C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


HC dumps plea on retirement age
Over 100 PU teachers to be affected
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Around 121 teachers of Panjab University will be directly affected with the verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, refusing relief on the enhancement of retirement age from 60 to 62 years.

The VC, Prof R.C. Sobti, said they would strictly follow the court’s decision.

Out of these teachers, 68 teachers would be affected immediately, including chairpersons of nine departments of the university. Prominent among those are D.N. Jauhar, chairperson of the department of laws, G.S. Grewal, chairperson of University Institute of Legal Studies, Kumar Mahender, chairperson of the department of Indian theatre and S.K. Kulkarni, dean, university instructions.

The verdict has sent shock waves to the teaching fraternity. The verdict has come at a time when the university was busy in the last-minute preparations for the culmination of the year-long diamond jubilee celebrations scheduled for tomorrow.

The VC, who himself has been affected with the decision as he turned 60 recently, immediately called for a meeting with the Panjab University Teachers Association president, Prof Raunki Ram, and others to discuss the repercussions of the order.

By evening, all sorts of rumours were doing the rounds. While some were worried due to the faculty crunch, the others were of the view that it would benefit young teachers.

The university is already facing a shortage of faculty and has been trying to fill vacant posts with little success due to the “non-availability” of qualified persons.

“The university is already on a recruiting spree. It has approval to fill 530 posts of teacher and 700 posts of non-teaching staff,” a PU official said.

Sources said the university seemed to be prepared to tackle the situation and most likely, retired chairpersons would be re-employed by the university.

Raunki Ram said: “We honour the court’s decision. We were expecting the court to provide relief to teachers. This will adversely affect the teaching community.”

The sources said those who had lost the case in the High Court were contemplating to go to the Supreme Court for relief.

Meanwhile, the syndicate meeting, which was called off earlier, has been scheduled for tomorrow.

Insiders claimed that the name of Prof S.C. Vaidya of University Business School (UBS) was being tipped as a strong contender for the next DUI.

Celebrations hit

The HC order will hit the diamond jubilee celebrations to be held tomorrow. With each department holding the celebrations, it will be tough for the chairpersons of nine departments who have directly been affected by the order



Illegal taxis in the fast lane
Causing loss of crores to exchequer
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
In the absence of any stringent policy, the plying of illegal taxis (without route permits and having private registration numbers) continues unabated in the city. The state transport authority (STA) is apparently doing nothing to curb the problem, which is causing losses worth crores of rupees to the exchequer every year.

While STA officials admit that there are 2,500-odd illegal taxis plying in the city, cab operators put the figure much higher. About 80 per cent of the business in the tricity thrives on private cars, they say.

By running a private car as taxi, an operator saves Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000 per month as against a taxi with route permit. Even if one goes by the estimate of the STA officials, 2,500 illegal cabs means a loss of Rs 1.13 crore per month or close to Rs 13.5 crore a year to the exchequer.

To evade the permit fee and other liabilities in connection with passengers, most owners prefer to ply their vehicles without registering them with the department. Besides causing a loss of millions of rupees to the state exchequer, these vehicles also pose a danger to the security of passengers.

Exploiting the lacunae in law, these people have a flourishing business as the authorities have no right to fine a “stationary” vehicle even if it is at a taxi stand.

Only 2,600 vehicles of different makes have been registered with the STA, Chandigarh, for plying as taxis.

A three-month permit for a 10-seater vehicle for Punjab, Haryana and Himachal would cost Rs 3,200. For an eight-seater, the permit costs Rs 2,200 for three months for Himachal and Rs 2,700 for three months for Haryana and Punjab. For a seven-seater, it is Rs 600 per month for Himachal, Punjab and Haryana.

For small segment vehicles like Indica, the UT charges Rs 1,800 per year whereas for heavy vehicles like Innova, Rs 5,100 is required to be deposited every year as permit tax fee.

Taxi operators, preferring anonymity, said the fee would have to be deposited for 15 years. “It’s a straight hole in our pocket. What’s the fun in paying extra when privately registered vehicles can be put to contract carriage after greasing the palm of cops with a few rupees,” an operator remarked.

Unauthorised taxis are also a traffic nuisance. Most of these can be seen parked on the road in front of the ISBTs in Sector 43 and Sector 17. Sources said most vehicles pick up passengers from the Tribune Chowk.

Vandana Disodia, secretary of the STA, said: “Though we challan private vehicles and sometimes even impound these, the penalty has not helped in checking the trend.”

Ten challans have been issued between February and June. Five of these vehicles were registered with Chandigarh and the rest with Haryana, Delhi or Punjab. They were fined Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,500.

Claim at risk

Officials of the insurance department said in case of an accident or death of a passenger, the company straightaway rejected the claim. Nevertheless, the responsibility would fall on the owner of the vehicle, which is running illegally.



Cattle Theft
Villagers allege police inaction, block traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Agitated over police inaction, residents of Maloya village blocked traffic on the road separating Sectors 39 and 40 here for over two hours.

They raised slogans against the police, alleging that over 100 animals had been stolen, but the police had done nothing.

They said last night at around 12.30 am, three persons were seen stealing four buffaloes from the cattle shed belonging to Dalbir Singh. Two youths, Sukhwinder Singh and Ram Pal, noticed the accused and followed them to a secluded place, where they began loading the animals in a vehicle. When the youths confronted them, they pulled out rods from the vehicle and a scuffle ensued.

The windowpane of the vehicle got smashed and sensing trouble, the miscreants fled the spot leaving behind the vehicle.

A little later a police team reached there, even though it had not been informed. It threatened the youths, saying that they would be booked for damaging the vehicle.

The police then took the vehicle to the police station. In the morning villagers learnt that it was not doing anything to trace the accused and blocked the road. It said the police was shielding the thieves even though the vehicle had two registration numbers.

Gurdeep Singh Attawa of the kisan cell of the Congress said the villagers were agitated as they had lost animals worth several lakhs of rupees.

The protest ended only after the mayor and the DSP (South) reached the spot and placated the agitators. The police registered a case on the spot and assured action.

The police said the vehicle belonged to Hafiza of Muzarfarnagar in UP. A police team had been dispatched to Muzafarnagar to nab the accused.


Capt Kataria cremated with state honours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Capt Dalip Kataria, who died in an air crash involving Punjab government helicopter near Ludhaina on Wednesday, was cremated with full state honours here today.

People from different walks of life, including senior functionaries of the civil and police administration, Air Force besides nears and dears, gave a tearful adieu to their beloved.

A contingent of 10 Punjab Police fired volley of 30 rounds in the air and reversed their arms as a mark of respect to the departed soul at the cremation ground of Sector 25. Kapil Kataria, son of the deceased, lit the pyre. Punjab cooperatives minister Kanwaljit Singh laid the wreath on behalf of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Chief secretary R.I. Singh also paid tributes on behalf of the Punjab government.

A representative of the Indian Air Force also placed a wreath on behalf of Air Commodore Nayar.

Besides, Viswajit Khanna, secretary, civil aviation, Gagandeep Singh Brar, director, civil aviation and R.K. Kaushik, additional secretary, political, also laid wreaths.

Expressing solidarity with members of the bereaved family, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the state had lost an experienced pilot and it was a great loss.

He assured the bereaved family of extending support and cooperation on behalf of the state government.



‘Hafta’ ensures illegal vendors stay put
Aarti Kapur/Archit Watts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Even as the issue of illegal vendors and encroachments has been discussed time and again at MC house meetings, enforcement agencies apparently hesitate to crack the whip because of the huge amount of kickbacks involved in it.

Though officials claim that they have been undertaking special drives to keep markets encroachment-free, the increasing number of such vendors belies their claims.

