C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Morning stalker strikes again
Injures 78-yr-old woman, flees with gold bangles
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
In yet another horrific incident, an unidentified man robbed an elderly morning-walker in Sector 35.The police had been asking the residents in Sector 33 to go out for morning walks, promising that they had deployed policemen in plain clothes around the parks, but the incident has exposed the preparedness of the police.

The victim, 78-year-old Tripta Hans, had just gone a few steps from her residence when a man, draped in a blanket, assaulted her at around 6.30 am on Tuesday.

The assailant, resembling the one who had chopped the ears of an elderly woman, Vimla Vinayak, in Sector 33 a couple of weeks back, robbed Hans of two gold bangles. She was injured in the process and was left profusely bleeding on the road.

Recalling the incident, Hans told TNS that she had just walked a little distance and had crossed a man, unaware of his evil designs. Suddenly, she was hit on her head and was pushed. She fell face down on the road and the attacker, draped in a blanket, asked her in Haryanavi “manne churian de de” (Give me yours bangles). She did as told. The assailant also tried to remove her earrings, but failed. Sensing trouble, he fled in his white Maruti car. The car was in bad condition.

Shocked after the incident, Hans regained her senses after a while and walked back to her residence bleeding all through. She called her son for help, who was frightened at the sight.

The police offered to take her to the hospital, but they refused. “I knew about the same incident in Sector 33 and we had been discussing it. However, it never came to my mind that I, too, would fall victim to the same robber,” said Hans.

“A police official asked me whether I wanted to pursue the matter or not. I told him that I was in a state of shock and will take care of my mother first. I refused to lodge a complaint and he told me to give the same in writing, which I did, saying I will assist the police in the probe,” said Vikram Hans, the victim’s son.

Today, the police came in the afternoon informing that the assailant had been caught and they had registered a case under Section 392 of the IPC against him.

Like other incidents, which point a finger at the functioning of the police, this time too the cops tried to play a trick to downplay the incident to save its face. After the assailant was reportedly nabbed, the police registered a case of robbery. Similarly, in the case of Vimla Vinayak, who was grievously hurt, the police had just registered a case of attempt to snatching.

On Wednesday at around 1 am, Dr Aneesh Gupta of Sector 37, was waylaid by robbers, who took away his wallet, a mobile phone and the keys of his car on pistolpoint.

Senior police officials had issued strict instruction to the force to tackle the menace. It was said a special team was also constituted to nab the culprits. However, when contacted, the SHO of the Sector 36 police station denied that the robber had been caught.



Delhi lab told to submit H1N1 details of samples
Were collected without UT nod
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
In what amounts to a flagrant violation of the UT health department’s directive prohibiting screening of swine flu samples by private labs, a Delhi based pathological laboratory, Dr Lal Path Lab, which has branch in the city, has been collecting samples to detect the H1N1 virus at a cost of Rs 4,500. The samples are reportedly then sent for testing at its Delhi lab, for which it has obtained the health ministry’s approval.

Taking serious note of the development, UT health officials, who had “raided” the lab a couple of days ago after receiving reports of the tests being undertaken, have shot off a letter to the company seeking details of all the samples collected by its lab so far.

However, when contacted Dr Arvind Lal, chairman & MD of Dr Lal Path Lab Pvt Ltd, said: “We had applied for permission from the UT administration to collect the samples a month back but never got a reply.” When confronted as to how the lab could get the requisite samples collected without approval, he replied “when others were doing it we also followed suit”. He added his lab had later “suspended” collection of samples after the “check” conducted by UT health officials.

Asserting the lab had been collecting H1N1 samples without the UT administration’s approval, a senior official said permission for private testing is to be granted by the state or the UT authorities only after a rigorous and long-drawn procedure that ensures all guidelines and safety norms are observed.

“Only two private hospitals - Mukat and INSCOL - have so far been given permission to collect swab samples,” confirmed HC Gera, UT nodal officer for swine flu.

Sources said the alleged violation came to the notice of administration officials after they were informed certain patients with positive results had gone to the UT approved chemist to buy Tamiflu on the basis of the test results issued by the private lab. “After receiving these reports we visited the lab two days back and found it was illegally collecting samples right under our noses,” said the official.

When this correspondent contacted the lab in Sector 11 one of the employees unhesitatingly admitted that they had been collecting samples for H1N1 testing but, due to some objections raised by the PGI and the UT health department, had now stopped doing so. However, the lab employee was confident the issue would be resolved soon.

On being asked about the charges, he said it cost Rs 4,500 per test and an additional amount would be charged if the samples were to be collected from home. He said the tests were being conducted in the lab’s Delhi branch.

Expressing surprise at the development, an official said the lab appeared to be “playing havoc with the lives” of city residents.

“Whenever we get any positive results we quarantine the patient’s family members and ensure medication is give to all those who have come in close contact with the patient. However, we have no record of how many patients have been tested by the lab and whether any precautions have been taken by those who are in contact with such patients,” said the official, adding “the entire purpose of monitoring swine flu patients was being defeated by such practices”.



Six fresh swine flu cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
With six fresh cases of swine flu reported among students in the city today, the total number of confirmed H1N1 cases has gone up to 117.

“One student each from Vivek High School, Strawberry School, SD Public School-32, KBDAV School, Sector 7 and two from Ryan International School developed flu symptoms and tested positive for the disease today,” said health officials.

After Vivek High School’s Class VI student and Class IV student of Strawberry tested positive for H1N1 today, the school authorities have been officially directed to suspend respective classes for a week. Another victim is the student of Class XI from SD Public School-32.

“SD School’s student has a travel history and he has not joined back the school after returning from Korea. Therefore, his class has not been suspended,” said health officials. All victims along with their family members have been quarantined at their residence. Tamiflu had been administered to all members of the family. A team of doctors and paramedics will conduct a daily home check on them and observe their condition.

Dr Jagmal Singh, District Health Officer, Panchkula, told The Tribune that three students, belonging to Panchkula, had tested positive today. While two are students of Ryan International, one is from KBDAV, Sector 7.



PU students spread flu rumours to secure holidays
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Banners reading ‘Avoid handshake to prevent swine flu’ have been put up onthe PU campus.
Banners reading ‘Avoid handshake to prevent swine flu’ have been put up onthe PU campus. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, November 19
In an attempt to secure holidays, certain mischievous elements of Boys Hostel-2 created panic last night by uploading content on social networking website, Facebook, thereby alarming the authorities about the outbreak of swine flu.

Following these rumours, the Panjab University authorities have decided to maintain records of students afflicted with even common flu, as a precaution ahead of the semester exams.

Besides regular checks by the hostel wardens, the doctors in the varsity dispensary will also be on a regular check in the hostels now.

“A complaint was received around midnight, which turned out to be hoax. A team, including the Chief Medical Officer and doctors from the dispensary of PU, went to the hostel. Directions have been given to maintain a regular record of the students with common flu also,” said Prof Naval Kishore, Dean, Student Welfare.

Meanwhile, the hostel wardens said certain UIET students created this alarm by uploading such content on the Facebook. “Some students from the UIET assumed that after closing down of PEC, even they may get some holidays if they spread such rumours. However, the cases were not of swine flu, but were common cold as verified by the doctors,” said Jatinder Goswami, warden, Boys Hostel-2.

He said the authorities had decided to provide a separate room in the dispensary, where only one doctor would be allowed to go and the DSW informed if any such case was reported.

During the day, there were also rumours of some classes being dismissed due to the suspected cases of swine flu, which were later denied by the authorities.



Zirakpur Mishap
2 cops suspended for negligence
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 19
Two constables of the highway patrol police, Gurdev Singh and Surjit Singh, were suspended today for not evacuating a road accident victim timely. The mishap took place on the Ambala-Chandigarh national highway yesterday evening.

