C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Rain chokes traffic
Southern sectors worst hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
It was a day of utter confusion on the roads. As the rain got heavier in the afternoon, traffic was thrown out of gear. Jams at several places and roundabouts in southern sectors presented a picture of total chaos.

The situation was particularly bad at the intersection of Sectors 34-35-21-22 (Canara Bank rotary) where street children made the life of people on two wheelers hell. For them it was an occasion to celebrate and make merry. So, they frenetically splashed muddy water on the faces and clothes of travelers, already harried by the rain.

It was not until a group of commuters chased the children away that the traffic flow at the roundabout resumed. It, however, barely moved smoothly as the roundabout was flooded at the sides.

Similar was the story at other roundabouts in southern sectors, including Sectors 33, 34, Labour Chowk, Sector 43, 45 and beyond. All these roundabouts are known to get inundated at the slightest of rain. These are low-lying areas.

Other areas hit by the rain were schools, where the traffic was totally jammed for over an hour. Almost all slip roads along the Madhya Marg were flooded, interrupting the flow of school buses and other vehicles. Traffic was blocked for at least two hours on the Madhya Marg, especially post 2 pm when the schools close.

The situation was worsened along the main roads leading to residential areas where earth has been dug up for construction of cemented pavements. The dug up earth was washed away in the rainwater. The main roads were all mucked up, once the rainwater receded.

As regards quantum of the rainfall, it was not as much as yesterday. It rained over 20 mm in Chandigarh today (till 5.30 pm) whereas the figure for yesterday was 22 mm. The day before yesterday the city had recorded 28 mm. The combined rainfall of Chandigarh over the past three days till 5.30 pm today has been over 67 mm.

The Met Department officials, however, said there was no respite from humid conditions. Maximum humidity recorded today was 100 per cent and minimum 74.6 per cent.



Review panel wants Burail jail escape routes plugged
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Chandigarh Administration has listed more than half a dozen unfinished tasks in upgrading the security of Burail jail. The security at the prison housing a number of high profile criminals had come under cloud following escape of Jagtar Singh Tara, Paramjit Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Hawara, alleged assassins of Mr Beant Singh, a former Chief Minister of Punjab in January, 2004.

The jail complex does not have a concertina wire(Coiled barbed wire used as an obstacle) on the inner boundary walls as suggested by the R.S. Gupta committee. The Engineering Department will be taking up installation of concertina wires around top edges of the inner boundary wall to prevent escape.

It has been pointed out that the work on providing alternate and a reliable electricity supply to the jail was incomplete. A special cable is being laid down from the 66 kv sub station, Sector 52. Work of construction of a boundary wall around additional land lies incomplete. It has been pointed out that no work has commenced on ground for construction of a female ward or an assembly hall. The administration has also been asked to take up construction of a contiguous jail and a court complex.

A review committee on the high security jail under the chairmanship of Mr Krishna Mohan, the Home Secretary, has underlined the need to plug loopholes in the security at the complex which houses very high profile criminals. Senior officials of the UT police were also present on the occasion.

Certain more works underlined for a quick completion include a jeep track inside the complex, kennel block for dogs and installation of fibre glass projection on the seven security towers, besides others.

The jail now has a 20 cell high security ward. The open sky space has been covered with iron grills and concertina barbed wires. The administration has issued a notification abolishing B and C categories of prisoners. However, it has been pointed out that provision of classification of prisoners according to their educational status and mode of living exists in the Punjab Jail Manual.

The jail now has night vision moveable CCTV cameras fitted in the cells of high security prisoners. A control room maintains round the clock surveillance on the activities inside the cells. The report has stressed the need for more computers with proper networking for prisoner records, including profiles, photographs and fingerprints. Need for biometrics finger printing has been suggested.

Interestingly, it has been suggested that the administration should take up the need for a separate branch dealing comprehensively with the architecture, practitioners of prison administration, engineers and electrician for restudying and modifying the prisons architecture.

The jail has started the rotation in lodging of prisoners in barracks. The rotation of the high security prisoners is now being done at odd hours.



MTech students oppose shifting of centre
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, August 26
Students of power engineering and electronics engineering, MTech, Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, are up in arms against the shifting of their regional centre from Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology (SSIET) here to a Fatehgarh Sahib-based institute.

It was a bolt from the blue for the students pursuing part-time MTech course when they arrived to attend classes at the SSIET this morning. They were bluntly told that the regional centre had been shifted from the SSIET to the Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fathegarh Sahib.

The shifting of the centre, besides causing inconvenience to the students runs counter to the PTU propsectus which clearly mentioned that the centre would not be shifted in mid-session, alleged Mr Harsimran Singh, a student.

Another student, Rajan Sharma, alleged that they had been harassed for no fault of theirs. If the centre was to be shifted, it should have been done after prior information and taking the students in confidence, he reasoned.

Meanwhile, Mr Avtar Singh, SSIET chairman, claimed that the institute had no role to play in the shifting of the centre. The centre was functioning from a rented accommodation of the SSIET.As the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had objected to the running of the centre from the SSIET, we had requested PTU to shift the centre, which was done by the university, he claimed.



Anti-quota rally by PGI doctors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Medical services in the PGI here were partially affected following one-day mass-casual leave by the resident doctors in protest against the proposed reservation policy of the Central Government.

At the OPDs, only faculty members examined the patients while the scheduled surgeries were cancelled or postponed for the day. Emergency services, however, remained unaffected.

Holding a banner with the slogan, “Voice For Justice”, the doctors took out a rally from the PGI. It passed through the Panjab University complex. They were raising slogans against the Central Government for its move to implement the Bill providing quota for OBCs in government-aided higher centres of learning.

“Yesterday, as a mark of protest, we wore black badges and today all resident doctors of the PGI have proceeded on mass casual leave”, a spokesman for the Youth for Equality, Mr Subh Mohan Singh said. “We had given notice to the PGI authorities about our decision to go on mass casual leave in advance”, he claimed.

The authorities, however, maintained that critical services were being maintained . However, contrary to their claim the OPDs were partially affected.



“Phulkari” set to hit world fashion market
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, August 26
“Phulkari”, traditional craft of rural Punjab, is set to hit the world fashion market, thanks to a unique initiative by the Business School of Fashion(BSF), nuclues of the upcoming Fashion Technology Park at Mohali.

With the business school concluding the first phase of the rural craftspersons skill upgradation programme at Sangotha village, near here, today, the dream of the rural artisans to feature their products at the international level is nearing realisation.The main objective of the five-day skill upgradation capsule was to train the rural folks on the colour concepts, visualisation and applications for reflecting festival seasons and moods, Ms Shameer Kaur and Ms Niyati Singh, the trainers, told The Tribune today.

“The traditional art of “phulkari” has been carried on for generations by the village folk, who already possess the skill of embroidery. However, the business school felt the need to engage them in a manner that their artistic expression finds audience at the global level. As such, the main focus of the programme was to develop their colour sensibilities so that the traditional repertoire of embroidery skills and designs are in sync with the new global features of fashion,” the business school CEO, Mr Pikender Pal Singh, said.

Mr J.N. Vohra, the school consultant, said the training modules would enable us to convert these self-helf groups into sustainable production hubs to cater to the global demand.Besides, skill upgradation initiative, we are also striving for converting these skills into marketable products to provide an assured return leading to ensure social security cover, Mr Vohra asserted.

In fact, the participants seemed to have a better appreciation of colour patterns after the five-day workshop.Earlier, I used a lot of dark colours.However, after the workshop,I have better apprecition of the light colours and the patterns in these colours look beautiful, Ms Kamaljit, a group leader from Sangotha village, said.

Ms Amandeep from Kurli village said she had almost registered a 90 per cent improvement as prior to the workshop she had only a limited knowledge of colour schemes. With knowledge of various colour patterns behind us, we can surely venture into the highly competitive fashion world.



Sobti gets bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Y.S. Rathore, today granted bail to Jalandhar-based industrialist, Sandeep Sobti, who has been booked for forgery and criminal conspiracy.

The police had claimed that he was involved in the manufacture and sale of bullet-proof jackets and vehicles to mafia dons and other criminals.



Dilemma of a minor expectant mother
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
At an age when most of her friends are going to school, a minor expectant mother is at the receiving end of the system.

Faced with the dilemma of whether to carry on with the unwanted pregnancy or go in for an abortion, the 15-year-old girl, Shalini (not her real name) is fighting with her back to the wall in the face of an "indifferent" social system.

Adding to her anguish, the doctors at the General Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, have told the girl's family that it was not possible to undertake the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) at this stage.

An application moved in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Y.S. Rathore, on August 18, 2006, seeking the permission for termination of the pregnancy has been of little help. After getting permission from the court, doctors at GMCH told her that rules did not allow carrying out abortion beyond 20 weeks.

"I want to abort. I had to shift the house in Daria village because of the social stigma faced by me and my family. And I was not in a position to deliver the child at this tender age as I was not physically prepared for it", the victim said, narrating her woes.

While living with the predicament of becoming mother of an unwanted child, an application moved by the police for DNA test of the child to ascertain its father has added to her suffering.

"Till the abortion or the delivery, the DNA test cannot be done.", said a police official.

Not relying on the advice of the doctors at the GMCH, the girl's got her ultrasound done at a private clinic in Panchkula. The report has indicated that she was 25 weeks' pregnant.

Narrating her suffering, she told The Tribune that she was appearing in her seventh class final examinations at Government School, Daria. "One day when I was alone, the accused, who lived in my neighbourhood, came to my house and raped me. For about a month I did not tell my mother out of fear. But when things went about of my control, I had to divulge everything", she said.

Finally on July 20, an FIR under Sections 376, 452 and 506 of the IPC was registered against the accused and he was sent to judicial custody. A police official disclosed since the girl has passed the stage of abortion, there was no alternative before her but to deliver the child. The challan in the case was soon expected to be filed in the local court.

"We are not opposed to her abortion from a private clinic provided it was safe for her and after seeking permission from the court", said the official.



Reply from information officer takes 6 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
It takes over six months for the Central Public Information Officer in the Estate Office to reply to a query regarding an order of compounding the basement in Aroma Hotel, Sector 22.

The information was supplied to the applicant on August 24 and that too after the applicant approached the media over the alleged dilly-dallying attitude of the officials in the Estate Office. “The reply was delivered to me last evening and was in form of a handwritten letter signed by the Central Public Information Officer”, said Col Harsaharan Singh Sandhu (retd), owner of Hotel Pankaj.

The information provided reads that as per the file on Aroma Hotel (CP-22), the basement has not been sanctioned or compounded. Therefore the information asked regarding the plot cannot be supplied.

In February 2006 Colonel Sandhu had sought the information after depositing the fee of Rs 10. The act clearly says that an applicant has to apply on a plain paper with the requisite fee at the designated counter. Mr Rajiv Tewari, who is working as Section Officer (Administration) has been designated as the Central Assistant Public Information Officer (designated officer) and Mr Uma Shankar, AC (F and A) Administration as the Central Public Information Officer under the RTI Act, 2005.

As per the provisions of the Right to Information Act (RTI), the General Manager of Aroma Hotel was asked to convey his consent on whether to give the information to the applicant or not. “I met the Estate Officer twice and was assured that I would be given the information at the earliest”, the applicant stated.

The applicant again wrote back to the information officer, stating that there was no need to seek consent of the hotel authorities under Section 11 of the RTI and under the head “third party information”. “The information was not confidential but still I was not informed within five days”, said Colonel Sandhu.



Tension in village over plot
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 26
Tension pravailed in Ballomajra village here today following a dispute between two groups over a piece of land. Heavy police force was deployed in the village till late in the evening. It is learnt that the dispute was regarding a 2 kanal plot. On this plot, a small bridge existed which connected two ponds of the village.

One group started erecting a gate on the plot. The other group opposed it.

Mr Manjit Singh Kaka, member of one group, alleged that Mr Sukhwinder Singh Shindi and others had constructed a gate on the plot where the bridge existed. This would obstruct the flow of water. He claimed that the other group could not carry out the construction as the matter was in court and a stay had been granted.

However, Mr Shindi reportedly claimed that the plot belonged to him and he could erect a gate. There was no stay on the plot, he claimed.



Refund to housing societies soon
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 26
After the draw for group housing societies, it’s a scramble to get their money back from the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Unsuccessful societies which put in their applications for the 44 plots reserved for housing societies are now in a hurry to get back their money.

The Estate Office, HUDA, will begin the process of returning the money deposited by these societies the next week.

The cheques will be despatched by the office in favour of the societies by post, an officer said.

While no individual enquiries pertaining to return of the fee will be entertained, the office will begin sending the cheques to the societies by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, the successful societies have opened their membership to outsiders today. Members from unsuccessful societies, too, were eager to strike a bargain, the deal rate being anything between Rs 5 lakh and 8 lakh.



Seminar on taxation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The local unit of the Northern India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) organised a seminar on taxation here today.

Addressing the seminar, Mr Vrind Jain, chairman of the unit, said the income tax return forms released by the Central Government recently were very lengthy. As these were twin returns for income as well as for FBT (fringe benefit tax) they needed to be handled very carefully, he added.

Mr Girish Ahuja, an income tax authority from Delhi, explained the column-wise implications of the new forms. Mr S.P. Babuta said earlier there was no time limit for granting permission for exemption of income tax by the authorities, but now such permission would have to be given or refused within 12 months from the last date of the month in which such application for grant of approval of exemption was received by the authority. Mr Alok Krishan, secretary of the unit, highlighted the objectives of the seminar.



Lions Club’s oath-taking ceremony
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
Lions Club International District 321 F comprising 150 clubs in Chandigarh and Punjab is holding the oath-taking ceremony for cabinet officers for 2006-07 at Shivalik Public School Auditorium Phase VI SAS Nagar, Mohali.

Mahendra Amarasuriya from Sri Lanka, the first International vice-president is going to be the chief guest on the occasion.

In addition to his activities, he is also the chairperson of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon in addition to being on the board of several other bluechip companies in Sri Lanka.



Workshop on creative writing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
The Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi organised a workshop on creative writing here today which was inaugurated by Mr R.T. Jindal, NZCC Director.

Dr Naresh, chairman of the akademi, said it was the duty of the older generation of writers to pass on wisdom and experience to the younger generation.

Dr Dinesh Chamola, Prof Pali Bhupinder Singh, Dr Anubhav Naresh and Upendra Bhatnagar imparted skills of creativity in the field of poetry, short story, drama and article writing, respectively.

About 70 students from schools of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula participated.



Residents asked to give tenant details
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 26
District Magistrate Tejveer Singh, has asked residents to furnish details of their tenants and servants at the nearest police station or the police post in the area.

The orders have been issued under Section 144 of the CrPc and would remain in force till October 21. The orders were issued as incidents of theft and other crime had gone up.



Deer hide found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 26
A worn-out hide of a spotted deer was found dumped near the Sector 19 rehri market here this morning. A shopkeeper, who informed the police, said insects had eaten up portions of the hide.

It had been apparently dumped to evade action by wildlife officials. To ascertain the genuineness of the skin, a wildlife official was called on the spot.

Showroom burgled

A sum of Rs 40,000 was stolen from a showroom in Sector 44 last night. thieves broke a windowpane of the shop to gain entry into the shop. A case has been registered.



Biz Clips

Mobile bill: Airtel customers can now pay their mobile phone bills at Sampark Centres of the Chandigarh Administration, an official press note said here on Friday. The Administration and Airtel has entered into an agreement to introduce the acceptance of payments for Airtel mobile bills at all Sampark Centres. This facility will be available August 28 onwards. TNS

Life insurance: ICICI Prudential Life Insurance announced the launch of two products aimed at greater security to investors and retirees, on Friday. Mr Prasun Sikdar, vice-president and Head of Sales, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, said while one product was a premium guarantee market-linked plan which ensured that an investor would only get benefits of the upsides of the market, the other was an immediate annuity product that offered a guaranteed income for life. TNS

Scotch launched: United Spirits Limited, launched Black Dog Centenary Scotch Whisky here on Saturday.

Mr Ashwin Malik, Chief Operating Officer, Northern Region, said the company was targeting young scotch drinkers. TNS



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