C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Babla likely to be disqualified
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Devinder Singh Babla of the Congress is likely to be disqualified as councillor from the municipal corporation on the basis of absence from the house for three consecutive months. Highly placed sources in the Chandigarh administration said the authorities might issue orders in this regard soon.

In November, on a request by Babla, who had been absconding in a shed allotment case, the house approved his exemption till December, on which the administration asked the corporation to submit a report.

On receipt of the report from the corporation, the administration sought legal opinion from standing counsel Anupam Gupta whether exemption could be granted to an absconding person.

The sources said as the confirmation of the minutes in which the agenda item of Babla’s exemption had been passed was yet to be approved, he was being considered as an absentee from the house meetings till now.

According to Section 36(1) of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, if a councillor remains absent from all meetings for three consecutive months without the permission of the house, the corporation can declare his seat vacant.

The sources said the administration was planning to disqualify Babla on these grounds as he had already remained absent from the house since September.

Under Section 13(A) of the municipal Act, if any councillor is subject to disqualification, the matter is referred to the administrator and his decision is final.

The standing counsel might submit his report to the administrator by tomorrow. Legal experts opined that the authorities would initially have to issue a show-cause notice to Babla. In case the administrator cancelled Babla’s membership, he would not be able to vote in the mayoral election, scheduled for January 1, and the Congress would lose one vote.



5 more deaths from swine flu
Tribune News Service

List of doctors authorised to treat H1N1

  • Dr Anil Kumar - 9417199555
  • Dr RS Bedi- 9814523344
  • Dr Sukhchain Bhullar -9814015233
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  • Dr HV Jindal - 9417505512
  • Dr Rajic Charan Singh Sachdeva - 9855033242
  • Dr SK Garg - 9417139839
  • Dr KK Sharma -0172-2644049

Chandigarh, December 30
The swine flu death graph is rising at an alarming rate in the city.

Five more persons, including a resident of Chandigarh, succumbed to the deadly virus today, raising the death toll to 55.

The number of H1N1 patients has also surged to 326, including a doctor from the PGI paediatrics department.

Since September 28, when the first death was reported in the city, the death toll has been steadily climbing.

HC Gera, UT Nodal Officer for swine flu, said Rajan (52) from Sector 32, Chandigarh, Pooja (20) from Mandi Gobindgarh and Lajvanti (66) from Mohali died at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, while Gangaram (65) from Bilaspur and Ritu Gulati (34) from Ambala died at the PGI.

Those testing positive for swine flu include a 33-year-old male doctor from the paediatrics department of the PGI, a four-month-old baby boy from Kharar and a 25-year-old person from Sangrur.

So far, around 55 persons have died of swine flu in the city hospitals, including eight from Chandigarh, 25 from Punjab and 15 from Haryana and others from Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Over 320 persons have tested positive, including 155 from Chandigarh, 85 from Punjab and 75 from Haryana and eight from Himachal Pradesh and others from UP.

Meanwhile, more doctors from the Indian Medical Association (state branch) have been authorised to treat suspected/confirmed cases with Tamiflu.



Ruchika’s Expulsion
Sacred Heart seeks time from admn
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, has asked for a day or two from the UT administration to ascertain whether Ruchika Girhotra had been expelled from the institution under pressure or withdrawn by her family after the molestation incident.

Promising to cooperate with the administrative inquiry, the school authorities asked the probe team headed by SDM(S) Prerna Puri to wait till tomorrow as the principal, Sister Sebastina, who incidentally was the principal at the time of Ruchika’s alleged expulsion, would be back from holidays by then.

“We have our doubts that the parents of Ruchika might have withdrawn their child from school. If she had been told to leave, there must have been a very strong administrative reason behind it. It is an old incident and we need some time to pull out our records for the inquiry committee,” said Father Thomas, official spokesperson.

The school had so far not handed over any documentary records to the administration and according to sources, the letter of affiliation of the school submitted in 1991 had revealed that Sister Sebastina was the principal then.

“She was heading the school at that time, but I can confirm that Ruchika was never victimised under anybody’s pressure,” added Father Thomas.

Reacting to a complaint filed by a close associate of Anand Prakash, UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas had marked an inquiry against the school for Ruchika’s expulsion, allegedly under pressure, a month after being molested by SPS Rathore.

Ruchika was a Class X student at that time and Rathore’s daughter was her classmate. The school had initially cited non-payment of monthly fee as the reason behind Ruchika’s expulsion.

Rathore had used this expulsion to counter the charge sheet against him by claiming that the teenager had been expelled on moral grounds.



Security geared up for New Year celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The police has identified as many as 94 sensitive points in the city in view of the New Year celebrations.

The traffic police in a press release stated that elaborate security arrangements had been made and extra force would be deployed to maintain the law and order situation in the city.

Apart from routine policing, over 1,500 personnel of various ranks would be deployed in the city. These extra personnel would remain deployed at all sensitive points. As many as 12 gazetted officials, 27 inspectors, 85 non-gazetted officials would be supervising the law and order situation. Besides, special nakas and patrolling by the paramilitary forces would be part of the security arrangements, the police added.

The police control room personnel and officials from the CID wing in mufti will remain stationed around the sensitive places in the city.

While wishing a happy New Year to the city residents, the police has appealed to residents to cooperate with them in order to avoid any untoward incidents.



Poor visibility hits flights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The city had a chilly and foggy morning today. The visibility was 1000m, but the impact was felt at the airport, where for the first time this winter, no flight could land due to poor visibility.

The mist in the air brought down the day temperature to 20.2 degree Celsius, two degrees below normal. The minimum rose to 3.8 degree Celsius. The weather was likely to remain the same tomorrow.

The meteorological department forecast a partly cloudy sky with some mist or fog in the morning. The minimum temperature was expected to be around 5 degree Celsius.



Fruit-seller looted, stabbed to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
A fruit-seller in his mid-twenties was allegedly stabbed to death by at least two unidentified persons near the Dadu Majra Colony here last night. The killers dragged Rajesh, the victim, to a secluded place, robbed him of cash and other articles and stabbed him repeatedly.

The incident occurred around 10 pm when Rajesh was on his way back home. Though it appeared to be a case of robbery, the police was also looking into other aspects.

The police initially thought that the murder could be the result of old enmity as Rajesh was the complainant in a snatching case in which the accused had been nabbed.

The case was currently at the trial stage. The police found that the statement of Rajesh was recorded on December 23.

The police later learnt that Ravinder, alias Ravi, the accused, was still in jail, as no one stood surety for him, and hence, this angle was ruled out.

A father of two minor children, Rajesh had been living in rented accommodation with his relatives and others from his native village, Khushi Nagar, Uttar Pradesh.

The police said the killers, who were at least two in number, stopped Rajesh near abandoned four-storeyed houses near Dadu Majra village, following which they had an altercation.

The victim’s acquaintance, Nand Kishore, on whose statement the police registered a case, said he found the ‘rehri’ of Rajesh on the road, with things lying scattered nearby.

As Rajesh was nowhere to be seen, Nand Kishore started looking around for him and went towards the abandoned houses.

He found Rajesh lying in a pool of blood, bleeding profusely from the thigh. He called for help and the police was informed about the incident.

A police control room vehicle reached the spot and shifted the victim to the PGI, where he was declared brought dead.

A doctor said the thigh artery of the victim was cut due to stabbing, which caused excessive bleeding, leading to his death. The police said it was a blind murder case, adding that no cash was found with the victim, which indicated that the killers robbed him.

The police informed his relatives. The police today got a post-mortem examination conducted in the presence of the victim’s relatives.

The police registered a case of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the IPC, but converted it to Section 302 and Section 34 (common intention) after the victim was declared dead.


Blood Transfusion Services
City on top
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The blood transfusion services available in the city have been declared best by the National AIDS Control Organisation, New Delhi.

Dr MS Bains, director, Health Services and Family Welfare, UT administration, said, “City Beautiful has not only scored 92 per cent in the compliance of nine key indicators, but has also been declared the best among all other states/UTs by the National AIDS Control Organisation, New Delhi, in blood transfusion services.

He said around 67,905 units of blood had been collected in Chandigarh, including 56,073 units from voluntary donors, till November 30.

Unfolding the UT administration’s plans to do more and better in 2010, Dr Vanita Gupta, project director of the State Aids Control Society, said two blood storage centres would be set up at the Civil Hospitals in Sector 22 and Mani Majra.

“The microscopes, refrigerators and bench-top centrifuge have been procured for the purpose. Procurement of two inverters in place of generators for an uninterrupted functioning of refrigerators is in progress,” she added.

Besides, the Rotary Blood Bank and the GMCH-32 have been upgraded to the level of blood component separation units.

The process to upgrade GMSH-16 from a major blood bank to a blood component separation unit is in progress. The PGI Blood Donation Bank is also being upgraded to the Model Blood Bank.

Nearly 22 such blood banks will be opened all over the country.

The allocation for 2009-10 under the blood safety head has been approved. The health department has spent Rs 36.04 lakh (32 per cent) up to December 8, 2009, on blood safety activities.

The grants for external quality assurance scheme, blood safety training, blood storage centre training and AMC/CAMC grants (two blood banks) had already been released, Dr Vanita Gupta added.



MC panel okays development works
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The electricity committee of the municipal corporation held a meeting here today under the chairmanship of Manjit Singh Chohan.

During the meeting, various development agenda items were approved by the committee, which included providing of lights at a park in Sector 2 worth Rs 2.83 lakh, providing 150-watt sodium vapour lamps at the newly built parking in front of a green belt in Sector 35-D worth Rs 1.35 lakh, providing garden lights in Sector 8-B worth Rs 7.44 lakh, providing three a 16-metre high mast lighting system at the green belt in Sector 41-C and 41-D worth Rs 12.74 lakh.

Other items to be approved were shifting and augmentation of streetlights on the road from the High Court Chowk to the High Court Library in Sector 1 worth Rs 7.85 lakh, providing streetlights on the road near the Dadu Majra village stadium worth Rs 2.32 lakh, providing three high mast lighting systems at the cremation ground in Sector 25 worth Rs 10.31 lakh, providing a 16-metre high mast lighting system at the Cactus Garden in Ram Darbar worth Rs 3.92 lakh and providing lights at the green belt near the Dhobi Ghat in Sector 7-B worth Rs 4.02 lakh. The meeting was also attended by Anu Chatrath, Sheela Devi, Pardeep Chhabra, Bhupinder Singh Badheri (special invitee) and Kamal Joshi, XEN, electrical division, MC, committee members.



Traders gear up for chief’s poll
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
At a time when trade and industry have to come to terms with recession, city traders are warming up to the election of the next president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) in February next.

In fact, the ball for the election to the top post has been set in motion, with MP Kohli forming a five-member committee to formulate a code of conduct to ensure a free and fair election.

A tough contest is in the offing, with two groups set to fight it out for the top post.

The body will see a new face in the presidential chair, with Charanjiv Singh, having completed two terms, being ineligible.

The post has assumed importance in the past few years as he is the traders’ interface with political parties, the administration and the corporate sector.

With the administration mulling the nomination of the CBM president to the corporation, the post has assumed added significance.

Though the ruling group is pinning its hopes on its achievements, particularly amendments in building bylaws and trader-friendly decisions, there is no dearth of opponents to its acts of omission and commission.

Representatives of market associations, mainly presidents and general secretaries, form the electorate for the CBM president, who nominates office-bearers of the executive committee and various sub-committees.



CPI stages dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Activists of the local unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) today staged a dharna against the Chandigarh administration for not allowing residents to hold protests in the city.

The administration has fixed Sector 25 as the venue for holding such protests.

Speakers alleged that the place was not suitable for holding protests, as all offices of the Chandigarh administration were situated in Sector 17 and Sector 9.

They demanded the earmarking of about 20 places in the city for staging dharnas.

The dharna was addressed by Joginder Dayal, member, National Executive of CPI, Bhupinder Sambar, secretary of the Punjab State Council, CPI, Bant Singh Brar, general secretary, Punjab unit, AITUC, Devi Dayal Sharma, secretary of the local of the CPI, Chandigarh, and HS Gambhir, president of the local unit of the AITUC.



Woollens distributed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Over 200 slum children were given gift hampers comprising track suits and woollens by Lady Governor Jean Rodrigues at Strawberry Fields School, Sector 26, recently. The Durga Das Foundation, which runs night schools at Bapu Dham, Indira Colony, Hallo Majra and Palsora, organised the function.

“For decades we have been hearing about the yawning gap between rich and poor. Giving away a few things may not make a huge difference to most household budgets, but it could be a glimmer of hope for those, whose basic needs are not fulfilled,” said Atul Khanna, director of the foundation. 14-year-old Kamla, a school drop out, seemed to be happy to get back to school once again.



12 singers enter final
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 30
Forty contestants participated in the second semifinal of the Voice of Chandigarh at the Sector 17 Plaza here today.

Amanpreet Singh, Azad Guhar, Jaswant Singh, Shivam, Harpreet, Sanjay Bhatt, Pooja Sharma, Manjit Kaur, Shruti, Bobby, Ashi and Uma Patial made it to the final.

Finals of the dancing and singing competitions would be organised tomorrow and fireworks would mark the end of the show.



Punjab board to work on CBSE pattern
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 30
The Punjab School Education Board will work on the CBSE pattern from the next academic session in order to bring about uniformity in the system of education prevalent across the country.

This was stated by Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, chairman of the board, while addressing a press conference which was organised here today to highlight the achievements of the board during 2009. He said the board would start giving internal assessment, as was being done by the CBSE, and NCERT books would be used for various classes, as was being done in the case of the CBSE.

He said ‘gatka’, Punjab’s martial game, had been approved by the board as a co-curricular activity and had been added to the list of games. Students opting for this martial game would be given due weightage.

Dhillon said the board had decided that the detailed marks cards of students would have marks as well as grades so that students did not face problems at the time of joining other institutes because certain universities gave admissions on the basis of marks and fractional merit was prepared. The CBSE had also later decided to follow the same dual marking system. A single window system was introduced to overcome the problem of giving migration, duplicate certificates and other documents to students. He said earlier providing such certificates got delayed at times because the record was not easily available with the board.

The record had now been computerised and seven counters had been set up to give the required documents. Efforts would be made to give the documents the same day to the applicants. The system was introduced on a nominal expenditure and now the record of the education board would be available with senior government officials through CDs as well.

The board chairman said the syllabus of the Punjabi language was modernised under the guidance of 40 literary and academic personalities, including Saraswati Sanmaan winner Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana. The board had done away with compulsory practical examination for compartment cases at the class XII level. Students, however, had the choice to avail the option in case they wanted to improve their marks.

Dhillon said all board depots would be connected to the head office through Internet within a week.



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