C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

A cleansed Sukhna in 5 years
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Chandigarh administration has announced that 45 lakh cubic metres of silt will be removed from the Sukhna Lake under a central project. This means the lake will lose 4 ft of silt uniformly within the coming five years.

To access deeper portions of the lake, the project will be carried out with a pontoon bridge which can be shifted anywhere in the lake and carry heavy machinery, including vehicles, for carrying away the silt for disposal.

The pontoon bridge will be able to support the weight of the grab cranes and tippers for transporting the removed silt.

Desilting assumes importance given the fact that when the lake was created in 1958, it measured 18 ft. Today it measures a mere 8 ft. The total silt assimilated at the lake is approximately 100 lakh cubic metres.

The 73-crore project has been cleared by the Government of India and awaits clearance with regard to implementation details from the UT administration. The UT had a project report compiled by the National Ship Designing and Research Centre, Vishakhapatnam. Tenders for the work will be floated soon.

The project agenda specifies desilting, improvement of the catchment area and development of an aquatic park. The project is envisaged to be completed within four to six years with help from the forest department. The UT administration has underlined that the loss of water during desilting should not be more than 25 per cent of the total content removed.

The silt will be carried to certain identified sites: UT forests, road sites under construction and land being developed for building projects.

The inflow of silt into the lake has reduced drastically over the past few years. The catchment area has approximately 106 check dams, which have shown impressive results in silt retention, a senior official said.

Officials say there is no denying the fact that most of the silt content in the lake had poured in the first 20 years of its inception.

It has been pointed out that besides the catchment area in the UT, the Sukhna got huge deposits of silt from waters it received from Punjab and Haryana. The weak character of soil there and poor plantation in certain parts has been another major reason for the silt inflow.

During the seventies, check dams started coming up. This was followed by diversion of the water entering the lake at Sukhna. A rowing channel which came up a few years ago also helped in silt removal.

Every summer, a shramdan was conducted involving the public in silt removal for a number of years. The practice was stopped three years ago as "it was not technically and manually feasible".



Cops outnumber protesters
300 turn out for Khalsa march, squat for 2 hrs & disperse 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 9
The Mohali police far outnumbered ‘Khalsa march’ protesters outside the Gurdwara Amb Sahib here this afternoon. Elaborate arrangements had been made by the police to ensure peace during the march, which was supposed to begin at the gurdwara and move towards Chandigarh.

The policemen, numbering at least 900, positioned themselves in a semi-circle outside the gurdwara gates to man the barricades. The presence of the police was overwhelming. Prepared for any eventuality, they were equipped with lathis. Some of them wore bulletproof jackets. Other than riot control vehicles, the police had made arrangements for tear gas shells.

A car carrying banners and about 100 lathis was stopped by the police this morning. “The driver claimed that the lathis were to be used to attach the banners to these lathis but we were not convinced. The car was impounded,” said SSP R.S. Khatra.

The police was clearly expecting a larger crowd. “We have arrangements for a crowd of 2,000,” said the SSP. However, not more than 300 persons collected at the gurdwara on a call given by the Khalsa Action Committee for a gathering of 1,100. “Hundreds of our supporters have been stopped by the Punjab Police all over the state. The Ropar SSP has arrested some of our men,” said Karnail Singh Panjoli, a committee member.

The Chandigarh Police represented by DSP SS Randhawa had brought two vehicles to escort a delegation of protesters up to the residences of the two chief ministers where the march was to terminate. However, the committee members rejected the offer. “If we go, we all go together,” they said.

Raising slogans against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief and carrying banners demanding his arrest, the protesters squatted on the road outside the gurdwara for two hours. The road outside the gurdwara was closed in the morning and thrown open to traffic after 2pm. The agitators sitting on the road were dressed in black.



Dial 197 for nothing
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The "Connecting India" slogan of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), continues to ring hollow, even after 10 days of the devastating fire in Sector 17 telephone exchange.

