C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mohali Test
Betting cartel busted; 13 bookies held
Three houses raided; Rs 47 lakh, 40 mobile phones, three laptops, six recorders seized
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, December 20
The Patiala police today arrested 13 persons on the charge of betting on the India-England second cricket Test match being played at Mohali and on other international matches.

Patiala SSP S.K. Asthana said hunt was on to nab other members of the gambling cartel. At the time of filing this report, the police was conducting raids at various places in the city.

The SSP said that the arrested gang members used technology to their advantage and betted heavily on cricket matches, particularly the Test matches.

A police source claimed that the gang members were also in touch with their counterparts in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The accused used to operate their trade through small time bookies in these cities.

The SP (Detective), Gurmeet Singh Chauhan, under whose overall supervision the police team worked round the clock for the last many days, said that Satpal of Bathinda was the kingpin of the gang.

Acting on specific tip-off, the cops raided three houses in the posh Urban Estate locality of the city and sealed three houses.

Chauhan added that the police confiscated around Rs 47 lakh in cash, 40 mobile phones, three laptops, a printer and six recorders during the raid. He claimed that teams had been sent to Mumbai and Ahmedabad to nab others involved in the racket.

A case under Sections 406 and 120B and the Gambling Act has been registered against the accused.



Match referee’s DVD stolen
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 20
The reported theft of match referee Jeff Crowe’s DVD from his room today has belied the tall claims of the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) of foolproof security in the stadium.

Sources said that the DVD had the footage of the 1st Test match played between India and England at Chennai. The DVD was stolen from the referee’s room here in the evening. Following the incident, the security personnel were deputed outside his room.

Sources added that the matter was sorted out there only to avoid media’s attention. The PCA officials preferred to remain tight-lipped on the matter.

In the last series between India and Austriala, cap of Austriala’s opening batsman Matthew Hayden was also stolen.

Meanwhile, the Mohali police today deputed cops in Phase IX, near the PCA stadium, to check illegal sale of tickets in black. Cops of the CID units could be seen roaming around to nab the black marketers.



Building bylaws
Rain harvesting to be made mandatory
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 20
With the sectoral-grid of Mohali extending upto 125 sectors, the Punjab government has finally woken up to the need for adequate parking, increasing the green cover and to conserve water.

Soon, it will be mandatory for residents to install rainwater-harvesting structures in their dwelling units. The guidelines have been incorporated in a draft of the revised PUDA building bylaws.

Covering all aspects of new bylaws, the draft rules that are being revised after a gap of 16 years, shall be a final document on the building rules applicable in the Punjab urban estates, including Mohali.

It has been proposed that the public buildings and residential plots of 500 sq yards and above shall have the rainwater-harvesting systems. The solar heating system for public buildings has also been proposed.

Studies conducted by the central groundwater board reveal that water table in the region was depleting due to over-pumping and urbanisation. This results in more stress on groundwater and decline in the water levels, particularly of deeper aquifers, which sustain the tube-well discharge.

To involve various stakeholders like architects, town planners and engineers in the mammoth exercise of revising the building rules, the Punjab regional chapter of Institute of Town Planners of India (ITPI) gave a presentation of the draft rules last night. Dr Seet Singh, a senior town planner, Punjab, who gave the presentation, said suggestions would help a long way in incorporating valuable suggestions into the draft.

The chairman of the institute, Dharam Singh, Rajinder Sharma, chief town planner, Punjab, Gurpreet Singh, district town planner, Mohali, and Pankaj Bawal, assistant town planner, also interacted with the participants.

Another important issue discussed was that every plot holder, depending upon the allowed covered area, shall have to compulsorily plant trees.

Regarding the parking norms, mechanised parking and multi-level parking, the ECS norms for parking in the residential, commercial and institutional buildings were being fixed. The ECS norms for the group housing scheme specify two cars for every 100 sq ft of the covered area and for commercial projects, the norms were three cars for every 100 sq ft of the covered area. Though different notifications have been issued from time to time, the latest amendment would now be put in to one booklet.

In another significant issue, it has been proposed that no conversion from commercial to multiplex or other new concepts shall be allowed unless a 80 feet-wide road is connected it. No new integrated commercial complex shall be allowed on a plot less than two acres.

The bylaws would touch every aspect of rules governing the multi-story buildings, commercial and institutional structures, hotels and residential projects.



