C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Abandoned girlchild’s mother found
It was depression, says father
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The local police today traced a woman, who had allegedly abandoned her three-week-old daughter in Sector 16 General Hospital on February 26.

The woman was today taken to the Sector 23 Missionaries of Charity for identification of the infant, where she burst into tears on seeing the baby, said the police.

Sources in the Sector 17 police station said on February 26, a female infant was found lying abandoned in the emergency ward of the hospital. A case was registered and the baby sent to the orphanage.

It was perchance that the police traced the woman, identified as 30-year-old Jasbir Kaur of Dhanas where she lived with her husband and daughter as tenant in the house of constable Rohtash Kumar.

The constable told his officers that his tenants had two daughters and their new-born daughter had been missing for some days. The police took the woman and her husband Ram Lal to the police station for questioning, where the woman admitted to have abandoned her child.

Ram Lal, a menial labourer, told TNS that Jasbir took the infant to the hospital on February 26 for vaccination and returned alone. She told him that the child was lost. “As she has been mentally disturbed after the death of our daughter, I did not suspect her. She used to ask me to make efforts to find the infant, but I did not know how to go about it,” said Ram Lal.

Jasbir did not utter a word and kept staring into the vacuum, holding the child in her lap, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Jasbir had given birth to twin daughters about two years ago. One of them had died.

Investigating officer Janak Rana said the child could be handed over to the couple after DNA reports. “ We have sought permission from court for taking samples. Meanwhile, the child will be kept in the orphanage.”

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Special Investigation
Dangerous hospital-ity
Don’t drink that water
Ruchika M. Khanna &
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The already vulnerable patients and their attendants at the PGI and Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, are being sourced water from underground reservoirs, which have not been cleaned for years.

Though officials deny it, sources admit that these reservoirs are filled with slush, inorganic pollutants and at times lizards and cockroaches. Layers of bleaching powder (used in watertanks as a cleansing agent), remains deposited in the tanks, adding to the list of pollutants.

It is from these reservoirs that the water is lifted to overhead tanks and runs through the water taps in the hospital for the patients to consume.

At the PGI, the only underground reservoir has been cleaned once ever since its construction. Highly placed sources informed The Tribune team that the reservoir was cleaned in 1992- 93. “Since the premier health institution cannot afford to stop water supply so as to clean the reservoir, it has not been cleaned in years. With thousands of people visiting the PGI daily and hundreds admitted as indoor patients, we cannot afford to disrupt water supply,” said a senior official, claiming that the daily consumption of water in the PGI was five million litres.

He said the capacity of the underground reservoir was 2. 2 million litres and this could not be pumped out for cleaning the reservoir, as the water taps would then go dry. Admitting that slush and layers of bleaching water would have piled in the reservoir over the years, he said they were now mulling a proposal to construct a second reservoir with a capacity of 2. 2 million litres.

“Once this is done, we can use the reservoirs alternatively for cleaning operations. But the water supply in the PGI is not polluted, water samples are taken and tested every month. The slush and layers of bleaching powder, if any, are settled at the bottom and would not harm the health of a consumer,” he says, adding that the reverse osmosis technique is being used to clean the water, but only for water supply to the administration block.

At GMCH, Sector 32, officials in the maintenance department said there were six underground reservoirs, of which four were used for water supply to the entire campus. While no scientific method was being adopted to clean these reservoirs or the overhead tanks at each block, their own staff was cleaning these twice a year.

While in the PGI, the tanks are cleaned once a year, just before the onset of the monsoons, at the GMCH, these are cleaned twice a year, say the officials. They admit that even these are not cleaned in a scientific manner as the maintenance staff (with their own unclean habits) has been assigned the task to clean the tanks.

The General Hospital in Sector 16 is the only government health institute in the city to have hired a professional agency for cleaning its overhead water tanks. Tank Hygiene uses a German technology to clean the 86 water tanks in the hospital.

However, the two water reservoirs (4. 5 lakh litres each) are being cleaned alternatively, once a year, by the hospital maintenance staff.

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Sunil Kumar in court custody
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
A local court today sent Sunil Kumar, accused of kidnapping his two girl students, along with his accomplices - his servant and his wife - to judicial custody.

