Thursday, November 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


50 per cent city youth hooked on tobacco
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service


  • More than 50 per cent city youths in the age group of 15 to 22 are tobacco users.
  • A majority of the tobacco users are students (60 per cent).
  • 98 per cent of tobacco users are from nuclear families.
  • It is curiosity and peer pressure which get a majority hooked on tobacco.
  • Almost 40 per cent youths after three cessation attempts, got back into the habit.

Chandigarh, November 6
Apart from the fact that smoking is considered to be fashionable, is it the increasing shift to the nuclear family system and lack of supervision that has resulted in more than 50 per cent of the city’s youth being hooked on tobacco?

A study conducted by the PGI’s Psychiatry Department to observe the prevalence of tobacco use amongst adolescents and young adults in the age group of 15 to 22, showed that out of the 50 per cent tobacco users, 60 per cent were students.

“Another interesting factor which has come to light is that out of the students who are tobacco users, a majority were initiated while still in school, proving that they were easily influenced by their environment at this tender age,” explained Dr Chetna Bhagirath, who was part of the team that conducted the study in the city, along with 12 other centres in the country.

Psychiatrists at the PGI revealed that an exceptionally high percentage of tobacco users (98) were from nuclear families, which shows that related factors like isolation, lack of supervision and social support may be responsible for more and more children taking to this habit.

While the highest percentage of the youth (50) were using cigarettes, 15 per cent were found to be using tobacco in the form of khaini, gutkha and pan masala and the remaining (35) were addicted to both.

Though the most common reason behind the use of tobacco, mostly cigarettes, was found to be curiosity, others took to it due to their environment, where they succumbed to peer pressure. “It is not that these youngsters are not aware of the adverse affect that smoking and consumption of khaini, gutkha and pan masala have on their health but once hooked on all these, they find it difficult to give it up because of a strong craving,” explain doctors.

Youths who become drug users at an early age, invariably suffer from breathlessness (65 per cent), weight loss(45), cough with sputum (45), chest pain(40) and vomiting (30). The study also showed that almost 40 per cent tobacco users had made three successful cessation attempts but relapsed due to peer pressure and craving, thereby indicating that the young adults lack assertion skills and easily succumb to pressure.

The importance of the family as a major social support system in helping youths give up the habit of smoking or consumption of khaini and gutkha has been highlighted in the study. Psychiatrists who conducted the study recommend more emphasis on primary prevention and sensitisation among youths against tobacco use.

Apart from this, the study recommends that awareness must be created among tobacco users about the availability of various modalities of treatment for giving up the habit, which is on the rise among the youth.



Waiting for a jailbreak at Burail
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 6
In spite of repeated security lapses in Model Jail at Burail, the authorities concerned have not done anything to stop these. The recent discovery of cash, cellphone and a weapon in the barracks of the accused in the Beant Singh assassination case is not an isolated incident. There have been a number of such incidents in the jail in the past.

Sources said even the Ministry of Home Affairs had taken a serious note of the indiscipline created by the accused, who had boycotted court hearing and resorted to fast. It had directed the jail authorities to streamline the system.

Earlier, on October 7, there had been a clash over film star Salman Khan between two inmates of the jail, that had landed one of them in hospital. Both had been watching television when the fight began. Their debate on Salman Khan blew up into abuses and blows.

An inner circle of 100 security personnel and an outer circle of 70 personnel of the Special Service Bureau (SSB) guard about 460 inmates, including women. The SSB personnel are responsible for the security of the outer circle of the jail and the 100 personnel for inner security have been recruited by the jail authorities.

In spite of all this, a few days ago, the jail authorities found some persons allegedly bringing drugs inside. One of the security personnel was caught in Punjab faxing abroad a message from one of the undertrials. The material for making country liquor had been seized from some prisoners of foreign origin in a lock-up here. There were reports that some undertrials were using pigeons for communication with outsiders.

When contacted, Mr D.S. Rana, Superintendent of Model Jail, said the authorities had been trying to make the inmates better citizens of society, for which, yoga classes and many professional courses had been introduced in the jail. He said about 170 security personnel, including the SSB men and the internal-security force, were guarding the jail. The UT Administration has ordered that 16 hi-tech cameras, costing about Rs 23 lakh, be installed in the jail to monitor the inmates.

He said the Administration planned to install cameras at about eight watchtowers, inner gate, main gate, outside the special court in the jail and in the interview room. This had been done to keep a watch on dangerous criminals.

Meanwhile, the lawyers of the accused in the Beant Singh assassination case have demanded a judicial probe into the recent recovery of some articles from the barracks of their clients. In a memorandum submitted to the UT Finance Secretary and acting Home Secretary, they have condemned the incident and said that the undertrials have been falsely implicated in the case by the jail authorities. They said the charges were motivated and aimed at tarnishing the image of the inmates.



Less noise, more polluted air this Divali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Thanks to the less noisy and more fancy crackers this Divali, the festival night for city residents was a little quiet, even though they inhaled highly polluted air with an SPM level of 685, more than thrice the permissible limit.

As compared to an SPM level of 617 last Divali, this time it shot up to 685. Interestingly, the sulphur dioxide level in the air was 23 micrograms per cubic metre and nitrogen oxide at 43, being far below the permissible limit of 80.

The fact that there was less noise pollution this Divali is by no means an indication that people burnt less crackers. It was due to the fact that the market this time had a wide range of crackers which emitted bright and colourful sparks , with very little or no noise. As per the air quality figures recorded by the Department of Environment and Pollution Control, there was maximum noise — between 80 and 90 db(A) — from 8 to 9 p.m. The permissible noise level during nighttime stands at 45.

As compared to previous years, there has been an appreciable decrease in the noise levels. However, the air pollution this Divali was more than last year at 685, but far less than 2000, when it reached an all-time high of 935.



Sisters pray for brothers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 6
Sisters showed their love and affection for brothers by applying tilak on their foreheads on the occasion of Bhai Dooj today.

Celebrations started early in the morning with sisters holding plates full of sweets, besides incense sticks and material required for pooja, applied tilak on the forehead of their brothers.

Those who had their sisters staying away from the city completed the ritual themselves with the tilak they received by post.

Cousins filled the space of real brothers, or those who did not have any brother. After applying the tilak of affection, they waited patiently for their brothers to give the gifts of love.

“In 2002, brothers preferred giving gifts instead of money in a large number of cases,” said computer engineer-cum-brother of one Nitin Mahajan. “Elegant and impressive boxes of chocolates were given. Cakes too were presented. Rich and famous, on the other hand, presented gold and diamond earrings to their sisters”.

Sisters working in private offices took the permission to reach the office late. However, schoolgoing girls were not so fortunate. They had to rush through the entire ceremony to attend the classes on time.



Canada lures immigrants to restock rural areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Mr Dennis Codere, Canadian Minister for Citizenship and Immigration has unveiled a new federal policy that would open the doors for thousands for immigration aspirants granting three to five years work permit, if they live in rural communities. The Canadian Government’s new immigration policy is designed to attract young, preferably large foreign families, to rural Canada.

Mr Devinder Sandhu, Senior Director, World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS), said here yesterday that this move of the Canadian authorities had widened the scope of getting the visa and settling in Canada to the many immigration aspirants from Asia and Africa.

Their aim is to send one million immigrants to the vicinity over the next decade by matching workers with remote businesses and farms that are starved of skilled labour.

“If the immigrants comply, they will automatically be granted permanent residency with the right to apply for citizenship after another three to five years work permits if they live in rural community”, said Codere. He also proposed ways to quicken the retraining and licensing for foreign engineers, teachers and medical professionals seeking work in rural community.

With Canada’s population of one million ageing and its birth rate declining, the Canadian Government relies on immigration to ward off their population decline. But with the population of Newfoundland falling 7 per cent between the 1996 and 2001 censuses, Yukon by 6.8 per cent, Northwest Territories by 5.8 per cent, New Brunswick by 1.2 per cent and Saskatchewan by 1.1 per cent, population in some rural areas is already in calamitious decline.



More Jaguar crash victims in PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
While the condition of five persons admitted to the PGI and the Government Medical College and Hospital continues to remain critical, four others injured in the Jaguar crash in Ambala yesterday were today brought here from Army Hospital, Ambala.

Three persons, Santosh (17) with 70 per cent burns, Nirmal Kumar (35) with 53 per cent burns and Lajwanti (70) with 15 per cent burns were admitted to the PGI, while Raj Kumar (27) has been admitted to the GMCH with 25 per cent burns.

The condition of Shivani, Manju, Dinesh Kumar, Brij Lal and Ramesh, who were brought here yesterday, continues to remain critical.



Cries of bluebull calf fail to move wildlife officials
Bipin Bhardwaj

Panchkula, November 6
For the migrants who have been nursing and bringing up a month-and-a-half-old bluebull calf, it is a matter of love. In contrast, the Haryana Wildlife Department is unmoved, while the calf waits to find a permanent home.

In spite of their poor financial condition, the labourers, who can barely sustain themselves, are feeding the calf milk, bread and soft green fodder, while the department remains unbothered about the rehabilitation of the mute. None of its officials has turned up for taking the custody of the animal, leaving it at the mercy of poor labourers whose kindness was highlighted in these columns on October 27.