Pulse polio drive today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The Chandigarh health department is gearing itself for the national pulse polio immunisation campaign scheduled for tomorrow. The campaign, in the wake of the ministry of health and family welfare, the Government of India’s decision would be held from 9 am to 4 pm across the country.

Parents of children below the age of five years (also newborns) are requested to participate by getting the children immunised on this day so as to ensure healthy and disability free future of their children and polio free Chandigarh.

The health department has made the preparations by setting up 463 stationary booths and 66 mobile teams. 



Hoax call at Taj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Panic gripped officials at the Sector 17 Hotel Taj GVS here this evening when a threatening call, which later turned out to be hoax, was received at the hotel.

The caller said that the PCA stadium in Mohali would be exploded today.

Leaving nothing to chance, the Taj officials immediately brought it to the notice of the Chandigarh police, which later, reportedly, traced it.

Madhur Verma, ASP, Chandigarh police, said the call had been traced and it had turned out to be hoax, “ We traced this call, which later was found to be ‘illusory’. The call was made at the control room of Hotel Taj at about 3 pm to explode the PCA stadium at 8.20 pm.

After investigation, we found that it was made by an unknown person from a PCO in the Chhatisgarh area.”

“As soon as we received the information about this call, we instantly got in touch with the SSP, Mohali, to get their squad on high alert at the stadium and its surrounding areas”, he added.

Meanwhile, the security at both the PCA stadium and Hotel Taj was beefed up and anti-sabotage check conducted at both places.



Blood banks to go online soon
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
There could be finally some respite in store for the relatives of patients who generally end up running from one hospital to another in search of blood to save lives of their near and dear ones as plans are afoot to bring all blood banks in the city online.

If the proposal put through by the Chandigarh State AIDS Control Organisation (SACS) to the National AIDS Control Organisation goes through, besides an online link up of the blood banks, “e-directory” would be created that would make even the urgent SMS seeking blood, a thing of the past. While the online link would make available real time blood stock position, blood group and blood components, the e-directory will contain contact details of all blood-donor volunteers.

Dr Suvir Saxena, deputy director, blood safety, SACS, said, “We have sent the proposal to NACO for approval. If everything goes well, we will start this facility very soon.” Dr Debashish Gupta, national consultant, blood safety, NACO, said all data would be maintained by the special software, which was specially designed by Hospital Medical Research Institute (HMRI).

Online information about the availability of bloodstock, blood group, and blood component will help the needy people, said Dr Debashish.

“Directory will be available with details of all eight groups of blood. This will help in augmenting availability of fresh blood in time of need, as fresh blood is always superior to stored blood. Despite the “O” group being universal donor, it is not advisable to use other blood group as small antigens of other groups may create problems later during the next blood transfusion,” said Dr Saxena.

The directory would benefit people with rare groups such as “B negative” as they face shortage of blood during a critical need that separates life and death. “Awareness has to be created among people about this,” said Dr Saxena. He said around 30 per cent of patients in the need of blood rely on volunteer donors, adding that the e-directory will be of immense help to these people.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh has added another feather to its cap by bagging the best performing state certificate for blood transfusion services. According to the National AIDS Control Organisation’s report, the city recorded 92 per cent services provided. Even, voluntary blood donation in Chandigarh is rated as one of the best in the country. The voluntary blood donation in the city is best i.e. 79 per cent. While in the neigbouring state, Delhi, it is poor as recorded only 29.3 per cent. It seems the trend of voluntary blood donation is going upward in the city and people prefer to participate in the blood donation. Dr. Vanita Gupta, project director, the State AIDS Control Society, UT, said it was adjudged the best performing state after fulfilling nine parameters.


Lok adalat draws crowd
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Hundreds of litigants gathered at the district courts complex today for settling several cases at the mega lok adalat organised as a part of “Samadhan-2008” project, initiated by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

With the motive of reducing the high pendency of cases at the district courts, the mega lok adalat settled about 30,000 cases today, out of which 7,500 cases were pertaining to motor accident claims, 3,511 to cheque bounce, 82 to matrimonial disputes, recovery suits, petty criminal cases, about 1,243 civil cases and about 22,500 traffic challans.

The cases were heard and disposed of in 19 benches held at the court complex. Of these, six benches, including that of Chief Judicial Magistrate Kanchan Mahi, were held in a tent put up on the roof of building housing lawyers' chambers.

