C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC talks, doesn’t act
 Only preaches rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Making tall announcements for the public on rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling, the municipal corporation (MC) is all at sea in setting any example on either. Neither has any rainwater harvesting system been installed at any MC building, nor has any wastewater treatment project been completed in the city.

The MC had recently conducted a study, according to which the decline in the water level was, on an average, up to 2.5 metres per year in the northern sectors and up to 1.5 metres per year in the southern sectors. Taking serious note of these facts, the public health department had prepared a report, which would be tabled in the next General House.

According to the report, there was a need to recharge the groundwater level by installing rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling systems. It was pointed out in the report that an artificial recharge system for deeper groundwater was not feasible as there were chances of contamination.

In 2004, after a study tour to Chennai, councillors had proposed rainwater harvesting arrangements at all government buildings. Till date, no such arrangements had been made at any MC building. The pilot project was lying pending due to the inordinate delay in the extension of the building.

Similarly, the first phase of the tertiary treated water (TTW) project was launched in 2005. Pipelines were laid for the release of 10 MGD of water. At present, only 3 MGD of water was being used at three parks, with the rest going waste.

In 1990, the UT Administration had launched a project to supply treated water to residential areas in Sectors 1 to 12 and 16. Records revealed that about 300 of the 600 houses in these sectors had TTW connections for their lawns. At the rest of the houses, either connections had been disconnected or the facility had never been utilised.

Similarly, the second phase of the TTW project had been hanging fire as the Administration had refused to grant permission for road cutting, needed for laying underground pipelines. As a result, the MC had not been able to lay TTW pipelines at Sector 36 and the project had not commenced.



PO cell never was, officially
 Functioning since 2010, formally constituted this month
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The proclaimed offender (PO) cell of the UT police, functioning since December, 2010, and executing the task of nabbing the accused on the run, actually never existed! While it has arrested 272 POs in this period, the standing order to constitute it was issued by the SSP only a week ago.

The standing order of the police, issued on March 20, a copy of which was in the possession of Chandigarh Tribune, read that ‘in order to ensure the apprehension of proclaimed offenders, the dedicated PO cell has been constituted’.

With over 2,600 POs yet to be arrested and still counting, the SSP had issued verbal orders to constitute the cell in December, 2010. The cell, comprising 15 policemen, continued to function for over a year, nabbed offenders and the policemen who nabbed POs were rewarded.

However, there was no formal order to constitute such a cell. An inspector-level officer had been heading the cell under the supervision of ASP (Central) Desraj Singh. Police sources said the SSP issued the standing order to form the cell after the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in connection with an ongoing petition, asked details of POs who were yet to be arrested.

Moreover, the CBI had arrested an ASI and a head constable with the PO cell earlier this month for demanding bribe from a PO. The CBI had asked the UT police to provide the standing order.

It was only then that the UT police woke up from slumber and formally constituted the cell.

Besides, the issuance of the standing order by the UT SSP also raised a question mark.

According to Section 45 of the Punjab Police Act, 2007, applicable to the union territory, only the Inspector-General of Police had the power to issue standing orders.

Just a formal notification, says SSP
"The PO cell was formed in 2010 and only the formal notification was issued now. We have the minutes of the meeting when it was constituted. The cell was given formal shape this month following the writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court." — Naunihal Singh, UT SSP

Other cells in same boat
The special investigating team, formed to crack immigration frauds, the technical cell, the anti-terrorism squad and the anti-auto-theft squad of the UT police had still been functioning merely on the basis of verbal orders.



Teenager held for rape bid on 2 minors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
In a shocking incident, a teenager was arrested for attempting to rape two minors at his ‘jhuggi’ at the Bapu Dham Colony here today. The police arrested 18-year-old Amit Bhatt, a drug addict, and booked him in a case of kidnapping and attempt-to-rape under Sections 363, 366, 376, 511 and 506 of the IPC.

The incident came to light this evening when the mother of one of the girls launched a hunt for her missing daughter and traced her to the ‘jhuggi’.

The clothes of the six-year-old girls were found to have been removed and the accused was trying to rape them, the police said. The police arrested Amit, who was then under the influence of drugs.

He lured the girls, who were playing in the colony, with ice-cream. He took them to his ‘jhuggi’ and then attempted to rape them.

The police got the medical examination of the girls conducted at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16 here.

The report established that the girls had injuries on their private parts and a rape attempt was made. The accused would be produced in court tomorrow. 



Policeman lodges complaint against woman colleague
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
In an interesting turn of events, a UT police constable has lodged a complaint against a woman colleague, accusing her of harassing and blackmailing him.

While rifts and politics among UT police personnel is common, constable Manjit Singh has alleged that the woman constable has been harassing him through repeated SMSes and threatening him.

The constable, posted with the PCR wing, lodged a formal complaint at the public window of the Police Headquarters at Sector 9 today.

The woman constable was also posted with the PCR wing. Sources said they had an affair earlier and were now up in arms following a rift.

The sources added that the woman constable had lodged a complaint against Manjit with the Haryana Police as she hailed from a district in Haryana.

On court directions, the registration of a case had been ordered against Manjit for harassing the woman constable, the sources further said.

A senior police official said they were inquiring into the matter, adding that they would coordinate with the Haryana Police and conduct an internal inquiry into the allegations of both constables 



Spring in, number of patients up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Changes in weather, with loads of pollen in the air and increased fluctuation in day temperatures, besides dusty conditions, have resulted in long queues of patients outside hospitals and clinics all over the city.

A random survey during the past couple of days has shown persons to be suffering from a variety of allergies, with itchy and watery eyes, red spots on the neck and problems for asthmatics being quite common.

The number of patients coming to the OPD at the PGI with breathing problems has increased four times during this period. It is the flowering season and the air is full of pollen, says Dr SK Jindal, head of the pulmonary medicine department at the PGI.

The common causes of allergy are particles like tree and grass pollen and dust in the air, besides sudden change in day temperature, he further says. This leads to repiratory and running-nose problems, especially among children and the elderly as they have less immunity, he adds.

Dr Jindal states that it also aggravates the condition of asthmatics. As it is not possible to avoid contact with the air, preventive measures mean little for patients in this category, he says. The onset of summer has brought hard times for those with sensitive skin. More than 30 patients with rashes reach the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH) at Sector 16 everyday.

A majority of patients have been complaining of allergy these days due to the increase in temperature and exposure to the sun, says Dr SD Mehta of the GMSH. Patients are coming with red spots on the neck and other parts of the body which are exposed to the sun, he adds.

The most common change in all age groups is the decrease in hydration content of the topmost skin layer, stratum corneum, which brings about dryness of the skin said Dr Vikas Sharma of the National Skin Hospital at the Mansa Devi Complex.

Pollen and dust have brought many to tears these days. The number of persons coming to his OPD with allergy has increased drastically, says Dr Jagat Ram of the PGI. Patients have been complaining of itching and redness in the eye and watery eyes. 


* Asthmatics should be regular with medication

* Keep pets outside, or at least out of the bedroom

* Cover parts of the body properly before going out in the sun

* Avoid sudden exposure to sun after coming out of air-conditioned room

* Those prone to eye allergy should use good-quality sunglasses and avoid contact with dust



Union ministry objects to toll plaza
Structures raised by firm four-laning Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The commissioning of the Chandi Mandir toll plaza on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo highway has run into rough weather, with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests objecting to its construction and terming it “violation of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980”.

SK Sehrawat, Additional Principal Conservator of Forests (Central), Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, has shot off a strongly worded communication to his Haryana counterpart, asking him to report the violations in the construction of the toll plaza.

This comes close on the heels of the district town planning department putting the Himalayan Expressway Construction Company, executing the four-laning of the Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch on National Highway 22 on behalf of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), on notice for “illegal” construction of five structures as part of the toll plaza.

“The proposal of the Haryana government on the diversion of 13.41 hectares of forest land for the four-laning of the road up to the Himachal Pradesh border was approved under the Act. This proposal did not have any mention of the construction of the toll plaza and buildings. The toll plaza and builidings have been constructed by the NHAI through the company in violation of the Act,” the communication noted, asking the Principal Conservator of Forests of Haryana to send a detailed violation report immediately.

Meanwhile, a notice was sent by the Haryana forest department to the NHAI, asking it to explain the “unauthorised use” of the forest land as part of the four-laning project. According to information sought by advocate Vijay Bansal from the forest department under the RTI Act, the land was provided to the NHAI only for the four-laning of the Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch.

Earlier, the NHAI and the district town planning department had crossed swords over the construction of five structures for the toll plaza. The department had issued a notice to the company, terming the constructions near the toll plaza “violation” of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952.

The NHAI and the company had claimed that five facilities -- trauma care centre, administrative building, control building, generator and substation building and maintenance block -- had been created as part of the four-laning project. The National Highway Act and the Control of National Highway Act always overrode the periphery Act, it was argued.

While one-way toll for cars had been fixed at Rs 23, drivers of light transport vehicle would have to shell out Rs 39.

While trucks and bus drivers would have to pay Rs 70, school buses would be issued monthly passes for Rs 1,000. Commuters would be charged toll for 16 years.

Though the agreement was for 20 years, the construction, begun in 2008, was completed after four years.

Toll plaza of discord
Ministry of Environment objects to construction of toll plaza buildings
n District town planning department terms it violation of periphery Act
n Information obtained under the RTI Act says the land was transferred only for four-laning
n Residents also up in arms against the toll plaza 


mobile towers
193 notices to violators
 Out of 547 towers, 300 are operating illegally
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Tightening its noose around illegal mobile towers in the city, the UT Estate office has issued notices to 193 residential and commercial building owners for the violation of building bylaws. Recently, Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh in his report to UT Finance Secretary VK Singh had pointed out that more than 300 mobile towers in the city were illegal.

The UT Administration had asked for the report after receiving directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to notify its policy on mobile towers in residential areas in two months. The high court had made it clear that it wanted the mobile towers to be shifted out of the residential areas in phases.

Sources in the Estate Office said that there were 547 mobile towers in the city out of which around 300 were operating illegally. The Estate Office had conducted the survey in which it came to light that a majority of these towers were installed by violating building bylaws.

Sources further added that the Estate Office would issue around 50 to 70 more notices in the coming week. The violators have been asked to submit reply within 15 days.

A senior official of the UT Administration said that after receiving the violator’s reply, the administration would hold meeting with the mobile service operators and thereafter would frame policy for installation of mobile towers in the city.

Earlier this month, the representatives of mobile companies had submitted their objections to the UT Administration on the draft policy prepared by the Administration in 2004, wherein the UT had decided not to allow mobile companies to install towers in the residential areas.

The draft policy prepared in 2004 made it clear that no mobile tower would be allowed in the residential areas. The policy stated that mobile towers would be allowed on commercial buildings, which had completion certificates and sanctioned building plans. The policy further read that the commercial buildings should have sewerage connections and be inspected by the Estate Office staff. Mobile company owners had challenged other provisions and directions in the policy. The policy could not be notified since the court had stayed proceedings. The litigation had been sent to the Supreme Court and was subsequently reverted to the high court.



mock drill
DLF brings smiles on fire staff’s faces

Chandigarh, March 28
Tense situation prevailed in and around the DLF building at IT Park here this morning when the fire brigade vehicles blowing sirens rushed towards that building. Unaware of the mock fire drill of the municipal corporation, visitors and employees thought that a major fire has broken on the top floor of the building and the fire team was trying to reach the site to douse the fire.

A mock drill by the fire department in progress at the DLF building, IT Park, Chandigarh, on Wednesday.
A mock drill by the fire department in progress at the DLF building, IT Park, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. tribune photo: s chandan

The drill was conducted by the MC Fire Department to check the preparedness of fire personnel in the building in view of such an eventuality. After the drill, senior officers of the fire department expressed satisfaction over the preparedness of the staff and the functioning of the fire equipment installed there.

At 11.40 hours in the morning fire alarm of the DLF building started blowing as a signal to vacate the building and the fire vehicles reached the spot and cordoned off the area. A mock fire on the top floor was extinguished and the fire brigade personnel rescued two employees from the top floor of the building. The officials assigned the duty of extinguishing the reached the spot immediately and tried to bring the fire in check with their cylinder extinguishers. Meanwhile, a water tender and hydraulic vehicle of the department reached the spot to control the fire.

Station fire officer SK Gosai stated that the fire system of the building was in perfect working condition and even the parking of the building was in proper order due to which the fire vehicles did not face any difficulty in reaching the site of the fire in the building. — TNS



Experts to deliberate on climate change
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
In the backdrop of climatic changes and rise in temperature resulting in decrease of snow cover and reduction of fresh water availability as well as giving rise to natural disasters, the Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE) is organising a three-day international symposium on "Cryosphere and Climatic Change" from April 2.

Snow-bound high altitude areas and the Polar regions form the Earth's Cryosphere and are considered as hotspots of biodiversity due to the vulnerability of their ecosystems to even the slightest possible climatic change.

The Himalayas have relevance not only for the local people, but also for millions residing downstream, as well as the global community. The glacier-fed Himalayan rivers provide water to 20 percent of the world's population. A considerable proportion of Indian population depends on the natural water storage facilities like glaciers for drinking water, power generation and agriculture. 



world theatre day
Sangeet Natak Akademy honours drama ensembles
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
As many as 29 theatre groups from the tri-city were felicitated with shawls, mementos and souvenirs while the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademy (PSNA) celebrated 50th World Theatre Day at a function held at the Randhawa auditorium here yesterday.
Artistes perform in the play “Jab Jago Tabh Sawera” at the Sector-17 Plaza in Chandigarh.
Artistes perform in the play “Jab Jago Tabh Sawera” at the Sector-17 Plaza in Chandigarh. A tribune Photograph

PSNA general secretary Kuldip Kaur Tiwana welcomed the chief guest Dr Rani Balbir Kaur and veteran thespian and film actor Neean Tiwana and Anita Shabdish, winners of national sangeet natak akademy award-2012. She read out the Punjabi translation of the World Theatre Day message delivered by actor John Malcowich at UNESCO.

Recipient of SNA award Kamal Arora, president of the oldest group Abhinet, observed that despite mushrooming of theatres quality remains missing while technical virtuosity has improved many folds. TFT group president Sudesh Sharma, organiser of maximum theatre festivals, wished more liberal support from the government. Surprisingly many well known active groups like Ajanabi Rangkarmai, Samwaad, Art and act theatre, to name a few were absent. Neena Tiwana, SNA awardee, shared her journey and contribution of her life partner legendary Harpal Tiwana in the realm of theatre and Punjabi films.

PAC chairperson Harjinder Kaur presided over the event while Dr SM Kant expressed gratitude to theatre persons and audience.

Plays staged

The Adakar Manch Mohali celebrated the World Theatre Day by initiating a series of 101 plays of legendary playwright Gursharan Singh. The Punjabi play “Raat de Hanere vich” directed by Dr Sahib Singh at Punjab Kala Bhavan was staged yesterday.

The students of PU drama theatre presented a play “Three Penny Opera” at the open air auditorium. The play weaved in Hindi, Punjabi Sanskrit and Urdu languages was directed by Kumar Das TN, an NSD alumnus.

The Theatre Arts, supported by the State Legal Service Authority UT, staged a street play “Jab jaago tabhi savera” under the direction of Rajiv Mehta at Plaza. The play was a satire on unethical and wrong practices of tanriks and yogis. 



Bandh: Markets wear a deserted look
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, March 28
A near total bandh was observed in Mohali in response to a call given by several Sikh organisations and the Akal Takht, Amritsar, for a state-wide bandh to protest against the death sentence awarded to Balwant Singh Rajoana convicted in former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s killing.
Shops remain closed at Dera Bassi on Wednesday.
Shops remain closed at Dera Bassi on Wednesday. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal
Balwant Singh Rajoana’s supporters take out a procession at Dera Bassi on Wednesday.
Balwant Singh Rajoana’s supporters take out a procession at Dera Bassi on Wednesday. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal
Police personnel at Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Wednesday.
Police personnel at Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Markets wore a deserted look as most of the shops, including eating joints, remained closed. Only a few shops here and there could be seen open. The bandh on the whole remained peaceful. Commuters, however, did not face much problems as auto-rickshaws and rickshaws were seen plying in the town.

Various Sikh organisations had organised a protest march against the death sentence awarded to Rajoana. The march started from Phase XI and culminated in Phase VI where speakers addressed the participants. The protesters carried saffron coloured flags.

Hardeep Singh, member of the SGPC, said about 1,000 persons, including women and children, took part in the protest. He said it was planned to move from Phase XI to Phase VI in vehicles but participants preferred to cover the distance on foot. Vehicles followed the protesters. He said various panthic organisations, members of gurdwara committees and Vyapar Mandal took part in the protest march. Representatives of political parties, however, failed to participate in the march, he added.

Giving a message to the youth, Hardeep Singh said the Sikh community was already fighting against various external forces and as such it was necessary for the youth to remain disciplined instead of falling prey to drugs and harming themselves and weakening the community.

The police had made elaborate security arrangements. Police personnel were seen patrolling various areas. Armed police personnel were also deployed near certain gurdwaras in various parts of the town.

Mohali district has been divided into four zones each under the charge of an officer of the rank of SP.

The SSP, Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, had earlier, flagged off six Sumo vehicles with a large number of police personnel for patrolling in the district. The objective was to ensure the maintenance of law and order in view of the death sentence awarded to Rajoana.

Protest march

Ambala: Various Sikh organisations took out a protest march in Ambala City against the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana who is co-accused in the killing of the then Punjab Chief Minister, Beant Singh. The youths raised slogans in support of Rajoana. A large number of Sikh women also participated in the march.

The protest march started from Gurdwara Manji Sahib. Senior leaders of Akali Dal, members of SGPC and the members of various Sikh organisations were present.

Member SGPC Harpal Singh Pali demanded clemency for Rajoana. He said all political parties of Punjab, including the Congress and Akali Dal, had been demanding the release of Rajoana. Spokesperson for the Haryana Akali Dal Sant Singh Kandhari said the President of India should honour their sentiments. Senior leaders of the Akali Dal Ranbir Singh Fauji, Satwant Singh Dhindsa, Jujhar Singh, Kulwant Singh, Manpreet Singh and manager of Gurdwara Manji Sahib Baljeet Singh were also present.



Traders face a harrowing time 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
City traders today continued to face difficulties in getting certification or registration of licence at the Food Safety Cell in Sector 22, which runs under the UT health department. As the last date of registration is March 31, therefore, the traders are turning out in large numbers at the Food Safety Cell.

Meanwhile, a delegation of senior functionaries of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal consisting of president Charanjiv Singh, chief patron Diwakar Sahoonja and chairman Satpal Gupta met the city congress president BB Behl and submitted a list of problems with regard to certification or registration under the new Food Safety Act 2006 as notified in 2011 before March 31.

Besides, Union Minister of parliamentary affairs and water resources Pawan Bansal in a press note issued today said that he had asked the department to provide all necessary help and keep the counter open even on March 31, otherwise being a holiday.



Draw of lots for liquor vends
Excise dept to add Rs 85.43 cr to its kitty
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 28
The department of excise and taxation will earn a revenue of Rs 85.43 crore during the next financial year through allotments of 339 liquor vends in Mohali district.

The draw of lots under way at Phase II of Mohali on Wednesday.
The draw of lots under way at Phase II of Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

A draw of lots for liquor vends was held in Phase II here today. Out of the 339 vends allotted for the district, 217 will be selling country made liquor while 122 will provide Indian made foreign liquor. A videography of the draw was done by the authorities concerned. Slips of the draw were taken out by members of the public, media and bar association.

The total revenue of Rs 85.43 crore will be 15 per cent higher than that of last year.

The department had received a total of 4,613 applications for the allotment of liquor vends. It collected Rs.14.68 crore from the sale of application forms. Last year, only 1,807 applications were received.

The allotment of liquor vends was done after forming 25 groups out of which 11 groups were for urban areas while 14 were for rural areas.

The total quota of liquor for Mohali district was 43,58,856 proof litres out of which 20,40,178 proof litres will be country made liquor and 23,18,678 proof litres Indian made foreign liquor.

The draw of lots was held in the presence of Deputy Commissioner. 



Facilities at railway station a pipedream 
Be it non-functional CCTV cameras, LCDs or metal detectors, infrastructure here needs an upgrade 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The local railway station, which connects with the nation’s capital and other major towns in the country, lacks proper infrastructure. The railway station of the capital of two states is open from all sides for a potential-free entry.

Not caring much about their lives, commuters cross railway tracks without any fear. Despite the fact that a number of accidents have taken place here in the past, no measures have been taken to check the practice
Not caring much about their lives, commuters cross railway tracks without any fear. Despite the fact that a number of accidents have taken place here in the past, no measures have been taken to check the practice.

One can see people crossing the railway tracks to reach the platform on the opposite side. The general scenario, particularly the public in waiting rooms, does not show any potential for staking claims for a world-class status.

Missing services

For example, even though the mercury has started rising and has touched 31 degrees Celsius, fans at the station remain non-functional forcing the commuters to bear the heat. LCD screens installed at the station, too, have been lying defunct as no information regarding the arrival or departure of a train is displayed on these. Only one LCD, which is installed at the entrance to the station, displays information about the arrival and departure of trains. 
Garbage dumped at the entrance to the station
Garbage dumped at the entrance to the station

Station Superintendent Parveeen Kumar said he had received a complaint in this regard and had immediately made the announcement for making these operational. He said as the summer had just set in, some people demanded that the fans should not be switched on. About the LCD screens, he said these were installed by a private company for displaying its advertisements on these. He said as the contract of the contractor had already expired, these would be removed shortly.

Another foot overbridge yet to come up

There is only one foot-overbridge at the railway station and commuters have been demanding a second overbridge at the other end towards Mauli Jagran, but the same is yet to come up. The introduction of the world-class facilities at the railway station was also one of the projects which has been hanging fire due to lack of space. The Haryana government has already expressed its inability to provide land in Panchkula and now the Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation has already approached the Railways for setting up a budget hotel near the station. 

Station has no metal detectors
An LCD screen lying defunct at the railway station. These screens will be removed from the station as the contract of the contractor concerned has expired.
An LCD screen lying defunct at the railway station. These screens will be removed from the station as the contract of the contractor concerned has expired.

There are no metal detectors at any of the entry and exit points to the railway station, which is also used by the VVIPs to board trains for Delhi and other cities. The station lacks even a scanning machine which is used to check baggage of passengers. Two police constables are deployed outside the platform, still passengers are not frisked properly as the place lacks proper infrastructure. The station, having three entry points, including one from the Panchkula side, has thousands of passengers, including daily commuters. As the station area is open, there are chances of unscrupulous elements entering it. However, a senior official of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) said the metal detectors installed at the station had developed some technical snag and had been sent to the company to get it rectified. He said a round-the-clock vigil was being maintained by the RPF and the GRPF through CCTV cameras at the platforms and passengers and their luggage were being checked thoroughly with hand-held metal detectors. “About 35 and 40 RPF Jawans have being deployed in the area to thwart any attempt by subversive forces,” he added.

Residents of the city were hopeful of some improvement in the facilities being provided at the local railway station in the Railway Budget which was presented by the then Railway Minister, Dinesh Trivedi. However, after the withdrawal of increased fare by Railway Minister Mukul Roi, the cash-starved Railways is finding it difficult to provide more facilities to commuters.Divisional Railway Manager PK Sanghi said they were yet to receive funds for the foot-overbridge. He said the infrastructure would be upgraded after they receive the funds from the authorities. “However, the withdrawal of rail fares is likely to delay the development projects at the station,” he quipped. 

Good news

* Commissioning of the rail link between Chandigarh and Morinda and Chandigarh-Bandra train.

* Streamlining of the parking system near the railway station

* The station is till waiting for upgradation, despite the same being announced by the ministers, including the former railway minister, Mamata Banerjee, for the past many years.



5-yr-old kidnapped girl recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The UT police today solved the kidnapping case of a five-year-old minor girl Kajal, daughter of a daily wager, Sangram Singh.
Kajal with her mother at the Sector-34 police station in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Kajal with her mother at the Sector-34 police station in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

The girl went missing on March 12 and the girl’s father had lodged a missing report at the Sector 34 police station. The girl cannot speak which made matters worse for the worried parents as they searched for her everywhere.

During the police investigation it was found that Umesh, who was also working as a daily wager with the parents of girl, was last seen with Kajal. Umesh was missing since that day and didn’t come to work at the under-construction site where they were employed.

On March 27, the police arrested Umesh from the outskirts of Kabroi village in Unao district in UP, who disclosed that on March 9, he took Kajal from a park in front of house number 1,286 in Sector 34. He then brought her to his village.

When Kajal was sleeping, he abandoned her and went away. In the disclosure statement of the accused and identification of the place, the girl was recovered from the custody of Panne Lal, who runs a tea shop in the village.

The police said that Panne Lal kept Kajal in his house and made efforts to trace her parents all these days. After 18 days Kajal was handed over to Urmila, mother of the girl. The police has sent Umesh to two-day police custody.



Civic body to issue notices to violators
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 28
The municipal corporation has finally decided to issue notices to those shopkeepers who have put up hoardings outside their shops.

Hoardings put up outside showrooms at Sector 11 in Panchkula.
Hoardings put up outside showrooms at Sector 11 in Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

It seems that thee civic body has learnt a lesson from the recent fire incident of Sector 11 in which various shops were gutted. The MC authorities have started a survey in various sectors of the city to identify shopkeepers who have violated the Advertisement Act of the municipal corporation.

Notably, large hoardings put up outside the showrooms in Sector 11 had hindered the operations of the firemen as they failed to target the water cannons towards the first and second floor of the showrooms. A hydraulic fire tender, two water boozers and one fire tender from Chandigarh had to be pressed into service to control the fire. It took 11 tenders two hours to douse the flames.

Executive Office OP Sihag said notices would be served on the showroom owners to remove hoardings, which obstructed the firefighting operations. He said they would also be instructed to install fire-fighting equipment at their shops, which would help in reducing the impact of the fire.

Meanwhile, the MC authorities have requested the local police to register a case against unknown persons for burning garbage at the temporary dumping site in Sector 23.

Notably, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has banned the burning of garbage at the dumping site while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition directing the authorities to shift the dumping site.

Sihag said there were some miscreants who were trying to defame them by burning the garbage. We have written to the SHO of the Chandimandir police station to book the unknown persons. However, the SHO said they were yet to receive a formal complaint from the MC in this regard.



Now, up to 20 grace marks for students
 Educators fume as all-pass policy will deteriorate education standard
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The UT Education Department has come out with a populist examination policy by dishing liberal grace marks up to 20 to help more and more students to pass examinations.

According to a recent decision, Class XI students have been entitled to a maximum of 15 marks grace and those below Class XI will be given up to 20 marks grace.

The decision coupled with already existing ‘no failures till Class VIII’ may have excited many students but has left the city educators fuming who feel that this generosity violates the concept of evaluating a student’s academic standing.

“Thanks to such policies the standard of education has fallen drastically in our schools. It’s embarrassing, but true. Majority of students in Class VII or VIII can’t even read properly leave aside writing. Those who have been promoted to Class IX are a nightmare in arithmetic. We understand that no students should be detained for a mark or two but 15 marks is a huge margin,” said a principal of local school.

“The lack of fear of failing or being detained has made students more undisciplined. We need to change this system because it has increased indiscipline in schools. The children don’t come to classes, rebuke teachers and when we try to pull them up they clearly remind us that we can’t fail them,” the principal added.

Contrary to the general perception, the CBSE nowhere bars the teachers from failing the students till Class VIII.

Regional Director RJ Khanderao said if a child performs well he or she should be declared eligible for improvement of performance (EIOP).

“We have abolished the word failure but schools are not bound to pass students. The teachers are bound to give the students five chances to improve their results. If the teachers feel that a child has not performed up to the mark then he or she is asked to sit for a retest. This retests are meant to be conducted till Class VIII.” said  Khanderao.



Introduce semester system in phased manner: PU panel
 Committee to table recommendation on March 31
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Although the Panjab University (PU) has set 2013 as a deadline for the PU affiliated colleges to introduce semester system, the four-member committee formed by the PU for the introduction of the system has recommended that the semester system should be introduced in a phased manner for efficient implementation. The recommendation made by the committee would be tabled before the Senate on March 31.

Going by the recommendation, the university has to introduce the semester system in phases initiating from one stream followed by others in consecutive years to save the system from collapsing.

“The system can be introduced with the commerce stream, including BCom, as the course is ready for introduction of the system, which can be followed by others,” said Dr Dalip Kumar a fellow and one of the committee members.

The committee has also recommended that feedback of teachers, examination branch and students should be taken before introducing the system.

“Semester systems will double the pressure on evaluators and examination branch as exams will be held twice in an academic session. In such a case feedback and suggestions should be taken,” Kumar said.

The committee has also recommended that the shortcomings of semester system introduced at postgraduate level should be examined before taking further decision.

January 30 was the deadline for declaring results but the university has failed to declare the semester results of PG courses.

Sources said PU examination branch was overburdened due to staff shortage. Following which the semester results of various departments were delayed for over a month. 



Singer, dancers enthral students at ‘Jhankar Beats’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Punjabi singer Alfaaz regaled the students of Panjab University during the cultural eve ‘Jhankar Beats’ organised by Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) today.

Girls perform gidha at ‘Jhankar Beats’ at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Girls perform gidha at ‘Jhankar Beats’ at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune Photo: Parvesh Chauhan

As soon as the singer came on stage, he weaved his magic on the students present at the jam-packed law auditorium.

The auditorium was reverberated with energy and fervour as various dances, including folk dance, were performed by students of different departments during the dance competition.

The one-day event concluded with star performance that enthralled the PU students.




PU revises fund for economically weaker students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
In a bid to provide financial assistance to the students coming from economically weaker section, the Panjab University (PU) is going to provide Rs 10, 000 per annum to students falling under the category.

On the demand made by the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC), the university has decided to create an annual fund of Rs 15.37 lakh for assistance.

PUCSC president Pushpinder Sharma said they had proposed enhancement in the financial assistance provided to the students from economically weaker society.

As per the revised rates the students whose family’s annual income would be less than Rs 1 lakh will be provided with Rs 10, 000 per annum which earlier was Rs 6, 000 while the students with family income less than Rs 2 lakh would be assisted with Rs 7,500 which was earlier Rs 5, 000.

The PUCSC president said the students would need to submit an affidavit of family income for availing the benefit. “The hostel and mess bill of the students will also be scrutinised before providing the benefit to the students under the scheme,” Sharma said. Every year PU would be reserving the fund of over Rs 15 lakh for such students. The scheme with the revised rates would be introduced from the coming academic session. 



Upcoming Syndicate meet likely to be stormy
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The Syndicate’s recent decision to disallow the change of faculties during the end of tenure as a senator has led to controversy, which is expected to turn the senate’s forthcoming meeting stormy. The Goyal group would be challenging Syndicate’s decision during the meeting.

The Chatrath and Ashok Goyal group has locked horns over the decision and the meeting is likely to witness heated arguments between the two groups.

The Chatrath group, majority in the Syndicate, had turned down the agenda item for allowing change in faculties and further resolved that the letter asking the fellows to change the faculty should be withdrawn.

Fellows who had applied for the change in faculty assuming that like the earlier years the PU would allow the change of faculties in the month of March, rued that no such notice was ever given that the change of faculties will not be allowed in March, this year.

According to the PU calendar, the Senate member can change their faculties after completion of first two years of services. However, the rule do not mentions that change of faculties would not be allowed in the last two years of services.

Interestingly, 21 Senate members changed their faculties on March 1996, as many as 17 members changed it in 2000 and another 17 members changed the faculties in 2004.

In 2008, a change in faculties was opposed by Ashok Goyal himself stating that the university without issuing any circular had accepted the change of faculties by few fellows on March 24 on which the Syndicate decided that the PU would issue a circular and invite applications before the next faculty meeting on March 27. However, this time Chatrath group objected to PU’s issuing the letter inviting applications for changing the faculties.

Sources revealed that the plan to turndown the change in faculties was a calculated move keeping in view the upcoming Senate elections as allowing change in faculties might change the equations of Chatrath group in the elections. 



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