C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Disaster may be bit much for fire dept to handle
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
With “push-start” vehicles and ambulances and nonfunctional fire-fighting gadgets, the fire and emergency department is hardly equipped to tackle any major fire incident during Diwali celebrations.

Though fire department officials claim to have made adequate arrangements to fight any exigency, the ambulance at the Sector 17 fire station is not in proper working condition and has to be push-started. Tower lights fitted in one of the fire engines are not functional and oxygen is not available as per the requirement. Not only this, one of the vehicles does not have emergency hydraulic lights.

An official said tower lights were the most important gadgets required to illuminate the area in the absence of any power supply during a fire.

Another official said the hooter of one of the fire engines was also not working. It would make the task of making the way through traffic very difficult. “Though they appear to be small things, these play an important role in making us reach the spot soon,” the official said.

Apart from this, the perennial problem of shortage of staff is already plaguing the department. Sources said a fire engine required a driver, a leading fireman and four other firemen, but some fire stations only had two drivers, one leading fireman and seven firemen for the entire shift.

Additional Commissioner and chief fire officer PK Sharma said in order to minimise the reaching time, fire engines and sufficient staff would be deputed at sensitive places like Shastri Market (Sector 22), Sadar Bazar (Sector 19), Grain Market (Sector 26), Mauli Jagran and Burail.

Three ambulances, two rescue engines, four water boosers, two advanced fire-fighting jeeps and motorcycles had also been deputed for Diwali.

Sharma directed the staff not to proceed on leave until Diwali and they had been assigned 12-hour duty on rotation. Claiming that all fire engines were functional, he advised the staff to check the vehicles.

Meanwhile, the UT District Magistrate has prohibited the use of crackers between 10 pm and 6 am. Violators would be prosecuted.


l Light crackers in open spaces
l Keep water buckets or sand bags nearby
l Wear cotton clothes
l Use spectacles for safety of eyes
l Keep infants away from crackers
l Use crackers with noise level below 125 db (A-1) or 145 db @ pkz only
l Remove inflammable materials and articles from roofs
l Remove rubber furniture etc. from sites used for bursting crackers
l Keep doors and windows closed


l Don’t use crackers near hospitals
l Don’t use crackers near vehicles, roads or inside the house
l Do not use glass, bottles or containers for firing rockets
l Keep distance from trees and electric wires
l Don’t throw lit crackers into the air



Tribune Impact
Owner of laser centre arrested, finally
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Four months of “dilly-dallying” by the police in proceeding against the Sector 22 German Laser Centre has delayed the unearthing of a major scam, in which gullible people were treated by a quack.

The scam was unearthed today with the arrest of 35-year-old Pardeep Khurana of Mohali, who treated people of unwanted hair and other such problems by charging huge amounts. The accused, a matriculate, runs the centre. The police registered a case of cheating against him on a complaint lodged by the victim, Kuldip Kaur of Sector 18.

The victim had been running from pillar to the post for over four months, but the police did not pay any heed to her pleas, rather it had closed the case, citing lack of evidence as reason. The police inaction was highlighted in these columns earlier this month since the victim apprehended that certain policemen who were “hand-in-glove” with the accused would distort the evidence.

She further alleged that the police, at the behest of the accused, was forcing her to reach a compromise after taking compensation. The accused had told her that he would ask practicing physicians Dr Tarun Narang and Dr Sanjeev Kumar, who visit his clinic on weekends, to give in writing that they had treated her.

She claimed that she had read an advertisement in July 2008, quoting the name of Dr Narang and an offer of 50 per cent discount on treatment. She was promised that she would get rid of hair in six sittings. Sceptical, she sought second counselling and “Dr Narang” coaxed her to go for the treatment in August. Contrary to the promises made by the doctors, her treatment was not only painful, but also failed to give the desired results and her skin was damaged.

The victim realised that she was treated by a quack when she found out that Dr Narang was in fact a different person.

The police found out that Khurana wrote prescription slips, claiming to be a doctor. His handwriting would be matched and the role of the doctors would also be probed, a police officer said.

She said fed up with the attitude of the police, she had taken up the issue with the Home Secretary, who today directed the SSP to immediately take action on her complaint. 



2 stabbed to death outside hospital
Tribune News Service

Kurali, October 15
Two youths were stabbed to death with sharp-edged weapons outside the Civil Hospital here late last night. The incident took place when Kamaljit Singh and his neighbour Parminder Singh had gone to meet a relative under treatment at the Kurali Civil Hospital. Both were residents of Mundo Sangatiyan village.

Kamaljit’s brother-in-law, Charanpreet, was admitted to the hospital after sustaining injuries in some brawl a few days ago.

In a statement to the police, Kamaljit’s father, Sohan Singh, stated that after meeting Charanpreet and left after sometime. Another relative of the patient, Satvir Singh from Badali village, escorted Kamaljit and Parminder to the hospital’s main gate.

At the main gate, a group of goons, brandishing sharp-edged weapons, attcked all three and repeatedly stabbed Parminder and Kamaljit in the stomach.

They were rushed to the hospital but doctors declared them dead on arrival. Satvir Singh also sustained serious injuries and was referred to the PGI at Chandigarh, where he is recuperating.

Sohan Singh told the police that the accused had some differences with Charanpreet and they killed the duo due to the ongoing dispute.

The police has booked Sukhvir Singh of Kurali, Jagwinder Singh and Manpreet Singh of Jhingra Kalan village and Kamal from Doom Chheri village at Morinda, besides four unidentified persons.

The accused have been booked under Sections 302, 323, 324, 348 and 349 of the IPC, but no arrest has been made so far.



Dancer commits suicide at railway station
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, October 15
A dancer with a local orchestra group today reportedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a train that had just arrived at the railway station. The incident took place at 10 am when the Sriganganagar-Hardwar intercity express arrived.

The dancer, Poonam, a resident of Gaddariyan of Old Rajpura, jumped in front of the train and died on the spot.

The railway police handed over the body to her family after a postmortem. The police said 25-year-old Poonam was undergoing stress. A few months ago she had got divorced and remarried Rajesh Kumar.

A week ago, Rajesh was arrested by the police under the NDPS Act and is at present lodged at the Patiala Central Jail.

On Wednesday, she met her husband at the jail and since then had been under stress. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.



Audit Report
No reason to panic, says Finance Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
“Don’t be alarmed by the audit report of the ministry of home affairs on the Chandigarh administration’s work on various projects, including the IT park, conversions in the Industrial Area and Film City,” Sanjay Kumar, Finance Secretary, said while addressing a press conference here today.

The Finance Secretary was speaking in the wake of the ongoing controversy on major lapses in project implementation by the UT administration highlighted in the audit report. “This was merely an internal audit. Our main audit is done by the AG (Punjab).

It has made certain observations and we will file the replies,” he said. Sanjay Kumar said the audits were a routine activity and there were always objections, but replies are filed in the relevant matters, which were settled.

The matter had been forwarded to the departments concerned and “we would reply very soon”, he said, adding that unresolved matters were addressed by the MHA. It was premature to pass any judgement on the issue. “Certain bylaws governing the UT had been ignored, which we would point out. If we were wrong, we would be ready to make amends,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Anupam Gupta, senior standing counsel of the UT administration said: “In my personal capacity, on the issue of land acquisition, I can say that the matter highlighted in the audit is unprincipled, unprofessional, unfounded and unprecedented.

The report looks calculated to favour certain parties. It is unprofessional in the sense that no rational or professional methodology has been adopted in report compilation.”



35 posts to be created at GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The union ministry of health and family welfare has given a nod for the creation of 35 posts, including super-specialists in various categories, at the GMCH-32 here.

Dr Raj Bahadur, director-principal, GMCH, said the posts had not been approved for the past nine years. “It is believed that with the creation of posts in cardiology, neurology, neurosurgery and endocrionology, the profile of the hospital would be changed,” he said.

The other posts approved by the health ministry included joint medical superintendent-cum-reader and deputy medical superintendent-cum-senior lecturer in hospital administration. It would improve efficiency and the hospital could provide extra facilities to patients.

Earlier, the ministry had sanctioned 36 ministerial posts for strengthening the administrative branches and medical record department of the institute. Besides, 750 posts were sanctioned for staff nurse, attendant, X-ray technician, ECG technician, dialysis technician, junior radiographic technician and dark room assistant.

Health officials said these posts were being filled through outsourcing.


Railways extend special train till Oct 30
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
In order to clear the heavy rush of passengers in view of the Diwali festivities, the northern railways have extended the special Chandigarh-Allahabad train till October 30.

Karan Singh, senior divisional commercial manager (SDCM), Ambala Division, while giving this information to The Tribune, said the train would leave from Chandigarh at 4 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and after passing through Ambala, Jagadhri, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur and Lucknow the train would reach Allahabad the next morning at 9 am.

He said they had also started the 2232B special train from Chandigarh to Lucknow in order to clear the rush in view of the puja and festival season.

He said the train would leave Chandigarh at 9.30 pm on October 16 and arrive in Lucknow at 9 am the next day.

Similarly, the train would leave from Allahabad on October 17 at 3.30 pm and reach Chandigarh the next day at 3 am.

Meanwhile, station superintendent RK Datta said seats were also available in all 22 coaches of the special Chandigarh-Lucknow train, which had been started to facilitate the people to observe Diwali at their native places.

He urged the people to book their seats in advance so that they don’t have to face any difficulty in getting tickets.

He said a special UTS counter has also been opened for the passengers to book tickets.



Residents throng markets on Dhanteras
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Residents of the city and the surrounding area thronged major markets here for shopping on the auspicious occasion of Dhanteras today causing traffic jams. The worst period was, however, between 5 pm - when the offices closed -- and 9 pm and chaos prevailed in Sectors 17, 18, 19, intersection of Sectors 20 and 21, 35, Dakshin Marg, Madhya Marg and Mani Majra markets and Tribune Chowk, besides roads leading to Mohali and Panchkula.

The whole city seemed to be out on the roads for making purchases on Dhanteras as there is a common belief that purchasing on this day would please the God of wealth Kuber. As the number of vehicles kept on swelling in the parking lots, the police had to allow parking along the main roads.

Even though the city police had made elaborate arrangements, the force seemed inadequate to manage the traffic, which continued to swell as evening set in.

The parking contractors could be seen urging the vehicle owners to keep their vehicle in neutral gear in order squeeze in more vehicles.

DSP (traffic) Vijay Kumar said barring the non-sensitive points in the city the traffic police had been deployed in all major markets.

He said in order to clear the jams in the markets they had also deployed recovery vehicles besides pressing in the services of the motorcycle interceptors.

Meanwhile, the economic recession and the rising inflation did not have any impact on the purchasing mood of the people as the city residents came out in heavy numbers to make purchases on the eve of Dhanteras.

Till late in the evening, cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles could be seen moving at a snail’s pace as the four major entry and exit points of the city - The Tribune roundabout, transport light point on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway, and near Sector 39, besides Phase VII in Mohali, were blocked.



Encroachment during festive season
Shopkeepers flout norms
Tribune News Service

Encroachers block space for pedestrians at Sector 22 in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Encroachers block space for pedestrians at Sector 22 in Chandigarh on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, October 15
Roadside encroachments in the city have touched an all-time high with the festive season congesting the main roads, thanks to shopkeepers and rehriwalas who have encroached upon the space, thus harassing pedestrians.

During a visit to various sectors it was found that the footpaths had almost disappeared as shopkeepers had extended their sheds and spread their goods in front of their shops. As per the directions of the corporation, all stallholders were asked to leave at least 6 feet of clear space from road edge, whereas most of rehriwalas stationed their rehris in front of the shops leaving little space for pedestrians to move in the market.

The encroachers had extended their shops to such an extent that it had left no space even for the vehicle owners to park their vehicles in the main markets. Frequent traffic jams and congestion had led to accidents and quarrels among the people and shopkeepers.

The encroachments clearly depicted the inability of the authorities to clear markets. Real culprits were the rehriwalas who enjoyed the support of shopkeepers and were hardly afraid of the corporation authorities.

The market of entire city during festival session seems to present a picture of the mela area. Pedestrians have to jostle their way through shops and rehris. Minor quarrels have become a regular feature in the markets. Roadside soft drink stalls selling yogurt, lemonade, etc have come up at every nook and corner of the city apart from a host of other pushcarts selling Diwali stuff.

Interestingly, most of those areas which were earmarked by the corporation not to be used for putting up stalls have been encroached by rehriwalas. Sources in the corporation said the enforcement department was also facing problem while removing encroachment in the city as most of the inspectors had been posted on the clerical posts in the corporation. 



