C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT short of ideas on saving Sukhna Lake
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Years after dabbling in more than half a dozen proposals and half-hearted exercises in desilting, the Chandigarh Administration has been unable to even decide on a clear line of action in saving its pristine water beauty, the Sukhna Lake.

Visitors gather at the entrance to the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Visitors gather at the entrance to the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Sunday.

Talking to this correspondent, Adviser to Administrator KK Sharma said, “We are trying all options to find a definite solution, but have not been able to reach a consensus plan yet. We are studying how many old lakes survived and trying a local solution. We are also expecting results on the nature of the weeds and an effective mechanism in controlling those during a visit by the director of the National Institute of Hydrology.”

During his visit to Srinagar recently, the Adviser had inspected a desilting machine, which the Administration was all set to procure independently.

Dead fish lie on the dry bed of the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Dead fish lie on the dry bed of the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Sunday.

Former Chief Engineer GS Dhillon said, “Despite tall claims of sincere efforts in saving the Sukhna Lake, the Administration has failed in even identifying the agency which can lead the way out of the definite darkness. Even the Centre had not responded as effectively as was expected after expectations were raised following Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's interference in June 2010.”

The only consistent development over the years has been the increasing number of proposals, none of which has yielded any result. With more than two-thirds having silted in the 1990s, the Administration introduced check dams in the catchment area two decades back.

The Administration claimed positive results in checking the inflow of silt, but experts felt that it had also stopped water inflow. Launched with fanfare in 1988, ‘shramdaan’ had to be discontinued after it was discovered that human efforts would make no visible impact.

Despite giving the task to four institutions, no effective mechanism in checking the weed had been arrived at. The Rs-72-crors desilting project was never cleared by the Centre.

The special committee formed under Chief Conservator of Forests Santosh Kumar following directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had not been able suggest any concrete line of action in reviving the water body.

Some of the non-workable models which came up for suggestion were tubewells in the catchment area, water from the Bhakra Canal and tertiary waters. Another consistent development has been the falling water level of the lake, which has come down to a level where even boats have been stranded ashore.

Environmentalist Harjit Singh said, “While a section of officials will like to argue that the Sukhna was a manmade lake and was dying a natural death, one will like to give the examples of the Osman Sagar in Hyderabad, which came up in 1920, and the Pichola Lake in Udaipur, which came up in the 17th century, and were surviving. Officials here like to mention that Le Corbusier had said the lake would have a life of about 25 years.”

Dhillon said the Administration was ignoring the fact that at least 150 check dams set up in the catchment area during the late 1980s were preventing at least 2,060 square acres of water from entering the lake.

Spread in 26 square kilometres of the 42 square kilometres of the catchment area of the lake, these check dams were robbing the lake of its water in huge quantity.

The point was countered by Santosh Kumar, who said, “In case the flow of silt had been allowed to go on, the lake would have been filled. Only check dams had checked the inflow, which came down from 140 tonnes per hectare to five tonnes per hectare.”

Critics would like to contest the claim, saying in case the silt inflow had been reduced and going by the tall claims of the Administration about desilting, the depth should have increased. The water level was only 3.5 feet, against the original depth of 18 feet.

Conservationist Narbir Singh said, “The Administration had greened the area near the regulator end very effectively. The area was dug up recently, which resulted in an increase in the surface area of the lake, which meant lesser depth. One needs to realise that the lake should be allowed to be smaller, but greener, to allow better health.”



Dead fish lie on lake bed
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Scores of dead fish were seen this morning in small pools that emerged on the Sukhna bed following the unprecedented drying up of the lake this summer. Ducks, too, were having a tough time in their movement for food because those had to walk long distances to get pools of their choice.


Ducks move from the dry bed to water at the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Ducks move from the dry bed to water at the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Sunday.

Scores of varying sizes of fish were seen floating early in the morning. The fish largely included fully grown ‘rohu’ and ‘catla’ species.

An official with the engineering department at the site said, “The fish visible at 7 am are nothing compared to early morning sightings because a majority are eaten up by birds and stray dogs.”

Clarifying on the attempts to move bigger fish to comparatively deeper water, approximately 3.5 feet, near the boating area, the official said, “This move did not mean much as the number of fish was pretty large and the depth was decreasing even in those portions.”

Neelesh Anand of Bhubaneswar said “I have come to the city after nearly 25 years and am shocked to see the lake. It is looking as an amalgamation of village ponds and looks very dirty. I had boasted to my son of giving him a joyride at the lake.”

Requesting anonymity, an official on duty said, “I do not know why they are not shifting the fish. At least the big ones need to be transported to safer waters because it is very depressing to watch dead fish floating in small pools. At least ducks need to be cleared. Things will get more difficult in case it does not rain for a few more days.”

Panel’s findings

A special committee was formed under Chief Conservator of Forests Santosh Kumar, which had a few observations and suggestions.

  • The Sukhna Lake is drying up mainly because of the paucity of rain. Nothing except high intensity rain can help the Sukhna refill. There have been similar situations in the past. In 1988, a symbolic cricket match was played.
  • Dams in the catchment area have been able to check more than 95 per cent of the volume of the silt inflow, failing which the lake would have been almost choked.
  • Le Corbusier predicted a very limited life for the lake, approximately 25 years, in 1958.
  • There are some differences among the partner states, particularly Punjab, over the inflow of weed from Kansal.
  • With a revamp in place soon, the health of the lake will definitely improve within the next three or four years.



Earlier attempts that Failed

  • The annual ritual of ‘shramdaan’, started in 1988, was reminding residents about saving the pristine beauty. A symbolic cricket match on the dry bed was one of the highlights, besides the involvement of eminent citizens from different walks of life.
  • The UT was expecting a ~72-crore mechanical desilting project, which after lying buried in files of the Centre, was officially shelved.
  • The Administration had worked separately with the Panjab University, Chandigarh; the National Institute of Hydrology, Rorkee; the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow; and the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; to identify and manage the weed menace, but there had not been any definite solution till date.
  • The Administration considered a proposal of having tubewells in the catchment area.
  • It was also proposed to get water from the Bhakra Canal mainline to fill the lake, which did not work out.
  • The Administration also thought about filling the lake with tertiary waters, which turned out to be another proposal which did not work out.

We are trying all options to find a definite solution, but have not been able to reach a consensus plan yet. We are studying how many old lakes survived and trying a local solution. We are also expecting results on the nature of the weeds and an effective mechanism in controlling those during a visit by the director of the National Institute of Hydrology.

— KK Sharma, Adviser to Administrator

Despite tall claims of sincere efforts in saving the Sukhna Lake, the Administration has failed in even identifying the agency which can lead the way out of the definite darkness. Even the Centre had not responded as effectively as was expected after expectations were raised following Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's interference in June 2010.

— GS Dhillon, Former Chief Engineer



Labourer crushed to death
Three other deaths reported in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
A labourer was crushed to death under the weight of goods loaded in a Tata Magic here today. Ram Saroop was killed after the vehicle (CH01TA-2182) hit a tree near the Government Model School at Dadu Majra and a bed fell on him. The police arrested Rampal, the driver of the vehicle, and booked him in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC.

The police said the beds belonged to some eunuchs and were being transported from Dadu Majra to Sector 33 when the mishap occurred.

There were three other labourers in the vehicle and they had a miraculous escape. The police said there were two heavy beds in the vehicle.

The police added that the labourer was crushed between the beds and he died following a head injury.

A native of Bihar, he was staying with his brother at Dadu Majra.

In another incident, a 52-year-old man employed as lift operator at the Haryana Civil Secretariat was found dead at his Sector-37 residence here this morning.

The victim, Bharat Bhushan, was staying alone and died around three days back, the police said. The body was highly decomposed and had maggots all over it.

The police received a telephone call that the man was not opening the door. The police reached the spot and broke the door open.

Bharat was found lying on the floor. His body was taken to a hospital and kept at the mortuary for post-mortem examination.

The police ruled out foul play as the door was locked from inside. After examining the spot, a forensic expert confirmed that Bharat died around three days ago.

Neighbours of the deceased informed the police that foul smell was emanating from his house, which was locked for the last few days.

The police found blood on the edge of the table, suggesting that Bharat might have accidentally fallen and died of a severe head injury. The police started inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.

In the third incident, Pradeep Kumar of Sector 25 was found dead in his auto-rickshaw last night. He worked as auto-rickshaw driver.

He was found dead around 11:30 pm by a passerby and the police was informed. The police said he died of brain haemorrhage.

In the fourth incident, a 36-year-old inmate of the Burail Jail here died after slipping in a bathroom last evening.

The convict, Ram Baran, was a resident of Uttar Pradesh. He was arrested under the NDPS Act last year.

A case had been registered against him at the Sector-39 police station. He was facing a 10-year sentence.

The victim was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital at Sector 32, where doctors declared him brought dead.

The body was kept at the mortuary of the hospital. The jail authorities informed the police and the family of the deceased.



Open house response
House tax cannot be linked with grant-in-aid

There has been a serious controversy erupted recently between the Chandigarh administration and the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh over imposing house tax in the city. The adamant attitude of the Chandigarh Administration to impose house tax on the residents who are already facing skyrocketing prices especially after the presentation of Union budget where service tax has been increased from 10 to 12 per cent and consequently there has been an alarming rise almost in every daily use of items is unwarranted and uncalled for.

The Municipal Corporation where the councilors are the real representatives of the people have already rejected the proposal tooth and nail but the administration is still adamant to compel the MC to impose this unnecessary and uncalled for tax. The administration in the event of not levying the house tax, has threatened the MC to withdraw the grants.

It is ridiculous on the part of the administration as well as the Union Government to link the grant-in-aid with the schemes to be executed under JNNRUM. In one estimate, the levying of house tax would yield only Rs 22 crore per annum for the Corporation, whereas the schemes to be executed under JNNURM are of Rs 400 crore. What a funny proposal of the administration? In case some money is to be allotted under grants-in-aid, it should be under devolution of finances to be distributed by the Union Finance Commission, or now the Delhi Finance Commission for which the Administrator of Chandigarh has determined the Terms of Reference: as all the state governments are getting money allocated by Finance Commission but UT Chandigarh does not get any money collected through direct and indirect taxes.

Hence, there is no justification for levying new taxes in Chandigarh. Otherwise, also there is no need to levy any tax in UT Chandigarh as the Municipal Corporation is the second most cash rich corporation having sufficient fixed deposits in its name to run the affairs in the city very comfortably. Though the administration has unfettered powers, but while sitting in air conditioned rooms, they can not feel the pulse of the people, how people are terribly aggrieved with soaring prices of daily need. Since the Municipal Corporation, which is a cash rich state, has already rejected the proposal to impose house tax, the Chandigarh administration should also realise the gravity of the situation and should not insist upon to impose this unnecessary tax which would certainly be burden the people. If today, house tax is imposed as is being envisaged by the administration, there would be a proposal to burden the people with more taxes like increase in VAT, garbage collection tax etc. As such there is absolutely no justification to impose house tax.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

If not levied, it will affect central grant for development

It is recently found that Municipal Corporation is evading all signals from the Chandigarh Administration for imposing house tax on city residents. Chandigarh Administration seems in different in taking house taxes, whereas it was necessary to take house tax under Section 90 (4) of Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1946. Despite repeated reminders by the JNNURM, Municipal Corporation is not taking house tax from city residents. Because of this city is losing about Rs 400 crore, which is a huge amount. A lot of pending works related to city residential areas could have completed with the huge amount but the work is not getting completed off late. It is said that if Chandigarh administration did not impose hose tax or property tax, there might be a further cut under the JNNURM. Municipal Corporation have been asked to impose minimal house tax and revise property tax to avoid getting any further grant in aid through JNNURM in future. The grants-in-aid given by JNNURM is very essential and beneficial, but the Chandigarh Administration is not paying any heed to it.

Almost all the states are given the grants and almost all the states are using the grants in aid in a proper and efficient way, thus leading to advancement. It is duty of the municipal corporation and the councillors to impose house tax. If the house tax is not imposed in a proper manner it would further affect the central grant for city's development. For the overall development of the city, it is necessary to collect adequate funds. With the imposition of road tax, entertainment tax, etc. house tax should also be imposed so the city gets more and more funds in future from the government in future to develop more and develop quickly. Municipal Corporation should at least impose minimal hose tax to save its funds coming from JNNURM.

Guryog Kaur

Levying nominal house tax

The imposition of House Tax and other reforms has become a very sensitive matter both for the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Council. The residents are also up in arms against the move. The Chandigarh Administration is undergoing a number of development works with the funds received from Central Government under JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission). But the funds, which are known as matching grants come with a pre-condition of carrying out reforms in the area. If the reforms are not carried out, the release of central funds under JNNURM to the city can be put on hold. It is pertinent to mention here that these funds are in addition to the accepted budget of the council. For carrying out the development works in the city, which are in interest of all the residents, the House Tax can be levied at a very nominal/affordable rate and that too only on the houses built over an area of 250 square yards and above. This will not affect majority of the house owners and the condition of Central Government for the release of funds under JNNURM will be met and additional revenue will also be generated.

Dr Shruti K. Chawla, Chandigarh

Tax should be levied on commercial ventures

Despite several reminders from both the ministry of urban development and the UT Administration to impose residential property tax in the city, Municipal Corporation is in no mood to displease the public by levying it, heartiest thanks to Local Member of Parliament and Elected Representatives of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh for criticising the proposal to impose house tax in city beautiful. The UT Adminstrator, in spite of asking the MC to impose the tax, he should take the issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs so that the ministry should not stop grants under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for developmental works. In an agreement signed by the MC with the ministry in 2005, the civic body should also take effective steps to increase its revenue. Residents should not be targeted. Instead, tax should be levied on commercial ventures that have come up in IT Park. The park was planned for IT companies, but a number of other firms are running their businesses and offices from there. Political representatives have taken wonderful decision that there was no need to impose any tax on public as the civic body has surplus budget, as it will be unnecessary burden on public. While the people of Chandigarh sometimes, feel they are powerful politically, they enjoy privileges in terms of development and the fact that taxes are among the lowest in the country. In fact, Chandigarh is the only place where there is no house tax. High tele-density and car-density make the city a special place and the IT hub is now the greenest in the country and a place where politicians can't promote shanties and encroachments to build vote banks. Mayor Raj Bala Malik in order to earn revenue for corporation should increase in property tax on commercial buildings and no tax should be levied on residential buildings. Mayor should initiate austerity projects and should use his brainchild to earn revenue so that corporation should not face a financial crunch for ongoing and upcoming crucial projects of the city. Infact, mayor should strictly announce in co-ordination meeting with Adminstration that its final not to impose house tax is the first and the last decision of the corporation.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

No harm in imposing taxes

Paying no house tax may seem convenient to city residents but it the times to come, it might become difficult for the local administration to work efficiently without sufficient funds. There is nothing wrong with imposing nominal taxes to generate resources. It is important in order to carry out the development works. It is invariably people’s money that is collected and used for providing basic amenities and better facilities to make the citizens’ life comfortable. Thus, no-tax approach is unrealistic, although favourable to the people at present. The Municipal Corporation should also levy taxes on commercial ventures across the city. The authorities should also act responsibly and utilise the funds in a systematic manner by first completing the pending projects and then starting new ones. This will definitely change people’s perspective towards the imposition of tax.

Vineet Kapoor

MC will not suffer financial crunch

The Municipal Corporation may be disobeying the orders of Chandigarh Administration in regard to the non-levying of house tax on the owners, but at the same time it also relevant to mention that the corporation here was cash happy. It will not suffer any financial crunch. Looking at the insanitary conditions caused by the way side flinging of the plastic/poly empty container, drop-outs of the dogs and stray animals, it appears that no proper care is taken to remove the health hazards, it can be argued that the corporation first needed to improve the services to the residents. The sweeping of the roads is also done casually resulting into piling up of clay along the roads, which may cause slippage during rains. Except for the VVIP sectors, the garbage can be seen at many points. So under the given circumstances, it is good that the taxes are not levied and avoided as far as possible.

Gurmit Singh Saini

Open House Question

Sukhna Lake has dried like never before, this summer. Write your opinion and your suggestions for revival of the pristine beauty to the openhouse@tribunemail.com



Naval version of light combat aircraft
CSIO gadget for Tejas to be tested in July
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, June 24
The head-up display (HUD) for the naval version of the Tejas light combat aircraft is scheduled to be flight-tested next month. The naval version of the aircraft had undertaken its maiden test flight on April 27.

The HUD is an opto-electronic gadget installed above the cockpit’s instrument panel that superimposes vital flight parameters on the pilot’s vision of the outside world, giving him all requisite information at a glance and without having him to peer down inside the cockpit, thus enabling him to fly with his “head up”. Air speed, altitude, weapon status, rate of turn and angle of attack are among parameters displayed on the HUD.

Prototypes of the HUD’s naval version have been fabricated by the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here and one unit is being integrated into the naval fighter’s cockpit by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).

A team of scientists from the CSIO are in Bangalore for the purpose.

The HUD for the naval version is a further development of the HUD produced for the air force version of the Tejas. The air force version has already been integrated into the cockpit and several units have been installed in the Tejas’ prototype and limited series production aircraft.

The HUD for the naval version is technologically more advanced and has different technical specifications than the air force version and the operating parameters, cockpit configuration and the pilot’s field of vision are different.

The naval version is also designed to withstand the impact of harder landings on the aircraft carrier’s deck vis-a-vis landing on runways.

The CSIO has transferred the technology to the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for commercial production of the air force version of the HUD. The Panchkula unit of the BEL has produced about 45 such units. In addition, two HUD units have also been fabricated by the CSIO for the HJT-36 trainer developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and a project is underway to develop an HUD for the HAL’s intermediate jet trainer.



G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit
Training must to raise funds, suggest participants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
City entrepreneurs have become key contributor for exchange of ideas for developing entrepreneurship across the world. Having returned from Mexico after attending the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit (YES), they are confident G20 economies would help define and promote practices to create a new and better global entrepreneurship environment.

During the entrepreneur summit, a lot of political and economic ideas were exchanged between young people from the G20 countries. The suggestions made by them would be incorporated into programmes and policies of the G20 nations to boost entrepreneurship.

Talking to mediapersons here, city-based businessman Jaiprakash Singh Hasrajani, co-founder and CEO, Taaleem India, and co-chairman of the YI Net, said fruitful talks in Mexico would help set an agenda for the G 20 nations for developing entrepreneurial skills in these member nations.

Across the world, more than 70 per cent start ups fail in initial three years due to lack of knowledge on funding. “In the agenda, it has primarily been suggested that young entrepreneurs be given training in regard to raising funds,” he said.

Hasrajani said, "G20YES is a great platform which has grown tremendously over the last 3 years, to become the key contributor in developing entrepreneurship across the world to ensure inclusive growth of G20 economies. After a year of research and studies by Mckinsey and Ernst & Young, G20YES created an agenda with clear inputs on how the eco-system for entrepreneurship needs to be developed, how entrepreneurs can have faster access to finances and how can a culture of entrepreneurship be developed in all G20 countries, for long-term sustainable growth of these economies.” Anupama Arya, also from Chandigarh, chairperson of the Young Indians (YI) was the leader of the delegation.



IDFC running into huge losses
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The Industrial Development-cum-Facility Centre (IDFC) set by the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) for the promotion of industries is running in to huge losses. As the machinery procured to test material for their physical and chemical properties lies unused, the centre has incurred a loss of over Rs one crore in the last three years.

A special audit of the centre, primarily set up for the certification of industrial products and precision tool room facilities for proto type development, has revealed that the grant-in-aid given every year has remained unused, adding to the cash losses to the corporation.

From cash losses of Rs 20.40 lakh in 2001-02, the losses increased to Rs 39 lakh in 2010-11. Since 2008-09, the total loss suffered by the centre has accumulated to Rs 1.02 crore. The audit has pointed out that being a commercial undertaking, the corporation cannot afford to continue with the units which are not economically viable on a continuous basis and efforts should be made make them viable.

Losses apart, the centre has also come under the scanner for non-maintenance of subsidiary accounts of grants-in-aid of Rs 818.81 lakh. A scrutiny of the records revealed that the company had not been maintaining the subsidiary accounts as mandated under the General Financial Rules, 2005. The utilisation certificates for the grants-in-aid and pre-delivery inspection of machinery worth Rs 63.44 lakh were not produced.

Equipments worth Rs 80 lakh procured for the centre for certification of industrial products lie unused as the centre has not been accredited. Shortage of staff is also hampering the functioning of the centre.



Chandigarh scan
Slash in power price demanded

Ajay Jagga, president of the local unit of Janata Party has said that the schedule of power cuts released by the electricity department is arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of the Article 14 of the Constitution of India, as all equals are not being treated as equals, because the power cuts are not imposed on all in a uniform manner. Secondly, as per the Consumer Protection Act, the electricity consumers are entitled to avail remission in minimum or fixed charges being charged and collected by the Electricity Department, in the electricity bills, on account of scheduled and unscheduled power cuts in the city or any state of India. It is the fundamental right of the electricity consumer to pay for the minimum charges or fixed monthly charges only for the period of electricity supply. If the Electricity Board is unable to supply electric energy to a consumer as per his demand on account of non-availability of the electric energy or consequent imposition of power cut, there should be reduction in the minimum charges in proportion to the power cut that has been imposed. Hence it is demanded that there should be reduction in the minimum charges or fixed charges in proportion to the power cuts that has been imposed, in the bills to be raised by electricity department for the current period.

Bal samagam

Hundreds of children participated in a Bal Samagam organised by the Nirankari mission. Quwwali, theme based skits, divine songs, Sufi songs and action plays were presented on the occasion, besides song. Amarjit Singh, zonal incharge, Patiala, and Mohinder Singh, head of the Chandigarh branch, appreciated efforts by the small children on the occasion. A cultural programme was also [resent much to the delight of the audience members.


More than 220 teachers participated in a special camp organised by Shemford group of schools from across the length and breadth of the country. This training session included grooming and communication skills and handling students.


Anti-Crime Anti-Corruption Cell of Chandigarh has honoured Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, orthopaedician Dr Sharadendu Sharma for his outstanding devotion towards the service for mankind. “His name was recommended for the honour by hospital authorities on the suggestion of his colleagues. Others who were honoured on the occasion include former Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of the Police, Manish Chaudhary, now posted as the SP Traffic, Chandigarh and Mohali deputy commissioner Varun Roozam.

Mazdoor manasangh

A meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Mazdoor Mahasangh (BJMM) of Chandigarh and Punjab was held here at the office of the BJP, Kamalam, Chandigarh. The meeting was inaugurated by Sanjay Tandon, BJP state president and inaugural session has addressed by the councillors Satinder Singh and Saurabh Joshi. The meeting was also addressed by the national secretary of BJMM Amardeep Sawhney who condemned the wrong economic policies of central government and told that due to these wrong policies of central government entire working class in organise and unorganised sectors is suffering due to inflation. — TNS



Private doctors on strike today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Protesting against the implementation of Clinical Establishment Act, private doctors have decided to go on a strike tomorrow. A nationwide one day strike is being called and doctors in Chandigarh will keep their clinics, diagnostic centers and hospitals closed on June 25, said Dr Ramnik Bedi, president of Indain Medical Association, Chandigarh.

The strike call is given against the unreasonable Bills passed by the government without consulting the medical fraternity, he said. Alleging that the Bills are against the common man and doctors, Dr Bedi said that it was a short-sighted policy which will deteriorate the healthcare system further. The cost-effective neighbourhood doctor will become extinct due to these Bills, he added.

Counting on the apprehensions of the medical fraternity, the IMA president said the Union health ministry is bringing a new bill in favour of the National Commission of Human Resources for Health (NCHRH) in place of the MCI. IMA opposes this bill as it brings nominated and non-medical background people to administer medical education.

Demanding that the medical profession be exempted from the present Consumer Protection Act, he said that a mass awareness program will be organised in Sector 17 tomorrow to create awareness among masses about the issue. Health talks on major killer diseases in the country will be given by experts at the mass awareness program, said Bedi.



CHB rally gains support
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The inhabitants of the rehabilitation colonies and members of Pind Bachao Sangarsh Committee have joined the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) in getting the need- based changes approved. The support came during the sixth mobilization rally of the CHB Residents Federation held in Sector 29 here this evening.

The rally was part of the second phase of the campaign to get all the need-based changes and alterations in all categories of CHB Houses regularized, to get ownership rights for the residents of the rehabilitation colonies who bought their houses on the power of attorney, to get the Citizens’ Charter and get the Right to Service Act adopted in all the UT Offices before August 15.

The federation is also demanding a public audit system for all the expenses out of the public funds, and to get the powers transferred from the public servants to the public representatives.

The president of the federation, Nirmal Datt, said over the last thirty years all the CHB Residents in all categories of flats have been making additions/alterations in their houses unguided by the board, and unchecked. Now, the 40 minor concessions cleared in the year 2010, and 13 more that too would be cleared within the scope of prevailing bylaws, will not solve even 10 per cent of the additions/alterations problem. “What is needed now is a bold decision to regularise all-types of new additions/ alterations,” he said.

On the issue of transfer of ownership to those CHB residents who bought their houses from the original allottees before the lapse of five years from the date of allotment has resulted in great discomfort to more than a thousand applicants. The federation reiterated its demand that the three new board members (to be nominated) should be from the prominent people living in the southern sectors, as these people will be of great help to bridge the gulf between the board and the harried people whose burden the board is supposed to ease.



Heat wave to continue for two days
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The residents in the tricity region continued to reel under the severe heat and humid conditions and the weather office has predicted that such conditions would prevail for the coming two or three days.

Interestingly, the days in Shimla continued to be colder than the nights in the tricity region as the minimum temperature in the hilly region was recorded at 28.2 degrees Celsius, three notches below than the tricity region of Chandigarh.

The weather office has predicted partly cloudy sky in the region. The maximum temperature on Monday would be around 40 ºc and the minimum temperature on Tuesday would be around 30 ºC.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 40.7 degrees Celsius four degrees above normal while the minimum temperature was recorded at 31 degrees Celsius, six notches above normal. The maximum humidity was recorded at 56 per cent while the minimum was recorded at 34 per cent.

Director Chandigarh Met Department Surinder Paul said that there would be no major change in the temperatures. He also said the light rain or thundershowers were expected in isolated places in Punjab and Haryana. However there would be no major change in the weather during the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Hissar in Haryana continued to be hottest place with maximum temperature recorded at 43 degrees Celsius. In Punjab, Amritsar recorded 42.8 degrees Celsius followed by Patiala and Ludhiana with 42.0 and 41.9 degrees Celsius respectively.



No water in Sector 7 for fifth day running
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The taps in many Sector 7 houses were dry for the fifth consecutive day today. While the Municipal Corporation officials say that the fault lies in the old pipeline in the government quarters laid by the CPWD, the residents disagree.

All the houses in the sector, numbering around 1,500, have not received water supply on the upper floors since the onset of summer.

And for the last five days the supply is not even reaching to many people living on the ground floor, said N K Jingan, a local resident.

The residents even started a protest yesterday, but no remedial steps were taken to improve the situation.

“There was no water supply in the morning in nearly 125 houses again today,” said Surinder Kumar another resident. People are forced to fetch water from neighbouring houses where the water supply is available, or from water tankers,” he said.

The situation has made us feeling that we are no more residents of a modern city, said Sunita, a housewife. We have been forced to carry water in buckets for our daily needs similar to the people living in remote areas, she rued.

This is not for the first time that such a situation has arisen during summer.

Following our repeated requests the Municipal Corporation officials improved the water supply during last week, and all the residents on all floors were getting water, said Jingan. However, things have reversed to the old situation for last few days again, he added.

The municipal chief engineer SS Bida, when contacted, said the corporation supplies the water to the storage tank set up for the locality.

From there the water is supplied through the pipelines laid by CPWD and the residents need to get it repaired for the proper water supply through CPWD, he added.



Tall ask for PCL
Recovering Rs 21.96 crore from customers not easy
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 24
Due to not incorporating the suitable interest clause in the agreement for the recovery of interest in case of delay in payment of amount by its customer, the Punjab Communications Limited (PCL) finds it hard recovering its outstanding amount of Rs 21.96 crores from its certain customers.

In its recently released audit and inspection report for the financial year 2010-11, the Principal Auditor General, Punjab has raised objections and sought reply from the department in this regard.

In the report, it was stated that the company, which has been engaged in manufacturing of telecommunication equipment, had the net debtors amounting to Rs 21.96 crores.

According to the report, the company (PCL) was to recover Rs 10.94 crores from the BSNL against which the bills were raised during the year 2008 to 2009 and Rs 1.89 crore was recoverable from Railtel Corporation of India Ltd against which sale bills were raised during 2005 to 2007.

The audit observed that the company did not incorporate the suitable interest clause in the agreement for the recovery of interest in case of delay in payment of amount by the customer. This has resulted into non-recovery of huge outstanding amount of Rs 21.96 crores for which concrete efforts may be made to recover the amount at the earliest, mentioned the report.

The audit officers have also sought reply from the department that why the interest clause was not incorporated in the agreement for the period of delay in payment may be intimated to audit and the justification on the reasons for non-receipt of payment in this connection.



Coaching Centre-32 register win

Chandigarh, June 24
A fine all-round performance by Shivanshu Sood (unbeaten 49 runs and 2 wickets) helped the Coaching Centre of Sector 32 to record third consecutive win in the ongoing junior cricket cup here. The team defeated Bhart Vij academy (A) by 25 runs.

After electing to bat first, the wining side posted a total of 116 runs in the allotted 20 overs. Shivanshu scored unbeaten 49 runs while Mihir contributed 25. Bowler, Shivam claimed 2 for 25.

In reply, the Bharti Vij academy could manage to score only 91 runs in the 20 overs. Shivam contributed 37 runs, while Shivanshu (2 for 15), Shubham (1 for 10) and Shivang(1 for 20) were the main wicket takers for the wining team. — TNS



SGFI gets new joint secretary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The Executive and General Council Meeting of School Games Federation Of India (SGFI), affiliated to the International School Games Federation, and recognised by Indian Olympic Association and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, has appointed PS Brar, State Sports Organiser, Education Department, Chandigarh, as the joint secretary of the SGFI. Rajeev Tandon, Assistant Education Officer (Sports), Education Department, has been nominated as a member of international tour committee of SGFI.

During the meeting, it was also decided that the city will host the 58th National School Games in the disciplines of hockey (U-17, boys and girls) and cricket (U-16, boys) in the month of November.



Students stranded, PU awaits official communication
Many vocational subjects offered by CBSE left out of Panjab University’s eligibility list

Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The vocational electives being offered by the Central Board of Secondary Education at the senior secondary level have become a bane of many students in the region who are aspiring to get admission in Panjab University and its affiliated colleges as they find themselves ineligible for many courses offered by the university.

Like previous years, a majority of the vocational subjects offered by the board has failed to make it to the PU’s list of subjects used for deciding the merit on the basis of the best-of-five and other criteria.

The worst hit are the students who took up financial subjects in the Classes XI and XII as the subjects are not being considered for preparing the merit list for BBA and BCom courses in the university.

The PU authorities blamed the CBSE for not informing the university about the eligibility of these vocational subjects.

"We include or exclude any subject in our eligibility list only after getting an official communication from the CBSE. While we do get queries from students about subjects like financial management, till date we have got no letter from the board saying that the subject has to be treated at par with other commerce subjects," said PU Registrar AK Bhandari.

The CBSE Chairman, Vineet Joshi, said that the vocational courses could not be ignored while preparing the merit list. He said that the board would send an official communication to the university.

"No vocational subject can be ignored in merit. While initially even DU was apprehensive about these subjects, it has now accepted them. We will issue a formal communication to the PU to take up these subjects in merit," he said.

  • CBSE had introduced a number of competency-based courses under vocational education at the senior secondary level to deal with the acute shortage of trained professionals and for the development of employability skills among the students. The aim, however, is yet to be achieved as these courses have not only failed to give students an edge in college admissions, a majority of the students has also failed to find a decent job right after the school.



Goof-up in OCET
Questions lifted from 2009 exam, candidates allege foul play
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, June 24
Eighteen of the 75 questions that came in the LLM entrance exam under the O-CET held at Panjab University last week were exactly same as those in the O-CET 2009. Not only the multiple choice questions were same, the options accompanying most of these questions were also the same as in the 2009 examination.

The candidates have raised an objection to bulk questions appearing again in the same exam and have alleged foul play. One of the candidates who appeared in the LLM exam said that out of the total 75 questions, 18 questions had been copied from the exam held in 2009, which meant around 24 per cent of the paper was exactly the same, which raised doubts.

"Not only have the questions been carbon copied but the options are also exactly the same in most of the questions. This is another way of disclosing the paper, wherein the candidates could have been told well in advance, what to study and from where to study it," said one of the candidates who have submitted their objections to the PU authorities.

"It’s amazing that out of 30 odd law subjects, the examiner could frame only these particular questions and give the same options. This cannot be a mere coincidence," said an applicant.

The candidates demanded that this incident be probed and all the repeated questions be cancelled.

This year, PU had to face ire of students for making many goof-ups in the question papers. Some of the major blunders made by PU included — setting the MA political science question paper totally out of syllabus, and printing ten-mark answers opposite the questions in BSc-I botany examination. AK Bhandari, PU controller of examination, was not available to comment.



UGC-NET held on new pattern
22,000 candidates appear for the examination at Panjab University
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, June 24
Over 22,000 students from all over the region appeared in the National Eligibility Test conducted by the University Grants Commission at Panjab University today. For the first time the candidates were given the carbon copies of the OMR sheets which would help them in calculating their scores.

The national-level entrance examination is held for postgraduate students to qualify for admission in PhD research or university-level teaching jobs.

Many changes were introduced in the pattern of UGC-NET this year. Earlier, papers I and II used to be objective type while paper III followed a subjective type pattern. This year all the three papers were objective type with no negative marking.

"There was a real bonus for candidates who appeared in the written test today as there was no negative marking," said Manipal Singh, a candidate who appeared in the subject of law.

Subject experts believe that the changes introduced in the pattern of the examination this year would result in a higher merit.

Students were also given the carbon copies of the OMR Sheets that would give them the opportunity to calculate the score before the results.

Mehar Verma, a research scholar at PU, said, "Earlier, candidates used to wait for the results, however, now they would be able to know their score as soon the UGC uploads the answer key."

"This is an innovative step as earlier candidates were neither allowed to take along the question papers nor given the copies of OMR sheets," Verma said.

The written test of the UGC-NET is conducted for various subjects under applied sciences and humanities. UGC conducts the examination twice a year.

The new pattern

  • Objective-type questions in all the three papers
  • No negative marking
  • Candidates given carbon copies of OMR sheets to calculate their score before the results.



PU Admissions
Admission schedule for law department released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The schedule for admission in the law department at Panjab University was released today. The last date for receipt of admission forms is July 2, as per the schedule. The provisional merit list would be displayed on July 10. The interviews of the candidates would be held on July 11. The merit list of candidates under all the reserved categories except sports category would be displayed on July 12, and the interviews would be held the following day.

The selected candidates under the general category would deposit their fee on July 16, while those selected under the reserved categories would be required to submit their fee on July 17.

The list of candidates in the waiting list would also be displayed on July 17. They would be required to submit the admission fee the next day to retain their seat.

Officials said that the schedule for admission in LLM first semester would be finalised after the declaration of the result of LLB sixth semester and BA LLB (Hons.) tenth semester. These admissions would be made on the basis of the marks obtained in these courses as well as the entrance test.



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