800 per additional paper, will be charged. Students will be required to appear in the examination as per the current syllabus. Students can visit the website www.puchd.ac.in for details.

The last date for submission of examination forms will be as per the schedule approved by the university for September and December examinations and the to-be announced for the April 2012 examination.



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