C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Photo shops gutted in Sector 22 blaze
Traders see conspiracy, lodge DDR against shop owner; building lacked fire safety equipment
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Workers employed in shops which were gutted gather outside the site. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, November 2
Expensive machinery used for video mixing and processing photographs was gutted in a major fire that broke out in eight shops-cum-cabins located on the first floor of a shop-cum-office (SCO) in the Sector 22 market here late last night. The Fire Department is yet to access the exact quantum of loss of property. Fire officials said the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained, but short circuit may have caused it.

The fire broke out in Satguru Laboratory, located on the first floor of SCO 1048, and later spread to the adjoining cabins, creating panic among traders, who run photo processing labs and shops. The smoke emanating from the blaze engulfed shops located on the second floor. Firemen had to rescue RS Pathak, an employee of a shop, who was trapped in a cabin on the second floor.

Interestingly, it is the second major fire in the same shop within 10 months, indicating lack of action on the part of the MC and the UT estate office in checking building violations and violation of fire safety norms.

The building which was gutted in a fire at Sector 22, Chandigarh, on Thursday. tribune photo: manoj mahajan 

The incident occurred at 11.30 pm when Deepak Negi, a worker in the adjoining cabin, noticed the fire in Satguru Laboratory and raised the alarm. As the lobby of the first floor is covered with glow signboards, firemen had to struggle to clear the passage to start their operation. Six fire engines were rushed to the spot to control the fire. After an hour's operation, the fire team managed to bring the situation under control. The air conditioning system and material lying in the lobby on the second floor was also damaged in the fire.

Station Fire Officer ML Sharma said the department would issue notices to all SCO owners as the fire safety equipment was not available in the building. He said because of encroachments in the lobby of the building, the fire rescue operation was delayed by half an hour. A senior official in the UT estate office said notices for building violations had been issued to shopkeepers.

(Left) Gurjinder, father of victim Eilin; Rajpal (right), father of victim Abhishek, at the mortuary of the GMCH-32, Chandigarh, on Thursday. Tribune photos: S Chandan

Sharma said since the incident occurred late at night, they did not have to struggle to get the parking lots cleared for the fire engines to reach the spot. Some condemned vehicles parked there, however, proved to be a hurdle.

He said a communication would be sent to the MC's enforcement department and the UT estate office to take stringent action against the violators.

Recalling past incidents of fire in the same market, Sharma said due to the "lackadaisical" attitude of the estate office and the Electricity Department in checking building violations and lose wiring on the premises, every year fire incidents occurred in this area.

He said a number of reminders had been sent to both the departments to take stringent action against the violators and remove encroachments, but all in vain.

Fire incidents in the same market

  • In 2009, a major fire broke out in SCO 1026 in which four persons had died due to suffocation
  • In 2011, a fire broke in SCO 1048. Due to timely action by firemen, no major loss was reported

Black Friday for employees

With fire engulfing these shops ahead of Divali, it was a black Friday for the 35 employees working in these shops as their festival plans have now gone awry. One of the employees, Yoginder Nautial, said due to this fire incident, they were not sure whether they would get last month's salary or not. He said he had lost hope of getting the festival bonus. Owners were upset that they had to cancel all bookings for a week.

Was the fire stage-managed?

  • In December 2011, a fire incident took place in the same SCO late at night. However, due to timely action by fire officials, not much loss was suffered by the adjoining shopkeepers. The owner of the shop had claimed insurance and got it. Seven cabin owners on Friday lodged a DDR against the owner of the shop, Bakshish Singh, alleging that the fire was stage-managed by him to get insurance claim again. They said the shop was shut for the past three months and only damaged machines were lying in it.
  • The shopkeepers alleged that for the past three days, he, along with three workers, was visiting the shop and planning this conspiracy to get insurance claim for his outdated machines.
  • A fire official said on condition of anonymity that the department would look into this angle also while ascertaining the cause of the fire. If the shopkeeper was found guilty, action would be taken against him. Forensic teams had been asked to take samples from the spot.

Wedding footage lost

Geeta Goyal, who got married two days ago, was upset as the footage of her marriage ceremony had got wiped out as the shop of the photographer, who was hired by her family, had also been destroyed the fire incident. Like Geeta, there are many others who will not be able to see the special moments of their ceremonies as the data in photographers' shops has got burnt.



2 youths killed as bus hits bike
Were taking coaching for IIT entrance in city institute
Tribune News Service

The victims, Abhishek (in blue shirt) and Eilin

Chandigarh, November 2
Tragedy struck two families just 10 days before Divali as two youths on a bike died after a Haryana Roadways bus hit them at the Sectors 48 and 49 light point last night. The two students, both 19 years old, were staying as paying guests in Sector 20 and were taking coaching for the IIT entrance from a Sector 22-based institute. Both youths were the only sons of their parents. They were riding an Apache bike, which they had borrowed from a friend, without helmets.

