C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Daylight robbery in Sector 35 house
Armed men loot Rs 5 lakh, jewellery from woman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The claim of the Chandigarh Police regarding enhancing security in view of the Independence Day celebrations fell flat today, with a daring daylight robbery in a Sector 35-C house, where a woman was robbed of Rs 5 lakh and gold ornaments. The three armed men after committing the crime escaped from the house.

The robbers gagged and tied the woman. One of them caught hold of her, while two of his accomplices thoroughly searched the house. The woman, who tried to raise an alarm in their custody, was threatened with dire consequences.

The incident took place at around 12.10 pm in a densely populated locality of the sector. The house is located behind a market, and surprisingly no one noticed the robbers coming and going out of the house after committing the crime.

Narrating the incident, Nirmal Kaur, the victim, who was alone at home, said she had no idea when the robbers, armed with pistols, entered her house. “I closed the shutter in verandah when our maid left after finishing her work at 12.20 pm. Then I bolted the door. I had hardly turned when the three persons pushed it open and barged into the room.”

“Initially, I thought they were my son’s friends, but I was shocked when one of them pulled out a pistol. They then gagged me and covered my eyes with a cushion. After this, they asked me where the cash and ornaments were. I told them that I had just Rs 500 with me and the place where the jewellery was lying,” said the visibly upset Nirmal Kaur.

The victim said the robbers found the cash on their own and also took away a laptop. Before going, they tied her legs and locked her in a bathroom. She managed to untie herself and locked the bathroom from inside. After some time her son came home and searched for her after finding the house ransacked. On hearing his voice, she asked him to open the door.

Hakam Singh Sama, the victim’s husband, who also happens to be a property dealer, said though they were yet to assesses the loss, cash around Rs 5 lakh, four gold bangles and other ornaments weighing around 10 tolas were missing. He said the robbers were speaking Punjabi and one of them called his accomplice “Sonu”.

The police said the robbers had conducted reconnaissance of the house and had fairly good idea when the woman would be alone at home. Her daughter is a lecturer in a Mohali college and they entered just after the maid left the house.

The police has also shown the pictures of a few suspects to the family.

The robbery was conducted close on the heels of the sensational murder of Santosh Kumari in Sector 42 on August 3. The police is also looking for similarities between both incidents.

SHO of the Sector 36 police station Anokh Singh said a case under Section 392 of the IPC had been registered. They were working on several theories and trying to shortlist the suspects.



Driving schools violate norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
They may themselves not possess the licence to teach but still promise to get you a “licence” to drive.

Strange but true. Right under the nose of the STA and police officials, scores of illegal driving schools are operating in the city without the mandatory permits to run such institutions.

And what perhaps they must be teaching can be well imagined when one witnesses the so-called “training” vehicles, with the brand name of their companies displayed on the top with a big “L” sign, violating rules with impunity.

This story, in fact, has its origin from the experience of the writer, who witnessed a so-called “trainer” of “New Gagan Driving School”, Sector 30, making a young girl overtake a vehicle from the left side at a busy intersection.

Wondering how these schools get their licence, the writer visited the STA and it opened the Pandora’s Box.

Of the 30 registered “training schools” in the city, licenCes of 20 had expired and their files had the remarks “closed” written on them. However, on the roads these schools are very much “open” and are functioning without any fear of the STA or the police.

What do the rules say

  • The instructor must have either diploma in mechanical engineering or ITI certificate in motor engineering.
  • The operator must possess licence from the STA for running a driving school and intimate about the renewal of the permit two months prior to the expiry date.
  • The school should have provision for demonstration, like a blackboard, road plan and traffic signboard with necessary model signals and charts.

Nevertheless, this licence is given to driving schools for a one-year span only and is further renewed after the physical verification of the vehicles and the inspection of all mandatory apparatus or equipment at their offices.

Ironically, a majority of them have given fictitious addresses to escape the attention of the authorities, whereas shifting the school requires the STA’s permission.

As per the law, a person who wants to learn driving a light motor vehicle (LMV) like a car must attain the age of 18 or above and it is a mandatory condition that he or she should also possess a learner’s licence before handling the driving seat.

The Tribune team visited New Gagan Driving School at SCO 9, Sector 30. The operator on the other side assured to teach theoretical as well as practical driving skills for Rs 1500, despite telling him that the learner was underage and do not possess any learner’s licence. “No matter, all police persons on our route are known to us. They would not stop us,” was his reply.

During the course of inspection, it was found that no driving school was there in the name of New Gagan Driving School and as per official records, its permit, too, was found to be expired.

Ironically, another driving school in the name of Gagan Driving School has been found to be registered with the address SCF-5, Sector 20-C. The validity of its licence too expired in August 2001 and was never renewed.



8 nabbed for gambling at Shivalikview
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The police arrested eight persons on the charges of indulging in gambling in Hotel Shivalikview in Sector 17 here in the wee hours today. The police has seized Rs 3.52 lakh from their possession which is said to be the highest recovery ever made by the Chandigarh Police in a raid on gamblers.

A team of the special crime investigation cell of the police conducted the raid in room no 503 of the hotel around 1 am. The police said the gambling had been going on in the hotel since Tuesday and it was an organised gang of gamblers.

The DSP (CID) said they were examining the role of the hotel staff also and would inquire the matter with CITCO officials to unearth the entire racket. This is for the first time the police had nabbed gamblers from a government hotel.

The accused have been identified as Pawan Kumar and Anil Kumar of Sector 56, Sanjay Kumar of Sector 20-C, Ravi Kumar of Sector 41-D, Mukesh Kumar of Sector 37-D, Pawan Kumar of Sector 23-D, Raju Kumar Arora of Kajheri village and Kuldip Kumar of Dadu Majra. They were later released on surety bonds.

Ther DSP further said they later came to know that a group of gambler had left the hotel last evening otherwise they could have busted a bigger gang and seized about Rs 20 lakh.

“They contacted the gamblers on phone and asked them to come to a point from where they picked them up and told them to switch off their mobile phones. During interrogation, the accused admitted that they also were involved in match fixing”.

About the role of the CITCO staff, the police said waiters served snacks and other eatables to the gamblers in the room. The gamblers were sitting on the floor on a sheet.



PU cancels gatherings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Panjab University (PU) authorities have decided not to organise official gatherings and functions following the swine flu threat. The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the Syndicate here today. The Syndicate also decided that if any suspected case was reported on the campus, the student would immediately be referred to government hospital and if admitted, would be marked present during the treatment.

Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti said instructions had been issued to circulate literature/leaflets to create awareness about swine flu. “Round-the-clock emergency arrangements will also be made to help anyone in need.

Around 25,000 copies of literature in Hindi and English has published and is being circulated among students, university fraternity and residential areas in addition to display on notice boards and other important places,” he said.



Swine Flu
17 more suspects in city hospitals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Even as 17 new cases of suspected swine flu were reported in city hospitals today, result of more than 20 cases, sent last week to Delhi, is still awaited.

With these cases, the total number of suspected cases has gone up to 86. UT nodal officer for swine flu HC Gera said, “Earlier, the test result was available in 24 hours, but now with a lot of backlog, the waiting period is more than three days.”

“We are now awaiting the results of 28 tests, which were sent to Delhi. These are increasing because more people are coming forward to test for swine flu,” he said.

Meanwhile, a meeting to review the preparedness of the hospitals to tackle the cases in Chandigarh was held today under the chairmanship of Ram Niwas, Secretary, Health, UT. The management of private hospitals, who have been shortlisted for the treatment of swine flu, was also called.

According to a press note issued by the UT health department, the Secretary, Health, directed the representatives of the private hospitals to draw up action plan for epidemic preparedness and response by creating isolation wards in their hospitals.

“There is no need for any panic because we have enough supply of medicines and the isolation wards in the PGI, GMCH-32 and GMSH-16 are fully equipped with technical expertise, PPE and anti-viral drugs,” reiterated the secretary.

He also instructed the Medical Superintendents of the three hospitals to adopt stringent measures for doing the screening of the flu cases and, if necessary, only then samples should be collected. This step has been done keeping the backlog of the results of the tests lying pending with the NICD, Delhi.

On tests, which were being conducted by some private labs with rapid test kit, the secretary directed the Director, Health & Family Welfare, to put a ban on such tests, which were not reliable as per standard guidelines and criteria laid down by the government. The secretary desired to raid those private labs that were conducting such tests without proper facilities.



Videshi virus, desi nuskhe
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Even as pharma companies across the world are busy making Tamilfu to fight the H1N1 influenza, propagators of desi “medicines” from ayurveda to homeopathy etc are all claiming to have a cure for it.

While Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shanker of the Art of Living have endorsed ayurvedic “medicines”, a mix of Giloy (Amta)’s one-foot-long branch and seven leaves of tulsi, tea made from Laxmi taru (botanical name: Simarouba) leaves and Amla for developing immunity against the disease, homeopathic and aloe vera practitioners are flaunting a regular dose of “influneznium” and “Aloe Vera Gel Capsules”, respectively, as a “precautionary” measure.

While some allopathic doctors in the city are not willing to outrightly debunk such claims and say“it’s a matter of individual’s choice”, there are others who swear by these nuskhas and claim that they do increase body resistance to disease. “Yoga and good diet generally do help in increasing immunity,” they say, admitting that there was no scientific study to vouch for the claims of cure of H1N1 by any alternative medicine.

Dr KRS Thind, who runs a homeopathy clinic at Sector 32, says, "Swine flu is an influenza-like illness where primary symptoms are very much similar to those of influenza. So if a person can take “Influnzenium” as a preventive medicine, one dose daily within 24 hours can develop immunity against the H1N1 virus."

Moreover, a combination of homeopathy medicines can be given according to the symptoms of the patient. But the medicines should be taken after consulting a doctor, added Dr Thind.

“Homeopathy medicines can be effective for treating swine flu but we can’t claim so as there is no scientific research to support it,” says Dr Rajvinder Rana, Assistant Director of Homeopathy, UT Health Department.

Ayurveda practitioners, too, claim to have medication for swine flu. Dr Rajiv Kapila, Medical Officer of Government Ayurvedic Dispensary, Sector 28, recommends “Giloya” for strengthening the immune system.

“For treating a patient infected with H1N1 virus, ayurvedic medicines like Sanjawini Vati and Tribhuvan Kriti Ras can be given,” Dr Kapila said. These medicines are prepared by mixing 12-14 ayurvedic ingredients selected on the basis of the symptoms of the viral disease, he added.

“Aloe vera can prevent and cure the disease,” claimed SK Agarwal, who runs Aloevera Research Centre in Sector 8. He claims this medicine not only enhances the immunity level but also increases body resistance to the disease.



Swine Flu
Only one isolation ward in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
Even as neighbouring Chandigarh, which has three fully functional isolation wards in government hospitals to tackle cases of swine flu, has now taken the help of private hospitals for admitting suspected patients, Mohali district has only one isolation ward set up in the Civil Hospital here.

The isolation ward set up at the district-level hospital has only four beds. Additional two beds have been kept as reserve. Sample collection can be done only when patients reach the hospital. Though there are three more hospitals and many dispensaries in the district, isolation ward has been set up only at one place.

District Health Officer Dr SP Surila said here on Tuesday that the authorities concerned were fully prepared to tackle cases of swine flu. He said there was adequate space, trained manpower and medicines with the Civil Hospital.

He said the hospital was provided with 50 tablets of Tamiflu which were sufficient for 50 patients at one time. Additional drugs could be procured within no time from the head office. Personal protection equipment was also available in sufficient quantity.

He said so far five patients had visited the hospital with flu-like symptoms, but all had tested negative.

He said six beds were reserved for swine flu patients and if the need arose the number could be increased accordingly. He said in the face of impending threat, the hospital could not stop admitting other patients at present. There was no need to show the figures as far as beds in the isolation ward were concerned.

Two more cases reported

Even as a team of government officials visited the Civil Hospital here today to check the preparations made in connection with swine flu, two more samples of suspected swine flu cases have been sent for testing.

According to reports, samples of a Civil Hospital doctor and of the son of another doctor working in the Civil Surgeon’s office have been sent for tests. Five samples were sent earlier for testing and all were reported negative.



3 more persons admitted in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
Three more persons suspected of swine flu were admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, today, taking the number of suspected cases to 14.

Two of the patients, both residents of Mansa Devi Complex, suffering from cold, cough and fever, had returned from Pune, while the third patient had visited Chennai recently. The samples had been sent to the NICD laboratory at New Delhi.

Till now, the samples of four patients have been found to be negative, while that of others are still under observation.

Besides, over 10 suspected patients from the town reached the PGI and other Chandigarh hospitals during last few days.

Alarmed over the situation, the district administration has chalked out an action plan to cope up with the situation. While all the hospitals, the community health centres (CHC) and the primary health centres (PHC) in the district have been asked to set up isolation wards, the bed capacity at the General Hospital in Sector 6 has been increased to accommodate flow of patients, said Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav.

Issuing directions to the health authorities, the administration has asked them to ensure that in addition to district hospital, all the CHCs and the PHCs are equipped with the staff is sensitised regarding swine flu and trained rapid response team is on alert all the time. The team would include medical specialist, microbiologist, epidemiologist, paediatrician, and laboratory technician.

The vehicles for the logistics for movement of medical team and ambulance service will remain ready to use at the General Hospital, CHC, Kalka, and CHC, Raipur Rani. The three dispensaries in sectors 7, 21, and 12-A, working 24 hours have also been asked to provide outdoor as well as indoor services for the nearly sectors and clustering reports of swine flu suspected cases.



Water leakage in hospital repels patients
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
Admitting patients for treatment at the Civil Hospital in Phase VI here has become a problem as some rooms have become unusable after heavy leakage was witnessed in these more than a week ago.

There was leakage in the female ward on August 29 after a heavy rain because of which beds had got wet, there was seepage on the walls and water on the floor. Patients then had a tough time.

It is learnt that staff nurses’ room, recovery room and six other rooms in the female ward on the ground floor are at present not being used because of seepage. Patients cannot be kept in these rooms because there is a fear of infection and these rooms will be put to use only after the walls get dry. Only the labour room on the ground floor is being used by doctors and patients are being sent to wards on the first floor after deliveries leading to congestion in that area.

It is learnt that admissions of patients are being delayed because of the shortage of space and patients, in an advanced stage of recovery, are also asked to get themselves discharged from the hospital. Some patients are leaving the hospital on their own after seeing the rush in the wards.

Dr HS Sarang, SMO in charge of the hospital, said the problem of leakage had started because construction work was going on at the first floor level as the building was being extended. This had definitely created problems for indoor patients who now felt congested because of limited space and beds available in the wards at the first floor level.

He said the rooms which were not being used at present would be repaired only after the work in connection with the roof was completed so that the chance of any further leakage was ruled out. He said the building was being extended at a cost of Rs 3.30 crore after which the capacity of the hospital would increase from 70 beds to 120 beds.



‘Convert autos to LPG by Aug 31’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 13
All the Mohali-based auto-rickshaws operating between Chandigarh and Mohali have been directed to switch over to LPG by August 31.

The deadline has been given following an agreement between the Punjab transport authorities and the Chandigarh administration, wherein extended relief till August 31 had been given to the non-LPG autos.

The final reminder was given to the auto-rickshaw drivers during a meeting convened by Mohali Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand and District Transport Officer Karan Singh here last evening.

Both the new LPG-driven autos and those retrofitted with authorised LPG kits are being registered with the Mohali transport department.

The oil companies, through the city-based petrol filling station operators, have been asked to provide LPG filling facility here. “With the increase in the number of such autos, the demand for the gas is going to shoot up,” said the Deputy Commissioner.

District Transport Officer, Mohali, Karan Singh said as per the inter-state agreement with the Chandigarh administration, a total of 500 LPG-driven autos are to be countersigned by both the stakeholders states. As an incentive, the transport authorities have offered to give priority in processing those cases who apply before the deadline.

State Transport Authority, Chandigarh, Vandana Disodia said the non-LPG autos within the city or from outside would not be allowed after the deadline and no extension would be allowed after that.

To ensure that maximum number of autos in the city convert to LPG, the Deputy Commissioner also arranged a meeting of auto-rickshaw operators with the lead banks in the district. The term and conditions for issuing loans to the auto-rickshaw operators have also been also been relaxed.



‘Wah Chandigarh’ gets under way
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Celebrating the spirit of Chandigarh, a joint initiative of the CII and the UT administration kicked off with “Wah Chandigarh” on the CII premises in Sector 31 here today.

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen’s Act, 2007, inauguration of AASHADEEP , a regional institute for the mentally-challenged children in Sector 46, a 66-KV sub-station in Sector 56 portrayed the new milestones to the efficient social welfare network infrastructure development in the Union Territory as a part of three-month-long “Wah Chandigarh” conclave.

UT Administrator SF Rodrigues honoured Nek Chand, creator of the Rock Garden, DP Azad, an eminent cricketer and Jaspal Bhatti, satirist and actor, for their contribution to the city.

Starting his tour, the UT administrator first inaugurated AASHADEEP in Sector 46, constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 5.5 crore on an area of 8.5 acres to accommodate 1,000 mentally-challenged children. Around 300 children have been accommodated in the first phase of this project, which has been equipped with state-of-the-art facilities of special education, vocational training, therapeutic intervention and research programme.

Once the whole project is functional, the institute will provide comprehensive training and education to around 1,000 mentally-challenged children along with diagnosis and medical care. The institute will carry out research in the areas of mental retardation for early detection and prevention of disability.

The centre will have a special provision of 60 beds for destitute patients.

With a view to stabilizing power supply in the southern Sectors, a 66-KV sub-station in Sector 56 was inaugurated. Constructed at a cost of Rs 13.98 crore, this project will meet the load requirement of upcoming Sectors -53, 54, 55, 56, Grain Market Sec 39, Housing Project behind Village Maloya, Modern Technical Market and to meet with the increasing load demand of existing Sectors 40, 41, 42 and Maloya, Palsora and housing complexes of the Chandigarh Housing Board.



Delay in airport building holds up Dubai flight
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Delay in the construction of a new terminal building for the Chandigarh airport has apparently held up the launch of the city’s much-awaited air link with Dubai. Besides, the delay has also brought into focus safety concerns.

Sources reveal that there have been slippages in the construction schedule by several months. Until the new terminal building is complete and can offer adequate provision for segregating domestic and international passengers besides accommodating customs and immigration facilities, the Centre is unlikely to give the go-ahead for international operations.

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in air traffic to and from Chandigarh. At present, scheduled commercial airlines are operating 10 flights daily, with more expected to come in, various private operators, chartered flights and VIP movements in addition to the heavy round-the-clock commitments of the Air Force.

According to a customs officer, departures or arrivals of domestic and international passengers are done from different terminal buildings. If different buildings are not available, the terminal has to be sanitised before the designated area is taken over by the customs and immigration authorities, he added.



Renal transplant unit at Fortis
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
The government does take care of quality health services in the country but there is a need to cut down the cost to make the services available for everybody, said Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister for Parlimentary Affairs and Water Resources, after inaugurating a state-of-the-art renal transplant unit at Fortis Hospital here yesterday.

Bansal said the government was aware of the malpractices adopted by some unscrupulous elements regarding kidney transplant and there was a need to bring about changes in the law and he would take up the matter with the authorities concerned.

Taking a cue from the minister, Fortis director Dr Ashish Banerji announced that the hospital would give a discount to the first 10 patients and would offer them a package of Rs 2 lakh which was about Rs 1 lakh less than the actual cost.

Dr Sanjeev Mehrotra, senior consultant, urology and renal transplant specialist at the hospital, will head the transplant centre. 



MC staff in power trouble
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
Power cuts in Mohali compelled certain employees of the Municipal Council to hold their office outside the building here today.

The employees said it was difficult to function from the office building in the absence of power as the building was closed from all sides.

As the generator was also out of order, heat had become unbearable for some of them.

However, the move was opposed by executive officer of the civic body Amna Kumar Goyal.

It is reported that he even pulled up a union leader in this regard.

The employees said if the authorities failed to improve the working conditions in the office, they would hold a protest in the coming days.



Single window for clearing challans
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
A single window counter for dealing with cases of challans was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand in the District Transport Office here yesterday.

Mand said the counter was set up for the convenience of the public, which would help in saving time and people would not have to go to the official concerned. He said this was done to simplify the procedure of clearing challans in accordance with the directions of the State Governance Commission.



Rahul’s parents seek justice
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
The parents of Rahul, a 17-year-old engineering student who was allegedly tortured by the police before arresting him under Sections 332 and 353 of the IPC on Sunday, have requested the Director-General of Police for justice.

In an application written to the DGP, Ramesh Kumar, Rahul’s father, said that his son was innocent and the police had arrested him following his protest against their high-handedness.

Ramesh said he was a roadside fruit and vegetable vendor in Sector 15 and as he was indisposed on Sunday, he asked his son to take care of the shop. Rahul was at home being a holiday on Sunday, he said.

When policemen asked him to shift rehri from its place, he raised objection only to invite their wrath, he said.



Weekend special trains for Shimla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
With Janamashtami and Independence Day falling on two consecutive days, the Northern Railway’s has started two special trains between Kalka- Shimla sections from today onwards. These trains will run between the two stations on August 14 and 15 as well.

The trains will depart from Kalka at 6 am and 12.30 pm from Shimla. People would be able to board these trains at 9.25 am and 5.40 pm, respectively.

Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (Railways), Ambala, said, “People are heading towards Shimla for a short-duration trip due to the extended weekend.”



Sampark centres closed for 3 days

Chandigarh, August 13
Sampark centres will remain closed on August 14 and 15 on account of Janmashtami and Independence Day, respectively. Now, Sampark centres will open on Monday i.e. August 17. — TNS



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