C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Water shortage hits residents hard
  Situation grave in southern sectors, Mohali; normal supply likely to be resumed today
Ritika Jha Palial/Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Residents of Chandigarh and Mohali continue to suffer due a scarcity of water. Owing to a damage to the Kajauli waterworks pipelines for the past five days, residents have been struggling to find water for basic household chores and even for drinking.

People complained of low water pressure throughout the day. Many sectors had to go without water. “Since Thursday, there has hardly been any water supply in our area. The situation worsened during the weekend, when most people were at home. There wasn’t enough water for cooking, what to talk of water for washing clothes,” said Ramaninder Singh, a resident of Sector 45.

Sunita Saini, a resident of Phase X, Mohali, leaves for her relative's house in Sector 48, Chandigarh, along with her family to fetch water.
Sunita Saini, a resident of Phase X, Mohali, leaves for her relative's house in Sector 48, Chandigarh, along with her family to fetch water. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

“We are being forced to rush to our relatives’ place in Chandigarh to bathe and get ready for the day. We have been fetching water in buckets in our cars,” said Sunita Saini, a resident of Phase X, Mohali.

“While those living on the ground floor are getting some water, residents of upper floors are completely devoid of water. We are left with no option but to use water tankers,” said Inderprakash, a resident of Phase X, Mohali.

The problem is grave in southern sectors in the city and the entire Mohali town. The lack of water supply has been causing inconvenience to hotel owners and industrialists as well, forcing them to depend on water tankers completely.

Residents take to the streets

Residents of the Sanjay Colony in the Industrial Area took to the streets over lack of water supply. The residents cut trees and blocked an internal road. The protest turned ugly when Congress and BJP workers entered into a scuffle over the water problem.
Residents draw water from a handpump in Phase X, Mohali.
Residents draw water from a handpump in Phase X, Mohali. A Tribune Photograph

Status of repair work

Officials deputed at the site to supervise the exercise claimed that the repair of Phase 3 and Phase 4 pipelines was on and the job was about to be completed.

“The water supply through these pipelines will be resumed by tomorrow morning,” said Ashok Virdi, Executive Engineer, GMADA.

The responsibility of the maintenance of Phase 3 is with the Chandigarh Administration, while the Phase 4 pipeline is being looked after by the Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Department.

“We (GMADA) and Welspun Company (which has been laying the Phase 5 and Phase 6 pipeline alongside the Phase 3 and Phase 4 lines) have provided the water supply department and the maintenance team from Chandigarh all equipment, including manpower, machinery and other required infrastructure. Now, our job is over,” said Virdi while talking to Chandigarh Tribune.

He claimed that the trial supply in the Phase 3 pipeline would be carried out tonight.

Normal water supply would be resumed by tomorrow morning.

The water supply of the two pipelines (Phase 3 and Phase 4) of the Kajauli waterworks had to be suspended on August 20 following leakage in both lines.

Both pipelines, having a capacity of 2.5 MGD each, carry five MGD water, which is supplied to Chandigarh and Mohali.



Artillery shell found in Sector 50
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Chandigarh Police today recovered an artillery shell from bushes near Sargodha Society in Sector 50 here. The shell was found lying in a bag after a passerby informed the police about an unclaimed bag lying there. Police officials reached the spot. After primarily investigation, a bomb disposal squad was called. The shell was handed over to the bomb disposal squad of the Army for proper disposal.

A member of a bomb disposal squad examines the artillery shell that was found near Sargodha Society in Sector 50, Chandigarh, on Sunday.
A member of a bomb disposal squad examines the artillery shell that was found near Sargodha Society in Sector 50, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

According to police officials, the shell, weighing around 5 kg, was found lying in bushes and could have caused widespread damage in case of a blast.

The in charge of the Sector 34 police post, Rajesh Shukla, said a bomb disposal squad was called, which took the artillery shell in its possession. "Preliminary investigations suggested that the shell may have been kept in the bushes by some scrap dealer with the purpose of disposing it of. The police is checking with all nearby scrap dealers to get more information," he said.

Soon after the artillery shell was found, panic gripped the area. At around 3 pm, the area was cordoned off. This is the second time that an artillery shell has been found in the area.

"Since there are a lot of bushes in the area, it is a favourite place for scrap dealers to keep scrap. It poses danger to our lives. We want that authorities to take strict measures in this regard," said Praladh Vasudeva, general secretary of the Sector 50 Residents Welfare Association.



Mid-day Meal
Students made to do the dishes, that too with toilet water
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 25
In yet another mid-day meal shocker, not only is the water for preparing the meals being drawn from toilets, students are being made to do the utensils with the same water in four government schools being run from a building in Rally village here.

The shocking reality came to the fore during a visit by Chandigarh Tribune team along with councillor Lily Bawa.
Students wash their plates after a mid-day meal at a government school in Sector 12, Panchkula.
Students wash their plates after a mid-day meal at a government school in Sector 12, Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal 

Four schools are being run from a small building, where students are packed like sardines. Two government primary schools (Rally village and Sector 12-A), a middle school and an anganwadi school are being run from under the same roof.

Though meals are prepared separately for all schools, water is drawn from two common toilets on the premises, one meant for girls and the other for boys.

