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No Rain, More Pain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
With the Met department predicting weaker monsoon this year and receding Bhakra level, the situation for residents of the region, already reeling under power cuts and water scarcity, is bound to worsen.

A random survey, conducted by The Tribune correspondents in Chandigarh, Mohali, Fatehgarh Sahib, Kalka, Panchkula, Ambala, Ropar and Kharar, reveals that everybody is battling power and water woes alike now and the situation is worsening day by day. Though Chandigarh residents have been luckier than their counterparts owing to no scheduled power cuts, frequent unscheduled breakdowns running into hours cause miseries for them.

Panchkula is better off this year. The reason according to many being the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections.

Talking of the power scenario elsewhere, it’s not only the unscheduled power cuts extending up to seven or eight hours a day, but also frequent breakdowns that is tormenting the residents. The short duration of supply has failed inverters also as according to many it’s impossible to charge these.

The water supply has also failed to provide any solace as in most of the region, those residing on the second or third floors have been badly hit. Fetching water from the ground floor to their homes has been a routine for a week for most of them and also the failure of water supply on subsequent days is increasing their woes.

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Mohali
Summer woes worsen with power, water shortage
Kulwinder Sangha

People collect water from a tanker following shortage in Mohali
People collect water from a tanker following shortage in Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Long power cuts and an acute shortage of water has dealt a staggering blow to residents at Mohali just as the temperature has crossed 42°C mark.

Summer woes have worsened with inadequate and low water supply in many parts of the town and the daily power cuts gradually increasing from one hour in the first week of June to about six hours now. Life has been seriously hit in the commercial and industrial areas as well.

Residents say that political leaders have been claiming time and again of transforming Mohali into another Singapore, but such claims fall flat when people do not get even the basic facilities.

Manmohan Kaur, a resident of Phase II, said here today that the area was facing acute shortage of water. Overhead tanks had run dry over the past many days, compelling residents to use motors to pump water into the tanks after storing it at the ground-floor level. Those living on the first-floor level and above were the worst affected. The pressure of water was low even on ground floors and noon supply was not being given at all.

Residents of Phase IV cannot use RO system for filtering water because of low pressure. Overhead tanks remain unfilled at Phase VII as well. Those living on the upper floors have to carry water from the ground floor for drinking purposes.

At Mohali village, which also faced shortage of water, tankers of the Municipal Council were seen today supplying water to residents who said they failed to meet their daily needs by storing a few buckets of water. Lambardar Harminder Singh said dirty water flowed from a pipeline when it was being cleaned by officials of the Municipal Council.

Councillor Sukhminder Singh Barnala, who is living in Sector 65, said water being supplied was not only inadequate but also muddy. Shortage of water was acute in multi-storeyed flats due to low pressure.

Residents said they no longer felt that they were living in an important city of Punjab located next to Chandigarh as life had become as miserable as that in the rural areas. Power cuts were imposed for most part of the day and even inverters failed to get adequate time for charging. Apart from scheduled power cuts, residents also faced problems of low voltage and frequent trippings.

Ranjit Singh, a resident of Phase V, who had come to the tehsil office for some work, said it had become difficult for him to get a photocopy of a document as there was no power. Those running Photostat machines on generator sets were charging according to their whims. Another resident said he could not get his bank passbook updated as computers were not functioning because of power cuts.

Baldev Singh of Madanpur village, who did the work of welding, said his livelihood was adversely affected by long power cuts. For most part of the day there was no electricity and he was unable to complete his work despite working late in the evening.

Industry in Mohali has also been badly hit by shortage of power. It got another jolt when it came to know about the sudden imposition of two-day power cut instead of a compulsory weekly off day. Erratic power supply and long power cuts had brought industry on the verge of closure, said BS Anand, president of the Mohali Industries Association.

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Chandigarh
Muddy water supply
Aarti Kapur

With the temperature soaring, the complaints of low-pressure water supply have started pouring in. In some parts of the city either the water supply is less or muddy during the morning hours. The situation is particularly bad in newly established Sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51, which house various societies.

The residents residing on top floors are the worst affected. Also due to low pressure, the overhead water reservoir tanks don’t get filled up.

Some residents have also complained of muddy water supply as well from the past two days at Sector 51.

“There was no water supply in the morning. As a result we had to face a lot of problems in carrying out household chores. Even those who had to reach office and colleges had to face tough time,” said a resident of Guru Nanak Vihar Society, Sector 48, staying on the fourth floor.

People complained of no water supply even on the first floor in the same society. Residents of some of the older sectors, Sectors 29, 30, 38, 44, 47 and few other southern sectors, are also facing similar problems from the past three days.

Officials stated that they have received complaints of muddy water in some areas and they were taking action in this regard.

It must be mentioned here that the city has a production of 87 MGD (million gallons per day), the prospective demand is nearly 100 MGD.

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Ropar/Kharar
Rural areas worse than urban
Megha Mann

Residents carry containers to meet their household water needs in Ropar
Residents carry containers to meet their household water needs in Ropar on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Sultry summers have not only brought irregular power cuts but water woes also. Unscheduled power cuts have become a routine for Kharar.

“Electricity plays truant the entire day. There is no respite at night also. During day, power supply follows a definite pattern,” said Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Jhungiyan road in Kharar.

Worst affected are private colonies, wherein colonisers have got their colonies included under rural feeder.

“Private colonisers, in their bid to earn more, have developed colonies under the rural feeder where they have to pay less charges. It’s ultimately people who are at the receiving end. The power supply in such colonies is on the rural pattern, which is worse than urban,” points out an official of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Water supply is restricted to the time when there is power. During power cuts, direct water supply too is snapped. Due to lesser water pressure, overhead water tanks on roof tops are not filled.

There are 30 tubewells in Kharar supplying water to 15 wards. Demand of water in Kharar is 2 lakh gallons per day. While 16 tubewells have gensets as back-up measure in absence of electricity, four gensets are taken on rent. The rest 10 tubewells do not have any back-up facility. Kharar MC executive officer Vijay Gupta said every month around Rs 70, 000 to Rs 80, 000 were spent in ensuring diesel supply to the gensets.

Similarly, at Ropar, there are seven tubewells and all have back-up facility. The town also draws 1.22 lakh kilolitres of water from Bhakra.

The quality of water supplied in areas is poor. Giani Zail Singh Nagar and adjoining areas have been receiving dirty water supply for the past few days. EO Bhushan Aggarwal said whenever it rained in hills, water in canal turned dirty. It will get clear in couple of days, he said.

Despite having a thermal plant, the area is reeling under cut.

The area within 10 kms of the Ropar thermal plant in Ghanauli enjoys round-the-clock electricity.

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Patiala
Medicos up in arms
Attar Singh

Students of Government Medical College raise slogans following power cuts and shortage of water in Patiala
Students of Government Medical College raise slogans following power cuts and shortage of water in Patiala on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Rajesh Sachar

The growing discontent over power cuts and resultant water scarcity surfaced here today, when students of Government Medical College, Patiala, staged a demonstration outside the office of the college principal.

One of the students said there were over 200 inmates in the senior boys’ hostel that had 284 rooms. He said the toilets had been stinking and taps in the washrooms had gone dry since two weeks.

He added that there was only one water cooler in the hostel for 200 students. The college principal could not be contacted, as he was on leave.

In the meantime, the city had been witnessing acute water shortage courtesy unscheduled power cuts from six to eight hours everyday.

Gurmit Kaur, a housewife, said overhead tanks had gone dry since the power cuts had been imposed. Harnam Singh, a resident of Rajpura Colony, said the Municipal Corporation had failed to address the problems of tullu pumps.

Sabhash Chand, SDO, Water Supply, MC, said there was a shortfall of at least 20-lakh kl in the supply of drinking water against the demand of 1-lakh kl of drinking water everyday. He said the demand would likely fall once the rains set in.

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Ambala
Farmers worst hit
Suman Bhatnagar

The local residents today protested against acute water shortage and unscheduled power cuts in Ambala district.

The residents of various villages had been protesting against the unscheduled power cuts for the last one week.

According to sources of the electricity department, Ambala gets around 10 lakh units less than the actual demand per day.

The worst affected are farmers in the district, as paddy transplantation season had started. In some villages, they get the supply for six to eight hours only. In the urban areas, too, the power supply is 10 to 12 hours per day.

The sources said the power supply tripped after every half hour, moreover, the unscheduled cuts had made it worse for the residents. The medium enterprises, especially the science equipment industry of Ambala Cantt, had crippled, they added.

Also, the residents are protesting against acute water shortage.

The area had been witnessing supply of contaminated water for the last few days that led to water-borne diseases. A number of diarrhoea cases had also been reported.

The former MLA, Ambala Cantt, Anil Vij, said the government had failed to provide even the basic amenities to the residents.

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Zirakpur
Powerless for 12 hrs a day
Rajiv Bhatia

The residents of Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru are facing power cuts for over 12 hours everyday. The condition in the villages is even worse, as the power cuts are of a longer duration here.

The residents alleged that the municipal corporation authorities did not listen to their grievances. The residents of Lalru and Dera Bassi alleged that the areas had been facing acute power shortage for last few days. The worst affected were the children, who fell easy prey to mosquitoes because it was difficult to stay indoors in hot weather in the absence of power. The industrialists and farmers are also bearing the brunt due to unscheduled power cuts. As most of the houses get water from tubewells that run on electric motors, the residents were forced to call private water tankers to meet their needs.

In Zirakpur, the residents claimed that the scheduled power cut was from 10 am to 1 pm, but power could not be restored till the evening.

The power supply has affected the water supply. With the increase in residential colonies, the demand of drinking water is increasing regularly. Out of 26 tubewells, 8 run on diesel engines and rest of the tubewells run on electricity. Remaining tubewells, running on electric motors, remain non-functional due to power cuts. The residents said they had asked the authorities concerned to install generators on rest of the tuebwells, but nothing had been done so far.

Zirakpur Executive officer, Sukhjinder Singh Sidhu, said the matter would be discussed in the coming MC meeting. However, the PSEB board officials were not available for comments.

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Kalka
13-hr cut for past 2 months
Hemant Kumar

The residents of Kalka, Pinjore and adjoining villages are bearing the brunt of unscheduled power cuts and erratic power supply.

They alleged that they had been facing unscheduled power cuts of over 13 hours since two months.

The residents said the authorities concerned had turned deaf ears on their pleas.

They said despite repeated complaints to senior officials of the electricity department, the situation had not improved.

The department had not taken any action hitherto, although assurances had been given by the officials concerned to streamlining the power supply.

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Madrassa teacher erupts, resigns
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Mehfooz Alam, victim
Mehfooz Alam, victim

Chandigarh, June 24
A 10-year-old boy, Mehfooz Alam, was today beaten up by Imam (teacher) in a madrassa at Maloya for not learning a lesson. Alam was allegedly thrashed several times by his teacher, Hasin Din.

After a police complaint was lodged about the incident, Hasin Din and madrassa president Shakil submitted their resignations.

While talking to The Tribune, Alam said the incident took place this morning when Hasin Din asked a few questions relating to a chapter on Koran Sharif.

Showing marks on his back and arms, Alam said as he was unable to give correct answers to the questions, his teacher allegedly started beating him.

Alam, who’s boarding and lodging in the madrassa, turned up at his place at Maloya this afternoon without informing the authorities in the madrassa.

When the parents of Alam went to the madrassa to complain against the Imam, there was exchange of hot words between Shakil and family members on the issue.

Alam said this was not the first incident when Imam had beaten students of his class. He narrated that last week also, a girl student was beaten up by him. He said as there was no complaint from the girl’s parents, no action had been taken against the teacher.

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City-Dubai flight from July 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The much-awaited first international flight from Chandigarh to Dubai will take off from the city airport on July 23.

After keeping it under wraps for weeks now, Flydubai, a low-cost airline, has officially confirmed the news of its international flights from three cities in India today, which include Lucknow, Coimbatore and Chandigarh. Though the schedule is yet to be approved by the Director-General Civil Aviation, sources confirmed that it would be done before the set date.

The Boeing 737-800 (FZ432) aircraft, with a capacity of 189 passengers, is scheduled to fly at 3:10 am while the arrival time will be 11:20 pm.

While the booking of tickets for this daily flight from Chandigarh has already started a month in advance, what remains to be seen is whether the “experimental flight” manages to draw enough passengers.

Keeping in view that the one way fare is Rs 3,700, which is very nominal, the passenger traffic will hopefully be good.

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Tribune Impact
Quackery Menace
2 held for using fake degrees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
A day after The Tribune highlighted the menace of self-styled doctors in the city, the Chandigarh administration today swung into action and got two persons arrested for cheating under Section 420 of the IPC. The two were allegedly using fake degrees to practice medicine.

Meanwhile, taking suo motu cognizance of the issue, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has called for detailed report of the state government through director, health services and family welfare, Chandigarh, by August 3.

A team of health department officials comprising Balbir Singh, nodal officer, Indian Medical Council, along with two medical officers Dr Rajeshwar Rana and Dr Rajiv Kapila, swooped down on these quacks at Sector 56 here today.

The team raided their “medical joints” to examine their degrees. The officials pointed out that during the raids, two persons — Jyoti Prakash, running his business in the name of New Bengali Clinic, and Kamlesh of Kumar Clinic — were arrested.

The health officials also seized medicines and some records from their shops for further investigation.

Balbir Singh confirmed that while Kamlesh could not furnish any evidence to testify that he was a registered doctor, the degree produced by Jyoti Prakash was found to be fake.

The Tribune had highlighted how these self-styled doctors hailing from West Bengal played with the health of people, usually migrant population and labour class.

Dr Rajiv Kapila clarified that the degree held no significance in any system of medicine and there was a blanket ban on Indo-Allopathy in India.

Meanwhile, sources said there were over 2,500 such bogus doctors in the city.

In certain areas, they had done roaring business for decades by selling harmful drugs to patients.

However, none of them was ever checked and brought to justice.

Dr Rajeshwar Rana pointed out that during the raids, a large number of bogus practitioners were unable to be booked because they absconded.

“Their nexus is so strong that they vanished in no time. We have observed that their neighbours shield them, but we will trap them too,” he added.

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Chandigarh gets DRDO’s bio-tech lab
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is establishing a bio-technology laboratory at Chandigarh which would carry out agro-animal research to boost the availability of fresh food items in high altitude areas.

The laboratory, which is part of the Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), would also include transit facility for DRDO functionaries proceeding to Ladakh. DRDO’s Chief Controller (Research and Development), Dr W Selvamurthy laid the laboratory’s foundation stone near IAF’s No 3 Base Repair Depot today.

According to DIHAR Director Dr Shashi Bala Singh, micro-propagation of some endangered high altitude medicinal plants and their conservation studies would be carried out at Chandigarh by establishing tissue culture facilities, besides carrying out isolation of cold resistant gene from high altitude plants and its transfer to various crops.

Research done at Chandigarh would be fed into the applied research carried out by the parent laboratory at Leh. The research activities here would help in the production of fresh vegetables in winters for troops, boosting the availability of fresh food on the frozen heights of the Himalayas, besides helping to conserve the fragile bio-diversity of Ladakh.

The idea of setting up the laboratory at Chandigarh was mooted by Dr Selvamurthy during his visit to DIHAR at Leh in 2004. The then director of DIHAR Col B Raut had discussed the necessity of having research and transit facilities at Chandigarh.

Thereafter, the DRDO had taken up the matter for procurement of two acres of land with the Chandigarh administration. The location, allotment and zoning plan was approved by the administration in January 2008 and final approval and sanction for construction for the laboratory was obtained in May 2009 through the Ministry of Defence.

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Dumping Ground
MC to take up matter with Badal
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 24
The Mohali Municipal Council and industrial unit owners are up in arms against the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for forcibly trying to implement a decision on garbage dumping taken at a meeting held in the office of the Punjab Chief Minister.

GMADA authorities had asked the council to stop dumping garbage at the present site by June 30 and instead use the land under the latter’s possession, which was too small to contain about 60 tonnes of garbage collected from the town daily.

The civic body called an emergency meeting here today to discuss the garbage dumping issue, which was attended by 24 councillors. The councillors of the civic body stood united on the issue and said if the matter was not solved in a peaceful manner they would be compelled to hold protests and also file a PIL in this regard.

The councillors decided to meet Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to discuss the matter and also to inform him that he was being misinformed in this regard by GMADA officials.

As soon as the meeting ended, Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, council president Rajinder Singh Rana, along with councillors, went to the 2.81-acre piece of land at the Phase I industrial area, which is in the possession of the civic body, and asked labourers engaged by GMADA to leave the area.

Labourers were digging the area for the construction of a boundary wall where the council was asked to dump garbage. Their implements were also seized by the councillors. The gate was locked to stop the entry of unauthorised persons.

Rana said GMADA had got the digging work started on the land, which was in the possession of the council, without taking the civic body into confidence. He said how could garbage be dumped near an area which housed a slaughter house, a dog sterilisation centre and a cattle pond. He said the council would not allow this to happen and GMADA would have to look for an alternative site to dump garbage.

GMADA officials had misled the higher authorities in this regard, he added. Decision could only be taken after seeing the ground reality. He further added that the site selected for dumping garbage was not only too small, it did not even have a proper approach road.

BS Anand, president of the Mohali Industries Association, said industrial unit owners had already been protesting against garbage being dumped near Phase VIII. Now, a site had been selected at Phase I, which was also not appropriate. Industry was already facing a tough time and such moves added to the problems. He said if the decision was not reversed, they would be compelled to hold protests.

Harmanpreet Singh Prince, a SAD supporter and senior vice-president of the council, said a complaint was also made to the police stating that GMADA had indulged in trespassing as it had entered council property without seeking permission in this regard.

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Fire at Mayor’s office
Equipment fail to work

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The fire-fighting preparedness of the Chandigarh municipal corporation was exposed today, when the hi-tech equipment, detectors and sensors installed in the Mayor’s office reportedly failed to function during a minor fire that broke out here.

The incident occurred around 2.30 pm when smoke was detected from the rest room attached to Mayor Kamlesh’s office.

The fire, which started due to a short-circuit in the stabiliser of an air-conditioner, soon engulfed the office. The fire brigade was informed and the fire was brought under control.

Though, under the directions of the fire wing, fire detection and fighting equipment was installed in the office, those present at the scene failed to operate it. The fire sensors also failed to do their job.

PK Sharma, chief fire officer and additional commissioner, MC, said though they had to face a tough time controlling the fire, it was brought under control before the fire-tenders arrived.

“It was a minor fire, which was brought under control by the time the fire-fighting squad turned up. But we have felt that MC staff should be trained specifically for fire-fighting purpose,” he said.

A meeting was later held at the MC office, where it was decided to spare around 10 persons to meet fire emergency situations.

“At least three persons on each floor will be deputed. They will undergo a fire-fighting training course to meet any such exigency,” he added.

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Heat on the staff
Nari Niketan supdt sent on leave?
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
With the police turning the heat on the staff of the Nari Niketan, superintendent of the institute Ritika Sheokand has proceeded on “medical leave”.

While officials of the Social Welfare Department are unwilling to comment on the issue, sources revealed that she had been asked to “take off” for sometime.

Ritika was one of the officials of the Nari Niketan, who were questioned by the police last week. While three other employees of the Nari Niketan, Kamla, Jamuna Kumar and Maya, besides main accused Bhupinder, have already been arrested in connection with the rape of a teenaged mentally challenged girl, Ritika was issued notice under Section 160 CrPC for questioning.

Sources claimed that during her interrogation, Maya, who was arrested on charges of destroying medical records pertaining to the victim’s menstrual cycles, had claimed that she had torn down the pages from the register on the instruction of her “seniors”. While it could not be ascertained whether she had named Ritika or not, her leave at this juncture raises many questions.

Efforts to elicit a response on this issue from Home Secretary Ram Niwas, and Director, Social Welfare, Amandeep Kaur, proved futile. However, a senior official claimed that it was a routine leave. “She applied for it and the same was sanctioned,” the officer said.

Contrary to these claims, the sources said during a recent meeting of officials of the Social Welfare Department, which was attended by Ritika and Amandeep Kaur, tempers had run high on some issue. The application for medical leave was submitted thereafter.

The sources claimed that the company secretary of the Chandigarh Women Development Cooperation had been given the charge of superintendent of the Nari Niketan in her absence.

While Ritika was not available for comments as her mobile was switched off, sources close to her claimed that she had gone on 10-day medical leave. However, it has been confirmed from reliable sources that she shifted her luggage overnight from the institute.

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Swine Flu
GH-16 staff given preventive doses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
A day after a 19-year-old computer science student from the US was tested positive for a H1N1 influenza virus in the city, over 30 persons, including 10 doctors and nurses of the GMSH-16, who had come in close contact with the patient, have been given the preventive doses of Tamilflu, the only known drug to fight the disease. About 13 relatives of the victim have been quarantined in Sector 40-A also.

In an overnight effort, a rapid response team from the UT health department traced the people with whom the victim had come in contact and they all had given Tamiflu. Health officials have also alerted their counterparts in Faridabad about a close friend of the victim as they had travelled together. Even the health authorities in Gurdaspur, the victim’s hometown, have been alerted.

HC Gera, UT nodal officer for swine flu, said: “Our team of doctors is observing him and his condition is stable. He is likely to kept in the hospital for at least a week. “There is no need to panic and we are fully equipped to deal with the situation,” he added.

The patient was admitted to GH-16 on Monday with a complaint of high fever, running nose and sore throat. Seeing his travel history, doctor admitted him to an isolated ward of the hospital. The throat swab of the victim, which was forwarded to the NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases) in New Delhi, tested positive for swine flu yesterday.

“The condition of the family members is normal and they have not shown any symptoms of H1N1 till now, However, we would monitor them for the next seven days as a precautionary measure,” said Gera.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old woman, with symptoms of Swine flu, was admitted to the isolation ward of the hospital after complaint of high fever and sore throat. According to the health officials, she had come back to Panchkula from Singapore recently. “The samples taken from the woman had been sent to the NICD laboratory in Delhi,” said Gera.

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Cholera/Diarrhoea
Six water samples fail test
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 24
Even as the Deputy Commissioner has set up a committee to probe the reasons that led to the spread of cholera and diarrhoea among residents of Mohali village, six water samples collected by health officials have failed potability test.

Officials of the Health Department had collected 12 water samples from Mohali, Shahimajra and Madanpur villages. Most of these samples were from Mohali villages, which had witnessed an outbreak of diarrhoea and five patients have even tested positive for cholera.

Civil Surgeon Dr Avtar Singh said reports of 11 water samples were received out of which six had failed the potability test and were unfit for drinking. Samples which had failed the test were taken from hand pumps and also from a shallow tubewell sunk illegally by a resident of Mohali village. He said he was taking up the matter with the authorities concerned.

Mohali DC Prabhjot Singh Mand called a meeting here today with officials of various departments to discuss the outbreak of diarrhoea. A committee was set up to look into the causes that led to the outbreak of cholera and diarrhoea. The members of the committee comprising the SDM, the Civil Surgeon, the Executive Officer of the civic body, the Executive Engineer of the water supply and sanitation wing have been asked to submit a report by June 30.

The managing director of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, who visited the Civil Hospital today, said 196 patients had reported at the hospital out of which 139 were admitted and given treatment. As many as 90 patients had been discharged whereas 49 were still undergoing treatment. No patient had been referred to any other health institution.

He further said a special field camp was organised in Mohali village where 519 patients were examined, out of which 328 patients were found suffering from diarrhoea, who were given treatment in the camp itself. He said the number of patients at the camp had come down from 168 on Monday to 40 today. He said teams of the health department were distributing chlorine tablets and ORS packets in the affected areas.

The number of diarrhoea patients visiting the Civil Hospital had also come down.

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13 diarrhoea cases come to light
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
At least, 13 fresh cases of diarrhoea were reported yesterday from three city hospitals.

According to the health authorities, six cases have been reported from the GMSH-16, four from the GMCH-32 and remaining were from the PGI. “So far, no cholera case has been detected at the hospitals,” said UT health authority. Doctors at the GMCH-32 said, “We discharged all patients except two, who were admitted to the hospital with severe diarrhoea.

Experts say that avoiding cut fruits or exposed food will minimise the risk of water-borne diseases.

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UT excise dept mops up handsome revenue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The economic meltdown, so it seems, has had little impact on the excise earnings of the Union Territory. In fact, if the revenue netted by the excise department of the Chandigarh Administration in 2008-09 is any indication, these have made the slowdown turn on its head.

The excise department mopped up the revenue of Rs 133.85 crore, Rs 6.85 crore more than the target fixed at Rs 127 crore.

Disclosing this here today, additional excise and taxation commissioner Manjit Singh Brar said while a major part of the collection came from excise duty and licence fee, the remaining amount was collected under such miscellaneous heads as hotel assessment fee and brand registration fee, etc.

The department netted the excise duty of Rs 7,580.09 lakh from IMFL, Rs 787.94 from beer, Rs 195.54 from country liquor and Rs 11.9 lakh from wine.

Besides, it received Rs 36 lakh as L-2 licence fee and Rs 16 lakh as L-14 licence fee.

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42 shops in Paras mall attached
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Following a recent survey carried out by Income Tax officials, who unearthed the hidden income to the tune of Rs 60 crore by promoters of Paras Downtown Square in Zirakpur, the department has attached 42 showrooms in the mall.

According to the IT officials, a scrutiny of the records, seized during the survey conducted in February, revealed that the promoters of the mall had never filed any tax returns. They said the business was a partnership venture between Jaspal Singh and Kamaljeet Singh and the former had not filed any returns for the past three years.

“After an examination of the records collected during the survey and assessment proceedings and investigations, we found concealment of income worth Rs 60 crore,” said the officials. They said 42 shops, including Big Bazaar, a coffee shop and food court on the ground floor and the entertainment area on the third floor, had been attached.

The IT officials swooped down on Paras Downtown Square and its Sector 34 office in Chandigarh on February 13 under the supervision of Ashok K Kaushal, Commissioner, Income tax (CIT II). The orders for the attachment of the properties were issued on March 9. Efforts to contact the owners proved futile.

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SBI gifts ambulance to NGO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The State Bank of India donated an ambulance to Sahibzada Ajit Singh Free Polyclinic Trust, a charitable NGO providing medicare to the poor and needy rural population of Perch village and its surrounding area for past seven years, near here, today.

The ambulance will be used for the furtherance of the objective of the trust.

Bank’s CGM Ajay Swaroop lauded the efforts of the trust and underlined the bank’s activities being conducted under the Community Services Banking Scheme for the uplift of the poor and the downtrodden. The activities include extending help to poor students, adopting girl child, organising blood-donation camps/medical camps/tree plantation programmes, etc.

MLA Ujagar Singh Vadali and Maj-Gen JS Bhullar (retd) were also present.

Trust president Maj-Gen MS Kandal thanked Swaroop for the gesture and lauded their joining the “worship with a difference” drive of the NGO.

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3 women approach PHRC against police
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 24
Three women have approached the Punjab Human Rights Commission against the police, which allegedly failed to act on their complaints.

According to reports, one of the women had approached the police after she was allegedly raped by a relative who worked with the Punjab police. Her in-laws had thrown her out of the house after she raised her voice against her sexual exploitation. The second woman had sought the police help in connection with a property dispute with her uncle who allegedly used to beat her up. In the third case the woman was allegedly harassed by her neighbour, but the police failed to register an FIR even when she had alleged in her complaint that her car and other property were damaged by sons of the neighbour.

It is reported that a complaint in this regard has also been made to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

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20 power theft cases detected
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 24
The Punjab State Electricity Board officials yesterday conducted surprise raids on seven villages in Zirakpur and Dera Bassi to check power theft.

Around 20 cases of power theft were detected and Rs 5 lakh was imposed as fine on violators.

A team of PSEB officials led by superintending engineer ML Garg along with Zirakpur XEN, Mohali XEN and Zirakpur SDO raided Shatabhgarh, Chhat, Nagla, Sanoli, Kurli, Bhankarpur and Badi villages. The officials said a fine of Rs 5 lakh was imposed on the violators. “The drive to check such violations would continue in the future,” said a PSEB official.

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Pick and Drop Facility
UT fixes fare for govt schools’ students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The Chandigarh Administration-run pick and drop bus service for students of government schools, proposed to be introduced from next month, will charge a concessional fare of Rs 380 per child in Chandigarh against Rs 600-Rs 700 being charged by private bus operators.

Christened “micro school escort”, the first of its kind bus service in the country, will charge a student residing in Panchkula or Mohali Rs 480 per month inclusive of taxes of the respective state.

The fare structure and other details were worked out at a meeting with operators willing to provide the bus service held under chairmanship of secretary Vandana Disodia, State Transports Authority, UT Administration, and a report has been sent to the home department for its nod.

Disclosing this here today, Dr Disodia said the applicants agreed on the nominal fare structure subject to the condition that the administration would provide them with some incentives to run a sustainable service over a long period of time.

“Since it is a facilitation scheme and not a revenue generation exercise, it is the prerogative of the administration to device such measures as entail benefit for both schoolchildren and bus operators. As a part of the incentive, the STA has proposed to waive off the permit fee of Rs 670 for five years,” Disodia said.

No entry tax is being charged by the Chandigarh Administration from the school buses coming from Panchkula or Mohali. Also, as a part of the Reciprocal Transport Agreement with Punjab, no counter signature permit fee is charged by the reciprocating state/UT. Similar agreement is in the pipeline with Haryana.

The administration is also thinking of allowing the operators to display “conscientious” advertisements on buses to make an extra buck. “But the advertisements should be educative, innovative and help promote creative ideas, sports, literature, traffic safety rules, ban on polythene bags, use of paper bags and from professional institutes displaying lists of toppers, etc. No obnoxious material would be allowed to be highlighted,” said the STA secretary.

In response to the expression of interest for the scheme, applications from 22 aspirants, including Maggu Tourist Company, Romi Tourist Bus Company, Swami Auto Care and Kushman International, had been received. So much was the response that the applications kept pouring in even after the cut-off date.

The STA asked all aspirants to furnish details of the expenditure to be incurred by them on running the service. They have furnished detailed estimated expenditure which includes the cost of buses, down payment, insurance, EMI, mileage, salary of the driver and attendant which aggregated to about Rs 45,000 per month.

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Alternative Affiliations
City colleges face action
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Panjab University is all set to crack a whip on colleges seeking alternative affiliations from other universities for courses like MBA, with DAV College, Sector 10, being the first one.

According to information, the college had obtained AICTE approval and a No Objection Certificate from the Chandigarh administration. Though it clearly mentioned of the course being subjected to the approval of Panjab University, the college invited applications through a public notice, mentioning it being subjected to Panjab Technical University’s approval.

Taking the cognisance of this, the administration is not believed to have served a notice to the college, but the Senators claimed it to be against the calendar of Panjab University and demanded an action against the college.

In the last Senate meeting, BC Josan, principal, DAV College, Sector 10, said though he had all requisite facilities for MBA programme, the university denied affiliation without sending an investigation committee.

However, one of the Senators said, all universities should work as per their jurisdiction and the university should not allow such affiliations.

Meanwhile, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, RC Sobti, said “They have been served a notice by the administration. The issue was raised in the Senate and I am looking into the matter.”

Another college that has come under scanner is GGDSD College, Sector 32, that has a BBA programme running under the name of UFV University, Canada.

Though the college clarified that it had lent the space to the university, the Senators had resented. Meanwhile, AC Vaid, principal, SD College, and BC Josan, principal, DAV College, could be contacted.

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