C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Emergency? Just pray
Patients, not ward boys, fetch stretchers
Arun Sharma

Chandigarh, April 30
At the emergency services counter of Government Multi-Speciality Hospital ( GMCH), Sector 16, none was available at the emergency counter to guide patients. Even the board carrying the names of those on duty displayed yesterday’s date - April 28.

Enquires revealed that the reception counter usually remained unattended on Sundays. No staff member was available for duty at the injection room on Sundays. At the emergency services of the hospital fortified with security guards, media personnel were not allowed inside. A visit in the garb of an attendant of a patient revealed that patients, including the elderly, who reached the emergency, were asked to get a stretcher for themselves from outside the main gate of the emergency ward.

Doctors on duty asked one Mahma Singh, an octogenarian suffering from stomach ache, who had trouble even walking, was asked to get a stretcher. When another person standing nearby asked the young doctor to send a ward boy for the purpose as the patients was too old to pull the trolley, the doctor advised him to come forward to help the patient, saying they had only two ward boys and they handled serious patients only.

Emergency services in the city, particularly in government hospitals and the municipal corporation office, on Sundays are as good as naught. This was found by a team of Tribune reporters who visited various offices on Sunday. 

Here, a different problem

Unavailability of infrastructure, not absence of staff, is the reason behind the poor response of the electricity staff, particularly on holidays. Shortage of staff with vacancies for the post of lineman lying vacant is responsible for the poor redressal of complaints. 

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Tribune Investigates
MCC numbers just don’t respond
Manish Sirhindi

Chandigarh, April 30
The municipal corporation's central complaint office remained inaccessible throughtout the day. First, there was no response on phone No.5021633, the complaint office number. Services to the other No. 2711711 were temporarily withdrawn.

Though the Mani Majra complaint office was quick to respond to a call by the Tribune team. The Sector 37 complaint office that caters to Phase II, III and adjoining sectors, remained busy even as the team called on the number thrice at a gap of 30 minutes each.

The team then decided to visited the MCC office, which houses the central complaint office in Sector 17. There was none present in the office. One of the employees at the gates said as it was a holiday, no one was available in the office.

Upon asking with whom one could lodge a complaint regarding disrupted water supply, the employee stated that nothing could be done till Monday morning. He asked us to come at 11 am the following day.

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Cops shut Singhal case, but... 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula/Zirakpur, April 30
As far as the police is concerned, the Vikas Singhal case stands closed.

Having arrived at the conclusion that he committed suicide due to business problems, the police, after recording statements of family members, says the matter has ended.

However, there are a lot of questions unanswered. Initially, the doctor conducting the post-mortem handed over all belongings of Singhal to the family. His papers, phone set and other items were handed over to the family. This resulted in crucial phone records being lost.

Also, the police did not bother to investigate why Singhal was visiting Hotel Mount View on a regular basis since the last three days. Independent inquiries revealed that there was no record about his visit to the hotel.

Those close to him said he was a happy-go-lucky man, known to stand up even in tough times.

Most friends who attended his cremation this morning said it was hard to believe that he could commit suicide on account of business reasons.

Singhal was reportedly “concerned” over the visit of a high-powered committee of the Punjab government which inspected his two projects at Dera Bassi last week.

The projects ran into rough weather following the cancellation of the change of land use by the government in the wake of an interim order of the Punjab and Haryana High court.

A meeting of the Zirakpur Builders Association today mourned the death of Singhal. The meeting said certain “adamant” officials were behind the change of land use which had played havoc with the real estate scenario in Chandigarh’s periphery.

The meeting called upon the government to send positive signals to the industry so that such “unfortunate” incidents did not recur.

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Raid on EO 
Officials worked at cross-purposes
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
A high-level probe by the UT’s vigilance department has finally blown off the lid over the issue of restoring prime properties, residential and commercial, in the city.

The probe has established that, different officials of the administration are working at cross-purposes, much to the inconvenience of the city residents.

It has been established that the orders of the adviser to restore at least nine properties were not implemented. In one of the cases, officials concerned transferred about Rs 1 crore to the estate office account. This money paid by the plot-holder went to the state exchequer, but the property was not restored to him. Sources said the estate officials received demand drafts from the plot-holders to the tune of Rs 3 crore - Rs 4 crore, but did not restore the properties to them, despite the legal opinion in favour of the adviser’s order. Sources in the vigilance department said the probe indicated that the implementation of the adviser’s order was delayed on one or the other pretext.

It was found during the probe that the files were first sent by the officials of the estate office to the legal remembrance (LR), then to the law officer in the estate office and after that to the standing council. However, they all reportedly advised that there was no point in making appeals against the adviser’s order.

