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5 of family killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 31
The pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi proved to be the last journey for five family members of Mahinder Singh Lathar, a resident of Rail Vihar locality here, when their car rammed into a tree near Hoshiarpur in the wee hours today.

The deceased were identified as Jagwanti (55), wife of Lathar, his son Sandeep (22), son-in-law Ashok (37), Ansh (5) and Akanksha (7), both children of Ashok. Lathtar’s two daughters Sunil and Suman and Akshita (6), daughter of Suman, were admitted to Panchkula General Hospital with serious injuries, from where doctors referred Sunil with fractures in her both legs to the PGI.

Lathar was not in the town, as he is employed as an engineer with a steel plant at Bhubaneswar.

Ashok was practising as chartered accountant at Bahadurgarh, while Sandeep was employed as engineer with Bhushan Industry in Chandigarh. A pall of gloom desecended on the locality as residents started visiting the house of the victims as soon as the news was flashed on news channels.

According to relatives of victims, Ashok a resident of Rohtak, along with his wife Sunil and two kids Ansh and Akanksha, reached Panchkula and took along with him Jagwanti, Sandeep, Suman and her daughter Akshita for pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi on Friday.

It was at 3.30 am near Bagpur village on the Hoshriapur-Dasuya road when suddenly an animal came on road, and Ashok, who was driving the car, lost control on the wheel and the car rammed into a tree alongside the road, said Suman at General Hospital.

However, the police at Hoshiarpur suspected that Ashok was drowsy when he lost the control over the car before it hit a eucalyptus tree.

The bodies and injured were shifted to Civil Hospital at Hoshirapur, following which the injured were taken to Panchkula hospital.

The shifting of critically injured Sunil to the PGI was delayed by at least for 15 minutes when the driver of ambulance went missing after parking the vehicle on the door of hospital. It was in the afternoon when doctors referred Sunil to the PGI and asked the driver of ambulance to take her to the PGI.

The driver, however, parked the ambulance in front of the hospital door and went missing. It took at least 15 minutes for the doctors and other staff members to locate him before the patient was taken to the PGI.

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Safe water not MC’s priority 
Reservoirs not cleaned for ages
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Even as the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation continues to dole out crores as consultation fee for studying the water supply and sewerage system in the city for the upcoming projects, it has failed to provide safe water to residents.

Reason: Lackadaisical attitude of the MC to get the water reservoirs cleaned. Just today evening, S.P. Shergill, Principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya, High Grounds, and a resident of Sector 51, had a horrific encounter with a snake-like creature, which appeared from a water tap.

There are over 40 overhead and underground water supply reservoirs in division No. 3 through which water is supplied to various Sectors of the city. However, these have not been cleaned since long.

Just two months back in Kajheri village (sub-division no. 12 that comes under division no. 3), tonnes of slush was removed from the 70,000-gallon capacity water storage tank during a cleaning drive carried out by the MC and that too after the area residents made hue and cry about pollutes water being supplied to them.

However, this grave issue, it seems, is not the priority of the MC authorities. Questions are also being raised over the approval of hiring consultancy agencies for crores, just for studying the water augmentation projects despite the fact that no immediate proposal for providing surplus water for the city is in sight, whereas the proposal worth a few lakh, which ensures safe water to city residents, hang in balance due to official red tape.

When contacted, Executive Engineer, division No. 3, R.S. Bedi said he had already submitted the file regarding cleaning of water tanks and it was lying with Superintending Engineer R.K. Goyal.

However, Goyal said he was not authorised to speak to the media and advised to contact Chief Engineer S.K. Bansal.

Bansal said the work has been pending due to election code of conduct. “The matter will now be sent to the MC House for approval,” he added.

The MC had mooted a plan worth Rs 11 lakh for cleaning around 30 main water storage tanks, but it could not be executed till date.

Ironically, a demonstration of mechanical cleaning of a boosting tank at Sector 51, having 50,000-gallon storage capacity, was conducted in April last year. Tonnes of slush, inorganic pollutants and multi-layer of bleaching powder, a cleansing agent generally used for cleaning water tanks, were deposited in the tanks.

The occasion was attended by senior officials of administration and the MC, but even after a year, water storage tanks have not be cleaned. 

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Scooters killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Gurdeep Singh, a driver with Punjab Roadways, was killed after a water tanker rammed into his scooter in Phase I, Industrial Area, here this evening.

The 45-year-old victim was severely injured and was declared dead at the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital.

According to the police, the mishap occurred near Bhusan Factory at around 6 pm when a Swaraj Mazda (CH-01-G1-2088) hit the scooter from rear. The truck driver fled from the spot. The police is investigating the matter

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Highway robbery case ‘cracked’
Conflicting reports strain relations between UT, Haryana Police
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Even as unconfirmed reports say that the Haryana Police has arrested five members of the inter-state gang of highway robbers and has recovered the Honda Civic car of city businessman Lalit Behl, both the Panchkula and Chandigarh Police are tight-lipped over the developments.

The reports have “strained” the relations between the UT and the Haryana Police with the latter blaming the former of “leaking” information.

Sources said the Haryana Police is annoyed with the UT Police for sharing vital information to the media, which is adversely affecting their ongoing probe into the case.

Meanwhile, sources said that Behl’s Honda Civic car was recovered from Pinjore area. The raiding teams have rounded up five persons from Kurukshetra, including a woman, yesterday. Besides, the police has reportedly seized four motorcycles and huge cache of firearms and ammunition.

However, SP, Panchkula, Amitabh Dhillon and his IG (Ambala Range) K.K. Sindhu have categorically denied having arrested any members of the inter-state gang of highway robbers so far. Adding to this, Dhillon also refuted the reports that the police had busted the gang. He, however, stated that they were working hard on the case.

Unconfirmed reports from the Haryana Police said some of the suspected members of the gang had been arrested from Haryana. Sources say the Panchkula Police will come out with the details within a couple of days as the police parties, which were dispatched to Punjab to trap the remaining members of the gang, are expected to come late tonight.

Sources in the Chandigarh Police said so far the investigators had got no information whether the suspects nabbed by the Haryana Police are the same who looted Lalit Behl at his Sector 33 residence on Wednesday morning after kidnapping from at gunpoint near Shahbad Markanda. It is learnt that the Haryana Police was not sharing information with the Chandigarh Police being apprehensive of leaking of vital information.

A police officer said the gang consisted of several small gangs involved in similar highway robberies and has swelled into a larger group of such robbers. Most likely, the Chandigarh Police would get a chance to interrogate the robbers only after the Haryana Police finishes with its cases.

It is learnt that the robbers mortgage their booty, generally jewellery, to a big financer, who has branches in several cities, including in Chandigarh. Describing their modus operandi, sources said the robbers, instead of selling the looted valuables at lesser price, mortgage it. The police has recovered ornaments wroth lakhs of rupees from the financer.

UT SSP S.S. Srivastva said they had got vitals clues about the gang and were very close to cracking the case.

Meanwhile, Behl said he too had no idea what was going on and had not been told that his car was recovered. 

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Anti-Tobacco Day
For smokers, it’s just another day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
For smokers, it was just another day, as the World No Tobacco day did not deter them from puffing away in public. While NGOs and other organisations organised several programmes in the city to make people aware of its ill-effects, those who smoke cared two hoots about it and were seen smoking in parks, market areas and other public places.

After launching a ban on smoking in public places last July, barring a few perfunctory acts of catching smokers and imposing fines or counselling them, officials responsible for implementing the ban seem to have simply gone up in smoke.

While select places like coffee shops and hotels appear to have implemented the ban by putting up signage, other places seem to be open to people simply enjoying the puff without fear or care.

The Chandigarh Administration had recently conducted raids in 10 pubs and four discos in the city and issued challans not only for improper signage relating to no smoking area but also because people were found smoking there.

Their efforts need momentum and they should take it up as a crusade.

Lack of seriousness of the administration in implementing the ban is also evident from the low number of cases of fines. According to figures available with the health department, only 1,694 cases have been filed across the city since July 2008 when the ban came into force.

According to city-based doctors, there had been a significant increase in the number of smokers in the city. This can be ascertained from the records of the city pulmonologists, who say that almost 30 to 50 per cent of their patients suffer from smoking-related ailments.

Doctors admit that the hazards of tobacco consumption are not unknown to anyone. However, they are anxious to spread the word on the health problems that it can lead to.

Watch out for complications

l Heavy smoking can lead to oral cancer, cancer in the larynx or respiratory track.
l Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), considered to be the fourth largest killer disease in the world, is again caused due to excessive tobacco consumption.
l Most smokers tend to suffer from asthma at some stage in their lives.
l Smoking can also cause gastrointestinal diseases as it increases the amount of acid formed in the stomach, which in turn may cause a peptic ulcer.
l Sleeping disorders, bad breathe, dizziness, coughing, burning of eyes, high risk of fractures and sore throat are some other ill-effects of 
smoking .
l Doctors say passive smokers too can develop such ailments. Children exposed to heavy smoking are also prone to developing behavioural problems.

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But makes difference for 20 smokers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
The “World No Tobacco Day” made a difference to the lives of at least 20 persons here today, who lighted the proverbial last fag of their life from a candle, threw it into a water tub kept by the side and took a vow never to smoke again.

“Under a noble initiative of the Health Department, we had planned to offer incentive to the smokers wanting to quit smoking. We provided them with a candle, asked them to light a cigarette and throw it into a tub full of water with an oath ‘this is my last smoke’. And about 20 persons did so”, said Dr Deepak Bakshi, state nodal officer, Chandigarh.

This activities formed part of the elaborate and integrated plan drawn up by the Chandigarh Administration, in collaboration with the National Tobacco Control Cell, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) to celebrate “World No Tobacco Day” in Sector 17. The event was inaugurated by Dr MS Bains, Director, Health Services, Chandigarh.

A one-day exhibition was held to mark the occasion. It exhibited “pictorial warnings” through the medium of 25 huge posters detailing and displaying in full measure the ill-effects of smoking. Audio-video shots were also shown to the visitors, bringing home the message of ill-effects of smoking.

The Health Department had also made arrangements for conducting free ECG and spirometry tests to check the functioning of heart and lungs of smokers. More than 200 persons benefited from this facility.

The wall of flexi-sheet put up to enable people to launch a signature campaign against smoking and enable the visitors to write their slogans was left with little space after half an hour. “So much was the enthusiasm among the people to highlight the ill-effects of the damaging habit”, Dr Bakshi added.

Chandigarh had been declared smoke-free city by the Administration on July 15, 2007. 

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No-smoking area posters in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 31
To celebrate Anti-Tobacco Week, NGO Kalgidhar Sewak Jatha today pasted no-smoking area posters in different sector markets. JP Singh, president of the jatha, said around 100 such posters had been displayed through the city. Besides, members of the NGO were seen requesting people not to smoke in public places.

The NGO also complained that despite the district administration being requested to check smoking at public place, no cooperation had been extended by the latter. The administration and the health authorities have been shifting the responsibility. The health department has also been slow in taking action.

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Deluxe Building reeks, courtesy sweepers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
The backyard of the Additional Deluxe Building in Sector 9 has virtually turned into a garbage dump. In fact, it is a harrowing time for scores of employees of different wings of the engineering department on the ground floor of the building as garbage is dumped right next to their place of working.

The top brass of the administration and the police, which sit next to the building, seem to be oblivious to the problems being faced by the employees. Sweepers of the departments on the upper floors throw garbage with impunity on the open space on the ground floor making the area unhygienic, complained an employee.

Repeated complaints to the sweepers to mend their way seem to have fallen on deaf ears. The ground floor of the building houses the offices of different wings of the engineering department, including the water supply and the electricity, besides the UT vigilance department.

The staff alleged that the accumulated garbage, which is removed only after several days, posed a serious health hazard to the employees and passersby. Interestingly, the office of the malaria wing of the health department is also situated on the top floor of the Additional Deluxe Building.

With monsoon round the corner, the dumped garbage poses a serious health hazard.

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Property Tax 
MC set to achieve target
Collects Rs 24 lakh in 2 days
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Unlike last year, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is all set to achieve its target of collecting property tax.

A collection of Rs 24 lakh has already been made at the MC office alone in two days (May 30, 31). This does not include the tax collected through 10 branches of the Oriental Bank of Commerce in the city.

Today was the last date of filing property tax.

Though the exact amount collected this year is yet to be calculated, officials say the target of Rs 13 crore will be achieved this year.

Notices to the tune of Rs 12 crore were served for this year to the owners and occupiers of government as well as private commercial, industrial and institutional properties and residential properties that were being used commercially, said officials.

MC Additional Commissioner P.K. Sharma confirmed that Rs 24 lakh had been received by the MC office in two days. “The exact amount collected through different branches of the Oriental Bank of Commerce has not been worked out as yet and there may be some amount standing against the firms as arrears.

But we have received more than what we anticipated. Since it being a two-month self-assessment tax scheme, there were less defaulters,” he said.

“Besides, the 10 per cent rebate in case the tax has been deposited between April 1 and May 31, too, worked wonders,” added Sharma.

The defaulters will have to pay 25 per cent extra along with interest calculated at the rate of 12 per cent per annum with effect from April 1 till the date of payment of property tax they actually pay.

“This amounts to a loss of around 37 per cent, which will be a big liability after the lapse of the stipulated period of depositing the tax, he said.

A 15-member MC team led by chief accounts officer Nirmal Singh were on duty to collect the tax. “We were open for Saturday and Sundays, too, especially for collecting the tax and ample information in this regard had been circulated to property owners through advertisements in newspapers.

We ensured this time that the notices should be handed over personally to those property owners who are liable to pay the tax,” he added. 

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Punjabi film preview held at Mohali school

Mohali, May 31
A preview of ‘Kab Gal Lavehnge’, produced by Hardeep Singh, an SGPC member, was held at Shivalik Public School, Phase 6, here yesterday.

Prof Jaspal Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, inaugurated the show. Prof Manjit Singh, former Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib, who has written the story of the movie was also present.

Depicting the socio-religious aspect of the day, the film not only projects the drug menace in our society, shortfalls in the management system of our religious institutions and lack of will among the social, political and religious ranks, but also brings awareness to the society about these evils.

Story revolves around a Sikh preacher "Bah Sahib", who not only performs the day-to-day practice of the gurdwara, but also takes it as his duty to do something about these tragic aspects of the society. — TNS

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Satirical comedy enthrals audience
SD Sharma

Panchkula, May 31
A hilarious musical comedy play “Gadhe ki baraat” was staged at Indradhanush Auditorium on the third day of the ongoing TFT Summer Theatre Festival here today.

Based on playwright Hari Bhai Vadgaokar’s original Marathi creation, the play offered an incisive criticism of depraving moral values and justice leading to growing disparity among different classes of society and the rich-poor divide which cannot be bridged. 

Presented in a nautanki theatre format under the direction of Sudesh Sharma, the play is a powerful satire on the present monarchs in the guise of corrupt administrators, who are at the helms of governance, political heavyweights and religious patriarchs.

The playwright had relied simultaneously on the mythological characters and contemporary life only to draw a contrast while illustrating the thematic content of the play.

Earning the wrath of celestial king Indra, protagonist Chitrasen Gandgarv, is condemned to lead the life of a donkey on earth in the patronage of a village potter, Kallu, who showered love and affection on the animal.

Gifted with exceptional supernatural powers, the donkey (cursed Chitrasen) completes a bridge much ahead of the schedule, which entitled him to marry the princess as per a vow undertaken by her and the curse is revoked and Chitrasen is transformed back to life.

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City Scope
The waning fear of the Khaki
Raveen Thukral

On Sunday, I was sitting with my wife and finalising my plans to go to Delhi next week to drop my son who goes back to college in Toronto , Canada. And incidentally the night he leaves, my brother and his family arrive from the US for a short vacation.

Happy at this co-incidence, as it avoided an extra trip to Delhi, I excitedly told my wife that since “their” flight is around midnight, I'll pick them up and drive back home straight from the airport. Even before these words finished flowing from my mouth, my wife shot back, rather sternly, “you are not travelling back at night and that's for sure”.

Little realising what she had on her mind, I told her that the road from Delhi had become good with all those flyovers and four laning and it was much safer to drive on them at night than before. “I'm not talking about road safety.

I don't want you to come back with some highway robbers in tow,” she said, obviously referring to the recent kidnapping and the subsequent robbery of Sector 33 businessman, Lalit Behl.

“Don't be a chicken. Who will kidnap me and what will they rob us for,” I said in all my bravado. As she walked off shrugging her head in disapproval and apparently thinking that there was no point arguing with a stubborn person like me, my thoughts ran wild and I started thinking what will I really do if caught in such circumstances.

The thought of my aged parents and my family being tied up and gun totting men ransacking my house were enough to make my temple slightly sweaty on an otherwise breezy morning.

What if they don't find enough here and ask me to take them to the house of a rich friend, I thought. But before I could imagine a response to it, the words “your tea” broke my wild thoughts.

As I then sat down to write this column, I could feel the trauma faced by the Behl family so closely and also understand my wife's concern in this regard. Presuming that you all are also as sensible as my and your wives (even the apex court has now literally certified that ‘wife is king’), you too must be wondering how safe we really are in this city.

The ease with which the kidnappers came into the city and went out, the daring murders of the owner of Sham Mall, Amarjit Singh, and Airtel official, Sameer Vatts, in Mohali, the daylight robbery at the Sector 16 residence of retired PCS officer, Om Prakash, the series of bank heists in Panchkula and the general visible increase in goondagardi on the streets of the tri-city seem to indicate how easy it is to commit a crime here and get away with it.

As reported in these columns, the suspects in the Behl case adopted the same modus operandi as was done in a similar but unsuccessful bid at the residence of Panchkula BJP district president, Shyam Lal Sachdev, about a month ago. 

The police fear that both the cases could be the handiwork of the same gang but the fact that the suspects did a carbon copy act, choosing the same areas to strike i.e. the Karnal-Shahbad stretch on GT road and then the tri-city, speaks volumes on their confidence about the laxity of the law enforcers here and on the National Highway.

I know that this article would upset some of my friends in Chandigarh police and they will give all sorts of logics, the most popular being that “we can't be everywhere and people have to also take preventive steps for their own safety”, in their defence but I strongly feel that basic policing has taken a back seat. 

The traditional beat system of policing has almost finished and the visibility of the Khaki on the streets is only after such sensational crimes are committed.

To check for myself, I called up several aged acquaintances of mine, some staying alone, to verify how many times they had been visited by the beat constables in the recent past. 

As I expected, none had seen the khaki at their doorsteps for the past many months. Some of them were so scared of staying alone that they requested me not to write their names as any disclosure could provide “leads” to thieves active in the city.

I don't know how many of you would agree, I feel that the fear of khaki is generally on the wane. The fearlessness among law breakers, even the petty ones like habitual traffic violators, is on the increase. Now there is nothing subtle in their movements, it's all brazen. And unfortunately, lax policing and the strong criminal-cop nexus are to be blamed for this.

Off hand I don't have any data with me but I am sure that if a study is undertaken to ascertain the number of non-bailable warrants that are not executed, mainly due the unholy criminal-police nexus, in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, it would reveal that most of the crimes are being committed by the same culprits. Similar is the case with proclaimed offenders who are not arrested for decades. Incidentally there are over 1500 POs in this city, with some wanted for cases nearly 30 years old.

Unlike other cities, Chandigarh is a small compact town with no dearth of funds, it’s devoid of political interference and has a police force that has access to all modern weaponry and transport but still much remains desired on the law and order front. I just shudder to think if we too will have to go the Delhi way, sealing our sectors by installing gates and having private security guards to man them. I hope not.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com

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Cityscope Letters
Time to shun insensitivity

This refers to the City Scope “Insensitivity is not the answer”(May 25) by Raveen Thukral.

Kudos to Raveen Thukral for writing a bold piece, exposing the lousy security arrangements at Nari Niketan.

As the country is so vast, I feel it is a Herculean task to provide safety to every woman anywhere. The wheel of law, alas, moves so slow that it has failed to act as a deterrent to criminals. Please keep on awakening the inefficient system. It will certainly make some change, if not big.

And Raveen Thukral has rightly said,"these bureaucrats perhaps forget that like prevention is be better than cure, deterrence is the only plausible solution to crime. Insensitivity and the ‘hota rehta hai attitude’ to such crimes is not the answer." Carry on with your crusade.

Prikshat Verma, Canada

II

Who does not know the meaning of ‘only the bearer knows, where the shoe pinches’, but seldom was it followed especially by senior and responsible officials. A grown-up mentally challenged girl kept in the UT Administration’s Nari Niketan or Aashray was found nine weeks pregnant, as she was raped for days together by Nari Niketan employee Bhupinder Singh with the help of another employee, Kamla. The accused has been arrested, but action is still pending against him, which exposes the lackadaisical attitude of the UT Administration. The officials are busy passing the buck. How sad!

Why is the Administration maintaining these Nari Niketan and Aashray when it is unable to provide proper security arrangements to the inmates. Why is not the rapist dismissed till now ? Were the things same if the victim had been a ward of an influential politician, senior bureaucrat or police officer?

Tall walls may not be a remedy as the bureaucrats feel.It is neither a social problem attributed to scaling small or tall walls. It is the breakdown of the system, careless attitude and dereliction of duty which are the reasons behind the incident. It is a matter of great concern that certain officials are trying to muzzle the Press exposing their inefficiency leading such incidents. Had the Administration taken preventive measures in time, this would not have happened. Why are male workers allowed in Nari Niketan? Why are these places not frequently inspected and checked to gauge the real picture.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar (retd), Mohali

III

I am a member of Prayatan, an NGO, which is working for the rehabilitation of mentally challenged patients. I was disappointed to note that none of your articles has ever mentioned or highlighted the fact that 'Ashreya' -- name changed by the Governor after its inauguration in December 2008 -- was initially being run as a half-way home for the mentally challenged for the last 10 years and it was shocking to us that firstly the name was changed and then the very purpose of the building was changed and the Nari Niketan girls were filled up in place of the earlier members who are now sitting in one room -- the so-called dining room.

We met the Home Secretary just before the inauguration and were reassured that we would be well looked after. When the building was being constructed we were always given the impression that this was meant for our benefit and expansion but we were in for a rude shock -- why this took place was a mystery to us.

I even took a member's mother (who is a widow of 75 years) to the DSW in February 2009 - she informed us that this was not under her jurisdiction and suggested that we meet the DP at GMCH 32.

I then took the lady to meet the DP and he again gave us the assurance that her daughter would be given a room but nothing was done. We now fail to understand why this step-motherly treatment is being given to these members. You know what results have come out by their hasty mismangement and ill treatment of the mentally ill members who have no other place than this for their rehabilitation.

We are doing occupation therapy with these members by giving them work in the plant nursery, making newspaper bags and running kiosks at various places to rehabilitate them - and the administration has taken a very mean step to dislodge them and harass their guardians who are old and depressed by the whole situation.

My question is WHY? What have these old and worried persons done to harm them ? Why don’t they have sympathy for them and help them. I think it is the moral duty of the State and since there was nothing of this kind in the north and the Supreme Court has given a directive to have such a half-way home in every state,then why are they putting hurdles.

Member Prayatan

IV

Going by the judgement of the apex court in the case of Som Mittal, whereby the former Director of Hewlett Packard Global Software Ltd, was prosecuted for rape and murder of Pratibha Srikant Murthy, a BPO employee, by a cab driver contacted by the company, the officials of Nari Niketan, directly responsible for the upkeep and safety of the mentally challenged victim, should have at least been suspended immediately.

I fail to understand why persons like Nikhil Kumar, terminated from government jobs, are embraced by political parties and given tickets to contest the elections. These are the people who are mainly responsible for the degradation and insensitivity rampant in the administrative machinery. Every conceivable step should be taken to ensure the safety of the mentally challenged inmates of the institutions like Nari Niketan so that no one could dare enter these.

Trishla Garg, Panchkula

V

It has been rightly stated that all those responsible for the rape of the mentally challenged girl, who was seven weeks pregnant, should be brought to book and punished. Rape is a widespread crime against women in India. It certainly "becomes all the more serious when the victim is mentally challenged and is in the custody of the state", as stated by Thukral.

It is a matter of shame that the bureaucrat concerned has termed the incident as a social problem and "part of the society"! This surely is insensitivity on the part of him. How can a male enter the premises of such buildings which are supposed to be well-guarded and the helpless victims are kept safe there?

It cannot be possible without the support of insiders responsible for the security and welfare of the inmates of Nari Niketan or Aashray. The law should not spare the guilty, rather they should be severely punished. Even they should not be allowed to appeal in higher courts also.

R K Kapoor, Chandigarh

VI

The shocking incident shows that things are not going well at Nari Nikatan or Ashraya. Any way this is a matter of investigation which will be cleared after the DNA test. But one thing is very much clear that the Administration is not taking preventive measures.They always start digging the well when the house is on fire.

The government had set up two committees, i.e. Advisory Committee and Co-ordination Committee, consisting of prominent heads. The Advisory Committee’s members are Joint Director, Government Institute of Mentally Retarded Children, Med. Supdt. of GSSH, Sector-16, HoD, Psychiatry Ward, PGI, and Officer from ICDS U.T. for improvement, better functioning and day-to-day working of Nari Niketan. But unfortunately this committee never met since its constitution in 2005. One can easily judge the seriousness of the Advisory Committee.

Similar is the fate of the Co-ordination Committee which was formed for periodic reviews of imparting technical training, maintenance of buildings, providing health care facilities to the inmates of Social Welfare Organizations. But unfortunately they themselves have no co-ordination and never met to do some concrete job.

The official machinery is not serious about the functioning of these institutions as these are not earner institute. In my view a proper inquiry must be conducted and initiate strict action against those who are against these committees. Foolproof security arrangements are need of the hour. Honest and sincere employees should be posted at such institutions. Surprise checks must be conducted.

Kulbhushan Kanwar, Chandigarh

VII

The incident came to light when the victim complained of vomiting and uneasiness with pain in abdomen and was admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 .The shocking incident has put a question mark over the security aspect of these homes.

The Tribune has exposed the lax security arrangements at Aashreya .The Administration has increased the height of the grills on its boundary walls but action is still pending against the guilty.

The investigative agency should be provided all the details pertaining to the crime .The officers of the Chandigarh Administration should also provide the information to the media.

The Tribune is not ‘sensationalising’ the matter, rather it is doing its duty.

M L Garg, Chandigarh

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Tuition fee for SCs, STs to go
Syndicate nod for student medical insurance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
In a major decision taken at its Syndicate meeting, Panjab University is all set to exempt students belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) categories of Punjab from paying tuition fee and other non-refundable charges at the time of admission.

The decision was one among many taken for the student’s welfare with another prominent one being of constitution of a soft loan corpus worth Rs 1 crore wherein students will be provided loans for various academic purposes. The Syndicate has also granted its approval to the much-awaited student medical insurance wherein the university will insure not only the student but also his parents.

According to RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, PU, some major decisions have been taken at this Syndicate meeting.

“I am happy that we have been able to progress on certain issues pertaining to the student welfare. We have also got approval for two new institutes on the campus, one for Forensic Sciences and another for hotel administration. We have also come up with employee welfare schemes to help them financially at the time of need,” he said.

The Syndicate, taking cognizance of memoranda of students, approved the demand of marking a sportsperson present if he is out representing university at some tournament on a particular day. Prior to this, such students were granted attendance for the days of participation at the end of semester only which led to major discrepancies.

Though the post of registrar and deputy registrar for an independent RTI cell has been approved, the integrities are yet to be worked out.

In another decision, the Syndicate also showed its agreement to change the nomenclatures of Sector 11 Government College and also that of Department of English to rename it as Government Postgraduate College, Sector 11, and the Department of English and Cultural Studies, respectively.

Keeping in view the beginning of the next session, the Syndicate also approved the admission guidelines for the session of 2009-10.

It also beckons its permission for the introduction of a course on demonstrative advocacy under joint patronage of PU and the Fancy Barristers, a professional corporation and the USA’s New York Law School.

The PU’s Sophisticated Analytical Instrumentation Facility (SAIF) Department recorded an income of Rs 36.43 lakh in the 2008-09 financial year which is the highest in the history of the centre.

The department is allowing discounts of 80 percent to all educational institutes as per Department of Science and Technology guidelines. The projected income without these discounts comes to be nearly Rs 1.5 crore.

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Rayat team comes out with formula car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Students of the Rayat-Bahra team has come out with its super mileage car that has 600 CC engine (Honda CBR 600 RR liquid cooled) facilitated with a turbo charger, making it the first of its kind in Asia to be built by the students. It will compete internationally.

All decked with the new shiny and sleek beauty, the team of Rayat Institute of Engineering and Information Technology will compete at prestigious Formula SAE International competition at Fontana, California, the USA, which is to be held from June 17 to June 20, 2009.

Gurvinder Singh Bahra, vice-chairman, Rayat-Bahra group, said the car had a five-speed gearing mechanism and could reach up to 110 km/hr within 4.4 seconds. Weighing 300 kg, this beauty on wheels gives speed of 260 km/hr.

The team behind this car has 10 students of the second and third year of Rayat Institute of Engineering & Information Technology. Nine students are from mechanical engineering and one student is from electrical engineering wing.

The team is led by Ashish Das. Other members of the team are Kenneth Dean, Prasanjeet Das, Tarun, Parshant Kumar, Ashok Singh, Honey Sharma, Nitin Saini, Ramesh Chander and Jagajit Singh Parmar.

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Punjab board Class XII results
Only 52.8 pc pass in Mohali schools
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 31
The district, considered to be a VIP station for posting of teachers in government schools, has not fared well in the Class XII board examination. In the board results declared recently, the pass percentage has been just 52.80.

The only saving grace has been Harpreet Kaur of senior secondary school, Manauli, who has managed to get 16th position in the state-level merit by securing 87 per cent marks.

In the government schools located in the city and its peripheral area, the result has been just satisfactory. However, there are certain exceptions. For instance, in Government Senior Secondary School, Phase III B1, here, only 239 candidates out of 394 students could clear the exams. 

While 31 students have failed, 122 have compartment. The school, considered a preferred posting for wives of VIPs, is located in the heart of the city.

In the case of Government Senior Secondary School, Sohana, of the total 144 students, only 81 could clear the exams. Another VIP preferred school, Government Senior Secondary School, Mullanpur, only 56 students out of 168 students could clear the test. While 21 students have failed, 91 are compartment cases. The schools have wives of senior officials posted there.

Interestingly, the Government Senior Secondary School, Manauli, have just one fail and 29 pass students out of a total of 66 students.

Similarly, not a single student of Samgoli village has failed and 40 of the 45 students have cleared the exams.

“Students of Mohali district in general failed to give an outstanding performance in the class XII examination of the Punjab School Education Board conducted in March. A lot of introspection needs to be done,” said an official of the education department.

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