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New Chandigarh: The Tribune kicks off a debate
The twists in the tale of two cities

With the Punjab Government announcing setting up of New Chandigarh, a new concrete reality has come dangerously closer to the original city. Questions are being raised about the cost involved, both in terms of the impending loss to the eco-fragile Shivaliks as well as the burden that the new township will bear on the City Beautiful

Chandigarh: If realty dreams were on sale, what would you buy? A property in Mullanpur? Certainly not (it sounds so rural!). New Chandigarh, most probably -- a place that abuts City Beautiful, but stands amorphic, asymmetrical and totally out of sync with the original.

When the Punjab government recently announced the setting up of the new city, it was the third such attempt by politicians at creating a behemoth in concrete -- first in 1993 (when the Akalis were in opposition), then in 2000 (rechristened as Anandgarh, but got into legal troubles), and now, the Chandigarh moniker. New Chandigarh is kosher, fashionable, so goes the argument of government officials.

What is at stake? Many town planners and architects say there is nothing new or Chandigarh about the emerging reality. Picture this: the new one is spread over 33 villages covering 15,000 acres and is located between two seasonal rivulets, the Jayanti Devi ki Rao and Siswan Nadi that meanders down the eco-fragile Shivaliks. This will precariously ride on the UT’s civic, entertainment, medical, shopping and other facilities. At best, or worst, it is mimicking. “It would be a dormitory town dependent on Chandigarh’s already strained infrastructure,” says a town planner.

New Chandigarh would bear no resemblance with the original city. Here’s how: the restrained height of high-rises could be anything literally touching the sky. Contrast it with Chandigarh: Only up to 30 metres. The result could be a veritable civic disaster what with congestion and the pressure Chandigarh would have to inevitably bear.

But the government is pressing ahead, almost steamrolling opposition, giving rise to widespread suspicion that its move would benefit the wealthy realtors. The government says the new township will boast of world-class facilities such as a state-of-the-art medi city, spa village, educity, golf course and other recreational facilities.

Poor villagers, whose land is being gobbled up by this project, are dejected. They have been protesting knowing their uprooting is only months away. They would lose their livelihood.

Town planners and architects argue that the government must stick to low-density country living as proposed in the regional master plan. The new city should have been planned about 50 km from Chandigarh. Anandpur Sahib could have been one such choice, they say.

Tomorrow: Old wine in new bottle



Woman attacked by stray dogs
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Visiting a gurdwara in Sector 43 proved a 54-year-old woman dear as she was attacked by a group of stray dogs this morning. The woman, Khushwinder Kaur, was taken to the GMSH-16 for treatment.

Narrating the incident, Khushwinder Kaur, a resident of house number 725, Sector 43, said when she was returning from the gurdwara, a stray dog caught hold of her leg and bit her. “I fell on the ground. Seeing nobody around, I mustered courage and managed to shoo away the dogs.

The victim’s son, Kulwinder Singh, said the dog bite cases in the sector were on the rise. “Residents of the area have approached the MC authorities a number of times to check the stray dog menace, but to no avail,” he said.

Hitesh Kumar Puri, secretary of the Residents Welfare Association Sector 43 (B), said: “The MC has failed to check the menace. Residents fear venturing out in the evening and early morning hours.”



MC proposes hike in water tariff
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
In order to stop the misuse of water, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has proposed to hike the water tariff, especially for bulk consumers. The MC proposed that the hike should be more in the upper slabs. At present, residents have to pay Rs 8 per kiloliter for consuming 60 kiloliter of water or above per month. But the MC has proposed to increase the water tariff in this slab from Rs 8 per kiloliter to Rs 20 kilolitre.

A senior MC official said: “Though the southern sectors are thickly populated, the consumption of water is higher in the northern sectors. The northern sectors house 30 per cent of the city’s population, but 70 per cent of the water supplied to the city is consumed in these sectors.”

The consumption of water is between 1,000 and 2,000 litres per person per day in northern sectors, while it is 250 litres per person per day in southern sectors. The consumption is 100 litres in colonies, said the official.

Recently, a team of JNNURM had asked the civic body officials to impose house tax and increase water tariff to continue receiving grant under JNNURM.

The MC has already imposed house tax.

MC Commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh said after finalising the proposal, it will be tabled in the House.

Presently, 352 litters of water per capita per day is available in the city, but still, residents are facing shortage of water.



Industrial units to remain ‘powerless’ for 72 hours
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 13
Resentment prevails among industrial unit owners over the decision of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited to impose a 72-hour weekly power cut on the large-scale sector. Information in this regard was received by the industrial unit owners this afternoon.

Anurag Aggarwal, president of the Mohali Industries Association, said the authorities were adopting a 'policy of divide and rule' by imposing a 72-hour power cut on the large-scale sector while the medium and small units were facing only a one-day weekly power cut.

He said earlier the power department used to impose a 48-hour cut.

He stated that now they would have to shut their units for three days and suffer losses running into crores.

Aggarwal said the owners wanted him to take up the matter with the authorities. There were 200 persons running large-scale industrial units in Mohali.

He said he would meet KD Chaudhri, chairman-cum-managing director, PSPCL, next week. Former general secretary of the Mohali Chamber of Industry and Commerce Swaran Singh said it was difficult to keep their employees idle for three days a week and pay full wages.



Bansal comes with a bagful of promises
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Former Union Railways Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) Pawan Kumar Bansal today stated that dispensaries and schools would be set up under the slum rehabilitation project in Maloya and Mauli Jagran.

Bansal, who was addressing a rally at Colony No. 5, said slum-dwellers, whose names figured on the voters' list but were not included under the slum rehabilitation project, would be given all benefits.

Bansal said earlier the Administration had raised some objections to the eligibility of some applicants.

"Slum-dwellers will be given houses as per the scheme," he said.

Terming BJP's rally a flop show, Bansal said the BJP was against the development of the city.

They could only create ruckus in the MC house and Lok Sabha, he stated. Congress leaders Harphool Kalyan, Ram Pal Sharma, Pawan Sharma, HS Lucky and Shashi Shanker Tiwari were also present.



NSUI national president discusses poll strategy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Gearing up for the upcoming student council elections at Panjab University (PU), student parties have started roping in senior leaders to plan the poll strategy. All-India president of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) Rohit Chaudhary, who was in the city today, held a meeting with the NSUI members at the university.

During the informal meeting at the geology department canteen, Chaudhary was joined by NSUI leaders Brinder Singh Dhillon and Manoj Lubana.

Sources said Chaudhary shared his experience as a student leader with the NSUI members at PU and discussed the strategy for the upcoming elections.

Sources said the national president also met former Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) leaders at Hotel Mountview, Sector 10. He reportedly sought their support for the student council elections at PU.

“It is expected that some of the senior SOPU leaders who have been the face of the party may support the NSUI in the elections,” sources said.



Police to paste photos of criminals in hotels
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 13
The police has decided to paste photographs of hardcore criminals at various hotels in the town. This will discourage the criminals from taking shelter in the hotels. Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashwin Shenvi said hotel owners and managers would now be cautious while letting people with a criminal past check in.

"Miscreants take shelter in hotels before doing a recce of an area," said Shenvi.

After committing a robbery in Sector 4 last month, the robbers checked in at a hotel in Ambala.

Apart from pasting photographs, the police will brief hoteliers about the crime profile of the criminals.

Recently, in a meeting convened by the Commissioner of Police, Rajbir Deswal, hoteliers and managers were asked to install CCTV cameras. They were also told to ask visitors for identity cards.

They have been asked to note down the name and phone number of the visitors in a register.



MBBS course
Increase in number of seats mooted
Following media reports, medical colleges start applying to the Union Ministry
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Following the media reports that the Central Government has approved the proposal to allow additional 50 MBBS seats in all public and private medical colleges for the current session and asked them to apply for it before July 15, many medical colleges in the region have started applying for an increase in the seats.

In Chandigarh where there is only one medical college--Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32--with a total number of MBBS seats being only 50, this move will immensely benefit students.

GMCH Director Dr Atul Sachdeva said the institute already had sent its application to the Union Ministry of Health and Environment for an increase in the number of seats to 100, as proposed by the Ministry. “If the proposal gets through, it would certainly help in bringing in more talented students,” he said.

As per the issued guidelines, the Ministry will allow a one-time increase of 50 seats in the medical colleges which have been running for over 10 years. As far as Punjab is concerned, five medical colleges--three government and two private colleges--are eligible for an increase in the number of seats. These include Government Medical College, Amritsar; Government Medical College, Patiala; Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot; Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research; and Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana.

Welcoming the move, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, said Dr SS Gill said it would lead to the creation of more medical professionals. He said while the medical colleges in Punjab had been informed to apply for the same, they were still awaiting the notification of the Ministry concerned.

Gill said as per the media reports, the Health Ministry would allow medical colleges with 50 seats to apply for 100 and those with an existing approval for 100 seats to apply for 150 seats. “Government Medical Colleges in Patiala and Amritsar are already having 150 MBBS seats. Whether these colleges would be allowed to apply for an additional 50 seats is not known yet,” he said.

DMC, Ludhiana, which has 70 MBBS seats has also moved an application for additional 50 seats, it is learnt. Chandigarh-based PMT Trainer Arvind Goyal said the increase in medical seats in the region was long due. Local students are forced to take admission in far-flung medical colleges because of the paucity of seats here, he said.

The fresh move of the Health Ministry could increase the number of medical seats in the region by 200-300, bringing much needed relied for hundreds of local medical aspirants, said Goyal.



From schools
Science exhibition

St John’s High School, Sector 26, organised a science exhibition, 'Sciensational Technothon'. Students from Class VI to XII participated in the event. Various models under different categories were displayed. Eco-friendly smart school, anti-kidnapping alarm and other such projects showcased the latent talent and scientific temper of students. The highlight was a rocket launcher created by Darpen Bhagar and Bhanij Kapal.


Aniket Aich and Fiona Waddell of Frank Anthony Public School, Delhi, were declared winners of Frank Anthony Memorial All-India Inter-School Debate Competition at St Stephen’s School, Sector 45. Nine Schools from the northern region participated in the competition, each school being represented by two students. Haroop Sandhu and Harshveer Mand of St Francis School, Amritsar, were declared the first runners-up. The topic of debate was ‘A disciplined mind is a free mind’.

Splash party

DAV Model School, Sector 15, organised Water Games for the pre-primary and primary sections. Various games, such as frog race and aiming of balls, were organised. The children participated in all the games with great enthusiasm. It was a learning experience for the teacher trainees who organised the event.

Drawing competition

Kindergarten and Class I students of Bhawan Vidyalaya Junior, Sector 33, participated in a drawing competition. The event aimed at bringing out the creative skills of students, while inculcating a competitive spirit in them.

Blue Day celebrated

The kindergarten block of St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, celebrated Blue Day on the school premises. Over 100 students of the nursery class participated in the event. The students recited rhymes using blue-coloured props such as balloons, toys and cut-outs. They were apprised of different objects having blue colour through cut-outs prepared by the teachers. — TNS



Bcom admissions
Only 167 seats remain vacant in UT pool
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Only 167 BCom seats in the general quota of UT pool (85 per cent) remain vacant in three colleges of Chandigarh. PU coordinator for BCom centralised admissions Prof RK Gupta said that only 167 seats remained vacant in colleges, including Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45; Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26; and Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26.

“All students of the UT pool who secured a rank up to 2,200 can attend the counselling on July 14 at Law Auditorium,” he said.

Officials said the physical presence of applicants at the time of counselling was must for admissions. Applicants would have to pay the fee on the spot, they said.



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