C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Doctors to observe city bandh today
Tribune News Service

  • Total bandh call in city
  • Emergencies to be functional in city hospitals
  • OPDs to be suspended in private and government-funded hospitals
  • PGI faculty to proceed on mass casual leave
  • Chemist shops to observe bandh till 2 pm
  • Beopar Mandal calls for half-day bandh till 2 pm
  • Resident doctors and students of GMCH-32 to block traffic

Chandigarh, May 29
PGI resident doctors have given a call for a total city bandh tomorrow against the government’s proposed reservation plan.

While medical services will be hit with the faculty joining the doctors’ protest and private hospitals extending their support, chemist shops and markets will also remain closed for the first half of the day. The Indian Medical Association will also support the bandh call.

While doctors of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, have decided to organise road blocks on main roads, they plan to disrupt traffic flow on highways leading into the city as well. Dr Anup, a spokesman for the GMCH-32, said: “We will block roads leading into the city and disrupt flow of traffic on congested roads.”

The president of the Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Jaspreet Singh, said they were expecting a good response from the public. “A number of organisations have pledged support to us and we are hopeful it will be a big success. The morning will see a rally at the PGI where we will be joined by the faculty. We will burn copies of our degrees to lodge our protest, show the government that merit, and not caste, comes first. In the evening, we have planned to form a human chain that will go all around Madhya Marg and have people from all walks of life,” he stated.

The association has also planned to get signatures against reservation on postcards which will be forwarded to the Prime Minister.

“We have bought nearly 2,000 postcards which will be signed and sent to the Prime minister,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Chemists Association general secretary, Mr Vijay Anand, said the chemists of the city would observe half-day bandh.

The Faculty of Medical Technology, PGI, at its meeting today, decided to support the ongoing stir by the Youth for Equality and proceed on a day’s mass casual leave.

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Shun immolation, bereaved parents tell agitators
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
There’s a rush of painful memories following the spate of anti-reservation protests and the recent self-immolation bid in Delhi in the Sharma household. Ambala resident J.P. Sharma and his wife, Gayatri, who lost their son, Brij Bhushan Sharma, an M.Sc (Biosciences) student at the Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak, during the Mandal Commission days, are still to come to terms with their loss.

However, today, despite being loaded with grief at having lost their son to the anti-reservation fire that engulfed the nation in the 1990s, they have ventured outdoors with a mission on hand and a message in tow. It’s anti-reservation, of course, but it is anti-self-immolation as well.

“Death ends all hope of ushering in a change. You can force change only if you are alive. We want to caution the protesting doctors against resorting to extreme steps like immolation. They serve no goals and get no results,” says Mr Sharma, an employee of the Railways.

Recalling their son’s immolation on September 28, 1990, the parents said he was particularly agitated about disrupted classes. He wasn’t against reservation but against the fact that it is the creamy layer which actually reaps the benefits of reservation. “He wanted reservation to be class based and not caste-based. He was coming back from Rohtak since there had been no classes that day. Enroute he saw burning buses and trains and his mind must have been impacted to the extent that he was pushed to immolate himself. We don’t know what went on in his mind in the last few minutes because he was travelling back home by bus since classes were off,” his mother Gayatri Devi, a housewife, said.

So, while any news of immolation leaves them numb, the parents are particularly enthusiastic about youngsters following the course of peaceful agitation to get their way. “The youth must protest because reservations are not about any benefits to those are really in need. It is all a game of votes and politicians use reservation as a tool to get mileage. The campaign against reservation must spread to every household. The cause is significant and doctors, since they are spearheading the movement, must devise a strategy to take this fire to every home and give birth to an uprising so that no politician is tempted to divide society on caste basis, “ the father maintains.

The parents are of the unanimous opinion that reservations should be rejected rightaway because one implementation will give rise to many contenders. “It’s the Other Backward Classes today, it will be the Muslims tomorrow, a third caste the next time and so on. It’s a never-ending demand and things will only get worse,” they assert.

Brij Bhushan, a poet with over 100 poems to his credit, a cricketer, an aspiring lecturer and Mr J.P. Sharma’s son is no more. His was a promising life cut short. The Sharmas are hoping no other family will have to go through the pain that numbed their senses and dashed their expectations.

