C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Portion of Zirakpur bridge crumbles
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 30
Yadvindra Bridge on the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway has been closed to traffic for at least a fortnight following the collapse of a pillar supporting the overpass today. Also, water was gushing forth from under its second pillar.

Even as the police and staff of the construction company banned movement of pedestrians on the bridge, people continued to walk across through the day. Light traffic is expected to resume within the next 48 to 72 hours, said RK Verma, an engineer with the Italian Thai Construction Company, which is building the bridge.

SHO Paramjit Singh said heavy traffic had been diverted to Baltana. “We have communicated to the Panchkula police to divert traffic via Barwala or Chandigarh,” he said.

Commuters were a harassed lot with many getting off buses on the other side of the bridge. “I have to go to Kalka and it is difficult for me to drive back through the traffic jam on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway”, said Sunita Kumari of Kalka. It was chaos on the Zirakpur-Panchkula road. Though the traffic was diverted to the Chandigarh-Zirakpur Highway via Baltana through Choice Road, it too remained blocked with a truck having overturned there.

The downpour resulted in flooding of a nullah on Choice Road. The Baltana residents were compelled to take alternative routes to reach their destination, covering large distances. All along, the MC officials had claimed that necessary measures had been taken to prevent the flooding of the road. 



Boy drowns in Kalka
Our Correspondent

Kalka, June 30
A 15-year-old boy drowned in the Kaushalya river, where construction work on a dam was on.

The incident took place at around 12 noon today when Rahul, along with friends Kapil, Munish, Nayan and Ravi, visited the dam on the river. They decided to take bathe in the river. Rahul, who knew swimming, decided to cross the dam lake, but drowned in deep waters. The police said the friends raised an alarm and intimated the parents of the deceased, who live in HMT Colony, Pinjore. Officials of the local administration called the Fire Brigade from HMT and Panchkula. It took five hours to trace Rahul’s body.

Later, divers of an ITBP rescue team along with the police succeeded in fishing out the body at around 7:30 p.m. The police said Rahul was a student of Class X of St. Vivekanand Millennium School of HMT. His father, Ubleb Guria, is an HMT employee.



NAC records ruined
Tribune News Service

Nayagaon, June 30
Vital records stored at the Nayagaon Notified Area Committee (NAC) office here were ruined after the office was flooded with rainwater last night.

The executive officer and other staff found almirahs in the rooms submerged in water and papers, including many important files, damaged.

The newly bought generator set was also damaged, as it remained submerged in water for almost two days. 



Capt Dwarfed Sharma group in the saddle
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 30
In a major setback to cabinet minister and Banur MLA Captain Kanwaljit Singh, the SAD breakaway group, led by NK Sharma, won a majority of the 15 Zirakpur municipal council seats.

The NK Sharma group won nine seats while Kanwaljit-backed SAD candidates managed to wrest only three seats. Only one seat was won by the BJP while the Congress was completely wiped out. The two independent candidates, who won today, had joined the Sharma group late last night, thus giving a thumping majority to Sharma.

Sharma’s victory is a significant loss to Captain Kanwaljit’s political stature not only in the area but also in state politics. Sources add that Sharma’s win was clearly “manipulated” through members of the Parkash Singh Badal clan, who wanted Captain’s position to dwindle in his stronghold. Having managed to do it, today’s results would not be taken kindly by the Captain.

While Sharma’s stunning victory against SAD remained the high point of municipal elections here, the party managed to gain majority wins at Dera Bassi, Nayagaon, Morinda and Banur.

Other than Banur, where polling to ward number 2 was cancelled following a bid to capture the booth by SAD workers, elections passed off peacefully in other areas. Tension, however, remained high in most booths of Zirakpur throughout the day where many candidates alleged that the police was helping fake votes being polled in favour of SAD. Over 75 per cent voting was recorded from most places.

At Banur, where SAD won eight of the 13 seats, the local SHO allegedly led the booth-capturing bid. He reportedly fired in the air to scare away Congress supporters. Congress candidate was also attacked. Three persons were injured when SAD supporters trying to flee the scene in cars ran over three onlookers. Congress supporters blocked the Zirakpur-Patiala highway for over four hours after the incident and also allegedly attacked Captain Kanwaljit’s cavalcade.

While action on the Banur SHO is awaited, SAS Nagar SSP Jatinder Aulakh shifted sub-inspector Abdul Rashid following complaints that he was trying to get fake votes polled at booth number 15 in Zirakpur. The police also arrested Pushpinder Singh, son of a Patiala cop in Dera Bassi, when he was found to be carrying a revolver and empty police I-cards near a polling booth here.

In Kurali, a majority of the Congress supported independent candidates won but the party performed dismally at Dera Bassi where not a single candidate of the party made it to the municipal bodies. In Morinda, six candidates of the BJP-SAD combine won and out of the seven independent candidates four are supported by the Akalis.

Independent candidates also performed well at Fatehgarh Sahib where they won 32 of the 60- seat council. SAD won 15 seats, BJP seven and Congress won six seats. In Rajpura, the BJP- SAD combine won 20 seats while Congress won only two seats. Independent candidates won three seats.

(With inputs from Megha Mann, Gurdeep Mann and Rajiv Bhatia) 

NAC: BJP, Cong may join hands

Seven SAD, two BJP and five Congress candidates have emerged victorious in Nayagaon.. There is a possibility of the Congress and the BJP joining hands against the SAD and forming a majority in the 15-seat NAC with the help of one Ind.

Cong wiped out in Dera Bassi

The fact that the Congress had little presence in Zirakpur was a well-known fact, but its wipeout in Dera Bassi has left many shocked. The party had fielded 13 candidates here, only one managed to make it to the municipal council.



Rain relief for Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
With the downpour today, the dying Sukhna Lake got a new lease of life with the water level rising by three feet. Due to the rains, in the catchment area of the lake the water level has been rising steadily in the past three weeks, said a senior official in the engineering department.

The water level remains well below the danger mark.The water level near the radial gates has risen by more than three feet and is being monitored near the watch tower. Records of the the engineering department reveal that for the last two years, not an inch of water has flown downstream from the catchment area. Officials are hopeful that with the monsoons active, the water level will rise further.

Records reveal that the average flow of water into the lake from 1958 to 1978 was 7,370 acre feet while in 1999 it was 1,870 acre feet, which was 25 per cent of the average of 20 years. In 2006, it was only 736 acre feet, which is 10 per cent. Expecting a good monsoon, the official believe the water level would rise further.

Following the rise in the water level, mechanical desilting at the lake has been discontinued. The lake has been declared the 11th wetland of the country. Ever since the rainfed lake was formed in 1958 by harnessing Kansal, Ghareri and Nepli choes, it has been ageing fast on account of scanty rain or poor flow of water, feel experts.

An official of CITCO said: “ We are not allowing boats beyond a certain point as these are in danger of getting stuck. We will wait till the water level rises further”.

The latest figures show that the pondage capacity has reduced from 1074.4 hectare metres to 513.28 hectare metres. For now, the water carrying capacity of the lake is 47.78 per cent.


Rains pour diseases too
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Everything comes for a price! So does monsoon. The rains have brought respite to city residents but the flip side has been the spurt in number of water and vector-borne diseases, including gastroenteritis and malaria.

Though no cases of deadly dengue has been reported so far, health officials are not ruling out its possibilities with the weather providing a breeding ground for all kinds of vector-borne diseases.

Medical superintendent Dr Usha Bishnoi said city hospitals, including dispensaries, had recorded 28 cases of malaria this year (till May) as compared to 35 cases in the preceding year. Even in the PGI emergency, 4-5 cases of malaria had been reported in past one week.

Apart from this, 3-4 cases of gastroenteritis were reported every day at the PGI emergency, said Dr Navneet Sharma from internal medicine, PGI. Almost seven cases of viral hepatitis cases had been reported in seven days.

Similarly, about 10 cases of gastroenteritis are reported every day at GMSH-16 emergency. "A person suffering from it has loose motions accompanied with vomiting and stomach cramps. This can be life-threatening for kids and the old," said Dr Bishnoi. If figures from private laboratories and nursing homes are added to this figure, it would swell further.

Dr G. Dewan, physician, says precaution that everyone should take is to boil the drinking water. "Many health complications during monsoon can be averted by drinking boiled water. It will take about 20 minutes of boiling for the bacteria to be eliminated," he said. People in waterlogged areas need to specially take this precaution, said the doctor.

Citing the reason of increased stomachache cases during mansoon, he said, this was due to consumption of junk food served on roadside. "Children should avoid eating noodles and other eateries sold on pavements."

Explaining that monsoon was also a season for skin diseases, Dr Swami Das Mehta says: "Fungus infections are regular with schoolchildren and office goers due to wearing of shoes and socks soaked in rainwater."

According to the physician, personal hygiene is important during monsoon. "Some common ailments among schoolchildren are upper respiratory diseases such as cold and cough. Children should avoid getting drenched in rainwater, while parents should always store some essential medicines at home as precautionary measure," he says.



Travel by Jan Shatabdi to cost less from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Travel by Jan Shatabdi Express from Nangal Dam to Delhi via Chandigarh will become cheaper than bus from tomorrow onwards. Now, the fare of the second-class sleeper will be Rs 147 and that of the AC chair car will be Rs 455.

Travelling on board the train from Chandigarh to Nangal will cost Rs 92 for the second-class chair car, but those travelling by AC chair car will have to spend Rs 250. The train will halt at Anandpur Sahib, Ropar, Morinda.Thus; people going on pilgrimage to Anandpur Sahib can use the train for reaching Chandigarh.

For the moment the train does not halt at Mohali, said divisional railway manager H.K. Jaggi. It is, however, learnt that Mohali could be added as a stopover in the near future. The train that would run daily would start from Nangal at 5 am, touch Chandigarh at 7.20 am and reach Delhi at 12 noon. On the return journey, the train would start from Delhi at 3 pm, touch Chandigarh at 7.15 pm and reach Nangal at 9.40 pm. Both trains would halt at Chandigarh for about 10 minutes.

About the reduction of stoppage time of Shatabdi Express to five minutes at the Chandigarh Railway Station, the DRM said the drivers and guards had been issued instructions that no passenger should be left behind due to the minor change in timings. The passengers would not be put to any inconvenience, he added. On the proposed Garib Rath between Chandigarh and Jaipur, he said he had requested the North West Railway authorities not to discontinue the special holiday train till the Garib Rath was introduced. Efforts were being made to increase the number of coaches in the train.

Regarding upgradation of facilities in the Ambala section, he said to decongest the single track between Chandigarh and Ambala; the Ambala division of the Northern Railways has proposed the doubling of the track. A proposal in this regard has been sent to the higher railways authorities.

The parking surface at the station was being laid again and the entrance and exit were being four-laned. The problems of drainage at the station were also being looked after. A proposal for a second railway overbridge at the station had also been mooted.



Faulty drainage, recarpeting of roads choke streets
MC wakes up, sets up flood control centre 
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu and Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Heavy rain caused chaos in the city for the second day today. Though, no death was reported from the city today, sunken roads, uprooted trees, waterlogged streets, both in commercials and residential areas, led to chaotic traffic conditions with a few roads witnessing severe traffic congestion.

Even, the airport was submerged causing a lot of inconvenience to passengers, who had to wade through the muddy water. A fire tender of the corporation was struck in waterlogged parking lot at the airport and driver had a tough time pulling it out. The runway remained operational as all flights were on time, said an airport officer.

Those living in Sectors 33, 43, 44, 45, 26 and 19 Palika Bazar, Vikas Nagar and Shastri Nagar in Mani Majra, Palsora Colony, construction area of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and from the PGI had harrowing time as water entered into their houses due to the clogged drains. Besides this, many government building were flooded with rainwater, including the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. The residents rued that despite having lodged complaints with the civic body for fixing the faulty drainage system in their areas, the authorities concerned had failed to address their grievances.

Sources in the municipal corporation told that the faulty drainage system and wrong time of allotting tenders about road widening and recarpeting further spelled the doom. As the incomplete works and dug-up stretches with mounds of mud lying along the roads have turned into virtual death trap for motorists, especially two-wheeler riders.

The Met department today recorded 179.6 mm of rain in the city, breaking the record of the past 10 years. The department recorded 180 mm of rain during the month of June, last year while this year the rains in June have almost doubled than last year with the department recording 376 mm of rains.

Traffic had come to a standstill on the busy roads like Madhya Marg, where motorists have to wait for over two hours for reaching their destinations. The bridge on road stretch leading to Kishangarh village from golf range was washed away. Residents of slums on the outskirts of the city claimed that a few thatched huts in the low-lying areas were washed away in 
the rainy water.

Thick cover of mud and slush on the roads has spelled doom for commuters especially two-wheeler riders, who faced difficulties in driving on these roads. The authorities concerned failed to clear the sand from the roads, which further created problems after getting dried in the sunshine.

Those living in Sector 44-C near the Saint Xavier School suffered the most as the stagnant water entered into their houses following overnight heavy rains. Meanwhile, the corporation has woken out of its slumber only after two persons were washed away in seasonal rivulets in the city during the rains in the past two days. The civic body today set up a flood control centre, which would operate round-the-clock. The authorities have started a helpline (Telephone 5009333) at the control room, which will operate in three shifts. In addition this, the sub-divisional engineers of the road wing of the area concerned have also been directed to move in his area with sufficient labour to remove any blockage at any point of the road due to depressions, including road gullies.



Alarmed: Officials inspect IT Park, defence area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The defence area adjoining the airport also got flooded due downpour here today. Alarmed at the worsening situation, the Chandigarh Administration today convened meet defence officials to find a solution to the long-pending problem. Sources said the natural rivulets had got blocked due to the construction of high security walls around the defence establishments.

The UT officials also surveyed other area like the IT Park, GMCH, Sector 32, and other public building which had got flooded following heavy rains.

In the IT Park, water entered into the Infosys and DLF buildings, damaging vital power backup systems. Water had to be pumped out. Sources said since a few building were coming in the area, the storm water drainage was not fully operational. A few storm water gullies were even blocked.

An official said the area on which the IT Park and Parsavnath project was coming up had a number of seasonal rivulets. 



Farm debt waiver scheme implemented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The Rs 71,000-crore agriculture debt waiver and debt relief scheme, which has been implemented today, is also being used by the UPA government to earn the favour of the farming community.

After all scheduled commercial banks, regional rural banks and cooperative banks have displayed the list of farmers eligible to benefit from the scheme and have begun issuing certificates stating that their debt had been cleared.

It was accompanied by a letter from the Prime Minister in a personalised format states: “I hope that we have been able to bring a measure of relief to you and your family. Agriculture is the lifeline of our economy and
farmers are our greatest source of strength. I assure you that our
government will stand by you and other farmers, while you continue to engage in agriculture.”

As the banks across the country begin to write off these loans and make their balance sheets, they have been told to submit their claims for the waived off loans and relief extended to farmers under the one time settlement to the Reserve Bank of India before September 30.

Meanwhile, sources in the State Level Bankers Committee of Punjab and Haryana informed The Tribune that the total amount to be waived off and settled for farmers in Haryana is Rs 2,105.72 crore while for Punjab it is Rs 987 crore.

Banks in the two states have begun displaying lists of eligible farmers from June 26 onwards and all lists had been displayed in the banks before today's deadline.



Chandigarh registers 30 pc increase in HIV+ cases
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The increase in the number of HIV cases in the region is becoming a major cause for concern for health authorities in the city. In the past two years, the city hospitals have recorded as many as 2,333 HIV + cases, an increase of almost 100 cases.

While the Chandigarh itself has registered an increase of 30 per cent in HIV case (from 95 in 2006 to 124 in 2008), the other cases are from the neighbouring states of Himachal, Punjab and Haryana.

Speaking on the increase in HIV + cases, state Aids Control Society director Dr Vaneeta Gupta, said of the 2,333 patients, 57 per cent were men, 39.3 per cent women and 3.8 per cent children. She said the number of cases had been increasing rapidly every year.

As compared to the 1,126 cases in 2006, the figure in 2007 stood at 1,207 cases. While, 124 cases belong to Chandigarh, the figure could be higher if the cases going to private laboratories and nursing homes are added, she said.

According to local NGOs working in this field, the infected are mostly middle and lower middle-class housewives, whose husbands work in some other city. Health official say the husbands are carriers of the disease.

SACS officials blame the educated middle class, who migrate to cities in search of jobs for the spread of the disease.

Gupta said, increasing awareness about the disease is also one of the reasons for more patients coming forward for treatment, said a doctor. 



On a peace mission
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Ravinder Lakhe pedals his way to peace in Chandigarh on Monday.
Ravinder Lakhe pedals his way to peace in Chandigarh on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, June 30
Fifty-year-old Ravinder Lakhe is on a mission to spread the message of peace, national unity and brotherhood among the people of the country. For the purpose, he has aimed to pedal across the country to cover over 50,000 kms in three years.

Lakhe, who is resident of Raipur (Jharkhand), set out on his journey on August 8 last year and has so far, covered a distance of more than 15,000 kms.

On reaching Chandigarh, Lakhe said, “I want to contribute something for the country. Being a poor person, I decided to take a round of the whole country on my bicycle to spread the message of love, peace and unity.”

“So far, I have crossed Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu. Now I will go to east,” said Lakhe.

Sharing his experiences, he said he had come across many kinds of people during his journey so far. “Where a Gujarat-based doctor gifted me a camera and a mobile to encourage me, a family at Jodhpur virtually snatched my mobile during my stay with them at their place,” Lakhe said.

The determined Lakhe is a cycle mechanic by profession and has a wife and three children to look after.

“I have also donated my body,” added Lakhe, whose mission is being sponsored by the Raipur Press Club.



Industrial area’s development
MC okays Rs 11.34 cr
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The monthly general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) today passed a few agenda, including Rs 11.34 crore as rough cost estimate for improving and up-grading the Industrial Area’s infrastructure, which has been pending for the past two years after the UT administration failed to release the funds.

Besides this, the issue of “hefty” fine being charged from the hawkers dominated the meeting with all councillors unanimously insisting on reducing the fine from Rs 700 to Rs 100. Later on, this issue was handed over to the enforcement committee, which would put forth its suggestions on the matter in the house. The house also passed agendas, including rough estimate for augmentation of storm water drainage system in Maloya village and other adjoining areas of the Union Territory and recarpeting of V-6 roads in Sector 45.

On the issue of fines, municipal council’s secretary P.K. Sharma maintained that the intention behind charging fines was to keep a check on violations, but not to earn revenue in terms of fine.

Councillor Jatinder Bhatia raised the developmental issue of the industrial area in the beginning of the meeting, which was acknowledged by union minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal.

He said it was due to wrong policy of the administration that the developmental work was stalled as Rs 77 crore had gone to centre’s consolidated funds, which was charged from people in terms of the conversion fee.

Had the administration given rights to the corporation to charge conversion fee, the development in the area could have been going on uninterrupted. Even at this stage Rs 17 crore lying with exchequer could be utilised by introducing changes in the existing policies, said Bansal.

Councillor Kamlesh along with others questioned since the administration had failed to provide facilities to the people there was no point in charging huge amounts from people in terms of the conversion fee. The debate subsequently led to the issue of giving more powers to the corporation for carrying out various developmental projects in the city.

Nominated councillor A.P. Sanwaria was at the receiving end at the hands of agitated Congress councillors, when he objected over the issue of criticising the Administrator at the floor of the house. Visibly offended Sanwaria was made to sit by the enraged councillors, who alleged that he was tutored by the administration.

Another nominated councillor Arshad Khan said the civic authorities were not following rules and guidelines in dealing with the stray dogs. He also said proper census of tress in the city had not been carried out for over number of years as there was no record of number of trees and their species. He also insisted on issuing biometric cards for those living below poverty line for bringing transparency in the public distribution system. Nominated councillor Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri (retd.) expressed concern over the fact that Chandigarh was the only Capital city, which had no stadium of its own.



Doctor’s Day Today
Prof Wig, Dr Dhiman to receive BC Roy award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , June 30
Two Chandigarh-based doctors will receive BC Roy Award for outstanding contribution to medical sciences on Doctor's Day at Rashtrapati Bhawan tomorrow.

Prof J.D. Wig, surgery department, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and Dr R.K. Dhiman of the PGIMER has been chosen for the prestigious B.C. Roy Medical Council of India Silver Jubilee Research Award for the year 2006.

Prof Wig, a former head of department of surgery, PGI, will receive the award for outstanding research on pancreas.

Talking on the phone, he said: "I am privileged to receive this award and grateful to the organisers for appreciating my work."

He has earlier received the BC Roy Award in the category of eminent medical teacher; the Pfizer Oration Award of the Indian Society of Gastroenterology; the Col Sangam Lal Memorial Oration Award of the National Academy of Medical Sciences; the Dr P.K. Sen Memorial Oration Award; Dr Das Mahapatra Oration Award of the Association of Surgeons of India and many more.

He is also a recepient of the Medical Council of India Silver Jubliee Research Award for the year 2005 for outstanding work in the field of medical and allied sciences.



ISBT-43 parking lot inundated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
In an unusual turn of events, car owners who had parked their vehicles at the parking lot at ISBT, Sector 43, here had to use rickshaw to make it to their vehicles as the area was inundated due to rain.

Following the heavy rain last night, the parking lot was inundated under over two feet of water. The vehicles owners, who came to take away the vehicles or to park there, had to face difficult situation forcing the parking contractor for makeshift arrangements. The contractor hired a rickshaw to go near the parked cars.

“I had to park my car at the bus stand as I was going out of the city. Seeing the parking lot under water, I was a bit confused what to do. I have to come out on rickshaw after parking my car there”, a local resident Sandeep Sharma said.

Many parked cars were virtually drowned into the water there. “If I open the door of my car, the water would entered inside and damaged it. I can do nothing except waiting the level of water to go down”, rued Mohali resident Amarjit Singh, who reached the city from Jammu.

“This is the newly constructed bus stand and this is the state of the parking lot. This only exposes the shortsightedness of the authorities. Everyone knows what happens here during monsoon, why didn’t they make proper arrangements for the water drainage”, Amarjit lamented. 



Baby falls in pot of boiling milk
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 30
A one-and-a-half-year-old baby was killed when he fell in a pot of boiling milk at Abhaypur village near here. The police after getting the post-mortem conducted handed over the body of the baby to his parents today.

According to the police, Luxmi, son of Suresh, was playing on the cot when he fell in the pot of boiling milk at gas stove. Gas stove was kept on the floor of one-room house of the family. Poonam, the mother of baby, had gone to fetch water from outside when the incident happened.

Immediately after the incident, the parents took the child to civil hospital of Sector 6 from where the doctors referred him to the PGI. The doctors at the PGI, however, declared the child brought dead.

The mother of child had gone under depression since yesterday, said the neighbours.



11 jhuggis washed away in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 30
Rainwater entered houses in many parts of the town even as 11 jhuggis of Amb Sahib colony were washed away after a downpour lashed the town early this morning. However, no loss of life was reported.

Water entered houses in Phases I, II, III B 2, IV and V. Many roads were also flooded as road gullies choked.

Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Phase V, said people of the area were caught unaware and found rainwater in their houses when they got up early this morning. Many household items lying in the rooms were damaged.

Residents of HL houses in Phase I also faced a similar situation and lamented that they had been facing problems whenever heavy rains lashed the area. Many complaints to the authorities concerned failed to bring any relief. They said the municipal council kept carpeting the roads, which raised their level and thus the rainwater entered the houses.

Sukhminder Singh Barnala, municipal councillor, said the main roads in Phase XI were flooded after the downpour as the road gullies were choked.

Girdhari Lal, president of the Amb Sahib colony, said 11 jhuggis were washed away after rainwater and water from the adjoining nullah swept the colony. He said nearly 15,000 people living in the colony were leading a miserable life as the authorities concerned had failed to provide basic facilities in the area.

He said the mud embankment of the nullah was getting eroded over the years as a result of which it was now almost touching the colony, creating a scare among jhuggi dwellers. Though power was provided to the colony, the condition of poles was bad and some of these might fall.



I’m still in SAD: Sharma
Chitleen K Sethi/Rajiv Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 30
It was not just about a victory but also about a grand victory. The NK Sharma group candidates here did not merely win but triumphed with big margins.

Talking to the Tribune NK Sharma said his victory vindicated his stand that in the end political alliances did not matter. “It is development which mattered,” he said. He added that he was most grateful to the people of Zirakpur who had not let him down and reposed their faith in him. “Every promise I have made to the people of Zirakpur would be fulfilled,” he said.

When asked if he intended to join a political party Sharma said he was still in SAD. “I was never removed from SAD. I only read about it in papers. I have not received any notice or even a warning,” he said.

NK Sharma himself was cast 1467 votes and won with a margin of 852 votes from SAD’s Santokh Singh Lambaradar in ward number 6. Ajaib Singh of the NK Sharma group won with a margin of 841 votes defeating independent candidate Gursewak Singh in ward number 3.

In ward number 12, Jagtar Singh of the NK Sharma group was polled 1034 votes and he defeated BJP’s Narinder Goel with a margin of 706 votes. In ward number 14, NK Sharma group’s Kulwinder Sohi won from Akali candidate Harjit Minta with a margin of 506 votes.

In ward number 13, NK Sharma group’s Shiela Devi defeated BJP’s Anju Sharma with a margin of 413 votes. In ward number 5, NK Sharma group’s Bharat Bhushan Choudhry was polled 842 votes and he defeated BJP’s Parvinder Kaur with a margin of 408 votes. In ward number 2, Sham Lal of the NK Sharma group defeated Deepak Birla of BJP with a margin of 344 votes. Harpreet Kaur of NK Sharma group won with a margin of 289 votes defeating SAD’s Karamjit Kaur in ward number 7.

SAD’s Gurmukh Singh won with the highest margin in ward number 11. He was polled 1188 votes and he defeated NK Sharma’s Barjinder Singh with a margin of 970 votes. In ward number 1, the SAD candidate Manisha Malik defeated an independent candidate Shashi Goel with a margin of 844 votes. SAD’s Paramjit Kaur Sodhi won in ward number 4, defeating NK Sharma group’s Manjit Kaur with 318 votes.

The toughest competition was witnessed in ward number 15 where NK Sharma group’s Shakuntala Arya was polled 930 votes and the Akali candidate Surjit Mahiwal was polled 915 votes leaving only a thin winning margin of 15 votes.

A tough competition was witnessed in ward number 8 also where NK Sharma’s Nachattar Singh won from SAD candidate Satnam Singh with a margin of only 31 votes. In another tough match, BJP’s Hardev Kaur Mangat was cast 1095 votes and she defeated NK Sharma group’s Parvinder Kaur with a margin of 79 votes in ward number 10. In ward number 9, Independent candidate Harpreet Singh won from NK Sharma’s Surinder Chinda with a margin of 169 votes.



e wild wild web
Internet addiction on the rise

During the last three years, there have been six incidents of suicide by students of the IIT, Kanpur. A study indicates that mobiles with Internet used by students at odd hours leave the students unsettled.

The IIT, New Delhi, has limited the amount of data that students can download on their hostel computers during the wee hours (1am to 5 am). An IIT spokesman added that this had been done to ensure that students did not stay up late in the night. During the last three years, there have been six incidents of suicide by students of the IIT, Kanpur. A study indicates that mobiles with Internet used by students at odd hours leave the students unsettled.

Patrick Moore, in a post on the Yahoo blog, writes that the Internet has revolutionised our world for the better but forewarns that this tool can be abused too. He says:

The Over-Informed User: The Internet's great power is to deliver information from a larger number of diverse sources than ever before. However, it is possible to be over-informed. Especially when it comes to breaking news, I can easily spend an hour reading every possible take on the event or losing myself in endless video clips. I do get different viewpoints, but after a few minutes I am as likely to be mindlessly viewing the same information over and over in a compulsive way.

The Insecure User: How many times a day do you check your email? You probably can't even count because it is a more or less constant activity. This is about insecurity. I appreciate when colleagues promptly respond to emails but there is something almost creepy about getting a response instantly; it is as if the other person is waiting at his keyboard in desperation. You can experiment with limiting our email use on certain days. Don't miss out on the life around you while you are staring at your email.

The Isolated: The Internet can also trick us into believing that online relationships are a replacement for face-to-face interaction. The conversations that happen on blogs are not the same as physical communication.

WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICSWorld RegionsPopulation ( 2008 Est.)Population % of WorldInternet Usage, Latest Data% Population ( Penetration )Usage % of WorldUsage Growth 2000-2008Africa <http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm>955,206,34814.3 %51,022,4005.3 %3.6 %1030.2 %Asia <http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats3.htm>3,776,181,94956.6 %529,701,70414.0 %37.6 %363.4 %Europe <http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats4.htm>800,401,06512.0 %382,005,27147.7 %27.1 %263.5 %Middle East <http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats5.htm>197,090,4433.0 %41,939,20021.3 %3.0 %1176.8 %North America <http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats14.htm>337,167,2485.1 %246,402,57473.1 %17.5 %127.9 %Latin America/Caribbean <http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats10.htm>576,091,6738.6 %137,300,30923.8 %9.8 %659.9 %Oceania / Australia <http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats6.htm>33,981,5620.5 %19,353,46257.0 %1.4 %154.0 %WORLD TOTAL6,676,120,288100.0 %1,407,724,92021.1 %100.0 %290.0 %(http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm)
With the increasing use of Internet, in particular the Asian countries, the problem of internet addiction is ascending. Dr Kimberly Young, a psychiatrist has developed the following criteria to diagnose Internet addiction:

1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?

2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?

3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?

4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?

5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?

6. Have you jeopardised or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?

7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?

According to the Stanford University School of Medicine Study, one out of eight Americans suffer from Internet Addiction, 14% of respondents found it hard to abstain from Internet use for several days; 5.9% said excessive Internet use affected their relationships; 8.2% said the Internet was a means of escape from the real world.

The Chinese Government says that approximately 13% of Chinese teenagers suffer from Internet addiction. Little wonder, it banned the opening of Internet cafes in 2007. In Germany, estimates suggest that close to one million people are addicted to the Internet, or about three per cent of the German online population. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in 
Mumbai adopted a measure to cut the students' use of the Internet in dormitories after the suicide of a student in October 2005 due to Internet abuse.

However, a news item, Internet addiction is a 'clinical disorder' in The Telegraph, London, a fortnight ago evoked violent reactions by the readers. In more than 200 comments on the item, hardly 12 supported the contention of psychiatrists in this regard. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ uknews/2152972/Internet-addiction-is-a-'clinical-disorder'.html)

Most of the observations veered around the following comments:

* There is no doubt that the Internet is driving the traditional propaganda machine out of business. They are being upstaged by millions of amateur investigative reporters who stand for truth and liberty. Much of what is written exposes main-stream news ineptness and unwillingness to expose the truth. This is the crux of mainstream media's inability to cope with 'competition'. The funny thing is that the same media outlets that criticise the Internet and its users are the one that have websites themselves. Think about it.

* The Internet is the last bastion of freedom of the press and true information. The global elite and military/industrial/pharmaceutical complex don't want an educated populace. The old Soviet Union used psychiatry to label dissidents with a "mental disorder" as an excuse to send them to the gulags. Enough already!

* The Internet if left unregulated will ultimately accelerate the quest for truth and justice. It is the only communications medium that approaches the concept of democracy. Certainly the 'mainstream' is largely controlled by a small number of people with massive corporate interest. The good news is that the mainstream is slipping and alternative media, largely on the 
Internet, is gaining more traction. Historically, most people have been addicted to a very biased mainstream media. The Internet is, indeed, refreshing and good grade hydrogen peroxide is good for you.

AnilM is an editor with Instablogs.com; anilM@instablogs.com



Help accident victims, save life

The news of road accidents on city roads has become a daily routine. Even in surrounding areas like Kharar and Zirakpur, negligent driving is rampant resulting in tragic deaths every now and then.

Recently a number of accidents took place in and around Chandigarh snuffing out lives of innocent people.

When will the administration wake up from its deep slumber? It is high time that efforts be made to improve the flow of vehicular traffic and well-organised policing be done to curb road mishaps.

In addition to that, the general public should realise the enormity of such situations and if possible, help road victims because one should always remember that ‘life is precious, whether yours or mine’.

I hope that the administration looks into these matters seriously as nothing can compensate the loss of a life.

Gehna Vaishnavi, 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
Admit cards dispatched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Admit cards of the eligible candidates who are to appear in MEd (regular and through correspondence), BEd (regular and through correspondence) and MPhil/PhD entrance test-2008, to be conducted by Panjab University, Chandigarh, on July 6, have been dispatched by registered post. Those who do not receive the admit cards by July 3, they may get duplicate admit cards from the university office (CET Cell, Aruna Ranjit Chandra Hall, near post office) on July 4 and July 5 after completing pre-requisite requirements as detailed in the concerned prospectus.

RESULTS: Panjab University has declared the results of BSc home science (final year), BSc biotechnology (final year), BSc microbial and food technology (final year) and BSc (1st year) compartment examination.



Honour for Panjab University professor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Panjab University professor S.K. Kulkarni has been identified among the top 10 most productive scientists in a status report released by the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi. Kulkarni teaches pharmacology in the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Panjab University.

The status report has been prepared on Indian Science and Technology from 1996 to 2006, wherein the interface between science, technology and society has been identified and defined.

The study is based on Scopus International database. It compares top 20 productive countries, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, China, and many other developed and developing countries contributing to global knowledge base of science and technology.

The report has identified top 21 scientists from India and 35 Indian institutions and universities who have made contributions to the science and technology growth of India during 1996-2006. Panjab University has also been listed as one of the productive universities in the area of science and technology.

Kulkarni has an experience of more than three decades in teaching and research. A member of the National Academy of Medical Sciences and Indian Pharmaceutical Association, he is recipient of several national honours for his contributions to pharmacology research and pharmaceutical education, which include the UGC - Hari Om Ashram Trust National Award in Neuroscience and Ranbaxy Research Foundation Award, besides others.

A fulbright visiting scholar of the US Education Foundation, Kulkarni was the general president of the Indian Pharmaceutical Congress Association. He served many committees of the national statutory bodies such as UGC, NAAC, AICTE and CSIR systems.

He was recently conferred the prestigious Punjab Ratan title for his contributions to education and research and the Cipla Distinguished Fellowship Award.



St Anne’s to reopen on July 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
St Anne’s Convent School, Sector 32, will reopen after summer vacation on July 7 instead of July 2, due to unavoidable circumstances.

However, the examination schedule for Class X on July 4 and 5 will remain the same. During these two days, school bus facility will be provided to Class X students as usual. The timing for the examination will be from 7:45 am to 9:45 am.

Meanwhile, the government schools of the city will open tomorrow after 40 days’ summer vacations. The students will now have the facility of interactive multimedia boards, which are being installed in the schools for students of science and other practical subjects.



PUTA fast: Stalemate continues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Prof B.S. Brar, Dr Pampa Mukherjee and four students Suresh Jaglan, Sunny Kumar, Simranjit Kaur and Jaspal Singh sat on the fast which entered the 85th day today. In addition, three teachers from the department of physics M.M. Aggarwal, Bivash Bihera and G.S.S. Saini also sat on the fast.

“The persistent deficit budget of Panjab University for the past 10 years has done a tremendous harm to research, teaching and maintenance of quality education,” said Prof Brar, department of political science. A large number of young talented scholars and teachers are leaving at the very first opportunity for other institutes of excellence within the country or even abroad as PU could not provide them requisite infra-structure for their retention, he added.

The backward looking politics and complete lack of educational planning is a sure sign of plunging Punjab into severe crisis in the near future, opined Prof Brar.

Explaining the effect of Central University status for PU, Simranjit Kaur, a student from the department of political science, said, “Over the years, food quality in the hostels is deteriorating, cost of education is spiraling, and the burden of infrastructural facilities is slowly transferring on to students and research scholars.”

“The students community is going to benefit from the Central status before anybody else,” was the belief of Suresh Jaglan, another student from the same department.

It is the duty of every employee, student and teacher of the university to save it from becoming a victim of political tug-of-war between the Centre and the government of Punjab, said Prof Aggarwal from the department of physics.

To a question that what if this stalemate continues, Prof Aggarwal quipped, “Chain fast is the humble beginning not the end of our struggle to save Panjab University from the financial crunch.”



High Court
Once accepted, lok adalat’s purview can’t be challenged 
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the lok adalat’s jurisdiction to deal with a matter cannot be challenged in an appeal after it has first been accepted.

In a significant judgment on the jurisdiction of the lok adalats, Justice Ranjit Singh has asserted that first acquiescing to the jurisdiction of permanent lok adalat to decide the case and then to challenge its jurisdiction was neither appreciable nor permissible under law. The ruling came on a petition filed by an insurance company in a claim case. Sensing the court’s disinclination to accept its arguments against offering the claim money in a death case, the insurance company had resorted to “technicality”.

Counsel for the insurance company had contended that the lok adalat did not have the jurisdiction to direct it to pay Rs 10 lakh along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum to a Gurgaon resident following the death of his son.

Citing a number of judgments, counsel had contended that the lok adalat did not have adjudicatory or judicial functions and its function was related only to conciliation.

Justice Ranjit Singh said: “No doubt, in these cases, it is observed that a lok adalat can determine a reference on the basis of compromise or settlement between the parties; and that when the parties do not reach a compromise or settlement, no award is to be made and the case required to be returned to the court. In my view, the ratio of law laid down in these cases would not be attracted to the facts of the present case. The present case is the one which has been decided by permanent lok adalat (public utility services), Gurgaon, under the provisions of Section 22(c) (8) of the Act, 1987. This is not a case which was referred to the lok adalat for settlement or conciliation. The matter went to permanent lok adalat at the pre-litigation stage and the decision came to be passed on the merits of the controversy having regard to the different pleas raised by the parties.

The petitioner never raised a plea regarding jurisdiction of the lok adalat to decide this matter. It had made detailed reference to the number of judgments on merits justifying its action of repudiating the claim, but never raised any objection in regard to the jurisdiction of the permanent lok adalat to decide the matter.

The insurance company acquiesced to the jurisdiction of the permanent lok adalat and, thus, cannot now be allowed to turn around and challenge the jurisdiction of the same forum, as has been done before this court, the judge stated. 



Malhotra is senior panel counsel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Advocate Rajiv Malhotra has been appointed senior panel counsel by the President for conducting central government cases before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According a notification issued by the ministry of law and justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Malhotra will conduct central government cases other than those of the Income Tax Department and Railways.

He will also conduct cases filed against public officers while in service of the central government.



Court Brief
Stabbing Case: PU student gets bail 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
District Sessions Judge K.K. Garg today granted bail to Barinder Dhillon,who had allegedly thrashed and stabbed Simrandeep Singh Sandhu inside the examination hall in Panjab University on May 3.

Dhillon furnished bail bonds of Rs 25,000. The defence counsel argued that Dhillon’s name was not in the FIR and his case was similar to that of Gobind Khatra, who was earlier granted bail.

Sandhu, a student of the law department, was seriously injured in a violent clash that took place inside the examination hall of the department.

A group of eight students brandishing sharp-edged weapons had entered the examination hall where Simran was giving his sixth semester examination.

Fake passport case: Chief Judicial Magistrate Kanchan Mahi while declining the cops’ plea for extending Bharat Ghai’s remand in the fake passport case has sent him in judicial remand today.

The public prosecutor sought for police remand on the grounds that the accused was hiding vital facts.

While the defence counsel argued that Bharat has been in police remand for four days twice thus it wasn’t ideal for extending it further.”

The matter came to light with the arrest of Sukhwant Singh, a resident of Kapurthala, and Raj Kumar, a resident of Patiala.They disclosed that a Jalandhar-based travel agent was involved in sending them to Italy.

The duo was deported from Singapore last year for travelling on fake documents. During investigation, the police nabbed Ghai through cell phone surveillance.

Apart from Bharat there are three more persons involved in the racket, who would soon be arrested.



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