With a vendor paying a “hafta” of around Rs 500 to Rs 1,000, it is “difficult” to take action against them. A random survey conducted by The Tribune in the markets of Sectors 17, 22, 19 and 15, besides the grain market in Sector 26, revealed that encroachers are allegedly paying Rs 300 to Rs 2,000 per month, depending on their turnover to various enforcement agencies, including the police.

There are about 10,000 “recorded” squatters in the city, but the number could be much higher. They pay an average of Rs 18 per day and the kickbacks are worth Rs 50 lakh per month. As per the data available with the pheri union, there are close to 10,000 vendors who earn their livelihood without a valid license.

A vendor in Sector 22 said for the past 10 years, vendors with pheris in this sector paid enforcement inspectors and police officials on a weekly basis to put stalls. “After every six months, the charges are increased by 20 per cent,” he said, adding that on an average, each one paid about Rs 500.

Madhu Sareen, social activist, stated that it was strange why the administration was not framing laws to regulate and accommodate the vendors in an earmarked area.

She said the figures in Chandigarh would be higher if one goes by Delhi extortionist mafia as street vendors in Delhi alone shell out at least Rs 500 crore every year. She said this was due to denial of vending licenses by government agencies to street vendors. Recently, the Delhi government planned to allot an area to vendors, she said, adding that the policy should also be followed by the Chandigarh administration. Former union minister Harmohan Dhawan said it was the duty of the administration to provide space to these people.



Reckless motorists rule roads at night
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
In the absence of police checks during nights, reckless drivers continue to rule city roads, flouting traffic rules with impunity and endangering the lives of others.

The last-night accident, which left two motorcyclists seriously injured after being hit by a speeding Innova that reportedly jumped a red light, is yet another grim reminder of how unsafe the roads have become at night.

According to the police, both victims, Guddu and Ranjit of Mohali, are nursing their injuries at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in critical condition.

Investigating officer of the case Ram Niwas said the doctors treating on the victims had not declared them fit to record their statements.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested the accused driver, Sonu Kumar of Moga, after booking him for causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving.

The accused fled the scene after the incident and was carrying stickers of central government officers.

The police said nothing incriminating about stickers had come out during investigation.

The accident was not the sole incident as three persons had already lost their lives on roads this week, while several others persons were left bed-ridden with grievous injuries.

All these major accidents took place during night, due to poor visibility or human error, said a senior traffic police officer. The victims of the three fatal accidents were found to be two-wheeler riders, who were riding at high speed.

While two of them lost their lives after ramming their vehicles into rotaries, the third one was killed after colliding with a railing installed on a road divider.

In another incident, four persons travelling in a car were seriously inured when the car driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his vehicles into a roundabout.

Sources in the accident cell of the Chandigarh traffic police said 125 persons had lost their lives on city roads till October 28 this year while another 379 persons sustained injuries.

A police officer said the figures excluded the number of unregistered cases in which either the police did not register a case or where both parties reached a compromise.

Incidents of drunk driving, speeding, jumping of red lights increase manyfold during late-nights hours when there is no police on the roads.

A traffic police officer, on the other hand, maintained that it was not possible to deploy police personnel on roads during night hours, as the quantum of traffic was considerably less then.

He added that special late-night nakas were set up in routine to curb traffic violation.



NCB office being run from house
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Can government offices operate from residential areas? “No”, says the Estate Officer but the country’s premier agency, the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB), apparently thinks otherwise.

For the past several years, the zonal office of the bureau has been running its operations against drug traffickers from a residential accommodation (house No. 80, Sector 2) here.

Other than the violations, the rundown condition of the house also raises serious questions on the requisite security arrangement at this office, which deals with well-organised crime and hardened criminals.

The bureau has powers to arrest suspects and keep them in custody. For the purpose, one of the rooms in the single-storey house has been converted into a lockup where suspects are usually detained for questioning.

However, the house does have a handful of ITBP guards posted for security.

