C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


LPG Blast: Illegal candle factory gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Property worth lakhs of rupees was destroyed in a major fire that gutted an illegally run candle-manufacturing factory in the congested Hallo Majra village early this morning.

Though a major tragedy was averted following a blast in a domestic LPG cylinder, panic gripped among the residents who alleged that the factory was functioning illegally from a residential premise.

LPG Blast: Illegal candle factory gutted

From left: Smoke billows from the building; a fire engine at the spot; and LPG cylinders recovered from the illegal candle factory.
From left: Smoke billows from the building; a fire engine at the spot; and LPG cylinders recovered from the illegal candle factory. Tribune photos: S Chandan

The fire could have been worse but for the timely removal of seven other LPG cylinders from the third floor of the three-storeyed factory by the firemen.

The Fire Department said it received the first call at 7.09 am after the residents living around the factory noticed smoke billowing from the premise. The factory was locked when the fire, apparently caused by a short circuit, broke out and owners said it was locked around 1.30 am after extended working hours due to forthcoming Diwali.

As many as six fire engines from different fire stations were immediately pressed into service. However, narrow by lanes of the heavily populated locality made the job of firemen more difficult with fire personnel facing difficulty in starting the fire-dousing operations. There was not much space to manoeuvre the fire engines in the narrow lanes and the firemen had a lot of difficulty in turning around a fire engine, which had run out of water, a fire official complained.

The residents alleged that a large number of workers worked in the factory and several illegal additions and alterations, including installation of an elevator, had been made in the premises, which had not come under the notice of the authorities concerned.

A majority of the 20 candle-making machine, a huge quantity of wax and other raw material were reduced to ashes. “The initial rough loss is pegged at at least Rs 2.5 lakh, “ one of the owners Sanjeev informed.

On the other hand, the residents alleged that after the fire in the factory a few years a back, the residents had approached several senior functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration, including the Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, to shift it out of the residential area. “However, our repeated pleas have fallen on deaf years,” alleged Gurcharanjit Singh, a former panch of Hallomajra panchayat.

Co-owner Ashok Kumar claimed that adequate fire safety arrangement had been made by constructing a water tanker on the roof. The owner also denied that any building byelaws had been violated in the factory outlet.



Tribune Impact
Hospital canteen shut down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Taking strict action against poor levels of hygiene, particularly the presence of rats in one of the canteens at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, Secretary, Indian Red Cross Society, Chandigarh, Abhishek Dev, ordered the closure of the eatery here today.

Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the problem in these columns in yesterday’s paper. One of the canteens at the GMSH was full of rats, while visitors were being served food in rusty utensils.

Today, the secretary, along with the Medical Superintendent and Local Health Authority, GMSH, visited all canteens and food kiosks in the hospital, which are being managed by the Indian Red Cross Society, UT, Chandigarh.

During the inspection of the food kiosk, it was observed, in particular, that the levels of hygiene and cleanliness were poor and also the drainage system through which the rats might have possibly entered the food kiosk needed immediate repair and overhaul. Following this, Dev ordered its immediate closure. In the interest of the general public, another canteen inside the gynaecology block would be opened for use within a week, said Dev.

A show-cause notice was also issued to the manager of the canteens, and he was instructed to terminate the services of the workers of the kiosk who were not maintaining proper hygiene and cleanliness.

“All canteens being managed by the Indian Red Cross Society, UT, Chandigarh, have been directed to ensure the highest possible levels of hygiene and cleanliness in storage, cooking and serving areas and to install fly catchers and other anti-pest devices,” he added.



Mohali, P’kula drain on city
35 yrs on, still dependent on Chd for health, transport, education
Rajmeet Singh & Kulwinder Sangha
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, October 31
Even 35 years after it came into existence, the town has failed to keep pace with the times and continues to be dogged by poor infrastructure including woefully inadequate health, educational and public transport services. Its 300,000 residents are more or less dependent on Chandigarh for its basic needs.

Government health services: Most patients in the town prefer to see doctors at the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16 and Government Medical College & Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32. The reason: shortage of doctors, worn-out equipment and badly maintained campuses plagues the six dispensaries that serve as primary health centres at the secondary level to the 120-bed Civil Hospital in Phase 6. Health department statistics show on an average 350 patients are registered at the outpatient departments of the dispensaries.

Of the six dispensaries one does not have a doctor while others also remain without physicians for eight days in a month. The maximum number of patients visit the Phase I dispensary, varying between 80 and 110. Others dispensaries get patients varying between 55 and 70.

Doctors working in the four dispensaries said that on an average two to three patients requiring laboratory tests, x-rays or opinion of specialists were referred to the Civil Hospital, as these facilities were not available in the dispensaries.

