C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Panchkula to be shoppers’ hot spot
11 new malls to come up
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
There was a time when people living in Panchkula had to come to Sector 17 in Chandigarh to shop. But over the years, the town has grown from a sleepy settlement to a self-sustaining suburban area, with a number of malls and residential projects coming up in and around the town.

In a welcome step, a total of 11 shopping malls have been approved for the township. However, the Town and Country Planning Department is worried about the future of the malls, with two pioneer malls in Sector 5, Panchkula, already failing to make a mark.

As of now, Panchkula has two malls, Shalimar and Bella Vista, which are parallel to each other at the city centre in Sector 5. Both of these malls have failed to attract shoppers and most of the shops are lying vacant.

Unfazed by the poor response to these malls, the authorities have decided to construct 11 more malls in the town. Out of these, six malls will come up at the city centre in Sector 5. Two malls will come up at Sector 3 and one each at Mansa Devi Complex in Sector 5-A, Sector 5-B and Sector 16.

“Four malls will come up near Dussehra Ground in Sector 5. A single-level basement parking has also been approved on the road separating these four malls,” said an official of the Town and Country Planning.

To meet the parking requirement, a site for a multi-level parking has been approved at the city centre.

“The mall at Sector 16 will be situated near the Sector 16/17 roundabout. While the one at MDC in Sector 5-A will come up near the Swastik Vihar colony,” said an official.

“Though the two malls had failed to attract shoppers, nothing can be said about the future of upcoming malls,” said Hitesh Sharma, district town planner.



All that glitters is not gold
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
Two pioneer shopping malls in Panchkula, Shalimar and Bella Vista, each constructed at a cost of Rs 100 crore, about four years ago, have failed to attract shoppers. About 100 shops in Shalimar Mall and around 40 per cent shops in Bella Vista are lying vacant. Shalimar and Bella Vista were inaugurated in 2009 with aplomb. These malls were supposed to give a boost to the nightlife.

“I agree that 100 shops are yet to be rented out in Shalimar Mall, but we are still hopeful. It’s just about time. Things will improve after the recession period is over. The mall culture is yet to pick up in the tricity,” said MK Aggarwal, managing director of Shalimar Mall.

With a three-level basement parking accommodating 300 cars, three movie halls with a seating capacity of 750 persons and capsule escalators, Shalimar Mall was supposed to make town a shoppers’ paradise. For tickling the taste buds, it has 10 to 12 food courts out of which only two are occupied.

“The rent of the shops in these malls is high as compared to the area. Big brands are avoiding taking shops on rent,” said Vikram Khanna, a property dealer.

Vijay Jindal, a businessman based at Sector 6, Panchkula, said: “I had purchased a shop in the mall, but when I saw that there were no customers, sold it off to buy another shop at a mall in Chandigarh.” Vice-president of Bella Vista Jaskirat Nagri said: “It was during the semi-recession period when we opened our mall. The market has begun to look up.

By the end of March, we expect 60 per cent of our shops to be booked.” “Our mall focuses on national and international brands and recently we have tied up with some of them,” he said.

Besides the shopping mall, Bella Vista has a five-star boutique and a hotel with 54 rooms on the top floor. As the name suggests, ‘beautiful view’, the mall has been given a Roman theme and water features like fountains inside and outside the premises.

Bella Vista’s pays Rs 14 lakh as electricity bill per month, while Shalimar pays around Rs 9 lakh.



Sector 63 housing scheme
Board to miss deadline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is all set to miss the 2013 deadline for the completion of the Sector 63 General Housing Scheme. Reason: The construction of 388 flats in one of the blocks is yet to start. Though the construction of one bed room, two bed room and three bed room flats is under way, the work pertaining to the laying of pipelines and power cables has been delayed.

It is learnt that the board has failed to take a decision on technical issues such as approval of designs, technical sanction of estimates, approval of rates and floating of tenders.

There was a delay in the demarcation of land. Then there was inordinate delay in getting the environmental clearance.

The allotment prices of flats being constructed by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) under the self-financing housing scheme at Sector 63 are likely to be revised following changes in the area allotted for the construction of EWS flats.

In 2004, land spread over 60,000 square yards was allotted to the CHB for the construction of 2,108 flats. But after the revision of layout plans and the relocation of greenbelts adjoining the UT, land left with the CHB was 48,000 square yards.

Earlier, the CHB was short of two acres when it found that over 200 houses at Phase IX had been allotted by GMADA. To construct the specified number of flats, greenbelts were relocated. The final cost of flats will be calculated on completion. Against the total initial price of Rs 33.64 crore, the cost is likely to increase with the delay in completion.



