C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

‘School lane’ traffic mess a nightmare for parents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Picking up and dropping kids in the ‘school lane’ in Sector 26, where four major city schools are located, continues to be a harrowing experience for parents. For many of them the daily traffic snarlups that invariably occur an hour before and after the schools open and close has made the chore the most daunting for the day.

Though according to the regulations managing the traffic outside is the sole responsibility of the schools they appear to have done nothing much to ease the chaos.

Many parents in a bid to pick up their children right outside the school gate park their cars there, leaving little or no space for other vehicular movement.

“Picking up my kids to enable them to make it to their tuitions in time has become the most difficult task for me. The most important planning for my day now is how to pick them up and be out of that maddening lane in ten minutes. There seems to be no rule or regulation - people park their cars anywhere and leave,” says Seema Sharma, whose son is a student of Kabir School.

For many it is the unregulated movement of autos and overloaded cycle rickshaws that has made the already bad situation worse.

“I think I my high BP is due to this regular routine of dropping and picking up my kids at the school. Almost every second day I get into an argument with somebody out there. There is nobody to manage the traffic, which results in total chaos. In a hurry to exit first a huge jam is created and on top of that the auto drivers and even the rickshaw wallahs take the road for granted, thereby worsening the problem,” added another harassed parent, Rohit Rastogi.

Meanwhile, parents who come on two wheelers blame the entire mess on the erratic movement of cars. “When you have so many big cars coming onto this small lane then problems are bound to occur. Given the fact that there is no surveillance out here the cars fail to abide by any rule and the worst hit ones are those on two-wheelers, as we are expected to wait till the ‘VIPs’ exit,” rued one of the parents.

Interestingly, while nobody seems to have come up with any successful solution, most of the traffic problems can be avoided by observing simple traffic sense, according to a senior official.

“There are two things - one, the schools should own up to the responsibility and control the traffic in the lane and, secondly, parents themselves need to stick to the basic traffic rules. This will only benefit them and save them from a lot of hassle.” 



Home ministry takes UT admn to task
Disapproves recent press meet on land audit report
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
The ministry of home affairs has questioned the Chandigarh administration over the press conference recently held by senior UT officials last month on the MHA’s audit report, which had pointed out major discrepancies in land acquisitions by the union territory for certain projects.

It may be recalled senior administration officials led by finance secretary Sanjay Kumar had convened the press conference in the last week of October. This followed excerpts from the MHA audit being published in newspapers, which had slammed the UT administration on account of various discrepancies in the land acquisition deals in particular.

Although the finance secretary had not made any comment against the audit report, the legal advisor “in his personal capacity” had blasted the report. The deputy commissioner, among other officials, was also present on the occasion. The report was described as “only a routine exercise that is very common in administrative circles”.

Confirming the development, a senior UT official said, “Yes, we’ve received a note from the MHA today in regard to the press conference held recently by UT officials. The details will be known soon”.

A senior official said: “The press conference was not directed against the MHA report. We only wanted to clarify that the MHA’s audit report was not the final word on issues relating to projects in the UT. There were several clarifications to the issues raised in the report and we have sent detailed replies to most of the questions that were sent to us. We didn’t say anything on the official note in the report. The press conference was convened only to clarify our stand, after some UT officials were upset at the adverse reports appearing daily”

At the same time, another senior officer remarked: “When the home ministry is preparing a report after look into the matter, the UT administration had no business to offer any comments. I think our officials acted in a bit of a hurry”.

Sources close to the Congress party, based in New Delhi, said, “The UT officials exceeded their brief by organising a press conference. Even if they did not make any comments against the MHA report directly on the occasion, it was in a spirit to rubbish a report prepared by the agency of the central ministry. We are supposed to follow professional norms.” 



Garbage Plant Mess
Another MC panel to monitor working
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
After an MC councillors’ committee, an expert committee of the corporation is now being constituted to monitor the proper functioning of the garbage processing plant at Dadu Majra, which has remained in controversy ever since its installation.

It has been decided that a five-member expert committee will be formed to check the overall performance of the garbage plant and suggest measures to improve its functioning.

Sources revealed that during the hearing of the notice served on the company, it was decided that an expert committee would prepare a report on whether the plant was functioning properly or not and if the company had installed the machinery according to the agreement.

Source said the names of the members of the committee would be finalised by the corporation soon.

In April, MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria had issued a notice to JP Company and had asked it to submit a reply within 30 days.

A senior official said the corporation had to constitute the committee as the Chandigarh administration, which had constituted a central pollution control committee to check the reasons for smell and pollution in the plant, had clarified that they had shunned monitoring, functioning or installation of machinery at the plant.

