C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Brace for more power cuts
JERC allows dept to impose rotational cuts to deal with summer crisis
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
City residents, who have already started facing power cuts, should prepare themselves for more power outages. The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission has allowed the UT Electricity Department to impose rotational power cuts to meet the demand and supply gap in summer.

In its recent order, the JERC has allowed the department to impose scheduled rotational power cuts in different parts of the city in case the department finds it difficult to bridge the gap between the demand and supply.

"Rotational power cuts can be imposed by the utility (the UT Electricity Department), maintaining equality among all consumers of the utility irrespective of their status," the order states.

The demand for power is expected to reach 400 MW in summer, which was 363 MW last year. The demand for power has already touched 270 MW last week.

The UT Administration gets 220 MW of power from different sources -- 47 per cent from Mohali (PSPCL), 5 per cent from Dhulkote (BBMB) and the remaining 48 per cent from Nalagarh.

UT Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh said they had made sufficient arrangements to deal with power shortage in summer. He said this month, they were purchasing 185 MW additional power from various companies to meet the demand and supply gap. They would impose scheduled power cuts in case power supply lines had to be repaired, he said.

Besides, they had provided 10 movable transfers to each sub-division to change transformers in case these got damaged due to overloading, he said.

Another official said since the UT did not have a power generation plant, the Electricity Department purchased power from various power generation plants after signing agreements. If the department faced a shortage, it would be left with no option but to impose power cuts.

Dept yet to recover Rs 11 cr from defaulters

The UT Electricity Department is yet to collect Rs 11 crore from defaulters. Among the total 365 defaulters, government offices of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh figure in the list of defaulters who owe more than Rs 1 lakh to the department.

Undeclared load

The UT Administration claims that many consumers do not declare their actual power load, which ultimately results in power cuts due to overloading. The department claims that of the 2.10 lakh consumers, only 15,000 consumers declared their actual load last year, resulting in overloading.

Kundi connections

Kundi connections also resulted in poor power supply in the city. The department has failed to check kundi connections in various parts of the city, especially in colonies, villages and residential houses outside the lal dora. A visit to Colony No. 4, Sanjay Colony, Burail, Hallo Majra and Mani Majra revealed that the UT Administration has turned a blind eye towards these illegal kundi connections. Every year, the UT Administration is facing a loss of more than Rs 7 crore due to these unauthorised connections.

JERC had rejected power tariff hike proposal

The JERC had recently turned down the UT's power tariff hike petition because the Electricity Department has failed to submit the audited accounts based on commercial accounting principles mentioned in the JERC tariff regulations of 2009. Till date, the department has failed to get a commercial audit of its accounts, as desired by the JERC, done.



Demolition drive in colonies
Shattered families at the mercy of elements
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Sunday morning was not the usual one for residents of Nehru Colony, for they did not wake up in their shanties; rather they woke up on broken bricks of their demolished houses.

“Last night was really cold, and it was really difficult sleeping on broken bricks with protruding edges. My children kept crying throughout the night. However, since my family and I had no other place to go, we slept here on the remains of our razed house," said Suraj, who was collecting bricks and other remains of his broken shanty with his wife and children.

Suraj's family, including three children, was not the only one to have spent the night on bricks. There were several others like them who had to sleep in the open as they could not afford to take shelter in nearby rented accommodations.

“For the past one week, I could not go to work as I was trying to find a shelter within the reach of my pocket for my children. Neither could I find a shelter for them, nor could I make money for the week ahead,” said Vijay Kumar, father of three teenagers, who had been living in the colony for the past 21 years.

Under heaps of broken bricks, one could easily spot school bags, footballs, torn notebooks, clothes, shoes and many household items that once belonged to these residents. Since the crack of dawn, residents of the area had gathered there to collect their buried belongings.

“I was born in this house, and today I will be selling the bricks of my house; each brick will now be sold for Rs 2," cried Lakshmi, who was collecting the bricks with her brother Pardeshi. Uncertainty looms large over the future of these shattered families.

Madhu, mother of an eight-month-old, said, “We were not criminals. For years, we have been paying our electricity bills, then why such a disparity with us. The UT administration has rendered us homeless.”

Broken bricks their cot

While a few took shelter in rented accommodations after the demolition drive, there were many families which had no option but to sleep on broken bricks in the open 

Students' future uncertain

My sisters and I are not sure whether we will be able to continue our studies or not. It is difficult to afford a rented accommodation here.
— Mamta, a student of Class X

I am trying to dig out my school bag from the debris. If I don't find it, my teacher will scold me. My football also got buried when our house was demolished.
— Ajay, a student of Class II



Cousins kill youth in Morni
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Manmohan Singh, the victimPanchkula, May 11
A 24-year-old youth was murdered allegedly by his two cousin brothers at Baladwala village in Morni late last night. The victim, Manmohan Singh, was hit on the head with a sharp weapon.

According to the police, the victim's cousins, identified as Sanjeev, alias Sanju, and Shailender, alias Shinda, dragged his body to an isolated area near the village after the incident. Both accused are at large.

After the incident, Sanju went to the victim’s father, Maam Chand, and told him that they had killed his son.

Though the police suspect old enmity behind the murder, they are working on several other theories as well.

Manmohan is survived by his wife and a four-month-old baby girl. While Maam Chand is a farmer, Manmohan was a daily wager.

Sub-Inspector Amit Kumar said, “Three years ago, the victim's father had a brawl with the family of the accused cousins, which turned ugly and both parties suffered injuries. However, the matter was settled in the panchayat.” he said. “We are working on all theories,” he said.

Villagers told the police that Maam Chand had passed unsavoury comments about the accused's mother, leading to the brawl three years ago.

Yashpal, a cousin of the victim, said around 3.30 pm yesterday, Sanju and Shailender came to Manmohan's residence and told him that they had found some work for him.

“Manmohan went with them and around 9.30 pm, Sanju came to my place and told me that they had killed my son,” said Maam Chand.

The family found Manmohan lying in a pool of blood and took him to a hospital in Raipur Rani where he was declared brought dead. The postmortem of the victim was conducted at the General Hospital, Sector 6, which revealed that the victim died of head injuries.

Poor mobile network

Poor mobile network in Morni is again coming in the way of the police in tracing the accused. The police are already groping in the dark in the Saman Dhanak death case in Morni.

Rod may have been used in the crime

Doctors who conducted the post-mortem examination said a rod seemed to have been used in killing the victim.

The police said it was a planned murder. Manmohan's clothers were found torn by the police.



PSEB Class XII results
Poor show by Mohali district
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 11
Mohali district continued to put up a dismal show in the Class XII results of the Punjab School Education Board. The district, which has been termed the education hub of the state by the state government and boasts of top-class education infrastructure, could produce only three merit holders this time.

All three toppers from the district, Varinder Kaur (Kharar) and Rajwinder Kaur and Tanya (both from Banur) are rural students.

Interestingly, Mohali town could not produce even a single student who could make it to the board’s overall merit list of 389 students.

Mohali district shared the 16th spot with Ferozepur, Mansa, SBS Nagar and Pathankot, in the list. All these districts had only three students each in the list. Only Kapurthala district was behind these with two students in the list. Ludhiana had no match with 108 students from the district making it to the merit list.

Mohali district stood at the 21st spot in the district-wise pass percentage list. Compared to Amritsar district, which topped the list with a pass percentage of 92.13, Mohali district recorded a pass percentage of 78.09. Only Pathankot was behind Mohali with a pass percentage of 75.33.

Last year, only four students from Mohali district could make it to the board’s overall merit list of 336.

'VIP teachers' to blame, says Minister

Punjab Education Minister Sikandar Singh Maluka said the district was suffering as it had a large number of "VIP teachers". He said action would be taken against teachers in cases where the result was below 20 per cent.



Varinder tops Mohali dist with 94.44%
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Family members offer sweets to Varinder Kaur after the declaration of results in Mohali on Sunday.
Family members offer sweets to Varinder Kaur after the declaration of results in Mohali on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, May 11
For Varinder Kaur and her family members, it was dream come true when they got the news that she stood first in Mohali district in the Class XII examination of the Punjab School Education Board, the results of which were declared today.

Varinder Kaur, a commerce student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Kharar, topped the district by scoring 94.44 per cent marks (425/450).

Rajwinder Kaur of Government Senior Secondary School of Boota Singh Wala village and Tanya of Sant Baba Wariyam Singh Memorial Public School at Banur remained at the second spot in the district with 93.33 per cent (420/450) marks. They are the students of the science stream. Both the girls stood first in the district in the science group.

In the PSEB overall merit list, Varinder Kaur got the 18th rank, while Rajwinder Kaur and Tanya secured the 23rd rank.

Expressing happiness, Varinder’s family members - Sarbjit Singh (father), Sarbjit Kaur (mother), Ram Pyari (grandmother) and Upinder Singh (younger brother) - said they had an inkling of her good result.

“She used to start studying from 6 am. After her school, she used to attend coaching classes. After returning from there, she spent her time in her room with her books,” said Sarbjit Singh, who works at a private factory in Mohali.