Not to talk of normalcy returning to the telecom sector, the BSNL authorities are still struggling to set the customer care numbers right, putting thousands of telephone subscribers and Internet users to inconvenience.

A realty check of the customer care numbers today revealed that enquiry numbers 197 and 198 are yet to get functional.

The functioning of the mobile customer care numbers (1500, and 9400024365) are far from satisfactory. Similarly, the general public and institutional users, including banks, are at their wits end with the functioning of the broadband(12678), lease lines (2703524) help lines remaining unsatisfactory.

Residents allege that dialling numbers of private mobile operators from the BSNL landline numbers continues to pose problems. Similarly, there are repeated breakdowns in the broadband service, leaving the Internet users high and dry. BSNL officials, however, claim that a most of the services have been restored.

Given the extensive damage to equipment, the restoration of services takes time, they argue. The BSNL top brass today remained busy at meetings, finding ways and means to set the things rights. “The services should be back on track soon,” an official said.

No strike

The Sanchar Nigam Executive Association and the BSNL Employees Union have decided not to join the nationwide strike on July 11against the delay in the procurement of an advanced equipment by the BSNL. Instead, the employees have decided to work for the restoration of telecom services in the wake of the fire, a press said here today, pledging "moral support" to the strike.



11-month infant raped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
A rickshaw-puller in his mid-thirties allegedly raped an 11-month-old infant at her residence in Adrash Colony in Sector 54 here this morning. The accused was said to be under the influence of some intoxicant.

He was caught when the victim’s mother, a domestic help, reached there and raised the alarm, following which her neighbours assembled there and nabbed the accused. He was later handed over to the police. The child was taken to the hospital for medical examination following which the police registered a case of rape and criminal trespass against Santosh Kumar.

The accused sleeps in the furniture market in Sector 54. He hails from Bihar and is married, said the police.

Talking to TNS at the Sector 16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), the victim’s mother, a widow, said she went to work at 7 am, leaving the girl in the care of her three-year-old daughter. She caught the accused molesting the child when she came back at 10 am.

She pounced on the man, but he pushed her back and ran out. She called for help and people gathered there and nabbed the accused.

SHO Gulshan Kumar of the Sector 39 police station said a case of rape was registered after a medical examination. The accused would be produced before a local court tomorrow. The victim’s mother said she lost her husband when she was two months pregnant with her third daughter. Her eight-year-old daughter was in the care of employers. Her 10-year-old son had gone missing for the past several months.



Smoking ban: Hotels, colleges told to get ready
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Chandigarh administration has asked all hotels, restaurants and educational institutions to make arrangements and provisions for providing a smoke-free environment.

As per Section 4 read with Rule 3 of the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, and the relevant provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and Rules, hotels/restaurants offering 100 per cent smoke free healthy environment would maintain a 100 per cent non-smoking atmosphere and no one, including the staff, would be allowed to smoke on the premises.

A minimum of two boards of the size 30 cm by 60 cm, stating “No smoking area --- smoking here is an offence” must be affixed by all hotels and restaurants. At least one such board must be affixed at the entrance and one at a conspicuous place on each floor.

The hotels desirous of making a smoking area, must have a capacity of more than 30 seats and/or 30 rooms. The smoking area must be physically segregated and air-insulted from the non-smoking areas. Except for people smoking in the smoking area (constructed and maintained as per the guidelines), 100 per cent smoke-free atmosphere would be maintained and no one would be allowed to smoke in any other portion of the hotel, restaurant, bar and/or within the premises.

Smoking and non-smoking rooms would have to be specifically demarcated and marked by prominently displayed boards. The smoking area and/or rooms must be situated in such a way that no non-smoker has to pass through the smoking area or inhale any smoke while accessing either the non-smoking area or any other facility.

