C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Aradhana already a middle class icon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
From giving testimonies in the Ruchika molestation case to receiving applause at public functions, Aradhana has become a middle class icon.

Though late, public outrage against the politician-bureaucrat nexus and appreciation for the courageous woman is becoming more vocal.

At a cultural evening organised by Step2Step Dance Institute at Government College, Sector 46, mothers and young girls among the audience stood up to support Aradhana and her mother, Madhu, for their effort. “She has become a role model for all women,” a person among the audience remarked.

They had been invited by the organisers to be honoured by Additional Chief Electoral Officer SK Setia.

Addressing the audience, Aradhana said the case should be an eye opener for society. “Strange are the laws. The victim has ended her life and the molester is roaming around freely. We all need to unite to prevent such incidents,” she said, adding that the laws needed to be more stringent.

Her mother said there was need for fast-track courts. “Had the courts decided the matter early, the girl would not have died. We need public support for the cause,” she said.

While the function was on, some persons protested over the “mixing” of the social issue of Ruchika case with the cultural evening. Clarifying their position, Yatin Gupta, the organiser, said a public forum was the best platform to sensitise people on the issue. His opinion was seconded by Setia.



Mayor’s tenure dotted with controversies
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
The tenure of Mayor Kamlesh, whose term is expiring on December 31, was embroiled with controversies.

She made a record in calling special house meetings to discuss specific issues like status report of development works and tabling of report of the sub-committee on the garbage processing plant at Dadu Majra, which ended up without any discussion.

During her previous tenure in 2004, she had made a record as the most-widely travelled Mayor -- hopping from one study tour to another from Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Gujarat and the Philippines. But none of the tours proved to be of any benefit to the MC.
She also tried to “grab extra benefits”. In February, Kamlesh employed two persons for her camp office at Sector 24 and asked the Municipal Commissioner to pay their salaries from the MC’s account. After he refused, saying that under rules, only the Commissioner had the right to employ or recruit any employee, their relations soured.

During her 2004 tenure, she had purchased items worth Rs 37,000 for which she was not entitled. When she sought a reimbursement, the then MC Commissioner, PS Aujla, rejected it and an inquiry was ordered against her.

During her current tenure, she created a controversy with her remarks: “I am powerless. Officials do not listen to me. Calling them for discussion on development works does not come under my jurisdiction.” With such statements, she “overlooked” most problems raised by councillors during house and routine meetings.

It was alleged that her husband and her supporters ran the Mohalla Sudhar Committee and collected

cash from residents of Ram Darbar on the pretext of a cleanliness drives. The issue rocked the MC general house several times.

She failed to run the house smoothly during both tenures. She adjourned most meetings, ignoring the request of councillors to discuss the issues in the house.

In her last house meeting conducted yesterday -- without consulting the municipal Act -- she suspended the whole opposition just to prove that as a Mayor she was the most powerful in the house.



Suspension revoked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
Mayor Kamlesh revoked the suspension of all opposition councillors who were suspended yesterday for obstructing the proceedings of the house meeting.

The Mayor sent a letter to all 11 councillors, stating that exercising power under provision 2 (3) of Section 62 of the Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, she had revoked their suspension with effect from today. When contacted, acting MC Commissioner PK Sharma said they had also sent a detailed report to the local government secretary, Ram Niwas, about the proceedings of the house meeting yesterday as asked by him.

The Mayor had suspended all opposition councillors from the house for 15 days for obstructing the proceedings. The opposition councillors had raised objections that they would not allow the house to continue unless the confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting were tabled in the house.



Rise in monkey bite cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
The city has witnessed an increase in the incidence of monkey bite. As per the anti-rabies clinic at Sector 19, 124 such cases came between January and August.In 2008, 70 cases were reported at the clinic during the corresponding period. The in charge of the rabies vaccination unit, Dr Purnima, said there was an increase in such cases and the numbers swelled during monsoon.

A monkey bite can also cause rabies -- a disease caused by the lyssa virus, which has the tendency of hiding itself from the immune system and not giving the body time to respond to its attack. The immune system’s inability to combat the virus allows it to reach the central nervous system. Here it replicates quickly and spreads all over the brain, causing inflammation and affecting its functioning. Only a vaccine can prevent this from happening.

Rabies spreads in two phases -- prodomal and neurological. In the prodomal phase, a patient complains of fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, headac
e and pain. It affects the autonomic nervous system and manifests as copious salivation and weeping.

Neurological phase is the advanced stage and is marked by paralysis and spasms in throat, which makes swallowing difficult.

The patient develops hydrophobia, becomes anxious and hyperactive. There is increasingly uncontrolled movement, confusion and delirium. In this phase, animals also go mad and bite. Dr Purnima said awareness about rabies had also played a key role. Around five years ago, 90 per cent of people who came to the vaccination unit had applied chilli paste on the wound, but now people did not do it.

Doctors suggest that in case of monkey or dog bite, the patient should wash the wound with water and detergent soap for 15 minutes. An antiseptic cream should be applied on the wound and the victim should be rushed to a doctor for the administration of the anti-rabies vaccine. Carelessness could lead to death.

The WHO estimates reveal that at least 10 million persons are exposed to rabies annually, of which some 40,000 to 70,000 succumb to the disease. Nearly 50 per cent of the total deaths are reported in India. 


Frolic marks Xmas celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
Fun and frolic marked the Christmas celebrations by Reliance Communications employees today at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park Office.Sporting in red with Santa Claus caps, the employees decorated the office with Xmas trees and balloons.

Awards to the best-decorated workstation, best-dressed male and female employees were also given.

Arvind Kumar, hub head, R Com, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir was present at the celebrations.

At another function, colourful entries marked the drawing competition of different age group at Chandigarh Club during the Christmas celebrations organised in association with The British

School and Alchemist Food and Beverages Limited.

In the age group of 5-7 years, Harsita Jain was declared first, Arnav Kajriwal second and Archit Singh third. In the age group of 8-11 years, Arnidam Anand was declared first, Janat Chawla second and Kritika Bansal third.

In the age group of 12-15 years, Manat Chawla was declared first, Tanya Kaushal second and

Akriti Saxena third place.

Students of Gurukul Global School visited the Sector 19 church as a part of the ongoing Xmas celebrations in the school.

Students from pre-nursery to kindergarten classes, Classes I, II and III visited the church in batches with their teachers. The visit was a part of the school’s efforts in reinforcing the spirit of oneness in children and teaching them equality of religions.



4-day convention of minorities begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
A four-day 26th national convention of the All-India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF), Delhi, started at “Sant Raidas Nagar Campus”, a specially created arena, at Sector-34 exhibition grounds here today.

Dr Shyam Lal, Vice-Chancellor, Patna University, inaugurated the convention and Dr Chandu Maiske, national president of the BAMCEF, presided over the convention.

While inaugurating the convention, Dr Shyam Lal made a special reference to the slogan of Dr Ambedkar “Educate, organise, agitate” and stated that it was the “education” through which they had reached the positions they were holding today.

Castigating the caste system and the Brahminical order prevailing in the society, the VC blamed the Brahmins for using the caste system to their interest, he added.

He said: “Our own people were observed to be strong followers of ‘Brahminism’ which prompted them to deceive our society. Thus we were facing a problem to fight at two fronts at a time. On one front, we had to fight against the ‘Brahminical forces’ and on the other, we were required to face our own people opposing the ideology of our forefathers.”

In his concluding address, he expressed concern over rise in educational fee and process of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation through which the poor were becoming poorer and rich were becoming richer.

In his presidential address, Dr Maiske highlighted the issues faced by Mulnivasi Bahujan Samaj in particular and the nation at large.

He said the theme of convention was “Uproot Brahminism — the spirit of inequality”, slogan given by Dr Ambedkar.

The convention will continue for four days. Debates and deliberations will take place on different issues related to Mulnivasi Bahujan Samaj. Around 5,000 delegates from 21 states are attending the convention.



Haryanvi folk dance contest kicks off
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, December 25
“The folklore, classical music or dance artistes are omniscient persons endowed with a special passion for arts and should always be respected irrespective of their living social status, caste and creed,” observed Dr KK Khandelwal, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary to Haryana government.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the annual state-level Haryanvi folk dance competitions at Inderdhanush Auditorium, he claimed that Haryana led in the region as far as financial support and expenditure on proliferation of literary, folklore and cultural heritage was concerned, he added.

As many as 40 groups of amateur and professional Haryanvi folk dancers are vying for laurels in the division and state-level competition being organised by the Haryana Kala Parishad and the information public relations and cultural affairs department.

Merit-wise winners of today’s competition from among 13 teams of Ambala divisions are: DAV College for Girls, Yamunanagar 1; Suman Jaiswal and Party, Panchkula, 2; Vandana Sharma, OSDAV Public School, Kaithal, consolation prize.

Out of seven teams from Rohtak divisions, Aslam and party, Rohtak, won the first prize, while Malvika Pandit and party, Rohtak, got the second prize.

Division-level winners and runners-up will be awarded Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000, respectively, while winning teams at state level will be awarded Rs 1 lakh, Rs 50,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively, along with certificates and mementos.

Haryana Governor Jagan Nath Pahadia will distribute awards to the winners of the state-level competition December 27 at the Inderdhanush Auditorium, Panchkula, according to Usha Sharma, director, Kala Parishad.



City-Yamunanagar rail link survey begins

Chandigarh, December 25
The much-awaited preliminary survey work for the proposed Chandigarh-Yamunanagar rail link has begun. The rail link would facilitate industrial growth and augment transportation facilities with the steel city of Jagadhri.

Commuters would also be able to shuttle conveniently between Chandigarh and Yamunanagar. Railway officials said the rail link would connect the two cities via Ghaggar, Naraingarh and Sadhaura.

At present, the only rail link connecting Chandigarh with Yamunanagar is through Ambala. The alternative link would also shed the load of goods trains on the existing link. The railway officials are hopeful that the financial viability would support the construction on the link this time.

The survey would be conducted on three-four possible routes and would be placed before the railway ministry, which would decide the final route after considering the maximum rate of return. — TNS



Looking Ahead: 2010 Health
Swine flu, the real health threat
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
Economic recession and swine flu dominated 2009. A random search of these words on Google throws up 1.4 crore references for economic recession and 3.84 crore for swine flu.Swine flu gripped the city also and facemasks, which otherwise are a rare site in the serene and pollution-free city, became a reality. Though recession had negligible impact in the city, the challenge to deal with swine flu is likely to be there in 2010 too.

Recently, the UT health department’s technical committee has declared the H1N1 virus under the “community spread” category. This means the virus is no longer restricted to any particular vulnerable group, as cases are being reported from all age groups and sections of the community. According to experts, H1N1 test were not important as the virus is in the air that pressed the panic button.

So far, 41 people have died of swine flu in city hospitals, including six from Chandigarh, 17 from Punjab and 13 from Haryana and others from the Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Over 290 people have tested positive, including 133 from Chandigarh, 70 from Punjab and 63 from Haryana. If this trend continues, city doctors have a huge task at their hands.

On the administrative front, the year is again ending with a controversy that has been raging for almost the past decade - repatriation of Punjab doctors who have been endlessly on deputation in the city. The recent move of the Punjab government to seek repatriation of 10 doctors has stirred a hornet’s nest.

With about 80-odd Punjab doctors on deputation in the city, some having spend almost two decades here, the issue of their repatriation rages from time to time but with no positive results.

While the Punjab government is seeking the repatriation of 10 doctors, it is dithering over calling back Director Health Services, UT, MS Bains, whose deputation term ended on August 31. The pick and choose policy of the Punjab government has remained questionable. Bains’ case is peculiar since he continues to serve despite the state government sending a panel of three doctors for his replacement.

Nevertheless, as this controversy continues, there are chances that some doctors might be repatriated. And in this happens, it could trigger a chain reaction among officials of other departments and teachers.

As for future plans, the UT health department has drawn a blueprint to expand its services in the GMSH-16 and the GMCH-32 hospitals in the coming year. In the public-private partnership, the MRI facility will start at the GMSH-16 soon, while the MRI facility at the GMCH-32, which was the agenda of 2009, will finally taking off in 2010. Besides, there are proposals to set up an eight-bedded “burn unit” and “ventilator unit” at Government Hospital, Sector 16.

The UT health department has also planned to upgrade the 20 private rooms with TV and air conditioners. Broccy therapy unit for cervical cancer patients will also come up at the GMCH-32.

‘‘If the government aims at achieving 100 per cent results for the resources, it is pumping into the medical system, then we need to collaborate more with the private sector. This will ensure that basic services required can be managed by the private sector so that the government does not have to spend so much money in maintaining the infrastructure,” said Dr Raj Bahadur, Director-Principal, GMCH-32.



Blood donation camp marks ‘Balidan Divas’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
The balidan divas of Swami Shraddhanand was observed by organising a blood donation camp at Arya Samaj Mandir, Sector 16-D, by the Arya Pradeshik Pratinidhi Upsabha, Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.Students, principals, teachers and other members of the staff of various DAV institutions of the region participated in the camp. More than 100 volunteers donated blood.

GK Chatrath, noted advocate and a fellow and syndic of Panjab University, Chandigarh, inaugurated the camp.

BC Josan, principal of DAV College and president of the Arya Pradeshik Pratinidhi Upsabha, Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, and Vijay Kumar, secretary, were also present.



Get antecedents of servants verified or face action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
To put a check on residents, landlords, tenants and commercial establishments, UT District Magistrate Brijendra Singh has directed them to furnish information about ordinary servants, helpers and maid servants employed by them so that anti-social elements under the guise of domestic servants, helpers and maid servants may not pose a threat to their employers and other citizens.

The District Magistrate has ordered that as an emergency measure, the residents, including landlords and those running commercial establishments, will not employ any domestic servant, helper, part-time maid servant unless his/her particulars are furnished to the SHO concerned in writing in the designed format by the local police. Any breach of the order would invite action under Section 188 of the IPC.

In another order, the District Magistrate has prohibited the use of cyber cafes by unknown person whose identification would not be established by the owner of the cafe. The cyber cafe owners have been asked to maintain a register for identity of the visitor, user by making the entry of visitor's name, address, telephone number and identity proof. The visitor, user would make entry in his/her handwriting along with address, telephone number and identity proof and would sign the register kept for this purpose.

The identity of the visitor would be established through identity card, voter card, ration card, driving licence, passport and photo credit card. Activity server log would be preserved in main server and its record for at least six months. The owner of the cyber café has been asked to inform the police station, if any suspicious activity of the visitor is noted and the cyber cafes would also maintain record about the specific computer used by the person. This order has been issued under Section 144 of CrPC.

The orders have been made as it was noticed that certain anti-social elements, criminals and terrorists might use the facility of cyber cafes to mislead the security/investigating agencies, create panic in the public and danger the security of public, VIPs, and government institutions.

Brijendra Singh has directed the landlords/owners and managers of paying guest accommodation to inform their respective SHO regarding the antecedents of paying guests staying in their accommodations. This is done to minimise the anti-social elements in the guise of paying guest do not cause harm to the citizens of the city.

The order issued under Section 144 of the CrPC made it clear that the offenders, who will not follow this order, will be liable to be prosecuted under Section 188 of the IPC. These orders will come into force with effect from zero hours on December 25 and would be effective till February 22, 2010. 



Dance & song mania begins 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
The weeklong “New Year extravaganza” from December 25 to December 31 at Sector 17 Plaza with the title “Dance and song mania” was inaugurated today by Home Secretary Ram Niwas.

Being Christmas today, the crowd had thronged to be a part of the merriment, organised by the Department of Tourism, Chandigarh administration.

The rock band “Sounds of Heaven” performed, with Khendor and Randeep Mathews, vocalists of the band, enthralling the audience with Christmas carols. Gaurav Sharma on guitar, Ban on drums, Arshdeeop Mathews on Key Boards and Sumar on rhythm guitar, pulled the crowd to the dance floor.

The children had a gala time in the evening as Santa Claus distributed sweets among kids. A huge X-mass tree was also decorated.

A singing performance will be given by Sarthi K tomorrow at 6 pm onwards at the Plaza. Besides, a semi-final of the singing competition, voice of Chandigarh (male and female) will be held on December 30 at the same venue.

A couple/partner dance competition titled “Dancing sensation of Chandigarh” will be held on December 31.

The winner dancing partner will be felicitated with a free economy air tickets from Delhi to Dubai and back, sponsored by Grand Travels. The registration of the competition will be opened till December 28.



Over 1,300 examined at health mela 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
The UT health department organised a multi-specialty health mela at Government Middle School, Mani Majra here today. Home-cum-Health Secretary Ram Niwas was the chief guest on the occasion.

Over 1,300 patients availed the facilities of diagnostic and curative services for various specialties like gynaecology, paediatrics, medicine and Ayush. The enthusiastic response of the residents was by the virtue of intensive IEC activities, which were carried out in the form of posters, pamphlets and announcements in areas two days prior to the mela.

The Health Secretary visited all the OPDs and was impressed by the patient influx as well as by the services being delivered. The basic laboratory tests were also carried out free of cost along with free medicines.

State AIDS Control Society provided free testing and counselling facility and special efforts were made to generate awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Exhibitions by the RCH, the NLEP and the NPCB also drew appreciation. Under the ICDS programme, the immunisation status as well as the health indicators which were remarkable amongst the anganwadi children whose examination was carried out under the ICDS, was appreciated as it depicted the intensive as well as good work being done by the ICDS doctors.

The statistical analysis of four rounds of examination of anganwadi children showed a commendable improvement in the indicators.

The work of the RNTCP was appreciated when it was mentioned that around 80 patients were being given free DOTS treatment at various DOT centres in Indira Colony.

The presentation by the department of IDSP as to the projection of the number of diseases being carried by hand was applauded at the swine flu stall.

It was also mentioned that no dengue case had been reported from Indira Colony while there was only one case of malaria. It was the introduction of stall of birth and death registration and non-communicable diseases, which are worth a mention as it generated awareness amongst the visitors regarding the importance of registration of birth and death with the administration and the necessity to stay away from obesity and diabetes.

The efforts of all the programmes under the NRHM are to carry out the mission of reaching out to the beneficiaries was successfully met as residents availed maximum advantage form the health mela.

Director Health & Family Welfare Dr MS Bains and other senior officials of the health department were also present during the mela. 



Land Fraud
Process to declare baba PO begins
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 25
On the directions of the Dera Bassi court, the police has initiated the process to declare Baba Prithpal Singh, chairman of the Shiromani Sant Khalsa International Foundation, Gurdwara Gur Sagar Sahib, a proclaimed offender.

The baba along with wife Charan Kamal Kaur and follower Paramjit Kaur had been named as the accused in a complaint filed by a Rajpura resident, Paramjit Singh.

Investigating officer Raghbir Singh said on the directions of the court, the proclamation orders had been issued. After the process, the baba would be declared a proclaimed offender.

A few months ago, the baba and his followers on the basis of bogus general power of attorney (GPA) had reportedly sold chunks of land at Madopur village to a real estate company, ATS, and some individuals in 1996. In most cases, the owners of the land had not visited the village for long.

The police, during the course of investigating the case of the Rajpura resident, who was allegedly duped of Rs 35 lakh by the baba, stumbled upon these startling facts.

They had sold land owned by the father of an Additional Sessions Judge posted in Punjab.

The investigating officer in the case had summoned the then patwari and tehsildar to explain their position in the case as the name of genuine landowners was replaced with bogus names in the revenue record.

A confidant of the baba, DS Virdi, posed as Harbans Singh, father of the judge, and Paramjit Kaur, his follower, posed as Satwinder Kaur, a shareholder of the land.

They got a bogus GPA of the land from Inderpal Singh, another follower. On the basis of the GPA, the land was sold to the ATS.

Inderpal accepted an advance of Rs 35 lakh from Paramjit Singh for the same chunk of land sold to the ATS.

Talking to The Tribune, Paramjit Singh said the same land was sold to the ATS for around Rs 2 crore. The facts came to light when the police yesterday arrested Virdi and seized documents from him.



City shivers at 5.2 °C
Tribune News Service

Rickshaw-pullers gather around a bonfire to beat the chill in Chandigarh on Friday.
Rickshaw-pullers gather around a bonfire to beat the chill in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, December 25
With the eary morning fog having tightened its grip over the city, the minimum temperature today touched 5.2 degrees Celsius while the maximum was recorded at 22.6 degrees Celsius.

During the past five years, the lowest temperature on Christmas was recorded at 4.6 degrees Celsius in 2006. Last year Christmas registered a minimum of 5 degrees Celsius.

“Early morning hours tomorrow would have shallow fog and mist. The minimum temperature would rest around 5 degrees Celsius and the maximum around 20 degrees,” a Met official said.

Even though there was some fog in the morning, the visibility level was 500 metres, which is considered normal. Flights to the city were delayed by over an hour. The Delhi-Chandigarh flight of Jet Airways, scheduled to arrive at 10.05 am, could land only at around 12 noon. Similarly, Kingfisher’s Delhi-Chandigarh-Srinagar flight and GoAir’s Delhi-Chandigarh flight were also delayed.

The weatherman attributed the sharp fall in mercury today to snow in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal under the influence of a fresh western disturbance.

The met officials have predicted that the minimum temperature would further plummet to as low as 5 degrees Celsius tomorrow and the cold winds are bound to get more severe.



4 more down with swine flu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
There is no slowing down the spread of swine flu in the city. With four more persons, including a Class IV student of St Stephen’s, testing positive for it today, the total number of confirmed swine flu cases in the city has gone up to 303.

The nodal officer for swine flu said: “Of the four positive cases, two each are from Chandigarh and Punjab.” The victims from Chandigarh were a Class IV student (resident of Sector 20) and a 65-year-old person from Sector 19.

The condition of all patients was stable and they were responding well to the treatment. The victims from Punjab were a 23-year-old woman from Mohali and a 20-year-old woman from Mandi Gobindgarh.

So far, 42 persons have died of swine flu in city hospitals, including six from Chandigarh, 17 from Punjab and 13 from Haryana. The others are from Himachal and Uttar Pradesh. 



Relief to showroom owners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
Giving relief to the existing SCO/SCF owners, the Chandigarh administration has allowed them to have a depression up to 1.21 metres on the ground floor to accommodate mezzanine floor as per the norms subject to structural stability and provision of minimum permissible height in conformity with the building rules.

According to a press note issued here today, the mezzanine floor will not be enclosed by glazing/walls and will only have parapet/railing.

Besides, a ramp of minimum 1.37 metres width after leaving a gap of minimum 1.37 metres from entrance is to be provided from corridor floor level to lower ground floor level. This would create a barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities.

Meanwhile, in order to provide easy access to the people in the public buildings, the administration has ordered that all public buildings on plot sizes of one acre and above will display the building plans within the site at an appropriate location. The building plan should highlight the entry, exit, fire escape routes and staircase, corridors, public areas, general convenience and essential services, the press note added.



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