C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Another victim of doctors’ negligence
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
In yet another case of alleged negligence by doctors of the city’s premier hospital, the GMCH 32, Mukesh Kumar (25) of Sector 22, who was reportedly suffering from high fever, died this afternoon.

His family alleged that he was suffering from suspected dengue and the doctors not only failed to diagnose it in time, but also the hospital was “out of stock” of A negative blood platelets that were required for the patient.

I don’t care: Doctor

Senior resident Dr Meenakshi was infuriated when contacted for comments. “How dare you call me?” she said and warned the correspondent from publishing her name. When told that her name would go since the family had accused her of negligence, she shot back: “Do whatever you want. I am not bothered.”

We will inquire: MS

Medical superintendent, Dr Vipin Kaushal, said an inquiry would be conducted into the circumstances leading to Mukesh’s death if his family files a written complaint. While he claimed that he wasn’t aware of the details of the case, he said Mukesh had died due to a sudden drop in his blood platelet count.

Inconsolable, Radha, wife of the deceased, accused doctors of keeping the family in dark about his condition. “For three days they were treating him for fever and this morning they suddenly said Mukesh could be suffering from dengue and required blood platelet of A -ve,” she said.

The family was taken aback when they told them to arrange for the blood platelets themselves as the hospital didn’t have it in the blood blank.

“We desperately tried to arrange for the platelets and even took the help of a private mobile service provider to flash a message throughout the city,” she said, adding that Mukesh died 20 minutes after the mobile SMS was sent at 12.20 pm.

“He could have been saved if they had told us to arrange for the platelets yesterday,” she said, accusing the hospital of taking her husband’s illness “lightly”.

“They were unconcerned and rude,” Radha said, ruing the fact that she had brought him here. Mukesh used to run a cyber café in Sector 22.

Mukesh’s father, Ram Asrey Negi, said his son was admitted to the hospital on Friday as he had severe fever and body ache. When they got him to the hospital, he was vomiting.

Negi said the doctors told him “not to worry” and administered some painkiller, but Mukesh’s condition deteriorated. The next day, his condition worsened, but the doctors still maintained that he was okay. “Our repeated pleas for a detailed diagnosis went unheard,” he said, adding that when specifically asked about his condition from senior resident, Dr Meenakshi, she was rude to them.

“Dr Meenakshi told us that she didn’t have staff for giving individual attention and rudely told us not to disturb them repeatedly,” he said.

When contacted, Dr Meenakshi was outright rude and dared the correspondent to write against her. (See box)

Incidentally, this is the second incident of alleged negligence by doctors that has cost a life of a patient in the past three days. Earlier, a resident of Kurukshetra, Hitendra (25), died of burns sustained by him on Diwali night. His father, Gurdayal Kakkar, reportedly accused the doctors of not attending to his son properly. 



Year-old crawls under car; run over
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
In a tragic incident, one-year-old Vashika was killed when she came under a car in front of her house in Bhaskar Colony yesterday. The driver of the car moved the vehicle, not realising that the child was under the car.

According to the police, the accident took place at around 10 am when Sajjan Kumar of Naya Gaon started his car after delivering goods at the shop of Shushil Kumar, father of the girl. She had crawled under the car when the goods were being off-loaded. The girl was run over by the car and was critically injured. She was rushed to the PGI, where she was declared brought dead.

The police has arrested Sajjan Kumar on the charges of causing death due to rash and negligent driving and impounded the vehicle.

In another mishap, two cars collided with each other at the Sectors 27 and 28 lights yesterday. Gurdev Singh of Manimajra lodged a complaint against Vikas Passi of Sector 47, alleging that the latter was driving rashly and hit his car.

Though no one was injured, the vehicles were damaged. A case has been registered.

Meanwhile, in another fatal accident, Raj Kumar of Sector 39 was killed after his scooter was knocked down by a rashly-driver auto-rickshaw near his residence yesterday.

He was seriously injured in the accident and was admitted to the PGI, where he succumbed to his injuries this afternoon.

According to the police, Raj Kumar, in his late fifties, was a retired government employee.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. The police has arrested the auto-rickshaw driver, Dev Raj of Naya Gaon, on charges of causing death due to rash and negligent driving.



Radha Swami sect vacates land, finally
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 9
About 34 acres of prime land in Sector 76 has been finally vacated by the Radha Swami Satsang. The land had been under the occupation of the sect for the past over five years and GMADA (erstwhile PUDA) persuaded the sect to exchange the land with another chunk as it was hampering the authority’s planning.

In 2001, the Punjab Government, while acquiring land for Sectors 76 to 80, had allotted 200 acres to the sect, which, however, covered 34 acres more. This had disturbed the planning of Sector 76.

After a long dialogue, the sect decided to vacate 34 acres in the southern side of the dera in exchange for land along Sector 71. An official said to compensate for the loss, the sect handed over 1.75 acres in its possession in Phase 7.

A GMADA official said possession of the 34 acres had been taken and the office of the district town planner had been asked to undertake planning of the land. The land would be allotted to nine cooperative house building societies and for the district administrative complex. Around 16 acres was required for the district administrative complex and the judicial complex.

A high-tension line passing through the land would also be shifted. The other societies that have to be allotted land in Sector 79 are yet to get possession as the case of Sectors 76 to 80 was under litigation. “We will wait for the outcome of the case. The draw of the remaining plots of the housing scheme of Sectors 76 to 80 would also be done after that,” an official said.



Khurshid’s formula to fix terrorism
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The issue of terrorism can be dealt with by streamlining land issues, particularly in tribal areas, providing job opportunities and thereby eradicating poverty and avoiding lopsided development. This was stated by former union minister of state for external affairs Salman Khurshid, who was in the city.

He was for an intelligent mix of firm dialogue with deprived sections of society to strengthen internal security. “Education is the way to reinforce the values in our system and its lack is a hindrance in the development of an individual and a nation. This step should be initiated at the school level by involving the deprived sections through the implementation of the sarv shiksha abhiyaan and universal free education for all programmes,” he said.

The centre had already formed structural committees in the direction of making the country self reliant. Around 90 districts had been identified as special institution districts where special funding was being initiated to run progressive programmes.

“These would take two to three years for path-breaking results. Our ideology is to refrain people from provoking regional terrorism. As no religion in India or outside the world would accept the idea of putting labels of terrorists,” he said.

There was wide scope of improving external bilateral trade. “We are emphasising on the outsourcing of the industry and business issues. India can offer itself as a good outsourcing destination. We are also focusing on expanding base for pharmaceutical and healthcare sector and the centre is liberal in funding these initiatives,” he said.

Seemingly not dejected by the party’s decision not to give him a Rajya Sabha ticket, Khurshid said: “I am more of a Lok Sabha kind of a man and prefer to be in fray for next year’s general election.”

He failed to get a nomination for the Rajya Sabha seat in UP which the Samajwadi Party and the Congress have decided to contest jointly by electing Mohammad Adib Khan (SP) as candidate for the seat.

Khurshid, a known detractor of SP leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh, was among the two Muslim leaders in the race for the Rajya Sabha seat. Abu Asim Azmi of the Samajwadi Party was also in the fray.

The Congress leader expressed confidence that the differences between the party and the SP on seat-sharing would be resolved soon. “Factors like caste and other regional issues play a major role in the polls in UP. Our manifesto committee is focusing on a vision statement which would involve talks with unions, teachers, business houses, organisations, empowering gender and social justice,” he remarked.

Commenting on Congress leader Margaret Alva’s recent outbursts over the sale of ticket for Rajya Sabha seats, Khurshid said this type of deviation was part and parcel in a party, adding that the disciplinary committee would decide on the issue.

On MNS chief Raj Thackeray, he said what was happening in Maharashtra was an “extreme behavioural practice”. However, he reserved his comments when asked if the Left could once again be part of the UPA after the Lok Sabha elections.

He also advocated upgraded facilities for Amarnath pilgrims.



Victim’s ‘friend’ may be missing link
Arun Sharma/Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 9
Even as the police has questioned dozens of youths and arrested two of them in the alleged gangrape of a minor, it is trying to trace the girl’s “close associate”, Chunky, who could provide crucial details in the case.

“He may well be the missing link,” said an official associated with the investigations, claiming that Chunky’s call records and circumstantial evidence indicate that he met the victim on September 16, the day the alleged gangrape took place.

His family is confirming it, but is not willing to disclose his whereabouts. Chunky’s mother, who requested anonymity at present, claimed that her son and the girl were “very good friends” and were together on the fateful night. “He came home at about 10.30 pm and got a scolding from his father for being late,” she said. “However, we have no idea where she had gone after Chunky returned home,” she added.

When asked about Chunky’s whereabouts, his cousin, Ramesh, who was also present in their Sector 4 house, said he had left home without informing anyone. When told that there was no apparent reason for him to run away when his name figured nowhere in the case, Ramesh claimed that Chunky had been questioned thrice by the police and he was “scared”.

Asked if he would appear before the police tomorrow, the last date for the appearance notice by the police, the family refused to comment. “We don’t know where he is and he does not even know that the police has given a notice as he had left before that,” his mother claimed.

The police had served the notice about 10 days ago, asking Chunky, a Class XII student of a private coaching school, to join the investigations by November 10.

Interestingly, while the victim claimed that she had never seen Chunky, she admitted that he was her “phone-a-friend”. “I have never seen him,” she told The Tribune, expressing surprise why the police was involving him in the case.



Kalam to inaugurate aero society seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Former President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is scheduled to inaugurate a two-day national seminar on aerospace technology being organised in the city by the Chandigarh chapter of Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) from November 14.

Besides addressing the delegates at Aerotech-2008, Dr Kalam would also release a book on aviation and interact with winners of various competitions organised by the society for schoolchildren.

Scientists and senior officers from the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Indian Space Research Organisation, armed forces, scientific institutions and the industry would be attending the seminar, which would focus on advances in technology and optimisation in maintenance. 



Magazine catering to Punjabi diaspora released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
After being launched at New York, Toronto, California, Melbourne, Japan and Hollywood, Panjabi Beat, a bimonthly magazine catering to Punjabi diaspora was released by the editor-in-chief of The Tribune, H.K. Dua today.

Unveiling the copy, H.K. Dua recalled his decades-old association with Reema Anand, chief editor, Panjabi Beat. Highlighting the aim of the magazine, which is to generate awareness among Punjabis world over, he wished good luck to the venture.

He further emphasised on the need of social issues that such magazines should promote. “Seventy per cent of Punjabi youth has fallen victim to drug addiction. Magazines should promote cultural ethos and values that can keep youth away from the menace of drugs,” he said.

Dua exhorted NRIs to invest in Punjab and help the people here in distress. He added that already samaritan NRIs are working for the cause of their respective villages and cities promoting education or health. “But much more can be done. NRIs have the ability and vision to work for society,” he added.

Remembering his meeting with writer Khushwant Singh, who has been featured in the first edition of Panjabi Beat, Dua said, “When Khushwant Singh came back after studying law from abroad, his mother celebrated his coming back and distributed sweets. Someone asked her, what exam has your son passed. She said that he passed his time abroad. Khuswant finds laughter in every facet of life.”

Reema Anand said Punjab’s history has been reduced to mere politics and its religious heritage condemned to oblivion.

She added that aim of the magazine was to awaken Punjabis on the things they are losing upon. “We are sitting on priceless heritage art, history, architecture, music, granary, but what is being done by any agency or Punjabis here or abroad to preserve it. Nothing, are we drugged and comatose like the youth out there? This is not a blame game, but it also does not mean we become silent partners in this huge loss,” she said.

Panjabi Beat is a sincere effort to rectify that. The magazine dwells on the issue of human rights, the eco crisis Punjab is undergoing, need for waking up Punjabis from slumber, starting a ground level wake up call etc.

Prominent among others included the roving editor of the magazine Sunil Bhasin, west editor Jasreen Kaur, and marketing head Harleen Kaur.



Reshaping the 'city beautiful'!
Raveen Thukral

What does Panchkula, Mohali, Mullanpur and Zirakpur have which Chandigarh doesn't? The question may sound awkward as it's usually the other way round when we talk about the amenities and the ambience available in this beautiful city vis-à-vis it's poor cousins on the periphery.

I don't blame you if you are scratching your heads for the answer as even I was taken aback and left blank faced for a few minutes when an architect friend asked me this question the other day. While I struggled for an answer and blurted out one-liners - they have potholed roads, they have power and water cuts, they are congested and unplanned and so on - my friend asked me to shut up.

And then with a typical straight face he shot back, "they have a Master Plan and we don't". His tone and the way he said it reminded me of Amitabh Bacchan- Shashi Kapoor's famous dialogue of Dewar- tere pass kya hai…, I was left flabbergasted as I never knew that this city didn't have a Master Plan.

While I am not the 'know-it-all' sort of journalist, I must confess that my ignorance about this fact embarrassed me a little. However, the discomfit was short lived as I found many other ignorant people like me and the reason for this is perhaps that the word "planned city" associated with Chandigarh is etched so deeply in our minds that we cannot ever think of this city being without a Master Plan.

When I probed further and 'googled', it turned out that while the city had something called a Master Plan, it wasn't exactly a sacrosanct document as it had no legal binding on the administration and could be altered at the whims and fancy of the those at the helm. Unlike Punjab where each city has to have a Master Plan according to which the urban development is undertaken, it's virtually free for all in this city.

Le Corbusier conceived the master plan of Chandigarh as analogous to human body, with a clearly defined head (the Capitol Complex, Sector 1), heart (the City Centre Sector-17), lungs (the leisure valley, innumerable open spaces and sector greens), the intellect (the cultural and educational institutions), the circulatory system (the network of roads, the 7Vs) and the viscera (the Industrial Area). In other words this means that the city does have a layout plan, a zoning plan, an edict, a statute of land, architectural control sheets for each area and bylaws to enforce them but not a legally valid Master Plan document.

A Master Plan can be defined as a document prepared for urban areas and it serves as an important instrument to guide the process of urban development. Over the years it has emerged as an important approach to urban planning in the country. The concept of the Master Plan has no doubt made a discernible impact in regulating and channelising the development and growth of cities and towns.

In nutshell, the Master Plan is a visionary document that translates human aspirations which are the basis of city planning into physical form. It's essentials include a vision of city, concept and approach, land use plan - built to non built, zoning plan, planning policies and physical and social infrastructure. So, it's true that we do not have a Master Plan to visualise how this city would be in the next 25 years.

The ongoing controversies over the various new projects initiated by the Chandigarh administration, including the IT Park, Film and Education City, are a result of the absence of a modern Master Plan and it violates the originally conceived plan i.e the Sector plan in which all aspects of life, work, living, recreation, commercial were provided. The administration has circumvented the original document by incorporating the terms sectoral grid and non-sectoral grid to suit its purpose.

Let's take a look at the IT Park project. It was originally planned for 25000 employees and as per the administration's own projections the number is likely to go up to 67,000 after the completion of the third phase. The actual number of jobs created in fact would far exceed this since by NASSCOM estimates each job in the IT Sector generates three additional jobs.

So has the administration given a thought how it will accommodate and provide for so many more people in a city which was originally designed for 5,00,000 people and which currently has about 9,00,000 people? Can't say, because the administration is yet to make its plan, if any, known to the public.

While change is inevitable, one should plan for it in such a manner that the basic character of this city is not altered in an arbitrary manner. But the way things are going, the violations are blatant and against the very spirit of Le Corbusier's edict, whose objective was "to enlighten the present and future citizens of Chandigarh about the basic concepts of planning of the city so  that they become its guardians and save it from whims of individuals".

It’s high time that the administration gets its act together and formulates a comprehensive and a visionary Master Plan for this city, after due consultations, and then goes about developing it while retaining its unique character that makes it an envious place to be in.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com



Conference on Landscape Architecture
Common authority for Chandigarh region mooted
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

A section of delegates at an international conference on “Emerging trends in landscape architecture” in Chandigarh on Sunday.
A section of delegates at an international conference on “Emerging trends in landscape architecture” in Chandigarh on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, November 9
In the backdrop of haphazard urbanisation, a fervent appeal for common controlling authority for the Chandigarh region, including its periphery, was made at the first-ever international conference on landscape architecture organised by the Saakaar Foundation here today.

In fact, the need for a comprehensive landscape development plan for the city, including the Sukhna choe, the Patiala ki Rao, the capitol complex, the Rajindra garden and the upcoming southern sectors, also formed part of recommendations at the conference attended by leading landscape architects from Switzerland, Turkey and India, said Surinder Bahga, brain behind the conference.

Earlier, after a formal welcome by Parveen Chopra and introductory remarks by H.S. Johl, president of the Environment Society of Punjab, Salman Khurshid, a former minister of state for external affair, inaugurated the conference aimed at providing better living conditions to urban residents.

The ball was set rolling by Dr S.S. Bhatti, former principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, who in his keynote address championed the cause of “van-urbanisation” as an integral part of the urbanisation.

In fact, parallels between Chandigarh and some of its foreign counterparts were drawn by Andy Schonholzer and Olivier Lasserre from Switzerland.

While Prof Gunther Vogt (Switzerland) spoke about the emerging trends in the landscape architecture at the global level, Dr Mustafa Var (Turkey) spoke about “urban transformation implementation”.

Prof Samir Mathur from Delhi gave a presentation on “cities, open spaces and modernity”. Aarti Grover, also from Delhi, presented her study on “open space structure of Chandigarh”.

Underlining the need for involvement of landscape architects in the formulation of the masterplans of the cities, Dr Mustafa Var from Karadeniz Technical University, Turkey, had yesterday, said that landscape architects should make worthwhile contributions to the cities so that open and green areas could be functional and aesthetic.

Food for thought

Constitute common controlling authority for Chandigarh region

Need for landscape development plan for city and separate department

Quick action on inter-state Ghaggar water project

Damming of stormwater instead of discharge into rivers

Rehabilitation solutions for slum dwellers

Strengthen buffer zone between industrial and residential areas



Involve landscape architects in urban master plans: Experts
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dr Mustafa Var
Dr Mustafa Var
Prof Samir Mathur
Prof Samir Mathur

Chandigarh, November 9
Landscape architects should be involved in the formulation of master plans of the cities so that the new townships do not degenerate into concrete jungles bereft of any open spaces and recreational facilities.

This was the broad consensus that emerged at the first-ever international conference on “emerging trends in landscape architecture” organised by the Saakaar Foundation here today.

“The involvement of the landscape architects in the urban planning was the need of the hour to make the cities desirable places to live. In the backdrop of government’s social objective, the planners have to design the cities keeping in mind aspirations of both rich and the poor alike”, landscape architect from Delhi Samir Mathur told The Tribune.

In fact, inputs from the landscape architects could have gone a long way in addressing the concerns of residents living in upcoming towns in Chandigarh’s periphery such as Kharar and Zirakpur that have virtually turned into urban slums. At present, Chandigarh seems to be the only “oasis in excellence” as its creator Le Corbusier spared thought for the landscape architecture, Prof Mathur said.

He, however, regretted that there were only five colleges offering postgraduate courses of masters in landscape architecture, while in the US, over 500 institutes offered such courses.

On master plans, Dr Mustafa Var, director, Forestry, Research and Application Centre, Karadeniz Technical University, Turkey, said landscape architects should make some contributions to the cities so that open and green areas could be functional and aesthetic. Green patches and corridors might separately be done by landscape designs belonging to responsible landscape architects, he added.

Calling upon the landscape architect to act responsibly, Dr Var stressed need for the rehabilitation of slum settlers in a "modern and healthy" environment.



159 recruits join Dogra Regiment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
As many as 159 recruits hailing from the Dogra regions of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Punjab were formally inducted into the ranks of the Army at an impressive passing out parade held at the Dogra Regimental Centre at Faizabad today.

The parade was reviewed by the Centre Commandant, Brig Kapil Dev. The recruits, which belonged to the 67th Recruit Course, underwent a nine-month training stint at the centre.

Recruit Arun Kumar was adjudged as the overall best recruit of the course. Medals were also awarded to recruits adjudged best in drill, firing and sports. The Commandant lauded the excellent standard of the drill displayed by the recruits and their immaculate turn out.

Addressing the recruits, the Commandant spoke of the challenges that lay ahead and the onerous task that the newly-inducted soldiers had of defending the borders of the nation. He exhorted the recruits to uphold the highest traditions of the Army and live up the Regiment’s motto of “Kartavyamanvatma”, implying duty before self.

The military band in attendance on the occasion played numerous martial tunes to finally end with Auld Lang Syne as the recruits marched towards the “Antim Pag” amidst the thunderous applause of the spectators.



SI Graft Case
Police reviews footage to identify miscreants
Vandalising of police post
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The Chandigarh police is reviewing the video footage of the commotion that preceded the arrest of sub-inspector Sanjiv Kumar and Shubash Kataria, a representative of traders in Sector 17 market, by sleuths of the central bureau of investigation (CBI) in a corruption case on Friday.

According to sources, the police had registered a case of rioting and damaging property under various provision of the Indian Penal Code the same day.

The police said some unidentified persons damaged the police post at 2.35 pm when the CBI was inquiring the matter in connection with a case registered under the prevention of corruption act and criminal conspiracy.

ASP (central) Madur Verma told the TNS that miscreants would be identified and action would be taken against them as per their role in the commotion and damaging the police post.

The investigating officers are reviewing video footage in an attempt to identify those involved in the tumult during the arrest of the accused by the CBI men.

The police has registered a case against mob and is in the process of identifying the accused who raised slogans and vandalised the police post.

The agitators, claiming to be eyewitnesses to the incident, said SI Sanjiv Kumar did not accept the money while CBI officials forced him to open his fists and took him into the post.

A mob comprising shopkeepers, hawkers, supporters and media persons, had gathered at the police post on Friday morning within minutes of the CBI men pouncing on SI Sanjiv Kumar.

The mob became restive when a senior CBI officer came out of the police post and refused to divulge the proceedings.

He also declined to share a word about what had happened with the media, even as mediapersons repeatedly insisted on comments.

The situation worsened when some people began raining blows on the makeshift police post, causing damage to its door and sidewalls. At this, the police resorted to mild cane charge to disperse the unruly crowd.

Some policemen in mufti shooed away protesters saying that their way of protest would boomerang against them and the police.

A police officer remarked that the police was in a piquant situation as they had to register a case against those who had come to their support.

Also, being part of a disciplined force they had to give protection and assistance to the CBI, even as they were alleging that a policeman was implicated in the case, as the amount was not recovered from him.



Man hangs himself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
A man in his early 30s committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence at Ram Darbar here today. According to police sources, Naresh Kumar was alone at his residence as his wife was away to Hisar.

“His wife is physically challenged and the couple allegedly had strained relationship,” said SHO police station-31 Bhupinder Singh.

He had attended a family function at his brother’s house in Sector 20 today and had returned home around 4 pm.

No suicide note was found at the scene, added the police officer.



Stray Dog Menace
Panchkula MC assigns task to PFA
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 9
Residents of the city can assure themselves to get rid of stray dog menace at least to some extent in the near future as after a lot of dilly-dallying the municipal council has finally decided to assign the task to People for Animals (PFA), an NGO.

A meeting in this regard would be held tomorrow with representatives of the NGO. The municipal councillors and representatives of the residents’ associations from the town are also invited to put their suggestions, said Rajinder Kataria, deputy commissioner, Panchkula.

In fact the increasing number of stray dogs as well as incidents of dog bites have become a nightmare for the people in the town. While the city civil hospital is receiving more than 100 cases of dog bites every month, the number of victims reaching to private clinics is presumed to be much higher than this.

In many localities like Sectors 15, 16 and 17 where the concentration of stray dogs was unusually high due to proximity with the slums of Rajiv Colony, Indira Colony and Mouli Jagran, children are not allowed to play in the streets by parents to avoid dog bites.

Earlier the local administration mulled over taking the help of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to tackle the problem in the month of August, but things could not be materialised due to some technical reasons, said O.P. Sihag, executive officer of the municipal committee.

Sihag said the problem would be tackled on the pattern of Gurgaon where the MC, HUDA, the animal husbandry department and the AWBI worked together to control the menace.

There were more than 5,000 stray dogs in Panchkula and with thousands of dog bite cases many deaths have been reported in the recent past.

The municipal council received the tender forms from seven firms involved in the job, including NGO PFA, said Sihag. Being the lowest price quoted by the NGO it has been decided in principal to rope in the PFA, he said. The NGO would charge Rs 445 for one dog to sterilise and vaccinate it against rabies, added Sihag.

However, the civic body is planning to develop a half-acre piece lying with it in Sector 28 as a dog yard for the purpose, he said.



Parwanoo-Kalka Highway
Haryana wants stretches widened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Haryana wants narrow stretches in Parwanoo and Kalka on the Shimla highway to be widened. As traffic regulation and highway widening case came for hearing before a division bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Daya Chaudhary, the Haryana state counsel said a free flow of traffic was obstructed at points near the railway crossing in Kalka and Kali Mata temple. Besides, the area near the Jal Dhara in Parwanoo was required to be widened by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

The state counsel added it was also necessary to carry out the necessary repair work for enabling the roads to bear the heavy traffic load.

Taking note of the submissions, the NHAI counsel said a detailed affidavit would be filed before the court before the next date of hearing. The matter will now come on November 28.

The Bench also recorded a note of appreciation for the Panchkula superintendent of police. The bench has already made it clear that it wants the traffic to flow smoothly on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch of the Shimla highway. The bench, on the previous date of hearing, had asked the superintendent of police concerned to ensure there was no hindrance.

Directions for deploying recovery vehicles along with first aid vans were also issued by the Bench.

The bench had added traffic police personnel would be deployed under the supervision of a deputy superintendent of police. The issue of widening the Chandigarh-Kalka highway has its origin in a petition filed in public interest by Harish Kumar Puri of Ambala. In his petition, Puri had earlier asked for the construction of rumble strips along with the traffic signals at the crossings. He had stated that his 27-year-old son Ashok Puri had died on May 14, 1996, due to a complete failure of the signal system.



Human rights panel seeks report
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 9
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has taken cognisance of a news report about a married woman being harassed by Dera Bassi police in connection with her complaint of being harassed by her in-laws.

Seeking the report from the SSP, Mohali, the commission members have fixed the next date of hearing on January 2, 2009. The victim Asha Kalia, a resident of Dera Bassi, in her complaint with the police had alleged that she was roughed up by her in-laws and had to undergo treatment at GMCH-32.

She alleged that the police did not take any action despite her approaching the DGP, 



e wild wild web
Obama would not have won without the Internet

The televised debate between John F Kennedy and Richard M Nixon was probably the most decisive event for the election of 1960, one of the closest in American history. The growth of TV as a new medium and declined use of radio marked a significant change in running election campaigns. For the TV appearance, Nixon refused to wear make up and thus, appeared unshaven, tired and sweaty under the lights. Kennedy, however, did wear the make up and so appeared cooler and more composed than Nixon. Kennedy, before the debate, returned tan and attractive from vacation. Not only did Kennedy appear to be better groomed, and handsome, his suit was navy popping off the grey backdrop. Nixon’s suit was grey, blending in to the curtain behind him. With these factors combined, TV viewers agreed, Kennedy won the debate. Richard Nixon’s deep, strong, radio-appealing voice won over all radio listeners who agreed Nixon won the debate. Nixon entered the race ahead of Kennedy but lost in the final run. Television as a new medium changed presidential elections from this point on, marking the election of 1960 significant. Radio voice failed to prevail over now “candidate centered” television campaigns.

