C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Property dealer killed in car-bus collision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Devinder Singh, a Mohali-based property dealer, was killed while four persons, including his co-passenger, were critically injured in an accident involving a Toyota Innova and a Punjab Roadway Bus on Sectors 45, 46, 49 and 50 intersection here late last night.

Devinder Singh, the victim
Devinder Singh, the victim

There were 25 passengers travelling in the bus. Three of them were admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), while 22 passengers were administered first-aid.

Devinder Singh, in his mid-twenties, is survived by his pregnant wife. He was reportedly going with his friend, Balwinder Singh, to Sector 17 for dinner when the accident occurred. Devinder lived in Phase XI, Mohali, and hailed from Pangota village in Amritsar. Balwinder Singh belonged to Gurdaspur.

The devastating impact of the collision could be gauged from the mangled remains of the Innova and the road divider, which was swept away up to 10 feet. The bus (PB-06-G-9588) hit the Innova, which was coming from the Mohali side, on its right side and dragged it before overturning. The bus was coming from Delhi and its front portion was damaged in the mishap.

According to the SHO of the Sector 34 police station, inspector Sudarshan Thakur, the police received information around 12:45 am on Friday and reached the spot. The injured were rushed to the GMCH, from where the doctors referred Devinder Singh and Balwinder Singh to the PGI. Devinder Singh was declared brought dead at the PGI, while Balwinder’s family took him to a private hospital later in the evening. He added that it was not confirmed from where the occupants of the Innova were coming.

Sources in the police said Balwinder sustained multiple fractures on his right side. Among the bus passengers, Ashok Kumar, Pardeep Kumar and his wife Shanti Devi were injured. Ashok was later discharged from the hospital.

Devinder Singh’s brother, Manjinder Singh told mediapersons at the hospital that his brother had come to Mohali about a year and a half ago and set up business.

The police said the Innova (CH-03-H-0025) belonged to Devinder’s business partner. The police arrested the bus driver on the charges of causing death due to rash and negligent driving. The police said the post mortem would be conducted tomorrow. 



Eye injury cases reach hospitals
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
With the onset of the festive season, cases of eye injuries among children start pouring in city hospitals. About five such cases have been reported so far. According to experts, most of the cases were mainly caused due to bow and arrow injury.

A 4-year-old girl was brought to GMCH-32 with cornea injury caused when she and her brother was playing with bow and arrow on Dussehra. Her case is not an isolated one; three similar cases were reported in the PGI yesterday.

Every year, a large number of young innocents are wheeled into the hospitals and clinics all over the city with eye injuries sustained while playing with bows and arrows.

Confirming the information, eye specialists says that the number of such patients increased manifold during the festival season, culminating with the Diwali celebrations.

“Perforating injuries are caused when an arrow hits eyes and tears the eyeball and the cornea. Such injuries are very dangerous as the wounds require stitching. These injuries, if not treated in time, can lead to total vision loss,’’ says Dr Sunandan Sood, head of the Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

According to a study by the PGI on paediatric ocular trauma, which was published in 2001, 30 per cent of all paediatric injury is reported during this period. Almost 50 per cent cases were of ambulatory vision, in which the victim could not perceive more than 3 metre and rest of the cases were of non-ambulatory vision, in which victim can see less than three metre.

Dr Subina Narang of GMCH-32 says, “Just before the Dussehra celebrations, you see a number of vendors all over the city, selling this stuff in front of the venues. Children, thronging different grounds to see Ravana go up in flames, are easily lured into buying bows and arrows. They used to watch Ramlila or arrow fights on the small screen and forced their parents to get them bows and arrows.”

She says that the parents should be more careful if children insist on buying these not-so-safe toys. “Parents should discourage children from buying the stuff, but if children cannot be persuaded, they should be allowed to play, but only under the 
supervision of the adults.”



Youth dies in accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 10
One youth was killed while another injured in a head-on collision between an Innova and Indica car near Mansa Devi complex here today. The deceased, who was driving the Indica, has been identified as Ankush. He was a resident of Sector 25, Panchkula. The injured, Harshit, was admitted to a local hospital.

In another incident, another youth was injured in a shootout at old Panchkula, when a shot was fired in the air at a marriage party.


Illegal inter-state buses ply  from Sec 22 as STA sleeps
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 10
Certain private bus operators have been running illegal inter-state buses virtually under the nose of the authorities, putting the state exchequer to loss.

Shockingly, a full-fledged illegal bus service has been functioning from the Sector 22 market, just opposite the ISBT, Sector 17, in late evening.

These buses have no permit of the State Transport Authority, Chandigarh (STA), these cannot even enter the city. But in absence of any check, these operators have been continuing with this illegal practice from the past several years, says an 
STA officer.

According to the law, without paying the tax these can't enter Chandigarh. The operators park their buses near a fuel station of Sector-52 and Mohali also. Sometimes they took their passengers in private cabs to these places.

Passengers too prefer these buses for better facilities and comforts in almost the same fare, being charged by the government authorities for their bus service. Interestingly, these buses also include deluxe and luxurious Volvos.

According to a survey by this correspondent, hundreds of passengers travel in these buses, which cover almost all major cities of neighbouring and far-flung states, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan.

"I always prefer to go by theses buses as these buses offer more comforts like air-condition, sleeper seats and new films on DVD in almost the same fare, being charged by the state bus services", said a passenger.

A private bus operator of Sector 22 denied the allegations. "We are charging them from Mohali not from Chandigarh and what if the buses start journey from Chandigarh, he said"

Terming it a major problem, Anil Kumar, additional secretary, State Transport Authority, said, the bus operators are notorious and have links in the department. They know about the raids in advance. Besides, the shortage of police staff is also a deterrent.



20 vehicles recovered after kingpin's interrogation
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 10
The interrogation of Bhim Patan has led to the recovery of 20 vehicles stolen from the tricity.

The vehicles recovered from various districts of Haryana include one Tata Indica and one Tata Safari while the rests are Boleros and Scorpios. Many more are also expected to be recovered when one of the accused lodged at Tiahr Jail in Delhi would be brought here on production warrant.

Bhim Patan, kingpin of a gang of car thieves in the region, along with his two accomplices, was arrested in Sector 3 on September 24. Patan is an expert in the car lifting and it took him hardly one minute to break into a Bolero and took it away.

He was into car lifting for the past more than 15 years and earlier also, he was arrested and convicted by the Hisar and Jhajjar police.

Patan has already confessed to have lifted more than 50 vehicles from the tricity a majority of them Boleros, said Sandip Khirwar, SP.

Patan had established a network in Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Haryana, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. The vehicles were sold in Haryana misguiding customers that these were confiscated from the defaulters by finance companies, said a police official in the CIA department. Scorpio and Bolero were sold between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2 lakh only, said the police.

To avoid any suspicion, the deals were hammered out for a reasonable price of the vehicles. However, the clients were handed over the vehicle against the payment of initial amount of Rs 1 or 2 lakh on the assurance that the rest of the money would be charged only at the time when they get documents duly signed in their favour which they never got.

Though a few vehicles were sold around Rs 5 lakh on the basis of forged documents, said the police. 



Chief engg directs officials to clean water tank
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 10
Chief engineer of the water supply and sanitation wing of the public health department S. R. Aggarwal directed officials to clean the underground water storage tank in Phase X in which lizards and insects were allegedly found and also check the quality of water supplied to residents.

Aggarwal visited the tank site along with other senior officials to take stock of the situation and directed the officials to start the work of cleaning the tank within 15 days. He also told them to collect the water samples on daily basis and a report in this regard should be sent to him.

He assured that other matters like upgrading water treatment plants and making non-functional tube wells in the working order would also be taken up on priority basis with the higher authorities concerned as well as with the GMADA and the municipal council.

A team of the Citizens Welfare Council, Phase X, led by its chairman Ripudaman Singh Roop, had checked the underground water storage tank from which water was supplied to Phases IX to XI after complaints were received from the residents regarding contaminated and muddy water, which was also received at low pressure. The council had also pointed out that the water tank had not been cleaned from the past 20 years. The public health department officials had claimed that the tank, which was constructed by PUDA, could not be cleaned due to its designing.

According to the council, machinery at two water tanks in Phase VI and Sector 57 had become obsolete with the passage of time and could not treat adequate quantity of water. A number of tube wells in Phases IX to XI were also not functioning leading to a shortage of water. Funds were demanded by the authorities concerned for making these tube wells functional but to no avail. Even though the municipal council had approved a sum of Rs 39.80 lakh for installing a booster to increase the pressure of water, the proposal had so far not been implemented.

However, the authorities concerned had denied the allegations saying that the lizards and insects could not enter water as the tank had been covered. Water of the tank could not be contaminated as it was pumped out daily and fresh water was filled each time. 



City all set to become a hub of multiplexes
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Derisively dubbed as a city of tired and retired, Chandigarh is waking up to the multiplex culture in a big way. In a development that may spice up the entertainment scenario in the city, the Chandigarh administration has relaxed the conditions for the conversion of the existing cinema halls into multiplexes.

The decision, which will go a long way in converting the single-screen cinemas such as Neelam, Batra, Kiran, Piccadily and Nirman into state-of-the-art multiplexes, is aimed at catering to the changing entertainment requirements of the residents and visitors, official sources said here today.

The ‘setting up of multiplex theatre and conversion of existing cinemas into multiplex theatres (amendment) scheme, 2008’ allows an additional floor area ratio (FAR) of 50 per cent of the existing FAR. A conversion fee of Rs 2,344 per square feet has been fixed for the coverage of the extra FAR, the sources informed.

The above five cinema-house owners are reportedly keen on converting their theatres into multiplexes in the wake of the boom in the multiplex culture. In the backdrop of the real estate boom, particularly in the commercial hubs of Sectors 17, 22 and 34, the "politically-connected" owners are keen on commercially exploiting their space.

Currently, the Fun Republic in Mani Majra, the DT Cinemas in IT Park and the Centra Mall in Industrial Area are the only multiplexes in the city with TDI Mall (Jagat Cinema) and the KC Theatre in various stages of completion.

Apparently, learning a lesson from allowing a number of multiplexes in the Industrial Area, the administration seems to be more cautious in approving the designs. The ground coverage, shape, height and other parameters of any special character site/building will be separately approved in view of the special character of the site/building by the chief administrator, a recent notification said.

Recently, the indiscriminate conversion of the large-sized plots into shopping malls, multiplexes and office spaces by the administration drew flak as no thought had been spared for the provision of basic amenities, including water, power and parking.



Enforce Cinematograph Act, Centre to UT
Says film fests in city showing uncertified films
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Taking serious note of the exhibition of "uncertified films" at certain film festivals in the city, the union ministry of information and broadcasting has asked the Chandigarh administration to strictly enforce the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

A recent communication by Sushma Singh, secretary of the information and broadcasting ministry, to Pradip Mehra, adviser to the UT administrator, said: "Instances have come to its notice wherein some film festival authorities have commenced festivals of uncertified films without obtaining prior exemption from the process of certification for films for exhibition."

Official sources said the sanctioning of cinematograph films for exhibition was a subject matter in the union list of the Constitution. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is an agency authorised to sanction films for exhibition.

The Act makes the law and order enforcement agencies in the states and the union territories duty-bound to check the violation of the statutory provisions.

"The condition of certification from the CBFC or an exemption order from the information and broadcasting ministry is mandated even for screenings at licensed theatres and exhibition centres,” the letter said.

In fact, the administration had been asked to take stringent action against the exhibition of uncertified films without obtaining prior necessary exemption order from the ministry. Meanwhile, the UT has been warned not to grant other permissions for the film festival till they produce the necessary exemption order from the ministry.

A senior official said the administration was committed to the implementation of the Act. The loopholes, if any, in the implementation of the Act would be plugged and a compliance report would be sent to the ministry soon, he added.



Silvi Park Theatre
Artistes seek light, sound facilities
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 10
A number of artistes and those related with cultural activities have demanded equipping an open-air theatre at Silvi Park, Phase X, with light and sound facility.

They have also demanded that Rs 5 lakh earmarked by the municipal council for cultural activities be freed from red tape.

They said the theatre constructed by the civic body could not be put to proper use due to lack of light and sound facility.

A sum of Rs 20 lakh had been spent on the construction of the theatre after artistes appealed to the authorities concerned in this regard.

Former Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh had played a major role in getting the theatre constructed. However, the theatre could not be put to proper use because it lacked many facilities.

There was no seating arrangement and every time a play or any other cultural activity was organised, chairs had to be arranged apart from making arrangements for light and sound systems.

The artistes said they had over the years been demanding that the civic body should reserve some amount in its annual budget for cultural activities. After a lot of efforts, the council had agreed to set aside a sum of Rs 5 lakh for cultural activities.

The artistes demanded that the amount should be spent on encouraging cultural activities by holding such activities at regular intervals.

But the authorities concerned said approval of higher authorities was required each time some amount was to be spent out of the fund. This led to unnecessary formalities and the fund earmarked for cultural activities were not properly utilised, as a result of which the funds lapsed, they added.



Men! Don’t ignore that lump in breast
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Amritesh (45) is being treated for breast cancer at a city hospital. Until it happened to him, he believed it was impossible for men to get the disease. But they do, and it is more dangerous than in women.

“For a long time I tried avoiding the lump, even after it turned malignant. I scoffed at the doctor who diagnosed it. I was not ready to believe it, as I thought it only happened to women,” says Amritesh.

Men think they have no risk of developing breast cancer under the misconception that they have no breast tissue. It’s an uncommon disease, but a busy breast surgeon, Dr Gurpreet Singh, at the PGI said the department receives around five new case among men every year.

It usually begins as a painless lump under one nipple. A discharge from the nipple is an unusual but more sinister associated finding.

Many men dismiss early symptoms as trivial and fail to visit their doctor until the disease is in advance stages. The evil reputation of male breast cancer is reportedly due to delay and poorer results of treatment with advanced disease, says expert.

Dr A.K. Pandey, head of radiotherapy department, GMCH-32, says at least two male breast cancer cases are reported here every year.

“The disease is prevalent amongst males in their seventies. But a considerable proportion of cases do exist amongst middle-aged men, especially in the age group of 30 to 45.”

According to Dr N. Khandelwal, head of radiotherapy department, PGI, the most common form of breast cancer amongst men is “infiltrating ductal carcinoma” (IDC). “Unlike females, where there is fat tissue and mammary glands to separate the breast tissue from the chest wall, males just have soft breast tissue and muscles surrounding it.

When the tumour turns malignant, the muscles attached to the chest walls face greater risk of being affected by the cancer, which are at close proximity to vital organs in the chest region,” says Khandelwal.

“The only hope is early detection,” argues Khandelwal. “One should feel the breast area with one’s palm for unusual lumps and then consult a specialist. Just like treating any other cancer, patients are put through chemotherapy as initial therapy. However, surgical treatment of male breast cancer, called radical mastectomy, is another option,” says Dr Gurpreet.

Although the number of men with breast cancer is small compared to women, Dr Pandey said cases among men had been inching up in the past decade.

According to a survey carried out by the PGI in association with the World Health Organisation, in Sectors 12 and 24, of the 560 women screened for breast cancer, 10 were found carrying disease-related abnormalities, which is alarming.

According to experts, breast cancer cases have increased with more and more women opting for late pregnancies, lack of breast-feeding and rise in obesity, blood sugar and diabetes cases. Changing lifestyle adds to the risk factor. “Junk food and little physical activity add to the problem,” said Dr A.K. Pandey, head of radiotherapy department of GMCH-32.

The number of breast cancer cases in the city are growing. Almost 10 fresh cases of breast cancer are being reported every month at the GMCH-32, while the PGI sees 25 breast cancer cases every month. Of these, 12 are from the city.

Doctors advise women in the 18-60 age groups to get a screening done once a year. They should adopt the method of monthly self- breast examination.



Child welfare panel working without office
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The Child Welfare Committee is still awaiting official accommodation at the Juvenile Home, Sector 25, even after writing to the Social Welfare Department director for the same over a year ago.

The committee members had sought the accommodation under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.

Sources said the committee was assured that the office would be allotted soon but there had been no progress.

Consequently, committee members have been forced to work from their homes. They claim that such an arrangement is not viable as a long-term prospect.

Section 24 (1) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 specifies: “The Child and Welfare Committee shall hold meetings on the premises of the children’s home or on a suitable premise in any institution run under the Act.”

It has been specifically mentioned in the Act that the committee shall meet thrice a week. However, the committee doesn’t have an office to perform its functions.

With no office at their disposal, the committee members are facing a tough time. Under the Section 24 (5): “A minimum of three-fourth attendance of the chairperson and members of committee is necessary in a year.”

A member of the committee said: “We are all working from our residences and are barely able to meet at the Juvenile Home as we don’t have an office there. The welfare of the children cannot be monitored from our homes and we need an office to perform our functions properly as per the Act.”



Amend land use policy: Banquet owners 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 10
The Mohali Banquet Owner’s Association today urged the Punjab Chief Minister to amend the policy of allowing the change in land use (CLU) from industrial plots to commercial in Industrial Area here. None of the plots allotted by the GMADA in Industrial Area, Phase 1 to VI, fulfill the conditions laid down under the CLU policy notified in January this year.

Addressing a press conference, association members said for a 5000 sq metre plot, the required plot front of 200 feet and 80 ft wide road was nowhere available in the Industrial Area. In the Industrial Area, Phase 1 to VI, the plot front varied from 100 ft to 125 ft. “The government should adopt reasonable parametres so that people 
are able to organise their social gatherings.

A number of community centres in Mohali, constructed for the purpose of holding social functions, have been taken over different offices of the district administration.

Highlighting their problems, the association members said while their plots had been resumed within a few months for undertaking commercial activity in violation of the allotment rules, the GMADA has been taking it easy while dealing with other industrial plots where commercial activity is rampant. A list of 56 industrial plots has been provided where commercial activity has failed to catch the eye of law enforcers.

In violation of the rules, GMADA issued NoC for the release of commercial connection to the industrial units. There is a lot of difference in the commercial and industrial rates charged by the PSEB. Besides some of the industrial plots have opened back gates in violation of the rules. There are cases of renting out industrial plots in violation of the allotment rules.

Though the GMADA claims to have carried out a survey of the violating units, sources reveal that such surveys have been carried out in the past.



GMADA okays Rs 1,700 cr for land acquisition
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 10
Acquiring land to provide multiple accesses to the upcoming Chandigarh International Airport is going to cost the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) four times the money spent on acquiring the land for the airport in Jheorehri village here.

Compared to around Rs 460 crore spent on the acquisition of 306 acres of land for the airport, GMADA will spend around Rs 1,700 crore to acquire around 1,200 acres for the multiple access.

While GMADA will spend Rs 250 crore from its pocket, the remaining amount will be borrowed from financial institutions. This will put an additional burden on the authority as Haryana is yet to pay its share of Rs 230 crore.

Vivek Pratap Singh, chief administrator of GMADA, said since the acquisition for the roads is a tedious process, the acquisition would be done in phases. The State Land Acquistion Board (SLAB) has last month approved the acquisition.

To pay back the loan, the authority will auction land earmarked as mix land use along the proposed roads.

Keeping in mind the strategic importance of the area, land is being acquired for at least three wide roads linking the airport with the Zirakpur-Patiala highway, Chandigarh-Delhi national highway and the proposed Banur-Baddi express highway.

It is learnt that the proposed alignment of one of the roads will run through the revenue estate of Landiali, Shafipur and Bakarpur villages before it joins the 300-metre wide road connecting Balomajra (on the Chandigarh-Kharar road) with Chattbir village (on the Zirakpur-Patiala road). The road will ultimately touch the proposed the Banur-Baddi road.



The Internet ‘hawala’

The proceeds of the flourishing illicit trade globally merge with the greatest of ease into the vast daily flow of interbank settlements and private money transfers. Internet not only boosts the speed and efficiency of the illegal trade, but expands the possibilities by, for instance, hosting online markets for prostitutes from Moldova and Ukraine destined for shipment to markets in Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States. The illicit trade, too, offers terrorists and criminals means of survival and methods of financial transfer and exchange.

Way back in 2002, Moises Naim, editor of the prestigious magazine ‘Foreign Policy’ in the Grotius Lecture in the US had titled his lecture "The Five Wars of Globalization" - referring to the illicit markets for arms, drugs, human beings, intellectual property and money and internet, no doubt, is providing fodder to it.

There is eBay, a supermarket that knows no borders and in which virtually anything can be procured for virtually anyone, so long as the buyer is prepared to pay the price. Naim regrets that: "Sadly, the evidence shows that too many clients are willing to pay the price and have the wherewithal to do so."

In his well-researched book, Naim, a former minister of industry and trade in Venezuela, says that it is perhaps the financial revolution of the past 10 years that has most benefited the illicit trade. The daily swirl of financial transactions, e-commerce, Internet banking and wire transfer services all come into play to advance illegal trade.

The ATM card-pioneered banking portability has paved the way for virtual banks, Internet-only entities that never meet a customer face-to-face. Little wonder, a constant pulse of interbank transactions and electronic settlements keeps the system humming at all times. Notwithstanding the misuse of the e-banking or e-commerce to boost illicit trade, in the internet age and that too amidst the process of globalisation, the online transaction of money has become inevitable.

PayPal is the most prominent internet-only financial institution that is preferred in the US even over the decades old prestigious American Express Bank. It was founded in California in 1998 and was acquired by eBay, that Internet supermarket, giving tough competition even to Wal-mart. Using the PayPal, one can send (transfer) money to anyone (family and friends) as well as for goods and services by using your bank account, credit card or balance in one's PayPal account. It has quickly become a global leader in online payment solutions. With more than 60 million active accounts, PayPal transacted US $ 47 billion in 2007 alone.

Every second, PayPal processes about US $ 2,000 in payments. Today, its payments represent about nine per cent of e-commerce globally and 12 per cent in the US. "Over the past decade, PayPal has allowed people to do something that few ever dreamed possible 10 years ago - send and receive money all around the world through the click of a button," said Scott Thompson, president of PayPal.

Conscious of its brand image, it has developed substantial anti-phishing resources. However, its image has received a dent as in June last, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission remarked that "the evidence available does not support the view that PayPal is the most secure method of payment or offers the best services for all transactions."

Its precursor CyberCash, founded in 1994 fell victim to the Y2K Bug on the first day of the millennium, causing double recording of credit card payments through their system. The company became bankrupt in March 2001.

Among the developing or underdeveloped countries, Kenya is the only one where Vodafone, the mobile network, in league with Safaricom has introduced M-Pesa for transferring money using a mobile phone. It is available to all, even if one does not have a bank account or a bankcard. In October 2007, Safaricom smugly claimed a subscriber base of about eight million, though mostly in the major cities of Kenya - Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru.

The M-Pesa allows Kenyans to transfer money via SMS. The service does not require users to have bank accounts, an important aspect in a country like Kenya, where many people do not have bank accounts. With M-Pesa, the user can buy digital funds at any M-Pesa agent and send that electronic cash to any other mobile phone user in Kenya, who can then redeem it for conventional cash at any agent. An M-Pesa enabled mobile phone can also function as an electronic wallet and can hold up to 50,000 Kenyan shilling. This system is remotely comparable to Hawala banking or services like Western Union.

In Hawala, which has its origin in classical Islamic law, money is transferred via a network of Hawala-brokers. A customer approaches a hawala broker in one city and gives a sum of money to be transferred to a recipient in another city. The Hawala broker calls his counterpart in the recipient's city, gives disposition instructions of the funds (usually minus a small commission) and promises to settle the debt at a later date. The unique feature of the system is that no promissory instruments are exchanged between the Hawala-brokers, the transaction takes place entirely on the honour system. The system does not have a legal sanction.

anilM is an editor with Instablogs.com [email protected]



Coping with life after suicide bid 
Ravia Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Life after death is certainly not known, but life after a suicide attempt is full of guilt, grief, fear and shame. Suicide may seem like an easy and the only way out of a tough situation for many, especially those in the age group of 20-35 years, but life is not the same for those who survive a suicide attempt.

According to psychologist Ribhu Goyal, suicide is an impulsive behaviour and is a matter of diffusing that impulse to prevent a tragedy later. Undergoing this impulsive behaviour, a person seeks to communicate without being judged. Today, teenagers deal with adult who are equally under stress and have no time to share their emotions. Lack of communication is thus dividing the family and leading the kids towards isolation. The youth feel the pressure more especially while going through traumatic situations such as academic failure or failed relations, feels Goyal.

According to an article published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry in 2007, more than 1,00,000 lives are lost every year due to suicides. In the last two decades, the suicide rate has increased from 7.9 per cent to 10.3 per cent per 1,00,000.

In India, 37.8 per cent of suicides are committed by those below 30 years of age. The trend of educated people ending their lives is alarming.

Anita Arora (name changed), 21-year-old city resident, swallowed sleeping pills last year after her parents refused to marry off her to the boy she liked. The boy belonged to a different cast and the idea if inter-cast marriage was not acceptable to Anita’s parents. Failing to find an alternative to the parental pressure, she decided to call quits to her life. But then, destiny had planned some thing else for her when she came to know that she had survived the suicide attempt. Nearly after a month of the trauma, even before she could heal, her parents succeeded in getting her married to a person from the same cast.

Anita, though regrets taking such a sudden step then as she had to start life all over again and this time she had to alone coupe up mentally as well as physically. Today, she feels that unlike her parents, who failed to understand her, she would be more supportive of her kids in future.

May being a month of exam results is often scary as number of suicide stories by students who could not perform as per their expectations are splashed across the media. Take for example the case of a final year engineering student from the city who despite of clearing the GRE with 1500 and getting calls from almost seven IMMS across the country, could not take admission simply because she failed in two subjects and the college refused to allot her the degree certificate. Finding it difficult to face her parents, she rather took a difficult way out to quit her life by jumping from her hostel terrace. Repenting her decision, Daljeet Kaur (name changed) feels that it’s difficult to justify your attempt to the society later.

As per a recent survey conducted by a city-based NGO, Yuva Sankalpa Foundation, it has been seen that students between 15 and 20 years of age and housewives (21-30) are the most vulnerable group who committed suicides in the past two years, and for both the categories the reason was depression.

According to Dr B.S. Chavana, Prof and head of psychiatry at GMCH, “There are two parties to a death. The person who dies and the survivors who are bereaved, and unfortunately, there is a possibility that the person, who once attempts suicide, is more likely to try again and the second attempt could be more planned and lethal.”

“Only one out of 10 suicide attempts are successful. Some survivors have severe problems like vision loss, speech impairment and some are even bedridden for the rest of their lives,” he added.

In another incident, 25-year-old Rasmeet Singh (name changed), raised alone by his mother, perhaps could not go against her wishes and let go his first love. The feeling of cheating someone was killing him and to punish himself, he tried ending his life not once but twice. According to him, no one can completely overcome the mental pain caused by a suicide attempt and time may not always prove the biggest healer. Being a criminal offence, people who attempt suicide are booked under Section 309 of the IPC and are often found lost in police harassment.



P.K. Sharma gets additional charge of MC secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Following the transfer of Samwartak Singh, secretary, municipal corporation, as DPI (schools), the Chandigarh administration has given P. K. Sharma, additional commissioner, additional charge of the MC secretary.

The work of UT chief engineer shall be looked after by Krishanjit Singh, SE (bridges and roads), in addition to his own duties during leave period of S. K. Jaitley. In partial modification, the additional charge of chief engineer of the Chandigarh Housing Board has been withdrawn from Krishanjit Singh and entrusted to Surinder Pal, SE (electricity operations).

Meanwhile, M. S. Brar, director, information technology, will replace I.S. Sandhu, ADC, as the joint chief electoral officer.



Four SHOs appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
In a minor reshuffle, the UT inspector-general of police today appointed four station house officers (SHOs). In two of the police stations the incumbents had been placed under suspension a couple of days ago.

According to sources, inspector Sukhbir Rana has been transferred from crime branch to the Sector 11 police station as SHO, while his predecessor inspector Ramesh Chand has been appointed SHO of the Sector 17 police station. The post of SHO of the Sector 17 police station had been lying vacant after Kulwant Singh Pannu was promoted as deputy superintendent of police. Inspector Anokh Singh, who held charge of additional SHO of the Sector 36 police station, has been appointed SHO of the Sector 36 police station. The post had fallen vacant a couple of days ago when his predecessor inspector Devinder Sharma was placed under suspension for dereliction of duty.

Inspector Janak Rana has been appointed SHO of the Sector 39 police station after inspector Rajesh Shukla was placed under suspension on Wednesday.



Prepaid coupons to set up Diwali stalls

Chandigarh, October 10
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has decided to issue prepaid coupons to people desirous of setting up temporary stalls on Diwali.

According to an official spokesman, these coupons would be issued at the corporation office and sub-office at Manimajra from October 20 to 25, 2008. For Manimajra and Mauli Jagran, the coupons will be issued at the sub-office at Manimajra and for Sector 17, the coupons will be issued to the original shopkeepers of Sector 17 only. The coupons will be issued on first-come-first-serve basis. Any one found to have set up a stall without a coupon will be charged double the rate applicable, said the spokesman. — TNS



Accused complains of chest pain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Ravinder Singh, the prime accused in the case of the cash delivered at judges house was taken to the PGI following a complaint of pain in the chest.

However, he was later shifted back to the jail after getting treatment.

According to sources, Ravinder, who has been lodged in Burail jail after his surrender, today complained of pain in the chest. Immediately, he was taken to the GMCH, Sector 32 from where he was referred to the PGI.

The doctors allowed to take him back to the jail after prescribing some medicines.



A blot on planned scape
Security tents in VIP sectors immune to demolition drives
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Security, indeed, is an all-time favourite excuse of ministers, police officers and bureaucrats who leave no opportunity to grab public land by pitching tents on it for ‘their men’.

Exercising powers under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, Chandigarh deputy commissioner, in May, issued notification to all ‘concerned’ to remove such obstructions from the government or public land within 30 days, but a quick round of the city’s ‘VIP sectors’ still speaks volumes about their ‘couldn’t care less attitude’ towards all norms of the Chandigarh administration.

The residences of two Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana have come up to the road berms. High fences and heavy police force make them look like nothing short of forts.

The officials disclosed that these encroachments were ‘done’ with the approval of the administration on the grounds of security during the dark days of terrorism, but since nobody took notice, it continued even when the situation became normal.

The tents pitched outside the Punjab CM’s house and a former Punjab minister’s house, both in Sector 9, the house of a former Punjab minister in Sector 4 and the house of chairman of the Punjab Congress disciplinary committee in Sector 15 are a case in point.

Another encroachment outside a judge’s residence in Sector 8 tells that the lawmakers, too, are not lagging behind. In fact, most so-called VIP sectors are full of such tents and other makeshift structures. One such tent is there in Sector 2 (backside of Sector 11) and another one on the roundabout of Sectors 18-19-21-20.

Bureaucrats also seem to enjoy immunity from anti-encroachment drives. In Sector 7, a number of IAS officers have conveniently altered the boundary walls of their houses.

These tents set up for the use of security personnel are usually a source of irritation and discomfort for residents. In some cases, the VIPs have done so even when they have adequate space inside the house.

Additional deputy commissioner Inderjit Singh Sandhu retorted: “It has been brought to my notice that a number of persons have encroached upon the government land by pitching tents or erecting temporary structures. They had been given ample time to appear before the SDM concerned of the area. Irrespective of their positions, action would be taken against such violators soon.” 



Who’ll teach the schools?
Residents face problems with cementing of outside area
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Is cementing the area outside the school’s boundary walls legal?

Schools say yes, residents say no, and authorities, who are supposed to implement the law of the land, are clueless and busy passing the buck over checking it.

A visit around city’s popular schools brings to notice one of the major causes of traffic havoc outside the schools: Parking created after cementing area outside schools’ boundaries.

“Living opposite a school has become a bane for me. They have encroached upon the land by cementing the area till the road, and due to narrow road it causes traffic menace. We have spoken to the principal but of no use. I cannot take any hard action as my kid studies there,” said a residing of Sector 8.

“It’s illegal to even plant a tree outside the house or cement it, but almost all the city schools cement the area till road and openly encroach upon the land, and nobody says anything. The school buses should be parked inside the school according to norms, but they are being openly parked,” said another resident living in the vicinity of KB DAV, Sector 7.

However, ignoring the inconvenience and repeated pleas, most of the principals claim it to be their rightful land.

“All that is there is a lawn being maintained by the residents of the sector,” said Vibha Ray, principal of DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8.

“It is our land, and we have cemented it and converted it into a parking after the estate office’s permission only. There is nothing illegal,” said A. B. S. Sidhu, principal of Saupins, Sector 32.

One of the city principals said, “School and residential area are different. We do this for students’ convenience. Where do we park buses? Has administration given us any space?”

Most of the schools have ample parking space for buses, but have utilised it for other purposes. Last year, education department had served notice to a private school in this regard.

“Administration checks everybody, but what about schools? How can anybody justify St Stephen’s having its main gate in the slip road. Can I also open my gate in a cycle by lane? This is causing so much menace, but nobody is bothered,” said a Sector-45 resident.

However, Harold Carver, principal, St Stephen’s claimed that his school building was according to estate norms, and the gate had been approved by the administration.

While all claim approvals, authorities are yet to decide who is responsible to check the menace. “It’s not our prerogative as we look after commercial encroachments only,” said P. K. Sharma, MC additional commissioner.

Even estate office refuses to accept the onus. “I will check St Stephen’s case, but the cementing and parking is not my responsibility. I have given no approval,” said Ashwani Kumar, estate officer, Chandigarh.



Alterations at will under MC’s nose 
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Cocking a snook at the rules, the encroachments and illegal alterations in Sector 17 are mocking at the administration’s ambitious spruce up plans.

The sector, known as commercial hub, has virtually been taken over by small-time illegal vendors selling all and sundry items. They not only disrupt the passage of pedestrians in corridors and the plaza area, but emerge as a blot on the face of this sector.

This, in spite of the fact that the civic body recently came out with an ambitious plan worth Rs 4.5 crore for the development of Phase II of Sector 17 from the bridge market to the Madhya Marg. This was apart from over Rs 3 crore spent on the beautification of the plaza area by the authorities recently.

Not only the small-time vendors, but the big sharks also leave no chance to violate the building norms. Shopkeepers allege that some of them are hand in glove with the administrative staff and violate norms very conveniently.

A case in point is at SCO 78-79, Sector 17-C. The second and third floor of this SCO is being modified in such a manner that for want of more rent the open space of the building too have been covered leaving little scope for ventilation or escape route in case of fire or any emergency situation.

Assistant estate officer Ashwani Kumar, when contacted, said that he came to know about this case today only and it is violation of building norms if the open space is being covered. “I have instructed the official concerned to inspect the site and if the alterations are being done, action within provisions of stipulated law would be taken,” he said.

On the other hand, the landlord of said property, Anand Khosla, said that if administration has any objections, he would submit alternate plan again. “I would submit final drawings of the plan soon and construction would be done only after seeking due approval of the estate office,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the tenants at the third floor, Dinesh Sharma, alleged that his landlord, Anand Khosla, has plans to cover both the sides of the building. Dinesh, who has been running a courier company from this place for the past 22 years, told The Tribune that by renting out the open space (balconies) by covering it, his landlord intends to get around Rs 1,08,000 as additional rent.

For the past 12 days, Dinesh has been running from pillar to post to get this illegal alteration removed, but in vain. “My landlord has covered it from all the sides putting our lives in danger. I called up the police control room at least six times, but in vain. The police has not registered a FIR till date,” he alleged.

Mayor Pardeep Chhabra, who also represents Sector 17, directed to expedite the matter with the estate office about illegal alterations and encroachments. “Urgent steps are needed to tackle the menace of illegal constructions by landlords,” he said. Regarding illegal vendors, Chhabra said that action has temporarily suspended against them due to festive season, but such encroachments would not be tolerated afterwards. 



Violations galore as authorities sleep
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Even after framing hedge bylaws to keep a check on encroachments in the residential and commercial areas of the city, the authorities, it seems, have forgotten to execute them.

About a year ago, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation had framed the hedge bylaws under which the residents could get a license on V-5 and V-6 roads for raising the hedge of up to two-feet high and 10-feet away from the kerb on V-5 roads and two-feet high and six-feet away from the kerb on V-6 roads.

As per the norms, Rs 25 per 100 square feet area was to be charged from the commercial establishments annually. No hedges or fences were allowed on V-1, V-2, V-3 and V-4 roads and the violators were to be punished as per the bylaws.

An official stated that the policy was framed keeping in view the fact that the residents had erected illegal hedges, barbed wire fences, iron grills in front and by the side of their houses covering road reservation area in contraction of Chandigarh (Control and Regulation of Hedge and Fences) Bylaws, 1971.

The official further stated that these hedge bylaws were framed keeping in view the parking problem and increase in accidents on the V5 and V6 roads in the residential areas.

While going around in various sectors in the city, it seemd that the policy had yet to be implemented fully. On V6 roads in Sector 35, most of the residents have converted the roadside pavements into green belts to beautify the front area of their houses which was supposed to be left vacant for the use by pedestrian.

Similarly in Sectors 38, 44, 45 and 46, the residents use the green belts developed by the corporation to park their vehicles and the pavements allocated by the authorities for parking, has been converted into green belts around their houses.

In most of the sectors where the government houses are located, most of the residents have violated hedge bylaws by developing the hedges above two feet or have encroached upon the government land for beautification of the area.

Even the green belts have not remained untouched from encroachments. In Sector 8, opposite to house number 659 to 665, there is an internal parking which has been encroached upon by the area residents to park their vehicles and have also plant trees. In most of the other sectors too, the parks have been used for parking vehicles.

The officials opine that if the authorities did not take timely preventive measures the situation would completely go out of the control of the corporation.

When contacted, MC executive engineer (horticulture) Arun Kansal said that issuing notices to the violators was an ongoing process. The road division is fully authorised to issue notices to the violators.



PU should get central status: Pathak
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
K.N. Pathak, former vice-chancellor, Panjab University (PU), strongly feels that PU deserves central status.

Speaking at a press conference at a city school, while he refused to comment on the current scenario of PU, he could not stop himself from supporting the demand for central status for the university.

“The university affairs are not my domain but I strongly feel that it deserves central status. It is not only one of the oldest but also the best institutions in the country. During my tenure, I myself made the presentation but due to several factors, we were left out. But I hope it happens soon.” he said.

