C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Newborn’s Death
UT rejects GMSH’s ‘sketchy’ probe
Orders fresh inquiry, seeks report within week

Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

The Report

1. Bulbul and her husband went to the labour room as soon as they stepped into the hospital on July 21. The security staff sent the husband to get the registration card made and the patient was asked to sit there but she preferred to go with her husband.

2. An attendant at the OPD, identified as Dharma, was at fault as she advised blood tests on the card instead of a doctor.

3. The patient was not examined by doctors at the gynaecology OPD.

4. Doctor in the paediatrics unit declared the baby dead without doing the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The baby’s heart does not fail for 5-10 minutes.

The Lacunae

1. Why were the couple made to deal with security personnel instead of doctors or paramedical staff? There is no place to sit inside or outside of the labour room.

2. Who authorised an OPD attendant to execute the duties of a doctor?

3. Why was the patient not examined in spite of her presence in the OPD for full 24 minutes amidst labour pain?

4. No action suggested against doctors.

Chandigarh, July 27
Rejecting the inquiry report submitted by the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, into the death of a newborn after delivery in the hospital’s OPD, the UT administration has asked Additional Deputy Commissioner PS Shergill and Director-Principal of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Dr Raj Bahadur to conduct a fresh probe and submit the report within a week.

Finding the report “sketchy and having gaping holes”, UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas termed the incident an “outcome of technical failure and system failure”.

The report, prepared by inquiry officer Dr Raman Nijhawan today, was reworked and submitted again following castigation of the GMSH authorities by Ram Niwas over its original version, submitted last evening, for not highlighting the failures on part of the hospital authorities. The original version had merely given some suggestions to improve things at the institute.

The reworked report was submitted today, mentioning the technical and system failures. However, the report failed to bring out the reasons behind the disappearance of the registration card of the victim, he said in his order.

The reasons behind the failure of the security staff to allow the patient in critical condition to go to the labour room and the systematic failure needed to be answered, he said.

The inquiry report, apparently a cover-up to save erring staff, stated that the total time from arrival of the patient at the hospital to the subsequent delivery was just 24 minutes.

And, the patient was not aware of the impending delivery and could not express the same to her husband, it added.

“That is why, he took her along to different counters,” said the report.

Also, the unsupervised pregnancy of Bulbul, who had not undergone immunisation, and her poor health were cited as the possible reasons for the death of the newborn.



Missing Card
Cops zero in on OPD attendant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
While the administration has castigated the GMSH officials for the disappearance of registration card of Bulbul, the Chandigarh police expects to recover the card by tomorrow. The registration card of Bulbul has been missing ever since the death of her newborn after delivery at the OPD.

The inquiry conducted by the GMSH has stated that the card is not traceable, hence the names of official or doctor who examined her and advised blood tests cannot be ascertained.

According to the report, pharmacists and lab technicians had stated that OPD attendant Dharma had taken the card.

However, Dharma denied ever taking possession of the card to the police.

The police has, however, found Dharma holding the card in the CCTV footage and will show it to her to know the truth, sources said.

Also, the report of histopathology examination is yet to be received and if it confirms the death of the newborn after birth, a case under Section 304 A (causing death due to negligence) will be registered against the authorities concerned, the sources added.



Gang of young carjackers busted
Tribune News Service

Planned contract killings

Police investigations have revealed that after getting “tired” of stealing cars the gang members were in the process of forming a “task force” for assignments such as contract killings. After reorganising themselves in the juvenile jail they reportedly established contact with hardcore criminals who they could hire for heinous crimes to make a fast buck. “Out procurement of arms and ammunition is an indication that they were planning major criminal activities. More arms are likely to be recovered from them”, said Mohali police chief GPS Bhullar.

Dancing girls

While Sandeep was in prison his sister Sunita and the other girl, Tamanna, used to work for a dancing group that performed at private functions. This enabled them to disguise their identity while their male accomplices were held in detention.

Mohali, July 27
In a reflection of the disturbing trend of youngsters taking to crime, the local police said it had busted a gang of youthful offenders who had graduated from committing petty thefts to heinous crimes using their purported juvenile status to escape harsh punishment.

Several cases of vehicle theft and snatching in Kurali, Ludhiana, Patiala, Panchkula and Chandigarh have been traced to the gang, which reportedly has two minor girls as active members.

So desperate was Sandeep Kumar alias Sunny, the gang’s kingpin, to return to the “business” of lifting cars, only seven days after escaping from a juvenile observation home in Ludhiana on July 10, that he along with his sister, Sunita alias Rita, and two other accomplices - Asma alias Tamana and Daleep Kumar - robbed a Chevrolet Spark car at gunpoint in Mohali.

Before being caught by the police’s CIA wing with two “country made” .32 bore pistols and six live cartridges in connection with the case, the suspects had struck a deal to sell off the car in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh for Rs 40,000 to buy more arms and ammunition.

“The person who struck the deal to buy the stolen car was supposed to supply them with arms and ammunition”, said Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar.

The police is keen on subjecting the suspects to a medical examination to determine their actual age. “We’ve contested Sandeep’s age, who claimed he got married in 2007. A court has granted four-days’ police remand for the suspects. We’ll get them medically examined to ensure they don’t succeed in circumventing the law and continue to engage in their criminal activities. The provisions of the Juvenile Act will also be examined”, said Bhullar.

The police had earlier arrested Sandeep along with his mother and sister in 2009 in connection with the murder of the head of a religious sect in Mauli village near here. The suspects had reportedly drugged the victim before dumping him in a canal near Rajpura. While Sandeep was held in detention at the Ludhiana juvenile home his sister was released on bail. However, his mother is still in jail.

Sandeep was scheduled to be produced in a Mohali court on July 10 in connection with the murder trial but fled earlier that morning, only to end up seizing a car at gunpoint.

SP (detective) Varinder Pal said even before robbing the vehicle in Mohali Sandeep’s fancy to drive a luxury car drove him to steal at least three vehicles in Chandigarh after he escaped from the juvenile home. He reportedly lifted a lawyer’s Maruti Esteem car near Aroma Hotel only to dump it later. He then stole a Mitsubishi Lancer car from Sector 41, which he later abandoned near Jagadhri after it met with an accident. Investigations by the police reveal Sandeep had fled from the juvenile home along with another criminal, Irbenpreet Singh, who was arrested by the Rajpura police on July 13. Irbanpreet was undergoing a jail term in 17 criminal cases including murder and robbery.



UT may apply brakes on number of vehicles
To inform high court how public transport can be made more affordable, convenient
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
With the highest number of car ownership, the UT will not hesitate in applying brakes to the trend, if some legislation is in place. The Chandigarh administration today told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it would inform the Bench if some transport policy was in place for restricting the number of vehicles vis-à-vis civic facilities, capacity of roads and the available parking space.

As of now, the ownership of car per 1,000 persons in Chandigarh is 82, followed by Delhi with 54, Panaji with 48 and Chennai with 43. The administration will also examine the number vehicles rolling out on city roads each month and how the public transport can be made more affordable and convenient.

UT senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal today said that he would provide the information to the high court after examining the issues. The assertion came on a contempt petition filed by a city-based lawyer-cum-human rights activist, Ranjan Lakhanpal. The petition was filed just over two months after the high court had asked the UT administration to expedite the process of setting up a multi-level parking on the high court premises for lawyers, litigants and other visitors.

Justice Hemant Gupta has already issued notice to the UT Home Secretary and the Senior Superintendent of Police on Lakhanpal’s petition.

As the matter came up for hearing today, Kaushal asserted a large number of vehicles rolled out on city roads resulting in corresponding pressure on the high court premises. After hearing the arguments, Justice Hemant Gupta directed that the Union of India through Secretary, Surface Transport, UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar and Bar Association president GS Attariwala be made parties to the petition.

Justice Gupta also took note of the affidavit filed by the UT administration saying that the contract for the second phase of the multi-level parking was handed over to Hans Raj Kohli and Company on June 15 with a time limit up to December 15, but was extended to March 31, 2011. Justice Gupta also recorded Attariwala’s assertion that so far the construction activity had not begun. The case will now come up for hearing on August 17.

Alleging non-compliance of the high court directive, Lakhanpal had earlier asserted that so far the authorities concerned had failed to solve the parking problem in the area. Lakhanpal said it had become impossible for the car to be taken out, even in case of medical emergency.

He had also asked the Bench to ensure the deployment of adequate traffic police personnel in the parking lot. As the Bench asked the UT senior standing counsel for his comments, he told the court that cops were already posted at the entry and exit points.



Showdown at Tagore Theatre
Elitist admn holds amateur artistes at bay
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

‘Restricting entry inevitable’

Ram Niwas said restricting entry by invitation had become inevitable in the backdrop of limited capacity of the theatre. While the city has several good recently-renovated venues, a proposal by theatre artistes for a rollback in rentals is under the consideration of the administration, he added.

Chandigarh, July 27
Renovated with public money worth Rs 10 crore, the Tagore Theatre seems to have turned elitist. For both watching a performance and organising a show at the theatre, genuine art lovers continue to be at the receiving end with bureaucrats and so-called VIPs holding centrestage.

Art lovers’ protest against UT babus yesterday ahead of Shabana Azmi’s play “Broken Images” reflected the deeper malaise afflicting the prestigious theatre, which was once considered the mecca for the amateur artiste groups.

In fact, discrimination against bonafide local and national artist groups starts right from booking the venue for performance.

In a way, the amateur theatre group cannot afford high rentals — Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 per performance plus taxes.

This, despite the fact that a category with Rs 3,000 per performance for amateurs exists “officially”. However, this is reserved for functions sponsored by the UT administration.

This coupled with no clear-cut policy on invitation for major performances leaves a lot of discretion with UT officials.

While the administration splurges lakhs of rupees on official cultural events to “promote” entertainment in the city, local artistes allege a raw deal. Theatre artistes claim sidelining amateur theatre to some specific locations will be against the objectives of the Tagore Theatre.

The UT administration does not encourage amateur artistes, as they pay less. Instead, they prefer professional artistes so that the renovation cost could be recovered and only elite theatre is patronised, according to Vijay Machal of Mask Theatre Group. Last year, in the backdrop of the outcry by artistes, a meeting held by Pradip Mehra, Adviser to the Administrator, had rolled back rentals, fixing it at Rs 3,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 15,000 and Rs 50,000 per performance for various categories.

However, the administration took a U-turn and revised the rentals, which are virtually out of reach of general public.


Missing Case
Residents decry police action
Block main road in front of DC’s Complex
Tribune News Service

Sarpanch booked

The police has booked Ranjit Singh, sarpanch of Kumbhra village, for allegedly assaulting a traffic constable, Mohan Lal. While the Kumbhra residents had laid siege to the road in front of the DC office, the constable tried to remove a Scorpio jeep that was blocking the entry to a hospital. This infuriated the protestors who assaulted the cop. On the basis of video footage, the sarpanch has been booked.

Mohali, July 27
Residents of Kumbhra village today blocked the main road in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Complex in Phase 1 here to protest against the police inaction in the missing case of Gurdeep Singh. Family of the youth has been alleging that his in-laws had kidnapped him.

Led by mother Bhupinder Kaur, the villagers raised slogans against the police for over three hours. Khara MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu and Kharar leader Rajbir Singh Padiala also addressed the gathering.

The villagers relented only after the SSP listened to their grievance and assured quick action. In a compliant made to the SSP, Bhupinder Kaur has alleged that Gurdeep’s in-laws had got fake cases registered against the family and later the money was allegedly extorted in the name of compromise. Her son was allegedly forced to live with his in-laws. She could not even talk to him on phone as it was always switched off.

Earlier, Bhupinder Kaur had complained to the police that her son had gone missing. She said that she made inquiries at her own level about her son. She was told that he was seen in Bhari village by some persons on July 4 and had left for Singhpura village after his father-in-law called him. She did not know about his whereabouts after that and suspected that his in-laws must have kidnapped him. His wife had been sent abroad.



New District Courts Complex
Centre says no to Rs 4-cr grant
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
In a development that may derail the state-of-the-art new district courts complex in Sector 43 here, the Central government has declined the UT administration's demand for an enhanced grant of around ` 4 crore for its completion.

In a communication to the Adviser to the UT Administrator, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has advised the administration to meet the additional cost of works within their plan funds allocation under its delegated power. The UT Administrator has a delegated power of ` 10 crore for the sanction of works, which can be utilised in this case, the communication said.

"The Ministry of Urban Development, to which the proposal was forwarded for vetting of the revised cost estimates of ` 27.52 crore, has not agreed to the same stating that an amount of ` 23.62 crore, as vetted by it earlier, be restricted," a communiqué from the Centre said.

The Centre made it clear that since the additional cost was less than ` 10 crore, the administration might sanction the amount under the delegated powers and meet the expenditure from the budget allocations.

Sanctioned under the Centrally-sponsored scheme, the project started on July 9, 2008.The initial cost of the project was pegged at ` 18.6 crore which was later revised to ` 23.62 crore.

The ambitious project to shift the district court from Sector 17 to the spacious complex had skipped deadlines more than once. The original deadline for the completion of the project was October 7, 2009. With the Central government and the administration slugging it out on the funding of the project, the deadline was revised to January 8, 2010. With Centre's latest missive, there is uncertainty over the completion of the project.

Last year, former UT Administrator SF Rodrigues, in a representation to the Central government, had contended that the Central government should fund the entire project cost of ` 23.62 crore since it was a Centrally-sponsored scheme.

The new court complex will have 30 courtrooms, besides having advocates' chambers and spacious parking for advocates and litigants.



Law to deal with tantriks on way
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Nearly two years after the Punjab and Haryana High Court made it clear that it is in favour of a legislation to curb the menace of tantriks promising magical cures, Justice Surya Kant today issued notice of motion to the chief secretaries of the two states and the UT home secretary for tackling religious mafia.

The directions came on a petition filed by a cable operator claiming the Amritsar District Magistrate prohibited some religious advertisements on his network, while these were running on some other networks.

Issuing the notices, Justice Surya Kant also directed the matter to be treated as a petition in public interest. It will now come up in all probability before the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal, as it hears public interest litigations.

Taking up a petition against the danger posed by the tantriks advertising in the newspapers, television channels and even web sites, the Bench of then Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh had in November 2008 verbally observed that the Act dealing with the prescription of medicines was categorical that no one can guarantee cure for maladies. But if it was not sufficient for acting against the tantriks assuring treatment, they would consider the feasibility of asking the law commission to see if a legislature could be enacted for ensuring suitable action.



Mohali to become state’s first ‘e-district’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 27
The Punjab government has decided to make SAS Nagar an ‘e-district’ on a priority basis to ensure the common man does not have make repeated rounds of government offices.

The ambitious project entails computerisation of official functions so that all information is available online, according to principal information & technology secretary Sarvesh Kaushal. He was speaking during a visit to the Suvidha Centre at the district administrative complex here today.

Kaushal said Nawanshahr and Kapurthala districts were also being developed as e-districts as part of a pilot project. Work in the two districts would start soon there, he added.

Apart from bringing transparency in government offices computerisation would allow online submission of application forms. The total cost involved in the exercise is about Rs 6 crore.

Mohali deputy commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand told Kaushal there was a shortage of two data operators at the Mohali Suvidha Centre. The principal secretary assured him this would be rectified within two days.

Mand said 20 different services were being provided at Mohali with another 16 new services to be offered soon.



Chhatbir zoo gets one more lioness
Rajiv Bhatia

Chhatbir (Zirakpur), July 27
Following the directions of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the Chhatbir zoo authorities have brought a lioness from the Renuka lion safari in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh.

The 12-year-old lioness, Divya, will now get a new home after veterinarians declare her fit to be shifted to the lion safari at Chhatbir zoo.

Talking to The Tribune, Chhatbir zoo field director Churchil Kumar said the lioness would be shifted to the lion safari after three weeks when she adapts herself to the new environment. He said a zoo veterinarian would study the case history of the lioness.

Churchil said the authorities had already planned to bring two more lionesses - one from the Ludhiana lion safari and another from Nagpur - to the Chhatbir zoo. He said the chief wildlife warden had given the permission to bring a lioness from Ludhiana. The paperwork to bring another lioness from Nagpur has been initiated. Both lionesses will be brought to the zoo for breeding, he added.

On June 27, a 15-year-old lioness died at the Chhatbir zoo after a brief illness. After the death of the lioness last month, only two lions and a lioness were left at the Chhatbir zoo lion safari.



‘Sakubai’ marks end of theatre fest
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, July 27
With an engrossing and meaningful entertainment, that too unlimited, offered by Mumbai’s Ek Jute play “Sakubai”, the second edition of the four-day Chandigarh festival concluded at the Tagore Theatre here today.

Acclaimed Bollywood actor and TV star Sarita Joshi excelled in a brilliant mono-act spell and rightfully felicitated with a standing ovation later.

Written and directed by acclaimed thespian actor Nadira Zaheer Babbar, the play retained a strong social activism and expressed it more directly to audience. The play eloquently depicted the life struggles, personal and emotional feelings experienced by housemaids and kaamvalis through their successive generations.

With the potent thematic content close to the day-to-day real life happenings and her scintillating acting spells, lone actor Sarita Joshi took the mono-act performance to a spectacular level. She modulated her voice and emotions in the spellbinding natural acting spells to give life to various characters she comes across in her life. Despite heavy odds like inevitable subjugation, disparity, deprivations, especially for education and more, common to all housemaids, protagonist Shakuntla better known as Sakubai, stands firm emerging stronger always.

The crowning achievement of her life comes as her own daughter tops in the state-level school examinations.

Director Nadira had designed the running sequences to bare corruption in social, moral and ethical values in all segments of society and Sarita Joshi portrayed the tragic moments immaculately in the otherwise comedy play.

Her singing and dancing prowess and drollery of dialogues embellished her long monologue. Music by Santosh and lights by Akber augmented the otherwise sleek production.



Woman councillor slapped

Chandigarh, July 27
Commotion prevailed at the office of Healthyway Immigration Consultancy in Sector 42 when a Sector 22 resident allegedly slapped a woman counsellor working in the office.

His action invited the wrath of women staff who gave him a sound beating after tying him up with a rope. Sources said the incident occurred at around 4 pm when Rahul got agitated for not being attended for a long time. As per reports, after a heated exchange with the counsellor, Kanika, a resident of Sector 42, the accused lost his temper and allegedly slapped her.

The police was informed about the incident. However, both the parties later decided to resolved the issue amicably. — TNS



Teachers’ lobbies head for alliance
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Election Issues

Even as the campaigning for PUTA election gains momentum on the campus, both lobbies appear to have run out of concrete election issues and, instead, blame the rival lobby of plotting against the teachers’ community. When questioned about the election issues, Kang, who is argued to be pro-university administration, said her main focus would be on getting the Central status for PU from the Union government. Akshaya, on the other hand, said, “There are attempts to influence PUTA from outside. PUTA is the only body that solely belongs to the teachers. Our motive is to strengthen PUTA first.” The likely combination to be announced by PDTF is, Jaspal Kaur Kang for the post of PUTA president, Sanjay Kaushik of UBS for the post of vice-president, MC Sidhu of botany department for the post of joint secretary, CN Kumar of physics department for post of joint secretary and Jitender Grover for the post of treasurer. The names of panel members for the group are unclear still.

Chandigarh, July 27
Ahead of the election for the fresh panel of Panjab University Teachers’ Union (PUTA), the permutations for alliances between various lobbies of teachers have already begun on the campus.

The pro-BJP lobby of the university teachers, which has been a crucial factor in the victory of past office-bearers of the union, is said to have entered into an agreement with the Progressive Democratic Teachers’ Front (PDTF) headed by Jaspal Kaur Kang.

The other major lobby of the teachers headed by Akshaya Kumar of the department of English and cultural studies, is also said to be convincing the teachers of PU’s dental college and University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) in their favour. Both dental colleges (52) and UIET (72) consist a majority of vote bank of the teachers.

Although Kang’s lobby started the door-to-door campaign before nominations have been filed, the same has not gone down well with Akshaya’s group.

Akshaya today alleged that the act of repeated persuasion by Kang’s group “would mean discouraging the serious teachers to vote”. To this, Kang replied that her rival group was campaigning as well.

Currently, 640 regular teachers are eligible to vote in PUTA election scheduled for August 10. This, however, does not include nearly a 100 odd contractual and guest teachers, who have been devoid of voting rights till now. “There needs an amendment in the current constitution of PUTA and contractual teachers must be given the right to vote,” said Akshaya.

The rival lobby, on the other hand, blamed former PUTA president Manjit Singh and former general secretary Akshaya Kumar for creating hindrance in giving the contractual teachers this right.

In addition to the office-bearers, PUTA panel would also include executive members of the union which consist four teachers from arts and social sciences, four from sciences, three from professional courses, one from the university school of open learning and one teacher from the department of evening studies.



PU: Unsuccessful students may have to vacate hostels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Residents of Panjab University hostels who are unsuccessful in passing their examinations may have to vacate their hostel room in the subsequent year of their studies. This, along with other matters related to allocation of hostel accommodation were discussed at an “all party” meeting convened by the PU dean of students welfare’s office today.

Representatives of various student organisations attended the meeting at which several issues were raised. The dean assured them meritorious students who were unable to secure hostel accommodation last year would be accommodated this time.

He added once admitted to the university students would have to be “consistent” in academics to continue residing in hostels in subsequent years of their studies.

The student representatives also expressed their resentment over a circular issued by PU officials regarding strict action to be taken against protestors who blocked movement on the campus. “Where else do we protest if not in front of offices of PU administrators on the campus?” the student leaders asked.

In this regard the Student’s Organisation of India (SOI) had issued a press release saying protests outside the offices of the vice chancellor or the dean of students welfare was the only option left with student groups to get their demands fulfilled.

An “all party” meeting of student organisations, the PU dean of students welfare and the Chandigarh police will be held on Friday.



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