C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Farmers block traffic between city, Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Mohali, August 10
Hundreds of commuters travelling between Chandigarh and Mohali faced a harrowing time when the UT police, in an effort to prevent the entry of protesting farmers belonging to the Bhartiya Kisan Union’s Rajewal faction into Chandigarh blocked some of the busiest roads at about 1 pm.

As a result a serpentine line of vehicles, including school buses, remained stranded on the roads where route diversions had been allowed. While the road that links Chandigarh with Mohali, near the Matour barrier dividing Sectors 51 and 52, was barricaded after the farmers staged their ‘dharna’ (sit-in) on the road itself, the road from Kajheri village witnessed huge traffic jams. There were only a few policemen on either side of the border to regulate traffic as a major part of the force had been deputed around the farmers.

Instead of chaos being created within Chandigarh, the scene shifted to the UT border with Mohali. The worst affected were residents living along the UT-Mohali border as vehicular movement within Mohali was not properly regulated.

The open liquor vends in Mohali adjoining the UT border also led to chaos as some of the disgruntled farmers converged at the vends to buy their stock. The UT administration’s move to close down the vends on its side of the border proved to be of little help.

Everything appeared to go smoothly till the farmers began converging at the Amb Sahib gurduwara in Phase VIII. After attending the ‘langar’ (community kitchen) at the gurduwara the farmers began their peaceful protest towards Chandigarh till they were stopped near YPS School in Sector 51.

Well prepared for a long stay, the farmers had brought along rations, firewood and other items along with them in trucks and tractor-trailers. By evening the farmers had set up community kitchens all along the blocked road in Chandigarh and Mohali. The protesters named their campsite ‘Kisan Pind’ (farmer’s village).

In response to the farmers’ demands mobile toilets, temporary electricity connections and water tankers were provided at the site.

Addressing reporters Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of the BKU’s Rajewal faction, said farmers of his group would block supply of essential commodities to Chandigarh from Punjab in protest against being denied entry into the city and for not being allowed to march till Sector 17. “Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab and UT administration officials cannot deny the democratic right of the farmers to protest”, he asserted.

Rajewal said the BKU’s main demands included release of a Rs 800 crore package for farmers issued by the central government, seeking productivity bonus on electricity bills as well as withdrawal of the urban development fund on crops.

The farmers threatened they would not call off their protest till the state government released the package. They said their “peaceful” protest would be a “unique” one as they would not disturb normal life of city residents and would not resort to blocking roads causing inconvenience to people.

On their next course of action Rajewal said the farmers would plan their strategy on a day-to-day basis and would continue their protest until their demands were met. Tough days are ahead for the police as well as commuters moving between Chandigarh and Mohali.



Kang group sweeps PUTA polls
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The group headed by Jaspal Kaur Kang made a clean sweep in the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) elections held on the campus today. Kang, who led the Progressive Democratic Teacher’s Front (PDTF), secured 326 votes, defeating Akshaya Kumar (269 votes) for the post of PUTA president. A total 597 votes were cast during the poll.

The teachers’ mandate was visibly in support of vice chancellor RC Sobti’s efforts to acquire more funds for the university from the central and Punjab governments as well as the bid for according central status to PU, said senior faculty members outside the poll venue.

The pro-teachers’ stand of current PU administration officials coupled with stiff opposition of past PUTA office bearers to certain positive moves by the varsity proved dear to the latter’s group in the elections today. Support of the pro-BJP lobby of teachers also proved instrumental in Kang’s victory.

Of 15 posts, which include the association’s office bearers and members of its executive body, Manjit Singh, the former PUTA president, was the only candidate of the Akshaya-Manjit-Khalid team who managed to get a seat in the new association.

Mohammed Khalid (271 votes) lost to MC Sindhu (318 votes) for the post of general secretary. Dinesh Kumar (259 votes) also lost to Jitender Grover (326) of the PDTF.

For the post of PUTA joint secretary, CN Kumar (308 votes) defeated Shivani Sharma (278 votes) of the Manjit-Akshaya-Khalid team.

A surprising number of invalid votes (over a hundred) for all posts also caught the attention of the poll observers and returning officer. After the results were declared former PUTA secretary Akshaya Kumar extended a warm welcome to the association’s new office bearers on the stage, a gesture that was appreciated by his opponents.



Army offers help to Leh students in city
Neha Miglani/Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Western Command of the Army today offered support to students of Panjab University and city colleges who hail from the areas affected by the flash floods in Leh.

Responding to a report in Chandigarh Tribune on Tuesday that highlighted the plight of certain students from the Leh region, the Army has offered its help. Western Command officials have appealed to the students to contact the Ladhak Buddhist foundation in Chandigarh for the Army helpline numbers.

“We are willing to deliver letters of these students to their parents or make special arrangements for them. Our special aircraft go to Leh and for any material they wish to deliver to their families or for any other assistance, the students can contact the Army,” said a senior official.

Ever since the calamity occurred, these students have been trying in vain to contact their families due to the disrupted telecom services in that region. While some of them were fortunate enough to have received a call from their parents, others are waiting to have some communication with their families. 

PGI OT in Leh conducts 5 surgeries on Day 1

On the first day after setting up an operation theatre (OT) with the help of the PGI at Sonam Marboo Memorial Hospital in Leh, doctors conducted five surgeries on the injured. Dr Morup from Leh informed that the equipment and manpower sent by the PGI, Chandigarh, was of great help and things were in order at the hospital now. Earlier, the OT of the hospital had been washed away on the night of August 5. The authorities at the PGI immediately sent an anaesthesist along with equipment to set up an OT on Saturday. Some equipment was dispatched this morning also. Dr Morup said the staff of the Leh hospital also retrieved certain machines and other apparatus from the accumulated mud in the hospital. After washing and cleaning of these, the doctors were able to operate five machines that were recovered. There is a long queue of the injured and the OT remained functional throughout the day and it will take a long time to streamline things,” he said.



Schoolteacher’s handbag stolen from classroom
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
In a shocking incident, students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, today ran off with the handbag of a teacher, who had left it behind in the classroom and gone to meet a colleague.

Sunita, a JBT teacher, was teaching a section of class I when she had to go outside to attend an urgent matter. A few minutes after she had left a boy who had covered his face with a cloth entered the room and fled with her handbag that was lying on a table.

Students immediately raised an alarm and ran to the teacher to inform her. Sunita rushed to the school playground where they reportedly saw three boys with covered faces jumping from the boundary wall.

School officials claimed to have conducted a preliminary inquiry and confirmed the miscreants were their own students, probably of class X or XI.

“We immediately called up the police and questioned students who were at the playground at that time and even a rickshaw puller standing on other side of the boundary wall. We’ve not been able to identify the culprits as yet but most probably they are students of our school,” said a schoolteacher.

Meanwhile, Sunita’s husband has filed a complaint with the police.

“The teacher’s husband came to us and told us his wife’s handbag contained a gold chain and a locket along with some cash. He has requested us to wait for a day before taking any action. He believes the school will catch hold of the culprits by tomorrow,” said a police official.

When contacted school principal Sanjay Wallia claimed he was out of town at the time but had received a call from the school regarding the incident.

While security arrangements in the city’s schools appear to have gone for a toss, UT education department officials pleaded ignorance.

When contacted district education officer Chanchal Singh stated, “The school authorities have not yet informed me about the incident. The department has not received any such report.”



Ghost of Mega Projects
HCS officers not willing to join UT administration
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
UT administration officials are, these days, caught in a difficult situation with HCS officers not occupying their new posts despite their recent transfers. With the recent repatriation of certain officials of the UT administration to their parent cadres, important portfolios were transferred to the new entrants. However, only two of the four HCS officers have joined the UT administration.

Blame it on the ghost of mega projects, which are under the scanner of investigating agencies, including the CBI and the CVC, or the unexpected exit of certain officers on deputation, the truth is that Chandigarh, which was once known as a plum posting place, has now become officials’ nightmare.

Sources claim that the UT administration, which is already under pressure to relieve the officers to their parent state, has even sent reminders to the Haryana government for an early joining of the new entrants.

Interestingly, out of the four new entrants, only two, Mahavir Kaushik and Tilak Raj, have joined. But rumours are doing the rounds that the other two, Maheshwar Sharma and Lalit Kumar, are apparently reluctant.

Sources claim that both of them are currently holding key posts in Haryana and are reportedly making efforts to stay back. Maheshwar Sharma has been entrusted with the charge of department of personnel, hospitality, vigilance, transport, local self-government and joint secretary home. He has replaced Bhupinder Singh, who was holding the charge of joint secretary home.

Lalit Kumar has replaced Additional Commissioner of Municipal Corporation P K Sharma, while Sharma has been entrusted with the charge of DPI(s).

In fact, till a few years ago, the percentage of PCS and HCS officers joining the UT administration was 60:40. However, after the recent rounds of questioning of the former officials of the UT, including S K Sandhu, Krishan Mohan, Vivek Attray and others by the investigating agencies, both the PCS and HCS officers are trying to avoid UT as their place of posting. In fact, many of the present set of officials who are on deputation are also pressing hard for their files to be taken up for repatriation.

In fact, in the recent reshuffle, PCS officers have been allegedly left out and their plum departments have gone to HCS officers.



Abandoned baby found outside orphanage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
A nine-month-old baby boy was found abandoned outside the local Missionaries of Charity home for orphaned children and the destitute in Sector 23 here today.The staff informed the police about the incident and shifted the infant to the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16 where doctors have kept him under observation.

According to the police the baby was draped in a cloth and it was trying to find out who had abandoned the child.

A case has been registered in this connection.


PU, UK varsity sign MoU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University, UK, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) involving exchange of students and faculty between two universities.

Addressing the media and administrative officials of Panjab University, RC Sobti said, “The Ministry of Human Resources (MHRD), Government of India, and UGC have earmarked 15 universities in India to have an effective collaboration with the leading foreign universities. Panjab University occupies a special niche in the hierarchy of Indian universities in terms of potential for excellence in learning and research.”

Sobti further announced, “This is indeed a historic day for both universities, as this important collaboration in the fields of mutual interests such as laws, sports and nutrition, chemical engineering, sports psychology, public health, nano technology, stem cell research, etc., in the first phase of collaboration.”

Janet Bee, who is a renowned scholar of American literature and culture said, “As a collaborative partner, our emphasis will be to promote hybridised knowledge and inter-disciplinary in our joint ventures whereby the students and faculty of engineering, laws, medical sciences, psychology, biotechnology, economics, management sciences and literary studies will be engaged in furthering the frontiers of knowledge and higher research.”



Appointment of Secretary
Punjab edu board official in soup
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 10
After dragging the Punjab government and officials of Punjab School Education Board to the court over appointment of secretary of the board, a joint secretary in the board, Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, is in trouble.

The Punjab government is learnt to have initiated a vigilance probe in a three-year-old complaint filed by a former employee of the board, Gurinder Singh Tony, who had been dismissed by the board for allegedly being involved in human trafficking.

Sources said certain officials in the board who had been affected by Saroya’s legal recourse had dug out the old complaint and got the vigilance to open the old case. The complaint deals with illegal appointments and promotion enjoyed by the joint secretary.

Joint secretary Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya said she anticipated retaliation by those, who had been affected by her going to the court. “During the last date of hearing on August 2, I have stated before the court that a three-year-old complaint had been revived against her,” she added.



Failing health no setback for this prof
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
He survived two kidney transplants, yet continued his academic pursuit, wrote research papers, published books and even guided PhD scholars at Panjab University during his troubled times. Deterioration in his health from the past seven years did not deter Dr Narinder Kumar, associate professor in the department of statistics, PU, from performing his duty as a teacher.

Kumar’s achievement in the field of statistics and exemplary courage shown by him despite severe setbacks on health are a source of inspiration for several teachers today.

Just a day before his kidney transplant for the first time in 2005, he was taking his class as usual. “Before 2002, I never took any medicine, but suddenly after a typhoid attack, one of my kidneys became half non-functional. In no time, my both kidneys failed and kidney transplant was the only option,” said Kumar. Another major setback was in 2009, when he had to go through another transplant. This time his wife, whom he owes his strength, decided to donate him a kidney.

“When I informed that I had to undergo a transplant, the PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti had been a great support,” said Kumar.

Besides being a topper in BSc, MSc and then MPhil degrees during his student days, he also became a “mathematical reviewer” for the prestigious American Mathematical Society (AMS), USA, as a teacher. The Government of India then selected him for Shiksha Rattan Puraskar in February. During the last eight years, which have been the testing years for him, Kumar published 17 research articles in various national and international journals and a book by a reputed publisher.

He also guided four PhD students during the same time. “I owe my recovery to Dr Vivekanad Jha of department of Nephrology and Dr Mukud Minz of transplant surgery in the PGI. In PU, DK Gupta in UBS and others took care of me when I had to visit hospital frequently,” added Kumar.



Delivery in Auto-rickshaw
General Hospital authorities in damage-control mode
Bring victim to hospital from home; admit her
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 10
Stung by media criticism over turning away a woman in labour pain, the authorities at General Hospital came in the damage-control mode and brought the victim to the hospital in its ambulance from her home.

The baby whose weight was merely 700 gm was referred to PGI. Rani, mother of the baby, is being looked after at the General Hospital itself.

Medical Superintendent Dr VK Bansal confirmed that Rani had visited the hospital around 3 am yesterday. The doctors examined her and told that it was a premature delivery case and before she could be given the treatment, her husband and other relatives accompanying her took her away from the hospital without informing the staff, he said.

Rani who is staying in jhuggis near Bhainsa Tibba in Mansa Devi Complex, had to deliver her baby in an auto -rickshaw with the help of a midwife when the doctors at General Hospital, Sector 6, allegedly turned her away.

This afternoon, the staff of the hospital was able to locate the house of Rani and she was brought to the hospital. Seeing that the baby was in a critical condition, the baby was immediately rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh, and Rani was admitted to the gynaecology ward of the General Hospital.

Contradicting the claims of the hospital, Amar Singh, brother-in-law of Rani, said they were compelled to take Rani from the hospital when the doctors refused to admit her on the pretext of her incomplete diagnostic tests. They were told that it was a premature delivery and the woman should be taken to a Chandigarh hospital, he said. However, they did not offer any ambulance service and dejected by the behaviour of the staff there, they decided to take her from there to a delivery hut at Saketri and unfortunately the staff there too asked them to go to Chandigarh, Amar said.

Bansal on the other hand said the staff at hospital never asked for any type of card from women who came to the labour room. “Deliveries in Haryana are done free of cost and so there is no question of harassment to such patients”, he claimed.

Rani gets VIP treatment

On Tuesday afternoon, the staff of General Hospital, Sector 6, was able to locate the house of victim Rani and she was brought back to the hospital. Seeing her baby in a critical condition, the infant was immediately rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh, and Rani was admitted to the gynaecology ward of the General Hospital itself



CBI becoming tool of Congress: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Exhibiting different sets of rules for banning rallies in the city, the UT Administration today allowed the BJP activists to hold a protest outside the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) regional office in Sector 30, here, this morning.

The BJP activists assembled outside the CBI office and staged a silent protest leading to disruption of traffic on the road in front of the CBI office. The protesting members of the BJP led by their state president Sanjay Tandon condemned the Congress for misusing the CBI while criticising the apex agency for becoming a tool of the ruling party.

Tying black strips over their lips, the activists held placards carrying anti-UPA government slogans and termed the CBI- as the Congress Bureau of Investigation". Besides this, list of cases registered in various police stations in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan was also displayed.

Tandon said Sohrabuddin was not just a criminal but he was a hardcore terrorist, which was clear by the cases registered against him in four states for his involvement in destructive activities. The Congress is supporting such a person who was a threat to the internal security and integrity. Instead of appreciating those who punished Sohrabuddin, the Congress is involving BJP activists in false cases by misusing the independent agency, he said.



Artistes Rejoice
Tagore Theatre rent down by 40 pc
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
At the receiving end of the theatre groups for exorbitant rental of the Tagore Theatre, the Chandigarh Administration today announced a major rollback and pegged rentals for the amateur groups at Rs 15,000 per performance.

At a meeting of the Tagore Theatre Society under the chairmanship of adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra, it was decided to reduce the rent from Rs 25,000 to Rs 15,000 plus taxes to give exposure to more amateur groups to perform at the theatre.

Ram Niwas, Home-cum-Cultural Affairs Secretary, said the decision had been taken to give a boost to the cultural activities, particularly the amateur theatre, in the city. “Modalities to fix the criteria for renting the theatre for the amateur groups will be worked out soon,” he added.

Officials said for availing Rs 15,000 rental, the show by the amateur group must be non-ticketed and non-commercial. In fact, a transparent and independent mechanism is being worked out to select the theatre groups to be given new rental facility, the officials said.

Though after its renovation for whopping Rs 10 crore in 2008, the theatre has become bigger and better, the cost of maintenance has also increased. For instance, last year the income was to the tune of about Rs 50 lakh, while the expenditure was about Rs 52 lakh. In a single day, the cost of running the theatre for a show is around Rs 14,000.

At present, two slabs- Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000- are in operation for renting out theatre for the non-ticketed and ticketed shows, respectively.

Another category of Rs 3,300 per performance is reserved for the government and government-sponsored functions.



Rape Case: Minor victim turns hostile
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
In a new twist to the rape case against industrialist Manjit Singh Arora, the minor victim today turned hostile stating that her mother had forced her to give the previous statement.

The case was adjourned to September 7 for next hearing. Deposing before the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, RN Bharti, the victim stated that no rape was committed and the statement she gave before the Judicial Magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC was false as she was pressurised to say so. She added that the accused was innocent.

The 14-year-old victim is presently residing in Nari Niketan in Sector 26 and has married a youth named Sunny. On the contrary, the victim’s mother stated before the court that her daughter was being misled by the accused.

The victim’s mother stated in a complaint before the SSP in January this year that Arora had employed her daughter as his maidservant in 2008 for Rs 3,000 a month. She later stated that he offered her Rs 5,000 a month for sending her daughter to work in Mumbai and she agreed.

The victim’s mother stated before the police that after repeated requests Arora brought back the girl to the city on December 26, 2008. On reaching back, the victim told her mother that Arora had raped her at his Sector 34 apartment as well as in Mumbai.

Arora owns a factory in Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh, which manufactures ‘chapatti’ making appliances. There is also confusion about the age of the victim. 

‘Mother hatched the conspiracy’

The victim had submitted an affidavit in the court on July 1 wherein she stated that her mother had hatched this conspiracy against the industrialist in connivance with Ramlal, who was also an accused in the Shimla girl rape case



Mohali resident dies in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
A Mohali resident was killed in a road accident today while his wife had a narrow escape after a CTU bus knocked down his motorcycle in Maloya.The police said the victim had been identified as Shiv Kumar, a resident of Mohali. He was returning home along with his wife when the mishap occurred.

The police said after getting hit by the bus the couple fell on the road and resultantly Shiv Kumar sustained severe head injuries. He was rushed to PGI where he was declared brought dead. The victim’s wife was, however, discharged after she was given first aid.

The police has arrested bus driver Satish Kumar and has registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving.



Woman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Sarada Devi, a 40-year-old housewife, today committed suicide by hanging herself at her Sector 36 residence here.The police said Sarada was under depression and had been undergoing treatment from the PGI.

It said Sarada had not left any suicide note and the death came to light when her 16-year-old daughter failed to get any response from her, as she had locked herself in a room. The police was informed about the matter. It broke open the door to lower the body from the ceiling fan hook.

The victim was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, where she was declared dead on arrival. Her husband Prabhjit Singh is employed with the Bhakhra Beas Management Board and was not at home at the time of the incident.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this connection. 



Book on pulmonary medicine released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
PGI director Prof KK Talwar released a book on pulmonary medicine authored by PGI Dr D Behera here yesterday.The first edition of the book entitled “Text Book of Pulmonary Medicine- IInd Edition, 2010,” was published by Dr Behera about 15 years ago and the present edition updates the developments that have taken place during this period.

Dr Behra, one of the senior-most pulmonologists of the country is currently on deputation as director, LRS Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, New Delhi.

The book contains valuable literature on chest medicine, which has been thoroughly up-dated with the latest information on the subject.

One of the important aspects of the book is the quotation of Indian literature on various respiratory problems in India.

Dr Behra, having experience over 30 years in this field, is a recipient of Dr BC Roy award twice by the Medical Council of India as an eminent teacher as well as for his contribution to clinical research.

He has received ICMR Awards thrice, besides, several national awards. At present, he is president of the National College of Chest Physicians, president of the Indian Society for Study of Lung Cancer, head of the TB section of the Union and the Governor for India of the American College of Chest Physicians.

He is also a member of the board of directors of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.

Recently, he received “The Karel Styblo prize for his contribution in the field of tuberculosis and lung diseases with emphasis on public health by IUATLD.



Scholarship for medical students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, has introduced scholarship scheme for students willing to serve Central Para-Military Forces (CPMFs) this year.

According to sources, the scheme launched by Union Ministry of Home Affairs will be implemented in 22 Government Medical Colleges recognised by the Medical Council of India.

Under the scheme, scholarship to 25 medical students will be awarded with the sole purpose to get medical officers for CPMFs on regular basis, after completion of 

Selection will be based on marks obtained in the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT).

The selected candidate will get scholarship Rs 10,000 per month for 54 months of the MBBS course.



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