C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


2 killed as blaze razes Sec 17 building
Victims were battling flames at National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Two persons — a fireman and an IAF employee — were killed and four others injured when a three-storeyed building of the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (referred to as DOEACC) in Sector 17 here collapsed after a major fire broke out this evening. The victims were battling the raging fire when the tragedy struck.
Fire rages inside the building
Fire rages inside the building. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan
An injured being shifted to the GMSH, Sector 16, Chandigarh
An injured being shifted to the GMSH, Sector 16, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

The deceased have been identified as Amandeep, a fireman, and Ravinder Kumar, an IAF personnel. The injured have been identified as Sachin, Shekhar, Jitender and Raghubir, all firefighters.

Till late in the night, flames were erupting from the debris as the machinery of the Chandigarh Administration, with the assistance of rescue teams of the Air Force, was engaged in the operation to retrieve the bodies of the firemen trapped beneath the debris.

Besides the casualties, a loss of several crores of rupees has been reported as the entire record related to water and electricity of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh was being managed at the centre. Hundreds of computers and important records have been destroyed in the fire.

UT Adviser KK Sharma, who was supervising the operation, said efforts were being made to remove the debris and rescue those buried beneath. Teams of the Air Force from 3 BRD had been called to help in the rescue operation, he said.

Though no official of the Fire Department was ready to comment on the cause of fire, sources said the fire broke out in an AC plant installed in the basement of the building. Blasts were heard from inside the building on six occasions as efforts were being made to control the fire.

Officials supervising the operation stated that from the basement, the fire spread to the upper floors of the building. Employees of a private company had come in the afternoon to test the newly installed machine of the AC plant when sparking was

reported. “A few employees earlier tried to control the fire. However, when they failed, the Fire Department was informed,” the sources said.

The Fire Department received a call around 4.50 pm, following which initially four fire tenders were rushed to the spot. Later, over 50 fire tenders from Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula and IAF 3BRD were pressed into service to control the fire in the basement of the building, which further spread to the ground floor.

By around 6.15 pm, the firefighters “controlled” the fire, but smoke was still billowing out of the basement. Later, at around 6.28 pm, a hydraulic ladder was rushed to the spot. At around 7.40 pm, blasts were reported on the ground floor of the building and within a few minutes, flames again started coming out of the first floor of the building. The fire then reached the second floor. The operation was on till around 9.25 pm when the building collapsed.

Closed entry points hampered operation

Several entries to the building were closed that gave a tough time to the firefighters. Shutters were installed outside the building, which had to be broken. Then there were ply boards and behind these were doors and almirahs, which had to be broken to make way to the ground floor of the building.

Black June

Two persons had died in a roof collapse in the Sector 26 vegetable and grain market on June 10, 2007. A major rescue operation had to be carried out with the help of the Army to rescue the injured.

Cause of fire

The fire broke in the AC plant installed in the basement of the building. Blasts were heard from inside the building on six occasions as efforts were being made to control the fire. From the basement, the fire spread to the upper floors. Employees of a private company had come in the afternoon to test the newly installed machine of the AC plant when sparking was reported. “A few employees earlier tried to control the fire. However, when they failed, the Fire Department was informed,” sources said.

Blasts in AC plant led to building collapse?

Though officials said it would be premature to comment on the reasons for the building collapse, prima facie it seemed that the blasts in the AC plant in the basement triggered the collapse.



Botched-up operation: How things went out of control
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The fire incident, which could have been controlled and restricted to loss of property, turned worse after the building collapsed due to lapses on the part of officials.

When the Fire Department received a call around 4.50 pm, the fire was reported in the basement. Soon, the fire spread to the ground floor. By around 6.15, the firefighters doused the visible fire. However, they failed to gauge the intensity of the fire that was spreading inside. Smoke was still billowing out of the upper floors of the building which, fire officials claimed, wasn’t fire. However, nearby showroom owners, who were suspecting that the fire was still spreading, raised the alarm and requested ML Sharma, Station Fire Officer, to call a hydraulic ladder.

After several requests, the hydraulic ladder arrived at the spot at 6.28 pm. The machine was pressed into service and the firefighters climbed on top of the building. It was then they realised that the fire had not been completely controlled.

People entered into an altercation with the SHO of the Sector 17 police station Dilsher Singh, who was at the spot throughout the operation. As the firefighters were unable to control the fire and people were requesting to call more fire tenders, the SHO called the control room asking for more fire tenders. He also flashed the message on the wireless.

