C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Vehicle density behind increasing deaths in mishaps
NGO wants use of cycles popularised
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Heavy density of traffic on the four main roads of Chandigarh — Madhya Marg, Lok Path, Himalaya Marg and Udyog Path — is taking a heavy toll on human lives and health.

While the recently concluded Road Safety Week celebrations could do little to prevent deaths in accidents, past and present studies confirm that more and more people are losing their lives on the road. There is data to show that the number of road accidents in the city increased from 453 in 2000-2001 to 508 in 2001-2002. The Chandigarh Traffic Police records show that Dakshin Marg, the road from Chandigarh to Ambala, is particularly vulnerable. It witnesses a daily rush of 25,000-30,000 vehicles, and 24 major accidents every month.

About 83,000 vehicles cross the Madhya Marg (the road from the PGI to Panchkula) daily, with maximum accidents happening between the Transport Area and the Housing Board crossing. At least 54,757 vehicles cross Lok Path daily, Himalaya Marg has a daily rush of 64,521 vehicles while 52,231 vehicles cross Udyog Path every day.

Although strict policing by the Chandigarh traffic policemen and the drive to make helmet wearing compulsory brought down the number of road accidents to 396 last year, the fact that Chandigarh still witnesses over one accident per day is worrying. Mounting vehicular load is also a major cause of congestion on roads leading to a longer travel time and high fuel consumption. Frequent braking and idling at light points, resulting in higher emission of pollutants, is another fallout of vehicular rush.

Concerned with the problem, voluntary agencies are campaigning for a green Chandigarh like never before. While Yuvasatta’s “Greentire” project to promote cycling has generated tremendous response, Greenpeace India activists have also joined hands with Yuvasatta to prevent vehicular load from rising. The concern was formalised today, with Yuvasatta Director and promoter of Greentire Cycling promotion programme Pramod Sharma representing to the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to help reduce vehicular rush by popularising cycling.

Mounting vehicular load

The number of vehicles has increased at an exponential rate in the city. Experts from the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, which recently published a State of Environment Report for Chandigarh, state that during the past three decades, the population in Chandigarh has tripled (from 2,57,251 in 1971 to 9,00,914 in 2001). Rapid urbanisation and commercial activity has increased the demand for transport. The public transport system being weak, use of vehicles per person has mounted. The number of vehicles increased from 12,346 in 1971 to over 5,22,438 in 2001 (42 times). The city has one registered vehicle for every 1.7 persons. The ratio is the highest as compared to the other metropolitan cities. New Delhi follows with one vehicle for every four persons whereas Pune has one vehicle for every 16 persons. Due to easy availability of loans for vehicle purchase, 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.

Pollution load due to vehicles 

A Central Pollution Control Board, 1998, study shows that vehicular emissions are responsible for most hydrocarbons (90-95 per cent) and carbon monoxide emissions (70-80 per cent). Nitrogen oxides (around 40-60 per cent) are contributed by vehicles. Analysis of data collected from a traffic census earlier conducted in Chandigarh’s Sector 22 grid (one of the most congested commercial-cum-residential area of the city) indicated that all categories of vehicles put together emitted 311 kg of Co2, 120 kg of HC, 22kg of NOx, 1.4 kg of So2 and 3.2 kg particles per square km of study area during peak traffic hours (9-10 am and 5-6 pm). 



Lakhs spent in excess on PGI project
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
At the PGI where lakhs of rupees allocated to various research projects have remained unutilised during the last financial year, one project is breaking the norm.

The project, under the acting Deputy Director Administration and head of the Department of Gynaecology, Prof Sarala Gopalan, is one such isolated case where more Rs 21 lakh has been spent in excess.

The auditors found that an expenditure of Rs 21.11 lakh has been incurred in excess in the financial year 2003-04 in the All-India Hospital Postpartum Programme (AIHPP). The government has sanctioned the project.

A perusal of the report showed over-spending, as the auditors have noted in Para 2, Section B, of the report. It states: “Contrary to the cases of the underutilisation of grants, in case of the AIHPP programme being undertaken under Dr S. Gopalan, Rs 21,11,086 had been incurred in excess of the grants received or without the receipt of the grant from the Government of India, reimbursement of which was awaited.”

Sources said while the objections had been raised, no relevant record showing the reasons, results of the projects and orders were produced. A general complaint of the auditors against the PGI has been the lack of provision to maintain records. This was mentioned in Part 1, Section C, of the report.

Audit reports earlier indicated that several crores of rupees have not been utilised by the PGI, which were allocated it to in the form of research grants by various funding institutions, including the Government of India and the Indian Council of Medical Research.



Orders on room in backyard issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
The Chandigarh Administration today issued an order allowing the construction of a room in the rear courtyard of all houses in Chandigarh. The demand to allow balconies projecting out by three feet has, however, been turned down saying these could collapse even in a minor earthquake.

Former UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, had cleared the proposal in October last year.

Following today’s development, an additional 150 square foot of space in the rear courtyard can be utilised for green house/ storage/W/C/bath/toilet in houses measuring 15 marlas and less and are governed by frame/architectural control. Those who have already carried out construction can get the same regularised.

The order shall apply to houses which are more than 1 kanal and marla houses are governed by architectural control. This will be the payment of compounding fee of Rs 100 per square foot subject to the following conditions:- Length of the green house in smaller marla houses can be extended up to the full plot width along the rear boundary wall but the width of the Green House as shown in the standard architectural designs cannot be increased even where 150 square foot is not fully achieved.

The height of the additional covered area as aforesaid should not be more than 7’-6” from the plinth level of the existing permissible green house as shown in the standard architectural designs drawing.

In corner houses with side abutting on V-5/V-6 roads where side gate in rear courtyard has been provided/approved, no independent access to the rear built up area from street shall be allowed. Gate shall be shifted and re-located within the existing rear side boundary wall, if feasible as per revised building plan sanctioned along with green house/additional covered area plan.

No water tanks shall be allowed on the roof of the proposed W.C./bath /toilet/existing Green House in the rear courtyard.



Passing Thru

Ms Raminder Dosanjh, wife of Federal Health Minister of Canada
Ms Raminder Dosanjh, wife of Federal Health Minister of Canada

What is the status of women married into South Asian families settled in Canada?

Most of the women are economically independent. Financially sound, they are not taking domestic violence anymore. Not buckling under pressure from husbands and homework, they are choosing to walk out of suffocating marriages.

How are you contributing to the welfare of Indians settled in Canada?

We are running an India Mahila Association to deal with problems of Indians, especially women, on their immigration to Canada. Isolation is one of the major problems being faced by Indian women after marriage, sometimes driving them to suicides. We educate such women and help them deal with loneliness.

How does the India Mahila Association (IMA) operate?

We are a voluntary association and educate people through radio and television interviews, hold separate meetings with men and women to change their mindset. Besides, we give references of NGOs concerned for addressing problems of the people.

How can the IMA or the government help in cases where brides are cheated by NRI husbands?

In such cases, the two agencies can do a little. Instead, parents interested in matrimonial alliances abroad should thoroughly investigate the antecedents of the boy and family.

— Geetanjali Gayatri



Canada set to give recognition to same sex marriage
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
With provincial courts having given recognition to same sex marriages, the Canadian Parliament is also following suit and moving towards introducing a legislation for the same, given the rising number of such cases in Canada.

Federal Minister of Health, Canada, Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, in an interview to The Tribune, here today, said that the Bill for same sex marriages would be tabled at the next session of Canadian Parliament.

"The Bill is all about equality and basic rights of a citizen and we are nobody to deny these to him. We do realise that there are other implications of such marriages. However, society would have to take care of this fallout on its own. Also, though we can't compel churches and other religious institutions to back same sex marriages, we can let such couples register civil marriages with us," he said.

A lawyer-turned-politician who migrated to Canada in the early 1970s, Mr Dosanjh expressed concern over rising casteism, a new trend, among South Asians in Canada. "It is now making its presence felt in schools and children of first generation Indians are talking about caste in their classrooms. This is a problem and we have to find a solution to this," he added.

He was equally critical of the "filth" in the matrimonial advertisements by Indian Canadians which was reflective of the deep-rooted caste concern among the people.

Effusively praising Canadians for embracing diversity in all its forms, he said that his country would be interested in greater trade relations as well as exchanges of all kinds. "We have a billion dollar strong trade with the US on a daily basis. However, we are looking at diversifying this and have zeroed in on India, Brazil and China for the purpose," he remarked.

Mr Dosanjh, however, clarified that investments would be made in sectors and states that offered a conducive hurdle-free atmosphere for business to flourish. "Capital has no emotion. It will go wherever there are returns," he pointed out while appreciating India's move for offering dual citizenship to NRIs.

He added that the Indo-Canadian relationship potential was under-developed and that India was of particular interest to Canada since the two countries were alike, both being democracies committed to cherishing liberty and integrity of individuals.

Referring to the growing goodwill between India and Pakistan, Mr Dosanjh maintained that Canada was appreciative of the steps being taken in this regard. "We would be only too happy to help in promoting a more cordial relationship if asked to. However, left to ourselves, we are content watching from the sidelines without interfering in the on-going peace process," he stated.

Speaking out his assignment as Health Minister in Canada, Mr Dosanjh said that health was essentially a provincial subject and the job of the federal ministry was limited to allocating funds. "In Canada, everybody gets the same kind of care and attention irrespective of their size of the wallet. we have the best health-care systems in place and set aside nearly 10 per cent of our GDP for upkeep of health services," he disclosed.

Mr Dosanjh addressed a meet-the-press at the Chandigarh Press Club and a delivered a lecture at the Law Auditorium in Panjab University during the day.



Burail Jail may approach Centre for installing cell phone jammers
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Barely a week before the Supreme Court started examining if mobile jammers could be fitted in all Indian jails, the Union Home Ministry had rejected a proposal to fix mobile phone jammers in the Burail jail, housing dreaded militants here, citing objections from the intelligence agencies.

The rejection of the proposal in the high security Burail Jail, from where dreaded terrorists and alleged Beant Singh killers Jagtar Singh Hawara and others escaped digging a 94-feet long tunnel, courtesy a mobile phone set, had followed a similar treatment to this proposal by the Cabinet Secretariat.

The measure estimated to cost merely Rs 3,99,650 and the Chandigarh Administration had even approved the amount on the proposal made by the IG (Prisons), Mr Amitabh Singh Dhillon, after the police investigation established that mobile phones had facilitated the escape in January last year.

The money had been approved in March last year. Trial runs carried out by PUNCOM in June last year had established that mobile calls could have been jammed in the Burail Jail. But, the efforts of the Chandigarh jail authorities got a setback when they got a communication on April 29 that Director, Security, in the Cabinet Secretariat had rejected the proposal citing objections from the intelligence agencies. The response seemed strange. However, security experts say the objection of the intelligence agencies could have been due to some information that jailed terrorists could have been involved in some grand destructive plan whose whiff the agencies might have had. Hawara was the main Khalistani operational commander and contact with on mobile phone which he had in jail could have given the intelligence agencies a lot of information about Khalistani terrorists' activities.

The response of the Cabinet Secretariat came when the Hyderabad-based Bharat Electronics Limited sought a permission from the Director, Security, in the Cabinet Secretariat to give a permission to carry out a demonstration in the Burail Jail for arranging mobile jammers in the high security prison.

Mr Dhillon made the effort following information that the Bangalore Jail is equipped with mobile phone jammers and a large number of state assemblies have the facility.

The Chandigarh Administration had approached the Director- General (Prisons), Karnataka, to seek information. Karnataka informed the Chandigarh jail authorities that a Russian company was providing the facility. While the IG (Prison) jail was making inquiries, it came to know that Maharashtra Electronics Limited also has mobile jammers.

But during this period, PUNCOM approached the jail authorities in Chandigarh and gave a successful demonstration of mobile jammers in the Chandigarh jail in June. A second demonstration was to be given but it could never take place in the wake of rejections by the Home Ministry.

Interestingly, during this exercise it was found out that one demonstration was to be given in the Beur Jail in Patna where Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav was lodged. The Supreme Court exercise began after it was known that Pappu Yadav had a mobile phone in the jail.

Feeling elated over the Supreme Court exercise, the jail authorities in Chandigarh are now again sending the proposal for the installation of mobile jammers in the Burail Jail post the Supreme Court step.



Scientist stresses role of space science in education, health
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
As the force behind India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme launched in 1982, Dr V.K. Saraswat has supervised the launch of several crucial missiles including Prithvi.

Currently Director, Deference Research Development Organization (DRDO), Hyderabad, the top Indian scientist affirms hope in the future of India's missile programme which is all set to enter a new phase with the development of ASTRA, the beyond visual range missiles. He, however, admitted that India needed to develop potent communication networks for disaster management.

"We need to develop space and sea-based sensors to forecast tsunami like disasters. Also we would have been better placed by being part of the International Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific," said Dr Saraswat, who was in Rajpura to deliver a lecture at Chitkara Institute of Engineering today.

Stressing the role of space science in education and health, Dr Saraswat said scientists in Andhra Pradesh were now using EDUSAT to create classrooms in remote villages where children have no access to education. "Space science has enabled medical experts to guide doctors in primary health care centres. Many operations have been conducted in this manner," he said, while referring to DRDO's ambitious "Smart Soldier" project wherein scientists are developing all-weather resistant clothing for Indian soldiers posted in extreme climatic conditions.

"Comfort of the soldier is our chief concern at the DRDO. We are developing special bullet-proof jackets for soldiers, besides designing clothing that can withstand temperatures as in Siachen as well as in deserts," said Dr Saraswat, adding that the DRDO was now working on scientific systems to make the life of soldiers stress free. "Yoga forms a major part of this package", said Dr Saraswat.

About India's missile programme, Dr Saraswat said the focus was on building precision missiles that can hit to kill, ensuring minimum damage. Ruling out slowdowns in the space programme owing to Indo-Pak peace process, he said, "There can be no compromise on that front. While Prithvi and Agni are already in our arsenal, trials on medium range surface-to-air missile Akash are in final stages. Anti-tank missile Nag will go into production next year. Our challenge now is to upgrade the missile hit capability," said Dr Saraswat.

Referring to ASTRA, Dr Saraswat who was Deputy Project Director, Prithvi, said this beyond the visual range (BVR) missile can, on detecting a signal, be launched to home in on the target. "Building Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system is another key area for us. We are also looking forward to greater cooperation from the Indian industry which we want to see as a system developer."

Recalling how the developed world had constrained Indian missile programme (Prithvi) by stopping supply of components, Dr Saraswat said the scientists took the hurdle as an opportunity for indigenization. Calling for greater involvement of industries in the defence sector, he added that over 35 private industries were involved in the first successful flight of Prithvi in 1988.

"Today, over 100 companies are involved with DRDO. The scope is enormous as the requirements of components, systems, maintenance equipment and parts runs into thousands of crores. It would be welcome if the Indian industry could cater to the requirements of defence sector," the scientist said.



India must have latest weapons, says Sarswat
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, January 12
Dr V.K. Sarswat, Director, Defence Research Development Organisation, Hyderabad, today delivered a lecture on “Contemporary technology management and technology transfer” at the Chitkara Institute of Engineering and Technology, near here.

Dr Sarswat, the brain behind Prithvi, India’s first surface-to-surface missile, claimed that the country must look for missiles and other latest weapons for self-defence. He also elaborated on the integrated missile system and its configurations.

The lecture was organised as part of series of “Knowledge Reservoir” lectures being organised by Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, at various private and government engineering colleges and institutes in the state. A number of principals and teachers of various PTU-affiliated colleges and institutes also attended the lecture.

Before the lecture, Dr Sarswat and Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, PTU, planted saplings on the institute’s premises. The gathering also observed two minutes silence to pay homage to tsunami victims.



She lost all to tsunami
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Mrs Avinash Rani Sagar, a landlady, who lost everything in tsunami that hit the Campbell Bay on the morning of December 26, arrived here with two blankets and a few rupees given to her by a Kolkatta gurdwara. Before the tragedy struck she was cultivating coconuts, beetle nuts, cloves and fruits like banana, mango, sapota on her 11 acres. Unable to cope with the lose of her lifetime possession; she is trying to come to reality at her son’s Sector 41 home.

She says, “Perhaps our decision to settle in Andaman 30 years ago was wrong”. Mrs Sagar’s husband, Naib Subedar O.P Sagar, had chosen to avail of a Central government’s rehabilitation scheme in which ex-servicemen were allotted 11 acres each with an objective to inhabit this remote Indian island. Even after her husband’s death in 1997, she preferred to stay in the alien land that had become her home. She was teaching at a government school.

“I used to live in one-and-a-half acre plot, had an orchid on 5 acre till Christmas… ”, she told The Tribune, before breaking down. “All that was left by the cruel tide was stolen by locals, as we were stranded on a small hillock for three days after the tides subsided”, she added. Today she is penniless. “Now I am at the mercy of my son, who lives here or my married daughter, who lives in Campbell Bay”.

Recalling the fateful morning, Mrs Sagar said she had just woken up when she heard people shouting “water, water”, unable to comprehend what was in store she went outside and saw people running in front of her house. A neighbour yelled at her saying that a high tide was coming her way and that she too should run to save her life. “I panicked, put on the footwear that I could lay my feet on. I, who could not walk due to some ailment, actually ran for my life,” she added.

She along with others took refuge atop a small hillock. The tide was so high that it submerged the hillock, but Mrs Sagar continued to hold to a branch of a tree and survived. For three days she remained stranded on the hillock till an IAF helicopter, on a rescue mission, spotted her and some others and airlifted them to Port Blair. From there she was again airlifted to Kolkatta.

Till now her Chandigarh-based son, Mr Anil Sagar, who runs a shop in Sector 19 had no clue about the fate of his mother and sister’s family. A relief camp set up at the Bara Bazar Gurdwara in Kolkatta gave her Rs 500 and two blankets. The gurdwara helped her board an Ambala-bound train. Some co-passengers called up Mr Sagar and informed him about the fate of his mother. They asked him to receive her at Ambala.

Meanwhile, despite the tragedy the Andaman administration did not allow his sister, Mrs Poonam Arora, a schoolteacher, to leave station. She along with her husband, Kuldip, and three children Naina, Goldy and Deepka, continue to stay in Port Blair. “My son-in-law’s brother, Pal Singh, is still missing”, she disclosed.

Her son said, “ despite tall claims, nobody from the administration side gave any information or solace to the family that remained in the dark about their dear ones for many days”. It will be long before, Mrs Sagar even contemplates going back to ‘her home’, even though she has a job of a craft inspector in a school.



Vivekananda’s birth anniversary celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Students of Government College, Sector 11, organised a function on National Youth Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

The Principal of the college, Mr Pahlad Aggarwal, released a news letter entitled, “Swami Vivekananda and Youth”. Mr Aggarwal urged the students to utilise their potential to the maximum and key to unlock it was awareness. He also asked the students to imbibe the qualities of discipline, courage and work diligently to uplift the country.

A cultural programme was organised by Bachelor of Physical Education students to celebrate Lohri. Mrs Aparna Kaushal compered the programme. Earlier Prof Bhupinder Singh welcomed the chief guest.

A paper-reading contest was also organised. The results of the contest are: Sukeshi Bhalla of MA I (English) 1, Rajneesh of BA III 2 and Mani Aggarwal 3.



Tributes paid to Swami Vivekanand
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology organised a function to remember Swami Vivekanand on his 143rd birthday. Students and staff of the college paid tributes to Swamiji.

Mr Manmohan Garg, CEO of the institute said teachings of Swamiji was still relevant though he left the world 143 years ago. Dr C.S. Rao, Director-Principal of the institute, termed service to fellow human as service to God.

Mr Desh Raj Thakral, Mr Anshu Kataria, Dr R.K. Gupta also spoke.



Social get-together held for serving, retired officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
A wreath-laying ceremony and a social get-together for serving and retired officers marked the Air Defence Artillery (ADA) at Chandimandir Military Station, near here, on Monday. Head of the ADA Branch at Headquarters Western Command, Major-Gen Sunil Kumar Sinha, laid a wreath on behalf of all ranks of the corps at the Veer Smriti war memorial to commemorate the supreme sacrifice made by the ADA personnel.

Air Defence Artillery today is equipped with sophisticated weapon systems and supporting infrastructure in consonance with its motto "Akashe Shatrun Jahi", meaning destruction of the air enemy.

Rapid advancement of air power has brought the ADA to the centerstage for dominating the battlefield. ADA units have participated with distinction in 1965 and 1971 wars and Operation Vijay in 1999 as well as in counter-insurgency operations.



Workshop on crime against women held
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 12
The recognition of gender rights and sensitivities among police personnel has emerged as a major concern of community policing initiative in Punjab. This concern has been directed towards institutionalising a gender-just approach in checking atrocities against women, including eve-teasing, molestation, rape and domestic violence. Another form which has acquired alarming proportion is increasing incidents of female feticide in the state.

These issues were discussed during a workshop organised by the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC) here today in collaboration with the women cell of the Mohali Police. The workshop was attended by representatives of community, police personnel in the women cell and members of NGOs.

Mr Rakesh Agarwal, SP, Mohali, emphasised on the need to make police personnel gender sensitive so as to enable them to address not only extreme forms of gender violence but also incorporate gender procedures and policies into law enforcement.

He also highlighted the need for providing skills to police personnel to deal with women victims of violence. Stating that gender sensitisation was being carried out in a sustained manner through the Community Police Resource Centres (CPRCs) by sensitising both community and the police and also upgrading their skills.

He elaborated on the framework of building partnership with community and government departments and CPRCs.

Dr Rainuka Dagar, Head, Gender Studies Unit, IDC, said gender pertained to factors of gender differentials rather than being actor based where males were targeted for crime against women or women held responsible for perpetrating violence against themselves.

Ms Sangeeta Puri, Mr Harsh Chopra and Mr Ramanjeet Kapoor stressed on making gender injustice more visible and provided information about women’s legal rights and the role women cell could play in combating gender injustice.



PU employees submit memo to Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Administrative and teaching work remained paralysed on the Panjab University campus today with teaching and non-teaching employees proceeding on mass casual leave to participate in protest to press for the implementation of pension scheme.

The employees, raising slogans for pension, marched from the campus, passing through Sectors 15 and 16 and converged at the Matka chowk on a call given by the joint action committee of various university associations.

At the rally, various speakers, including the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, a former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, the Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, councillors and senators, advocated the cause of the employees and assured them of their help in this regard.

A delegation, comprising Dr Ronki Ram, Prof Anirudh Joshi and Dr R.K. Sharma, submitted a memorandum to the Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd). They apprised him of the status of the pension scheme and demanded its early implementation.

Inaugurated: Alumni House was inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Prof K.N. Pathak, in Sector 25 on Wednesday. It was constructed at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore.

However, funds for its construction were collected by charging Rs 10 from students in all colleges and various departments of the university. Of this, 20 per cent has been used to fund scholarships to students for academic excellence, while the rest of it goes towards the funds for the house.



Disabled children national asset: Mrs Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Every child, deaf and dumb, mentally or physically challenged is potentially a national asset to society and should not to be seen as a liability. Once carefully nurtured and given proper guidance and vocational training these children can become self-reliant and good citizens of the society, remarked Mrs Jean Rodrigues, wife of UT Administrator, during her visit to Jai Durga Deaf and Handicapped Children Welfare Centre, Sector 27, and Nari Niketan, Sector 26, here last evening.

There can be nothing more noble and wonderful than the spirit of service with compassion and love to the disabled and abandoned children, she opined. Mrs Rodrigues evinced keen interest in the activities at the institutions and interacted with children.

Dr P.D. Gautam, who runs the welfare centre for physically challenged children, told Mrs Rodrigues that the institution had so far helped thousands of children and more than 600 children had been earning their livelihood through various vocations.

These children are not only from Chandigarh and Punjab but also from different parts of the country, he added.

Director, Social Welfare, Gurdip Singh, who accompanied Mrs Rodrigues, briefed her about the activities of the institutions being run under the aegis of the Chandigarh Administration and private NGOs.



Punwire staff hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
A rally was organised by employees of Punjab Wireless Systems in Sector 17 today to protest against the indifferent attitude of the government towards their demands, particularly the revival of the company.

Former women employees of the company said nearly 1,251 employees and their families were deprived of livelihood due to manipulated closure of the company resulting from embezzlement by the top management/bureaucrats under the direct patronage of the Akali/BJP government. They alleged that the then Badal government and PSIDC had shown complete indifference to the fate of the employees and took no steps to prevent its closure. The company had orders worth Rs 70 crore from the Indian Army and Rs 80 crore from other Central government departments at the time of its closure.

The employees said that even former Punjab Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder has been constantly giving promises for its revival. But he too has not kept his word. The same goes for Ms lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the Chief Minister, who had also assured the revival of the company. But to no avail. They campaigned for Congress leaders in Kharar to Lambi during the poll.

The employees have been without salaries for the past three years, said Veer Kaur. Due to tension caused by financial stress, 29 employees have died during this period.

Later, the employees marched to the Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor S.F. Rodrigues. President of the Union, Shahid Ahmed has sought the intervention of the state government for the revival of the blue chip company. Their demands include alternating jobs to employees in other government undertaking departments, if it was not possible to revive Punwire and VRS package for those employees who are not adjusted in other government undertakings and departments.



Aid for tsunami hit
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
The president, Mr C.B. Goel, HMT Ancillary Entrepreneurs Association, Panchkula along with R K Bhardwaj, General Secretary, and C.L. Bansal Finance Secretary, handed over the cheque of Rs one lakh for the tsunami victims to DC, Panchkula, Ms Neelam P. Kansi. This amount has been collected from members of the association.



PUDA GM’s gesture to tsunami-hit
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 12
General Manager of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), Hardev Singh, has extended Rs 1.51 lakh help for the tsunami-affected people.

Two demand drafts of Rs 1 lakh and another for Rs 51,000 in the name of “The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund” were given to the Chief Administrator, PUDA.

Mr Hardev Singh said that he had collected money from relatives and friends, apart from personal contribution of Rs 21,000.



Stolen vehicle recovered from Uttar Pradesh
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
The local police claims to have recovered a Bolero (HR-13-B-0055) belonging to Mr Birmani of Sector 10 which was stolen from the city on January 2. The vehicle was recovered from three persons in Farukhabad district in Uttar Pradesh.

The SHO of the Sector 3 police station, Mr Biswa Lal, said they received a message from the Farukhabad police that it had arrested three persons, Randhir Singh of Hisar, Rajiv Kumar of Etta district and Surinder Kumar of Farukhabad district in Uttar Pradesh, with a Bolero jeep. They found after inspecting the documents that the vehicle belonged to a city resident.

The SHO said the police had approached a local court to procure production warrants for the accused to bring them to the city.


Mr Sunil Singhal, a resident of Sector 19, has filed a complaint with the police that medicines and more than Rs 1,000 were stolen from his shop, Sagar Chemist, in the same sector. He said when he came to his shop in the morning, he noticed that the locks of his shop were broken. He informed the police. Mr Singhal, who is a wholesale dealer, said medicines worth Rs 4 lakh were stolen, the police said. A case of theft was registered at the Sector 19 police station.

Car stolen

A Sub-Inspector of the Punjab police, Mr Bhupinder Singh, who is a resident of Puran Road, Police Colony, Jalandhar cantonment, has filed a complaint with the police that his Maruti car (PB-08-AMT-0184) was stolen from the back side of Punjab Police Headquarters, Sector 9, on Monday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 3 police station.


Mr Gursimran Singh Bhullar has filed a complaint with the police alleging that Krishan and two or three other persons assaulted him in Phase II, Industrial Area, on Tuesday. The SHO of the Sector 31 police station, Mr Kewal Krishan, said an altercation took place between the two parties as the complainant, who was allegedly driving his vehicle rashly, could have hit the vehicle of the other party. Mr Bhullar told the police that the accident was averted and he apologised to other party, but they did not listen to his pleas and started beating him up.

A case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 31 police station.

In another incident, Mr Kharaiti Lal of Sector 25-D reported to the police that his brother Azad assaulted him and inflicted injuries on him. The police said there was an old feud between the two bothers. A case under Sections 325 and 34 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 11 police station.



Woman hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
Nirmala Devi (53), a resident of Dharua village, suffered injuries when an unidentified vehicle hit her near the Housing Board light point in Mani Majra today afternoon. Her arm got fractured in the accident. Her misery did not end there. She was not attended to by cops, who were on duty at the lights point, and later at a hospital by doctors after the police failed to explain what had happened to her.

Nirmala Devi, who was admitted to the General hospital, said the traffic police personnel, who were on duty, did not bother to help her. Two rickshaw pullers, who were passing by, helped her to get up. They later called the PCR, which took her to the hospital. The cops after dropping her at the hospital went away. Nirmala Devi then contacted her younger son, Gopal Krishan, on phone. The police told Gopal that they don’t know what happened to his mother. However, my mother kept on saying that she was hit by a vehicle, said Nirmala Devi’s elder son, Manjit Kumar.

The doctors told Gopal that they would only admit her if he gives in writing that it was not a medico-legal case. Mr Manjit Kumar said it was only after a lot of persuation that the police admitted that it was a case of accident. The accident took place at 11.30 am and at 3.45 pm an ASI from Mani Majra police station came to the hospital to record her statement. Meanwhile, doctors plastered the arm of Ms Nirmala Devi. In the evening a case was registered against the driver of an unknown vehicle under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.



Goods, Rs 20,000 stolen
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 12
Goods and rupees 20,000 in cash were stolen from a house in Sector 69 here today. The home belongs to Mr Harbhajan Singh an employee of Cooperative Bank of Haryana here.

Mr Harbhajan Singh had left for Morinda with his wife and son yesterday morning. When he returned today he found his house burgled.

The police is yet to register a case.

Police raid

The Mohali police today raided various places in Bassi Pathana to look for accused Gurpal Singh who is wanted in a cheating case here. The accused had allegedly cheated Shashi Rajpoot, a Mohali resident. He reportedly told the complainant that he was the public relation officer of Maharani Preneet Kaur and would be able to organise immigration for the complainant.



2 showrooms burgled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 12
Two showrooms in Sector 12-A here were burgled last night. The thieves broke the locks of the shutters and decamped with goods and cash worth 30,000. They had managed to break the locks of another shop but before they could enter into it a jhuggi-dweller spotted them and they fled from the scene.

The owner of Aggarwal sweets said Rs 5,000 had been stolen from his shop while the owner of Haryana Trading Company reported that the thieves had taken away his cash box containing Rs 20,000 and cigarettes and eatables worth Rs 5,000.

Sources in the police said it seemed that while the thieves were opening the shutters of Milan Emporium, a clothes shop, they were spotted by a woman, staying in a jhuggi near the showrooms. Noticing suspicious movements around the showroom, she called her husband.

Alerted by the call, the thieves fled from the spot.

The police found an empty cash box near the showrooms. Few visiting cards were also found along side it. A case has been registered.



Hutch's another first

Chandigarh, January 12
Hutch, cellular service provider, on Tuesday announced the launching in Punjab of Scheduled Messaging Service. This service helps pre-set, your text messages in advance, so that you do not forget sending important messages. This was announced today by Arun Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, Punjab, Hutch.

SHARP SHOWROOM: Showroom ‘Sharp’ opened in Sector 8 on Tuesday. It will showcase digital multifunction devices, facsimiles and multimedia projectors.

LEATHER GOODS: The ‘Gads’ a showroom, of leather goods has opened in Sector 7. It showcases products of leather including ladies purses, bags, wallets, bags, leather garments, footwear, mobile holders and other goods. OC


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