C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Auto operators go on strike
Commuters bear the brunt as protesters oppose ban on diesel-run three-wheelers
Tribune News Service

Commuters forced to walk to the bus stop near the Zirakpur flyover.
Commuters forced to walk to the bus stop near the Zirakpur flyover. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu and Nitin Mittal

Chandigarh, October 30
Hundreds of commuters, who had to travel to various destinations between Chandigarh and the neighbouring towns of Mohali, Panchkukla and Zirakpur, today faced inconvenience as diesel-run auto operators went on strike in protest against the UT move to ban the entry of diesel-run autos in the city from November 1.

In the absence of autos, on several routes to Mohali and Panchkula, the local bus service, run by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), failed to accommodate the sudden rush of passengers. All buses were seen packed to capacity.

Not only were diesel-run autos kept off the road, commuters travelling by LPG-run autos were also forced to end their journey abruptly by the striking operators. At the Phase I barrier between Mohali and Palsora village, some CTU buses were stopped by the auto operators to register their protest. A group of girls at the Phase VI government college said they had to hire a maxi cab to reach the Sector 43 bus stand.

A number of commuters used long-route buses to reach the Sector 17 and 43 ISBT. Around 10,000 diesel-run autos ply in the city and most of them are registered with the Punjab Transport Department in Mohali. Nearly 3,000 LPG autos are registered with the STA, Chandigarh.

Among the worst affected were those who travel by autos daily to reach their offices in the morning. A number of commuters were seen waiting at different entry points to Chandigarh from Mohali, Panchkula and Zirakpur. The situation of those commuting within the city was a shade better as a limited number of LPG autos were seen plying on the roads.

Ravinder Kumar, a resident of Sector 54, said he could not reach the PGI OPD on time to get himself examined due to the strike. Another commuter, Manjeet Singh, reached his office in Sector 17 late as no auto was available at the Phase VII stop.

The auto operators, after protesting at different entry points, gathered at the Phase VIII Dasehra ground in Mohali to organise a rally. An attempt by the striking auto operators to block traffic at the entry points to Chandigarh was foiled by the police. Kamal Kant, chairman of the Tricity Auto-rickshaw Joint Action Committee, said they had decided to intensify their agitation if the UT continued with its decision to ban the diesel-run autos.

Inter-state agreement

According to a reciprocal inter-state agreement signed between Chandigarh and Punjab on June 4, 2008, only LPG/CNG/battery-operated auto-rickshaws with a fare meter fitted are to be allowed for "countersignatures" by both governments for plying between Chandigarh and Mohali. It was also decided that the permits of petrol/diesel auto-rickshaws registered for more than 10 years will not be countersigned.

Ban was imposed in 2009, but not enforced

The ban on diesel-run autos was imposed in 2009 and then again relaxed.



Admn gives them a breather, extends deadline by 5 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
A day ahead of the deadline for the ban on the entry of diesel-run autos in the city, the Chandigarh Administration, at a meeting chaired by UT Adviser KK Sharma, today gave a breather to diesel-run auto operators by extending the deadline by five months, till April 1, 2015.

The relaxation has been allowed with a rider. The Secretary, Transport, said the ban on the diesel-run autos would be implemented in a phased manner, allowing time to auto drivers to switch over to LPG.

It has been decided that all Bharat Stage III diesel autos (around 5,500) registered with the district transport officers at Panchkula and Mohali will be allowed to ply in the UT till December 31, 2014.

The plying of these diesel autos will be regulated over the weekends. Since there is less demand on public holidays, diesel autos with odd registration numbers (ending with an odd number) will be permitted on Saturdays while those with even registration numbers will be allowed on Sundays from November 1, 2014, to December 31, 2014.

From January 1, 2015, Bharat Stage III diesel autos with odd registration numbers will be permitted on odd dates and those with even registration numbers on even dates till March 31. From April 1, 2015, only LPG-run auto-rickshaws will be allowed to ply in the UT.

UT to offer subsidy

LPG-run auto-rickshaws registered with the STA, Chandigarh, will be granted a contract carriage permit for the tricity -- Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. The issue of offering a subsidy of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 on LPG-run auto-rickshaws purchased and registered with the STA, Chandigarh, on or after November 1, 2014, will be taken up in the Plan Budget 2014-2015. The subsidy will be credited directly to the loan account of the LPG auto-rickshaw purchaser after one year of the registration. The subsidy will be provided after the scheme is notified. LPG dealers had agreed to bear the cost of registration of LPG autos. Punjab National Bank had also agreed to disburse loan for the purchase of LPG-run auto-rickshaws at a lower rate of interest (11 per cent).

Autos permitted to carry only 3 passengers

An auto-rickshaw is permitted to carry only three passengers apart from the driver. However, operators of diesel-run autos, which have more engine power, tend to board 10 to 15 passengers.
Auto-rickshaws are being run as stage carriage instead of running from point to point. This is in clear contravention of the contract carriage permits issued to them.
The CTU does not have the capacity to cater to the demand of commuters. It is expected to add a fleet of 250 new midi buses during November and December this year.
After 2009-10, only few LPG autos were registered with the STA, Chandigarh. The total number of LPG autos registered with the STA so far is around 2,700.
The Chandigarh Traffic Police and the STA will strictly enforce the safety norms. Violators will be dealt under the Motor Vehicles Act.
The environment authorities will be asked to assess the impact of this decision over a period of two months and submit a report to the Transport Department.



Admn not to acquire land for IT Park
Parliamentary panel had recommended acquisition of 272 acres for expansion
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Contrary to the recommendations of a parliamentary sub-committee, the UT Administration has now decided not to acquire any further land for the expansion of Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park.

Recently, members of the sub-committee on the administration of UTs, in their recommendation submitted to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), had submitted that the acquisition of another 272 acres for the expansion of IT Park should be completed and the allotment done. “Infrastructure such as roads, sewerage and drainage should be developed along with the development of housing and office space in IT Park and caution should be taken to ensure that Chandigarh is not converted into a smoke-emitting concrete jungle,” the committee had recommended.

A senior UT official said at a recent meeting it was decided not to go in for the expansion of IT Park. The main focus of the UT was now to recover the money from landowners, who had taken compensation of Rs 5 crore from the Administration for the acquisition of land for IT Park, the official said.

“In the near future, the UT will not go in for the acquisition of land for the expansion of IT Park,” the official said.

The Supreme Court, in two orders issued in October 2012 and July 2013, had quashed the acquisition of land for the expansion of IT Park by the Administration. The land acquisition process, which was quashed, included the land of Flying Sikh Milkha Singh.

Admn had started acquiring land during Gen Rodrigues' term

During the tenure of a former UT Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd), the Administration had started acquiring land for IT Park, Phase III. The notifications to acquire 272 acres were issued in June 2006, August 2006 and February 2007. The special audit by the MHA raised objections to the land acquired for the third phase and submitted a report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The landowners moved court, but in March 2011, the HC rejected their petitions. They then moved the Supreme Court, which on October 12, 2012, quashed the acquisition of land for the expansion of IT Park.

IT Park houses 50 companies

IT Park currently houses at least 50 companies, including IT giants Infosys and Tech Mahindra, which have nearly 17,000 employees. To create an IT-friendly environment, the Administration had invested more than Rs 100 crore in the park, besides giving additional benefits such as exemption from value-added tax, central sales tax, electricity duty, stamp duty and property tax.

What SC said on land acquisition process

A Bench of Justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya, in its order in October 2012, had held that the land acquisition process was conducted in a “casual and mechanical” manner, giving legal provisions meant for protecting the interests of farmers, small landholders, agriculture, environment and ecology the go-by.



nri’s house in sector 21
HC sets aside 19-year-old resumption order
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The UT Estate Officer’s action of resuming a Sector 21 house, by passing an order behind the back of NRI landlords some 19 years ago, has failed to find favour with the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Acting on a petition filed by NRI Gurinder Singh and another petitioner, the Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Jaishree Thakur has set aside the resumption, and subsequent orders passed by the UT Chief Administrator and Adviser, subject to the payment of Rs 1 lakh as the litigation cost.

The petitioners, living in Canada, had challenged the resumption orders dated May 4, 1995, passed by the Estate Officer and subsequent orders passed by the Chief Administrator and the Adviser upholding the order of resumption on the grounds of misuse. In their petition filed through counsel AS Grewal, the petitioners had told the court that they inherited the Sector 21 house in February 1990. During her lifetime, Gurinder Singh’s mother had rented out the house to a tenant. After he shifted to Delhi, a chartered accountant started using the premises as his office without their consent.

The ground floor, let out for residence, was sublet to a person, who started running a printing press. Again, the subletting was done without the petitioners’ consent.

The petitioners claimed that the Estate Officer passed the ex parte order of resumption for misuse of the premises, as they were never served a copy of the show-cause notice before the orders were passed.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Thakur asserted: “A perusal of the record shows that the resumption order dated May 4, 1995, has been passed by the Estate Officer and a copy of the same has been served upon the tenants….

“At that time, the petitioners were residents of Brampton, Ontario, in Canada,; so, there was no effective service either of the show-cause notice or of the orders of resumption. It has to be noticed that the petitioners made every possible effort to ensure that the misuse was stopped by filing eviction petitions against the said tenants.

