C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


TRICITY’S first Mega mock drill A NEAR DISASTER
18 months of preparation, Rs 1.2 cr expenditure, about 5,000 manpower and yet disaster management exercise fraught with hiccups
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
It turned out to be a mockery of a mock drill. The mega mock drill, which was held at 45 places across the tricity today, exposed the tricity’s ill-preparedness to react to an exigency as the wireless system got clogged, sirens did not work, ambulances could not reach the spots and a lack of coordination came to the fore during the drill.

A hypothetical earthquake of Magnitude 8 on the Richter scale with its epicentre at Sundernagar town hit the region at 10.30 am today. The execution of the mock drill by various agencies today proved out to be an utter disaster itself and was anything but perfect.

The way the police, central agencies and health and disaster management authorities executed the entire operation, the residents of the region only heaved a sigh of relief and thanked their stars that it was only a mock drill and not a real life situation.

A member of the Disaster Management Authority team calls the victims to come out from the building during the disaster mock drill at the UT Secretariat in Chandigarh on Wednesday
A member of the Disaster Management Authority team calls the victims to come out from the building during the disaster mock drill at the UT Secretariat in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chaos and confusion reigned supreme and the entire exercise appeared more like a fun-filled exercise undertaken with the most casual approach by the agencies. All reserves were exhausted within an hour after the earthquake had struck and parking places were cleared in anticipation of an earthquake, making a mockery of the entire operation. To begin with, the exercise covered only machinery and there was no participation by the public, who were just watching the entire drill as mute spectators. At the student centre in Panjab University, the student unions were informed about the mock drill in advance, still they did not participate in it.

It took 18 months to prepare for the drill that looked nothing more than a well-rehearsed exercise with ambulances and PCR vans doing rounds at some of the venues in anticipation, much before the disaster call. In Sector 17 plaza, the entire parking lot was cleared as early as 9 am while the earthquake was planned to hit the city at 10.30 am. It facilitated a smooth ride for the ambulances and police vehicles as they rushed for rescue operations, a situation far from the reality.

Personnel try hard to start a faulty power generator at the UT Secretariat
Personnel try hard to start a faulty power generator at the UT Secretariat.

A lack of coordination between the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the local partners was exposed. Also, at almost all the places visited by the disaster teams, the entire operation was finished within an hour and no reserves were left to execute the rest of the operation. Despite the rehearsals, the ambulances reached late by about 15 or 40 minutes at Panjab University, PEC, Sector 17 and GCG, Sector 42. The CTU buses were deployed at certain spots to ferry the injured to the hospitals.

The mock drill was conducted at 15 locations each in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. The venues included the airport, railway station, educational institutes and the UT Secretariat where a massive earthquake hit hard, resulting in the collapse of buildings at some places.

The drill also resulted in inconvenience to patients at the city hospitals.


Railway station

  • Drill confined only to platform number 1
  • No police personnel at the police helpline booth
  • Major traffic jam after the drill caused inconvenience to public

Panjab University

  • Fire tender arrived without a ladder that led to a delay of around 35 minutes in rescue operation
  • The ladder could not be extended beyond the first floor
  • Ambulance arrived without any doctor
  • The rescue staff didn’t even have the tools to remove the debris of the building to rescue victims buried under it


  • Only two PCR ambulance-gypsies were deployed at PEC. These were not equipped with first-aid kits
  • No JCB van deployed at the earthquake spot
  • Hooter malfunctioned
  • Ambulance arrives late
  • Local police failed to cordon off the area on time
  • Personnel of civil defense department ill-equipped
  • CTU mini-bus used as an ambulance

GMCH-32 and GCG 42

  • The first aid kit at GCG-42 was inadequate and was not brought on time
  • The supposed victims were being lifted from the spot and placed over the stretchers in an incorrect manner. The victims are to be supported from the back while being carried to avoid pressure on their spinal chords. The rescue team, however, lifted all the victims from shoulders and feet, putting pressure on the spine.
  • The ambulance from Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, reached 40 minutes after the communication was sent from GCG-42.

