C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Swine Flu precautionary measures
Schools send back over 200 kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
In what seems to be an aftermath of the increasing number of reported cases of swine flu among students, various city schools sent at least 200 children with cough and cold back to their homes today.

According to UT education department officials, nearly 150 students were from Guru Harkishan Public School, 100 from SD School, Sector 32, 30 from St Xavier’s and 10 from others.

The students were sent back after preliminary screening. Their parents were asked to take them to the doctor and keep them at home till they got well.

“We have asked all schools to send back children having any kind of cough, cold or flu. This is being done to combat the spread of H1N1. Given that the maximum number of students infected were from private schools, we called a special meeting and gave specific directives,” said DPI(S) Sunil Bhatia.

During the meeting, held at the GMSSS, Sector 10 here, private schools were sensitised about the issue and instructed to caution parents against sending children who were unwell to school.

A fresh directive was issued, asking the school authorities to immediately suspend any school function, trip or similar activity till further notice.

The schools were asked to ensure that teachers screened all children coming to school on a daily basis and send back those suffering from any symptom of flu.



Dept again issues order on school gatherings
However, compliance remains doubtful
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
To combat the spread of H1N1 influenza among children, the UT Education Department has once again issued a strict directive to suspend any kind of school functions, cultural programmes, sports meets etc in schools, though the compliance of the same remains doubtful.

Interestingly, it may be recalled that a couple of months ago a similar “stern” instruction was issued by the department wherein not only such functions but even school assemblies were suspended. However, the practice didn’t seem to last long.

Even as the toll of infected students has reached 45, all city schools, especially private, moved on to have lavish Children’s Day celebrations wherein hundreds came in contact with each other. Similar endeavours were done by various other organisations which, were attended by kids from various schools, but rather than raising a finger at it most of the directive-issuing authorities of the Education Department were the chief guests for the same.

Children’s Day was a national event, so it was celeberated this way and moreover in our last directive we had asked to abstain from any event that led to the intermingling of kids and classes and I think everybody obeyed that, clarified DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia, leaving everybody confused over the department’s definition of intermingling.

“Such functions may lead to spread of virus amongst a large number of kids. The way this day was celebrated in schools is truly a matter of concern and the department has to ensure that schools stop it immediately and follow the directives,” said a senior doctor.

Though this time the Education Department has postponed all its major gatherings, private schools are yet to do anything of this sort, as recently one of them held a major skating event, while yet another school is planning its annual athletic meet although a child has already been suspected positive of swine flu.



3 more cases confirmed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 16
Three more persons, including two inmates of Guru Asra Trust in Phase VII here, have been confirmed positive for swine flu.

One child of the trust was confirmed positive for the virus five days ago and had been undergoing treatment at the Civil Hospital.

Dr Deepak Bhatia, Punjab nodal officer, said throat swabs of three children at the trust and of the president were sent for tests to the PGI, Chandigarh, out of which two tested positive for swine flu.

The two inmates, Sukhpreet Kaur, a student of Sri Harkrishan Public School, and Manpreet Kaur, a student of Guru Gobind Singh College, Chandigarh, were admitted to the Civil Hospital. The nodal officer said a swab of a patient admitted to the Cosmo Hospital, Arun Rawat, had also tested positive for H1N1.

At least 15 children at the trust in the age group of 4 to 18 years had complained of cough, fever, headache and other problems. The trust provided home to 75 orphan girls.



No reply to RTI application
Withdraw handbook of information, CIC tells PU
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
In a major decision, the Central Information Commission (CIC), New Delhi, has directed the Panjab University (PU) to immediately withdraw its handbook of information.

The commission has also pulled up the PU authorities for listing exemptions in it and failing to reply to an RTI application repeatedly.

“Institutions may make guidelines for their officers who follow the RTI Act, but should avoid listing exemptions, which are not in the RTI Act,” stated Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi in the order, issued on November 6.

In addition to this, the commissioner has also set a deadline of November 25 for the PU to reply to the application and send a report to the commission by January 10 next, failing which action will be taken against the PU according to RTI provisions.

The complainant, Nitin Goyal, had sought information about complaints received against the staff members, both teaching and non-teaching, since January 1, 2006.

He had also sought details of action taken in each of the cases and whether any committee had been constituted on these complaints or not.

In addition to this, Goyal had demanded relevant extract of rules and other laws governing the management of the university, which empowered the vice-chancellor to constitute committees.

However, the university’s public information officer (PIO) had failed to reply to his application, filed on July 2 last.

On August 10, Goyal complained to the CIC and a notice was issued to the PU on August 19 for having failed to provide the information yet again. In response, the PIO had informed the CIC that the list was not included in the university information handbook.

Having consulted legal experts and the standing council, it was found that the list included matters that were not to be disclosed, according to provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, specifically those under section 8, and no such list should be included in the university’s handbook of information.

The PIO had also mentioned that the matter was being referred to the syndicate for approval of recommendations of the committee and the decision would be communicated to the applicant and to the commission.



Youth stabbed at KFC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
An unidentified youngster stabbed a 21-year-old BCA student of a private college at the KFC in Sector 35 here this evening.

The victim, Harash Bhardwaj, of Shimla, was admitted to a private hospital in Sector 34 while bleeding profusely. He reportedly sustained a deep wound on the left side of his abdomen and another one on his face.

The police is yet to ascertain the reason behind the attack and was trying to trace the assailant. The police was procuring the CCTV footage from the restaurant management and from the CCTV cameras installed by the police in the market place. The police, however, suspects that some old rivalry could be the reason behind the attack.

The SHO of the Sector 36 police station said the incident took place around 5 pm. Harash was sitting with his friend Nitika of Shimla, accompanied by her two friends, Puja and Tanya, in the basement of the restaurant. They were eating when two boys and a girl were sitting on a table next to them.

One of the girls told the police that the boys sitting on the other table were leering at them. After a while, a boy and the girl went there leaving their friend behind. The boy pointed Harash to come over to him, but he ignored. At this the boy came over to their table and picked up a fight with Harash. Both clashed and in the process the boy pulled out a dagger and stabbed Harash, who tried to save himself by shielding behind a chair.

Harash collapsed and the boy ran away from there. The police was informed about the incident. The place was examined by forensic experts, who picked up fingerprints and took the blood sample.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case of causing injuries and criminal intimidation in this regard.



Black marketing of admission forms
PU panel seeks 10 days to rectify flaws
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The committee inquiring into the case of black marketing of Panjab University admission forms has sought a ten-day period to rectify the flaws in the system. In its report, which is nearing completion, the panel has found several shortcomings in the existing process. The modifications it has recommended will be applicable from the next academic session.

Meanwhile, some changes effected by the PU authorities in distributing application forms are evident on the ground. The staff dealing with students at the counters has been shuffled for now. Another counter located at the rear of the old enquiry building has been set up to reduce the heavy rush.

SK Sharma, professor emeritus, who is heading the inquiry, has pointed out the target group is still not well versed with the admission online facility, although the latter has made the system transparent.

“I am working on the case but there is need to introduce structural changes so that similar incidents are not repeated in future. The whole process requires streamlining from a long-term perspective,” he added.

Appreciating the efforts of The Tribune team in exposing the touts’ new modus operandi and involvement of the PU staff, Sharma said the university authorities are trying to figure out ways of improving the process of providing admission forms to people in the interiors and far off areas.

The Tribune had exposed the black marketing of PU admission forms when more than ten touts were caught red handed. These forms were being bought to presumably sell them off at exorbitant prices in the interiors of Punjab. Moreover, the next day there were reports of a woman being nabbed by the PU security staff with 22 more forms.



Snapped bridge link leaves villagers high and dry
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Dairi (Mohali), November 16
In order to visit the nearest government dispensary in the adjoining village of Manauli, 60 year-old Jaswant Singh, a former sarpanch of the village, has to travel an additional 7 km to reach his destination. Not only the dispensary, visiting the main post office or picking up his grandchildren from the Manauli government school has become equally taxing for Jaswant Singh.

The reason: A vital bridge linking Manauli with Dairi and several other villages in Mohali’s periphery is still under construction and a temporary bridge provided by the PWD was washed away during the last rains. So the inhabitants of several villages are forced to take a cumbersome detour to reach Manauli or Mohali city.

“Living so close to Mohali has not helped us. The government talks of making Mohali a world-class place but ignores the peripheral areas”, said Jasdeepak Singh, an inhabitant of Manukli village. Since the village meets the basic requirements of several villages around the bridge is the lifeline of the area. “The bridge connects Dairi, Manakpur, Cahumajra, Giga Majra, Nagari, Menda Majra and several other villages”, added Singh.

Gurdev Singh, another village resident, said the old bridge used to get inundated during the rains and the link was snapped. The PWD was then entrusted with the job of building a new bridge and it has been six months since work on the bridge started.

PWD executive engineer Inderjeet Singh said a temporary diversion cannot withstand the flow of water and was being repaired. It would take at least one year to complete the bridge, he added. Besides, the bridge connecting Papri village to Chachomajra village has been under construction since 2006.



Now, lawyers as warrant officers
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The Punjab and Haryana High Court is all set to do what it has never done before - appoint lawyers as warrant officers.

Available information suggests the high court judges have taken a decision to this effect; and a notification paving the way for the appointment of advocates as warrant officers has already been issued. With this, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has become the first in the country to entrust advocates with the task.

Till now, only the court staff acted as warrant officers. They were appointed by the high court for carrying out raids and checks, while taking up habeas corpus petitions. The intention is to provide petitioners assistance in tracking down illegal detainees. It is believed the names of advocates with impeccable record will be included in the panel of warrant officers.

It seems the decision to include advocates in the list was taken, as some of them are known to be enthusiastic and willing to take chances in the larger public interest.

Another factor that apparently led to the decision was the controversy shrouding a warrant officer's role in the raid recently carried in Ved Pal Mor's case. Adding a twist to the controversy shrouding his lynching by a mob, his brother had only recently alleged that the warrant officer appointed by the high court took Rs 10,000 for conducting the raid. In an application for a CBI probe, Surinder Kumar had said the warrant officer was appointed on July 21 and the order was conveyed to him the same day. Mor, and the officer, reached Kaithal around 9 pm, but he did not conduct the raid at the house where his wife Sonia was kept.

The raid was not conducted in spite of requests "till 7.40 pm on July 22, when Mor was compelled to pay Rs 20,000 to the SHO and Rs 10,000 was taken by the warrant officer for conducting the raid".

The police also had claimed that warrant officer Suraj Bhan sustained injuries while he was attempting to scale a wall to save himself. In its report, the police said: "Apprehending danger and seeing aggressiveness of the situation, the warrant officer, to save himself from the mob, attempted to scale over the wall, due to which he received injuries."


Admn pulls up college principal on memo issue
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The UT administration has pulled up the Principal of the Government College of Arts, Sector 10, Manohar Lal, for issuing a memo to six teachers of the college today.

Following a meeting with the college faculty and Joint Director, Technical Education, Prithvi Chand, UT Education Secretary Ram Niwas also advised the Principal to maintain an “amicable atmosphere” in the college.

“The Principal has been advised to focus on developmental issues of the college rather than creating an atmosphere of tussle. An written advisory has also been sent to him following today’s incident,” said Ram Niwas.

According to the information provided by official sources, the Principal had issued a letter to the teachers who had interacted with the Education Secretary during his visit to the college and had highlighted various problems being faced by them. The secretary had visited the college on repeated complaints of the students. Next day the matter was reported in the Tribune (November 9).

“In the letter issued by the Principal today, the teachers have been asked to refrain from talking to the media, which, he said, brought out the college matters in public. The teachers said they were being targeted and singled out since they had asked the administration to intervene to improve the state of the college infrastructure,” said an official.

The administration has also directed the Principal not to seek explanations from teachers on irrelevant issues and work as a team. The college management has been advised to shun “mutual politics” and work for developmental cause.

Meanwhile, when the Principal was contacted for his comments, he said he was busy and did not comment.



Cops to seek remand of Kumar Bros owners
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The Chandigarh police plans to move an application in a local court seeking custodial interrogation of the owners of Kumar Brothers Chemists, Ashwani Kumar and Parmod Kumar in order to grill them. According to the police, though the suspects had obtained an anticipatory bail from the court after giving an undertaking to take part in the interrogation, they had not been cooperating with the investigating officials.

UT SP (City) Madur Verma told The Tribune since both the accused had not been cooperating, nothing substantial that could throw more light on the spurious surgical items racket had emerged during their interrogation so far. “Their custodial interrogation is required to fill up the missing links. On Tuesday we will move an application in the court seeking custodial remand”, Verma said.

The local court had on November 12 given anticipatory bail to both Ashwani and Parmod, much to the chagrin of the local police.

A police team again conducted a raid at the Delhi home of Sandeep Kumar who had allegedly supplied the counterfeit surgical items that were recovered from two popular chemists in the city - Kumar Brothers Chemists, Sector 11 and Jindal Associates, Sector 24 last week. The cops had seized a huge quantity of duplicate products worth several lakhs of rupees. The police said Sandeep had been engaged in the wholesale business of medicines and surgical equipment for past five years.

Sources close to the police had earlier said Sandeep might have got clue about the seizure and fled when they failed to nab him. “He is a big fish and works on a large scale in supplying counterfeit surgical items and medicines to major retailers”, said a police officer.

The sources said both the accused had admitted they had procured the counterfeit items at much lower prices and were selling them at discounted rates after pasting labels of the MNC firm, Johnson & Johnson.

“The prices of items manufactured by Johnson & Johnson are much higher and beyond the reach of certain customers. Though the products we were selling were of equally good quality and effective, nobody would have bought them if they came to know they were fake. We sell the same by pasting labels and offered discounts on the maximum retail price,” a relative of the one of the chemists said.



AFT’s local bench gets functional
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) got off to a start today with just one case coming up before it. The matter pertained to a retired officer seeking revision of his pension in accordance with new scales notified by the government.

Sources said the cases were in the process of being transferred from high courts to the AFT and over the next few weeks only a few odd cases would be coming up for hearing. These could be fresh cases filed before the tribunal or those passed over by the high courts.

The work of the AFT here is expected to pick up by the end of December or January, according to sources. By that time, the ATF would have a fair number of fresh and transferred cases.

Not many lawyers were there on its first day. There was some initial confusion over the procedures to be followed in filing cases.

The AFT here is expected to have around 3,500 cases transferred to it from high courts of Punjab and Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. It will function from its interim location at Chandimandir till permanent accommodation is made available at Chandigarh.

While the establishment of the AFT has been widely welcomed, there have also been critics in some quarters. The Delhi High Court Bar challenged its establishment some time ago.



AK Singh is GOC of Strike Corps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Lieut-General AK Singh has been appointed the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Strike Corps on the Western Front.

Commissioned into the 7th Light Cavalry in June 1973, he is a graduate of the National Defence College and has also attended a number of other prestigious courses abroad, according to a statement issued here.

An expert on manoeuvre warfare and operational planning, he established the first T-90 brigade of the Army during the Operation Parakram.

He has had varied exposure in military operations, the Foreign Division and perspective planning. He is Colonel of the Scinde Horse, 74 and 51 Armoured Regiments.



Missing Realtor Case
Special team to crack mystery
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 16
Before the state government filing of the reply on the notice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on November 19 over the investigation into the case of missing realtor Deepak Rai Sagar, Ambala range IGP KK Sindhu has set up a special investigating team to crack the mystery.

Sagar was missing since June 1, when he went to meet one of his friends.

Members of the family had pointed a finger of accusation at two of his business partners and the police conducted lie-detector tests on them, but they failed to yield any results.

Later the police had applied for the narco test over the accused but the court dismissed the application when the accused did not agree to it on the basis of health grounds.

The accused later even applied for the anticipatory bail, which was rejected by the court when the police said it had registered the case under Section 302 of the IPC against the accused.

Finding no satisfactory reply from the district police, the family members of Sagar moved to the Punjab and Haryana High Court last month following which the High Court had issued a notice to the Haryana DGP, the Panchkula SP and the SHO of Sector 5, Panchkula, asking them to file their reply on November 19.

Sagar’s son Sameer, in his petition, which was heard before a single Bench headed by Justice LN Mittal, said the Panchkula police could have taken an action, but had failed to trace the missing person even after four months.

The petitioner also sought directions for a status report on the entire case from the Panchkula police.

Now confirming that the special investigation team would look into the case, SP Amitabh Dhillon said the team, including Panchkula CIA in charge Inspector Kulbhusan and Ambala CIA Inspector Rajesh Fogat, would be headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police Virender Singh.



Conference on cytology concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The 39th Annual Conference of the Indian Academy of Cytologists concluded at PGIMER here yesterday. The deep in-roads made by cytology in the diagnostic medicine were highlighted by the eminent specialists in the four-day deliberations. Dr John Smith and Dr Mina Desai from the UK, while terming cervical cancer as one of the commonest cancers afflicting the women worldwide, highlighted the testing of human papilloma virus, which causes cervical cancer and other molecular testing techniques in the developing world. Dr N Jayaram from Bangalore, president of the Indian Academy of Cytologists, presented the PN Wahi memorial oration underscoring the need for high standards of quality in cytology laboratories across the country and the need for the accreditation of these. Dr Volker Schneider from Germany predicted a bright future for cytology as a major discipline of pathology and also its branching into the realm of the molecular pathology.

Indeed the application of molecular techniques on the cytological material was the recurring theme of the conference, said Dr S Radhika, additional professor of the department of cytology and gynae pathology at the PGI.

Highlight of the morning session was a symposium on the diagnosis of infections by using the cytological techniques. The eminent speakers from all over the country deliberated upon various infectious diseases, which are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in India. Prof A Rajwanshi, head of cytology department and gynae pathology at PGI, shared his experience on the fungal infections.

These infections were becoming more and more in the country because of emergence of AIDS in the country. The use of immuno-suppressive medicines was the other cause of these infections, said Prof Rajvanshi.



‘Farmers’ commission, attempt to divert community attention’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 16
The Haryana government’s announcement to set up a farmers’ commission was only an attempt to divert the attention of the farmer community from the real problems, as it was the history of the Congress that the reports of all commissions to be set by it in the past had been dumped.

This was alleged by INLD supremo Om Parkash Chautala, who was here to attend the meeting of party workers recently.

Instead of addressing the issues, including MSP and procurement of crops at reasonable prices, the government had been talking of setting up of the commission, the report of which is expected not to be tabled in the assembly in future, as was happened earlier also.

It was last week only when the government had announced to set up the commission within three months to safeguard the interests of the farming community, the Congress had assured in its recent manifesto that the farmers’ commission would be constituted.

While the farmers was not getting even the MSP announced by the government for paddy, the MSP of sugarcane was fixed for the benefit of the industrialists only.

The farmer would be paid only Rs 185 for one quintal of sugarcane and the millers would get at least Rs 400 after converting it into sugar, he said adding that at least 12 kilogram of sugar was prepared with crushing of one quintal of cane. And only Rs 20 are the overhead expenses to prepare sugar from 100 kg sugarcane, he said.

Similarly, agriculture experts have assessed that an investment between Rs 1,250 and Rs 1,450 was required for the production of one quintal of wheat, while the MSP for same was fixed at only Rs 1,100.



Two girls operated upon under ‘Chetna’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 16
Fortis Hospital, Mohali, has announced that “Chetna”, its special corporate social responsibility programme for the girl child had once again successfully intervened and given a new lease of life to two girl children from the economically weaker sections of society.

A press note of the hospital said under Chetna, the hospital conducted free heart surgeries and looked after the post-operative care of two-year-old Radhika and four-year-old Kittu. Both surgeries were conducted free by Dr TS Mahant, executive director, CTVS.

Both girls recuperated well post-surgery and were now back at their homes.

Kittu is the daughter of Mahavir, who ekes a living as a daily wage labourer in Chandigarh. Kittu was diagnosed with a hole in her heart when she was one-and-a-half year old.

According to Mahavir, Kittu had started suffering from breathing problems and fever and was taken to the government hospitals but could not be operated, as he could not arrange the money needed.

Radhika is the daughter of Rajan, who runs a small corner shop in Jalandhar. Radhika was detected with a hole in her heart at the tender age of two months. Explaining her condition, Rajan said, her body was blue at the time of her birth and her growth was not normal.



Blood bank facility to start soon
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 16
The much-needed blood bank facility is all set to start functioning soon at the local Civil Hospital benefiting patients in large numbers in the town.

Earlier the patients visiting the hospital had to go to the government hospitals in Kharar or Chandigarh to meet their requirements.

Hospital SMO, Dr HS Sarang, said yesterday that the infrastructure for the blood bank was in place and the compliance report in this regard had been sent to the higher authorities of the health department.

The hospital was now waiting the visit of the authorisation committee to inspect the blood bank arrangements and to give the green signal for the facility to start functioning.

The facility was likely to start by the end of this month. He said the bank would be equipped with Apheresis machine, which could be used to extract platelets.

More than 1,000 sq ft area of the hospital has been identified for the blood bank facility and the necessary equipment has been installed.



Entertainment unlimited
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, November 16
Fun, frolic and entertainment unlimited marked the staging of the English musical play “Day I met the prince” by a Mumbai-based troupe before a crowded audience, comprising mainly inquisitive children, at the Tagore Theatre here today.

The special genre of children’s theatre for family viewing, otherwise a rarity on the city’s cultural scene, was organised by the Durga Das Foundation in association with the City Emporio, the ARK and the City Infratech, with the Tribune Group of Newspapers as the media sponsor.

An adaptation of Kuo Pao Kun’s classic by playwright-actor Nayantara Rao, with music and lyrics by composer singer Abbas Ali Beg, flourished under the direction of Jaimini Pathak, a name associated with the glamour world.

Inaugurated at the Prithvi Theatre, the play ran into over 50 shows and made waves at the national Jashn-e-Bachpan fest recently.

Relying on a fantasy, it involved a girl reminiscing about her childhood when her creative passion for drawing art found no appreciation, driving her to utter frustration.

Many sequences of events, including the appearance of a prince from a planet, seized with a peculiar problem of saving his prized possession of a rose from his goat and others, kept the play moving.

The subtle and spontaneous improvisation, the filling of stage with striking actions, elegant costumes and instantaneous shifts by three actors to diverse roles remained the feature of the play despite the lack of a potent story line.

The actors drew pleasure by establishing an instant rapport with the audience and at times, the action seemed to be shifting to the audience being a part of the play.

The one-piece set of a magic box designed by Jaimini, which was equally functional and symbolic, deserved special mention, as did the musical score and lyrics.

Youngsters usually portrayed elderly characters, but Nayantara, enacting the role of a girl child with consummate ease, captivated the audience.



Uttarakhand folk songs mesmerise audience
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 16
The Uttarakhand Parwatiya Samiti, Baltana, organised the annual function, “Uttarakhand ke lok geet sandhya”, yesterday.

The local renowned artistes presented the rich cultural heritage through Uttarakhand folk songs and plays. Choice Resorts managing director Bhagwant Singh, Baltana, was the chief guest.

A souvenir was released by the chief guest, which contained important information of Uttarakhand and inmates of Baltana.

The chief guest assured all possible help to the members of the samiti.

Samiti chairperson Khushal Singh Pundir informed that the samiti was trying to preserve the rich heritage of Uttarakhand by organising such cultural activities.



Digging hits phone lines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Telephone lines in the Industrial Area, Phase II, were heavily damaged during the digging work for laying down a storm-water drainage pipeline today.

Traders and office-goers complained of total disruption in phone signals as well as Internet connectivity. The most-affected units were those between plot numbers 162 and 166.

AL Aggarwal, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Fasteners Association, said the exercise was highly irregular as no department concerned gave any prior information to the units in the area.

Jagat Ram, an auto-garage employee, wondered how could the departments be careless in fiddling with the already laid-down cables.



Nepalese farmers visit milk plant
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 16
A delegation of 12 Nepalese farmers visited the Verka Milk Plant here today. On a weeklong visit to Punjab, the farmers today visited dairy farms and interacted with local farmers. The delegation has come to India on the initiative of BP Koirala, the Nepal India Foundation and Nepal Embassy.

Mohali Milk Plant chairman Parminder Singh Chalaki said the farmers were explained the concept of dairy farming and were taken on a round of the milk plant.

Teg Bahadur Dangi, who is heading the delegation, said the Nepalese farmers held the Punjabi farmers in high regard for their progressive nature.

On November 19, the Nepalase Ambassador to India, would be visiting Mohali for the concluding function.



Youths rounded up for consuming liquor
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 16
In a surprise checking, the SP City today conducted a raid at a soup shop and rounded up several youths who were drinking liquor in the open at an unauthorised place.

According to information, the police official got a tip off that several youths on the pretext of having soup were consuming liquor in the open and creating nuisance in the area.

After being rounded up, a number of youths were sent for medical examination at the local hospital. Till the filing of the report, no case has been registered.



Open House Letters
No check on lawlessness

This is in reference to an article “Traffic woes? This is just the beginning” written by Sanjeev Singh Bariana in The Tribune dated November 9.

In view of phenomenal increase in vehicular traffic, it is in everybody’s mind that road safety is a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional issue. It consists of the development and management of road system, legislation and law enforcement, provision of hospital services etc.

Though long-term planning like introduction of metro and a bus rapid transport system is in the pipeline, yet because of heavy traffic, lawlessness is seldom checked on roads. Many persons face fatal accidents.

I feel that a car pool system, if introduced, would surely reduce chaos in city roads. It would be more appropriate, if it is implemented in government offices first where there is one office complex and one locality even officers living in neighborhood use separate staff cars. For example, Punjab and Mariana Secretariat is one complex and some of its officers also live in one locality, they are required to use only one vehicle.

Apart from it, what has already been written in the article, people are not using public transport system because of poor service despite the fact CTU has recently purchased air-conditioned buses and are operating in the city. There is a greater need to purchase more buses and make available for public use especially in the morning and evening hours covering the entire city efficiently starting from V-3 and V-4 roads at an affordable fare from where the people could avail of the opportunity to travel through CTU buses.

More buses should be made available for schoolchildren and special underground and overground parking spaces need to be created immediately, going by the increasing number of vehicles. The recently introduced bus service for government schools should be extended to all government schools and if possible, even to private schools, as well.

