C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Learning lessons from Sec 17 fire
Dedicated corridors mooted
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Soon, the connecting passages between showrooms in Sector 17 might be replaced by dedicated corridors for emergency vehicles such as fire tenders and ambulances.

On realising that the fire fighting operations during the June 8 building collapse in a fire at Sector 17 were hampered due to the connecting passage, the MC is now studying the feasibility of removing these passages. Fire tenders could not reach the back of the ill-fated building due to these passages.

The passages, which are an integral part of the Le Corbusier’s design, have worn out with the passage of time and require urgent repairs.

The day when the fire broke out at the building of the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology in Sector 17, the firefighters had a tough time dousing the fire as there was hardly any space for the fire tenders to reach the back of the building.

While the fire tenders were parked on the front of the building, the hosepipes were dragged to the back of the building to douse fire inside the building. Later, the fire tenders were driven through the corridor of the building at the other end to reach close to the fire.

MC Commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh stated that the engineering wing of the MC had been asked to conduct a study on the connecting passages in Sector 17. “There is a need to have dedicated corridors for emergency services, which can be only possible if some of the connecting passages are removed,” the Commissioner stated. The engineering wing will make a report on such passages that block the way of a fire tenders in case of a fire, he added.

The report on the passages, which needs to be removed, would be sent to the UT Chief Architect for approval. “We would go ahead with the plan only after getting the node from the UT Administration,” the Commissioner added.

Passages unsafe

The National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research, Chandigarh, recently conducted a test on the connecting passages in Sector 17. The carbonation and corrosion tests have revealed that many passages are unsafe.



Lure of mangoes claims youth’s life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
A 24-year-old youngster was electrocuted to death after he came in contact with a live electricity wire while he was plucking mangoes from a tree in Sector 7 today.

The victim, Vijay Kumar, was noticed stuck in a tree branch following heavy sparking near the tree.

The incident took place at 6.30 pm on the road separating Sector 7 and 26 opposite Khalsa College. Vijay died on the spot. His hands and feet were severely burnt. The power supply to Sector 7 was disrupted after sparking.

Passersby and local residents noticed the body stuck in the tree and raised an alarm. The police retrieved the body and took it to the mortuary of the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16.

The victim was a resident of Nayagaon. He worked as a mechanic at a cycle store in Sector 7.

According to the police, he told his employer that he had some work to do and he wanted to go. He went to a tree near the light point adjoining Khalsa College and climbed it to pluck mangoes. The area is close to the residential area of Sector 7-A.

The body will be handed to his family after post-mortem. The victim is survived by his wife, who is pregnant.



Mobiles in Burail Jail
Role of wardens under the scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Following the seizure of mobile phones from two convicts inside the Burail Model Jail, UT IG (Prisons) Maneesh Chaudhery has marked a high-level probe into the matter and given directions to the police station concerned to lodge an FIR to bring the guilty to book. The role of jail wardens and security guards is under the scanner.

A cellphone and two SIM cards were found on two convicts in the German girl rape case. The jail authorities seized the mobiles from Manvir Singh, aka Jolly, and Pankaj Punia, who are lodged in the high security barracks, named “12 Chakki”.

Mustaq, a murder convict, who was also lodged along with the two convicts in the “12 Chakki” barracks was also found using a cellphone.

The jail Superintendent today wrote to the SHO of the Sector 34 police station, Inspector Rajesh Shukla, to register an FIR in this regard.

The development has put a question mark over the tall claims of frisking of all jail inmates and visitors. The cellphone, along with the SIMs, was seized on June 11.

The cellphone and two SIMs were provided to the two convicts by an undertrial in a foreign currency case, who was out on bail. The cellphone remained in the possession of Pankaj during daytime and at night Jolly and Mustaq used it, the sources said.

The Chandigarh police have lodged a DDR at the Sector 34 police station and referred the matter to the legal cell to obtain legal opinion as to under which sections offences will be made out against the two convicts.



College director booked for rape
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
A 30-year-old resident of Mohali was allegedly raped on the pretext of providing her a job by the director of a private college at a flat in Sector 51, Chandigarh.

The police said the accused, identified as GS Sidhu, a resident of Phase 3b2, Mohali, offered the victim a job at his college. He also issued an offer letter to the complainant.

The victim, in her complaint to the police, has alleged that the accused called her at the flat where he offered a drink to her.

She fell unconscious after taking the drink. The accused then raped her, she alleges.

The Sector 34 SHO, Rajesh Shukla, said raids were being conducted to nab the accused. “We have registered a case against the accused and initiated investigation,” he added.



Concern over oral contraception
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
In a matter of grave concern for parents and guardians, the practice of oral contraception without medical advice is on the rise in the city. An outcome of superficial knowledge on contraceptives in avoiding pregnancies, the practice is not only resulting in health problems or ectopic (complicated) pregnancies, but also exposing women to the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases, say experts.

The number of teens reporting mainly with irregular menstruation (one common outcome) in the OPD has gone up to 15 in a month while the number used to be five some years ago, said Dr Swapna Misra, consultant gynaecologist at the Fortis hospital, Mohali.

“We have been seeing so many cases where girls open up as soon as the parents leave the OPD room. The increasing practice of oral contraception indicates towards the concern of unprotected sex among the younger generation. They are more concerned about unwanted pregnancies and not even aware of the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases attached to unprotected sexual activity,” Dr Swapna said.

“The knowledge on the emergency oral contraceptives is also very limited among the teens or young unmarried women as these are no 100 per cent guard against unwanted pregnancies in all cases. Rather, we have been seeing numerous complicated cases of ectopic pregnancies among very young women. These are most risky outcomes of emergency oral contraception without medical advice,” said Dr Alka Sehgal, Assistant Professor and Consultant of the Gyanecology Department, at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

The experts said the problem was most common in women aged from 15 to 25.

What parents should do and how

The Consultant Psychologist from Fortis hospital, Dr Simi Waraich, suggest how parents can open a chat with children on the issue. “We cannot stop information flow, so home should be the first place for sex education, so that children get knowledge in a correct manner rather than getting it from other sources.”flow, so home should be the first place for sex education, so that children get knowledge in a correct manner rather than getting it from other sources.”

  • Do not shut the conversation when a child get curious about sex-related issues.
  • As per the age of the child, sex education should be fed in gradually.
  • Remember, once the child gets discouraged from parents’ response, he or she will never discuss it again and find other sources.
  • Do not restrict the knowledge to girls. Both genders need to be educated.
  • Avoiding pregnancy is not the only concern in unprotected sex, protection from STDs is equally important


“Once these medicines are approved by the apex authorities, there is no requirement for prescriptions for buying them, I feel. If the problem is actually to be solved, the advertisements should be banned,” says Dr Sunil Chaudhary, UT Drug Controller.


  • Ectopic pregnancies (where embryo shifts from proper place, making deliveries extremely complicated which, if not handled by experts, can lead to death
  • Exposure to sexually transmitted diseases in both partners
  • Mental trauma and obesity in women, long-term health issues, miscarriages


  • Experts suggest advertisements of pills should be banned
  • These should not be sold without medical prescription
  • Government regulations of sale of these pills should be made stringent
  • Parents should educate children (both genders) ahead of exposure to inadequate knowledge through other channels (internet, peers)
  • Teachers must open up on sex education
  • More counselors should be appointed in educational institutions having expert knowledge on subject


Polythene leaves 6 cows dead in 10 days
Post-mortem examination found each cattle head carrying 30 to 40 kg of polythene
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 15
Consumption of polythene led to the death of six cows during the last ten days at the cowshed on the Mansa Devi Temple complex here. During the post-mortem, doctors found about 30-40 kg of polythene in each carcass.

It may be mentioned that over 15 cows have died in the last two months at the cow shed being run by the Panchkula Gaushala Trust.

The authorities said they were trying their best to check the mortality rate and have have sought opinion of a UK-based doctor.

The doctors at the cowshed said there were about 700 cows at the barn and many of these must be having plastic in their bodies, which can put their lives at risk if they are not operated upon soon.

“The mortality rate has come down considerably as three months ago, cow death was reported every day. The cowshed houses stray cattle that ate from the open and in the process, took in polythene,” said Kulbushan Goel, a member of the Trust.

Dr Naresh Mittal, another member, said, “ We are also coordinating with a Gurgaon-based cowshed where they are planning to operate upon cows to remove polythene from their bodies. If they succeed, we will also go for operating cows as polythene won’t let them survive for long.”

“We first checked the feed that we give them. However, when heaps of polythene were recovered during the post-mortem, the doctors attributed it to death,” said another official.

The post-mortem was conducted by a team of veterinary doctors near Ghaggar river. Later, the cows were buried near the river. Meanwhile, after consulting certain doctors, the authorities have added molasses to the food as a sort of medication against plastic.

Cowshed on Mansa Devi Temple complex

  • On October 5, 2013, Haryana Chief Minsiter Bhupinder Singh Hooda inaugurated the cowshed with a capacity to accommodate 1,200 cows.
  • About 11.98 acres were earmarked for the purpose while six acres have been given to the Panchkula Gaushala Trust to run and manage the cowshed on a trial basis.
  • The stray cattle picked up from Panchkula roads are brought to the cowshed.



Is City Beautiful sitting on a tinderbox?
The recent death of two firemen in the National Institute of Electronic and Information Technology building collapse in Sector 17 following a major fire has exposed the delay in taking the measures outlined in the Chandigarh’s Draft Disaster Management Plan. It has shown the lack of preparedness on the part of the Fire Department and the inefficiency of the UT in streamlining the standard operation procedure to tackle such situations. Chandigarh Tribune does a reality check to ascertain as to how well different government departments are adhering to the fire-safety norms in the city.

Multi-Hazard Draft Disaster Management Plan

Though formed 11-years-ago, the Chandigarh Disaster Management Authority (CDMP), has prepared a draft for the disaster management plan for the city. It outlines measures to be taken in the event of any natural or man-made disaster. The plan has been devised to help the administration focus on the essential and crucial aspects of both the preparedness and response. The risk assessment and vulnerability analysis, identification of disaster-prone areas, response structures, inventory of resources and standard operating procedures. During an emergency, it would simultaneously energise and activate the mechanism for response and mitigation without loss of crucial time.

Recommendations of mock drill carried out on February 13, 2013

  • Need for a compatible communication set up.
  • Efficient coordination mechanism to respond to emergency situations.
  • Fully-equipped emergency operation centre.
  • Hazard and risk vulnerability analysis at Chandigarh.
  • Standarisation of operating procedure of emergency support functionaries.
  • Disaster management plan has to be reviewed and updated every year.

Panel’s observations

  • The committee comprising former Chief Engineer Kishanjit Singh (in pic) as the nodal officer for disaster management on behalf of the Engineering Department had suggested setting up of emergency operation centre and preparation of state and disaster management plan.
  • Old building undergo retro fitting with the help of experts.
  • Forming of hazard safety cell to ensure compliance to building bylaws, safe construction practice and review of building bylaws.

municipal corporation, sector 17

MC fails to put its own house in order

Some offices are functioning from the basement of the Muncipal Corporation, which is a parking lot for two-wheelers
Some offices are functioning from the basement of the Muncipal Corporation, which is a parking lot for two-wheelers. A file photograph

Endless incidents of fire, including last week’s inferno, which led to the collapse of the NIELIT building have failed to wake up the civic body from its deep slumber. As per records, the Municipal Corporation’s Fire and Emergency Services Department have been serving notices on various establishments for violating fire-safety norms.


  • The basement of the MC building meant for two-wheeler parking, accommodates offices where a staff of around 20 people is working.
  • Combustible material has been stored in the basement of the MC building.

The offices in the basement are just a make-shift arrangement. The new floors of the MC building are under construction and soon we will have ample space to accommodate the staff. Offices will also be shifted from the basement.

VP Singh, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation

blatant violations in govt hospitals

It seems the inferno that killed two persons coupled with the building collapse in Sector 17, last week, is not a wake-up call for hospital authorities across the city to prevent such an eventuality on their premises. Blatant violations were found in the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16. In the PGIMER, meanwhile, the building of the Nehru Hospital spoke volumes of an impending danger.

GMCH, Sector 32

  • Cartons of medicines stored in the basement at the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh
    Cartons of medicines stored in the basement at the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh. A Tribune Photograph
    Stocks of pharma items (packed in huge cartons) have been stored in the basement of the hospital. The material is combustible.
  • Against the fire-safety guidelines, more than 25 members (store officers) of the staff have been running their offices from the basement by setting up cabins.
  • In case of a fire or a building collapse, people will find no way to escape as stocks of pharma items have occupied the open spaces.


Basements are meant for storage. We’ve tried our best to keep as much open space for the easy movement of staff sitting there to escape during an eventuality. Also, there are two staircase routes and one ramp route leading to the basement. In fact, we are now planning to open the basement connection between Block B and D of the hospital to ensure wider spaces and area for movement, required in the basement.

Dr Atul Sachdev, Director-Principal, GMCH-32

GMSH , Sector 16

  • The Emergency Ward at GMSH, Sector 16, has only one entry and exit point
    The Emergency Ward at GMSH, Sector 16, has only one entry and exit point. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan
    There is only one entry and exit point in the hospital during emergency situations.
  • The new OPD building has blocked the emergency and upper floors of the hospital building from one side, making it impossible for fire tenders to take a full round of the building.
  • There is a gas plant next to the Gynaecology Ward, which should be away from the building. The newborns are kept in the ward above the gas plant.

PGIMER, Sector 12

  • Power cables installed in Nehru Hospital are more than 50-year-old.
  • The building has developed huge cracks.
  • Upper floors of administrative block have single entry and exit points.
  • Resident doctors’ hostel in the Kairon Block has open sockets exposing people in corridors to a web of wires.


PGI has a separate fire section being headed by a qualified fire officer working under the Security Department. All buildings are regularly inspected by the Fire Officer. Inspection of various buildings is carried out by senior officers who are the nodal officers of various centres. The fire wing also conducts the mock fire drill regularly. At present, the Fire Section has one qualified fire officer and 24 trained security-cum-fire guards, who man six fire control rooms. All security guards are imparted basic fire-safety training regularly. The process to procure a fire tender is at the final stage.

Manju Wadwalkar, official spokesperson, PGIMER

chandigarh police hq, sector 9

Despite standing orders to conduct fire-safety precautions at all police stations as well as the Police Headquarters in Sector 9, it seems the UT Police authorities are not bothered to ensure that sensitive files and records are safe in case of an untoward incident.

A reality check reveals that the fire-fighting systems are not in place. All five-storeyed buildings of the police headquarters only have fire extinguishers and none of the firefighting systems.

  • Congested parking lot in the rear portion of the building.
  • Cramped, congested rooms, piling up of files, lack of free exit spaces for the staff, clearly shows the impending danger at the building.
  • Crucial branches such as the RW branch, law and order branch, SSP’s staff, administrative branch, staff of the DSP CID office as well as CRU unit, have no free exit spaces as files are piled up on the open stands and almirahs pose a major hazard.
  • There is no staircase to escape in case of an emergency nor precautions have been taken.


Some portions of the police headquarters are under construction and this is why some of the rooms are cramped up at present. All fire-safety precautions have been taken. Once the construction of a portion is done, the situation will improve.

A senior police official

offices of chandigarh administration

UT Secretariat Building, Sector 9 and UT Estate Office

Files dumped on the second floor of the UT Estate Office in Sector 17

Files dumped on the second floor of the UT Estate Office in Sector 17; (below) almirahs lined on both sides of the corridor at the office, in Chandigarh. Tribune Photos: Pradeep Tewari
almirahs lined on both sides of the corridor at the office, in Chandigarh

Fire-safety violations can be seen at the UT Secretariat Building in Sector 9, which houses offices of the UT Adviser, Home Secretary, Finance Secretary and other senior officials and the UT Estate Office. While senior UT officials seen ready to initiate action against building owners for fire-safety violations, it has failed to check its own premises.

Violations galore:

  • In the passages of the UT Secretariat building, almirahs and office records have been kept. However, as per fire-safety rules, no record files should be kept in balconies, staircases, lobbies and corridors.
  • Broken chairs and waste material dumped in the balconies of buildings should be kept open.
  • In some passages, employees were found using heaters to prepare tea. This is strictly prohibited under the Fire Safety Rules.
  • Office records in various rooms of the UT Secretariat were stored in such a manner that these were in contact with loose wires and switchboards.
  • Temporary partitions have been made in some rooms to create office space for the staff. This again is in violation of the building bylaws and the approved plans.
  • No mock drill has been conducted in the Estate Office.
  • Water hydrants installed to control fire are seldom inspected.
  • Exit point to the building has been blocked.

How well is the MC’s Fire Department equipped

  • Water Boozers — Total seven, one at each fire station.
  • Hydraulic ladders — Only two. — One at the Sector 17 fire station and the other at the Mani Majra fire station. The ladder reaches a height of up to 45 metre.
  • Entry fire suits — Nine
  • Ambulances — Three, all three not in use.
  • Water Tenders — Eleven
  • Vehicle fitted with advance fire-fighting machine — Two
  • Thermal imaging cameras — Two


We have already issued directions to the head of each department to ensure fire-safety rules in their offices. We will soon hold a review meeting in this regard.

KK Sharma, UT Advisor

gpo, sector 17

There are only stairs and no ramp at the GPO in Sector 17
There are only stairs and no ramp at the GPO in Sector 17. Tribune Photo Pradeep Tewari

The General Post Office Building in Sector 17 only has fire extinguishers.

  • There are no ramps to go to the upper floors of the building. Only lift and stairs are available.
  • The corridors — connecting the stairs on different floors – are too narrow.


We have fire-safety extinguishers for protection. We’ve asked our staff to be vigilant in the wake of a sparking. We’ve also asked them to switch-off all appliances before leaving the office every evening.

Narinder Kumar, senior postmaster, in-charge GPO

panjab university

For the past two years, the Municipal Corporation’s Fire Department has pointed out serious violations in fire-safety norms and has issued several notices but to no avail.

Science Block

  • Old almirahs are lying outside each laboratory.
  • In the laboratories of the chemistry, bio-chemistry and pharmaceutical departments, research scholars experiment with highly-inflammable solvents, including ether, benzene, alcohol, ethanol and methanol. However, only a simple fire extinguisher has been installed.
  • 25 per cent exhaust fans in labs are non-functional.

Arts Block

  • No separate entry and exit points in old lecture theatres.
  • No indication of entry and exit signs in any of the departments in Panjab University.

Administrative Block and hostels

n Old furniture of all the departments has been dumped into the corridors of the basement.


We will train all security personnel on how to handle fire extinguishers and other fire equipment. A proposal has also been mooted to paste notices at prominent places about precautions that one needs to take in case of fire. Instructions have also been issued to all departments about refilling fire extinguishers and getting them inspected before installation.

Jatinder Grover, PU chief security officer



Open House response
Authorities, people should cooperate to handle water crisis
With the mercury soaring water supply in different parts of the city is badly affected. Residents and the MC both should join hands. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers about what needs to be done for the judicious management of water with the given resources

Rainwater harvesting should be mandatory

The group housing societies must have some provisions for recycling water and rain water harvesting. It must be made mandatory for GHS. Though the corporation has banned the watering of lawns but this ban is not implemented practically, particularly in the institutions. The houses implementing rain water harvesting must be rewarded and projected as role models.

Ranju, Chandigarh

Water conservation

Turning off the taps while brushing and shaving, avoiding long showers, washing vegetables and fruits in a vessel instead of running water, using water after defrosting the fridge for irrigating our pots can save a lot. Sprinklers should be used for watering gardens and overflow from the water tanks should be avoided.

Anju Mahajan, Chandigarh

Lack of civic sense

MC alone can’t be held responsible for short supply of water in various parts of the city. City residents don’t bother about the leakages and don’t put in their effort to conserve water and use it judiciously. Gallons of water go down the drain daily due to lack of civic sense among city residents who seldom care to plug leaking taps.

BM Dhawan, Chandigarh

MC responsible for woes

It is on record that 25 per cent of the total precious drinking water is wasted because of leakage of various kinds. Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is responsible for the problems. At least 75 MLD water is being wasted every day due to their negligence. The employees of the corporation get money from hundred eatable shops on weekly and monthly bases.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh

Ensure metered supply

There are chances of injudicious use of water where water is supplied free of cost. For the judicious management of water, there is need to install water meters for such supplies to see use/ wastage of water and take appropriate steps to curb wastage of water.

Suman Arora, Chandigarh

More sewage treatment plants needed

To save drinking water, there is requirement of two sewage treatment plants, one at Sukhna choe and another at Sector 52, so that treated water can be used for parks, washing stations and other purposes. It will also control pollution in Ghagar river and periphery.

Col BS Mathauda (retd), Mohali

Don’t wash vehicles at home

The authorities concerned should check daily that motor vehicles are not washed at homes. For cleaning floors in homes moping is beneficial, not water thrown abundantly. All leaking pipelines should be repaired immediately.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Chandigarh

Cap leaking taps

Water pipes remain leaked for days together, consequently out of 3,915 lakh liters of water, 1,032 lakh liters is wasted daily through these leaked pipes which is about 26 per cent and can cater to the needs of more than 50,000 houses. The municipal corporation is sleeping on this huge quantity of wastage of water.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

MC should plan in advance

The Municipal Corporation should watch the situation in summer days to observe the deficiency and suggest the solution for better supply/pressure of water to the administration for future planning to deliver better amenities to the public. There is also need to give proper attention to the maintenance of water projects in advance before the onset of summer season.

Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh

Ban washing of cars

The authorities should impose fine on people who misuse the water. The authority should not allow anyone to wash the car or vehicles and watering the plants using pipes. The authorities should also check the gardeners or workers of the parks and the offices time to time, so that, they don’t waste water.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

Ensure regular supply

Water is not being supplied as per the schedule. If there is power failure during supply hours, it must be compensated by extending supply time. During evenings pressure of supply is very low. Water should be supplied around noon also at least for one hour. People should use water judiciously to avoid further worsening of situation.

IPS Anand, Manimajra

Admn should devise solutions

There is a dire need on the part of Chandigarh Administration to devise the solutions for judicious distribution of water and ensure that each and every resident is provided with uninterrupted water supply.

Ravinder Nath, Chandigarh

Water management

It is the joint responsibility of both public as well as administration to tackle the issue. We should try to develop a system so that the sewage water after treatment should be used for gardening and other needs.

Neelam, Chandigarh

Rationing of water

There is a need to ration the water, in terms of timings and penalty should be imposed for misuse. Leaking taps, missing float valves leading to over flow of the water tanks and damaged under ground pipes waste lots of water. Citizens have to ensure self accountability. It is also the time to realise the importance of rain water harvesting, where by the reserves come handy during such critical periods.

Colonel RD Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt

Water management policy needed

No doubt, every political party claims to fulfill required demand of domestic water in the election manifesto but all in vain, due to lack of judicious water management system, concrete domestic water management policy should be formed to properly utilise water resources. The rain water storage system should also be developed and mobilised.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Don’t be greedy

Washing of cars and watering of lawns lead to wastage of water. It is important to use water judiciously. Residents should try get all the taps fixed so that there is no wastage of water. Mahatma Gandhi said , “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

Aishwarya, Mohali

Use tertiary water

As the demand is exceeding the supply and the MC is not sticking to its scheduled supply of water, both tertiary and fresh water has to be used, without any wastage. Fresh water should be used for drinking and completely avoided for watering the plants and washing vehicles. Excessive tertiary water should be provided by MC, so that the residents of the city can use it for their daily needs and refrain from using fresh water for basic needs.

Priya Darsh Grover, Mohali

Equal distribution of water

There have been recent reports that which area gets how much litres of water daily and this show that posh areas get lots of water. The MC needs to reduce the amounts of water in those areas and distribute water equally in all parts of city beautiful. They should also penalise those washing vehicles with pipes.

Utkarsh Sharma, Manimajra

Control misuse of water

Misuse of water in government houses of all categories, private houses should be checked throughout the year. Overhead water tanks keep on overflowing without any concern. If the MC officials start working honestly and religiously, the precious water can be saved.

KC Rana, Chandigarh

Judicious use is the key

Instead of washing cars, we can wipe them with wet cloth. The water used for washing vegetables, fruits or pulses can be used for watering plants. Unnecessary leakages from pipes in bathrooms and kitchens should be repaired as early as possible.

Umesh Sharma, Chandigarh

Poor supply

The situation was such that even a single bottle of water could not be filled on the ground floor. The residents suffer sometimes due to repair work at Kajauli, next time due to damage to the pipeline, sometimes faulty power supply is blamed.

Manu Gupta, Chandigarh

Irresponsible citizens equally guilty

A number of unscrupulous residents who don’t replace their defective or missing float valves in over head tanks are responsible for the shortage and they continue to be in deep slumber despite out cry about the water shortage in the media.

SC Luthra, MHC, Manimajra

Wastage of water is national loss

During summer when water scarcity is all round, people should exercise restraint and use water judiciously. Wastage of water is a national loss. This must be understood by one and all.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh


open house question

The recent tragedy that claimed two lives in the building collapse has raised several questions about the efficiency of our disaster management plan. Timely control of the fire could have prevented the building collapse and saved precious lives. What needs to be done to improve the level of preparedness of the disaster management machinery especially the fire department?

Write your suggestions in not more than 100 words with your photograph in JPG format to openhouse@tribunemail.com 



After polls, Kirron inactive on Twitter, Facebook

Vendors encroaching upon the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at the exit point of Chandigarh are cause of various mishaps as people suddenly stop their vehicles which drivers of vehicles behind fail to notice on time resulting in collision
Vendors encroaching upon the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at the exit point of Chandigarh are cause of various mishaps as people suddenly stop their vehicles which drivers of vehicles behind fail to notice on time resulting in collision. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Before the result for election to the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat were announced, Kirron Kher was quite active on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. She was regularly posting updates related to her election campaign. But after being elected as the MP from the city, Kirron Kher has hardly posted any update. She did not even post anything related to the Sector 17 inferno, which claimed lives of two firemen.

Expensive cars in ‘no parking’ zones

Swanky cars, some of them even worth crores, are commonly seen parked in ‘no parking’ zones these days sending an open invitation to the UT traffic police. A Porsche was seen parked in front of a board reading ‘No parking’ in Sector 17 on Friday. Expensive cars parked in ‘no parking’ zones in prominent sectors 8, 9, 17 and 34 is not an unusual sight these days.

Panchkula cops’ encounter with Queen’s language

The Panchkula police seem to be struggling with the English language in their daily written communication. Be it formal FIRs or invites, one finds ‘new words’. While intending to write ‘public place’, the police end up writing ‘public palace’. In the invites sent by them, one finds them grappling with the spelling of the word ‘cordially’. In every invite they send, either they write ‘coriadlly’ or ‘cordiarly’. And when it comes to the word ‘pond’, they write ‘pound’.

Builders find excuse to drive out tenants

A police official was overheard saying building owners will now get an excuse to drive tenants out by declaring the premises unsafe. The official was referring to the demand for surveying buildings to check their strength after a fire incident led to building collapse in Sector 17, Chandigarh. “This is going to be a novel way to get the buildings vacated,” said the official.

For sake of lunch

During a panel discussion on plight of labour and children held recently, the organisers assured the audience that they would be served lunch if they heard their opinions. The aim was to keep them seated till the session concluded. Since the organisers did not mention the time when the session will get over, the audience had to sit through a four-hour discussion with least interest in statistics being projected. This was evident as not a single hand went up when the audience was asked to ask questions from the experts in the end of the discussion. The spectators moved only when they were asked to proceed for lunch.

Show of strength

Protesting registration of an FIR against a scribe, over 50 mediapersons gathered at the UT police headquarters in Sector 9 demanding quashing of the FIR. Senior UT police officials appeared amused at the show of unity as the large number of reporters had to be seated in the conference room to address their grievance. “I am surprised to see the show of strength,” remarked a senior police official.

Contributed by Rajinder Nagarkoti, Ritika Jha Palial, Hina Rohtaki, Amit Sharma, Mehakdeep Grewal and Aneesha Sareen



stray dog menace
Give priority to laws framed for human welfare, says FOSWAC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Issue of stray dog menace was raised during an executive meeting of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Association, Chandigarh (FOSWAC), held at the community centre in Sector 21 here today.

While raising the issue of stray dog menace, FOSWAC chairman Baljinder Singh Bittu stressed on the need for giving priority to human welfare laws instead of animals. “The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act should be suitably amended to make it human friendly,” he stated.

The house also resolved that the notification to make the city plastic-free should be strictly implemented. “There is also a need to take steps to ensure smoke-free city by penalising those smoking at public places,” the FOSWAC chairman said.

Baljinder Singh further emphasised that the Right to Service Act may be extended to Chandigarh on the pattern of Punjab and Delhi.

Meanwhile, the FOSWAC chairman said the residents welfare associations may be empowered on the pattern of Panchayti Raj Institutions to strengthen democracy at grassroots level.

Hitesh Puri, chief spokesman of the association, raised the issue of water scarcity in the city. “During summers, taps go dry early. Besides, low water pressure is a major problem for those on upper floors,” Puri added.



Expect relief from heat, rain this week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
City residents will get respite from the heat as the mercury is expected to fall and there are chances of the city witnessing rain next week.

The weathermen said there were chances of more rain during the next week. From Monday onwards, the weather would become partly cloudy and it would turn generally cloudy around Wednesday with possibility of rain and thunderstorm.

“We are expecting rain around June 18. The temperature is not expected to go beyond 39°C,” said an official from the Met Department here. The maximum temperature today stood at 38°C.


June 16: Partly cloudy sky with 39°C and 27°C as the maximum and minimum temperatures.

June 17: Partly cloudy sky with 38°C and 27°C as the maximum and minimum temperatures.

June 18: Generally cloudy sky with possibility of rain or thunderstorm. The maximum and minimum temperature is expected to be around 37°C and 25°C.



Week-long theatre festival concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The week-long solo theatre festival concluded at the Punjab Kala Bhawan here with the staging of a play, “Upperli Manzil”. The festival was organised by Citi Entertainment Network and Theatre Arts, Chandigarh.

The play, written by Kartar Singh Duggal and directed by Ashish Sharma, had Vicky Baba as the lead protagonist.
An artiste enacts a scene from a play, “Upperli Manzil”, at the Punjab Kala Bhawan in Chandigarh on Sunday
An artiste enacts a scene from a play, “Upperli Manzil”, at the Punjab Kala Bhawan in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

The 45-minute play was about a 50-year-old handicapped man, who yearns for the love of his wife. The play set in the backdrop of a house opens up with the protagonist recounting his happy married life. He tells the audience that his wife supported him through his thick and thin.

He tells the audience that when he was bedridden, even then his wife supported and looked after him, but once he became better and longed for her, the life took an ugly turn.

He narrated the incident that changed the course of his life. He recounted that when a new tenant, an Army personal, came to live in the house above theirs, his wife’s loyalty changed.

He said his wife fell in love with the Army personal. From then on, distances started to emerge in his married life.

In the final scene while sitting on his wheelchair, the protagonist drowned in his loneliness, tells the audience that his wife had gone to see off her beau on the railway station.

The moment he tries to picture his wife waving a final goodbye to her soldier lover, he slips from the wheelchair and the play ends on a tragic note.

The final act won a thunderous applause from the audience.



Elderly observe abuse awareness day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was observed at the Senior Citizens Home in Sector 43, Chandigarh.

The day is observed worldwide to raise awareness on the discrimination, violence and abuse that elderly face. Residents of the Old Age Home, Sector 15, also assembled at the venue and shared their experiences.

Children from Snehalaya staged a cultural programme on the occasion and presented a rose bud each to the old persons.

Rajesh Jogpal, Director, Social Welfare, said only making laws could not improve the condition of the elderly.

The society has to make serious efforts to make the lives of old persons better.

He said the main problems faced by the elderly were isolation and neglect.

The most common forms of abuse that they face were verbal, economic abuse and emotional.

The Chandigarh Administration runs two helplines for elderly, 181 and 9915023456.



Neil Roberts to head child welfare panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Neil Roberts has been chosen as the chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee, Chandigarh, which was reconstituted today as term of the previous committee ended.

The new members are Yudhvir Singh Rana, Usha Gupta, Prabhjit Singh and Anita Singh. The term of the new panel will be three years.



Senior citizens hold meet
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 15
A quarterly executive body meeting of the Senior Citizens’ Council, Haryana, was held at the day care centre in Sector 15 here today.

The meeting was attended by delegates from all the 26 units of various cities in Haryana. Delegates presented the report of the activities conducted at their respective units and placed various demands before the house.



Suicide by Panjab University students
PU fails to act on special panel’s recommendations
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
How many more suicide cases will it take to make the Panjab University (PU) authorities act on the recommendations made by the special committee constituted after the suicide by a BDS student.

Ironic it may sound the proposals mooted five months ago by the committee could not be implemented due to the lackadaisical attitude of the Finance Department.

In a span of two years, five suicide cases were reported from the campus. After every suicide case, the authorities constitute a committee or mark an inquiry to recommend what could be done to avoid such incidents in future.

Figure this out: On December 2, 2013, when the suicide case of a dental college student came to light, an inquiry committee was constituted to recommend what action could be taken to avoid such incidents. The report was prepared by the team and tabled in an emergency meeting convened by PU Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover with all chairpersons and heads of various professional institutes.

Ground reality

On the day Divya committed suicide, PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover by evening decided to appoint counsellors in anticipation of approval by the Syndicate and the Senate.

Dean University Instructions AK Bhandari issued directions to all departments to set counselling cells by the next academic session to deal with stressed and depressed cases.

Dean Student Welfare Navdeep Goyal said in the first week of July, walk-in-interview for counsellors is under consideration. He agreed that the counselling cell constituted in the Psychology Department was not enough, keeping in view the strength of the university.

As per the record of the Psychology Department, on an average as many as six to seven students turn up for counselling every week.

PU psychology chairperson Seema Vinayak said communication was sent to all departments about the functioning of the cell. From the next academic session, a plan would be prepared to popularise it. The department was also thinking to start a helpline number, which would be displayed on the website of the campus.

Panjab University Student Council president Chandan Rana said last year the council was informed about the constitution of this cell whose functioning would be from the student centre and professional counsellor would be appointed for it. But after that, no further communication was sent to us.

Dean Student Welfare Women Nandita said before the commencement of the next academic session, all departments would be communicated about the appointment of the counsellors, which would be displayed at prominent places of the university also. She said though the professional courses had set up such counselling cells, keeping in view the suicide incidents these cells was required in other science and arts departments also.

PU biophysics chairperson Ashwani Koul said they had set up a consultative cell, which had students and faculty as members. This cell takes up the issues related to students but no counselling was done by this cell.

Dr Harvesh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Science and Hospital principal Ashish Jain said the college had set up the grievance cell as per the committee instructions and mentors would be appointed before the next academic session.

UIPS chairperson Bhoop Bhupinder Singh, who was one of the members of the inquiry committee of the BDS student suicide case, said the need of the hour was to introduce counselling cell for all departments of the campus.

Main proposals

  • Appointment of professional counsellors and internal counsellors of psychology for students.
  • Hiring two professional counsellors - one each for girls and boys.
  • Setting up of a grievances redressal and counselling cell in all professional institutes and departments.
  • Appointment of a faculty mentor each for five to 10 first-year students who will frequently interact with them.
  • More focus on repeated reappearances in theory or practical examination cases in all departments.
  • Chairpersons of all departments should submit a status report of the grievance cell cases resolved amicably by them.
  • Instruction issued to all departments to revive their grievance cells.

Another proposal that is lying in cold storage

In 2012, BS Brar, former Dean University Instructions, PU, drafted a four-tier counselling system for the campus. Following are the guidelines:

  • Each department must have a grievance cell comprising students and faculty to resolve petty issues at the departmental level.
  • Central committee of each department for the problems related to students.
  • The Dean University Instructions will be approached in case the issue would not be resolved at the departmental level.


  • On December 2, 2013, a BDS student committed suicide.
  • On December 3, 2013, an inquiry committee was set up to recommend what should be done to avoid such incidents in future.
  • On December 25, 2013, a special committee recommend to hire professional counsellors in the university.
  • On January 15, 2014, at a special meeting, hiring two professional counsellors was approved and referred to the Finance Department for approval.
  • On January 16, 2014, the issue was not taken up in the Syndicate meeting.
  • On February 6, 2014, the Board of Finance approved budget, but this agenda was missing.
  • On February 22, 2014, the Syndicate meeting held, but the issue was not taken up.
  • On March 15, 2014, agenda not tabled in the Syndicate meeting.
  • On March 22, 2014, agenda not tabled in the Senate meeting.
  • On April 26, 2014, issue not taken up in the Syndicate meeting.
  • On May 18, 2014, agenda not tabled in the Syndicate meeting.
  • On May 25, 2014, agenda not tabled in the Senate meeting.
  • On May 27, 2014, the proposal was approved in Board of Finance meeting.
  • On June 11, 2014, the day Divya committed suicide, PU Vice-Chancellor Prof AK Grover decided to appoint counsellors in anticipation of approval by the Syndicate and the Senate.

Past incidents of suicide

  • On June 11, 2014, Divya, MSc biophysics student of Hostel No. 1, reportedly jumped from the sixth floor of Hostel No. 5.
  • On December 2, 2013, a second-year student of the institute, Ankurita Tripathi (22), was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her residence in the ITBP Complex, Sector 32, on Friday. The police have booked a teacher of the Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, PU, for abetment to suicide.
  • On May 24, 2013, Amandeep Singh Dhaliwal, a fourth-year student of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, PU, reportedly committed suicide by tying his legs with an iron chain and electrocuting himself with a heater wire in his hostel room.
  • On May 15, 2013, V Thurhil Sanga (22), a fourth-semester student of MA (economics), PU, a resident of Hostel Number 6, was found dead in his hostel room under mysterious circumstances.

Reality check

Officials at the PU are not aware of any such proposal mooted by the former DUI in the past.

Mismatch ratio of mentors

As per the student ratio, if 10 students were assigned to each mentor, the faculty required is 1,400 for around 14,000 students. However, the number of faculty is around 1,000.



3,950 candidates appear for CET
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
As many as 3,950 candidates from different parts of the country appeared for Combined Entrance Test (CET) of fifteen postgraduate courses at Panjab University today.

About 17,000 candidates are expected to appear for various sought-after job-oriented postgraduate courses at the university in the four-day-long CET(PG) entrance examinations for 38 PG courses, which would conclude on June 16.

PU Controller of Examination Prof Parvinder Singh said 87 per cent students appeared for various entrance examinations for fifteen courses today.

As many as 551 students out of 647 appeared for MA (English), 44 out of 53 appeared for ME Civil Engineering (construction technology & management), 80 out of 108 appeared for MTech (instrumentation), 191 out of 211 appeared for MPEd, 45 out of 57 appeared for MSc (biochemistry) (Hons School), 1,205 out of 1,344 appeared for MSc (mathematics) (Hons School), 281 out of 327 appeared for MA (journalism and mass communication), 51 out of 57 appeared for ME Mechanical Engineering (manufacturing technology), 164 out of 209 appeared for MSc (environment science) (two-year course), 54 out of 82 appeared for MBACIT, 208 out of 226 appeared for MSc (two-year course) Microbial Biotechnology, 81 out of 112 appeared for MSc (industrial chemistry), 126 out of 138 appeared for BPEd, 695 out of 763 appeared for MCom (Hons) and 174 out of 208 appeared for and Master in Public Health.

Entrance examinations for MSc (biophysics) (Hons School), MTech (nanoscience & nanotechnology), MSc (human genomics) (two-year course), ME (computer science & engineering), MSc (Hons School) (geology), MSc (microbiology) (Hons School), MSc (system biology and bioinformatics)/MSc (bioinformatics) (two-year course) and ME (chemical) are scheduled for June 16.



PU Notes
Prof to present research work at global conference

Dr Vishal Sharma, Assistant Professor, Panjab University, would present his research work at the 4th International Colloids Conference at Madrid (Spain) on June 17. The conference, organised annually by Elsevier, is being held from June 15 to June 18 on the theme “Surface Design & Engineering”. Dr Sharma has incorporated the field of nanotechnology and specifically utilised the long afterglow nanophosphor to unhide the latent finger marks on various surfaces.

Speed up semester system in BEd, dept told

The Dean University Instructions (DUI), Panjab University, Prof AK Bhandari, has urged the Department of Education to expedite the process for the implementation of semester system in BEd from academic session 2014-15. In his communiqué to the department, Prof Bhandari said the university had already decided to implement the semester system in all courses. The Panjab University Senate, which is the supreme decision-making body of the university, has also decided that all departments and colleges would implement the semester system from the oncoming academic session and no relaxation would be given for any department. — TNS



Mesmerising performance by students at workshop
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 15
The Gurukul’s summer school project, “The Whoopee Interlude”, culminated with exhilarating fun-studded performances by participants marking the end of the fortnight-long summer workshop at the school premises in Sector 20 here.

The event saw participants showcasing the best of their talent for their parents who were left mesmerised and overwhelmed by the spectacular performances one after the other.

From contemporary, folk and jazz dances, robotics, e-fun, theatre, public speaking, strings and drums, health and fitness to French, art and craft and roller skating, the workshop was tailor-made with the motto – “enjoy while you learn”.

The show began with an introduction about various activities conducted in the camp by the campers.

Principal Harsimran Kaur said: “It has always been our endeavour to make the summer camp an enjoyable learning experience for the campers. We’ll keep providing many more such activities every summer.”



Mohali to distribute free school uniforms worth Rs 2.5 cr
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 15
The Mohali administration will be spending Rs 2.5 crore on uniforms this year, which will be provided free of cost to needy school children.

“These uniforms would be distributed among 51,329 students studying in government schools of the district,” said acting Deputy Commissioner Puneet Goel.

Goel added that among the beneficiaries would be 13,455 students from backward classes and 12,345 students from BPL families.

“The government has already released grant of Rs 1.97 crore while the remaining amount will be released soon,” said Goel.

To ensure transparency, District Education Officer (Elementary) Mewa Singh Sidhu has directed stitching of school uniforms during summer vacations so that these could be distributed among students after vacations.

He said school representatives would ensure right distribution of uniforms.

Besides, the authorities have also planned to start developmental works in various schools of the district and Rs 5.88 crore have been earmarked for the purpose.

The development works in the schools included construction of new classrooms, washrooms, boundary walls and other basic facilities.



Summer camp concludes at P’kula school

Panchkula, June 15
A summer camp organised by SMD Little Champ Smart School concluded today with cultural bonanza.

Children between the age group of 3-12 years participated in the camp. The students took part in various activities, including gift wrapping, handwriting improvement, personality development and art and craft. Different forms of dances were also taught to the students during the camp. Handicraft prepared by the students was also exhibited. — TNS



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