C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Day after, firefighting operation continues
Highly combustible material beneath debris, feel officials; Section 144 imposed; UT Adviser, Home Secretary visit spot
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
A day after the inferno, which led to the collapse of the three-storeyed building of the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology in Sector 17, that in turn claimed the lives of two firemen, the operation to douse the fire simmering beneath the debris continued throughout the day today.

Fire officials said it appeared that there was highly combustible material beneath the debris, which continued to burn even after 24 hours of the incident.

The entire area around the building was cordoned off by the police late last night. Employees working at different offices in adjoining buildings, including those sharing the common wall, were not allowed to enter the premises. Scores of employees gathered at a distance from the collapsed building, anxious to know what had happened.

To prevent any untoward incident in the area, the Deputy Commissioner (DC), while acting on the recommendation of the SHO of the Sector 17 police station, invoked Section 144 of the CrPC to restrict the entry of the public to all shop-cum-offices (SCOs) in the row adjoining the mishap site.

Officiating DC-cum-MC Commissioner VP Singh said there was apprehension that the adjoining buildings had become weak and could collapse. “We have restricted the entry of the public within a 150-metre radius of the adjoining buildings. The orders apply to government offices, including CITCO, as well,” he said.

Meanwhile at the site, fire tenders continued to spray water on the simmering debris, which was not being removed in a bid to ensure that the adjoining building did not suffer major damage.

The DC said they did not want to risk any life by allowing people to enter the adjoining buildings. “A building structure expert visited the site and declared the adjacent buildings unsafe,” VP Singh said.

In the afternoon, UT Adviser KK Sharma and Home Secretary Anil Kumar visited the spot to take the stock of the situation.

Asked about any compensation being announced for the families of the deceased, the Adviser said they were considering compensating the victims and a decision would be taken soon.

Entry to adjoining buildings restricted

A press note issued by the UT Administration said the Deputy Commissioner was of the opinion that the adjoining buildings — SCOs 4 to 9 and SCOs 115 to 127 — be declared unsafe for human living/working and the entry of the public should be restricted to a 150-metre radius of these buildings till the situation was brought under control. However, surprisingly, there was no mention of SCOs 1 to 3 in the press note, which are just next to the building that collapsed. The DC said the entry within a 150-metre radius of the adjoining buildings had been restricted, and if SCOs 1 to 3 fell within this area, the restriction would be applicable to these.

DC sets up 7-member probe panel

The Deputy Commissioner has constituted a seven-member panel to probe the incident. The panel will be headed by Tanvi Garg, ADC, and comprises Sunil Bhatia, Additional Commissioner, MC; SK Chadha, UT Chief Engineer; Mukesh Anand, MC Chief Engineer; Inderjit Gulati, Executive Engineer, MC; ML Sharma, Station Fire Officer, MC; and Ashish Kapoor, DSP (Central), as members. Besides looking into the reasons behind the incident, the panel will assess the danger to the adjoining buildings. The committee has been asked to submit its report at the earliest.



Sector 17 inferno ruins a home, shatters dreams of a bride-to-be
Ritika Jha Palial & Archit Watts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/ Dabwali Dhab (Malout), June 9
It was yet another night when Ravinder’s wife was praying for his safe return. Despite being proud of her husband’s selfless efforts in disaster management services, deep down in her heart, she had always feared such an eventuality. Finally, the shattering news reached her, followed by the charred body of the 46-year-old airman.

Being the only breadwinner in the family, who was employed with the Indian Air Force, Ravinder has left the responsibility of the family on the shoulders of his elder son, Dheeraj (21).

Ravinder’s younger son, Vishal (14), was in Goa, bringing laurels to his family by winning a kabaddi tournament, when he learnt about his death. He could not reach for the cremation today.

“I had told him not to continue with this job. It was not safe,” said Shweta, the inconsolable wife.

The inferno and the building collapse shattered another family. Thirty-year-old Amandeep, the fireman who, too, died in the incident, left behind only his memories for his fiancee.

Amandeep’s wedding was scheduled for September this year. While his family reached Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, early this morning from Malout, his fiancee spent the entire night at the hospital emergency in a state of shock after she saw his body.

Amandeep was a close relative of Additional Divisional Fire Officer, Mohali, Sham Lal Kamboj. Kamboj, reportedly, left for Malout for the cremation today.

The deceased fireman belonged to a family of police officials. His father is posted as an inspector in Faridkot, his brother is a constable in Muktsar and a cousin is posted as the OSD to Chief Minister. Eight civic body officials from Chandigarh visited the family in Malout.

Ravinder, meanwhile, was cremated at Dadu Majra, near his residence. Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Chandigarh Air Force Station, SK Indoria; UT Adviser KK Sharma; MC Chief Commissioner VP Singh; UT SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill and UT IGP RP Upadhyay attended the cremation.



Can’t believe I am alive, says fireman
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Thirty-two-year-old Sachin could not believe he managed to defeat death as he regained consciousness early this morning after witnessing the inferno last night. “I can’t believe I am alive. A chill goes down my spine when I recall how the building collapsed and we saw our fellow beings get buried under the debris,” Sachin, who was admitted to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, said today.

The state of shock was also coupled with anger, frustration and helplessness among all four, who had a face-off with the inferno and were rushed to the hospital late last night in a semi-conscious state after suffering breathlessness, as they narrated their experience today. They expressed anger over the lack of facilities and equipment for firemen.

Tears in their eyes spoke volumes about the pressure under which they dared to enter the building that had caught fire. Requesting anonymity, one of them said, “It seems the life of an ordinary fireman has no value.

For long, we have been demanding better breathing apparatus and firefighting equipment. We lost two of our fellow colleagues due to these shortcomings.

All of us may meet the same fate in future fire operations. Can someone tell us who will take care of the families of the two (Ravinder and Amandeep) who have died?”

“We were fearing that the building would collapse after the fire broke out. In no time, a blast took place,” said Raghubir, another injured fireman.

Jitender and Shekhar were the other two firemen who were injured. All four were discharged from the hospital late this afternoon.



NIELIT suffers loss of crores
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The fire incident at the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) in Sector 17 suffered a loss of infrastructure of around Rs 8 crore, besides business earnings worth several crores. Ashwani Sharma, Managing Director of the NIELIT who arrived here from Delhi this morning, said they had suffered an estimated loss of Rs 8 crore. Around 400 computers, servers, air conditioners, tables and chairs and various records had been destroyed in the fire.

“This is alone the loss of infrastructure. The loss of business that we have suffered is yet to be calculated,” he said. The NIELIT’s last fiscal year’s business was of around Rs 16 crore.

Sharma said data pertaining to several projects had been destroyed in the fire. However, fortunately, they had the back-up of the data at their Delhi office. “The data of around 10 days, of which there was no back-up, may have been destroyed in the fire,” he said.

The Chandigarh office of the NIELIT was the nodal centre of the National Population Register, a project of around Rs 540 crore, and the entire data related to the project was destroyed. “Fortunately, we have the back-up of the data related to the project. Otherwise, it would have been a major setback to the NIELIT,” he said.

Around 200 employees were working at the Chandigarh office and around 700 students were pursuing their course at the institute run by the NIELIT. “We have requested the Administration and the Punjab Government to make some premises available to us where we can shift our office and start functioning,” the MD said.


Fire incidents: No lessons learnt
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Learning no lessons from major fire incidents in the past in which its staff had to struggle through a maze of encroachments to reach the spot, the Fire Department has failed to take up the issue with the Estate Office for action against violators. The previous incidents speak for themselves.

Three major incidents at Sector 22 opposite ISBT-17

2009: Four persons died in a fire in the Sector 22-B market, opposite the ISBT-17. The fire first engulfed the first floor of SCO 1026, housing Dashmesh Digital Shop, and later spread to the adjoining building of Shimla Traders (SCO 1027).

2011: Fire broke out in SCO 1048 due to a short circuit at late night. Due to timely action, there was not much loss reported in adjoining shops.

2012: A major fire erupted in eight shops-cum-cabins located on the first floor of a shop-cum-office.

Inquiry report

A special committee was constituted, under former ADC PS Shergill, after the 2009 incident. In the report, it was pointed out that there were loopholes in the system of removing encroachments in the Sector 22 market. The report also pointed out that the delay in arrival of fire tenders resulted in the situation going out of control. As per reports of the Fire Department, the staff had a tough time reaching the spot after all these incidents due to major building violations. While in one case, the firefighters had to negotiate through a hoarding installed in the lobby, in another the team got late as the passage had loose wires dangling everywhere.