Varinder, who had secured 92 per cent marks in Class 10, said: “I want to be a chartered accountant”.

On the other hand, life was not easy for Rajwinder Kaur as she had to cover a distance of over 10 km on her bicycle to reach the school from her Dharamgarh village.

“My hard work has paid off. Now I want to be an engineer,” said Rajwinder Kaur, who had already cleared JEE (mains). She said: “My aim was to top in the district. I am also happy with my second position here.” Tanya said she was happy with her result and wanted to give credits to his parents and teachers. “I want to become a teacher in my life,” said Tanya.


Better Mohali
Zirakpur an eyesore for tourists, commuters
Village-turned-town Zirakpur, which has come up in a haphazard manner, has become an eyesore for tourists and commuters. The intersection of the busy Ambala-Chandigarh and Shimla-Patiala highways is a major bottleneck in the smooth flow of traffic.
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

 traffic chaos on the Zirakpur-Patiala light point at Zirakpur

Stray cattle roam freely on a road near the Kalka-Zirakpur light point
(below) Stray cattle roam freely on a road near the Kalka-Zirakpur light point; and (Above) traffic chaos on the Zirakpur-Patiala light point at Zirakpur. Tribune photos: S Chandan

Zirakpur, May 11
Termed as the gateway of Punjab to the City Beautiful, Zirakpur is not only leaving a terrible impression on scores of tourists who struggle with traffic congestion at this chaotic intersection but also puts hundreds of local commuters to hardship daily.

Inter-state buses going from Chandigarh to Delhi, Patiala, Rajpura, Bathinda and various northern cities of Haryana cross Zirakpur, which marks the confluence of the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway (No. 21), Ambala-Kalka National Highway (No. 22) and Zirakpur-Patiala National Highway (No. 64) here.

Zirakpur, a small village almost two decades ago, emerged on the international map with the efforts of area MLA late Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who managed to merge seven villages of the area and gave them the status of a nagar panchayat.

With the formation of the nagar panchayat, the sword of the Damocles hanging over the heads of scores of villagers, who had constructed buildings in violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act - 1952, was removed, following which the area witnessed a massive development.

Scores of private builders flooded the area and carved residential plots in various housing societies and constructed multi-storied buildings to provide affordable housing for people who were unable to buy houses and flats in Chandigarh, which is one of the most expensive cities in the country.

The population of the township increased manifold from just 25,000 as per the 2001 Census. At present, there are 1,50,000 voters in the Zirakpur Municipal Council.

With unprecedented explosion of urbanisation here, population multiplied manifolds and so the number of vehicles. As a result, the intersection started witnessing frequent major traffic jams.

Taking a serious note of public inconvenience due to traffic congestion at this intersection, even a number of judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued directions to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Punjab Government and other departments concerned, but the situation is still same.

To ease the traffic at this intersection of three highways, a flyover was constructed mainly for long-route vehicles heading from Chandigarh to Delhi and on the reverse route. The bridge under area was poorly designed, as the road under the flyover turns to single lane while it is two lane before and after the flyover, leading to a major traffic chaos there.

Wrong side driving

Throwing norms to the wind, motorists prefer driving on the wrong side to reach their destination. Wrong side driving is a menace, which invites accidents. In the absence of proper parking space for cars in the market area, wrong parking of vehicles is another cause of traffic congestion here.

Causes of traffic congestion

The stretch of the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway (No. 21) under the overbridge (nearly 3-km-long) starting from the Panchkula traffic light point to the Patiala traffic light point is the worst affected. Faulty alignment of open space between the pillars of the flyover and the road berms, encroachments by shopkeepers on footpaths, unauthorised parking of vehicles along the highway and non-designated bus stoppages along the highway are the major traffic bottlenecks here. In the absence of proper bus stoppages for passengers heading towards Patiala and those going to Chandigarh and Panchkula from Patiala, government-run and privately-run buses are adding to the traffic snarls here. The construction of a bus stand along the Ambala-Chandigarh Highway at the Panchkula-traffic light point is yet another traffic hurdle.

Poor planning of local bus stand

Traffic congestion on the Ambala-Chandigarh Highway and the Zirakpur-Panchkula Highway will increase further after the opening of a newly constructed local bus stand adjacent to the Panchkula traffic light point shortly. The building of the bus stand has been constructed by the Building and Roads Wing of the Punjab Public Works Department and the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board. It has three entry and exit points — one each at the Chandigarh-Ambala Highway, Chandigarh-Panchkula road side and Zirakpur-Panchkula road. Experts are of the view that the traffic problem would be aggravated here after the opening of the bus stand.

WHAT NHAI project director says

OC Mathur, project director of the NHAI, claimed to have sent a project for the widening of the Chandigarh-Ambala’s stretch from the Panchkula traffic light point to the Patiala traffic light point to the NHAI headquarters. He said Zirakpur developed beyond expectations. If the pace remained the same, the NHAI would have to acquire more land along the flyover to reduce the congestion on the highway.

No service roads

The overbridge is virtually proving to be a white elephant as it is being used by certain long-route buses and heavy vehicles heading towards Delhi from the Chandigarh and Panchkula sides, while a majority of the local buses and the local traffic are using the highway under the flyover, which adds to the traffic chaos. Vehicular traffic heading towards the Shimla and Panchkula sides has been provided no alternative route. Motorists are using the old Zirakpur-Panchkula section of the highway. In the absence of any service roads on the either side of the Chandigarh-Ambala Highway and the Patiala-Panchkula Highway, vehicles parked in front of the business establishments further add to the congestion. 



Reporters Diary
‘Netaji, when will you come to help us?’

When the team of the UT Estate Office was carrying out a demolition drive in colonies of Sector 52, a colony resident called up a local politician for help. The politician was replying ‘Aa rahe hai, raste mein hain’(coming, I am on my way). The leader gave the same reply on two to three occasions. Finally, the colony resident told the leader, “Netaji, ab nahi aaoge to kab aaoge, jab sab kuch khatam ho jayega’(Netaji if you don’t come when will u come?.You will come when everything is over? The UT Estate Office completed its drive but the politician did not turn up on the site. A colony resident said it showed the true colour of politicians. “As elections are over, now, they don’t need our vote”, he said.

Proactive Administration

Otherwise under fire for delaying decisions on files related to public grievances, the Chandigarh Administration is now dealing with encroachments with an iron hand. Earlier, they faced violent protests from encroachers, but now, it has been easy for UT officials to raze encroachments in slum areas. The UT’s
top brass should also adopt the same approach while dealing with issues of public interest.

For media coverage

To get media milage for protesting against the recent fee hike in Panjab University, every student party is making a new strategy to oppose it and requests mediapersons not to share their plans with any other student leaders or members of any other party on the campus. In fact, the student bodies are sending a numbers of memorandums to the media, which they had submitted to the PU authorities in protest against the fee hike to get good coverage.

Who was responsible for the poor result?

Class IX’s poor result has brought out many anomalies existing in the system. While on the one hand, parents had taken to roads to protest against the Education Department on the other, it has exposed the existing loopholes in the system. Even parents are to blame as they do not send their wards to school. However, in the weeklong battle between the parents and the Education Department, nobody took the responsibility for the poor showing by students or no one ensured that they would improve in the future. In between the battle whose responsibility was it after all? CBSE’s new notification came as an interval break, but would the notification actually improve the knowledge of the students, or even after two months, the debate would continue.

‘Have lunch with us’

Officials of the district administration, including a Sub-Divisional Magistrate and owners of poultry farms, gave a slip to women (protesting against the Panchkula administration on the housefly menace) while they tried to serve them food at a dharna venue near the Mouli police post.The women protesters prepared food alongside the Panchkula-Yamunanagar road and asked SDM Gurmeet Singh and Pramod Singla, president of the Haryana Poultry Farmers Association, to have lunch at the spot to feel the magnitude of the menace in the area. The menace has been plaguing the area due to ill-maintained poultry farms for the past decades and the government has simply turned a blind eye to the serious health hazard.

When SHO’s name came under ‘suspicion’

In the mysterious death of Saman Dhanak, while checking the phone details of the girl accompanying him, a number dialed to some “Arvind sir” was found at the time of the incident. Since the first name of the local Station House Officer (SHO) probing the matter is also Arvind, all mediapersons and family members suspected him thinking that it may not been his personal number. Soon, the ‘nervous’ SHO clarified that the number belonged to someone else and not him.

Tussle over paid parking

As paid parking had become one of the political issues in the town during the election campaigns of the SAD and the Congress recently, the district authorities now, seem to be in a hurry to bring the decision in to force without any delay. A meeting in this regard has already been held between the Mohali Deputy Commissioner and the Municipal Commissioner and the latter has already issued a statement that the decision would be implemented soon. "As both candidates of the Congress and the SAD had promised during their campaigns that they would force the authorities not to introduce the paid parking system, if voted to power, the Mohali MC authorities wanted to get it done as soon as the model code of conduct was lifted", said JP Singh, president of the Market Association, Phase III. The members of the association had already lodged protest several times against the issue. As the result of the election is not yet out, the local leaders of both the parties preferred to keep mum on the latest developments in this regard.

Contributed by: Rajinder Nagarkoti, Rajmeet Singh, Aarti Kapur, Mehakdeep Grewal, Bipin Bhardwaj, Hina Rohtaki and Akash Ghai



Open House response
Ailing dispensaries: Cure lies in centralised control
The UT Administration, while shifting the responsibility of providing hardware, basic items and maintenance of dispensaries to the MC, kept the control of doctors’ salaries, power supply and medicines with itself, leaving the civic body toothless. Also, out of 21 dispensaries, the charge of four dispensaries was retained by the UT Health Department. This has led to a blame game between the Administration and the MC. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers what should be done to improve health care facilities in dispensaries

A dispensary at Khudda Lahora without a boundary wall in Chandigarh.
A dispensary at Khudda Lahora without a boundary wall in Chandigarh. A file photograph

One fails to understand why the common man has to suffer for the fault of either the Municipal Corporation (MC) or the Administration. It is the responsibility of the authorities to provide satisfactory health services. It would be in the interest of one and all if all the dispensaries, primary health centres, rural dispensaries and other health facilities operative in Chandigarh function under one administrative control. By doing so, not only that their services will become better but they will be managed effectively too. There seems to be a rift or tussle between the MC and the UT Administration. The only and the best course is centralisation of the control of all health services.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh

Dual control begets messy management

Government institutions are infamous for inefficiency and indiscipline owing to various factors. In the case in question, there is a dual control and hence, the mess is inevitable. To set the things right, it is better if the control of health facilities is retained by the UT Administration only. The working of dispensaries should be monitored by conducting surprise visits, preferably on monthly basis. By doing so, the authorities can streamline the working on permanent basis.

KC Rana, Chandigarh

Open house question

Major bottlenecks are witnessed at the intersection on the busy Ambala-Chandigarh and Shimla-Patiala highways. The authorities have constructed a flyover to ease traffic congestion but to no avail. What needs to be done to ensure smooth flow of traffic at the busiest intersection on Chandigarh's periphery. Write your comments with a passport size picture to [email protected]

UT Admn should take over all dispensaries

Health care is the most essential service. Therefore, the Administration should accord its topmost priority to provide treatment to patients. Since the survey proved that the dispensaries maintained purely by the Chandigarh Administration are relatively better, why not shift all the responsibilities to the Administration so that the ailing dispensaries and the blame game between the Administration and the MC were avoided. With this, patients could also avail of better facilities.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Control of dispensaries should be given to MC

The dispensaries in the UT are handicapped. Two bosses cannot run an organisation in parallel. Similarly, an organisation cannot take orders from two bosses. The Chandigarh Administration must hand over the dispensaries to the Municipal Corporation in all and the civic body must take interest in upgrading and supervising them on regular basis. Due the shortage of medicines, trained staff, unhygienic conditions and basic medical equipment at dispensaries discourage patients from visiting them. People prefer to visit private hospitals rather than dispensaries to avoid infection from unhealthy environment.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd), Mohali

Patients suffer as Admn, MC play blame game

The blame game between the UT Administration and the MC has led to complete neglect of civil dispensaries in Chandigarh. The UT Health Department should take full responsibility of these dispensaries. Even if they have to take help, they should give the complete charge either to the UT Administration or the MC, be it medicines, salaries of doctors, basic items, power supply and last but not the least, maintenance of health facilities. Only patients tend to suffer due to a tug of war between the UT Administration and the MC. Avoid it. Further, the Health Department should carry out regular inspections and take the erring officials to the task.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Empower the civic body

The MC is an elected body and its members are accountable to the people who elected them. They do have the responsibility, but they are deprived of adequate powers. By retaining the key portfolios regarding dispensaries, the UT Administration has usurped the powers of the civic body. This is to enable the bureaucracy to have a control of the MC. It is against the very concept of Swaraj. Unless full authority regarding infrastructure, staff and functioning of dispensaries is given to the elected body, it cannot do justice to its job. So, the UT Health Department must delegate the requisite powers to the MC so that it no longer remains toothless and can serve people.

Col RD Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt

Too many cooks spoil the broth

It is unfortunate that government dispensaries in Chandigarh, which are meant to provide relief to suffering patients, are themselves ailing for want of effective administration. It is common sense that for effective functioning of an organisation, its administration have to be centralised and in the hands of dedicated and devoted officials. The famous saying ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ is relevant in the case of civil dispensaries in Chandigarh. For our democratic set-up, we keep on decentralising powers. But it also makes the system ineffective. No doubt, empowering those at the low rung of a ladder like panchayati raj institution is very good since it would help them exercise full control of the village-level administration. But sharing of power in a government organisation, particularly the one providing an extremely important service like health would only ultimately result in collapse of the system. Either the Chandigarh Administration or the MC should have an absolute control of health facilities in the city.

Dr Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Dual control sounds absurd

The condition of all dispensaries in the City Beautiful is bad. Whether these are under the MC or the UT Administration, the less said the better it is. One fails to understand the logic behind giving the operational aspect of the dispensaries to the MC while keeping payment of salaries to the staff and their records under the control of the Administration. It is certainly absurd. There should be only one central power/controlling wing, either the municipal corporation or the Administration. It will help in providing adequate sitting arrangement, availability of clean drinking water for patients, sanitation, availability of medicines, doctors, nurses and other staff at the dispensaries. At present, such facilities are missing at almost all the dispensaries and patients do not prefer visiting them. Deficiency of services and careless attitude of the staff keep them at bay. Instead, hospitals are preferred. Either the government should wind up all the dispensaries or bring them under the control of the civic body by giving it absolute power. The condition of the health facilities have to be improved to attract patients.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Poor condition due to class of visitors

Health facilities for the common man in the City Beautiful are not up to the mark. Due to shortage of time and their high status, rich and business class prefer private health facilities to the government health care units. The condition of civil dispensaries can improve if patients from upper class, including top UT and MC officials, visit there for treatment.

Sardul Singh Abrawan, Chandigarh

Professional discipline among medicos needed

When a huge amount of public money is spent on paying salaries, medicines, upkeep of buildings and infrastructure in dispensaries, public care in the hour of distress/sickness has to be optimum. Professional discipline among medical officers and health department employees is necessary and it requires a single controlling authority. Since the MC has apparently failed to perform, the Administration should take the overall control of dispensaries in the city.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Onus of providing better health care on UT Admn

Providing health care to city residents is the constitutional obligation of the Chandigarh Administration and not of the MC. Given that, the policy of the Administration to shift the responsibility of providing infrastructure, basic items and ensuring maintenance and to keep control of payment of salaries to doctors and medicines is out and out wrong. The current health funding deal between the central government and states and union territories does not provide for it. One thing is certain, health care system in the dispensaries maintained by the civic body is in a shambles. The Chandigarh Administration has to sit up and take notice.

Ajit Singh, Rankin Windsor, Canada

Official apathy to blame

To provide quality health care, the UT Administration has transferred 20 dispensaries to the MC in 2010. But unfortunately, just like other civic amenities such as roads, horticulture, sanitation, public health etc, which are under the domain of the municipal corporation, the position of dispensaries has also gone from bad to worse. In the absence of requisite services, medicines, doctors and infrastructure, the patients are left with no option but to head for private clinics even for minor ailments like headache, mild fever etc and shell out exorbitant charges. It is only lack of will and lackadaisical approach of the civic body officials that dispensaries in the city are ailing. Funds are obviously no constraints as the MC budget for 2013-14 allocated Rs 20 crore to primary health sector. However, the civic body could utilise just Rs 70 lakh. It clearly shows the insensitive approach of the civic body officials in providing health service to city residents. If the municipal corporation is not able to manage civil dispensaries properly, it should better transfer their control to the Chandigarh Administration, as it was earlier.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Focus on each aspect of health services

The civil dispensaries are always found wanting in terms of facilities, be it sanitation, medicines, space or doctors. In public interest, the dispensaries must be fully equipped so that people don’t have to spend a fortune on getting treatment from private hospitals. The authorities concerned should lay emphasis on each and every aspect of health services. Adequate staff and medicines must be made available to the dispensaries so that patients do not have to visit the PGIMER or the GMSH-16 for primary or secondary medical care.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Dispensaries should be fully equipped

Although there are government dispensaries in almost every sector in the city, people still prefer visiting either government hospitals or private health facilities even for primary health care. This defeats the very purpose of setting up dispensaries. It is a harsh reality that these dispensaries lack adequate number of doctors, infrastructure, medicines and testing facilities. Further, those visiting these dispensaries have to wait in long queues. There is a need to provide proper infrastructure besides enough staff to cater to the needs of patients at the civil dispensaries. Vaccination and lab tests should be done under one roof so that patients do not have to face inconvenience. The Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation have to go hand in hand if health care system at the root level dispensary has to be improved.

BM Dhawan, PGIMER Chandigarh



Mealy bugs a threat to green cover 
Have even entered residents’ houses in Sec 49; Admn says all complaints addressed
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The mealy bug threat is looming over green cover of the City Beautiful.

While the authorities have failed to save trees from the attack of the mealy bugs, the residents are also facing problems. In some areas like Sector 49, where the houses are close to the trees, the bugs have even entered the houses of the residents.Though the authorities have tied polythene sheets close to the bottom of thousands of trees to prevent the bugs from crawling up and sprayed the trees, yet it has been of no use.

Ram Sarup Sachdeva, a resident of Vigyan Vihar Society, Sector 49, said, “The polythene sheets have failed to stop the bugs from damaging the trees. Not only trees, but they have also entered the houses in our society, he added.

Experts say that these pests are potential threats to the green cover of Chandigarh. They are eating into the vitals of trees and sucking their sap. Earlier also in 2000-2001 there was a mealy bug attack, but thereafter, the extensive pest control strategy implemented by the UT Environment Department under the guidance of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) experts, the presence of the bug was considerably controlled by the UT Administration. Kuldeep Sharma, UT Deputy Conservator of Forests, said in December they had issued directions to the UT and MC Horticulture wing to tie polythene sheets and use spray on trees to control these mealy bugs. They will once again write to these departments, he said.

Kishan Pal, Executive Engineer (Horticulture), MC, said that from wherever they had received complaints of mealy bugs they had solved the problem. They would again seek report from their junior officials on the issue, he said. 



National Technology Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Chandigarh Region Innovation and Knowledge Cluster (CRIKC) Institutions celebrated National Technology Day at Panjab University (PU) today.

The authorities said the technology day was celebrated as a symbol of quest for scientific enquiry, technological creativity and the translation of that quest in the integration of Science, Society and Industry. CRIKC Institutions felicitated the Dean, PGIMER, Chandigarh, Amod Gupta, for being conferred the Padma Shri award on the occasion.Dr Gupta was recently honoured by the Central Government with the Padma Shri for his research accomplishments in the field of medicine.PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover presided over the function.



Sort out price anomaly, say liquor traders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The issue of the UT Excise Department “systematically” allowing liquor manufacturers an upper hand in annually increasing the ex-distillery price (EDP) of different brands of liquor in the last seven years has now been raised by the Chandigarh Wine Merchants Association.

“Since 2007-08 to 2013-14, the sources of supply of liquor and beer have been increasing the E.D.P every year. The E.D.P being charged at present is nearly 46 per cent higher as compared to the E.D.P of 2007-08 which is one of the causes of deteriorating the excise policy of the City Beautiful”, said SatyPal, president of the association.The resentment of the liquor traders is that though they know all the factors such as excise duty, assessment fee and value added tax, yet the ex-distillery/brewery prices are not declared while announcing the excise policy.The liquor dealers calculate the landed cost of various brands considering the prevailing EDP of each brand of the Indian made foreign liquor and beer and bid for the liquor vend.

Like the excise duty, the assessment fee and rate of VAT, the E.D.P prices should be declared so that the traders may calculate the landed cost while filing in the tender or bidding for the vend.The association has further pointed out that the anomaly has resulted in the prices of different brands of liquor rising over the years. 



Arthritis-free, 100 take part in ‘boat-a-thon’
Tribune News Service

People celebrate arthritis-free life during a ‘boat-a-thon’ at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Sunday.
People celebrate arthritis-free life during a ‘boat-a-thon’ at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, May 11
As many as 100 persons, who underwent knee replacement, took part in 'boat-a-thon' held at Sukhna Lake early this morning.

The event was organised by Dr Manuj Wadhwa of Mohali-based Max Super-Speciality Hospital.

A few years ago, most of them could barely move their knees due to arthritis pain and activities such as walking, let alone pedalling, were a distant dream for them.

Pedalling a boat was a sign of healthy joints and helped in strengthening muscles and bone power, said Wadhwa, adding: "We chose to organise a 'boat-a-thon' for our patients to ensure that they can enjoy a pain-free life with healthy joints and spread awareness among arthritis patients. We aim at providing them the capacity to lead a healthy lifestyle."

Among the participants at today's event was Harsimrat Kaur (64), who underwent total knee replacement last July after living with arthritis for 12 years.

Earlier, patients in the age group of around 65 years and above used to suffer from arthritis and underwent surgeries. However, those in the age group of 40-45 years are increasingly turning up for knee surgery these days. A high level of stress coupled with modern lifestyle is increasing the incidence of arthritis.

Among those present were Baljinder Bittu, chairman of the FOSWAC (Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh) and Dr Rajesh Jogpal, director, Department of Social Welfare, Chandigarh.



Kumbhra residents up in arms against liquor vend
Tribune News Service

Residents hold a protest at Kumbhra village in Mohali on Sunday.
Residents hold a protest at Kumbhra village in Mohali on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, May 11
High drama was witnessed when several residents of Kumbhra village, mostly women, tried to shut down a liquor vend located near the village here today.

The women moved the cash counter out and also broke some liquor bottles before sitting on a dharna in front of the vend.

The police reached the spot but did not confront the angry villagers.

"We had lodged a protest against the opening of a liquor vend here yesterday also. Chairman of Mohali District Planning Board Amanjot Kaur Ramoowalia also visited here and the contractor had closed the shop in her presence.

We were promised that the vend will be shifted to some other place. However, it was opened again today," alleged Ranjit Singh, a former sarpanch of the village.

"We are against opening of liquor vend here," said Kulwant Kaur, a resident of the village.Meanwhile, the area DSP Navreet Singh Virk reached the spot and pacified the agitators.



10 ‘exceptional’ mothers from city honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
On Mother’s Day, Late Dr GC Mishra Memorial Educational and Charitable Trust and KB DAV Senior Secondary Public School, Sector 7, Chandigarh, honoured 10 ‘exceptional’ mothers from the city who had worked tirelessly and effortlessly to fulfil the dreams of their children.

The event, “Fourth Maa Samman Samaroh”, was held at Tagore Theatre. Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil honoured the mothers on the occasion.

Among the mothers who were honoured included Lakhvir Kaur, whose daughter Kulwinder Kaur recently cleared the PCS (Judicial) exam despite not having both her hands. Lakhvir, despite having studied only till the primary-school level, had left no stone unturned to ensure that her daughter was able to fulfil her dream.

Savitri Sisodia, a resident of Mauli Jagran, comes from a humble background. When she discovered that her daughter had a keen interest in dance, she picked up an odd job in a school to raise money for her daughter’s professional dance classes. Her daughter has participated in various TV talent shows.

Being an uneducated herself, Vidya Devi Shukla made sure that her son cleared the IIT exam. She raised her son with dedication and provided him all support to clear his exams.

Among the mothers also included a grandmother, Sudarshan Anand (80), who has played the role of parents for her grandchildren. She ensured that her grandchildren’s academics never suffered.

Indu Rampal, a mother of steel nerves, lost her husband when her elder son was just one-year-old and she was expecting her second child. She struggled to make both ends meet. She raised her children by stitching garments. Right now, she is making her son prepare for the Civil Services Examination.

Ramkash is an uneducated mother of four children and a resident of Dadumajra. Her husband is a tailor. Due to her hard work and unconditional support, last year her son got admission to the Chemical Engineering Department of Panjab University. Right now, she is working hard to see her second son become a doctor.

Tejwinder Kaur is a mother of 20-year-old girl, who has genetic disorder. Tejwinder, who has been working as senior assistant in a bank, had scarified her career just to be with her daughter.

Meena Karki, mother of three girls, comes from a humble background. She raised her daughters like sons. One of her daughters has not only made her proud but also the entire city by winning medals in fencing tournaments. Her daughters are known as “Jhansi ki Rani”. Though Meena herself is an asthmatic, she has never let her illness come in the way of fulfilling the dreams of her daughters.

Kamla Sharma, a housewife and a mother of five children, has never been to school. However, she ensured that her children attained highest possible degrees in their field of interest. Last year, her daughter got selected as an HCS executive and son as a tehsildar. Her youngest daughter is pursuing PhD.

Sushma Vashishth considers her daughter as her role model. Her daughter is speech and hearing impaired. When Sushma discovered that her daughter had a keen interest in dance and painting, she took it as a challenge and ensured that she overcame all obstacles to fulfil her daughter’s dream of learning dance. Her daughter has won three national awards.



CPI (ML) protests against demolition drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The CPI (ML) Liberation along with various activists staged a protest against the Chandigarh Administration for demolishing slum colonies here at the Plaza, Sector 17, today.

The agitators lead by party secretary Kanwaljeet Singh alleged that the demolition drive was carried out without rehabilitation of residents, rendering them homeless.

The party activists made a human installation, and lay down on the ground at the Plaza, with placards carrying messages like those who toiled to build, maintained and cleaned the City Beautiful did not deserve such a harsh farewell and who was their murderer? -The MC, Chandigarh, the DC, Chandigarh.

Comrade Kanwaljeet Singh said that the installation had been created to create awareness among the masses about the tragedy suffered by the colony dwellers and their children when they saw their houses being brought down by the bulldozers.



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