C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT plans Dharavi in city
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
The Dharavi model of slum rehabilitation in Mumbai seems to have fascinated the UT administration. It has decided to study the model for rehabilitating slum-dwellers in the city.

A team of officials of the Chandigarh Housing Board, comprising chairman Mohanjeet Singh, chief engineer S.K. Jain and executive engineer Sunil Kumar, is visiting Mumbai tomorrow to study the model.

“The aim of the tour is to remove loopholes in its current rehabilitation policy aimed at the rehabilitation of slum-dwellers through the construction of 20,000 tenements at different places, including Maloya, Dhanas, Manimajra, Ram Darbar, Darua, Sector 38 (West) and Sector 49, sources said today.

Prepared by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority of the Maharastra government, the Dharavi Slum Redevelopment Project, aimed at the rehabilitation of 71,000 families, has generated a lot of interest among planners and administrators.

Though the Dharavi and Chandigarh slum-rehabilitation projects differed in size and plan outlays, providing tenements to the underprivileged section of society is the motive behind the two projects, a senior official said.

The slum-rehabilitation policy of Chandigarh has come under a cloud with cases of sale-purchase of the dwelling units surfacing from Sector 52 recently. 

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Chak de hockey, you said?
No UT official to greet Asia Cup champs
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
None of the officials of the Chandigarh administration turned up to welcome heroes of the Asia Cup team -
Rajpal, Baljit and Jaswinder - on their arrival back home today. Disheartened at this, two-Rajpal and Baljit-are reportedly toying with the idea of shifting their base to Punjab.

The Chandigarh Hockey Association, however, organised a programme to felicitate them with cash awards.

“What to talk of receiving them, no official of the Chandigarh sports department bothered to congratulate them even on the phone. Perhaps, they think it is a small achievement,” remarked a former player at the function.

Ace forward Rajpal pointed out that whereas Punjab had announced Rs 1 crore to each player of the winning team in the Olympics, the Chandigarh administration had announced only Rs 1 lakh each.

Other national hockey players present at the function said they were “accustomed to this kind of treatment.” One of them recalled how the team had been meted out a shabby treatment after its victory in the Junior World Cup in 2004.

“We exhibited consistency and clicked as a team. This win cannot be taken as our ultimate goal. Our immediate next target is the Olympics qualifying matches in February,” said an indefatigable Rajpal. Baljit said it was team effort which had brought laurels.The European players have tremendous fitness, if we could match them in fitness, we can achieve anything,” he said. 

On “Chak De..”, Jaswinder said : “We have definitely transformed the reel win to real win.” Later, the players went to meet Chandigarh Hockey Academy coach Jasbir Bajwa at his home, who gifted a wristwatch to each of his “heroes” as a token of appreciation of their achievement. The young players were evidently touched by the gesture. 

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Mehra may be next UT adviser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,September 11
Pradeep Mehra, a 1975 batch UT-cadre officer, is tipped to be the new UT adviser. He is at present posted as chief secretary, Pondicherry.

Earlier, he had served as Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board from 1993 to 1995 before serving as adviser to the UT administrator from 1996 to 1997.

Talking to the Tribune over the phone, the officer said: “ I have only heard about it. But if given a chance, I will love to be on the assignment.”

Back home at his Sector 11 residence here, Dr P.L. Mehra and Kamla, parents of Mehra, seemed happy over the development. 

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Late reporting by blood banks bothers NACO
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service


Fact File

  • Overall reporting from blood banks to NACO - 67 per cent
  • Percentage of voluntary blood donation between 2006 and 2007 - 53
  • Highest voluntary blood donation is in charitable blood banks - 67 per cent
  • Percentage of donors being counselled at blood banks - 39
  • Highest HIV positivity rate among blood donors reported from Manipur - 0.8 per cent

Chandigarh, September 11
Few blood banks in the country are regular in reporting to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) the details of blood donation by gender, type of blood donation (voluntary or replacement) and sero-positivity (HIV positivity rate).

Between 2006 and 2007, the overall reporting from the blood banks in government, private and voluntary sector was 67 per cent, as per NACO records.

Whereas reporting from Arunachal Pradesh and Chandigarh was from all the registered blood banks, that from Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir was from less than 50 per cent of the registered blood banks.

“The reporting percentage in the year’s first quarter improved up to 73 per cent, followed by 71 per cent in the second, 65 per cent in the third and 67 per cent in the fourth. This mainly indicates late and partial reporting by most of the states,” observes a NACO document while admonishing blood banks to improve reporting.

To address these issues, NACO officials will also chair a two-day regional review meeting of 10 northern states on November 14 and 15 at Chandigarh.

Blood safety, blood bank standards and voluntary blood donation will be discussed.

The NACO document, meanwhile, stresses the need to improve voluntary blood donation, which was 53 per cent of the total between 2006 and 2007.

Data analysis further shows that the percentage of voluntary blood donation is the highest - 67 - in charitable blood banks, followed by 55 per cent in government and just 30 per cent in private blood banks. The analysis is of data reported by 1,607 blood banks.

State-wise positivity trends don’t look very heartening for Manipur, which reported a very high HIV positivity of 0.8 among blood donors in the year’s last quarter (January to March 2007).

The national HIV positivity is 0.3 per cent. Apart from Manipur, other states that reported sero positivity (among blood donors) higher than the national average are Nagaland (0.7 per cent), Mizoram (0.6), West Bengal (0.5), Chattisgarh (0.4 per cent), Uttarakhand, Pondicherry and Delhi (0.4 per cent positivity each).

Analysis of blood donation data by NACO also shows that in any given quarter, whereas positivity rates for HIV range between 0.2 and to 0.3 per cent, those for hepatitis B are much higher -- between 1.2 and 1.4 per cent.

Positivity rates for hepatitis C are also high and range from 0.4 to 0.5 per cent.

Data further indicates that only 6 per cent of the total blood donors in the country are females.

Of the total blood donors, only 39 per cent received counselling for HIV/AIDS - a figure NACO wants local blood banks to improve.

With this objective, NACO had recently even directed the blood banks to post counsellors in all blood banks.

Right now, only 64 per cent of the total blood banks have counselling facilities; only 20 per cent of the banks, however, have facilities for blood component separation. 

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W-Command to celebrate diamond jubilee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
To commemorate the diamond jubilee of the Western Command on September 15, a number of events are being organised at Chandimandir from September 12-15.

The celebrations will include a memorial service at the Command war memorial ‘Veer Smiriti’ followed by release of the first day cover and an Army Commander’s conclave.

A kathak performance by Nandita Puri, followed by a tattoo show, dare devil show by the motorcyclists of the Corps of Signals, band display, dog show, malkhamb, martial arts and a para jump by sky-divers will be held tomorrow.

Western Command was raised as the Delhi and East Punjab Command on September 15, 1947 in Delhi. It was re-christened Western Command in January 1948 and moved to Shimla in 1954.

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Counter-intelligence
DRDO develops manual 
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
To combat incidents of espionage, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a manual to guide armed forces and security services in their counter-intelligence tasks.

Called “Deceit Detection and Interrogation”, the manual has been developed by DRDO’s Delhi-based Defence Institute of Psychological Research in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

Though the contents of the manual are classified, it is aimed at increasing the awareness level of officers and supervising staff in counter-intelligence-related matters and helping in plugging possible loopholes. The manual also delves upon behavioural science in detecting unusual behaviour and helping in identify a possible mole.

Use of technology in counter-intelligence, personality assessment, interrogation techniques and strategies, scientific analysis of statements and other clues and handling of suspects are among the other contents of the manual.

During the last three years, 17 armed forces personnel were found to be involved in spying cases, according to information released by the ministry of defence (MoD) this week.

Out of these, six were in the last year alone. The MoD has revealed that 14 persons have already been awarded stringent punishment.

In the armed forces, the responsibility of counter-intelligence is primarily that of the intelligence branch of the respective service. The Intelligence Bureau (IB), functioning under the ministry of home affairs, is the prime agency for detection and neutralisation of foreign espionage networks and agents.

Pakistan’s ISI is the major perpetrator of espionage activities in India though agencies of some other countries are also known to be active.

In the past five years, the IB and state intelligence units have busted 99 espionage modules, leading to the arrest of about 200 agents, including foreign nationals.

To strengthen intelligence sharing among the central agencies and state establishments, Inter-State Intelligence Support Teams are being constituted.

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Bhakra canal closure
MC to maintain 8-hour supply
Tribune News Service

Contingency Plan

  • Ban to be imposed on watering of lawns and washing of vehicles during the period
  • Officials to work round the clock in eight-hour shifts at the temporary pumping station
  • Water tankers to be hired from the market to meet any eventuality arising out of the water shortage
  • Awareness on conserving water to be generated through advertisements in newspapers

Chandigarh, September 11
The Chandigarh municipal corporation today assured the Chandigarh administration of maintaining a daily eight-hour water supply in two shifts during the closure of Bhakra main line canal next month.

The assurance came at a meeting chaired by UT local government secretary Krishna Mohan to review the contingency plan arising out of closure of water supply from the canal. Officials of the BBMB were also present at the meeting.

A superintending engineer of the BBMB gave a revised schedule of the closure of the canal from October 10 to 24.

Punjab irrigation officers also informed that around five-foot-deep water would be available in the canal during the closure.

The home secretary was apprised of the contingency plan of making alternative arrangements for lifting water from the canal bed during its closure by way of transfer of electricity from the Kajauli waterworks to the canal bank by laying overhead transmission lines (2,000 feet), temporary setting up of power substation, and procurement, installation and commissioning of 30 submersible pump sets of two MGD capacity each at the bed of the canal at a cost of around Rs 61 lakh.

According to the BBMB authorities, the canal is being closed on the demand of the railway department for inspection of its bridges.

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2 Lake Club members catch voyeur, lose membership 
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
A peeping tom in the Lake Club! Sounds incredible! But this is what some members of the club who use its swimming pool allege. 

According to two members, Nihal Singh and J. Gill, some women members found an employee of the club peeping into the changing room for women on September 4. When confronted, the employee denied the allegation and allegedly misbehaved with the members who had levelled the allegation. A scuffle allegedly also took place between him and certain members. 

The employee, Raj Kumar, lodged a complaint with the police station, north, alleging that the members had beaten him up. 

The members also reported the issue to the club authorities as well as the police. However, the two parties reached a compromise on September 6 in the presence of the police. The written compromise said since Raj Kumar had apologised for his mistake, both parties had decided not to pursue legal action against each other. 

The matter would have ended with it. But the club management terminated the membership of Nihal Singh and Gill for violating the club rules and creating indiscipline, infuriating their sympathisers, who feel that instead of putting its house in order, the management had unnecessarily penalised the members who had unearthed an objectionable activity. 

The club is under the control of the sports department. Sports director Inderjit Singh Sandhu said the swimming pool was being maintained by a contractor hired by the engineering department. The controversial employee, a filter-plant operator, was hired by the contractor. The club had complained to the contractor who had now removed the employee. 

Sandhu said the police had also inquired into the incident. The apprehension of the members, that somebody could peep into the changing rooms through a ventilator was misplaced. He said the action was taken against two members because they had taken law in their hands. 

The members contend that if it is not possible to peep through the ventilator, why has the management now boarded it up. They say a woman attendant should be put on duty outside the changing room for the women.

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Nations can’t stay in ‘political seclusion’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Air Marshal (retd) R.S. Bedi delivered a lecture on ‘Strategic Shift in Global Security Environment’ at the Centre for Defence and National Security Studies.

Emphasising on the changing economy and military rise of various power blocks, he spoke of the emergence of a new cold war era.

In his presidential address, Prof Manjit Singh, director, Centre for Ambedkar Studies, brought out the concept of a global village where it is difficult for nations to stay in political seclusion.

A lecture by eminent journalist Radheshyam Sharma on ‘Hindi’s Current Standing: Its Status and Direction’ was organised by the department of Hindi to celebrate Hindi Day.

Speaking of the importance of Hindi, he said efforts must be made to promote Hindi and to inculcate a sense of pride in knowing the language only then Hindi Day will have any relevance.

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Motorcyclist hurt in mishap

Chandigarh, September 11
A motorcyclist was hospitalised after being knocked down by a car near Police Lines in Sector 26 this morning. The victim with severe head injuries was admitted to the PGI.

The victim has been identified as Raj Kumar (32) of Pipliwala town of Manimajra.

The police said the car driver had been identified as Urvashi, an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The police said no case was registered as it was inquiring into the matter. — TNS

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Civil Hospital upgradation
Bir Devinder writes to CM for better health care
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 11
Former Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh has urged the Punjab Chief Minister to upgrade the local Civil Hospital to 200-bed facility as it was the responsibility of the government to provide better health care services to the common man.

In a letter sent to Parkash Singh Badal, a copy of which was also sent to health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Bir Devinder Singh stated that he was pained to know from a news item, published in Chandigarh Tribune on September 6, that the hospital was not being upgraded because of low occupancy rate and lack of funds.

He said on the health front private players had set up hospitals like Fortis, Grecian Specialty Hospital and Silver Oaks Hospital and upcoming Cancer Institute but the highly expensive treatment in these hospitals was beyond the reach of the common man.

He further stated that another factor that tilted the scale in favour of upgrade of the hospital was to lessen the post-operative care load on the pattern of Panchkula to make room for serious patients for treatment at the PGI, Chandigarh.

The facilities at the Civil Hospital were to be upgraded to match for better patients care and for this project and architectural design requirements had been worked out.

All this was part of the long-term strategic perspective planning in view of fast growing urbanisation on the peripheral area of Chandigarh.

Companies like Dell, Emaar, Quark, Infosys and others felt attracted to make investments in Mohali and promised job opportunities to lakhs of Punjabi youth.

Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh had sanctioned a prestigious project, Institute of Science, Research and Education, worth Rs 500-cr for Mohali for which the foundation stone had already been laid. He envisioned developing Mohali as a “Knowledge City” for which it had all potentials.

He further said as such it was necessary to upgrade the hospital keeping in mind the interests of the common man and further expansion of Mohali.

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Police accused of hushing up case
Death of AC mechanic in Punjab Raj Bhavan
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11Accusing the police of hushing up the matter, AC plant blast victim Vikram Singh’s mother today alleged that the police forced them to sign “documents” before releasing the body.

Vikram succumbed to his injuries in the PGI last night. He was injured while repairing an air-conditioner plant at Punjab Raj Bhavan on September 5. He was 25 and is survived by his wife, a two-year-old son and a four-month-old daughter.

The victim’s mother Sunita told Chandigarh Tribune that taking advantage of their ignorance and situation, police officials told them that they would release the body only when they sign certain documents.

“As we were in no position to argue with them, the officials exploited the situation. I lost my son. He is survived by his wife and two minor children,” the hapless mother said.

She said Vikram was a small-time mechanic and did not know how to repair big AC plants. She demanded an inquiry into the incident.

“If it was an accident, we would accept it as our fate. But if it was due to negligence of somebody, he should be punished. We want justice,” she demanded.

Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC after terming the incident as an accident.

SHO of the Sector 3 police station Ram Gopal said the body was handed over to the family after post-mortem. The doctors had not given the report and it would be released tomorrow. He, however, said so far the police had not come across anything incriminating evidence.

In-charge of the Sukhna Lake police post Jaswinder Singh said they received information about the incident on September 5 at 7.55 pm. Doctors declared the victim unfit to record his statement. A police officer visited the hospital many a time to inquire, but the victim was unfit. He added that they received no complaint from the family.

Vikram’s employer Balwinder Singh said Vikram was working with him for the past three years. He was a trained mechanic.

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Office-bearers elected

Chandigarh, September 11
Vinod Sharma has been elected as president of the Government Teachers Union. The other office-bearers are: senior vice-president - Prakash Choudhary; vice-president - Ram Dev Shastri; general secretary - Nachattar Singh; secretary - Jiya Lal; joint secretary - Kuldeep Sharma; propaganda secretaries - Ram Krishan and Swaran Singh; press secretary - Jagmal; cashier - Shashi Kumar; and adviser - S. Pandey. Meanwhile, Dr Parmanand Arya, Amarjit Singh and Baljinder Singh have been appointed as advisers to the union. — TNS

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Hold advisory panel meeting: Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Former Chandigarh MP Satya Pal Jain has demanded the immediate holding of meeting of the home minister’s advisory committee to discuss certain issues concerning the city.

Addressing mediapersons here yesterday, Jain regretted that during the past three years neither the meeting had been held nor the union home minister visited the city to hold talks with peoples’ representatives and eminent citizens.

Amendments to building byelaws, pollution, forcible acquisition of farmers’ land, slum rehabilitation and law and order were important pending issues which needed to be addressed by the committee, he said.

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City parks impress Bihar MLAs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
A five-member team of the Bihar Legislative Council along with the chairman of the urban development committee of the council, Sanjay Singh, visited the city yesterday.

A spokesman for the corporation said the delegation was on its study tour to know about the working of engineering projects and the sanitation system.

Briefing about the sanitation system, the mayor said recently AC Nileson ORG, an independent survey agency, had conducted the survey of 18 big cities of India in respect of the sanitation status in these cities and Chandigarh was declared the cleanest city in India.

Sanjay Singh gave a brief about the functioning of the Patna Municipal Corporation. They appreciated the well managed sanitation system in the city and greenery in parks and roadsides.

Yadunandan Parsad, Ramanand Jha and Bishwajit Kumar Sinha were among the delegation.

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Kabari market sans toilets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
For the past 27 years, the administration has failed to provide public toilets in the kabari market having 52 shops in Industrial Area, Phase I.

The municipal corporation has failed to construct the toilets despite an estimate of Rs 5.63 lakh was approved in 2001.

Irritated over the indifferent attitude of the corporation, shopkeepers have served a legal notice to the commissioner, municipal corporation; the Deputy Commissioner; area councillor Rak Kumari Mishra; and MP Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Ram Chander Garg, Ram Niwas Goyal, Jai Bhagwan and Ram Karan Bansal, all shopkeepers, have lamented that the market was developed in 1977. A toilet block was made but it was not made operational.

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BJYM plans to enroll more members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Amit Thakar, president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), today said the country was heading for a mid-term poll.

Addressing a press conference, Thakar said the BJYM had planned to enroll 50 lakh volunteers with an eye on the elections, which he claimed would take place in 2008. Almost 10 per cent of the new members would be women, he asserted.

The BJYM chief said the annual session of the morcha at Jaipur from September 28 would commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Prominent among those present were former MP Satya Pal Jain and president of the local unit of the BJYM Davesh Moudgil.

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Letters
Bring transparency in admn

It is seen that many times the UT administration blocks the proposals of the MC councillors.

Although the councillors are the elected representatives, they are given positions in the MC without powers.

The UT administrators/officials have wide powers but they are not answerable to the people. More often than not, they don’t even listen to the elected representatives nor do they talk to the residents.

Time and again a demand has been made to introduce UT cadre officials. This way we will simply hand over power from one cadre to another. We have to work out such a system where officials become answerable to the elected representatives and the administrator becomes a representative.

There is no transparency in the administration. A referendum of the residents of Chandigarh should be arranged to decide whether they need these self-styled controllers or elected representatives to look into their problems.

R.K. Garg 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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Man held on rape charge

Chandigarh, September 11
The police today arrested Zulfikar Ali, a Sector 17 tailor, on charges of raping a 21-year-old girl of Ghaziabad.

Zulfikar, originally a resident of Bijnore, allegedly wooed the girl and brought her to Chandigarh on September 5 on the pretext of marrying her. They stayed in a hotel in Sector 17 before the accused expressed his inability to marry her. — TNS

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Ex-serviceman commits suicide

Chandigarh, September 11
A 60-year-old man hanged himself to death at his residence in Bhelana village today. He was suffering from depression, the police said.

The SHO of the Sector 31 police station, Har Sahai Sharma, said Sikal Kumar, an ex-serviceman, was found hanging by his wife in the afternoon. The police said Sikal was upset as his son was not keeping well. — TNS

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