C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Skyline lit up, but it wasn’t all bright
Tough luck for 99 cracker victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
It turned out to be a “black” Diwali for 99 persons, who reported at local hospitals from the city and adjoining areas with eye and burn injuries during the festival of lights yesterday. Doctors attending to the injured said many of those who had come in with eye injuries could lose vision in the injured eye permanently.

The Advanced Eye Centre of the PGI received at least 16 such cases, including a five-year-old child and a 15 year-old girl. Nine of the 16 patients who reached the PGI till this evening were passersby who suffered injuries due to negligence of those bursting crackers.

Seven persons, a majority of them elders and a three-year-old child, suffered from noise trauma to the ears, causing deafness and tinnitus.

Two men above the age of 60 and residents of Chandigarh suffered from severe noise trauma. The bullet-bomb blast caused severe blockage of ears followed by tinnitus that decreased after 20 to 30 minutes, but persisted for 16 hours after the blast injury.

The others also reached the PGI with complaints of tinnitus, blockage and deafness immediately after fireworks. All of them had congestion of ear drums, but no perforation. The youngest victim of cracker blast ear injury was a three-year-old girl. Her father was carrying her in his arms while bursting crackers.

Last year, 161 injuries caused by crackers were reported in the region while in 2008 and 2007, the number of injured stood at 123 and 150, respectively, on Diwali night. Doctors said there seems to no let-up in the injuries from crackers despite the fact that awareness campaigns on the issue were initiated during the last couple of years by the media, schools and NGOs.

One of the victims, 15-year-old Monika, a resident of Hisar, sustained eye injuries when her siblings were bursting crackers near her house. Blood started oozing out of her eye when a cracker hit her eye. Doctors referred her to the PGI.

Same was the case with Om Pal of Karnal, who was hit in the eye while he was going home. Doctors said the injury was deep and there was a bleak chance that he would be able to regain vision in the injured eye. Gaganpreet, a four-year-old from Mullanpur Garibdas village, located near the PGI, suffered burns on his face, damaging his eyes. Doctors said nothing could be said about the quantum of the injury as the child could not open his eyes. It was in the morning that Gaganpreet stepped out of his house and immediately sustained burns as some children were bursting crackers in the street, the victim’s mother said.

Celebrations proved a nightmare for Dharmender, an 18-year-old youth from Palsora village, when a cracker hit his eye when he was returning after receiving a gift from his employer at Dhanas village. The highest number of injuries, a majority of them minor, had been reported at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16. Out of 56 cases, three with eye injuries were referred to the PGI. The remaining, including 40, were discharged after first aid, the doctors said. 



‘Powerless’  southern sectors
MC fails to deliver Diwali gift
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Non-functional streetlights on the main road of Colony Number 5, Sector 50, Chandigarh,on Diwali night.
Non-functional streetlights on the main road of Colony Number 5, Sector 50, Chandigarh,on Diwali night. Tribune Photo: Parvesh Chahuan

Chandigarh, October 27
The Municipal Corporation (MC) did not leave any stone unturned to gift a black Diwali to city residents, especially those living in southern sectors.

Contrary to a public announcement made by MC officials on the floor of the last General House that city residents would be greeted to a bright Diwali, as all streetlight points would be made functional ahead of the festival of lights, most of the light points were found non-functional on the occasion.

On the contrary, the situation in the northern sectors was better, as many streetlight points were found to be functional.

Apparently enjoying the extended holiday, MC officials in the electrical wing did not bother to check the non-functional streetlight points. Incidentally, a few days ago, MC officials, led by Chairman of the Electricity Committee Kamlesh, had claimed to have checked the streetlights across the city.

During a visit to various southern sectors last night, it was found that the streetlights on V-3 road of Sector 47, V-5 road in Sector 50 and 51 and V-5 road in Sector 60 were non-functional. Adding to the woes of the residents were dug-up roads at various places in these areas and these had not been re-carpeted properly. As a result, there was a bumpy ride for the commuters, especially for two-wheelers in these sectors.

Electricity Committee chairman Kamlesh said it was strange that the officials had not kept their promise made by them on the floor of the House. She said she would demand explanation call of the officials of the electricity wing from the MC Commissioner Prerna Puri for not fixing the streetlights on time.

Vehicle drivers and pedestrians in southern sectors were virtually groping in the dark as most of the streetlights were out of order. Residents alleged that these streetlights were non-functional for several days. Moreover, there seemed to be no system of checking by the civic body staff whether the streetlights were maintained properly or were in working order.This was despite the fact that the MC paid a substantial amount to the electricity department of the administration towards billing and service line charges.

In fact, Kamlesh had been asking the officials of the electrical wing for the last one year to provide details of the amount which the MC paid to the UT Administration for the maintenance of the streetlights, but the department had so far failed to provide any details about this information.

"The streetlights in my sector have remained non-functional for most of the time in the last one year," complained a resident of Sector 50. He said due to the non-functioning of the streetlights in a major portion of the area, driving had become very dangerous during the night time, as a number of commuters drive their vehicles on high beam. Some feeder pillars were not being maintained properly and expensive equipment like stabilisers, timer switches and TPN switches in them had either not been installed or stolen, leading to the malfunctioning of the street lighting system.

While residents fret and fume over the situation, little has been done by the Municipal Corporation which has been entrusted the work of the maintenance of lights. All efforts of municipal councillors and residents have fallen on deaf ears.



Phones kept ringing at PCR
271 callers complained of brawls, bursting of crackers beyond 10 pm
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Diwali celebrations kept the Chandigarh police on its toes with 271 calls relating to brawls and bursting of crackers after the stipulated time of 10 pm received at the Police Control Room (PCR). Only 63 calls could be verified by the police teams on reaching the spot.

In all, 271 calls relating to various complaints were received, out of which 113 pertained to brawls and minor scuffle.

Police officials said complaints were received from across the city.

However, more than half of the calls could not be verified as the police could not find anything on reaching the scene.

An official at the control room said many callers, who did not wish to be identified, were complaining about their neighbours bursting crackers late into the night. Complaints regarding brawls started pouring in at the control room since Wednesday morning and continued till next morning.

The Police Control Room received 16 calls regarding brawls during Diwali celebrations. Out of these, 13 calls were confirmed.

However, the police is yet to register cases as the investigation is still on.



3 robberies in past 48 hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The city recorded an incident of stabbing for a mere Rs 2,500 along with two other robbery incidents involving sums of Rs 8,000 and Rs 4,000 and a mobile phone, all in the jurisdiction of a solitary police station over Diwali eve (Tuesday) and Diwali day (Wednesday).

The police said Nonel, a resident of Raipur Khurd, was stabbed in the stomach by two unidentified youths, who robbed him of Rs 2,500. In his complaint, Nonel said he was en route home when he was waylaid by the youths near the railway bridge at Ram Darbar.

Nonel has been admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Sector 32 and investigations are on.

In another incident, two unidentified persons snatched Rs 8,000 from Ram Sewak, a resident of Ram Darbar, near the Sector 47 gurdwara last night.

In his complaint, Ram Sewak stated that the two unidentified accused fled after snatching the cash.

In the third incident, Brij Lal Thakur of Bhawat village in Mohali district was robbed of Rs 4,000, besides a mobile phone, by four youths under a bridge near the poultry farm roundabout close to Sector 31 on Tuesday. The police said it had arrested two accused. Investigating Officer Randhir Singh said the accused had been identified as Sunny and Laddi, both residents of Hallo Majra. The mobile phone had been recovered from their possession.



Consumer court raps estate office
Admn fined Rs 50,000 for procedural wranglings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Showcasing illegality in official proceedings and causing public harassment due to procedural wrangling has been highlighted in a severe reprimand that the estate office of the UT Administration recently received at the hands of a local consumer court.

The court has since ordered the Administration to pay Rs 25,000 each to Avtar Singh and Anup Singh in a case pertaining to harassment and delay caused in transfer of a property in Sector 35 in their names.

The Administration was also asked to pay litigation costs of Rs 5,500. It was also asked to recover the amount along with interest and costs from the salary of the defaulting officials due to whose inaction the matter was delayed.

Surmukh Singh, Babbar Singh and Lakhbir Singh had obtained a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the estate office for the sale of 50 per cent of a property in Sector 35 in the name of Avtar Singh and Jagtar Singh, sons of Anup Singh. Surmukh Singh, who was in the Army, was asked to cancel his leave and return to duty and the sale deed could not be executed. He executed a power of attorney with the sub-registrar who registered the sale deed in the name of the buyers.

Later, Avtar Singh applied for transfer of property in his name, which the estate office kept pending. The complainant was asked to submit Rs 12,000, which he did. Even then, the matter was not disposed of. The estate office took the position that the sellers had not informed it that they were selling the house through general power of attorney (GPA) and that the estate office had not been supplied a copy of the rectified sale deed.

After going through details of the case, the court said: “The approach of the estate office in this regard was not only unjustified but also illegal.” It had not been able to cite any law under which it was required to be informed by the complainant or the owner about the execution of a power of attorney. And the orders issued by the authorities were not binding, it stated.

The order read: “It is desired that such like office orders pertaining to the rights of the general public should be examined by the estate office in light of the law of the land before issuing the same. We have no hesitation in concluding that the owner of the property has a right to execute the GPA for the transfer of ownership rights in favour of the person an owner likes.”



Financial bungling at RLA?
Irregularities worth lakhs detected
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
An irregularity, bordering on a possible scam, involving several lakhs of rupees in the local Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) office has reportedly been detected during checking of its records recently.

“Several lakhs of rupees from around half-a-dozen transactions were found to be missing during a checking of accounts of a period of six months by the UT Additional Deputy Commissioner ML Sharma,” claimed sources.

Sharma, who had submitted his report in this regard to UT Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh two days ago, admitted that there was no reconciliation of accounts in the department, which was mandatory under rules.

Though Sharma refused to divulge the details of his report, he confirmed that things were not in order in the department. “Certainly, rules were being flouted by some officials and I have recommended proper inquiry of records of past several years in my report,” he said. The records were checked following a tip-off.

Sources claimed that following the detection of several lakhs of rupees going “missing” from certain transactions, the authorities had been alerted.

Sharma said the records were checked randomly and there was need to conduct a proper inquiry.

Under rules, the officials concerned have to reconcile accounts every month to tally the actual amount being deposited by the official with the amount collected by the department.

The Deputy Commissioner could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Parshuram Kavle, SDM (south) and local Registration and Licensing Authority, said he was outstation on leave.

Around four years, in the absence of reconciliation of accounts, a cashier of the UT electricity department had “pocketed” about Rs 3 crore by using a fake stamp of the treasury branch.


Fewer fireworks witnessed in city this diwali
Residents heave a sigh of relief as both duration and intensity of bursting crackers was less than last few years
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Fireworks light up the sky even as smog was visible across the city late on Diwali night.
Fireworks light up the sky even as smog was visible across the city late on Diwali night. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 27
City residents were relieved, as this Diwali witnessed lesser fireworks last night. The residents of many areas like Kaimbwala, Sector 38 and certain northern sectors claimed that the duration as well as the intensity of bursting of crackers was comparatively low last night than that of last few years.

“It was a maximum of two-hour (from 8 pm to 10 pm) span when we heard the sound of bursting crackers continuously. In earlier years, including last year, their used to be continuous fireworks till midnight. We felt that the ‘Green Diwali’ concept has started casting its spell on the residents,” said Anup Sharma, a resident of Sector 38 (West).

An elderly couple, Nartej Singh and his wife Gurman, from Sector 9, too, felt that both noise and air pollution was lesser last night if compared with last year.

“I am asthmatic and used to have faced a lot of problem during Diwali. But last night, I felt a bit comfortable, as the pollution level was not so much, as it used to be earlier. My wife also felt the same,” said Nartej Singh.

Even Vikram Seth, a resident of Sector 21, claimed that the intensity and duration of continuous fireworks have fallen drastically. “I was amazed to see the change yesterday. In my viewpoint, the rise in prices of crackers and mainly children were the forces behind this ‘positive’ change’,” said Seth, adding that his 12-year-old son, Rohan Seth and nine-year-old daughter, Mushkan were against bursting crackers.