According to the official-court sources, 3,511 cheque bounce cases, involving the amount of Rs 2.37 lakh were settled by various benches. Besides, these benches also settled 1243 civil cases. The benches also settled 82 cases of motor accident claims, involving the award of Rs 1.19 crores.

The labour commissioner, Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum president and SDM (central) settled 935 cases. The labour court also decided 33 labour cases, awarding the amount of Rs 9.20 lakh.

Lok adalat turned out to be a boon for couples, who had decided to part ways but after counselling at the lok adalats they decided to live together. A 44-year-old woman had filed a case of divorce with mutual consent against her 74-year-old husband in September recently. The couple had been living separately since June 2007, but after Additional District and Sessions Judge Raj Rahul Garg counselled them, they decided to withdraw the case.

PANCHKULA: A total of 8,770 cases pertaining to insurance claims, criminal appeals, compoundable cases, domestic violence, guardianship, custody, juvenile justice, factory cases, shops and commercial establishment cases, and traffic challans were settled at the mega lok adalat held here today.

Chief Judicial Magistrate and secretary, District Legal Service Authority, Raj Gupta, said since last month, lok adalats were being held here and settling 8,770 cases in these adalats.

While 53 cases under the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) were settled, a total of 26 cases under the Civil Marriage Act were disposed of at the adalats. A total of Rs 82,92500 were realised as compensation in the MACT cases, she said.

MOHALI: As many as 550 cases were settled on the first day of the two-day mega lok adalat organised at district courts here today. The cases pertained to matrimonial disputes, land disputes, cheque bounce, traffic challans, bank recoveries and bill disputes of cellphone companies.



IELTS question paper leaked, says news channel
Carries out sting operation, but fails to corroborate claim
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, December 20
An electronic channel today claimed that the question paper of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, which was being conducted by IDP, Australia, at Himachal Bhawan, Sector 28, here today, was leaked.

More than 15,000 students took the exam at 28 centres. This news channel claimed that it conducted a sting operation and had proof that the question paper was leaked.

However, when asked to show proof to substantiate their claim, the channel authorities came out with handwritten pages of answers.

They also did not distribute it to the media present there.

“We have a proof about the exam leak. We were even offered Rs 1.5 crore from Australia not to disclose the exam leak. The answersheets were openly selling for Rs 1 lakh in Himachal Bhawan yesterday,” claimed Devinder Singh Sodhi, an official of the news channel.

He alleged that they gave this information to the police and handed them over three persons involved in the paper leak, but the police has released them and is not taking the matter seriously, he added. “We asked the officials of Planet Education, partner of IDP, to show us the question paper, and it was the same one which was with us,” added Sodhi.

DSP (East) P.K. Dhawan said: “We have not received any complaint about the question paper leak. Even we have shown the question paper to the officials of News 24 and it was different.”

Regional manager, Planet Education, Preetinder said, “We have shown the question paper to the police and the officials of that news channel and they are satisfied.”

The parents of students present there said: “If the news channel has anything, they should go to the police, why are they creating a scene at the examination centre.”



Admission of Wards
Paramilitary staff seek parity in awards quota
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Paramilitary personnel have sought parity of gallantry awards awarded to them with that awarded to armed forces personnel for grant of admission to their wards under the gallantry awards quota.

Their grievance is that despite being decorated with gallantry awards, which are higher in the order of precedence than some military awards, they are unable to get due benefit because of the format of listing the awards in the admission prospectus issued by professional colleges

Sources in paramilitary organisations said that the headquarters have received several representations from various levels, urging the authorities to take up the issue with the appropriate authorities.

A CRPF officer said the prospectus issued by various listed gallantry awards generally awarded to armed forces personnel. The Param Vir Chakra tops the list going down to the Sena Medal, with the bottom listing stating “any other award”.

“Our decorations like the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry is higher in precedence to the Sena Medal and the Chief’s Commendation and the central government notifications are testimony to it. However, these do not find a mention in the list contained in the prospectus and these are placed in the :other awards” category,” a BSF officer said.

“Consequently, even if we have higher awards, our wards loose out due to this oversight on the part of the admission authorities, It is a lacunae that needs to be sorted out to ensure fairness” he added.

The sources said the issue had been brought to their notice by official memorandums received from lower formations, which contain various matters, which the personnel feel should be taken up for redressal. A controversy over the precedence of gallantry awards was generated recently, with the son of an army officer decorated with the Sena Medal moving the high court over university authorities ignoring him and instead granting admission to the son of an officer decorated with the chief’s commendation, which is lower in the order of precedence.



Training programme on AIDS ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
A three-day orientation-cum-training programme organised by State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh, on behalf of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) was concluded here today.

In the training programme delegates from 17 different states took part. On the first day Dr. Vanita Gupta, project director narrated that the State AIDS Control Society and the State Blood Transfusion Council, Chandigarh, have organised 508 camps since January, 2008 till November, 2008 and 48,298 units of blood has been collected during these camps. In Chandigarh, the blood bank, PGIMER, has been upgraded to the model blood bank. The blood bank, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector-32, has been upgraded to the blood component separation unit and blood bank in Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector-16, is a major blood bank.

As blood transfusion services play a vital role in health care system and under blood safety various activities are taken up by the state for ensuring access to safe blood and blood products. She said voluntary blood donation in UT was 79 per cent but our aim was to increase this to 89 per cent in the coming year. She also said it was a privilege to hold this national-level orientation-cum-training programme on blood safety.

A field visit on the second day was conducted with a motive that the participants should have access to the working of the State Blood Transfusion Council, Chandigarh, and the functioning of some of the best blood banks in the country.

Dr Mohammed Shaukat, ADG from National AIDS Control Organisation, Delhi, said transfusion of HIV infection through blood and blood products should be reduced to less than 0.1 per cent and we all should work together to achieve this aim. At present HIV transmission rate through blood transfusion in UT is 0.1 per cent and in the country is 0.2 per cent.

Dr Debasish Gupta, programme officer from National AIDS Control Organisation, discussed the action plan of different states and said efforts should be made to make safe blood and blood products available to those who need it at the right time during emergency in trauma centres, surgical units, in remote and rural areas by enhancing annual collection of blood.

The participants were of the view that this kind of training is really helpful for the implementation of the programme in true spirit. They also said it was a great learning process for all of them and in future also these kind of training-cum-orientation programmes should be conducted. 



Delay In Winters
Shopkeepers offer discount on fresh arrivals
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, December 20
Delay in winters has caused a major loss to garment shopkeepers and has forced them to put their winters’ stock on sale at heavy discounts this year. The shopkeepers in Sector 17 Plaza are offering heavy discounts even on fresh arrivals.

This is for the first time when branded showrooms, including some international brands, are offering heavy discounts in the mid of December. People can be seen carrying a handful of bags.

Generally the discounts are offered at the end of January or February. But the change in climate has affected their business. Yesterday was the warmest day with the maximum temperature of 27.4 degree Celsius as compared to the last five years.

This correspondent visited Sector 17 Plaza and revealed that major brands like Dockers, FCUK and Louis Phillipe, are offering flat 50 per cent and 40 per cent discount on the winters’ stock. Other brands like Van Heusen, Wills, Uni Style Image and Indian Terrain are also offering heavy discounts.

Ranjodh Singh, a visitor of Sector 17 Plaza, said, “I came here to buy a jacket but was surprised to see the boards displaying discounts. I am baffled, how they are offering discounts on the fresh stock during this period.”

A showroom owner said, “This is all because of competition and every thing is fair in love and war. We have to survive in the market and that’s why we are implementing new policies. We have offered flat 50 per cent discount to the customers in order to attract them.”

A manager of another showroom said, “We can’t wait more for the winters as we are having a large stock and it can’t be sold except offering heavy discount to the customers.”



Mumbai Terror Attacks
People from Uttrakhand hold mahayajna
Hemant Singh Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The tremors of Mumbai terror attacks have been felt all across the nation and there is quite a resentment prevailing among people against them. While some are bringing out candle light marches, others are taking out protest rallies.

But here in Chandigarh, people belonging to Uttrakhand, in a unique initiative to showcase their solidarity against these tragic events, have organised a two-day Mahayagya and Akhand path of the Ramchritra Manas at Garhwal Ramlila Ground in Sector 7, here today.

Thousands of Uttranchalis from the tricity have gathered early morning to mark the pious occasion. To begin with, a two- minute silence was observed in the remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Mumbai attacks. Then a Kalash Yatra was taken out from Sector 7, wherein, women attired in colourful sarees went around carrying water-filled pots on their heads. This was followed by the Bhoomi Poojan.

“It is imperative to organise such religious affairs, considering the turmoil that the whole nation is going through at the moment, ” emphasised Kundanlal Uniyaal, president of the Akhil Bhartiya Uttrakhand Vikas Pairshad.

To ensure a large number of people turn up, pamphlets and flyers were distributed all across the city and the adjoining areas.

“I have attended many religious functions, but I have never seen such a mass gathering, ” Gaur Singh Bist, one of the participants, said.

With the 24-hour Ram Katha underway, many people are expected to participate, wherein, underlies a strong message to keep the very fabric of society intact following the terror attacks.



Krishanjit promoted

Chandigarh, December 20
The Chandigarh administration has promoted Krishanjit Singh, superintending engineer, UT engineering department, as chief engineer with immediate effect. This has been done on the recommendations of the departmental promotion committee.

The administration has also withdrawn its order of giving post of chief engineer to S.K. Jaitley, superintending engineer, UT engineering department, with immediate effect. — TNS



Portrait of Giani Gurmukh to be unveiled in Parliament
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will unveil a portrait of Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir, an eminent freedom fighter, writer and poet in the Hall of Fame of Parliament on Monday.

Giani Gurmukh Singh wrote many volumes of Punjabi poems, short stories and autobiography. Gurmukh Singh has also served as the Chief Minister of Punjab in 1966-67. A commemorative stamp was released in his honour in 2002 by the department of posts.

After his death “Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir Trust” was also founded in 1976. While addressing mediapersons Joginder Kaur, daughter of Gurmukh Singh, mentioned that the trust had sent the proposal to the joint committee of Parliament for the installation of the portrait in Parliament in 2003 and now Parliament has announced that the portrait will be installed in the central hall of Parliament.



Zora Singh bags honours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The national award committee of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), New Delhi, has selected Dr Zora Singh for the prestigious “President IMA Appreciation Award for Best Adjudged President of a State Branch” for the year 2007-08.

Dr S N Mishra, secretary general, IMA, New Delhi, said, “The award shall be conferred at a special function to be held on December 27, 2008, at Indore during the 83rd All-India Medical Conference.” The conference is going to be held at IMA House, Indore, on December 27, 2008. 



Founder’s day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Saint Soldier International School, Sector 28-B, celebrated its 35th founder’s day to mark Guru Gobind Singh’s Prakash Utsav.

As per the tradition, the three-day Akhand Path of Guru Granth Sahib was organised in the school on December 18, which culminated on Saturday with the bhog ceremony.



Unauthorised Possession Of House
Govt seeks report from MC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 20
The Punjab government has asked the Mohali Municipal Council to send a report regarding a two-kanal house in the municipal complex that has “illegally” been occupied by the former deputy commissioner H.I.S. Garewal.

According to sources, a letter to this effect was received by the executive officer (EO) of the civic body from the directorate, local government, Punjab. In the letter dated December 17, it was stated that after considering the case relating to the alleged unauthorised occupation of the house no. 1985 in the Phase V municipal complex by the former deputy commissioner, who even failed to pay any rent for the building, the government had sought a proposal to get the house vacated and also recover the outstanding payment of rent as per rules.

It is learnt that Garewal had not paid rent for the building to the council despite several reminders. The outstanding dues stand at around Rs 9.5 lakh.

The council had urged the principal secretary concerned to intervene in the matter to get the house vacated and also help in realising the rent amount from Garewal.

It is learnt that the EO of the civic body, Amna Kumar Goyal, wrote several letters to the former deputy commissioner, who is now working as joint development commissioner, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Punjab, stating that he had illegally occupied the house since April last year. Requests were made for the payment of rent and he was also asked to vacate the house.

Garewal had taken possession of the two-kanal house amid high drama on April 14 when he and the president of the council Rajinder Singh Rana tried to occupy the house after it was vacated by a former EO of the council.

Truckloads of belongings of both deputy commissioner and MC president reached the municipal complex. A dispute arose as to who would occupy the house. A naib tehsildar had at that time stopped the men of the council president from unloading his belongings from the truck. Some councillors present at the spot had prevented the personnel from taking the DC’s property into the house. The council president had argued that since the house was the property of the civic body, it was his right to shift to the municipal complex. The naib tehsildar had said that since the house had been requisitioned by the DC, he should take possession of the building.