Sector 17, Plaza

  • While the NDRF team failed to douse the flames during the exercise, a newly wedded couple, who was in Sector 17, got covered with gases released from a fire extinguisher
  • Male member of a rescue team were hesitant to lift girls during the operation. Finally, when girls agreed, they lifted them on their shoulders and rescued them
  • When commanding officer ordered the public to keep low after the hooter was sounded, nobody takes it seriously and started laughing


  • The reaction team at some locations in Panchkula was found rescuing trapped people on the first and second floors during the earthquake situation oblivious to the fact that the first and second floors would have fallen and people would be trapped under debris.
  • There were no communication instruments at various points. The rescue team was not found communicating through wireless sets.
  • At the mini-secretariat, Panchkula, the water pipe that was attached to the fire tender got ruptured


  • In the Civil Hospital, Phase 6, no stretcher was available at the time of calamity. Even the ambulance reached there after about 20 minutes after the siren went off.
  • An employee of Forest Complex actually fell unconscious during the drill. Surprisingly, no official showed any interest to provide him first-aid. On the insistence of a photo journalist, the officials at work agreed to provide him treatment. The person was reportedly under influence of liquor.


Situation: Earthquake

Location: Sector 17 Plaza

10.30 am: Hooter is sounded

10.40 am: Fire tender reaches

10.43 am: Three trucks and a JCB machine reach

10.45 am: PCR staff take four ‘injured’ to hospital

10.47 am: GMSH-16 ambulance reaches

10.50 am: SHO Ram Gopal arrives

10.52 am: Mayor Subhash Chawla arrives

10.58 am: Second ambulance reaches

Location: UT Secretariat, Sector 9

10.35 am: Hooter is sounded

10.45 am: Team of civil defence arrives

10.58 am: First ambulance reaches

11.11 am: Second ambulance reaches

11.14 am: Fire tender reaches

Location: PEC, Sector 12

10.35 am: Hooter is sounded

10.43 am: Two PCRs reach

10.53 am: Fire Brigade team arrives

10.59 am: Ambulance reaches

10.59 am: ADC Prashuram Kavle arrives

11.30 am: Team of the NDRC takes charge

1.30 pm: NDRC hands over the zone to local authorities

Location: Railway Station

10:45 am: Hooter is sounded

10:48 am: First PCR arrives

10:58 am: Ambulance reaches 11:20 am: Rescue team monitors the station

11:45 am: Drill finishes

Location: Student Centre (PU)

10.30 am: Hooter is sounded

10.38 am: PCR vehicle arrives

10.45 am: Fire tender reaches

11.05 am: Ambulance arrives

11.10 am: DSP (Central) Ashish Kapoor and area SHO Gurmukh Singh reach

11.20 am: Another fire tender reaches

Location: GCG, Sector 42

10.40am: Hooter is sounded

10.45am: Civil defence team arrives

10.50am: Students and staff standing outside the building are moved to open ground

10.56 am: Evacuation of students ‘stuck’ on top floor started

11.15 am: Evacuation completed and fire brigade arrives

11.19 am: PCR vans carry ‘injured’ to hospital

11.30 am: Ambulance reaches, staff give first-aid to ‘injured’

11:30 am: NDRF team arrives

11:35 am: ‘Injured’ taken to hospital

11.35 am to 12.30 am: NDRF officials demonstrate rescue operations using all their instruments

Situation: Gas leak

Location: Philips Factory, Industrial Area, Mohali

10.30 am: Hooter is sounded

10.32 am: Employees vacate the building

10.47 am: Three ambulances, fire tenders reach

10.50 am: Blasts in LPG yard

10.53 am: Police cordons off the area

10.56 am: A JCB machine reaches

11.07 am: Four persons are found ‘trapped’ in production house

11.10 am: A police inspector calls NDRF team

11.46 am: NDRF team arrives

11.50 am: Team begins operation

12 noon: NDRF team enters premises

12.05 pm: Trapped persons are rescued

Situation: Fire

Location: Sector 7 market, Panchkula

10.30 am: Hooter is sounded

10.31 am: PCR, fire brigade and hospital staff are informed

10.43 am: A rescue team arrives

10.45 am: Operation started and trapped persons are rescued

11.10 am: Victims given first-aid and ‘critically injured’ are rushed to hospital

