C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI gets ST concession
Saving of Rs 3 cr to be used for patients’ welfare
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Thousands of patients visiting the PGI can now expect better infrastructure and medical facilities following a decision by the Chandigarh Administration to re-include the PGI in the list of institutions that get sales tax concession. The PGI will save around Rs 3 crore annually following the decision.

It is learnt that the PGI plans to spend a large chunk of this money on ensuring better patient care. PGI officials pointed out that the money might be used for anything that was required for patients. This might mean purchasing new beds, linen or expenditure for improving cleanliness in the institution and maintenance of machines.

The Administration has taken a view that the money saved by the PGI will be used for humanitarian causes.

The Administration had withdrawn sales tax concession to the PGI since July, 2000. Prior to this, it was getting the sales tax concession. The Administration, acting on the request of the PGI, has carried out the requisite amendment to provisions regarding grant of sales tax concession. A decision in this regard was taken last week.

Such concession is available to all other government hospitals, whereas the PGI was being asked to pay around 8.8 per cent sales tax on every purchase of medicine and machines. Now, after the concession is given, the PGI’s tax liability comes down to half of the 8.8. per cent.

Each sophisticated machine cost crores and payments in the past four years on account of sales tax was in crores, sources said.

Since its inception, the PGI had enjoyed sales tax exemption like all government hospitals. However, in July, 2000, the Administration, which follows the Punjab pattern, issued a notification for exemption from sales tax for various medical institutes. Since Punjab had left out the PGI, officials at Chandigarh also issued a verbatim notification, leaving the PGI out of the list of exempted hospitals.

The PGI authorities had pointed out that this seemed to be the result of an oversight. When the PGI was established, Chandigarh was not a Union Territory and the rules and notifications of Punjab applied to it also. In 2000, when Punjab issued fresh notification, the PGI was left out as Punjab did not enjoy territorial jurisdiction over the PGI.



Annual conference of psychiatrists concludes
Tribune News Service

Delegates return after attending the 57th annual conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society at the PGI on Tuesday.
Delegates return after attending the 57th annual conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society at the PGI on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 1
The four-day Annual National Conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society (ANCIPS) concluded at the PGI here today.

A theme symposium on the “Integration of molecules and milieu” was held where Dr R. Srinivas Murthy spoke on the linkage between the emerging research trends in the biological sciences with research relating to child development, drug abuse, impact of disasters on mental health and resilience to stress.

Dr Sridhar Sharma spoke on the “Mind, molecule and behaviour” and focused on the relationships among the three. Dr Parminder Sachdeva elaborated on the “Gene-environment interaction and the making of the human mind.”

Dr B.S. Chavan of the GMCH, Sector 32 coordinated the session for the family of those suffering from mental illness.

Dr Shobha from Bangladesh, Dr Haroon Rashid and Dr Khalid from Pakistan and Dr J.K. Trivedi, from India, also shared their experiences.



SAARC psychiatrists to share resources
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
To address the regional problems associated with mental illness and rehabilitation in an effective manner , psychiatrists of the Indian sub-continent have decided to share resources and cooperate under the recently formed SAARC Psychiatric Federation (SPF).

Speaking to the media persons here on the concluding day of the 57th Annual National Conference of Indian Psychiatric Society (ANCIPS) at the PGI, the President of the SPF, Dr Abdul Malik Achakzai, who is also President of the Pakistan Psychiatric Association, said that the SAARC association would help the psychiatrists from the sub-continent to present their views at the international forums in an impressive way. Moreover, the close working of the psychiatrists in the seven SAARC nations, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Maldives, will help in tackling the region-specific mental illnesses better.

"We will also be able to concentrate on our region-specific problems in a more efficient manner. For instance, the mental disorder like hysteria are more common in our countries rather than in western countries. If we work together we will be able to share our knowledge on dealing with these diseases,'' said Dr Achakzai.

