C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cold comfort for colony fire victims
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Yesterday’s fire reduced their homes to ashes and brought their lives to a halt. Residents of Colony No. 5 had to spend Saturday night in the cold with fire from the wood they had gathered as their sole comfort.

Any hope for relief was quashed today-they did not receive the promised aid. Their was neither food, not tents from the district administration. Though UT officials were quick to come and tour the area after the fire incident, none had bothered to ensure the victims had received aid today.

“We had to spend the night in the cold,” complained Shashi Ram, a labourer. Around 250 dwellers have been affected by the fire. By late this evening, only 10 polythene tents had been erected for the victims. These too had been provided by the BSP, said the residents. A few good Samaritans had sent warm clothings.

Local area councillor Ram Sumer Morya was busy overlooking the relief work. Talking to TNS, he alleged that no help had come in as promised by the administration. “ BSP workers are providing meals and arranging for tents and other material.”

“Once the rehabilitation work is over, we will ask the residents to exercise greater caution and to ensure enough space between dwellings,” he said.

An aged Kamlesh and his wife are still in a state of shock. Without a roof over their heads, Kamlesh, a rickshaw puller, says he may never be able to save enough money for a new dwelling.

With life in the dark, the residents have to make do with charity-a borrowed cot, a donated blanket or free meals.

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A Tribune Special
Lives being maimed by accidents, lifestyle
Day For The Disabled: 22 m Indians suffer impairment
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Fifty per cent of people with disabilities in the country suffer from loco motor disability and lifestyle disorders, said Dr Sanjay Wadhwa, head, physical and rehabilitation medicine, PGI on the eve of International Day for the Disabled here today.

He said forcing people to follow traffic rules as well as a healthy lifestyle could help prevent the problem to a large extent.

Though polio figured as the main reason for disability in India, according to the 2001 census, with the decline in the number of new cases in recent years, accidents and unhealthy lifestyle were emerging as the main factors for the same.

Dr Wadhwa said according to the 2001 census, the total number of the disabled in India was about 22 million (21,906,769), which constituted more than 2 per cent of total population.

“However, according to various experts and organisations, about five per cent of the country's population (more than 50 million) may be affected by one or the other kind of disability. Even the Planning Commission uses the figure of 4 per cent of the population for budgetary provisions for the disabled ,” he said.

Making people wear helmets and enforcing traffic rules could drastically reduce motor accidents resulting in the reduction of physical disability, said the doctor. Moreover, timely and proper treatment to the victims was a must.

Lifestyle disorders were another matter for concern in the medical field as these led to obesity, diabetes, stress and high blood pressure.

Patients of diabetes could suffer from gangrene, blindness, renal failure and heart problems, he said.

Other causes of disabilities in India include communicable diseases, serious illnesses during childhood, pregnancy-related complications, polio, ear discharge and cataract.

Many of these were related to poverty: poorer the person, higher the chances as well as severity of disability.

This was coupled with limited access to rehabilitation services. Disability also reduced the earning capacity and increased expenditure on healthcare and rehabilitation, said Dr Wadhwa.

As the theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 2007, is ‘Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities’ , efforts in this direction could be a major step towards reducing the severity of the problem, added Dr Wadhwa.

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MC councillors want elections put off to January 11
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Cutting across party lines, MC councillors today sent a representation to the Governor, requesting him to intervene and allow the mayor, senior mayor and the deputy mayor to complete one year in office and re-schedule elections from January 1, as notified by the DC, to January 11.

The letter mentions the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976, as extended to the UT, which says: “The corporation shall, at its first meeting each year, elects one of its elected members to be the chairperson to be known as mayor and other as senior mayor and deputy mayor of the corporation.

“Provided that during the duration of the corporation, the office of the mayor shall be reserved in favour of a member who is a women for the first and the fourth year of the corporation and in favour of a member belonging to a SC in the third year.”

The councillors have argued that since the inception of the corporation, the elections for the three posts have been held on completion of the term.

The councillors have mentioned that the mayoral elections were held on January11 this year, whereas the new date has been notified for January 1, 2008, which was in contravention of clause 38 of the Punjab MC Act.

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Big show by Little Champ at ICL carnival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
It was yet another day of two matches at Tau Devi Lal cricket stadium here, and of entertainment, though not loaded. Present at the stadium for shows was the winner of Zee-TVS Little Champs song competition, Sameer Muhammad.

The otherwise-confident champion had a hard time getting the audiences to rock to his tunes. He laboured hard to get cricket lovers put their hands together for him.

“Chak de phatte”, that’s how Sameer began his show this evening, which saw greater turnout than the afternoon. Outnumbering others in the stadium were Bengalis, here to watch Kolkata Tigers play against Chandigarh Lions.

Sameer seemed to struggle pronouncing the word “phatte” , leaving many among the audiences muttering: “He does not have to speak Punjabi if he does not know how to speak it.”

Manish Kumar, a student, said: “The entertainment component today was poor. People don’t want to see children performing on a cricket ground. For serious cricket lovers, you need serious entertainers who can pull crowds.”

Several people voiced this view, hoping that entertainment would not not get the better of cricket. Seema, a housewife, said: “This game has enough potential to attract people’s attention anyway. There is no need to bring in stars, especially young ones, who are yet to gain ground.”

But oblivious of the mutterings in the crowd, Sameer Muhammad ,went on. He gave four presentations, matching Yana Gupta. Sameer said he looked forward to many live shows and would love to sing for films. Punjabi singer Shankar Sawhney also did his bit on stage today, singing his only hit “Kudi kurmuri”.

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Pak exhibitor in Customs trouble

Chandigarh, December 2
A Pakistani exhibitor, taking part in a trade expo here for the first time, found himself in trouble with the Customs authorities confiscating his goods at the Wagah border for bringing them into the Indian territory for commercial purposes and imposing a penalty of Rs 24,000 on him.

The exhibitor blamed Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries, which has
invited participants at Itex-07 being organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce,
for not informing him about the customs duty to be imposed on the goods at
the border. — PTI

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Emergency was biggest blow to democracy: Dua
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
“People have to be central to democracy. The nine per cent economic growth of the country is blinding us to the reality of the India, which is not shining,” said H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of newspapers, today.

Dua was speaking at a seminar on “Legacy of Nehru: The making of India” held at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here.

Stating that the ‘trickle-down effect’ would take years to reach the common man, Dua pointed out that mere economic growth could not lend stability to a nation like India.

“Even 60 years after Independence more than 30 crore of India’s population lives below the poverty line. Such people are not central to the thinking of those governing them,” he said.

Voicing concern over the criminalisation of politics , Dua said 10 per cent of the MPs had a criminal background.

“There was a time when Parliament had tall figures representing the common man. MPs would read, research and debate. Government policies could be changed with the word of one man. Now politicians have no impact on policy making,” he said.

“We are expecting solutions from those who are the cause of the problem,” said Dua. “You have to decide not to vote for a criminal. Some one will have to pay the price but a change can be bought in”.

Highlighting Nehru’s idea of a nation, Dua said Nehru wanted India to be a secular, modern nation with strong institutions.

“Despite the problems that India faced during Independence, he took it all. The idea of non-alignment was an expression of self respect by a nation emerging out of years of freedom struggle. He made equality fundamental to every individual. He made sure that birth should not decide the fate of a person in new India,” said Dua.

Dilating on how the country had fared since Nehru, Dua said, “The biggest blow to democracy was the declaration of Emergency. The Babri Masjid demolition, the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the Gujarat riots are also examples of were all instances which eroded the sanctity of the institutions which Nehru set out to built.” he said.

Dua lamented the bureaucracy had become indifferent to the common man. “It is neither neutral nor accountable to the people. Questions are being raised about the judiciary’s independence. Almost every institution has been captured by vested interests,” he said.

Laying emphasis on the need for governments to focus on education, health and employment, Dua said the fact that 165 districts had gone to the Naxalites was a cause for concern.

Earlier, Governor of Haryana Dr A R Kidwai had traced Jawaharlal Nehru’s contribution to science and education. He said Nehru created a network of IITs and IIMs, medical education institutions and several other science and education institutions. “Nehru took higher education out of the purview of the government by creating a University Grants Commission, he said.

Ashok Parthasarthy, science adviser to Indira Gandhi, critically examined Nehru’s contribution to the development of science and technology institutions during his time. Salman Haider, former foreign secretary, who is now the programme adviser to CRRID, summed up the proceedings.

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Creating awareness to save Sukhna
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
To create public awareness on the deterioration of Sukhna Lake, a former chief engineer, irrigation, Haryana, has developed a unique method to highlight the issue.

He has prepared an ‘action plan’ to save the lake from the ‘certain death’. The brochures, printed at his own expense, about the plan will be distributed among government officials and the common man.

“My aim is to help the officials understand the role of lake in sustainability of environment and its support to biodiversity,” says S.P. Malhotra.

The rain-fed lake was created in 1958 by harnessing three choes. Over the years, the depth of the lake has shrunk to 1.8 m from 8 m due to siltation.

He says there is no need to implement the Rs 50-crore desilting scheme right now, as the inflow of water into the lake has reduced over the years. Moreover, the scheme is not only time and money consuming but also water consuming.

“There is no guarantee that the scheme will not be abandoned midway for want of water,” he claims.

The forest cover and the check dams in the catchment area, which withhold a lot of water, are responsible for reduction in the inflow to the lake.

He says the lake is gasping for water. Its water level reached an alarming low this year (EI 1157).

“The lake will never fill to its top level i.e. EI 1163, the flood level, in the years to come due to our blunders. The soil conservation and afforestation schemes in the catchment are water consuming. At the time of implementation of the schemes, no upper limit for the water consumption for the forest cover and the check dams was fixed. These are consuming so much of water that the balance left is not enough to fill the lake up to the maximum level,” believes Malhotra.

He says silt heaps on its bed are a boon and not the problem. “The present scattered silt heaps lead to the formation of pockets in which the depth of water is high than it would have been without these. This was amply proved between September 2005 and July 2007 when the boating activity remained in progress despite the failure of the monsoon in 2006,” he claims.

Moreover, if the administration adopts the desilting scheme then the size of the land required for storing the excavated silt will be twice that of the lake.

In order to check further accumulation of the silt, he suggests the administration should construct sedimentation channel near the regulator end.

The channel would hold water for some days and allow the silt to settle down on the bed. Once the silt settles down, the water should be allowed to enter the lake.

After the monsoon, the sedimentation channel should be cleared of silt. For constructing the channel, the administration needs just Rs 1 crore.

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Fighting AIDS
World Bank seeks innovative ideas
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
To step up the fight against the ever increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS, the World Bank (WB) supported by the United Nations (UN) and private sector partners has launched an initiative aimed at identifying and funding innovative approaches to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS in India and other parts of the South Asia region.

According to new findings, north Indian States like Punjab and Haryana have become high incidence states and have reported more cases of HIV/AIDS than expected.

Stigma is now reported to be a big obstacle in the fight against HIV/AIDS, specially in north India . The World Bank initiative titled “Tackling HIV and AIDS Stigma and Discrimination: From Insights to Action”, aims at reaching out to communities across India and other parts of South Asia seeking proposals for local, small-scale projects with the potential to be scaled up and replicated in other places.

Since stigma and discrimination seriously undermines efforts to fight HIV and AIDS in South Asia, World Bank Vice-President Praful Patel has asked individuals and groups to come out and help in throwing up ideas that can be used to boost the fight against HIV /AIDS. An international jury of the World Bank and independent HIV and AIDS experts will select the winners of the initiative at an event on May 15, 2008, in Mumbai.

This competition offers a unique opportunity to channel small grants directly to community organisations and NGOs to implement imaginative approaches that will help change the attitudes and practices that undermine effective programs.

In South Asia, anecdotal evidence and research are demonstrating the extent of the role of stigma in hampering prevention, treatment and care of HIV and AIDS. A recent study in India has found that 34 per cent of students, faculty and technical staff of the public health services are unwilling to associate with people living with HIV and AIDS.

"Many of the people most at risk for HIV around the world deal with stigma on a regular basis, posing challenges to achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support," UNAID Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot has said.

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Free lab services for HIV positive
Tribune News Service

Staff members of Fortis Hospital, Mohali, while presenting a nukkad natak, create awareness about HIV/AIDS at Chandigarh on Saturday.
Staff members of Fortis Hospital, Mohali, while presenting a nukkad natak, create awareness
about HIV/AIDS at Chandigarh on Saturday.
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 2
Exhibition on HIV/AIDS awareness, a counter for HIV testing, and a play on the subject were some of the highlights of the events held to observe World AIDS Day yesterday.

The event was put together by the Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society (SACS) which collaborated with the Indian Red Cross Society to hold a state-level function at Community Care Center, Khuda Ali Sher, where HIV positive persons get temporary shelter when they are on antiretroviral therapy at the PGI.

President, Indian Council of Child Welfare, Jean Rodrigues, was the chief guest and inaugurated free lab services at the centre, besides distributing blankets among the People Living with HIV.

SACS organised other activities in different parts of the city. A group of child artistes from Sirmour performed at the event and talked HIV awareness. An exhibition depicting activities of SACS was put up at Community Care Center in collaboration with the ministry of information and broadcasting.

More programmes will be organised in villages and colonies of Chandigarh to spread the message. NGOs implementing targeted intervention projects to prevent HIV/AIDS will also put up kiosks for HIV testing in their project areas.

Fortis does its bit

Twenty employees of Fortis, Mohali, presented a street play and qawwali covering all aspects of HIV/AIDS at the hospital and important places in the city, including Sector 17 and Sukhna Lake. Lyrics and composition of Qawwali were written by Vinesh Sharma, nursing educator with Fortis.

They highlighted the symptoms, modes of transmission and prevention of HIV. The performing team included Jatinder, Arvind, Navneet, Sonia, Kuldeep, Amandeep, Kiranjeet, among others. Dr Ashok Chordiya, medical director, Fortis said, “We have an extensive HIV/AIDS awareness programme, which includes educating the society about the pandemic. Immediate prevention of AIDS by awareness measures presents an opportunity to save lives now and in future.” Fortis’ HIV/AIDS awareness programme started in June, 2006.

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For Research
Man pledges body to PGI
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
From selling liquor to reading the ancient Indian religious texts, life has come a full circle for Satyapal Choujar, a leading wine trader of Chandigarh and Punjab.

But for him, the true self-realisation came on November 19 when he drove to the PGI’s department of anatomy and pledged to donate his body for the cause of medicine.

Accompanied by his younger brother, Subash and one of his sons, Manjeet, who stood as his witnesses to the donation, he pledged his body to mark his 71st birthday. “I want to convey the message that whatever we teach, we must practice it in life. The research institutes are always short of bodies. By this donation, even after one is dead, one’s body is used for education,” he said.

On being asked about the cause of motivation, he said few days back he was reading about a sage who had contributed his bones to make a bow and arrows to kill a demon. “I immediately decided to donate my body and my extraordinary will power stood by me in this bold decision of my life”, said a former president of the Chandigarh Wine Traders Association.

A founder member of “Pratibimb”, an NGO, also holds a regular “quiz on Indian mythology” in schools. Questions on Indian mythology and ancient religious texts are asked. Those who stand first, second and third are rewarded. The NGO is exclusively a family organisation run within the limited resources.

As per the instructions of the doctors, Satyapal has instructed his family members that after his death, his mortal remains were given to the PGI. The anatomy department has issued him a card after the donation.

Doctors say that mere pledging was not enough. The relatives of the person who has pledged his or her body for the cause has to be responsible enough to leave the body at the hospital.

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Ramlila a draw in USA
Tribune News Service

Members of Theatre Arts are a happy lot over the recent success of their Ramlila shows in the US.
Members of Theatre Arts are a happy lot over the recent success of their Ramlila shows in the US. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, December 2
They are back from North America after doing 11 shows of Ramlila and they already have their hands full. For city-based director Rajiv Mehta and his team of 12, the experience was exhilarating.

“We presented our shows across California and Dallas. At Dallas, where we concluded our one-and-a-half-month-long tour, we had 60,000 viewers. It was like performing to the world,” said Mehta today during a press interaction.

Thematically speaking, the show was not new, but Mehta managed to spice it up in many different ways. One, he got music maker Tarsem Walia to set ‘chopais’ from the Ramayana to music; two, he got Pammy Hanspal, 14-year-old Arti Gill and Chanranjit Channi to sing the chopais and offer a truly mystical experience to the audiences. If that was less, the group also dubbed dialogues here in Chandigarh to save time and add professionalism to the show, which had only 12 actors for 54 roles.

“We had to immediately change the costume and get going. There was no time to think. But the performances came out real good and our sound and light show was a success,” said Jagan Choudhary, who played five roles - Kewat, a king during Sita Swayamvar, a guard in Ravana’s court and a physician, who cured Laxmana when he fainted.

Veteran actor of Punjabi films and teleserials B.N. Sharma, who was seen in the role of Ravana, said he wanted to work in a mythological production for the sheer love of religion. “I believe in God and it was my way of paying back for his blessings,” said Sharma, who is attached to the Punjab DGP.

Most of the actors in Ramleela, put together by the Mehta’s Theatre Arts and promoted by US-based radio professional Dilbag Bangar, are government employees. “For us, it was a unique chance to reach out to our own people settled abroad. Striking it was to see the level of devotion of the NRIs. They welcomed us with open arms,” said Mehta, accompanied by the entire crew, including Bhavna, who played many roles apart from Sita.

They are already receiving offers for more presentations abroad. As for this invitation, it came through Dilbag Bangar for whom Mehta had earlier staged ‘Singh Surme’, a show on Sikhism earlier.

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Listening to cellphone song costs man his life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Arun Kumar, a resident of Hallomajra village, was crushed to death under a train while crossing an elevated track near Colony Number 4, here this afternoon.

He was reportedly listening to music on his mobile and failed to notice the noise of an approaching train. He was in his early twenties.

According to the government railway police, the incident took place at around 3 pm. The train severely crushed the victim, who suffered serious head injuries leading to his death on the spot.

His arms and both legs were broken in the mishap. The victim’s cousin Ram Sevek, who came to the track to see the accident scene, identified him. The police found a small telephone diary from the victim’s pockets.

The body was shifted to the Sector 6 General Hospital, Panchkula, for post-mortem. The police has informed the victim’s parents in their native village in Uttar Pradesh about the mishap.

Arun was unmarried and was living with his cousin. He was an unskilled worker. Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal procedure Code in this connection.

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Insurance firm penalised Rs 88,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
The District Consumer Courts Redressal Forum has directed Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company to pay Rs 88,000 in compensation for not giving the claim of a Sector 46 resident.

The petitioner, Akhil Bhanot, stated that he had purchased an insurance policy from the company from February 14, 2005 to March 3, 2006.

He was assured by the company to get free treatment from their approved hospitals to whom they were to pay directly.

Bhanot stated that he slipped in the bathroom and suffered injuries in the back. He got himself admitted to Silver Oaks Hospital.

Bhanot was advised to get a surgery done by the doctor concerned. He averred that after the surgery he was discharged from the hospital on March 12, 2005 with a bill of Rs 78,000.

The bill was forwarded to the insurance company by the hospital authorities. The company employees advised the petitioner to pay the amount and send the receipt to the company for reimbursement.

In reply, the company stated that in one of the medical reports of the petitioner it was noticed by them that he suffered from back problem prior to the inception of the insurance policy. Therefore, the claim was repudiated by the company.

The forum stated: “There is no evidence that the complainant was suffering from any disease earlier and therefore the complaint is accepted.”

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Bus rams into tree; 6 injured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Six persons, including a CTU bus driver, suffered minor injuries after the bus rammed into a tree in Manimajra after its steering wheel got jammed suddenly.

According to witnesses, the incident took place at around 4 pm when the bus was coming from Modern Housing Complex and was on its way to Kalagram.

The engine of the bus suddenly stopped rendering its steering wheel non-functional. Subsequently, the driver lost control over the bus, which rammed into a tree.

As the speed of the vehicle was slow, not much damage was caused. The windscreen of the bus was smashed and a woman, Niramala of Dhanas and a minor girl suffered minor injuries due to a sudden jolt.

Besides this, three other passengers sustained minor injuries. They were rushed to the Sector 16 hospital from where they were discharged after first-aid.

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Sec-30 woman’s murder case
Clueless, cops shut files after 15 months
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Just after 15 months, a Sector-30 resident Santosh Kumari was found brutally murdered at her residence on October 26, 1998, the police shut down investigation of the blind murder case even as her husband alleged that it was a handiwork of some insiders.

The police records cited lack of clues and evidences as the reason for the sensational murder case went as untraced. This despite the fact that the murder was committed inside the house and empty tea cups supposedly used by the killer(s) were found from the crime scene. Much to the relief of the police local court had granted permission to close the case.

The murder was detected in the evening when the victim’s husband Pritam Singh, a security guard at the Reserve Bank of India, returned home. He found Santosh Kumari’s blood splattered body lying on the floor.

The body bore several injury marks on the head and neck. A piece of the iron handle, which was probably used to kill the victim, was struck in victim’s head. The doctors removed it later and during the post-mortem, eight injuries were found on the body.

The police found two tea cups and snacks in the house indicating that the women had served tea to some visitor(s). The police suspected that there was more than one visitor. The police doubted that the visitors might have tried to force themselves on the woman and then murdered her fearing a case of rape.

The police called Central Forensic Science Laboratory experts to examine and took vaginal swabs of the victim to ascertain whether she was raped before murder.

Santosh Kumari was the second wife of Pritam Singh, who told the police then that his first wife had died about 11 years ago. He had a son from his first wife, who lived with his mother in his native village in Himachal Pradesh. Pritam Singh had a six-year-old daughter from Santosh Kumari.

Pritam Singh alleged that the murder was committed by some acquaintance of his or his wife.

Santosh Kumari used to go to school along with her neighbour to fetch her daughter. That day she did not go with the women. The woman told the police that she went to Santosh Kumari's place only to find it locked.

The police registered a case of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The police record revealed that the case was sent untraced on January 25, 2000.

The case was sent to the court for being filed and the court had granted permission to close the case on November 5, 2003.

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Lavatories to come up near DC’s office?
Two more underground parking lots get the nod
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Public toilets will be constructed in the pedestrian area behind the deputy commissioner’s office in Sector 17 here.

The office of the chief architect has been asked to finalise the design of the multi-utility block to come up in the area.

Officials in the administration said people visiting banks and other public offices in the area had been facing a lot of inconvenience due to the absence of basic amenities like water and public toilets there.

Similar was the case of those visiting the typists’ area behind the DC’s office.

The issue was discussed at a recent meeting of senior officers and it was decided to the create the facilities.

The area between the general post office, Sector 17, and the deputy commissioner’s complex was also in a state of neglect.

People had illegally started using the pedestrian area for parking vehicles.

“Since the administration has decided not to construct the 11-storied building adjacent to the GPO, the open area should be landscaped and temporary parking should be created to accommodate parking of vehicles in front of the bank square and deputy commissioner’s office”, observed a visitor to the area.

While the municipal corporation has beautified the area around the central plaza, it has failed to develop the area between the GPO and the deputy commissioner’s office.

Meanwhile, the UT engineering department has been asked to open two underground parking lots adjacent to the office of the deputy commissioner-cum-estate office in Sector 17 here.

These parking lots need minor repairs before these are made operational. A few months ago, the UT administrator had visited the area to assess the situation.

The two parking lots, one for four-wheelers below the office of the SDO (building) and the other for two-wheelers, will now be used for parking of vehicles belonging to employees of the Chandigarh administration. At least 200 vehicles will be accommodated in the two parking areas.

These parking lots had been used either for dumping of election material or had been lying unused for the past many years. At times, the access to the DC’s office was blocked by haphazard parking of vehicles on both sides of the road.

A portion of the two-wheeler parking houses a generator set and a rest room, while the other half is being used as a store. The entry to both parking lots has been locked.

Officials will be asked to park their vehicles in the underground parking. It has also been decided to level a vacant plot along a corridor, connecting the town hall building and town hall extension building, and use it for parking.

Once the underground parking becomes functional, a parking lot currently being used for two-wheelers will be used for parking of four-wheelers. Creating more space in paid parking lots is also being contemplated.

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City sanjha morha to join BKU rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Members of the Chandigarh Sanjha Morcha, a group protesting against the acquisition of land in the UT, today announced to participate in a rally being organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) at Moga on December 4.

Spokesperson of the morcha Jyotii Subramanian said the organisation had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and all MPs regarding the R and R policy 2007. A copy of the representation had been sent to the AICC president Sonia Gandhi and local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal.

They have urged the PM that the land pooling and self-development models should be the first option of the administration. The morcha has demanded that there is a need for a regulatory authority to decide if big projects are required for the city.

Brig K.S. Kahlon, an office-bearer of the morcha, said the administration should now consider the clause in the policy.

There was immense difference in the registrar's rates and the rate at which land has been auctioned in the city which is the real value of the land.

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BSF’s raising day observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Border Security Force’s 43rd raising day was observed by the headquarters of Additional Director General (West) on the BSF campus at Lakhnaur, near Mohali, yesterday.

A blood donation camp was also organised in association with Government Hospital, Mohali, and Red Cross Society, Chandigarh, to mark the occasion.

As many as 175 BSF personnel donated blood at the camp, which was inaugurated by G.S. Gill, Additional Director General (West).

The BSF was raised on December 1, 1965 with the initiative of the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashri, and home minister Guljari Lal Nanda and founded by IPS officer K.F. Rustamji.

The force was raised to manage the international border of India and to support the Army at the time of war.

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Adequate supplies stabilise veggies prices
Tribune News Service

Price list (per kg)
Onion Rs 15
Capsicum Rs 20
Carrot Rs 12
Peas Rs 20
Cauliflower Rs 5

Chandigarh, December 2
With adequate supplies coming to the markets from the region, prices of vegetables have stabilised over the past fortnight.

A survey conducted here today showed that the prices of most vegetables have remained almost unchanged. Onion, whose prices had shot up recently, are now available at Rs 15 to 20 per kg.

While the prices of potato and radish vary between Rs 10 and 12 per kg depending upon the quality, the prices of peas have marginally come down to Rs 20 per kg. As the market is flooded with cauliflower, its price has dropped to Rs 5 per kg. Carrot was being sold from Rs 12 to 15 a kg while capsicum was quoted at Rs 20 per kg.

Market watchers said the prices were reasonable despite the fact that the demand had shot up in the wake of the ongoing marriage season on account of adequate supplies.

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Prabhjeet, Kamaljeet best at tying turban
Tribune News Service

Participants during a turban-tying contest that was held at the Sector 22-D gurdwara in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Participants during a turban-tying contest that was held at the Sector 22-D gurdwara in Chandigarh on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 2
To encourage turban tying among the Sikh youth, a turban tying contest was organised by the Chandigarh Gurdwara Asthapan Committee, Sector 22, and Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Diagnostic Centre at the Sector 22-D Gurdwara here today.

Paramdeep Singh Bhabat, vice-president of the committee, said as many as 125 boys and girls participated in the turban tying contest.

Results: Under-16 years of age: 1 Prabhpreet Singh, 2 Bir Devinder Singh and 3 Gurleen Kaur. Winners were given a cash prize of Rs 1500, Rs 1000 and Rs 500, respectively.

Age group of 17 to 25 years: 1 Kamaljeet, 2 Amarjeet and 3 Prithvijeet Kaur. The winners were given a cash prize of Rs 5,000, Rs 2,500 and Rs 1,000, respectively.

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Letters
Popularise cycling

Traffic chaos on city roads has become a common sight. The roads can’t be widened any more. The other transport means being contemplated by the Chandigarh administration are either too expensive or time consuming.

The administration should give incentives to its employees for using cycles. The parents and teachers should encourage children to use cycles. The banks should give cycle allowance to its employees. Other vehicles should be used only for transporting critical patients.

The administration should come up with innovative ideas to make cycling a passion with the Chandigarhians. Let the city roads be full of trendy cycles and slim figures.

Balraj Katial, Panchkula

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Fraud victims allege police inaction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Several persons from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula alleged police inaction on their complaint lodged against a Sector 32 resident, who duped them of lakhs of rupees.

The victims alleged that the accused had given them post-dated cheques, which were dishonoured by the banks.

They further alleged that despite the fact that they had lodged several complaints with the police, including to the SSP, no action had been taken so far. The police had only recorded a daily diary report (DDR) on their complaint on November 14.

Instead of proceeding against the accused, who had gone underground of late after closing his office in Sector 32, the police was harassing the complainants by calling them to the police station at odd hours, they alleged.

“The matter is under investigation” was the reply from the officials whenever they were approached, rued the victims.

Addressing mediapersons, Pankaj Mohan of Satyesh Enterprises, Sector 8, Panchkula, alleged that he had given medicines worth Rs 6.50 lakh to Sanjay Bansal, a Sector 32 wholesale medicine dealer. The accused gave his post-dated cheques, but the cheques were dishonoured.

Similarly, Jaswinder Kaur of Sector 32 alleged that she had given Rs 1.25 lakh to him to purchase an old car. The latter did not deliver the car after taking the earnest money and had gone underground.

Paranveer of Kings Paradise, Sector 8, Panchkula, alleged that he was also defrauded of Rs 6.50 lakh and there were several others persons who were duped in similar fashion. The accused had also been running a chit-fund company and had embezzled several lakhs of rupees of the depositors.

Meanwhile, the additional SHO of the Sector 34 police station said the police had received a complaint from the victims. He, however, maintained that in the complaint the victims had mentioned the amount to the tune of Rs 8-9 lakh, but they were alleging that they were defrauded of over Rs 25 lakh.

As the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh police deals with cases involving amount over Rs 2 lakh the complaint had been referred to the EOW. He added that they had prepared a DDR and sent the matter for further action.

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2 nabbed for consuming smack
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
The police has arrested two persons for allegedly consuming smack at a public place.

According to the police, Jagdeep Singh of Sector 8 and Montu of the PGI were arrested on the PGI campus on Saturday night on the charges of consuming smack at a public place. A case under Section 27 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered in this connection.

Laptop stolen

Sachin Dayal of Sector 41-A reported to the police, alleging that his laptop was stolen from his car, which was parked in the Sector 22 market on Saturday. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

Theft

Pawan Kumar Gupta of Sector 34-D lodged a complaint with the police alleging that a gas cylinder with regulator and a pressure cooker were stolen from his residence on Saturday. A case of theft has been registered in this connection.

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Trade Expo pulls huge crowds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
The PHD International Trade Expo-2007 was inaugurated yesterday at Parade Ground, Sector 17, by Sanjay Bhatia, president of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The ceremony was attended by several Indian and international dignitaries, including Shahid Hasan Sheikh, president, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Bhupinder Singh Hooda also visited the expo. Three awards - Best Display, Highest Footfall, and Best International Stall - were also announced for the exhibitors.

The second day of the expo today saw a heavy rush. The exhibitors, however, had a mixed response.

Salman Butt from Surica Exports said, “This is my first visit to Chandigarh, there is a difference in atmosphere. But the city is beautiful and less polluted. In Delhi, we face more problems.”

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CSR programmes crucial for rapid growth, says expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
For Indian industry to achieve rapid growth, corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes are critical.

Only these will ensure that the country has a well-educated, healthy workforce and an environment that helps in boosting morale and productivity of employees.

This was stated by Deep Kapuria, chairman of CII, northern region. Kapuria was talking about the consensus that was reached at the end of the one-day CSR best practices meet organised by the CII here yesterday.

Earlier, during a session on ‘Empowering through education’, Sudha Gupta, chairperson, Mothers Pride, Sushil Kumar Srivastava, DGM, North Delhi Power Limited, Sonia Channi, principal, Sikhya, and Vishal Bhardwaj, regional programme co-ordinator, Ambuja Cement Foundation, had a lively discussion with the audience as they presented the CSR activities undertaken by their organisations.

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