C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Media tower: PM takes the middle way
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, chose to tread the middle path while dealing with the controversy arising out of the proposed media tower project launched by the Press Club here today.

The Prime Minister was to unveil a plaque of the foundation stone, but he skipped the ceremony. However, in his speech for the silver jubilee celebrations of the Press Club today, the Prime Minister praised the concept of media tower, calling it a landmark.

The Prime Minister in his speech at the Press Club said: “ By proposing to build a media tower you have given your club a larger agenda. I hope this will be yet another modern landmark in the landscape of the city, indicating its vibrant and forward-looking character.”

He went on to add “ I am sure that you will succeed in bringing about a significant change in the way media is perceived in your city.” He said he was impressed by the fact that the Press Club was aspiring to be more than just a watering hole — a meeting point of journalists.

As per the original plan the Prime Minister was to unveil a plaque of the foundation stone at the club. Last night, he was reportedly informed by the Chandigarh Administration, which owns the building of the club in Sector 27, that the latter was indulging in building-use violations and was even dissuaded from going to the function.

The club management, however, claimed this morning that a senior member met Dr Manmohan Singh and informed him that they would not like to drag him into any unnecessary controversy created by the Administration.

The media tower, is a concept plan of a new four storeyed building planned by the club to house a school of journalism, offices of media houses, sound recording facilities, conference rooms for meet-the-Press programmes.

About a week ago members of the club had met the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), seeking additional land adjoining it for the purpose. The Administrator had shot down the proposal, saying that it was not financially viable. This had irked the club members.

Meanwhile, the Administration ordered an inquiry into the allegations of sub-letting a portion of the building to a bank, and also for wrong utilisation of MPLAD funds sanctioned for building a library.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K. Rao, in his report has said that racks of book shelves have been placed in the new building constructed out of MPLAD funds and no separate enclosure has been provided for the library. He also reported the subletting of a bank from the club building.

The club management on its part has said the plans for the building were sanctioned by the Administration and termed the inquiry as a pressure tactic and even issued a press note in this regard. The club management as a retaliatory step did not invite anybody from the Administration at its function today.

Interestingly, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was present at the silver jubilee celebration, said he was all in favour of the media tower. He went to the extent of saying that “ I promise all possible help.”

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, also praised the concept of media tower. 



City turns into fortress
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
It was security all the way. Everywhere you looked, you could see cops armed with automatics and semiautomatics marching up and down the roads taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to the city. Cops on horsebacks could also be seen trotting up and down the route, maintaining vigil.

Leaving nothing to chance, the cops stopped everyone roaming on the roads under suspicious circumstances. Some were simply questioned by the men-in-khaki, others asked to establish their identity. No one was, however, rounded-up or detained by the cops, sources in the police headquarters maintained.

As the Prime Minister’s motorcade started from Punjab Raj Bhavan for the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) for attending The Tribune’s anniversary celebrations this morning, they pushed the barricades in place for blocking the link roads.

At some places, even rickshaws were used by the cops to prevent residents from commuting on the roads leading to the route taken by the Prime Minister’s motorcade.

Everytime an “official looking” white Ambassador or a Gypsy zipped down the road, some cops saluted smartly mistaking it for vehicle used by the Prime Minister’s escorts. For greeting the Prime Minister at the IT park at Kishengarh, the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), left the venue of The Tribune’s celebrations a little early.

As the convoy of cars and other vehicles, belonging to the Prime Minister’s motorcade, moved from the PGIMER towards the Sector 16 General Hospital before turning left for Sector 10, CRPF personnel gripping reverse arms stood attention, with faces turned towards the other side, in accordance with the laid down rules and conventions.

The traffic came to a standstill as the convoy rushed from Sector 10 towards Raj Bhavan before reaching the IT park via road in front of the golf course. At some places, commuters had to wait for good 10 minutes as the over-zealous cops holding wireless sets stood in their way.

Such jams were witnessed throughout the day as the Prime Minister’s motorcade rushed from one venue to another. The worst-affected were the ones travelling on the Panchkula-Chandigarh highway.

Some of them had to wait for over half-an-hour in the evening as the traffic refused to budge due to restrictions imposed by traffic cops. Passengers travelling to Delhi by the evening Shatabdi had to undergo anxious moments as a result of the jams. 



Gallantry award winners meet PM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
A delegation of the War- Decorated India met the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, at Punjab Raj Bhavan here and apprised him of the issues pertaining to the gallantry award winners.

Among those who met the Prime Minister were Brig Sant Singh, Brig N S Sandhu, Brig K S Chandpuri and Brig J P S Randhawa.

The disparity in the rates of pension and allowances being paid to over 1.6 lakh freedom fighters and those being paid to about 2,000 gallantry award winners was highlighted.

Other issues such as one-rank one-pension were also put forth.



City important for region’s growth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The visit of Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, to the city shows its importance towards economic development of the region, said Mr Krishan Goyal, Chairman, CII Chandigarh Council while sharing the CII agenda for the development of Union Territory of Chandigarh.

He said that setting up of focused Information Technology Park was one of the key suggestions of the CII during earlier interactions with the Administrator, Adviser and other key senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration. The CII had been working closely with the Chandigarh Administration on promoting Chandigarh as an ideal investment destination and was happy to note that their recommendations were being implemented. Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park would provide enhanced opportunities for employable youth of Chandigarh and adjoining areas, he added.

Mr Goyal, while elaborating growth imperatives for Chandigarh, mentioned that attracting investments was critically dependent upon the availability of adequate physical and social infrastructure, particularly physical connectivity of Chandigarh. He also quoted a CII study titled ‘Physical connectivity of Chandigarh — a suggested agenda for sustained growth’. The study entailed short-term, medium-term and long-term key recommendations for enhanced connectivity through better road, rail and air connectivity.

The CII had also organised focused seminars on promoting e-business and information security for the benefit of IT companies in the region. In addition to IT/ITES, CII had also pitched for policy measures and strategies to develop other knowledge-based industries, particularly biotechnology in Chandigarh. Since the Chandigarh Administration had already earmarked 250 acres of land for the Biotechnology Park, the CII was looking forward to working with the Administration in inviting big players for the proposed Biotechnology Park, said Mr Goyal.

The Chairman, CII Chandigarh Council, while highlighting other growth drivers of Chandigarh, said that there was a great potential in developing Chandigarh as a tourism destination. The CII had already proposed to organise a major tourism conclave in Chandigarh to highlight the strengths of the city. The city of Chandigarh was the gateway to tourism in the northern region and the CII must take pragmatic steps to market its strengths, particularly in the area of medical tourism since Chandigarh already had a strong base in terms of medical treatment, education and research, added Mr Goyal.

The CII also observed that the city should also be developed in the area of financial services, retail and logistics leading to balanced growth of Chandigarh.

Mr Goyal further said that apart from developing physical infrastructure, the need was to work on upgrading soft skills of people for overall economic development. Also there was need to improve the quality of education by continuously revamping the curriculum as per the requirements of industry. The teaching fraternity also needed to update themselves with the latest trends, he added.

While appreciating the prompt action on various fronts by the Chandigarh Administration, the CII recommended that the Administration should work on developing physical and social infrastructure simultaneously so as to accommodate future influx in the city and sustain this growth, stated the release.



Cong men take potshots at ministers as PM listens
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
While the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and almost all members of his Council of Ministers listened attentively and anxiously, certain grassroots-level leaders of the Congress gave vent to their feelings at an interaction between workers and the state government held in the presence of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, at Punjab Congress Bhavan here today.

It was the first interaction of its kind and the brain behind it was Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC). Capt Amarinder Singh, responded to what was said by the leaders, whose main complaint was difficulties they faced while approaching their ministers and MLAs.

The presidents of block-level units of the party had no hesitation in telling ministers and MLAs that they remained unavailable most of the time to party workers at the lower level once they got elected to the positions held by them. They also expressed their anger against the official administrative machinery.

Even the Prime Minister, who stayed with the party workers for over two and a half hours and also got himself photographed with many of them, responded to the anger reflected in the tone of certain block presidents. The Prime Minister said the “wall between the public and the government required to be demolished”.

The Chief Minister said he would be available whenever he was called for any meeting with block, district and other level office-bearers at the party office.

Among the block presidents who spoke at the interaction were Mr Kultar Singh from Morinda, Mr Surinder Kumar Dhingra from Dehlon, Mr Jugal Kishore from Lohian, Mr Joga Singh from Amargarh, Mr Bhagat Ram Bhanu from Balachaur and Mr Tilak Raj Sud from Saroa. Ms Krishna of the Mahila Cell, Mr Subash Grover, district president, Sangrur, Mr Hardial Kamboj, district president, Patiala, and Mr Anoop Singh from Malout also spoke.

Among the public issues raised by them were increase in the procurement price of wheat and paddy, concessions to urban areas and the Scheduled Castes on the pattern of the free power given to farmers and improving the functioning of civil hospitals, dispensaries and schools. In their own way, they took potshots at the functioning of the government in particular and ministers in general.

They emphasised that the party leaders at the lower level should be given due respect and “not be thrown in the dustbin”, as they said was being done now, after winning the elections and forming the government.

The next Assembly elections also came up for discussion. Party leaders sought the immediate announcement of a good package of concessions for the urban areas, which could play a crucial role in winning the next Assembly elections. Leaders said the urban areas were the real base of the Congress.

Earlier, Mr Dullo welcomed the Prime Minister. He sought a financial package from the Union Government to gear up the process of development in the state. He said Punjab should be given concessions on the pattern of the hill states. Punjab’s pending loans should be waived. Various sections of society, including farmers, traders, labourers, the SCs, the BCs and people living below the poverty line required to be given some sort of financial assistance.

He said the Congress would win the next elections in Punjab if the Union Government extended full support to it. Mr Dullo said the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had no agenda. He was playing “negative” politics. “Capt Amarinder Singh has succeeded in curbing corruption in the state. However, it could not be rooted out,” he added.

While addressing the party workers, Dr Manmohan Singh said the Union Government would give all financial help required to complete various development projects in the state. He said preparations for the next elections should be started immediately.

He asked the Chief Minister to prepare an Assembly segment wise list of the development works required to be done and submit it to the Planning Commission of India. He said to fulfil the energy needs of the state, the NTPC would be asked to set up a super thermal plant in Punjab.

Capt Amarinder Singh thanked the Prime Minister for agreeing to get examined the extension of the rail corridor from Delhi to Amritsar and the setting up of an international airport near Ludhiana.

All senior leaders of the party including former presidents of the Punjab Congress, present and former MPs, Mrs Ambika Soni and the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, were present at the function.



Scribes seek new wage board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Local journalists today, met the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and urged him to constitute a new wage board for all categories of employees in the newspaper industry and decried the contact system in the newspaper industry. The Prime Minister was in the city in connection with the 125th anniversary celebrations of The Tribune.

In a memorandum to Dr Manmohan Singh, The Tribune Employees’ Union led by the President, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu and the General Secretary, Mr Anil Gupta, said that several assurances about constituting a new wage board by the Union Ministry had not fructified so far.

Condemning the contract system of employment, the memorandum said it was a game-plan of the employers to deprive the employees of their legitimate rights of wages, gratuity and other fringe benefits. The union demanded that the government should amend the Working Journalists/Non-Journalists Act.

Wary of foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Indian print media, the union urged the Prime Minister to take effective steps to block the entry of foreign newspapers in India. Also, the union felt that there was an urgent need to look afresh at the state of working and service conditions in the print and electronic media.

The Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) president, Mr Vinod Kohli, said since the constitution of the last wage board in 1994, the wages of those in media had not kept pace with the rising cost of living.

The memorandum further added that the electronic media had been kept outside the purview of the wage boards.

With the coming of channels and private FM operators, there was a need to bring the employees of the electronic media under the purview of the wage board and an urgent need to constitute a media commission. 



Children’s date with PM

For Aditee and Sakshi, chosen to present bouquets to the Prime Minister and his better half, it was a special day indeed. Excited over the prospect of having a date with the top leader of the country, the girls waited for Dr Manmohan Singh’s arrival with a bated breath. Excitement, however, was overtaken by anxiety when people from the PM security team took the girls into the highly sanitised zone. At the end of the day, it was back to normalcy as all went well. The beaming girls said: “The PM smiled at us.”

Complete coverage

Not always does one witness such a heavy rush of TV channels as was witnessed during the Tribune’s 125th anniversary celebrations at PGI’s Bhargava auditorium this morning. Representatives of all channels and news organisations that matter — right from BBC to ANI — were there to cover the function, thanks to the presence of men who matter.

Rini Khanna impresses

The element of glamour was added to the celebrations by reputed anchor Rini Khanna whose spotless compering impressed one and all. Known for her clear diction and her style of presentation, Khanna was among star attractions of the day.

Parking blues

Because of the heavy rush of guests at the PGI’s Bhargava auditorium, parking became a big hassle. With parking lots in the PGI filled to the brim, people had to park their vehicles far off in the PU and walk down the distance to the PGI to attend The Tribune anniversary celebrations. The zeal to make their presence felt however drove each one of the visitors towards the venue and they braved all problems to make it.


Where the presence of the Prime Minister inspired awe among some guests, it inspired affections among some others. Eminent educationist and an old friend of Dr Manmohan Singh Dr R.P. Bambah, also a Tribune trustee, was overheard calling the PM by his first name. He said, “Manmohan ki haal hai?”. Also for Prof K.N. Pathak, PU V-C, it was time to meet his old friend and colleague Dr Manmohan Singh.

Galaxy of politicians

Highlight of the Tribune show was the galaxy of politicians who came from all over northern India. Among the VVIPs were J and K Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh, Haryana CM Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Himachal Pradesh CM Mr Virbhadra Singh. Also present was Ms Ambika Soni.

Well managed

Event manager — Maverick — took the credit for organising a disciplined function which abided by all norms the PM’s security team wanted it to. Not even once was the charm of the show mired by chaos. There was enough segregation to ensure that the flow of guests was not interrupted either at the start of the function or at its end. Mikes were in complete order, so was the seating arrangement.



Housing Board issues notices to allottees
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 24
The Housing Board, Haryana, has now turned the heat on hundreds of residents in its colonies here who are using the houses for purposes other than residential. Showcause notices are being issued in this regard.

Senior officials in the board said that the drive to check violations by allottees of Housing Board colonies was launched recently. As many as 1,757 violations across the state were found, of which 218 violations have been found in Panchkula.

Notices asking why the board should not initiate resumption proceedings against them are being issued to the violators. Over 140 allottees who have failed to clear outstanding dues, are also being taken to task.

Officials in the board said the municipal council has been asked to take action against the violators, including those who have changed the structural design of these houses without approval. The MC has been asked to demolish all encroachments by the allottees and keep regular checks.



IOC manager caught taking Rs 2 lakh bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Indian Oil Corporation senior terminal manager Sunil Kumar Bisht was allegedly caught “red-handed” by the CBI Chandigarh branch while accepting Rs 2 lakh from an Ambala-based transporter.

A CBI spokesman said complainant Jasvinder Singh had earlier alleged that the manager was demanding money for deploying his two tankers for the transportation of petrol, diesel and oil to different destinations in the northern region.

Acting on the transporter’s complaint, the CBI’s anti-corruption branch carried out the operation and managed to nab the accused manager in the act, the spokesman said.



Labourer killed, 3 hurt in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
A labourer was killed and three others injured in two road accidents during the past 24 hours. The injured included two pedestrians.

The labourer, was laying road in front of the Sector 42 Government College for Girls, when the mishap occurred. He was rushed to the PGI with serious injuries this afternoon, but was declared brought dead.

Sources in the Chandigarh Police said the deceased had been identified as Veera Mathu of Sector 30. One of the injured, Banwari, was battling for life at the PGIMER.

They said the car driver, Parveen Sodhi of Mohali, was arrested on the allegation of causing death due to rash driving and other offences under Section 304-A of the (IPC). As the offences were bailable, he got bail.

The sources added that it seemed that the labourers had stepped in the car’s path while working on the project.

In another accident, Jaspal Singh of Ropar district and his father Dwarika were admitted to the PGI after being hit by a motorcycle at Maloya Colony.



Colonisers woo buyers with ‘best deals’
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 24
It has never been this good for those who are looking for a dream home. Over 15 colonies in and around Chandigarh are offering "best deals" for residential plots and flats to consumers. There is a plethora of choices and even skyhigh rates are not keeping buyers away.

Other than young couples who have shifted to Chandigarh and Mohali for jobs, those who are buying these houses include government servants who live in official accommodations in the city. "Defence officers and many residents of Jammu and Kashmir are buying houses to live in Chandigarh's outskirts", said Capt R.K. Isadass of Prakriti Estates, a Panchkula-based real estate consultant. "Many persons are also buying these for investment. The rates are increasing by the day and people have minted money through re-sales," he said.

There are other reasons for houses and plots selling like hot cakes in these areas. "People prefer to buy outside Chandigarh since the housing board and society flats available in Chandigarh are non-transferable for a certain number of years. These have to be bought on power of attorney and as a result bank loans are not available to pay for these," said Roopinder Singh, a property dealer adding that easy availability of loans was another reason for such sales. "Moreover, PUDA has not offered any residential plot in the past five years. There is no choice but to invest in private colonies," said Anita, a resident of Mohali.

While developers have welcomed the simplification of procedures involved in getting the colonies approved from the housing and urban development authorities, residents living in some such colonies are unhappy with the facilities being provided by the developers. Complaints received against such colonies are looked into by the approving authority. Sources in PUDA pointed out that stringency in approving colonies had given way to an almost free of control regime. Other than PUDA, colonies are now being approved at the level of town planners, the local government department and the municipal body of the area.

"Buyers have to be very careful now. Earlier there were some standards being maintained since getting an approval for a colony was very tough but now since approvals are being given easily, the onus of ensuring quality has fallen mainly on the developer. There are colonies where developers had not delivered. After the houses are transferred, residents are left with poor construction and a feeling having been cheated", Mr S.S. Saini, another real estate dealer, said.



From the studio to the stage
Chetna Keer Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
“Enlightening” is how Rini Khanna (nee Simon), a former TV newsreader and at present anchor for live shows, describes her journey from the studio to stage.

In the city today to compere the 125th anniversary function of The Tribune, Rini has made a more or less complete shift from the tube but continues to be involved in “media-related activities”. Such as hosting stage shows and corporate conferences, doing voiceovers for documentaries and radio as well as writing scripts.

She started her career in broadcasting with All India Radio during the Asian Games in 1982, and moved on to television in 1985, where she spent close to two decades.

Having been among the voices that had brought to Doordarshan news a certain force and respectability — along with the likes of Tejeshwar Singh, Komal G.B. Singh, Gitanjali Aiyar, Usha Albuquerque et al — what does she think about the present crop of newscasters?

“In the present channel wars and the consequent rush to break news, quality does suffer somewhere. Having to hear so much ‘Hinglish’ and wrong accent on the news channels today is demoralising. But, thankfully, there are presenters whose shows are high on content and credibility, even if a bit harsh on the ears 

“There are hardly any broadcasters of iconic status nowadays, whom the youngsters can look up to. The way we grew up listening to Melville D’Mello, Lotika Ratnam or Borun Haldar,” she says.

Rini says the decision to lend her voice on stage has been a great learning experience. “Since a compere is exposed to a live audience, it is really challenging. It can even land one in a sticky spot sometimes,” she laughs. Like, at a show where sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar was to perform and the chief guest, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, had already arrived.

“Just minutes before the show, Panditji insisted on a hot cup of tea, without which he refused to start. And there was no arrangement for tea at that moment!” recalls Rini. “But somehow I managed to procure ‘chai’ from a person backstage, who, luckily, had a ketli. That saved the day.”

Not only does sharing the dais with big shots give a peek into their little whims, fancies and frailties, it also provides a fresh perspective on people.

“When you observe celebrities from such close quarters, on stage and backstage, they no longer seem larger than life. Just as human as all of us.”

That’s Rini’s take on the view from the side. Of a platform where there are no retakes. And where, for any slip of the tongue, you take brickbats, instead of bouquets.



General favours information security to check leaks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The General-Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, today said the Army needed to control the rate of suicide among its personnel.

Addressing a special Sainik Sammelan at Chandi Mandir, General Pattabhiraman, who takes over as Vice-Chief of Army Staff at Army Headquarters on October 1, said the problem had to be addressed at the unit level. Vulnerable personnel or those showing signs of stress or depression should be identified and counselled by religious teachers and experienced officers and JCOs, he added.

He also revealed that the rate of accidents involving Army vehicles had gone up in Western Command, which called for better training and orientation of drivers. Accidents, he added, also adversely affected the operational preparedness of the Army.

General Pattabhiraman said military personnel must lay more stress upon information security to prevent inadvertent leaks. He cautioned jawans about divulging any kind of information over the telephone.

He said units moving to peace stations from operational areas should devote all possible time for training and recuperation. Personnel, he said, should not be allowed to remain away from their units for more than eight weeks so that training does not suffer. He also laid stress upon individual training. He said despite the on-going peace process with Pakistan, the armed forces cannot let its guard down and that they should maintain operational readiness at all times. He also stressed upon modernisation of the forces.

The Vice-Chief designate also interacted with troops. A one-minute silence was also observed in memory of 34 Army personnel killed while reconstructing a bridge over the Sutlej at Kharo earlier this month.



MLA for revving up infrastructure of IT industry
Rues Infosys going to Chandigarh
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 24
The Punjab Government has lost a revenue of Rs 1.5 crore, apart from losing opportunities for about 4,000 youth in the state, with the Infosys shifting its network from Mohali to Chandigarh. This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday.

He said that the Infosys, which had a turnover of about Rs 1,500 crore from exports, was planning a big venture in Mohali but changed its plan and decided to operate from Chandigarh where an IT park was being developed.

Expressing concern over the issue, the MLA said that there was a need to develop the infrastructure in the town at a fast pace before other IT companies also changed their mind.

He said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would be holding a meeting on September 30 to work out the priorities for the Rs 200-crore package announced for Mohali.

The MLA added he had suggested that the government should shift all offices related to the IT sector to the town.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said since the industry was the main source of income for the town, adequate attention had to be paid to upgrade the infrastructure. PUDA was preparing a special plan in this regard.

He said there was a need to construct a working women’s hostel having a capacity to accommodate 3,000 women.

The employees working in the industrial area were facing accommodation problems. Nearly 10,000 persons were staying as paying guests in Mohali and Chandigarh.

The area should be provided a special security as many offices were working round-the-clock. Patrolling had to be intensified as cases of eve teasing had been reported.



States fail to pay up for care of mentally ill
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Eighteen-year-old Vajinder Dutt’s is a depressing case of dejection and denial. A patient of acute schizophrenia since 1999, he finds himself hopelessly perched on the edge from where prospects of normal life seem distant and drab.

Chronically ill though, he has failed to secure admission to Amritsar and Agra mental health institutes, both extending their own reasons for rejection of the case. This, despite the fact that he has reached a stage where he can endanger both himself and society.

A PGI doctor who earlier attended to him says, “Vajinder’s illness needs long term management which the PGI’s short stay ward cannot offer. Such has been the impact of his illness on the family based in Yamunanagar that his sister recently turned a maniac. She is admitted to our ward now.” Vajinder’s mother Pushpa is still fighting a battle to get a resting place for her son - a place where care comes without conditions.

As for factors behind denial — the Agra institute is apparently reeling under heavy rush while the authorities at the Amritsar Mental Health Institute extend a reason that shocks the listener.

Ever since the reorganisation of Punjab state in 1966 when the Amritsar institute was declared a common institute for Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal, none of the beneficiary states have reportedly paid for the maintenance of beds allocated to their patients. This has placed the Amritsar hospital under immense financial pressure. While Haryana has accumulated arrears of Rs 20 crore towards mental health care of its patients admitted to the Amritsar institute; Himachal and Chandigarh have to pay to the tune of nine and three crore, respectively.

Last year, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed chief secretaries of the defaulting states to facilitate care of their mentally ill. So far, no headway has been made.

Speaking to The Tribune today, Dr B.L. Goyal from the Amritsar Mental Health Institute confirmed all of the above and added, “Although we have been admitting patients from the defaulting states, our position is getting weaker due to lack of funds for maintenance of beds allocated to each state. Till now Punjab, whose hospital it is, has been paying. After I took over as Director at Amritsar, I intimated the Government of India about the problem. Now I hope the High Court ensures that Haryana, Punjab and UT fulfil their responsibilities towards mental health care.”At a recent meeting, the states reportedly agreed to pay for the care of actual number of patients admitted from their respective jurisdictions. Even if that be the case, Haryana has to pay about nine crore, Himachal and Chandigarh have to pay about three and two crore, respectively.

Till that happens, patients like Vajinder Dutt will continue to live on the edge, even it means living a life of indignity. His mother Pushpa says, “He runs away from the house every morning as we spend the days hunting for him. We have lost all we had trying to help him settle.”

But to no avail.



Information about MC a click away
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The information on the functions and responsibilities of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) will now be just a click away. With a view to providing information to the general public under the Right to Information Act, 2005, the corporation has put the information on its website—www.mcchandigarh.com.

The citizens charter containing information regarding complaints on water supply, sewerage and drainage, booking of community centres, janj ghars and open spaces and health and sanitation is available on the website.

The website also has information related to the buildings and roads department. All information such as the procedure for the registration of complaints related to roads, dumping of malba, permission for road cuts, permission for storing material during construction and procedure for getting NOC for new water connections will be available.

Besides, the list of fire stations and their telephone numbers, and information on sewerage and drainage wings of the corporation have also been displayed at the website.

Other information like public notices, tenders and application forms of the corporation have also found mention on the website.



Unsolved murder cases police’s Achilles’ heel
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, September 24
Even though the Chandigarh Police yesterday claimed to have solved Inspector Maskeen Singh’s murder case, the sources say the cops have failed to solve at least seven murder cases in the past two years.

Quoting figures, the sources assert that in 2004 alone as many as 20 murder cases were registered by the Chandigarh Police. Out of the total, three cases remained unsolved.

In 2003, 21 murder cases were registered by the police. Out of the total, again 17 were solved. Four remain unsolved.

As many as 10 murder cases were registered by the police from January till April this year. Out of these, at least some of the cases are yet to be solved by the police.

Giving details of some of the unsolved cases, the sources assert that the cops could not lay their hands on the murderer of 23-year-old Simranjit Kaur even though the Chandigarh Police claims specialisation in investigating cases. Her body was found in her Sector-22 residence on July 17, 2003.

Similarly, the cops could not arrest the murderers of Sector-21 resident Sundri Agnihotri. She was killed on December 25 last year. In Mainpal’s case also, the police was still groping in dark. He was murdered on August 14, 2003.

The police is still clueless about the murder of an unidentified migrant labourer found brutally murdered in the Circus Ground near Fire Station in Sector 17.

The assailants mauled the head of the victim with heavy concrete slabs with an intension to wipe out the identity, said the police.

Even the victim could not be identified as yet in this case.

The post-mortem examination of the body was conducted today by a board of doctors in the General Hospital in Sector 16. The SHO of Sector 17 Police station said the investigations could not make progress in this case as the victim was not identified.

As far as the reasons behind their failure to solve all cases are concerned, the sources are of the view that in so many matters lack of scientific approach is taking its toll on the investigations.

Moreover, the cops do not have a strong data bank. As a result, nothing much is achieved even if the police is able to pick up the finger-prints from the scene of offence.



Traffic police cap on high beams soon
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Chandigarh Traffic Police has resolved not to turn a blind eye towards vehicles driven at night with high beam on.

In a high-level meeting held recently, senior police officials have reportedly decided to drive home the message about the benefits of driving vehicles on illuminated roads with low beam on. And to challan the defaulters if they still fail to see reason.

The sources in the police headquarters say that campaign against "unwarranted use of high beam" will begin soon with the launch of a massive awareness programme aimed at educating the residents. Initially, the Chandigarh Police will set up special 'nakas' to stop motorists from zipping down with high beam on.

The men-in-white will politely ask the drivers to switch over to low beam, at least within the city limits.

Attempts will also be made to dispel misconceptions about misuse of high beam while driving.

Announcements against the indiscriminate use of high beam will also be made at busy intersections throughout the city with the help of loudspeakers.

"For giving a strong impetus to the awareness campaign, the cops will paste stickers with 'drive-on-low-beam' message on the rear windshields of the vehicles.

"The incorrigible drivers will then be left high and dry with challan receipts in their unwilling hands," the sources add.

Going into the reasons behind the launch of the campaign, the sources say that accidents have actually been taking place due to the blinding effect of high beams used by vehicles coming from the opposite direction.

Though the exact data of such mishaps is not readily available with the police, the sources say that as many as 2389 accidents occurred from January 2000 till April this year. In 2004 alone, 141 fatal accidents were reported to the Chandigarh Police. Out of the total, one third of the deaths occurred between 7 pm and 5 am.

Switch over to low beam if you are driving on a well-illuminated road within the city limits to avoid challaning by the Chandigarh traffic Police under the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act.

The sources in the traffic police say it is an offence to "dazzle" or "blind" other road-users by driving vehicles with high beam on specially well-lit streets.

They add that "parking lights" are good enough for driving within the city limits. At the most, the motorists can use low beam.

As Chandigarh roads have "adequate overhead street-lighting", the motorists are not required to use high beam. It is strictly for highway driving. If the street lights are not functioning then it is a different story, the sources insist.

Otherwise, lowering the headlamp beam upon entering a road with street-lighting is an internationally- recognised driving convention. Statistically, the beam has to be lowered "if it can dazzle a person whose eye position is eight meters from the front lamp and at a height of 1.5 meters from the road".



MC row: sanitation supervisor circulates affidavit
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 24
The controversial issue regarding a councillor, a sanitation supervisor and a sanitary inspector has taken a new turn.

Mr Baldev Singh, a sanitation supervisor, who worked with a private sanitation contractor, circulated copies of an affidavit to mediapersons at a press conference here today.

In the affidavit, attested by a notary, he stated that he had nothing to do with the complaint that was handed over to the Executive Officer (EO) of the civic body on September 13 by the councillor, Mr Manjit Singh Sethi, against sanitary inspector Harbant Singh and some councillors.

The complaint was given by Mr Sethi in which “my name had allegedly been used,” he said.

The complaint that was handed over to the EO was given in the name of Mr Gudev Singh. The same man said today that he was Baldev Singh. Asked why he had not revealed his identity while making the complaint against the sanitary inspector and the councillors, he had no answer. Moreover, in the complaint he had shown that he lived in Sector 70 here, but in the affidavit he said he was a resident of Sector 38, Chandigarh.

In the complaint, Mr Gurdev Singh had alleged that the sanitation contractor was engaging fewer number of safai karamcharis and not in accordance with the terms of the agreement due to which sanitation work had suffered.

He said a sanitary inspector and some councillors were allegedly receiving illegal gratification from the contractor.

The sanitation supervisor was accompanied by council employees at the press conference while the same person was accompanied by Mr Sethi and other councillors the day he handed over the complaint to the EO.

When contacted, Mr Sethi refused to comment on the issue.

He said the matter was now with the three-member committee of the councillors constituted in this regard.



Programme on waste management in Zirakpur
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 23
An environment programme on ‘Solid waste management’ was organised today at the St Vivekanand Public School, Pabhat village, near Zirakpur by the Indian Council for Environmental Education (ICEE) in collaboration with Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.

Mr Amit Sharma, Deputy Director Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) was the chief guest. He spoke on the need for the environmental management energy conservation. Mr Ravinder Talwar, President, ICEE, emphasised on the role of waste management by adopting a better system. An inter school painting competition was also held on the occasion.

The prizes were also distributed to Sukhwir, Rahul Sidhu, Neha, Mohd Shagir, Gagandeep, Varun, Saleem Ahmed, Akul Tandon, Arshnil Singh and Vinay Singh.



Frame uniform policy on balconies, say residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Terming the recent relaxations in building bylaws as falling short of people’s expectations, owners of marla houses today came down heavily on the “double standards” of the Chandigarh Administration.

They met the MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, yesterday and alleged that the recommendations of the Bylaws Sub-Committee regarding the marla houses had been rejected by the Administration on “flimsy grounds”.

While balconies/cantilevers had been allowed in the Phase II Sector (Sector 30 onwards) and society flats, their demand for having 3-feet-wide balconies had been rejected. This was despite the fact that this concession was allowed by the sub-committee in its recommendations.

They urged the Administration to frame a uniform policy on the construction of the balconies. The Administration should not go in for “selective” demolitions of cantilevers.

It was on January 31 this year that the Administrator had reportedly said at a meeting of the Advisory Council that “no demolition would be made till the final recommendations of the bylaws committee are finalised.”

Mr Pawan Bansal has gone on record saying that since about 99 per cent houses had violations, a one-time relaxation should be granted to the residents.

A majority of the houses, particularly the marla houses, have building violations and their regularisation had been handing fire for the past over 50 years. There are allegations that Estate Office officials had been harassing the residents on the pretext of bylaws violations and extorting money.



Seminar on Panth and its future
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 24
Many Sikhs are not following the teachings of the Gurus but laying stress on the physical appearance to show that they are Sikhs. These views were expressed by some speakers at a seminar organised by the Panthak Vichar Manch on the present state of the Panth and its future in Phase III B 1 here today.

Justice Ajit Singh Bains said there was no danger to Sikhism if the teachings of the Gurus were followed. Political leaders, who claimed they were Sikhs, were not following the path shown by Guru Granth Sahib.

He said according to Guru Granth Sahib, here was no discrimination between a man and a woman but a number of Sikhs, were indulging in female foeticide. In villages, gurdwaras were made on the basis of caste when Sikhs have been asked not to believe in casteism, he added.

Prof Gurtej Singh alleged that the SGPC, which was considered to be a religious parliament, had certain members on the executive body who had committed crimes. He said one could not become a Sikh by just looking like a Sikh. One had to follow the teachings of the Gurus to become a Sikh.



Ex-servicemen meet GOC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Lieut-Gen Pattabhiraman, GOC-in-C, Western Command, today attended an ex-servicemen rally organised at Lakshmi Tara Rathaur Public School, Sialba Majra village, Ropar.

The ex-servicemen discussed their problems with the army commander.

On the occasion, the GOC-in-C laid the foundation stone of an additional block at the school.



Train cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Chennai-Chandigarh Express train which was scheduled to arrive at Chandigarh tomorrow has been cancelled by the Railways.

According to the information available, the train has been cancelled due to torrential rain in different parts of the country. Meanwhile, the Mumbai- Chandigarh Paschim Express train was also delayed by 3 hours.



Samiti to celebrate Onam today

Mohali, September 24
The local Sree Ayyappa Seva Samiti is celebrating Onam at Sri Sanadhan Dharam Mandir, Phase IV, Mohali, on September 25.

Dr John V. George, ADGP, Haryana, will be the chief guest. Besides customary celebrations, the students who have topped in Class X and plus two examinations will be awarded scholarships and prizes will be given to the winners of the competitions held on August 15 . TNS



Daughters Day observed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 24
The Family Planning Association of India, Panchkula chapter, today observed Daughters Day. A slogan writing contest was organised on the occasion.

The function was organised at the Government Senior Secondary School for Girls, Sector 15. Mrs Veena Monga, president of the branch chaired the programme and highlighted the importance of the girl child and perils of female foeticide. As many as 73 persons participated in the competition. Shobha (Class XI), Asha (Class VI) and Shashi won the prizes.

Ms Neeru Khattar, district chairman of the Inner Wheel Club, inaugurated a healthcare club in the school. 



RPO cautions applicants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Regional Passport Officer (RPO), Mr Arvind Kumar, has cautioned passport applicants against being trapped by agents or touts while applying for passport. For applicants coming from far-flung areas of Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, the touts often feed incorrect information so that the applicants had to get back to them repeatedly.

For the convenience of the applicants, the passport office had authorised travel agents at Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Patiala and Moga. The agents had been recognised on the basis of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.



Theft at five Army flats
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 24
Miscreants today broke into five houses in the Army Flats in Mansa Devi Complex today and decamped with cash and goods worth thousands. This is the third instance in three months where a number of houses in the Army Flats had been burgled.

Though three of the flats were ransacked, no goods were taken away. Cash worth Rs 10,000 and some jewellery was stolen from the house of Col Veer Amol Singh while Rs 15,000, jewellery and other valuables were stolen from the house of Mr Gian Chand Sharma. Both Col Veer Amol and Mr Sharma are out of station and their relatives visited the houses to assess the loss.

Col A.K. Kalia, whose house was ransacked after miscreants broke the three locks on the front door of his house, said this was the second time in a year that his house had been burgled. “Last September, thieves had decamped with cash and goods worth Rs 2 lakh from my house,” he said.

He said he had gone to the Mansa Devi temple this morning and when he returned, within half hour, he found that the house had been broken into. “The police has failed to take action or solve the earlier cases of burglaries,” he said.

Meanwhile, police officers at the Mansa Devi police post said a case of burglary had been registered. They, however, said they suspected the involvement of some servants or other employees residing within the complex. “We have often rounded up these servants for questioning but the residents do not allow us to question their servants. The police is helpless because of this non-cooperation by the residents,” a senior official said.



Scooter stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Sources in the Chandigarh Police disclosed that the theft of an LML scooter, bearing registration number CH-03-D-5025, was reported by Sector 44 resident Ajay Sharma. In his complaint, Mr Sharma had claimed that the scooter was picked up from a parking near Sector 20 gurdwara. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in the matter.

Ms Preet Sharma of Sector 27 said gold ornaments and Rs 30,000 cash were stolen after thieves broke into her residence. Mr Ashish Kumar of Sector 4 said computer parts were stolen after thieves broke into his shop-cum-office in Sector 40. In both the matters, cases of trespass and other offences under Section 454 and 380 of the IPC were registered by the police.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Police added that in all cases further investigations were on. Efforts were being made to trace and nab the culprits, he concluded.



New versions of Corolla launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Toyota Kirloskar Motor launched Corolla in the Chandigarh region today to further consolidate its leadership in the C+ segment. With a 32 per cent market share in the executive segment, it has sold already 6,155 vehicles between January and September, 2005.

The new Corolla, with 18 added features, comes in two versions of manual and automatic transmissions, priced at Rs 9.83 lakh and Rs 12.06 lakh ( ex-showroom Chandigarh) , While the new manual transmission version will be costlier by Rs 6,000, the automatic transmission will be dearer by Rs 25,000, said Mr T.Ino, Director, marketing of the company while addressing a press conference here today.



Investors’ camp held at PU
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 24
The recent crash of the share market spread panic among investors at the CNBC -TV 18 investor camp held the Panjab University’s Law Auditorium here today.

The investors from Patiala, Bathinda and Ropar came to know about there future plans to invest and the present status of the market.

Technical analysts and advisers of shares from Mumbai and Delhi joined the camp from CNBC side.

Mr Atul Suri from the Mumbai-based Marathan Trends advised people that they should make a plan before investing otherwise they would lose money. Investor must have patience for that.

Another analyst Shankar Sharma from First Global discussed the art of hedged speculations. “Reduce your position to zero in every month end otherwise you are not able to know about your profits” advised Mr Sharma.


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