C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Die is cast — 14 left in fray
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
With the last day of withdrawal of nominations today, the dice has been set rolling for the battle royale for the Chandigarh parliamentary seat with 14 candidates fighting it out for the May 13 elections.

Though 14 candidates are in the fray for the lone seat with the withdrawal of Vijay Setia (Independent) from the contest today, the main battle is among Pawan Bansal (Congress), Satya Pal Jain (BJP) and Harmohan Dhawan (BSP).

Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq (Rashtriya Janata Dal), Goswami VB Bharti (Janata Dal United), Paras Nath (Apna Dal) and Ajay Goyal, Kafil Ahmad, Khem Lal Bansal, Darshan Singh, Des Raj, Maya Devi, Ram Pal Hans and SK Suri, all Independents, are the other contenders.

The candidates of smaller parties and Independents may not be in a position to win the electoral battle, but they may rock the boat of the three major candidates.

While Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq is expected to cut into the votes of Bansal, who is hoping for a hat-trick, Janata Dal (United) candidate Goswami VB Bharti could affect the vote bank of Jain. Moreover, the defection of a large number of turncoats to the Congress, BSP and the BJP could also play a decisive role.

Most turncoats have come to the Congress fold from the BJP and the BSP and the party seems to be upbeat over the swelling of their ranks in the run-up to the elections.

Development seems to have emerged as the major issue in the elections with the three major candidates taking credit for “unprecedented” development whenever they represented the city.

As many as 5,22,545 voters would decide the fate of the candidates in the current elections as against 5.32 lakh voters in the 2004 elections.

In the no-holds barred campaign, the mainline candidates are leaving no stone unturned to woo voters. Several VVIP campaigners, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BSP supremo and UP Chief Minister Mayawati and RJD chief Lalu Yadav would spice up the campaign in the coming days with several film stars, including Dhamendra and Hema Malini, also lined up for campaigning.



Aping Reel Life
It’s turf war at Ram Darbar
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Barring Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai, Ram Darbar, the resettlement colony near the Industrial Area Phase II, has all the ingredients of Mansoor Khan’s film Josh. For those who have forgotten the storyline, the movie revolved around two gangs, Bicchoo and Khan’s Eagles, who indulged in street fights to maintain dadagiri in their respective ilakas at Vasco in Goa.

While a wall divided the Bichoo and Eagles areas in reel life, the narrow lane running between Phases I and II of Ram Darbar is a virtual Lakshman rekha for residents of the two localities. Crossing this line could prove injurious as an unwritten writ exists here.

Believe it or not, though it is a part of the city, Ram Darbar has its own character and it would seem so with it own laws. An insight into last night’s violence and first-hand account of residents proves that there is a state of complete lawlessness in the bylanes of this colony.

“We generally shut our doors and windows when these gundas start fighting. These young men keep weapons, sticks and knives and use them at the time of a scuffle. Whoever tries to intervene also gets beaten up,” Shanti, a resident of the area, said.

“Just yesterday my cousin went to drop his nephew at a school in Phase II and was beaten on his way back,” Randeep (name changed), a resident of Phase I, said. “There is no law and order here. Some school children were forced to quit school just because they were residents of Phase I and were beaten up if they entered the other area,” he added.

A few days ago, a newly wed couple was attacked in a park in the area by the other gang. “If a girl of a particular phase is spotted with a boy of another phase, they are beaten up by these rogues,” another resident said.

The movement of residents to the Phase II market, which is the primary source of daily need products, is restricted to Phase II residents only.

“There is ‘gunda raj’ here and these gangs trouble residents. The police is a mute spectator in such cases -- like the one last night. The reputation of the UT police will suffer if nothing is done about it. Young girls are teased and thefts have increased in the area. The situation is worse than Bihar,” Ram Lal, area councillor, stated.

Following last night’s incident, the councillor wrote to the SSP, who assured of timely action in the matter.



Ram Darbar Clash
When police failed to act
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
With the Lok Sabha polls round the corner, the last night’s incident of rioting and lawlessness in Ram Darbar has exposed the lack of preparedness on part of the UT police to tackle such situations.

Even as hordes of youngsters armed with swords, shape-edged weapons and sticks walked freely on the streets of the locality for hours, the police failed to arrest a single hooligan.

To make the matter worse, the police failed to initiate action into the incident citing that “no formal” complaint had been lodged in this connection.

Condemning police inaction, a senior police officer said it was nothing but lack of willingness to registered a case.

Under such situation where miscreants roamed freely carrying deadly weapons holding the law and order situation to ransom, the police should deal with the situation sternly. They should have taken the cognizance and registered the case.

UT Inspector-General of Police SK Jain, on the other hand, said he had taken a strong note of the incident and would look into the matter to find out why the action was not taken against the hooligans.

The hooligans smashed windowpanes of at least four cars in the locality. The miscreants belonging to Phase-II of Ram Darbar had hurled bricks and stones on people on the other side of the road.

The road dividing Phases I and II was turned into a virtual border between two “warring sides”.

According to eyewitnesses, the tension brewed around 9 pm and the police took its own “sweet time” to reach the scene.

“Even after reaching the scene, a posse of policemen preferred to stay on the back foot seeing hordes of hooligans with deadly arms in their hands,” alleged an area resident.

“What was the use of such a force when it could not deter people from taking law into their own hands? The presence of the police as mute spectators rather emboldened rowdy elements to continue with what they were already doing,” said another resident, who witnessed the lawlessness.

Police station-31 SHO Bhupinder Singh said efforts were on to trace the miscreants and no one would be spared.

He said they were looking for Satpal, a history-sheeter, who led a group of armed youth to initiate attacks.

The SHO said they would initiate action under Sections 107 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Meanwhile, area councillor Ram Lal told the TNS that he had taken up the issue with the SSP. He added that if the police failed to curb lawlessness, the area would soon become a blot on the face of the city.



Medicare at schools ailing
GS Paul/Kulwinder Sangha
Tribune News Service

The corner of a staffroom, that has been converted into a sick room at Government High School-31, and (inset) an expired Dettol bottle. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, April 27
The death of a Delhi schoolgirl, Aakriti, after the alleged failure on the part of the school authorities to provide timely medical aid to her, has raised the vital issue about the medical facilities in schools.

A random survey of schools conducted by The Tribune team at Chandigarh Panchkula and Mohali revealed that barring a few schools, almost all government schools lacked arrangements for such emergency situations, leaving students to fend for themselves. Hardly any government school had a tie-up with an ambulance service. The provision for a sick room was absent in most government schools at Chandigarh and Panchkula because of space constraints and medicines were outdated.

A simple method of keeping the staff and children aware about first aid is by putting notices in this regard. Though the education department claimed that a circular had been issued to all schools, instructing the heads to ensure the availability of well-equipped first aid kits, but none of the government or private school principals could recalled any such notice. They claimed that it was only through their own resources that they had arranged for medical aid for their schools.

The situation was better at private schools, but here the problem was attitude. Most school managements asked parents to mention in diaries about their wards’ medical history, but refrain from administering any medicine. A principal, preferring anonymity, said they preferred to call up the parents instantly as later they argue if their children were administered any medicine without their consent.

DS Bedi, chairman of the Independent Schools Association, said almost all schools that came under the banner of the association, had sufficient medical facilities. “There is a dispensary in all our schools with a doctor and a physician available from 8 am to 2 pm. We call them health educators. We ensure that our buses are equipped with a first aid kit,” he said.

The Health and Safety Commission recommends that a “well-appointed first aider” should be present during school hours, but when a Hindi teacher, who has least knowledge about medicine, is entrusted with the task of administering medical aid to schoolchildren, the results could well be imagined. The case in point is Government Model High School-31.

To top it all, Dettol, the only antiseptic aid available in the school, was found to be expired. “The ointments are out of stock due to scarcity of funds,” was the justification of the school in charge Ram Krishan. A part of the staff room was the sick room.

Though the GHS-29 and GHS-30 have sick rooms, lack of qualified staff make these ineffective. A doctor used to visit these schools regularly, but due to meagre payment, she stopped doing so.

A social studies teacher is looking after this department, but she has to compromise on teaching to maintain and re-stock the sick room. “We are dependent on nearby dispensary or private practitioners,” Susham Lata, principal of the GHS-29, said.

The GMHS-32 has a trained medicine teacher. “It was by chance that one of our teachers has done a course in medicine, but due to space problems, we do not have a sick room,” Savita Arora, principal, said.

At government schools in Panchkula, especially at Sector 21, Saketri, and Bhainsa Tibba, the first aid arrangement was unsatisfactory. At Mohali, five schools were visited. These had medical facilities for minor ailments, but depended on their own means of transport to take students to hospitals.

No doctor or nurse was available at Gian Jyoti Public School in Phase II and Sant Ishar Public School in Phase VII. The authorities claimed that they had a tie-up with a doctor, but their staff handled day-to-day ailments.



Patiala Blast
Tea time that was not to be
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 27
What destroyed a poor family in a fraction of a second was a minor folly on the part of Paro (35), who mistook a round piece of metal for brass and struck it with a hammer to extract the metal, leading to the death of five of a family, including herself, at Sikriband mohalla in the Lakkar Mandi area of the city this afternoon.

The blast has sent shock waves across Patiala as residents apprehend that such devastation could take place anywhere in the city and surrounding areas dotted with scrap shops that store stock without proper supervision.

The victims are Paro, Kiran, her husband Sikandar, Shamli and her eight-year-old daughter. They could never have imagined that a usual get-together at tea would prove fatal for them.

“All of them, including Paro’s husband Bania, who sustained shrapnel injuries on his face and was critically injured, were chatting in a room when Paro got up and hit some pieces of scrap collected by them in the morning with a hammer. I was watching them from a distance. Suddenly, everything blew up in the air with a bang and smoke started coming out of their room.

“Before I could understand, some residents started shouting ‘bomb-bomb’. When people went inside the room after some time, all they saw were blood-smeared bodies scattered all over. It was horrifying,” an old woman and neighbour of the ill-fated family said.

The blast scared neighbours so much that instead of rushing to the blast site instantly, they mounted on their roof.

“Nobody could recognise the bodies. Tea glasses lay scattered. Had they not gathered for tea, some of them may have survived,” Surinder, an onlooker, said.

It is not for the first time that such blasts have taken place in the city. “We feel very insecure. There is nobody to regulate or supervise scrap or junk dealers. The administration should ensure the safety of the residents,” Pavittar Singh, a resident, said.



Holiday on May 13
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
On account of the Lok Sabha election, the Chandigarh Administration has declared a public holiday on May 13 in all offices/ boards/corporations/institutions under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The holiday will be a paid holiday in industrial shops, commercial establishments and for daily wage earners.



People make a beeline for citizen’s army
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
With celebrities like Kapil Dev boosting its image, the Territorial Army (TA), popularly known as the citizen’s army, has seen a sharp increase in the number of volunteers seeking to become commissioned officers. The general quality of aspirants, however, still leaves a lot to be desired.

The Western Command TA Group received approximately 800 applications from volunteers for the short-listing process held here today. This, TA officers said, was about a 40 per cent increase over last time’s recruitment drive.

The image of the TA received a shot in the arm when cricketer Kapil Dev was commissioned as an honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the TA a few months back. Besides, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal have also expressed a desire to join the TA.

TA officers said apart from the publicity blitz, the recession has also to do with the increase in applicants as the private sector has been tightening the screws on manpower.

The applicants appearing for screening included doctors, lawyers, MBAs and private sector executives. “Generally speaking, the candidates were a shade better than those appearing during earlier screenings, but many were just about average,” an officer said.

The current recession has seen a number of regular armed forces holding back on quitting the services prematurely to join the private sector. Over the past few years, a large number of officers had quit the services for greener pastures in civvy street. Many officers remark that the armed forces are, perhaps, the only establishment not adversely affected by the recession.

The number of officers quitting early has come down, more people seem to look towards the forces for job avenues and procurement of weapon systems and modernisation continues.

The TA enrolls gainfully employed civilians who can be called for military service during a national emergency. On joining the TA, they receive basic training, lasting a few weeks depending upon their cadre. They are then required to undergo periodic annual training during their free time and also undergo courses in military training institutions. During the period of their embodiment, they are entitled to the salary and perks of a regular officer.

A number of personalities are TA officers. This includes some state ministers, MPs, industrialists, civil service officers and actors.



Candidates allotted symbols
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
On the last date of withdrawal of nomination papers for the elections of the Chandigarh Parliamentary constituency, an Independent candidate, Dr Vijay Setia, withdrew his nomination papers.

The 14 candidates who were left in the fray were also allotted election symbols under the directions of the Election Commission of India in the presence of candidates or their representatives and an election observer today.

Candidates of recognised national political parties and candidates of registered unrecognised parties were allotted symbols reserved for their respective parties.

Independent candidates — except Khem Lal Bansal, Des Raj and Darshan Singh — were allotted symbols of their first choice.

Both Bansal and Des Raj had opted for “railway engine” as their first choice. Under the directions of the commission, a drawn of lot was held and Des Raj was allotted “railway engine” as election symbol, while Khem Lal Bansal was allotted the symbol of his second choice, “television”.

Darshan Singh had not mentioned any choice and therefore after the allotment of symbols to other independent candidates, he was asked to choose a symbol out of the unallotted free symbols and the symbol of ceiling fan was allotted to him as per his choice.

The final symbols allotted to various candidates are: Pawan Kumar Bansal (Indian National Congress) — hand, Satya Pal Jain (Bhartiya Janta Party) — lotus, Harmohan Dhawan (Bahujan Samaj Party) — elephant, Haffiz Anwar Ul Haq (Rashtriya Janta Dal) — hurricane lamp, Goswami Vishwa Bhushan (Janta Dal-United) — arrow, Paras Nath (Apna Dal) — cup and saucer, Ajay Goyal — whistle, Kafil Ahmad — sewing machine, Khem Lal Bansal — television, Darshan Singh — ceiling fan, Des Raj — railway engine, Maya Devi — Nagara, Ram Pal Hans — bat and SK Suri — battery torch.



Six Independents not so learned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Worthies in poll fray are not so worthy after all. Of the 14 candidates finally left in the fray for the lone Lok Sabha seat in the city, the educational qualification of six is below the intermediate level.

Candidates of main political parties, Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress), Satpal Jain (BJP) and Harmohan Dhawan (BSP), are academically well qualified but a majority of the Independents, barring Ajay Goyal and S K Suri, are not so sound educationally. RJD candidate Haffiz Anwar Ul Haq has studied in a madrassa.

While Janata Dal (United) candidate Goswami Vishwa Bhushan Bharti is a matriculate, Paras Nath (Apna Dal) is only a graduate. Of the remaining eight Independents, while Desh Raj, Maya Devi and Kafil Ahmad did not complete their matriculation, Darshan Singh is a matriculate. Both Khem Lal Bansal and Ram Pal Hans are diploma holders in automobile engineering.

Ajay Goel, the high profile independent candidate, who is the second richest among those in the fray with a networth of Rs 12.28 crore, is an engineering graduate from Kurukshetra University. In contrast, S K Suri is a qualified M.Sc in Defence Studies.

As for traditional political rivals Bansal and Jain, they are both qualified lawyers. Veteran Dhawan has done his MSc in botany.



Awareness drive on EVMs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Even as the election campaign has reached the feversih pitch, the election department is also gearing up for the May 13 elections for the Chandigarh seat.

A team of the department is currently on a unique mission to create awareness about the use of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) among voters, particularly the voters from slums and villages, who constitute a majority of the electorate.

The awareness campaign, which got under way on April 20, has already covered about 30 villages and rehabilitation colonies."In fact, there has been a tremendous response from the voters about the correct usage of the EVMs," Hari Mohan, a team member, informed.

The voters seem to be benefiting from the department's exercise to make the people aware about EVMs.

"Initially, I had hesitation in operating the EVMs. However, thanks to the awareness campaign by the team I can now use the EVM correctly to exercise by right to vote, Sunil, a resident of Industrial Area, said.

Officials said about 88 localities would be covered under the drive to be concluded on May 11.



Admn rapped for lack of facilities at rally ground
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan today criticised the Chandigarh administration for not making necessary drinking water arrangements at the rally ground of Sector 25 here where BSP supremo Mayawati is scheduled to address a rally tomorrow.

Terming the stage unfit for the rally, Dhawan alleged that the newly-constructed stage had a 3-foot-high wall around it, which may hinder the view of dignitaries sitting above it.

The administration later agreed to demolish the obstructing wall, Dhawan claimed.

After inspecting the venue, Dhawan said the ground lacked proper infrastructure and even the basic provision of toilet and drinking water was not there.

The BSP has renamed the ground after social reformer Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar.

The area had been covered by a pandal and was being carpeted to accommodate people, who are expected to come in thousands.

Party flags are being placed at the rally ground.

Dhawan told party workers from villages, colonies and sectors to give a warm welcome to the party supremo at the airport, from where she would be directly drive into the rally ground.

Riar’s allegations

SGPC member Gurpartap Singh Riar today said declaration of support to Congress candidate by certain office-bearer of the Sikh community was a betrayal on the community. This was neither a decision of the sangat of various gurdwaras nor was it within the rights of gurdwara management committees under the rules, he added.

In a statement issued here, he claimed that a coordination committee of all gurdwaras of the city was in place since 1980 and such decisions had never been taken in the past.

He said the use of religious forum for canvassing for a political leader was against the election law and election commission must take action against those indulging in the illegal practice.

Support for Bansal

Supporters of the Mani Majra Rehri-Pheri Market Committee led by Chota Khan today backed Congress candidate Pawan Bansal and vowed to work for the party.

They said it was the only party that was secular and took care of the interest of the common man.

Bansal thanked the supporters and cautioned them against the divisive forces playing a negative role in the ongoing election campaign.

Among those present were Shahnaz Husain, Atif Ahmed, Mohammed Asif, Manzoor Ahmed, Ved Ram, Israr Ahmed, Pappu and Mansa Ram.

RJD campaign

RJD candidate Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq has said that party supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav had handed over to him the lantern (party symbol) to remove darkness from the lives of poor.

Addressing a rally at Colony No. 5, Haq said the darkness of ignorance could only be removed with the help of education. “I am committed to providing quality education to people of colonies and villages of the city,” he added.

Launching attack on the Congress and the BJP, he alleged that both parties had done nothing to improve the standard of education in colony schools.



Fracas at grain market over sheds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Ruckus was witnessed at the grain market, Sector 26, when some fruit and vegetable traders tried to forcibly acquire the newly built auction sheds at the market here today.

The traders had heated arguments over the occupation of auction sheds, but the matter was brought under control by a police team led by DSP (east) PK Dhawan.

Some traders working as commission agents in the markets said some miscreant elements had been engaging in illegal activities in connivance with people having political connections.

“I have been dealing in fruit and vegetables here for the past 20 years but today I was being deprived of doing my business by these men who in connivance with some market committee members tried to encroach upon our place of business,” alleged a trader.

Meanwhile, a former president of the market committee reportedly brought the matter to the notice of SDM (south) Prerna Puri and it was only after her intervention that the matter was amicably settled.

“The police came to our rescue only when we told them that the SDM (south) had never ordered to allot the sheds yet,” told another trader.

DSP (south) PK Dhawan said: “The two groups of traders were involved in the scuffle over occupying the sheds, but later they reached a compromise, so no case has been registered against anybody,” he said.



Wordy war between CTU, HR staff
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

We will not let any CTU bus to ply on the entire Haryana route

— Lal Chand, secretary, Haryana Roadways

If authorities do not hear our side by April 28, we will intensify stir

– Jagdish Singh, president, CTU Union

Chandigarh, April 27
The “disagreement” between CTU and Haryana Roadways workers seem to be affecting the “agreement” between the Chandigarh Administration and the Haryana government, putting the commuters at loggerheads.

Ironically, it’s been over 10 days when the authorities from both sides claimed to solve the matter “amicably” but till date no agreement could be reached. Threatening calls from transport workers of both sides were rampant, but the authorities had turned a blind eye to it.

Whatever may be the issues between the employees of both sides, it was ultimately the commuters who were at the receiving end. Questions are also being raised over the absence of strict policy measures by the authorities, who, except scheduling meetings, hardly came out with any solution.

Under the inter-state reciprocal agreement, a number of buses from both Chandigarh and Haryana side were countersigned to run between Chandigarh and Ramgarh. The CTU employees objected to this proposal and halted the Haryana buses to ply between the PGI and Ramgarh and did not let any passenger to go beyond the ISBT-17 and 43 points.

Students and patients were the worst sufferers. Similarly, patients from Panchkula and Ramgarh had to face tough time due to this conflict.

Meanwhile, a meeting scheduled today between top officials of the Transport Department could not be materialised due to unavailability of Secretary, Transport, Ram Niwas. Meanwhile, citing reference of an old notification, the CTU workers submitted a memorandum to the office of the Secretary, Transport, Chandigarh.

“By framing the Transport Policy 2007, it has been mentioned that within the area of the UT, all stage carriage operations will be carried out by the CTU only, we will not allow any state transport undertaking to interfere”, said Raj Kumar, general secretary of the CTU.

HR employees said keeping in mind the public convenience, an inter-state agreement has been signed by both governments, then under what grounds and authority, the CTU employees stopped Haryana buses?

“If this continued like this, we would not let any CTU bus to ply on the entire Haryana route”, said Lal Chand, secretary, Haryana Roadways.

CTU employees threatened that if the authorities did not hear their side by April 28, they would intensify their agitation.



‘101’ unavailable at Zirakpur
Fifteen incidents reported in less than a month

Rajiv Bhatia

The fire station at Dera Bassi. A Tribune photograph

Dera Bassi, April 27
With two fire tenders, the inadequately equipped Dera Bassi fire station is struggling to cater to the emergency fire calls here. The onset of summers has only made the matter worse for the firemen who find it hard to control blazes, especially in open fields and industrial units.

The Dera Bassi subdivision has around 500 industrial units and the fire station has only 19 employees, including three drivers. The firemen admit that they are not in a position to handle successive accidents.

The Dera Bassi fire station records make it clear that 141 fire incidents were reported from April 1 last year to March 31 that caused loss of about Rs 3.94 crore. Fifteen fire incidents were reported in this subdivision from April 1 till date which caused a loss of Rs 60 lakh.

Sources in the fire department said there was only one driver present on the night duty and it created problem when a major fire broke out in the area. The dresses were three years old and needed urgent replacement. Written representations to the Local Government department in this regard had not elicited any response.

As far as the fire fighting equipment were concerned, there were two fire engines, a jeep, besides a foam compounder (AFFF) and two fire-fighting safety dresses. But the station did not have an ambulance. Normally, accident victims were taken to hospitals in utility vehicles.

Fire emergency number 101 remains unavailable for the residents of Zirakpur and instead the call connects to the fire station at Panchkula. Since long the industrialists and residents are demanding modernisation of the fire station, but repeated requests by them have fallen on deaf ears.

“With a rapid increase in setting up of industrial centres, residential colonies and multiplexes in the subdivision, the fire-fighting facilities are virtually non-existent at Dera Bassi from past few years,” says a local industrialist.

The industrial units, mostly in Lalru, Dera Bassi, Zirakpur, and Mubarikpur, use inflammable chemicals and liquids while manufacturing products. An electric spark is enough to set these units on flames. The residents alleged that some of the industrial units had not fulfilled the provision for installing their own fire-fighting equipments on the unit premises.

In case of any emergency, fire engines have to be called from Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula and Dappar ammunition depot as the fire engines available with the local fire station are generally not enough to bring the fire under control.

Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Zirakpur, said the exact time for a fire tender to reach on the spot was less than 5 minutes, but there was no fire station in Zirakpur. In case of fire, the engines took at least 20 to 30 minutes to reach the spot, he added.

The fire officer said the demand for hydraulic system was in process and it would be approved soon. “We are demanding for more staff with latest equipments to fight with major fire in future,” he added.



Experts to discuss city’s problems today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
With “development dilemma” staring Chandigarh on the face, eminent experts will meet here on April 28 in a bid to find solutions to various problems afflicting the city. The occasion will be a seminar on “Chandigarh: Beyond Corbusierism” at the Government Museum and Art Gallery to be organised by the Indian Institute of Architects, Chandigarh-Punjab.

The seminar assumes importance in the backdrop of the mega projects of the Chandigarh administration coming under the scanner of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for alleged irregularities in the land allotment.

In fact, with India’s most well-planned city on the verge of completing 60 years, a fresh look at the legacy of Le Corbusier was the need of the hour, organisers said. During these years Chandigarh’s planning had been put to test at almost all levels: road patterns, sector layouts, distribution of civic amenities and future growth and the aspirations of inhabitants.

Being a newly-planned city executed on virgin land, it was going to draw criticism from planners, architects and the general public. Perhaps, this was in consonance with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision that people should think and plan for the future after learning from the successes and failures of the Chandigarh project.

“The aim of this seminar is to identify problems, debate and find solutions to the issues concerning Chandigarh. We hope it will help the Chandigarh administration to frame policies and work out strategies for the future of the city beautiful,” Surinder Bahga, chairman of the Indian Institute of Architects, Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter said here today.

With that in mind, the institute had roped in Rajendra Singh, “waterman of India” and 2001 Ramon Magsaysay Award winner as the chief guest. Author-scholar SS Bhatti, former principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, will chip in with intellectual input with his talk on “Chandigarh: Past, Present and Future”.

Jit Kumar Gupta, director, College of Architecture, IET, Bhaddal, will deliberate on “Redefining Chandigarh Periphery” in an attempt to suggest measures for the regulated development of Chandigarh’s periphery. Gopal Krishan, professor emeritus, Panjab University, will speak on “Reflections on Chandigarh Scenario”.

The organisers said the major current issues facing the city to be discussed at the seminar would be problems of slums, periphery development, traffic congestion, administration, besides others.

Send your views

The organisers have requested the citizens to send in their views on e-mail: iia.chdpb@gmail.com



Cops gear up in style to check violators
Tribune News Service

Panchkula traffic police in their new headgear with batons deputed at Mansa Devi T point on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, April 27
Wielding new batons with stylish headgear, the Panchkula traffic police, is all set to initiate a major drive to take on violators of traffic rules.

Concentrating on high speed driving and drunken driving, people found on wrong side of roads will be challaned heavily, said Amitabh Dhillon, Panchkula Superintendent of Police.

In order to provide some relief, the district police had replaced the caps of traffic cops with hats like those worn by their counterparts in Bangalore.

Earlier, the cops here used to wear hard plastic headgear similar to helmets. The rubber-coated batons with reflectors to control the traffic during night is also provided to the cops. It not only helped in improving their appearance, the force was feeling more confident.

“Earlier, the helmets worn by us used to create headache during summers as standing in the scorching heat, cops kept on sweating in the absence of any room for air to the scalp,” said Ramesh, a constable deputed on the Mansa Devi T point.

The stylish and lightweight hats, made of cotton help us regulate traffic for long hours under the sun, and of course, with cool, said Ramesh.

Some points where people prefer to take wrong entry frequently have been shortlisted and the offenders would be challaned for wrong entry, which would require them to shell out Rs 1,100 as penalty, added Dhillon.



175 examined at eye camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
A total of 175 patients suffering from different eye ailments were examined at a free eye check-up camp organised by the Patiala Eye Hospital and Lasik Laser Centre in collaboration with Sri Guru Mandir in Sector 7 here yesterday.

This was the ninth such camp organised by the Shri Guru Mandir management wherein Dr Sukhdip Singh Boparai, chief consultant of Patiala Eye Hospital and Lasik Laser Centre, and Dr Monica Jain examined the patients with their teams. Free medicines and food were made available to the patients by the organisers of the camp.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sukhdip S. Boparai said glaucoma caused progressive damage to the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye to carry visual information to the brain and if left untreated, glaucoma progressed to gradually worsening visual damage and could lead to blindness. He said once incurred visual damage was mostly irreversible and this had led to glaucoma being described as the “silent blinding disease” or “the sneak thief of sight”. Dr Monica Jain said there was no cure for glaucoma as yet, and vision loss was irreversible. However, medication or surgery, traditional or laser, could slow down any further vision loss. Therefore, early detection was essential to limiting visual impairment and preventing the progression towards blindness.



Blood transfusion services best in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Blood transfusion services of Chandigarh have been adjudged the best among the states and the Union Territories in the country.

The New Delhi-based organisation evaluated performance of the states and the UTs in the blood transfusion services on the basis of nine key parameters and does their grading every year. And Chandigarh has scored a perfect hundred in eight out of the nine indicators. The report was released by NACO (National AIDS Control Organization) recently.

Dr M. S. Bains, Director, Health and Family Welfare, Chandigarh, said a detailed evaluation was done taking into account the nine parameters of blood transfusion services. The parameters included annual blood collection, voluntary blood donation, annual blood donation camps, IEC activities undertaken to promote voluntary blood donation, trainings of blood bank staff, regular supervision of blood banks, low HIV sero positivity in selected donors, financial expenditure and regular reporting/ maintenance of data.

Chandigarh scored complete points in all indicators except financial expenditure, earned an aggregate percentage of 92, and its performance was graded as “very good.” Chandigarh’s score of 92 per cent is much higher than the second best scoring state of West Bengal (78 per cent) and other good performance states like Gujarat (77 per cent), Maharashtra (77 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (76 per cent). The lowest score of any state is 12 per cent.



‘SAD-BJP opened new roads for Mohali’s growth’

Mohali, April 27
The SAD-BJP combine candidate from Anandpur Sahib, Daljit Singh Cheema, today claimed that the initiatives of the SAD-BJP combine during the last two years of its rule had led to opening up of new roads for development in the Mohali area.

Addressing a number of election meeting in the city, he asserted that during the successive Congress governments in the state as well as the Centre this area remained neglected and it led to generation of unemployment, poverty, hunger and its backwardness as compared to other areas. On the other hand, due to the vision of late Capt Kanwaljit Singh, many initiatives, including setting up of an International Airport, had been taken, he added.

The SAD leader questioned the Congress leaders to disclose what steps they had taken in the past for development of the area. Speaking on the occasion, Ujagar Singh Badali, president of local unit of the SAD, called upon the Congressmen to make comparative analysis of the achievements of the five-year rule of the Amarinder government and two-year rule of the Badal government. — TNS



Loan applicants allege fraud
Tribune News Service

Applicants, who were allegedly cheated by a private finance company, show their loan documents at Phase X, Mohali, on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, April 27
Several loan seekers protested outside the office of a private company extending loans in Phase X here this morning. They alleged that the company had cheated them by asking for verification fee on the pretext of extending them loans.

The victim said a number of people had paid up to Rs 5 lakh to get heavy loans from the Jalandhar-based company, Cosmic Credit Services. The local office of the company located in Phase X was closed today, thereby raising doubts in the mind of the applicants.

Baljinder Singh, who had applied for a loan of Rs 12 lakh, has paid Rs 70,000 as verification fee, consultancy fee and money spent on preparing loan-related documents.

The company representatives kept dilly-dallying on the issue of giving the loan amount. The applicants have also lodged a complaint with the police.



Protest against closure of internal road
Tribune News Service

Sector 41 residents protest against the closure of the road separating Sectors 37 and 41 in Chandigarh on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 27
Residents of Sector 41 today protested against the closure of an internal road separating Sectors 37 and 41.

Shouting slogans against the Chandigarh Administration, residents alleged that the closure of the internal road put the residents to a lot of inconvenience. 

Instead of closing the road, the administration should install a traffic light in the area to avoid accidents, asserted Om Sharma, a resident.



City RJD gen secy surrenders before court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Joginder Singh alias Pehalwan, Chandigarh general secretary of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, surrendered before a local court today. However, he was later released on bail.

According to sources in the police, Joginder Singh was booked in a criminal case of assault and forcible occupation of a house in Dhanas in 2007.

Though other accused had been arrested, Joginder could not be held and was later declared proclaimed offender by a local court.

Even though police documents stated that efforts were on to nab Joginder, he not only stayed in the city but also remained active in politics and later held the post of general secretary of the RJD.

He was also arrested in a preventive case, anticipating breach of peace at Manimajra on March 31 recently and was later released on bail but the police did not arrest him for his alleged involvement in old case.



11 Gypsys for patrolling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Following the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs to increase mobility and visibility of the police in the city, the police today earmarked 11 Gypsies to each police station for patrolling. Four police officials, including a driver and an in charge, equipped with AK-47 rifle and modern communication system have been deputed in each vehicle.

Necessary training and instructions have been imparted to the police control room staff deputed on these vehicles. These vehicles have resumed their duties in the city.



CBSE fouls up with photograph
Puts girl's photo on boy’s Class X certificate
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
In a bizarre incident of mistaken identity, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a matriculation certificate to a student transforming his gender. Simranjeet Singh was taken aback to receive his matriculation certificate issued by CBSE in March 2008, bearing the photograph of a girl.

Least acknowledging the mistake on their part, the board has directed the student concerned to deposit “damages” for the mistake committed by its officials. Despite depositing the “requisite damaging charges”, the student along with his parents are running from pillar to post to get the certificate corrected.

Simranjeet, a student of Government Model High School- 41, appeared for matriculation examination under roll no-2208207 with registration no. C/08/04806/231987. After passing the exams in March 2008, CBSE issued him a certificate with a photograph of a girl student on it.

After discovering the blunder, he immediately brought it to the notice of his school headmaster.

The school after verifying all facts approached the CBSE office at Panchkula to reissue the corrected certificate to the student, while resubmitting the wrong certificate with the office.

A probe into the matter revealed that the CBSE officials, while preparing the certificate, picked up the wrong registration number i.e - C/08/04806/2319878. The last two digits “78” were wrongly picked up as “87”.

“The board officials were adamant that the “correction damanges” of Rs 650 would have to be submitted for obtaining the correct certificates. We observed that the mistake of scanning the wrong photograph was committed by the CBSE office. It was not justified to pay Rs 650 for this blunder,” but the reply is still awaited”, said the school headmaster.

The student along with his mother made numerous visits to the CBSE office at Panchkula but all in vain.“ I asked the official concerned that since the mistake was on their part, why should we pay the penalty? But they were not ready to admit their mistake,” said Simranjeet.

Leaving nothing to chance, the student deposited Rs 650 vide receipt no 43646 on January 2009, but he is yet to get the pass certificate.

DR Yadav, Joint Director CBSE, Panchkula, when apprised of this mistake immediately retorted that the mistake could have been committed because of discrepancies in the registration numbers, but could not justify the “correction damages” borne by the student.



KV-31 celebrates annual day
Tribune News Service

Students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31, during their annual day in Chandigarh on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 27
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31, celebrated its annual function here today.

Air Cmde SC Luthra, VSM, AOC, 3BRD, AFE was the chief guest.

Principal Bharti Sood presented the annual report,

highlighting the achievements of the school in various fields.

Meritorious students in academics and co-curricular activities were also awarded.



Toppers awarded cash prizes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Guru Harkrishan Educational Society organised 17th sanman samaroh function, here yesterday, to honour students of various institutes and universities who topped in professional fields.

The toppers were awarded cash prizes ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 2,100 each with a certificate of appreciation.



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