C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Unchecked use of hand-pumps poses epidemic threat
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Two more suspected cholera cases

Hospital sources said two more suspected cases of cholera, Neeraj and Naresh, residents of Colony 5, were admitted to the GMCH. The report of Vijay, who was earlier admitted, came out negative for cholera.

Chandigarh, June 19
Despite two suspected cases of cholera reported at the GMCH, Sector 32, the poor hygienic conditions in local colonies and slums continue to play havoc with the lives of the dwellers.

The rampant use of shallow hand-pumps for drinking water is virtually going unchecked inspite of the ban imposed last year, making the slums susceptible to outbreak of diseases.

In fact the condition of Colony No 5, from where two children, six-year-old Ashish and his two-year-old brother Vijay were admitted to the GMCH with suspected cholera, has more than 300 hand-pumps, which are used by the colony dwellers for drinking.

“The water tanker in the colony was installed last year but it is not enough for the colony residents, who do not have any choice but to consume drinking water from hand-pumps,” says Varinder Garg, a colony resident.

In fact a round of Colony No 5 reveals the presence of hand-pump bores in every nook and corner of the colony. Open defecation is another major problem staring the authorities in their face. The problems, however, are not confined to a particular area, but similar conditions prevail in Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, Janta Colony, and Colony No 4.

While the officials of the UT Health Department could be seen taking rounds of the colony today educating the residents about safeguards against the outbreak of dengue, cholera and malaria, they admitted that such efforts would only bear results if a complete ban on hand-pumps was imposed and the requirement of clean drinking water was met through chlorinated water tankers.

“We have asked colony residents to use the handpump water for washing only but who will control the children, who continue to drink it as well? We can at the most make people aware of the consequences of such unhygienic consumption,” replied a Health Department official. Asked about the problems, UT Director Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, had little to say. “With more than 300 hand-pumps being used by the dwellers, imposing a ban is difficult. We are carrying out educational programmes to create awareness among colony residents and supplying chlorinated water.” The Health Department official, however, said that the confirmation of the two suspected cases of cholera was yet to reach him.

Earlier, two children, Ashish and Vijay, suspected cases of cholera, were admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32, after they complained of vomiting and stomach ache two days ago. While sources say that initial tests, including the hanging test, have confirmed them as the cases of cholera, the officials at the hospital are yet to confirm it. “I have yet to receive the confirmation report of the two cases,” said the Medical Superintendent of the GMCH, Prof J.K. Das.


Boy sets girl on fire after rape bid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
A 17-year-old boy of Maloya Colony today allegedly set a 13-year-old girl of the locality on fire when she resisted his attempt to outrage her modesty at her house. The girl is fighting for life with 100 per cent injuries at the PGI. The boy has been arrested for attempt to murder.

Rina was taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital and referred to the PGI. In her statement, the girl said Bajinder entered her house when her parents and younger brother were away. She said the boy attempted to molest her and she resisted. The police arrested Bajinder on the basis of the statement of the girl and booked him.

Peeved at the resistance, the boy allegedly poured a container of kerosene lying in the kitchen of her house and set her on fire. He had recently appeared in the secondary examination and the girl was a student of Class V. The parents of the girl work in the Bajwara market and the father of the boy is a sweeper at the Sector 23 health centre.

The Fire Department got a call that a girl was afire following a stove burst. By the time a fire engine reached the spot, the girl had been taken to the General Hospital.

Following cries after the fire, neighbours rushed to the house to save the girl and take her to hospital. Considering the condition serious, the police made arrangements for her statement.


Doctor caught performing MTP illegally
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 19
A medical practitioner was caught performing an illegal medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) at his clinic in Rajiv Colony here today. He was caught by a team of officers of the Health Department following a tipoff during a raid conducted at Kaushal Clinic.

The raiding party said Dr Anil Kaushal, a resident of 937, Sector 11, running his medical clinic at Rajiv Colony, was not qualified to perform MTP as he was BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery). As per the law, only a doctor having a minimum qualification as MBBS, with at least six months’ experience as gynaecologist, is authorised to perform MTP. The team of doctors felt that Dr Anil Kaushal had performed the MTP in violation of provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, which also amounted to violation of Section 315 of the Indian Penal Code, and recommended booking the doctor under relevant sections of the IPC. Dr Kaushal denied that he had indulged in any illegal practice and claimed that the patient had come with stomach ache to the clinic.

