C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Furniture store gutted
Blaze brought under control after over 3 hours; goods worth lakhs of rupees destroyed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
Furniture, mattresses and other articles worth several lakhs of rupees were gutted in a fire that broke out at the Gem Furniture showroom on Madhya Marg in Sector 7 here this afternoon. About 70 employees who were there managed to escape unhurt before the flames spread to the entire showroom. The fire started around 1:30 pm in the workshop located at the rear of the furniture store.

Though firemen manage to bring the blaze under control after fighting it for over three hours, it kept on smoldering even eight hours after it started. Though the employees of the showroom claimed the fire was caused by a spark from a shop adjacent to theirs, where ironsmiths were cutting a girder using gas welding and other equipment, the owner of Gem Furniture, Suresh Bhatia, ruled this out, saying the shop in question was situated at a distance.

Fire department officials said they were not sure about what had caused the fire. They said the blaze spread in no time as the workshop was packed to its capacity with combustible materials, including thinner, sprit, varnish polish, upholstery, wood and petroleum-based foam stuffed in mattresses.

The fire could be have triggered by a short circuit as the makeshift structures housing the workshop had loose electricity wirings.

As in case of all major fire incidents in market places, today also the fire tenders faced a tough time reaching the scene. A lot of precious time was wasted in clearing the haphazardly parked vehicles there. The traffic police had to call a recovery van to remove a Honda City car that had been parked in front of the furniture store.

The police used a public address system to call people to remove their vehicles from the area and also to ask onlookers to stay clear of the passage of the fire tenders. Traffic was blocked on Madhya Marg to make way for the fire tenders.

Station fire officer LM Sharma stated a large quantity of the combustible materials were stored in the workshop, which did not have any fire safety system in place. “It was the major cause of the fire spreading out of control. Had they installed any inbuilt firefighting system like water sprinklers the fire would have been put out at the initial stage”, he said.

One of the fire tender personnel said the scanty water supply also adversely affected the rescue operation. The fire tenders also tried to douse the flames by using foam but it was not of much help. They also made a water curtain to prevent the fire from entering into the shop, but the uncontrollable inferno went on and engulfed the entire shop.

A large number of expensive sofas, beds and other furniture items caught fire and were reduced to ashes though the firemen as well as the showroom employees tried their best to save the articles.

Baljinder Singh a fire officer from the Manimajra fire station, said information on the fire was received at around 2:15 pm. “We rushed to the scene with ten fire tenders”, he added. 



New diabetes procedure obviates need for insulin
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
In a development that may help India in shedding the tag of being the ‘diabetes capital of the world, researchers at the PGI hospital here have successfully carried out ‘regeneration of pancreas’ on a patient suffering from the disease, using the patient’s own stem cells. This breakthrough has led to not only a reduction in intake of insulin among some patients but has also freed them from type II diabetes.

A preliminary study by the PGI doctors has revealed that autologous bone marrow derived stem cell therapy conducted on ten patients in their mid-fifties, who had 15-year history of type II diabetes, resulted in the majority of them becoming almost free of insulin dependence during the follow-up, which averaged about six months to one year.

Dr Anil Bhansali, head of PGI’s endocrinology department, told The Tribune seven patients showed signs of reduction in insulin requirement by 75 percent as compared to the baseline. Of these insulin was completely discontinued for three patients, albeit for a short duration for one of them. The therapy also resulted in weight loss of around 6 kilograms in the patients, Bhansali added.

However, the study revealed that subsequent insulin independence was a prolonged ‘honeymoon’ period due to dietary and exercise changes associated with close post stem cell transplantation medical observation. Dr Bhansali said this change was because of an improvement in beta-cell (a type of cell in the pancreas that secretes insulin) preservation.

He noted earlier there was no strategy to preserve pancreas and a transplant was only possible from a cadaver, which would cost around Rs 10 lakh. “However, this therapy costs only Rs 30,000”, he added.

Explaining the procedure of stem cell, he said: “We took out the stem cells from patients’ hip bone and injected 5 ml into his pancreas. In the end we were able to induce prolonged and significant increases of C-peptide levels associated with reduction of insulin doses in a small group of patients with type II diabetes”. On a follow-up of this study, Dr Bhansali said: “We will start again in the month of December and this time we intend to conduct this study on almost 50 patients with type II diabetes.” He added the study would not only discontinue insulin but also improve quality of life. “If this therapy used in newly diagnosed patients, it will possibly reverse the disease,” he claimed.