PJS Dadwal, director of the UT Pollution Control Board, said he, too, felt the same. “But only the data of pollution and air quality on Diwali night would tell the fact. We have measured the pollution level of three days (before Diwali, Diwali and after Diwali) at seven points. The reports would come in two to three days,” said Dadwal.

Crackers’ sellers disappointed

A lot of crackers’ sellers in the city lamented that they were left with huge stocks of crackers. “This year, the enthusiasm of residents towards crackers was less,” claimed Vijay Sachdeva, a crackers’ seller. “I was left with crackers over worth Rs 1 lakh. Now, I am eyeing on the forthcoming ‘Gurpurab’ to clear my stock,” he said. Similarly, Rajesh Kumar, who set up a crackers’ stall in Sector 22, claimed that high inflation was the main reason behind fewer sales of crackers. “Many of my regular clients, who used to buy a lot of crackers, bought less crackers this time.”



31 incidents of minor fire reported 
tribune news service

Chandigarh, October 27
As many as 31 cases of minor incidents of fire were reported on the occasion of Diwali yesterday. The figure is nearly double of last year. Records of the fire department reveal that against 31 minor cases of fire this year, only 16 incidents were reported last year. No major loss due to fire was reported from any part of the city.

As per information provided by the fire department, a minor fire broke out at a pharmaceutical godown in the timber market in Sector 26 due to a short circuit. Material worth Rs 10,000 was damaged. A fire official said the fire was doused in an hour.

In another fire at a house in Manimajra, household items were gutted. Incidents of minor fires were also reported from Sectors 20, 21, 27, 40 and 49, Gobinpura and Shastri Nagar after wild dry growth caught fire from crackers.

Fire brigade employees remained on their toes throughout Diwali night and managed to control fire incidents in time. An official said most of the incidents were controlled immediately as fire engines had been deployed in sensitive areas.

A fire engine each was stationed at major fire-prone areas of the city, including markets of Sectors 15, 19, 22 and 26, Burail and Mauli Jagran. A senior official said after the passing of the “crucial” period, firemen on duty heaved a sigh of relief and wished one another happy Diwali. They later got busy in compiling reports of fire incidents and rescue operations.



Firemen remain on toes
14 cases of fire reported on Diwali night
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 27
The fire brigade personnel of the district remain on tenterhooks, as 14 calls of fire incidents, including 12 at Panchkula, were reported on Diwali night.

However, no major loss of property was reported.

While fire incidents were reported from Sectors 4, 14, 15 and 20 of Panchkula, two calls were from Pinjore.

At some places, the fire was controlled even before the fire tenders reached the spot.

Meanwhile, 51 cases of burn injuries and eye injuries were reported at the General Hospital, Sector 6. As all patients were suffering from minor injuries, they were discharged after administering the treatment, said senor medical official Sanjeev Trehan.



Mohali PCR receives19 complaints against bursting of crackers beyond 10 pm
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 27
During Diwali celebrations, the Mohali Police control room (PCR) received as many as 19 calls from frantic residents complaining about their neighbours bursting crackers even after 10 pm.

They complained that crackers were burst till 1 am. Though PCR vehicles went to the spot, no case was registered despite the directives issued by the civil and police administration regarding the ban on bursting of crackers after 10 pm.

A random survey revealed that though the number of people busting crackers was comparatively less than previous years, the ban was flouted by those who burst crackers on the streets. Unconcerned about the welfare of people suffering from hypertension and respiratory disorders, revellers burnt the crackers till late night.

A senior police official said there were four minor accidents and 12 cases of minor brawls were reported from Mohali.



Health staff observe ‘Black’ Diwali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 27
Agitating employees of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) observed a “Black Diwali” on the office premises here yesterday, with employees from other districts also participating in the protest. The agitation has entered its 10th day with protesters demanding proper pay scales and regularisation of services.

Some employees’ welfare organisations supported the demands of the PHSC employees. Speakers criticised the attitude of the management. They said it had tried to lure the Class IV employees by offering them festival loan. But the Class IV employees did not accept the loan.



35-year-old succumbs to burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
A 35-year-old resident of Dadu Majra died after receiving burn injuries due to a stove blast at his house on Wednesday.

Suresh Kumar received 90 per cent burn 
injuries after the stove on which he was preparing tea busted.

The incident took place when Suresh was alone on the first floor of his house and his wife Luxmi Devi was on the ground floor.

Suresh was rushed to the PGI where he succumbed to his injuries. A case was registered and an inquiry has been initiated.



Speeding car claims child’s life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
A young life was snuffed out, while a pedestrian was injured in two separate accidents on Wednesday.

A two-year-old girl died after a recklessly driven car hit her on Wednesday. The victim, identified as Anchal, was walking on roadside when the speeding car hit her.

The victim’s father, Om Parkash, a resident of Sector 56, in his complaint, stated that his daughter got injured after being hit by the car near Badheri Market. Parkash stated that while playing, she went towards the road and was hit by the car coming from the opposite direction.

Anchal was rushed to the PGI, where she later died. The driver of the car has been identified as Balram Singh, a resident of Sector 41. A case has been registered against him.

In another accident, a pedestrian, identified as Jaswant Lal, was injured after being hit by a 
two-wheeler near the Sector 37 market.

Lal was admitted to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital in Sector 16. 



Garbage, poor sanitation sum up Ward No 3

Ward number 3 comprises centrally located Sectors like 16, 17 and 22 and faces problems such as encroachments and shortage of parking space in markets. The ward depicts a lack of coordination between different departments of the MC. Recently, paver blocks were laid in Sector 22 after a fortnight. Contractor had dug up the road for laying some wires and it had been lying as such for the past two months. About a fortnight back again deep ditches were dug on the newly laid paver blocks which are lying as such inviting some accident to occur as a government school is nearby.


The municipal corporation (MC) sanitation drives in the ward are a mere eyewash as sweepers rarely visit the ward and one can see garbage strewn everywhere. In fact, safai karamcharis visit the ward at their whims and fancies. Adding to the woes, there is irregular door-to-door collection of garbage in the ward due to which the residents end up dumping garbage on roadsides.

Condition of internal parks

The MC spends lakhs of rupees on the development of internal parks in the ward, but when it comes to maintenance, the authorities do not prefer to spend a penny on it. In Sector 22, a small park has been developed by the authorities to facilitate the public. For the past three years, the authorities have not been able to get a 
pothole levelled outside the park.

Non-functional streetlights

Residents of the ward keep complaining about the non-functional streetlights in the area which has become a cause for a number of snatching incidents. But despite a number of reminders given to the authorities, no action has been taken so far.

Stray animals

Tall claims made by the MC to rid the city of stray animals have fallen flat, as in Sector 22 stray dogs have made the lives of residents miserable.

Laying of new sewerage

In Sector 22, long-pending demand of laying a new sewer has not been entertained by the authorities so far. As during rainy season, residents face the problem of water-logging.

Parking problem

The parking problem in commercial area of Sector 17 and residential area of Sector 22 has become a major headache for residents. The first multi-level parking project in Sector 17 has been scrapped and the other one is

yet to start by the authorities due to which residents and shopkeepers are facing a lot of problems. 

Ward woes

Ward number - 3

n Councillor:

Pardeep Chhabra (Mayor in 2008)

n Party:

Congress Ward development fund: Out of Rs 130 lakh allotted in the last five years, Rs 157.11 lakh have been spent till March 2011.

How tech savvy your councillor is:

Residents have posted their problems on Facebook and have even sent e-mails. The councillor has never responded on either of the two choices of the public to voice their grievances.

n How many question he has tabled in the House in the last one year (2010):

He has tabled a number of questions in the question hour of the General House meeting.

Voter population

Sectors 16 and 17: 4,000

Sector 22: 10

Major achievements: -

n Community centre in Sector 22. -

n Extension of plaza in Sector 17. -

n Over bridge in Sector 17.

n e-sampark services going to start in Sector 22

Speaking Out

As the councillor has been putting in efforts to beautify the area, we don’t have major problems. But problems like poor sanitation and non-functional streetlights have to be solved on a priority basis
— SK Sangari, resident of Sector 22

‘Our area councillor has set an example for others to emulate. If there is a will, one can do wonders.
— SC Thukral, resident of Sector 22

A number of development projects, initiated by the area councillor in the past five years, are yet to see light of the day. These can turn out to be an achievement for the councillor, if completed on time
— Mohd Shabad Khan, a shopkeeper in Sector 17.

‘Poor sanitation has become a major problem here. The staff shortage in the sanitation wing of the MC affects the day-to-day garbage collection. The problem has been taken up with the authorities a number of times, but the department has not been able to solve it till date.
— Pardeep Chhabra (Mayor in 2008)



Residents seek closure of hukka bar
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 27
Finding it a nuisance, residents of Sector 10 have requested the district administration to shut down a newly opened hukka bar in the market. The presence of the hukka bar right in the middle of the market, which has a large number of coaching centres, is resulting in rowdyism and clashes in the locality, said B B Singhal, a resident and former vice-president of erstwhile Panchkula municipal committee.

Schoolchildren had started going to these places, he said.

Recently, a raid was conducted and it was found that nicotine was being served to customers, said Singhal. “There are nearly five such bars in the town,” said Aman Gambhir, another local resident. A number of minor clashes have occurred in front of these bars.



Sector 70 — Residential area or a dumping site?
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 27
Despite being one of the newly developed sectors of Mohali, Sector 70 suffers as it is located next to Matour village. Ever since the sector was conceived, open spaces between historic Matour village and residential parts of the sector are being used to dump garbage. A village pond that has literally dried up is also being used to dump garbage and debris.

Garbage dumped along a road in Sector 70, Mohali. (Right)A number of projects have been started in the town, but only a few of them have seen the light of the day.
Garbage dumped along a road in Sector 70, Mohali. Tribune photos: (Right)A number of projects have been started in the town, but only a few of them have seen the light of the day. Vicky Gharu

Though well connected to the 200 ft wide Balongi-Aercoity road and busy Chandigarh-Landran road, the sector also suffers from poor basic amenities like unkempt gardens and road berms. An open space adjacent to the important Singh Shahidan Gurdwara, Sohana, has been converted into a garbage dumping site. The parking of Sector 70 main market (facing Sector 69) which was full of potholes was of late being repaired. Otherwise, it was impossible to enter the parking area of the market.

With the authorities failing to check cattle menace, the animals can be seen entering parks and roaming on roads posing a threat to residents.
With the authorities failing to check cattle menace, the animals can be seen entering parks and roaming on roads posing a threat to residents.

Jasbir Singh, a resident of the area, said a public toilet meant for apni mandi of the sector had been lying incomplete for the past four years. The musical fountain of the sector, raised at a cost of lakhs of rupees, is crying for attention. One side of the park adjoining HIG Houses has not been fenced with wires. As a result, stray dogs and cows stray into the park. Irritated with the state of cleanliness, members of the Suchna Adhikar Manch ( an NGO formed by residents) contributed funds to carry out a cleanliness drive in the sector.

Stray cattle menace is another issue troubling residents.

The sector suffers as it is located next to Matour village. Unhygienic conditions prevail all around as there is no one to maintain the cleanliness
—KGN Sodhi, local resident

Stray cattle should be removed from green belts. open spaces are lying in a state of neglect as GMADA and MC are not bothered to take care of the basic amenities.
Dr Daler Multani, local resident



Two eye injury cases reported
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 27
Residents of Mohali had a safe Diwali this year as only two eye injury cases were reported from the town apart from minor fire incidents.

A seven-year-old girl from Balongi, Khushbu, sustained an eye injury and was brought to the Civil Hospital. She was discharged from the hospital today.

Khush Bahadur, a resident of Sector 68, also sustained an eye injury.

As many as 10 persons had sustained burn injuries on their hands while bursting crackers. Among them were Karamjit Singh, Ajaib Kaur from Sector 56, Somi, a resident of Sector 39, Chandigarh, Gurdial Singh, a resident of Palsora, and Harleen Kaur and Meharbaan Singh, both from Phase I.

A fire broke out in a house at Phase XI after a cracker entered a room, beds, mattresses, computer and other items lying in the room got damaged.

Two minor fire incidents were reported from Sohana and Mundi Kharar. 



New MC building likely in Zirakpur
Rajiv Bhatia

A file photo of the Zirakpur municipal council building.
A file photo of the Zirakpur municipal council building.

