C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rs 6 lakh snatched in Mohali
2 motorcycle-borne miscreants take away bag from gas agency owner in Phase IX
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 2
Two motorcycle-borne miscreants snatched a bag containing Rs 6.03 lakh from a retired serviceman and an owner of a gas agency at Phase IX, this evening. The victim, Col Sardul Singh Sidhu (retd), who runs High Flame Gas Agency in the main market of Phase IX, was coming out of his office at around 7 pm when the incident occurred.

The police said one of the snatchers, who had covered his face, asked Col Sidhu for some address when he came out in the parking area. “When Col Sidhu told him that he did not know anything about the address, the accused snatched the bag from his hand and ran way towards Fortis Hopsital side, where his accomplice was waiting for him on a motorbike. Both the snatchers then fled away”, said Swarndeep Singh, SP (City). Being Sunday, there was less crowd in the parking area, which usually witnesses huge rush on weekdays.

The police suspect that some known person or an insider could be involved in the crime. “The snatchers had selected this day intentionally as there is less rush in the market. We are trying to get some CCTV footage, if available”, said the police.

Swarndeep Singh said that the snatching seemed to be the handiwork of local persons. “The circumstantial evidences indicate that it was not the handiwork of some organised gang. We have clues and I assure that the snatchers will be nabbed soon”, he further said. A case has been registered at the Phase VIII police station in this regard.



Industrial Area Phase II
Thieves strike twice at steel factory in a week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
A series of thefts at a steel factory in Industrial Area, Phase II, have spelt trouble for the factory owners. Thieves struck twice in the same factory within a week and decamped with steel and brass material worth lakhs.

Laxmichand Aggarwal, owner of Aggarwal Steel Company in Industrial Area, Phase II, reported to the police that thieves scaled the wall from the terrace and broke their way into the factory last night and decamped with material. They fled with heavy steel, including brass utensils, steel scrap and other items.

Incidentally, a theft was committed in a similar way at the same plot, 342, in Industrial Area, Phase II, last Saturday night (February 22).

“We were out of station last weekend when the theft was reported. Last night,we had gone to the police station to ask them about the status of the case and now another theft has taken place in the same factory. We have even installed CCTV cameras and taken all precautions still the thieves are blatantly committing thefts. The police have failed to check these thefts,” said Aggarwal.



Two arrested for extortion
In a letter, a city-based jeweller asked to pay Rs 7 cr ransom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
With the arrest of two persons, the UT police claimed to have solved an extortion case in which a Sector 35 based-jeweller had received a letter a week ago, seeking Rs 7 crore ransom from him. The extortionists had threatened that if he failed to do so, his son would be kidnapped.

The police have arrested Harbir Singh Dhillon, who makes Punjabi songs’ videos and CDs, and his driver, Jagdev Singh, alias Bosi.

Both have been arrested in a case of extortion under Section 387 and 506 of the IPC.

The complainant, Manoj Jain, a resident of Sector-35C, had received a letter on the letter head of "Babbar Khalsa" written in Punjabi. In the letter, the extortionists had threatened to kidnap and kill his 10-year-son if he failed to pay the demanded sum of Rs 7 crore.

Based on the footage of the CCTV camera installed at the house of

Manoj Jain, investigations revealed that the letter was thrown in the house by a person who was seen coming out form a white Pajero car at about 5.40 am. On suspicion, mobile phones of Harbir Singh Dhillon and Jagdev Singh were put on surveillance.

It came to light that the tower location of these mobile phones was traced to Sector 35 on the day the jeweller had received the extortion letter. Police teams were then sent to Ludhiana, Jagraon to arrest the accused.

The police party headed by Jagbir Singh, DSP (Crime), apprehended Harbir Singh Dhillon and Jagdev Singh in Jagraon district of Ludhiana while they were travelling in the white Pajero PB29E-1306, which was seen in the CCTV footage. Both were arrested and the white Pajero in which they were travelling was impounded.

During interrogation, both confessed to their crime. They were produced in the court and remanded in two-day police custody.

Accused had turned bankrupt

Police investigations revealed that the accused, Harbir Singh Dhillon, had turned bankrupt and was in need of money. So he hatched the conspiracy to extort money from jeweller Manoj Jain whom they had met on many occassions by threatening to kidnap his son.



Defacement of property
MC officials in catch-22 situation
Jeweller levied Rs 72 lakh fine
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
A decision of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to penalise the defaulters for defacement of property with retrospective effect has left many fuming, including the elected representatives of the city. Reason, the penalty running into lakhs of rupee has been levied on defaulters for a period of six months, from the date when the violation is noticed.

In a recent case, a Mani Majra-based jeweller was fined Rs 72 lakh with retrospective effect under the Chandigarh Advertisement Control Order (CACO), 1954. Incidentally, the jeweller’s showroom was inaugurated by the Senior Deputy Mayor and an area councillor on January 16.

As per rule, any poster or signboard erected in violation of the CACO will be presumed to be set up for the past six months and the defaulters will be fined for the period.

A representative of the showroom claimed that the showroom was inaugurated on January 16 for which they had put up a hoarding on January 15, however, the MC challaned them for defacement on January 15 only, following which they removed the hoardings on the same day. “We have been challaned for displaying the hoarding on the particular day and the previous six-months also, even after furnishing the invitation cards of January 16 for the inauguration of the showroom”, he stated.

Senior Deputy Mayor Heera Negi stated that she along with area councillor Des Raj Gupta inaugurated the showroom and they had written and informed the MC about it. “We have requested the officials to impose the fine for the day on which the hoarding was displayed as the showroom was not inaugurated six-months ago”, Negi stated.

MC Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta when contacted stated that he had asked the concerned person to furnish sufficient proof that the hoarding was not displayed before the showroom was inaugurated. “Usually, a company starts advertising the product before it is launched and this can be the case with the jewellery showroom inaugurated in Mani Majra. We have asked them to provide enough evidence that the hoarding was displayed only a day before the inauguration based on which further decision will be taken”, the Joint Commissioner stated.

325 notices served in the past two months

The MC in past two months has served 325 notices on violators for defacing the city and has collected a fine of over Rs 3 lakh. Those defacing the city have been penalised at the rate of Rs 100 per square feet per day.



‘Ailing’ civil dispensaries: Money can buy better services

There are various loopholes in the healthcare system in Chandigarh. First of all, the patient-doctor ratio is not equal. There are very few doctors in dispensaries and more patients in the city. Waiting for their turn in the dispensaries has become quite a task for the patients. The present healthcare funds need to be revised to meet the medical costs that are on the rise. The need of the hour is to look for smarter ways to boost the heathcare system in the City Beautiful.

Ajit Singh

Dispensaries provide poor quality service

There are government dispensaries in every sector but unfortunately, they are unable to provide even the basic healthcare facilities to the residents. Medicines for ailments such as dysentery, diarrhorea, hepatitis or dengue are not even available with the pharmacy units. In case of a dog bite, one has to rush to the one and only sector-specified dispensary to get anti-rabies injections. The staff is also inadequate to cater to the needs of patients. Many a time, patients do not even ‘waste their time’ in visiting a nearby government dispensary, because they prefer going to the PGIMER, Government Super Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, or Government Medical Hospital, Sector 32, where all the facilities are available under one roof.

BM Dhawan

Special task force should be constituted

A special task force should be constituted by the Administrator. The force must comprise people who have no connection with the UT Administration, so as to ensure transparency and efficient functioning of the body. Members of the force should be apprised of all the powers under the Drug and Cosmetics Act and should be permitted to carry them out freely, wherever required, without any inhibitions. Surprise inspections must also be conducted at dispensaries.

Sat Pal Kansal

CGHS-45, the only ray of hope

Dispensaries under the UT Administration are crying for attention, for an efficient management as well as skillful patient healthcare. Amidst such pathetic scenario in the city, Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) Dispensary in Sector 45, now renamed as wellness centre, is the only feel-good factor for patients of the region.

SC Luthra
MHC, Mani Majra

Patients prefer private hospitals

Being the most literate and planned city of India, Chandigarh is expected to provide at least basic medical facilities to its residents. Due to lack of medical staff, good infrastructure and availability of medicines in the government dispensaries, patients with minor ailments also visit private hospitals nowadays. This leads to overcrowding at the hospitals. I feel efficient medical and paramedical staff must be deployed in the government hospitals. Availability of medicines must also be kept in mind. The infrastructure should be well preserved and basic facilities such as lab tests, X-ray and ECG must be made available.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd)

Inadequate staff a problem

The civil dispensary at the Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra has sufficient space to meet the needs of residents. However, the doctor deputed at the dispensary has to manage the affairs single-handedly. Considering this, the strength of doctors and other supporting staff should be improved. It should also be ensured that the medicines prescribed are readily available to patients.

Amrit Dhingra
Mani Majra

Token system should be introduced

Maintaining hygiene at dispensaries should be the foremost responsibility of the authorities concerned. Availability of clean drinking water is another factor that the management must keep in mind. More counters should be set up in dispensaries to avoid chaos and improve the functioning of the civic dispensaries. Medicines should also be readily available. Token system should be introduced to tackle the crowd.

Priya Darsh Growar

Private hospitals more popular

All civil dispensaries in Chandigarh boast of good infrastructure but even then, local people prefer private hospitals over these dispensaries because of lack of permanent doctors. The specialised doctors visit dispensaries twice or thrice in a week that too for a stipulated time. The timings of these dispensaries must be changed from 7.30 am to 10.30 am and 5 pm to 8 pm. The authorities must also ensure that no patient enters the doctor’s room without their sequence number.

Shishu Paul

Good infrastructure should be ensured

The condition of the civic dispensaries in the city needs to be improved at the earliest. Cleanliness, good infrastructure and extension of OPDs in different departments and able security staff to handle the crowd must be ensured in the dispensaries. Basic facilities such as blood tests, ECG and X-ray should be made available. Other primary equipment should be provided along with minor operation theatre, so as to accommodate the local population as well.

Sukhpal Singh

Streamline the healthcare system

The city healthcare system is suffering because no proper assessment of patient load versus medical facilities available has been carried out so far. Since government hospitals and various civic dispensaries lack improved medical services, the PGI is usually overcrowded with patients. The solution to the problem lies in streamlining the functioning of the entire healthcare system in the city.

Col RD Singh (retd)
Ambala Cantt

Appoint qualified doctors

A few steps can help make the city healthy. The MC should appoint qualified doctors in the dispensaries and make medicines readily available at the counters. Also, the dispensaries must be equipped with basic facilities.


Offer incentives to staff

Limited funds by the government have affected the working of dispensaries. Performance-based incentives for medical and paramedical staff will encourage staff to work in dispensaries and would also check absenteeism. Retired doctors should be employed on contractual basis.

Anubha Gupta

Service code must be implemented for staff

In some dispensaries, patient cards are prepared for a period of one or two hours in the morning itself. If a patient, however, reaches the premises afterwards, the hapless patient is asked to come the next day, despite the doctor’s availability. The doctor may or may not visit the next day, and so the vicious circle of non-attendance continues. Despite enormous buildings, modern equipment and hefty pay-packets to the staff, the service is dismal in civil dispensaries, particularly due to lack of the desired spirit. Implementation of desired service code for the staff is the need of the hour.

MPS Chadha

Lack of willpower a major issue

In order to provide quality healthcare, the UT Administration had transferred 20 dispensaries to the Municipal Corporation in 2010. But like other civic services under its domain, the condition of these dispensaries has also gone from bad to worse. Shortage of money to manage dispensaries is not an issue but lack of willpower is. In the 2013-14 budget, Rs 20 crore was allocated for primary healthcare service but the MC utilised Rs 70 lakh only.

SK Khosla

Government must spend more on healthcare

The civil dispensaries are always found wanting in terms of facilities, be it sanitation, medicines, space or doctors. Adequate staff and medicines must be made available so that patients do not have to visit the PGI or GMSH for primary or secondary treatment. The patients, who urgently require tertiary care, should be referred to the PGI.

Dr Shruti K Chawla

Regular medical camps must be organised

The government dispensary at the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, is usually preferred more by residents as the staff is mostly available and deals with patients in a cooperative manner. Even the associated services and hygiene have better standards. The Directorate of Health Services should post doctors and staff from local vicinity, associate local bodies and Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) to build faith among patients. Regular medical camps and dispensation of generic medicines should also be held by the local medical shops and medical representatives.

Tarsem Bhardwaj

Deploy ayurvedic, homeopathy doctors

Dispensaries suffer due to lack of electricity and water supply. There is a need to upgrade these services and make local dispensaries at par with the PGI and Government hospital, Sector 16. Deploying homoepathy and ayurvedic medicos would help as well.

Rita Raina

Rajmeet Singh

Chandigarh Admn must transfer civic functions to MC

The primary healthcare in the city is ailing. Rather, it is running on a life support system, if the state of affairs at the 20 dispensaries transferred three years ago to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (CMC) is any indication.

Thanks to the lack of coordination between the two UT Departments, the condition of dispensaries has gone from bad to worse, as there is even a shortage of medicines for common ailments, exposing the failure on part of the Municipal Corporation in running the basic civic services.

Equally to be blamed is the Chandigarh Administration, which has utterly failed to transfer the complete functioning of the dispensaries from Health Department to the MC. For transfer of doctors and supply of medicines, the Health Department is the controlling body. And for maintenance of infrastructure, the MC comes in the picture.

Consequently, the number of patients reporting at the OPDs has gradually come down over the last one year.

It is not that there is a shortage of money to maintain the infrastructure at these dispensaries but there is no will power. In the 2013-14 budget, Rs 20 crore was allocated for primary healthcare but the MC could utilise just Rs 70 lakh till January this year.

In the last two years, the MC has failed to constitute even sub-committees to deal with the functioning of the health centres. In February 2012, the MC had approved a budget of Rs 23.90 crore to upgrade the primary healthcare centres, under the planned and non-planned heads. However, in the absence of the sub-committees, the budget could not be utilised.

Similarly, in 2011-12, an amount of Rs 16.62 crore was sanctioned in the annual budget of the MC for primary healthcare. More than 90 per cent remained unutilised.

It is time that the Chandigarh Administration transfers all civic functions to the Municipal Corporation to ensure quality primary healthcare.

Open House Question

The issue of affixing high security registration plates (HSRP) on vehicles in Chandigarh has been causing harassment to owners. Due to poor facility by the vendor entrusted with the job of fixing the plates, residents have to wait in unending queues to get a new number plate. The Registration and Licensing Authority has failed to come to the rescue of city residents as the Chandigarh Police have already started the challan drive. What needs to be done to streamline the process? Write your comments with a passport size picture to openhouse@tribunemail.com


Mayor’s ward a picture of neglect
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Non-functional street-lights, pot-holed roads shows a picture of neglect in Ward number 13, City Mayor’s ward, comprising of Sectors 49 to 51, Sector 63, and villages Nizam Pur, Burail, Birk Klin, Nizampur Kumbra. The Municipal Corporation (MC) has failed to chalk out a development plan for these sectors. These sectors are devoid of basic amenities like healthcare, schools, police station and sports facilities. HC Kalyan (Mayor), of the Congress party is the councillor of the ward.

Defunct streetlights

The defunct streetlights in the Sector 49, 50, 51, 52 and 63 are one of the major problems faced by the residents. Residents stated that it is unsafe for residents to drive in dark. Neither there are any functional streetlights nor round the clock police patrolling.

Dilapidated roads

Roads in different parts of Sector 50, 51 and 52 show a complete picture of neglect. The road connecting Sector 50 and 51 is full of potholes that lead to water logging during rains. ‘Malba’ dumped in the open grounds adjoining roads is also an eyesore for the residents and commuters travelling through these sectors.

Deprived of facilities

The residents of these wards are deprived of basic facilities including e-sampark centre, post office, police station etc. The sectors under in the ward even don’t have market following which the residents have to visit other sectors or Mohali to purchase goods of daily needs. Residents said there is a need to develop markets especially in Sector 50.

Maintenance of infrastructure in societies

The residents of the ward had been demanding that the Municipal Corporation and the UT Administration should maintain the roads, parks, lights and electricity transformers inside the society as they are paying property tax for the same. In the other parts of the city MC and administration maintain the basic infrastructure, however, the housing societies have to maintain it themselves.


Playgrounds are another basic facility the residents of the ward have been demanding since long. In the absence of playgrounds in the area the children can be seen playing in the parking lots or on the roads outside the societies.


A community centre in Sector 49 spread over 8.5 acres constructed at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore. Footpaths constructed on V-5 and V-6 roads in Sector 49 and 50. Under ground sewer-lines laid in the ward at a cost of Rs 4.5 crore. Valley of Animal Garden in Sector 49.

The Housing Societies Residents Welfare Federation (HSRWF) would place the agenda of residents and the housing societies before political parties and the candidates. We will support that candidate in Lok Sabha elections who will resolve the pending issues of the societies.

— Pardeep Bhardwaj, Senior vice-president, HSRWF

The MC and administration should give priority to those sectors which have been given a step-motherly treatment. There is a large chunk of population residing in Southern sectors.

— Prahlad Bhagat Vasudeva, general secretary, HSRWF

The green belt in Sector 51 is in a pitiable condition. Most of the playing equipment in the park are damaged. The roads in the area are also blocked.

— Kesar Singh, President, RWA, Sector 51

Sanitation and streetlights are one of the major problems in our sector which need special attention apart from providing playgrounds in the area for recreational activities.

— Vijay Kumar Bali, resident of PEC Society, Sector 49

mayor speaks

Getting all the defunct street lights repaired in all the sectors would be my priority this year. Meanwhile, construction of a dispensary in Sector 49 to provide health facilities to the residents of the ward has already begun. The green belts in Sector 50 are being developed and development work on a green belt in Sector 51 was inaugurated today.

— HC Kalyan, Mayor



Better panchkula
Parking pangs in markets irk visitors
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 2
This township, known for its open spaces, has hardly any space for parking of vehicles. Lack of proper planning and inadequate space accompanied by scant efforts made by the authorities concerned form the basis of the never-ending parking problem in Panchkula.

Worst hit are shopping centres of sectors 7, 9, 11, 15 and 20 where haphazard parking is common. The problem has its genesis in encroachments, which eat away whatever space is available for parking of vehicles.

Finding less space, visitors park their vehicles outside the houses situated near the market.

"The situation becomes pathetic during festive seasons because shopkeepers block the entire parking space by putting up stalls," said Vishal Sharma, a resident of Sector 2.

At Sector 11 market, visitors don't mind parking their vehicles on the main road in case they don't find space inside. This causes traffic jams on the main road.

"Not only this, one can even see stray cattle in these sectors. The HUDA and the Municipal Corporation should try to end the menace of stray cattle and should also remove encroachments," said Binny, a shopkeeper at Sector 20.

The Panchkula police have towing vans for wrongly parked vehicles.

Multi-level parking

Recently, the drawing of a multi-level parking project outside the DC office and the Courts Complex was approved. The multi-level parking will accommodate 250-300 cars and will ease traffic congestion in the area.

Meanwhile, the HUDA had conducted a survey for a multi-level parking in Sector 5, which had ample space for the purpose. But the file concerned is gathering dust.

Problem in front of schools

As most schools are located in residential areas, those living near the schools are a harried lot. Recently, a resident of Sector 8 lodged a complaint with the DCP that residents face parking problems as schools buses are parked outside their houses.

The situation is all the more chaotic during morning and afternoon hours when children are dropped or picked by their parents or school buses.

Encroachments, prime cause of chaos

  • Encroachments result in parking chaos in the city. The little space available for parking of vehicles is occupied by roadside vendors. Every year, the Administration moots several plans to remove encroachments, but the problem is yet to be addressed.
  • "Even shopkeepers have sublet the space in front of their shops to makeshift food stalls or CD vendors for some consideration," said Tanya Gulati, a resident of Sector 11.
  • Abhi, a resident of Sector 16, said, "The place meant for parking of vehicles is used by vendors resulting in chaos."

DCP moots plan to tackle the problem

  • To check parking problem, which leads to traffic congestion, DCP Aswhin Shenvi prepared a comprehensive mobility plan.
  • He proposed cycle tracks as well as certain other systems to curb the problem.
  • The DCP also proposed one-way traffic system in front of schools. He stated that at the time of opening and closing of schools, there is a heavy rush of traffic and one-way system should be enforced from 7 am to 9 am and from 1 pm to 3 pm.
  • Shenvi also recommended that a few areas should be declared as No-parking zones.
  • The DCP stated that due to limited parking space available and from the security point of view, it was proposed to declare these places as no-parking zones -in front of the district courts, in front of Mini-secretariat and in front of the office of the Director General of Police (DGP), Sector 6.

Paid parking

  • A small parking lot outside the office of DC has been converted into paid parking. Because of this, people prefer to park their vehicles outside leading to chaos on the main road. Traffic congestions are a routine outside the DC office and the District Courts Complex, which see hundreds of visitors daily.
  • Paid parking was proposed in several other sectors, but the proposal could not materialise as residents held protest against it.

official speak

We are working on all the proposals that can help check the problem of parking in the town. We hope to find a solution soon.

— Vandana Disodia, Estate officer, Huda

Speaking out

The residents of the township, especially those living in sectors 7, 9, 11 and 20, lament that they are at the receiving end. Most of them have hung 'No parking' boards outside their houses. However, people hardly bother about them. They suffer problems in taking vehicles out of their house if any other vehicle is parked in front of the house.

The shopkeepers in busy markets can be asked to park their vehicles at the backside so that the space in front of their shops is available for visitors. It has been years but the MC has not been able to remove encroachments in the city markets. If they cannot do so, they should not make promises.

— Ranjeeta Mehta, Sector 16 resident

Space is limited and we have to use it to the optimum. Our business suffers when customers return on finding no parking space in our market.

— bobby singh, Shopkeeper

We have asked the authorities several times to ensure organised parking but to no avail. The situation becomes pathetic on festivals and holidays.

— Monika, Saketri resident

Finding no space in markets, visitors park their vehicles outside our houses haphazardly. In case of emergency, we cannot take our vehicles out. The Administration must do something about it.

— Ankur Gulati, SEctor 19 resident

The presence of policemen in busy markets is important as brawls ensue when people don't get place to park their vehicles. Further, cops could keep a check on those parking their vehicles wrongly

— parmod dabla, SEctor 14 resident

It was yesterday when I had an argument with a person who parked his car in front of my house. I had to rush for some urgent work but could not do so because of the car blocking the way.

— Krishan Goyal, SEctor 19 resident



3 wards termed unauthorised in P’kula
5 months ago, Rs 4.5 cr sanctioned for development of these wards that consist of slum areas
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 2
Councillors of three wards were left surprised as after getting Rs 4.5 crore for development they were not given approval to carry out development as they were termed as “unauthorised”.

Five months after Rs 4.5 crore was sanctioned for the development of three wards that consisted of slum areas, the Panchkula Municipal Corporation (MC) has now declared them as unauthorised areas and not to carry developmental works. The money is lying unused while these areas (the largest vote bank) crave for development.

Mayor Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia said: “This decision has come from the high-ups that these colonies are unauthorised. This point tops the agenda in the meeting tomorrow. I have also written to senior officials in the government to regularise them so that they can carry out development works and utilise the money.”

She added, “We will be discussing the issue tomorrow during a meeting.”

In the first meeting of the House, Rs 1 crore each was sanctioned to all 20 wards. Later, Rs 50 lakh each was also announced for them. However, the other councillors got the works done but the approval for the same in these areas was not given.

The councillors of these wards alleged if their area was unauthorised, why these colonies were considered as wards and they were elected as representatives. Ward No 6 consists of Chandikotla, Ramprasadi, Rajipur village and other villages, Ward No 7 consists of Durga colony, Bir Ghaggar and Chowki villages and Ward No 11 consists of Rajiv colony, Indira colony and Budanpur.

Kanta Devi, councillor of the Ward No 11, said: “The entire money is kept with me. Residents of my ward are thinking that their area would see good roads and other infrastructure soon. How should I tell them that the authorities have refused to give approval for the works here. Then why we were given this money. The authorities should take it back.”

Seema Devi, councillor of Ward No 6, said: “If our areas are unauthorised, then we people should have not been included in the MC limits. This decision should have been taken before the elections.”

Every time, the officials show the sanctioned amount on papers but do not allow the works, saying that the government has termed these as unauthorised,” she added.

Rs 74 crore proposed for Panchkula

Rs 74 crore has been proposed for the development works in Panchkula even when Rs 15 crore of the previous year was left unused by the corporation. The Budget meeting is scheduled for Monday.



Chandigarh votes 2014
Cong Padyatra begins from Dhanas colony
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
A large number of Congress workers and supporters took part in the padyatra that started from the Dhanas rehabilitation colony here today. The event was attended by Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal and Mayor HC Kalyan, besides all CTCC office-bearers, presidents of frontal organisations, conveners of all cells, councillors and block presidents.

Handbills were distributed among the present containing achievements of the UPA government.

The padyatra is being started on the instructions given by the AICC to highlight the achievements of the UPA government and the works done by Bansal at the local level in the past five years.



LS poll: Congress leader Venod Sharma may contest on BJP ticket from city
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Venod Sharma Chandigarh, March 2
While three BJP heavyweights, including city party unit president, Sanjay Tandon, former MP Satya Pal Jain and former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan, fighting with each other to win the race for the ticket for Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, a senior Haryana Congress leader’s name has also started doing the rounds for BJP’s ticket from the City Beautiful.

According to reports emanating from New Delhi and Haryana, senior Congress leader Venod Sharma, a confidant of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has now started distancing himself from the Congress. His name is now doing the rounds as the BJP candidate from the Chandigarh seat for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Though people close to Sharma in Chandigarh deny any such development, sources revealed that Sharma is eyeing Chandigarh or the Karnal parliamentary seat in the coming elections.

Sharma had reportedly keen on contesting from Chandigarh on the BJP ticket while Karnal is being mentioned as his second choice, they said.

Despite repeated attempts, Sharma could not be contacted.

Sharma had also hosted a breakfast for a number of Chandigarh Congress leaders at his Sector 9 residence.

A senior leader of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), who is close to Sharma, said: “If Sharma will join the BJP and contest from Chandigarh, he will surely win this seat with a huge margin.”

“Along with Sharma, a number of Congress leaders from the city will also join the BJP. As Sharma still have a strong cell of workers in the city, colonies and villages, therefore it will be easy for him to win from here,” he said.

Not an alien territory

Chandigarh is not an alien territory for Venod Sharma. In 1999 Lok Sabha elections, he was all set to get the Congress ticket from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, but the Jessica Lal case happened, in which his son Manu Sharma was involved. Ultimately, the ticket was given to sitting Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal.

In touch with senior BJP leaders

Sources say Venod Sharma is in touch with senior BJP leaders in Delhi. Even the hoardings of Jan Chetna Mahayagya, organised by Venod Sharma, scheduled to be held in Kurukshetra on March 9, did not have any mention about Congress leaders.



Will never be a politician: Savita
Tribune News Service

Savita Bhatti Chandigarh, March 2
Riding on the legacy of her comedian-actor-director husband, Jaspal Bhatti, the Aam Admi Party (AAP) candidate, Savita Bhatti, today kicked off her campaign for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat from Sector 17 here.

After performing a brief ceremony at the Sector 17 Plaza, where she often used to enact spoofs along with her late husband on major social issues, Savita said: "I am not a politician, I will never be a politician. The AAP has given me a platform to fight against the issues which me and my husband were highlighting for long."

Not denying that the rapport which her husband made with the masses through TV shows would benefit her during her campaign, she said she would be talking of the common man and their issues.

"I would not be talking of what other parties are doing and what all they had promised, I would talk about what all I can do," she said. adding that the main agenda would be corruption and social issues.

On being asked about Chandigarh-specific issues, she said she would talking in detail about the same in the coming days.

A senior member of the AAP said Savita Bhatti would be instrumental in roping in Bollywood personalities to add colour.

AAP in charge, Haryana, Rajeev Godara, who was accompanying Savita, said the selection of candidates had been on a merit basis. He dismissed that there was any differences over the selection of candidates.



Experts caution against Chinese influence in PoK
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Stating that a major Chinese military presence in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) in the foreseeable future was a foregone conclusion, former General Officer commanding-in-Chief of the Northern Command, Lt Gen KT Parnaik said it was crucial for Indian to adopt a holistic and synergised approach to protect its interest in the strategically important region.

Speaking at a seminar- Pak Occupied J&K: Changing Discourse on Kashmir- organised by India Foundation, here today, Lt Gen Parnaik said China was calling the shots on all political, economic and social developments in PoK’s Gilgit-Baltistan region.

He said the Gilgit-Baltistan region is the world’s second highest plateau lying on the confluence of Central Asia, South Asia and China and controls all passes and routes in the region, besides having enormous mineral wealth and water resources. In addition to being the only link between Pakistan and China, it lies in close proximity to the “epicentre of terrorism”, and in the backdrop of sectarian disturbances Xingjian province and its move to play a larger role in Afghanistan, offers China the opportunity of fighting battles away from its mainland.

Observing that Chinese presence in Gilgit-Baltistan, at present purported to be a civilian work force engaged in infrastructure development, was a strategic game changer, Lt Gen Parnaik said India needs to enhance and fine tune diplomatic initiatives, launch information and psychological operations and develop asymmetric capabilities to deal with this challenge.

Former Permanent Representative of India at UN, Hardeep Singh Puri said the US withdrawal from Afghanistan would require greater vigilance on India’s part to keep a tab on developments in the region and their implications.

Stating that terrorism in Pakistan has assumed serious proportions, he said post US withdrawal, the Pakistani military could step up its collusion with anti-India terrorists and the need of the hour was focused attention on this sphere and a sustained effort to protect India’s strategic interests. He also pointed out that there have been serious demographical changes in Gilgit-Baltistan with the influx of outsiders reducing the natives of the region to minority.

Former Director General, Punjab Police, PC Dogra said there was a need to revisit India’s Kashmir policy. Giving an overview of the pre and post independence developments that led to the present day situation, he said a proactive approach was required to deal with the issues at hand.Senge Sering president of the Institute of Gilgit Baltistan Studies, USA, gave a presentation on the political and socio-economic scenario in PoK and the plight of the population in the region that still remains largely isolated from the federal structure of Pakistan.



Congress councillors, workers at loggerheads

In the recent election meeting of Congress leaders, which was called to finalise the padyatra programme, Congress councillors and party office-bearers were at loggerheads over ‘chai-pakora’ expenses.

While the office-bearers said the area councillor, in whose ward padyatra would be held, would manage the tea-related expenses for party workers. But councillors said rather than asking them to bear all expenses, the office-bearers should also come forward for the party and support such programmes financially. As there are only 12 councillors and 26 wards in the city, it was decided that a committee of party leaders will supervise the programme of padyatra and ‘chai-pakora’.

UT cadre versus UT cadre

Earlier, it was UT cadre versus state cadre officers in the Chandigarh Administration. But now with the UT cadre officers managing the key positions in Chandigarh Administration, the city could soon witness UT cadre officers versus UT cadre officers in the Union Territory.

Smoking strictly ‘provided’ in garden

If we go by the board of Do’s and Don’ts displayed at a newly inaugurated park in Sector 44, then the Municipal Corporation (MC), is allowing smoking and drinking in the park. The board surprises everyone visiting the park for a walk when they read that ‘Smoking and drinking is strictly provided in the garden’. Interestingly, while the visitors have noticed the error, MC officials and Mayor HC Kalyan, who inaugurated the park, is yet to take a note of it.

'Out of context'

Participants at an awareness workshop on the Tax Deduction Source (TDS) were left with a surprise on hearing one of the main speakers speaking ‘out of context’ for a few seconds after he completed his technical session and left the podium. As everyone heard him cautiously when he explained the processes during his session, suddenly they heard him saying “when you are on stage you hardly realise how long have you been speaking”. Suddenly the speaker heard the echo and realised that he had not disabled his collar mike as he returned to his seat where other panelists were sitting. The speaker then covered his embarrassment with a smile.

Gheri route, Student Centre still favourites among politicos

The Panjab University gheri route of Sector 11 are still famous among all senior political leaders of the region. Recalling his young life, Youth Akali Dal president and Punjab Cabinet Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who was in Panjab University for a cultural evening, said none of the senior leaders missed these two spots to hang out during their student days. He said all golden memories of the previous years were revised while talking about these spots.

Women power

Staff of the Sector 36 police station were taken in for surprise when two girls nabbed an eve-teaser at the South End roundabout and took him to the police station. The girl said the cyclist was passing comments at them. However, after the cyclist asserted he was talking on phone and not passing comments, he was soon let off.

Publicity hungry leaders

In a sheer attempt to appear in the news columns, local leaders seem to be racing against each other when it comes to inaugurate new projects. Surprisingly, certain projects were inaugurated two times by different leaders. These included installation of new water booster at the Phase 7 water works and start of development works worth crores at Sohana village. First, the booster at Phase 7 was inaugurated by SAD leader Bibi Amanjot Kaur Ramoowalia on last Monday but in the afternoon, another SAD local leader Phool Raj, former Mohali councillor, again inaugurated it, claiming that the booster was installed due to his efforts. Similarly, the project of development works at Sohana was launched by SAD MP candidate PS Chandumajra while Bibi Ramoowalia's name was mentioned on the foundation stone. Later, government officials were seen making efforts to ensure that names of both leaders appear in the news in this regard.

Caps mark presence

Police officials, who are required to be present at the entrance of the Panchkula district court complex, were seen missing from their seats and had rather kept their caps on the same to mark their presence. The caps were kept on the chairs near the metal detector. May be 'the caps' were there to tell the crowd that yes they are there for the security of the public.

Contributed by: Rajinder Nagarkoti, Rajmeet Singh, Amit Sharma, Ritika Jha Palial, Aarti Kapur, Aneesha Sareen, Akash Ghai and Hina Rohtaki.



LGBT community demands equal rights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The Chandigarh Pride Committee in association with Saksham Trust and the Campaign for Diversity Inclusion organised the second annual Chandigarh Queer Pride Walk 2014 today at Sector 17.

The walk kicked off from the Student Centre of Panjab University and culminated at Sector 17 plaza. Members and allies of the LGBT community raised slogans against Section 377 and the fact that there are no legal or social protections for the LGBT community.

Event organiser Bikram Kohli, CEO and Founder of the Campaign for Diversity and Inclusion, said, “The Pride Walk is organised to celebrate the diversity in gender and sexuality within the society. It is an event where people from all sections of society come together and shed light on the discrimination and oppression faced by LGBT community every day.”

Organisers stated that the only message that members and allies of the LGBT community want to send to society and the government is that to eliminate the discrimination they face. “Every person is guaranteed with fundamental rights under the Constitution and these fundamental rights are being violated on a daily basis. There should be a legal, social, and political framework protecting the rights of all Indians regardless of their sexual identity,” said a participant.



Now, veterinary workers atop tank to protest
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 2
After staff nurses of director health services and then members of Unemployed Multi-Purpose Health Workers (Male) Union, now its members of Veterinary AI Workers Union, climbed on water tank at Landran village to press their demands this evening.

The protestors also threatened to jump from the tank if the government does not pay heed to their demands including giving them fixed emoluments and employed them in Animal Husbandry Department.

The agitators said they would not come down till their demands are fulfilled and if the police or other state authorities used force to bring them downstairs, they will jump from the tank.

The protestors claimed they had played big role in achieving the targets of the state animal husbandry department. “But now we are being ignored and nobody is listening to our demands,” alleged the protestors.



Showers to continue in coming week

Chandigarh, March 2
City residents will have no respite from cold in the coming week as well, as days are likely to remain partly-cloudy with possibility of light rain on 4th and 5th. According to officials at the Met Department, the western disturbances that affect the temperature in the North will continue to be into effect for a few more days.

A Met official said as there was warning of hailstorms in Punjab and Haryana, the city temperature would dip further. The quick variations in temperature since past couple of days has left residents confused. — TNS



Youth body begins campaign for dustbins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Yuva Dharti, a youth organisation, has started a campaign for dustbins for the city. A few days ago while roaming in streets, members of the organisation noticed a shortage of dustbins in the streets and markets of the city.

Being concerned about the cleanliness of the city, the members of the organisation wrote letters to the Mayor of the City Beautiful but the letters were unanswered and no action was taken by the authorities concerned in this regard.

The students also tried to meet the officials concerned of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation but were not allowed to meet them.



Quality of research in India a cause of worry: Prof Rao
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
“In India, the quality of research is a cause of worry,” said Prof CNR Rao, a Bharat Ratna awardee, while delivering a lecture on ‘Doing science in India’ at the PGIMER here today.

Presenting the contrast, he said, “Of all the journals that have come to me, around 60-70 per cent had citations of US-based researches. Merely one per cent of the journals had citations of Indian researches,” adding that even Chinese researches found five per cent citations.

Addressing the audience of educationists and medical professionals, Prof Rao said, “Science has not got due respect in our society. To promote science in India, young and talented people have to be encouraged by teachers. Science is where ordinary people go and do extraordinary things and real science is done in small labs by crazy individuals.”

Prof Rao, who is the founder president of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore, and currently the chairman of Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India, said the media could play a major role by highlighting events/news related to science “which is not being adequately done at present.”

“If India has to produce good scientists, quality science has to be promoted. The budget for research activities must be increased the way South Korea and China did. A scientist cannot afford to be angry, particularly in India, and has to face his critics with a sense of humour,” he added.

Prof Rao spoke about pain and pleasure in becoming a successful scientist. "We have a large number of bright and sharp students in institutions like the PGI and IITs but they need to work for science in India selflessly,” he said.

Prof Rao, 79, is the third scientist to receive the Bharat Ratna after Prof CV Raman and Prof Abdul Kalam. He was conferred with the honour last month.

Prof Rao worked mainly in solid-state and structural chemistry. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by 60 universities from across the world. He has authored around 1,500 research papers and 45 scientific books.



Unsafe buildings
Students, staff at risk
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 2
Hundreds of students and staff of as many as 42 government schools in Mohali district virtually put their lives at risk everyday by attending their classes, here. Certain portions of these 42 buildings had been declared as unsafe by experts of civil authorities of Punjab Education Department.

Though the education authorities claimed that these unsafe portions are not being used, they admitted that the danger of any mishap lurks large for all time.

Notably, more than six students of government school at Kandala village had sustained injuries when a wall, constructed along side a staircase, collapsed when the students were coming downstairs on Tuesday. The students, most of whom had received injuries on heads, face and arms had to be admitted in hospital. One of them, Vikram, who got his arm fractured, was referred to Government Medical College Hosptial, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

Sources added that the building was declared ‘unsafe’ for around past six years but the DEO (elementary) Gurjit Singh denied the fact. “The wall was definitely fragile but not unsafe,” said Gurjit Singh while claiming that the building in question did not fall in ‘unsafe’ category.

However, he admitted that certain portions of a total of 42 buildings, in which nine primary, seven middle and 14 high and 12 senior secondary schools are being run, was declared unsafe. He added that the authorities were on the job to demolish these portions and construct new ones.

When asked how many such portions were demolished so far, the DEO said he was not aware about the fact. The authorities had to construct new portions after demolishing the risky ones. The education authorities get funds for the purpose from Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan (SSA), added Gurjit Singh.

On being asked, Gurjit Singh said they got Rs 8 crore grant from SSA.



School submits report to PHRC
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 2
The authorities of Government High School at Desu Majra village claimed to have fixed the school infrastructure following the intervention of Punjab Human Rights Commission.

The commission, which had taken cognizance of a report published in Chandigarh Tribune on July 13, 2012, had directed the authorities to take action in this connection and send a report to them. A local advocate Arvind Thakur had also made a separate complaint in this regard with the commission.

Now, in its report to the commission, the school authorities have ensured the members that the school building’s two vocational sheds and a room, which were in dilapidated condition, had been razed down. “We have constructed new rooms. Apart from that the school ground, in which water from a ‘nullah’ used to flow every now and then due to its lower level had been raised,” stated the school authorities.

Notably, during a random visit, the Chandigarh Tribune team had found several infrastructure problems including naked electricity wires in the school building thus posing threat to the over 400 students there.



PSEB complains against miscreants
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 2
Taking strict action against those, who created ruckus at Bhakana Khurd village in Amritsar during class twelfth English exam, yesterday, the Punjab School Education Board authorities filed a police complaint in this connection.

Giving details, Dr Tejinder Kaur Dhaliwal, chairperson of the board, said that the centre’s superintendent Avtar Singh gave a police complaint against Tarjinder Singh alias Bunty and Sukhpal Singh Sukha and a case was registered against the duo at Bhakana Khurd Police Station.

“Bunty, owner of Maharaja Public School at Laddewal, first created ruckus at the centre along with his acquaintances including Sukhpal Singh and then went to Avtar Singh’s residence at night to threaten him, said Dr Dhaliwal.

She added that the paper and the examination centre in question were cancelled by her.

To boost morale of the staff, deputed at all examination centres across the state and outside Punjab, Dr Dhaliwal said they should perform their duty without any fear. “If anybody threatens you, just contact the higher authorities. The miscreants would be dealt with sternly, said Dr Dhaliwal in her message to the staff.



PU mourns economist Prof Chadha’s demise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Panjab University (PU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Arun K Grover, teachers and students expressed grief over the sudden demise of Professor GK Chadha, the president of South Asian University, New Delhi.

A noted economist and academician, Prof Chadha breathed his last on Saturday. He was 73. Prof Chadha is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Prof Chadha did his Masters and Doctorate in Economics from the PU, where he also served as faculty member and chairman of the Department of Economics. Later, he joined Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and rose to become its Vice-Chancellor. Besides, he served as chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). Prof Chadha was a member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and has chaired the UGC Pay Review Committee (Sixth Pay Commission) for University and College teachers.



Mini-marathon promotes techno-cultural fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Dr SS Bhatnagar University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Panjab University (PU), organised ‘Run for Flag’, a mini-marathon, in association with the Flag Foundation of India to promote ‘CYANIDE’, a three-day annual techno-cultural fest to be held from March 6 to 8. DR CS Grewal, former director of sports, PU, flagged off the marathon.

As part of the promotional activity, a talk on ‘Current opportunities for chemical engineers’ by Sandeep Sharma, executive director, India Acrylic Ltd, was also organised at Bhatnagar auditorium under the TEQIP project for promoting industry-institute interaction.

Later, students of the institute organised a ‘flash mob’ at the Elante Mall.

The day ended with a message focusing on the basic rights of women and was conveyed through a street play. It highlighted the theme of CYANIDE, ‘Mujhe haq hai’.

Cyanide-2014 will see more than 60 technical, cultural, management and entertainment events.



Two-day ICONSAT begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Bharat Ratna awardee and chairman of Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India, Prof CNR Rao today inaugurated the two-day 6th International Conference on Nano Science and Technology (ICONSAT), 2014, held at the Panjab University.

The event was organised by the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali.

“The PU has been doing extremely well in many areas. I think it has much to contribute to the future of science and technology in India and other areas of knowledge and creativity,” Prof Rao said.



Eminent economist dies

Dr Vidya Sagar Mahajan Chandigarh, March 2
Dr Vidya Sagar Mahajan, an eminent economist and teacher, passed away after prolonged illness in Chandigarh on February 28. He was 91 years old. Born in Lahore in 1923, Dr Mahajan initially joined the civil services but soon decided to return to academia.

He went to the prestigious London School of Economics in 1956 to attain his doctorate in economics. He taught at Panjab University from 1965 till 1984. He was columnist for Tribune and other journals. — TNS



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