Grewal finally took possession of the house on April 17 and continues to live there even when he is no longer the DC of the Mohali.



Barwala Mishap
Ill-fated auto was challaned last month
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 20
The auto-rickshaw involved in an accident resulting in the death of five students was challaned and impounded for overloading a month back on November 17.

The driver, Deep Chand, was issued challan for ferrying passengers more than the permissible limit, said superintendent o police Sandip Khirwar.

Deep, however, did not stop violating the rules which led to the loss of five promising young lives, he said, adding that there were 11 passengers in the ill-fated auto-rickshaw against its capacity of six allowed under the rules.

The auto-rickshaw drivers, however, feeling the heat of challan drive after the accident, reached the mini-secretariat to register their resentment against police action here today. The district police has issued challans against hundreds of auto-rickshaw drivers for violation traffic rules and impounded as many vehicles during last three days after six youth, including five students of Swami Devi Dyal Institutes were killed in a road accident on Monday.

While the drivers alleged they were being harassed on the pretext of overloading, the police authorities seemed to be in no mood to relax the anti-overloading drive on the highways going throughout the district.

The president of auto-rickshaw union, Panchkula, Ram Kumar said the auto-rickshaws were being impounded and they were being forced to pay huge penalty up to Rs 5,000 for the release of their vehicle. The administration was compelling them not to carry more than ferry passengers in small auto-rickshaw and only six were allowed in bigger one, while the tariff was not being increased which makes it difficult even to meet the running expenses of the vehicle, he said. “Superintendent of police Sandip Khirwar refused to relent on the issue and now we will plead our case with the deputy commissioner,” said Kumar.



Dispensaries cry for equipment, staff
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, December 20
The health services are ailing in Zirakpur. The equipment is outdated, staff inadequate. No wonder, the residents are demanding improvement of the healthcare facilities.

The dispensaries in Phabat and Dhakoli villages hardly meet the requirements. Even the buildings are a picture of neglect. In fact, the dispensary in Dhakoli hardly serves any purpose. The residents claim the authorities concerned have not even bothered to ensure the availability of the necessary healthcare facilities.

The residents of both the villages complain the dispensary staff comes once in a while, and that too for only four to five hours. They also assert the dispensaries do not have enough medicines. Mohan Singh, a daily-wage labourer says: “Sometimes, medicines are not available in the dispensary. We have to buy medicines from the chemist shops at high cost.”

“Searching dispensary in the area is a difficult task because there are no signboards outside the dispensary for information to general public,” says Kamal, a resident of Dhakoli. He adds that in the absence of a boundary wall, animals are easily roaming in the complex of dispensary.

The residents of Baltana and other villages are also demanding medical dispensary at their villages. Harjot Singh of Baltana asserts: “In the absence of dispensary, we have to take our children to private hospital in Chandigarh or Panchkula. It takes a lot of time to reach hospital, and the worst part of it is that there is a risk of losing the patient’s life under such a situation."

One of the local doctors says: “We fell helpless due to the shortage of staff. We have to call medical students and NGOs for door-to-door campaigning during medical camps.”

They need proper staff for handling the serious situations, adds the doctor.

Dr Ram Kumar, SMO, civil hospital, Dera Bassi, says the matter is in his knowledge. “We will discuss the issue with senior authorities and it will be resolved as soon as possible,” he adds.



Deep bags Rafi Memorial Award
S. D. Sharma

Chandigarh, December 20
The belief that the voice of Mohammed Rafi possessed transcendental element was perceptible with a vast assemblage of his ardent fans at the Tagore theatre here today. The leading singers of the region paid musical tributes to Rafi at the much-awaited annual event, “Rafi Memorial Awards -2008”.

The event, organised by the Yaadgar-e-Rafi Society was supported by Markfed, SBI, BSNL, NZCC with the Tribune group of newspapers as the media sponsor. Mubarak Begum, Bollywood melody queen, was chief guest.

As many as twenty six songs immortalised by Rafi and some of his duet songs with Lata and others were presented by award winners of this year and the preceding years in the junior and senior categories, besides many amateur artists. The junior artists, excelled with their performance, captured the romantic emotional intent of the lyrics much beyond their conceptual grasp. The veterans, Ram Tirath, B. D. Sharma, Dr Anil Sharma, K. S. Chhatwal to name a few.

The audience seemed to have reserved the lofty applause for the Haryana DIG (CID), Rajbir Deswal, who enlivened the voice of Rafi in “Suhani raat dhal”. On the desire of Mubarak Begum, Deswal repeated his excellence with “Ye Vadiyaan ye phizayen”. The chief guest also defined the melody with an entrancing spell of “Kabhi tanhayion mein yon” and “Mujhko apne galle laga le”.

Following are the winners of Rafi Finals-2008:

Senior Male: Deep Kataria, Chander Kant, and Rishi.

Senior Female: Isha Sharma, Prityanka Singh, Sukhna and Jaspreet Jassal.

Junior Female: Jyotisha, Ruplai, Raman and Punnet.

Junior Male: Dikshant and Nishant Pawar besides consolation prize for Hurnoor Bhullar.



Building Plan Approval
Self-certification hits roadblock
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The ongoing efforts of the estate office to find ways and means to streamline the process of “self certification” for building-plan approval has once again met a roadblock, thanks to the lack of coordination between the various departments of the administration.

Instead of functioning in sync, the departments, estate office and finance, seem to be working at cross-purposes, negating the efforts for the implementation of the scheme that can go a long way in simplifying the tedious process of building-plan approval and ending corruption in the department.

On November 12, the deputy commissioner-cum-estate officer sent an invitation to the Chandigarh Architect Association to hold talks over streamlining the building-plan approval process. Ironically, the finance department, without realising the outcome of this meeting, arbitrarily formed plan approval committees, thereby scuttling the move of the DC office for implementing the self-certification scheme in more practical and transparent manner.

The architects’ eight-member delegation, after deliberations with the DC, were asked to prepare a detailed report, keeping in mind the ambiguities lying in the original scheme. The architects submitted a detailed report within same framework with the DC office, and were looking forward to hear from DC office.

But to their surprise, on December 5, they found an advertisement, released by the office of finance secretary about forming the plan approval committees, comprising the officials of the administration only. On the other hand, the estate officials confirmed that the report submitted by the architects was yet to be reviewed before giving final nod to it.

Pallav Mukherjee, president of the Chandigarh Architect Association, said the proposal of finance department was totally in contrast to the original self-certification system, which was drafted after enough detailed thought. “But what was the logic of organising such meets when the administration has already made up its mind to intervene as usual and brought the things to nothing,” he said.

However, the DC, R. K. Rao, could not be contacted as he was out of town on an official tour.

The Tribune, on October 26, highlighted that how the babus at the estate office and the administration do everything “in their power” to make the process of self-certification a tedious exercise. Ultimately, the architects prefer to “grease” their palms to obtain various clearances just to avoid the hassles of the scheme, which otherwise was envisaged to make the process simpler and realistic.

Nevertheless, the administration has formed two committees, christened as upper and lower plan approval committees (PACs). The upper PAC comprises of the chief architect as its chairperson and assistant estate officer, chief engineer, member secretary, pollution board senior architect and town planner from the department of urban planning, chief fire officer and SDO, buildings. The lower PAC would have estate officer as its chairperson, while again the same set of officials, besides three XENs each of public health, electrical and PWD wings.

The administration has formed the self-certification scheme by making the architects the sanctioning authority while reducing the role of administration with minimum intervention. But the process to apply under the self-certification scheme was too wearisome that since its implementation in 2005, only one case came for approval at the SDO (buildings), estate office, which too got through, after hanging on for two years, for want of one paper or the other.

Sources allege that anything between Rs 29,000 to 30,000 exchanges hands for obtaining the clearance certificate of residential building plans. 

n When the officials from the engineering or finance department least bother to have checks on the quality of the concrete being used or the steel reinforcement placing, or the time lapse between making the concrete and pouring it, then under what logic objections are put in quoting the electrical system, the plumbing, sewerage and drainage system, the structural arrangement, or even the formation levels of the lawns and gardens?
n Under the Building Rules, 1952, contained in Punjab Capital (Development and Regulation), the administration, under the scheme, issued a notification that any person, who intends to erect or re-erect a residential building, can opt for self-certification scheme through his or her architect.



Cong councillors gun for commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The heated argument between the Municipal Corporation officials and Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla took a new turn today with the Congress councillors sending a missive to the home secretary-cum-secretary, local bodies, demanding action against MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sankaria for using “abusive” language against him in the finance & contract committee meeting.

The Congress councillors alleged that when Chander Mukhi Sharma raised an objection in the meeting as to why the building and roads work column has been left blank in the action taken report on creation of a new division of B&R circle in the Municipal Corporation, instead of giving a satisfactory reply, the commissioner stated, "Should we hire manpower from the streets of Chandigarh?” On this Babla raised objection and reminded the commissioner that he is a public servant and is responsible for his action, stated the letter.

The Congress councillors stated that the municipal commissioner’s attitude had not been cooperative. They also referred to a number of incidents where the commissioner misbehaved with the councillors. They demanded immediate intervention and quick redressal of the complaint from the secretary. 



Ice games at amusement park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
An amusement park celebrated the launch of ice games and a jigsaw puzzle called Haze Maze with special children from Mother Teresa Home, Sector 23, Chandigarh, here today.

The children enjoyed ice games, snow fall and dance, sledge on ice, Santa sledge, icy mountains, snow cave, and snow blizzard at the park.

The events were a part of commencement for Christmas celebrations, said Dheeraj Punj, vice-president of the park.



Body found
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 20
Body of an unidentified youth was found near the Mansa Devi Complex here today.

Though no injury marks were found on the body, the cause of death can be ascertained after the post-mortem report, said the police.

According to information, the shopkeepers in the area noticed the body lying near the community centre coming up near the railway crossing and informed the police.

The police has sent the body to mortuary of general hospital, Sector 6.



500 students take part in sports meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Around 500 students participated in various events, including folk dance, field and track events in the Saupin’s School annual sports day that culminated here today at Sector 46 stadium.

The sports day comprised activities such as sprint races, three-leg races, high jump, long jump, relay races and shot put for different divisions. Besides this, the students of classes VIII and VII displayed their skills at horse riding and archery.

Long Jump

1st Amrit Kaur VII-B; 2nd Ishmeet Sandhu VIII; 3rd Saumya Gohil VII-B

Fun Game

1st Shruti , Sonali, Darsh, Sanya; 2nd Aprajita , Khush. Jasmeet, Preet

50m Obstacle Race

1st Vanshita IA; 2nd Gagan IA; 3rd Samyank IB

50m Sack Race

1st Shreya II; 2nd Navtej II; 3rd Gurnaz II

Three Legged Race

1st Jasmeet — Keerat; 2nd Arshpreet — Adarsh; 3rd Rahul — Jasleen

Chatti Race

1st Arshita; 2nd Sukhman; 3rd Arpita

Best Athlete

Shabadpreet Singh



DC schools celebrate annual day
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 20
DC Model Senior Secondary School, Panchkula, and DC Montessori School, Manimajra, celebrated the annual day at Indra Dhanush auditorium here today. The musical play “Chuhiya Ki Shadi” amused the audience. The students of DC Montessori School presented theme-based items, “Save the Girl Child” and “Save Environment”.

The folk dance and tribal dance had the audience glued to their seats for about two hours. The play “Christmas Carol” highlighted the need to celebrate festivals in their true spirits.

Prize distribution

The “Bharat Darshan” was the grand event that marked the 27th annual prize-distribution function of New India Senior Secondary School here today. It was celebrated with at Indra Dhanush auditorium. “Om Sai Ram”, a performance by the the KG students, surprised the audience.



Kids celebrate Christmas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, celebrated Christmas in a unique way by sharing meals with the underprivileged children of Sahodaya Club and Maloya Welfare Home, today.

Various games were organised for these children. The school solemnised the suffering brethren of the country with a prayer session on the school premises and children lit candles.

The principal and school staff distributed gifts to the children.



Educational tour to Lovely varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
More than 50 students of Gurmat Model High School visited Lovely University, Jalandhar, on an educational tour yesterday. These students of matriculation and senior secondary classes were given demonstration on the university courses for their future studies and career options.

Later, the students were taken to Pushpa Gujral science city, Kapurthala, where they were shown exhibits on the premises of the science city and they also enjoyed a laser show, Dome Theatre, Dinosaur Park, flight simulator and biology wing of the science city.



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