11.29 am: Rescue operation ends

Residents bear the brunt

I was not allowed to enter my car in the parking lot of The Plaza, Sector 17, when I reached here at 10 am. Finally, I had to park my car behind the MC building

— Ramesh Sharma, Businessman

UT Administration should have told in advance that they will not allow us to park vehicles in front of our shops in Sector 17. I had to walk quite a long way to reach my shop

— Vishal Seth, trader

In the morning hours traders were asked to close their shops but ultimately when they protested they were allowed to open their shops

— Mohinder Singh, trader

The authorities had closed the road in front of the Sector 42 college due to which I had to travel extra to reach at my destination

— Ravinder Singh, resident, Sector 42



Patients at receiving end at hospitals in tricity
Employees were either involved in mock drills or they were seen watching the exercise on the premises
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The mock drill turned out to be an opportunity to take exemption from the work for a number of officials at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32 today causing grave inconvenience to patients inside.

Some of the lab technicians, who had gone out to take a look at the drill, did not turn up at the labs for hours after the drill ended. A number of patients kept waiting outside the X-ray room in the afternoon, but could not find anyone there.

Amarjeet Singh (55), who returned from the lab with out getting his tests done at 12.30pm said, “I asked one of the guards outside about the availability of technicians at the X-ray room but he told me that a majority of the hospital staff was busy in the mock drill. I kept waiting for about an hour but he did not come.”

The situation was similar at the Emergency Unit where a number of dummy patients were taken and five different teams were busy ‘attending’ to them.


“I came to get my wife treated. Even after waiting for over four hours, the doctor is yet to examine her”, said Dharampal, a resident of Kumbhra village. The doctor was busy in the drill. The nursing staff was also made to sit outside instead of carrying on their duty. “Look at the nurses who are just laughing around as they have no work.”, lamented Charanjit Singh, another patient.


Patients went through a harrowing time at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, when they were left unattended. The staff was found viewing the mock drill outside.

“My son is having a severe stomach ache. And I have been told in the emergency that a mock drill is going on and the nurse concerned is busy with that,” said Om Bir Singh, a resident of Raipur Rani.

He further added, “I have come all the way from Raipur Rani and it was after I met a senior doctor that my son was attended to.”


mega Mock Drill
Element of panic missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
An earthquake-threat mock exercise held at the Chandigarh domestic airport to check the level of preparedness of different agencies, appeared a mere formality as it lacked the sense of urgency and coordination among different agencies involved. Besides, the public was not made as a part of the drive, in any manner.

The main aim was to check the response of the rescue team and the medical team in overall evacuation drive after the calamity. However as soon as the hooter blew off at 10.30 to begin the drill, there was no panicky situation noticed at the airport.

The police team arrived shortly after the siren but was seen parading from one side to another as if they were jogging in the park. People at the airport took the impression that such security due to the arrival of some VVIPs. Few policemen, deputed inside the airport could not even hear the siren and were informed later on.

An official, involved in the mock drill, said that there was a standard procedure around the world. According to which first of all, the immediate rescue team reached the spot and quickly analyse the damage, on the basis of which other agencies were informed to act accordingly. But here, there was no clarity as who was the rescue team. He further said, even if the police was acting as rescue team, their role was unclear.

However, the arrival of the fire brigade and ambulance created some intensity. While the fire brigade officials were seen rushing inside the ground, the medical team started evacuating the injured on stature and putting them in the airport’s ambulance.

Other injured were taken in the ambulance of the GMCH-32 hospital, which reached the spot, 20 minutes after the siren blew off.

Interestingly, the general public was left out of the whole exercise. They were not informed in any manner about the steps they needed to take in such situations. A passenger said that the agencies involved should atleast distribute the pamphlets with dos and don’ts.



Employees missing from offices at P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
Taking advantage of the mock drill, employees of various departments were found missing from their respective offices even after the mock drill concluded. Ranbeer Singh, another resident who had come from Maheshpur, Sector 4, said, “The mock drill may have been conducted to create awareness but we people are the real sufferers. No one is sitting in the office.”

He further added, “When I asked someone, he said that in a way it’s a holiday today because of the mock drill. Now I will have to come tomorrow again.”

The work remained suspended here with the employees chatting outside and enjoying the mock drill axercise.

Also the commuters faced a lot of inconvenience when they were not allowed to park their vehicles outside the secretariat.

“What is the point in carrying out a mock drill when the authorities easily reach the site with out any obstacles on their way. In reality, there are traffic jams in such a situation,” said Trishala, a commuter who had come for the registration of her vehicle.



The delay was deliberate, says Mohali DC
Akash Ghai
Triune News Service

Mohali, February 13
It took about 40 minutes for the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team to travel across just seven km in response to a distress call for rescuing four persons trapped in a production house filled by poisonous gas following a major Richter 8.5 magnitude earthquake. During the mock drill today, the response of the nation’s nodal disaster management agency was poor.

A senior officer said that the response time for the team should have been about 20 minutes. The team was required to move from Phase 6 to Phase 9 (Industrial Area) of the township, which has well-planned and well-maintained network of broad roads. The team had reached late at the site and Varun Roojam, Mohali Deputy Commissioner, who was the in charge of the proceedings there, termed the delay as deliberate.



Injured ferried in CTU bus, faulty hooters mar exercise
Observers satisfied with preparedness: Mohali DC
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 13
As many as 29 persons died, 71 sustained serious injuries and 55 persons minor injuries in the calamity that struck the region today at around 10.30 am. The above mentioned statistics are the result of the mega mock drill, which took place at 15 important sites of the town.

In the drill, which was held under the supervision of the National Disaster Management Authority, the officials of the district administration participated with enthusiasm.

The important sites where the tragedy “struck” included the Philips factory at Phase 9, Industrial Area, Forest Complex and Municipal Corporation Building in Sector 68, Bus stand, railway station and Civil Hospital at Phase 6.

Under the given situation, over 500 persons were shown trapped at the sites. “We used about 1,500 officials including 500 volunteers, 30 ambulances, 20 fire tenders, 15 JCB machines, six recovery vans and other equipments during the rescue operation. The NDRF teams had also used advance equipment during the operation”, said Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam.

Despite presence of the NDRF teams at certain important sites, the officials of the administration and policemen managed to earn appreciation with their seriousness and dedication during the drill.

Roojam claimed that the observers of most of the sites were satisfied with the administration’s preparedness. “Though there were some shortcomings also, we are going to work on them, so that such mistakes are not repeated”, said Roojam.

Rs 1.2 crore spent on the exercise

For the mega mock drill exercise, the NDMA had given Rs 30 lakh each to Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh. The NDMA can also provide assistance to the states in purchasing latest machinery and vehicles to tackle the earthquake-like situation. NDMA officials also suggested that small fire tenders be purchased so that they can easily enter the narrow streets.

As there was limited number of victims, they were the only ones who after being rescued were running back to get rescued again

PCR took injured to hospital

Sector 17, Plaza

The ambulance van, which had come there to rescue the injured people, was waiting at the parking lot. Finally, a policeman came there and told the ambulance staff that they should go and help the injured instead of waiting at parking lot. The ambulance van then went from there to the location where the injured were kept.

Earlier, when hooter was sounded at 10.30 am and officials told the public to bow down. Instead of going down, the people were looking at the hooter and how it worked.

Suddenly, few girl students cried for help from the first floor of a building. Initially male rescue staff and traders, who were there to help, were hesitant to lift the girls but finally they lifted them on their shoulder and took them down. But no ambulance had reached there and finally injured were taken to hospital in a PCR van, which had reached there in time. Later, an ambulance also reached the site and joined the rescue operation.

No proper plan was in place

Sector 43 Bus Stand

At 11 am there was flurry of activity at the Inter-state Bus Terminus (ISBT), Sector 43, as siren blowing police Gypsies assem bled at one of the entrance to the bus stand, making everyone believe that some VIP had arrived. But within few minutes, passengers at the bus stand were made to believe that some disaster had struck. A hooter at the bus stand sounded the alert, which was followed by arrival of siren-blowing fire brigades and ambulances. Caught unawares, passengers and officials of the transport department watched in awe the mock rescue operation. Chaos prevailed as the police and home guard volunteers tried to regulate the rush of buses coming in and going out of the bus stand.

Two of the entry points to the bus stand were sealed to ensure free passage for the rescue teams and machinery.

There seemed to be no plan in place to regulate the flow of buses and passengers in case of such an exercise.

A casual exercise

UT Secretariat building in Sector 9
Employees came out of the building even before the mock drill started at UT Secretariat in Chandigarh on Wednesday
Employees came out of the building even before the mock drill started at UT Secretariat in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Senior officials of the Chandigarh administration and the employees of the secretariat took the mega mock drill exercise very casually. After the hooter was sounded, the officials and employees stepped out from the buildings casually. Before the drive started, the employees had already come out in open and were laughing at the mock drill exercise. A team of civil defence was first to reach the spot at 10.45am, 10 minutes after the siren was sounded at 10.35am.The fire tender took more than 30 minutes to reach the spot after the call was made. A team of NDRF, which reached at 11.30 am, set up their base and launched rescue operations.



If disaster like this takes place, 56,000 people will die in tricity
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
God forbids if an earthquake of Richter 8 magnitude with its epicenter at Sundernagar town in Mandi District of Himachal Pradesh takes place, then 56,000 people would die in tricity.

The report compiled by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) with the assistance of the experts from IITs, Bombay and Madras, it was projected that 56,600 people would die in tricity - 24, 200 in Chandigarh, 11,400 in Panchkula and 21,000 in Mohali.

The figures of injured people would cross the figure of two lakh. According to the figures, 241,900 persons would be injured including 1,02,400 in Chandigarh, 51,900 people in Panchkula and 88,600 in Mohali.

JK Sinha, retired DG, CRPF, who is an expert in mock drills, said that earthquakes were one of the worst natural calamities, which could neither be predicted nor prevented. The impact of such a disaster on lives and property can be reduced considerably by better preparedness and awareness

Sinha, who was the mastermind behind the inception of the NDMA, said that the data on deaths and injured was compiled on the basis of increase in population and buildings over the years.

900 personnel from NDRF participated in drill

As many as 900 personnel from the NDRF organised in 30 teams, 900 civil defense personnel and 270 independent observers from the Army participated in the exercise. The emergency support functionaries like police, health, fire, ambulance, civil defense, power and PWD etc also participated.



Response time best at DT Mall, worst at railway station
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The mock drill exercise was conducted at 15 places in Chandigarh but initial inputs gathered by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reveal that in Chandigarh the mock response time was best at the DT Mall, IT Park, while things were not that good at the railway station and Sector 17 Plaza.

JK Sinha, retired DG, CRPF, said that it would be unfair to judge right now that which state performs better but as he was in Chandigarh and initial inputs from the NDMA, security agencies and media, revealed that there was better coordination, public participation and quick response time at DT mall, IT Park whereas these things were missing in Sector 17 Plaza and the railway station.

Sinha added that their main focus was to spread awareness among the public and they have succeeded on that front. He further added that they would compile data on shortcomings and would try to rectify those mistakes.

Relief camp at GMSH- 16 gets commendation

The base relief camp was set up at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, for providing treatment to patients. The 25-bed temporary hospital was made of all-whether resistant tent. A total of 90 victims were offered treatment at the camp. Five teams were on duty at the GMCH-32 for attending to dummy victims. The camp was given commendation by JK Sinha, member, NDMA, for setting up realistic disaster relief situation.



A successful exercise, says Panchkula Admn
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
The Panchkula Administration claimed that the mega mock drill was successful at all the 15 sites in Panchkula. Around 1,500 officers and personnel of various departments participated in the drill.

The mock drill was on earthquake and outbreak of fire in all the locations. Services of around 20 fire fighting systems, 19 ambulances, 15 earthmoving machines and various water tankers along with staff was utilized. As many as 225 dummy victims who were seriously injured were rescued by the rescuing forces.



Rescue time: A commando demonstrates a rescue operation at Government College for Women in sector 14, Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Rescue time: A commando demonstrates a rescue operation at Government College for Women in sector 14, Panchkula



No ambulance at rly stn
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The rescue team deputed at the Chandigarh railway station was not equipped with ambulance or had any medical assistance to attend to the injured personnel. No first-aid was given to the injured till a PCR vehicle and a CTU bus came after 13 minutes after the call was made by the team.

The preparations of the drill was exposed when it was delayed by 15 minutes from the stipulated time of 10:30 am as the hooter installed to alert the commuters failed to function and later the railway authorities had to use its own for the same. Interestingly, without getting any signal of the siren the fire tenders reached the spot to start the rescue operation.



A cake-walk at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The unrealistic situation of an earthquake created at the Student Center in Panjab University turned out to be a cake-walk for the rescuers to evacuate the trapped volunteers.

The rescuing staff simply climbed the building through a passage without any hurdles and brought the injured victims down from the same passage as if nothing had happened to the building.

Interestingly, the fire tender that arrived around 15 minutes after the hooter of the alarm was turned on didn’t even have a ladder to rescue the trapped volunteers. Another fire tender that arrived almost 50 minutes after the alarm turned on, the ladder was made available.



Rescue team not well equipped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The drive at the Post Graduate Government College for Girls (GCG), Sector 42, appeared highly unrealistic. The rescue team simply entered the building and took out the injured. I The rescue team, did not have cutters, cranes or drills to enter the building, which was supposedly collapsed due to earthquake.

At GMCH-32,

The civil defence force failed to evacuate the public from the administrative block, during the drill that lasted for over two hours, at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32. Also, the volunteers who acted as the victims were first evacuated and then taken back to the Emergency Unit. It remained unanswered, that if the hospital building had collapse during the earthquake, how could the injured be taken to the Emergency Unit ?

In addition to the earthquake, the hospital was also selected for another accident--bursting of a cylinder. The lack of preparedness was visible as again, there were no drills, cranes or cutters to clear the supposed debris following the earthquake. Instead, regular hammers were brought for the purpose. The ambulances could not move in coordination. The civil defence volunteers who were taking the patients from the site of disaster to the ambulance were not properly trained.



Mock drill, visibly unplanned
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The first step of the mega-mock exercise, at the Punjab Engineering College (PEC), was enough to prove the loopholes of the Chandigarh Administration in tackling any emergency, here.

Although the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team displayed a series of hypothetical life-saving moves, but unplanned activities, broken-hooter, lethargic approach and unaware officials, of the local administration, proved them ineffective.

The problem started when officers of the civil defense found their hooter broken and fail to siren the danger. Later, two arriving police’s ambulances failed to find stretchers or first aid kits. Later, a CTU’s mini-air conditioned-bus was deployed as one of the ambulances.

The eight-member team of civil personnel, without gadgets, equipments, wireless sets or zone’s map, found four-victims and successfully put them inside the bus turned-ambulance.

Notably, no marking was performed to declare the zone-safe. Finally an ambulance comprising of expert doctors was also arrived. Soon, the area was marched by the NDRF and the team acted swiftly to save hypothetical victims.

Machines including wood-stainless steel-RCB cutters, tiger-rope and heart-beat detector were used in the effort.



Exercise causes loss to Panchkula shopkeepers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
The mega mock drill incurred a loss to the main market of Sector 7, Panchkula, which is actually the biggest market in the city. According to the shopkeepers, they incurred a loss of around Rs 60,000, as the barricading was done by the police and the traffic was not allowed to enter between 9.30 am to 11.45 am, till the mock drill concluded.

Though the mock drill exercise may have created a lot of awareness among people, but the shopkeepers suffered a heavy loss. Bobby, the owner of Singh Sons, Sector 7, said, "As the customers were not being allowed to enter the area, they preferred to purchase the essentials from the other markets".

He further added, "But alteast we came to know how to cope with such situations". When contacted OP Sihag, the Executive Officer of the Municipal Corporation, he said, "

Our priority was to aware the people. As far as loss is concerned, it expected even if such calamity actually takes place".



Sheru, lone fully prepared participant
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
It was seven-year old ‘Sheru’, a trained male Labrador dog that played a major role in the search and rescue operations in Sector 17 plaza, carried out by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team.

Sheru showcased his talent by locating the trapped volunteers through human scent. Though the other agencies participating in the mock drill had many shortcomings, Sheru was fully prepared to tackle even the worst situation. Sheru’s trainer Jamna Singh Yadav, a member of 6 NDRF, said that these trained dogs participated in special training camps at Gwalior and Panchkula. He further said, experts from Switzerland came regularly to train these dogs.

Yadav added, Sheru could easily locate alive or bodies of the dead persons, 20 feet below the surface. He said that they also take care of diet of dogs according to winter and summer. As many as 30 trained dogs of NDRF had participated and helped the agencies during the mock drill exercise.



All the rain of heaven may fall into the sea. Without love, not one drop could become a pearl … — Rumi
Making V-day the wedding day
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
There can be no perfect day to tie the knot other than the Valentine’s Day itself. Several couples from the city are set to walk down the aisle tomorrow on February 14, the day dedicated to lovers.

For city based software engineer, Atul Nagar, marrying his girlfriend on V-Day was a dream come true. “We both are blessed to get married on a day which is known for lovers all around the world,” said Atul. He has also planned a surprised gift for her fiancée on the big day.

Hitesh Sharma is also getting married tomorrow to his girlfriend. He is a system engineer by profession at Infosys. “Our marriage date was fixed by the pundit. Coincidently, it was February 14 and then we had no second thoughts about it,” said Hitesh.

The speak

He said, “I am creating a photo book as a gift for my would-be wife, compiling the photo from the day we first met.”

Another couple, Tanya Mohan and Vivek Siwatch, is tying the knot tomorrow. “We are doubly excited for the day. It will never let us forget our marriage date,” said the couple.

The rush to get married on this day is visible all around the city. All the city hotels and marriage places are booked for tomorrow. Sandeep Chabra, owner of a marriage palace on Ferozepur road, said: "February 14 is set to witness a large number of weddings as couples have chosen this day because Valentine's Day and Basant Panchami are falling on the same day. Astrologers have also termed the day as auspicious for weddings.”

Ankit Gupta, General Secretary of the Chandigarh Hospitality Association, said now adays it has become a trend to get married on V-day. City hotels have many engagements and marriage functions tomorrow.



In love with passion
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Two photos of a city based photographer, Gundeep Inder Singh, has been selected for the international exhibition on Valentines Day theme at Easton, Pennsylvania, US.

A freelancer photographer and painter, who has participated in many group and solo shows, Gundeep said he got the invitation for participation through a facebook artist community. The organisers in US were impressed by his work uploaded on National Geographic magazine site, following which he was invited to participate in the exhibition.

“I clicked the photographs at the Rose Garden. One of my photos is describing the girl who falls in love for the first time. The second one describes a girl longing for her mate. But love is strong subtext of both these photos,” he said

Art is his first love. He got in to photography after getting fascination for the white roaming clouds, green meadows, colourful people, beautiful Green trees, wonderful light passing through them and sound of fresh water stream. All these had great impression my as a child and later developed in to creative art, he said

Two of his works on “Save Trees” got selected in the All India Art Exhibition 2011 and Annual Art Exhibition by Chandigarh Lalit Kala Academy 2012.



Nothing comes for free, not even love
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
City's love birds are splurging hefty amounts to make the Valentine's Day special for their partners. For Aarti Jain this valentine day will be a special one. Her husband, Rajnish Jain, has planned 14 surprise gifts, including a lavish romantic dinner to mark the 14th year of their togetherness.

"I could not think of any other better way to see a smile on my wife's face," said Rajnish Jain.

He said, "I will start giving her the gifts from midnight only. I can't disclose my gifts right now but it will be a day full of surprises."

For the recently married couple Nitin and Prakriti, a luxury hotel package in the middle of the hills is their way of V-day celebration. Nitin has spent more than Rs 50,000 for a package at a seven star hotel in Rishikesh. "We are leaving tomorrow to celebrate the day. We are really excited ," said the couple.

Tomorrow will be a day for many lovers to show their love but with a cost. A manager of a luxurious five star hotel said they have lot of bookings for special romantic dinners, which will cost them somewhere around Rs 10,000.

According to gift shop owners, they had clients today who bought gifts worth more than Rs 20,000.



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