In the communiqué from the administration, it was clearly mentioned that the corporation had to take action against the company if the matter was related to infrastructure or machinery.

So the authorities had decided to form their own expert committee for the purpose.On November 11, 2008, a sub-committee was constituted by the house, under the chairmanship of Congress councillor Chandermukhi Sharma, to assess the technology and technical aspects of infrastructure and machinery.

After two futile special house meetings convened by the MC Mayor to discuss the report, no discussion was held on the matter as the members of the sub-committee themselves raised a question mark on their report and the powers of the house to take action against the company.

Meanwhile, the report of the central pollution board committee is still awaited by the Chandigarh administration.



More effective pneumonia vaccine by next year
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
The UT health department will soon begin vaccinating children against pneumonia, which incidentally accounts for almost ten deaths - particularly of children aged below five years - in the Tricity every day. In fact the lung infection contributes to almost 20 percent of mortality cases among children, more than AIDS, measles and malaria combined.

Disclosing these startling facts to The Tribune, Dr Rajesh Kumar, head of community medicine at PGI, said: “The health ministry plans to introduce a pentavalent vaccine in its national immuniztion programme that will combine DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) with hepatitis B, pneumonia and meningitis caused by the Hib bacteria (haemophilus influenza type B). The vaccine will be available in Chandigarh by next year.”

“A single shot would protect children against several diseases. Vaccines with antigens for five diseases are already being used around the world. More than 130 countries have shifted to pentavalent vaccines while India still uses tetravalent vaccines in its national immunization programme,” said Dr Kumar, adding very the vaccines would very soon be available free of cost.

Almost 8 to 10 pneumonia cases among children under the age of 5 are reported every day at the PGI’s pediatric ward. However, the same number of deaths occur in the Tricity daily. “Almost 80 percent of these children can be saved with timely medical intervention, said Dr Manmeet Kaur, assistant professor of health promotion at PGI.

She added most of the cases are referred to big hospitals only after the patient’s condition starts deteriorating and the ‘mohalla’ doctors feel themselves unable to deal with the case. “Saving children in such a critical condition become almost a difficult task,” she said.

“Lack of good nutrition coupled with polluted air and poor hygiene are the leading factor causing pneumonia. Better access to antibiotics can lower mortality due to the disease,’’ said Dr Kumar adding environmental factors have increased children’s susceptibility to pneumonia, especially among those living in crowded homes, exposed to indoor air pollution caused by using biomass fuels for cooking and parental smoking habits.

Earlier addressing reporters today at PGI, Kumar stated the School of Public Health at PGI had observed World Pneumonia Day on November 2, 2009 to ensure necessary intervention reached infants and children. “Activities for raising awareness about pneumonia to save innocent lives, based on formative research, are being organised during the entire month of November. These include reaching public through radio, television, newspapers, distribution of IEC material and short films to be used at health facilities, etc,” he added. 



Gang of thieves busted, 7 held
Were said to be inspired by Bollywood flick
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, November 11
The seven members of a gang that had stolen scores of vehicles, who were arrested in Rajpura, reportedly drew inspiration for their crimes from the Bollywood movie ‘Oye Lucky Lucky Oye’. From petty thefts they graduated to stealing luxury vehicles besides expensive gadgets in the same manner as Lucky Singh, the movie’s protagonist, did.

Five of the seven suspects held are aged between 18 and 20 years. They include Irbanpreet Singh alias Pinki, Amit Sharma alias Rinku, Amandeep Singh alias Manny, Dharjot Singh and Lucky. Stolen goods said to be worth Rs 50 lakh have been recovered from their possession.

The suspects are not only literate but wore expensive branded clothes and moved around in luxury cars to impress their victims.

“All the seven arrested men saw this Bollywood movie umpteen times and then imitated its protagonist”, said IG Patiala Paramjit Singh Gill and SSP Patiala Ranbir Singh Khattra today. The suspects are said to come from well-educated families, and some are even graduates. The parents of two of them come from middle class families with transport business, while the father of one of the suspects is a bank manager.

The suspects have been identified as Lucky Singh, the gang’s kingpin and resident of Sector 21D, Chandigarh, presently residing in Zirakpur; Irbanpreet Singh alias Pinki of Dashmesh Colony Zirakpur; Amit Sharma alias Rinku of Zirakpur; Amandeep Singh alias Manny of Badal Colony, Zirakpur; Dharjot Singh alias Nona of Nawanshahar; and Razwan Khan and Krishan alias Kala, both from Chhat village.

Another suspect, who managed to escape, has been identified as Vicky Plumber from Nawanshhar. Two of the arrested men were assigned the task of selling the stolen goods.

SP (D) Gurdeep Singh Pannu and Rajpura Sadar SHO Bikramjeet Singh Brar received secret information about the gang, which has 20 criminal cases registered against it in various areas of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The seven gang members were arrested late last night near the Jansua bus stop in Rajpura at a special police ‘naka’ (checkpost).

Police officials investigating the matter said besides stealing luxury cars and accessories, music systems and laptops they were also involved in robbing people at gunpoint. During the investigations it was found they used to offer lifts to bystanders near bus stands and later robbed them at gunpoint. They usually frequented highways or adjoining bus stands. The gang had so far stolen five cars including three from Chandigarh and one from Nahianwala village near Bathinda.

The suspects admitted to injuring three occupants of a Maruti Alto car with weapons on the Sirhind road near Rajpura a few days ago when they took away Rs 40,000 and mobile phones from the car’s occupants. In the same week they snatched a laptop and mobile phone from an auto-rickshaw passenger near Zirakpur. They also snatched a laptop, mobile phone and cash and other valuables from a motorcyclist near Banur.

The police today recovered 16 cars, three pistols, one air gun, one knife, 32 mobile phones, five laptops and 20 alloy wheels. During investigation the gang members confessed they used to sell the stolen car accessories to Rajwan Khan, a resident of Chhat village, and Krishan of Zirakpur, both of whom were arrested and the stolen goods recovered. The police has registered a case against them and efforts are on to nab the suspect.


Laadli media awards

Chandigarh, November 11
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Infords has officially invited entries for the second UNFPA-Laadli media awards for gender sensitivity.

The award, instituted to acknowledge, highlight and celebrate efforts to gender is open to the professionals of advertising, print media and electronic media (TV and radio).

The awards are open to media professionals from Delhi, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Uttaranchal, and Jammu & Kashmir. The last date for receiving entries is January 10, 2010. Entries can be sent to laadli.north @gmail.com. — TNS



Swine Flu
Two students among four test positive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
With four more persons, including two students from DPS and DAV Public School each, testing positive for H1N1 virus in the city, the total number of confirmed swine flu cases in the city has gone up to 79.

“Results of four suspected swine flu cases came out positive today. Out of these, two are students, one a doctor in the medicine department of the GMCH-32 and the fourth a 22-year-old resident of Sector 22,” UT nodal officer for swine flu HC Gera said.

A total of 424 suspected cases have been detected so far. Out of these, 48 cases are from the UT and 16 each are from Punjab and Haryana. All positive cases have been treated. They have been cured and are stable, added Gera. A 10-year-old girl from DPS and 13-year-old boy from DAV Public School recently developed fever and cough and reported to the Government Hospital yesterday.

“They showed symptoms of the virus and the PGI later confirmed it,” said Gera. Both were quarantined along with their family members at their residence by the UT health department today.

Meanwhile, the UT health department collected 14 samples for testing H1N1 virus today. “Throat swab samples have been sent to the PGI for tests. The reports will come in a day,” said Gera. The four deaths reported so far in the tricity include one of a Chaman Vatika, Ambala, student and another of Nirmal Dham School, Karnal, student. Also, a person from Solan died at Silver Oak Hospital, Mohali.

Recently, a student of Moti Ram Arya DAV School, Sector 7, Panchkula, died of swine flu at the PGI. No death has so far been reported among cases belonging to Chandigarh, Gera added.

Meanwhile, a special meeting was convened under the chairmanship of Health Secretary Ram Niwas for prevention of swine flu cases in the city.

He reviewed the situation at different hospitals and asked the authorities to keep a close watch on all such cases arriving at different hospitals for treatment. He said isolation facilities in all the hospitals should be upgraded with requisite medical facilities.

He further directed the education department to stay vigilant and issue instructions to all principals to follow the guidelines of the government as well as of the health department.

It was emphasised that physical screening of each student should be done by the class teacher to detect any student with symptoms of flu (mild fever with cough/sore throat with or without body ache, headache, diarrhoea and vomiting). If case of any detection, the student must be referred to a medical facility or nearby hospital, it was added.

Similarly, the education department was advised not to undertake any exertion/tour during December and January, keeping in view the number of swine flu cases being detected in different schools. The UT DEO was directed to issue instructions in this regard to all schools.

The Health Secretary added that all technical institutes, including engineering colleges, should ensure strict implementation of the guidelines of the health department. Also, coaching institute should adhere to the guidelines of the government and not allow any student with flu-like symptoms to attend classes.



Plunderers strip fountains dry
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Fountains installed at various gardens to enhance their beauty here last year have become an eyesore as most of these are out of order. Reason: Parts of most of the fountains have been plundered.

According to the records of the municipal corporation, five fountains were installed at various parks in Sectors 22, 27, 28 and Mani Majra at the cost of Rs 30 to 40 lakh each.

During a visit to the parks, operators said there was no technical problem in running the fountains, but their nozzles, made of brass, had been stolen due to which they had become non-functional.

An operator, on the condition of anonymity, said people stole the nozzles of fountains as these had high value in the junk market.

He said the authorities concerned had been urged a number of times to make some security arrangements at these parks but nothing had been done in this regard so far.

In most parks, even benches and railings around the green belt had gone missing, he added.

He said only gardeners visited the parks on alternate days or according to their duty schedule and parks remained unmanned the rest of the time.

A senior official stated that there was no mention of theft of equipment in the last year’s contract for installation of fountains in green belts.

It only mentioned that the company would replace or repair any equipment free of cost if a technical problem occurred in the working of the fountains within one year, the official said.

At a recent MC house meeting, the corporation had decided to install a fountain in one green belt of each sector at a place identified by the area councillor.

MC Superintending Engineer RK Goyal confirmed that they had received complaints of theft of fountain parts for which they were making changes in the contract.

He said from this year the contractor would be responsible for the theft of parts of fountains for three years.

He added that they were formulating a proposal to hand over the maintenance and security of fountains to the horticulture department.

Mani Majra councillor Gurcharan Dass Kala said it was strange that the corporation was spending crores of rupees on the installation of fountains but was overlooking the need for security.

He also confirmed that the fountain installed at Shivalik Park had not been working for some time due to the theft of some fountain parts. Recently, an official had approached him to finalise a new site to install another fountain but he refused stating that it was sheer wastage of corporation funds when there was no one to take care of it, he said.

Sector 22 councillor Pardeep Chhabra suggested hiring of private security to prevent theft of public property in parks.

He said there should be a clause in the contract for maintenance and protection of fountains by the company for five years.



Work on drainage system inaugurated

Chandigarh, November 11
MC Mayor Kamlesh formally inaugurated the work on laying of storm water drainage system at Dadu Majra village here today.

The laying of the system would help tackle flood-like situations in the low-lying areas. The Mayor said after the completion of the work, peripheral roads of the village would be widen and open drains would be covered. To provide healthier atmosphere, plants and trees would be planted by roadsides along the village periphery. Former Mayor Pardeep Chhabra, Public Health-IV XEN VK Garg and other senior officers were present at the ceremony. — TNS



Honour for city doctor

Chandigarh, November 11
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has awarded Dr Ashok Sharma, director of the Chandigarh Cornea Centre, for his services in the field of cornea research.

The award was presented to him at the international conference of the academy in San Francisco, USA, which was attended by over 25,000 eye surgeons across the world.

Dr Sharma presented two papers — “Autolimbal stem cell transplants in chemical eye injuries” and “Voriconazole in resistant keraomycosis”. His research on autolimbal stem cells will benefit those who had lost their vision due to chemical injury or other ocular surface disorders. Dr Sharma is the first corneal surgeon to establish cultured limbal stem cell transplants in the region.

His research on the use of voriconazole (drops, intracorneal injection and oral) revealed it to be safe and effective in the treatment of resistant keratomycosis.

The use of voriconazole will benefit patients suffering from resistant fungal corneal ulcers a major cause of corneal blindness. — TNS



9-day sanitation drive begins at Mohali
Tribune News Service

Insanitary conditions prevail along one of the Mohali roads.
Insanitary conditions prevail along one of the Mohali roads. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, November 11
Ridden by squabbling between the Congress-led MC and Akali councillors, a special ‘clean-Mohali’ drive kicked off from Phase VI here this afternoon. As the Kharar MLA, Balbir Sidhu, and MC president Rajinder Rana flagged off the campaign, senior vice-president HS Prince, also descended on the scene stating that the Deputy Commissioner had to intervene as the president had failed in improving the sanitation of the city.

While the MLA claimed that the sanitation issue had been repeatedly taken up in the council meetings, the SAD councillors claimed that the MC president, by holding a broom, was trying to take mileage whereas they had met Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, urging him that the district administration should intervene in improving the state of sanitation in the city.

“In the past three years, no a single sanitation drive has been initiated by the MC president. The state of sanitation was pathetic. The drive on the directive of the DC was itself an admission that the state of sanitation was poor. A total of Rs 1 crore is spent on cleaning the city,” said another councillor Phool Raj.

Hoping the special drive would make a dent in improving the sanitation, the resident welfare association said the outcome would be known after the drive was over.

While launching the sanitation, an official of the MC said it was a nine-day special sanitation drive beginning from today. The entire city had been divided into four zones and a supervisor had been appointed on each zone.

In additional to the routine cleaning hours from 8 am to 12 noon, the sanitation staff would carry out the special drive from 2 pm to 5 pm. Participation by the resident welfare associations and NGOs has also been sought by the Deputy Commissioner.

Giving the schedule of the sanitation drive, district public relations officer Surjeet Singh Saini said on November 11 and 12, the area to be cleaned were Phases III-A, V, VI and IX. On November 13 and 14, the areas to be cleaned were Phases I, III-B1, X and Sector 70. Phases III-B2 and XI would be cleaned on November 16 and 17.

Madanpur would be focused on November 18. On November 19, Phase II and 48 C would be cleaned. 



Lack of infrastructure, supervision worsens situation
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 11
Heaps of garbage, dry leaves and garden waste can be seen lying in different parts of the town. Garbage can also be seen scattered around collection bins.

It is learnt that about 60 tonnes of garbage generates from the town each day out of which about 40 tonnes get lifted daily. The remaining 20 tonnes creates foul smell for the people of the area. It is also alleged that sanitation work suffers because there is no proper supervision of the work and even the sanitation contractors lack adequate infrastructure.

The council spends nearly Rs 1.50 crore on sanitation work in the residential area but the work carried out by two contractors hired by the civic body remains unsatisfactory. Councillors stressed at one of the monthly meetings of the civic body that the terms and conditions for the new sanitation contract should be made stricter to bring about an improvement in the work. The work of sanitation in the Industrial Area is done by safai karamcharis of the civic body.

Phool Raj Singh, councillor living in Phase VII, said garbage was also not being lifted from certain areas regularly. He said there was lot of foul smell near St Soldier’s School as the dumping point was not cleaned daily. Malba was dumped in a vacant area near the main road in Phase VII but no action was taken.



P’kula MC vice-chief moves HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Panchkula Municipal Council vice-president BB Singal today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court claiming that he was not being allowed to work as the acting vice-president, which was against the provisions of the Municipal Act.

He alleged that the executive officer of the Panchkula MC, the DC and the Director of the Urban Local Bodies were not following the Act, byelaws and municipal code.

In his petition before Justice Permod Kohli, Singal said the election of Ravinder Rawal as president of the Panchkula MC had been set aside by the HC. Later, he worked as the acting president as per statute in this regard. However, later through a communication, the DC prevented him from working on the post from September 24, 2009. The case has now been fixed for November 17.



NHAI blamed for dumping debris in choe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
In an affidavit, Punjab’s department of local bodies has claimed that the problem of waterlogging in some areas under the Zirakpur municipal council in July was caused due to dumping of debris in a choe by the National Highway Authority (NHAI).

The affidavit by the undersecretary in the department said the malba was thrown during the construction of the Zirakpur-Kalka highway, resulting in the obstruction of flow of water in the choe.

The High Court Bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Mahesh Grover had sought report on several issues in the Zirakpur area, including non-discharge of rainwater, mushrooming of unauthorised colonies, encroachment on Patiala-Zirakpur highway, charging of hefty development charges from builders for providing little facilities, traffic chaos due to encroachment under the Ambala-Zirakpur flyover, shelter for bus passengers and waterlogging causing threat of epidemic.

The affidavit stated that the Zirakpur MC had removed the malba and had cautioned the NHAI to desist from throwing garbage or malba in the choe.

Thereafter, no complaint of stagnation of water had been received. The MC had also requested the Punjab department of drainage to maintain and clean the nullah, the affidavit further stated.

It was added that the report of the MC had stated that a number of illegal colonies had come up before nagar panchayat came into existence.

The layout of many of these colonies had been regularised and amount of development charges received from these colonies was being spent on strengthening the civic amenities of these colonies. The maintenance of land below the flyover was prime responsibility of the private contractor who constructed the flyover.

However, the area had been videographed and the Deputy Commissioner had issued notice to encroachers.

Referring to traffic chaos, the affidavit stated that the MC had been removing temporary encroachments from time to time for free flow of traffic.



15 children suspected with dengue
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 11
Panic gripped inmates of Guru Asra Trust in Phase VII when a number of children complained of fever, suspecting it to be dengue.

As many as 15 children in the age group of 4 years to 18 years complained of cough, fever, headache and other problems. One girl who suffered from a decrease in her platelet count was admitted to a private hospital in Sohana this evening. The Guru Asra Trust has provided a home to 75 orphan girls.

A doctor of the Civil Hospital, Inderjit Singh Bhatia, was sent to the trust premises by the health authorities who examined the sick children. Blood samples of the children were also collected by a laboratory technician.

Dr Bhatia said most of the children were suffering from acute respiratory infection, but it could not be said outright that the fever they were going through was dengue.

He said blood samples were taken and the children would be provided medicines as well. Throat swabs of some children would also be collected tomorrow, he added.

Kulbir Kaur, president of the Trust, said she had suffered from fever about a month ago which was tested positive for dengue by the PGI, Chandigarh, on October 27. She got worried when children started having fever and took some of them to the local Civil Hospital yesterday.

The hospital took their blood samples but failed to provide any treatment. Today again she took two children to the Civil Hospital, but as she allegedly failed to get a favourable response from the doctors there, she got a girl admitted in a private hospital in Sohana as her platelet count had come down to 65,000.

She said health officials had sent a doctor to her residence only after she talked to senior officials of the Punjab Government.

She said earlier in the day District Health Officer Dr SP Surila had also visited the Trust premises.

It is alleged that because the PGI authorities did not inform the Mohali district health officials that Kulbir Kaur had been tested positive for dengue, the local officials did not visit the Trust premises to find out the reasons for the dengue fever and examine the inmates.



Wheelchairs distributed
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 11
The Disabled Persons Welfare Organisation distributed tricycles and wheelchairs to 20 disabled persons free of cost during a function at Pabhat village recently.

The chairman of the district planning board, Mohali, Narinder Kumar Sharma, was the chief guest. Some Punjabi artistes also staged cultural programme.

Addressing a large gathering, Sharma praised the social welfare works of the organisation and announced a personal grant of Rs 21,000 and assured another Rs 51,000 out of the government funds.

During the function, Parmdeep Singh Bhabat, president of the organisation, said special facilities and rights should be given to handicapped persons.



Tributes paid to martyr
Tribune News Service

Panchkula MLA DK Bansal pays tributes to Captain Rohit Kaushal at Jalauli village on Wednesday.
Panchkula MLA DK Bansal pays tributes to Captain Rohit Kaushal at Jalauli village on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, November 11
Tributes were paid to Captain Rohit Kaushal on his martyrdom day observed at his memorial in his ancestral village, Jalauli, near here today.Capain Kaushal had sacrificed his life while fighting militants in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, 14 year ago, on November 11, 1995.

A large number of Army officers and civilians had reached Jalauli to pay homage to the valiant martyr. Officers from the Western Command from all ranks, including Lieutenant Generals, Major Generals, and Brigadiers, laid wreath at the memorial.

A guard of honour was presented to the brave Captain by the jawans of 18 Punjab Battalion, to which the Captain belonged.

After the wreath laying ceremony, DK Bansal, MLA, Panchkula, inaugurated Shaheed Captain Rohit Kaushal Memorial Hall at Government Higher Secondary School , Jalauli.
Others who paid tributes to the martyr included Panchkula DC Pankaj Yadav, and SDM Rajpal. Floral tributes were also paid by the Haryana Rajya Sainik Board.

A large number of people from the neighbouring villages, students and staff of Shaheed Captain Rohit Kaushal Government High School also paid tributes. Family members, friends and relatives of the Captain were also present on the occasion.



Mohali allottees split over benefits of waiver
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 11
A notification issued by the financial commissioner, revenue, that allows those re-allotted plots to be considered at par with original allottees for the purpose of registration of conveyance deed (CD) at the allotment price, has only served to create confusion among allottees here.

Aimed at offering a special waiver to re-allottees till December 31, 2009, the notification does not extend the benefit to all of them. If one goes by its contents the beneficiaries in the case of plots would primarily be applicable to those in Sectors 76 through 80. However, the number of such beneficiaries should not be large.

Another rider put by the Punjab government is that the special waiver of allowing the conveyance deed at allotment price would be applicable to the first buyer from the original allottee of the plot and not to subsequent buyers . The first buyer has been allowed to make the full and final payment before going for the CD.

Unlike in Chandigarh and Panchkula, the waiver has not been offered to those who have made the full and final payment.

“It’s cruel joke on the allottees. Though the government has set December 31, 2009 as the deadline, in the same notification it has given three months from the date of payment of the last regular installment as per schedule of payment of such allotment. There are several contradictions in the notification”, said NK Marwaha, a former senior vice president of the Mohali MC.

