C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Newborn’s Death at GMSH-16
The Day After — It’s business as usual
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Authorities at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, seemed unmoved by the yesterday’s tragic incident where a woman was forced to deliver her child in the OPD area.

It was business as usual at the gynaecology department today, with no stretchers at the main gate near the labour room.

The long waiting hours at the OPD, the insensitivity of staff at the labour room as well as the OPD, and the harassment of visitors on counters for getting loose change for Rs 2 against registration charges continued unabated.

In the name of action, the authorities had put two stretchers in front of the OPD, even as no stretcher or wheelchair was kept in front of the gate meant for dropping of patients by ambulances.

It was not the first time when a woman had delivered a child in the open at the GMSH, claimed a taxi driver, who ferries patients on a regular basis in his vehicle.

There had been several occasions when women had been forced to deliver their babies at the gate of the gynaecology ward, he said.

“Most a time when women in labour are brought to the hospital, their attendants struggle to find a stretcher and by the time they do fine one inside the hospital, it is too late as the patient has already delivered the child there itself,” he said.

Inquires revealed that the paperwork for women reaching the labour room after OPD hours was completed on the spot. However, those who came in directly during OPD hours were asked to complete their paperwork at the OPD before being admitted to the labour room.

Bulbul had to suffer just because she had reached the hospital around 9 am and had to complete the paperwork on her own. She had to move back and forth even as she was having labour pains.

Attendants of women admitted to the labour room had their own tales of woe. They were often not informed about the condition of their patient, alleged relatives of one such patient. “My sister was admitted on Saturday and we do not yet know the problem she is facing”, rued Naresh, a resident of Dera Bassi.

“‘We are doing our best’ is all the doctors say whenever we try to know the condition of my sister,” he lamented.

The problem of Karan, a resident of Naya Gaon, was no different. “My wife Rambha has been hospitalised since Saturday and no one is willing to tell us when she will be discharged,” he said. “Though doctors have told us to get prepared for surgery, they are not willing to divulge anything else, which has caused panic and confusion within the family,” added Karan.


Contradictory Voices Semblance of urgency

The UT administration today instructed the authorities both at the GMSH as well as the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, to treat patients arriving at the hospital in critical state on priority, without waiting to be first registered. UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas, who is also the UT Health Secretary, said he had instructed the authorities at both major hospitals being run by the UT administration to start the treatment without delay in critical cases. The paperwork for such patients could be done either later or simultaneously.


Playing it safe

No fresh instructions have been issued by the GMSH authorities to its staff as yet. An inquiry has been instituted to know the facts behind the incident and to ensure that such incidents can be prevented in the future, said GMSH medical superintendent Rajiv Vadhera. Steps will be taken after the inquiry report is received, he added.


Post-mortem & investigation

While the GMSH handed over the inquiry into the incident to Dr Raman Nijhawan, SMO, radiology today, the post-mortem examination of the baby of Bulbul was conducted and the viscera sent for examination. In the morning, the police, after recording the statement of baby’s father Chhotu, started its investigation. The statement of a woman accompanying the couple, identified as Sonia, was also recorded. The police also got the footage captured by closed-circuit TV installed at the OPD to see if there was negligence on part of the hospital staff.



CITCO clueless about missing vouchers
Smriti Sharma Vasudev
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
In a shocking revelation, the Chandigarh Industrial & Tourism Development Corp (CITCO), which boasts of revenues soaring every year, “lost” several cash vouchers believed to be worth crores of rupees two years ago. These vouchers, pertaining to the four-year period from 2005 to 2008, were related to purchases, transport and raw materials among other items.

And, what is even more appalling is that even two years after the incident no departmental inquiry has been ordered, let alone responsibility being fixed for the huge loss incurred. CITCO officials continue to sleep over the matter after having written to the police on April 30, 2008 followed by a reminder issued on May 17 the same year.

