C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


3 brothers assaulted
Cops called for help but refuse to act
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 23
Despite frantic calls by three brothers who were brutally assaulted by 20 persons in Sector 9 late last night, the police reportedly failed to respond.

A group of 20 to 25 youths, brandishing swords and baseball bats, allegedly barged in the house of Anil Malik, Manoj Malik and Sunil Malik at about 10. 30 pm yesterday. Anil along with other women members of the family was in the house. The accused led by Kabir Sethi, Sameer Sethi, Besu, Rajbir and Aditya Syal dragged Anil out of the house.

As he was being beaten up, his younger brothers Manoj and Sunil, who rushed to rescue Anil, too, were assaulted. After the assailants had beaten them to their hearts’ content, they went away. While Anil and Manoj sustained deep cuts and injuries on their heads, arms and back, Sunil fell unconscious after being hit on the head.

The three brothers, who were bleeding profusely, went inside the house and called the police for help. “However, we were told by the Sector 10 police to come to the police post. Since the police refused to come here, we went to the police post, only to be told to go to the hospital on our own, “said Anil Malik. He said the police did not come while their Medico Legal Report (MLR) was being prepared at the General Hospital, Sector 6.

The other victim, Manoj, alleged that the enmity between the two groups was from the time of the Students’ Union election in Chandigarh last year. Manoj further said that he was assaulted by Kabir and Sameer Sethi, Besu, and Rajbir on July 6 in Sector 7. “I had then got a DDR registered, but no action was taken against them, because the accused are influential people,” he added.

His friend, Amit Harish, a resident of Sector 17 said the same youth had pelted stones at his house on the evening of July 21. “ We were not at home, but the neighbours had noticed the registration number of the Scorpio, which belongs to the accused. My father had lodged a complaint with the police, but no action was taken. On all three occasions, the police decided against registering a case against them,” he added.

Manoj and Anil today met the SP, Ms Mamta Singh, and alleged that the police was not taking any action against the accused. However, she assured them that an FIR would be registered and the accused arrested.

The SP said the two groups had been involved in several clashes over the past month. “The Maliks were booked on July 10, after they had allegedly assaulted the members of the rival group,” she added. The SP asked the DSP, City, Mr Rajesh Duggal to conduct an inquiry and see if their was any inaction on the part of the police after last night’s clash. “We have been working to improve our response time in case of any crime, and in this case if the cops are found at fault, action would be taken against them,” she assured. 


Counselling for admission to engg colleges from Aug 9
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The Chandigarh Administration today announced that counselling for admission to Punjab Engineering College (PEC), the Chandigarh College of Architecture and the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology would begin from August 9.

The detailed schedule of the counselling would be released later. The admission would be held subject to the quota of seats decided by the Punjab and Haryana High court. It may be mentioned that a petition challenging the 50 per cent quota of seats for Chandigarh students in the PEC is being heard by the court.

Earlier, the counselling was to be held on July 21. But after the court today fixed the next date of hearing on August 4, the Administration issued the fresh dates of counselling.

A delegation of parents, whose wards are seeking admission to PEC, today met the Member of Parliament, seeking that the administration should reconsider its stand on the quota of seats for students from Chandigarh.

The parents have announced to hold a meeting on the PEC grounds on July 25 to decide on the further course of action.

They lamented that due to ambiguity in the UT's notification on 50 per cent quota, the students were confused on choosing the institution, as the dates of counselling of different colleges clashed. The parents demanded that the counselling for the PEC should be held before the second counselling at Thapar Institute.

They said that since other states had 85 per cent reservation for their candidates, the Chandigarh Administration should stick to the old quota. They cited the case of Delhi, where the Delhi College of Engineering (DEC) deemed university had retained the quota of 85 per cent for the residents.


GOC-in-C for absorbing new techniques
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen J. J. Singh, emphasised upon the need for absorbing new technology, techniques and concepts during individual as well as collective training.

Addressing formation commanders during his visit to the Chetak and Vajra corps yesterday to review wargames and exercises, he stressed on carrying out realistic appraisal of the capabilities of adversaries while formulating operational plans.

The visit of the Army Commander was focussed towards assessing the operational preparedness of the formations in Western Sector and devise training concepts in accordance with the recently enunciated war doctrine.

He said the Army was modernising and upgrading its equipment and refining its war doctrine and operational concepts to keep pace with the emerging battlefield environment. Referring to an old saying, "There are no prizes for runners-up in war", he said in all previous border conflicts, Western Command had been the focus of major military activity due to its strategically important location and, therefore, expected to dictate the rhythm of battle in any future conflict as well.

General Singh said while he desired a high-level of training and preparedness, the quality of the life of soldiers who came to peace stations after service in field areas should be taken care of.


PGI gets yet another cholera case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The cholera scare is not over yet. A 73-year-old man, Gurbax Singh, hailing from Singh Majra village in Ropar district, who was admitted to the PGI, has tested positive of cholera.

In fact, since the part week, this is the second positive case of cholera from the district.

Meanwhile, commenting on situation in Ropar district, from where four confirmed cholera cases had been reported last month, the Deputy Commissioner Seema Jain told the Chandigarh Tribune that the situation was under control barring a “few isolated cases of cholera’’ that had been cropping up in the district. “We have been taking all measures, including carrying out sanitation drives, collecting water and stool samples for testing from the affected areas. We have also been checking the drinking water supply to make sure that residents get clean water for consumption,’’ she claimed.

A five-month-old girl child Rekha of Balmiki Colony in Mohali was among the earliest cases in the district to have tested positive of cholera in May.

Meanwhile, sources in the GMCH Sector 32 have revealed that more than 25 cases, including those from Chandigarh slums of colony 4 and 5 and Ram Darbar and the neighbouring areas of Mohali, and Kharar had been confirmed at the hospital.

“Cholera is an infectious bacterial disease which spreads in unhygienic conditions,” said a senior doctor.


PGI to provide free drugs to HIV patients
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Being HIV positive may be an emotional and physical trauma but financially too its extremely taxing. With a minimum monthly expenditure of Rs 2000 that is incurred by each HIV positive patient for procuring the anti-retroviral drugs, the decision of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) of including the PGI among the centres for providing free anti-retroviral drugs to the HIV patients should come as a respite to many of the affected poor families, many of whom have more than one family member infected with virus.

“At present the expenditure on drugs can go up to Rs 5,000 per month. The provision of free medicines for the HIV positive patients are really going to help in a large number as we receive patients from all over the region,’’ says Dr Archana Sud of the Department of Internal Medicine at the PGI adding that nearly 20 -25 positive patients visit every OPD.

While the NACO officials have been positive in including the PGI in the next phase after they have extended the similar facilities in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra earlier this year, the doctors here are expecting the move to be effective by September. The patients should then come for the prescription once in the month to get the drugs free of cost. “In fact we would now have to think how to cater to the huge patient load after the scheme is actually implemented,” revealed another senior doctor.

Emphasising the need of provision of the free medicines, the officials at the State Aids Control Society, UT, too quote instances where the harried persons approach them for assistance. “There are several families where the husband contacts the virus first, which is transmitted to the wife by sexual contact. The child born thereafter, too, becomes HIV positive. The costs then of affording the treatment becomes exorbitant,” says an official, adding that many a time they chip in to help in case to case basis through the assistance of several other organisations like the Red Cross. 


Merely 47 pc PGI patients happy with services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
An institute of the magnitude of the PGI, which receives thousands of patients each day from the region, is barely able to satisfy 47 per cent of the patients and their attendants, leaving one fourth of the patients totally dissatisfied with the quality of services provided at the place.

These are the findings of an exit survey, conducted as part of a latest study of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on “Health care financing in UT” and executed by the Institute of Development and Communication (IDC) here. The survey is based after interviewing 100 outdoor patients and their attendants seeking treatment at the PGI. The interviews were conducted on two days (Monday and Friday) with 50 patients interviewed on these days.

While less than half of the patients and their attendants felt that services provided by the PGI were the best that could be available to them, 23 per cent of the patients questioned were generally satisfied with the quality of health services dissatisfied with the amount time that is taken in endlessly waiting for doctors.

In fact, 26 per cent of the patients were totally dissatisfied with the kind of healthcare services and medical facilities provided at the PGI. The facilities of diagnostic testing and other testing facilities at the hospital were the major sore points for one fourth of the patient load that the institute receives, finds the study. Barely 4 per cent of those who were questioned did not express any definite opinion on the issue. The study further established that the PGI caters to the patient load of the entire region and residents of Chandigarh barely formed one-tenth of the patient load of the institute.

The other point of view: the “over-burdened doctors”

Meanwhile, a study conducted at the National Institute of Nursing Education (NINE) at the PGI itself has pointed out that more than 50 per cent of the doctors at the institute find themselves burned out due to varied reasons, including work-related stress and quality and quantity of services provided.

Out of the 230 faculty members, 75 were selected randomly for the study and the results were formulated by analysing a self-administered questionnaire. As many as 50.6 per cent of the medical faculty members were found to be burned out, a majority of whom (58 percent) were with a work experience of less than five years. Most of the members felt stressed due to the quality and quantity of services disbursed, organisational issues, role issues, responsibility and authority, job satisfaction and social relationships.


Notice served on Jaspal Bhatti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
A local advocate, Mr Arvind Thakur, today served a legal notice on poker-faced comedian Jaspal Bhatti for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus.

In his notice, Mr Thakur alleged that during a demonstration by the Bhatti's Nonsense Club here recently the Hindu “shlokas” and “mantras” were recited in such a way as to hurt religious feelings. In view of the delayed monsoon, the club had burnt an effigy of the Meteorological Department to invoke the rain gods.

Mr Thakur urged Mr Bhatti to tender a public apology within a week of the receipt of the notice.


Campaign against consumer exploitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The Consumer Coordination Council, a national coalition of 55 consumer organisations, today announced the launching of a national campaign against exploitation of the poor and the disadvantaged consumers.

Addressing a press conference here, the council chairman, Mr Bejon Misra, said over 26 crore of the total Indian population earned below Rs 45 daily and they were deprived of the basic necessities of life such as clean water, minimum nutrition and basic healthcare. Over 1,600 crore of the tax payers’ money was spent on the distribution of foodgrain through the PDS yet starvation deaths and malnutrition had been reported from among 25 per cent of the our population.

“India is a signatory to a pledge — the millennium development Goals(MDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, he said. The consumer organisations would now work as watchdogs to monitor the progress and publish the evaluation through public report to share the results on poverty, he asserted.

The “war against poverty” by consumer organisations would focus on the protection of the lives of children and women. The recent controversy on pesticides in bottled water and lack of minerals and vitamins in the diet of the poor are some issues concerning public health, he added.

The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 was a perfect example of how the government made laws but was unable to implement them. There is a direct link between poverty and tabacco as over 2000 persons died in India every year due to tabacco-related diseases, he added.

The chairman of the local Consumer Forum, thanked the council for launching the campaign in Chandigarh. The government and the private sectors would have to perform to gain our confidence,” Mr R.K. Kaplash, vice-chairman of the local unit, said. 


IT Dept not to set up counters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
In view of the extension of the date for filing IT returns to October 30, the Income Tax Department today decided not to set up special counters for acceptance of returns at the Institute of Engineers, Sector 19, from July 26 to 30.

According to a press note, the returns will be received at the departmental receipt counters.


Man booked for driving wife to suicide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 23
The Raipur Rani police tonight booked a resident of Kakrali on charges of inciting his wife to commit suicide. Amar Kumar, alias Amno, was booked by the police under Section 306 of the IPC on the compliant of his mother-in-law, Mrs Raj Kali.

The complainant has alleged that Amar Kumar was an alcoholic and would often beat up his wife, Ram Wati. On May 20, the 28-year-old woman poured kerosene on her clothes and set these on fire after a fight with her husband.

She was rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh, where she succumbed to her injuries.

Suicide: A 24-year-old resident of Sector 11, Lakhwinder Singh, allegedly tried to commit suicide at his residence by consuming poison. The victim told the police that he was not well and had taken the poison mistaking it for medicine. 


Rs 60,872 cr collected under small savings scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The Chandigarh Centre of National Savings Institute has contributed 10 per cent to the country’s total net collection of Rs 60,872 crore during 2003-04. It has collected Rs 6,044 crore under the small savings scheme. This was stated by Mr M.K. Malhotra, Regional Director, National Savings Institute, Chandigarh centre for Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and UT.

Speaking at a function held at Government of India Textbook Press here today, Mr Malhotra also explained the importance of the pay roll savings scheme. He said the Government of India Textbook Press was a “bachat press” as every employee was saving regularly in small savings schemes. He said there were a total of 1.02 lakh pay roll savings groups all over India.

Mr T. Ravindran, in charge of the press, presided over the function. Mr K.K. Sharma, Assistant Director, National Savings Institute, Chandigarh, explained the benefits of various small savings schemes. The press was awarded a trophy for “Best Pay Roll Savings Group”.


Benefits of organic farming highlighted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Various states and regions should develop and adopt organic farming models that best suit their environmental and socio-economic eco systems. This was stressed by experts from government, industry and research institutions during a day-long conference on organic farming here today.

Organic farming is a holistic agriculture management system that offers cost- effective, environment-friendly solutions to not only meet the nation’s food needs but also provide a potential source of exports for the prosperity of the rural economy. They suggested that this system could address the challenges of food and nutritional security and safety, environmental health, preservation of biodiversity and at the same time offered economic and social welfare for all.

Specific focus was also required to standardise production protocols from seeds to packaging, improving the efficiency, production and delivery of existing permitted inputs and search for newer ones, and research or development of standards.

Countering the misconception that organic farming techniques would result in production losses, the experts pointed out that significant savings in fertiliser and pesticide costs, as well as electricity and water costs, added to the long term ecological benefits of this method.

Describing the organic farming as a departure from traditional farming as it included scientific package of practices and technologies, they said that India was well suited for such methods as the use of chemical fertilisers/pesticides was only about four decades old and still was at a very low level. The hill states particularly would find this system viable, it was explained.

Mr Salil Singhal, Chairman, Food and Agriculture Sub Committee, CII (NR), described the CII’s initiatives in agriculture towards attracting investment and involvement from the organised private sector. The CII’s National Council on Agriculture had been constituted to promote greater private participation in India’s agriculture through lobbying with the government to have appropriate policies, both fiscal and administrative, raise agriculture’s profile both internally and externally and guide and coordinate the work of the Indian Farmer and Industry Alliance (IFIA), which is a body that the CII had helped set up in partnership with farmers’ federations.

The day-long conference, which saw the participation of delegates from Gujarat, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh as well as the northern region featured in sessions on ways and means for the states to go organic, as well as different aspects of the organic farming, covering production and procurement of organic crops and the role of organic food in human nutrition and health.

The session on accessing global markets highlighted regulatory concerns and certification procedures under organic agriculture and marketing of organic produce. The conference closed with a panel discussion on “the way forward”. 


Tata Sumo to get a facelift
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 24
Tata Motors, has announced the launch of a new version of Tata Sumo. It has been named “Sumo Victa”.

The Sumo Victa comes with changes to its steering mechanism enabling it to have the smallest turning circle radius of 4.9 metres in its class. It provides cabin space, an air-conditioner and comfortable seats. The vehicle is equipped with an anti-theft device in the form of an engine immobiliser activated by keyless remote. The Sumo Victa comes with an 18 month warranty.

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