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Gang of dacoits busted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 29
The police today arrested a four-member gang of dacoits armed with a country-made pistol along with two live cartridges, a knife and other sharp-edged weapons claiming that the accused were preparing to commit a dacoity in a shop in Sector 34.The accused had kidnapped a local property dealer after striking a deal for Rs 5 lakh with his rival for the same. However, the property dealer, and his
other accomplice escaped to gave a slip to the police.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) (South), Mr KIP Singh, said the accused had kidnapped a local property dealer, Mr Tejinder Singh of Mank Land Developers, Sector 34-A on May 23 and deserted him after robbing him at pistol point of a mobile phone, a gold chain and document pertaining to property. The DSP added that the accused had robbed a businessman in Patiala of his Fiat Palio car on pistol point on May 21, besides this they have admitted their involvement in other crimes committed in the city.

Giving details about the arrest of the accused, the DSP said the accused were nabbed following a secrete information. The police was monitoring their activities for the past few days. After getting information about their presence near New Light Society in Sector 50 a police party swooped down upon the accused who were sitting in a white Fiat Palio car.

They were later identified as Jagjit Singh, alias Jaggi of Saimply Sahib village, Jaswinder Singh Joga of Sohana village originally hailing from Goindwal Sahib village in Amritsar district, Jugraj Singh, alias Rocky of Garden Colony, Kharar and Sandeep of Dharampura Colony in Rajpura. The one who managed to flee from the spot was later identified as Guddu, a property dealer. The accused disclosed to the police that Guddu had promised to give Rs 5 lakh to them to kidnap Tejinder Singh, as he wanted to procure documents of property from him.

The SHO of the Sector 34 police station, Inspector Mani Ram Kadiyan said the personal search of Jagjit Singh, king-pin of the gang led to recovery of one loaded country-made pistol, two live cartridges were recovered from Jagraj Singh, a spring actuated knife was recovered from Jaswinder Singh while sickle was seized from Sandeep Singh. The police recovered documents of property worth Rs 30 crore from the car.

The police said that the accused had used the car robbed from Patiala to kidnap Tejinder Singh from Sector 34, here. The accused had put a fake registration number on the car. Further investigation revealed that Jagjit Singh was a hardcore criminal and several police cases were pending against him.

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North Indians give ‘fat’ response to slimming drug
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
North Indians are gearing up to emerge victorious in a losing battle against flab. Nothing else can explain "fat" response to a slimming allopathic drug launched by a city-based multinational pharmaceutical organisation about a fortnight ago, despite concerns of several medical practitioners across the region.

Within a week of hitting the sizeable North India market, the company officials claim that they have received orders for supplying over three lakh capsules of "Sibuslim" to chemists, and even slimming centers across the region.

The capsules, each costing about Rs 15, promise weight reduction between 15 and 20 per cent within two months of consumption, if combined with little additional activity and restrain.

The drug can be taken for a maximum period of six months in one go. It can be picked up from chemist shops across the region after showing the doctor's prescription.

The company officials agree that ayurvedic slimming pills are also available in the market, but insist that one can never be sure of the constituents in at least some of the preparations as these are not mentioned on the labels.

Claiming that the drug is absolutely safe, Vice-President of manufacturing company Ind-Swift Limited Sanjay Dhir says the salt — Sibutramine Hydrochloride Monohydrate — is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can be safely consumed by anyone except pregnant women. Also, the medicine does not lead to dependence.

The president of the PCMS association, Dr Hardeep Singh, says that any slimming drug should be taken under strict medical supervision and that also in extreme cases. "Weight-gain basically takes place because of imbalance between energy intake and energy burning. As such, efforts should be made to end the imbalance by improving the eating habits, besides exercising".

Agreeing, the vice-president of the Indian Medical Association (Chandigarh state branch), Dr Rajan Chugh, asserts that the medicine should not be taken for longer durations as there is hardly any drug that does not affect the body if taken indiscriminately.

Clarifying their stand, Mr Dhir says: "For the not-so-fat, even we recommend active lifestyle and a near total no to fatty food, though the medicine has no side effects as such".

Quoting a research carried out by the company before the launch of the product, he says it clearly shows that an increase in activity can help so many people shed those loathsome weight as sedentary lifestyle is the prime cause of plumpness among the North Indians. In fact, a cocktail of alcohol and non-vegetarian food, besides little gap between the dinner and sleep is the main reason."

But in the case of obese with body mass index (BMI) of 25 and more, the course of slimming medicine is recommended as it can lead to other complications like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac problems and even arthritis, Mr Dhir asserts.

Chairman of Ind-Swift Limited Dr Gopal Munjal adds that a capsule a day, along with normal diet, reduces the intake by controlling craving for food, resulting in gradual but steady weight loss.

After the completion of the course, the patients are put on "mild counselling" so that they can maintain the weight loss without having to depend upon the drug again and again.

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Track Speed Post on your mobile
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Department of Post (DoP) has entered into a tie-up with Reliance Communications to track status of Speed Post delivery through mobile phones. This will be the largest Business to Consumer mobile enterprise application deployed in India.

Speed Post, one of the premium services launched by the DoP, is available in over 1000 locations. The DoP registers between three and five lakh Speed Post bookings per day.

Officials in Reliance Communications informed TNS that tracking lakhs of speed post daily, through 1,56,000 post offices across India was a colossal job.

"Each and every consignment can be efficiently tracked with a click of a button on Reliance World (or R World). Speed post tracking on Reliance mobile phones is a technological leap and a sea change in terms of customer convenience, going by the mobile penetration and its reach vis-à-vis the Internet," said Mr Mahesh Prasad, President, Applications Solutions and Content Group, Reliance Communications, while talking to TNS over telephone.

"Such a service is significant because most of the time the speed post mails or articles to be delivered are of sensitive nature. Until now, most Indians could not track their consignments easily, although this facility was available on Internet. Now, they can check the delivery status of their parcel or article in transit, through Reliance Mobile," said Mr Prasad.

The speed post tracking facility will largely benefit small and medium enterprises which depend on Speed Post because of its vast reach. A customer has to click on Messaging in Reliance World, click on India Post, then select Speed Post. As soon as he enters the consignment number in the input box and submits, the status of the consignment, including date and time, its origin and destination, and remarks will be displayed on the hand-set screen immediately.

The customer will have to pay Rs 3 per query of the consignment tracking. Initially, the speed post tracking service is made available on Reliance World (R World) and will soon be deployed SMS interactivity from any Reliance mobile, informed Mr Prasad.

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Chandigarh Calling

Water dances to music

In the southern sectors, the only garden which has a musical fountain is Terraced Garden of Sector 33. It is the first musical garden of the city. The famous chrysanthemum show is also held here every year.

In the evening the garden is bathed in light. On the rhythm of a song or a musical tune, the water splashes up and down, making beautiful designs in colour. In the past, the water waves rose jump up to 35 feet high, but now it has come down to 28 feet only. The reason is that the old pipes are filled with dirt which makes the pressure low. However, the old bulbs have been replaced with new big bulbs. There are 40 big blinking lights in the reservoir.

Recently, the Municipal Commissioner has provided some 'Sada Bahar Geet' CDs to be played on music system installed here. Last Sunday, the youngsters were rejoicing the song of Silsila film - "Yeh kahan aa gaye hum, yu hi saath chalte-chalte…."

Interestingly, the musical fountain remains open on all days the whole year, says Mr Arvind Sharma.

Piecemeal work

While it's a relief that the work on some roads in the southern sectors is finished after months of activity, it seems the Administration/Municipal Corporation believe in giving the commuters peace in piecemeal. Even as you smoothly zip across the freshly recarpeted and broader road dividing Sectors 34 and 33, happy that the potholes have been smoothened, you cannot but help notice the malba dotting the kerbs of the new road as well as the central berm for streetlights. Perhaps, it is too much to expect that the various wings of the Admin/MC should function in tandem with one another?

Fun Republic parking

The contractor at the parking lot of Fun Republic in Mani Majra has been fleecing the owners of two-wheelers. He is overcharging them for the parking of the two-wheelers as also for keeping helmets in his custody. While the parking slips he issues clearly mention Rs 2.50 for these vehicles and Rs 2 for helmets, the contractor is charging Rs 5 each for these facilities. On a recent visit to the place when the Sentinel protested against this malpractice, the contractor immediately refunded the extra amount charged. But what about the general public at large? The authorities concerned should stop this blatant wrongdoing by the contractor.

Urban forestry

Impressed by the green cover of City Beautiful, the Gujarat Urban Development and Urban Housing Department and GEER Foundation, an NGO, have invited Prof R.K. Kohli, Coordinator, Centre for Environment and Vocational Studies, Panjab University, to participate in a two-day workshop on "Urban forestry: The lifeline for urban India in 21st century" in Gandhinagar. The workshop will be held on May 30 and 31. Officers of municipal corporations, municipalities, urban development authorities, urban planners, architects and NGOs will participate in the workshop along with officers of the Forest Department. Professor Kohli will make a presentation on urban forestry in Chandigarh.

Award

Mr K.S. Sandhu, past district governor, Lions Clubs International, District 321 F, was conferred upon the International Leadership Award by international president Ashok Mehta in New Delhi last week. This is the fourth leadership award that has been given to Mr Sandhu. He has been associated with activities of the Lions Club since 1972.

Congress grass

In view of the copious and never-ending growth of congress (parthenium) grass in and around the city, one feels it has become the part and parcel of greenery. Even picnic spots are not spared. It has mushroomed all over the embankments of Sukhna Lake. A lot of people who come to enjoy themselves the serenity of the lake, return disappointed with its suffocating smell. The horticulture wing has to smarten up its act if it wants to eradicate the poisonous weed.

Rang de quota

Hindi films, as we all know, can be really funny at times. The recent flick, Rang De Basanti, for example, conveniently went on to show a bunch of good-for-nothing college students murdering the country's Defence Minister. Who would get into a mad frenzy like that? The question kept popping in my mind to find an apt imitation of art, in reality, and that too in our own city as well. As the agitated students countrywide raised a hue and cry against reservations, anger could be seen brewing in the city too, specially among a few of my friends at the PGI. "Violence is bad, but has the vote-hungry government left any other alternative?" they asked me as one tried to act Gandhi.

Brush with rain

Late evenings in summers are usually breezily delightful. And especially in a city like Chandigarh, summer nights after a few drizzles of showers are full of charm. As soon as the sun sets, a whiff of cool breeze envelopes the city, carrying with it the promise of approaching rains. And nowadays, as the cool breeze sets the tree leaves rustling, these trees seem to have come to life, stretching their limbs in the dark, shifting a little, flexing themselves. The sight indeed is a pleasure to behold. The slanting rays of the late night moon add shimmer to the glistening, dancing leaves of the huge trees standing tall on the city lanes. All this seems like a beautiful sight of the beauty cropping up for welcoming the pre-monsoon showers.

Holidays abroad

Time was when children would plan their summer vacation in and around the country. But over the years, foreign tours have become popular. A tour to foreign countries has become fashion. These trips have become a status symbol not only for the rich but also for the middle class families. Countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand are the preferred spots. The scenic beaches of Mauritius, the night club of Bangkok, the shopping malls of Singapore, the wildlife sanctuaries of South Africa, the sprawling-into-eternity seas and moonlight picnics of Switzerland and Australia are some of the major tourist attractions pulling the people. So, enjoy your holidays.

AIDS workshop

The Voluntary Health Association of Punjab organised a training workshop on HIV/AIDS for private medical practitioners of the Indian system of medicine and homoeopathy on May 25-26 at Indira Holiday Home, Sector 24, Chandigarh. Twenty-five participants attended this workshop from the districts of Mohali, Patiala, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Chandigarh. It aimed at orienting them with the disease and the handling of biomedical waste.

Tailpiece

An SMS spreading on the mobile networks on the reservation quota: Crash courses for general category. Rickshaw-pulling diploma after MBBS. Shoe polish diploma after MBA. Sweeper degree after engineering. Contact: UPA Institute for BEDA-GARK of India, Principal Arjun Singh. Jago India Jago…Youth for equality.

Contributed by Sunil Minocha, Harvinder Khetal, Tarun Sharma, Vishal Gulati, Tarundeep Aggarwal, Anandita Gupta, Rajiv Bhatia

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Kin fight over possession of body
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 29
A dispute arose over the handing over of the body of a 28-year-old woman to her relatives which was then cremated at a neutral place.

While the sisters of the deceased and other relatives demanded that the body of Puja Arora should be handed over to them for cremation, the husband of the deceased, Mr Rajesh Arora, said the body should be given to him. Both parties kept arguing throughout the day at the local Civil Hospital over their right on the body.

Puja Arora, a resident of Sector 48-C, fell critically ill on May 27 and was taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, where she was reportedly declared by doctors as having been brought dead. Her body was then sent tot the Civil Hospital here where a postmortem was conducted by a board of three doctors yesterday.

The police said that while the woman’s relatives wanted to take the body to Patiala, the husband wanted the cremation to be done at Mohali itself. The body was finally cremated in the evening at Kharar as both parties agreed to this suggestion of the police.

A sister of the deceased, Bharti, alleged that Puja was killed by her husband. She said she was told by her brother-in-law on the phone that Puja was not well but by the time we reached here she had already died. She alleged that the deceased’s husband used to make demands even when he had got Puja’s share in the hereditary property.

She said that Puja had got married to Mr Arora in January, 2005, after which her husband had allegedly got her heavily insured and as such she suspected some foul play in the death of her sister. The police had failed to register a case in this regard and had only initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPc. she said her sister was in an advanced stage of pregnancy.

She alleged that Puja was harassed by her husband and was not allowed to meet members of her family. She said that when some relatives had come to meet Puja here on May 10 they were allegedly humiliated by her husband.

However, the husband of the deceased claimed that his wife had died a natural death. He said that she was suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. He denied that he harassed his wife. He said that no one from her relatives came to meet her when she was alive but were now making claims on her body. He denied that he had got his wife heavily insured. He demanded that the body should be handed over to the right owner.

Mr Satnam Singh, SHO, said that a case could be registered only on the basis of a medical report. The hospital had sent the viscera to Patiala for a chemical examination to ascertain the cause of death and a case would be registered only after receiving a report from there. The statements of both the parties had, however, been recorded.

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Admn takes up ex-gratia issue of ‘84 riot victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Chandigarh Administration has taken up the matter of ex-gratia grant and other assistance to the victims of 1984 riots with the Government of India on the receipt of a reference from the Government of Punjab in this regard.

This was stated in a press release here today. The release further said that on the receipt of further directions from the Government of India, the Administration would take necessary steps to implement the scheme and provide financial assistance to the victims.

The release said the Ministry of Home Affairs had requested various governments to take necessary steps to grant the ex-gratia and other assistance to the victims.

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Marla house owners hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Members of the Chandigarh Marlas/Flats Houses Residents’ Welfare Association today organised a rally in support of their demands.

Demanding the regularisation of the need-based changes in the marla houses, the members regretted that recommendations of various panels formed by the Chandigarh Administration had not been implemented till now.

The president of the association, Mr Surinder Pal Chauhan, alleged that the recommendations of the sub-committee on building bye-laws to allow 3 feet cantilever on the front and backside of the marla houses were yet to be notified.

Meanwhile, in representation to the UT Administrator, the association demanded the compounding of the minor violations in the marla houses on the pattern of the Chandigarh Housing Board’s decision regarding its flats.

It demanded a comprehensive policy on the need-based changes.

It also demanded the withdrawal of demolition and resumption notices to those houses, which had no encroachment on the government and private land.

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Fauji Beat
Tackle terrorism through political solution

The Army top brass, as we learn, is likely to finalise an anti-terrorism doctrine in the next few days, which will be tried out on ground to fine tune it. The crux of this doctrine is winning the hearts and minds of the people.

By now the Indian Army has gained a vast experience in countering insurgency or terrorism in Nagaland, Mizoram, Sri Lanka, J&K and North East. Nevertheless, a doctrine can provide good guidelines to the officers and men. No doubt, terrorism cannot be tackled without winning the hearts and minds of the misguided people. But then there is always a time for this. Once the people get totally alienated, it becomes very difficult to win them over.

The virus of terrorism should be prevented from taking roots by adopting an even-headed and rational approach. Removing the cause of this malady, when it is in the process of spreading, is the best solution to this problem. But when it becomes chronic, it can frustrate even the most powerful country. Afghanistan and Iraq are two eye-openers for America.

The lingering disease of terrorism cannot be cured by military action alone. What is needed to uproot it is a political solution. Take the example of the USA, Canada, Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, to name a few. Nowhere the solution has been found without positive political inputs.

They learn and earn

A Ladakhi woman learns carpet weaving at the Pragati Centre, Leh
A Ladakhi woman learns carpet weaving at the Pragati Centre, Leh.

Pragati Centre at Leh is a unique example of Operation Sadhavana in which the Army has gone in to uplift the women of the war-hit pockets in a remote area. The construction of this centre was completed by the Army at a cost of Rs 38 lakh last year. Its double-storey building with the solar heating system controls the temperature throughout the year. So much so that even when the outside temperature falls to minus 20 degree Celsius, the temperature in the building is as high as 14 degree Celsius.

The centre has multi-training cells for carpet weaving, knitting, tailoring and computer skills. The women of the villages surrounding Leh are learning as well as earning in this centre. So far the Army has been able to cover five villages under this scheme. But in the next few years more and more villages will be brought into the ambit of this venture.

The Army provides raw material free of cost to this centre. The products are sold in the local market by the Ladakh Women Cooperative Society. Each woman earns around Rs 1,000 per month. At present, eight women are undergoing training in carpet weaving. The tailoring cell has 15 women who make costumes, including the traditional ones.

Relief to patients

The Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) members are thankful to the Headquarters Western Command for saving them from the agony of shuttling between polyclinic and Command Hospital before being referred to the empanelled hospitals. The questions that most of them ask are: If the Command Hospital did not have the capacity to take the load of these patients why did it accept this responsibility? Was this futile exercise carried out just to cause inconvenience to the patients?

It is quite clear from the remnant commitment of the Command Hospital that it can take the load of the ECHS patients for certain specialities such as eye, skin, ENT, psychiatry, dialysis and general surgery. What needs to be understood is that a sizeable number of the health scheme members are in their 80s and cannot wait for consultation and treatment until the fixed OPD days. It is, therefore, suggested that they should be seen by the specialists concerned on the day that they report to the hospital.

Since the cooperation of the patients is essential to make this scheme function smoothly, they should not sign the bills of the empanelled hospitals without ensuring that the treatment mentioned therein has actually been given to them by the hospitals.

— Pritam Bhullar

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Sector 37-C residents oppose school proposal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
A meeting of the general house of the House Owners' Association, Sector 37-C, was held here today.

The members of the association unanimously expressed their strong resentment against the proposed construction of a school -- Punjab police public school-- in this congested sector which already had 11 schools.

The residents, especially the senior citizens, condemned the ever increasing north-south gap which, they said was impairing the standards of life in the southern sectors due to over- congestion.

The members also condemned the Administration for proposing a school on the site. They demanded that the open space should be converted into green park to prevent ecological imbalance after changing the land use from school to open space (green park), according to a press note issued by the convener of the association, Mr Gurnam Singh.

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Sector 4 to have security gates
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 29
Taking security measures after various shoot-out and robbery incidents here, members of the Residents Welfare Association, Sector 4, have decided to erect steel gates at every entry and exit point in the sector.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the association held last night. In a press note jointly issued by Mr Shushil Kaushal and Mr RP Sharma, president and general secretary, respectively, of the association, a sum of Rs 100 would be charged per family, while owners of commercial establishments will have to pay Rs 200 for this purpose.

The association also demanded that the Sector 4, Community Centre, presently used by the Municipal Council as its office, should be evicted, as the residents of the sector have no other common place for organising social and community gatherings. The association has also threatened to move court if the civic body authorities fail to vacate the community centre in time.

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Advisory against smoking
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 29
With Tobacco being recognised worldwide as the foremost cause of preventable death and the upcoming “World No Tobacco Day”, Fortis Hospital here today issued an advisory in public interest, on the ill effects of tobacco on smokers as well as passive smokers and also gave tips on how to give up tobacco.

According to Dr Arun Kochhar, interventional cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, “Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, some of which have marked irritant properties and some 60 are known or suspected carcinogens (cancer causing substances). By 2020, the worldwide annual death toll due to tobacco related diseases would be a staggering 10 million or more. In India, smoking probably caused 7,00,000 deaths in 2000 alone and this figure may double by 2020. It is estimated that a quarter of all persistent smokers of cigarettes and bidis are killed by tobacco prematurely and lose a life span of 20 years of their life to this deadly poison.”

Detailing the ill effects of tobacco, Dr Kochhar said, “Tobacco addiction is associated with cancer of almost all body organs, heart disease, lung disease, dental and stomach ulcers as well as improper reproductive health.. Passive smoking is equally bad and it is estimated that non-smokers living with smokers have a 20 per cent to 30 per cent risk of lung cancer and a 30 per cent increased risk of developing heart disease. It is estimated that environmental tobacco smoke might account for 40,000 heart disease deaths in the USA alone.”

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Third cab service from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Carzon Rent India Limited, the franchisee of Hertz, an international group, will begin its cab services in the city tomorrow. As many as 50 Indico (diesel) cars have been cleared by the State Transport Authority (STA) for the service.

Mr P.S. Shergill, Secretary, STA, said the Hertz group became the third service provider after Mega Cabs and Indus Travel and Logistics to commence the service in the city. The number for hiring the cab is 4690000. The Hertz group will also be starting the “rent-a-cab” scheme shortly, Mr Shergill added.

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Pay bills electronically
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Chandigarh administration has re-launched the facility to deposit electricity/water bills by the electronic scheme of the Reserve Bank of India through UTI Bank. The practice had been earlier discontinued.

A press release here today said consumers desirous of availing of this scheme could give their options afresh by filling up and submitting the prescribed proforma available at Sampark Centres located in various sectors.

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Cleanliness drive launched
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 29
The Municipal Council President, Ms Manvir Kaur Gill, launched a cleanliness drive from the Sector 18 market here today.

Mr Deepak Rai Walia, a spokesman for the council, said over 70 safai karamcharis were pressed into the service for lifting malba and eradicating congress grass. Apart from manual labour, trucks, JCBs and machinery were also used with the assistance of HUDA.

Besides councillors, office-bearers of the Resident Welfare Association were also present during the drive.

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Couple caught ‘supplying girls’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 29
Coming down heavily on the immoral traffic trade in the city, a Haryana police party raided a flat on the fifth floor of a housing society in Sector 20 and arrested eight persons, including three members of a family and a Chandigarh-based property dealer, here today.

Interestingly, a teenaged daughter of the kingpin was also arrested for her involvement in the trade. Three of the arrested girls belong to Mumbai, Goa, and Ludhiana.

Mr Rajesh Duggal, Deputy Superintendent of Police, following directions of the IGP of Haryana, raided the suspected flat located in Jalwayu Vihar Society this morning.

Two police personnel— Pawan Sareen and Bhagwan Das—were sent as decoy customers to the flat. They finalised a deal for Rs 10,000 for the girls and gave marked currency notes worth Rs 5,000 each to the kingpin Ramesh Watts and his wife Sanjana. As the couple accepted the money, the decoy customers gave a miss-call to Mr Duggal who was waiting outside.

Subsequently, the police party entered the flat and nabbed the couple and two girls hailing from Goa and Mumbai. The police also found Kastoori Lal Bansal, a Sector 22 resident, and a Ludhiana-based girl in compromising position. Another couple, Banti, a resident of Abohar, and the daughter of the kingpin were also caught red handed in another room of the flat.

According to Mr Duggal, the Watts couple had hired the flat and were running the trade from there for the last two years. They had been providing "professional" girls to customers in the region for Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000 per night basis. The couple was also providing teenaged girls to customers on demand, claimed Mr Duggal.

Mr Duggal also said the couple had engaged a person, Pradeep, for supplying the girls to customers. Over 35 girls were involved in the trade operating in Panchkula, Pinjore, Zirakpur and Dera Bassi areas, he claimed.

A case under the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act has been registered against the eight. They would be produced before the court tomorrow.

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No trace of missing teacher, student
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, May 29
The wait of the two families of Mubarikpur village for their missing wards is proving to be endless. Over two-and-a-half months after their wards, Monika (25), a teacher, and her student Rajan(15) went missing, the concerned families are waiting for them.

In fact, the agony of the families is compounded with the police also remaining clueless about the whereabouts of the two, who went missing on March 12.

Mr Paramjit Dhiman, boy's father, said the condition of his wife was deteriorating day by day. He regretted that even the police had failed locate them giving anxious moments to the families.

It may be recalled that Rajan used to take tuitions from Monika at a private school in Mubarikpur. On March 12, he left for tuition but never returned.

Since the same day, Monika, who had a slight deformity in the leg, had also been missing from her home. They were reportedly seen travelling in a CTU bus bound for Chandigarh on March 12 by one of their neighbours.

On March 13, both families had lodged a missing report with the police. However, the missing report notwithstanding, the police had failed to make any headway in the matter.

Meanwhile, the families have appealed to the general public to help locate the duo. Mr Dhiman said that anyone giving clue about their whereabouts would be suitably rewarded.

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Gold, cash looted
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 29
Thieves decamped with gold and cash from a house in Sector 67 in broad daylight here yesterday causing a loss of about Rs 3 lakh.

Mr Devi Dayal, who works as a senior assistant in the office of the Director, Panchayats, Punjab, said the thieves took away about 20 tolas of gold, Rs 75,000 in cash and some wrist watches.

He said that there was nobody at home when the theft took place. He had left the house, along with his wife and children, as 11 a.m. His wife and children had to go to Rajpura and he had gone to Kharar in connection with some work. He said that when he returned home around 7 p.m. the lock put on the main gate was intact. When he entered the house he saw that the cupboards had been searched and things were lying scattered in the house. He said that thieves had broken a metal grill of the bedroom window to enter the building.

He said since his son dealt in the purchase and sale of cars he had to keep cash at home. He said the matter was brought to the notice of the police.

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In-laws held under Dowry Act
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 29
The local police has arrested a Manimajra resident and his family after his wife lodged a complaint against them.

Mona in her complaint alleged that her husband Sanjay, his father Kamal Kishore, his mother Janak Dolli and his sister Veena, all residents of Shashtri Nagar in Manimajra, were harassing and maltreating for dowry.

The police booked the accused under Sections 498-A (subjecting a woman to cruelty), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 34 (common intension) of the IPC and taken them in its custody.

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Mountview to wear new look
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) is preparing to give a new look to Hotel Mountview.

This was made clear at an interactive session organised by the CITCO involving Mr Aditya Prakash, an associate of Le Corbusier, Mr S.D. Sharma, prominent architect who also worked in Corbusier’s team, Ms Renu Saigal, Chief Architect of UT, Mr J.S. Kohli, former Chief Engineer and Chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board, Mr Manbeer Chaudhary, President of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India, besides others.

The presentation on the vision statement for renovation of Hotel Mountview was given by Prof Rajnish Watts, Principal Chandigarh College of Architecture, besides others.

Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Managing Director of CITCO, said there was a requirement to give a new look to the hotel in terms of its infrastructure and facilities.

This would imply that there was a need to have a sea change in the total approach to the hotel right from the entrance to its lobby through the porch, which should have defined and refined elements to blend with the present environs.

The meeting involved eminent architects, engineers, professionals from hotel industry and other segments of the corporate world.

This was done on the directional guidance of the Chandigarh Administration as it was felt that that as Hotel Mountivew was a public sector venture and therefore, the public being the custodian should also be involved in the conceptualisation and planning right at the beginning in order to have a comprehensive long-term prospective plan and accordingly, the views were sought on the renovation plans of the hotel.

A detailed presentation of the selected design proposal was given by architect Ranjodh Singh, team leader of Habitat Design Consultants, which had executed various prestigious projects in the hospitality and corporate sector.

Mr Aditya Prakash was of the view that instead of normal multi-level parking amenities, a totally revolutionary concept of Ferris Wheel might be introduced for parking of cars.

Other architects and engineers were of the view that instead of huge new dimension to the architecture the multi-level parking facilities should be introduced with total landscaping to provide a grand entrance to the hotel.

Mr Manbeer Chaudhary, President, FHRAI, was of the view that the change was inevitable keeping in view the value-based services required to be given by the hotel, and therefore, all ingredients of architecture had to be blended with the environs so as to give a continuous experience of ‘class’ throughout the hotel complex right from its entrance.

The illumination of the property would be using the latest lighting techniques of layering of light and microprocessor-based lighting controls, which would, apart from giving excellent dynamic mood-lighting effects, result in substantial energy savings.

These were the expert views given by Mr Sarvdeep Singh Basur, a leading lighting consultant.

Mr Bir said Hotel Mountview had made an impressive turnover of Rs 21 crore with a net profit of Rs 9.30 crore in the financial year 2005-2006, against a turnover of Rs 18 crore with a profit of Rs 8 crore for 2004-2005.

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Small units urged to adopt credit rating schemes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Performance and Credit Rating Scheme should be adopted by all small-scale enterprises, in this era of globalisation.

This will enable the industrial units to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses of the existing operations.

This was stated by Mr Rajesh Kumar, Branch Head, National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), Chandigarh. He was addressing industrialists during a seminar organised by NSIC and Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) on “Credit for Banks Through NSIC”, at Panchkula today.

Mr Kumar said with the country now under the WTO regime, the small-scale industry could reduce threat by credit rating their institutions.

“An independent and thorough participatory opinion on capability and creative worthiness of the industry can be had under the Performance and Credit rating scheme. This is beneficial not just for the industry but also for the banks and other financial institutions,” he said.

Mr Kumar also listed the benefits top the economy because of this scheme.

He said that six agencies including ICRA, ONICRA, FITCH, have been empanelled with NSIC for rating the industry, and a 75 per cent subsidy had been granted by the Centre for this rating by small scale industry.

Mr Vishnu Goel, general secretary of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, emphasised on exploring all resources and use every bit of it to be competitive in the market, especially when the industry had to compete even in the domestic market.

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