Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nek Chand, creator of Chandigarh's famed Rock Garden, dead

Nek Chand, the creator of world famous Rock Garden in Chandigarh, died on Friday at a hospital in the city where he had been admitted following chest pain.

The Padmashri awardee, whose 90th birthday was celebrated by the Chandigarh Administration on December 15, died at the PGIMER shortly past midnight, his family said. He was brought to PGIMER last evening, hospital officials said.

Nek Chand, who was born in a village now in Pakistan, worked as a road inspector of the Public Works Department. His body will be kept in the Rock garden on Friday to enable people to pay their last respects, his family said, adding, the cremation is expected to take place on Saturday.

He built the city's iconic Rock Garden from waste and other unused household materials. Spread over an area of forty-acres, the garden was inaugurated in 1976.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Actress Gul Panag joins AAP, to contest polls from Chandigarh

Chandigarh: Former Miss India and actor Gul Panag today joined Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and will be its candidate for Lok Sabha polls from Chandigarh, a place where she was born and describes as her "family's home". Panag said that the country is at the threshold of change which is being led by AAP and Arvind Kejriwal. Gul Panag. AFP "There is a time in every country's history when staying on the side-lines is no longer an option. We are on the cusp of transformational change in the country that is being heralded by AAP and Arvind Kejriwal," the 35-year-old actor said. Panag was declared the AAP candidate by party's senior leader Manish Sisodia at a chaotic press conference here. After comedian Bhagwant Mann, who is party nominee from Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, Panag is the second celebrity fielded by the AAP in the region. Earlier, comedian Jaspal Bhatti's widow Savita Bhatti was declared as the AAP candidate from Chandigarh seat, but she opted out of the race after reportedly failing to sync with local party activists. Panag said that Chandigarh is "plagued" with the same issues -- dynastic politics, corruption, crony capitalism -- which the entire country is facing these days. Panag's father Lt Gen (retd) H S Panag had joined the AAP last month. She also described herself as a city girl to downplay the claims that she is a paratrooper selected by the AAP as she has no longer association with the city and lives in Mumbai. "My roots are in Chandigarh. It's been my family's home since my grandfather Colonel Shamsher Singh settled here in 1965. It's where I grew up, studied and it's where my family lives. "I am delighted to be able to have an opportunity to contribute so directly to the welfare of my people and the country," she said. She also appealed the youth to join politics. "One must be part of the politics in the country to cleanse it," she said, urging people "to join AAP's movement to secure the future of next generations in the country. "I cannot sit as neutral and be a fence watcher...to bring change in the country one need to jump into the political battle field," Panag said. "If your conscious says you can bring change then certainly you can do so," she said. Born into a second generation armed forces family in Chandigarh in 1979, Panag has studied and lived across various cities in India due to her father's frequent transfers. She recently returned to Chandigarh to complete her Masters in Political Science from Punjab University Chandigarh. Sisodia welcomed Panag to the AAP fold in the media interaction where heated arguments took place between AAP activists, journalists and some outsiders who sought clarifications from the AAP leadership over party's ideology. Panag, who has also participated in the India Against Corruption movement, said that she feel honoured that she is contesting as an AAP candidate for the Chandigarh seat. Panag has worked for gender equality, addiction awareness, education, employment and disaster management. She also started her own NGO -- The Colonel Shamsher Singh Foundation. The Foundation also runs an online volunteering portal the 'Social Outreach and Accreditation Program'. As an actor, she played powerful characters in Hindi films like Dhoop, Dor, Manorama Six Feet Under, Straight and most recently Punjabi film Sikander. A serial half-marathon runner, Panag is the brand ambassador for 'Pinkathon', an all-women's marathon that seeks to promote healthier lifestyle among women and raise awareness for breast cancer. On her joining the politics, Panag said that "I chase dreams with a motive to achieve something." Her message to the youth was "chase dreams and you will achieve something." She rejected assertion that she was not commoner, but a celebrity. "I am an actor and after doing acting I reached here (joined politics)," she said. The main political parties Congress and BJP are yet to announce candidate for the Chandigarh seat. At present Congress' Pawan Kumar Bansal is sitting MP from the city. Earlier, Sisodia met AAP workers in the city and came along with Panag to the press conference here to declare her as the party nominee. Before Panag could reply a volley of questions from media there was a total chaos with AAP activists, journalists and some outsiders shouting at each other. AAP activists raised slogans at the venue and Sisodia left after introducing Panag to the media. PTI

Friday, August 24, 2012

Punjab's brave women toll booth operators

Chandigarh: We have seen incidents in the past there CCTV footage has revealed how toll collectors on the highway are attacked and face wrath of drivers on the highway.

Last year, a toll collector was shot dead at a toll plaza near Gurgaon when he refused to allow someone through without paying.

Clearly, in a country where tempers on the highway run high a toll attendant's job is a dangerous one. And in such a scenario, if women take up this job, it is bound to make headlines.

But it is perhaps this challenge or simply the opening up of a new avenue that is attracting many young women and there are now 40 women employed at toll booths on Punjab and Haryana highways.

"We are not less than anybody. If girls can be in BSF, why can't we do this job? We are not lacking in anything. If there is any problem we face it," says Gagan Bansal, who quit her job as a school teacher to be a toll collector.

"We can't live in fear. We have to do something, and here it is not very difficult. We have to face the customer and we were trained for it," says Rinki, a female toll collector.

Those pass through say it's a welcome change.

But most important officials say cases of toll attendants being abused or assaulted that ranged from 50 to 60 every month are now down 70 per cent at the four toll plazas where women are employed.
Officials say this is because the women handle an argument better.

"The opportunity has been created for girls it is tough. Yes it is a difficult job but we take proper care of their security," says Sachin Sharma, a toll plaza manager at Shambhu, Punjab.

It is considered one of the most dangerous job, but here women have a point to prove that they can brave it all with a smile on their face.

Open sex at Chandigarh rave party, probe ordered

Chandigarh: Police raided an alleged rave party at a local club being attended by youths from the city and Delhi and arrested at least 10 people.

The party organised at the local Lake club turned ugly with police driving the revellers out after they tried to enter the swimming pool.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Mahavir Kaushik has been asked to enquire into the incident and submit a report to take further action if any other offence is made out and if other administrative action is required, an official spokesman said here.

"He will look into the whole process to find out whether any offence is made out under excise act in this case. In addition, he will suggest measures to prevent such happenings in future," the spokesman said.

According to TV reports, the party went extreme way with some revellers indulging in open sex. However, the club has denied the reports.

Meanwhile, Rajiv Tuli, the general manager of the club, has been suspended.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chandigarh tops the country in voluntary blood donation

Chandigarh tops the country in voluntary blood donation (VBD) with a rating of 85%. Moreover, the collection through VBD has risen to 90% during January to March, 2010. UT is followed by West Bengal with 78%. Also, city's blood collection is more than the consumption. Chandigarh blood transfusion services have also been declared the best in the country by National AIDS Control Organisation.

In city, approximately 70,000 units of blood is required per year. In the last financial year (2009-10), 75,350 blood units were collected, of which 85% was through voluntary blood donation.

Dr MS Bains, UT director, health services, said, "Chandigarh is number one in voluntary blood donation (85%), whereas the national average is 76% and neighbouring states have scored less than 75%."

Dr Vanita Gupta, project director, State AIDS Control Society, said, "This year, Chandigarh has touched 90% for voluntary blood collection, making it the hub of the largest proportion of voluntary blood collection in India." She said VBD was the safest source of blood transfusion. The target set by the government was 100% voluntary donation and Chandigarh was approaching it.

HIV positivity in blood collected in India is 0.3% and in Chandigarh it is 0.2%. To reduce this number, Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society and Chandigarh State Blood Transfusion Council are promoting voluntary non-remunerated blood donation.

Dr Gupta said, "There are nine parameters to measure blood safety in the country. These parameters are units of annual blood collection, voluntary blood donation and annual blood donation camps, among others. To meet these parameters, the target of 600 blood donation camps was also fulfilled." Till March 31, of the 21,183 units collected, 19,083 units came through VBD, making it 90%. Only 2,100 units were from replacement donors.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

-=- Chandigarh is officially India's cleanest city -=-

Chandigarh has emerged as the number one city in terms of sanitation in the National Rating Exercise, government said on Monday.

Announcing this, Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy listed Mysore at number two, Surat at number three and the NDMC area of New Delhi in the fourth position.

"The purpose of this exercise is to recognise better performers as well as to encourage other cities to perform better. The idea behind the exercise is to galvanise action in states and cities towards better sanitation," Reddy said.

Policy rating of 423 cities which covers 72 per cent of the urban population was undertaken. The country was divided into five zones for the purpose and each city was scored on 19 indicators.

Officials said the cities were classified into four colour categories of red, black, blue and green.

"The rating of cities creates a baseline which can be used to measure progress in respect of sanitation in our cities and is expected to encourage cities to perform better in years to come," a senior official said.

None of the cities were rated as "Green" the best category in the exercise. However, four cities -- Chandigarh, Mysore, Surat and NDMC area in New Delhi -- were in the Blue category.

Reddy said he will be writing to all the chief ministers of the states to prioritise sanitation.

"I hope the ratings today will indeed mobilise all stakeholders to prioritise and take action for improving sanitation," the minister added.

In the vicinity of Chandigarh this is my place..and the Garden above is where I daily go for a jog...Just 100 meters from my home...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mansa Devi

Mansa means desire and Meri Maiya who fulfills the desire of HER devotees, is popularly known as Mansa Devi. Mata Mansa Devi Temple at Panchkula is a symbol of Himalayan culture and faith. The shrine located on the foot hills of Shivalik is an epitome of age old tradition of ‘Shakti’ worship in northern India. Himalaya being the abode of Shiva and his consort’shakti’ became centre of shakti worship. In the vicinity of Panchkula there are numerous Shakti worshipping centers known by their names such as Chandi, Kalika, Mansa, Bhima etc. Hence, mythological speaking,Chandigarh-Panchkula region undoubtedly continued to be living legends of shaktism where its practices are in vogue. However, the present temple which stands a witness to the exciting past of the Shivalik region is about two hundred years old. The archeological treasures unearthed from Chandigarh-Panchkula region throw eloquent light on the history and culture of the area from the prehistoric to the recent times.