Bank of Baroda, Sector 22

2012: A fire broke out in the basement of the Bank of Baroda, Sector 22, due to a short circuit. It took more than five hours for the firemen to douse it.


As per the report of the Fire Department, the bank had constructed temporary cabins in the basement. No fire safety norms were implemented on the premises and a water pipeline was non-functional. The report stated that there only one staircase led to the basement, negotiating through which consumed most of the firemen’s time. As per norms, there must be separate entry and exit points in the building.

Industrial Area, Phase I

2012: Material worth crores of rupees was destroyed due to a major fire that broke out at Vardhman Industries (plot number 30).


Hundreds of containers filled with a highly inflammable chemical were stored in the godown. There was no firefighting system installed on the premises.

Furniture market

2000: Twenty shops were gutted in a major fire incident at the Sector 52/53 furniture market.

2001: Ten shops gutted, 2002: Eighteen shops gutted

2009: Eight shops gutted.


After all these incidents, the Fire Department pointed out various faults. The report stated that no shop had installed fire safety equipment. Combustible material such as thinner, varnish, spirit, paint and cloth were lying in the workshops. All generators were running through kundi connections, as no one had applied for an electricity connection for the temporary shops. However, no notices were issued to these shopkeepers.

Roof collapse in Sector 26

On June 10, 2007, two persons died in a roof collapse at the Sector 26 fruit and vegetable market. A committee comprising the then Deputy Commissioner, RK Rao, and Superintending Engineer, Kishanjit Singh, had identified certain unsafe buildings. The Engineering Department was told to coordinate with the Estate Office. The committee had also recommended to the administration to arrange special cutters and earth-removing machines. The UT Administration, however, was again caught ill-equipped.

Ground reality

Three major fire incidents have taken place at the Sector 22 market, opposite the ISBT-17, in the past five years. During a visit to the market on Monday, nothing seemed to have changed in all these years. Shopkeepers have encroached upon the balcony on the first and second floors of the buildings by fixing glazings and grills. To worsen the safety of buildings, shopkeepers have installed huge billboards on the facade, blocking the free movement of air. Whatever little space is left on the windows has been occupied by air-conditioners. Verandahs of some of the SCOs have been covered with tin sheets. The staircases that lead to these floors are dingy and have wires hanging loosely. Many shopkeepers don’t even have the permission to use the amount of electricity being consumed, and therefore do not have the provision for proper wiring.



An inspection in futility
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The Fire and Emergency Committee constituted to inspect fire stations last year had pointed out various anomalies in their report. The committee consisting of municipal corporation (MC) councillors inspected seven fire stations in the city and submitted its report to the civic body. The report highlighted the “non-serious approach” of MC officials towards fire safety in the city. Non-functional phone sets, ambulances in bad shape and lack of firefighting suits were some of the shortcomings pointed out in the inspection report.

The committee had recommended that each fireman should have his own firefighting suit. As per the report, there were only two such suits available at each station.

The report had highlighted that phone sets were not working at the Sector 17 fire station. It recommended procurement of more wireless sets for fire stations to improve communication.

The committee also pointed out the poor condition of ambulances.

The committee had expressed the need for smaller firefighting vehicles, which could enter narrow lanes. The need for suction pumps was also raised, as at the time of inspection, the available Japanese models were not found to be in a working condition.

Shortage of equipment, no insurance

Sources in the Fire Department said there was a shortage of gas masks, helmets, firefighting suits, gum boots and branches that are installed with the firefighting pipes. They added that most wireless sets needed replacement.

Also, the fire and emergency services staff has been demanding insurance for firemen for past six years. The UT Administration and municipal corporation, however, have failed to fulfil this demand.



Violation of bylaws galore in collapsed building’s vicinity
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Building violations that hampered the firefighting operation at the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) building in Sector 17 exist in nearby buildings as well. Precious time was wasted yesterday as firefighters struggled to break walls constructed in shop-cum-office (SCO) 115-116.

In a classic example of negligence on the part of the Estate Office, SCOs 1, 2 and 3, which house the State Bank of India’s treasury branch and are situated near the collapsed building, have a concrete wall constructed on the rear side, blocking the entire passage.

Sources said owners of the building have been writing to the SBI officials repeatedly, requesting them to remove the wall.

“Any major fire incident in the building will lead to a situation similar to yesterday, as all exit points on the rear side of the building have been blocked by the wall,” said sources.

It has also come to light that the basement of the SCO 1-2-3 has been rented to the NIELIT and combustible material has been stored there—an open invitation to a disaster.

Sources alleged the tenants enjoyed patronage of the UT Administration, as despite repeated representations made to UT officials, the violations have not been removed.

A senior fire official said the department would check violations in nearby buildings soon.



Punjab govt offices running from unsafe building
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
In the turn of events starting from the inferno followed by the death of two firemen in a building collapse at Sector 17, the UT Administration today restricted the entry of general public to shop-cum-offices in the vicinity. Section 144 of the CrPC was invoked to restrict entry to these commercial sites, one of which, i.e. SCO 125-126-127, has already been declared unsafe by the UT Engineering Department two years ago.

A damaged pillar of a building (right) declared unsafe two years ago in Sector 17, Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

Despite the concrete falling off the building and structural safety of the RCC pillars being declared lying in danger zone by experts of the PEC University of Technology, two Punjab government offices—Punjab Alkalies and Punjab Sugarfed—continue to function from the upper floors of the building.

Presently the case for demolishing the structure, moved against the building owner by the Estate Office on the directions of the Engineering Department, is pending in the court of SDM (East). The SDM, Danish Ashraf, said he had recently received reports from the department concerned and would pronounce the judgement soon.

Inder Mohan Chawla from the company managing the property said the case to declare the building unsafe had been moved after the building suffered damage in an earthquake in 2010.

Need regular surveys of old buildings

The administration should survey all old buildings and carry out retrofitting of such structures. The practice of putting the single entry and exit points to basements to habitable use should be checked. — VK Bhardwaj, former UT Chief Engineer

All old structures must be made fire resistant. I have not heard of any building in Chandigarh conducting an annual fire drill, as needed for renewing the fire NOC. Most buildings have old furniture stacked at emergency exits. — Renu Khanna, eminent architect



6 years on, a firefighter’s family awaits compensatory job
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

The wife and a son of firefigher Amarjeet Singh, who died on duty in 2008, show his picture at their house in Dhanas on Monday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, June 9
The family of a firefighter who died on duty in 2008 is still waiting for a job on compensatory ground. Amarjeet Singh died at the age of 44 years while dousing fire at a Sector 22 house. He is survived by his wife and two sons. Although, the family was given a compensation of Rs 3 lakh, they moved court, demanding a job.

The widow, Manjeet Kaur, said they were being given fake assurances that one of the family members would get a job on compensatory ground.

“My husband lost his life saving others; however, his sacrifice has been disregarded,” said Kaur.

While deceased’s elder son Surjeet Singh is doing a private job, younger son Gurbir Singh has completed engineering and is preparing for competitive examinations.

Amarjeet was known as a brave fireman. On the day of the incident, he was the first one to enter the room after breaking the door to gain access. He was engulfed in flames before anybody could come to his rescue. He sustained 40 per cent burns and was admitted to the PGI, where he later died of injuries.

Amarjeet’s brother Labh Singh said the administration followed a pick-and-choose policy, as influential people were able to get their work done.

“Appreciation letters are meaningless, as they can’t earn the bread and butter for a family,” he said.



Constable assaults reporter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
A reporter with a vernacular daily was allegedly assaulted by a commando on duty at the site of building collapse in Sector 17. The UT police, however, have booked the reporter for obstructing a government servant from performing duty and causing hurt under Sections 353 and 323 of the IPC.

The incident occurred in the morning when the reporter, Avinash, was visiting the spot and had just crossed the barricade to talk to a police officer.

Constable Deepak Kumar, posted with the operation cell, allegedly hit the reporter with the butt of his weapon and also thrashed him.

A police release stated that the constable was there to preventing anyone from getting close to the spot for the safety and security of people.

The police said Deepak was also hurt in the incident.

“Our probe was fair,” stated the release.



Department’s ill-preparedness exposed
Fire incidents reported from 10 places in Panchkula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Firemen douse the flames after a fire broke out at the MDC, Panchkula; and (below) fire tenders parked at the fire station in Sector 5. TRIBUNE Photos: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, June 9
The ill-preparedness of the Panchkula Fire Department came to the fore when fire broke out at 10 places here today. After the department received a call at the fire station about the fire incidents, the firemen were seen wearing multi-layered ordinary clothes in the absence of firefighting suits. Also, they were unable to locate various equipment there as these were not available at the station.

Fire broke out at 10 places in Panchkula today. Most of the areas where fire occurred were forest areas.

These areas where fire occurred include an area near Patiala Mandir in Mansa Devi; a place in Saketri, in MDC, Sector 4; a workshop at the Bus Station in Sector 5; three spots in the Chandimandir area and some other green areas of the city. Soaring temperature was the cause for most of the incidents.

No loss was reported and later the situation was controlled in the fire incidents.

The district Fire Department does not even have hydraulic platform arrangement and is dependent on Chandigarh for the same.

“We have sent repeated requests to the higher authorities for getting firefighting suits and the hydraulic platform but to no avail. We have to manage this way,” said SS Malik, a fire officer.

In the absence of firefighting suits, a fireman had got serious burns when a fire broke out in a petrol tanker in Barwala last year.

“We have to visit the spots without firefighting suits. It is tough, but the department does not listen to us,” said a fireman, on the condition of anonymity.

He said: “We just put many layers of ordinary clothes on us so that we don’t feel the heat.”

Even after working with such ill arrangements, the fire personnel don’t have an insurance policy.

“We are not even insured. Our families will not get anything if something happens to us during the operations,” added the fireman.

Despite various lapses, the authorities have learnt no lessons.

“They do risk their lives, especially after the Chandigarh fire incident occurred last night, but we are helpless,” said Malik.

There are around 15 fire personnel of which six go to spots. Intitally, the number of fire tenders were also less but recently they got three new tenders making the total to eight.

The building of the fire department is also in a shambles. Broken doors, windows welcome the visitors at the office.



Mohali Fire Dept faces staff crunch
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 9
The Mohali Fire Brigade, which is said to be equipped with adequate paraphernalia of fire tenders, has been battling with severe staff shortage. The fire office, where three fire calls have been received daily on an average, has just five fire officers, 14 fire personnel and six drivers as a total staff for all its three shifts.

“Ideally a fire tender needs one driver, four firemen, one leading fireman and one fire officer to deal with any emergency”, said sources in the department.

“At least three fire tenders should be geared up (with the mentioned staff for one fire tender) in each shift. It means in just one shift there is a need of at least three drivers, 12 firemen, three leading firemen and three fire officers.

With this statistics, one can figure out the shortage of strength our department is facing here”, said an official on the condition of anonymity. Another official admitted that due to the staff crunch, they (staff members) face several problems.

“We do not get leaves when required. Many a time, we have to come on duty during our weekly off days due to the staff shortage,” he said.

The Fire Department has five fire tenders, two multipurpose tenders, one water dowser, one tender with hydraulic ladder, one rescue tender, two jeeps and two motorcycles to deal with fire emergencies.

Notices sent to institutions

Around two months ago, the Mohali Fire Department has sent notices to owners of industrial units, educational institutes and other big buildings to ensure minimum safety measures on their premises. “Now I would ask the authorities concerned to conduct a survey to check whether or not the directions given in the notices were adhered to,” said Mohali Deputy Commissioner Tejinderpal Singh Sidhu.



Kiosk gutted in Mohali market
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 9
A kiosk in the Phase 1 market went up in flames this morning. The fire in the kiosk of bags and suitcases was noticed in the morning at around 8.40am. “We got information about the incident at 8.48am and we reached the spot within two-three minutes and controlled the fire,” said a fire official.

The kiosk owner, Rashid Khan, said he suffered a big loss as his entire stock has been destroyed in the fire.

Notably, the timely action of firemen saved the other kiosks. Otherwise, the loss would have been much bigger.



Development works
Residents allege admn inaction
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 9
Several residents of the Balongi village are holding protests to urge the District Administration to expedite the development works and start with the construction of internal roads at the earliest here.

The Mohali Deputy Commissioner, Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu, said he has already sent an official letter to the higher authorities urging them to sanction an amount of Rs 1.85 crore for the construction and re-carpetting of the internal roads of the village. “We will start the work as soon as we receive the funds,” said Sidhu.

“We have chalked out a proper plan to carry out the development works in the village. We will go systematically with the whole process,” said the Deputy Commissioner. A special committee, under the supervision of Mohali Additional Deputy Commissioner Vineet Goel, has been constituted for the purpose, added Sidhu.

“After channelising the sewerage system of the village, now we are pumping out the water of village pond to increase its capacity. As soon as we get the funds, the construction and repair of internal roads of the village will be started”, said ADC Goel. Meanwhile, several residents of the village continue protesting to urge the administration to expedite the work in the village. “Construction of roads should be the top priority but the administration is not paying heed to our problems. Seeing the lackadaisical attitude of the administration, we are forced to stage protest,” said BC Premi, who sat on a hunger strike.

Former Kharar MLA Bir Davinder also announced to join the protests while, Mohali MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu said if the gram panchayat passed the resolution he would construct the village road from his own pocket. A senior official of the administration alleged that the internal politics of the residents of the village is slowing down the whole process.



Ticket aspirants try to impress Haryana Chief Minister
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 9
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s function on Saturday provided a platform to the aspirants vying for ticket from Panchkula in the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections. The aspirants profoundly boasted about the number of followers they had, that may serve as the basis for getting the ticket.

From local businessmen to ex-councillors, even those who lost the Municipal Corporation elections, were all seen trying for the Panchkula ticket.

Those in the fray for the Congress ticket include- MLA DK Bansal, former MC presidents Ravinder Rawal and Tarun Bhandari, industrialist Vinod Bagai, Haryana Confed Chairman Bajrang Das Garg and many others.

“The local MLA got a crowd of 500 people while, others also got around 100-200 followers even though they claimed of getting 500 each. The total gathering was of about 2,500 persons,” said a Congress leader, on the condition of anonymity.

Hooda had come to the Inderdhanush Auditorium for a function.

All the prospective candidates have started listing their contribution towards development in Panchkula.

Bansal said, “One can get the claims checked. The recent clubs or latest buildings that have come up were all pushed by us. Who else fights with the Administration for the people, like I do?”

As most of the aspirants are hitting at Bansal’s ‘outsider’ tag for the elections, he alleged all others are migrated, but he hails from Barwala in Panchkula.

Similarly, Tarun Bhandari and Bajrang Das Garg said a local resident can understand the problems of the city people like no one else.

We have been working for the city for long and know how well the city can prosper, said Bhandari and Garg.

Meanwhile, Bagai claimed that he has done a lot to bring up housing facilities in Panchkula, especially in Sector 20.



Building Violations
Zirakpur MC moves court against builders
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 9
Tightening noose around violators of building bylaws, Zirakpur Municipal Council (MC) has decided to move court against 32 builders and has sought permission to demolish their illegal constructions in the civic body limits. The builders have allegedly violated the Punjab Municipal Act by converting residential areas into commercial ones in Peer Muchhalla in the Zirakpur MC limited.

Sources revealed that the builders were repeated offenders and the MC authorities have already served notices to them, under Section 195 of the Punjab Municipal Act for violations, a number of times. The offenders have allegedly given a burial to the notices of the MC.

Executive Officer (EO) of the MC Parminder Singh said they were forced to take the decision after the builders did not follow the guidelines.

“After visiting the sites, I, personally, asked the violators to remove their encroachments but to no avail. Now we will make sure that Act is enforced,” said Parminder Singh.



‘Dedh Inch Upper,’ a one-man show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The week-long solo theatre festival being organised by city-based theatre group, Citi Entertainment Network, got underway at Punjab Kala Bhawan with ‘Dedh Inch Upper’ being staged today. The play written by Nirmal Verma revolves around the protagonist, a middle-aged man, who shares his life’s bitter experiences while sitting alone in a pub.

Directed by Ashish Sharma, the plot begins with the protagonist — played by Gurmukh — recounting the 15 years of his married life that got shattered when he discovered that his beloved wife was a terrorist and she had concealed the fact from him throughout.

The solo performance, which was entirely based on the narration of the actor, along with lighting and the set kept the audience glued.

While giving the reason behind the name of the play, associate director of the play, Gaurav Sharma, said, “The play not only brings out various emotions that a man undergoes but also highlights the fact that it is important to maintain balance in life.”

Sharma said, “Through this one-man show act, we wanted to portray that one cannot outsmart life but at the same time, one should not get shattered with what life has to offer.”



Traders’ delegation meets AETC

Chandigarh, June 9
A delegation of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) today met RC Bhalla, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC) and take up VAT-related issues on behalf of traders of the city.

The AETC agreed to consider all issues but assured early reduction of VAT rates on many items such as pulses, blankets, timber, iron and steel on the Punjab pattern after taking up issues with the higher authorities as VAT is higher on these items as compared to Punjab.

Charanjiv Singh, president, CBM, said the wholesale business from Chandigarh was shifting to nearby states due to lack of warehousing facilities, stringent estate rules and higher VAT rates, resulting into revenue loss of the UT.



Curbing Corporal Punishment
Circulars issued to schools
CBSE gives guidelines to schools for positive development of children
Tribune News Service

chandigarh, June 9
To curb the practice of corporal punishment in schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a circular to the heads of all schools affiliated to it. As per the circular, since there is no definition of corporal punishment for children under the Indian law, the board on the basis of provisions of the RTE Act-2009 has classified corporal punishment as physical punishment, mental harassment and discrimination.

The board has also included all forms of sexual offences as per the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act-2012 under it.

The circular also states that a study on ‘Child Abuse in India-2007’ — conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development — found that every two out of three schoolchildren reported facing corporal punishment.

The board has defined physical punishment as any punishment in which force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however, ‘light’. Even detention in the classroom, library and toilets have been included under it.

Mental harassment has been defined as non-physical treatment that is detrimental to academics and the psychological well-being of a child. It includes sarcasm that hurts or lower’s a child dignity. It also includes ridiculing the child with regard to his/her background, status, parental occupation, caste or with regard to health status or that of the family, particularly HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Meanwhile, the discrimination has been defined as prejudiced views and behaviour towards any child due to his/her caste/ gender, occupation and region or non-payment of fees or for being a student admitted under 25 per cent reservation to disadvantaged groups or weaker sections of society under the RTE, 2009.

While welcoming CBSE’s initiative, local academician Dr Arvind Goyal, said, “Corporal punishment can leave permanent scars on the child’s mind and personality. It largely goes unreported in most of the cases due to the fear of the child being penalised at the school by the offender. Schools must implement these guidelines in letter and spirit and evolve a system wherein parents can file anonymous complaints against the teacher who indulges in such criminal practice.”

Moreover, the board has also given guidelines regarding action to be taken in schools for the positive development of children.

The board has also mentioned that whoever contravenes the provisions shall be liable to disciplinary action under the services rules applicable to that person.

What is Corporal Punishment

On the basis of provisions of the RTE Act-2009, CBSE has classified corporal punishment as physical punishment, mental harassment and discrimination. The circular also states that a study on ‘Child Abuse in India-2007’ — conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development — found that every two out of three schoolchildren reported facing corporal punishment.



From schools
World Ocean Day celebrated

Chandigarh: World Ocean Day was celebrated by the kindergarten wing at Doon International School, Sector 69, today. On the occasion, the children were educated on aquatic life and the world that exists underwater. Meanwhile, a stick puppet show was also organised wherein the students spoke on different varieties of fishes found in the ocean. The students of kindergarten also prepared a huge aquarium. Multi-coloured fish mobiles were hung made of art and craft material. The background and the base were made with coloured washed sheets. Octopus, jellyfish, tortoise, seaweeds, shells and corals, were given 3D effect. This was a whole new experience for the students. The children were also taught new words related to aquatic life. Through the event, the students delved into the acquatic life and studied about various fishes and oceans.

Pre-vacation party held

Mohali: The tiny-tots of Sant Isher Singh Public School, Sector 70, enjoyed their pre-vacation party held on the school campus. The authorities claimed that students from pre-nursery to Class II came dressed in colourful attires, while carrying matching umbrellas. Meanwhile, the students of Class III-X attended an educational tour to Fateh Burj, Chhappar Chiri. The authorities said that during the tour, the students were briefed on various facts of history related to Sikh gurus and Khalsa. The school officials claimed that the objective of the educational visit was to acquaint the students with the teachings of Sikh gurus and their message. The visit was informative and educated students on the Sikh religion and culture.

Shishu Niketan organises summer camp

Shishu Niketan, Sector 66, organised a summer camp for the students of its own campus and other schools. The organisers claimed a large number of activities, including yoga, taekwondo, football, basketball, theatre, dance, personality development, cooking and others were organised. Various activities that were conducted by experts of their respective fields made it an educative experience for the students. — TNS



1,250 forms submitted online
Tribune News Service

chandigarh, june 9
As many as 1,250 forms were submitted at various centres on the first day of the online submission of admission forms at government colleges in the city. An official revealed that the submission of forms was underway at various colleges till evening. Sources said a special team today visited all colleges to find out problems being faced by the faculty or help desk members in dealing with such cases.

The team members said they would also include information, which the students sought on the helpline numbers.

During a visit to the government colleges in Sectors 11 and 42, it was found that there was thin strength of students, who had turned up for the submission of forms at the help desk counters of the college.

Rashmi, a student of Post Graduate College for Girls, Sector 11, said, “There was some technical fault in my personal computer. As such, I came to the college to get my form submitted online.”

The helpline numbers of all colleges were flooded with queries by the students since morning.

The faculty members revealed that the main queries of students were how to fill the combination codes, last date for submission of the hard copy and whether they have to apply for B.Com in the college too.

Meanwhile, the faculty members — appointed to attend these helpline calls — said the students were calling up to clear their queries.



LLB entrance exam
Rumours circulate about question paper leak on PU campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, june 9
The rumours about question paper leak circulated among candidates appearing for the entrance test for the Bachelor of Law (LLB) at Panjab University today. The issue was a hot topic of debate among candidates, who took the entrance exam at the varsity, which was also conducted at 14 centres in the city.

Without confirming the name of the candidate, an applicant on the condition of anonymity said, “A few students were discussing outside the examination centre that they had procured the question paper from a Zirakpur-based man for Rs 30,000 on Sunday night.”

The candidate revealed that they were not sure whether the authorities concerned were aware about it or not.

PU Controller of Examinations Parvinder Singh denied that any such complaint had been received by them about the entrance exam of LLB conducted today.

“I also received a number of calls to confirm about the incident but no such thing happened,” he added.

Singh said this year, an increase of 20 per cent had been registered in the number of candidates appearing for the LLB examination.

As per data, this year, 3,150 students appeared in the entrance exam whereas the figure was 2,590 in 2013.

Following the examination, traffic snarls were witnessed on the campus as a large number of candidates, who took the exam, had parked their vehicles on the roadside.



UG combined entrance test result out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, june 9
Panjab University (PU) has declared the result of PU – Combined Entrance Test (CET) Undergraduate (UG)-2014, conducted on May 24. PU Controller of Examinations Prof Parvinder Singh said the result is available on PU website http://results.puchd.ac.in/cet/.

Sagar Kaushal, Ravneet Singh Bedi and Divya secured the first, second and third positions, respectively, in the Physics Chemistry Maths group.

Sagar Rathee and Kanupriya Arora have jointly topped the Physics Chemistry Biology group. Apoorva Sharma stood second in the group.

Anirudh Attri, Mannat Kaur and Joshita Arora secured the first, second and third positions, respectively, in the Physics Chemistry Computer Science group.

Anamika Dhiman, Diksha Garg and Saloni got the first, second and third positions, respectively, in the Physics Chemistry Biotechnology group.

Mridul Sachdeva, Sagar Kaushal and Ravneet Singh Bedi bagged the first, second and third positions, respectively, in the Maths group.

The achievers

  • Sagar Kaushal, Ravneet Singh Bedi and Divya secured the first, second and third positions, respectively, in Physics Chemistry Maths group.
  • Sagar Rathee and Kanupriya Arora have jointly topped the Physics Chemistry Biology group.
  • Anirudh Attri, Mannat Kaur and Joshita Arora got the first, second and third slots, respectively, in the Physics Chemistry Computer Science group.



Signature campaign against rape cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, june 9
The Students for Society (SFS), Students Federation of India (SFI) and Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) today staged a protest — against serial rape cases in Uttar Pradesh and across the country — at the Student Centre, Panjab University.

The members of these associations also started a signature campaign against the rape cases.

Raminder Singh, SFS leader, said, “Women are deprived of their property rights in society. They still struggle to gain more independence.”

Prabhpreet of SFI said, “Gang-rape incidents are increasing day-by-day. We condemn all these incidents. To stop this practice, women should come forward and fight against the patriarchal system.”

“The anti-women culture is also developing. Women should oppose it by all means,” he added.

Meanwhile, condemning these incidents, Vijay, a member of ASA, said,” The Centre and the state government should initiate steps to check violence against women and Scheduled Castes.”



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