Thursday, August 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No funds for new operating theatres
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Monsoon is the worst time of the year, both for the patients as well as doctors at the PGI, as a heavy shower is enough to bring the operating theatres in the Nehru Hospital to a grinding halt.

Even though the closure of the leaking operating theatres (OT) in the PGI has become an annual feature during monsoon, causing inconvenience to patients, yet paucity of funds is coming in the way of construction of the Rs 45.50 crore new OT complex.

Following heavy rains on Sunday, the Eye OT on the fifth floor of the Nehru Hospital had to be closed down. Repair work is underway to plug the leakage, before surgeries can be resumed. This can, however, be done only after elaborate fumigation is done to disinfect the operation theatre.

Leakage and seepage in the operation theatres, located on the fourth and fifth floor of the 40-year-old Nehru Hospital, causes a lot of inconvenience to the patients as their surgeries get delayed. “We are helpless as the OTs have to be closed down for more than 15 days every year during monsoon, as the moment even a drop of water trickles in, we have to close down the place as there is fear of infection during surgery,” admitted a senior PGI doctor.

Burdened with burgeoning patient load from the entire northern region, PGI’s plea to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry for funds for the construction of a new OT complex has not been accepted. “The estimated cost of the complex having 24 OTs, is expected to be around Rs 45.50 crore, but faced with a severe financial crunch, it seems unlikely that the project can be taken up for a few more years,” admitted a PGI official.

The request of the authorities to allow the construction of a few OTs on the first floor of the Advanced Trauma Centre, was also turned down by the Health Ministry. “Since the new OT complex might take a few years to shape up, we thought constructing some OTs in the Trauma Centre could prove to be a temporary solution to the leakage problem,” said an official.

The PGI, at present has 41 OTs and to plug the leakage in the 16 OTs in the Nehru Hospital water-proofing is done which proves to be just a stop gap arrangement, as the problem re-occurs the very next monsoon. “Extensive repair of the roofs is under active consideration but temporary treatment has been done on the roof of the emergency and the main OT complex,” said PGI spokesperson.

Last year also the OTs in Nehru Hospital remained closed for more than 15 days during monsoon due to leakage. There is such a long list of patients, who have to undergo surgery at the PGI that closure of OTs even for a few days, makes the waiting time stretch further.

The Union Health Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, during her visit to the PGI in March, earlier this year had announced that a few more medical institutes would be set up in the country to take the burden off the PGI and AIIMS. “With these referral institutes, bursting at the seams due to patient load, being fund starved, it would be better to strengthen them rather than set up new institutes,” opines a senior faculty member.

The PGI Director, had earlier said that many projects could suffer due to shortage of funds as against a request of Rs 401 crore, only Rs 200 crore was allocated. Out of this amount also Rs 94.84 crore will have to be spent on the spill over liability of projects to be completed under the Ninth Plan.

The PGI had sought an additional Rs 60 crore in the mid-term appraisal of the 10th Plan so that the New OT complex, Advanced Neuro Science Centre, Department of Molecular and Medicine and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry unit could be set up.


PU for early student bodies’ poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The recent spurt in violence among student groups has forced the authorities to rethink on the matter of elections to student bodies. While certain college principals have outrightly opposed the holding of elections, Panjab University has sought an early date from the Chandigarh Administration for holding the elections. On its part the administration is gathering information from college principals and its officials.

College principals have been asked for their opinion by the administration which has sent letters to all principals and its own officials.

Vociferous in opposing elections to students bodies, Principal Balwinder Singh of Government College, Sector 11, says, ‘‘ I have opposed elections on every platform and will do so now as well. While these elected bodies serve no academic purpose, they are responsible for vitiating the academic environment in colleges. If those favouring elections can give me even one benefit, I will be the first to support elections.’’

Seconding this opinion, Principal Vimal Bhargava of Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, adds,‘‘ Elections are a nuisance and violence has become synonymous with them. Already, the students’ clashes have announced that elections are round the corner. These should not be held and colleges should become centres for learning instead of politics.’’

Adopting a more diplomatic approach, Principal P.S. Sangha of SGGS College, Sector 26, says,‘‘ City colleges should have elections only if the other affiliated colleges of Panjab University located in Punjab go for elections. The same treatment should be meted out to all colleges irrespective of their locations. All should have elected students’ bodies. ’’

The sole voice supporting the elections is that of Principal A.C. Vaid of GGDSD College, Sector 32. In his response to the letter from the administration, he has said a meeting be convened for the viewpoint of all principals. This has been the practice in the past. ‘‘Personally, I am not opposed to elections to students’ bodies, though these should be held sans violence of any kind. When unions of principals can have elections, that of teachers can have elections, leaving the students out is not justified, ’’ he says.

The administration has also sent letters to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, and Inspector General of Police, Mr Rajesh Kumar, seeking an opinion if the elections should be held at all.

The administration has considered the matter and the Home Department was collecting information from all sources on the fragility of peace on the campus and also in the colleges. In the past 10 days two major brawls among groups of students have shattered peace on the campus. The administration has asked for field reports from all sources, well-placed sources said.

The communication from the administration follows a letter from the university asking the administration to announce a date of elections at the earliest. The university has sought the administration’s approval for a date of election and arrangements for maintaining law and order.

Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, said the university had sought an early date arguing that it would reduce time period for the boiling tension during the election process. In routine the elections were held towards the end of September. He said August 31 was the last date of normal admissions and the elections should be held soon after.

Professor Pathak said he was of the opinion that elections should not be cancelled. A student forum could interact directly with the authorities and highlight their issues. He, however, did concede that there were certain loopholes in the election process which needed to be sorted out.

The exercise went very well with the character of democracy, it was only the process which needed change, he said.

Professor Pathak said he would communicate to the Punjab Government seeking permission for elections in all its affiliated colleges. A student body was an impetus for more transparency.


Verma’s visit speeds up road repair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
A bus ride by the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), into the southern sectors to see the extent of damage due to the recent rain has resulted in orders for repairs of all roads and bridges in the area.

The Administrator, breaching all protocol, sat in a 16-seater bus of the Municipal Corporation. He was accompanied by senior officials. Actually since Justice Verma came he had questioned about the size of convoy accompanying him. So yesterday, Justice Verma decided to change the pattern of travel. Gone was his Mercedes and the queue of white-coloured Ambassadors. All officials hopped on to the bus.

The team of the Administration included the Adviser to the Administrator, Chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board, the Finance Secretary, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Chief Engineer of U.T. and Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation. The Governor had opined that convoy would obstruct traffic and cause inconvenience to general public during peak hour traffic.

After the two-hour inspection , the Chandigarh Administration, the Engineering Department and the Municipal Corporation were asked to carry out the repair work immediately. A team of the Administration inspected all roads dividing the sectors, including a broken bridge near Attawa village.

Justice Verma observed that the storm water-drainage system on all these roads and water gullies needed to be set right to avoid water logging.

The team started its journey from the worst possible road between Sectors 39 and 38 -West and then turned towards the road between Sector 39 and the water works also in Sector 39.

The chief engineer informed that condition of these two roads was comparatively bad because of water- logging problem in the area. He said after extensive study conducted by the Central Soil Research Institute, few options were being explored to provide maintenance free roads in these areas.

Justice Verma asked him to also explore the option of stone pitching of these roads.

The Administrator inspected all sector dividing roads and inter sector roads in nine sectors starting from Sector 39 up to Sector 47. 


Schools ban Coke, Pepsi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Schools in the city have decided to play it safe as far as the health of their students is concerned, as some of them will be banning sale of Coke, Pepsi and other popular soft drinks in their canteens from tomorrow itself.

Within a day after reports of soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, containing deadly pesticides appeared, Shivalik Public School in Sector 41 and KB DAV School in Sector 7, will at least not make these soft drinks available to their students in the school canteen. A number of other schools are also likely to ban the sale of these drinks.

As an immediate fallout of the report, parents too were hesitant to give their children these popular brands of soft drinks. Even as representatives of these companies have challenged the validity of the tests conducted by the Delhi-based, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), there has been a marginal dip in the sales of these soft drinks in the city. Shopkeepers too confirmed that as compared to other days they too had lesser sales of these soft drinks.

Concerned at the harmful effect that these soft drinks could have on an individual’s health, Mr B.S. Bedi, Principal of Shivalik Public School, said they would not allow sale of these brands in their canteen, till the controversy over insecticide contamination was not settled. Ms Madhu Bahl, Principal, KB DAV School, too confirmed that these drinks would be banned in the school canteen.

Doctors, on the other hand say that going by the report of the tests conducted by the CSE the consumption of these soft drinks over a period of time could be harmful, especially for the children, who are already addicted to these soft drinks.

“Medically too it has been proven that chemicals like organo-chlorine are carcinogenic and can be harmful for the nervous system, liver, brain and can have cancerous effect in different parts of the body, especially breast cancer,” informed Dr Surjit Singh, Professor in the Internal Medicine Department, PGI.

Dr Singh, however added that if such a hue and cry is being made about contamination in the soft drinks then tests should also be conducted on the drinking water people are consuming, as it was bound to have similar harmful chemicals.

Welcoming the report brought out by the CSE, a Mohali-based paediatrician, Dr Simrit Kaur, is hoping that this will finally dissuade parents as well as children from drinking these soft drinks. “Even if reports of contamination are found to be baseless, I feel these soft drinks must not be given to children as they not only have high sugar content leading to obesity but also have caffeine,” she remarks.

An official of the Health department, said that they can ban sale of these soft drinks only if a decision was taken by the Central Government in this regard, as the issue of insecticide contamination does not fall under the purview of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.


Gp Capt Kahlon cremated
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 6
The body of Gp Capt J.S. Kahlon (retd), Commissioner, Civil Aviation, Jammu and Kashmir, who died in a helicopter crash in Ganderbal yesterday, was consigned to the flames here today. The son of Group Captain Kahlon, Mr Sarpreet Singh, lit the pyre.

People from all walks of life attended the cremation of the Shaurya Chakra winner. They included Ms Rani Bloeria, wife of the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir; Mr Khurshaid Ahmed Ganai, Resident Commissioner of the Jammu and Kashmir Government at Delhi; Mr M.H. Malik, Secretary at the Resident Commissioner’s office; Major-Gen Sati Chahal, one-time classmate and MG, EME, Western Command Headquarters; Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon (retd), former Director, Punjab Sainik Welfare Board; Mr Jagan Nath, resident representative, Jammu and Kashmir Government at Chandigarh; and Mr S.P. Sharma from the Jammu and Kashmir CID.

Wreaths were placed on the body on behalf of the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the DGP of Jammu and Kashmir. Wreaths were also placed on the body by Wing Cdr R. Abrol on behalf of the Chief of Air Staff and by Sqn Ldr T. Prashant on behalf of the Air Officer Commanding, 12 Wing.

Mr Khurshaid Ahmed said the bodies of Group Captain Kahlon and four others who were killed in the crash were placed in coffins at the police control room in Srinagar and presented police honours. The bodies were transported to Delhi at the state’s expense. The body of Group Captain Kahlon was brought from Delhi late last night.

Meanwhile, the All India Defence Brotherhood today expressed grief at the death of Gp Capt J.S. Kahlon. A statement issued here said that Group Captain Kahlon was a skilled and daring pilot, who never flinched from the call of duty. 

Local admn officials absent

No official represented the local administration at the cremation of Gp Capt J.S. Kahlon (retd). The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, when asked by Chandigarh Tribune, said he had not been informed about the cremation. Mr H.S. Bhullar, SP, said he had gone to attend a meeting at the police headquarters in the morning and the DSP had been away to a function where a Punjab minister had come.


Ranbaxy fire case adjourned till August 13
Our Correspondent

* Ranbaxy today raised objections over the observations made by the ADGP in its report against the company.

* Possible cause of explosion in the Ranbaxy was Toluene gas, revealed ADGP(PSHRC) in his report.

* Punjab Government makes no mention about the possible cause of explosion and fire.

* Director of Factories states that fire did not take place due to any outside source like short circuit, electrical fitting, smoking or fall of metallic part from a height

* Deputy Director, FSL’s report states that the source of spark could be a mobile phone or intercom or fall of a spanner on the ground or some static charge in the area.

* The next hearing of the case was fixed for August 13.

Chandigarh, August 6
Amidst conflicting reports filed by the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) and the Deputy Director, Factories, about the cause of the fire at the Ranbaxy factory, SAS Nagar, nothing substantial has come out to pin-point the possible cause of fire even after two months of the incident.

The Punjab Government, on the other hand, has chosen to remain silent over the cause of fire as there was no mention of this in a report submitted by it to the PSHRC. The fire broke out in the factory in SAS Nagar on June 11 leading to death of five persons while several others were injured.

While filing a reply Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited, today raised objections to the observation made by the Additional Director General Punjab, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, regarding safety measures to be taken by the factory. Ranbaxy also demanded an inquiry into the incident by an independent agency, the National Safety Council.

The reports submitted by the Additional Director General Punjab (Punjab State Human Rights Commission), revealed that an inquiry conducted by the Punjab Government had not mentioned anything about the possible cause of explosion and fire. On the other hand the Director of Factories and Deputy Director, FSL, had filed inconclusive and contradictory reports on Ranbaxy fire incident.

The report submitted by the Deputy Director of Factories to the PSHRC had revealed that the explosion took place first and was followed by the fire. Giving details about the various possible causes of the explosion the report stated that the explosion took place in the open and no vessel had exploded. The report also stated that the fire did not break out due to any outside source like short-circuit, electrical fitting, smoking or fall of metallic part from a height.

Giving opposite opinion, the report of Director, Forensic Science Laboratory, Punjab, stated that Toluene vapour had accumulated around the primary and secondary heat exchangers and also in the nearby area due to leakage. As it is heavier than air it formed a Toluene cloud. Toluene cloud attained the concentration of approximately one to seven per cent in the air and exploded as soon as it got some spark from source. The source of spark, according to the report could have been a mobile phone, intercom or fall of a spanner on the ground.

Meanwhile the complainant Lawyers For Human Rights International and Ranbaxy both have asked the PSHRC to supply the complete documents mentioned in the report submitted by ADGP (PSHRC). After hearing the arguments from both sides the commission adjourned the case for August 13.


Making an ass of police post
Bipin Bhardwaj

Deppar, (Lalru), August 6
Accident victims are devoid of medical care on the stretch between Dera Bassi and Jharmari on the Kalka-Ambala highway due to lack of any police assistance and first-aid post.

In the absence of immediate police assistance and first-aid, more than 24 victims of accident, that had occurred on this stretch of the highway, had lost their lives. According to health officials several had succumbed to their injuries in hospitals while others had died because of excessive bleeding while being taken way to hospitals in Ambala and Chandigarh. A ‘first-aid police post’ set up at Dappar village by the Punjab Police to provide immediate police assistance and first-aid to the accident victims on the highway more than four years ago, has been lying abandoned for the last over a year.

Inaugurated by the former Inspector General of Punjab Police Mr R.S. Gill, on June 12, 1999, the post has been virtually taken over by donkeys and is in a state of utter neglect with weeds growing all around. The paint on the walls has peeled off and its backyard is being used by the villagers as an open air lavatory.

The post was the first of its kind on the highway and was equipped with medicines to provide first-aid, an ambulance and a wireless system. The ambulance, that was donated by the Dera Bassi Industrial Association, was covering a stretch of 33 km from Jharmari to Zirakpur of the highway and was manned by two constables and a driver a round-the-clock.

The police, however, failed to run the post for more than three years after the industrial association stopped providing fuel for the ambulance because of financial crises. Moreover, the police authorities could not get the vehicle registered with the district registration authorities and kept on plying it on the highway without any number plate for years.

The police revealed that the first-aid post was wound up by the department after the authorities were unable to refill fuel in the vehicle and withdrew the driver of the vehicle from the police.

The post also did not have electricity and water connections even after three years of its existence. This caused inconvenience to the constables deployed at the post and was one of the reasons for it being abandoned.

Mr Balwinder Singh Brar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, confirmed that the post had been abandoned over six months ago. He said,‘‘The Industrial Association stopped providing fuel for the ambulance and withdrew its driver which forced the department to abandon the post,’’.

He, however, said best possible police assistance was being provided to victims of road accidents on the highway. For the purpose, two ambulances (one with Dera Bassi police station and other with Lohgarh police post in Zirakpur) have been dedicated by the department for the past over eight months, he claimed. 


Helmetless scooterist dies in accident
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 6
A resident of Sector 47, Daniel, who was riding a scooter without wearing the safety helmet, died after his scooter was hit allegedly by a Punjab Roadways bus on the dividing road of Sectors 22 and 35 at about 2.25 pm today. Police sources said a CTU bus also rammed into the scooter.

Daniel was seriously injured and was rushed to General Hospital, Sector 16, in a PCR Gypsy. Later, he was sent to PGI, where he succumbed to his injuries.


Sex-abuse victim restored to parents
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, August 6
After being sexually abused by two youths for eight months in Delhi, the Maloya girl who had gone missing on December 7 last year enroute her school, returned home this Saturday.

Relating her harrowing experience to Chandigarh Tribune, 18-year-old Radhika (name changed) said that on October 22 last year, she was raped by Rahul of Maloya Colony and later using various type of threats, he had forcibly taken her to his relatives house in Mayapuri, Delhi. During her eight-month forced stay there she was sexually abused by Sanjay, a cousin of Rahul.

On August 1, she somehow managed to make a telephone call to her father, a gazetted officer with the Haryana government in Chandigarh, who in turn informed the police. The Delhi police was alerted and Radhika was brought back to the city and restored to her parents. The police has arrested Rahul, a resident of Maloya Colony and his Delhi-based cousin, Sanjay.

“He threatened me with making public my photographs in compromising positions and also killing my younger brother”, alleged Radhika. According to her, on December 7, Rahul approached her and asked her to accompany him to Delhi. ‘‘I had no option but to obey his command. He took me to his maternal uncle’s house in Mayapuri, Delhi and it was there I was forced to spend eight months’’, informed the girl. Besides living a humiliating life, she was also made to do all the household jobs.

“There he introduced me as his wife and urged his uncle to provide me shelter,’’ said Radhika. Rahul had told his uncle that he had married Radhika against the wishes of his parents and would take her back once his parents accepted the marriage.

After leaving Radhika at his uncle’s place, Rahul left for Chandigarh the next morning, only to return again in February on the occasion of his cousin sister’s marriage. “During the entire marriage ceremony, he kept me locked in a room and told the relatives that I was ill and hence could not participate in the function”, said Radhika.

“After few weeks Rahul again came back to me only to announce that he had married another woman and asked his uncle to do whatever he deemed good with me”, said Radhika. She was a minor the day she was reportedly kidnapped.


Buddhists to set up Centre for Meditation
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
After patronising the small Buddhist temple located in the vicinity of Chandigarh for some years now, the Thai Buddhist community has evinced greater interest in its expansion process. Brought to life about a decade ago by followers of Buddhism, who migrated to this part of the region from West Bengal, this temple in Khuda Alisher village near Chandigarh is all set to receive funds from the Buddhists settled in Thailand for its ambitious plan of setting up a full-fledged Centre for Meditation.

Significantly, the Thai Buddhists have been contributing generously to the cause of this temple, which has long been involved in charitable activities, besides propagation of the religion in Chandigarh and vicinity. They had donated a huge gold-plated Buddha idol to this temple some years ago. The project of Meditation Centre will also receive financial support from them.

On the anvil for some time now, the plan of temple’s expansion has been approved lately. The most significant part of the expansion plan is the construction of the Buddhist Meditation Centre, which will require not less than Rs 6 crore. Besides the construction of this centre, Ashoka Buddha Vihar will also witness a plantation drive in the area lying vacant in its backyard.

After offering elaborate prayers on the occasion of the World Peace Day today, Head Monk of the temple, Saranyu Pothasanithisa, spoke to The Tribune about the idea behind the Meditation Centre, which will be akin to a Pagoda. Land has also been identified for the construction of the centre, which will have a much large seating and worship space. Said the Head Monk, “We have many visitors from the city and nearby areas, as also from Thailand, China, Japan and other places where Buddhism is practised. The centre will give room for more worshippers of the Buddhist faith. Serenity will be the first basis of the construction of this centre, which aims to offer peace of mind.” Incidentally, Ashoka Biddha Vihar is the biggest Buddhist temple in the area.

Mock plan of the centre has also been designed keeping in view the area available in the temple compound. The model is lying in the main compound of the temple, for all worshippers to see. The Head monk said that much of the work for the Centre of Meditation was being executed with the help of Dr Dechsale, a Thai Buddhist devotee, who took his PhD from Panjab University some years ago and then proceeded to settle in Thailand.

Presently, a professor in the History of Buddhism at Buddhist University in Thailand, Dr Dechsale is spearheading the expansion plan. Added the Head Monk, “Dr Dechsale, who is one of the devoted followers of Buddhism, finally plans to settle in Chandigarh.

The head priest, accompanied by another Buddhist monk Kantawee, who also stays in the compound of Ashoka Buddha Vihar, said, “We will utilise our own land to set up the centre. Gradually, we will further beautify the surroundings which will add to the charm of the landscape. The work will require Rs 6 crore. We get most of our grant from the Buddhists in Thailand. As of now, we have only started receiving monthly contributions in thousands.”


Abandoned mill gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
An abandoned flour mill was gutted in a massive fire in Industrial Area, Phase I, in the wee hours here today.

“The flames were so high that they were noticed by people at Mani Majra, Sectors 17, 19 and even 25,” Chief Fire Officer G.S. Bajwa told Chandigarh Tribune.

Mr Bajwa said the cause of the fire could not been known. Mr Bajwa said he would initiate an inquiry into the cause of the fire.

High humidity and stiff resistance by six fire tenders of the Fire Wing prevented the inferno from spreading to other factories in the area, which largely have combustible material, he said.

The Chief Fire Officer said had the fire occurred during dry conditions, entire industrial Area would have come under its reach. The exact damage to Saway Mal Sant Ram Flour Mill, which had wooden logs inside it, has not yet been assessed. It took firemen two hours to quell the flames, which went as high as a three-storeyed building.

The firemen however alleged that there was no fire-fighting arrangement in the factory. Cutting and welding machines were lying in the factory. The firemen had to use ladders to climb to the top of the factory, which had wooden panels.

The factory is owned by Chandan Malhotra and had a night watchmen, Om Prakash, the Fire Department officials said.


Question on denial of jobs to UT’s disabled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The Lok Sabha was today told the Chandigarh Administration had received representations from disabled persons of Chandigarh that they were not being considered for appointment to the posts reserved for the handicapped persons in Punjab and Haryana.

This was informed to the Lok Sabha by the Union Government on an unstarred question of the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal.

To another question of Mr Bansal, the government informed the House that dwelling units for 11,111 members of the LIG and economically weaker section had been constructed by the Chandigarh Housing Board besides the ones provided under the rehabilitation scheme. In yet another question, the government informed the House that 3647 persons had applied for conversion of their land from leasehold to freehold and 3533 cases had been approved by the Administration.


RLA office to be more visitor-friendly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The office of the Registering and Licensing Authority located in Sector 17 has decided to provide more amenities to visitors. RLA office, which is housed in a separate building near the Municipal Corporation building, has decided to provide facilities of T.V viewing and newspaper reading to the visitors.

Few months back a drive was launched to make the building clean and better by removing almirahs lying in the main hall. The condition of the toilets was also improved and flower pots were placed in the main hall to give the place a face lift. A water cooler with filter has already been installed in the hall. Facilities for hot and cold drinks have also been provided. The office had also installed some pedestal fans to give some respite to the visitors from humidity, a spokesperson claimed today. 


Bird slaughter in Sector 21 Meat Market banned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The Citizens Welfare Association, Sector 21, yesterday claimed that the Administrator Justice O.P. Verma had issued directions to ban the slaughter of birds in the Sector 21 Meat Market.

This was said here today by the association in a press note.

The Administrator had also conceded the request of the association that the meat market in Sector 41 should be air-conditioned, the press note stated.


NCC activities reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The Additional Director-General, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Maj-Gen S.V. Thapliyal, today reviewed the NCC activities being carried out in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

Accompanied by Brig D.S. Dhillon, Deputy Director-General, NCC Directorate, Chandigarh, General Thapliyal called on the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, at the Punjab Raj Bhavan. He will also be meeting the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, tomorrow.

The ADG’s visit aims at revitalizing the NCC in the region, particularly in Punjab and secure the release of necessary funds for promotion of NCC activities.

Apart from interacting with the NCC staff at the Directorate and the Group Headquarters in Chandigarh, General Thapliyal will visit local NCC units and witness various training activities of the cadets.


Rotarians celebrate Teej
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik, which has 74 clubs spread over parts of Himachal, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal, celebrated Teej here yesterday.

The centre of attraction was a beautifully decorated swing on which all members of the club sat turn by turn while the others sang songs. Bangles and ribbons were distributed amongst women.

The award for the best-attired male was bagged by Rtn Dr G.S. Kochhar, Past President, while amongst the females this award went to Rtn Saroj Khosla, Director, Club Service. Rtn Sneh Popli and R’anne. Ashu Bachitter Singh were joint winners for the best dancing award. Rtn Dharinder Tayal, Assistant Governor of Zone-3, was the chief guest.


Family jumps out of burning car
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 6
A fiat car caught fire near Sector 12 yesterday afternoon when its petrol pipe suddenly burst. It is learnt that Mr RD Sharma, along with his wife and children, was coming in the car (HR-06A-1891) from Zirakpur, when the car caught fire. All occupants jumped out of the car.


Tribunal mooted for NRIs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
A proposal for setting up a tribunal for the speedy disposal of cases of NRIs pertaining to civil, criminal, matrimonial and property disputes was mooted at a meeting presided over by the Parliamentary Secretary, NRI Affairs, Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu (Babbal), today. He reviewed the working of the NRI Affairs Department and took stock of the problems being faced by NRIs.

It was also decided to give special incentives, concessions and facilities to NRIs keen on setting up industrial, educational, technical and medical projects in the state. The state government is also planning to float NRI bonds.


Artificial lake at Chandi Mandir

Chandigarh, August 6
The Western Command with the help of the Haryana Government has developed an artificial lake at Chandi Mandir, near here, skirting Panchkula under the Water Conservation Project.

The lake, besides helping in raising the depleting water table of Panchkula, would also facilitate irrigation in the area.

This was revealed during a meeting of Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, GOC-in-C Western Command, Chandi Mandir with Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala here today. The two discussed matters of mutual interest and welfare of the Army personnel.

General Mehta requested Mr Chautala to allot land in non-military areas of Haryana for opening hospitals and other welfare activities for the ex-servicemen of the area concerned.

Chief Secretary A.N. Mathur and Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary B.D. Dhalia were present on the occasion, an official release said here. — UNI


SDM launches tree plantation drive
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 6
As many as 4500 saplings of various varieties will be planted in a 10-day tree plantation campaign launched by the local civic body, here today.

The campaign was launched by Mr M.S. Sidhu, SDM, Dera Bassi, who planted a sapling in the Community Centre. He appealed to the public to plant more trees to conserve forests and environment.

The SDM also asked the heads of various government offices and other institutions to plant more trees to check increasing pollution in the subdivision. He also directed Mr Sukhminder Singh, Forest Ranger, to provide the saplings at nominal rates.


Chowmein complements butter chicken
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Sher-e-Punjab, the airconditioned restaurant in the Sector 35 lane of hotels, has been spruced up in deference to popular wish — both in terms of the menu and set-up. While the elders still dig in for the good old Punjabi butter chicken and dal makhani, the youngsters and kids like to have variety on their plate. Realising this, the restaurant which had opened two outlets in the same lane last year, decided on expansion in food and a bit of cosmetic changes. A couple of weeks ago, Chinese cuisine was added to the list of delectables on offer.

Mr Tejinder Sethi, partner in the venture, said they did not want to lose out on clientele for this reason. When big groups or families go out for ‘khana,’ the taste of each member has to be catered to. So, after hiring a Chinese chef and creating a space in the kitchen for him, they were ready to start off. Chinese cuisine is comparatively more economical and easy to maintain than the elaborate Punjabi ‘khana’.

As you sip in the much in-demand hot’n sour, talumein and minchow soups, or tomato, sweet corn and coriander lemon soups, you warm up for the main course. But before that you have the option of snacking on spring rolls, lollipops and kebabs — both veg and non-veg.

The addition to the menu has come as a welcome attraction to the hosts of kitty and birthday parties who patronise Sher-e-Punjab.

Their USP is to provide quality stuff at competitive rates, claims Mr Sethi. So, they have introduced just a few dishes that are immensely preferred by Chandigarhians. Something that they would order even without going through the menu. The vegetarian fare has such mouth-watering savouries as crispy potato in hot garlic sauce, mushroom chilli (with or without gravy), cheese chilli, manchurian and sweet and sour veg.

For those who cannot do without the chicken, there are on offer the glistening spicy shredded chicken with onion chilli, chilli chicken cooked in the Schezwan style, fried chicken peppered with golden brown onion rings and diced green capsicum, chicken sauteed in the Hong Kong style and chicken flavoured with ginger, or garlic sauce.

To go with these are noodles, chopsuey and rice dished out in a number of ways — veg chowmein, chicken chowmein, fried rice, mushroom or chicken chopsuey, chilli garlic noodles etc.

To beat the heat of the summer and provide an irresistible end to a meal, the eatery has also started a special dessert — the creamy phirni garnished with nuts and rose petals and served in earthenware pots.

With the word ‘dhaba’ erased from the name, the food joint has tried to make the ambience more trendy by covering the pillars in the basement dining area with teakwood and lining the wall with a band of teak.

This is not the end of their expansion. Panchkulaites can look forward to a branch of the restaurant in their area soon.


Woman robbed of gold chain
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 6
An unidentified person allegedly snatched a gold chain of Ms Sneh Lata Goel (65), a resident of Rail Vihar, Sector 4, Mansa Devi Complex, near Bhainsa Tibba village here, today.

She was strolling when the youth snatched her chain and ran towards Indira Colony after crossing the road.

The victim was alone when the incident occurred at 5.30 a.m.

The police has registered a case in this connection.

4 held for robbery
The police has arrested four persons for their involvement in the robbery in Dharampur Colony, Kalka, in which Rs 23,000 were stolen from a house on July 23.

The four — Mahanvir, Gian, Sham Lal and Gurdas — were rounded up by the police last night. They admitted to their involvement in the robbery.

A case under Sections 339 and 402 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the four.


A scrap dealer, Kishori Lal, reportedly hanged himself at his residence in Chaudhary Charan Singh Colony, Mauli Jagran, here this morning. The cause of suicide could not be ascertained. Kishori Lal is survived by wife, a three-year-old son and six months old daughter. Inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr.PC has been initiated. He had his shop in Sector 11, Panchkula.


Major booked
The Cantonment police has registered a case against a major of the Army for negligent driving.

According to information, his motor cycle collided with a three-wheeler near Patel Park in Cantonment on June 30 in which a passenger of the three-wheeler, Balwinder Singh, had sustained serious injuries. He was admitted to the local civil hospital where he succumbed to his injuries last night.

On the complaint of the wife of the deceased, the police has registered a case against the Major Sanjeev.

Meanwhile, in an another incident, a washerman of the Chain Mandi area at the Cantonment set himself on fire in toilet.

The washerman Ashok was admitted to the local hospital. Later he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.


Three chain snatchers arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 6
The local police today arrested three alleged women chain snatchers and said more arrests and recoveries were likely to be made after their interrogation.

Surjit Kaur and Baby, both residents of Dhanas village, located west of Sector 25, were today arrested for snatching a gold chain from Mr Vishal Anand (21) of Pinjore, on the dividing road of Sectors 37 and 41 yesterday.

The two had managed to flee on a scooter after snatching the chain but were apprehended this afternoon. Both the accused are in their mid-twenties.

Another woman, Sonu, was allegedly caught red handed while she was trying to flee after snatching a gold chain from Ms Mandeep Sandhu in Sector 46.

A last evening. Sonu, a resident of Giani Zail Singh Colony, Ropar, has been booked under Sections 379, 356 and 411 of the IPC and the gold chain recovered from her possession.

The police has also arrested two youths who had allegedly snatched a CDMA mobile phone from a girl student of Panjab University. 


Beopar mandal panel meets UT Administrator
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 6
A delegation of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal today met the UT Administrator, Justice O.P Verma (retd.) in connection with the recent notification regarding the Rent Control Act and its repercussions.

The president of the mandal, Mr Jagdish Arora, stated in a press note that the delegation mooted a proposal to take the commercial buildings out of the preview of the notification. The Administrator was made aware of the aspects of the legal opinion as well as of its serious repercussions. Apart from other options, the enhancement of limit proposal was also discussed.

Meanwhile, Bajwara Showroom Market Association, Sector 22-D, Traders Welfare Association, Sector 22-C, Chandigarh Tent Dealers Light and Sound Caterers Association and Sector 22-A Market Welfare Association have decided to support the August 8 Chandigarh bandh call given by the Chandigarh Commercial Tenant Welfare Association against the notification. 


Connect launches prepaid WLL mobile
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Connect has launched the first ever CDMA-based prepaid mobile service in Chandigarh. “Dildaar Prepaid Connect Mobile has been launched in the Punjab market with a view to cater to the large-hearted and discerning people of Punjab. It offers value for money and allows a subscriber to stay mobile for as less as Rs. 200/-,” said Mr Jayant Keswani, General Manager, Connect .” The service was successfully launched in Ludhiana last month,” he added. The activation pack for Dildaar Prepaid Connect Mobile is available for just Rs 149/. A recharge coupon worth Rs 200 would get the subscriber a calling value of Rs 125, valid for 30 days from the date of recharge. Validity period is followed by a grace period of 60 days during which the subscriber can continue to enjoy free incoming calls. 


Housing finance scheme launched

Chandigarh, August 6
Citibank has announced to enter the housing loan market in a big way. It will offer loans through an innovative plan, “Housing Credit” under which customers will have the facility to utilise deposits in their saving accounts to repay their loans.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr Sarvesh Sarup, Country Business Manager, Citibank, said the scheme would be operational within a fortnight through branches in Chandigarh and Ludhiana. TNS

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