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Finally, St John’s teacher suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Finally, breaking the silence and acting tough on the enquiry report, submitted by the Subdivisional Magistrate, St John’s High school today suspended teacher Reema Talwar for slapping and humiliating a Class III student of the school.

After keeping mum on the issue for days, school principal Kavita Das finally released a statement today that the school had not yet received the report from the administration. However, reading about it in a section of Press, the school management decided to go by the recommendations of the UT administration.

The enquiry, conducted by SDM Neeharika Rai, had concluded that it was a case of corporal punishment and a legal opinion was sought by the administration on it yesterday.

The issue came to light when the parents of Akshay Singh, a Class III student of the school, brought the matter to the notice of the school authorities. When the school failed to act swiftly, the administration had marked its own enquiry into the matter.

“We had faith in the school and the administration since the day we had brought the matter to the notice of the school authorities. We hope the issue will help to curb corporal punishment in the long run in schools and serve larger interest of students,” said the parents.

Principal of St. John’s, said “The school firmly believes in the dignity of each child and corporal punishment can naturally find no place in such an environment. The current case has just reinforced the determination of the school management to redouble its efforts to ensure that corporal punishment is not resorted to under any circumstances.”

Meanwhile, experts agree that the teacher could be prosecuted under certain sections of law since corporal punishment is banned.

“In this concern, a case can be registered under Section 323 of the IPC of ‘Voluntarily causing hurt’ that can lead to an imprisonment of one year or a fine of Rs 1,000 or both,” said advocate Pradeep Bedi.

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Easy on Booze - II
Admn sloppy in checking underage drinking
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, July 28
It seems that the UT administration has turned completely numb towards the blatant underage drinking scenario in the city. Ideally, the administration should be focusing on providing quality education to students, but generating revenue from the liquor vends appears to top its priority list.

Astonishingly, there are 107 schools in City Beautiful compared to 207 liquor vends. Three years ago, the figure was 178.

With almost two lakh liquor cases getting a wholesale permit every month in the city, one can imagine the level of liquor consumption in the city. Such is the state of affairs that only six liquor vends in the city have been challaned in 2009. Last year, just four challans were issued.

Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner Manjeet Barad responds to the figures by saying, “While issuing the license, we make sure that liquor shop owners are aware of rules, including not serving alcohol to those under the age of 21. But sometimes, things like these happen. We impose challans when such violations are reported. However, the department lacks proper staff to deal with such problems; we just have two excise inspectors in the city right now.”

The basic reason encouraging drinking among teenagers is the easy availability of liquor in the city to people below 21 years, including school kids. Youngsters with beer bottles in front of liquor vends and several eating joints in their cars have become a common sight now.

Social activist Pramod Sharma said, “It’s normal for the kids to get influenced with ‘thekas’ right beside the grocery shops and eating joints in the markets. In this age specially, they wish to try something new, and liquor is among the top options. Drinking and partying out with friends has become much of a status symbol among most teenagers.”

With the increase in liquor consumption in the city, drunken driving incidents have also reached an all-time high. Where last year a meagre 27 challans for drunken driving were issued, the count in 2009 has already touched 242. Not to forget that the traffic police surveys very well establish that alcohol is the leading cause for accidental deaths in the city.

The most worrisome fact still remains the easy access to liquor to the age group of 14 to 20. The numbers in this age group have only been increasing over the last five years or so.

“Teenagers especially fall prey to drinking because of lack of healthy interaction with parents. Awareness and proper dialogue is needed either before or during middle school. Also, more stringent enforcement of rules is required from the government which of course is absent right now”, comments honorary secretary of the Servants of People Society, Group Captain P.S. Soni (retd).

He further adds, “There are many counselling centres and organisations in the city, but they lack government support and funds for effective functioning.”

The situation is much worse than what the figures indicate, as the damages are many and for a longer time once the teenagers resort to drinking. It’s high time for the administration to put in place proper preventive measures to check underage drinking, which currently is completely out of control and is defying the administration’s authority every day.

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Bus overturns; 9 DAV students hurt
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 28
Fortyseven students of DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, Panchkula, escaped narrowly when their bus overturned near Bell factory on the Sector 15 road here today.

At least nine students, along with crew members, injured in the accident. The injured, identified as Shubham, Nishchay, Isha, Palak, Aroof, Vansh, Nisha, Amit and Mahak, all students of DAV School, were taken to General Hospital, Sector 6, from where they were discharged after providing medical treatment.

Hardeep Singh and Jaggi, both drivers and conductors, were injured seriously.

It was around 8 am when the bus, full of students, was going towards the school and when it reached the road dividing industrial area and Sector 15, the driver lost control while avoiding a collision with a motorcyclist who suddenly came in front of the bus, leading to the accident. The police, however, suspected that the brakes of the bus had failed while taking a turn which led to the mishap.

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3 pilgrims drown in Sutlej
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 28
Three pilgrims coming back from Naina Devi drowned in the Sutlej near Ghanauli village today. The incident took place around 7:30 am when four youths from Khanna decided to take a dip in the Sutlej waters before resuming their journey. Three of them got carried away with the strong current of water, while people nearby managed to save the fourth one.

The fourth one has been identified as 26-years-old Paramjit Singh from Khanna. He told the Ghanauli police that he knew just two of the three youths. The two were identified as Sonu and Babbu Ram, both from Khanna. Paramjit said all four had gone to pay obeisance at the Naina Devi shrine on their bicycles. The Ghanauli police came to know about it in the afternoon. Divers have been pressed into service to look for the three missing people. Till filing of this report, none of the three were found.

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Another swine flu case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
One more person tested positive for swine flu in the city today, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the UT to four, the health authorities said.

The case is of a 26-year-old woman, a resident of Mohali, admitted to the GMCH-32 with swine flu symptoms yesterday. The patient had returned from Singapore. Suffering from cough and cold, she consulted doctors at the GMCH-32 and was admitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, family members of the patient have been quarantined, said UT nodal officer for swine flu.

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New course, but no teacher at GSSS-20
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
In a case of stark neglect by the UT education department, students of Class XI (recently introduced commerce stream), Government Senior Secondary School (Girls) Sector 20-B, have complaint of shortage of teachers. It is reported that the school has now hired a private teacher to make up for the academic loss after two weeks.

Surprisingly, more than 50 per cent students in commerce stream are thinking of migrating to other schools, owing to absence of teachers for business administration and accounts due to which the class has been sitting idle since two weeks, confirmed the students.

When The Tribune team reached the school, the class was sitting idle and the girls in the class expressed their helplessness. “Most of us are from private schools and we are extremely upset about the situation here. If they didn’t have teachers, then why did they add a new section?” questioned an angry student.

“When we asked the school authorities, they confirmed that the teacher will come only when the department approves posts,” said another student.

One of the girl students in the class said: “My cut-off is not enough to go back to my earlier school, GMSSS- Sector 18. I was told during the counselling that commerce section is started here, so I opted for it. But now like most of my classmates, I, too, want to migrate to other school.”

An official from the school on anonymity said they had hired a private teacher today to make up for the loss of classes.

Shielding the slip-up of education department and oblivious of the problems faced by the students and parents, a school official said: “There is no such problem. The education department is doing its bit and will soon provide teachers.”

However, DPI (S) Samwartak Singh said: “We will provide the teachers within a few days and we are speeding up the process of recruitment.” When questioned how the academic loss would be covered? The DPI confessed having shortage of staff for certain subjects and replied, “The teachers are coming to class to teach.”

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55 structures razed in Sec-25
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Municipal Corporation demolished 55 temporary structures in Kumhar and Janta Colony, Sector 25, here, today in a demolition drive carried out under the supervision of P K Sharma, assistant commissioner, assisted by K D Sharma, enforcement inspector.

Following the directions of MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria, the MC staff demolished 18 temporary meat shops and other structures from the municipal land. The encroachers did not protest regarding the demolition. The Municipal Corporation has embarked on a policy to remove the encroachments on public land.

The commissioner further warned encroachers to remove their encroachments from public land otherwise the Municipal Corporation would deal it strictly.

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Brawl in PU hostel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The session at Panjab University seems to have commenced with violence on the campus. A brawl took place in at Hostel No. 7 last night, with its sequel this morning between second year students of UIET with SOPU and PUSU.

According to reports, four members of SOPU named Gaurav, Lovi, Harin and Mansa allegedly thrashed Deepak, a member of the PUSU.

In reply, the PUSU members cornered Guarav this morning who locked himself in warden’s room till the police came.

Both the groups were, however, taken to the police station. They compromised saying that there was some misunderstanding that led to the incident and it was eventually resolved.

Meanwhile, Deepak also lodged a complaint with the warden alleging that he was asked to strip but when he refused, he was thrashed by Gaurav and his friends.

Following the incident, the hostel wardens held a meeting and submitted a report to Naval Kishore, DSW, who assured an immediate action.

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Seminar on personality development ends
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 28
Sri Guru Harkrishan Group of Colleges in association with Chardikala Time TV channel organised a two-day seminar-cum-lecture series on personality development and communication skills, which concluded at Science Auditorium, Punjabi University, Patiala, today.

Prof Jan Protopapas from University of Meryland, the US, was the guest speaker in the seminar. She emphasised on emotional attachment and desire for learning any language. Col JS Gorwara spoke on personality development.

Renowned academicians, Dr Ashwini Kumar Verma, Dr PN Chichra, Prof Kanwaljeet Kaur, Prof Gagandeep Kaur and Dr Ajit Bhatia also delivered a series of lectures on the importance of communication skills for youth.

Management, faculty and students of Sri Guru Harkrishan Group of Colleges actively participated to make the event successful.

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Hope floats for HIV infants
PGI starts collecting samples for DNA test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Finally, there is some hope for HIV/AIDS infected infants in the region as PGI has now started collecting samples for DNA Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, a dry blood sampling method for diagnosing the infection, which was unavailable so far. The test will, however, be conducted at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), Delhi.

Dr Kavita Chavan, officiating project director of the State AIDS Control Society (SACS), said so far no facilities were available for collection of the PCR, which was the only test available to diagnose HIV/AIDS in newborn children.

For samples collection, the PGI is an authorised body, said Dr Chavan. “They will send the samples to the NICD, Delhi, for testing,” she added.

“Once a child is 18-months-old, we will put him/her under treatment. With proper treatment and nutrition, the child will be able to live a healthy life,” claimed Dr Chavan.

‘‘This test is apt, as it’s easily transportable. It does not require any special transport medium and does not require any special time. It’s just got to be collected correctly,” said Dr Chavan. A training programme was also organised today at the PGI for sample collection, storage and transportation and packaging for the national early infant diagnosis by HIV DNA PCR testing.

The training was attended by around 20 participants, including immunopathologist, microbiologists, pediatricians, medical officers, nurses and technicians of ICTC and ART Centre from Chandigarh, Haryana and Uttranchal.

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Downpour brings relief from sultry weather
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Chandigarh and its adjoining areas were lashed with heavy rains this morning. Intermittent rains throughout the day provided residents of the city the much-needed relief from the sultry weather.

Chandigarh received a total of 9.6 mm of rain. The maximum temperature hovered at 30.2 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature recorded was 24.6 degrees Celsius.

According to the met department, the city received heavy rains with southwest monsoon, which had earlier turned “weak” over the region but are becoming active again.

As per the met forecast, the night temperature would fall due to rain but there would be rise in the day temperature. According to the met forecast, the maximum temperature would be 32 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature would be 25 degrees Celsius tomorrow.

Met director Chattar Singh said the monsoon was in an active mode in the region and there should be a few more spells of rain. He said in the coming two days, it was expected that the city would receive downpour.

Meanwhile, three cars were damaged when a tree fell on them today at the parking lot of mini Punjab secretariat.

Expert of the environment stated the incidents of falling trees would be on high this time due to ignorance of the engineering department of the administration and Municipal Corporation.

In most of the cases where the departments had widened the roads had unknowingly cut the roots of the trees for expansion ignoring the fact that it would dry down the roots, which made the base of the trees weak resulting in felling of the trees.

One of the other reasons of falling trees is that during the laying of tiles on the roadside a few space is spared for the growth of the roots, which also make the trees weak especially during the rainy season. 

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Awareness camp for women
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
A 10-day awareness camp for women, being organised by Citizens’ Association for Relief, Education and Service (CARES), was inaugurated by Arvind Mahajan, president-elect of Rotary Club, Chandigarh, at Maloya here yesterday.

The camp will be attended by a large number of women of the colony. A number of social welfare specialists will impart instructions in various fields, ranging from healthcare to entrepreneurial activities, like cooking and mehndi application.

“To ensure that children are well looked-after, we need to educate the mother, who is really the backbone of our mission to bring a smile on the tiny-tot’s faces," said Brig Khushwant Singh (retd), president of the CARES. “Women empowerment is an important part of our programme. We are running classes at regular intervals on hygiene, cookery, tailoring and for becoming beauticians," he added.

The CARES is an organisation established by retired service officers with a desire to give back to society, by providing basics for children below the poverty line and their parents to ensure that they, in future, will become good citizens.

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Loan camp for auto drivers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The State Transport Authority (STA) will organise a special camp at its office in Sector 18 from July 29 to August 5 to extend loans to autorickshaw drivers for LPG-driven vehicles.

This camp has been planned in the wake of the Chandigarh Administration’s entering into an agreement with the Delhi Financial Corporation, specifically for financing of LPG Auto Rickshaws.

The persons falling in the category of the below poverty line, the SC/ST/Minorities/OBC/physically challenged, possessing residence certificate issued by the SDM, Chandigarh, can apply.

Dr Vandana Disodia, sectretary, STA, said, “This initiative has been taken to provide auto drivers with easy loan without asking for any colateral security for the on-the-spot loan for new LPG-driven autos”.

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3 killed in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Three persons, including a junior engineer in the Punjab Irrigation Department in Sector 34, and a woman were killed, while one person was injured in four separate road accidents in the past 24 hours.

Besides, two persons were found dead in various parts of the city today.

According to the police, 45-year-old junior engineer Balbir Singh of Sector 71, Mohali, was killed after his scooter (PB 65 D 1625) was hit by an unidentified vehicle near Kajheri Chowk. A Police Control Room vehicle rushed the victim to the Sector 16 Government Multi Specialty Hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

Though the accident occurred at 11:45 am, the police could not find any eyewitness to the mishap. A police official said the victim was suspected to have been knocked down by some heavy vehicle.

Balbir Singh is survived by his wife, a son, who is studying at Sector 26 engineering college, and a teenaged daughter. The post mortem would be conducted tomorrow.

In another incident, an unidentified rickshaw-puller was killed after being knocked down by an unidentified vehicle in Sector 26 in the wee hours today. The victim was taken to the PGI in a critical condition, where he was declared brought dead.

Two separate cases of causing death due to rash and negligent driving have been registered in this regard.

In the third fatal accident, an elderly woman Sukhrani of Maloya Colony was killed after being hit by a Hyundai Accent car (PB-10-H-0169) while she was crossing the road dividing Sectors 39 and 56 last evening. She was rushed to the PGI, where she succumbed to her injuries. A case has been registered in this regard.

Raju of Dadu Majra Colony reported to the police that a car hit his horse cart in the colony last evening. He was injured in the mishap and was admitted to the Sector 16 Government Multi Specialty Hospital. Nitin of Sector 32 was driving the car. A case of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving his been registered in this regard.

About the men found dead, the police said a rickshaw-puller, identified as Raju of Gonda district in Uttar Pradesh, was found dead in the Sector 22 market early this morning. He was in his forties and no visible injury marks, suggesting foul play, behind the death were found on the body.

In another incident, a body of a man in his early thirties was recovered from near Sector 17 ISBT last night. He was of wheatish complexion and was wearing a T-short and black trousers. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this regard.

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Wood crisis at cremation ground
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 28
A wood crisis is building up in cremation ground with the Local Government authorities failing to clear financial estimates worth Rs 17.56 lakh okayed by the Municipal Council for this purpose five months ago .

The estimates for the purchase of wood for the Mohali cremation ground were unanimously cleared at the meeting of the council held on February 27. But these have so far not been approved by the officials concerned.

Rajender Sharma, municipal councillor, who visited the cremation ground today, said the available stock of wood would last for about 10 days after which a crisis would arise. He said if the authorities failed to issue immediate orders for the purchase of wood,residents would have to make their own arrangements for cremating their loved ones. He said it was unfortunate that officials of the Local Government department failed to understand the gravity of the situation.

Earlier also, the department had stayed an estimate worth Rs 9.58 lakh cleared at a meeting of the civic body held on December 30 last year for the purchase of wood for the cremation ground. According to reports, the stay got vacated after the authorities brought the importance of the matter to the notice of the officials concerned.

Another proposal for the purchase of wood was reportedly stayed by the department more than a year ago.

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Babla resigns from market committee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Chandigarh Market Committee, chairman and Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla tendered his resignation from the chairmanship of the committee. According to sources, Babla submitted his resignation to the Deputy Commissioner and RK Rao, secretary of the Chandigarh Mandi Board, late this evening today.

Babla, in his resignation, has given family reasons as cause behind his resignation. He was appointed chairman on May 29, 2008, and during his tenure of more than one year, he was drawn in various controversies, the sources added.

The DC and RK Rao said as he was busy with administrative work, he could not accept the Babla resignation. But since Babla has himself given the resignation, there was no reason not to accept.

Sources in the Congress party said during the elections of committee, Babla gave assurance to Darshan Singh, one of the members of the committee, that he would resign from the post after 11 months and support Darshan in becoming the chairman. Sources said Babla had completed more than 11 months and had not fulfilled his promise.

Sources said a few members of the party had made a complaint in this regard to MP and Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Party insider, however, revealed that after the resignation of Babla was accepted and till the fresh election was held, Ramvir Bhati, vice-chairman of the committee, would carry out the work.

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Man electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
A labourer was charred to death while his companion was severely burnt after an iron ladder, that they were holding, came in contact with 11,000 volt high tension cable at a petrol station in Sector 39 here this afternoon.

Police examines the spot where a man was electrocuted after the trolley ladder came in contact with a high-tension cable at a petrol station, Sector 39-D, Chandigarh, on Tuesday.
Police examines the spot where a man was electrocuted after the trolley ladder came in contact with a high-tension cable at a petrol station, Sector 39-D, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

One of the victims, Ram Dass (32) of Uttar Pradesh, died on the spot while Mangal Singh of Samana was rushed to the Sector-16 Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, from where he was referred to the PGI in a critical state. Ram Dass was an electrician while Mangal is a welder with a private contractor.

According to officials in fire department, the incident could have turned into a major tragedy in case the underground fuel tankers caught fire from the sparks caused by the electrocution.

Panic triggered at the petrol station following the electrocution, which caused a major blast. One of the victims was blown to pieces due to the sparks. The heat generated due to the sparks not only melted the iron ladder, but also caused holes in the floor at the petrol station.

According to police, the incident took place at 3.30 pm when the electricians were pulling a ladder fitted on a trolley. They were working at the petrol station. The ladder came in contact with the overhead high tension cable which was about 25 feet high. A huge blast with a spark ensued which blinded the onlookers for a while.

The temperature caused by the spark burnt Mangal feet and other parts of his body. The tyres of the trolley were also burnt.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested Parmar on the charges of causing death due to negligence saying that the ladder was defective.

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Paragon toppers awarded
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 28
The State Bank of India, Sector 70, Mataur, branch honoured meritorious students of Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 71.

The school also presented SBI talent awards to the rank holders of the school in higher education. A cash award of RS 1,001, along with an appreciation letter, was given to three rank holders of science, commerce and arts, respectively.

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