C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Bulk of drunk drivers in 31-50 age group’
Findings of study by Chandigarh Traffic Police
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Contrary to perception, it is the middle-aged group, between 31 and 50 years of age, which believes in drinking to the fill and care the least about obeying traffic rules in the city.

In complete contrast to the general perception that drunk drivers comprise mostly adolescents and youngsters, a recent study by the Chandigarh Traffic Police has revealed that the number of middle-aged men surpass the number of youngsters challaned for drunk driving during a particular weekend.

The traffic police conducted the study over the past weekend, when the police organised special nakas or check points across the city to challan drunk drivers.

Of the 175 persons challaned at special nakas throughout the city over three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), 99 were in the 31-50 age group.

Of these 99, as many as 70 belonged to the 31-40 age group. On the other hand, the number of youngsters, in the age group of 18 to 25 years, who were challaned was far less, at 27. Another 41 drunk drivers who had been challaned catered to the 25-30 age group. The least eight belonged to the above-50 age group.

“We conducted the study past weekend to understand the pattern of challans of drunk drivers and found that the maximum violators were in middle-aged group,” said DSP (Traffic) Vijay Kumar.

“People in this age group tend to socialise more and drink away their blues as stress is a major factor. Finance is not a problem in this age group as earnings are generally more, which can be another reason for drinking more,” he added.

No let-up in offence

Despite detaining at least 25 drunk drivers till the rising of the court and strengthening the drive against drunk driving with an increased number of challans, over 150 drunk-driving challans were being issued every weekend at specially erected barriers. While the number of challans for underage driving had reduced over the past two weeks, the number of drunk drivers challaned stayed constant every weekend and the number had not been showing a decline.



HC notice to MHA on traffic cop shortage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Taking cognisance of the shortage of traffic cops in the city, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a notice to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The ministry was asked to file a reply as to why it had not accorded necessary approval for filling up the sanctioned posts in the traffic wing.

The development was significant as the MHA had been sitting over the issue for the past five years. There were 168 cops in the traffic wing at present, compared to a sanctioned strength of 291. Justice Rajive Bhalla also asked private schools in the city and the UT administration about the mode and conditions of transportation provided to schoolchildren.

The directions came after details of traffic violations made it evident that school buses were still zipping away from rules and regulations.

The details produced in court pertained to the challans issued by the Chandigarh Police for violations by school buses between January 1 and July 19.

The total number of buses challaned during the period was 431, for as many as 684 violations. The figures showed that the most predominant violation was failure of drivers and attendants to put on proper livery.

The total number of challans for driver without proper uniform and name plate was 285. The total number of challans for attendant without proper uniform and name plate was 96.

As many as 292 challans were issued for miscellaneous offences. This information was given to the high court during the resumed hearing of traffic regulation and pollution control case.

The high court had already opened a new chapter of safety by directing the administration to set down rules for regulating the number of students that could be ferried in rickshaws and three-wheelers.



Most deaths in road mishaps alcohol-related
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
About 80 per cent medical emergencies and 20 per cent head injuries are linked to alcohol consumption, Ashish Despande, a renowned psychiatrist from Mumbai and a non-alcoholic trustee of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a worldwide fellowship of recovering alcoholics, said here today.

Interacting with mediapersons on the eve of the three-day Asia Oceanic Service Meet (AOSM) of the Alcoholic Anonymous to be organised at the Hotel North Park in Panchkula from July 22, Despande endorsed AA’s programme of recovery, which was benefiting over 30,000 former alcoholics in the country.

Karnataka Director General of Police (DGP) and another AA non-alcoholic trustee ST Ramesh said: “Alcoholism is taking a heavy toll on the nation’s growth as alcoholics cannot do much productive work.”

“Around 1.07 lakh persons lose their lives in road accidents every year and a majority of the deaths were alcohol-related. Besides, alcohol was a major cause of other crimes, including murder, dacoity, rape and domestic violence,” the DGP said.

Ramesh, who was instrumental in collaborating with the AA for a special sensitisation drive among the police personnel about the ill-effects of alcoholism, said: “Police personnel having a better understanding of the AA would be able to help the law breakers in a more effective way.”

Saying that alcoholic consumption has assumed alarming proportions in the country, Despande said the AA, which had presence in 185 countries with a membership with over 30 lakh recovering alcoholics, was doing a yeoman’s service in combating the fatal disease of alcoholism.

Meanwhile, delegates from over 20 Asian and Pacific Rim countries are participating at the AOSM meet at Hotel North Park from July 22-24. The main focus will be on “how to reach maximum number of still suffering alcoholics and their families in minimum possible time”

Frightening facts

n One-third of suicides are related to alcohol consumption
n Two-thirds of domestic violence cases are related to alcoholism
n About 40 per cent cases of absenteeism is linked to alcoholism
n About 24 per cent of urban income and 32 of rural income is spent on alcohol



Troubled times ahead for GMCH director-principal
Role in allowing two staffers convicted of abetting suicide to continue in service being questioned
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The director-principal of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Dr Raj Bahadur, a front-runner for the post of PGI director, may be in trouble.

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has started an inquiry into the alleged irregularities and favouritism committed by him by allowing two persons to continue in service for six long years despite being convicted of abetment to suicide in 2004.

In a letter to the additional director (administration) of the GMCH, the UT Adviser-cum-CVO has sought a reply on Dr Raj Bahadur’s role in allowing Kamaljit Singh (store clerk) and BP Mishra (store officer) to continue after conviction to three-year rigorous imprisonment for abetting the suicide of a colleague, Bhinder Singh.

The letter was sent on June 21 following the receipt of a complaint from a CVC section officer in New Delhi. What was surprising is that even after a month, the GMCH authorities had not replied to the letter, a copy of which was with The Tribune, on the pretext of not having a copy of the complaint.

When contacted, additional director (administration) Jaswinder Kaur said, “We have received the letter, but have not responded as we do not have the copy of the complaint. We have asked for it.”

Queries by the CVC in New Delhi and the UT administration could not have come at a worse time for Dr Raj Bahadur since the process for the selection of the PGI director was at a final stage.

As reported in these columns on April 18 past year, “It took six years to sack tainted GMCH employees”, the termination orders for Kamaljit Singh and BP Mishra were issued in 2010, a decade after Bhinder Singh (30), also a store clerk then, ended his life due to harassment at the hands of the duo.

Bhinder’s body was recovered on June 15, 2000, a day after he allegedly committed suicide, from the Prayaas Building at Sector 38, where the GMCH was located.

On June 14, 2000, Bhinder was given charge of the GMCH store, which was then with Kamaljit. Both Kamaljit and Mishra had reportedly took “receiving” signatures of various inventories from Bhinder, but refused to hand over the inventory to him.

This reportedly upset Bhinder, who committed suicide and left three suicide notes, blaming Kamaljit and Mishra for his death. As reported ealier, Kamaljit and Mishra were arrested and suspended, but were reinstated after they got bail in December, 2000.

They continued to work there and were finally convicted in 2004 and awarded three years’ rigorous imprisonment, along with a fine of Rs 5,000.

Instead of sacking them then, the GMCH authorities allowed them to continue in service as they obtained an interim bail from the high court in January, 2005. Though this decision was in gross violation of the spirit of various judgements of the apex court, they managed to stay put.

Ironically, despite his conviction, Mishra’s name was recommended for a commendation certificate by the GMCH authorities for the 2009 Independence Day awards. However, it was withdrawn after Bhinder’s widow objected.



Housefed hikes Sec-79 flats’ transfer fee
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 21
The Punjab State Federation of Cooperative House Building Societies Limited (Housefed) has increased the transfer fee of its upcoming flats at Sector 79 here from 20,000 to Rs 1 lakh. The hike is with effect from July 4, leaving allottees fuming.

This is the second revision in the past three years. The construction of the 632-apartment multi-storeyed residential complex began only past year due to legal complications.

Housefed managing director HS Sidhu said the hike in transfer fee had been decided keeping in mind the market price of the flats. “The hike should not affect allottees as it intended to be paid by the purchaser,” he said.

Regarding the revision of fee from retrospective effect, he said it should not have happened. “ I will look in to it,” he said.

The maximum affected were allottees of category I (four-bedroom) flats and category II (three-bedroom) flats, whose transfer fee had been hiked from Rs 20,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

The fee for category III (two-bedroom and study) flats and category IV (two bedroom) flats had been increased from Rs 20,000 to Rs 75,000 and for category V (one-bedroom) flats from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000.

Sources in Housefed said since the cost of construction material had gone up, the cost of flats was expected to be revised in the coming months.

Crying foul over the hike, the Housefed Flats Sangarsh Committee, Sector 79, termed the hike as unjustified and demanded an immediate rollback.

NK Trehan and RK Dogra, president and general secretary, respectively, of the committee, said compared to transfer fee charged by GMADA, the hike was unjustified.

“While we are fighting against the previous hike from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000, the second hike is like a bolt from the blue,” said Amit Marwaha, a resident of Phase 3B1.

The committee president claimed that registrar (cooperation) Kirandeep Singh Bhullar had assured them of a review in the hike.

The registrar was not available for comment. Housfed superintending engineer Amarjit Gupta said the transfer fee had been revised and there was no decision on a rollback yet.



PG accommodation
The heat is on — getting vacated or registered
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The first-ever sealing of illegal paying guest (PG) accommodation, at Sector 35, by the UT administration appears to have sparked a rippling effect, with several PG house owners either asking their guests to vacate by this month-end or beginning to enquire about the procedure on how to legally rent out accommodation to PGs.

