C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Budget Bonanza for city, Bansal hits a sixer 
  Six new trains announced, three get extension; frequency of two trains changed, city to have its first IT railway industry 
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Railway Minister Pawan Bansal has given a big push to the city’s connectivity with major cities across the country by announcing six new trains.

After more than a decade, Chandigarh has emerged as a prominent city to have direct rail connectivity with important places of tourist and religious importance in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Jammu, Himachal Pardesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa.

A new rail link between Chandigarh and Yamuanagar has been announced. The minister also mentioned the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link in his budget speech.

The minister today took the credit for starting the third Shatabdi Express between Chandigarh and Delhi, taking the total express trains between the national capital and the city to three.

Fulfilling his promise, Bansal announced six new express trains from the city. Many long distance trains were not connected to city and the passengers had to travel all the way to Ambala or Delhi to catch the same.

To improve the rail connectivity, the minister also extended long distance trains to the city. There trains will connect Chandigarh to Delhi Patna, Bangalore and Goa.

A senior official of the Railways revealed that all the demands for better connectivity from the city to south and the central India have been fulfilled in the budget.

The minister said by setting up a modern signalling equipment facility at Chandigarh through a public-private partnership, more employment opportunities would be generated for the youth of the tricity. The ministry will impart training to youths in railway related trades at 25 locations across the country and Chandigarh is one of them.

The minister also announced setting up of information technology industry in Chandigarh. This industry will help in research and manufacturing of railway signal links and anti-collision devices. 

Inadequate infrastructure
Though the Union Railway Minister announced six new trains, increased the frequency of two trains and extended three trains to the city, inadequate infrastructure at the Chandigarh railway station could be a headache for officials as well as passengers. Though the officials claim that extensive survey has been carried out, sources said the existing single track between Chandigarh and Ambala was a major hurdle.

New railway line
Yamuna Nagar to Chandigarh via Sadhaura, Narayangarh

First IT railway industry in region
The Railway Minister announced the setting up of the first information technology (IT) industry of the region at Chandigarh. The focus of the industry will be to manufacture railway signal links and anti-collision devices.

Training centre
A training centre will be set up in the city by the Railways, which will open more employment opportunities for the youth.

Residences for employees
Railway divisional manager PK Sangi said the ministry had also sanctioned 105 new residences for the railway staff in Chandigarh.

Budget at a glance
Direct trains to Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Himahcal Pradesh and Goa have been announced

New trains to religious places in Jammu and Punjab

Helpline number of women 1800-111-321

e-ticketing through SMS

Projects that were not taken up
Management of the railway goods sheds and multi-model logistics parks

RPF helpline, integrated with the all-India passenger helpline

Regional cuisine at affordable rates

Integration of RPF helpline with all-India passenger helpline

Coin operated ticket vending machine

Welfare of railway employees

System to accommodate passengers on waiting list on alternative trains

Nothing in the kitty of Panchkula residents

Brawl between Cong workers
Youth Congress workers clashed outside the residence of Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. Some of the workers tried to be in the front row when lensmen were clicking their pictures on Monday. Abuses were hurled and they even exchanged blows. Senior party leaders had to intervene to bring the situation under control. 

New trains
Express trains’ frequency

Amritsar-Lalkuan (Uttarakhand) Express via Chandigarh Weekly
Chandigarh-Amritsar intercity express via Mohali and Ludhiana Daily
Indore-Chandigarh express via Dewas, Ujjain, Guna, Gwalior, Hazrat Nizamuddin Weekly
Kalka-Jammu-Udhampur-Katra Express via Chandigarh Biweekly
Una-Nangaldam-Hazoor Sahib-Nanded Express via Chandigarh Weekly
Kalka-Sai Nagar-Shirdi Express via Chandigarh, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Bhopal, Itarsi Biweekly

Trains that have been extended
Trains’ frequency
Chandigarh-Lucknow Express to Patna Biweekly
Yesvantpur-Hazrat Nizamuddun Sampark Kranti Express to Chandigarh Biweekly
Madgaon-Hazrat Nizamuddin Express to Chandigarh Biweekly

Change in frequency
Kochuveli-Chandigarh Express Weekly to biweekly
Madurai-Dehradun-Chandigarh Express Weekly to biweekly 

Direct trains from Chandigarh to 
Jammu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh. Punjab, Karnataka, Goa 

City’s links with major towns 
Una, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patna, Bangalore, Goa, Indore, Shirdi, Dewas, Ujjain, Guna,
Gwalior, Nangal Dam, Hazoor Sahib, Nanded, Bhopal, Itarsi



Rly Budget a high for Mohali residents too
  Two new trains, Chandigarh-Amritsar Inter-City, Anandpur Sahib-Nanded Sahib, to halt at city station
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
The Railway Ministry’s decision to halt two new trains - Chandigarh-Amritsar Inter-City and Anandpur Sahib-Nanded Sahib - at the Mohali railway station has brought cheers to residents of the town, here.

Several residents, including area’s MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, termed it as a “big gift” for the people of the town and the decision was being hailed by everyone.

“The decision is really heartening for all of us. We all know how important Amritsar and Nanded Sahib are for all of us. Introduction of a new daily train between Chandigarh-Amritsar is undoubtedly a big news and the decision of halting it at Mohali station is just an icing on the cake”, said Balbir Singh Sidhu, the area MLA.

He added that with the decision, the long-pending demand of the residents had also been met. “Thousands of people go to Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar from the area daily, the train will be a boon for them”, said Sidhu.

Manmant Singh, who resides in Phase 3B1, said that he was very happy with the announcement made. “Earlier, when I used to go to Golden Temple along with my family I used to go there by car. Now, we will opt for the train, as it will become more convenient for us”, said Manmant Singh.

While Amrik Singh Walia from Phase 7 felt that with a large number of trains halting here at the local railway station the condition of the railway station would also improve. “Of late, only two or three trains have their stoppages here, so no attention has been paid to the facilities provided to the passengers at the station. When the trains will start halting here regularly, the authorities will have to look into the needs of the passengers”, said Walia.



Head constable ‘manhandles’ advocate at HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Tempers ran high at the Punjab and Haryana High Court when a head constable on security duty at one of the entry gates to the High Court allegedly manhandled and slapped a senior advocate and former president of the Bar Association.

Head constable Ramesh Chand. The incident led to resentment among advocates who then thrashed the head constable outside the courts complex.

The head constable has been suspended.

The complainant, Rupinder Khosla, was slapped by head constable Ramesh Chand at the entry gate number 1.

Ranjivan Singh, secretary, Bar Association, said the court had issued radio frequency identification (RIFD) cards to advocates for entering the courts complex, however, about 400 advocates are yet to get the cards which are to be shown at the gates.

"As the advocate didn't have the card, he showed his Bar Association membership card, but the head constable misbehaved with him and slapped him," Singh said.

Soon the police reached the spot and took the head constable for a medical examination after the advocates alleged that he was under the influence of liquor.

An official of the GHSH-16 stated that no traces of liquor were found in his blood. His X-ray was also done to assess the injuries.

The medical report is awaited
A senior UT police official stated that Deputy Superintendent of Police (Security) Deepak Saharan would be probing the matter. 

Gates closed
The Punjab and Haryana High Court closed the gates following the brawl. Now, to gain an entry into the courts complex, an advocate will not have to show a special electronic card. A decision to do away with the electronic system was taken at a special meeting held this evening. High Court Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, UT Home Secretary and members of the HC Bar Association were present during the meeting. 


Commuters made to suffer
 Protesters lay siege to Panchkula-Chandigarh borders 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
Holding the general public to ransom, about 750 protesters laid seige to Panchkula-Chandigarh borders today. The protesters wanted to gherao Vidhan Sabha. As they blocked both the borders, vehicles remained stuck in a traffic jam for over an hour.

The Panchkula-Chandigarh border near the Mansa Devi Complex lights and the housing board witnessed long queues of vehicles.