As per Section 6 of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act read with rule 3(1) of the Prohibition on Sale of Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Around Educational Institutions Rules, 2004, all educational institutes must display a board outside, stating that “Sale of cigarette and other tobacco products in an area within a radius of one hundred yards of the educational institution is strictly prohibited.”

All educational institutions have been instructed not to allow any person to smoke in any area/compound of the educational institute. They have been asked to report to the nearest police station or to the Chandigarh tobacco control cell in writing if anyone was found selling tobacco within 100 yards of an educational institute. The complaint can also be submitted at any of the e-Jansampark centre.



Zirakpur Bottleneck
NHAI blames tardy Punjab
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Even as Punjab is insisting that the problem of traffic bottleneck at Zirakpur could have been solved simply by removing shops along the freeway instead of constructing flyovers, the NHAI today said the state was “required to take immediate steps for the removal of encroachments.”

In a reply filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, NHAI project director K.P. Sharma said land was also to be handed over for “Right to Way” (ROW) in terms of the court directions.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover today fixed August 27 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

In its reply filed through Punjab’s DSP Arun Saini, Punjab had earlier stated that huge amount of money would not have been spent in constructing the flyover had the shops near the highway been removed.

Claiming that the removal of shops would have resulted in the laying of a “good six-lane road” which was a better alternative, the DSP had added: “It is time the authorities also seek the opinion of the traffic police in drawing up plans for the construction of roads and dividers.”

He had further stated that the NHAI was responsible for the preparations of diversions and their maintenance through a contractor during the continuation of the construction, but the same had not been done.

The DSP had also expressed the opinion that congestion at the Zirakpur junction could be reduced by cutting local diversions from Panchkula and Baltana to Dera Bassi; Chhat Bir to Chandigarh; Chhat Bir to Dera Bassi; and from Chandigarh to Panchkula through Baltana.

In his petition, Mr Harish Kumar Puri of Pipli had earlier asked for the construction of rumble strips along with traffic signals at the crossings. He had stated that his 27-year-old son died in an accident in 1996 at Pipli Chowk due to the criminal negligence on the part of the traffic police as he was lying with both his legs under the wheels of a loaded truck for over an hour and no one from the traffic police came to his rescue.

The petitioner has made the Haryana government, its transport commissioner and the DGP respondents in the PIL.



Overzealous workout counter-productive
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, July 9
Misinformed zeal can sometimes prove to be counter-productive to the human body and may even turn out to be an excruciating experience to many.

This is precisely what is happening to hundreds of fitness freaks who are getting themselves registered with numerous gyms and fitness centres that have sprouted up in the town, some almost overnight.

Barely days after trying to melt down that extra flab or trying to build up biceps, freaks fall victims to the “fitness misinformation syndrome”.

Subsequently, these fitness fanatics drop out suffering from an assortment of ailments, including sprains, muscle spasms, premature arthritis, chest pain, and in some cases even broken bones.

That the gym culture is spreading like wildfire in this city is no exaggeration. However, the problem is that only a fraction of these enthusiasts know the right way to go about the task of knocking off all those extra kilos.

Sports Authority of India (SAI) sports medicine expert Dr Ashok Ahuja opines that there should be qualified physical training instructors in these gyms.

Sadly none of the city’s gyms have any such qualified experts on their rolls to provide professional expertise catering to the specific needs of different individuals.

Adding to their cup of woe is the fact that, unlike in metropolitan cities, even the basic facility of a doctor on call in case of any exigency is absent.

And such mishaps are not rare as one gym owner recalls that three of his clients suffered falls leading to serious injuries in a single day.

A gym owner, preferring anonymity, says most of the injuries occur due to “ego training” - which means competing with a friend and then trying to “out-train” him.

He cites the case of a teenage obese girl who without warming up did 120 sit-ups on the first day of her schedule, just because her friend had done the same quantum of exercise a day earlier.

The only difference was that her friend was a regular, while the victim was a complete fresher.

The results were devastating as the victim started coughing up blood, complained of chest pain and had to be hospitalised in a critical condition.

Another orthopaedic surgeon, Dr P.K Singla, attributes such incidences to the fact that freaks adopt the “getting slim the fast way” method, which he says always proves detrimental to the human body.

He adds that neither do the freaks follow a proper regimen nor do they fine-tune their bodies before stepping into the gym.

Dr A.S. Sidhu, head of the orthopedic department of the Government Rajindra Hospital and Medical College, says gyms are nothing more than business propositions.

Anybody who has space and money is quick to jump on the gym bandwagon but there is nobody to teach these fitness fanatics how to go about their business without putting their bodies at risk.

He adds that most of the gym owners do not suggest drinking water, which in itself is an invitation to disaster as dehydrated muscles always protest with spasms.

There is a lurking fear among owners that if the dropout rate continues to grow these gyms may well become relics in the near future.

Moreover, till these enthusiasts keep ignoring the three basics - warning up, stretching and cooling down - the number of dropout cases will only keep multiplying.



Councillors complain of inert admin

Chandigarh, July 9
Upset over the indifferent attitude of the UT administration, the MC today took up the issue with the adviser to the administrator, Lalit Sharma.

A delegation of councillors from all political parties met the adviser this morning. They stated that the MC was an extension of the administration but devoid of any meaningful autonomy to function properly.

The councillors urged the administration to include them in the decision-making process. “There is no centralised planning for the MC. The administration prepares and handovers plans most of the time,” stated Congress councillor Chandermukhi Sharma.

“We are answerable to the public while the administration is not. It doesn’t take us into confidence and in the end, the common man suffers,” stated mayor Harjinder Kaur.

The councillors were also upset over the transfer of two of its officials who had recently been posted to the MC. “It upsets our functioning,” the mayor said.

“Moreover, the CVC guidelines are not followed completely. Why are there two sets of rules? There are so many officials who have been here for years but the chief engineer has been posted out in less than two months,” stated Sharma.

They have demanded that a coordination committee should be formulated under the chairmanship of the mayor where secretaries under the adviser should meet every month to resolve various issues. — TNS



Conquering the world on a bicycle
Rajay Deep

Somen on his bicycle to spread awareness about AIDS.
Somen on his bicycle to spread awareness about AIDS. 

Chandigarh, July 9
This young lad is on a unique mission. Twenty-four-old Somen Debnath is on a world cycle tour to create awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Somen, who set out on the tour on May 27, 2004, has travelled to almost every state in the country, except Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Currently, Somen is in Chandigarh to drive home his message.

Inspired at the age of 14 by a newspaper article titled 'AIDS, deadlier than cancer', this West Bengal student took training from the West Bengal AIDS Prevention and Control Society before setting out on his mission.

“The society also could not answer all my questions, so I took to reading books, pamphlets and information brochures to learn more about AIDS. I started my mission by sharing the information I received with my friends and fellow villagers. I am really thankful to all who encouraged me,” said Somen.

During his tour, Somen has visited more than 150 NGOs, 2,300 schools and more than 3,000 colleges to spread awareness about the disease. He has visited many ‘kothis and red light areas’, where he distributed syringes, needles and contraceptives. He has also talked to numerous drivers and sex workers to educate them about the disease. Somen is expecting to cover the entire world by 2020.

Somen’s journey is full of adventures. “On one occasion, I was blindfolded, beaten and abducted by terrorists, who then took me to their camp. However, when I met their commander, he greeted me with a copy of a newspaper article that spoke about my journey. I then educated them about AIDS and was eventually fed and released,” narrated Somen.

“Another interesting incident took place when I was crossing the Kazhiranga. I found myself sandwiched between a rhino and a tiger. I stood still, closed my eyes and prayed to God. Thankfully, I survived,” he added.

Somen’s tour is not without problems. Underlining the need for a formal sponsor, Somen says he lives on donations. “I started off with Rs 2,000 that MLA Sanath Kumar Mandal gave me. Several ministers and social workers have also supported me. Governor of Tamil Nadu Surjit Singh Barnala also gave me Rs 40,000 for the trip,” Somen gratefully adds.

Somen sums up his message in two sentences. “The best way to prevent HIV is by awareness. This is more important than cure.”



Control rooms on floods to work 24 hrs
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 9
Deputy Commissioner, H.I.S. Garewal today ordered that control rooms set up for providing information on floods should remain open for 24 hours with their telephones in working order.

The orders were given at a monthly meeting of district officials held under the chairmanship of the deputy commissioner.

He said no employee would leave his station of work without prior approval.

He said buildings that declared unsafe, especially schools, should not be used. The department concerned should have the required equipment to remove debris in case any unsafe building fell.

Executive officers of the municipal council were asked to spray insecticide to control the breeding of mosquitoes during the monsoon. Officials of the Health Department were told to purchase the required medicines. 



Browser locks horns with MC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 9
Book lovers of Mohali have been deprived of the facility of a library as the one under the control of the local Municipal Council is closed for the past nine days.

The library, whose building was constructed by the civic body in Silvi Park, Phase X, was being run by Browser since October, 2004. Since Browser refused to accept the proposal of the council to provide free membership to municipal councillors and civic body staff, its agreement for another year was not renewed. As such, Borwser terminated its operations on June 30. The membership fee charged by Browser varied between Rs 300 to Rs 2,000.

The house then unanimously decided to run the library at a monthly meeting held by the civic body on June 27. A clerk and a peon have been deputed for the library. Lists of books to be purchased are also being prepared. President of the council Rajinder Singh Rana and executive officer J.S. Thind said a sum of Rs 2 lakh was being spent to run the library, but both failed to specify date when it would become functional.

The proposal to give free membership to councillors and civic body staff was earlier put up in the house at a meeting on April 30 where it was decided that an agreement be signed with Browser only if it accepted the house proposal. But the company wrote a letter to the council on June 4 stating it would be winding up its operations from July 1.

The library was found locked today and a notice was seen pasted on two doors signed by Jagdeep Kaur, chief operations officer. It was stated that the civic body had failed to renew the agreement after October, 2006, in spite of repeated requests.

“Further, the infrastructure provided by them had deteriorated to the extent that it was impossible for us to run the librarly. This included absence of proper electricity, failure of air-conditioners and inadequate security leading to theft of DVD and computer equipment”. It was alleged that the council had failed to provide drinking water and toilets.

“We are left with no option but to serve notice to the municipal council for terminating our operations from June 30”, the notice further said. However, Thind denied the allegations levelled by Browser and that the required infrastructure had been provided by the council.

It is learnt that even though the company has terminated its operations, it is once again trying to get the contract through political intervention to run the municipal library.



Caste Bias
SC panel members burn Selja’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Block-A joint action committee protest against union minister Kumari Selja in Panchkula on Monday.
Members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Block-A joint action committee protest against union minister Kumari Selja in Panchkula on Monday. — Tribune photo: Malkiat Singh

Panchkula, July 9
Members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Block-A joint action committee burnt the effigy of Member of Parliament from Ambala and union minister of state for urban development and poverty elevation Kumari Selja here today.

The protesters burnt the effigy at the Sector 17-18 roundabout before submitting a memorandum of their demands to the deputy commissioner.

The members protested that the minister was favouring people of her caste by giving them sops, while the other castes were being left out.

General secretary of the joint action committee and councillor from ward No. 7 Dalbir Singh said there were 42 castes in the state and all needed to be treated equally. “She is only favouring members of her caste.”

The protesters also demanded the abolition of contract system among sweepers and wanted holding of direct recruitments.



UT’s sanitary conditions alarm Kiran Bedi
Ramanjit S. Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Magsaysay Awardee and director-general of the bureau of police research and development Kiran Bedi today pleaded for more jails and improvement of infrastructure.

