Monday, September 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Long queues to beat petrol heat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
The petrol stations in the city and surrounding towns today witnessed heavy rush of two wheelers and four wheelers after the Ministry of Petroleum announced increase in the price of petrol and diesel by over Rs 2 per litre.

Most of the people were at their homes due to Sunday holiday, but after listening to the news of hike in petrol prices several rushed to petrol stations to get fuel for their vehicles.

The petrol stations in sectors 21, 22, SAS Nagar and Panchkula witnessed heavy rush.

Mr Seth Ram Singla. President, Panchkula Dealers Association, admitted that the price hike was steep, but there was no alternative since the international crude price of petroleum products had sharply increased, he said.


Man ends life, survives through his eyes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
Even at a time when he had decided to end his life by shooting himself, 45-year-old Harjit Singh, a resident of 38-West, was thoughtful enough to leave a suicide note, expressing his desire that his eyes be donated. As per his last wishes, found scribbled on the suicide note, his family gave the consent to the doctors, who removed his eyes after the post-mortem was conducted today.

Donating one’s eyes before death, so that someone else can see the world, is a noble gesture, which needs to be encouraged but not certainly not at the cost of one’s life, feel doctors. Mr Harjit Singh, had shot himself on Friday night, and had been admitted to the PGI.

“After his wife and uncle gave us the written consent, we removed the eyes, which will be used to restore vision in two visually handicapped persons,” informed Prof Jagat Ram of the Ophthalmology Department at PGI. He is also the Secretary of the Chandigarh Eye Bank Society.

Interestingly, during the recent past there have been some similar cases, where the person had left a note before committing suicide that his eyes be donated. It was on July 22 that Umakant, a resident of Majra village in Ropar district, shot himself at PGI and left a suicide note that his eyes should be donated.

However, his last wishes could not be fulfilled due to legal and medical wrangles. Since, a lot of time was wasted before he could be identified, his wish for eye donation could not be fulfilled.

Unlike South India, where organ donation is much more common, people in the north are superstitious about donating eyes. “Till a few years back, we had to import eyes from Sri Lanka, as there were very few donations in India, since there is a superstition that if you donate eyes you are born blind in the next birth,” informed Prof Jagat Ram. He said so far 37,000 persons had pledged their eyes with the Chandigarh Eye Bank Society.

The Head of Forensic Medicine at Government Medical College and Hospital, Dr K. Vij, said organ donation was not a common practice in India and even though doctors try and convince the family members to make the donation, there are few who agree to it.

He said setting up of an Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO), like at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, here in the city could help in encouraging organ donation. He said organs like heart, eyes, kidney, liver, bones, bone marrow and middle ear, can be useful if donated. He added there is need to create more awareness among people on the issue as those who are living with a handicap could benefit if more people donate their organs.


UP girl lands in Nari Niketan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
A 14-year-old girl from Jaunpur district in Uttar Pradesh has landed in Nari Niketan here.

Radha (name changed) eloped with Jugnu from Tasisaganj village to begin a life with him in the city beautiful. The girl said the boy had stayed with her in the city for two days. Radha was seen by the police near the Punjab Roadways workshop in the Industrial Area here.

The girl could not identify places when she stayed in the city. She said Jugnu was probably a rehriwala who sold eggs and food items in the Industrial area.

The girl was produced before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (East), Mr Naresh Narwal, who sent her to the Nari Niketan. The SDM also ordered her medical examination.


2 held for bid to forge court order
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 31
The Sector 3 police today arrested two persons from Sangrur on the charge of attempting to forge a court order on the possession of land of an heir of the Maharaja of Jind, even before the judgement had been delivered.

A property dealer, Sudhir Gupta, and a glass house owner, Vijay, have been arrested. More arrests in the case will be made soon, the police said.

On August 19, on the complaint of a Joint Registrar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a case was registered against two non-judicial Punjab and Haryana High Court employees, some businessmen and an advocate, the police said.

The accused had been booked for forgery of documents in a civil writ petition titled Satbir Singh vs State of Punjab. The case, pending before a Division Bench of the High Court, had been filed for the possession of about 58 acres in Sangrur.

The accused have been booked under Sections 463, 464, 468, 471 and 473 of the Indian Penal Code. 


Lukewarm response to PU move on marks for attendance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
There is a sharp difference in opinion over Panjab University's move to introduce 10 per cent marks in the annual examination for attendance from the next academic session. If accepted, this would add to the provision of 10 per cent marks for the internal examination that has already been introduced by the university.

The proposal for 10 per cent marks for attendance has been cleared by a high-level committee.

Interestingly, the committee accepted 10 per cent marks for attendance against the proposed five per cent only.

According to the proposal two per cent weightage will be given to the students who attend between 75 to 80 per cent lectures, four per cent to students who attend 80 to 85 per cent classes, six per cent to those attending between 85 to 90 per cent, eight per cent to those attending 95 to cent per cent lectures.

However, the students vehemently oppose the move for introducing this marking system. Saurabh Joshi, secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, said teachers should first make the lectures interesting enough for students to come to the classes. Under the present circumstances a student was expected to attend 75 per cent classes to qualify for appearing in the final examination. This was enough to maintain minimum academic standards, they maintained.

Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Students Union, said the classroom attendance move had not been welcomed by most of the students. ‘‘What were the classes offering in the job market? The university first chooses a syllabus and then fixes a minimum attendance which it thinks is fit for a student to qualify for getting a degree. A normal graduation student was in several cases engaged in preparing for some competitive examination or was attending computer classes, besides his normal studies. The issue needed to be studied in a wider perspective," Kang added.

He said the announcement also did not clarify the attendance status for students who were involved in extra curricular activities and sports. He added that 10 per cent marks made scope for manipulation under the existing administrative structure in colleges.

Prof Charanjit Chawla, a fellow, said weightage given to attendance was aimed at making classroom teaching more serious. Certain weightage in the annual examination would mean reducing the number of students loitering on the campus. How much weightage should be given for attendance could, however, be debated, he added. Students who are more regular in their classes deserve more credit and the marks.

Dr Dinesh Talwar, another fellow, differs in his views. Dr Talwar feels that the university had already fixed a minimum criteria for being eligible to appear in the annual examination. There was no guarantee that all colleges would provide fair attendance tables for giving marks. It could mean free 10 per cent marks for a certain category of students, he said.

Mr P.S.Sangha, Principal SGGS College, Sector 26, said the mention of classes attended on the result card would serve the purpose of increasing the value of attendance. He suggested the possibility of some changes in the original idea of marks for attendance.


Plan to set up medical college in Chandimandir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
The Army’s Command Hospital at Chandimandir, a tertiary care centre, is gearing up to expand its wings in the field of medical education, with a proposal being drawn to establish a full-fledged medical college attached to the hospital.

Well-placed sources told The Tribune that a feasibility report on the project has been prepared by the hospital authorities, which has been forwarded for evaluation and requisite action.

The proposal to set up a medical college in Chandimandir comes in the wake of the decision to start regular postgraduate training programmes at the masters level (MS and MD) at the hospital, for which all necessary formalities have been completed and the government’s nod to begin the courses is being awaited.

The proposed medical college would be on the lines of the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) at Pune. The AFMC takes in students on the basis of a competitive examination and on getting their MBBS degree after a five-year course, the students are granted commission in the rank of lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps or in equivalent rank in the Air Force and the Navy.

According to sources, the medical college at Chandimandir may take in students only for commission in the Army instead of all three services like in the AFMC. The exact modalities and the number of seats to be offered are to be worked out.

Sources said that the representatives from the Medical Council of India had inspected the hospital on two occasions during the past few weeks. One of the teams, the sources add, was headed by Major-Gen Virendra Singh, a former commandant of the hospital who is now Director of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Science, Rohtak.



There is something very pleasant about children assuming control of situations. So when the students of six city schools took charge of the fifth children’s theatre festival last week, everything seemed just perfectly positioned. For once, the plays presented in the genre of street theatre had more humour than intellect to portray. Normally, the production team is so involved with the kind of message being sent out through the medium of theatre that the real charm of presentation gets shrouded by countless other considerations, including the impact that the play would leave.

The children’s theatre festival, presented under the aegis of a local NGO, however, stood independent of such considerations. The only focus was on original ideas of kids, improvised and evolved in the language that they understand the best. So we had all sorts of funny situations arising from the most sacred of themes. Children allowed their imagination to run wild with Yamaraj struggling to pacify his wife, who is too keen to visit a “mela.” We also had a frantic Vishnu Bhagwaan ransacking the heaven and earth in search of his lost Sudershan Chakra.

The interesting part was the improvisation process that resulted in similar results in almost every school. The common issues bothering children included getting ready for school and the pressure of being punctual, scoring high marks and outshining friends, leading a life set to strict schedules, etc. The plays became a sincere medium of expression for kids, who used simple ways to convey themes the policy makers have long been grappling with — overhauling of the education system being the premiere among them all.

Well presented

Lilette Dubey knows how to command the audience. Small wonder then that she, along with her team of Vijay Crishna, Suchitra Pillai and Joy Sengupta, thrilled the Chandigarh audience with the presentation of Mahesh Dattani’s Dance like a Man some time back. Known for playing diverse roles with elan, Lilette was one again seen in a very “unexpected” role — that of a South Indian bharatnatyam dancer, who is past her prime.

Corporate honcho Vijay Crishna offered great company to Lilette on stage. In fact, on certain occasions, he looked more real than any of the actors in the cast. Everything about the production was so well chalked out and juxtaposed that the audience clearly craved more of theatrical magic. Suchitra Pillai looked ravishing in the Indian dressing, which she is rarely seen in, and Joy Sengupta could not have been better than what he was as a “male obsessed with dance traditions.”

That the gathering at Tagore Theatre more than cheered the play was clear from the fact that “just one mobile phone rang during the course of magical enactment on stage.” Normally, the frequency is 10 to 15 times.

Dedicated donor

The Blood Bank Society has expressed grief over the death of Prof R.S. Prasad (Punjab Engineering College) in a road accident on Wednesday. “It came as a nasty shock because for decades he had been a very loyal supporter of the society”, a note of the society says.

“A person like him should have lived for long to continue to serve humanity in his own dedicated manner. I fondly remember his innumerable visits year after year when he would discuss details about blood donation camps. His sincerity and his enthusiasm made a deep impact”, says Mrs Saroop Krishen, honorary secretary of the Blood Bank Society.

Professor Prasad, head of the Electronics and Communication Engineering and Computer Science and Information Technology departments, is known to have goaded his fellow colleagues and others to work for blood donation campaigns.

Nobody’s road

It is truly said that the vote bank is the path to development. A reader rang up The Tribune office to point out the ill effects of this vote-bank-politics.

Citing an example, he said the road dividing Sectors 53 and 54, which caters the vehicular traffic moving towards SAS Nagar, has developed potholes and neither the Municipal Corporation nor the Chandigarh Administration was bothered to get it recarpeted.

Reason? He alleged that the municipal councillor elected from the area feels that since there were no voters in the area, he need not care about the basic amenities there. The voters who use the road either live in SAS Nagar or use the road to reach their offices in SAS Nagar.

The reader pointed out that due to the badly damaged road, a number of accidents have taken place on the stretch passing through the furniture market. There have been instances when stray cattle squatting on the road are not noticed due to non-functional streetlights. Will the authorities concerned listen?

Sorry shape

The internal roads in Phase II of Industrial Area are in a very bad condition. If something is not done immediately, plying of vehicles on certain stretches of these internal roads may have to be stopped.

These damaged roads are dotted with potholes which have become virtual craters with heavy vehicles owing on them continuously. These internal-stretches are the approach roads to a number of big car showrooms like Joshi Autozone, Saluja Motors and Car Club.

When The Tribune team drove down these roads it faced a virtual hill and dale type of a bumpy drive. Heavy vehicles passing by moved like big seesaws as they crossed big craters.

Those in the know of things said the roads had not been repaired ever since the Municipal Corporation came into being in Chandigarh. A number of representations to the civic authorities had failed to move those at the helm of affairs.

A first-time visitor to this area drives at a snail’s pace through the water-logged craters fearing the worst. As our photographer took out his camera the man at the wheel asked him: “How deep is this crater”?

Something must be done fast to save these internal roads. In fact, they are so badly damaged that some day the authorities may have to relay the entire stretch.


Written on the back of a car: “Jatt inside, Please beware.”

— Sentinel


No pesticide traces, claims Coke
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
The Central Science Laboratory, London, that had tested samples of Coke and Pepsi has stated in its report that no residues of pesticides were found in the samples. CSL is the biggest testing laboratory in the UK under the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It has more than 600 scientists.

According to a press note issued here Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited, the laboratory had carried out tests for 35 pesticides, which included all tested for by CSE and government laboratories.

Of the 35 pesticides tested for, 31 were found to be below the EU norms. Each of these 35 pesticides are present to the tune of 0.99 parts per 10 billion.


More Muslims joining us, claims BJP
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 31
A meeting of the Ropar unit of the BJP's Minority Morcha was held here today. Addressing the meeting, Chaudhry Shah Mohammed Khan, national general secretary of the morcha, said more and more Muslims were joining the party.

He said efforts were being made to reach out to members of the minority communities under the slogan "Gaon chalo, ghar, ghar chalo".

He said the government could not be blamed for the incidents of violence in Mumbai. These could only be the handiwork of elements who were against the unity of the country, he stated.

Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, vice-president of the BJP's Rashtriya Kisan Morcha and general secretary of the Punjab unit of the BJP, said the Congress had never given due representation to the minorities in either the government or the party. However, the BJP was doing this at both levels, he claimed.

Mr Harjit Singh Bhullar, vice-president of the Punjab Yuva Morcha, said the party had set up the Minority Morcha in Ropar district recently. Morcha units would also be formed soon in Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Fatehgarh Sahib districts.


Jaiswal criticises MC councillors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
The Chandigarh unit of the Samajwadi Party today said that despite the party having an alliance with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, the local unit was opposed to the BJP and the Congress.

Welcoming the formation of new government in Uttar Pradesh by the party chief, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, the president of its local unit, Mr Shivi Jaiswal, said Mr Yadav had assured him that a senior minister of his government would soon visit the city. He criticised municipal corporation councillors for ignoring the development of the city. 


Mandal organises blood donation camp
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 31
A blood donation camp was organised by the Sant Nirankari Mandal, Pinjore, today.

As many as 148 units of blood were collected at the camp, which was inaugurated by the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ms Neelam Pradeep Kashni.


A meeting of the executive of the House Owners Welfare Association, Sector 9, was held today to decide on the issue of forming a committee for the maintenance of public parks.

Mr R.C. Kaushik, general secretary, of the association, said finances and overall supervision should be the responsibility of the council while the association would assist in maintenance.

Memorandum presented

A delegation of the Hotel and Banquet Association of Zirakpur today met the Member of Parliament from Patiala, Ms Parneet Kaur, and highlighted difficulties faced by them.

Mr Pradeep Aggarwal, president of the association, said because of the high amount of the road tax charged on vehicles coming into Zirakpur, all buses were diverted to the Haryana highway from Shahabad to save tax, due to which they were losing business. They demanded that the road tax be changed on the kilometer basis. 


Radhashtami on September 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
The local chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has made arrangements for celebrating Radhashtami, the appearance day of Radha Rani, on September 3 with religious fervour, according to Nand Maharaj Dasa Prabhu, co-president of ISKCON.

Main attractions includes mangla aarti at 4.30 am followed by charan darshan of Radha Rani, sringaar aarti at 8 am, abhishek ceremony, along with bhajan and kirtan, from 11 am to 1 pm, followed by the distribution of prasadam(langar), aarti at 7 pm and nauka vihar at 7.30 pm. 


Sharma new Lions Club chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
Dr S.K. Sharma, a retired Professor of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) has taken over as the President, Lions Club Chandigarh (host).

Prof Sharma, a renowned author of technical books and a social worker, has been honoured with a number of awards, including Mother Teresa Excellence Award, Bharat Gaurav Award Best Citizen of India award. He is also the founder General Secretary of Senior Citizens Federation (North Zone). 


Water supply line ruptured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
A supply line feeding treated water for irrigation use was ruptured near the Sector 26 transport area after it was hit by a JCB here today.

According to the information, the JCB engaged in construction activity hit the water supply line coming from the water treatment plant in SAS Nagar. The supply line feeds the northern sectors.

It took the workers of the Public Health Wing almost whole day to plug the leakage. Till late in the evening water was oozing out of the damaged portion of the supply line.

An officer of the Public Health Wing said the supply of potable water was not hit.


Unpotable water in Sector 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
Dr Puneet, a resident of house number 163, Sector 16, has complained of unpotable water supply in his house. He said the water supple contained sand and other foreign material.

He said they had been getting such supply since Friday evening. 


Tribune Foremen retire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Mr Hem Raj Sharma and Mr Surinder Nath Dogra, Foremen, The Tribune, retired today after putting in 37 and 29 years of service, respectively.

At a farewell party those who lauded their services included Mr O. P. Arora, Additional General Manager.


Gang of robbers busted, three held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 31
The CIA has busted a gang of robbers with the arrest of three persons from Ghaggar bridge late last night.

Vijay Kumar, Ravi and Inderpal were arrested while they were planning a robbery. One pistol and two iron rods were recovered from them during the raid led by Inspector Ram Chander and Sub-Inspector Sujeet Singh. The accused were presented before a local court today and remanded in seven days police custody. 


LIC anniversary celebrations from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
To commemorate its 47th anniversary, the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) will hold a week-long programmes from September 1.

On this occasion, Ms Debashree Varma, Senior Divisional Manager, LIC, will inaugurate the celebrations at the Jeevan Parkash building by hoisting the LIC flag and releasing the new citizen character adopted by the corporation. She will also relaunch Jeevan Shree-I, one of the LIC plans, with reduced premium rates.

In a press note issued here today, she said during the week, the divisional office would conduct social activities like free health check-up camps for policy holders, public and employees, blood donation camp, quiz contest, drawing and painting competitions for children.

A cultural programme would also be organised on the concluding day.

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