Tuesday, October 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Shotgun’s shot alarms PGI
Launch of evening OPD a tall order
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Twentyfour hours after Union Health Minister Shatrughan Sinha’s, visit to the PGI, during which he announced the move to start an evening OPD, the PGI authorities are confused.

It is not for nothing that Mr Sinha known as “Shotgun Sinha”. He talks first and thinks later. In this case, too, he does not seem to have taken the PGI authorities into confidence, nor thought it necessary to consult them before announcing such an important move.


 * The authorities were surprised when the minister came up with the idea, as they had no inkling of any such move on the pattern of Delhi. With research and teaching being important functions at the PGI, they feel that though a good move, it s implementation would be difficult.
 * PATIENT SPEAK: Feel it is no doubt a novel idea with a vision but it would be useful for the public only if it is well-equipped and effective, not just remaining a facility on paper. Being sceptical about the viability of the evening OPD, they are waiting for its launch at Delhi hospitals.
 * DOCTOR SPEAK: Harping on the fact that the referral status of the PGI has been reduced to a general hospital , they feel that their hands are already full. Moreover, they feel that while there is a need to strengthen the existing facilities rather than creating new facilities, which would be difficult to handle.

The PGI is already bursting at the seams with an overload of patients from all over the region. The move for an evening OPD seems to have come as a bolt from the blue for the PGI authorities. Informed sources say while the idea as such is not bad it may be difficult to implement at the PGI as apart from being a hospital, it also undertakes research and teaching of postgraduate classes.

Sources say that the PGI authorities may convene a meeting of the faculty members in the near future to discuss the minister’s idea and formulate its stand.

While still struggling to cope up with the rush of patients from the entire northern region, the novel idea of starting evening OPDs at the PGI might enthuse the general public as well as the Union Health Minister, but not the doctors and employees of the over-burdened hospital, who feel it will be a tall order for them.

Emergency: fact file 2001

 * Total number of patients admitted: 41,412
 * Total OPD attendance: 6.24 lakh
 * Attendance at OPD special clinics: 3.4 lakh
 * Total deaths: 2,441

Strength of PGI

 * Total number of beds: 1,268
 * Emergency strength: 110
 * Daily OPD attendance: Over 3,000

With the present state of affairs at the PGI, there is more scepticism over starting of evening OPD than enthusiasm. “No doubt the move has brought in a lot of applause for the minister over his visionary idea, but is he aware of the ground realities and difficulties that would be faced,” quipped a senior doctor. With the majority at the helm of affairs in the PGI sharing his views, the viability of the move is already being doubted.

In sharp contrast to the reaction of the PGI staff, the general public and patients hail it as a great idea, aimed at bringing about a revolution in the medical field. “While we are still struggling to provide the basic health facilities to a large percentage of our population, starting of evening OPD would be a bold step in the right direction,” said Mr Vineet Kumar, who had come to the PGI for treatment from Hisar.

“No doubt the idea is very good and will benefit the public, but the question is whether we are adequately geared to take further load with the existing infrastructure of equipment, faculty, residents and technicians,” remarked Dr I.C. Pathak, a former Director of PGI. He added that with over 3,000 patients visiting the OPD at the PGI daily, the referral hospital was virtually functioning like a general hospital.

“I am confident that if the grants, staff and other facilities are upgraded, there is no doubt that the faculty and technicians will run the show remarkably,” he said.

Majority of the senior faculty members at the PGI felt that the starting an evening OPD at the PGI would depend on the success and viability of the move at AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, where it would start functioning by November 7.” It is still a proposal, which will require a lot of planning and fulfilling of organisational needs before it is implemented. Moreover, we at PGI, will have the benefit of the experience of the experiment at AIIMS and Safdarjung,” said another doctor on condition of anonymity.

Former PGI Director, Dr B.K. Sharma, while favouring the shifting of the special clinics at PGI from morning to evening, said that seeing their success and the response of the public, it would be easier to start full-fledged evening OPD. “No doubt it is an excellent idea, but we must realise that it will amount to running two shifts for which adequate arrangements have to be made,” he stated.

Dr Kak, a former Medical Superintendent of the PGI, while favouring the starting of evening OPD, felt that it would lead to serious logistic problems if X-Ray and laboratories also did not function round the clock, as the patients would have to come back in the morning for the tests,” he opined.

Most of the patients at the PGI while welcoming the move were doubtful of its success, saying that when things at the PGI could not run smoothly during day time, running the show in the evening efficiently would be expecting too much. “It would be very good, especially for retired and senior citizens, provided it functions effectively rather than remaining on paper,” said Mr Mohinder Kumar, a 72-year-old shopkeeper from Ambala.


PGI meeting: decision on sensitive issues deferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
With a lot of controversy generating over the issue of selections and promotions just before the holding of the PGI governing body meeting, the apex body at its meeting chaired by the Union Health Minister, Mr Shatrughan Sinha, here yesterday is learned to have deferred a decision on the sensitive issue.

According to sources, majority of the members were of the view that the next governing body meeting should be convened at the earliest to discuss the issue of selections and promotions at length. “With many of the doctors seeking the intervention of the Union Minister on the issue of selections and promotions, the matter had become so controversial that we thought it wise to discuss each case at length before making the final decision,” said a member of the apex body.

On the issue of proposed hike in hospital charges, recommended by the Standing Finance Committee, some of the members, including Mr Sinha and Member Parliament, Mr Suresh Chandel, were strictly opposed to the idea. In all probability, the move will have to be dropped as it would be viewed as a harsh measure no government would want to take, added a PGI source.

In all, 32 agenda items were discussed at the meeting held at the PGI on the occasion of the maiden visit of Mr Sinha to the city. Another serious issue that is learned to have come up for discussion is the functioning of the PGI Vigilance Department.

“Virtually putting a question mark on the functioning of the Vigilance Cell, one of the members demanded that the status report and the work done by them should be submitted before the governing body. He is learned to have said that not even a single chargesheet had been prepared by the department despite some serious allegations being levelled against some PGI officials.

The minister, who right from the beginning has been stressing the need for transparency, honesty and efficiency with time-bound action taken report, was himself keen to know the finer details of the CBI raid at the engineering wing of the hospital last month. “It appears that the minister was already in the knowhow of things and it was on this that he raised the issue,” stated one of the members.

Regarding the issue of giving age relaxation and other benefits to individuals, majority of the members opined that specific guidelines should be laid down as there should be no pick and choose policy and the same rules should be adopted for all.

The issue of giving representation to the PGI employees in the governing body also came up for discussion. Though there is no provision for it in the Act, it was said that the demand would be considered at the next meeting.

Now, all those seeking promotion and selection at the PGI are eagerly awaiting the next governing body meeting, which will decide their fate.


Save Rose Garden: HC 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Acting on a public interest litigation, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh to take adequate and effective measures against damage to the Sector 16 Rose Garden by the agitating farmers.

The directions were issued by the Bench, comprising the Acting Chief Justice, Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, on a petition filed by a city advocate seeking directions for shifting the venue of rallies and dharnas from road dividing Sectors 16 and 17 to some alternate site, besides maintaining the cleanliness of the Rose Garden and the Shanti Kunj in Sector 16.

The Bench had also asked the authorities to inform the court about the steps being taken for providing basic amenities to the farmers on one hand and preventing further damage to the gardens on the other. In his petition, the advocate had added that the authorities should be directed to provide amenities like water and mobile toilets to the agitating farmers.


Frequent protests take their toll on city police
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Chandigarh Police perhaps will be the most relieved lot once the agitating farmers of Punjab lift their “siege” from the Jan Marg, the dual carriageway running between Sectors 16 and 17, here.

Police viewpoint

Officials of the Chandigarh Police lament that their efforts to contain the tempers of the protesters, camping at the Matka chowk, often fail due to indifferent attitude of politicians and bureaucrats of Punjab. and Haryana. “Whenever a delegation wants to submit its memorandum, it takes hours to track down a Punjab Government official who can accept it. Normally, in a democratic setup a senior representative should go to the spot to accept the memorandum of the protesters”, said an official.

At least 300 policemen drawn from different police stations have been on a regular duty at the Matka chowk for the past one week — ever since the farmers started camping in the city. Additional force has been escorting the daily processions being taken out by the agrarian community.

The plight of the force does not end with the farmers’ agitation. It is the 47th rally being managed by the force, which continues to be hamstrung by non-availability of more personnel. This year, around 30,000 personnel have been detailed till date for rallies, dharnas, processions, nagar kirtans, strikes and political meetings. So far 210 rallies, dharnas and 60 processions have been held in the city, according to the police records.

In absence of a separate setup to deal with dharnas, rallies and processions, the policing in the city has been the worst sufferer. A proposal to have a battalion of the Chandigarh Armed Police seems to have been shelved. The city, being the seat of Haryana and Punjab, personnel have to be deployed along the route of the visiting dignitaries, remarks a senior police official

As per the parameters followed by the Chandigarh Police, a contingent of 300 personnel led by three inspectors and a Deputy Superintendent of Police are deployed for routine dharnas figuring around 1,000 protesters. If the strength of the protesters varies between 4,000 and 5,000, the additional force from the neighbouring police is requisitioned.

Presently, the Chandigarh Police has six companies of the SSB and three companies of the PAP — both are on fixed duties. A request by the Chandigarh Police to the Union Home Ministry to compensate it for the six withdrawn companies of the CRPF has been rejected. The companies of the CRPF have been deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.

Most of the dharnas and rallies are held at the Matka chowk. However, the site lacks basic infrastructure. A two-year-old proposal to put up slide gates on the Jan Marg is yet to be implemented. The slide gates would permanently replace barricades which are put up and replaced each time there is a dharna at the chowk. The place requires a permanent lighting system and accommodation and a structure to permanently house police personnel.


Panchkula emerges as drug traffickers’ haven
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 30
The town is fast becoming as an important point in the “golden triangle” of drug trafficking. Not only foreign nationals, but also their Indian agents involved in drug trafficking have made Panchkula a base for their clandestine operations in Punjab and Haryana.

Drugs recovered from Pkl in 2002



Brown Sugar

3 kg


11 gm

Poppy Husk

35 kg


1 kg


30 gm

The district police is concerned over large-scale drug smuggling in the region through the town. In the past two months, brown sugar and smack valued over Rs 3 crore in the international market have been seized here.

The police says that most of the accused are conduits of the drug agents, who could not lead it to real culprits. It was now seeking police remand for a few of these accused arrested earlier.

The police will file an application in a local court for seeking the police remand of Tazudin Adesola, a foreign national arrested with three kg smack and several lakh rupees in May last year. The police believes that his interrogation will lead them to a kingpin.

A large number of drugs are being brought here for further distribution in Chandigarh and urban Punjab. The seizure of 1 kg of brown sugar from five foreign nationals living in a rented house at Sector 9, in July here, proves that drugs are being smuggled into the town from Delhi.

The drug was valued at Rs 1 crore in the international market. While four of the accused — Oobinwuijc Daniel, Anthony, Francis and Fread — were arrested, their fifth accomplice reportedly jumped from their first floor hide-out in Sector 9.

On August 8, the police seized 2 kg of brown sugar, valued at Rs 2 crore in the international market, from Manjit Singh of SAS Nagar.

The police suspect he was an agent of “local area sub commander” of this international drug racket, which is fast spreading its operations in North India. This also revealed the use of local persons in this racket, says the police.

Two other foreign nationals were arrested by the police last month and smack worth lakhs was seized from their possession. While opium is brought in here from Himachal Pradesh, police sources say brown sugar, opium and charas come here from Pakistan and Afghanistan via Rajasthan (which forms the golden triangle) and then via Fatehabad to Panchkula. Consignment of drugs also reach here from Africa through parcels, which first reach Delhi and are then picked up by the local agents of the gang, informed a top police officer here.

Police sources also concede that the township has highly porous entry and exit points, which goes to the advantage of the smugglers.

The escape route into Uttaranchal via Kala Amb or to Himachal Pradesh is also an hours’ drive from the town.


Groups clash at Sec 30 temple
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Two groups, claiming control over the management of Shri Maha Kali Mandir in Sector 30, clashed here late this evening. According to the information available, the two groups had gone to court over the control of the management of the temple.

The court had passed directions to hold elections on September 17. While one group led by N.S. Rana held the election on September 17, the other group led by Rakesh Pal held a parallel election on September 18. This evening, a member of one group, who had come to the mandir to pay his obeisance, was allegedly assaulted, which led to the clash.

Soon the police, led by the SHO of the Industrial Area Police Station, reached the spot and defused the tension. Policemen were posted at the gate of the mandir to prevent any untoward incident.


Petition filed against high cable tariff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the city-based Federation of Sector Welfare Association today sought directions to the Central Government, pay channel broadcasters and other respondents to take effective steps against high subscription charges.

The federation, in its petition taken up by a Division Bench comprising Justice G.S, Singvi and Justice Kiran Anand Lall, added that the increase in the subscription charge were arbitrary and unconstitutional. Arguing on behalf of the federation, counsel added that certain tactics were being employed, including disconnection of the signal, for forcing the operators to enhance the charges from the subscribers. This, they added, was being done in an illegal manner.


Two more suspects brought to city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
In the racket involving issuing of fake visas which was busted yesterday by the operation cell of the Chandigarh Police, two more suspects — Raman and Kushwinder — were brought to the city from Delhi. Earlier a girl, Priyanka, was arrested from her residence in Delhi in this connection.

A police official said the main suspect, Harish Kumar, operated through the girl, who further had links with Raman, Kushwinder and Ramesh. The visa was arranged by Ramesh, who was reportedly printing visa stickers and charging Rs 25,000 for each visa.

The girl, who is doing a course in fashion designing at Delhi, was reportedly taking a commission of Rs 1 lakh of the total Rs 3.50 lakh being charged from the desirous persons. The suspect, Harish Sharma, was getting a share of Rs 50,000 for every visa. The remaining amount was shared by Raman and Kushwinder.

The police is looking for the three passports which are in the possession of the suspects. Three passports have already been recovered by the police.

Meanwhile Raman and Kushwinder were today remanded to one-day police custody.

The main suspect in the racket, Harish was arrested while delivering a passport with a fake stateen visa, valid for European countries to Pawan, a resident of Himachal Pradesh, at Kishangarh village here this afternoon. The suspect had taken Rs 3.50 lakh for arranging the fake visa.


Major power cut in city areas today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 30
Power supply to parts of Sectors 38 and 40 will remain suspended from 10 am to 4 pm, while the supply to parts of 33-B and C, 37 and 41will remain suspended from 10 am to 5 pm due to urgent maintenance work.

The supply to parts of Sectors 22 A and 22 C will be affected from 9.30 am to 4 pm. Power supply will remain suspended in parts of Sectors 3, 4, 5, 7, High Court chambers from 9 am to 6 pm.

The supply will also remain suspended in parts of Sectors 18, 19, 21 (A and B) from 10 am to 2 pm due to urgent maintenance work. 


Excise raids on Amartex Industries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
A team of the Central Excise, Gurgaon range, today raided the premises of Amartex Industries at Panchkula. According to officials in the Excise Department, a team of six officials raided the premises at Industrial Area, Phase II, Panchkula, and seized documents relating to payment of accounts and sales.

Mr Arun Grover, MD of the company, admitted that the excise team had searched the premises and seized some documents, but the company had nothing to hide from them since the company was engaged in trading only.

However, Excise officials were of the view that the company was also involved in manufacturing. They had raided on specific information, however, the exact details of the raid would be clear after detailed investigation of documents and verification of sales. 


Need to set up more primary hospitals: minister
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 30
“As many as 80 per cent of the diseases in our country are preventable but in the last more than 50 years we have failed to eradicate them.”

These views were expressed by Mr Vallabbhai Kathiria, Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, at an interactive session organised by the Chandigarh Management Association with the help of industrial associations of Panchkula and SAS Nagar at Fortis Heart Institute and Multispeciality Medical Centre here today.

He said: “We had even failed to eradicate malaria from our country. There were good hospitals set all over the country but these did not examine a single patient suffering from malaria or anaemia. Such problems had to be tackled first. So there was a need to set up more primary hospitals in the country and a one multispeciality hospital in one state was enough”.

He said industrial growth was the backbone of any development. Many units like the BHEL were doing good but with the passage of time certain units became sick and needed proper supervision and autonomy. Due to globalisation the competition had become tough.

He said: “The overall industrial growth rate was improving after 1999-2000 and soon we would be able to capture the export market. Our economy was moving ahead smoothly and steadily. After two to three years India would present a beautiful picture”.

The minister said disinvestment was a process which aimed at making public sector undertakings more efficient. These would be given revival packages. The aim was to generate industrial growth. To achieve this the government was going in for joint ventures for better management. We want to make India a house for small cars.

He said the government was planning to come up with technology upgradation funds and the budget would present the relevant changes.

Earlier, Mr Shivinder Singh of Fortis Heart Institute said India lacked health care facilities and many states like Gujarat had disease-based problems. Primary health care was not the final solution. The disease had to be tackled at an early stage and that, too, effectively. Multispeciality hospitals were a solution that India would have to succumb to in the near future because they offered comprehensive diagnostic facilities.

Mr Ashok Khanna, who represented PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it was a myth that the private sector was more efficient than the public sector. Human beings were the same everywhere.

He said the manufacturing era had gone and now the in-thing was trading and that, too, in goods that were ready to use. Labour reforms were needed to solve some of the problems.

Mr Devinder Tayal, who represented the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Panchkula chapter, said: “We do not need subsidies and grants from the government but opportunities, infrastructure and freedom to work”.

He requested the minister to consider Panchkula as a favourable destination for setting up heavy industry. Excellent engineering skills and enough manpower were available in the area.

He said the production in the tractor division of HMT, Pinjore, a Public Sector Undertaking, had gone down. The product was good and even the demand was there but the working capital had become a problem for it.

Mr A.L. Aggarwal, general secretary of the Chamber for Chandigarh Industries, said 50 to 60 per cent of small-scale industrial (SSI) units had become sick due to the WTO. He said there was a need to religiously implement the existing laws.

Mr Balbir Singh, vice-president of the Mohali Industries Association (Baidwan faction), highlighted problems like delayed payments of dues by large-scale units to SSIs and inadequate working capital. He also suggested upgradation of the Chandigarh airport, opening of sub offices of the SISI and the NSIC, Ludhiana, in the town.


BKU asks Badal to quit NDA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) has asked Mr Parkash Singh Badal to come out of NDA alliance if the Centre failed to revise the MSP of paddy. “There was no point of shedding crocodile tears in the sympathy of farmers, rather the Akali Dal should leave the NDA government for not protecting the rights of farmers,” said Mr Gurmeet Singh Dittupur, its general secretary, here today.

He said this while addressing a farmers’ protest rally in Sector 34, in front of the FCI’s regional office. Earlier, farmers burnt an effigy of Union Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Sharad Yadav. Today was the eighth day of the protest. He said both the ruling and opposition parties in the state were busy in scoring political points over each other instead of protecting their interests. Mr Pishora Singh Sidhupur, president of the union, lamented that the FCI was offering one excuse or other to reject the paddy of farmers, though some years ago, it used to procure all paddy from mandis without making any fuss.

He said the Centre had already tightened the condition of moisture content in paddy from 18 per cent to 17 per cent and the portion of discoloured pieces from four per cent to three per cent. These conditions were almost impossible to meet. Though the mandis were overflowing with paddy, but the FCI had not started procurement so far, he added. He claimed that the protest to stop trains at the local railway station yesterday was successful.


Rs 100 cr earmarked for nano-technology
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has set aside Rs 100 crore for research and development in an emerging field of nano-technology (matter broken to nano-metre level) in the Tenth Five Year Plan.

“Nano technology will receive an allocation of Rs 100 crore of a total of approximately Rs 600 crore allocated for the DST,” the Union Science and Technology Secretary, Dr V.S. Ramamurthy said here today.

He had come to the city to attend the 45th convention of Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) on nano-technology.

Other areas where the DST would be spending a major share of its resources would be on bamboo-product-related technologies and those to deal with natural calamities, he said, adding the surfeit of bamboo in the country had been causing socio-economic problems.

He said nano-technology, which would drastically reduce the size of electronics, was being examined the world over for its application and India was looking forward to its use in drug delivery.

Dr Ramamurthy said even the allocation of Rs 100 crore against billions of dollars going to be spent by the USA seemed little, but this amount would enable the country to prepare for the use of the technology. He said the latest project in the country through nano-technology would be converting the hepatitis B vaccine into the one that could be delivered through orally administered drops.

Mr Ramamurthy, however, ruled out that India was immediately able to use the technology in reducing the size of electronics due to a small size of the electronics industry in the country.

He said the country would now think of bringing scientists from diverse fields like chemistry, physics and biology to network these people for achieving various goals in the field.

He said the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) was among the few institutions which had done some work in the field of nano-technology, but said the developments in the field were isolated.

He said the Department of Biotechnology would get major chunk of funds for developing technologies from crops. Mr Ramamurthy said an allocation of Rs 100 crore would also be made for the development of the micro-electro-mechanical systems, a precursor for breaking the matter to the level of nano-metre.


Helpline renders laudable service

LITTLE did anyone realise that the ‘Ex-servicemen Helpline’ service started by the Headquarters Western Command at the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, will receive such an overwhelming response. One can see a sizeable number of ex-servicemen, their spouses besides widows coming to the helpline or contacting it on telephone to seek help.

This service is mostly utilised by the personnel below officer rank (PBOR). A few examples, where help has been rendered to needy, are mentioned here. The other day, when a JCO expired in the Command Hospital and a request was made for a funeral van to take his body to his nature village near Ropar. Following this, a van was arranged from the Chandigarh Red Cross Society.

On getting information on telephone at 3.45 a.m. on September 25, that an ex-serviceman had suffered a heart attack, he was brought to the Command Hospital by sending an ambulance to his residence in Chandigarh immediately.

A Naik who is admitted in the Command Hospital had to go for a test to the PGI. An ambulance was arranged to take him and bring him back after the test.

A retired Subedar with his wife came to Col Subash Chander, is officer in charge of the helpline, on September 27, with a grievance that his pension had not been revised as per the new rules. The helpline promptly wrote to the Ordinance Records and others for revising his pension. When the request of this JCO and his wife that they wanted to see Maj Gen R.S. Battra, MG Administration, Headquarters Western Command, was conveyed to the latter, he sent a vehicle to bring them to his office.

There have been a few cases where the separated families, on not receiving any news from their husbands, contacted the helpline. In one of such cases, the news about a Naik serving at Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, was conveyed to his wife the same day she contacted the helpline.

After seeing the response, more such helpline services will be started by the Headquarters Western Command.

Accommodation for Army

The government has taken a decision to build 198,881 dwelling units for the armed forces personnel at 231 stations in four phases at an estimated cost of Rs 17,357.97 crore.

The project to construct 61,658 dwelling units in 81 stations is likely to be completed by 2005-2006. A contract has already been signed with the public sector units, NBCC, RITES and IRCON, to build accommodation at 22 stations in the phase I.

This information was given by the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

Financial assistance

To give financial assistance to those ex-servicemen, widows and dependents who have no other source of income, a new fund, Defence Minister’s Discretionary Fund, has been started.

This fund will be utilised for giving financial assistance to the needy. This includes Rs 1000 per month for two years to the old and infirm ex-servicemen, and widows of ex-servicemen; Rs 8000 each for the marriage of daughters of ex-servicemen or of widows; Rs 10,000 for the repair of house; up to Rs 15,000 for medical treatment, depending on the gravity of the disease; financial aid of Rs 100 per month each for the education of children up to XII standard, subject to maximum number of children not exceeding three, will also be granted.

Financial assistance of Rs 15,000 will be granted in case of natural calamities, accidental deaths or in any other cases where the Defence Minister or the Minister of State for Defence feels satisfied that the individual concerned deserves sympathetic consideration. For this aid, no single transaction will exceed Rs 15,000.

Joint replacement

For the first time in India, a complete ankle joint was replaced in an operation carried out on a 47-year-old ex-serviceman at the Army Hospital (R & R), Delhi cantonment. The surgery was carried out according to an advanced method which restores almost free movement of the joint.

The Joint Replacement Centre at the Army Hospital, established in 1977, leads in the field of surgery in the country. This is the first hospital in India that has installed the robotic arm for joint replacement surgery. Over 800 operations of joint replacement have already been carried out at this hospital so far.

Pritam Bhullar


Scientists on lookout for alternative fuels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The September 11 attacks on the WTC in the USA and subsequent terrorist attacks in other countries have given a fillip to the research on alternative fuels. Scientists of the USA and other countries are working on other energy sources, including hydrogen. Under the directive of the Bush administration in the USA, the scientists are working on the hydrogen fuel cells and plan to replace petroleum with as fuel hydrogen by the year 2030.

These views were expressed by speakers at a seminar on ‘Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’ here today. The seminar was held by the Northern Region chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

In his keynote address on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Dr Robert K. Dixon, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Power Technologies, US Department of Energy, said: “With the declining oil sources, the world is going to face a serious crisis in the near future. Our plan is to bring out hydrogen fuel cells by the year 2030 to replace them with other traditional fuels. Some of the companies have already started using hydrogen as alternative fuel.’’

The country had plans, he said, to bring out buses and other vehicles fitted with hydrogen cells by the year 2010. Efforts were being made to introduce energy efficient vehicles and technologies to cut down the budget. Since steel, aluminum, glass industry and agriculture were the bulk users of energy, the government was encouraging energy technologies in these sectors. Those countries would have an edge in the global market who could cut down the energy costs in these industries, he added.

Mr K.K. Khandelwal, Director, Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency, said: ‘‘The Haryana government has also introduced the Energy Conservation Act to promote non-conventional sources of energy. The plans are afoot to produce at least 70 MW of energy through non-conventional sources, including solar and wind power.’’

Mr S.S. Sekhon, Director, Punjab Energy Development Agency, was of the view that there was a great scope for solar energy due to around 320 sunny days in a year. The state government was also promoting small hydel projects to tap the potential. Mr I.S. Paul, Chairman, Environment Sub-Committee, CII (Northern Region), highlighted the collaboration between the USA and the CII in the field of energy conservation and new projects in this regard.


Council’s appeal for blood donation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Baba Sheikh Farid Blood Donors Council, Mohali, has appealed to the public to donate blood tomorrow to celebrate the blood donation day. Mr Balwant Singh, press secretary of the council, said as many as 23 blood donations camps had been organised by the organisation. Over 4,000 persons have donated blood in such camps. He said the council would organise next camp on October 8 at Guru Ravi Dass Bhavan at Mohali.


Free entry to Zoo from Oct 1 to 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Entry to Chhat Bir Zoo will be free for one week beginning October 1 in celebration of wildlife week. Giving this information to The Tribune, Dr Vinod Sharma, Chief Warden. Zoos, Punjab, said visitors would be charged for rides inside the lion safari during the wildlife week.

Zoo Holiday: The Chief Warden also announced the closure of Chhat Bir Zoo, Ludhiana Zoo, and the deer parks at Patiala, Bathinda and Neelon on October 2 on account of Gandhi Jayanti.


Army HQ post for Gen Jagdish Chander
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Lt-Gen Jagdish Chander today took over as Director-General, Supplies and Transport, Army Headquarters, New Delhi. He succeeds Lt-Gen I.K. Chhitwal. Earlier, he was commandant of ASC Centre and College at Bangalore.

An alumni of National Defence Academy, General Jagdish Chander is from the ASC and has held various important posts such as Chairman and Managing Director of CSD, Instructor at Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and Col ‘Q’ of a Division in OP-Pawan. He has been awarded the Vishist Seva Medal and Ati Vishist Seva Medal for distinguished services.


Punjabi Tribune News Editor retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Mr Surjit Singh, News Editor, Punjabi Tribune, retired today after 31 years of service.

He first joined the Accounts Department but was later appointed Sub-Editor in Punjabi Tribune in July, 1978. He was given a warm sendoff by his colleagues.


Tribune employee retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Mr Makhan Lal, senior head Havildar in The Tribune Group of Newspapers, retired today after 35 years of service. He joined The Tribune as a messenger in 1967 at Ambala. He was given a warm send-off by his colleagues.

Mr O. P. Arora, Additional General Manager, The Tribune Trust, appreciated Mr Makhan Lal for his dedication towards work.


Social worker dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Ms Sheela Saihgal (69), senior vice-president of the Punjab Istri Sabha and a social worker, died here today due to cardiac arrest.

Ms Saihgal was also actively associated with the Punjab Red Cross.

She had gone to attend a function at her grandson’s school this evening where she suffered a heart attack. She was taken to the GMCH-32, where doctors declared her brought dead.

Her cremation will take place tomorrow at 11 a.m. in Chandigarh.

Various local social organisations have condoled the death of Ms Saihgal.


Woman cycle thief held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 30
The police has arrested a woman cycle thief and recovered 12 bicycles from her.

Munni Devi, a middle-aged resident of Indira Colony, here was arrested late last night from her residence. As many as 12 bicycles, which the accused had stolen from different parts of the township over the past few months, were found stacked in her jhuggi.

The police had received information that she was involved in stealing bicycles and raided her residence last night.

At least four of the bicycles recovered from her have already been identified by the owners. She was produced before a local court and has been sent to a one-day police remand.

Police officials say she has been actively involved in theft of bicycles for the past several years. Her husband, Bal Krishan, stays in Uttar Pradesh and she sells stolen bicycles to support her family.


Woman dies in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 30
Ms Kiran, a resident of Panchkula, died after the scooter she was riding was hit by a truck near the Transport Area in Sector 26, here last evening. As per police sources, she was seriously injured in the accident and was rushed to the PGI, where she was declared brought dead. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the truck.

Injured: A resident of Sector 29, Mr Kulwinder Singh, was injured after he was allegedly hit by a motor cycle on the dividing road of Sectors 49 and 50. A case has been registered.

Arrested: On the complaint of Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd), a resident of Sector 35, the police has arrested Gurjant Singh, who allegedly entered the former’s house with an intention of theft on Sunday evening. The accused was reportedly caught red-handed.

Motor cycle stolen: Mr Guwinder Singh, a resident of Kharar district, reported to the police that his Rajdoot motor cycle (HR-41-9508) was stolen from a parking lot in Sector 22 on Sunday afternoon. Mr Karam Singh, a resident of Panchkula, reported that his video camera was stolen from a Sector 35-based hotel on Saturday. Two cases of theft have been registered.

Eve-teasing case: Jasvir Singh, a resident of Sector 23, was arrested on the charge of eve-teasing from Sector 28 on Sunday evening. He was booked under Section 294 of the IPC.


PGI sweeper commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
A 35-year-old sweeper Jai Parkash of the PGI allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the roof of his jhuggi in Kumhar Colony in Sector 25 here. His body was found hanging this morning.

According to the police, he was last seen by his neighbour, Daljeet, at around 5 am. Jai Parkash, who was reportedly in an inebriated state, had told his neighbour that he had a tiff with his wife last night.

A police official said he had been allotted an official quarter in Sector 12 with his wife, Babli, and was living there with his two children. The couple had a fight over some issue at the Sector 12 house and the victim left the place after that.

The post-mortem will be done at the Sector 16 General Hospital tomorrow. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr PC.


Banking facilities for senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 30
On the eve of World Senior Citizens’ Day, ICICI bank entered into an alliance with the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association. “This partnership has been formed to utilise their experience so that the bank can formulate effective strategies for its community services,” said Mr Anant Kumar, Regional Manager of the bank while addressing a press meeting at the bank’s Sector 9 office here today.

The bank also launched a few special facilities for the senior citizens, including a zero-balance savings account with Quantum Optima facility, 0.50 per cent higher interest on deposits, loans up to 90 per cent against FDRs at concessional rates and free collection of cheques at ICICI Bank locations.

Apart from these facilities, the senior citizens would be having the advantage of accessing their accounts at more than 400 branches and 1100 ATMs spread across 222 important centres of the country.

They can also pay their telephone bills through the Net. “The facility for depositing electricity bills will also be made online,” said Mr Anant Kumar.

A delegation of the association, which attended the meeting, expressed happiness over the move made by the bank. Maj-Gen J.S. Bhullar (retd), who led the delegation, said besides financial security, emotional security should also be provided by the bank staff. He also suggested that the banks should engage retired persons to utilise their experience. The meeting was also attended by Brig Keshav Chander (retd), president of the body and Gen M.S. Kandal (retd), chairman of the organising committee of Senion Citizens Day, 2002.

Meanwhile, the association, in a separate function, hosted a lunch for nearly about 115 students at the Institute for Blind, Sector 26. During the last month the association had conducted free medical check-up camps, entertainment programmes, seminars and fitness awareness programmes as part of Senior Citizens’ Day celebrations. 


Govt to provide land to polluting industry
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Punjab Government has accepted the demand of Ludhiana industry to provide land to the highly-polluting electroplating and other units in the industrial area phase VIII. These units are currently working in the residential area, against the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The government has assured them apart from providing land to these units, the common effluent treatment plant in the industrial area, would be soon made operational to cater to their needs.

This was disclosed by Mr Mukul Joshi, Principal Secretary, Department of Industry, Punjab, here. Talking to the TNS, he disclosed, ‘‘The government would initially provide about eight acres of land to shift the electroplating units from the residential area. The land has been surrendered by the initial allottees, who had failed to set up industrial units as per the agreement.’’

The decision in this regard, he said, was taken here in a meeting with the delegation of Ludhiana Electroplaters Association. Meeting was also attended by Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chief Secretary, Punjab and Mr P.S. Aujla, MD, PSIEC.

Mr Joginder Kumar, in a memorandum submitted to the chief secretary, said, ‘‘As per the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s directions, issued time and again, the polluting industrial units in the residential areas, should be shifted outside the city. The electroplating units affiliated to the association, require about 30 acres of land.

Besides providing the land, the government should also order a vigilance enquiry into the denotification of about 100 acres of land, which was previously earmarked for the polluting industry.’’

Mr Ratra, reportedly assured the delegation that the government would look into the merits of the case, and all steps would be taken to accommodate the units. Mr Joshi said, ‘‘Like the textile units, the government would encourage electroplating units and other industry to develop separate clusters in collaboration with government agencies.’’

Regarding the demand to refund the earnest money of the unsuccessful allottees, Mr P.S. Aujla, MD, Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC), assured to release the money as per seniority list. The delegation also urged the government to review its decision to impose sales tax at the first stage on BP sheet, HR coil and other steel products, which were used as raw material by the industry. Mr Joshi assured them that though notification in this regard had been already issued, but government would ensure that no tax was paid by the industry on raw material.

Among others Mr M.S. Bhogal, Mr A.S. Kular, Mr Manmohan Singh, Mr Ubhi Chabber Singh, Mr Harminder Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr O.P. Jindal also attended the meeting.

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