C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Unscheduled power cuts are back
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
As the ongoing summer peaks, residents of the city have started witnessing unscheduled power cuts at odd hours.

Though the abrupt cuts are not as long as last year's announced rotational cuts, these are causing a lot of inconvenience, especially in technical and medical laboratories and the services sector during working hours.

Overloading has been officially cited as the biggest reason for the frequent tripping. The Mani Majra area is among the worst-affected territories which witnessed more than six cuts during the past one week. Similar complaints have been received from residents of Sectors 44, 45, 46, 38 (West), 39 and 26, besides a number of UT villages.

An official at the complaint centre of the Mani Majra substation said: "The transmission system is overloaded during summers. This leads to overheating of the wires. We have to resort to short cuts to relieve the burden of heat. We were having services of only one transformer from the past couple of days. The second one has started working today and things would now improve."

An official at the complaint centre of Sector 16 said: "We feel sorry for the residents, but overloading leads to frequent tripping, particularly during summers." Officials at the compliant centre of Sector 43 also pointed out the same "minor problem".

Electricity department sources confirmed the tripping at a number of places, particularly during the past one week.

The 11 KV feeder at Mani Majra faced tripping several times between June 4 and June 7, particularly at the Dhillon feeder. A 32-minute fault occurred on June 6 because of fire in a showroom.

The feeder in Sector 44 also faced tripping a couple of times, lasting more than half an hour, during the same period.

The sources confirmed that low-tension tripping, which were confined to smaller areas in a sector, had been reported from several parts of the city. "Our linemen are available on a call at emergency complaint centres. Things should improve within a couple of weeks."

The electricity department has identified at least 30 'sensitive' spots in different parts of the city where power lines are witnessing an additional load. Load is the biggest cause of tripping, unscheduled cuts and fluctuation in voltage.

The department has identified certain transformers which require to be changed or upgraded, including those in Sectors 22-B, 22-C, 25, 30, 36, 46, 56, Milk Colony, Dhanas, Indra and Bank colonies and Mani Majra.

In the last financial year, more than 42 transformers were added or replaced all over the city, including in Sectors 34, 35, 36 and 37.

Increased load every year leads to regular upgradation of the supply infrastructure. The demand for electricity during peak season in 2000-2002 was 176 MW. The peak demand in 2006-2007 was 272 MW, which is expected to be 320 MW this year. The projected demand during peak hours in 2015-16 is seen as 600 MW against the estimated supply of 404 MW.



It’s telling at 43.6°C
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Chandigarh scorched through the day as the mercury shot up to 43.6°C , making it the hottest day of the season. Till today, 43.4 degrees was the highest day temperature of the season recorded on June 3.

Even the night temperature rose substantially , with the Met department recording it at 30 degrees - a jump of a whopping 7.6 degrees over the past 11 days. On May 28, the night temperature was 22.4 degrees, while the day temperature was 37.6 degrees. The rise in the maximum (day) temperature has thus been six degrees in just 11 days.

The summer is only starting, Met indicated today. Skin infections have also been on the rise due to excessive heat. Dehydration- related medical ailments are also being commonly confronted, with doctors advising proper hydration to everyone.

Meanwhile, the maximum temperature has been on a steady rise since May 28, with the cycle being broken only once on June 4, when it fell substantially by 3.6 degrees as compared to June 3.

The day temperature on June 3 was 43.4 degrees (the highest maximum temperature till today), while on June 4 it fell to 39.8 degrees.



Pileup: Major disaster averted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
A major disaster was averted when a Chandigarh Transport Undertaking bus smashed into a Maruti car in front of the Aroma Hotel lights in Sector 22, here today.

Luckily, no one was hurt in the accident. The mishap, involving two buses and three cars, took place at 1.15 pm. The late arrival of a recovery van to remove the vehicles from the spot caused a lot of inconvenience as motorists had to wait in the scorching heat before the chaos was sorted out.