2 held on charge of sexual harassment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Chandigarh Police has arrested two persons for harassing and threatening women. In her complaint to the police, a girl accused Manish Rajan Mishra, a resident of Sector 22, Chandigarh, of threatening her and passing lewd remarks at her over phone.

The accused had managed to get the mobile number of the victim and started calling her. When the victim objected to his calls, he threatened her of dire consequences, the police said.

The accused has been arrested and booked under Sections 354-A of the IPC (Assault or criminal force against woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506 (criminal intimidation) at the Sector 17 police station.

In another case, a woman alleged that Tinku, a resident of Sector 26, had sexually harassed her on Saturday night. This incident occurred near the victim’s house. The police has arrested the accused. A case has been registered at the Sector 26 police station.

On Saturday, the city police booked two persons for sexually harassing a woman in Sector 34.



Police to keep a tab on taxi drivers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
Panchkula Commissioner of Police Rajbir Deswal has asked the SHOs to maintain the records of taxi drivers in their respective area. The police will keep a tab on the visit of a taxi driver, customer’s name and their fingerprints too. Two registers will be maintained, one with the taxi stand authorities and the other with the SHO of the police station concerned.

“Keeping in mind the rise in crime against women, especially in cabs, I have asked my staff to keep a record of taxi drivers, their credentials, fingerprints, the customer who hired a taxi and the destination,” said Deswal. The decision was taken following the rape of a 35-year-old woman in a taxi at Pinjore on Saturday.



How safe are women in cabs?
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
Saturday's incident, in which a 35-year-old woman was raped by a taxi driver, has once again put a question mark over the safety of women in the region. In the recent past, a woman, who had hired a taxi at Barwala, was raped by the driver and his friend near Morni.

A case under Section 376 (rape) has been registered at the Pinjore police station. No arrest has been made so far.

In January, a woman from Nepal was allegedly raped by a taxi driver and his friend. She had hired the cab from near Barwala-Ambala road, but was forcibly taken to Morni. The accused had even thrashed a policeman during a naka.

A case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) was also registered against them.

Such incidents have sent shockwaves among women. Anju Swami, a resident of Sector 14, Panchkula, said now a woman would have to think twice before hiring a taxi.

A Sector 10 resident, Preeti Nair, who works in a call centre, said, “Whenever I am travelling by a cab, I make it a point to keep talking to someone over phone."

The Commissioner of Police has directed the SHOs to maintain records of all taxi drivers.

The records will be scanned later on.

The fateful day: The victim, who had decided to spend the evening with her family, did not know that fate had something else in store for her.



7-yr-old girl kidnapped, rescued from forest area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Two days after a minor girl of Colony Number 5 was abducted, a seven-year old girl of Colony Number 4 was abducted by unidentified persons Saturday night. The girl was later recovered from near a choe in the colony.

The police has registered a case of kidnapping at the Industrial Area police station against unknown persons. The victim has received internal injuries and has been admitted to a government hospital, the police said.

The incident was reported in the wee hours of Sunday. The girl was kidnapped when she was sleeping with her mother.

On finding her daughter missing, the mother raised an alarm. The girl’s parents and neighbours found her crying near a choe.

The police was informed and the girl was rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32. The police is waiting for medical reports.


Admn, MP in confrontation mode
Pawan Kumar Bansal assures villagers of not letting their houses outside lal dora razed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
As the Chandigarh Administration has been sticking to its gun for not extending the lal dora limits, Union Railway Minister and Member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal today assured villagers that houses outside the lal dora would not be demolished.

During a rally organised by the District Congress Committee at Raipur Khurd village, the MP said houses outside the lal dora and on the survey list of the Chandigarh Administration would not be razed.

"The houses will also get electricity and water connections," he said. The UT Land Acquisition Collector (LAC) has been issuing notices to violators under the Periphery Act.

Pawan Bansal announced that the villages falling under the UT would have all the facilities.

A similar announcement to provide water and electricity connections to residents was made by the MP during a rally held at Hallo Majra in February.

A senior UT official said the UT had already made its stand clear on the issue.

The official said in 2007 the UT Administration had decided to provide basic amenities and facilities to the settlers, who had raised unauthorised structures beyond the lal dora limits. But later in 2009, it was realised that the decision was encouraging unauthorised construction on the peripheral area and a notification stating that The Periphery Act continued to be applicable in the areas beyond the lal dora limits was issued.

