C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Dengue tightens grip; 19 more cases reported
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, October 8
With reports of 19 more cases testing positive, the total number of dengue cases at the PGI, the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, and the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, mounted to 69 today.

The PGI confirmed 15 more cases of dengue, raising the tally of the patients suffering from the disease at the hospital to 48 while the number of confirmed cases at the GMSH and the GMCH has increased to two and 19 respectively.

The PGI admitted 12 new suspected patients of dengue. Out of them, two patients belonged to Chandigarh. The number of registered cases from Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh there was 95. Five suspected cases of were reported at the GMSH out of which two were confirmed for the disease. All patients were residents of Chandigarh only.

Adding to the list of confirmed cases, two more patients tested positive for dengue in the GMCH out of the 11 new admissions. The confirmed cases belonged to Panchkula and Ambala. With two more cases testing positive, the GMCH now has 19 confirmed cases of dengue.

However, the UT Administration claimed to have admitted 18 new cases in these hospitals out of which three tested positive.

The UT Administration claimed that a team of health officials today visited Sector 19, Panjab University and Mani Majra as part of its operation to prevent spread of dengue in the City. In Sector 19, a house-to-house check was conducted and disinfectants were sprayed. Inspections were also carried out in the Palika Bazar area and the tubewell near it.

Water accumulation points near Gandhi Bhavan, Student Centre and Library were treated with larvicides at Panjab University. Mani Majra and adjoining areas were also thoroughly inspected. Over 110 coolers in the area were found to be having dirty water.

Fogging operations continued in the Hallo Majra, Airport, Behlana, ITBP areas and Mani Majra, Mariwala Town, Pipliwala Town, Indira Colony, Sectors 32,33, 35 and 36.

PANCHKULA: While no fresh confirmed cases of dengue were reported from the district, two suspected dengue patients were admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6, here today. With this, the total number of suspected cases has gone up to eight.

While one patient is a resident of NAC Mani Majra, the other is a CRPF jawan from Pinjore. The Health Department said a third suspected dengue patient from Sector 11 had been admitted to the GMCH-32.

PATIALA: A 23-year-old youth of Bathinda town, Mr Vikas Kumar, was admitted to the local Rajindra Hospital after he was found to be a suspected patient of dengue.

Dr Rakesh Gupta, Civil Surgeon, said though a clinical test for the disease, which was conducted at Bathinda, had been negative, the youth was being kept in isolation ward for observation.

ROPAR: Two suspected cases of dengue were reported here today. City residents Gurmeet Singh (27) and Tarfiq (10) were found to be having low platelet count. They were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. Gurmeet was initially admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ropar, while Tarfiq in the private nursing home.

“Six persons came for the dengue tests in our lab today. Out of which two were tested weak positive in serology test and were found having low platelet count, said Dr J.P Sanga, owner of the lab. These two were only suspected cases.



Used in vasectomy ad, man sues PHSC
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) had got advertisements inserted in many newspapers, informing the public about the benefits of getting a vasectomy done.

The only problem: the man whose photo was carried in the newspapers to depict a happily-married man leading a normal life after getting a vasectomy done had never opted for any such operation.

In fact, if the man, Mr Harpal Singh, who was a clerk in the PHSC, is to be believed, he was actually misled by his bosses about the purpose of the advertisement. The advertisement was displayed in hospitals and bus stands throughout Punjab, resulting in mental agony and affecting his married life. Being mentally upset, the victim had to undergo treatment in the psychiatry ward at the Sector 16 General Hospital.

He has dragged the PHSC to the court, seeking damages of Rs 25 lakh. The plaintiff has also filed a criminal case against the Director, Health and Family Welfare, and Ms J.K. Bawa, State Mass Media and Educational Officer, Health and Family Welfare.

Mr Singh said he worked on a temporary basis for 89 days in the PHSC. Two years ago, he was asked by the State Mass Media Officer to give his family photographs for being used in an advertisement to mention the rate list of various tests.

He said he had no objection to his picture being used in an advertisement about the rate list which appeared on January 17, 2004. However, when another advertisement with his family photograph appeared in newspapers on February 2, 2005, he objected to it as he was depicted to have undergone vasectomy after completing his family. “For the purpose of showing a complete family, I was asked to bring along my nephew for clicking the photograph,” he said.

“Since I have only one daughter and have not undergone the family planning operation, it was wrong to depict me in the advertisement.”



The cop who cornered Lankan cricketers
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Lankan cricketers and their coach Tom Moody had a pleasant shock before they left the city here this afternoon. A policeman, deputed for their security, not only stopped them from boarding the bus but also insisted on getting himself photographed with each one of them.

“What is this foolishness, just go away”, retorted a visibly upset Moody over the irresponsible behaviour of the Chandigarh Police constable.

The Lankan team was about to board the bus to leave the hotel for their next destination Ahmedabad when the constable played the “boss”.

The constable, Balwinder Singh, was excited when he saw most of his favourite Lankan cricketers, including Sanath Jayasuriya and Mutthiah Muralitharan, coming out of the hotel. Unable to control himself, he managed to sneak into the security cover to get himself photographed along with each of his favourite cricketer.

Jayasuriya, who was carrying a packet, presumably a wall hanging, tried in vain to avoid the policeman. It was not easy to get past the constable who forcibly stopped him and insisted the star to oblige him with a photograph.

Ace spinner Muralitharan, too, was shocked when he hugged him and requested photo journalists to take his pictures. Visibly irritated, Muralitharan pinched on his arm without getting noticed.

Not only players but also hotel staff and the journalists were surprised to see the unexpected behaviour of the policeman.

“Every time when the international teams come here we get instructions by the police not to come close to them as this can pose threat to the VVIPs. They even create problems while we perform our duty. But, who will stop such crazy fans among the police from pestering players? It is unexpected of policemen on duty”, remarked a photo journalist.

Mr Sandal Singh, DSP, said all instructions were briefed to the policemen attached with the security of the cricketers. “All were clearly told not to annoy them by getting close to them unnecessarily”, he added.



Motorists lose way as marriage palaces make hay
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 8
Parking chaos is back on the busy Zirakpur-Panchkula highway with a bang in the wake of the onset of the marriage season.

In fact, it is becoming a nightmarish experience to drive on the highway with hundreds of vehicles parked on both sides of the road dotted with marriage palaces and resorts, making it an accident-prone area.

With a majority of the marriage palaces having inadequate parking space, hundreds of cars and other vehicles remain parked outside the marriage palaces, putting to inconvenience thousands of road users every day.

And this despite the fact that the authorities concerned had reportedly banned the parking of vehicles outside marriage palaces. However, the implementation of the ban has left much to be desired and it is being flouted with impunity, as found by a Chandigarh Tribune team this afternoon.

The team found scores of vehicles parked outside a marriage palace despite a notice board banning the parking of the vehicles. “Since the width of the road is narrow, the parking of vehicles on both sides has made the Zirakpur-Panchkula stretch accident-prone and accidents are a routine affair,” alleged Mr S.K. Sharma, a resident.

Sources said a majority of the marriage palaces and hotels on the highway did not have adequate parking spaces, forcing guests to park their vehicles along the road. A large number of tricity residents prefer to organise marriage functions at these resorts as they are economical than hotels in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.



Gursewak booked for ‘clicking’ girl in bathroom
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 8
The Chandimandir police today booked Punjabi singer Gursewak Mann on the complaint of Neha Thakur, a student of the IAS Training Centre, Panjab University, for taking the picture of the complainant on his mobile phone in ladies’ toilet and assaulting her.

The singer along with an NRI friend was attending a private party at North Park here when the incident took place. In her complaint to the police, the girl said the duo had clicked her pictures in the ladies’ bathroom of the resort. She alleged that Mann even caught hold of her hand and shoved her away.

The two parties were supposed to appear before the police today. Police sources said the complaining party did not show up at the police station. “We will investigate the matter first. We have software to recover photographs even if these are deleted,” a police official said.



Is Dhawan planning to join BJP?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
In an interesting turn of events in the local political scenario, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, a former Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation in the Janata Dal government in 1989, is hobnobbing actively with the Bharatiya Janata Party these days. BJP cadres are speaking about his intended move to join the party which Dhawan denies.

Dhawan called on Arun Jaitley, in charge of the BJP for Punjab and Chandigarh, in New Delhi on Thursday where he was asked to meet Satya Pal Jain, a former local Member of Parliament. He met Jain on Friday. He had earlier had a stint of a partnership with the Congress and the Samajwadi Party and is currently heading the Chandigarh Vikas Manch.

A section of the party workers quoting senior party leaders in Delhi say he is attempting a merger with the BJP while Dhawan denies it vehemently saying he is working on a coalition. The attempt gains importance in the wake of the forthcoming elections to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation later this year.

Dhawan while talking to The Tribune denied any move to merge with the BJP. “We are working on the idea of supporting the party opposed to the Congress in the forthcoming elections and there is no question of merger with the BJP”, he said.

Jain confirmed that Dhawan met him on Friday. “We discussed the pact with the CVM for the polls. He has assured to support me for the election. I do not overrule the talk of a possible merger with the CVM, however, not in the immediate future”, he said.

Dhawan also said that “I have been meeting the BJP leaders for forging a partnership or an alliance against the ruling Congress. I am discussing the agenda and the proposed line of action. In any case the parliamentary elections are still more than two years away so there is no truth in me joining the party or seeking a party membership. I have neither sought nor filled any membership forms of the BJP”.

A section of the local BJP cadre, including senior party functionaries and office bearers, are not happy with the “style” of Jain. “Take a look at the party’s abysmally low performance at the party president Rajnath’s rally recently in the city and also see the inner party bickering and you will find ample support for Dhawan’s entry”, a senior leader said.

At the same time, Dhawan’s move does not surprise his opposition, as well as the BJP. “He has shifted many bases. He has had a reduced voters count in the elections ever since he left the post of the minister of state for Civil Aviation. He polled only about 17,000 votes out of the city’s voter bank of over three lakh last time and lost his security deposit. He had also joined the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and later floated the CVM”.

There is a strong lobby totally opposed to the merger because Dhawan is seen as a potential threat to topple the existing leadership for important party post. “We cannot allow an outsider and attempt toppling the cadres’ seniority and take fruits for the years of hard work we did”, a leader said.



Watch out

Dr C.K. Jerath, Honorary Secretary, Chandigarh Amateur Boxing Association and vice-president, Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, is accompanying the Chandigarh boxing contingent, as a technical member/delegate of the Asian Men Boxing Championship to be held at Calangute (Goa). The meet is going to commence on Monday and will continue till October 16.

Earlier, Dr Jerath, a Ph.D in academics, represented the country as many as 16 times in various international boxing championships held in India and abroad, including the 18th Commonwealth Games, held in Melbourne in March, 2006.



Passing Through

How are you feeling to be here?

I am excited to be part of the All-India Inter-Varsity Swimming Meet at Panjab University. I cannot forget this place because this is the pool where I won the first national bronze medal in the Diving High Board event.

Any specific reason for choosing this game?

Basically, I come from a family of swimmers. My mother Urmil Dogra was a national swimmer in the mid-’80s and my maternal aunt too was into swimming and diving

What are the prospects in this game?

Frankly speaking, l am here because I have a passion for water sports. Another reason is that I want to continue this sport just to be fit because this event is very helpful in keeping one fit. Otherwise, there is no help from the government side. As far as university and colleges are concerned, they are keeping this sport in the priority list. I got admission in the country’s best college, St Stephen’s College, Delhi.

How do you find the swimming infrastructure at PU?

It is reasonably good if you compare it on a university level. But in Delhi, it is better. One thing that I find missing here is the duraflex diving board. It is quite hectic to perform on this board, which is made up of wooden plank.

— G.S. Paul



Pricey veggies upset household budgets
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Low stocks and steep increase in demand for onions is going to upset budgets in most households. In the past one week, the prices of onions have gone up from Rs 7 per kg, to Rs 10-12 per kg, and are likely to increase further in the next few days.

As the festival season draws closer, prices of onions and tomatoes, main ingredients of most Indian dishes, have hit an all time high this year. Tomatoes, which were selling at Rs 8 per kilo about 10 days back, are now at an all time high of Rs 20 per kg. Traders in the city forecast that there is every chance that the prices of the two items will increase further till Divali and Id.

The delayed new onion crop because of rains in Maharashtra—the main onion producing state in the country—has led to a shortfall in supply, even as the demand has increased substantially.

Traders inform that even the onion crop from last year (2005-06), stored in the warehouses is just 30 per cent of the demand. As a result, the prices of onions have been rising steadily. The new onion crop, which was re-sown after floods in Maharashtra, would be available only by the end of November, and prices are likely to stabilize then.

‘‘Even the prices of potatoes have gone up by Rs 2 per kg. in the past one week. The potatoes sourced from Himachal are selling at Rs 16 per kilo, while the local potatoes, sourced from the cold storage, available for Rs 12 per kilo, Rs 2 costlier than last week,’’ informed Shamsher Singh, a vegetable trader in the Grain Market, Sector 26.

Gurdeep Singh, another vegetable vendor in Sector 26, said,‘‘The only vegetable which has shown a correction in prices is peas- which is down from Rs 70 a kg last week to Rs 40 a kg this week. In wake of the marriage season last week, the prices of peas had touched an all time high’’.

Even prices of fruits like pears, especially Kashmiri pears, have risen sharply during the past week — from Rs 20 a kg last week to Rs 40-45 a kg now. The only fruit which is selling at nominal rates is apple ( at Rs 25-35per kilogram.) Mr Vijay Sharma, a Punjab Police Inspector, who was making his weekly vegetable and fruit purchases today, said increasing prices had made most fruits and vegetables out of the reach of common man.



Don’t pardon Afzal, asserts Venkaiah

Chandigarh, October 8
“Mohammad Afzal Guru should not be pardoned and should be hanged on the date decided by the Supreme Court,” said Mr Venkaiah Naidu, vice-president of the BJP.

“Can political parties give an assurance that if he is pardoned, terrorism will end?” he asked.

He said Pakistan and the West were following double standards. “We want Pakistan to stop aiding and abetting terrorism. We will fight our battle in our own country, and don’t want any country to meddle in the Kashmir affair.”

He was addressing a press conference today at the BJP office in Sector 33 here after attending a mahasammelan regarding Bhagwan Valmiki parkat divas organised by the BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha.

Mr Naidu said the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) should be restructured. “For the sake of the citizens of this country, POTA needs to be restructured.”

Regarding the Assembly elections in Punjab, he said he was confident that the BJP-SAD alliance would come to power. — TNS



Dispute over parking space at car bazar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Inability on the part of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to regularise the parking area for the Sunday car bazar today resulted in tension between a car dealer and the owner of “World of Whiskies” in Sector 7 here this afternoon.

While the car dealer, Mr G.S.P. Singh, who runs Max Car Bazar, claimed that he had been running his business of sale and purchase of cars from the space every Sunday after paying Rs 565 as fee to the municipal corporation, Mr C.L. Verma, owner of the liquor shop, claimed that he had also paid the fee to run the business for sale and purchase of trucks and cars.

The dispute was over the parking space in front of the liquor shop. Mr Singh claimed that he had been running the car business for the past many years and had never faced any such problem in the past. He alleged that the owner of the liquor shop had intentionally parked the trucks to hit his business. On the other hand, Mr Verma claimed that he had paid the fee to use the parking.

Mr Rupinder Bir Singh, president of the Car Dealers Association, said he was trying to amicably solve the issue.

Enquiries revealed that there was no rule of the municipal corporation regarding the allocation of space to the dealers for the Sunday car bazar. A number of dealers told Chandigarh Tribune that parking space for vehicles put on sale was by way of “illegal possession”.

It was a standard practice that whosoever had been parking vehicles for the past many months claimed ownership of the space, at least for the Sunday car bazar.

There were no guidelines regarding the entry of vehicles other than those on sale or allowing shopkeepers in the market to conduct their business on Sundays.



Mass marriages solemnised
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 8
As many as 13 couples from poor families tied the knot at a special ceremony held at the Shri Guru Ravidas Bhavan, Phase VII, here today.

The mass marriage was organised by the Punjabi Cultural and Welfare Society in collaboration with the Sukhdev Singh Gill Memorial Welfare Club.

The local MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Mrs Lakhvinder Kaur Garcha, and Mr Jasjit Singh, son of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, blessed the newlyweds.

A large number of municipal councillors also attended the function.

“The society has given the newlyweds stuff of daily use worth Rs 40,000 and also organised the wedding dining,” said Mr Phoolraj Singh, municipal councillor, Mohali, adding that the MLA gave Rs 51,000 as shagun to the newlyweds.



De-addiction centre to be sealed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 8
The SDM of Mohali today ordered the sealing of Paras Drug De-addiction Centre in Phase 3B2 here following allegations that the addicts were being treated inhumanly at the centre.

At least 70 drug addicts are being rehabilitated at the centre and were allegedly being subjected to severe torture in the name of ‘‘treatment’’.

As the matter came to light parents of many of the addicts reached the centre today and demanded action against Mr Arvinder Singh, the person running the centre. While a majority of the parents took their wards back home, as many as 12 inmates were shifted to the local Civil Hospital. ‘‘They will be medically examined and action will be taken accordingly,’’ said the SDM, Mr Sandeep Hans.

Mr Hans added that the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, had also ordered an inquiry into the matter while the police had taken note of the matter.

Sources added that some of the addicts, who had been maltreated, had been sent away before the parents and the police could reach the spot. Mr Rajinder Singh Sohal, SHO Phase 1, said it seemed that some of the inmates also took advantage of the confusion prevailing in the centre in the evening and managed to slip away. He added that Arvinder Singh was also untraceable.



Kangra Mahajan Assn celebrates anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Kangra Valley Mahajan Association, Chandigarh, celebrated its third birth anniversary here today.

Prof Satyavan Bhatnagar , President , said the association had disbursed financial aid to the tune of Rs 60,000 among 29 school-going children in 2005-06. Efforts were under way to cover more persons under this social welfare programme. Besides, a matrimonial helpline had been launched.

Children presented an interesting sequence of Kangra folklore-based songs and dances. As a mark of encouragement, Professor Bhatnagar gave away prizes and mementoes to the little artists.

Dr Anil Kumar presented a vote of thanks before the guests were treated to a sumptuous Himachali lunch.



Sai Baba’s death anniversary observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Religious fervour marked the death anniversary function of Sri Sai Baba here yesterday.

A shobha yatra, which started from Sai Baba Temple in Sector 29, passed through various sectors, including Sector 30,20,21, 22 and 34, before culminating at Sector 29.

Ms Rama Kataria from Delhi enthralled the audience with devotional compositions. Meanwhile, sunderkand path and grand "aarti" marked the Sri Salasar Balaji Hanuman jayanti mahotsava at the Pracheen Sri Hanuman Mandir, Sector 32-A,here.



Scuffle on highway halts traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Traffic came to a halt on the Chandimandir-Kalka national highway this evening for half an hour after a scuffle broke out between a passenger and the driver of a Haryana Roadways Bus.

Hundreds of commuters were stranded on the road. Being Sunday, many were on there way to the Pinjore Heritage Festival.

The incident occurred at about 7:15 pm when one of the passengers asked the driver to stop the bus at the railway station. The driver, Gurdev Singh, however, stopped the bus a little ahead.

According to eyewitnesses, the passenger then started abusing the driver, which led to a scuffle in which the driver was injured. Agitated, the driver and conductor of the bus tried to stop the traffic and stage a dharna on the road.

The Chandimandir police reached the spot and later registered a case against the unidentified passenger under Sections 186 and 353 of the IPC.



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