According to police sources, vehicles were halted at the lights due to a traffic jam when suddenly a CTU bus (CH 01-G-5758) hit a Maruti car (PB 08-U-7900) from the rear. The Maruti, driven by Sector 70 resident Rupneet Kaur, then smacked into a Santro car (RJ 27 1C 5821), which further rammed into a Haryana Roadways bus (HR 68-1190) standing in front of it. The panicky CTU driver, Paramjit Singh, then reversed the bus damaging the front portion of a Ford Icon car (CH 03 P 9060), which was standing behind it.

In the accident, the Maruti was compressed badly while the front portion of the Santro got badly damaged.

The police registered a case against the driver of the bus on the complaint of Rupneet Kaur and B.P.S. Kanwar, owner of the Santro car.

It was learnt that members of the CTU Employees Union, who came to the spot in favour of their driver, pressurised the police to register a case against the Haryana Roadways driver as well. President of the union Ranjit Singh also threatened to enforce a ‘chakka jam’ in the city. To avoid such a problem, the police took the Haryana Roadways bus driver also into account for the chaos. In the complaint, it was added later that the Haryana Roadways driver applied the brakes of his bus suddenly, resulting in the mishap. 



Notices to farmhouse owners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
After pursuing a criminal case against farmhouse owners, the district administration today initiated the process of issuing notices to the violators of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Act.

Individual notices are being sent to around 37 farmhouse owners. Under section 12 (2) of the periphery act, the farmhouse owners are being asked to remove the violations failing which these will be demolished by the administration and the cost will have to be borne by the violators.

Reacting to the development, the farmhouse owners have pointed out that the administration should adopt the same yardstick for such constructions in other parts of the city, especially UT villages.

There are around 40 farmhouses in the 272 acres being acquired for the IT park. Some of these have gone beyond the permissible limit while others have raised construction without permission. Some farmhouse owners have got an interim stay on their dispossession from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Though issuing notice at this stage might be of little help at this stage, it was well within the prerogative of the administration, said an official.

Meanwhile, after recommending police action against 31 farmhouse owners, the district administration, changing tack, is likely to go selective against the alleged violators of the Punjab New Capital (periphery) Act, 1952. Officials reportedly want to focus on a selected number of farmhouse owners.

With this in mind, a fresh survey was conducted today by the field staff, led by tehsildar R.K. Sharma.

Initially, names of 31 persons were forwarded to the senior superintendent of police by the land acquisition officer (LAO). Sources said the fresh list was likely to be sent to the police for pursuing a criminal case under section 12(1) of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Act, 1952.

The Mani Majra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Society today said the investigation by the police at this time clearly indicated an effort to intimidate farmers who were protesting against the forcible acquisition of their land.

The administration is using the act to target farmers, who are engaged in a struggle to fight the “unjust” land acquisition policies, by threatening them with imprisonment.

As the farmers in Chandigarh are raising their voices against the forced land acquisition and have proposed models of development where the land owner benefits from the development of his land, the administration has initiated action when it is in the process of acquiring the same land.

A CBI inquiry against the administration has been demanded by farmers’ organisations in the city.



MP Fund Row
Officials step in to Bansal’s aid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Putting the lid on the controversy regarding spending of the MPLAD Fund by local MP Pawan Bansal on a temple site in Kangra, officials executing the work under the fund today stated that an MP could recommend works in a district outside the nodal district.

In such an eventuality, it was the responsibility of the district authority in whose jurisdiction the proposed works were to be executed. The proper procedure for sanction and implementation for timely completion of works had to be followed.

In the case under question, the work was sanctioned after the DC, Kangra, confirmed that the proposed construction of a wall was not part of a religious place and that the site was on government land.

Brief facts of the case are that in November 2005, the MP had recommended to the district authority, Chandigarh, to release Rs 8 lakh for the construction of protection wall in front of Chamunda Temple, Kangra.

The wall had been severely damaged and posed threat to the entire area around the temple.

In February 2007, the office wrote to the district authority, Kangra, to scrutinise the work as per the MPLADS guidelines and sanction it within the proposed amount if it was found eligible as per the guidelines.

The district authority issued a letter of sanction of Rs 8 lakh in February 2007 and the nodal district authority released the funds in favour of the DC, Kangra, on May 7, 2007.

In an event of calamity, the MP can recommend work up to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh for the affected district.



Woman kills herself
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 8
A woman allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan in Phase VII here. She was staying as a paying guest along with her sister.

According to the police, Shilpi Prabhakar (23) took the extreme step as she was mentally upset. She left a suicide note in which she stated that nobody should be held responsible as she was allegedly committing suicide on her own.

Varinder Pal Singh, SP ( City), said Shilpi had moved to Phase VII in March this year along with her sister. Both of them worked in a call centre. Shilpi allegedly ended her life yesterday after she came back from office. She had bolted the door of the room from inside before taking the extreme step.

The incident came to the notice of others when a common bathroom was found bolted from inside. The owner of the house tried to find out why the bathroom was not being opened and even the bedroom was bolted from inside. It was then that the body of the deceased was found hanging.

The SP said Shilpi had got married to a person settled in Australia about five years ago but he had ditched her. A case for divorce was going on in a court.

The police has initiated proceedings under section 174 of the CrPc in this regard. 



Army withdraws order to discharge 27,000 troops
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The Army has put on hold its order to discharge 27,000 troops, who are in poor physical shape. A communiqué from the Army headquarters received at various establishments this week states that there will be no mass discharge of low medical category (LMC) troops till 2009.

According to sources in the headquarters Western Command, the communiqué states that the policy concerning the discharge of LMC troops is being reviewed and as such the schedule drawn up to discharge about 27,000 troops over the next 18 months is not to be implemented.

The discharges, which concerned personnel below officer rank (PBOR), were scheduled to commence from this month. The PBOR constitute over 94 per cent of the total strength of the Army and the government incurs an annual expenditure of almost Rs 12,000 crore on recruitment and training establishments for the PBOR.

In an earlier order sent to all command headquarters by Major-Gen V.K. Sharma, Additional Director General, Manpower Planning at Army Headquarters, a review of the manpower carried out in January this year had revealed a significant drop in the annual wastage (discharge/retirement), primarily due to reduced number of pre-mature retirements.

The manpower directorate expected the trend of low premature retirements to continue for some time in view of the anticipated pay increase based upon the forthcoming Sixth Pay Commission. “The only option available, therefore, is to shed some manpower from existing holdings to liquidate the surplus manpower within a reasonable time-frame,” the circular stated.

A chart accompanying the circular revealed that of the 26,706 troops from 19 arms and services to be discharged, the maximum were from the infantry. Between June to September this year, 14,643 troops were to be relieved, followed by 5,787 men in October--December. The remaining were to be released next year.

The current policy on management of low medical category (LMC) troops allows retention of all personnel up to minimum pensionable service and even thereafter so that they could avail proper treatment in military hospital. However, with the establishment of the ex-servicemen’s contributory health scheme, the medical requirement of the LMCs has been adequately taken care of, it states.

The Army has resorted to the discharge of LMCs in the past on account of surplus manpower. Here have been instances where a number of troops, whose medical condition was attributed to military service, have sought legal redress against their discharge. In some cases, they were reinstated followed court directives.

In its latest report, the CAG has highlighted inadequacies in manpower planning in the Army. Excess manpower resulted mainly due to incorrect estimation of wastages, which also involved additional financial liability of several hundred crore rupees per annum, CAG noted. Faulty estimation, leading to incorrect intake of recruits, consequently had an adverse effect on training, CAG further observed.



Outsourcing renders lab technicians idle
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
With the outsourcing of laboratory facilities at government hospitals and dispensaries in Chandigarh, lab technicians with the UT health department have virtually been left with no work.

Patients have started going to a private laboratory which has started conducting laboratory tests at dispensaries and community health centres of the Chandigarh administration at government prices after signing an MoU in February.

With 5,552 patients approaching the sample collection centres set up at various dispensaries and hospitals and 20,093 tests having been conducted by the private laboratory till April, the staff deputed at government laboratories has been virtually left with no work.

Lab technicians of the UT health department conducted merely 84 tests between April 1 and May 15 at the Mani Majra community health centre.

Interestingly, after April 2 patients turned up only on April 9 at the government laboratory for tests. Similarly, in May technicians had to work just for three days during the first fortnight as no patient turned up for tests on other days.

Medical superintendent Usha Bishnoi, however, said these technicians were posted at Mani Majra to handle the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project, proposed to be set up there.

The situation at the poly clinic in Sector 22 is no different. Here the authorities have deputed six laboratory technicians. However, three of them are involved in project work, while the remaining three conducted merely 94 tests in the first fortnight last month.

Though there are not many patients visiting the health centre in Sector 45, the authorities are using the services of a senior technician here.

Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, has a cytology department. Instead of using the services of this technician there, the authorities found it fit to have him conduct minor tests like HB here.

At the dispensary in Sector 19, a lab technician with 20-year experience receives hardly one or two patients a day.



Life held ransom to rules
Reduced to skeleton, but docs don’t think she’s ailing
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
You don’t need to peruse her medical records to tell that she is dying. Reduced to a skeleton, following two years of serious sickness she acquired on job, Meena Srivastava is battling it out with the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), which doesn’t think she’s ailing or that she deserves any benefit under the rules. She is not suffering from any of the listed occupational diseases, they assert.

Never mind the fact that Meena is nearly disabled and can never return to work due to the long spell that passed off without proper medical intervention. She was tossed around from one hospital to another for two years. The story still continues. She has just returned from Safdarjung hospital, Delhi which treated her for sometime and referred her to Chennai for surgery.

Detected with chest infection when she was working with Gillanders Arbuthnot and Co, a spinning mill at Ahmadgarh, Meena was referred by the local ESIC dispensary in charge to ESIC hospital, Ludhiana. Ludhiana doctors diagnosed her with a damaged lung and pulmonary tuberculosis and referred her to the PGI. The PGI referred her to Safdarjung, Delhi, which further referred her to Chennai for surgery. All these hospitals are attached with ESIC for proper care of employees.

While this happened, not a single doctor recommended rest for Meena, though they kept treating her and advising surgery. With no medical advice for rest, the poor migrant, with two sons to feed, kept losing her salary she could have got had ESIC doctors viewed her case sympathetically rather than embroiling it in rules.

Dejected from every quarter, Meena arrived at The Tribune office yesterday, vowing to give up her life if her ailment were not recognised as serious. “I cannot work, but ESIC doctors think I am fit. They are not declaring me disabled. If they did, I could have availed of pension. I am tired of going around in buses from hospital to hospital, unsure of full treatment. Back home, my sons and husband are all alone."

Meanwhile, Dr P.S. Sidhu, medical officer at ESIC dispensary, Ahmadgarh, persisted that Meena was fit. “Pulmonary TB is curable, her treatment is over. Moreover, we can’t say she acquired TB on job. Anyone can acquire TB anywhere. As regards benefits, since she was not on regular leave and was not prescribed medical rest, she can’t get extended sickness benefit. She can't get pension as hers’ is not an occupational disease, recognized under ESIC rules.”

The remark apart, Meena still vomits blood. With the system failing to help her, she has no hope of survival or security. “In between, ESIC hospital authorities at Ludhiana had offered to set up a board to declare me a disabled,” recalled Meena. The board was never set up. A life is continues to be held ransom to rules.



Unavailability of IT forms leaves payers high and dry
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The new income tax return forms introduced by the union finance ministry has opened a Pandora's box for the income tax department and the taxpayers.

Even as the "comprehensive form" has sent the assessors in a tizzy, woes of the income taxpayers have further been compounded by the fact that the forms are not available from the department. They have to download the forms from the department’s website (www.incometaxindia.gov.in.)

