Finally, multi-level parking being built
In October, construction work of the first multi-level parking in Sector 17 began. It is expected to be completed in two years. The project will provide some respite as it would accommodate 950 vehicles.
PU ‘best in India’
Times Higher Education Ranking gave out a surprise in October as Panjab University was ranked number one in the country leaving behind even IITs and IIMs. While there were some who sought to put the rankings in perspective by digging deep, the news brought much cheer overall. With the ranking, the fund-starved university expects more influx of money for development.
Metro pact finalised
The Chandigarh administration and the governments of Punjab and Haryana have agreed on the terms and conditions of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which was circulated by the union ministry of urban development for execution of the metro rail project. The plan now is for all three beneficiaries and the Centre putting in 25% cost each. Covering a distance of 12.49 kilometres, the first corridor of the metro will stretch from Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex to SAS Nagar’s Sector 70, of which 4.97 km will fall in SAS Nagar. The project’s second corridor will start from Mullanpur and end at the grain market in Panchkula’s Sector 20 — its length will be 25.7 km. The first corridor is expected to be operational by 2018.
NSUI wins PU student polls
The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), a wing of the Congress, won the student council elections at Panjab University in September, bagging the posts of president and joint secretary. It was NSUI’s first election after re-launch by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in October 2012. Two powerful student groups, SOPU and PUSU, failed even to register their presence in the council. SOPU and PUSU along with other parties staged protests for days following which PU had to probe the allegations of malpractices by NSUI to win election. The panel cleared NSUI of charges, and campus politics appears to have changed forever as all mainstream political parties’ student wings are trying to make inroads now.
Big step towards slum-free city
The demolition of Colony Number 5, considered one of the biggest slums of Chandigarh, came as a giant leap towards making the city slum-free. The residents have been rehabilitated in flats at Kharar. Pulling the colony down after a three-day drive, the administration cleared 60 acres from illegal occupants, paving way for residential and commercial development.
In a step towards ensuring that private schools do not indulge in profiteering and blatant commercialisation of education, the Punjab and Haryana high court directed the two states and Chandigarh on April 9 to examine feasibility of establishing permanent regulatory bodies. The court constituted three committees headed by retired high court judges to look into accounts of all private schools in both the states and Chandigarh. In case it was found that fees hike was more than warranted, direction could be given to refund it to the students, said the court. However, the committees have not submitted their reports yet.
SMS alerts for water bills
Chandigarh MC in August launched SMS alerts to remind about payment of water bills. Also, now consumers can submit their meter reading online and get their bills through email. The move came after the MC found a long list of defaulters and disconnected nearly 1,800 connections in the past three months. The new service will not leave chance of delay and consumers can even pay bills by showing the SMS at a Sampark Centre
P’kula municipal corporation
Panchkula’s mayor was elected in June with Congress’ Upinder Kaur Walia taking over. With the upgrading from municipal council status, areas of Barwala, Pinjore and Kalka are also included in the civic body’s ambit, and more funds are being allocated.
Property tax cut
Bending before people’s protest, the Haryana government reduced property tax in the entire state, including Panchkula, where protests were vociferous. While earlier it was tied with the collector rate of the property, a new formula has reduced it significantly. Not only has the tax now become nominal but even the MC’s target of Rs 25 crore per annum of tax has come down to Rs 5 crore.
A decade-old dream came true at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. In August, a team of surgeons from the department of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery (CTVS) performed the first heart transplant in the history of the PGIMER. The surgery was performed on a 53-year-old man named ML Arora.
MC helpline in SAS Nagar
In December, the municipal corporation of SAS Nagar launched a toll-free helpline number 1800-137-0007 to address grievances of residents against deficiency in services. Residents can use the number to complain about problems on sewerage management, water, streetlights and cleanliness issues, which would be redressed within 24 hours. Earlier, residents were facing a tough time as the MC never responded on contact numbers given on its website.
Most roads leading to the Indian School of Business (ISB) got a new look, thanks to the Progressive Punjab Investors’ Summit held by the state government at the private institute on December 9 and 10. The summit hosted business heads and representatives of more than 2,000 companies from the country and abroad. Roads were re-carpeted, reflectors installed, trees pruned, and railings put on road dividers. The sanitation department lifted garbage that had been lying on the roadsides for months.
Cancer hospital foundation laid
Coming up at an investment of Rs 450 crore, the Mullanpur cancer hospital and research centre would be developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) on the lines of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. Punjab has witnessed an increase in the number of cancer cases in recent years. GMADA has allotted 50 acres in Medicity for the project. PM Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone of the hospital on December 30.