At 10 am, Ms Rekha, along with her husband, went to the clinic for an MTP. A team of officers of the Health Department followed the couple. When the team entered the rear room of the clinic, the MTP had been performed. The material evidences gathered from the room confirmed that an MTP had been performed. Ms Rehka was lying under the influence of sedatives while the foetus was dumped in a rectangular box containing wet sand.

The instruments used to carry out the MTP were also recovered from inside a desert cooler. The sand box with the foetus and the instruments used were confiscated. A memo was prepared by the team and signed by the members of the raiding team. Ms Rekha, alias Suneeta, was shifted to the General Hospital, Sector 6.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Satvir Chaudhry, appealed to the public, community leaders, mahila mandals, youth clubs, religious institutions, women and human rights activists to participate in the anti-female foeticide movement by being vigilant about clinics carrying out MTP following sex determination tests. The public can inform the Health Department about illegal MTPs and sex determination tests at telephone 2573707.


Provoking thoughts and laughter, as always
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Khushwant SinghChandigarh, June 19
Sensationalism and Khushwant Singh have never been strange bedfellows. One of the most unswerving wielders of the pen in India, he still loves to flaunt his obsession with candour. So much so that he reacts in a typical "Khushwant Singh" fashion when asked how he handles diehard critics of his freewheeling style.

"If a young, pretty woman takes me to court on the charges of molesting her, I will feel flattered," says the 91-something man, who has always dared to bare himself as also the world around. Popular both for his fictional and non- fictional accounts, Khushwant Singh continues to target the maladies of contemporary social system. His writings, as always, prick the conscience, or at least manage to make people laugh. They remain honest, bold and original, and hence the need to make his works available to the readers of Punjab, the land of his belonging.

In Chandigarh for the release of Punjabi versions of two of his bestsellers, Khushwant Singh spoke to The Tribune about the brand new breed of Indian writers. The books unveiled today by Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, Mr. H.K. Dua, were translation of his autobiography and another of his famous and lucid account in "Company of Women."

Later, in an interface with The Tribune, the author talked with great admiration about Indian writers in English like Geeta Hariharan. His very first reference, however, was to Rupa Bajwa, the author of "The Sari Shop." At the same time, he sounded hugely concerned over the limited scope of Punjabi language, and other Indian regional languages.

"There is a reason behind an increased acceptance of English language among new Indian writers. There is no future in the regional languages, which have limited vocabulary. English has developed because it has had the courage to absorb words from other languages of the world. For Punjabi and other regional languages to prosper, it is important that we plunder the riches of other languages, modify words to suit our convenience and bring them in everyday use," said Khushwant Singh, who minced no words while saying that Punjab still lacked book culture, and hence the economic basis for growth of its language.

For his part, Khushwant Singh is busy enriching his already huge corpus of literary creations. Without doubt the most popular writer of India, Khushwant Singh already has to his credit over 80 books. He spoke to The Tribune about his fresh literary indulgences - one dabbling in the mechanics of life and death, and the other a collection of short stories.

In Kasauli, his most favoured haunt, for a while now, Khushwant Singh has been working on his short stories, as he tells, "I have been commissioned by Penguin-Viking to write this one. Six stories are over, and I am working on the last one. But for the next 15 days or so, I am not going to write even a word. I am going with Rahul and I will take a while to relax before I start again." On his way to Delhi with son Rahul Singh, Khushwant is also about to publish another unique book by December this year.


Khushwant’s literature now in Punjabi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Punjabi translations of two books by Khushwant Singh were dedicated to the people of Punjab today. The occasion was rare not just because the world of Punjabi literature became richer following the unveiling of the translated versions, but also because it saw Khushwant Singh and his son Rahul sharing the dais after long.

The gathering at Press Club here was distinguished by all standards. Among those present were Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, Mr H.K. Dua, who released the translations - “Maul Mela” from Khushwant’s autobiography and “Ranna vich Tanna” from his novel “Company of Women.”

The books have been translated by Dalbir Singh and Amarjit Singh “Deepak”, respectively. Commissioned by Unistar Publications to translate the novels, both worked under Punjabi writer Gulzar Singh Sandhu, who conducted today’s show. The function started with an introduction of the translations by Dr Raghbir Singh, Editor, Sirjna. Referring to the perfect job done by translators, he said, “I have read both the versions. Sometimes the translated work seems to bare the depth of a conveyed emotion better than the original. After Punjab Mail, the translation of Khushwant Singh’s “Train to Pakistan” this is the only Punjabi translation of his works I have heard of.”

