C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


draft master plan-2031
Maintain city’s character: Board
Rejects demand for reintroduction of Apartment Act, extension of lal dora
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Recommending that the overall architectural and low-rise character of the city be maintained, the Board of Inquiry and Hearing, constituted by UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil to look into the objections and suggestions received on the Draft Master Plan — 2031, has turned down the demands for reintroduction of the Apartment Act, re-densification of government houses, extension of the lal dora and increase in the floor area ratio (FAR) in residential, commercial and educational institutes.

The 250-page report of the board will be placed before the Administrator’s Advisory Council (AAC) on June 19 for a discussion.

The report states, “No increase in the FAR shall be allowed. Box-type structures shall not be allowed in the existing commercial establishments in the first-phase sectors (1 to 30). A holistic review of architectural controls shall be undertaken as recommended by the Expert Heritage Committee to address modern-day requirements .The overall architectural character shall be maintained and shall be subject to the approval of the Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee. All references in the master plan regarding re-introduction of the apartment rules should be deleted,” the report states.

Maintaining that Chandigarh is an administrative city, the report states, “We must reiterate that Chandigarh is an administrative city and should be kept like that. Unnecessary increase in the population should be avoided. With the coming up of new towns on the periphery in Punjab and Haryana, the excess population can easily be accommodated in these towns. Moreover, since the land stock in Chandigarh is limited, the board is of the view that the uses related to governance and administration should get priority in the allocation of land.”

On extension of the lal dora, the report states, “The issue of extension of the lal dora is not relevant to the master plan. In villages, some amenities are required for the inhabitants. In the interim period, basic amenities such as water supply and sewerage should be provided to the residents on a purely temporary/provisional basis. It should be emphasised that this does not mean the recognition of ownership of that land by a person using it and shall not be construed as regularisation of the area”.

On the re-introduction of the apartment rules, the report states, “All references in the master plan regarding re-introduction of the apartment rules should be deleted. All references to re-densification of government houses shall be substituted by reutilisation, which shall be done in keeping with the low-rise character of the city and with the approval of the Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee. Redensification is a complicated and complex issue, and will create a lot of problems. It will put pressure on the existing infrastructure, and will also require making adequate provision for physical and social infrastructure — drinking water, drainage system, parking, schools, colleges and hospitals.”

Shift govt offices only if land not available: Board

The report states, “With regard to shifting of directorates of Punjab and Haryana as proposed in the draft master plan, the board is of the considered view that this should be undertaken only if there is a deficit of land in Chandigarh for accommodating more important administrative functions.”

Territorial jurisdiction

The report states, “The master plan can only plan the area falling within the territorial jurisdiction of Chandigarh. The area mentioned in the objection (Tata Camelot project) falls within the jurisdiction of Punjab. The matter being sub judice, the board will not like to comment on judicial proceedings referred to in the representation. It is also suggested that the Chandigarh Administration should request the governments of Punjab and Haryana to review the development controls of the townships proposed in the north of the Capitol Complex to make them commensurate with the edict of Chandigarh.”

Key recommendations
No further conversion should be permitted in the Industrial Area
In Chandigarh, there shall be no over-bridges. Under-passes shall be planned, wherever required to avoid traffic congestion
In future, no government houses shall be constructed without providing facility for domestic helps
The city shall not have multi-storeyed buildings except as provided in the master plan
No additional FAR shall be allowed to educational institutes. However, additional land can be allotted to educational institutes
Heritage status for the Kiran theatre in Sector 22
Promote multi-level, underground parkings in city



Sector 17 fire control room a one-man show!
Watch room duty operator has to respond to five phones
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Only one watch room duty operator (WRDO) responding to five phones at the control room of the Fire and Emergency Services Department in Sector 17 is a routine practice. The recent fire incident in Sector 17, which led to a building collapse, that claimed two lives, has exposed the ill-equipped Fire Department.

Lack of modernised firefighting equipment and shortage of manpower are affecting the functioning of the department.

In the absence of adequate staff, a single man operates the entire control room that is connected to seven sub-control rooms at each fire station. There are three shifts in a day for which only three WRDOs are available.

On receiving a fire call at 101, the WRDO takes down the details of the fire and the address of the fire spot. The WRDO then informs the sub-control room of the fire station concerned following which a fire tender is rushed to the spot. The phones at the control room have a caller ID which helps the staff track the phone numbers from which the calls are received. The Station Fire Officer then takes a decision whether more fire tenders are to be rushed to the spot or not.

Interestingly, once the fire tender leaves for the spot, the control room does not have information about its movement. “The fire tenders don’t have a global positioning system (GPS) as a result of which the control room cannot track their movement,” said a fire official.

There have been instances when firefighters have found it difficult to locate the fire spot. “There is no such mechanism with the Fire Department by way of which the driver of the fire tender can know the shortest way to the spot,” said sources.

The sources said the wireless set installed in a majority of the fire tenders was out of order as a result of which the WRDO had to call on the personal numbers of the firefighters to get information about the fire spot. “We need to ask whether the fire has been controlled or not. For this, we have to call on the mobile phones of the firefighters, which they leave in the vehicles and as a result we are not able to communicate with them,” the sources said. The post of Chief Fire Officer has been lying vacant for 10 years. The charge of the CFO is being handled by the Additional Commissioner, MC, who has no expertise in firefighting.