"We faced a tough time. This is no way to lodge a protest. As roads on the Panchkula side were blocked, those coming from Chandigarh,too, had a harrowing time," said Vishal Bhandari, a commuter.

While the 500 protesters, blocking the MDC light point, demanded that the Haryana SGPC be constituted, about 250 JBT teachers, were protesting in support of their demands at the housing board light point.

"I am getting late for my tuitions," said Jahanvi, a student.

A parent said, "I got a call from the school authorities that the school bus was stuck in a jam. The common man is always at the receiving end," said Swati Sharma, a resident of Sector 4, Panchkula.



Mayor turns down request of councillors
 Had demanded a special meeting to discuss budget proposals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Opposition councillors are all set to target the Mayor in the General House meeting of the Municipal Corporation scheduled for February 28. For, the Mayor turned down their request for not holding a "special pre-house meet to discuss the budget for financial year 2013-14".

The councillors said there were 26 items on the agenda which included seven to eight important issues such as house tax, defining the powers of sub-committees for primary health and recruitment of contractual workers.

"We demanded a separate meeting for budget discussion ahead of the house meeting since the budget is to be sent to the UT Administration on February 28, which is mandatory under the Municipal Act. As there are so many important issues on the agenda, it will not be possible to discuss the budget proposals in detail," said BJP councillor Arun Sood.

“It appears that the budget will have to be passed without discussion. Last year, a similar thing had happened," Sood stated.

The budget has been approved by the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) and will now be tabled in the house. The councillors also pointed out that no new project had been proposed in this year's budget.

City Mayor Subhash Chawla said, "The budget proposals were discussed in the F&CC meeting and BJP members had also given their consent. So, it was not necessary to hold a special meeting on the budget. All the proposals can be discussed by extending the meeting till late night."

The last house meeting was also adjourned and most of the proposals were not taken up. This time, the pending proposals of the last meeting would also be tabled. 



IT professionals take up queries with IG 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
IT professionals during an interaction with the UT Inspector General (IG) of Police, RP Upadhyaya, at the IT Park questioned him on the rising incidents of crime in the city.

Queries such as why the police called the parents of youngsters driving around the city late at night were posed to the IG.

An employee said he was going to Kishangarh when an accident took place. He called up at 100, but the Panchkula police personnel answered the call and when he called up at 1073, the call was transferred to Karnal.

The IG said he had written to the police officers of the neighbouring states to inform the Chandigarh Police Control Room on receiving such calls.

He said at present there were five telephone lines that connected with the control room and they were planning to increase the number to 15.

The employees said the police should check underage driving. They said the women should also wear helmets while riding a two-wheeler.

The IG said school authorities should discourage students from driving vehicles.

He asked the women employees to come forward and report incidents of eve-teasing. He said girls could lodge their complaint through an e-mail. "In the past two months, we have registered over 135 cases and arrested about 130 eve-teaser," he said.

Á play on eve-teasing was also staged. 



Upkeep of parks not MC’s priority
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The slack approach of the civic body officials towards the maintenance and cleanliness of parks can be gauged from the fact that even after two days of a religious function organised by a PCS officer at a park in Sector 34, the officials have failed to get the green belt cleared of litter.

Due to the garbage strewn in the park, residents have stopped going for morning walks there.

The area councillor, when approached, put the blame on residents for not informing them about the litter.

"The area residents should have brought the matter to my notice. The garbage will be lifted form the park," said Harjinder Kaur, area councillor.

The religious function was held on the night of February 24. Stink emanating from leftovers and disposable plates has worsened the situation.

"It is the responsibility of the MC officials to get the park cleaned up," said a person known to the PCS officer.

"It is sad that the authorities have turned a blind eye to the garbage. The host should take care of such things," said a resident.

Another resident said, "The situation goes from bad to worse when stray dogs rummage through the garbage. Such functions should not be held in parks," said Renuka. 



Man crushed in drill machine at P’kula factory
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
In a tragic incident, a 40-year-old worker died after he was crushed under a drill machine while working at a factory in Industrial Area, Phase 1, Panchkula. On hearing the victim scream, the fellow workers reach the incident site but by then he was already crushed to death.

The victim, identified as Ram Ji Dubey, was working at a fabric works factory. He is survived by his wife and three children. The victim hailed from Bihar and was putting up at Dhakoli.

“The victim was working when suddenly the sweater which he was wearing touched the machine and in the process, he too was pulled in by the machine,” said Raj Kumar, a fellow worker. The workers at the factory refused to move the body and demanded immediate compensation for the victim’s family.

It is not for the first time that such incidents have taken place while working on machines in a factory. Recently, the right hand of a youth was crushed at the Mansa Devi temple after it came into contact with a dough-mixing machine. The victim, Rajesh, was rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, where he further was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.



Boy falls to death in water tank 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
A six-year-old boy, Surjit Singh, died after falling into a water tank near his residence at Nayagaon this afternoon. The child was playing outside his house when the incident took place. Surjit’s father Ram Gopal said at 2.30 pm, they noticed that the child had gone missing. After two hours of frantic search, they found the child floating in a water tank near their house.

He was rushed to the GMSH-16 where doctors declared him brought dead.

Surjit was the youngest of the five siblings.

Station house officer Samarpreet Singh said the police had not registered a case as Surjit’s father did not suspect foul play behind his death. 



PGI releases biography of founder member
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
A biography of late Dr Pran Nath Chhuttani, one of the founders of the PGI, was released by Dr Yogesh Chawla, Director, PGI, here today. Written by Dr HK Chhuttani, former Director, GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi, reflects upon the life of Dr Pran Nath, regarded as one of the most eminent medical figures of his time. Dr Pran Nath Chhuttani was the director of the PGI from 1969 to 1978.

Horticulture department excels at flower show

The PGI’s Horticulture Department shined at the Rose Festival by winning 12 first prizes and 14 second prizes in pot plants and cut flower categories. The department also participated in the 4th Panjab University Rose Festival and bagged 10 first prizes and 16 second prizes in the same categories.

Free treatment for acid attack victim

Mohali: In a humanitarian gesture, the Fortis Hospital has decided to bear the entire cost of treating a victim of acid attack. The victim, a 23-year-old girl from Bathinda, is presently undergoing treatment at the hospital. Despite undergoing 13 surgeries, the victim still needs a three-stage scalp reconstruction, hair transplant and eyelid reconstruction, the hospital authorities said. 



Education Dept mulls over vocational courses for pre-matric students
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The UT Education Department is mulling over pre-matric vocational courses in government schools from the next academic session. The department is currently offering as many as 22 skill-based vocational courses at the Class XI and Class XII level.

The department officials said the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had launched the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) from Class IX onwards to strengthen this programme of developing skills and competencies among students.

"Based on this policy, the Chandigarh Administration has put forward a proposal to start some of the courses offered at the senior secondary level for the pre-matric students as well," said a senior official of the department.

The courses on retail, security, information technology and automobile technology have been included under the phase-I of the scheme. The officials said the department might start any of these courses on a pilot basis from Class IX onwards, and then gradually shift to the other subjects and classes. The final decision in this regard was expected in the near future, and hopefully would further strengthen the vocational education in the city, said the official.

The Central Board of Secondary Education had also asked its affiliated schools to start these courses. All these courses, of 200 hours each, might be offered as an additional compulsory subject by rationalising the existing content for Classes IX and X on pilot basis, said a board circular issued last month. It has also offered necessary support and guidance for the teachers' training and other aspects for the successful implementation of these courses.



Education department clarifies Delhi High Court's ruling on RTE Act
Says judgment does not affect 25 per cent reserved seats
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Setting aside the apprehensions of city’s privately unaided schools, the UT education department clarified that the judgment of the Delhi High Court in no way challenged the constitutional responsibility of the private schools in admitting Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and disadvantage group students to the extent of 25 per cent of their total seats at entry level classes.

Several private schools in Chandigarh put hold on their admission process to reserved 25 per cent of seats under Right to Education Act, citing the recent Delhi High Court judgment upholding the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry’s stand that children below six years of age are not covered under the said Act.