The internet played a disruptive role in the 2008 election, much the same way television played a major role in the 1960 elections. The internet is still relatively new now, as TV was back then, but both came of age and swung the election towards the winning candidate. Kennedy, in particular, used television ads extensively in his campaign to reach the American voters directly, and embraced simple things like make up: The Internet was used by candidates previously but Obama really leveraged it fully with online video, blogging, social networking and fundraising.

Arianna Huffington of the Huffingtonpost.com said if it wasn’t for the Internet, Obama would not be the president. The mainstream media (MSM) had its limitations to report merely what each candidate said without saying who was right or wrong. The blogosphere, on the other hand, tended to call out factual inaccuracies better than the mainstream media. Not only the Internet could be used to raise lots of money online, but social networking was significantly more powerful and allowed for the creation of more meaningful connections between the candidate and voters. Every single thing a candidate said, and how he said it, was available online for people to review and judge.

In the 2008 elections, the technological winner is the video website YouTube and, by extension, democracy. This is a powerful medium for persuasion and for counterargument. Toni Morrison in an interview, calls Obama’s election and presidency the beginning of a participatory democracy. Would this participatory democracy have been possible without the tools, which empower everyone to have a voice that can gain an audience? No. The Internet has emerged as a force in politics, atleast in the United States.

Believe it or not, Obama’s spots on YouTube amassed a total of 14.5 million viewing hours, over the course of this election. Together, Barack Obama and John McCain’s YouTube channels received over 100 million video views, though it was telling to look at the different ways the two campaigns use the service. McCain’s channel contained just over 300 videos, with about 20 million views in all. Nearly all of his videos were short, well-produced pieces that mainly looked like TV commercials. Of his top 10 most-viewed videos, only one of them, a nearly eight-minute clip of a Sarah Palin speech, broke that mold.

Obama, by contrast, had over 1,500 videos on his site, totalling about 80 million views. Many of them, like McCain’s, were similar to TV commercials, but that was hardly the rule for Obama.

Hundreds of his videos were more like campaign training manuals or appeared to be microtargeted at a narrow sliver of viewers- Republicans in Ohio, for instance, or absentee voters in Michigan. But, even those obscure videos had been viewed thousands of times. At the other end of the spectrum, only one of the Obama’s top 10 most-viewed videos was a 30-second commercial.

The rest were longer TV appearances and speeches, including Obama’s famous speech on race, which was 37-minutes-long and had been viewed over six million times. No wonder the internet-savvy youngsters played the decisive role in the victory of Obama. In fact, Americans of all ages have become 21st-century pamphleteers.

Will Indian political campaigns in the next Lok Sabha elections become tech or net-savvy? Keeping the mindset of Indian politicians, chances are bleak but attitudes may be changing. In India, too, the octogenarian LK Advani, the BJP hopeful for the post of Prime Minister, has launched a portal. Several film clips of Advani, his rallies and speeches have already been loaded on Youtube with an eye on establishing a connection between the BJP leader and young Indian voters. But the BJP has shunned the social networking and blogs, thinking that their reach is a limited one in India. Moreover, the BJP leader may be wary of the new media as it is transparent and required one to be thick skinned to absorb criticism, hard criticism. A few weeks ago, the suave, young and energetic leader of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, Omar Abdullah, bid adieu to his blog as he could not fathom loaded questions from the audience.

However, statistics suggest that youth and technology could play a bigger and blogger role in India. At least half of an estimated 11 crore first time voters are Internet users.

There are 185 million cellphone subscribers. In contrast to the BJP, the Congress has relied on a low key strategy, as far as using new technology is concerned.

The websites of the Congress, being run by the wife of Rajeev Gandhi, who ushered the era of computers in this country, offer little personal information about the Gandhi family, choosing instead to focus on the Congress’s history and the UPA’s achievements. Blogs are not there on party websites.

anilM is an editor with Instablogs.com




Impounded vehicles rust at police stations
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The Chandigarh police is facing a peculiar problem of storing vehicles impounded or recovered in various criminal cases. Since these vehicles are part of case property, these cannot be disposed of until the verdict on their respective cases comes.

The 11 police stations in the city accommodate over 200 four-wheelers, including trucks and buses, over 550 two-wheelers and 121 cycles and auto-rickshaws in their “maalkhanas”. This, despite the frequent auctions by respective courts after disposal of cases. Lack of adequate space at police stations is now forcing the police to encroach upon public area outside the boundaries.

The police stations in Industrial Area, Sector 36 and Sector 11 are a few such places where vehicles are lying outside the premises without any security. The vehicles lay abandoned in dilapidated condition amid shrubs. Most of the expensive parts of these vehicles have gone missing.

Many vehicles have been “preserved” as case property of cases as old as 22 years.

A Fiat car, bearing registration number HYE 1809, has been lying at the police station-39 since 1986. The vehicle was impounded by the police in a cheating case.

While at police station-19, an Ambassador car (PJP 2067) has been lying for over 18 years in dilapidated condition.

The vehicle belongs to Akali leader and former Punjab’s finance minister Balwant Singh, who was assassinated by terrorists near the gurdwara in Sector 20 in 1990.

As the assailants have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case, the police station has no other option but to accommodate it in its “maalkhana”.

“What we can do? In fact we are finding it hard to deal with the problem. Apart from sparing space at police stations, we have to provide security to these vehicles. Though regular auctions are held, a large number of vehicles have to be retained as cases are still pending,” said a senior police officer.

The administration should provide some space separately where such vehicles can be kept under security, added the officer.



Make library science more job-oriented: Expert
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 9
"The scholars of library science need to reorient and redesign the mechanics and dynamics of their approach, aimed at diversification and spreading of knowledge among the masses. They should also develop a continuous interface with librarians and experts from the industry for broad-basing their intellectual and scholarly frontiers. This will help in generating better employment opportunities for the forthcoming generation of library scientists." This was stated by Dr Jaspal Singh, vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, while presiding over a UNESCO-sponsored "Training-the-Trainers Workshop on Information Literacy in South and Central Asia" at the university’s Senate Hall.

Talking about the role of qualified information in decision-making, Dr Jaspal Singh said the capacity enhancing initiatives should be taken to strengthen the creative and confidence-building measures.

He advocated the cause of using new media and information technology as a result-oriented mechanism for enlarging the vistas of knowledge and breaking the dogmatic mindsets.

Former vice-chancellor of the university Dr Amrik Singh, in his inaugural address, said the information scenario in schools, particularly in Punjab, was in shambles.

Only right kind of training in digital technology in all the schools, which should be made mandatory, can help achieve the desired goals in the field of education, he added. Referring to the present policy of Punjab government, he said: “It talks of a dozen issues relating to school education but computers are not mentioned anywhere rendering the exercise more of political than academic," he said.

Sidhu Damdami, Editor of the Punjabi Tribune, said Internet’s worldwide web had taken the shape of “wild-wild web” with an increased capacity of sucking its naïve users. He emphasised on the need to promote computer and information literacy to save the innocent minds from further damage. He further said the information literacy campaigns should also be addressed and directed towards providing knowledge to the adults.

Earlier, Pradeepa Wijetunge, director, National Institute of Library and Information Sciences, University of Colombo, highlighted the need for implementing the newer information literacy models for better results.



Himachal federation’s convention concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The half-yearly convention of the All-India Himachal Social Bodies Federation concluded at Parshuram Bhawan in Sector 37 today. The two-day convention was inaugurated by principal Gurbachan Singh, president Nationalist Congress Party, Chandigarh.

The major issues discussed included implementation of 15 per cent seats reserved for children belonging to economically weaker section (EWS), filling of vacant posts of teachers, protection for Himachalis living outside their state and setting up of herbal nurseries in Himachal Pradesh.

Federation president D.D. Dogra said the idea behind setting up herbal nurseries in the state was to provide additional income to farmers. “The idea came up during the last convention at Naoni Agriculture University, Solan, where we came across 117 varieties of herbal plants. These could generate regular income for our farmers,” he said.

To strenghen the educational structure and implement the nationwide ‘education for all’ initiative in the state, the federation demanded 15 per cent reservation for deprived section in all schools.

“Though there has been upgrade of schools up to class XII level in most part of the state, scarcity of teachers is the biggest problem without which no policy in this direction can be implemented,” he said.

Those present included organiser T.L. Sharma, Himachal Yuvak Parishad president G.C. Dhadwal, Himachal Kalyan Sabha president D.S. Doodh and Himachal Vikas Manch general secretary Gian Chand Chawdhary.



Jain flays cut in budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Satya Pal Jain, former Member of Parliament from Chandigarh, today criticised the Congress-led central government for imposing a cut of around Rs 140 crore (10 per cent non-planned and 5 per cent planned) in the budget of Chandigarh for this year.

Jain said this while addressing public meetings at Sector 45-D, Sector 47-D, Colony No. 5, Dhanas and others organised by the Uttarakhand cell of the BJP for mobilising workers and public for the success of the “Vijay Sankalp Rally” to be addressed by BJP leader Lal Krishan Advani on November 16.

Jain said the budgetary allocations for the city were already lower than previous year’s by around Rs 11 crore. With the fresh cut of around Rs 140 crore, the government had virtually broken the back of all development projects for the city.

“Residents pay around Rs 1,000 crore annually in taxes to the central government and the city is, perhaps, the only revenue-surplus state in India. In spite of this, the central government is resorting to cutting budgetary allocations, which is nothing less than a betrayal of trust of residents by the Congress-led government,” argued Jain.



Expansion of parking hits roadblock
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The expansion of the parking area at the Chandigarh railway station has hit a roadblock with the UT administration delaying the permission to cut eucalyptus trees at the station. Though the trees stand on the railways land, the UT has to give clearance for the felling of trees.

A railways official said while the entry and exit to the station had been widened, the capacity of the parking area outside the station was being increased. This would reduce traffic congestion at the exit to the station and increase parking for those visiting the railway reservation counter.

The railways was going in for a major expansion of the parking area in the next six months. A bus queue shelter for passengers had also been planned outside the station building. There was also a plan to widen the road leading to the station from the Madhya Marg. 



PU to revamp security on campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
In order to revamp the security arrangements on the Panjab University campus, the authorities held a meeting that was attended by the top brass of the varsity.

The university authorities have asked the executive engineer to complete all the pending projects as early as possible. Earlier, the university had proposed to widen the road adjoining the Sarojini Hall for smooth traffic flow inside the campus. A committee formed to look into security arrangements had also recommended the same and vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti had sanctioned Rs 34 lakhs for the purpose.

Besides, there will be time offices at all the three gates of the university. These time offices will have security personnel who will keep a check on the entry of the outsiders on the campus. Any outsider entering the campus would require depositing either of the documents of his or her vehicle with the security men in the time office.

The proposal to install electrically drop gates on the campus to keep a check on the outsiders is also in the pipeline.

Confirming this, registrar Prof S.S. Brai said, “In the meeting we have conveyed it to the executive engineer that all the proposals should be executed as soon as possible.” 



Get tough with traffic offenders

This is in reference to Raveen Thukral’s article “But, why take this risk” that appeared in Chandigarh Tribune on November 3. He has rightly emphasised the need to use helmet to prevent fatalities as studies suggest that a helmetless driver is three times more at risk of losing his life. There is greater need to spread awareness about traffic rules, especially among the youngsters.

I appreciate the gesture of the Chandigarh police which has taken the initiative to bring awareness among women for wearing helmet. On Karva Chauth, the police presented gifts to women using helmet. It would be appropriate if the police emulated this practise by organising such camps in all sectors and villages falling under 
the UT.

Educational institutions should also be the main operational target to impart awareness to youngsters, who probably feel “ashamed” to wear helmet on bikes. Still, it would be a good gesture if parents are motivated to advise their wards in this regard as charity begins at home. Parents should not allow their wards to drive without helmet as this would imperil the lives of others too.

In case the results are not forthcoming, the police should adopt harsh measures and cancel the licence of such drivers.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh


One person dies in a road accident every third day and one to two persons are injured daily as per the records of the traffic police in Chandigarh. Driving in the city has become unsafe as the density of vehicles is also increasing, besides rash driving.

Roads are fast turning into death traps. More than 150 drivers died in 2006 and 2007. This year, the number of fatalities has crossed 120.

Two-wheeler drivers are usually at risk and most of them were aged between 20 and 40 years.

There are more than seven lakh registered vehicles in Chandigarh. Over 33,000 vehicles, including 13,812 cars and 19,170 two-wheelers, were added to city roads in 2007. In 2006, the figure was 32,966. As many as 17,000 vehicles have already been registered with the registering and licensing authority till October.

The roads also bear the burden of vehicles from Panchkula and Mohali. Over 50 per cent of the total vehicles involved in accidents bore the registration numbers of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh


Driving in the city has become difficult. The main reason is that the vehicles are increasing every day. Two-wheeler drivers are the maximum victims of accidents. The younger generation does not follow traffic rules. Mobile phones are also used commonly while driving and teenagers can often be spotted without helmet.

The traffic system should be made more effective and speed limit should be reduced for all vehicles. Truck drivers who do not bother speed limit should be challaned.

The police has fixed speed limit for all vehicles, but car drivers rarely bother to stick to it. The number of cyclists is also increasing in the city, but there is no proper track for them.

M.L. Garg, Chandigarh


A social worker has filed a PIL for making helmet compulsory. The suggestion of treating a helmetless person like the one ready to commit suicide and treating a wrong driver attempting to murder are good, but impractical as there are many people who do not have knowledge and inclination to purchase a helmet.

It may be good for Chandigarh but the writer has suggested changes in law that pertain to the whole country. There is no infrastructure and enough manpower to implement law. When one can get things done by paying Rs 10 (if caught), why shell out money for helmet.

Most persons killed due to head injury are young boys who for some thrill, don’t use helmet. One has to keep in mind, the agitation that took place in Chandigarh when an order for compulsory helmet for women was issued sometime ago.

How do you spot Sikh women from other women driving two-wheelers. People need to be educated and a refresher course should be held once in two years for every driver. Punching of driving licence after some offences is a must. Refusing compensation to helmetless drivers will also help, besides there has to be honesty in the implementation of the Motor Vehicles Act.

R.K. Garg, Chandigarh


Indians have a very peculiar habit of not abiding by rules, especially traffic rules. I wonder how they become obedient in foreign countries. The reason is strict implementation of rules. People here think rules are to be followed in front of the police only. Chandigarh is following the path of Delhi in traffic chaos. After population, the next big thing is vehicles that are increasing daily.

Daily, newspapers carry accidents reports, which mostly pertain to two-wheeler and helmetless drivers. I agree with Raveen Thukral that compensation to helmetless accident victims must be denied and the Insurance Act must be amended.

It is sad that people do not take lesson and think that this cannot happen to them.

Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh



Rs 45 lakh for PU geology dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Panjab University’s department of Geology has added yet another achievement in its list by becoming the first department to have earned endowment amount for the establishment of a chair, in the field of “Exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources”.

The endowment amount of Rs 45 lakh has been sanctioned by the ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Commission) through a letter sent to the chairman of the department, Prof A.D. Ahluwalia.

The letter states that after the correspondence between the department and the director, exploration, ONGC has accepted to create a chair in the field of exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources.

An official MoU would be signed between the ONGC and Panjab University for the same during this month, informed Prof Ahluwalia.

It is pertinent to mention here that the department of Geology is in its golden jubilee year and the proposed chair has come as a gift to the department. The objective of giving this chair is to promote training and research in the exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources and training at the postgraduate level.

According to the letter, a selection committee would be formed to look for a suitable professor in Petroleum Geology for the chair to carry out the research work.

The tenure of the professor for the chair would be for three years and would be extended on the discretion of the vice-chancellor. The review committee would review the activities of the chair.

The MoU when signed would be for three years. A similar chair exists in BHU, Varanasi.



PEC fest concludes
Tribune News Service

Punjabi Singer Kamal Heer performs during the PEC Fest at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh. Photo: Himanshu Mahajan
Punjabi Singer Kamal Heer performs during the PEC Fest at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh. Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Chandigarh, November 9
The final day of PECFest 5 began with the crosswords finals and the Crotchet finals, the musical event happening at the same time. Nukkad Naatak, a street play competition, also took place during the festival. Melodious tunes and dramatics gave a way to some serious literary competition with ‘Just A Minute’ contest.

Business wizards showed their talent through Biz Baron and the technocrats in Digital Graffiti taking place at noon. People brought out their artistic side in Waste Marvels and ‘Click - a photography competition’.

Having attended the three days of the fest, the participants were happy to have been able to be a part of this fest. After the breath taking performances in Groovz, Glitterati, and the Nokia TNT Rock Night on the first two days of the fest, the finale was even bigger. With famous singers making the crowd swing to the tunes of some great music, every song got an encore. 



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