The hurdles
Single man to operate five phone lines at the control room
Control room cannot track the movement of fire tenders as these are not equipped with the GPS
No mechanism available to know the shortest way to reach a fire spot
Post of CFO lying vacant for 10 years
Demand for recruiting more WRDOs lying pending for three years
Wireless sets installed in fire tenders out of order



Fireman hurt in action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
A fireman was critically injured while he was trying to douse a fire that broke out at Mani Majra late this evening.

According to sources, the Fire Department received a call at 8.05 pm that a fire had broken out at an advertisement office at Mani Majra.

Firefighters left for the spot with one fire tender. While dousing the fire, a fireman got injured when he was trying to break the glass of a room which was full of smoke. The pieces of glass fell on his hand causing serious injuries to his veins.

The injured fireman of the Mani Majra fire station, identified as Prashant Kumar, was taken to the Mani Majra civil dispensary from where he was rushed to the GMSH, Sector 16. Later, he was referred to the PGI.



Cold war between Kirron, Admn hots up
MP writes to Union Home Minister over timing of AAC meeting
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
With the UT Administration turning down newly elected MP Kirron Kher’s request to hold a meeting of the UT Administrator’s Advisory Council (AAC) after June 27, the MP has now shot off a letter to the Union Home Minister.

Turning down Kher’s request, the UT Administration had decided to hold the meeting on June 19. Kirron had already conveyed to the Governor’s office and senior officials of the Administration that she would be in Chandigarh after June 27 for four or five months and the AAC meeting should be held after June 27. She had conveyed that as it was her first AAC meeting and important issues relating to the city were to be discussed, she wanted to attend it.

Sources said Kirron, in her letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, submitted that the UT Administration did not consult her before finalising the date of the AAC meeting. When she came to know that the meeting was earlier fixed for June 16, she requested them to postpone the meeting after June 27. However, now they had fixed the meeting for June 19, she wrote to the Union Home Minister.

The MP said she did not know who took the decision on on what basis they decided to hold the meeting on June 19. She had already conveyed to the UT Administration that she had prior engagements till June 27, which she could not cancel.

No meeting for past 20 months

The last meeting of the AAC was held on November 30, 2012. The council has failed to serve the purpose for which it was formed. Only six meetings have been conducted since it came into being. The AAC, under Administrator Shivraj Patil, was first constituted on April 1, 2010, for a period of two years. After its first term ended in 2012, Patil had directed to extend the term of the council by one year, which ended on March 31, 2013. Thereafter, in November 2013, the UT Administration reconstituted the council. At present, the AAC has 34 members. The previous council had 42 members.

Master plan to be discussed at meeting

The official note circulated among AAC members mentioned that the agenda of the meeting would be discussion on the report of the Board of Inquiry and Hearing constituted for hearing the objections and suggestions on the draft Chandigarh Master Plan 2031. Sources said as the matter relating to the master plan was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the UT wanted to hold the meeting at the earliest.



Karateka won gold the day father died battling flames
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
On June 8, when Vishal Sharma (14) won a gold medal in a national karate meet, fate had something else in store for him as his father died a heroic death while battling flames at a building that caught fire in Sector 17. Vishal, son of IAF fireman Ravinder Sharma, who died in a building collapse when a major fire broke out at the three-storeyed National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology in Sector 17, had never thought that on returning to the city, instead of handing over the gold medal to his father, he would get the news that his father is no more.

Vishal said he would continue to strive to fulfil his father’s dream of becoming a successful person. His father’s last words, “best of luck”, are still fresh in his mind and will serve as an inspiration for him for the rest of his life.

Vishal bagged a gold medal in a national karate meet held at Belgaum (Karnataka) on the evening of June 8 and it was on June 10 at the Chandigarh railway station that his uncle informed him about his father’s death. “I was unaware about my father’s death. It was only after reaching Chandigarh that I was told by my uncle that my hero is no more. I was shattered,” said Vishal.

Vishal is Class IX student at Government Model High School, Sector 39. A karateka for the past four years, he has won several medals and has represented Chandigarh in the national games. His father supported him to ensure that he gave his best in sports as well as studies. “The void created by his death will be difficult to fill. He used to wake me up for practice every day and was always by my side during the exams. He has left a big responsibility on my shoulders,” said Vishal.

Rajpal, Vishal’s uncle, said he would now support his brother’s son.

“Ravinder was a real fighter. Vishal is very young and the setback has shattered him. We didn’t tell him anything on the day of the incident as he was away,” said Rajpal.



PU girl jumps into lake, rescued by cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
A 24-year-old girl, a student of Panjab University (PU), tried to commit suicide at Sukhna Lake this evening. Two passers-by and police personnel of the Sukhna Lake police post rescued her.

The police said the girl, a postgraduate student of the sociology department, was depressed and wanted to take the extreme step.

Sources said the girl, a resident of Mauli Jagran, jumped into the lake at stair number one. Two passers-by, who saw her jumping raised the alarm following which two police personnel jumped into the lake and rescued the girl. She was taken to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16. A police official said the girl was depressed due to some family problem.

The sources said the girl recently appeared for her annual PG exams. The girl left her house at around 1 pm. Her mobile phone was switched off.

The condition of the girl is stable and her family members were informed about the incident.

The police have booked the girl under a charge of bid to commit suicide. The case has been registered at the Sector 3 police station.

Recent suicide incidents in city

On June 11, Divya (21), a second-year MSc (Bio-physics) student committed suicide after jumping from the sixth floor of Girls’ Hostel No. 5 on the PU campus. The victim was depressed
On June 3, Vinod Kumar, Deputy Director (Vocational) in the Punjab Education Department, committed suicide by jumping into Sukhna Lake


residents grapple with power woes
Sleepless nights in Panchkula
Majority of sectors without electricity at night for past three days; hospital worst hit
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 16
Avtar Singh died of excessive alcohol consumption. His body was kept in the mortuary of the General Hospital, Sector 6. When deceased Singh’s family and the police arrived to collect the body on Monday morning, they were in for a rude shock to find it in a decomposed state.

Rampant power cuts in the city had rendered the freezers non-functional, thereby causing the corpse to decompose.

The gravity of the issue can be gauged from the fact that several major surgeries were postponed on Saturday for a few hours as the operation theatre was shut down due to load shedding.

Residents have been forced to sweat through the night as the city is reeling under rampant outages.

On Sunday night, there was no power for five hours in Mansa Devi Complex — sectors 4, 5, 6 and sectors 6, 18, 19, 17, 16, 21, 7, 11, 4 and 10 of Panchkula.

A similar scenario prevailed in other parts of the city, including sectors 20, 8, 9, 12 and 12A, where power cuts were imposed after every one hour for nearly 45 minutes. The situation was no better on Saturday in these sectors. The outages also affected functioning at the General Hospital.

On deceased Avtar Singh’s body getting decomposed, Dr Sunil Gambhir, head of medico-legal cases at the General Hospital, said, “Bacteria is in an active state in such high temperature. There was no electricity at night. The body got decomposed. Following the spell of rainfall last week, humidity has also increased. The postmortem was conducted with great difficulty.”

Pawan Kumar, investigating officer, said, “We were shocked to see the body. It was in an extremely bad state.”

Sources said the mortuary has no back-up in case of a power failure.

Patients in the OPD and wards were also at the receiving end.

“My wife is not well and above that, there was no power at the hospital. Things become worse at night,” said Raj Kumar, a resident of Sector 16.

Executive engineer of the Electricity Department, DS Dhanda, said, “Due to the thunderstorm and rainfall on Friday, there was a breakdown in many power lines. Electricity poles were also uprooted. These are being restored.”

Sources in the department said the demand for power had increased compared to the supply.

The daily consumption of power is over 2 lakh units, while the supply is 40 per cent less than it.

Also, wires are old and worn-out and have not been changed for the last 40 years.

“My daughter, who is eight months pregnant, is suffering from high fever. She was awake from 1.30 am to 5.20 am as there was no power. She fell ill in the morning. The electricity department officials are least bothered,” said Vidhu Dhingra, a resident of Sector 19, Panchkula.

No survey ever on power consumption
The Electricity Department has never conducted any survey on power consumption in the city. The department claimed that for flats, they supplied 16MVA power, which is the capacity of the transformers. However, the officials have never inspected how much power is consumed by a house or a flat, so as to increase the supply.

Hospital’s New building has no proper back-up
As the hospital has shifted to the new building, there is no proper back-up facility. The condition is pathetic in the OPDs as patients and doctors sweat it out. The new building, which was supposed to be air-conditioned, still does not have proper connections of ACs.

Hyperthermia patients suffer
Doctors say hyperthermia patients (having high fever) suffer grave inconvenience during load shedding. Such patients find it difficult to bear the scorching heat. Already, hospitals are full to the brim with patients.

worst-affected areas
On Sunday night, there was no power for five hours in Mansa Devi Complex — sectors 4, 5, 6 and sectors 6, 18, 19, 17, 16, 21, 7, 11, 4 and 10 of Panchkula.
A similar scenario prevailed in other parts of the city, including sectors 20, 8, 9, 12 and 12A, where power cuts were imposed after every one hour for nearly 45 minutes.

Demand & supply
The daily consumption of power is over 2 lakh units, while the supply is 40 per cent less than it.
Several wires are old and worn-out and have not been changed for the last 40 years.



Procuring medicines an arduous struggle for patients at GMCH-32
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
For more than 1,000 indoor patients — either in the Emergency or any other ward — finding a chemist shop is no less than an arduous struggle at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

This is because the shop in Block A has not been functioning for the past one year though the bidding process was completed six months ago.

The existing two chemist shops are not only located at the extreme corners of the hospital, forcing patients to walk a distance, but also remain crowded as the figures of patients visiting the hospital is far more than the number of chemist shops.

While the huge rush of patients (indoor) is concentrated on one side of the nearly 37-acre campus (see box), in Block C and A, the shops located in the Shopping Complex in Block D have compounded the woes of patients.

“After waiting for an hour outside the operation theatre, the attendant hands you a list of surgical items and medicines. Until you bring these, the patient won’t be taken for surgery and will have to wait in the corridor. It took me nearly 40 minutes to fetch medicines for my wife’s surgery last week. First I struggled to reach the chemist shop and then lost my way while coming back,” said Karam Singh (name changed), whose wife is currently admitted in a private ward in Block C.

Block C houses several wards, including private rooms and has 7 floors. All operation theatres are also located inside the block. There are a total of 700 rooms with double strength in the Gynaecology Department. Block A houses Emergency with a bed strength of 54.

Gauge this: A patient, who underwent surgery in the Operation Theatre Complex in Block C, has to shuttle between Block D and C to purchase bandages and medicines required for the surgery. The two blocks are located at two extreme corners of the building. Same is the case with patients visiting the chemist shops from the emergency unit.

A reality check on the time consumed to move from Block C to Block D, including the time taken to walk on ramps — as lifts are usually non-functional –- shows that it takes 8-10 minutes to walk up to the block, while 15-20 minutes to procure medicines due to the heavy rush. A patient walking from the Emergency (Block A) to Block D often gets confused due to the complicated set up of the hospital. The average time taken is 5-7 minutes for those who are familiar with the way.

‘Fresh bids invited’
After the final bidding in January, one of the two chemists who had applied for the same, moved the Supreme Court. However, the case was quashed. Despite several reminders, the allottee never turned up. Now, we have blacklisted both the chemists and invited fresh bids for the shop.
— Dr Atul Sachdev, Director-Principal, GMCH-32



52nd Founder’s Day
Health Minister to visit PGI on July 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, june 16
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan will visit the PGIMER on the institute’s 52nd Founder’s Day on July 7. This will be the minister’s first visit to the PGIMER. Dr Vardhan is also the chairman of the institute body (IB), PGIMER, which is the highest decision-making body.

The hospital has a number of proposals lined-up for approval.

Sources said the PGIMER is contemplating to hold the IB meeting on the same day. However, a final decision is awaited.

Sources said the minister had confirmed about attending the Founder’s Day celebrations, said sources.



3-yr-old dies at GMSH-16; family alleges negligence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
A three-year-old child — hospitalised at the GMSH-16 for a week — died today. The child was reportedly suffering from enteric fever.

The family members of the deceased, based in Mani Majra, alleged that the child had died due to negligence on the part of the hospital authorities. Following this, a postmortem was conducted.

However, the complaint was later withdrawn as the cause of death could not be ascertained.

The viscera has been sent for an examination to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory.

Medical Superintendent Dr Vandana Gupta said, “The child was very sick when admitted to the hospital. The family members were distraught and submitted a complaint of negligence with us. However, they later withdrew the same.”



Disaster management wing ill-equipped
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 16
Two broken boats are kept in the parking area of the Mini-Secretariat in the name of disaster management in Panchkula.

For the past many years, the administration has kept these boats that are covered with dust and are lying in a bad condition in the the parking area itself.

Deputy Commissioner SS Phulia and Research Officer Priyanka Sharma fail to respond despite repeated calls.

Rajbir Dhiman, who manages the disaster management wing in the absence of the DC, and is also the District Revenue Officer said: “We have arranged to get a shed constructed for those boats. I know they are kept in the open but they are in working condition. The shed would be constructed soon.”

A helpline control room is set up just inside the Mini-Secretariat for attending emergency calls.

Dhiman added that though they have the basic disaster management equipment, they had written to the government for other modern equipment.

“The last meeting of the disaster management was postponed due to certain reasons and it would be held soon. We had to discuss about certain issues,” added Dhiman.

The Panchkula Administration has no proper arrangements in its buildings to save people during any natural disasters except a few life-saving jackets.

In a mega mock drill conducted last year, certain recommendations were made regarding the matter but to no avail. However, the officials claimed that they constantly hold mock drills and prepare the staff for any natural calamity.

The Fire Department also lacks fire-fighting equipment, which was also highlighted in these columns recently.



Health centres run out of Vitamin A syrup stock
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Health centres/dispensaries in the city have run out of stock of Vitamin A syrup, making it difficult for parents to ensure regular dosage of their children.

While the dosage is mandatory for the immunity of children of below five years of age and to be given every six months, the supply has not been made to any of the 21 civic dispensaries in the city for the past six months.

Ironically, these Vitamin A syrups are supplied exclusively at government centres, and there is no alternative for parents than to wait for the availability of the same in dispensaries.

“The government advertises a lot for awareness of regular vaccination and vitamin supplementation of children for better health and immunity. But how would we ensure complete dosage when the stock will be so irregular,” said Smriti Roy, a parent of a two-and-a half-year-old boy and a resident of Sector 45, who frequents the dispensary in the area.

Officials at the helm of affairs, however, seem to be ignorant about the issue. Despite repeated attempts, UT Director Health Services Nirlep Kaur did not respond. UT Health Secretary Anil Kumar could also not be contacted.

What is Vitamin A supplementation?
It is available in the form of a syrup and as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, it is to be given to children aged below five every six months. The dosage has proven successful in reducing childhood mortality by 24 per cent and also strengthens the immune system and vision in children



10-member friendship panel returns from China
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
A 10-member Indo-China friendship delegation comprising teachers, students, social activists and journalists, promoted by Yuvsatta, an NGO, and the Friends of China Society, returned back to the city after a week-long visit of Shanghai.

The delegation was hosted in Shanghai by the Chinese People’s Association of Friendship with Foreign Countries and it was led by Aruna Bhardwaj, principal of Gurukul Global School. It stayed on the campus of the University of Shanghai of Science and Technology (USST).

They also attended a workshop on Chinese calligraphy. A kung fu workshop was also organised by the hosts for them in which an expert, whose family has been teaching kung fu for the past 1,000 years, shared the finer points of the game.

The delegation members also visited an environment centre where Hu Kaisen, co-founder and executive member of FUTUIAN organisation, an NGO, highlighted their project of door-to-door collection of garbage. Its sorting and recycling processes were also discussed.



City students’ documentary nominated for Bengaluru film festival
Tribune News Service

Students of GGDSD College, Sector 32, interact with band players in Chandigarh.
Students of GGDSD College, Sector 32, interact with band players in Chandigarh. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, June 16
‘Ankahi Ansuni’, a documentary produced by students of add-on video reporting course from the department of journalism and mass communication of GGDSD College, Chandigarh, is nominated in the third Bangalore Shorts Film Festival to be held at Bengaluru on June 21, 2014.

The festival received 256 short films and documentaries from 40 countries. Out of these, 31 short films are nominated from the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Singapore, Mexico, Argentina, Netherlands, Estonia, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, Sweden, Malaysia and Kazakhstan. Nine documentaries are nominated for screening of which one documentary each is from the USA, Malaysia and Italy, respectively, and six from India. ‘Ankahi Ansuni’ produced by the students of GGDSD College is one of the nine nominated documentaries.

‘Ankahi Ansuni’ is a documentary on the dismal lives of wedding band players. They play bands in marriages and religious functions in hot and humid weather wearing heavy dresses and carrying heavy instruments. They are not given proper food and even not allowed to enter in marriage palaces.

They often suffer from serious mouth, throat, ear and lung diseases. Owing to poverty and hunger, some of them start taking drugs and indulge in smoking and drinking which further deteriorate their condition. Though they play melodious tunes in marriage functions, their lives remain unsung.

The documentary is scripted, shot and edited by these students under the guidance of Rajnish Sharma, assistant professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Ashima Dhir, associate professor and coordinator, functional English.

Joy Joshi, student director of the documentary, said the documentary had been shot in Chandigarh, Mohali, Dera Bassi and Zirakpur and it took them three months to complete it.

Principal of the college Bhushan Kumar Sharma lauded the efforts of the students and faculty and assured all help and support for such ventures.



Advancement in knee replacement surgery

Chandigarh, June 16
Dr Gagandeep Singh Sachdeva, CEO, Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Charitable Eye Hospital Trust, which runs a multi-specialist charitable hospital at Sohana, showcased extraordinary results of patient specific implant (PSI) knee replacement surgery at the SGHS Hospital. After the surgery, the patient can not only perform their daily activities but also run and play.

This surgery is less time-consuming and is done within 15-20 minutes. It is also highly accurate. Latest computer navigated technique surgeries results in less pain and quicker recovery. This new technique dramatically changes the quality of life of the patient who was earlier handicapped.

“The knee joints replacement surgery at Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Charitable Hospital is affordable and is cheaper as compared to any private hospital,” said Adarsh Suri, chief administrator, SGHS Hospital. — TNS



Farmers can get more yield at lower cost by testing soil: Expert
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 16
Traditional crops that involve more cost and provide lower yields are not beneficial to farmers. As such, to make farmers aware of the optimum use of fertilisers, 10 villages have been selected for using manure on the basis of soil properties evaluated after the testing of soils.

Explaining this, Chief Agriculture Officer Parminder Singh said today that by testing the soil, farmers could gain more yield at a lower cost.

Dr Parminder Singh said during the current fiscal year, 1,200 soil samples had been collected and tested free of cost by the Agriculture Department.

He said 9,000 hectares of maize cultivation had been targeted and for this 1,800 quintals of hybrid seed at 50 per cent subsidised rates was being provided to farmers.

The Chief Agriculture Officer said farmers were being made aware of getting higher yields at a low cost. For this, awareness was being created at the district, block and village levels by organising camps.

He said the department had procured three deep sub-soilers so that farmers could use these for cultivation. Direct sowing of the rice crop would be done on 1,500 acres during this season. Last year, direct sowing was done on 1,000 acres.



Man ends 11-day fast in Balongi
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 16
As many as 10 Congress MLAs from Punjab reached Balongi village this evening and persuaded a resident of the village, who had been on a fast, to end his protest. They gave an assurance that the party would take up the demands of village residents.

The Congress MLAs urged BC Premi, who had been on a fast for the past over 11 days, to end his fast. He was offered juice by them and was later taken to the Civil Hospital for medical examination.

The legislators gave an assurance to the residents that their demands would be taken up with the government by the state Congress committee.

Sunil Jakhar, Jagmohan Singh Kang, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Charanjit Singh Channi, Tript Inder Bajwa were among the Congress MLAs who visited the village.

Shopkeepers of the village had started an indefinite fast on May 29 demanding proper development works, including construction of internal roads, in Balongi village.

After about a week of the protest, Premi sat on fast.

Mohali MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, along with some Congress activists, had extended support to the protest of the residents by sitting in dharna in village on June 13.

The Congress also threatened to block the vehicular traffic on the Mohali-Kharar highway on June 18 in this regard.



Encroachments removed from Sec 78 in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 16
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) cleared encroachments from Sector 78 here today.

Officials of the enforcement wing, accompanied by the police, removed the encroachments from the area. While the drive was on, villagers gathered and protested against the action. The situation became tense and was brought under control by senior officials of GMADA.

Some protesters said GMADA was violating stay orders by a court in respect of the land.

GMADA officials asked the protesters to show the copy of the stay orders. Later, GMADA excluded that part of the area on which the stay orders had been issued and continued to get the rest of the area vacated.

The drive will reportedly continue till June 26. After getting the possession of the land from the encroachers, GMADA plans to develop the area and allot the plots in Sectors 76 to 80.



Firemen to donate one-day salary for inferno heroes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Even as the UT Administration is yet to announce the compensation for the two fire-fighters, who died in a building collapse in Sector 17 last week, the entire staff of the Fire and Emergency Services Department has decided to donate their one-day salary to both the families.

Amandeep Singh and Ravinder had died on June 8 when the building of the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Sector 17, collapsed following a fire incident.

Both the fire-fighters were buried alive under the debris.

Sources said the collected amount would be equally distributed between deceased Amandeep Singh of the Fire and Emergency Department and deceased Ravinder of the Indian Air Force.

Meanwhile, employees of the Fire Department will attend deceased Amandeep Singh’s bhog ceremony at Malout on June 17.

noble cause
Amandeep Singh and Ravinder had died on June 8 when the building of the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Sector 17, collapsed following a fire incident. The collected amount will be equally distributed between the families of Amandeep, Fire and Emergency Department, and Ravinder of the Indian Air Force.



Flight stranded as man alights without informing crew
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Confusion prevailed at Chandigarh Airport after a transit passenger boarded-off the flight for a wrong destination, here this evening. The SpiceJet flight —coming from Srinagar and headed to Bangalore via Chandigarh and New Delhi — was held up in Chandigarh for over one hour when a man boarded-off the flight without informing the authorities.

The matter came to light when the flight attendants noticed an unattended bag inside the flight.

On finding the owner of the bag missing, the flight attendants alarmed the Chandigarh Airport Authority and a search operation, led by security personnel, was initiated.

During the search operation –- carried out for nearly one hour — the security personnel found the man and detained him.

He was identified as Raj Kumar, a constable in Delhi Police.

Kumar was released from custody after interrogation. He had boarded the plane in Srinagar and boarded-off in Chandigarh.

The flight, SpiceJet 509, underwent a check after the attendants reported the incident.

The incident led to scare among passengers aboard the flight.

“The person concerned was detained and after interrogation, he was let off. The flight was delayed for over an hour,” said the airport manager.

what went wrong
The SpiceJet flight —coming from Srinagar and headed to Bangalore via Chandigarh and New Delhi — was held up in Chandigarh for over one hour when a man alights the flight without informing the authorities.
The matter came to light when the flight attendants noticed an unattended bag inside the flight.



Woman’s body found hanging from rod
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 16
A 62-year-old woman was found hanging from the towel rod in the bathroom of her residence in Sector 25 on Sunday evening. The deceased was identified as Surjo Devi. The victim was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where she was declared brought dead.

The hospital authorities informed the police about the incident.

The victim is survived by her children, one of whom is a mining officer.

Inspector Arvind Kumar, station house officer of the Chandimandir police station, said, “We were informed by the hospital authorities about the death. During investigations, the family told us that Devi was in depression and was already undergoing medical treatment.”

On Sunday evening, Devi’s son called out for her but she did not respond.

“He checked the bathroom and found Devi hanging from the towel rod with a dupatta,” said the police.

Dr Sunil Gambhir, forensic expert, who conducted the postmortem, said, “It is a rare case of hanging from the towel rod. The postmortem indicated hanging.”

Following this, the body was handed over to the family members.

fatal end
The victim's family told the police that she was suffering from depression and was already undergoing medical treatment.



Drain mishap fails to wake up authorities
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 16
The authorities seem to have learnt no lessons even after a biker was seriously injured when he fell into an uncovered under-construction drain at Sector 19, here. Even today, the drain is uncovered and can cause harm to residents.

On Friday evening, Subash, a resident of Maheshpur was going on his bike to Sector 19 when due to rain, he slipped in the drain. As there were iron rods in the drain, the same pierced various parts of his body. His condition continues to be critical at PGI, Chandigarh.

Local councillor Ravi Kant Swami said the contractor should have been booked for such negligence.

“Some time back as a councillor, I told the contractor to cover the drain as anyone could fall and a mishap could take place. However, at that time he gave me in writing that if any mishap takes place, he would take responbility for that. Now why isn’t he booked? I have his letter in which he stated about the responsibility,” said Swami.

Meanwhile, the local police had not booked anyone as Subash was unfit for statement.

“Why should an innocent person suffer due to the irresponsibility of others. The authorities are sleeping on the issue,” added Swami.

By evening today, a board was put regarding caution but the drain continued to remain uncovered even after the work was over for the day.

Vishika, a local resident said, “My 11 year old son comes home walking after his school bus drops him. Now after this incident, I go pick him up myself now as I am afraid that he may not fall.”

Hundreds of commuters pass through this road. It is very risky for the people,” said Vinod, a resident of Sector 19.



e-panchayats to bring transparency: Maluka
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 16
The Punjab Government has drawn up a comprehensive programme for transparency in the funding of panchayats and to ensure the audit of every penny spent by panchayats during the past three years.

Disclosing this here today, Sikander Singh Maluka, Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Punjab, said the department had already given the final touches to proposals relating to e-panchayats to bring about total transparency in the working of panchayats. The state government had also ordered the digital mapping of villages to save panchayat land from encroachment.

He said funds would also be provided to construct toilets for the poor. Besides, auction of shamlat land would be done in a transparent and proper manner. The government will provide one tube well connection for 5 to 10 acres of shamlat land.

He said the carcass place (hadda rodi) would be at the block level, instead of the village level. This scheme will be launched in Rampura Phull. For the convenience of the people, the minister instructed the district officers concerned to be present on Mondays and Wednesdays at their offices.



Mohali MC to redress grievances on Tuesdays
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 16
Minister of Local Government, Punjab, has directed the Municipal Corporation to look into the public grievances on weekly basis.

Commissioner of the corporation, Uma Shankar Gupta, said public grievances will be addressed at the Sector 68 office of the civic body from 10 am to 1 pm on Tuesdays. The problems will be solved in a time bound manner.



PU labs lack fire safety measures
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
It seems that the Panjab University authorities are least bothered about the safety of hundreds of research scholars and students who are working with inflammable solvents in science laboratories. These laboratories are not well-equipped with fire safety measures to handle any fire incident.

During a visit to laboratories of the chemistry, biochemistry and pharmaceutical departments, it was found that research scholars perform experiments with highly inflammable solvents, including eythl ether, benzene, acetone, alcohol, ethanol and methanol. But for the safety of students, only a fire extinguisher has been installed outside these labs. This is not the case with these three laboratories. Laboratories of other departments are also sailing in the same boat.

Fire norms clearly state that in each lab where inflammable chemicals are used, a sprinkler system and smoke detector should be installed. A fire extinguisher should be installed inside the lab. There should be dry chemical powder extinguisher and the Fire Department should have data about the quantity of the inflammable chemical used in each lab and what arrangements have been made for its storage.

Prof Bhupinder Singh Bhoop, University Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, accepted that a majority of the students who turn up at the university for various courses are not trained enough to handle chemicals.

He suggested that the Education Department should include “how to handle chemicals in labs” in the curriculum of +2 medical students. He said in fact the university should also introduce a two-day training workshop for freshers in this regard for their safety.

It was also found that in a majority of the corridors, old almirahs were lying outside every laboratory. Around 25 per cent of the exhaust fans installed in the labs were non-functional.

One of the laboratory attendants on condition of anonymity said as a precautionary measure, they educate and issue instructions to each student working in labs as how to handle chemicals in case of a fire. The lab attendant said as there was an acute shortage of space in science departments due to expansion of courses, they were forced to store almirahs in the corridors.

PU Dean Science Rupinder Tewari said he would take up the issue with the authorities. He would ask all departments to give their views to suggest how to make the laboratories safe and what equipment should be installed in these labs.

He said earlier the Fire Department used to ask them to install fire extinguishers in every department under which the science departments were also covered. Later, no further instructions were issued to the university for the same.

What norms say
Fire norms clearly state that in each lab where inflammable chemicals are used, a sprinkler system and smoke detector should be installed. A fire extinguisher should be installed inside the laboratory. There should be dry chemical powder extinguisher and the Fire Department should have data about the quantity of the inflammable chemical used in each lab and what arrangements have been made for its storage.



Below-average performance by students in govt schools
Education Department to act tough against teachers
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
After the national achievement survey revealed below-average performance by students in government schools in the UT, the Education Department has decided to take some stern actions against educationists.

During a meeting headed under the chairmanship of Education Secretary Sarvjit Singh, it was decided that the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) would put in place its own system to evaluate teachers and students. Those educationists who continue to give poor results would be dealt with firmly, might it entail repatriation of those on deputation or disciplinary proceedings against those on the roll of the UT Administration.

It was also decided that the teachers of government schools needed to brush up their language skills. A workshop that would bring about quantum improvement in the methodology of teaching needed to be conducted.

It was also decided that the teachers needed to focus on phonetics, starting from origin of alphabets, in order to be able to instill the same in children’s mind. Surinder Singh Dahiya, director of the SCERT, was asked to identify good books on teaching of English and Hindi languages.

The need to reintroduce the old method of reciting mathematics tables in schools in order to teach the students the basics of mathematics was also taken up during the meeting.

The authorities of the Education Department also decided that since the national curriculum had switched over to activity-based learning, but the schools were still continuing with the old methodology, hence the teachers would be given training in teaching skills as per the new methods of activity-based learning by engaging eminent faculty.



NSUI submits memo to PU Registrar
Demands fair investigation into leak of LLB entrance exam question paper
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
The National Students Union of India (NSUI) today submitted a memorandum to Panjab University Registrar AK Bhandari to probe why the Controller of Examination does not take any action on the complaint of the leak of LLB entrance exam question paper.

They alleged that a student made a complaint to the Controller of Examination regarding the issue, but no action has been taken so far.

Earlier, the NSUI had submitted the memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor on Monday regarding the leak of LLB entrance exam question paper. They demanded fair investigation into the incident where several sources had reported that the exam paper was leaked.

The Vice-Chancellor had constituted a committee comprising four members, which includes the DUI, DSW, GK Chatrath and Satpal Jain. The committee has asked the NSUI to provide the proof to substantiate the allegations.

The NSUI has also demand that the results should not be declared before any final call by the committee.



Varsity inks pact with Iraq

Chandigarh, June 16
Desh Bhagat University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iraq. The MoU was signed by a delegation from Iraq, which included joint secretary for education, PMO, Iraq Hussain Taher Naser, chief adviser Dr Zain Karim, principal adviser Dr Ali Hussain Ali, chief technical adviser Fadhil Sabah Abbas, along with principal adviser Dr Ahmed Taufiq Ahmed.