Sources in the vigilance said a team of officials had been investigating the matter for the past four days under the supervision of senior superintendent of police Dinesh Bhatt. The investigating officials had asked assistant estate officer (AEO) Amit Talwar and section officer Sanjiv Tiwari for “help” in the ongoing probe.

Sources said the restoration of files of commercial and residential properties in Sectors 35, 15, 40, 44, 20-A and two properties in Sector 32 were being looked into by the officials. The adviser had restored these plots after hearing the applicants and sent the same to the estate office for implementation of orders. 

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Cable goes off air
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
City residents could not view their favourite television shows this evening as the Deputy Commissioner's office took away amplifiers from the local cable networking stations.

Cable networks cannot run advertisements or show movies without permission. 

Teams raided three local cable networks, WWIL Siti Channel, Sector 20, Prime Channel, Sector 34, and Sky Vision, Sector 40, and dismantled the amplifiers "till further orders".

Sources said the amplifiers were dismantled following complaints that Doordarshan channels, including DD Bharti, Gyan Darshan and sessions of the Lok Sabha, which are mandatory, were not being aired.

A senior official said the local channels were found to be showing movies without the required permission from the producers. Another allegation pertained to running advertisement on the screen along with normal programmes.

Sources in a local cable network said: "We had the permission from Zee TV for running Hindi feature film 'Garam masala’ which was being shown when the team raided our premises.

Talking to the Tribune, Deputy Commissioner R. K. Rao said: "The amplifiers were confiscated under Section 11 of the concerned Act. Cable networks cannot run advertisements or show movies without permission. Showing certain channels of Doordarshan is also mandatory"

"If the cable networks give an undertaking that they shall comply with the conditions within 10 days, they will be allowed to resume the services or else their infrastructure will be confiscated".

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At railways, only recorded message
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The railway enquiry No. 1333 responded immediately, but it was difficult to seek information. The recorded voice kept asking about the train number, which a layman is seldom aware of. The official numbers of the station superintendent (2654782) and chief reservation superintendent (2641651) did not respond at all.

The chief reservation superintendent's number which was busy at around 9.30, was reachable by 9.46 am but there was no answer at all. However, the reservation office in Sector 17 (2708573) was swift to respond. None answered repeated calls made to the flight information and reservation office (2704539). There was no reply from enquiry number 2656029. 

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BJP condemns demolition

Chandigarh, April 30
The local unit of the BJP has condemned the demolition drive carried out by the MCC in Lal Bahadur Colony.

In a joint statement here today, former MP Satya Pal Jain and general secretary Kewal Krishan Addiwal held the Congress responsible for the woes of people in the colony.

Jain demanded that the authorities should rehabilitate all those whose houses were razed by the MCC. — TNS

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NHAI, property owners to lock horns over access denial
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 30
The four-laning of the Zirakpur-Ambala stretch will open a Pandora's box for the commercial property owners,including resort and marriage palace owners along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway.The commercial property owners' latest worry is the alleged denial of access to them by the National Highway Authority of India(NHAI) following the laying of the drainage system along the highway.

In fact, the NHAI and the commercial property owners are set to be on collision course again. With encroachments on both sides of the road rampant, the battle of wits between the property owners and the NHAI is only going to intensify in the days to come, sources said here today.

A major portion of land in front of these showrooms and resorts comes under the jurisdiction of the NHAI, according to the National Highway Act, Col Sanjiv Puri(retd), project head of the GMR Expressways, the agency executing the four-laning project, claimed today.

Interestingly, sources asserted that a special permission was required by the property owners to have access to the national highway as the land belonged to the NHAI.However, with haphazard construction along the highway, particularly below the Zirakpur flyover, ruling the roost, most of the property owners had not sought permission for the entry to service lanes below the flyover.

The situation was particularly bad in Zirakpur as besides the resorts and marriage palaces, scores of godowns of the MNCs and other big corporates houses were situated along the highway in Pabhat village.The official thinking was that the entry through only natural roads would be allowed and the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat should provide feeder roads for access to showrooms and other property.

The sources said with a view to blocking the entry of the vehicles the area above the surface of the drainage system is proposed to be constructed at a higher level than the service roads. This area is to be used by pedestrians, Col Puri informed.

Meanwhile, the commercial property owners are up in arms against the NHAI move. The alleged denial of entry to the property owners, who had paid development charges to the civic body, could lead to serious law and order problems, alleges FS Nagra, president of the Commercial Welfare Association(Godown Area) ,Zirakpur.

Representatives of the NHAI, the nagar panchayat, GMR and the commercial welfare association should sit together to find an amicable solution this problem, he asserted.

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Remove Saroya from key post: PSEB employees
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 30
A dharna was held here today by members of the employees’ association of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) in protest against the appointment of S.K. Saroya as the controller of examinations.

Saroya was chargesheeted four times and inquiries in some cases are still on.

The protesters raised slogans outside the offices of the chairman, vice-chairman and secretary of the board, demanding the cancellation of the appointment. They also organised a rally.

Amar Singh Dhaliwal, president of the association, alleged that Saroya had got a number of promotions in a short span of time and all this was done in an illegal way. He further alleged that she was chargesheeted four times and inquiries in some cases were still going on.

Dhaliwal alleged that the board had faced a loss of Rs 1.66 lakh when Saroya had earlier held the post of the controller of examinations because she had got the gazette of class XII published in 2006 even when it had errors. The gazette had to be reprinted.

The union leaders also alleged that Saroya did not behave in a normal way with the employees. 

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MC clears Rs 2.5 crore for development amid din
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 30
Even as the Municipal Council cleared estimates for development works of over Rs 2.50 crore at a meeting held here today, arguments were witnessed between the ruling group and the opposition members over the development estimates that were stayed by the government.

While members of the ruling group kept accusing the opposition members of not bothering about development in the town, opposition members claimed that estimates for development works cleared at the meeting held on March 22 were stayed by the government on technical grounds. Opposition members said they met the director , local government, to apprise him that the council was discriminating against their wards by not carrying out adequate development. They never demanded a stay on the works.

The House decided to give 15 days’ time to an Amritsar-based firm to start work related to structural glazing. The firm had been given several notices to remove defects linked to structural glazing, but it did not respond. There was a proposal to black list the firm and forfeit Rs 6,33,597 kept as security.

However, the proposal of not releasing a payment of Rs 9,44,730 to a sanitation contractor whose contract was cancelled because he allegedly failed to provide satisfactory services was kept pending. Councillors pointed out that sanitary inspectors did not carry out proper checks in the town and that was why the sanitation contractors were not doing satisfactory work. The council wanted to black list one of the contractors but members of the opposition demanded that action be taken against both contractors who were at present looking after sanitation in the town. 

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Liquor vend draws villagers’ ire
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 30
Residents of Khera village today descended at the district secretariat, Sector 1, to seek the closure of a liquor vend in their village. Women led the protest stating that the location of the vend was objectionable since it interfered with the free movement of the people in the area.

One of the protestors, Neelam, said the vend had been opened by the panchayat on the premises of the bus stand. “The bus stand has no other shop except this vend. Since buses are not stationed there and only make a brief stop over, it wears a deserted look all the time.

School and college students take their buses from here. Opening a vend would expose them to unsocial elements visiting the place,” she claimed.

Another villager, Vidya, added that the panchayat had four shops at some distance from the bus stand. “These shops are lying vacant for the past many years. If the vend is such a necessity, we have no objection to its being shifted to this location,” she stated.

Meanwhile, at the district secretariat, the villagers gathered to seek the closure of the vend from its present location. They submitted a memorandum to the district administration and said that they would organise dharnas or take law into their own hands by forcing it to close down if the administration did not intervene. 

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Fire in wine shop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Wine cases worth thousands of rupees were destroyed in a fire that broke out in one of the wine shops in Sector 30 late last night.

According to officials in the fire department, the fire was reported at around 2:30 am in the night.

In a quick action, the fire department sent three fire tenders to the wine shop. The fire fighters doused the flames in half an hour.

The fire officials said the exact losses were yet to be assessed. They said though the exact cause of the fire could not be assessed immediately but in all probability it was believed that the fire had been caused by a short circuit.

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Rodrigues for labour-friendly policies

Chandigarh, April 30
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), in a message on May Day, called for renewing the resolve for labour empowerment through labour-friendly policies and protecting their interests in this age of liberalisation.

“We must ensure a congenial environment for workers to enable them to contribute to New India”, he said.

He said much still remains to be done particularly for the people working in the unorganised sector forming a major chunk of employment. — TNS

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Tribune employees retire
Tribune News Service

Prem Dutt, Jyoti Parkash AND Chint Ram

Chandigarh, April 30
Prem Dutt and Jyoti Parkash, both assistant managers, retired here today after putting in 40 years of service in The Tribune. They joined The Tribune in 1967 at Ambala. Chint Ram who had 29 years’ of service to his credit also retired here today as composing supervisor, The Tribune.

They were given a warm send off by their colleagues.

A farewell party was also arranged in their honour. O.P. Arora, additional general manager, The Tribune, lauded their services to the institution.

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Dr Chandhok bereaved
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 30
Sewa Singh Chandhok, a philanthropist and president of the Pothohar Sabha, and father of Dr B.S. Chandhok, died after a brief illness at Fortis Hospital. He was 82. He was cremated last evening at Mohali. His funeral was largely attended.

Chandhok was associated with various social and religious bodies and NGOs and was instrumental in conceiving the idea of setting up a memorial in the honour of those who scarified their lives during the partition.

He is survived by three sons and a daughter. The antim ardas will take place on May 6 at Gurdwara Sacha Dhan, Phase 3B1 from 2 pm to 3 pm.

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Letters
Long queues

Long queues at the passport office in Sector 34, Chandigarh, are a routine affair. There is no shortage of manpower in India. The authorities concerned should recruit more staff so that people do not face inconvenience. It will not only provide jobs to unemployed youths but also save time of the public.

Hardev Singh
Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at 
news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Complainant stabbed near CBI office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Dr Gurvinder Singh Samra, a complainant in a bribery case registered against two judicial officers, today alleged that he was attacked by a group of eight persons on the road dividing Sectors 20 and 30 this afternoon. He alleged that assailants were armed with a pistol, knives and bats.

Dr Samra, a resident of Kartarpur, in his complaint to the police, alleged that he was going to the CBI office in Sector 30 to record his statement in a rickshaw, when he was waylaid by two vehicles on the road.

He alleged that the assailants came out of two vehicles and warned him to keep away Baba Man Singh Pahewa. Samra told the police that he had identified two assailants, P.S.Kang of Jalandher and Nirbhay Singh of Jalalabad. Kang hit him with a bat and Nirbhay stabbed him in his knee with a knife. After hitting him, they fled in their vehicles.

He was rushed to the hospital, where he reportedly diagnosed with a fractured arm, besides other injuries.

The SHO of the Sector 19 police station said a case of rioting, causing injuries, snatching under various provisions of the IPC

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6 lose licence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) here today disqualified six habitual offenders from holding a driving licence for one month to three months following recommendation from the Chandigarh Traffic Police.

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Woman commits suicide

Panchkula, April 30
A 32-year-old woman of Rajiv Colony allegedly committed suicide by immolating herself at her residence here today. Identified as Susheela, hailing from Bihar, the woman was under depression due to some medical problem. — TNS

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House burgled

Zirakpur, April 30
A case of theft was reported from Harmilap Nagar today.

According to a complaint lodged by Devi Sharan Sharma, jewellery worth about Rs 1.25 lakh and Rs 40,000 cash were taken away by burglars after breaking open the locks of his house. — TNS

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Are you planning a vacation?
Make home ‘theft-proof’ at Rs 300 per day
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 30
Residents willing, thieves are unlikely to have a cakewalk breaking into locked homes this summer vacation. The police, in an effort to check thefts, has decided to rope in unemployed youth from the backward Morni block to guard homes.

The district police is planning to organise an exhibition of various electronic gadgets available to secure homes from thieves. The exhibition, to be organised in the first week of May, will cover gadgets of brands available in the market to create awareness among the residents on how they can build a safer home and guard themselves against thefts.

While this move will provide security to locked homes of residents, it will have the dual advantage of gainfully employing the idle youth in lieu of payment. The residents can avail themselves of the services by registering their requirement with the police at phone number 6532970 from 9 am to 5 pm on all working days.

“Every year, summer vacation is a big pain for the police. We don’t have enough manpower to guard individual homes. Besides, people, too, are not forthcoming about information pertaining to their vacation. To circumvent this problem, we have come up with this plan for the benefit of the residents,” SP Balbir Singh said.

Initially, the plan was to hire a private security agency and depute their personnel to guard homes. However, the charges of private security guards were exorbitant after which the police has decided to build up their own bank of youth willing to work as security guards.

“We are in the process of drawing up a list of all such candidates who are interested. We have fixed the charges at Rs 300 a day for anybody hiring the services of these guards. Considering the fact that a theft could lead to losses running into thousands, it is not a bad deal to proceed on vacation with a free mind,” he stated.

The police said it would only take on youth residing permanently in the district so that there was little chance of their deviating from the line of duty. “The youth chosen for the purpose will be our responsibility,” the SP assured.

On trial basis, the police will begin registering the names of families interested in hiring guards for vacation. Depending on the response from the public, the plan would be given the go-ahead.

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