PU hostel report cards to relieve many
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
In a bid to improve hostels, Panjab University student council has prepared hostel’s report card and is all set to make wardens answerable for the alleged lapses. The council, based on the analysis of recently launched feedback forms, has evaluated each hostel on the parameters of hygiene, food, security and also behaviour of wardens.

The report card will be placed before the vice-chancellor soon and each warden will individually give his or her take to the vice-chancellor and DSW on the report.

“We recently distributed feedback forms to university students. After receiving their response, we prepared report cards that will now be put before the vice-chancellor and wardens will have to give an explanation.

The condition of hostels has been a cause of concern for all students and now we want the university to give us concrete steps rather than false promises,” said Amit Bhatia, president, PUSC.

Claiming it to be an effort to take the issue beyond election manifestoes, Brinder Dhillon, president SOPU said: “Condition of hostels concerns everyone but mostly university officials ignore our demands. Hostels are wardens’ responsibility. Whenever there is a problem, we report them but hardly anything happens. Now with the report card, we can demand action.”



BSNL damages newly built footpath
MC, GMADA play blame game
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 15
Even as the BSNL authorities have caused extensive damage to a newly constructed footpath along a sector-dividing road while undertaking cable laying work, neither the Municipal Council nor the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is aware of who gave the green light for the project.

The main road from the UT boundary to the end of Sector 71 was extended and beautified by GMADA about a year ago at the cost of about Rs 5 crore and the footpath on the left side has already begun to collapse at many points along the 3.5 km stretch route.

People who go for long walks early in the morning face the danger of falling into the pits along the footpath, especially at the time when streetlights does not function.

Interestingly, BSNL officials claimed that it had not laid any cable, as the network already existed in the area. The work might have been undertaken by some private operator.

According to sources, GMADA had written a letter to the executive officer of the civic body on July 8 in which it was stated that the BSNL had dug up nearly 6-ft long pits at a distance of about every 10 ft along the footpath starting from the UT boundary to the SCL Chowk.

The tiles used on the footpath were broken at the time of laying the cable with the help of a machine causing extensive damage to the footpath. It was also pointed out in the letter that the matter had been brought to the notice of the civic body authorities earlier as well.

The letter further stated that GMADA had not given any permission to the BSNL for the work of laying the cable and instead the department concerned was asked to get in touch with the council in this regard and it was likely that the permission for the work must have been given by the civic body.

It is therefore requested that the telephone department be asked to get the pits filled and to replace the damaged tiles on the footpath.

A similar request was again made by GMADA through the letter dated July 20 to the council.

GMADA authorities said the maintenance of the road was to be done by the civic body, as it had been handed over to the council about two months ago.

However, an official of the engineering wing of the council said the road had still not been handed over to the council by GMADA and as such no permission was given for the work to the BSNL by the civic body.

He said meetings had taken place with GMADA and it wanted to hand over the road for maintenance work. But as some shortcomings were noticed in the work executed on the sector-dividing road, the council had asked GMADA to remove those before handing it over to the council and nothing had been done after that request was made.



Role of ayurveda discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
“India is ahead of all countries in traditional medicine and can take full advantage of the global resurgence of interest in complementary and alternative medicine,” said ayurvedic scholar Dr R Vatsyayan during an interactive session organised by the Chandigarh Management Association and ITFT Education Group on “Lifestyle management through ayurveda” to mark Dhanvantri Divas.

He said the fast pace of life, tensions, mental stress and strains, modern societal pressures and today’s way of life had created an interest in a holistic approach to health- a conscious return to ayurveda, Yoga, meditation and naturopathy. Punjab health and family welfare secretary Satish Chandra was the chief guest.



Coop staff yet to get revised pay scale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Employees of the cooperative department of the Chandigarh administration are a harassed lot. Even as the employees of the other departments get revised pay scales, those of the cooperative department are still waiting for the enhanced salaries and perks.

In a representation to the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS), the employees alleged that they had not been paid the revised pay scales which were to be paid by June.

The delay in the granting of salaries in the revised pay scales and arrears had been causing financial loss to the staff, the representation alleged. Meanwhile, the employees alleged that even the monthly salaries were being paid several days late causing unnecessary harassment to the employees.



300 units of blood collected

Chandigarh, October 15
PEC University of Technology, in collaboration with the PGIMER, organised a blood donation camp on its campus.

Dr Manoj Dutta, director, PEC University of Technology, encouraged the students and the faculty to actively participate in the cause.

The programme officers and volunteers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) organised the camp. Around 300 units of blood were collected during the camp. Dr Dutta honoured those blood donors who had donated blood six or more times. The team of PGI doctors emphasised the importance of donating blood to the students. — TNS



PU VC on research panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University has been appointed as non-official part time director, on the board of National Research Development Corporation, for a term of three years by the President of India.

The other two persons appointed along with Prof Sobti are Som Mittal, president, National Association of Software and Services companies (NASSCOM), and Deepanwita, CEO, ICICI Knowledge Park, Hyderabad.

A letter was received by the university on October 12 by NRDC.



Education board staff body polls on Oct 22
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 15
The elections to the Punjab School Education Board Employees’ Union will be held on October 22. Disclosing this here today, Chief Election Commissioner Parveen Kumar Rattan, Punjab School Education Board, said today was the last date to file nominations, withdrawal and scrutiny.

Two main groups, Dhillon-Mann group and Dharilwal-Rano group led by their presidential candidates, GS Dhillon and JS Chunni, are in the fray. The elections are being fought for the posts of president, senior vice-president, vice-president, joint vice-president, general secretary, secretary, joint secretary, finance secretary, office secretary, organising secretary and press secretary. Besides, 15 members of the executive would also be elected.



From Schools
Diwali celebrations take centre stage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Divya Public School, Sector 44 - D, organised an inter-house rangoli-making contest on the school premises today to celebrate Diwali. President of Divya Educational Society OP Goyal was the chief guest.

AKSIPS-45 celebrated Diwali with fervour today. The celebrations started with a special assembly, wherein students discussed about the ill-effects of firecrackers. The art and craft club organised an exhibition of decorated diyas, candles, pots and door hangings. Music and dance group presented songs and jugal bandi of kathak and bhajan.

The eco club and NSS volunteers of Mount Carmel School, Sector 47-B, organised an anti-cracker, anti-noise and anti-pollution rally on October 15 to spread awareness amongst people on harmful effects of bursting crackers.

The rally was flagged off from the school and moved around the sector sensitising residents about cracker free Diwali.

Panchkula: A special assembly was organised to celebrate Diwali at Satluj Public School, here today.

Starting with a diya dance, celebrations witnessed skits, solo-dances, solo-songs, group dances, group songs and also two plays. Fire works were the main attraction.

Principal Krit Serai advised students not to use crackers and urged them for a safe Diwali.

At Blue Bird High School, a short scene from Ramlila showing the arrival of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after the exile of 14 years was enacted.

Around 60 students participated depicting different characters of Ram parivar.

Ravi Bhatnagar, director of the school, urged students to have a smoke-free Diwali.

The British School, (TBS Panchkula) took out a rally to sensitise the community about the needs of pets, other animals and birds in the neighbourhood during Diwali.

At DAV- 8, multi-coloured glittering candles and variety of wall hangings and several other items of decoration were prepared by the students keeping in mind the sub theme best out of waste and the main theme decorations for Diwali.

Posters highlighting “no to crackers” were put up to decorate the notice board and also to spread the messages of pollution-free Diwali. Slogan-writing contest was also organised for students of junior wing.

At DC Montessori School, staff members and students celebrated Diwali by sharing and distributing gifts to their counterparts in the slums thus inculcating the spirit of sharing.

Students brought gifts in the form of clothes, woolens, notebooks, biscuits, chocolates, water bottles, etc.

Nearly 400 students of the school, donated generously, said BB Gupta, principal of the school.



PU Notes Officials from US suggest collaboration

Chandigarh, October 15
Heather Broman, science officer, Embassy of the United States of America along with BS Satabarayana, scientific affairs specialist participated in a discussion at Panjab University today.

Fellows from PU took part in the discussion and modalities were worked out to enter into collaboration for which faculty members and students will be sent under discover India programme so that more areas can be chosen for such collaborations.


Sakshi Gupta, JRF, working with Prof SK Mehta at chemistry department, PU, bagged the best poster award at discussion meeting of chemical reactions in unusual media organised by National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune. Gupta presented her research work on microwave assisted synthesis of palladium nano-particles characterisation and application. — TNS



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |