C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Helmetless, 2 students killed in accident
Aneesha Sarin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Racing on the city roads without helmets claimed the lives of two youths in a fatal accident late last night. Both victims suffered severe head injuries as their bikes, which were at full throttle, barged into the road berm near the Sector 16-17 light point.

The youths, 19-year-old Paras Sharma and 18-year-old Matul Chauhan (riding pillion), were on a CBZ bike (CH03-M-9855). The duo, who were accompanied by another bike with their two friends, took a round till Hotel Taj at 12.45 am. As they reached the light point and took a turn, their bike rammed into the footpath. So great was the impact of the accident that Paras was flown in the air for sometime before he fell on the road some 50 metre ahead, his head crushed into pieces. The other victim, Matul, was also dragged to a distance with the bike. While Paras died on the spot, Matul was rushed to the Sector 16 hospital from where he was rushed to the PGI. He was declared brought dead at the PGI. Their friends Salil and Prashant, who were with them on the other bike, were a little distance behind and witnessed the accident.

Two-wheeler deaths

According to police data, 80 persons driving two-wheelers had been killed last year and 282 injured, mostly women, with a majority of them not wearing helmets. The fatal accident, once again, sends a strong message to the people to wear ISI mark helmets for their safety, a police official said.

Both victims were first year B.Com students of S.D College in the city and were the only sons of their parents.

Paras Sharma, hailing from Solan, has been studying in the city. His father is a chartered accountant (CA) at Solan. Matul Chauhan has been a national level badminton player and hails from Shimla. His father Kabir Chauhan is a badminton coach with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Shimla. He also has a younger sister.

The shell-shocked relatives and friends were inconsolable as they came to the Sector 16 Hospital to take away the body after the post- mortem was conducted.

The father of Paras Sharma, on his way from Solan to Chandigarh, fainted on the way and was taken back. The father of Matul Chauhan burst into tears at the Sector 16 hospital and was uncontrollable.



Red tapism hits elevated road to Panchkula
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
After paying a “few lakhs” to a consultant to prepare a feasibility study for an elevated highway between Transport Chowk and Panchkula, the Chandigarh Administration is appointing another consultant to prepare a revised feasibility report.

The previous feasibility study for the Rs 173 crore project has been found to be inadequate by the Ministry of Urban Development under the Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. The ministry has asked for a more detailed project report. The project is being taken up on a priority and frequent meetings are being held with the officials concerned in the ministry, claimed a senior official.

Even the UT Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd), has expressed concern over the delay in implementation of the project.

A redundant road divider

The new bridge on the existing Chandigarh-Panchkula road was inaugurated by a former Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), in 2001. Since then the UT engineering department has not bothered to remove a road divider which still exists on the old side of the bridge. Earlier, the divider used to bifurcate the two-way flow of traffic. But with the opening of the new bridge, the divider adds to the confusion for the motorists moving from Panchkula to Chandigarh.


Initially, the project was to take off during the current financial year. The public money being spent on the project should not go waste like it has happened in the past. “By the time the project takes off, the volume of vehicular traffic will increase manifold”, observed a retired technocrat.

The project, conceived during the tenure of the previous chief engineer V.K. Bhardwaj, has been pending for the past over two years. The Administration had drafted the Rs 173-crore project for an elevated highway starting from Transport Chowk, adjoining the Grain Market with the entry point to Sector 7, Panchkula. The issue gains importance in the context of frequent traffic jams between Chandigarh and Panchkula.

Under the proposed planning, the elevated highway will come up over the existing road. The four-lane road will have a dual carriage way.

“Unlike Mohali, where the city traffic can enter from more than half a dozen different points, Panchkula has only one major entry point from the city. The roads are choked on traffic, particularly during the office hours.”



Shifting of DAC
Residents up in arms
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, January 19
The opposition against the construction of the district administrative complex in Sanetta village gathered momentum today with members of the District Mohali Bar Association objecting to the shifting of the judicial complex to the village.

The general secretary of the association Manjit Singh Chauhan said a resolution had been passed against the shifting of the complex to Sanetta. “DACs are set up in urban centres. Have you ever heard a DAC being set up in a village? Everyone will be going out of the city into a village, 18 kilometers away, to get their problems heard?” said Chauhan.

Alleging that the deputy commissioner, SAS Nagar, was unnecessarily pushing the Sanetta case, Chauhan added that the story behind the choice of site was different.

“If a final decision regarding the shifting of the site is taken we would protest strongly against it and take the entire towns with us,” said Chauhan who is also the deputy mayor, Chandigarh.

“The original site is in Phase VIII. Why has that site been dumped? For what reasons? Even the foundation stone had been laid,” pointed out Chauhan.

Members of the Phase IV Residents Welfare Association and the House Owners Welfare Association , Phase I, earlier today strongly opposed the establishment of the district administrative complex at Sanetta.

Sources added that the shifting of the DAC to the village had not found favour even with the judges serving at the judicial complex here. Hundreds of those coming to the court for various litigations would have to travel this distance to reach courts.



Injecting Drug Use
Problem in Punjab, Haryana serious: Study
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Punjab and Haryana are going the Nagaland, Manipur way. At least that’s what the first-ever size estimation of injecting drug use (IDU) population in the two northern states and their capital Chandigarh has revealed.

The study, conducted by Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) in collaboration with UNAIDS and AIIMS had further shown that most of the injecting drug users in Punjab and Haryana were using pharmaceutical preparations often mixed with sedatives.

In an exclusive interview to The Tribune on the eve of all-India release of the study on January 21, Rajesh Kumar of SPYM said the situation in northern states was alarming.

“We have been saying for long that the problem in Punjab and Haryana is deep and serious. But we had nothing to support our claims. This study, for the first time, provides scientific proof of the problem and lists vulnerable groups and services available to them,” Kumar says.

Based on respondent driven sampling (RDS), a new methodology, the study relies on a vast sample - around 300 IDUs per district at the chosen sites in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) had long been saying that in India, IDUs account for 2.2 percent of HIV transmissions. But the SPYM study suggests that the numbers affected by injecting drug use may be higher.

“The idea behind the study was to fill the existing gaps in information available on IDUs in northern states. The culture of denial about the problem needs to be challenged. The problem in north is that the cross-border supply of illegal drugs was banned, but the demand for drugs had not been controlled. Resultantly, addicts had taken to “legal” drugs easily available on chemist shops. A greater danger was being posed by a new category of drugs called stimulants,” Kumar said.

Stimulants are more dangerous than depressants (pharmaceutical preparations) as their withdrawal is very serious.

“The incidence of dependence on stimulants is rising in India. This category of drugs is very dangerous because we yet don’t know much about them. Rehabilitation of stimulant dependents is also a challenge as strategies are not yet known,” Kumar said.

As for the IDU study in Punjab and Haryana, SPYM offered incentives to those who came for interviews.

“That was part of RDS. Peers, who induced addicts to come forward for interviews were given incentives in the form of T-shirts etc. Addicts, who turned up then became peers themselves and got “peer” incentives. They in turn urged other addicts to get sampled. The chain kept growing,” Kumar said, adding that SPYM used the services of Dr B.M. Tripathi and Dr Atul Ambekar from AIIMS to study health and behaviour related indicators pertaining to addicts.

To be released at a state-level function in Panjab University on January 21, the study is very significant in terms of its scope.

It profiles IDUs in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh, lists the type of drugs they are using and why, maps their needle-sharing practices and HIV risk, studies their health-seeking behaviour besides pointing out deficiencies in rehabilitation services available to them. 30 NGOs partnered with SPYM in this project.



Police, prosecutors must coordinate for speedy trial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Lack of coordination between the police personnel and judiciary was dwelled upon at workshop held at the CII today.

The workshop on “Speeding up of Criminal Justice System” was organised by the Punjab Legal Services Authority (PLSA), wherein, ways to improve investigation were suggested.

Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana Vijender Jain while inaugurating the workshop said, “There are various factors that contribute to delay in successful termination of trial that include non-production of witnesses, absconding of accused, lack lustre approach by investigating officers, adjournment culture and inadequacy of judges.”

Highlighting the decline in the conviction rate, the chief justice said, “A witness after a long delay in trial cannot be expected to remember the sequence of events in correct manner.”

He added that the chain of events was not established leading to the low rate of conviction.

Disclosing the details of cases pending in Punjab, Haryana and the city, the justice said the initiative taken in Haryana had shown considerable results in reducing pendency of old criminal cases.

He added that the workshop was being organised to break the lethargy in judiciary. There was a need of coordination between the police and public prosecutors for speedy disposal of the cases.

He added that time had come when all stake holders in this regard should sit and ponder over, instead of blaming each other, to resolve new methods and tool for efficacious disposal of criminal cases.

Justice Mehtab S. Gill, executive chairman, PLSA, said, “We need to revive criminal justice system as there are lot of pending cases. The prime cause for pending criminal cases is lack of cooperation between police personnel, public prosecutors and forensic experts.”

Talking of speedy recording of evidence, Gurdev Singh, district and sessions judge, Jalandhar said, “There will be speedy recording of evidence of such formal witnesses in case the properly attested affidavits are filed along with the police report.”


‘Pending cases cause overcrowded jails’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The number of inmates in Punjab jails is 5,000 more than their actual capacity. This was revealed by NPS Aulakh DGP, Punjab, at a workshop organised at CII today.

Blaming the large number of cases pending in courts for overcrowded jails Aulakh disclosed that while the capacity of the jails in the state was 11,000 inmates the actual number of inmates in the jails was 16,000.

Furthermore, he stated that of the total number of inmates 70 per cent were under trials. The congestion in jails had led to various malpractices with the recent altercation at the Jalandhar jail being an example.

Speaking on delay in filing reports, Ishwar Singh, DIG Ludhiana averred that the facilities in the state needed up-gradation. Citing an example he said, “Various psychological test like the polygraphy test or brain mapping test cannot be held in Ludhiana. One such test is to be carried out on those arrested in the Ludhiana blast case. But it is done only in Bangalore so the case is now held up for another six months till the test is conducted leading to delay in investigation.”

There are many lacunas in the system itself, he said. “If we send a sample to the forensic laboratory, the concerned person carries out the test and then destroys the sample. Second opinion cannot be taken in the case as the sample is destroyed.”



Meet on foeticide reduced to ‘sarkari’ show
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Chandigarh Social Welfare Board’s (CSWB) women’s meet on female foeticide was reduced to a ‘sarkari’ show, with the organisers going on an overdrive to welcome their political guests. Besides, it appeared out and out a Congress event, with the guest list thick with Congress stalwarts.

Even the master banner designed for the show carried pictures mainly of Congress leaders, central and local. Among these were Indira and Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Kumari Selja, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Rajana Patil (chairperson, Central Social Welfare Board) and Lalit Joshi (chairperson, CSWB). The only exception was Mother Teresa’s picture, and one more.

The meet began one and a half hours behind schedule, with Ranjana Patil, Kumari Selja and Pawan Bansal, both union ministers of state, coming in late. In their absence, scores of young girls - some barefooted and barely clad for the cold winter morning - waited in line to welcome guests. They wore sarees and no sweaters.

Inside the Bhargava auditorium, which can seat only 1,200 people, the rush was unprecedented. Thousands of women and children, associated with NGOs funded by the CSWB, had gathered at the PGI on the call of their bosses. But they had no place to sit. “We have been up since 7 am. We couldn’t even leave behind children as their schools are closed today. But where to sit?” asked Rama, one of the visitors. Many had to stand from 10 am to 3 pm, while others squatted on floors around the hall. There were at least 1,700 people in the hall today.

As the gathering watched the show, laced with cultural performances, politicians spoke of female foeticide and the need to combat it. Selja listed out schemes adopted under the “leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh” to tackle the problem; Bansal hoped the people would begin the fight against foeticide from their homes, while Patil called for a ban on sex determination. Lalit Joshi listed efforts the CSWB was making to fight the problem. “We have launched a drive to hold 50 awareness camps for women across Chandigarh,” she said.

Earlier, she presented phulkaris to women guests, including Selja and Patil; male dignitaries got shawls. And as this happened, the compere urged women and children to clap while poor women sitting in the rush lusted at expensive gifts being doled out in the name of “female foeticide”. Even among the 500 patient trolleys Patil gifted to the PGI today, the majority were those donated by NGOs funded by CSWB.

Ex-councillor collapses, stable

Around 11 am when the organizers were still waiting for the chief guest to arrive, K.S Raju, former MCC councillor, present in the gathering, collapsed. He was shifted to the PGI emergency by director Dr K.K. Talwar and GMCH-32 director-principal Dr Raj Bahadur in a private car before the ambulance could arrive. He is still in CCU, but stable.



Update skills to tackle white-collar crimes: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Emphasising the need to upgrade human resources to keep pace with technology to deal with white-collar crimes, Mahesh Aggarwal, SP, CBI, Anti-Corruption Branch, said yesterday that white-collar and cyber crime could be detected with updated skill with far better accuracy and effectively.

He was addressing an orientation course on white-collar and cyber crimes at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Sector 36 here. As many as 40 police officials attended the orientation course.

Highlighting the need of detective forensics in white-collar crimes for bringing culprits to the book, Aggarwal commended the efforts made by the Government Examiner of Questioned Documents (GEQD) lab in organising the course for the investigation officers.

N.C. Sood of GEQD gave the background of the laboratory of GEQD at Shimla - one unit of which is now at Chandigarh. It is the second oldest in the world next only to Scotland yard. While mentioning the details of the cases handled by the laboratory, he said GEQD unit had dealt with 2,500 cases catering to white-collar crimes in a period of six months.

M.C Joshi, assistant government examiner, delivered a lecture on ‘counterfeiting and forensic appraisal of Indian Bank notes’.



Marriage causes traffic jam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Thousands of commuters along the Patiala-Zirakpur road were tonight stranded for over two hours in a traffic jam outside AKM resorts. Indiscriminate parking of cars at the resort, where a wedding was in progress, was the cause of blockade that stretched over three km along the highway.

Among those trapped in the chaos were patients, bus passengers, even the convoy of Haryana Chief Minister and other VIPs aboard red-beaconed vehicles. With the local police nowhere on the scene, commuters had to eventually abandon their vehicles to regulate traffic, which did not move until precious two hours had been wasted.

The Tribune office was late night flooded with calls from the stranded passengers who did not know where to look for help. Baldev Kumar, one of the thousands of inconvenienced passengers, told The Tribune: “Hundreds of cars have been mindlessly parked outside AKM resorts because of which the traffic flow has been disrupted. We have been standing on one spot for over one and a half hour. The police is nowhere to be seen.”

The jam, other passengers said, started when a truck plying along the route hit a wrongly parked car outside AKM resorts. The car owner reportedly wrested papers of the truck and did not let the truck driver leave. The truck blocked the highway and behind it the entire traffic sequence was jammed.

Most of the commuters along the route had no idea how to contact the local police for help. Their cells could only connect to 100 - the Chandigarh police control room number. As always, lack of inter-region telelinks for SOS services led to a harrowing experience for the commuters.

When contacted, the local police station personnel said they had not received any calls from any site of a traffic jam. They however said they will take stock of the situation.



Shopkeepers protest against HUDA, observe bandh
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 19
Protesting against the alleged high-handedness of HUDA officials, shopkeepers of Sector 7 observed a bandh till afternoon here today. The shopkeepers alleged that HUDA staff, with heavy police force, lifted their goods from the corridors of the market without any warning.

Moreover, many of them were not issued any receipt of the goods that were confiscated, the shopkeepers alleged.

The HUDA officials, with dozens of policemen, reached the market yesterday evening and took away the goods displayed in the corridors.

President of the Market Welfare Committee B.B. Kochhar, flaying the action of HUDA, said though the market committee was not against clearing of encroachments, but the HUDA officials should ensure that no damages were caused to the confiscated goods.

The shopkeepers cannot be treated like criminals by using police force, he said.

“Creating panic among the shopkeepers as well as visitors by deploying heavy police force at the market during the anti-encroachment drive cannot be ignored by the committee,” said Kochchar.

However, HUDA officials could not be contacted.



Provide facilities at Sec-43 ISBT

Shifting of buses running from the Sector 17 ISBT to that of Sector 43 is definitely a good step. It will lessen the rush of traffic in Sector 17 and other adjoining sectors. But all this was done in haste. People had to face a lot of inconvenience, as they were not properly informed about the change. All required facilities should have been provided before shifting the buses. Moreover, the administration should have informed the people through media to avoid unnecessary harassment to the commuters.

G.K. Chopra, 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



PU Notes
INSO demands bus service for girl hostellers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
INSO leaders at Panjab University met dean, students’ welfare (DSW), and demanded that the girl students living in hostels should be provided with the bus service from library to their hostels between 5 pm and 10 pm. They also demanded the facility for law students (evening) whose classes finish at 8.30 pm. After the meeting with the DSW, INSO state president Vikas Rathee said the recent incident of a girl who was molested in front of the girls’ hostel had raised many questions on the non-serious attitude of the university authorities towards girls’ security. The bus service would start from Monday positively.

Deepak Hooda said some places on the campus did not have proper lighting arrangements, which had been brought to the DSW’s notice and fast action regarding such irregularities had been sought for.


Mindcrest, a Pune-based renowned LPO company having business in the US and European countries, visited the department of laws for campus placement. The company selected eight students from the department and offered a salary package of Rs 2.2 lakh and above and assured that it would offer employment to the department students in the next session also.


Under the special membership drive launched by Rahul Gandhi, a meeting of NSUI activists was held at Panjab University today. Nitin Goyal, president, NSUI, Chandigarh, chaired the meeting. A.K. Pandey, who has been deputed as in charge of the drive at Chandigarh, also attended the meeting. Students from various colleges and university departments were present. It was announced that Amarpreet Singh Mann had been appointed as the president of the PU campus unit of the NSUI. Mann is a student of the first year of the Punjabi department.

Biotech fest

The two-day Biotech Fest-2008 being held at Panjab University concluded yesterday. The first session commenced with Prof R.C. Sobti extending a warm welcome to the distinguished scientists. He gave the audience a glimpse of the impact and quality of the research done by Dr Sandip Basu, who was presented with the Prof B.K. Bachhawat Memorial Lecture Award. Prof Rajesh Kochhar, professor of pharmaceutical heritage, NIPER, Mohali, was presented with the Professor R.C. Gupta Endowment History of Science Lecture Award. Prof Subhash Chand, department of bio-chemical engineering and biotechnology, IIT-Delhi, spoke on “Nutraceuticals based on enzyme catalysis”. The day also witnessed the inauguration of the Chandigarh chapter of NASI by Prof V.P. Kamboj, former director, CDRI, Lucknow.



Summer camps for city students in Canada
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Students between 11 and 17 years are in for a special surprise. For, AIMS Global Education is organising special summer camps in Canada.

Amar Manchanda, principal director of AIMS Global Education, said the camps had been made possible in coordination with few a educational institutions of Canada. “The idea of designing the summer camps for Indian schoolchildren cropped up in my mind during my last trip to attend the CEC-Network Agent Fair-2007 at Canada.”

The first batch for three-week summer camp will leave in the first week of June. The camps will be organised in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary.

The fee for the camp will be approximately $3,000, excluding air ticket. The fee will cover charges for study, board and lodging, three meals, airport pick-up and drop facility and extra-curricular activities. One teacher will accompany a group of 15 students on the complimentary basis.

There will be creative learning and computer classes for students. The students will also get a chance to develop friendly relationships with the native students.

A variety of games and visits to various strategic places and adjoining tourist attractions will be organised during the camps. The students will have the option to join clubs and undertake activities spanning a variety of interest fields.

“It will prove to be an efficacious event as students would learn about new cultures. This would not only help them gain knowledge but would also enrich them as persons. As the participants are minors, a written permission from parents will be required,” said project director Zinnia Manchanda.

Registration will start registration from February 1 through schools or parents directly. Interested parents can contact AIMS Global Education head office in Sector 10 as well as the branch offices in Panchkula, Mohali, Ludhiana, Balachaur and Nangal for more details and submission of registration forms.



From Schools & Colleges
Cultural Fest: Morinda Girls emerge winner
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 19
The two-day cultural fest, organised by the Ropar district administration at Maharaja Ranjit Singh park, ended here today. The Morinda Girls’ College team turned out to be the overall winner in the competitions organised in the last two days. The Ropar Government College team came second. Ropar deputy commissioner A.K. Sinha, under whose aegis the fest was organised, said keeping in view the attraction of the fest among the local people, it would be made an annual affair. He also gave away prizes to the winning team. Fifteen teams from technical and other colleges of the district participated in the fest. The teams competed in various cultural activities as gidda, bhangra, skits and folk songs.


GROUP SONG CONTEST: As many as seven teams from the city schools participated in the Rajdeep memorial annual group song competition held at the Satluj Public school hall under the aegis of Saraswati Kala Sangam here today. Satluj Public School lifted the Rajdeep running trophy while Doon Public School and Jainendra Public School shared the second position. Bhavan Vidyalya and Hansraj Public School stood third. Later, the artistes of Haryana Kala Parishad staged a social play 'Laadli'. Written and directed by well-known thespian Kamlesh Sharma, the play brought into focus social evils like female foeticide, dowry and illiteracy among women.


PAINTING CONTEST: A painting competition was organised at Anees School, Sector 69 here, in association with Kotak Bank. Komalpreet, Sumee, Simranjit, Shreya, Navedita and Savreet were adjudged winners.

ANNUAL DAY: Students and staff of Sri Hemkunt Public School, Sector 71, celebrated the school annual day and birthday of Sri Guru Gobind Singh on the school premises. The function started with the path of Sri Sukhmani Sahib. Tiny tots of nursery and KG classes recited Gurbani and shabad. Students of primary classes recited poems on the life of the Sikh Gurus. Prizes were distributed for academic performance.

SEMINAR: A seminar on ‘HR Initiatives for New Challenges’ was held today at Dr. I.T. Business School, Banur, presided over by J.R. Kundal, IAS, commissioner, finance (appeals). Director of the institute Prof P.P. Arya emphasised on skill development, training processes and integration of employees with the organisation.



Media Fest
Day 2: Bands rock PU campus
Tribune News Service

A participant plays a guitar on the second day of the three-day media festival ‘Soch-08’ organised by the department of mass communication, Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Saturday.
A participant plays a guitar on the second day of the three-day media festival ‘Soch-08’ organised by the department of mass communication, Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, January 19
The second day of the three-day media festival ‘Soch-08’, organised by the department of mass communication, Panjab University, began with ‘Limericks’ wherein each participant had to compose five-line witty/humorous poem and then recite it. The theme was provided on the spot. This was followed by a photography, cartoon and collage exhibition. The exhibition showcased the photographs, cartoons and collages made on the first day of the fest. Documentaries and films were also screened.

In the later half of the day, seven teams participated in the competition of street plays on social issues like depletion of water resources, female foeticide and dowry. ‘Talk-Jock’ was the next event wherein participants had to script a show, anchor it and handle hypothetical audiences’ phone calls on traffic jams.

“Rock Night” was the attraction of the evening. Rock bands like “Wasted Soul”, “Harmonic Friction”, “Seraphim”, “Shell Shocked” and “G.O.D” enthralled the audience. The bands played various genres of music-metal, alternate rock, classics, old school types, heavy and trash metal.



400 students honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Government Model Senior Secondary School, 10-A, organised its annual prize distribution function at its auditorium today. Around 400 students, who excelled in the academics, sports and cultural activities during the previous year, were awarded trophies and certificates by DPI (S) S.K. Setia, who was the chief guest. As many as 41 school teachers, who had given 100 per cent results in the board examination in their respective subjects, were also honoured. The website of the school was launched.

Quiz: Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 21, won the quiz contest on vector-borne diseases yesterday. The contest was organised by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme and IDSP unit, Chandigarh, at the auditorium of Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh. GMSSS-16 and 8 won the second and third prizes, respectively. — TNS



Consumer Courts
Insurance firm to pay Rs 4 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked Oriental Insurance Company to pay the claim of Rs 4 lakh to a Ambala resident with an interest of 9 per cent per annum. The insurance firm was also asked to pay Rs 5,000 as litigation costs.

The petitioner, Surinder Kaur, is proprietor of Dalip Enterprises, Ambala City. Surinder has been running confectionery business for the past many years. The petitioner pointed out that she had been keeping goods inside the shop. The shop had been insured since 1991. In 1996, the petitioner got the goods insured kept in the premises for Rs 6 lakh. She stated that on the night of March 29, 1996, the shop caught fire.

The insurance firm stated that the estimation of loss was not supported by any purchase of bills.

The commission, headed by Justice K.C. Gupta, observed: “It was not possible for the complainant to produce all bills of purchase because these were destroyed in the fire. However, she had produced balance sheet statements of three years of the value of the stocks which are to the tune of more than Rs 6 lakh for the year ending in March 1995.”



10,000 traffic challans disposed of at Lok Adalat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), UT, organised a special Lok Adalat for disposal of traffic challans in the District Courts today.

The District and Sessions Judge, Kewal Krishan Garg, stated that 10,000 traffic challans were disposed of. A fine of Rs 2,62,200 was imposed in all the challans. The proceedings of the Lok Adalat were observed by Justice Pramod Kohli.

The member secretary, R.K. Sharma, said any person intending to get his dispute settled at the pre-litigative stage may approach the SLSA. He added that anybody with an annual income less than Rs 50,000 was entitled to free legal aid. Lok Adalats were also held for the purpose of settling disputes pertaining to the outstanding dues of the banks at the pre-litigative stage.



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