Wednesday, January 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No cut-off date for PU exam forms
Sanjeev S. Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Panjab University has decided to waive off the condition of submitting examination forms before a fixed date for all annual examinations of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the teaching departments on the campus and over 100 affiliated colleges for the ongoing academic session.

“Keeping in view the past precedent and circumstances, this year no specific cut-off date for submission of documents has been suggested”, says an official note which will be sent for ‘consideration’ to the university Syndicate.

It may be remembered that the university had fixed December 15 as the last date for receipt of examination forms with a late fee of Rs 1,000 and clearly stated that “after that date no document would be accepted by the university office under any circumstances whatsoever”. The circular went on to add that the stipulated date would not be extended.

Fixing of a last date for receipt of examination forms was introduced by the university to overcome the problem of candidates whose results were kept pending as “candidate suspended’ for not submitting the required documents before the declaration of results. With December 15 as laste date, students still had a lot of time before examination for completing the formalities.

The university had announced that the last date for receipt of registration return along with complete documents from the Principals and chairperson in the university office was September 30, 2002. Thereafter, these would be accepted with a late fee of Rs 500 till November 15, 2002. From November 16, 2002, till December 15, 2002, would have to pay a late fee of Rs 1,000.

The guidelines were circulated in May, 2002, and it was found that “ the system worked well and proved helpful in decreasing the number of ‘candidate suspended’ cases. This also minimised the litigation as the documents were checked before the date fixed for submission of forms. This meant that ineligible cases were detected well in time.

The need for the university to reconsider the whole issue arose when after December 15, 2002, certain Principals sent the documents (certificates of qualifying examination and migration certificates) and made cases for confirming admissions of students on the plea that the university or the board concerned had issued the certificate very late.

The university note says that “ for accommodating genuine cases received till date or to be received in the near future a relaxation in rules is required to be given”. The university has proposed that students who submit their forms after December 15, 2002, should be asked to pay a penalty of Rs 1,500 each. It is pertinent to mention that during the last academic session a similar concession had been allowed on payment of a penalty.


Watchman murdered near police picket
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 14
A 45-year-old watchman was murdered here late yesterday in a house under construction, in front of a police picket manned by a police commando round-the-clock. The watchman, Vir Sahai, was hit several times on the head with a wooden plank used in construction. The police found his body lying in a pool of blood on the floor.

According to the police, there is no obvious motive for the killing, as there is no sign of any theft or struggle in the room where he was found dead. The police found Rs 1,500 in his pocket. Probably he was murdered in sleep. Three empty bottles of liquor were found on the spot,’’ said Mr Pritam Singh Bedi, SHO of the Central police station here.

The police is also working on a theory that the watchman was involved in an illicit relationship that enraged someone.

The house, so far, has no door or windows. Opposite it is a police security picket, in one corner of the Commando Complex in Phase XI. The picket is manned round-the-clock and commando at duty is relieved every hours. According to the police, no one on duty on the picket seems to have heard or seen anything. The police was informed only early today by some construction workers and a carpenter, who had found the body. They had also informed the owner of the house about it.

‘‘It’s not surprising that the neighbours did not hear anything untoward last night; it’s cold and people generally keep doors closed. Moreover, till late yesterday, the Lohri drums were beating, so, no one could hear anything, said a policeman on the spot.

Vir Sahai, a widower, had come here from Uttar Pradesh. He lived alone in the semi-constructed house; and, each day, after the construction workers left in the evening, he watched over the house and the construction material. His daughter, 12-year-old Raj Mala, works as domestic help in a house in Phase X and also takes care of her 8-year-old brother. The watchman’s two other daughters live in Bareilly.

Vir had recently been employed by a builder as caretaker of this house. The watchman had shifted to SAS Nagar from UP about six months ago and worked as a daily wager with a contractor before being employed as a watchman by Mr Ashwini Arora, owner of the house. Relatives of the watchman gathered at the site said Vir had no enmity with anyone. Visibly shaken, his two children were being consoled by the relatives.