There was shortage of jails in the country, resulting in overcrowding, she said in a chat with the Chandigarh Tribune on the sidelines of the Rotary club installation ceremony here this evening.While 35 persons were arrested after every 1 lakh population in India, the figure for the USA was much higher at 800 persons, Bedi said.

On the request of the Punjab government, the bureau had submitted its recommendation to bring about large-scale reforms in Punjab jails.Vocational training, behavioural changes besides major changes in jail structures with a view to making them inmate-friendly had been suggested.

On the rise in cases on crime against women, she was of the view that this was owing to increased awareness of gender rights. Expressing concern at road safety and traffic management, Bedi said the bureau was regularly sending recommendations to the authorities concerned.

Bedi also expressed concern at the deteriorating sanitary conditions in the city. She called upon the Rotarians to inculcate civic sense in the younger generation and sensitise bureaucracy on the issue.

Bedi installed the following office-bearers of the Rotary Club: president: Arvind Mehan; vice-president-Rakesh Garg; director (club services)-Shuchita Luthra; director (community services)-GS Lakhmana; director (vocational services)-Lalita Jagmohan Singh; director (international services)-Arvind Mahajan; secretary-AP Singh Dhiman; joint secretary-Mohan Bir Singh; and sergeant at arms-Darshan Mahendru.



Rotary to work for poor students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Rotary Club (Himalayan ranges) has decided to provide moral education to underprivileged students. This was announced by Rajesh Bajaj, club president, at the installation ceremony of the club here last night. Creator-director of the Rock Garden, Nek Chand, was the chief guest.

The following were installed as office-bearers: secretary --- Pankaj Sharma; vice-president --- Dilbagh Rai Oberoi; treasurer — Anil Oberoi; joint secretary — Ravinder Garg; director (club services) ---Ramesh Chander Goel; director (community services)--- T.K. Ruby; director (vocational services) --- Jagdish Rai Gupta; director(international services) --- Rakesh Garg; director (new generation)---Rajneesh Garg; and sergeant-at-arms — Mohnish Kapila. 



Man killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 9
Gurmail Singh, a 52-year-old resident of village Sambhalki, was killed in an accident near the Maggu petrol pump, here this evening.

Sources said Gurmail was going towards Kharar on his motorcycle when he was hit by a speeding bus. Gurmail, who died on the spot, was taken to the Mohali Civil Hospital.

The police has registered a case against the unidentified driver of the bus.



Youth can foster peace
Send kids to Pak, says activist
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
It was at the age of 18 years that Pakistani activist and director of the Lahore-based Institute of Peace and Secular Studies, Saeeda Diep, was first exposed to communism. Since the literature was completely banned then, Saeeda and her friends used to hide and read it. Today, decades later, she still believes it is the singular path through which the common man will ultimately find his voice.

It is this ‘voice’ she says she prefers to use and so at an interactive lecture organised by the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) and ICSSR North Western Regional Centre on the campus today, Saeeda chose to converse in Punjabi, citing irreconcilable differences with English! And the reason she cited for coming here was, “to urge you all to send your children to Pakistan.

The young are susceptible to new ideas. The older generations may have their reservations and that is understandable. Young people have the capability of overcoming the negative propaganda generated to reach out in friendship,” she said.

It has now been 15 years since Saeeda decided to advocate for the rights of women and minorities. But in the midst of this, she is also a fierce campaigner of peace between India and Pakistan.

In 1992, when Saeeda returned to her own country armed with a degree in political science, she wanted to teach but realised that as a communist and a woman it was not going to be easy. She began as a crime reporter with Pakistan Press International and now writes a weekly feature on social issues for the Dawn newspaper.

Elaborating on her brand of activism, she holds that it could only be done by questioning. “If there is peace how will the governments justify their huge expenditure on defence? They will be compelled by the people to spend more on education and healthcare. Right now, no one can question them,” she said. The way out was to keep pressuring the governments not only to ease visa restrictions between both countries, but also to make the region nuclear-free.

Going further, Saeeda said that as a communist, she had delved extensively into religion since the path advocates atheism. “I agree religious beliefs cannot be removed but highlight the pro-people aspects of religion,” she entreated.

Berating countries for bringing laws into religion and curbing the rights of women in so many regions across the world, she said that in every major faith that she had studied, she had never read that the rights ands freedom of women should be curbed in this way. “The problem lies in the interpretation of religion. Everything has to be seen in context. Islam came about in Arabia so many centuries ago. That milieu is not applicable today. The maulvis have not studied the spirit of the faith, they lay down whatever they wish,” she said.

Saeeda also believes that religion created a face that did not exist between the two countries, at the time of Partition. “For all the massacres that took place during the time, there are so many examples of brotherhood and love. If we could live together earlier, we can do it now,” she stressed.

She is now working on bringing teachers from India over to Pakistan for a conference and “we will not let them out of the room until we find a way to bring our children together,” she smiled.



Curb smoking

The ban on smoking at public places is a welcome step. In the UK, the lighting of a cigarette can attract a fine of up to £20, whereas owners of public places get penalised by up to £2500 for every cigarette smoked on their premises.

The WHO contends that tobacco products will kill up to one billion people this century unless governments in rich and poor nations alike get serious about curbing smoking. Already, the epidemic kills 5.4 million people every year - half of those deaths are in developing countries like India. The smoking rate in developing countries is on the rise, particularly among teenagers. The only way they can be weaned from this habit is to make sterner laws. Measures like higher taxes, ban on advertisements and smoking at public places can go a long way in curbing the menace.

Akram Shahab, 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



Tips for safe driving
Turning into a major road

If Car A is going to make a left turn and the left signal light of Car B is on, then Car A should wait till Car B has reached the point marked X and then only turn after making sure that it is safe to do so.

‘Courtesy, courtesy, courtesy, Courtesy above all!’

Courtesy: Safe Driving, compiled by Cdr Swarup J Sarma



Criminal arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The police today arrested a criminal with a stolen Indica car from near Khudda Ali Sher village. The police said the accused was moving in the car that had a fake registration number.

The in charge of the crime branch, inspector Satbir Singh, said 66-year-old Balkar Singh of Kajheri was arrested following a secret information. He ran a private primary school in Kajheri and owned some shops in the village.

He had stolen the car in Nawanshahr district along with his accomplice Jamna Dass last year.

Balkar Singh admitted to have stolen five cars which they had hired as taxies. Balkar was also involved in a murder that took place in 1997. He was also involved in a case of kidnapping. 



Lottery seller hangs himself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Depressed over financial difficulties, a lottery vendor in his mid-30s hanged himself to death at his Sector 37 house here late last night. Though no suicide note was recovered, the police said it to be a case of suicide, quoting family members.

The SHO of the Sector 39 police station, inspector Gulshan Kumar, said Narinder Chopra was found hanging by his elder brother at about midnight.

Narinder was alone in the room at that time as his wife had gone to sleep with her children on the first floor of the house.

As he was still breathing at that time, his family took him to a nearby private doctor who referred him to the Sector 16 Government Hospital. He was declared brought dead.

The police said Narinder would come late and was depressed due to financial losses. He is survived by his wife, mother and two children.



Three more SBoP branches soon
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 9
The State Bank of Patiala, Haryana region, will open three more branches in the town.

The branches are scheduled to start functioning before July 31.

The first two branches are scheduled to open in Sector 15 and Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 4.

The third one will open later in Sector 20.

According to AGM Haryana zone V.K. Gupta, the RBI had approved the opening of the branches.

Two more branches would also be opening in the state before July 31 at Tusham and Nishing.

According to the AGM, the software and hardware required for the branches had already been provided for and managers deputed.

Meanwhile, the bank will also shift its existing branch from Sector 7 to Sector 8 soon.



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