While India has more qualified psychiatrists and resources at its disposal, the experts highlighted that Pakistan had a better community based rehabilitation system and Sri Lanka is managing the burden of its mental illness very efficiently by merely 55 qualified psychiatrists. ``We all have something to learn from everyone. An excellent example of the rehabilitation centre is at the Rehab Centre, Lahore, which can be followed by the other countries,'' said Dr Haroon Rashid Chaudhary, the Adviser of the SPF from Pakistan.

The experts said that under SPF, which was formed in September, 2004, the exchange programmes of the psychiatrists would be organised to update their knowledge. Due to cultural similarities of the seven nations, the Association would be able to provide solution to the countries for disease management. SPF will meet in December this year at Agra, before holding a meeting in Quetta in Pakistan in August, 2006. Dr Khalid Mufti from Pakistan is the General Secretary of the association, while Dr Roy Abraham Kallivayalil from Kerala is the Adviser.



Akademi award a pleasant surprise for Swadesh Deepak
Nirupama Dutt

Swadesh DeepakThere are times when page one of a newspaper brings happy tidings and so it is on the first sunny day of February with the announcement that the acclaimed fiction writer and playwright Swadesh Deepak figuring in the awardees' list of the National Sangeet Natak Akademi.

The famed Ambala-based playwright, who has caused many ripples in his literary career, said: "The award has come as a surprise, for basically I am a fiction writer. But I must say that it is a pleasant surprise, for a writer of Punjabi origins has made a place in the highly competitive field of Hindi drama."

Sitting in his Mall Road home, Deepak has been receiving telephone calls from his friends and admirers all day. Congratulatory messages have come from fiction writer Nirmal Verma, poet Saumitra Mohan, his former publisher Sheela Sandhu, theatre persons Kamal Tewari, Milkhi Ram Dhiman and others.

"But what has made me very happy are telephone calls from unknown people. I got a call from someone in Bareilly who told me that he had seen 'Court Martial' many times and had still not tired of it."

'Court Martial', a play addressing caste prejudice within the cadres of the Army, written by Deepak some 15 years ago, had made history of sorts. It was translated into 12 Indian languages, including English, and has run into 2000 shows. Among the directors who have staged this play are Ranjit Kapur, Usha Ganguly, Arvind Gaur, Amla Roya and Kewal Dhaliwal. Besides, Deepak has penned eight collections of short stories, two novels and four more plays, including 'Debashishu', 'Jalta Hua Rath', 'Sabse Udas Kavita' and 'Kaal Kothri'. He is a recipient of several other awards for his writings, including the 'Soordas Samman' from Haryana and the Punjab Languages Department award.

The writer also went through a dark phase of mental depression for many years in which he attempted to take his life thrice. However, he recovered to write very moving memoirs of madness called 'Maine Mandu Nahi Dekha'. Now he is working on his sixth play called 'Judgement'. "This play focuses on gender issues and how woman is treated no better than a commodity," says Deepak. With this award Deepak joins the ranks of playwrights like Mohan Rakesh, Surendra Verma and Vijay Tendulkar. Taking the award in his stride he says: "I had written this play 15 years ago. Perhaps they were waiting for me to be 60 before giving me this honour," he says with a laugh.



First-of-its-kind home for mentally sick soon
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
In what may come as a much-needed respite to mentally ill persons in the city, a Half way Home is going to come up here providing shelter to such persons.

Initially approved by the UT administration to accommodate 20 patients, the Half way Home is going to come up in Sector 47.

The Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, will manage the home, which is to become a reality with the active participation of the association of parents of the mentally ill — Pratayan.

In addition to the home, a residential care centre for the mentally challenged persons has also been approved in Sector 32 in which 30 persons will be accommodated.

The Head of the Department of Psychiatry, Dr B. S. Chavan, told The Tribune that the drawings for the construction of the first-of-its- kind Half way Home had already been approved and the tenders for construction had been floated.

"The needy mentally ill patients, both male and female, will be chosen so that the residential accommodation can be provided to them,'' said Dr Chavan.

A Half way Home was much needed in the city in which around 3 per cent of the residents are affected with some mental illness but there is no single residential centre for the such persons.

In the absence of any strong community care system many of the mentally ill are destitutes with no one to take care of them.

Meanwhile, the unutilised crčche in the Government Model School, Sector 32, will be converted into a residential home for 30 mentally challenged persons.

“While the Sector 47 home will be for the patients of the mental illness, which is treatable, the Sector 32 residential centre will be for the mentally challenged persons who have the disease since birth and have always been dependent on their families," said Dr Chavan.

"For such mentally challenged persons, our department has proposed the administration to allow us to use the unutilised creche in the school. The proposal has been approved and this centre should be ready in a few months,'' added Dr Chavan.

The centre will not only accommodate the challenged persons on a long-term basis, but will also accept those patients who are otherwise living with their families and need to be kept away from them for a few days.



Another milestone for Sufi singer
SD Sharma

Singing and eulogizing qalaams of Sufi saints replete with the spiritual and ethical content and the traditional folklore of Punjab, Hans Raj Hans, a village lad of Shaifipur in Jallandhar, has over the years won worldwide recognition as the 'Legendary mystic of Sufiana and Punjabi folklore'. Veritably honoured with the coveted ' National Sangeet Natak Academy award for folk music of Punjab' for the year 2004, Hans was more serene and humble at a meeting organized by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy today.

'It is the bliss of Almighty and love and blessings of music aficionados which has brought this prestigious honour for a humble man like me.' Commented the versatile singer.

'Inspired life is the virtue absolute all else is immaterial' Hans said while sharing about his passion for Sufiana poetry. ' It cools, satiates and nourishes the soul which vibrates alone with a pure passion above the hushed mind'. He claims to have experienced the trance of an unusual delight many a times. Besides the well-known Sufi poets and traditional folk artists he feels highly impressed by poetic profundity of Hashmat Khan, Pathaane Khan and Agwan Khan the 'sufi darvesh' who submerged in devotion used to sing and dance in oblivion with his 'ek tara' unmindful of the crowd .

Widely travelled and rightfully honored Hans had been in the tutelage of Ustad Puran Shahkoti and reveres him as a celestial musician. On his advice Hans has done extensive research on the works and teachings of Sufi saints which invariably had embellished his knowledge and singing potential.

Credited with over 15 most popular albums including 'Jogian de Kanna bich..' Kook Papihe awli and Ishaq di galli' purely in Sufian qalams, which are close to his heart he has also recorded for some films as well. Like all folk numbers his film songs like 'Dil Tote Tote hogya in Bichhu Kache Dhagge and 'Mehdi Shagna di' ( in which he played hero) too earned popularity.

Hans is equally popular as a sufi, folk and Punjabi pop singer in the USA, Canada, European and Middle East countries, Australia and Singapore.

A proponent of the message of universal peace and harmony through the renditions of sufi mystics Hans reiterates his resolve " I wish to create something beautiful and inspiring from where thoughts of good and love may spread all over the world."



Unravelling mysteries of moon his mission
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

V Adimurthy
V Adimurthy

Chandigarh, February 1
Mr V Adimurthy is smitten by the moon as also by "Chandrayan I", India's mission to the moon slated for 2007. Deputy Director (Aeronautics), Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation, Thiruvanthapuram, Mr Adimurthy, says this mission is all about unravelling mysteries of the moon, unfolding this lunar enigma which has had many a scientists cudgeling their brains.

In the city for the Kalpana Chawla Memorial Foundation seminar, organised on astronaut Kalpana Chawla's second death anniversary at Punjab Engineering College, here today, he said that the mission had a scientific objective with focus on mineralogical and photographic analysis.

Speaking to The Tribune, Mr Adimurthy stated, "We know very little about the moon. What we don't know so far is important and of interest to us. This explains the renewing global interest in the moon. A number of countries are on the job and plans are being made."

Categorically dismissing the idea that life on Moon was possible since it had no atmosphere, Mr Adimurthy held that the return to the Moon was important to explore the possibility of water on its surface.

"Satellite pictures have indicated that the moon has large resources of water in the polar regions. This still has to be verified. Also, we have to check for presence of helium on the Moon. Since helium is scarce on earth and we suspect that it is present in abundance on Moon, we can hope to tap it as a resource for the future," Mr Adimurthy explained.

Maintaining that helium held promise as a profitable resource, he said it could be used for power generation. "We are already working on tapping helium as our next energy resource. The technology would mature in a few decades, solving our problem of a shrinking resource base," he held.

Commenting on the on-going research to predict disasters, Mr Adimurthy remarked, "We have INSAT satellites in place to predict cyclones but never believed that a disaster of the magnitude of tsunami would ever occur.

Now that it has, India will develop relevant systems to predict these. Research is on in this direction. "

He also stressed on the need for local prediction models for the exact weather conditions.



Industrial land owners allowed to construct parks, multiplexes
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Components of land use allowed on fresh allotments/ pre-existing industrial plots for setting up of IT/agro/ industrial parks in Punjab:

Minimum area 10 acres required :

Industrial: 60 per cent (65 per cent of which is saleable)

Residential: 30 per cent (60 per cent of which is saleable)

Commercial: 10 per cent (40 per cent of which is saleable)

Mohali, February 1
The Punjab Government has allowed industrial land owners in the state to use parts of their land for setting up of industrial, agro, IT parks and multiplexes. Some components of these parks would have also been allowed to be put to commercial and residential usage.

Stating that an agenda item to this affect was approved by the Punjab Cabinet yesterday, the Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, Mr S.C. Agarwal, added that a new policy for fresh allotment of land in the state for these parks had also been cleared by the Cabinet.

According to the policy for fresh allotments, a minimum of 10 acres of land would be allotted for industrial, IT and agro parks. The land would be allotted either through auction or any other form of competitive bidding. The allottee would use 60 per cent of this land as industrial, while 30 per cent of the area can be developed as residential and 10 per cent as commercial. The allottee would have to, however, shell out conversion fee for the area that he would put to commercial and residential use. Out of the various pockets, the developer would be allowed to further sell 65 per cent of the industrial pocket, 60 per cent of the residential pocket and 40 per cent of the commercial pocket.

Conversion of the existing industrial land or plots for setting up of industrial, agro and IT park on a minimum 10 acres of land would be allowed only in cases where the industry was established on the concerned plot and remained in production for at least 5 years. However, this condition has been relaxed in cases of industries that commenced production but was closed down due to a court order or were declared sick by BIFR.

The industrialists would have to pay a heavy conversion fee for the change in land use. Interestingly, however, in cases where the industrial land had been originally acquired by the entrepreneur through private negotiations, no conversion fee would be charged from the industrial land owner.

The government has also allowed the allottee the option to surrender 50 per cent of the land free of cost to the Industries Department or the authority that originally allotted the land in lieu of the conversion fee.

The component of land use as industrial, commercial and residential would be the same as in the case of a fresh allotment for such parks.

For construction of multiplexes on these industrial plots, the government has allowed to grant permission to change land use upto 3 acres with the minimum land required fixed at 4000 square yards. The rest of the land can be used by the industrialist for the setting up of a non-polluting and non-hazardous industry. The allottee would in these cases, too, pay land use conversion charges to the department concerned. The industrialists in these case, too, would have the option to surrender a part of this land to the department that allotted the land.

A policy to define fresh allotment of land for multiplexes in the state was still being finalised, sources ion the Department of Industries and Commerce stated.



Passing Thru

Is schizophrenia a genetic disorder, as has been recently propounded?

Not at all. Schizophrenia occurs due to certain life circumstances among people who could be genetically more suspectible to acquire this serious mental disorder. Neither is the disorder culturally or geographically specific.

How does culture help in curing the disease?

Schizophrenia is curable and majority of the patients are able to lead a reasonably normal life even while suffering from it. Interestingly, in countries like India, the disease can be cured in a better way than European and American nations because here people live a more cohesive and socially bonded life.

Is there any big difficulty in detecting this disease?

The detection and recognition of this disease is better abroad than in India. This is for two reasons. The first being that the social stigma attached to a mental disorder here is so overwhelming that many families try to keep the problem under wraps. The disorder is not recognised even when it is detected. Secondly, the number of psychiatrists in India is small as compared to the population.

Have you been educated in Chandigarh?

I did MBBS from Jammu, but I did my post-graduation from the PGI. Now I am a senior lecturer at St. George’s Hospital and Medical School, University of London.

— Chitleen K Sethi



Cong city chief working for BJP, alleges market panel chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Chairman of the Market Committee Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a Pawan Bansal loyalist, created a flutter today as he shot off a letter to the president of the local unit of the Congress, Mr B.B. Bahl, alleging that he was “working in consonance with the local unit of the BJP”.

Mr Badheri, a Congress man who is considered a heavyweight in the local circles, is surrounded by a controversy as the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, has sought his explanation for the alleged misuse of his official vehicle and for collecting money for Congress Bhavan. Mr Badheri’s letter is in reaction to Mr Bahl’s decision to set up an in-house committee to inquire into these allegations.

Questioning Mr Bahl’s wisdom in setting up the committee Mr Badheri said, “I am amused to learn from the media about the committee.” He has further pointed a finger at Mr Bahl saying that “I am bemused to be told that you have turned a champion of probity in public life when we face embarrassing questions from persons about the funds collected for the construction of the Congress Bhavan in Sector 35, Chandigarh, and your role in the last Lok Sabha elections when in your own words BJP had offered you Rs 5 crore to work against the Congress candidate, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal.”

Since you have formed the committee without considering it fit to speak to me about the matter, it reinforces my belief about your working in consonance with the local BJP leaders who also held a press conference at the same time as you issued the press note demanding registration of a criminal case against me, alleged Mr Badheri.

Raising questions on the composition of the committee, Mr Badheri added “it leaves nothing to imagination about your intentions because Mr Chander Mukti Sharma and Mr Sunil Parti, both members of the committee, have sharp differences with me for personal reasons.” He has also declined to submit himself to the proceedings of this committee and said the matter should have been referred to the disciplinary committee under the constitution of the Indian National Congress.

He added that this in-house Congress committee could not summon or have access to official records. However, Mr Badheri adds, “I have on my own demanded a CBI enquiry into the matter because the period for which it has been alleged that the chairman of the market committee had collected Rs 1,000 each from traders but issued receipts for Rs 100 does not relate to my tenure as chairman of the committee.”



Admn, MC employees stage protest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 1
Hundreds of employees of various departments of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) today organised a rally at Matka Chowk in support of their demands.

Addressing the rally, Mr Basudeb Acharya, group leader of CPM in the Lok Sabha, said the main demands of the employees would be taken up in the Budget session of Parliament. Among other things, the employees are demanding that the staff transferred by the Administration to the corporation should be treated on deputation.

Commending the coordination committee for its fight for the cause of the workers, Mr Acharya alleged that the previous NDA government betrayed the cause of the employees and workers. They were transferred to the corporation by not implementing their decision to treat them on deputation even after making announcement of acceptance of this demand in Parliament in December 1998.

He assured the employees that the committee would continue its struggle till the demands were accepted.

The local MP, Mr Pawan Basnal, claimed that he had already recommended to the Central Government to release bonus of the UT staff.

The Congress had been supporting the demand for the regularisation of services of ad hoc workers from time to time, he added.

Mr Rakesh Kumar, convener of the UT and MCC employees coordination committee, alleged that the Administration had failed to implement the demands despite court orders.

Prof Balwant Singh and Mr Raghunath Singh, president and secretary, respectively, of the Centre of India Trade Unions (CITU), Punjab and Chandigarh, also addressed the rally. Both the leaders deplored the Administration for not accepting the demands.



PSHRC comes to the rescue of senior citizen
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has come to the rescue of a senior citizen who is a resident of Sector 33 here.

Taking cognisance of alleged false implication of Mr Nirmal Singh Nat in a case by the Ludhiana police, the commission has called for a report from the Home Department of the Punjab Government by February 28 and adjourned the case till March 3.

The commission also issued interim directions to the state government and the local police that the complainant was not harassed unnecessarily.

A retired Superintending Engineer (SE) of the Punjab Government, Mr Nat, in his complaint to the PSHRC, alleged that he was implicated in a false case on the complaint of Mr Nirvar Singh, a resident of Ludhiana on July 12 last year.

According to the complaint, Mr Nirvar Singh tills the land of Mr Jasjit Singh, an NRI, in Kakowal village of Ludhiana district. Mr Jasjit Singh allegedly has a property dispute with his brother, Mr Parminder Singh, also known as Pinky, who is also an NRI and the main accused in the case.

Pleading innocent, Mr Nat alleged that a Ludhiana police party came to his house in Sector 33 here on July 15, 2004, and took away his passport without giving any receipt. He was also allegedly made to sign certain papers written in Punjabi.

On October 7 last, he applied for exemption from personal appearance in the Ludhiana court and it had not been granted till date. It is surprising, the complaint alleged, that the main accused, Pinky, got exemption from the court immediately and proceeded to the USA.

Mr Nat had already urged the Punjab Chief Minister, the Director-General of Police, the Inspector-General of Police, Chandigarh, and the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, for an inquiry into the case. However, nothing had been done so far, the complainant alleged.



Strike worker’s fundamental right, says CPM leader
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The leader of the CPM in the Lok Sabha, Mr Basudev Acharya, today asserted that the strike was the fundamental right of the working class in a democracy. He was referring to the recent Supreme Court order on strikes.

“The SC cannot snatch this right from the workers under any circumstances. In fact, strike was the last resort of the employees after the peaceful means to get the genuine demands are exhausted,” Mr Acharya said.

Mr Acharya, who was here to address a rally of the UT employees here, came down heavily on the alleged defiance of the people’s mandate of the last Lok Sabha election by the UPA government. Mr Acharya said the CPM was supporting the government from outside to pressurise it to work for the common man.

The working of the UPA government is “off-track” as it was allegedly pursuing anti-people policies, leaving the working class to fend for themselves. The implementation of various policies like the issuance of a patent ordinance clearly indicated that the UPA regime was more interested in the welfare of the upper middle class and industrial houses.

Talking about the demands of the UT workers, the CPM leader stated that their demand for treating them on deputation with the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh would be taken up in the ensuing Budget session of Parliament.



Junior training centres’ conference focuses on infrastructure
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 1
A regional conference of junior training centres (JTCs) of the Northern region, comprising of Uttar Pradesh, Uttranchal, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, was held at the Regional Institute of Cooperative Management (RICM), Sector 32, here today.

The theme of the conference was the quantum of financial assistance to be given to Junior Training Centres, being run by the Union and state governments, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DOAC), Govt of India in the 10th five year plan.

The purpose was to strengthen the infrastructural facilities in these training centres in a phased manner.

The chief executives, chairmen of state cooperative unions, principal of JTCs and state cooperative institutes and regional directors and principals of RICMs in the region took part in the conference

The conference was presided over by the president, Himachal Pradesh Cooperative Federation and chairman, RICM, Chandigarh, Mr Sita Ram Chuahan.

Director-General, National Council for Cooperative Training (NCCT), New Delhi, Mr Bhagwati Prasad, secretary, NCCT, L.D. Ahuja were also present in the conference.



Reprieve for ‘powerless’ Hallo Majra villagers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Chandigarh Administration today gave reprieve to residents of Hallo Majra village whose electricity supply had been disconnected due to non-payment of bills.

A period of 15 days has been given to the contractor supplying power to the residents to clear the bills. Residents of Deep Complex, located outside the lal dora of the village, were being supplied power by a contractor under a bulk electricity supply scheme. After the contractor failed to clear the bills, running into lakhs of rupee, the supply was disconnected on January 27.

The residents of the area complained that the contractor kept on charging money from the consumers, although the same was not being deposited with the Electricity Department. The Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bhardawaj, told the Tribune that he had directed the Superintending Engineer concerned to take an undertaking from the contractor, stating that the pending amount would be cleared in 15 days.

Mr Rawat, general secretary of the Deep Complex Welfare Association, Hallo Majra, said they had met the Chief Engineer in this connection.



116th Corps Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Military Farms Department of the Army celebrated its 116th Corps Day at Western Command Headquarters in Chandimandir Cantonment, near here, today. In his message, Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P K Grover, felicitated the personnel of the department for their achievements, a statement issued here said.

Director, Military Farms, Western Command, Lieut-Col J P S Mahla congratulated the officers and staff for the commendable work done by them for achieving higher production of milk and better management of farms. He said that the Military Farms in the Command Zone were maintaining about 2,900 adult crossbred cows and supplying over 82 lakh litres of milk annually to the troops at different locations.



New GOC-in-C arrives
Tribune News Service

Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman
Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman

Chandigarh, February 1
The newly appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, arrived at Chandimandir military station, near here, this evening to take up his assignment.

He is scheduled to lay a wreath at the Veer Smriti War Memorial tomorrow and inspect a guard of honour.

He will be introduced to Principal Staff Officer of the command and will be briefed on various operational, training and administrative matters pertaining to the command.

Accompanied by his wife, Mrs Lakshmi Pattabhiraman, he drove down from New Delhi after relinquishing charge as the Director-General, Information Systems at Army Headquarters.



Minor fire at jail warden’s house
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 1
A small fire broke out at a house in the residential quarters of the Burail Jail last evening. The owner of the house said there was no major loss apart from some cash and articles worth Rs 25,000 gutted in the fire.

According to an officer of Sector 32 fire station, they received a call that fire had broken out at Mr Dimple Sharma’s house (number 49) around 7.27 pm.

They immediately rushed to the Burail Jail residential quarters and doused the fire within half-an-hour.

The fire officer said the owner of the house, who is jail warden, told them that the fire started from a small temple built in the house. They lit a lamp to offer prayer in the evening. Thereafter, they went out for a walk and when they came back, they noticed smoke coming out of the house.

People rushed to the house to douse the fire and called the fire brigade.



Licences of six traffic offenders to be suspended
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 1
The Chandigarh Traffic Police has recommended the suspension of licences of six habitual offenders under Section 19 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, for a period of two to three months from February 1, 2005.

The traffic police has given a list of six such offenders who were booked for various violations.

Kuldip Sharma of Sector 7-C was challaned as many as 15 times during September 3, 1998 to November 7, 2002, Sanjiv Kumar of Sector 28-C was issued nine challans during March 9, 1999 to May 9, 2003 and Parveen Kumar of Sector 37-C was issued 10 challans during March 20, 1998 to September 26, 2002.

Karamvir Singh of Sector 37-C was challaned for 17 times between December 5, 1997 and June 21, 2004 and Rajiv Sidhu of Sector 43-A was challaned for eight times during March 7, 2000 to September 24, 2002. They are disqualified for holding licenses for a period of two months.

Ankur Kapania of Sector 38 was issued 20 challans from April 3, 1997 to September 26, 2002 and he was disqualified for holding license for a period of three months.

Till date the traffic police has recommended 141 cases for action to the licensing authority out of which action has been taken against 103 offenders.



Excise raid on 4 discotheques
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Visitors to city bars and discos will have to get their names registered and will be disarmed by the private security guards before entering the same.

The bars and discos have also been asked not to serve liquor to those who already appear to be tipsy.

An Excise Department team today carried out a check on Copper Chimney in Sector 26, Aerizzona in Sector 9, Jail House in Sector 17 and Blues in Sector 34 to find out if these places were complying with the order of the District Magistrate. Their arrangements were found in accordance with the rules, an official press note said.

As per an order, the District Magistrate has asked the bar licencees to engage private security, prevent visitors and members from carrying weapons, maintain a register for recording the particulars of the visitors.



Girl falls from roof, dies

Chandigarh, February 1
Four-year-old Kajal, a resident of Daddu Majra Colony, was today killed when she fell from the roof of her house.

She was rushed to the General Hospital with multiple injuries. Her father, Harikesh, who is a contractor, told the police that they did not know when Kajal went up stairs. OC



Scorpio driver booked
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 1
The police has registered a case against the driver of a Scorpio which had rammed into a car and a motor cycle killing one and injuring two persons here yesterday.

A complaint was made to the police by Gaurav Kukreja, brother of Rajesh Kukreja, who got killed in the accident. The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338, 427 and 304 of the IPC.


The police has booked Bhupinder Singh, resident of Ferozepore village under Bassi Pathan, under the Arms Act. It is learnt that Bhupinder Singh was rounded up from near Kumbra village and was carrying an unlicenced .12 bore gun and two cartridges. He has been booked under Sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.


A resident of Phase VII, Surpreet Kaur, has complained to the police that her purse was snatched by two persons going on a scooter. The purse contained her driving licence and some cash.


Cash and jewellery was stolen from a house in Phase I here on Tuesday. It is learnt that no one was at home when the theft took place. The thieves entered from the back courtyard and broke the metal grill to enter the building. Some jewellery and cash totaling Rs 20,000 was stolen. The theft came to the notice of the house owners when they returned home. A complaint has been made to the police in this regard.



PGI clerk found dead near Dhanas jungle
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 1
A 50-year-old clerk of the PGI was found dead in a jungle near Dhanas village today.

Rikhi Ram, a clerk in the Transport Department of the PGI who resided on the PGI campus was found dead by a Forest Department watchman in the evening. Later, he informed the police, which took the body in custody. Two plastic bottles of insecticide were found near the body, which the police suspects that the victim might have consumed. A blue colour liquid was oozing out of his mouth.

The police identified the deceased by some papers found in his pockets and informed his family. His wife Brahmi Kumari identified him and told the police that her husband had not come home for the few days.

Rikhi Ram is survived by three sons — Sunil Dutt, Gurparkash and Sandeep.

The family members told the police that they had no information of the whereabouts of the victim and added that Rikhi Ram occasionally left home without informing anybody in the house. He was also stated to be undergoing depression. A cheque for Rs 1,000 was also found in his pocket, said the police.

The police said a post-mortem examination of the body would be conducted tomorrow. The police has initiated inquest proceedings at the Sector 11 police station.



40-yr-old woman crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 1
Darshana Devi (40), a cyclist, was crushed to death by a truck (HP-31-5141) at transport light point late last night.

The truck driver jumped red light signal, resulting in crushing the woman, who was crossing the road, said the police. He sped away after the accident. Darshana Devi, a resident of Pipliwala town in Mani Majra, was coming from a printing press in Sector 7 when the accident occurred.

The police said her head was crushed under the rear tyres of the truck. The victim was working in the Industrial Area in a printing press.



Three held on theft charge
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 1
The police arrested three persons on charges of stealing iron sheets.

The arrested persons have been identified as Kali Charan of Phase II, Ram Darbar, Pawan Kumar of Mauli Jagran and Sanjay of Deep Complex, Hallo Majra. The accused stolen iron sheets from a factory in Phase II, Industrial Area, on January 30.

A complaint in this regard was filed by Mr Pardeep Dhiman of Sector 12, Panchkula. A case has been registered at the Sector 31 police station. The police produced the accused in a local court today.

Mr Satan Kumar of Mani Majra has alleged that Amar of Bappu Dham Colony snatched his wallet containing cash at Mani Majra, yesterday. The accused was caught red-handed. A case under Sections 392 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.



PNB observes security awareness week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
All branches of Punjab National Bank, Chandigarh - B region, observed bank security awareness week from January 24 to January 29. During this week, mock drills were conducted in various branches to ascertain the readiness of the branches to deal with various security crises, according to an official spokesman of the bank.

Beside demonstration of security gadgets at the zonal office, a quiz competition on bank security was also organised in the PNB zonal training centre, Ludhiana.

Mr S.S. Arora, Senior Regional Manager, on whose initiative the mock drills were organised, directed the employees to maintain strict discipline. He emphasised the need of total involvement of the staff members to ensure security of cash, life, property and information.


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