C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Traffic police exercise claims patient’s life
l Drill part of Nepal President’s visit today l  PGI 1 km from GMSH, a five-minute drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
A 65-year-old woman being shifted in a critical condition from the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, to the PGI died when the ambulance carrying her got stuck in a traffic jam for 20 minutes near Lala Lajpat Rai Bhawan, Sector 15, here this evening.

The traffic jam occurred on account of a rehearsal by the traffic police on the eve of the Nepal President’s visit to the PGI tomorrow. Surjit Kaur, a resident of Bhagat Majra village, near Mohali, died as soon as she reached the PGI at 5.45 pm.

The distance between the GMSH and the PGI is barely one kilometre and does not take more than five minutes. The congestion was triggered by a trial run of security arrangements by the local police for the Nepal President, scheduled to be in the city on a day-long visit tomorrow.

During the dummy run, a cavalcade of around 20 vehicles started from the airport and passed through the designated route, causing inconvenience to scores of commuters. The incident occurred despite PGI Director Dr KK Talwar announcing that roads leading to the hospital would be kept clear and open for all patients.

Surjit’s son, Sukhjinder Singh, told the Chandigarh Tribune that it took them over 15 minutes to reach the PGI due to the traffic jam. “There was heavy security and we were unable to move ahead. We even requested the vehicles which were ahead of the ambulance to provide way. But everyone was helpless as the police was on a dummy run owing to some VVIP visit,” he said.

He added that his mother, Surjit, had been admitted to the hospital three days ago and was put on oxygen. She was suffering from diabetes. SP (Traffic and Security) HS Doon was not available for comment.

Visit of Nepal President Ban on assembly

Chandigarh, February 3
Keeping in view the visit of Nepal President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, the Chandigarh administration has prohibited the public in general from forming an assembly of five or more persons, taking out processions, making speeches, raising slogans and carrying lathis within the radius of 500m of Punjab Raj Bhawan and 100m of the PGI, for two days. Additional District Magistrate ML Sharma issued the orders. For processions or meetings, prior permission will have to be sought from District Magistrate/SDM, Chandigarh. — TNS

History repeats itself

The police seems to have failed to learn from its past follies. On November 3, 2009, a 32-year-old resident of Ambala, Sumit Parkash Verma, died under similar circumstances during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to PGI. Verma, who was being taken to the PGI emergency for a kidney problem, was continuously diverted from gate to gate for an hour by security personnel, eventually leading to his death before he could reach the emergency. The incident led to both the PGI and the police deciding that ambulances and patients would not be stopped from entering the hospital. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote a letter to the family, expressing his regret. But these measures did not seemingly consider traffic jams arising from rehearsals. 



Day 3: PU held to ransom
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Students of HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Panjab University (PU), led by student leaders held the university to ransom for the third consecutive day today by blocking the gate No. 2, opposite Sector 15, for several hours. This was followed by five students going on an indefinite chain fast.

Though commuters and students continued to face inconvenience for several hours, PU authorities once again failed to take stern action against the student leaders instrumental in creating a ruckus.

While university decorum went for a toss, officials were found pleading with the agitating students to wait for the outcome of the inquiry report.

“The issue has been blown out of proportion by various student bodies to draw mileage. We know that they are being a sheer nuisance for the past three days but what can we do? I had called the police in the morning to disperse them but a majority of them were girls and I didn’t want to be the next one to be accused for misbehaving with them,” said Dean Student Welfare Naval Kishore.

Interestingly, while an official press release issued by the dental students claimed that their agitation was not being backed by any political organisation, the issue surely turned the university into a political arena, with student leaders of different organisations going all out to create disturbance to express their solidarity with the medicos.

“It has become a regular feature now. Students pick an issue and then go to any length to create a ruckus and the university remains a mute spectator. They forcibly lock departments, disrupt studies and even threaten professors but all that the university has done so far is to plead and beg. College director GK Gauba wanted to call the police the very first day when they had stopped patients and faculty from getting into the college. However, certain university officials prevented him from doing so, saying they will resolve the issue amicably,” said a senior faculty member of the dental college.

Meanwhile, Panjab University has included three student representatives in the inquiry committee to probe the accusations of director-principal GK Gauba having allegedly misbehaved with a female intern. Gauba has proceeded on voluntary leave.

Gauba ran into trouble two days ago for allegedly raising “vulgar” objections to a T-shirt worn by a intern.

Students’ demand silly: VC

Students’ demand is frivolous. I cannot dismiss anybody without giving him a chance to defend himself. Students have been included in the inquiry committee, proceedings of which are being videographed. Several student parties are creating problems just to gain mileage and the media is supporting them. I will not take the law into my hands to appease any student leader. They could start asking for my dismissal tomorrow.

RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor

We had no information from the university about students having blocked gate number 2 in Sector 15 which must have caused considerable inconvenience to commuters. We could not act on our own because we were busy with the rehearsal for the visit of Nepal president.

BS Negi, DSP (Traffic)

I am paying a price for not letting student politics create a ruckus in my institute. The girl in question is like my daughter and I shall never misbehave with her. Be it dress or timings, discipline needs to be maintained. I demand decency in dress just to ensure that patients do not trouble my students. I have already expressed my apology if I have hurt the girl and will face the inquiry. I appeal to students to remember that they are doctors for whom patients should be supreme. They should not desert them to go on a strike with student leaders.

GK Gauba, Director, HSJ Dental College



Technicians’ protest hits surgeries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Scheduled surgical operations at various operating theatres (OTs) at the PGI were postponed resulting in harassment to scores of patients as nearly 100 OT technicians protested against the disparity of pay scales in solidarity with OT technicians at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

The OT Technicians Association has decided to go on mass casual leave for three days till Saturday. As the striking PGI employees “virtually” held the hospital authorities to ransom, patients along with attendants faced a lot of hardship after being told about the postponements at the last moment.

While major surgical operations could not be conducted at the gynaecology department due to the absence of technicians, only 20 operations, out of 31 listed for today, were carried out at OTs on the fifth floor of the Nehru Hospital building. Similar was the situation in the OTs on the fourth floor where only minor surgical operations were conducted.

At the Advance Cardiac Care Centre, two surgical operations were postponed for want of technicians, sources said. The PGI authorities, however, claimed that the operating theatres functioned smoothly and the number of surgeries performed today was like any other day. No surgery was postponed or deferred due to lack of OT technicians and out of 129 surgical operations planned for today, 99 were completed by 3 pm and the rest were under progress, a press note stated.

It said the strike was not justified as the PGI administration was doing everything possible with regard to their demands. The demands were discussed in the recent governing body meeting and it was decided that the matter would be referred to the finance ministry, a PGI spokesperson said.

The union minister of health and family welfare, Gulam Nabi Azad, offered to intervene and apprise the finance minister about the demands of the association and the association had been apprised of the same by the administration, said the spokesperson.

The general secretary of the OT technicians’ association, Manoj Kumar, said though the technicians would remain on casual leave till Saturday, 10 of them would work at the PGI Emergency ward tomorrow as well. The association had planned to wear black badges tomorrow, but it had been deferred in view of the Nepal President’s visit to the PGI tomorrow, he said. 



Man clubs wife to death
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 3
In a gruesome incident, a resident of Majri Azim village, clubbed his wife to death over a trivial issue here today.

The accused, identified as Jaspal Singh, in his thirties, was married to Baljit Kaur Pinky (30) of Khanna 10 years back.

The couple belonged to different castes. While the man was of Jat community and owned two acres in the village, the woman belonged to Khatri community.

The couple had a nine-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy and were residing in the village with their children and the accused’s father.

Police officials said relatives and neighbours of the couple informed the police that they used to fight with each other over trivial issues. Area residents said they had intervened umpteen times and stopped them from quarrelling with each other for the sake of their children.

“The couple was not on talking terms for the past couple of days over the issue of Rs 1.5 lakh of fixed deposit. While the husband was adamant to withdraw the fixed deposit, the wife refused to do so,” said a senior police officer. Police officials said the man was earlier deployed as a driver of a private vehicle, but was not doing anything for the past sometime. The police said the man beat his wife at his house with a club this afternoon and the woman died on the spot.

Some villagers informed the police and the accused was arrested. A case has been registered against the man and his father, Joginder Singh, on the complaint of the victim’s brother Hardeep Kumar. The body was brought to Fatehgarh Sahib Civil Hospital for the postmortem examination.


Fire safety checked at six schools
Carmel Convent found wanting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
A joint team of the fire and emergency committee and officials of the fire department conducted a check at six private schools in the city today.The schools which were checked by the team including Carmel Convent, Sector 9; KBDAV and RC Aggarwal School, Sector 7; and St John’s, Sacred Heart and Strawberry Fields, Sector 26.

The team would prepare a detailed report on the condition of fire and safety measures of the schools and submit it to the MC chief fire officer for taking action against institutions not following fire safety norms.

Fire and emergency services committee chairman Davinder Singh Babla led the team to check the preparedness of schools in case of fire in their institutions. He said except Carmel Convent, fire and safety measures at the schools were found to be in a proper working condition.

Babla revealed that in Carmel Convent, no fire extinguisher had been installed in the primary building by the school management. He said fire officials found that fire extinguishers in the main building were not functioning properly. The team asked the erring school management to implement these fire norms within a fortnight.

School says

Carmel Convent objected to the way the team conducted the inspection of the fire system at the school. It questioned the authority of the committee chairman to conduct such a check on the school campus. It objected to the behaviour of Babla with the staff and students. It claimed that the checking was done in a haphazard manner.



Electoral Reforms
Moily, Khursheed to put heads together
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Union Minister for Law and Justice Dr M Veerappa Moily, Union Minister for Minority Affairs and Water Resources Salman Khursheed, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pawan Bansal and Chief Election Commissioner of India SY Quraishi are all set to arrive in the city to put their heads together for discussing election reforms during a conference scheduled to be held on Saturday.

Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda too are expected to attend the Regional Consultation for Electoral Reforms at the Chandigarh Judicial Academy, Sector 43.

The symposium is being organised by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, Union Legislative Department, and the Election Commission of India. Additional Solicitor-General of India Mohan Jain is overseeing the process.

Other dignitaries scheduled to attend the conference are national spokesperson of All-India Congress Committee Manish Tewari, educationists, including university vice-chancellors and heads of law faculty and representatives of various political parties.

The topics of deliberations include “Conduct and Better Management of Elections; Exit and Opinion Poll; Criminalisation and Money Power in Politics; and Role & Responsibility of the Media, Advertising”.

Moily is mulling over introducing a Bill on electoral reforms in Parliament for which he is seeking the necessary feedback from all over the country. Jain said the regional consultation was an effort in the direction and the conference would provide an opportunity in assimilating the opinions, contributions and suggestions from various circles, including eminent educationists, political parties, media and other dignitaries.

On the basis deliberations, minutes will be prepared. The suggestions and proposals from political parties, intellectuals, educationists, along with contributions by others dignitaries, will be considered further while drafting the proposed Bill in Parliament. 



Draft bylaws to be okayed this month
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Administrator’s Advisory Council (AAC), at its meeting later this month, will approve draft bylaws for the preservation of Chandigarh’s architectural heritage.At a meeting presided over by UT Administrator Shivraj Patil, the draft bylaws were deliberated upon and it was decided those should be put before the meeting of the AAC before being sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs for approval.

Sources said the bylaws would ensure that no person would be allowed to tamper with the original heritage structure of city buildings designed by Le Corbusier and ways and means to protect those.

Meanwhile, it was also decided to grade the city’s heritage buildings according to historical importance. For example, all heritage building structures in the Capitol Complex were to be placed under Class I.

These included the Secretariat, assembly halls, the Punjab and Haryana High Court complex and the Open Hand monument. Similarly, Class II heritage buildings would be those created by Pierre Jeanneret and others.

The expert groups formed by the Chandigarh Administration in July last to identify heritage buildings had given certain suggestions, which formed the ground for the formulation the draft bylaws.

The Administration had formed three groups for the task of suggesting a comprehensive plan of action for heritage preservation in the city. While one of the expert groups was entrusted with the task of identifying the heritage buildings and suggest steps for their preservation, another group was to suggest engineering measures to preserve the buildings in a scientific manner.

The third group was to suggest steps to be taken in cases of violations and suggest a legislative mechanism to deal with those. The groups suggested treating Chandigarh as a single unit for the preservation of its heritage.

Earlier, with a view to preserve the architectural heritage of the city, as it was originally envisaged, the Government of India had set up an expert committee under the chairmanship of Patil. The Administration had later formed an experts’ committee to suggest ways and means to preserve the architectural heritage.



Mystery shrouds girl’s kidnapping
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Mystery shrouds the kidnapping of the 19-year-old girl student of Chitkara College a day after she alleged that she was abducted and later dumped in Sector 21.The police found numerous contradictions in her statement and was verifying those on basis of location of her mobile phone.

Purnima of Sector 21 stated to the police that two men abducted her in a car in Sector 21 yesterday when she alighted from her college bus.

She also said the two beat her up with a belt in a moving car and later dumped her.

However, the police today questioned the bus driver and those who were sitting in the bus and they denied that she took the bus from the college.

While the girl stated that her abductors threatened her and told her that her father owed them Rs 3 lakh, the girl’s father, owner of Haryana Sanitary Pipes at Sector 22, denied that he owed any money to anyone.

The SHO of the Sector 19 police station, inspector Janak Rana, said the girl was a student of business administration at Chitkara College in Banur. They had certain doubts about the statement given by the girl. She also refused to get her medical examination done.

The police was now trying to ascertain what actually happened and was scanning the call details and SMSes of her mobile phone.



Home Guard beaten up

Chandigarh, February 3
A Home Guard volunteer with the UT police, Rajbir Singh, was assaulted and threatened with dire consequences at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, here last night.

The police arrested Ajay Kumar and Prince of Sector 47 in a case of assault on public servant and criminal intimidation. The accused were produced in court and sent to judicial custody.

The victim was on duty when he was thrashed and threatened. The two accused were trying to gain entry into the hospital forcefully. When Rajbir objected to this, they trashed him. The victim suffered internal injuries. — TNS



Politics takes place of pride in MC
House tax assessment committee ‘chairperson’ resigns
Aarti Kapur/TNS

Chandigarh, February 3
With an eye on municipal elections this year, political parties are taking every step cautiously and framing their strategy keeping in view the sympathy of voters.BJP councillor Sarita Devi has submitted her resignation as chairperson of the house tax assessment committee to avoid any involvement in the imposition of house tax in the city this year.

The councillor sent her resignation to Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh Pali today. SAD councillor Harjinder Kaur submitted her resignation from a similar committee on January 28.

Sarita Devi said she had decided to resign from the committee as the Congress was trying to involve councillors from the opposition in imposing house tax, which would tarnish her image among residents of the city during an election year.

Pali said the resignation could not be accepted as she was a nominated member of the committee and not the chairperson, as mentioned in her resignation. He added that the resignation of Harjinder Kaur from the committee had not been accepted so far.

The house tax assessment committee would have to submit its recommendations on the imposition of house tax on residential areas to the House. The corporation would have to decide soon as the Government of India was pressing the MC authorities to impose the tax to claim subsidy under the Jawaharlal National Urban Renewal Mission for development projects.

If one goes by the record of this committee, in the last four years, no councillor had voluntarily come forward to become its chairman or member as the committee had to recommend fresh taxes on residents.

In 2008, only two meetings of this committee were held and no important decision was taken.

In 2009, the committee was formed in October under the chairmanship of Congress councilor Ravinder Pal Singh by Kamlesh as no other member was willing to become its chairman.

Interestingly, even after the appointment of chairman, no meeting of this committee was held in three months as no councillor was willing to become its member.

In 2010, three meetings of the committee were held. The decision to waive property tax on religious places was taken.



Oceanic CEO in dock for forging documents
Estranged wife lodges complaint; court tells police to book him
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
A local court has directed the UT police to register a case of cheating against the owner of Oceanic Consultants, a leading immigration company based in Sector 9 here.The court of Judicial Magistrate Ranjeev Kumar told the police to book Naresh Gulati, director-cum-chief executive officer (CEO) of Oceanic Consultants under Section 420 of the IPC.

He has been accused of transferring shares worth crores in his and his mother’s name by using forged share certificates. His estranged wife, Shalini Gulati, has lodged 
the complaint.

“The allegations clearly make it a cognisable offence, in which it is imperative that an FIR be registered and the matter be investigated,” said the court in the order.

As per the complaint, Naresh Gulati created a forged share transfer certificate in 2009 as well as a share certificate and transferred 9,031 shares belonging to his wife, worth more than Rs 11.5 crore, in in favour of Sharda Gulati, his mother.

Shalini also alleged that he created a forged sale agreement of 469 shares belonging to her in favour of Oceanic Consultants Australia and Rs 60 lakh was also deposited in their joint account without her knowledge, which Naresh subsequently withdrew.

The complainant also alleged that she was also the shareholder in another company owned by Naresh Gulati, BPO Intelligence, and he transferred 2,5000 shares in his and his mother’s name by using forged documents.

The documents were shown to be executed in May 2010 while she left her husband’s home on March 29 that year. Her name was also stuck off the company ownership fraudulently by forging her resignation letter.

When the police refused to lend her complaint any ear, she moved the court, following which directions to register an FIR against Naresh were issued.



Protest by CHB staff enters Day 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The strike by employees of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) entered the third day today, with more employees joining in.Members of the CITCO (Chandigarh Industrial Tourism and Development Corporation) Workers Union and resident welfare associations of various sectors extended support to CHB employees.

MC councillor Pardeep Chhabra and BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan assured the employees separately that they would take up the matter with senior officials of the Administration.

Work remained suspended for the third consecutive day and the employees threatened to continue their strike till the demand of implementing the pension scheme was met.

The agitating employees claimed that the Board of Directors of the CHB had approved the pension scheme. Senior CHB functionaries continued to look into the issue.



Disconnecting Services Without Intimation
Vodafone asked to pay Rs 10,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The UT Consumer Disputes Redressal forum has directed mobile service provider Vodafone Essar South Limited to pay ` 10,000 as compensation to a city resident whose telephone connection was disconnected “negligently”.

The cellular company had disconnected the services of Sector 44 resident Mohit Sareen on August 20, 2010 without any intimation. When customer enquired about the disconnection, he was told that he was having the same billing address as that of other mobile number and there was an outstanding of ` 1,198. The number was on his brother’s name, Yogesh Sareen. However, he stated that it had already been cleared on July 16, 2010.

In their written reply, Vodafone stated that the brother of the complainant was duly informed on July 16, 2010 to pay the arrears of the bill but he failed to do so and as per the Telegraph Rules, they disconnected the connection as there was commonness of usage between the complainant and his brother.

After pursuing the record, the forum stated that it was nowhere mentioned by the service provider in their letter on July 16, 2010 that complainant’s brother, Yogesh’s number was disconnected due to non payment of ` 1,198 or he was ever intimated regarding the same.

"It has been clearly mentioned in that letter that out of ` 4569.57, service provider has received ` 3,000 from the brother of the complainant and the remaining amount of ` 1569.57, has been waived off by them. It appears that due to some departmental delay on the side of the Vodafone, the payment of ` 3, 000 made by the brother of the complainant was not updated in the records by the staff of Vodafone", the forum observed.

The forum comprising member Madanjit Kaur Sahota and presiding member Rajinder Singh Gill observed that the service provider had negligently disconnected the connection of the complainant under the shelter of the Telegraph Act, thereby causing mental agony, harassment and other losses to him.

For this act of the respondent, the forum directed Vodafone to restore the number of the complainant and also to pay compensation of ` 10,000 for causing him mental agony, harassment and loss to the complainant.



Realtors send SOS to Pawan Bansal
Seek reversal of ‘anti-people’ decision
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Chandigarh Administration’s decision to continue ban on the issuance of no objection certificate (NOC) to the general power of attorney (GPA) holders has earned the ire of the Property Consultants Association, Chandigarh.In fact, with the administration in no mood to budge from its ambiguous stand created by the notification of the finance department, dated September 2, 2009, the property consultants have sent an SOS to the Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Science and Technology and Earth Science Pawan Bansal to prevail upon the administration to reverse the “anti-people” decision.

“The instructions banning the GPA holders to apply for the sale of property are based on fears and apprehensions. In the case of Sector 20 commercial property, which necessitated the banning of NOC by the Estate Office, the GPA was correctly registered. However, the operator of the GPA made certain changes in the copy of the GPA in connivance with the officers of Estate Office. The administration, instead of streamlining its own system and procedure, preferred to ban the GPA holders from applying for the NOC,” JD Gupta, president of the association, said here today.

Tarlochan Singh Bittu, association chairman, alleged that it was paradoxical that the GPA holder could not apply for the NOC but at the same time could get the sale deed executed and registered on behalf of the owner of the property.” The GPA is a legal document and with its execution the GPA holders become the virtual owner of the property and the GPA holders cannot be debarred from legal rights as had been done arbitrarily by the administration,” he asserted.

The association alleged that the September 2, 2009, instructions had been made applicable from retrospective effect, which is against the laid down rules and procedure. 

Indifferent Admin

The Property Consultants Association has approached almost every senior functionary of the Chandigarh Administration, including the UT Administrator, the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Finance Secretary and the Deputy Commissioner. Even Union Minister Pawan Bansal has gone on record expressing his displeasure at the “anti-people” decision of the administration. However, the representations and minister’s “anguish” have fallen on deaf ears in the bureaucrat-dominated administration.



MC sanitation campaign flagged off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
A sanitation campaign was flagged off by Municipal Corporation Deputy Mayor Sheela Phool Singh today from Bhaskar Colony,Sector 25.During the campaign, the area will be jointly inspected by the area councillor, chief engineer, assistant director, malaria, and the medical officer of health department to remove the shortcomings in the sector.

The officials sensitised the residents regarding the management of solid waste (garbage) and to adopt hygienic habits to keep free from diseases. Stickers containing messages on maintenance of sanitation were pasted by the Deputy Mayor and councillor on the walls of houses for the general awareness of public.



Patients suffer as contractual staffgo on strike at GMSH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Patients were taken to ransom at the Government Multi specialty Hospital, (GMSH), Sector 16, today as contractual employees resorted to strike for three hours in the morning here.No sweeping work was carried out in the hospital till 11 am because of the strike, and no helper was present at the Emergency Ward gate to help shift the patients in to the hospital.

Contractual employees protest; and (left) a patient being shifted to the Emergency Ward by her relatives on a stretcher at GMSH on Thursday.Tribune photos: Pradeep Tiwari

The employees were protesting against the dismissal of four nurses.

The union leaders of employees have served a notice upon the hospital administration last evening stating that all the nursing staff, sweepers, ward attendants, drivers and other employees working on contract would not attend duties protesting against the termination of services of four nurses by the contractor.

While the hospital administration claimed that it was a matter between the outsourcing agency and the employees, the patients were at the receiving end.

There was chaos in the OPDs in the absence of ward attendants and security guards.

“This is not expected at a hospital where people suffering from different diseases and writhing in pain reach with the hope of getting some relief”, said Ranjna, resident of Sector 27, while pushing a patient lying on a stretcher towards the Emergency Ward.

The manager of outsourcing agency, IP Singh, however, said the four nurses were dismissed, as their behaviour with patients was not found satisfactory. 

GMCH nursing staff also in agitation mode Close on the heels of agitation by OT technicians and contractual staff at PGI and GMSH, the nursing staff at GMCH has also decided to hold a silent protest in support of their demand of central-pay scales. A general body meeting of GMCH Nurses Welfare Association resolved to hold a silent protest for 21 days wearing black badges.



Citi Bank told to pay relief of Rs 5,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
In yet another case highlighting “unfair trade practices” being resorted to by credit card companies, the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum today directed Citi Bank to pay compensation of Rs 5,000 to city resident for causing her harassment and mental agony by raising a bill of  Rs 40,789 against even when she hadn’t used the card.

A resident of Sector 41, Kiran Sharma, stated in her complaint that Citi bank representatives had approached her with an offer to give a lifetime free credit card. She accepted the offer and got the credit card.

A couple of months later she received a bill from the bank showing some outstanding payment even when she hadn’t used the card. Confused, she decided to send the card back to the company and couriered it (as a precaution against misuse she cut the card in four pieces) to bank’s office in Chennai.

Despite this, she kept on getting monthly statements and her outstanding rose to ` 40, 789 without she having swiped the card even once.

In their response to the forum, Citi Bank claimed that they had charged Kiran for an insurance, Good Health Policy, that she had bought after giving a “telephonic confirmation”. The bank claimed that since she did not make a single payment, the outstanding went up to Rs 40,000 because of various charges on account of late payment and interest.

Interestingly, the bank failed to prove any documentary or other evidence to prove that Kiran had agreed to buy the insurance policy. The bank subsequently agreed to waive of some of the charges from the statement.

Taking a strong view, the forum observed that the bank had illegally tried to grab the money from the complainant thereby causing harassment to her. The forum members, Madanjit Kaur Sahota and presiding member Rajinder Singh Gill directed the bank to pay the compensation of ` 5,000 along with litigation cost of  Rs 2,500.



Remove mobile tower: Admin
Threat to adjoining houses, say neighbours
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Five years after the UT Administration allowed non-residential buildings to have mobile towers, the structures, largely on rooftops of illegal guest houses, are posing a serious threat to the walls of adjoining buildings.

Taking cognisance to a visible threat to walls of houses adjoining the tower on an illegal lodge, the UT Administration has ordered the owner at Daria village to remove the tower or face the consequences, including monetary penalty.

The orders have been passed by the office of SDM (East) Abhishek Dev following a complaint by neighbours whose buildings have developed cracks.

The Star Lodge, an illegal guest house next to the railway station, houses a mobile tower on its rooftop. The weight of the heavy tower has adversely affected its walls, which have collapsed from one side.

Residential buildings next door have also developed cracks, making those vulnerable. The residents are pleading for immediate help and, at the same time, “praying to save them from a sudden collapse”.

The towers had come up on non-residential buildings as the UT was involved in a legal tangle over permission to residential quarters to have mobile structures on rooftops five years ago.

On the one hand, the UT’s directive to villages clearly states that no commercial activity is allowed in villages and on the other, mobile towers have been allowed on rooftops of non-residential buildings such as lodges. These buildings are, naturally, illegal structures.

This clearly indicates that the UT Administration has no mechanism in place to check what activities are going on in its peripheral villages, making a mockery of its directives.

To top it all, the UT estate office can issue a conditional no-objection certificate specifically for the purpose of installation of mobile towers on non-residential buildings, subject to their safety. Even on the aspect of ensuring safety norms, it failed to verify facts before giving permission.



Super Bazar’s properties to go under hammer
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The properties of Super Bazar, the city’s first chain of retail stores, will go under the hammer soon.Known for introducing the concept of shopping under one roof at affordable prices, its properties will soon be auctioned with the help of a committee constituted today by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

As the issue came up for discussion this morning, a Division Bench of Justice MM Kumar and Justice TPS Mann directed the open auction of the properties through a committee of retired high court Judge Justice AL Bahri and chartered accountants Kumar Bhagwat and Company.

The entire process will be carried out in consultation with the Home Secretary. The committee has the liberty of taking the advice of any other person as well. The process has to be completed within four months.

The development is significant as employees of the erstwhile Super Bazar have been oscillating between optimism and despondency over the issue of benefits.

Their counsel, Jagdeep Bains, has been asserting all along that employees stand terminated for almost a decade now.

Taking up an appeal filed in the matter, the high court had earlier asked the UT Administration to see if they could be absorbed, or as an alternative, be given benefits of the voluntary retirement scheme.

A Division Bench had, in April 2009, observed, “We are of the considered opinion that it will be appropriate to direct the Finance Secretary, Union Territory, Chandigarh, to examine the matter and file an affidavit as to whether employees of the erstwhile Super Bazar can be absorbed or whether the employees are entitled to the benefits of the voluntary retirement scheme.”

Over 200 employees depend upon the bazar for their livelihood. They have been facing uncertainty since long, with the case witnessing twists and turns.

In March 2003, the high court had quashed the orders directing the winding up of the bazar, with about 50 outlets.

Challenging the orders of winding up the bazar and the appointment of a liquidator, Hem Raj and other petitioners had earlier contended that same were violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

The high court had, at that time, held that the report submitted by a committee formulated by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies could not be termed as investigation, as envisaged under provisions of the relevant Act.

The report could not have been relied upon by the Registrar while passing the impugned orders, directing the winding up of the bazar, besides the appointment of the liquidator.



Return of power cuts
Supply affected for past three days in Mohali
Kulwinder Sangha/ Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, February 3
Unannounced power cuts during the past three days here have been disrupting activities in homes, offices and commercial areas. While power was cut for nearly four hours today, additional weekly power offs have been announced for the industrial sector as well.

The cuts are being imposed several times during the day without any notice to the consumers, leaving them high and dry in the midst of activities dependent on power.

A power cut was today imposed at 9 am and the supply was restored at 9.40 am in Phase II and surrounding areas. This was followed by an hour-long cut starting at 11 am. But that was not the end. Another cut was imposed at 1.10 pm restoring the supply at 2.30 pm. Later, half-an-hour power cut was imposed at 3.15 pm.

Residents had witnessed frequent power cuts even yesterday, the last being at 8.15 pm. Though residents were not very critical about the power cuts due to winter, those who depended on power for earning their livelihood were bitter about the situation.

PS Virdi, president of the Consumers Protection Federation, said the situation of power in the town was grim. Power was shutdown a number of times today, causing inconvenience to residents. The government kept making claims that power would be made surplus, but the position was getting from bad to worse.

Gurvinder Singh, an electrician who comes from Kurali to Mohali to earn his livelihood, said power situation was pathetic today. He started some electrical work at a house in Phase I, which could be completed only in the evening due to frequent cuts. But he felt harassed as every time the power cut was imposed he had to come back to his shop and go again for the work when the supply was restored, he added.

General secretary of the Mohali Industries Association, RP Singh said a notice from the power corporation was received in the evening, which stated that an additional weekly off would be imposed from tomorrow.

The power to small industrial units was being cut for 24-hours in a week since December 4 while bigger units were already facing a 36-hour weekly power cut. The duration of power cuts for small industrial units had now been increased to 48 hours, while in the case of large industrial units it had been raised to 56 hours.

He said injustice was being done with the industrial sector. Instead of encouraging industry in the state, the Punjab Government had throttled it. He said industry in Punjab was already going through crisis and power cuts worsened the situation.

Industrial unit owners had hoped to achieve their targets by March 31, but by imposing additional weekly power cut the corporation had created problems for the industrial sector, he added. An official of the Punjab State Power Corporation, who did not like to be quoted, claimed that the power cuts were being imposed only for two hours a day. The timings were from 11 am to 12 noon and from 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm. Additional disruptions in power could have been due to other reasons. He was not aware that an additional weekly off was announced for the industrial sector today.

Induction units face 3-day cut

The power deficit Punjab today extended the power cut schedule of induction industry and general industry.Earlier, induction industry had two days cut, which has been extended to three days and the general industry would now face two days power cut instead of one day.

Already reeling under scheduled power cuts, the input cost in these industries has increased and has left industrialists fuming. President of the Induction Furnace Association Mahinder Gupta said power cuts have become a norm these days. “We are helpless and have to abide by the cuts imposed,” he said.

At Rajpura today power cut was imposed for seven hours. The power department had notified that power would be switched off from 11 am to 2 pm for maintenance purposes. However, Sushil Kumar, a resident of Sheetal Colony, who runs a mobile repair shop in Mahinderganj, alleged that power cut was imposed for seven hours instead of scheduled three hours.

Power cuts have also affected the business of Photostat operators outside the Rajpura court, market place and mobile repair shops and others. Domestic consumers were the worst affected as the power back up equipment, like invertors, got exhausted.

“This seems to be just a small beginning to agonising summers that lie ahead. When demand in winter remains unfulfilled, imagine the plight of common man in Punjab in summers when power consumption increases. Rural population would be worst affected,” added Jaswinder Singh.

XEN, Rajpura, Jagdish Sachdeva said he was not aware of the extended cut. Meanwhile, XEN, Fatehgarh Sahib, AS Gill said the power cut had indeed been extended owing to power shortage. Today, Fatehgarh Sahib district faced power cut of three-and-a-half hours instead of two hours scheduled power cut.



Mutilated body found
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 3
Mutilated body of a 37-year-old man was found under mysterious circumstances near Sukhna choe, opposite Sohi banquet hall, on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway here this evening.

The deceased has been identified as Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Himmatgarh, Dhakola. He was working in a Baddi-based factory.

According to the police, the left hand of the deceased was found missing. Zirakpur Additional SHO Ravinder Pal stated that the police got the information around 4 am that a hand was found on the terrace of the water supply office. After a long search, the body was found near the Sukhna choe.

A police team found a driving licence from his pocket from where identity was established. Kuldeep’s family members told the police that he left for his job yesterday but he did not reach his office. The family members of the deceased also said they had no old enmity with anyone.

The body was sent for the postmortem at Dera Bassi Civil Hospital. The police official said it was possibly a case of murder, but it would be confirmed after the postmortem.

Kuldeep is survived by his wife and two children. DSP, Dera Bassi, JS Khaira stated that a case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered against unidentified miscreants.



Male dominance supreme even today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 3
“Change is the law of nature and the humanity at large has undergone substantial changes to acquire new horizons over the centuries, but the supremacy of male dominance in our real life remains the same.” Artistes of the Rang Virsat theatre group attempted to endorse this glaring fact through their play “ Kadli Phal” staged on the second day of Katha Manchan-III festival organised by Mask Theatre at Randhawa auditorium here today.

Based on a story by Dr Vaikom Mohammad Basheer, debutante director Nisha Sharma depicted the life of Abdul Qudar who succeeded in marrying his employer’s daughter. The cast included Surrender, Jyoti, Vijay, Gursimran, Saket, Ritesh and Nisha. “ Station ” will be staged tomorrow.



Roadways bus hits 15-yr-old girl
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 3
Ravila Khatun (15), a resident of Bhudha Sahib, Zirakpur, got seriously injured in a road mishap that took place on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway here this morning.Ravila was hit by a Punjab roadways bus while she was crossing the road on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway.

A police official stated that the victim sustained serious injuries and her left leg was broken. She was admitted to the GMCH-32, Chandigarh.

The bus driver and the conductor managed to flee from the spot in another Punjab roadways bus after the incident. The statement of the girl was recorded and further investigations were on. However, till the filing of this report, no case was registered.


Mohali: The Mohali police has booked Tarlochan Singh Bath, a resident of Sector 69, for allegedly cheating Tarlochan Singh Baidwan, a resident of Sector 50, of Rs 28.25 lakh on the pretext of selling a flat at Pink Rose Society in Sector 49, Chandigarh.

The accused sold the flat of her sister-in-law on the basis of the general power of attorney (GPA) one year after her death.

The complainant told the police that he bought a flat from Bath in July 2006. A case under Section 420 of the IPC was registered against the accused. In another case, Karamjit Singh, a resident of Jalandhar, in his complaint to the police, said Manjeet Bawa took Rs 65,000 from him to arrange work permit for Malaysia. Neither the money was refunded, nor was the work permit arranged. A case was registered .



12 bottlenecks identified, to be removed
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Mohali, February 3
To streamline the flow of traffic and enforce the rules in the town, the Mohali municipal corporation and the traffic police have identified at least 12 bottlenecks, which will be removed soon.

Beginning with the Chandigarh-Kharar national highway that passes through Phase VI here, a team of officials led by Superintendent of Police (traffic) Sarabjit Singh and municipal corporation XEN NS Dalam, who after conducting a survey of the trouble spots on the directions of the MC Commissioner, has proposed the carving of slip roads and installation of traffic signs at the roads merging into the highway.

In its report submitted to the higher authorities, the team has pointed out that there was a need to put up mild steel railing along the labour colony in the Chandigarh area to ease traffic on the stretch from Phase VI to I. The team also found that there were no road markings like zebra crossing and yellow lines at most congested traffic junctions.

Sarabjit Singh said the corporation officials had been told to mark the zebra crossing and lanes segregating the slow and fast moving traffic.

The team has proposed to ascertain the possibility of carving out slip roads at the intersection of Phases 3B2 and VII.

The team found haphazard parking of vehicles outside the District Courts Complex, Phase 3 B2, leading to chaos. The team suggested the utilisation of the parking of the Phase 3B2 market for vehicles coming to the courts.

Dalam said estimates for the works would be submitted soon so that the work could be undertaken at the earliest.

The corporation has been asked to put up boards indicating the speed limit, reflectors, catseye, and other road signages.

The SP said the corporation had been told change the design of the steel railings on traffic islands to avoid fatal injuries to motorists in the wake of an accident. Traffic lights have been proposed at different intersections across the town. “In wake of increasing traffic, there was a need to put up more traffic lights,” said the SP.

With the formation of the municipal corporation, the inflow of funds is expected to increase, resulting in the completion of pending works. Meanwhile, there is also a plan to beautify the roadside space and road berms.

Chaos on Zirakpur roads
Tribune News Service

Diversion due to the construction of a railway overbridge near Dhakoli leads to traffic jam on the Zirakpur-Dhakoli road on Thursday.
Diversion due to the construction of a railway overbridge near Dhakoli leads to traffic jam on the Zirakpur-Dhakoli road on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, February 3
Failure of the traffic police in stopping heavy vehicles from plying on the Zirakpur-Dhakoli road during the day time led to traffic jams here today. A special police force was deployed near K-Area on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway for the purpose, but they failed to perform their duty.

The Zirakpur-Kalka highway was closed for vehicles due to the construction work of the railway overbridge at a level crossing near Dhakoli.

A visit to the area revealed that long queues of vehicles were witnessed at the Dhakoli road and Baltana road. Commuters alleged that the cops failed to stop the truckers from entering the road. They reportedly informed the cops about the traffic jam, but in vain.

Mohit Choudhary, a resident of Zirakpur, said he was moving towards Kalka from Zirakpur to attend an official meeting, but got late due to heavy traffic jam.



Counselling session at SD College on Feb 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Aesthesia, the psychology club of GGDSD College, Sector 32, will be holding a free career guidance and counselling session for students of classes X and XII on the college premises on February 8.

Interested students are required to get themselves registered for the counselling on February 5, 2011, between 10 am to 1 pm.

The session will be open to all students who are seeking professional guidance regarding desirable and feasible career options. The counselling procedure will involve psychological testing of students to gauge their aptitude, intelligence, areas of interest and personality, thus helping them understand various career and lifestyle issues.



Presentation on Shakespeare’s writings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The department of English, GGDSD College, Sector 32, organised a talk on “Study of Shakespeare with special reference to The Merchant of Venice” on the college campus today.

In his presentation, resource person Prof Rana Nayar, chairperson, department of English, PU, conceptualised the study of Shakespeare’s plays for undergraduate students.

Scholar, writer and critic Prof Nayar while moving away from the usual classroom discussion of the play’s summary, plot and characters, engaged the students with his powerful visual presentation that chronicled the background and circumstances behind the kind of writings that Shakespeare created and hence provided a comprehensive context to the works of the great dramatist.

In addition to enunciating some lesser known facts about Shakespeare, his life and temperament, he encouraged the students to “analyse and re-read the works of Shakespeare .” While using The Merchant of Venice as a point in case, Professor Nayar discussed the critical nuances of the play, and also gave tips to the students on how to “engage with the politics of representation in the works of Shakespeare” instead of concentrating on a mere superficial reading of texts.



From Schools

Chandigarh: Dashmesh Khalsa Public Senior Secondary School, Mohali, held a prize distribution function on Thursday. Bhajan Singh Shergill, member, SGPC, was the chief guest, while Hardeep Singh, member, SGPC, presided over the function. Bhajan Singh Shergill was given a warm welcome by chairman of the school committee Jasmer Singh. Students presented a cultural programme. A fancy-dress competition was held. Principal Charanjit Kaur read out the annual report.


An essay-writing competition on “Consumers:Their Rights and Duties” was organised by the Consumer Club of GMS-26 (BD) School on Thursday. Payal, Mamta and Pinshu of Class VIII secured the first, second and third positions, respectively.


Doon International School, Mohali, was given the best school award and its principal Manjeet Madra got the best principal award. These awards were given by Mother Teresa Children Development Society, Aurangabad (Maharashtra).

Colouring and hand-writing competitions were held. Vidusha, Rashmeen, Manav, Guneet, Arshnoor won a prize in colouring, while Divya won the best hand-writing award.

Farewell party

Class XI students of DAV, Phase X, Mohali, organised a farewell party for Class XII students. A cultural programme and various games were organised. Students presented a dance. Nukul Gupta was declared the Mr DAV title, while Aashima was crowned Miss DAV.

Juniors bid adieu to their seniors at Ryan International School.

A special programme was organised. Students danced to the tunes of rocking numbers. The titles of Prince and Princess were given to Sahej Abrol and Chandrika Sharma.


R P Anand, principal, DAV, Surajpur, received Shiksha Rattan Puraskar at a function held in New Delhi.The award was given by Dr Bhishma Narayan Singh, former Governor of Tamil Nadu and Assam. 

Last date extended

Chandigarh, February 3
Keeping in view the increase in number of students andreprinting of lessons, the University School of Open Learning (USOL) of Panjab University has extended the last date for submission of assignments of postgraduate classes from February 3 to February 20. — TNS



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