C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kajouli water works security breached
Six sets of solar plates, 3 batteries stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Reflecting a serious security lapse in the heavily-guarded Sector 39 water treatment plant (Kajouli water works), six sets of solar charging panel plates and three batteries were stolen yesterday evening.

A visit to the site revealed that these plates were installed atop 10 feet high electricity poles. Reaching these solar plates installed at such a height and then dismantling them require a lot of time and technical know-how, said sources.

Though the loss has been estimated to be in a few thousands, questions are being raised on the security loopholes in the highly sensitive premises, housing 40 main overhead and underground water supply reservoirs, from where water is supplied to various parts of the city.

It is pertinent to mention that all the operations of the water works are carried 24X7 under the vigil of the commando force and the private security staff outsourced by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

MC Commissioner Roshan Sankaria could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. However, visibly perturbed sub-divisional officer Jaspal Singh said: “It is unfortunate that such an incident occurred in the premises. I am conducting an inquiry into the incident.”

Chief engineer S.K. Bansal was out of the city and had no knowledge of this incident. “I will order an inquiry after coming back,” he said.

Superintending engineer, public health division, R.C. Diwan said an FIR had been registered in the evening at the Sector 39 police station. However, Sector 39 SHO Jagat Rana denied registration of an FIR.

Some officials, preferring anonymity, said the theft was not possible without the connivance of some insiders. “It is difficult to reach the solar plates without the help of a step ladder. Secondly, it was not possible for an outsider to decamp with such heavy plates and batteries from the premises and that too escaping the eyes of security guards,” they said.

When apprised of the lapse, councillor M.P.S. Chawla said: “This is a grave issue. If thieves could break the security circle so easily, then they can also have an access to the water processing plant. I will raise this issue in the upcoming MC House meeting.”



In trouble, don’t rely on 100
Moving on the national highway towards Chandigarh,
when the number was tried by fixing the area code of
Zirakpur (01762), the call went to Rajpura police station
Tribune News Service

Mohali/Panchkula, May 23
The incident of a married woman being kidnapped from Zirakpur this Thursday has thrown up several questions about the safety of those moving on the roads as the Police Control Room (no.100) is not accessible from any point along the national highway.

The control room number when attempted from Zirakpur was not accessible. In case of robbery, timely intimation is crucial. There have been instances in Panchkula where robbers escaped as the police could not be contacted in time.

Data available with the Mohali and Panchkula police reveal that four incidents of robbery and dacoity were reported last year from Mohali compared to three incidents till April, 2009.

In Panchkula, there were three incidents last year compared to two incidents so far this year.

Moving on the national highway towards Chandigarh, when the number was again tried by fixing the area code of Zirakpur (01762), the call went to Rajpura police station. “One can imagine that in case of immediate help, time is very vital in taking action”, said Rajiv Bhalla, a resident of Dhakauli in Zirakpur.

A similar problem exists for those moving on the Ambala-Kalka national highway. On dialing the emergency number from either Pinjore or Kalka, the call reaches the Chandigarh control room.

To make matters worse, there are no emergency telephone number booths installed along the national highway. The only saving grace for the authorities was the helpline number being run by the National Highways Authorities of India (NHAI). “When we receive an accident call, we forward the information to the highway patrol.”

Mohali SSP JS Aulakh said there were two highway patrol vehicles moving between Dera Bassi and Lalru and the second between Zirakpur and Chhat village. “It is the highway patrol at Chhat which had been contacted by the kidnapped woman’s husband. We responded immediately and the woman was rescued within 12 hours due to timely action”, he added.

There is no accessibility of the emergency number from the peripheral areas in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru and Mullanpur Garibdass and Majri block. The situation was no different at Panchkula.

The resource-starved police finds it a tricky sitation to increase the patrolling on the highways. According to sources in the police, while the manpower deputed on the highway is far less than required, the fuel issued to the personnel for plying their vehicles is not sufficient to meet the requirements for which the patrolling vehicles remain static most of the time on the road sides waiting for the information on incidents.



2 more held for jewellery dacoity
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 23
With the arrest of two more accused of dacoity at PC Jewellers by the Rohtak police today, the chances of substantial recovery in the case has been increased. Till now the police could not recover the jewellery worth over Rs 2 crore even after many of the gang members were arrested earlier.

The two arrested at Rohtak were identified as Sunil Kumar of Sonepat and Sunder alias Kala of Rohtak district. One of the main accused Rajesh Badri, however, managed to escape when a special team constituted by the Rohtak police raided their hideout.

Two of the main accused Amit Yadav and Samir Nain were arrested by the Yamunanagar police in March but their arrests yielded no recoveries. It was only last week when merely 40 grams of gold was recovered from the sister of Samir Nain at Jind.



City woman run over by truck
Husband hurt as vehicle hits scooter on the killer
Barwala road; driver arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 23
The killer stretch of the Panchkula-Barwala road has snuffed out one more life when a 30-year old woman from Chandigarh was killed when the scooter she was riding pillion with her husband was hit by a truck here today.

Vipul Sharma, the husband of deceased Kavita, a resident of Sector 20, Chandigarh, however, escaped with minor injuries.

According to the police, the couple was returning to their home after visiting the parents of Kavita in Sector 26, here, when a speeding truck hit their scooter from back near Sector 25. While Kavita was crushed under tyres of the truck, Vipul sustained injuries and shifted to General Hospital, Sector 6.

The couple had left their two children, five years and other two-and-a-half- year-old, at their grandparents in Sector 26 before leaving for Chandigarh. The police has arrested truck drive, Manohar Lal after registering a case against him.

Numerous fatal accidents were reported from this part of the road last year following which in October, the police had written a letter to the national highways (B&R), Haryana, to remove blind curves on the road.

According to figures obtained from the police department, more than 100 persons lost their lives in road accidents last year.

And most of the fatal incidents were reported from the Nada Sahib to Barwala stretch of the NH-73. Every week, one or two persons die on this road, and several major accidents occur.



Go for surgery if drugs don’t work
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
She lived with epilepsy for nearly 13 years. Whenever a seizure attack started, it lasted for hours and even a multiple drug treatment yielded no results. With all solutions blocked, surgery was the only option for 23-year-old Vineeta (name changed). She underwent a surgery at PGI and since then has not had a single epileptic seizure.

Ironically, many people are not aware of the surgery treatment for epilepsy. “Surgery for epilepsy is prevalent since years, but many centres still lack the facility. Since most people are not aware, they continue depending on drugs even if it is not effective,’’ said Dr Parampreet Kharbanda, Assistant Professor, Epilepsy Centre, PGI, who operated on Vineeta.

Doctors at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) have been doing surgeries to cure epilepsy for nearly a decade now. But, lack of awareness about the surgical procedure is reflected in few cases, the institute has operated on hitherto.

‘‘Over 15 cases have been treated surgically. But the figure, as compared to the disease burden, is far too less. Nearly 30 per cent of epilepsy cases do not react to drugs and are medically intractable epilepsy cases that need to be evaluated for surgery,’’ said Dr Parampreet.

According to WHO, there are around 8 to 10 million people with epilepsy in India. But, most consult doctors for surgery after living with the disease for 18 to 20 years.

‘‘People carry on with changing drugs and trying out different combinations for years. If two or more drugs taken in the right quantity for over two years don’t control seizures, the patient should be evaluated for surgery. But due to lack of awareness, people come after 20 years. A delay of one year increases the risk of losing life by 0.5 per cent and with each passing year the risk keeps adding,’’ Dr Parampreet said.

In Vineeta’s case, neurologist had tried all combinations of drugs to control her attacks, but she was never investigated for a surgery. ‘‘Vineeta had mesial temporal sclerosis, a type of epilepsy in which seizure initiation point can be identified within the temporal lobe of the brain. It was due to a structural defect during birth and after studying her medical history; we conducted an array of medical tests to identify the point in the brain from where the seizures were coming. We then removed that part,’’ the doctor added.

According to experts, the percentage of people who require surgery is very less. ‘‘One has to be sure that the patient is not reacting to drugs.’’


‘Strike balance between environment, development’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
“There is a need to strike a balance between environment and development,” feels the Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan.

Speaking at a seminar on law and environment, organised by the Punjab and Haryana chapter of the Asia Pacific Jurist Association (APJA), the Chief Justice said, “Our country has a large number of unemployed youths. To deal with the problem of unemployment, the judiciary needs to strike a balance between environment and development.”

He said the countries in Asia were keen on analysing our judgements. Throwing light on the filing of public interest litigations regarding the environment, he said one could use Article 21 (guarantees right to life and liberty) and move the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution.

Holding greed of man responsible for the degradation in the environment, Justice Mukundakam Sharma, said, “The waster deposits in cities, deforestation and fast growth of industries are examples of need and greed of the people.”

Former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Vijendar Jain, said, “The preservation of ecology and environment is of prime importance for this country. Our judiciary is known throughout the work to take up cases related to environmental degradation.”

Justice VS Sirpukar of the Supreme Court said, “We all are aware of our rights, but we should also be conscious of our duties. We have to impart education about environment at school level.”



MC to auction parking lots
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Finally after the election process is over, the Municipal Corporation (MC) has started getting with its pending projects. To start with, the MC will go to auction four parking lots.

These include parking lots in Sectors 34, 22, 9-D and one in Mani Majra. While the one in Mani Majra is being auctioned for the first time, the other three have been auctioned even before.

The reserved prize for the parking lot in Sector 22 is Rs 1.69 lakh and for Sector 9, it is Rs 11 lakh. Similarly, the reserved prize for the parking lot in Sector 34 is Rs 9.08 lakh, while for Mani Majra, it is Rs 7.50 lakh.

The technical bids will open on June 10 for the parking lots.



Illegal stalls at Night Food Street
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
The Sector 14 Night Food Street is in news again for wrong reasons. In a gross violation of norms, illegal eating stalls have cropped up.

A visit to the site revealed that stalls selling juices and ice cream had been set up just opposite to the foundation stone pillar of the food street.

Three councillors, MPS Chawla, Dr Pam Rajput and Anu Chatrath, in whose jurisdiction the area falls, today paid a visit to the night food street. The violation was brought to their notice also. “This is violation of the norms. We will bring it to the notice of the authorities concerned,” they said.

Insiders said the illegal practice of selling items could not be possible without the connivance of the police or already established traders here.



Special Girl’s Rape
Human rights forum protests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Members of the Citizen Forum on Human Rights, Chandigarh, today lodged their protest against the inhuman act of raping a mentally challenged girl, by lighting the candles near Sector 34 gurdwara here today.

Sushil Gupta, president of the forum, said these centres had now become more of exploitation centres and these should be named as exploitation centres instead of rescue centres.

The forum also demanded stern action against the guilty persons responsible for exploiting a mentally challenged girl.



Pension hike for Lt Colonels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued the much-awaited orders for the sanction of enhanced pension to Lieutenant Colonels following the rank being upgraded to Pay Band-4.

The orders were issued by the MoD on May 21 after concurrence of the ministry’s finance division was received earlier this month.

The revised pension is applicable to all Lieutenant Colonels and equivalents in the air force and navy except Military Nursing Service officers.

According to sources, the full pension of Lt Cols who retired prior to January 1, 2006, would now be Rs 25,700. In addition, DA at the present rate of 22 per cent would be applicable on this amount.

Sources said for pre-2006 pensioners of this rank, pension has been worked out on the basis of 50 per cent of the minimum pay in Pay Band-4, which is Rs 37,400, plus grade pay of Rs 8,000 plus military service pay of Rs 6,000.

For those retiring on January 1, 2006 or after, the pension has been fixed at 50 per cent of the total last drawn pay.



Fire in Sector 17 shop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
A minor fire broke out at Bhardwaj Gift Shop in Sector 17-C here today early morning. The fire was brought under control in 10 minutes of the incident.

According to fire officials, they received information at around 6 in the morning. Following which two fire tenders each from Sector 17 and Sector 11 fire stations were pressed into service.

The fire officials added that short circuit seems to be the reason behind the fire. Almost all toys got burnt and a loss of about Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 was being estimated.



Workshop on empowerment training begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
A four-day workshop on “Empowerment training and training of trainers” in the field of evidence-based management and medicine was inaugurated today at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, by Gen SF Rodrigues (Retd), Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator.

The workshop is being organised by Singapore Indian Group Networking for Empowerment Training (SIGNET) which is being sponsored by Singapore Health Services.

While inaugurating the workshop, Rodrigues stressed on the need to evolve healthcare model, which could deliver essential healthcare services to needy at an affordable cost.

He also outlined various steps taken by the Chandigarh Administration to address various health related issues in relation to the most disadvantaged people of society.

A book entitled “Trends in medical physics and biomedical instrumentation” was also released.



Patients treated for orthopaedics perform bhangra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Fortis Hospital, Mohali, organised a special meet, ‘Friends of Fortis’, here for its former patients. The meet was conducted by the orthopaedics department of the hospital.

The aim of organising the meet was to showcase the quality of life of patients who had undergone orthopaedic treatment. These meets helped such patients get together with their doctor or surgeon informally and interact with other people who had undergone therapy or treatment similar to theirs.

Speaking on the occasion, orthopaedic surgeon Dr Manuj Wadhwa said this was a platform for patients to seek answers to their queries and achieve better understanding of their prognosis.

On this occasion Dr Wadhwa, senior consultant, Fortis Hospital, gave presentation on ‘pre and post joint replacement life’. The highlight of this meet was the Bhangra performance by joint replacement patients. More than 350 people attended the event.

Dr Wadhwa added, “Initiatives like Friends of Fortis help us in communicating a positive message (to the patients) that they can have a full and happening life despite having health problems in their past.”



Healthy baby show organised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
The local unit of the Air Force Wives’ Welfare Association (AFWWA) organised a healthy baby show at no. 3 base repair depot, in which about 30 children participated.

The event is held at the depot annually to help create awareness among IAF personnel regarding childcare and healthy upbringing of babies.

Attired in colourful dresses, children displayed various activities, including dancing, singing and acting. Rupam, Akshit and Aman Goswamy were declared winners in the respective groups.

Renu Luthra, president of the AFWWA, gave away the prizes to the winners. Every child was given gifts for participation.



303 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
The Thalassaemic Children Welfare Association (TCWA) organised its 106th blood donation camp at Zakir Hall in PGI, here today.

It was inaugurated by Prof SS Gill, vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot. About 303 volunteers donated blood at the camp, which was conducted by a team of doctors and technicians headed by Dr Neelam Marwaha, head of blood transfusion department and also a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the association.

Prof Gill praised the efforts of the TCWA and congratulated the donors hailing from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh for this noble cause.



Poetry book ‘Noori Jotan’ released
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 23
The Academy of National Literature and Culture, Mohali, organised a seminar to mark the release of a Punjabi poetry book “Noori Jotan”, authored by Bhagat Ram Rangara at Shivalik Public School here today.

Renowned poets, writers and art lovers participated in the seminar, followed by a poetic symposium.

Literary personalities, including Shriram Arsh and Joginder Singh Rainkh, presented critical appreciation of the book. The author had sculpted verses on religious, patriotic and romantic themes, giving a new dimension to the book.



Row over poll in Saupin’s
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
General body meeting of Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of Saupin’s School ended with heated arguments between parents and school authorities on conducting coming executive body elections of the school.

At the commencement of the meeting, the school authorities proposed that the executive body elections scheduled for August would be conducted by a secret ballot. Many parents objected to the proposal and stated that they wanted to choose their executive body representatives unanimously and there was no need for holding the elections.

The parents also objected to the one-sided decision of the school authorities in raising fee without taking PTA members into confidence.

The parents alleged that when they raised these issues at the PTA meeting, principal AB Sidhu misbehaved with them and asked them to leave the school.

The parents stated that they had asked at the last meeting that a directory of the students should be prepared but the school authorities had yet to implement that decision. They said this year homework of class VI students required use of Internet and the authorities had informed the students that computers were available in the school and if they wanted to use them they would have to pay extra money for it.

The parents pointed that they would bring this issue into the notice of the education department.

When contacted the principal stated that the meeting was attended by only 30 parents who did not want the elections of the executive body but how could we go by their suggestion as we had the strength of 1,568 students in the school.

He said there were two parents’ representatives, one male and one female from each class in the executive body. How is it possible not to conduct the elections on the request of only 30 parents?

Sidhu said the school had raised the fee by 10 per cent last year in the month of November and before this meeting not even a single complaint had been received by the authorities. He said the school authorities had written about it to the education department and the DPI had agreed to it. He said he was going to call another meeting of the general body after vacations.



Kids get tips on banking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
HSBC India organised a workshop on basics of banking for students of Vivek High School at its branch in Chandigarh today.

The workshop was aimed at creating awareness among these children about how a bank works and the importance of saving money.

Branch manager Sachin Vinayak, who took the children through a short presentation, conducted the workshop.

Personalised certificates with the child’s name signed by the branch manager were also handed over to the children.

Pool party

To beat the scorching heat, a splash pool activity was organised for the tiny tots of PML SD Public School (Petals), Sector 32, Chandigarh. The children had great fun while enjoying water activities.



PU Notes
PU to impose reservation policy for faculty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
With the Syndicate and Senate giving its approval, Panjab University will now implement reservation policy of the Government of India as prescribed by the UGC in its new guidelines for appointment of faculty.

The rules of reservation would be applicable to all teaching posts such as lecturers, readers, professors, etc. with 15 per cent reservation for the SCs and 7.5 per cent for the STs, both at the time of direct recruitment and at the time of internal promotion.

A similar percentage would be exercised while allotting on-campus accommodation. The percentage of reservation would be applied separately for each recruitment.

All SC/STs candidates selected according to their position in the combined general merit list would not be counted for covering prescribed percentage of reservation.

The SC/STs candidates would be interviewed separately and one member of the selection committee would belong to the SC/STs category.


Dr Bhupinder Singh Bhoop, a professor at University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Dean Alumni Relations of Panjab University, has recently been awarded a major research project with a total funding of Rs 20 lakh from AICTE, New Delhi, entitled, “Design, development and optimisation of oral drug delivery systems with enhanced bioavailability potential of hypolipidemic drugs”.



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