C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mercury dips as hailstorm lashes tricity
Respite from heat, but several areas go without power; commuters inconvenienced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Heavy rain and hailstorm lashed the tricity this evening, bringing down the temperature significantly and providing respite to residents from the scorching heat. The rain continued till late in the night and left several parts of the city, including Sectors 18, 20, 21, 30, 31, 32, 35, 48, 49, 46, 38, 23, 56 and 37, and Khuda Lahora, without power.
A tree that was uprooted in Sector 21, Chandigarh, during the storm on Sunday
A tree that was uprooted in Sector 21, Chandigarh, during the storm on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

"The power supply to Sector 30 was disrupted due to a major snag," said GS Mast, Executive Engineer.

Due to the storm, tree branches fell on roads while the power supply to streetlights was disrupted in several areas. There were reports of short disruptions in the power supply due to bad weather from Mohali.
A girl collects hail
A girl collects hail. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

The heavy rain also lead to inconvenience to commuters as waterlogging was reported from several parts of the city. The area near the strongroom where electronic voting machines (EVMs) have been kept at the Chandigarh College of Engineering in Sector 26 was waterlogged. Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Shayin visited the spot to take stock of the situation.

According to the Met Department, rain or thundershowers are likely to continue tomorrow. Tuesday will also remain partly cloudy with a possibility of rain. The minimum temperature is likely to be around 25°C during the next two days.

The rain was welcomed by city residents as the scorching heat during the day had made it difficult for them to step out of their houses for the past couple of days.

"This rain was badly required for relief from the searing heat," said Arun Pathak, a resident who got stuck in the rain in the Sector 30 market this evening.

Blackout in Panchkula

The hailstorm led to a blackout in Panchkula. All sectors were without power till late at night. Waterlogging was reported from various parts of the city, causing inconvenience to commuters. The streetlights were not working, which added to the woes of the commuters.

There were reports of trees getting uprooted from Sectors 4, 15 and 19, and the Mansa Devi Complex due to the storm.

Subdivisional Officer Nirmal Singh said as trees got uprooted in various parts of the city, the power system got disrupted, leading to a blackout.

What city Met Dept chief says

During the past four days, the maximum temperature had touched the 40°C mark and rain was expected. The velocity of the storm, that lasted three minutes, was 64.9 km per hour. It was followed by hail. The temperature is not expected to rise much in the next two days.

Surinder Paul, Director, Chandigarh Met Department



11 months on, slain cop Sucha Singh’s son yet to get job
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
It has been nearly 11 months since Inspector Sucha Singh was murdered on duty in Sector 17. The Inspector’s only son, Parminder Singh, alias Prince, is still waiting to get a job in the UT police as an ASI on compassionate grounds as his case is still pending with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

A ceremony on the first death anniversary of the slain policeman was held at the Sector 19 gurdwara today, which was attended by police officials and politicians.

Former Member of Parliament Satya Pal Jain, while speaking to those present on the occasion,

said the Administration should take immediate steps to help the family. “It has been nearly a year since Sucha Singh died and his son is yet to get a job. It demoralises those who are in the police and other such professions,” Jain said, adding that all possible help should be extended to the family at the earliest.

Chandigarh SAD president Jagjit Singh Kang said, "We should have a sympathetic approach towards the families of police personnel who die while discharging their duty. It is sad that the family has not yet been provided justice."

“I have got support from the police ever since my father’s death, but I am still waiting for the job. My father died a martyr’s death and our lives have been shattered,” said Parminder Singh.

Inspector Sucha Singh was murdered last year on June 8 by UT constable Basant and his lover Sarita, who were on the run. Sucha Singh had stopped them on suspicion when he was killed. The court decided the case through a speedy trial and both accused have been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The UT police had shot off a communique to the Administration, asking it to write to the Punjab police earlier this year.

As Sucha Singh hails from Punjab, the police are also working out the modalities if his son can be given the job of an ASI in the Punjab police.

Meanwhile, the case of providing a job to Sucha Singh’s son in the Chandigarh police is lingering on ever since.

In November, the UT Administration had sent a recommendation to the MHA, asking it to create a post of an ASI for Parminder Singh.



Contractor, workers pelted with stones
Had gone to install electricity meters in Colony Number 4
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
High drama was witnessed in Colony No. 4 today when a private contractor hired by the UT Electricity Department went to the area with his workers to install meters in some houses. The contractor and his workers, who were five in number, were met with strong opposition by residents, who protested and pelted them with stones. The residents were opposing the installation of meters as they thrive on "kundi" connections.

The residents then jammed the main road leading to the colony and demanded action against the contractor and his workers. They alleged that the contractor and his workers came armed with sticks and sharp weapons with a motive to attack them.

A huge police force was sent to the spot to take stock of the situation. DSP Anjitha Chapyala and acting SHO Jasbir Singh also reached the spot.

The police had a tough time managing the protesters. After the situation was controlled, both parties were taken to the police station where they reached a compromise. A daily diary report was lodged.

"The contractor and his workers were asked to go the area with police protection, but they failed to do so, resulting in a tense situation. The residents alleged the contractor and his workers were armed, but we did not find anything substantive in their allegations," said DSP Anjitha.



Goods worth lakhs destroyed in fire
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 4
Goods worth lakhs were destroyed when a fire broke out in a Canter parked at a factory and later spread to a nearby factory in the Industrial Area, Phase I, here this morning. As it was a holiday being a Sunday, no one was injured in the incident.

According to the police, the fire broke out in a Canter that was parked at a factory of Krishna Industries, that deals in mustard oil, causing a loss of around Rs 12 lakh. Later, raw material kept at a nearby factory of Prem Sapra, that deals in regulators, also caught fire, causing a loss of around Rs 3 lakh.

Preliminary investigation revealed short circuit as a possible reason of the fire. Rohit Bansal, owner of the oil factory, told the police that the incident took place around 11.30 am. The Canter was parked near an electric switch and its polythene-covered roof caught fire reportedly due to a short circuit.

The vehicle went up in flames and soon material kept in the factory caught fire.

A guard in the regulator factory informed the local police about the fire, which in turn informed the fire brigade. A fire tender reached the spot and extinguished the fire.



Treading a different path for the differently abled
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” True to this adage is the story of a mother, teacher and city’s very own revolutionary beauty dermatologist, Salochna Ahuja, who turns 70 on May 5.

With 35 years of consistent hard work and patience, Salochna has empowered many differently abled women. She has come a long way from being just a mother of a hearing-impaired daughter to bringing a difference to the lives of many.

She opened her first salon, "Salochna’s Beauty World", in Chandigarh in 1979 where she not only provided wellness and beauty services to her customers but also trained many girls like her daughter who were differently abled or belonged to economically weaker sections of society.

Though she has taken no formal training in the sign language, Salochna instantly strikes a chord with special children.

Salochna runs classes for special children in her salon. She said, “I do not feel sympathy for these children; that will be a discouragement for them. They are a talented lot, who need love. They deserve a fair chance to prove their mettle.”

On the eve of her 70th birthday, Salochna recounts her journey from Abohar to the City Beautiful.

“I was married to a landlord in Abohar and by 18, I was blessed with my first child, Anju, who was born hearing impaired. However, I was not taken back by her disability. I took it as a challenge and promised to give my daughter a normal life.”

Before destiny opened its gate of opportunity for her, the determined mother had to knock a million doors. “In order to give Anju a better life, I, along with my husband and son, moved to Chandigarh. I made my daughter join a school. However, after Class VIII, the school authorities gave up on my daughter,” she said.

Since her daughter could not cope with studies, Salochna made her quit academics and join painting classes for a year. However, painting also did not help much. One of her friends suggested that her daughter should do a beautician course.

“When I told my in-laws about making Anju do a beautician course, they all objected. However, I was firm. Leaving my other two children -- son, who was 12 years old then, and daughter, who was just 10 -- with my husband, I, along with Anju, shifted to Delhi for a beautician course in 1977,” she said.

After facing a string of rejections from the salon authorities, who refused to train Anju, Salochna made up her mind to do the course herself and then teach her daughter. For six months, she stayed in Delhi. Every weekend, she used to visit home to meet her children.

“While doing the course in Delhi, I realised that I was weak in English and to do well in this field, it was important to have a good command of the language,” she said.

Not only did she undertake the beautician course, she also learnt English from her brother-in-law. She returned to the city and opened her salon in 1979.

For her contribution towards differently abled children, Salochna has been honoured at many places. The highest honour she received was in 1985 when former President Giani Zail Singh presented her with the National Award for being an outstanding employer for the differently abled.

Daughter runs a salon

Salochna's daughter, Anju Bhatnagar (50), is now married and settled in Vadodara. Anju also runs a beauty salon there.

With the help of Salochna, a number of her students have opened their salons in different parts of the country.


Dispensaries ail as Admn, MC fail to coordinate
In a quick survey across some dispensaries by Chandigarh Tribune, a stark contrast was found in the services and maintenance of dispensaries run by the Administration and those being run by the UT in coordination with the MC
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The thought-defying distribution of powers for handling a majority of the civic dispensaries in the city between the Municipal Corporation and the UT Health Department has left the dispensaries in an ailing state due to the blame game between the two authorities. The UT Administration, while shifting the responsibility to provide hardware and basic items and maintenance of dispensaries to the MC, kept the control of doctors’ salaries, power supply and medicines with itself, leaving the MC toothless. Also, out of the 21 dispensaries, the complete charge of four-five dispensaries was retained by the UT Health Department.

Contrast in dispensaries

While a majority of the civil dispensaries across the city are grappling with the problem of maintenance, those maintained purely by the Administration are relatively in a better position. Right from the size of the premises to the availability of staff, water, electricity, vaccine storage to cleanliness, the Administration-owned dispensaries fared significantly well over those maintained by the MC. Sample this: two dispensaries located within a distance of 1km-1.5km and differing in the level of maintenance and, hence, footfall too. Reason: common management and relatively better services. Chandigarh Tribune compared two set of dispensaries involving a total of four dispensaries - two each maintained purely by the Administration and jointly by the Administration and the MC.

Dhanas and Khuda Lahora

A dispensary at Khuda Lahora without a boundary wall in Chandigarh
A dispensary at Khuda Lahora without a boundary wall in Chandigarh.

While the heathcare requirements of both areas, located within a distance of kilometre in terms of size of population, the dispensary at Dhanas has more seating capacity, more cleanliness, better boundary wall and regular supply of water, electricity as well as medicines at the pharma unit. In Khuda Lahora, a small alternative medical unit (AMU) has been set up having three separate small rooms running the health services somehow. 
A doctor’s room, which also houses a pharma unit, at a dispensary in Khuda Lahora in Chandigarh.
A doctor’s room, which also houses a pharma unit, at a dispensary in Khuda Lahora in Chandigarh.

Right from the size of the doctors’ room to availability of basic amenities of regular water, coolers during summers, the AMU is far behind the Dhanas dispensary. There is no boundary wall to cover the AMU for the safety of equipment. The dispensary at Dhanas is purely managed by the UT Administration. The maintenance at the AMU in Khuda Lahora lies with the MC. 
A doctor’s spacious room at a dispensary in Dhanas colony in Chandigarh
A doctor’s spacious room at a dispensary in Dhanas colony in Chandigarh.

For medicines, electricity and staff requirements, the MC is helpless in improving the dispensary. The staff is at the receiving end and needs to deal with the two authorities separately in case of a problem.

Hallo Majra & Ram Darbar

The step-motherly treatment with the dispensary at Hallo Majra, when compared with the state of affairs at its adjoining dispensary in Ram Darbar, is visible. From the size of area for seating of patients to the area allotted for storing vaccines, medicines and doctors’ check-up room, the two dispensaries present a clear contrast. Patients are forced to sit in the open if more than five patients visit the Hallo Majra dispensary at a time since there is no place to sit. In case of power failure, the staff at the Hallo Majra dispensary has to often leave vaccines in refrigerators of residents of the area while closing the dispensary in the evening since they remain uncertain of response from the Administration for repair work. The dispensary indeed suffers a joint control of the MC and the Administration. The problems are negligible at the adjoining dispensary as the coordination of the UT Health Department and other department concerned within the Administration is relatively smoother.

Dispensaries were not as bad earlier: Patients

During a visit to dispensaries at Ram Darbar, Maloya, Khuda Lahora, Kajheri, Hallo Majra, Sector 40, Dadu Majra, Sector 26, Sector 45, Sector 33 and Sector 38, patients and staff were found saying that the condition of the dispensaries had deteriorated in the past three years ever since the powers were distributed among the Administration and the MC. The maintenance used to be better earlier.

Poor utilisation of funds by the MC

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 February 2012, the MC had approved a budget of Rs 23.90 crore to upgrade 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, Rs 16.62 crore was sanctioned in the annual budget of the MC for primary healthcare. More than 90 per cent remained unutilised.

The problem

The condition of the dispensaries has gone from bad to worse exposing the failure on the 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 the Health Department to the MC. The problems include lack of hygiene, power, water supply, thefts and erratic supply of medicines.


I feel that the MC has its own engineering unit and ample budget for maintaining the buildings as effectively as it maintains all other buildings. There was a proposal for creating a separate cadre of doctors under the MC for posting at these dispensaries. But having them separately for dispensaries will keep their services underutilised.

Anil Kumar, UT Health Secretary



Autopace fined for deficiency in service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Autopace Network Pvt Ltd has been penalised for deficiency in service and unfair trade practice.

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed the Autopace to refund Rs 500 to the complainant, Kehar Singh Saini of Zirakpur, with an interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date of payment and pay Rs 5,500 towards compensation for unfair trade practice.

Kehar Singh had alleged that he took his car, which had a problem in its right front wheel, to the Autopace but the latter told him to go to the Hans Engineering Work. A mechanic at the Autopace asked the Hans Engineering Work mechanic, who dealt with the complainant, to open the right front wheel to rectify the problem. In the process, the latter damaged the hub bearing, which he replaced. The complainant was charged Rs 500 for the repairs. However, the Autopace raised a bill of Rs 1,639 for the replaced part. The complainant paid the bill.

Later, Kehar Singh found that the problem still persisted and subsequently, took the legal course.

In its reply, the Autopace pleaded that the complainant had made “misconceived and baseless" allegations of the problem recurring in the vehicle without relying on any expert report from a recognised laboratory.

“We are of the view that when the complainant had reposed faith in the Autopace for getting his car repaired, it was the responsibility of the service provider to repair it through its own mechanic. Even if it was required to be repaired by some other mechanic, the payment to the mechanic should have been paid by the Autopace and not by the complainant,” the forum observed.

The act of the Autopace, an authorised service centre of Maruti Suzuki, in sending the car to a private mechanic and asking the complainant to make the payment to him amounts to unfair trade practice and deficiency in service on its part,” the forum ruled.

‘Unfair trade practice’

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed Autopace to refund Rs 500 to the complainant, Kehar Singh Saini of Zirakpur, with an interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date of payment and pay Rs 5,500 towards compensation for unfair trade practice. The forum was of the view that it was the responsibility of the service provider to repair it through its own mechanic.



Now, NIC to provide smart cards to RLA office
SPIC provided smart card for Rs 70, NIC to charge Rs 54 
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
After facing embarrassment due to the shortage of smart cards for registration certificates (RCs) and driving licences (DLs) in the recent past, the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) has now decided to replace the Society for Promotion of IT in Chandigarh (SPIC) that currently provides the smart card, by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) that will be providing the smart card at much lower rates. While, SPIC provided each smart card for Rs 70 and NIC will be making it available for Rs 54 only.

SPIC is supplying the smart cards for Rs 70 per card without printing and it even failed to meet the supply resulting in huge backlog leading to inconvenience to the residents. In April, pendency of documents in the RLA had touched upto 15,000 due to delay in supply of cards by SPIC. With the smart cards running out of stock, the residents are forced to visit the RLA office repeatedly to collect their documents.

Similar situation was also witnessed in 2013 when the delivery dates of RCs and DLs were stretched to several months.

RLA Kashish Mittal said NIC would be providing the smart cards, manpower for printing those cards and would also maintain the infrastructure required for printing the cards. “The proposal has been sent to the UT Administration for approval”, Mittal said.

Officials stated that once NIC began supplying the cards there would be no backlog. “The residents will not have to visit the RLA office repeatedly as they will be provided the documents in no time”, officials added. SPIC is supposed to provide the cards till June after which the new agency will begin supplying the cards.



Accident victim cremated
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, May 4
The body of Rajesh Sharma (37), who was crushed to death in a road accident on the killer Ambala-Kalka National Highway on Saturday evening, was handed over to the family members after a postmortem examination, here today.

A panel of doctors conducted the postmortem at Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, in the morning.

ASI Paramjit Singh said the family cremated the body in the evening. He said that the accused who was nabbed in a case of rash and negligent driving causing death of a woman, was granted bail by the police. The police will submit a challan in the court in this regard now. A resident of MS Enclave, Dhakoli, Rajesh Sharma, was riding an Activa scooter when a tipper heading towards Panchkula reportedly hit her vehicle from behind.

The victim was crushed to death under the tipper.



Mental Harassment Case
GMCH-32 Addl Director told to probe complaint
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
A month after a former demonstrator at GMCH-32 complained of a year-long delay in release of report of inquiry into her complaint of mental harassment by the Head, Pharmacology Department, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has directed the Additional Director of the hospital to probe the matter.

Chandigarh Tribune had recently highlighted a complaint letter titled “continuing harassment by Prof Gautam”, written by former demonstrator at Department of Pharmacology, GMCH-32, Dr Rupinder Kaur Hashmi to Dr Atul Sachdev, Director-Principal, GMCH-32, on March 14.In her letter, she mentioned about a year-long delay in the release of the report of an independent inquiry conducted to look into her complaint against Prof CS Gautam alleging mental harassment.In her latest complaint, Hashmi said: “It is more than a year since the inquiry and the results are still not public.”

In the letter shot to the GMCH-32 Additional Director (a copy of which is with the Chandigarh Tribune), the NCW stated, “The action taken in the matter may please be communicated to the Commission within 15 days .”

The case

In July 2012, Dr Rupinder, along with seven other demonstrators from the Department of Pharmacology, had given a complaint to the then GMCH Director-Principal, Dr Raj Bahadur, alleging mental harassment by Dr Gautam.The complaints alleged that Prof Gautam had been scolding and misbehaving with all his subordinates in the department. The probe was conducted by Dr Jaswinder Kaur, Head, Department of Biochemistry.Later, KD Arora, a retired IAS officer, conducted another inquiry but the report was still in the custody of the GMCH Director.Prof Atul Sachdev had a few weeks ago sought an explanation from Prof Gautam on the matter. Prof Gautam had earlier said he could not comment until the findings of the report were out.



burnt power meter
Lok Adalat flays PSPCL for issuing hefty bill
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 4
In a major relief to electricity consumers, the Permanent Lok Adalat (Public Utility Services), Mohali, directed the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) not to recover monthly charges on the LDHF formula for the period a burnt meter remained at the site and instead raise the bill on the basis of average of previous/subsequent period.

The court, headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal, issued these orders in the case of Bachan Singh vs PSPCL recently.

In his plea, Bachan Singh had stated that he had obtained a power connection to run a services station. He received the first bill of Rs 17,000 for three months and the next bill of Rs 2,550 for 14 days. However, he received the next bill of Rs 43,180 and the subsequent bill of Rs 64,910.

The PSPCL claimed that the bills of Rs 43,180 and Rs 64,910 were calculated as per the LDHF formula for the period during which the burnt meter remained at the site.

The PSPCL’s contention was that the average consumption for the said since there was no corresponding period in this case, they employed the LDHF formula.

The Permanent Lok Adalat, however, held that the LDHF formula does not give discretion to the PSPCL to issue a bill for the lesser amount even if the consumption had been less during the previous corresponding period.

In such cases, where the consumer was not at fault, the LDHF formula is unjust, harsh and improper, it observed.

The Lok Adalat also observed that the formula was meant for theft and unauthorised use of electricity and should not be applied to innocent consumers.

It was observed that monthly charges for the period prior to the burning of the meter and after installation of new meter never exceeded Rs 5,891 per month. It was held that it would have been appropriate if bills for Rs 6,000 had been issued instead of hefty Rs 43,180 and Rs 64,910. Further, the parties would have saved the time, money and resources spent on the litigation.

Issuing orders, the PLA directed the PSPCL to issue revised bills at the rate of Rs 6,000 per month and if the amount is deposited by the applicant within 15 days, the electricity supply should not be disconnected.

“When the actual consumption for the relevant period would be available, the consumer account could be overhauled,” held the court.



GMADA’s aerocity scheme
Plot numbers to be allotted by May-end
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 4
A long wait of around three years of successful applicants of the GMADA’s Aerocity scheme would come to an end soon as the authority is all set to hold draw to allot numbers for residential plots in the last week of this month.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, GMADA Chief Administrator AK Sinha said, “The draw would be held in the last week of this month for sure.”

Earlier, the draw was scheduled for March 25 but it was withheld following announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, said the authorities.

“With the poll result on May 16, the model code of conduct will come to an end. After that, we will announce the date of draw,” said Sinha. He added that the draw would be held for residential plots.

There are a total of 4,000 residential plots (650 plots of 500 sq yds, 50 of 400 sq yds, 730 of 300 sq yds, 520 of 250 sq yds, 800 of 200 sq yds, 550 of 150 sq yds and 700 of 120 sq yds) in the project.

Meanwhile, the local real estate agents are hopeful that with the allotment of plot numbers, property transactions would start taking place.

“Surely it would give a boost to the realty business, which is facing slump at present,” said Shailender Anand, the chairman of Mohali Property Consultants Association.



Illegal mandi: Money was being collected on daily basis
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 4
Money collection from vendors in the illegal vegetable market in Sector 19 by officials of the Market Committee was being done on daily basis, information received under the RTI Act stated.

On the basis of this information, the then Panchkula City Magistrate Kamaljeet Kaur had, in her inquiry report, recommended audit of the accounts of the Market Committee. As per norms, the money collection and issuing of slips was to be done just once a week.

Ram Karan, a gardener, was collecting money for committee officials, the RTI information stated. The month-wise details from the year 2011 to 2013 showed daily collection of fee from around 70 vendors at the vegetable market.

Meanwhile, the probe report by Kaur also questioned the orders of the Panchkula Mayor that the mandi should be held daily.

The probe followed a complaint by Dev Raj Sharma, a local resident, who stated that an illegal mandi was being held in the sector daily and involved a scam of Rs 2 lakh per month.

The probe also mentioned that despite complaints made in 2012, the local Administration, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the Market Committee did not take any action.



‘Ikk Hor Gadar’ staged at Punjab Kala Bhawan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi in collaboration with the Adakar Manch, Mohali, staged a play, “Ikk Hor Gadar”, at the Punjab Kala Bhawan here today. It was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

The play, written and directed by Dr Sahib Singh, was about the Ghadar Movement, which started in 1913 in America for the freedom struggle of the country.

The play was set up in a modern scenario where a boy named Kartar Singh, while celebrating after getting his visa for the US with his friend Balbir in an old building, re-encounters the freedom struggle episode.

While exploring the building’s heritage, the duo realises that the building belonged to a “gadrite”. From there on, the whole script starts to gain momentum.The feeling of patriotism gradually builds up as the characters of the past and the present have interesting encounters. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the play.



46th anniversary
Government museum to organise treasure hunt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
To celebrate Government Museum and Art Gallery’s 46th anniversary, the museum will organise a treasure hunt from 11 am to 12:30 pm on its premises on May 6.

The treasure hunt would be open to all above 12 years of age. As a part of the celebrations, special films will be showcased in the museum auditorium from 10:30 am to 1 pm.

While giving details about the event, Amandeep Kaur, director of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, said: “The treasure hunt will incorporate all such interesting features that will not only be knowledgeable but also entertaining”.

She said the government museum was an attraction in view of the fact that Le Corbusier himself designed it.



Politicians’ promises mere eyewash, say traders

With the temperature soaring during last week, children beat the heat in a swimming pool at Sector 23, Chandigarh
With the temperature soaring during last week, children beat the heat in a swimming pool at Sector 23, Chandigarh. Tribune Photo Pradeep Tewari

There was panic among traders and industrialists after the UT Estate office began a drive to seal various commercial buildings for building violations. The traders have questioned the silence of political leaders over the issue. In the recent elections, all candidates, be it Pawan Kumar Bansal, Kirron Kher or Gul Panag, they had all assured the traders and industrialists that they would stand by them in their tough time, but after the elections, not even a single leader has come out in their support. A trader said, “Their silence has proved that their promises during the election campaign were mere eyewash”.

Panchayat representatives a ‘happy’ lot

Representatives of panchayats, who were in the city to attend a one-day convention at Panjab University, felt happy after witnessing that there were power cuts even in urban areas. Organisers were seen running from pillar-to-post to get the generator of the auditorium functional, where the function was being held. A panch said, “We were not aware that the city’s big “babus” also face the same problem which is common in our area.”

Seeking constable of his choice

An Additional Sessions Judge, seemingly unhappy with a PSO (a constable) attached with his security, made a request to a senior police officer to provide him a constable of his choice. The “choosy” Judge made a request to the officer that he was unhappy with the constable attached to him and wished that he be replaced. He was, obviously, obliged.

Jolly good fellows!

Councillors were seen attending the General House meeting of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation in a jolly mood as they didn’t have any agenda to discuss at the meeting. BJP Councillor Saurabh Joshi complained to the Mayor, “Mayor ‘saab’ it is probably the first house meeting when we don’t have anything in our hands”, he said. Congress councillor Sat Parkash Aggarwal was quick to comment, “See we have mobile phones in our hands”.

Only chana-bhatura on the menu

BJP and SAD councillors who blamed Mayor HC Kalyan for calling the House meeting without any agenda or action-taken-report for discussion, demanded that the Mayor bear the expenses of the meeting. During the lunch break when they saw that only ‘chana-bhatura’ and a few snacks were served, the councillors joked that the Mayor might have got the menu changed as he was scared that he might have to pay the bills.

Futile vigilance

A PGIMER clerk unintentionally took security officials for a ride last week, when she was spotted on CCTV camera carrying a bundle of bandage outside Nehru Hospital. Assuming that she had stolen the bandage from the central stores, the security officials nabbed her. It was later found that she had wrapped official files with a bandage to carry them easily to another building on the campus.

Leaders praise Haryana CM

Congress leaders from Haryana had gone to Dera Bassi to address a public rally seeking votes for Preneet Kaur, Congress candidate from Patiala. They were virtually distracted from the main objective they had come for. Instead of appealing to the public to vote for Preneet Kaur, the leaders left no stone unturned to praise Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Contributed by: Rajinder Nagarkoti, Aarti Kapur, Aneesha Sareen, Amit Sharma, Ritika Jha Palial and Bipin Bhardwaj.



‘RWAs should be empowered’

Chandigarh, May 4
The newly elected office-bearers of the Federation of Sector Welfare Association, Chandigarh (FOSWAC), today held their first meeting to discuss issues of the city. The meeting was held at Community Centre in Sector 8.

FOSWAC chairman Baljinder Singh while discussing the plans for the year said that empowerment of the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) would be their priority. “We will be taking up the matter with the UT Administration, the Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh Housing Board to empower the RWA so that they can take up various problems with the officials on their own”, Singh stated. The issue of ensuring a medical helpline for senior citizens in the city was also discussed. “We will also bring transparency in the functioning of the FOSWAC”, Singh said.— TNS



Programme on health system concludes

Chandigarh, May 4
The two-week management development programme (MDP) on health system strengthening, sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, concluded at the PGIMER on Saturday.

The programme was organised by the Department of Hospital Administration, PGIMER, from April 21 to May 3. It was meant for senior health functionaries and was attended by delegates from 12 different states. — TNS



Bank gets new field GM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Field general manager DS Saahi has taken over the charge of the Chandigarh Zone of the Central Bank of India following the transfer of KK Taneja, general manager (GM), to the Delhi Zone.

Saahi was working in the Raipur Zone of the bank earlier. He joined the bank in 1978 in the rural development stream and served in the states of Haryana, Punjab, J&K, Delhi, MP, Assam and Maharashtra in different capacities. 



Authorities inspect Chhat Bir Zoo premises
Tribune News Service

Chhat Bir, May 4
The Chhat Bir Zoo authorities launched a combing operation in the forest area in the zoo today morning, particularly around the enclosures, to ascertain if the leopard had killed any other inmate.

The aim of the zoo management was to find out the presence of any other big cat inside the zoo premises. The teams of the zoo employees, however, found animals in all the enclosures safe, said sources in the zoo.

A leopard — which had strayed into the zoo on Friday night — had killed two barking deers. The vigilant zoo staff, however, spotted the big cat hiding in a culvert under the service road inside the zoo and struggled for over five hours to cage the beast unhurt.

With the leopard straying into the zoo and killing two antelopes, the zoo authorities have beefed up night vigil to avoid any such incident in future, a senior officer claimed. 



Musical tribute to legendary poet Batalvi
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 4
To commemorate the 41st death anniversary of Shiv Kumar Batalvi, the Saraswati Kala Sangam paid a musical tribute to the legendary poet at the Haryana Akademy Bhavan here today. Ghazal maestro RD Kailey from Delhi and Dr Rita Gangahar, Dr Savita Malhotra, Inderjit Ahluwalia and Som Dutt Sharma recited Batalvi’s poems at the event.

The event was supported by the Department of Cultural Affairs, State Bank of India and the Haryana State Agriculture and Marketing Board (HSAMB), Panchkula.

The programme commenced with a Ganesh and Saraswati Vandana by Col Inderejit (Retd), while Som Dutt Sharma presented three compositions of Batalvi. 



Open House response
Upgrade cycle tracks, fine defaulters, say residents
The deplorable condition of cycle tracks across the city is a wake-up call for the authorities. Inadequate lighting facilities have further compounded the woes of cyclists and rickshaw-pullers, putting them at risk. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers what measures should the Chandigarh Administration take to improve the present state of affairs

Garbage strewn on a cycle track not only emits fould stench but also puts cyclists at the receiving end
Tough ride: Garbage strewn on a cycle track not only emits fould stench but also puts cyclists at the receiving end. A Tribune photograph

Penalise those not using cycle tracks

It is a rare thing that separate lanes have been earmarked for cycle and rickshaw tracks in the city. However, a majority of cyclists and rickshaw pullers show their reluctance in using these tracks. Moreover, the traffic police don’t encourage cyclists and rickshaw pullers to use these tracks nor do they penalise the defaulters.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

UT Admn should take stern measures

The condition of cycle tracks in Chandigarh is pathetic. The concept of V-8 roads or cycle tracks for the benefit and safety of cyclists and rickshaw-pullers is gradually diminishing. The deplorable condition of these tracks deters residents from cycling, who are fond of it. Due to lack of adequate lighting facilities on these tracks at night, cyclists risk their lives by riding on the main roads. Besides, the potholed tracks make riding a difficult task. The tracks have also become dumping grounds for garbage, malba and wild growth. Motorists can also be seen driving on these tracks. The Punjab and Haryana High Court should sternly direct the UT Administration and MC officials to initiate measures to maintain these tracks. The authorities concerned should hire people to clean and illuminate the tracks. More Home Guard volunteers need to be deployed here for the safety of cyclists.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Assign work of upgrading tracks to private agencies

Apart from building new cycle tracks, the emphasis should be on the maintenance of the existing tracks. If the Municipal Corporation is not able to utilise the funds efficiently, the task of maintaining these tracks should be outsourced to private agencies, NGOs or RWAs. To regulate traffic flow on these paths, Home Guards or traffic police should be deployed, so that motorists are fined for using the cycle tracks. Fines should be imposed on the defaulter rickshaw pullers and cyclists, who pedal on the main roads instead of the tracks.

Aeshvarya Thakur, Chandigarh

Install signboards on tracks

In a majority of instances, cyclists and rickshaw-pullers do not use tracks as these are not smooth, parallel and wide. The traffic police don’t give attention towards cyclists and rickshaw-pullers. The authorities concerned should install signboards at the tracks. They should initiate strict action against the defaulters.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

Cycle tracks need to be upgraded

In 1960, the officials of the rank of chief engineer used to cycle their way to work. But, now, bicycle is used by labourers, school-going children etc. Though many clubs and UT Administration have organised cycle rallies — which commence from Sukhna Lake — these are now confined to posing for photographs or gaining footage in media. The condition of cycle tracks needs to be improved. For this, Punjab, Haryana and the UT Administration need to adopt a strict approach. Further, the design of these cycle tracks needs to be upgraded.

Sardul Singh Abrawan, Chandigarh

Encourage cyclists to ride on tracks

There are no strict rules regarding the use of cycle tracks. Awareness needs to be spread among cyclists that these tracks have been constructed for their safety. The administration has spent a large amount of money on constructing these tracks. Vehicles move at high speed on the roads and sometimes, it becomes difficult to apply the brakes on time. This leads to an accident. I think traffic police officers should guide the rickshaw pullers and cyclists to drive on the right track for their safety. It will make travelling safe.

Inderdeep Kaur, Mohali

Civic body should repair tracks

Earmarking cycle tracks is the right step in keeping pace with providing world-class facilities to cyclists in the city. It is the best form of exercise and keeps one healthy. However, tracks in the city are in a deplorable condition. Garbage is strewn on them, emitting foul stench, making travelling a nightmare. Poor lighting arrangements have compounded the woes of cyclists. The civic body should initiate stern measures and repair the tracks. This will not only make traveling easier for cyclists, but will also enhance the city’s look.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

Cycling needs to be promoted

The promotion of cycling in the City Beautiful is the need of the hour. Cycling as an activity needs to be promoted. This will also decrease traffic jams, pollution etc. To encourage cycling, cycle tracks must be earmarked properly with proper lighting arrangements, free of garbage and potholes. This will help streamline traffic and solve many problems.

PS Bajwa, Chandigarh

Construct special lanes along roadsides

The roads made for the use of bicycle/cycle-rickshaws are in a deplorable condition. Cyclists avoid using these potholed roads due to their deplorable condition. It is an arduous task for cyclists to ride on these roads as it also damages their cycles. Accidents involving bicycles/cycle rickshaws have increased as traffic chaos has increased over the years. The administration should construct new roads for cyclists and re-carpet the old ones. If there is no place for the construction of new roads on the sides, then a 4 feet lane can be constructed along side the road for cyclists. This will not only decrease chaos on the roads, but also reduce the chances of accidents.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd), Mohali

Punish those responsible for not upgrading tracks

It is a sorry state of affairs that the cycle tracks constructed along the roads that divide sectors have become an eyesore. These were constructed for the safety of cyclists and rickshaw-pullers. The taxpayer's money has gone down the drain as these are never maintained and properly utilised. Only in the event of a fatal accident that Home Guard jawans are seen deployed at roads to guide the cyclists and rickshaw-pullers to use the cycle tracks. And, after a couple of days, things are back to square one. Where has the money gone? Why has the money been wasted on the project? Who is responsible for the non-maintenance of these tracks? They should be identified and penalised. The money received by them in the form of bribe from contractors should be recovered with 50per cent interest.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Traffic Police need to keep vigil on tracks

The cycle tracks were created in Chandigarh about a decade ago with much fanfare and at a considerable cost. This was carried out without ascertaining the utility and necessity of these tracks compared to the number of cyclists at that point of time. In the absence of any awareness and guidelines, the cyclists did not use these tracks. The need of the hour is to create awareness among cyclists. They need to be educated on not using the main roads to avoid accidents, and instead ride on these tracks. For this, the Traffic Police, deputed at the entry points of these tracks already has a job cut out for it.

SC Luthra, Mani Majra

Administration should upgrade cycle tracks

After a spell of rainfall, the cycle track -- adjoining the southern boundary wall of Kendriya Vihar in Sector 48-B, resembles a water canal. The cycle tracks are inundated. With this, the notice board reading ‘compulsory cycle track’ loses its sanctity. It appears to be wastage of precious land. Perhaps this is the reason that parallel cycle tracks, falling in Sector 48-C adjoining the motor market, have already lost their existence. The administration should restore its desired parameters and make it workable.

Varun Arora, Chandigarh

Fine cyclists for using main roads

Besides the upgrade of cycle tracks by the UT administration, the solution lies in better policing. The Traffic Police should penalise the defaulters using the tracks. If the need arises, even cyclists should be fined for deviating from their respective track. The administration also needs to upgrade the tracks for the cyclists.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Ensure proper lighting facilities on tracks

Proper lighting facilities should be ensured on the cycle tracks as using these during the night hours is a nightmare. The potholes should be repaired and the tracks need to be upgraded regularly. As directed by the Panjab and Haryana High Court, Home Guard volunteers need to be deputed on the cycle tracks to guide cyclists and rickshaw-pullers to use the tracks regularly.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Motorists should be stopped from using tracks

A majority of cycle tracks across the city are in a pathetic condition. These are potholed and have been rendered useless due to the absence of streetlights at night. These tracks are freely used by motorists, posing a risk to the lives of cyclists and rickshaw-pullers. Signboards need to be installed at the tracks. The Traffic Police should be deployed on the tracks to stop motorists from plying on these. Those flouting rules should be penalised. People should be encouraged to take up cycling, but for this, the tracks should be made safe for riding.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Re-carpet tracks at regular intervals

The cycle tracks should be re-carpeted at regular intervals. Adequate lighting arrangements should be ensured so that cyclists don’t face difficulty while travelling during the night hours. A serious problem arises when these tracks —leading to the crossings or rotaries — confuse the cyclists. The design of these tracks should be enhanced to avoid such bottlenecks. The administration should upgrade the tracks and promote its use among cyclists and rickshaw-pullers.

Ranju Gulati, Chandigarh

Upgrade cycle tracks

Fully-grown trees should be removed from the cycle tracks so that their entry points are clearly visible. These tracks should have uniform width and a smooth surface. Those tracks in bad shape should be re-carpeted. These should have enough sunlight during the day hours, besides being well-illuminated at night. The end points of the tracks, instead of merging with the main road running parallel to it, should end at the road ahead of it (at right angles). This will avoid the collision of cyclists with other vehicles coming from behind at the merging points. The persons throwing malba etc. should be penalised. Cycle tracks adjacent to the apni mandis are often used to park vehicles by people. This practice needs to be curbed.

Dr Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Cyclists seldom use cycle tracks

The UT Administration should deploy Traffic Police or take help from the Home Guard volunteers to manage traffic on the tracks. The traffic personnel should divert cyclists and rickshaw pullers towards the tracks. This will help in streamlining traffic on the main roads as well. The roads, which are in a deplorable condition, need to be upgraded at the earliest. There are many roads where cycle tracks don’t exist at all. Tracks should be earmarked on such roads. Proper lighting arrangements should be ensured.

BM Dhawan, Chandigarh


open house question

The UT Administration while shifting the responsibility of providing hardware, basic items and maintenance of dispensaries to the Municipal Corporation, kept the control of doctors’ salaries, power supply and medicines with itself, leaving the MC toothless. Also, out of 21 dispensaries, the charge of four-five dispensaries was retained by the UT Health Department. This has led to a blame game between the UT Administration and the MC. Write your comments with a passport size picture to [email protected] 



Errors in AIPMT paper leave students high and dry
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The All-India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Test (AIPMT) that was held today left many students shocked. In the chemistry section, two questions had wrong options and some questions in the biology section were beyond the facts mentioned in NCERT books.

In some centres across the city, students were forced to remove their wristwatches, which further added to their anxiousness.

Educationalists from the city pointed out that the chemistry section had two gross errors.

Chemistry teacher Ananya Ganguly from Ganguly's Chemistry Academy, Sector 34, Chandigarh, said: “In question number 152, which asks which of the following compounds will undergo racemisation when solution of KOH hydrolysis? Only the fourth molecule can undergo racemisation. But the options available in the answer key were all wrong”.

He said even in question number 170 - Which of the following orders of ionic radii is correctly presented? - the answer options were wrong.

“The correct increasing order could be option 1 or 3 but the greater than sign made them wrong options,” he said.

Around 11,000 aspirants from the Tricity had appeared for the examination.

Anjali Garg, a medical aspirant who had appeared for the examination at Government Senior Secondary School, Dhanas, said: “The authorities asked the students to remove their wristwatches. There was no wall clock in the class, due to which my anxiety level increased”.

Anjali said: “The teachers, who were the in-charge, kept talking to each other loudly in the classes disturbing the students”.

The paper had 180 questions with a total weightage of 720 divided into biology, physics and chemistry sections. Out of the total, there were 90 questions of biology and 45 questions each of chemistry and physics.

Meanwhile, Dr Arvind Goyal, a local academician and PMT trainer, said: “The students who had prepared only from NCERT books would have faced difficulties while answering the questions as a significant number of questions (around 15) were beyond the facts mentioned in the NCERT books”.

Some students said the physics section was lengthier and time consuming.



95 students receive diplomas
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 4
Around 95 students were given diplomas of Bhaskar and Visharad final during the fifth convocation of the Pracheen Kala Kendra held at the Pracheen Kala Kendra complex, Sector 71, here today. The students of classical music, classical dances and fine arts were given the diplomas.

Professor Neera Grover from the Department of Music, Panjab University, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The convocation began with a brief introduction of the Pracheen Kala Kendra and its activities of classical arts, followed by lighting of the lamp and a welcome address by Sajal Koser, secretary of the organisation.

Vocalist Neera Grover delivered the keynote address and said the young learners of music should follow the path of hard work and dedication to attain perfection.

She said the field of classical arts was vast and receiving a diploma was not an end but the beginning of a long journey.

After the convocation ceremony, a musical programme was held where Bhaskar candidates gave classical renditions.

The programme began with tabla recital by Gurchetan Singh, a Visharad student from Mohan Kala Kunj, Patiala.



Chanchalpreet crowned Ms Farewell

Mohali, May 4
Students of MBA, BBA and BCA of Doaba Business School, Mohali, organised a party to bid adieu to the outgoing students.

The theme of the party was “Never Say Good Bye”. Fun games and events besides a modelling contest were held on the occasion. Deepanshu bagged the title of Mr Handsome, Sujinder Kaur won the title of Ms Beautiful, Harjit bagged the title of Mr BBA and Simarpreet won the title of Ms BBA in the contest.

Harwinder Singh and Chanchalpreet Kaur were crowned Mr and Ms Farewell, respectively. — TNS



from schools
Orientation programme

Holy Wonders School, Mohali, organised an orientation programme for students and their parents. During the programme, newcomers were introduced to the institution's profile. A presentation was given to inform the parents about the facilities, extracurricular activities and infrastructure at the school.

Labour Day observed

Labour Day was observed at Ashmah International School, Sector 70, Mohali. Director JS Kesar, IAS (retd), in his address said Labour Day was observed to mark the achievements of all workers. On the occasion, a team of doctors from Indus Multispecialty Hospital, Mohali, visited the school and organised a medical check-up camp for Class-IV employees.

May Day observed

Students of Lawrence Public School, Mohali, observed May Day. They organised a cultural programme and games for Class-IV employees. Students of Classes V and VI presented Saraswati Vandana. Students of Class V presented a skit on “Navyuka Karamchari”. Students of Class IX sang a song “sathi haath badana”, while students of Class X enacted a scene of labourers working at a construction site.

Health Week concludes

Health Week concluded with colourful presentations by students of Saupin’s School, Sector 70, Mohali. Headmistress Goldie Kapany addressed the audience and shared her views on the aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health. The programme began with a power-point presentation prepared by the students of Class V.

Training workshop

A three-day intensive training workshop on early education development programme concluded at CL DAV Public School, Sector 11, Panchkula. Around 70 teachers from 7 schools of the Haryana Zone (cluster-3) participated in the workshop. Madhu Behl, regional director, Vijay Kumar, manager of the school, and principals of various schools attended the valedictory function. — TNS



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