C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


4 killed in accidents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
A scooterist was killed late last night after being knocked down by an unidentified vehicle near the Sector 44 petrol pump.

The victim has been identified as Sukhwinder Kumar (38) of Sector 56. The police said the accident took place around 11 pm when the victim’s scooter was hit by an unidentified vehicle. He suffered severe head injuries in the mishap. He was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

Investigating officer in the case sub-inspector Rajiv Kumar said it was not known whether the victim was wearing helmet at the time of accident, as the helmet was found to be intact.

The victim was reportedly having a matrimonial dispute and was living with his sister-in-law in the city. He was about to go to the USA in a couple of days to visit his parents there.

The police said the victim’s relatives had requested the police to postpone the post-mortem for two-three days so that his parents arrived from the USA.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving against an unidentified driver in the Sector 34 police station.

A police official said no evidence was found on the spot, which could help in tracing the vehicle involved in the mishap.

Elderly killed as bus hits bike

Panchkula: A 65-year-old man was killed while another injured when a Haryana Roadways bus hit their motorcycle near Chandimandir on Panchkula-Pinjore road here today. The victim has been identified as Ram Singh, a resident of Syal village near Barwala.

According to information, the deceased riding pillion was going towards Pinjore to meet some relatives. Avtar Singh was driving the motorcycle when a bus going towards Pinjore hit them from the back killing Ram Singh on the spot. However, Avtar Singh and 3-year-old Khushwant escaped with minor injuries.

Witnesses said the bus driver fled the spot after hitting the bike. However, former sarpanch of Julmgarh village, who was passing through the spot chased the bus and got him caught at Pinjore.

Speeding vehicle kills man, son

Fatehgarh Sahib: A man and his son were killed in an accident late last night when their motorbike was hit by a speeding unidentified vehicle on the G.T. Road near PWD Rest House.

The victims have been identified as Harpal Singh and his son Bahadur Singh. They were returning from Tarkhanmajra village, along with another Manjit, who was on a separate bike. The bike of father and son collided with an unidentified vehicle on the G.T. Road. While Harpal died on the spot, Bahadur succumbed to his injuries while he was being rushed to Sector-32 hospital in Chandigarh. The police has registered a case in this connection.



Judicial custody for Saji
However, many questions remain unanswered

Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Even as Saji Mohan’s eight-day police remand ended today, most questions for which his remand was sought remained unanswered.

For the Chandigarh Police has not been able to find out where the alleged embezzled amount of Rs 13.81 lakh had gone, as the investigators were left groping in the dark in the varied versions given by Saji Mohan and his subordinate Balwinder Kumar.

In fact, the police seemed to be finding it difficult to yield any vital information from the disgraced officer, termed as “shrewd” by investigators, which could help it in dispelling the mystery about the missing case property of the Narcotic Control Bureau, Chandigarh.

The hesitation of the police to share information regarding the outcome of the interrogation is raising doubts whether the police had been able to get anything from him, said a police officer.

Even in the case of the ATS report mentioning the role of a journalist of an English daily and a DSP of the Chandigarh Police behind the report prepared by Saji Mohan depicting links of six UT policemen with drug-peddlers, the police has not officially denied or confirmed the ATS report so far. The report has created a furore in the police department as it indicated toward factionalism in the force, as a reason behind the Saji Mohan’s report.

The police was claiming from the day one that it would clear the mystery behind the report, but had not even come out once with official version in this regard. It is learnt that Saji Mohan had reportedly stuck to his report saying it was based on facts not influenced by any policemen or private person.

Meanwhile, a local court has sent Saji Mohan to 14 days of judicial custody today and also given his transit remand for six days to the Chandigarh Police directing the officer to send him back to Mumbai within the stipulated period.

One can judge the efficiency with which the police was dealing with the case from the fact that while seeking three days of more police remand of Saji Mohan, the police said they wanted to recover the embezzled amount from the accused. The police also said it wanted to know if any other person was involved in the case.



Admn dumps artwork in washroom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
While the Chandigarh administration officials sing their own praises about preserving and promoting artistic heritage, an abandoned painting speaks volumes about their hollow claims.

Undoubtedly a perfect example of “picture of neglect”, this work of art on huge canvas, painted in 1995 by veteran artist Raj Jain, has been found to be dumped in a dishwashing room in the Sector 9 Additional Deluxe Building which houses the offices of the whole governing council of the administration.

Raj Jain was the head of the Fine Arts Painting Department of the Government College of Art, Sector 10, Chandigarh, in the late 80s.

Raj Jain, now settled in Gurgaon, was upset on learning about this and urged to take back his work. “In a day or two, I am coming to Chandigarh. If the administration officials find no place to keep it, I will request them to let me take back my painting,” he said.

DS Kapoor of the faculty of Art college did not have any inkling about it, but guessed that it might have been brought here in some art exhibition and must have been later stored here.

Viren Tanwar, a renowned artist, recalled that the painting was procured by the administration during a function “Festival of Colours”, where renowned artists of international fame were made to put down their feelings through brush on the canvas after listening to music notes.

“This function was organised by the administration in 1995 and it was one of the priceless paintings kept by the administration for the purpose of displaying it for public. It is shocking that such a treasure is being treated in a shabby manner.”

An official guessed that the painting had actually been put up in the conference hall at one point of time. “It must not have been ‘matching’ the taste of the new battery of officials. They might have discarded it and, ultimately, finding no takers for it, it has been kept here,” he said.

Diwan Manna, chairman of the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Academy, showing concern said, “It is unfortunate that the creation of a senior artist like Raj Jain has been lying in such a neglected state. In our country, we do not value artists’ creations,” he lamented.

“For that matter, the academy decided at its last general council meeting to give the art work only to Government Museum and Art Gallery, if they are willing to buy it at reasonable prices,” said Manna.

Ram Kumar, director of the Bama Academy of Fine Arts, said, “ I have been associated with Raj Jain since 1964. His creations are priceless and are not for today but for generations to come. These should have been properly placed with maximum care as these portray treasures of knowledge about our civilisation.”



Quality norms elude GMSH-16, GMCH-32
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Believe it or not, the two major government hospitals, GMSH-16 and GMCH-32, in the city are far behind to meet the Quality Council of India (QCI) norms. Though it is not mandatory, yet the doctors believe that the hospitals should make efforts to get an accreditation from the QCI.

“Patients are the biggest beneficiaries among all the stakeholders, as accreditation results in high quality of care and patient safety,” said QCI secretary general, Girdhar J Gyani, who was in the city today. For the QCI accreditation, the hospitals have to fulfill all parameters, including continuity of care from registration to post-discharge, patients’ rights, medical management, infection control, human resource management, fire-fighting facilities, waste management and information system among other things, said Gyani.

So far, only 30 hospitals in the country have got accreditation, which includes two city’s private hospitals- Fortis hospital, Mohali, and Chaitnaya hospital, Chandigarh, said Gyani.

A senior doctor of GMCH-32 admitted the need of accreditation for hospitals. But bringing a world-class quality in government sector is difficult as there are various problems from funds, lack of sincerity to red tapism, he said. However, we are in a process of accreditation for the hospital’s blood bank, added the doctor. The accreditation policy has been introduced by the QCI to motivate hospitals to improve their services. “Our aim is to make Indian hospitals, labs and blood banks to follow international standards,” said Gyani.

Gyani said before QCI accreditation, hospitals have to conduct a self-assessment, the report of which is sent to the QCI. The latter then deputes a two-member team to verify the report. If the report is positive, teams then assess the quality.


Ravneet Bittu vs Daljit Singh Cheema
Cong plays youth card in Anandpur Sahib
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 22
In the coming general elections, the Congress is all set to use the youth card against the SAD-BJP combine in the Anandpur Sahib parliamentary seat.

Apparently trying to strike a chord with a sizeable section of young voters in the constituency, the party has pitched Punjab Youth Congress president Ravneet Bittu from the Anandpur Sahib seat against the seasoned Akali candidate, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema. Bittu is among the new band of the youth, who were recently handpicked by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

The party’s high command picked Bittu against Charajit Singh Channi, whose father Dilbagh Singh has been a Cabinet minister.

While SAD candidate Cheema is riding on the development agenda, Bittu, who is a grandson of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, has the anti-incumbency factor and the experience of seasoned Congress leaders on his side. Incidentally, both Akali and Congress candidates have fielded new faces.

After the delimitation, the profile of the Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha seat has changed after scrapping the Ropar Lok Sabha seat. A sizeable number of Hindu votes in Nangal, Ropar, Kharar, Balachaur and Nawansharar have the potential to tilt the scale. “The choice of Bittu will check the factionalism in the party and force all leaders to help out the young face”, observed a senior party leader.

Now, the Mohali assembly segment has the maximum number of voters in the Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency, which is spread across nine Vidhan Sabha segments in four districts. Earlier, Mohali was part of the Kharar Assembly seat.

Of the total 13,29,628 voters in Anandpur Sahib, the highest number of 1,62,861 voters are from Mohali, while the lowest number of 1,26,415 voters were registered in the Balachaur assembly segment.

An analysis of the erstwhile Kharar assembly segment reveals that since 1977, candidates of the Congress and SAD have been bagging the seat on alternative basis. (Earlier part of Kharar assembly segment).

Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, talking to The Tribune, said it does matter to the party whether Sonia Gandhi or Ambika Soni fights from the seat. It shows the reluctance of senior Congress leaders to fight from the seat.

Riding high on the youth wave, Ravneet Bittu said he would work hard to take Anandpur Sahib on the international map and complete the pending works in the constituency. “I have still to study all issues after being given the ticket yesterday”, he added.



Poll sops for Faidan villagers
Tribune News Service

SHO shifted
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 22
On the direction of the chief electoral office Punjab, SHO of Derabassi police station Dalbir Singh has been transferred. The SHO has been transferred after MP, Patiala, Rani Parneet Kaur, complained to the Election Commission that the SHO was acting at the behest of the Akalis.

Chandigarh, March 22
Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal today assured the residents of Faidan village that they would be rehabilitated, if he voted to power in the Lok Sabha polls and all residential dwellings would be regularised.

Addressing a large gathering, Bansal said all efforts would be made to denotify the area. “Once the area is denotified, civic amenities will follow,” Bansal pointed out and added that it was the responsibility of the Congress to uplift the weaker sections of the society.

The Bazigar Welfare Association chairman Dharmpal claimed that Bansal and former Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh Pardeep Chhabra were instrumental in getting potable water for the area a few months ago.

In a separate function, residents of the Indira Colony thanked Madhu Bansal for the development work which included widening of roads, maintaining hygienic conditions and overall upkeep of the area.

Public meetings: Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate, in a statement alleged that the Congress was trying to mislead people by giving wrong statistics of inflation. “Fact is that the prices of various commodities have gone up by 15 to 20 per cent,” he asserted. Jain was addressing various public meetings organised in sectors 22, 24, 32, 40, 48 and the Indra Colony, Mani Majra.

Criticising the Congress, he said the law and order situation had deteriorated and the inflation had touched a new high in the Congress regime. Ex-servicemen, who spent their lives in the service of the country, had been left with no choice other than to return their medals, he alleged.

Trinamool Congress president: A large number of city residents welcomed Shambhu Banerjee, newly-elected president of the local unit of the Trinamool Congress at Hallo Majra here today.



Give chance to young leaders

While voting to elect a representative, who is supposed to take our country on to the path of progress, I take into account his or her past credentials as a performance-oriented leader. Accidents of birth should not decide who will govern our nation.

The use of money and muscle power in today’s politics is fast threatening to undermine the very essence of democracy. The candidates with a past record of indulging in these practices must be weeded out of our political setup. Young leaders with an agenda to work must be given a chance.

The recent happenings of different parties trying to divide people on the basis of their religions are disturbing. Secularism as interpreted by the Supreme Court is the part of the basic structure of our Constitution which guarantees equality for all irrespective of the religion, colour or creed. Any political party who spews communal venom or tries to incite people of one faith against other should not be favoured at all.

I am excited as a first time voter and will encourage others to come out and vote so that we, as a nation, can look forward to the next five years of good governance from the next government.

— Gurpreet Sandhu



Test for Licence
Mohali lacks computerisation
Tribune News Service

Poor Cousin of Chandigarh: While Chandigarh has provided computer-aided test to issue learners’ driving licence, the Punjab transport department has failed to provide the facility at Mohali
Poor Cousin of Chandigarh: While Chandigarh has provided computer-aided test to issue learners’ driving licence, the Punjab transport department has failed to provide the facility at Mohali. Tribune photo: Vinay Malik

Mohali, March 22
The city residents are being deprived of the fruits of technology when it comes to conducting computer-aided test to get a learning driving licence.

While the authorities at Chandigarh and Panchkula have already started the computer-aided test for the driving licence, the Punjab transport department has failed to cash on the IT boom.

The “sarathi” software enables the applicants to answer few computer-generated questions related to traffic signs. But for the residents of Mohali, getting a driving licence means unending queues at the office of the District Transport Officer.

“There was a proposal to introduce the same facility at various places in various cities of Punjab. But the proposal never saw light of the day. There was another proposal to hand over the work to a private firm,” said an official.

The traditional system of issuing learning driving licence widens the scope of middlemen, who fleece gullible applicants. The sale of forms for the driving licence is handled by private persons, unlike the Red Cross, which handles the job in Chandigarh.



MC ignores eco concerns
Fixes paver blocks in violation of norms

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
While environment concern is bothering scientists, researchers and governments alike all over the globe, the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, seems to care less about the same.

For in many sectors, the MCC has wrongfully fixed paver blocks covering even the green area near the trees along the roads.

In fact, while the MCC itself has specified that the paver blocks be fixed within six feet but in many sectors they extend even up to 12 feet. Environmentalists in the city believe that with the fixing of these blocks right up to the roots of the trees would lead to a slow death of the trees.

Similar situation prevails in various sectors, including Sectors 22, 45 and others.

Recently, some councillors, including Harjinder Kaur, and others had even gone and met with MC commissioner Roshan Sankaria and apprised him of the matter.

Even earlier, the administration had drawn much flak from the city environmentalists when lights were fixed atop the trees at the roundabouts in various sectors, which were believed to be hampering their growth.



Col on deputation to ITBP side-stepped, placed under junior
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The appointment of the first ever Army officer to head the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force’s (ITBP) veterinary department has resulted in a bizarre situation. The officer, who was supposed to command the entire department after getting a higher, rank has been sent to a remote centre to head a small unit within the department while an ITBP officer junior to him would exercise control over the department.

According to sources, this situation has resulted following a communiqué from the Army that the officer on deputation should not be placed in Delhi, where the office of the head of the vet department is located.

Consequently, after being granted the rank of colonel, the officer has been sent to head the ITBP’s National Centre for Training Dogs (NCTD) at the basic training centre at Bhanu near here. The charge of the NCTD is generally held by an officer of the rank of an assistant commandant or deputy commandant, who are equivalent to captain and major respectively.

The head of the vet department is a commandant, equivalent to a colonel in the army. Now, an ITBP Deputy Commandant posted at ITBP HQs in Delhi will exercise technical and administrative control over the much senior Army officer. All proposals, sanctions, technical reports, inquires, etc initiated by the colonel would be routed through the DIG at Bhanu to the deputy commandant for appropriate action at forces HQs.

The post of the commandant of the vet wing had fallen vacant on the retirement of the earlier incumbent. The next two senior-most officers were not promoted by the Ministry of Home Affairs for professional reasons and the ministry had sought officers on deputation from other organisations. New Delhi was mentioned as the place of posting and eight lieutenant colonels had applied.

Lt Col (now Col) Pradeep Poonia was selected and ITBP HQs subsequently sent the appointment order to Army HQs, which relieved the officer on March 13. On reporting to ITBP HQs, he put on the rank of Colonel and was all set to take over the command of the vet cadre, compromising about 800 personnel, when a sudden written posting order was given to him that he will not stationed at New Delhi.



Play depicts Guru Nanak’s teachings
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 22
The department of Indian theatre at PU has maintained its tradition with the staging of another magnum opus “Gagan Mai Thal” at its studio theatre. Replete with the wisdom and ethical content as propounded by the self-illumined Guru Nanak Dev, the apostle of truth and humanism, the play holds a special significance, being written by the legendary playwright Balwant Gargi, to whom the department owes its very existence.

As the play is about the times and teachings of the guru, who cannot be shown on the stage, it becomes more challenging for the director to illustrate guru’s teachings laced in his divine utterances. The celebrated production designer thespian and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Prof Mahendra Kumar, chairperson, department of Indian theatre at PU, has directed the play with the comprehensions of an intellectual, philosopher and devout human par excellence.

A superb combination of literary goldmine, versatile acting, picturesque progression of compositional master-strokes, heightened by soulful musical subtext. The set, light and flute by Ravinder Singh was the life-line of the production.

It explores theatrical possibilities inherent in Guru Nanak’s divine poetry and philosophy, while juxtaposing the dark and dingy recesses of our mind, which are inhabited by perfidy, jealousy, enmity, anger, greed and violence.

The play starts by picturing grotesque existence that the humanity is suffering and wailing. Ably assisted by Shweta, the director had linked various sequences through narratives by a nat and nati. Be it a traditional nat-nati stage-business, devotional qawwali, climaxing into a contemporary ethical-slap, Brahmins bursting into a petty professional bout, Mardana’s dream sequence, a rich landlord, leading a dissatisfied useless life, Daulat Khan Lodhi’s court scene, Babar’s army camp life bubbling Arabian wine-dance to historical side-glances of his soldiers ruthless integrity and determination.

The actors in important roles, including Ajay, Himanshu, Neeru Bala, Rajni, Gaurav, Emanuel, Sanjeev, Pawandeep, Manish, Chakresh and Karanvir, were most impressive in their concept and execution.

The play will be staged tomorrow and day after at the same time and venue.



Streetplay leaves audience spellbound
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 22
The Senior Citizen Welfare Association, Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, celebrated its annual function today at Kalagram, Chandigarh.

Dedicating the function to the International Women’s Day, association president Amrit Dhingra welcomed chief guest Vipin Pubby, Resident Editor, The Indian Express, and Sumedha Talwar.

The association honoured three prominent women for their contribution in their respective realms, including Sushil Bansal (Social service), Usha Gupta (Education) and Archana Dhingra (Architecture and environment). Besides, Dr Sanjay Bansal, dental surgeon, MB Sharma, deputy conservator of forest, Haryana, and Anand Agarwal, charted accountant, were also felicitated.

Dr Manjit Kaur administered a pledge to women members of the association to work for the cause of depressed, destitute, war widows and weaker sections of society.

A streetplay “Dheeyan Dhan Apna” directed by Rajiv Mehta of Theatre Arts and a cultural programme was relished by 400 audience disclosed Col Gursewak Singh.

Over 50 slum children, as identified by the NZCC, were given school bags and sweet packets, he added.



City Scope
This endless land-grabbing mania
Raveen Thukral

As luck would have it, I spent about 10 months in Canada in 2007-08. And if anyone asks me today what I miss the most from that country, apart from my son who is studying there, my answer would be driving.

I must confess that I got addicted to driving there and would look for excuses to go out for a drive even on those snowy winter nights, when the roads were slushy and temperatures touched -20°C with winds sweeping at 60 Kms an hour. I don't know how much mileage I would have clocked on my friend's car but I am sure it was substantial.

In contrast, driving on roads here (Chandigarh is still an exception) has always been a dreadful experience. I always look for excuses for not getting behind the wheel and have often disappointed my family by denying them even a weekend drive to Kasauli or Shimla. The hills, so near have yet remained so far for them and perhaps my harrowing experience of getting stuck in a traffic jam for close to two hours on the Kalka-Parwanoo highway sometime back has a lot to do with it.

However, with the NHAI, clearing encroachments on the highway last week on the directions of the High Court and the prospects of the road getting wider by 10 to 15 feet at some places has given me some courage to once again venture out. While that drive may have to wait for sometime, I feel frustrated at the thought of how easily government land can be encroached in our country and how simply those government officials, without whose connivance such illegal activities cannot happen, go scot-free.

I do sympathise with all those who have lost their sources of livelihood by these demolitions and hope that they will be rehabilitated, as assured by the High Court, but what about those government officials who turned a blind eye to these encroachments when they were happening. They are the real culprits and squarely responsible for the miseries of those displaced today and also for the frustrations of all those people who burned their precious fuel while stranded in the traffic jams there.

Now let's look at what is happening in our city beautiful and its vicinity. While about 200 acres of land in Chandigarh in said to be under encroachments, the recent report of Punjab Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Chander Shekhar to the High Court that various individuals have illegally occupied nearly 8,000 acres of common land in and around Chandigarh reflects the magnitude of the problem.

With land prices touching the sky in and around the city, it's anybody's guess how much this land would cost. If one goes by the compensation rates of Rs 1.5 crore per acre given by the Punjab government for land acquisition in Mohali area, this encroached land would be worth nearly Rs 12000 crore, which incidentally is three times the amount which Punjab government spends on education in a year (Rs 394 crore) and 12 times of what it spends on the health and medical education (Rs 95.45 crore) from their own funds.

It seems encroachment is a big time industry here and those who have access to the corridors of power or can grease the palms of our law enforcers are usurping precious government land at will. We also have serious violations of the Periphery Act and also of the city bylaws where people construct houses beyond permissible areas. So again how much kickbacks our law enforcers get for allowing these illegal activities is anybody's guess?

In Chandigarh, land has also been encroached by some religious organizations. While readers would surely remember the recent fracas at the Sector 38 Gurdwara when the administration made an attempt to clear encroachments, there are about 100 other religious organizations, which are in illegal occupation of the precious government land.

As per survey conducted by the Administration in July-August 2005, there are 396 religious places in the city of which 194 are in sectoral grid, 128 in villages and 74 in the colonies. Of 194 religious places in sectoral grid, only 92 have been allotted land by the administration and the rest of them are reportedly unauthorized, with a few exceptions of those which have been there ever since the city's inception.

The law is clear that no one can usurp government land, even if it is for religious purposes. The apex court has also given a ruling to the effect and thus the only way to deal with encroachers, whosoever it may be, is with an iron hand.

But again what about those who have allowed these illegal activities to go on unabated? While demolitions happen, one rarely gets to know of any action initiated against those who encourage such activities. At least I haven't heard of any politician, bureaucrat, SDO or a police official being sent to jail for turning a blind eye to encroachments that occurred during their tenure.

Though sometimes junior level officials are transferred and suspended, it is hardly a punishment and they usually go scot-free as nothing is ever proved against them. There should be zero tolerance to encroachments and those politicians and officials who encourage such illegalities by turning a blind eye to them should be given exemplary punishments and made to pay back to the society what they have illegitimately earned by allowing such activities.

Removing encroachments and nailing those responsible for allowing it is the answer to this problem. Any letup in this would only mean encroachments going off at one place and coming up elsewhere.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com



Newborns vulnerable to cataract: Doctor
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Contrary to the belief that cataract is a disease restricted to elderly people, it can affect children as well.

According to figures available with the PGI Advanced Eye Centre, nearly 400 children are operated upon for cataract every year at the hospital alone.

In fact, the number had been on the rise in the past few years, said Prof Amod Gupta, head of ophthalmology department.

“We are happy to restore the vision of some of these kids who are born blind,” said Dr SS Panda of the department, adding that the hospital’s success rate was highly comparable to the few reports available in medical literature.

“It is a difficult surgery with greater risks, as it involves new-born and young children,” Dr Panda while explaining the reason why only a couple of centres, including the PGI, did this surgery.

With over 50,000 children born almost blind in India every year, mainly due to maternal infections, trauma and metabolic disorders, Dr Panda said the intra-ocular lens (IOL) implant is the best option available for them.

He said around 25 per cent of the blindness was caused due to congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which occurred in a developing foetus of a pregnant woman who had contracted rubella during her first trimester.

The CRS could result in birth defects such as malformations of the heart, eyes or brain, or even low birth weight.

“The challenges of operating on them (young children) are manifold, as their anatomy is miniature and tissues delicate,” said Dr Panda. “The anterior segment does not form properly up to the age of 1.5 years and the eyeball continues to grow till the age of 18 years, which makes the placement of the IOL and power calculation very difficult.

But at the same time, without the operation and the IOL, children are predisposed to a lazy eye, which is a major cause of blindness and ocular morbidity, the doctor said.



Doctors hail SC ruling on negligence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), Chandigarh State branch, has hailed the recent Supreme Court’s ruling that the police and courts, both criminal and consumer, must establish "prime facie guilt" before proceeding against a doctor accused of medical negligence.

Hailing the apex court's order, IMA president, Chandigarh state branch, Dr Zora Singh, said: "We appreciate the ruling as the medical profession is different from any other profession and a judge cannot make an opinion on medical treatment.”

The Supreme Court directed that whenever a complaint was received against a doctor or hospital by a consumer forum or by a court, before issuing notice to the doctor or the hospital against whom the complaint was made, the consumer forum or court must refer the matter to a competent doctor or committee of doctors.

A division Bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice G S Singhvi recently passed directions in a case of Mumbai doctor practitioner at Nanavati hospital.

Working as an export promotion officer with the Ministry of Commerce in New Delhi, bureaucrat Mohammed Ishfaq had alleged in his complaint to the NCDRC that D'Souza had caused the loss of his hearing in 1991 by administering an overdose of antibiotic Amikacin while treating him for renal failure.



1,100 examined at health mela
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
A health mela was organised under the aegis of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) at the civil dispensary, Daddu Majra colony, here today.

The director, health and family welfare, cum mission director, NRHM, MS Bains, inaugurated the mela. The objective of the mela was to provide specialist services to the beneficiaries at their doorsteps.

About 1,100 persons were examined during the mela. Health stalls of different disciplines were put up to provide healthcare services on the spot. Speciality services, including surgery, medicine, eye, ENT, skin and dental health were also made available. Mudguard stickers on national programme on iodine deficiency control were distributed to the public.

An eye camp was organised in Daddu Majra village, prior to the mela. About 28 patients were operated upon for cataract and intra-ocular lenses were provided free of cost. Follow up of these patients was done. On the spot guidance was given for follow up to patients by the specialists. Services under AYUSH were provided to strengthen holistic approach to comprehensive healthcare.

VCTC services were extended to the patients. The dental surgeons examined 106 patients. As many as 33 fillings and 21 extractions were done. Oral prophylaxis was given to 45 patients. Tooth-brushing techniques were explained. Tips on healthy diet, obesity and stroke control were also given.

Medical superintendent, GMHS-16, Dr Usha Bishnoi advised the patients to avail follow-up services regularly.



200 examined at dental camp

Chandigarh, March 22
Nearly 200 children and women were examined and given toothpaste and brush during a free dental check-up camp organised at Bhaskar Colony in Sector 25 here.

Mahesh Chopra, director, Doordarshan, and Sheila Chopra former director, Doordarshan, was chief guests on the occasion and inaugurated the camp. This was the second dental awareness camp as part of health and hygiene project, said Nutan Shukla, president of Ashray.

Dr Jyoti Gupta and Dr Nina Verma, along with a team of 20 students from HS Judge Dental Institute of PU, examined the children and women. — TNS



DC finds hospital in a shambles
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 22
The staff of General Hospital, Sector 6, caught unaware when Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Rajender Kataria visited the hospital to inspect the compliance of disposal in bio-medical waste here recently.

The DC came across stinking urinals, open taps with flowing water and long queues in front of empty rooms of doctors.

Kataria, who visited the hospital without prior information, found that no repair work was started in the emergency ward, closed for the last four months. The civil surgeon, Kamla Singh, also could not explain the things satisfactorily.

A part of the hospital building was closed for repair long ago, but it was pathetic that no work was carried out till now, leaving the patients in lurch, said Kataria. It was despite the fact that they were provided substantial funds and every help they needed from the administration.

It seemed that the authorities themselves at hospital were oblivious of the importance of hygiene as all the bathrooms in the building were stinking and water was overflowing in the washbasin, added Kataria. The doctors on OPD duties at the hospital do not bother leaving their seats, making the patients to wait for them, he said.



Air Marshal Nayyar given warm send-off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Maintenance Command, Air Marshal Gautam Nayyar, was given a warm send-off during his farewell visit to No. 3 Base Repair Depot here recently.

Commissioned into the IAF in 1972, he hangs up his uniform on March 31 after putting in 37 years of service.

A ceremonial parade was organised on the occasion. Addressing officers, airmen and the civilian staff, he appreciated their hard work and dedication and lauded their contribution in achieving the targets set for the depot.

He awarded AOC-in-C’s commendation for devotion to duty to Sqn Ldr Puja Thakur, JWO KB Yadav and JWO AK Mishra. He also inspected ongoing projects at the depot and visited the Engine Group and the transit facility created for personnel arriving on temporary duty.




It’s time to change admn set-up

This is with reference to the article “Is confrontation the only way out?” written by Raveen Thukral in Chandigarh Tribune on March 16. The issue of slugfest between the two super tops will never be allowed to go down. The infighting between the administration and the adviser is most unfortunate incidence. Even as one goes after completing his term, the taste will always remain bitter.

The ground reality is that the adviser is appointed to advice the administration, which is never done and never asked for. As per statute, the adviser is the head of the UT government and the administration is the head of the UT and has only recommendary and passing authority. If we go by the power delegated to the adviser, he is the supreme executive officer (Chief secretary to understand better) of UT and wherever needed he should lend advice on issues of import to UT. As far as I remember neither the administration has remained within his defined role nor the adviser has been allowed to work as defined in the statue.

The present adviser is a mature and experienced officer and he wants to work and I feel it is his willingness to work that has landed him into trouble. Recently when I browsed the Internet on the issue I found that one of them has deadly arms in his kitty, which he is going to open in the future. I feel that we all should allow this issue to rest for sometime on its own, as time is the best healer. This is neither a criminal issue nor any court is involved. To quote the words of Dr Kiran Bedi, who also became a victim of the UT politics when another lady was the home secretary, counselling could be an answer to the issue provided both of them agree to sit together and show their will to reach a logical conclusion. Will some Central figure come to the rescue?

R K Garg


Gen Rodrigues (retd), the administrator of UT, must understand that no one is above suspicion. There has to be transparency where important policy decisions are taken affecting the people. Who does not know the prime agriculture land of farmers had been forcibly acquired at cheap prices just to favour a few selective builders by ignoring the well-established norms.

The prime 45 acres of land for this project, which was costing Rs 2,000 crore was merely acquired for Rs 203.70 crore. Pardip Mehra, the adviser to the administrator, who is not only the top bureaucrat and the actual head of the UT administration, but also responsible to guard interests of the public, points out serious irregularities, resulting revenue loss to the exchequer. The General preferred to fix his adviser by ordering a vigilance prove against him based on an unanimous complaint, took his power to write ACRs of his subordinates, objected his appointment of the Election Commissioner. Gen Rodrigues took the shoulder of a senior standing council and his manipulated so-called legal opinion to initiate all legal proceedings against Mehra by giving no chance to explain his position.

This war of words and acts of the administrator has become the biggest pollution for the city beautiful. Cases of resumption of sites are not new. Mehra’s predecessors had done the similar cases in the past. Is allowing to pay a negligible amount to settle old case is enough ground to initiate vigilance case against Mehra? This clearly shows that Gen Rodrigues is doing all this because Mehra did not follow the administrator. The Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC) has given a clean chit to Mehra after verifying all facts of the complaints against him. There are serious irregularities allotting various projects to a few favoured operators are evident that there is a big scandal and undue favours have been done ignoring the norms. Whatever the case may be no one should be allowed to misuse their positions. The Governor of Punjab is an ex-officio nominated administrator of UT, he must remain within his limits and decorum of the respective status must be maintained. The administrator must understand that people of Chandigarh does not approve of his immature behaviour.

Amar Jeet Kumar
SAS Nagar


I am the 3rd generation in this city and done all my education from here and all these years I have never seen such a third-class administration and the city in such a bad shape.

If one looks at all aspects of the administration, one can easily see that we are living under the autocratic rule and there is no administration or the system has totally collapsed.

Instead of promoting the industrial growth, mall culture is being promoted. How would the mall culture help in the economic growth of the city? The traffic police always seem to be after outside vehicles and visitors are deliberately harassed at every point. Crime rate is on the rise.

With bad planning, the roads are dug time and again. In order to spend the budgets before March 31, the roads are being recarpeted without considering the harassment to commuters. 50 per cent of the street lights are not working. Slums are on the rise. There are probably less schools as compared to liquor vends.

I think thios is high time and all Chandigarhians should got together and fought against this autocratic rule. The administration should be made more transparent and accountable to the public and the old system of a dedicated Chief Commissioner for the city should be restored.

Arun Aggarwal


Confrontation between the administrator, a retired General and his adviser, an experienced and clean bureaucrat, has taken a controversial and undesirable turn. This unprecedented development is not in the interest of the city beautiful. Is granting extension in service to an official with tainted record and posting him as the chief engineer not favouritism? Similarly posting of the Chief Engineer Housing Board needs to be appraised which has been filled with undue haste by an electrical engineer hitherto working as the superintending engineer, whereas the same should have been filled by inviting panel of seasoned and experienced civil engineers from Punjab and Haryana. Is it not favouritism? It seems that vested interests have created a wedge between the two key personalities responsible for running the administration of the city. The war between the two must come to a halt in the interest of public. The media can help in lessening the tension between the two sides and it is high time when the Home Ministry should take adequate steps to control the situation.

GP Singh


Raveen Thukral in his write-up has fittingly tinted a poetic expression of brawl between top functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration. He has moderately suggested for leaving at least some space for existence. The Governor was given additional charge of Administrator of Chandigarh, in harmonising both posts in days of militancy to manage the state of affairs single handedly. Nevertheless, it was a temporary arrangement, but the Governor’s rule in the city has lost its importance since UT has attained autonomous set-up having its own elected representatives. With the change of scene it has become vague and obsolete to club two posts together.

Constitutionally, the Governor is a representative of the Centre and a non-political dignitary. It is unfortunate that General Rodrigues is behaving like a dictator and is keeping himself aloof from politics unlike his predecessors. This is unbecoming of a well-decorated warrior to don the colour of a politician and order inquiry to tarnish the image of a down-to-earth clean bureaucrat whose only fault is that he has pointed out some flaws in the Medicity project. It is also pertinent to mention here that Kiran Bedi, former IGP of Chandigarh, was transferred within a couple of months for being impartial.

Rodrigues and Mehra crossed all limits when the power of writing ACR’s has not yet been restored to the Adviser despite a clean chit by the Home Ministry.

To reinstate the norms and ethics of governance, the laid down procedure to have a Chief Administrator in Chandigarh should be re-established in the interest of people. Meanwhile, the Home Ministry should intervene and direct the Governor to refrain from such mud-slugging practices.

Suresh Khosla, Panchkula

I live in Toronto, Canada, and here if any time a wrong decision or judgement of highly placed officials or politicians is proved, they politely resign taking the responsibility for that to keep the standard of governance high. However, in India the politicians are different. It’s unfortunate that such a high-ranking Governor is behaving a spoilsport.

Rajinder Singh Saini


Ever since Gen (retd) Rodrigues’ ambitious Medicity project has been scuttled by bringing out valid financial irregularities by Mehra, the two top officials of the UT are at open confrontation with each other. Instead the administrator having taken the financial outfall in the deal in the right perspective, he made a prestige issue and trained his guns on his Adviser.

The difference between the two top UT’s administrative echelon and their confrontation speaks poorly of the administrative ethos. The public should out rightly condemn such vindictive functioning in the government set-ups and as very rightly opined by Raveen Thukral "It’s time to change the set-up" so the government must ensure that on such coveted posts officials with high integrity, selfless attitude, vision with national interest are placed to govern than those living on petty and false prestige issues.

SS Arora


The ongoing fighting between the UT Administrator and his Adviser is shocking for the city residents.

He had asked the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to inquire into anonymous complaint against him. It appears that the relation of 'Guru and his Chella' is over. The CVC had enquired the complaint against the Adviser and found nothing and had been given a clean chit.

The Home Ministry has issued clear directions for the restoration of powers to write the ACRs to the Adviser about twenty days ago. But the administrator had not issued orders to implement the same. Even he has turned down Mehra's leave. It is only to disturb the honest officer.

Sahil Garg


The unfortunate spat between them arose when the Adviser pointed out several infirmities in the mega projects. Had there been a transparency in the over-all functioning of these projects and a co-ordination between various organs of the governance, no body would have taken the issue to inquire into the projects. The present spat between has picked holes in Rodrigues’ pet Medicity project by raising objections to the valuation of the 45 acres of prime land for the project. The issue could have been settled, had the administrator taken the observations constructively. Further, if we see the viability of these projects, it is not only the Medicity project, but also almost all projects, which have recently been formulated. Even several NGOs have raised their eyebrows. Since almost all the projects are being examined by the CVC, there is a need of public audit.

S.K. Khosla



Workshop on research in Hindi ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
A five-day workshop on research in Hindi concluded yesterday at the department of Hindi, Panjab University, Chandigarh. The workshop was conducted under the supervision of visiting fellow and progressive critic Prof Manager Pandey of Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Delhi.

While urging upon the need of locating literary texts in historical contexts, Prof Pandey exhorted the budding researchers to establish discursive relationship between literatures with other social sciences.

While underlining the need of empirical evidence, the resource persons suggested the participants not to delve much into the personal biographical details of the writers that are researched. The workshop emphasised on conducting more research on areas pertaining to women, dalits, minorities and other such sections of society.

If contemporary research does not address to the issues of society and nation, it is bound to shrink the market of literature. Pure academics research without its stakes in the processes of culture would end up gathering dust on the shelves of library.



From Schools & Colleges
Saint Soldier awards students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
“Appreciation day” was organised at Saint Soldier International School today. The programme was presided over by chairman of the school, Gurdev Singh Hayer.

The students were awarded for their excellent performance in the fields of academics, sports and co-curricular activities. Rashneet Kaur (Nursery-A) and Dixit Sharma (KG-A) from pre-primary section, Mamta Chauhan (V-A), Rajat Heera (IV-A) from primary section and Himani Rawat (IX-B), Deepesh (XI-science) from secondary section were awarded with all- rounder trophy. The students, who bagged first, second and third positions in their respective classes, were awarded with cash prizes. Best house trophy was given to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam house. Tundup Namgial and Puneet Kaur from junior section and Radhika Thakur and Ashish Lohan from senior section were declared the best sportspersons of the school.

Water Day

The NSS wing of Chitkara College of Education for Women observed the World Water Day with pro-active volunteers undertaking the pledge for preserving water and being environmentally conscious on the occasion.

Girl-volunteers displayed posters and badges depicting the theme of water preservation.


Government College, Sector-11, organised a farewell party for the out going students of MSc-II (IT), BCA-III and BSc(CS)- III. Dr AL Gauba, principal of the college, presided over the function. Prof BR Bansal, head of the computer department, encouraged the students to be entrepreneurs.

Talk on recession

“India has not been majorly hit by recession,” observed Sanjay Anand during a talk on ‘Recession with respect to Globalisation’ at Chitkara School of Mass Communication. A seasoned business journalist, Anand, has a lot of experience in reporting and editing. He has also interviewed several fortune business leaders like Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Mukesh and Anil Ambani and the list runs unendingly.

While interacting with students about their perceptions on recession and globalisation, he talked about the vicious circle that had been created by the flow of money, investment, inflation etc. He offered an insight into the business cycle that has lead to recession, which has spread all across the world.


The 53rd annual convocation of Government College of Education was organised on the college premises here. Ram Niwas, IAS, home-cum-education secretary, UT, was the chief guest. Raji P Shrivastava, special secretary finance and director Higher Education, was the guest of honour. Ram Niwas congratulated the students on their entry into a new phase and equated a teacher with a master craftsman who can truly transform the personality of a student by imparting in him the right kind of values and knowledge.



From Schools  & Colleges
Rs 610 cr sought for primary education
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 22
The Punjab government demanded Rs 610 crore for the development of primary education in the state. These views were expressed by Dr Sandhu Singh Randhwa, DPI, primary, while addressing a seminar held at Chandigarh College of Education, Landran.

The centre had released Rs 243 crore last year, Dr Randhawa revealed. He further said the money would be utilised for developing the infrastructure as well as for providing better education to the children at the primary level in the state.


Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology, Mohali, organised the 3rd international conference on “Fostering entrepreneurship in global context” in the institute here today.

Maj Gen NK Dhir (Retd), director, Alphabet Teletec Pvt Ltd presided over the valedictory function and impressed upon the need of finding innovative and pragmatic ways to foster entrepreneurship in global context. JS Bedi, chairman, GJ-IMT, on this occasion said the two-day conference has elicited remarkable response as a cross-section of erudite scholars from academia and industry, juxtaposed their profound and meaningful initiatives to foster new entrepreneurship ventures.

Graduation ceremony

A unique graduation ceremony was organised at Millennium School here. While informing about the idea behind this unique form of graduation ceremony, Komal Singh, principal, Millennium School, said as per millennium learning system termed as “Roots to wings”, the learning process of a student was divided into four stages, which went up till class VI, which was the highest class in the school as now.

Even as the ceremony saw felicitation of meritorious students during the occasion. KG students were elated to appreciate graduating to the primary level learning system. The students of class VI, the highest class in the school, also shared their experiences during the occasion.

Meanwhile, it was a proud moment for parents when the pass outs of class V proudly donned their graduation gowns and hats. The programme commenced with a rendition of the soulful Saraswati Vandana. The parents and teachers cheered them as they walked on stage to be honoured by the chief guest Jitender Singh Aulakh, SSP Mohali and Dr Uma Sharma DPRO, Mohali.

Placement fest

Indo Global Colleges, Abhipur, organised a placement drive in the college premises here today.

Over 700 students attended the placement fest.

On the occasion, chairman Sukhdev Kumar Singla stated that Indo Global Colleges not only believed in excellence in education but also strived hard to give placements to all eligible students. He commented on the great efforts put by Indo Global colleges team in pursuing such a goal successfully in such difficult times.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |