C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Markets fail to learn from fire incidents
City rehri & furniture markets do not comply with safety norms due to apathetic attitude of fire dept and no follow-up action
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Repeated fire incidents in the same markets in the city, particularly congested rehri markets, is a proof of the lackadaisical approach of the fire department of the municipal corporation coupled with no follow-up action to the notices issued to them.

Naked wires lying on the roof of Sector 15 booth market. A view of the shop where a minor fire broke out at a furniture market in Chandigarh on Sunday night. Tribune photographs

A classic example of this is that last night a minor fire again broke out in one of the shops in the furniture market in Sector 54, where 22 shops were gutted in a major fire last month. As per the fire report, the fire occurred due to a short-circuit in the loose wiring because of kundi connections in various shops.

Interestingly last month after the incident, the fire department had issued instructions to the shopkeepers for the installation of fire safety equipment and fix up loose wiring in the shops till the shifting of market to another place. But the ground reality is that till date, no shopkeeper has installed any fire extinguisher in their shop-cum-stores, where inflammable material is stored. This shows what follow-up action the department took after issuing instructions to these congested markets of the city.

Records of the fire department revealed that in April 2000, a major fire had broken out in the furniture market in Sector 54 in which about 20 shops were gutted. After this similar instructions were issued to all shopkeepers for the installation of fire safety equipment in the shops without any follow-up action by the fire department.

Similarly this month, another major fire broke out in the illegal market located in Maloya in which 10 shops were gutted. In the past also, similar incidents had occurred in this market and the fire department had given instructions to the shopkeepers to install fire extinguishers and fix all loose wiring in the shops. The report also stated that all shops were running in the temporary sheds and had taken kundi connections to get regular electricity. During a visit to the market, it was found that there were more than 100 illegal shops located in the village and most of these did not have a clear passage for the free movement of the fire tenders.

Chief Fire Officer Rajiv Gupta said last month at a meeting of all presidents of the rehri markets, instructions were issued to implement the fire safety norms in their shops. He said if the fire norms were not implemented even after the completion of the deadline, action would be initiated against the shopkeepers by the fire department. He said for the shifting of furniture market he had written to the estate office.

The situation in other congested markets in the city was not different. A visit to a number of congested markets, including 15, 20 and 22, showed that none of them was equipped with even basic fire extinguishers. Most of them do not even have any ventilation in their shops.

In Sector 15, the shop owners of the eating outlets were using LPG cylinders and gas lights which could result in fire in the market. Even in some shops there are loose electricity wires running overhead, which could cause fire in the market. In Sector 22, unauthorised encroachments in corridors pose a serious threat of fire in the markets. The shops are flourishing with articles of all kinds, from dress materials to foodstuffs.

A majority of shopkeepers are using the rooftop for storing their stuff, from where electricity wires are passing.

The Fire and Emergency Committee chairman MP Kohli said recently he had listed out rehri markets which were fire-prone and asked the fire department to take action against the violators.



Interview for PU VC on June 28
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Ending all speculation over the appointment of new Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University (PU), the interviews of around 18 probable candidates for the post are scheduled for June 28 in Delhi.

The search committee constituted by the Vice-President and Chancellor Hamid Ansari has Justice Leila Seth (retd) as the convener, former Ambassador and Member Senate IS Chadha and noted scientist Dr P Rama Rao as the members who will interview the candidates.

The committee will then short-list three names, which will be sent to the Chancellor's office.

The committee was constituted on February 9. Subsequently, there were some queries that the constitution of the expert committee was not in accordance with the UGC regulations on minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in

higher education 2010, following which the selection process was suspended.

A clarification from the government was sought on which Ministry of the Human Resource Development had recently advised that there were certain complications regarding the operation of the UGC Regulations 2010 necessitating their re-examination and that the UGC had been requested to do the same.

The ministry then further gave its nod to the committee, stating that until such re-examination, the Panjab University Act 1947 shall apply and the committee should recommend a panel of three names at the earliest. Meanwhile, there are talks in the university as on what parameters would the selection committee consisting of only one academician shortlist the names for an academic body.

"It's surprising that people who have no relation to the academics would take interviews for an academic body," said one of the applicants. However, some candidates were of the view that having only one academician in the committee would not make any difference as the other two were also of great repute.



Falling water level
‘Shikaras’ grounded at Sukhna Lake
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
After four-seater boats, the ever-depleting water level at the city’s landmark Sukhna Lake has now forced the Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) to stop using “shikaras” for boating at the lake. Visitors now only can avail the facility of two-seater boats at the lake. In addition, the two-seater boats have also started getting stuck in the shallow water. To save tourists from getting stuck, the CITCO staff at the lake has now started requesting heavy-weight people against taking a boat ride.

Sources revealed that after stopping four-seater boats, CITCO officials were managing to run “shikaras”, but now as the water level has reached around 1.5 ft, the authorities decided to stop “shikaras” as well. There were five “shikaras” at the lake.

On two-seater boats, sources added that they have now also started getting stuck. CITCO staff is now requesting heavy weight people to not to go for boating as due to weight, these two-seater boats are also touching the surface of the lake. The rescue staff with CITCO had to enter the lake to help tourists out every time, sources added.

A senior official of the CITCO said that they are trying their best to continue the boating at Sukhna Lake as long as possible. But the depleting water level at the lake is affecting boating business badly, he added.

The boating business was going down at the Sukhna Lake everyday. CITCO was now generating only between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 from boating activity at the lake. This income was between Rs 60,000 and Rs 70,000 earlier.

The boating business at the new boating area near the watchtower, infamous as suicide point, is affected very badly. Sources added that due to its distance from the boating club area, which is around 1 km, people are not going there for boating. The new boating point was generating an income between Rs 400 and Rs 500 per day. CITCO had earlier shifted half the boats to the watchtower area, considering the shrinking water in the original boating area. The CITCO staff was observing the water level at the Sukhna Lake every day and putting up red flags in the areas where the water level was low. This exercise was started to restrict visitors from boating in shallow water as boats might get stuck there.

Last year, the city had received 762 mm monsoon rainfall against the normal monsoon rains of nearly 846 mm. While in 2010, the city had received 1178.1 mm monsoon rains.

n Depleting water level has forced the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) to postpone its plans to introduce more pedal and even motorboats at the lake. It is strange that while the existing strength of approximately 85 boats are not being put to optimum use, the Administration plans to purchase more boats.



With vacations on, burglaries on rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Returning from a fun-filled vacation to find their locked doors broken and houses ransacked is giving a harrowing time to a large number of residents. Burglary incidents are on the rise in the summer months, with the police failing to take stock of the situation. On an average, three thefts have been reported in a day this month.

Two houses, including one belonging to an advocate, and another of a vice-president of a motorcycle-manufacturing company, were found burgled today when the families returned home after vacations.

The theft incidents were reported in two houses in Sector 43 and Sector 37 last night. Thieves stole a total of Rs 1.30 lakh, gold, silver and diamond ornaments worth around Rs 5 lakh and other valuables.

Sareshwar, who is the vice-president of a bike-manufacturing company, had gone to a pilgrimage in Himachal Pradesh with his family members on June 22. He returned on June 24 and found the locks broken and his house ransacked.

He reported to the police that Rs 1 lakh, imported wrist watches, a gold jewellery set, four passports and other relevant documents were kept in an iron locker, which were taken by the burglars after breaking the iron almirah. Investigations revealed that the burglars entered the house after scaling the back boundary wall of house and entered the main room after breaking an iron grill gate.

In another incident, the house of an advocate Nand Lal Sammi was burgled in Sector 43 between June 21 and June 24. The advocate’s family had gone out of station and found the ransacked and burgled house when it returned on June 24. The burglars decamped Rs 30,000, 31 silver coins, one semi-diamond set and some silver utensils.

On Saturday, the house of Pragati Mathur, a technical staff officer with the PGI, was found burgled in Manimajra. Mathura along with her family, had gone to Uttrakhand and the house was burgled on June 21.

120 cases this year

Till date, a total 120 incidents of house burglaries have been reported this year. Moreover, more than 300 theft cases have already been registered this year. In addition, the total number of vehicle thefts reported in the city is 360 till date. The police control room received a total of 1,590 calls pertaining to thefts till June 24. The number was 1,250 till June 24 last year.



‘Power struggle’ on in the southern sectors
No escape from unscheduled cuts

Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Sunil Sharma (52), a Sector 38 resident, who had recently met with an accident and is on bed rest with a fractured leg these days, finds it very difficult to rest, courtesy the unscheduled power cuts in his sector.

Sunil said doctors had advised him proper bed rest, but due to these cuts, he was unable to complete his sleep. In the absence of power during night hours, he finds it difficult to go to the bathroom and takes the support of his 17-year-old son.

Meanwhile, city residents once again witnessed unscheduled power cuts on Sunday and Monday. Residents of southern sectors 38, 39, 40, 42, 45, 47, 23, 30 and sectors 15, 19, 20, 35 and Dhanas and Daria village also faced power cuts.

On Sunday night, there was a power cut from 12 midnight to 4 am in various sectors. Besides, city residents also witnessed unscheduled power cuts, ranging from one hour to three hours on Monday afternoon.

Mohit Chauhan, a Sector 20 resident, said due to these cuts, they were spending sleepless nights. He added that when he tried to contact the electricity complaint centre, there was no response. Naina Singh, a resident of Sector 15, said she had made a number of calls to the complaint centre on Sunday night, but the number was busy everytime. She questioned that when the people at complaint centre did not pick up calls, what was the need to set up a complaint centre?

A senior official of the Administration said these cuts were due to overloading. Whenever a fault occurred in the line or any transformer, employees of the electricity department repaired it quickly.

Delayed upgradation

The dilly-dallying attitude of the UT Administration has resulted in the problem of power cuts in the southern sectors. The UT Administration delayed the upgradation of power sub-stations in Sectors 34 and 52, which caters to the southern sectors. If the Administration had completed the upgradation in time, the situation could have been better in the southern sectors.

Undeclared load

The UT Administration claims that the consumers do not come forward to declare the actual load. The department claims that out of 2,20,000 consumer last year, only 5,000 declared their actual load, resulting in the overloading problem. But the enforcement agencies of the UT Administration also never conducted a large-scale drive to check this problem.



1 diarrhoea death in village
Our Correspondent

One person reportedly died due to diarrhoea and over 50 residents are down with the infection in Tiwana village near Lalru.

Five patients were admitted to Civil Hospital Dera Bassi and three were brought to a private hospital here. Patients were treated in the village by a team of doctors which was specially formed to tackle the problem.

The dead man was identified as Ramkaran of Tiwana village. But the reason of death could not be confirmed as family members of the victim had not allowed the post-mortem. Villagers said the victim was suffering from loose motions for two days.

Civil Surgeon Mohali Dr Usha Bansal and SMO Dera Bassi Dr Daler Singh Multani said a team of doctors had visited the village and took blood samples and stool tests of the affected persons. Water samples from the main water tank and from houses which were badly affected with the infection had been taken. Villagers complained that they were getting defected water due to leakage in water supply pipes for the past some days. 



Clinical Establishment act
Pvt doctors stage protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Protesting against implementation of the Clinical Establishment Act, private doctors of the tricity resorted to a one-day strike here today. The strike was jointly called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) and Indian Dental Associations of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

The doctors from the tricity assembled at the Sector-17 Plaza to make masses aware of the difficulties allegedly to be faced by the doctors and patients after the implementation of the Act. Many doctors in the government sector also participated in the protest, passing resolutions and wearing black badges.

Dr Ramneek Singh Bedi, president IMA, Chandigarh, said health of the citizens was the responsibility of the state, however, it was being thrust on the private doctors, he said. There was an acute shortage of healthcare staff in the existing facilities and the government’s failure to recruit doctors, open new dispensaries and hospitals has lead to this condition, added Bedi.

Speaking over the “unjustified” clauses of the Clinical Establishment Act, the IMA president said it was contradictory to the local bylaws and Consumer Protection Act. Drug stores will not be allowed in the nursing homes in the residential areas, without which it is impossible to stabilise or treat a patient, he said. Further, if a patient has to be stabilised at every clinic and cannot be referred under the Clinical Establishment Act and if in the process something happens to the patient, the doctor can be hauled under the Consumer Protection Act, said Bedi. Medical science is not an exact science and any regulation by the government should be enacted after due consultations by the medical fraternity only, he said.

The Central government has asked the states to accept, reject or amend the Act in their states. The same principal should apply to the UTs also, demanded the doctors.

Dr Rajneesh, president, NIMA, Dr Sanjit Singh Sodhi, secretary IMA, Mohali, Dr Kuldeep Dhawan, president, IMA, Panchkula, and Dr Gautam Munjal, president Chandigarh Dental Association, also spoke on the occasion.

Raising local issues related to the private doctors, the speakers said the Protection of Doctors Act had not been passed in the UT, although there were clear instructions by the Supreme Court that no FIR could be registered against the doctors. This has been passed in the neighbouring state of Punjab.

Moreover, the doctors practicing in the residential areas are made to pay water and electricity charges at the commercial rates, whereas these are not charged in the case of other professions, including advocates, architects and chartered accountants, they said.

Objections of doctors

  • The Act introduced as a bill in 2010 to regulate private hospitals and clinics to ensure that no clinical establishment runs unless it has been duly registered in accordance with the prescribed procedure.
  • The Act includes solo doctor clinics under its ambit, although the term “establishment” cannot be used to include solo OPD-type practice by a single practitioner, often functioning from a small room in his house or shop, which is generally on rent.
  • “Emergency medical condition” as a part of a statute or rules should be left to medical specialists in accordance with the judicial dicta of the Supreme Court of India, “the profession is the best judge”. Erring doctors are already liable under the Consumer Protection Act, Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, and Indian Penal Code, which can run concurrently. So, this Act will lead to duplication of the existing acts and thus over regulation.
  • “Stabilisation” is purely and squarely a medical and professional decision. There is no clarity in the meaning of the word “stabilised” and who would be responsible for the costs incurred in the same.
  • The district authority can impose a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh or even closure of the establishment for failure to follow the rules. It is not acceptable to the IMA that such vast powers should be exercised in the absence of medical education in the country.



Delay in appointment of CHB Chief Engineer
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
In a development that is set to delay the progress of different ongoing housing projects of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the appointment of a regular Chief Engineer in the board has been delayed.

In the absence of a regular Chief Engineer, technical sanctions for various works in the ongoing projects and new projects cannot be granted and this is resulting in the delay in completion of the projects.

Sources reveal that candidature of three engineers forwarded by the Chief Secretary of Punjab has not been found suitable for the post. Interestingly, two of the candidates, Anil Kumar Kansal and Rajiv Moudgil, are the Chief Engineers in the Punjab local government department and Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), respectively. The third applicant is Satish Kumar Gupta, superintending engineer in Punjab PWD.

But the engineering department of the CHB in an inter-office communication has observed that none of the candidate was found suitable. Seeking granting of power for the technical sanction of projects to the Chief Engineer of the UT engineering department, SK Chadha, who has been given additional charge of the Chief Engineer, the issue is being tabled in the next board meeting.

Sources reveal that while in the case of Anil Kumar Kansal, it has been stated that he did not meet the eligibility condition of holding analogous post in the same or identical pay scale, in case of Rajiv Moudgil it has been stated that while serving as the SDE in the board during 1988-992, he had expressed unwillingness to work there. In case of Anil Kumar Kansal, it has been said he did not fulfill the pre-eligibility condition regarding the age limit.

While the candidature of the three candidates has been rejected, the acting Chief Engineer of the CHB is holding the current duty charge of the Superintending Engineer. The UT Administrator has so far not accorded an effort made by the CHB to give him more powers.

Projects affected

The technical clearances in the ongoing projects at Sectors 51 and 63 and one-room tenements project have been delayed. Due to the delay in taking decision on the technical issues like approving designs of structures, technical sanction of estimates, approval of rates and floating of tenders, all projects are running behind schedule. In Sector 63, the tenders for the construction for 388 flats have been delayed. Similarly, the approval of sanction for electrical works in the one-room tenements in Dhanas has also been delayed. In another case, the annual maintenance of air-conditioning system of the CHB could not be given in the absence of the regular Chief Engineer.



Defunct ultrasound machines
Patients have to go to private laboratories in Panchkula
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

A view of the Ultrasound room at the General Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula.
A view of the Ultrasound room at the General Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, June 25
Patients at the General Hospital, Sector 6, are a harassed lot as the ultrasound machine has gone out of order for the past two weeks. The patients are now forced to get the same done at private laboratories in the town.

According to sources, about 100 to 120 patients suffering from various diseases are prescribed to undergo ultrasound tests at the ultrasound center in the hospital. Besides, about 20 to 25 patients who visit the emergency are advised to undergo ultrasound tests but at the machine at the center is out of order the patients have to visit private laboratories for the same.

As per information, the hospital charges Rs 70 for ultrasound test and now the patients have to shell out Rs 300 being charged by the private diagnostic centers in the town.

The sources in the hospital say that even though the matter has been reported to the higher authorities by the staff of the ultrasound center in the hospital but nothing has been done so far. Even, no notice has been pasted at the notice board for the information of the patients and to guide them.

“My daughter has been advised to undergo ultrasound test after she was admitted in the emergency ward on Sunday but as the machine is out of order the doctors have advised me to get the same done from any of the private laboratories in the town. Now I would have to shell out Rs 300 for this test,” said Ashok Sharma, a resident of a slum area Indira Colony.

NK Bedi, a resident of Sector 15, said that his son is suffering from kidney stones and had been advised the ultrasound test. He said he could afford it but the authorities should make some alternative arrangements so that the poor do not suffer.

When contacted the Medical Superintendent, Dr Usha Gupta, said that the software of the ultrasound machine had developed some technical snag and besides, the ultrasound machine at the hospital in the MLA hostel has also developed some problem.

She said the supplying agency had been informed and has assured that the problem would be rectified soon.



Mohali residents groan under power cuts
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 25
Pooja Sharma, a Phase VII resident, was forced to take leave from her job today. Reason: She along with her family had spent a sleepless night in the absence of power, which remained suspended for about four hours from around 11.30 pm to 3.15 am in the area yesterday.

Pooja, who used to catch a bus at 6.30 am to reach her workplace in Kurukshetra, lamented that in the absence of power, her entire family could not sleep last night. “The power supply was resumed at around 3.15 am and only after that, we could sleep. But I have to take leave from my job, as it was not possible to go to work after a sleepless night”, said Pooja.

Similarly, Amit Sood, a resident of another locality in the area, could not reach his workplace in time due to the same reason. “We have installed an inverter at our residence, but due to long power cuts, it also broke down,” he said.

The Punjab state electricity department officials said that a cable broke down following the storm last night. “According to our schedule, the power suspended at 11.41 pm and was resumed at 1.25 am. It might be that in certain pockets, it was restored afterwards due to some other snag,” said an official in the area.

Residents of other parts including Phase IX, XI, V, 3B1 and 3B2 also claimed that their area was plunged into darkness for about three to four hours on Sunday night.

“The power playS hide and seek every now and then these days. Our area witnesses at least five hours' power cut every day,” said Gursharan Singh of Phase XI.

Officials claimed that due to power suspension last night, no scheduled power cut was imposed today. On the contrary, Dr Kiran from Phase VII claimed that the area was without power for at least one-and-a-half-hour in the afternoon.

“I don’t know why power officials make false claims about surplus power here. Instead they should clearly tell the public about the timings of power cuts so that we do our works accordingly,” said Neeraj Bawa, another resident.



Fungal infections, major health problem worldwide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
A six-day training course in diagnostic medical mycology “Conventional and molecular techniques” started at the division of mycology, department of medical microbiology, PGIMER, here today.

Delegates from different medical institutes at Kolkata, Delhi, Orissa, Karnataka, Chennai, Jaipur, Mumbai, Jamshedpur, Pune and Chandigarh are participating in the course.

Prof Arunaloke Chakrabarti, chief resource person, said fungal infections were a significant public health problem worldwide.

In a recent estimate, it was reported that 300 million people are affected by serious fungal infections worldwide. In comparison to death due to tuberculosis (2 million) and malaria (1.2 million) every year, death due to fungal infection is 1.5 million every year. However, the estimate is grossly underestimated, as it is largely on the basis of country-wise data from the western world.

Serious fungal infections are much common in the developing countries than developed countries.

In a recent survey of invasive candidiasis in Australia, the country-wise data reported at 300 cases every year. In comparison, any single large hospital (more than 1,500 beds) in the Asian countries reports 300 to 400 cases per year. The reasons for this large difference in the fungal infections rate between the Asian countries and developed countries are many. Example, country like India is located in the tropical and sub-tropical zones and provides an optimum environment for the survival and growth of fungi. The population in India comprises of a large economically-deprived section, facing poor hygiene, sanitation and below-optimum healthcare facilities and also a limited prosperous section, availing modern medical interventions, including transplants and invasive therapy for malignancies, he said.

The mortality rate in serious fungal infections was nearly 90 per cent about two decades ago. However, with the improvement of diagnostics and new anti-fungal treatment in the recent years, the mortality has come down to nearly 50 per cent in many developed countries. This improvement in the outcome is not possible in India due to a few diagnostic mycology laboratories in India and lack of awareness of manifestations of mycotic diseases, he added.



Administration told to impose house tax in city
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Five days after when UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil had stated that the UT Administration would not exercise its special powers to impose house tax in the city, Sudhir Krishna, Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development, today told senior officials of the UT Administration to impose house tax in the city.

UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil had stated that it was the duty of the municipal corporation and councillors to decide the imposition of house tax in the city. Today, at a review meeting of the northern states over Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Union Secretary Sudhir Krishna told the officials of the administration that it was shocking that the city like Chandigarh has failed to impose house tax in the city.

A senior official of the administration said they had informed Sudhir Krishna that members of the house tax assessment committee of the municipal corporation (MC) had recently rejected the proposal on the imposition of house tax and enhancement of commercial tax.

Sudhir Krishna has now asked the UT Administration officials to convince the municipal corporation officials and councillors and impose house tax in the city.

The planning commission had also recently told the administration to impose the house tax in the city. The commission also told the administration to raise resources from all possible sources, including house tax, to fund its plan.



Ward Development Fund
Proposal to hike limit approved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Demanding revision of ward development fund (WDF), the ward development committee today approved the proposal for increasing its limit from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 1 crore for each councillor.

In a meeting chaired by Deputy Mayor Satish Kainth here today, the members proposed that as there has been revision in the limit of MPLAD, the corporation should also revise the WDF of the councillors, as there has been increase in the cost of construction material and daily wages of workers in the last few months. It was also decided that the proposal will be tabled at the next House meeting for discussion. Referring to the guidelines for the MPLADS fund, the members revealed that the nominated members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are also eligible for recommending works up to Rs 2 crore per year anywhere in the country. The members recommended that on the similar lines, the nominated councillors of the corporation should also be made entitled to the quantum of the ward development fund at par with the elected councillors.



‘Truck operators being charged illegally’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 25
Local Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu along with members of Baba Janki Dass Truck Union alleged that the certain activists of Shiromani Akali Dal have been illegally charging Rs 500 as entry tax in form of “parchi” from the truck operators involved into transportation of construction material.

“This illegal business was being done at the behest of Balwant Singh Ramoowalia,” alleged Sidhu while addressing media persons here yesterday.

Sidhu, who was accompanied by several members of the truck union, also showed some of the “parchis” (chits), allegedly being given by the SAD activists to the truck operators here, as proof.

“This illegal business is also one of the major causes behind inflated rates of sand and gravel in the district,” said Sidhu adding that all the truck operators, bringing the material, particularly from Bathinda, Sangroor and Mansa districts, were being charged Rs 500 illegally.

“If this illegal activity would not stop immediately, we would launch a massive agitation against it,” said Sidhu adding that he would also raise the issue in Vidhan Sabha.

Refuting the allegations, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, said that Sidhu was trying to tarnish his image. “He (Sidhu) has no issue. I have nothing to do with any of the truck unions here. In fact, I have always fought for their (truck and taxi unions) cause. How can I take any money from them,” said Ramoowalia.



Sec-42 lake attracts visitors
Tribune News Service

Residents take a stroll near a lake in Dhanas near Panjab University in Chandigarh.
Residents take a stroll near a lake in Dhanas near Panjab University in Chandigarh. Tribune Photos: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, June 25
For a change, residents of the southern sectors are better placed when it comes to visiting a lake that is full of water. While the Sukhna Lake, a major tourist attraction in the city, has dried up and the UT Administration has started desilting it on a larger scale, the Sector-42 lake, which was specially created for religious ceremonies like Chatt Pooja, still attracts visitors in large numbers, as it is still brimming with life. Being fed by two regularly running tube-wells and a supply line of the municipal corporation (MC), the artificial lake is attracting the visitors in hordes.

Despite a ban on swimming, a number of youngsters can be seen having dips in the lake. Anil Sharma, a resident of Sector 41, said, “It is a pleasure to sit by the lake. While the Sukhna Lake is drying up, it is fun to be here.”

Though a number of local residents are aware about the Sector-42 lake, tourists are not aware of the second lake. Similarly, in the case of Dhanas, the lake created by the forest department is an attraction among the residents of Dhanas and surrounding areas. Raghuvir Singh, a resident of Dadu Majra, said the lake is an asset for us.



Mayor’s ward cries for attention
Tribune News Service

Heaps of garbage lie opposite the municipal corporation office in Sector 17, Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, June 25
What can residents of the City Beautiful expect when even the ward of the Mayor of the city cries for attention in taking care of its basic amenities. Road berms are strewn with piles of garbage, particularly tree leaves mixed with plastic waste at different places in the ward.

Interestingly, on the road, opposite the Chandigarh Administration’s office, Sector 9, piles of tree leaves could be seen lying unattended. A maid working in a house, requesting anonymity, said our landlady had called the municipal corporation authorities at least twice, but to no avail. Same can be witnessed at several other places in the ward.

The road dividing Sectors 8 and 9 is rampant with piles of dry leaves with municipal waste. Vehicles and machinery of a crew of a private channel is parked right inside a park in Sector 8. A member of the unit, requesting anonymity, said we had the due permission of the authorities.

Leave aside the ward of the Mayor, even the road berms opposite her office in Sector 17 are a house to piles of unattended waste.



800 ‘banta bottles’ destroyed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
During a raid at vendors selling misbranded aerated water “banta bottle”, local health department officials destroyed nearly 800 such bottles here today.

The raids in Sectors 19, 48 and 49 were conducted, following a complaint lodged by an NGO, Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Association.

Food inspector Sukhwinder Singh accompanied by Harpreet Walia, NGO president, reached the vends and rehris involved in selling such cold drinks and destroyed the bottles.

The vendors were also warned of a strict action in case they were found in selling these bottles again in future. Dr Satbir Singh, a designated official of the food safety wing of the health department, said a move to issue challans such vendors under the Food Safety Act is to be started soon.



PU Admissions
Help desks to aid of students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Election fever is back again on Panjab University campus. Student organisations have installed help desks, police force has been deployed and supporters of different parties are swarming outside various departments to garner support.

With the new academic session about to begin, student organisations are gearing up for the elections that are held in the first week of September. Help desks have been installed by all parties near administrative blocks where supporters of different parties get together to plan election strategies.

To impress the students, the help desk of NSUI was inaugurated by Deepinder Singh Hooda, member Lok Sabha, who was accompanied by MLA Barnala Kewal Singh Dhillon and Kuljit Singh Nagra, MLA Fatehgarh Sahib.

To avoid any untoward incident, PU cops and security personnel have been deputed for round-the-clock vigil. Dean Student Welfare AS Ahluwalia said that CCTV cameras have also been installed near the tents to record all the activities of student parties. “Any student party involved in the violence would be caught on camera and immediate action would be taken against them on the basis of CCTV footage,” Ahluwalia said.

The DSW also said that the student organisations have been asked to submit by Tuesday the names of 20 party supporters who would be allowed to sit on help desks.

With the aim to attract new students coming to the campus, student bodies are also distributing the admission forms at the counters free of cost. Party supporters are even helping students deposit the forms in departments. Leader of one of the parties said they are even receiving admission forms from students and submitting them in the departments on their own. “We are taking the forms and one of the party members, who have been assigned the duty, visits the department to submit the forms.”



Chandigarh scan


VP Sharma, chairman, Public Relations Society of India (PRSI), Chandigarh Chapter, and joint director, Public Relations, Bhakra Beas Management Board, has been unanimously elected vice president (North) of the National Council of PRSI. He remained chairman of PRSI, Chandigarh Chapter, for four years.

Probationers meet Governor

Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj Patil, while interacting with IAS probationers of 2011-2013 batch today, asked the officers to administer with a human touch and implement welfare schemes in their true spirit after the completion of their training.

Office bearers elected

The following have been elected office bearers of the Chandigarh State Bank Officers Ideal Co-op Housing Society Ltd, Sector 49: Jagdish Kumar (president), Capt KJS Nakai (secretary), KL Thukral (vice president) and Raj Kumar (treasurer).


At the Rotary District 3080 Awards Function 'Recognising Change' held locally, Rotary Ambala was adjudged the best Rotary Club in the District, a press release said here on Monday. The district comprises large parts of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand. The District Awards function was presided over by former Rotary International president R K Saboo and district governor Manpreet Singh Gandhoke.

PU professor invited

Prof Naresh Kochhar, UGC Emeritus Fellow, Department of Geology, Panjab University, has been invited to attend a meeting of experts appointed by the Health Safety and Environment Group, BARC, Mumbai, and Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, New Delhi, to discuss the source of high uranium in the Malwa Region.

Protest against water shortage

Residents of Kendriya Sarkarth Karamchari Awasiya Sudhar Kalyan Sabha Colony, Sector 7, have decided to meet MC Commissioner VP Singh tomorrow to discuss the water shortage and low pressure problem in their area. Residents alleged that the authorities had assured that they would resolve the problem a fortnight ago. They had also submitted several reminders to authorities for the problem. Two days ago the residents also staged dharna in their colony against the shortage. — Tribune Reporters



Tough competition for PU hostels
Tribune News Service

Students come out of Hostel No 1, Panjab University, on Monday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, June 25
Apart from the cut-throat competition for admissions to Panjab University, the students will also have a hard time getting admitted to PU hostels. Out of the total 6,200 seats, only one-third are available for freshers.

There are total seventeen-hostel, eight each for boys and girls, on the PU campus. According to PU officials, admissions to around 2,000 seats would be held during the new academic session.

Dean Student Welfare (DSW) AS Ahluwalia said that there is fixed number of seats allotted to each department during every session. “Not more then 2,000 seats would be available for admission as the remaining seats are allotted to senior students and research scholars,” the DSW said.

With sky-rocketing room rents in the residential sectors, most students prefer to stay in PU hostels. However, only a few lucky ones from each department manage to get accommodation in PU.

The DSW further said that admission to the hostels is made only on merit basis and the students need to apply for hostel within three-days after taking admission in the university. “If a student, even if he/she is at the top of the merit list, does not apply for the hostel within three days after admission, he/she will not get hostel in the first list and will have to wait for the second merit list prepared by the concerned department,” the DSW said.

He also said that to streamline hostel admissions, students who will clear the first admission counselling will get hostel admission at a priority.

To cater to students from far away areas, the university from the last few years has not been giving hostel accommodation to the students who are from the tricity or neighbouring areas. Students pursing second MA are also denied hostel admission.



Chandigarh College of Engineering fined Rs 20,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-I has slapped a fine of Rs 20,000 on the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26, for refusing to refund the admission fee to two students.

The district forum through a common order directed the college to refund the balance fee of two complainants, Baneet Kumar Tangri and Bawa Anurag, after deducting the proportionate amount for the days/month(s) the complainant attended the classes, and also Rs 1000 on account of the processing charges as per UGC Guidelines. The amount of Rs 1000, if paid to the complainant, out of Rs 33,290 be also adjusted while making the balance payment to each of the complainants.

The complainant Baneet Singh Tangri submitted that they took admission in the college and deposited a sum of Rs 33,290 on August 26, 2011. Since he also got admission in Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, he for a fee refund, but they did not respond. The counsel for the respondent college submitted that the refund of Rs 1000 was sent to the complainant in response to his request as refundable deposits as per Clause 5 of the Admission Borchure-2011 published in Joint Admission Committee-2011 official website. It was also submitted that as the complainant withdrew/vacated the seat after the final counselling for admission for the year, he was entitled to the refundable deposits only.

The forum observed that the respondent college has not produced any record of the institute to prove that the seat which was vacated by the complainant remained vacant. Thus it canbe concluded that the seat vacated by the complainant did not remain vacant, thereby causing any loss to the college. 



Admissions continue at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The race for admissions at various departments of Panjab University has already begun. While the university has already conducted tests for several courses under Common Entrance Test (CET) and Other Common Entrance Tests (OCET), applications for the remaining courses are invited before July 2.

While most of the post- graduate courses have admission on the merit basis, there are a few courses for which the university would be holding an aptitude test based on which the merit will be calculated.

The candidates willing to apply for admission can download the forms from the university website for which they would be charged Rs 50 along with the admission fees.

PU officials said that the form needs to be submitted at the concerned departments from where the students will also get to know about the important dates for admission and aptitude test.

Apart from the PG courses, the university also offers diploma and post-graduate diploma courses in various foreign languages including Chinese, French, Russian, Tibetan, German and Persian. The last date to apply for certificate, diploma and M.Phil courses is July 20.



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