C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Thunderstorm brings relief, misery
Gives respite from sweltering heat; spells traffic chaos on roads, uproots trees
Tribune News Service

A tree that fell on a house in Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Thursday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Chandigarh, June 6
Unexpected rain accompanied by a fierce storm hit the tricity and nearby areas this evening. Though the rain brought the much-needed relief from the sweltering heat to residents, it also caused inconvenience to them. The rain left city roads inundated and parking lots waterlogged, resulting in traffic jams in various parts of the city. Power lines got snapped due to high-velocity winds, which resulted in power failure in several areas. Trains and flights were delayed. A numbers of trees were uprooted in the city. In Sector 28-C, lightning struck a tree.

The rain, which lasted an hour, brought down the maximum temperature by two notches and the minimum temperature by seven notches below normal. According to the Met Department, the maximum temperature recorded today was 41°C, while the minimum temperature was 31.4°C.

According to the department, 39 mm of rainfall was reported in the area near the Chandigarh airport while the city recorded only 9.4 mm of rainfall. A hailstorm lashed Phase VII in Mohali and southern sectors of Chandigarh. According to the forecast, there will be a partly cloudy sky with thundery development and light rain tomorrow. The maximum temperature will be around 40°C and the minimum around 29°C.

A Met official said the sudden heavy showers were due to a local phenomenon and western disturbances. The official said the rain brought the much-needed respite to people and the maximum and minimum temperatures were likely to record a further drop of two to three degrees Celsius. However, the pleasant weather was not likely to stay long as the day temperature would soar and the humidity would increase.

The rain has exposed the lack of preparedness on the part of the Chandigarh Administration and the municipal corporation as it left city roads and parking lots waterlogged, causing inconvenience to motorists. The worst affected were residents living in Sectors 17, 19, 21, 22, 29, 30, 33, 40, 41, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49 and 51. People said the sanitation wing of the MC made tall claims about launching regular sanitation drives in the city, but the truth was different. There was no regular check on the working of sweepers.

High-velocity winds uproot trees

A number of trees were uprooted in the city due to the high-velocity winds. In Sector 34, a car was damaged after a tree fell on it. In Sector 20, the wall of a house collapsed after a tree fell on it.

Residents of Sector 20 alleged that they had approached the horticulture department of the MC a number of times and had requested it to cut a tree whose roots had been completely damaged by termites. However, no action was taken by it and today the tree fell on a wall of a house, causing damage to it.

Roads choked

Traffic chaos ruled city roads after the rain. A majority of the traffic intersections were not functional as a result of power failure, resulting in huge traffic jams.

The worst affected were areas falling on Udyog Path from the Sector 17 ISBT roundabout to the Industrial Area, Phase I. There was no policemen on roads to streamline traffic, as a result of which commuters remained stuck on several roads while traffic moved at a snail's pace on several other roads.

Heavy traffic congestion was witnessed on Dakshin Marg as the traffic lights were not functional.

All roads leading to Mohali, especially the roads dividing Sectors 32 and 33 and Sectors 33 and 34 remained clogged for more than half an hour in the evening. Heavy traffic jams were witnessed at The Tribune roundabout in the evening. Parts of Madhya Marg, especially the Press light point and the Matka roundabout, also traffic jams.

DSP (Traffic) Kamaldeep said traffic was disrupted due to a power failure as traffic lights were not functioning, which added to the chaos on the roads. "We had deployed policemen at all crucial junctions and efforts were made to restore the traffic at the earliest," he said.



Power supply disrupted
Tribune reporters

Chandigarh, June 6
Rain accompanied by high-speed winds resulted in the disruption in power supply to various parts of the city today. Besides, several city residents faced power cuts ranging between eight and nine hours due to a major fault in the supply lines from Mohali and Nalagarh.

Power cuts were reported from Sectors 19, 21, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34, besides several other areas of the city. In Sector 34, there was no power supply from 2 am to 8 pm today. The power supply had not been restored in Sectors 20, 23, 30 and 45-C, and parts of Mani Majra till the filing of this report.

Uprooted trees and branches damaged electricity poles and wires at several places, hitting power supply to various sectors, villages and colonies. After the storm, the UT Electricity Department received around 140 complaints from various parts of the city.

UT Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh said there was no power in some sectors due a technical snag in the power supply lines from Mohali and Nalagarh. Similarly, a fault had occurred in the 66 kV line in the Industrial Area, Phase I, which also resulted in power cuts in the nearby areas. The department immediately restored the power supply in sectors where trees had fallen on supply lines, he said.

MOHALI: Rain and high-velocity winds lashed the town on Thursday afternoon, disrupting the power supply to various parts of the town.

According to reports, the power supply to Mohali village and Phases I, III and IV got hit around 4.30 pm and could be restored only in about two hours' time. A tree reportedly fell due to strong winds, damaging power cables in Phase III and disrupting the power supply.

The power supply was also hit in Phase II, which was restored around 8 pm.

Senior Executive Engineer AK Sharma said several areas had been hit and officials were busy restoring the power supply. 



Trains delayed, flights hit
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Rail traffic at the Chandigarh railway station was disrupted for more than two hours this evening after an overhead electricity wire on the Ghaggar-Dhappar stretch of the track snapped due to a thunderstorm. Hundreds of passengers at the station were clueless about the delay in trains as the railway authorities did not bother to inform them about the reason by making an announcement.

Chandigarh railway station superintendent Parveen Kumar said three trains, the Himalayan Queen, the Lucknow Express and the Kalka Shatabdi were delayed in the evening. He said the Lucknow Express departed at 6.35 pm instead of the scheduled time of 5.10 pm; the Himalayan Queen departed at 8.10 pm instead of 5.30 pm and the Kalka Shatabdi departed from the station at 7.55 pm instead of 6.20 pm.

An official said Ambala division received information about a technical fault at 5 pm and it sent a communication to the Chandigarh railway station at 5.20 pm. A team of the railway staff was sent to the spot by road to rectify the fault.

A passenger, Ashwani Kumar, who was to board the evening Kalka-Delhi Shatabdi, complained that for over two hours, passengers were clueless about the reason of the delay in the train as no announcement was made at the platform. He alleged that no official was available to answer the queries of the passengers.

Jet Airways cancels flights

Due to bad weather, the Jet Airways cancelled all its flights scheduled to land in Chandigarh on Thursday evening. An official of the Chandigarh airport said all other flights, including those of GoAir and Indigo, were diverted.


There was a delay in the departure of eight trains due to a technical fault after an overhead wire on the track snapped due to the thunderstorm. A team was sent to rectify the fault and restore rail traffic at the earliest.

— PK Sangi, Ambala Railway Divisional Manager



Blood donors upset as PGI fails to maintain records
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The failure of the PGI in maintaining proper records of donors at the blood bank has left a number of donors disappointed. While the PGI has been organising special programmes for felicitating its regular donors for the past many years, it has missed out on maintaining the donation records of many others.

Owing to the lack of a proper mechanism for recording the donor entries, a donor found the record of only 12 donations despite having donating blood 30 times. Another donor was not issued a master card despite having donated blood 16 times. These donors have not been felicitated and are yet to get the benefits which PGI regular blood donors are entitled to.

Sample this: A regular blood donor at the PGI, Rajiv Gupta (name changed), who, in the past 25 years, has donated blood 30 times at various blood donation camps organised by the PGI, was surprised to find his records missing from the blood bank. He went to donate blood in September last year. Upon enquiring about his records, he was told that the blood bank did not have the records of his donations.

Officials, however, suggested him to check for an update after a few days on the basis of his master card. When he visited the blood bank in April this year, he was informed that the blood bank could only find the records of his past 12 donations.

