C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


70 drink water, fall ill
CHB sends water sample to laboratory for quality check 
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
About 70 residents, including 13 children, of the Economical Weaker Section Society (EWS) in Sector 38 (West) fell ill this afternoon after drinking contaminated water being supplied by the UT Administration.

While two children were admitted to the General Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, the rest were sent back to their homes after a brief treatment.

A doctor on duty at the hospital confirmed that he and his colleagues had examined several patients from the colony. “The patients were complaining of severe stomachache, fever and dizziness. It could be due to contaminated water,” he said.

However, officials of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) claimed that there was nothing wrong with the water.

The water is being supplied to the society by a tubewell, which is being maintained by the CHB. “The water is of good quality, but still we have sent some samples to a laboratory to check its quality. The tank will be cleaned tomorrow,” said MM Sabharwal, secretary of the CHB. He admitted that this was the first time that a water sample had been sent to the laboratory.

The tubewell has been functional for at least two years. The residents of the colony claimed that about 40 persons had fallen ill two days ago after drinking the water, following which the Municipal Corporation sent water tankers to provide them with clean drinking water.

“Today again, several residents started complaining of fever, dizziness and severe stomachache immediately after having water from taps in their houses. You can see the area near the tubewell and the condition of the tank where the water is being stored,” said Dogar Singh, a resident, while pointing towards the algae, wild growth and stones lying in the tank.

“Despite our repeated requests as well as complaints, nobody has bothered to check the quality of water. This is not the first time that we are falling ill after consuming dirty water,” said Ravi Kumar, another resident. About 900 persons are staying in the society.



Film comes to ‘haunt’ PVR cinemas
Told to pay Rs 50,000 for screening 3D film without technology
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Holding the management of a mall grossly responsible for unfair trade practices, the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed PVR cinemas in the Industrial Area to pay Rs 50,000 compensation for causing mental agony to complainants who had come to watch a 3D movie, but were not provided with the facility.

Holding the PVR management guilty, the forum ruled that Rs 10,000 is to be paid to the complainants and Rs 40,000 is to be deposited with the State Legal Services Authority. The management has also been directed to pay Rs 5,000 as litigation costs.

The producers of the Vikram Bhatt film has also been made an opposite party in the complaint. However, no one from the production team appeared before the forum and the proceedings were adjudged exparte.

The complainants Sudhir Chauhan of Sector 45-B and Saroj Malakar of Sector 16 went to the PVR Centra Mall last year to watch the 3D movie “Haunted”. The complainants purchased two tickets for the movie, with 3D effects as was advertised. When the movie began, it had no 3D affects. The complainants objected, but no satisfactory response was received from the manager. Later, the complainants served a legal notice on the mall, but to no effect. They then moved the consumer forum.

The PVR manager in a reply to the forum denied any deficiency on their part and clarified that the poster of the movie that was advertised in its pamphlet was not the creation of PVR Cinema. The poster mentioned that the movie had been created using 3D technology.

The president of the forum, PD Goel, and member Madanjit Kaur Sahota wanted to know how a common man would know if a movie created in 3D technology was actually being shown in 3D technology. “It was certainly the lawful duty of the PVR to clarify this fact in their advertisements or pamphlets as to whether they are showing the movie in question in 3D screen technology...But it has not been done so, by them, as is clear from the pamphlets remained grossly deficient in providing proper services to the complainants, but also indulged in adopting unfair trade practices and thereby caused loss, not only to the complainants, but also to the public at large,” the forum said.



Groom sweeps bride off her feet
Lands at wedding venue in a helicopter at Chappar Chiri
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chappar Chiri, March 11
Since the entire state government machinery is busy preparing for the March 14 swearing-in ceremony at Baba Banda Singh Memorial, the landing of a helicopter in the nearby fields caught the attention of residents who thought that Parkash Singh Badal had descended on the village to review the arrangements.

Instead, they were surprised to see Kanwaljeet Singh, a resident of Manakpur Kalar (Banur), arrive in the helicopter to marry Sukhwinder Kaur of Chappar Chiri village. After the wedding, the newlyweds flew back in the helicopter.

The entire village had assembled in the fields this morning when the helicopter landed at a specially erected helipad. “It is my first flying experience. It was my dream to fly to the venue for my wedding. I hired the helicopter for Rs 70,000 an hour. We hired it for six hours. At first, I was afraid, but soon started enjoying the ride. It was a memorable moment when my wife and I were flying together,” said an excited Kanwaljeet Singh, who is a farmer.

The flight from his native village to the bride’s village took 20 minutes. His family members travelled in a limousine to the village. The groom said he wanted to make his wedding a special event.



P’kula police goes slow against hookah bar owners
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
It has been over two months since the district drug control department submitted its chemical analysis report against 13 hookah bars, confirming the presence of nicotine in the samples of tobacco molasses collected from the bars, but the police has so far registered an FIR only against eight such bar owners.

Eyebrows are being raised on the delayed action of the Panchkula police. The police registered three FIRs only yesterday, just two days before the hearing in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in connection with hookah bars.

Earlier, too, the police was reluctant to register an FIR against the hookah bar owners, but did so after the district drug control department forwarded a letter to the police in the first week of February, reminding it about the delayed action. The police then registered an FIR against five hookah bar owners under Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection or disease dangerous to life) and 272 (adulteration of food or drink intended for sale) of the IPC.

In November 2011, officials of the state drug controller department took samples of tobacco molasses being served in the bars to clients. The report of chemical analysis of these samples confirmed that the tobacco molasses contained nicotine. They submitted a complaint to the police and asked it to register an FIR against 13 hookah bar owners.

Maneesh Chaudhary, DCP, said he was not aware about the delayed action and would seek an explanation from the SHOs concerned. 


A few TEACHERS an exception
Have been taking regular feedback from students for the past many years
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
With students of Panjab University trying hard to get the teacher evaluation implemented and teachers opposing the same, there are few teachers who have been taking feedback from students for the past many years.

Gunmala Suri, an Associate Professor with the University Business School (UBS), is getting herself evaluated for the last 10 years. She believes that feedback from students is a must for a teacher to know the shortcomings and improve upon them.

“I have prepared a structured feedback form that is distributed among the students. Few points that have been included in the feedback form include suggestions on delivery of lecture, content of lectures, areas of improvement for the teacher and any changes that can be made in the curriculum”, Suri said.

She further added that the students were even asked to suggest some books they had read which could help her in improving her knowledge content.

“These forms are distributed among the students at the end of every semester and students are supposed to give an anonymous feedback”, said Suri who finds feedback the need of the hour as that can help a teacher improve his/ her overall performance.

Suri is not the only one, but Professor BS Ghuman of department of public

administration has also been taking feedbacks from students for the past six years.

Ghuman believes that the anonymous feedbacks given by the students have always helped him improve his performance.

He said that there was no performa designed by him and students were welcome to express anything they wanted to and in any language. “I just ask the students to write anything they wish to convey 
to me on a plain paper”, Ghuman said.

He further added that the feedback given by the students had helped me in improving my performance.

Although the PU syndicate had approved the teacher evaluation in 2010, it failed to implement it. Initially, there was opposition from faculty members that only those students should be allowed to evaluate with an attendance record of 75 per cent. In response to this, the students raised objections. Later, it was even decided that as the university condones 10 per cent lectures, the minimum criteria could be taken as 65 per cent.

The student of PU had recently also staged a protest before the Syndicate members demanding implementation of teacher evaluation.

Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) president Pushpinder Sharma said that they were soon going to give a fresh memorandum to PU for implementing teacher evaluation in the current semester failing which they would launch an intensive campaign against the authorities. 



Audit report pulls up public health department
Employees hired on contract despite sufficient staff strength
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Despite having sufficient strength to handle its allotted works, the UT public health division no. 3 has not only appointed contractual staff in contravention of the provisions and sanction of the UT Administration, but has also made “unjustified” payment of about Rs 2.68 crore to those employees in the past two years.

The latest audit and inspection report for the financial year 2010-11 by the Principal Auditor-General, Punjab and UT, has raised objections, but the department has still to furnish its reply. The audit report clearly mentions that the divisional officer had engaged several drivers, plumbers, sewermen, electricians and watchmen through contractors, over and above the sanctioned strength by the Administration during the year 2010-11, which resulted in unjustified payment to the staff to the tune of Rs 1.58 crore.

The division is said to have sufficient strength of staff as per its muster roll to handle the maintenance of residential and non-residential buildings in the city. The engagement of “extra” staff (over and above the sanctioned strength) during this fiscal was made in contravention of the provisions, which resulted in extra financial burden and needed to be justified, the report stated.

Similar objections were raised in the audit report for the year 2009-10 when the department spent Rs 1.10 crore in a similar fashion. In that period also, the staff had been engaged on contract over and above the sanctioned strength.

The matter has been brought to the notice of the department, but no reply has been submitted by the department, the report adds.



Jazzy malls no damper for sector-17 plaza
The problem of parking in Sec 17 is rising by the day. Chandigarh Tribune takes a look in a four-part series
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

A map of Sector 17 in Chandigarh.
A map of Sector 17 in Chandigarh.

Chandigarh, March 11
Conceived more than a decade back as an effective alternative to providing additional parking space in Sector 17, the municipal corporation (MC) has been unable to execute even one of the four multi-storeyed parking lots or work out any other way, leading to an ever-increasing commotion in the parking lots in the sector, much to the harassment of visitors.

In an effort towards recreating Le Corbusier’s intended walkers’ paradise in Sector 17, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on March 7, asked the Chandigarh Administration to identify at least two parking areas in the commercial hub of the city, which would be made no-vehicle zones after 4 pm.

The Bench asked the Administration to enforce the orders by April 1.

According to a survey by the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) conducted around two years ago, Sector 17 requires 10,074 ECS (equivalent car space) in order to tackle the rush.

The availability, at present, is less than 7,000 ECS.

As many as 15 parking lots, including some underground, are unable to handle the rising vehicle pressure.

With more than 120 vehicles being added to the increasing strength of more than eight lakh vehicles on city roads each working day, Sector 17 cannot ignore the expected increase in the number of visitors.

Bigger shopping malls at alternative venues in the city, including the DT Mall at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Information Technology Park, the Fun Republic at Mani Majra and some more in the Industrial Area, have not been able to replace the magic of the ‘open mall’ arrangement at Sector 17.
Visitors enjoy an evening at the Sector-17 plaza.
Visitors enjoy an evening at the Sector-17 plaza. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

The major visitor-rush area is confined to Sector 17-D and Sector 17-E, which provide ample options for picking up top international brands like Benetton, Levis, Armani, GAP and many more, in addition to an unending choice of eating out at outlets providing Indian, Chinese and continental dishes.

The coming up of big and bright shopping malls in the city and adjoining towns of Mohali and Panchkula has been unable to pull out the crowd thronging the ‘heart of the city’ in Sector 17.

The enviable settings of colourful lights in the evenings, the fountain and a pleasant weather cannot be ignored.

The city’s population has risen to nearly 11 lakh, which has led to more shopping venues coming up at alternative places all over the city, including Sectors 8, 9, 21, 22 and 35, besides certain others.

The adjoining townships of Mohali and Panchkula are also housing brand outlets for apparel and food, but nothing beats the natural attraction for Sector 17.

A view of the parking lot near Neelam Theatre in the evening.
A view of the parking lot near Neelam Theatre in the evening.

In March, 1948, the Punjab Government, in consultation with the Government of India, approved the area on the foothills of the Shivaliks as the site for the new capital. The foundation stone of the city was laid in 1952. The preamble of Chandigarh according to Le Corbusier, the French architect who designed the city, clearly said “the centraI plaza in Sector 17 was designed as “pedestrians’ paradise. No vehicular traffic will be permitted in the plaza.”

Besides three cinema halls, Neelam, Jagat and KC, the area also housed popular eateries, including Hot Millions for the youth, Ghazal and Mehfil for families and Lyons till early 2000.

The area was the main provider of books at different shops. The Coffee House, till date, has remained a popular joint for a particular category of visitors.

Even with the addition of top-brand shops and popular food chains, the area continues to be a big crowd-puller. A matching effort towards regulating parking lots was never made, leading to the current situation and even high court intervention.

More options a bigger attraction

The total number of shops has remained around 1,500, as shown in a survey of the income tax department, seven years back.

However, the availability of top brands has failed to deter the number of visitors from increasing over the years. The number of cars being driven to Sector 17 has been put at approximately one lakh on a normal working day and is higher on Saturday evenings and festive days like Divali.

Parking contractors put the average number of cars visiting the parking lots in the city centre at approximately 1,00,000 on a normal working day.

The 15 parking lots have space for approximately 15,000 four-wheelers, which not sufficient to match the increasing rush. More than 120 vehicles are added to city roads daily.

There are discussions about moving out cars from the commercial area, but a decision in this regard has not been taken. A cross-section of residents of the city and shopkeepers based in the commercial hub are of the opinion that multi-storeyed parking, if executed at the earliest, can take care of the parking lot rush.

The sector needs selective upgrade
The parking opposite Hotel Park Plaza wears a deserted look in the evening.
The parking opposite Hotel Park Plaza wears a deserted look in the evening.

Parking needs to be a little more regulated in the commercial-hub portion of the sector. The area adjoining KC Theatre in Sector 17-A has less commercial establishments. The adjoining Sector 17-B portion has the Bank Square and has rush on working days and scope for better regulation.

A majority of Sector 17-C houses offices of the Haryana Government in the 30 Bays Building. The Sector 17-D portion which houses the post office and the telephone exchange has a sizeable part of the commercial area. Sector 17-E is the commercial part.

Multi-storeyed parking delayed

At least four multi-storeyed parking lots have been finalised at different points for the past more than a decade. The locations include the circus ground opposite the fire department building, opposite the Reserve Bank of India building, opposite Gurdev Photo Studio and opposite KC Theatre.

All multi-storeyed parking lots, except the one near KC Theatre, will take care of a substantial rush in the shopping plaza.

The areas around Bank Square and government offices remain dark after office hours. The proposal to light up the Bank Square and government-office areas have not found favour.

Underground parking pangs

The sector has three underground parking lots, near the CMCH, near the 30 Bays Building and near the telephone exchange. Those have not found favour and continue to be used as ‘raenbaseras’ by rickshaw-pullers and labourers.

The plan for a multi-level parking has been approved and is expected to take around two years. Others are still at the arbitration stage.

To be concluded



Admn team stopped from axing trees at Sec 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
High drama was witnessed at Sector 17 this morning when a team of officials with the Chandigarh Administration came to cut about 60 trees, coming in the way of the construction of an overbridge from Hotel Taj to KC Theatre.

About 20 local residents gathered at the spot and embraced the trees to prevent those from being axed.

According to sources, the police was called, which later arrested three persons.

They were identified as Gaurav Chhabra, Ranbir Singh and Arshinder Kaur.

They were booked under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC for preventing officials from continuing with their work.

“The permission to cut the trees which were coming in the way of the construction of the overbridge was given. We will plant more trees to compensate for the loss but we have to take such steps in development projects,” said KK Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator.

The activists claimed that they had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the cutting of the trees, which would come up for hearing on Tuesday.

The protesters alleged that they were dragged and beaten up by the police. The trio, belonging to an NGO, was later released on bail.

Chhabra later alleged that by constructing the overbridge, the Chandigarh Administration was helping the two upcoming malls on the road and Hotel Taj.



Poor response to scheme
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) had launched the scheme to allow floor-wise ownership of flats with much fanfare in Panchkula but even after two-and-a half-years, the initiative has failed to yield good result, courtesy poor response from residents of the town.

So far only six persons have come forward for the floor-wise registration in Panchkula. City residents and property dealers blame lack of clarity regarding terms and conditions for such a response.

The scheme was launched by HUDA in the entire state of Haryana and the authorities were expecting a good response in Panchkula. It was expected that a large section of middle-class people would avail the benefit. The state government and HUDA had allowed

floor-wise ownership keeping in view the steep rise in land prices over the years, which had made it very difficult for the common man to raise an independent house.

People in the real estate business said HUDA never made any effort to popularise the scheme. Besides, they observed that technical issues like top floors having less covered area than those below and insufficient parking space had prevented people from opting for the floor-wise registration.

President of the Haryana State Property Dealers’ Association Suresh Aggarwal said in the first year, HUDA failed to install a proper software in the system to accept floor-wise ownership documents. Thereafter, HUDA never tried to rectify the shortcomings in the scheme, he added.

Echoing similar view, Jagdeep Sharma, a property dealer, said the scheme could have been a great success if the authorities had made some changes. He added that the floor area ratio should be equal to the neighbouring city Chandigarh. “People are not interested in purchasing third floors in Panchkula because there is no parking space for them,” he added.

A senior official of HUDA said to solve the technical problems they would invite objections from the property dealers and would try to sort out the problems.

As per information, flat owners having their premises according to the building plans and having clearance from all competent authorities will be eligible for floor-wise ownership.

Those, who have paid the full price for their plots to HUDA and have no dues will be able to apply for separate registration of floors. Each independent floor will be entitled to separate utility connections such as water supply and electricity. The official, however, added that no increase in maximum permissible floor area ratio (FAR) would be allowed.



Rocking end to spring festival 
Tribune News Service

Nihangs perform ‘gatka’ during the 26th Spring Festival at Town Park in Sector 5, Panchkula, on Sunday.
Nihangs perform ‘gatka’ during the 26th Spring Festival at Town Park in Sector 5, Panchkula, on Sunday. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, March 11
The two-day 26th Spring Festival organised by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) concluded today at the Town Park in Sector 5.

Various activities, including a baby show, rangoli making, mehandi, painting and fancy-dress competitions were held.

The festival witnessed an overwhelming response with thousands of people from across the tricity visiting the festival.

Prizes were given for best roundabouts in the city, best garden in one-kanal, two-kanal houses and 14-marla houses.

The prize to the winners of sectors parks maintained by the Resident Welfare Associations was also distributed today. 




Work on Mohali City Centre to start soon
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 11
With the model code of conduct ending on Friday, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is gearing itself to start development of City Centre, Sector 62, here. A proposal to construct roads, earmarked in the master plan of the Central Business District (CBD) of the City Centre, had been shelved during the model code of conduct. “Now, we will get the agenda on road development approved by the board of members of GMADA”, said a senior official in GMADA.

The City Centre has been planned on the lines of Central Piazza in Sector 17 Chandigarh. Though the foundation stone of the concept plan of the City Centre had been laid by Sukhr Singh Badal in 2009, GMADA has not been able to sell large sites in the City Centre.

Beginning with the Leisure Valley-cum-city park, work is in advanced stage to construct a boundary wall around the park and erect two gates. The engineering department has been given Rs 2 crore to lay a jogging track and a cycle track around the existing track. To create more space within the park, the existing section of the N choe was being realigned so that more space could be used to plant more trees and provide facilities like benches, swings and other public amenities.

Two new parkings, one towards the Phase 9 side and another towards the YPS School side, had been planned. The park which forms part of the City Centre is being designed keeping in mind the concept plan given by Jurong for the area.

Adjoining the City Park, an amusement park is also on the cards. The process to allot the work of a five-star hotel-cum-convention centre project to a selected company is in final stages.

The work on some of the internal roads is being taken up so that development could be visible to the investors who were keen on investing in the Central Business District (CBS) which forms a part of the City Centre and is spread on 200 acres. The development of the City Centre has got further thrust with the GMADA and the SGPC-controlled management of the Amb Sahib Gurdwara mutually agreeing to realign the boundary wall of the religious place.

Concept plan

At the City Centre, a new concept of ‘ work-shop-play-live’ in the commercial business district (CBD) would be introduced. Planned on the concept of free-flowing design, the design of the business district is a shift from the concept of ‘work-n-shop’ seen in Chandigarh’s commercial centres of Sectors 17 and 34. To ensure that the business district reflects vibrancy, the authority has allowed mega malls, hotels, commercial area, mix-land use activity, including residential quarters up to the height of 65 metres (213 feet). The Central business centres, Sector 62, and another proposed City Centre in Sector 88 would come up alongside the main road, which will ultimately serve as a vital road link for the region. 



Development work picks up
Tribune News Service

Work under way in Mohali.
Work under way in Mohali. A file photo

Mohali, March 11
Despite the electorate in the Mohali Assembly segment voting the Congress MLA to power, the fate of undergoing development works in Mohali will not be affected, if the buzz in the official circle is to be believed.

A number of works, including Rs 12 crore project of widening the 3.5km long sections of the arterial-road passing through Phases IV, V, III-B1, III-B2 and VII of Mohali, widening of Balongi-Kumbra road, widening of the road from PTL Chowk to the upcoming bus stand are at different stages of development.

Work on the district administrative complex is also under way in Sector 76. The development of the multi-storeyed inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) is also under way in Sector 57 here. Sources in SAD said the party candidate, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, who lost to the Congress candidate, would be given reins of Mohali. “Being a seasoned politician, Ramoowalia, would be allowed to groom the Assembly segment and the pace of development works would remain undeterred,” said a senior leader. Not only the ongoing projects, the pending projects conceived by the Akali leadership for Mohali would also be taken up. In apprehension of the status report on the development works often sought by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, officials in GMADA have already started doing their paper work and brushing up their facts on the development works. 



BJP workers thrash Lalit Khurana
Tribune News Service

Lalit Khurana, president of the Lions Welfare Society, whose face was smeared with black ink by a BJP worker during a protest in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Lalit Khurana, president of the Lions Welfare Society, whose face was smeared with black ink by a BJP worker during a protest in Chandigarh on Sunday. A tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 11
High drama was witnessed near the BJP office in Sector 33, this afternoon, when BJP workers smeared black colour on the face of Lalit Kumar Khurana, president of the Lions Welfare Association, and also beat him up for attempting to burn an effigy of Sanjay Tandon, the president of the local unit of the party.

He was protesting because he was denied a party ticket to contest from Ward 18. A resident of Sector 30, Khurana came prepared, as he expected opposition from the party when he landed at the venue. He had already informed the media about his protest well in advance.

Arriving on the scene at least two hours after the scheduled time, he came with three effigies. The youth wing of the party was also prepared for his arrival. They stopped him near the office and beat him up. He was carrying three different effigies.The police was informed and DSP BS Negi reached the spot where Khurana lodged a formal complaint.



open house response
Punishment no solution, educate people

We believe that by making harsher laws or punishment we can control traffic violations, but it is merely a dream and not possible. People have to be educated. They should be made aware of traffic rules and safety by arranging monthly workshop at various levels. Students should be taught about the menace of traffic violations. They should be made torch-bearers for other person travelling on the road. All sections of people should be brought to such workshop off and on so that they are made aware of traffic rules and violations.

As for the menace of drunk driving, it is a great challenge to our society at large. We read in newspaper of such menace. We should first amend our policy. The number of liquor vend should be opened at specific places and not at places which are easily accessible and invite our drivers to drink and then drive at will. People should be made aware to take drink within their capacity and should avoid getting drunk as such people are more prove to accidents. These drivers not only pose danger to themselves, but are dangerous to other travellers too. Only awareness at different levels among the masses can curtail such violations rather than introducing harsh laws as it is no solutions to the problem.

Sunil Kapoor, Chandigarh

Punch licence for each offence

The Centre has proposed harsher punishment for various traffic violations, which is a welcome step as increasing accidents are causing a heavy loss of human life. Heavy monetary fines can be one of the deterrent for traffic violations. The driving licence (D/L) of the offender should be punched for each violation. After a fixed number of violations, the licence should be cancelled. More than the law, a strict implementation was the need of the hour.

The offenders should be banned from driving the required kind of vehicles for a specific time period, as warranted by the degree of their offence for which they are censured. All traffic details, particularly traffic offences, should be put on online data so that a strict check could be ensured. Secondly, the discretionary powers of the traffic officials on road should be curtailed.

To curb this menace of traffic violation, we need traffic management instead of traffic regulation. So to curtail drunk driving, the taverns (‘ahatas’) as are operational on every road of the city should be shutdown immediately. Cancel the licence of traffic offenders in case of drunk driving and overspeeding.

DP Wason, Chandigarh

Teenagers reckless drivers

I strongly endorse the Centre proposal of harsh punishment for various traffic violations. Fear factor really works. The teenagers manage to obtain driver’s licence and are considered to be unsafe drivers as they do not follow the rules, avoid wearing seat belts, helmets and are undisciplined. Driving in the city lanes can be chaotic. People cut lanes much faster than a hot knife.

The auto-rickshaw drivers, young bike riders and youth driving cars are the worst examples.The question of growing traffic crimes in Chandigarh and its satellite towns Panchkula and Mohali is a matter of concern for the commuters living here. More worrying is that the youngsters from well-to-do families are indulging in it.

They have plenty of money to spend. They feel good when they break law and show the public that they are not ordinary people. They want to prove that their parents/relatives are holding high post in the government and thus they have the legitimate right to break law. The Chandigarh police is already facing acute shortage of man power to cope with the 11-lakh official population, whereas, the unofficial figure is much more than 15 lakh.

The Bureau of Police Research and Development expressed shortage of 1,135 posts in 1995 which remained pending with the sanctioning authorities till late 2004 and now again the department has sent the case in February, 2010 which has fallen on deaf ears. Due to cancellation of police recruitment examination held in January, 2010, the fate of 270 constables hangs fire. At present, out of sanctioned posts of 4,202 only 3,050 are working and additional 3,064 are required to be filled. As many as 447 police officials out of 3,050 are put on VIP security. We expect the police to act like the Scotland Yard police but are unable to provide them the basic infrastructure.

Kulbhushan Kanwar,Sector 48, Chandigarh

Big penalties a must

It is in everybody’s mind that road safety is a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional issue. It consists of development and management of road system, provision of safer vehicles, legislation and law enforcement, provision of hospital services etc. Youngsters and even the policemen are seen roaming without helmets and seatbelts and the law-enforcing agency is nowhere to be seen. There are two reasons behind this culpability of the traffic police. One, they adopt a solely punitive approach rather than taking preventive measures. Two, a majority of the police force is corrupt. This stark reality is proved beyond any iota of truth that in the recent past, the CBI has nabbed a number of policemen in the Chandigarh police who indulged in corrupt practices. In fact, sections of constabulary not only raise revenue for the government but also manage to fill their own pockets. It is common knowledge that before issuing a challan, policemen on duty indicate that they want their palms to be greased. While this campaign might have got publicity, it has apparently failed to make any difference on ground, with ever-increasing number of accidents, caused primarily due to negligence and overspeeding, habitual traffic offenders, drunk drivers, without bearing helmets, seatbelts and those using mobile phones while driving. It is only in February 2012 around 20 hit-and-run and seven fatal accident cases having been registered. So far, the UT’s police’s much celebrated traffic awareness campaign has apparently proved to be a failure as residents continue to ignore traffic norms.

To curb this menace, the Union Cabinet has rightly cleared the draft Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill proposing big penalties for traffic violations. 

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh

Rules a complete sham

Driving in the city is like getting stuck between a cross fire, he don't know from which side you will be hit. It is frustrating and terrifying at the same time. A complete menace! Nobody has any regard for the traffic laws and the police couldn't care less as long as they have enough money in their pocket by the evening and of course meet their annual quota. The rules are a complete sham since they don't exist. At least not on the road, maybe on paper but then what’s the point of having them in the first place. Now, the Centre proposes harsher punishment for traffic offenders, but do they really expect us to believe that. Just like the cameras on the traffic light were supposed to work.Ya right! Most traffic offenders get away by bribing or by calling an uncle who is a hotshot government officer or at least someone who can get them out of this petty little situation. You can propose and pass the harshest laws for the traffic violators, but if they are not imposed then the situation’s not going to improve.

A couple of day’s ago, I witnessed and accident between a truck and a Zen car. The driver of the car stopped the car on the middle of the busy road and starting arguing with the truck driver thus creating a traffic jam. I went and asked the police standing barely 10 meters away from the scene, who apparently seemed amused by the whole situation, to help. He replied” Jab aap ki gaadi ka accident hota hai to aap nahin ruk te kya” which I felt was a pretty dumb and rude remark.Traffic rules in this city have become a joke. It seems like “Drive like you stole it” has become our motto and we are definitely living up to that. We overtake from the right when we are not supposed to, we run red like it doesn’t mean a thing, we drive in the wrong lanes, we don’t stop for pedestrians and these are just some of the few laws that we all break on a daily basis. We all need to understand that we are the ones who are in the wrong here. We need to think about our loved ones who drive around on these unsafe roads that we have created. We need to change and change soon.

Daman P Singh, Chandigarh

open house question

What is your reaction to the issue of the Centre proposing harsher punishment for various traffic violations? What can be done to check traffic violations, particularly over-speeding and drunk driving? Write to the openhouse@tribunemail.com



Chandigarh Scan
Health camp for EWS

A health camp being inaugurated in Chandigarh on Sunday.
A health camp being inaugurated in Chandigarh on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

A health camp for the economically weaker section of the society was organised by the Sahodya Club & Health Club of Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, on Sunday.

The camp was inaugurated by Pallavi Singh, wife of Finance Secretary VK Singh, Dr. Neelam Marwaha, head of department of transfusion medicine, PGI, Chandigarh, was the guest of honour. More than 500 patients were examined and distributed free medicines. Marwaha appreciated the school for bringing the health care to the doorstep of the people and urged them to go for early screening so that even serious diseases could be treated effectively.

Pallavi Singh appreciated the doctors for their generosity as they not only gave their precious time but also took steps to ensure that the treatment was followed effectively. It was indeed a noble gesture on the part of the school authorities to give society something back - good health, which was everybody's right.

Seminar on electoral reforms

The Chetna Manch, Chandigarh organised a seminar on “Electoral Reforms and Emerging Trends in Indian Parliamentary Democracy” in Sri Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary School, Sector 40C, Chandigarh. Professor Ashutosh Kumar, Department of Political Science, Panjab University, Chandigarh, while delivering a key note address argued that the success of democracy in India is being viewed and judged primarily at the global level in its minimalist electoral form, encompassing nothing but an autonomous election commission, multiparty system, regularly held elections, and peaceful transfer of power.

In his presidential remarks Dr Prem Singh, former Editor of Desh Sewak said that among other things the Indian Parliamentary Democracy had stood the test of time. Problems arise because of mass poverty, illiteracy and backwardness of large sections of society. By our Constitution, India was a socialist republic and yet the system worked in a way, which resulted in increasing economic disparities. These could be overcome only through mass awakening, he said, SK. Khosla, secretary, Chetna Manch, Chandigarh, while initiating the discussion said that there was a greater need to bring changes in the electoral reforms to make democracy strong in the country. Especially the parties in power had often violated the model code of conduct through secret methods despite the ECI efforts. — TNS



900 students to try their luck at job fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
More than 900 students will be trying their luck at the mega-job fest ‘Avasar’ to be held at Panjab University on March 13 and 14. Around 1,500 students have registered themselves with PU and 900 have collected their cards to attend the placement drive.

Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) president Pushpinder Sharma said that 46 companies from various sectors had given their confirmation to visit the campus for placements.

The drive will be conducted for two days according to specific clusters.

To grab better placements, PU this year has fixed a minimum salary package of Rs 20, 000 for companies visiting the university. “The students will be getting better packages as the minimum package to be offered to the students has been made clear to all the companies before registering them for placements”, said PUCSC president.

The university even organised series of lectures and workshops to prepare the students for the placement drive. The university had organised interactive workshop where the HR heads of some leading organisations would be invited to guide the students.

Lectures by various experts from different fields were also conducted today at the law auditorium during which the students were given tips on how to appear in personal interviews.

The PUCSC president further said that all the companies had already been given time slots for both the days and the students interested in those companies would be intimated about the timings.

“In a bid to attract placements for the students of the arts departments, educational institutes have also been invited for placing students interested in teaching”, he added. 



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |