C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Series of burglaries, snatchings in city
Thieves strike at 11 shops, decamp with Rs 3.25 lakh & mobile phones 147 police beats to be set up by Jan
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Blowing the lid off the tall claims of the UT Police about having secured the city, burglars struck at as many as 11 shops in Sectors 19, 31 and 32 and Dhanas village in the wee hours of this morning and decamped with about Rs 3.25 lakh in cash and mobile phones worth Rs 50,000 after forcing the shops open with rods and hammers.

A total of six shops were burgled in a single block of the Sector 32 market while a shop each was looted in Sectors 19 and 31 and Dhanas village. However, two shop owners in the Sector 31 and Sector 32 markets were fortunate as the thieves were unable to open their shops. Both markets do not have a watchman.

Rajiv Batra, owner of Batra Tyres in Sector 32, said he learnt about the theft in his shop around 5.30 am from his milkman. “On reaching the shop, I was shocked to see that the shutters were wide open. They took away Rs 20,000 from the drawer, but did not touch anything else,” he said.

His neighbour, Munish of Bansal Fashion House, lost Rs 2.05 lakh. Showing the broken locks, he said the burglars had only taken cash from his shop. The owner of Khosla Book Shop claimed that cash worth Rs 20,000 and mobiles worth Rs 50,000 were stolen from his shop.

The other shops in the block, which became the target of the burglars, were Ajaz Tailors (lost Rs 20,000) and Krishna Dry Cleaners (Rs 19,295). However, the owner of Chopra Jewellers was lucky as the thieves broke two locks of the shutter, but failed to force it open because of an internal lock.

In Sector 31, the miscreants broke into Harish Store and stole Rs 5,000. The locks of another shop, Farid Medicos, located in the same row were also found broken, but no loss was reported.

In Sector 19, the thieves took away Rs 7,000 from a confectionery shop while from an electronics shop in Dhanas, the thieves stole Rs 15,000.

“It seems to be the handiwork of one gang. We have started investigations,” said the Sector 34 police station SHO, Inspector Uday Pal.

Beat System

“We have decided to create 147 beats with 340 policemen by January,” DSP Roshan Lal stated. The city was earlier divided into 171 beats comprising four policemen and a representative of an NGO. “But the system has collapsed with the transfer of most beat officials to the Police Control Room,” a senior police officer admitted. Former SSP SS Srivastava had announced a revival of the beat system by September. His successor, Naunihal Singh, is now talking of reviving basic policing.



3 in quick succession
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Miscreants struck in the city, snatching gold chains and a purse in three incidents in Sectors 22 and Industrial Area, this afternoon, about 12 hours after several shops were burgled elsewhere in the city.

In the first incident, two chain snatchers riding a Pulsar motorcycle struck in Sector 22, where they snatched a gold chain from a 70-year-old woman, Krishna Kataria.

One of the chain snatchers caught the attention of the septuagenarian by calling out to her and saying, “Auntyji.” When she looked up, the miscreant snatched her chain from her neck before the eyes of her granddaughter. The victim’s family claimed to have noted down the vehicle number, which was communicated to the police.

In the second incident, Palvi of Sector 22 lost her gold chain to two miscreants, who were riding a motorcycle, near her residence in the afternoon. She said she was unable to notice the number of the vehicle.

In the third incident, Paras Ram of Industrial Area became the victim when a few boys ran away after snatching his purse, containing Rs 4,020.



Hours after police mock drill, theft at Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 8
Barely seven-and-a-half hours after the police undertook a mock drill to check the preparedness and police response to robberies in the Sector 11 market, a thief cocked a snook at the men in khaki by fleeing with cash and cell phones worth lakhs from a mobile showroom in the same market.

At 7.30 pm, the police had organised an hour-long mock drill. The Superintendent of Police had informed the police control room through someone’s cell phone about a “robbery” in the Sector 11 market. The exercise was aimed at checking the response of the police. Various police teams had reached the site within 20 minutes.

At around 2.50 am, a thief struck in the same market and decamped with Rs 37,000 in cash and 40 mobile sets worth several thousand rupees within 24 hours.

The theft was discovered after the shop owner, Surinder, opened his shop in the morning and found mobile phone boxes scattered on the floor. He informed the police, which arrived at the site with a dog squad. A team of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory also reached the site and took fingerprints.

The CCTV camera footage showed a person entering the showroom from the rear after breaking a window grill at 2.52 am. The face of the accused was covered. He stayed on the premises for over an hour before fleeing.



International flights not yet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The city’s hopes of marking its presence on the international flight map may not be realised for another five months or so.

City residents will have to wait for flying out to international destinations from the city airport till the new integrated terminal becomes entirely operational and the airport has another essential facilities, including night landing for such operations.

Director of Chandigarh airport, HS Toor, said as of now the first priority was to complete the new terminal and shift the operations of domestic airlines there. Once the operations

of domestic flight commence smoothly, then only we can start working on starting international flights.

He said, “Apart from getting the latest instrument landing system (ILS), which will enable night landing, modalities have to be worked out for setting up custom and immigration set ups, which may take some additional time.”

The airport at present has no ILS and the process of installing CAT I is underway, which is useful during bad weather conditions by assisting aircraft landing in low visibility between 2800-1200 m only and is likely to be completed by mid this month. This has to be upgraded to CAT II, which will enable night landing.

The hopes of city residents for international flights from here had soared after FlyDubai, an airline, announced commencing its operation from July 23, 2009. Though the announcement had created a lot of hype, the plan had shelved, as required infrastructure was not available. In addition, the Air Force, which controls the airport, had raised objections due to security reasons.

Meanwhile, the completion of airport has been hit by several delays. The deadline for the project has already been extended twice and the authorities were hoping that the construction work would get completed by March 2010. It has been more than three years now since the construction work is in progress.



Medicity scrapped, officially
300-bedded hospital to come up instead
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Even as the UT Administration today officially scrapped the controversial medicity project with plans to now set up a 300-bedded government hospital in the southern sectors, residents’ wait for a quality and affordable healthcare is set to be prolonged.

Given the delayed pace of the execution of the projects, particularly in the health sector, the hospital will take a long time to come up as the ambitious project will require to be eventually cleared by the Union Government.

A high-level meeting, presided by UT Adviser Pradip Mehra, today formally scrapped the project on the plea that the public-private partnership (PPP) model would not succeed in the health sector. The meeting also formed a committee with Dr Raj Bahadur, Director-Principal of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32,(GMCH-32), as the chairperson to finalise the modalities for the new hospital. The Chief Architect will coordinate with the committee to identify a suitable area for the hospital.

However, the ambitious plans may not be translated on ground soon as every major project concerning the UT requires to be approved by the Union Government. Proposals for major projects need to be routed to the ministries concerned through the ministry of home affairs (MHA), which takes a long time to process. Besides, high financial implications of these projects have also resulted in undue delays in execution.

The GMCH-32 is a case in point. Even after two decades of its inception, a portion of the hospital is yet to be completed. The condition of the Government Multi-speciality Hospital, Sector 16, is no different. Its upgradation has been delayed for a substantial period.

In 2008, the medicity project led to a slugfest between Mehra and the then Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator SF Rodrigues. While Rodrigues went out of his way to push the project under the PPP model, Mehra went on record to oppose it.

Mehra also raised objections to the proposed move of the high-profile Medicity Committee, headed by Rodrigues, to fix Rs 203.70 crore as the reserve upfront project fee price for 45 acres of prime land, valued at about Rs 2,000 crore, in the IT park area.

Saying that the committee’s evaluation of the total land at Rs 1,358 crore was on the “lower side”, the Adviser noted that the price should have been close to Rs 2,000 crore.

Death knell for mega projects?

The scrapping of the medicity project has driven the last nail in the coffin of mega projects. It has followed in the footsteps of other big projects like the film city and the amusement park. Projects like the modern terminal market, milk village and educity are also facing problems.

Land acquisition trouble

With every decision regarding the land acquisition for major projects being questioned by the MHA and opposed by UT farmers, the acquisition of land for the hospital will pose another problem for the UT Administration. Huge financial implications for the administration, particularly in the wake of the Rs 15,000-crore metro project for the city, will also come in the way of the execution of the project.


Night Food Street
After flip-flop, back to business
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
After a flip-flop for almost a week, kiosk owners at the night food street here agreed to resume business today.

The announcement came as relief to over 4,000 Panjab University boarders and hundreds of patients and their attendants at the PGI, otherwise unable to get food in the night.

The future of the night food street had been facing uncertainty since December 3, when at least five quintal of prepared food items were destroyed during a raid led by Additional Deputy Commissioner PS Shergill, after finding glaring violations under the Food Adulteration Act.

It was pointed out that kiosk owners were supposed to use the place for serving food prepared at the base kitchen. All six stall owners were cooking food in the open and the backyard.

Defiant stall owners shut their shops, stating that cleanliness would be difficult to maintain, given the limited space provided to them.

On December 6, the shopkeepers submitted an application with the municipal corporation for surrendering the kiosks, stating that the floor and roof at the night food street was broken while the lighting arrangement was a shambles. It was next to impossible to serve food in a hygienic area, they stated.

The shopkeepers were cautioned that if they did not reopen their stalls, they could lose the sums they had deposited at the time of allotment. The amount was equal to six months’ rent, which worked out to over Rs 5.5 lakh for some shopkeepers.

The shopkeepers were assured that the issues raised would be looked into in case they reopened their shops. The Mayor assured them that repairs would be carried out and their demand for more seating arrangements would be looked into.



With more workers, PGI looks cleaner
More needs to be done; contractual workers adamant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Sanitary conditions started improving at the PGI today as 70 persons from the Punjab and Haryana governments, the union territory and NSS volunteers joined here.

The strike by contractual employees continued for the fifth day. The sacks of garbage lying at different places at the hospital were removed from a majority of places.

PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said 20 persons were employed by the new contractor and 30 employees working with the previous contractor joined duty, which helped streamline working.

Nevertheless, things were not up to the mark at the hospital. While all toilets were stinking, the ground floor of the new OPD building, which was visited by more than 5,000 persons on any working day, was full of litter.

Meanwhile, leaders of contractual workers remained adamant on their demand of action against security officer PC Sharma, who allegedly slapped a woman employee on Friday, following which there was a clash between the employees and security personnel.

Union leader Gopal, who was released on bail yesterday, said they held a meeting with Assistant Labour Commissioner LK Sharma today.

They informed him of their demand and were told that labour department officials would meet the PGI Director tomorrow to resolve the issue.



Lawyer seeks judicial intervention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Bringing ailing health services at the PGI due to the strike by contractual staff to the notice of Punjab and Haryana, a local advocate today sought judicial intervention for ending the stir.

Taking up the petition filed by advocate Ajay Jagga, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ranjan Gogoi today issued a notice of motion to the Union of India, the PGI and other respondents.

In his petition, Jagga sought the issuance of directions to the respondents, especially the Centre and the PGI, to forthwith ensure that the strike was immediately curbed so as to ensure that the patients admitted to the hospital did not suffer further.

The petition, filed through counsel Mansur Ali, also sought directions to initiate action against “the contractual employees, who have started the illegal strike, which has further resulted in impairment of medical facilities at the PGI”.

“A premium institute like the PGI has been reduced to a non-performing hospital in the absence of contractual staff. Lack of medical facility directly hits the personal liberty of an individual. The PGI is duty bound to initiate action against the striking employees under the National Security Act, 1980. Further, the PGI is duty bound to initiate action against the striking employees under Section 166 of the IPC,” it noted.



10 jhuggis razed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 8
Land earmarked for constructing flats in Phase I was retrieved by the enforcement wing of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) by demolishing 10 jhuggis during a drive carried out here today.

The drive went on smoothly as no retaliation was witnessed by the team led by junior engineer Ashok Kumar. Jhuggi dwellers had removed their belongings before the drive. No police help was sought and the demolition was carried out with the help of GMADA’s own security staff.

GMADA had issued notices to jhuggi dwellers about a month ago asking them to vacate the area. When officials went to the spot yesterday they saw that the area had not been vacated. Jhuggi dwellers requested them to give one day’s time to remove their belongings.

Santosh Kumar Bains, SDO, said four flats each measuring 133 sq yards were proposed to be constructed on the encroached area. A part of the area was vacated today, but the remaining was encroached upon by khokha owners. They had moved a local court to get relief, but had lost the case. GMADA will soon chalk out a plan to even remove these illegal khokha owners so that the proposal of constructing houses in that area can be implemented.

Land worth crores of rupees was earlier recovered after the enforcement team of GMADA had demolished more than 50 jhuggis which had illegally come up around the same area in Phase I.



Cops still clueless about motive behind realtor’s death
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 8
In an unexpected development, the Mohali Police has come to the conclusion that the mysterious death of Panchkula realtor Suresh Kumar was either an accident or an outcome of a failed love affair as the police has failed to establish the motive behind the suspected murder.

The charred body of Suresh was found lying on the rear seat of the burnt Suzuki Swift car near Siswan village on the Mullanpur-Baddi highway on November 27.

Earlier, the police had been towing with the theory of the victim being done to death due to an alleged love affair. But in a sudden turn of events, the investigators have changed the course, which means that suspected assailants, if any, have been let off the hook. The stoic silence maintained by the family members of the victim has only added to the confusion.

“Either the investigators seem to be under some pressure or the family of the deceased is not keen on tracking down to the assailants due to certain family reasons. The police has ample experience and resources to solve a murder case and procure the call details. Many tough cases have been solved in the past”, observed a senior police official.

In the past 10 days, the police has not been bale to establish the motive behind the death of Suresh. “If there is no motive, then there will be no assailants and case can be passed off as an accident or a failed love affair can be mentioned as the cause of death. It was near impossible to believe the manner in which a jilted lover could have ended his life as the circumstantial evidence did not confirm the theory”, observed the sources.

So far, the police has registered a case of murder and it is not keen on adding another section of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that can unveil the facts behind the death of Suresh.

What is puzzling the cops is the fact that Suresh died few days ahead of the marriage of the girl in question and his body was found few kilometers away from the house of the girl. The circumstantial evidence and accounts of some unconfirmed eyewitnesses had also added to the confusion.

The burnt vehicle was found in the middle of the road and that too where the road takes a sloping, indicating an abrupt turn of events in or around the vehicle resulting in the driver applying sudden brakes. The victim’s body was found charred in the vehicle at the same spot.

Earlier, the police believed that the victim died due to a sudden confrontation that apparently led to the death of Suresh. Though indications are that the deceased was either called or intercepted midway, but the police is still clueless about the motive behind the incident.

Either the investigators seem to be under some pressure or the family of the deceased is not keen on tracking down the assailants due to certain family reasons. The police has ample experience and resources to solve a murder case and procure call details. Many tough cases have been solved in the past.

— Senior police official



Murder victim was not raped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Colony No. 5 resident Vimla Devi, whose body was found near the cow shed at Sector 45 on Monday, had not been raped. This was confirmed by the post-mortem report, said DSP (South) Vijay Kumar.

“We are working on two or three theories and have got vital clues. The case will be cracked soon,” he said, declining to give details.

Fortytwo-year-old Vimla went missing in the wee hours on December 3.

Her body was found lying in the bushes near the cow shed with a shawl around her neck and injury marks on her face.



Rs 90 lakh budget for carpeting roads mooted
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 8
The Zirakpur municipal council has planned to spend ` 90 lakh for carpeting the roads at the Pabhat godown area. The roads at Pabhat godown are in a deplorable condition from the past many years.

The godown owners had requested the council to improve the basic facilities for the godown area many times, but in vain.

Amit Jain, president of C&F Association, Zirakpur, alleged that encroachment on the road was causing inconvenience to visitors, but no action had been taken so far. He demanded that the work of carpeting of roads should be started on priority basis.

MC officials claimed that the work of sewerage laying has completed. The council had written to higher authorities to design the metalled roads for godown area.

Sources said an estimate of ` 90 lakh had been sent for approval at the local bodies department and after getting approval the tenders for carpeting Pabhat godown roads would be called.



Power staff stir gets partial response
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 8
The two-day strike called by employees of the Punjab State Power Corporation received a partial response today.

Members of one section of the Technical Services Union, too, staged a dharna against the policies of the corporation.

Some employees were seen working in various sections of the corporation’s office. Cash counters were functional and consumers were seen depositing their bills at the main office located in the Industrial Area. The store wing also functioned normally.

While one section of the Technical Services Union (TSU) did not participate in the strike, the other held a rally outside the main office of the corporation here.

Jai Kishan Sharma, president, Mohali DS circle, TSU, said the Ministerial Services Union, JE Council, PSEB Federation (AITUC) and TSU participated in the strike from the Mohali circle. He said the strike had to be called since the power corporation failed to concede to their demands. The authorities concerned were not serious to tackle the issues raised by employees who had been postponing the protest on the assurance of the management. The strike was scheduled to be held on November 24 and 25 but was postponed. As the talks held yesterday failed to yield results, employees were compelled to protest, he added.



Patil confers medals on 48 Punjab cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Punjab Governor Shivraj V Patil today conferred President’s Police Medals for Distinguished Service and Police Medals for Meritorious Service upon 48 Punjab police personnel at an investiture ceremony, held for the first time here, at the Punjab Raj Bhawan.

Speaking on the occasion, the Governor underlined the need to chalk out an immediate plan to counter the challenges of radiological, chemical and biological weapon use in the near future as per the intelligence gathered by international agencies.

He said the time had come to upgrade weaponry, training methodology and communication equipment of the state police forces to prepare the forces to meet the growing challenges of rapidly changing crime patterns, especially white-collared crimes and the ever-increasing use of technology by criminals.

The Governor further asked for specialised training of police officers and men so that there was a specialised set-up to deal with different type of crimes.

He said the state police must have its specialised units for effective traffic management, mob control, neutralising terrorists and other hardcore criminals, ensuring law and order and other responsibilities.

The Governor pointed out that the Punjab Police had made a mark by crushing decade-long terrorism in the state with most professional acumen and made innumerable sacrifices during the battle against terrorism.

Appreciating the Punjab Police for the exemplary efficiency and gallantry displayed by it while fighting sponsored terrorism in Punjab, the Governor cautioned the state police against any complacency as it has a long international border, besides a hostile neighbour.

Earlier, Punjab DGP PS Gill welcomed the Punjab Governor and congratulated medal recipients for their feat. He said the Punjab Police, during its 150 years’ history, had passed through many difficult times and always boldly withstood the challenges of time, proving victorious and successful.

The President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service was conferred upon Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Gurdaspur, now DIG, Bathinda Range, Pawan Kumar Uppal, SP, Regional Training Centre, Braham Paul, AIG/CI, Jagtar Singh, DSP, PAP, and ASI Gurdev Singh, Khanna.

Similarly, the Police Medal for Meritorious Service was conferred upon BK Garg, IGP (Security), SS Chauhan, DIG, Jalandhar Range, now IGP (Headquarters), RN Dhoke, DIG (Intelligence-II), now Additional Commissioner of Security (Civil Aviation), Bureau of Civil Aviation, Security, New Delhi, PK Sinha, now Deputy Director, Sardar Vallabhbhai National Police Academy, Hyderabad, Kamal Kumar, SP (Crime) Jalandhar, Makhan Singh, AIG (Counter-Intelligence), Amritsar, Mandeep Singh, SP (Excise and Taxation), Gurdev Singh, SP (Punjab State Human Rights Commission), Chandigarh, Inder Mohan Singh, SSP, Muktsar, Opinderjit Singh Ghuman, AIG (Counter-Intelligence), Jalandhar, Ashwani Kapoor, AIG (Personnel-II), Avtar Singh, DSP, and Narinder Singh Rana, DSP (North), Ludhiana City.

Hardevinder Singh, DSP (Rural), Patiala, Dharm Singh Uppal, SP (Operations), SBS Nagar, Des Raj, DSP(Vigilance Bureau unit), Bathinda, Balraj Singh Gill, ACP, Sahnewal (Ludhiana), Lakhbir Singh, DSP (CID unit), SAS Nagar, Leela Devi, in charge, women cell, Jalandhar, Mohinder Lal, Phillaur, Jagir Singh (CID unit), Amritsar, Ranjodh Singh, reader to DGP (Prisons), Dilbagh Singh, Phillaur, Sukhjit Singh, in charge, Training School, Fatehgarh Sahib, Kabal Singh, O/o AIG, Amritsar, Sohan Lal, Mohinder Pal, Bahadur Singh, RTC, Jalandhar, Amrik Singh, O/o IGP Training, Deepak Rai, Intelligence Headquarters, Manjit Singh, Batala, Ashok Kumar, Indian Reserve Battalion, Amritsar, Kulbir Singh, Kartar Singh, Police Lines, Ludhiana City, late Hardev Singh, Amritsar, Harpal Singh, O/o ADGP (IVC-cum-human rights), Punjab, Sukhpal Singh, Rajpura, Satpal Singh, Ludhiana, Balwant Rai, Baldev Raj, Gurdaspur, Devinder Kumar, Ludhiana, Inder Mohan, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Harjit Singh, Moga, were the other awardees.



ASC celebrates 250th anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The Army Service Corps (ASC), the oldest logistics component of the Army, celebrated its 250th anniversary at the Chandi Mandir military station here today.

Floral tributes were paid at the Veer Smriti war memorial. Several functions, including a ‘barakhana’ and a social get-together for serving personnel and veterans were also organised.

Raised in 1760, the ASC was responsible for regular and uninterrupted movement of men, material and stores in all types of terrain and in all kinds of operational environment.



‘Benefits should reach needy’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Lalit Joshi Bhardwaj, chairperson of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board, said here today that benefits of government welfare schemes should reach the needy.

She was inaugurating a one-day orientation training programme for organisers of an awareness generation project at Karuna Sadan here today.

Dr Sonia Puri, associate professor, Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital, delivered the keynote address, emphasising the importance of breast-feeding and provisions of the Infant Milk Substitute Act.

Madhu Arora, chief dietician with the hospital, explained methods to prepare a balanced diet for children, adolescents, lactating women and the elderly.

Pankaj Mohan Kansal, an advocate on the panel of the State Legal Services Authority, addressed the issue of domestic violence and provisions of the Act for the benefit of women.



Nijhawan appointed as central govt counsel

Chandigarh, December 8
Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Rishi Nijhawan has been appointed as central government counsel.

A notification issued by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, department of legal affairs, said the President has also engaged Nijhawan for conducting the “cases filed against public officers, while in service of the Central government, before the Punjab and Haryana High Court”. The notification adds, he will not handle income tax and railway department cases, and will continue for three years or till further orders.

A copy of the notification has been sent to additional solicitor-general of India Mohan Jain and assistant solicitor-general of India Anmol Rattan Sidhu. — TNS



‘Dead Awaken’ to perfection on stage, relive realism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The second day of the Chandigarh Ibsen Festival unfolded with the play, “When We Dead Awaken”.

Ibsen’s play directed by Lithuanian director Saulius Antanas Varnas revolved around two characters, Arnold Rubek, a sculptor, and Irene, his subject.

Ibsen, considered to be the father of modern drama, was a Norwegian playwright. He is responsible for “realistic drama.”

The play “Peer Gynt”, directed by Deepan Sivaraman will be staged tomorrow at 6.30 pm at the Tagore Theatre.



Apology sought from Manpreet Badal
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 8
Chairman of the Mohali District Planning Board NK Sharma today stated that former Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal had not only betrayed the family of Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, and his cousin Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, but had also misled the people on subsidy issue by allegedly availing a subsidy of more than Rs 19 lakh for himself and opposing the same for the weaker sections of society and farmers.

Demanding an immediate apology from him, Sharma said Manpreet should now accept the truth that it was the SAD-BJP government which had taken care of the welfare of the people in the state and his stand on subsidy issue was nothing except an attempt to misguide people.

Launching a campaign for enrolment of workers in the Youth Akali Dal, he said more than two lakh young workers would be enrolled in the state under the guidance of Bikram Singh Majithia, patron, within a month. In Mohali district, more than 25,000 youths would be enrolled in the wing,” he added.

Sharma said the youth wing would also launch a war against social evils, particularly drug addiction and female infanticide in rural areas. Village and ward-level committees would be formed to implement the comprehensive plan, he added.



‘Stroke below 40 common’
Junk food, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity major reasons, says doctor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The sedentary lifestyle has led to an increase in the number of cases of brain stroke in the younger generation as 30 per cent of such patients reaching the PGI are below 40 years.

This was stated by Dr Sudesh Prabhakar, head of neurology, at PGI here today. Organising chairman of a two-day Indo-US programme on Comprehensive Stroke Centre Training, to start tomorrow, said junk food, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and lack of physical activity were the major reasons behind the fact that more and more younger people were falling prey to stroke globally, which otherwise was a problem of people above 60 years, he said.

Dr Dheeraj Khurana, organising secretary of the programme, said the increasing trends of smoking and drug addiction among the youth had also aggravated the situation and the number of young patients suffering from stroke was increasing gradually.

Stroke led to an immense burden of death and disability. It was the second highest cause of death in the world and the leading cause of disability. In India alone, 250 persons in a population of one lakh had stroke annually.

Stroke would occur when a blood vessel in the brain got occluded or burst. This resulted in decreased blood supply to the brain and death of a large number of neurons (brain cells). It was the major cause of physical disability and the third most important cause of mortality in the elderly.

Following acute stroke, a large number of neurons died every minute as these cells could not withstand the lack of blood supply for longer than a few minutes. Within the first six hours, most of the damage was done, which is difficult to reverse.

The present modalities of treatment were useful if begun in the first couple of hours, before the irreversible damage. An organised approach to stroke treatment was possible with development of primary and comprehensive stroke centres. These were the need of the hour in the country.



Water supply in Sec 27, 29 hit

Chandigarh, December 8
The drinking water supply was disrupted in parts of the city when a main pipeline going through the road at roundabout near grain market got damaged here today. The employees of Public Health department tried to repair the pipe but it could not be done till late evening.

Following this, there was no water supply in Sector 27, and Sector 29 where residents kept on inquiring about the reason of undeclared cut. Dhreeraj, a resident of Sector 29 B, said he was left with no drinking water as no water supply was made after the morning hours. He had to purchase bottles of drinking water from the market to meet the requirement for cooking as well as for drinking purpose. Davinder Singh Babla, the ward councillor, said such complaints from this area were a routine and steps should taken by the department so that there could be a permanent solution to the problem. — TNS



Police to step up PCR patrolling at night
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
In the wake of the recent gangrape of a female BPO employee in Delhi, the city police has decided to increase night patrolling at strategic points after holding a meeting with representatives of local call centres here yesterday.

From now onwards police control room (PCR) vehicles will be stationed at 24 locations in the city during nighttime. These mainly fall on the routes that night shift women employees of call centers take to reach their offices and return home.

“We’ve selected the locations after holding a detailed discussion with representatives of various call centers in the city. We’ve also advised them to verify the antecedents of all drivers and private security personnel of their vans carrying the staff” said deputy police superintendent (communications) Roshan Lal.

He added four PCR telephone numbers (274-9194/274-6509/ 94165121000/100) have been provided to all call centre employees.


1. DD Mall/IT Park

2. IT Park traffic lights

3. Housing Board traffic lights

4. TPT traffic lights

5. Grain Market chowk

6. Hira Singh chowk

7. Near petrol station, Sec 4

8. In front of Panjab & Haryana CMs’ residences

9. PGI chowk

10. Yatri Niwas chowk

11. Secs 37/38-40/41 roundabout

12. Sec 38 West

13. Peddy Mandi

14. Airport chowk

15. Hallomajra traffic lights to rly station intersection

16. Tribune chowk

17. Gurdwara chowk

18. Kisan Bhawan chowk

19. Aroma traffic lights

20. Press traffic lights

21. Museum chowk

22. Sec 43 bus stand intersection

23. Secs 31/32-46/47 intersection

24. Golf turn near CGA



CHB decision on panel welcomed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The CHB Residents Federation has welcomed the decision of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) to form an all-party councillors’ committee and give it three months’ time to suggest new need-based changes in CHB units.

In a rally at Sector 40-C here yesterday, the federation invited all members of the committee to present certain suggestions before them. According to the federation, the recently given 42 concessions, which met only small needs of residents, were still under consideration.

In the present circumstances, more than 95 per cent of the residents were being treated as violators, it noted. Around 35 per cent residents who lived in one-room houses or EWS houses were being looked upon as encroachers, it added.



Mercury dips, expect more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Continuing the trend that it has been following for the past couple of days, mercury dipped further today. The city, however, was still better off as compared to the rest of north India.

The maximum temperature recorded today was 24.5 degree Celsius (two degrees above normal) while the minimum went down to 6.4 degree Celsius (one degree below normal).

Weathermen said a further dip was expected in the coming days. The maximum temperature was expected to be around 24 degree Celsius on Thursday, while the minimum could be lower than the prevailing level, around 6 degree Celsius, meteorologists added. They further said mist or haze might occur on Thursday morning.

The fall in minimum temperature, according to the Met office, was normal for this time of the year. “It is winter and the normal minimum temperature will keep going down over the next few weeks,” a meteorological department official said.

Fog was yet to make its presence felt in the city. It would be formed only when a western disturbance approached the area. “In most cases, it is formed after a western disturbance has caused rainfall and is moving away,” said an official.



Centrally funded status won’t come easy to PU
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
With Panjab University having moved closer to its dream of getting the status of a centrally funded institute, it’s a tough way ahead for the PU authorities.

Amongst several requisites put forth by the Centre, one of the major ones is a condition asking the university to necessarily increase its annual income by over 10 per cent every year.

The condition has left many, including students, perturbed as speculations fly high that PU might soon be in for a fee hike.

“The key source of income of the university is fee and increasing this income would obviously mean increasing the fee. The university authorities are tightlipped on the issue, as they fear students’ resentment. The university is still not divulging that the central status would not be beneficial to students,” said a PU Senator.

“The VC is so far denying any increase but how will he increase the income without doing so? We all know that this hike will be done by increasing the exam fee where the subject was brought at the Senate meeting days after its implementation,” added another.

According to speculations, situation will be worse for the students of self-financing courses who will face the brunt of this status.

“At a recent meeting, the VC categorically asked us to forget any reduction in fee of any self-financing course in lieu of the central funding. Self-financing courses are key source of PU’s income and the authorities will try to extract the extra amount from them only. The status will be a serious blow to the self-financing courses,” added a department chairperson.

No plan to hike fee: VC

Yes we are supposed to increase our income every year in order to get and sustain the status, but I am not planning any fee hike so far. All talks about any such hike are mere speculations. The current income of PU stands at a respectable amount of Rs 114 crore today and I have achieved it without any fee hike. Before me taking over as the VC, the fee was hiked by 10 per cent every year, but ever since I joined in not even a single penny has been increased and still the university is in a remarkable condition financially. We will work out a way to meet the condition and this status will benefit both students and faculty

— Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University



In-service academic upgradation
PU to grant 2 increments to non-teaching staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Rejoicing its hundreds of non-teaching employees, Panjab University has decided to grant two special increments to all those going in for in-service academic upgradation.

Extending this benefit earlier reserved for teaching and research staff to non-teaching staff, the Vice-Chancellor made this declaration at the Senate meeting held recently.

“All employees are equal for us and we want everybody’s efforts to be measured and awarded in same way. So far it was university lecturers, teaching assistants, research assistants and research associates who had been getting this benefit for obtaining a PhD degree, but now the benefit will be given to the non-teaching employees also who will get extra increments for upgrading their educational qualifications,” informed Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti.

The benefit is one amongst many that have been extended to the non-teaching employees so far. The university has decided to provide arrears to daily wagers with effect from 2006 and has also extended pension scheme to them.

While the union of non-teaching employees demanded pension to become a service benefit, the Vice-Chancellor claimed that it was not possible.

“We have included pension in budget but cannot make it a service benefit. It will though be a scheme for the non-teaching employees, but will be equally beneficial to them,” said Sobti.



More laurels for city’s IIA chapter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Months after its reconstitution, the Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) has added another feather to its cap. Close on the heels of its member Jit Kumar Gupta becoming the national vice-president of the IIA, the chapter was awarded the Best Chapter Runners-up Award of the architects’ apex at Lucknow recently.

The award was given by IIA national president Vinay Parelkar at a national conference where architects from all over the world were present. Last year, the local chapter was adjudged the best chapter.

This award is given to chapters and IIA centres every year based on their role in promoting architecture as a profession in the country. Currently, India has 17 chapters and 41 centres.

Chairman of the chapter, Surinder Bahga credited this achievement to the team work and relentless efforts of the chapter to popularise the profession in the region. “We have organised various conferences, workshops and interactive programmes in Chandigarh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The chapter has successfully launched one centre at Ludhiana and three sub-centres at Patiala, Amritsar and Jalandhar in order to coordinate the activities of the chapter,” he said.

Bahga claimed that the Indian Institute of Architects had the rare distinction of taking up abolition of earnest money deposit for architects for empanelment with the Central Public Works Department. The chapter has also appealed to the Union Government to confer the Bharat Ratna to architects like Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret for their invaluable contribution to the country’s modern architecture.



Exam provisions for students with learning difficulties
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
In an important initiative taken under its inclusive education development programme, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has made special examination related provisions under its continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) scheme for students having learning difficulties.

The provisions not only aim at making examination centres more accessible to students but also making examination a stress-free exercise for them.

“While we had already achieved satisfactory results in classroom teaching with regards to such students, examination has always remained a hassle. There were numerous complaints of students not being given extra time or permission to have a writer with them. We have now made examination system more friendly and included all these instructions in our CCE teacher’s manual,” revealed a senior CBSE official.

According to these conditions based on the requirement, students with learning difficulties will be given special permissions to use amanuensis (one who takes dictation). These students will be given additional time to write examination owing to their slow writing speeds. The board has also advised for special sitting arrangements for these students.


  • Permission to use amanuensis (one who takes dictation)
  • Additional time being given to write exams
  • Sitting arrangements for dyslexic, visually challenged, physically challenged and spastic candidates on the ground floor as far as possible
  • Facilitating easy access in the examination centres for special children



Winter wear given to visually challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The Aryans Group of Colleges (AGC) distributed winter wears to visually challenged at the Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, today.

The students presented a cultural programme in which they sang a welcome song and a few patriotic songs. The function was graced by Dr Anshu Kataria, chairman (AGC); Rajni Kataria, finance secretary (AGC); Dr Parveen Kataria, general secretary (AGC); and institute principal KR Sood. The programme was coordinated by Kuljeet Kaur and Rajesh Arya, institute’s music teachers.



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