C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


GMCH student hangs herself
Failed love affair suspected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
A second semester MBBS student of Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32 reportedly hung herself at her Sector 44 C home here in the wee hours of the morning today. Reported to be suffering from asthma, Bhawna Dhiman, 21, was said to be a brilliant student. A perusal of books kept in her room revealed she had highlighted information relating to her illness.

Though no suicide note was found on her the police said preliminary investigations hinted toward a failed love affair as the reason behind the girl taking the extreme step.

“We’ve got some documentary evidence indicating Bhawna was in love with a youth named Sheva. We’re trying to trace the boy’s whereabouts. It appears from her writings she was very emotional about the relationship”, said DSP (south) Vijay Kumar. The cops also found the call log in Bhawna’s cellphone list had been deleted. Sector 34 police station SHO inspector Udeypal Singh said the police would obtain the mobile phone call details to find out who all she had called up before committing suicide.

The death was discovered at about 6:30 am when Bhawna’s mother found her room locked from inside. After her repeated knocks on the door went unanswered she peeped through a window and was horrified to see her daughter hanging from a ceiling fan in the room. She immediately raised an alarm following which her teenaged son, Abhishek, a class 10 student, rushed to her side.

The two forced open the door, lowered Bhawna’s body and rushed her to a private hospital. Doctors there referred her to GMCH, where she was declared brought dead on arrival. The police was informed about the incident at 7:30 am.

Bhawna’s father, Chunni Lal Dhiman, an assistant general manager at State Bank of India’s branch in Ludhiana, told the cops he arrived home today morning after receiving the information. He said he had gone to Ludhiana only yesterday.

The inconsolable father told investigators he and his family members had not noticed anything amiss with Bhawna. Her elder sister, Jyoti, who got married four months ago and lives in Sector 44, also expressed shock over the incident. She said Bhawna had gone to watch a movie with them on Sunday and had met her yesterday evening after she returned from college.

Jyoti said she had spoken to some of Bhawna’s friends, who told her she had sent them ‘good night’ messages last night.

Describing Bhawna as a “brilliant” student, her family members told the police she had secured admission in a dental college in Simla last year but did not join it as she said she wanted to study for the MBBS course. She again appeared for the entrance test and cleared it last year following which she got enrolled at GMCH.

String of suicides

This is the fifth suicide in the past one year by a person related to the medical fraternity. Last April PGI junior resident Dr Nagendra AV committed suicide after he reportedly jumped from the fourth floor of a camps building. His suicide note stated no one was to be blamed for his death. Earlier, in March, Gursharan Kaur, a nurse at PGI, allegedly committed suicide by injecting a poisonous substance in her rented accommodation in Mohali. The police, after finding her suicide note in which she blamed a man named Gurjit Singh for “ruining her life”, registered a case of abetment to suicide against the latter. However, the case has yet to be solved. In January this year Anshu Mathew, an MSc nursing student at PGI, committed suicide. Her parents alleged she was being “mentally tortured” by her guide and principal. A probe was initiated after other students of NINE accused college officials of harassment. After submitting an inquiry report to the PGI administration, the authorities have recommended issuing a “charge sheet” to Inderjeet Walia, former principal of NINE. In September last year, Dr Pradeep Sharma hanged himself in his room. However, his suicide note had stated no one was to be blamed for his death.



Park ‘n’ booze the norm here!
Akash Ghai/Dipankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Drinking in public an offence

Consuming alcohol in a public place is a bailable offence under sections 61/1/14 and 68/1/14 of the Excise Act, and attracts either a fine or imprisonment of up to three months.

Chandigarh, June 8
Venue: Sector 8 market, time: 9:30 pm. Three youngsters are seen enjoying their drinks in their Suzuki SX4 luxury car parked in front of a popular nonveg eating place. Just a few yards away stands another swanky car, a white Honda Civic, in which four friends - all of whom appear to be in their teens, are guzzling beer.

A visual survey of vehicles parked in the market reveals a ‘drinking party’ is in progress and that too without fear of being detected by the cops. Even several couples can be seen boozing in their cars, most of which have tinted, almost opaque windowpanes. As if this were not enough, a group of eight to ten youths are having a gala time with whisky bottles in their hands in front of the liquor store in the market. No one is there to stop them from drinking in a public place.

A makeshift bar on car’s boot in a Sector-9 parking lot; and (bottom) youths enjoy drinks in a car at a parking lot in Sector-8 market, Chandigarh
A makeshift bar on car’s boot in a Sector-9 parking lot; and (bottom) youths enjoy drinks in a car at a parking lot in Sector-8 market, Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

Venue: Sector 9 market, time: 10:20 pm. Two young friends are using the trunk of a light gray Chevrolet hatchback as a makeshift bar. Both are enjoying their pegs in the open right at the entrance of the market’s parking lot. “Come on sir, have drinks with us”, they said when The Tribune team clicked their photos.

When asked if they knew drinking in a public place was a punishable act, both youths simply laughed and said: “The Chandigarh police is very ‘friendly’. Sometimes they ‘charge’ Rs 50 to Rs 100 from folks like us. Occasionally they even join us and have a peg or two. Come at around 8 pm and we’ll show you cops on duty enjoying drinks in the open with people like us, who are regular visitors here.”

One can witness similar scenes in the markets of Sectors 22, 11 and 26 and the ‘hotel lane’ of Sector 35. Tipplers have converted parking lots of the city’s popular markets into open ‘ahatas’ (taverns). And -shockingly -it all happens right under the nose of the police.

A Sector 8 market shopkeeper, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said cops were charging money from owners of popular eating joints for not disturbing boozers who bought snacks from eateries in the market.

While for some bacchus lovers no tavern, bar or ‘ahata’ can be more comfortable than their airconditioned cars or SUVs, couples prefer drinking in parked cars with tinted glasses in parking lots as it accords them privacy.

“Having drinks in the car with my boyfriend is much safer than drinking at any other place like a hotel bar or a tavern. So we always prefer having a drink in our car, parking it any market that has a popular eatery”, said Shweta, a hosteller at a local college.

On the other hand, many area residents, especially women, living near these markets, do not feel safe to go there after 8 pm. “I never allow my daughter to go to the market alone during these hours as I’m fully aware of what goes on there at that time. With boozers starting to assemble there after sundown it’s become difficult for women to visit the markets alone,” said Amita Arora, a resident of Sector 9.

Echoing the sentiment, another resident, Raj Pal of Sector 8, said the nuisance reflects negatively on children in their growing-up stage. “My 7-year-old son always asks me what they are drinking in the bottles,” he said.

“With the cops conveniently turning a blind eye to the nuisance cases of ‘eve teasing’ have reportedly been on the rise in the markets”, Pal added.



CHB sleeps over slum rehab projects
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The ambitious slum rehabilitation project under the JNNURM scheme has been gathering dust for the past one year with the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) for reasons best known to the board.

Sample this: The tender of 3,648 small units at Maloya was advertised in June last year. However, the tender was mired in controversy after a rejected bid was re-accepted by the board. Even after that, the officials have not yet processed the bid.

Sources claim that the controversy arose when one of the bids was wrongly opened. When the bid was rejected later, the contractor went to court. However, without re-inviting the tenders as prescribed under the CVC guidelines, the tender was opened. And, it is still lying pending with the board.

To top it all, the inordinate delay in inviting tenders for infrastructure for 8,848 small units in Dhanas, again under the JNNURM scheme, like laying of electricity cables, water lines, sewerage, storm water drainage, sewerage treatment plant, etc. will cost a loss of over Rs 67 lakhs per month to the exchequer.

CHB chairman Mohanjeet Singh said: “All schemes are under process and would be completed soon.”

But the sources claim that while these small dwelling units are almost ready, the bid for infrastructure, even if invited now, will take at least another year, resulting in huge losses. These flats were to be given on lease basis at a rate of Rs 800 per month.

In fact, the fate of tenders of 320 houses for economically weaker category (EWS) in the housing scheme of Sector 63 is no different.

The bids for these EWS houses were invited on March 29, 2009 but so far there has been no acceptance of the bids.

In fact, the CHB had invited tenders for all categories of flats totalling around 2,000 flats for the general housing scheme of Sector 63 in one go. But the delay in acceptance has been causing a loss of lakhs of rupees of taxpayers and also to the exchequer by way of extra payments on account of escalations in bids.



Rain comes down pouring, washes away normalcy
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Flights delayed

While all incoming and outgoing trains from here were on time, several Chandigarh-bound flights from Mumbai were delayed by two to four hours due to the downpour forcing several people to cancel important meetings and appointments. Kingfisher’s Mumbai-Delhi-Chandigarh flight was two-hours late due to bad weather, while the Go-Air, Air India and Jet Airways flights from Mumbai to the city also landed between two to four hours late.

More showers likely

Met department forecast says more showers will fall in the city as well as in the neighbouring Punjab and Haryana in the next 48 hours.

Chandigarh, May 8
Heavy downpour lashed the city and its adjoining areas early this morning, flooding streets and disrupting normal life and bringing to the fore once again the inefficiency of drainage system. Traffic disruptions were common while it rained heavily since last evening till afternoon today.

People in the city and its neighbouring states Punjab and Haryana got a respite from scorching sun and experienced the first heavy shower of the season.

“Most parts of the region have received heavy to very heavy rainfall that started late on Monday evening. Some parts of Punjab and Haryana received very heavy rainfall and we are expecting it to continue for a few more days,” Chatar Singh Malik, director of Chandigarh meteorological centre, said.

The showers, however, brought down the maximum temperature to 22.5°C. compared to 30°C recorded yesterday. Similarly, the minimum temperature also decreased to 19.4°C as against 22.5°C recorded on Monday.

The sky, which was generally cloudy since Monday, became overcast in the evening, resulting in a torrential rain throughout the night. According to meteorological department the city received 75.3 mm of rain till 5.30 pm on Tuesday.

“There was a flood like situation on the roads. I had gone to drop my son to his office and the distance that we used to cover in just 15 minutes took over an hour. This is a sheer failure of MC, as they did not make arrangement to tackle the situation,” said Ashish Sharma, resident of Sector 8.

Another resident, Satpal Singh, said: “I missed job interview as my motorcycle broke down on the way.”

Power restored after 24 hrs

Residents of Raipur Khurd village went without power for the last 24 hours. Residents alleged that the village had become the most neglected one in the city.

They said there was no power in the village since last evening. It was only restored today late in the evening. To add their woes there was no one to redress their grievances, including the municipal authorities, elected representatives of the village or electricity department officials, they alleged. Residents also alleged that most of the time the complaint centre phone had been put on hold. When contacted, an official of the department said the main cable supplying power to the village got burnt due to heavy downpour in the city.



Drainage system still a bane
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
If the Chandigarh municipal corporation had spent Rs 8 lakh during the last financial year to upgrade the storm water drainage system of the city, then just why is the city facing the familiar problem of waterlogging and blockage of road gullies in most sectors due to heavy showers yet again?

On June 3, 2010, MC chief engineer SS Bidda had constituted seven special teams for supervising cleaning of road gullies in different roads of sectors, especially in villages and colonies. But there is hardly any evidence of any progress of their work as the rain has caused most of roads to be flooded.

The worst affected areas today were the colony in Sector 25, Badheri, Dadu Majra, colony No. 5 and Ram Darbar.

Sheela, a resident of Dadu Majra, complained that waterlogging problem was a regular feature during the rainy season. She said residents were so fed up with the authorities that they had stopped calling them for help if water entered their houses. A similar poor maintenance of storm water drains was evident at several places in sectors 7, 8, 20, 26, 38, 50, 55 and 61 where road gullies were found blocked and water stranded. Several inches of water collected around road berms and roundabouts mirrored a sorry state of affairs of the drainage system in the city.

Even the roads that were recently re-carpeted in Industrial area, Phase II, were flooded due to blockage in road gullies. But the officials of the corporation stuck to their statement that there was no waterlogging at any place in the city as they had not received any complaint.

Ill-equipped to deal with rain, one could find roads clogged with water up to the ankle level, jamming many roundabouts for a long time during the day. Even the power supply was affected in sectors 10, 27, 35, 50 and 52 last night due to some technical fault in the transformer of the area.



Those who bore the brunt
Aarti Kapur/TNS

Chandigarh, June 8
Commuters and pedestrians had a horrified day today while travelling and moving on roads and pedestrian paths during heavy showers.

Barely any street in the city was unaffected due to heavy rain and commuters, particularly vehicle drivers, had a bumpy ride. Even pedestrians had to faced a tough time. Thanks to Chandigarh administration and Municipal Corporation, which commenced road widening work during the monsoon.

Low-lying areas and parkings were inundated at many places and streets turned into rivulets, affecting office-goers and commuters. Failure of traffic signals at several junctions worsened the situation. Long queues of vehicles were a common sight.

Traffic jams was also witnessed at several places. Commuters were caught unaware as traffic moved at snail’s pace due to water logging. This time even the northern Sectors 6, 7, 8 and 9 were the most affected sectors.

While visiting the road from Punjab Raj Bhawan towards golf club it was found that the contractor had left the work midway by digging up the pedestrian path for fixing the paver blocks.

Nominated councillor, Pallav Mukherjee said whenever he plans any project the first thing he keeps in mind is the weather conditions, starting and time schedule for completion of work. He said in projects undertaken by the corporation and administration it’s other way around.



It’s time for infections, too, beware!
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Monsoon showers may be a pleasant sight, but watch your health. The rain not only spells relief, but is also an invitation to a number of infections.

“Water and food contamination is common during the rain? and causes infection, leading to an increase in the number of diarrhoea and vomitting cases. We have already started getting such cases,” said Dr Vipin Kaushal, medical superintendent, GMCH-32.

Cases of other water-borne diseases like jaundice and cholera were also likely to go up. Doctors said though cholera cases were reported throughout the year, the maximum were during the monsoon. With schools scheduled to reopen in a few weeks, experts said children would be particularly vulnerable to viral fever, gastro problems and cold and cough.

“They are at risk because in schools, chances of catching infection are very high as children stay in close proximity. One cannot keep a check on what kids eat outside and so, gastro problems may arise,” said Dr Rajesh of the community medicine department of the PGI.

During rainfall, stagnation of water led to mosquito breeding, which in turn, gave rise to cases of malaria and dengue. “Care should be taken not to allow water to stagnate in houses,” said experts.

A good monsoon might bring bad news for those suffering from arthritis or chronic lung disease. “People with chronic lung infection, obstructive airway and bronchitis may develop pneumonia. Arthritic patients will have a tough time as joints will get stiff,” said an orthopaedician.

“In this season, humidity levels are quite high and one can develop fungal infection on covered parts of the body,” said Dr GP Thami, head of the dermatology department, GMCH-32.



Life derailed at Zirakpur
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, June 8
Incessant rain has derailed normal life of residents of Zirakpur and made the conditions miserable as large numbers of commuters were trapped in a traffic jam on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway and the Zirakpur-Patiala highway this morning. Two vehicles overturned near Dhillon factory chowk on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway here this morning.

Commuters were stranded for more than an hour at the Zirakpur-Kalka highway, as two trucks broke down near the railway crossing. The tires of the truck got stuck in a caved-in part of the road, blocking traffic for a long time.

A commuter, who was trapped in the jam, said there was no traffic cop present on the spot to tackle with the situation. Later, the Baltana police in-charge reached at the spot and got the trucks removed with cranes.

According to information, rainwater entered houses and shops in various areas. Goods worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed at a gift shop in Baltana by rainwater.



Parts of Mohali flooded

Mohali, June 8
Water collected in various parts of the town, especially low-lying pockets, following showers here today. The rain, which was in the form of light showers since early morning, turned heavy around 3 pm, but later reduced.

The flow of traffic was hit and rainwater collected in certain localities. Various shopping areas which were full of potholes also got flooded. Rainwater also collected in parks. The rain exposed the poor condition of the Civil Hospital building, where leakage began early in the morning.

The leakage was noticed at the female ward, the laboratory area, the emergency wing and the operation theatre area.

Corridors were also full of water and cleaning had to be carried out throughout the day. — OC



Power, water supply hit

Panchkula, June 8
Incessant rain during the past 20 hours in the city threw life out of gear as people in various parts the town had to remain without power and water since the last evening.

The power supply in various sectors, especially the group housing societies in Sector 20, was also affected as people had to go without power for almost 12 hours. The water supply in the morning was also affected, as tubewells in the city did not get power supply.

The civil secretariat in Sector 2 wore a deserted look as people could not reach there to get their work done. The district courts also presented a deserted look as the litigants from far off places could not reach the court in connection with their cases.

Two pet dogs and a cow in the Indira colony were electrocuted while one cow was washed away into the Ghaggar near the Ambedkar Colony early in the morning. The vehicular traffic on National Highway 22 was also affected. — TNS


Sector 68 cries for basic amenities
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, June 8
For residents of Sector 68 here, it is like living in a “backward area” of the town sans good roads, clean localities, well-kept parks and adequate supply of water. They have been crying for better amenities in the sector that was carved out about 10 years ago, but have faced the indifference of GMADA authorities to their plight.

“It would have been better if we had not shifted here from Chandigarh,” bemoaned one of the residents in the context of the poor civic amenities in the sector. Many roads are damaged and in need of urgent repairs. Recarpeting work on the roads has been done only once over the past nine years, complain residents.

Sanitation, too, is in a state of neglect. Residents say earlier safai karamcharis used to come to localities almost daily, but now cleaning is done only twice a week.

Manoj Aggarwal said most of the roads in the sector had potholes. Driving became difficult, especially at night and when water collected on roads after heavy rain. He said recarpeting of roads had been done only once since the sector was developed in 2001. A part of the sector was covered in 2003 and the remaining area was recarpeted in 2005.

Parks were also in a bad shape. He said earlier the roads were cleaned on a daily basis, but after the sanitation contract expired on March 31, this work was being done only biweekly due to the paucity of funds with GMADA. Residents also faced a shortage of water, which was mainly available at the ground-floor level.

Raghbir Singh, another resident, who works in the Reserve Bank of India branch in Chandigarh, said he was repenting after shifting to Mohali from Chandigarh. Unhygienic conditions prevailed in a part of the sector. A park located behind his house was used for dumping cow dung and for tethering animals. Several requests by residents to the authorities concerned for improving the facilities in the area had failed to yield results.

He said a B road leading to City Park had big potholes for the past two years, but recarpeting had not been done. Patchwork was done at times, which did not last much.



IT Park Probe
Team puts off visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The visit of the three-member team of the Ministry of Home Affairs, probing the alleged irregularities highlighted in the special audit in allotment of land to certain IT giants at the IT Park here, was postponed.

According to sources, the team, which was to be headed by retired IAS officer DR Bhalla, was put off at the eleventh hour as the UT administration sought more time in submitting certain documents to the team.

The ministry had ordered an inquiry by retired Government of India Secretary Arun Ramanathan to corroborate the allegations contained in the special audit, which had found glaring discrepancies in allotment.

Ramanathan had recently scrutinised files pertaining to land allotment and questioned certain official involved in the land allotment.



Online counselling in place for class XI
Tribune News Service

Dates to remember

June 14: Sale of prospectus commences

June 23: Last day to submit forms

July 2: Declaration of list

Number of seats

Arts 4,000

Science 3,000

Commerce 1,400

Vocational 1,400

Chandigarh, June 8
UT education department has finally worked out its admission schedule for class XI admission in government schools, where allocation of seats will be done by online counselling for the first time.

According to sources, the stream allocation will be based on preference list submitted by student where he will list ten schools, along with their streams on the basis of his/her priority.

Interestingly, the department had planned to keep the entire process, including submission of forms online, but it had to change its plan due to prevalent net ignorance among several students.

“Several students who seek admission are not so net savvy and won’t be comfortable undertaking the admission formalities on net. So we decided that submission of online forms will be off-line and based on the collected data a special software will make the seat allocation,” said Chanchal Singh, district education officer.

The department will keep Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) merit as the basis for admission. In case of a tie either individual grade points of certain subjects will be taken into consideration or else age would be the key criteria, the sources added.

“DOEACC has developed a software to analyse student’s merit viz a viz his preference list and give him the best possible seat,” added Chanchal Singh.

Forms will be available for Rs 100 at GMSSS, Sector 10, GMSSS, Mani Majra, GMSSS 32, GMSSS, Sector 23, and GSS, Sector 37. The forms are to be submitted in these schools only.



e-banking for PU students to deposit fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Panjab University students can now avail Internet banking facility to deposit their admission fee from academic session July-August, 2010. The e-banking scheme has got the university nod, although the proposal is yet to get a final clearance from the bank headquarters.

After the “Powerjyoti programme” was launched last year to enable students to deposit fee from any part of the country at any State Bank of India counter, the proposal of depositing fee through e-banking was mooted by the university and bank officials. While the “Powerjyoti programme” became popular with more than 15,000 students, success of new facility still remains to bear fruit. From this session, students will also be able to avail the ATM facility on the campus. Construction of the ATM centre is complete and the facility is likely to start before the session begins, said university officials.

According to sources, with the launch of the Internet banking facility students can now transfer their fee from their e-banking account to the university account and various departments would provide the details. “We are planning to provide related information to all departments. It will be convenient to sit at home and transfer money from their accounts to the university account,” said a bank official.

Students who avail this facility would be required to produce a receipt to the university to streamline the data, the sources added.

Earlier, despite a lukewarm response of the online fee deposit facility launched by the university in the past, the “Powerjyoti programme” had given some hope to the university to launch the Internet banking facility.



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