Monday, September 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Infant abducted from General Hospital
Tribune News Service

Are babies safe in hospitals?

With the abduction of 10-month- old Jyoti from the paediatrics ward at the General Hospital, questions are being raised about the safety of newborn babies and other children under treatment at hospitals. In the past also, there have been cases where children have been abducted.

In December, 2000, a newborn boy was abducted by a woman from Mansa. Unable to conceive after her second marriage, she came to her parents’ place in Mani Majra and told her husband that she was expecting.

She abducted the child from the General Hospital. Spotting the sudden appearance of the baby, neighbours informed the police, after which she was caught and the child restored to the parents.

In another incident, a two-year old boy went missing from the Radiodiagnosis Department at the PGI on September 29 last year. A woman who offered to help the child’s mother to get the X-ray done disappeared with the baby. The child remains untraced.

Chandigarh, September 14
Tension prevailed today at the Sector 16 General Hospital following the mysterious disappearance of Jyoti, a 10-month-old girl of a migrant couple, from the paediatrics ward, where she had been admitted for a minor surgery. The police said it appeared to be a case of abduction.

The infant had been admitted to the hospital on September 11 by her parents, Promila and Nand Lal, migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh, presently residing in Colony No. 4. The girl was occupying bed No. 26 in the paediatrics ward, where a surgery had been done to remove a boil on her forehead.

“When I woke up around 6.30 a.m., I discovered that Jyoti was missing,” said a weeping Promila. She said her husband had left for home around 5.30 a.m. after giving the child medicines, after which she fed her and put her to sleep. She said though there were six beds in the ward, only three were occupied.

The infant’s mother said she inquired from parents of other children admitted to the ward and then ran out searching for her baby in the corridors. Failing to trace her daughter in the hospital, she brought the matter to the notice of the staff nurse on duty. The hospital authorities immediately intimated the police about the matter.

A case of abduction has been registered at the Sector 17 police station. “We have launched an extensive hunt in the city and sounded an alert. It will not be very difficult to identify the child since she has a fresh surgery mark on her forehead, just above the eyebrow,” said a police personnel investigating the case.

Residents of Colony No. 4, including a large number of women, had assembled in large numbers at the General Hospital, pressurising the police to trace the child and inform them about the progress of the case.

Apprehending trouble from the residents, a large police posse was deployed at the hospital, throughout the day. It was after a lot of persuasion that policemen managed to convince them to go home as efforts were being made to trace the child.

The Director, Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, said the hospital had immediately alerted the police about the child’s disappearance. He said information about those admitted to the ward and the ones who had been discharged earlier had been provided to the police.

“We are fully cooperating with the police but it would be rather difficult for us to depute security personnel in the wards to prevent such cases as ultimately it is the parents who will have to take care of their children,” he remarked when asked about the absence of security in the wards.

He said since children were taken to various departments like ENT, X-ray, orthopaedics, etc., it was not possible for the hospital staff to keep a watch on persons entering or leaving the wards and various OPDs.

Meanwhile, the police has got in touch with some of the patients who were admitted to the ward and discharged earlier. The hospital authorities informed that when Jyoti was admitted to the ward, 28 of the total 30 beds were occupied and since then, six patients had been discharged.



3 arrested in kidnapping case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 14
The police has arrested three of the five persons, who had allegedly kidnapped and thrashed a Maloya resident, Deepak, last night. While the main accused, was arrested last evening, Tejinder and Vishal were arrested today. All five accused are residents of the Dadu Majra colony.

According to the police, Deepak, 18, was allegedly kidnapped by five persons, Sanjay, Tejinder, Vishal, Dinesh and Santu, from near KC Cinema, Sector 17, last evening. They later took him to House No. 1201 in the Dadu Majra colony. There, they thrashed him and later threw him in the colony around 8.30 pm. Deepak reportedly received nine injuries.

It is being said that Tejinder and Dinesh kidnapped him on a motor cycle from near the cinema. The other three, who were on two scooters, escorted the motor cycle to the colony.

The police said that Deepak was an employee at a vegetable shop owned by Sanjay. Sanjay reportedly owed Deepak Rs 10,000 as salary. When Sanjay did not pay the salary, Deepak quit the job and moved to Patiala. However, Sanjay told the police that Deepak who owed him Rs 10,000. However, Deepak kept telling the people about the money Sanjay owed to him.

This irritated Sanjay and he, along with his friends, allegedly thrashed Deepak to teach him a lesson.

A case under Sections 365, 342, 323 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.



Jeweller robbed of cash, gold chain
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 14
Five youths robbed a local jeweller, Mr Kulwant Rai Singla, some cash and a gold chain and dumped him in Sector 23 here last night. The youths were carrying a revolver also.

According to police sources, Mr Singla, (35), was returning to his Sector 37-B residence in a Santro car after closing his jewellery shop in Sector 23 at 10.15 pm yesterday.

The sources said the five youths in a white Maruti Esteem car with a Delhi registration number started following him.

When he turned towards Sector 37, near the Batra cinema, the youths overtook Mr Singla and stopped their car in front of the Santro and forced their way into it. One of the youths took to the wheel.

Pointing a revolver, they asked for cash and valuables. But when Mr Singla did not yield to the threats one of them stabbed him in the right wrist. The car was later taken towards the roundabout on the road separating Sectors 36 and 37 and committed the crime.

Mr Singla, somehow, managed to reach his residence and narrated the tale to his landlord, who called the police. The Santro car was found abandoned in Sector 23-A. Two shells of cartridges were also found. The Maruti car used in the crime has also been impounded.

With the help of Mr Singla the police has made a sketch of a youth. A case has been registered under various sections of the IPC.



Cop assaults resident
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 14
A resident of Sohana village, near here, was allegedly beaten up by a policeman there last night.

Mr Nirmal Singh (34), a contractor dealing in wood work, told newspersons here today that when he went to his house late last night, he saw the munshi of the police station Mr Jarnail Singh, sitting and chatting with his wife.

He alleged that when he objected to the presence of the munshi in his house, the latter used abusive language and assaulted him. Later, the munshi called other policemen, who took away Mr Nirmal Singh. A case was registered against him under Sections 107 and 151 of the Cr.PC. The complaint, Mr Nirmal Singh said, was made by his wife. He was also medically examined by the police after he was beaten up.

Mr Nirmal Singh was bailed out by his associates. He showed newspersons injuries on his face, which he had allegedly sustained as a result of the beating by the munshi.

Mr Nirmal Singh said earlier also he had objected to the munshi visiting his home when his wife was alone.

He said Mr Jarnail Singh was known to him. Some time back, he said he was involved in a road accident in which he had sustained injuries on one leg. The munshi had recommended a doctor at a hospital in Kharar for treatment. Following this, he incurred an expenditure of Rs 22,000 on the treatment and owed Rs 4,000 or Rs 5,000 to a chemist. He had left his scooter with the chemist in lieu of the amount he owed. However, policemen kept harassing him and even got his signatures on blank papers, he alleged.

Last night, too, the munshi demanded that he pay the amount to the chemist, Mr Nirmal Singh said.

Mr Jarnail Singh, however, denied that he had beaten up Mr Nirmal Singh. He told Chandigarh Tribune that he had secured a loan on interest for Mr Nirmal Singh and had asked him to return the amount to the lender.

He alleged that when Mr Nirmal Singh came home last night, he was under the influence of liquor. He lost his temper and also beat up his wife, who left the house.

A complaint was registered by his wife. The munshi said he did not know how Mr Nirmal Singh sustained the injuries.



Protest against cops

SAS Nagar, September 14
Autorickshaw drivers stayed off the road for about an hour this evening in protest against alleged police harassment.

A number of autorickshaw owners and drivers gathered near the bus stand in Phase VIII and raised slogans against the police of harassing them.



Missing teenagers return home
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 14
Two teenagers of Kumbra village, who went missing from Apni Mandi here on the evening of September 12, returned home today.

Mr Gurmukh Singh, husband of the sarpanch of the village, Ms Surinder Kaur, said the youths, Baljit Singh and Kamaldeep Singh, had returned safely.

He said both had spent the first night in a park here. The next morning they boarded a bus bound for Delhi. They hid themselves under a tarpaulin on the roof of the bus and alighted at a bypass near Delhi.

The youths were not carrying enough money with them and had just Rs 120.

A police source said the youths merely wanted to visit Delhi. On reaching there they had food at a dhaba and spent the night there.

The two could not return home by bus as they did not have enough money. They then took lift in a truck laden with bananas bound for Chandigarh. They told the truck driver that their bags had been stolen and they had no money.

Mr Gurmukh Singh said they reached Chandigarh where the truck driver gave them some money for reaching home. Both were presented before the police here today.



Withdraw fee hike in colleges, Bansal asks Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Panjab University has expressed surprise over UT Administration’s move of not withdrawing the fee hike implemented in its affiliated colleges in the city during this session. This was conveyed at a recently held meeting of a high-powered committee of the university that was looking into the issue of fee hike. Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, took the centre stage in the day's proceeding by strongly taking on the UT Administration, sources said. He said when the hike in the fee of the local colleges was announced the official communication had attributed reasons to a Punjab Government notification to that regard. When the Punjab Government had withdrawn the hike then there was no reason for the local students to pay the enhanced fee, he said.

In a Syndicate meeting held on July 26, after the Punjab Government had withdrawn the hike, the UT authorities had assured that they would look into the issue at a higher level before announcing any decision.

Mr Bansal asked the UT Administration to withdraw the fee hike at the earliest. He demanded a uniform fee structure in all colleges.

Mr Dilip Kumar, the DPI (UT), is learnt to have said that the Administration would wait for the recommendations of the committee regarding the new fee structures before taking any decision. The response was not received well by the committee members. The university will fix another meeting of the committee shortly.

The meeting was attended by Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, Mr R.S.Verma, Mr Bansal, Dr Keshav Malhotra, Principal P.S.Sangha, Mr Dhirender Tayal, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Mr S.S.Virdi, Prof S.L.Sharma, Mr Dilip Kumar (DPI, UT), Mrs Nisha Sharad( DPI, Punjab) the Finance and Development Officer and the Registrar.

The committee deliberated on two major issues: how to regulate the varying fee structures in affiliated colleges? and how to increase government’s share in fee collected from students?

Mr Keshav Malhotra pointed out varying fee structures in colleges giving data of the local colleges. He said there were vast differences in colleges of the urban, semi-urban and rural areas. He said the parameters needed to be clearly defined for the fee structure according to the area that they catered to.

Mr S.S.Virdi and Mr Dhirender Tayal gave reasons for the varying fee structures in different colleges. They said colleges were making huge expenditure for providing quality education and they were under extreme pressure in the wake of the dwindling government grants.

Prof Charanjit Chawla pointed out that colleges were facing a dilemma because of payments to the staff. Posts in the teaching and the non-teaching wings were not covered for those appointed after 1981. This was a big burden on colleges which had to pay gratuity and other service benefits to the staff. The issue needs to be understood in a wider perspective, Professor Chawla added.Back


Chandigarh Calling

IN Chandigarh there has been a change of guard at the top. Mr Virendra Singh, Adviser to the UT Administrator, a 1969 batch official of the UT cadre of the IAS, was suddenly shifted from Chandigarh. The Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, a 1976 batch officer of the Haryana cadre was asked to take over as Adviser till a permanent appointment was made.

Several questions remain unanswered on his sudden posting here on January 8 this year and now his removal.

The post of Adviser is very sensitive and the person enjoys the powers of Chief Secretary. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs posted him here although the CBI had registered a case of disproportionate assets against Mr Singh. As per CBI’s chargesheet the assets totalled to about Rs 70 crore. And the MHA after all this sent him to Chandigarh where the Adviser enjoys unlimited powers. Within eight months what prompted the MHA to post him out? Interestingly, in the past two months, senior officers had visibly become very quiet and almost dithered away from taking decisions.

Mr Singh and his successor, Mr Gujral, were known to be at loggerheads over administrative matters. Most notable was the issue of postings of senior police officers made by the IG, Mr Rajesh Kumar. Mr Gujral contended that as Home Secretary the power to post official of the rank of DSP and above was with the Home Secretary and not the IG.

PU as DU

It was instant recognition, followed by instant disbelief. During a show of “Hawayein”, students of Panjab University were amazed and amused to see their campus on the screen. The reason: the reel action was supposed to be taking place at Delhi University!

The campus scenes were greeted by hooting, with some viewers shouting “jaali, jaali” (unreal). For 15 minutes or so, they had a jolly time identifying familiar landmarks like the Student Centre, the Arts Block and the Indian Theatre Department amphitheatre.

Regional identity

Regional identity of the student organisations on Panjab University campus has come to the fore in the polls held on Friday. Punjabis lead the total in matters of population and have also led the council office since the recommencement of polls in 1997.

The Haryana Student Association this time parted ways with the Panjab University Student Union, hoping for an impressive result. They based their calculation on more than 1200 Haryanavi voters. Their calculations were upset as was visible from the tally of their presidential candidate who secured only 442 votes. The HSA in a meeting later decided to change the name of the organisation by deleting the word Haryana from the organisation in the coming year.

The only student organisation of national repute in the fray was the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. The organisation had the brightest chance this time. The calculations were based on simple calculations of infighting in the Panjab University Student Union and Student Organisation because of involvement in a murderous assault on the PUSU president. The Punjab card is very strong here, an ABVP supporter said.

The Indian addiction

The Japanese film festival and music show generated tremendous response from school children as well as adult viewers. Being held in Chandigarh for the first time, the festival was put together by five Japanese artistes, including two students from the University of Japan. The team ideally comprised three performing artistes, namely Nobuko, Kumiko and Elena. The rest of the two delegates from Japan tagged along with the performing artistes for two main reasons — they wanted to know how education is disseminated in India. Also, they wanted to see the beautiful Indian faces. When asked what brought them to India, both of them replied, “India had a tradition that dates back to thousands of years. We had always heard of Indian beauty, as also the beauty of its language and culture. We are here to find the same for ourselves. It is great to see people from other cultures and learn the best from them.”

With the message of love, the two Japanese students mingled well with the students of Shivalik Public School which was the venue for the inauguration of the festival on September 12. Also, they tried learning whatever Indian words they could in the little time available. All through their visit they, however, remained addicted to the Indian style of greeting people, “Namaste”, little aware of the fact that most Indians had switched over to a more informal “hello” or “hi”, way of greeting people.

Marriage season

The impending marriage season is more than a month away, yet people connected with services are already preparing for the same. This ranges from tent house to tailors and from caterers to decorators.

Besides this, sellers of dress material are rubbing their hands in glee as brides accompanied by their parents will start making a beeline. Hotels are doing minor repair jobs. Rooms are being refurnished. Tent houses are procuring the latest designs from Delhi and Mumbai. A client can ask for just anything.

Not to miss the farm houses which host the marriages of the rich and the famous.

In any marriage party food is an important ingredient. City residents have a passion for food, especially of the non-vegetarian variety. This just cannot be missed out. Sales of chicken and fish go on an upswing each year in the marriage season and this year will be no different. The upmarket butcheries, now know this and provide value added add-ons like marinated chicken or marinated fish.

The clothes shops in the city are decking up as residents of nearby towns like Mohali and Panchkula also shop here.

Apple or potato?

With the fall in apple prices, a large number of people even with low income have began to buy apples. One can see a number of rehris full of apples on the roads in every sector. The vendors are evolving new slogans to attract customers. One of the vendors was heard saying, “Naa Khao Aloo Naa Khao Piaz, Hun Khao Seb hi Seb,” (Do not eat potato or onion, but eat just apples and apples) hinting that the price of apple was quite comparable to the vegetables in the market.

— Sentinel


Solar lighting system off, blame game on
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chhat, September14
Residents of Chhat village near Chhat Bir zoo have been waiting for the past over one year for the solar street lighting system that was installed about four years ago to become functional again. The solar system, installed at a cost of over Rs 30 lakh under the Centrally-aided project, has been non-functional for the past one year.

The village panchayat has alleged that the officials of the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA), that had installed the system, had neither bothered to repair the streetlights and system even during the warranty period nor had they offered guidance in any way. Only a few companies manufacture and repair these systems in the region.

The villagers said the solar streetlighting system was installed with much fanfare by the previous Akali-BJP government as part of the Centre Government's scheme to promote non-conventional energy resources. This politically active village falls under Banur constituency and is represented by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister and a senior Akali leader. The solar system, said the villagers, was a political gift, and was installed on the village land, but it proved to be a useless gift for them. It had rather occupied the village land, they added.

The village panchayat members disclosed that initially the system had worked quite well. Since the electricity was free at that time, so no one appreciated its importance. However, the villagers realised the utility of the system only when the state government withdrew the sops of free electricity supply. " We realised that the solar system can help us in lighting all major streets in the village without any cost apart from improving the security environment,." they added.

Mr S.S. Sekhon, Director, PEDA, said,‘‘We had installed the solar system as a demonstrator project and the contract was given to a private party. The contractor not only provided free maintenance during the warranty period, but repaired the lights later on as well. We can take its responsibility for ever. Now it is the duty of the village panchayat to take care of the system."

The official claimed that some of the truckers passing through the village road, had cut off the wires. Some bulbs had been removed from the poles. One of the solar panels installed to store energy had broken down but the battery bank was lying intact.

The villagers, however, alleged that the contractor had removed the panel for repair and had never returned it.

Mr Sekhon said,‘‘If the village panchayat comes forward to take the responsibility of maintenance and contributes some cost, we are ready to repair it once again.’’ He suggested that some of the streetlights, that had been installed on the village periphery, could be re-installed on the inner roads and in the village temple and gurdwara as well.



Rehabilitated mechanics demand amenities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Charging the Chandigarh Administration with not providing basic amenities in new motor markets, the rehabilitated shopkeepers and motor mechanics today threatened to stop the payment of annual installments.

The shopkeepers are demanding stormwater drainage, water connection and adequate parking space in the markets.

They alleged that the administration had not complied with the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding their rehabilitation. Around 400 motor mechanics were still operating from roadsides in the city and around 160 who had been allotted shops in the new motor markets were still running their business from their old premises.

They criticised the double standards of the Administration in allowing motor mechanics and spare part dealers to do their business from the sector markets. “If a customer can get his vehicle repaired from Sector 21 or Sector 28, why would he go all the way to Sector 48? asked Mr Gurcharan Singh, vice-president of the Sector 48 market association.

The shopkeepers of motor markets in Sectors 38, 43, 48 and 52 lamented that the condition of roads, streetlights, parking areas and lavatories was pathetic.

Mr Narayan Dass, general secretary of the Joint Action Committee of the five motor markets, said all 1307 shopkeepers identified in the surveys by the Estate Office had not been rehabilitated despite a number of shops lying unallotted in the motor markets. The Committee has already provided the list of the shopkeepers who were running their business from the sector markets.



Lack of garbage disposal facilities resented
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 14
Even though the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has earmarked sites for the disposal of garbage, residents claim that adequate arrangements have not been made by the authorities for the purpose, at least in some of the sectors.

Sources in the Corporation themselves admit that “sehaj safai kendras” had not been constructed in all sectors. They said the process of constructing the centres would be completed by December.

Residents, meanwhile, questioned the logic of the authorities in asking them to deposit garbage at the earmarked sites without making adequate arrangements. “The authorities have merely removed the bins from the main roads and placed these in open spaces away from the gaze of the passersby,” they said. “What difference would this make, we fail to understand”.

Others add, “What was the hurry of asking the residents to make their own arrangements for carrying the garbage to the earmarked sites even though the kendras were yet to be constructed?” “We can understand that the sectors will look a lot more clean once the kendras come up, but till then what purpose would the shifting of bins serve. It is beyond our comprehension”.

Some other residents further alleged that the corporation merely washed its hands off the responsibility of collecting and disposing the garbage by asking the residents to make arrangements for throwing the garbage at earmarked sites even though the kendras were yet to come up.

The Corporation, it may be recalled, had earlier issued a public notice stating that “garbage and horticulture waste” would not be collected by its staff from the domestic dustbins, haudies and open points, even back lanes, with effect from September 8 in some of the sectors.

The residents were “required to arrange for the disposal of the waste”. They were told that the waste could collectively be gathered and disposed of with the help of privately organised door-to-door collection system or through the Residents Welfare Associations.

Up in arms against the decision, the residents claimed that the problem had not been solved. They alleged that garbage was piling up next to the bins and the stench was making it impossible for them to pass. When contacted, the Corporation authorities claimed that the move had been initiated in an attempt to create garbage-free sectors. Denying the allegations of protest by the residents, a senior Corporation officer added that they were, in fact, co-operating in the movement.



Book on flights by city officer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
To mark 100 years of aviation, a book covering the spectrum of aviation has been brought out by a local retired IAF officer, Wg Cdr D. P. Sabharwal. The book, titled “Flight: The Basic Book”, is the first of its kind to be published in the country.

With a foreword by Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, the profusely illustrated, 10-chapter book takes off from the history of aviation, covering mythology, early concepts and efforts, balloons and kites and ends up giving the readers a peep into the future.

“It is written in clear and simple language to cover this vast and highly technical subject. I, therefore, recommend its reading particularly to our young population,” Marshal Arjan Arjan Singh has written.

A chapter is devoted to the what and why of an aircraft which covers parts of an aircraft and cockpit instruments.



Mishap toll 3
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 14
An occupant of a car which collided with a scooter killing a couple near Sector 68 on September 6 died here last night. The postmortem was conducted at the Civil Hospital today. Mr H.K. Singh and his wife Kiranjot Kaur, who were on the scooter, died while their baby had a miraculous escape in the mishap. One of the persons in the car was injured seriously.

The death toll rose to three with Mr Charandeep Singh, who the police said earlier was driving the vehicle, died at the Fortis Hospital. He was operated upon after he suffered head injuries.



Smuggled liquor seized
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 14
Three boxes of liquor were seized by the police as a part of its drive to stop the smuggling of liquor from Chandigarh to other areas.

The local SP, Mr H.S. Bhullar, said in a press note today that a man was stopped by the police on suspicion near the Phase VIII bus stand. Questioning of the man led to the seizure of three boxes of liquor. A case has been registered under the Excise Act.



Boy crushed by bus
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 14
A ten-year old boy, Sahil Singla, was crushed by a private mini bus, near Badala village on the Kharar-Badala road, about two km from here, today. According to an FIR lodged by the father of the deceased, Mr Ram Murti, he, along with his son, was going to meet a relative. He was going on foot while his son was on a bicycle. The bus, PB-12 F-8265, coming from the Kharar side hit the bicycle and the boy was injured seriously. He was taken to the Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

The police has taken the bus in its custody and registered a case under Sections 279/304A/427 of the IPC against the driver of the bus who is absconding.


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