Soon, the fire spread to the first and second floors of the building that could have been avoided. Despite the fact that the situation was getting out of control, no senior officer, including Chief Fire Officer Sunil Bhatia, arrived at the spot. Similarly, no senior police official except the SHO could be seen at the spot.



Kin rush to hospital
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The family members of firefighters gathered at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, here, to have a glimpse of the injured who were admitted to the emergency ward of the hospital.

As soon as the ambulances arrived with the injured firefighters, people surrounded them. There were tears in the eyes of family members of the firefighters.

It was a gory scene when Ravinder Kumar’s body arrived at the hospital as he was holding a hand of some other firefighter who was buried under the debris. Later, the body of Amandeep, a firefighter, arrived that was straight away taken to the mortuary of the hospital. His fiancé was running after his body to have his glimpse.

Medical Superintendent (MS) Vandana Gupta said the condition of two patients, who were breathless and put on oxygen masks, was stable.



Fire Dept’s ill-preparedness exposed
Amit Sharma & Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The incident that claimed the lives of two firefighters has not only exposed the ill-preparedness of the Fire Department, but has also caught the civil defence machinery of the UT Administration, which otherwise conducts mock drills to tackle calamities, napping.
A JCB machine removes debris of the collapsed building
A JCB machine removes debris of the collapsed building. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

The firefighting operation suffered various hitches. The firefighters did not have smoke masks following which they were seen covering their faces with handkerchiefs. Only a handful of the firefighters were wearing fire suits. Some of the breathing apparatus for the firefighters also did not work due to non-functional batteries.

After the building collapsed at 9.25 pm, the rescue operation to retrieve the firemen trapped in the debris was launched. There were no floodlights to carry out the rescue mission. The headlights of JCB machines, engaged to move

the debris, and a private jeep were used to light up the area. It was only when senior officials started arriving at the scene that floodlights were arranged at 10.30 pm.

Led by UT Adviser KK Sharma, IGP RP Upadhyay, officiating DC and MC Commissioner VP Singh and Chief Engineer Mukesh Anand reached the spot.

The streetlights in the area were not operational. Even the streetlights on the Madhya Marg stretch, dividing Sectors 9 and 17 were not functional.

The JCB machine engaged by the UT Engineering Department was not enough to remove the debris. Though a large police force was pressed into service, the rescue operation was being hampered due to the presence of a crowd of onlookers.

Firefighters didn’t have smoke masks

  • The breathing apparatus for the firefighters did not work due to non-functional batteries
  • A majority of the firefighters did not have smoke masks following which they covered their faces with handkerchiefs
  • Fire tenders arriving at the spot did not have first-aid kits
  • Only a handful of firefighters were wearing firefighting suits, while others were seen dousing the flames wearing fire uniforms

Dera volunteers lend a helping hand

While a large posse of police requisitioned to the spot was managing the crowd of onlookers, volunteers of Dera Sacha Sauda were seen assisting the firefighters in carrying out the rescue operation.


In P’kula, bureaucrats waste water with impunity
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 8
Bureaucrats in Panchkula are wasting fresh water with impunity during the peak hours (also the challan hours fixed by HUDA) while the common man is craving for it this summer. Interestingly, the challans for wasting water do not seem to be meant for them.
A helper waters the plants outside the residences of two senior adminisitrative officials at Sector 6 in Panchkula
A helper waters the plants outside the residences of two senior adminisitrative officials at Sector 6 in Panchkula. Tribune photos: S Chandan

A reality check done by Chandigarh Tribune from 7 am to 9 am in the officers’ residences in Sector 6 today showed how their staff were washing cars on the road and watering the lawns for hours in blatant violation of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) norms.

Fresh water is being wasted as there is no tertiary water arrangement in Panchkula.

The water is being wasted despite the fact that the demand in the city is exceeding the supply. The city gets its water from tube wells and has no other source of water. While the supply is around 22 million gallons per day (MGD), the demand is around 27 MGD. City residents are facing water scarcity.

Executive Engineer of the public health wing of HUDA Preet Mohan said, “We have formed teams to monitor such violations and issue challans. If this is going on, it is wrong and I will convey it to the official who is heading the Sector 6 area.”

"Everyone is equal for us,” said Mohan.

The violations were seen at the residences of senior IAS officers of Haryana, officers of the Health Department, senior IPS officers and technocrats.

