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Violent clash at Ram Darbar
Old feud between Phase I & II residents cited as reason

Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

A car damaged by hooligans
A car damaged by hooligans. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, April 26
Scores of residents of Phase I and II of Ram Darbar clashed in the locality following an old dispute tonight. Several persons were injured in the violence, while four cars were damaged in the melee.

Hooligans armed with swords, rods and batons were seen stalking the streets in the locality, while the police remained a mute spectator to the lawlessness. The hooligans chased people on the streets and hurled stones, smashing windowpanes of many cars and houses.

According to residents, it all started at around 9 pm when a group of armed youngsters of Phase II of Ram Darbar attacked residents of Phase I. Two men and a woman reportedly sustained injuries in the attack, while windowpanes of four cars were smashed.

In reaction to the assault on the residents of Phase I, led by their president Satpal, residents of Phase II, took to streets and moved towards Phase II. Meanwhile, the police was informed about the tension prevailing in the locality.

A police team reached there, but it was outnumbered by the armed youngsters and it preferred to remain away from the hooligans. The armed youths, carrying swords and loads of stones in their jeeps, moved in the locality, attacking residents.

As the SHO of the Sector 31 police station reached there, additional police force was called. Even after a long time, the police failed to curb the rowdy elements, who held the entire area to ransom.

The residents of the locality said it was an old feud between both localities, which took a violent turn today. They said about four days ago, a newly married man from Phase II was attacked by miscreants from Phase I while he was sitting with his wife in a park in the locality. The miscreants assaulted the couple in full public view. In an attempt “to teach a lesson to the residents of the Phase I”, the other party today attacked them.

SHO of the Sector 31 police station inspector Bhupinder Singh said there was a minor clash between youngsters of both localities. He said he did not have any information about anyone being admitted to hospital, but additional force was deployed in the area to control the situation.

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Kundi connection gets SAD rally going
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 26
Prospective lawmakers have become lawbreakers. This was evident during an election rally organised in support of the SAD candidate from the Anandpur Sahib seat, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, when the organisers of the event used a kundi connection to run the public address system and lighting at the venue.

Though the organisers of the event were too busy coordinating the event, electricity department officials were also unaware about the theft of power.

“Since the candidate is from the ruling SAD, it is assumed that the electricity department will turn a blind eye to the kundi connection,” said a senior party leader.

Interestingly, leaders sang paeans about the SAD leadership for restoring regular power supply and planning thermal plants in the state.

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Robbery Bid
Suspects’ sketches sent to police stations
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 26
The police claimed to have identified the gang behind the attempt to rob the family of the Panchkula BJP chief. After seeing the CCTV footage, the police here had sent the sketches to the police in other districts of the state.

It was yesterday when four armed youths had hijacked the Mercedes of Sanjiv, son of Sham Lal Sachdev, BJP district president, Panchkula, on the Delhi-Chandigarh highway. The son and mother of Sanjiv were also in the car at the time of the incident. The gangsters, however, getting not much cash and valuables from them, took all three to the home of the hostages to take ransom from their family.

The members of the gang had largely been identified, but the disclosure about their identity at the moment could hamper the process of investigation, said SP Amitabh Dhillon.

It was a gang of highway robbers and it seemed that it was their first attempt to take their victim as hostage in their own house, he said. Though it was a common crime on the highways that commuters were looted, the way all four youth were armed with so many fire arms was a matter of concern, added Dhillon.

The robbers told the hostages that each of them had three revolvers. The victims even noticed seven fire arms with their tormentors.

It was unusual for a gang of robbers to carry so many arms with them, said Dhillon.

Police sources said the modus operandi of the gang was to target big cars and leave the victims after looting valuables or cars from them.

While the police teams dispatched to Baddi returned empty handed, reports suggested that the said gang, in addition to the Delhi- Chandigarh highway, was active in the areas of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Two such incidents were reported from Ghaziabad also, sources said.

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Land Acquisition
Farmers want undertaking in exchange for vote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The controversial land acquisition policy of the Chandigarh administration is set be a major election issue for the local parliamentary constituency.

With UT farmers getting a raw deal from all major political parties on the issue over the years, farmers today served an ultimatum on the political class, a development that may unnerve major contenders from the local seat — Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress), Satya Pal Jain (BJP) and Harmohan Dhawan (BSP).

Apparently miffed at the indifferent attitude of the Congress, the BJP and the BSP towards UT farmers’ plight, farmers have decided to take the politicians head on and vote for only that candidate whose central leadership gave a written undertaking that no more land would be acquired in the city.

In fact, they wanted that the land lying unutilised for “dummy” project should also returned to them.

“The farmers have decided to vote en masse for the candidate whose national leadership pledges to support our genuine demands,” KS Kahlon, president of the Chandigarh Sanjha Morcha asserted. Various parties had been indulging in war of words for years now, while concrete action had been missing on that front.

Bansal had alleged that the BJP had blocked the amended Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2007, and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007 in the Rajya Sabha on “technical grounds” recently.

Jain, on the other hand, had been claiming that while the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab had been paying an amount of at least Rs 1.5 crore per acre in Chandigarh’s periphery, the UPA government, which directly administered Chandigarh, had failed to spare a thought for UT farmers.

In fact, the alleged “anti-farmer” role of the administration and politicians came under a sharp focus at a rally organised by land owners here today.

“It was unfortunate that while the original inhabitants were being made slum-dwellers, illegal migratory population was being allotted property in the name of rehabilitating slum-dwellers. Most of these persons, who are proposed to be allotted dwelling units in lieu of their illegal hutment in slums, already have property back home in Bihar, UP,” the speakers alleged.

And in the run-up to elections, politicians will have to answer tough questions from the vocal landowners in the city, whose land have allegedly been indiscriminately acquired for controversial mega projects in the city.

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Parking contractor booked for car theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The police has booked the contractor of Sector 35-B parking lot on the charges of misappropriation after a car was stolen from his parking lot.

According to the police, JR Singla, a Sector 44 resident, reported to the police alleging that his Maruti car (CH-03-R-5988) was stolen from Sector 35 parking lot on the intervening night of April 24 and 25 due to negligence of parking staff.

A case under Section 406 of the Indian Panel Code (IPC) has been registered at Sector 36 police station.

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30 gurdwara panels support Bansal
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
About 30 gurdwara management committees today threw their weight behind Congress candidate Pawan Bansal, boosting the Congress campaign for the May 13 elections.

It was claimed that Sikh leaders were miffed with the working of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and utterances of Shrimani Gurudwara Prabandar Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar's reported remarks against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he was not "a true Sikh".

The otherwise suave Bansal went on an offensive against the BJP's prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, terming him "rusted instrument" in the household having no utility. "His mishandling of Kandhar aircraft hijack and the Parliament attack are still fresh in the public memory, Bansal said, adding that the UPA government's handling of the Mumbai terror attacks had come in praise from various quarters.

Bansal stated that he was upset at the BJP's tirade against Manmohan Singh, whom he regarded as his ideal and best bet for India at a time when the world was grappling with severe recession.

Several Sikh leaders, while cautioning the Sikhs against blindly following SAD, said it was unfortunate that the BJP was also projecting Narendra Modi as the prospective PM, which was “lethal” for the Indian democracy.

Recently, several Sikh leaders, including former Mayor Harjinder Kaur, had taken a U-turn and supported BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain.While the gurdwara management committees pledged support to Bansal today, SAD leader Gurpartap Singh Riar, who had been campaigning for Jain, also heads a coordination committee of the gurdwaras.

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Round-up
Cong, NCP candidate to join BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The campaign of BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain gained momentum here today with chairman of colony cell of the Youth Congress Nirmal Singh Titu and general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party Ninder Singh joining the BJP.

Meanwhile, members of the Kerala community of Chandigarh decided to lend support to the BJP. BJP general secretary and Jain alleged that the sitting Congress MP was facing resentment here due to poor performance.

Later, a delegation of divisional council of the LIC Agents’ Association met Jain and Tandon to apprise them of problems. Members of the Modern Foods VRS Ex-employees Association also pledged support to Jain during the Lok Sabha elections.

BSP campaign

BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan addressed a public meeting at the RCS Enclave, Sector 48, here today. Dhawan alleged that the cooperative housing societies in Sectors 48 to 51 had no proper infrastructure such as post office, banks, public transportation, community centres, bus stand and police station.

Addressing a gathering in Sector 56, Dhawan alleged that the Chandigarh Housing Board was charging a hefty amount for the transfer of their dwelling units.

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Flouting of EC norms rampant
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Directions of the election commission are being violated with impunity in the run-up to the 15th Lok Sabha elections in the city.

While the election commission has been issuing guidelines to all parties ever since the election dates were announced, the latter do not seem to care two hoots about the same.

Be it the BSP, the BJP or the Congress, all mainline as well as small parties have been rampantly violating the norms. The BSP had been in the news for wrong reasons recently when it ignored the EC directions and held a rally near Jama Masjid in Sector 20.

Earlier, the BSP had run into trouble over the organisation of Brahman Sammelan at Parshuram Bhawan in Sector 37.

Similarly, both the BSP and the BJP had courted trouble when their party workers burnt Bansal’s effigy despite this being against EC’s guidelines.

Even when BSP and Congress workers clashed at Mauli Jagran over the alleged casteist remarks by a Congress leader, it turned out that the Congress had not sought the prior permission to hold a padyatra in that area. However, later the two parties reached a compromise.

On the other hand, even after several complaints related to violation of election code of conduct and EC guidelines having been lodged, the commission has yet to take concrete action — barring a few cases where action has been taken. After serving notices, no follow-up has been done so far.

The EC has so far lodged an FIR against Imran Kidwai, chairman of the Minority Cell, for his alleged inflammatory remarks and has impounded Congress’s Devinder Singh Babla’s car for his alleged misuse of the vehicle.

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Election Issues
Need to tackle corruption, terror

VK Sood Our city is pampered and there are not many issues one can find here when it comes to comparing it with other cities. But in the larger interest of the nation, terrorism and corruption have become major issues to be discussed and pondered upon. The party that can deal with these problems effectively should be voted to power. The nation needs a change, the new-age Indians are looking for a government that deals with the real issues and gives us genuine governance. And then of course, there is an anti-incumbency factor also that comes in. So people obviously like to see a change.

VK Sood

Improve basic amenities

KL MalikThe common man has his own issues that may seem small but are the basic problems that he has dealt with in everyday life. For instance, the supply of water in apartments in the city is not as good and not much heed is paid to it. Nobody has even bothered to worry about the fact that number of car and scooter thefts have increased multi-folds in past few months. My own scooter got stolen from the Sector 22 parking and I never found it back in spite of the police complaint. There is no hearing of the actual issues of the citizens, while the politicians talk of larger issues.

KL Malik

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First-Time Voters
Politicians must stop mud-slinging

Ekansh Anand I am excited to vote for the first time. The politicians should stop mud-slinging and get down to action. The future of the youth of the nation seems grim and the situation will get worse if we do not take any step. Young boys in Kashmir are involving in the militancy. The problem of the Naxalites would never have exaggerated if the government took appropriate action to look into the issues.

For now, the best way to deal with all this is to just go up to the polling booth and make the right choice. I am voting for a change.

Ekansh Anand

Politicians lack education

Dr JayaI was surprised to learn that a candidate from the city contesting the Lok Sabha election is hardly fifth class pass. Even after so many years of establishment of our Constitution, we have not been able to fix a minimum qualification for entry into the Vidhan Sabha or the Lok Sabha. While on the other hand, no government job is now available without passing Class XII. As a first time voter, I have lost the zeal to cast vote in an “educated” city like ours, where such is the situation.

Dr Jaya

Youngsters must act

Vipul SharmaI strongly feel that the country needs a government that can make strong decisions and help the nation combat terrorism. So far, we have not been able to do anything about the terror attacks, which have now become so common that even the media feels casual about covering the deaths due to terror attacks. Such is the state of the country now. I am extremely happy that youngsters have started campaigns like “Jago Re” and “Vote for Change”. Rather than sitting at home and grumbling, it is better to go out and take action.

Vipul Sharma

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Politicians should promote sports

With elections approaching, all one can nowadays think about is which political party is going to form government and what will be its plan of action. Gagan K Teja talks to students about their expectations from the new government and how they will like it to function

Being a sportsperson, all I desire is financial assistance for the games. There is a lot of bias as far as various games are concerned. Also, there is a dearth of proper playground and other facilities. There are few games that are very expensive and it is impossible to buy the equipment. The government must help the deserving players by providing sports wing and sponsoring all good players.

Nisha Tomor (university champion in archery)

I strongly feel that the first thing the government should do is to abolish all existing reservation quotas. Right from the time of admission to job opportunities, seats are reserved for few categories and because of this various deserving students of general category suffer. If the government wants to help, they should instead provide free education for students who cannot afford to study. How can one distinguish between needy and non-needy on the basis of castes? The help should be provided based on the financial status of the family, irrespective of the caste.

Bikramjeet Singh (B.Com student)

In this period of recession, the only thing I can think of is job for youth. Our parents are spending lakhs on our education and even we guys are slogging ourselves for the best job opportunities. But the way the recession is affecting, students are really painful. No companies are offering good packages and even our seniors, who were employed earlier, are facing salary cuts. I guess lack of jobs is the main reason behind drug addiction and crime by youth as well.

Amar Gill (Modi College student)

Corruption in our country has reached new heights. There is no field in our country that is untouched by it. My first wish would be the abolition of this evil so that each and every person would get equal opportunities in life. No one is ready to work without taking bribe. In spite of being a deserving candidate, when one does not get the job until and unless he or she has money to offer to the bosses. I guess the first step would be to blacklist the corrupt politicians because the country cannot run smoothly in the hands of these non-deserving politicians.

Sunita Rani (DPEd student)

Though the government since long has been providing free basic education to the poor, it is high time that they should understand that this alone would not solve the purpose. There should be a provision of scholarship in higher education and other professional courses so that the meritorious students, who are otherwise unable to take up professional courses for get a chance to compete with the rich ones. Jobs nowadays is the first thing on everyone’s mind and it is impossible to be employed until and unless one is professionally trained.

Rupinder Sharma (Bikram College student)

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Death at Sukhna
Police fails to find missing articles
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Even as the family of Sonia Suman, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Sukhna Lake on Friday, alleged that her mobile phone and purse are missing, the police is yet to initiate action in this regard.

Sources said the missing mobile phone and articles, if stolen, could provide vital leads into the circumstances leading to the death of Sonia. The family had yesterday said that Sonia’s friends had called her up on Friday evening and found her mobile phone switched off. “In all probability, someone had stolen her belongings judging that she was not in her senses. As she had managed to come to the lake, even if we suppose that she might have dropped her belongings there, the police could have found them from there only,” said police officer. About the missing articles, the girl’s father told the TNS that they had reported to the police that her purse, mobile phone and tiffin box along with other items had been missing.

“We have expressed no doubt about any kind of foul play behind the death,” he said, when asked about if he suspected any foul play behind the death. On police not registering a case of theft, police station-3 SHO Har Sahai Sharma said they were investigating the matter and had put the mobile phone on surveillance.

He said it could also be possible that the girl might have tried to jump into the lake to commit suicide and might have thrown the mobile phone and other articles in the water. He said Sonia did not have more than Rs 100 in her purse, as per information provided by the family.

Even her mobile phone was not an expensive one, thus there were very bleak chances of someone stealing the belongings. A police officer said when Sonia was found lying in a semiconscious state near the lake’s regulatory end, her clothes were dry, indicating that she had not gone into the water. Even if she tried to jump into the lake to commit suicide, there was little likelihood of her throwing her belongings into the water.

Meanwhile, the police today handed over the body to the family after a post-mortem examination. The police said the viscera samples of the victim would be sent for chemical examination to ascertain the exact cause of death.

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City Scope
Playing with fire
Raveen Thukral

Idon't know how many of you noticed that the UT's fire and emergency departments celebrated a 'fire safety week" a few days ago. In fact even I would have missed the event if selecting photographs for the day's edition of the Chandigarh Tribune wasn't a part of my job.

When I saw the photograph, a fireman dressed in a shinning silver coloured fire resistant suit (he looked nothing less than an astronaut) walking out of an inferno unscathed, the first thought that crossed my mind was where the hell were these suits when four people died in the blaze in Sector 22 market on April 9. One fireman was also injured in that mishap.

Incidentally, this photograph was published on the same day, April 22, when we had carried a story on the wretched (I couldn't think of a stronger word else would have used it) state of the Fatehgarh Sahib District fire department on page 1. Though Fatehgarh Sahib is just 50 odd kilometers from here, the condition of the district's fire station, which caters to the distress calls of 82 villages, would make one think that this town is located in some godforsaken part of the country.

The story about the fire station - it just has one fire officer who triples up as a driver, fire fighter and a rescuer, it has no telephone connection or the 101 number connectivity and lacks all basic infrastructure- reminded me of those hackneyed Hindi movie plot in which our on the run hero lands up in some dacoit infested remote border village where there is no police station and he sets up a ‘chowki’ and transforms himself into a Rambo like figure to save everyone. But alas this is real life and not the reel life.

Though one cannot compare Chandigarh and Fatehgarh Sahib as such, the photo and the story are a grim reminder about the ground realities and the mismatch that exists in stage managed shows like the safety week and the real time situations.

We at the Chandigarh Tribune had recently carried several stories under the series, Smouldering Tinderbox and Fire Safety in the city, focusing on fire safety measures in the city's markets and institutions respectively. While I am sure that all of you would know how vulnerable we all are and how the administration fails us most of the times, if not always, in such situations, we too cannot escape the blame.

I sometimes feel that we all take our lives and that of the others shoddily and are responsible for our own miseries to some extent. Let's take the case of the furniture market and the motor market in Manimajra. Even a layman would no that such markets, where inflammable materials like wood, diesel, petrol and thinner are stored in huge quantities, are nothing but recipes for a perfect disaster but we take no precautions in whatever role we are.

As shopkeepers we fail to take the bare minimum precautions to ensure the safety of our customers and do not install basic fire fighting equipments like extinguishers and alarms. As customers we violate every parking norm in the city and park our vehicles in busy markets in the most absurd manner, causing huge hindrance in such eventualities. And as employees, we take no care while working with such inflammable materials and in this context sight of mechanics smoking while repairing car engines is common.

While taking precautions on our part can sometimes save ugly situation, the administration cannot escape the blame on account of lack of enforcement of fire norms in the city and also accountability. It's a known fact that fire safety norms are being violated with impunity across the city, including at government institutions, but nothing is being done to set the things right and there seems to be no accountability in this regard.

In my conversations with some city bureaucrats, I often get a feeling that they try to brush things under the carpet by convincing the person across the table that Chandigarh is still much better off than other places in the country. No doubts, but this shouldn't mean that there should be no improvement further.

I feel, Chandigarh is a modern city only in respect of its façade - its buildings and road layout - but is as medieval as any other town of the country when it comes to enforcement of safety measures. Collusiveness between the authorities and the violators is bane of enforcement in this city, as it is all over in the country.

Let's take the case of government schools in the city. A survey conducted by the fire department shows that almost 75 government schools are guilty of violating the provisions of the Delhi Fire Safety and Prevention Act (1985)(56 of 1986) as extended to the UT.

If that's not enough, the Municipal Corporation, which controls the fire department, is itself violating fire safety norms. As per the building bylaws, the basement of the MC headquarters can only have a storeroom or a parking lot but it also has offices running from there.

So what can one say when those responsible for enforcing the fire norms themselves become violators? One may like it or not, the situation is bad and it is only a matter of time before another tragedy takes place.

With almost 200 fires and six deaths in the city in one month, we are virtually sitting on a powder keg and if tragedies like Delhi 's Uphaar cinema haven't happened here, it's just our sheer luck.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com

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Letters

Unbridled population hampers growth

This is with reference to Raveen Thukral’s article “Population explosion, who cares?” in the Chandigarh Tribune dated April 20, 2009. I agree with his viewpoint that politicians only care for votes. The rising population will create more confusion, lesser development and breed corruption.

Checking female foeticide is also a political gimmick and is counterproductive. The politicians have always been successful in propagating the issue of female foeticide as a womb crime. Will it not increase the population? There are other ways to punish the erring couples. In a democratic society, sex determination should not be banned as it helps couples to plan their families.

Two-children norm is the best way of stabilising the population. People should adopt family planning means after having two children. According to me, the benefit of reservation should be given to those who adopt the family planning norm of having two children.

Dr BS Aggarwal
Chandigarh

II

As the writer has said, hit the nail on the head. Unless we tackle this problem earnestly, substantial progress will not take place. Moreover, it is media that should realise its responsibility and highlight the problem of rising population. Also, it should highlight that it is crucial for contesting candidates to include such important issues in their manifestos. My kudos to Raveen Thukral.

Brig Joginder Singh
Chandigarrh

III

The writer has raised an important problem being faced by our nation i.e. rising population. His article has rightly held all political parties guilty of not taking initiatives to check the problem in India. What will politicians like Lalu Prasad Yadav do in this regard who is a father of nine children? The more the population, the more it will hinder the progress. Australia, America, Canada etc are about two-and-a-half times bigger in size than India, yet these are developed countries. Because, they have lesser population than our country. Majority of the poor people in India indulge in drugs and sex at a very young age. Basically, it is this strata that needs to be educated about the evils of population growth.

RK Kapoor
Chandigarh

IV

During the past 62 years of Independence, India has made phenomenal progress in the field of agriculture, health, education and infrastucture, but all has been negated because of the increasing population. It has been rightly pointed out in the article that politicians are least concerned about the problem.

The government must wake up in order to avoid further loss.There is a dire need to adopt and implement one-child norm as ensured and achieved by China. The politicans must think beyond their vote bank gains and do something about it.

S S Arora
Mohali

V

Though politicians are familiar with drastic consequences of the rising population, none of them have made it an agenda of manifestos. Politicians of India are professional. Their bread and butter is politics which thrives mainly on poor and uneducated class. But they must realize that they are still surviving because masses do not have any alternative. Surprisingly, neither there is a population policy nor any effective incentives to followers of family planning.

Bhajan Singh Grewal
Chandigarh

VI

There is no denying the fact that unbridled population growth acts as a stumbling block in the economic growth of our nation. Lessons learnt from the rigorous implementation of family planning during Emergency resulting in the rout of the Congress in 1977 general elections have instilled fear in the political parties that they avoid to pursue such a programme vigorously. India is a plural society. Different religious communities follow different tenets without bothering about the current social obligations. The 2001 census statistics reveal that Muslim population grew by 36.2 per thousand during the previous decade, whereas the growth rate of other communities remained 16 to 23 per thousand. It is difficult to check the growth rate of population unless we adopt a uniform civil code; otherwise it would be neutralising whatever infrastructural development is achieved.

Lajpat Rai Garg
Chandigarh

VII

The politicians and political parties are not bothered about consequences of uncontrolled population growth. They are busy in flinging mud at each other with the fervent hope that some of it will stick. As the writer has rightly pointed out that our population will exceed even China’s population. The problem of unemployment will also increase. And hence, it is important that not only politicians, but media houses, sporting icons, movie stars, religious leaders, industrial houses, etc. take steps to meet this challenge head on, and avert a major crisis.

Dr M K Bajaj
Zirakpur

VIII

Raveen Thukral has raised a pertinent point concerning all of us the most and the causing many problems of the country. Abnormal increase of population day by day is the major cause of our deficient services, food, power, water, shelter, services, healthcare and natural resources. No development will be relevant if there are no effective measures to control the unabated growth of population.

The mismatch between growth of population and availability of resources can never make the national programmes of development a success. The Central and state governments are putting every possible effort to develop the SEZs, malls, multiplexes, to excel the industrial growth, control of aids, stress on the protective sex but seldom talk about control on the increasing population. Contesting and winning elections has now become a big commercial activity, politicians and political parties lure the gullible voters with fake, fictitious and false promises, exploiting cast, creed, poverty and religious sentiments just to win the elections. Poll promises, party manifestoes are never implemented. No development can be realistic till there is an effective control on the growth of population. The way we are growing, we will cross the population of China by 2025 and touch 1.5 billion mark. If our politicians and the government do not take concerted efforts to control the growth of population, there is going to be serious problem of food, shelter and clothes. The people cannot be fed and live on false promises, this fact must be understood very clearly by our politicians and for the coming five years, this must be the top priority to control the population effectively, full stress should be given on this and government workforce must be made accountable and responsible to implement this with force and determination. No politician talks about this burning issue. There are hard decisions to be taken to control this menace and the country can never shine or be strong without an effective control on the growth of population.

Capt (Retd) Amar Jeet
Mohali

IX

We went to India to teach our kids about Indian traditions and culture. But we were shocked to find both missing in Chandigarh. People in the US are more cultured and ethical than those in the city. Average people have to adopt many faces for the survival. Basic education and civic sense is missing. Politics has been criminalised. There is no ethical control on the media. The reason for all this is uncontrolled population. Many people are competing for few resources. Politicians and bureaucrats cheat the people. People sell their vote for cash or a bottle of liquor.

S Singh
USA

X

The population of the country in 2001 was 102 crore and 70 lakh. India was the second largest country in the world after China to cross the one billion mark. More than 45,000 babies are born in India everyday. A statistic of the UN reflects the low status of women in the country, who are deprived of food, education and health services.

The population problem cannot be solved by clinics. Education needs to be developed. The fast rate of the growth of population has affected the quality of life of the people. The government has initiated a number of schemes, which are not effective. There is a need of drinking water, electricity, education, health, housing, roads, but our politicians cannot think of these problems.

The birth rate in the country is greater than that in China. If this trend continues, it will cross China by 2025. The population equal to that of Australia is added to India every year.

ML Garg
Chandigarh

XI

The political parties are again in the streets to get votes and making high promises. They do not care about the economy of the country, increasing prices of the daily use commodities, basic amenities like better roads, clean drinking water, uninterrupted power supply, quality healthcare, good education and employment to the people. Now the politicians do not want to upset their vote banks by raising the issue.

Sanjay Gandhi started family planning programme after declaring the Emergency in 1975. The government should take steps to control the population, otherwise all will have to eat the sour fruits. Sahil Garg

Chandigarh XII Since early 1990s, population explosion is one issue, which no politician wants to discuss for fear of greater and everlasting repercussions, but there are other more important issues like corruption. The criminals are accommodated in almost all the parties.

The fragile party politics has started affecting our country. The real issues affecting the people have taken a back seat and everyone is out to grab support by every possible way.

On the one side, no politician is ready to touch any issue of public import and on the other, public is also disillusioned because they have lost faith in the politicians. There are no chances of any drastic change coming after the elections. The politicians have failed not only in delivering the goods but also they are not able to suggest any remedy.

There is no leader worth a faith since the death of Indira Gandhi, who can take the people behind. We need to have a younger leader, who is not subject to corrupt party politics and is not hungry of power and wealth.

RK Garg
Chandigarh

XII

The writer has warned our politicians and policy-makers. Though there are many challenges before the people during the ongoing elections like corruption, criminalisation of politics, dynasty rule, communalism, but increasing population is a major challenge before the nation. Our political parties numbering about 300, have had hardly any agenda to check this alarming problem. They are concerned only for themselves to amass as much wealth as they can during their tenure by making fair and foul promises through their manifestoes. Nowhere it has been mentioned by any political party that they would fight for communalism, corruption, criminalisation of politics and the population control, which are the biggest dangers before the country. They are talking generally to provide food articles on cheap rates. In view of the lukewarm attitude of the political parties towards the basic problems facing by the people, people are in dilemma. It is up to the people, especially the literate like living in Chandigarh to ponder over this serious problem as the city beautiful has just 114 sq km of area and the population of this city is increasing by leaps and bounds, including the migratory people, which poses a serious problem.

Though the writer has talked about the middle class people like us living in the city, who are extremely lucky and can not complain on the condition of roads and water and electricity supply like our counterparts living in other towns, things even here are especially in the Southern sectors, colonies and slums are going from bad to worse. If we estimate, twenty yeas from now, nearly 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas, then the impact of urbanisation will certainly be on city as well as urban expansion is happening at a much faster rate that infrastructure expansion and improvement. Sustainability issues need to be tackled so that economic and social development is not at the cost of public health and environment. Though one suggestion as put forth by the writer that “hum ek, hamara ek” should be popularised by making the efforts in its letter and spirit, yet how we can check the migration of people coming from outside the city. But the government, whichever is formed after the elections should not be expected to do anything.

SK Khosla
Chandigarh

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Workshop on critical care education
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 26
“In today’s busy life, everyone is exposed to unexpected medical emergencies at home, in office or on the road, and survival is possible only if immediate help is available by someone standing nearby,” said Dr Meeta, vice-president, critical care education, during a workshop organised by Alchemist Hospital in association with Critical Care Education Foundation here today.

The aim of the workshop was to provide basic life support training to all sections of community, said Dr PK Jain, founder president of the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine and chairman of the Critical Care Education Foundation and College of Critical Care Medicine, who conducted the camp along with Dr Meeta.

Dr Jain said it was the first in a large series of workshops under the Basic Life Support Training Programme.

Members of the CATS have been engaged in various adventure sport activities, including river rafting, treks, heritage walks, biking and train trips, etc. and are prone to unexpected catastrophes. Such workshops can help them meet these calamities, said Supreet Dhiman, president, CATS.

Avinash Ojha, CEO, Alchemist Hospital, said the hospital would soon organise similar workshops with various NGOs, along with schools, banks, industries, corporate houses, government organisations etc.

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Stress on vaccination to control cervix cancer
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, April 26
Experts today stressed the need for prevention of cervix cancer — the second most common form of cancer among women in India — through vaccination. They were deliberating at a symposium on “Cancer cervix” and “Pregnancy with diabetes” at PGI here.

According to a study conducted by the World Health Organisation, every year over 1.32 lakh women are diagnosed with cervix cancer and over 74,000 die from it.

“Two vaccines have been approved for use in young girls and can prevent cancer in 70 per cent cases. These vaccines help stop women from falling prey to the disease,” said Dr Vanita Suri, gynaecologist at the PGI.

Dr LK Dhaliwal, head of gynaecology department, pointed out that the vaccine was safe for cervix cancer if its full doses were taken in time. The safest period for girls to take the vaccine was between nine and 12 years. However, it could be taken up to 26 years of age, she said.

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GMCH eyes deemed varsity status
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
After fulfilling the requisite conditions, including proper infrastructure in place, the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh, is now pitching for the status of deemed university. The UT administration has sent a proposal to the Human Resource and Development (HRD) Ministry, Government of India, and the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the purpose. Currently, the PGI enjoys the status of deemed university.

The UGC team is expected to visit the city shortly to weigh the claim, assess the available infrastructure at the hospital and examine the possibility of according the status of deemed university to the GMCH, Dr Raj Bahadur, director-principal, GMCH-32, said here.

The GMCH meets two main requirements set for according the deemed university status to any hospital. One, it must have at least five departments — the GMCH has 20 — and second, it should be run by a society — which has already been formed.

The structure of the society has been approved by the UT administration with some modifications in the original draft submitted by the GMCH authorities.

Once the status of a deemed university is accorded, 42 new posts could be created of super-specialists, new course could be introduced and better equipment to serve the patients could be bought, said Dr Bahadur.

Hailing the move, RS Verma, additional director, Medical Education and Research, UT, said: “It will not only solve problems in healthcare and research but also cut down the procedural delays in recruitment of specialists, experts and faculty members from almost year and half at present to not more than four months.”

Dr Bahadur said the Chandigarh administration and Panjab University had given approval for starting courses in BSc in medical technology (X-ray), anaesthesia and operation theatre techniques. Admission to these courses will start from current academic session.

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CAT
GMCH told to count applicant’s ad hoc services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Head of the Microbiology department Dr Jagdish Chander took a sigh of relief, as the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) directed Government Medical College, Sector 32, to count the ad-hoc services of the applicant, as it will affect his seniority.

The tribunal held, “He possessed the eligibility qualification for the post and was appointed with an approval of the competent authority and continued fairly for more than five years before regularisation. In these circumstances, the post cannot be held purely ad-hoc.”

Dr Jagdish is presently working as a professor and head of the Microbiology department in Government Medical College, Sector 32. He has filed an application for counting the ad hoc services rendered by him from November 4, 1992, to March 10, 1998, as an assistant professor in the said college and quashing of the order.

The applicant stated while working as an assistant professor on ad hoc basis in the PGI, Chandigarh, the GMCH issued an advertisement in various English dailies on August 16, 1992, wherein, applications were invited for the post of a reader and Microbiology assistant professor. Being eligible, he was selected by the selection committee under the chairmanship of the then adviser to the administrator. He was issued an appointment letter on October 20, 1992, wherein, it was mentioned his appointment was temporary on ad hoc basis for six months or till the post is filled up on a regular basis through the UPSC, whichever was earlier. The applicant joined on November 4, 1992, after being relieved by the PGI and his record was also sent to the respondent college. Subsequently, all assistant professors there were designated as readers to maintain a uniformity of the three-tier ranking in medical institutions as per the Panjab University letter, dated August 12, 1993, and hence, he was re-appointed as a reader from the said date.

The post was advertised on April 22, 1995, through the UPSC on a regular basis. He was promoted as a professor on April 13, 2006.

He stated immediately after his regular appointment he asked to count his ad hoc services. After his confirmation in January, 2006, he requested for counting his services, however, the claim was rejected.

The respondents stated Dr Chander was appointed on a temporary basis till the time a regular employee joins. They further said he was appointed afresh through direct recruitment from March, 1998, and from the said date, he would be eligible for the benefits accruing to him.

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Meghna Bhasin wins speech contest
Tribune News Service

A class IX student of Carmel Convent School, Meghna Bhasin, who won the first position in an inter-school extempore and speech competition
A class IX student of Carmel Convent School, Meghna Bhasin, who won the first position in an inter-school extempore and speech competition. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 26
The first position in the inter-school extempore and speech contest might not come across as a great achievement at the first instance, but it surely is if it’s your first effort.

For Meghna Bhasin, a class IX student of Carmel Convent School, achieving this position was one of the most special moments of her school life.

"I have always enjoyed everything to do with public speaking, but it was my first participation in any event outside my school. My bagging the first position, and that, too, in my very first attempt is quite special," said Meghna who recently stood first in this competition held at St Stephen’s School.

Out of the 26 participants, not only Meghna but also her school was declared the over-all winner of the contest, whose topic was “Better information is only the first step in helping Indian people make their vote count”.

“The topic was quite vast in itself and at an extempore, you don’t have much time. So choosing what to say is the most difficult part," she said while crediting her success to her teachers who not only helped her to chisel her public speaking skills but most importantly instilled confidence in her.

She also thanked her mother for her success, as she was the one who gave her the mantra “do your best and leave the rest”.

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16,000 take AIEEE
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Over 16,000 students appeared in the eighth All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) held at 25 centres here today.

Around 1,300 seats in 20 national institutes of technology, five deemed universities, three technical institutions and three Central Government-funded institutions are offered through this examination.

The pattern of the examination was different from the previous year, as all questions were of equal marks this year.

Physics lecturer Prof SC Gupta said majority of the questions were from Class XII syllabus as compared to Class XI.

The examination was difficult as compared to the last year, Mathematics lecturer Prof Rajni Gupta said.

While chemistry teacher Dr Ashok Kataria said the chemistry examination was balanced and easy.

Basically, it aimed at testing thorough understanding of concepts.

A student, Subhash Kumar Sharma, said all questions were from the syllabus.

While another student Manu said: “We were unsure about the composition of the paper, yet we prepared all subjects equally.”

HCS exam

Over 32,000 aspirants took Haryana Civil Service (HCS) examination held at 61 centres in Chandigarh and Panchkula today.

The examination was held peacefully amid tight security at all centres.

A student, Harleen, whose took the examination at Government High School, Sector 40-A, alleged that students in one room got the question paper half an hour late.

She alleged that they got only 10 minutes extra time for the completion of examination.

Amit Sharma, another aspirant, stated that the paper was easy and he had prepared for the examination thoroughly.

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Engineers line up for IAF exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
As many as 2,900 candidates, including about 300 girls appeared for the Engineering Knowledge Test (EKT) at the Chandigarh Air Force Station today for recruitment into the IAF as engineering officers. Candidates successful in this preliminary test would be short listed by Air Headquarters for interview by the Services Selection Board. According to IAF officials, it was for the first time that such a large number of candidates applied for the test. In fact, the response was so overwhelming that the IAF was compelled to conduct the test in two shifts.

Air Officer Commanding 12 Wing, Air Cmde S.R.K. Nair, said the response was also propelled by the massive awareness campaign that the IAF has launched in the recent past.

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