C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Signatures forged, allege Chandigarh Club members
Criminal complaint lodged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Two members of the Chandigarh Club have lodged a criminal complaint with the Chandigarh Police against another member who had allegedly forged their signatures in a petition filed before the Company Law Board (CLB).

The club members, Mr Rajinder Kumar Khanduja and Mr Anil Arora, in two separate affidavits complained that Mr Rajeev Kwatra had allegedly forged their signatures in the list of 1,000 members presented before the CLB.

The list was sent to the CLB, New Delhi, asking it to fix the number of voters at 5,000 for the recently-held club elections. The number of voters was nearly touching 7,000 before the CLB intervened.

The number of voters could be fixed as one-fifth of the electorate had moved the petition. But with a few signatories denying the signatures, the petition itself becomes questionable.

The complaint was given to the police by the General Manager of the club, Mr S. K. Sharma, after the matter came to the notice of the management.

The SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, has handed over the investigation to DSP S.C. Sagar.

The complaint said the application moved by Mr Kwatra before the CLB had a list of members of the club who wanted to be impleaded as petitioners in the said petition filed by him before the board.

The complaint further said that the club was in the process of preparing a reply for the said petition before the CLB. When a few members checked as to who had signed on the list presented before the CLB it was found that certain signatures had been allegedly forged. The two above said complainants approached the club management, saying that they did not sign the document.



Chandolias to go ahead with marriage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Life has to move on. This was today exemplified by the grieving Chandolia family by deciding to go ahead with the marriage of Mamta, scheduled for April 30.

Twentyone-year-old Mamta had yesterday refused to go ahead with her marriage, saying that it was her marriage that had brought grief on the family. She was cursing herself for the accident in which her father Inder Parkash, four uncles and two brothers died.

Hari Mohan, the only surviving male member in the family, told the Chandigarh Tribune that the marriage would be held as per the schedule.

Hari said the family was trying to persuade Mamta in this regard.

He said the antim ardas for the departed souls would be held tomorrow at Daddu Majra.

Meanwhile, the scene was touching with people queuing up to console the family.

Hari told The Tribune that he expected the government to come forward to help the family by offering jobs to the widows.

The Punjab Istri Sabha president, Ms Sheela Devi, its general secretary, Ms Mohinder Kaur, chairman of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union Kulbhushan Kanwar, Working Women Union, Punjab unit president Malkiat Kaur condoled the death of the Chandolias.



Helping children in distress
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, April 28
Struggling to control tears, a young boy dials a phone number with trembling hands. In a cracked voice, he mutters, “my parents are harassing me”. He does not have to wait for long after replacing the receiver. Within minutes help arrives.

Authorities at “Children helpline” have been receiving a number of such calls from harassed youngsters. The children have been complaining not only against their parents, but also teachers.

You, too, can dial 1098 for help. In any case, the helpline authorities have been going to various school in the city to create awareness about child abuse and the helpline facility.

Camps are also being organised in slums and colonies all over the city. The team members have even requested pay phone booth owners to give preference to such children, over other customers, and support them till help arrives.

The 24-hour emergency helpline — running in 55 cities — for childcare and protection was launched about three years ago by the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).

A social organisation, Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS), has been associated with the project since August last. It was recently selected as nodal agency for the project in the city. The organisation has about 18 centres in 13 locations. Besides their association with the helpline, the organisation is teaching under-privileged children free of cost. It is also in the process of setting up a City Advisory Board to involve representatives from the police, medicine, social welfare and media in the childline project.

The helpline aims at helping children in need of care, including the ones who have abandoned their homes, are at loggerheads with the law or suffer because of their parents’ difficult situations. Nine team members, along with a para-professional and a coordinator, work round the clock for providing assistance.

The chief functionary of YTTS, Lieut Col Ravi Bedi says, “Though data is not readily available, most of the callers are street children or residents of slums and colonies in the city. Majority of complaints have been received from Kumhar colony in Sector 25”.

He adds, “the story is more or less the same in all cases. The parents want their children to bring home more money. In case they fail to do so, the little ones are thrashed”. 



No free medical services for Punjab, Haryana staff ?
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Getting tough on Punjab and Haryana, the Chandigarh Administration is all set to tell both states that their employees will not get free medical services at the city’s General Hospital in Sector 16, if the payment of arrears is not made. Employees of the Chandigarh Administration will, however, continue to get the facility.

At present, the two states collectively owe Rs 42 crore to the Chandigarh Administration. The move will affect thousands of employees of the Punjab and Haryana governments and their families.

Under the existing system, employees of the Punjab and Haryana governments living in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali get free treatment at the Sector 16 General Hospital. The two states are supposed to reimburse the money spent by the Chandigarh Administration on the free treatment.

But the Governments of Punjab and Haryana have not paid any money for the past many years. Interestingly, nobody in the Chandigarh Administration even pressed for it. The states were reluctant to pay, sources said.

The arrears of Rs 42 crore were reflected as unpaid in Chandigarh’s budget and the Government of India had also asked about it a few times. Punjab owes Rs 29 crore, while the amount is Rs 13 crore in case of Haryana.

Now the Administration has decided to stop allowing free treatment to the employees of the two state governments, if the arrears are not paid or a schedule of payments is not drawn up. Sources in the Administration said a formal communication informing the two states of the new stance of the Administration would be sent once the elections were over.

The two states also have valid arguments. In 1966, when Punjab was re-organised into three administrative units of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, about 50 per cent of the patients that visited the General Hospital were employees. In the past one decade, the number has come down to 20 per cent of the patient-load factor. The rest prefer the PGI or private hospitals which are also recognised by the government.

Unofficially the states have said that the expenses should also be calculated on the same basis and the old rule of calculating share at the ratio of 50 per cent should be done away with.

The matter on how to deal with arrears has been discussed at the highest level in the Chandigarh Administration.



Villagers not impressed with EVMs
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
“The Electronic Voting Machines are shock-proof and tested to be safe for the voters,” says Veeru, while pressing a button of the machine on show to portray the reality to the voters in Kumhar Colony.

He asks a lady to come forward and try it out. She presses the button which leads to loud murmurs of approval in the gathering of largely the women and children. “The machine is run on a battery,” he said.

Veeru is one of the actors of the Theatre Age group which is staging street theatre productions in the villages and the colonies of the city for educating the masses about use of the machine in their polling exercise. Mr Zulfiqar Khan, president of the group, is heading the project of the UT Election Office for spreading awareness among masses about the use of the machine and highlighting benefits.

The exercise will have more than 75 shows in different parts of the city in the ongoing week. The exercise has already been completed in Dhanas, Sarangpur, Kaimbwala, Butrela, Maloya, Badheri, Khuda Lahora, Khuda Alisher and Mauli Jagran villages.

There is very little enthusiasm among voters for watching the ‘street plays. Seeing the sketchy presence in Khuda Lahora, Ajay Machal and Jyoti Pandey, both actors, started going to different houses asking people to come and watch the show. Loud drum beats could be heard at the venue to attract greater crowd participation.

“Aap mere unko samjha deijye, main bhi vaise kar doongi” (You tell my husband how it works. I will do the same), a housewife told Veeru. She is unwilling to come out of the house. A majority of the gathering still consists of women and children.

Mrs Kumari Shanti, a resident of Kumhar colony, said “Machine? Kaun si machine? Kya yeh washing machine hai ya gaane bajaane wali?” (Which machine are you talking about? We have heard about the ones which wash clothes or give music).

Mr Ram Pal, a resident of Butrela, said “Aap kis ke liye vote kharidne aaye hain” (For whom are you purchasing the votes). Mr Dhani Ram said: “Mujhe pata hai hamen sirf thappa lagana hai. Bahut baari vote daali hain” (I know how to vote. I just have to stamp the name of my candidate and I have done this on several earlier occasions). Surjan, an actor, told him that “ the practice of putting a stamp had ended. You just have to press the button”. He, however, seemed disinterested.

“The productions being done as a part of the Mobile IEC (Information, Education and Communication) programme is also making a conscious effort to educate voters not to be lured by offers for alcohol and other incentives offered by certain candidates. We are finding that there is very little enthusiasm among voters. We are educating them about the value of each ballot,” Khan said.

Dr Jolly said the biggest task is to reach out to maximum people and dispel their misnomers about the electronic voting. “We will now educate the voters about the election symbols of different parties.”

Mr Ram Krishan Sharma , an inspector in the Estate Office, is accompanying the team which also shows a documentary film about the use of the machine.



Vij visits unit in Western Sector
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Chief of Army Staff, Gen N. C. Vij, visited the 7 Mechanised Infantry (1 Dogra) somewhere in the Western Sector today. Addressing the troops at a special Sainik Sammelan, General Vij lauded the achievements of the unit in various fields and exhorted all ranks to excel in their performance in pursuance of further glory, a statement issued here today said.

During informal interaction with the troops, General Vij, who is also the Colonel of the Dorga Regiment, appreciated the battalion for maintaining the rich traditions and ethos of the Dogras, which formed the bedrock of its success.

The battalion, which is the oldest Dogra Unit, was raised on May 30, 1887 in Sialkot. Having fought in all major campaigns, the battalion has won 13 Battle Honours and two Theatre Honours and is acknowledged as one of the finest fighting units of the Indian Army. It was converted to 7 Mechanised Infantry (1 Dogra) on raising of the new Mechanised Infantry Regiment in 1979.



Elevate lawyers to tribunals, says Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Lawyers need to be given representation to different administrative tribunals of the government. They will be of great professional help in drafting cases under study and can suggest possible solutions to them. Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress candidate for the local seat, said this while addressing a meeting of the District Bar Association here today.

He said being a part of the lawyer fraternity he was well aware of their problems and demands. He said through various forums he had raised voice for the lawyers’ cause.

Mr Bansal said when the lawyers had gone on a nationwide strike he took up the matter in the Lok Sabha and requested the government that instead of making it a prestigious issue the government should act positively and hold discussions with the agitating lawyers to resolve the issue. Lawyres assured Mr Bansal of their support.

Mr Bansal, while addressing a gathering in Sector 46, said he would also see that development was undertaken by the Chandigarh Housing Board in the sectors where land had been allotted to various group housing societies.

He said when the Chandigarh Housing Board had charged developmental charges from the societies they should also undertake development of the area as done by it in case of housing board flats. Mr Bansal also conducted a door-to-door campaign at the Sector 8 market

Mrs Madhu Bansal, his wife, addressed a large gathering of women at Indira Colony as part of the election campaign. She was accompanied by Mrs Lalit Joshi, former Mayor and president of the Mahila Congress. Both said the BJP had ignored women’s rights and failed to check the soaring prices of household goods.

Mrs Bansal said the price of cooking gas had doubled in the past five years and that of kerosene had increased four times. She said the BJP had failed to introduce the Women’s Reservation Bill in parliament during the past five years. She said the government had failed to do anything “worth mentioning” for the women.



No house outside ‘lal dora’ will be demolished: Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
“Not even a single dwelling unit constructed outside the ‘lal dora’ will be allowed to be demolished in the city” said Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, while addressing a rally at Darua village here today.

Mr Jain said, “all houses constructed outside the ‘lal dora’ at all villages around the city will be provided with all basic amenities.

Mr Jain undertook a padyatra in the village before addressing a gathering. He said the BJP had opposed the demolition of houses outside the ‘lal dora’ by the Administration.

Mr Jain also undertook padyatras in Sectors 28, 35, 20 (Market) and 52 (Nehru Colony). In addition, he addressed government employees of the Central Administrative Tribunal and gatherings at Shastri Market, Sector 22, scooter market, Sector 43, Sector 37, Vikas Nagar and Mauli Jagran. Mrs Shashi Bala Jain, wife of Mr Jain, was warmly welcomed in colony No.5. She addressed meetings of Mahila Morcha at Sector 25, Mani Majra and Modern Housing Complex.



Dhawan visits grain market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Mr Harmohan Dhawan, INLD candidate from city, was given a warm welcome by ‘arhtiyas’, labourers and ‘rehri-phariwalas’ at the Sector 26 Grain Market here today.

Slogans like “Naare ko na naam ko, vote Dhawan ke kaam ko” and “Dhawan tum aage baro, hum tumhare saath hain” rent the air when Mr Dhawan entered the market in the morning.

He was garlanded by the ‘arhtiyas’ on his arrival. Mr Digvijay Kapoor, president of the ‘sabzi mandi’, said it was Mr Dhawan who stopped bureaucracy from 
demolishing the sheds of the ‘arhtiyas’ and temporary structures raised by rehriwalas and phariwalas in the market.

He said whenever they were in trouble it was Mr Dhawan who rendered them timely help rather than BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain or Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Mr Kapoor said the ‘arhtiyas’ were against the shifting of ‘sabzi mandi’ and the grain market to Sector 39. The Administration should give shops to all vegetable sellers on reserved prices, if it was serious about shifting them to Sector 39.

Mr Dhawan said if sabzi mandi inhabitants voted for him, he would get all their problems solved at the earliest.

Mr Dhawan was presented a bag containing Rs 1 lakh by the Grain Market Association. In the afternoon, Mr Dhawan visited Sectors 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.



Bukhari’s call to Muslims flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Mr Mohammad Sadiq, Chairman, Congress SC/ST cell, Khalil Ahmed, former Chairman, SC/ST cell, Maulvi Shakil Ahmed, member, Haj Committee, Mohammed Shakil, President, National Muslim Welfare Movement, Mr Daoud Ahmed, general secretary, minority cell, Mr Mohammed Azam Khan, vice-chairman, minority cell, Mr Abdul Amid Khan, SC/ST cell, and Mr Mohammed Shamim, block vice-president, on Monday issued a joint statement strongly criticising the statement of Mr Bukhari of Jama Masjid, New Delhi, for his call to Muslims to support the BJP.

They said Mr Bukhari was a religious leader and should confine himself to religious matters only. They said Mr Bukhari neither had any political standing nor did he represent Muslim masses whose psyche he had failed to comprehend.

“How can Muslims vote for a communal party represented by Modi, Uma Bharti and Togadia?” they asked. They reminded Mr Bukhari that it was the first time in the history of independent India that a state (Gujarat) had committed genocide of Muslims at the behest of its communal Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi.

As such, they said Mr Bukhari’s statement was a betrayal of the Muslim community. However, they praised Maulana Mufti of Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri for his statement highlighting the misdeeds of the RSS as well as those of Mr Bukhari.



Sonia Gandhi to address rally in city on May 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Ms Sonia Gandhi will come to the city on May 2, an official spokesperson of the Congress said in a press note here today.

Ms Gandhi will address an election rally in favour of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the party candidate for the local seat in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. She will address the rally in Sector 34 (opposite Gurdwara Sahib).



Postal ballots sent to Army hqs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Election Office of the UT has despatched postal ballots to the Army Headquarters in connection with the forthcoming parliamentary elections, a senior official on election duty said here today.

It has been pointed out that 1,513 ballots have been despatched for use largely by the serving army jawans and officers. “ Being posted at different places all over the country, some in sensitive areas on poll duty, they are unable to come to the city for casting their ballot. — TNS


CPI reaffirms support to Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The district council of the CPI, in a press note here today, reiterated its alliance with the Congress for the local seat in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

The party has organised more than 30 meetings in different parts of the city.

“We are only educating the masses that they are being misled by the BJP in the name of the ‘feel good’ campaign. The slogan is far from reality and is a purely a bundle of lies”, the note added.



First Vote
Looking forward to the big day

It’s all so exciting. The fact that the Lok Sabha poll is less than a fortnight away is actually making me rub my hands with excitement. Somehow, I just cannot wait for the election day.

I am also excited about pressing the keys of the electronic voting machine.

So far, I have just read about the machines. For the first time, I will be using them to exercise my franchise to elect my leader.

In the end, I just want to say one thing — it is important for everyone to realise the importance of voting. It is absolutely imperative for everyone to be part of the process of electing the leaders of the nation. So you should also go out and vote.



Mohali Council privatises park maintenance
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 28
The local Municipal Council has cleared a proposal to hand over big parks and green belts in the town to private agencies for maintenance. The decision was taken at a monthly meeting of the council held here today.

It was decided to give the maintenance work of big parks like the Rose Garden in Phase III B1, the Bougainvillea Garden in Phase IV, and the Silvi Park in Phase X to private agencies for a period of two years which could be extended if the work was found satisfactory. The agencies will have to bear the entire expenditure to be incurred on the upkeep of the parks. In lieu of this expenditure, the agency will be allowed to put up an advertisement board in the park, but the size of the board and the place where it could be put up will be decided by the civic body. The company will have to have an agreement with the council in this regard.

Privatise water supply, sewerage, say councillors

Mr Manmohan Singh Langh, a municipal councillor of Phase VII, said the position of water supply in his area this year was worse as compared to previous years even when the authorities concerned had claimed that there would be no shortage of water in Mohali during summers. He alleged that officials of the Department of Public Health, who were looking after the water distribution system, did not want to do any work and as a result residents were suffering. Mr Langh and other councillors demanded that the water supply and the sewerage system in the town should be privatised. Mr Kulwant Singh, president of the council, said all efforts had been made to improve the supply of water. He said the council was not satisfied with the services of the officials of the public health and had earlier demanded that work be handed to the civic body itself.

The work of maintenance green belts in industrial Phases VII, VIII, and IX has also been privatised on similar conditions. The small parks in residential phases will also be handed over to welfare associations for upkeep, in case they were interested. In such cases half of the expenditure incurred on maintenance will be given by the civic body. The welfare associations who are interested in taking over the maintenance of parks will have to have an agreement with the council.

The proposal to relax the condition of doing an ITI course (Electrician) for getting yearly increment in the case of eight pump operators drew arguments from members of the opposite group. It was argued that if the condition had to be relaxed then why was it laid at the time when the services of the pump operators were regularised. However, the pump operators, while demanding relaxation in the condition, had quoted a case where the services of 90 employees of the Department of Public Health had been regularised without any condition. The pump operators had given a written request to the civic body stating that they had been working for the past 14 years and had crossed the age limit to join the course.

Among the other items cleared at the meeting were depositing of Rs 2,01,700 in the state treasury as audit fees, purchase of stationery at a cost of Rs 3.25 lakh, purchase of insecticide at a cost of Rs 1,82, 650 and service and repair of the fogging machine.



Vehicles holding city’s air quality to ransom
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Despite various efforts directed towards purging the city air of pollutants, the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is still facing the challenge of containing vehicular pollution.

In fact, vehicles have been identified as the main source of pollution in the city. While there were only 12,346 vehicles in the city in 1971, the number reached 5.2 lakh in 2001. The 42 time increase in the number of vehicles has badly affected the air quality in the city.

The Status of Environment Reporting, a project of the Ministry of Environment, being undertaken in the city by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) lists air pollution as a major area of concern. Air pollution in the city forms part of the first phase of the report being prepared by the PSCST.

The last major study on vehicular pollution was conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board in 1998.

It established that vehicular emission was responsible for most of the hydrocarbons (90 to 95 per cent) and carbon monoxide (70 to 80 per cent) emission. It was also found that nitrogen oxides (around 40 to 60 per cent) were contributed mainly by vehicles.

In that sense, Chandigarh has been identified as extremely vulnerable with one registered vehicle for every 1.7 persons (as per the figures given by the local Registration and Licensing Authority). Out of these, two and three-wheelers account for 83 per cent (with two and 4-stroke engines), four wheelers for 14 per cent (with 4-stroke engines), buses and trucks (diesel vehicles) only 3 per cent.

Whereas the percentage of registered two and three-wheelers increased by 48 per cent from 1991 to 2002, the number of four wheelers increased by 35 per cent during the same period.

The pollution board even conducted a traffic census in 1997 at the Sector 22 grid, one of the most congested commercial-cum-residential area of the city. Analysis of the data indicated that all categories of vehicles put together emitted 311 kg of carbon monoxide (CO), 120 kg of hydrocarbons (HC), 22kg of nitrogen oxide (NO2), 1.4 kg of sulphur oxide (SO2) and 3.2 kg particles per sq km of study area during peak traffic hours (9 to 10 am and 5 to 6 PM). These figures must easily have doubled by now.

Environment experts analysing the pollution data for the city inform that the situation is getting worse, despite various remedial measures taken by the authorities to check pollution. Although pollution under control (PUC) certificates have been made compulsory for vehicles in the city and cycle tracks are coming up to ease traffic flow, the load of vehicles is increasing. Chandigarh also witnesses rush of vehicles from the adjoining states.

Heavy traffic and construction activities, including road construction, are also aggravating the problem of suspended dust particles, especially during dry months.

Although lead-free petrol has been introduced in the city since early 2000, pollution data analysts say compulsory use of catalytic converters in older models of petrol vehicles and use of CNG in diesel vehicles is lacking. Vehicles are consuming huge amount of fuel, producing smoke, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons and lead.



Rotarians don aprons to serve
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Leading industrialists, business persons and professionals donned the waiter’s aprons at Hot Millions-2 and served food to the public.

Members of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh along with their spouses, children and Rotaractors, took over the fast-food restaurant from 6 pm onwards here today to wait on people visiting the joint.

The objective is to raise funds for our service projects and this time it is to meet the requirement of funds for the Blood Resource Centre which the club is setting up in Sector 37 along with Blood Bank Society, informed Mrs Vijay Wadhawan, president of the club.

Appropriately named as “Eat ‘n’ Serve”, this fund-raiser is the third one in the series and is meant to involve the Rotarians and their families in serving the people of the city and bringing them in direct contact with them, said noted industrialist Rtn. Rajendra K. Saboo, who had been the world president of Rotary International.

The club had raised money through this unique fund-raising event earlier for its various service projects. “Hopefully people’s participation shall help us in furthering the cause,” beamed Rtn Col A.B. Singh, who along with his son Rtn Capt Mohanbir Singh, have been lending his fast-food joint for this service activity.

District Governor Kawal Bedi treated 20 children of Bal Bhavan on her behalf at the restaurant while Rtn Manmohan Singh, treated 60 children from the blind school.

The Rotary Club of Chandigarh has contributed to the community by building a Rotary PGI serai, a vocational training centre, set up an international dolls museum, gifted a mobile dental van to the UT Administration three years back and has conducted 98 free cardiac surgeries in the past four years, besides setting up a Rs 3.5-crore blood resource centre now.



Puncom union not to support Congress
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 28
The Punjab Communications Employees Union has decided not to vote in favour of the Congress candidate in the coming Lok Sabha in protest against the “anti-employee policies” of the state government.

Mr Kultar Singh and Mr Sukhwant Singh, president and general secretary, respectively of the union, told mediapersons at a press conference here today if the government did not change its attitude and overlooked the genuine demands of the employees, it would have to face the consequences. The employees would be compelled to organise propagandas against the government.

They said that the government had withdrawn Rs 35.6 crore out of a total of Rs 1 crore of cash lying with the company. The money had been cleverly withdrawn by adopting a policy of share buy back. The leaders said that the government was trying to fill its own coffers instead of thinking about the future of Puncom and its employees.

They said that the company had made no progress even after its Managing Director had been changed by the government. They said as the employees did not want to come on roads, a situation which was faced by employees of Punwire, JCT, Punjab Recorders etc, they had asked the authorities concerned that some amount should be withdrawn from the company’s cash of Rs 1 crore and be put on the name of a trust formed by employees. This step would help employees to avail the VRS benefit in case the company faced a threat of closure. There were about 325 employees working in the company at present.

The president said that the Managing Director had assssured that he would put up the demand of the employees before the Board of Directors. But this had not been done by him on the pretext that the company was not in a good financial position. If it was really so, why the DA and the hotel entitlements of the managerial staff hiked and new recruitment were made? he asked.



Inscol doc held, released on bail
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 28
Almost eight months after the registration of a case, Dr Sanjay Saluja, who along with others had been accused of negligence leading to the amputation of a leg of youngster Abhishek Ahluwalia, was arrested by the police. He was later released on bail, said police sources.

On August 27, 2003, Dr Saluja and others were booked under Section 338 of the IPC for allegedly causing a grievous hurt by an act of endangering life or personal safety. The case was registered on the complaint of Ms Anuradha Ahluwalia, mother of Abhishek (15), alleging negligence by doctors of Inscol Hospital, Sector 34 here, which led to the amputation of her son’s leg. She had claimed that it was only a case of simple fracture.

Ms Ahluwalia, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune today, expressed her satisfaction, saying she would not compromise and take the case to its logical end. The family has also filed a complaint against the hospital and others at the UT Consumer Court, seeking a compensation of Rs 97 lakh.

“With one leg amputated, Abhishek can neither become a bureaucrat nor join the armed forces”, said Ms Ahluwalia and added, “but we never let Abhishek feel that he was physically handicapped and one day he will scale great heights”.

It was an internal knee injury which Abhishek sustained while playing football at St. John’s School on July 11 last, which landed him in Inscol Hospital. The Ahluwalia family had alleged that it was due to the negligence of doctors at Inscol that their son lost his leg, even when it was a case of simple fracture.

Ms Ahluwalia said Abhishek was operated upon by Dr Saluja, a consultant orthopaedician at Inscol. On July 13, he was re-admitted to Inscol after there was numbness, swelling and blisters all over his leg.

“When my son was crying in pain , the doctors and hospital staff said he needed psychiatric counselling as he was ‘over-pampered’”, recalled Ms Ahluwalia. On July 18, he was put on ventilator and the doctors kept telling that there was no cause of worry”, she said.

Finally, on July 18, Abhishek was shifted to the GMCH, Sector 32, where doctors told us that he was already suffering from multi-organ dysfunction, where his heart, liver and kidney had been affected, informed Ms Ahluwalia.



Mentally challenged youth missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
A 23-year-old mentally challenged youth is reported missing since April 22 from the Sector 32 GMCH.

Suresh, hailing from Mathura, was brought to the Sector 32 GMCH for a medical check. He disappeared from the hospital while his caretakers were talking to the doctors.

Suresh is fair in complexion, tonsured and is wearing a white cap, grey T-shirt and black jeans. He is around 5 feet 6 inches tall.

If he is spotted, it could be reported to the Chandigarh Police either in the Sector 34 Police Station or on the control room number 100.



Governor’s stand on voting ‘patently wrong’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Patently wrong — that is how many city residents describe Punjab Governor Justice O.P. Verma’s decision against casting vote during the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

Reacting sharply, they say the resolution will not only send wrong signal to the masses, it will also discourage others from exercising their franchise. “The intention may be honest, but then most of the people will not be able to understand the real reason,” they insist.

A large number of residents claim ‘such decisions are not good for the democratic set-up’. Some even say that voting should be made compulsory ‘in the interest of healthy democracy’. Even the President of India votes, they say.

A few, however, claim that the decision to vote is ‘something absolutely personal’ and ‘pressure should not be exerted on the individuals to press the keys of voting machines’.

At least three residents go up to the extent of saying that ‘no one is worth voting for’. Politics, they says, is boring and politicians are the same. “One party goes, another comes, but things do not change,” they insists. “The prices continue to rise. Unemployment is also going up. The reason behind the Governor’s decision may have been entirely different, but it is justified,” they say.

The Governor had recently turned down the UT Election Department’s suggestion to get his name included in the electoral rolls. Describing the decision as ‘premeditated’, the Raj Bhavan had reiterated on Tuesday that it was taken to ‘rise above party lines and stay neutral’.

Disagreeing, Brig Harwant Singh says, “The Governor — being head of the state — should lead from the front by being the first one to vote. Otherwise also, he was the President’s representative in a state. If the President can stand in the queue and cast his vote, the Governor should not hesitate to do the same.”

Voting, he asserts, is nothing ‘less than religious duty in a democratic set-up. It should not be ignored. In fact, his decision will set a negative precedent. Subordinate officers will take it as something useless’.

Agreeing with him, Haryana’s former Advocate-General Mohan Jain says voting is something ‘sacred’ in a democracy. As such, it is a must. Already the residents of northern sectors prefer the cool comfort of their homes to standing in queues for their casting votes. Such actions will further keep them away.

“It’s true,” says Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Surinder Kumar Garg. “Democracy can be successful only if eligible voters exercise their franchise. Healthy government just cannot be formed if people stay away from the polling stations,” he maintains.

“Polling”, he asserts, “should be made compulsory. In one village, the Panchayat went up to the extent of imposing a fine of Rs 50 on the defaulters. In some democracies they were even jailed for their failure to cast votes.”

Chairman of the Chandigarh Wakf Board Mansur Ali, on the other hand, says, “Right to vote is a basic feature of any democracy. But casting vote is purely a personal decision. The Governor has the right to stay neutral. His efforts should be applauded.”



HUDA allottees a harassed lot
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 28
When it comes to harassing the allottees, no one can match the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Even as HUDA claims to be allottee-friendly, hundreds of allottees find themselves at the receiving end when it comes to getting routine jobs done at the HUDA office in Sector 6 here.

Despite the fact that HUDA had fixed a time-frame for the execution of various works like the mortgage permission, no dues certificates, transfer permission, conveyance deed, final transfer, possession certificate, sanctioning of building plans and refund cases, allottees have to make repeated rounds to the authority’s office to get their works done. The time-frame is rarely met, putting the allottees to a lot of inconvenience.

Mr J.S. Shangari, president of the Panchkula Welfare Federation, said here today that despite repeated representations to HUDA nothing had been done for the welfare of the allottees.

However, sources in HUDA claimed that the authority had been making repeated efforts to redress the grievances of allottees. With that end in mind, HUDA had banned the entry of the property dealers and architects into the office as they had been pursuing selective cases, thereby putting the public issues on the backburner.

Though the Estate Officer, Ms Renu S. Phulia, could not be contacted for comments, sources said the ban on the entry of property dealers had yielded good results and the routine works had been going on smoothly. They blamed persons having vested interests for blowing out of proportions the problems at the HUDA Office.

The situation would improve in the days to come, as the Estate Officer and the HUDA Chief Administrator were making efforts to set the things right, sources added.



US fellowship for city agronomist
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 28
A Chandigarh-based agronomist, Mr Daljit Singh, has got a prestigious fellowship to pursue higher studies at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA. He will be leaving for the USA in the first week of May.

The Purdue graduate programme is ranked second in the USA and the scientists in the department are among the best in the world. Before this Mr Daljit was working as an agronomist in a German company, Bayer Crop Science, looking after its Punjab operations.

Daljit has done his postgraduation in agronomy from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. At Purdue he will be working on advances in biological control and developmental use of bioherbicides.



MC ignoring residents: society
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 28
The Social and Welfare Society, Sector 11,today accused the municipal council (MC) of adopting an apathetic attitude towards the demands of the residents.

According to a press note, three memoranda have been submitted to the MC president, Ms Seema Chaudhary, by the society. Despite assurances by Ms Chaudhary, nothing had been done by the corporation to provide basic amenities in the sector, the press note said. The recarpeting of roads has been hanging fire for a long time. The dumping of garbage on the roadsides has blocked the drainage system and led to the accumulation of water.



Ex-servicemen exhorted to watch their interests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Chandigarh chapter of the Indian Ex-Services League has called upon the service community to vote for a candidate who, given his past performance, is expected to take up the cause of ex-servicemen or has done something for the people of Chandigarh.

The president of the Chandigarh chapter, Brig Sant Singh (retd), said here today that the election manifestoes of the BJP and the Congress were silent on the problems of ex-servicemen, which showed that the sacrifices made by soldiers were of no consequence to them.



Brief showers, broad smiles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
A brief shower in the city and surrounding areas brought smiles to the faces of the residents.

The morning showers had been preceded by a pleasant breeze. The local Met office said 1 mm of rain had been recorded at the Air Force base station here. The rain had been caused due to western disturbance over Himachal Pradesh and an upper air cyclonic circulation over north-west Rajasthan which had moved to Punjab. The Met office recorded a temperature of 35.6° C during the day. This was about 1° more than yesterday’s 34.4° C.

The pleasant evening prompted many city residents to throng places like Sukhna Lake and Rose Garden.



One held for assault with swords
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
A Sector 18 resident, Harjinder Singh, was today arrested by the Sector 19 police station for allegedly assaulting with swords Rahul Bedi and Manav of the same sector on April 25 on the Madhya Marg.

A motor cycle-borne Harjinder Singh along with others attacked the duo near Panchayat Bhavan.

The attack followed an altercation between the two on the issue of overtaking on the road.

The arrest followed Rahul identifying the person after he was discharged from the hospital. Rahul had told the police that he had seen the alleged attack in the sector, but did not know his name.



Tour operator invited to Dubai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai, has invited, Mr Kapil Malhotra, Director of Ekido Holiday Tours Private Limited, to attend the Arabian Travel Market 2004, a buyer-seller meet, scheduled to be held in Dubai from May 4 to 7. Mr Malhotra is one of the five tour operators in the country to be invited to the meet. His area of operation is Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.




Chandigarh, April 28
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited has clarified that there has been no recent incident of any HPCL outlet selling water mixed petrol as reported in these columns the other day.

In a communication, the HPCL said this incident took place on October 12, 2003, which was duly published in the newspaper. After that incident, an inquiry was conducted which revealed that the pipeline connecting the tank had developed a leakage due to which water seeped in to the tank.

The news item which was published in Chandigarh Tribune dated April 27, 2004, was a repeat of the old story.


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