C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PCA for tough action against three cops
Orders fresh probe into property grabbing case
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, September 30
Coming down heavily on two UT police Inspectors and a Sub-Inspector for not carrying out proper investigation in a case of property grabbing, the Police Complaint Authority (PCA) has ordered a fresh investigation into the case and recommended departmental action against the three police officers.

In an order issued today, the PCA has recommended departmental inquiry against Inspector Anokh Singh, a former SHO of the Sector 36 police station, Inspector Amanjot Singh, in charge of Crime Branch, and Sub-Inspector Rakesh Kumar for lapses. The complainant, Amarjeet Singh, had alleged harassment by the police. “It is clear that the police has gone out of the way to help a builder in getting possession of a disputed house. Police officers handling the case misused their powers and acted with bias and mala fide. The matter needs fresh investigation,” states the order.

The case pertains to a property dispute of house number 2366 in Sector 35. Gian Kaur, owner of the house, had entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for its reconstruction with Gurminder Singh, Vijay Kumar Bansal and Rajesh Sofat in June 2009. She transferred the 50 per cent share of the house to her nephew Amarjeet Singh. The reconstruction could not be completed in time and so Amarjeet and his wife lived in a rented accommodation.

It is alleged that the builders deliberately delayed the construction and violated the MoU as they wanted to grab the property. They prepared fake documents to grab the 50 per cent share.

Amarjeet alleged that when he shifted to the ground floor of the house in October 2010, goons led by Gurminder Singh threw out his luggage. When he complained to the police, the then SHO Anokh Singh registered an FIR against them instead under sections of trespassing.

An inquiry into the complaint was then marked by the SSP to the Crime Branch. Inspector Amanjot Singh forwarded the inquiry report to his senior officers in two days.

The PCA concluded that Inspector Anokh had acted with bias and had misused his powers by detaining the real owners of the property without any just reason and compelled them to vacate the house. Inspector Amanjot Singh said they were asked to complete the inquiry in five days by senior officers. 

Another order against acting SHO

In another order, the Police Complaint Authority recommended the suspension of and a subsequent departmental inquiry against Inspector Rajesh Shukla, SHO of the Manimajra police station, for illegally detaining a woman at the police station for a night. Hanifa Begum had approached the PCA stating that her daughter-in-law Abida Begam had to spend a night in the police station in April this year leaving her two-month-old child alone at her home due to a landlord-tenant dispute. “Inspector Rajesh Shukla deserves punishment for his unlawful act and should be placed under suspension,” states the order. 



Lower procurement of milk hits Verka supply to city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Mohali September 30
With major milk retailers like Mother Dairy, Amul and Reliance giving stiff competition in milk procurement in Punjab to state-owned milk cooperative monopoly, Verka, consumers in the tricity are being forced to face shortages of the latter’s products this week.

In the changed scenario, the lower procurement by Verka in the state has affected milk supply to the tricity, resulting in shortage of its branded milk. “Though packaged milk of other brands are available in the market, the consumer is finding it hard to shift from Verka to other brands”, said Sham Lal Goel, a shopkeeper in Sector 29D.

Verka general manager Balbir Singh said Verka, which had an over 80 per cent share in the branded milk market in Chandigarh and Mohali, had now reduced its supply to 325,000 litres a day because of reduced procurement. “Earlier Verka was supplying about 340,000 litres of milk in the tri-city. The increased demand during the ‘Navratras’ has further complicated the situation”, he added.

The shortage of supply has put Verka dealers in a quandary over fulfilling demand of their regular customers.

“I sell 200 crates of Verka milk on my shop every day. However, for the past four days I’ve been receiving only 165 crates and many of my customers are returning disappointed every day”, said Goel.

The supply in other areas of the city is no better. “Against a demand of 95 crates of milk packets every day only 75 crates were supplied to me by Verka”, said Sandip Gupta of Sarvottam Store in Sector 38.

The shortage has put consumers, especially those fasting during ‘Navratras’, at the receiving end. “I buy at least 3 litres of milk every day. But now that my parents are observing fasts, the requirement has increased to 4 litres. But shopkeepers have expressed their inability to increase the supply”, said Rajiv Sharma, a resident of Sector 38.



City ranks high in diabetes prevalence
One in ten locals has disease, another 10% at risk, says study
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
If the figures on diabetes are any indication city residents are indeed leading an unhealthy lifestyle - they eat the wrong kinds of food and do not exercise enough. With one in ten locals suffering from diabetes mellitus, a lifestyle related disease, and more than one at risk of developing the disease in the future, the health scenario in the City Beautiful does not bode well.

Believe it not, the prevalence of diabetes in Chandigarh is even higher than that in the states of Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. These startling figures come from the first phase of a nationwide study on prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes undertaken by the Indian Council of Medical Research-India-Diabetes (ICMR-INDIAB).

The first phase of the study, which was published in a US journal, Dibetologia, covered 16,607 people, comprising almost 4,000 people each in the urban and rural areas of Chandigarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, in the age group of 20 years and above. The subjects underwent extensive oral glucose tolerance tests to define the presence of diabetes and prediabetes, and unfortunately Chandigarh tops the list.

According to the study, the city had a prevalence of diabetes in 13.6 per cent of the population as compared to 10.4 per cent in Tamil Nadu, 8.4 per cent in Maharashtra and 5.3 per cent in Jharkhand. The study was conducted from November 2008 to April 2010 and Punjab and Haryana will be covered in the second phase.

Though diabetes was once considered a rich man's disease, it has become prevalent even in rural areas. “As affluence and urbanization grows in rural areas, diabetes is affecting more inhabitants," said Dr Anil Bhansali, head of PGI’s endocrinology department and the study’s co-investigator from Chandigarh.

Bhansali stated the study reveals the prevalence of diabetes in Chandigarh’s urban area is 14.2 per cent of the population as compared to 8.3 per cent in its rural expanses. The disease’s prevalence in Tamil Nadu is 13.7 per cent in urban areas and 7.8 per cent in rural areas, with the figures for Maharashtra being 10.9 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively. In Jharkhand the prevalence is much lower in rural areas - 3 per cent - as compared to 13.5 per cent in urban areas. In Chandigarh the prevalence of prediabetes is 14.6 per cent of the population, which again is higher than the figures for Tamil Nadu (8.3 per cent), Maharashtra (12.8 per cent) and Jharkhand (8.1 per cent).

India world’s diabetes capital

According to the Diabetes Atlas of 2009, 50.8 million people were afflicted with diabetes mellitus in India with the figure having gone up by 12 million in just two years. The disease is progressing exponentially in the country.

Major risk factors

l Abdominal obesity
l Hypertension
l Sedentary lifestyle
l Unhealthy eating habits
l Family history



Mobile phone services hit
Pvt operators fail to pay carriage charges
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, September 30
Mobile phone services in the region were hit after the discontinuation of the point of interconnection (POI) services by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to various private operators.

Attributing the discontinuation of the services due to the failure on the part of private operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, to deposit a whopping Rs 1,800 crore as carriage charges with BSNL, an official in the state-owned telecom operator said the services were affected till late in the evening. BSNL had withdrawn its POI in the Punjab circle last night. BSNL General Manager (Chandigarh circle) Naresh Sharma could not be contacted.

Not only outgoing calls from private telecom operators, but also calls being made by BSNL subscribers using the mobile network of private operators were affected. The call traffic from various government organisations and the industrial sector was also badly affected. “It is unfair on part of the telecom operator to withhold the amount while it has already been charged form subscribers,” said Rajesh Sharma, a government employee who was visibly upset as he could not contact his daughter studying in Amritsar.

Under the revenue sharing norms, a private operator needs to pay 35 paise/min to terminate a call in the BSNL fixed line network. On the other hand, the state-run telecom major is required to pay 20 paise/min for its network calls terminating in the cellular network of private mobile operators. 



Ramlila committees struggle with soaring expenses
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Rising costs threaten to disrupt Ramlila festivities this year with Ramlila committees across the tricity finding it an uphill task to manage higher rents for tents, sound and lighting systems, makeup expenses, decoration and other things required for staging the shows. According to the committees the expenses involved are expected to be between Rs 3.5 to Rs 4 lakh for every Ramlila staged compared to about Rs 2.5 lakh last year. Except for the artistes who perform free, everything else comes at a cost.

Ramlila committees have taken the novel step of generating revenue from advertisers who have even “sponsored” crucial scenes in the plays. This is in addition to the conventional fund raising methods of door-to-door collections and donations from “chief guests” and the public.

A visibly worried Pawan Sharma, director of Adarsh Ramlila Dramatic Club in Panchkula, said this time the outdoor decoration of the Ramlila stage alone would cost the club around Rs 2 lakh. “In addition the cost of renting costumes, which have had to be bought from New Delhi, has risen substantially. To manage the ever-rising expenses, our committee has decided every member would collect Rs 11,000”, he added.

“We’ve to pay for almost everything ranging from rent for tents, costumes, sound systems, lights or other stage arrangements”, says Kendriya Ramlila Mahasabha general secretary Bhagwati Prasad Gaur.

“Another reason why we are finding it difficult to manage Ramlila expenses is because a majority of our committee members belong to the salaried class. These are the last days of the month and salaried people have less money to spare,” he said.

Mukesh Sharma, director of Garhwal Ramlila Mandal Bijli Board, Sector-28, said a “mukut” (crown) which cost Rs 1,500 to 2,000 last year, was costing more than Rs 3,000 this year. 

Effigies to cost more

Compared to a cost of around Rs 1.5 lakh incurred in the preparation of effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath a few years ago, this year the Dashera Committee Mohali is incurring an expenditure of Rs 4 lakh in preparing the effigies, that would be burnt in the Phase 8 Dashera ground. The height of the Ravana effigy will be 70 feet.


Hoardings on Chandigarh-Ambala Highway removed
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, September 30
To make the Chandigarh-Ambala Highway accident-free zone, the GMR Expressways, the company undertaking the maintenance work of the highway had removed more than 50 hoardings in three-day anti-encroachment drive.

GMR official Vaibhav Sharma stated that they had removed banners and hoardings, along the Zirakpur-Ambala Highway.

He said the National Highway Authority of India(NHAI) had not given any permission to any person to display hoardings along the highway.

The hoardings were not only causing traffic congestions, but also posing dangers to commuters by diverting their attentions. He claimed that they had removed the hoardings that were on the NHAI land. The drive to remove the hoardings will continue in he coming days too, he added.



Hospital to raise funds for poor patients
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 30
A dedicated fund will be raised for the treatment of poor patients suffering from cancer at Max Super Speciality Hospitals in Mohali and Bathinda.
Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, stated this after inaugurating a 200-bed Max hospital here.

He said that a sum of Rs 8 crore had already been taken from the Max hospital authorities as upfront consideration and they would also give an additional 5 per cent of the revenue for treatment of the poor. The fund will be managed by the Rogi Kalyan Samiti and will be used only for the treatment of poor patients.

The Punjab government had also taken an initiative to create a corpus fund Rs 20 crore during the current financial year to provide free treatment to poor patients suffering from cancer.

Chairman and managing director of Max Health Care, Analjit Singh, said super specialisation in all major disciplines, especially in cancer, cardiology, and trauma was planned at the hospital 



Members of auto unions enter into altercation
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, September 30
An altercation between members of two auto-rickshaw unions took a violent turn after one of them smashed windshields of autos belonging to the other union this afternoon.

The members entered into a scuffle after the local administration removed shanties and shops from the triangle opposite the Paras Down Town Square for constructing a bus terminal.

The police said members of a Zirakpur-based union stated that they had been picking up passengers from Kalka chowk for the past many years, but auto drivers of a Rajpura-based union restrained them from doing so. Following which, members of the Zirakpur auto union smashed windshields of a few autos belonging to the Rajpura union.

Meanwhile, members of the Rajpura union alleged that as members of the local union would no longer be able to park their vehicles at the old parking lot near the mall, they vented their ire by damaging autos. They alleged that the local union drivers had been trying to occupy space at their auto stand and stopped them from picking up passengers. The police said both the parties reached a compromise. 



Limited night-time ATC services stalling international flights
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Limited availability of night-time air traffic control facilities at the Chandigarh airport is one of the major reasons delaying the launch of the much-awaited international flights from the city. Since the airfield is primarily a defence establishment with a civilian “enclave” attached to it, the runway and associated facilities are owned and managed by Indian Air Force.

The functioning of the air traffic control (ATC) is configured according to the air force’s operational requirements and flight schedules. Moreover, the ATC functions only at night if the IAF is carrying out night sorties.

Sources close o the IAF said the ATC manpower at Chandigarh, including air traffic controllers and watch staff, is sanctioned by Air Headquarters in New Delhi in accordance with its operational requirements. ATC facilities, according to airport officials, can be availed of by civilian operators only between 8 am and 8 pm. Generally, most airlines operate international flights to and from India at night.

Chandigarh airport officials have now approached the defence ministry to extend the timings to accommodate civilian flights at night. However, according to the sources, it was not feasible to extend the ATC working hours with the current manpower strength.

“The number of ATC personnel can’t be increased at the local level and the staffing pattern can only be changed by Air Headquarters after the requisite nod from the defence ministry. Additional officers and airmen would have to be posted here as a permanent measure,” said a senior officer. “However, once the approval comes through, it shouldn’t be a problem,” he added.

It may be mention here that recently Sharjah-based airline Air Arabia had evinced keen interest on operating a flight to the city in view of the huge rush of passengers from northern India to the Gulf countries.

According to the sources Air Arabia officials have already requested the Director General of Civil Aviation to grant the airline time from the day slot so hat it could commence flights to and from the city soon.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh airport director HS Toor said airport officials had already approached the defence ministry to extend ATC timings up to 11 pm so that more flights could be operated from the city. Over the past few years there has also been a noticeable rise in the number of domestic flights from Chandigarh.

“We’ve earmarked the space for a customs and immigration desk at the airport building in consultation with customs and immigration department officials. Work on setting up the desk is proceeding at a fast pace and the infrastructure will be in place by October end. Airlines are expected to be able to operate international flights from the city by the first or second week of November”, Toor added.



MC fixes timings for parks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
A meeting of the environment and city beautification committee of the Municipal Corporation was held under the chairmanship of Pardeep Chhabra, former Mayor, today.

The committee decided to fix the timings for big parks and greenbelts from 4 am to 11.30 pm during summer and from 4 am to 10.30 pm in winter, according to a press note issued here today.

The committee decided to provide and fix multi-play system, iron railing, hut and PCC bench in front of house numbers 270 to 276 in Sector 46-A at a cost of Rs 4.06 lakh. Similarly, providing and fixing of PCC benches in various parks of Sectors 16 and 22 costing Rs 2.49 lakh were also approved. Providing and fixing of multi-play system and PCC benches in various parks of Sector 31 at a cost of Rs 7.34 lakh and providing and fixing of multi-play system and new design multi-play equipment in various parks of Sector 47 at a cost of Rs 13.57 lakh were also decided. 



CTU to introduce GPS in buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Going hi-tech, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) is soon going to introduce Global Positioning System (GPS) in its fleet of buses with screens inside and outside the buses to inform about destinations on a particular route.

The information will also be displayed at all the bus stops on a screen. The facility has already been introduced in a few buses and bus stops.

The management information system (MIS) will also be introduced to help detect traffic violations and over speeding of buses. The GPS system will track the vehicle through the automated vehicle locator (AVL) system.

Officials said the passengers boarding the bus would get information of the destinations on the route on screens and through announcement. The screens would also be installed at the bus queue shelters across the city providing information about the buses on the route.

CTU officials said the MIS system once introduced would help in knowing the occupancy on a particular route, arrival and departure time at each bus stop and 
terminal, tickets sold and fare collected between each bus stop, traffic lights violations and over speeding.

CTU manager SP Parmar said a central control facility would act as a nerve centre of the entire system that would have the information of locations of all buses. The drivers and the control room staff can also communicate with each other one the system is introduced, said Parmar.

The project has been initiated by the CTU in assistance with the Society for Promotion of Information and Technology. CTU officials said the screens providing the information of CTU buses would also be installed at the Sector 43 ISBT and at the Sector 17 bus stand at all terminals. 



Bansal reaches out to traders
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
To beat the anti-incumbency factor in the forthcoming MC polls and smarting under the crushing defeat of his close confidants in the market committee elections recently, local MP and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Bansal is finally reaching out to the traders and industrialists.

With an eye on the forthcoming poll, Bansal would woo the trading and industrial community at a function to be organised by the Chandigarh Business Council (CBC) on October 3. Bansal would try to regain the lost ground in the market committee polls which is Congress’ first major political test after the May 13, 2009, Lok Sahba elections.

The CBC, which is a representative organisation of the traders and industrialists, is already up in arms against the Chandigarh Administration for its harassment to the business class on the pretext of obsolete building byelaws, sealing the buildings and charging hefty amount of misuse charges. 



DAV management issues fresh notice to BC Josan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The DAV management has served a fresh notice on BC Josan, who has been discharging his duties as a principal from the lobby outside the principal’s office, against the wishes of the college management.

The management through a letter has asked Josan to restrain himself from occupying the office claiming that the inquiry against him had been completed and the governing body would be soon taking a decision in a meeting to be held in the first week of October.

Sources said the letter was issued to Josan through newly appointed officiating principal Pawan Jain. Meanwhile, Josan for the fourth day in succession operated from the lobby outside the principal’s office.

DAV College that has been at the receiving end for the past many months following a controversy seems to have slowly come back on track, with the new officiating principal clearing all pending files and releasing pending bills.

Pawan Jain, officiating principal of the college, said all pending files were cleared and bills were also released today. “I have asked all departments to draft their requirements on the basis of which all purchases will be made by the college,” Jain said.

In the evening, Jain also visited hostels to meet students and listened to their problems. “I will keep operating from the staff room till the date the matter is resolved,” Jain added. 



PCR staff lauded for honesty

Chandigarh, September 30
A UT police head constable and two constables were lauded by senior police officials for their honesty as they returned Rs 5,000 found in an abandoned bag to its owner.
Head constable Raj Bhan, constable Vijender Singh and constable Sohan Singh while patrolling found an abandoned bag near the Sector 17 bus stand.

They picked up the bag and handed it over to the police post, ISBT, Sector 17. The bag contained some important documents, clothes and Rs 5,000 in cash. After verification, the bag was handed over to its owner Samir Singh, a resident of Sector 5, Suchin Majra, Kharar, Punjab. — TNS



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