C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


14 minor fires reported on Diwali night
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Fourteen minor incidents of fire were reported on Diwali night. However, no major loss was reported from any part of the city.

A fire broke out at the office of the Food and Supplies Department, Haryana, situated on the third floor of the 30 bays building in Sector 17.

The Fire Department received a call at 8.34 pm yesterday after which two fire engines and a hydraulic platform-cum-turn table ladders were sent to the spot. Firefighters reached the third floor of the building with the help of a ladder and controlled the fire within 20 minutes. An official of the Fire Department said some documents and furniture items, which were kept in the balcony, were destroyed in the fire. The reason of the fire could not be ascertained, he said.

Besides, the Fire Department also received calls from residential areas in Sectors 20-D, 21-D, 45-C, 15-A, 49, Ramdarbar and Mauli Jagran. However, these were minor fires. In a majority of the cases, crackers had caused fire in rooms. In all the cases, the fire was controlled within 15 minutes.

Besides, two calls of fire on vehicles were also received. A motorcycle caught fire in Sector 34 while a truck was damaged in a fire in Mani Majra.

Firefighters remained on their toes throughout the night and managed to control the fires on time. An official said most fires were controlled immediately as fire engines had been deployed in sensitive areas. 



Crackers cost 8 their vision
219 cases of eye and burn injuries reported from tricity during Diwali celebrations
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
It was a dark Diwali for eight residents who lost their eyesight due to serious eye injuries caused by the bursting of crackers yesterday night. A total of 219 eye and burn cases were reported from various hospitals in the tricity. While 45 cases of eye and burn injuries were reported from Panchkula and 30 from Mohali, 144 such cases were reported from the the PGI, the GMSH, Sector 16, and the GMCH, Sector 32, till this afternoon.

A consultant at the Advanced Eye Centre, PGI, Dr Reena Bansal, said the number of vision- loss cases could go higher as there were 11 more Diwali-related sensitive eye injury cases at the PGI in which doctors felt the chances of the patients regaining vision were bleak.

From left (first row) Munish, Vishal & Lakshay; (second row) Shubham, Vivek & Mandeep; and (third row) Khushboo, Naveen & Pooja, who received eye injuries while bursting crackers on Sunday night. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

The PGI received 45 serious cases of eye injuries and four cases of minor burn injuries. The GMSH received 80 cases of which 18 were related to eye injuries. The Deputy Medical Superintendent, Dr G Dewan, said none of the patients had serious injuries and they were sent home after being given treatment.

In the GMCH, 15 cases eye injuries were reported, of whom two were admitted, while the others were discharged after being given treatment. Four minor eye injury cases were reported from a private eye institute in the city today.

According to sources at the PGI, 18 patients had an eye rupture and required surgical treatment. Doctors said patients with "blunt trauma" also had serious internal eye injuries. While 15 patients were from the tricity, the rest of them were referred from outside.

According to doctors at the PGI, the number of children who received injuries during the Diwali celebrations this year was more as compared to previous years. While 22 children received serious injuries this year, last year only three children had suffered serious injuries due to the bursting of crackers.

Dr Reena Bansal of the PGI said there were some cases of serious injuries in which the victims were not bursting crackers but were accidentally hurt. She expressed shock that despite so much awareness being spread regarding the importance of observing a green Diwali, the number of children who received serious eye injuries had increased drastically.

Doctors said this year most of the injuries occurred due to bursting of crackers in hands by the victims. Interestingly, the parents of a majority of the children who were injured did not buy crackers for them and the children got injured while bursting crackers in their neighborhood with their friends.

Ravi Kumar, father of Vishal Kumar (7), said this time he had asked his son to celebrate a green Diwali to avoid any untoward incident. However, while he had gone to the market to buy some material for puja, his son's friend called him to burst crackers and he got injured. Manish Kumar (9) from Sangrur received serious eye injuries and burnt both his hands while he was trying to burst crackers in a bowl.

Won't burst crackers all my life, says 5-year-old

"I will not burst crackers for the rest of my life. I got injured yesterday and my eyes have bee paining since then. I am on medicines and have received painful injections," said five-year-old Shubham of Kaithal in Haryana, who was the youngest eye patient referred to the Advanced Eye Centre at the PGI last night after a cracker hit his eyes.

No lessons learnt

Learning no lessons from the incident in which he received a serious eye injury on Diwali three years ago, Ludhiana-based Lavpreet Singh (12) still preferred to burst crackers. Lavpreet visited the Advanced Eye Centre of the PGI on Monday as even after two major surgeries in Ludhiana, he has not been able to regain full vision. His father, who accompanied him to the PGI, said he could not stop him from bursting crackers.

No. of eye injury & burn cases up

Hospital- 2013/ 2012

PGI- 49/ 24

GMSH 16- 80/ 86

GMCH 32- 15 27

Total- 144/ 137



Blast in reactors at perfume unit
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 4
A major tragedy was averted due to a holiday on Vishwakarma Day today when a blast ripped apart two reactors at a perfume manufacturing unit here.

The incident occurred at 5 pm at the Work Well unit in Phase VII, Industrial Area, in the town.

Assistant Sub-Inspector Ram Darshan said the impact was so strong that pieces of the tin roof of the unit fell over 50 metres away. "Windowpanes of nearby factories were also broken due to the impact of the blast," the ASI said. About 15 workers are employed in the unit. As today was a holiday, the workers were not present at the unit.

The owner of the unit, Harcharan Singh, said he suffered a loss of about Rs 4 lakh. "However, I am thankful to the Almighty that he has saved my workers and me," he said. 



Mystery behind youth’s death deepens
Postmortem indicates poisoning; no signs of asphyxiation found
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 4
The mystery shrouding the death of a youth, Dinesh (27), whose highly decomposed body was found from a bed box along with burnt coal in his flat on Saturday, has deepened further as the postmortem has revealed "congested viscera", which, doctors say, is in the case of poisoning. The doctors suspect foul play in the incident.

“The viscera is totally congested, indicating poisoning. No signs of any injury or asphyxiation due to burnt coal has been found during the postmortem,” said the head of the postmortem wing at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Dr Sunil Gambhir.

The police, on the other hand, has termed it a case of suicide. It has not made any efforts to get the handwriting on the "suicide note" matched with the help of forensic experts.

According to one of the neighbours in the society, "three or four" room-mates of the victim are missing. The neighbour said friends would often pour in at the flat till late at night. However, the police said one room-mate had already left the house in September.

The investigating officer in the case, Assistant Sub-Inspector Jai Singh, said they were yet to receive the postmortem report. He said the victim had sent a message to his landlord, who resides in Mumbai, saying that he would vacate the house on October 17 and he had cleared all dues.

Dinesh's body was found in a highly decomposed state on Saturday under mysterious circumstances in a bed box along with burnt coal in a locked flat in the Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 6, Panchkula. The body appeared to be around 10 days old. Twenty pages of a dairy, being termed as a suicide note by the police, were found from the room. The pages were reportedly written on October 22.

Dinesh, who was employed with a private company in the MDC, was putting up in a rented accommodation. The suicide note mentioned betrayal by a girl and no support from family members.

The police has termed it a strange case of suicide, saying that the victim put a tray of burning coal in the bed box and lay inside after closing the bed box.



Open House response
Penalise cyclists who don’t use tracks
Kanchan Vasdev

First of all, cycle tracks have to be designated and well-maintained to bring about proper connectivity of the cyclists towards these tracks. Other vehicle-owners like motorists should be fined, if they use these tracks. Similarly, cyclists should be penalised by the traffic police, if they do not use these tracks. Secondly, cycling parking sites should be properly designed on these tracks. Locking system, along with this, should also be introduced. Cycling has a great advantage of petrol saving and controlling pollution.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Have an SOP on good cycle tracks

It is sad that the UT Administration is not paying enough attention for the upkeep of the cycle tracks in the city. No such proper mechanism exists or is followed to protect and motivate the cycle users. A comprehensive standard operating procedure (SOP) must be chalked out for the use of these tracks. It needs to be implemented seriously by the traffic police. It was so when I joined my regiment 39 years ago. As young officers, we were allowed only bicycles, irrespective of what we could afford. Thank God, the Army still maintains the cycling culture in the NDA, the IMA, and the OTA. Cadets use only bicycles.

I hope the IAS and IPS academies can follow suit. We should motivate more and more people to use bicycles for near distances and the authorities ensuring good cycle tracks in the city.

Colonel RD Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt

Existing cycle tracks unfit for use

How long will the Chandigarh Administration take to wake up to the serious issues of accidents, even fatal ones, caused by the presence of cyclists on the main roads of the city? It seems that the administration is not at all bothered to make or force the cyclists to use cycle tracks. This is despite the Punjab and Haryana High Court order to the administration to improve the conditions of the existing cycle tracks which are unfit for use for even pedestrians what to talk of cyclists and rickshaw pullers. It is sad and shameful to see crores of rupees of the tax-payers money going down the drain on the construction of these cycle tracks. The cyclists and rickshaws continue to be plied on the main roads with impunity. The Chandigarh Administration along with the Municipal Corporation (MC) must act in a serious and immediate manner to improve the lot of the cycle tracks in the city.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Awareness drive first requirement

Road accidents near traffic signals that occur mostly due to cyclists are in hurry at the flick of green light. In order to minimise such fatalities, the immediate need of the hour is to make these cyclists aware of traffic norms on fast city roads, because most of the times, they hail from remote villages and have landed in the City Beautiful in search of jobs. Safe cycling, at least within the sectors in Chandigarh can return after revamping of the existing dilapidated cycling tacks which were allowed to perish due to utter neglect of civic authorities. Re-birth of trans-sector cycling, which was once very popular in early sixties and mid-70s, is just unthinkable now in this era of swanky cars occupying most of the road space almost through the day.

SC Luthra, Mani Majra

For many, cycling a compulsion

For scores of people cycling is not a healthy option but an economic compulsion. Cycle tracks are the cheapest to make and maintain. These should be free of unwanted grass and shrubs. At many places these are encroached upon by vendors. It has also been seen that whenever there is a traffic jam on a road two-wheelers use these tracks to move ahead.

IPS Anand, Mani Majra

Tracks have turned into parking lots

Since ages, the bicycle has been cheapest, best and popular mode of transport in India. Bicycle ownership in Chandigarh is with about 64 per cent of households owned bicycles. But this has emerged as a traffic menace. Cyclists violate rules and obstruct smooth of flow of traffic on roads. After pedestrians, cyclists are the No. 2 victims in road accident. Twenty-one cyclists were killed in the past nine months. The number of accidents speaks negligence of the authorities and cyclists. There is need to take number of steps to control the non-motorised traffic. There is need to provide good designated cycle tracks on all roads with proper connectivity. These tracks must be free from encroachment. As these tracks have turned into dumping sites and parking lots.

Vidya Sagar Garg, Panchkula

Maintaining infrastructure most important

Biggest nightmare in Chandigarh is to ride a bicycle or to pull a cycle rickshaw on crowded roads especially when most of the cycling routes remain damaged or intruded by two-wheelers and sometimes even by four-wheelers. Total network of cycling routes, which was created by the Chandigarh Administration alongside the main roads for the safety of cyclists and rickshaw pullers, remain deserted as most of the rickshaw pullers and cyclists do not use these tracks. Rules to penalty for cyclists or rickshaw pullers will have to be introduced to create fear among them. Creating an infrastructure is not important, maintaining it after its creation matters the most. Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh is continuously levying taxes on all the services.

Ravinder Nath, Chandigarh

Encourage people to use bicycles

The increasing vehicular population has made the city unsafe for road users, particularly cyclist. Absence of power of the policeto penalise the cyclists is also leading to road accidents. People should be encouraged to use a bicycle as this is the only eco-friendly pollution free vehicle.

Jagdishpal Singh Kalra, Chandigarh

Safety a huge concern

There has been a lot of discussion regarding safety of cyclists as many accidents occur on roads involving cyclists. For that purpose, cycle tracks were made where any other vehicles won’t be allowed. But because of the poor maintenance, they are not serving the purpose they were built for. Cycle tracks in most sectors are poorly-maintained. Motorists freely enter the cycle tracks and pose a risk to the cyclists. Proper sign-boards must be maintained which can be understood by the cyclists, which can direct them towards the cycle track.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Open house question

Commuting in the city by a privately-owned transport, be a four-wheeler or a two-wheeler, still remains a preferred choice for many, thanks to the state-owned public transport service run by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) that is struggling with the shortage of buses and inadequate operating crew. What needs to be done to make the public transport user-friendly and an efficient mode of transport. Send your suggestions along with a passport size picture to openhouse@tribunemail.com 


Cycling becoming a nightmare

Le Corbuiser, the man who raised buildings and Sectors of the City Beautiful nearly 50 years ago, had the far sight of providing dedicated cycle tracks in almost all parts of the city. Yet, people governing the Union Territory, it appears, have lost the sight of the concept over years. The cycle tracks have been completely ignored as a result of which, cycling in the city is increasingly becoming a nightmare.

Kolkatta, another city of dreams, founded and developed by the Britishers, has gone through the same phase. The descent was on same lines. The cycle corridors disappeared, consumed by the swelling roads. And when the authorities can't find any place for cycles, they just banned it from as many as 174 tracks. Will Chandigarh experience the same and put the joy on two wheels in lock and key forever?

Many of the tracks are blocked with garbage and debris. Untrimmed branches of overgrown trees pose a threat to the safety of the cyclists dangling dangerously close to the level of their head. A major impediment is the way cycle tracks merge into the main roads short of the roundabouts. At many places, the traffic lights are synchronised to provide one minute window for the bicycle riders to pass through. But, at other places, cyclists are often trapped in the gush of motor vehicles honking at them as if they are second rate citizens.

Statistics explain the gravity of the situation. In past nine months alone, 21 cyclists were killed and 65 others suffered injuries in over 100 road accidents in the city. A total of 97 cyclists were killed and about 160 injured in 310 road accidents in last three years. This year has been clearly particularly harsh.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has also induced some hope by directing the UT Administration to maintain the tracks and provide safe space to cyclists on the roads. The police has to put its thinking cap on and provide safe riding for the bicycles as per the order instead of looking for lame excuses. The motor drivers too need to show respect to cyclists by giving them the "right of way", like in Developed Nations. Every cyclist's contribution by way of easing congestion on roads and preventing carbon emission is tremendous.

Barcelona in Spain provides a good example. It has created a special "ring" for bicycles that runs parallel to the roads. It even has "bike stations" from where bicycles can be rented out. It remains to be seen whether Chandigarh, being one of the most planned cities of the world, can show the way to the people of the region by making it a "cyclists' paradise". 


Better Chandigarh
Public transport elusive in egalitarian dream
Le Corbusier envisioned Chandigarh as a modern, egalitarian city. The Administration, however, is struggling to put in place an effective public transport system, a must in any society striving for equality. In the Part I of the series on commuting in the city, The Tribune reporter Rajmeet Singh finds out why the powers that be are not able to give an alternative to private vehicles

Chandigarh: Privately owned transport, be a four-wheeler or a two-wheeler, remains the preferred choice for commuting among the city residents.

Courtesy: A struggling state-owned public transport service, being run by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), that is marred by a shortage of buses and inadequate operating crew.

The total number of motorised vehicles in Chandigarh has increased over 70 times from around 12,345 in 1971 to around 8.70 lakh. Official figures reveal that since 1966, when the CTU started with a 30-bus fleet, only 438 more buses have been added till 2012. The population of the city, meanwhile, has grown from 2.50 lakh in 1970 to 11 lakh in 2012. As per the national yardstick, for a population of one lakh, there should be 27 buses. By that parameter, there should be around 300 buses for the local service alone.

In existence for nearly five decades, the CTU—with a fleet of 236 buses on 70 local routes—covers 47,000 kilometres to ferry around 1.83 lakh passengers everyday.

The aging fleet of around 70 white-and-blue semi-low floor buses is giving operational problems to the CTU, compared to the modern and comfortable new green and red low-floor buses that the passengers prefer to ride on, but remain inadequate in number.

Commuting in and around the city on local buses, moreover, is nothing less than a riddle for these people. Commuters end up asking fellow passengers about the route or have to make desperate enquiries at the ticket counters.

Frequent users of the CTU service lament the poor accessibility and service frequency. Despite a service frequency ranging between 20 minutes and an hour and a half, depending on the length of the route, the CTU buses, at times, run behind schedule owing to various reasons.

There remains confusion about buses running on the grid system (now partially diverted routes) and those running from point to point. For many destinations, two buses have to be changed, but there are no route plans to guide the commuters. Though the bus number is mentioned at the bus queue shelters, the route and time taken to reach the destination is given a miss.

Ailments galore

Delay in procurement

The CTU has failed to procure more buses despite calling bids five times. The Chandigarh Administration has put the blame of the cancellation of tenders on the manufacturers. UT officials say the manufacturers failed to agree to the terms and conditions that were incorporated as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Urban Development. They say efforts are on to negotiate with the manufacturers. Now, the UT is also contemplating to go for midi-buses (low-floor buses that are bigger than the traditional mini-bus). These buses will be procured in addition to the AC low-floor and non-AC semi-low floor buses. The officials have been asked to conduct a fresh survey to ascertain the demand.

A CTU bus falling to pieces gets stuck near Panjab University.

Shortage of STAFF

It is not only the shortage of buses, the inadequate number of operating crew is also a cause of concern for the CTU. Due to the shortage of 100 drivers and 200 conductors, the department is forced to pay an overtime allowance to the tune of Rs 11 crore to the existing staff every year. Moreover, driving buses beyond eights hours daily affects the health of drivers and also leads to accidents, says a CTU official. A case regarding the recruitment of 114 drivers is pending with the Central Administrative Tribunal.

No one to look after shelters

The 260-odd bus queue shelters of three kinds--the brick structure, the wrought-iron structure and the latest ultra-modern steel structures--are a classic example of the UT officials' belief in putting the cart before the horse. Without framing a clear policy on maintenance, the UT architect department designed the structures and the MC engineering wing spent crores of rupees on constructing these.

Now, with neither of the two taking the responsibility of maintaining these shelters, broken benches and littered surroundings leave a poor impression.

It is grid system versus point to point

In 2006, the CTU introduced a grid system with an objective to ply buses only on vertical and horizontal routes on the city roads. By not moving on the inner roads of sectors, it was expected that the buses will be able to provide a faster service by sticking to a rigid timetable, making it a possible permanent means of transport for commuters. The system, however, failed to attract the residents, leading to certain alterations to allow the buses to touch the Sector 17 and 43 ISBTs. The transport undertaking is also operating a point-to-point service.

High-end technologies fail to deliver

GPS-based vehicle-tracking system was introduced on 100 buses, while passengers information system (PIS) was installed at 50 bus queue shelter. The GPS system installed on the buses to track the movement of buses failed, as routes were often changed due to the shortage of buses. PIS, too, could not work properly, and the agreement with the service provider expired. The digital screens installed at shelters were either damaged or got stolen. The transport department is again making efforts to install the GPS-based system on low-floor buses. The SMS-based query system to know the estimated time of arrival of buses at the designated bus queue shelter is also being upgraded. 

A non-functioning electronic time table at the PGI.

An aging fleet 

Half of the buses in the 468-bus fleet of the public transport undertaking have either outlived their operational period or are nearing the end. While the four-year-old fleet of 100 low-floor AC and semi-low floor non-AC buses have brought respite, the 70 white-and-blue low-floor buses that were inducted nearly a decade ago are falling to pieces. Officials admit they are forced to keep these jittery buses running to cope with the shortage. The effective strength of all the low-floor buses is around 160, apart from the long-route buses put on local routes. As per estimates, there should be around 300 buses for the local service alone.

Residents speak

I have to change two buses to reach my school. There should be direct service between different points to facilitate commuting. Ashish

I prefer to travel on the green, low-floor buses. These are comfortable as compared to the old ones running on the local routes. Kamal

The frequency of service needs to be increased. At times, buses do not ply as per the schedule, making us wait for long. Raj

Students should be given passes in the AC buses and more buses should run during the opening and closing time of educational institutes. Tarlochan

Information on routes and actual running time of buses should be uploaded on the website besides being made available on a mobile application. Ravi Prashar

‘Need to strike a balance’

Taking a cue from ants, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, came up with a solution to streamline the public transport system in the city. According to it, while the CTU buses on certain routes are overloaded, buses ply almost empty on other routes around the same time. The best way to streamline traffic is by striking a balance between the overloaded and the empty buses, it was suggested.



Diwali leaves a mess on internal roads

On post-Diwali holiday of Vishkarma Day, the local residents woke up in the morning to find the roads in front of their residences littered with cracker waste. The irresponsible way of celebrating Diwali made residents suffer later.

Politicians splurge on gifts

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda celebrated the Festival of Lights at his home in Rohtak. The family of Leader of the Opposition Om Prakash Chautala, who is in jail along with his MLA son Ajay Chautala, kept the celebrations a low-key affair. Though Hooda sent Diwali gifts to scribes, the Chautalas obviously gave the gifts a miss this time around. Some of Hooda's cabinet colleagues and certain MLAs jumped on the "gift" bandwagon. In contrast, Diwali celebrations of Punjab politicians saw scribes getting gifts, ranging from expensive liquor to branded dinner sets. A box of expensive imported goodies was reportedly sent to scribes by two top politicians of the ruling party.

WhatsApp comes handy

Social network site WhatsApp has become a viable means to share the Diwali greetings with the near and dear ones free of cost when telecom service providers were charging high rates for SMSes during the festival. People had stopped messaging a day before Diwali.

Costly festival

Though residents claim that Diwali was a costly festival, the fact was not evident in the use of crackers in tri city. People spent as usual on crackers and celebrated the occasion by bursting crackers even after midnight.

Madhya Marg too busy

An altogether different scenario was witnessed on the road to Panchkula two days before the festival. The route from the transport light point to the Housing Board chowk, which remained chock-a-block even during the normal days, was easy to pass by between 8 pm and 9 pm on Diwali. May be the entire concentration of traffic was on the Madhya Marg!

Time to mend ties

Keeping in mind the next parliamentary elections, city politicians used the festival to make more friends. They visit the houses of not ony their party workers, but also important workers of the rival parties. Those who failed to visit the houses of party workers sent their wishes on the phone.

No sweets please

The old custom of exchanging sweets among friends and relatives on Diwali seems to have become out of fashion, particularly in the tricity. Instead, people here prefer to gift crockery items, gift packs of cookies, chocolates, dry fruit and juices and electronic goods. There was a big "no" to sweets this Diwali. Mohali-based Dinesh Kumar said: "I did not gift any of my relatives or friends sweets and none of my friends or relatives sent me sweets yesterday". Similar feedback was received from several persons in the tricity. Their common reply was: "Traditionally, we have to exchange sweets but seeing a lot of news reports about the seizure of synthetic and unhygienic sweets everyday, we have said goodbye to sweets".

Contributed by: Pradeep Sharma, Deepankar Sharda, Hina Rohtaki, Rajinder Nagarkoti, Akash Ghai and Aarti Kapur



PCR gets 2,700 calls on festival night
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
As the city celebrated the Festival of Lights, the UT police control room was flooded with calls pertaining to various incidents of crime. The UT police control room number 100 received a whopping 2,700 calls last night. Vehicles were dispatched to the spots in response to 307 calls. Last year, the police control room had received 283 calls on Diwali.

A police official said 307 calls at the control room last night were spot related while the rest were informatory or even repetitive calls.

Police sources said as many as 134 calls out of a total of 307 pertained to quarrel and 51 were accident-related calls. More than 15 calls were from residents complaining of noise pollution and bursting crackers by residents after 10 pm which was the permissible time. A total of 21 calls pertained to fire due to crackers.

Meanwhile, amid tight security arrangements, the Diwali celebrations passed off without any untoward incident in the city. The local police had pressed more than 1,000 police personnel, including 12 DSPs, 30 inspectors and 300 women constables into service. They were deployed at all the sensitive points in the city round-the-clock.

Tight security arrangements were made in areas where clubs and hotels are situated, especially in Sector 26, Sector 35, Aroma light point and Sector 17 Plaza. Besides, nakas were laid across the city to maintain law and order to check traffic rules violations, especially drunk driving.

The number of calls at the control room was 30 per cent higher than the daily average calls.



Mohali witnesses a safe Diwali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 4
Residents of Mohali witnessed a safe Diwali this year with reports of minor fires being received from the town and surrounding areas.

No loss of life or major damage to property was reported in incidents of fire on day of the Diwali yesterday.

Ravinder Kumar, station fire officer, said here today that six incidents of minor fire were reported from Mohali and surrounding areas. Three of the fire calls were received from the town itself while the remaining three from nearby areas.

He said that two calls had come from Phases X and XI . While waste material lying in an open area had caught fire in Phase X , dry vegetation in Phase XI had caught fire . A motor cycle had got burnt in another fire which broke out near a jhuggi colony in Phase II.

Some wood and plastic material lying on a rooftop near Kapur Chowk in Kharar had caught fire while minor damage to household goods was witnessed by employees of the fire brigade in a fire which broke out in a house on the Landran road in Kharar.

In Jandpur village piles of cowdung cakes had caught fire, added Kumar.



Watching fireworks costs many dear in P’kula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 4
Watching fireworks cost many Panchkula residents dear. Of 45 patients suffering burns in Panchkula, around 35 were spectators, including a 60-year-old man, Ramu, from Saketri, who has suffered burns on his entire body.

Ramu was sitting outside when splinters of a "rocket" fell on him. Ramu has suffered burns on his entire body. “I was not even bursting crackers and just watching fireworks sitting outside when splinters fell on me,” said Ramu, who was admitted at the general hospital sector 6.

Of the 45 burn cases reported at the general hospital, 7 were of eye injuries. A 12-year-old boy, identified as Sunny, who has suffered an eye injury, has been referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh. Fifteen of the patients are children, the youngest being 3 years old.

Seven children in the age group of 3 to 14 were reportedly just watching fireworks. Yajak (6), a resident of Sector 15, was injured when he picked a cracker to see if it had caught fire. It exploded all of a sudden bursting and injured his hand.

Most of the cases were reported from Vikasnagar, Saketri, Budanpur,Rajiv colony, Sectors 7,9,14,15 and 19.

During the week preceding Diwali the Panchkula-Ambala Commissionerate Control Rooms got 271 calls. These calls involved issues that were solved on the spot and no case had to be registered nor a follow-up warranted after their instantaneous resolution.

In Panchkula, 93 complaints were received during the week.

Three hurt in LPG fire

Diwali celebrations turned sour for a couple residing at Peer Mushalla as they had leaned their gas cylinder against the wall to extract the last gram of LPG from it. The cylinder caught fire due to gas leak. The couple and their daughter were injured. The husband had just lit the matchstick to light earthen lamps when the leaking gas caught fire. “As the cylinder was kept near the bed on which my wife and daughter were sitting, they suffered burns,” the man said. Two other children of Kumar escaped unhurt as they were exploding crackers outside.

Minor fire incidents

10 roadside accidents on Diwali night were reported at the general hospital, all of them being minor ones. Three minor fire incidents were reported but no casualty or injury took place. One could see heaps of garbage in various sectors, particularly Saketri, Abhaypur, Rajiv Colony, Sector 15, MDC.

Man killed in accident

In a hit-and-run case on Saturday night, a 60-year-old man died at Ramgarh. The victim, identified as Ali Hasan, is a resident of Bihar. He had come to Ramgarh to meet his relatives.



14 get eye injuries due to crackers
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 4
Exploding a cracker cost dear to 12-year-old Naman from Mundi Kharar, when it went off all of a sudden. The explosion caused injuries in the both eyes of the boy.

The cases of Devraj (10), Raju (10) and Aman (21) were similar as these youngsters suffered injuries in their both eyes while playing with firecrackers on Diwali night. A 42-year-old woman lost partial vision in her one eye due to firecrackers.

According to the data collected from four major hospitals, about 30 cases of firecracker injuries, including 14 cases of eye injuries, were reported last night at various hospitals of the town. Most of the patients were in the age group of 10 to 20 years.

The Mohali Civil Hospital’s senior medical officer, Dr Adesh Kaur, said as many as 18 cases, including eight cases of eye injuries were reported. “All the patients were discharged after treatment today”, said Dr Adesh Kaur.

“Naman, Devraj, Raju and Aman suffered injuries in both eyes while 10-year-old Shameem’s right eye was injured during cracker bursting,” said Dr Adesh while adding that none of them sustained serious eye injuries.

Two patients, a seven-year-old girl and a 28-year-old person, were admitted to Fortis Hospital for treatment of burn injuries. “Both the patients were discharged after treatment”, said a spokesperson of the hospital.

At Sohana Eye Hospital, a total of five patients reported for eye injuries while the burn injury department of the hospital also received four patients. Of five eye patients, three were children below the age of 10. “Six-year-old Parth Sharma, Birkamal (5) and Roshan (9) suffered injuries in their eyes last night. Of a total of four cases of burn injuries, three are children below the age of 10,” said a doctor at Sohana Hospital. 



Seasonal rivulet to be covered with herbal plants
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 4
Waking up on the issue of garbage dumping in the seasonal rivulet, ‘Patiala ki Rao’, the Mohali Municipal Corporation has directed its contractor in the job to cover the garbage with layers of soil and plant herbal saplings on it.

Giving details, the Mohali MC Commissioner, Uma Shankar Gupta, said the contractor has been given a deadline of 45 days.

“Within the span of 45 days, he would have to cover the heaps of garbage with soil layers and then would plant herbal saplings on it,” said the commissioner.

With the step, the problem of stink in the area would also be solved, added Uma Shankar. He added that the indications have also been installed on the both sides of the rivulet to prevent further throwing of garbage on the riverbed. “We have installed indications on both the sides of the rivulet and directed the officials not to throw the garbage between the marked indications. This way, there would be no further throwing of garbage on the riverbed of ‘Patiala ki Rao’, said Uma Shankar Gupta.

Notably, the issue was recently highlighted in these columns under a special campaign against scattered garbage in the Tricity.

The garbage of the entire town is being thrown at this unauthorised site for the past six years by the authorities while the designated site is around four kilometers away from the present site.

When asked why the garbage was not being dumped at the designated site, the Commissioner said it was not possible due to protest of the residents of the area. The authorities have also acquired 51 acres land to for dumping garbage at Samgholi village in Dera Bassi. As the landowners of the site at Samgholi have approached the Supreme Court for price enhancement of their land, the matter has been pending there.



Air passengers stranded
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The passengers of a Delhi-bound flight of Jetflight were left stranded for hours at the Chandigarh domestic airport after the air-conditioner of the flight malfunctioned here this evening.

The flight, which was scheduled to take off by 5.40 pm, was reportedly delayed by nearly four hours. Till the filing of the report at 9.25pm, the repair work was on.

The stranded passengers alleged harassment by the officials of the private airline company. According to some passengers, they were kept in the dark over the exact situation. According to the Air Traffic Control(ATC) officials, Jetflight had been asked to take off at 9.30 pm. “The flight is not cancelled. It has been delayed. It will take off at 9.30pm,” said the station manager of Jetflight.

“If there was any problem with the aircraft, the authorities should have done some temporary arrangements. I have already missed my connecting flight from Delhi to Bangalore,” said Neetu Goel.

“There was no need to keep the passengers in the dark. The authorities are only offering false promises instead of taking care of the stranded passengers,” said Vikas, director of a mobile company.

“There was some problem in the engine and the airport authorities will not let the private company park the plane here for the entire night. They, somehow, need to take off but most of the passengers didn’t want to take risk, so they are asking for refund and cancellation of their tickets,” said a source in the airline. 



Panjab University bars its erring paper setters
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Disappointed with the repeated incidents of question-paper goof-ups Panjab University (PU) has debarred the paper-setters who committed mistakes while setting up the question papers for the exams held in April 2013.

The PU authorities, who believe that repeated mistakes in the question papers have tarnished the image of university, have written to the Board of Studies in all the departments informing that the paper-setters against whom the complaints were received for question paper error have been debarred from paper-setting till further orders. Controller of Examination (COE), Parvinder Singh, stated that the Board of Studies of all the departments have been informed about the teachers who have been debarred from the assignment. “We have made the list of the teachers debarred from the duty of paper setting to ensure that they are not given responsibility of paper setting,” COE.

A total of 44 complaints in undergraduate courses were received by the university in 2013 exams out of which 21 were disposed of by giving grace marks and 19 were rejected by the Board of Studies. Among postgraduate courses, 40 complaints were received, out of which grace marks were awarded to students in 12 cases. The university has also decided to create a question bank for all the subjects which would be used to set the question papers by a panel of experts decided by the university to put an end to the errors in the question papers. The move is expected to streamline the paper setting.

Initially, the university has written to all the sciences departments asking them to invite questions for undergraduate courses. The COE stated that a bank of questions will be created and a panel of experts will be formed which will select the questions from the question bank and set the question paper. “The panel of experts will check the formation of all the questions to be used in the question paper and ensure that the questions are from within the syllabus which will address the problem of mistakes made by the paper setters,” COE stated.

Presently, the question papers set by the paper setters are not seen and they are directly sent for printing. The system adopted by the university has no provision of checking errors in the question papers.



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 |