C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


This divali, think of the air you breathe
Pollution level rising Three stations set up to monitor pollution level in the city during the festival night
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
On the directions of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to monitor the quality of air on the night of Divali in the city, the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee has set up three monitoring stations here.

The data collected from the three stations, Sector 17, Sector 22/23 and Sector 29 would be compared with the data collected on November 6. This would enable the department to assess the ambient air quality during the pre-Divali period and on the night of Divali.

Officials said in the present meteorological conditions, i.e. low temperatures coupled with stable atmosphere, higher concentration of pollutants were expected, resulting in the deterioration of air quality.

Quoting last year’s figures, the officials said the data collected by the department indicated that the most polluted part of the city was Sector 29 with the suspended particulate matter (RSPM) level being at a high of 342 micrograms per cubic metre (mpcm) against the permissible limit of 60. This was higher than 304 mpcm recorded in 2010 and a mere 84 mcpm recorded in 2009. This, in turn, reflected 11.11 per cent rise in the air pollution level compared to 2010 and a whopping 75.4 per cent rise compared to the pollution level in 2009.

In Sector 22, last year’s data showed the RSPM level at 301 mpcm, a 16.6 per cent increase in air pollution compared to 251 mpcm in 2010.

A senior official said, on the directions of the Supreme Court regarding the control of noise pollution due to the bursting of firecrackers, the guidelines would be effectively monitored. Apart from a ban on the bursting of firecrackers between 10 pm and 6 am, contact number of the area SDMs and DSPs have been mentioned in public notices.

Dos & Donts

  • Adults must supervise children as they celebrate Divali
  • Do not use unfamiliar fire crackers
  • Wear protective eye gear
  • Practise caution while lighting crackers do not try to be foolishly daring

First aid for eye injuries

  • Do not rub your eyes
  • Use the corner of a soft clean cloth to draw particles out, or hold the eyelids open and clean the eyes continuously with water
  • If a particle is large or gets stuck in the eye, do not attempt to remove it
  • Keep eyes closed and go to an eye specialist immediately
  • In case of chemical injuries, immediately was eyes under the eyelids with water for 30 minutes

For burns

  • Do not rub ice over the injury
  • Put the affected part of body under water for at least 20 minutes

Emergency numbers

PGI: 2746018 (for all emergencies), 2756117 (for eye emergencies)

GMSH-16: 102

GMCH-32: 2646350

*For calling an ambulance, residents can call up at the above-mentioned emergency numbers. The PGI, however, does not provide ambulance service



MC streetlight claims fall flat
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Tall claims of the Municipal Corporation to make all the streetlights functional before the festival of lights, Divali, have fallen flat, as many parts of the city, especially southern sectors, still have non-functional streetlights.

Last month, at a general house meeting, the MC officials had announced that they would make all the streetlights functional before Divali.

Deepak Singh, a resident of Sector 45, said on many occasions he had to apply sudden brakes of his motorcycle to avoid hitting stray cattle standing in the middle of the road. It becomes difficult to see these stray cattle in the areas where streetlights are non-functional, he added.

President of the Federation of Sector Welfare Association Chandigarh (FOSWAC) PC Sanghi said he was also not receiving good reports about streetlights from the office-bearers of different residents’ welfare associations. He added around 60 per cent of the streetlights were functional in the city and he had appealed to the MC to make all the streetlights functional as early as possible.

Janak Raj Sharma, vice-president of the Residents’ Welfare Association of Sector 51, said in their sector the situation is very bad as only 60 per cent of the streetlights are functional. President of the Sector 52 association KL Banga, said in their sector many streetlights are still non-functional. Councillor Arun Sood, who is also the chairman of the electricity committee, said he had sought action taken report from the MC officials on the issue of non-functional streetlights.



No kid stuff this: Handle firecrackers with care
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
A majority of cases of burns and eye injuries reported in the city during Divali over the past few years involve children aged between 5 and 17 years.

According to experts at the city hospitals, there has also been an increase in the number of injury cases on Divali over these years. The increase is being attributed to the high amount of nitrate in crackers and increased exposure of growing children to these crackers.

The incidence of eye injuries caused by fire crackers rises dramatically on Divali days, as so many unfamiliar firecrackers enter the market every year. These firecrackers have turned this beautiful festival into a nightmare for some families, said Dr SPS Grewal, CEO, Grewal Eye Institute.

Last Divali, we had received many emergency cases in our hospital.

The victims were from well-educated families and I am sure that there must have been many more such cases in other hospitals of this the city as well, added Dr Grewal.

Most of the injuries to children happen because of the reckless use of firecrackers. Sparklers are one of the major causes of injuries requiring hospitalisation of the patient, he added.

Dr Harbant from the Department of Surgery, Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, said every year, growing children, who generally fall in the age group of 5 to 17, were hurt while lighting crackers. With the increased exposure of growing children to firecrackers, the number of injury cases continues to increase, despite the campaigns for a green Divali being run in the city.?

The amount of nitrate in a firecracker determines the intensity of burns, Dr Harbant added.



PGI failed to learn lesson
Jammers not installed during MD entrance test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Making a mockery of vigil at the PGI, 20 youngsters, suspected to be the beneficiaries of the MD entrance exam scam unearthed by the CBI, easily sneaked into the exam halls with mobile phones and other gadgets.

The PGI not only failed to install jammers, metal detectors or CCTV cameras at the exam centre, but also did not bother to check the eligibility of the applicants while generating the admit cards for the entrance exam.

This despite the fact a similar incident had taken place during the same exam two years ago. In 2010, the CBI sleuths had arrested two PGI junior resident doctors who had got admission after clearing the entrance exam with the help of impersonators. The CBI DIG, Mahesh Aggarwal, said they had information that candidates appearing for the MD exam were using high-end gadgets to clear the test and some people were helping them from outside.

While the CBI nabbed seven candidates carrying sophisticated devices for cheating at some of the centres, the PGI had failed to detect the devices hidden in their clothes.

Official spokesperson for the PGI Manju Wadlwakar said, “We did have some arrangements for the frisking the candidates, but the devices were so sophisticated that they could not be detected by frisking”.?

No cross-check of certificate photocopies

The PGI officials said the admit cards were issued on the basis of photocopies of certificates produced by candidates. Their verification takes place only during counselling when selected candidates apply for admission.

Certificates of all the candidates (more than 7,000) are now being examined.

The career of the remaining candidates is now at stake since the PGI authorities are now examining the certificates of all the applicants. Also, the CBI has directed the PGI to produce the documents submitted by the seven accused.

Top PGI officials out of station

While a major scam has hit the premier medical institute, neither of the senior officials, including the Director, the Deputy Director, Administration, or the Dean, are in the city.



Bhatti’s aide succumbs to injuries
Was travelling with Jaspal Bhatti when they met with accident
Tribune News Service
Members of Navneet Joshi’s family at his cremation in Sector 25, Chandigarh, on Monday
Members of Navneet Joshi’s family at his cremation in Sector 25, Chandigarh, on Monday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, November 12
Navneet Joshi, the 39-year-old director of media management company, and one of the son’s of former state president BJP Chandigarh, Jai Ram Joshi, passed away this morning at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) Ludhiana. Navneet was cremated in Chandigarh this evening.

He was admitted to the DMC after he sustained serious injuries in the fatal road accident while travelling with satirist, Jaspal Bhatti.

While Bhatti had died on way to the hospital, he had sustained critical injuries.

A huge gathering bid tearful adieu to Navneet at the Sector 25 cremation ground Chandigarh. Industry Minister Punjab, Anil Joshi, GMP Rajya Sabha Avinash Rai Khanna, an Akali Dal leader Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, and a number of other people had gathered at the cremation ground.

Navneet was promoting satirist Jaspal Bhatti’s movie, Power Cut. He had met with an accident while travelling with Bhatti from Bathinda to Jalandhar on October 25.

Since October 25, he was undergoing treatment at the DMCH, Ludhiana, where he passed away today morning at 6:30 am due to multiple organ failure.

His elder brother, Vineet Joshi, BJP Punjab media in-charge, younger brother Saurabh Joshi municipal councilor, Chandigarh, Municipal Corporation, and wife Dr Manisha Joshi were by his side when Navneet breathed his last.

Navneet had done his graduation from DAV-10, Chandigarh, and was married to Dr Manisha Joshi.

Soon after the accident, he fell conscious for the initial few hours and thereafter, he could not recover.



Northern Railways GM sets deadline for upgrade of city station
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Two weeks after Pawan Kumar Bansal took over the charge of the Union Railway Minister, the railway department has finally come in to action mode with the General Manager, Northern Railways, VK Gupta, today visited the station before the up gradation work started.

Deadline for the beautification of the railway station, up gradation of the circulation area, improvement of the passenger related amenities, speeding up the double laning of the Chandigarh-Ambala railway track, escalators and foot over bridges has been set up.

Led by a battery of officials, the GM gave deadlines for the completion of different projects that have been held since long.

After holding the post of the general manager, this was the first visit of the VK Gupta to the Chandigarh railway station.

Sources said during the last visit of the railway minister, the officials took up the issue to speed up the work of the track for increasing the number of train capacity on the station.

While monitoring the station premises, VK Gupta asked to reshape the circulating area of the station to increase site for the parking at the railway station.

Officials have been asked to chalk out the plan for the same and sent it to railway headquarters for the approval.

The team has also recommended drafting a proposal to up grade the facade the station and beautify the surrounding of the premises also. It was suggested by the delegation of officials to install escalators and add the number of footbridges on the platform to facilitate the commuters.

Northern railway, Division railway manager, Pardeep Kumar Sangi, said the department would soon chalk out the proposal which has to be approved by headquarter for their early execution. He said that the financial implication for the projects would be chalked out sent to approval.

Sources said the team along with VK Gupta will also review, day after tomorrow, the status work of track being constructed between Chandigarh and Ludhiana.



Girl caught stealing cash bag at wedding
8 incidents in 15 days in P'kula, Chandigarh indicate involvement of gang in such cases
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 12
In yet another case, an attempt to steal a bag containing cash and jewellery worth Rs 3 lakh was made by an eight-year-old girl at a wedding venue in sector 5 here late last night. The attempt was foiled when those attending the wedding caught the girl and handed over her to the police.

It is the fifth such incident in 15 days in Panchkula. Three incidents of thefts at wedding functions had been reported in Chandigarh during the period.

Most wedding venues where thefts had taken place are just at a distance of 100 metres from the police station of Sector 5. Still, the Panchkula police is yet to wake up from its deep slumber.

In all the incidents, the child thieves were well-dressed, wearing black suits and red shoes. A gang targeting wedding venues is believed to be operating in the tricity. In all the incidents, the modus operandi is the same. Thieves target their victims during “jaimala” and even “pheres”, during which they can easily steal bags containing jewellery and cash. “It was during the “jaimala” ritual when the bridegroom’s mother was carrying a bag containing shagun cash and jewellery worth Rs 3 lakh. When the cameraman was shooting the ceremony, he saw a child stealing the bag and running away,” said Tarsem Garg, a witness to the incident. Garg is the chairman of the Nagar Sudhar Sabha.

“The child was running towards an Indica car parked outside the venue but the car driver fled the scene when the child was nabbed,” said a relative. The police was called and the child was handed over to it.

The girl revealed her identity as Ankita and said she hailed from Madhya Pradesh and was putting up at the railway station. On being asked who had sent her to steal the bag, she said her grandmother had told her to do so.

“We have handed over the girl to her family. A report under the Juvenile Act has been written,” said station house officer of the sector-5 police station, Inspector Ajay Rana. Yesterday, two boys stole a bag containing cash and jewellery worth Rs 3 lakh at a wedding venue at Sector 16, Panchkula.

‘Police not serious’

Despite repeated incidents, no efforts are being made by the police to keep an eye on bad elements at wedding venues, said members of the affected families.

“The police is behaving very irresponsibly. Even yesterday when we handed over the girl to the police, investigating officer Mahaveer Singh behaved callously and said they will just see what can be done,” said Tarsem Garg.

He added, “So many incidents have taken place and the police should have got alert and adequate security should be ensured at wedding venues, at least during the ongoing festive season.”

According to the victims, whenever such incident happens, the police has a standard reply that since thieves are children, nothing much can be done.

“This crime can be stopped if the police gets active. At least they can catch hold of the child thieves’ parents,” said MPS Chawla, a hotelier. Chalwa, who runs a hotel in Industrial Area, Phase II, Chandigarh, said they had twice caught children stealing and handed over them to the police. But, there is little follow up in the cases by the police.

Vishal Chauhan, another resident of Sector 8, Panchkula, said: “It is a shame that the police can’t keep a watch on criminals who strike in its vicinity.”

Meanwhile, commenting on the allegation of the affected families that the police is not taking such cases seriously, a senior police official said: “It is not that. We take all the theft cases at wedding venues very seriously”.



Another theft at wedding function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
An unidentified woman took away cash and ornaments from a wedding function. The party was of son of a Jawan, deployed with the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB), of the Chandigarh Police on Monday at his house in Mani Majra.

Police said, the woman stole purse of Sikander Kaur which contained Rs 25,000, one pair of ear tops and 1500 Euros.

The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC in the Mani Majra police station.

In another incident of theft, Jagdish Thakur, a resident of Sector 41, reported that someone broke into his house and took away one gold mangal sutra, one gold chain, two gold rings, one diamond locket, one ear ring set and one pair silver anklets.

The thieves had broke open all the cupboards and ransacked the house before leaving. A case under Sections 380 and 454 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.


Fire, emergency staff on alert
Nine fire tenders to be stationed in busy markets of Chandigarh
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
To tackle any kind of fire incident on the Divali night, nine fire tenders would be stationed at the busiest markets and locations.

There are seven fire stations in the city and the fire and emergency department of the Municipal Corporation would also have seven fire tenders as back up on these fire stations on the Divali night.

Chief Fire Officer, Rajiv Gupta, said around 250 employees of the fire and emergency department would be working on Divali.

He added that they have already appealed to the residents that in case of fire incident, they should give way to fire tenders, so that they can control fire in time.

The city houses about half a dozen congested markets where commuter rush increases during the festival season.

Some of these are Shastri Market at Sector 22, Sadar Bazaar and Palika Bazaar at Sector 19 and Patel Market at Sector 15.

The department had already issued directions to stall owners to put at least 20 to 25 sand bags near the stalls. There should be at least 6 feet gap between each stall.

During last year Divali celebrations, the fire and emergency department had received 31 emergency calls from across the city.

However, no major loss of life and property was reported.

Additional fire tenders to be deployed at:

  • Hallo Majra
  • Housing Board light point
  • Old NAC market Manimajra
  • Grain Market Sector 26
  • Sadar Bazar Sector 19
  • Burail village Sector 45
  • Sector 40 market
  • Patel Market Sector 15
  • Nehru Park Sector 22

Emergency Helpline nos: 101, 0172-2703507,0172-2702333



Hospitals all set to deal with Divali cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
In a move to provide immediate relief to residents in case of mishaps during Divali, the hospitals in the city have put in place special 24-hour emergency arrangements for November 13 and 14.

From preparing duty rosters of doctors and other staff to alerting ambulances, all the three government hospitals in the city have made preparations to deal with possible accidents during Divali.

Doctors from the departments of ENT, eye, paediatrics, orthopaedics as well as surgery will be on duty in the hospitals round the clock on November 13 (Divali) and 14.

The three government hospitals, including the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and the PGIMER, have prepared special rosters of doctors in the emergency ward. At the PGI, a team of five or six doctors will be present at the Advance Eye Centre, as doctors state that most patients visiting hospitals on Divali suffer eye injuries.

Similar arrangements have been made at the GMCH-32 and the GMSH-16 too.

The GMSH, Sector 16, has deployed three ambulances on special duty. Also, surgical items and dressing materials have been stocked in good quantities and doctors asked to be on alert. At the GMCH, Sector 32, additional nursing and doctoral staff would be on duty round the clock for two days, to deal with the cases of eye injuries and burns.

OPDs to remain closed

The out patient departments (OPDs) at the PGI, GMSH-16 and GMCH-32 will remain closed on November 13 on account of Divali. The emergency services will remain functional 24 hours a day.



Gamblers active during festive season
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Even as the inflation has marred the festive mood this season, there seems no let down in gambling parties in the tricity.

For the past many days, the city has been witnessing several gambling parties, often held in closed quarters, residential areas and also in hotels and resorts located in periphery.

This time, even the organisers of kitty parties have started gambling parties among their group members.

A couple named Bobby Verma and Barkha Verma, part of one of the couple kitty groups in the city, said that the gambling parties of their group was in full swing for the past one week and it was really fun to be part of it.

“Our motive is not to earn financial gains but to celebrate Divali festival as well as to enjoy the company of fellow friends,” the couple said.

“As stakes can go really high during gambling, therefore, we have not allowed a single game beyond Rs 10,000 in our party,” said one of the organisers of a gambling party. Traditionally, 'teen patti' or flash, involving three playing cards, has been around for years, and brings friends and family together for the occasion, but over the years new experimentations have also been seen.

Panchkula resident, Sanjeev Sharma, said Muflis is gaining lot of popularity in flesh. “In the usual 'teen patti', the highest card owner wins, but it's the opposite in Muflis. A person with the lowest cards, walks away with the moolah, he said.

As many said, stakes remain very high during the professional gambling parties. “kanua”, glassi (dice game) and “maang patta” are popular games in professional gambling in the city, said a professional gambler, adding these games are not time consuming as it winds up in 2 to 3 hours but transaction of money goes in to lakhs.

A resident of Mohali Phase VII, Rajeev Narang, said, “We play cards during Divali among close family friends as it is considered pious.”



Chinese lights flood city markets
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
This festival season, the markets are flooded with lights available in new designs and sizes. Overall prices of the lights have also gone down by 20 to 30 per cent this season.

Talking to Rajesh Kumar, a shopkeeper at Sector 18, he said the less prices have helped them increasing the festival sale. This year, the SMD lights are favourite among buyers followed by LED and tube lights.

SMD lights were introduced last year but it did not find many takers because they were expensive and priced between Rs 130 to 150 per metre. But this year, their prices have gone down to Rs 60 to 80 per metre. Since it has better light and quality projection, it is attracting a lot of buyers, said Sumit Kumar, one of the shopkeepers at Sector 18 electronic market.

Overall, the lights are available from Rs 10 per metre to Rs 80 to 90 per metre. Tube lights, also known as pipe lights are being sold between Rs 25 to 45 per metre. Special sticking lights are available between Rs 60 to 65 per metre.

The laser lights price between Rs 1,100 to 2,300 are also available. Special electronic diyas are available in different variants are also found popular among the buyers. Bhupesh, a resident of Sector 15, said this year, there is a lot of variety of lights compare to that of the last year.

While 90 per cent of the lights are from Chinese, Indian lights are also available in the price range between Rs 15 to 30 per metre. Shopkeepers, however, said that Chinese lights had captured the whole market because of their better range and projection.



Dog sterilisation
Project back on track
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 6
After a span of ten months, finally the dog sterilisation project, which had hit a road block in Panchkula because of the reluctant contractor, has started again as the authorities have convinced the contractor and he has agreed to work for Rs 100 more than the previous price.

The contractor concerned was creating fuss over being paid Rs 270 per dog and now has agreed for Rs 370 per dog.

It was ten months back ago that the dog sterilisation project had stopped as the contractor concerned had stopped catching stray dogs resulting in the increase of dog bite cases. As per the data, 170 dogs in the town were sterilised after the beginning of the project.

“The contractor who catches stray dogs has agreed to work and the work of sterilisation has begun. The task has been given to the Government Pet Clinic, Sector 3, Panchkula,” said OP Sehag, Executive Officer of the Municipal Corporation.

A survey conducted by the MC revealed that there are around 4,000 to 5,000 stray dogs in the city. Last three months saw around 660 cases of dog bites. It was after a rise in the dog bite cases, the corporation had swung into action and decided to sterilise dogs to control their population.

“ We just want that the programme should not stop now. The project is going on successfully and if it continues like this, we will be able to sterilise all stray dogs,” said Dr MR Singla, in charge at the Pet clinic .

He further added, “ As we are short of space for keeping the dogs, the operation is going slow, otherwise, we can sterilise more than five dogs a day.” Singla said the dogs had to be kept under observation after the operation for about five days and as there was less space, they had to use the dogs hostel which was not sufficient.



Recycled bags pose risk to health
Tribune News Service

Two men wash sacks in N-chou in Mohali
Two men wash sacks in N-chou in Mohali. Tribune Photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, November 12
If you usually buy bags (plastic bags to put vegetables and fruits) at “apni mandis”, then think twice before buying it. These bags may be a risk to the health as these are being recycled in markets after washing them in the dirty waters of any local “nullah”.

During the survey, The Tribune team found that two persons were washing these bags in dirty water of N-Choe near YPS School.

Notably, most of the sewerage of Chandigarh is drained in the N-Choe. Just before the washing site (near YPS school), a slum was found along the choe and several residents of the slum use to defecate near the choe and throw their waste in it.

After washing these bags and after some alteration, these are being sold in the “apni mandis” for Rs five or 10. Even some small shopkeepers (especially kirana shopkeepers) also use to buy them for carrying grocery items or other things.

According to sources, some migrants use to pick these bags from cement factories, junk dealers or other shopkeepers on very cheap prices.

A government doctor, termed the practice very dangerous. “We don’t know about the things or goods for which these bags are being used. It can be cement, pesticides or any other material. Adding insult to injury, these are being washed in the dirty waters of the “nullah”. This is highly infectious,” said the doctor.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam expressed ignorance about the prevailing practice. “I am unaware of such a thing. I would immediately issue instructions to the officials concerned to check this practice and would take the required steps in this connection. If these people are playing with the health of the people, they would be dealt sternly,” said Roojam.



Play highlights inefficient public administration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
On the second day of the annual theatre festival of the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Academy, play "Nithalle ki Diary" was staged at the Tagore theatre, Sector 18, today.

The play, directed by Sudesh Sharma, is an adaption of a series of short stories, written by a noted satirist and humourist of modern Hindi literature, Harishankar Parsai.

The play portrayed various chapters from his diary. It highlighted the inefficient public administration system and deteriorating ethics, corruption and superstitions prevalent in our society.

On Nov 14, play "Shaweta Jivit Hai", directed by Jagdish Chandra Tiwari, will be staged. The play is based on a mafia gang leader and a bureaucrat, who are involved in the illegal trade of alcohol and drugs.



Mock drill held at General Hospital
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 12
A mock drill was carried out at the General Hospital, Sector 6, today. The aim of the drill was to check the reaction time of doctors while treating burn injuries. During the drill It was pretended as if a major fire broke out in a crackers' factory and many people suffered serious injuries.

The whole emergency ward was readied and even the stretchers and wheel chairs were taken out,” an official of the hospital said.

Principal Medical officer (PMO) Usha Gupta reached the spot and viewed all the arrangements. During the round, it was found that the hospital was ready for any emergency. It is for the first time that a mock drill has taken place in the hospital.




Office-bearer appointed

Former Mayor Kamlesh took charge as the chairperson of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board on Monday. Appointed by the Central Social Welfare Board, Kamlesh now faces the challenge of streamlining the activities of the board in the region. She was the ex-councillor and two-times Mayor of the Municipal Corporation.
Students of Phoenix Club extend Divali greetings to one of the child patients at the PGI in Chandigarh on Monday
Students of Phoenix Club extend Divali greetings to one of the child patients at the PGI in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: s chandan

Chandigarh Fair

Among the hundreds of stalls at the recently concluded CII Chandigarh Fair at Parade Ground, Sector 17, one stall which received special attention was that of paintings and other art work. The stall was erected by a 26-year-old youth, who was born deaf and got into drawing and sketching at the tender age of 10. Saurabh Saini - the gifted youth- presently teaches arts subject at a Haryana government school in Barwala. He received quite a few orders of paintings.

Sweets distributed

Happy faces and shouts of Happy Divali filled the air when over 650 children were given sweaters, sweets and chocolates to celebrate Divali and Children's day by Vatsal Chaya Trust on Monday. The children, who were given gifts, belonged to deprived sections of society. Sangita Vardhan, chairperson of Vatsal Chaya, said these children needed an effective rights-based programme to improve their lives. She said most of these children were brought to school for the first time and over 100 children were doing school .

Development drive

This Divali, Panchkula MLA DK Bansal has promised that more development would take place in the town. In a press conference at his office, he said more efforts would be madebeautify the city. “With the help of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, we have been able to maintain the "Paris of Haryana’ image. We will try that by the next Divali, many development works get completed,” said Bansal.

Divali celebrations

Shemrock School shared Divali greetings with older people on Monday. Shemrock Senior Secondary School celebrated Divali with them and spent full day with the old people to make it a memorable day. Things of daily use such as woolen socks, scarves and monkey caps were also gifted by the students. The children also burst crackers and entertained them with song and dance programme. Girls also recited a poem of parental love and made the atmosphere emotional. The students enjoyed the visit— TNS



hike in mess charges
Student council talks to mess contractors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
While some students are protest against the hike in the mess charges, the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) held a meeting with the mess contractors to resolve the issue. The PUCSC claims that there are just a handful of students protesting against the hike and has decided to carry out a survey to know the views of students.

Earlier, the protesting students had demanded that the rates of food in boys' and girls' hostels should be Rs 24 and Rs 22.50, respectively, but later, they agreed to raise the price to Rs 26 in boys' hostels and Rs 24 in girls' hostel.

The students alleged that during the past few years none of the mess contractors had been changed and the authorities were not ready to open new tenders.

PUCSC president Satinder Singh said the mess contractors were not ready to accept a rollback in prices. Meanwhile, SOPU leader Manoj Lubana said that they were going to conduct a survey among hostel students to know whether the students want a rollback in the prices. He said the contractors during the meeting said that they were ready to leave the mess contracts rather than decreasing the prices.

Meanwhile, over 15 students have joined the ongoing hunger strike and eight students have been hospitalised.

The students, who are holding the protest, have decided to celebrate a black Divali and threatened to continue their protest until the university authorities accepted their demands.



From schools

Mahima wins painting competition

Mahima of class IX of DC Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 7, Panchkula, brought laurels to the school after winning the first prize in the National Painting Competition-2012, organised by the Haryana State Council for Child Welfare. The Governor of Haryana awarded gave her the prize.

Rally organised

AKSIPS, Mohali, wore a festive look as the school was decked up for Divali celebrations. The students made rangolis, placed decorated diyas, used garlands to decorate their school. They also organised a cleanliness drive in the vicinity. The students of classes II to V participated in a rally to spread the message of saving environment. They used banners and placards to spread the message.


St John's High School, Chandigarh, held a cross-country marathon for its students. The marathon started from the Sukhna Lake and ended at the school in Sector 26. The route was monitored by teachers. The students participated under various categories.


The joy of the festival season was in full swing at Hallmark Public School, Sector 15, Panchkula. During the occasion various events were organised and the children from Playway III participated very actively in 'diya' decoration competition. Director Jivtesh Garg and Principal Kavita Wadhwa said Divali marks the victory of good over evil.

Club formed

New Parents’ Partnership Club was opened at Sky school, Sector 21, Panchkula. Principal Santosh Bhandari said each parent on rotation basis would become the lead the club and the club would act as a strong link for communication between teachers and parents. The leader of the club was free to spend time in the school, she said. -TNS



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