C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rly fare hike shocks residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The recent increase in the railway fare by 14.2 per cent across the board has come as a shock for residents of the city. A majority of them recalled the popular slogan of the BJP ‘Ab achhe din aane wale hain’ (good days are here) and said the decision to increase the fare was contrary to the claims made by the Modi government, as it would add to their financial burden, especially to that of the weaker sections.

The Railways Ambala Division Senior Commercial Manager Gulshan said they had not received any circular so far but had been intimated verbally by the higher authorities about the hike. He said that after getting the revised rates the on-line chart would be updated.

As per the revised rates, those travelling by AC chair car in the morning Shatabdi would have to pay Rs 620, now. Earlier, they were paying Rs 540.For the executives class commuters will have to pay Rs 1,220 against Rs 1,070.

Similarly for the afternoon Shatabdi, the AC chair car fare will be Rs 670 which was earlier Rs 580 and for the executive class Rs 1,250 against Rs 1,110.

For the evening Shatabdi, the AC chair car ticket will cost Rs 715 for which passengers were earlier paying Rs 625. For the executive class Rs 1,320 will be charged against Rs 1,155.Records revealed that last year in October minimal rates were revised by the Railway Ministry. As per the revised fare chart, the minimum increase announced by the Railway Minister is of Rs 5 against Rs 2. However, no change was made in the reservation fee and platform ticket which is Rs 20 and Rs 5 respectively.

The minimum increase in the mail express and passenger train was of Rs 27, for the first class — Rs 45, for sleeper class — Rs 37, for the AC chair car — Rs 192; for Jan Shatabdi — Rs 36, for AC 3 tier — Rs 402 and for the second class — Rs 79.

Congress condemns BJP govt

The local unit of the Congress on Friday flayed the BJP government at the Centre for 14.2 per cent hike in the passenger railway fare.

Criticising the development, party spokesperson Pardeep Chhabra said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made false promises of “achhe din” just to fetch votes but now when the BJP has been voted to power, the common man has started suffering.

He said like the ‘India Shining’, now ‘achhe din’ campaign fell flat in just about a month after the BJP government came to power, adding that this was just a trailer and a lot more was yet to come.

Shatabdi delayed

Hundreds of passengers who were commuting in the evening Shatabdi plying from Chandigarh to New Delhi had a harrowing time as the train halted at Lalru for over an hour. Sources said the train halted due to engine failure. As per the scheduled time, train No. 12012 plying from Chandigarh at 6:20pm reaches New Delhi at 9:55 pm. However, the train reached there at around 11pm due to the fault. Passengers complained that no information was given to them about the technical fault.



Search at Alchemist Hospital in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 20
The Income Tax Department today conducted search at various offices of the Alchemist Group and their partners in Panchkula today. In Panchkula, Alchemist Hospital in Sector 21 was the target of the local Income Tax Department apart from the houses of other partners. The search was on till the filing of the report. The Additional Commissioner of the Income Tax Department, Sector 2, Panchkula, said, “The search being conducted by the investigation wing of our department.”

It is learnt that the operation by the department was across the nation.

In the morning, at around 9 am, a team constituting six officials of the IT Department arrived at the hospital. No inconvenience to the patients was reported as the administration wing of the Alchemist is in the basement.

“We got certain leads from our sources regarding misappropriation of funds and discrepancies in the documents. We are checking on that and it might continue tomorrow as well,” said a senior income tax officer.

When contacted the Alchemist authorities said that they did not know what was going on. “We still don’t know why a search is being conducted. Everything is right on our side. We are cooperating with them.” They said the patients were not being harassed. “The Income Tax Department itself made sure that patients are not harassed. They remained confined to the accounts department only,” said the official. Mediapersons were not allowed inside the hospital until the search was on.



Tepid response to solar panels
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Even as Chandigarh is currently being viewed a model city for the implementation of the solar power generation project in the country, it has failed to attract the interest of most of its residents.

While the UT Administration, in past two years, has managed to generate 10 lakh units of power through photovoltaic solar panels installed on 27 buildings so far, only 55 residents have applied for the installation of solar panels on the rooftop of their residences. This, despite the Administration offering a subsidy of 30 per cent on solar panels (which otherwise are priced in thousands) to first 100 applicants.

More importantly, under this project, residents can use their existing inverter as solar inverter.

The Administration had earlier specified January 31, this year, as the last date for application for installing panels on residences. However, despite extension of the last date, the estimated limit of 100 panels could not be completed in six months.

A majority of these applicants are from the northern sectors. “We are going to float the tenders for installation of panels soon on these 55 residential buildings. We are awaiting responses from more residents,” said Kumar, Director, Science and Technology, Union Territory of Chandigarh and also the director of CREST (Chandigarh Renewal Energy and Science and Technology Promotion Society).

Reasons for poor response

Officials said that high investment cost for solar panels was one of the factors responsible for the residents not opting for it. The lack of belief in capability of solar panels is also a major cause. They said that once the system would become operational in households, others would follow.

How the system will work

Residents will only need solar panels, a charge controller (to be provided by the UT Administration), batteries and an inverter. The batteries will be charged using the solar panels, inverter and controller. With this power, residents can run their appliances.

The UT Administration is planning to increase the capacity of solar panels to 5 MW by the end of the year. Out of 120 government schools, rooftops of 35 will be covered with solar panels.

How to apply

Residents can apply to CREST at Paryavaran Bhawan, Sector 19.

National meet held on solar cities

National meet on solar cities was jointly organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India and CREST. Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New And Renewable Energy, said the national meet was organised to learn from the experience of one another and it was planned in Chandigarh because Chandigarh had been able to emerge as the leading solar city in the country. Representatives from sixty cities participated.



Encroachers back within minutes
94 challans issued to violators in various markets during anti-encroachment drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Enforcement Wing of the Municipal Corporation today issued 94 challans for encroachments in city markets. However, a few minutes after the enforcement wing conducted the anti-encroachment drive in Sector 41, the shopkeepers, who had removed their goods displayed outside the establishments, again encroached upon the entire area.

On the very first day of getting the charge of the enforcement branch, Joint Commissioner Sarita Malik held a meeting with the Enforcement Wing. The Joint Commissioner initiated a drive against encroachers in different parts of the city and issued challans, apart from confiscating different items displayed and put up on the government land, today.

A team of the Enforcement Wing, led by superintendent Kashmira Singh and inspector (enforcement) Sunil Dutt, conducted an anti-encroachment drive in the Krishna market, Sector 41, and issued 35 challans to violators. Readymade garments, grocery products, gas cylinders, tables and chairs were confiscated during the drive.

The team then reached the Sector 35 market and confiscated the goods displayed outside the shops. A total of 25 challans were issued to the violators in Sector 35.

Another anti-encroachment drive was held at the Sector 26 grain market and 34 challans were issued. “Thirty rehris were confiscated by the enforcement wing,” officials said.

Sources said during the meeting, the Joint Commissioner had directed the enforcement staff to ensure encroachment-free corridors in the markets so that the visitors don’t face any problem while walking down the markets.

The sources said the anti-encroachment drive would continue in the coming days.

Lack of proper mechanism

In the absence of any mechanism to check the encroachments round the clock, the shopkeepers encroach upon the area once the MC team leaves the market. “When the MC team reaches the market to conduct the drive, shopkeepers spread the message and the encroachments are removed. As soon the team leaves, encroachment are back in the market,” said the sources.



Dept’s efficiency put to test
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

A demonstration of mock drill under way at the Mini Secretariat in Panchkula on Friday. Tribune Photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, June 20
Several lacunas surfaced in the mock drill conducted by the home guards at the mini secretariat complex, Sector 1, here today. An alert of a major fire in mini secretariat was sounded to see the quick conduct of the home guards. Director General (DG), Home Guards Department, Laik Ram Dabas had come to supervise the same. The mock drill lasted for 19 minutes.

Initially, the fire tenders, ambulances, ropes and other equipment were already ready due to which the exact quick reaction time could not be checked. The entire Administration was aware of the mock drill.

When a wall collapsed in Sector 11 on Wednesday, none of the teams were seen on the spot, they rather reached eight hours after the incident. Even in the major fire that broke in a water treatment unit yesterday, the Fire Department was ill-equipped. They were not aware of eliminating the impact of chlorine generation.

After the alert of the fire was sounded on the first and the second floor, the home guards’ priority was to cordon off the area and evacuate the people. But the same wasn’t done. Only two people were brought from above the floor using parallel rope arrangement and stairs.

While getting a person using the rope arrangement, the team took 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, Laik Ram Dabas said as the home guards department is a traditional department they would not only get equipments with latest technologies but also train the staff further. He said special training programmes would be organised for the home guards in the near future. Also they would rope in more staff for the same.

On Wednesday, a wall of a showroom collapsed killing three people, including a four-year-old girl in Sector 11. Yesterday 16 people were hospitalised when a fire broke out in Industrial Area, Phase II, leading to chlorine generation. The quick reaction team was not even aware of the two incidents.



Poor water supply adds to woes of city residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
While the city is already reeling from the problem of low water pressure, the water supplied for less than the stipulated time in several sectors is a double whammy for residents. Though the morning supply of water has to be made till 9am, residents of different sectors complain about taps going dry before the scheduled time.

Nikhil, a resident of Sector 15, said from the past few days he was facing this problem.

“Earlier, there was no problem, however, from the past few days, it has become more frequent as the water is supplied till 8am,” he said.

The problem is also witnessed in Sector 27.

Jaswinder Singh, a local resident, said with the temperature soaring, the issue of lesser hours of water supply had elevated.

“The problem has forced me to change my morning schedule. While I used to get up at 7am, now I start my day at 6am fearing that the water supply may get discontinued early,” he said.

Other sectors that have been facing the similar problem include Sectors 20, 22, 19, 30, 33, 34, 40, 41, 44 and 45.

Dinesh, a Sector 20 resident, said: “Already the problem of low water pressure is giving us a tough time and when there is lesser water supply we are not able to meet the daily demand of water.”

The city gets 87-MGD water through the Kajauli waterworks and tube wells in the city. However, during peak summers the demand touches around 116 MGD, leading to the water woes.

The MC was supposed to make around 38 new tube wells operational by this month. However, it has failed to make all tube wells functional.



UT Adviser takes stock of ongoing projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
To take stock of the ongoing projects in the city, UT Adviser KK Sharma today held a meeting with senior officials of the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation. In the meeting, MC Commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh gave a detailed presentation of the ongoing projects. Besides, he also gave a report on the major issues confronting the City Centre, Sector 17.

The projects that were presented include construction of shopping area in an overbridge in Sectors 17A and B on the Anand and KC Theatre Road, landscaping in front of estate office, centre state library with elevated greens, seating and renovated floor scape and installation of laser fountain with varying themes in the existing fountain at Neelam Plaza. These projects, besides invigorating the city centre, will facilitate the segregation of vehicular and pedestrian movement and pedestrian precinct concept of the city centre. To address the requirement of parking, a multilevel parking of approximately 900 cars near Gurdev Studio is also under execution.

Besides, the major issues confronting the City Centre like the problems of deterioration of the concrete facades due to weathering, painting, plastering and its structural damage due to spalling, exposed reinforcements, growth of trees and plants on the ill-maintained rooftops and surfaces, covering of balconies, haphazard installation of air-conditioning units, hanging wires, installation of solar panels at the edge of facade and the haphazard advertisement panels were highlighted that are adversely impacting the overall ambience of the commercial centre.

KK Sharma stressed on the need to take urgent and time-bound action for addressing the highlighted problems.



Chandigarh airport ready for international flights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Chandigarh airport, which is commencing international flights to Dubai and Bangkok soon, has made all preparations for extending the facility. As per the airport manager, Indigo, Spice Jet and UAE Airlines had been given the permission to operate international flights from Chandigarh to Dubai and Bangkok in the near future.

In a recent meeting held between Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the Centre has given a green signal to the flights.

Chandigarh airport director MS Duhan said they had not received any official communication regarding the commencing of international flights from the city.

He said after approval, custom and immigration officials would also join at the city airport. The authorities had already upgraded the infrastructure for the international flights.

He said the permission for night landing was yet to be received from the Air Force authorities.

The commencement of the flights would cater to passengers from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Haryana. The commuters would be able to save their time and money as they would not have to go to Delhi to take the flights for these destinations. International flights from Chandigarh were a long-pending demand of the people of the region.



UT holds meeting, forms panel to check price rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
An emergency meeting was held by UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil with senior officials over the letter received from the Union Government with regard to check inflation, especially the rising prices of food grains and some essential commodities, including onion and potato. A committee was also formed in this regard.

The Administrator emphasised and directed the officers to take immediate measures to check the rising trend in inflation, especially the rising prices of food grains, onion and potato. He also told them to take steps against hoarding and black marketing of onion and potato.

Later, MC Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh, who is also holding the additional charge of the DC, also held a meeting with officers of the Food and Supplies Department and market committee to check the price rise.

He told the Secretary, Market Committee, UT, to start maintaining a register of arrivals of agriculture produce on a daily basis and send the daily report of sale/purchase of agriculture produce, especially onion and potato.



NGO demands removal of illegal mobile towers

Panchkula, June 20
Coming to the rescue of human lives, Shivalik Vikas Manch, Haryana, has demanded the removal of mobile towers, illegally erected in residential areas across the district. The Manch president, Vijay Bansal, along with a delegation of prominent persons have given a memorandum to Dr SS Phulia, DC, Panchkula, seeking removal of these mobile towers from the residential areas.

Giving reasons that electromagnetic rays being emitted by these towers are proving major health hazards for human beings, Bansal has also given reference of notification issued by the Haryana Government in this regard on May 14, 2011.

Taking the issue strongly with the District Administration, Bansal who had also slapped a legal notice to the District Administration asking the authorities to remove the hazardous towers in public interest, today further met the DC and asked him to remove the mobile towers in public interest. — TNS



Fire at water treatment plant
Unit owner on the run
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 20
After helping in controlling the fire with the entire administration including police officials at Industrial area Phase II, last morning, the local police said the unit owner of the water treatment plant absconded after a case was registered against him.

Dharampal, the owner of the water treatment unit, was booked under Sections 285, 336, 3, 4, 5 of the Explosive Substances Act at the Sector 20 police station.
The police said, “We also tried to locate him at his house but he hasn’t gone home since then. His mobile numbers are going switched off.”

Dharampal is a resident of Zirakpur.



First phase of water supply schemes ends
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 20
The first phase of providing water supply schemes under a World Bank project has been completed in the district. Rural water supply schemes worth over Rs 36.31 crore had been provided to 97 villages of the district.

Executive Engineer, WSS Division No. 3, SAS Nagar, Sukhvinder Singh Pandher, today said the schemes had been commissioned on a 70 litres per capita per day basis.

Pandher said in the Dera Bassi sub-division, water supply schemes worth over Rs 19.68 crore had been provided in 49 villages. In the Kharar sub-division, schemes worth over Rs 16.72 crore had been provided in 48 villages.

Pandher said besides providing safe drinking water, work on fixing water meters would also be completed soon. He said the work on laying of sewerage system had also been started in Jaula Kalan, Bhagsi and Mukandpur. A sum of Rs 4.94 crore was being spent on the same.



Govt schools
15,322 apply for admission to Class XI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
As many as 15,322 students have submitted forms for admission to Class XI in government schools here. The total number of prospectus sold was around 16,000. Today was the last date for submission of admission forms, which were sold and received at six designated schools in the city. These were Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, Government Girls Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 20-B, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 28, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37-B, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Modern Housing Complex.

The education department authorities informed that around 12,500 seats were available in Class XI, which include 6,000 for humanities, 3,000 for science and 1,800 each for commerce and vocational streams.

Students were also provided with the option of downloading the admission form from the official website of the department, chdeducation.gov.in.

However, the response for online registration remained poor. Officials said only around 50 students went for online registration. The officials said the common merit list would be declared and verification of particulars done at 4 pm on June 27. The list will be uploaded on the official website. If the students have any objections, they can submit them at Government Model Senior Secondary School in Sector 16 or 19 on June 28 till 2 pm.

The list indicating allotment of school and stream will be announced at 11 am on July 1. Fees can be deposited in schools on July 2 and 3, and the classes will commence on July 4.

Last year, the cut-off percentage in the science stream in the top five government schools was between 9.8 and 8.6 CGPA while in the commerce stream, it was between 9 and 8 CGPA. In humanities stream, the cut-off percentage was between 7.6 and 6.2 CGPA.



Panjab University Library
Proposal to register members online
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
To prevent long queues of applicants seeking membership of the Panjab University AC Joshi Library, a proposal has been made to start online registration from the next academic session, 2014-15. The proposal has been submitted to the Vice-Chancellor (VC) for approval so that registration for library membership is made hassle-free.

Sources said once online registration becomes a reality, students will be able to log in on the university website and apply for library membership. At present, every student has to physically visit the library and submit an application.

Records of the library reveal that at present, around 13,000 students are registered with the library. These include students, faculty and research scholars of the campus.

There are 95 departments in the university and more than 2,000 students and research scholars are registered with the library every year.

Librarian Raj Kumar revealed that the proposal has been sent to the VC for approval today. He said the online registration process would help lessen the burden on staff members, who used to record data of each student manually.

He said they were planning to introduce the online system immediately if the authorities approved the proposal on time.

Sources said from the next session, the library authorities are also going to make the process of dues clearance online. As per the plan, the library will send a list of defaulter students to the departments concerned and till the student pays the dues, he/she will not be issued a roll number for examination, an official said.

The students have already started using the facility of getting SMS alerts for transactions, including registration, membership renewal and issuance, return and reservation of books.



PUSU protests power, water problems in PU hostels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Irate over frequent power cuts and irregular water supply to hostels on the Panjab University campus, members of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) today staged a protest in front of the office of the Vice-Chancellor.

The students complained that during the past month, the university authorities have been given a number of memorandums about the problems being faced by students at boys hostel No. 8 and girls hostel No. 8 and 9, which are located in the south campus. Besides, students residing in the boys hostel No. 6 in the north campus are also facing long power cuts, especially during night.

PUSU president Satwinder Moulviwala (Naval) said during a meeting with the Dean Students Welfare (DSW) last week, the authorities had assured to take necessary steps to address the electricity problem but no concrete step had been taken till date.

Students complained that with exams under way, four to five-hour-long power cuts at night affected the studies of hostellers. There is no power back-up arrangement in any hostel, they lamented.

INSO protest lack of cleanliness

Members of Indian National Students Organisation (INSO) submitted a memorandum to the VC complaining about lack of cleanliness on the university campus. They complained that due to lack of dustbins, students were forced to throw waste on the roadside. They requested the authorities to take immediate steps as monsoon was approaching and unhygienic condition could pose health hazards to students.



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