“Undoubtedly, the order of resumption has been passed at the back of the petitioners without affording the petitioners adequate and proper opportunity of being heard in person.

“Moreover, the misuse was on account of the tenants and not on account of the petitioners themselves. As on date, there is no misuse of the property. The resumption of a property in such cases is much too harsh.

“The misuse of the property was on account of the tenants and the petitioners themselves were not defaulters. But the fact remains that there was misuse of residential building. The Administration has taken active steps to initiate proceedings and the conclusion thereof. Therefore, for the forced litigation and the time spent by the Administration to restore the site for the purpose for which it was allotted, we find that the petitioners must pay the cost of litigation, assessed at Rs 1,00,000."



UT police found wanting, fail to crack most hit-and-run cases
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Deep Kaur, a resident of Sector 12, lost her husband NS Gill in a hit-and-run case near Matka Chowk over a year ago. Since then, she has been waiting for the Chandigarh police to crack the case.

Kaur, who is still going through the ordeal, is left with little hope of the police nailing the accused driver, who hit her husband's scooter. She claimed that despite her request, the police failed to keep the footage of the CCTV camera installed nearby, which could have helped crack the case.

This is not the only such case. There are a large number of other cases where the police have failed to trace the accused in hit-and-run cases.

Since 2010, the city has witnessed 605 hit-and-run cases and the success rate of the Chandigarh police in cracking these cases is less then 51 per cent. These include both fatal and non-fatal accidents.

Of the total cases, 268 have been reported from Central Division of the police comprising areas under the Sectors 3, 11 and 17 police stations.

The performance of the police in tracing the vehicles involved in such cases has remained low all these years with only 309 cases being worked out by the police from 2010 till September this year.

Northern sectors comprising commercial areas, educational institutions and prominent offices from Sector 1 to 17 and Sectors 22, 23, 24 and 25, and Khuda Lahora have witnessed a total of 268 hit-and-run cases of which 87 remain unsolved.

Similarly, sectors in the southern part of the city comprising Sectors 31 to 61 have witnessed a total of 171 hit-and-run cases during this period. The success rate of the police stations, including those in Sectors 31, 34, 36 and 39 in the southern part, has been abysmally low with the police failing to solve 127 hit-and-run cases (74 per cent of the cases).

The eastern part of the city, which falls under the Sectors 19, 26, Industrial Area and Mani Majra police stations, has witnessed 166 hit-and-run cases, of which 82 remains unsolved.

The absence of high-resolution CCTV cameras at a majority of the intersections through which the vehicles in hit-and-run cases can be traced is a major disadvantage the city police have when it comes to cracking the cases.

Harman Sidhu, a social activist who runs an NGO, "Arrive Safe", that works for road safety awareness, said more then driving rashly, leaving an injured behind was a bigger crime. “I have been demanding amendments to the law. The vehicle driver who flees from the accident scene is at present booked under Section 304 A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC. However, he or she should be booked under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) for leaving behind an injured,” Sidhu said.

Sidhu said the vehicles involved in hit-and-run cases could also be traced by tracking the mobile phones that were in that particular location at the time of the crime. “This will help the police in getting leads in the case,” he said.

Sukhchain Singh Gill, SSP, UT, said in the past few years, CCTV cameras had been installed in the city which had helped the police in tracing the accused. “During the past few years, the success rate has gone up with the help of CCTV cameras,” he said.

The SSP said in the absence of eyewitnesses, the police often failed to trace the accused. “We need public cooperation. Eyewitnesses should come forward and inform the police,” the SSP said.



Fancy dustbins clean govt coffers!
Panchkula DC’s office buys 15 for a whopping Rs 5,500 each
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 30
“Clean Panchkula Mission” will soon clean government coffers as well! Fifteen swanky dustbins have been purchased by the staff of the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner's office only for administrative officials at the Mini-Secretariat at an exorbitant cost of Rs 5,500 each. The city is gearing up to begin the mission on November 1 on the directions of the Haryana Chief Minister.

The fancy dustbins will be placed at the Mini-Secretariat in Sector 1, comprising offices of the administrative officials. No dustbins have been bought for public places where the maximum garbage can be seen. The 15 dustbins have cost Rs 82,500.

Deputy Commissioner SS Phulia said, “These dustbins were presentable and hence we bought these.”

He said, “The dustbins have been provided to keep the Mini-Secretariat clean. These will be placed outside offices which see the maximum visitors such as that of the Tehsildar.”

The dustbins arrived at the Mini-Secretariat building today and are 5-foot high. The Municipal Corporation has hired six additional tractor-trailers and two JCB machines for mission. "The dustbins have been purchased by the DC's office while the tractor-trailers are being arranged by the MC. "We have already got 11, but require more for the mission," said Deepak Sura, an MC official. “It is a sheer wastage of funds. The dustbins could have been purchased for around Rs 550 each; shelling out Rs 5,500 for a dustbin is shocking,” said Neena Dutta, a visitor to the office. Simple dustbins would have also served the same purpose as the expensive one, said another visitor.


House tax for defence personnel
As MC refuses exemption, councillor writes to Mayor
Seeks inclusion of agenda at MC house meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
After the municipal corporation refused to exempt defence personnel from house and property tax, nominated councillor Maj DS Sandhu (retd.) shot off a letter to the Mayor asking him to take up the issue in the MC House meeting on October 31.

On receiving Sandhu’s letter, the Mayor has recommended that the issue be placed in the agenda of the MC meeting.The MC in its House meeting in December, had approved an agenda for the exemption of house and property tax for the 12,000 families of defence personnel settled in the city.

But thereafter, the MC’s tax branch in its letter to the Secretary, Local Government Department, UT Administration, stated that there was no provision to exempt defence personnel (serving or retired and their families) from the payment of house and property tax on residential lands and buildings. Besides the recurring financial loss, if the recommendations of the MC House are accepted, it will hit the tax collection on commercial, industrial, institutional lands and buildings as for the time being, the property tax on residential lands and buildings is being assessed and collected under the provisions of the existing tax bylaws.

Nominated councillor Major DS Sandhu (retd) said the MC had cheated the families of defence personnel. Now, he has written to the Mayor to place his letter as an agenda item in the House meeting, he said.

When contacted MC Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh said that he had not received any such letter but if any councillor wanted to discuss the issue in the House meeting, the MC could introduce the letter as a table agenda.



1966 batch IAF officers reunite
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Nostalgia and bonhomie marked the annual reunion of IAF officers of the 1966 batch here today as they shared their old experiences and updated one another on personal and service matters.

Close to a hundred officers and their wives from all parts of the country came down to Chandigarh for a three-day sojourn. Among them were two Air Marshals, former Vice -Chief of Air Staff, Ajit Bhawnani and former Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, S Savur.

As part of their programme, the group also visited Amritsar, Bhakra Dam and Kasauli. Among the group were four widows who jointly cut the anniversary cake. Wg Cdr PS Kainth (retd) said that the batch made it a point to hold a reunion every year at different places. Last year, the reunion was held at Bangkok and Sri Lanka was being proposed for the next year.

The batch had comprised over 190 officers from the 96 General Duty (pilot) and 34 and 35 General Duty (navigator) courses. Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, who was then the Chief of Air Staff, had reviewed the batch’s passing out parade 48 years ago.



UT Chief Architect retires today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The term of UT’s Chief Architect Sumit Kaur will come to an end on Friday as she will retire on Friday (October 31).

Kaur had joined the UT Administration on deputation from Punjab in October 2008 for a period of one year. But after that, she had been getting extensions on various grounds. She had been given the extension one for completing the Master Plan and for work on preserving the city’s heritage. Now, the plan has been finalised and is waiting for the final approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs.Confirming the development, UT Finance Secretary Saravjit Singh said Sumit Kaur was going to retire on October 31.At present, she has been assisting the UT Administration to apply for the heritage tag for Capitol Complex. 



Golf Club gives Rs 9.58 lakh for J&K flood-hit

Chandigarh, October 30
The Chandigarh Golf Club today handed over a cheque for Rs 9.58 lakh to TheTribune Trust as a part of donation to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for Jammu and Kashmir flood victims. Senior members of the club, including Birinder Singh Gill (president of the club), Dr GS Kochhar, (head corporate social responsibility), Balbir Singh Mangat (honorary secretary), Jyoti Singh (chairperson bar and committee) handed over the cheque to The Tribune.

"Each member of the Golf Club has contributed some amount in raising the sum for donation. The Golf Club will continue to raise funds in the hour of crisis and help the needy,” said Gill. — TNS



Registration centre for Pandit voters
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 30
An additional centre for registration of migrant Kashmiri Pandit voters has been set up in Chandigarh ahead of the Assembly elections, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Umang Narula said here today.The Chandigarh centre has been established in addition to the facilities at Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi.

The registration centre for migrant voters at Chandigarh has been set up following representation from the Kashmiri Pandits, Narula said during a workshop for the mediapersons.



Houses for 1984 riot-hit families
67 beneficiaries under Mohali admn scanner
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 30
Even as a number of Sikh families displaced during 1984 riots in the country are still deprived of shelter, several non-genuine families have been enjoying benefits in their place.

According to official records, as many as 67 houses, the property of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), have been encroached upon by families, which are yet to prove their authenticity.

As per a report of Mohali Deputy Commissioner, these unauthorised occupants, claiming to be riot victims, are residing in house meant for riot victims and located in Phases X and XI.

According to the government guidelines, riot victim families are eligible for LIG houses only. Surprisingly, the official records show that as many as 19 MIG houses in the town have also been under unauthorised occupation.

“So far, these occupants could not establish their authenticity that they were riot victims. When they were asked to vacate the houses through notices, they approached the court,” said an official dealing with the issue.

Mohali DC Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu, who heads a special committee formed following directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to verify the claims in this regard and identify genuine claimants, admitted that the issue was very complex. “So far, we have issued the red card, which is meant for genuine riot-hit families to avail of the benefits given by the government to riot-hit families, to 109 families and rejected a total of 797 applications,” said Sidhu.

He admitted that several unauthorised persons were in the possession of houses meant for riot victim families in Phases X and XI here.

“Regular meeting are being held to identify genuine claimants,” said the DC, adding that information in this regard was being sent to concerned agencies regularly for further action.

In 1991, the GMADA had allotted a total of 624 LIG flats to riot-hit families for Rs 33,000 each. In 2006, the Punjab Government had fixed five per cent quota for such families in urban estate housing schemes. In 2009, several commercial booths in Sector 77 were also allotted to eligible families.

Notably, the process of issuing red cards to riot-hit families is still on.

Benefits for red card holders
Red card holders are given financial help of Rs 2 lakh by government. The families, who had lost their family member/members, are given a monthly pension of Rs 5,000 and a job for a kin.

Who are eligible
The claimant/claimants have to give a proof establishing the fact that they were residing in the riot-affected state before 1984.
The claimant family should have been shifted to Punjab between November 1, 1984 and December 11, 1985.
Other related documents showing them as riot victims.



ban issue
700 auto operators hold protest in Zirakpur
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 30
Denied entry by the UT administration, over 700 auto-rickshaw operators lodged a protest here today. Scores of passengers had to face a great hardship as agitators forced them to leave the autos before reaching their destinations.

Students, children and elderly persons were a harassed lot as irate auto-rickshaw operators assembled near the JP Hospital on the Chandigarh-Ambala road and stopped other auto-drivers from ferrying passengers to the city.

Holding sticks and ropes, members of Shan-e-Punjab Auto-rickshaw Union, Zirakpur, raised slogans against the UT administration for banning the entry of diesel-run autos from November 1.

Talking to The Tribune, Surjit Singh, alias Babbal, president of the union, said nearly five years ago, the government had directed them to phase out auto-rickshaws of CHV series, following which they had to go in for new vehicles. “Now, the Chandigarh Administration has imposed a ban on plying of diesel-autos in the UT, which is Punjab’s capital, and it will affect our business. Over 1,000 youth will lose their source of livelihood if the UT administration’s decision comes into force,” lamented Balwinder Singh, general secretary of the union.

“We have decided to restrict the entry of buses and other diesel-operated vehicles being plied by the UT administration to Zirakpur and its surrounding areas falling in Punjab if the administration does not withdraw its decision,” they claimed.

“We are ready to following all rules and regulations imposed by the UT administration while operating autos in Chandigarh but the ban on entry will not be tolerated at any cost,” claimed Babbal.

Seema and Aman, residents of Royal Estate who were on their way back from Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, claimed that the striking auto-operators forced them to leave their vehicles almost two km from their housing society even as they were charged for the entire way. The government should make alternative arrangements in such conditions, they said.

A team of traffic police personnel reached the spot at around 12 noon but failed to pacify the agitating auto operators.



Commuters harassed in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 30
Students and commuters were a harassed lot as auto-rickshaw operators observed strike in protest against the Chandigarh Administration’s decision to ban entry of diesel-run autos in the city.

Auto-rickshaw drivers parked their vehicles at the Shalimar ground in Sector 5 here and raised slogans against the Chandigarh Administration.

“I go back home by auto-rickshaw. I waited for it in vain as later, I got to know that auto-rickshaw operators have gone on strike,” said Vishesh, a student of Class VII of a private school in Sector 11.

After the buses dropped passengers at the bus stand in Sector 5, taxi drivers were seen fleecing customers taking advantage of the strike by auto drivers. Taxi drivers reportedly charged double the actual fare.



Quieter, cleaner Diwali in P’kula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 30
‘No crackers campaigns’ bore fruits this Diwali in Panchkula as the level of air pollution showed a considerable dip.

The data has been provided with the help of the first-of-its-kind continuous ambient air quality system that records pollution online. The officials of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) compared the same with normal days, and stated that there has been a dip in the level of air pollution this year.

On Diwali, particulate matter (PM10) was 77.9, a day before Diwali it was 58.1 and after Diwali it was 93.6.

Last year, suspended particulate matter (SPM) on Diwali was 514.67 micrograms per cubic metre (mpcm).

The continuous ambient air quality monitoring system, which is stationed at Sector 6, sucks the air and records it online. Panchkula is one of the four stations in Haryana, which has the online machine. Last year, the system was under trial.

A senior scientist at the HSPCB, Dinesh Kumar, said, “During normal days in the month of October, particulate matter is 103.1 or 91.1 or 94.3. On Diwali or a day after that, if we presume that the matter was suspended after October 23, the PM was just 93.6. So the air pollution has dipped this time.”

The harmful Sulphur Dioxide on Diwali was 16.4 this time, when on normal days it even records up to 18.2 or 12.3.

There was a dip in the noise pollution as well. On the Diwali night between 8 to 10 pm, it was 96 decibels (db) and from 10 to 12 midnight, it was 88 decibels. In 2013, the noise pollution recorded was 105 db.



Water supply to be hit today
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 30
The supply of water to Sectors 70 and 71 and Matour village will be adversely affected due to maintenance work being undertaken by the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation tomorrow.

The maintenance work has to be carried out in the main water supply line to Sectors 70 and 71.

As such, there will be no supply of water in the afternoon and in the evening.

The supply of water the next day will also be at low pressure, said an official from the department.



Two new dengue cases reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Two new dengue cases were reported in the city this week raising the total number to six this year. One case was reported from Sector 45 and another from Kaimbwala village this week.



P’kula MC official assaulted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 30
A municipal engineer (ME) with the local Municipal Corporation (MC) was allegedly assaulted with bricks by a contractor and his men at the MC office after the former refused to approve a sample.

The ME, Vijay Goyal, suffered critical injuries and was admitted to the General Hospital in Sector 6 here.

Goyal said the contractor, RD Sharma, came to him in the morning to get his signatures. However, Goyal refused to do so saying that he could not sign before the sampling work was started. This infuriated the contractor. The victim stated that in the evening, the accused, along with six to seven youths, stopped him while he was coming out of the office and assaulted him with bricks and rods.

On the other hand, RD Sharma claimed that Goyal assaulted him and his son.

The Sector 14 police said the statements of both the parties have been recorded and they were investigating the matter.



Workshop for consumer awareness by BSNL

A consumer education workshop was organised by the BSNL Chandigarh telecom district in telephone exchange building, Sector 34, under the chairmanship of JS Sahota, general manager, telecom district Chandigarh. On the occasion, general manager, Telecom, addressed the customers and gave details about the customer grievance redressal mechanism in the BSNL. Telecom Consumer Complaints Redressal Regulation, 2012, Telecom Consumers Protection Regulation, 2012, and the mechanism used for its implementation were explained in detail. The workshop was attended by 50-60 customers who submitted their valuable suggestions.

BSNL reduces cost of data card plans

BSNL has reduced the per month rates of data card internet service plans with effect from October 24. The data card of 3.6 mbps speed has been reduced from Rs 1,600 to Rs 500 and that of 7.2 mbps from Rs 2,000 to Rs 1,000. The rates do not include value added tax. The amount may turn out to be slightly higher, of taxes are added. —TNS



Transfer of teachers
Schools submit compliance report
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
After numerous reminders sent by the Education Department to various government school heads to implement transfer orders, schools finally submitted their compliance report today.

Officials said the Education Department had issued transfer orders of 155 teachers on October 16. After the schools failed to implement the orders, a reminder mail to all school heads was sent on October 27.

It was mentioned in the mail that all principals/heads of schools are requested to implement the transfer orders issued and forward relieving orders of all teachers by today positively. It was also mentioned in the mail that the schools must treat the matter most urgent.

Sources said despite repeated reminders, the schools failed to implement the orders. The Education Department had issued the transfer orders in order to rationalise the student-teacher ratio after carrying out a detailed exercise.

Not even a single transfer was carried out last year. This academic session, the department had already transferred nine principals. Earlier, nearly 24 teachers were transferred in May and June.

One of the principals on the condition of anonymity said: “Teachers from schools located in the city are not joining schools in the periphery where there is a paucity of staff and also the student-teacher ratio is skewed.”

The transfer policy of the Education Department states that lecturers/masters/mistresses C&V, teachers and JBT teachers may be transferred after 10 years of stay.

On being asked what action would the department take against the schools that had failed to comply with the orders, Director School Education-I Chanchal Singh said: “Nearly 90 per cent of the schools have submitted their compliance report. We will have to examine each school’s case separately and then plan an action accordingly.”



Decks cleared for promotion of over 100 junior basic teachers
Education Department set to release list of promotees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
After holding back the promotion of Junior Basic Teachers (JBTs) for over two months, the Education Department is finally all set to release the list of promotees.

Officials from the department said over 100 JBTs would be promoted to the post of master and mistress (Trained Graduate Teachers cadre).

Sources said the Departmental Promotion Committee, comprising Director Public Instruction (DPI), Schools, District Education Officer and other senior officials of the department, had cleared the decks. The committee was set up two months ago to scrutinise the application submitted by the teachers eligible for promotion.

An official on condition of anonymity said: “The delay was caused because documents of nearly 150 teachers were still not complete. Around 380 teachers had applied for promotion.”

“The department will carry out promotion in phases. Around 100 teachers will be promoted in the first phase. The case of 280 teachers is still pending,” said the official. The sources said though a majority of those promoted were primary class teachers, promotion had also been given to nursery and drawing teachers, work experience instructors, senior lab attendants and ministerial staff.

The officials said the list would be declared in the coming week.

The authorities said the post of 186 Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs) was lying vacant in government schools across the city for the past over a year.



Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
184 students participate in awareness run
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Panjab University organised a run, ‘cleanathon’, to create awareness about the cause of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan today.

As many as 184 students participated in the run for cleanliness awareness. It was organised by the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS).

The run was flagged off by UILS director Prof Sangeeta Bhalla at 7:30 am. Starting from the UILS, the run went around the PU campus and ended at the UILS itself with a route of 5 km.

As many as six winners were awarded in the male and female categories. In the male category, gold medal was won by Dashmesh, silver by Digvijay and bronze by Gurjeet Singh. In the female category, Amreen won gold, Sanya won silver and Haramrit won bronze medal.

The route was covered by volunteering students who showcased posters relating to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Director Prof Sangeeta Bhalla congratulated the Cultural Committee on the success of the event and announced that the UILS will hold a run for awareness as an annual event.



UILS students hold protest
Demand scrapping of condition in reappear system

Chandigarh, October 30
Students of the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) held a protest outside the building housing the UILS here on Thursday afternoon.

They demanded scrapping of condition in reappear system. Under the system, a student failing in an even semester (for instance in second or fourth) gets a reappear in next even semester and similarly in odd semesters.

Mohindra Baksh, a fifth-year student of UILS, said: “Because of this system, one year of the affected student is wasted if he/she gets a reappear in the final semester. We want it to be removed. The Head of the Department has now assured us that this system will be changed in the case of students who have passed out before 2013. But the students who have taken admission after 2013 will have to follow this system, which means first-year students.” — TNS



Credit system
PUSU members continue hunger strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Members of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) continued their hunger strike on the third day outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office at Panjab University here today.

PUSU spokesperson Tajinder Dhiman said: “PUSU is against the credit system in science departments. Five students are on an indefinite hunger strike. On third day, two more students have joined us in the hunger strike”.

He said: “Our strike is against the credit system. Removing this system will save precious years of students and they will be promoted to the next year. We want more students should join our fight against this credit system.”

A number of PU students extended support to the protestors today.



Drama, mime, mimicry mark Day 3 of Inter-Zonal Youth Fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The third day of the 56th Inter-Zonal Youth Festival saw a variety of activities, including drama, histrionics, bhand, mime, mimicry, skit, elocution, debate, poem recitation, poster-making, still life drawing, cartooning and installation, at DAV College, Sector 10, here.

The fest was inaugurated by Parvinder Singh, Controller of Examination, Panjab University.

Parvinder Singh appreciated the tireless efforts, teamwork spirit, sincerity and sportsmanship of DAV students for hosting this festival.

He congratulated the DAV fraternity for maintaining the epitome of discipline. He appealed the youth to work for drug-free society and make the country proud.

He asked the participants to inculcate the habit of participation spirit.

Haryana CM to be chief guest
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will be the chief guest for the valedictory function of the 56th Inter-Zonal Youth Festival on the eve of the Rashtriya Ekta Divas on October 31.



Students hold roadshow to promote PECFest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The annual techno-cultural fest of the PEC University of Technology is back with a bang. PECFest 2014 had an opening with a roadshow, which witnessed students from the university cheering their way through the streets of Chandigarh to promote their fest.

The overwhelming response by the students added to the excitement of the participants.

The fest is scheduled to be held from October 31 to November 3. With such an opening, the PECFest 2014 promises to bring loads of grooving and exciting moments ahead.

The four days will see a variety of activities such as cultural evenings, various competitions as well as exhibits.



Inspector among 5 cops hurt as protesting students throw stones
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 30
Five police officials, including an Inspector, were hurt in stone pelting by some youths, who are students of a Pinjore-based institute, at the bus stand in Sector 5 here this morning. The students also damaged government property and roadways buses.

On Wednesday, a student fell while boarding a bus at Pinjore as the driver started the bus. Irate over this, as many as 60 students held a protest at the bus stand here.

As the students were holding a road blockade, police officials tried to stop them, following which the protesters pelted stones at cops and damaged roadways buses and other government vehicles.

Inspector Suresh Kumar, SHO, Sector 14 police station, and four lower-rung officials were hurt in stone pelting.

After the incident, the police rounded up 24 youths.

Inspector Baljeet Singh, SHO, Sector 5 police station, said, “We have lodged a case against unidentified youths in the matter.”

A case under Sections 147 (rioting), 149, 186 (obstructing public servant) and 341(wrongful restraint) of the IPC has been registered.



From Schools
Special assembly

A special assembly on “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” was conducted by students of Class VI of Tribune Model School. The assembly commenced with a prayer, followed by a small skit. It emphasised on cleanliness of thoughts first, clean washroom habits, personal hygiene and then focusing on cleanliness that begins at home, school, surroundings and to keep earth clean and green. The assembly ended with a song “clean up is fun...” and a pledge by school students, teachers and the principal.

Lecture on personality development

Government Model Senior Secondary School-46 on Thursday organised a lecture on personality development for students. PK Aggarwal, retired chief manager from the Bank of India, was the key speaker at the event. He briefed the students as to how they can develop their personality keeping in mind their behaviour, punctuality, attire, confidence and their goal in life.

Literary Week observed

Saupin’s-32 celebrated Literary Week. The students of the English Literary Club organised the celebrations. To begin with, members of the senior wing recited a poem on female feticide - the plight of a girl child. It was followed by a persuasive speech, “Ruling of Hearts is best Kingship”, by Ritika, a student of Class VIII. The last presentation - a poem on “The Charge of the Light Brigade” - was by Arshita Bhardwaj. The members of the junior level presented a dramatic poetry recitation “Please Mrs Butler”. Sameeksha Malhotra, a student of Class III, enacted an advertisement on the crunchy ‘Silk Chocolate’.

Anti-polythene drive

As part of the Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya Campaign, an anti-polythene drive was carried out at Government Senior Secondary School, Raipur Khurd, Chandigarh. The theme of the drive was ‘Say No to Polythene’. A poster-making competition was also held. — TNS



PU Notes
National Unity Day

Panjab University will celebrate Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) on October 31. A large number of programmes, including ‘Run for Unity’, would be organised to commemorate the occasion. PU spokesperson said all students, faculty members, staff members along with their family members are welcome to participate in the programme and ‘Run for Unity’. PU Registrar Col GS Chadha (retd) has sent an open invitation to all teaching/non-teaching staff members along with their family members, research scholars and students to join the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas celebrations.

Campaign launched

The Swachh Bharat Campaign was launched by Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Grover with a ‘swachhta oath’ at the NCC Office, Seminar Hall, New Emerging Building, PU, on Thursday. The campaign has been undertaken by PU NCC, Army Wing under the supervision of NCC coordinator and assistant professor in the Police Administration, Dr Kuldeep Singh and programme coordinator and assistant professor in the social work, Gaurav Gaur. PU Registrar Col GS Chadha, Deputy Mayor Devash Moudgill, Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta, Assistant Professor Police Administration Dr Kuldeep Singh and Assistant Professor Social Work Gaurav Gaur along with cadets participated in the cleanliness drive.

Lecture on ‘LPG Safety’

The Department of Food Science, MCM DAV College for Women, organised a lecture-cum-interactive session on ‘LPG Safety’. It was sponsored by a gas agency. Harminder Atwal, a representative from a gas agency, educated the students on the measures and precautions to be taken to avert and prevent LPG accidents.

Truck carrying flood relief flagged off

A truck carrying flood relief material for J&K victims was flagged off by Sandeep Hans, Director Higher Education (DHE), from the PGGC-11 on Thursday. The truck containing 4.6 tonnes of rice and lentils, 500 blankets and 500 kg of dry snacks, collected in collaboration with the State NSS Cell, UT Administration, all government and private colleges of the city, Buffet Hut and NGO Salaam Zindagi at the PGGC-11, will deliver the relief material at the University of Kashmir. It will further distribute it among the victims. — TNS



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