"When an official at a camp held in September saw my master card, he asked me why I did not attend the blood donors' felicitation ceremony held in August last year. I told him that I did not receive any invitation. He then suggested me to contact the blood bank. I am not bothered about credit or felicitation, but what hurts me is the fact that there is no record available with the institution about my contribution. If I have contributed for the noble cause so many times, I should at least be able to get blood easily the day I am in need," Gupta said.

There are various other donors at the PGI who are upset over the failure of the PGI in maintaining proper records.

Another donor, who has donated blood at the PGI 16 times, has not even been issued the master card, which will entitle him to the benefit of availing blood easily for his entire family.

"I am a frequent visitor to the PGI and have been donating blood regularly. I was told that the PGI issues a master card to its donors after five donations. I enquired only once about it, but officials could not find my records. I did not try again since I am not concerned about the credit,” said Parvesh Sharma (name changed).

“However, I am surprised as to how an institution like the PGI be so complacent about maintaining the records of the donors, especially when holds felicitation functions for them," added Parvesh Sharma.

PGI officials, however, said the records of each donor were maintained to encourage donations.

“We value the blood donors and felicitate them every year for their contribution to society. There is a small change in the system of maintaining records,” said the acting in charge of the blood bank, Dr RR Sharma.

“Earlier, we used to maintain manual records, but now we have computerisation in place. There is little scope of missing out on names of regular donors. We will look into the matter if these donors wish to come to us again," adde Dr RR Sharma.

Benefits for regular donors

Regular donors are issued master cards and can avail of blood from the PGI as well as the GMCH, Sector 32, and the GMSH, Sector 16, for themselves and their family members freely.



Maid Suicide Case
Autopsy report rules out foul play
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 6
As the postmortem report had confirmed that no internal and external marks were found on the minor girl's body, who was found hanging at a house of her employer in Sector 11, here, the local police believed that it was a case of suicide. The Panchkula Commissioner, Rajbir Deswal said that prima facie it was a suicide case. “But we are probing from all the angles, as the family has been alleging that her employers had murdered the girl, who was working in the house as a maid.”

“It has also come to light that the girl was in relation with a boy, who was known to the girl's family. That angle is also being probed”, said Deswal.

The police said that the employer, RK Jain, and his family had claimed that they had told the deceased's mother about the long phone conversations between the girl with the boy in question, around 15 days ago.

“The victim has died due to asphyxiation and has marks of cloth used to hang on her neck”, stated the postmortem report.

Deswal added that the police has registered a murder case in this connection, following the complaint from the family. “The FIR has been registered without anybody's name. If we get any evidence indicating any foul play, action would be taken accordingly”, said Deswal.

Earlier, high drama was witnessed when the relatives and residents of the colony, in which the victim resided blocked the road that separated Sector 11 and 14, and started hurling stones at the Jain's hosue. Demanding an immediate arrest of Jains in the case, the mob also tried to torch the house in question but the timely intervention by the Panchkula Police averted any major untoward incident.

The family refused to perform the victim's cremation before getting justice and carried the body along with them during their protest on the road. Though Panchkula ACP, Krishan Kumar Hooda, reached the spot and pacified the agitators. The cremation has still not been done.



Late-night power snag hits PGI research blocks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The research blocks at PGI, that house the test samples of numerous patients, remained without power for nearly 45 minutes late yesterday night due to power failure caused by overloading.

The residential campus was also affected when the power went off at around 11.30 pm on Wednesday, leading to a blackout near Research Blocks A and B and the residential area, with street lights too becoming non-functional.

The power was restored at around 12.15 am, after electricians found two power fuses at the research block.

Power snags have become a frequent occurrence at the premier institute due to increased load in all the key buildings, including Nehru Hospital and Emergency, and lack of sufficient backup facility.

Last Sunday, various areas in the hospital remained without power for over two hours due to transformer failure. Three blocks of Nehru Hospital went without power, causing inconvenience to patients, especially at the haemo-dialysis unit.

As per sources, many power cables installed in the PGI buildings, including Nehru Hospital, have not been replaced since the past 50 years. With the consumption of power continuing to rise beyond the load capacity of wires, frequent short circuits lead to power woes at the hospital, they said.



Samjhauta Express blasts
Accused denied B-class facilities in Ambala jail
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 6
The Haryana Police today opposed Aseemanand's plea in the court for providing him class B facilities in the jail. Aseemanand is the key accused in the Samjhauta express blast case. The plea was opposed on the ground that Aseemanand, the prime accused in the case, has committed a heinous crime against the state, so he should not be given class-B facilities in Ambala jail, where he has been put up currently.

Earlier, the counsels of the accused had asked for the class B privilege, claiming that he was a religious person with a large following and was a postgraduate.

All the four accused in Samjhauta Express blast case including, Aseemanand, Rajinder Chaudhary, Kamal Chauhan and Lokesh Kumar were produced in the court of Panchkula Additional District and Sessions judge, Sanjay Sandhir today. After hearing the arguments, case has been adjourned till July 4.



Diarrhoea cases on the rise in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 6
Diarrhoea cases are on the rise due to the prevailing unhygienic conditions in the local slums and the rising mercury in the region. According to the staff of General Hospital, Sector 6, around 25 patients, suffering from the disease, are being admitted everyday in the hospital.

"Most of these patients are from various slums of the town, which include Buddanpur, Kedar Pur, Bir Ghaggar, Rajiv Colony and even Bapu Dham in Chandigarh. Not only the unhygienic conditions prevail in these slums, but the drinking water also not fit for the health. These are the main reasons for Diarrhoea", said the doctors, here adding that there was a sudden increase in the number of patients, suffering from Acute Diarrhoeal Disease (ADD) and Acute Gastro Enteritis (AGE), of late.

The Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the hospital, Dr Rajesh Kumar said that sweltering heat was also one of the reasons behind the increase in ADD cases.



Mohali SSP elevated to IPS cadre
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 6
Mohali SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar has been elevated to the IPS cadre, by the Selection Committee of the Union Public Service Commission, in its meeting at New Delhi here today. Around 15 Punjab Police Service (PPS) officials have been elevated to the IPS cadre in the meeting.

Bhullar’s name was on the top of the list. A 1991-batch PPS official, Bhullar, has served as SSP Ludhiana (Rural), Jalandhar, Muktsar, Moga and Ropar earlier, before being posted as Mohali’s SSP. Bhullar, who is a recipient of President's Police Gallantry Award for two times and other several hounours for fighting against terrorism, had joined the Punjab Police as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Patiala.



CTU staff demand new buses
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, June 6
Employees of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) today protested against policies of the UT Administration. The employees alleged the authorities were not utilising the grant of Rs 113 crore released by the Centre for the transport department to buy new buses.

They said around 215 old buses were plying in the city. The centre had disbursed the grant to replace these, they said. A union representative, Bhupinder Singh, said the buses that the authorities were planning to but were not suitable for the city roads.

Demanding a fresh recruitment, the employees said there was a shortage of 150 drivers in the CTU as the authorities had not held recruitments for long.



NEET state ranking list creates confusion
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Confusion is far from over in the first-ever National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, the results of which were declared yesterday. The state ranking list, released separately for each state on the basis of the NEET results, seems to be inflated since it has even those students who are not eligible for admission to those states.

For instance, separate state ranking list released for Punjab and Chandigarh has even those students who are not eligible for these states.

Local experts said this happened due to the lack of clarity among students during the NEET's registration process when they were asked to fill as many as three states in the state preference column. As a result, their ranking appeared even for those states for which they had no eligibility.

A student, Gurtej Saini, who secured third rank in Punjab and also sixth rank in Delhi said he could not seek admission to Delhi medical colleges under its respective state ranking list since he did not fulfil their required eligibility. “However, I am eligible for admission anywhere in India due to my better all-India rank,” he said.

Dr Arvind Goyal, city-based PMT trainer, said the confusion of the state preference column during the registration of the NEET had definitely inflated the state ranking list for almost all states in the region.

He said while toppers in any state list would not be affected by this confusion, but those who were borderline cases and have a low rank would definitely be in a fix as they would have to wait till the time state medical colleges and universities released the revised rank list of eligible candidates.

“It will also be a herculean task for the respective universities and medical colleges to check the eligibility of all these extra students and put up a revised eligible rank list of candidates accordingly. The situation will be clear after their counseling starts,” he said.

As per the information, there are students who even filled far-off states like Gujarat and Uttarakhand for the sake of filling the options in the state preference column.

A student, Akash Bhardwaj, said at the time of filling up of the NEET forms, they contacted the CBSE office as well as the local facilitation centres, but the officials were totally unclear about how to fill the state preference column.

“Only those students, who had proper eligibility, should have been allowed to fill more than one state,” he said

“If NEET has to stay forever, the CBSE should not give the option of more than one state. Legally, it is also not right to claim eligibility for more than one state,” said Vivek Gulati, another city-based PMT trainer.



From colleges
Tentative schedule

Panjab University has issued the tentative schedule for the submission of online application forms for admission to the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Chandigarh, Hoshiarpur and UIL, Ludhiana, for BA/BCom-LLB (Hons) five-year integrated course. Online admission forms for this course would be available from June 11 on the website http://uglaw.puchd.ac.in. The qualifying candidates of the entrance exam (undergraduate law) of 2013 can apply from June 11 to June 30. The last date for the submission of hard copy of admission forms and documents to the coordinator, admission, would be July 5 till 5 PM.

Collaborative research

The British Council evinced interest in strengthening the linkages between Panjab University (PU) and Institutions of Higher Education and Research in the United Kingdom (UK). Rob Lynes, director, British Council, India, today called on PU Vice-Chancellor Arun K. Grover on the PU campus and discussed various issues of common interest like collaborating in research and fields of education. British Council Assistant Director, International Higher Education (India), Manjula Rao, Dean University Instructions PU, Madhu Raka, PU Prof Rupinder Tewari and Prof Manmohan Gupta were also present on the occasion. Speaking after the meeting, Lynes said he was delighted to visit PU. He said he looked forward for the strengthening of education linkage between leading institutes of Chandigarh and the UK.

Applications invited

The Panjab University dental college has invited applications for admission to 100 seats in the BDS-I course for academic session 2013-14. Dental college principal-cum-professor Dr Ashish Jain said admissions to BDS first-year would be based on the merit of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) scores only, and the eligible candidates could submit the complete application forms up to June 24. Dr Jain said the PU dental college was one of the few dental colleges in the country in the government sector that did not have domicile requirement for admissions. Any candidate from anywhere in the country, who appeared for the NEET, was eligible to apply for the BDS course in the university, he said.

Refresher course

A refresher course in law in the Department of Laws, organised by Academic Staff College, Panjab University, concluded today. The refresher course was organised on the theme of “Emerging Issues of Legal System”. Prof Nishtha Jaswal was the coordinator of the refresher course. She said 16 participants and 28 nationally and internationally renowned legal luminaries, including five vice-chancellors of different Universities and scholars from various disciplines, delivered lectures during the refresher course. — TNS



UICET to get Rs 10 crore for quality improvement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Dr SS Bhatnagar University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Panjab University (UICET), has been selected for the Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP-II) as per which the department will get a sum of Rs 10 crore.

PU officials said Rs 7.5 crore would be paid by the Ministry of Human Resources Development and Rs 2.5 crore would be paid by the Chandigarh Administration.

The officials said the TEQIP-II project would lead to improved learning outcomes and increased employability of graduates.

“The honour is the manifestation of seminal contributions of the department in rendering yeomen services in the development of the chemical, food, environmental and energy sectors with a strong focus on post-graduate and doctoral programmes since 1958,” the officials said.

It is part of the World Bank initiative to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the technical education management system.

The project would be launched on June 10 and it would lead to the strengthening of the existing PG courses for encouraging indigenous development through innovative ventures, enhancing the employability of students by strengthening industry-institute interaction, strengthening the research base of the institute by strengthening doctoral-level programme and upgrade of laboratories set-up in the institute.

Under the project, personality development programmes will be conducted for the undergraduate and postgraduate students in order to make them industry ready. It will also help in attracting high-calibre students by creating modern infrastructure, establishing centre of excellence in new and emerging areas of technology and setting up entrepreneurship and community development centre, which will cater to societal needs by providing vocational training hence promoting self-employment.



Online BCom admissions: PU to include evening studies dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Panjab University (PU) is going to include its Evening Studies Department in the online centralised admission process for Bachelors in Commerce (BCom) from this year. The process, which will include only the city colleges this time, will begin from June 8. Till last year, admission to the colleges of Ludhiana was also centralised. However, the university decided to restrict it to the city colleges only.

PU has appointed Prof RK Gupta from the University School of Open Learning (USOL) as the coordinator.

An Advisory Committee meeting was held three days ago to discuss the modalities of the admission process, which would soon be announced after due approval.

Prof Gupta said applications for admission would be uploaded on the website from June 8.

The centralised online admission to the BCom course in the colleges of Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur was introduced in 2010 to check the backdoor entry of students.

Two years after introducing the centralised online admission, the university was witnessing a lesser number of online applications for admissions to the colleges of Hoshiarpur. Thereafter, the university decided to conduct online admissions for the colleges of Chandigarh and Ludhiana only for around 4,200 seats.

Now, the admissions for over 2,100 seats in 11 colleges of Chandigarh will be centralised.

Prof Gupta said this year the number of forms would be submitted online. The physical counseling would be held on the PU campus from July 9 to July 12.



Admission process begins in colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The process of admission to various courses, including BBA, BCA, BSc (Medical) and BSc (Non-Medical), offered by government colleges of the city started today. Around 500 prospectus copies were sold at Government College for Girls, Sector 11, 470 at Government College for Boys, Sector 11, 38 copies at Government College of Commerce and Business Administration, 200 each at Government College for Girls, Sector 42, and Government College, Sector 46.

Around 1,500 prospectus copies were sold on the first day of the admission process for government colleges.

The merit lists for admission to the BCA course in all government colleges will be displayed on July 2 and the last date for applying for this course is July 1.

As many as 13,000 students have applied to various colleges in the city. They are competing for 120 seats of BBA and 560 seats of BCA. As many as 1,800 forms have been submitted for the number of seats available.

The admissions to all government colleges affiliated to Panjab University are being done in a centralised manner. The admissions to BA will be done on the spot.



Panchkula school holds still photography workshop

Chandigarh, June 6
Hallmark Public School, Panchkula, organised a four-day still photography workshop. It was conducted by experts from Bolly-perform on the school premises.

Boney, a professional from Bolly-perform, said: “The workshop is specially designed for youth to not only impart photography skills but also to improve academic performances, enhance communication skills and develop leadership qualities.”

Jivitesh Garg, director, Hallmark Public School, said: “Our school has been at the forefront of promoting creative fields of work in an endeavour to find new talent. In keeping with this, we organised a photography workshop and roped in top-notch instructors from Mumbai to train children”. — TNS



Belgium varsity scholarship for 8 CGC students
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 6
Eight students of the Chandigarh Group of Colleges (CGC), Jhanjeri, Mohali district, have been selected for the ASEM-DUO scholarship from Howest University College, Belgium, for pursuing MBA.

These students will get a scholarship of 940 Euro (about Rs 70,000) per month in addition to full fee concession. The selected students are Himanshu Aggarwal, Kirandeep Kaur, Javed Ahmed, Gokul Pillai, Sahil Thaploo, Akashdeep Singh, Sushant Kumar and Amit Kumar.

Explaining the scheme, Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, president, CGC, said the CGC had signed an MoU with Howest University College under which there was a provision for free exchange of staff and students.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |