C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cops probed 2 hrs after call for ransom: STD booth
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
“The suspected kidnapper of Khushpreet, a turbaned tall man in his mid-twenties, made the call for ransom from my STD booth in Sector 69, Mohali, at 8.10 am on December 22. And it was after over two and a half hours at around 10.45 am that the Chandigarh Police made inquiries from me on phone,” STD booth owner Rakesh told Chandigarh Tribune today.

While recounting the course of events, Rakesh said he was shocked to learn that the Chandigarh police made inquiries from him about the call after a gap of over two hours from the time of the call.The first ransom call to the family was made on December 21 from an STD booth in Colony No 5 at 4.30 p.m.

In fact, when the call was made, Rakesh’s servant Ranjit was at the shop and vaguely remembers the face of the suspected kidnapper. However, Rakesh soon reached the shop and responded to the return call of the police.

“My servant had opened the shop when a turbaned man, seemingly in a haste, made the call and left without paying any money. Ranjit shouted for money, but the suspected kidnapper had already fled by then,” informed Rakesh.

This initial delay in tracking the call by the police apparently hampered the case since the very beginning and cost the family Khushi’s life. The police is now trying to pick up the pieces and showed photographs of suspects to the STD booth owner today.



Work on Mullanpur road halted after ministry’s objection
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Work on constructing the 200-foot wide Mullanpur-Siswan road has been halted after objections raised by the Central Environment & Forests Ministry.
Work on constructing the 200-foot wide Mullanpur-Siswan road has been halted after objections raised by the Central Environment & Forests Ministry. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mullanpur (Mohali),January 9
The Punjab government has ordered work on widening the Mullanpur-Siswan road to stop after the central environment & forests ministry raised serious objections to the state going ahead with the project without getting its mandatory sanction. The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), an agency of the state’s housing & urban development department, had awarded the contract on widening the 8 km long stretch of the road, from the Chandigarh-Mullanpur border (near PGI, Chandigarh) to the Siswan T-junction, to Omaxe, a private builder that is coming up with a major project in the area.

SK Sehrawat, conservator of forests at the ministry, confirmed he had asked for certain information from the state government.

Sources close to the Punjab forest department said the issue was raised at a high-level meeting between officials of the ministry and various state departments. A few days ago the private builder had already begun work on widening the road near its own project. It is learnt a certain area locked under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900 was falling within the road.

“Even if a part of land has been delisted under the Act, permission has to be taken from the ministry regarding nature of land use for which the land was being used”, state forest department officials said.

The ministry had also sought the status of the land that was included in the area of the road. About 150 acres of Mullanpur Garib Dass, Ferozepore Bungar, Parol, Pharongian, Hoshiarpur, Majra and Sultanpur had been acquired. The landowners were paid compensation varying between Rs 1 crore and Rs 1.45 crore an acre.

The alignment of the road a few metres ahead of the Siswan-T junction deviates from the existing road. According to the alignment in the master plan, the new road passes near the commercial strip of the major project being developed by Omaxe.



Magisterial probe begins
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The magisterial inquiry into the Khushpreet case took off here today with the recording of statements of family members of the deceased.ML Sharma, Director, CTU and Sports, who has been made inquiry officer (IO) by the UT Administration, visited Khushpreet’s residence in Burail this morning.The IO recorded the statements of Lakhbir Singh, father of Khushpreet, his wife Kulwinder Kaur, brother Sukhwinder Singh, his sister and two members of an NGO.

The statements of all six persons were recorded separately. “We have told the IO all details from the day, when my son was abducted. We have demanded the booking of the cops whose negligence and carelessness resulted in our son’s death,” said Lakhbir Singh while talking to Chandigarh Tribune.

Sharma also met SSP Naunihal Singh and inquired about the police action after it received the complaint of Khushpreet’s kidnapping on January 21.

The magisterial probe was marked by UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas on January 7 when the family had refused to receive the body of five-year-old Khushpreet while demanding strict action against the police team, which allegedly botched up the case due to its negligence. The Burail residents also staged a violent protest for at least two days after Khushpreet’s body was found on January 5 at Phase X in Mohali. The common demand of the family and the protesters was to register a case against the entire investigating team, which had allegedly botched up the highly sensitive case due to its alleged “carelessness”.



Lukewarm response to CTU buses in tricity
Less than 5 pc of the population uses buses as mode of transport
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Even though the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) continues to add more buses to its existing fleet of AC, non-AC and grid buses, going by the rate of occupancy, it has failed to elicit a good response from the general public.

With the population of the city alone estimated at 12 lakh and an additional population of over six lakh residing in the two adjoining satellite townships of Panchkula and Mohali, residents of both of which are largely dependent on the CTU for public transport, it is rather shocking that only a little over 40,000 residents of the tricity travel in CTU buses on a daily basis as per official records.

On public holidays and Sundays, the occupancy in CTU buses falls by 50 per cent to about 20,000. Blame it on the high per capita income of the city, which reflects on the high purchasing capacity of the residents, or to the relative short distances within the city, or, still, the alternative modes of public transport such as auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws or even the lack of information about the specifics of public transport system, the fact remains that less than 5 per cent of the total population uses buses as a mode of transport.

While all this makes it a rather less profitable venture for the administration, the CTU has been taking it more as a social obligation. “The aim of the CTU is to provide local transport services to the residents of the city and to the neighbouring states. It is more of a social responsibility than a profitable venture,” explains CTU director M L Sharma.



Child, woman killed in accidents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Two persons, including a six-year-old child, were killed in road accidents today.In the first incident, a child, Bhupinder Singh, was crushed to death when he was playing on a road near his house at Khuda Jassu village.

The police has booked the accused, Sapna, a lab attendant, for causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC. A case has been registered in the Sector 11 police station.

Sapna was driving a Maruti Zen car (CH-03-K-3749) when it hit Bhupinder Singh. Two other children sustained injuries. While three of them were rushed to hospital, Bhupinder died later. He was the son of a mechanic.

In the other incident, a woman was killed and her son seriously injured after the bike they were riding rammed into the Sector 25/38 small roundabout late last night.

The victim, Sharda Devi, succumbed to her injuries at the PGI, while her son Sunil Kumar sustained serious injuries and is in the PGI.

Both of them were returning to their residence in Baterla village when the mishap took place owing to poor visibility. Sunil’s brother was following them on another bike. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 Cr PC.



LPG Misuse: Hotels, restaurants raided
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 9
In a major crackdown on eating outlets using domestic LPG cylinders for commercial use, the Mohali district administration conducted surprise checks at various known eating outlets in Mohali and confiscated at least 14 domestic LPG cylinders that were being used for commercial activity.

The outlets checked were Majestic Hotel, Town Pride Hotel, Katani, Guru Nanak Sweets and various other outlets. The raids were led by Mohali Sub-Divisional Magistrate and District Food and Supplies Officer. More checking is expected in the coming days.

The district administration would be taking strict action against the erring outlets, sources said.


Schools must redouble safety efforts
Sumedha Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, January 9
How safe is the City Beautiful for our children? The gruesome killing of Khushpreet, who was abducted a fortnight ago near his Burail home, has left many pondering over the question.

With general policing in the city having taken a back seat, young children are not only vulnerable in parks and streets but also in markets and outside schools and even near their homes.

The incident has once again highlighted the need for both schools and parents to take precautionary measures to ensure children’s safety. However, in the case of schools while guidelines are well defined, not many seem to be putting them into practice.

“Private educational institutions are very much concerned about the security of school students. Apart from one or two institutions, there has not been any incident where a child has been abducted from outside a school or during school hours. On our part we ensure no one else other than the parent or a designated guardian is allowed to collect a student after classes are over. In the case of school transport, teachers ensure students are dropped near their houses and we insist that parents receive them. Any case where the absence of a child is noticed is immediately brought to the parents’ notice via an SMS. However, it’s impossible to follow hundreds of students. Parents have to be extra cautious and try to ensure that young children don’t get back home alone,” says Independent School Association president HS Mamik.

Unfortunately the situation is worse in the case of government run schools where a majority of students can be seen loitering around in nearby parks during school hours. Though well aware of this fact, these schools are yet to take any precautionary steps.



Recruitment drive for defence services
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Leading companies, lucrative salaries and better job profiles are not the only attractions for Panjab University (PU) students this placement season. They are lured to join defence services and serve the country.

Nearly 500 engineering students responded to the recruitment drive conducted by the defence forces, held for the first time on the PU campus in this academic session.

In the initial round, nearly 85 students were shortlisted by the Service Selection Board from University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) alone. A total of 70 students have been called for interviews from PU’s regional centre in Hoshiarpur and University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), who also appeared in the recruitment drive.

“The students have shown a keen interest in joining the defence services. Though final selections are to be made, but huge numbers was an encouragement since it was the first time that such a drive was conducted on the PU campus,” said Manu Sharma, one of the training and placement officers, UIET.

The initial round of the recruitment drive included group discussion and personal interview and the final round will happen in Bangalore and other cities.

“Besides the individual efforts being made by the departments, the central placement cell of the university is conducting the job fair from March 4-6, for which an online portal has already been created. The companies are uploading their profiles and the kind of employees it requires indicating qualifications and streams. Students, on the other hand, are also free to enrol themselves at this website and upload their resume. They can view the companies coming to the campus for placement and prepare themselves for interviews accordingly,” said Manu.



Open House Response
Mixed reaction to draw of lots

The proposed draw of lots for admission is not fair for talented students. Granting of admission based on test is the only best way.The test shall give an equal chance of admission to the talented children. The open test shall give a fair chance to everyone and surely the ones with original brightness shall pave the way for their future while getting a chance of studying in the best institutions/schools.

The draw of lots for admission of students is bound to marginalise the talented students. In the draw of lots, there will be a mixture of students who would mar the talent of bright students whose capacity of understanding is better than others. For instance, a bright student who would understand a topic in one go, whereas the not so bright student would take time to understand the topic.

Gurleen Kaur

A welcome move

The draw of lots for admission in educational institutions in the city is a welcome step. Now, all the students belonging to the poor and middle classes will get an equal chance to get admission in educational institutions of their choice.

As per the instructions of the Chandigarh Administration, the draw system will be videographed, which is a welcome direction. When the entire process is open and under open public scrutiny, parents can accept selection or rejection of child’s admission as a cast of the draw of luck rather than blaming the schools of giving preference to any selected group or class as was being done in many cases. All students, including the poor students have a right to get free and compulsory education in schools.

Rajesh Bhasin

Schools a harassed lot

It is sad to see that certain private organisations are being harassed by the Chandigarh Administration just to cover the facts that the organisation run by the government are not up to the mark. One can easily notice the simple variation in the salary of a government teacher as compared to a private school teacher.

If the “quality element of private schools” is questionable by any one, then one can hold a survey regarding how many government officials send their children to private schools. Being a teacher in a private school for nearly 15 years now, I have seen an era which unfortunately is leading to a decrease in the “quality”.

Though the fact of the government in promotion of education is appreciable, but the implementation should not be done on face value by just announcing laws rather have to be measured in terms of the actual and practical advantages and disadvantages which would sprout on implementing the law.

RTE should be implemented after taking the views of the teachers. In a nutshell, the war seems to be between administration and school managements where the actual working would have a direct effect on teachers. Why are the teachers being ignored for their comments on such a vital issue?

Geeta Vadhera

Step in right direction

Interview of a 2-year-old means nothing.I think the admission process to schools through a draw of lots is a step in right direction, initiated by the Union Territory. It has been seen that the school management played a direct role in the admission of children where the selected persons were unduly favoured. I don’t think it was correct to assess the intelligence of a child through interviews. Interviews in such a case were a mere farce to help the preferred ones.

Dr AS Gill

RTE not needed

The concept of Welfare State cannot be either liquidated by any RTE Act 2009 or any other legislation rather the same could be termed as the explanation of the welfare state qua the education. Article 38 of the Constitution of India enunciates that the principle ‘State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people’. And to this direction under the chapter Part IV, Directive principles of State policy is worth noting of Article 41 which provides a principle of Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases.

I am of the opinion that there was no necessity of any RTE in the present scenario as the law makers framing the Constitution of India were fully aware of the needs of the society such as social, economic and educational etc. But the RTE Act 2009 can neither supersede the vast two lines provisions of Constitution of India nor can curtail any intention under these Articles. Further reading of Article 45 further reveals that there is provision of early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years. Similarly to the extent of promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections. Meaning thereby if there is any thing short in RTE Act 2009, the provisions of Constitution of India are enough sufficient to guide RET Act.

To note that there are several irregularities which are being committed by the managements of the private schools such as absence of the regular teachers, contractual appointments for 5/6 months to teaches with an object to self finance schools without accounting for or caring for future and thus cutting the cost of educational institutional both at school and higher level. This affects the studies and future of students. This being is a common feature mostly every where which amounts to malpractice. Further unaccounted charges under different names while issuing receipt and in some cases charges are collected without issuing receipts and the students are subjected to financial burden and they are blackmailed in such a fashion that they are unable to speak against such illegality and atrocity.

There are several privately managed schools who have made millions and several estates at various places. And who is the sufferer ? Students and their parents. RTE Act does not suggest such ways and winds or remedies rather it is creating confusions over the subject being a handicapped piece of legislation.

Jagmohan Singh Bhatti

Lottery, the best way out

In my opinion, UT Administration’s decision to adopt lottery system will definitely curb the corruption, use of unfair practices in the admission of the tiny tots. I want to share my personal experience regarding the process of pre nursery admission of my child. A school in Sector 26 has already carried out the admissions for pre nursery irrespective of the system that will be followed as per the instructions of the UT Administration. They said that admission will be on merit and that there will be no waiting list. I don’t know what is the criteria of judging from what a three year old said in the interview? I was told by the interviewee later that my son had “Very well done”.

I wanted to know that if there was no waiting list then how the vacant seats would be filled. In the school where the focus is to provide education top children belonging only to a particular class, lottery system should be the best answer. It will stop the discrimination on the basis of social status and standards. Lottery system, I think, was the best way out of the current system.


Merit being ignored

I don’ know what difference the lottery system would make in the admission process. I as a parent will apply to as many schools I thought were best for his education and them wait for my luck, If he was not selected anywhere, I will be left with no option but to go in for a school which I never thought of sending my son to. In the entire process, my bright child(I am very sure he is very sharp for his age) will have to settle with his luck. I am not alone, many parents, in our neighbourhood, share the same opinion. Sneha Moudgil 



Polio no barrier to Jagtar’smission to provide jobs
With support from an NGO Roshni, the entrepreneur arranged employment for 180 rural girls at spinning mills in Baddi
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Ropar resident Jagtar Singh with wife Ranjit Kaur at Lohri celebrations on Sunday.
Ropar resident Jagtar Singh with wife Ranjit Kaur at Lohri celebrations on Sunday.Tribune Photo: Vicky Gharu 

Chandigarh, January 9
Jagtar Singh, with polio-afflicted lower limbs, has arranged employment for 180 rural girls at spinning mills in Baddi. This Lohri is brighter and more prosperous for Jagtar, who has been honoured by an NGO Roshini, for his contribution and courage at a ceremony held at St Stephen’s school, village Togan.

Jagtar, a resident of Ropar, has set an example for those suffering from post polio residual paralysis (PPRP) like him. Not only has he provided employment to these girls, he ensures that they are safely transported from their house to their workplace everyday.

Roshini, founded by father Thomas KJ, has been working for polio-affected children since more than 20 years.

“Jagtar and his wife Ranjit, who are both polio-affected, have set an example for the society. Jagtar’s capability and hard work has spread joy in others lives also,” said father Thomas.

“When he completed Class XII, I got him trained in stenography, then tailoring and certain other skills. But this did not make him financially stable. He eventually wanted to become en entrepreneur and bought a commercial van on loan. Today, he owns five such vehicles, through which he earns a living and helps others as well,” added father Thomas.

Roshini, which continued to provide support to Jagtar all along, was founded with the aim to educate and empower polio victims in villages. Reminiscent of the initial days, father Thomas fondly narrated successful journeys of many of his students at Lohri celebration today.

“Roshini has been acting as a catalyst for polio victims to identify their skills and exhibit them. The aptitude and creativity in these special children in much more compared to normal children. We also print greeting cards displaying work of these polio victims, which helps in generating funds. School students from across the region buy them and contribute in empowering lives of these special children,” added father Thomas.


Death in firing case
Victim’s son to approach Capt
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 9
Harjinder Singh, son of Rattan Singh, who was killed in a firing incident involving Kulwant Singh, sarpanch of Baraille village, yesterday said he was seeking intervention of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh to bring to book the assailants behind the murder.

“Despite being from a family of Congress leaders, I am being victimised by Congress leaders. I have sought action against Kulwant Singh and Amarjeet Singh Jeeti, brother of Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu,” he said.

He said he would meet Capt Amarinder Singh during his visit to Mohali.



Exam aspirants forced to brave chill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Candidates who appeared for the entrance test conducted by the Oriental Bank of Commerce in various city schools today had a harrowing time due to the foggy weather.

The first shift for the examination began at 8 am today and students, along with their attendants, stood outside the gates in chilly conditions.Outside the Government High School, Sector 11, candidates and their attendants were seen waiting, as they were not allowed to go inside the school.



Co-pilot’s widow wants all culprits punished
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 9
“All guilty in the 1985 Air India bombing that killed 329 persons be brought to book. Though our loss cannot be compensated, Inderjit Singh Reyat (who was yesterday sentenced to nine years in prison by a court in Vancouver, Canada) should also name others who perpetrated the crime,” said Amarjeet Kaur, widow of Kanishka co-pilot SS Bhinder.

Reacting to the sentence while talking over the phone from Delhi, said even after 25 years of the incident, involving Flight 182 from Montreal to New Delhi, there was not end to their grief.



At 3.6 °C, city hits another low
Thick blanket of fog in region throws life out of gear
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Commuters travel in an auto-rickshaw on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway on a foggy Sunday morning
Commuters travel in an auto-rickshaw on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway on a foggy Sunday morning

Chandigarh, January 9
Dense fog and intense cold wave conditions continued to throw life out of gear as the temperature in the city plunged to yet another low of 3.6 degrees Celsius.Chandigarh was once again colder than Shimla and Srinagar at 11.7 and 9.5 degrees, respectively. The maximum temperature recorded in the city today was 8.2 degrees Celsius.

The fog has brought visibility down to zero at night and early morning, disrupting road, rail and air traffic. “The city recorded the minimum temperature of the season today so far. For the last 10 days, the city is in the grip of cold spell and the situation may not improve soon,” said a Met official.

The city recorded 3.6 degrees today as against 6.4 degrees recorded yesterday and the maximum also dropped by 5.1 degrees to 8.2 degrees from Saturday’s 13.3 degrees. However, the minimum temperature was 4 degrees recorded on December 16 last year.
Thick blanket of fog engulfs the Rajpura railway station.
Thick blanket of fog engulfs the Rajpura railway station. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal and JS Virdi

The heavy fog could be attributed to the high humidity levels, with 97 per cent being recorded in the city today, due to which scores of passengers were left stranded in the city's airport and the railway station.

The Met office has forecast foggy mornings for the next two days. It said the maximum and minimum temperatures would be 10 and 5 degrees Celsius tomorrow.

Road users reported difficult driving conditions because of the poor visibility and traffic at many places in the city had slowed down to a snail's pace this morning.

Flights remained cancelled for the sixth day today. The fog, which had started descending on the city late last night, had reduced visibility to around 50 metres in the morning. The visibility on the runways at the airport was around 100 metres for most of the night and this morning, as a result of which none of the flights could land or take off from the city airport for the sixth day today. There was possibility of cancellation of flights tomorrow too, airport sources said.

Trains coming to Chandigarh were delayed by several hours and passengers had to wait in the cold at railway station. Children and women, huddled together inside a waiting room, could be seen waiting the arrival of their respective trains while men could be seen roaming in front of the inquiry office to get the latest update on the train timings.

Tea vendors did brisk business as people were sipping tea to get some respite from the biting cold. Peanuts and “chikki” were the few “energy snacks” available at the station vends for those waiting for the trains during the night hours.

The Met has forecast partly cloudy sky with mist/fog in the morning and evening. Weather will mainly be dry in Punjab and Haryana with ground frost at few places in the two states.



Projects languish as architecture department dallies
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The lackadaisical attitude of the UT administration’s architecture department has been cited as the primary reason for the inordinate delay in major municipal corporation projects taking off the ground.

According to the civic body’s records two key proposals, which include the master plan of Manimajra and extension of the MC building in Sector 17, have remained pending with the UT chief architect for the past decade.

The department’s delay in clearing the drawings of the city’s first multilevel parking in Sector 17 led 
to the project being scrapped. The contractor refused to commence work due to the increased cost of construction because of the time taken in handing over the land.

Even smaller projects are hanging fire. A Rs 60 lakh project for converting the circus ground into an exhibition ground in order to ensure its proper maintenance has been lying pending with the department for over three years. The proposal included construction of a boundary wall, public toilet facilities and a parking lot at the ground.

The list of plans for Manimajra that the administration has yet to approve includes a site for a wedding and banquet hall in pocket no 8, demarcation of sites for toilets, zoning of architecture control sheets of residential plots in pocket nos 2 and 3 and a drawing up a layout plan of pocket no 6.

In 2001 the MC submitted a master plan of Manimajra where 500 acres land was lying vacant for the past ten years after the UT administration did not approve the ‘original’ master plan.

According to the plan, there was a proposal to construct a primary school in pocket no 6, a sports complex in pocket no 8, a hospital in pocket no 9, a college in pocket no 10 and rehabilitation projects for oustees in Shanti Nagar, Janta Nagar, Subhash Nagar and Pipliwala town, said sources.

In 2004, the civic body sent a proposal on constructing an extension at its building due to increase in staff, but till date the chief architect is still sitting over it.

Similarly, in 2005 six proposed multilevel parking projects were sent to the architecture department, but till now the department has only cleared the drawing of one parking lot with approval of another in the pipeline. 



Remembering Khuspreet
Students to boycott Lohri celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) today organised a candlelight march from the Students’ Centre to Panjab University market, expressing grief over Khuspreet’s murder.

A blood donation camp is also being organised by PUSU in the memory of Khushpreet.

PUSU volunteers and university students attended the march. Addressing the students, PUSU president Sukhjit Singh Brar said: “We will not be celebrating Lohri in the university to express our grief and we urge everyone to follow the suit.”

“We will organise a blood donation camp in the memory of Khushpreet next week and students and teachers must come for the cause,” he added.

The students also demanded a swift inquiry in the matter. “We will launch a strong campaign by the PUSU if the police fails to nab the culprits soon,” said Brar.



Hearty New Year

Heart beats for about one-lakh times in 24 hours. A very strong muscle, heart starts beating soon after conception and continues to do so till death, said Dr Baljit Singh, an eminent cardiologist, during his presentation on “Hearty New Year” organised by the First Friday Forum at Chandigarh the other day.

A happy heart means a healthy heart. However, some diseases afflict this wonderful organ, including congenital (existing from birth), valvular (pertaining to valves such as the aortic valve), hypertensive (abnormally high blood pressure), and ischaemic (a reduction of the blood supply to part of the body). Hypertension is usually detected on routine examination and in many cases no underlying cause can be diagnosed. Therefore, it is known as ‘essential hypertension’.

It is also related to stress and can be controlled with treatment to obviate complications. Coronary (encircling like a crown) artery disease is the main cause of death all over the world. This can be prevented and the heart maintained in good shape by proper diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle, the expert advises. Well, have a hearty New Year!

What polythene ban?

Frequent raids by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation on poly bag users have failed to curb the rampant use of banned plastic bags. Vendors as well as customers continue to use it with impunity. It has been over four years since the Chandigarh administration banned the use of thin plastic bags. The ban, however, does not seem to have much impact on both vendors and customers in the city as blatant use of these plastic bags continues in all markets across the city, especially in the Sector 26 subzi mandi.

Unique celebrations

Sonu Sethi, who owns a ‘dhaba’ on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway in Zirakpur, celebrated famous Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann’s birthday in unique style on January 5. He not only gave 20 per cent discount to his customers but also cut a birthday cake and arranged a community kitchen on the highway offering tea and snacks to the passers-by with banners of Mann’s birthday greetings in the background. Sonu started his day by wishing the celebrity singer-actor, who promised to visit his ‘dhaba’. Sonu’s love for the singer in a way amused commuters and customers.

Media attention

Khushpreet’s murder was yet another “occasion” for Panjab University student leaders to seek media attention. Not sparing even this chance to be in the limelight, candlelight marches were organised by different student organisations for three days. The apparent aim was to express grief over Khushpreet’s death and show solidarity with the grieving family. However, PU students doubted the motive behind this gesture by student leaders. Students would have liked their leaders to bury the difference by organising a common solidarity rally.

Off the record!

Addressing a large gathering during a rally in Mohali on January 9 brought some embarrassing moments for the Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu. Call it a slip of the tongue or caught off guard, the MLA while testing the public address system used an abusive four liner on getting irritated when system did not respond. But accidentally, the mike started functioning, leaving the MLA and the gathering shocked. The media was clearly in a fix whether to treat the remark as on record or off the record.

(Contributed by Pradeep Sharma, Anil Jerath, Rajiv Bhatia, Neha Miglani and Rajmeet Singh) 



Bus Routes
Finally, CTU to have directory
The CTU is in the process of putting together a directory containing details of all bus routes and is expected to be released within the next two months
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Over four decades after coming into existence, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) seems to have finally woken up to the need for publishing an information directory for its bus routes.The CTU is in the process of putting together a directory containing details of all bus routes. CTU officials say the directory is expected to be released within the next two months.

So far, the transport wing of the UT administration hasn’t had any information brochure, adding to the commuters’ woes who remain clueless about the bus routes.

This is probably a major reason behind the unpopularity of the pubic transport system in the tricity. In the absence of any information, residents are being forced to either make use of alternative source of transport like auto-rickshaw or rickshaw or use their own vehicles, leading to chaotic on the city roads.

This, notwithstanding the numerous trips that UT bureaucrats have made in the past using public money to study tourism and development models practised in different countries.

Both former UT Home-cum-Transport Secretary Krishan Mohan and former UT Director Public Relations Vivek Attary made official trips on considerable government expense to London, Brussels and Paris to apparently study tourism-related issues.

“It is our endeavour to put together all vital information pertaining to CTU buses in a directory. “The directory should be ready before my tenure ends in March this year,” says CTU director ML Sharma.

Official sources claim that the draft of the directory will be ready within a month and after getting approval from the authorities concerned, it will be given for final printing.



Newfoundland steals the show
Tribune News Service

(Top) An English Bultarian during the dog show organised by the Mohali Kennel club in Mohali on Sunday; and girls kiss a pup during the show.Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, January 9
The Mohali Kennel Club, a chapter of the Kennel Club of India, organised the 3rd and 4th All Breed Championship Dog Show near Yadavindra Public School in Sector 62 here today.Two canine judges Robert LT Dewson and Jagteshwar Singh judged the entries and Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police GPS Bhullar declared the show open.

GS Sandhu, president of the Mohali Kennel Club, said 289 dogs of 42 breeds participated in the show. The participants were divided into seven categories. Amarjit Singh Walia, show secretary of the Mohali Kennel Club, said, “As per an estimate, there are more than 75,000 pet owners in the tricity.”

A senior Akali leader Harsukhinder Singh Bubby Badal, who was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony, distributed prizes to the winners. The winning entries were Newfoundland (first), Rottweiler (second), German Shepherd, Golden Retriever (fourth), Labrador (fifth), Daschound (sixth), Boxer (seventh) and Ihasa Apso (eighth). 



AC travel passes for lowest-grade staff
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
In a populist move aimed at securing top-end-seat travel for Railways’ lowest-grade employees with their families, the Railways has, for the first time, extended the facility of AC three-tier travel pass for families of lowest-grade employees like gangmen and khalasis.

Employees of Group D in the Railways have earlier not been entitled to travel pass in AC compartments. They will now be entitled to travel once a year in this class.

Gangmen patrol tracks day and night to ensure safe passage of trains. A gangman is supposed to patrol 5 km every day. Of the 14,00,000 employees in the Railways, gangmen comprise around 8,00,000.

Revised entitlement of travel on pass has also been extended to all junior engineers and supervisors working in the pay grade of Rs 4,200, and they have been provided entitlement to travel in AC two-tier coaches.

According to an official, this move will lead to tremendous motivation to all levels of employees, particularly those working at the lower grades.

This new criterion of entitlement has simplified existing rules for entitlement, with only pay grade as the sole criterion, as against multiple variables like scale of pay and pay and date of appointment, as prevailing earlier. 



Suman’s family left to fend for itself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
A resident of Colony No.4, Suman, who was transfused wrong blood at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, three weeks ago on December 16, is yet to recover.The Chandigarh administration has already left the family to fend for itself, which is now finding it hard to return the money borrowed for her treatment.

Suman had been referred to the PGI after her baby died in the womb and her kidneys were affected due to wrong blood transfusion. The family had to spend money on her treatment as it took the PGI authorities to declare Suman “poor” more than two weeks. By that time, the family had already spent more than Rs 15,000 on her treatment.

“I am a labourer and hardly earn Rs 5,000 per month. Now the lenders have started asking for money, though there was no ray of hope visible from the side of the Chandigarh administration,” said Suman’s husband Desh Raj.

In his report, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Vinod P Kavle has mentioned that the family could seek the damages under the Consumer Protection Act. The family, which is already reeling under debt, is finding it as another hindrance to seek justice.

“We even don’t have the money to run the routine expenses of house,” rued Deshraj. “It’s even beyond my imagination to file a suit and wait for months and years to receive help,” he added. 



Female ratio on decline in Punjab, Haryana
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 9
Skewed sex ratio is a matter of concern, said Urvashi Gulati, Chief Secretary, Haryana, who inaugurated “Nanhi Chaan” nursery at Fortis Hospital here.While speaking at the function organised to celebrate ‘Nanhi Chaan Day’, she said that Punjab and Haryana had appalling sex ratios in India with only 798 girls to 1,000 boys. “The sex ratio declined from 808 in 2002 to just 775 in 2004.

In villages in Punjab ratio was as low as 500 females to 1,000 males. In Haryana and Delhi, too, the figures showed an unhealthy trend. There were many villages in the north which had not held marriages of girls for years as there were no girls,” she added.

Col HS Chehal, director, Fortis Hospital, said that the Fortis Foundation had adopted ‘Nanhi Chhaan’ in 2009 wherein January 6 was celebrated on an annual basis as the Nanhi Chhaan Day marking a pan India commemoration to this important movement.

Students of ITI presented a touching skit on female feticide.

It showed different facets of a woman, as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, mother-in law and the way she struck a balance in playing all these roles.



Begging is not a crime here
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, January 9
Zirakpur town, which is already dealing with rampant traffic jams everyday, is also plagued by the menace of beggars, in the age group of 5 to 60.These beggars are working in small groups and can be easily spotted troubling and following commuters even in front of the police.

Residents rue that number of beggars in the town are increasing by the day. So far, neither the authorities concerned nor any social organisations have come forward to tackle the issue. The menace has also given rise to various crimes in the city.

Last year, several incidents of thefts were reported after the windowpanes of the cars parked at the roadside were broken. Residents said commuters gave money to them after looking at their pitiable condition. This has encouraged them to adopt this “profession”.

A visit to the area revealed that usually women and children were seen begging on the intersections. A child beggar was cleaning windowpanes of the cars at the Zirakpur-Kalka intersection, Patiala bus stop, Ambala bus stop outside Paras Down Town Square Mall, main markets and other public places.

These are the main spots of begging trade in the town. Even they also follow the pedestrians in the market and harass them.

Raj Singla, an 18-year-old MBA student, said I was waiting for a bus at the Zirakpur-Kalka intersection where a child beggar caught my hand and started pestering me. When I refused to give him anything, he started touching my knees.

Sanja Gulati, another victim of the begging menace, said: “I stopped my car at the Patiala light point and was waiting for a green signal. A child beggar knocked the windowpane of my car and asked for a lunch box inside the car. It was an uncomfortable moment, as how they can scan your cars.

SDM Dera Bassi Puneet Goyal said: “The matter was not in his knowledge. He said: “We will ask the police officials and MC officials to curb this 



Global Human Rights Award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
In this era of global competition, a few organisations stand firm on the pillars of moral values and ethics.Man behind this mission Manmohan K Garg, chairman-cum-CEO of the organisation, was honoured with the Global Human Rights Award for excellence in education here yesterday.

The award was presented to him by Justice RS Mongia, Judge, Permanent Lok Adalat, Punjab and Haryana High Court and Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, UT Chandigarh, during an award ceremony organised by the Global Human Rights Council at the Punjab Kala Bhawan.

Arvind Thakur, chairman of the Global Human Rights Council, said education was the backbone of any nation and we couldn’t ensure our success as a great nation without strengthening the education system.

Others who were honoured included Harjinder Kaur, former MC Mayor, and Dr Neeraj Kumar, a local doctor. 



Will invite experts to train students
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Heading towards an industrial-academic alliance, the placement cell of the University Institute of Applied Management Studies (UIAMS), Panjab University, is all set to sign MoUs with leading companies for this year’s placement.

As a part of MoUs, heads of industrial giants will contribute in syllabus up gradation, conduct workshops and not just confine to recruitment of students from the institute.

Having witnessed a low phase in the placements last year, UIAMS is all set to experiment with what other PU departments have been mooting for a long time. “The manner in which Infosys has been contributing to engineering institutes, a similar contribution will be sought for our management institute,” said department officials.

Additionally, UIAMS placement cell is inviting professionals to train students to become entrepreneurs and help them secure loans for their projects.

“We conducted an exercise in the department where each student was asked about his job preferences. Out of 176 students, 92 students turned up for the exercise. Several students, who hail from business families, will be interested in joining their business or start up a new venture,” said Dr Amandeep Singh Marwaha, new trading and placement officer.

The institute will also host an array of companies for recruitment this year. “The process of branding UIAMS is ongoing. One of the problems being faced by the UIAMS in the initial period is that it has non-traditional courses. For the market to have some acceptability for these courses, it will need some time,” said Marwaha.




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