The study, published in Stem Cell Development 2009, was conducted by a team of PGI doctors that included, besides Bhansali, Dr Neelam Marwaha of the blood transfusion department, Dr Vimal Upreti of the endocrinology department and Dr N Khandelwal of the radiotherapy department.

Meanwhile, according published reports, the International Diabetes Federation estimates the number of diabetic patients in India more than doubled from 19 million in 1995 to 40.9 million in 2007 and is projected to further rise to 69.9 million by 2025.



4 more down with swine flu
St Anne’s School shut for a week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
With four more people including two doctors from Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32 and two students of St Anne’s Convent School, Sector 32, testing positive for the H1N1 virus, the total number of confirmed swine flu cases in the city has gone up to 93.

A day after a St Anne’s student of class IV fell a victim, two more students from different classes tested positive for the virus. This time those afflicted are students of classes VII and VIII, said HC Gera, UT nodal officer for swine flu. However, he added all of them are in a stable condition and responding to treatment.

With the infection now spreading to other classes, the St Anne’s authorities have decided to close the school for a week following instructions issued by UT health department officials.

The other positive cases were reported from GMCH-32. Two female doctors from the hospital’s medicine department developed flu symptoms and tested positive for the virus today.

All the victims along with their family members have been “quarantined at home” by the UT health authorities. Tamiflu had been administered to all members of their families. A team of doctors and paramedics will conduct a daily home check on them and observe their condition.



H1N1, dengue strikes at Mohali orphanage
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 13
A girl housed in the Guru Asra Trust orphanage in Phase VII here has been confirmed to have tested positive for swine flu while another has been afflicted with dengue fever. Over 15 children in the orphanage aged between four and 18 years had complained of cough, fever, headache and other problems.

One girl who suffered a decrease in her platelet count was admitted to a private hospital in Sohana. The trust has provided a home to 75 orphan girls.

It is feared five more orphanage inmates might test positive for dengue fever as indicated by rapid slide tests conducted on them. The blood samples of these children would be taken again to get the confirmation report.

A Civil Hospital medical team had collected blood samples of 20 children on November 11 after the orphanage inmates complained of cough, fever, headache and other problems.

District health officer Dr SP Surila said one of the inmates had tested positive for swine flu. A medical team had been sent to the trust premises to isolate the child and provide the required medicines to all the other inmates.

Surila said another child had been confirmed positive for dengue while four tested negative for the fever. He said that blood samples of five children would be collected again to get a confirmation report.

The health department has taken the required measures in this regard. As many as 121 houses around the trust premises had been surveyed for fever and people were being given health education. Coolers and other containers having stagnant water had been emptied.

Dr Inderjit Singh Bhatia, who had examined the children, said that the platelet count of all the children in the orphanage whose blood samples were collected was within normal range. “All the children except two were suffering from viral fever for which treatment was being given and they would be admitted to a hospital only if any other complication arose”, he added.

However, Kulbir Kaur, president of the Guru Asra Trust, alleged health department officials had not got back to her after examining the children and collecting their blood samples two days ago. She said had gone to a hospital to know the results of the blood tests, which were not being handed over to her. “The sick inmates are not being given proper treatment by the doctors concerned”, she claimed. 



Woman gets life for setting husband afire
Victim succumbs to burns at GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
Basing its verdict in a case dating back to 2007 on two dying declarations, one before the investigating officer and the other before a magistrate, the sessions court today convicted a 37-year-old woman under section 302 and section 307 of the Indian Penal Code. Accused of setting her husband ablaze the court of sessions judge KK Garg awarded life imprisonment to Ritu, the wife of the deceased, Vikram Kumar.

In its judgment the court observed it was Ritu who had poured petrol and set Vikram on fire, as a result of which he suffered burn injuries and died later.

The court also observed the victim was in a sound state of mind when he made the dying declaration before a judicial magistrate first class. The court also stated the medical evidence corroborated the declaration and there was no reason to disbelieve the same.

It must be mentioned here that in his dying declaration the deceased Vikram Kumar had stated a quarrel took place between him and Ritu following which she poured petrol on him and set him ablaze.

It may be recalled that the police had on September 6, 2007 arrested Ritu, a resident of Sector 47 after her husband, Vikram Kumar alias Vicky, a class IV air force employee, had stated in his dying declaration before judicial magistrate Balwinder Kumar that she had poured petrol on him and set him afire.

Vikram succumbed to his injuries at the Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32 late last night. However, the victim’s eight-year-old daughter, Ishita, had maintained her mother was not at home when her father set himself on fire.

The police said the incident took place on September 4 at around 8 pm when they received a phone call about a quarrel between the couple at their house. When SI Nirmal Singh arrived there he found Vikram engulfed in flames outside his home and his neighbours trying to save him by wrapping a blanket around him. He was rushed to GMCH where the doctors said he had suffered 90 per cent burns.

Police officials had said Vikram told the investigating officials that his wife, Ritu, had poured petrol on him and set him on fire and later the duty magistrate was informed. Vikram’s statement was recorded following which a case of attempt to murder was registered against Ritu. Thereafter, Vikram succumbed to his injuries at the hospital at 10:30 pm. 


18 hurt as bus overturns
Tribune News Service

The injured involved in an accident at the Sector 39 police station.
The injured involved in an accident at the Sector 39 police station. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, November 13
Eighteen persons were injured, including one seriously, when a mini-bus they were travelling in overturned on the road dividing Sectors 25 and 38 today morning.

The police said the accident took place at around 5 am. A private bus (PB-01-9697) of New Fatehgarh Sahib Transport Company was on its way to Zirakpur from Ludhiana.

There were around 18 persons on board, who were employed by a private contactor for providing manpower-catering services.

The SHO of the Sector 39 police station said the driver of the bus was not aware of the route and lost his way near the Dadu Majra Colony chowk. He took a sharp turn at the rotary and the bus overturned. The injured were rushed to a hospital, where those who sustained minor injuries fled on seeing the police.

Three of the seriously injured, identified as Lalji, Rahul and Rakesh, were admitted to the Sector 16 Government Multi-specialty Hospital (GMSH), from where Rahul was referred to the PGI. His condition was stated to be stable, while the other two were discharged later in the day from the GMSH.

The police has arrested the bus driver, Raj Kumar, after registering a case against him. He was sent to judicial custody.

In a separate mishap, a pedestrian, Shambhu Nath, of Uttar Pradesh was injured after being knocked down by an unidentified vehicle on the road diving Sectors 8 and 9 today morning. He was admitted to the GMSH. A case has been registered.

Woman dies

In another incident, a 40-year-old woman, identified as Niyama of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, who was critically injured in a road mishap a few days back, died on Friday in the PGI.

Niyama, a labourer, was working at an under-construction divider on the road separating Sectors 36 and 42 on November 11, when a motorcycle rammed into her. She was rushed to the GMSH, from where she was referred to the PGI.

The police has arrested the motorcyclist. 



UT may not get Chief Commissioner
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
Chandigarh may not revert back to the Chief Commissioner system after November 16 as the present regime of the Punjab Governor holding the additional charge of the UT Administrator is likely to continue post-November 16 when the tenure of the current incumbent, SF Rodrigues, ends.

With the Central government virtually taking a U-turn on its previous announcement of reverting back to the Chief Commissioner system under the direct control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the prevailing system is set to get a fresh lease of life.

“There is no order on the appointment of the Chief Commissioner till date and it is unlikely in a couple of days when the term of Rodrigues ends,” a senior official told The Tribune.

The decision to maintain the status quo is seen as an offshoot of strong objections from the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had reportedly taken up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Badal reportedly argued that the revival of Chief Commissioner for the city would jeopardise Punjab's claims on Chandigarh.

The official said the Centre did not want to disturb the existing system for political and administrative reason. Since various quarters had problem working with Rodrigues, the system may well be on track once he demitted office, the official added.

In September this year, Union Home Secretary GK Pillai had gone record saying: “We will revert back to the old pattern once the tenure of the present Governor of Punjab ends.”

The system of the Chief Commissioner prevailed till mid-eighties when the Punjab Disturbed Areas Act and the Chandigarh Disturbed Areas Act was passed in 1984 and Punjab was put under the Governor’s rule and the Punjab Governor was made the UT Administrator.

In the backdrop of the slugfest between UT Administrator SF Rodrigues and his adviser Pradip Mehra over the administration’s controversial mega projects, the demand for the revival of the post of the Chief Commissioner had gained momentum recently.

The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), the Janata Party and some eminent citizens had batted for the revival of the post for better accountability and transparency.

It was argued that with the return of normalcy and installation of a democratically-elected government in Punjab, the Governor’s rule was done away with while the post of UT Administrator was retained. Besides, the Administrator is “inaccessible” for the public since he is also the Governor.

The “duality” of power seemed to be the root of the Rodrigues-Mehra tussle. Starting with Medicity project, Mehra had raised objections to several key decisions taken by Rodrigues like extension to UT chief engineer and the warehousing complex.

The flashpoint was when Mehra demanded a probe by an independent central agency into alleged irregularities in the film city project allotted to real estate giant Parsvnath Developers.

It was believed that appointment of a senior bureaucrat as the Chief Commissioner would end the "duality" of power resulting in better administration.



Property tax defaulters told to clear dues
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
Taking stringent action against property tax defaulters, the Chandigarh municipal corporation has issued notices to over 1,000 city residents asking them to deposit their taxes overdue at the earliest or face legal action.

Out of these tax defaulters 108 residents, whose arrears are above Rs one lakh, have been given 15 days’ time to deposit the amount in the MC exchequer. In case they fail to comply with the notice the corporation would take action against them under clause 138 of rent attachment under Punjab Municipal Act 1994.

All other property holders have also been issued notices to deposit their taxes in time to avoid any complications.

Sources said most of the major private property tax defaulters are shopkeepers in the city’s major commercial sectors. These include SCFs and SCOs in Sectors 8, 10, 17, 22 and 35.

The sources added over 19,000 government and private buildings are at present paying commercial property tax to the corporation.

According to MC officials, all commercial tax holders had been sent notices asking them to deposit their taxes promptly in the month of April. They added the notices had been issued to the taxpayers under the MC’s self-assessment scheme because if they paid their taxes in April and May a rebate of ten percent would be given to them.



CJ Thakur to take oath as SC Judge on Monday
Sixth Judge from Punjab and Haryana High Court to do so 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
After Chief Justice Tirath Singh is administered oath as an Apex Court Judge on Monday, the Supreme Court will have at least six Judges, who have stayed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, A communiqué on Chief Justice Thakur’s elevation was received by the high court this evening.

Justice Thakur will be administered the oath along with Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court SS Nijjar. A former Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he remained acting Chief Justice here from October 3, 2006, to November 28, 2006. Prior to this, Justice Nijjar remained Judge of the Bombay High Court from April 26, 1996, to August 6, 2000; he was elevated as the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court on March 7, 2007.

The other Judges who have stayed here are Justice HS Bedi, Justice GS Singhvi, Justice DK Jain and Justice Satyasivam. The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association gave Justice Thakur, who remained here for over a year, a warm sendoff on Thursday evening.

Bar association president Sukhjinder Singh Behl said Chief Justice Thakur was always there “to smoothen the knots and solve the problems by extending the support.

Behl said Chief Justice Thakur’s move to seek the assistance of retired judges to dispose of the cases to cut down on pendency was widely appreciated during the conference of the chief justices and the chief ministers held recently at New Delhi.

His tenure also saw reduction in the pendency of cases, with the number of cases disposed of being more than the filed. Chief Justice Thakur emotional speech made clear his fascination with the high court here. Addressing the gathering, the Chief Justice said in a voice laden with emotion that he would want to come back to this court as a lawyer in his next birth.

It is believed Chief Justice Thakur will have a chance to become the CJI and remain on the post for about two years. Justice Thakur (57), from Jammu and Kashmir, was appointed acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court in April 2008. 



H1N1 spreads to armed forces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
As many as 23 cases of swine flu infection have been reported at the Western Command Hospital in Chandimandir. A separate ward with the requisite facilities has been set up at the hospital to deal these cases.

The hospital authorities, however, are tight lipped on whether all infected persons were soldiers or they included family members of military personnel. Besides Chandimandir, there have been reports of army personnel being infected with the virus at other stations also. In Jammu, there were reports of about a dozen jawans been tested positive for H1N1. Some isolated cases have been reported from Bathinda, Suratgarh and Jodhpur military hospitals.



Speeches, games mark Children’s Day celebrations
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, November 13
Students of Golden Bells Public School, Sector 77, celebrated the Children’s Day with great enthusiasm and exuberance.

The teachers and students delivered inspiring speeches and recited poems to motivate the students to have high aim in life and also to make persistent efforts to achieve the aims just like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

To commemorate the birth anniversary of the great leader, a quiz on the life of Chacha Nehru was organised by the students. The children participated with great enthusiasm in the fun games and races like frog race, back race, one-leg race, three-leg race, potato race, book race, etc.


The Children’s Day was celebrated in Yadavindra Public School here today. It was a three-tier programme. The staff put up a variety of programme. All items, including dandia, group song and skit, were appreciated by all students.

This programme was followed by sports and games for the children. A time, trial, relay was held along with tug-of-war for various categories and competitions were house or class wise.

Later, a football match between the head boy’s XI and vice-principal’s XI was played. It was a good fun to watch the staff and students in action.

Saupin’s School

The Children’s Day was celebrated with gaiety and fervour at Saupin’s School, Sector 70. It was a fun filled day for the students. The campus was buzzing with excitement and joy, as beautifully dressed-up children were given a surprise. The teachers made the day special by offering the fun filled activities to them. All cultural items were organised and performed by the teachers.

Besides this, the Saupin’s Community Service Organisation of the school made an effort to bring a difference into the lives of underprivileged children. The children came from Colony No 5, Sector 52, Chandigarh, and were given gift hampers, including woolen caps, crayons and drawing sheets, cookies, towels, etc.

As the Children’s Day is to celebrate childhood, the day concluded with a cricket match between teachers and students. Headmistress Goldie Kapany gave the message of peace and harmony to the students and urged them to follow the ideals of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.

Chandigarh: The ICICI Bank Ltd organised a cultural programme for children at the Government Arts Museum on the eve of Children’s Day today.

The programme saw many participants, including those from Blind School, Sector 26, enjoying through various cultural competitions.

Mount Carmel

Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, also celebrated the Children’s Day today on the school premises with the students of classes KG to X taking part in various competitions and contests.

The tiny tots of pre-nursery to KG came dressed up in fancy attires and enjoyed themselves partying away. They also celebrated the dolls day.

St Joseph’s

St Joseph’s School, Sector 44 D, celebrated the Children’s Day on the school premises with great zeal and fervour. To enrich the day, a talent show was organised by the students and teachers of the middle block. The students enthralled everyone with their dance performances. They presented solo and group items with western and classical touch.


It was a day of fun and frolic at AKSIPS 41, as the Children’s Day celebrations were held with gusto here. The children were enlightened about the vision of dream India that Pt Nehru had for the country. The tiny tots of the pre-primary section were dressed in their best for the winter fall competition.

Divya school

The Children’s Day was celebrated with great fervour on the premises of Divya Public School, Sector 44-D. The principal delivered a speech on the importance of the day and threw light on the ideals of Pt Nehru. The students recited poems in English and Hindi as a tribute to the great leader. The tiny tots came dressed as Chacha Nehru with red roses tucked in their sherwanis. A drawing competition was also organised for the students of senior classes.

Dev Samaj

IS Dev Samaj School celebrated Children’s Day and Sports Day with great zeal and fervour today.

The students of nursery and pre-nursery were dressed up like Pandit Nehru. There were different races such as frog race, skipping, hopping, dress-up race, sack race, potato and spoon race, tug of war, etc.

The event included the participation of all students from the junior wing and senior wing. The winners and runners-up were given trophies by principal Dr Sumati Kanwar.

Vatika High School

The Children’s Day was celebrated at Vatika High School for Deaf and Dumb by distributing uniforms and stationery items on behalf of president Renu Agrawal and members of the Punjab IAS Officials Wives’ Association.

The students of Scared Heart School, Sector 26, Chandigarh, were also present. They presented a cultural programme and also played a friendly match with the students of Vatika High School.

A talk was delivered on swine flu and its precautions for the awareness of the students.

PANCHKULA: The Children’s Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm in Satluj Public School, Sector 4. Students put up a show on the theme “Children’s freedom of expression”.

During the weeklong celebrations, the students were involved in various activities, which included a movie show conducted by the Child Welfare Council and a seminar on “Health and hygiene” was also organised.


The tiny tots of DAV-8, Panchkula, celebrated the Children’s Day with a lot of fun and frolic. The tiny tots brought gifts for the underprivileged Jagriti students. Games and competitions marked the day for the students who went back home laughing and singing.

Ropar: The Children’s Day was celebrated at IET Bhaddal school wing. Children remembered Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru for his love and affection towards children.

CEO Ravinder Singh while addressing the students said the real motive of opening the school wing at IET Bhaddal would be accomplished only when the students of this school would become great engineers or scientists and brought laurels to the area.

School in charge Sarita Singh Dadwal said such functions were organised to pay homage to great personalities and also to boost confidence of the participant students.

The first prize winners of various competitions were Amrit Kaur in solo song, Harvinder Kaur in fancy dress and chart making, Apinder Singh and Amrinder Singh in rangoli, Nishant and group in dance, Simrenjit Kaur, Rupinder Kaur in musical chair, Gurpreet Singh in candle making, Harmanjit Singh and Sandeep Kaur in English, Punjabi and Hindi declamation, respectively.

Patiala: DAV Public School, Patiala, celebrated the birth anniversary of Chacha Nehru with fun and frolic on its premises here today.

A dance was presented on song “Bam bam bole” by LKG students, which enthralled the audience. Teachers also presented thoughts, news and also presented a group song, “Insaf ki dagar pe”, which reminded everyone the message given by 
Chacha Nehru.

The Rotary Club also participated and organised the rhyme recitation contest for the pre-primary wing, in which 130 students took part.

Chief guest Col Bhuvnesh Sharma, president Rotary Club, and other members of the Rotary Club appreciated the talent of the students.

Prof Subhash Sharma, vice-principal Anita Kataria, and chief coordinator Veena Bedi, DAV Public School, were the judges for the competitions.

The results: Hindi rhyme contest: Group of Nursery-C, LKG-B and UKG-E got the first position and Nursery-A, LKG-D and UKG-A got the second position.

English rhyme contest: Nursery-B, LKG-E and UKG-B got the first position and Nursery-C, LKG-C, UKG-C and UKG-D got the second position. Principal SR Prabhakar distributed the prizes to the winners.



Armed men occupy GMADA flats ‘illegally’
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 13
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is caught in a piquant situation. Certain armed persons, claiming to be riot victims, have forcibly moved in vacant flats of GMADA in Mohali. In the past few weeks, at least seven MIG flats in Sectors 66 and 70 have been occupied in a dramatic manner. Officials of the GMADA enforcement staff, who had gone to get the houses vacated, had to make a hasty retreat on seeing the lathi-wielding men in the house.

Claiming to be genuine riot victims in possession of the flat for long, the occupants have filed cases in different courts seeking allotment of the same. VP Singh, Chief Administrator, GMADA, said the police had already been requested to register cases against the occupants. The Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, has also been asked to provide force to get the houses vacated.

The authority has earmarked some of these houses for allotment to the riot victims in light of the amended rehabilitation policy for those hit. “While the SAD government is all set to announce allotment of house and booths to the victims, the forcible occupation has created embarrassing situation for the authorities”, said a GMADA official. Few years ago, riot victims illegally occupied a number of houses in phase XI, during the Akali government regime in the eighties.

Now, GMADA is seeking application for allotment of 87 illegally LIG houses in Phase XI. Recently, the Punjab Government has sanctioned around Rs 14 crore for construction of 200 booths and allotment of the 87 dwelling units in Mohali.

The money has been released after the state government agreed to bear 50 per cent of the cost of the flats, the remaining will be charged from the allottee. Earlier, GMADA had decided to auction the flats. But now they would be allotted after PUDA and GMADA adopted the government policy on allotment of flats to riot victims. The allotment will be made on the basis of claim applications submitted to the Deputy Commissioner.

But the allotment will be made on the current allotment price, varying between Rs 18 lakh and Rs 43 lakh, depending upon the respective category of flats. As per the rates worked out in 2007, the price difference to be charged from the allottee for the low income and middle-income flats was Rs 33,000 and Rs 88,000, respectively.



Child injured in jhuggi fire
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 13
One-year-old child was seriously injured when a jhuggi caught fire in Sector 21 here today. The child was sleeping alone in the jhuggi at the time of the incident, while his parents, both labourers, had gone to work.

While the cause of fire could not be ascertained, Vishal (4), sibling of Sunny, was saved as he had left the jhuggi to go out and play.

Accordig to the police, Rama Pal, a laburer, along with his wife both had left for work, while the children were at home. The neighbours noticed the fire when Sunny began crying due to heat generated from the fire. Sunny suffered severe burn injures by the time he could be rescued. He was taken to Alchemist hospital from where he was referred to PGI in a critical condition.



Raising Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 13
53 Engineer Regiment celebrated its 44th Raising Day here yesterday. The events were attended by dignitaries from all parts of the country who have had an association with the regiment.

The three-day event commenced with games, food stalls, raffle draws, prizes and formal sainik sammelan, including welfare events for serving and retired soldiers and families.

There were various sports, extra curricular activities and social get-togethers.

It was followed by a regimental “barakhana”.



‘Rawaitan Toan Paar’ mesmerises audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, November 13
All three plays staged at the Randhawa Auditorium have made a distinct aesthetic statement in respect of script, tone and treatment in the execution.

A Punjabi play “Rawaitan Toan Paar” presented by Adakar Manch, Mohali, today had a potent script embellished by rich imagery of poetry, its narrative and musical renditions besides the crisp dialogues which had brilliance and drollery. The innovative theatrical treatment has chiselled the usual theme of human relationships to a classic saga of sacrifice, romance, repentance and reconciliation.

Written with matured observation of the human relationships in varied manifestations, director Dr Sahib Singh has bared the psyche of man, always hypersensitive to happenings involving his wife. The protagonist poet Partap (Dr Sahib Singh) plagued with the pride of male chauvinism though physically challenged, questions the integrity of his beloved wife Gurinder (Amanpreet), for extra-marital relationship with her college lecturer colleague Harsh (Harmanpal). 

Though initially both take a higher stand to revolt against the orthodox traditions, but later on, the husband becomes jealous of his educated wife and inevitable difference of opinion on petty issues invites tension.

Set up in a realistic home environment, the play provides many twists and turns generating serious and funny situations. The playwright had relied on sequence of rehearsal scene of Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet” by poet’s wife and her colleague only to felicitate the emotional outburst through poetic narratives and musical renditions.

The poetry and songs by Sahib Singh and Vijay Vivek, musical score and rendition by Harvinder Sohal were the lifeline of memorable production. Lead actors Harmanpal and Amarpreet Khaira enlivened their respective characters. Sangita Gupt and Varinderjit were too impressive in brief roles.

Hindi play “Hatt Teri Kismat” will be staged tomorrow.



Tips given on traffic norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology (SVIET) conducted a seminar on traffic safety at the English Auditorium, Panjab University, here today.

SP (traffic and security) HS Doon was the chief guest and DSP (traffic) Vijay Kumar was the guest of honour at the special contact programme for traffic safety.

The seminar was conducted under the aegis of Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutes (SVGOI).

Senior traffic police officials, including the chief guest and guest of honour, addressed the gathering of the students of various SVGOI institutes and their parents.

They stressed upon the need of educating the youth, especially the students, on the importance of strictly following the traffic safety rules. They said two-wheeler drivers, including motorists and cyclists, were the ones most vulnerable to serious road accidents.



Workshop on robotics
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 13
The three-day workshop on robotics, “Robomania”, based on Bulo Robotronics kits began at The Millennium School, Sector 67.

The workshop was held with a view to inculcate interactive learning methodology in students with a scientific bent of mind.

On the first day of the event, the participants of the workshop learnt about fascinating concepts of science like simple and complex machines, pulleys, levers, two wheel and four wheel drives by creating mechanical designs.

The students from classes IV to VIII participated in the workshop.



Slum kids have little access to education: Survey
8,700 children don’t go to school in city
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
While city schools might have gone all the way to make the Children’s Day special for their students, around 8,700 kids in the city are deprived of education.

These kids, most of whom have never set a foot in school, bring out the ugly side of various highly publicised projects launched by the administration to make education more accessible to these kids. What worsens the matter is that this startling figure was revealed by UT Education Department in one of its “out of school children’s survey” conducted in the slums and labour colonies around six months back.

The survey, conducted with a sample of 40,000 households, showed that employment as domestic help was the main reason for these kids to opt out of schools or never attend them.

The survey also brought out the truth behind the repeated promises by the UT administration of eradicating beggary amongst kids as 176 kids till date are found on signals rather than schools with the attitude of a group of 2,247 kids being the most disturbing, who prefer loitering to attending schools.

Around 962 kids out of the total were being forced to earn for their families by working as domestic help, while 603 had to stay at home to look after their siblings.

Many of them are also employed in various shops across the city or worked as rag pickers and vendors. The figures also bring to light the faulty enforcement of the laws pertaining to child labour in the city.

While these kids belong to the age group of 6-14, 2,000 are below seven. Around 1,148 belong to the SC category and 717 to a minority community.

Though the UT Education Department did a commendable job in terms of AIE centres which are still being run in association with NGOs, the aim of planting the students into mainstream schools is far from being realised.

“We are able to get kids in our AIE centres, but the moment they are shifted to regular schools, most of them opt out and start earning. It also becomes a problem for them to adjust with others who are way ahead in academic skills than them,” said one of the members of the AIE centre.



‘Students should opt for pure sciences’
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
With the introduction of “Inspire fellowship” for science wizards in schools and colleges, the department of science and technology, the Government of India, is all set to draw the attention of students to pure sciences.

Vice-Chancellor Seyed E Hasnain, University of Hyderabad, also a member of the Prime Minister’s scientific advisory committee, provided this information on his visit to Panjab University today.

Asserting that the positive results of this move would be visible in the next 5-10 years, Hasnain, who is also an internationally acclaimed scientist, said the students who were interested in reaching the top should opt for the pure sciences.

“There is more money in other fields and this challenge remains to be addressed. The students should opt for science if it really drives them. We need selected students who can do good work. However, the government is making the efforts to encourage interest in the field of science,” he added.

Interestingly, he also elaborated how the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has worked out on providing safe drinking water currently being made available at 2.5 paise.

“Instead of buying packaged mineral water at Rs 12 per litre, our scientists have found the way to purify water at the cost of 2.5 paise. We are making efforts to make such important developments be known through the PM’s scientific advisory committee,” said Hasnain.

Stating that if three important aspects were taken care of, that is, hygiene, sanitation and safe drinking water, 50 per cent of the infections would be reduced in the vicinity.

Hasnain was the chief guest of the AC Joshi memorial lecture for 2008-2009 held at the Zoology Auditorium today. He delivered the lecture on “Mycobacterim tuberculosis- The TB causing bacteria: The challenge remains” and its historical aspect.

He talked on the present scenario and the future directions in order to combat this disease. He shared his views as well as the research aspects, which his laboratory is targeting in understanding the intricacies associated with the affliction of this disease.



Holy Child to be upgraded up to Class XII
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 13
Holy Child School located on the Morni road near the Nadha Sahib Gurdwara is to be upgraded up to class XII within next two years.

This was stated by principal N Trehan, while interacting with mediapersons on the eve of annual function celebrations of the school to be organised at the Indradhanush Auditorium. The Panchkula Deputy Commissioner would be the chief guest.

The school has also decided to introduce the day boarding option for the parents, especially the working couples, to enable them to provide extra care to their wards, she said.

Satya House bag overall trophy

The Satya House bagged the overall trophy by winning maximum medals during the inter-house sports day organised on the occasion of Children’s Day at DAV Senior Public School, Surajpur.

Principal RP Anand congratulated the winners and he said merit certificates would be given to the winners at the school annual function.

In the basketball event, Satya House defeated Ahimsa House by 22-12 and third place was won by Vivek House. Ahimsa House beat Dharma House by 15-10, 15-1 and 15-03 in volleyball.



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