On seeing the councillor, the school authorities tried to pass the buck. “We had written to HUDA, asking for proper water and sewer facilities, but to no avail," said one of the teachers.

He said, "We have made several requests, but no one seems to care."

“A bucket of water drawn from the toilet is kept here and we are asked to wash our utensils before and after taking meals,” said a student on condition of anonymity.

Parmeshwari Hooda, District Elementary Education Officer, said, “Even in hotels, meals are often cooked in bathrooms and water for the purpose is drawn from the same place. Why don’t you report about that?”

44-member panel fails to deliver

A 44-member committee constituted by the administration to ensure hygienic preparation of mid-day meal in Panchkula has failed to deliver the results. The Panchkula Deputy Commissioner had recently constituted the committee to inspect all schools and check the preparation of mid-day meals.

UT asks staff to use gloves

In Chandigarh, the Administration has asked the staff to use gloves and clean utensils with fresh water for mid-day meals

Panchkula's shame

* Chief Judicial Magistrate Jaibir Hooda had found fungus-laden and insect-infested grains, which were meant for mid-day meals in three government schools in Panchkula

* Mid-day meal was being cooked in toilets in Government Primary School in Sector 19, Panchkula.

* Water was being drawn from toilets and utensils were being washed in the same toilet in Government Primary School, Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 4

* Wheat meant for the mid-day meal of toddlers in an anganwadi in Sector 12, Panchkula, was found infested with insects 



Clean area along border, Mohali DC asks UT
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 25
By allowing slum-dwellers, rehabilitation colonies and dumping of garbage on the Chandigarh-Mohali boundary for years, the Chandigarh Administration has made most of the entry points to Mohali filthy.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Tejinderpal Singh Sidhu recently shot a communiqué to his counterpart in Chandigarh, asking him to look into the issue. According to him, these entry points are an eyesore for visitors entering the town from the Chandigarh side.
Heaps of garbage on roads on the Chandigarh-Mohali border are a common sight.
Heaps of garbage on roads on the Chandigarh-Mohali border are a common sight. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu 

Sidhu said he had sent a letter to Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Shayin, asking him to check this hazard along the 12-km-long border of the two cities.

"I have asked them (the Chandigarh Administration) to start a cleanliness drive in this belt and make the area clean like other parts of the city," said Sidhu, adding that after seeing unauthorised shanties, slums and garbage scattered all around on most entry points to the town, visitors got an impression that Mohali was a dirty town.

Several chunks of land have been identified along the border, which are being used to throw litter, run illegal rehri markets and park vehicles.

"To make the town clean, green and beautiful, we are spending crores of rupees and often undertake special cleanliness drives," said Sidhu.

Slums and rehabilitation colonies dot the belt (Sectors 53, 54, 55 and 56) bordering Mohali.

This is not the first time that the Mohali authorities have expressed concern over the "hazard". The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority had raised an objection a couple of years ago and had also held a meeting with the Chandigarh Administration authorities in this regard.

The authorities had claimed that they were spending around Rs 2 crore to beautify all major entry points of the town and had asked the UT to keep its slums within bounds as these were eating into its land in Mohali. 



No Bollywood plans, only cricket: Yuvraj 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 25
India’s "poster boy" Yuvraj Singh has no Bollywood plans and wants to play cricket to the fullest. During a visit to the town today to inaugurate a jewellery showroom, the versatile cricketer said cricket was his life and he wanted to play the game to the fullest.
Cricketer Yuvraj Singh waves at fans during the inauguration of a jewellery showroom at Phase V in Mohali on Sunday.
Cricketer Yuvraj Singh waves at fans during the inauguration of a jewellery showroom at Phase V in Mohali on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu 

“I have no plans for Bollywood. I want to make a comeback to the Indian team and play cricket,” said Yuvraj while answering queries of mediapersons on his future plans with reference to his friend and teammate Harbhajan Singh’s Punjabi song.

Lauding Harbhajan Singh for his song on "maa" (mother), Yuvraj said he (Bhajji) had done a great job. “Nobody can repay the debt of one’s mother. I like the song,” said Yuvraj.

Yuvraj, who has been looking forward to playing first-class cricket of late, claimed that he was fully fit.

Yuvraj parried a question on whether the current youthful Indian team, sans Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and him, was capable of winning the next World Cup.

On his dream of opening a cricket academy in the area, Yuvraj said talks were on with the Punjab Government in this regard. The state government had announced to give him 20 acres of land at Mullanpur Garibdass to open a cricket academy, but nothing concrete has come out so far.


stray cattle menacae in tricity
MC to crack down on illegal dairies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
After the anti-stray cattle drive, triggered by the two consequent deaths in accidents involving stray cattle, the Municipal Corporation is going to crackdown on illegal dairies operating in city.

The enforcement wing of the MC will demolish these illegal structures and will also register cases against cattle owners.

The MC Joint Commissioner, Rajiv Gupta, said: “This will be an effective exercise in controlling stray cattle movement in the city.”

During the cattle-catching drive, the workers were out on the roads at 4 am and managed to catch 109 stray animals in nine hours. The MC had constituted two teams to catch stray cattle. The teams had impounded 245 head of cattle in the past three days.

The first team was led by Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta and it caught 82 animals from Mauli Jagran, Mani Majra and Bapu Dham Colony. The second team, led by Additional Commissioner Sunil Bhatia, caught 27 animals from Dadu Majra, Dadu Majra Colony, from near Panjab University, Nehru Colony, Dhanas and the area adjoining Kajheri.

The city has two cattle sheds and a cattle pound. The cattle shed in Sector 45 can accommodate 350 animals and the one in Maloya has the capacity of sheltering 400 animals. The lone cattle pound in Industrial Area can accommodate 150 cattle.

As the number of impounded animals is on the rise, the MC has decided to convert the store of the B&R Department in Industrial Area into a cattle pound. The MC will also shift impounded animals to a gaushala at Barsana in Uttar Pradesh.

During the drive in Mauli Jagran, cattle owners hid their cattle in the forest area. The owners had tied their cattle to the boundary wall separating Chandigarh and Panchkula.



P'kula MC has no staff to catch stray animals
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 25
Stray cattle rule the roads in Panchkula as the Panchkula Municipal Corporation (MC) neither has its own staff to catch them nor any cattle pound. For this reason, the work of catching stray cattle has been stopped in Panchkula for the past five months.

In a case filed by advocate Pankaj Chandgothia in the stray cattle issue, the sanitary inspector with the MC, Madan Lal, admitted that they had no employed staff to tackle the stray cattle menace and the work of catching stray cattle has been awarded to a private contractor, who has employed just six persons for the purpose.

The contract has not been renewed by the MC.

Stray cattle are not only found on the internal roads but also on the flyovers. “On flyovers, vehicles move at a very high speed. Whenever a stray cattle comes on the middle of the road, they have to apply brakes suddenly, which is very risky,” said Rishabh Jain, a resident of Sector 21, Panchkula.

Panchkula Mayor Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia said there were three cattle pounds in the city, which are full to capacity. “The Panchkula trust is coming up with a cattle pound in Mansa Devi Complex with a capacity of about 1,000 cattle. We just had a meeting with the officials concerned and asked them to expedite the work.”

She added: “Once we get the place, the removal of stray cattle will be done within just 10 days.”

The officials of the MC have blamed Chandigarh cattle owners for the menace. They find Panchkula a safer place to hide their cattle and then leave them to gaze around. As many as 60 stray cattle were ‘hidden’ by a few Chandigarh cattle owners on a government land at Mansa Devi Complex in sector 4. It was after the residents informed the police that a Chandigarh cattle owner was arrested.

“As many as 13 villages fall in the Panchkula MC limits. If the entry of cattle is banned here, there will not be any problem of stray cattle here,” said Executive Officer of the MC OP Sihag.


* A youth suffered minor injuries in Sector 19 on Saturday night after a stray cattle abruptly came in front of his bike.

* Three cows have been run over by trains in Sector 19 in the past four days.

DCP’s orders fall on deaf ears

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) had issued directions in May to all the lower officials that whenever they see a stray animal, they would rin up 100 and coordinate with the MC to remove the same. But the directions seem to have been fallen on deaf ears.



GMADA, MC fail to take effective steps
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, August 25
The menace of stray cattle continues to be a big headache for the residents as the Municipal Corporation and the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) have been unable to take effective steps to end the problem.

Cattle can be seen moving about on roads and even in parks due to the indifferent attitude of the civic body and the development authority.

Hakam Singh Jawanda, general secretary of the Residents Welfare Association, Phase XI, said despite claims of the civic body, residents had failed to get any respite from the problem of stray animals. He said in Phase XI, he usually saw cows moving about which were definitely not stray cattle. Their owners had left them to graze on their own when they stopped giving milk, added Jawanda.

Sources said here today that 60 or 70 stray animals had been caught by the civic body staff in the past about two months.

Dilraj Singh, Joint Commissioner of the corporation, however, claimed that five or seven stray animals were caught every day.

Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu held a meeting today with the officials of the civic body and GMADA. He directed them to launch a special campaign to catch stray animals, including stray dogs.



Constable blamed for Nepalese girl’s disappearance
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
A 21-year-old girl has allegedly been missing for the last four days. Head constable Bhoop Singh, posted at the Sector 3 police station, has been accused of taking the Nepali girl for questioning from the Sector 8 market on the pretext of moral policing. She has not returned home since then.

The victim’s husband Nand Lal Giri (40) has been running from pillar to post to find his wife, Kirti. He has alleged that she had been illegally detained by Bhoop Singh.

“On August 21, my wife and I were sitting in the Sector 8 market at around 7 pm when Bhoop Singh, accompanied by a Chandigarh home guards jawan, approached us. He made us sit in the beat box there and started enquiring about our identity,” said Giri.

He said: “We were made to sit in the beat box till 10 pm and then Bhoop Singh started kicking and slapping me and forced me to leave the place.”

“Scared, I walked to a distance. Even the home guards jawan was told to leave. Later, Bhoop Singh made Kirti sit in his Maruti Suzuki Swift car on the pretext of interrogation,” alleged the complainant.