Taking the discussion away from academic details, Mr Dua dwelt upon the style of Khushwant Singh. Striking a rapport with the audience, he humbly stated, “There’s an irony in the situation. Mr Sandhu has made a mistake in getting me to unveil books by a writer. I am a journalist who are, these days, referred to as scribes. It would have been better had Khushwant unveiled my book. Unfortunately I cannot have this privilege because I have not yet written a book.”

Lacing his speech with details of history, Mr Dua lauded Khushwant’s ability to unveil personalities, like that of Krishna Menon in his autobiography. “There is no malice in his writing. He brings out the hypocrisy in Menon’s character. The same is true of his handling of Nehru’s dalliance with Lady Mountbatten,” said Mr Dua, listing the inadequacies of the Indian Press in reporting incidents that could have delayed the Partition of India.

“The Indian Press failed to report that M.A. Jinnah was terminally ill before Partition. It also failed to report the love affair between Nehru and Lady Mountbatten,” he said, adding that Khushwant was not a casual, but a serious writer who always had a message to convey.

Thanking those present, Khushwant Singh appealed to the Punjabis to accept alterations in their language. While referring to Salman Rushdie’s remark that the Indian languages had not been able to create genuine literature in the past 50 years, Khushwant said, “We must fear the purists, who prevent assimilation in languages. A language must be a fusion of words. We must learn from the English the art of picking up words from other languages. Today a Punjabi writer has to struggle for two square meals a day. Like Punjabi, other regional languages have been unable to grow due to their weak vocabulary.”

Former Governor of Kerala, Justice S.S. Kang chose to differ from Khushwant in his presidential remarks. He said, “There is no comparison of the literature that Tagore wrote in Bengali. I consider Manto second only to Chekhov. Likewise there have been Punjabi writers who detailed their lives ruthlessly in their autobiographies.” Appreciating Khushwant for his articulation, Justice Kang made a quick mention of how Khushwant omitted references to his father’s deposition in the Bhagat Singh trial. Also present was Khushwant Singh’s son Rahul, who made a brief speech earlier.


Cricket not just a man’s game: Mandira
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 19
Her canary yellow T-shirt over rugged blue denims — paired with white sports shoes — made it clear that model-cum-actress Mandira Bedi was ready to slam her way into yet another male bastion — batting.

As she stood in Sector 20, shielding her face from the sun’s onslaught, she uttered, “Hey girls, let us all come together and show that cricket is just not a man’s game. We have chance to show the world that cricket is for women too. Now, men can stand at the boundary line and watch the game”.

She was aware of the fact that some of the girls were doing well in the country’s all-women cricket team. But knew very well that the game was still considered man’s domain.

For those of you who do not recall, Mandira had talked her way into the hearts of so many viewers all over the country during the recently concluded World Cup. In the process, she had changed the face of cricket commentary by proving that girls too could comment about the gentleman’s game.

But before you can compliment Mandira for her performance during the World Cup, she corrects you, “First of all let me clarify that I was not a commentator, but an anchor. In any case, I was the first woman to be a part of the cricket panel. It was like a marathon. I had to be dressed up 18 hours a day because you could be called anytime”.

Today, she smashed the ball hard in all directions during “gully cricket” organised in the city to establish that “nothing but a little determination was required to prove girls were not less than men in any respect — be it cricket or para gliding”.

Her journey from small screen actress Shanti to a model and anchor has been “exciting”. Mandira believes that she is lucky to do so many things simultaneously. Born in Kolkatta brought up in Mumbai she is happy to be famous among masses.

Driving down straight from Delhi after landing from Los Angeles, Mandira was as relaxed as ever. Pushing back her hair, she said, “Everyday is a new day. You can prevent monotony from setting in your routine by doing chores you enjoy”.

Microphones were not required as Mandira played her “extra inning” as a role model for city girls. Clutching a bat in firm hands, she said, “I always wanted to be a writer. In fact, I managed to land up with the job of a copy writer in an advertising agency before getting a break in Shanti”.

Talking about her favourite pass time, she said, “I am fond of travelling and love cricket. In fact, I was always a cricket freak. Even before taking up the assignment of an anchor, I would rush to whichever place the series were on. I even landed in Sri Lanka for the Champions Trophy”.

Regarding her future plans, she said, “I am busy with an English play to be enacted in Delhi. After performing in “Shadi Ka Ladoo” is all set to act in “Divorce”. The co-stars include Sonu Sood and Jackie Shroff.”

Her motto in life is dedication. “During the shoot of extra innings, I wanted to go in for para gliding. But avoided it until the completion of my job.”


Mandira plays ‘gully’ cricket with women
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 19
Model-cum-actress Mandira Bedi played ‘gully’ cricket with women at the Sector 20 playground here today. Some boys tried to barge in, but Mandira kept her foot down. “It is just for women,” she asserted.

Talking to mediapersons, Max executive vice-president and business head Rajat Jain said, “With Extraa Innings, Max converted millions of passive female viewers into avid followers of cricket. ‘Gully’ cricket has now taken their involvement and passion for the game to the next level”.

He added, “With Extraa Innings, Max changed the rules of cricket presentation in India during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003. Through ‘gully’ cricket, we are trying to promote the game as an entertainment, not as a sports event.”

The show was conceived to create awareness about and promote the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy in England. The next ‘gully’ cricket would be held in Ludhiana on June 20.


Another case against ex-GM of Lake Club
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The absconding former General Manager of the Lake Club, Lt-Col Madhu Beri (retd), was today booked for allegedly not issuing a receipt to a Mohali-based club member, who made a payment of Rs 16,500 to him.

This is the third case of misappropriation of funds against Beri.

The member, Mr Gurinder Singh, complained that he made a payment of Rs 16,500 to Lt-Col Beri for the membership of the club in 2002. Two days later he was given a car sticker, a membership card and a number but the receipt of the entire payment was not given. After some time, he was given a receipt of annual subscription of Rs 1,200. Mr Gurinder Singh alleged that his money had been misappropriated by Beri. Later on, it was found out that Lt-Col Beri only deposited a part of the money into the club account.

Recently, a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against Lt-Col Beri after he absconded in a case registered in the Economic Offence Wing (EOW).


Two deaths in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 19
A 37-year-old man was found dead at his rented accommodation in Sector 15 here today. An employee of Harco Bank in Sector 17, Balbir Singh, probably died of consuming too much alcohol. The postmortem report was awaited.

He was found dead in his bedroom by his friend, also an employee of the same bank, who came to enquire why Balbir Singh had not been attending office for the past five days. Through the window he saw Balbir lying motionless on his bed and informed his relatives and the police.

Balbir had taken to alcohol after the death of his wife nearly eight months back and was suffering from depression since then. He was living with his four-year-old son on the first floor and was last seen on Tuesday by his neighbours. His son was away to his grandparents’ house in Hisar when the incident took place.

Meanwhile, a death due to snakebite was reported from Mansa Devi. Thirtysix-year-old Krishan Pal, alias Bajrangi Baba, a snake charmer, reportedly died after a snake bit him last night. He was sleeping in one of the vacant booths along the road leading to the Mansa Devi shrine. He died after battling for life for nearly three hours. He belonged to Kashipur village in UP.


Need for welfare of ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The need to create awareness about the various schemes being implemented by the government for the welfare and rehabilitation of serving soldiers, ex-servicemen and their widows was emphasised at a presentation on welfare organised at Chandi Mandir today.

In his talk, the Director Resettlement Western Zone, Brig Rajeev Sarin, said the ex-servicemen fraternity was a vast reservoir of trained and progressive professionals with enormous potential and talents.

They could be re-employed as executives, managers, engineers, doctors, technicians, aviators, educationalists and lawyers, to name a few.

The presentation was organised under the aegis of the Army Wives Welfare Association (Western Command), a statement issued here said. AWWA vice-president Dr Neelam Grover was the chief guest at the function.

The aim of the programme was to expose widows as well as wives of serving personnel to the avenues and scope for re-employment in the government, public and private sector jobs as also to make them aware of the various concessions provided by the Central and state governments.

At the presentation it was brought out that the Western Zone, including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, National Capital Region of Delhi and UT Chandigarh, had nearly six lakh ex-servicemen with 15,000 to 20,000 getting added every year. Of them, 8 per cent were absorbed in the organised civil sector, while 17 per cent undertook other ventures.

The remaining 75 per cent trained manpower was available for absorption in the private enterprises.

Besides about 500 women, including some widows, officers from Rajya Sainik Boards, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) attended the programme.

A stall displaying items prepared by the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Mohali (Punjab), was also put up on the occasion.


Father’s Day Today
Show your dad you care
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Fathers have been our support system through our growing years. Unlike a mother’s cajoling and cuddling, their affections see us through our greatest hours of need. They grasp our tiny hands and watch keenly as we grow into fine adults.

A magnanimous being, they bestow on us the precious gift of life. We compete to earn a father’s respect and his approval in our endeavours as he is the biggest hero we know. We idolize him, argue with him, seek his advice, and dream someday to do him proud. He’s our ultimate support system, also our bank balance.

So, let him know you care on Father’s Day on June 20.

City eateries and gift shops have loads to offer on the D-day.

Subway, the giant sandwich brand, is giving the fathers a treat with a free deli style burger on purchase of Rs150 or above. For once, you can give your dad a treat. Most gift shops, like Hallmark and Archies, have stocked up gift items, ranging from cards to interesting artifacts in an easy price range of Rs 10 to Rs 200.

So, this Father’s Day show your dad some love and let him know he’s the most important man in your life. 


Power men hold gate meetings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The UT Powermen Union, Chandigarh, is preparing for a two-hour pen down and tool down strike on June 24. As part of this the union today organised gate meetings outside offices of the electricity wing in Sectors 20, 35, 43 and 40.

The Bhag Mal Rana, general secretary of the union, said the discussion held with the Chief Engineer on June 18 was not fruitful. He said all long pending demands of the employees were to be met.



Brahmakumaris’ campaign to conclude today

Chandigarh, June 19
A 20-day social reconstruction campaign, organised by the social service wing of the Rajyoga Education and Research Foundation, will conclude on Sunday. The closing ceremony will be held at Rajyoga Bhavan in Sector 33.

The chairperson of Punjab’s Social Welfare Advisory Board, Ms Gurdial Kaur Mallan will be the chief guest. The function will be presided over by North Zone Chief of Brahmakumaris Achal Behnji. OC


Case against travel agent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
A case has been registered against the Sector 9-based Prompt Travels for the disappearance of travel documents of a former chief engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and his wife.

The travel agent has been booked for allegedly cheating, breaching trust and conspiring in the disappearance of the documents.

Mr Jora Singh complained that he had given his own and his wife’s passports for visas to travel to the USA through Canada. The former Chief Engineer said he had also given two tickets of Air Canada to the travel agent for confirmation on April 7. He alleged that as their passports had visas for 10 years of the USA and Canada, they could have either been misused or sold. The travel agent said the visas and tickets had been sent to Mr Jora Singh through the Sector 17-based Beaze Flash Couriers, which lost them. The courier company had reported the loss of the travel documents to the Sector 3 police station on April 25 and a daily diary Report (DDR) entry had been made in this regard.

Mr Jora Singh said he was to go to the USA for meeting his son.

Mr Jora Singh alleged that the delay due to the loss of travel documents had caused damage to his credentials before the American Embassy and the Canadian High Commission. Mr Jora Singh applied for visa with a duplicate passport which was issued on the basis of the DDR entry in the police station.

The former Chief Engineer said the American Embassy was not ready to give him visa unless a case was registered into the loss of the travel documents.


Ma Foi opens office in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Ma Foi Management Consultants, an HR services provider, has commenced operations in Chandigarh.

Established in 1992 at Chennai, Ma Foi has been partnering with leading organisations and offering HR solutions to Indian and multinational companies in various industry sectors and verticals.

It has 35 offices in the country.

Speaking at the function, Mr E. Balaji, Executive Director, said, “Our Chandigarh operations will cater to the demands of the manufacturing companies in Baddi, which happens to be the base for a number for multinationals. Chandigarh figures in the top eight cities of India according to an NASSCOM study for prospective IT and ITES outsourcing hubs as it has, the advantage of a high quality talent pool and availability of power and infrastructure.”

The Ma Foi office will also fill a need gap by providing specialised career skill training for the graduating engineers and MBAs to improve their employability ratings.

Chandigarh is fast emerging as the telecom capital of north Indian as most telecom majors are establishing their headquarters here, including their call centres for servicing the northern states, he added.


New fares of Indian Airlines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The Indian Airlines today announced its new fares for flights from Chandigarh. The airlines had hiked the fares by 10 per cent after the hike in prices of petrol.

Chandigarh — Delhi (Economy) — Rs 2905

Executive class - Rs 4050.

Chandigarh — Mumbai (economy) — Rs 8780

Executive class — Rs 13325

Chandigarh — Leh (economy) — Rs 3470.

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