Talking to DPI (s) Upkar Singh, he said that soon after the Delhi High Court judgment, the education department received the official correspondence from the independent private school association, Chandigarh, raising their apprehensions.

“The schools apprehended that the judgment excluded them from admitting EWS and disadvantage group students in pre-school and primary classes including nursery. However after going through it, the education department has absolutely no doubt in its mind that the private schools will have to admit EWS and other category students to their entry level classes, whether it starts from class I or pre-nursury or nursery class."

Quoting para no 25 and 26 of the judgment, he said the judgment clearly validates the section 12 of the RTE act, which stipulates that if a private school imparts pre-school education, the provision of 25 per cent admission will apply from that class.

According to him, the judgment pertains to the admission on rest of the 75 per cent seats, which should not be confused with 25 per cent reserved seats.

Advertisement on vacant RTE reserved seats soon

The education department has expedited the process to fill the reserved RTE seats, still vacant for the next academic session in several private schools here in Chandigarh.

The officials said that so far 38 schools had already furnished their details about their seats still vacant against 25 per cent RTE quota. "We have again sent the official correspondent to rest of the schools today to reply the department soon and once we get all the information, we will soon issue the advertisement to invite the deserving candidates against these vacant seats, said DEO Ram Kumar.

It is learnt that the information is also being sought from the convent schools, as they are obliged to fill 15 per cent of their seats from the economically weaker section in lieu of concessional land given to them.

As far as reply on Delhi High Court judgment is concerned, it will be sent to the private school body soon, said officials.



School notes 
Cultural fuction

Chandigarh: The teacher trainees of DEC Ed (NTT) course of DAV Model School Sector 15-A, Chandigarh, presented a cultural function, ‘Colours of India’, along with the tiny tots of GMSSS-10, Chandigarh. The show was organised as part of the ongoing teaching practice of the teacher trainees, which includes innovative teaching, classroom management, preparation of lesson plans and teaching aids. The diversity of India was showcased through dances and songs depicting the varied cultures of India. The students of pre-nursery & primary wings presented patriotic songs.

Math Olympiad

As many as 1000 students of the tricity schools participated in the math olympiad called ‘Math-e-Magician’ held in different schools in Chandigarh. In the final round of the exam, 570 students competed. In category A (Class I & II), Pankti Shah of Strawberry Fields World School won the first place. In category B (Class III & IV), Madhur Aggarwal of DAV Public School, Ludhiana emerged the winner. In Category C (Class V & VI), Ashutosh Singla of Bhawan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh stood first. In Category D (Class VII & VIII), Sonakshi Agarwal, Carmel Convent School, Chandigarh won the first place. In Category E (Class IX & X), Saloni Sharma, GMSSS-35, Chandigarh, won the competition.

Annual Function

mohali: Shemrock Wonders Pre-school, Kharar, held its third annual function in the school premises here. Tiny tots mesmerised the parents with their wonderful performances. They sang and danced to various numbers. A play to portray a mother's love was widely appreciated. The guest of honour gave parents tips on how to handle kids in the present world. Principle Monica Gupta said that school endeavoured to make each child confident enough to face today's world.

Farewell party

The students of Shemrock Sr Secondary School, Sector 69, Mohali, arranged a farewell party function for the outgoing students of 10+2 in the school campus. Chairman JS Bajwa and Principal Air Commodore SK Sharma graced the function. The atmosphere was thoroughly entertaining. The function began with the performance of deepshikha ceremony followed by an entertainment programme. — TNS



Students protest over star nite
Tribune News Service

Students sit on a hunger strike outside the principal’s office at DAV College in Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. Chandigarh, February 26
Students of DAV College, Sector 10, today protested against the college authorities for denying them permission to organise a star nite on the college premises. The college authorities, in order to maintain peace on the campus, had denied permission for the function. On the demand of students, the college had recently organised a cultural fest. 

Students sit on a hunger strike outside the principal’s office at DAV College in Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari



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