C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bhandara leaves 60 ill
Majority of victims children; Admn swings into action
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 30
Over 60 villagers, including children and women, fell prey to food poisoning after they partook of a bhandara, organised on the occasion of Parshuram Jayanti, in Kot village, about 15 km from here, this afternoon.

The district administration, however, claimed that the number of those taken ill was less and the situation was under control. The victims, majority of whom were children, complained of nausea and diarrhoea after consuming food at a bhandara in Guru Nem Chander Bhawan.

The sarpanch of the Kot village was also among the victims and was rushed to a local Government Hospital.

A majority of the victims were admitted in the Government Hospital, Kot, while others were admitted in the Civil Hospital, Ramgarh. Still others were taken to private hospitals and clinics in surrounding villages.

Five of the critically ill patients were later referred to the General Hospital, Sector 6.

The number could be more as many villagers had left for their homes and could not report at the Kot hospital, sources in the village disclosed.

The district administration and the Health Department authorities rushed to the village with necessary medicines and other requirements after receiving news from Dr Rakesh Saini from the Government Hospital, Kot.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr M.S. Sangwan, Tehsildar, disclosed that the bhandara was a regular feature of the function.

The public had consumed food at about 1.30 pm and complained of food poisoning at about 3.30 pm.

The hospital authorities initially took it as a normal case when some children reported the problem.

But soon the panic button was pressed as a large number of persons, complaining of nausea and diarrhoea, started coming to the hospital.

The hospital authorities swung into action and administered glucose and antibiotics to the patients.

The number of patients swell to over 55 in a matter of few minutes, eyewitnesses recalled.



Avoid FIRs, cops plead with victims
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, April 30
In a bid to bring down crime in the city, the Chandigarh Police seems to have devised a new strategy—to prevail upon victims not to get cases registered. Rather than gunning for snatchers, the police is pleading with the victims that registration of FIRs would not serve much purpose. In some cases, the police is even wooing the victims by going to the extent of offering a replacement for the stolen goods.

The police only registers FIR in cases where people insist or get the cases recommended by higher functionaries of the administration or by police officers. The SHOs are more worried about the rising number of snatching incidents than any other crime as they are directly related to the law and order situation, a senior police officer disclosed.

About two weeks ago, Mr Ram Pratap (named changed) working with a Sector 29-based company, said he was on his way back home at night when two persons intercepted him and robbed him of his mobile phone and some cash.

He reported the matter to the police but instead of registering a case, it offered to purchase another hand set. He did not want to discuss the matter further, saying that “I do not want to talk about this as the cops have already bought me a new phone.”

In another case, the police refused to registered an FIR for fours days after two unidentified miscreants snatched a gold chain of 72-year-old Mohinder Kaur of Sector 44-A.

She said: “My neighbours informed the police and soon after the police arrived. Instead of registering a case, it said it will be difficult for me to follow the court's proceedings and that the chances of getting back the chain are very slim.”

Her daughter Shaminder Kaur who lives in Canada said: “Instead of restoring the trust of my mother, the cops were only trying to convince her not to register a case. They also went to the extent of saying that they might lose their jobs with the registration of such cases and managed to get in writing from my mother that the chain had been misplaced.

“Shocked by the incident, my mother called me up and the next day I came to the city. I then approached a police officer known to us and he recommended the registration of a case. Subsequently, we lodged a fresh complaint and got a case registered.”

The case was registered today after a lot of persuasion.

When asked about the delay in the registration of the case, the SHO of Sector 34 police station, Mr Ram Gopal, said: “Sub-Inspector Bant Singh had gone to investigate the case that day. I was busy at another spot so I do not know much about the matter. However, the case should have been registered without delay.”



Sans substitution policy, members grope in dark
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
A great many substitution members of various cooperative housing societies are quite a harassed lot.

Months after paying the full cost of the flats, including land cost to the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the possession of the dwelling units eludes these members due to the absence of a substitution policy. In fact, the ordeal of the members seems to be endless with the Chandigarh Administration yet to frame a substitution policy.

Surprisingly, the substitution policy has been at the “proposal stage” for the past couple of years.

Chandigarh is perhaps the only city in India where the transfer of property is not allowed in the group housing societies. In fact, the administration is losing huge revenue by not recognising the substitute members.

The members of societies have repeatedly gone on record saying that a nominal substitution fee should be levied for the transfer of the dwelling units as is the pattern in Punjab and Haryana.

Even the Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, agrees that the administration would have to tackle this problem sooner or later.

An early solution to the problem would avoid unnecessary litigation, he adds.

However, a senior Congress leader and former Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Pradeep Chabbra, is more vocal about the issue saying that housing being a basic right, it is the duty of the administration to frame the substitution policy to facilitate possession of flats to the members.

It may be mentioned that at least a dozen house-building societies are at the “draw stage” but in the absence of the substitution policy, the draws have not been held.

Hundreds of the completed dwelling units are lying vacant, awaiting allotment.

The substitute members have been allowed by societies according to the proper procedure, members claim.

Even the Supreme Court has ruled that the cooperative society is an autonomous body with regard to its internal functioning, they highlight.

Moreover, the members are losers on two counts.While on the one hand, the members are paying installments of the housing loans raised from various banks and financial institutions, on the other they had been paying rents.

Sources say with the election to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) a few months away, the political parties can hardly ignore hundreds of substitute members and their families.

The president of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, has already gone on record saying that his outfit would make this an election issue.



Making blood donation a mass movement
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Apurba Ghosh
Apurba Ghosh

Chandigarh, April 30
From being known for kantha embroidery and balucharis to becoming a state with the distinction of having 86 per cent voluntary blood donation to its credit, West Bengal wasn't vying for the top slot in the history of the Red Revolution movement in India.

From being a slow beginner to being top scorer, the gist of the state's success story lies in a handful of motivators, public awakening to the noble cause and whole-hearted political participation in taking the movement down to the grassroots level.

In the city to participate in a seminar on the "Safe Blood: The Need Never Ends", the general secretary of the Federation of Blood Donors Organisation (FBDO), the man behind the movement, Mr Apurba Ghosh, is a satisfied man.

"We formed committees in each of the 19 districts, motivated people and youth by visiting them in homes, schools and colleges. Gradually, industrialists, women's organisations, community leaders were all roped in. Finally, we hit the nail on the head by persuading politicians to join the movement, sermonise about donating blood. Now, every holiday is a blood donation day and the politicians are leading by example," he narrates.

While motivation has been catalytic in the movement's popularity in Bengal, the key word, crucial for sustaining the campaign, has been the constant hammering away at the need for voluntarily donating blood.

"Public memory is short. They get into the thick of things and forget as conveniently if not goaded to keep up the tempo. We just kept up the pace of reminding the people constantly through television, radio and other agencies," he explained.

While the movement is progressing well in West Bengal due to top people's participation, in the north-east state of Mizoram it is the clergy that is helping the cause gain ground.

"Tripura and Mizoram have improved upon their scores of voluntary donation very substantially. The Sunday mass in the church is an opportunity for the priests to drive home the need for voluntary blood donation. The results are already beginning to show. The percentage of voluntary donation went up to 59 per cent in Mizoram last year against our national average of 53 per cent," adds Dr Debashish Gupta, President of the FBDO and Consultant, WHO.

With voluntary blood donation pegged at 84 per cent in Maharashtra, the state is a close second to West Bengal. All praise for states like Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and, UT, Chandigarh, for phasing out replacement donors, Dr Gupta maintained that Madhya Pradesh was making fast progress in this regard.

"The state moved up from 22 per cent voluntary donations to 58 per cent donations in the past three years. We want Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, very low down on the ladder of the movement, to pull up their socks and get going," Dr Gupta said.

For the purpose, the ground work to identify a few like-minded organisations which can help build a platform to launch the movement, is already underway. "To begin with, the Red Cross is being roped in for the take off. Awareness camps and conducting of regional workshops will be a priority area in these states. The target audience will have to be identified and we are hopeful to make a dent in the people's mindset," Dr Gupta and Mr Ghosh stated in unison.



Theatre complex to come up in Mohali

Mohali, April 30
A theatre complex will be constructed here on the pattern of Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh.

This was stated by Ms Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the Punjab Chief Minister, here on Friday. She said Capt Amarinder Singh was taking personal interest in the development of the town and various projects would be completed on a priority basis.

She said steps were being taken to overcome shortage of water here. A sports complex would also be constructed in the town. Markets would be given a facelift and a number of villages would be provided with sewerage. — OC



Forest officials visit Kansal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 30
A high-level team of the Punjab Government forest officials led by MLA Morinda Jagmohan Singh Kang today visited Nayagaon, Kansal, Karoran etc. to ascertain the extent of habitation in the area.

A majority of the area in these villages is locked under the provisions of the Punjab Land Preservation Act.

The members of the team also talked to residents who said due to the Act, they had not been able to form a Notified Area Committee.



Passing thru

Brian Murgatroyd, Media Manager, International Cricket Council
Brian Murgatroyd, Media Manager, International Cricket Council.

What are the responsibilities of the media manager of such a high profile council?

My main job is to provide information to the media about the schedules, programmes of the matches organised by the council, besides dealing with the queries of journalists. Apart from that, I prepare editorials on the ICC’s functioning for the Internet and look after media publications. It is a wide-ranging job.

Don’t you find it difficult to write editorial pieces which call for specialisation?

I had worked for Reuters and AFP as a reporter, therefore, it is comfortable for me to do the job. My journalistic background also provides me an extra advantage to deal with journalist fraternity of all over the world which is assumed to be a tough one.

Is it not very tough to handle the job single-handedly?

No, instead I am enjoying the challenges of the job. I had been the media manager for England and the Wales Cricket Board for three years. After that I have worked on the same post for the Australia Cricket Board and the UK-based Sky Sports for four years each before joining the ICC in September last year.

How do you find India, particularly Chandigarh?

I have a special relation with the country as my wife belongs to Delhi. I have a lot of friends and relatives here and all are fantastic people. I have a special liking for this city for its amazing and unusual serenity and beauty.

— Akash Ghai



CM earmarks Rs 11 lakh for Parshuram Bhavan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 30
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda exhorted the people to imbibe the ideals propagated by Bhagwan Parshuram, so that prompt justice should be provided to poor people of the society and the state could become a progressive state in the country.

The Chief Minister was addressing a gathering at a function organised by the Jagrit Brahman Sabha, Panchkula, to celebrate Parshuram Jayanti here today.

Mr Hooda maintained that the government was committed to providing justice to the people belonging to the weaker sections of the society. Besides, noose had been tightened against culprits to maintain peace and unity in the state.

Mr Hooda maintained that not a single party ticket was given to any Brahman candidate by the Indian National Lok Dal during the last Vidhan Sabha elections. He also claimed that there had been no Cabinet rank minister of the Brahman community in the Haryana Cabinet since 1991.

Mr Venod Sharma had taken oath as the Cabinet minister soon after the formation of the Cabinet and Mr Hans Raj Bhardwaj was nominated a Rajya Sabha member from Haryana against the only vacant seat of the Rajya Sabha, added Mr Hooda.

He also announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh from his discretionary fund and Rs 1 lakh on behalf of PWD Minister Vinod Sharma for construction of Parshuram Bhavan.

The Chief Minister was presented a turban as a mark of respect by the members of the sabha.

While replying to a question about registration of a case against Mr Abhay Singh Chautala, he denied any political vendetta behind the episode. He said action would be taken against those who would find guilty. He, however, said the law would take its own course of action.

Mr Chander Mohan, Deputy Chief Minister, said Lord Parshuram was an embodiment of brotherhood. He was also a symbol of sacrifice and service. He urged the youth to emulate the principles of Lord Parshuram.

PWD and Power Minister Venod Sharma asked the public to set a target and work with dedication to achieve it.

Those who spoke on the occasion include Shiv Shankar Bhardwaj, MLA from Bhiwani, Mr Ram Kumar Gautam, MLA from Narnaud , Mr Kamal Sharma, Additional Advocate-General and Dr Sanjay Attri, Chairman of the Haryana Ayurvedic Board.



Parshuram Jayanti celebrated
Tribune Reporter

Mohali, April 30
Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Technical Education, Science and Technology, presided over the Parshuram Jayanti celebrations organised by the Brahman Sabha here today.

A large number of devotees collected at the festivities which were inaugurated by Mr Narinder Sharma, president of the Zirakpur Municipal Council.

The president of the sabha Mr Sushil Kumar, urged the Punjab Government to aid the construction of Shaheed Chander Shekhar Azad memorial bhavan.



Service centre for disabled soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
A service centre for the disabled "Nishulk Nishakt Jan Seva Kendra" will be set up in the city soon by the Narayan Seva Sansthan, Udaipur.

This was announced by organising secretary of the sansthan Prashant Aggarwal, while addressing a function at Saini Bhavan here today. He said all kinds of aids would be provided free of cost to the disabled in this sansthan, especially those suffering from disabilities caused by polio and cerebral palsy.

"This kendra, in addition to the physiotherapy centre, to be set up here. All kinds of aids like tricycles, wheel chair, crutches, hearing aids, Braille sticks and slates, will be give free of cost," he said.

Mr Brij Lal Ganju, In charge of the Chandigarh branch of the sansthan, said the people of the city and adjoining areas had donated over Rs 14 lakh last year. Mr Aggarwal also honoured the philanthropists of the city, who had made significant contributions.



Protest by plot allottees
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 30
Members of the Sector 76-80 Plot Allotment Sangharsh Committee have demanded the Punjab Urban Planning and Urban Housing Minister to allot them plots in areas other than the 102 acres under litigation.

In a press note issued by the committee president, Mr Sucha Singh Kalour, the members met at Phase 3B1 this morning and decided to put up the demand before the authorities concerned. Over 3,950 allottees in Sectors 76 to 80 have been waiting for the allotment of plots for the past five years.

The members felt that since only 102 acres in these five sectors was under litigation, PUDA should allot plots in the rest of the area.



Protest by electrical contractors

Chandigarh, April 30
The Chandigarh Government Electrical Contractors Association has been demanding increase in the rates for electrical works for the past four months and boycotting tendering for electrical works of the UT Administration.

A committee, set up by the Engineering Department for looking into the demands of the association, has already submitted its report, but it is not being implemented. Meanwhile, the members of the association have been issued notices for not quoting tenders by the department.

The members of the association wore black badges in protest against the issuance of the notices and met the Chief Engineer on Friday. Failing to get any positive response from him, they met the Finance-cum- Engineering Secretary, who assured them of looking into the matter. TNS



Rodrigues for better labour conditions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues, in a message on the eve of May Day, has called for a major initiative combining the twin objectives of labour welfare and economic reforms.

General Rodrigues further said the day symbolised struggle and aspirations of the labour which played a significant role in building the national infrastructure and growth of the agri and industrial economy.

Gen Rodrigues said several important steps had been initiated for improving the working conditions and welfare of the working class.

However, still much remained to be done, particularly for those working in the unorganised sector.



Tribune employee dead

Ashwani Kumar Kashyap
Ashwani Kumar Kashyap

Chandigarh, April 30
Ashwani Kumar Kashyap (44), Senior Computer Operator, The Tribune, died here tonight after a heart attack.

The funeral procession for Sector 25 will start from House No. 3074-A, Tribune Colony, Sector 29-D, tomorrow.

He is survived by his wife and two sons. — TNS



Greenery Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 30
International Dance Day and Greenery Day was celebrated by students of Lawerance Public School here yesterday. An inter-class dance competition was held on the occasion.

The over-all trophy was also won by Class IX. Ms Veena Malhotra, principal gave away the prizes.



Donate books: Rotary Club

Mohali, April 30
The Rotary Club, SAS Nagar, which has started a book bank to collect books from students for classes IX and XII as well as CPMT and PMT entrance examinations, has appealed to the public to donate books.

Those interested can contact the Rotary Bhavan, Sector 70, or call at 9876000111 and 9888311125. — TNS



A clarification

Chandigarh, April 30
The new taxi service in the city will start in the first week of May and not May 1 as inadvertently mentioned earlier in these columns.

One of the Delhi-based service provider, Mega Cab Service has been given the phone number 4646464, which can be dialled for using the facility. Another service provider, Hertz, would soon be given a number. TNS



2 held for possessing 20 cartons of liquor
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 30
The police has arrested two Karnal residents for carrying 20 cartons of liquor. In another incident, a minor was caught while stealing a mobile phone from a house. Besides this, a car and a motor cycle have been stolen from the city.

Sources in the police said a team of the Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police nabbed Vijay and Rakesh Kumar of Mangal Colony in Karnal district from near Airport Chowk yesterday for carrying 20 cartons of IMFL. A case has been registered under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Minor held for theft

Mr Avinash Singla of Sector 38 has lodged a complaint with the police that a minor was allegedly caught by him while he was stealing a mobile phone from his house on Saturday. He later handed him over to the police, which registered a case of theft against him. He has been sent to a juvenile home.

Car stolen

Mr Abhinav Malik of Sector 44 has reported to the police that his Mitsubishi Lancer was stolen from the market place in Sector 11 on Saturday.

In another incident, Mr Varinder Kumar of Dhanas filed a complaint that his motor cycle was stolen from Sector 32. Two cases of theft have been registered in this connection.



Two houses burgled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 30
Continuing the chain of burglaries, burglars struck at two houses in Sector 4 and decamped with cash and other valuable worth thousands of rupees in broad day light.

The burglars broke into the house in the absence of the owners, Mr R. L. Trikha and his family who had been going to attend a function. Mr Trikha was shocked to see the locks of his house open after he returned home in the afternoon.

Mr Trikha claimed that the burglars took away a sum of Rs 15,000 and some valuables.

In another similar case, burglars broke into the house of Mr Rajiv and took away valuable and cash. The family had gone to Chamkaur Sahib last night. Mr Rajiv found the house ransacked when he returned home this afternoon. He said the thieves entered the house through the window of a bathroom.



ATM glass door broken
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 30
Some persons today broke the glass door of a State Bank of Bikaner's ATM in broad daylight in Sector 41-D, here. The police, while terming the incident as mischief or an act of someone who did not know how to open the electronic door, said no damage was caused to the ATM.

Sources in the Sector 39 police station said the police received information at around 4:30 pm about the incident. Interestingly, no one in the vicinity of the ATM, located in busy market place, saw anyone breaking the glass door. There was no security guard deployed by the bank at the ATM. The police said a tea vendor sitting outside the ATM cabin said he had gone to serve tea and when he came back he noticed the glass door broken.

The SHO of the Sector 39 police station, Mr Nanha Ram Kadiyan, said bank officials had said no damage was caused to the ATM.



Six injured in accidents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 30
Six persons, including three of a Chandigarh-based family, sustained injuries in two road accidents, here today.

According to the police, Chandigarh resident Anil Kumar, his wife, mother Shushama and mother-in-law met with an accident on the Panchkula-Pinjore section of the highway. Anil was driving the car and lost control over it when a tyre burst. The injured have been admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6.

In another accident, motorcyclist Tarsem Chand of Sector 12 was injured when a car hit his bike on the dividing road of Sectors 17 and 8. He was admitted to the General Hospital, from where doctors referred him to the PGI.

The police has registered cases.



NPAs hitting economy, says PNB GM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Chandigarh branch of the Institution of Valuers organised a workshop on valuation of property here today.

Inaugurating the workshop, the General Manager of the Punjab National Bank (PNB), Mr B.P. Chopra, called upon valuers and functionaries of financial institutions to work with sincerity.

He exhorted them to help the banking sector in overcoming the serious problem of the non-performing assets (NPAs) which was adversely affecting the national economy.

He informed that the PNB had already opened training institutes to educate farmers and small entrepreneurs to properly utilise the loans and pay installments on time.

The Chairman of the Chandigarh branch of the Institution of Valuers, Mr B.L. Luthra, highlighted the role played by the institution in serving the society in truly professional sense.

He regretted that the tasks of management, particularly monitoring and accountability, were badly missing in our society and culture.

The NPAs are steadily increasing and had crossed Rs 1,35,000 crores.

The main defaulters were prominent people and some of them represented us in the democratic institutions.

Even the Securitisation Interest Act-2002 had failed to achieve the desired results, Mr Luthra added.

Mr Rakesh Dutta, secretary of the branch, proposed the vote of thanks.



Biz Clip

Noshe Oceanic: Retail advertising and consultant, Noshe Oceanic, has started its operations here. With retail being the main business in the city, the company hopes to cash in on the existing business. Speaking to TNS here on Sunday, Mr Rohit Sharan, manager communications, Nosche Oceanic, said the traditional retail market in the city would now see these retailers emerging as brands themselves, with the help of communication strategies provided by Noshe Oceanic. TNS


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |