C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Banking services back in place, almost
Tribune News Service

‘100’ starts ringing

Even as the emergency number 100 for police assistance was put in service after remaining non functional for more than 48 hours the numbers of other emergency services and enquiry numbers like fire brigade (101), PGI and other health services (102), Railways, bus stand and airport services remained out of order till mid night.

Chandigarh, July 2
After a tense weekend, Monday saw the banking services in the city more or less restored, much to the relief of pensioners and salaried employees who turned up to make withdrawals as it was the first working day of the month.

The PNB had already made alternative arrangements of a radio link, however, officials stated that they did not know how to use it. “95 per cent of our branches were working. The clearing house worked properly and all cheques could be cleared, even those pending on the weekend,” DGM (PNB) S.K. Madan said. Meanwhile, the State Bank of India also could restore services with 360 of its 374 branches in Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Himachal functioning. “We were able to do all transactions,” stated a bank official.

The State Bank of Patiala was not functional with officials having to do transactions manually.

Private banks, however, worked smoothly. ICICI bank had to route its transactions to its Sector 9 branches but no banking work stopped, officials informed.

Though the banking services were restored, people had to suffer inconvenience due to heavy rush at banks. Most affected were online users.

Due to disruption in broadband services, many were unable to access their accounts.

BSNL officials stated that they expected all operations to be back to normal by tomorrow as it laid new lines in its Sector 17 exchange. Four new transport modules, media circuit and switchboard cables were being installed.

Railway booking was restored earlier in the day but online bookings continued to remain affected.

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BSNL crash impacts PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
For Panjab University, the BSNL service collapse could not have come at a worse time than this. It is the most hectic time of the year with the admissions on and the university declaring hoards of results each day.

The university’s telephone exchange works on BSNL and no university department or office can be contacted through a landline. The exchange numbers given in the university’s handbook are also not working. Students have no option but to come to the university themselves and get information.

Colleges across the state, which are affiliated to the university, are also feeling the heat. The entire day was spent today waiting for some information that had to arrive from Muktsar regarding ward lists of students of the college.

The college authorities could not contact the university as the phones were not working. “We are facing many problems but at least the Internet is working. The results are being put on the Net,” said the vice-chancellor.

The inter-department exchange was working and the administrative work was not suffering much, he added.

However, the PU faculty, a majority of who have BSNL connections, has been affected.

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Admin to go in for satellite phones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Following the ongoing communication disaster due to the fire in the BSNL exchange, the Chandigarh administration has decided to purchase satellite telephone sets as a back-up in case of an emergency.

A decision to this regard was taken at a meeting of the secretaries at the secretariat here today.

Sources pointed out that satellite communication was very costly so it would be limited to specific branches and certain senior officials. The satellite telephones are learnt to cost more than Rs 2 lakh each, with each call costing about Rs 50.

The administration has also decided to compile a list of mobile numbers of top officers for ready data in case of an emergency. It has also been proposed that besides the BSNL network in offices, the officers will preferably go in for a mobile connection of private companies.

While e-sampark centres managed to carry out its usual business, the gram sampark centres in the city were handicapped because of the snapping of the lines. The services were restored by this afternoon.

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BSNL guard among 2 found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The semi-clad body of a security guard at a BSNL tower in Phase I, Industrial Area, here was found lying in a pool of blood in the courtyard of an industrial plot under mysterious circumstances this morning.

In another incident, a Sector 25 resident was found dead along the Sectors 24 and 25 dividing road this morning.

The police said the security guard in all probability might have fallen to death accidentally.

The victim has been identified as 42-year-old Vikram Singh of Hoshiarpur. The police has informed the victim’s family about the incident.

The body was lying in the middle of the rear courtyard of the plot. The victim was wearing only a vest and his face was badly crushed. He suffered injuries on his left feet and right ankle. Blood oozed out of his mouth and had coagulated on the floor beside the body. His left hand was also crushed due to the fall.

The tower was situated on the roof of the building which was over 25 ft high. At the terrace, a folding bed was lying in the open area beside the cabin of the tower. An empty half of whisky and leftover of meat and food were lying there, indicating that the victim had consumed liquor. He might have fallen under the influence of liquor, said a police officer.

Sukh Bhadur, gatekeeper of the plot, told TNS that the death came to light at around 8.30 am when a truck came to the industrial plot to unload goods. The plot was given on rent to three companies, which stored heir goods there. The truck driver went to the rear courtyard of the plot looking for a toilet and saw the semi-clad body. Shocked at the sight, he rushed back and informed him about the body.

SHO of the Industrial Area police station inspector Jagir Singh said Sukh Bhadur reported the matter to the police at around 10.45 am after his employer told him to call the police. Ruling out the possibility of any foul play, he said no signs of struggle were found on the spot.

The police called experts from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory to examine the spot. The body was shifted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital late in the evening.

Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this connection. The victim’s cousin, Arun, said he came to meet Vikram at around 10.30 am and learnt that he had died. He did not express any suspicion behind the death. He said Vikram had retired from the Army and was survived by his wife and two children. They lived at their native village.

About the other body, the police said the deceased had been identified as 36-year-old Dharampal of Janata Colony, Sector 25. He was suffering from tuberculosis. Someone informed the police at around 9.45 am that a body wrapped in a blanket was lying under a tree. The police took the body to Kumhar Colony for identification, where the deceased’s brother identified the body. The police has initiated inquest proceedings.

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Exigencies
City hospitals ill-equipped
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

PGI hotline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The PGI authorities have arranged two mobile numbers in view of the disruption of BSNL telecom services.

The PGI Emergency can be contacted on 9914209301 and 9914209004 till the restoration of the PGI land line phones, according to a press note.

Chandigarh, July 2
Hospitals in the city are ill-equipped to meet exigencies as neither the ambulance service staff nor paramedics are trained for the purpose.

The PGI has three ambulances in addition to the ambulances run by Life Line, an NGO, while Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, has five ambulances. However, none of the government hospitals has a fully loaded ambulance.

“We are totally ill-equipped to react to an emergency situation like the roof collapse at the Grain Market last month,” said Dr Raj Bahadur, additional medical superintendent, PGI, adding that “fortunately there was not a big loss of life in the mishap otherwise it could have proved a nightmare for the administration as well as the health authorities.”

Ambulance drivers are the first to reach the spot from the hospital but they are never taught to handle emergencies of big scale, said Dr Raj Bahadur.

“I am in touch with the chief of ambulance services at Belfast, UK, who is ready to come here and train our staff without any charges, provided the arrangements for the visit of a four-member team were made,” said the additional medical superintendent.

Dr Raj Bahadur, a core member of National Disaster Management Authority, will meet the Governor of Punjab and the health secretary, Union Territory of Chandigarh, for the purpose.

Besides, the PGI was considering to start an emergency medical technician certificate course, said Dr Raj Bahadur.

In fact, the Government of India asked the medical institute to incorporate the course in its curriculum with a period of nine months and matric as the educational qualifiacation, but the PGI academic body was of the view that only a candidate with plus two in science should be eligible for the one-year course to be started at the PGI, added Dr Raj Bahadur.

The director, health services, Chandigarh, M.S. Bains, while emphasising the need for coordination among government hospitals as well as private hospitals in the city, said in case of a major disaster, the medical staff should know which patient would be admitted to which hospital. As burn injury and head injury patients are to be treated at PGI and other superspecialty hospitals, they should be sent their directly to save the precious lives, said the DHS. Ambulance drivers at the GMSH were given first-aid training last year, said the DHS.

The authorities at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, however, assert that though the hospital does not have any fully loaded ambulance, yet basic facilities were available in all ambulances with the hospital. Fully loaded ambulances were being procured, said the authorities.

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Friendly City
They come as patients, stay back forever
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The generosity of people of the region has not only won hearts of poor patients coming for treatment to the PGI from other states, it has also provided them the opportunity of settling in the City Beautiful.

Many patients staying here for years for treatment ultimately decide to stay back. The Khudda Lahora colony near the PGI with affordable accommodation comes in handy for them.

The atmosphere in the city is friendly and full of job opportunities, feel migrants.

“I came to the city for a kidney transplant three years ago after a doctor in Guwahati referred me here for treatment,” said Sujit Bhattacharya, a native of Assam.

“The family got a lot of help from the locals during the treatment in addition to a job for my younger brother Ayan who donated a kidney to me,” said Sujit.

Ayan was offered a job by Glass Palace after the owners came to know about their plight two years ago in 2005, said Sujit.

“My brother and I decided to stay back here as it had become difficult to find a suitable job in Guwahati again after the kidney transplantation,” said Sujit, who was a medical representative with a local firm at Nagoan, Assam, before his surgery, adding that “I opted to take up classes as a tutor at home”.

“I need more than Rs 5,000 every month for my medicines in addition to other expenses and the earnings of my brother and the meagre tuition fee from my students prove a big help for us here,” said Sujit, who stays here along with his wife and brother.

The family of Jitender, another kidney patient from Bihar, has also decided to stay in the city after losing their two sons due to renal failure.

The mother of Jitender is employed at Old Age Home, Sector 15, while his father got a job with a financier two months ago. The sister of Jitender also got a job at a beauty parlour.

“Two of my brothers have already died due to renal failure and I was operated upon for kidney transplant with financial help from locals after my mother donated her kidney to save my life,” said Jitender.

“I had to close down my cement shop in a town near Patna due to the disease,” said Jitender sitting at his rented accommodation in the colony.

“As my two brothers had already died due to the same disease in 1997 and 2001, the family had no option but to shift here for my treatment,” said Jitender.

Abhishek Anand, a resident of Ranchi, is all praise for the people of Chandigarh.

“I got a new lease of life due to the generosity of people here,” said Abhishek.

“Because of the help provided by the people of the city, my kidney transplantation was made possible and now I am running a PCO here,” said Ahishek, who has persuaded another patient of renal failure lying at a hospital n Ranchi to get treatment at the PGI.

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Propagate Sikhism, says US devotee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Ralph Singh, an American Sikh, who is a devotee of Baba Virsa Singh of Gobind Sadan near Delhi said here today that the message of Guru Granth Sahib provided a basis for the world to overcome its conflicts and live together as one human family.

Speaking to mediapersons at the Press Club, Ralph Singh said he was concerned about the lack of propagation of Sikhism. Many youths had turned to drugs and cut their hair because of lack of the ‘propagation phenomenon’, he added.

“I feel that the understanding of spiritual power and unassailable character that the Gurus instilled in their Sikhs has been lost,” he added. “As a result, not just the Sikh community but Punjab and the world suffers,” he asserted.

Ralph Singh, who has been preaching the importance of maintaining one’s values and culture, has done a special study on Baba Siri Chand. He has authored a book on Baba Siri Chand. It has been released in English in Delhi and was the subject of a successful essay contest in Delhi Sikh public schools.

The book documents in simple language the history of Baba Siri Chand, who, he said, carried the teachings of his father and Guru (Guru Nanak Dev) to Sind. The book has also been translated into Hindi and Punajbi and will be released at a public function in September corresponding with Baba Siri Chand’s birth anniversary.

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Entries invited for Indira Gandhi Award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The Chandigarh administration has invited nominations for Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration, 2006.

The nominations are to be sent to the deputy commissioner by associations, institutions or organisations having a legal status and registered in India.

Only one individual or one association, institution or organisation may be proposed by a proposer. A proposal by a person or organisation recommending himself or itself will not be entertained.

The award will be given to an individual or organisation for his/its activities in the specified year for the cause of promoting national integration and sense of national solidarity.

The award was instituted to recognise outstanding contribution to this cause by distinguished individuals or institutions.

The award carries a citation and cash of Rs 1.51 lakh.

The award has so far been given to Swami Ranganathananda, Aruna Asaf Ali, Bharat Scouts and Guides, P.N. Haksar, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Rajiv Gandhi (posthumous), Paramdham Ashram, Acharya Shri Tulsi, Dr Bishambar Nath Pande, Sardar Beant Singh (posthumous), Natwar Thakkar, the Gandhi Institute of Public Affairs, the Indira Gandhi Centre for National Integration (Shanti Niketan), Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Shankar Dayal Sharma (posthumous), Prof Satish Dhawan, H.Y.Sharda Prasad, the Ram-Rahim Nagar Slum Dwellers Association, Belrampura, Ahmedabad, Aaman Pathik-Peace Volunteer Group, Ahmedabad, Ram Singh Solanki and Sunil Tamaiche (jointly), Acharya Mahaprajna, Shyam Benegal, Mahashweta Devi and Javed Akhtar.

The award for 2006 will be given for outstanding contribution to the cause of national integration either by distinguished individuals or associations in 2006 and two years preceding it. The award will be announced on or before October 2.

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Fauji Beat
Govt should rehabilitate war widows, injured soldiers

One of the factors that go to make the defence forces unattractive is the neglect of widows and war-wounded soldiers by the government. The Army has suffered heavy casualties in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in J&K and North-East in the past few years. This has resulted in turning many young girls into widows, besides giving the country a large number of war-wounded soldiers.

The government has not so far even thought of reserving any suitable posts for the resettlement of these two categories.

The Army is planning to take up a case with the government for the rehabilitation of war-wounded soldiers and widows by reserving jobs for them in the corporate sector. The Army Chief, General J.J. Singh, said the other day that the industrial houses should consider helping such soldiers and widows pick the thread of their lives. “A few modern nations have such an employment model in place,” he further said.

According to War Wounded Foundation (WWF), more than 25,000 disabled soldiers across the country need to be rehabilitated. Sadly, no such figures of the war widows are available with any organisation in the country. Isn’t it a national shame that the widows and orphans of the war heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country, remain unaccounted for?

Canteen smart card

The ex-servicemen should be happy to know that finally the canteen smart card is being introduced in the Headquarters Western Command canteens at Chandimandir and in Sector 21, Chandigarh. The canteen at Chandimandir, which is closed since June 29 to complete all the formalities for introduction of the new system, will re-open on July 9.

And from this day, all canteen stores, including liquor, will be issued on the smart card.

Similarly, the Headquarters Western Command canteen in Sector 21, Chandigarh, will remain closed from July 22 to July 31 for the introduction of the new system. On opening of the canteen on August 1, all purchases from the canteen will only be allowed on the smart card.

Senior citizens (those above 70 years of age) are allowed to bring one attendant each with them if they visit the canteen in the second fortnight of the month. Because of the rush in the first fortnight, no attendants are allowed with the senior citizens.

Besides, those ex-servicemen and widows who cannot come to the canteen because of medical reasons can get their representatives authorised by the Station Headquarters to make purchases on their behalf from the canteen.

Round-the-world expedition

As part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Indian Air Force (IAF), a round-the-world expedition, which was flagged off from Hindon Air Force Station on June 1, by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major, is expected to reach back on August 4. The expedition was undertaken by Wing Commander R Monga and Wing Commander Anil Kumar in a German-manufactured Microlight aircraft called CSTW Advance.

Covering more than 39,000 km in 45 days, the expedition is likely to set a new world record in circumnavigating the world in the 300-500 kg weight category in 64 days. The present record is 99 days. The expedition will interact with various agencies across the world, fly through remote and difficult terrain facing extreme weathers and change of time zones.

— Pritam Bhullar

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Pitiable condition of park irks residents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 2
The Sector 12-A Welfare Association yesterday demanded that the park in their sector be developed at the earliest. In a meeting with the executive officer of the municipal council, the vice-president of the association Anoop Singh and general secretary D.C. Bhardwaj said though the tender for the development of the park near House No. 134 had been floated over a year back, no development work had begun so far.

They maintained that they had got nothing but false promises and the park remained in pitiable condition. Maintaining that their sector had been carved out 24 years back, they said the municipal council was giving them step-motherly treatment by ignoring the development of the park, despite repeated requests.

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Man killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 2
A motor mechanic was killed in a collision between two scooters in Phase X, here today.

According to the police, Manjeet Singh, who worked as a mechanic in the Phase VII market, had gone to Phase X to check a car when the accident took place. Manjeet was taken to a private hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

In another incident, a woman was injured in a collision between a scooter and a motor cycle in Phase IV. She was taken to a private hospital.

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Man bitten by insect dies
Tribune News Service

Lalru, July 2
Surinder Patel, a migrant labourer from Nepal, who was allegedly bitten by a poisonous insect, died at the PGI, Chandigarh, yesterday.

According to sources, Patel was bitten by the insect while planting paddy at village Khazoor Mandi, near here, on June 29. He was taken to a private hospital in Ambala the next day.

When his condition deteriorated, he was referred to the PGI. An investigation is on.

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Faidan residents seek better amenities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
A delegation of the Faidan Residents Welfare Association, led by its president Mohinder Chaudhary, met UT chief engineer V.K. Bhardwaj here today with regard to basic amenities.

The chief engineer assured the delegation that the issue would be taken up on a priority basis by the Chandigarh administration.

A tender for the sinking of a tubewell would also be floated soon, according to a press note issued by the residents’ association here today.

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‘Thikri pehras’ to be organised
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 2
The district magistrate has ordered that ‘thikri pehras’ be organised in villages.

According to a press note issued here today, some anti-social elements had committed thefts in villages and damaged property.

Such incidents are a threat to the life and property of residents of SAS Nagar district. In order to avoid such incidents, youths should be put on guard, the official release said.

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100 MW transformer for Mani Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The UT electricity department today commissioned a 100 MW power transformer at Mani Majra here today.

V.K.Bhardwaj, chief engineer, said the overburdened power lines in the Manimajra area would be greatly benefited. There would be lesser unscheduled cuts for maintenance jobs.

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Tips for safe driving

Road discipline - Part II

  • Overtake another vehicle only when you can do so safely. Once you have started to overtake move past the other vehicle quickly and then come back to the left without cutting in sharply
  • Do not overtake from the left unless vehicle ahead is signalling a turn to the right or in slowly moving traffic the vehicles in the right lane are moving slower than you
  • Do not speed up when you are being overtaken. Instead, slow down slightly if necessary to let the overtaking vehicle move past quickly
  • Do not make any movement on the road which will force other vehicles to swerve or slow down
  • Never reverse into a major road. Reverse with care looking all around you repeatedly. You must not reverse your vehicle for longer than necessary

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Letters

Noise pollution

The problem of noise pollution is increasing day by day and it gets worse during the examination days. Some residents of City Beautiful are openly flouting the Supreme Court’s ban on use of loud speakers after 10 pm. But the UT Police prefers to remain a mute spectator. Whenever one goes on road dividing Sector 15 and Panjab University, one usually comes across youngsters blowing horrifying and loud horns of their motor bikes creating the nuisance at public place. Strict measures are needed to deal with this problem effectively.

Neha Sharma
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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Two thieves arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The local police has claimed to have solved three cases of theft with the arrest of two persons.

The accused have been identified as 23-year-old Navdeep Kashyap of Zirakpur and 30-year-old Sunil Kumar of Sector 23.

The police said the accused were drug addicts.

Narrating the sequence of events that led to their arrest, the SHO of the Sector 36 police station said Navdeep was caught while stealing a TV set from the house of Rohit Kumar of Sector 36.

His accomplice, Sunil, was waiting for him in a Maruti car. On seeing that Navdeep had been nabbed, he sped away.

Following Navdeep’s disclosure, the police caught Sunil today.

A stolen car stereo and a fax machine were recovered from him along with the car.

The police said Navdeep belonged to a good family.

His father retired as superintendent from the Punjab health department and his mother was a principal.

Snatching

Chander Kanta Jolly of Sector 34 reported to the police that two unidentified youths snatched her gold chain from near her house this morning.

She said she was going to a temple at around 8.45 am when one of the miscreants pounced upon her and snatched the chain.

Another person was waiting on a motorcycle. She said they were in their early 20s and were lanky.

A case has been registered.

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Hoshiarpur man held with poppy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The local police arrested a Hoshiarpur resident from the Sector 17 ISBT, here, for allegedly carrying 10 kg of poppy husk, this evening. The police said the contraband was worth about Rs 50,000.

Sources in the Sector 17 ISBT police post said the accused, 25-year-old Gurpreet Singh Gora of Hoshiarpur, was arrested on suspicion while moving in the bus stand. His search led to the recovery of poppy husk. He brought the contraband from Gwalior and it was hidden in his bedding. He was about to board a bus for ISBT, Sector 43, from where he was to catch a bus for Hoshiarpur. During preliminary interrogation, he told the police that it was his second trip.

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330 motorists booked

Chandigarh, July 2
The Chandigarh traffic police today booked 330 motorists for violating traffic rules in various parts of the city. In all, nine pickets were set up.

Sources in the traffic police said the police collected Rs 19,200 as fine.

The police booked 131 motorists for over speeding, 59 two-wheeler riders for not wearing helmets, six for using mobile phones while while driving, 14 for jumping red light and 120 miscellaneous challans. — TNS

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