A lauded academician he strongly feels city education needs to blend value with skills.

“Issues like MCM DAV are unfortunate as the administration had to intervene in college matters. I think it is the duty of all academicians to make education more value-oriented and teachers need to set an example for students. There has to be mutual trust and respect.” he said.

He stressed the importance of responsible teaching at the school level. According to him, schools form the foundation of academic, moral and social aptitude of a child and thus should impart a healthy and balanced education.

K.N. Pathak has recently been awarded by the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, for his contribution in liquid state physics.

What encourages him more is the fact that he is the only professor of physics in Punjab, Himachal, Haryana, J&K and Chandigarh who has been honoured by INSA. Recently, he developed a binary cluster theory of dynamics of fluids, where two-particle collision of all hours has been summed up.

He simplifies his achievements saying, “Most people might not understand my work but all I can say that I work on basic science. A discovery of a particular particle might fail to impress you but technology that follows it, makes a difference to loads of lives.”



Eatables to cost more on varsity campus
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Next time you think of grabbing a quick bite without burdening your pocket at the popular Student Centre of Panjab University, think again. Very soon, the eatables may not come at affordable price as the administration is contemplating to implement 12.5 per cent VAT (Value Added Tax) on all the eatables.

This would mean one would have to shell anything between Rs 2 to 4.50 additional to the cost of the eatable. Needless to say, the extra amount may not be too much for others who go once in a while, but for students, who get their daily fill from there, this would certainly shake their monthly allowances. According to sources, VAT will be implemented from October 13 on the campus.

Apart from Student Centre, even the messes in the hostels will be implementing the tax. This would directly affect thousands of students staying on campus in the hostels. The hostel diet, which comes anywhere between Rs 15 to 18 in the hostels, will soon cost more than Rs 20.

The order to implement the tax comes after the university administration increased the prices in the recent past.

The students are opposing the move of imposing 12.5 per cent VAT on the shopkeepers, which would in turn lead to the increase of the prices.

SOPU president Brinder Dhillon said the shopkeepers had received intimation from the UT administration about the imposition of VAT. Apprehending the imposition of VAT, the shopkeepers are contemplating hike in the prices of the items by Rs 4 to 5.

Dhillon added that there was a resentment among the students as imposition of the tax would mean putting extra pressure on students’ pockets.

An office-bearer of the Student Council said, “We will submit a representation to the vice-chancellor in this regard and will try to find a solution for the same. We will request UT’s finance secretary to roll back the decision of imposing VAT on PU campus.”

However, dean, students’ welfare, said, “We have written to the UT administration in this regard, and will talk again on the issue.”



Adult education unit holds exhibition
Tribune News Service

Chadnigarh, October 10
The adult education unit of the Chandigarh administration, under its income-generation programme, organised a three-day exhibition cum sale of its products prepared by the learners of the Continuing Education Centres at the Panchayat Bhawan, Sector 18.

Ram Niwas, home cum education secretary, inaugurated the exhibition today. Stalls put up a large variety of bed sheets, pillow covers, embroidery items, pot paintings, candles, decoration pieces, school bags, cloths bags and woollen baby garments.

Ram Niwas also released fifth issue of bi-annual newsletter ‘Prerna’.



PU Notes
Lecture on Sikh philosophy delivered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
As part of Panjab University’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, the department of Guru Nanak Sikh studies, PU, organised a special lecture by Jagdip Singh Shergill today. Eminent speakers from University of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, delivered a talk on “The Sikh scriptural perspective on religious pluralism”.

Talking on the Sikh philosophy and religion, Shergill said it was important to differentiate between religion and culture. “Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of Sikh religion saw some serious flaws in the religious environment of his times and gave the concept of unity and diversity.” He also said religious pluralism is a western construct, a creation of commercial culture. Tension and conflict arise when people of one religion look at the growth of other religions as a threat and competition.

The guests included, Prof Deepak Manmohan Singh, Prof Sahijpal, Dr. N.K. Ohja, Prof A.S. Ahluwalia, Dr. Vikram Kumar, Prof Meera Malik, Prof B.S. Ghuman, Prof. Kushik, Prof. Nirmal Singh, Prof. Shery Shaberwal, chairperson of the sociology department, Prof. Kiranpreet and teachers from the department of Punjabi, correspondence studies, evening studies. Dr. Darshan Singh presided the function and expressed his scholarly views that one must read, think and study Guru Granth Sahib. Prof Aruna Goel, guest of honour, congratulated Shergill for his valuable ideas on the Sikh religion.

UGC-NET exam

UGC-NET for Junior Research Fellowship and eligibility for lectureship will be held on December 28. The last date for the submission of applications is November 7. The form should be submitted to the registrar, PU, or coordinator, UGC-NET, Prof. R.N. Vashisht, the department of anthropology. The forms can be downloaded from the website www.ugc.ac.in.


Dr. K.E. Sadandan Unni, professor and head, the department of psychiatry, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, delivered a lecture on “Strengths of the mentally ill in the society” in the department of psychology.

He felt that the society should be sensitive enough to the development issues of the mentally challenged. Dr. Unni also stressed upon the need for topical approach to child psychiatry and pointed out that there are no child psychiatry courses in India. A number of students from various disciplines participated in the active interaction, which followed his lecture. 



58 donate blood in PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The PU Students’ Council, in collaboration with a vernacular daily, organised a blood donation camp at the Students’ Centre today in the memory of Narender Mohan, former MP, Rajya Sabha.

Inaugurating the camp, VC Prof R.C. Sobti said that Narender Mohan was an eminent scholar as well as a great writer who did a lot for the society.

A total of 58 students donated blood at the camp. 



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