C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Major fire at Whirlpool warehouse
Short-circuit likely cause; goods worth between Rs 22 crore and 
Rs 25 crore gutted; no loss of life reported  
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

A view of the gutted showroom at Pabhat village in Zirakpur.
A view of the gutted showroom at Pabhat village in Zirakpur.

Zirakpur, April 18
In a major fire at a Whirlpool warehouse in Pabhat village here, goods worth between Rs 22 crore and Rs 25 crore were gutted today. A short-circuit was said to be the reason for the incident.

The fire broke out at the hub, from where Whirlpool products were being supplied across the country, around 12 midnight. It took over 12 hours to douse the flames.

Besides two watchmen, two or three workers were sleeping inside at the time of the incident. No loss of life was reported.

Hundreds of air-conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, microwaves, Dish TV products and Nokia mobile phones were kept at the warehouse, spread over about 85,000 sq ft. Most of the items were gutted.

The broken wall of the warehouse that firemen broke to control fire; and (right) people push a fire brigade as it stopped working at Pabhat village near Zirakpur on Wednesday.
The broken wall of the warehouse that firemen broke to control fire; and (right) people push a fire brigade as it stopped working at Pabhat village near Zirakpur on Wednesday. Tribune photos

A total of ten fire tenders were put into service, which made several rounds, taking turns. Two each were from Chandigarh, Dera Bassi and Panchkula, three from the Air Force station and one from Rajpura.

Around 12:30 pm, the last fire tender, from Dera Bassi, left the site after completion of work. Smoke was still emanating from the site. The tin roof of one portion caved in due to the fire.

Warehouse proprietor Jaspreet Singh said, “Though we have yet to assess the exact loss, it will be between Rs 22 crore and Rs 25 crore,” he said. The goods were reportedly insured. He added that the hub was shut at 8:30 pm yesterday.

One of the watchmen noticed the smoke emanating from a portion on the rear of the hub around 12 midnight. He immediately informed Jaspreet Singh, who called up the fire station number 101.

The police reached the spot immediately. Policemen were deputed near the spot to clear the way for fire tenders. Their role was lauded by local residents.


UT fire officials indifferent?

Terming the attitude of fire officials with Chandigarh fire station indifferent and reluctant, Jaspreet Singh alleged, “When we called up 101, the call was connected to the Chandigarh fire station. We requested it to send fire tenders immediately, only to get answer that we should call up the Dera Bassi fire station. We were told that fire tenders could not be sent there because the site was not under its jurisdiction. It was again reluctant to send fire tenders after a communication from the Dera Bassi fire station. It said the fire tender containing foam would be sent only after directions from senior officials were received.


No fire station at Zirakpur

Zirakpur has emerged as a major township, with several residential societies, colonies and high-rise buildings, besides over 100 warehouses and industrial complexes. It still does not have a fire station. Warehouse owners and C&F association members claimed that they had demanded several times that a fire station be set up here, but in vain. Local MLA NK Sharma visited the spot today and said the issue would be addressed shortly.


Air Force station helps out

People approached the local Air Force station to send fire tenders containing foam. “As no fire tender containing foam was at the spot, we approached the Air Force station around 9 am. It sent its fire tenders containing foam immediately and doused the flames,” said S Bansal, owner of a warehouse located nearby.


Fire tender breaks down

A fire tender from Chandigarh broke down at the spot. Persons who gathered to help firemen had to push it. “Its back gear was not functional. We had to push it to clear the courtyard. Other fire tenders had to wait outside and precious time was wasted,” said an eyewitness.


Lack of coordination alleged

Some eyewitnesses alleged lack of coordination among teams from different towns. “Two teams virtually start arguing on some minor issue. We were shocked to see their indifferent attitude to the enormity of the incident,” said the owner of another warehouse.


Work on projects halted

After receiving the directions, many departments which had finalised the tender process to start their projects had stopped the process. An official said they had stopped the exercise as they had to seek approval from the ministry concerned before tender allotment. 


Did fire tender reach late?

Jaspreet Singh claimed that he informed the fire station around 12:35 am. The fire tender from Dera Bassi reportedly reached the spot at 1:15 am, taking around 40 minutes. The distance between Dera Bassi and Zirakpur was about eight km. Dera Bassi fire station officer Avtar Singh claimed that they received the telephone call around 12:50 am.



Ministry approval a must
MHA says no project implementation for Admn depts without it
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
While the Centre had recently increased the financial powers of the UT Administration from Rs 10 crore to Rs 50 crore, it had put an obstacle by issuing directions that every department would now have to obtain the requisite approval from the ministry concerned to implement a project.

Department heads would be responsible for obtaining the approval. With this development, Administration officials believed that projects would delayed as they would have to seek permission from the ministry concerned to spend even a single penny from the allocated budget.

The letter issued by SB Doval, Under Secretary (Planning cell) of the MHA on April 10 read, “It has been desired by the Union Home Secretary that the union territories (UTs) may obtain requisite approval of line ministers for the implementation of plan schemes for 2012-13 by May, 2012.”

After this, the Administration had forwarded a letter to all department heads which read, “You are, therefore, requested to take up the matter for obtaining the approval of your line ministers concerning your plan proposal included in the 12th Five-Year Plan, as well as the annual plan of the 2012-13 document, under intimation to this Administration.”

The letter further read, “It may be ensured that the process of approval of the line ministry be completed by May 11 by HoDs on a personal level and submit the

status to the Administration.” A senior official with the Administration said it would be not possible for department heads to obtain approval from the ministry concerned for each and every project.

He asked why the government had increased the financial powers of the Administration from Rs 10 crore to Rs 50 crore if this was to be done.

Requesting anonymity, a department head said now they had to seek approval from the ministry to spend even a single penny on the department from the allocated budget.

He added that the fresh directions would delay projects further as it would now take months to obtain approval from the ministries concerned.



CBI raids Sec-30 EWS quarters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Teams of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Chandigarh, today raided quarters allotted to economically weaker sections (EWS) at Sector 30 here following reports of open violations and inaction by the UT estate office.

The violations included subletting and use for commercial activities. The agency collected documents and information, which were being scrutinised for further action.

UT estate office had allotted EWS quarters on nominal rent. The monthly rent was being collected by an official with the estate office at the site itself.

The estate office had prescribed that the allottee would not sell the house, there would not be any subletting and no commercial activity would be undertaken at the allotted quarters.

The CBI had received information that all the conditions were being violated openly, right under the nose of the authorities.

The quarters had been sold or sublet by the original allottees and commercial activities were taking place openly.

Officials with the estate office, Chandigarh, had not initiated any action in spite of monthly visits and a number of complaints.

A CBI official said they conducted the surprise check after forming 10 teams, adding that the check revealed the violations of terms and conditions.



Snatching continues
3 more incidents reported in last 24 hrs
Tribune News Service

Kulwant Sharma
Kulwant Sharma

Chandigarh, April 18
For 72-year-old Kulwant Sharma of Sector 43, a routine morning walk with her dog left her horrified as her gold chain was snatched by two unidentified youths on a motorcycle here today. The snatchers used a cutter to pull her 25g chain.

“Even a morning walk is not safe these days. The snatchers came on a motorcycle and snatched my chain by using a cutter. Before I could realise it, they vanished. I could not note down the number of the motorcycle,” she said.

She was the third victim of snatching in the city in the last 24 hours. Two cases of snatching were now being reported on a daily basis from the city for the last one week.

The UT police was left red-faced as it had been unable to arrest the snatchers or curb the incidents which made walking on the streets unsafe.

In a separate case, Sunanda Walia of Mani Majra was on foot when three persons on a motorcycle snatched her gold ‘mangalsutra’ near the Meena Bazaar at the NAC in Mani Majra.

Lucky of the Bapu Dham Colony at Sector 26 reported to the police that four persons on two motorcycles sped away after snatching Rs 500 and a mobile phone from him near the grain market roundabout yesterday.

A case was registered at the Sector-26 police station. All incidents took place in daylight. More than 50 incidents of snatching had been reported this year.


Budding designers showcase talent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The first design collection show by students of the University Institute of Fashion Technology and Vocational Development, “Shears and Rubans”, was showcased today at the Law Auditorium, Panjab University. It was an endeavour to allow the students to test and present their skills.

The show started with the first collection by Arti Kashyap titled “Blooming Beauty”. Arti was inspired by curtain drapery and used the age-old surface techniques of tucking, tiering, frills and cascades interspersed with beautiful golden roses. Adding blink to the gowns were embroidered patches, completing the look of the bygone era.

“Blasé” by Sabinder Kaur was a fusion of the Indian colours juxtaposed with oriental patterns to highlight the body structure in an all black base. The colourful intricate layering technique of paisleys and geometric motifs stands out making a statement as an evening wear for the today’s glamorous corporate woman.

The “Breeze” contained immaculately fresh white summer cool dresses. The designs showcased a variety of intricately embroidered cotton fabrics combined with delicate chiffons, highlighting the techniques such as tucks and pleats.

Men’s wear collection titled “Plush fiesta”. Embellished with an exquisite range of embroidery, the collection had all elegance and classic appeal of the lavish and decadent lifestyles of erstwhile Indian maharajas.

The circle or the chakra finds mention in Hindu texts and features in tantric and yogic traditions. The last collection, the “Chakra” was a combination of vibrant colours and hypnotic prints. The designer, Sapna Nanda, included free flowing and circular silhouettes to add drama to the monotonous prints.

The fashion show concluded with the awards, which were bagged by Simardeep Kaur for the most commercial, the award for most creative collection went to Arti Kashyap and Manpreet Kaur Dhillon and the best design collection went to Sapna Nanda.



13 EWS children to go to school
PU students take initiative despite education department’s cold response
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Undeterred by the cold response from the UT education department for getting children of the migrants, working at construction sites at PU, admitted in private schools under the economically weaker section (EWS) category, the students of the Centre for Social Work, Panjab University, finally got 13 children admitted in Government High School, Sector 25, on their own.

The students had initiated a campaign to get the children of migrants admitted in the school. Although the students had earlier approached the UT for getting children admitted in the private schools under the EWS category, however, were sent back stating that the students should not act as mediators and they had also missed the last date for applying under the EWS category.

Preeti Rawat, one of the PU students, said a total of 13 children had finally got admission in a government school.

“Among the total children, three have been admitted to the primary section of the school after failing to get them admitted in the private schools under the EWS category,” she said.

The PU students are in the process of getting more children admitted in the schools. “The admission cases of two more children is under process who would also start going to the school soon,” the student added.

Assistant professor Gaurav Gaur said the department would continue its initiative of reaching the underprivileged children and getting them admitted in the schools.



Musical soiree enchants audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 18
The majesty of Urdu ghazal, traditional Punjabi folk and rustic flavour of Haryanvi raginis was eloquently discernible all through the musical soiree organised by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy here today.

Veritably titled “Sanjhi Shaam” and designed by akademi chairperson Kamal Tewari, the captivating programme was indeed a befitting tribute on the World Heritage Day.

The diverse genres of music were performed by artistes from different age groups and walks of life. Young Vikram Vick commenced the programme, doling out two Punjabi songs “Chann kithan guzari” and “Suhe ve cheere waleya” before Haryanvi folk and film artistes, Ram Niwas and Rattan Singh, presented “damdar dohe” and a ragini, which exuded the rustic fervour. Acclaimed thespian, Dr Rani Balbir Kaur, touched the emotional chord while delineating the anguish and pathos of legendary Shiv Batalvi, as she gave soulful rendition of “Mere Ram jio” and “Kandiali thor”.

Lending credence to the fact that old is gold, a senior bureaucrat, Roshan Lal, presented a popular ghazal, “Tujh se pehle” with depth of emotions.

Prodigious Neetu, a finalist of “Sa Re Ga Ma Punjabi” contest on Zee TV, presented two Punjabi songs before the star performer, Rinku Kalia, took the centrestage to mesmerise intrusive listeners. Rinku, winner of the national crown of Sa Re Ga Ma contest, brought alive the literary prominence of Urdu poets with an immaculate rendition of “Ye na thi hamari kismet”, “Ranjish hi sahi”, “Aaj jaane ki zid na karo”, “Lazte gamm” and more on request.

Maintaining her usual excellence in doling out folk and Punjabi numbers like “Laththe di chadar”, “Mahiya”, she concluded with the boisterous “Dama Dam mast qalander”.

Music composer Varinder Bachan led the music accompaniment. Kamal Tewari and INTACH convener VK Kapur (retd) welcomed chief guest KK Sharma, Adviser, who lauded the efforts of INTACH for preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage.



Opposition opens front against Mayor
Say corporation chief’s claims on amenities exposed
Tribune News Service

An open stormwater pipe manhole.
An open stormwater pipe manhole. 

Chandigarh, April 18
Tall claims of Mayor Raj Bala Malik for the development of the city in her first 100 days have been exposed, with residents crying for basic civic amenities. This was alleged by BJP-SAD councillors during media interaction here today, which was chaired by BJP councillor Satinder Singh.

Ignoring basic amenities like water supply and sanitation, the Mayor had focused on her achievement in getting big projects approved. Interacting with mediapersons, BJP councillor Rajesh Gupta said if the authorities did not take any action by the next fortnight, BJP-SAD councillors would stage a ‘dharna’ in front of the office of the municipal corporation (MC). 

Water supply With the onset of summer, the MC had discontinued afternoon water supply to improve water pressure on upper floors in the morning and the evening. But the fact was that there had been no improvement in water supply to upper floors in any part of the city.

Rakesh of Sector 38 lamented that it was strange that the authorities were claiming that they had improved water supply on upper floors in the city, though they had failed to provide proper water supply during winter. The situation in other sectors was similar as residents were facing the problem of acute water shortage.

BJP councillor Heera Negi said crores had been incurred by the MC on installing the tertiary treated water system, but till date, it had not been used in parks or residential areas. She said the work of 10 boosters, which were supposed to be installed in various parts of the city before summer, has not commenced till date.

Councillors of the SAD-BJP at a press conference in Sector 33, Chandigarh, on Wednesday.
Councillors of the SAD-BJP at a press conference in Sector 33, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. 

Sanitation Three days ago, residents of Sector 21 cleaned the streets themselves as a mark of protest. MC sweepers were not visiting the area regularly. In the past three House meetings, councillors kept complaining about the absence of sweepers in their respective areas, but no foolproof action had been initiated by the authorities till date.

The issue of collection of dry leaves had also become a headache for residents all over the city as the MC had no proper system to lift those. MC records revealed that it had only nine trolleys to collect dry leaves and no special staff was deployed for it. As a result, residents were left with no option but to burn those.

Pravan of Sector 35 stated that for the past two weeks, residents of the area had been complaining about the lifting of heaps of dry leaves lying near the park in the neighbourhood, but till date, no action had been taken by the MOH department.

BJP councillor Davesh Modgil remarked that the departments concerned were not bothered to adopt vermin culture to convert leaves for use of plants. He stated that in the last two House meetings, he had asked for details of sweepers deployed ward-wise, but till date, no information had been provided to him by the department.

Cleanliness of road gullies Every year, the MC assured residents that before the monsoon, special teams of the public health department would clean road gullies to avoid the blocking of rain water. But the ground reality was that a majority of road gullies were broken or blocked due to dry leaves.

Industrialist Ram Sharma said for the last five years, there was water-logging on all roads at the Industrial Area during the rainy season and showroom owners faced problems in commuting. A number of complaints had been made to the department concerned, but till date, nothing concrete except assurances had been done.

SAD councillor Harjinder Kaur said in her ward, the road department had widened roads, but not constructed road gullies even after many reminders to officials. In fact, in most parts of the city, the department did not clean road gullies which had been blocked due to garbage or dry leaves.



Councillors to resign from sub-panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
All the 12 councillors of the BJP-SAD alliance in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation have decided to tender their resignations from all the nine sub-committees constituted by Mayor Raj Bala Malik last week. While interacting with mediapersons here today, all the Opposition councillors said they were going to submit their resignations to the UT Administrator, Shivraj Patil, tomorrow.

The Opposition councillors alleged that as the constitution of these sub-committees was against the MC Act, they had decided to resign en masse from the committees except the finance and contract committee, the members of which are elected by the General House. They stated that the ruling party Mayor was unfair in appointing the Opposition councillors as chairmen of the sub-committees.

Terming the Punjab Governor House as the ‘Congress Bhawan’, BJP councillor Arun Sood said the UT Administration had become a puppet in the hands of the Congress leaders and all the decisions were being taken as per their wishes. The classic example of which is the appointment of nine nominated councillors of the MC who all had contacts with the Congress.

He further said in February, the Opposition councillors had submitted their objections to the UT Adviser in connection with the constitution of sub-committees by the Mayor. Ignoring the objections raised by the Opposition councillors, the administration again approved the appointment of the members of the sub-committees.

Alleging that the administration had also favoured the Congress candidates in the constitution of the ward committees for which each councillor had recommended 10 names.

The administration has so far notified seven sub-committees on sanitation, electricity, environment and beautification, fire and emergency services, arts, culture and sports, slum development, enforcement, apni mandi and women empowerment. These were constituted by the Mayor after a unanimous decision of the General House in January.

Referring to the recent media interaction of the Mayor in which she had not even invited the Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor, BJP councillor Arun Sood stated that her behaviour was just like a dictator , who not only ignored the Opposition but also the Congress councillors. 



Admn to plough Sukhna weed
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
To save the landmark of the city Sukhna Lake, the UT Administration has now decided to carry out ploughing to remove weeds from the ake. At a meeting of the committee, which was constituted to save th lake, the members decided that the UT Engineering Department would carry out ploughing with the help of tractors and machines and thereafter weeds would be removed manually.

Meanwhile, no decision was taken regarding the sinking of tubewells in the Sukhna forest area to fill the water body.

Santosh Kumar, Chandigarh Conservator of Forests and Director, Environment Department, said ploughing method was finalised as it would be less expensive and more effective than the former proposal to dig the Sukhna two feet deep.

Sources added that ploughing would be done on the kake bed after water dries up in June. By using a standard ploughing method at the lake, the authorities are hopeful of combating the weed problem in the Sukhna. As per the plan, ploughing would turnover the upper layer of the soil and unearth the weeds. As the latest instruments can plough one-foot deep, it will expose the weeds to the sunlight, hence wiping out the weeds completely. Later, the weeds would be removed manually.

Last year, the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) at Roorkee, which is conducting a year-long study on the lake, in its preliminary report submitted to the UT Administration had stated that nearly 50 per cent of the water body would run dry by June.

Thereafter the committee had previously planned to start digging the dried area two feet deep in summer to remove the weeds from the lake. But, with the procedure being costly and the risk of monsoon hitting the region by June or July, the committee has rejected the proposal.



Southern sectors of city reel under power cuts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Though the UT Electricity Department claims that there is no power shortage, the city residents continue to face power cuts. On Wednesday, many southern sectors, including 39, 40, 45, 46 and Burail village, faced a power crisis. Similarly, there was no power from 10 am to 3 pm in sectors 7 and 26.

Due to change in weather, electricity demand has gone down in the past few days. Last week power demand was around 250 MW but in past two-three days it has remained around 180 to 195 MW.

Amit Dhiman, a resident of Sector 46, said there was an announcement from the Power Department that power cuts would be imposed from 10 am to 3 pm but there was no power in their area till 6 pm.

Echoing similar view, Nandi Devi, a resident of Sector 45, said it became difficult to handle kids during power cuts. She added that authorities should repair power cables during the winter instead of the summers to avoid power cuts.

A senior official of the Electricity Department said there was no shortage of power in the city and these cuts could be due to fault in power cables. He added that sometime fault occurred in power cables and it became necessary to repair these cables immediately.

There are 2.28 lakh power consumers in Chandigarh. The administration has an allocation of 200 MW of power from May 1 to October 15 while the consumption goes up to 320 MW. It was only from Sunday onwards that the city started getting additional power of 30MW from 9 am to 6 pm and 20 MW from 6 pm to 12 am, respectively, but it is all going unused with lesser use of fans and air-conditioners. From May, the city would receive 90MW more power in different time slots by another power plant. The department has also purchased 30MW of power from Jammu and Kashmir.



Shots fired from toy gun send police in tizzy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The UT police went into a tizzy today after the police control room received a call about a firing incident in Sector 40.
However, the police later found shots were fired from a toy gun during a quarrel between two brothers at a house in Sector 40.

Gaurav Verma (29), who runs a shop at Burail, and Kamal Verma (23), who is employed in a private establishment, reside in the same house in Sector 40. Gaurav had some argument with his wife in the morning and his brother intervened. This led to a fight between them.

The argument took an ugly turn when Gaurav took out an air gun and fired two or three shots into the air. His younger brother informed the police that his brother fired shots from his gun.

The police rushed to the spot and arrested both of them under preventive measures. The neighbours also told the police that the two often created a ruckus in the locality.



Fine imposed on 12 residents, notices issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Municipal Corporation today imposed fine to the tune of Rs 2,000 on 12 residents for misusing water during the morning hours from 5:30 to 8:30, which has been banned by the authorities since April 15. In fact, notices have been issued to 55 residents of the city by the 14 teams, which have been constituted to check the misuse of water.

The MC Superintendent Engineer, RC Diwan, said the department had issued a public notice before conducting checks by the special teams in the morning. Initially, the teams issued notices to residents warning them against misuse of water but today fine was imposed on those who were found violating the ban repeatedly. 



MC hikes raw material rates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The municipal corporation has revised the rates of raw materials used in developmental works undertaken by contractors. In a meeting held yesterday, the road committee decided that there will be an increase of 20 per cent in the rates fixed by the authorities for allotting work to the contractor.

Members unanimously approved the revised rates and the issue will be tabled in the next House meeting. In a recent meeting, several councillors had raised the issue of the gap between the rates given by the MC and the market rates of raw materials. This was said to be the reason why most contractors avoided taking MC contracts.



NH stretch to be inaugurated
Was opened for general public on April 6 on the direction of HC
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Toll Plaza on Panchkula-Parwanoo highway at Chandimandir, Panchkula.
Toll Plaza on Panchkula-Parwanoo highway at Chandimandir, Panchkula.Tribune photo: nitin mittal

Panchkula, April 18
The four-laning of Zirakpur-Parwanoo National Highway No 22 would be dedicated to the nation tomorrow at Chandimandir Toll Plaza, which has been fitted with Radio Frequency Identity Device (RFID), by Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Dr CP Joshi tomorrow.

The function would be presided over by Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in the presence of Chief Minister of Punjab, Sardar Parkash Singh Badal and Chief Minister Himachal Pradesh, Prem Kumar Dhumal. Union Minister of Culture, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister, Kumari Selja, Haryana PWD Minister, Randeep Singh Surjewala, central ministers and a number of MLAs and MPs from Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh would also be present during the function to be held near the toll plaza.

The toll plaza on the Zirakpur which was thrown open to the general public on April 6 on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, would have the RFID system that would make passing through the toll plaza less cumbersome for the daily commuters. The system, which is presently undergoing testing, was likely to be launched from May onwards.

Giving details of the system, SK Verma, general manager JP Group of Companies (Panchkula unit) said that National Highway Authority of Indian (NHAI) has introduced the smart cards this time, which would be linked to the main system. He said the commuters possessing these cards would also be issued special stickers and when the smart card holders would approach the toll the barrier would open automatically after deducting the amount from the cards.

Verma said that at present the commuters have to stop and show their passes to the attendant at the toll plaza. The system, first of its kind in the country, has been introduced on experimental basis and would be extended to other toll barriers on national highways in the country depending on its success rate. He added that more than 4,000 smart cards have already been issued and about 26000 to 29,000 vehicles pass everyday through the toll plaza.

The 27.59 km long NH 22 that runs between Baltana near Zirakpur and Parwanoo had been divided into two stretches. The first 17.4 km long straight stretch is from Zirakpur up to Mallah Junction and constitutes one railway overbridge, 6 underpass, two minor bridges and one major bridge near village Jhajra near Surajpur. The second stretch from Mallah Junction to Parwanoo bypass is 10.19 km long and the bypass has 5 underpasses, one major bridge and 7 viaducts.



Residents cover extra mile to reach home
With four-laning of Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch, traffic closed near Amravati enclave
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
The four-lane of the Zirakpur-Parwanoo National Highway No 22, that gave relief to the commuters from traffic jams in the Kalka town has also brought miseries for the residents for the residents of about 32 villages around Amravati enclave as they have to cover extra 6 kms to reach their homes.

The spokesman of the Amravait Enclave Residents Welfare Association, Veer Mattoo, said that the residents of the enclave and that of the 32 villages in the area had to cover more than 6 kms as the crossing near the Amravati enclave on the national highway has been closed for traffic. He said that there was threat to the lives of the toddlers as school buses drop them across the road. He added that the bus operators do not have the route pass to take a U-turn near the Mallah junction. Even the employees returning from Chandigarh and Baddi industrial estate have also to face inconvenience as they have to cover extra miles to reach their houses besides being stopped at the two police check points from Mallah junction to Surajpur.

Mattoo added that even though a decision has already been taken to construct an underpass near the Surajpur Bridge yet it was likely to take another 5 to 6 months to construct the underpass. He said they have also submitted a memorandum to the SDM Kalka Manita Malik and the DC Panchkula, Ashmima Brar, in this regard.

