C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI doctors call off strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
After an assurance from the PGI administration to look into the matter, about 800 resident doctors, who were on a mass casual leave today, called off their agitation.

Sources said the PGI administration had reportedly given a direction to “restrict” the participation of Dr Santosh, assistant professor, in academics and other activities of the institute following an assault on Dr Sanand.

“The administration has given verbal assurance to restrict his involvement in the PGI activities,” a senior resident confirmed.

During a late evening meeting with the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), the PGI administration assured it that the inquiry committee’s report had been forwarded to the higher authorities and promised to arrange a meeting of the association members with the union health secretary.

Dr Amod Gupta, a member of the disciplinary committee of the PGI, said the PGI director could not “punish” any doctor. “This is not under his purview. The matter has been referred to the health ministry for further action,” he said.

The PGI administration had issued a notice of no work, no pay to all resident doctors in the morning. The ARD president, Dr Prabhushankar, said they would pursue the matter with the governing body of the PGI after meeting the union health secretary.

Earlier, patient care services were badly hit in some departments of the PGI as doctors went on mass casual leave. However, the emergency and ICU services were functioning normally.

Out patient department (OPD) sections wore a deserted look with locked rooms and empty corridors. The psychiatry and urology OPDs were badly hit as no doctor turned up in the morning at the OPD.

It was chaotic when over 100 patients gathered at OPDs, not knowing that the doctors were on leave.



Bansal pulls up banks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Expressing displeasure at the “lackadaisical” attitude of banks in the city for lending to self help groups (SHG), union minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal today sought a status report from the banks.

Presiding over a meeting of the district-level review committee (DLRC) to review the performance of the banks in Chandigarh between June 2007 and June 2008, Bansal criticised the performance of the banks for credit linking of minority communities and issuance of artisan credit cards. He asked them to increase lending to these sectors.

The report prepared by the DLRC showed that the banks gave credit to only 88 of the total 201 SHGs as on June 2008. Of these, only 23 were newly formed and nine credit linked. The Bank of Baroda and Oriental Bank of Commerce failed to form any new SHG and also advance any loan to them until June.

Similarly the State Bank of Patiala and Vijaya Bank added just one SHG in the past year, the report said. Perturbed, Bansal asked the banks to submit the status report of all SHGs linked to credit.

Rohtash Kumar, circle head, Punjab National Bank, Chandigarh circle, said agriculture advances had increased by Rs 388 crore between June 2007 and June 2008 while advances to small-scale industries registered a growth of Rs 230 crore during this period. He also said advances to the weaker sector had grown by Rs 4.83 crore.



Peddling: NCB notice to 6 policemen
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is set to tighten its noose around six cops for their alleged nexus with drug peddlers.

The bureau has issued a notice under “call for information” under Section 67 of the NDPS Act to SI Harinder Singh Sekhon and head constables Bachhiter Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Sukhjinder Singh, Baljit Singh and Mohan Singh for joining an inquiry on October 22 and October 23.

This is for the first time that the bureau has issued a notice to cops, sources said. The NCB issues notices only after gathering sufficient proof against someone.

This could be termed as an important development towards filing complaints in the special NDPS court.

Confirming the development, NCB director Saji Mohan said: “Yes, the cops are being summoned. If some nexus is found between them and drug peddlers Harpal and Suresh, they could be arrested.”

“According to procedure, after the registration of the crime number, the complaint has to be filed within 180 days in the special NDPS court,” he added.

The NCB could also use the report of a preliminary inquiry conducted by a DSP against the police personnel for strengthening its case.

The accused police personnel have already been placed under suspension. A regular inquiry was initiated against them after the submission of the preliminary inquiry report.



Khoya being stored illegally
As per norms, milk products cannot be stored for over 30 days and cold storage is meant for stocking fruits and vegetables
Rajmeet Singh & Rajiv Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 18
Even as Punjab health minister Laxmi Kant Chawla has launched a campaign against adulterated khoya, shopkeepers in the region have reportedly been hoarding khoya and other sweets in large quantities for the past two months.

Intended for use during Divali, khoya has been illegally stored in cold storage in the periphery of the tricity.

While sweets like gulab jamun and rasgula have been stored in blue containers, 50 kg sacks of khoya have been dumped in cold storage. Sources do not rule out that the khoya may be sourced from Panipat, Muzzafarnagar and Meerut.

“Only testing of samples can reveal if the khoya is stale or adulterated,” a health department official said.

A Tribune team found that khoya and other sweets had been stored at Baba Ajit Singh Cold Storage in Jhungian village on the Zirakpur-Patiala road. A person at the cold storage, who identified himself as Manjeet, said the stock was for October. Asked if it was legal to do so, he said only limited sacks had been stored for local sweet makers.

Avtar Singh, civil surgeon, Mohali, said he would look into the matter. Yesterday, the district health authorities had seized seven quintals of adulterated khoya.


Law panel chief for signing Hague Convention
Tribune News Service

Chairman of the Law Commission of India, Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, and Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur at the Army Institute of Law, Mohali, on Saturday.
Chairman of the Law Commission of India, Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, and Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur at the Army Institute of Law, Mohali, on Saturday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, October 18
Chairman of the Law Commission of India,
Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, is in favour of the
country signing Hague Convention of 1980
on the issue of international child abduction.

The Hague Convention, a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, provides an expeditious method to return a child taken from one member nation to another.

The assertion is significant as a child of foreign nationality with parents of Indian origin is often brought under India’s jurisdiction in contravention of a foreign court’s custody order. This is done by one of the offending parents.

Justice Lakshmanan believes the dilemma before the Indian courts is whether to send the child back to the country of his origin. As of now, there is no legislation on the issue.

Addressing a seminar on “India, inter-country parental child removal and the law” at the Army Institute of Law, Justice Lakshmanan said India was not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction.

As such, the questions regarding the custody of such children are considered by the Indian courts on merits of each case.

In all such matters, the welfare of the child is considered to be of paramount

The order made by the foreign court is considered to be only one of the relevant factors in such decisions.

Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, advocate Anil Malhotra and Punjab Advocate-General Hardev Singh Mattewal were the other speakers.

Elaborating, Justice Lakshmanan said the high courts and the Supreme Court entertains habeas corpus petitions for securing the custody of the minor at the behest of a parent who lands on the Indian soil, alleging violation of a foreign court’s custody order.

The invoking of this judicial remedy provides the quickest and the most effective
speedy solution.

But there is lack of uniform official Indian policy on the subject and the responsibility lies on the Indian legislature and the executive to frame a suitable legislation and adopt the Hague Convention in matters of inter-parental child abduction to India from foreign jurisdictions.

Chief Justice Thakur said the profile of litigation has changed over the years. The cases earlier were property centric with suits being largely filed for injunctions, partitions or possession.

But now things were fast changing and cropping up were issues that defied immediate solution. Inter-country parental removal was one such issue.

Malhotra narrated experience on the issue spread over 25 years to say the magnitude of the problem could be gauged from the fact that there was cross-border unions between 1.1 billion Indians.

About 30 million NRIs were living in 130 nations abroad. But inter-parental child abduction was neither defined, nor an offence under any statutory law in India.

Malhotra also quoted the earlier law and the latest verdicts to elaborate upon
the issue.

He also gave reasons why the country should join the 1980 child abduction

He suggested the creation of a central authority, to which applications could be made under the proposed enactment for the return of a removed child to the country of habitual residence.

The HC may order return of a removed child, or refuse it, if the child objected, or if there was a grave risk involved.



Estate office’s loss is proprietors’ gain
Admn adopts double standard; resumes property worth crores which could have generated revenue in form of taxes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Chandigarh administration adopts double standards while resuming sites. Citing building violations or misuse of premises, the estate office has resumed property worth crores which include commercial plots or sites in the city which could, otherwise, generate revenue by way of taxes while bhawans in city, besides being served resumption notices continue to rake moolah through ‘illegal’ commercial activities.

Thanks to the legal hurdles, be it in the form of pending hearings or appeals in the estate office or in the High Court, over 188 cases are awaiting for verdict, besides 600 older ones.

In a recent case, one of the prime property located in the heart of the city, James Plaza Hotel, has been resumed and the construction stalled by the estate office for not completing the project within a stipulated period. Proprietors knocked at the doors of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A spokesperson of the hotel said both sides stand to loose. “We are suffering loss worth Rs 2 lakh daily. The administration, too, is losing huge taxable income in the form of sales and luxury tax, besides tourism loss. We moved to the court after the administration fixed the next date of hearing as January 2009.”

The official records say that over 700 such resumption cases of building violations or misuse of premises are pending with the estate office. Most of such sites are in Sector 22, followed by Sector 26, Industrial Area Phase II, Sector 37, Sector 20, Sector 35, Sector 23, and Sector 7.

On the other hand, the administration has turned a blind eye to the blatant misuse by the numerous bhawans, which too, have been served resumption notices, but are running commercial activities.

The officials allegedly disclosed that these bhawans have been allotted land at concessional rate for the community services. A random survey of the bhawan revealed that the violations ranged from running full-fledged shops to holding of exhibitions-cum-sales to solemnising marriages and other functions.

What is surprising is the fact that two government controlled bhawans-the Panchayat Bhawan and the Kisan Bhawan-seem to be leading by example. While the other bhawans are issued resumption notices at regular intervals, the government-controlled bhawans seem to go scot-free, setting a bad example for others to follow, told Mohan Lal, a resident of Sector 27.

The residents around these bhawans are an inconvenienced lot with traffic obstructions coupled with blatant music during the marriage season.

Taking cognisance of residents’ complaints, the authorities had last year conducted a survey in which about 24 of the 48 bhawans was found to be violating the allotment terms. Resumption notices were also reportedly served on them. However, the fate of the action against them is not yet known.

Official sources claimed that the administration was seized of the matter and a close watch was being kept on the commercial activities being undertaken by them. Even the eviction proceedings are being initiated against the erring bhawans under the Public Premises Act, the sources claimed.

Bhavan office-bearers on the other hand claimed that the commercial exploitation of bhawans was necessary, as the community could not raise enough resources for its upkeep.



Parking contractor fleece spectators
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Sevice

A cricket fan reads The Tribune at the PCA Stadium on Saturday.
A cricket fan reads The Tribune at the PCA Stadium on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, October 18
Many spectators who turned up to watch the match in their vehicles were shocked when they ware asked to give Rs 35 for parking.

People were surprised as there is no paid parking in Mohali. Also, there was no mention of the rate on the slips being issued by contractors.

Some alert spectators found that GMADA had set Rs 20 for car, Rs 10 for scooter/motor cycle and Rs 50 for bus.

“These people are fooling the public. How can the authorities allow them to issue the slips without any mention of rates,” Ram Sagar, a resident of Phase 5, said.

A GMADA officer said they were verifying reports and action would be taken.

PCA makes amends

Thanks to reports published in a section of the media regarding the ill-treatment meted out to “special guests” from rural Punjab yesterday, the PCA authorities made some amendments.

Today, the arrangement for the rural students were better and they got food easily.

The arrangements for water and soft drinks were made at the entry gates of the students block, where these students were being made to sit.

Maninder Singh and his friends from Government Senior Secondary School, Fazilka, said: “We did not face any problem regarding food or water today, but sitting with our faces to the sun was a torture.”

Yesterday, many students had to go without food or water due to the mismanagement on the part of the PCA.



A melange of French, Hindi music
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
On the conclusion of the silver jubilee celebrations of the Alliance Française "Le Corbusier" de the local artistes gave a scintillating performance by not only the melodies of the French songs but the instruments players also created soothing resonance all over.

City-based musicians, Kamaldeep Kaur and Gopal belted out French, Punjabi and Hindi songs. The concert, reiterated the ability of music to cross barriers of languages and bind people in a spirit of harmony.

The UT Adviser, Pardeep Mehra, was the chief guest at Alliance Française "Le Corbusier" de held at Hibiscus Garden here today. Besides other dignitaries, Justice S.S. Sodhi was also present at the occasion.

Various genres of music complemented by instruments ranging from the guitar to the saxophone played in tandem with the sitar and the flute. The concert began with the recitals by various students.



Lawyers work from parking lot
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 18
Advocates, typists, stamp paper vendors and others functioning from a parking shed of PUDA, opposite district administrative offices, lack basic facilities.

Nearly 200 persons, including those who come here for tehsil related work, have been facing a harrowing time since the past two and a half years due to lack of facilities. The shed does not have any power connection. There are no arrangements for supply of drinking water or toilets.

It does not even have gates because of which stray animals also move about in the area. Typing machines, computers and other equipments have to be carried home each day because anti-social elements have decamped with things due to lack of proper security arrangements.

The advocates were asked to shift to PUDA parking shed made of tin soon after Mohali was made a district in April 2006. The PUDA building was renovated to house the offices of the district administration. Various representations by advocates to the authorities concerned over the years for the provision of basic facilities have fallen on deaf ears.

Harpal Singh Sodhi, president of the Bar Association, DC office complex, said when Mohali became a district, authorities concerned asked PUDA to allow the tehsil staff to use the shed, but no one bothered to provide the basic facilities.

A representation for providing the minimum facilities was made several times but to no avail. He said he had even approached the Punjab Human Rights Commission which had recommended the case, but even then nothing was done to mitigate their problems.

He said there were about 30 lawyers, a number of typists and others functioning from the shed which was open from all sides and even had holes in the roof. People had to bear the heat in the tin shed which leaked whenever it rained.

Typists and others had to pay yearly fees after which they were granted permission to function from this place. As there was no power connection, a private person had brought a generator into the shed, but was charging Rs 400 per month for allowing one fan to operate. Stray animals moved about in the shed as the gates were removed by PUDA.

Thieves had also decamped with drawers of various tables. Everybody had to take away their belongings, including computers, typing machines, Photostat machines, every day due to lack of security arrangements.

Deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari said he had asked the PSEB officials to provide a power connection in the shed.

The board had told him that only one power meter would be provided from where further connections could be taken.

He said since the shed was the property of GMADA (earlier PUDA), it was the responsibility of the authority to provide the basic facilities.



Meat Plant
Zirakpur MC to take up issue with Punjab, Haryana
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 18
The quality of development works being undertaken in the Zirakpur municipal council will now be under scrutiny.

The local government department has decided to appoint an independent consultant to check the quality of raw material and the quality of works.

Ever since the inception of the MC, there has been no check on the quality of works undertaken there.

The directions of the local government in this regard were adopted in form of a resolution passed in the meeting of the municipal councillors of the Zirkapur municipal council held yesterday.

MC president Narinder Sharma headed the meeting and all elected councillors from the opposition were also present at the MC office. Girish Verma, who took charge of executive officer for the third time, replacing R.K. Mittal, was also present in the meeting.

The municipal council also decided that telecommunication companies and cable operators who want to lay underground wires and cables would have to take permission from the MC to do so.

Permission to such companies would be granted only after the matter was discussed in the MC meeting.

The MC members opposed the setting up of a meat plant by the Haryana government on Zirakpur’s outskirts.

Sharma said, “We have always been against this meat plant which is going to come up on the border of Zirakpur.”

He said the MC officials would write to the Punjab government to hold talks with the Haryana government regarding this meat plant. He demanded that the meat plant be shifted to another place. Opposition members were also against this meat plant.

“We have forwarded our request to cooperations’ minister Capt Kanawaljit Singh to talk to the high command regarding this meat plant,” said Manisha Malik, municipal councillor from ward No. 1.



Lobbying on for nominated seats
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
While, the elections for 47 seats in the Panjab University’s senate got over in September, lobbying is on from all quarters for the 36 seats, which are to be nominated by the chancellor of the university, the Vice-President of India, Hamid Ansari.

The newly formed senate’s term is starting from November 1 to October 31, 2012. After 47 members were elected from various constituencies during the four- phased elections held during August 27 to September 21, two members will be elected from among the members of Punjab Assembly.

Besides, six former officio members chief minister of Punjab, education ministers, Punjab, adviser to administrator, UT, DPI (C), Punjab and that of Chandigarh and chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, thus making it a 91 member house.

According to sources, the vice-chancellor has already got the list of nominees through a letter to the chancellor. Around 250-300 names in various lists have already reached the chancellor’s office for his perusal.

The first meeting of the new senate is likely to be held in December. This time many new names have figured in the vice- chancellor’s list and new faces are also likely to make it to the senate through nominations.



Electrician electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 18
An electrician was electrocuted while repairing the streetlights in Sector 15 here, today. The deceased has been identified as Lucky.

According to information, Lucky came in contact with ‘live’ electric wires while repairing a transformer in the area.

Immediately after the incident, he was rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, where the doctors declared him ‘brought dead’.

In yet another incident, a 52- year-old woman from Sector 4, here, was killed in a road accident near Barwala.

Surinder Kaur was going towards village Raiwali, while riding pillion on a scooter being driven by her husband Hem Raj Puri.

According to eyewitnesses, a tipper hit their scooter and crushed her under the wheel of the vehicle, killing her on the spot.



Ram Niwas opens South Indian food fest
CITCO to hold Goan fest in December
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
More food fests are in the offing with the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) deciding to add some spice in the life residents of the city.

This was disclosed by home secretary-cum-CITCO chairman Ram Niwas while talking to mediapersons after inaugurating the three-day spicy South Indian food festival at Mountview today.

There are plans to organise Goan food fest in December and Arabian food fest in February besides move to serve grilled food in the open area of the Mountview, he added.

Meanwhile, South Indian food fest commenced with the cultural extravaganza of Tamil Nadu. Adding flavour to it was special non-vegetarian menu besides dishes like “idli” and “dosa.”

CITCO GM (Tourism) A.K. Malhotra said the corporation had been planning to add South Indian menu with the non-vegetarian ingredients in their hotel.

He remarked that inauguration of the food fest in the best occasion to coincide with the ongoing Tamil Nadu cultural celebrations.



Rodrigues releases eco report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
“We have to constrain ourselves and develop innovative environment-friendly strategies to make a positive contribution towards the future of the earth and to shape a healthy ambience for future generations.”

This was stated by UT administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) while releasing the report “State of Environment Chandigarh-2008” at Punjab Raj Bhawan, here today.

Stressing on the need for partnership, with the people to check environmental degradation and making environment protection as a people’s movement, General Rodrigues called for adopting a people-centered conservation approach with the participation of all stakeholders, in safeguarding our forests and other natural resources to ensure sustainable and equitable development.

Meanwhile, this report highlights that the vehicular pollution mostly affects the air quality of Chandigarh.



Hungarian film fest from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Chandigarh Film Society and the Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre, New Delhi, in association with STEPS, Chandigarh Tourism, is organising a Hungarian film and cultural festival in Chandigarh from tomorrow.

The five-day festival will showcase five Hungarian films, a photographic exhibition, dance and a classical programme by the Hungarian artistes.

The photographic exhibition will be inaugurated by Pradeep Mehra,Adviser, Chandigarh administration, at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, tomorrow. This will be followed by the inauguration of the Hungarian film festival.

The photography exhibition brings some of the most enchanting facets of Hungary which have been proclaimed by UNESCO's convention concerning the protection of the World Culture and Natural Heritage of its member states.

Some of Hungary's contributions to the most precious sites of humanity's heritage include- the endless plains of Hortobágy, the incomparable panorama of Budapest, the architectural and intellectual heritage of Pannonhalma.



Rotary to take up waste disposal project
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
The local Rotary has decided to take up the solid waste management project keeping in view the poorly managed existing system of garbage collection, management and disposal of the day-to-day waste in Mohali.

B.S.Chandhok, project chairman, said the project had been taken up with the help of senior experts from Holland called PUM.

On the request of Rotary Theo Folmer, professional expert of solid waste management especially came to help in improvising the garbage handling system in the town.



PU’s computerisation by November 1
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Panjab University’s much-awaited computerisation is finally nearing completion. Earlier, the deadline for the project was extended on two occasions, on August 31 and September 31.

Now, the entire computerisation is almost done and is in its final stages. It is most likely to be implemented by November 1.

Nevertheless, once the university’s system gets fully computerised, everything right from student’s registration to examinations and even exam results, all data related to departments, faculty and students would be computerised.

The computerisation will be done in parts as some of the work has been outsourced and some of it is being dome by the university’s departments.

According to sources, the university authorities have signed a contract with a firm for a period of three years to outsource the work. Right from implementing the software to its working, to training the university employees, everything would be taken care of by the software firm’s professionals.

Also, the university has purchased software named ‘Campus Management’ at a whopping price of Rs 65 lakhs. Presently, the software is customised for Panjab University’s usage. There is a computer centre at the university institute of Engineering and Technology, on Panjab University’s south campus, Sector 25 that is monitoring the final modalities of the project.

Also, for the smooth working of the whole project, the university has also advertised for around 250 new posts.

It is pertinent to mention here that presently the campus is wi-fi enabled and already all the 50 departments are connected through networking.

However, the success of the computerisation would seen once the whole project is implemented properly, as earlier, the much talked about “file-tracking” system which was to be introduced, turned out to be a non-starter till date.

Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, said, “This was one of my priorities when I joined in as the vice-chancellor and it will be implemented in parts by November 1”.



PU research scholars’ paper best
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Two PhD research scholars of University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), Panjab University, Shantanu Bandyopadhyay and Rishi Kapil, bagged best paper awards at the recently held conference on ‘Nanocolloidal Drug Delivery’ at ISF College of Pharmacy, Moga, Punjab from 10 th to 11th October 2008.

A total of 115 papers were presented at the conference. Tota Singh, former education minister, Punjab government gave away the trophy and merit certificate to the PhD scholars.

Anti-crackers rally: Sohanjana, the Eco-Club of Government Model Senior Secondary School 46-D, organised anti-crackers rally today. Members of the Eco-Club, with placards in their hands, gave the message that we should not burst crackers for protection of our environment.

Earlier, Dr S.K. Sharma, president, Environment Society of India, flagged off the rally for spreading awareness.

Birth centenary: Government College for Girls, Sector-42, organised birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh today. On the occasion different events were organised related to the philosophy of Shaheed Bhagat Singh by the department of Punjabi.

The college also organised “Green Earth Mission Standup Take Action” in which more than one thousand students and staff members participated.



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