On the other hand, Manoj Aggarwal, president of the joint action committee of all residents welfare associations, welcomed the relief. “It would benefit over 20,000 persons. The original allottee has already been allowed CD at allotment price. The legal heirs of the deceased original allottees of immovable property allotted by government/semi government have also been made eligible to the benefits allowed to original allottees”, he said.

Earlier, the allottees had to deposit between Rs 50,000 and Rs 4.5 lakh, depending upon the size of their respective plots, to get the conveyance deed of the property registered.



Annual theatre fest begins
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, November 11
The annual Chandigarh theatre festival, fourth in the series, organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Academy commenced on an aesthetically brilliant note and blessings of grand old thespian Gursharan Singh at the Randhawa Auditorium here today.

The opening play “Rirde Prinde di Katha” written over a decade by Shabdish seems to have attained a new dimension in Punjabi playwriting as far its potent thematic content encompassing many socially relevant issues is concerned.

The tone and treatment for execution under the direction of Anita Shabdish, barring a few hurdles, brought alive the intent of the writer on the stage with the comprehensions of an able director.

She succeeded in holding the audience spellbound through tense scenes as the play operated on an intellectual plane with the pastoral idioms generating subtle yet thought provoking spells of humour.

Caught between two different psyches that of an acclaimed Punjabi novelist and a common man, the protagonist, portrayed by Yogesh Arora, sticks to ethical values and ideals. He is eulogised as the literary exponent of the stratum of society facing social evils, communal violence and subjugation of women but in his practical life he feels the daughter as a harbinger of curse. So much so that he is responsible for killing her daughter for being in love with a low caste boy.

The play at times becomes melodramatic especially the scene depicting the killing of heroine on stage with gory details when reflecting a protest. Both the versatile actor Yogesh and Harpreet in her maiden stage performance stole the limelight along with Jatinder Riar, Iqattar Singh and others. The potent poetic renditions by Salim Akhtar were the lifeline of the production.

A Hindi play “Thought” written and directed by Chakresh will be staged tomorrow.



Delhi danseuse captivates audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, November 11
After establishing her credentials as a young exponent of Kathak in Germany, USA, Belgium, Korea, Peru and Surinam recently, Sangita Chatterjee gave a captivating Kathak recital at the Pracheen Kala Kendra here today.The programme began with a devotional composition "Shyam Chani", an elaborated articulation of pranks of Lord Krishna and the adoration of Gopikas.

 The dance skillfully exhibited thaat, paran, tode, tukre, tihai, gat niks, dand different layakaries of Lucknow gharana.

The concluding item, a Thumri in Raga Khamaj by Begum Akhtar “Koyaliya mat kar pukar…” was a melodic and lyrical treat which brought alive the pain and agony of a lovelorn woman waiting for her beloved. The dancer followed this pattern and created movements and images in space receiving applause from the audience.

The jugalbandi between young tabla exponent Avirbhav Verma and versatile virtuoso Sangita kept the audience mesmerised . Rahul Pawar on pakhawaj and padhant, Aaisan Ali Khan on sarangi and vocal and Abhik Mukherjee on sitar proved their dexterity. Kendra registrar Shobha Koser honoured the artists.



Foreign students dance on desi tunes
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 11
“Gurbat mein hon agar ham, rehta hai dil vatan mein, Samjho hamein vahin tum, dil ho jahan hamara,” the sentiment expressed by poet Iqbal remained the thematic content of all musical presentations made by foreign students, studying in the region, at a cultural meet here.

As many as twenty items were presented at the annual event jointly organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and dean, foreign students PU, and DAV College to commemorate the birth anniversary of the Late Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad at their auditorium.

Foreign students from Kurukshetra University also joined the celebrations. While students from Tibet presented bhangra, besides their tribal folk and yak dance, the local DAV-10 students gave an adroit spell of western dance.

Twelve dancers from Bhutan, led by Sangay, depicted the cultural heritage and beauty of their country in a traditional and modern dance in “Chandigarh de munde”.

Similarly, the Afghanistan artists offered a slice of Afghani culture, marriage rituals and other aspects.

The audience reserved their applause for ten children aged 5-10 years, progeny of Iranian students led by Fatima and Ghazail as they showcased the celebration of New Year eve in Iran.



Violence on Campus
4 PU students suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Four students of mathematics department, Panjab University, were suspended today for indulging in violence on the campus.

Serious injury was caused to a student of BSc (I) yesterday after the students entered into a violent clash in the department parking.

The incident happened despite giving an undertaking to the department chairperson for not indulging in any act of violence. The spat was ongoing between the two parties, reportedly SOPU and PUSU, since November 6, when the fresher’s party took place.

Earlier, PU security was called and the boys were pacified. The fight is reported to have initiated after dinner, when the boys were drunk.

The fight continued, but was under wraps till yesterday, when the two parties exchanged blows. Suspecting foul play, chairperson of the department had even summoned them to give an undertaking for not repeating the act.

The incident had also compelled the authorities to consider restricting the timings of such parties inside the campus till 6 pm only.

Yesterday a case under Section 308 of the IPC was registered at the Sector 11 police station against Gurinder Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Prabhjot Singh and Rajat, all students of the department.

The students reportedly attacked Jagdeep, student of the same department, with stones, swords and other sharp-edged weapons.



Law dept admission under scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Panjab University’s action of granting admissions in the department of laws to “students less meritorious” has come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court scanner.

In a petition, a candidate - Pankuri Sundra - has sought directions to Panjab University and other respondents to quash the admissions to the five-year course to the students “less meritorious than her” pursuant to counselling held on November 5, a day after the advertisement appeared.

Claiming to be aggrieved by the action of the respondents in not giving her admission, the petitioner added the action was not only discriminatory, but also violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Sundra, through counsel Anand Chhibbar, added at least “a notice should have been sent to the petitioner either through snail mail or an e-mail or through the telephone, the complete detail of which were available with the university authorities when the admission form was submitted.

Earlier, there were 152 seats- 134 were open, while 18 were foreign nationals and others. An additional 24 seats were subsequently granted.

Chhibbar said it transpired Panjab University took out an advertisement, but it escaped to the petitioner’s attention. As a result, students much lower in merit than the petitioner were granted admission to the five-year course.

The petitioner then visited the department of laws, but was refused admission in spite of higher merit in the entrance test held on May 17.

“The admission process on November 5, was nothing but an eye wash to make things look in order which in fact was nothing but to pick and choose candidates and give them admission through back door entries,” Chhibbar added.

Taking up the petition, Justice Permod Kohli today issued notice of motion.



‘Porn’ Row
Education dept to hear complainant
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Following St John’s denial to join inquiry into the matter of the alleged involvement of school’s art teacher in instigating students to join adult sites, UT education department has now decided to take a decision based on the complainant’s perspective only.

The decision comes in wake of the letter sent to the department by school yesterday. The authorities had insisted that the administration had no right to intervene into the matters of school.

UT education department had summoned the principal, along with the accused art teacher, for alleged failure to submit a written reply on the complaint of a senior PCS officer TK Goyal also a parent accusing the art teacher of instigating students to join adult sites.

The school in reply, had asserted that given to the fact that it was a minority institution deemed free from all external control and had already initiated an internal inquiry, the order was just an effort to intervene in school’s matters and thus requested the department to withdraw it.

“As per law, no one can be forced to join any inquiry. They have lost a chance to put their side of the story and now we shall see what the complainant has to say and then take a decision,” said a senior department official.

It may be noted that the complainant had refused to join school inquiry and approached administration, which had called the principal and accused teacher for a clarification today.



Tribune Impact
PU VC orders inquiry
Black marketing of admission forms
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Swinging into action on black marketing of admission forms at Panjab University, PU Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti today marked a time bound inquiry into the matter.A single person committee comprising of SK Sharma, Prof Emeritus, will conduct the inquiry and a report will be submitted on Monday.

Besides, notices were also put up near the form counters today informing students about the availability of the forms online.

According to security persons on duty, the counters for distribution and collection of forms were increased today to avoid rush.

Earlier, the PU registrar was directed by the VC to submit a report on the matter.

“I was not in the city when the incident occurred. However, I have marked an inquiry. The single man inquiry team will submit the report on Monday,” said the VC.

The case came to light when The tribune team exposed over twelve touts operating on the PU campus who used to black market hundreds of admission forms which are meant for the private candidates.

More than ten touts were caught yesterday by the PU security when The Tribune team exposed them. The involvement of a PU employee in selling admission forms to the touts was also exposed.

These forms were purchased from the campus counters in bulk to presumably sell them off at an exorbitant price in the interiors of Punjab. Later, the authorities created a separate counter and made the touts sell those forms, which were recovered from them.

Meanwhile, even the ignorance of the students about the facility of downloading these forms from Internet also come to light.

“We have put up notices near the counters. Things will be more systematic in future. The ignorance of the students about the facility available on Internet is also a matter of concern,” said PU registrar Prof SS Bari.



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