Sources said the lack of stationery with the department was proving to be cause of concern for the assessees and the department. In fact, the "early birds" wishing to file returns are at the receiving end with the department failing to supply them forms.

“The department cannot supply forms to the prospective tax payers as it is yet to get stationery either from the Security Printing Press, Nasik, or the local textbook press,” an income tax official said admitting inconvenience to the general public. These are "teething troubles" and would be taken care of in the days to come, the official assured.

Meanwhile, IT department's assurances notwithstanding assessees have been left high and dry. "I have made two visits to the department offices looking for the new form. Since I do not own a computer, I cannot download it from the internet, " alleges S.K. Sharma, a senior citizen.

Another taxpayer said if the department wanted the general public to pay taxes it should at least provide them with the new forms. It was about a month back that the new forms were introduced. However, its non-availability with the department speaks volumes about its efficiency and pro-taxpayer approach, the assessee rued.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the shortage of forms is not going to be the only difficulty of the department in processing the new forms. The computer systems would have to be made new form-compliant for the correct processing of the forms, which the department is lacking at the moment, the sources added.



3 in queue for CITCO MD post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The Punjab Government is learnt to have sent three names to the Chandigarh administration as possible replacement for managing director of CITCO J.S. Bir, who has been recalled back by the Punjab Government to his parent cadre.

The names are: Anjali Bawra, Jaspal Singh and Sameer Kumar. A final decision with regard to the possible change will be taken only after UT administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) returns after a weeklong leave.

Official circles are abuzz with the development.

One group feels that Bir was not very comfortable with the current administrative setup.

Another group says that the Punjab Government wants Bir as he has cordial relations with the current political leadership.



Governance at ‘the crossroads’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The two-day training programme on Municipal Resource Mobilisation for Strengthening Fiscal Domain of Urban Local Bodies organised at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) concluded here today with experts presenting their views on measures to upgrade internal and external resource generation and cost saving methods.

In his valedictory address, CRRID Director, Rashpal Malhotra highlighted the importance of urban local bodies in economic growth and expressed the hope that the government agencies concerned would make effective use of the ideas and suggestions generated during the proceedings of the programme.

In their presentations, Chetan Vaidya from USAID and M P Mathur from National Institute of Urban Affairs emphasised on the growth of resources for implementing urban infrastructure development schemes.

Stressing that local bodies should become self sufficient and viable entities for local development, they added that the governance today is at the crossroads and it is necessary that the government meets the growing aspirations of the people.

Honrary Director, CRRID, J P Gupta said that all aspects of urban development would require modern management techniques for promoting civil services. He said that local bodies may have to look toward the Central government for generating funds through the capital market.

The scope of the training programme included measures for upgrading the internal resources of urban local bodies, tax and non-tax revenue through pricing and cost-recovery, accounting reforms, accessing the capital market for long term non-budgetary resources, selective privatisation of municipal services and pooled finance for smaller municipalities.



Residents’ body holds meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The annual general body meeting of the Residents Welfare Organisation (RWO) of Sector 38 (A and B) was held.

“The general house approved the amendments of the constitution of the RWO as recommended by the executive committee, including holding of the election for the post of president for a term of two years.

“The president was further authorised to nominate his own team,” said Major D.P. Singh, general secretary of the association.



Seminar on Nandigram tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The Chandigarh chapter of Indian Media Centre will organise a colloquium on “Upheaval in Nandigram — disturbing implications” on June 10 in the auditorium of Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, at 10.30 am. The programme is based on an analysis of the report of a fact-finding committee. P.C. Dogra, a former DGP, Punjab, and Nafisa Hussain will speak about their observations during a four-day visit to Nandigram.

After their presentations, an interactive session will be organised in which Pawan Bansal, minister of state for finance, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, cooperation minister, Punjab, and Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, chairman, Punjab Mandi Board will participate. This programme will mark the launch of the Chandigarh chapter of the centre.



Chhabeels: Unhygienic conditions cause worry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Even as city residents are putting up chhabeels across the city to serve flavoured water to save many from the scorching sun, the unhygienic conditions that prevail at these chhabeels have raised concerns of the UT administration.

The administration has now decided to ask the authorities concerned to make sure that contaminated water and eatables are not served here.

The city residents put up chhabeels at various places. Most of these are arranged after collection of funds from different localities or from donations. Those putting up the chhabeels add flavour and milk to water. Some even make arrangement to serve eatables.

However, there are no specific guidelines regarding the water, flavours and the procedure that can be used to prepare chhabeel water. In the absence of such guidelines people generally avoid taking due precautions before preparing the chhabeel water and even during serving it to the masses.

Inderjit Singh Sandhu, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said that it should be made sure that hygiene is ensured. He said that the matter was already in the notice of the UT administration.

Narinder Singh, one of the organisers of a chhabeel, said due care was taken while preparing and serving water. He, however, said water was arranged from the nearby source without checking its quality.



Infant’s death: Family repeats charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Even as the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) authorities claimed that a one-month-old child, Om, was resuscitated by the doctors after being vaccinated wrongly by a paramedic, the parents of the child from Ambala City alleged the hospital authorities were trying to save the accused.

The parents of child claimed at a press conference here today that the child recovered completely by February 13 after he was admitted to hospital on February 9 due to infection in the chest. But the wrong medication to him on February 14 claimed his life, alleged Susheel Puri, father of the child.

Om died on February 20 after remaining admitted to hospital for 11 days for the treatment of infection. The hospital authorities claimed that the child had a cardiac arrest soon after the paramedic on duty infused calcium gluconate rapidly in the vein of the child instead of slowly as it was prescribed.

Then child succumbed to the infection for which he was admitted , claimed Dr Harsh Mohan, Medical Superintendent, GMCH.



Applications invited for Haj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The State Haj Committee, Chandigarh, has invited applications for the Haj pilgrimage.

The city has a quota of 28 seats. Owing to the popular demand of accommodation in Aziziya, it has been decided to retain Aziziya as category E at the rate of Saudi Arabian Riyals 1,200 per unit for the pilgrims.

Interested pilgrims from Chandigarh have to send their applications along with a bank draft Rs 10,700 drawn in favour of subdivisional magistrate-cum-coordinator, State Haj Committee, Ankur Garg.

The applications will be considered on a first-cum-first-served basis. No application would be entertained after June 15.

Interested pilgrims may also contact non-official members of the State Haj Committee or the superintendent, DC office, for filling up the Haj forms.

The forms are available free of cost from the office of superintendent, DC office. 



Tribune employees donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Employees of the Tribune group of newspapers donated blood at a camp organised by the Tribune Employees Union at Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre, Sector 37, here today.

This was the second camp in a series of three blood camps being held by the union every year.

Earlier, a camp was held on the Tribune premises on March 8 to mark Women’s Day when more than 100 employees donated blood.

Dr Saudamani Bambah, one of the pioneers of the blood donation movement in the country and founder member of the Blood Bank Society at Chandigarh, was present along with Niti Sarin and Dr Kanta Swarup Krishan, general secretary and secretary of the society, respectively, on the occasion.

Among those who have donated blood 20 times or more were Anil Kumar Gupta (30), Om Vir Singh ( 28), B.S. Jandu (21), and Haresh Vashishth (20).

Jagtar Singh Sidhu, president of the union, accompanied the donors.



MPLAD fund issue: Councillors clarify stance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Nominated councillors of the municipal corporation today refuted allegations of siding with the BJP. Clarifying their stand, they stated that they had no political inclinations and were ‘victims of circumstances’.

Addressing a press conference, nominated councillors A.P. Sanwaria, M.P.S. Chawla and Arshad Khan stated that they were present there only on to bless Sanwaria’s children who had been inducted into the BJP. The councillors claimed that they left the BJP office before the issue of the MPLAD fund was raised. The councillors also claimed that were not aware of any press conference the BJP had called regarding the issue.

Three nominated councillors of the MC - A.P. Sanwaria, M.P.S. Chawla and Neelam Malik were present yesterday at a meeting called by the BJP regarding the MPLAD controversy. 



BJYM activists burn Bansal’s effigy

Chandigarh, June 8
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Chandigarh, protested against the alleged misuse of MPLAD fund by minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal by burning his effigy here today.

BJP spokesperson Kehar Singh Koundel said BJP councillors and party workers were opposed to the misuse of funds. They wanted funds meant for the city to be used so. — TNS



Decision on community centres draws flak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh June 8
The Municipal Corporation’s decision to convert community centres into community clubs has met with opposition from city residents.

Residents of Sector 46 today protested the decision stating that the community centres were a place for the common man and converting these into clubs would make it just another place for the ‘rich man’.

The residents also protested the MC decision to not allow the use of the building of the community clubs for marriages or any other social functions. Talking to TNS, Kanwar Naunihal Singh, a resident of sector 46, stated that only the use of the lawn had been permitted. “What will one do in case of rain? The building is also required. Where will the poor man now fix his children’s marriage as hotels are very expensive.”

The MC has decided to convert community centres in Sectors 8, 35 and 47 into community clubs. The community centres of other sectors will be considered later.

The Mayor had yesterday taken a round of these centres with other officials.



Circus leaves a scar
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 8
The circus that left the town almost two weeks ago has left a scar. The Phase VIII Dasehra Ground is marked with a trench, which was used in the circus for seating audience.

The trench has rendered the ground unuseable and for a township that has no sports grounds for its budding players, the Dasehra Ground double up as playing grounds.

The circus people had reportedly paid the administration for the use of the grounds for the month and had permission to dig up the place. However, the authorities are yet to get their act together and level the ground so that players can use it.



Fund crunch hits work on hospital
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, June 8
The plan to upgrade the local Civil Hospital to a 200-bed setup has failed to make any headway due to non-availability of funds. It appears to be merely a poll sop for voters in the election year.

The hospital was to be upgraded at an estimated cost of Rs 8 crore. The foundation stone of the 150-bedded extended block of the hospital was laid by the then finance minister Surinder Singla on September 4 last year. The project was to be completed within 15 months. The finance minister had stated that the hospital would be equipped with ultramodern facilities to tackle all types of emergencies under secondary health care and patients would not have to depend solely on the PGI, Chandigarh, after the upgrading was done.

It is learnt that a letter dated September 15 from the under secretary, health, was sent to the managing director of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) in which it was stated that the Punjab Governor had given his approval for spending Rs 7.58 crore on the upgradation of the hospital but subject to certain conditions. Accordingly, revised estimates for the work were sent to the government for approval. But before the needful could be done, code of conduct in connection with the Assembly elections came into force. Later, the Congress, which was interested in the upgradation of the hospital, lost the elections and the new government had as yet not come out with a budget for the current financial year.

The project had begun to roll after former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, during the inauguration of Mohali district on Baisakhi day last year, announced that the hospital would be upgraded and equipped with latest facilities. The chief minister, in fact, had approved the proposals in principle.

Later, the Punjab health minister had held a meeting on May 3, 2006, in which it was stressed that the upgradation should be done on a priority basis in view of the growing population, planned future industrial growth in the area and declaration of the local hospital as a district hospital. It was also felt that this hospital could take care of back-referral cases from the PGI, Chandigarh, to reduce congestion there.



Anti-encroachment drive turns violent
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 8
Anti-encroachment drive at Madanpur village (Sector 26) of the Panchkula extension turned violent today with villagers pelting enforcement staff with stones.

The problem started when the enforcement teams of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the Haryana PWD went to the village to demolish certain shops allegedly erected on the government land by Hari Prakash Chaudhary and Gian. The shops were allegedly constructed several years back and rented out. The authorities concerned now wanted to erect a wall on a part of the land as part of the development works in the extension, sources said.

As the team, which was accompanied by several police personnel, started demolishing the shops using JCB, it was obstructed by the villagers. Duty Magistrate Satish Singla, the enforcement staff and the police personnel were seen running helter skelter to escape the fury of the mob. The anti-encroachment drive had to be discontinued midway, sources said.

However, later in the day, HUDA estate officer S.P. Arora rushed to the spot with more police reinforcement and resumed the drive. More enforcement staff and three JCBs were pressed into service to reclaim the government land.

It was only by the evening that encroachments could be removed by the enforcement staff, sources added.



Cong unit office-bearers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 8
President of the Panchkula unit of the Congress Committee R.K Kakkar today announced the general body of the committee. Mohinder Singh, Vivek Sharma, Surinder Aggarwal, Sushil Kumar and Ajay Batta were nominated vice-presidents of the committee while J S Shangari, Cahnd Jafran, R K Verma, Narinder Singh, Baljeet Sharma, Neraj Sangal and Suresh Aggarwal were appointed general secretaries.

R K Jain was asked to shoulder the responsibility of the treasurer and Pawan Bittu, J.P Sharma, N R Goswami, Karan Singla, Sagid Hassan Kahn and Deepak Garg were made secretaries. Hans Raj Balmiki, Keser Singh, Narinder Goyal and Raj Kumar were appointed organising secretaries of the committee.




School fees a concern

The ever-increasing fees for primary and secondary education are a grave mater of concern.

Each year schools increase their fees by 15 - 20 per cent. Our worry is not that parents have to shell out more money every year. The only concern is that nobody knows how the money is being spent. Parents should be provided with the financial statements of the school, including the receipts of expenditure for the school year.

Many of these schools are run by non-profit societies and the government has allotted them land worth crore of rupees at throwaway prices.

My point is that there should be some way to find out whether the money is being used for the children or the management is using it to buy more land.

Deepu R. Nagpal, Chandigarh

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Driver murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 8
The Kalka police claims to have solved the murder of driver Narinder alias Shunty, who was found murdered in the "white house" building at Pinjore, near here, recently.

According to sources, the police arrested the accused Ranjit , working as a gardener in the building. Ranjit was being interrogated by the police in connection with the case for the past few days. After his interrogation , Ranjit confessed to the owner of the building about his involvement in the crime following which he was arrested, police sources said.

The sources said the deceased allegedly tried to outrage the modesty of the wife of Ranjit on the night of the crime. Ranjit reportedly got a wind of this and he allegedly bludgeoned Narinder to death.

A case has been registered.



Man booked for killing dog
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 8
The next time you aim and throw a stone at a dog, think twice. You can be booked.

The Mohali police has booked Phase X resident Paramjit Singh for causing death of a pet dog that belonged to his neighbour.

The complainant Mohan Singh, a resident of Phase X, told the police that Paramjit allegedly killed their pet dog by hurling a big stone at it. The police had no option but to book Paramjit under Section 429 of the IPC. Paramjit, however, is absconding.

Police said Mohan was taking his dog for a walk when his neighbour, who lives on the third floor, hurled a stone at it. The stone hit the dog on its head, killing it.

The family got a postmortem conducted which confirmed that the dog had died of an injury on his head.



Banks to cover all households
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
All households in Chandigarh will be covered by the opening of no-frills accounts. This was decided by bankers during a meeting of all banks and concerned government departments, organised here today.

B.P. Chopra, general manager, Punjab National Bank, Haryana zone, presided over the meeting. He said in order to extend banking facilities to a vast population of the society, especially to those who were earlier deprived due to their inability to maintain a minimum balance, a door-to-door campaign had been launched by the Punjab National Bank in two UT villages - Khuda Lahora and Khuda Jassu. This campaign covered all the families of these two villages.

After getting an encouraging response from the residents of these two villages, a special drive was launched by all banks in Chandigarh. This drive covered the 12,592 households in all villages of Chandigarh. The banks have also issued 257 general credit cards amounting to Rs 27.38 lakh, in these villages.

Indejeet Sandhu, additional deputy commissioner, Chandigarh, assured the banks that all assistance would be provided by the administration in the special drive.



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