The victim died due to delay in getting medical aid. Not only did the two constables allegedly avoided responding to the calls of the passers-by, they even switched off their mobile phones.

Acting on the feedback from the public, Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said such negligence would not be tolerated. Irritated passers-by had to block traffic to catch the attention of the senior police officials.

The police said Sandeep Doda (29), a resident of Gulmohar City, was going towards Dera Bassi when a speeding vehicle hit his motorcycle from the rear near Singhpura village. A passer-by called up the patrolling team and informed them about the incident, but nobody had reached the spot. One of the commuters claimed that the patrolling team switched off their mobile phones and reached the spot after half-an-hour on a motorcycle. They called up the Zirakpur police station for sending the vehicle to rush the injured man to the hospital, but it was too late and the man died, he added.



One more tests positive in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 19
One more resident of Mohali has been tested positive for swine flu.

Dr SP Surila, District Health Officer, said Soma Devi, a middle-aged woman, was admitted to the ICU of Prime Hospital. 

Her throat swab was sent to the PGI , Chandigarh, for testing, which had tested positive for the H1N1 fever.

The required treatment was given to the patient and also to the persons who had come in her contact by the district health officials.



Musical soirée marks Citizens’ Day
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 19
The regional chapter of the Citizens Forum of Human Rights organised a poetic symposium and a musical soirée to mark Citizens’ Day at Old Age Home, Sector 15, here today.The cultural programme was organised under the aegis of the Anant Sanskritak and Sahityak Manch launched by the forum to give an impetus to the performing arts and literature.

Chief guest Naresh Kaushal, Editor Dainik Tribune, expressed sympathy for the aged persons and rued that unlike foreign countries where children and senior citizens were accorded special care both our governance and the society was lacking in this aspect.

The way the students or tourists were conducted to visit Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden or other places, a visit to old age home must be on their agenda so that youngsters feel and develop affection for senior citizens.

Kaushal told old age home inmates to develop positive thinking.



Bank holds customer meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Andhra Bank in Sector 44-D here organised a customer meet at its branch today.Branch Manager NK Dhawan told customers about the bank’s performance for the quarter ending September 2009. The bank has earned a net profit of Rs 274 crore under the total business of Rs 1,10,000 crore for the quarter ending September 2009.

The bank has also started giving gold loan against gold jewellery, which is popular in the South. The bank is offering housing loan at the interest rate of 8 per cent for the first year with no processing charges.



UT commences smart card drive
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Chandigarh administration has commenced the process for preparing smart cards for the city 

Long queues can be seen at the e-sampark centres all over the city. Smart cards are directly linked to the unique identity (UID) planned by the Centre, which will be applicable in all spheres of government and private dealings.

Director, Information Technology, MS Brar said: “In simple language, digital smart cards will replace the hand-scribbled ration cards. In the first phase, we are preparing a databank of the below and the above poverty line families in the city. In the initial stage, the data is being collected only on the behalf of the food and supplies department. The cards will find use in other fields in the near future.”

Joint director, food and supplies department, Prerna Puri said: “The smart card is directly linked with the UID scheme. The details of forms, now being sought from the residents, will form a part of the database that can be utilised in many other areas. The government is working out details of the subsequent usages.” She said the smart cards would be prepared in a phased manner beginning with the BPL families.

A senior employee at the Sector 23 e-sampark centre said: “The rush for depositing forms has increased from the last couple of days as earlier a sizeable number of above poverty line families thought they had no benefit attached.”

A number of above poverty line families too will need the cards when they go in for their kerosene shares. Another benefit attached to the card is tabulation of the real data. “In the earlier cards, sometimes late entries could be managed or certain erased. But in smart cards, the data will be permanently available on the internet so there will be a less chance of fudging,” the official added.

In October last year, the centre had approved the proposal to introduce ‘multi-application’ smart cards with unique identities (UIDs).

In the direction of promoting e-governance, the scheme has underlined its benefits in easy verification in different arenas of government or public services and help welfare programmes.



P’kula institute closed for 10 days
Tribune News Servcie

Panchkula, November 19
The Swami Devi Dayal Institute of Engineering and Management was closed down for 10 days after two hostellers were found with symptoms of swine flu here today. Authorities, however, claimed that the samples of the two students tested were negative.

Rumours were rife that two students of B Tech living in the hostel of the institute were down with swine flu. Students began gathering in front of the administration block and demanded the closure of the institution for few days even before the management could take a decision on the issue.

The students became restive and even resorted to stone pelting. After that, the management immediately announced the closure of institute till November 28 and asked the hostellers to go home.

Vice-chairman of institute Moti Lal said the samples of the two B Tech students belonging to Delhi and Hisar were taken when it was found that they were running fever, cold and cough yesterday. Today, the PGI authorities confirmed that the two students had tested negative for swine flu, he claimed.

However, panic spread among the students so the management decided to advance the preparatory holidays, which were scheduled to commence on November 24, Moti Lal added.



‘Quami Ekta Week’ kicks off 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Chandigarh administration today observed the National Integration Day to at kick off the “Quami 
Ekta Week”.

The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Pradip Mehra, administered the pledge for conserving and promoting the freedom and integrity of the nation to the officials of the administration.

On the first day of the week, all the officials and employees took a pledge for working with dedication to preserve and strengthen the freedom and integrity of the nation and also affirmed that they would never resort to violence.

The “National Integration Day” would be followed by the Welfare of Minorities Day, Linguistic Harmony Day, Weaker Sections Day, Cultural Unity Day, Women’s Day and Conservation Day on November 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25, respectively.

ADGP SK Jain, Home Secretary Ram Niwas and Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar were also present.



IT survey on Sham Mall
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Income Tax Department today carried out a survey on business premises of Sham Fashion Mall, Sector 34 A. The survey is being conducted under the supervision of the Commissioner, Income Tax.

Though no official information was available, it is learnt that the IT Department staff from Chandigarh, under the supervision of AK Kaushal, Commissioner, Inome Tax II, conducted surprise checks on Sham Mall and its office in Sector 34, Chandigarh.

The survey started this afternoon and was on till filing of the report. The IT teams are believed to have checked the account books and other documents related to sale records.

When asked, Kaushal declined to divulge details as the operations were still on.

“Once the department is able to calculate the extent of concealed income a survey report will be prepared and due tax liability raised against the business group,” sources said.



Students pelt roadways bus with stones
Tribune News Service

Harried passengers wait after the Punjab Roadways bus was brought to the Phase I police station in Mohali on Thursday.
Harried passengers wait after the Punjab Roadways bus was brought to the Phase I police station in Mohali on Thursday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, November 19
Tension prevailed on the Chandigarh-Kharar section of the national highway when unidentified students indulged in stone pelting on a Ferozepur bus of Punjab Roadways near the Phase 6 Civil Hospital here this morning.

The bus was coming from Chandigarh.

Irked over stone pelting, the roadways buses were parked on the highway. On the intervention of the police, the jam was cleared and the bus was brought to the Phase I Police Station.

A police official said some of the boys insisted the bus driver to stop the bus at a particular stop, but he did not relent and forced them to indulge in stone pelting.

The police has initiated an action under Section 427 of the IPC and investigations are on.



Pvt firm told to put up security gates by Nov 30
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 19
A municipal councillor, Amrik Singh, who resides in Phase XI, has asked a private company to install two more security gates in ward no 17 by November 30 failing which an advertisement on the only one set up so far would be removed. The company had been assigned the work of installing 39 security gates in the township by the civic body.

Singh said though three security gates were required in the area the firm had installed only one, near the Mohali Club, and had posted an advertisement on the structure. He said while the firm had achieved its purpose residents had been deprived of adequate security as the other two gates had yet to be installed secure the area. He said the matter had been brought to the notice of the MC’s executive officer.

The councillor further stated if the company failed to set up the remaining two gates by November 30 he would have the advertisement on the gate near the Mohali Club removed. “The company would be responsible for such an act as it has failed to complete the work of installing all the gates”, he added.

To ensure the security of residents, particularly the elderly, the police as well as the municipal council had drawn up an ambitious plan to put up security gates to restrict the movement of criminal elements. The proposal was presented at a civic body meeting held on December 30 and unanimously cleared by the house.

The plan to install security gates was discussed at length by former SSP Jatinder Singh Aulakh at a meeting attended by, among others, former SP (City) Varinder Pal Singh, council president Rajinder Singh Rana and former MC senior vice-president Rishiv Jain. 



Farmers’ exchange programme ends
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 19
The Nepalese government was keen that the Nepalese farmers take the initiative to adopt the latest technologies and practices being followed by progressive farmers of Punjab.DP Oli, first secretary to Nepal Embassy, stated this while presiding over the concluding function of the seven-day Nepal-India farmers to farmer exchange programme at Golden Bells School, Sector 77, here. 

He said delegates visited several places across Punjab and were happy to know several techniques to increase the agriculture output.

The maiden visit by the farmers was to create awareness among farmers. “The government wants that the initiative to adopt new practices comes from within,” he added.

Citing examples of high yield in vegetable growing, high yield from milch cattle and cost of a deep bore tubewells were some of the issues that created curiosity among farmers.

The first secretary, who is also secretary of the BP Koirala Nepal India foundation, also enjoyed a cultural programme presented by the school students.



PU VC, Registrar told to pay Rs 50,000
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Coming to the rescue of a former employee of Panjab University, the District Consumer Disputes and Redressal Forum has directed the Vice- Chancellor and the Registrar of the university to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to GP Bansal for causing him mental harassment and agony, along with other retirement benefits which were his due.

The forum has further directed the university to pay arrears of pension from May 1,2006 to April 8, 2007 with interest, to release the pension of the complainant and issue order thereof with effect from April 9, 2007 onwards and to pay interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum on the balance amount of provident fund of Rs 4, 48,158 from September 1, 2006 till its actual payment made to him.

The forum has also directed them to refund Rs 16, 668 of forced deduction from provident fund with interest.

It must be mentioned that the complainant retired on August 31, 2005 upon superannuation at the age of 60 years. He was sanctioned retiral benefits. He was paid leave encashment and gratuity on the eve of his retirement. He opted irrevocable pension scheme within the prescribed date and was allotted priority No.17. The whole amount of Rs 13,46,912 of his provident fund remained in deposit with the university, which was to be deducted and transferred to the University Pension Corpus Fund automatically on receipt of the pension application form. According to the complainant he came to know that his pension case and the payment of PF dues were kept in abeyance because of outstanding advances against him regarding, which he was never informed. And without providing any opportunity he was held guilty by the university, which withheld the payment of the provident fund amount and the monthly pension in contravention of regulation 2.4. He met with an accident on April 21, 2006 and was advised bed rest for 20-24 weeks. As he was in dire need of money he addressed representations to the Vice-Chancellor but to no avail.

In their written reply, it was submitted that at the time when the complainant retired the pension scheme was not implemented. It was pleaded that the amount of Rs.10,59,511 was not transferred to the Pension Corpus Fund Account as there were advances of more than Rs.5 crore standing unadjusted in his name.

The receipt of representations from the complainant for the release of his pension and payment of balance of provident fund have been denied. It was further pleaded that as soon as the advances due to the complainant were adjusted, the payment of provident fund was released by transferring the university share to the Pension Corpus Fund. 



Porn Row
St John’s moves minority panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Following the UT education department declaring the art teacher of St John’s High School guilty of promoting vulgarity and the principal of abetting cyber crime, the school authorities today moved the Minority Commission for Schools.

The school has filed a complaint against the administration, the Education Secretary, the DEO and also against TK Goyal and his wife Meeta Goyal, who had accused the art teacher, Michelangelo, of instigating students to join adult sites.

In its complaint, the school has accused the Home-cum-Education Secretary and the DEO of interfering in its internal functioning. The school has alleged that the Home Secretary makes it a point to regularly get the alleged irregularities in the school highlighted, while the other schools in the city are spared of such shortcomings. “The attempt is only to undermine the status of a minority educational institution, which has produced several eminent personalities in varied fields,” reads the complaint.

However, Home Secretary Ram Niwas said: “We uphold the constitution and that is the reason that we never took any action against the school but apprised the management sitting in Delhi about our inference. We will even intimate the national commission. The schools, the staff and the children all are our responsibility. If somebody comes to us with serious complaints and has no faith in the authorities concerned, we have to take action. We have never interfered in the affairs of any school, but there are certain laws of the land that they have to adhere to.”



Seminar on Dr Kesar’s writings
Tribune News Service

A seminar on ‘Dr Kesar Singh Da Sahit Chintan’ at PU in Chandigarh on Thursday
A seminar on ‘Dr Kesar Singh Da Sahit Chintan’ at PU in Chandigarh on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, November 19
The department of Punjabi in collaboration with Dr Kesar Singh Kesar Ydgari Committee held a seminar on “Dr Kesar Singh Da Sahit Chintan” at the English Auditorium, PU campus, here today.

A large number of scholars from Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Patiala and Ludhiana participated and deliberated upon the contribution of Dr Kesar Singh Kesar to the criticism.

Dr Nahar Singh, Dean, faculty languages, elaborated that Kesar Singh and his writings were based on the theoretical foundations of the Marxism.

Two papers were presented by Dr Rajnesh Bahadur Singh from Jalandhar and Harwinder Bhandal from Kapurthala.

Dr Prem Singh said there was a debate among the Communist party in Punjab related to the role of Punjabi literature in the development of Punjabi social consciousness. Dr Baldev Singh Dhaliwal and Dr Surjit Singh (Patiala) had initiated the discussion on paper and discussed the historic contribution to the criticism of Dr Kesar Singh.

The writings of Dr Kesar Singh Kesar, who was eminent scholar of Punjabi department, were released in four volumes.

According to Dr Nahar Singh, Dean, faculty of languages, toppers of MA (I) Punjabi (Harwinder Kaur) and MA (II) Punjabi (Meenu Verma) were given cash prize of Rs 5,100 each with certificates.



Emphasis on national integration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Department of Gandhian Studies organised a seminar on “National Integration” on the department premises today. Chairman of the department Prof Manohar Lal Sharma administered the oath of national integration to the faculty, non-teaching staff, research scholars and students.

Prof. J.N. Sharma spoke about the significance of national integration. Sharma highlighted the importance and relevance of the day, reminded about the duties of every citizen to strengthen the mission of national integration.He pointed out that national integration should be our mission, priority and everyone should contribute in eradicating the problems of communalism, casteism, regionalism and other forces of disintegration. he said that sometimes the internal factors could be more dangerous than the external ones.

Meanwhile, the NSS unit of DAV College, Chandigarh, observed National Integration Day. Integration pledge was taken by NS volunteers in the presence or senior lecturers. Principal Dr BC.Josan motivated the students to work with sincerity and integrity.

They further emphasised that it was the need of the hour that the young generation should come forward and take the responsibility of serving the society. NSS programming officer Prof. Rajinder Singh motivated the student to observe the elder and spirit of Quami Ekta week i.e. from November 19 to 25, 2009. Dr Manjit Sharma addressed the students and discussed the importance of communal harmony compaign week. Senior lecturer Dr B.K. Vermani, Dr BK Kapila, Dr Mandeep, Dr Walia and Prof. Arvind were present on the occasion.



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