C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI nurses Patiala fire victim
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Phototherapy (light treatment) is administered to premature babies in case of severe jaundice. It is the process of using light to eliminate bilirubin in the blood. Light is absorbed by the skin and blood, and it changes bilirubin into by-product that can easily pass through the system

Chandigarh, January 31
Wails of Patiala’s Government Rajindra Hospital tragedy echoed in the corridors of the PGI as an anxious grandmother, Rajinder Kaur, wheeled in her 15-day-old grandchild in a critical state here this morning.

The child was among the five babies who survived the fire, which consumed five others, at the hospital’s nursery while undergoing phototherapy treatment. The mishap occurred around 3.15 am.

Rajinder Kaur said barely three hours after the child, born prematurely in seven months, was placed in the nursery for phototherapy treatment, fluorescent tubes exploded. She said the hospital authorities had claimed that the accident had occurred due to a short-circuit. The incident had left her 15-day-old grandson seriously injured with almost 40 per cent burns.

Without informing baby’s father (Lakhbir), Rajinder rushed the baby to the PGI as she had been told that her grandson’s condition was critical. She said the doctor had not even told her what had happened to him.

Baby’s grandmother, who was in a state of shock, said Simranjit Kaur (baby’s mother) had not been told about his condition fearing she might not be able to bear the shock. “We were so happy after the birth of the baby. He is the first child in the family. But our world has come crashing down,” said Rajinder.

Doctors at the PGI emergency said: “The baby was admitted to the paediatric emergency wing soon after arrival and was later shifted to the neonatal intensive care unit of the PGI after its condition started to deteriorate.”



All gone in 40 minutes
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 31
Even as it took 40 minutes for the relatives of patients to douse the flames in the ill-equipped paediatric department nursery of the Rajindra Hospital, it has shattered the hopes of parents who have lost their newborns in the incident. Instead of any meaningful help, the authorities at the hospital failed to provide any help to the Good Samaritans who managed to save the life of five infants.

The relatives of other patients admitted to other wards not only came forward to extend their help, but also did not spare any moment in arranging the fire fighting tools like sands, blankets, water buckets and had to even break the panes of the nursery where the infants were undergoing jaundice treatment.

Aehru Khurd village resident Surjit Singh and hospital canteen contractor Palwinder Singh saved five infants as they wrapped them in wet blankets and moved them out of the nursery.

The fire has shattered the hopes of parents who lost their newborns. Lakhwinder Singh and Charanjit Kaur of Paprala village in Haryana, who lost their kid in the fire, said that fate has prayed cruel joke with them. “We were happy when a kid was born in our family on January 26. We celebrated his birth by distributing sweets. But our entire world has been shattered today. It was the only child in our family,” said a sobbing Lakhwinder Singh.

The incident has shook Raj Kumar, a Patiala-based vegetable vendor, and his family members so much that they were unable to speak. “We were overwhelmed when we were blessed with a baby girl three days back. We had never thought even in our wildest of dreams that God will be so cruel to us, said Raj Kumar.



Short-circuit due to overheating of power point
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 31
While an oxygen cylinder kept in the infants’ nursery of the paediatrics department of the Rajindra Hospital here is suspected to have fuelled the fire which claimed lives of five infants, the short-circuit might have been triggered by overheating of an electric point bearing the load of seven tube lights and four heaters at the same time.

Official sources revealed that an oxygen cylinder in the nursery could have added fuel to the fire. The cylinder, it was learnt, was lying very close to the photo-therapy unit bed where all the five jaundice-ridden infants were kept.

The short-circuit was suspected to have led to eruption of fire, which, in turn might have led to fuelling of fire following leakage of oxygen from the cylinder, revealed a senior administration officer. “Though an inquiry report is awaited, I was told by the hospital officials that the fire could have spread after the oxygen cylinder blast,” he said.

The hospital sources revealed that fire could have sparked from the photo-therapy unit which was very old and was only subjected to replacement of tubes inside it. The unit, an official of the hospital pointed out, was more than 20 years old. “The hospital was built in 1962 and we have never seen any major replacement of any equipment during last 20 years,” said an official requesting anonymity.

Divisional Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir said he had ordered a probe into the tragic incident.

Sources revealed that the hospital staff was using one point for lighting seven tube lights and four heaters without installation of a power plug. “Normally, one point bears load of 1,000 watts, but, if all these gadgets were running at the same time, the load could well be around 4,200 watts. In such a situation, short-circuit was possible,” said a PSEB employee.

Meanwhile, in the bid to escape the government wrath, the hospital authorities, it was learnt, were busy finding some escape route like shifting the buck to the PWD, responsible for upkeep of the hospital building, on one or the other pretext like saying that the building was having power supply overload. However, the PWD officials said there was no power overload in the building.



Fire Safety Norms: MC
When law enforcer becomes violator
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Even as the fire and emergency wing of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is responsible for ensuring that the fire safety norms are followed in the city, it is the MC’s own building in Sector 17 that flouts them the most.

Not only the mandatory guidelines under the Fire Safety Act are being violated, the Fire Department or the Estate Office is turning a blind eye towards the violations by not initiating action against the violators. Though notices are being served on government departments, schools and private offices for not complying with the fire safety norms, the MC has itself failed to follow the same.

As per the building bylaws, the basement of the MC building can only have storeroom or a parking lot. However, the MC building has storerooms, a parking lot and even offices in the basement.

According to the Delhi Fire Safety and Prevention Act (1985), (56 of 1986), as extended to Chandigarh, there should be a down comer system with sprinklers in the basement of the building. Besides, water tanks of a minimum of 5,000 litres, other than drinking water tanks, are must in such buildings. Surprisingly, the MC building has none of these.

Sources say that to have a basement parking area, permission from the fire wing is mandatory. Besides, sprinklers are must for basement parking. However, the MC has only a few fire extinguishers in the name of fire safety equipment.

A few years back, a major fire broke out in MC building on the ground floor in which around 13 persons were trapped who were later rescued by the fire department officers. The fire destroyed all the old records of the licensing authorities. Even as the MC is strict in enforcing fire safety norms before issuing a completion certificate to new buildings, it has itself failed to follow the same. The MC officials, however, claim that the basement arrangement was a temporary one as two new floors were being constructed.

When contacted, Additional Commissioner and officiating Chief Fire Officer P.K. Sharma said: “We have already written to the department concerned to get in place fire safety equipments.”



Politics takes over gurdwara row
Religious leaders demand release of 6 followers; ex-Mayor hits out at Bansal
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, January 31
Even as heads of Sikh bodies from Punjab and Chandigarh gathered here today to condemn the UT’s action at Gurdwara Santsar Sahib of Sector 38-West, politics took the centre stage as leaders of political parties reached the spot to express solidarity with the gurdwara management while criticising the incident.

Serving an ultimatum on the Chandigarh Administration, the religious leaders demanded release of six arrested followers and suspension of all officials, who fired shots and entered the gurdwara premises with their shoes yesterday.

Head of the gurdwara Baba Pritpal Singh, member of SGPC Karnail Singh Panjoli, Jathedar Takht Keshgarh Sahib Tarlochan Singh, member Damdami Taksal Sukhdev Singh, president Akali Dal Chandigarh Gurpartap Riar, president All-India Sikh Students Federation Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad were among those who supported the gurdwara management.

As the politicians took to the stage, the scene turned unsavory when SAD leader and former Mayor Harjinder Kaur objected to the speech of State Minister for Finance Pawan Bansal, who said he was not there for any false promises. The minister also gave two special coins (of Rs 10 and 100 to the gurdwara management) issued by the government on the occasion of Gurta Gaddi Divas.

But before the minister could end his speech, Harjinder Kaur opposed him for diverting the attention of the sangat from the real issue. Sensing the mood, Pawan Bansal criticised the activity of the UT administration and said two or three officials of the administration should talk to the gurdwara management before taking a big step. He also promised to the leader present there that he would talk to the senior officials of the UT administration to solve the matter.

Other leaders who voiced their concern were Harmohan Dhawan, Satpal Jain and Krishan Chander Ahuja.

Baba Sarup Singh, head of gurdwara Santsar Sahib, denied all allegations of the UT administration and said, “We are having the registry of gurdwara land and haven’t encroached even a single inch of land.”

He even stated that gurdwara followers not even fired a single bullet from inside the gurdwara and alleged that it was a plan to involve the gurdwara in this activity. The leaders decided to announce further action after the marriage of Gurpreet Singh, son of Baba Sarup Singh, scheduled for February 8.

Meanwhile, those arrested were Harnek Singh, Satbir Singh, Simranpreet Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Harbaaz Singh and BS Sondhi, have been remanded for 14 days to the judicial custody.



Zero tolerance on encroachment: Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Reacting to the usurping of public property in the name of religion and construction of religious places without permission, the Chandigarh administration today pointed out that there is zero tolerance on encroachment on government land. According to a communiqué received here, the administration gave reference to a survey conducted in August, 2005. According to the survey, there were 396 religious places in the city — 194 in sectoral grid, 128 in villages and 74 in the colonies. Out of 194 religious places in sectoral grid, 92 had been allotted land by the administration. The rest of them had been declared unauthorised, with a few exceptions.

“Encroachment on government land has been one of the major impediments in timely execution of development projects in the city. The Chandigarh administration is taking all possible steps to remove encroachment on the government land. A number of meetings have been held with the management of religious bodies to arrive at a consensus to voluntarily remove encroachment on the government land,” said Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar.

Nevertheless, parts of some of the religious structures that came in the way of construction of National Highway-21 in the UT had been removed by respective managements after arriving at a consensus between the management and the administration.

Citing various court judgements, the administration stressed that under no point of law, encroachment on government land, including religious places, could be justified.

Gurdwara Santsar Sahib

In case of Gurdwara Santsar Sahib in the Sector 38 West, the communiqué conveyed that the residential area under construction was ordered to be demolished. There was only one small room at the time of acquisition of the area in 1999. However, the management subsequently encroached upon the adjoining government land.

Contrary to their assurances of not carrying out any further construction on the gurdwara premises, the management started construction of a residential block on the first floor consisting 4-5 rooms. Consequently, the orders of demolition of unauthorised construction were passed by the Assistant Estate Officer in capacity of Quasi Judicial Authority. Yesterday, when the enforcement staff along with magistracy and police force tried to remove the recently raised unauthorised construction, the management started pelting enforcement staff with stones from the rooftop, which resulted in serious injuries to ADC Inderjit Singh Sandhu and other cops.



Fiza mum on Chand’s statement
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
Everything between Chand Mohammad and Fiza is not fine. While Chand, after remaining missing for three days, appeared at Gurgaon expressing his feelings about his first wife, Fiza was seen here advising people not to use religion and women. A shocked Fiza, who was discharged from hospital yesterday, addressing mediapersons outside her home, today said allegations levelled against Kuldip Bishnoi regarding the kidnapping of Chand Mohammad proved true as Kuldip had declared that Chand was staying with him.

Fiza, however, refusing to comment on the statement of Chand Mohammad from Gurgaon, said she would not say any thing before her husband talked to her. Moreover, she had reason to believer that he was under some pressure. On different queries, she told the mediapersons to wait. She said the media was repeatedly asking her pointed questions whereas nobody was questioning Chand about his role in the entire affair.


CHB to add 28 more flats in Sec 63
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The CHB recent move to raise the elevation of the upcoming self-financing housing scheme in Sector-63 from the existing four-storied to six-storied will result in increase in the number of dwellings.

According to CHB sources, about 28 extra units in three categories will raise their number from the proposed 1,976 to 2,004. Sources confirmed that 16 more units would be added to the category A (three-bedroom), eight in category B (two-bedroom) and four in category C (one-bedroom) apartments.

As a result, there would be 320 units in category A, 844 in category B and 536 in category C. However, there would be no change in the number of units under EWS category D (one-room).

Increase in the number of dwelling is a result of the new design finalised by the CHB. Curiously, the new design was implemented after several discrepancies were found in the earlier plan.

The increase in the number of units has led to questions as to how the CHB proposes to “deal” with it since the sale of these 28 extra units would bring in an estimated Rs 10 crore.

While logically, this benefit should be passed on to the exiting allottees, the CHB is likely to “add value” to the existing plan rather than bringing down the prices of the dwellings.

The sources said the administration was devising a “separate strategy” to sell these units in a way so that the benefits should be transferred to the successful allottees only.

The CHB, however, specifically clarified that the leftovers or those falling in the “waiting list” would have no claim over these extra units.

The UT Secretary Housing, Sanjay Kumar, said: “We have no plans to give monetary benefits to the allottees directly, but certainly, we are working out on the modalities to provide enhanced infrastructure like elevators etc almost free of cost to them.”

“It will take another 18 to 20 months to complete the construction job of the flats. Obviously, the cost of construction will go up. We will try that the allottees should not bear the brunt of this additional burden and they should get the flats at the advertised price only,” he added.

Meanwhile, the CHB has already sent the revised plan for environment clearance to the government and the work on drawings of the units is also on the final stage.

Sources said a notification about seeking “no objection” from the allottees is expected to be any day.



Auto-rickshaw drivers stage dharna
Protest against admn move to replace autos with LPG ones

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The joint action committee of the Chandigarh-Mohali-Panchkula auto rickshaw drivers today staged a protest in Sector 17 against the administration’s decision to replace petrol and diesel-driven autos with LPG.

The committee viewed that phasing out of the autos should be done in a phased manner, as the auto drivers need time to generate funds for buying the new ones.

The committee also resented that the administration is adopting double standards in the name of environment friendly policy for transport.

“Violating all norms, the administration itself has allowed to run their condemned diesel-driven CTU buses but is objecting to our autos which are under permissible limit of the Motor Vehicle Act. What is the point in phasing out the diesel-driven autos, which are under the permissible limit of life span of 15 years. A majority of us are still bearing the burden of instalments of old diesel-driven autos. Now the administration, all of a sudden, is pressuring us to buy the new ones”, rued Kamal Kant, chairperson of the committee.

The other issue raised by the committee was that the autos should be allowed to operate in the Tricity without any restriction and without payment of any extra charges. “This is also in public interest as the passengers from Tricity can commute directly to their destinations. Moreover, late fee for passing the vehicle and payment of permit fee should not exceed more than Rs 20 per month as per earlier practice”, said Om Prakash, secretary of the committee.



Banks must provide easy loans to poor: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal urged banks to play an important role in uplifting the economically weaker sections by providing them easy loans to fulfil their requirements and creating their own employment opportunity.

Bansal was addressing a programme on “Financial Inclusion and Need-based Easy Access of Credit for the Economically Weaker Sections”, organised by the Central Bank of India, in collaboration with other leading banks here today. “The government is committed to cover maximum number of the poor under this scheme. Not only for self-employment but loans under other important centrally-sponsored schemes like housing loans are also provided to the poor,” he said.

On the occasion, Bansal distributed cheques of bank loans of over Rs 2.50 crore to as many as 592 beneficiaries of economically weaker sections and minorities. Lauding the initiatives of Central Bank of India, the minister said this was the ninth programme in last eight months of distributing loans to the poor at the nominal rate of four per cent interest.

Speaking on the occasion, Ramnath Pradeep, executive director, Central Bank of India, said out of the total 592 beneficiaries, the bank had provided loan assistance to 346 beneficiaries of economically weaker sections to the tune of Rs 1.56 crore under various government-sponsored schemes.



Tribune employee retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Ashok Malik, Assistant Editor, Dainik Tribune, today retired after serving the institution for more than 30 years. He was among the founder editorial members who joined the newspaper in July 1978 as sub editor and rose up to the post of Assistant Editor.

Born at Dujana village (Jhajjar), Malik had the school education in the village and college education in Lucknow and Rohtak.

Prior to joining Dainik Tribune, he served as a correspondent in a Hindi news agency Hindustan Samachar.

Malik was given a warm farewell by colleagues at the Press Club today. Naresh Kaushal, Editor, Dainik Tribune and other staff members lauded the services rendered by Malik towards Dainik Tribune.



Library head retires

Chandigarh, January 31
Raghbir Singh, librarian and head of the Sector 34 library here, retired today after putting in 33 years of service in the Chandigarh Administration.

Possessing a postgraduate degree in library science, he began his stint in the Regional Institute of English here in 1975.

Raghbir Singh was given a farewell by the staff of the library. Jaspal Kaur, general secretary of the Chandigarh Library Association, also lauded Raghbir’s services. — TNS



Coaching centre for MD, MS aspirants
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 31
Senior former faculty from the PGIMER, Chandigarh, and other surrounding medical institutes have joined hands to set up Chandigarh Medical Sciences Academy to make available a total digital live coaching for those doctors who aspire to take admission to postgraduate courses.

Former associate professor of the PGI Dr SK Bansal said the Panchkula-based academy had a strong back-end support of thousands of medical slides, multiple-choice questions, case studies, e-books and videos sessions.

Entrance to MD, MS residency programme was as difficult as getting into MBBS in India and overseas like the US or UK, hence, this high-end meaningful academy was an endeavour aimed at training future specialists and medical teachers.

The academy was a training institute designed for the new generation of medical professionals who wanted guidance and coaching for the postgraduate medical entrance examinations, Dr Bansal added.

The three courses, namely standard (six months), regular (four months) and fast track (two months), would provide digital and classroom coaching for entrance examination to the postgraduate medical education residency programme like MD general, MD paediatrics, MS general, MS orthopaedics, MS OBS/gynae and MD radiology. The details are available on www.cmsaonline.co.in, he said.



From Schools & Colleges
Students’ rally marks Anti-Leprosy Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
To mark the Anti-Leprosy Day, the NSS unit of GGDSD College, Sector 32, took out a rally in Colony No. 5 to spread awareness among the residents regarding myths related to the disease and its cure.

Being a part of this awareness drive, the student volunteers of the NSS unit informed the colony dwellers about leprosy, its causes, symptoms and cures. They told the residents on how the government has been trying hard to fight this disease and has succeeded in bringing down the leprosy rate from 57 per 10,000 to 1.2 per 10,000 in the past 25 years.

The purpose of this rally was to educate the dwellers about leprosy, so that they can identify the symptoms of this disease and further seek the treatment by visiting seven leprosy treatment centres in the city. They were given the details of these centres by the volunteers, who guided them to be careful about this contagious disease, which is however, completely curable.

The residents were also informed about the free multidrug treatment to cure leprosy, which is made available at these centres. The drugs available at the centres were provided absolutely free of cost by the WHO.

Tributes paid to Bapu

Students of Career Weavers Consultants Pvt Ltd. paid a homage to Mahatma Gandhi on the 61st anniversary of his martyrdom on January 30, 2009, here yesterday. The students performed a skit ‘Bapu Ke Sapno Ka Bhaarat’, showcasing the philosophy and principles of the Mahatma. They communicated Gandhiji’s messages of truth, non-violence, communal harmony and simple living via the youth-friendly medium of dramatics and vowed to imbibe his true principles in their own lives.

Basant Panchami celebrated

Basant Panchami was celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm on the premises of Guru Teg Bahadur Public School, Sector-15, today. To enhance the competitive spirit among the students, a kite flying competition and yellow tiffin competition was also held. The main attraction of the day was beautiful yellow kites and flowers prepared by the students of kindergarten.

Parents’ day

The Parents’ day was celebrated for the first time in Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, today to recognise the contribution of parents in raising responsible, compassionate and outstanding students.

The occasion was celebrated with a unique combination of events, which included a felicitation ceremony in which the parents of the outstanding students were honoured along with their wards.

The occasion also demonstrated commitment of the institution to save girl child from social atrocities exposing religious and social hypocrisy by staging a play by the college dramatic society enacted by students titled “Akhir Kyon”.

Chief guest Raji P Srivastava, director, higher education, the UT administration, addressed gathering exhorting the parents to eschew the overt as well as covert and tacit discouragement of and discrimination against the girl child in order that impediments to realisation of her potential may be destroyed.



From Schools
Puppet show organised
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
A puppet show was organised as part of a five-day puppet workshop organised at Millennium School here.

The workshop, conducted in five phases, included making puppets from junk material, using left cloth as alternative puppet-making material, learning techniques of story presentations and presenting educational plays. The fifth phase, however, was the puppet show, which showcased the skills acquired by teachers in an incredibly less time.

Basant celebrated

Tiny tots of pre-nursery, nursery and KG of Gian Jyoti Global School, Phase 2, Mohali, celebrated Basant Panchmi to mark the onset of spring season and to bid goodbye to freezing cold. They offered prayers to Goddess of knowledge Saraswati. The students enjoyed kite making and kite flying along with their teachers.

Salad-making contest

An aroma of wonderfully appetising smells wafted in air tingling taste buds at the annual salad and sandwich making competition was held at Saupin’s School, Sector 70, Mohali, here.

As many as 65 students of class V to VIII participated in the competition. The participants displayed the talent to slice, mix and present their preparations with peppers, smoked ham, onion, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers. In the salad making category the participants prepared Russian, Mexican and Italian salads nicely topped with fruits and cream.

The results of the events are:

Veg Sandwich: Hardaat 1, Harsimran 2 and Dikshit 3; Veg Salad: Madhurdeep 1, Anupreet 2 and Shubham 3; Non-Veg Sandwich: Prabhnoor 1, Amrinder 2 and Jashanjit 3 and Non-Veg Salad: Arshinder 1, and Divij Kaura 2.


To get rid of pre-exam stress and perform better in boards, St Soldier School, Mohali, conducted a workshop for students of classes X and XII. Principal Jaspreet Kaur gave valuable tips to students about the pre-exam preparation and how to shoo away the panic caused due to parental, peer and societal pressure. She stressed upon the need of staying away from poor dietary habits, unregulated lifestyles with an overloaded schedule and lack of sleep, which can take a toll on their health.



From Colleges
Gandhi Jayanti observed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
NSS student volunteers, staff and other employees of Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology (GJIMT), Mohali, Gian Jyoti Public School and Gian Jyoti Global School observed the Martyrdom Day of Mahatma Gandhi. A two-minute silence was observed to pay homage to Bapu. A paper reading contest was also organised in which a large number of students presented papers on various aspects of Gandhi's life and different events in India's struggle for freedom.

Placement drive

Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology (SSIET) organised a joint campus placement drive on SSIET campus. The mega placement drive was an initiative taken by the full-fledged training and placement cell.



Conference on management on February 6
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
Academicians, research scholars and corporate leaders from India and abroad will share their views on global recession, marketing, financial services and value creation through corporate restructuring during one-day international conference on management being organised by Indo Global Colleges, Abhipur, here on February 6.

During the conference, papers on management covering HR, marketing and finance aspects like global recession, customer relationship marketing, power of presentation skills, 360 degree marketing communications and cost cutting in recession would be presented, said director general of Indo Global Colleges R. Panickar.

Panicker also said a national level conference on animations was also being organized in collaboration with Frameboxx and Visual Effects at the college on February 3. Naveen Gupta, executive director of Frameboxx, provided an in-depth analysis of the career options available in the field of animations.



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