The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC in this regard and, the body of the watchman has been sent to Civil Hospital here for a post-mortem examination.


Four who woke up dead
Asphyxiation or food contamination?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Prema, a woman of Maloya Colony, was supervising Lohri arrangements at her house late yesterday, unaware of the impending tragedy in waiting.

Today, admitted to the Sector 16 Government Hospital, she waits for the results of the post-mortem examination of her husband and two minor daughters, who died late yesterday.

The cause of the death of Hari Ram (32), a rickshaw puller, his two daughters Meenu (8) and Mamta (5), and guest Anurudh, remains a mystery.

“The cause of death can be asphyxiation or food contamination; only the post-mortem examination can tell,” said a police official.

A team of senior police officials led by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Gaurav Yadav, reached the site at about 4 p.m. and rushed the survivours to the hospital. The bodies were handed over to doctors for post-mortem examination that will be conducted tomorrow.

Prema said Anurudh, her colleague at a bottle-cleaning unit, had visited her house at 9.30 p.m. yesterday to celebrate Lohri with her family. She had brought groundnuts, ‘revri’ and popcorns for all.

Her husband, Hari Ram, who was drunk, brought raw meat, that was, later, cooked by her. They went to sleep at 10.10 p.m. yesterday, after eating the meat.

Since it was cold last night, Anurudh stayed with the family. At night, Prema and Anurudh vomitted, but thought nothing of it. Before going back to sleep, Prema brought in burning coal to keep the room warm.

The police said the room in which the family had slept, hardly had any ventilation. However, vomitting by Anurudh and Prema indicates that the food might have been contaminated. Monu, Prema’s son who survived, complained of stomach pain.

Anurudh got up at about 6.30 a.m. today and asked Prema as well to get up. Since, she was not feeling well, she hardly noticed his call. Realising that it was too early to get up, Anurudh went back to sleep.

Prema got up at about 3 p.m. today, unaware of the hour. She tried to wake up everybody, but, realising that something was wrong, rushed out to call her neighbour, Phoolwati. Meanwhile, her son got up. Phoolwati’s husband Ramjeewan was the first to realise that there had been deaths. He went out and told someone to call the police. Police personnel from the Maloya post reached there at 3.45 p.m. followed by senior police officials.

The statement of the woman was recorded by SI Dalbir Singh of the Maloya police post. An FIR is to yet to be registered.


Decks cleared for first genetic lab north of Delhi
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service


  • Can detect chromosomal (genetic) and metabolic disorders.

  • Mothers with one abnormal child can know the status of mental and physical health of the second child.

  • Will allow use of genetic engineering to cure abnormality of the child as it develops.

  • A child who develops abnormality after birth can be screened for deficiency of enzymes. Diet control can be suggested accordingly.

Chandigarh, January 14
In a development that will serve to enhance medical prowess of the city, the UT Administration has sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for the initial stage of the genetic laboratory, the first-ever to come up in the region north of Delhi. The amount has been sanctioned under the Central Government's National Programme for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (NPRPD).

With the Social Welfare Department, UT, providing Rs 50 lakh and another Rs 14 lakh coming from the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children (GIMRC), Sector 32, the stage is set for the installation of equipment in genetic laboratory building which has already been constructed in the GMCH, Sector 32. Training of the faculty for the genetic laboratory will be conducted by experts in the AIIMS, Delhi.

Dr B.S. Chavan, Head, Department of Psychiatry, GMCH, in charge of the project, informed Chandigarh Tribune that letters had been sent to the AIIMS and confirmation with regard to the dates of training is awaited. "The training will last between four and six weeks," he said.

Once established, the laboratory will offer medical facilities for detection of mental and physical abnormalities. It will cater to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal. The biggest advantage of the laboratory will be that it will enable the families of mentally and physically challenged people to determine the level of their health. Also mothers who already have a challenged child can, after a thorough genetic screening during the second pregnancy, find out the health of the second child.

Explaining the lab's significance, Dr Chavan said, "Mothers of mentally or physically challenged children are apprehensive about the health of the next child. The laboratory will enable us to know if the second child in the family would be handicapped. In case of abnormality, we can suggest medical termination of the pregnancy."

The laboratory will detect two types of abnormalities. Dr Gurjit from the Department of Physiology, who will be part of the lab's faculty, said that initially biochemical and metabolic disorders would be detected at the laboratory. "Gradually chromosomal-enzymatic disorders like the Down's syndrome will also be detected," she said. Conceived about two and a half years ago, the project is expected to take shape by March.



4 of family killed in mishap
Bipin Bhardwaj

Banur, January 14
Four members of a family, driving through a thick fog, died in a head on collision between their jeep and a truck at Jangpura village on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway about 3 km from here, early today.

Two members of the family sustained serious injuries. One of the injured, who was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Sector 32 of Chandigarh, is in a critical condition.

The persons in the jeep — Baldev Singh (driver), Darshna Kaur, her husband Haquam Singh, Dyal Kaur, Tarsem Singh and Tek Singh — were coming from Chhajli village in Sunam tehsil to the PGI in Chandigarh, where one of them was to be operated upon, when the Mahendra Jeep (PB-13-G-2585) collided with the truck (HR-37-A-2252) at about 8.30 am.

While Baldev Singh, Darshna Kaur, Dyal Kaur and Tarsem Singh died on the spot, seriously injured Tek Singh was rushed to the GMCH. Haquam Singh was admitted to a local hospital.

The impact of the collision blew off the jeep top and crushed the front. It dragged the vehicle into shrubs, about 10 feet away. The windowpanes of the vehicles lay shattered on the road.

Soon after receiving the information of the mishap, a police party led by an ASI, Mr Kasturi Lal, reached the spot and took out the bodies and the injured from the wreck with the help of villagers living nearby who had gathered there.

The driver of the truck has absconded.

The police has sent the bodies to Civil Hospital at Rajpura for post-mortem examination. After impounding both vehicles, the police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 427 and 304-A of the IPC at the Banur police station in this regard. 


Intended land allotment reviewed
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 14
The intended allotment of land for institutional sites in the state by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) done during the Badal regime came under scrutiny today at a meeting of the Review Committee formed by the Punjab Government to look into allegations of unfair allotment of these sites. 

According to sources, the committee formed to scrutinise the societies and bodies which had been issued letters of intent by PUDA for allotment of land for institutional sites submitted its report at the meeting. Though a majority of the bodies had been found to be above board in their qualifying credentials, there is a likelihood of some letters of intent being revoked by PUDA on the basis of foul play.

The Review Committee headed by Mr D.S. Kalha will take the final decision on the matter at the next meeting.Back


Change in booths after SEC’s consent: DC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 14
The Chief Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat, has said the change in polling stations for the municipal council elections, in Wards 4 and 13, could be made only on the directions of the State Election Commission.

Ms Ahlawat said she had received representations from candidates in both the wards, asking for the polling stations to be shifted. The candidates in Ward 4 had said that two polling booths were set up in Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 7, were far from Sector 6 and inconvenient for its voters.

Similarly, candidates in Ward 13 said the polling station, for house nos 1486 to 1685 in Sector 15, in the SBI Training Centre, Sector 14, was also far off. The Deputy Commissioner said polling booths in both wards had been decided on the pattern followed during the Vidhan Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, candidates in various wards have intensified their campaigning. Election meetings were organised in a number of wards and election manifestoes of a number of candidates were released today. In Ward 21, Mr Ram Sarup Singh, an Independent candidate, held an election meeting in a public park and assured residents that he would work for repairing roads and berms, constructing speed breakers, beautification of parks, upgradation of the government dispensary and setting up a round-the-clock help line for senior citizens.

Ms Kiranjit Kaur, a candidate from Ward 5, said she had finished her door-to-door campaigning and was getting a good response from the people. She assured to get a community centre constructed in the ward, besides better water and power supply. She said she would work for inclusion of women in decision making by setting up an advisory committee and a steering committee and improving the government dispensary in the ward.

Mr Darshan Kumar, an Independent candidate, from Ward 21 has promised setting up an old-age home, recarpeting roads at regular intervals, adequate water supply, security arrangement and proper functioning of streetlights.

In Ward 10, an Independent candidate and social worker, Ms Jalmegha Dahiya, said she had completed her door-to-door campaigning thrice and was now personally meeting her supporters. She has promised to improve water supply, find a solution for the water shortage in the town, improving roads, parks and streetlighting and removing encroachments.

Mr Pardeep Sharma, a candidate from Ward 19, said he had completed his door-to-door campaigning and was getting positive response from the people. He has promised beautification of a nullah passing through Sector 12-A and Railly village, better civic amenities in Railly village, and better maintenance of parks.

Ms Asha Sharma from Ward 24 said she had intensified her campaign and was getting a positive response from the people. She said she had been assured support by the House Owners Welfare Association and several religious bodies in the area. Ms Sharma has promised regular and clean water supply, sanitation, abolition of fire tax and rationalisation of other taxes.

Ms Rekha Sharma, BJP candidate from Ward 10, said she visited 250 houses in Sector 9 today and was assured support by members of the House Owners Welfare Association. She also held nukkad meetings today. She is promising abolition of fire tax and house tax, better roads, water supply and streetlights in the area.

Ms Meena Vikrant Sharma, a journalist by profession and candidate from Ward 22, said she would work for improving civic amenities, opening collection centres for water and electricity bills and a hobby centre for women in the ward.

Mrs Kusum Lata Joshi, a candidate supported by the Panchkula Citizens Welfare Council in Ward 2, said she was getting a good response from the people. She is promising the creation of green belts, better sanitation and more safety in her ward.

Meanwhile, Ms Surinder Parmar in Ward 4, Mr Sadhu Ram Jain in Ward 21, Lieut-Col Surjit Singh in Ward 27, Mr Dilbag Singh Nain in Ward 13 and Dr Satish Chakravarty in Ward 20 intensified their campaigning.


Neeru Nanda felicitated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh’s recent campaign to make certain sectors “garbage bin less” here today won accolades from the former Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, who termed the scheme as capable of showing the country a way in solving sanitation problems.

Ms Nanda herself is being praised for her efforts to improve sanitation and provide better environment in the city during her term.

Addressing a gathering to felicitate her in the Municipal Corporation, she appreciated councillors, Medical Officer Health (MOH) Dr G.C. Bansal and Commissioner M.P. Singh for evolving a system that would show a path to the country in sanitation.

Ms Nanda said it was a purely homegrown effort and the success in Sectors 15 and 8 had drawn attention of even the Central Government.

Inquiries from the MC revealed the programme was being studied by the Central Pollution Control Board, which has also offered a Rs 1 crore grant to the MCC for supporting its efforts in sanitation, for replicating it at other places in the country.

The former Adviser reposed great faith in her successor Virendra Singh terming him as an “experienced and brilliant officer.”

Mayor Subhash Chawla remembered her tenure as very supportive to the Municipal Corporation with relations of Chandigarh Administration and the local body becoming harmonious.

Welcoming the new Adviser, Mr Chawla urged him to continue the cooperation that had recently been developed between the state government and the local body.

Local MP Pawan Bansal while putting Ms Nanda in the category of Dr M.S. Randhawa, an eminent Chief Commissioner of the city, asked Mr Virendra Singh to provide continuity to the approach of the Chandigarh Administration towards the problems of the people.

Municipal Commissioner M.P. Singh thanked the gathering.

The function was attended amongst others by Home Secretary R.S. Gujaral, Finance Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Housing Board Chairman G.K. Marvah, Managing Director of CITCO S.P. Singh, Joint Finance Secretary Dilip Singh, Deputy Commissioner M. Ramsekhar, Inspector General of Police Rajesh Gupta, Chief Engineer Puranjeet Singh, Additional Commissioner Ashok Vashishth and Chief Engineer, MC, V.K. Bharadwaj.


Amritsar coldest in Punjab at 0.7°C

Chandigarh, January 14
Normal life in the city and parts of Punjab and Haryana was thrown out of gear today due to thick fog till late morning, even as temperatures plummetted at many places with Amritsar shivering under a bone chilling low of 0.7°C.

A thick blanket of fog in the city and its adjoining areas affected life. Most vehicles were forced to move at a snail’s pace moving with their headlights on. Some sunshine later in the day failed to provide much warmth.

Chandigarh had a cold night recording a low of 4.2°C, down by three degrees, the Meteorological Office said. Patiala at 4.0°C and Ludhiana at 3.9°C, both down by three degrees, also reported cold nights.

Ambala and Hisar in Haryana also braved biting cold recording respective lows of 3.7°C and 3.4°C, both below normal.

Srinagar in Kashmir Valley shivered after the low there dropped to a bone chilling minus 6.4°C, down by two degrees, while Jammu also had a cold night at 1.7°C, down by six degrees. Bhuntar (-1.6°C) and Sundernagar (-1.0°C) in Himachal also had cold nights, but Shimla was warmer in comparison recording a low of 5.7°C, which was four degrees above normal.

Many trains passing through Punjab and Haryana were running late by up to five hours while two flights from here had to be cancelled due to thick fog. The Indian Airlines flight to Goa and the Jet Airways flight to Mumbai were cancelled for the 13th time this year due to inclement weather.

“Fog has been playing havoc with our flight schedules and we have not been able to operate our flight to Goa from here since December 31 (barring January 3),” IA’s station manager B.P. Nautiyal said.

Several inter-state buses reaching this city arrived late while vehicular traffic along NH 1 was also affected.

UNA: The local meterological office recorded the Monday morning temperature at minus 4.7°C, which is the third lowest during the current cold wave. The coldest night in this season was January 11 at minus 5.2°C, while the mercury had dipped to minus 5°C on the previous night.

Una, which is considered a plain in comparision to the rest of the state, has not experienced such low temperatures during the past 22 years. Dense fog, with a high degree of humidity, engulfed the lower parts of the Una valley on Tuesday, which cleared only in the afternoon.

At the higher reaches of Bangana and Chintpurni, the sun shone brightly through the day on Tuesday. PTI, UNI


BSNL fails to distribute bills
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, January 14
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) failed to distribute telephone bills to subscribers of over dozens of villages falling within the Zirakpur telephone exchange. The subscribers had to go to the exchange to collect their bills which have been lying piled up outside the exchange for the past couple of days.

Because of negligence on the part of the nigam the telephone bills failed to reach the subscribers in time leaving over 3,500 subscribers in a fix.

The subscribers of the area complained that the bills were not delivered by the Nigam officials through the Postal Department even though the last date for the payment is January 15.

The problem came to light after some subscribers approached the BSNL authorities about enquiring their telephone bills. They noticed the bills lying up piled outside the exchange, said Mr Surjit Singh, resident of Naraingarh Jhungian village.

Another subscriber of Singhpura Bhuda village, Mr Tajinder Singh, complained that the BSNL authorities had piled the bills outside the exchange office without any serial number which was of great inconvenience to them.

The affected subscribers have demanded that the due date for the payment of bills should be extended, as they were put to a great hardship because of the negligence on the part of the Nigam.

Officials in the Zirakpur telephone exchange when contacted, said the original bills of telephone serial number (289..) were lost after being dispatched by the BSNL authorities in Patiala. ‘‘We have released duplicate bills for all the serial numbers so that the subscribers who had not received the bills could collect from the exchange,’’ an employee of the exchange said.


Hospice for cancer patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
It was a rare glow on the face of eight-year-old Bhavana, a cancer patient with brain tumour, when the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (Retd), offered him a rose bud and a comfortable place to live in.

Similar were the cases of Satyawati, Yoshoda, Chinta Devi and Dilip Singh, all cancer patients, when General Jacob gave them a New Year gift on the day of Makar Sakranti, Pongal to the residents of Chandigarh in the shape of Hospice.

The city today became one of the select cities to have such a centre that will enable cancer patents to lead their life in serene and peaceful environment in home-like comforts and under the expert guidance of doctors and paramedical staff.

General Jacob had kept on pursuing various donors and other wings of Administration to have Hospice operational in the city at the earliest. Things got delayed a bit, as NRI donors backed out at the last moment. But General Jacob and his team of officials selected a building in Sector 43, got it furnished with the help of donors within a month and got it operational. The centre has a capacity to keep 12 patients. It already has five patients on rolls on the inaugural day.

Speaking on the occasion, General Jacob said the project had proved wrong the notion that it was without a soul. He said the response of people for the project had proved that they would come forward for any genuine project.

General Jacob thanking the donors for their support for this project, felt satisfied that after Cheshire Home, this project has also fructified. He honoured the donors by presenting them mementoes on this occasion. The Mayor, the Home Secretary, the Finance Secretary and the Director, PGIMER, were also present on the occasion.


Repair work to hit water supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Water supply is like to be affected in the city tomorrow evening and on January 16 morning due to a major repair work on the 11-KV Kharar-Morinda and Kajauli power line, an official press release said.


Workshop on power reforms today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Representatives of all categories of consumers of electricity and experts on the power sector will participate in a workshop at CRRID tomorrow to discuss the nature and scope of power reforms, according to an official press note. Dr Gajendra Haldea, a specialist on the power sector, will also participate.


2 held on theft charge
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 14
With the arrest of two thieves of computer parts, the police has claimed that recent serial thefts of computer-related items in the city are likely to be solved. The police was on lookout for an accomplice of the arrested persons.

Meanwhile, incidents of burglaries continued unabated in the city as at least two more such cases were reported from different parts. Mr Rakesh Sharma of SCO 165-166, Sector 8, reported that burglars broke into his shop and decamped with computer parts on the night of January 12.

Vikas Khosla of Sector 15 reported to the police that at around 6 pm yesterday, he saw three youths, one of them carrying a CPU, fleeing on a Bullet motor cycle from near his house. Later, he found his own CPU missing. A team of CIA later tracked down the CPU to a computer repair shop in Sector 35. As per sources, three persons had left the CPU at the shop for repair as its hard disk was malfunctioning.

The motor cycle allegedly used by the trio was also found abandoned in Sector 21. The police carried out raids and arrested two of the youths, Yadvinder Singh of Phase X, SAS Nagar, and Rohit Arora of Khanna. On January 8, thieves had reportedly decamped with computer-related items from a shop in Sector 20. Repeated incidents of theft of computer accessories from shops in Sectors 17, 18, 20, 22 and 35 during the past one year have been reported.

A shop in Kajheri village was also reported to be burgled on the night of January 12. Mr Jaswinder Singh of Kajheri reported that eight CD players, 100 wrist-watches, radio sets, cameras and other items were stolen after breaking locks of his shop.


10-yr-old crushed to death
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 14
A 10-year-old boy was crushed to death by a Tata Sierra in Phase X here last night. The victim, Vishal Kiran, a resident of Phase X, was crossing the main road when the accident took place. His parents, according to the police, were celebrating Lohri outside their house and the child was crossing the road to reach his house.

The driver fled in the vehicle. The police has registered a case.

Died of cold
Swaran Singh, a 45-year-old daily-wager working in a farm in Gige Majra, died due to cold last night.


Three arrested
The police has arrested a young girl and her two companions from Sector 4 here on the charge of indulging in immoral trafficking. The girl and the other accused, Bhushan and Ravindra, were arrested after a decoy customer was sent to them. It may be noted that this girl and Bhushan had been arrested by the police a few week ago on the same charges and were now out on bail.

Two held
The police arrested Subhash and Ram on the charge of selling kerosene in black. Ten litres of kerosene were also seized from them.

Liquor seized
The police has seized 100 pouches of liquor from near Dhandardu village. The accused, Harkesh, has been booked under different sections of the Excise Act.

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