C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

H1N1 infection has spread in community, declares panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
“H1N1 infection has now spread in the community,” the technical committee constituted on swine flu declared at a review meeting held today under the chairmanship of Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Health.

According to expert committee, “The swine flu falls under the criteria of community spread as per GoI guidelines. Once the virus enters the community and local infections begin to spread, the emphasis shifts on early detection and early treatment rather than complete prevention.”

As per official records, out of the 32 deaths, 15 have been from Punjab, 10 from Haryana and five from Chandigarh. As many as 270 positive cases have been confirmed for swine flu, of which 70 belong to Punjab, 63 to Haryana and the rest 133 were infected from Chandigarh This means the virus is freely circulating in the community, said health officials.

In the wake of falling temperature and increase in the number of cases the Secretary Health asked the authorities of the PGI and GMCH-32 to enhance their capacity for tertiary care.

To cope with the increase in the number of positive cases, it was also decided that possibility should be explored to rope in the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, where ICU facilities are available.

The Secretary Health talked to the Chief Secretary Health Haryana to develop ICU facilites at Rohtak, Agroha and Mullana. They should also share the services of community spread with Chief Secretary Haryana/Punjab and Advisor to the Administrator level.

He asked for modalities to convene a meeting at the level of the Advisor with Chief Secretaries of Haryana, Punjab to share the severity of community spread of swine flu and also to strengthen the tertiary care services in their respective states. It has also been mentioned that five chemists from Chandigarh have been authorised to supply the same.

Since a large number of cases are reporting in critical condition in the PGI and GMCH-32, It was decided that the general public should be made aware that who so ever is having flu-like illness like cough, fever, running nose, sore throat and headache should report to the screening areas of different hospitals - PGIMER-12, GMCH-32 and GMSH-16, Chandigarh.

It was also decided that the number of doctors who would be authorised to prescribe tamiflu would be increased. At this stage, testing is not of much value. Indian Medical Association (IMA) shall also be approached to submit the names of 10 doctors to whom authorisation may be given.

The Secretary Health was informed that as a result of the measures taken by the Administration like suspension of classes from where positive case were reported and sending back home those children who had flu-like illness has given fruitful results. During last one week, no school student has tested positive for swine flu.

The UT health department says it is very important for everyone to take the simple steps that will help prevent catching colds and flu, which are based on good respiratory and hand hygiene.



Soft drink hits shopkeeper hard
Fined Rs 1,500 for overcharging Re 1 on Pepsi bottle
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
A penny can make a huge difference at times. This holds true for RD Sharma, a shopkeeper, who had to pay a huge price for overcharging Re 1 from a consumer seven years back.

Chief Judicial Magistrate J Sidhu today fined the shopkeeper Rs 1,500 for overcharging Re 1 on a 300-ml bottle of Pepsi. The orders were passed during Samadhan 2009.

A case was registered against the shopkeeper on May 23, 2002, when he was found selling a bottle of Pepsi for Rs 10 instead of Rs 9. The shopkeeper failed to appear before the Controller of Legal Metrology. As a result, the case was put up today during the lok adalat.

Meanwhile, heavy rush was witnessed today at the district courts complex, Sector 17, where the last lok adalat of the year under Samadhan 2009 was held. The quarterly lok adalat settled 23,500 cases today.

Collecting Rs 21 lakhs as fine, the traffic lok adalats cleared 17,500 challans. Besides, 2,200 cases, relating to bank and financial institutions, were disposed of at the pre-litigation stage.

A total of 3,000 cheque bounce cases were settled under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. Besides, 900 civil cases and rent cases were also disposed of. Seventeen cases of MACT Act were settled and a compensation of Rs 26.1 lakh was awarded.



Rising Crime
Residents protest police inaction
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
People came on the roads in Dadu Majra Colony (DMC) and Sector 35 here today in protest against the failure of the police to nab the criminals involved in extortion cases and sexual assault on a four-year-old in Sector 35 a few days ago.

The irate residents staged a demonstration and blocked road for over three hours in the DMC and flayed the police in Sector 35 during the protests.

The area councillor of Sector 35 and former mayor Harjinder Kaur while lambasting the police called upon the residents to come forward and protect themselves.

Giving an ultimatum to the SHO of the Sector 36 police station, the protesting residents said if the police failed to nab the culprits till Monday, they would not only intensify their stir but also make efforts on their own to nab the criminals.

Residents of the DMC, accompanied by the shopkeepers of the area, began assembling around 11 am and closed the market to mark their protest.

Last night, some goonda elements, led by one Deepak of the area, had forcibly taken away two blazers and trousers from a tailor without paying.

Even as the matter was reported to the police, the miscreants kept on roaming in the locality without any fear. They issued threats to the tailor. Shopkeepers staged a protest last night and decided to launch an agitation today.

The protesters first closed he market and then blocked the DMC-Dhanas road for over three hours, forcing the DSP (South) Jaswant Singh Khaira to rush to the spot to placate the agitators.

Shopkeepers, including Sunil Gupta, Sandeep Mittal, Manjinder Singh and others, alleged that goonda elements, carrying swords and rods, extort money from them and take away eatables and whatever articles they wanted from their shop. When reported, the police refused to listen to their complaints, saying they could not taken action in such small affairs.

The levelled allegations in front of the SHO of the Sector 39 police station Janak Rana and in charge of the area police post Baldev Kumar for their inefficiency, rendering them speechless. People alleged that it was a virtual “goonda raj” in the locality, as uninterrupted drug supply and public drinking encouraged the rowdy elements to do whatever they wanted.

The protesters were adamant to go to the UT SSP to take up the issue. The DSP said a case had been registered on the complaint and the miscreants would be nabbed soon. The DSP pulled up the SHO and in charge of the police post in full public view.

Similarly, in Sector 35, people flayed the police, which said the rapist was a mentally deranged man. The people questioned if the police could not arrest a criminal having unsound mind for days together, what would they do in nabbing the criminals.

Harjinder Kaur, flanked by Amarjit Singh, residents welfare association, Sector 35, DS Grewal, general secretary of the senior citizens association, and residents of the BBMB Colony said the police was not taking serious efforts to trace such a heinous crime. They said they would not sit back and waited for the police action.They would rather start searching the culprit on their own. 



Stray Cattle Menace
Helpline launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The municipal corporation launched a helpline for city residents to inform them about the stray cattle on the streets and public places here today.

It has been found that milkmen and dairy owners are keeping cattle in villages, rehabilitated colonies and in unauthorised slum areas in Chandigarh, allowing their cattle to roam freely.

Officials said two vehicles with manpower were moving on a daily basis by the corporation to impound the stray cattle.

Residents can call 9872511284 as and when they find any stray cattle on the city streets and public places. The residents should perform their rituals in gaushalas at Sector 45, 25 and Maloya only.

The authorities also warned milkmen and dairy owners not to allow their cattle to roam freely on the city roads or public places failing which they will be liable for prosecution under Section 133, CrPC, apart from impounding their cattle under the Cattle Tresspass Act.



Coldest day of season in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
City residents experienced the coldest day of the season today with cold wave sweeping the region.Though it was a bright sunny morning, cold wave made its presence felt towards the evening, not only affecting the business activity, but also resultingin thin traffic on the city roads. Those moving on two-wheelers had to cover themselves with extra layer of woollens. The worst affected were the daily wage earners and roadside vendors.

Officials at the Met office confirmed that Saturday was the coldest day of the season with the maximum temperature touching 24.2 degrees Celsius while the minimum was 6.2 degrees.

The cold wave also affected air and rail traffic. Several the trains were running behind schedule. Due to mist in the morning, many were also delayed.

The Kalka-bound Shatabdi Express was running behind schedule due to mist, said officials.

The settling of mist is due to the western disturbance that has set in since Monday.


State broadcasting body draft in 2010
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry plans to table the draft on the state broadcasting authority in the Budget Session of the Lok Sabha next year.Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni revealed this while laying the foundation stone of the Mahila Bhawan here.

When asked about the 27th conference of the state and UT ministers of information and cinematography, she said a three-member committee, headed by Minister for Information & Public Relations Dr J Geeta Reddy, had been constituted to draft the bill on state broadcasting authority.

She said the purpose behind constituting such an authority is to keep a check on those cable operators who violate the Information and Broadcasting Act. As many as 500 channels have been given the permission to be relayed under the Act, she added.

She said the ministry had received many complaints about cable operators who telecast banned programmes. The committee would do in-depth study of the problems in broadcasting regulation also.

She said the state government had made a suggestion to the Centre to set up an anti-video piracy cell at national level to punish inter-state piracy culprits.

Replying to a query on allowing FM channels to run news, the Union minister said the ministry would soon permit the channels to do so. 



Nagpur school wins Aerospace Olympiad
Tribune News Service

Jubilant students of Bhonsala Military School, Nagpur, after securing the first position in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Jubilant students of Bhonsala Military School, Nagpur, after securing the first position in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: Pervesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, December 19
Bhonsala Military School, Nagpur, bagged the first position in the Fourth National Aerospace Olympiad, the finals of which concluded here today. The second position went to VSSC Central School, Thiruvananthapuram, followed by Air Force School, Pathankot, and Vivek High School, Chandigarh.

Nearly 20 teams shortlisted among 89 schools across the country had competed in the finals, which involved preparing a project report on the “Propulsion system of the GSLV” and making a presentation thereof before judges.

Other events conducted during the three-day Olympiad, organised by the Chandigarh chapter of Aeronautical Society of India, included competitions to testing the participants’ general awareness and innovative skills, like quiz, collage-making, scrap-bookmaking, personal conduct and demeanour. VSSC Central School was declared the best team.



Foundation stone of Mahila Bhawan laid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni laid the foundation stone of Mahila Bhawan in Sector 38 today. Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Water resources Pawan Kumar Bansal was also present.

Addressing the gathering, Soni said women empowerment does not mean representation on political platform but to strengthen women financially.

She said the Union Cabinet had passed a resolution to enhance reservation of women in local bodies to 50 per cent. She said Mahila Bhawan would be a boon for the economic upliftment of the women in Chandigarh and surroundings areas. She said the authorities should constitute a separate capacity building cell on the premises of Mahila Bhawan.

Speaking on the occasion, Bansal said the bhawan would provide training in vocational courses to women.

Mayor Kamlesh said the bhawan would have underground parking for 158 cars, ground floor will have auditorium hall with seating capacity of approximately 275 persons, entrance foyer, exhibition hall, library, kitchen with pantry, dinning hall, gymnasium hall. The first floor will have director room, counselling centres for medical, sociologist, career, legal advice and meeting room, performing arts incubation centres for theatrical skill and instrumental and vocal, conference centre, fine arts incubation centre for painting and pottery and stained glass and sculpting, accounts office, staff room, record room. She said that second floor would have entrance foyer, research wing with two lecture halls, two entrepreneurship development centre, manager and caretaker room, four visitor rooms and one visitor room for physically disabled. The third floor would have four visitor rooms. She said that approximate cost of this building would Rs 1291.53 lakh. 



’84 riots victim rues govt apathy
Wants case registered against Sajjan Kumar
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Alleging government apathy, a witness to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Harinder Singh Kohli, said he would continue his fight for the registration of case against Sajjan Kumar for ‘murdering’ his father and brother-in-law in the November 1984 riots in Delhi.”

Stating this to the media here today, Kohli said he had met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh thrice and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for bringing the guilty to the book. Kohli said he also approached the CBI Director in Delhi for recording his statement as he had witnessed the Congress leader leading the rioters.

Kohli said he had received stitches on the head after being hit by rods. He said after the death of his father, he shifted to Dera Bassi and had to work for about 16 hours a day to feed his mother, younger brother and four sisters.

Kohli said he would neither receive any compensation nor avail the rehabilitation facilities being provided to the riot victims till justice was not done. He said he had himself seen another victim, Gurcharan Singh, who died recently in Mohali, being thrown into a burning truck.

Speaking on the occasion, Baljit Singh Khalsa, president of Panthak Vichar Manch, rued that despite various representations to the Chandigarh administration for providing relief to the 1984 riot victims under the Central government’s rehabilitation package announced in January 2006, nothing has been done. He said 143 applications have been submitted till date, but the scrutiny committee had not cleared them.

He warned the UT administration that they would be forced to launch agitation if relief was not granted to the riot victims. He said there were about 15 to 20 families who have failed to provide any proof of their being riot victims. 



Five firms found evading tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Five firms were found to be evading tax during a surprise check by a team led by Darshan Singh, chairman of the Market Committee, at the Sector 26 market here yesterday.

According to a press note issued here, the firms found violating various provisions of the Punjab Agriculture Produce Market Act, 1961, were Devender Kumar Khanna and Co, Prem Singh Gurbachan Singh, Guru Nanak Alu Co, Subhash Vegetable Co and Hanuman Trading Co.

Fines were imposed on them, which were deposited by the erring firms.



Special cell to probe cases of Pritpal, Babla 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Following the failure to nab Baba Pritpal Singh and Congress concillor Devinder Singh Babla, the UT Police today handed over the probe of both cases to the special crime investigation cell.

Sources said the senior officials had decided to hand over the probe to the special crime investigation cell, as the other wings had failed to nab one of the most wanted persons on its list. The police had to face the music at the Punjab and Haryana High Court at frequent intervals following its failure to nab Baba Pritpal Singh, wanted in a cheating case registered against him on May 20, 2008. For the past over 19 months, the police has not been able to trace him.

It was also alleged that some police officials, who were followers of Baba Pritpal Singh, had been assisting him on his run and also leaked out information to him. The police had not initiated proceedings to attach five properties belonging to Baba in various part of the country.

Similarly, Devinder Singh Babla, MC councillor and former chairman of the Market Committee, was booked on August 18, this year in a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy for allotting platform in the Sector 26 Grain Market to 10 illegible persons.

The police has initiated the process of decla-ring him a proclaimed offender. 



Security gates without guards in Mohali
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, December 19
As many as 39 security gates have been installed by a private company on the directions of the Municipal Council in various parts of the town. There is a proposal to put up 30 more such gates in the areas. But where are the guards to man these gates at night in order to provide security to residents?

The work of putting up 39 gates had started in the beginning of September and was completed by end of October. Though huge structures bearing advertisements can be seen in various residential areas, but in most cases these gates remained unguarded at night even after six weeks of completion of the work defeating the very purpose for which these had been installed.

It appears that this security plan of the police is also not going to work in Mohali and was likely to meet the same fate as in the case of community policing launched in the town more than three years ago. Residents of this town generally hesitate to loosen their purse strings even in the name of security and are reluctant to take any kind of responsibility on them as well.

The plan to put up security gates was drawn by former Mohali SSP Jatinder Singh Aulakh and discussed at length at a meeting, which was attended among others by former SP (city) Varinder Pal Singh, council president Rajinder Singh Rana and former senior vice-president of the civic body Rishiv Jain.

As per the plan, these gates were to be closed at night leaving one gate open which was to be manned by a security guard, who would be maintaining a register to enter the names of persons entering that particular area once the gates were closed. The security guard was to be deployed after carrying out his police verification.

Sukhminder Singh Barnala, municipal councillor, said security men were seen only at very few gates while others remained unguarded. He said that welfare associations did not want to take the responsibility of deploying security guards at these gates because it was difficult to collect money from residents for making payments to these employees. There was also a feeling that associations would be held responsible in cases of theft of vehicles and other crimes and police, which had the responsibility of maintaining law and order would harass members of various associations for security lapses.

Moreover, “A Nepali or a Bihar migrant employed as a security guard would not be competent enough to check the identity of persons passing through these gates at night”, he added.

The civic body was now planning to assign the task of deploying guards to the agency, which had put up these structures.

Another councillor Kuljit Singh Bedi said if the authorities concerned failed to deploy guards for the security of residents, these gates would not be allowed to be put up merely for displaying advertisements.

Sarabjeet Singh Pandher, SP (security), said that “mohalla chowkidars” would be manning these gates as was being done in Phase IX, where he lived. Additional guards could not be deployed because residents of the town were not ready to dish out any extra money needed in the name of security. 



Man dies as car rams into tree
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 19
Ujjagar Singh, a resident of Pabhat village, was killed after the car he was travelling in rammed into a tree near the K-Area in Zirakpur on Friday.

The police said a case has been registered against the car driver, Paramjit Singh, for negligent driving.

The incident took place when Ujjagar Singh, his brother Ajit Singh and some other friends were on their way to Pabhat village from Peermuchhala.

Ujjagar’s brother said the driver lost control over the vehicle and rammed it into the tree.

The police said Ujjagar, who was sitting on the co-driver’s seat, sustained serious head injuries. He was rushed to GMCH-32 where doctors declared him brought dead.

The body has been handed over to the family after the post-mortem examination. 



MD, MS entrance test on Feb 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The Panjab University Controller of Examinations informed that the university will be holding the entrance test for admission to MD/MS courses at Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, on February 7, 2010. The prospectus along with the application form is available from December 17, 2009 (Thursday) at Post Office, Sector 14, Chandigarh. The price of the prospectus along with the application form is Rs 2,000 (general category) and Rs1,000 (SC category).



PEC, PU English dept
Old students relive memories
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
More than 400 alumni of Punjab Engineering College re-united at their alma mater at alumni meet organised by the Punjab Engineering College Old Students’ Association (PECOSA) in association with the institute here today.

Recollecting the memories of old days at the college, alumni of some of the oldest batches presented PEC Director Dr Manoj Datta with a framed sketch demonstrating a cartoon, which was a spoof on the liberty given to students in the institute.

PECOSA president Dr Dharinder Tayal welcomed the PEC alumni on the occasion and said it was momentous occasion for PEC to have its former students in such a large number.

“Today’s participants of the event include alumni members settled in India as well as abroad. Most of them are participating with their families,” he said. The chief guest at the occasion was Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources. In his presidential address, Pawan remarked PEC as a prestigious landmark in field of engineering. “The institute has illustrious alumni, including astronaut Kalpana Chawla, and Madan Lal Singla, who is the leader of the team that designed the Chandrayan probe. I appeal the alumni to support social, economic and academic causes of the college in the best possible way,” he said.

Datta gave a presentation about ongoing projects of the college. He sought help of the alumni association for earmarking special funds for the projects. The alumni meet hosted my story sessions, wherein, three distinguished alumni shared their success story with others.

Chairman Central Electricity Authority Rakesh Nath noted TV and film personality Jaspal Bhatti and founder Mobile Next Romi Juneja shared their success stories woven with incidents from their lives.

Board of Governors chairman Chander Mohan, Padam Shree Awardee, who is also the former vice-chairman Punjab Tractors Ltd too addressed the gathering. The current batch of PEC students honored alumni with mementoes presented to the golden jubilee year batch 1960, 1975, silver jubilee batch 1985 and 1995.

PECOSA general secretary Anurag Aggarwal proposed a vote of thanks. The evening was packed with live music, dance, cultural program, fireworks, cocktails, dinner and fellowship followed at cricket grounds, PEC.

Meanwhile, fond memories of student’s life came alive for over a hundred alumnus of English department, Panjab University, at their second alumni meet here today. After days of preparation, faculty members and alumni of the department hosted the re-union at the English auditorium, which was also attended by family members of old students.

Alumni meets of most departments of the university is in the pipeline in December, with the English department taking a lead. “We have invited more than 150 alumnus and its pleasure to bring alive old memories of the department,” said Krishan Kant, an educationist and an organiser.

Besides excitement and entertainment, the re-union was also an opportunity for discussion for the alumni to contribute to the department in a substantial way.

“We have several ideas to contribute to the department and this is a common platform to suggest ways. Be it monetary help or any other assistance, the alumni will come forward to contribute to the department,” said Kant.

For those who missed the meet, the next meet would be held in December 2010, organisers added.



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