Sources confirmed neither the police nor CITCO officials had thereafter tried to get to the bottom of the case, which lies buried in the form of a DDR (daily diary report) in old police files.

In fact, the case of the missing vouchers has even baffled the corporation’s employees who wonder how the vouchers were never sought to be produced during the annual audit.

CITCO general manager (finance) Abhimanyu Thapar maintained the police was still investigating the matter and a departmental inquiry had also been ordered at that time, adding the probe had “not revealed much about the missing vouchers”. However, he claimed corporation officials had access to the vouchers’ details in the computer database from which they could be reproduced.

However, this does not answer the basic question about the specifics and worth of each of the vouchers. Indeed till date CITCO officials remain clueless about their details.

Thapar said CITCO was now taking the “utmost care” in dealing with such cash vouchers and had even developed a system wherein no vouchers were kept outside beyond a month’s time to avoid such lapses in the future.



Nirvikar Case
CBI may quiz admn ex-officials 
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Former officials of the Chandigarh administration who worked with the administration during the four-year tenure of Major Nirvikar Singh as the ADC to General SF Rodrigues (retd), former Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator, are also set to come under the CBI scanner.

Some of these officials are already under the investigating agency scanner for their role in several mega projects, currently under investigation. With Maj Nirvikar’s role in the controversial mega projects coming under the CBI scanner, his contemporaries in the administration, besides his other high-profile acquaintances, may be quizzed by the investigating agency to “fill-in” in the gaps in the investigation into the disproportionate assets case against the Army officer, source said here today.

Since Maj Nirvikar’s tenure (2005-2009) coincided with the clearance of the mega projects, including the Film City, the Amusement Park and the mini township Prideasia in the IT Park, the role of other officials would also be probed. The CBI is already probing into the officials’ role in the mega projects for irregularities in the land allotment.

As most of the assets in the real estate in Delhi and Gurgaon had been allegedly bought by the accused between 2007 and 2009, when Nirvikar virtually operated a parallel power centre in Chandigarh, the probe into the mega projects would give an insight into the sources of the investment, the sources claimed.

The CBI had recently booked the high-profile Army officer and his mother Kiran Singh and brother Jagrut Singh on the charges of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known source of income. The accumulated assets were estimated to be worth Rs 9.32 crore, against their earnings of Rs 2.93 crore. Nirvikar’s gross earnings between 1995 and 2010 stood at Rs 40.85 lakh. For his mother, the period taken into account was from 1994 to 2010, while for his brother, it was between 2000 and 2010.

The investigating agency is also seeking sanction for Nirvikar’s prosecution from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Since the former ADC, who is currently on a deputation with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in New Delhi, is a serving Army officer, CBI request may also be routed through Nirvikar’s unit.



Looking for antiques? Go no further!
City’s storm water sewerage system outdated
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The six-decade-old storm water sewerage system in the union territory is an antique and totally incapable to handle storm water, as evident from the flooded roads during the ongoing monsoon.

The existing storm system drain comprises a half-inch water pipe, which is capable of catering to a population of only one lakh (in 1961), which has become redundant for a city where the population has crossed 10 lakh.

Every year, waterlogging problems cause long traffic jams and damage roads, causing those to be recarpeted at a considerable cost.

The worst-hit areas due to waterlogging are the low-lying Sectors 20, 21, 22, 24 and 29, where rainwater has been entering houses due to blockage in drainage pipes.

In 2008, the municipal corporation installed a pump to drain out the accumulated rainwater from the residences of high court judges at Sector 24.

In addition, instructions were issued to the fire department to keep round-the-clock watch to drain out the water whenever there was heavy rain.

Some of the major roads that were damaged due to waterlogging or blockage of sewerage during the monsoon were V3 roads at Sectors 28 and 29 and the Industrial Area, the V5 roads at Sector 19 and Kajheri at Sector 52, the roundabouts of Sector 56, the PGI, the Panjab University campus, Sector 49, the railway station, the IT Park area and Funcity, Panchkula.

Traffic snarls had been common through much of the city, especially around major roundabouts and traffic intersections. The worst hit were commuters driving on the Madhya Marg, with traffic getting held up on all roundabouts.

Even the fire department building of the municipal corporation at Sector 11 was surrounded by knee-deep water, forcing fire station officials to use pumps to drain out water last monsoon.

This year, the roads which had only recently been recarpeted at Industrial Area’s Phase II were flooded due to blockage in road gullies.

The condition of parking lots at most sectors, including 15, 17, 20, 36 and 41, where road gullies were blocked due to water, was pathetic and visitors had to face a tough time parking their vehicles.

MC Concedes

Conceding that the city has an outdated storm water sewerage system, MC Chief Engineer SS Bidda said a survey about fresh construction of storm water sewers would be completed by the department in the next three months. A plan about its reconstruction would be chalked out, he stated, adding that finances for this project would be sought from the Centre under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Won’t Gauge

Four digital rain gauge systems have been established at Sectors 17, 26, 32 and 39 at a cost of Rs 2 lakh to record precise data about the amount of rainfall and to monitor the effectiveness of the city’s storm water sewerage system. Ironically, nobody has bothered to analyse the how outdated the storm water sewerage system is.

Double Lifespan

Municipal corporation records reveal that a storm water sewerage system was installed from Sectors 1 to 30 way back in 1952. However, as per the office manual, any sewer pipeline has a lifespan of about 30 years, after which it needs to be replaced as it loses its strength.


Drizzle makes day pleasant
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The day-long drizzle in the city and its adjoining areas today made the weather pleasant as the mercury nosedived to a maximum of 29.5 degree Celsius. The day’s minimum temperature was 26.2 degree Celsius, as per the India Meteorological Department.

The weather sprung a surprise this morning as residents witnessed an overcast sky at dawn and soon, clouds converted into a drizzle. The intermittent drizzle, that remained a feature throughout the day, gave the residents ample feeling of a February-end weather in July.

Most importantly, normal life was not disrupted, but rather, residents relished the mood swing of the weather as the temperature hovered around 29 degree Celsius during the entire day.

The humidity was recorded at a maximum of 95 per cent and a minimum of 78 per cent. While office-goers relied on tea and ‘pakoras’ to keep themselves warm, schoolchildren had a tough time.

“I wish we had holidays. We cannot play as the grounds are wet and it is quite sluggish in the classroom. Today I got a little wet waiting for my school bus and enjoyed the drizzle,” said 12-year-old Bhavna.

“The temperature has already dropped so much. I did not feel like going to office due to the rain,” said Ajay Verma, a Sector-32 resident.

A Met official said the day-long drizzle and the dip in temperature was because of rain in almost all parts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

The weatherman forecast a generally cloudy sky in the region during the next 24 hours, with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The maximum temperature was expected to hover around 30 degree Celsius and the minimum around 24 degree Celsius.



Old Makes Way For New
Gurpreet Gapi is Youth Cong chief
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Gurpreet Singh Gapi
Gurpreet Singh Gapi

Chandigarh, July 22
The young brigade has taken over the reins of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC), with the election of Gurpreet Singh Gapi as its president today.

Though Gapi is considered to be a close confidant of outgoing CTYC chief HS Lucky, his election marks the end of the road for the old guard as the latter remained at the helm of affairs for over a decade.

In fact, most of the seven elected leaders, who would occupy top positions, including vice-presidents and general secretaries, were new faces.While a majority of the elected representatives were from the Lucky faction, an attempt by the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) to make an entry into the Youth Congress was successful.

SOPU candidate Govind Kwatra, who vied for the post of president, got 56 votes, as against 79 by Gapi, and was likely to become vice-president.

The elections were held in the presence of Rajiv Satav, president of the All-India Youth Congress, and Anirudh Singh, pradesh returning officer.

Among the elected representatives were Jitender Yadav, Dharminder Singh, Narinder Dhillon, Puja Syal and Harmel Kesri. The election of the two delegates, Dharamveer and Yadvinder Mehta, was withheld on technical grounds.

Party sources said the high command was likely to declare them successful.

Dharamveer was a Scheduled Caste candidate since there was no other representation from this community except Puja Syal, the lone woman elected.

As Jitender Yadav was likely to be declared elected from the other backward class category, Mehta was likely to be named from the general category after a nod from the party high command.

Party sources said the election of new blood in the party was in line with the vision of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi. With elections to the municipal corporation due next year, when the party could face anti-incumbency, the role of the Youth Congress would be pivotal.



Anti-encroachment drive at Budhanpur
MC faces stiff resistance
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 22
Panchkula Municipal Corporation officials had to return without any success when their anti-encroachment drive at Budhanpur village had to face stiff resistance from the residents here today.

The corporation had recently served notices upon many of the villagers asking them to vacate the land, terming it encroachment. On the other hand residents claimed that the said land dispute was settled in their favour in 1986 by the then collector of Kalka.

Corporation employees, led by executive officer of Panchkula MC KK Jain, along with police force and JCB machines, reached the village in the morning. The residents started making announcements on loudspeakers to gather following which hundreds of villagers blocked the entrance to the village.

Meanwhile, the lawyers of the residents reached the spot and showed the documents to the MC officials stating that many of the villagers had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Panchkula district court in this regard. The court had stayed the proceedings of dispossession, they claimed.

Later, the residents met Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Garg requesting her to intervene in the matter.



Fungus-infested food alleged
Woman falls sick after eating footlong at a Sec-17 restaurant

Chandigarh, July 22
A Sector-16 resident reportedly fell sick after eating a footlong at a Sector 17-based restaurant here on Sunday evening.

The victim, Anita of Sector 16, lodged a complaint with the police that she began vomitting after eating the footlong, which was infested with fungus.

She mentioned in her complaint two eyewitnesses to the incident, Gurpreet Singh of Sector 23 and Jaspreet Kaur, who were also taking footlong at a table next to her.

Anita also reported the incident to consumer association officials, who took samples. A daily diary report was recorded at the Neelam police post in Sector 17. — TNS



‘Holistic lifestyle can help reverse heart disease’
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
"Fill your mind with positive thoughts, emotions, attitudes and happy memories; adopt a low fat and fibre rich diet; go for a brisk morning walk at sunrise and an evening stroll just before sunset." This was the advice of Dr Satish Gupta, a senior consultant in cardiology at the JWM Global Hospital & Research Centre, run by the Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya at Mount Abu, Rajasthan.

Gupta told The Tribune breakthrough innovations in medical technologies have revolutionised advanced cardiac care. “However, expensive, high-end technology is not exactly what an impoverished nation like India, in which over 15 per cent of the adult population suffers from coronary artery diseases (CAD), requires”, he averred.

"CAD has been growing in epidemic proportions and, instead of opting for interventions like bypass angioplasty that a lot of patents cannot afford, people should be encouraged to adopt a holistic and healthy lifestyle that can actually help in the reversal of heart diseases," he says.

Gupta has been engaged in a CAD regression project since 1995. "During the past 12 years we have systematically followed up some 1,200 patients who were inducted into the project and encouraged to follow the ‘holistic and healthy lifestyle’ programme we have formulated. Repeat angiographies done on these patients have shown a highly significant regression of coronary blockages, with even some of the calcified blockages having opened up," he says.

The project, which was undertaken when former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam was director general of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), had won his appreciation.

Gupta informed cholesterol in the bloodstream starts leaking into the arteries when the innermost layer of the arterial walls - the endothelium - is injured. “Until recently it was believed endothelial injuries were related to external causes such as smoking or diet. However, most of the injuries are related to mental stress”, he says.

Endothelium produces nitric oxide that does not allow cholesterol to stick to the walls of the artery. However, stress inactivates the enzyme that produces nitric oxide, with the result that white blood cells and cholesterol floating in the bloodstream begin sticking inside the arteries, creating blockages, Gupta explained.

He said in today's competitive environment and increased work pressures most people tend to exhibit ‘type A’ behaviour - they go through bouts of anxiety, anger, depression, emotional outbursts and feeling of isolation. These psychological stressors affect one's diet and sleep patterns and do a lot of damage to the heart, he added.

"We empower our patients to heal themselves - not just the body but the mind and soul too. Peace and health comes when physical, mental and spiritual energies find harmony within our body," Gupta avers.

“Mind is the medium through which energy travels to one's body. The early morning hours are the time when spiritual energy is at its peak. We advise our patients to keep their mind occupied with happy thoughts or just in peaceful silence till 8 am”, he says.

"Today people wake up with their phones to their ears or just switch on the TV, which does more harm for your system that you realize”, he laments. “Too much stress is what prevents the liver from secreting good cholesterol. A very user-friendly programme, it doesn’t even cost a penny to set one's heart on the way to health”, he adds.

A fibre rich diet includes beans, sprouts, psyllium husk (‘sat isabagol’) and salads.



‘Print survived electronic media blitz’ 
Tribune News Service

Manpreet S Badal releases a book by Prof Reena Gulati.
Manpreet S Badal releases a book by Prof Reena Gulati. Tribune photo

Chandigarh, July 22
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said today that the country was witnessing an era of specialisation in journalism, especially after the advent of electronic media.

Speaking after releasing a book titled “Patkarita, Media Avam Jansanchar” written by Prof Reena Gulati, the Finance minister said with the explosion of knowledge on Internet, the reader was looking for comprehensive knowledge on various subjects and the media was fulfilling that demand by bringing out specialised publications.

He said the last decade had witnessed specialised periodicals on automobiles, mobile phones, computer software, hardware, fashion, sports and games like golf, tennis and chess meeting the demand of different niche markets. He said print media had learnt to survive after the onslaught of electronic media and hoped that people would continue their love for printed word. Appreciating the endeavor of the author to attempt first book in Hindi Journalism covering almost all fields of Mass Communication, Badal said that last five years had seen tremendous growth and proliferation of vernacular newspapers in Punjab and he expected a great future for vernacular press in the country.



Book on city slums out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil, after releasing a book on Chandigarh Slums, authored by Dr Bindu Duggal, at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here today, said need of the hour was to adopt a holistic approach to check slums in cities and provide human rights to slum dwellers.

While the government should take steps to solve the slum problem, individuals, NGOs, industrialists and others can also join hands in this endeavour.

Those who are affluent can have servant quarters in compounds of their houses and industrialists should provide housing facilities to their employees.

The governments should build houses for their employees. It should have projects and plans to provide houses to slum dwellers and others having no shelter. Those who live in slums should have access to medical, educational and transport facilities.

Rights and duties are the two sides of the same coin and those who ask for rights for themselves should perform duties towards others. That is applicable to all citizens. Rights cannot be meaningfully provided unless duties are done by the governments, NGOs and individuals towards others.

RP Bambah, senior vice-chairman, Governing Body, proposed the vote of thanks. He hoped that Patil’s visit to the centre would pave the way for long friendship and cooperation with the Chandigarh administration.



CAT notice to DPI(S) on guest teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today issued a notice to the UT director of public instruction (schools) on an application filed by 50 teachers, who were working in government schools as guest staff.

According to the application, the teachers had appealed against the UT administration’s move to not allow them to rejoin duty from July 2010. The teachers also challenged the administration’s move seeking fresh applications for guest faculty.

The teachers submitted they should be allowed to continue till the vacant posts are filled on a regular basis as they were selected against the sanctioned posts. They added it was a “settled law” that “ad hoc”, temporary and contractual employees could not be replaced by another set of “adhoc’, temporary and contractual staff.

The teachers stated an advertisement had appeared on July 1, 2008 in various newspapers seeking applications for various posts as guest faculty members.

The teachers were appointed by September 2008 but were relieved when schools closed on May 31, 2009 for the summer vacation. They were then issued letters to rejoin duty against their respective posts on July 8, 2009, but did not get their salary for the vacation period. They were then relieved on May 31, 2010. However, they were not allowed to join back. CAT has asked the DPI to reply on August 2.



107 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Around 107 persons donated blood at a camp organised by the department of experimental medicine and biotechnology in collaboration with “Blood Bank” at Zakir Hall, PGI, on Thursday.

Prof D Kaul, head, department of experimental medicine and biotechnology, inaugurated the camp. Dr Kaul said blood donation was the biggest charity



Syndicate okays more BCom seats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Acting on the colleges’ demand to increase seats in various courses like BBA, BCA and BCom, the Panjab University Syndicate has given its nod, while the exact increase will be decided by the Vice-Chancellor.

A Syndic said BCom craze among students had forced colleges to put forth the demand. The house gave its nod, but the Vice-Chancellor would be the right person to analyse the need and feasibility. The house had no objection to the increase, but it would go by the VC’s decision.

The house has further authorised the VC to renew the contract pertaining to implementation of the Group Insurance Scheme.

According to public relations officer Sudhir Kumar, the renewal will be accompanied by a slash in the insurance rates.

“Currently every student is paying Rs 50 per head for insurance, but it will be reduced further for the benefit of students,” he claimed.

In another decision, a fine of Rs 1 lakh was imposed on Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, for not seeking extension of affiliation for its one-year BPEd course from 2007 to 2010.

PU employees benefited

n 25 per cent fee concession to wards of retired PU employees pursuing various self-financing courses in Panjab University from this session. According to the Vice-Chancellor, PU employees will undergo treatment at the PGI rates at all leading private hospitals in Chandigarh.

n The Syndicate approved expedition of the CAS (Career Advancement Scheme) for library staff and promotion opportunities for programmers. The new CAS will be implemented in accordance with the latest UGC guidelines.

n Enhancement in pay-scale of part time lecturers of University Law School from Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,600.

Other important decisions

n Professor RP Bhamba, former Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, will re-examine the report of Prof SK Sharma on the issue of malicious change of centre for a student leader of PUSU.

n The Syndicate has extended the date of submission of forms for PhD entrance test up to July 30, 2010, which was earlier July 23, 2010.

n Appointments of contractual teachers at PU affiliated colleges will be made in strict accordance with the PU rules and with the due approval of the university authorities.

n The Syndicate passed the recommendation of the Board of Control, department of physical education, to grant one extra seat in the BPEd course to Dinesh Mongia, Indian cricketer.



CBSE’s monitoring, mentoring project only on paper
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
While the CBSE’s latest “monitoring and mentoring” programme may have become a “hit” with Delhi schools, the project is yet to take off in city schools.

The ambitious project, which was launched around two months back, aimed at bringing renowned and below-average schools at par through judicious implementation of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE).

According to a communication received by the DPI (S), leading schools were to be identified and made mentor of not so good schools in their neighbourhood. The respective principals were to be assigned three to six schools, with which they were supposed to share infrastructure and practices and frequently invite them to their own schools.

“The project is meant to end the subjectivity in the implementation of grading system and reap the full benefit of CCE. “We know that many schools don’t have enough infrastructure to comply with certain directives so we want other schools to help them. These schools will monitor the progress of respective schools. The necessary guidelines have already been sent to all local education authorities,” said a CBSE official from Delhi.

City schools, meanwhile, denied having received any information on the project.

“We are yet to be informed on any such thing. The UT had around a year back started its own programme, where we had adopted some schools but it didn’t go far. We are yet to get any information on this project,” said HS Mamik, president, Independent School Association.

The DPI (S), meanwhile, could not be contacted for his comments.



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