Sources in the police said the girls were medically examined. Sources in the Nayagaon police station said they would send samples taken from the victim for chemical examination. An application would be moved in court custodial interrogation of Sunil Kumar.

Meanwhile, Sunil Kumar’s case has raised several questions on the working of his mind.Top psychiatrics of the city say that such behaviour is usually a result of a disturbed past and deprivation of love and care at tender age.

Psychiatrics say such persons soom confident, but are actually very “insecure”. This is why they try to secure the confidence of others, influencing those who cannot question their wisdom. They are deft in manipulation and work hard to project an image opposite to their real self.

They do not care for others when they decide on what they want and can go to any extent to realise their desires.

Prof B.S. Chavan, who heads the department of the psychiatry at Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, says that such persons fall under the category of those with “super ego.” They simply cannot contain their impulses. “Human beings have a social behaviour and an internal control system which directs them how to behave in society. We follow social norms and act accordingly.

“Our mind keeps a check on our impulses, but in some cases, where individuals fail to check themselves, they fall prey to their impulses and end up doing things about which they later repent.” However, he points out that such behaviour is not innate as it is a product of circumstances and the environment in which an individual is raised.

Dr Simmi Waraich, a consultant psychiatrist with Fortis Hospital in Mohali, says :“Persons like Sunil Kumar belong show narcissistic tendencies and are preoccupied with their own needs. Feelings of deprivation of care from parents is to a large extent responsible for such behaviour. A sense of insecurity and a disturbed past could well be the reasons behind such behaviour.

“ They are often confident, but at the same time feel insecure.”

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Now on, self-appraisal by lecturers
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
City college lecturers will now be evaluating themselves too. The department of higher education has approved a new format for the lecturers’ annual confidential reports (ACRs), wherein the teachers will have to file a self-appraisal report.

Earlier, the ACR filled in by a reviewing officer contained only perfunctory information about the conduct and integrity of the lecturer other than the results details of the students taught by the lecturer.

However in the self-appraisal format, the teachers will be give additional details of overall appraisal of academic competency in terms of application of new teaching methods likes audio-visual aids, the internet, field work, seminars and group discussions etc. Details of the academic and professional progress during the year, including research work and publications by the lecturers, will also be recorded. The lecturers will also state if they have participated in any in-service training workshop, seminar or conference.

With the inclusion of self-appraisal, the teacher will get a chance to record his contribution to the institution in considerable detail. “Recognition of talent, encouraging individual expression of work done and making a departure from the perfunctory annual exercise of ACR writing to enable assessment of the individual as a multi-faceted professional, is the driving force behind this endeavour,” said the director, public instruction, colleges, Raji P Srivastava.

A working group of senior lecturers was asked to study the ACR format and recommend changes. Their suggestions have been incorporated in the new format. Self-appraisal will make the exercise more detailed. The contribution of teachers in terms of curricular activities during admissions, examinations and evaluation work and co-curricular activities would also be recorded.

“The teachers always felt that their view about themselves is not being recorded anywhere. This is the best opportunity for the lecturers to put forth their achievements qualitatively,” said Pahlad Aggarwal, deputy director, colleges, adding that the new system will be operational immediately.

The new format has been discussed and endorsed by the principals of colleges as a welcome change. The education secretary gave his approval to the initiative last week.

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Dhingra wants job back

Chandigarh, March 15
Suspended superintending engineer (electricity) V.P. Dhingra has termed the UT administration’s decision against revoking his suspension after review “intriguing”. Dhingra in his “seventh” reminder to the administration has sought his reinstatement to the post of SE (electricity).

He was suspended last year following his arrest on charges of accepting bribe at his residence.

Dhingra said: “To prolong my suspension after seven and half months depicts prejudiced mind and it amounts to discrimination. A simple case of reinstatement, as made applicable to more than two dozen employees of the administration facing similar trial and reinstated, should also be applicable in my case.” — TNS

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Grid system a costly affair
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The innovative grid system for local CTU bus routes is proving to be a headache for authorities with a majority of routes being listed “loss-making ventures”.

Barring a handful of profitable routes, none of the other routes has conjured any major shift in the volume of passengers or earnings.

The authorities are under tremendous pressure to review the system.

If one goes by figures, most of the routes have shown losses, whereas the point-to-point routes (where buses ply on internal roads of Sectors) have earned more revenue than the grid routes.

According to sources, most of the buses plying on vertical and horizontal routes (grid) haven’t even earned enough to meet the fuel expenses.

A rough estimate reveals that diesel expenses on each kilometer covered by a bus comes out to around Rs 10. With addition of other expenses like depreciation, staff wages and allowances, maintenance, etc. the figure crosses Rs 20.

On many routes, buses have been earning less than Rs 7 per kilometre, while on the remaining ones the corporation has been making less than Rs 9 per kilometre.

Going by the figures of February, grid routes 11-A, 4-A and 4-C earned less than Rs 7 per kilometre, while routes 11-C, 12-A, 12-C, 13-C, 15-A, 15-C, 1-A and 8 earned under Rs 8 per kilometre.

Out of the 27 routes under the system, only two - 3-A and 3-C - have crossed the figure of Rs 10, earning over Rs 12 per kilometer.

On the other hand, out 20 point-to-point routes, 17 have raked in more than Rs 10 per kilometre.

Only two routes - 14-A and 14-C - have produced less than Rs 10.

“The CTU has been losing around Rs 1 crore every month after the introduction of the system. With this, we are not only losing commuters but also revenue. The grid system and flat rate of Rs 5 are the main reasons for the losses. We met the home secretary two days ago to discuss the issue. The home secretary assured us of looking into the matter,” said Ranjit Singh, president, UT Subordinate Services Federation.

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5 months on, healing still eludes rape victim
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 15
A rape victim, found near the Mansa Devi temple today morning, was admitted to the Civil Hospital in Sector 6. Volunteers of Jeevan Mukt Nishulk Vidyalaya, Panchkula, spotted the woman and took her to the hospital. It was then discovered that she is a patient there and has been admitted to the hospital for more than five months.

According to Mansa Ram Ahuja, president of the NGO, the woman with plaster on her leg, spent the night in the open and was inconsolable when some women approached her offering help.

The victim was earlier found raped near Ramgarh, in a state of shock with multiple injures and a fractured leg on last October 24. After that, the victim was given psychiatric treatment as well, but with very negligible recovery, as she was not able to talk much. She could not be identified by the police as she did not reveal much about herself. However, when a reporter gave her a pen and paper to write her name, she wrote her name as Ranu Bala Bosumotary from Borpata in Assam. She wrote Sri Laskman Bosumatary as her father.

Hospital authorities said the local civil hospital was an open hospital and cases with psychiatry complication should be treated at psychiatry hospitals where trained medical staff are available to handle them.

The victim is so depressed that she has already damaged the plaster on the leg four times, informed the authorities. It is not advisable to keep a patient with such symptoms in the hospital as it could be detrimental not only to her safety but for other patients as well, added the authorities.

The woman is still under shock and does not speak to any one even after five months of the incident. She does not interact for long with other patients admitted in the same ward, added the staff. However, she whispered a few words which others found difficult to understand, said the paramedics at the hospital.

Both the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police, Panchkula, were urged to take remedial steps in this direction, but nothing was done, rued the authorities.

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Get connected in a day
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 15
Want to get a residential power connection in one day? It is now possible as the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities are making power connections available in Mohali on demand.

A resident only has to submit an application along with a test report and deposit the required security and service charges to get a power connection the very next day.

Now, he does not have to wait for a month and go through and the lengthy procedure. Power connections are being provided on demand in Mohali for the past one month. More than 150 connections have been provided so far on immediate request.

Deputy Chief Engineer H.S. Bains said that power connections could now be given “on call” as the entire backlog was cleared. But it was possible only in the case of residential connections and that, too, in Mohali only.

He said that the board had geared itself up to meet the power needs of the consumers of the Mohali circle during the coming summer months.

As many as 20 transformers, which had excess load on them, had been de-loaded to cut breakdowns and improve the supply position. The capacity of 10 transformers was raised from 100 KVA to 200 KVA.

Eight new transformers were put up in Sectors 70 and 71 and Phase X and XI. Three feeders in Phase XI were now being provided power from the Sector 68 grid sub-station as part of the de-loading process.

He said that 400 villages of the Mohali circle had been covered under the urban pattern supply and now residents of these villages would get power at par with urban areas relieving them of long power cuts.

Under another scheme, every tubewell will be provided an independent transformer under the high voltage distribution scheme (HVDS).

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Inept BSNL services irk customers
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 15
The public sector telecom giant, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), continues to live up to its reputation of “disconnecting India”. Close on the heels of scores of non-functional telephones in Lalru, telephone subscribers at Zirakpur continue to be at the receiving end of the inept telecom services.

If allegations of a retired IAF officer are any indication, the BSNL cares two hoots for it’s subscribers and provision of services to them. In fact, for Sqn Ldr Gulzar Singh (retd.), a resident of Ghazipur Jattan in Zirakpur municipal limits, his telephone connection has become a source of harassment.

The telephone (01762-270236) and the broadband service have been out of order since the day of it’s installation several weeks now. “In spite of personal visits to the office of the divisional engineer telecom (DET), Baltana, to rectify the defect of the telephone and the internet, nothing has been done,” he alleged, in a written representation to the Chandigarh Tribune.

“In addition, I have also given a number of written complaints. I was even told by the department that as the telephone line between Dhakauli and Ghazipur Jattan was defective and not likely to be replaced in the near future, I should get my telephone disconnected,” he said.

Not able to take any further harassment, Gulzar Singh has shot off letters to the DET, the general manager telecom, Patiala, and the telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI), New Delhi, to disconnect the telephone. However, the nigam is yet to awake from it’s slumber.

Now, the harassed former officer is at his wits' end not knowing if the BSNL will disconnect his telephone or he will have to continue paying the monthly rental without even talking on the phone. Over to India's No. 1 telecom company!

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MC wants share of rent as tax
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 15
In what may be a jolt to residents here, the local Municipal Council has proposed that house tax be imposed on rented accommodation in the town as the local body was facing a financial crunch.

If the proposal is cleared, house tax will be imposed on residents who had given their premises on rent. They will be asked to pay 10 per cent of the rent as house tax. However, in the case of commercial establishments, owners will be asked to deposit 15 per cent of the rent with the civic body.

The income of the council has come down after the abolition of octroi. The civic body was finding it difficult to carry out development works in the town.

Octroi was the main source of income for the civic body. Though the government is providing funds to the council, these were less as compared to what the civic body would have earned by way of octroi.

According to sources, executive officer of the council J.S. Thind had requested the principal secretary of the Department of Local Government through a letter dated March 12 to impose house tax in the town.

In other towns, civic bodies collected building fee and extension fee but in Mohali, it was done by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (now Greater Mohali Area Development Authority).

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Bharat Nirman enters second phase
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The second phase of the Bharat Nirman public information campaign was inaugurated by Chandigarh Municipal Corporation mayor Harjinder Kaur in Mauli Jagran today. As many as 20 departments of the central government, Chandigarh administration along with PSUs/banks and NGOs put up their information stalls to provide information regarding various welfare schemes. The artistes of song and drama division presented theme-based programmes.

The campaign is being organised by the Press Information Bureau, Chandigarh, in collaboration with all media units under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.

A free health check-up camp will also be organised on March 16, 2007, in collaboration with Seva Bharti, an NGO providing free health services to the poor.

Officials stated that the objective of the campaign on the outskirts of Chandigarh is to reach out the masses of these areas to make them aware about the central government schemes so that they could get maximum benefit from the welfare programmes.

Harjinder Kaur said the people and agencies conducting such awareness programmes should work with commitment so that all sections of society can get real benefit of the welfare programmes meant for them. She also emphasised that the government agencies must properly utilise the funds for the welfare of the people and should also collect written feedback about the programmes from the beneficiaries.

Earlier in her welcome address, Kanchan Prasad Mandlaus, director, Press Information Bureau, northern region, Chandigarh, said the campaign was a bridge between the common man and the government agencies.

Speaking on women’s participation in social development, Mandlaus called upon the women community to raise a strong voice against sex determination and female foeticide. Chandigarh station director All India Radio K. C. Dubey supported equal status for women in society. Dubey also favoured to protect the rights of minorities and elaborated about the Prime Minister’s new 15-Point Programme for the welfare of the minorities which provides for more facilities to the areas having dense minority population.

Deputy director, Bureau of Indian Standard, Chandigarh, Renuka Salwan, made women consumers aware about the hallmarking of gold. G.P. Singh, senior scientist, Central Ground Water Board, Chandigarh, gave details about ground water conservation techniques. S.K. Mehta, representative of food and nutrition department, spoke about mother and child health care. Tarsem Lal, coordinator, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Chandigarh, delivered lecture on the importance of school education for children. Arjun Kamboj, director, Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Chandigarh, also gave an introduction about various job-oriented vocational training courses run by his institute.

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Basements for habitation cleared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The committee constituted by the Chandigarh administration to look into general issues regarding basements of commercial buildings has accepted that a basement can be used for habitation, subject to the condition that it was technically fit for the same.

The committee comprising of deputy commissioner-cum-estate officer, chief engineer, chief architect, STP Chandigarh Administration and the chief engineer, municipal corporation, on Tuesday met at the UT Secretariat, Sector 9, here. The high-powered committee was presided over by R.K. Rao, deputy commissioner.

Though no official statement has been issued by the administration, the Chandigarh Private Architects Association in a press note said the committee had also accepted that the basement under public corridor was also to be allowed under the built up area of all commercial buildings in all sectors of the city.

The height of the basement in commercial buildings has been allowed at 12 feet instead of 7 feet and 6 inches without any consideration to the depth and clear height between the floor and beams.

It could, however, not be ascertained whether the relaxations were applicable to the plots covered under the conversion policy. Some building plans had been struck up due to the specifications of basements in the Industrial Area.

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Bleeding for a cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
A random perusal of a Hindi magazine published from New Delhi changed the life of an Ayurvedic practitioner from Bhopal. It converted him into a crusader for the freedom of Tibet and he decided to create awareness among the masses by sacrificing his blood.

“I had gone through Tibet Desh, a magazine published in Hindi from New Delhi in 1994. The injustice being inflicted upon the Tibetan people highlighted by the journal stirred my conscience and I decided to do something for them,” said Dr Mahesh Yadav while interacting with mediapersons here today.

I came out with a book ‘Truth of Tibet’ after that, added Yadav.

Finding the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi relevant even today in the perspective of Tibetan cause, the medico from Bhopal said by creating awareness regarding the miseries of Tibetans, pressure could be exerted on the world to solve the problem.

Yadav, who was on a campaign since December 10 last for his nationwide programme ‘Save-Tibet, Secure India’ started from Wardha in Maharashtra, further said the activities of China in Tibet like dumping the nuclear waste there and installation of nuclear missiles targeting India could be tackled effectively in case Tibetan people were allowed to return to their homeland.

Yadav, who was here on the invitation of the Friends of Tibet organisation, said he found the novel idea to attract the masses towards the cause of Tibetan people who had to leave their homeland 50 years ago.

“I have painted 400 portraits of great personalities, including revolutionaries and national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Sardar Patel and Bhagat Singh with my blood,” said Yadav.

“In addition to it, I have written more than 3000 letters with my blood to the people concerned,” says Yadav.

The portraits and letters would be displayed at an exhibition being organised by a Tibetan support group at Belgium in May next, stated Yadav. When asked if he ever considered donating blood instead of using it for writing and painting “I donated blood 27 times,” quipped Yadav.

However, advising others against using blood for painting, Yadav said it could create health complications if practised without knowing the proper technique.

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Fauji Beat
Resettlement problem continues to loom large

ON an average, nearly 60,000 military men retire every year. Of them about 3,000 are officers and the remaining are personnel below officer rank (PBOR). at a seminar on “Employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for armed forces personnel”, held in Chandigarh in the last week of February, director-general resettlement Major-Gen Harwant Krishan said his directorate aimed at providing alternative careers to at least half of the retiring personnel.

This aim is not only far fetched but is also totally unrealistic. For, the directorate general resettlement (DGR), ministry of defence (MOD), does not provide employment even to two per cent of the retirees. Its self-employment schemes too, do not hold much promise because the ex-servicemen are loath to take loans for such schemes fearing that they may not be able to return them.

As for the industrial magnates, they sound very promising at such seminars. But in actual practice, they offer only security jobs to the defence officers. Isn’t it a shame that JCOs who are commissioned as well as gazetted officers are often seen doing gate duties at industrial units?

The officers, who do well at the premier management institutes’ courses, get good placements in the corporate sectors. But, apart from their number being very small, they are the ones who quit the Army at a younger age.

Since the JCOs and other ranks form bulk of the Army and retire in their 30s and 40s, the DGR should focus more on them than the officers. What should not be forgotten is that any employment/self-employment should be near one’s home as for the better part of his service, a soldier remains away from his home.

What is intriguing is that at such seminars, all the employing agencies make big promises for future. But they never disclose the number of defence personnel who have already been employed by them.

Post-retirement

Because of their early retirement, majority of the defence personnel have to seek a second career to make ends meet. There is no reason why this disciplined, well trained and hardworking lot should not get good placement after retirement. But this can only be done if preparation for the post-retirement vacations is started a few years before retirement.

An aptitude check should precede all others actions. Then should start counselling, followed by training (including on job training) and guidance so that an individual is fully equipped with the requisite skills and confidence. A few examples from the western countries can give us a fair idea. In the UK a company commander also performs the duty of a counselling officer for his soldiers. He fosters awareness among them about the avenues (depending on their aptitude) that they can choose from. In the USA, they can join various civilian schools for training in a field of their choice.

In India, there is no proper planning for resettling the defence retirees. The DGR’s self-employment directorate is purely academic and of no help to a raw hand. The training directorate does arrange some useful courses for all ranks. If these courses are attended by those who are still left with two to three years of service followed by on job training, the chances of employment/self-employment will increase manifold.

House tax

Many ex-servicemen, on reading the news that house tax will be levied in Chandigarh in the next four years, have asked us whether they have to pay property tax.

In the states/unions territories, which are levying this tax, the ex-servicemen are exempted from it. The ex-servicemen in this region, that is, in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are exempted from paying the house tax if they are occupying their own houses. This ruling was given by the Government of India, Ministry of Defence, a few years ago.

— Pritam Bhullar

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Left decries Nandigram killing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The Marxist Communist Party of India (United) has condemned the CPM-led West Bengal government and its police for brutal repression of farmers at Nandigram.

Twelve persons 12 were killed and around 200 suffered bullet injuries in the police attack yesterday.

In a press note issued here today, MCPI (U) member Prem Singh Bhangu said farmers at Nandigram had been fighting against the forced acquisition of their land, as the state government was handing it over to an industrial house for setting up a special economic zone.

He stated that while the CPM was against the acquisition of land and creation of SEZs in the rest of the country, farmers were being killed for resisting the transfer of land to industrialists in its own territory just in the name of industrialisation.

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Structures demolished amidst protest

Chandigarh, March 15
Amidst protest by residents of Dhanas village, here, a team of officials of the Land Acquisition Office (LAO) carried out a demolition drive on the outskirts of the village today.

The drive was carried out to take over the possession of 162.5 acres of land to construct houses for rehabilitation of slum dwellers. The drive was supervised by additional deputy commissioner and UT land acquisition officer I.S. Sandhu.

Fifty concrete structures comprising 32 of marble dealers and 18 other of traders dealing in timber, sawmill, LPG, milk-dairies were demolished by the enforcement squad.

One of the affected persons Vinay Suri, owner of an LPG godown, said no prior intimation was given by the officials. Many others, who were affected, also gave similar versions. — TNS

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Awareness camp

Chandigarh, March 15
Wife of the Punjab Governor, Jean Rodrigues, today inaugurated an awareness camp in Dadu Majra, integrating the delivery services of social security, healthcare and income-generating schemes for the disadvantaged sections of society.

Organised by the social welfare department, the new community-based service-oriented programme has a special focus on ensuring benefits of various schemes, including pension for old, disabled, women and poor strata of society besides providing financial assistance to the disabled for the purchase of wheelchairs. — TNS

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Camp on schemes for downtrodden
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and Administrator, today inaugurated an awareness camp in Dadu Majra colony, integrating the delivery services of social security, healthcare and income generating schemes for the disadvantaged sections of society.

Organised by the Social Welfare Department, the new community-based programme will focus on ensuring the extension of benefits of various schemes, including pension for old, disabled and women; financial assistance for the purchase of wheelchairs and for setting up businesses, to the needy.

Accompanied by director, social welfare, Amandeep Kaur, Ms Rodrigues went around stands and interacted with the beneficiaries.

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IT advisory for taxpayers

Chandigarh, March 15
To avoid last-minute rush for the payment of taxes at the close of this financial year, the Income Tax Department has advised all tax payers to pay their dues before the deadline.

This was stated by M.S. Bhatia, joint commissioner of income tax, headquarter (judicial), Chandigarh. — TNS

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HIV-positive youth ends life on rail track
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
After holding on to his life for years, Devinder finally gave it up this morning. From the blood-splattered railway tracks dividing Baltana and Vikas Nagar, the police recovered mutilated remains of a 19-year-old boy today.

On scouting harder for clues, they discovered a lone key and Rs 15. It was after many announcements in the area that they found out who the boy was. He was a commercial sex worker operating from the area. But the police still doesn’t know he was also a peer educator involved with spreading HIV/AIDS awareness among men having sex with men (MSMs).

For a few months now, Devinder had not been keeping well. Detected positive for HIV a year ago, he even joined the HIV/AIDS project being run for homosexuals in Mauli Jagran.

“He would advocate safe behaviour and condom use among MSMs though he himself never used preventive measures. We got him tested in Sector 16 General Hospital and he was positive,” said a counsellor.

With the HIV virus came depression which was already inherent in Devinder’s life. Orphaned as a two-year-old when his parents died in an accident, he grew up at Bal Niketan, Sector 2, Panchkula. He had told his friends that he was first abused as a child by his own teacher and then abused by many of his clients.

Very recently, he was put on antiretroviral therapy at the PGI. Counsellors at the Drop-In Centre being run by State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh in Sector 15, also say he was sick and had been indicating suicidal tendencies.

But somewhere in his heart, Devinder had already lost it, says his HIv positive friend, also a commercial sex worker. “His pain had no outlet. The dearth of money had also begun to pinch him. He had been asking for money from everyone. Recently he came to our centre in Mauli Jagran asking for Rs 500 to conduct some tests.”

Devinder had also been asking his rich friends to treat him with chocolates, fruits and juices as he used to feel weak. Ashwani, a counsellor at Mauli Jagran, said, “He had asked us to put him on fruits and juices and we had done that.

But we still feel Devinder should have been kept at the Community Care Centre at Khuda Alisher. He was admitted there about 15 days ago and was then discharged.”

Already under counselling at PGI’s Psychiatry Department, Devinder left Community-Care Centre a few days ago.

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Three deaths in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
Three deaths, including a suicide, were reported from various parts of the city today. In another incident, a woman suffered 35 per cent burns in Sector 30 early this morning.

In the first case, 23-year-old Reeta, a married woman, who had suffered burns in an accidental fire while cooking at her residence on December 29, succumbed to her injuries late on Wednesday night in the PGI, sources in the Sector 39 police station said.

Reeta, a mother, had sustained burns while making tea on a stove at her residence.

She was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, with 40 per cent burns. Her statement was recorded the same day before the magistrate in which she held no one responsible for her injuries and said it was an accident.

She reportedly developed infection during treatment and was referred to the PGI on February 2, where she died last night.

In the second case, a 17-year-old, Amar, hanged himself at his residence in Maloya this morning.

Amar was found hanging by his family around 9.25 am. He was lowered and the police was informed about the incident.

A police control room vehicle took him to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead. He was unemployed.

Also, Anup Singh was found dead on the bed by his family around 7 am at his residence in Dadu Majra Colony.

When the family’s attempts to revive him failed, they took him to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

Sub-inspector Neeraj Sarna, in charge of the Maloya police post, asserted that the family had ruled out the possibility of a foul play behind the death.

However, the exact cause of the death would only be ascertained after the chemical examination of viscera, he added. The two men who died were drug-addicts, the police said.

Meanwhile, inquest proceedings have been initiated in all three deaths under Section 174 of the CrPC.

In another incident, Babli, a housewife in her 40s, sustained burn injuries while cooking meal on a stove at her Sector-30 residence early this morning.

Her husband Ashok Kumar and their four children were home when the incident took place.

A PCR vehicle took her to the general hospital from where the doctors referred her to the PGI.

In her statement before the magistrate, the victim termed it an accident, the police said.

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Booked for rash driving
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, March 15
The local police has booked the driver of Canter No. HR-37-A-4438 for negligent driving leading to the death of a Mubarakpur resident.

According to a complaint lodged by Mohinder Singh, a resident of Mubarakpur, Viras Kumar was walking when he was hit by the Canter. Seriously injured Viras was then admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital(GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh, where he later died. A case has been registered.

Mobiles stolen

Som Chand Goel, a shopkeeper at the grain market, Lalru Mandi, alleged that someone broke into his shop and decamped with 12 mobile phones worth Rs 23,000. A case has been registered.

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Murder suspect surrenders
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 15
The main suspect in the murder of a truck driver in the clash between two groups of a truck operators union surrendered here yesterday.

Amritpal Singh, who had allegedly stabbed Karnail Singh with his kirpan near the office of the truck operators union on Tuesday, surrendered in a court. He has been remanded in police custody for two days.

Harjinder Singh, father of Amritpal Singh, was arrested yesterday. He has been remanded in judicial custody till March 28. The police is yet to arrest Ranbir Singh Dhillon and Jagtar Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the union.

Superintendent of police (city) Varinder Pal Singh said the other two persons would be arrested only if the police got convinced that they had some role in the murder.

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Man held for cheating
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The local police today arrested a Bapu Dham colony resident for allegedly duping people visiting the children traffic park (CTP), Sector 23, for taking driving tests.

The accused, Pawan Arora, used to dupe them on account of facilitating the issuance of driver’s licence. Crime branch in-charge inspector Satbir Singh said the accused, in his 50s, was arrested on charge of cheating following a complaint by Navpreet Kaur of Rajiv Vihar, Mani Majra.

Navpreet alleged that she had gone to the park on February 26 to apply for a driver’s licence.

There, Pawan Arora met her and introduced himself as an agent working at the park. He assured her of getting her a licence without her undergoing a driving test.

He took Rs 300 from her along with documents and told her to collect the licence after two days.

When Navpreet went to the park to collect her licence after two days, Pawan was nowhere to be seen.

She looked for him and located him in the parking of the park. He reportedly slipped away on noticing her.

However, Navpreet reported the matter to the police, which traced Pawan to a bus stop in Sector 17 and arrested him.

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World Cup lift for clubs, hotels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
It is World Cup moolah for city hoteliers and clubs owners who have been allowed to keep their establishments open till 4 am. It will also mean fun time for cricket lovers and those who love to freak out till late in the night.

Gearing up for the occasion, the city’s pubs, restaurants, and hotels are leaving no stone unturned to attract cricket buffs. Most expect a marginal increase in the number of visitors, primarily youngsters.

However, there is a rider. The clubs and restaurants have been allowed to run their shop till 4 am, but no liquor would be served after 11 pm. Excise officials would be checking the pubs and bars to see the orders are enforced in toto.

Mr Manmohan Singh Kohli, President of Hotels and Restaurants Association of Chandigarh, said an increase in the visitors was expected on days when either the Indian squad or favourite teams were playing. “ I would urge those running paying guest (PG) accommodation to be flexible with their tenants”, he added.

The tourism department will collaborate with the industry to provide city residents, tourists and visitors a gala time during the matches.

Anu K Bansal of GM GK International Hotel, Sector 35, said a big screen had been set up to attract customers. “We are making special arrangements for the families.”

Arjun, a Class XII student, has worked out a schedule to view the matches, despite the exams.

For collegegoing Tarun Bajaj, the event means late night get-togethers . “ I plan to watch the broadcast at two hotels in Sector 35. I am going through the food menu being offered by the hotels”, said an excited Rahul.

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