C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Removal of illegal structures around Air Force station
IAF seeks DC’s intervention
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 15
Anticipating security threat, the Air Force authorities have sought the intervention of Mohali Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand in removing illegal structures, including a number of cattle sheds, around the Chandigarh Air Force station.

In the past few months, a number of illegal cattle sheds and dwelling units have come up adjoining the boundary wall of the Air Force base in Jagatpura village.

The violators have been daring enough to raise illegal structures next to the emergency exit gate of the Air Force station. The regulatory branch of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has, however, failed to take note of the serious issue.

Expressing annoyance over the illegal structures that were prohibited within 900m from the perimeter of the airbase, the Air Force authorities have pointed that it had flight safety implications. The Mohali DC said he had taken a very serious view of the issue and had asked the GMADA authorities to act swiftly.

The illegal structures are coming up in Jagatpura near the area where GMADA had rehabilitated around 500 persons of Phase X Guru Nanak Colony a few years ago. The deserving persons were temporarily relocated on 7 acres in Jagatpura village.

A plan of GMADA to rehabilitate the persons under the site-and-service scheme never saw the light of the day. Again a proposal to offer one-room dwelling unit to the slum-dwellers elsewhere in the city is pending.

The Air Force authorities have also sought that any proposal to rehabilitate the slum-dwellers near the Air Force base should not be approved without their clearance. Though GMADA had allotted the sites on a temporary basis, the beneficiaries had raised double-storyed structures right under the nose of the regulatory branch of GMADA. Officials in GMADA admit that due to political interference, the structures have not been demolished.

It maybe mentioned that the international airport is coming a few metres away from the illegal settlements. Air Force officials point out that they have been writing to the civilian authorities concerned in Punjab for setting up a joint board of officials to carry out a survey of constructions in the vicinity of the station. 



‘Cash-at-door’ scam
CBI seeks nod to prosecute ex-HC judge
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
The Central Bureau of Investigation today sought sanction to prosecute former Punjab & Haryana High Court judge Nirmal Yadav after conducting an investigation into the so-called cash-at-judge’s door scam. The case has been adjourned to September 4, 2010.

Pawan Kumar Dogra, public prosecutor for the CBI special court of Darshan Singh, said: “The CBI has filed a status report and the additional investigation has been completed. The agency has now sought sanction for prosecuting Yadav”, he confirmed.

The investigative agency moved an application seeking the nod in the CBI special court and submitted the status report in a sealed packet today.

The CBI had earlier filed a closure report in the case on the basis of the legal affairs department secretary’s D.O. letter dated December 7, 2009, following which the Punjab & Haryana Bar Association had filed a protest petition against the closure report.

Asking the CBI to further investigate the case, the court observed: “The closure report filed under section 173 of the CrPC presented by the CBI is self contradictory. Though on one hand it is mentioned the accused have committed the offences, on the other the attorney general’s opinion has been reproduced mentioning there was not a shred of evidence with the said alleged offences against the accused - Sanjiv Bansal, Ravinder Singh and Nirmal Singh - in conspiracy with justice Nirmal Yadav. This contradiction in the CBI’s stand needs to be clarified”.

Stating the “honour of the judiciary was at stake”, the court said: “This half baked report of the CBI cannot be acted upon and the latter is directed to undertake further investigation.”



Porn Case
Summons issued to St John’s principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Anshul Berry issued summons to the principal of St John’s High School, Sector 26, Kavita C Dass, at District Courts here today.The case was, meanwhile, adjourned to October 8.

The case was registered on a complaint filed by a human rights activist. The complaint was filed under Section 156(3) of the CrPC with directions to be given to the SSP and SHO, Sector 26, to lodge an FIR against the principal of the school.

It was stated in the complaint that the students in the school had been receiving immoral education. It was stated that under the supervision of the principal, vulgar training was being imparted to children under the garb of modern education. The complainant stated that the school had been holding competitions wherein students hacked accounts and the official email ID of the school was being used to watch porn sites.



Ignorance on iodine use in food high: Study
16 per cent children in city suffer from deficiency
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
The saying, “common knowledge is not so common”, seems apt when in a modern city like Chandigarh, which boasts of an educated population, over 16 per cent children suffer from iodine deficiency, which can cause Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) - the single most cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage among children.

This might sound strange but the ignorance on the importance of the use of iodine in our food intake, most commonly through common iodised salt, doesn’t end here. Nearly 10 per cent of households use salt that does not have the required minimum concentration of iodine, exposing children to the risk of IDD and adults to goitre.

Data collected by the National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control Programme, (NIDDCP), under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), from the tests conducted on urine samples of 487 school going children (up to the age of 12) shows that 16.5 per cent of them (80) do not have adequate intake of iodine. These children come across from all strata of society. The samples were collected between April and October 2009.

Shockingly, salt samples collected by the NIDDCP from 2,328 houses in the city during the same period showed that nearly 10 per cent (220) did not have the minimum concentration of iodine in them. These households are, thus, exposing their children to the risk of IDD and adults to goitre.

It is noteworthy that iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause irreparable damage to stem cells of the foetus. The effects of this damage become noticeable when the four-five year olds and lack the basic hand-eye coordination. The worst part is that morphologically, the child doesn't show any symptoms of degeneration and a diagnosis may come only after years of suffering.

The simple solution for the prevention of these disorders is consumption of iodised salt, with adequate levels of iodine (minimum 15 ppm), but ironically some city residents choose not to. This is despite the fact that the government has been spending crores, advertising the importance of the use of iodised salt.

Dr Dinesh Girg, in charge of Iodine Deficiency Disorder Control Programme (IDDCP) in UT, says, 95 per cent of the loose salt, which is available for Rs 2 to Rs 2.50, does not have any iodine content. Fifteen percent of the refined packaged salt and 75 per cent of non-refined packaged salt also do not have the requisite level of iodine present.

"The NRHM has made available the rapid salt testing kit to every anganwadi worker, which can check the level of iodine in the salt instantly. These kits will also be available in the market soon for a merely Rs 11,” he says. 



Myopic view comes in way of eye donation
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Even as the tricity has responded well to the efforts of the PGI eye department in eye donation, a lot needs to be done as people suffering from corneal blindness is much high.

The number of donors have been increasing at a rate of 10 per cent every year and the PGI received 340 donations last year only. A total of 274 donors were registered in 2008-2009, said Dr Amit Gupta, associate professor, department of ophthalmology PGI.

Still, there was a dire need of creating an awareness about eye donation as only a few donors was approaching the PGI voluntarily, said Dr Gupta. A majority of the donations are made when counsellors from the PGI contact the relatives of the deceased at different hospitals and motivated them for the noble cause, he said.

“In fact, the entire northern India needs a movement for spreading the awareness among the masses informing them that the noble gesture can illuminate the lives of two persons who require corneal transplant,” he said.

South India leads in eye donation as 32,514 people have donated their eyes till 2009. “This number is negligible as we have an estimated 4.6 million people with corneal blindness,” said Dr Gupta.

Noble cause

l People suffering from diabetes, hypertension or wearing spectacles can also go in for eye donation

l Relatives of the deceased can also decide on the eye donation

l Eye removal is performed within half an hour after the death and leaves no disfiguring as artificial cornea is put in the eyes

l Call up the eye bank immediately as the eyes need to be removed within a maximum of six hours of death

l Keep both the eyes of the deceased closed and the cover with moist cotton

l Switch off the ceiling fan, if any, directly over the body

l Eyes of a person who died due to unknown causes, including infections caused of rabies, syphilis, infectious hepatitis, septicaemia, and AIDS, cannot be used for transplant

l PGI Helpline: 98140-14464



Come July 21, Verka milk to cost more
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Prices of full cream, standard and toned milk are all set to go up by Re 1 per litre in Punjab, from next week. With hike in fuel leading to higher transportation costs and highest-ever milk procurement price offered to dairy farmers, the state dairy cooperative has been left with little choice than to pass the input cost to the consumer.

As a result, full cream milk (Verka Gold) will now be available for Rs 30 per litre, standard milk for Rs 27 a litre and toned milk for Rs 24 a litre. The increased rates are likely to come into effect from July 21. Officials in Milkfed stated that the aim was to increase the price of only those categories of milk where the federation was incurring huge losses on account of high procurement price. Milk procurement price is based on the fat content in milk. Thus, in case of double toned and skimmed milk (which have little and no fat content) the federation is not suffering losses.

“After last year’s drought we had raised the procurement price to Rs 340- Rs 380 per kg fat as compared to Rs 290- 310 per kg fat offered last year This was done to ensure that dairy farmers in the state continued to supply milk to Milkfed. Though the supply has improved over last year, we cannot reduce the procurement price offered to the dairy farmers as they might shift their loyalties to other private dairy players. Also, hike in fuel prices has increased our cost of transportation. For the past two months we have incurred losses, but now we have decided to increase the milk price by Re 1 a litre,” said VK Singh, managing director, Milkfed.

It may be noted that because of the high procurement price offered by Milkfed, cooperatives’ milk procurement is up by almost 20 per cent over last year. It is procuring 7.80 lakh litres of milk per day. Higher milk procurement has also ensured that the state dairy cooperative has enough reserves for manufacturing butter and ghee. Last year, poor procurement had hit butter and ghee production and the products had literally gone off the shelves during the festival season. Milkfed MD, however, said they were not going to hike prices of ghee and butter. “If the flush season continues till September, we might reduce the price of milk after Diwali,” he said. 


Class XI Admissions
60 pc unsatisfied with allotment of seats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Going by the number of applications submitted for the second round of counselling for government schools class XI admissions, around 60 per cent of students seemed to be unsatisfied with the seats allotted to them in the first counselling.

The counselling, which kick started today with the submission of forms at five specified schools, saw a maximum number of applicants depositing the form for “Request for change of school/stream/option”.

“We are yet to get the exact data but according to the initial feedback, most of the students are apparently not satisfied with either the stream or school. Many commerce applicants are going in for the counselling to try for the science stream. Those who have made it to the science stream are trying for some other school,” said district education officer Chanchal Singh.

The counselling stands most important for humanities and vocational stream where over 70 per cent of the total seats are still lying vacant. The counselling result is also important for the rural schools where over 2,000 seats are still vacant.

The counselling forms are available and can be submitted at GMSSS, Sector 10; GMSSS, Sector 32; GMSSS, MHC; GMSSS, Sector 23, and GSSS, Sector 37.



Hosts of PM’s ‘adviser’ in for trouble
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 15
The local hosts of Manmohan Singh, the fake political adviser to the Prime Minister, who befooled the Mohali police, could be in trouble.

Inderjit Singh Minhas, owner of the showroom where the impostor came, today complained to the police that on Sunday when Manmohan Singh visited the pace, the host and Minha’s tenant, RK Goyal, along with his son and the PA to the adviser, NK Sharma, threatened him of dire consequences. There is court case pending against the tenant in the court,” he added.

Minhas said the complaint was forwarded to the SP (Headquarters) who has marked it further to the DSP, City-I. Police officials said the complaint was being verified before taking any action.

The Mohali police was verifying the phone calls made to the police to make arrangements for the arrival of the fake adviser. The Mohali SSP had also written to the ADGP (security) regarding the fax message of the ‘VIP’ visit. 



Bicycle rally against drug abuse
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 15
The SAS Nagar Rotary Club organised a bicycle rally against drug abuse in the city here today.Mohali Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand flagged off the rally, in which over 300 students from nine different schools participated. Before flagging of the rally, the participants took a pledge against drug abuse and burnt an effigy symbolising drug addiction.

Rotary Club president Navneet Saxena focused on the use of drugs, which lead to poverty, crime and lack of development.

Dr PK Shridhar, Civil Surgeon, announced to set up two new drug rehabilitation centres at SAS Nagar and apprised the students of the ill effects of drugs. He handed out the prizes for best slogan and best presentations to Jitinder Singh of Jetindervir Singh Saravhitkari School (slogan), Paramveer of St Xavier School (slogan), Rahul of Gem Public School (presentation) and Sukhjeet of Paragon Public School (presentation).



350 saplings planted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
To promote green and clean environment, a tree plantation drive was carried out at the Sukhna Lake area near the Gurusagar Gurdwara here today. A total of 326 NCC cadets from various institutions of Chandigarh planted 350 saplings of various medicinal and fruit plants.

Colonel D Gupta, Group Commander, NCC Group HQ, Chandigarh, was the chief guest. Captain (Indian Navy) GM Singh, Commanding Officer and Commander Lekh Raj, Executive Officer, 1 Chandigarh Naval Unit NCC, Chandigarh, executed the event. In addition, associate NCC officers from various institutions and staff of 1 Chandigarh Naval Unit NCC, Chandigarh, were also present during the drive.

The NCC cadets of various institutions have come forward in large numbers to make this movement a great success. The NCC units under the NCC Group HQ, Chandigarh, have also kick started their respective campaigns at different locations of UT Chandigarh.



Less marks in basics of mgmt subject
Students of polytechnic colleges stage protest
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 15
Hundreds of students of Polytechnic Colleges of Punjab today staged a protest at the office of director technical education, Punjab, to air their grievances against less marks granted in the subject of basics of management.

The students in polytechnic colleges, who had otherwise performed well in other subjects, had scored less in the management subject.

The students said around 20,000 students had appeared in the subject. Many of the students after clearing their diploma have planned to seek admission in the engineering courses.

The Punjab State Technical Education Board secretary said orders for revaluation of the paper had been ordered.



Boy rescued from drowning
Simpal Sakalani

Police officials hand over Juveer to his mother at the Mauli Jagran police post in Chandigarh on Thursday
Police officials hand over Juveer to his mother at the Mauli Jagran police post in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahjan 

Chandigarh, July 15
Mohamad Juveer, a 10 year-old boy, was saved from drowning in a seasonal rivulet by joint efforts of a villager, police and fire brigade officials in Budhanpur village near Rajiv Colony, Panchkula, here, this afternoon.

According to eyewitnesses, the rescue operation lasted for over 45 minutes. The horrified child saved himself from getting carried away by clutching on to shrubs in the torrential currents of the seasonal rivulet. The rivulet was overflowing due to rains.

According to the eyewitnesses, the child was playing with his friends on the banks of the rivulets when he accidentally slipped into the gushing waters and began drowning. The children raised an alarm and informed the villagers about the mishap.

The villagers in turn informed the police and a team of policemen from the Mauli Jagran police post reached the spot. A home guard volunteer Surinder Singh tried to save the boy by pulling him out of the heavy flow of water, but in vain. A villager, identified as Kundan, tried to join in the rescue operation, but the police stopped him from going into the water without taking any precaution. He was later sent into the waters by tying a rope to his leg, but this also failed to prove any results.

In the end, the police informed the Fire and Emergency Department about the exigency. The Fire Department official reached there and lowered a ladder into the river to reach out to the drowning boy. Kundan and fire officials used the ladder and pulled out the boy.

Juveer’s parents were watching the entire rescue operation with baited breaths. The child, who was safe and sound, was handed over to the anxious parents.

Commending efforts of Kundan, the in charge of the Mauli Jagran police post gave him Rs 500 for his brave act. 



Cop gets 2-yr RI for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
CBI Special Judge Darshan Singh today sentenced head constable Baldev Singh to two-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) in a graft case. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2,500 on him. The CBI had arrested Baldev Singh while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,200 from a ‘dhaba’ owner in Sector 31 on October 30, 2007. According to the prosecution, Baldev Singh was on the beat box duty in the Sector 31 market on October 30, 2007. He was allegedly taking Rs 500 per month from Amit Aggarwal of Sector 39-B for allowing him to do his business from an unauthorised place. However, in October, he enhanced the “monthly charges” to Rs 2,000, which Aggarwal was unable to pay.



Rain spells chaos on roads
Tribune News Service

A motorcycle crosses a flooded road following rain in Zirakpur on Thursday.
A motorcycle crosses a flooded road following rain in Zirakpur on Thursday.A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, July 15
Half an hour or rain led to chaos on roads, as traffic jams were reported from various parts of the town today.

The traffic moved at snail’s pace on the Zirakpur-Patiala, Chandigarh-Ambala and Zirakpur-Kalka highways.

The road from Baltana to Choice Resort was also flooded with rainwater. Water accumulated on internal roads of various colonies in Baltana and Pabhat.

Due to waterlogging, two-wheeler riders had a tough time crossing the roads. “I was coming from Patiala side and it took me an hour to cover a distance of less than a kilometre,” said Satish Kumar, a resident of Panchkula.

Shopkeepers at the main market claimed that they had to suffer every time it rained. “We cannot venture out of our shops due to waterlogging. But nobody cares. If drains are cleaned properly, such a situation would not arise,” said Major Singh, a shopkeeper.

However, an MC official said the matter was in their knowledge. “We will ask the authorities concerned to solve the problem on priority basis,” he added.



Tribune Impact
YC community centre bookings cancelled

Chandigarh, July 15
The municipal corporation has cancelled the bookings made by the Youth Congress at two community centres in the city for conducting the latter’s ward body elections. The Congress party’s youth wing had booked the centers, one located in Sector 30 and the other in pocket no 7, Manimajra, ostensibly for organising social functions though the venues were to be used for holding the polls.

The civic body’s decision came in the wake of a report published today in The Tribune noting the Youth Congress’ action was against the prescribed norms of use of these centres. MC officials swung into action today morning, deploying staff at both centers to prevent the entry of Youth Congress workers. Varinder Salgotra, the MC’s in charge of community centres, said the security deposit fee for both bookings had also been forfeited. — TNS



Regularisation of Daily-Wage Earners
Centre to seek legal opinion
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to seek a legal opinion on the regularisation of the services of over 2,000 daily-wage workers of the Chandigarh administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC).

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting held at New Delhi today. “The UT administration has presented the case before the Central government and it was for the MHA to take a final call on the issue,” UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas, who attended the meeting, told The Tribune.

Sources said that all the aspects of the regularisation would be considered by the Central government before taking a final decision on the issue since it involved legal complications at later stages.

After the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled in favour of the daily-wage earners in 2006, the Chandigarh administration went in for a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court.

However, in 2006 also, the Supreme Court, in a judgement -Uma Devi vs State of Karnataka - laid broad guidelines for the regularisation of the services of daily-wage employees. The Centre is studying the apex court judgement since both the cases - Uma Devi vs State of Karnataka and the UT employees’ case -- were similarly situated and the government wanted to be on a sound legal footing before taking any decision, sources said.

The Supreme Court judgement laid three broad parameters for the regularisation of the services of daily-wage staff - 10 years’ service, sanctioning of post and fulfilling the eligibility conditions.

It may be recalled that most of the employees had already completed 10 years services. However, a considerable number of employees did not reportedly fulfil the eligibility conditions since they were recruited several years back.

The employees, who are currently being paid the basic salary plus the dearness allowance, were recruited years back with some of them being employed for over 20 years now.



Students body accuses UIET of denying admission
Officials refuse to accept fee of deserving candidate for ME course
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
The Students Organisation of India (SOI) today alleged that UIET officials denied admission to a deserving student by refusing to accept her fee for Masters in Electronics (ME) course.

Tarlochan Singh of SOI said, “The incident has angered the party volunteers and students since it was a lapse on the part of the authorities to have misplaced the candidate’s OBC certificate. It was the Dean Students Welfare (DSW), who resolved the matter, thus conferring her the seat.”

The UIET officials, however, were adamant on providing another student the seat, despite his low percentage, claimed the student. The DSW rushed to the site and resolved the issue after a heated discussion with the director and SOI members.

Earlier the DSW had accepted the issue and had conferred the final admission of Jaspreet Kaur, the student. SOI president Bhupinder Singh Randhawa said, “Such incidents do occur, but employees must admit their fault. We are also grateful to the DSW office for resolving such conflicts,” he added.



PEC Counselling
Students raise objections to defence quota
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
At the fifth day of the joint admissions counselling for engineering and architectural colleges being held at PEC University of Technology campus today, more than a dozen students today raised an objection to admission in defence quota on the basis of non-gallantry award.

Students give a representation to the joint admission committee, which later held a meeting to 
discuss the issue.

“Our seats are reserved for wards of gallantry award winners only. As per our brochure, in PEC as well as CCET, we take only gallantry award winners’ wards in consideration and the same is mentioned under category 23 on our website. The committee decided that as per the rules of the joint counselling, the non-gallantry awards are not considered. The students were explained the reason for denial as well,” said Parminder, coordinator of the counselling.

Meanwhile, the allocation of seats at Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) was done at the PEC campus during the fifth day of the counselling.

In addition to this, the counselling for the defence, NRI and sports category in all participating colleges also took place today.



Declaration of result
Ayurvedic college students given assurance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
NSUI volunteers of Shri Dhanwantry Ayurvedic College, Sector 46, today issued a press note stating that following their protest outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office on Wednesday, the Dean Student Welfare (DSW) assured them of timely declaration of the result.

The students were alleging that the result of batch 2008 (first semester) was pending since five months and the PU examination branch should be directed to release the result. “To this, the DSW assured them that the result would be announced shortly,” said Paras, a volunteer 
of NSUI.



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