C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


3 killed, 2 hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Lalru, April 5
Three youths were killed and two seriously injured in a head-on collision between a Toyota Innova and a mini-bus here tonight. The bus driver reportedly fled from the spot.

The victims, who were travelling in the Innova, hailed from Faridabad in Haryana and were coming from Chandigarh. One of the deceased has been identified as Aditya, while another injured in the mishap was identified as Neeraj. His condition was stated to be critical at the time of the filing of the report. The youth had gone to Chandigarh for some work.

According to information, the driver of the Innova and his co-passenger died on the spot, while the other three were seriously hurt. The three victims were rushed to the local Civil Hospital from where they were referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh. The doctors at the GMCH declared one of the three injured dead on arrival.

According to eyewitnesses, the mishap occurred near the ITI Chowk, as the bus (PAB-8377) was coming from the wrong side. Both the vehicle collided with such force that the Innova was damaged badly. Its driver side was completely crushed with the impact of the collision.

Traffic remained disrupted on the highway for about an hour, as the police was trying to clear the vehicles from the spot.

Sources said due to the indifferent attitude of the authorities at the Civil Hospital, a lot of time was lost in providing immediate treatment to the injured. A highway trauma vehicle of a private company rushed the two victims to the hospital. Judging that the victims were in a critical condition, the hospital referred them to Chandigarh, but refused to provide an ambulance. The trauma vehicle on the other hand took the plea that its area of functioning was from Dappar to Dera Bassi only and could not go to Chandigarh leaving its area unattended.

Though the authorities at the Civil Hospital first promised to send the remaining three injured by their ambulance, they later did not provide the vehicle to shift the remaining victims.



Sadhvi harps on Hindutva
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
After Varun Gandhi’s hate speech, the BJP has apparently become conscious and is now using the Dharma Raksha Manch, a politico-religious outfit of the RSS and the VHP, to push its Hindutva agenda.

This was evident with the strong presence of the BJP leaders at a “Sankalp Sabha” of Sadhvi Ritambhara organised by the Dhram Rakhsa Manch.

From the in charge of BJP’s IT cell Satinder Singh, who had also sent text messages to invite mediapersons for the same, Anil Dubey, BJP’s sitting councillor in the MC, Kamla Sharma, state BJP president, Gurpreet Dhillon, youth wing president of Chandigarh BJP, Ramvir Bhatti, vice-president, BJP, Chandigarh, Sanjay Tandon, general secretary, Kehar Singh Koundal, BJP spokesperson, Yashpal Mahajan, former BJP president, Puroshattam Mahajan, state vice-present to Shashi Jain, vice -president of BJP Mahila wing and wife of BJP’s candidate Satya Pal Jain, all were present.

To further the prospects of former MP Satya Pal Jain, who has incidentally lost two Lok Sabha elections to sitting MP Pawan Kumar, Ritambhara used communal overturns in her speech.

Using the opportunity to promote the RSS agenda, she said terrorism was increasing in the name of Jehad. “It’s another matter that the man behind the attacks on Parliament a few years back is not being executed to garner support from the minority community,” she said.

“It’s high time that instead of giving into to the never-ending demands of the terrorists, they should be paid back into the same coin”, she said.

In an effort to defend Sadhvi Pragya Kumari, who was allegedly linked with Hindu terrorist outfits, Ritambhara said there could be no Hindu terrorists and the spiritual leaders are being made a scapegoat to please a particular community. She also criticised religion conversion and cited it as a threat to Hindu dharma.

She also announced a vatsalya gram in Nalagarh for needy children, women and elderly after the elections.

When contacted, Congress’ Pawan Kumar Bansal said he would be able to comment after going through the contents of Ritambhara speech.



Out-of-turn appointments
Mansa Devi board in a spot
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 5
Close on the heels of the controversy over the sale of gold coins lower than the market rates, the Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board is once again back in the news for the wrong reason. The board had given out-of-turn appointments to five persons for three months on the recommendations of the Chief Minister a year ago. But they continue to serve till date.

Interestingly, the file pertaining to the appointment of these five employees was cleared in single day on March 7, 2008, when otherwise it takes sometime even weeks for files to travel between Panchkula to the Secretariat and back. And reason for this unusual haste is that they hailed from the Chief Minister’s district, Rohtak.

Incidentally, the Chief Minister is the chairman of the shrine board.

According to information obtained through the RTI by R K Garg, a Chandigarh resident, Amit Hooda, Pardeep Kumar and Vinod Kumar, all residents of Rohtak district, and Vijay Kumar (Jind) were asked to be employed at the shrine board through a letter from the Chief Minister’s office.

While these four names were referred “as desired by the Chief Minister”, Parveen Kumar, a resident of Barana village in Panipat district, was also included in the list on the recommendation of the OSD II to the CM.

Though the letter from the Chief Minister’s office mentioned that six posts were vacant and to be filled by following due procedure, what procedure could be followed when the appointments were made within few hours after receiving the CM’s letter.

Panchkula DC Rajender Kataria, who is the chief administrator of the shrine board, said their was no deviation from the procedure as the posts could be filled without interview when people were to be employed on a contract basis.



Smoking & use of oral contraceptive pills
‘A deadly mix for women’
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Smoking and the use of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) can be a lethal combination for women, say experts. According to city-based cardiologists, habitual smokers and regular users of OCPs have a higher risk of having cardiac-related ailments than their counterparts who do either.

As per figures available with the PGI, almost two-three such cases are being reported in the hospital. Till a few years ago, we never had any women in their 30s or 40s with cardiac or stroke problems because female hormones protect the heart by elevating good cholesterol and keeping blood vessels relaxed. But lifestyle factors are offsetting that effect.

Now, we see at least one or two new pre-menopausal women patients every month, says Dr Yashpaul Sharma, a cardiologist at the PGI.

Agrees Dr HK Bali, consultant cardiologist, Fortis hospital, “Oral contraceptives increase atherogenesis - the forming of atheromas or plaques in the inner lining of the arteries. Smokers, on the other hand, have a greater risk of developing atherosclerotic disease (hardening of the arteries).”

Smoking raises blood cholesterol levels and increases the stickiness of the blood, making blood clots more likely to form. Sticky blood flowing through hardened arteries is more likely to form a clot and block an artery. Blockage of an artery in the brain is a cause of stroke, says Dr Bali.‘‘Ideally, a woman should not have cardiac problems before 60, but now that average age is down to the 50s and we are seeing quite a few women in their 30s and 40s with the disease. The problem with contraceptive pills is that the same hormones that protect the heart in physiological doses can increase clotting tendencies when administered as pills . Smoking and pills together increase CAD risk 80-fold.’’

According to experts, estrogen levels in the body protect women till they attain menopause. Since the number of ovules that mature in the ovary decreases, as women get older, the formation of estrogen also decreases. By the age of 40, the estrogen levels decrease substantially, putting women at high risk of strokes. Decreased levels of estrogen and increased production of the FSH and LH create symptoms such as hot flushes or night sweat,” say experts.

Factors contributing to heart diseases in young women

Dual stress: With more and more young women matching strides with men in the workplace and also managing homes, the amount of stress in younger women is often double that of their male counterparts.

Rising incidence of smoking/oral tobacco use: Smoking constricts blood vessels, increasing risk of hypertension and stroke.

Increased use of birth control pills: Contraceptive pills cause blood to clot easily. Some studies show that smoking and pills together increase heart attack risk 80-fold.



Sale of illegal houses
CBI raids 2 realtors’ houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Sleuths of the CBI today conducted searches at the houses of two property dealers, who, along with two Municipal Corporation employees, were booked for illegally selling 20 houses belonging to the Estate Office in Sector 52.

DIG Mahesh Aggarwal told TNS that a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy under the IPC and the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered against the two property dealers, Ram Bhagat and Vishwash Kumar, along with two clerks of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, Hari Singh and Om Prakash Thakur.

The CBI conducted searches at their houses and other places and seized some incriminating documents. The CBI procured certain allotment letters from the accused and would verify if they were also forged. A senior officer said the name of other employees of the MC and the Estate Office were likely to come in the course of investigation, which was at a very initial stage at this hour.

Sources said the accused had constructed houses on the 20 plots and sold them. The installments were being taken from buyers of the houses. Surprisingly, the Estate Office remained oblivion of the entire episode raising doubt over the involvement of senior officials in the scam, said a CBI officer.

It is learnt that the CBI will question MC and Estate Office employees in this regard on Monday.



Electioneering picks up in city
Tribune News Service

Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal at an election meeting at Sector 50 in Chandigarh on Sunday; and (right) Footpath Workers' Ekta Samiti president Ram Milan Gaur with BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, April 5
Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal today addressed a series of meetings in different parts of the city, including Sectors 26, 27, 28 50, Milk Colony, Colony No 5, Bapu Dham and Aman-Chaman.

Earlier, he undertook a 'padyatra' at Dhanas. Addressing a meeting at Colony No 5, Bansal said the residents of the colony would be given new houses and rehabilitated as part of his endeavour to make Chandigarh a slum-free city.

At Sector 50, Bansal said he would take the issue of repeated complaints of call drop due to jammers in Burail jail with the authorities concerned.

He also promised that the adjoining Colony No 5 would be shifted to a new site to provide a cleaner environment to the Sector 50 residents.

Bansal claimed that a sum of Rs 100 crore had already been sanctioned for the developmental work in the southern sectors which include parks, healthcare centres, swimming pool and other infrastructure.

Footpath workers join BJP

A large number of footpath workers today joined the BJP at a function held at the party office in Sector 33.

Local BJP president Kamla Sharma and party candidate from Chandigarh Satya Pal Jain welcomed the new members into the party fold.

Addressing the gathering, Jain said that if voted to power, the BJP would provide identity cards to the footpath workers.

He alleged that the sitting MP, Pawan Bansal, had promised identity cards to the footpath workers during the last Lok Sabha elections but he failed to keep his word.

President of the Footpath Workers’ Ekta Samiti Ram Milan Gaur also spoke on the occasion.

Dhawan's campaign

BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan inaugurated a blood donation camp at SD Senior Secondary School, Sector 24-C, here today. Organised by the Sahara Yuva Jan Sewa (SYJS), an NGO, around 100 persons donated blood at the camp.

Later, Dhawan performed a ‘havan’ at Colony No 5 and listened to the problems of the residents. Dhawan also addressed a gathering at Hallomajra.



Frivolous parties found no takers
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Have you ever heard of the “Doordarshi Party” and the “Maha Bharat Peoples’ party”. Probably not. But there were some frivolous parties like these that had contested elections on the Chandigarh Parliamentary seat in the past.

Interestingly, the figures available with the Election Commission convey that the number of contestants had once crossed the 50 mark but the trend diminished post-1996, apparently due to changes the Commission brought about in the rules.

The deposit amount and the number of proposers and seconders for filing of nominations were increased which saw a drastic cut in the number of frivolous candidates.

Strange but true, no matter what number of candidates were in the fray, the actual contest had always been between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, except in 1989 when the Janata Dal clinched the Chandigarh seat. In 1991, as many as 55 candidates were in the fray for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. Out of these, the Maha Bharat Peoples’ Party candidate could get only 87 votes and the Doordarshi Party 154 votes.

Figures reveal that the Indian National Congress (INC) got 76,628 votes (35.53 per cent) to emerge as the winner while the BJP was polled 61,533 votes (28.53 per cent).

The 1996 polls also saw no dearth of representatives with a total of 48 contestants in fray then. This time, the BJP won the seat with 10,1137 votes (39.05 per cent) followed by the Congress at 77,168 votes (29.80 per cent). The Shiv Sena, however, polled 195 votes (0.07 per cent).

In 1980, there were 39 candidates who rubbed their shoulders in the contest. This time the contest was between the Congress and the Independents. The Congress got 61,624 votes (49.65 per cent) whereas 40,915 votes (39 per cent) were clinched by 35 Independents. Interestingly, INC (U), too, was in the contest but it polled just 8,985 votes (7.2 per cent), whereas the Janta (S) could only manage 1,005 votes (0.8 per cent).

As many as 33 candidates were in the fray in 1984 polls but the luck smiled at the Congress this time, too. The party was polled 1,03,090 votes (66.02 per cent) followed by the Janata Party which got 36,790 votes (23.56 per cent). Interestingly, the BJP could manage only 8,740 votes (5.60 per cent).

During the 1989 polls, there were 27 candidates who tried their luck. The Janata Dal emerged the winner with 91,212 votes (42 per cent) while the Congress pocketed 87,238 votes (40.0 per cent).

However, the trend nosedived post-1996 elections when the number of candidates started to decline. In the 1998 polls, there were 18 candidates in the fray. The BJP won the seat with 1,19,787 votes (42.36 per cent).

In 1999, 16 candidates were in the fray. The Congess emerged the winner with 1,32,924 votes (46.99 per cent) followed by the BJP which got 1,27,475 votes (45.06 per cent). The Janata Party polled just 1,336 votes (0.61 per cent).

In the 2004 elections, the number of candidates was same. The Congress won the seat with 1,39,880 votes followed by BJP, which polled 94,632 votes.



Financial Irregularities at DSOI
‘Procedural lapses but no misappropriation’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
President of Defence Service Officers Institute’s (DSOI) governing body Lt Gen AN Aul today termed the allegations of financial irregularities raised by some members as “procedural lapses”.

Speaking at the annual general body meeting of the institute, General Aul said he had perused the issues raised by some of the members but did not find any financial misappropriation in the funds.

The issues and allegations raised by some of the members came up for discussion during the meeting. Lt Col SS Randhawa (retd), member of the management committee, said he was not satisfied with the president’s replies to the issues of irregularities.

Significantly, it was also agreed in principle at the AGM to grant voting rights to widows of erstwhile members. Members also resolved to modify the procedure for making purchases in order to bring in more transparency.

During the elections for the institute’s elected office bearers held today, Lt Col Gurpreet Singh Dhillon was elected as the vice-chairman, defeating his rival Maj RS Gujral by four votes. Sidhu polled 333 votes while Gujral polled 328 votes. Vice- chairman is the senior-most elected member.

The post of the chairman is ex-officio, with the major general heading the artillery branch at Headquarters Western Command filing in the slot.

Other elected members of the management committee are Col Harinder Singh, Col VJS Grewal and Lt Col KYS Minhas. Members of the sub-committees are Gp Capt DS Sanghotra (bar and catering), Lt Col Gurmeet Singh (finance), Maj DPS Sandhu (housing and area development), Col KDS Sahni (appointment and screening) and Capt Uttam Gill (entertainment).



Iron nail found in patient’s food
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 5
Ved Parkash, a 66-year-old diabetic and kidney patient, had a narrow escape last night when a 3 cm iron nail was allegedly spotted in his food served at Ivy Hospital, Sector 71, Mohali.

The patient was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition four days back. As per routine, when the hospital authorities served his daily diet in evening, Parkash was being on dialysis treatment.

It was during this period when one of the attendants detected an iron nail in the food. The matter was brought to the notice of kitchen supervisor Sandeep Kumar, who admitted the negligence in front of the family members.

Punita Singh, daughter of the patient and a witness, said: “We were shocked at the negligence on the part of the hospital authorities. It is among the most expensive hospitals, we thought the patient would get the best care, but they failed to deliver. We are not sure of the competence of the hospital to take care of our patient now.”

Denying the incident, Dr Kamaldeep, one of the promoters of the hospital, said: “It is unbelievable. I met the patient’s son. However, I was not satisfied by his claim as he did not hand over the nail to me.”

Punita added: “The iron nail and the sample will be handed over to the health officials for inspection whom we called up immediately after the incident. We, the family members, along with the mediapersons present on the spot are witnesses to the case.”

When the health department officials were apprised of this lapse, they did not pay any heed to it last night and asked the family members to inform the police.

SP Surila, district health officer, said: “I was informed by the family members about the incident at night. We will check the sample.”



Are we drivers or killers?
Raveen Thukral

Journalism is one of those professions where one meets and interacts with a lot of people from different walks of life. But seldom do these interactions blossom into friendship, with most ending up in what can be described best as a journalist-source relationship.

If one asks me how many friends, not contacts, I have made in my over two decades of career, I can count them on my fingers. And unfortunately when I count today, the number has gone down by one with the death of senior Akali leader, Capt. Kanwaljit Singh.

Lot many obituaries have been written on him, bringing out almost ever facet of his life that made him what he really was - a fantastic human being-, so I need not write anything more on him. But yes, I feel frustrated and angered at the thought of loosing a friend in such a way - crushed beyond recognition on the roads, which are becoming unsafe by the day and no one apparently giving a thought to it.

It's been 18 years since I shifted to Chandigarh from Delhi but till date the first question my parents ask me whenever I am going to meet them, is, "how are you coming?" And when I tell them that I am driving down, prompt comes the suggestion that I should take the Shatabdi instead.

What follows is an argument on how they remain on tenterhooks when I drive down and how unsafe our highways are. Since I travel to Delhi almost every month, you can well imagine how many times we must have fought over this issue in these many years. And I am positive that even you would have experienced such arguments with your kids or parents.

Like this argument hasn't changed for 18 years, I feel nothing will really change here until and unless laws of the land are implemented in letter and spirit. Every day hundreds of people are killed in accidents and traffic violations are on the rise. There is nothing but total anarchy on the roads.

Use of goods vehicles, particularly trucks, for public transportation goes on unabated, despite people getting killed in accidents like the recent one in Anandpur Sahib. For those who missed the news, 100 people were packed in the truck when it over turned. It's unbelievable that while there are rules on how many chickens can be put in cages when being transported, there is no one to put a full stop to the practice of human beings being stuffed like sardines in trucks and three wheelers.

Wrong side and zigzag driving, over speeding, tailgating, red light jumping, and over loading are some of the common road offences that we see every day but it would be incorrect to presume that every driver indulges in them. However, what we all indulge in is driving without reasonable consideration for other road users, an etiquette we inherently lack.

The problem, I feel lies that majority of us, if not all, have got our driving licences too easily, without even knowing the basic driving rules. I remember when I got my first licence from New Delhi, I never gave a test. The learner license was made without any problems and during the driving test for a permanent license all I was asked to do was to take a small round of the compound. While I did that, the traffic inspector never even looked at me as he was busy signing files pushed by the numerous touts surrounding him.

In contrast, in Canada, two years ago, I studied for almost 6 to 8 hours before giving the written test for my G-1 licence, which is basically equivalent to the learners' license here. And the books that I read dealt with almost every aspect of driving - right from rules, to road signs, to basic etiquettes of respecting the right of others and even the stringent penalties that violations attract.

After clearing the G-I, when I applied for my G licence the driving test was nothing less than a gruelling exercise. The examiner made me drive around for full 45 minutes and made me do almost everything that I had read and done in my two driving classes. You name it and he made me do it - parking on downhill and uphill spots, parallel parking, reversing, driving in school areas, highways, taking u turns, parking along the curb, changing lanes and he watched every move of mine - giving indicators for turning, looking for blind spot over the shoulder, checking side and rear view mirrors before changing lanes et al.

I am sure that anyone who goes through these tests will come out to be a much more responsible driver. But then where to do we have tests like these here. While the mighty and powerful can get licences with one phone call (sometimes DTOs even come home to make them), others can pay their way through. So what to do we expect from such drivers? Only chaos, I guess.

It's high time that those at the helm do something about this and make the process of issuing licences difficult so that we have drivers on roads and not killers. Statistics show that road fatalities in India have been increasing at the rate of 8% per year (same as the GDP) over the past 5 years as compared to 5% in the earlier years and reached 106,000 in 2006. Experts say that if the present policies and trends continue, road traffic deaths are not likely to start reducing before 2030, by which time, the toll may rise to 260,000 per year. Phew! So god bless all drivers. Who knows who the next victim of this anarchy is?

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com



CityScope Letters
Enforce law to check police-peddler nexus

This is with reference to the article “Just piecemeal effort not enough” published in Chandigarh Tribune dated March 30 written by Raveen Thukral. The Tribune team deserves to be appreciated for exposing a nexus between the police and drug peddlers in the City Beautiful. The two suspects caught on camera and later arrested by the police on charges of supplying drugs to people in Ram Darbar and the Industrial Area are just the tip of the iceberg. Such illegal activities cannot be carried out without the police-peddlers nexus, which is an open secret. One can see many young boys using banned drugs and other intoxicants behind the sectors’ markets, where the law seldom patrols. Many young lives are being spoilt with the open use of these illegal drugs. It should be checked at all cost by the law enforcing authorities. A strict vigil is required on all chemist shops.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh


Chandigarh Tribune deserves all praise for exposing the drug mafia, who are selling drugs in open. Chemists are selling the banned drugs without prescription by doctors.

The administration is vigil but officials of drug controller, the police and chemists have nexus. But the effect of these reports only remains for a few days and the drugs will again be available in open. The police has conducted raids and arrested a few persons.

The organised sale of these illegal drugs is in the knowledge of the police and the officials, but they are hungry for money.

The administration and the high officers of the police should know that such drugs have bad effect on health. Investigation should be conducted by an intelligent and honest police officer.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh


I am thankful to the Tribune team, which has raised the issue of sale of scheduled drugs without prescription. But the effects are shortlived only.

As poor people and drug peddler of Ram Darbar are concerned they are just daily workers doing their business. Raids on one or two shops is not sufficient, it should be sustained and regular efforts should be made to spread awareness about the scheduled, spurious and outdated drugs, which will have the desired impact. Doctors can also lend a helping hand.

RK Garg, Chandigarh


The police-smugglers nexus needs to be checked. In his article, the writer has not touched the actual problem of drug abuse. His article is limited to an open sale of schedule H and addictive drugs like buprenorphine and pheniramine maleate, which The Tribune has already exposed.

In fact, the root cause of the problem lies somewhere else. Besides these drugs being available on roads, a large amount of contrabands are freely available in the open markets. For the last over a decade, there has been a phenomenal increase in the drug trade in Tricity. To run this lucrative business, there is a big nexus between the police and smugglers and politicians and bureaucrats are the right side of the kingpins of the trade. Criminals are enjoying the patronage and protection of the politicians.

To check this menace, the police authorities should start a drive to bust the racket of smugglers operating in the city by adopting stringent measures. It is the responsibility of the media to boost the morale and encourage those who take the courage to make disclosures of mafias ruling the roost of extraordinary dimensions.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh


The city is becoming a den for open sale of schedule H and other addictive drugs. They all go unchecked in the city. It is not only Ram Darbar, but other places also where chemists are openly selling these schedule drugs without any prescriptions. This illegal sale of drugs becomes handy for youth to indulge in drugs. Besides, senior police and civil officials of the anti-narcotic departments have been found indulging and promoting the sales of drugs and contraband like heroine and smack joining hands with drug mafias for money. This shows that the government is not concerned towards this social problem. No surveillance is kept on the government workforce deployed on such sensitive departments of public concern. Why the concerned senior police and civil officials are not held accountable for failing their duties to control such sale and bring to justice these drug mafias?

Such efforts are needed in the country especially in the rural areas, which are the worst sufferers. To counter this menace, there is an urgent need to redraft the rules and regulations, to check the chemists, strict regulations must be enforced on the chemist shops and any violation must be dealt severely.

Responsibility must be fixed on the concerned drug controller and police officials. In the rural area, the drug menace is more fatal and serious than even censor. This has to be made as peoples’ movement with the active help of the media.

Amar Jeet Kumar, SAS Nagar


The article reminded me of a joke in a popular comedy cassette called “Chankata” by Jaswinder Bhala, where somebody questions him as from where he could get pure affim and he replied the best source for 100 per cent pure affim was the police station.

I feel the reply was apt in today’s scenario. But can we only blame the police or the top administrative brass for this? I think the answer is no. The problem is deep rooted. Despite the ban and regular checks on the borders, liquor was easily available with free home delivery. It is a deep routed nexus and where the system is totally corrupt, nothing can be done and those who can do it, they will not be allowed to do it. Till the time there is political interference, nobody can do anything.

To control the free flow of sale of drugs, there should be one national policy applicable universally throughout India with strongest of the punishments for those who sell and highest rewards for those who catch and stop such trading.

Arun Aggarwal

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Savera feels heat of price rise
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
After being sold by her husband for Rs 10,000 in Uttar Pradesh, she was returned to her first husband subsequent to protests by women activists. But the man, she was returned to, later ditched her again to remarry another woman.

On the doorsteps of Savera, a short-stay home for women and children in Sector 43, noises of her three unfortunate kids, playing with each other, can be overheard. With nowhere to go now and no source of income to feed her three kids, Chanda (name changed), the new inhabitant of Savera, is just hoping against hope that she receives justice.

Many such cases, as that of Chanda, lie unsolved and await hearing in the courts. Meanwhile, these women and children are offered stay in this home, which is semi-funded by the Central Social Welfare Board and the Association for Social Health in India.

“We receive Rs 550 per person as aid from the government. Since we cannot keep them for more than three years, owing to time constraint, we either help them find a job or get them married,” said Santosh Sharma, the warden.

Victims of rape, many an orphans, cases of step-parents’ ill- treatment and domestic violence seek shelter in Savera. Added Manjeet Sodhi, founder of Savera, “We give them fruit only once a week now and milk is served only to those who are pregnant or have delivered a child. Because of the price hike and ever-increasing expenses, we cannot afford it. We certainly need more funds.”

It is not an isolated story of this NGO but many like this in the city, which are doing commendable work but lack funds from the administration, seldom get the attention they deserve.



Welfare body seeks increase of water supply
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 5
The Citizens’ Welfare Federation has sought augmentation of the water supply for the town. In view the increasing population, around 23 MGD of water is required daily against which only 10.3 MGD is available, 10.0 MGD from canal water and 3.4 MGD from tube wells.

A delegation of the federation, led by its secretary general, met officials of the public health department and discussed the problem with them. The executive engineer assured them that he had already requested the municipal council to install 39 tube wells before the start of summer season.

He further told the delegation that in spite of the repeated reminders, not even a single tube well had been installed so far.

After exhaustive discussions, the federation and the officials of the department concluded that a permanent solution would be possible after completion of fifth and sixth phase of the canal water that could give 20 MGD of the water.

The federation also proposed certain other remedies such as construction of underground water storage tanks along with booster pumps.



Passport office fails to renew passport
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 5
JS Sandhu, a resident of Phase 9, is running from pillar to post to get his passport renewed for the last over one year. Thanks to the indifferent attitude of officials at the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Chandigarh, the resident has not been able to get his passport renewed.

Umpteen number of visits to the office of the RPO has only added to his owes. In a representation to the RPO, he has pointed out that despite him being a senior citizen, he has not been able to get the documents.

“I applied for the issue of the passport in September 2007 and the police verification was done in September 2007, October 2008 and again on December 2008, and the application for the renewal of the document was made much before the expiry date,” he added.

He believes that the passport office has misplaced his document and is dilly-dallying on the issue.



BEL turnover up by Rs 515 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Defence public sector undertaking Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has recorded a provisional turnover of Rs 4,618 crore for 2008-09 as compared to Rs 4,102.54 crore last year.

The estimated profit before tax is Rs 1,095 crore as against last year’s figure of Rs 1,171.3 crore, according to an official statement. BEL’s export touched $17.75 million, an increase of 15 per cent over last year’s figure of $15.43 million.

BEL’s order book, as on April 1, 2009, is estimated to be around Rs 10,000 crore. Some of the significant orders executed during the year include supply of advanced communication systems, artillery combat command control systems, surveillance radars, thermal imager-based integrated observation equipment, ship-borne and airborne electronic warfare systems, laser range finders, night vision binoculars and satellite based road and rail mobile communication system.

More than 20 new products were introduced and supplied during the year.

These include upgraded fire control systems, light weight helicopter-borne ESM systems, vehicle-based direction finding systems, radar finger printing system, wide area network for BSF, upgraded electronic voting machines and thermal imager sight for existing radars.



Protest over NSA against Varun Gandhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
A dharna against the imposition of the National Security Act (NSA) on Varun Gandhi, BJP Candidate from Pilibhit, was observed under the aegis of the Progressive Thinking People of Chandigarh at the Ramlila Ground, Sector 7, here today.


Members of the Progressive Thinking People protesting the imposition of National Security Act against Varun Gandhi at Ramlila Ground in Sector 7, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Sadhvi Ritambhara also visited the dharna site and blessed the protesters for their “nationalistic effort” against misuse of the NSA against “patriotic” politicians of the country.

Several BJP leaders, including Ramveer Bhatti, Gurpreet Dhillon, Satinder Singh and Bal Krishan Kapoor alleged that the BSP had imposed the NSA on Varun Gandhi whereas it had given ticket to criminals like Mukhtar Ansari.

The speaker said they would intensify the agitation if Varun was not released immediately.

Atul Kapoor, Ram Babu, Om Parkash Yadav, Om Parkash Tiwari, Dr Vikram Yadav, Arvind Singh, Nand Kumar Yadav, Panch, Manish Dubey, Mahesh Inder Singh, Megh Raj Verma, Rajinder Kumar, Hira Negi and others took part in the dharna.



Bittu in a spot over code violation
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 5
Congress candidate from Anandpur Sahib Ravneet Singh Bittu is in a spot for holding rallies at a public place without seeking the prior approval of the assistant returning officer (ARO), Mohali.

Two separate notices have been issued to the Congress candidate but the reply has not been filed yet. In the first case, Bittu had kicked off his campaign in the city by addressing a large gathering in the market of Industrial Area, Phase 1, here, a few days ago. The site of the rally was in front of the office of the District Congress Committee. The party flags had been put up on streetlight poles and other public property. No prior permission had been taken.

In the second case, the candidate had addressed a gathering in a garden of the Municipal Corporation in Phase 3 B2 here. The garden is located adjoining Sacha Dhan Gurdwara. Again, no permission had been taken from the ARO.

Even Akali leader Rajbeer Singh Padiala, who yesterday joined the Congress, had also taken a large convoy of vehicles on way to Chandigarh.



More complaints of duping against ex-cop
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 5
Following the registration of a criminal case against a retired police official on the complaint of Rajesh Bhardwaj, an additional advocate-general of Punjab, victims of duping by the accused have started approaching the police.

After Bhardwaj lodged a complaint against the “Bhondsi DSP”, two more residents of Panchkula have lodged complaints, stating that Ratan Singh Rana, former SHO of the Sector 5 police station, has duped them of Rs 50,000.

Bhardwaj stated that Rana reached his house recently and asked for help, stating that the wife of his brother attempted to commit suicide and was struggling for life at hospital and he needed Rs 20,000. Bhardwaj, however, arranged Rs 5,000 for Rana, who claimed to be elevated to the post of DSP at Bhondsi. Later, it was revealed to Bhardwaj that Rana had already retired from service six years ago.

Rana was posted as SHO at Sector 5 and it was then that he came in contact with Bhardwaj following a theft at his house in 1999.

Satbir Mor, a resident of Haripur village in Panchkula, who was also known to Rana since his college days at Kurukshetra, today alleged that Rana had duped him of Rs 40,000 on December 24 last. Rana took the money from Satbir on the same pretext.

“I paid him Rs 40,000 as was desired by him”, said Satbir. Another resident of Sector 15 said he had also paid Rs 10,000 to Rana when he approached him.



NIPER gets notice

Mohali, April 5
Assistant returning officer has issued notice to the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) for advertising posts in violation of poll code. The institute, in its reply, has stated that process was initiated before the code of conduct and it did not violate the code. — TNS



6,500 appear in CBSE PMT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Around 6,500 students from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal appeared for the preliminary CBSE PMT held in 16 centres here today. The last-minute anxiety could be seen on the faces of students and parents accompanying them.

Experts opined that it must have been the bad day for the students and those who studied NCERT books stood to gain in such pattern of exam. According to Prof. Harpal Singh, biology teacher of AK Vidyamandir, the paper was conceptual in nature and needed thorough understanding of the basics. Kanika Kant, a student, said the paper was easy, especially the biology part. “Though the trend was a bit different, papersetters had gone in for some sort of original framing for the questions”, told Sakshi, another student.

Poonam, a student, who appeared for the exam last year also, felt comfortable this year, as her preparation was more coordinated and consistent. “The physics paper was on the expected lines,” says Prof. SC Gupta.

Those who qualify the prelims will have to face the mains examination on May 10, which will be subjective in nature.

There has been a decreasing trend in the number of aspirants for the medical field. Last year, there were over 11,000 students, who appeared for the prelim PMT and this time the figure has come down to almost half. Prof AK Taneja, physics lecturer at DAV-10, opined that the major reason could be that it would take almost 11 years to be a professional in medicines. “It takes five years to complete MBBS and another two years for MD degree. On the other hand, an engineer can settle in just four-year time,” he said.



PU hostels to have hi-tech gyms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Panjab University hostels will have hi-tech gymnasiums from the coming academic session. The project that was approved last year is all set to materialise now to facilitate about 3,500 hostel inmates.

“We have received the directions and the hostels will have well-equipped gymnasiums soon, Naval Kishore, dean student welfare, PU, said.

Sources said the dormitories would be converted into gyms. The authorities will go on an inspection drive to decide upon the best space options, they added.

“Though the university has a gymnasium, it is not sufficient to cater to the needs of many students. And hence, it is important to work on this project now,” another official said.

Meanwhile, the students welcomed the report.



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