C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kharar bridge could collapse any time
The bridge stands on just one pillar and its right side has sunk into the bed area. A portion of the bridge has been closed temporarily, but heavy traffic continues to ply

Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Kharar, February 15
Thousands of vehicles on the Kharar-Landran-Tepla road near Kailon village cross the bridge here which is unsafe. The bridge stands on just one pillar and its right side has already sunk into the bed area.

A portion of the bridge has been closed temporarily and traffic is being navigated by the Mohali traffic police.

The bridge is part of the project to widen the Kharar road by the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board (PRBDB) under a World Bank project. Around 39.5 km length of road has to be widened.

As per the project, a new bridge, parallel to the existing one, is to be built, for which the work had started.

“While the maintenance work was on, the spans under the bridge developed cracks and had to be removed. As it was a very old structure, the berms on the right side caved in,” an official, requesting anonymity, said.

He said more than a week ago, the department officials had passed strict instructions to the contractor concerned that the traffic should be diverted to an alternative route.

“The structure is unsafe as it supports high volume of traffic of heavy vehicles. Keeping this in view we had passed the directions, but nothing has been done,” he added.

Until a week ago, no traffic police personnel was deployed to manage the chaos caused due to the ongoing work. A few days ago, there was a motorcade in connection with the wedding of a relative of a Kharar Congress leader and political workers spread a rumour that the bridge had collapsed.

The administration and the police panicked and decided to depute some traffic cops at the site. “We are on duty till 8 pm and after that there is no one to manage the traffic. There are around a dozen marriage palaces along this road and usually night drivers are in an inebriated state,” a traffic cop said.

When contacted, XEN, central works division, Ajitpal Singh Brar, said the construction company had been asked to provide an alternative way in view of the condition of the bridge.

“The cracks in the bridge are unprecedented. By tomorrow, the entire traffic would be diverted. Public safety is of prime importance,” he said.



Massive turnout at BSP rally
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
With the next Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the political scene has hotted up in the city with the BSP organising a show of strength here today.

The impressive “mahakaryakarta sammelan” by BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan may give sleepless nights to his bete noires -- Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal and former MP Satya Pal Jain. The fact that a majority of people in the rally were from slums and villages, who play a decisive role in the elections, could be another cause of worry for the Congress and the BJP.

Dhawan tried to put both the Congress and the BJP on the mat by raising the bogey of performance versus promises as the poll plank. He asked the electorate to compare his tenure of 19 months to Bansal’s three terms and Jain’s two terms in the Lok Sabha.

Charging the Congress and the BJP with “divisive politics”, the former minister alleged that while the Congress had divided people along casteist lines, the BJP was going all out to woo voters on the Ram temple issue.

“On the other hand, the BSP led by UP CM Mayawati seemed to be the only alternative as it endeavoured to unite all sections of society through its social engineering formula,” he claimed.

Close on the heels of his diatribe against Bansal and Jain, the BSP convener was quick to switch over to populist promises like the rehabilitation of illegal squatters on prime government land, balanced rent Act, people-friendly building bylaws, license to roadside workers, and an end to diversion of revenue surplus amount of Rs 670 crore from Chandigarh to the central government.

Keeping in view their predominant voting strength, the village and slum leaders, who brought a majority of people to the venue, held centre stage at the rally with urban leaders being pushed to the background. The general secretary of the BSP, Mann Singh Manheda, claimed that only the BSP could provide alternative government at the centre.

Observers said while Dhawan might not win the local seat, his sizeable presence in colonies and villages could make the contest a tough triangular fight.



Burial provokes protest
Tribune News service

Mohali, February 15
Tension prevailed in Sector 57 here today when residents of the area opposed the burial of the body of an eight-year-old girl, claiming it to be illegal. Reacting to their opposition, a large number of members of a particular community gathered at the spot to ensure the burial.
Residents gather following a dispute over a burial site in Mohali on Sunday
Residents gather following a dispute over a burial site in Mohali on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Sensing the brewing tension, the police tried to put the matter off until tomorrow by allowing the burial.

The problem started when a family brought the body for burial at the site, which it claimed had been their burial ground for many years. But residents claimed that the area belonged to GMADA which planned to construct flats there.

Dr Anwar Hussain, chairman of the Mohali Congress Committee, showed “papers” of 1997, indicating that the land had been allotted for a burial ground. However, the president of the resident welfare association, Harpal Singh, claimed that GMADA officials had categorically told them that the burial ground was illegal and that they should be informed whenever any burial took place there.

The residents said the leaders of the community had been asked to shift the burial ground to a nearby site, which they denied.

The SHO of the Phase 1 police station, Harbir Singh, said: “Since neither any official of GMADA nor any resident could produce any valid document indicating that the burial ground was illegal, the burial was allowed. We would take up the matter tomorrow and verify the facts.”

Photo P5



High literacy, higher infant mortality
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Despite having the highest literacy rate (males 86.8 per cent and females 77.4 per cent) and a per capita income, the city is yet to show any signs of improvement when it comes to dealing with infant mortality rate (IMR) and malnutrition among children.

This ultramodern city has been witnessing a constant rise in the IMR while there has been no credible improvement in the number of children suffering from malnutrition in the past decade.

According to the UT health department, in the past three years, there has been a steep rise in the IMR from 14.55 per cent in 2006 to 19 per cent in 2008 per thousand births, implying that nearly 29 of 100 infants die before they turn one.

Not only this, the malnutrition figure also shows a gloomy picture. As per a study conducted by the PGI’s community medicine department, the prevalence rate of malnutrition among children (0-6 years) was 50 per cent. The study, conducted in 2007 but published this year in the WHO bulletin, reveals no change and the prevalence rate remains the same.

Dr JS Thakur of the department said the figures collected by the department during the study revealed that almost 57 per cent slum children, 47 per cent rural and 37 per cent urban children of the 0-6 year age group were malnourished.

He said no special care was given to children in the age group of 0-2 years, even though they required extra nutrients. Any deficiency during this period could have life-long adverse affects.

Dr Madhu Sharma, paediatrician nutritionist at the PGI, said the nutrient requirement of a child up to the first six months was met with breastfeeding to some extent. So, the nutritional needs of lactating mothers had to be taken care of. In the absence of nutritious food during the postnatal period, mothers were not able to properly feed their babies. Hence, there had been no appreciable reduction in the IMR.

The Chandigarh administration had introduced the scheme in 2007 for bringing down the IMR. The aim was to provide healthcare to the mother and baby. However, the 2008 data indicates that the scheme has failed.



Pramodji, just two mins, please…
Raveen Thukral

Mr Pramod Muthalik
Rashtriya Hindustan Sena chief and leader Ram Sena,

I hope this letter finds you in good health and high spirits (not the one sold at Mangalore pubs).

I am sure that you don’t know me, so before I go any further, here’s a brief introduction about myself. I hail from a small city called Chandigarh, which is the twin capital of Punjab and Haryana, the two prosperous and modern north Indian states.

In fact, Punjab is situated on the Indo-Pak border and Lahore is barely 23 kms from the Wagah border in Amritsar district. And beyond that, I am sure you know, is Afghanistan or the land of Taliban, whose culture you seem so well versed with.

From your recent utterances, I can claim to know you and your mind set well but frankly speaking I had never heard about you till you shot to (in)fame, thanks to the bold act of your sena activists who went around bashing up girls in Mangalore pubs and your threat to beat up romancing couples on Valentine’s Day. And what has made me your instant admirer is your unique ability to catch the fancy of thousands of women, who are sending you pink chaddis over this weekend.

It’s indeed a remarkable feat considering the fact that at your ripe age you are still a bachelor (that’s what newspaper reports say). I am sure, it would be a great feeling of finally getting all this attention from the women folk at your age. Isn’t it Pramodji?

I am also highly impressed by your decision to send back pink saris to all your women admirers and sincerely hope that they will appreciate it with the same spirit as you would on receiving those thousands of chaddis. There could have been no better way of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

While you would have surely come to know about the death of Ashwani, the 16 year old girl who committed suicide after being allegedly harassed by suspected Sangh Parivar activists for being friendly with a Muslim boy, since it happened in your city, the North Indian newspapers have been quite critical about your actions. Several articles have been written in the past week and some columnists have even shown the audacity to dub the likes of you as jokers – a statement that I certainly disagree with and hope that even jokers would, since they can’t have the mindset, the acumen and the abilities that you have exhibited.

Can a joker, whose job is to entertain people with his silly acts, be the custodian of our priced Hindu culture and can he have the guts to go around beating young girls in Pubs? No. Certainly not. Such courageous acts require great commitment and are the sole prerogative of leaders like you.

Pramodji, these silly columnists have also objected to your opposition to the “pub culture” on grounds that in a democracy everyone has a right to chose so you or your men cannot impose restrictions on them. Naïve, aren’t they? They seem to have forgotten the adage, jiski lathi, uski bhains (might is right), and are questioning your right to beat up young and harmless girls, who can’t even retaliate. And worse they expect action from the cops, who like you and your men have more faith in their brawn rather than their brains.

And what is funny is that some of these columnists while talking about democracy are dubbing you as a “self styled protector” of Hindu culture and questioning your right to speak and express yourself on the issue. Aren’t they showing their double standards and conveniently forgetting that under our Constitution even you have the fundamental right to speak and express yourself, so what if it sounds nonsensical and whimsical to all right thinking people.

I don’t know whether you have read these critical articles or not but I am quite disturbed with them. They are defending the pub culture and the openness in our society by saying that India has been the land of Vatsayan, the author of Kama***** (can’t use the word since I think my culture doesn’t permit me to do so. Or does it Pramodji?) and also talking about those ‘dirty’ carvings in those internationally famous Khajurao caves. It’s surprising that while they remember all this, they have conveniently forgotten about sati, girl child marriage, dowry, no widow remarriage and the purdah system, which were once the essence of our Hindu culture and in the very best interest of our womenfolk.

Pramodji, just ignore these so-called sane voices and I am sure that your ideas would drag us back to the centuries that I haven’t seen. Please carry on with your agenda since this fascism was perhaps the only thing mercifully missing from our already doomed and divided society.

But before I sign off, I have some suggestions to make and I sincerely hope that you wouldn’t ignore them and disappoint me since you won’t find many admirers like me. Why not channelize your energies and find something more worthwhile rather than targeting those going to pubs or celebrating Valentine’s Day since they represent only a miniscule population.

Perhaps it could be better if you turn your attention to those crores of people who are still living in this country without basic amenities and the lakhs of children who go to sleep everynight without three square meals. Why bother about those who have a glass of beer or a peg or two when in the country’s hinterland lakhs of youth are falling prey to drug addiction.

Why don’t you ask your sena activists to bash up drug peddlers who lure youngsters, even school going children, to drugs rather than turning their ire against the handful of pub going defenseless girls? Why don’t you to turn your activists to model teachers and start campaigns in schools against alcoholism and drug addiction rather than turning them into unbridled goons who take law in their hand.

I am sure if you do so, you will have many genuine admirers and instead of chaddis you’ll get good wishes, from the heart, on the next Valentines Day.

Hoping that better sense will prevail on all one day.

Yours sincerely

(PS: Pramodji, how many chaddis did you finally get?)

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com


Pay Panel
Pensioners protest delay in implementation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Members of the Punjab Government Pensioners’ Association today lodged their protest against the non-implementation of the recommendations of 5th Punjab Pay Commission. The protest was held at Sector 40, here.

The pensioners protested against the Punjab Government’s dilly-dally approach towards getting the report of the pay commission in spite of tall promises made by the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister.

The main demands of the pensioners included 50 per cent increase in the basic pension and dearness allowance, enhancement of fixed medical allowance to Rs 1,000, LTC to family pensioners, one rank, one pension for all and 5 per cent house maintenance allowance, etc.

“We apprehend that the report will get caught up in the code of conduct to be issued in soon by the National Election Commission for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. It is the duty of state government to issue notification for revision of pension according to the pay commission report,” said KS Naga, general secretary of the association.

The rally was also addressed by other employee leaders.

Shopkeepers’ dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Shopkeepers running their business at Fun Republic mall, Mani Majra, staged a dharna in protest against a wall erected by the mall authorities in front of their shops.

The shopkeeper alleged that the wall had been raised on the intervening night of February 12 and 13 at the space in front of their shops illegally because of which their business had been hampered.

“Since the rent for the open spaces in front of our shops is also being paid by us, the authorities’ decision to erect the wall is unjustified. We have also approached the SHO concerned to apprise him of this illegal action but in vain,” alleged the shopkeepers. “This is a case of contempt of court. The verdict on the civil suit filed by the FR authorities for restraining me from entering my shop is still awaited. In case the wall is not removed immediately, we will seek legal protection as per the provisions of the Easement Act 1882 and demolish the wall,” claimed Sandeep Arora of Suraj Shopping Centre.



Father’s desperate act to get justice
Amit Khanna

Chandigarh, February 15
A father’s act of flinging case papers relating to the death of his son at the Chief Justice of India may be punishable under the law. But it was a deep sense of anguish and frustration over the past 16 years that forced him to take this step.

The incident happened yesterday at the Punjab Haryana High court where Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan had come to inaugurate a multi-storey parking facility.

“Action speaks louder than words. I had already decided to do this as there is no other way left for me to raise my voice against this injustice,” Balbir Singh said while explaining his action.

His misery did not end with the death of his son. “Manpreet was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (fast spreading bone cancer) and was suggested amputation by doctors at the PGI. I took him to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital for a second opinion. Instead of concurring with the opinion of the PGI and referring me back to them, they treated me as a milking cow and suggested bone grafting, which ensured that the patient remained with them,” he said.

Doctors performed two operations on but cancer spread to other parts of the body. His son died in August 1990.

Not one to take the injustice meted out to him lying down, he filed a complaint against the doctors who were found prima facie guilty by the ethical committee of the Medical Council of India.

“The long hand of law is to protect the powerful and harass the poor, gullible and innocent litigants,” he lamented. One of the doctors died during the trial and later on the High Court quashed all charges against the doctors in 2001.

“If Jessica Lal case can be reopened why not his? This is not a death due to negligence only. Rather it was intentional on part of doctors and I will not leave any stone unturned in my efforts to bring the culprits to the book,” Balbir Singh added.



Sahayta recognises cancer survivors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Sahayta group celebrated Cancer Survivors’ and International Childhood Cancer Day at St Stephan’s School. The function was presided over by Jean Rodrigues and Raji P Shrivastva. The show was put up by cancer survivors. The function started with a prayer, followed by a dance by the children.

Dr Pankaj Malhotra, associate professor, clinical haematology, department of internal medicine, PGI, gave a talk on blood cancer and elaborated on its causes and cures. Group president Renu Saigal highlighted the achievements and projects to be undertaken by the group.

Awards were also given away on the occasion to recognise the fighting spirit of survivors. The Jeevan Shakti award was given to Kamaljeet and Rijul. The bereaved families gave away Jeevan Sahayta and Jeevan Sahara awards to 14 needy and deserving persons in the memory of their kin.

Eminent doctors from the PGI, cancer survivors, volunteers, patients and their families and donors attended the function.



Rose festival ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
A three-day rose festival at Panjab University concluded today. Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Cooperative Minister, was the chief guest at the concluding day of the festival.

He appreciated the efforts made by the university and organising committee for celebrating the first rose festival on the campus. He said that such an effort would certainly encourage the general public to keep the environment pollution free and love towards nature.

The distribution and certificates to the winners of various competitions was done by Prof S.S. Bari, registrar, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Lakhwinder Wadali also performed at the star night during the festival.



NIPER celebrates foundation day
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 15
The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, celebrated its foundation day at convention centre of the institute here today.

Dr AV Rama Rao, former director, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, delivers a lecture at NIPER in Mohali on Sunday. A Tribune photograph
Dr AV Rama Rao, former director, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, delivers a lecture at NIPER in Mohali on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Prof P Rama Rao, director of the institute, took a distinguished gathering comprising scientists, faculty and students on a trip down the memory lane by presenting a slide show which included the progress report of the current academic year.

Dr AV Rama Rao, chief guest of the function and former director, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, in his lecture, laid emphasis on the topic “Indian Pharmaceutical Industry: Decades of Struggle and Achievements”.

Earlier, Prof N Sathyamurthy, director, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali, who presided over the function, and Satwant Reddy, adviser and former secretary, Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, also spoke during the function. Prizes were distributed for various quiz competitions organised during the celebration.

Those who won prizes on the occasion were Nitin Kumar, Rajan Kumar Tripathy, Dr Saurabh Kulshreshtha, Prashant Soni and Vikas Sharma, Kamlesh Kumar Patel, Tushar Deshpande and Nandkishor Muley. 



Withdrawal of medical cover
Short service officers aggrieved
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
After having been granted the benefit of medical treatment at military hospitals for about 40 years, Short Service Commission (SSC) and Emergency Commission (EC) officers are now out on a limb. They are distressed over the withdrawal of this facility to them.

A letter from the Adjutant General’s Branch at Army Headquarters received at the Command Hospital here recently states that SSC and EC officers are presently not entitled to medical treatment. The letter adds that the matter has been referred to the Ministry of Defence for further clarifications and until instructions to the contrary are received, the present status would continue.

Speaking to The Tribune here today, several SSC/EC officers said it was unfair to withdraw a facility they had been extended for the past several decades and that too at a time when they were in need of organisational assistance.

“I had gone to the Command Hospital this week, but was refused treatment,” ex-Capt AN Chopra said. “The same was being given till a few weeks ago,” he claimed. Another officer, ex-Capt RK Bhardwaj said the change in policy had come as a shock for them and had also caused heavy financial burden due to the cost of treatment in civilian hospitals.

EC officers were those who were granted commission in the Army in the wake of the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict. A number of them and SSC officers also served in the 1965 and 1971 wars.

Army authorities, on the other hand, say as per regulations in force, any ex-officer, not in receipt of service pension, is not entitled to medical treatment in military hospitals. Minimum service of 15 years is required for pension, whereas SSC is for a maximum of 14 years. For the same reason, SSC/EC officers are not to join the Ex-servicemen’s Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS).

Stating that they are contemplating moving court against the withdrawal of medical cover, Maj JS Sodhi (retd) remarked that the Defence Ministry spent several hundred crore rupees annually for ECHS to cater to lakhs of service pensioners, but had washed their hands off a couple of thousand EC officers who had rendered valuable national service in times of crisis.



‘Info Warriors’ turn 99
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Corps of Signals, also known as “Information Warriors”, celebrated its 99th Raising Day at Headquarters Western Command in Chandimandir today. Several events were organised to mark the occasion.

Lt Gen TK Sapru, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, extended his greetings to all ranks, their families and veterans of the Corps on the occasion. He lauded the professionalism displayed by the Corps personnel, both in peace and war, and exhorted them to rededicate themselves to the service of the nation.

Maj Gen VP Shrivastava, Chief Signal Officer, Western Command, addressed Signals officers and jawans at a special sainik sammelan and emphasised the important role being played by the Corps in enabling net-centric warfare in today’s information age.

He stressed that all the technological development undertaken by the Corps was primarily to enhance the decision-making capabilities of the field commanders by providing them timely information and reliable communication. As a token of recognition for their commendable contribution, he presented Signal Officer-in-Chief’s commendations to officers, JCOs and other ranks.

A social get-together was also organised on the occasion, which was attended by senior serving officers of Western Command and all veteran Signal officers.

The Corps of Signals has, in recent years, taken rapid strides in establishing state-of-the-art information and communication technologies infrastructure in the Indian Army and also laid modern communication networks in UN missions.

The Corps has successfully integrated various networks and systems, including satellites, to deliver the “Network of Networks” to the Army. Mobile satellite communication is also being introduced in a big way, which would further enhance the communication capability of the Corps. 



Architects’ website on anvil
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) is set to use information technology (IT) to bridge gap between architects and the building industry with the launch of the architects’ website.

“This, coupled with a comprehensive directory of the IIA members, is high on the agenda to improve the architecture scenario in the region,” Surinder Bahga, newly elected chairman of the Chandigarh-Punjab chapter of the IIA told The Tribune here today.

With Chandigarh and Punjab bursting at seams in the backdrop of launch of mega housing and commercial projects by major realtors, the website and the directory were need of the hour, he said.

In fact, organisation of seminars, workshops and exhibitions are other priorities of the acclaimed author-architect, whose Chandigarh-based firm Saakaar Foundation was instrumental in organsing an international seminar on landscape architecture in Chandigarh last year.

IIA will also strive to create its own infrastructure so that it can work in a better way to improve the living conditions of Indian society through the medium of architecture. With that in mind, the IIA will collaborate with other similar institutes and organisations to pursue its agenda, he added.

Bahga said the institute would play a more proactive role in the policy matters and build up pressure on the government agencies to pursue “pro-people” policies aimed at benefitting the common man. In fact, a close liaison with the government functionaries on one hand, and the experts on the other, would result in a better built-in environment for society, he added.



SAP centre to continue working
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The reported compromise between egyan, an institute in Sector 36, and its franchiser has come as a sigh of relief for students and their parents.

SAP India has agreed to continue with the centre. According to students Rohit Bhalla, SAP sales head, and Manish Saran, SAP sales manager, informed students that they have never found any irregularity at the centre.

The current and passed out students have also been assured of job assistance by SAP. Students maintained that they are happy with and would like to continue the centre permanently in the city.

“There are no grievances against the centre now. We were only concerned when SAP terminated the centre without any investigation”, said one of the students.



Fresh dimension to theatre
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 15
The five-day Katha Manchan-2009 festival of theatrical staging of stories of eminent writers with a presentation based on Sharad Joshi’s classic “Prem Katha” at the Randhawa auditorium, here today.

The festival, which was organised by Mask Theatre, has certainly offered a fresh dimension to the theatre here. Instead of staging the conventional published plays, the directors evolved the dramatic element from the original theme of stories.

The director, Ravinder Ravi, has illustrated through the play that how our perceptions and decisions are influenced by our origin and family background. Through the story of two young lovers , portrayed Ishant and Parul, the play progressed to ascertain that one’s upbringing, education, social status and all other attributes account for scripting the successes and failures in life.

Led by Vijay Machal, the cast included Manoj Joshi, Deepal Arora, Munish, Parul, Megha, Ankita, Ishaan and Jaswinder. 



From Schools & Colleges
Baby show at Golden Bells School
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 15
As many as 100 toddlers from Mohali, Chandigarh and Panchkula participated in a ‘Health Baby Show’ organised by the Golden Bells Public School, Sector-77, here today.

The chief guest on the occasion, Balbir Singh Dhol, district transport officer, said the importance of such healthy competition serves as a platform to bring out the hidden talent and in shaping the personality of a child.


A special workshop for parents titled "The making of next generation whiz kids" was organised at the Millennium School here today.

With special emphasis on optimisation of endeavours, on part parents and teachers alike, over 300 parents participated.

In a clear departure from the practice of having bland lectures and monotonous addresses by experts, the workshop, instead, focused upon the challenges and issues vital to parents through power packed interactive seminar.

Dr Bindu Rana, a child psychologist, spoke on sharing responsibility amongst parents, establishing routine in intermingling with children, limiting time spent on TV, newspaper and social obligations were termed as essentials for healthy upbringing from parental perspective.

A skit called ‘The Time Robber’ which drove home the point that the greatest gift that parents could give to their children is a commitment of time.


Indo Global Colleges, Abhipur, was a knowledge partner for the national conference on ‘Software Testing’ conducted at Law Auditorium, Sector 37, Chandigarh today.

The conference was organised by Uno Infotech in association with Software Technology Parks of India and department of Information Technology, Chandigarh.

The highlight of the conference was the invaluable insights from industry leaders and practioners on latest testing tools and techniques, latest testing issues and specific ways to improve qualitative software testing process and results.

Gidha contest

The Women Welfare and Empowerment Organisation, a Mohali-based NGO organised an Inter-college gidha competition at Shivalik Public School, Phase-6, here. The aim was to bring awareness among the teenagers against foeticide.

Bhagwant Mann, a comedian, cheered the audience and sensitised them on foeticide. Daljit Ghruan, Lucky Somal and Bittu Bajwa gave their live performances during the event.

Fancy dress competition

Aanchal International School, Sector 41, organised a fancy dress competition and a baby show. Around 50 babies competed for the titles of Aanchal Prince and Princess.

Timran Bir Singh was adjudged the Aanchal Prince and Izna were declared Aanchal Princess.



Book on paediatric nutrition released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
“Nutritional deficiencies are widely present among children. The major cause is lack of availability of food, especially affected by poverty and ignorance regarding the knowledge of what and how to feed them at various stages of life,” said Dr Madhu Sharma, PGI dietician on the occasion of book release of “Basic Pediatric Nutrition” at the PGI.

Dr Madhu, author of the book, said there is a plethora of books and material available on various aspects of food, nutrition and diet, but some concise and focused guide on the basic knowledge of nutrition related to infants and children in particular is needed.

Therefore an attempt has been made in this book to outline various aspects of diet and nutritional needs of the paediatric group right from birth till adolescence. Furthermore, the basic practical considerations while dealing with this group of population for the benefit of the young nutritionists, teachers, students and dieticians involved in the community have been dwelt with.

Since paediatricians cannot treat a sick child without considering his nutritional status and requirements, it can also serve as a useful tool for all medical students involved in their day-to-day practice, said Dr Madhu.



Sports Complex
Planners asked to realign rivulet’s course
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 15
Consultants preparing layout plan of the proposed modern sports-cum-commercial complex in Sector 63 opposite the Punjab Cricket Stadium (PCA) have been asked to re-work the proposed alignment of the seasonal rivulet passing through the land.

The proposed sports facility is to come up on about 25 acres of land with the Punjab sports department.

After the consultants of the project submitted their layout plans for approval, drainage department officials have asked the planners to realign the passage of the rivulet while keeping in mind the amount of discharge in it.

Sources in the GMADA said the rivulet had to be realigned to allow optimum utilisation of the land available which otherwise forms a part of its catchment’s area. The alternative that had been suggested was cover or channelising the rivulet.

The project has been hanging fire for the last many years. After the construction of the boundary wall and gates in 1994, the work was stopped.

Now, the government has announced to raise funds to the tune of Rs 100 crore through the private-public partnership for creating not only a showpiece but also a venue where sportspersons could hone their skills and organisers could hold meets and tournaments.

The land-use pattern prescribed in the layout plan shows that site for showrooms and a shopping mall opposite the stadium has been planned. “Till the paper plans are not implemented, the government should maintain the area and use it for some productive purpose. It has become a source of nuisance as garbage is being dumped there,” said Narinder Kumar, a resident of the area.



20 get stuck in lift
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 15
A visit to newly inaugurated Shalimar Mall, Sector 5, proved to be a nightmare for visitors as over 20 of them got stuck in an elevator for almost 15 minutes here tonight.

“As soon as we entered the lift the doors got closed but the lift didn’t move. All efforts to operate the lift failed. We were rescued only after 15 minutes of efforts by mall staff,” said Parvesh, who was in the lift with his family.

Brig Virender Goswami, manager, Shalimar Mall, however, considered overloading a reason for this. “The lifts are meant for 11 people only but almost 23 of them got into the lift ignoring all instructions and notices. The overloading was the reason for the entire thing,” he said.



‘No improvement in sex ratio’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 15
While the country can claim of achieving milestones in the fields of health, education, or life-style improvement, it is a matter of extreme concern that when it comes to girl child and trees, the greatest gifts of nature, we have actually gone backwards. This was stated by Harpal Singh, chairman emeritus, Fortis healthcare and founder chairman of Nanhi Chhaan foundation.

He was here to deliver a keynote address on “Girl Child Programme & Environment” and the movement Nanhi Chhaan in Punjab and its secular spread across the nation, at Rotary International Inder Dhanush auditorium.

Portraying the dismal picture prevailing on these front, he said there was a time when India had 972 girls to every 1,000 boys in the 0-6 age group and this ratio was down to 927 by 2001 and now it has declined to just 900.

“In fact, it was observed that education, wealth and technology have conspired against the girl child,” said Singh, adding that in Delhi and Chandigarh, the ratio hovered around 800 only. “The picture is worse in many districts of prosperous states of Punjab and Haryana where only 725 girls are present against every 1,000 boys,” he rued.

Commenting upon the future implications of the prevailing situation, he said if this continued, the estimates suggested that as many as 50 million young men would not find life partners which ultimately could lead to disturbance in harmony and balance of daily life, along with increase in crime against women.

He also spoke on the harm done to trees in our country.

“Though it was targeted to increase the forest cover in the country to 32 per cent from 28 per cent, we only reduced the tree cover by a whopping 723 sq km since 2003,” he said.

Earlier, Manpreet Singh Badal, Finance Minister, Punjab, who was chief guest at the conference, expressed delight at the humanitarian work being carried out by Rotary clubs across India.



Man attacked by stray dogs

Mohali, February 15
A retired Army officer was attacked by a group of stray dogs at Leisure Valley here this evening. Capt Bedi, the victim, was taking an evening stroll when the stray dogs suddenly attacked him.

The victim said the dogs pounced upon him and badly bit him all over the body. He had to rush to doctor for medical help. Residents of the area said the Municipal Council had failed to control the stray dog menace despite several such incidents being reported in the past. — TNS



NIPER director wins 2 awards

Mohali, February 15
Prof P Rama Rao, director, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Punjab, has bagged two prestigious awards in the field of pharmaceutical sciences.

He will receive the prestigious pharma-bio award for the year 2009. This award is being given to him for his outstanding accomplishment in the field of research and development.

The Chem Tech Foundation continues to bestow this prestigious award to recognise leadership, excellence and innovation internationally as well as nationally. — TNS



Symposium on drug metabolism
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 15
A two-day symposium on “Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics: Applications toward Drug Discovery and Development” concluded at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here yesterday.

Speaking at the two-day event, Prof P. Rama Rao, Director, NIPER, said Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics was a very innovative and interesting area to work on and NIPER was working out all possibilities to start masters programme in this field.

There was a great demand generated from pharma industry and academia. He hoped the symposium would provide a unique opportunity for participants to get a grasp of fundamentals of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics and its potential applications in the industry.

Dr Michael Sinz, Bristol-Myers Squibb, USA, said the event would bring the people working industry and academia to come closer.

Dr Sandhya Mandelkar, Bristol-Myers Squibb India Ltd, Bangalore said that this symposium would help in networking with the scientists working in the area of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics.

Prof Saranjit Singh and Prof PV Bharatam, both from NIPER, also spoke on the occasion.

Internationally renowned resource persons in the field of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics namely, Dr Kenneth Santone, Prof Dhiren Thakker, Dr Prashant V. Desai, Dr Punit Marathe, participated in the symposium.



Car catches fire
Tribune News Service

A Maruti car that caught fire in Phase X in Mohali on Sunday.
A Maruti car that caught fire in Phase X in Mohali on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, February 15
Traffic on the road dividing Phase X and XI was blocked for a few minutes when a Maruti car suddenly got fire here this evening.

Jawahar Lal, a resident of Sector 45, who was driving the car, was moving from Phase X to Phase XI when the incident took place.

A local fire tender was pressed into the service to control the burning car. The cause of fire could not be ascertained.



Sector 19 residents block road again
P’kula, Zirakpur MC officials to meet today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 15
A minor incident of blocking the way to their locality by residents of Sector 19 here seems to be turning into an inter-state dispute. While the Panchkula administration has to seek legal opinion on the issue, a meeting of officials of the Panchkula and Zirakpur municipal councils has been scheduled for tomorrow to resolve the matter.

The SDM, Ashok Kumar Meena, who visited the spot after an altercation among residents, today said that the plans of the area with HUDA and the Panchkula MC would be examined and legal opinion would be sought over the blocking of the passage on this side.

In case there was a boundary and no access was given to the other side under the plans, a wall could be erected. Permission could be given for the entry of light motor vehicles, he said.

Meanwhile, a clash between residents from both sides was averted by the intervention of police and administrative officials when people from Panchkula tried to block the road this afternoon. Residents of Sector 19 put huge pipes on the road to prevent the passage of vehicles.

Residents of the adjoining Dhakoli village falling in the Zirakpur area tried to oppose the move, after which some of women from Sector 19 alleged that they were manhandled.

There was tension in the area about 10 days ago when the residents blocked the road, saying that it was not a thoroughfare and heavy vehicles like trucks and tractor trailers “sneaked” onto this road from the Zirakpur side to evade tax.

Yesterday, the councillor of the area, Ramesh Bartwal, convinced the people to remove the bloackade on the assurance that a barricade would be set up to restrict the entry of heavy vehicles.

Today, when neither the barricade was set up nor the DC visited the spot that the people again put the blockade.

The SDM and the tehsildar of Panchkula reached the spot and people agreed to allow the traffic to flow for the time being.

Panchkula MC president Ravinder Rawal said efforts would be made to resolve the issue and a meeting with officials of the Zirakpur MC would be held tomorrow in this connection.



3 bag Shreyas Awards
Tribune News Service

Abhinav Bindra (centre), Dr Nina Puri (right) and Baba Seechewal receive Shreyas Awards in Panchkula on Sunday.
Abhinav Bindra (centre), Dr Nina Puri (right) and Baba Seechewal receive Shreyas Awards in Panchkula on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, February 15
Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, a well-known environmentalist, social activist of child and mother rights Dr Nina Puri and Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra were presented with the Shreyas Awards on the concluding day of the two-day district conference of Rotary District 3080 here today.

Kalyan Banerjee, former Rotary international director, presented the awards to the recipients.

Earlier in the morning, famous international spiritual leader and expert on Vedantas, Jaya Row of Mumbai, spoke about the “Power of oneness”.



LS Elections: BJP mobilises workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The local unit of the BJP organised workers’ sammelan for its activists working at booth level and of samiti presidents at the party office in Sector 33 here today.

All state office-bearers, former and present presidents, district presidents, former and present mandal presidents, morchas and cell presidents participated in the sammelan.

Addressing the gathering, BJP candidate of the upcoming Lok Sabha poll Satya Pal Jain appealed to party workers to take the elections as a challenge and should highlight the anti-people policies of the Congress among masses.

“If I am offered a chance to serve, I will not say that the officers of the administration do not listen to me. It is a pity that in spite pf being a minister from Chandigarh, there has been no provision made in the railway budget for the city,” he said.

Jain advocated the constitution of an interstate development council in consonance with the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh so that development of the city and its surrounding areas could be carried out.

All-India secretary Kiran Ghai, and local unit president Kamla Sharma shared views with party workers for the upcoming elections.

BJP former president Yash Pal Mahajan and general secretary Sanjay Tandon also addressed the gathering.



Delay in issuance of SC certificates
Setback for panchayat elections
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The lackadaisical attitude of the Chandigarh administration in resolving the issue of Scheduled Castes’ (SC) certification has not only troubled common man but also panchayat polls.

It is evident to mention that since 1996 the administration could not issue the certificates to the SCs of the city, which compounds to approximately 17 per cent of the total inhabitants.

The aspiring candidates could not contest the panchayat elections under the reserved category for want of the SCs certification in as many as three villages of the city. To top it all, after lapse of two months of the panchayat polls, no efforts have been made by the Rural Development and Panchayat wing of the administration for holding by-elections to fill vacant seats of panches reserved for the SC candidates.

Three seats of panches reserved for the SC category in three villages, namely Sarangpur, Kaimbwala and Raipur Kalan villages, have not been filled and the administration had hardly pursued for conducting the by-elections against the vacant seats.

Nevertheless, no candidate at Kaimbwala village, where the post was reserved for the SC woman candidate only, could fill the nomination papers for want of the SC certification.

Convener of the National Conference of Dalit Organisation (Nacdor) Bhagat Ram Tisawarh opined that the welfare of the Scheduled Castes, apparently, finds the last place on the agenda of the Chandigarh administration. Tiswarth claimed that till date no communication about holding the mandatory by-elections been conveyed to the State Election Commission.

Sanjeev Kumar, director, the Rural Development and Panchayat, Chandigarh, admitted that the delay occurred due to the non-certification of the SC candidates on time, “The process for conducting the by-elections is on and the matter is being expedited with the State Election Commission on priority,” he assured.

On December 14, the administration had conducted the panchayat polls for electing 12 panchayats for 13 villages, which come under its jurisdiction. As many as 12 sarpanches and 122 panches had been elected in the elections.

However, the officials of the State Election commission did not confirm whether they received any communication about holding the by-elections.



Landlords told to furnish tenants’ details
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
As an emergency measure, the Chandigarh administration has ordered landlords intending to offer accommodation on rent to inform in writing the particulars of tenants to the SHO concerned.

The orders in this regard was issued by the District Magistrate under Section 144 of the CrPC and would be effective up to April 14.

An administration note said: “As there is apprehension that anti-social elements may make their hideouts clandestinely in the residential areas of the Union Territory, if suitable measures to prevent the same are not taken and unlawful activities of these people can cause breach of peace and disturbance of public tranquility besides posing grave danger to human life and safety and injury to public property.”



Excise officers for consolidated transfer policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Newly elected president of the Chandigarh Zone of Central Excise and Gazetted Executive Officers Association AK Sharma today called for formulation of a consolidated transfer policy to stabilise the cadre.

In a statement here, Sharma said as the Chandigarh zone comprised Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Jammu and Kashmir, the executive officers faced problems in case of sudden transfers, especially to Srinagar. He said a firm policy should be adopted laying down guidelines for transfer to overcome such problems.

Sharma, who is a superintendent at the Ludhiana Commiserate of Centra Excise, said the cadre was also demoralised due to a long spell of stagnation. He said more avenues needed to be created to ensure promotion after specific periods. The new president also claimed that basic infrastructure was not present in most Central Excise offices, saying in many cases as many as four officers were sitting in one room.



Youth Cong meeting

Chandigarh, February 15
A meeting of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC) was held here today.
The meeting was presided over by Indian Youth Congress (IYC) secretary Vinod Sultanpuri, who had come from New Delhi to take note of the preparations for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

CTYC president HS Lucky assured Sultanpuri that the Youth Congress was fully geared up for the coming Lok Sabha poll. — TNS



Ailing youth needs financial help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Alim Miyan (20), a resident of Daria village, UT, is suffering from a serious rheumatic heart disease and needs heart valve replacement surgery. He has been fighting a twin battle with poverty and a serious heart ailment.

Though PGI doctors have recommended him valve replacement surgery, cost is an impediment. “I earn Rs 80 a day and this is also not enough. I am trying everything to save him,” said his brother.

The boy has been enduring pain for past few years. “I used to feel breathless and tired easily. We went to local doctors but nothing helped. Finally, doctors at the PGI said there was a chance of my survival,” said Alim.

According to doctors at the PGI, the surgery will cost around Rs 1.75 lakh for an Indian valve. “After the surgery, I can lead a normal life. Last two years have been an ordeal for me. But I am prepared for the procedure as the doctors have explained its benefit,” said Alim.

When money is a problem, minor health problems are ignored. This is what happened with Alim. “The problem started with cough and cold. We took him to local doctors who were unable to diagnose it on time. It was not possible to consult specialists as it meant spending more money,” said his brother.

His brother said: “We have collected Rs 80,000 and are short of the requisite money. We need financial assistance for surgery.”

Donations for the patient can be made by cash or cheque to director PGI, with “Donation for the treatment of Alim Miyan” written overleaf of the draft or cheque.

PGI poor patient cell (2756006 and 2756930) can also be contacted for this purpose.



Conference on women’s rights
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 15
A cultural programme was organised and also Women’s Day was celebrated by the Kerela Samajam, a socio-cultural organisation, with a vision to promote and propagate art and culture of Kerela.

A conference was held on women’s rights in which Dr Cicilia from Panjab University, principal Sr Sebastina, Sacred Heart High School and district secretary Shahnas, All-India Democratic Women’s Association participated.



Course on low-calorie diet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The foods and nutrition department of the Government Home Science College conducted a five-day course on low calorie dishes. The participants were given a demonstration on the preparations of nutritious low-calorie snacks, main dishes and puddings. 

The choice of cooking oil and the importance of consumption of a mixture of oils\fats like refined oil, mustard oil and desi ghee to avoid the negative effects of trans fats was also discussed. The usage of olive oil was stressed upon for the health benefits of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

The course was highly appreciated by the participants who demanded more such courses in the future. The department will soon be starting a “Diet Clinic” as a further extension of its out reach programmes on public demand.



Ensure governance, safety

This is with reference to the article, “Humbug all, believe it or not!” written by Raveen Thukral published in Chandigarh Tribune on February 9.

The observations are truly factual and only an insider can vouch for the plight faced by the patients and the doctors of the government hospitals. No material support is provided to the hospital for purchase of equipments and whatever purchases are made do not involve the doctors concerned.

Recently crores were spent on the beautification of the campus, this was done before the Medical Council of India Inspection. But nothing was sincerely done to obtain essential equipments and instruments.

The Medical Council of India had threatened to take away the license of the attached medical college mainly due to lack of essential faculty/staff and equipments/facilities. But nothing is being done to address these issues, however, stopgap arrangements like temporary transfers and contractual tenure appointments are being made. The ploy of raising the retirement age has done nothing. The government in the election season will do anything to get the college recognised by pulling a few strings of the Centre.

The case is a classic eyewash. The concerned maintenance department has been allowed to scot-free. This only justifies the feeling in the masses that the senior government functionaries can go scot-free from any crime, including murder. 

Akash Deep Aggarwal, Ambala


Even cries of children burnt in Uphaar cinema and their helpless mothers years ago have still not been able to make their cries heard to heartless people in power. Patiala’s incident is only few days old.

No one is taking the responsibility then who is responsible for the death of these six children?

The article gives a ray of hope that a day will come when people responsible for henious crime like these will be punished.

K K Garg, PEC, Chandigarh


I do agree that nothing will come out of these inquiries and no body will know the truth ever. This is what happens every time in India, after every tragedy we call the inquiries, no body even knows what is submitted in the report.

Our country is kept at ransom by these politicians, who are enjoying on public money. It is hard to believe where the assistance from the World Bank for health has gone, and no body can see any improvement except the babus of the Health System Corporation became rich in the past few years.

It is very difficult, but still if the media, act responsibly and more journalist start taking public issues everyday like Mr Thukral, we can hope of some improvement.

Paras Mani, Canada


In a state where law and order are at kept at bay and whole of police station is out to search a dog belonging to the SHO. Where a single person is running a state, how can you think of fixing any responsibility? Punjab is going down the drain and all advertisements of tall claim are not worth its value. Already right thinking people will not tolerate for long.

I hope that good sense will prevail and good governance will be offered to the state and then only we can think of fixing responsibility and acting on it.

Kumar Gaurav, Chandigarh


State governments, particularly those ruled by regional political parties are not driven by national interests. They are always out to satisfy the local issues and local public because their very existence lies in satisfying local issues only. This all sudo-satisfaction results in decisions like the one in Rajendra Hospital case. Regional parties are always careless about law and order situations. They carry weight in Centre because of fragile majorities and numbers. More over Law and order is state subject and any intervention from the Centre is depicted as unnecessary.

There is a dire need of amendment of laws in such cases. In our system once an enquiry is ordered than no court takes up the issue and results and fate of enquiries are known to all of us. The SAD government needs to be more caring in such cases.

Keshav Aggarwal, Chandigarh


As the irresponsible attitude of the government towards the horrific death of five infants infants due to negligence of the hospital authorities has been highlighted, it is unfortunate that the government, instead of taking a strict action and registering criminal cases against the responsible workers, has actually reinstated them to their jobs, reason being the coming Lok Sabha elections and the government do not want to annoy the hospital staff and their associations.

Even a layman can tell that doctor, nurse and attendant are directly responsible for the incident because they were absent from the scene despite being on duty when this incident occurred. In such cases, punishment should be given to avoid such instances in future.

Rupinderjeer Pandwala, Dera Bassi



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