The calf was found in a deep ditch in the forest area of the Saketri Hills by Mr Ram Shankar Pandey, a forest guard of the Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute (CSWCRTI) in Mansa Devi Complex, on October 2. The calf was either abandoned or it got separated from its herd.

The kind guard, later, brought the animal to a nearby farmhouse of Mr N.C. Gupta, a Ludhiana industrialist, and asked two workers — Mr Ram Pyare Yadav and Mr Sushankar Pandey — to take care of it. Since then, the farmhouse workers are feeding the animal by cutting down on their own rations.

Meanwhile, the Haryana wildlife authorities have said that they have no information regarding any bluebull calf being nursed by labourers. A wildlife official said the animal would be picked up from the farmhouse and released in a rescue house in either Kalesar or the mini zoo of Pipli, within a day or two.



British couples with visions for India
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, November 6
Peter and Jean Swinscoe, Dr Nath and Eileen Jambunathan, John and Jean Clifford, Malcom and Joyce Whitt — four British couples from the Rotary Club of Wellington Park, here as a part of the Rotary Family Exchange Programme — could not have come at a better time, with the festive mood all around. The visitors are soaking all shades of Indian culture — from the famous hospitality to the vibrant dances.

“We are overwhelmed by the hospitality we have been shown ever since our arrival in Chandigarh about a week ago,” said all members of the team. Their hosts are members of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh Midtown, who have taken them to Kasauli, Morinda and Anandpur Sahib. Amritsar is, now, their next destination.

“We want to see the famous Golden Temple, all decorated for the festive season,” said Mr Malcom Whitt, senior vice-president of the Rotary Club of Wellington Park. Mr Whitt, after taking retirement from his business last year, has been actively involved in social work.

However, it is not just about sight-seeing and cultural appreciation. The week-long visit has produced visions for a number of projects that will be finalised once the team returns to Nottingham. “We have identified at least four areas where we can contribute,” said Mr Peter Swinscoe, the Rotary Club president in 1984 and, now, an active member of the club.

The areas identified by the members are free eye-camps, providing the physically challenged with artificial limbs and a diagnostic centre for screening heart diseases (a major project to come up at Morinda). The group visited Morinda, Nevedac Prosthetic Centre near the Chandigarh airport and the Institute of Blind in Sector 26 to collect information.

“This visit has given us an opportunity to collect first-hand information on problems for future and identify beneficiaries,” said Mr Swinscoe. He has been closely associated with the Jaipur Limb Project and will inaugurate another such centre in Kerala on November 18.

The British couples are being led by a former president of the Rotary Club, Mr Mohan Khera, and his wife Praveena. Accompanying them are members of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh Midtown, including Dr Balram Gupta, the club president; Mr R.K. Goyal, the club secretary; Mr B.L. Ramsisaria, a former president of the club; and Mr Pallav Mukharjee.



Cheshire Home for the disabled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
A Cheshire Home for diabled was formally opened yesterday by the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R.Jacob (retd).

The home has been set up in the basement of Foreign Student Hostel, Sector 15, till the regular building is completed.

There are 346 such homes in 52 countries all over the world. The Governor, after inaugurating the home by unveiling a plaque went to the kitchen, the mess and rooms of inmates. He interacted with the inmates and distributed jackets to them.

Mr Rupert Ridge, international Director of Cheshire Homes, thanked General Jacob for extending all possible help to get the home started in Chandigarh and said it would accommodate 15 cases initially. When commissioned, the permanent building would have facilities100 inmates. He informed the Governor that the home would have facilities for a Day-Care Centre, a physiotherapy-cum-development centre and community based services.

Maj-Gen K.M. Dodi, honorary secretary looking after the eastern region, informed the Governor that Chandigarh Cheshire Home would be 27th such home in the country. He said the home had set an example of unpretentious but effective work for the relief of suffering humanity with enthusiasm and earnestness. He said the home was open to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion or nationality, with the motto: “We Care — We Share”.

He said the home would help the handicapped lead a meaningful life. The home would work under Maj-Gen A.S. Kahlon (retd.), chairman, Lieut-Gen J.L. Malhotra (retd.), vice-chairman, Brig M.L.Kataria (retd), secretary, Mr Madhukar Malhotra, treasurer, and Ms Usha Saboo, member.

Speaking on the occasion, General Jacob said he was happy to see Cheshire Home becoming operational in the city. He said that a hospice for terminally-ill cancer patients would also get operational within 15 days.



Core group mulls surrendering awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The All India Veterans Core Group today said there was no option but to return the Mention-in-Despatches (M-in-D) certificates, along with the ‘Lotus Leaf’, to the President of India if the government continued to discriminate against M-in-D recipients.

The president of the group, Brig H.S. Ghuman (retd), has written a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, seeking restoration of dignity and honour for gallantry award winners.

He said 40 Victoria Cross (including 14 posthumous) were awarded by the British to Indians during the first and the second World Wars along with many Mention-in Despatches (M-in-D) for acts of gallantry in the face of enemy to those who could not be awarded Victoria Cross for reasons of limiting such awards.

The NDA government had given income tax exemption on pension to top three gallantry award (PVC, MVC and VC) winners. This was seen as a discrimination against those fighting insurgency. Thus the NDA government secured exemption of income tax on pension for winners of 16 awards given by the President and the Heads of the Department Awards.

It was unfortunate that the M-in-D awarded by the President to the personnel of Armed forces for acts of gallantry in the operational area was again left out. The main cause for this confusion was the non-existence of separate medal for M-in-D since British Raj in India, he said.

The Ministry of Defence amended an order pertaining to ‘order of Precedence of Awards’ to include paramilitary and other civilian gallantry/distinguished service awards by ignoring the M-in-D awarded by the President of India since there was no separate medal for it, he said.

“The Jeevan Raksha Padak for civilians, which is at serial number 54 of the amended ‘order of Precedence of Awards’ and is below all service medals/stars awarded to soldiers who participate in a war, entitles its recipient to income tax exemption on pension.” This, said the core group, clearly showed the MoD in poor light. “Surely the risk involved to life in the battle field is much higher and if the government doesn’t recognise it, it is discrimination,” it said.

According to the core group, the SAD-BJP government in Punjab in 2001 treated all gallantry awardees, including M-in-D, at par with each other and paid Rs 2 lakh each to 11 war heroes of Punjab and conveniently forgot recipients of other gallantry awards.

Besides, the MoD has denied fundamental voting right to the personnel of the Armed forces and their families at their place of posting in violation of the Election Commission of India guidelines.



RBI urges public to exchange soiled notes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Reserve Bank of India has urged members of the public to enforce their right to obtain good quality notes and avail themselves of the facility to exchange mutilated and soiled notes.

A press note from the RBI stated here today that people could get their damaged currency notes exchanged on the spot. They would have the option of tendering up to 200 pieces of mutilated notes in a cover (TLR cover), exchange value of which would be remitted to the tenderer by payorder/draft in person or by post as per the convenience of the tenderer. The notes could also be sent by insured registered post to the Issue Department of the RBI.

Currency chest branches of public and private sector banks have also been delegated powers to exchange torn, mutilated or defective notes. Besides, all branches (non-currency chests) of banks have been instructed to provide exchange facilities free of cost. The banks are also required to accept soiled and cut notes in payment of government dues and for credit of accounts of the public maintained with payment of government dues.

However, the notes presented should not be more than two pieces with no essential feature missing and bear the complete number on the undivided area.

In case of notes that might have turned extremely brittle, termite infected or badly burnt/charred or inseparably stuck up together and cannot withstand normal handling, the tenderer can directly approach the Claims Section in the Issue Department of the RBI.

With regards to the issue of notes at the bank counters, the RBI has issued strict instructions to issue only good quality notes.



Governor’s faux pas: MP blamed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Scheduled Castes Morcha of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) criticised the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, here today, for allegedly getting a Valmiki temple inaugurated by the Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand. It said the MP had forgotten that the temple had already been inaugurated twice in the past.

Ms Urmila Devi and Mr Sachin Lohtiya, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Chandigarh unit of the morcha, made the criticism on the basis of some news reports published today. It said the Sector 24 temple had first been inaugurated on June 19, 1998, by the then Union Law Minister, Jagan Nath Kaushal, and, after that, on October 14, 1989, by a former Union minister, Mr Buta Singh.

The morcha leaders said they were surprised how the foundation stone of the temple installed at the site could escape the notice of the Haryana Governor.



Man blames doctors for mother’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
A local person, Mr S.K. Dhawan of Sector 40, has alleged that negligence on part of doctors at a private hospital here resulted in the death of his mother. His mother died in her house on September 23 after treatment in the Sector 34 hospital.

Mr Dhawan, in his complaint to the hospital authorities through registered post, has sought an explanation for the death of his mother and raised several questions.

The hospital authorities, when contacted, said there had been no negligence in the treatment of the mother of Mr Dhawan. They said they had indeed received the complaint and would respond to it through their lawyer.



Sector 32 streetlights not functioning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Streetlights on the V-5 road on the intersection of Sector 32-D and 32-C have not been functioning for the last one month and has become a nightmare for the road users of the area.

There have been two incidents of chain snatching so far. There have also been cases of minor road accidents.

Mr Mehar Singh, president of the Social Welfare Society, Sector 32, said in a press release here today that he had brought the matter to the notice of the municipal corporation officials but nothing had been done to improve the situation.



Vigilance Awareness Week observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Vigilance Awareness Week was observed at the ESI Corporation office in Sector 19-A and its offices in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The Regional Director, Mr T.R. Gautam, administered the pledge to the staff of the regional office on the occasion and exhorted them to fight against corruption. Local office managers also administered the pledge in their respective offices. A seminar was organised on the premises of the regional office on the concluding day today. Air Marshal P.K. Jain (retd) was the chief guest on the occasion.



Woman crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 6
A resident of Palheri village in Mullanpur subdivision, Mohinder Kaur, was crushed to death under a tractor-trailer near Maloya Colony here this afternoon. The tractor-trailer driver fled from the spot.

As per police sources, Mohinder Kaur (50) was riding pillion on a scooter which was allegedly hit by the tractor-trailer. As a result, she fell on the road and the trailer's wheels passed over her. She reportedly died on the spot. The person driving the scooter escaaped with minor injuries. He tried to ‘‘chase’’ the escaping driver of the tractor. But he too did not return to the accident site. A case has been registered against the tractor-trailer driver. The body of Mohinder Kaur has been sent for post-mortem.



Held in theft case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 6
The police claims to have arrested Kiran Kumar, a resident of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, allegedly for stealing Rs 25,000 from the residence of Mr Parmod Trivedi of Dragon restaurant, Sector 15, here yesterday. It is also being claimed that Rs 13,360 has been recovered from the accused.

A case under Sections 411, 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Cars stolen: A Maruti car (PB-65-B-4959) of Mr Gurmeet Singh, a resident of SAS Nagar, was allegedly stolen from the Sector 44 market here yesterday.

Mr Anil Kumar, a resident of Sector 11, Panchkula, reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-X-3223) was stolen from Nehru Park, Sector 22, on November 3.

Mr Surinder Kumar, a resident of Sector 32, reported that some one had stolen the stereo from his car parked in Sector 22 yesterday. Three cases of theft have been registered.

Beaten up: Mr Heera Lal, a resident of Colony 5, alleged that he was beaten by Suresh Kumar and Rajinder, residents of the colony, on November 4. A case under Sections 323 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested Manoj Kumar of Kumhar Colony allegedly for carrying liquor in an unauthroised manner yesterday. Eight bottles of liquor were seized from his possession.


Gambling: The police claims to have arrested two persons, Ramesh Kumar of Mubarikpur village in Dera Bassi and Raghubir Singh of Nada Sahib, while gambling near the Truck Union in Old Panchkula today.

The duo were caught redhanded and Rs 2130 was seized from them. A case has been registered against them.

Accidents: Two persons were injured in separate road accidents in the district in last 24 hours.

Mr Swaran Singh, a cyclist, was hit by a car near Nursery Chowk in Sector 19. The car driver sped away.

In another case of hit and run, a scooterist, Pradeep Chaudhary of Rattpur Colony in Pinjore, was hit by a truck (HP-14-7545) near Housing Board Colony in Kalka a day before yesterday. The truck driver sped away after the accident. The scooterist sustained injuries.

A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC have been registered by the police.



Minor girl raped
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 6
A minor girl, resident of Colony No 5, was allegedly raped by a 20-year-old youth of the same colony last night.

As per police sources, Parminder allegedly took the girl (15) into a jhuggi on some pretext and committed the crime. The girl was said to be alone when the boy approached her. Later, the police was informed and a medical examination of the victim done. Based on the report, a case of rape has been registered. The accused is said to be at large.



Project launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
A cyber news network, Transmedia Times, launched its unique project “Ground Zero” at Garhwal Bhavan, here today. Mr S.K. Bijlani, Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry (Northern Region), was the chief guest at the ceremony.

According to project in-charge, Mr Jagdish Singh, the primary objective of the project is to provide value-added services to the unorganised sector, which comprises skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workforce.

In the first phase, a database would be created of registered users containing photographs, thumb impressions and other personal details in a digitised form. A laminated digital ID card would be created with an embedded unique barcode ID.

Users, such as construction companies, government organisations, contractors and individuals can register their demand on the website and also on a dedicated phone. The data would also be useful to various civic agencies.

The secondary objective of the project is to organise training programmes and workshops for the unorganised labour in a wide variety of activities such as building, construction material, etc.


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