Since then, the whereabouts of the girl are not known, he alleged.

Inspector Harjit Kaur, station house officer of the sector 3 police station, said: “I don’t know why people are creating so much hype about the issue. Bhoop Singh had just asked about their identity. Later, the couple had a fight and the two walked in separate directions. Why would Singh keep her in custody?” 



cash at judge’s door
Yadav files revision petition 
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Less than a month after the trial court ordered the framing of charges against Justice Nirmal Yadav in the cash-for-judge scam, she today claimed the CBI special public prosecutor had conceded in his arguments that there was “no direct evidence in the present case with regard to the motive, reward and delivery of the alleged amount”.

In a revision petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court for quashing the order, she argued the trial court took note of all contentions raised by the prosecution, but failed to record that fact conceded by the special public prosecutor. “Thus the entire approach of the trial court is illegal, erroneous and untenable in the eyes of law,”.

In the petition filed through counsel SK Garg Narwana, the former Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court further contended that the impugned order dated July 31 has been passed without appreciating her contentions.

“Neither the legal issues raised by the petitioner have been considered, nor has the Judge below considered the evidence on record, which contradicts the stand of the prosecution,” Justice Yadav said.

She added: “Still further, some of the contentions of the petitioner, have not been recorded, or have been incorrectly recorded”. Seeking the quashing of the order, she said it was “unsustainable and untenable in the eyes of law and deserves to be set aside”.

Giving details, Narwana asserted: “The specific case of the petitioner was that there was no evidence of any official relation between the petitioner and the co-accused, Ravinder Singh.

“As far as the relationship between Ravinder Singh and Sanjiv Bansal was concerned, there is no evidence worth the name in the final report/charge sheet to suggest that the petitioner knew about the relation. The prosecution during the investigation could not collect any evidence to say that the petitioner was having such knowledge….”

The incident, dubbed as cash-for-judge scam, had surfaced in August 2008 after another Judge with similar name, Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, called in the police immediately after a bagful of money was erroneously delivered at her house.

Justice Yadav’s name subsequently surfaced in the case as the alleged intended recipient of Rs 15 lakh. A case in the matter was registered initially by the Chandigarh Police after Justice Nirmaljit Kaur had blown the whistle. The investigation was later handed over to the CBI. A three-judge committee was also constituted by the then Chief Justice of India to look into the matter.

The CBI, in its report, had asserted: “Justice Nirmaljit Kaur had nothing to do with the same”; and the money had, in effect, been demanded by Justice Nirmal Yadav.

The premier investigating agency had categorically asserted Delhi businessman Ravinder Singh gave a bag containing Rs 15 lakh to Bansal for delivering it to Justice Yadav.



CHB all set to hand over tenements to jhuggi dwellers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
After getting the green light from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) regarding the scheduled inauguration of the 8,448 one-room tenements in Dhanas here by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on September 14, the Chandigarh Administration has gone in overdrive to give the final touches to the venue.

The top brass of the UT has been frequenting the new settlement of jhuggi dwellers that could be portrayed in the coming general elections by the UPA government as the first of its kind slum rehabilitation scheme in the country. Around Rs 1,040 crore is being spent on the scheme that envisages the construction of around 25,000 flats across the city.

The Dhanas settlement is expected to house around 40,000 persons. Officials in the Chandigarh Administration disclose that a large green belt in the 60-acre settlement has been identified for the inaugural event. As per the schedule, the Prime Minister would visit the city for a short period. A temporary helipad was also being set up in the area.

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) had spent around Rs 1 lakh each on two flats that have been done with vitrified tiles and artificial partitions. “The partition fittings has been done to show the VVIP and the allottees how the space could be utilised fully,” said an official.

The inhabitants of Colony No. 4 and 5 are to be rehabilitated at the Dhanas settlement where provisions for dispensaries, alternative medical unit, three government senior secondary schools, anganwari centres, primary schools, police station, police post, ration shops and community centres have been made.

Initially, the flats are being allotted on a rent of Rs 850 per month. After 20 years, the same flats would be transferred in the name of the allottees after they have paid the balance cost of the flat.

The flats had been constructed in 2011 but the same could not be allotted as there were certain discrepancies at the site.



Cast of ‘Two to Tango, Three to Jive’ casts a spell
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Theatre-film actor Saurabh Shukla entertained the local audience with his performance in the play “Two to Tango, Three to Jive” staged here at Chitkara School in Sector 25.

The play was a satire on the extramarital affairs and the complications involved in it.

The story revolved around Parminder Singh Sethi (played by Saurabh Shukla), a hotelier, who attempted to have a relation outside his marriage. In that enticing prospect of turning things around, he, however, ended up tossing between comic and confusing situations, which continued to tickle people’s funny bone throughout the play.

Instead of one, three women entered his life and complications galore due to this. The play opened with his meeting with a first woman. Two talked on different issues but parted ways on a nasty note. The second lady, however, kept Parminder engaged with her stories and experiences in the film industry. She gave a lot of hope to Parminder, but nothing really happened between them. Same thing happened with the third lady.

During the course of the play, he tried to have a fling with three women but they rejected him. The play has close to 41 shows across the country so far. Other cast members of the play include Sadia Saddiqui, Achnit Kaur, Preeti Mengail.



CHB Residents Federation holds meeting

Chandigarh, August 25
Continuing the "Aasin Yaad Rakhange" campaign, the CHB Residents Federation held its fifth corner meeting in Sec-32 here today. Attended by hundreds of residents of the CHB colonies and rehabilitation colonies of Chandigarh, the participants lamented that while ignoring their demands, the CHB authorities were planning to demolish their structures. 

The leaders said the main demands of the residents include six-year concession to allow transfer of ownership, sale of a dwelling unit without inspection, power of general power of attorney holders in the rehabilitation colonies should be immediately given the ownership rights etc. — TNS



LPG auto owners hold protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
A rally was held by the LPG auto owners of Chandigarh at the Exhibition Ground, Sector 34, here today. Under the banner of the Tri City LPG Auto Rickshaw Union, the rally was organised to register protest against the alleged indifferent attitude and dual policies of the Chandigarh Administration.

While addressing the protesters, the union leaders condemned the Chandigarh Administration for imposing Section 144 CrPC at the protest site. The union leaders warned the administration that they should seriously consider the demands of the union within 15 days otherwise they would start action against the administration and seal all the entry points of Punjab and Haryana to stop the entry of diesel autos in Chandigarh.



open House response
Mid-day meals: Test food samples

There should be dedicated and exclusive teams at various levels (state, district, school and class) for constant monitoring and evaluating of the Midday Meal Scheme, with their roles as well as responsibilities clearly defined. They should be answerable and accountable at all times. One teacher should be assigned the task of tasting meals before serving. This is absolutely critical. Kitchen-cum-stores should be separately constructed in every school. There should be proper storage to avoid moisture and pest infestation and surprise checks at every stage and everything should be recorded in writing. There should be random testing of food samples from time to time and reputed institutes should do the testing. The centre has sanctioned adequate funds for doing all these but these things are not being done at the ground level.

Pankaj Chandgothia, Panchkula

A sensitive issue

The midday meal is a very sensitive issue as it involves the safety of thousands of children who partake of the meal and may be at risk due to the unsafe food being served. The authorities concerned should keep a strict vigil over the supply of food in the schools that should be hygienic and free from any harmful foreign particle like lizards, cockroaches and insects. Since it is a matter of serious concern, no laxity on part of any official involved should be tolerated. The food, before being served to the children, should be checked and passed everyday by the officials involved. This is the only way out. We have to be sensitive and alert in the matter of health of the schoolchildren.

Shekhar Juneja, Chandigarh

Trained food staff needed for supervision

Foremost thing is concerning persons whether its cooking staff, serving staff or monitoring committee, they must participate in the work as their food is being cooked and in whatever manner they could contribute, they should. To ensure that the midday meal is cooked in hygienic conditions, a trained food safety in charge should be present in kitchen for supervision. Same process must be repeated at the time of delivery of midday meals. The committee should also check the cleanliness of utensils used by cook and pest control services.

Shivani, Chandigarh

Administration should ensure safety

The administration should ensure that the food prepared under the Midday Meal Scheme is transported and served under hygienic conditions. Especially, in case of Colony No 4, the education department in coordination with civic bodies should ensure that the area around the school. It has been seen in some cases that the school authorities due to shortage of space are casual in storage and handling of the midday meal. The prepared food should be served in a hygienic environment.

Avnesh Dadwal, Chandigarh

Authorities must act

Though the idea of serving the midday meal serves two purposes (basic amenities) firstly hunger and second education, but loss of human life by consuming unhygienic food is really shocking and requires immediate attention of the concerned authorities. The tall claims of the government stand nowhere as children feel it is better to be in hunger than to consume the “unhygienic” food with cockroaches as it's surrounds. By allotting duties to the teachers to inspect the food before being served is not an apt idea.

Arshdeep Singh, Mohali

Outsourcing is a better option

Government loudly professes about the need of proper healthcare of the under-privileged and earmark sufficient funds for this sector. Still, due to utter mismanagement at school level, poor children in government schools are served with inadequate and sometimes spurious meals and iron tablets from dubious companies resulting in mishaps. To avoid such situations, preparation of meals in limited schools premises with unsuitable staff and under unhygienic conditions can be dispensed with by outsourcing freshly cooked food from nearby willing caterers at a little extra cost.

SC Luthra, MHC, Mani Majra

Poor children suffer

The recent news of insect-infected food and meals prepared with sub-standard and pesticide-infected oils led to tragic consequences in many schools and the poor children suffered, due to no fault of their own. Such incidents should be an eye-opener to the authorities, which are trusted with the sacred duty of feeding the children. A lot of care needs to be taken to prepare a midday meal for the school children. The head teachers have need to be firmly instructed to ensure good source of water for cooking mid day meals, keep the cooked food under wrap to ensure it does not get contaminated, ensure good packaging of the food served from the community kitchens to different schools.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Not even 10% have schools implemented RTE

According to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, it was mandatory for the schools to provide the midday meals to schoolchildren, and for that the Central government is giving adequate grants to the states for each and every government school. As per the RTE Act, each school was supposed to have or construct a store-cum-kitchen for storing the food grains and cooking of meals within three years from April 1, 2010 to 31 March 2013. But it is sad and shocking and even shameless to see that not even 10 per cent of the schools had implemented the scheme as per the Act.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Teachers’ duty is to teach, not to engage in cooking

The main objective of the Midday Meal Scheme was to reduce dropout rate and raise the percentage of the school attendance. The whole scheme working process should be supervised and well coordinated. Teachers' duty is to teach the students, and not to be engaged in cooking food for them. The infrastructure needs overhauling and required infrastructure such as utensils, washing bars, water supply, raw materials and clean storage rooms.

Rashi Srivastava, Chandigarh

Admn can’t provide safe food despite spending lakhs of rupees

The Midday Meal Scheme is being implemented in the school at all-India level and in spite of the fact that lakhs of rupees are being spent and the administration at different centres can’t provide healthy food to the students under the scheme. To over come all these problems and shortcomings which are very serious in nature, the authorities concerned are to ensure and make the process of supervision and distribution stricter and effective from the point of cleanliness at the place of cooking, transportation, storage etc.

Puran Kant, Chandigarh

Authorities must not shirk from their duty

It is a shame to know about bathroom kitchens for preparation of mid day meals. Since there is a direct link between hunger and education, the authorities must not shirk from their responsibility and the gory incident must open our eyes rather than work as deterrent and in all possibilities and circumstances the midday meal must continue rather with greater safety and security and the importance of this great scheme must not be negated rather properly understood to counter mal-nutrition and illiteracy. As a measure, these guidelines must be evolved based on sound scientific parameters and reliable data on food habits of school kids besides healthy and hygienic practice and about supplies of raw materials by none other than a statutory body like Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Rakesh Chopra, Chandigarh 


The recent deaths in road accidents, involving stray cattle has raised a lot of hue and cry. Questions are being raised about the sincerity of the officials in handling the menace. Faced with criticism, authorities in the tri city have swung into action but a lot needs to be done to take the stray cattle off the roads. What needs to be done to nip the problem at the grass route level. Write your suggestions to openhouse@tribunemail.com



Chandigarh Scan

Plantation drive

To celebrate its 21st foundation day, the Uttarakhand Yuva Manch, Chandigarh, a non-profit voluntary youth organisation, organised a tree plantation drive at a green belt garden in Sector 39-D here on Sunday. Around 200 saplings were planted under the auspices of Mayor Subhash Chawla and area councillor Gurbax Rawat. Besides volunteers from the Uttarakhand Yuva Manch, fraternity, social activists, environmentalists and people from the area marked their presence for the noble cause.


The State Bank of India took a unique initiative in training and educating women employees about their safety and security by organising a seminar for working women safety at its local head office, Sector 17. Kamla Meena, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Women & Child Support Unit), conducted the seminar by educating the women employees on their rights and equipping them with various techniques to counter any unfortunate eventuality.


Jagjit Singh Majha, Managing Director, PCL Group, has received the Rashtriya Rattan Award from the Governor of Assam in the field of Real Estate Land Development and Eco-Friendly Projects.


As part of spreading awareness about osteoporosis, a workshop was organised at the IAF’s No. 3 Base Repair Depot here. A large number of Air Force personnel and members of their families as well as civilian employees attended the workshop. The event was inaugurated by Tanuja Barik, president, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (local). Dr Ashish Paul, an orthopaedic consultant surgeon from Mohali, delivered a talk on osteoporosis to create awareness among participants about it. As many as 200 persons were screened for bone density. Meanwhile, a tree plantation drive was also organised at the depot. About 1,500 different varieties of saplings were planted with support from the Department of Forests, Chandigarh.

Candlelight march

A large number of teachers, students, lawyers and activists belonging to different organisations held a candlelight march at the Sector 17 Plaza to condole the murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar at Pune while he was taking his morning walk. Two assailants pumped four bullets at point blank range before they fled away on a bike.

Awareness camps

The district management cell of the Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Department organised awareness camps here. These camps were organised to inform villagers about the technical and operational aspects of the World Bank-aided Rural Sewerage Scheme and to educate them on the issue related to good sanitation habits and its pros and cons.

Renal transplant unit launched

A state-of-the-art renal transplant unit was launched at Max Super Specialty Hospital here on Sunday by its renal transplant team, including Dr Sanand Bag, Consultant - Urologist, Laparoscopic and Transplant Surgeon, and Dr Munish Chauhan, Consultant - Nephrology and Head - Nephrology Unit. Talking about organ donation, Dr Bag said: “Generally, we are more skeptical about our own well-being when somebody is asked to donate one kidney. One would need to understand that donating one kidney did not affect the physical abilities, quality of life or longevity of a person”.

Outlet opened

Mendo’s, a new pizza outlet, was opened at Sector 16. The outlet will offer unlimited pizzas, along with 22 types of salads, soups, garlic breads and chocolate brownies in just Rs 199. Rupankush Nagal, owner, said it was a pocket-friendly outlet and different types of varieties would cater to the needs of customers.


In his presidential address at a meeting of the Panchkula Management Association (PMA), its president Dr Munjal outlined the achievements of the association made so far. He said one year was too small period for any organisation to achieve some meaningful milestones. He said the endeavour of the organisation had been to engage itself in the deliberations to improve health and educational infrastructure of Panchkula.— TNS



Uploading activities on youtube
CBSE to take strict action against schools 

Panchkula, August 25
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is all set to take action against schools that have not uploaded their various activities on their special channel on ‘YouTube’. Till now, only three schools in tricity have uploaded their videos.

Regional head of the CBSE RJ Khanderao said, “We will be giving them time till September 15 and after that an action would be initiated against them. The initiation has been taken to provide a better platform to the schools.”

The Gurukul school at Sector 20 in Panchkula that has uploaded its various activities is one of the three schools to come up with the initiatve. “It was a good initiation by the CBSE and I feel this is the right platform where children can learn about various social messages,” said principal of the school, Harsimran Kaur.

A channel on ‘YouTube’ by CBSE with a web address-http://www.youtube.com/cbsechannel was started. The affiliated schools could send in their videos to be uploaded on the CBSE channel. Short films, role plays, talks, discussions, debates, presentations on various issues are welcomed. — TNS



Pu polls
NSUI strives to make its mark
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Amid the persistent dominance of the local student unions - PUSU and SOPU - in Panjab University, a national party, NSUI, is now making efforts to make its presence felt.

Banking on the local Congress councillors as well as MP Pawan Kumar Bansal for enriching their vote banks, NSUI members have been eyeing the families of PU students for campaigning.

Representatives of the National Student Union of India (NSUI) today met Bansal and discussed about the ongoing activities of the union.

Even as there are a number of national student unions present on the campus and have representation every year, the two local parties - Student Union of Panjab University and Panjab University Student Union - have been enjoying a fiefdom as the national parties form alliance with them.

The majority is being represented by SOPU and PUSU for the past many years during the PU student council elections.

NSUI chairman Bhupinder Singh Batth said: “Bansal blessed us and gave some useful suggestions. Chandigarh Congress Committee president BB Behl said whosoever will support other students’ organisations will not be given any place in the Congress”.



Increase in MBBS seats
College can’t hold fresh round of counselling, MCI tells HC
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Medical Council of India (MCI) in its affidavit filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court last week stated that increase in the state quota either by increase in seats by the Medical Council of India or inclusion of seats by lapses of the all-India quota would not confer right upon any medical institution to start a fresh process of issuing advertisement for filling seats and holding fresh round of counselling.

The MCI’s affidavit is contrary to the notification issued by the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh, on August 1 for inviting fresh application for its enhanced 50 MBBS seats granted to the college by the MCI on July 30.

While the single Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has already quashed this controversial notification by the GMCH on August 8, the matter is pending in appeal before the division Bench headed by the Chief Justice of the High Court. The MCI filed its reply on this matter before the division Bench on August 18.

At Para 3 of its affidavit, the MCI stated that the manner and mode of admission and counselling for admission to the MBBS course has been provided in the Regulations for Graduate Medical Education, 1997. There is no provision to invite fresh application in case of increase in admission capacity in the MBBS course either in the state/UT and all-India quota or increase in admission capacity.

“Inviting application at this stage is not envisaged in the regulation as the date of submission of applications is mentioned in the regulation and the authorities cannot act contrary to the regulation and law laid down by the Supreme Court,” it further said in its affidavit.

Endorsing the single Bench’s judgement on quashing the controversial notification, it stated in the last Para: “There is no infirmity in the judgement and the order passed by the learned single judge.”

As per information, the matter is slated for hearing on August 27 and the parents of eligible students are eagerly waiting for this date. They rue that the overall admission process had already delayed by nearly a month due to this legal tussle. They appeal to all the authorities concerned to take humanitarian viewpoint of the affected students who despite featuring into the merit list, continue to suffer because of the legal battle.



Another litigation in distribution of seats at GMCH-32
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
In an another litigation against the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, two writ petitioners argued in their petition filed last week that the hospital was depriving two to three MBBS seats to the general category students every year.

They alleged that the GMCH-32 was acting arbitrarily in distribution and reservation of MBBS seats across different categories of UT Pool seats. The matter will come up for hearing on August 27 before the single Bench. The petitioners, Rishika Malik and Arpit Agrawal, said: "The GMCH prospectus specifically provides for reservation of seats in the UT pool as 14 per cent for the Schedule Caste (SC) and 3 per cent for the Physically Handicap (PH) categories. But these reserved seats were being calculated on the total number of MBBS seats, whereas the calculation should have been made on the UT pool seats, a practice followed by several state governments across the country".

The petitioners said in Chandigarh, 15 per cent seats were given for all-India quota, 2 per cent to the Central Government for Central Pool and 6 per cent to NRIs.

Therefore the calculation of seats for the SC and PH categories should be done after deducting all-India quota, Central Government quota and NRI quota, the rule that was followed by several state governments.

They argued that in view of the enhancement of seats to 100 at the GMCH, Sector 32, general category students would be deprived of 6-7 seats if the college continued to follow the old norms.

"The reservation has to be calculated and provided from the UT Pool seats and not from the total number of seats, which the authorities have been doing for the past several years," the petitioners said. They further said the 15 per cent seats, which are given to all-India quota, also had seats reserved for the SC and ST.



Kharar students excel in PTU exams
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Devan Verma, a student of the Doaba Institute of Engineering & Technology, Kharar, has secured first position in Punjab Technical University in the sixth semester BTech (Mechanical Engineering) examination. He had earlier secured third position in the fifth semester. Sandeep Singh of the same college has secured second position in PTU in the sixth semester BTech (IT) examination.

The managing vice-chairman of the Doaba Group of Colleges, SS Sangha, and the executive vice-chairman, Manjit Singh, congratulated the students on their performance and announced special cash prizes for the university toppers.

Director-General Daljit Singh congratulated the students and complemented them on their perseverance and hard work. 



National Integration Camp
NCC cadets leave for Leh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
As many as 128 NCC cadets, including 50 girls, from all over the country are participating in a 12-day All-India Special National Integration Camp (NIC) being conducted in Leh-Ladakh from August 26. The cadets left for Leh by an Air India special flight from Chandigarh today.

Wg Cdr Jaideep Singh Jeji, Commanding Officer of No 1 Chandigarh NCC Air Squadron, said the cadets underwent high altitude medical examination prior to their departure to ensure their fitness.

The cadets are from Kerala, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, West Bengal, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura and Jharkhand directorates of the National Cadet Corps. Associate NCC officers, girl cadet instructors and NCC officers and instructors are accompanying the cadets.

The Special National Integration Camps are a part of the cultural training syllabus of the NCC. These camps help bridge the cultural gap between cadets from different states and provide a platform for the youth to exchange their ideas, culture, heritage and learn about parts of the country. The camp will continue till September 6, after which the cadets will return to Chandigarh. Thereafter, they will disperse for their respective states.



from schools 
Interactive session on human rights

Chandigarh: The Legal Literacy Club of GMSSS-19 organised an interactive session on human rights. Dr V Singh, a renowned human rights lawyer from Chennai, and General Secretary of the People Union for Civil Liberties, was the main speaker. He made the students aware of human rights and told them to respect each other in society. A debate on the topic “should girls be stopped from wearing western dresses” was also held on the occasion.

I-Day celebrated

The Independence Day was celebrated at Government Model High School, Vikas Nagar, with patriotic fervour. The headmistress delivered a speech after the flag-hoisting ceremony. The students presented cultural programme and patriotic dances. The event drew an overwhelming response from the staff members and the students.

Visit to ISKCON temple

St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44-D, took the students to ISKCON temple in Sector 36-D. All students were amused to hear the interesting episodes of Krishna’s life narrated to them in the form of stories like “maakhan chori”, “Krishna-Sudama Milan”, “Govardhan pooja”, “Raas Leela”, “Kansa Vadh”, etc.

Sadbhavna Diwas

Sadbhavna Diwas was celebrated at DAV, Sector 15, to mark the birth anniversary of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. Speeches were held to mark the occasion. A pledge was also taken by the students to respect all religions, regions, caste and languages. School principal Dr Rakesh Sachdeva motivated the students to follow the path of non-violence and have respect for each other. She applauded the efforts of NSS volunteers to organise the function.

Janmashtami celebrated

Mohali: Janmashtami was celebrated with utmost zeal and enthusiasm at Doon School. Tiny tots enacted Krishna, Radha, gopis, gwalas. They offered prayers and set the festive mood alive by scintillating folk dances followed by “Dahi Handi celebration”. Sweets were distributed among children. They were advised to inculcate the teachings of Lord Krishna in their lives.

Environment Week

The students of DAV School celebrated “Vanamahotsava” as Environment Week. The week started with the plantation of saplings. Students of different classes shared their concerns about the Earth in the morning assembly. Charts, poster-making, board decoration and slogan-writing competitions were also conducted in the senior classes. The attraction of the week was poetry recitation by pre-primary wing students.

Essay writing, painting competitions

St Soldier International Convent School organised essay writing and painting competitions for students on the school premises. It aimed at sensitising the students to the Earth and its preservation. The topics for the competitions were circulated among the students in advance, but questions were asked on the spot. Students from classes IX to XII formed Group A and students from classes V to VIII comprised Group B.

Rakhi celebrations

Rakhi celebrations were held at Gurukul World School. Tiny tots were dressed in traditional dresses and the rituals of the festival were explained to the students through a skit. Beautiful rakhis were also made by girls and thanksgiving cards by boys.


Genius Public School celebrated Janmashtami. The students were dressed as Radha, Krishna and gopis depicting the pictures of Lord Krishna. Sweets were also distributed among students. The kindergarten was beautifully decorated showing the life of Lord Krishna.

Teej celebrated

Sant Isher Singh Senior Secondary School celebrated Teej festival on the school campus with gaiety. The students of kindergarten came to school in colourful dresses. They enjoyed swings and took part in a fancy dress competition. Girls performed giddha, which was appreciated by one and all. Lovdeep Singh and Kanwarjit of class XII sang beautiful songs related to the Punjabi culture. - TNS 



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