C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Stray dog scare grips P’kula
Chased by canines, man fractures arm; forced to stay indoors, say Sec 4 residents
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
Scare of stray dogs has gripped a locality in Sector 4, Panchkula, after an elderly man ran for his life while being chased by dogs and ended up fracturing his arm after he fell. The victim, Ajit Singh (70), was having an evening stroll near his house when four stray dogs chased him.

“Ajit Singh ran to save himself from being attacked; he fell and fractured his right arm. Passersby shooed away the dogs,” said his neighbour Surinder Khungar.

Four days ago, Ajit Singh left for London.

Another neighbour, Anjali Gautam, who was also bitten by a stray dog, said, “Stray dogs have forced us to stay indoors. They run behind vehicles. They often chase the elderly, who are out for a walk, and children, who are on their way to take tuition.”

Residents alleged that despite making several complaints to the administration, no action had been taken in this regard. Stray dogs are a common sight in a nearby park in the locality and have restricted the movement of residents.

“We have complained to the MC several times regarding the threat from stray dogs, but to no avail,” said another resident.

Recently, four maids were bitten by strays dogs in the locality.

Meanwhile, officials of the Municipal Corporation are still waiting for a dog shelter to come up.

After the sterilisation process was started at the government pet clinic in Sector 3, Panchkula, residents of Devinagar village had complained that they could not sleep as dogs kept barking at night.

Mayor Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia said, “The dog shelter is complete and it will be inaugurated soon. Stray dogs will be sterilised and kept there.”

Hospital receives 15 dog bite cases daily

On an average, 15 cases of dog bites are received daily at the emergency of the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula. In the past over two months, around 700 cases have been received at the hospital.



WhatsApp helps UT traffic police nail offenders
800 messages received in 3 days, several challans issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The first three days of the functioning of the WhatsApp number of the UT traffic police — 9779580985 — has evoked a huge response from city commuters with around 800 messages received so far. A total of 783 city residents have contacted the UT traffic police on WhatsApp ever since the launch of the number and a total of 31 images have been received regarding traffic violations.

The police said eight images of the 31 received clearly showed traffic violations and the police had issued traffic violation information slips to eight offenders.

The traffic police acted promptly on information about wrong parking. A total of five images and three messages pertaining to wrong parking of vehicles were received.

A total of 19 challans of wrong parking were issued, of which 18 were sticker challans. A number of residents had posted general queries on WhatsApp, while some wanted information on non-functional traffic lights. The traffic police replied to all queries.

Acting on the messages received from residents, the traffic police issued instructions to the staff.

On Friday, the traffic police received information regarding wrong parking of vehicles on WhatsApp. A message of wrong parking of a vehicle near plot number 185 in the Industrial Area, Phase II, was received following which a police Gypsy went there and issued a challan.

Another message of a cyclist going on the wrong side near Sector 43 was received. The traffic staff deployed there was instructed to give instructions to the cyclist.

Commuters can post pictures of traffic congestion, upload videos of violations, besides providing any suggestion to the UT traffic police on the WhatsApp number.

WhatsApp is the second high tech platform of the traffic police after Facebook to invite suggestions and pictures of traffic violations from the public. The WhatsApp platform of the traffic police is being monitored by two members of the computer cell at the Traffic Police Lines in Sector 29.



Every month, city sees five new cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
In a major concern for the city, at least five new cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis MDR TB are being reported every month. With patients losing compliance with the treatment of TB, despite it being available free of cost, and private hospitals failing to notify TB cases, the resistance to drugs in bodies of TB patients continues to remain high, said officials.

Not only is the cost of treatment of MDR TB over Rs 1 lakh per individual, in certain patients, the appropriate treatment is difficult to determine. Experts said since TB was a contagious disease, a majority of the population was at a risk.

“The main cause for the development of drug resistance in bodies of TB patients (MDR TB cases) in Chandigarh is that we have ample population of migratory labour here. Besides, the variation in the treatment regimen followed by private hospitals, despite standards being laid down by the Government of India, is adding to the problem,” said the state TB officer, Dr Anil Garg.

What is MDR TB

MDR TB is resistant to first-line treatments of TB. The most powerful drugs used for treatment of TB are Rifampicin and INH. In MDR TB, the body of a patient becomes resistant to these.

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis available for the drug-resistant TB is called “line probe assay”, which is testing of the sputum. The treatment continues for two years.

In Chandigarh, the sputum samples are collected in special TB clinics at dispensaries and the patient is then admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32. The sputum samples are to be examined multiple times during the treatment. These tests are performed at the microbiology lab in the PGI.

The drugs available for treatment of MDR TB come with various side effects. The entire treatment brings a burden of Rs 1 lakh per patient on the government.



Class VIII girl raped, found pregnant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
A 13-year-old student of Class VIII was allegedly raped by a 19-year-old labourer. She is now five months pregnant. The UT police today arrested the labourer on a charge of raping the minor. The accused has been identified as Ranjit Singh, a resident of Burail.

The matter came to light when the girl complained of chest pain and was taken to the hospital where she was found five months pregnant. The victim is a resident of Burail and student of Class VIII at a government school.

After the girl was found pregnant, her parents went to the residence of the accused and asked him to marry their daughter, but he refused, following which they complained to the police.

A case of rape has been registered.



Gang rape of 6-year-old girl in Bengaluru
Parents worried over students’ safety in school
Want strict measures to check such incidents; experts for exemplary punishment for accused
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The shocking incident of the gang rape of a six-year-old girl by two gym instructors at a high-profile school in Bengaluru, which triggered national outrage and protests, has kicked off a debate over the safety of children in schools. The incident has come under close public scrutiny, raising several questions among parents.

Chandigarh Tribune spoke to parents, educationists and experts to know their concerns over such incidents.

“I feel it’s the responsibility of the school management and the Principal to ensure the safety of students in the school. After this incident, strict measures need to be taken to ensure that students get a safe environment on the school premises,” said Damanjeet, father of a kindergarten student studying at a private school in Chandigarh.

Many educationaists said there was a need for installing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on the campus, especially in places which were secluded. There was also a need for sensitising the staff.

Sangeeta Sekhon, Principal, Strawberry Fields World School, said, “Keeping a close watch on the school staff is not the solution; there is a need to inculcate ethos and values among all. Regular training workshops for the entire staff need to be conducted.”

While highlighting that there was a need for teaching children the difference between a good and bad touch, Rakesh Sachdeva, CBSE counsellor and Principal at DAV School, Sector 15, said, “Students need to be educated on how to judge and read the intentions of someone who is trying to assault or abuse them so that they can inform the authorities concerned immediately and raise their voice.”

She said only maids should accompany students up to Class I to the washrooms.

“Schools are where children need to be protected, not exploited,” she said.

She said there was a need for proper surveillance, not only in classrooms but playgrounds as well.

Reacting strongly to the gang rape incident in Bengaluru, Principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37-B, Ravi Raj Kaur said, “The accused instructors should be given severe punishment to send the right message to all.”

She said the services of such educationalists should be terminated immediately.

Stating that only women teachers should take classes of students till Class V, she said, “Educationalists should have a sense of morality; the school authorities should ensure that the teacher on duty comes to the school 15 minutes before the students arrive and leave after 15 minutes after the school gets over by making sure that every child has left the school safely.”

Avinash Gupta, a parent of a six-year-old girl, said, “Teachers as well as parents need to tell their children that if a person tries to touch their private parts, they should immediately stop them and tell their parents and teachers.”

Former chairperson of the Sociology Department, Panjab University, Prof Rajesh Gill, said, “The identity of the accused in such heinous crimes should never be concealed. Their faces should be made public. There is too much exposure and sensuality these days. There is a great need to change the mindset of people.”

Recent incidents of assault on students

August 2, 2014: Four girl students of Class XII (humanities stream) of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 38 (West), alleged that two male teachers misbehaved with them. However, the matter was later resolved with a compromise between both parties.

July 30: A six-year-old girl of Government Senior Secondary (Junior Wing), Dhanas, was allegedly pushed by the in charge of her evening school, resulting in a fracture on her arm.



Open House response
Outsource or not, MC cannot shirk responsibility
Although residents remain divided over the issue of outsourcing the maintenance of streetlights in the southern sectors of Chandigarh, there is consensus on one issue: The civic body will have to act as a watchdog to ensure proper functioning

Prompt action needed

Streetlights in southern sectors of the city are the least attended to. While these sectors continue to get congested because of a number of cooperative housing societies, the authorities are shirking its responsibility of maintaining the streetlights and putting it on the shoulders of residents. Outsource the facility or take care of it on its own—whatever the Municipal Corporation decides to do, it must do it on priority. Safety and security of residents is of paramount importance.

Ujagar Singh,

Decision can prove fruitful

The issue of poor maintenance of streetlights has rocked the MC time and again. The recent decision to outsource the work can prove to be fruitful if it is monitored properly.


Problem not limited to southern sectors

The problem of non-functional streetlights is not just limited to the southern sectors. The Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra, too, faces the problem on nearly a kilometer-long stretch of road. Outsourcing the maintenance of streetlights might improve the situation.

SC Luthra,

MC shirking its responsibility

The civic body’s move can at best be termed a ploy to shift its own responsibility to someone else after its own persistent failure to maintain streetlights. This is likely to increase the electricity bills of residents.

SK Gupta,

Will benefit pedestrians

The decision will undoubtedly improve the situation. It will benefit a large number of pedestrians as well as cyclists, who fall victim to most mishaps due to non-functional streetlights.


Add penalty clause

It is a good decision. The MC, however, must add a penalty clause for contractors who fail to maintain the streetlights. Also, lamps with higher wattage must be installed in these streetlights.

IPS Anand,

A burden on exchequer

Instead of resolving the problem, the move will burden the UT exchequer. It will also add to residents’ woes in the form of taxes, duties and cesses.

Sat Pal Kansal,

Better security needed

The move of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to outsource the maintenance of streetlights—initially, in the southern sectors—will improve the situation, as the Electrical Department is not having enough manpower to do the needful. However, there is also the need to provide better security, as on a number of occasions power cables get stolen, leading to non-functional streetlights.

Sanjay Srivastava,

Move worth trying

Seeing the shortage of staff in the Electricity Department, the MC’s decision is a welcome one. Even if it leads to a burden on its exchequer, it is worth going for, as the residents will feel safer moving in the southern sectors after sunset.

Priya Darsh Growar,

Will ensure better service

The Municipal Corporation’s idea to outsource maintenance of streetlights in the southern sectors is a step in the right direction. It will help provide residents better service and insulate them from faulty power supply.

Ajit Singh,

Dedicated officials, transparency needed

Outsourcing is not the only solution for every problem. All you require are dedicated officials, transparency in working and a proper policy. There is a need to identify high-light and low-light zones and employ smart lighting to regulate the usage. The MC can seek help from residents’ welfare associations to inform the department regarding non-functional lights.

Sanjeev Kumar,

MC must act as watchdog

Outsourcing is a good initiative if done effectively. The MC must gather a regular feedback. The clause of penalty—in case of delay in repair of streetlights—can also be included in the contract. The MC will continue to play an important role of ensuring an effective and efficient use of taxpayers’ money. It cannot forget its responsibility and accountability, even after outsourcing.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd),

Success depends on MC’s sincerity

The idea is good, but its success will depend on how sincere the MC is about monitoring the work of the agency concerned. If the authorities indulge in corrupt activities or show a lackadaisical attitude, then the other party will get busy obliging the officials at the cost of maintaining streetlights.

Colonel RD Singh (retd),
Ambala Cantt

Private players are more effective

The move should be welcomed as private players work more effectively. It is so because they their money will be blocked if they show any callousness or irresponsibility.

R K Kapoor,

A wise decision

The Municipal Corporation’s decision is a wise on. There is no question of the exchequer being burdened when the hired agency will be paid on the basis of the number of functional streetlights.

Opinder Kaur Sekhon,

A futile move

The present proposal of outsourcing the maintenance of streetlights will not improve the situation. It will only burden the exchequer. Rather, we need to inculcate virtues of responsibility and belongingness in public servants.

MPS Chadha,

Outsourcing not a solution

Civic amenities, such as roads, electricity, health, education and sanitation, are facing neglect in the city. Courtesy: Outsourcing. Parking lots are an apt example. These are being maintained very poorly by contractors.

SK Khosla,

MC needs to adopt professional approach

The Municipal Corporation should adopt a professional approach. Private players must be given annual contracts for maintaining streetlights. These contracts must carry proper terms and conditions to fix accountability. There must also be a penalty clause in the agreement. Inspection committees must be formed to check the working of contractors regularly, and guidelines should be issued accordingly.

Sukhpal Singh,

Fix responsibility of staff

Instead of outsourcing, which is another source of corruption, the MC Commissioner must ask the sub-divisional and junior engineers to collaborate with residents’ welfare associations to make a list of the inventory: installed streetlights and non-functional lamps. The civic body has enough funds to take care of the problem. Also, it must fix responsibility of all engineers and the staff concerned. Moreover, the MC and Administration must work in tandem.

Sachin Sharma,

open house question

The recent horrific incident of a six-year-old girl allegedly gang-raped by two gym instructors at a high profile school in Bengaluru has kicked off a debate over the safety of children in school and while commuting on the school bus. Are city schools well-equipped to ensure safety of students? Are the present guidelines set by the Education Department adequate to prevent such incidents or is there a need to relook the system?

Send your comments (in not more than 100 words) along with your passport-size photograph (in JPG format) to openhouse@tribunemail.com.



New technology needed to light up the city
Rajmeet Singh

AS the sun sets, Chandigarh loses its tag of being a well-lit city as non-functional streetlights turn many of its parts into dark alleys. These not only become the “hunting ground” for anti-social elements, but also lead to fatal accidents with motorists failing to notice stray cattle.

Although officials of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation have been demanding more powers, they are unable to ensure that the 30,000-odd streetlights across the city remain functional. Different proposals to strengthen the infrastructure of the MC’s electricity wing, moved from time to time on the floor of the House, have remained on paper. The end result is that 30 per cent of the streetlights remain non-functional. So far, no effective mechanism has been devised to deal with the problem.

The problem stems from the lack of accountability on part of the officials in ensuring fully functional streetlighting in the city. Both procedural lags and lethargic attitude of the officials of the electricity department add to the problem.

Sample this: Out of four truck-mounted ladders for repairing streetlights and replacing lamps, only one is operational. A proposal to purchase more ladders has not been implemented despite being approved by the MC’s committee on electricity.

With limited budget and inadequate staff, the electricity wing keeps struggling to address the complaints of non-functional streetlights. One executive engineer and two sub-divisional engineers maintain 30,000 streetlights across the city. There are only six junior engineers, with an equal number of vacant posts.

Officials admit that at times the situation is such that there is a severe shortage of bulbs and other related equipment in the store of the electricity wing. The civic body ends up paying around Rs 1.75 crore annually as power bills to the UT Electricity Department.

There is also the problem of division of work between the MC and the UT Administration. The MC is entrusted with the job of maintaining streetlights on V3, V4 and V5 roads, while the Chandigarh Administration’s Electricity Department is maintaining the lights on V6 roads.

There is also a proposal to privatise the maintenance of streetlights. In fact, this would be the third time that the MC would experiment with the idea—the previous two attempts in the northern sectors have already failed.

The MC needs to take a cue from BEST in Mumbai, which has computerised controls of almost 75 per cent streetlights. This helps them switch on and off the lights from a control room and also keep tabs on lights that are kept switched on during the day or those that are defective or non-functional.

In many parts of the world, easy-to-deploy streetlight control system based on wireless communication and LED technology has been introduced. It minimises the cost of investment as traditional wired systems always need civil engineering personnel for laying underground cables. These are also more expensive if the connection of different nodes is made above ground.

The time is ripe to adopt newer methods to keep the city streets bright and well-lit.


2015: New terminal to host int’l flights
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Come April 2015, the upcoming international terminal of the airport here, is all set to host international flights to different destinations of middle-east and south East Asia. The project announced in 2007 by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) (started in 2008) is expected to be complete by April 2015 and soon after its completion, the Chandigarh Airport is likely to be re-named as the Shaheed-E-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport Chandigarh.

Also, the 60,591 square-metre terminal will have state-of-the-art features like as in Terminal -III of the IGI Airport. It is expected to accommodate 1,600 passengers at one point of time. It will have a capacity of eight bays for plane parking. At present, the 12,000 square-metre domestic terminal has a capacity of serving around 400 passengers. In order to ease out traffic at the upcoming terminal, the authorities

have planned a flyover for departure from the upper floor and arrival from the ground floor.

The new terminal, which falls under Jhurjeri village of Mohali district, will handle both the domestic and international flights. “Both domestic and international flights will have an access to the new terminal from there. No changes have been initiated to increase the band of the air-strip “said MS Duhan, Airport Director.

The Chandigarh Airport from where the flights are operating now, may be used as a cargo place or non-schedule flights will operate fron here. The authorities are also working on a plan to have a link road for Chandigarh and borders of Punjab and Harayana. “The plans have already been initiated by the authorities. Let’s see what happens” said the Director. With the new terminal and international flights becoming operational, the regular footfall of passengers is expected to touch 1,600 per day (800 for departure and half for arrival).

Footfall of passengers expected to touch 1,600 per day

The new terminal will have a regular footfall of 1,600 passengers (800 for departure and 800 for arrival). It will have the night-landing facility, four aerobridges, parking bay to accommodate eight aircraft and flyover to segregate passengers for departure and arrival.

AAI has 51% stake

The new terminal is a joint venture of Punjab, Haryana and the Airport Authority of India (AAI). The two states invested 24.5 per cent stake each while the remaining 51 per cent is with the AAI.

Multi-level car parking on lines of IGI Airport

Terminal III of the IGI Airport has a multi-level car parking system with optional valet parking, bus parking (near the terminal) and reserved parking bays. It also has exclusive arrival pick-up lane and departure pick-up lane to avoid any traffic congestion.



Legal eagles dwell on need for national judicial commission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Legal eagles from Haryana, Himachal, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh today deliberated upon the need for a national judicial commission during a discussion the “National Judicial Commission, Do We Need It or Not” held by the Inter-State Association of Lawyers’ here today.

Speaking on the occasion, the association’s chairman, advocate Lekh Raj Sharma, said recent events and debate over the efficacy of the collegium system in appointing judges had strengthened the call for amendments to the existing provisions.

“The people of our country have reposed their faith in our judicial system and have truly considered courts as the “Temples of Justice”, which necessitates that any scope of corruption, favoritism and arbitrariness in the system of appointment of judges and the functioning of the judiciary has to be eliminated,” added Lekh Raj Sharma.

Mukesh Beri, Additional Advocate General and former chairman, Bar Council Punjab and Haryana said that the proposed six or seven-member judicial appointments commission might include the CJI, two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, two or three eminent persons to be nominated by the Prime Minister, the Union Minister for Law and Justice and the Leader of Opposition of the Lok Sabha.“Any tilt in favour of the executive would defeat the purpose and will make the process susceptible to political interference. No definitive role has been proposed for the members of the bar,” observed Naseem Khan, president, Mewat Bar Association. Ranjan Lakhanpal, Chairman, World Human Rights Organisation, emphasised that it was imperative to include the views and suggestions of the Bar, which was an important and integral part of the justice delivery system, before any changes were incorporated”.



Scattered showers bring respite from humidity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Even as weak monsoon resulted in scattered rainfall in the city and Panchkula this evening, it brought respite from the humid weather. It rained heavily in parts of Sectors 8, 9, 29, 30 in Chandigarh. In Panchkula, Sector 4, 5, 6 and Mansa Devi Complex area received heavy rainfall.

The showers brought cheers among residents who were seen enjoying the rain while the youngsters drove around the city on two-wheelers. Officials of the Met Department in Chandigarh and New Delhi said there there was a possibility of rain across the city on Tuesday and Wednesday. The city has so far witnessed 57 per cent rain deficit this season. The maximum temperature recorded today was 35.8 degree Celsius while the minimum was 28.1 degree Celsius. The humidity level reached 83 maximum and 45 minimum. So far, the city has received 192.2 mm of rainfall, which is 234.2 mm lesser than the normal rainfall expected during monsoon.

The residents came out of their houses to enjoy the pleasant weather which prevailed in some of the sectors only while others continued to bear the brunt of heat.



Will hold Teej function, says area councillor
Aug 3 celebrations postponed due to BJP-Cong conflict
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Rising above politics, the councillor from Mani Majra in whose ward the Teej function was scheduled to be held was postponed, has decided to organise the function on his own. The councilor, Gurcharan Dass Kala, will be meeting MC officials on Monday over the issue.

The Teej celebrations were scheduled for August 3, for which a Budget of around Rs 9.74 lakh was approved by the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC), however, the committee constituted to organise the function headed by a Congress councillor failed to reach to any consensus over the name of the chief guest.

While the BJP councillors wanted local MP Kirron Kher to be the chief guest, Congress Mayor HC Kalyan was not willing to invite Kher as the chief guest.

Following the controversy, the Mayor decided to postpone the function. Sources, however, claimed that the programme has been cancelled.

Gurcharan Dass Kala, who is a councillor from Ward No. 25 said that he wanted the MC to take a call if they wanted to organise the Teej function or else he would himself organise the function.

“A decision was taken last year that every year the MC would be celebrating Teej at the Shivalik Garden in Mani Majra only, however, this controversy and postponing the celebration has disappointed the residents of the area”, Kala said.

Kala further added that he didn’t want the Teej celebration in his ward to be discontinued following, which he had decided to organise the function on his own.

Sources said that the Mayor would soon decide whether the MC would be celebrating Teej this year or not.



Defacement of public property
Mohali admn to register cases
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 3
Going strict against those, who deface the public property by pasting posters, stickers, pamphlets and other such material, the Mohali administration has decided to register cases against them.

DC Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu said he has issued directions to the authorities concerned to register cases against the offenders under the appropriate Sections of Prevention of Defacement of Property Act.

“We have cautioned the public several times against any kind of defacement of public and private property but the practice still continues. So, I have issued directions to the authorities concerned to start registering cases against the offenders now onwards,” said Sidhu.

He added that the administration has been spending lot money on beautification of the town so the residents should also cooperate in this direction.



assembly elections
Naveen Jindal’s name doing the rounds for P’kula seat
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
With the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) fielding businessman Kulbhushan Goel from Panchkula in the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections considering ‘Baniya votes’, all eyes are now on the Congress and Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP) candidates.

Sources said after INLD’s candidate list, talks are on in the Congress party to field Naveen Jindal from Panchkula. His name is being considered for MLA from Panchkula.

Already incumbent MLA DK Bansal, former MC President Tarun Bhandari, Secretary of Haryana Mahila Pradesh Congress Committee Ranjeeta Mehta are in the fray for the Congress ticket from Panchkula.

There are about 45,000 Baniya votes in Panchkula following which INLD fielded Kulbhushan Goel. In last elections, the party had fielded Yograj Singh, father of Yuvraj Singh but he lost to Congress candidate DK Bansal. Goel is a businessman who has stake in various social organisations and also owns Amravati Enclave in Pinjore.

“It is not just Baniya factor but we are there for all the castes. I have been staying here in Sector 6 for the last 32 years. Ten years back also there were just two colleges and now is the same condition,” said Goel.

Meanwhile, many names in the BJP are doing the rounds including that of Gyan Chand Gupta. Gupta is a senior party leader who has been active in Panchkula for the last many years.



Political activities gain momentum
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
With the assembly election ahead, political activities have start gaining momentum in the district. While the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has declared its candidate for Panchkula and Kalka assembly constituencies, the district unit of BJP has also started mobilising party workers and supporters.

Taking a lead in this context, the BJP organised a meeting of its party workers and office-bearers of the district unit at BJP party office.

Observers of the party interacted with the workers and office-bearers.

To get feedback from them about the suitable and winning candidates for Kalka and Panchkula constituencies, a voting process was also followed as per the party directives.

The voters were asked to name any three candidates of their choice in a slip (ballot) and put it in a sealed box. The observer later took the box along.

The front runners for Kalka assembly constituency are Virander Singh Bhau, a former chairman of Panchkula Zila Parishad, Varinder Rana, who unsuccessfully contested last assembly election from Kalka, Sham Lal Bansal, three time candidate from Kalka, Rajesh Gaur, district president, BJYM, Sachin Sharma and Vijay Kalia.

For Panchkula, Vishal Seth, district BJP president, Gian Chand Gupta, former Mayor of Chandigarh, Sham Lal Bansal, Pramod Singal, former president of Haryana Poultry Farmers Association, Ranbir Saini, Deepak Manchanda and Rehka Sharma are the aspirants from Panchkula.



BJP leader quits post
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
Following allegations of physical abuse by a female party worker in the local unit Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) against the general secretary Bharat Bhushan Rehod, the latter resigned from his post today.

A party worker, Seema Bhardwaj submitted a complaint to Haryana State President Ram Bilas Sharma stating that Rehod would find occasions to eve tease her and in a party function recently, also held her hand.

Rehod said, “It’s a political conspiracy against me. And as I my integrity has been questioned, I resigned. I wanted the party to probe the matter.”



Residents hold protest over fencing of colony
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 3
Scores of resident of Vishranti, a housing colony, and other neighbouring housing colonies in Singhpura village protested against the ongoing dispute over the ownership of a chuck of land between the land owner and the builders, here.

While the builders are evading arrest, the land owner Prineet Kaur, an NRI, has started constructing a boundary wall around the ‘disputed’ land having over 100 plots and flats.

Today the plot holders and the residents protested against the fencing and the raising of boundary wall.

The protesters not only uprooted the cemented poles and barbed wire used for the fencing but also pulled down the boundary wall raised there.

They even sat on the trenches dug for the boundary wall foundations and raised slogans.

The colony residents who assembled at the site, claimed to have invested their hard-earned money and after the dispute they feel cheated. They are in a fix about the status of their property following the dispute.

Meanwhile, Prineet Kaur has lodged a complaint in Zirakpur police station against the protesters alleging that they uprooted the fence and demolished the boundary wall.



Market assn installs CCTV cameras
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Booth Market Welfare Association of Sector 47 D has installed CCTV cameras in the corridors of the market and parking to keep a check on thefts. Sixteen CCTV cameras worth around Rs 60,000 have been installed at several points in the market.

Ranjit Singh, president of the association, stated that few thefts were reported in the market following which they came-up with the idea of installing CCTV cameras. “If someone attempts theft at shop then that person would be caught in the CCTV cameras,” Singh said.

He further added that the shopkeepers contributed money for the cameras.

A username and login ID has been given to every shopkeeper so that they can watch the CCTV recording at their own computers and mobile phones.



A case of mistaken identity, indeed!

Living in constant fear of suspected strikes by a ‘Kaala Kacha Gang’, a woman resident of Sector 10 called the police to inform them that a gang had struck at her place. As the police rushed to the spot, it came to light that it was some children plucking mangoes from the tree outside the house by scaling the wall and were mistaken to be the members of a ‘Kaala Kacha Gang’ by the elderly woman.

Awkward situation

At a recent press conference of the Chandigarh Business Council (CBC), organisers requested mediapersons and their council members to switch off their mobile. But minutes after the request, the mobile phone of CBC president Baldev Goel, who was on the dias began ringing. This happened not only once but on two to three occasions. Since Goel is the president of the council, his mobile ringtone landed the organisers in an awkward situation.

Taken by surprise!

Surprise inspections in school by senior education authorities caught teachers unawares when some were trying to sneak out of the school but stayed back once they came to know that the inspection was on. To ensure that all teachers attended the meeting, The DPI (S), got the schoolgate locked. He also called for the school register to check the attendance of the teachers present on the campus.

Mayor dumbstruck

Councillors and mediapersons attending the recently held Municipal Corporation (MC) House meeting were left amused when the Mayor reacting to the demand of hiring firemen from the Haryana Ex-servicemen Corporation stated that the Chandigarh MC followed the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976. Interestingly, the Mayor failed to realise that the councillors were talking about hiring firemen and not rules and regulations.

Giving cops sleepless nights

Recent strikes at certain farmhouses by a suspected ‘Kala Kaccha Gang” is giving sleepless nights to the police in the area. A senior police official of the Mohali Police said that they were on duty for around 20 hours a day as they had to be present at special ‘nakas’ being laid during night hours. “Everyday I come home at around 4 am and then again reach my office at 9 am the next day. Most of the cops here have the same routine”, said a police officer.

Dharnas galore on PU campus

Besides the fact, whether students for whom the student political leaders are staging dharna or agitation have complained about the problem or not, workers of different parties are busy holding protests so that they can be in the limelight and get media coverage. Interestingly, one of the parties recently held a protest for the problems prevailing in girls’ hostels not knowing that the the girls living there were denying making any such complaint to them.

Anxious calls to school authorities

Post Bengaluru incident in which a six-year-old girl was assaulted by a gym instructor in a high-profile school, concerned parents have been calling different school authorities demanding that women attendants accompany their girl child to and fro in school buses. Though mandatory, some of the schools are giving a miss to the standard practice that reposes faith in parents.

(Contributed by Aneesha Sareen, Rajinder Nagarkoti, Mehakdeep Grewal, Amit Sharma, Akash Ghai, Arti Kapur and Rajmeet Singh)



FOSWAC proposes revival of Chief Commissioner’s post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The executive committee of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Association (FOSWAC) today proposed the revival of the post of Chief Commissioner in the UT. FOSWAC general secretary JS Gogia proposed this resolution during a meeting at the Sector 46 community centre.

Federation chairman Baljinder Singh, meanwhile, took up the issue of encroachments done by vendors on corridors of inner markets.

“The police should also check the menace of drug peddlers. In the garb of roadside vendors, they sell tobacco products to minors and don’t even have any licence,” said Singh.

Pradeep Chopra of the Citizens’ Association, Sector 21, highlighted the nuisance created by “unhygienic” meat market in Sector 21.

Hitesh Puri, the chief spokesperson, took up the issue of security of residents.

Senior Deputy Mayor Heera Negi, too, attended the meeting and assured the members that the Municipal Corporation would coordinate with residents’ welfare associations for development of areas.

Residents share grievances with Mayor

The Housing Societies’ Residents Welfare Federation (HSRWF), Sector 48-51, held a meeting at the Sector 49 community centre. Mayor HC Kalyan was invited for discussion on various issues, including growth of wild grass on the roadside. Members also opposed the notice issued by the MC regarding installation of bulk water meter.



Tomato prices come down by Rs 10 a kg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Giving a breather to city residents, tomato prices came down by Rs 10 per kg. The prices were slashed from Rs 60 per kg prevailing last week to Rs 50 today. Market sources said the prices are likely to come down further, as supply of tomato is expected to restore in city markets.

“Our major supply of tomato comes from Himachal Pradesh. Since there is a deficit in rainfall, the transit has not been affected, helping in restoring the supply,” said an official of the Market Committee, Sector 26.

At Sector 26 retail market and “apni mandi”, tomato is being sold for Rs 50 per kg. Some hawkers, however, continue to sell it at prices as high as Rs 80 per kg, said market sources.

Earlier, Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted that how small vendors and middlemen had created hype about the rise in prices of common vegetables, while wholesale prices and prices at “apni mandi” were much lower. The UT Administration, however, has failed to act. The cost of other vegetables is currently stable.




Traffic police need inter-state coordination

The latest initiative of the traffic police that allows residents to report violations on WhatsApp is laudable. Now, anyone can upload a picture or a video of any traffic violation in the city on the WhatsApp number provided by the traffic police. If found genuine, the police send a challan to the address registered against the vehicle. The system does work for vehicles registered with the local transport department, but what about vehicles from other states? There is no clear system to challan such vehicles and recover the fine. We must have inter-state coordination to make the scheme a success.

Ajay Jagga,

Preserve old trees

At times, small things make you take a trip down memory lane. Today, when I was returning from the Golf Club, a small fruit called namoli (fruit of neem tree) fell on my car’s windshield. On reaching home, I immediately got off the car and picked that small joy. I clicked its picture and was reminded of other such fruits: the ripe Nasordi, for example. These used to be very tasty and we climbed the tree to pluck these sticky fruits. Another tree used to be kikar from which we got kikar tukkey—eaten raw or pickled. Some people also named their son after this tree. Now, kikar cannot be found anywhere. The sweet memories, however, remain. I wish all such trees that were found in the 1970s be preserved. Their saplings must be planted somewhere and lanes should be named after them.

Opinder Kaur Sekhon,



Admission to Class XI
Medical aspirants in a fix
Eligibility criterion for 85% state quota for MBBS seats in Punjab yet to be decided
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Medical aspirants from the UT seeking admission to Class XI are in a fix as the Department of Punjab Medical Education is yet to decide the eligibility criterion for 85 per cent state quota for MBBS seats in Punjab for the 2016 batch.

The confusion among the aspirants has been caused due to a notification issued earlier by the Department of Medical Education and Research, which made it mandatory for students appearing for MBBS and BDS courses to have passed their matriculation in addition to Classes XI and XII from Punjab-based schools to be eligible to avail 85 per cent state quota seats.

However, after the parents of the affected students approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the eligibility criterion was changed for the present batch and the next to follow.

Student representative Dr Arvind Goyal recently sent a written presentation to Vini Mahajan, Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education, Punjab, asking her whether a student who pursues Classes XI and XII from a school in Chandigarh/from a school in Punjab is enough to be eligible for 85 per cent state quota for MBBS seats in Punjab.

In the presentation, the students demanded that if the Punjab Government wanted to make any changes in the eligibility criterion, the decision should be taken at this stage only as it would help students to decide about their Class XI and Class XII admission. However, the students are yet to receive any reply.

Local academician and PMT trainer Arvind Goyal said only days before the All-India Pre-Medical Entrance Test (AIPMT) this year, the new notification by the Department of Punjab Medical Education regarding the change in criterion for eligibility to 85 per cent state quota MBBS seats came as a rude shock for hundreds of PMT aspirants. The affected students were under undue stress due to this last moment announcement and it further led to litigations.

He said the Department of Punjab Medical Education should announce in clear terms the eligibility criterion for MBBS admission to the state medical colleges for the students who will take the PMT in 2016. The formal announcement made in time would help in removing any confusion from the minds of the students/parents and will prevent a situation of stress and chaos later on.

Meanwhile, Vini Mahajan, Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education, Punjab, refused to comment on the matter.



Counselling venue turns campaigning ground at PU
Student leaders from various parties turn up in large numbers to assist candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Chaos prevailed due to overcrowding at the gymnasium hall of Panjab University this morning during the counselling for physical verification of documents of candidates for admission to engineering and architecture courses.

The venue turned campaigning ground for student leaders, ahead of the student council elections. A large number of student leaders from various parties thronged the counselling venue to assist the candidates and woo their support.

However, the overcrowding led to inconvenience to candidates and their parents as each candidate was surrounded by at least 10 student leaders.

One of the parents said: “Why don’t the PU authorities ensure fixed seating for these leaders. They enter the venue and disturb everyone”.

Dean Student Welfare Navdeep Goyal said: “The excessive enthusiasm of student leaders is actually resulting into harassment of new students. In fact, a number of students had left the university because of the nuisance created by these student leaders. We are taking a serious note of the issue.”

The Joint Admission Commitee-2014 constituted for admission to engineering and architecture courses for the colleges of Chandigarh and Hoshiarpur conducted physical verification of documents of the candidates admitted up to third round at the Gymnasium Hall.

The candidates, who came for physical verification on August 2 and August 3, have been advised to report at their allotted institute on August 4 for further orientation.



ETT teachers block Kharar-Kurali highway
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 3
The protesting ETT teachers gave a tough time to the Mohali Police when they blocked the traffic flow on the Kharar-Kurali highway this morning. As Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was scheduled to visit Kharar to attend the bhog ceremony of noted leader Mann Singh Manhera, the protesters wanted to meet the CM, but the police did not allow them. Following which, they blocked the Kharar-Kurali Highway for at least one hour.

Mohali SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti said the teachers were going to Ropar to stage a protest. But after getting information about the chief minister’s programme, they came to Kharar.

The teachers were agitated as their colleagues were bashed up at several places, including Majitha, by the Punjab Police this morning.

“We are not going to bow down and the state government will have to pay the price for its atrocities,” said the agitated teachers.

Protesters booked

Around 250 protesters, including several union leaders, were booked by the Mohali Police under Sections 283, 341 of the IPC and Sections 4 and 1-A of the National Highway Act on Sunday. Mohali SSP Bhatti said as many as 16 leaders, including Swarnjit Singh, senior vice-president of the ETT Teachers Association, Punjab, have been booked by name. “Apart from them, we have registered a case against around 225 unidentified persons in this connection,” said SSP Bhatti.



Radio singing talent hunt show
Contestants prove their mettle on varsity campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Regional final for radio singing talent hunt show was organised on the Chandigarh University campus here today. Punjabi folk singer Dolly Guleria was the judge on the occasion. She judged the five selected contestants - Sonalika, Satyajeet, Shrutika, Virender, Akhil - from the tricity.

The regional final held today constituted three different rounds based on the genres of classical, semi-classical and light music that include ghazal and folk for contestants to prove their mettle.

Singing live and like true stars as many of the finalists made their stage debut, their spellbinding performances drew a packed house and endless praise from the audience and discerning music-loving fraternity.

The tricity finalists sang an assortment of perfectly chosen songs ranging from good old dance numbers to soulful melodies.

The finalist from the region will be selected on the basis of the performances held today and “on-air voting” being conducted by radio FM Network 92.7 BIG FM.

The selected regional finalists will then gain entry into the national level competition and 12 shortlisted voices will then represent talent from their regions on a national platform.



Model United Nations conference concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The 5th edition of the Model United Nations Conference, “BVCMUN’14”, concluded today. It was organised by Bhavan Vidyalaya. PR Aggarwal, honorary secretary of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chandigarh, and Madhukar Malhotra, Rotarian and Kendra Committee member, were the guests of honour for the closing ceremony.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Ad Astra Per Adversa - The Urge to Surge”. Around 300 student delegates from 45 schools participated in the conference.

The topics for the conference included The Role and Responsibility of Private Military Companies in Armed Conflict, Children in Armed Conflict, Acts of fraud, misconduct and wrong doing amounting to criminal intent among the peacekeeping forces mandated by United Nations, the Question of Space debris in earth’s orbit and atmosphere, the Situation in Crimea and the Issue of Kashmir.

PR Aggarwal thanked the delegations from different schools for becoming an integral part of this conference making it a huge success.

Madhukar Malhotra congratulated the students for their excellent teamwork.

After the three-day conference, Delhi Public School, Noida, bagged the best delegation award. The Secretary General’s Best Delegate Award went to Shobhit Singh Arora of DPS International, Saket. He represented Australia in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The other awards bagged by the students included United Nations Security Council Best Delegate: Karan Gulati, DPS Noida; United Nations General Assembly Best Delegate: Daksh Kadian, Bhavan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh; United Nations Convention Against Corruption Best Delegate: Anupriya Dhonchak, Bhavan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Best Delegate: Mahim Tiwari, Tagore International, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi; United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Best Delegate: Sankalp Sharma, DPS, Noida; and Indo-Pak Special Meet on Kashmir, Best Delegate: Aditya Sharma, Bhavan Vidyalaya, Panchkula.



Vivek High School to host ‘Discover Tomorrow’ workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Vivek High School, Sector 38, here will host “Discover Tomorrow” workshop for tricity schools on August 4. The school authorities said the workshop was being conducted with an objective to promote advanced learning in classrooms and to prepare students for a technology dependent and connected world.

They said: “The workshop seeks to create an informed community of schools who understand the demands of these changes and are equipped with best practices, strategies and training that will be imparted to their students”.

“The programme has a three-year plan. The first stage of the programme has been implemented at The Sriram School, New Delhi; Welham Boys School, Dehradun; The Lawrence School, Lovedale; to name a few. Principals representing the region’s most progressive schools will attend the event,” said HS Mammick, director of the school.

The workshop will be conducted by Ashish Garg, board member of the UNESCO Open Knowledge Community, and a strategic advisor to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.



Mystical dance enthrals audience

VISUAL TREAT: Artistes present a “mystical forest dance”, organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Sunday
VISUAL TREAT: Artistes present a “mystical forest dance”, organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Chandigarh, August 3
The Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi in collaboration with Sadhya, Delhi, presented “mystical forest dance” at the Tagore Theatre here today. The contemporary dance production by Santosh Nair left the audience spellbound.

The 50-minute production evoked the ambience of yore. The breezy start by the artistes and their rhythmic clarity, like uncut diamond full of potential with an earthy approach gave a subtlety interpretation of the dance form which touched the inner chords of the audience.

The traditional Odiya dance form elevated the auditorium to eternal glory, as the artistes showcased a plethora of emotions and traditions in their act. The spectators appreciated the act with thunderous applauses. — TNS



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