The primary health centre in Phase III B1 has been without a doctor since August. A doctor was posted there after the issue was highlighted in these columns a few months ago. The doctor at the Phase VII dispensary has been posted there on a temporary basis. The doctors at the dispensaries double up to perform emergencies and night duties at the Civil Hospital.

Doctors at the dispensaries lament they have brought the issue of worn-out furniture and seepage in buildings to the notice of higher officials. Civil Surgeon Dr PK Shridhar said the shortage of doctors and other problems had been brought to the notice of the authorities concerned, who he said had assured more doctors would be provided after fresh recruitments were made.

Education: There is a big gap between the government and privately run schools in the town. Compared to a number of CBSE affiliated private schools that are equipped with modern infrastructure, government schools affiliated with the Punjab School Education Board lack infrastructure.

For a population of about 300,000 there is only one government senior secondary school in Phase 3 B1. A senior education department official said about 1,100 students were enrolled in the matriculate and senior secondary level but the demand was much greater.

Most of the students from Mohali prefer to go to schools in Chandigarh. “While every sector in Chandigarh has a school there are only ten schools in the 30 residential, commercial and industrial sectors in Mohali”, pointed out councillor Phool Raj.

Mohali district education officer (secondary) Harbans Singh said efforts were being made to provide basic infrastructure at the earliest. “There are sufficient funds to upgrade the infrastructure”, he added.

Much to the embarrassment of the education department, a primary school in Phase 3B 1 is housed in a building that does not proper access. Inadequate light makes it difficult for the students to study. Incidentally, the building also houses the office of the district education officer (secondary). There are only ten primary schools, six middle schools and one senior secondary school in the city.

At the phase 9 government primary-cum-middle school, there are no funds to have windows and doors built for a new building that has been constructed in the school premises. Presently, the primary school students have to sit in the corridor as the existing room is being used to store cooking materials for the midday meal scheme. At the Phase XI primary school, the department has failed to raise a boundary wall around the building. It was found that the progress of work to construct new buildings was not being monitored on a regular basis.

Public transport: Every day hundreds of residents face a harrowing time while traveling on rashly driven rickety autorickshaws, virtually the only mode of commuting within the city. There is no viable public transport system in a town that has a range of residential, commercial and industrial sectors with population of about 300,000.

The master plan of Mohali, which is slated to expand to 125 sectors from the present thirty, envisages many new mega residential and industrial projects. Town residents and daily commuters traveling between Mohali and Chandigarh currently have to depend on the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses that operate in a grid system.

However to travel from the eastern to western edge of the horizontally planned city, the commuters have to switch between a skeletally run bus-service by CTU and autorickshaws. Official statistics reveal that around 1000 auto rickshaws were running within the city. Congested roads and heavy volume of vehicular traffic further slows down the traffic. “Since there is no public transport system, maintenance of the bus queue shelters provided along the busy roads is suffering”, said Manjeet Sethi, a resident of Phase 3A.

Despite the fact that the district was formed in 2006, there is no bus service to connect the hundreds of villages in peripheral areas to the district headquarters. Only skeletal bus service operates in the rural areas. Important towns like Dera Bassi, Lalru, Zirakpur, Kharar and Kurali does not have a well planned inter district bus service. Travelling from Mohali to different towns in the periphery requires quite an effort.



Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Due to inadequate seating arrangements, patients and their attendants sit on the floor in the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula.
Due to inadequate seating arrangements, patients and their attendants sit on the floor in the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, October 31
Dependent on Chandigarh for health, education and other basic services, Panchkula, with a population of about 310,000, has failed to develop its infrastructure for the past three decades.

Health Services: Unavailability of specialists round-the-clock and paucity of sanctioned posts for staff nurses and lab technicians at the General Hospital in Sector 6 has turned it into a referral hospital as people prefer to get themselves treated at PGI, Chandigarh.

An overburdened staff and poor facilities have made things worse for the hospital, where patients from nearby towns in Punjab including Dhakauli, Bartana and Zirakpur also come for treatment.

Even though dozens of nursing homes and a private hospital have come up during the past two decades they lack the latest medical equipment like MRI and CT scan diagnostic facilities

When contacted civil surgeon Dr VK Bansal claimed the hospital had qualified staff and was providing the “best” services to patients. “Recently the hospital had begun the ‘package system’ to rid the patients of their ailments, which had become hit with people not only from the town but also from Chandigarh who come here for treatment of even minor diseases like typhoid or snakebites”, he added.

Bansal said people were now were getting themselves treated here as it took about one month for the patients to undergo various tests before any major surgeries. “Under a health package it takes only two weeks for the patients get treated for the major ailments like cardiac diseases. The hospital is being upgraded from a 150-bed facility to a 300-bed one. Construction of a new block is on and is likely to be completed by December 2011”, he added.

Education: In the absence of any professional government engineering or medical colleges Panchkula has seen a “brain drain” with students taking admission in government schools in Chandigarh.

The town has about six private senior secondary schools and around 30 government schools. The average strength of students in classes 11 and 12 in privately run schools in all the streams ranges from 80 to 100, which is less than the number of students who appear for the Class 10 examination in these schools. The town boasts of two government run colleges but no professional courses are being offered except science, commerce and arts.

As there are no professional colleges Panchkula “loses out” on meritorious students as students prefer to get admission in class 11 in Chandigarh schools as they are able to take the benefit of 50 per cent reservation in engineering and medical colleges there. The colleges offered 50 per cent reservation for students who are either studying in city schools or are the residents of Chandigarh.

Even though the Haryana government had announced to set up polytechnic college in the city in Panchkula some years ago and land was earmarked, nothing has been done in this regard. Recently the government announced an Institute of Fashion Technology, but that is hanging fire.

Public transport: The town lacks a viable local public transport system as there are no bus services connecting the various markets. Even though buses run on the ‘A’ roads connecting the various sectors one has to hire a rickshaw for moving from one market to another located on the ‘B’ roads.

Even though Haryana Roadways had launched a bus service on the ‘B’ roads in October 1992 the initiative failed as no awareness was created among the public in this regard. Large buses plied on these roads thus creating chaos in the town and the authorities had to withdraw them eventually. The transport department had failed to even notify the route maps or mark the bus stops near the markets.

If one has to go to the General Hospital in Sector 6 or the mini secretariat in Sector 1 a rickshawallah charges around Rs 30 to Rs 40 per trip. People coming from outside the town are fleeced and charged exorbitant rates to take them to their destinations. Residents generally have to use their vehicles.

SK Nayyar, president of the Citizen’s Welfare Association, said it was the need of the hour to reduce traffic on the streets by introducing an efficient bus service. “This would not only facilitate the movement of general public from once place to other but it would also solve the parking problems in various markets”, he added.



Three held for robbing elderly woman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The police today arrested a maidservant, who along with her husband and a relative, allegedly robbed an elderly woman at pistol-point in Sector 61 here after tying her up on October 25.

The accused were identified as 20-year-old Punam, alias Sonia, a resident of Dadu Majra village, her 21-year-old husband Rajesh Kumar and her 22-year-old brother-in-law Malkhan Singh, alias Vicky Chauhan.

Rajesh was employed as sweeper at a restaurant in Sector 36 here while Malkhan was a part-time driver. DSP(South) Vijay Kumar said the accused were tracked down on the basis of inputs gathered from sources.

The sketches released last week also helped the police trace the suspects. The accused were arrested from near Dadu Majra on a tip-off. They had gone to their native place in Muzafarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) the next day and came back after a few days.

“The modus operandi of the suspects indicated that they were professionals and could have been involved in other such incidents. We will interrogate them thoroughly after obtaining their police remand tomorrow to find out whether they had looted people in a similar fashion earlier,” he said.

The in charge of the Sector 61 police post, sub-inspector Maninder Singh, said Punam got herself hired at the house on October 21 after the maid working there left. Malkhan, the mastermind behind the robbery, disclosed that they were looking for houses where women were alone during the daytime.

The next day, as per the plan, Rajesh dropped Punam at a distance from the house. She always walked to the house to show that she was living in a colony nearby.

The police said Rajiv Mehra instructed Punam to come early for work when they were at home. After winning the trust of the family in a few days, Punam deliberately came late for work.

When Rajiv and his wife went to work, she finished her work. When she did not leave, Savita told her to go and she went to the bathroom on the pretext of washing her hands.

Savita noticed that Punam was talking over the phone, but before she could react, two unidentified persons overpowered her. The trio tied Savita with a rope, gagged her and held her captive at pistol-point. They threatened her of dire consequences and asked her where the valuables were.

After taking away the articles, including cameras, Rs 10,000 and jewellery worth about Rs 2.5 lakh in two bags, Punam went out through the main entrance while the other two escaped through the backyard.


Clarion call to battle the bottle
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The battle against the bottle got a shot in the arm today, with representatives of a cross-section of society giving a clarion call to combat alcoholism, which had assumed alarming proportions.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Alcoholism- the way out’, organised by the S-4 Trust, in association with the Chandigarh Press Club, the Chandigarh Business Council(CBC), the Gurukul Vidyapeeth, the Young Healthcare and Social Welfare Society and the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), experts said a people’s movement for creating awareness was the need of the hour.

Expressing concern at the incidence of drinking, particularly among the youth, Dr Raj Bahadur, Director-Prinicipal, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, said every part of the body was affected by liquor consumption.

Painting an alarming picture of liquor consumption in the world, Dr SK Bhalla, head of the department of psychiatry, Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, said one-third of the world population consumed two-thirds of the total liquor and was potentially alcoholic.

Giving the clinical side, Dr Gopal Bhardwaj, senior medical officer with the GMSH, stated that 20 per cent of absenteeism and one-fourth of the total accidents were alcoholic-related.

Focusing on recovery from alcoholism, Dr Vijay Girdhar, psychiatrist with the UT health department, said the recovery rate was about 18 per cent of the total cases reported to hospitals.

Dr Simmi Waraich, psychiatrist with the Fortis Hospital at Mohali, threw light on the genetic component and the role of spiritualism in the recovery process, adding that institutions like the AA and rehabilitation centres could go a long way in speeding up the process.

Chartered accountant-turned-educationist Manmohan Garg said educational institutions should be the focal point for starting a campaign against alcoholism. JPS Kalra of the CBC urged the medical fraternity not to endorse moderate drinking among the general public.

A representative of the AA said their programme relied on sharing experience, strength and hope among alcoholics and the recovery process was individualised, adapted by each member to meet his or her needs. Meetings were held everyday and 9417037358, the AA helpline, could be dialled for assistance, he added.

Vital Facts

n Moderate alcohol consumption affects every part of body
n 20% absenteeism, one-fourth accidents blamed on alcohol
n It affects one’s physical, mental and spiritual health
n Those who want to quit can dial AA helpline at 9417037358



Glimmer of hope for budding players

The announcement by Yuvraj Singh regarding his plans of opening a cricket academy for budding cricketers, the other day, has come as a glimmer of hope for budding players.

Though the Indian swashbuckling cricketer did not disclose the location for his project, local cricketers felt that the place could be none other than Chandigarh. As he himself had honed his skills in City Beautiful, I think he would run his academy here only, said Ajay Kumar, a local budding cricketer.

Young cricketers, including Vipul, Udit and Rajesh, were of the view that if Yuvi would train the local cricketers here, it would be a boost for the cricketing scenario in the city,which had already emerged as a big cricketing nursery. Another former Indian cricketer Dinesh Mongia is already training local young cricketers in the state-run academy at DAV College, Sector 10.

A mystery!

The one most talked about issue on the Panjab University campus right now, which is being discussed by both senior and junior faculty members, is increase in the retirement age from 60 to 65 years. With the central funding issue of PU finally receiving a legal nod at the level of Union government, expectations among teachers have risen. But with the Vice-Chancellor refraining from giving any quote on the issue, yet saying, “PU will have the brightest Diwali this time,” has certainly raised the curiosity level further.

Shooing away ‘lovers’

While taking a walk at Shanti Kunj in Sector 10, our correspondent saw a cop scolding a couple sitting on a bench there. Incidentally, the cop knew this correspondent, on seeing her, he said the senior citizens who took a walk in the garden often complained about couples sitting in a compromising position. Sharing the reactions of people passing by, he said while some appreciated the efforts made by him, some questioned, “Sir ji aap ne bhi apni college days mein enjoy kiya hoga.”

A perfect gift

Generally, almost everyone likes to receive gifts. A perfect gift can clearly and loudly lend voice to our feelings and emotions towards our loved ones. Handing out gifts at certain special occasions also enhances the sweetness of the gesture of offering gifts.

With Diwali round the corner, it will be one of the most cherished times of the year, when people around the world will express their love, respect and gratitude for their loved ones through wonderful gifts.

Markets are flooded with various fantastic Diwali gifts these days. These gifts include gift hampers, sweets and crackers for family and friends. But the task of selecting a perfect Diwali gift is not easy.

Deepa Sharma, a resident of Sector 43, advised some basic useful tips for buying that perfect gift. She said first of all, it was important to set aside a budget for how much money one wanted to spend this season. A gift should neither be cheap, nor too expensive. It is also advisable not to forget other unexpected expenses during special festivals.

“Prior to Diwali, make a list of people whom you want to offer gifts. In this way, you will come to know how many gifts you need to buy. It is advisable to buy extra gift items, as you never know a few unexpected guests can drop in during festivals,” she added.

A piece of advice

The other day, two personnel of the police control room (PCR) stopped a youngster riding a motorcycle without wearing a helmet at Phase IX, Mohali, near Burail Jail. The cops told the offender to show documents of the motorcycle he was riding. Finding the documents in order, cops who were visibly feeling at loss asked the youngster to produce his driving licence. The youth said he had forgotten his wallet that contained his licence at home. One of the policemen told the offender to at least give them some fuel from his mobike. At this, the youth again expressed his helplessness, saying he had only that much fuel in the vehicle, which could only make him reach his home nearby.

The cops then smiled at their bad luck and let the youth go, but with a piece of advice to carry his wallet with him whenever he ventured out.

Lobbing begins

With Capt Amarinder Singh being nominated as president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, hectic lobbing in the Congress camp began, with his several loyalists trying to push themselves to limelight. In the past one week, invites for press conferences or get togethers to sing songs in praise of the PPCC president are coming everyday. “One has put his best foot forward, as the PPCC president will become the next CM,” condfided a close confident of the PPCC president.

Losing supremacy

BSNL, the state-owned telecom company, which was enjoying a total monopoly in the 3G Sector is all set to loose its supremacy in the field, with private companies all set to enter the world of 3G spectrum this Diwali.

While the BSNL 2G services are struggling to keep pace with other private players in 2G Sector and trying hard to maintain the subscriber base in landline, another competition is surely going to hit the company hard.

Admitting that the going will not be easy, a senior BSNL official said, “Ik hi thaan wich aage sige, uthon bhi lurakh javange.” (We were ahead in just one area and that, too, we would loose). With the slide down in 3G Sector, claimed the official that the only saving grace for the BSNL could be the newcomers in the field.

A luxury that only a state-owned company could afford, he added.

Contributed by Akash Ghai, Neha Miglani, Swati Sharma, Anil Jerath, Ramanjit Singh, Rajmeet Singh and Anuja Jaiswal.



Crafts Mela
Students have gala time

Chandigarh, October 31
Children from AIE (Alternative Innovative Education) centre, Mauli Colony, were taken for an excursion to second Chandigarh National Crafts Mela being held at Kalagram, Chandigarh, here.

A total of 65 students accompanied by Joginder Kumar, in charge SSA, community teachers Prabha Bhainsora, Sapna Gupta and volunteer Meena visited the National Crafts Mela.

Children enjoyed puppet show, folk dance and various stalls from different states of the country.

Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in charge Joginder Kumar said the aim was to provide an opportunity to improve human capabilities to all children, who are getting education through the SSA.

The excursion is a step to extend various facilities to such children, initiate the process of including children with special needs (CWSN) in the mainstream schools to make education accessible to this vulnerable group of children, their identification, assessment and proximity of schools.



BMWs, Mercs ‘selling like hot cakes’
Akash Ghai/TNS

Chandigarh, October 31
When it comes to celebrating Diwali with style and elegance, BMWs and Mercedes seem to be the style statement, this year. If local dealers of the premium segment cars like Mercedes and BMW are to be believed, their products are ‘selling like hot cakes’.

This festival season has witnessed 30 to 40 per cent surge in the sale, claimed local dealers of both the luxury cars.

“While we normally sell 25 to 30 cars in any given month, the number has reached between 45 and 50 this month,” said an official at a Mercedes showroom in Industrial Area. “We offer special gifts like Merc T-shirts, goody bags and Merc game CDs to be part of the ongoing festivity,” said the official. Story of the BMW cars is not different. “Festival season is the definite cause of this surge in our sales, as is evident from the feedback from a section of customers,” said a local dealer.

However, the local franchisee of Audi showed reluctance to give any details about the sale scenario of their product in the season. “We have to take permission for any such matter,” said the Audi officials here. “North Indians are known for spending lavishly on luxuries”, commented a Merc official.



Open House Response
Adulteration, reality of the day

Adulteration has become a common phenomenon across the country and Chandigarh is no exception. Adulteration is not only found in sweets but in every commodity, including milk and milk products, petrol and petroleum products, medicines, spices, pulses, liquor, etc.

Stories on food adulteration were published and telecast in the media daily, which have rattled the consumer confidence.

Authorities concerned get up from their slumber only when any untoward incident happens or when the festival season is nearing. The media, then, talks a lot about these raids. Samples are sent to the laboratories to get the results.

After that everybody, including the media, sleeps. When the challans are submitted to the courts, because of cumbersome and lengthy procedure, it takes years to decide on these cases. As per the reports, the UT Administration has served a 48-hour notice to food outlets to improve their hygiene standards.

The need of the hour is frequent checking throughout the year on manufacturers, wholesellers and retailers; challans need to be put up immediately before the court and cases needed to be vigorously followed up to ensure a fair argument and stringent punishment was needed to be introduced revising the old Act.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Raids a mere gimmick

I am sure the news of the health department conducting raids on sweets manufacturers of the city might be startling for common folks, however, they are nothing more than a routine yearly exercise for shopkeepers. They are aware about the expected raids and are prepared to bear the loss. The use of various dyes and chemicals in the preparation of sweets is well known.

Spurious milk and khoya being the main ingredients in sweets are widely used by these manufacturers.

Sanjeev Singh Bariana has made a reference to the use of harmful chemicals like oxytocin, calcium carbide and urea for faster growth of vegetables, ripening of fruits and adulterating milk. Despite prevalence of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, debasing of quality of the products is continuously going on. We are aware that Chinese chocolates with beef contents were sold in India without any reference to the fact.

We are charmed by the “imported stuff”, but never bother to check “use before dates”, while in some cases, even the name of manufacturers is missing on the packing. The practice is duping the hapless consumer. But there is none to put brakes on such practice. The existence of the Act to save the consumers from such unscrupulous brands is simply missing. In a recent study, it has been found that 80 per cent of the imported stuff available in the market is violating the Indian standards.

It is the administration that has to take notice of ensuring punishments/penalties if the product is found debased or use of spurious chemicals in the products is noticed.

Adulteration of food is so rampant that no eatable is now available, which gives proper nutrition, rather the resultant ill effects on health of the people is getting astounding. We need preventive measures otherwise our coming generations shall not pardon us, as they shall suffer from innumerable health diseases. The governments should wake to the menace with desired intensity.

Satish Chandra Sharma, Chandigarh

Ineffective law mechanism

It has become a stereotype and hackneyed style to flaunt raids on sweet shops on festivals like Dasehra, Karva Chauth and Diwali. The checks should be conducted throughout the year rather only during the festival season.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

Checks needed

Sanjeev Singh Bariana’s article, “Sweets alone not adulterated” was an intelligent piece about different aspects of adulteration. The innocent consumer is paying for all sorts of ailments by buying adulterated sweets, milk and even pulses and spices these days. Just to earn profits, the traders and shopkeepers sell eatable products laced with cheap, harmful and deadly chemicals. There is no effective check on the sale of such life-taking food stuff.

Either the health department is callous in conducting surprise checks on restaurants, sweet shops and other shops selling food items or officials visit these venues once a month to get their pockets fattened.

The introduction of the new Food Safety and Standards Act by the Chandigarh administration is a welcome step. It is just that there is no guarantee that new law enforcers would not be bribed or would be more pro-active in the law implementation than the earlier breed.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Dangerous drinking

Not only sweets on festivals like Dasehra, Diwali or Karva Chauth are adulterated, even whisky is adulterated, as it does not give the real taste of enjoyment and flavour. My personal experience has shown that when there is a big sale of a popular brand, then owners/workers begin to earn more profit by adding some cheap components to boost intoxication, which are also hazardous to health.

But I have never seen a whisky dealer being punished for all nefarious activities of adulteration that play havoc with lives of people when some toxic substances are added. So the anti-adulteration raids on sweet shops are just eyewash to keep away from real issues.

Iqbal Kaur Saini, Mohali



Founder’s day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Kangra Valley Welfare Association, Chandigarh, celebrated its founders' day here today.

Dedicated to the cause of educational development of poor and deserving students, it disbursed scholarships to the tune of Rs 1.12 lakh during 2010-11, said Prof Satyavan Bhatnagar in his presidential address

The day was marked by a cultural programme of music and dance, depicting various aspects of culture and folklore of the Kangra valley. The young participants were given prizes to encourage them.A souvenir was also released on the occasion, followed by a community langar.



Special train to Lucknow from November 3
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
To keep pace with the expected passenger rush during the festive season, the Northern Railway has decided to introduce a Chandigarh-Lucknow special train. Also, additional coaches will be attached to the existing long-distance trains on different routes.

The first such festival special Lucknow-Chandigarh Sadbhavna Express will run on November 3 and the train will have 16 coaches, including two AC-III and one AC-II. Train number 2231 Lucknow-Chandigarh will leave Lucknow at 8.05 am and will reach Chandigarh at 6.15 pm. It will cover Ambala, Saharanpur, Roorkee, Moradabad, Bareilly and Shehjahanpur. Train number 2232 Chandigarh-Lucknow will depart for Lucknow at 9.15 pm and reach Lucknow at 7.05 am. Talking to The Tribune, GM Singh, senior divisional commercial manager, Northern Railway, said keeping in mind the Chhath Puja, a second special train Unchahar Express running on the Chandigarh-Allahabad route was likely to run on November 7, for which an approval was awaited from the railway headquarters in Delhi.

Though the waiting list for a few moderate and long-distance trains was getting longer, additional coaches could be attached after the numbers crossed the 100 mark on a few routes, he added. According to railway sources, the Northern Railway worked in advance to introduce a special train, following petitions from several social and political organisations.

The sources added that discussions were on to attach additional coaches to the existing trains running on busy routes.



All for a cause
Sisters launch an organ-donation movement
Arun Sharma /TNS

Chandigarh, October 31
With daughters of a senior Haryana IPS officer forming MANODA (Medicos and Associates Network for Organ Donation Awareness), the organ-donation movement seems to have charmed the younger generation as well.

A student of MBBS, Vrinda, and her sister Sanchi, who is an engineering student, have already got more than 100 pledges, since October 18 ( the day the campaign was launched by the sisters).

Being a medico by profession, I have seen many people dying for want of organs. “Thousands of such lives can be saved by creating awareness among masses about the organ donation,” she said.

And the idea made me take a step in this direction, following which I contacted AIIMS, Delhi, the only centre in this region, where organs other than kidney were also transplanted, she added. Sanchi’s decision to join her sister for the noble cause turned out to be a shot in the arm for Vrinda and both of them joined hands with AIIMS and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, News Delhi. The sisters then decided to hold an awareness camp at Rewari on October 19. Harman Sidhu of Arrive Safe, an NGO, who joined hands with the duo, said apart from working for saving lives on national highways, the organisation would help in saving people in need of organ transplant as well. 



83-yr-old vocalist spells magic
SD Sharma

Ganyogini Dhondotai Kulkarni
Ganyogini Dhondotai Kulkarni 

Chandigarh, October 31
Retaining the youthful freshness in her otherwise mellifluous voice, the 83-year-old Mumbai-based versatile vocalist, Ganyogini Dhondotai Kulkarni spelt magic in her recital, providing a grand finale to the 33rd edition of the INT Chandigarh Sangeet Sammelan at Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan here today.

Amidst welcome applause, revered maestro Dhondotai commenced with the exposition of raga Kabir Bhairav in an absorbing Khyal Vilambat “Aeri meri mai” and “Manmohan sanvre..” in drut lya.

Explaining the special significance of shrutis, she moved on raga Todi delineating its melodic essence in “Raaj karo..”

After amadhya lya composition “Ya darbar…” in raga Parbati, the maestro concluded the long recital with “Ab kachhu kahe na..” in raga Lachhman saak.

Observing the niceties of pure classicism in music, Dhondobai excelled in all departments of the soulful gayaki in the memorable concert.

Besides tabla exponent Sridhar Padhye and foremost disciples of Guru Dhondobai, both Rutura Lad and Namita Din Dayal gave matching vocal support and drone on tanpuras, while Seema Shirodkar provided brilliant accompaniment on harmonium.

Earlier Justice Mukul Mudgal, Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, lighted the traditional lamp and honoured the artistes. 



Pangs of Partition brought alive
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, October 31
The pangs of forced Partition and unavoidable holocaust were brought alive in a poignant play, “Jis Lahore Nahin Vekhya auh Jamya Nahin..”, staged by about 80 prodigious and senior student actors of Vivek High School to mark the Founder’s Week celebrations of the school today.

The budding actors portrayed their respective characters with an emotional feel, enlivening the situations pertaining to 1947. The play director, PK Singh and her associate, Ritika Khanna deserve a special mention, who ably subjected Asgar Wajahat classic to certain aberrations for theatrical adaptation and to convey a message of universal love and harmony.

The play traced the life of “Rattan ki Amma”, the protagonist, worried for the welfare of her son, Rattan, who left Lahore in the holocaust that followed partition. But Amma continued to live in the old haveli and refused to leave even when the house was allotted to Sikendar Mirza, a refugee from Lucknow. It highlighted the relationship that existed between religion, intellectuals and common man. The play conveyed the horror of holocaust and underlined powerful tragedy, along with bringing to light the value of universal human emotions of love, compassion and brotherhood.

Viren Tanver, Pawni Nath, Karan, Ish and Manik played the main roles. Director HS Mamik welcomed Justice SS Sodhi and Justice Adarah Anand, who blessed the budding artistes.



Protest over status of scheme
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 31
Members of the National Consumer Awareness Group Society today gathered at Sector 92 to protest against uncertainty over the status of a housing scheme floated by the society four years ago.

While addressing a large gathering, members of the society said after the society purchased 15.5 acres of land in Sector 92 , each member had paid between Rs 2.50 lakh and Rs 3.50 lakh on account of 15 per cent cost of the flat, for which the housing scheme was floated.

The members had been running from pillar to post to know about the status of the project, but society’s chairman Lt Col PJS Mehta was not heeding their pleas, said the members. They alleged that a new committee constituted to dispose of the land was not allowed to work.



20 couples tie knot at mass marriage function
Tribune News Service

Newly wed brides at a mass marriage function held in Mohali on Sunday. Mohali, October 31
Twenty couples hailing from poor families were married at a mass marriage function organised by the Punjabi Cultural Welfare Society and the Sardar Sukhdev Singh Gill Memorial Welfare Society at the Guru Ravi Dass Gurdwara in Phase 7 here on Sunday.

Phool Raj, the area councillor, and an office-bearer of the organising committee, said that household items worth RS 4,000 were gifted to the newly married couples.

The mass marriage was an annual event of the welfare society.

Newly wed brides at a mass marriage function held in Mohali on Sunday. A Tribune photograph



Contractors axe trees without permission
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

A tree uprooted illegally in Bardar forest.
A tree uprooted illegally in Bardar forest. A file photo 

Mohali, October 31
In a shocking revelation, a probe by the Punjab Forest Department has exposed a racket by contractors who ended up felling 40 per cent more than the sanctioned 12,000 trees in Bardar forest located in Siswan range near Chandigarh. The trees valued at lakhs of rupees comprise sheesham, khair and kikkar.

Three officials — Balwinder, a guard; Sukhwinder, the forester; and RS Chakkal, the range officer — all of who were deputed in the Siswan range have been held responsible for the illicit felling of trees in the otherwise forest range. Inquiry officer conservator (soil conservation) RK Mishra, said he had submitted a report indicting three, but declined to divulge any details. Conservator (Shivaliks) Parveen Kumar said he was yet to receive a copy of the report that had been marked by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest MP Rai.

While undertaking the reckless felling, the contractors reportedly did not even spare the young trees that, as per law, could not be touched. The inquiry report is learnt to have recorded cases of cutting and uprooting a number of young trees.

This is the third inquiry related to illicit felling. Two previous inquiries did not yield anything as Bardar residents had alleged being targeted by the contractor’s men in connivance with forest officials.

The incidence had first come to light last April. The villagers had given a representation to the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests alleging that under the garb of securing permits for tree felling, unscrupulous elements even ventured to other nearby areas and indulged in large-scale tree felling. The villagers had also seized a tractor trolley with the illegally felled trees in the presence of forest officials.



Uploading PhD work online
Committee rules out proposal
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Uploading the PhD course work online, as promised by Panjab University officials at the Senate meeting held on October 10, now appears to be a grim idea.

A special committee, constituted to look into the case of in-service teachers applying for leave to do PhD course work, has ruled out this possibility of uploading the data on web.

Despite this, officials claim that a method is being worked out wherein classes would be conducted for such candidates at the time of the year, which best suits them.

Certain fellows had expressed concern on compensating the academic burden on affiliated colleges in case their teachers apply for leave to do PhD. Since the University Grants Commission (UGC) does not offer special leave for the in-service teachers to pursue the course work, the teachers generally take leave during this time.

Responding to a query put forth by a fellow at the last Senate meeting, the PU Registrar replied that a separate committee be constituted to address the issue. Replying to the same question, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti said the “course work would be put online”.

“A committee formed to look into the matter has already met once and they are working out a solution where the course work is undertaken at a suitable time of the year for such candidates. Since the course work for various departments and different courses is different, it may not be possible to upload it shortly,” said PU Registrar AK Bhandari.

Riding high on its online aspirations, the university has already announced online admissions for most courses for the academic session 2011-2012 and the groundwork is being done for the same. 



From Schools & Colleges
Sports day

Panchkula: Pre-primary annual sports day for playgroup to UKG classes was held at Saupin’s School, Panchkula. Around 300 students from these classes participated in march past as well as track events. Several innovative sports events like pick the ball and run, miss and match race, obstacle race, relay race, biscuit race, pyramid race, market race, butterfly race, bicycle race, flat race, frog race, Cinderella race, sorting race, jalebi race, drink the juice and run, were organised. Director and founder of the school June Saupin gave away prizes.

Annual function

Colourful presentation by students mesmerised the audience during the annual function held at Delhi Public School in Pinjore here today.

Different art forms like singing, dance and sports prop dance were used by the students to spread the message in the present world there was a need to change the mind-set of people.

Chief guest on the occasion Paramveer Singh, Haryana Cabinet Minister, while congratulating the students for their presentation exhorted them to pursue their dreams.

Fresher’s day

Kharar: Fresher’s day was held at GGS Sachdeva College. The event started with an introduction round and ramp walk by contestants for Mr and Ms Fresher. Simranjeet Singh and Mehak were crowned Mr and Miss Fresher, respectively.

Cultural fest

A two-day techno cultural festival “Esperanza”, was held at Doaba

Group of Colleges. Students from 37 colleges and universities from

Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab participated. Events included GD, mock- interviews, creative writing, sci-fi-Calci, Google-doodle, master of maths, rapid coders, LAN gaming, rock arena, dance mania, etc. — TNS



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