SK Khosla,
2870, Sector 40-C

Bus service hopeless

The write-up, "Traffic woes? This is just the beginning" by Sanjeev Singh Bariana (Open House, Chandigarh Tribune, November 9) is apt and timely. There is no denying the fact that the traffic system in Chandigarh is hopeless; the less said, the better. It is sad to see vehicles parked on both sides of the road berms in the internal roads of every sector. This results in making the roads narrower and difficult for the pedestrians to use the road.

The means of transportation have changed, and cars and two-wheelers have become necessities of lives instead of luxuries. But there is no provision for their parkings. So these are parked on the road berms.

The local bus service is so hopeless that one has to wait for more than half-an-hour, at any stop, to get a bus. The frequency should be, at least, not more than ten minutes. For this reason one does not even think of travelling by local buses. The metro system will certainly take long time to come into existence.

Moreover, the newly constructed by-lanes for cycles and rickshwas, along side the main roads of the city, are hardly used by them.

RK Kapoor,

Plan in advance

Chandigarh was planned for a population of five lakh only. Since, we are unable to keep a check on the growth of population, it is imperative for the planners to plan in advance to prevent the traffic chaos which is likely to follow soon.

There is an immediate need to commission a Metro/MRTS on a war footing connecting initially the tri city and thereafter connecting small towns in the vicinity of the tricity.

There is also a need for developing small and model townships in the vicinity of the tri city including Dera Bassi, Lalru, Chunni, Kurali, Ropar, Morinda, Baddi, Ramgarh and Pinjore by giving them good infrastructure and metro/rail/6-lane road connectivity.

There is need for underpasses/overbridges at busy junctions, huge parking at all entry points of the city; and encouraging, with bold measures, use of bicycles for schools. Obtaining of driving licence for children should be made very stringent and parents should be made liable for traffic offences like dangerous/underage driving by kids.

The administration should create multi level parking for busy business centres, in particular, particularly Sectors 17, 22, 34 and 35. Governments can stagger office timing for Punjab and Haryana offices by at least 45 minutes so as to ease traffic during office hours.

Maj (retd) RS Virk

Use bicycles for short distances

Lately, travelling in Chandigarh has become like travelling in Delhi. This is mainly because of the heavy traffic and increased number of four-wheelers on roads. When I was a student of DAV College, Sector 10, in 1971 -72, there used to be no traffic lights on the round abouts, and it was a joy to drive on well maintained, wide roads. Today, it is a nightmare, with frequent accidents, traffic jams, and heavy pollution.

We should resort to bicycles as means of conveyance for short distances. Once we do that, half the traffic will reduce. Cycling is an excellent way to keep fit. It is also environment friendly and will help in spreading the message of environment awareness. More over, it is most economical and the soaring price of petrol will not pinch people so much. The problem of parking gets reduced automatically.

Now the most important question is who is going to get down from his car first and get on a cycle? The lead has to come from the parents. Irrespective of their wealth or status, elders have to take on to cycling for short distances.

Col RD Singh,
Ambala Cantonment

CTU buses for schoolchildren

The “Fort of Chandi” is fast loosing its original character due to population explosion and resultant is the traffic chaos.

One thing is for sure is that brakes must be applied on the speed of growth of population. The change in skyline of city, apartment act, sale of floors of houses, small flats, more houses to slum dwellers must stop immediately otherwise on one side while we try to sort out the problem, on the other side the policies will add to traffic woes.

The main problem is with the buses of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws. Unless they are organised, the traffic problems can not be sorted out as they are the main bottlenecks in the traffic. The CTU buses should also become a carrier for schoolchildren, like in Delhi, to oust the unsafe transport such overloaded rickshaws and autos for schoolchildren.

Secondly, the auto rickshaw menace has to be tackled strictly by implementing the local laws. In this matter the interstate autos has to be banned which is extremely easy because they don’t pay the taxes and the Administration is not acting strictly. Same should be done in case of cycle rickshaws.

Another strict action should be taken by removing the illegal auto and rickshaw stands. As per local laws each stand of auto has be notified by the Home Secretary and rickshaw stand by the Corporation but the illegal stands has multiplied who keep on waiting for the passenger stand at unauthorised places causing traffic bottlenecks.

The police should enhance fines for violations because Dr APJ Adbul Kalam, former President, while delivering a lecture, said Indians did not indulge in traffic violations in foreign countries. This means if rules are strict, they are best followers.

Ajay Jagga, Advocate,
President, Janata Party,

Better coordination needed

The tri-city has the entire infrastructure to comfortably handle its traffic woes simply with the coordination of the police and the public. Both sides are woefully ignorant of basic traffic rules and as an outsider have witnessed many incidents in the course of the day which can with a little patience, tolerance and guidance, help to solve minor problems.

This is one of the few cities in the country which has built-in the traffic infrastructural facilities and this in itself solves the first hurdle of basic infrastructural requirements. The roads have marked lanes, pedestrian footpaths, cycling lanes, road signs etc.

“We care for you” can live upto its motto to implement this by guiding the citizens along with the assistance voluntary organisations into teaching the basics of lane driving, signaling wherever required, proper parking in designated areas.

This probably will go a long way into improving their image instead of showing their presence during certain hours just to challan ignorant commuters and achieve monthly collection targets. The problem will manifest itself into larger proportions over the years to come if not corrected now.

Issues needing care include: haphazard parking in markets/SCO’s, residential areas; improper lane driving (switching lanes without signalling): underage driving; over speeding or driving too slow: jumping lights/; and cyclists, rickshaws on roads; besides others.

Gilman Hazarika,

No new development without study

New development should not be allowed to occur without a study of the traffic impacts on the transportation system. Building malls/other developments along major arterials without providing proper access and without studying the traffic impacts on nearby roadways is not sustainable. There should be an emphasis on building places where people can walk, bike and take transit to schools and the workplaces.

The city on the grid system should have centrally coordinated traffic signal system because traveling on city roads one realizes a poor coordination on different routes. Signals along heavily traveled streets should be properly timed to provide smooth flow along the major streets (signal coordination).

The existing bus service in the city needs to be studied in context of traffic flow from the adjoining towns, in first place. At most locations in Chandigarh/Panchkula, I find there are almost no sidewalks in residential areas. The result is that it is not safe for pedestrians to walk to the shopping areas even though they are very conveniently located within walking distance of the homes.

There is no easy fix to traffic congestion. Providing a safe and efficient bus service system, properly designed and placed bus stops and shelters, pedestrian and bike facilities will require the cooperation of public and private stakeholders.

Pratyush Bhatia,
Senior transport consultant,
Oakland, California, USA



Issue guidelines for swine flu

Swine flu continues to spread its wings at an alarming rate and a large number of people in the tricity are testing positive for the H1N1 virus.

The problem, which is spreading in leaps and bounds and is quite serious, it seems, to prevent this epidemic disease; the UT administration has chalked out a piecemeal approach.

Since, it has been reported in the media by health officials that the figures may rise further as screening increases, it is apprehended that it cannot be limited to educational institutions, as most people get together in markets, offices like secretariat, hospitals, university and other meeting places and can be affected with this deadly virus.

The H1N1 virus has already infected millions of people worldwide. To tackle this serious ailment, it would be in the fitness of things if the administration issues detailed guidelines of the “Dos and Don’ts” for the general public through the media.

SK Khosla

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Swine flu precautions at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Professor R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, held a meeting with the deans, chairpersons and other officials of the university to apprise them of the safeguards to be taken to counter the threat of swine flu.

Gloves and masks will be provided to all teaching departments, mess and canteens and workers. Any swine flu suspect case will be handled by using gloves and masks and taken to the dispensary immediately for medical examination.

The Vice-Chancellor has assured that the disease-affected student will be marked present for the period of isolation. Every teaching department has been directed to form a two-member committee to ensure that their surroundings are free of garbage.

The committee will also oversee and ensure that adequate hygiene and cleanliness is maintained in and around department canteens.

The Market Association president has also been directed that the same standards be maintained in all the commercial establishments in the market.

Any visiting team participating in various sports tournaments on the campus would also be screened for swine flu in the presence of the teacher in-charge accompanying them.

The frequency of garbage collection on the campus has been increased.

National Congress

On the third day of the ongoing 21st National Congress of Parasitology at the Department of Zoology, Prof Rajesh Kumar, Head, School of Public Health, PGIMER, discussed the global climate change changing the patterns of parasitic diseases.

On this occasion, H. C. Gera, Nodal Officer, IDSP and Swine Flu, informed the audience about vector control strategies in Chandigarh and coordination with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, for this purpose.

He dealt at length on the vector (insects which spread the disease) management issue in context of community health and sensitization of public through mass mobilisation. This he said was the reason behind Chandigarh reporting negligible incidences of chikungunya and dengue.

Dr J. Mahanta, Director, RMRC, Dibrugarh, and Dr Pawan Malhotra, Scientist at ICGEB, New Delhi, talked on various aspects of designing vaccines for parasitic diseases taking into consideration the immune response profile to these diseases.



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 |