There are 190 tube wells from which the city gets its water. The only alternative source, Kaushalya Dam, that was to give 10 MGD to the city, has also gone dry. The situation gets worse when there is a power failure as the tube wells stop functioning. Though there are water pumps, but these take time for recharging.



Paid parking a bone of contention
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 8
Paid parking was one of the major issues in the recent Lok Sabha elections in the town as several leaders, including the winning candidate of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, had made promises that they would not allow the district authorities to introduce paid parking in the town.

Now, after around one month of the elections, the issue still continues to be a bone of contention between the district authorities and the business community of the town while the political leaders seem to have forgotten their promises regarding it.

Despite failing twice in their attempt to introduce paid parking in certain markets, the district authorities claimed that the paid parking would be in the town soon.

The district administration has already selected at least four markets, where the concept would be introduced first. These markets include Phase 3B2, Phase VII, Phase IX and Phase X. The administration had also recarpeted the roads at the parking lots before introducing the concept.

“Paid parking is not only a source of income for the Municipal Corporation but would also help in regulating the parking system in markets,” said Uma Shankar, Commissioner, MC, Mohali.

On the other hand, several businessmen, their associations and residents in the town are determined that they would not allow the introduction of paid parking here.

“If they (the MC authorities) want to imitate the Chandigarh pattern of paid parking, they should do a survey to find out the difference of shops in markets of Chandigarh and Mohali. There is no match at all. Most of us are small-time shopkeepers and such steps will affect our businesses hard,” said several shopkeepers in the town.

Market associations have already thwarted two attempts of the district authorities to start paid parking in markets of Phase 3B2 and Phase 5 earlier following which the MC authorities had to hold meetings with office-bearers of certain market associations and the Mohali Beopar Mandal.

“We would not allow the authorities to impose paid parking in the town at any cost. We have been continuously protesting against it since MC officials have started talking about the concept. On the one hand, the authorities claim that they wanted to smoothen the parking scenario in certain markets of the town but at the same time they turn down our proposal when we ask them to allow market associations to run the parking system.”

JP Singh, convener of Paid Parking Sangharsh Committee

“I think that Mohali MC officials are just wanting to imitate the Chandigarh pattern. I want to ask them besides some big markets that attract customers from not only the city but also from various other cities, which market of Chandigarh has the paid parking concept. Has Mohali any such market which is being visited by customers from outside the town. The internal markets of all sectors in Chandigarh have no paid parking. If the administration wants to regulate the parking system, paid parking concept is certainly not an answer.”

Kuldip Singh, a shopkeeper

“The paid parking concept could be a source of earning income for the authorities but it would not end the parking woes in parking lots of the town. If they (the authorities) would introduce the concept, several people will start parking their vehicles at unauthorised spots to save money. It would create an extra problem for the authorities and the residents as well. Instead of introducing paid parking system, the authorities should come up with some concrete plans to remove parking woes in certain markets.”

Baij Nath, a resident

“I am against the concept for two reasons. First, the markets in the town are not like the ones in Chandigarh where customers come specially to remain there for hours. Secondly, each phase or sector has its own market where customers have to visit several times in a day. The idea of paid parking is not practical in such a scenario. Being a businessman, I don’t approve the idea of paid parking in the town.”

Shalinder Anand, senior vice-president, Mohali Beopar Mandal


By introducing the paid parking concept in certain markets, certainly we are not aiming at another source of income. Undoubtedly, there are parking-related issues in certain markets of the town and we want to smoothen the system there by making some persons (parking contractors) accountable. One thing is sure, we would not force the paid parking system on residents. Instead, we would involve them and businessmen of the area before introducing it. If the market associations are ready to take responsibility for checking the system on their own, we are also open to it.

TejinderPal Singh, DC, Mohali



City sizzles at 45°C, season’s hottest day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The city witnessed the season’s hottest day today as the maximum temperature reached 45°C. The city had recorded 44.4°C yesterday. The city recorded the decade’s second highest maximum temperature today and it is likely to remain as hot in the next three days. However, a slight relief is expected towards the end of the week with the mercury expected to go down to 43°C.

The maximum temperature today was six degrees above normal, while the minimum temperature was 25.6°C, two degrees above normal.

While last month, the temperature rarely touched the 40°C mark, it remained above 40°C this month. City residents will have to brace for hotter nights in the coming days.

An official of the local Met Department said the heat wave would continue for at least three days. According to the climate table of the Met Department, Chandigarh has a maximum temperature of 38.6°C and a minimum of 25.4°C in June.

During the past 10 years, the city had experienced the highest maximum temperature ranging between 39.4°C and 43.6°C.

Thundery development likely on June 12

Thundery development is expected on June 12, but the temperature will remain around the 43°C mark in the city.



Fire in jungle areas as mercury soars
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 8
Fire broke out in the jungle areas of Saketri village, Chandimandir and Sector 27 here, reportedly due to scorching heat this afternoon.

Though no loss was reported, it took more than five hours to douse the flames. Some passersby called up the police and the fire station. The police reached the spot to know whether any damage had been caused to any person or not. The fire staff reached there and brought the fire under control.

The temperature today touched the 45 degrees Celsius mark. Last year also, fire incidents in jungle areas of the district were reported due to excessive heat. 



MR faces heat as patients at PGI turn angry birds

Medical representatives (MRs) will now hardly dare to enter the PGIMER’s New OPD Block during the patient visiting hours and comply with the time restrictions specified by the authorities. This is not because the PGIMER administration has reinforced the rules, but due to patients’ ire. A few days ago, a group of patients caught hold of an MR outside a doctor’s room while he was trying to sneak into the OPD during the patient visiting hours. High drama prevailed before the security guards intervened and saved the MR from the angry patients.

Cool to power cuts

With the temperature rising and power cuts becoming the order of the day, some government employees are turning the odds to their favour by honing their gaming skills on android smart phones. And if someone approaches them for work, they don’t mind telling him that they are busy trying to break each other’s scores.

‘Mercury crosses Cong’s tally in LS’

With the temperature rising to 44.4 degree Celsius in the city, a joke is being circulated in the social media that for the first time, the temperature in the city is more than the total number of seats that the Congress won in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress has 44 MPs in the Lower House.

Tricky protest

Upset over not being invited during the visit of officials from the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (MC), Senior Deputy Mayor Heera Negi rang up journalists to register her protest. Accusing Mayor HC Kalyan of ignoring her, she ensured that the Mayor’s act gets wide publicity.

‘VIP’ teachers blamed for poor exam results

The recently declared Punjab School Education Board’s Class X results once again exposed the falling standard of education in government schools of Mohali district. Whilst not even a single government school student in the town managed to make it to the board’s provisional merit list, consisting 386 students, only two students from the district made it to the list. Both the students were from a private school in Dera Bassi. As usual, ‘VIP’ teachers (who belong to influential families and use their influence to get posting in a school of the district due to its proximity to Chandigarh) are being blamed for the debacle, even by Punjab Education Minister Sikandar Singh Maluka.

Traffic police blind to smoke-emitting autos

Plying of diesel auto-rickshaws in the city goes unchecked right under the nose of the Chandigarh traffic police. Though the traffic police boast of ‘active’ monitoring with the help of CCTV cameras and wireless systems, it has so far failed to penalise these auto-rickshaws which not only pose risk to commuters on the road but also pollutes the environment by emitting smoke.

Crying for another way

The Panchkula Administration need to provide an additional entry-and-exit point to Sector 20 of Panchkula as the Zirakpur–Panchkula flyover divides Panchkula into two parts. Commuters between the two parts face a tough time as there are not many passes underneath the flyover. The construction activity in the neighbouring places of Zirakpur only adds to the traffic woes of Panchkula residents.

Contributed by Mehakdeep Grewal, Aarti Kapur, Akash Ghai, Amit Sharma, Deepankar Sharda, Ritika Jha Palial and Sunil Minocha



RUB at Mauli Jagran to be opened by July first week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Good news for those who commute between Panchkula and Chandigarh!

With the UT Engineering Department working overtime, the much-delayed railway under bridge (RUB) at Mauli Jagran is expected to be opened to traffic by the first week of July.

A senior official of the department said the RUB would offer third alternative route between the two neighbouring cities.

As per the plan, the RUB will also connect the upcoming double-lane road from the railway station to the Hallomajra light point. The new route will also shorten the distance between Panchkula and the Delhi-Chandigarh highway.

For the first time, the RUB is being constructed with features like a dual carriage way. There will be a provision for both fast-moving vehicles as well as slow-moving traffic like cycles and pedestrians, the official added.

The railway authorities are making RCC boxes under the railway track while the work of completing the approach roads is the responsibility of the Administration. The widening of the road from the Hallomajra chowk to the end point in Panchkula has also been completed.

The official said there was also a proposal to widen the road from Madhya Marg to the RUB. The cost of the project is estimated to be nearly Rs 40 crore.

The new route will also improve the connectivity between the Chandigarh railway station and the airport.



Open House response
Police should behave politely while dealing with motorists
There have been complaints of traffic policemen misbehaving with motorists while checking them for drunken driving. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers about what needs to be done to ensure that the police are polite with motorists while doing their duty.

Moral science classes need of the hour
A traffic policeman signals a car to stop for checking at a drunken driving naka
A traffic policeman signals a car to stop for checking at a drunken driving naka. A file photograph

Everybody knows that a person has to be dealt with in a smart way to bring him/her back on track. Police personnel are known for their rude behaviour, which is not accepted in our society. Policemen are themselves lawbreakers in the garb of uniform. They need to be given moral science classes before joining the job.

Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh

Nakas should be videographed

If any nakas to check drunken driving are set up, they should be properly videographed. The original footage of the videography should not be deleted. If any policeman is found guilty, he should be fined or punished for his rude behaviour.

Aakash Sharma, Chandigarh

Deal with violators as per rule book

The police should be instructed that only those found violating the law on drunken driving should be dealt with sternly as per the rule book.

SC Luthra, Mani Majra

Need to install security cameras

Though it is the duty of the police to check motorists that they are not drunk while driving, they should be polite while dealing with such persons. There should be security cameras to keep an eye on the police and action should be taken if the rules not followed.

Utkarsh Sharma, Chandigarh

Slogan mere eyewash

The slogan of the Chandigarh Police “we care for you” is mere eyewash. They are always busy in issuing challans to motorists. The public convenience is hardly a matter of concern for them. The traffic police have earned a bad name due to their non-cooperative attitude. Traffic violators, particularly drunken drivers, must be dealt with strictly. The motorists who are not habitual violators should be treated sympathetically.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh

Training must for traffic cops

Traffic police personnel should be given proper training in interacting with the public so as to avoid complaints regarding misbehaviour with motorists at drunken driving nakas.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Inhaling pipes need to be changed frequently

The recent incident where a man sitting on the backseat of the car urged the traffic police not to use alcometer as her daughter was not drunk, the rationale should have been applied and all must not be treated with in a similar manner. The inhaling pipe of the alcometer on many occasions is not changed putting the public at the risk of contracting infectious diseases.

Madan Gupta Spatu, Chandigarh

Traffic police should be firm, fair

To keep a check on drunken driving, the traffic police should be firm and fair. They should ensure that no drunk driver is allowed to go scot-free by using his/her position or connections. The traffic police and courts should dispose of such cases on a priority basis so that it acts as an eye opener for others.

KC Rana, Chandigarh

Behaviour of cops should be polite

The behaviour of the police personnel with motorists, especially at night, should be polite. At the same time, they should be firm while handling drunk drivers so that traffic rules are implemented strictly. The defaulters should not let off easily.

Suresh Mittal, Chandigarh

Learn from counterparts in foreign countries

The traffic police, instead of guiding motorists to follow traffic rules, behave rudely while checking drunken driving. They signal drivers to stop and even try to manhandle them to stop immediately. The policemen also use wrong words as they think all are guilty. Non-drinkers feel embarrassed when they are questioned by the policemen. The Chandigarh Traffic Police should learn from their counterparts in foreign countries.

Sardul Singh Abrawan, Chandigarh

Need to make drunk drivers feel comfortable

There is a need to make drunk drivers feel comfortable before performing the breathing test. Every nook and corner of the city has liquor vends. The Chandigarh Police must be proactive to check drinkers near taverns, bars and marriage halls. The police should advise them not to drive after drinking rather than catching them at nakas.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd), Mohali

Traffic cops should not misbehave

The Traffic Police is there to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the roads. To ensure that the policemen perform their duties diligently and honestly, they should be given special training to deal with traffic violators. Drinking and driving should be strictly prohibited and offenders should be dealt with accordingly. They can cancel the driving licence of traffic violators but they should not misbehave with them.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

With power comes responsibility

Police officials should realise that they have the power but at the same time they have responsibilities on their shoulders. Senior police officials should ask policemen on duty not to misbehave with motorist. If any official was found guilty, action should be taken against him. A number of times, motorists are at fault. In such situations, officials should calmly solve the matter.

Aishwarya, Mohali

Traffic police personnel forget lessons

Traffic Police personnel who misbehave with motorists seem to have forgotten the lessons learnt in schools, colleges and training centres. There is a need to revive these lessons in their minds by way of printing these on challan forms held by them while on duty.

Ramesh Kumar Arora, Chandigarh

People should cooperate with policemen

When a policeman signals someone to stop for checking, the problem arises when he/she tries to escape and in the process the policeman gets injured. How do you expect a policeman to behave normally in such a situation? He will definitely reprimand you for violating the law. There is nothing wrong if a policeman scolds the violator for flouting the norms.

Dr Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Lower-level staff need to be trained

I feel the Chandigarh Traffic Police, despite a number of complaints against them, is much better than the police of other states, be it in terms of checking traffic violators or sensitising the public about traffic violations. The lower-level staff need to be better trained and pulled up for being active on duty.

Col RD Singh (retd), Ambala

Alcohol and driving should not be mixed

There are a number of complaints of traffic policemen misbehaving with motorists while checking for drunken driving. The videography of drunken driving nakas may reduce the incidents of policemen misbehaving with motorists and can put fear among offenders for documentary evidence. The public should also not mix alcohol and driving.

Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh

Policemen should act as counsellors

Police personnel should not only be polite while handling drunk drivers but they should also act as counsellors. The drunk drivers must be made aware that they are not only violating the traffic rules but also endangering their life as well as of their family members. This type of cool and sympathetic behaviour will certainly make the drunk drivers ashamed of their act, especially when they are accompanied by their family members. This psychological dealing will be more effective.

PS Bajwa, Chandigarh

Cops should learn from other states

Some of the policemen should be sent to Ahmedabad or any metropolitan city other than Delhi to see how policemen behave with outsiders with respect and streamline the traffic effectively with minimum challans.

Col Balbir Singh Mathauda (retd), Mohali

Staff should adopt people-friendly attitude

The Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh, should play the role of a moral teacher. He should ask the staff through seminars, talks awareness programmes to adopt a people-friendly and sensitive attitude towards the public, particularly women, children and disabled, which can prevent conflicts between the police and the motorists. Top officials like the IG, the SP (Traffic) and the SSP should ask the subordinates to be calm and people friendly in public dealing.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Short-term training for cops needed

The UT Police use alcometer at various nakas set up across the main roads of Chandigarh to check drunken driving. Sometimes the situation takes an ugly turn when non-alcoholic drivers, especially women, feel offended when they are asked to blow into the alcometer. They feel humiliated and embarrassed without realising that the policemen are performing their duties for the safety of the public. There is a need to provide short-term training to traffic police on behavioural model and the methods to deal with the public in such situations.

Ravinder Nath, Chandigarh

Drunk drivers are always not notorious

The root cause of the problem is misconception crept in our mentalities that a person having consumed liquor is altogether notorious. A person coming from a marriage party with family members at night stands roughed up and humiliated even if he has consumed one or two pegs of liquor and driving quite sensibly. Quite often, the traffic enforcement personnel themselves observed to be drunk on duty.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Police should be traffic-friendly

Rather than managing the smooth flow of traffic, they are more interested in finding faults and offenders who inadvertently might have violated traffic rules, be it over speeding or jumping red lights. Usually the Chandigarh Traffic Police conduct special drives to check traffic violators and drunken driving, but while taking action against defaulters, the policemen should be polite and straight in their approach. The Chandigarh Traffic Police should not only improve on road behaviour with the public but also be traffic-friendly.

BM Dhawan, Chandigarh


open house question

With the mercury soaring and heat wave conditions persisting, water supply in different parts of the city is being badly affected. Complaints are being received that the MC is failing to stick to the scheduled supply hours. Some of the city residents are not using the water judiciously. What needs to be done for the judicial management of water with the given resources. Write your suggestions in not more than 100 words along with a passport size photograph in JPG format to openhouse@tribunemail.com



Few takers for industrial plots at Mohali IT Park
Only 19 of 80 sites on offer sold by Greater Mohali Area Development Authority
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 8
With the sale of only 19 industrial plots of the total 80 sites on offer at IT Park, Mohali, the picture of developing an IT city by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) does not appear to be rosy.

Under the scheme for developing an IT city, GMADA had offered 80 plots of different sizes, ranging between .5 acres to 50 acres, for IT services, ITES, bio-technology (non polluting) and technology-based non-polluting/research and development facilities last year.

According to sources, GMADA received 42 applications from various companies, including Infosys, before December 31, 2013, the last date for the submission of application.

“Of these 42, only 27 companies were selected, which were asked to deposit the required amount of money on or before the due date. As only 19 companies fulfilled the norms, the plots were sold to these,” said the sources.

Except Infosys, which has opted for a 50-acre plot, all other successful applicants have opted for half-acre plots.

“No company opted for plots of sizes 25 acres (one plot), 20 acres (one), 10 acres (three), 5 acres (eight), 2 acres (eight) and 1 acre (15). The number of 50-acre and half-acre plots was two and 42, respectively,” said the sources.

GMADA Chief Administrator AK Sinha said several companies were showing interest in the scheme. “In fact, we have received 22 more applications in this connection, which are under consideration,” said Sinha, adding that in all, the response to the scheme was good.

The sources said some big companies, including Tech Mahindra, were demanding certain changes in the change of land use clause before entering here.

Chairman of the Mohali Property Consultants Association Shalinder Anand and president of the Mohali Industries and Commerce Association Nikhil Saraf said the government should provide facilities and decrease the rates of land to attract more companies.

“The government should provide basic facilities to the existing IT sector here to stop companies from moving out," said Saraf, in an obvious reference to US giant Dell, which has decided to close its operations here.

Dy CM's tall claims

On February 17 this year, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal had handed over land allotment letters to these 27 companies, of which eight companies had not deposited money in time to get the plots. At that time, Badal had termed the development as a historic achievement and announced that in the next three years, Mohali would be the first planned IT destination of the country.



Week-long theatre festival begins today

Chandigarh, June 8
Citi Entertainment Network, a city-based theatre group, will organise a week-long theatre solo festival from June 9. It will be held at the Punjab Kala Bhawan here.

The plays that will be staged here include Nirmal Verma’s “Dedh Inch Upper” and “Dhup Ka Tukda”; Kartar Singh Duggal’s “Amanat” and “Upperli Manzil”; Vibha Rani’s “Priya Tere Liye”; and Girish Bakshi’s “Khidki BVand Kar Do”.

Drama director Gaurav Sharma, while elaborating the idea behind staging solo performances, said: “We want to prove that drama is a natural vehicle for explorative and experiential learning. It can be used to enhance life skills as it’s an important tool for education.”

Ashish Sharma, director of all plays, said: “We have tried to bring out varied emotions and different stories varying from different sections of society. We have tried to touch various issues.” — TNS



V-Mart reports growth in last FY

V-Mart Retail Ltd reported a growth in profit after tax (PAT) of 40 per cent in the previous financial year (ending March 31, 2014). In the year, the company’s sales grew by 50 per cent and EBIDTA grew by 35 per cent YOY. Sales for the Q4 FY 14 was Rs 138.68 crore and PAT is Rs 1.10 crore. The company has declared a dividend of Rs 1 per share aggregating to Rs 1.79 crore.

Philips launches juicer mixer grinders

Philips India on Sunday launched its latest range of juicer mixer grinders (JMGs): Philips HL7715 and Philips HL7705. Philips HL7715 claims superior power-packed performance along with convenience and durability.

Foxyeve opens store in Mohali

Foxyeve, a designer women footwear brand, has opened its outlet in North Country Mall, Mohali. Foxyeve, further, has to its credit a novel and one-of-its-kind franchise model that offers two basic kind of franchise models offering its franchisees with both sales and marketing support. Its franchise outlets are tipped to open across pan India. —TNS



AIPMT: CBSE uploads revised answer keys
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
A day after the declaration of results of the All-India Pre-Medical/ Pre-Dental Test (AIPMT), the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) finally uploaded the revised answer keys today. This is for the first time that the board invited objections and uploaded the answer keys.

The board had invited objections to erroneous questions on May 17 after being directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to do so.

The board cancelled three questions — two from chemistry and one from biology section — and allotted 12 graces marks.

Though experts had pointed out that the chemistry section had two incorrect questions, in the biology section, six questions were found wrong, which accounted for the highest marks in the examination.

Several medical aspirants had demanded bonus marks for the incorrect questions and had filed objections with the board by submitting Rs 1,000 per question.

However, the students expressed their discontent with the board’s delay in uploading the revised answer keys.

City-based academic Arvind Goyal, on whose petition the High Court had directed the CBSE to invite objections against the erroneous questions, said the cancellation of three questions by the CBSE had vindicated their stand that they need to bring more transparency in the examination system.

However, objecting to the timing of the declaration of the revised answer keys, Goyal said, “Ideally, the board should have uploaded the revised answer keys before the declaration of the results as was done in case of the IIT-JEE answer keys.”

He claimed that the board had still not corrected all ambiguous questions in the biology section.

He said, “Although we had sent the board a representation about all ambiguous questions with references of standard textbooks, we are again sending them a representation and if they don't follow the High Court directions in letter and spirit, we will approach the court again.”

Repeated attempts to contact CBSE Chairman Vineet Joshi proved futile as he remained uncommunicative.

Three questions cancelled

  • The board cancelled three questions — two from chemistry and one from biology section — and allotted 12 grace marks.
  • City-based academic Arvind Goyal, on whose petition the High Court had directed the CBSE to invite objections against the erroneous questions, claimed that the board had still not corrected all ambiguous questions in the biology section.



Students pay tributes to Inspector Sucha Singh

Chandigarh, June 8
Nearly 50 students of Panjab University today held a candlelight march on the campus in the memory of Inspector Sucha Singh who died on this day last year.

The students, including representatives of the NSUI, were accompanied by Sucha Singh’s son Parminder Singh during the march held at the Gandhi Smarak on the campus. "We all had fond memories of Inspector Sucha Singh who mostly was posted in the PU area. We wish his son gets a job to support his family," said Manoj Lubana, an NSUI representative.

During the wee hours of June 8, 2013, a fugitive Chandigarh Police constable brutally murdered Sucha Singh opposite the Sector-17 police station. Inspector Sucha Singh (57), posted with the traffic police, was on night patrol along with his driver when they detained a couple on suspicion.

The youth repeatedly stabbed the duo before fleeing in the police Gypsy along with his female accomplice. Later, they were arrested. — TNS



Trekking expedition flagged off
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 8
A team of 100 contingents of scouts and guide wing of the Education Department flagged off to Manali in Himachal Pradesh by Director, School Education, Panchkula, Vikek Attrey, here yesterday.

The contingents, who belong to various government schools of the district, will camp in different areas of Manali for four days and participate in events such as water rafting, rock climbing, paragliding commando trekking.

Attrey said the department had been organisingsuch camps for the physical and mental development of the students. This was an attempt to provide them avenues for their personality development.



International Biodiversity Day observed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 8
International Biodiversity Day was observed at Gian Jyoti Global School, Phase II, Mohali. This was observed with the objective of being the part of the ‘Green wave - a billion tree campaign’ throughout the world, under which the school was expected to plant at least five saplings on the school premises and upload the photographs along with the entire write-up on Internet.

Students of Classes IX and X volunteered for the campaign. Six saplings of various endangered types of trees were also planted.



2 Panjab varsity teachers get work published in international journal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Two Panjab University (PU) faculty members have published their work in a leading international journal, Chemical Reviews, a publication of the American Chemical Society (since 1924), with an Impact Factor of 41.3.

Dr Ranju Bansal, professor at the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), PU, and Dr Sushil Kumar Kansal from the Dr SS Bhatnagar University Institute of Chemical Engineering & Technology (SSBUICET), PU, and their PhD students, Pratap Chandra Acharya and Amit Kumari, respectively, have made the university proud.

Earlier, till date only one publication from the PU has been reported to have appeared in this renowned journal by the globally renowned scientist, Prof SV Kesar, Prof Emeritus, Department of Chemistry, PU, in 1999.

The encyclopaedic article entitled “Man-made cytotoxic steroids: Exemplary agents for cancer therapy” authored by Dr Ranju Bansal and her PhD student, Pratap Chandra Acharya, provides comprehensive overview of cytotoxic steroids in cancer therapy in her outstanding manuscript.

The review could prove to be a valuable tool for the successful development of steroidal derivatives as novel therapeutic agents in cancer therapeutics.

Actively involved in the design and discovery of medicinally significant heterosteroids for the past 25 years, Dr Ranju Bansal has successfully guided nine scholars for the award of doctoral degree.

Dr Sushil Kumar Kansal and his student, Amit Kumari, from Dr SSBUICET, PU, have critically evaluated the usage of M.oleifera, a unique plant as a sustainable material for water and wastewater treatment in their publication entitled “Potential of M.oleifera for the treatment of water and wastewater”.



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