“This is a very lucrative business, but we do not want to get our house sealed,” said a house owner at Sector 22, requesting anonymity. He had around 20 PGs on his premises. He added that several other house owners were also in the same business in the locality.

“With the administration initiating action, everyone is worried here. I have asked my PGs to vacate as my neighbours always raise objections to putting up over a dozen boys in my house. Anyone can complain now,” he said.

The story was no different in other sectors, including 35, 22 and 15, where several such house owners had either asked their PGs to vacate the premises or were thinking of getting the required permission to run their ‘business’.

A resident of Sector 35, who had been running a PG accommodation for the past 20 years on his one-kanal house, was seen enquiring at the estate office on how to get permission.

“We cannot afford to pay the fine, which probably runs into lakhs, for violating rules. I will get my residence registered for PG accommodation this week,” said a house owner, who claimed to have 15 PGs in his house. The UT estate office had fixed a fine of Rs 500 per square foot per month from the date of serving a show-cause notice. The charges were required to be paid by the defaulter within a fortnight of the authority establishing misuse of the building. In case of delay in payment, interest would be charged at 1.5 per cent, said the rules.

Fresh survey on

MOHALI: After initiaiting resumption proceedings against illegal PG accommodation, the estate office of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) had obtained an undertaking from violators to shut down their activity, failing which they would face eviction proceedings. “In the initial survey, 216 houses having PGs illegally had been found. A number of them had shut down or produced rent deeds. To physically verify the undertaking given by property owners, we are carrying out a survey again,” said GMADA estate officer Balbir Singh. The estate office had levied a fine of Rs 25,000 on two houses with PGs being run from HIG flats at Sector 70.

Action under way

PANCHKULA: HUDA’s Panchkula estate officer said they had started conducting a survey to locate PG accommodation in the town. The police had conducted a survey for tenants in Panchkula in 2009. They were shocked to find that more than 20 youngsters had been residing in many flats at Sector 20.


Industrial Area bears brunt of MC’s laxity
Started 6 months ago, work of road widening still incomplete
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Almost all the V 6 roads in Industrial Area, Phase II, have been dug up for re-carpeting and widening since the past six months. The careless attitude of the contractor is posing danger to water pipes, sewers and underground electricity cables in the area.

Shopkeepers of the area rued that the work started six months ago was yet to be completed. They said the rainwater gets accumulated on roads and it was affecting their business.

Large potholes and caved in sections bore the testimony of the indifferent attitude of the MC and the contractor.

It is very difficult for the shopkeepers to commute in the dug up areas, which has become an accident-prone.

While motorists have a tough time in negotiating vehicles on narrow stretches, bicycle riders and pedestrians are the worst affected.

As the construction material is stacked on both sides of the roads, cyclists and pedestrians are at risk of being hit by fast-moving vehicles.



Diesel not to cost less in city
Finance Secy sends back DC’s proposal to slash VAT 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The rates of diesel are unlikely to decrease in the city in the near future. The Chandigarh Administration is having a rethink over the proposal of decreasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 12.5 per cent to 8.8 per cent on diesel. After the hike of Rs 3 on June 27, the authorities here had started deliberating over reducing the VAT on the pattern of its neighbouring states, including Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, where the tax is relatively less.

The UT Deputy Commissioner has reportedly prepared a proposal in which it was mentioned that the VAT should be brought down from 12.5 per cent to 8.8 per cent.

But the UT Finance Secretary, VK Singh, has sent it back after putting some observations on it.

While some of the senior officials in the administration termed the step as putting the proposal in cold storage, the Finance Secretary maintained that the proposal was not rejected.

“We cannot reduce the VAT here just because it is less in the neighbouring states. If they are charging less tax, it is their internal matter. We have to follow the guidelines from the Centre, which recommends 12.5 per cent VAT,” said VK Singh, adding that the proposal was not rejected.

“We are examining the things. If the rates of diesel are higher here, the petrol rates are lower than Punjab. There is no justification in lowering the VAT just because it is lesser in our neighbouring states,” said VK Singh. On the issue of losing out business to Mohali and Panchkula because of difference in diesel prices (diesel in Mohali and Panchkula is cheaper by Rs 1.82 per litre than Chandigarh), VK Singh said the petrol is cheaper in the city. “So, we are getting more business,” he said. “We have to see pros and cons in the issue before finalising anything,” he said.

It is to be noted that due to difference in the prices of diesel, the city has been witnessing drastic dip its sale. The fact is evident with the figures of sale in June this year and the corresponding period last year that show a dip of 8.73 lakh litre in diesel sale. Where last year in June, the city witnessed a sale of over 5,728 kl, this June the sale was just 4,855 kl.

The members of the Chandigarh Petrol Dealer Association expressed worries that the sale would dip more this month due to the difference in the rates. “An overall dip is around 40 per cent due to which the administration is also losing revenue of about Rs 7 crore per year,” said Amanpreet Singh, general secretary of the association. 



Rampaging simians make a monkey out of residents
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

A monkey jumps from one house to another as occupants look on from a window in Sector 27.
A monkey jumps from one house to another as occupants look on from a window in Sector 27. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, July 21
Asmita, a resident of Sector 27 (D), has decided not to take her regular evening walks to the park in her locality for the fear of getting attacked by monkeys residing in the park.

Asmita was attacked by a monkey on Tuesday, but she managed to get away with a few scratches.

The northern sectors in the grip of monkey menace. This is evident from the fact that the UT wildlife and forest department has received 206 complaints in the past six months.

Interestingly, the department has only two ‘langoors’ to chase away the rampaging monkeys.

The monkey menace is prevalent mainly in Sectors 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 27, 28, 18, 19, Mani Majra, which has created panic among children, women and the elderly.

The fear of monkeys has forced children and senior citizens to stay indoor in the evening hours, otherwise spent in parks.

 A troop of monkeys creates nuisance in a house at Sector 27, Chandigarh.
A troop of monkeys creates nuisance in a house at Sector 27, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Asmita said while she was taking an evening walk in a park, a monkey attacked her twice, following which she suffered scratches. The incident happened in the presence of other visitors.

“Nobody could muster the courage to rescue me from the rampaging monkey. I had to run for my life,” Asmita said.

Last evening, a Shivalik Enclave resident complained of four monkeys entering his house. He locked them in a room, but before a wildlife team could arrive for help, the monkeys had escaped from the window.

Residents have been facing the problem of monkeys entering their houses and running away with fruits and clothes for a while.

Monkeys even break lights installed in the parks.

Efforts made by the wildlife department to chase the monkeys away by engaging “langoors” have failed to bear fruit.

Ashish Dogra, a resident of Sector 11, said till the time “langoors” are around, monkeys move to their hideouts, but once they leave, monkeys are back in business.

The wildlife department had earlier planned to adopt the endoscopic stetilisation of monkeys, but the proposal was still hanging fire.

Warding off monkeys

n Do not make a direct eye contact with the animal
n Do not irritate or tease the animal. Leave them alone
n Be light-footed while passing through an area full of monkeys. Do not run
n Do not feed monkeys near your house
n Do not hit a monkey. Hit the ground with a bamboo stick until they leave
n Monkeys are scared of snakes. Keep plastic snakes on rooftop or boundary wall



Illegal food stalls mushroom
Affect business, say shopkeepers; add to parking woes; MC fails to act
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Even as the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is still trying to check encroachments by shopkeepers in corridors of markets, the trend of makeshift food stalls have started flourishing in the city.

Walking down the markets, one can encounter various fast food stalls creating inconvenience to the passers-by. Most of the food stalls do their business in the evening hours with nobody to keep a check on them.

These makeshift food stalls have mushroomed in Sectors 15, 19, 20, 21, 23, 27, 30, 32, 34 and 37. Most of these sectors are inhabited by students and the food stall owners do a roaring business in the evening.

One of the shopkeepers in Sector 22 opposite the Sector 17 ISBT said the corridors in front of the shops are already narrow and the outer passage is encroached upon by makeshift stalls leading to congestion.

“The MC has failed to check encroachments in markets. It not only affects the business, but also leads to inconvenience to customers visiting the markets,” he said.

In some sectors, including Sectors 20, 34 and 37, illegal stalls even occupy the parking space that further leads to parking problems.

Ashish Dogra, a resident of Sector 11, said: “The problem of encroachment and parking are interlinked. If the administration wants to deal with the problem of parking, it has to check encroachments,” he said.

Parul Virk, a housewife, said the MC needs to make a conscious effort if it wants to do away with the increasing menace of encroachments. “It is high time the authorities needs to act against the encroachers before the passages in all the markets are occupied by illegal stalls,” she said.

When contacted, MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach said the department was short of staff and it was difficult check the encroachments across the city.

He, however, said the duty hours of the employees have been increased to ensure that the encroachments are checked regularly. “We have increased the duty hours till 8 pm to keep a check on encroachments in markets,” he added.



UIDAI card: All you need to know
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
For those still new to the entire concept of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), they just need to drop in one of the 23 Aadhaar enrolment centres operational in Chandigarh with identity, address and birth proof.

The Aadhaar numbers are randomly generated unique identification numbers issued after capturing biometric characteristics of an individual that is different from any other card, as it cannot be duplicated. Every person issued the card will be getting a 12-digit unique number that’s going to be amassed in the central database. The Tribune has jotted down a few steps that you might want to know about.


Just walk down to one of the Aadhaar enrolment centres to obtain an application form with proofs of identity, address and date of birth. Fill up the form that will have the details of your demographic information, including name, address, gender, date of birth and father’s address. The second stage of enrolment includes the applicant’s photograph, iris impression and fingerprints of both hands along with thumbprints are captured. Applicants will be then given a receipt of acknowledgement and can expect their Aadhaar cards to reach them within three months.

Documents required

Proof of identity: Any one of these - passport, PAN card, ration card, voter ID card, driving license, government photo id cards, NREGA job card, photo id issued by a recognised educational institution, arms license, bank ATM and credit cards, pensioner photo card, freedom fighter photo card, kisan photo passbook, address card having name an photo issued by the department of posts, certificate of identity having photo issued by a Group A gazetted officer on letterhead, citizenship certificate with photo.

Proof of address: Passport, bank passbook, bank statement, ration card, voter ID, driving license, insurance policy, government photo ID cards, NREGA job card, arms license, pensioner card, vehicle registration certificate, registered sale and rent deed, card having photo issued by the Department of Posts, caste and domicile certificate having photo issued by the state government.


The Aadhaar cards will help the cardholders avail various services, including getting a bank account, LPG connection etc. Meanwhile, residents who don’t have sufficient identification documents will have a card that would help them in availing various services. The interesting fact about the card is that it cannot be duplicated, as it would have the person’s fingerprints and iris impressions.

Aadhaar centres

n Gurdwara, Sector 15-C
n SCO 68-69, Sector 17 Bank Square
n SCO 7-10, Sector 22-C
n SCO 293-294, Sector 35-D
n GPO, Sector 17
n Post office, Sector 19
n Post office, Sector 35
n Alankit Assignments, first floor, SCO 196-197, Sec 34-A
n SCO 128-129, Madhya Marg, Sector 8-C
n OBC, Sector 17-B Bank Square
n SCF 21-22, Sector 19-D
n OBC, SCO 44, Sector 21-C
n SCO 48, Madhya Marg, Sector 26
n OBC, Industrial Area, Phase-II
n OBC, SCO 810, near Housing Board
n Community centre, Sec 25
n Gurdwara, Sector 38-B
n 4th floor B-Block, GMCH-32
n Sood Bhavan, Sector 44-A
n Janj Ghar, Sector 45
n # 1456, Sec 61



HUDA rakes in Rs 59 crore through auction
Only 9 out of 38 commercial sites went under the hammer
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 21
The auctioning of commercial sites by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) here today witnessed lukewarm response as of the 38 sites put up for auction, just nine sites went under the hammer.

Though HUDA got a lukewarm response to its auction, it got richer by Rs 59 crore. The authority had held its last commercial auction in 2008, which had also witnessed a cold response from bidders.

The auction was held in the HUDA office in Sector 6 for various categories of commercial sites i.e. shop-cum-offices (SCOs), booths, three-storey shops, double-storey shops and kiosks.

The highest amount was fetched by an SCO site in Sector 14, which went for Rs 13.79 crore against its reserved price of Rs 13.70 crore. This was followed by an SCO in Sector 11 that went for Rs 12.17 crore against the reserved price of Rs 12.06 crore.

The cheapest SCO site was from Sector 3, which was auctioned for Rs 3.58 crore against the reserved price of Rs 3.16 crore.

An SCO in Sector 16 and two in Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5, went for Rs 8.27 crore, Rs 6.65 crore and Rs 5.88 crore, respectively.

In the smaller segment, a double-storey shop (DSS) site in Sector 20 — No. 313 (corner) — went for Rs 4.53 crore against the reserved price of Rs 4.43 crore, while another site (No. 317) went for Rs 4.01 crore against the reserved price of Rs 3.87 crore.

Also, a kiosk in Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 4, went for Rs 22.90 lakh against the reserved price of Rs 22.70 lakh.

Suresh Aggarwal, president, Haryana State Property Dealers’ Welfare Association, said the auction saw a lukewarm response as the reserved prices of the properties were 10 to 20 per cent higher than the prevailing market prices.

HUDA Administrator Rajender Kataria said they had successfully auctioned a number of sites.

He, however, said the reserved prices were kept below the market prices, adding that before finalising the reserved prices, they had considered the land acquisition cost, retention cost and figures of the last auction.

Bid cancelled

A property dealer, Bhupinder Singh, successfully bade for a corner booth in Sector 17 for whopping Rs 1 crore against the reserved price of Rs 49.47 lakh. After the auction, however, he failed to deposit the 10 per cent earnest money. In the evening, HUDA forfeited 2 per cent (Rs 50,000) of the reserved price and cancelled the bid for the booth.



Cost of building material doubles in one year
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
A sharp increase in the prices of building material as well as labour has hit the dreams of people, seeking to have a home of their own, hard.

A survey of prices of bricks, sand, cement, steel and wages shows that the prices of most items have almost doubled during the past one year.

While 1,000 bricks were priced at Rs 3,500 in June last year, the same quantity is now being sold at Rs 5,500.

Similarly, the prices of 300 cubic feet of sand and gravel have doubled to Rs 3,200 and Rs 10,000, respectively. Last year, these were available for Rs 1,600 and 4,800 only.

Also, the price of a cement bag, weighing 50 kg, touched Rs 300 before coming down to Rs 280 yesterday. This was available at a price of Rs 235 in the corresponding month of last year.

The prices of steel, one of the major components in the building construction, have also registered a jump of nearly 20 per cent.

The increase in the prices of raw material has resulted in a hike of at least 20 per cent in the total cost of construction, says Pyare Lal Mehta, managing director, BL Meta Construction Company.

While the ban on mining of rivers in the region has led to a spurt in the prices of sand and granules, a sharp decline in the arrival of labour from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has also proved costly for those involved in the construction business, says Mehta.

This has further led to an increase in the wages of labourers by 40 per cent.

Since the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREGA) Act scheme, which ensures 100 days of work for every family in villages, is reportedly being implemented effectively in Bihar, the arrival of labourers from the state has come down drastically, resulting in an acute shortage of manpower, feels Sarvjit of Apollo Construction.

Facing the shortfall, contractors have started offering higher prices to woo the available labour. Consequently, a mason who used to get Rs 250 for one day last year is being paid up to Rs 400 these days, he adds.

The wages of labourers have doubled to Rs 300 from Rs 150 last year, he says. Labour charges comprise 30 per cent of the total building cost, he quips.

The increase in prices, however, ultimately affects the middle class that has to pay through the nose amid the hike of interest rates by banks on housing loans as well.

“I had planned to start construction on my old house in Sector 21 and applied for a loan of Rs 35 lakh last year. However, it had to be held back, but now my contractor is demanding Rs 40 lakh for the same job,” said Om Parkash, a local resident.

The hope of such people now rests on the court alone. The prices of sand and gravel can see a decline if mining is allowed in rivers, the builders said.

Construction cost up

The increase in the prices of raw material has resulted in a hike of at least 20 per cent in the total cost of construction. The ban on mining of rivers in the region has led to a spurt in the prices of sand and granules. Decline in the arrival of labour from Bihar and UP has also proved costly for those involved in the construction business



Civil dispensaries suffer govt’s apathy
Ailing with broken furniture, seeping ceilings, unkempt compounds, lack of medicines
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 21
Dispensaries in various parts of the town do not figure on the government’s list of priorities and remain in a state of neglect with poorly maintained campuses, shortage of doctors and medicines, lack of adequate furniture, worn out equipment and buildings full of seepage.

Broken chairs and tables, rusted cupboards and examination tables, seepage all over and badly maintained campuses, which are full of congress grass and other wild growth, greet patients who go to civil dispensaries for treatment.

Though the government has been making claims of spending crores of rupees on providing better health facilities to the people of Punjab, the state of civil dispensaries in Mohali has remained the same over the years.

Sources said the supply of medicines to the dispensaries was also not satisfactory. Though paracetamol and a few other medicines were available, shortage of various antibiotics was faced from time to time. Even prescription slips were not provided by the Punjab Systems Health Corporation.

It is learnt that the primary health centre (PHC) in Phase IIIB1 has been without a doctor for the past about eight months. Patients from nearby areas who visit the PHC are asked to go to the Phase VII dispensary. The doctor working earlier at this centre was on deputation who was later sent back to the parent department.

Gurkirpal Singh, a resident of IIIB1, said: “This is no way to run a health centre. Patients keep visiting the PHC hoping that a doctor must have been deputed, but come back disappointed or go all the way to Phase VII even when they are suffering from health problems.”

The dispensaries remain without doctors for at least four days in a month when these doctors are called for emergency duties at the Civil Hospital apart from days when they go on leave.

During a round of the civil dispensary in Phase IX seepage was seen in most of the rooms. The medicine store in the building was unsafe as cracks had appeared on the walls. The toilets were filthy. Wild growth on the campus had, however, been removed by taking personal favours.

Even in the Phase I dispensary seepage was visible in the room where medicines were stored and in other areas as well. Some window panes were found to be broken. The dispensary did not have adequate furniture and whatever was available was in a worn out state.

In the Phase VII dispensary worn out chairs were seen lying on one side of the corridor and employees had to purchase chairs at their own to adjust patients and staff.

There is no provision of water coolers in any of the dispensaries or any standby arrangement in case of power failure. While doctors and paramedics carried water from their houses for personal consumption, patients had to depend solely on water supplied through taps by the department concerned which was not available most of the time due to supply schedule.

Dr Jatinder Kaur, who recently joined as a Civil Surgeon here, said at present there was no post of a doctor at the PHC. She said she would try to get the post as early as possible so that a doctor got deputed. “I would request the horticulture wing to clear the campuses of wild growth,” she added. She agreed that the state of dispensaries was not very good, but added that efforts would be made to improve the situation.



‘Sec-57 bus stand to be operational by Oct-end’
Rs 500-cr complex to have 17 storeys, 10-screen cinexplex, shopping mall, luxury hotel
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 21
The first phase of the air-conditioned bus stand at Sector 57 here will become operational by the end of October. This was stated by Col CVS Sehgal (retd), project manager.

Located along the Chandigarh-Kharar section of the national highway, the facility would have night parking facility for 98 buses.

There would be 50 bays, waiting lounges, online booking facility, food courts, restaurants and an electronic display board.

Colonel Sehgal said the Rs-500 crore complex would have 17 storeys, a 10-screen cinexplex, a high-end shopping mall and a luxury hotel.

There would be three-layer underground car parking, capable of accommodating 2,100 vehicles, he said, adding that it would have special arrangements for the physically challenged.

In another development, Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu said the bus stand was basically a real estate project under the garb of a public facility.

“It is strange that M/s Akruti City had bid Rs 200 crore in the first round, but backed out later. Only one bid, for Rs 57 crore, was received during the second bidding and accepted,” he said.

“The bus stand is a small component of the project. With a 90-year lease, it amounts to a virtual sale of prime land,” he added.

During the same time, GMADA had auctioned 9 acres in Mohali, which was bought by the LIC for Rs 450 crore.

As per rules and regulations laid down by the government, the lease period was 30 years, but it had been extended to 90 years.



Pabhat godown area
Lack of facilities forcing companies to move out
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, July 20
The tall claims of providing basic amenities to commercial establishments in the Pabhat godown area by the municipal council seem to hold no water as the lack of facilities in the area has forced many multi-national companies to shift their base from the area.

Even transporters of other cities are reluctant to give their services to companies operating from this area.

One of the reasons that has led the shifting of godowns is the lack of security, which has resulted in a spate of thefts.

Owners and tenants operating in the Pabhat area claim that even after paying exorbitant taxes to the state government and the municipal council, they have failed to provide even the basic facilities, including proper roads, streetlights, potable water and drainage system. Adding to their woe is the sewerage system that is still not operational.

Roads are dotted with potholes and certain areas turn into ponds during heavy rain. Truckers rue lack of potable water and have to carry buckets full of water from nearby areas.

Dr Ram Pal, working president of the Commercial Welfare Association of the Godown Area, said in the absence of proper roads in the area, most transporters had refused to provide trucks for loading and unloading shipments due to mechanical wear and tear caused by bumpy roads.

FS Nagra, chief patron of the association, said even after paying VAT of around Rs 350 crore annually, the state government had neglected the area.

“Most companies have already shifted from the area, while many others are planning to move out to areas with better infrastructure and facilities,” he added.

Amit Jain, president, C&F Association, Zirakpur, said there had been a spate of burglaries, especially in pharma godowns during the past five years.

The number of burglaries had only increased in the past seven months with goods worth almost Rs 2 crore having been stolen during this period alone.

He urged the local police to deploy round-the-clock patrol teams for the security of their goods.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam said he would look into the matter and check the situation with the council.



Baby drowns in water tub
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 21
In a tragic incident, Khushi, a one-year-old baby, reportedly died of drowning in a water tub at Skynet Apartments here late this evening. The police said they got information about the incident from the GMCH-32.

Khushi father’s Sushil Kumar told to the police that his daughter was playing with her elder sister in the room when she accidentally slipped into the water tub.

The family members took the child to a private hospital here but the doctors referred her to the GMCH-32, Chandigarh. The doctors at the GMCH-32 declared her brought dead, the police added. A police official said the body would be handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination tomorrow.



Man killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 21
A Kangra resident, Rai Singh, died after being hit by an unidentified vehicle near the Dayalpura village road in Sohana. The victim was working and living at Vassela Resorts.

The police said Avinash Kumar, a resident of Vassela Resorts, stated that his friend had gone for a walk after dinner last evening. When he did not return till 10.30 pm, he started looking for him and found his body near the fields.



Tricity Scan
Stray cattle impounded

The Municipal Corporation impounded 15 heads of stray cattle in a cattle catching drive on Thursday conducted in the Mauli Jagran and Dadumajra village. The drive was conducted by a team of corporation under the supervision of Medical Officer Health Dr BK Salwan and chief sanitary inspectors with the help of cattle catchers.

The team impounded stray cattle on roadsides and in open spaces under the Cattle Trespass Act. After impounding the cattle MC levies Rs 150 on daily basis for one animal for fodder up to 15 days and if no one claims the animal then the cattle is shifted to Gaushala in Sector 45.

The official spokesman of the MCC said this type of drives were being held regularly to keep the city cattle free and strict action would be taken against the habitual offenders.

Sanitation campaign

A sanitation campaign was flagged off on Thursday in Burail village and Colony Number V by sanitation committee chairman Manjit Singh Chauhan.

As many as 65 safai karamcharis were deployed in Burail village and 50 safai karamcharis in Colony Number V in small groups under the supervision of the senior inspectorate staff for getting the public places and open spaces swept in order to maintain the aesthetic look of the area.

Mechanical road sweepers were deployed in Burail village for sweeping. Dumper placers, tractor trolleys and cycle rickshaw carts were deployed for lifting roadside waste, garbage containers and horticulture waste. The area was sprayed by the pest control wing of the MCC.

Prize giving function

As many as 152 students of DElEd were awarded during a special function of the State Institute of Education here on Thursday. Dr Surinder Singh Dahiya gave away the prizes to the winners. A farewell party for their seniors was also organised by the juniors.


The Chandigarh Youth Congress organised an inspection drive of Mani Majra on Thursday. Mayor Ravinder Pali inspected the area and the housing board complexes in Mani Majra. The inspection was conducted from Rajiv Vihar to Sheetla Mata temple.


RK Khainchi has been elected as the president of the Association of Technical Assistants (ATA), PGI, on Thursday. The other office bearers elected were senior vice-president Jasmer Singh, vice-president Rajin Sharma, general secretary Dr CS Rayat, joint secretary Rekha Virli, organising secretary Ramesh Dhiman and finance secretary Gurmail Siingh.

Kang shocked

Former Punjab minister and senior Congress leader Jagmohan Singh Kang said he was “shocked” and “aggrieved” on his brother Jagjit Singh Kang, councilor, Chandigarh MC, joining the Shiromani Akali Dal. Kang emphasised that he and his family had been serving the Indian National Congress wholeheartedly for the past 37 years. “The Congress has also bestowed us with many positions from time to time for which we are fully indebted and thankful to the party,” he added.

Workshop in PGI

A workshop of Clinical Trial Registry -India (CTRI) was held at lecture theatre 1, Nehru Hospital, at PGIMER here on Thursday. The workshop was aimed at dissemination of information regarding registry of clinical trials being conducted in India. Before a new drug was introduced into the market, a large number of clinical trials were conducted to find out if the new drug was reasonably safe and effective.

Hike in power tariff flayed

The Chandigarh Residents Social Welfare Federation has flayed the proposed 20 per cent hike in electricity tariff. The president of the federation DS Chahal said people were already facing skyrocketing prices. Instead of increasing the tariff the department should devise methods to reduce transmission losses and thefts of electricity, he added.

Boy wins laurels

Ivneet Bains (19) has made Mohali proud by earning the distinction of being one of ‘Canada’s Top 20 under 20’ -- a rare honour given annually to bright young minds across Canada. The youth, after completing his senior secondary school exams from DAV Public School, Sector 8, Chandigarh, had migrated to Canada in 2007.

Sharing information on Ivneet’s achievement, his grandfather GS Bains, a resident of Phase VII here, said the boy was brilliant throughout his career. The honour has done the entire Punjabi community in Canda proud. After overcoming migration blues, Ivneet is now studying Bachelor of Commerce at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, Vancouver.

Forcible eviction

The Rashtriya Valmiki Sabha, in a representation to the Punjab Chief Minister, has drawn his attention towards the forcible eviction of the land allotted to Danga Peerat Colony by former Akal Takht Jatehdar Prof Darshan Singh.

The chairman of the sabha, Kuldeep Sahota, in the representation said not only the riot victims were forcibly evicted they were made to sign on papers and were also given assurance that they would be suitably rehabilitated.

The total land measuring 3 kanal and 17 marlas had been forcibly taken away by land mafia connected to senior police officials. The sabha has threatened to sit on dharna if their demand was not met. — TNS



Ragging Menace in PU
2 PCR vehicles deployed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Two PCR vehicles have been deployed on the Panjab University campus to instill confidence and dispel fear from the minds of freshers over the issue of ragging.

After a recent meeting held with student leaders and police representatives, the PU authorities had chalked out a fresh anti-ragging strategy for the university this year. Claiming awareness to be the best tool against ragging, the university has decided to move a step further by displaying full-size billboards and flexes urging students to shun ragging.

In addition, the university will organise screening of a special movie and plays to propagate the message.

“The best way to deal with ragging is to make every student aware of the elements of ragging, its ill-effects and the punishment it may attract. Billboards, movie and plays will make students aware about the issue. It will also encourage freshers to oppose ragging,” said Dean (student welfare) Naval Kishore.

Also helpline numbers have been displayed in all university teaching departments, hostels and other hotspots on the campus. Two anti-ragging squads have been constituted to keep a vigil on the campus and hostels. Two security guards will be deployed in each hostel.



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