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Panchkula left inconvenienced, choked & littered…
A disappointing day for those who reached Shalimar Ground to attend swearing-in of CM Khattar and see PM Modi
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 26
Panchkula came to a standstill when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other VVIPs were here to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar at Shalimar Ground in Sector 5. Normal life was disrupted as people were inconvenienced, there were traffic snarls, health services were hit and last but not the least, the town was strewn with garbage, a very different picture to the “temporary makeover” Panchkula was given for the grand day.

Modi, VVIPs’ arrival, departure chokes all routes

A harassed lot
: Vehicles stuck in a traffic jam at Shalimar Ground in Sector 5. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

As the VVIPs like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP senior leader LK Advani, BJP president Amit Shah, Union home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and Chief Ministers of other states made a beeline to the venue, their cavalcades choked all the routes leading to the same.

The traffic was worst hit after the programme got over at 12 noon as supporters and VVIPs were leaving the venue together. Congestion at various points like the Bella Vista roundabout, the road dividing Sectors 5 and 9, Sector 5/6, Sector 6/7 and Sector 17/18 Chowk was eased at 12.50 pm only one hour after Modi left. The traffic from Chandigarh towards the Mansa Devi Complex point was also made to halt. Roadways buses were seen stuck in the traffic jams.

Not only this, the hospital goers too had a harrowing time. “My daughter slipped on the wet floor and she was crying in pain. I had to rush her to General Hospital in Sector 6, but the policemen did not allow us to enter from the road dividing Sectors 5 and 6. I had to take the long route that is from the Kalka Shimla Highway to Sector 6,” said Shalika Sharma, a resident of Sector 4, who was going to the hospital at 11.50 pm, when the VVIPs were leaving the venue.

Traffic worst hit: The traffic was worst hit after the programme got over at 12 noon as supporters and VVIPs were leaving the venue together. The hospital goers too had a harrowing time as they had to take a longer route.

How events unfolded

10.40 am: VVIPs start arriving on stage.

10.53 am: Modi’s cavalcade arrives in Panchkula via Housing Board light point.

10.55 am: Cavalcade of Modi reaches the venue.

11.03 am: ML Khattar’s swearing-in ceremony starts.

11.06 am: Other ministers take oath.

11.40 am: National Anthem begins.

11.42 am: Modi and VVIPs leave venue.

Visitors disappointed as cops refuse them entry

Breaking point: On being refused entry, visitors scuffled with the police to enter the venue to attend the function. Tribune Photo: Nitin Mittal

It was a day of disappointment for the visitors who wanted to attend the oath-taking ceremony and had come here from long distances. On one hand, the new Haryana Government had invited the public for the ceremony and on the other the Haryana Police refused to let them enter. Those who had left home early after travelling for six to 8 hours in the morning were also not allowed to enter the venue. Stampede like situation prevailed when the crowd wanted to make entry after Modi reached the venue.

“I have come from Rohtak for the ceremony. Despite having a pass, the policemen did not allow me to enter. They said that the venue was full. Why dodn’t they let us go in when we were invited?” said Shashi Singh (69) who had come from Khattar’s area.

Visitors show anger: The VIP passes were seen thrown on the ground by angry visitors when they were refused entry.

Staff at General Hospital left their seats once Modi left

Left in the lurch
: A lone nurse attends to patients at General Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula, on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Nitin Mittal

The General Hospital in Sector 6 which had a full strength of 77 doctors (even those who were on leave) during Modi’s visit was deserted soon after he left. The staff was missing from their seats. Only one solitary nurse was seen attending to patients in the Emergency Ward. “My son has suffered a fracture and the nurse says that I will have to go to the PGI. Till the swearing-in ceremony, all the doctors were here and now there is no one attending to the patients,” said an attendant requesting anonymity.

Hospital was deserted: As soon as Modi left, the full strength of 77 doctors also left the General Hospital.


There were 62 cars in the cavalcade of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Markets, restaurants and petrol pumps wore a deserted look as the parking lots were blocked for VIP visitors to the oath-taking venue.

Panchkula had got a temporary makeover for the function, but was back to square one once the VVIPs left the town. Encroachments in Sector 9 were back, garbage was strewn all over the place.

No movie show was on at Shalimar Mall till the ceremony was over.

Boring Sunday morning for many as they could not visit the markets.


Prime Minister’s cavalcade ties up traffic in knots
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The short visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, for attending the swearing-in ceremony of the new Haryana Chief Minister hit road traffic today.

The aircraft carrying the PM and other VVIPS landed at Chandigarh airport at around 11 am. From thereon, the PM’s cavalcade took the road route via Tribune Chowk, Transport Chowk and Housing Board light point to reach the venue for swearing-in in Panchkula. Traffic was disrupted for nearly 20 minutes along the route.

Similarly, the traffic was stopped for another 20 minutes as the cavalcade left the venue to reach the airport.

Policemen stand guard at the VIP entry at Shalimar Ground in Sector 5. TRIBUNE Photo: Nitin Mittal
Visitors had come with their family members to see the PM. Tribune Photo: S Chandan

The roads were barricaded by the Chandigarh Police. However, the police had made special arrangements for emergency vehicles.

More than 3,000 security and traffic personnel of the Chandigarh Police were deployed on the route to ensure that the PM’s visit is hassle-free. Meanwhile, normalcy on roads returned at around 1 pm.

Supporters swayed by the Modi wave!: Upbeat: BJP supporters in an excited mood at the venue for the new Haryana Chief Minister’s swearing-in at Sector 5 in Panchkula on Sunday. Tribune photo: S Chandan
(Right) Fan-tastic move: A BJP supporter stood out among the gathering. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

The visit by VVIPs kept the police officials on their toes as even IPS officials were seen verifying the duties and checking arrangements to ensure safety to the Prime Minister. Higher officials from the administration, health department and the Municipal Corporation were also involved to ensure the VVIP visit remained undisturbed.

The police security force had also conducted mock drills to ensure safety of the PM during his visit.

No hassles at rly station

In view of the oath-taking ceremony of new Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the Government Railway Police had deployed extra force at Chandigarh railway station to manage the number of BJP supporters reaching and leaving the city by train. However, the police personnel did not have to struggle much as the number of supporters coming to the city by train was quite less than expectations. However, there was an additional rush of candidates who reached the city to take an exam of the Staff Selection Commission.

Traffic snarls

  • The aircraft carrying the PM and other VVIPS landed at Chandigarh airport at around 11 am.
  • From thereon, the PM’s cavalcade took the road route via Tribune Chowk, Transport Chowk and Housing Board light point to reach the venue for swearing-in ceremony in Panchkula.
  • Road traffic was disrupted for nearly 20 minutes along the route.
  • The traffic was stopped for another 20 minutes as the cavalcade left the venue to reach the airport.

Flights not disrupted

All the flights operated normally. None of the flights was delayed or diverted. All the VVIP movement was over by 1 pm. In the meantime, everything functioned as per schedule, said MS Duhan, airport director.



Bus passengers a harried lot till function ended
Alternative routes not specified; buses could not enter bus stand while passengers kept waiting
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 26
As the bus stand in Sector 5 here was surrounded with barricades between 10 am and 12:30 pm in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, some buses could not pick up passengers waiting inside the bus stand.

Unaware of the prohibited entry and diversions, more than hundred passengers kept waiting at the bus stand for buses that could drop them at least at the border areas of Panchkula, from where they could board buses to their respective destinations.

However, the local staff at the bus stand somehow made arrangements for students and elderly.

Kanika, a student who was supposed to reach her college in Sector 11, Chandigarh, by 11 am for rehearsal for an event, kept waiting for her bus till 11 am. “I will be pulled up today for being late. All the main documents pertaining to the rehearsal are with me and everyone will be late because of me. Why don’t transport authorities care to inform people about such developments through posters and signboards?” she asked.

An elderly woman, who requested not to be named (for personal reasons), kept waiting for a bus to Zirakpur for nearly two hours (from 9 am to 11 am).

After receiving numerous queries and seeing passengers being harassed, the operators at the main public window of the bus stand stepped out and adjusted all passengers in one bus.

While some of the passengers were dropped at the Housing Board light point others were taken to the Panchkula-Zirakpur border on the National Highway 22.



Shopkeepers in nearby markets lose business
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The petrol pumps located near the venue of the function, in Sectors 5 and 8, were shut leading to a loss of over Rs 10 lakhs to their owners since Saturday.

Further, since the entry of public in the parking areas of markets in Sectors 8, 9 and 10 (opposite the venue) affected the business of shopkeepers as the prime time of trade was lost. “On Sundays, many customers turn up during morning hours. If a VVIP is here, why should the public face inconvenience? The administration said markets won’t be closed but that did not serve our purpose,” lamented the owner of one of the eateries in Sector 8, wishing not to be named.

Rishab Singh, an area resident, said, “We had decided to hold a reunion of old friends at a late morning breakfast in Sector 10. But we were not allowed to enter the area.”



Swachh Bharat brushed under carpet
Gathering leaves the venue for Haryana CM’s swearing-in littered; organisers forget post-event service
Ritika Jha Palial/Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Discarded disposable glasses scattered at the venue after the function was over.

Panchkula, October 26
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan might have stimulated the entire country to focus on cleanliness, but it apparently failed to inspire thousands of his fans and supporters who had gathered to see him at the venue of Haryana Chief Minister’s swearing-in function here today.

Empty glasses of packaged water were seen strewn across the venue after the ceremony was over and the PM had left the venue.

Interestingly, the area around a huge hoarding carrying Mahatma Gandhi’s picture and the Swachhta Abhiyan message at the ground was the most littered. While there were no arrangements for removing the garbage, rag-pickers collected the refuse making the most of the “opportunity”.

Numerous cartons of water packs were found torn and scattered.

The mobile toilets (around 100) set up at the venue were stinking and no effort was made for their maintenance.

A passerby said, “The mobile toilets are emitting foul smell making it difficult for people to walk even on footpaths. The public health wing of the Haryana Urban Development Authority should have immediately cleaned the same.”

Vir Yadav, a visitor, said, “Things were so clean before the function. Now, the garbage is littered to such an extent that one can’t even walk out of the venue without stepping on plastic glasses or other rubbish strewn around.”

While the preparations for the function had started days in advance, there were apparently no planning on post-event service.

As soon as the cavalcade of VVIPs left the spot, the organisers and the police also left the venue.

Interestingly, the PM’s followers and supporters too did not bother to look for dustbins to throw empty water cans.

Officials rush home: Officials who had got Panchkula cleaned before Modi’s visit were nowhere to be seen near the venue after the Prime Minister left the town.



Modi fans skip meals to reach venue early
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 26
A number of fans and supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached the venue early morning, skipping breakfast, to have a glimpse of their leader who was in the city for swearing-in of the new Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, today.

After undergoing security checks, many of them went to makeshift food stalls in the Sector 8 market, which is opposite to the venue in Sector 5, to eat something before the function began.

On seeing a large number of supporters gathering at his stall, the vendor asked for money in advance. A supporter replied, “Ye Modi ki rally hai, tumhe paise diye bina koi nahin jayega. Achhe din aaye hain tumhare. (You should not worry about the payment. This is Modi’s rally and you will not be cheated).”

Supporters left high & dry

Meanwhile, BJP supporters were left high and dry as Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not stay at the venue for more than 15 minutes. Modi did not deliver any speech. Most of the gathering could not even see him.

The gathering included youth dressed in saffron and some others who had tied saffron bands around their heads.



Rape case
Jally’s kin accuse police of discrimination
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 26
Punjabi singer Jarnail Singh Jally and three others, the kin of the key accused (Jally) accused the Mohali Police of discrimination. Talking to media persons, Jally’s father Balbir Singh, his sister Gurjit Kaur and brother Ranbir Singh Lucky alleged that the police was favouring the victim, who is also a Punjabi artiste, for unknown reasons.

Terming all allegations by the victim as baseless and false, the kin alleged that the victim has cheated Jally and was blackmailing him but the Mohali Police did not listened them while registering a case against Jally and three other accused.

“She told lie about the status of her first marriage to Jally to solmenise marriage with him, which had taken place on September 3. When Jally came to know that she has yet to take divorce from her first husband, he gave a complaint against her to Mohali Police but the police did not take any action on it,” alleged Balbir Singh.

He alleged that the police registered a case against Jally and others without listening to them. Notably, Mohali Police have registered a case under Sections 363, 364 (kidnapping), 376 (rape), 376 D, 506 (criminal intimidation), 313 (causing miscarriage without woman’s consent), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison etc), 120 B of the IPC and Section 66 of the IT Act at Phase 1 Police Station against Jally, Maninder Manga, also a Punjabi singer, Sarwan Singh Chinda, a lyricist and Charanpreet Singh Goldy, last week.

Meanwhile, the police, which is yet to make any arrest in the case so far, said investigations would also be conducted in connection with allegation of abortion of the victim at a private hospital in Kharar.



Renovation of city railway station nears completion
Tribune News Service

Trial of the new escalators being held at the railway station in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky GhAru

Chandigarh, October 26
The upgrading of the infrastructure of the Chandigarh railway station is in final stages of completion. During a visit to the railway station today, it was found that the trial run of escalators had been conducted successfully by the Engineering Department.

The department had set a deadline of September 30 for the completion of installation of escalators at platform No 2 and 3 and make it functional for the public but it got delayed due to other construction works around these escalators.

Station superintendent RK Dutta said the projects were almost in the final stage and the station would become operational for the public at the earliest.

The ticketing counters will go up to 11 at the station whereas at present there are only five, which includes a counter on the Panchkula side also.

A senior official said increase in ticket counters will ease the rush, especially during the festival season, which is a challenge for the staff deployed on the five counters at the station.

Around 12,000 passengers commuting daily from the station will get a number of new facilities at the platform and at ticketing counters.

During a visit to the station it was found that the construction of a new car parking lot that has the capacity of around 400 cars is going on at the entry point.

After the increase in the number of trains plying from the Chandigarh railway station, the demand for its facelift had been made by residents to cater to the rising commuters.

The projects that include the construction of new toilet blocks at the station along with the newly designed waiting rooms for passengers have already been completed. In fact, three new parcel rooms have been constructed at the last point of the station and soon the work of parcels will be shifted to the new rooms.

Special train to Dham

The Indian Railway Tourism Catering Corporation is running a special train ‘Dham Special with Dakshin Darshan’ on Monday at 07.30am.

The train will be flagged off by Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries and Kirron Kher, Member of Parliament, Chandigarh, and Harphool Chander Kalyan, Mayor, Chandigarh, will be the guest of honour.

The train will cover Ayodhya, Varanasi, Puri, Tirupati, Rameshwaram, Madurai, Kanyaku mari, Aurangabad, Dwarka and Ujjain and will return to Chandigarh by November 13, 2014.



Who can write Hindi?

During the counting of votes of the Vidhan Sabha elections in Panchkula, people waiting outside the venue were amused when the official announcing the results stated that any person who could write legibly in Hindi was wanted inside as he was facing difficulty in reading the result. It seems the administration officials have poor handwriting and this urged the announcer to call somebody from the outside.

Beaten but where?

When a woman murder accused was produced in the court, she told her lawyer and others that she had been badly beaten up in police custody. When asked by whom, the accused replied that all senior as well as junior police officials, including men, had thrashed her in custody. However, there were no visible injury marks and the accused refused to give her complaint in writing, thereby making her claims baseless.

Parent-teacher meeting

Students who used to miss classes at the Postgraduate Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh, have become regular after the college held the parent-teacher meeting for the current session for the first time. The meeting was held to discuss problems of students and to inform parents about their wards.

Ignoring martyrs?

During the Commemoration Parade held at the Chandigarh Home Guards Headquarters, Sector 17, when the officials were observing a two-minute silence to salute the martyr comrades, those who were on duty outside the premises were busy chit-chatting. The act was condemned by police officials.

Mayor taken to task

City Mayor Harphool Kalyan was at the receiving end during his two recent visits to the Punjab Raj Bhawan when he was pulled up by the UT Administrator, Shivraj Patil, for not implementing the revised house tax and water tariff. On the first occasion, the Mayor had gone to seek the UT’s assistance for the family of deceased SAD councillor Malkiat Singh and the second time he went to invite Patil as the chief guest for the inauguration of the Japanese Garden in Sector 31. The Mayor was also told to implement other recommendations of the 4th Delhi Finance Commission.

Blessing in disguise

The missing blocks from the strips of speed bumps from various road intersections at the PGIMER campus (mostly stolen away) are proving to be a blessing in disguise for chronic patients. The theft of the blocks has made the ride comfortable and painless for thousands of patients who faced inconvenience due to jerky speed bumps while commuting inside the PGIMER campus. Despite complaining about the jerks caused by these speed bumps in the PGIMER’s Public Grievances Committee several times, the patients were unable to find any relief.

Alliance partners

After sharing the dias with the INLD, pitted against the BJP in the recent Assembly elections, the senior Badal was seen sharing the dias with the BJP leaders during the oath-taking ceremony of the BJP government in Panchkula on Sunday. Political analysts say since the Haryana elections saw BJP leaders speaking out against the SAD for backing the INLD, the BJP’s alliance partner in Punjab is now keen on mending its terms with the Modi government

Where is the land? Claims made by the MP from Chandigarh, Kirron Kher, have prevailed upon the UT officials to revive the UT Employees Scheme. However, the UT has failed to provide land for the housing scheme. Against a requirement of 70 acre, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has just 11 acres with it. The CHB is waiting for UT to give the land.

Long festival season

In the past there weeks — during which the Education Department was to carry out major exercises such as transfers and promotions — not a single decision has been taken. The authorities took leave starting from Dasehra and kept extending it.



Open House response
Effective public transport system needed, not new tax

The Fourth Delhi Finance Commission has recommended congestion tax to increase the revenue of the civic authorities and reduce the entry of private vehicles. But the UT Administration has failed to put in place an effective public transport system before imposing the tax. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers about their views.

Efficient public transport system needed

The condition in the city is not conducive to imposing of the ill-conceived congestion tax as alternatives have not yet been put in place by the Chandigarh Administration as far as an efficient and eco-friendly public transport system is concerned.

SC Luthra, MHC, Mani Majra

Improve public transport system

The public transport system must be improved before the imposition of the congestion tax. Other measures like car pooling and official transport may be compulsorily introduced for the staff, especially for offices located at Sectors 17 and 22. Another way out is to hasten up the metro project to reduce traffic congestion during the peak hours.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd), Mohali

No need to impose new tax

The report of the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission has been submitted without application of mind to impose the new tax as several crores have already been recovered from residents and organisations by the MC.

Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

Burden of congestion tax is avoidable

Congestion tax can never be justified unless a proper and effective transport system for the public is put in place. People prefer to reach the most popular destinations on their own vehicles because they do not have the choice of alternative mode of public transport. Trendy places such as the City Centre in Sector 17 and Sector 34 remain congested as means of public transport are very low in number.

Ravinder Nath, Chandigarh

Steps needed to check congestion issue

Imposing of congestion tax is not the only way out to address the congestion issue. No doubt, it will generate funds for the Administration that could be used for improvement of the public transport system. But, measures like advance traffic management by providing more information to road users to avoid congested roads and taking up alternate routes have to be done to check the issue.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

New tax will not check the problem

Financial resources are the backbone of any public activity. The civic authorities might generate funds through congestion tax, but keeping the unqualified ego-aggressive public trend in mind, there seems no likely hood of reducing entry of private vehicles in certain areas.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Impose tax in a phased manner

As it will take some time to upgrade the existing transport system, the MC should impose congestion tax in a phased manner to minimise problems of private vehicle owners. Every action of the MC is governed by vote bank politics. The UT Transport Department should act fast to facilitate and encourage use of the public transport system to reduce congestion and pollution.

KC Rana, Chandigarh

Congestion tax unjustified

The recommendation of Fourth Delhi Finance Commission regarding levying of congestion tax in Chandigarh is not conducive to the ground realities and unjustified. The objective of the tax is to act as a deterrent to private vehicles in specific areas so as to ease congestion.

Prabhpreet Kaur, Mani Majra

Avoid imposing new tax

For development, taxation is required. However, there is no need to impose new taxes when corruption is there and no major development project in sight which provides job opportunities to citizens of Chandigarh and youth of states of Punjab and Haryana

Col Balbir Singh (retd), Chandigarh

Need to generate revenue

If we go by the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission report submitted to the Chandigarh Administration, the MC has been in a total financial mess, which is of its own making, for it has failed to generate enough revenue, suffice to the sustainable development of the city.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Strengthen public transport system

In view of a phenomenal increase in the vehicular traffic, it is in everybody’s mind that traffic jams are a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional issue. The only solution of traffic congestion lies if the public transport is strengthened to a large scale. We should follow the transport system of Singapore and Delhi, where around 65 per cent commuters and about 70 per cent of the population have reportedly been shifted to public transport, respectively. Then why not Chandigarh, where only 14 per cent of the population is using the public transport?

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Encourage use of pvt vehicles

Firstly, adequate arrangements should be made for the public transport so that less people use their private vehicles. Then only the new tax should be imposed. Otherwise, this will be unnecessary burden on people.

IPS Anand, MHC, Mani Majra

Need for awareness

The idea is good, it will generate revenue for the MC authorities and would reduce congestion in a big way. It is first of its kind in the city, hence, there is a need to educate commuters about the tax. It should not be imposed on local residents. There is a need to create more facilities.

Vidya Sagar Garg, Panchkula

Rapid mass transportation system needed

A rapid mass transportation system is the need of the hour, the earlier established, the better. The metro rail system shall become inescapable in the near future and it should be linked with a better streamlined bus system.

Jaisingh, Chandigarh

Not a constructive step

Recommendation of Fourth Delhi Finance Commission regarding levying of congestion tax to increase revenue, and reduce the entry of private vehicles in certain areas is not a constructive step. It is a shortcut to avoid working on enhancing the public transport system and traffic control infrastructure in the city. Imposition of more and more taxes on commuters is unjustified. Why should I, as a pensioner from the defence forces, have to pay tax after tax just to go from one place to another? Should people start to sit in their houses to avoid taxes?

Col RD Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt

Support congestion tax

On Dhanteras, 1,000 new vehicles introduced on city roads further adding to the congestion. It is becoming practically difficult to reach a desired destination area quickly. We, in Chandigarh, must support and raise our voice in favour of congestion tax to mitigate traffic snarls, besides earning revenue for the civic authorities.

SS Arora, Mohali

Southern sectors worst affected

By imposing congestion tax, the administration will gain financially but it willfail to check congestion. Provide paid community parking in each sector and an appropriate rapid transport system. Southern sectors are the worst affected where a car is parked inside the house and 2/3 cars find place on the edges of the road.

Wg Cdr JS Bhalla (retd), Chandigarh

Metro needed in city

Chandigarh is known for its well-maintained roads. So to maintain the same, instead of imposing the congestion tax on the entry of private vehicles on certain areas, the administration should start the Metro project and bring well connected air-conditioned buses to provide an effective public transport system to the city.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

CTU bus service not satisfactory

The Administration should have given a wider publicity advising motorists to avoid congestion at various places. Moreover, the Chandigarh Administration should provide an effective transportation system. CTU buses skip their routes and fail to appear on time at the will of drivers/conductors without informing the public and commuters have to waste so much of their time to catch a local bus.

RK Kapoor, USA

Discourage residents from using pvt vehicles
Rajmeet Singh*

The recommendation by the Delhi Finance Commission to impose congestion tax in the city could mean putting the cart before the horse.

Rather than addressing the core issue of checking the increase in the number of vehicles and discouraging city residents from using private vehicles, the authorities are talking about regulating private vehicle owners by charging taxes. We may end up seeing people pay the tax and the problem of increasing number of vehicles remains the same.

A look at the statistics throws light on the city’s core issue. Around 10 lakh vehicles are already registered in the city that has a population of around 12 lakh. Since 1967, the vehicle strength has increased from 940 to 10 lakh till now. But the UT’s policy makers have failed to put in place a system to strictly regulate the norms of owning vehicles in the city, an issue which should have been handled years ago.

The Transport Department has no data about persons owning over one vehicle. Still, no undertaking on parking space within a house is taken from buyers of private vehicles and no physical verification is done. As a result, the very vehicles parked on roadside in the night add to congestion on city roads in the daytime.

Directives issued to the states by the Union Urban Development Ministry says that levying ‘congestion pricing’-— popularly known as congestion tax — was aimed at decongesting a particular area and at the same time, the states were advised to improve public transport at those centres to encourage less use of private vehicles. The method of ‘car user restraint’ by a variable system of charging for road usage would improve traffic and environmental conditions, it is believed.

But conveniently, the authorities are debating on levying the congestion tax but have not done their bit to improve the public transport system, especially to the most congested areas of the city. The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), the state transport undertaking of the UT, is still far from giving an effective public transport network in the city. We are still dependent on the jittery smoke billowing diesel auto operators who hardly follow traffic norms.

Compared to Delhi, where about 70 per cent of the population uses public transport, only 14 per cent of the population in Chandigarh uses public transport. Lack of alternatives is being attributed to the increase in the vehicle population.

While comparing the system of congestion tax in London and Singapore, we need to focus on providing an efficient public transport system. Going a step ahead, the authorities can encourage the less polluting and non-polluting modes of transportation in the city. As a stop gap arrangement, we need to regulate the entry of private vehicles in congested areas.

The Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation should exhaust other avenues of revenue generation before considering the congestion tax. It is time the authorities involve the other stakeholders like experts and residents welfare associations in the city to tackle the problem of vehicular congestion.

(*The writer is Chief City Reporter)

Open house question

Ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Panchkula for the oath-taking ceremony of the Haryana Chief Minister and his team, all routes taken by the convoy of the PM from the Chandigarh airport to the venue of the event were spruced up and encroachments were removed. It is only during VVIP visits that the city is given a facelift. What needs to be done to make cleaning and beautification a regular feature. Write your comments to openhouse@tribunemail.com in not more than 100 words along with a passport size photograph.



Punjab govt forms District Consumer Protection Council
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 26
The Punjab government has constituted District Consumer Protection Council for district Mohali. In the newly constituted council, the deputy commissioner will be Chairman and Food and Civil Supplies Controller as the member secretary.

The council’s official members include Senior Superintendent Police, District Education Officer (Secondary), Superintendent Engineer of Punjab State Electricity Board, Chief Medical Officer, District Coordinator of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Lead Bank Officer, in-charge of District, Senior Divisional Manager, LIC, District Transport Officer, Executive Officer Municipal Corporation and Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner.

The unofficial members of the council include PS Virdi, president, Consumer Protection Council, Mohali, AN Sharma, SS Sohi, Rattan Singh Diwan, Albel Singh Siyan, Harbinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Savinder Singh Khokhar, Harjit Singh Dali, Baljeet Singh, Nirwair Singh, Jolan Kalan, Amritsar, Chaudhary Mam Singh, Dharamvir Sharma, Chairman, National Consumer Forum, Sandeep Gupta, Sarvjit Singh, Dharamjit Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Azad Singh, Secretary, Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial and Consumer Awareness Club, Mohali, Kuldeep Singh and Karamjit Singh.

“With constitution of the council, the rights of consumer would be protected in an effective way. The council would check the malpractices of the shopkeepers/companies/sellers,” said an official.

It is mandatory for the council to hold at least two meetings in a year.



Six villages of Mohali form JAC
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 26
Miffed over notices being sent by the Mohali Municipal Corporation (MMC) for passing their layout plans of houses, residents of six villages, coming under the MC limits, have formed a joint rural action committee, here.

The villages, which come under the MC limits, included Mataur, Madanpura, Shahi Majra, Sohana, Kumbhra and Mohali village. To protest against the sction of the MC, the committee announced to stage a dharna in front of the corporation office tomorrow.

Paramdip Singh Baidwan, who has been elected as acting president of the committee, said that earlier the residents of the villages were happy as the villages were under the MC limits as they were hopeful that development of basic infrastructure would start here. “Instead of improving the scenario in our villages, the authorities have started sending us notices of passing the layout plans of houses,” said Baidwan.

Bant Singh, also a member of the committee, said the villages in question are very old and so are the houses. “The urban housing bylaws cannot be applied in the villages. The decision of MMC is ridiculous,” he added.



Syndicate meeting at panjab university
Officials discuss key issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
The Department of Defence and National Security Studies, Panjab University, will review its infrastructure status while introducing 10 additional seats for the MPhil course for the serving officers in the Armed Forces from the 2014-15 session.

This decision was taken by the Syndicate members, who held a meeting under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover today. The members stated that the Armed Forces had sought six seats in MPhil and the department had proposed 10.

It asked the department that in view of their recommendation that prior to approving the additional seats, the faculty should review the availability of infrastructure.

The Syndicate approved the issue to allow the students of BE MBA, who are in the second or final year, to get an opportunity to opt for one of them. The Syndicate also recommended conferring the PU Honorary Degree of LLD (Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa) on noted childrens’ rights activist and Nobel peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi for his activities and contribution to the Indian movement against child labour since the 1990s.

The Syndicate also directed other affiliated colleges to make available the details of salaries being paid to the approved teachers to the university via Form 16.

The PU Syndicate accepted the recommendations of the standing committee with regard to the number of seats and eligibility for admissions for community colleges. The Syndicate also approved the renaming of constituent departments of PU SSGRC Hoshiarpur as UIET, PU SSGRC Hoshiarpur, DCSA, PU SSGRC Hoshiarpur and UILS, PU SSGRC Hoshiarpur instead of SSGPURC, Hoshiarpur.

The Syndicate also approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department of Gandhian & Peace Studies, PU and Fayetteville State University, North Carolina at 1200 Murchison Road, Fayetteville, NC USA.

Besides, the Syndicate also approved the institution of an Endowment of Professor JC Anand Gold Medal from the donation of Rs 1 lakh made by his daughter and Haryana IAS Keshni Anand Arora.

The gold medal will be awarded to the topper of MA Political Science 1st (semester system) in Western Political Thought Paper (I & II) every year at the convocation.

Points raised

  • Department of Defence and National Security Studies will review its infrastructure status while introducing 10 additional seats for the MPhil course for the serving officers in the Armed Forces from the 2014-15 session.
  • The Syndicate allowed students of BE MBA, who are in the second or final year, to opt for one.
  • On the issue of salaries being paid to teachers in all affiliated BEd colleges, the Syndicate directed the college managements to get the stay vacated on the issue of disparity in pay.
  • The Syndicate also recommended conferring the PU Honorary Degree of LLD (Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa) on noted childrens’ rights activist and Nobel peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi for his activities and contribution to the Indian movement against child labour since 1990s.



Physics, Sociology depts
Panel formed to probe appointments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Finding flaws in the appointment process in two departments of Panjab University, a special committee was constituted in the Syndicate meeting, held under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover today.

Sources said objections were raised on the issue of appointments made by the VC in the Physics and Sociology Department recently. The members pointed out that the score of the appointments of the faculty should be re-examined by the Syndicate committee before finalising the same.

After a long discussion, a five-member committee was constituted to review the appointment and give its recommendation to the Syndicate by the next meeting, scheduled for November 22.

Another issue which was rejected by the Syndicate was the internal promotion policy of teachers of the Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Sector 26. For this, the Syndicate constituted a five-member committee which will review the policy drafted and give its suggestions before its implementation.

The issue of adoption of the rotation system in the departments and centres on the campus was rejected and the authorities were asked to follow the norms set up in the PU calendar.

The Syndicate recommended that except for the Dental Department, the university should go with the PU calendar rather than making a fresh policy for the same.


  • Objections were raised on the issue of appointments made by the VC in the Physics and Sociology Department recently.
  • A five-member committee was constituted to review the appointment and give its recommendation to the Syndicate on the next meeting scheduled for Nov 22.



PU scraps 100-bed hospital
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 26
Panjab University will remodel the infrastructure of the 100-bed Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences & Hospital so that it can be allocated to departments facing shortage of space on the campus. This was decided at the Syndicate meeting chaired by Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover today.

The Syndicate members were informed that during a meeting of the Think Tank Committee held on September 29, 2014, it was decided to re-structure the hospital building in a manner that a few departments can be shifted to it, while a part of it can be allotted to dental college.

The Syndicate members unanimously approved the proposal tabled in the meeting and asked the authorities to speed up the work for allotting space to the respective departments.

Sources said in the meeting, the Syndicate members were informed that the UT Administration —whom the university had approached for financial aid to set up the project — had denied assistance for the same.

Taking note of this, the PU authorities have decided to re-structure the infrastructure and utilise it for departments facing shortage of space on the campus.

Why experts recommended to scrap project

  • For the project, PU has a recurring cost of around Rs 30 cr annually.
  • For one bed, Rs 1.5 crore will be the recurring cost to the university.
  • Experts suggest extending the existing tie-up with the Government Medical College-32 to train its students rather than getting trained at the hospital.

Project background

  • 2009: PU proposes to have its own hospital.
  • 2010: UT Administration allocates special grant of Rs 80 crore for the project. It has already been utilised to commence the construction of the hospital.
  • As per the fresh estimates, the cost of construction of the project is around Rs 150 crore, which includes construction and installation of medical equipment and beds.
  • As per the budget report 2014-15, the project -- which commenced in July 2010 -- was scheduled to be completed in January 2014.



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