While welcoming the Iraq delegation, Chancellor of the university Dr Zora Singh said the aim of this educational exchange programme was to provide opportunities to students and faculty of both countries to interact with each other on important national and international economic, social, cultural and educational issues. The joint secretary for education, PMO Iraq, Hussain Taher Naser, said the MoU would strengthen relations between both countries. Students of both sides would get a chance to learn in international academia. A cultural programme was organised. — TNS



Class XI admission forms
Students made to wait for hours, turned back
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Over 100 students, who stood under the soaring mercury in long queues for hours to submit their forms for admission to Class XI in government schools, were turned back by the authorities from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37B, here today.

The students alleged that they were not only made to wait for hours under the sun, but also were not allowed to drink water from the school compound.

Muskan, an applicant for Class XI, said: “I kept standing in the line for two hours. Before I could make it to the counter, the authorities told us to come tomorrow as the time was over.”

The official timing for submitting and buying prospectuses is from 9 AM to 1 PM.

Many parents and students alleged that backdoor entries were entertained while they were made to wait in long queues.

Gurpal Singh, father of an applicant, said: “Even though I stood for two hours in the queue to submit my daughter’s form, it was not taken. There were many people who didn’t even stand in the line, but the authorities took their forms.”

The applicants said there were no arrangements for shade for them, but the authorities who were collecting forms had fans for their comfort.

Dimple Gupta, another applicant, said: “When we asked for water, the school authorities didn’t allow us to drink water from the campus. We had to purchase water from the market.”

Meanwhile, the authorities claimed that since the school was centrally located, a heavy rush was witnessed during the sale and submission of prospectuses.

Officials claimed that to accommodate all students they had made four counters at the school, but due to the heavy rush a few students had to be turned back.

As many as 482 forms were submitted and 92 prospectuses were sold at the school today. The total number of forms submitted in the school was around 2,500 and the total number of prospectuses sold was around 4,025.



French diploma course
PU students complain of wrong question paper
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Students of French diploma course at Panjab University complained that wrong question paper was given to them today. The students said the question paper of grammar, which was Paper B, appeared in translation and composition of Paper A today.

They alleged that around 50 per cent of the translation and composition paper had the questions of the grammar, which is Paper B, that was scheduled for June 18.

The students alleged that they had told the supervisor about the issue, but no action was taken to resolve it.

Due to confusion, the students started attempting the paper after half time but no extra time was given to them to finish it.

Panjab University Controller of Examination Parvinder Singh said he had not received any such compliant from the students so far.



PU and college notes
Gunjan tops in BSc exam

Chandigarh: Panjab University has declared the results of BSc (Hons) (biotechnology) Part-III. The results would be available on the PU website, http://results.puchd.ac.in/. PU Controller of Examinations Prof Parvinder Singh said 95 per cent students had passed the BSc (Hons) (biotechnology) Part-III. As many as 180 students had appeared for the examination. Of them, 171 have cleared the exam. Gunjan Sharma of Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Chandigarh, has topped with 2,523/3,000 marks. Bhavya Malhotra and Monica Saini of Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, Ludhiana, and DAV Post Graduate College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, respectively, have secured the second and third positions with 2,520 and 2,450 marks.

MoU signed

Singapore-based Foreign Exchange (FX) trading giant “Six Capital” has joined hands with Chandigarh-based Aryans Group of Colleges on Monday by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). According to the MoU, “Six Capital” will establish a FX Utility Trading Centre on the Aryans campus to provide free foreign exchange (FX) training to Aryans students. After the training, the students with outstanding performance might be offered an internship with “Six Capital” in Singapore.

766 appear for CET

As many as 766 candidates from different parts of the country appeared for Combined Entrance Test (CET) of eight postgraduate courses at Panjab University on Monday. As many as 13,427 candidates appeared for 38 job-oriented postgraduate courses at the university in the four-day CET(PG) entrance examinations, which concluded on Monday. PU Controller of Examination Prof Parvinder Singh said 80.63 per cent students appeared for various entrance examinations for fifteen courses on Monday. As many as 100 out of 127 appeared for MTech (nanoscience and nanotechnology), 128 out of 154 appeared for MSc (human genomics) (two-year course), 272 out of 336 appeared for ME (computer science & engineering/ME (information and technology), 29 out of 39 appeared for MSc (Hons School) (geology), 127 out of 151 appeared for MSc (microbiology) (Hons School), 3 out of 9 appeared for MSc (biophysics) (Hons School), 65 out of 83 appeared for MSc (system biology and bioinformatics) MSc (bioinformatics) (two-year course) and 42 out of 51 appeared for ME (chemical).

Children’s park at south campus

The south campus of Panjab University got a children’s park on Monday. PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover inaugurated Fun and Frolic World here today. The park has been constructed by the horticulture division of the PU in 2.5 acres. Fun and Frolic World is the first children park in the Sector 25 residential area of the PU. Swings and huts have been fabricated in the park. Deputy executive engineer (Horticulture) Anil Thakur said the huts and swings had been fabricated by the department employees in three months. Prof Grover appreciated the efforts put in by the department and local residents. He also interacted with the residents. — TNS



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