Officials in the LAC office said the UT had always demolished illegal structures on government land.

Later, during a rally held at Colony No. 4, Bansal said the Congress was committed to rehabilitating 25,000 jhuggi-dwellers as the construction of houses was in full swing. Colony No. 4 is on the priority list as it is one of the oldest colonies.

Among others present at the rally included Pardeep Chhabra, Satish Kainth Deputy Mayor, Harphool Kalyan, Rampal Sharma and Davinder Babbla.



Open house response
Officials should not while away their time

The officials on duty should be true to their calling and determine to leave the city in a better shape. Using innovative methods of motivating the staff by incentives and commendations should definitely bring about satisfactory results. Instead they tend to become smug and slack, thinking that their deputation should pass away leisurely, before returning to their parent state. Their commitment ought to be, to achieve a goal and leave an indelible, positive contribution making the city a better place to live.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Serious need of permanent UT cadre

There is a serious need for a permanent UT cadre which should comprise Delhi, Chandigarh and other UTs. A formal group of leaders, inclusive of experts in security, disaster management, architects and engineers as well as financial experts, is required to be created, with resident welfare associations being the arms/limbs to plan, implement and sustain each project. Whether garbage or water or parking, housing, liquor vends on main roads or bus stops near crossings, emergency response, you name it and it is a far cry from making Chandigarh a city beautiful anymore.

The capitals of Haryana and Punjab should move out to Panchkula/Mohali and separate UT status be accorded to Chandigarh to kill all politics on this issue. Another alternative could be include the tri-city including Zirakpur under a common umbrella of Chandigarh UT for proper development as well as law and order. We need to learn from Delhi/NCR, which has lost all semblance to sanity and is almost unlivable now.

Pradeep Sharma, Chandigarh

Where bureaucracy rules the roost

Finally, it was left to the MP, elected by the city electorate, three times in a row, to go public, what was obvious, and irking city residents’ minds. All efforts of the Registered Residents Welfare Associations had almost failed to impress the authorities requesting them not to ignore the ground reality. They went on pursuing anti-people policies. The substance in this case is the non-regularisation of need based changes in more than 5000 CHB houses and flats in Chandigarh and continuation of treating these changes necessitated due to growing family requirements of the owner, and which are well within the border line and sky line of their very own property, as violations.

The bureaucrats, interested more in gainful completion of their coveted deputation tenures, have in their wisdom, come up with an idea of earning revenue out of the misery of the owners in the name of compounding fee to regularise these changes. Pawan Kumar Bansal, has very rightly chided them, while asking that, where were they when these changes were being made. I sincerely hope that better sense will prevail on these erring bureaucrats, who will try to understand and appreciate the underlying intention of MP's advisory which is nothing but people's voice.

Subash Luthra, Chandigarh

Finally, officials’ laziness highlighted

It not for the first time that the laziness of the UT officials has come into limelight. There were many incidents in the past wherein there was a lack of accountability on part of the officials. The work assigned to the officials has either not been completed or is being completed, as a result we are lacking behind in world class infrastructure, good roads and safe drinking water. The initiatives taken by the administration have not been yet put into effect. Chandigarh is merely known by its name but the inside story is completely different. The time has come when the officials should discharge their duties in the favour of general public.

Arshdeep Singh, Mohali

Officials not concerned about residents

Union Railway Minister and Chandigarh Member Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal's snubbing the UT officials was very genuine. The officials have no concern for the residents of the city. They are only interested in their own deputation allowances and other extra perks and the facility of free posh houses to live in. If the things are to be taken seriously and the minister really wants to see the city progressing, it is necessary to have officials from Chandigarh itself and no deputations please. Only then will the officials work on all projects with full interest for the growth of the city in all respects.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Politicians unable to take decisions

It is ironic that politicians cannot take any final decision about Chandigarh. Though persons hailing from Chandigarh are available, the Chandigarh Administration calls the employees from other states on deputation. They only think about the benefit of their parent states.

Sumesh Kr Badhwar, Mohali

UT officials should be permanent

Since the re-organisation of Punjab in 1966, Chandigarh being the Union Territory, the residents of Chandigarh have terribly aggrieved, as the bureaucrats who came to Chandigarh either from the states of Punjab or Haryana or even from Union Government had absolutely no interest in the burning problems of the residents of Chandigarh. The tenure of the bureaucrats who come from any of the states are normally fixed as three years with exception to their extension. The first year is consumed in just understanding the working and problems of people, while second year they start working and third year they stay more concerned about going out. It is just a mockery of the entire administrative set up of this “City Beautiful". In the background, there is a greater need to see how the city is to be governed.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Need for administrative reforms

The MP should bring officials who are keen on seeing development of the city, since any kind of blame game is not going to do anything. The situation has gone worse in the absence of any accountability of the bureaucracy. It is not a question of deputation from outside Chandigarh, but the point is how to stop the delinquent and negligent officials from going his own way without adding to the development towards infrastructure and above all towards the law and order of the city. The administrative reforms are needed at this point of time, to strictly restrain the bureaucratic set up from doing anything against the public interest.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

Master plan should be strictly followed

The Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal took a swipe at the UT Administration by stating that its officials were functioning in a manner contrary to what had been proposed in the Master Plan. He was quite right in what he said. According to the Master Plan, the villages that are the part of Chandigarh, have grown manifold and have to be preserved. The Administration has been carrying out demolition drives which are not in sync with the Master Plan.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Problem needs to be solved

Union Minister and Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal was absolutely right in stating that the UT officials were functioning in a manner contrary to what had been proposed in the Master Plan. Several proposals have been made in the Master Plan for the development of Chandigarh, keeping in mind that the city is evolving. Hence till the Master Plan gets the final approval, the Administration should function according to what has been proposed. The recent demolition drives have created a lot of panic among the shopkeepers, traders and residents. There is need of a multi-pronged approach to settle such issues. The Administration must come up with concrete solutions, keeping in mind the welfare of the city’s residents

Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula

Open House question

To solve the problem of traffic congestion in the commercial area, the Ministry of Urban Development has written to the Chandigarh Administration to introduce congestion tax in some of the commercial areas like Sectors 7,8,17, 22, 26 and 35. Would the proposed tax bring down the vehicular congestion or are there other better options? Write your suggestions to openhouse@tribunemail.com



Chandigarh scan
PRTC gets grant

The unions of PRTC employees, Chandigarh, represented by Azad Karamchari Dal, INTUC, SCBC and CITU in a meeting held at Chandigarh, thanked the Transport Minister and Secretary Transport, Punjab and the Managing Director PRTC for getting a sum of Rs 25 crores for PRTC from the State Government. The issue of cancellation of transfers of PRTC officials purely on merits keeping in view there performance was also discussed. It was pointed out that ever since Harbans Singh Bhatti, General Manager, PRTC, Chandigarh, took over the charge, the performance had improved. It was lamented that AITUC was spoiling the atmosphere at the depot.

IT Chief Commissioner assumes charge

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) organised a felicitation-cum-interaction session with SK Satapathy, Chief Commissioner, Income Tax Department, Panchkula at Golf Club, Panchkula, last night. The felicitation program was well attended by a selective band of over-fifty chartered accountants of tricity. The aim of this interaction was to provide an environment, to discuss and debate some of the key issues with Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, and share ideas and experience.

Bank staff convention

Under the aegis of the State Bank of Patiala Employees Union (Punjab), a zonal convention of Chandigarh Zone was held here. While inaugurating the convention, S K Gautam, Joint Secretary, AIl India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and General Secretary, All India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation rued that the Central Government had no policy to curb the price rise and contain the recession of the economy. The State Bank of Patiala Employees Union also felicitated Gautam for being elected as AIBEA Joint Secretary.

Mohali scan

Paper-free campus

"Today, we are 75 per cent paper free. We have come up with more ideas to totally eliminate the use of paper to the maximum extent possible" said Anshu Kataria, chairman of the Aryans Group of Colleges (AGC). Thus, instead of crowding at notice boards, AGC students reach for their smartphones for information on upcoming events, notices, class schedules and even date-sheets. They also access their smartphones or switch on their laptops and computers whenever they want to organise seminars and the like or want to inform their teachers about taking leave. All this not just makes the campus appear technologically updated but has also dramatically reduces the use of paper.

Colleges demand amendment to AICTE norms

The members of Punjab Unaided Technical Institution Association (PUTIA) had a meeting today in Mohali under the leadership of Dr J S Dhaliwal, President, PUTIA. The chairmen of various colleges of Punjab including Gurvinder Singh, Rayat & Bahra, Manjit Singh,Doaba Group, Sukhdev Singla, Indo Global, Dr Ohin Sachdeva ,Lala Lajpat Rai Group, Dr Anshu Kataria, Aryans Group, Avtar Singh, Sukhmani Group among others participated in the meeting. During the meeting, the problems related with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) were discussed.

Landran students bring laurels

A competitive technical event was held at Pushpa Gujral Science city Kapurthala, in Innotech 2013. The team comprising Anmol, Akhil and Ronit from Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Landran, won the first-prize in project display competition in automobiles category. In the miscellaneous category, Nitish Kumar of CEC, won the first prize for his Multirotor Chopper. The Department of Mechanical Engineering of CEC has been winning this competition for the last three years.



Health notes
Lecture on obesity

As a part of Golden Jubilee celebration of PGIMER, Chandigarh, a public awareness programme on obesity related diseases was organised today. Obesity has become a serious problem during the last decade, afflicting all age groups. The magnitude of the problem can be assessed by the fact that in the state of Punjab, nearly one-third of the people are obese. The co-morbidities associated with obesity make it a formidable challenge for the doctors.

Obesity is essentially a life style disease with genetic factors, stress, and sedentary life style contributing to its increasing prevalence. The Departments of General Surgery and Endocrinology recognise this as a major public health issue and have taken lead to apprise the community about the seriousness of this malady, said Dr Rajesh Gupta, Additional Professor in Deptment of General Surgery.

The one-day programme included various lectures pertaining to the issue of obesity. Dr Anil Bhansali, Professor and Head, Department of Endocrinology, PGIMER discussed about why obesity was a dreaded disease. These lectures were followed by question and answer session where people clarified there doubts various issues.

Dermatology CME concludes

The CME was organised by the Department of Dermatology, PGI and it concluded today. The proceedings began with a talk on atopic eczema by Dr Sandipan Dhar, ex-president of Indian Society of Paediatric Dermatology. He discussed on evolving clinical patterns of paediatric atopic eczema in India, due to changing life style and urbanisation like western countries. Dr Niti Khunger from Safdarjung Hospital Delhi delivered a lucid talk on management of acne scars and discussed low cost innovations in its surgical treatment. Dr Somesh Gupta formerly a faculty at PGIMER, Chandigarh, talked about the most recent advances in management of leukoderma using hair follicle stem calls.

Blood donation camp

Shri Tarlok Chand and Smt Kamla Gautam Memorial Sarv Kalyan Samiti (regd.) Chandigarh, organised a blood donation camp, in Sector 27 Chandigarh. About 500 persons from all walks of life attended the camp. RP Upadhyaya, IPS, Inspector General of Police, was the chief guest on the occasion. While inaugurating the camp he lauded the efforts of the Samiti and its members. Dr Vanita Gupta, Project Director, Chandigarh, State Aids Control Society, special guest of honor, gave away mementos to all the donors. — TNS



Holi: Keep an eye on synthetic colours
Tribune News Service

Members of the Purvanchal Welfare Association apply colours on each other at Government College, Sector 46, Chandigarh.  Photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, March 24
"More than skin, it is the eyes that need to be protected while playing the festival of colours," said experts. Residents must opt for good quality colours, preferably herbal ones, to ensure that their eyes remain unaffected, they said.

"Many people, especially youngsters, get mischievous and tend to mix permanent colours like paint in Holi colours," said Dr SPS Grewal, CEO, Grewal Eye Institute.

Common eye problems reported during Holi include allergic conjunctivitis, chemical burn, corneal abrasion and blunt eye injury.

"One should not rub any powder or paste or even liquid in the eyes. In case it goes inadvertently; wash the eyes immediately with copious water, which will dilute the side effects of the irritant," Dr Grewal said.

Water balloons can cause blunt eye injury. There can be bleeding within the eyes leading to loss of vision.

People who use contact lenses need to be extra cautious as lenses absorb and concentrate any coloured water that enters the eyes. Thus while dyes used alone will cause irritation, a contact lens enhances its exposure. In case a person wishes to wear lenses, it is best to use a daily disposable lens and discard after a day.

Dos and Dont's

  • Avoid synthetic colours and use herbal ones
  • In case a colour gets into the eyes, splash water
  • Avoid self-medication in case of an eye injury, instead rush to the eye specialist
  • Apply a thick layer of cold cream on your face, especially around the eyes, so that the colour doesn't stick and it can be easily washed off
  • While washing off the colour, use lukewarm water
  • Asthmatic patients should avoid exposure to dyes and dry colours as these can aggravate allergies
  • Protect your hair by applying a leave-on conditioner, coconut oil or olive oil
  • After taking a bath post festival, moisturise the skin well. Do not forget to condition your hair
  • In case of mild irritation or rash, use calamine lotion. In severe cases, consult a dermatologist



Soon, railway booking at e-Sampark Centres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
After deciding to deliver registration certificates (RCs) from e-Sampark Centres, the UT Administration is in the process of introducing the service of railway booking at the centres. Officials of the IT department said a large number of residents had been demanding the introduction of the service at these centres for long.

The decision to provide the facility was taken by the department of information technology.

The department discussed the issue with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited in New Delhi, the public sector enterprise of the Ministry of Railways which is responsible for managing the service of Internet ticketing.

The officials said although there were 11 railway booking counters in the tricity, still there had been a demand for ticket reservation at the Sampark Centres. The department is putting in efforts to provide web-enabled railway reservations at the Sampark Centres. The service will be launched shortly.

The facility is being provided in post offices at Sectors 17, 22, 47, PGI, Panchkula and Chandimandir.

The Railways has its own reservation counters at the local bus stand in Sector 17 and ISBT-43, Mohali, High Court and railway station.


To start rail reservation at the e-Sampark Centres, the department of information technology is setting up a seamless link with the IRCTC’s Internet ticketing service. The IRCTC is providing the facility in Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai.



Nritya, sangeet sammelan concludes at Tagore Theatre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The five-day 43rd Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan concluded today with enthralling Sarod recital by Kolkata-based Pandit Narendra Nath Dhar and Kathak dance performance by Vaswati Misra and troupe.

Narendra Nath began his recital with Raga Puriya and impressed the audience with his profound alaap, jod and jhala. In a highly emotive rendition, he brought out the beauty of the raga touching hearts of listeners. The notes of Dhar’s sarod never seem in a hurry.

He then moved on to present two compositions in Vilambit Ek Taal, followed by Drut Teen Taal. His next presentation in Raga Kaafi Hori in Taal Deepchandi was followed by bandish in Drut Teen Taal.

The dance troupe led by Vaswati Misra provided befitting finale to the mega event with their Kathak dance. An accomplished dancer, teacher and choreographer, Vaswati commenced with her Solo presentation ‘Shiv Stuti’ “Bhasm Bhushan Anga Shiv”, followed by pure Kathak sequences like Thaat, Paran and Chakradar Paran.

It was followed by a Hori piece “Rang Sari Gulabi Chunariya Re”. The group item Mahadev Stuti “Mahadev-Dev Maheshwara” presented a technical piece “Khandita Nayika”, which marked the conclusion of the sammelan.



Ministry extends deadline to May 15
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Providing relief to the Chandigarh Administration, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has extended the deadline to declare an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. Earlier, the deadline was February 15 but as the UT Administration failed to declare the ESZ on time, the ministry extended the deadline to May 15.

The ministry in a strong-worded letter to the UT Administration had stated that if the Chandigarh Administration failed to meet the deadline, the ministry would declare a 10-km stretch around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary as the ESZ, where development projects would be completely banned.

Sources said the senior officials had been adopting dilly dallying tactics, citing one or the other reason.

In Chandigarh, a committee of experts that was constituted to identify and recommend the eco-sensitive zone around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, had submitted its report to the UT Administration in February 2012. Thereafter, a three-member committee was formed, but to date the UT officials have not taken a final decision.

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary catchment is around 36 km, of which only 2 km falls under the jurisdiction of the UT Administration and the remaining area comes under the jurisdiction of the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

Eco-sensitive zone around Sukhna

What is an eco-sensitive zone: An eco-sensitive zone is a fragile eco-system area where conservation or preservation of the natural environment is sustained by state control and grants. In a bid to prevent ecological damage caused due to development activities around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has framed new guidelines to create eco-sensitive zones that will work as shock absorbers for protected areas. The aim is to regulate certain activities around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to minimise their impact on the fragile eco-system.



Evening OPD brings respite to patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The evening OPD at Government Multi-speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector16, has received a favourable response from residents. The average number of patients visiting the OPD per day in the past one week was 65.

The general OPD runs from 2 pm to 8 pm everyday. A number of people, who find it difficult to visit the hospital in morning hours, have heaved a sigh of relief.

"Doctors work on a rotational basis and each doctor attends to patients twice a month," said an official at the hospital.

The evening OPDs in the department of eye and oral health have been running for the past two weeks.

Besides, counsellors for the adolescent reproductive sexual health (ARSH) programme are also available at the hospital in the evening. By next month, all OPDs will start and gradually all departments will be functional from 2 pm to 8 pm. Contractual workers recruited under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), including doctors and paramedical staff, have been put on duty for the purpose.



March witnesses highest rainfall in past five years
Tribune News Service

Residents and visitors enjoy cloudy weather at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, March 24
With the city recording 11.6mm of rainfall today, this year March has witnessed the maximum rainfall in the past five years.

So far, the city received overall rainfall of 23.5 mm, which is the highest figure since 2008. Surinder Pal, Regional Director, Meteorological Department, said the excess rainfall in March this year was because of the western disturbances over J&K and the neighbouring areas. It was expected to be subdued in the next 12 hours.

Surinder Pal said the weather would be clear by tomorrow. Thereafter, no rainfall was expected before March 28-29.


Year (March)

Rainfall (mm)

2013 23.5



2011 12.1
2010 Nil


2008 Nil




2005 29.8





Govt schools told to buy notebooks
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
After school uniforms, government schools have been told to buy their own notebooks, too. An official communication in this regard has already been issued to all government schools. It has instructed each school to buy six notebooks for students from class I to class V and seven notebooks for students from class VI to class VIII. Schools with an expected expenditure of above Rs 1 lakh will have to issue the public tender as per the general financial rules.

Acting on these instructions, most of the government schools have already begun the process. A school head said unlike school uniforms, there would not be much problem in buying notebooks because suppliers were in abundance and there were no major technical specifications involved in placing the orders.

“Moreover, all schools will not issue their tenders as their purchasing order is below Rs 1 lakh,” he said.

A school official said the Education Department had suddenly put a lot of burden on schools by asking them to buy books and uniforms entitled under the RTE Act through School Management Committees (SMCs). These committees consist of members from civil society as well as head of the school as its ex-officio member.

“For the past two years, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has been continuously asking the UT to give financial powers to the SMCs for any kind of purchase relating to students. The Education Department suddenly shifted the financial responsibility on the SMCs without even knowing as to how many committees were active in schools,” said a SMC member.

The upper rate limit for buying six notebooks for class I to class V is Rs 95 and Rs 110 for class VI to class VIII. Officials said nearly 50 per cent of the government schools would have their purchase below Rs 1 lakh. Therefore, they were just taking the quotation from the suppliers and would soon place their orders.

Many schools have issued tenders as their purchasing order is going above Rs 1 lakh. GSSS-45 has asked for the total supply of 22,382 notebooks for class I to class VIII in its tender. GMS, Indra Colony, has placed the order of 9,657 notebooks through its tender.



From schools
Exhibition at Saupin’s-32

Students of the electronics club (seniors) put up an exhibition at Saupin's-32. They displayed working models made by them during the club throughout the year. The working models included burglar's alarm, frequency-based timer, LED (running display), light detecting resistor, fire alarm model and many more. Principal ABS Sidhu congratulated the students for their sincere effort. Praising the commendable work of the children, vice-principal Surita Sharma said: “The children have exhibited marvellous display of their talents”. Parents were also impressed by the knowledge of their wards.

Achievers honoured

RIMT World School, Mani Majra, celebrated “Accolades” to honour achievers of the school. Students from Pre-Nursery to class VIII were rewarded for their excellence in academics. Colourful cultural shows by students marked the celebration. Stage shows were meaningful and thought-provoking. The choir sang “Hari Bhari Vasundhara” and made everyone realise the importance of the nature.

Achievement Day celebrated

Gurukul Global School, Mani Majra, celebrated its Achievement Day today. The school management felicitated all achievers of the session 2012-13. RJ Khanderao, Regional Officer, CBSE, Panchkula, was welcomed by Managing Director Praveen Setya, principal Aruna Bhardwaj and students, along with other members of the staff. The function started with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp, followed by the release of Gurukul Global's newsletter. Principal Aruna Bhardwaj welcomed the chief guest and read the annual report of the school. The principal appreciated the efforts of the students. Robot and Alien dance was showcased by the students of class I.

World Day for Water observed

NSS volunteers of D.E.C.Ed course at DAV Model School, Sector 15 A, Chandigarh, observed World Day for Water. Teacher-trainees highlighted the importance of water conservation through songs, skits and dances. A street play was also held to show how people are wasting water, which will result in a global disaster.

Graduation ceremony

A graduation ceremony was held at St. Soldier, Mohali. The programme commenced with the rendition of the welcome song. Parents and teachers cheered the students when they walked on to the stage to be honoured by Parminder Pal Singh, Additional Advocate General, Punjab and Haryana High Court. — TNS



PU Senate sees hot debate over relieving DUI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Politics among PU Senate members came to the fore when the House had a stormy discussion over the proposal by the DAV College Managing Committee to relieve DUI RK Kohli for joining as the Vice-Chancellor of DAV University, Jalandhar, on deputation.

The proposal floated on the floor (during the meeting) witnessed strong opposition from a section of Senate members, which led to a heated debate.

Senate member Satish Kumar, who is also the director of the DAV College Managing Committee, at the beginning of the meeting requested PU Vice-Chancellor Arun Grover to allow Prof Kohli to join DAV University at the earliest, on which the VC asked Kumar to take up the issue during the Zero Hour.

After the agenda was discussed, Satish Kumar once again raised the issue, which was opposed by Senator Ashok Goyal. He said the rules and regulations didn’t allow any member to propose anything during the meeting and the request for relieving the DUI on deputation should come through the Syndicate.

Senate member GK Chatrath said the rules permit the House member to propose something after taking the permission of the VC.

The debate turned worse when Senate member IS Sandhu said: “DAV Institute is asking for relieving Prof Kohli at the earliest. The DAV management does not allow its college teachers to join other institutes on without-pay leave, while this provision exists”.

Sandhu pointed out that a teacher from DAV College, Sector 10, joined PU a few days ago after resigning from the college. She was not given the benefit of without-pay leave. This statement led to an argument. The issue turned worse when Sandhu and BC Josan, principal of DAV College, also a Senate member, entered into verbal fight. House members had to intervene to pacify them.

Vice-Chancellor Arun Grover at the end of the discussion decided not to accept the proposal during the meeting. He said the issue would be taken up through the Syndicate. He also apologised to Prof Kohli for the arguments over the issue.



Exempting colleges from Semester system
Panel to look into proposal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Senate today decided to form a committee to look into the proposal for exempting PU-affiliated colleges and the University School of Open Learning (USOL) from introducing the semester system in postgraduate diploma courses.

The issue was to exempt the colleges from introducing semester system in PG diploma courses in Human Rights and Duties, Mass Communication, Library Automation and Networking, Computer Applications and Statistics from the coming academic session. The House after a long debate decided to form a committee to look into the proposal.

Jagwant Singh, a Senate member, said: “If the committee recommends to introduce the semester system in these courses from the coming academic sessions, then the colleges and USOL will have to adopt the recommendations of the committee”.

The resolution proposed by Dr Dinesh Talwar, a Senate member, to extend the benefit of re-employment of five years after retirement on the pattern of PU to be extended to its affiliated colleges also witnessed lengthy discussion. Later, the House decided to write to the Punjab Government for consideration.

The House also witnessed opposition to grant temporary extension of affiliation to certain colleges. The members said the colleges who didn’t have regular faculty and even principals should not get extension of temporary affiliation.

Other Decisions

  • The issue of ‘protecting pay’ of PU Vice-Chancellor’s wife Dr Neera Grover, Professor at the Department of Music, was also approved by the House.
  • The House on the recommendation of a committee replaced the words ‘enrolment’ and ‘registration’ with ‘registration’ and ‘confirmation of registration’ in the rules and guidelines for PhD.
  • The House decided that PhD students would have to give a self-attested undertaking that they have not copied the research from anywhere.



Primary, upper primary schools to get facelift
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 24
More than Rs 12 crore will be spent on making additional rooms, boundary walls and carrying out repair work of the buildings of primary and upper primary schools in the district. Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam said out of Rs 12.17 crore to be spent on these schools, Rs 2.33 crore had already been utilised.

Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rs 2.18 crore would be spent on schools in the rural areas. A sum of Rs 83 lakh had already been spent under the project. In the urban areas, Rs 3.20 lakh would be spent on schools, out of which over Rs 9 lakh had already been utilised.

He said school uniforms had been distributed among students of Classes I to VIII. A grant of Rs 2.19 crore had been utilised for this purpose. Sports kits had also been given to students. Varun said there were 57 non-residential special training centres functioning in the district. Students at these centres were being given free food, books and stationery.



Degrees conferred on 250 students
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 24
Around 250 MBA (2009-11), BBA and BCA (2008-11) and BEd (2011-12) students of Aryans Group of Colleges were awarded degrees during its third convocation held at PHD Chambers, Chandigarh, here yesterday.

Chief guest Dr RS Khandpur, Director-General, Pushpa Gujral Science City, Kapurthala, distributed the degrees among the students.

The programme started with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp, followed by Sarasvati Vandana.

Mohanbir Singh Sidhu, Additional Director, Department of Technical Education, Punjab, was the guest of honour, while Dr Anshu Kataria, chairman of the group, presided over the event.



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