C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Festive rush spells chaos on roads
Shoppers’ deluge overwhelms traffic police; major arteries choked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Traffic snarl-ups and chaos ruled the city’s roads ahead of Diwali, as commuters remained stuck in serpentine queues of vehicles here today. The situation was the worst on the Madhya Marg, the Dakshin Marg and markets of inner sectors where parking woes made life hell for the residents who were out to shop ahead of Diwali.

The day being ‘Dhanteras’ — considered auspicious for buying utensils — also saw residents throng markets resulting in mad rush on roads.

The traffic scenario worsened after 6 pm, as the traffic police struggled to cope with the increased rush owing to the festive season.

Commuters, many out on the road to exchange Diwali greetings with their near and dear ones, reached their destinations late as they remained stranded in the gridlock.

The worst affected were Sectors 17, 22, 35, Dakshin Marg, Madhya Marg, Sectors 18, 19 and Mani Majra markets and roads leading to Mohali and Panchkula.

Sector 22, where shopping was at its peak, with limited parking space was in utter chaos. Haphazardly-parked vehicles, bumper-to-bumper driving and absence of traffic policemen only added to the prevailing confusion.

Heavy traffic jams were witnessed in the evening at the Piccadily traffic lights, Press traffic lights, Aroma traffic lights, ISBT roundabout and along the Udyog Path marking roundabouts of Sectors 18-19-20-21, Housing Board traffic lights to Sector 26, Sector 20-30 roundabout and Sector 33-34 small roundabout.

As commuters remained stuck in traffic jams for over 30 minutes at a stretch, the strength of the traffic police seemed inadequate as there was no deployment at some roundabouts.

In addition, the claims of the Chandigarh police of making some Sectors ‘no-vehicle zones’ laid bare, as haphazard parking was witnessed around Sectors 19, 22 and 37.

Traffic police officials said the city witnessed traffic jams, as lakhs of residents of Mohali and Panchkula came to the city, apart from the local shoppers.

1073 fails motorists

The traffic helpline “1073” remained flooded with calls from motorists who were stranded in traffic jams today. According to traffic police officials, over 100 calls were received at this number from harassed motorists seeking information on traffic jams. A traffic vehicle was dispatched to the area as soon as the information was received. However, the number was accessible only to the mobile users of Airtel, Idea and BSNL, while Vodafone and other mobile subscribers were not able to access it. The Chandigarh SMS traffic alert service also failed to provide help as only two alerts were sent in the entire day even as the city roads remained clogged.



Car dealers strike it lucky on Dhanteras
750 cars sold against an average of 150 cars daily
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Over 750 new cars were delivered to customers on the auspicious day of Dhanteras today. The figure is over five times higher than the sale of cars on any normal day. According to the figures of the Registration and Licensing Authorities, around 150 new cars were registered in the city every day.

And if you think that only Maruti Suzuki, Ford or Hyundai cars registered top sale, there is need to review the scenario. According to sources, 18 swanky BMWs were sold today. Generally, 15 to 18 BMWs are sold every month. The local dealer of Mercedes Benz too, claimed that the sale figures doubled today.

“Under policy matter, we cannot reveal the number of vehicles sold, but we did tremendous business not only in the city but also in the region

today,” said an official at Joshi Automobiles. The other luxurious segments, including Audi and Porsche were also in big demand, dealers said.

The sedan Honda City also sold like hot cakes. Two local dealers in the city claimed to have sold about 60 cars today. “Against the sale of two to three units on any given day, we sold 40 cars today,” said Manoj Kaushal, general manager (sales) of Prestige Honda.

Maruti Suzuki remained the favourite among buyers as about 400

cars were sold by seven dealerships in the tricity.

Deepak Sood, sales manager of Berkeley Automobiles, said over 170 units were sold by them today. “We have at least 70 bookings for tomorrow,” he claimed.

Hyundai dealers claimed to have sold around 100 units, three times more than any other day. Against the routine sale of 10 to 12 cars, the dealerships of Ford, Saluja Motors and Bhagat Ford, sold around 50 units.

The authorised dealer of Tata cars, Joshi Auto, claimed that it sold 30 units.

No takers for electronics

The electronics business witnessed a 50 per cent dip. “In the past, buyers used to make a beeline for shops 10-15 days before Diwali, but this time we are virtually waiting for customers,” said Amarjit Singh, proprietor of Samsung Plaza. Surinder Singh of Surindra Vision said he made huge purchases, but there is no business.

Lull in sweets sales

Sweets sellers said business was at an all-time low and blamed the UT Administration for it. “The business saw about 30-40 per cent dip this time. The raids have put off buyers,” said Sharanjit Singh, owner of Gopal Sweets. KK Singhania of Chandigarh Sweets said the authorities conduct raids during the festival season and seize substandard sweets from small units. “It affects us also,” he said.

Greeting cards passe

“SMSes and e-greeting cards have rendered printed cards redundant,” said Manish Gakhar of Archies Gallery. “Earlier we used to sell around one lakh cards before Diwali, but now the number has reduced to 10,000. The sale of cards picks up only during New Year and Valentine’s Day,” he said.

Obsession with gold

Vinod Talwar, president of the Jewellers Association of Chandigarh, claimed that despite the obsession with gold, there had been a dip of 15 per cent. Revenue collections were up, but “if we talk about quantity, the sale is down,” he said. Surya Kant Jain of Jain Jewellers said people were buying gold, but in reduced quantity. Last year, the rate of gold on Dhanteras was Rs 19,200 per 10 gm while today it was Rs 27,300.

Cracker sales yet to pick up

The sale of crackers is still to pick up. The supply is low by almost 40 per cent. Tarsem Kumar, a cracker seller, said the response had been lukewarm so far. Another cracker seller said people preferred to go to Kurali as it had one of the largest cracker markets in the region.



200 illegal cracker sellers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Around 200 unlicensed cracker sellers were detected in the Sector 26 grain market during a raid conducted by the MC fire department here today.

Officials said they had a tough time clearing the parking in Sector 26 due to the trucks and vehicles that were parked haphazardly.

Restaurant owners in Sector 26 said the site for cracker stalls should be shifted from the Sector 26 parking like it was done from Sector 22 to the open ground in Sector 17.

Special instructions have been issued to fire teams that have been constituted to check safety measures at shops selling crackers. They have been told to ensure that adequate sand bags and fire extinguishers were available at the site where crackers are being sold. The report of MC station fire officer SK Gosai stated that while conducting raids at various markets in the city, it was found that large numbers of illegal cracker sellers were operating from the sites earmarked by the UT Administration.

A majority of them dispersed after a warning was issued to them by the fire department. He said tomorrow also checks would be conducted by the teams in all the markets and no prior warning would be issued to them. If anyone was found selling crackers illegally in the markets, action would be taken and an FIR would be registered against him.

Chief fire officer Lalit Siwach has issued directions to the fire officials that in order to minimise reaching time, fire engines along with sufficient staff should be stationed at five sensitive places on October 25. These places are the main markets of Sectors 11, 19 and 22; grain market (Sector 26); and Mauli Jagran and Burail villages.



Playing with fire
Illegal cracker stalls dot Kurali highway
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 24
Facing criticism for failing to crack its whip on wholesalers and retailers selling firecrackers along the Kurali-Ropar highway and the Kurali-Morinda road without seeking an NOC, the district administration today swung into action by issuing notices to at least 130 violators. Around 400 stalls have been put up in Kurali in violation of safety guidelines.

A team of district administration officials comprising executive officer (MC) Sukhwinder Sidhu and Kharar naib-tehsildar Raj Pal Sekhon surveyed the area and found that barring five shops, no other shopkeeper had a licence to stock crackers. Notices were issued to the shopkeepers and they were asked to apply for a licence or face action. It was found that those selling crackers were not paying any fee to the Kurali MC.

A visit to Kurali revealed that shopkeepers had “rented out” the space in front of their shops to stall owners for the sale of firecrackers. No mandatory measures had been adopted by the shopkeepers. Sub-divisional Magistrate, Mohali, Amit Talwar, who is also holding the charge of SDM (Kharar), said the team had been constituted to regulate and enforce safety measures. Similar committees had been set up in Mohali, Zirakpur, Lalru and Dera Bassi.

Wholesalers were selling crackers along the Kurali-Morinda road in a congested market close to residential areas and a sub-station to feed the power supply to the Ropar-Kurali railway line. “Due to political patronage and failure of the local administration in the past, shopkeepers are having a field day,” an official stated.

With no one to man traffic on the Ropar-Kurali road, shops along the highway have become a traffic hazard.



All Booked
Airlines cash in on Diwali rush
Hike fares by 15-20 per cent across domestic sector
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
This Diwali, all the airlines operating domestic flights out of Chandigarh have their hands full. With most flights packed to capacity and the demand for tickets pouring in, the airlines have hiked fares by 15 to 20 per cent across most domestic sectors.

The airlines have also increased the fares for flights operating to various tourist destinations in South-East Asia.

One-way tickets to metros like Mumbai and Chennai and tourist destinations like Goa are now available across the counter between Rs 8,000 and Rs 16,000 on the eve of Diwali. The soaring prices have not only burnt a hole in the pockets of frequent travellers, but also upset the budget of many who had planned visiting tourist destinations. “There are many clients who have booked on these fares as they could not plan in advance,” an agent said.

Air India station manager MR Jindal said it was their policy not to manipulate fares during the festival season. He said there was no change in the rates once these were displayed. He claimed that private operators blocked economy class seats in order to make fast money during the festival season.

While domestic destinations are a clear favourite at this time of the year, countries like Singapore, Thailand, and even Malaysia seem to be drawing a number of Indian holidaymakers. So high is the demand that the fares to these places have skyrocketed by at least by 50 to 70 per cent with even low-cost carriers taking advantage of the festival season.


Diwali fails to cheer them
Students pursuing vocational courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Diwali, the festival of joy, has failed to cheer up hundreds of students pursuing vocational courses in city schools. Reason: UT education department has failed consecutively for the third year to revive the good old Diwali Mela.

The mela, which was discontinued in 2008 under the threat of terror attack, was the prime platform for these students to showcase and sell their products.

It was not just an annual fest for the students pursuing courses in fashion designing, carpenter, bakery and food management but also helped students belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) of society to earn a quick buck by selling their products.

The brainchild of SK Setia, the mela was a huge success where profits ran into lakhs and were eventually ploughed back into education system.

Former DPI Samwartak Singh fearing a terror attack in the city discontinued it. Ever since repeated promises have been made to revive the tradition but nothing has happened on ground leaving many perturbed.

“I am the only son of my mother, who works as a housemaid. I took the course of fashion designing to support my studies but have no platform to sell it. Earlier, there was Diwali Mela and we would even get stalls in various exhibitions, but now we are a forgotten lot,” says a student, Rajesh Kumar.

Even officials claim it to be a big blow to the admission figures.

“The vocational education should ideally epitomize earn while you learn, but unfort unately it is not so here. Initially, Diwali meant an opportunity for these students to earn but ever since the mela has been discontinued we are left at the mercy of exhibition holders.

Until there is a financial incentive, the students are not interested in these courses,” said an official from the vocational education department.



Gambling, hot favourite again this season
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Rising inflation and crashing markets have had no impact on people’s love for gambling during the Diwali season, as is evident from the avid gathering behind closed quarters, mainly residential, all over the tricity.

Depending on the financial background of the group, the figures for a game range between Rs 10 and Rs 10 lakh.

A senior police official said, “We are keeping a close watch on the clubs and restaurants all over the city. We don’t have any confirmed information about any organised gambling activity in the residential quarters.”

President of a Residential Welfare Society said, “All claims of the police are hollow because gambling is a big reality in the city.”

“Teen patti” continues to be the hot favourite among those trying their luck on a pack of cards. Samyukta Sharma, a resident of Sector 15 said, “Ever since my marriage, we in a group of families always organise bouts of teen patti. More than a gamble, we play for fun.”

The game of “mang patta’ was reportedly played at certain shops in the Grain Market, Sector 26. A vegetable dealer said, “Players call for a particular card from the pack in the hand of the dealer. Each player contributes a fixed amount of cash as his gamble. The dealer starts unfolding the pack after the last call. The claimant of the card, which unfolds the earliest takes away the winning amount fixed before the game.”

The popular casino game of “roller” is being played with slight innovation in certain quarters of the city, a senior manager with a finance company said. “



Shopkeepers asked to be vigilant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Chandigarh Police today held a meeting with representatives of the Market Welfare Associations of the city and apprised them to take security measures during the festive season.

UT SSP Naunihal Singh, all SDPO’s, DSP (PCR) Roshan Lal, DSP (Traffic) Vijay Kumar and DSP Kamaldeep attended the meeting held at the Traffic Lines, Sector 29, and briefed 150 market representatives and presidents of the associations.

Police officials asked traders of the city to keep an eye on any suspicious object or person around their shops and should report to the police.

The shopkeepers were also instructed to install CCTV cameras in their shops and verandas and that safety measures should be applied for fire extinguishers.



Duronto losing steam
Just 16,254 passengers in 34 days
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
With just 16,254 passengers travelling from Amritsar to Chandigarh and vice versa since its inaugural run on August 24, the Amritsar-Chandigarh Duronto, launched amid fanfare, is losing steam.

Records from August 24 to October 10 show that the maximum number of passengers to have travelled by this train are from Amritsar. About 8,989 passengers have travelled from Amritsar to Chandigarh while only 7,265 have utilised the service from the city.

The figures have further revealed that about 1,910 persons have travelled from Amritsar to Chandigarh on AC coaches during this 34-day period while 1,132 passengers from the city have used the train. The train, with two AC coaches and 12 non-AC chair car coaches, has a capacity of over 1,400 passengers.

The senior divisional commercial manager at Ferozepur, in a communique to the Ambala railway division, had banned unreserved current booking from September 12, resulting in a further decline in the number of passengers. As a result, the Railways is suffering a loss of lakhs everyday. About Rs 4 lakh is spent daily to run the train.

The Railways has not been able to attract passengers from the city in spite of offering special facilities like purchase of tickets from current reservation counters. The ban on booking of current tickets is being cited as the main reason for the decline in numbers of passengers.

With winter ahead, the number is likely to go down further as the train arrives in Amritsar in the evening. The minimum temperature touches 0°C in Amritsar and people will prefer to travel in air-conditioned buses of private operators during winter. The increase in incidents of snatching in Amritsar during late-night hours has also forced people to travel by bus.

People in Chandigarh and adjoining areas have been demanding permanent stoppages at Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Mohali to draw more passengers. In spite of running into losses, the Railways is not willing to accept this. According to sources, the IRCTC has suggested that an extra counter be opened at the railway station as passengers face problems in filling in reservation forms.



Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass to be opened by year-end
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 24
The Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass will be thrown open to traffic by year-end. “We are hopeful of completing the project by December,” said Anil Dahiya, project director, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

Carpeting and levelling of the 10-km bypass are being done.

The bypass, comprising eight bridges and four underpasses, is a part of the Zirakpur-Parwanoo four-lane project on the National Highway-22.

After its completion, commuters will get rid of traffic jams. While a toll plaza will be set up before Pinjore, there is a proposal to install close circuit cameras (CCTV) on the bypass.

The construction work, which had been pending for the past 30 years, started two-and-a-half-years ago. “The project was supposed to be completed in December last year, but a detailed project report prepared 10 years ago had to be revised as many structures had come up on the land,” added the project director. Following which, new alignments of the road had to be devised which also contributed to the delay in meeting the target, he said.



Architecture college drafts plan for Tripura to draw tourists
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA), as part of their project allotted by the Tripura Tourism Development Corporation, has developed a project for the state to promote the tourist destinations that have been left unexplored.

The identified tourist projects include Akhaura on the Bangladesh border that will be developed on the lines of the Wagah border for retreat ceremony and turning Ujjanta, a royal palace in Agartala, into a museum and a heritage hotel.

The college will soon submit the report to the Tripura government with a blueprint of designs of infrastructure to be created at various tourist destinations in the state. Prof Sohan Lal Saharan of the CCA said the college was allotted the project to access existing tourist places and their significance. “We went across the state to prepare a detailed project report on the tourist destinations and to analyse the significance of the places,” he said.

The college, in its report, has suggested developing the Akhaura border for retreat ceremony on the lines of the Wagah border. “Although a retreat ceremony is organised at the border, it is not highlighted to attract tourists. We have made drawings on the lines of the Wagah border as part of infrastructure to be developed at the border to attract tourists,” Professor Saharan said. The report also mentions about the Ujjanta palace in Agartala that is proposed to be developed as a heritage hotel and a state museum to attract tourists. A team of the CCA also visited Udaipur, a small town in Rajasthan that is famous for its water bodies. However, the lakes are left unutilised to attract tourists. “The lakes that are presently used for fishing can be developed as tourist spots by developing infrastructure on the lines of Sukhna Lake. Along with the drawings of the lakeside, we have proposed to interlink the lakes and develop the city as a city of lakes,” he added.

The CCA has also suggested the conversion of one of the lakes for promoting watersports. Dumboor Lake, another lake around 40 km from Udaipur, has been identified as a place that has the potential to be developed as a tourist destination. “The place has scenic beauty but has remained unexplored due to poor connectivity, which can attract foreign tourist,” the CCA professor added. The college has already compiled a detailed report with drawings to be submitted to the tourism department of Tripura for attracting tourists and developing it as a tourist destination.



Staff crunch plagues Zirakpur MC
Civic body apprehensive about implementation of Right to Service Act
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, October 24
In the absence of adequate staff, the Zirakpur municipal council is apprehensive about the effective implementation of the Right to Service Act. The apprehension stems from the fact that as many as 17 posts in the council have been lying vacant for the past several years.

Sources in the civic body said the posts had not been filled due to administrative delays. They claimed that the matter had time and again being taken up with the local government in the state government, but no action had been taken so far. As a result, several developmental works continue to remain pending.

An MC official said the Act would only add to their woes. Recently, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had introduced the Right to Service Act.

Sources said at present around 33 employees had been working, including one executive officer, one additional executive officer, one superintendent, one municipal engineer, one accountant, three inspectors, one sanitary inspector, one assistant town planner, two junior engineers, two drafts men, one electrician, one computer operator, eight clerks, one pump operator, three peons and five car drivers on a contractual basis.

An MC employee on condition of anonymity said due to the absence of adequate manpower, the council had failed to carry out anti-encroachment drives in the town. He added that most of the staff had been deployed on census and election duties.

Another employee said more than 200 residential colonies had been established in Zirakpur. He said with this the public dealing had also increased.

They demanded that the vacant posts should be filled on a priority basis.

The MC executive officer stated that they had written to the department concerned many a times about the shortage of staff, but did not get any response.

Meanwhile, chairman of the District Planning Board NK Sharma claimed that the the civic body had adequate staff to implement the Right to Service Act in Zirakpur.



YPS Chowk gains popularity among agitators
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 24
With the Assembly elections nearing, the YPS Chowk in Phase VIII (Sector 62) adjoining the UT border has become the new address for the regular and contractual employees of various state government undertakings to agitate in support of their demands.

Dharnas and rallies by one or the other union have not not only caused inconvenience to commuters, but have also affected the normal policing in Mohali.

In case of an international match at the PCA Stadium or a VIP function in the city, cops can be literally seen gasping for breath as the law and order duty and managing the agitating employees becomes impossible for the men in uniform, confided a senior police official. The agitating employees mostly gather at Phase VIII Dasehra Ground or Amb Sahib Gurdwara before blocking the busy Chandigarh-Mohali road separating Sectors 51 and 52, causing harassment to the commuters moving between the two cities.

The problem has aggravated after the UT shifted the dharna venue from Matka Chowk, Sector 9, to Sector 25. Since no employee was ready to go to Sector 25, most of them turned up at the YPS Chowk to get noticed. The Mohali Police has now proposed to shift the dharna venue to Landran or Kharar.

DC bans gathering of five or more persons

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roozam has banned the gathering of five or more persons within 100 metres of various government offices and Fortis Hospital in Phase VIII. The ban order would remain enforced till November 26. Holding of dharnas, rallies and raising of slogans has also been banned. Employees have been holding rallies near the office of Director, Rural Development and Panchayat, Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) and PUDA.



Location blues for bus terminus
Residents want it to be on outskirts
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, October 24
Even as the work of setting up a bus terminus in Zirakpur is yet to start, objections are already being raised on its location. Some persons believe that it will add to traffic congestion. They feel that the site for the bus terminus should be shifted to the outskirts of the town.

Some residents insist that the bus stand is being set up near a busy intersection and the movement of buses will slow down the movement of traffic. The local administration is apparently not taking into consideration the fact that a large number of vehicles will come to pick or drop passengers, they say. To add to commuters’ woes, a large number of auto-rickshaws and rickshaws will remain stationed constantly at the bus terminus, they add. Ajay Sharma of Zirakpur says, “The Chandigarh Administration had shifted the bus terminus from Sector 17 to Sector 43 to avoid traffic congestion, but the Mohali administration was setting up a bus terminus in the heart of the town without any consideration.” A PWD official has stated that work on the bus terminus will be started soon as the tender for it has been allotted. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had laid the foundation stone of a triple-storey bus terminus recently, which was expected to cost Rs 4 crore.



MC ropes in RWAs for improving situation
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 24
Drawing criticism for poor sanitary conditions in the city, the Panchkula municipal corporation has now roped in the Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) to improve the situation.

Recently, the MC wrote letters to various associations in which it stated that members of the RWAs would submit a report on whether they were satisfied with the work of contractor or not. On the basis of this report, the MC would clear the payments to contractors.

MC executive officer KK Jain said they had also given mobile numbers of contractors to the RWAs so that they could speak to them directly.

Amit Kumar, a resident of Sector 12A, said, “These contractors work properly only in VIP areas, but in our area they fail to clear roads properly.” SK Nayyar, president of the Citizens Welfare Association, said they were ready to lend help to the MC.

poor sanitation

The MC wrote letters to various associations in which it stated that members of the RWAs should submit a report on whether they were satisfied with the work of contractor



CII fair, a crowd puller
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The 16th edition of the CII Chandigarh Fair organised at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, witnessed a huge rush of visitors. The fair witnessed a footfall of over two lakh visitors, which is around 15 per cent of the Chandigarh population.

Besides the footfall, around 14,500 business queries were received by exhibitors, which were expecting business potential of more than Rs 20 crore from this fair.

In the five-day fair, which concluded today, residents not only from the tricity but also a large number of people from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh visited the fair.

CII regional director Pikender Pal Singh says, “Almost double participation from across the border is a testimony to the fact that Pakistani exhibitors get a huge business opportunity here and a personal connect that brings them back year after year.”

Sandeep Sharma, a resident of Sector 20, said he had come here to buy a LED TV, as a number of companies have put up their stalls and he could compare the prices. Similarly, Shweta Bhatia, a resident of Sector 16, said she had enquired about water purifiers of various companies.



Ban on carrying of firearms inside marriage palaces
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 24
The Mohali administration has imposed a ban on carrying firearms inside banquet halls and marriage palaces in the district till November 26. The ban has been imposed with an intention to maintain law and order situation in the area during marriage and other functions. DJs have been asked not to play loud music between 10 pm and 6 am.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Varun Roojam promulgated the orders under Section 144 of the CrPC today. The district administration has banned parking of vehicles on footpaths outside marriage palaces, hotels and clubs, failing which legal action would be t’aken against managements of these establishments. He asked owners to arrange proper parking facility during functions.

The DC also asked the authorities to remove rehris along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway in Zirakpur. The administration has also asked owners of cyber cafés to maintain a detailed record of every user.



Good news for Armymen
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 24
In a big sigh of relief for Army personnel posted outside Punjab, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has decided to waive off extension fee even in the case of Army personnel who remained posted outside the state.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the executive committee of GMADA which was chaired by the Punjab Chief Secretary. Sources said it had now been decided that the period during which the serving soldiers and officers of the Armed forces remained posted at non-family stations or those who remained posted outside Punjab, even at family stations, the fee should be waived off after due consideration in the case of residential plots by the Chief Administrator or any other officer authorised by him for the purpose of constructing houses.

GMADA had proposed that an amendment should be included in para six of the notification issued by the department of housing and urban development, Punjab, on June 9, 2010, according to which the extension fee was waived off only for the period during which Army personnel remained posted at non-family stations.





Diwali celebrated

The Citizens’ Awareness Group and Sai Tara Ummat Foundation jointly celebrated Diwali with inmates of the Old Age Home, Sector 15, on Monday. Yogesh Kumar, director, social welfare, was the chief guest. Children from GMSSS, Sector 15, presented a cultural programme, including a bhangra. Earlier, AK Ummat, chairman of the foundation, Surender Verma, chairman of the Awareness Group, spoke to its inmates and promised them help whenever they were called.

Best branch trophy

The anti-corruption branch, CBI, Chandigarh, was adjudged the best branch of the CBI for the year 2009 at the 18th Biennial Conference of the CBI and State Anti-Corruption Bureau held in New Delhi. The trophy was awarded by V Narayanaswami, Minister of State for Personal and Public Grievances, Government of India. Mahesh Aggarwal, DIG, CBI, Chandigarh, received the best branch trophy from the minister.

Shock expressed

Advocate Ajay Jagga, president of the local unit of Janata Party, has expressed shock at the prohibitory orders issued by the Chandigarh Administration with regard to crackers.

The administration has issued orders saying the District Magistrate has banned the usage of fire works in the silence zone and between 10 pm to 6 am from October 25 till November 16.

Registration of ration cards

Residents of Chandigarh are required to get their ration cards (Above Poverty Line-APL), (Below Poverty Line-BPL) and (Antyodaya Anna Yojana- AAY) registered with the fair price shops, ration depots for the drawl of subsidised food grains under the public distribution system, a press note said here on Monday. Those registered APL beneficiaries shall be entitled to draw 60 kg of wheat @ Rs 7 per kg per APL ration card per month for October and November in addition to the fortified atta already being issued to the APL beneficiaries. Moreover, in addition to 35 kg of rice per month, the registered BPL beneficiaries shall be entitled to draw 7 kg of rice at the rate of Rs 6.15 per kg and 7 kg of wheat @ Rs 4.65 per kg per month from October till March.


Prof Sunit Singhi, head department of paediatrics and chief of paediatric emergency and intensive care, Advanced Paediatrics Centre, PGI, was awarded the Swasth Bharat Samman award by Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad in a ceremony held in Delhi on October 22, a press release said here on Monday. The award was bestowed on Prof Singhi for achieving excellence in the field of medical services and for his contribution to the public healthcare system of the country to honour committed and outstanding people in the medical profession.

Brain contest

The city hosted the iMatrix national brain championship, which was organised by iMatrix World Wide. The event was held at Guru Nanak Public School, Chandigarh. Winners of the state-level brain championship from 19 states competed with each other in a series of tests. The championship consisted of tests of memory and mental calculations through Abacus.


Craft exhibition

Woodlands House School, Sector 8, Panchkula, organised its annual craft and project exhibition. Children’s handiwork, craft, science experiments, germination and theme-based projects were displayed.

Anti-cracker rally

DAV Surajpur, Pinjore, hold an anti-cracker rally on Monday. Principal RP Anand gave message of safe and smoke-free Diwali. Besides, many competitions were also organised. Coordinator Sukjeevan Sharma applauded the efforts of the students.


The joy of festival season was in full swing at Hallmark Public School, Sector 15, here. Various activities for students were organised. Tiny tots participated in diya-decoration competition.


The CBSE organised a debate on Vigilance Awareness Week on Monday at Satluj Public School, Sector 4. A total of 78 teams and 156 students from North India participated.


Grandparents’ day out

The grandparents’ day out was organised at St Soldier’s, Mohali. Tiny tots took their grandparents to a world of fantasy. The grandparents were treated to a kaleidoscope of different colours of life. Headmistress Amrit Kalsi welcomed audience. Tiny tots stole their heart as they took them down the memory lane.

Anee’s School

An air of festivity filled the premises of Anee’s School, Mohali. The school celebrates eco-friendly-green Diwali by promoting the message of conserving environment for a secure and green future. The students of primary wing planted saplings. An anti-cracker awareness rally was flagged off by Principal Harpreet Grewal to sensitise people against the ill effect of crackers.

Festive look

Sant Ishwer Singh Public School, Mohali, wore a festive look as the students decorated the school campus with beautiful rangoli of diyas and candles. The students of kindergarten section made Diwali cards, decorated diyas and candles, whereas middle school indulged in thali decoration and rangoli making.

Directory launched

The telephone directory prepared by the Sahib Welfare Association, Phase X from House No 1,477 to 1,709, Phase X, Mohali, was released by MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, Kharar. Hardip Singh Sarao, general secretary of Sahib Welfare Association, spoke on the occasion.

— Tribune Reporters



Work on contemporary architecture exhibited
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Works of six city architects is being showcased at an ongoing international exhibition being held at Singapore. The exhibition, “ArchiFest 11”, being organised from October 3 to October 28 by the Singapore Institute of Architects has various events, including forums, architours, exhibitions and competitions, etc. The theme of ArchiFest is “Common Spaces”.

The exhibition showcased projects from Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India and Philippines. From India, the works of six city architects, namely Namita Singh, Sarbjit Bahga, Surinder Bahga, Mohinderjit Singh, Archana Chaudhary and Kanav Khosla, have been exhibited. Their works include projects on contemporary architecture.

The exhibition aims to strengthen intellectual, artistic, educational and scientific ties among the architects and actively promote the recognition of architect’s role in society.



Contests mark Diwali celebrations in schools

Chandigarh, October 24
St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School celebrated Diwali with great fervour on Monday, as students were enlightened with a tableau from the Ramayana. Various competitions were held in the school where Priya Raag, Riya, Ramneek and Yangchen made the best rangoli amongst students of Classes VIII and IX, while Maitali, Jhanvi, Ria and Shweta stood first in Class X, Sriparna, Ramandeep, Mehak, Amandeep and Loveleen bagged first position in Class XII.

Simram Kaur of Class VI stood first in preparing pooja thali, while Aarushi and Anuj bagged first position in card-making competition. Principal Mervin West lauded the efforts made by the students.


The students of pre-primary wing and Class VII organised “Jagmag Diwali” at AKSIPS-41B on Monday. The school was lit up with beautifully decorated diyas, candles and lanterns made by students. The students also made rangoli patterns with petals of flowers and colours.


An anti-cracker campaign was organised at Government Middle School, Sector 26, Bapu Dham Colony. Students participated in various activities like drawing and slogan writing, essay and poem writing competition. Headmaster Shashi Kumar hold an interactive session on harmful effects of crackers. He encouraged the students to celebrate Diwali by lightening candles and diyas instead of burning crackers.


Students of KB DAV organised a high-tech light and sound three-hour live stage show depicting scenes from the epic Ramayana amidst cheers of parents and students. — TNS



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