Sunday, November 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


GMCH-32 to have genetic laboratory
First of its kind in North
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The coming year will bring some heartening news for the wards of mentally challenged children, as also for those mothers who are apprehensive of giving birth to such kids. With the financial back-up being made available by the UT Social Welfare Department, the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, will soon start work on the project of genetic laboratory, which will be fully equipped to detect various causes that lead to mental retardation among children. The significance of this laboratory will be immense in view of the fact that the research suggests that 80 to 90 per cent of causes of mental retardation among newly-borns are preventable. Given this, the new laboratory will be able to help mothers of expectant children to know if their children will be normal. Early detection of factors leading to metabolic disorders will further help the doctors in preventing these disorders by offering genetic counselling to pregnant women.

The laboratory, expected to come up at a cost of more than Rs 50 lakh, will be the first laboratory of its kind in the entire North India, equipped to diagnose hereditary metabolic disorders that cause various mental disabilities. With detection, means of prevention of such mental illnesses will also follow. Although the AIIMS has a genetic laboratory, the same is not equipped to screen causes of mental retardation.

The genetic laboratory in question will come up on the premises of the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children in Sector 32. It needs to be mentioned here that the GMCH-32 is serving as an implementing agency of the State Resource Centre which works to prevent disabilities in collaboration with the State Social Welfare Department. The Government Institute for Mentally Retarded was handed over to GMCH-32 in December, 1998. It was earlier being run by the UT Education Department.

Talking exclusively to The Tribune about the modalities of the genetic laboratory project today, Dr B.S. Chavan, Joint Director of Institute and HOD, Psychiatry, GMCH-32, informed that Rs 50 lakh had already been sanctioned for the purpose by the UT Social Welfare Department. The said money has been sanctioned under the NPRPD (National Programme for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities), a centrally-sponsored scheme meant to enhance the welfare of the disabled.

Dr Chavan shared the genesis of the project stating: “I specifically remember it was June, 1999, when the mother of a six-year-old mentally-challenged girl came to me and asked if I, as a specialist, could tell her if her second child would be normal. I had no answer to the vital question. The entire North has no clinical genetic centre that can detect the often-preventable causes of mental retardation among newly born kids. That was when this project idea was born. Earlier, the UT Social Welfare Department had sanctioned Rs 17 lakh, but now they have given us Rs 50 lakh.”

While work on the laboratory will start early next year, sources inform that it will be made functional by the end of 2002. With the laboratory coming into function, all the causes responsible for mental retardation among the newly-borns will be detectable. Dr Chavan informed that most causes of mental retardation are preventable. He said, “Many a time a newly born is mentally disabled because the mother had been suffering from malnutrition during pregnancy. Retardation is also possible if the mother does not take care with immunisation. Likewise, there are many such factors, which if detected at the stage of pregnancy, can be prevented by offering the right kind of medical counselling.”

The GMCH-32 authorities have already started exploring the suppliers of sensitive equipment for the laboratory. Sources informed that specifications had already been invited from reputed suppliers in the field. Added Dr Chavan: “One of our faculty members has even visited the AIIMS to inspect the facilities and infrastructure in their genetic laboratory.” The first batch of doctors will visit AIIMS in January to get training in the field. Further, trained technicians will also be recruited for the laboratory, which will also cater to other facilities like — detection of causes of physical disabilities, diagnosis of physical and congenital abnormalities like defects in the heart, sexual organs and respiratory system”.


Admn draws up plans to help disabled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The city is witnessing a lot of activity which will finally go to the aid of the physically and mentally disabled. There is a whole team of government and non-government workers silently engaged in furthering the well being of the estimated 50,000 disabled in the city. And as the World Disability Day (December 3) draws closer, it becomes essential to list some of the activities which various public and private wings are pursuing.

It may come to the surprise of many city residents, but the UT Social Welfare Department now has a special building audit committee, which will offer advice on how to make various public and private buildings accessible to the disabled. This information was made available here by the UT Social Welfare Department at the UT Guest House today. Information was given on various projects for the disabled being run in the city.

The Secretary, Social Welfare, UT, Mr G.K. Marwah, (also Chairman Chandigarh Housing Board) informed, “The CHB office has already been made accessible by provision of a ramp that was earlier missing. We are also shortly going to construct toilets in Sector 38, 42 as also in the bus stand. These toilets will be easily accessible to the disabled.

These activities are being undertaken by the state to provide a barrier-free access to the disabled, something which the state government is obliged to provide under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. The UT Administration has also decided to give away 54 rehri booths in the city on a reserve basis to the disabled. Said, Mr Marwah, “We have 1800 such booths in the city. We have put aside 3 per cent for the disabled. We also have a 3 per cent reservation for them in the CHB flats.”

In the office of Adult Education under the integrated admission scheme, there is 3 per cent reservation of seats for the disabled in Classes XI and XII. Apart from that, the disabled will be given preference in the matter of awarding canteen contracts in schools and colleges. The department has also asked the Centre for Rs 45 lakh grant under the integrated education for the disabled scheme.

Besides, government efforts, work is being done by voluntary organisations. While the CSIO is working to help remove hearing impairment, the Youth Technical Training Society of Ritika Khanna is working to rehabilitate 22 disabled children. Prayaas continues with its multi-disciplinary services for the disabled, as also with its community involvement programme.

The UT Administration is making a beginning this year, with its efforts to further a special cause. Changing the trend of past years, when the celebrations of the World Disability Day (December 3) ended up serving no purpose, this year the UT Social Welfare Department has planned something new for the disabled living in the city.

For the first time ever, the city will observe the disability week, beginning from November 26 and culminating on December 3. The seven-day schedule, which has been planned by UT Administration in collaboration with the Social Resource Centre and various NGOs working with the disabled in the city, will feature cultural, sports and literary activities. The functions this time will emphasise on both time and affection for the physically and mentally challenged children of our society.

Among those present on the occasion were Secretary, Social Welfare, Mr G.K. Marwaha, Madhavi Kataria, Dr Promila Chandra Mohan and Ms Bhavna Tayal.


November 26: Painting contest for special kids at Bal Bhavan, Sector 23 (9.30 am to 1.30 pm)

November 27: Seminar on disabilities prevention and rehabilitation at GMCH - 32 ( 12.30 pm)

November 28: Athletics meet for special children at Sports Complex, Sector 7; (9.30 am to 3 pm)

November 29: Declamation contest at Government Model School, Sector 10 (9.30 am to 1 pm); also at home with Punjab Governor and UT Administrator at Raj Bhavan (4 pm to 4.5 pm)

November 30: Special children to display tableau in Chandigarh carnival (Leisure Valley, Sector 10 (3 to 5 pm)

December 1: Fancy dress competition for the disabled children and distribution of aids and appliances at Prayaas, Sector 38 (10 am); childhood disability awareness presentation also at Prayaas at 11 am. There will also be an exhibition along with contest of music and dance at Leisure Valley between 9 am and 5 pm.

December 2: Inauguration of North Zone Cricket Tournament for mentally challenged children at Cricket Stadium, Sector 16 at 9 am

December 3 (culmination): Walk and rally by children of Youth Technical Training Society and private schools numbering about 3000. The rally will start from the Housing Board Chowk and end at Parade Ground. It will start at 11 am.

The concluding function will be marked by a cultural programme and a prize distribution function between 3 and 4 pm at Tagore Theatre. 


Temple at God’s mercy
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 24
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has come to the rescue of the 550-year-old Mata Jyanti Devi Temple at Ropar that is under threat from soil erosion. After the court directions in this regard, the Assistant Advocate General told the court that the Subdivisional Officer had been asked to evaluate the damages and submit the estimates for taking necessary steps to repair the temple.

The temple at Jayanti Maajri village, 17 km from Chandigarh, is on the verge of collapse. It is at the top of a small hill surrounded by the Shivaliks and at the mercy of mother nature. Sources said, 550 years ago, the temple was at Kangra in Himachal Pardesh and the Princess of Kangra was a devotee of Mata. She would not have food without Her ‘darshan’. The temple came along with her trousseau when she got married to the Prince of Jhathnam.

On the petition filed by a devotee, Mr Rajinder Sharma, the High Court had declared that, on October 4, Subdivisional Officer of Kharar had stated in the court that he would inspect the site and submit a status report.

On October 31, the Assistant Advocate General told the court that the side wall of the temple had been damaged and the SDO had been asked to evaluate the damages and submit the estimates. The court disposed of as infructuous the writ petition in view of the statement made by the Assistant Advocate General.

The petitioner had claimed that the temple was under constant threat from soil erosion and urged the court to direct Punjab, the Archaeological Survey of India and the District Commissioner of Ropar to maintain the temple. He also accused the respondents of negligence and said the necessary repair work had not been carried out, due to which, the soil beneath the temple had eroded. The petitioner had also sought direction to the respondents to maintain symbols of heritage.


Corporal punishment meted out to students
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, November 24
In a case of corporal punishment, students of Class IV of Bhartiya Bhawan School, Sector 15, were beaten up by a teacher for not following her direction during a rehearsal session for the annual day celebration in a classroom here today.

Sources alleged that some students did not follow the directions, which made the teacher lose her temper and she thrashed the students. The students were not permitted to leave the school for some time.

The matter came to light when some students narrated the incident to their parents who were waiting for their wards outside the school. The parents alleged that they were restricted for a long time from entering the school and talking to the principal.

Later, a senior teacher, on behalf of the principal, apologised before the parents.

When contacted, the school Principal, Ms Shasi Banarjee, said action had been taken against the teacher. She, however, said some students might have done something wrong, which forced the teacher to take the step.

She further said the matter would be solved at a meeting with parents after the annual day celebrations.


Judicial remand for HCS officer
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 24
Kulbir Singh Gill, an HCS officer, and an employee of the UT Estate Office, Jasbir Kaur, who were arrested by the UT Vigilance Department in a Mauli Jagran land scam were sent to judicial remand till December 7 by a local court.

The accused were produced before the UT Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.S Bhardwaj, this afternoon. Kulbir Singh is currently posted as Joint Secretary, State Transport Authority, Haryana, and Jasbir Kaur as ledger clerk in UT Estate Office. They were arrested on November 23

It was alleged that Kulbir Singh Gill when posted as Tehsildar-cum-Executive Magistrate in the UT had played a role in the land scam. The UT Vigilance Department had already arrested more than 15 persons in this connection.


Fire consumes four shacks, goods
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 24
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a fire that broke out in four shacks along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at Bhankharpur village, about 3 km from here, yesterday.

Sources said some passerby noticed flames emitting from a shack at about 2 am and raised an alarm, following which, some labourers, who were putting up nearby, came for help. In the meantime, villagers, too, swung into action, but, before they could bring the flames under control, the four shacks — two of hair dressers, a vegetable shop and a tea stall, had burnt down.

The exact cause of the fire could not be ascertained. The police has registered a case. Mr Gurnam Singh, sarpanch of the village, has demanded compensation for the shack owners.


A comedy that almost put admn in dock
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 24
The comedy of errors could actually have been embarrassing for the district administration and the local police. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was bent upon taking action against them for “wrongly depicting a man as a member of a Scheduled Caste” , when it was all the fault of a typist.

In a case of its own kind, the commission pulled up the Panchkula police for wrongly projecting an accused before the commission as a member of the Scheduled Caste. The police, on the other hand, maintain that it was a typographical error and a censure to the concerned typist has already been issued.

In a D.O. letter fired to the district administration on November 12, the chairman of the commission, had asked that they take action against any officer responsible for the error within seven days. After the censure to the typist has been issued, the authorities are now heaving a sigh of relief.

It may be noted that a resident of Barwala, Mr Kaka Singh, had complained to the commission against the sarpanch and watchman of the village — Dharam Singh and Baldev Raj. He had accused the duo of various irregularities in the functioning of the panchayat work.

He had also alleged that they were misappropriating money for panchayat work, by taking a commission from those lifting carcasses from the village illegally. He said that they had not allowed for an auction of lifting of carcasses for the past eight years. When Kaka Singh had allegedly taken up the matter openly, he was threatened by the duo. Subsequently, he approached the commission in August, after the administration allegedly failed to come to his rescue.

The commission had then asked the administration to send its reply in the case.The local officials, in their report, said that since both Dharam Singh and Baldev Raj and the complainant, Kaka Singh, belonged to Scheduled castes, the latter’s complaint could not be entertained by the commission.

However, the police now maintain that their reply had a typographical error and it was only the watchman, Baldev Raj , who was a member of a Scheduled Caste. The SP, Mr Manoj Yadav, said that the error was inadvertent and after action against the typist has been taken, the commission had been suitable informed.

However, the complainant, Kaka Singh, had alleged that the officials inquiring the case under directions of the commission had played a partisan role.


Final list of candidates for MC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Ward No.1: Inderpreet Singh Sandhu, Panthic Morcha, Car; Jagdish Chand Kapoor, Ind., TV; Balkishan Kapoor, BJP, Lotus; Madan Lal, NCP, Clock; Raj Kumar, Ind, Bangalow; Vijay Kumar, Ind., Camera; Chandermukhi Sharma, Congress, Hand; Sandeep Singh, CVM, Bus.

Ward No.2: Anu Chathrath, Inc, Hand; Neeru Manchanda, CVM, Bus; Pankajmala Shrama, BJP, Lotus; Santosh Sharma, Ind., Lady purse.

Ward No.3: Pradeep Chhabra, Inc, Hand; Ajay Jagga, Janata Party, Car; Desraj Tandon, BJP, Lotus; Virender Bajaj, Ind., Letter Box; Mewa Singh, Panthic Morcha, Bus;

Shyam Sunder, CVM, Rail Engine.

Ward No.4: Ashwani Kumar, Ind., Bangalow; Madal Lal, Ind., Aeroplane; Lal Bahadur, CVM, Bus; Deepak, BSP, Elephant; Diwakar Pathak, Ind., Rail Engine; Kanhaia Lal, BJP, Lotus; Subhash Chawla, Inc, Hand.

Ward No.5: Shyama Negi, INC, Hand; Poonam, Ind., Bridge; Babita, Ind., Arrow; Balbir Kaur, Ind., Car;

Madhu Bala, BSP, Elephant; Maya Devi, NCP, Clock; Meena, Ind., Bangalow; Santosh Devi, BJP, Lotus; Sunita Devi, CVM, Bus; Bimla, Ind., Coconut.

Ward No.6: Kamla Sharma, BJP, Lotus; Motia Devi, Samajwadi, Cycle; Manjit Kaur, INC, Hand; Gurdeep Kaur, CVM, Bus; Nina Tiwri, Ind., Coconut.

Ward No.7: Balwinder Kaur, Ind., Aeroplane; Charanjit Kaur, BSP, Elephant; Gurmail Kaur, NCP, Clock; Saroj Devi, JD-U, Arrow; Gita Devi, Congress, Hand; Urmila Devi, BJP, Lotus;

Ward No.8: Suman Kumar, BSP, Elephant; Amrik Singh, JD-U, Arrow; Amrit Lal Mahajan, BJP, Lotus;

Malkit Singh, Ind., Bangalow; Kuldeep Singh, INC., Hand.

9: Darshan Singh, SAD-Riar, Rail Engine; Harjinder Kaur, SAD-Mayor, Car; Kanwaljit Panchhi, INC, Hand; Jagmohan Johal, NCP, Clock; Balbir Singh, Panthak, Bangalow; Gurmeet, CVM, Bus; Prabhjit Singh, Samata, Flame torch; Jagdish Bath, RRD, Aeroplane.

10: Arwind Kumar, Ind, Bus; Narayan Kapoor, Ind., Aeroplane; Satpal Gupta, Ind, Engine; Gurbachan Singh, NCP, Clock; Ghanshyam Lal, Ind., Road Roller;

Bikram Singh, Ind., Cot; Beni Parsad, Ind., Ring; Manjit Kaur, CPM, Hammer, sickle and star; Mohmmed Isman, Samajwadi, Cycle; Mohemmeduddin, Ind., Battery Torch; Mahinder Singh, INC., Hand; Ram Sumer, BSP, Elephant; Vijay Singh, CVM, Coconut; Vijay Sangar, BJP, Lotus.

11: Kulwant Kaur, Panthic, Car; Rajesh Gupta, Samata, Flame torch;

Gian Chand, BJP, Lotus; Gurdev Singh, BSP, Elephant; Tarsem Singh, NCP, Clock; Dharamvir, Ind., Engine; Naveen Gupta, INC., Hand; Pawan Kumar, JD-U, Arrow;

O. P. Verma, CVM, Bus.

12: Rajesh Gupta, BJP, Lotus; Jaspal Singh, CVM, Rail Engine; D. S. Dadwal, NCP, Clock; Devinder Singh, Panthak, Bus; Sunil Parti, INC., Hand.

13: Gurdip Kaur, Ind., Car; Paramjit Kaur, SAD-Riar, Rail Engine; Neelu Bhattal, RRD, Aeroplane; Uma Wadhera, INC., Hand; Harpreet Kaur Babla, CVM, Bus.

14: Manoj Kumar, Ind., TV; Rajbir, Ind., Car; Rajendra, BJP, Lotus; Shyam Lal, CVM, Bus; Sumey Ram, Ind., Rail Engine; Sohan Lal, INC, Hand.

15: Anita, Ind., TV; Rajkumari, CPM, Hand, Sickle and star; Anita Devi, BJP, Lotus; Lalit Joshi, INC, Hand; Lila Devi, Ind., Bangalow; Amrit kaur, BSP, Elephant; Rajpati, CVM, Bus.

16. Anita, NCP, Clock;

Satinder Dhawan, CVM, Bus; Amarjeet Bhuller, SAD-Riar, Rail Engine; Pushpa Sharma, Inc, Hand;

Ward No 17: Harish Kapoor, Inc, Hand; Jitender Bhatia, CVM, Bus; Rajnit Singh, Ind, Car; Roshanlal Jindal, BJP, Lotus;

Ward No 18: Ajay kumar, Samata, Flame Torch; Ashok Kumar, Ind, Rail Engine; Kanwarpal, Ind, Car; Kamlesh, Inc, Hand; Gurdial Singh, Ind, Aeroplane; Jagan Ram, NCP, Clock; Bhagwan Dass, Ind, Ceiling fan; Rajinder Makwana, Ind, Kettle; Rajinder, Samajwadi, Cycle; Ram Lal, CVM, Bus; Rohtash kumar, BJP, Lotus; Bateshwar Singh, RJD, Hurricane Lamp; Sushil, BSP, Elephant; Harmohan, Ind, Necklace; Hira Lal, Ind, TV.

Ward No 19: Kewal krishan, BJP, Lotus; Chandlal, Ind, Bangalow; Jaspal Singh, NCP, Clock; Raj Kumar Doggar, BSP, Elephant; Balraj Singh, Inc, Hand; Manoj Kumar, JD-U, Arrow; Malkit Kaur, Samata, Flame torch; Ram Sajivan, Ind, Car; Sugan Chand, CVM, Bus;

Ward No 20: Arwind Gupta, Ind, Coconut; Gurcharan Dass, Ind, Bus; Jalil Ahmed, Ind, Bangalow; Paramjit Kaur, NCP, Clock; Prem Singh, BSP, Elephant; Lachhman Dass, CVM, Rail Engine; Suresh Verma, Ind, Cup Plate; Shamim Ahmed, JD-U, Arrow; Swaran Singh, SAD-Mayor, Car; Surinder Singh, Inc, Hand.


Unkempt community centres
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar
The community centres in the town, run by PUDA lack cleanliness and their booking is also not streamlined.

There seems to be a lack of coordination between the Estate Office, which is responsible for the booking, and the engineering wing of PUDA, which looks after their maintenance. At times, booking is done without checking the condition of the building. There have been instances of a community centre being booked for two different weddings on the same day and at the same time. The embarrassment caused to the parties concerned is nobody’s business.

There are five community centres — in Phases II, IIIBI, V, VI and XI. Two more are coming up in Sectors 70 and 71. The rent earlier was Rs 4,000 for the entire premises for 24 hours and Rs 2,500 for half the premises. Now only the full premises can be taken for Rs 6,000 for 24 hours.

Mr Rajinder Sharma, a municipal councillor from Phase VI, said that the community centre in his area was booked by a resident for a wedding on October 24. But to the surprise of those who had booked the premises, the place was without electricity as power had been disconnected by the PSEB. Besides, windowpanes were broken and the place was extremely dirty.

Mr Sharma said that the community centre looked like a deserted building. He had to requisition some safai karamcharis from the Municipal Council to clean the premises. He said the condition of the centre was brought to the notice of the Superintending Engineer of PUDA, who made efforts to improve matters. A temporary power connection was arranged.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, a municipal councillor from Phase II, said that the community centre in her area, which had become functional about a year ago, lacked cleanliness. Floors were dirty and garbage heaps lay here and there. The matter was brought to the notice of the Additional Chief Administrator of PUDA some months ago. Now a safai karamchari had been posted there.

She criticised PUDA authorities for harassing the residents by booking the place for two different weddings on the same day. She said two families — one from Phase II and the other from Chilla village — had gone to book the community centre. Both were allowed to use the premises on November 18. Tension mounted between the two parties and she was asked to intervene. She said she decided to give one hall to each party and the open area outside the building also had to be shared.

Those booking the community centres for weddings and other functions also have to arrange generator sets as the power system cannot bear the additional load of decorative lights.

Mr Amrik Singh, a municipal councillor from Phase XI, said the community centre in that phase was inaugurated only about three months ago. However, the floors were already filthy. A resident who had booked the centre for a wedding had complained about the insanitary conditions and urged him to get the premises cleaned.

Mr Amrik Singh criticised PUDA for neglecting the community centres. He wondered why the organisation had wasted so much money on the centres, if these were not to be maintained properly.

There are also complaints that those who use the centres, usually do not clean the premises after their functions. This task is left to the party that hires the place next. It has also been suggested that the electricity system at the centres should be strengthened to take heavier loads, so that the use of polluting generators is avoided.


Will HC order tame “death on road”?
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday equated “death on the roads” due to rash driving to “murder” and directed the subordinate courts to invoke Sections 302 and 304 IPC, along with 304-A because Section 304-A alone was not found enough. The rider, however, is the two sections would be applicable only where the evidence and circumstances so warranted.

Will this order make road travel safe? Will it bring down the number of fatal accidents or the number of people injured and disabled? Death on the road is a ghastly reminder of what reckless men can do.

Today, progress and prosperity are reflected in the power to purchase a variety of vehicles. More often than not, these beautiful “beasts” are driven by ones who are illiterate, hired on a paltry salary and made to overwork. These chauffeurs have little knowledge of road sense, road signs and safe driving. The accident rate will not come down by acts or law alone. The responsibility lies as much with the road user as with the enforcement agencies. But where are the agencies concerned, says the traffic police? In Punjab, at least, this force was disbanded long ago. There is no concept of highway police or patrolling or tow-away cranes or even highway medical assistance. Most hospitals along the main arteries in the state are without ambulances and basic medical facilities what to speak of trauma wards and life-saving drugs.

The literacy rate may have gone up and education facilities expanded in the region. Yet, the people remain illiterate (careless?) in showing road sense, observing road signs (often missing) and traffic rules. If there is a provision in the Act governing the issue of a driving licence, it is followed more in breach. There is no system of theory and practical examination before a driving licence is issued. One need not comment on the way a doctor’s report is obtained and appended with the driving licence application form.

No widening of roads or putting dividers would help contain accidents unless fool-proof methods of testing driving skills are prescribed and stringently followed before a driving licence is issued.

Why schools and colleges cannot include “road safety” as a subject? If population, pollution, environment, information technology, sex and cyber-space can be taught, why not traffic rules?

Often extraneous considerations hold up use of helmets by riders of two-wheelers. Or take the smoke-belching, rickety buses/trucks, often over-loaded. These are death-traps on the move. Ill-informed drivers and the educated elite consider it a taboo to use dipper at night, give a signal while over-taking or turning, slowing down at roundabouts or forming a queue to prevent overcrowding. And jumping traffic lights is their birthright. Add to these woes of road travel the poor sense of parking.

Why people cannot spare a few moments to show patience and perseverance by obeying traffic rules? Merely observing a “road safety week”, once in an year, is not enough. Each day has to be a “road safety day”.


Mahant’s murder: family resents police inaction
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 24
The family of 70-year-old Mahant Rampal has expressed its resentment against the local police’s inability to solve the mystery surrounding his murder on the Morni-Tirlokpur link road near here on October 1.

The family has alleged that inspite of the fact that almost two months have elaped since the old man was done to death, the police is nowhere near solving the case. “So much so that the motive behind our uncle’s brutal assassination is also not yet known,” said Mr Ravi Kumar, a nephew of the deceased.

It may be recalled that the body of Mr Ram Pal Sharma with injuries on his neck, back, abdomen, wrists and hands was noticed by a girl from the neighbourhood when she was on her way to fetch milk from a nearby house on the morning of October 1. The deceased, being a bachelor, used to stay with his brother, Mr Om Prakash Sharma, a retired Haryana Roadways employee.

He used to stay for the night in a shop of “electrical works”, being run by Anil Kumar, adjacent to an auto-spare-parts shop owned by Om Prakash so that he may guard the shop too. The deceased was a mahant and was giving herbal medicines to villagers and a fortune-teller.

The family has alleged that a local INLD office-bearer is trying to hamper the investigations of the case. “We were suspecting a local youth of hacking our uncle to death. But when the police rounded him up, this leader used his influence to get him released and a clean chit was given to him by the police,” alleged Mr Jitendra Kumar, another nephew of the deceased.

When contacted, the Panchkula SP, Mr Manoj Yadav, denied that the police was under anybody’s influence. “We are trying our level best to solve the case and the accused will definitely be brought to book,” he said.


Childhood in hi-tech age is different
Tribune News Service

“The young ones are no more naive.” The thought flashes across the mind of Mrs Anjali Nagpal when she hears an adorable 10-year-old girl scream in a department store: “Mamma would you please give me your mobile phone for a minute, I want to confirm whether Rahul is going for the birthday bash in the evening”.

As the little maiden dexterously pressed the backlit keys of the mobile phone, memories of her own childhood came to the mind of Mrs Nagpal, now a grandmother. “When we were young, all we knew was how to trace sketches on the drawing file”.

Going back in time, she asserts: “Things were different when we were in school. The world was small, the wonders even smaller. Gadgets like mobile phones did not exist. Very few houses even had telephones. There were no television sets with remote control. Even when Doordarshan started its programmes, there was just one channel showing Krishi Darshan and other informative programmes most of the time”.

Recounting details, she adds: “Children those days, including boys, had very little exposure. Most of their spare time was spent in flying kites, or playing marbles or gulli-danda in the streets. Indoors, make-and-know was the game popular among the children of affluent families. Others played cards. As for the girls, they used to play ‘Stapu’, or else, learn cooking and embroidery. Lipstick and nail polish were taboo”.

Now things have changed. “Kaleidoscope is something the children today have not even heard of Bi-scope? They are not aware of its existence. Nowadays, the adolescents know how to surf TV channels with the help of a remote control. They chat with friends, living across the seven seas, through the Internet. They play games on the computer and know more about Backstreet Boys and Jennifer Lopez than the children in our time knew about Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar”.

Explaining the trend, she says “The parents today are more aware of their responsibilities. They are also conscious of the spirit of competition that is prevailing among the youngsters. They do not wish their children to be misfits in this materialistic world. Little wonder, they take them to the airport to show them jet aircraft, buy computers for them, send them abroad for studies”.

She concluded: “In a sense this is good because children these days have more confidence in themselves and in their abilities. They, however, are forgetting their traditions and values in the process. Today’s parents, while exposing the children to the wonders of the world, should also ensure that the children know the difference between right and wrong”.


ISKCON annual rath yatra held

Chandigarh, November 24
The local unit of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON ) organised the annual Rath Yatra festival in Chandigarh here today in which thousands of devotees from India and abroad participated. According to Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu, president, local unit of ISKCON, idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and their sister Subhadra were placed in a chariot. The Rath Yatra which started from Motor Market , Sector 28-C, Chandigarh, passed through various city Sectors before culminating at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B at 7 p.m. Krishna Prasadam (bhandara) was also distributed among those present on the occasion.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Ms Neeru Nanda, Advisor, UT Administration, Chandigarh; Mr Justice S.C.Modi, president, Chandigarh Consumer Forum.; H.H. Jayapataka Swami from Mayapur, H.H.Gopal Krishna Goswami from Vrindavan, H.H. Vedavyas Priya Swami ; H.H.Sukadeva Swami; H.G.Bhima Das, president, ISKCON, Mumbai; H.G.Kratu Das; H.G. Sakshi Gopal Das; H.G. Devakinandan Das; and H.G.Nityananda Prabhu.

Tomorrow the Rath Yatra will be organised at Panchkula. It will start from NAC Market (near Vikram Cement), Mani Majra at 12 noon and pass through Sector 7, 8-17, 9-16, 10, 5 and conclude at Shiv Mandir, Sector 9, Panchkula at 7 p.m., followed by Krishna Prasadam (Bhandara) at 7.30 p.m.


Rickshaw-puller held for snatching luggage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The police has arrested a rickshaw-puller for allegedly snatching the luggage of a Ropar resident in connivance with another rickshaw-puller. According to the police, Amrit Lal Kaushal was travelling from the Kiran Cinema to the Sector 17 bus stand in a rickshaw pulled by Shekhar. The rickshaw-puller, in connivance with Jasbir Kumar, alias Kala, snatched the complainant’s bag and a briefcase near the Sector 17 fire station. Jasbir, a resident of Nehar Majra near Kurukshetra, was later apprehended near the Sector 17-18 intersection by a police naka and the briefcase was recovered from his possession. The other accused, however, managed to escape with the complainant’s bag. The police has registered a case.

House burgled: Sector 20 resident Anand Kumar Kataria has reported that his house was broken into and cash worth Rs 5000, and five pairs of gold ear-rings had been stolen. The police has registered a case.

Car stolen: Mohali resident Jasbir Singh has reported that his Maruti car (PB-10-C-0375) has been stolen from the Sector 17 parking lot. The police has registered a case.

Meter stolen: Sector 36 resident Maj D. Chouhan has reported that the electricity meter from his house has been stolen. The police has registered a case.


Two booked: The police has booked two youths — Parminder Singh and Harvinder Singh — of Pinjore for negligent driving and hurting a Sector 9 resident.

According to the police, the duo had injured Mr Sanjiv Gupta while rashly driving their motor cycle (HR-49-7190) near District Courts yesterday. The accused had also thrashed the complainant and threatened him with dire consequences.

A case has been registered against them in the Sector 5 police station.

Dead: A resident of Barwala, Mr Gopal Krishan, who was admitted to the PGI after being hit by an unidentified vehicle near Matawala village succumbed to his injuries.

Gopal Krishan along with Mr Rangi Ram had sustained serious injuries while riding a scooter (HR-03A-0928) on Wednesday night.

A case has been registered in the Chandi Mandir police station.

Two hurt: Two persons — Ram Kumar and Anil Kumar of Jaisinghpura village near TBRL colony, were injured when an unidentified canter rammed into their scooter (HR-24-6008) on the Panchkula-Barwala highway near Ramgarh on Saturday.

According to the police, one of the injured has been admitted to the General Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula, while the other was rushed to the PGI in Chandigarh. The canter driver is said to have fled from the scene.

A case has been registered in the Chandi Mandir police station.


Held for gambling
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 24
Paramjit Kumar, a resident of Nayagoan, was arrested for allegedly gambling at a public place in Nayagoan village. An amount of Rs 1100 was recovered from him.


Use IT to improve textile sector: Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
“The Indian textile industry is likely to be confronted with non-tarrif barriers on child labour, use of hazardous dyes and chemicals. There is also a need to adopt management systems for quality, environment and social accountability, after the relaxation of quantitative restrictions and trade barriers. It is time that our industry reorients itself to meet global challenges,” said the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), at the inauguration of the two-day 57th All-India Textile Conference on the Punjab University campus here today.

The conference is being organised by the Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh (PHC) unit of the Textile Association of India. Delegates for this conference have come from across India and the globe.

Gen Jacob said the world textile industry was undergoing a big change, so, in order to stay ahead in the consumer-oriented global environment, the Indian textile industry should utilise its strengths in the IT sector to improve production, design and marketing to make our companies competitive,” he said.

He said if the industry had to be a global player in this millennium, it had to constantly improve its competitiveness through innovation, increased use of information and communication technologies, clear focus on products and high quality. The captains of the industry, managers, professionals and government agencies should combine their efforts to convert these challenges into opportunities, he said.

Mr S.P. Oswal, Chairman of the Vardhman Group, said distorted fiscal regime, inefficient labour laws, widespread entry and exit barriers, high infrastructure costs and a discouraging investment environment were the primary factors responsible for the non-comepetitiveness of our textile industry.

He quoted from a CII study on the industry, saying, “We have lagged behind even countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in taking a share of the global relocation of the textile industry. There are immense opportunities in this industry, but we seem to be ill-prepared to take advantage of these.”

“To confront the challenges posed by the entry of China in the WTO and regional trade blocks, prompt measures like discontinuation of fiscal discriminations based on size, technology and processes, implementation of MODVAT, scrapping of reservations, acceptance of merit rate of excise duty should be taken to help the industry reorganise itself,” he said.

“The importance of our integration with global textile business is important, so, we have to take a collective decision on whether to remain inefficient survivors in short-term or reorganise and become efficient at the cost of some enterprises,” he said.

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