C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Insanitation, waterlogging dog city hospitals
PGI, GMCH authorities turn blind eye to dengue threat
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Choked sewer, poor sanitation and waterlogging at city’s premier health institutes, including the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and at other government and private health institutes reflect the readiness of the authorities concerned in tackling the rising cases of dengue.

Though the UT Administration claims to have intensified a field operation in the city to prevent and control dengue outbreak, the number of confirmed cases has gone up to 13 in the city alone. The state of hygiene in various health institutes has worsened, thus putting the authorities of the institutes concerned under the scanner.

A team of Chandigarh Tribune found choked sewerage and waterlogging right in front of the reception of the PGIMER.

Similarly at the GMCH, the problem of waterlogging has been hounding the authorities and visitors alike for the past many days. Puddles under water-coolers and washbasin right next to the Medical Superintendent’s office reflect the sorry state of affair.

Coats of moss around almost every water-cooler, with trash littered around, stare in the face of the authorities concerned.

Water accumulated in the newly dug-up trenches on the premises of the PGIMER and the GMSH provide a safe breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Heaps of trash and solid waste dot every nook and cranny of the hospital compounds. The stench emanating from waste not only causes inconvenience to doctors but also poses grave health risk to patients and their attendants.

Stinking toilets aggravate the problem at the health institutions of the city.

Wild growth and cesspools created by constant dripping of water from air conditioners have also gone unchecked.

Leaking overhead water tanks in various buildings of these institutes have gone unrepaired.

The PGIMER authorities, however, maintain that water accumulated at various places inside the complex has been disinfected and efforts are on to disinfect the water logged outside.

“The authorities are in the process of contacting the UT Administration to carry out an operation to prevent and control dengue in the institute,” a PGIMER spokesperson claimed.

Authorities of the GMCH, and the GMSH were not available for comments.

Dengue virus takes around week to infect a human being. The virus is transmitted by carrier female mosquito, Aedes aegypti, after the completion of its extrinsic incubation period of eight to 10 days. Once infected, the mosquito acts as a carrier for the rest of its life, which is around four to six weeks.

“The complete cycle of the extrinsic and the intrinsic incubation period is about two weeks,” claimed Dr Jagdish Chander, Head of the Microbiology Department, Government Medical College and Hospital.



11 fresh cases of dengue reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Panchkula, October 6
With four more positive cases of dengue reported at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and seven at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, the total number of dengue patients in city hospitals has gone up to 34 since last week.

One more patient tested positive for dengue at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, taking the total number of confirmed cases in Chandigarh and Panchkula to 56 since September 30.

The number of suspected cases in the city has reached 92, against the UT Administration’s claims of 88 suspected cases in various hospitals.

Sources claim that 22 cases have tested positive for the disease in Chandigarh alone, while a press note issued by the UT Administration states 13 confirmed cases of dengue in the city.

The total number of new suspected patients reporting to the Emergency at the PGIMER stands at 14 (13 adults and one child). Five of them hail from UP, five from Haryana and two each from Punjab and Chandigarh.

Since September 30, the PGIMER has reported 22 (19 adults and 3 children) positive cases out of which nine (eight adults and one child) have been discharged.

The PGIMER had 32 suspected cases (28 adults and 4 children). Out of these, 11 have been discharged and the rest 21 (17 adults and 4 children) are under observation. The reports of all of them are awaited.

None of the rest admitted or suspected patients had any significant complications and there had been no death.

The number of confirmed cases at the GMCH has increased to 12. In addition to five cases, seven more tested positive.

To its existing number of dengue cases, one more patient was admitted to the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, today.

Even as the total number of confirmed dengue cases have gone up to 22 in Panchkula, another case was reported at the General Hospital, Sector 6, today.

According to Dr G.P. Saluja, Civil Surgeon, a suspected dengue patient from Abhaypur village was admitted to the hospital today. There are six suspected cases at the hospital.

The Health Department organised a meeting with residents’ welfare associations to tackle the dengue menace. The residents were urged to maintain cleanliness to stop mosquito breeding, Dr Saluja said.

On the other hand, the Army authorities have asked the Health Department to undertake fogging operations in the areas adjoining the Chandi Mandir Cantonment, including Sectors 1 and 2, and Mansa Devi Complex.

The department today continued with its fogging operations in Abhaypur and Maheshpur villages. The department would cover around one Sector every day, Dr Saluja added.

Meanwhile, students of St Teresa Convent School, Sector 25, organised an anti-dengue awareness rally at the local General Hospital here today.

The students carried placards bearing slogans to raise awareness among residents about the disease.

The UT Health Department today continued with the field operations in Chandigarh to control the outbreak of dengue. Eighty-seven more house owners were issued notices under Section 2 of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 in the city.

Teams deployed by the administration visited the CTU, Punjab and Haryana roadways workshops and found around 2,400 dumped tyres at the workshops.

As part of a special drive, the administration has decided to involve schoolteachers and students of government schools. Two fogging machines were pressed into service in Sectors 15, 16, 22 and 23.



Dalit women launch stir for dignified living
Demand law for equal share in husbands’ property
Aditi Tandon
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, October 6
Dayawanti's lifestory is heart-wrenching. She lost her husband to TB and was turned out of the house by her in-laws. They offered her no share in family property. With nothing to her name, Dayawanti had to suffer exploitation as a farm labourer at Bahuakbarpur village in Rohtak until April this year, when all hell broke lose.

Dayawanti's minor daughter was allegedly raped by a middle-aged neighbour, while she was away to the fields. The accused has yet to be nabbed. Alone and penniless, Dayawanti is fighting for justice. She believes she could have fought better if she had some money or property as security.

"Everyone wants money. Even the police wanted money to nab the culprit. I felt helpless. My husband's family has acres of land in the village, but not an inch is for me," she says while speaking at a special meeting of 50 Dalit representatives of self-help groups active in Haryana, Punjab, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh. The meeting has been convened at the Catholic Church, Sector 19, to address issues concerning women's right in her husband's and his family's property.

The meeting was held under the umbrella of Mahila Ekta Manch, affiliated to the North Zone Social Development Centre, Agra, which is a conglomerate of 13 NGOs across North India. These NGOs are working in areas of gender equality and development.

Like Dayawanti, there were others who poured their hearts out today, listing cases where women had been forced into begging because they had nothing to their name - no belongings, no share in property.

Rajrani Devi, president of the sangh, who has pioneered the movement in favour of a law to make women equal partners in their husband's and his ancestral property, says: "Right in husband's property should be a fundamental right simply because it is directly linked to women's right to life and dignity. At Bijnaur, where I live, we have seen horrifying cases of abandonment and exploitation of women. Why should a woman not be a partner in husband's earnings and assets if she is a partner in his joys and sorrows," she asks.

Anju, who works with Chetanalaya, an NGO in Rohtak, made a similar point: "There have been cases in our villages where husbands have sold off wives who failed to bear them sons. If the law guarantees these women a share in husbands' property, the latter will think twice before deserting them."

Roseleen from Manav Vikas Samiti, Punjab, agrees , saying :"We know of women who have been forced to beg after being turned out by in-laws, who have acres of land. This is gross injustice and state governments must do something about it."

Following talks with legal experts, the women NGO representatives decided to forward formal representations in this regard to their respective state governments. They believe such a law can become a reality. Their inspiration is one such law in operation in Maharashtra.

It works quite simply - a newly married woman gives an application to a tehsildar, intimating him of her marriage. The law, passed by the state government, then guarantees such a woman a share in her husband's property, assuring her a life of respect and dignity.



Dept held guilty for failing to implement RTI Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Chief Information Commission has held the UT Law and Prosecution Department guilty for failing to implement the Right to Information Act (RTI), 1995, in connection with some information sought by a local resident, Mr P.S. Sawhney.

While deciding an appeal filed by Mr Sawhney, the Central Information Commissioner, Mr Wajahat Habibullah, has observed that the law Department failed to transfer the application to the department concerned and also did not inform the applicant about such transfers.

However, the Commission ruled out that any penalty imposed on the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) would not amount to compensation to him. The Commission has taken an adverse note of the deliberate flouting of the law by the Law and Prosecution Department.

On October 14, 2005, Mr Sawhney, in an application to the Law Officer and Public Information Officer (PIO), Mr Sunil Dutt, had sought information regarding a complaint of tampering of official record. The complaint had been made to the UT Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd).

In reply, the CPIO said he had received no complaint. When the applicant again approached the CPIO, he was informed that the matter concerned the Home Department and the Chandigarh Housing Board and, therefore, should be taken up with those departments. When attention of Mr Sunil Dutt was drawn to the Section 6(3) of the RTI Act, the CPIO said the applicant should take up the matter with the department concerned at his own level.



UT Admn gets PU nod for new Govt College
Enrolled students to study in other colleges;
80 seats in commerce allocated

Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The UT Administration has finally got the nod from Panjab University to go ahead with the opening of a new Government College of Commerce and Business Administration in the city.

However, the college has been allocated only 80 seats in commerce for this session. Further, the students admitted to the new college will study from other government colleges in the city instead of the new college.

The nod comes after many deliberations, as the PU Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.C. Sobti, had reportedly objected to the starting of the college at the short notice given by the UT Administration.

The administration had some weeks ago announced the opening of the college for Bachelors of Commerce (BCom) and Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA) courses and start classes from the current academic year (2006-2007).

Interestingly, the current academic year began more than two months ago in all colleges of the city.

Professor Sobti said the affiliation process from the university’s side had already begun and the final decision regarding the intake would depend on the inspection committee’s report.

The administration intended to start the college with 140 students each in BCom and BBA courses. But now only 80 students will be taken in BCom.

The administration had further stated that the new college would function from the old DEO’s Office building, near the main market in Sector 19B.

This building had earlier housed Government College, Sector 42, before it was shifted to its own building.

It was realised that even if it was a makeshift arrangement, there were not enough facilities immediately available for students to start attending classes.

According to sources, the makeshift arrangement were not enough for students and as a result it was decided to divide admitted students in groups and send them to other government colleges to attend classes even though they remained students of the new college.

When contacted, the DPI Colleges Ms Raji P. Srivastava, said: “The time with us is limited and we are making all efforts to make sure that students are in the classes as early as possible.”



Private hospitals may face inquiry
Flouting of PUDA’s land allotment norms

Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 6
Private hospitals established on the land allotted by the government at concessional rates are likely to face inquiry for allegedly flouting the terms of conditions of allotment.

In a note written to the Secretary Health, Punjab, Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh has pointed out that most of the private hospitals running in the township flouted the terms and conditions of the allotment of land. These hospitals were given land at concessional rates by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

In its policy for allotment of land for super-specialty hospitals in Punjab, PUDA had laid down that hospitals would give free treatment to at least 10 per cent of yellow card holders (below poverty line) who visited the hospital for OPD services and 5 per cent of those who came for in-patient services.

However, nothing like this was happening in a majority of hospitals running in the township, said the MLA.

Interestingly, the terms and conditions laid down by PUDA also stated that these hospitals had to give periodical reports to PUDA showing that these conditions were being followed. “No such periodical reports are being received,” he said.

Also noteworthy is the fact that PUDA too has over the years not ensured the implementation of the rule.

“According to my information, while PUDA has not bothered to ensure that their own rules are implemented, they have not even delegated the authority to any other government agency. In his case, PUDA is supposed to delegate this authority to the Department of Health. But that too has not been done,” he said.

The Civil Surgeon, Mohali, Dr M.S. Toor, said his office had no information about such a rule and as a result could not implement it.

The issue cropped up following a recent incident where an accident victim was taken to a private hospital in Phase 9, which happened to be the closest hospital from the site of the accident.

Five-year-old girl Isha, who lost both her parents and brother in the accident, was admitted to the hospital and rendered first aid.

The family of the girl could not afford the medical facilities there and decided to shift the child to Medical College in Chandigarh.

The hospital staff reportedly refused to discharge the child till huge bills were paid up.

“I have further written to the government that immediate action should be taken against those hospitals that do not following the conditions laid down. Their records should be checked to ascertain whether they have admitted any poor patients or not. Also, I have demanded that action be initiated against PUDA that it has not bothered to implement its own policies,” said the MLA.

The MLA also mooted the idea of the setting up of a Hospitals Regulatory Authority, which will keep a tab on the amount charged by private hospitals.



Tight security at PCA for matches
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Security arrangements at the PCA Stadium in Mohali will serve as a standard for other matches and championships held worldwide, Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) president I.S. Bindra told mediapersons during a press conference here yesterday.

With over 2.5 running kilometres worth of barricading in place around the stadium and deployment of at least 1,000 security men, the stadium would be virtually sealed on the day of the match.

Stating that the security arrangements were impeccable, Mr Bindra added that this was the first time such foolproof arrangements had been made outside the stadium.

There would be a three-tier security ring in place outside the stadium and at least 650 policemen would be deployed at various places around the rings, with at least 350 other private security men inside the stadium.

Mounted police would patrol the roads leading to the stadium and three SPs and 12 DSPs would be on duty around the stadium.

Addressing mediapersons, Mohali SSP Naunihal Singh said there were no standardised system of security management for international cricket matches which could be applied to stadiums across the world.

This was probably for the first time that a serious and scientific effort was being made to plan the entire security management system for the stadium in a manner that it could provide valuable inputs for similar events at other places in the country, he said.

Cells had been set up for foreigner spectators who might want assistance regarding visa and a special cell had been created for physically handicapped spectators.

They would be escorted to their seats during the match and the SP Headquarters (mobile number 987616002) would be in charge of both cells.

A new innovative concept of freeze had been introduced, wherein for a particular duration, all entry points would be sealed and a thorough surprise checking of the spectator area carried out for unauthorised entry or trespass.

There would be 21 nakas at various places in the town and six fire tenders and six ambulances would be on emergency duty outside the stadium during the matches.

There would be an anti-riot vehicle, two water cannons, five tear gas squads, five anti-sabotage teams and a bomb disposal team.

The police would get feedback from spectators regarding arrangements for security during matches.

Feedback forms had been printed, which would be distributed during matches and collected at the gates later.



Cops get 2 passes each to check gate-crashing
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 6
In a bid to deter its personnel against refusing entry to genuine ticket holders to the PCA Stadium, Mohali, the Mohali Police today gave two complimentary passes to each police official on duty at the stadium.

The rationale: to prevent a repeat of what happened in February this year during an Indo-Pakistan match, when police officials allegedly took money from persons who had come without ticket to watch the match. They allowed them entry into the stadium at the cost of genuine ticket holders.

That largesse can also be related to the fact that less than 2,000 tickets, for the 40,000 capacity stadium, have been sold for the first match that will be played tomorrow between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Also, the cops on duty will be treated with packed lunch and a bottle of packaged drinking water after every two hours.

The SSP, Mohali, Mr Naunihal Singh, today said “Strict action will be taken against if any officer facilitating illegal acts”. He said CCTV cameras at the various entry points would be watching over the police force as well.

Later in the evening, the SSP told mediapersons that adequate arrangements had been made to ensure hassle free matches.

The SP, Headquarters, Mr Inder Mohal Singh, will be in charge and arrange for assistance on the spot if required.



In Town

Today’s evening at the Pinjore Heritage Festival, on at the Yadavindra Gardens, will see a performance by India’s leading female vocalist, Begum Parween Sultana.

Also called the Cleopatra of Music, Begum Parveen Sultana is one of the few artistes to have established a good rapport with Hindustani and Karnataka music audiences.

Many awards and honours have come her way since her first stage performance as a 12-year-old.

She is also the youngest artiste to receive the Padmashri, and has been applauded for her outstanding virtuosity.




Watch out

Balwant Singh Saini A local cyclist Balwant Singh Saini is again on the rough tracks of the Himalayas, braving the extreme conditions by paddling a distance of 600 kms to accomplish top honours in the ongoing second edition of the 10-day Hercules MTB Himachal 2006 event, India’s first mountain cycling ride and race, which was flagged off from Shimla on Wednesday and will culminate at Manali on October 13.

Balwant Singh, the winner of the National championship of Mountain biking in 2004, also participated in the state championship, organised by the Chandigarh Amateur Cycling Association. He also won gold in the inter-college athletics competition.



Workshop discusses problems of women, children
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
A two-day workshop pertaining to issues of women and children was organised for the staff of Women and Child Support Unit (WACSU) of the Chandigarh Police in the Government College for Girls, Sector 46, here.

The workshop was attended by the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) WACSU, Mr P.K. Dhawan, Inspector Ajaib Singh Somal and 30 other police officials posted in the unit.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Police said the work shop organised by the Family Counselling Centre (FCC), was funded by the Social Welfare Board. Dr Jyoti Seth, Lecturer in Sociology, Government College for Girls, Sector 46, Dr Jyoti, chief coordinator, Bharat Bal Adhikar Sangh, spoke on the need for positive self-image of the police force. The session was interactive, which was followed by the suggestions of the staff members of WACSU.

A presentation of various case studies was made by the chairpersons and counsellors of the FCC, particularly focusing on applied counselling. The participants actively took part in the sessions and their suggestions were documented. The experts during the two-day-long discussions, talked on key issues, including mid-lifer syndrome, incompatibility (sexual, economic, educational and cultural), communication gaps, etc. In the case of working couples, problems like scarcity of time for each other, communication problems and professional competitiveness were debated.



China eyeing Sutlej waters: ICAR
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 6
The Chinese efforts to tap the Sutlej waters by constructing the Pareechu dam will drastically reduce the river’s perennial water flow to India, hitting northern states, especially Punjab, severely.

The startling disclosure was made by Dr J.S. Samra, Deputy Director-General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, here today.

“The remote sensing data available with the ICAR has confirmed that China is building the Pareechu dam on the Sutlej to divert river waters from western to eastern China through a network of canals.

“If and when this happens, it will reduce the water flow to India by 40 per cent, which will further erode northern states, particularly Punjab’s, vanishing water resources,” he told The Tribune on the sidelines of a seminar on “Management of Soil and Water Resources for Higher Productivity”.

Expressing concern over the alarming fall in groundwater table, poor soil health and lack of a coherent government policy, he said all these factors were adversely affecting agricultural productivity in the country in general and Punjab in particular.

“Punjab, which has the potential of crop production of about 16 to 18 tonne per acre per year, seems to have stuck at the present level of 10 tonne per acre, owing to poor soil health and depleting water table,” he said.

Dr Samra also revealed that the Planning Commission was peeved at poor utilisation of soil-testing infrastructure, a meagre 30 per cent of full potential only, in the country.

Incidentally, Punjab soil is reeling under the onslaught of repeated and intensive ‘mono-cropping’, wheat-paddy pattern in lay terms, with nitrogen deficiency reaching as high as 97 per cent. Other vital nutrients like phosphorus, zinc and iron, too, are missing in significant proportions.

In fact, noted agriculture expert, Dr M.S. Swaminathan, has recently submitted a report to the Centre recommending that Punjab should reduce area under paddy cultivation.

Mr S.S. Saini, Chief Conservator of Soils, emphasised that Punjab was facing its worst ecological crisis with its water and soil resources under grave threat.

Most of the blocks of the state had already been declared as falling under ‘dark zone’ where even centrifugal pumps could not extract water.

“The Department of Soil and Water Conservation is working full steam to educate farmers on the need of crop diversification, appropriate use of fertilisers, innovative irrigation methods like drip irrigation, etc and to change paddy transplantation timings,” he said.

His views were echoed by Mr A.K. Sondhi, Conservator of Soils, who informed that if the paddy transplantation was done in mid-June instead of May, it could save precious 200 mm of water. Another noted soil conservation expert, Dr J.S. Gill, said the need of the hour in Punjab was a cohesive strategy for crop diversification, keeping in mind the soil and water resources of the state.



Surprise checks by CBI at govt houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Sleuths of the CBI today carried out surprise checks at official residences of the Central Government’s Directorate of Estate Office, Chandigarh, in connection with alleged sub-letting of the official accommodations in Sector 7 here.

Sources in the CBI said the checks were carried out at the residences of over 40 such officials who have allegedly sub-let their official residences, as these officers have their private accommodations in the city. Similar checks were conducted in the Sector 7-A and in Sector 46 on Thursday.

Sources revealed that the checks did not yield many results, as most of the houses were found to be locked in the afternoon. They said chances were that the officials might have got prior information about the checks. They said several houses were found to be given on rent. Further course of action would be decided in this regard after the investigations are completed in this matter.

Sources added that there were complaints about the misuse of the official residences and it was alleged that certain officials were making money in this fashion.

Sources said most of the accommodations are given on rent to students studying in nearby institutes. It was also said that in some cases the middlemen charge between Rs 5,000 to 10,000 to fix the deals between tenants and officials.



Exhibition on wildlife
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
A three-day wildlife exhibition, in collaboration with the Environment Department, Chandigarh, began at Maharishi Dayanand Public School, Daria, today.

Indian Council for Environmental Studies Chairman Ravinder Talwar, who was the chief guest, inaugurated the exhibition. The exhibition with started a welcome song and gidda under the guidance of the school Eco Club in-charge Prabha Bhainsora.

Students of different schools through their models and posters exhibited how a pollution-free environment and wildlife conservation made lives healthier.

Stress was laid on setting up of industries away from residential areas and proper disposing of garbage and industrial waste.

Models of ban on hunting, green city, clean villages, effects of environment on living things and soil erosion were also on display.

Mr Talwar later praised students for their effort. Principal Vinod Kumar thanked the chief guest.



Training programme concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
On the concluding day of the two days training programme, organised by the Family Counselling Centre (FCC) and aided by the Central Social Welfare Board, experts discussed the Dowry Act and other women related issues. The session was held for the staff of the Women and Child Support Unit (WACSU) of the Chandigarh Police. It was held at the Women Cell in Sector 17, here, today.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Police said the first session was addressed by Mr Anil Pal S. Shergil. He discussed the Dowry Act, the Violence Act, the Sexual Harassment and Rights to Information Act.

Mr Shergil interacted with the participants and provided them with legal solutions of various queries raised by them.

The second session was addressed by Dr Kulpreet Dhillon, centre Co-Coordinator, Child Line, PGI. She stressed the need for adopting various counselling techniques while dealing with cases of marital discord.

Ms Dhillon also focused on various goals and principles of counselling and provided certain guidelines for effective pre and post marital counselling.

The session was concluded with a vote of thanks by the Chairperson of the FCC, Mrs Santosh Singh, and the Deputy Superintendent of UT Police, WACSU, Mr P.K. Dhawan.



Ban on Musharraf’s book sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Bharti Jan Shakti party has demanded a ban on the book ‘In the Line of Fire’ written by General Pervez Musharraf as it contained a disported map of the geographical boundaries of India.

Seeking action against those who were facilitating the sale of the book, the local unit of the party yesterday met the Deputy Commissioner demanding the issue of a notification to ban the book.

Mr K.S. Lamba, a spokesman of the party, said the map shown in the book was not correct as per the records of Survey of India and against national interest.

As the map depicts Kashmir as a disputed territory and Siachen as part of Pakistan, the government should immediately ban the book, Mr Lamba said.

If the local district administration fails to take any action, it would launch a public awareness campaign against the book and adopt democratic means to raise the issue.



MC panel clears works worth Rs 1.27 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Water Supply and Sewerage Disposal committee of the Municipal Corporation accorded approval to various agendas of Rs 1.27 crore at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of Ms Harpreet Kaur Babla, head of the Water Supply and Sewerage Disposal committee, Municipal Corporation.

The committee has accorded approval to various agendas, including the work of designing, fixing, commissioning and testing of gas chlorinator at filtration plant (15 MGD) at waterworks, sector 39, costing approximately Rs 7.63 lakhs, estimate for the work complete repair and renovation of toilet block main market, Modern Housing Complex, Mani majra for Rs 2.62 lakh, estimate for the construction of cement concrete pavements and laying of premix carpeting on existing roads, pump house parking and staff quarters, providing and fixing of MS flat railing, paving equipment in park for children on the campus of waterworks-I, Mani majra, for Rs 5.62 lakh, besides other items.



‘Farmers in business category for migration to Canada’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Farmers are now included in the self-employed business category under Canada’s new immigration regulations, and placed on a better footing than other business category immigrants.

This was stated by Lt-Col B.S. Sandhu (retd), CMD, WWICS, here yesterday. “No funds have been fixed that a farmer must carry to Canada. The condition imposed on him is that he should be able to create his own employment by purchasing and managing a farm in Canada. The visa granted to him is for permanent immigration and it is not provisional,” he added.

He informed that farmers are also not bound to give employment to any other immigrant/citizen of Canada as in the case of entrepreneurs. He should just have a minimum of two years’ experience in farming in the past five years.

He said that demand for professionals in new occupations is growing in Canada. He listed some emerging occupations as webmaster, multimedia specialist, computer security specialist, global positioning systems technician, direct broadcast satellite technician, avionics technician, and electronic commerce specialist etc.



Festive fair to raise funds for ‘special’ kids opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Celebrations Fiesta ‘06 unfurled at Hotel Shivalik View, Sector 17, with great fanfare as the Lady Governor, Ms Jean Rodrigues, lit the traditional lamp and inaugurated this special festive fair.

What makes the exhibition special and unique is that it has been put together to raise money for the Vatika School for Speech and Hearing Impaired Children in Sector 19. On the occasion, Ms Rodrigues handed over an initial contribution cheque from the organisers to the Punjab IAS Officers Wives Association, which supports the Vatika School.

In an attempt to bolster the confidence and spirit of the special children, the candles, cards and clothes made by them in their vocational training sessions will be available at the Vatika Stall. “In fact, this is the only place in the whole exhibition where so many varieties of candles can be found,” said one at the organisers, explaining that they had deliberately done this to encourage the work of these youngsters.

For the children of the school, it was indeed a special moment to interact with Ms Rodrigues, who was handed packets of candles to use at Divali.

Ms Rodrigues wrote in the visitors’ book: “Congratulations on a wonderful endeavour for a very noble cause. Celebrations Fiesta ‘06 has been very well organised and beautifully presented with a very wide selection. Good to know some of the proceeds are being given to a special school Vatika. God bless you and thank you for what you have done for our special children.”

The two-day exhibition, being held in association with CITCO, has more than 60 exhibitors from all over the country and even from Nepal displaying their special products. From designer wear, both Indian and Western, to jewellery, home furnishings, gift items, silverware, furniture and even a bridal beauty makeover workshop to be conducted by the internationally renowned make-up artiste Vidya Tikari on October 10 are some of the highlights of this exhibition.

The exhibition will be on till October 7 from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.



Parties get 5 days to file objections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The State Election Commissioner, Mr S.P. Marwaha, today gave five days time to political parties to file their objections and suggestions on the draft delimitation of wards for the forthcoming elections to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

The objections have to be filed with the Chandigarh Administration by October 11. The Administration has proposed 26 wards for the forthcoming elections.

The time was after representatives of the different political parties held a meeting with the State Election Commissioner on the issue of being little time to file their objections. Mr Marwaha also held a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K. Rao, and Municipal Commissioner, Mr P.S. Aujla.

Representatives of the Congress and the BJP said the population strength in the proposed wards was not even. While in some wards it was 19,000, in other wards it was 40,000.

As per the draft delimitation, at least three wards — 24, 25 and 26 — have been carved out from the existing two wards presently represented by the Mayor, Mr Surinder Singh and Mr Balraj. Similarly, some alteration has been done in other wards.

The BJP, in a statement, claimed that the Administration had agreed to review the variation in the number of wards.



Offers of help pour in for 5-yr-old Isha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Offers have poured in for help and support to the 5- year-old Isha, the sole survivor of an accident that killed her entire family 10 days ago.

Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the plight of the child whose relatives were struggling to cope with the child’s emotional loss.

Many Tribune readers called the office to know where they could render help. “Some families have offered to shoulder the entire medical expenses of the child and another wants to take the responsibility of her education,” said Mr Vinod, Isha’s uncle.

Isha was discharged from the Civil Hospital this morning and is with her grandmother at her Phase XI residence.

Meanwhile, Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh today stated that he would be starting a drive to collect money from the residents of the township to help Isha.



MC panel nod for green belt estimates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation yesterday decided that the survey of institutions, autonomous bodies and residential quarters engaged in commercial activity will be presented to the next meeting of the corporation. The survey is being conducted for the assessment of property tax due from different quarters.

The F and CC approved estimates for the fountains in Pinkcassia Garden and green belts of Sector 29.

The committee also cleared the augmentation of streetlights on V-4 roads of Sectors 19, 3, 36, 23, 45 and 37. It also cleared the construction of the 7000-gallon capacity UGR with boosting arrangements for Sectors 15-C and 15-D.



Artificial limbs given to 17 mine blast victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Artificial limbs were given to 17 civilians, including three women, who had been disabled in mine blast accidents during Operation Parakram, at a function organised by the Rising Star Corps in Yol Cantonment today.

The Artificial Limbs Centre at the Command Hospital in Chandi Mandir had been directed by the Western Command to manufacture artificial limbs for these persons, according to a statement issued here.

The corps had made arrangement for the travel of the affected persons to the centre for measurement and proper fitting of the artificial limbs. Earlier, the Army had also taken up the case of these landmine casualties with the Ministry of Defence for giving them financial compensation.



Indo-Pak Peace Camp concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The six-day Indo-Pak Peace Camp ended at the Dev Samaj College of Education here today. It was organised jointly by Yuvsatta, DAV College, MRA Senior Secondary School, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi. The camp was attended by 16 students from Pakistan and over 20 students here.

Taking the step further, members of The Youth, Pakistan, an NGO based in Sadikabad, Pakistan, have resolved to start a similar campaign in Sadikabad.

In the last three years, more than 50 "peace clubs" have been formed in major educational institutions of the city.

A valedictory function to mark the closing of the Indo-Pak Students Peace Camp was organised today. Prominent amongst those who participated were Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath, Sr Advocate, Mr. JS Gill, Addl. Dy. IGP, CRPF.



Sale of correction fluid to minors banned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
In an order, the District Magistrate, UT Chandigarh, has prohibited the sale of correction fluid to minors in the city for a period of 60 days.

This order has been issued keeping in view that some minors, specially schoolchildren, have reportedly committed crimes using correction fluid (white fluid generally used by typists for making corrections on types matter). The order will come into force from October 6 and remain effective till December 4.



Cactus show from today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 6
The two-day 29th annual show of cactus and succulent plants will be held at the National Cactus and Succulent Garden and Research Centre, Sector 6, here, tomorrow.

According to a press note, the show will be organised by the National Cactus and Succulent Society of India in collaboration with the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Over 2,000 thorny plants from the regions as far as the USA, Africa, Madagascar, will be on display.

The show will open to public from 10.30 am on October 7 and the prize distribution will take place the next day at 5 p.m. The entry on both days will be free, the press note added.



Heritage festival

Chandigarh, October 6
The Department of Tourism of the Chandigarh Administration will celebrate the Chandigarh Heritage Festival tomorrow by organising several events to showcase the heritage of the City Beautiful. — TNS



1 held with 12 kg ganja
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The operations cell of the Chandigarh Police arrested one person while he was allegedly carrying 12 kg of ganja. According to the police, Mohammad Ansari of Bihar was arrested from near Khudda Ali Sher on Thursday evening. His search led to the recovery of 12 kg of ganja. A case under Section 20 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered.

Burglary bid

Mr Guna Dhar of Sector 15 lodged a complaint with the police that he had caught a youth red-handed at his residence while the latter was allegedly attempting to commit burglary on Thursday morning. The accused has been identified as Amit Gaud of Sector 34. A case has been registered.

Car stolen

Mr Amarjit Singh of Sangrur district reported to the police that his Maruti car (DL-SC-3785) was stolen from the Sector 22 market place on Thursday morning. A case of theft has been registered at the Sector 17 police station.



Another case of road rage in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
In yet another case of road rage, an employee of Ranjit Sagar Dam was brutally beaten up by a car driver on trivial issue of giving way in a traffic jam in Sector 22 on Wednesday afternoon. The victim had been admitted to the hospital with multiple injuries besides a dislocated shoulder while the car driver fled the spot after the incident.

The victim, Mr Surinder Kumar, alleged that he was on his way to the office on that fateful day when he struck in a traffic jam in Sector 22 at around 2 pm. At the same time a Hyundai Accent car bearing registration number (CH-12-T-5344) reached there. As it was congestion out there and both the vehicles struck with each other, an altercation broke out between them, which soon took an ugly turn.

And to the utter astonishment of Mr Kumar, the car driver lost his cool in no time and started beating him up black and blue. The car driver, who did not care for any one, snatched Mr Kumar's helmet and began hitting him with it. As a result, Mr Kumar sustained a cut on his lip, and received multiple injuries on his limbs besides dislocating his shoulder. He was later admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital, from where he was discharged today.

When contacted the in charge of Sector 22 police post, Mr Charanjit Singh, said the car had been traced following its registration number and it belonged to a resident of Progressive Co-operative Society in Sector 50-B.

Efforts are on to trace the accused. He said no case has so far been registered in this regard as the medical reports of the victim were awaited.

Meanwhile, a delegation of various employees unions of the city, including the Draftsman Association, Chandigarh, while taking a serious note of the incident went to the Sector 22 police post demanding immediate action in the case on Thursday.

The delegation, including the president of the Draftsman Association, Mr Parmod Mitra, vice president, Mr Dinesh Kumar, and Mr Ram Pal Sharma today met the Medical Superintendent of the Sector 16 General Hospital, Ms Usha Bishnoi, requesting to complete the medical report soon. She reportedly assured the delegation that the report would be submitted till Monday.



Rajasthan resident booked for misleading court, forgery

Chandigarh, October 6
The local police has booked a Rajasthan resident on the allegations of misleading the court, forgery and criminal conspiracy.

Giving details, sources in the Sector 3 police station said cases under Sections 466, 467, 468, 471 of the IPC had been registered on Thursday following directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after the crime came to light.

The sources said the accused, B.D. Aggarwal, director M/s Vikas WSP Ltd of Ganganagar, in connivance with an advocate Sudarshan Grover allegedly fabricated false documents regarding his company. The 11-page document was sent to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), saying that the High Court had passed an order in their favour on October 7, 2005.

The matter was detected when the BSE sent the document to the Ministry of Company Affairs, which in turn confirmed it from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court denied having issued any order in favour of the accused.

A police official admitted that the matter was under investigation and the facts and details are subject to verifications. He, however, confirmed that the advocate and B.D. Aggarwal had misled the court. — TNS



CHB signs agreement with Parsvanath Ltd
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) today formally signed a development agreement with the Parsvanath Developers Limited for developing housing, commercial and related infrastructure at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park here today.

A sum of Rs 100 crore, as first installment of the bid amount, was paid to the CHB. The auction was held on June 9 earlier this year and the builders bid Rs 821 crores.

The project was earlier delayed because a party went to the court and later withdrew the case in July. The agreement could not be signed still because of certain technical difficulties with regard to shifting the high tension wires on the area meant for the project.

The agreement was signed between the builders and CHB by Mr Pardeep Jain, chairman of the builders group, and Mr Amar Nath, Chief Executive Officer of the CHB. The project envisaging 1400-1500 flats and unspecified villas will be completed within three years.

The accommodation will consist of one, two, three, four and five bedroom flats, besides a few villas for the high-end clientaile. The total project area is 123 acres. The applications are open to all and no reservations have been made, except 10 per cent for the IT professionals.

"A person can get two flats, if he can afford," it was pointed out.

Mr Mohan Jeet Singh, chairman of the CHB, said the biggest problem that the commencement of the project faced was high tension wires running over the plot area for the project. We have got a commitment from the Electricity Department that the ground will be cleared by March, 2007," he added.

The project will include a water park, sports complex, integrated shopping and club facilities, which will all be of international standards. The flats will have centrally air conditioning facilities.

Mr Jain said the pricing had still not been worked out and will be settled soon with the board authorities. Mr Amar Nath said incase the number of applicants were more than the number of flats, then the CHB will go in for draw of lots for allotment.

It was also pointed out that the CHB will get 30 per cent of the total revenue earned through the sale of residential quarters and no returns from the commercial area will be shared.



Conclave discusses tourism potential of North India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Tourism is an upcoming industry with a vast potential, but of the total world trade in travel and tourism, the contribution of India is only 0.7 per cent. There is a need to plan a short term and long term strategy for different states and at the national-level, said Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Tourism Minister, Punjab, while delivering the inaugural address at the three-day conference -cum-exposition on Tourism-n-Tour, The North India Tourism Conclave, being organised here by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Chandigarh Administration and Tourism Departments of the Northern states.

He mentioned that tourism had been identified as an important avenue for employment and income generation, foreign exchange earnings and at the same time having a multiplier effect on the economy. Highlighting public-private partnership as the key enabler to promote the the tourism industry, the minister expressed hope that the conclave would help churn out a common and comprehensive strategy for sustainable growth of tourism in northern India.

Discussing the initiatives taken in Punjab, he said realising the importance and potential of tourism, budgetary provisions had been increased and the new tourism policy had been declared, according to which all concessions and benefits available to the industry were being made available to tourism projects as well. The thrust of the Tourism Department in Punjab at present was religious, rural, health and sports tourism, he added.

Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser, Chandigarh Administration, addressing the inaugural session said we had to think beyond boundaries and think of the region as a whole to make tourism development into a reality.

Discussing the city's initiatives towards projecting Chandigarh as an ideal destination for tourism, Mr Krishna Mohan, Secretary, Home and Tourism, Chandigarh Administration, said, " Chandigarh is an ideal tourist destination especially after the phenomenal growth of IT and with the availability of a good education and health infrastructure. He emphasised that these advantages needed to be harnessed to develop Chandigarh as a leading tourism hub in Northern India.

Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Tourism, Chandigarh Administration , while setting the tone of the conclave presented product innovation in the tourism sector as an essential keeping in view the sector being so demand-driven.

Mr Vijai Vardhan, Managing Director, Haryana Tourism , through an insightful presentation, took the participants on a journey of the tourism potential of Haryana, especially the magnificent Pinjore Gardens. He also presented a glimpse of the Pinjore Heritage Festival being organised in conjunction with the conclave,

Mr Man Mohan S. Kohli, President, Tourism Promotion Society, Chandigarh, described the conclave as a fine blend of travel, hospitality and service dynamics and a great opportunity to network. The two-day conclave was addressed by a galaxy of renowned speakers representing the entire gamut of the tourism fraternity. Eminent speakers included Mr Sushil Gupta, Managing Director, Hyatt Hotels; Mr Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, The Bird Group, Mr M. Narayanan, CMD, Tourism Finance Corporation of India; Mr Vikram Bakshi, MD, Connaught Plaza Pvt Ltd.



Another housing project kicks off in Zirakpur
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 6
Zirakpur’s VIP Road, famous for farmhouses of the rich and famous, is bursting at seams. Even as the real estate market fails to look up, another state-of-the-art housing project has kicked off on the VIP road.

Promoted by Aditya Durobuild Private Limited, Noida, the project is likely to kick off a price war among the major realtors, who are fighting for a share of the real estate market in the fastest growing township on Chandigarh’s periphery. The three-and four-bedroom furnished flats start from Rs 27 lakh and Rs 30 lakh, respectively, which the promoters claim are aimed at attracting the genuine buyers.

In fact, apart from its strategic location approachable from both the Chandigarh-Ambala and Chandigarh-Patiala roads, the builders are wooing the customers with ‘special prices” and free lifetime club membership and lifestyle fixtures like imported enclosures in toilet and video door phone.

“Quality housing is still required India and recession in the real estate market does not make any difference. The locational advantage, coupled with the affordable prices, should attract the customers to our project, Mr Rajeev Bansal, Managing Director, told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

The project is slated to be completed in 18 months. In fact, the penalty clause of Rs 5 per square feet for the late completion of the project should reassure the customers about our commitment to timely possession, added Mr Keshav Mittal, Executive Director.

The road had been a favourite haunt of certain big names in the real estate business, who are making a beeline for the housing projects here. The Jaipurias, Emgreen and the N.K. Sharma Group are only a few names, which have ventured into the real estate business. Even one of the largest colonies in the region Silver City — is adjoining the VIP Road. The area has farmhouses of senior politicians and bureaucrats. However, lately the farmhouses are paving way for the apartments.

Though the big builders may be targeting the area, the basic amenities leave much to be desired. The pot-holed roads give the visitors a bumpy welcome. And the power and water situation is far from satisfactory not only in Zirakpur but in the whole of Punjab. This is despite the fact that the developers pay hefty external development charges to the authorities concerned.



Need to boost Indo-Russian trade ties: experts
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, October 6
Bilateral ties and economic cooperation between India and Russia is a vital component of their strategic relationship. Russia and India can cooperate in areas like oil and natural gas, civil aviation, chemical industry, pharmaceuticals, constructions of hydro and thermal power stations, space research and other areas of science and technologies.

This was stated by Mr Vyacheslav I Trubnikov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation, while addressing delegates at an interactive session on "Indian- Russian economic relations: problems and prospects". The session was jointly organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) and International Public Foundation "Experimental Creative Centre", Moscow.

He said Russia was already helping India in the construction of the Kundankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, the Sakhlin-I oil and gas project, Tehri, Barh and Obra power plant projects as well as in offshore hydrocarbon exploration in the Bay of Bengal by Russian company Gazprom and its India counterpart, GAIL.

He, however, said the current volume of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries was not commensurate with the strategic partnership between the countries. "Today 60 per cent of Russia's exports to India, fall in four main commodity groups - raw materials, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, fertilisers and newsprint. Thus it is necessary to improve and diversify the commodity exchange," he said.

The Punjab Governor, Gen (Retd) S F Rodrigues, who chaired the session, said it was time that Russia signed a long-term supply agreement with India for agricultural produce, hydro power and liquified natural gas.

Leading Russian political scientist Prof Sergey Kurginyan spoke about the relations between the two countries in the global context.



Diamond jewellery exhibition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
After launching its diamond jewellery range in Delhi, Goa and Mumbai, Tara Jewels Export, Mumbai-based jewellery manufacturing export unit, is heading towards Chandigarh now.

In its exhibition to be held at hotel Mountview from October 7 to 9, the export house promises to bring affordable jewellery to everyone.

In the repertoire of Tara are genuine De’ Beers diamonds fashioned to cater to everyone’s tastes and pockets.

At a press conference held at Chandigarh Press Club, here yesterday, the Tara House showcased its products through a specially designed fashion show. Among the products on sale will be pendants, earrings, jewellery sets and necklaces.

Also to be showcased at the exhibition will be silver pieces from Marcello Giorgio, Italy. These art pieces have been created by a combination of computerisation and tradition.



BSNL’s special offers for mobile users
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Punjab Circle of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) on Tuesday introduced certain promotional offers for their mobile subscribers.

The Chief General Manager, Mr Rajendra Singh, said here that the existing recharge coupon of the face value of Rs 2,000 would have a talk time of Rs 2,200 and 365 days’ validity in place of the existing talk time of Rs 2,000 and 180 days’ validity.

Similarly, the existing recharge coupon of face value of Rs 300 shall have full talk time. However, the validity would remain the same at 30 days.

These offers would be for a period of 45 days only, he added.



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