The association members have also requested the SDM to extend the service lane up to Burjkotian till the National Highway Authority of India completed the construction of the underpass.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Shivalik Vikas Manch, Advocate Vijay Bansal said that a delegation from Kalka and Pinjore would also submit a memorandum to Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Dr CP Joshi tomorrow. He added that they would apprise the minister about the problems being faced by the residents of Kalka and Pinjore besides bringing to notice the illegal construction of toll plaza on the forestland.



Low water pressure in Mohali

Mohali, April 18
Parts of Mohali will get water at low pressure on April 20 as the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd will be carrying out repair work at the Kajauli waterworks.
A press note issued by the department of water supply and sanitation said that the morning water supply would remain normal pressure while the evening supply would be at low pressure.

There would be no supply of water at noon. The affected areas will be Phases I to VII, IX to XI, Sectors 70, 71, Shahimajra and Matour villages. — OC



Special nakas for mining
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
Showing concern over illegal possession and mining in the ‘kandi’ area of the district, the Mohali Deputy Commissioner, Varun Roojam, issued directions to initiate action against the culprits.

A meeting was held in this regard in which the Roojam said that it was found that many illegal farmhouses and housing colonies were also coming up which was ‘intolerable’. He also asked the residents of the villages, located in the area to check the hazard by forming committees.

“Start setting up special nakas to check mining in the areas,” said Roojam while issuing directions to the officials concerned. He also added that the social service groups should also be roped in to aware the people of the area about the importance of the hillocks for the environs.


Panchkula, April 18
A high drama was witnessed at the district courts yesterday when a person appearing in a case tried to escape the trap laid out by the Punjab Police.

The accused, identified as Aman Kumar of Budhlada in Mansa district, was wanted in a robbery case.

Aman Kumar tried to escape from the courts, but the alert sleuths of the Punjab Police nabbed him.

The police team comprising ASI Pala Singh and ASI Devinder Singh took the accused along with them after informing the Sector 5 police station.

On April 12, Aman Kumar along with others had allegedly robbed a businessman, identified as Manish, of Rs 2.5 lakh and a gold chain at gunpoint.

The accused had also brutally thrashed the businessman, causing serious injuries to him. He was admitted to a private hospital in Ludhiana.

Manish, in his complaint to the police, had alleged that Aman and 13 others were involved in the robbery.

A case has already been registered under Sections 323, 452, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Sections 27, 45 and 59 of the Arms Act in the Budhlada police station, the police said.



1 accused handed over to police
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
While the Mohali police is yet to arrest the culprits in yesterday’s thrashing of an invigilator at Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Landran, the college authorities have handed over one of the alleged accused to the police today.

The name of accused is Jeevan Jot Singh, a student who was allegedly involved in bashing up the invigilator, Vinod Kumar, along with Kamalpreet Singh, the main accused in the incident.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Dr GD Bansal, director general of the college, said that some staff members, who were present at the time of the incident, identified Jeevan Jot Singh, who turned up to take his re-appear exam.

“We immediately called up the police and handed him over to them,” claimed Dr Bansal.

While the police is yet to show his arrest, Harjinder Singh, Station House Officer of the Sohana Police Station, said that they had only identified another accused, namely Yadwinder Singh, a resident of Malout, in the case.

“Yadwinder Singh was another student, who was using mobile phone during the examination and was sent outside of the examination hall,” said Harjinder Singh.

When asked whether or not any arrest had been made in the case, he denied and said that two police teams were sent to Barnala and Muktsar to nab the two main culprits, Kamalpreet Singh and Yadwinder Singh but in vain.

“Since they were not found at their places, raids are on at other places,” said Harjinder Singh.

Notably, Vinod Kumar, who serves as mechanical workshop instructor at Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Landran, was brutally bashed up by about eight students of the college following his raising objection over using unfair means during an examination here.

The other students, involved in the incident, were yet to be identified.

Meanwhile, the faculty at the college, today, showed concerns over their security with the college management before start of today’s examination.

Sources claimed that the faculty was reluctant to perform duty at the examination centers but the management assured them that effective steps would be taken to ensure their ‘safety’.

“We are concerned and going to get insurance of the staff. The treatment expenses of Vinod would also be borne by the management,” said Dr Bansal adding that the staff members came to meet him in the morning on the issue. 



Regional centre to be inaugurated on April 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Regional Spinal Injuries Centre (RSIC), which is set up to cater to the needs of patients from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, is expected to start functioning at Sector 70, Mohali, on April 22 by Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal.

The project, which began 12 years ago, as a rehabilitation centre for the spinal injuries patients in 2000, however, has been converted into a spinal injury surgery centre.

The Punjab government initiated the project in collaboration with the Central government. The total cost of the project was Rs 3.5 crore, out of which the Government of India had to pay Rs 1.6 crore. The Punjab government had earmarked five acres of land in Sector 70 here for the centre.

The Central government, in fact, had proposed to set up four spinal injury rehabilitation centres at Mohali, Cuttack, Jabalpur and Rae Barreilly. The idea was to refer the patients from here to the Indian Spine Injury Centre at New Delhi, who would have been brought back here for rehabilitation.

On the initiative of project director, Dr Raj Bahadur, the Punjab government later decided to upgrade it to the regional spine injury surgery centre with 25 beds capacity in first phase, which would be expanded to a 50-bed hospital.

The OPDs at the centre had been started as early as 2006 and over 53,000 patients have already visited the centre till now. The centre even has conducted over 80 surgeries here after the facility had been started a few months ago.



Workshop on emergency life support

Chandigarh, April 18
In order to provide training to police personnel and volunteers of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 (GMCH), is to organise trauma and emergency life support workshop here tomorrow.

The workshop will be second in the series. Prof Raj Bahadur, director-principal, GMCH, said this would enlighten the knowledge and strengthen hands-on skills of the police personnel and volunteers in the field of handling patients.

Whenever any trauma or accident occurs, there are many bystanders who can be utilised as first responders at the site if properly trained. It was last year that under the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) “Road Safety 10” project, a series of workshops and trainings for doctors and paramedics of Punjab were conducted at various trauma centres in 2011.

The workshop will comprise of didactic lectures and hands-on practical scenario based simulated trainings on mannequins and simulators. The full day training will be imparted under the guidance of Prof Raj Bahadur and comprehensive emergency life support team. — TNS



CBI inquiry into Ashiana scheme sought

Panchkula, April 18
The BJP reiterated its demand for a CBI inquiry into the alleged discrepancies in the allotment of flats to slum dwellers in various parts of the town under the Ashiana scheme, here today.

Gian Chand Gupta, state treasurer, BJP, said the recent notices issued by HUDA to about five families have vindicated their earlier stand that allotments have been made to persons who did not possess authentic documents.

Gupta said the inquiry into the allotment was held only after his party had filed an application under the RTI Act to seek information about the beneficiaries who have been allotted flats. He demanded that action should be taken against those official who had cleared the names of beneficiaries.

Gupta, while lashing out at the electricity department claimed that the department has charges Rs 1,600 from the allottees for issuing new power meters. He said the department had not refunded the security deposit of about 500 allottees who had deposited the amount to seek power connection to their houses in the slum colonies. - TNS



Over 50 LPG cylinders stolen so far
Authorities to deploy watchmen in schools
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 18
In order to overcome the loss and inconvenience faced due to thefts of the LPG cylinders, used for cooking midday meals at schools, the district education authorities have proposed to insure the cylinders.

More than 50 cooking gas cylinders have been stolen from the government schools over the past some months. The thefts have been more frequent in the Kurali area.

The DEO (primary), Jaswinder Singh Nayyar, said that talks with private companies were going on for an insurance cover. If this was done at a nominal cost, the schools will insure the cylinders. He further said that as per the directions of Punjab Chief Minister, the school management committees were also being asked to arrange watchmen in order to avoid thefts.

Every government school had an LPG connection with two cylinders to cook midday meals.

There were no watchmen posted in the schools and the thieves would break open the locks and decamp with the cylinders.

From certain schools rice and wheat meant for the midday meal scheme were also stolen.



Tricity scan
Cleanliness drive

Gurbax Rawat, area councilor, Sector 40, along with office-bearers of welfare associations and officials of the sanitation wing flagged off a special cleanliness-cum-awareness drive on Wednesday for upkeep of the area sanitation. As many as 25 safai karamcharis participated in the exercise. Dumper placers, tractor-trolleys and cycle rickshaw carts were deployed for lifting roadside waste, garbage containers, horticulture waste, etc.


The Chaitanya Hospital, Sector 44, has been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Quality Award, 2010, in the category of “small scale service industry” by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution. Professor KV Thomas, minister of state for agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution, and president, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), presented the award to Chaitanya Hospital during the award ceremony held at New Delhi on Wednesday.

Album released

Mystica Music on Wednesday released a new album “Avadhoo” by mystic master Anandmurti Gurumaa. The album features renditions of eternal soulful verses of St Kabir.

Addressing a press conference, Gurumaa said, “Music is an inspiration to look within. It is a captivating exercise on heart and mind of all.

It is inspiring enough to make people look within, reflect and introspect on what is being conveyed.”

Dental camp

A team of doctors and interns from the department of public health dentistry, Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences, Panjab University, examined about 250 students of a primary school in Panchkula, a press note said here on Wednesday. A health talk was also delivered by the interns, highlighting the importance of good oral health.


The University Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism (UIHMT), Panjab University, on Wednesday got its independent building inaugurated. This new building will house labs like bakery, kitchen, cold room and practical restaurant. On this occasion, students of BSc (hospitality and hotel administration) showcased their culinary skills by organising a theme lunch “New World Cuisine” at their restaurant “The Green Ivy”.

Kulbir new IGP

Kulbir Singh, a 1976 cadre officer, took over as the Inspector General of Police (IGP), northwest sector of CRPF, a press release said here on Wednesday. He also remained on deputation with the Punjab Police and served as SP (operations), Kapurthala, during militancy, besides a long list of other sensitive postings. He is decorated with the police medal for meritorious service, three special duty medals, antrik seva suraksha medal and DG’s commendation.

Yoga camp

The Burail Jail Authority, Chandigarh, organised an empowering and energising yoga camp on its premises for the benefit of inmates and staff in collaboration with the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan. Preacher and yogacharya Vilakshan Yog of Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan Swami Mohanpuri conducted the workshop. IGP Alok Kumar was also present on the occasion.

Pulse polio campaign

About 70 personnel, including 63 cadets (five girl cadets) from the NCC, Chandigarh, participated in the pulse polio immunisation (PPI) campaign held at Chandigarh from April 15 to 17.

They administered polio drops to children at the Sector-34 dispensary, Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake, Vikas Nagar and in houses of Sectors 34 and 35. Capt GM Singh of Indian Navy, Commanding Officer of naval unit of NCC, Chandigarh, said the cadets were full of zeal and vowed to eradicate not only polio, but other evils, too, from society. They were imparted training prior to getting deployed for the campaign. The cadets rendered assistance to the Chandigarh Administration in this noble cause. 

Tribune Reporters



Class X results to be delayed
Majority of schools have just forwarded marks of written examination and skipped co-scholastic assessment, which amounts to 50% of student’s aggregate score
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
In what may be an encore of last year’s incomplete and discrepant class X evaluation, online submission by schools may take its toll on declaration of the board results, now expected after May 20.

Going by the report sent by the CBSE, Delhi, to regional office, Panchkula, a majority of the schools have just forwarded the marks of written examination and skipped co-scholastic assessment, which amounts to 50 per cent of the student’s aggregate score.

According to sources, almost all schools have failed to give out grades for parameters like life skills, discipline, etc.

Students of Class X now have a choice between the board exams and exams conducted by the school, but in both cases the certificate is to be handed out by the board on the basis of scholastic and co-scholastic assessment submitted by the schools.

The schools had been asked in December to submit the assessment details of the students. These schools cribbed that software was, too, cumbersome and it was virtually impractical to fill over 80 columns per child. The board went ahead simplifying the software, but of no avail.

“There are many discrepancies in the evaluation submitted by the schools and we have already started writing letters to them, asking them to rectify it. It’s not first year and they are not computer illiterates, but it’s still shocking to find that they submit incomplete results, not caring about the impact on the future of the students. We are working hard and will try to declare the results anytime after May 20,” said CBSE regional director RJ Khanderao.

Last year also, faulty evaluation by the schools had delayed the results by almost 15 days, which cost many students dear, as they could not secure admissions to reputed colleges and universities, especially in states like Karnataka.

The schools, however, have blamed the CBSE for the problem, as a principal says, “CCE may have released the burden of the students, but has left us all crazy. The board expects us to complete syllabi, projects, conduct exams and then evaluate every child on 100 different parameters. It’s impossible until we hire an army of teachers.” 



Appoint staff to meet crunch, say teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Faculty members at Panjab University (PU) have written to PU teachers stating that the university should go ahead with the appointments to meet staff crunch.
Pointing out whether Senate members play a role in the appointments, faculty members, including Tankeshwar Kumar, Devinder Singh and Manu Sharma, have stated that the Senate is always there and will remain there. Elections or no elections, influential Senators will stay.

The Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) has demanded that only need-based appointments should be made, as the search committee for the selection of new Vice-Chancellor has been formed.

The teachers have questioned PUTA that whether Senate elections would continue till September 2012 or PUTA be responsible for Senators role in appointments after 2012.

Tankeshwar Kumar, director of computer centre of the university, said the search committee for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor was made in 2006 as well. But appointments continued till last Syndicate. Kumar further opinioned that there should be a selection criteria, which should be put in place.

“GBM should have been called to take up such a stand by PUTA and the stand which is taken by PUTA may be quoted as precedent after three years (term of Vice-Chancellor) or four years when Senate elections are to be held again.



Seminar to create awareness about implementation
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 18
In order to remove the confusion in connection with the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE Act), the district education authorities are organising a seminar at Shivalik Public School here on April 25.

It is learnt that people from economically weaker sections are visiting the district education office and asking officials to get their children admitted in private schools as per the provisions of the Act.

The officials said there was confusion among parents regarding the admission process under the Act. As per the rules, the district education authorities could recommend admissions of children belonging to the weaker sections only after all seats in government schools got filled.

Confusion regarding the implementation process also prevailed among private school authorities.

District education official Jaswinder Singh Nayyar said in order to create awareness regarding the implementation of the Act, a seminar had been organised. Managements of all private schools have been asked to attend the seminar.



24-hr deadline to city schools
Implementation of RTE Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Issuing its signature hoax threat, the UT education department has yet again given 24-hour “final deadline” to city schools to inform it about the status of RTE seats in schools.

The deadline is probably yet another face saving tactic of the UT education department, which has miserably failed for the second year in a row to implement the RTE Act.

The letter, which was issued today, is in continuation to the UT’s last letter seeking information, to which, interestingly, no school replied.

“We had asked schools about the number of RTE seats a day before, but they did not reply. Now, we have given them a final deadline of April 19, failing which we will start disciplinary action,” said an official.

The schools that confirmed receiving the letter, however, claim that they will not be giving any information now.

“RTE is over but the drama still continues. We are writing to them tomorrow saying such communication is meaningless as the RTE is over.

They should set deadlines for themselves to recognise us, do proper child mapping, working out reimbursement, starting awareness programmes, etc,” said HS Mamik, president Independent School Association.



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