C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI a ‘hunting ground’ for private hospitals
Agents scout for patients promising ‘prompt’ treatment
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
In case of a medical emergency, PGI staff will be very prompt in offering all possible help right from arranging an ambulance to providing the best possible doctor. The only hitch is that you will have to shell out a huge amount of money, as all this will be arranged not at the PGI but at any one of the leading private hospitals of the city!

Representatives of some of the private hospitals in the city have been making rounds of the PGI emergency and other wards, seeking help of the staff in getting them more patients. “Representatives of at least two private hospitals offered me 10 per cent commission in case I referred patients to their institutes and they have got in touch with other staff as well, especially those in the emergency wing,” confirmed one of the employees.

When enquiries were made, some of the patients confirmed that such offers had been made to them, while adding that since they were not in a position to pay they could not shift from the PGI.

Taking note of frequent visits made by agents of private hospitals, diagnostic centres and laboratories to the PGI, the hospital authorities have even put up notices alerting public against such people. “Since attendants and family members of patients have to undergo harassment, by running from pillar to post to arrange for a bed and get a doctor for their patient, they often fall easy prey to offers of prompt services at private hospitals by their agents,” explains a PGI employee.

One of the reasons why people agree to move to a private hospital is when doctors and other staff are unable to attend to patients because of heavy rush and limited facilities. “I agree at times we are unable to attend to patients because of the pressure from the entire region, but referring patients to private hospitals is not right as it will not just give us a bad name but majority of whom who come here are not in a position to bear the expenses at a private hospital,” feels a senior PGI official. The matter has been brought to his notice also and he says in case any staff member is caught taking commission action will be taken against him.

Taking advantage of the plight of patients, it is not just the representatives of private hospitals but also agents of diagnostic centres and laboratories who offer ready help. In spite of their best efforts, the PGI authorities have not been able to check the entry of these agents, who offer ready help right from collecting samples, to getting the tests done and delivering the reports.

There have been instances when attendants of some patients have been cheated as money has been taken from them for tests without being provided with reports. “On our part we have put notices all over the PGI campus, alerting public to be on guard against such elements. In case of any cheating, it will not be our responsibility,” says an official from the PGI’s security wing.



3 children hurt in roof collapse
Tribune News Service

Akash and Sapna
Akash and Sapna 

Chandigarh, April 14
Three children and an adult had a providential escape sustaining minor injuries when the roof of the house they were playing in caved in at Burail village this evening.

Ten-year-old Akash, six-year-old Sapna and five-year-old Ankit, alias Nanu, and Akash’s father Surinder Singh were in the room when roof collapsed. The three children received injuries on their head while Surinder Singh came out unscathed.

The thud of the roof collapse created panic in the area. People gathered and engaged in the rescue work immediately before the police and the fire brigade rescuers reached the spot. While two children had already been rescued by the people, the third one could be extricated with the help of the police and the fire brigade team.

The children were taken to a local doctor who administered the first aid before saying there were no apparent signs of a serious injury.

The occupants of the room survived as the roof just sloped down towards the end where the wall had just been removed to make it cemented. Surprisingly, the roof remained intact even while it had sloped down.

The children were playing in the middle of the room. The collapse of the roof came as the occupant of house No 493, Pal Singh, and of house No 494, Surinder Singh, today removed their uncemented joint wall to make it cemented. The roof was supported by girders and wooden poles. Somehow, the wooden support got removed from its place on its own leaving the roof with improper support. The house is nestled amongst multi-storeyed buildings and is congested.

Surinder Singh said the roof was very old and the house had not seen any repair for a long time. Both the families themselves were removing the wall and its foundation to again erect it with cement to add strength to the mud-built wall.

The incident happened hours after the wall had been removed. Few members of the two families were taking bath after a day-long toil to remove the wall. Surinder Singh was sitting with the three children in the room whose wall had been removed.



Roll Nos chaos: PU to issue white paper
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Panjab University will come out with a white paper on the chaos resulting from the non-delivery of roll numbers to candidates of under-graduate and post-graduate classes before the examinations got underway this year.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said the university was collecting data of candidates who had not received their roll numbers this year and last year and would give comparative statistics. “The number is much less this time. We are preparing a white paper to get our facts in order,” he said.

Contrary to the claims of the Controller of Examination, Dr Sodhi Ram, that the non-receipt of roll numbers would not pose a problem for university authorities this time round, the usual scene of long queues at the Examination Branch of the university, harassed students and parents waiting for duplicate roll numbers after paying for the same, continued till the day the exams began.

Though the university had despatched roll numbers through registered post and couriers in rural and urban areas, respectively, for the first time this year to ensure they reached the candidates on time, anxious students who failed to get these came looking for these to the university, sending the Examination Branch and the authorities in a tizzy.

Dr Ram, at that time, had chosen to shift the blame on to the students, claiming that most of them had supplied incorrect addresses to the university which was responsible for the many cases of non-delivery of roll numbers.



Liquor being sold in candlelight
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
As if liquor vends in tin sheds weren’t enough, now residents have to bear with ramshackle vends where liquor is being sold along roadside in candlelight since no electricity connections exist. These small vends have come up after the Chandigarh Administration first asked 13 vends in tin sheds to move out and then allowed a grace period till April 30.

The liquor contractors were allowed time till April 30 as they claimed to be searching for a new place. So till then, the contractors have hit upon a novel idea. Open a small vend which is no bigger than 8 ft x 8 ft. Put up about five cases of liquor. The vends have no power connections and candles are used. Some enterprising ones have installed diesel generators, thus adding to the noise and smoke pollution.

Excise and Taxation Commissioner Arun Kumar said no body would be allowed any grace period beyond April 30. Already, seven of the 13 vends had shifted. If the others could not find a place till April 30 they would have to close down. He promised to look into cases where liquor was being sold along roads in candlelights.

In March, the administration had started a move against the liquor vends and “ahatas” functioning from tin sheds in various places across the city. Out of the 39 such vends, 13 were to be moved out in the first phase this year.

The administration even invited bids from landlords who were keen on renting out their premises for the trade.

The opening of liquor vends and “ahatas” in tin sheds has been a ticklish issue. Walking on roads has become tough, especially for women during evening hours. People living in the southern parts of the city have been protesting time and again against makeshift liquor vends but in vain.

In the past few years, the Chandigarh Administration under a flawed policy allowed liquor vends from temporary structures. Due to low rent, it was lucrative to run a liquor shop from a tin shed.

The excise policy clearly states that the person running a liquor vend will have to make his own arrangements for procuring suitable premises to run on their business in the localities for which the sanction has been made. A temporary shed can be constructed in case of exigency. But going by latest figures, it seems the exigency is occurring far too often in majority of cases.



Key posts in Army Medical Corps lying vacant
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Several key posts in the Army Medical Corps (AMC) have been lying vacant while the promotion of a large number of AMC officers is hanging fire, reportedly due to a review of certain changes in the promotion policy brought about earlier.

It is learnt that the board for promotion of lieutenant colonels to full colonels, which is normally held in January every year has not been held so far. The previous promotion board for this rank was held in January last year. About 100 officers are considered for promotion in this bracket.

Sources said while the boards for promotion from colonels to brigadiers and brigadiers to major generals have been held this year, their results have still not been announced. The only promotions held this year were from major general to lieutenant general.

Consequently, a number of important AMC posts are lying vacant. The Western Command Hospital, which is headed by a Major-General has been lying vacant since its earlier incumbent Majar-Gen B. Sadananda moved out on promotion to lieutenant general last month. AMC officers say that so far there is no indication on the appointment of a new commandant. The post of Deputy Director, Medical Services, Western Command, who is responsible for medical services and establishments in the entire Western Command, will fall vacant at the end of this month, when the present incumbent, Major-Gen R.T. Awasthi retires.

Similarly the post of a major-general in Northern Command as well as several appointments meant for brigadiers and major generals in the Armed Forces Medical Directorate and other establishments are reported to be lying vacant.

Sources said that the previous Director General, Armed Forces Medical Services, Lieut-Gen B N. Shahi, who superannuated in January, had brought in some changes in the promotion policy. This included awarding extra marks for doctors holding postgraduate and super speciality qualifications.

The changes had kicked up a storm within the AMC, with officers expressing dissatisfaction over the criteria of awarding marks. The issue was also intensely debated amongst the AMC top brass, with some senior officers reportedly expressing their reservations. In the AMC, officers get promoted from lieutenant colonel to colonel after about 25 years of service and they felt that awarding extra marks for additional qualifications at that level was unfair. Following a change of guard with Lieut-Gen J.R. Bhardwaj taking over from General Shahi, the policy is understood to be under review and some changes are expected.

Though AMC officers have an edge over their counterparts from other arms and services in the early stage of their career as they are commissioned directly in the rank of captain and get additional seniority, there is a lot of stagnation in the middle rung. Officers spend over 13 years at the level of lieutenant colonel before picking up their next rank.



Vidya Bhavan to start professional courses
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 14
In a bid to wean away border youth from militancy, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB) plans to start professional courses for the youth to tackle the unemployment problem, Mr Dhiru S. Mehta, Director-General of the BVB, Mumbai, said here today.

The bhavan will set up kendras in Jammu, Srinagar and Itanagar in the North East with main emphasis on computer education in line with the 31 Indian centres of the bhavan, Mr Mehta told The Tribune.

Saying that the BVB is an “ever-expanding” institution spearheading a movement of cultural values, Mr Mehta informed that the bhavan had started an “Indian culture lecture series” to promote Indian culture abroad. As part of the first lecture series, a “kavi sammelan” featuring poets from all Indian languages, was held in New York last year. It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Talking about various initiatives taken by the bhavan management, Mr Mehta said a Directorate of Education comprising five experts had been constituted to monitor performance of the 117 schools and suggest ways and means for the academic improvement.

Lamenting the commercialisation of education by the vested interests, Mr Mehta said he was against the payment seats in the professional colleges as it discouraged the deserving and poor students from joining these institutions. He also favoured less government control over the education system and wanted that teachers should be given maximum freedom to bring out the best in the students.

Mr Mehta, who is also the Worldwide Executive Secretary of the bhavan, said after the success of its school in Singapore, the bhavan was toying with the idea of opening another school in Australia.



Jain promises metro train for city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate from the local Parliamentary constituency, today said he would try his best to introduce a metro train in Chandigarh to curb the increasing menace of traffic.

He said he would pursue the construction of flyovers on different roads in the city to overcome the problem. He said the traffic problem was increasing by the day due to an increase in the number of vehicles. Moreover, the population in the city had also multiplied very fast.

The traffic often got blocked at traffic lights for three to four minutes, which was why it was essential that it should be controlled and regulated by introducing a train on the pattern of the one in Delhi, he added.

He said that keeping in view the small area of Chandigarh, this train could be extended to neighbouring townships, including Mohali, Panchkula, Kharar, Dera Bassi, Kalka and Parwanoo.

He said in case he won the elections, he would formulate a detailed and comprehensive project in consultation with officers concerned.

Mr Jain also visited many gurdwaras to pay obeisance. He was presented siropas in all Gurdwaras, including Gurdwara Guru Sagar Sar, Sector 7, Sector 26, Bapu Dham Colony, Dadu Majra and Sector 47.

On the eve of Ambedkar Jayanti, Mr Jain today congratulated the people of Dalit samaj and appealed that they should follow the path shown by Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.

He addressed a huge gathering in Gobindpura and Mani Majra on this occasion. He addressed a Jan Sabha in Rehri Market, Sector 18 and was weighed with coins in Shanti Nagar, Mani Majra. He also addressed a corner meeting in Pipliwala Town and addressed three meetings in Bapu Dham in the evening.



Bansal favours ward-level committees 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The Congress believes in devolution of power and democratic process at the grassroot level said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress candidate for the city in the forthcoming Parliamentary poll, while addressing a rally at Sector 32 here today.

Mr Bansal said he would work for the constitution of ward-level committees in the city which would be integrated with development plans of respective sectors.

Mr Bansal visited markets of Sectors 22 and 40. He assured traders that plans were afoot for construction of new toilets, improvement of streetlights and construction of new parking place.

Earlier during the day, Mr Bansal visited Sector 52 and Sector 56.



Dhawan takes out padayatra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Mr Harmohan Dhawan, the candidate of the Indian National Lok Dal in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, today took out a ‘padayatra’ in Maloya Colony. He also went to Mauli village.

Mr Dhawan greeted the residents of the city on the occasion of the Baisakhi and the birthday of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Mr Dhawan, in different rallies, pointed out prominent areas of civic amenities where the Congress and the BJP had failed to provide quality to the citizens of the city.



Makhwana back in BSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The local unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) today organised functions in different parts of the city today to celebrate the birth anniversary of Dr B.R.Ambedkar here today.

Functions were held at Mauli Jagran, Colony Number IV, Sector 56, Bapu Dham Colony and Sarangpur village, besides others.



Industry needs revival package, says Selja
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 14
Denying any rift in the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), Ms Selja, the Congress candidate from the Ambala parliamentary constituency, today declared that development would be her main poll plank.

Addressing a press conference here, Ms Selja came down heavily on the BJP and the INLD saying that for almost five years both the parties had taken the electorate for granted. “Both the parties have to share the blame for the backwardness of the region as for five years they had supported each other”, she added.

The cement factory at Surajpur had closed down and the HMT, Pinjore, was on the verge of closure, she said, underlining the need for a “revival package” for the industry.

When asked whether she left her traditional seat, Sirsa, in favour of Ambala as the latter was a “safe seat”, she said it was the party high command decision to field her from Ambala. However, her being an “outside” candidate was apparent as she had a difficulty in replying to the questions related to the local issues.

The issue of the foreign origin of the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, was a “non-issue” raked up by the BJP as the party had a “dearth of issues”.

The Kalka MLA, Mr Chander Mohan, while denying reports about the factionalism in the party, said all party workers of the Kalka constituency were making every possible effort for the victory of Ms Selja.

He reiterated that once the Congress came to power, the local municipal council (MC) would be dissolved. However, he failed to suggest any alternative to the civic governance of the township.

Those present on the occasion included Mr Lachhman Singh, a former Rajya Sabha member, Mr Vijay Bansal, HPCC secretary, Mr R.K. Kakkar, president of the local unit, Ms Santosh Sharma, president of the district unit of the Mahila Morcha, and Mr Ravi Rawal, spokesman for the district Congress.



Mohali council’s office building project hangs fire
Plan gets stuck in technical objections
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 14
Work on the office building of the local Municipal Council has been hanging fire even after more than a year of the general house of the civic body clearing the proposal.

The council has been wasting funds which could be used more productively for other purposes to pay a heavy rent bill for accommodation to house its offices in the Phase VII market. The inordinate delay in starting the building project on the 1.10-acre plot allotted by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) in Sector 68 is being attributed to the endless tossing of the plan between the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) and the council. The building estimates had been sent to the PWSSB for technical sanction.

According to sources, the president of the council, Mr Kulwant Singh, and other council officials had personally met the Managing Director of the PWSSB last month in connection with the project. It is learnt that they were given an assurance that the project would be given technical clearance given by March 31, but nothing had happened so far.

The council had okayed the proposal to construct its own office building, the first ever, on March 28 last year. Its Executive Officer had written to the Director, Local Government, on May 29 seeking technical and administrative clearance for the Rs 5.5 crore project so that work could begin on it.

The Department of Local Government sent a letter to the Chief Engineer of the PWSSB on June 30 asking him for clearance of the building project.

However, after this step the proposed project landed in quicksand as the PWSSB tossed the plan back in August raising certain objections, including those relating to the structural design and the preparation of expenditure estimates connected with the electrical and public health aspects, and asked the council to justify various estimates.

Later, the council Executive Officer sent amended estimates totalling Rs 6.39 crore to the Managing Director of the PWSSB on November 10 last year. The estimates had been prepared by a private architects’ firm, which gave reasons for and details of the estimates and quotations for various works related to the project.

However, the PWSSB was not impressed, and its Managing Director once again wrote to the civic body’s Executive Officer on December 15 last year pointing out that there were “so many discrepancies” in the estimates. He wanted the Municipal Engineer to come to the PWSSB’s office so that clarifications could be sought.

The Municipal Engineer did as he was directed and met the Executive Engineer concerned of the PWSSB on December 17. He gave point wise clarifications on the objections raised by the PWSSB and attempted to justify the estimates. But the matter did not end there.

Once again came a letter from the PWSSB to the council dated January 20 that the estimates were being returned. The PWSSB this time raised some architectural objections and sought proper justification for the amended estimates. It also sought the vetting of the structural design from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, or a reputed consultant approved by the Punjab Government.

The ball was once more tossed back to the PWSSB by the council. In his letter dated March 16 the Executive Officer of the civic body replied to the queries of the Managing Director of the PWSSB. He gave a tabulated summary of various estimates and tried of justify the increase in the total project cost from Rs 5.5 crore to Rs 6.40 crore (Rs 89 lakh). He said one of the major items which had substantially increased the total cost was structural glazing in which a change had been made from single glass to double glass with an air gap for better heat and acoustic insulation. This change, he said, had been made to make the building non-air-conditioned and to provide a comfortable working environment. The Executive Officer also informed the PWSSB that the structural drawings had been got vetted from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, in accordance with the PWSSB’s instructions.

Besides, the Executive Officer said in his letter that electrical consultancy work had been undertaken by a renowned consultant. The fire-fighting system, too, he said, had been got designed by the architects consultant, who had earlier done similar work in various projects.



Parties insensitive towards disabled: council
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 14
Voters belonging to the disabled section of society will cast votes in favour of only those candidates who assure them of working in their interest.

This was stated by Mr Ajit Salani, national secretary of the National Handicapped Welfare Council, at a press conference here today. He said none of the political parties had ever talked about the welfare of the disabled class in their election manifestoes.

He said they had no links with the Congress, the BJP, Communist parties or the BSP. “We are handicapped and we want a place in the society”, he added.

He said according to an unofficial survey, around seven crore disabled persons in the country had the right to vote. Apart from these voters, he said, there were a very large number of sympathisers of this section who could also be mobilised to cast their vote in favour of a particular candidate.

Mr Salani said according to a WHO survey, half of the disabled population of the world lived in India. He lamented that even after 56 years of Independence, 90 per cent of the disabled were living a miserable life, especially in rural areas.

He said a charter of demands had been sent to various political parties. The council has demanded 10 per cent reservation in government and semi-government departments, and professional institutes, 10 per cent quota reservation in plots and constructed houses and a 50 per cent reduction in their cost, free education and free bus travel facility, a separate channel on Doordarshan and Akashwani for the disabled, 10 per cent reservation in Parliament and state Assemblies and a separate ministry for the disabled, among other things.



Firm employees call off stir
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 14
Employees of Ajay Electrical Industries Limited here today ended their fortnight-long agitation today. The threat of the closure of the company was warded off as the company’s management got stay orders from the Delhi High Court against the closure of the factory.

High drama had ensued at the unit’s Phase I premises on March 29, when one of the creditors of the company brought a closure notice from the Delhi High Court and tried to take over the assets of the company. The 150 employees of the company, who faced unemployment, however foiled the attempt by locking the factory gates. They had been since then sitting on a dharna, protesting against the move.

The company, owned by a Delhi-based businessman, is one of the oldest industrial units to be set up in Mohali in the 1970s. Better known as Ajay Lamps, the company is involved in the manufacture of electrical lamps and tubes. The company was declared sick in 1994 by the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR). In 2001, the BIFR ordered the winding up of the company following an unsuccessful rehabilitation effort. Currently the winding up proceedings are underway in the Delhi High Court.

According to the information provided by the CEO of the company here, Mr B.S. Baidwan, one of the creditors who claimed that the company owed him Rs 1.5 lakh, managed to obtain an order that stated that a provisional liquidator had been appointed to take possession of the factory. ‘‘But yesterday we submitted to the Delhi High Court that the company should be liquidated in a running condition so that the jobs of the employees are safeguarded. The closure of the factory is not going to help anyone. In a running condition, the factory can fetch a better price which is to the advantage of the creditor,’’ he said adding that once the factory is closed, its machinery becomes junk and ultimately only the price of land is available for liquidation.

Mr Kuldip Singh, President of the Ajay Electrical Industries Workers Union, affiliated to the Hind Majdoor Sabha, today celebrated the stay orders granted by the court by distributing sweets among the employees.



10 jhuggis gutted

Mohali, April 14
Ten jhuggis were destroyed in a fire that broke out in an industrial unit at Badmajra village near here, today.

According to fire brigade officials, the damaged jhuggis were located in the backyard of Guru Nanak Paper Mill where some of the labourers of the factory were living. It is learnt that the fire broke out due to a short circuit.

In another case, a transformer caught fire around 12 o’clock last night in Phase III-A. A cable near the area also caught fire and took about half an hour for the fire brigade officials to bring the flames under control. Fire also broke out in a wild growth in Phase V and near the garbage dumping site at Bariyali village. According to fire brigade officials, 2 bighas of wheat crop got destroyed in another fire at Bariyali village this evening. OC



BVB completes 10 years
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 14
Mr Dhiru S. Mehta, Worldwide Executive Secretary, and Director-General of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB), Mumbai, today expressed concern at the declining sex ratio in the country.

Speaking at a function organised as part of the completion of 10 years of the local Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Vidyalaya, Mr Mehta stressed the need for imparting liberal education in the country.

The school Principal, Ms Shashi Banerjee, welcomed the guests.

Earlier, the function started with the invocation to the Lord and lighting of the lamp followed by shlokas from Bhagwat Gita. The classical dance of Lovika Jain was appreciated.

The grand finale was bhangra performed by the schoolchildren and the function concluded with “bhavan stuti”.



SBP’s gesture to physically challenged writer
Tribune News Service

Randeep Wadhera, physically challenged writer, is all smiles after receiving a computer system from a State Bank of Patiala team in Panchkula on Tuesday.
Randeep Wadhera, physically challenged writer, is all smiles after receiving a computer system from a State Bank of Patiala team in Panchkula on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, April 14
In a unique gesture, the State Bank of Patiala (SBP) last night presented a state-of-the-art computer system to a physically challenged freelance writer, Randeep Wadhera.

Provided under the community services banking, a Pentium-4 multi-media computer system, costing about Rs 30,000 was presented to Wadhera by Mr Prakash Asudani, DGM of the Haryana Zone, Panchkula. Mr F.C. Singla, AGM, and Mr Ashok Verma, Manager of the Sector 12 branch, were also present.

A former officer with the State Bank of Travancore, Wadhera, is suffering from acute spondylitis for the past over two decades. Wadhera cannot sit properly and has to stand or lie down while doing his work on the computer. He has been a regular contributor to several national and regional English dailies.

The Tribune had highlighted the plight of Wadhera last year. After reading the report, the bank got in touch with Wadhera and offered to help him.



Chhat Bir’s lone rhino dead
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, April 14
After attracting crowds for over 21 years, Prince, a male rhinoceros, died at the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park located on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway, about 20 km from Chandigarh, this afternoon.

Born in captivity in 1983, Prince, was a prime attraction at the zoo. It was the lone rhinoceros at the zoo. The zoo authorities had been trying to get a female rhinoceros for some time but the animal died before one could be brought to the zoo.

Sources in the zoo said the health of the animal deteriorated last evening and the animal stopped eating fodder. The animal began to move about restlessly in the enclosure besides getting aggressive.

A zookeeper, who had been looking after the animal, after observing the animal’s unusual behaviour brought it to the notice of the zoo authorities. A team of three veterinary doctors in the zoo provided medical assistance to the animal.

As the animal showed no signs of improvement, the zoo authorities contacted veterinary experts in Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and the Wildlife Institute, Dehra Dun.

Certain zoo employees, however, claimed that necessary medical aid was not provided to the ailing animal. They alleged that the animal was tranquilized repeatedly and no blood or stool sample of the animal was taken.

“In spite of best possible efforts, we could not save the animal,” said Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Zoo Director. He, however, said the exact cause of the death would only be known after the post-mortem examination report was received by them. A post-mortem examination would be conducted on the animal tomorrow, added Mr Kuldeep Kumar.

Prince was only 16 days old when its mother, Sundri, died at the zoo. After the death of its mother, the animal was bottle-fed by zoo employees. Its father died when it was around five years old. The pair was a gift by the Assam Government to the then Punjab Governor, Mr Mahendra Chaudhary.



Zoo plans air-coolers for animals
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir, April 14
With temperatures soaring in the region, authorities of the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park have decided to buy three air-coolers for animals besides an initiative to keep ponds and lake cool.

The zoo authorities have installed 22 desert coolers in different enclosures to keep temperatures favourable for animals. Round-the-clock fresh water supply to ponds of animals like tigers, bears and panthers, having low heat tolerance ability, have been provided.

Besides covering cages in the aviary with gunny bags and thatch, shaded huts have been set up for those animals which to not take a dip in water.

Water is being sprinkled thrice a day inside the cages of sickle-shaped tail and white-crested kalij pheasants, which were brought from Sarahn Peasantry in Himachal Pradesh on March 8.

When contacted, the Director of the zoo, Mr Kuldeep Kumar, said: “At present three tubewells are fulfilling the requirement for water in the zoo. To meet any emergency, especially when there are unannounced power cuts, the zoo gets its quota of water from the Public Health Department through water tankers. Also, to meet the water requirement during power cuts, two power generators have been installed.”

Besides, exhaust fans have also been installed in enclosures to remove foul smell.

The authorities have also arranged water-coolers for the convenience of visitors to the zoo.



While loudspeakers blare, they do the silent job
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Hands of hundreds of silent “soldiers” who lend colour and vigour to the campaign for the forthcoming parliamentary elections continue their relentless work as unsung heroes in all political camps. Most of them are not related to any political party.

Party offices get busy with campaign activity from early hours every day. Without making speeches or chanting party mantras during rallies, these people stay in the background and provide logistic support to their candidates. There is another group of people that provides paid service to different camps.

Teams have been assigned specific jobs pertaining to different aspects of campaigning, including making arrangements for men and material, contacting different localities to arrange public meetings, handling media responses daily from newspaper clippings and making other poll-related arrangements.

Mr Desraj is a tea vendor at Kamalam, the party office of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Sector 33. “I have been here since 1995. I am not an open campaigner on the political forum but while carrying on with my business I highlight the agenda of the BJP”. He says his business has been doing extremely well for the past one month. “Supporters plan strategies till late into the night and I often provide tea till 11 pm,” he adds.

Mr Ajit Sharma has printed pamphlets for the BJP. “I am not alligned to any political party. I have done the job for a Congress candidate from Himachal Pradesh and also some work for Independent candidates,” he says. Mr Sharma says poll-related assignments are fewer this year. “One of the reasons is that the Municipal Corporation has banned sticking of posters of parties at public places”, he says.

Mr Vicky has got stickers made for Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Congress candidate. “He happens to be my uncle. I prefer to stay in the background to help him in his campaign. I meet people personally and try to convince them of his worth.”

Mr Nitin Dutta has designed the special “Vijay Rath” of the BJP. “I am not associated with the party. I only helped in designing the ‘rath’ by making arrangements for a screen and a dais for Mr Satya Pal Jain, the party candidate”, he added.

Mr Narinder Singh, a student of BA III, comes to the Congress camp daily with his friends. “I am regular with my studies but manage to spend some time on the campaign trail daily. I do this because I am convinced that people should go to the polling station during elections to make their choice. It is sad that a large segment of the educated class stays away from casting its ballot because it feels that politics is a dirty game. They are adding to the problem by abstaining from exercising their right”.

A support group of the BJP consisting of Muslims has printed a pamphlet at its own expense.

The camp of the Indian National Lok Dal has two dedicated workers in Mr Narata Ram, a rehri owner, and Mr Ram Sajivan Mishra, a resident of Colony No. 5, who can be seen handling vital campaign-related activity.



Mohali Diary
Architect of Constitution remembered
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 14
The Shri Guru Ramdas Naujawan Sabha here celebrated the 113th birthday of Dr B.R. Ambedkar at Guru Ravidas Bhavan, Phase VII, here today. Mr Naranjan Singh Chairman Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes, was the chief guest at the occasion and Dr Bhajan Kaur, Reader, Department of Law, Panjab University, presided over the function.

The speakers outlined the philosophical vision of Dr Ambedkar who sacrificed his life for the upliftment of society. As an architect of the Constitution, he emphasised on equality, fraternity and universal brotherhood. The Chairman of the commission stated that untouchability still prevails in many parts of the country. He highlighted the component plan for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes in the state. Mr K.R. Chaudhry, president of the sabha, thanked the chief guest.

Nishant excels

Nishant, a student of Class VI at Shastri Model School, Phase I, here has topped the district in the Class V Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) examination. Neelam Chauhan, another student of the school, is third in the district.

Fashion show

A special fashion show was organised at Thunder Zone entertainment park by Ramp World here this week. The show entailed four rounds based on different plots. While in one round the main male model dressed up like an underworld don, in another the women models showcased the latest trends in women dresses.

Baisakhi celebrated

Students of Swami Ram Tirath Public High School, Phase IV, here celebrated Baisakhi this week. The function started with a shabad followed by the presentation of Baisakhi-related folk songs by the students. Tiny tots also participated in the festivities. Skits were also presented. Bhangra and Gidah were performed before the programme came to an end.

Prithvi Raj Kapoor Awards

The Indian Council for AIDS Education here has instituted Prithvi Raj Kapoor Awards to be given to Indian and Pakistani film personalities each year. This was announced by Mr Om Prakash, Chairman of the council. A host of film personalities including Ghulam Ali, Shauqat Ali, Umar Sharif, Rajesh Khanna, Uttam Singh, Naqshlal Puri, Joginder, Mehar Mittal will be present at the first ceremony organised to give away the awards at Ludhiana on May 15.

Technical institute opens

The second branch of the Technical Training Institute of the Shri Guru Nanak Dev Handicraft and Allied Institute, run by the Baba Jodh Sachiar Social Development Council, Punjab, was inaugurated in Phase XI this week. Mr Mohan Singh Shergill, Director Principal, Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 69, inaugurated the branch and elaborated upon the importance of earning money with hard work and honesty. Bhai Kashmir Singh, a leading religious personality of Mohali, presided over the ceremony. Bhai Inderjit Singh Jodhka, one of the main activists of the society, also spoke on the occasion.

Saurav, Sneha excel

Saurav and Sneha Gupta, students of Shivalik Public School, here have scored 90 per cent marks in the All-India General Knowledge Test sponsored by the United Schools Organisation New Delhi. Both the students won a certificate of merit from the organisation.

Students visit fields

Students of Golden Bells Public School here celebrated Baisakhi with fervour and gaiety. Students spoke on the historical and social significance of the day. Later students were taken to the green fields where golden wheat crops were ready to be harvested by the farmers. They also presented a colourful fiesta in the lap of nature. The programme culminated with a bhangra performance. The school principal, Ms Gurjit Bawa, spoke on the importance of the day and encouraged the students to perpetuate the traditions and customs of the festival.



Ambedkar’s birthday celebrated
Our Correspondent

Women pay homage to Dr B.R. Ambedkar on his birth anniversary in Sector 37, Chandigarh, on Wednesday.
Women pay homage to Dr B.R. Ambedkar on his birth anniversary in Sector 37, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Patiala, April 14
The PSEB SC Power Engineers and Officers Association organised a function to mark the occasion of 113th birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar here today.

Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Minister for Welfare of SCs/BCs, was the chief guest on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, the president of the association, Mr S.K. Paul, highlighted the achievements made by Dr Ambedkar.

Meanwhile, the Youth Congress Labour Cell organised a function to mark the occasion of birthday of Dr Ambedkar. The function was presided over by president of the cell Rakesh Kumar.



Ex-watchman held for cheating
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
A person allegedly collected more than Rs 1,000 from 19 shopkeepers in Sector 22-B on the pretext that he had no money to send to the family of his brother who had died in Nepal.

The person also managed to secure a recommendation letter from the president of the market association, Mr Subhash Narang, confirming that he needed help and was now working as a night watchman of the area.

The police has arrested Dhani Ram for impersonation and cheating. The cheating was detected when the night watchman of the area, Udai Singh, visited the shop of the vice-president of the association, Mr Charanjeet Singh.

Dhani Ram, father of three children, had left the job with the association six months ago and had been jobless since then. Dhani Ram told the shopkeepers that he was the night watchman of the area as Udai had gone some where. He offered this alibi to the president of the association, Mr Subhash Narang, who forwarded the recommendation to other shopkeepers.

Mr Charanjeet Singh told the Chandigarh Tribune that when inquiries were made, it was found out that Dhani Ram had been cheating the people of the area for almost a year on some pretext or the other.

The police has confiscated Rs 600 from him and booked him under Sections 419 (impersonation) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.



Maruti customers win prizes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Customers who bought any Maruti model from Joshi Autozone, an authorised Maruti dealer in the city, walked away with attractive gifts like LG washing machines, refrigerators, colour TVs, DVDs, stereos, microwave ovens, 2 TVS motor cycles, besides the mega prize of Maruti 800 cc car. The draw for their contest “Joshi jaisa koi nahin”, was held in the tennis lawns of the Chandigarh Club yesterday.

The Managing Director, Mr Deepak Joshi, said customers who bought any model of Maruti car from them during the period from February 1 to March 31 were given coupons which entitled them to win prizes. The customers spending a minimum of Rs 1000 for service/accident repair, accessories, insurance were also given gift coupons. These coupons were first put in a weekly draw and then a mega draw. The draw was taken out by Maruti Udyog’s Regional Manager, Mr Hardeep Brar.

Later, a fancy dress competition called “Main Bhee Jassi” was also held in which girl children in the age group of five to 12 years acted like Jassi, a Sony TV serial character.


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