“Being a residential accommodation, the premises has normal doors and windows, thus put a question mark on the security arrangements. Lacking proper security setup, the lockup room is just a makeshift arrangement,” said a Chandigarh Police officer.

At the rear end of the “office”, only a protective grill has been erected on the boundary wall, which is around four feet high from the ground.

“Anybody can enter or come out of the house at will,” said a neighbour on condition of anonymity.

The bureau had paid the price for the lack of security when a hardcore Israel drug trafficker, Lior Avi Ben Moyal, escaped from this house in 2005.

While fleeing, the suspect allegedly bashed up two NCB officials and broke their teeth.

Ashwini Kumar, assistant estate officer, said the bylaws did not permit use of residential premises for any commercial activity.

“No government office can run from residential accommodations,” he said, adding that he would look into the matter and take appropriate action.

He said he wasn’t aware of any special permission being given to the NCB in this regard.

Meanwhile, NCB zonal director Saji Mohan could not be contacted for his comments.



Now, PU boarders in VAT’s ambit
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
After Panjab University’s students’ centre, its now the turn of Panjab University’s hostels to face the blow of VAT on food served in hostels. According to sources, soon the hostel residents of Panjab University will have to shell out more for food as the UT administration has sent a notice to the hostels to implement VAT (Value Added Tax).

The UT administration has sent the notice on October 25 to inform the same. However, in their reply, the university authorities have stated that hostels should be exempted from implementing VAT.

After receiving the letter, the administration has now kept November 10 as the date to clarify the situation.

Nevertheless, if the value added tax were implemented in the hostels, it would mean shelling out Rs 3-4 extra for every meal. As of now, the rates for meals vary in different hostel. While in girls hostels, one meal costs Rs 17.50, in boys’ hostels it varies between Rs 15.50 to Rs 17.

A combined decision for implementing the VAT in hostels and in students’ centre on eatables would be taken on November 10.

Meanwhile, students are up in arms against implementing any such tax. As per sources students would protest if VAT would be implemented on food items. “If it is done, we will not accept it and will oppose such a move which aims to dig a hole in students’ pockets”, said a member of the students’ council.

Dean Students’ welfare, Prof Naval Kishore, when contacted said, “We are trying our best not to burden the students”.



Staff-principal spat turns murkier
Teachers protest against removal of union office-bearer
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The ongoing tiff between the staff and the principal, DAV Sector 8, turned murkier with teachers staging a protest in the school this morning following the alleged “unlawful” removal of a union office bearer.

Alleging it to be yet another move to curb their voices against the incident of the principal’s husband interfering in school matters, union members termed the move to be unlawful.

“She tried her best to hush the incident and did not pay any heed to Chowkidaar’s repeated complaints. Reacting to this many teachers observed a black Diwali and refused to accept any gift from the school. She got furious and started pressurising us and has finally put up a notice regarding the removal of unanimously elected staff secretary,” alleged the union president.

It may be noted that an otherwise innocuous incident of principal’s husband doing a routine checking of Chowkidaar, snowballed into a major controversy, when principal allegedly tore off his complaint questioning the authority of her husband to check him.

When he took the matter to the administration, teachers union refused to accept any Diwali gift and reacting to which principal allegedly removed Indu Singh, staff secretary.

“This is not right, when we took the matter to the administration, she simply removed me. She will have to pay for her persistent habit of hushing up matters,” said Indu Singh.

While school authorities tried their best to push the matter under carpet by even threatening the photographer the principal, Vibha Ray, could not be contacted for her comments.



Conference on glaucoma from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Professor K.K.Talwar, director, PGI, will inaugurate the 18th Annual Conference of the Glaucoma Society of India here tomorrow.

Advanced Eye Centre, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, in association with Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Chandigarh, is hosting the conference.

While a full-day instruction course was held at the GMCH targeting young ophthalmologists and postgraduates today, the main annual conference will be held at Bhargava Auditorium, PGI, till Sunday.

The invited faculty includes glaucoma experts from Australia, the USA and from all major eye centres throughout the country.

This includes faculty from Dr RP Centre, AIIMS, New Delhi, Sankara Netrelaya, Chennai, Arvind Eye Hospital, Madurai, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, CMC Vellore, and from Bangalore, Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, and Nagpur.

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide with around four million persons affected by the disease.

It assumes great importance as a public health problem since the disease is usually asymptomatic till the very late stage and the visual loss it leads to is irreversible.

Glaucoma results in damage to the optic nerve that is the “cable connecting the eye to the brain”.

High intraocular pressure (IOP) or pressure within the eye is the most common risk factor for developing the disease. Other risk factors include family history of glaucoma, eye injuries, long-term steroid use in the eye, etc.

The only way to detect the disease is to go for regular eye check-up, especially after the age of 40.

Comprehensive ophthalmic examination must include measurement of IOP and careful assessment of the status of the optic nerve.

Recognising the need for recognition and appropriate management of glaucoma, the Glaucoma Society of India was established in 1991.

Since then it has held its annual conferences regularly to disseminate knowledge about the disease and deliberate on the most recent developments in its diagnosis and management.

This year, the conference covers a wide range of topics of current interest to comprehensive ophthalmologist as well as the glaucoma specialist.



International awards for PGI doctor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Dr Kaushal Kishor Prasad, associate professor and in charge of the GE histopathology division in the department of superspeciality of gastroenterology, PGI, was awarded the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathologists (USCAP) Bursary at the 27th International Congress of the International Academy of Pathology (IAP 2008) held in Athens, Greece, in October for his contribution to the study of irritable bowel syndrome.

He was also awarded the United European Gastroenterology Federation (UEGF) Travel Grant for Basic Scientists during the 16th United European Gastroenterology Week (UEGW 2008) at Vienna, Austria, in October for his scientific contribution to the study of microscopic colitis.

The USCAP and UEGF are among the most prestigious associations of pathologists and gastroenterologists, respectively, in the world. These awards were given to very few scientists across the world on the basis of merit of their research work. Dr Prasad presented his research works at reputed international forums of pathologists and gastroenterologists.



Summary revision of electoral rolls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Chandigarh administration today held special summary revision of photo electoral roll 2009 with reference to the instruction issued by the Election Commission of India. The meeting was chaired by deputy commissioner-cum-electoral registration officer R.K. Rao.

Any person who is a citizen of India and ordinarily a resident of the constituency with age of 18 years or above as on January 1, 2009 will be eligible for enrollment in electoral rolls.

For new enrollment, a citizen will have to attach proof or resident of Chandigarh by producing ration card/passport/arms licence/driving licence/electricity bill/telephone bill/LIC policy/passbook of bank.

No form will be accepted without proof. In case the applicant has migrated to Chandigarh recently, a certificate of deletion of his/her name for his/her previous constituency will also be required to be attached with Form No. 6.

For preparation of electors’ photo identity cards, the election commission has added a new form (No. ECI-EPIC-001A) for submission of photograph to be attached along with the form No. 6.

The BLOs/AEROs will clearly mark the accepted or rejected forms and notice whenever issued will be pasted on the residential premises if the elector is not available. Signatures of two witnesses to be obtained were also included in the agenda of the meeting.



Chandigarh Carnival from Nov 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Chandigarh Carnival with theme ‘Fun and Games’ will be celebrated on November 22 and 23. The carnival will be inaugurated at 11 am by the UT administrator at Leisure Valley, Sector 10, here.

This has been decided in a meeting chaired by home secretary Ram Niwas here today.

The Chandigarh College of Arts will design the main entrance gate of the carnival depicting pictures of the city and the neighbouring states.

Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Academy, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Academy and Chandigarh Sahitya Kala Academy will put their exhibits depicting the streams of art.

The Mega Musical Nite has been scheduled on November 22 and Mega Laughter Show on November 23 at Leisure Valley. The Mega Musical Nite will see a high quality fire-work operated from Museum and Art Gallery premises too.

The carnival floats will begin their move from Leisure Valley passing through Matka chowk to Cricket Stadium chowk and back to Rose Garden as the finishing point.

Meanwhile, the administration nominated secretary, Haryana Urdu Akademi, Panchkula, K. L. Zakir as a member of Administrator's Advisory Council.



Book of Hindi poetry out
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, October 31
Keeping in view the ever increasing menace of pollution, the department of forests, Haryana, has embarked upon a unique idea of creating awareness among the masses through the fine art of poetry.

The department has brought out a book titled, “Vishav Pakshi Kavi Sammelan”, which was released today by Haryana chief secretary Dharamvir during a function at Gymkhana-I here today. The book, a seventh literary enterprise of acclaimed novelist and poet B.D. Kalia Hamdam, is a veritable confluence of poetic elegance, edifying environmental education and socio-cultural cause. The poet has attempted to bring into focus our irresponsible attitude towards the environment we live in, realising little that any damage to the ecological balance is disastrous for our own existence on the earth.

Citing references from old epics and scriptures, Dharamvir advised the author ‘Hamdam’ to induce more innovated satire in his couplets in subsequent editions of the book.

Earlier, chief conservator of forests Dr J.K. Rawat opined that their enterprising idea of the book would herald a new era as the ‘bird poets’ recited the didactic verses to the common readers. The author read out some couplets of bird poets from the book. Dr Sansar Chandera also spoke.



Assassins honoured
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 31
Family members of the assassins of former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, former Army chief Gen A.S. Vaidya, and former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, were honoured at a convention organised at Gurdwara Sacha Dhan Sahib here this evening even as local religious and political leaders kept away from the function.

The convention that was organised by the Panthic Samagam Committee presented shawls and Rs 2,100 to the family members of the assassins.

Sandeep Singh, convener of the committee and general secretary of the Youth Akali Dal Panch Pardhani, said among those honoured on the occasion were Sarabjit Singh, son of Beant Singh, Ravinder Singh, grandson of Kehar Singh, Gurnam Kaur, mother of Harjinder Singh Jinda, Surjit Kaur, mother of Dilwar Singh, Mohinder Singh, father of Harminder Singh, Beant Singh and Malkeet Kaur, parents of Kamaljeet Singh, and Surjeet Kaur, mother of Baljinder Singh Raju.

SGPC member Hardeep Singh, presidents of most of the local gurdwaras and local SAD leaders did not participate in the convention.

Leaders belonging to the Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal International and other religious bodies participated in the convention.



Threatening of lawyer
BJP seeks Chander Mohan’s ouster
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
Even as the Chandigarh police has almost given a clean chit to Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan in a threatening case, BJP leaders today demanded his ouster from state cabinet here.

Condemning the alleged involvement of the deputy chief minister in the threatening of a Chandigarh-based lawyer, Haryana BJP’s former vice-president Gyan Chand Gupta also demanded a CBI probe into the matter.

Ajit Hooda, a lawyer at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a complaint to the Chandigarh police had claimed that Chander Mohan had threatened him with the dire consequences on a telephone on Monday night when he was sleeping at MLA hostel.

In his complaint, Hooda said earlier he had had a verbal duel with Chander Mohan at a hotel in Sector 43.

At a press conference held at BJP office in Sector 2, Panchkula, Gupta alleged that the police was protecting the deputy chief minister under political pressure.

Earlier, the deputy chief minster had taken advantage of his political clout when he was involved in a ruckus at Army flats in the town, he alleged. “Chander Mohan should be asked to quit from the post and a CBI inquiry in the case be initiated to bring out the truth,” said Gupta adding that they would decide on the next course of action if no action was taken.



11 cases of power theft detected
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 31
As many as 11 cases of power theft were detected during a surprise raid conducted by Punjab State Electricity Board officials at residential colonies of Zirakpur in the wee hours today. The PSEB authorities have imposed a fine of Rs 6.78 lakh (approximately) on the consumers who were found involved in the theft.

According to the board officials, the raid was conducted under the supervision of M.L. Garg, SE, Mohali. They got information about kundi connections and other power thefts in the area and conducted raids at 15 colonies, namely Harmilap Nagar Parts 1 and 2, Mamta Enclave, Parvati Enclave, Baltana, Govind Vihar, Hem Vihar, Kalgidhar Enclave, Wadhawa Nagar, Green City, Dhakoli, Krishna Enclave, M.S. Enclave etc, added the officials.

According to the officials, a number of consumers were getting power supply directly from the main line bypassing the electric metre. “We will continue this kind of drive in the coming days,” said one of the officials.



Meditation retreat tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 31
The local unit of Brahma Kumaris is organising a meditation retreat in Phase VII on November 2 to reduce problems like stress and strains faced by the society.

Brahma Kumari Prem Lata, in charge of local circle, said 100 persons above the age of 16 years would participate in the retreat. They would learn the techniques to lead a tension-free life by empowering the self-confidence. Entry to the retreat would be free of cost and registration in this regard would be done till tomorrow.



Rioting youths go scot free
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
The youths accused of creating ruckus at the emergency ward of General Hospital, Sector 6, yesterday seem to have gone scot free as the police was not able to register any case in the matter after both the parties reached a compromise.

Two groups of youths, numbering around more than 2 dozen, had a fight at the emergency ward of the hospital last night, endangering the lives of patients lying on life support systems. While many of the patients fell from their stretchers in the melee, the policemen present on the scene were also manhandled. Four persons were treated for their injuries at hospital. Later the police even nabbed a few of them.

No complaint was lodged by the hospital authorities till now. SHO of police station, Sector 5, Ajit Singh said he was out of town last night and would look into the matter tomorrow.



Chief medical officer retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Dr Kanwal Vilku, chief medical officer, Central Governem Health Services (CGHS) dispensary, Chandigarh, retired after putting 36 years of service here today.

The credit of opening CGHS dispensary at Chandigarh in 2002 goes to Dr Vilku.

A postgraduate in transfusion medicine and immunohaematology from PGI, Chandigarh, Dr Vilku was the first Asian woman to work at Antarctica for 16 months as the 19th member of expedition to Atarctica at the age of 53.

With name in the Limca Book of Records, Dr Vilku has been honoured with Rajiv Gandhi Award, Zee Astitav Award and Antarctica Award by the President.



Eight cops promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Chandigarh police today promoted eight policemen, including two sub-inspectors (SI). According to the police, SIs Sucha Singh and Joginder Singh have been promoted as inspectors, while assistant sub-inspectors Om Parkash, Hukkam Chand, Baljinder Singh, Suresh Kumar, Neki Ram and Ramesh Chad have been promoted to the rank of SI.



Admn pledge to work for national unity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
To mark the Rashtriya Sankalp Divas, a pledge-taking ceremony was administered by the adviser to UT administrator, Pradip Mehra, at the UT secretariat, Sector 9, here today.

The officials took oath to work constructively for maintaining the freedom and unity of the nation and resolving all matters related to caste, creed, religion, language or region through Constitutional means without resorting to violence.

UT home secretary Ram Niwas, finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, deputy commissioner R. K. Rao, special secretary, finance, Raji P. Srivastava, IGP S. K. Jain, chief architect Sumit Kaur, SSP S. S. Srivastava, joint secretary, home, Bhupinder Singh, director, public relations, R. S. Verma and other employees took part in the oath-taking ceremony.



30 autorickshaws impounded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The State Transport Authority, Chandigarh, along with the traffic police, impounded 30 auto-rickshaws for plying unauthorised in the city today. Besides this, 139 auto-rickshaws and 17 other vehicles including one tourist bus, plying illegally, were challaned under violations of the Motor Vehicle Act.

The violations included as without documents, without permit, over-capacity passengers, without RC, without fare metre, without insurance, without driving licence and without fitness and pollution control certificates. All these vehicles were registered in Punjab and Haryana.



Speaking Out
‘Obama a cut above McCain’

If Chandigarhians had a say in the forthcoming US Presidential Elections (November 4), Democrat candidate Barack Obama would have been their clear choice over his Republican opponent John McCain. Anti-Bush sentiments and his “pro-India” stand are apparently the main reasons for people batting for him here. The possibilities of the White House having a first black President seems to have also caught the fancy of residents, who dub this as “true” democracy

I will definitely vote for John McCain. There is no specific logic of any policy. It’s just that I feel he has sacrificed more for the nation. Seeing his life so far, I think he has very aptly answered his nation’s call whenever required.

Dr K.K. Talwar, PGI director

I will go with Obama for simple reason that he is fresh blood. His dynamic approach and vigour will not only bring a fresh change in the US but the world over. Analysing my choice based on the projected policies regarding India seems irrelevant as nobody can afford to ignore India today.

Dr M.S. Dhillon, HoD, orthopedics PGI

I will vote for Obama as he represents the aspirations of the common man. The very stark difference between the approach of both of them justifies my choice. Whereas McCain is expected to adopt a percolation policy that will mean seeping of benefits from topnotch to bottom, Obama will work towards development of grass roots and pay more attention to necessities over luxuries.

Dr Manjit Singh, Director, Centre for Study of Social Exclusion

I will go with Obama for the simple reason that he doesn’t talk about American interests only but considers global development the need of hour. I feel he is more apt to handle situation like current financial crisis.

Dalip Kumar, PU senate member

World or any specific country can progress through democracy alone. I feel Obama’s democratic approach will catalyse IT development and will also open new ventures. The current IT ties between India and US will reach new heights if Obama is elected.

Munish Johar, MD, Graycells Technologies

I will back McCain as Obama’s anti-outsourcing approach will pose a serious threat to Indian IT and BPO industry. He aspires to tap American human resource to meet the demands of their IT industry and put an end to outsourcing.

Karanpreet Gill, MD, Gillcom Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.

I will prefer Obama for he is a democratic candidate. His projected policy of an overall development and an anti-Bush attitude will make him a perfect choice.

Arvinder Singh, IT professional, Canadian High Commission

Obama is my clear choice as I feel democracy is the way for a wholesome development. Not only the country but also the world needs a break from the Republican regime, as democratic approach will benefit one and all. Also many crises and threats can be avoided.

Neel Kamal Puri, Author, The Patiala Quartet

I think McCain has done more for his country. He may not be selling big dreams but I feel he talks practical stuff and not just big promises. He will be an apt leader for the US and will be able to accelerate global development in a better way.

Rohit Shori, Student, PU

Obama will bring about a positive change to the US economy and policies. He represents power of dreams and if chosen he will revolutionise a lot of things. He is expected to take concrete steps against poverty and will surly pull the world out of the current financial crisis.

Sumit Chaudhary, Student, PU



Menace of e-bikes

It is rightly said to nip the evil in the bud. If in 2005, the Chandigarh administration, instead of issuing notification regarding the exemption of registration and wearing helmet move, the union government for issuing notification or amendment of the traffic rules bringing the e-bike in the administration bent of the traffic law then the present e-bike menace would not have been there, as teenagers are already giving a headache to the police with their increasing speed.

As per reports about 5-10 bikes are sold daily in the city and the day is not far when the craze for e-bikes would shoot up and it is likely that it would be used by the bad elements as well. Instead of writing to the Central government one high up officer of the UT administration should be deputed to Delhi with necessary request of the UT administration and get the notification or amendment in traffic rules.

G.K. Chopra, Chandigarh

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