Zirakpur, October 27
The Zirakpur municipal council is all set to have a new building. Come November and the work will begin. In fact, foundation stone of the building is to be laid in the first week of November.

Sources in the MC’s office said a special meeting would be called on November 2 to discuss the ongoing development works in the town. MC president NK Sharma will chair the meeting.

Sources said the MC had put the entire project on the fast track as it wanted to lay the foundation stone before the model code of conduct comes into force in view of the impending Vidhan Sabha poll.

The development is significant as the council is now functioning from a community centre in the congested area in Pabhat. The sources said as of now visitors to the MC’s office had to face parking problem. There was no drinking water facility. Lack of space created problem in maintaining records, sources added.

An MC official stated that the new two-storey building, along with a basement, would be constructed right opposite the Zirakpur police station in Lohgarh village.

Official said the municipal council had approved a sum of Rs 1.30 crore for the construction of the building. He added that a private company would be appointed to construct the building for which tenders had already been floated.

In 2007, Zirakpur nagar panchayat was upgraded to the municipal council. Around 19 rooms were been divided into cabins with no parking facility.

The official said according to the map, the basement would be constructed for storing MC records. Ground floor would accommodate president room, executive officer room, municipal engineer room, board room and waiting hall for general public.

There would be an administrative block on the first floor for public dealing where the public would get facilities of submitting house tax, licence applications, pension and other facilities. Councillors would also get a room to listen to public grievances, draftsman’s office, council meeting room, superintendent’s office and public waiting room, the official added.

An executive officer of the Zirakpur municipal council Parminder Singh Saro stated that a meeting would be called on November 2 to discuss the ongoing development works. New developments projects would also be taken up, the officer added.



JEs begin chain hunger strike in Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Members of the Council of Diploma Engineers from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh stage a rally outside the Punjab Irrigation Department office in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Members of the Council of Diploma Engineers from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh stage a rally outside the Punjab Irrigation Department office in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 27
Continuing with their pen-down strike, members of the Council of Diploma Engineers from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh today started the chain hunger strike in front of the Hydel Building of Punjab Irrigation Department in Sector 18 here.

The first batch of engineers from Chandigarhand Mohali zone started the chain hunger strike and it would be continued by the council members from other zones in the three states.

The chain fast would continue till November 8. The members who sat on the dharna today were Pardeep Ahluwalia, Rajesh Kora, Amrik Singh, Ragubir Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Avtar Singh, Charanjit Singh, Kewal Krishan, Pawan Kumar, Rajesh Nautyal, Sarjiwan Lal Kaushal and Angrej Singh.

The Junior Engineers are agitating against non-acceptance of their principally agreed upon demands by the state government. The main demands are higher pay scales and 30 litres of petrol per month for field duties.

Satnam Singh Dhanoa, chairman of the council, said despite the demands being accepted in a meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary on January 6, the state government had failed to implement the same. While the government was announcing a bonanza for other employees, the already accepted demands of the junior engineers were not being implemented.



Jagleen is MBA topper in PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Pulling off a brilliant show, Jagleen Kaur, an MBA 4th semester student of University Business School (UBS), PU Regional Centre, Ludhiana, has secured first position in the combined Panjab University merit list of MBA fourth semester, the result of which was declared by the PU recently.

Jagleen Kaur has secured 2,068 marks out of a total of 2,800 and has secured first overall university position in the combined results of UBS Ludhiana and UBS Chandigarh.

Dr Ravi Inder Singh, Resident Coordinator, UBS, Ludhiana, said with the students excelling in the exams, a large number of MNC’s are showing interest in the campus for placements. “The results shown by the students have started attracting various companies towards the regional centre for hiring students, offering them good packages,” Singh said.

Singh said CTI Shipbrokers, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Fullerton Securities, Federal Bank and Axis Bank had recruited students from the B-School earlier. “We are expecting more companies for the coming placement session at higher packages,” PU officials said.



German danseuses leave audience awestruck
SD Sharma

Johanna Devi Lanzaro; and (right) Shebana Devi Mangold perform in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Johanna Devi Lanzaro; and (right) Shebana Devi Mangold perform in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, October 27
The city art lovers were treated to a rare treat of bharatnatyam Indian classical dance at the second International Dance Festival organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Punjab Arts Council at the Randhawa auditorium here today.

The sleek performance assumes more significance, as both avid danseuses, Shebana Devi Mangold and Johanna Devi Lanzaro, who brought alive the grandeur and majesty of the dance were Berlin-based German nationals and foremost proponents of bharatanatyam in the West.

Instead of the conventional paradigm of performing alarippu, jethiswarm, shabdam, young Johanna commenced the dance concert with an invocatory “Natranjali” set to raga naate and adital.

Vivacious and versatile Shebana, a lawyer by profession, portrayed different swaroops of Goddess Durga, Singh vahini in raga ranjani and adi taal. She enacted episodes like Mahishasur Vadh with brilliance before Johanna presented Tamil keertanam. The dance drama described the spiritual and physical powers of Lord Shiva.

Shebana again took the centrestage only to mesmerise audience in an ashatpadi based on geet Govinda composed by her Indian guru Dhanajay in raga darbari kanrah, depicting skahis of dejected Radha in search of Lord Krishan.

Shebana Mangold involved her body and soul in interpreting the anguish of Radha in a captivating dancing spell. It was again Johanna Lazaro providing the grand finale to the concert with a thrilling thillana.

Both versatile danseuses knowing little of Hindi sang along the lyrics in Sanskrit and Tamil, besides the sargam and syllables of pedant. Both maintained a consistent pace, verve and vitality, immaculate emotional expression and nimble footwork throughout their dancing spells.



Chandigarh Scan

The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has won the Corporate Greentech Social Responsibility Award-2011 in the hydropower sector. The award has been given in recognition of the BBMB having made positive impact and difference on the lives of people around and to the communities in which they were active through their outstanding and innovative CSR programmes. The award was presented at Srinagar by Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Jammu and Kashmir government.

Diwali celebrations
The UT social welfare department in collaboration with the Citizens Council for Human Rights celebrated Diwali with the inmates of Nari Niketan in Sector 26 here on Wednesday. Sweets and fruits were distributed among the inmates. A cultural function was also organised.

The Punjab and Haryana Retired Accounts and Audit Officers’ Association on Thursday alleged that the Punjab government had ignored the pensioners’ demands. In a press note issued here, the association expressed resentment against the “step-motherly” treatment of the Punjab government towards the demands of the pensioners.

National conference
The Federation of Indian NGOs for Drug Abuse Prevention (FINGODAP) is organising its three-day national conference on “Reducing negative consequences of drug use and quality assurance in service delivery” from tomorrow at the Law Auditorium, Panjab University. The conference is being organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, department of AIDS control, Government of India, and State AIDS Control Society of Punjab and Chandigarh. Mukul Wasnik, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, and Pawan Bansal, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, will inaugurate the conference.

— Tribune Reporters



Education dept, pvt schools to work on financial modalities 
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The UT education department and private schools may have principally agreed on reserving 25 per cent of seats under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory (RTE) Education Act, but the duo are yet to reach a consensus over financial modalities.

While the education department based on last year’s review by the AG office has proposed a monthly remuneration of Rs 1,163 per child per month and sought “feedback”, the schools have, however, dismissed it for being too low.

“Last year we had sought a RTI and found that Rs 2,000 was the monthly average cost of learning in any government model school. A majority of the private schools also have similar fee structures, so how come such a low monthly remuneration be proposed? The act says that the reimbursement should be equal to the government school or school’s fee, whichever is less,” said a principal of a school of Sector 26.

Other than the monthly fee, the school wants the UT to clarify who will be paying for uniforms, stationery and transport.

“Fine, we might admit them at this rate, but who will pay for books, stationery and bringing them to the school? We can’t do all that and the UT is yet to spare a thought on it. We had at the last meeting brought this point to fore and had asked them to have private school representatives participating in calculation of remuneration, but nothing of this sort has been done. The education department while calculating the figures are taking all students of their school into account not withstanding the fact that the Act applies till class VIII only and their maximum number of students are enrolled in classes XI and XII. Financial modalities need to be worked out by both parties,” said Independent School Association president HS Mamik.

The PTA associations of many schools have approached the school authorities to ensure that a general student may not end up bearing the brunt of this reservation due to the increase in fee.



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