C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Going... going... almost gone
From the original 18ft, the Sukhna’s level has dipped to an abysmal 3.5ft. Chandigarh Tribune analyses the sorry saga
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The city’s landmark, the Sukhna Lake, has shrunk like never before. Never before in the past had the pristine water body looked like a village pond, virtually.

Shores, particularly near the regulator end, are showing puddles and the small islands that had sprung up, recently, were getting bigger with each passing day.

As a rowing practitioner said, “The venue for rowing contests, at one point of time, now does not even allow us a practice ground. What can you expect from a water body which was more than 18 feet and had now shrunk to about 3.5 feet?”

In 1958, the lake encompassed 228 hectares. Today, it spanned 148 hectares, down by almost a third. The water body looks even smaller in the current heat.

It had a depth of 18 feet originally, but due to heavy silt deposits, the depth reduced to around 3.5 feet this year and that too, in the boating area, whereas parts near to regulator end have almost dried up.

The reason for drying up of the Sukhna is mainly the problem of silt, besides uncontrolled weed. The efforts of the UT Administration to deal with these problems have not yielded any concrete results, till date.

The last de-silting operation was undertaken in 2010, when a record 108.16 lakh cubic feet of silt was removed. The annual exercise earlier never yielded more than 50 lakh cubic feet of silt.

This year as well, during the exercise, which was started on May 4, only 15.32 lakh cubic feet of silt had been removed, till now.

According to former Punjab irrigation department Chief Engineer Dr GS Dhillon, in the 26-sq-km Sukhna wildlife sanctuary area, there are around 150 water bodies, which have a storage area of 2060 acres.

These water bodies, at present, do not have any arrangement to release water and so, the water stored remains stagnant in the pool to evaporate or seep into the soil. This is posing great problems.

If arrangements are made for the release and utilisation of the water stored, the water shortage problem of the lake could be solved, he added.

He also suggested that the authorities constitute a team of experts, who would check the condition of more than 120 check dams, which were made to stop silt.

VK Singh, Finance-cum-Engineering Secretary, said the UT Administration was serious about the Sukhna Lake. The Administration was conducting studies from Panjab University and the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, to find out the exact solution to the problems, he added.

He further said the committee constituted for the preservation of the Sukhna Lake was working on a number of ideas and the Administration was also informing the Punjab and Haryana High Court about the measures which were being adopted by it.

On the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the UT Administration had constituted a committee. The committee on conservation had proposed several techniques, but later, all proposals were rejected one after the other. The proposals included digging the lake two feet deep in summer, buying hi-tech machines to deal with the silt and weed problem and utilising the Kajauli water supply to fill the drying up Sukhna Lake.

Earlier attempts

The committee, at one point of time, planned to start digging the dried-out area two feet deep in summer to remove the weed from the lake, but due to the high cost of the procedure and the risk of the monsoon hitting the region by June or July, the committee rejected the proposal, costing crores. Thereafter, the committee rejected the previous proposal to utilise the water supply of Chandigarh from the Kajauli waterworks to fill the Sukhna Lake in winter.

Recently, the Administration put forward the proposal before the committee that during winter, the demand for water was less and hence, water could be supplied from the Kajauli waterworks. Water had to be supplied to the lake to solve the problem of weed, that nurtured in swampy conditions.

Last year, the NIH at Roorkee, which was conducting a year-long study on the lake, in its preliminary report submitted to the UT Administration, stated that nearly 50 per cent of the water body would run dry by June-end. According to the study, the water level was going down by 6 mm daily in winter and around 8 mm daily in summer.

Failed attempts

  • Committee proposed to use Kajauli water supply to Chandigarh to fill the lake in winter. Later, the proposal was rejected.
  • There was a proposal to dig up the Sukhna Lake two feet deep in summer to deal with the weed problem. It was rejected by the committee.
  • Chandigarh’s tertiary water supply was proposed to be put in use to fill the drying-up Sukhna Lake. This proposal is still under consideration.
  • UT finalised the ‘ploughing’ method to end the menace of the weed growth in the lake.

No help from states

The UT Administration is also not getting any kind of help from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. Recently, the Haryana government turned down the request to provide water from the Kaushalya Dam at Pinjore. The Administration wanted a separate water channel, which the government was laying from Pinjore to Panchkula. Despite a number of letters issued by the UT Administration, Punjab was not making any arrangements to stop the flow of polluted water from the seasonal rivulet in Kansal.

Project report

The UT Administration recently awarded a project to the department of zoology of Panjab University. Experts were supposed to analyse samples for the characteristic physio-chemical reasons for weed growth. The Administration had agreed to pay Rs 10 lakh to the university.

They worked on it

  • UT roped in the NIH, Roorkee, in 2011 to conduct a detailed study pertaining to the silt, thorny weeds and depleting water table in the Sukhna Lake.
  • In its preliminary report, the NIH stated that by June, 2012, 160 acres of the 340 acres in the Sukhna would dry up completely.
  • The National Botanical Research Institute at Lucknow, in a study in 2011, identified five types of weed that were growing in the Sukhna Lake. The weeds were vallisneria spiralis, potamogeton crispus, hydrilla, ceratophyllum and typia.
  • The Sukhna Lake Conservation Committee was constituted on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2011.

Residents concerned

  • Last week, I visited the Sukhna Lake with my family. The lake has lost its beauty now. The authorities should put in more efforts to save the Sukhna Lake. — Rakesh Dhiman, Panchkula resident
  • I was shocked to see a large number of dry patches in the lake. At the speed by which the UT Administration is putting in efforts to save the Sukhna Lake, it will turn into a cricket ground in the next five or six years. — Kamal Gupta, Sector-52 resident
  • Residents have their memories attached to the Sukhna Lake. Therefore, the authorities should do something to save it. It is the only place in the city where you can come with your family on weekends. —Shahnawaz Ahmed, Sector-48 resident
  • The water level in the Sukhna Lake has invariably gone down in the last few years. It is high time to save the lake or it will turn into a tableland very soon. — Satish Kumar Goel, Sector-51 resident
  • I have grown up watching the lake. Going by the intensity with which the Sukhna Lake is drying up, I will not be surprised if, in the next few years, people easily walk down the lake, with boats turning useless. — Anil Kumar, Sector-44 resident



Four tourists found unconscious, food poisoning suspected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Four tourists staying at a guest house in Sector 22 here were found unconscious under mysterious circumstances last night.

The tourists, including two women, had come to the city from Bengaluru. They were identified as Anna Malia, Anna Natarajan, John Dash and Muthu Malai.

The Sector-22 police post in charge, sub-inspector Ram Rattan, said they were here for the last two days and were staying at the Star Palace, near the Aroma Hotel.

The hotel staff noticed them unconscious in their rooms and called the police. They were rushed to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16 in a police ambulance.

From there, they were referred to the PGI. Their condition was critical, the police said, adding that the picture would be clear once their statements were recorded.

The police suspected food poisoning to be the reason. Guest-house managers told the police that they ate outside. The police collected their vomit samples and sent those to a laboratory to ascertain if they fell unconscious due to food poisoning or a sedative was mixed in their food.

The hotel staff told the police that a local person was bringing food for them. The police was looking for that person and investigating the case.



Police constable found dead on railway track
Suicide note says wife, in-laws mentally tortured him; investigations are on
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
In yet another case of suicide by a policeman, a constable with the Police Control Room (PCR) allegedly committed suicide by coming in front of a Jan Shatabdi train at the railway track at Sector 47 here this morning.

The constable, Manjit Singh was 24 years of age and had recently married after a dramatic turn of events. His wife, also a police constable, had earlier levelled rape and cheating charges against him. Later, they had reached a compromise and then married only in April this year.

Manjit has alleged mental torture by his wife and in-laws. Passers-by informed the police of a mutilated body lying on the track at 9.30 am.

The body was identified on the basis of his identity card found on him. A suicide note was also recovered from his clothes, which blamed his in-laws and wife for forcing him to take the extreme step.

His family told the police that the victim was under severe depression and in his suicide note he had accused his wife Vishu Tanwar, mother in-law Sushma Tanwar, father in-law Mukesh Tanwar and sub-inspector Yogesh Kumar of harassing him and had held them responsible for his death.

Vishu Tanwar, a resident of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, has been deployed with a reserve battalion of the UT police.

The railway police has registered a case of abetment to suicide under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against his wife Vishu Tanwar, mother-in-law Sushma Tanwar, and father in-law Mukesh Tanwar. No arrest has been made so far.

High drama was witnessed at the spot when Vishu reached the spot and fainted on seeing her husband’s body.

Earlier in March this year, Vishu had lodged a complaint with the Meerut police that Manjit Singh had developed physical relation with her on the pretext of marrying her. However, later he allegedly refused to marry her, she had alleged.

On the other hand, Manjit had also lodged a complaint with the police against Vishu accusing her of harassing and blackmailing him.

An internal inquiry by the UT police department was conducted and both the constables had then agreed to marry each other.

The victim’s family said they were not in favour of the marriage, but Vishu, along with SI Yogesh Kumar, allegedly exerted pressure on him and mentally tortured him.

Victim’s brother Paramjit Singh further maintained that Manjit had called him yesterday evening and told him that he had a verbal scuffle with his wife and mother in-law. They allegedly threatened him of dire consequences, he said.

Fifth such incident in the past five months

  • December 30, 2011: Constable Anil Kumar posted as munshi at the Police Lines committed suicide by hanging himself.
  • March 2012: Inspector Vishal Sharma killed himself by consuming a poisonous substance at his residence.
  • February 6: Gurdial Singh (43), a constable with the PCR, allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself below the neck with his service revolver near the petrol station in Sector 28.
  • Feb 26: Head constable Omkar Singh (44) allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence.


Railway exam candidates put lives to risk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Hundreds of aspirants who visit the city to appear in various exams conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board could be seen risking their lives while travelling on the stairs of train coaches.

Ashwani Sharma, a resident of Sonepat, said that he has to face similar situation every time due to the large number of candidates visiting the city to appear in exams. He said that the last time he missed the train as he failed to get on board and had to return to the Sector 17 bus stand to take a bus to his native place. He said most of the candidates come by train as the fares are cheaper as compared to roadways buses.

Another aspirant Arvind Chaudhary, a native of Karnal said that as the trains run full capacity due to summer vacations, they have to travel while standing on the stairs of train coaches. He claimed that as he could not get his seat reserved, he had to travel without a seat for about 3 hours before appearing in the competitive test.



STA: 366 vehicles challaned in May
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The State Transport Authority (STA) challaned 366 vehicles and impounded 137 of them for violating various traffic rules across the city during the month-long drive conducted in May. A fine of Rs 10.11 lakh was also recovered from the violators.

Secretary, STA, Balbir Singh Dhol said the drive was aimed at curbing plying vehicles with incomplete documents, overloading of vehicles and pollution by ill-maintained vehicles.

During the intensive checking of transport vehicles, more than 1,900 transport vehicles were checked and 503 were found violating the norms.

The impounded vehicles included four buses, 40 trucks, 57 auto-rickshaws, 19 goods carriers, four taxis, 11 tractors and two cranes.

The vehicles which were challaned include, 47 buses, 66 trucks, 90 auto-rickshaws, 92 goods carrier vehicles, 28 taxis and two tractors and one vehicle of a driving school.

“Schools and school bus operators are advised to engage only those drivers who have an experience of a minimum 5 years of driving heavy vehicles,” he said, while asking the auto-rickshaw operators to charge as per the fare meter and put on uniform with name plates while driving. “Violators will be challaned and their vehicles impounded as per the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act,” Dhol warned.



Haryana govt plans to shift police headquarters to Sector 32
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 3
The Haryana government is planning to shift all the main offices of state police to Sector 32.

This would help to streamline the working of police department and would put an end to the inconvenience faced by the residents.

The department has identified two plots, each one-and-a-half acre, in Sector 32 and a proposal in this regard has been sent to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for its final approval.

The authorities are hoping to start the work as soon as they get the approval from HUDA. Sources said the multistoried police complex would be set with state of the art infrastructure and would also have a basement. The complex would be fully air conditioned and special attention would be given to parking space as large number of people visits the police headquarters.

The headquarters of police department in situated in Sector 6 while the Director Jails office is located in Sector 14. The Crime Branch office and the Non-Resident Cell are located in police lines near Moginand village in Sector 26. The vigilance department is located near the DGP office while a part of this department is also located in Sector 17.

These police departments are far from each other causing problems for the authorities to coordinate with each other. Not only this, people visiting from every nook and corner of the state face problems in locating the offices. The people also face problem in reaching the police lines, as there is no connectivity between the police headquarters and the police lines.

The sources said that the blue print of police complex was also ready and with the coming up of the new complex various departments of the police would be under one roof.

This would save time of both the authorities and the general public.

Confirming the same, police spokesman SAH Zaidi said a proposal for the police complex has been sent to the HUDA after identifying the land in Sector 32. He said with the coming up of the new complex the interaction between the different wings of the police department would become easy.



Water-filled plots pose a threat to residents
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Children swim in a pool, which has been formed due to the accumulation of water in an empty plot, at Shivalik Vihar in Zirakpur
Children swim in a pool, which has been formed due to the accumulation of water in an empty plot, at Shivalik Vihar in Zirakpur. Tribune Photo: Nitin Mittal

Zirakpur, June 3
Certain plots, which have lower level than others, at Shivalik Vihar Colony in Zirakpur have been posing a major threat to the residents, particularly to children.

With having a depth of more than five feet, several plots here have virtually turned into small trenches. Making the things worst, water has logged in some of such places thus converting these into small ponds.

Talking to The Tribune, residents said children play near such plots while many slum children can be seen bathing in these pool of water.

“There is always a danger of some mishap here. We try stop our children from playing near these small water bodies but they hardly listen. We feel helpless,” said Charan Singh, a resident.

He added that the water-filled plots were more than six-feet deep at some places.

Another resident, Surinder Kumar, said with the onset of monsoon these plots would be filled with filthy water.

“We have approached the authorities concerned to fill these plots with sand and earth to avoid any mishap, but to no avail”, he added.

The residents of the area demanded that the plots be filled up immediately before the monsoon.



Child care leave extended to defence women staff 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Civilian women industrial employees working in defence establishments would now be entitled to avail child care leave on the pattern of other departments.

This leave can be availed for a maximum period of 730 days during the entire service for taking care of two eldest minor children.

A circular issued on May 31 by the Department of Personnel and Training states that the Central Government has decided to extend the benefit of child care leave (CCL) to civilian female industrial employees working in defence establishments with effect from September 1, 2008 at par with the non-industrial Central government employees.

The circular adds that earned leave, if any availed by these employees after September 2008 specifically for the purpose of taking care of the needs of their eldest two minor children may be converted into CCL.

The CCL is meant for rearing or bringing up children as well as for taking care of their other needs like education or medical treatment and during the CCL period, the woman employee would be paid leave salary equal to the pay drawn immediately before proceeding on leave. It can be availed for not more than three times in a year and for a period not less than 15 days at a time.



Forum tells GMADA to pay Rs 51,924, interest, costs
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 3
Holding the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) guilty of deficiency of service, the district consumer forum here has directed it to pay a sum of Rs 51,924, along with interest thereon at the rate of nine per cent per annum and Rs 4,000 as litigation costs, to the complainant.

The forum held that the estate office (EO) of GMADA had failed to execute in time the conveyance deed of complainant Rup Chand Bhardwaj of Phase XI, who had to bear unnecessary expenditure of about Rs 51,000 and could not get the possession of his plot in time.

In his complaint, Rup Chand stated that he was allotted a booth plot in Sector 71 in January 2003 by GMADA.

Rup Chand claimed to have complied with all the conditions and had paid the entire amount pertaining to the total sale price, along with interest, in time.

Rup Chand alleged that the site was to be executed by the authority in his favour within three months of the payment of entire sale consideration.

He added that he was given neither a no-dues certificate, nor the possession of the plot by GMADA.

“Despite the fact that there was no condition in the allotment letter, the authority had asked me to get the building plan sanctioned before being given possession or demarcation of the booth site,” alleged Rup Chand in his complaint.



power cuts
Residents accuse Admn of bias
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
While the southern sectors are daily witnessing long power cuts, the UT Administration never tried to supply electricity from the share of northern sectors to them during crisis. Whenever a power breakdown occurs in the northern VIP sectors, the Administration restores power supply by drawing power from the sub-stations of the southern sectors.

General secretary of the UT Powermen Union Gopal Dutt Joshi said there were 14 66-KV power station under the UT Administration. Whenever any power breakdown happens in the northern sectors, the administration restores supply by drawing share of power from the sub-stations of the southern sectors but the Administration never applied the same formula to the southern sectors.

On Friday night, there were power cuts in Sector 32, 45, 47 and 52. The residents of these sectors were again forced to spend nights in verandahs.

Wasim Ahmed, a resident of Sector 45, said the UT Administration should distribute equal power to all the sectors and should not adopt different policies for different sectors.

Echoing similar views, Rajinder Pandey, a resident of Sector 44, said they were also paying tax and power tariff to the UT Administration, then why the administration is giving VIP treatment to the residents of the northern sectors.

Amit Dhiman, a resident of Sector 46, said it seemed that the UT Administration did not want to upset the VIPs residing in the northern sectors therefore they were not imposing cuts in those sectors.



Police inaction comes to the fore
Waits for rival party to file parallel complaint against complainant
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 3
The insensitiveness of the police came to the fore when instead of registering a case in a threat-to-life complaint filed by a security guard of a society, the police waits for the other party to file a parallel complaint.

The victim, Rajesh, security guard of a society in Sector 5 Mansa Devi Complex, said he had filed a complaint against Prakhar Gupta (19) a class-XII student of DPS Chandigarh, who was the son of a member of the society, at the MDC police station on June 1.

However, the police told him that it would investigate only after Gupta made a parallel complaint against him, he alleged. Rajesh said he had been appointed gatekeeper and worked under the directions of the management.

He said Gupta came to him and asked as to why he had switched on the motor, which he had done after residents asked him to switch on the same due to water requirement. He alleged that Gupta threatened him, stating that he would be wiped out.

He further said after he took up the matter with the management of the society, Gupta made a prestige issue as to why he had complained to the management. He said on the same day, when the office-bearers of the society snubbed Prakhar’s father BK Gupta for behaving irrationally, Prakhar again came to him, threatening that he would not be able to seen the face of his children as he would be wiped out.

The victim said he had stated all this in his complaint to the police. And now, if the police was calling him at the police station, it was doing so just to snub him and to take the case back against Prakhar, he added.

He alleged that the SHO was taking action as per the convenience of Prakhar’s parents and not on the risk to his life. He further said he was a poor man and could not grease the palms of police officials.

He added that if in case anything happened to him, the police would be responsible for not initiating any action against the accused.

The SHO of the MDC Sector-5 police station said a fair probe was being done in the case. She said they called the boy today, but he was not available.

The parents of the boy were also summoned, but they were not available as they were possibly out of town, she added. 



Private agency to run Morni Fort resort
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 3
The ambitious plans of Haryana's forest department to promote eco-tourism in the Morni hills have failed to take off.

The department has transferred the project to the Haryana Forest Development Corporation Limited (HFDCL), which has further outsourced the project to a private agency in a bid to attract tourists to the Morni Fort.

The agency selected would not only spruce up the huts and its surrounding areas, but would pay about Rs 26,000 as rent to the corporation for running the hill tourist resort, which attracted tourists from not only tricity, but also from across the country.

The Morni Fort is situated at an elevation of 3600 feet amid the pristine 'chir' and pine forests in the Morni hills, being the closest hill station to Chandigarh. The Maharaja of Sirmour built the fort about 500 years ago.

G Raman, Chief General Manager, HFDCL, said the fort had three spacious rooms with attached bathrooms, a kitchen and open space, about one acre, inside the fort.

He said they had recently improved the ambience, keeping the heritage look intact. He said Lal Munia log huts near the fort had two rooms with attached washrooms, a kitchen, a dining hall and a terrace. Raman said these had been aesthetically done in a scenic environment, with ample eco-tourism potential.

Besides providing luxurious accommodation in the lap of nature, the site also offered potential to undertake eco-tourism activities like trekking, boating, rock climbing, adventure sports, bird watching and observing wildlife, he added.

He said the contractor had been entrusted with not only maintaining the Morni Fort and the log huts, but also providing hospitality to tourists.

The eco-lodges had been equipped with eco-friendly furniture, roof hangings crafted from bamboo and natural flora, which took people further close to local systems and traditions, he said.



open house response
Poor planning led to water woes in Chandigarh

As a matter of fact, the demand for water is increasing world over. So, Chandigarh cannot be any exception. It is strange that the MC, as per the official records, claims enough supply of water to the city. The MC received two first prizes from the Union Ministry of Urban Development last year for having the figures of 332 litters of water per capita per day in this city of more than one million people. The city has the highest per capita quantum of water produced in the country.

It is genuinely correct that owing to a shortage of water, especially for the people living in upper floors, residents of several sectors are sometimes forced to take to streets. There are hydrants and water pipes that continue to leak and thousands of gallons of water goes waste daily. In the colonies, the water pipes remain open for days together.

There is neither any check on this wastage nor do inhabitants complain to the officials concerned about it. No action is taken even after the matter has been brought to the notice of the officials concerned. The stock reply is there is a shortage of staff, especially field employees.

According to a report, out of around 2,000 regular employees, now only 250 have been left to supervise the water supply network in the city and the department has to depend on contractors for petty repairs. In certain cases, the residents have to get up as early as at 4 am to make arrangements for water to be used throughout day, as they do not know when water supply will be stopped.

The Municipal Corporation, which has not done any planning, is responsible for the wastage of approximately 24 per cent of total available water. This shows inefficiency on the part of the administration in regulating water supply. There seems to be no post of water patrollers who are supposed to check leakages in water pipes across the city.

Surprisingly, while the residents, especially those living in southern sectors, continue to reel under an acute water crisis, the MC councillors, during its House meeting held on May 28, did not even discuss this issue, what to talk of finding the solution to the problem. Even our Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is also the Water Resources Minister, failed to even comment on the problem at the meeting. Who is concerned about the problems facing the southern sectors of the city? There seems no body. Certainly are they, only at the time of elections.

SK Khosla

Poor quality pipes to blame

Chandigarh was built for a population of 5 lakh on an area of 144 sq km. But, actually population has crossed the 12-lakh figure, which has affected basic services.

The Tribune has taken up a very important issue and rather touched the issue of sufferings of the residents due to low pressure of water supply. Newly built southern sectors and especially cooperative house building societies are badly affected. Fresh water hardly reaches top floors. To my mind, the main cause of the problem is leakage of water and which needs to be checked. Lots of drinking water goes waste due to leakage or wastage. No doubt, the staff of the Municipal Corporation regularly challan those people who waste water by washing cars and watering their lawns in the peak hours, but they should concentrate more on plugging leaking points.

In sector 48 A and B alone there are more than 35 leaking points on water supply lines. Certain points have been plugged while the others have been leaking for the past more than six months. One can easily imagine who much drinking water has been gone waste in sector 48 A and B alone?

There is never such problem in Sector 48 C and D because CI pipes manufactured with the latest technology have been laid there. Similar is the problem in Sector 49 A and B, where the MC had laid DI pipes for supplying water to houses. These areas are low-lying areas compared to Sectors 50 and 51 and those beyond these. The DI pipes start leaking due to their weak joints.

The association of the area feels that it would be better to replace the DI pipes with CI ones.

Kulbhushan Kanwar

Residents in upper floors at receiving end

The residents these days are facing a lot of problem due to an acute shortage of water, especially when consumption has increased due to the hostile weather conditions. Even when water is available, the pressure is very low. The condition of people living on the upper floors is even worse as the pressure is so low that many times they have to fetch water from the ground floors. People often have to use motors to draw water. But, that is a sheer waste of electricity. The municipal corporation should not turn a blind eye towards these issues and should start working on them so that at least a reasonable amount of water is available to everybody.

Isha Dahiya

Save water, do your bit

For most tricity residents, summer and water problems are almost synonymous. While the southern sectors and housing societies in Chandigarh are known to have water shortage, potable water is getting scarce in the northern sectors too this season. Very often, residents here complain of low water pressure. Most of the NRW (Non-Revenue Water) goes waste due to leakages in water pipelines and water thefts. In some places, people even make big holes in the main water pipelines and take water from there illegally. The MC should keep a strict check on such illegal connections and impose heavy fines on defaulters. Also, all the leaking pipelines should be repaired at the earliest as wastage of drinking water is also one of the crucial reasons for water shortage. Rain water harvesting can make an important contribution to efforts to deal with water scarcity.

Also, a few simple steps can help save water.

  • Wipe car with wet cloth
  • Don't keep water running while shaving or brushing
  • Avoid flushing toilet unnecessarily
  • Taking short shower.

A multi-pronged approach, a little more awareness and residents' cooperation is all that is required to deal with water crisis.

Vineet Kapoor

Need to create awareness

Water is one of the basic necessities of life without which it is not possible to survive. It is, therefore, very imperative to save/conserve water in our own interest. It is pity that the authorities instead of finding solution to this grave problem of scarcity of water indulge in wasting time in discussing not much important issues such as free parking passes, particularly when the residents are crying for water particularly those living at the upper floors. Blame game is always on among different quarters. The need of the hour is how to save every drop of water and overcome the scarcity of water problem. The desired results can be achieved by bringing awareness, motivation, cooperation and coordination among the residents and the authorities. This is possible only through joint efforts and cooperation at all levels from young ones to the eldest ones.

JC Verma

Community effort

Its very depressing to see people watering plants, washing their cars early in the morning. Nobody even cares to turn taps off after using water. I have always been taught by my mom to turn off the tap after every use. Nowadays, after experiencing such a great problem of shortage of water, I have realised the reason behind her advice. So in my view, conservation of water and water resources is not a one-man task but it is an effort on the part of the whole community. We all should just pool in our skills and resources to conserve water and we all should take a pledge not to misuse water.

Sudhanshu Shekhar

Special campaigns

The violation of ban on wastage of water continues unabated, washing vehicles during morning and watering of plants and lawns being the most common. The MC move of issuing notices to defaulters hasn't really done what it was expected to. Imposition of heavy fine is not the only solution, but there should be a move to sensitise people about the importance of water conservation through the media and public awareness programmes involving NGOs and students. Instead of issuing challans to citizens found wasting water, a multi-pronged approach is the need of the hour. Special campaigns and seminars must be held to sensitise the masses about the importance and magnitude of the grave problem of fast receding water table. The ideas as simple as wiping car with a wet cloth and using waste water after washing utensils to water plants can be shared by people.

Dr Shruti K Chawla

Clean water distant dream

It is a matter of shame that even after 65 years of Independence, we have not been able to get clean drinking water. Even pressure of water is so low that people living in the upper floors have to go without water, mostly during the summers when there it is needed badly. The MC takes pride in doing so many things for the residents, but the most burning problem of water shortage has not been solved ever since its formation.

Clean drinking water still remains a distant dream for the residents. The water we get in houses is mostly unfit for human consumption. Every now and then pictures of residents showing muddy water or lizards/worms in tap water are published in the Chandigarh Tribune. People have installed water purifiers or RO system in houses to get clean water. People have to spend from their own pockets for such facilities whereas it is the duty of the MC to provide pure and clean drinking water to its residents.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Ad-hoc solution won't do

Despite tall claims by the Municipal Corporation and administration, the residents of the city have been facing an acute scarcity of potable water. It is no secret that the residents living on the top floors are the worst sufferers. It is an irony that the situation repeats every year, and the stock questions regarding erratic water supply by the residents and the officers giving stock answers of improvement are the order of the day. There has been no improvement on the water supply front due to a lackadaisical attitude of the authorities coupled with faulty policies. Even in the matter of provision of water, the administration is pursuing double standard. Whereas it has failed to provide adequate water to the residents living in the marla and kanal houses, the authorities think they have done their duty by providing water up to the peripheral road of the cooperative house building societies. The cooperative house building societies build sumps to store water. I have been the president of one of the largest cooperative house building society complexes in Chandigarh. Whenever we faced an acute water shortage, I was advised by the authorities to fill sumps drawing water directly from municipal supply and then pump stored water to the overhead tanks put up on roofs. This has been causing health hazards fears as well.

The solution to the problem should not be based on ad-hocism. It is a persistent problem and a long-term strategy and planning is needed.

Satish Sharma

Open house question

Residents of the city suffer due to unscheduled power cuts. Write your experiences this summer, along with suggestions for improvement in power supply to the openhouse@tribunemail.comp



Tricity scan

CHB residents hold seminar

The CHB Residents' Federation held a seminar today in the open space near the kerosene pump in Sector 45C here on Sunday. The ranks of the CHB residents swelled as they were joined by the co-ordination committee of those who live in the rehabilitation colonies built by the Chandigarh Housing Board/Estate Office. Like the housing board residents, more than 90 per cent of whom have made changes in their houses and are looking up to the board to regularise their constructions, more than 90 per cent of people living in the rehabilitation colonies have bought their houses on the basis of power of attorney, and for decades have been knocking at the door of the Estate Office to get ownership rights.

The federation demanded more powers for the councillors and a citizen's charter/right to service in the UT Offices before August 15. Nirmal Dutt, chairman, appealed for a public audit system at the earliest.

Public works sanctioned

Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament has recommended public works costing more than Rs 1.30 crore under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme. These include installation of a lift in the Sainik Rest House, Sector 21 for Rs 18 lakhs, a public toilet in the New District Court Complex, Sector 43, for Rs 35 lakh, a cycle shed in Government Middle School, Sector 46-D, two additional rooms in the Community Centre, Sector 20, and provision of a hightech ambulance for Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 for Rs 25 lakh. The recommended projects also include construction of a 'dharmshala' and a panchayat park in Daria village, construction of a 'dharmshala' at Raipur Khurd village; construction of an alumni house at the Government College for Men, Sector 11, and a vehicle for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Sector 25-West.

Summer workshop

The Indian Council for Child Welfare (Bal Bhawan), Sector 23, Chandigarh is organising a summer workshop for children across Chandigarh in 'bhangra', art and craft, and painting from Monday onwards.

One-day fast

On the call of Swami Ramdev, Patanjali Yogpeeth and Bharat Swabhiman, Chandigarh, organised a 'One Day Fast' at the Bridge Market, Sector 17, wherein people from various walks of life, not only from Chandigarh but also from neighbouring states like Punjab, Himachal and Haryana, took an active part. The movement has been launched in support of the demand to bring back black money and to remove corruption from the country.

Painting competition

More than 100 students from various schools took part in an "On-the-spot-painting competition" organised by the Millennium School. The first two positions were bagged by Devank Oberoi and Bharat Dutta from the Millennium School and Luvkiran from Kid-R-Kids school stood third. A consolation prize too was awarded to Ishanika from Kids-R-Kids school.

Movie screening for cancer survivors

Nearly 200 cancer survivors today forgot about their stress and worries and enjoyed themselves at an exclusive screening of the comedy film 'Rowdy Rathore' organised for them by Saarthak, the cancer support group of Fortis Hospital, Mohali, at the PVR Central Mall, Chandigarh. Dr Rajeev Bedi, senior consultant and head, department of medical oncology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, suggested to the cancer survivors to reach out to other members of the community and get them to join any free support group like Saarthak.

Tribune Reporters



Colleges offer variety of add-on courses
The career-oriented courses will help students in getting emloyment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Pursuing graduation in city colleges after passing from class XII will be more fun with a wide range of career and market-oriented, skill enhancing add-on courses being offered by the colleges. These courses will help students in getting jobs, or in making them self-employed, thereby empowering them.

Students can now choose from a variety of add-on subjects keeping their long-term professional interests in mind. Colleges in the city have introduced a number of add-on and vocational courses at the graduation level to the students.

With the fast growing competition, pursuing a professionally viable course has become the need of the hour.

MCM College, Sector-36, offers add-on courses in Cosmetology and Beauty Care, Interior Designing and Decoration, Video Reporting and Communicative English and Web designing in Multi-media. Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector-26, is offering courses in Banking Management and Insurance Business.

Post Graduate Government College for Girls-42 is offering courses in Environmental Auditing, Tourism and Travel, Event Management, Animation and Graphics, Web Designing, Mass Communication and Video Reporting, Disastrous Management

Dr Dalip Kumar, a teacher at the PGGCG-42, said that the colleges these days are offering a wide range of career oriented courses. This certainly helps students in bagging jobs which they might not get on the basis of a graduation degree. "The courses offered should be of inter-disciplinary nature. There should be no watertight compartments and students should have the freedom to diversify into various fields, not necessarily related to their core discipline," he said.

The objective is to introduce career and market-oriented, skill enhancing add-on courses that have utility for job, self-employment.

At the end of three years, the students will be equipped with a certificate, diploma, or advanced diploma in an add-on orientation course, along with the conventional graduation degree. "There is a need to revamp our education system in view of the rising demand for skilled workers. Introducing add-on and vocational courses is a good step in this direction," said Vikram Singh, a college student.



PU students’ council completes tenure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) completed its tenure on May 31. The new student council will be formed after the student elections held in September after commencing of the new academic session.

Listing achievements, PUCSC president Pushpinder Sharma, a member of Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), said getting teacher evaluation introduced was the major achievement of the council.

Sharma further said a placement fest, “Aavsar”, was another major achievement of the student council, which helped over 150 students in getting the campus placement.

Sharma said the foundation stones of girl’s hostel number 9 and a hostel, especially for foreign students of the university, were also laid during their tenure at the south campus of the university.

PUCSC also managed to get Rs 1 crore allocated for upgrading WiFi facility in boys and girls’ hostels.



PSEB chairman holds review meetings

Mohali, June 3
Punjab School Education Board’s newly appointed chairman and Principal Secretary, Education, SS Channy, today reviewed the overall functioning of the institution.

In his first meeting with the officials, Channy made a number of suggestions to improve and make transparent the day-to-day working of the board. He also directed the examination department to ensure declaration of results for class X and XII as per schedule.

Taking a serious note of the budget deficit, the chairman directed to arrange high-level meetings with officials of Finance and Social Welfare departments, besides asking his staff to curtail their expenses.

Issuing instructions to the paper-cell regarding making proposal on cutting costs of their departmental activities, he also made specific reference about transparency and efficiency in the working of the accounts department. — TNS



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