The mishap occurred last night at 11.45 pm when Abhishek Malik and his friend Eilin Sason were returning to their paying guest accommodation in Sector 20 on a bike after meeting a friend in Mohali. A Haryana Roadways bus (HR-55-N-4645), which was on the way to the ISBT, Sector 43, from Delhi, hit their bike at the traffic intersection. The police said both the bus and the bike were moving at a great speed when the mishap took place.

The bike was crushed under the front wheels of the bus and dragged for over 20 metres. Both the youths died on the spot. Their mutilated bodies were shifted to the GMCH in Sector 32, where doctors confirmed that they were dead. Both students had suffered grievous head injuries.

The bus driver, Parveen Kumar, fled the spot, leaving behind the bus with passengers on board. One of the passengers called the police.

The police had great difficulty in identifying the boys and tried all numbers recovered from their mobile, but most of the numbers yielded no response. It was their landlord who answered the call in the morning at 4 am and it came to light that two boys, staying as paying guests in his house, had not returned. Their families were then informed in the wee hours. The bus has been impounded. The police said raids were on to arrest the driver.

Abhishek’s father Rajpal is a Sub-Inspector with the Haryana Police and hails from Hisar. Abhishek was riding the bike while his friend Eilin was riding pillion.

Eilin, whose father Gurjinder works in UCO Bank, hails from Shimla. Both students had shifted to the city in April and were taking coaching for the IIT entrance from a private institute in Sector 22. The students had borrowed the bike from their friend Manoj last night. Manoj was also staying with them as a paying guest.

A case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 31 police station against the driver of the bus.



It will be a dark Divali for their families
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
It will be a dark Divali for the families of Abhishek and Eilin, who died in a road mishap yesterday. Both students were the only sons of their parents and had big dreams in life. They became close friends when they started staying together as paying guests and went to the same institute to take coaching for the IIT entrance. They were together since April this year.

“I spoke to Abhishek on the phone last night and he told me he was eager to come home for Divali. In the wee hours of today, I was told that my son is no more,” said a wailing Rajpal. Rajpal, a Sub-Inspector with the Haryana Police, said he could never imagine that one day he would have to take his son’s body to his residence in Hisar and that he would not be there with him this Divali.

Abhishek is survived by his parents and a younger sister. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the hospital when his family members reached there. Abhishek’s mother was inconsolable and broke down several times on seeing the body.

Gurjinder Sason, father of Eilin, said his son was a topper and had big dreams in life. “He was ambitious and enthusiastic. He even dreamt of going to Mumbai for modelling and to work in films; our world has ended,” he said. Eilin last spoke to his mother on the phone yesterday. “We had shifted our home recently and he told me he was excited to see his new home. He was to reach home this Divali,” said Gurjinder, who works in UCO Bank in Shimla.

Fatal light point

The light point of Sectors 47 and 48 has witnessed 12 fatal road accidents during the past one year. In almost all road accidents, Haryana, Himachal or Punjab Roadways buses were involved. A traffic police officer said in a majority of the accidents, human negligence was to blame.



Cell phone tower installation
Admn ignores ministry advisory
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
While drafting Mobile Tower Policy for the city, the UT Administration has completely ignored the advisory issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

In the advisory issued by the ministry in August this year, it was clearly mentioned that the forest department should be consulted before installation of cell phone towers in and around parks and zoos. But the UT Administration, in its draft mobile tower policy, has not made any provision to consult the forest department before installation of towers in and around forest areas.

The advisory reads: “Before according permission for construction of towers, ecological impact assessment and review of installation sites will be essential in wildlife and ecologically important areas. The forest department should be consulted before installation of cell phone towers in and around parks and zoos.”

The MoEF has issued an advisory on the use of mobile towers to minimise the impact on wildlife, birds and bees. Taking cue from an expert panel report that flagged the negative impact of electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) on biological systems, the ministry had listed actions to be undertaken by various agencies involved in providing, regulating, and dealing with EMR-based service.

The ministry had also asked all agencies concerned to ensure that security lighting for on-ground facilities is minimised, made to point downwards or down-shielded to avoid bird hits.

When contacted, UT finance secretary VK Singh said that the administration has put the draft policy for people’s suggestion. The administration will examine all the suggestions and the ministry’s advisory, and then finalise the policy.

On the other hand, UT’s Chief Conservator of Forests, Santosh Kumar said that they have already informed the UT Administration about the advisory.



MC tenure nearing end, committee for women yet to meet
Sub-committees headed by opposition councillors have rarely met
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
The municipal corporation councillors do not believe in practising what they preach. While they are vocal against the functioning of the MC on the floor of the House, they themselves are found lacking in performing their duties.

A classic example of this is the fact that despite only two months left in the tenure of the present year, three out of four sub-committees headed by the opposition councillors have rarely met.

The Women Empowerment Committee, which was constituted six years ago with the aim of providing a platform to women and for formulating new projects to improve their status in the society, has not been convened even once by the chairman.

The Slum Colonies and Village Development Committee, headed by BJP councillor Rajinder Kaur, has met only once in the month of June.

Similar is the case of the Apni Mandi Committee, headed by Des Raj Gupta, and the Enforcement Committee, headed by Gurcharan Das Kala, which have met only twice till date. Surprisingly, the Women and Empowerment Committee, headed by nominated councillor Aruna Goel, has not met even once this year as no meeting has been called by the chairman till date.

In a recent meeting of the House, nominated councillor D S Sandhu had pointed out that the purpose of forming sub-committees is lost if the chairperson does not take interest in calling meetings regularly. Resultantly, all the issues relating to these committees are not taken up by the councillors or officials.

In fact, Surinder Bagha had suggested that the financial limit of these sub-committees be increased to Rs 25 lakh as it had not been revised for a long time despite steep increase in the costs of raw materials.

Even the Slum and Development Committee which was constituted for the up-gradation of villages and colonies, has met only once till date. In the month of June a meeting was convened by its chairman in which the officials were directed to chalk out plan for making provision of drinking water, streetlights and roads in Khuda Lahora, but till date no action has been taken by the authorities.

The Apni Mandi Committee had last met in the month of July and after that no meeting had been convened by its chairman Des Raj Gupta till date. Interestingly, the decision which was taken in the meeting is yet to be implemented by the officials. It was decided in the meeting that a communication be sent to the SP traffic to help in resolving the parking problems near Apni Mandis, but there has been no improvement in the situation.

Sailing in the same boat is the Enforcement Committee which last met in August and after that no meeting was called by its chairman Gurcharan Das Kala.



Garbage collection
Dadumajra residents suffer due to MC apathy
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

In spite of a ban, garbage being burnt along the roadside in Dadumajra, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, November 2
Is the Municipal Corporation (MC) really serious about tackling the problem of foul smell emanating from the dumping ground at Dadumajra? Even after five years, the MC authorities have failed to streamline the removal of 350 tonnes of garbage.

Figure this out: Records of the corporation reveal that there are 31 trucks and 19 tractors which cover the whole of Chandigarh for garbage collection from 500 bins and transport it to the garbage plant at Dadumajra on a daily basis. On an average, as per the record, each dumper collects garbage from around 7 to 8 bins daily and rest are left due to shortage of vehicles and manpower with the corporation.

However, till date the garbage processing plant at Dadumajra has not received complete garbage of the city on a single day in the last five years. Reports revealed that on an average the plant, which has a capacity to process 500 tonnes of garbage, receives around 255 tonnes per day. Rest of the garbage lies in the bins or the residents burn it on their own to avoid the foul smell from heaps of garbage placed near the residential areas. The maximum garbage is received by the plant on Monday as there is no facility of lifting garbage on Sunday.

Sources said that recently representatives from the Patiala Corporation, during a visit to the plant, made a request to the plant authorities to lift their city garbage and resolve the garbage disposal problem in their area. Sources said that the company representatives had sent a communication to the Chandigarh MC authorities to allow them for the same as the city has failed to fully utilise the capacity of the garbage processing plant.

On a visit to Dadumajra, the residents complained that during the evening, the visibility in a stretch of about 1 km in Dadumajra is so dim that the vehicles have to switch on their lights. A majority of people passing on the road near Dadumajra have to cover their faces due to foul smell. Residents of the area have also started complaining about breathing problems among the residents of the area.

Recently, MC Commissioner V P Singh visited the garbage processing plant at Dadumajra after councillors made a complaint of foul smell in the area.

After the visit, he made an observation that the machinery installed in the dumping ground is not functional which is the reason behind the foul smell. He issued instructions to ensure that no garbage is left in the dumping ground.

Tasks still pending

  • Last year in October, the General House approved for the purchase of 150 garbage containers of 4.5 cubic square capacity, costing approximately Rs 75 lakh.
  • In order to strengthen the fleet of garbage collecting vehicles, the department plans to purchase 40 dumpers at the cost of Rs 3.60 crore.



UT Health Dept fails to contain dengue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
While the UT Health Department claims to have served notices to more than 400 households for not taking adequate measures to prevent the breeding of dengue mosquitoes, it has failed to curb the spread of the disease in the city.

The alarming rise in the number of dengue cases, which touched 272 yesterday, has brought to the fore the hollow claims of the department in conducting effective door-to-door inspections.


Number of cases: 272

Deaths: 2

Symptoms: High fever, headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rashes, mild bleeding

While officials say that none of the households were found to be violating the guidelines during the follow-up inspections, sources in the department revealed that no such follow-up drives have been conducted.

The Nodal Officer of National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme, Dr Naresh Sharma, said, "We have been effectively surveying the households since the past three months. The residents were found to have complied by the advisories after being served notices."

The department has also spent more than Rs 3.5 lakh on fumigation in the city in the past three months.

While the government hospitals in the city are flooded with patients suffering from high fever, with more than 100 admissions everyday, officials claim to have covered all the Sectors and periphery areas in their fumigation drives.

The number of patients visiting the OPD at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, everyday continued to be high. In PGI, more than 25 patients of dengue are currently admitted. At the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, the average number of patients with high fever visiting the OPD daily is more than 300 every day.



Yesteryear star has a new aim
Satish Kaul campaigning in Punjab for the cause of the elderly
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
Homeless and dejected, yesteryear star of Punjabi film industry, Satish Kaul's life at present is not different from a film script. Last year he came back to Punjab from Mumabi and started his acting academy in Ludhiana but the venture marked the doom of the veteran actor and forced him to first take shelter in a old age home in Ludhiana and then he shifted to senior citizen home in Doraha, where he is currently living.

In Chandigarh today, 76-year-old actor said, "My life may be at crossroad today but I have not lost the battle." He said his stay at the old-age home opened his eyes towards the pain and agony of old people and how society was mistreating them. "Now I am campaigning all around Punjab, sensitising society especially young people to show some respect towards old people and not to desert them in the last phase of their life," said Kaul, who has already visited places like Bhatinda, Mansa, Faridkot and other places for this cause.

He says today youngsters have good energy and fresh ideas but their attitude towards life needs to be changed. "They must learn that nothing remains permanent in life. I had achieved heights in my life but today I am homeless. I have learnt adjusting with the conditions rather than running away from them. This is what younger generation needs to learn," says Kaul, who has done more than 150 Punjabi and Hindi films.

"I have to prove myself again. I am now trying to revive my career in Punjabi movies. Recently, I have signed three-four movies not for money but to tell people that I am not a bad actor," he said. "I will not blame glamour world for my present condition because I am the one responsible for whatever happened to me," he added.



Divali round the corner, painters in demand
Tribune News Sevice

Panchkula, November 2
As Divali is only ten days away, electricians and painters are in great demand. Residents are facing a lot of problem in getting their work done. "I wanted to get my house whitewashed. I have enquired from seven to eight painters and all of them are just saying that there is a long pending list and it will take days before they start with their work. I think this time the wait is going to be endles," said Shreya Sharma, a resident of Sector 10, Panchkula.

For Ranga, a painter, they are spending days and nights to complete their work. "These days, it is not that we just work during the day but we sometime work till midnight and still I am getting calls from many residents ," said Ranga. He further added, " I asked some of my friends, who are also painters, to take up my work but they said that even they were packed with lot of work. "

Similar sentiments were echoed by Pancha Singh, a local electrician, who said that it was impossible to cater to the needs of all customers. "Throughout the day we get so many calls but it is difficult to attend to the needs of all. So the only option we have is to follow the first come, first served policy", said Singh.



Rajesh re-elected zila parishad chief
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 2
Rajesh Kona, was re-elected as the chairman of the zila parishad but vice-chairperson Champa Devi had to leave her chair today. It was only recently, the Supreme Court had ordered Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar to consider the no-confidence motion, moved against Zila Parishad chairman Rajesh Kona and vice-chairperson Champa Devi.

Seven out of the ten members had moved a no-confidence motion against zila parishad chairman Rajesh Kona and vice-chairperson Champa Devi on January 16.

The Deputy Commissioner had called all the members for the meeting but Kona, Champa Devi and Vimla Devi failed to appear in that meeting. The voting was completed in their absence.

Later, Kona moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the manner in which the process was carried out but failed to get any relief. He then approached the Supreme Court, which had stayed the election of new chairman and vice-chairperson, which was to take place on February 10 this year.

Kona was unanimously elected as chairman last year but in the second year of his term the members revolted and sought his removal.



City-based volunteer selected for Indira Gandhi NSS Award
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Sandeep Kumar

Chandigarh, November 2
Chandigarh-based National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteer Sandeep Kumar has been selected for the prestigious Indira Gandhi NSS Award for the year 2011-12. The President of India will present him with the award at Rashtrapati Bhawan on November 19.

Twenty-one-year-old Sandeep, a first year student of MSC (IT) at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, says he did not expect such an honour. He has been involved in community service for the last three to four years and has attended several NSS special camps and national integration camps. “This award will further encourage me to do more for the society,” Sandeep says.

Sandeep, who is a resident of Sector 52, has been a part of the National Rural Health Mission in Chandigarh. For the last four years, he has also been a regular volunteer at the Institute of Blind School. He has organised as many as 10 blood donation camps, besides donating blood several times. Last year, he was also named the best student of the college for his overall performance.

“I was critically ill about 5-6 years ago, and at that time many volunteers helped me in recovering. Then on, I never shied away when I got a chance to work for the society,” Sandeep says.

He plans to become a software engineer, but says he will continue to do community service. Not only it gives me satisfaction, it makes me feel proud, he says

According to state programme officer, NSS, Chandigarh, Bikram Rana, for the first time any city-based volunteer will receive this award.



GMADA auction fetches over Rs 48 crore
After Thursday’s flop show, 18 of the 47 sites sold on the second day
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 2
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) earned over Rs 48. 32 crore by disposing of 18 out of the 47 commercial sites in different parts of the town on the second day of its auction today. Today the auction received much better response as compared to yesterday’s flop when only three residential sites out of the 57 could be sold.

GMADA was able to sell seven SCO sites out of which two fell in the bulk material market, three in Sector 53 and two in Sector 61. Sites for 11 single-storeyed shops (SSS) were also disposed of.

An SCO site, measuring 101.17 sq m, in Sector 61 attracted the maximum bid of Rs 6.20 crore against the reserve price of Rs 3.35 crore. There were two SCO sites in Sector 61 which were sold. The minimum bid of Rs 3.79 crore was received for an SCO site (101.17 sq m) in Sector 53 against the reserve price of Rs 3.70 crore.

As many as seven SSS sites in Sector 60 were put under the hammer out of which six were sold. The highest bid of Rs 1,65,50,000 was received for one site in this sector against the reserve price of Rs 1.16 crore. The lowest bid for an SSS site in the same sector was Rs 1,52,50,000.

In Sector 63 five SSS sites were disposed of. However, none of the three SCO sites put to auction in the same Sector attracted any response.

GMADA was able to sell two of the five sites in the bulk material market (general trade category) in Sector 65 today after an upward revision in the reserve price. These sites were withdrawn from the auction yesterday.



Chandiagrh scan
Professor honoured

Professor VK Alankar, chairperson, Department of Sanskrit and Dayanand chair for Vedic Studies was honoured by Delhi Sanskrit Academy with ‘Sanskrit Sevasamman’ recently for his contribution to Sanskrit shastras and Sanskrit creative writing. Prof Alankar has published more than 13 books on Vedas, grammar, Pali literature and Indian philosophy and nearly 50 papers on the Ramayana, Mahabarata, Sanskrit grammar, Vedic philosophy, Grihyasutras, Pali literature and etc.

Memorandum submitted

A CII delegation led by CII Chandigarh Chairman Sameer Goel called on the newly appointed Union Minister of Railways, Pawan Kumar Bansal, to apprise him of the issues and recommendations relating to Ministry of Railways for enhancing competitiveness of industry in the northern region. Submitting a memorandum to the minister, Goel urged him to expedite the up gradation of Chandigarh Railway Station to a world class one. Goel also requested him to extend eastern DFC up to Wagah to provide impetus to Amritsar and Jalandhar industry. The minister was also urged to add a Shatabdi Express to New Delhi in the afternoon to reduce load from morning and evening trains. Super fast trains are also required to cities like Mumbai, Jaipur, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Industrial tour

Quest Group of Institutions organised an industrial tour for its MBA students to the Swiss multi-national Nestle India’s manufacturing plant at Moga. The staff of Nestle showed the students processing of Maggi, milk, powdered milk, tomato ketchup and cerelac. The students observed preparation of the above-mentioned products from its raw state to finished products. They also observed packaging and labelling process as well. The students learnt about the coordination between labour and machinery used, layout of various plants and safety measurements.

Trolleys donated to PGI

The members of Chandigarh Business Council donated 10 trolleys to PGI. The members of the council felt that the PGI needs trolleys particularly after the outbreak of dengue in the city. The trolleys were donated to Prof AK Gupta, Medical Superintendent, who immediately handed over the trolleys to emergency department. President Jagdish Arora, Neeraj Bajaj, Sat Pal Garg, Baldev Goyal, LC Arora, Arwinder Pal, Sukhpal Singh, BM Kohli, JPS Kalra were present during the cause.

Office-bearers elected

The elections of State Council of Hindustan Scouts and Guides, Chandigarh, were held at Arya Samaj Sector 7B, here on Friday. Ravinder Talwar was unanimously elected as president and Satinder Singh was elected as state chief xommissioner by the house. Vinod Kumar and Vishavjeet were elected as secretary and cashier. Pardeep Shukla, Madhu Behal, KS Bharti, Rakesh Sachdeva, Sunita Ranial, Jaspal Singh and Prakash Chander were selected as state commissioner (scouts), state commissioner (guides), state head quarter commissioner (I), state head quarter commissioner (II), state head quarter commissioner (III), joint secretary (I) and joint secretary (II).

Website launched

With a step that is set to benefit lakhs of students across India, Bulls Eye, a city-based competitive examination preparatory institute has set up a new online module ‘GK Junction’ on its website hitbullseye.com http://hitbullseye.com/. This is aimed at helping students, especially those who cannot afford coaching. GK Junction is a composite of general knowledge questions in form of tests, accompanied with study material on area like current studies, history, geography, economy, polity and sports.

— Tribune Reporters



Traders can now raise heights of SCOs in Sector 22
Tribune News Service

A view of the market in Sector 22-D, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, November 2
After giving a major relief to shopkeepers by allowing minor alterations for internal partitions in the upper floors of SCOs in the city, the Chandigarh Administration has allowed the occupants of booths in Sector 22 to raise the height of roofs up to 11'-6".

Acting on the demand of the Progressive Traders Association of Sector 22, who had been demanding a raise in the heights of SCO roofs, the Chief Architect, in a communication to the UT Estate Office, has allowed the traders to raise the height of the depressed part of the roofs to 11'-6" so that they come in line with the main roof slab of the booth. Around 50 such booth owners in Sector 22-D would benefit from the orders.

The traders had been demanding a raise in the height of roofs to check theft incidents. After examining the matter, the Chief Architect said the height of the depressed ceilings could be raised without disturbing the external façade. Earlier any alteration attracted violation notice.

The height could be raised without getting the revised building plan sanctioned. "The Sector 22 booths are part of the master plan," said an official.

At present, the revised plans for a number of buildings related to minor alterations are pending with the UT Administration. In these cases, sanction has been withheld due to unsanctioned alterations in the internal planning of partitions.



Canadian PM cancels visit to Pal Dhaba for security reasons
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
Sunny Pal, owner of Pal Dhaba in Sector 28, was sad to learn that the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the eatery was cancelled today. Shiv Raj, who works in Harper's office and is in Chandigarh as part of the advance party, said that the Canadian PM was scheduled to visit the dhaba on November 7 to savour local delicacies. But the visit had to be cancelled due to security reasons and "media leaks".

He added that PM Harper is a G-20 leader and security was an issue for his dhaba visit. Moreover, information regarding the dhaba visit also got leaked through the media and therefore the authorities decided to cancel the visit.

On the question of whether Stephen Harper will have packed food from the dhaba, Shiv Raj said, "It is still possible."

Scot Slessor, Consulate General of Canada in Chandigarh, said that he had selected Pal Dhaba after visiting many dhabas across Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.

The Canadian PM will reach the city in the afternoon on Nov 7 and will visit Takht Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib. Harper, along with his wife and two ministers, will also visit "Virasat-e-Khalsa" Sikh heritage museum. Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda will also accompany him to Anandpur Sahib, officials of the Canadian Consulate said.

Harper will be accompanied by two ministers of Indian origin - Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport) and Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Democratic Reform). On Nov 8, Harper will leave for Bengaluru. He will also visit New Delhi and Agra.

PM to stay at JW Marriott

According to information, Canadian PM will stay at JW Marriott hotel in Sector 35. Due to his stay, there will tight security arrangements in and around the hotel by Canada's Federal Police Agency, Chandigarh and Punjab Police.



MC seeks control of malaria dept
Currently, the department is under UT Administration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
The municipal corporation is going to demand transfer of the malaria department from the UT Administration to the corporation in order to streamline health services. In the recent Finance and Contract Committee meeting, which was chaired by Mayor Raj Bala Malik, the decision was taken to send a communication to the administration in this regard. The Mayor said that she had directed the officials to send a request for the transfer of the malaria department from the administration to the corporation.

The committee asked the MC Additional Commissioner to draft the request and send it to the Administration to start the process. In the committee meeting, the MC health department mooted a proposal on the recommendation of the sanitation committee for the purchase of two fogging machines in the next year. This demand was tabled in pursuance of the complaints of mismanagement by the malaria department in entertaining the calls for fogging in the city.

The members raised a point that by purchasing fogging machines, the corporation will resolve the problem of delay in fogging in any area during dengue. The officials insisted that the fogging machines should be purchased at the earliest by the corporation. Denying the request of the officials, the committee suggested that they should speed up the demand for the transfer of the department to the corporation.

It was also revealed in the meeting that in 1995 the malaria wing and the office of the Medical Officer Health (MOH) were shifted to the corporation. But on the objection of the then Director, Health Services (DHS), UT, it was shifted back to the Administration.



Weights and measures department
Surprise check at sweets shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
A team from the Weights and Measures Department today conducted a surprise check in various sweets shops in the city. The team, led by Balbir Singh, Controller, Weights and Measures Department, along with Inspector Kamal Sareen, checked Chandigarh Sweets and Ekansh Sweets, both in Industrial Area, Phase I; Gopal Sweets, Sector 27; Chandigarh Sweets, Sector 27 and Shiv Sweets, Sector 18.

The Chandigarh Sweets at Industrial Area Phase I has been issued a challan for selling 900 gm of sweets while claiming money for one kilogram.

The UT officials advised to the consumers to be vigilant about the quantity of the goods sold to them. In case of any violation, the general public is advised to call 0172-2679348 during the office hours to lodge a complaint. The complaint can also be reported to Inspector Kamal Sareen at 9417363758 and Balbir Singh, Controller, Weights and Measures at 9417153819.



Slump in market forces traders to go for cheaper gifts this Divali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
As there is not much growth in the market, the city-based businessmen are cutting down their expenses on Divali gifts for their clients. Sandeep Sahni, president of Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, said that still there was not much growth in the market and due to that many of them were reducing their expenditure on gifts to their clients.

Echoing similar sentiments, businessman Chander Verma said the slump in the market was from the last 3-4 years and city-based businessmen had reduced their Divali budget by 20 to 25 per cent in the last four years.

Industrialist Shivraj Singh said that he was too going to decrease his budget by 10 to 15 per cent on Divali gifts as compare to his last year budget.

Charanjiv Singh, president of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said customers were not there in the market. He said due to poor sails they were cutting their budget on gifts.



Panchayat unions protest outside police station
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 2
Members of the various panchayat unions today staged a protest outside the Phase VIII police station against the failure of the police to arrest persons wanted in various cases .

The protesters raised slogans against the police and also burnt an effigy of Balwant Singh Ramoowalia. The protesters gathered under the leadership of Harminder Singh Mavi and alleged that the police had failed to arrest persons wanted in many cases.

They further said that the president of the Panchayat Union of Mohali district, Balwinder Singh Kumbra, was allegedly attacked and injured by some persons on October 15. He sustained a fracture but the police failed to arrest those involved in the case.

Similarly, members of Jaspal Kaur's family, who is resident of Lakhnour village, were allegedly attacked and injured by some persons.

The police had registered a case in this regard but failed to arrest the suspects, they said.



Vigilance awareness week concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
The Northern Regional Office of Bureau of Indian Standards concluded the vigilance awareness week, which began on October 29, here today.

The week was celebrated on the theme “Transparency in public procurement”. Ranvir Singh Jalta, Special Secretary and CVO, BBMB, Chandigarh, in his inaugural address stressed on the need to create awareness on integrity, ethics and human values. AK Saini, Deputy Director General, BIS, urged everyone to be careful and cautious in all public dealings in their day-to-day work.

He added that transparency in the public procurement shall go a long way in curbing corruption.



Pensioners’ meeting today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 2
A general body meeting of the Punjab Government Pensioners Association will be held at the Rose Garden in Phase 3B-1 at 11 am tomorrow. General Secretary of the association Mohan Singh said the meeting has been convened to discuss the future strategy for issues of delay in payment of third installment of arrears, non-release of DA installment announced with effect from July, 2012, and other unmet demands of the pensioners.

Mohan Singh said a strategy would be chalked out to hold protests at district and tehsil levels on November 9 to highlight their demands, which also include increase in medical allowance from Rs 500 to Rs 1,500 among others.

Chairman of the association Ragbhir Singh Sandhu urged all pensioners to attend the meeting.



Hooda inaugurates HUDA Field Hostel

Panchkula, November 2
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today inaugurated the Field Hostel at the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) office Sector 6, Panchkula.

HUDA has constructed the building at an estimated cost of Rs 6.83 crore on two-acre of land. The hostel has 24 air-conditioned rooms. The building has been constructed mainly to provide accommodation to HUDA’s field officers visiting Panchkula and Chandigarh for various official purposes and to conduct field training programmes for the department’s officers. Also on being asked about the Congress rally to be held at Ramlila Ground, New Delhi, on November 4, Hooda said that it would be a huge rally and would be addressed by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and General Secretary of All-India Congress Committee Rahul Gandhi.

Public Works (Building , Roads) Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, MLA Panchkula DK Bansal, Chief Administrator HUDA DPS Naggal, Deputy Commissioner of Police Parul Kush, Additional Deputy Commissioner Jagdeep Singh, Sub Divisional Magistrate Sharndeep Kaur Brar and other senior officers of HUDA and district administration were also present on the occasion. – TNS



Golden jubilee celebrations begin at PGIMER
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
The Advanced Paediatrics Centre at the PGIMER started its golden jubilee celebrations today. In a glittering function held at the institute, paediatricians gathered to participate in the two-day academic CME programme. The ceremony was presided over by Prof Y K Chawla, Director of PGI . In his inaugural address, Chawla stressed that the paediatrics department at the hospital had achieved heights of excellence in clinical work, research, and postgraduate training.

A highlight of the pediatrics golden jubilee function was the felicitation of all alumni. Starting from the 1970s, the department journeyed through the years felicitating and honouring each member until the recent times. Former heads of the department, including Prof ON Bhakoo, Prof Lata Kumar and Prof Anil Narang presented gifts and souvenirs to the former students and the staff of the Department of Paediatrics.



PhD programme
No reserved seats for teachers
Panel says, college teachers can perform better than students, don’t require reservation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
College teachers will not enjoy the privilege of having reserved seats for PhD programme conducted by the Panjab University. The authorities have rejected the teachers’ demand stating that teachers can perform better than students and don’t require any reservations.

The decision is going to be tabled before the Syndicate on November 4.

A committee, constituted by the university over the demands made by the teachers, has recommended that there is no need of reserved seats for the teachers. The committee has stated that the teachers being experienced in their profession can perform better in interviews.

The committee has also recommended a pro forma for selection of candidates. As per the pro forma, a candidate’s 50 per cent marks would be given on the basis of the qualifying examination, 40 per cent marks for the interview and remaining 10 per cent marks for various attainments, including five-years teaching experience, National Eligibility Test (NET) qualified, topper of university PhD entrance test.

Interestingly, the university is going to consider the recommendations in the forthcoming Syndicate meeting, while at the same time PU is mulling over a proposal to exempt the college teachers from appearing in the entrance for PhD programme.

The issue was raised in the Syndicate meeting held on October. It decided to work out the modalities for the proposal.

One of the committee members said it has also been suggested that those Mphil students who were admitted after clearing entrance test conducted by relevant departments of PU be granted exemption from PhD entrance examination till the Joint Entrance Test (JET) for PhD and Mphil is conducted by the university.

It has been recommended that the modalities of JET should be worked out by the university at the earliest.



Syndicate meeting
Appointment of chairpersons on rotation basis to be discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
The long-pending demand for appointment of chairpersons in all departments on rotation basis is to be tabled before the Syndicate in its forthcoming meeting. The issue has remained a topic of debate at several PUTA meetings.

The university had constituted a committee on the demand made by the teachers to have the chairperson on rotation basis which has recommended that the practice of rotation of headship may be followed across the departments, institutes, centres and schools at the PU.

While majority of the departments follow this, there are a few departments where the Head of Department is not appointed on rotation basis. The post is named as coordinators or directors instead of chairperson.

At present, departments, including University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), University Institute of Applied Management and Sciences (UIAMS), University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Centre for Human Rights, Centre for Social Work and Centre for Police Administration etc, don’t follow the criteria of appointment of HOD on rotation basis.

The issue was also discussed in the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) general body meeting held on October 5 during which the teachers demanded that all departments should follow the same rule and give equal chance to all teachers to be chairperson, coordinator or director of a department irrespective of designation and seniority.

The committee has also decided that where there is a statutory requirement by the relevant council that a professor could be the head of department, in such cases the rotation may take place only among the professors.

Teachers have been demanding the concept of rotation basis to get an administrative experience which is necessary for the carrier growth and could be a requirement in future assignments.

The PUTA had also recently written to the PU Vice-Chancellor demanding the same.



Common admission schedule mandatory for all schools, says DPI
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
The common admission schedule issued by the UT Education Department is mandatory for all the private schools. This was stated by Director of Public Instructions (Schools) Upkar Singh here today. Many schools, however, have not yet taken a final call on the latest directions of the department.

The DPI said the step had been taken in the best interest of parents and would help in bringing transparency in the overall admission process. The schedule had been issued on time, so that the schools got ample time to start with their admission process, he said.

He also clarified that all the pending issues relating to the implementation of the RTE Act would be sorted out as per the law and well within time in order to implement it with the cooperation of the schools.

Mixed response from schools

Dr Rakesh Sachdeva, principal, DAV School, Sector 15, said her school would adhere to whatever directions the education department has issued. “Since all the schools are recognized by the education department, we are bound to obey to the department’s instructions,” she said.

Many other schools, however, have some doubts. RD Singh of New Public School said they would take the final decision after a formal meeting with the DPI(S).

Kavita Das, principal of St John’s High School, meanwhile, said the school would take the final call in this matter after having a joint meeting with all the four convent schools in the city, including Sacred Heart, Carmel Convent and St Annes.

What is common admission schedule

Every school needs to display the information relating to their total number of seats, age requirement, fee structure, admission criteria and documents required on their notice boards and websites before November 30. The schools will issue their admission forms between December 5 and 15. The draw of lots for admission will take place in every school between January 10 and 15 next year, followed by admission from January 16 to 25.



Change mindset to eradicate social evils: Harsimrat
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 2
"There is a need to change the mindset of people to get rid of social evils,” said MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal here today after inaugurating “Parivartan 2K12,” a two-day festival, by the Chandigarh Group of Colleges at Landran.

The MP, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said one had to have a desire and a strong will power to bring about a positive change in society. A single step by each one of us would make a quantum difference in checking social evils. She said women were being tortured and killed for dowry.

She said “dowry is the main reason behind continued female foeticide in the country. Girls are considered a financial burden on a family. If the mindset was not changed, society would have to face the consequences. A big change would be witnessed if social evils were done away with”.

Girls should be educated so that they could look after themselves and not become a financial burden on their parents, she added. She said she had opened 100 “silai centres” in some parts of the state where training was provided to girls to help them become financially independent. As many as 900 students have passed out of the centres while another 1,100 were undergoing training.

Students presented a skit and conveyed the message of Harsimrat Badal’s “Nanhi Chaan” campaign against female foeticide.



First in Haryana: Students Legal Literacy Club launched
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 2
The first Students Legal Literacy Club in Haryana was inaugurated at The Gurukul School Sector 20, Panchkula, under the aegis of the Haryana State Legal Services Authority.

Justice AK Sikri, Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High, was the chief guest on the occasion.

An insightful documentary, video graphed by the school in Mandhana village near here in Morni, demonstrated the zeal with which students brought awareness among the villagers on daunting issues like child labour, domestic violence and dowry.

The documentary showed how students went door-to-door educating villagers, distributing pamphlets and information brochures on legal literacy and deciphering relevant information on helpline numbers in case of urgent distress.



Students return safely from US
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
A group of 14 students from St Stephen School, Sector 45, who were on an international educational trip, returned home in the early morning hours today.

The students returned safely after Hurricane Sandy hit the USA. “The trip was good and we enjoyed there. We visited Ontario and Florida. Although we missed the New York trip, due to safety purposes, yet the trip was good,” said Aryan Kataria, a student. Gurnam Singh, another student, added, "We are tired but the trip was good. We visited many places and learnt a lot of things.”



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