C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Crime has a feminine face
608 women arrested since 2007, 132 in 2010
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Even as the city gears up to celebrate the International Women’s Day today (March 8), a number of them will spend the day confined inside the Burail jail here. Women, it seems, have slowly made an ‘identity’ in the world of crime, depicting that the ‘weaker sex’ can, at times, beat men when it comes to greed for money or an urge for revenge.

Crime committed by women has increased over the years, as is evident from the UT police statistics of woman criminals.

In 2010, the police arrested 132 women for their involvement in crimes ranging from the heinous to the petty. Since 2007, 608 women have been arrested by the UT police for a variety of crimes.

Three women were arrested for murder in 2010, six for rioting, 22 for theft, six for drug trafficking and 6 under the Excise Act. Police sources said the conviction rate in cases involving women as accused was close to 80 per cent. In addition, 11 women were also arrested in accident cases in 2010.

From crimes like drug trafficking and prostitution, women have graduated to murder and kidnapping over the years. In all three cases of murder involving women as accused in 2010, the accused had killed their husbands for their alleged involvement in illicit relations.

According to psychologists, women are better strategists than men while committing a crime. Also, there is less fear of being frisked, which makes them easy to smuggle drugs.

“The maximum women arrested in Chandigarh are in cases of theft and burglary. At the same time, there is a rise in violent crimes committed by women. The social environment contributes a lot to the making of woman criminals,” says a police official, adding that a victim of assault also tends to take the law in her hands.

Sensational cases with women as accused

July, 2010: A 24-year-old woman, Mohini, of Shanti Nagar locality in Manimajra, together with her paramour, Kuldeep Singh, was arrested for killing her husband, 27-year-old Dharm Singh, an electrician, by strangulating him

August, 2010: Sukhmani Brar, a 19-year-old student, was arrested for killing two persons, including a five-year-old child, in an accident near the Chandigarh Club.

September, 2010: A 30-year-old woman was arrested for the murder of her husband at Badheri. The victim, Govind Singh Rana, was found dead and his wife, 30-year-old Maheshwari, was arrested. She murdered him owing to strained relations.

November, 2010: A woman and her lover were arrested for the murder of her husband at Bapu Dham Colony. The police arrested Meena and Ved Parkash for the murder of her husband.

Crimes against women on the rise, too

Even as there are more women taking to crime, the number of women being victims of violent crime is also on the rise in city. There has been a steep rise in cases involving atrocities on women in the city over the past four years.

Statistics available with the Chandigarh Police reveal a disturbing trend, wherein women have been susceptible to a wide range of crimes, both heinous and petty. Since 2007, the police had registered 703 cases of molestation, eve-teasing, rape, kidnapping, domestic violence, dowry death and murder.

In 2010, a total of 144 cases were registered involving crimes against women.

The police registered a total of 22 cases of rape under Section 376 of the IPC in 2007. The number went up to 29 in 2009 and a total of 31 cases were registered in 2010, showing a rise in cases.

There has also been a steep rise in cases involving minor girls as victims in the city. Police sources said the number of such cases had doubled in the past decade.

Glaring cases with women as victims

July, 2010: 22-year-old Neha Ahlawat was found raped and murdered near the taxi stand at Sector 38 West. The case is still unsolved.

August, 2009: Santosh Kumari was found electrocuted to death at her residence in the SBI Colony, Sector 42. The case is unsolved.

March, 2009: An inmate of Nari Niketan was found pregnant. The police arrested seven accused for the crime and slapped sections of gangrape on the accused.

January, 2008: A German tourist was gangraped after being abducted by five youths from outside the Taj Hotel in Sector 17. All five have been convicted.



Precious blood going down the drain at GMCH
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Blood donors are in for a shock. Hundreds of units of precious blood donated by volunteers is being wasted at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, every year just due to lack of proper storage and handling facilities at the hospital.

In the past five years, the negligence on the part of the hospital authorities in ensuring the cold chain during shifting of blood units has, so far, resulted in a 68 times’ increase in the wastage of blood units.

One of the major reasons for the blood wastage has been the total carelessness on the part of the hospital authorities in maintaining the temperature of blood units during its shifting from the blood bank to the recipient department or on receiving it back at the blood bank owing to its non-utilisation.

On the other hand, the discarding of blood units on account of other factors like non-utilisation, non-compliance with quality standards and defect on storage bags has also put the total discarding of blood as high as 8 per cent.

Though the authorities at the GMCH have denied the fact, information obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act about the discarding of blood at the three main government hospitals, the PGI, he GMCH and the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, reveals that at the PGI, the discarding of blood has remained below 2 per cent during past five years.

A perusal of the inspection report submitted by the Chandigarh Drug Control Officer, licensing authority for blood bank, has confirmed that the two main refrigerators, meant to store blood, have remained non- functional at the GMCH.

This factor seems to have contributed the major chunk of wastage. The information gathered by RTI activist RK Garg has revealed that while only three units of blood were wasted due to interruption in the cold chain at the GMCH in 2005, this figure jumped to 203 in 2010.

The other main reason behind the increase in wastage of blood is found to be the defect in bags meant for storage of blood. Though not a single unit of blood was wasted due to this reason in 2005, next year, seven units were discarded due to defects in bags or their rupture during storage and processing.

This figure increased eight times during the past four years, registering a wastage of 54 units of blood past year due to this reason alone. In fact, there was a gradual increase in the discarding of blood at the GMCH since 2007 due to various reasons cited above.

In 2007, only 515 units of blood were discarded, this figure increased to 751 the very next year. In 2009, a total of 898 units of blood were discarded. Past year, the discarding was registered as high as 1,124 against the collection of 13,740 units of blood through voluntary donation and replacement at the hospital. Interestingly, at the PGI, the average discarding of blood remained at a level of as low as 1.64 per cent during these four years. At the PGI, against a collection of 41,196 units of blood, only 595 were discarded, which turns out to be merely 1.4 per cent of the units collected.

Even at the GMSH, another hospital being run by the Chandigarh administration, a mere 99 units of blood were discarded against the collection of 5615 units past year.

Denial by hospital

Dr Sabita Basu, head of the department of transfusion medicine at the GMCH, denied wastage of blood, saying there was no non-functional refrigerator. There was an error in the report submitted to the Drug Control Officer, she said. When blood was issued from the blood bank, some quantity remained unused many times and brought back to the blood bank, leading to the interruption in the cold chain, she elaborated. Keeping the safety of patients a priority, this blood could not be used again and reckoned as discarded, she explained. On the issue of defects in bags for containing blood, Dr Basu said the bags were being supplied by the National AIDS Control Organisation and she had written about this to the authorities concerned.

Wastage rages on

  • Blood discarding at GMCH recorded at over 8 per cent. At the PGI and the GMSH, this figure as low as 1.5 per cent
  • From three units of wastage due to interruption in cold chain in 2005, the figure touched 203 in 2010
  • Wastage due to bag defects goes up to 54 past year while it was nil in 2005
  • Observations of Drug Control Officer
  • Two deep freezers meant for storing blood lying non-functional
  • All registers to keep record not being maintained as per guidelines

No uniformity in information provided

Interestingly, the GMCH provided four sets of information to Garg, carrying different figures against the same application filed under the RTI Act. In the information supplied on December 29, 2010, the number of blood units discarded during the past five years was mentioned as 5,052. Later, it furnished a ‘corrected’ statement on February 8, 2011, with a figure of 4,784 units. Again, on February 10, the hospital authorities claimed that the discarding during the same period was as low as 1,799 units. Two weeks later, the authorities came out with the earlier figure of 4,784 units. “The wastage of three units per day in 2010 is a matter of concern for all voluntary donors. The changing statement of the GMCH authorities shows that the handling and keeping record of blood units are not being done properly,” says Garg.



High Court
Bureaucrats occupying houses beyond entitlement
Action report sought from admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Bureaucrats putting up in houses they are not entitled to may soon find their household stuff being moved out. For, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear that the Bench would be compelled to pass orders, if the UT administration failed to get the houses vacated from unauthorised occupation of IAS and IPS officers.

The house allocation case also saw UT Senior Superintendent of Police Naunihal Singh getting a safe haven to live in. Nearly six months after the Inspector-General of Police wrote to the UT Home Secretary to shift the official residence earmarked for the SSP, the High Court allowed the authorities concerned to allot a safer accommodation to the SSP as per his entitlement.

The administration had earlier claimed that the corner house allotted to the SSP was “vulnerable from the safety and security point of view”.

But the stay on allotment of different category of houses, imposed by the High Court on December 14, 2009, would continue.

As the case came up for hearing today, the Bench asked the administration to elaborate on the action it proposed to take against those managing to stay in the house earmarked on the basis of designation, but de-earmarked to enable them to stay put even after change in their designation.

UT senior standing counsel Sanjeev Kaushal said he would have to seek directions from the highest authority.

Referring to the original petition filed by Haryana State Information Commissioner Asha Sharma, Kaushal claimed that her case was a classic example of misuse of house allotment process, as she was staying in the same house for past 24 years.

In an affidavit submitted by UT house allotment committee secretary Hargunjit Kaur, the administration agreed that had taken place over the years deviations and were required to be rectified. Some clarifications and modifications were also required to ensure transparency. The secretary claimed instances of some officers maintaining two residences had come to their notice. Notices would soon be issued to such officers for vacation of the accommodation, she claimed. No officer on deputation with Chandigarh administration or from Punjab and Haryana posted in Chandigarh would be “earmarked” a house above his or her entitlement.


Women’s day special
Making ‘unusual’ efforts to succeed

Being a woman isn’t easy for many. For a woman, her struggle starts from the day they she is born, provided she is not killed in the womb. American playwright and US Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce described a woman's life long struggle as: “Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say she doesn't have what it takes. They will say, women don't have what it takes.” Yet, despite all odds, many women have made a mark in every field. They have ventured into and have broken glass ceilings to prove beyond doubt they are second to none. On this Woman’s Day, Chandigarh Tribune captures the indomitable spirit of some city women pursuing unusual vocations.

Breaking the ‘mail’ bastion
Mandeep Sharma (50): Postwoman

Rajesh Khanna-starrer “Palkon ki Chhahon” mein with it's song “Dakiya dak laya” may have personified the image of a stereotype postman - a man in khaki riding a cycle and distributing mail. But 50-year-old Mandeep Sharma, who broke this male bastion in 1999, defies that image and represents a new Indian woman who not only does what her males counterparts do, but strives to do it better.

"It was initially difficult to work in this male dominated domain and there were some hostilities (mostly unspoken) too. But over the years, I have managed myself well and have no qualms to now say that I am the best," says Mandeep. Every morning, like all her male counterparts, she reaches the Sector 19 post office, sorts her mail and then is out on the streets distributing mail.

“When I joined the service, people used to stop to look at me and were surprised to see a woman doing this job. In fact, I was the subject of curiosity as people stopped me to ask all sorts of questions and used to even call me a lady postman and not a postwoman,” she recalls.

On her work, Mandeep says she has enjoyed every moment of it in the last 12 years. "I have got a lot of respect and love from people of Sector 19-C. Children there fondly call me “didi” and I'm proud of what I have achieved,” she says. Like all women, she too has one regret: "Why can't we be treated as equals and why do we have to prove ourselves more than the male?" Any answers?

Fighting against HIV/AIDS
Tribune News Service

Pooja Thakur, an HIV-positive woman, speaks to school students on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and sexual rights of women at Kaimbwala, near Chandigarh. This photo, clicked by Tribune lensman Pradeep Tewari, got the "Best of Category Award" at the annual Photoshare Awards, organised by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, in 2006.
Pooja Thakur, an HIV-positive woman, speaks to school students on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and sexual rights of women at Kaimbwala, near Chandigarh. This photo, clicked by Tribune lensman Pradeep Tewari, got the "Best of Category Award" at the annual Photoshare Awards, organised by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, in 2006.

Chandigarh, March 7
For the last over five years, Pooja Thakur, has been working tirelessly against the hardships and deprivation she sees against people suffering from HIV/AIDS.

She is a force to reckon with. She has improved the circumstances of thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS and also saved countless others from becoming infected.

She has also showed that there is a life beyond HIV. Poverty and illiteracy could not dampen her spirit as she is now leading a normal life after suffering from HIV and has also taught others suffering from the virus that they also have the same rights as those not infected with the HIV.

Her husband, a truck driver, had infected her and died in 2005 leaving her with two sons. Her woes did not end here. Her in-laws at a village of Sirmour district in Himachal Pradesh threw her out of the house after the death of her husband.

Undeterred, she applied for a job with the State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh. Getting a job of a counsellor in November 2005, Pooja now has been appointed as an executive body member of the State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh, and the regional coordinator of the northern regional states, including Punjab, Haryana Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian Network of People living with HIV/AIDS, Chennai. On the occasion of Republic Day last year, the Chandigarh administration honoured her with the State Award.

Recognising her services to the people living with HIV/AIDS, she was chosen to toss the coin in the opening match between the Kings XI Punjab and the Delhi Daredevils in the third Indian Premier League at the PCA stadium in March 2010.

Rajshree and her daughter, Chandni: Jugglers

Rajshree and her daughter,
Chandni. Tribune photo:
Pradeep Tewari

Rajshree and Chandni perform their jugglery acts in local markets and at fairs to earn their living. Rajshree’s husband is an alcoholic. The hard work by both mother and daughter barely fetches them Rs 50 to 100 daily.

Six-year-old Chandni, who ought not to be working at this tender age, is proud that she not only helps her mother in run the household but also attends an evening school. “I love to go to school. I want to study like other children,” said Chandni. Rajshree extended full support to fulfil her daughter’s wish. “As far as I can afford to send her school, I shall continue to do so,” said Rajshree.

Goddess of food
Gurjeet Kaur (60): Operates tiffin service from home

Gurjeet Kaur in her kitchen.
Gurjeet Kaur in her kitchen. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

As such Women's Day does not have much significance in the life of 60-year-old Gurjeet Kaur, who earns a humble living by supplying tiffin boxes. Fighting adverse financial circumstances, Kaur has been cooking and serving tiffin boxes in the tricity for the last 10 years. It has been a source of income for a decade now although she now claims to have "reduced" the service network.

Disappointed by the rising commodity prices, she confesses that the business no longer runs into profit. "It had been a long struggle in this business and I have been operating with the help of my daughter-in-law. The profit is not as much and getting tiffin boxes delivered is a tedious job," said Kaur.

At one stage, she even thought of expanding her work and hired two delivery boys. But the marginal gain in the service made it a short-term venture. "The two delivery boys have left now and most people prefer to collect their tiffin from our home," she adds. Women's Day is just another day for her. She misses socialising with her people due to the work. "I do not get time to meet anybody and the work is very tiring. It is an everyday struggle," said Kaur.

Policing her passion
Baljinder Kaur (35): Home guard volunteer

Baljinder Kaur
Baljinder Kaur. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Always ready to brave the odds, this 35-year-old resident of Hoshiarpur dreamt of joining the Chandigarh Police right from childhood. Serving as a home guard volunteer for the last over 10 years, Baljinder says policing is her life.

No one from her family ever thought of joining the force. “I love my job even if it requires being on duty for long shifts and late night hours,” she says. Her services are required during agitations and rallies and she says she is always enthusiastic every time work beckons. “My husband and eight-year-old son have been very supportive. I could not have asked for more,” she adds.

Empowering women
Priya Ojha: Senior community mobilisation specialist in a World Bank-assisted Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project

Priya Ojha
Priya Ojha.
A Tribune

For Priya, empowering women through community participation in villages in high on agenda." Through the project, I have roped in a number of women who have become a harbinger of change in ensuring continuous
water supply through the project,” she said. Women empowerment in real terms means empowering the
women in rural areas so that get the dignity to live and be respected by society, says this community
mobilisation specialist. She is quick to point out that due to uninterrupted power supply, girl children are now
being allowed to attend school.

The ‘muscle’ woman
Kiran Thakur (32): Bouncer

Kiran Thakur.
Kiran Thakur. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Kiran Thakur aka ‘Kiran Didi’ has been pursuing the ‘unusual’ vocation of being a bouncer at a club for the last four years. Prior to taking to this vocation, she worked as a teacher, then as a security head at Fun Republic followed by as a recruitment officer in a private security company.

In clubs, she secures females during party hours from undesirable men. She also helps those girls who are left abandoned by their booze partners and makes sure that they leave for their home safe and sound. She works three days a week, which includes a double shift on Sunday that ends at 3 am every Monday. “I look after girls and models in the club so that no one can disturb them from enjoying their party. I am happy with my job, and most importantly, the respect I get here from others is more than the money I get in cash,” said Kiran.

Fighting all odds
Ramdei (50): Cigarette seller

Originally hailing from a village in Uttar Pradesh, she left her husband, an alleged drug addict, and came to this city as a young migrant who used to refer her as his mother. After being swindled of her jewellery by her “so-called” son, Ramdei then took to selling cigarettes and pan masala pouches to make both her ends meet. “My son is now 12-year-old and has been working at a small-time hotel. I want my son to study but I am helpless. I earn between Rs 50 and 100 per day and save the amount for my son,” said Ramdei.

Ramdei selling cigarettes.
Ramdei selling cigarettes.
Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Performing last rites
Amarjit Dhillon: Cremates unclaimed bodies

Amarjit Dhillon.
Amarjit Dhillon. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

As a banker with Punjab and Sind Bank, well known Samaritan Amarjit Dhillon handled cash. However, since her retirement in 2001, Dhillon has been handling something entirely different - cremating unclaimed bodies.

Dhillon’s unique saga of social service began in 2000 when she saw a 26-year-old married youth from Bihar dying of heart complications at the PGI. The sight of a young widow performing the last rites at the Sector 25 crematorium haunted her.

Putting monetary considerations aside, she took voluntary retirement in 2001 to serve humanity full-time. Dhillion started visiting the hospital and soon established a rapport with hospital staff, who respected her for the noble cause she had taken up. Not depending upon anybody, Dhillon drives a Punjab government-donated ambulance that passes of as a hearse for transporting dead bodies.

Taking the several awards, including one from the Punjab government in her stride, Dhillon says: “The inner peace I get after performing the noble cause of cremating bodies as per the religious rituals of the deceased keeps me going. I consider myself to be the God’s chosen one for the pious work which is not taken up by many,” she adds.

Leading the way
Eram Rizvi (27): Chandigarh Police sub-inspector

Presently posted as the in-charge of the all-women police post at the PGI, 27-year-old Eram is the only Muslim female sub-inspector in the Chandigarh Police.

Hailing from Mau in Uttar Pradesh, she joined the UT Police as a constable in 2002 and became the first female to be a drill instructor.

She cleared the assistant sub-inspector recruitment test three years later in 2005 and was promoted to the rank of sub-inspector last year.

“Women should always be forthcoming to take the initiative.

They have been going places in very field. Everyday is a Women’s Day for me,” she says.

Eram Rizvi in her office.
Eram Rizvi in her office. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan



Women’s Day Special
Doing their little bit
Neha Miglani/TNS

Chandigarh, March 7
Intending to make this International Women’s Day special for five HIV positive widows who operate a paper re-cycling plant, students at Panjab University’s department of social work have resolved to contribute to their venture.

They will collect wastepaper on March 8 by placing cartons and wastepaper bins at various locations on the campus. The used paper collected would then be sent to the re-cycling plant being run by the HIV positive women in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab.

"Our purpose is to generate awareness among people and develop an empathetic understanding towards the issues like female foeticide," said Kirenpreet Kaur, chairperson, Department of Social Welfare, PU.

The project to collect wastepaper from the PU campus, being launched on a pilot basis, would be expended depending on its success, said department officials.

“We have identified some locations on the campus, including the area outside the administration block, social work department, student centre, outside library where cartons would be placed. We wanted to celebrate the day with a difference this year. If university students from other departments join us, we will continue this project,” said Gaurav, a teacher of the department.

“The five HIV positive widows have been operating the re-cycling plant with the help of the Ambuja Cement Foundation in Anandpur Sahib. These women are not just earning livelihood for themselves, but are also providing employment to several others in the vicinity,” he added.



Fencing their way to glory
Deepankar Sharda

Players of the fencing team that won the bronze medal at the 34th National Games held at Ranchi.
Players of the fencing team that won the bronze medal at the 34th National Games held at Ranchi. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, March 7
The tagline “why should boys have all the fun” holds true for some girls studying at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector-10, who have done exceptionally well in sports.

Under the training of a female coach, Charanpreet Kaur, fencers Himani, Suman, Karampreet, Sonu Yadav, Garima, Radha, Rita and Prabhjot brought laurels to the city after getting medals on all the junior and senior-level tournaments of fencing.

The team recently won a bronze medal in the team event of the 34th National Games held at Ranchi and was also declared the overall runners-up at the Junior National Games. Their tale of success does not end here as the Fencing Association of India (FAI) has selected the four girls of the group for the junior India probable camp.



The torchbearers of education
Karan Raj

Chandigarh, March 7
Having dominated the education scenario for decades now, women continue to be the first choice as teachers. Contrary to their contemporaries, having taken teaching as either the last or the safest professional resort, teaching for this young brigade is a mission. Going a step ahead from the usual dedicated teaching, many of them have not only started various departments in city colleges, but have also taken innovative education to new levels with their team of power puff girls.

Chandigarh Tribune spoke to these teachers to find what does it mean to chase perfection in an all-girls team.

DAV, Sector 10
Department of Psychology

Faculty members: Dr Aradhana Sharma (HoD), Pratibha S Dhundia, Dr Shruti Shourie, Dr Rohini Thapar, Dr Komila Parthy, Harpriya Singh

HOD speaks: “I started the psychology department in DAV at the age of 24. Over the years, incidentally, we only have women in our team and trust me, it is one of the key reasons behind this department being one of the best in the region. Contrary to the perception that all women teams indulge in backbiting and catfights, its actually fun. We are first in city to offer free counselling sessions in our department for both students and outsiders. We just don’t teach together, but even hangout on our weekly lunch or coffee sessions, besides movies and parties. Though we sometimes miss having a man in the department, as this would have rendered a different perspective and helped in dealing with some professional hiccups.”

SD College, Sector 32
Department of Fashion Design

A team of fashion designing at SD College, Sector 32, takes a charity class.
A team of fashion designing at SD College, Sector 32, takes a charity class.

Faculty Members: Sugandha Sahni (HoD), Bhupinder Kaur and Rinku Sinha.

“For me, teaching was an ambition. Fashion designing is a creative and versatile subject and being an all-women department is a great advantage. Though difference of opinion is indispensable, but our strong inter-departmental communication makes it an asset. The best achievement of our trio is having free-of-cost stitching and styling lessons for underprivileged women and girls. We empower women to repay the opportunities given to us by the society. A man would be welcome in the department to give a different perspective to usual designs.”

MCM College, Sector 36
Department of Microbial and Food Technology

The all-women team of the microbial biotechnology and food department, MCM College, Sector 36, at work in their lab.
The all-women team of the microbial biotechnology and food department, MCM College, Sector 36, at work in their lab. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Faculty Members: Pooja Sabharwal (HoD), Dr Geeta Mehra and Dr Vandana Sharma.

“Sciences have for long been dominated by men but times have changed now. Look at any vocational course, its girls leading the way be it teaching or learning. When this department was started, people had apprehensions about its success in absence of a man, but today we are rated the best. There is not much age difference between students and us and that makes classes more fun. It’s not usual lectures but energetic deliberations laced with girly giggles. Sorry, but we don’t want anybody from mars to disrupt our heaven.”



Tributes paid to spirit of womanhood
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 7
Celebrating the spirit of womanhood on the eve of International Women’s Day, Gurukul Vidyapeeth and S-4 Trust honoured 35 leading personalities from different walks of life for their commendable contribution in their respective realms at a glittering function presided over by city Mayor Ravinderpal Singh at the Tagore Theatre.

Chief guest SK Sehgal, chief general manager, SBI, and Dr Raj Bahadur, the guest of honour, presented citations to the awardees, including bureaucrats, artistes, entrepreneurs, social activists and educationists.

SK Sehgal eulogising the virtues of a woman maintained that the women deserved to be honoured on all 365 days. Dr Raj Bahadur lauded the spirit of love, compassion and sacrifice by the women since ages.

Earlier, Rinku Kalia, an eminent playback singer and winner of Zee TV’s musical reality show “Sa Re Ga Ma”, enthralled audience by belting out selected Bollywood melodious numbers.

Manmohan Garg, CEO of Gurukul Vidyapeeth, and Col Ashwani Sharma, a trustee of the S-4 Trust, reiterated their commitment to the upliftment of girl child and empowerment of women.

The Punjab Arts Council also celebrated the International Women Day at Randhawa auditorium. The chief guest, DS Saroya, director NZCC, and Bibi Harjinder Kaur, chairperson PAC, presented the awards to nine prominent women personalities. A mushiara featuring women poets and vocal recital by folk maestro Gurmit Bawa and Balbir Sufi remained the added attraction of the celebrations.



Maintenance of Parks
GMADA’s U-turn: Pvt players to handle work, not MC
Kulwinder Sangha

‘Nascent MC ill-equipped’

“It is a newly formed corporation and will not be able to handle such a work. The civic body neither has adequate funds nor the required expertise to handle the work.

— GMADA’s Addl Chief Administrator, Parveen Kumar Thind

Mohali, March 7
Taking a U-turn, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has now decided to give the work of maintaining parks on contract to big private companies instead of handing these over to the civic body.

The town will be divided into three or four zones and parks in each zone will be handed over for maintenance to big companies having the required infrastructure and expertise for beautifying the green areas.

Modalities in this regard are being worked out by officials concerned.

GMADA authorities, who had been pressing the civic body to take over the work of maintaining parks over the past many years, are now under the impression that the municipal corporation will not be able to handle the work in a proper manner.

During a meeting held on February 2, which was chaired by the then Chief Administrator of GMADA VP Singh, April 1 was set as the deadline for handing over parks to the civic body.

The Chief Administrator had suggested that a maintenance allowance at the rate Rs 1.30 per sq yd be given to the civic body as was being done in the case of welfare associations that had taken over the maintenance of certain parks.

The corporation had demanded around Rs 2. 5 crore for constructing weather shelters and putting up more benches and recreation items for children in various parks of the town.

Even as the deadline for the taking over of the maintenance of parks was getting closer, GMADA now planned to reverse the decision, keeping the maintenance work with itself.

Around three years ago, GMADA had decided to beautify and develop 558 parks, including green belts and open spaces, in various sectors of the town.

An ambitious Rs 4-crore plan drawn up for getting the work done from contractual agencies had then hit the ground when GMADA had failed to get suitable response in this regard.

Public participation in maintenance of parks was then sought by the development authority.

GMADA’s Additional Chief Administrator Parveen Kumar Thind, who also holds the charge of Assistant Commissioner of the corporation, said the body had decided last week to give the work of maintaining parks on contract to big private companies and not hand these over to the corporation.

He said the civic body neither had adequate funds nor the required expertise to handle the work.

“It is a newly formed corporation and will not be able to handle such a work. Various modalities are being worked out and once these get completed, tenders for the work will be invited,” added Thind.



PGI patient pays for others’ spat with life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
A spat between attendants of a patient and staff on duty at the emergency ward of the PGI here allegedly cost another patient his life. Relatives of the deceased, identified as Anil Kumar (45), a resident of Maloya, alleged that wrong medication was given to the patient and when his condition started deteriorating, nurses and doctors did not pay him attention as they were involved in hot arguments with attendants of another patient. This ultimately proved fatal for Anil, said Gulshan Bala, wife of the deceased, in a complaint submitted to the PGI authorities and the Chandigarh Police.

Anil was brought to the emergency ward at 9.30 am on Thursday after he complained of uneasiness at home. He was suffering from a heart ailment.

“Till 11.30 am, no one attended upon him and after repeated requests to doctors, he was put on injection through drip,” said Gulshan Bala. The condition of Anil started deteriorating and she again rushed to doctors, only to be snubbed, she alleged.

“Doctors and nurses refused to attend to patients till a compromise between the two quarrelling parties was arrived upon. It took at least an hour-and-a-half, which proved fatal for Anil, she alleged. Anil had been working with an insurance company and had two school-going children.

PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said the complaint was being looked into. The post-mortem was conducted by a panel of three doctors.



Recruitment in AG Punjab under sports quota
Selection procedure under cloud as players cry foul
Deepankar Sharda

Chandigarh, March 7
The recruitment procedure in the Audit General Punjab (AG Punjab), Chandigarh, has come under a scanner, with players of different games accusing discrepancies in the selection of probables for the posts of auditor and accountant under the sports quota.

According to candidates who had applied for the posts in cricket and hockey, top officials “sold off” or “gave away” seats to a favoured few.

However, the process of filling the posts against certain games has been withheld by the officials after receiving complaints in writing from players.

According to Deputy Accountant General Ranjeet Singh, they had not received any complaint in this regard and the process of selecting the players against the posts was under way.

He, however, admitted that a player had filed an RTI plea against the procedure followed by the authorities during the selection.

On how a player could file an RTI if the selection procedure was under way, he reiterated his stance that it was an official matter and was under consideration.

“We have a month’s time to file a reply to the RTI plea. I have not yet gone through the plea, so I am not aware of the game under which the complainant had applied for the post,” the official said.

A player, pleading anonymity, said in his complaint to the authorities, he had alleged that in spite of clearing the skill and other tests, he was not called for the interview whereas his counterparts, who played at a lower level, got a call from the authorities.

“I was disappointed as I had played more then them and yet I was left out,” he said.

Principal Audit General S Murugiah admitted that there were certain complaints and even some parents had approached him on the issue.

“I am aware of the complaint that some players had made and it is under consideration. We will look into the matter seriously,” said the official.

However, he failed to specify the time that the authorities would take to come out with a solution.

A hockey player also has filed a complaint in writing with the authorities after learning that his name was not on the interview list despite representing his state in the National Games twice.

“The authorities often make an excuse regarding the performance of players during trails. How can the officials judge the player’s performance in a single day? Even Sachin Tendulkar cannot score a century everyday,” said the guardian, who is a coach, of the player.

According to sources, the procedure for selecting players from football is also under the consideration of the authorities in the wake of these allegations.



Feasibility Study
Health team visits GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
A team from the union ministry of health and family welfare consisting of Dr R Chandrashekhar, chief architect, and Aparna Sharma, director, visited the GMCH, Sector 32, to study the feasibility of setting up a Regional Institute of Paramedical Sciences (RIPS).

The institute is to be set up at a cost of Rs 80 crore and will have 30 paramedical courses.

Prof Raj Bahadur, Director-Principal, showed the team around the institutional area on the campus as well as the residential area in Sector 48.

The team was also shown a piece of land adjacent to the GMCH auditorium to develop the new institute.

The ministry had given its nod to establish the RIPS on the premises of GMCH in November.

The institute will cater to Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.

Paramedic are trained to give medical emergency treatment or assist the physician in providing medical care.

Paramedical education and training has not kept pace with the specialisation and super-specialisation in medical sciences under different schemes.

The Chief Engineer, UT, Chandigarh, also accompanied the team and inform them about the various components of checklist of RIPS like the site plan, location and road connectivity, connectivity with the hospital, sewerage disposal system, source of water and electricity supply, high tension line, details of local bylaws.

The team reportedly expressed satisfaction with the available information.



Development of Sectors 76 to 80
Allottees stage protest outside GMADA office
Our Correspondent

Allottees of Sectors 76 to 80 protest in front of the GMADA office in Mohali on Monday.
Allottees of Sectors 76 to 80 protest in front of the GMADA office in Mohali on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, March 7
Allottees of Sectors 76 to 80 held a protest outside the office of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) here today demanding development in the area and a draw of lots for the remaining plots.

As soon as the protesters raised slogans near the office building against officials of the engineering wing, security personnel on duty closed the main gate.

Sucha Singh Kalour, president of the Sectors 76-80 Plot Allotment Sangharsh Committee, alleged that GMADA authorities were deliberately not developing the sectors and had also not resolved the problem of those allottees whose plots fell in the Dashmesh canal project.

A draw of lots for the remaining plots was also not being held by GMADA, he added.

The protesters appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister, who is also the Chairman of GMADA, to intervene in the matter and initiate action against those who were responsible for the delay in the draw of lots.



Sect 51 scheme
CHB allots 12 houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The Chandigarh Housing Board allotted units through a draw of lots under the “assured allotment scheme” for Sector 51 here today.

Twelve houses were allotted to the applicants under the scheme.

Eight ground-floor units costing Rs 90 lakh and four first-floor units costing Rs 87 lakh were allotted.



Protest by nurses

Chandigarh, March 7
Protesting against a delay in redressing their grievances, including non-implementation of central pay scales, recruitment of staff nurses on regular basis, members of the Government Medical College and Hospital Nurses Welfare Association held a gate meeting here today. The association members had been on agitation for the past one month and had been performing their duties wearing black badges. — TNS



Non-release of funds for fest
DAV-10 students sit on hunger strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The controversy surrounding the organisation of the annual youth fest at DAV College, Sector 10, brewed further today with members of the student council proceeding on hunger strike against the non-release of funds for the fest.

Blame it on the ongoing tiff between “administrative” principal BC Josan and “financial” principal Shashi K Gupta, the fest that has been an integral part of the campus activities ever since its inception, may not be held this year.

Though following permission from BC Josan, the students proceeded with making arrangements and booking performers for the fest scheduled on March 13, whereas Shashi Gupta reportedly refused to release the funds required for the same. Having tried their best to get both principals to agree and even approached the management council members, they have now retorted to hunger strike.

“The event is not new, but it happens every year. The college gives requisite fund and Rs 150 is deducted from each student’s fee at the time of payment of no dues. We got a go ahead from Josan and scheduled the event for March 13, but Shashi K Gupta has refused to give us the money. This is not the only issue on which both of them disagreed, but they disagree on everything, therefore leaving the students and staff confused over whom to obey. We met director colleges ML Aeri, but of no use. We will sit on the strike till the issue is resolved and we get the funds,” said Sehajpal Singh Sidhu, president DAV College Student Union.

DAV for the last six months has been facing the woes of having two principals, as the tiff between the duo has adversely affected academics, staff coordination and college security.

The college ended up having two principals in September 2010. While the DAV management suspended Josan for his alleged corrupt ways and appointed Shashi K Gupta as the new principal, Josan moved court and got permission to stay as the “administrative” principal, while financial powers being handed over to Gupta.



PHD-PTU job fair on March 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The PHD Chamber in association with Punjab Technical University (PTU) is organising a mega job-fest “PHD-PTU Job Fest-2011” here for students of more than 300 affiliated colleges on March 12-13 at the PHD House, Sector 31 A.

Announcing the job fest at a press conference today, AP Singh, dean (student affairs) PTU, Jalandhar, said this was the first job fest in partnership with the PHD Chamber.

He said more than 20 companies had already confirmed their participation, which includes Amartex, Aegon Religare, Gates India Private Limited, India Mart, Lupin, Maruti Suzuki, Pfizer and Red Alkemi.

“The idea is to bring recruiters from the industry and students from technical courses at a single platform,” said Dalip Sharma, regional director, PHD Chamber. Students can upload their resumes at the website www.punjabjobfest.com.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |