C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Heritage or not?
UT asks Chief Architect to verify Paris auction items
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
A day after the UT police booked an architect Jaswinder Singh in a case of criminal breach of trust following a UT administration’s report holding him responsible for loss of certain heritage items, the police has shot off a communication to the Chief Architect to ascertain whether or not the items which were auctioned in Paris qualify as “heritage’ items”.

Moreover, the police have also asked the Architecture Department to form a committee to identify and verify all items that had been auctioned.

“We have asked the Architecture Department to constitute a committee to identify the heritage items. It will be evaluated whether the items qualify as heritage and police will proceed with the investigations accordingly,” said UT SSP Naunihal Singh.

The step by the police to identify the heritage items has raised a question mark on the UT administration’s own report in which they have nailed former modeler Jaswinder Singh and son of late architect Giani Rattan Singh, as responsible for the loss of heritage.

Last year a committee formed by the administration under its chief architect to check the items reportedly related to Le Corbusier in the backdrop of the February 16 auction of sketches and drawings on him by the Paris-based auction house Artcurial has failed to submit its report.

Sources said there is confusion on what constitutes city’s “heritage” given the fact that most buildings, maps and artifacts of Chandigarh did not fulfill the mandatory 100-year existence for qualifying as heritage.

Yesterday, the police booked Jaswinder Singh, an architect and son of Giani Rattan Singh who worked as a modeler for Le Corbusier.

In the inquiry report, the then SDM and current Joint Secretary (Home) Abhishek Dev had concluded that Jaswinder Singh had sold out heritage items to a French national in the early 1990s.

The Chandigarh administration drew much flak last year for failing to halt the auction of UTs heritage items by different auction houses such as Art curial and Bonham’s in London and Paris. The latest in the list of auctions is the sale of heritage items by Artcurial, which fetched a whopping 1162,056 Euros (a little over Rs 7 crore) on November 24. 



School stabbing: One more arrested
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
A day after a Class XI student of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, was brutally stabbed in the principal’s office, the police have made one more arrest in the case taking the total number arrested to four. The police arrested 20-year-old Lali, a resident of Colony number 5, in the case of attempt to murder. Three of the assailants were arrested yesterday while the rest, estimated to be six more, are still at large, the police said.

The condition of Feroz Khan, who is admitted in the Government Medical College and Hospital Sector 32, is meanwhile stated to be stable.

A group of 10 assailants, all of them outsiders, had attacked Feroz Khan following an earlier brawl the previous day. The weapon used in the crime is yet to be recovered.

The fourth accused, Lali, who was arrested today is the driver of the Scorpio car in which all the assailants had come to attack the student.

Argument over juvenile’s status

The three accused arrested yesterday - Vimal, Dalip and Vinod- were produced before the duty magistrate today where the police sought police custody of the accused. The defence counsel argued that one of the three - Vimal - is a juvenile and should thus be sent to a juvenile home. However, the counsel had not brought any proof certifying the age and pleaded for his ossification test. Court then sent Dalip and Vinod to two days police custody while Vimal was remanded to one day police custody.

All accused identified

Sources said that the police have identified all the other accused in the case and raids are being conducted at their possible hideouts to arrest them. The others have been identified on the interrogation of the three who were arrested yesterday. The police said all the accused are colony residents and are school dropouts and were 10 in number.

Criminal background suspected: Police

Sub Inspector Jaspal Singh Bhullar, in-charge of the Burail police post, said they suspect that the accused have a criminal background. “Though there is nothing on ground, we are interrogating them to find if they have been involved in such violent acts in the past too. It is suspected that they are involved in petty crimes in their area,” he said.

Vandalism brewing in colonies, slums

UT SSP Naunihal Singh said increasing disparity between the rich and poor in Chandigarh, drug addiction and rising intolerance were reasons behind the spurt in violent crime. “A number of unemployed youth, especially teenagers in slums and colonies are becoming increasingly intolerant and committing violent acts. We are identifying the causes and will chalk out what needs to be done to control such crimes,” he said.

Past incidents

January 28, 2010: Class-X student Siddharth Malhotra was stabbed in Sector 40.

January 28, 2010: An ITI (Mohali) student, Pardeep Singh, was stabbed in Sector 22.

November 19, 2010: A student of GMSSS-47, Vishal Sharma, was attacked with blunt weapons

November 11, 2010: Class XII student of GMSS-33 stabbed at a tuition centre in Sector 27.

August 8, 2010: A masked student of GMSSS-19 snatched the purse of a school teacher, Sunita Devi, in the school premises.

August 4, 2010: Hindi teacher Manu Rani of Government High School, Sector 31, slapped by a student.



Schools wary of growing violence
Sumedha Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, February 18
The mayhem witnessed at Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, yesterday has once again highlighted the increasing lawlessness among children dwelling in city slums.

This exhibition of rampant violence among these children has sparked off concern among parents and private schools that are supposed to admit a substantial number of slum children under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. The schools, which are supposed to admit 25 per cent of children belonging to disadvantaged groups, are concerned about dealing with both psychological and sociological issues which in turn may end up affecting hundreds of other students.

“Adjustment is going to be a big problem for us. It is not just about giving a seat to a child in the class. It is also about dealing with young minds. All of last year has witnessed ‘slapping’ incidents and what happened yesterday has shaken us all. We don’t expect our teachers to save the rest of the 75 per cent from picking up their habit,” Independent School Association president HS Mamik said.

“The RTE talks of welfare of all children. Right from day one, we have expressed our concern over disparity, which may hamper studies of our children. I may be called selfish, but I do not want my seven-year-old daughter coming back home learning abuses and indulging in fistfights. There should be some counselling before admitting these children,” said Gurmeet Singh, member of a local PTA association.

UT officiating DPI (Schools) Ajoy Sharma, however, reacted saying: “We do understand their concern, but that’s what we face in government schools. A child of class 1 has an impressionable mind and schools should put in extra effort to mould these children and counsel their parents.”

Security concerns 
Schools awaiting CCTV cameras, boundary walls

The stabbing incident has brought to fore the indifferent attitude of the education department to security in schools. Though the department has designed five school security plans in the last two years, it is yet to implement any. While in some cases these plans are still awaiting funds or approval, a majority of them ended up being shelved soon after the exit of the DPI (Schools) who conceived it.

The latest addition to this list of non-starters is the plan announced in August 2010 promising a weekly visit to the school by the area SHO to instill “fear” of the police. The plan was conceived after Naresh, a Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan teacher at Government School, Karsan, was cornered and thrashed by four youths when he was walking back home after school. Similarly, the recent directive of the ministry of human resources and development asking schools to not only raise the boundary walls, but also install CCTV cameras in corridors has not been implemented.

The directive was received during the tenure of former DPI (Schools) PK Sharma who started the project of raising boundary walls but it came to a halt soon after his exit. Sources say that he had even prepared proposal for CCTV cameras but it was put on hold for want of funds. During another former DPI SK Setia’s tenure, the department had started a project of hiring trained guards for schools. While recruitment was done in some schools, a majority still continue to function with just one or two chowkidars.

Despite claiming to be concerned about the deteriorating moral and psychological health of schoolchildren, the education department has failed to provide counsellors in a majority of schools. Even in schools where counsellors have been hired, a systematic counselling module is yet to be adopted. Even as more and more children continue to resort to violence to vent out their anger, anxiety and stress, plans like daily counselling, parent-counsellor interaction, meditation classes and moral education lectures are still confined to official presentations.

“These children come from a different socio-economic background where abusing, brawls and even stabbing seems to be the way of life. Schools and teachers do make efforts. But a majority of efforts are to be made by parents. More than counselling children, we need to counsel their parents because that is what will bring about a change in their ideology.

— Anujit Kaur, principal, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16

More than being an issue of school security, it is deterioration of the youth. The basic fault of our education system is too much stress on scholastic performance. There is hardly any initiative to include meditation or moral lessons in the school’s daily curriculum. Everything cannot be put on project or plans. Child welfare should also be an individual concern for teachers.

— Ajoy Sharma, Officiating DPI (Schools)

Violence like this is not instant. Rather, it is an outcome of several emotions which brew in young minds. The socio-economic conditions are also responsible for such a bent of mind and the only solution is conducting systematic counselling of both children and parents.

— Dr Adarsh Kohli, additional professor, dept of psychiatry, PGI



I-T raids on premises of 3 business houses

Chandigarh,February 18
Three major builders in Chadnigarh and its periphery came under the scanner of the Income Tax Department with the department raiding 18 premises and seizing documents indicating the evasion of taxes.

Sources said 21 teams of the IT department under the guidance of the director general (north western region) Jaswant Singh raided the residential and commercial premises of the three groups-Mehta Group(Chandigarh), MG Group(Panchkula) and Zander Group(Chandigarh, Mohali and Bathinda).

Officials said certain documents were seized from the premises of the builders and they would be tallied with income tax returns filed by them. “Action as per the provisions of the IT Act and other rules and regulations will be taken for any evasion of the taxes,” a senior official said.

With the role of black money rampant in the property transaction there is large-scale evasion of income tax by the builders in Chandigarh and its periphery in the backdrop of the boom in the construction industry, sources said. — TNS



2 schoolgirls go missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
Two teenage schoolgirls have reportedly gone missing from their respective schools over the last two days. Harpreet Kaur, a 14-year-old student of Stepping Stone School in Sector 38, failed to return home yesterday following which her parents filed a complaint with the police today. In a separate case, 17-year-old Hema Devi, a class student of Government Model in Sector 40, also failed to return home. Hema Devi is a resident of sector 56.

Station House Officer of Sector 39 police station Inspector Charanjeet Singh members of both families lodged complaints with the police on Friday and an alert has been issued to all the nearby district police authorities. He said pictures of missing students have been obtained and released to all police stations. Police have ruled out foul play behind their disappearance and said both girls were in school uniform when they were last seen. The missing reports were lodged at sector 39 police station. The police also said that Hema’s brother used to accompany her to school but noticed her missing while on the way. Her parents have also suspected the role of a boy with whom the girl might have eloped. She also threatened her family of suicide if they don’t get her married with the boy of her choice.


YC activists launch drive against habit-forming drugs
Tribune News Service

Police officials examine the habit-forming drugs found during a drive conducted by activists of the Punjab Youth Congress at Nayagaon, near Chandigarh, on Friday.
Police officials examine the habit-forming drugs found during a drive conducted by activists of the Punjab Youth Congress at Nayagaon, near Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan 

Mohali, February 18
Activists of the Punjab Youth Congress (PYC), led by its president Ravneet Singh Bittu, carried out a drive against the chemist shops, selling habit-forming drugs, in Mohali, Ropar and Ludhiana.

In the drive at a chemist shops in Nayagaon, near Chandigarh, three bags of drugs, being sold without prescription, were found and handed over to the police.

“Since we did not have faith in the official machinery, the police and drug controller officials were intimated only after we found the drugs. Three persons have been rounded up by the police,” Ravneet said.

Ironically the shop selling mobile handsets in Nayagoan, which was being used by peddlers to stock the drugs, is located near the the residence of the Punjab Chief Minister.

“Such centres operate under the aegis of the police. The business was being run on the busy road and no one from the police checked it,” Raveet said. The Assistant Drug Controller, Pradeep Kumar, said the department was also conducting raid on the basis of information.

“More inspectors were being recruited to control the menace,” he said.

Chamkaur Sahib: In Latheri village, Chamkaur Sahib, acting on information given by the PYC activists, a team of Ropar police and officials from the Health Department raided Amar Medical Store located in Latheri village yesterday.

They recovered 777 kinds of medicines, worth Rs 5 lakh. Teams of health officials confiscated 26 boxes of different kind of drugs. The licence of the owner, Amarjeet, Singh was cancelled on September 17. Despite cancellation, Amarjeet had been selling medicines unabatedly.

President of the youth Congress, Harvinder Kaur Sandhu, had filed a complained against the chemist.

Drug inspector Amit Duggal said legal action would be initiated against the chemist on Monday.

Officials of the Health Department said they had received more than six complaints against Amarjeet, whose medical store was earlier named Preet Medical Store. Earlier, the area residents had protested against the chemist alleging him of selling drugs.

Sahnewal: The District Youth Congress organised a dharna and raised slogans in front of the 'targeted' medical store at Sahnewal and forced the administration to act on the spur of the moment and seize drugs from the custody of the accused.

President of the youth Congress, Lakhvir Singh, said they had prior information that Lovee Medicos on Dehlon road at Sahnewal was selling drugs for quite some time.

The local police then sealed the store. 16 syrup bottels, 1,100 tablets and 150 capsules were seized from the drug store.



‘I don’t think we could have handled the situation better’
Panjab University, the premier university of the region, has been in the news for the wrong reasons. The last three weeks have witnessed considerable upheaval with students and teachers launching agitation. In an exclusive interview, a visibly upset and defensive sounding Vice-Chancellor, RC Sobti, spoke to Neha Miglani

The university appears to be succumbing to the students’ agitation. This comes across as evident in the way the dental college issue was handled by the PU authorities.

Right from the minute I got to know about the situation at dental college, I ensured that we got in touch with both teachers and students. Everybody, including the deans, dental college director and teachers were asked to interact with students. Each person related to the dental college was given an opportunity to bring the situation under control and resolve the matter. On day one, the Dean Student Welfare (DSW) along with Dean University Instructions (DUI) and president of the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) categorically asked the dental college teachers to personally hold talks with the students. On day two, I personally went to the dental college to meet the agitating students. I had been constantly updating the university syndicate about the situation. Two parallel committees were formed immediately, one with the PUTA president as chairperson, which was to address the allegations levelled by a particular student, and a second to look into the overall demands of dental college students. This committee had six senior teachers of the university as members. I had urged the dental college teachers several times to meet the students’ parents and hold a parent-teacher meeting to resolve the matter amicably.

Why did the university wait for Dr Krishan Gauba to resign before intervening? Was there any pressure on him to resign?

This is not true. We intervened immediately and committees were formed to address the issue. In fact, Dr Gauba distributed copies of his request to relinquish charge to all syndicate members a night before the decision was to be announced by the committee. The university received a communication about this later. There is no question of any pressure on him. Instead, university officials had sought his suggestion on how to manage the situation in his institute. Then the classes were suspended for a few days.

Could you have handled the dental college agitation better?

I don’t think so. This is a completely democratic system and I tried to watch the interests of students and teachers alike. The committee formed to look into the matter had both student and teacher representatives. Dr Gauba opted to proceed on leave and offered to relinquish his charge.

Senate politics has always ruled the roost in the campus affairs. What are the shortcomings and what amends are needed?

A Government of India act is governing this university and PU’s calendar is supreme. Even I am appointed under the act and have to work within the framework of rules. To resolve the ongoing issues, I called four special syndicate meetings so that the university’s executive body is informed about the whole situation. They were told about minute-to-minute development and they participated in resolving the matter.

Major decisions have been made. However, they may have turned out to be impractical. Like vehicles entry, parking and smoking…

As far as smoking is concerned, I have not got a report of any violations and the university is largely a smoke-free campus. Even the city is smoke free. But you go to any busy market area, you will find people smoking. About the parking and vehicles entry, I have been constantly appealing to students, teachers and non-teaching staff to abide by the traffic rules. Wherever I go, I persuade students to avoid triple riding, drive slow, etc. I constantly give such messages to the university fraternity. We proposed a bus service within the campus so that students do not carry their vehicles everywhere. But they are not willing to shell out Rs 100 per month. We had two university buses already and were planning buy two more. But if this is the response among students, then what’s the point of buying more buses and just park them on the campus.

Is it in the nature of the university’s character to start undergraduate courses while it is considered an institute of postgraduate courses largely? Do you think the entry of Class XII passouts to the university courses is causing problems for the authorities to maintain discipline?

In fact, our university started with undergraduate and matriculation courses. It is not true that this university is meant to restrict itself to only postgraduate courses. It is understandable that students in undergraduate courses may not be as mature to understand the importance of being the electorates.

What is the relevance of student body elections in Chandigarh when the same are not allowed in Punjab?

The university administration is nobody to take a decision on student poll. Whatever is in the university’s calendar is being followed and we are bound by the rules of the act under which the university was established. Even the Lyngdoh Committee recommends student council poll. There are certain latest guidelines issue by the Supreme Court on the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. We have not got the official intimation of any update as yet.

What are the biggest concerns facing the university?

Our academic status is our prime concern and I appeal to all teachers to be more patient. The progress of the university must not be hampered because of any issue. PU is already a centrally funded institution and is on its way to become a university with potential for excellence. If we compare the university’s Sector 25 campus now and what it was a few years ago, there is a phenomenal growth. The Sector 25 campus will soon become more vibrant; the Sector 14 campus is already flourishing. Are these not administrative achievements?

What have been the recent achievements of PU?

Panjab University has the highest H-index (a parameter of effectiveness) in science and technology. In a recent survey done by a prominent university in Western Australia, PU is the only university which has been mentioned in its list of top universities. There are countless academic achievements of the university and we have several centres of advance studies. I am proud of my teachers and students. We have the brightest scholars and sportspersons who are doing this university proud.

Do not support students in wrongdoing: student representatives

Even the most serious problem can be resolved amicable in the university. No wrong trend must be set in PU by any section. I do not wish to comment further on the matter.

— Gurwindervir Singh Aulakh,  student, University Institute  of Engineering and Technology

The dental college issue was different from the UBS one. The student’s agitation was unfortunate. Medical profession is sacred and if the budding doctors are not disciplined, eventually the patients would suffer. The UBS case needs to be properly investigated by the university. Also, there is a certain mutual respect and gap that must be maintained between a teacher and a student.

—Vibha Sethi,  student, department of botany

Whatever the UBS chairperson has done was a befitting reply to the mockery of discipline created by students on the campus. He has taught a lesson to PU students who may continue targeting one chairperson after another. The very students who protested against Dr Gauba have recently been apologising because of the affiliation issue. As student council’s representatives, we will not support students in the wrong they are doing.

— Akhil Bansal,  student, University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Students must not target their chairpersons for petty problems. At the same time, if students are protesting, there could be something wrong and the issue needs to be addressed immediately. But there are better ways of resolving issues than demanding resignation of department chairpersons.

— Subhash Chander,  student, Dr HSJ Institute  of Dental Sciences



Petty politics scourging varsity
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
Panjab University, an institute of national repute that underwent a historic change in 2010 to become a university funded primarily by the Government of India, is fast becoming a prey to petty politics in various quarters of the campus.

Permutations for PU senate elections (to be held in 2012), for Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) poll (to be held this year) and selection of candidates for key administrative posts (to be held next week) are all reasons being cited for the political upheaval to which certain senate members appear to be contributing liberally.

The last one week has witnessed the chairpersons of two professional departments relinquishing charge in order to put an end to the students’ agitation. Dr Krishan Gauba of Dr HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, whose tenure was nearing an end as the director-principal, submitted a request in writing to the syndicate members to be sent on leave. Dinesh Kumar Gupta, former chairperson, University Business School (UBS), followed suit after a protest by certain students of MCom (e-commerce) of the department.

Although teachers and fellows continue to draw mileage out of the situation, university sources claim that the real challenge will be the forthcoming selection process for key administrative posts of the university. “Because of the break up and re-alignment of the lobbies of senators, the university is facing hell. Right from “so called RTI activists” to influential candidates, all have applied for certain administrative posts in PU. There is more politics involved in grabbing these key posts. Few teachers and even certain fellows are now using student leaders to create havoc on the campus for their own political motives,” said a university source.

Is unique nature of PU to blame?

Unique structure of the university and its democratic structure were responsible for the disorder. PU is a unique institute not just in terms of its academic excellence but also the politics. With a mammoth 100-member senate and a 15-member syndicate, this university has a structure that no other university in the country has. All this coupled with PUTA and student council poll each year add to the reasons why teachers and fellows indulge in politics here to such a great extent. A few of us do not want to give up power and this is the reason why the PU could not become a central university and ultimately became a ‘centrally funded’ university. Had it become a central university, the entire structure of the senate would have changed with barely five to six members on panel. Who wants to lose power?

— A senior member of the PU Senate

UBS still headless?

Despite repeated attempts by students and a section of teachers today to persuade former UBS chairperson, Dinesh K Gupta, to resume charge, the latter continued to stand by his resignation. When contacted, Gupta said he did not want to comment on the matter. The deadlock continues even though Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti today said he “did not take a fraction of a second to decline Dinesh Gupta’s resignation.”

PUTA supports Gupta

Expressing support for UBS chairperson Dinesh K Gupta while appealing to him to resume charge, PUTA’s executive members today said his resignation was triggered by certain unfortunate developments on the campus, adding that such an extreme step taken by him was a manifestation of his pain over the issue. “He must resume his charge to strengthen the system,” said a PUTA member. A delegation of the PUTA also visited Gupta’s residence today in a bid to persuade him to resume his duty particularly when the Vice-Chancellor had refused to accept his resignation. The delegation later also met the VC. In the meeting held today, PUTA executive members also decided to take up the issue of bringing back Manoj Sharma to the UBS, his parent department, since he has been exonerated by the senate from all charges. The members said PU teachers must refrain from giving out individual versions to the press that might reflect a divide in the teacher community.



No room in UP-bound trains
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
The huge rush in view of the Holi festival coupled with unavailability of trains has compounded the hardship of passengers, as the travel plans of passengers to their native places in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and others states have gone awry.

Most trains running on these routes either have a long waiting list or there is no room (no booking can be made even on waiting) in some other trains.

Information provided by the railway authorities indicates that in the UP-bound trains like the Unchahar Express and the Sadbhavna Express, the waiting list is more than 200 and 250, respectively.

Similarly, the situation in trains on the Chandigarh-Mumbai and Chandigarh-Chennai route is no better. There is no room in the 2926 Chandigarh-Bandra Paschim Express, whereas the Chandigarh-Dibrugarh (5904) also has a waiting list of 50.

Enquiries made from the railway authorities reveal that no reservation is available in the sleeper class in Lucknow-bound trains till April 10.

For the migrant population hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who have a sizeable presence in the city, getting railway reservation to visit their native places for the festival has become difficult, if not impossible.

“As thousands of migrant workers are waiting to get reservation to visit their native places for the coming Holi festival, just two trains are inadequate. A majority of passengers will either have to cancel their trip or will have to make alternative travel plans, which is easier said than done,” rues Mukesh while waiting at the reservation counter to book a ticket for Lucknow.

With no reservation available to the intended destinations during the next four weeks, the staff at the reservation counter have to face huge rush and fury of frustrated people even as reports of certain travel agents and touts offering berths and seats at a premium continue to make rounds. The touts have obtained these berths through dummy booking done a long time ago to make a quick buck.

Senior railway officials say running special trains for festivals or other occasions to clear the rush is the prerogative of the Northern Railway headquarters and regular feedback is being provided to the authorities on the expected increase in the number of passengers during this season.

‘Holi Special’ for Lucknow

The Northern Railways has decided to run a special train to cope with the heavy rush of passengers between Lucknow and Chandigarh. “The special train will run between the two cities on March 16, 23 and 30, DK Meena, station superintendent, Chandigarh railway station, says. The “Holi Special” will leave Lucknow at 8.15 am and reach Chandigarh at 6.15 pm, and later leave Chandigarh the same day at 9.15 pm to reach Lucknow at 8 am the next day.



Finally, ILS at city airport gets DGCA nod
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
In a major development, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has finally given its approval for starting the already-calibrated Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Chandigarh airport.

“We have finally got the DGCA approval,” confirmed Airport Controller, Chandigarh airport, Captain HS Toor. “We are all set to use the vital equipment in a few days after completing internal formalities. Nothing is now going to stop us from putting the landing gear to use. It has finally come to the stage where we can safely say we have done it.”

The ILS, according to experts, is a ground-based instrumentation system that provides precision guidance to an aircraft approaching the runway to enable its safe landing during reduced visibility conditions, common in Chandigarh during winters.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI), that has been pushing hard for the ILS for the past nearly two years, claimed the DGCA approval was a big achievement. “It is a New Year gift to the people of Chandigarh,” they said.

“We urge the Indian Air Force to issue the NOTAM (notice to airmen) as soon as possible so that the equipment is put into use,” said station manager of a commercial airlines.

“During the past two years, we have suffered losses. There are instances when our flights were cancelled due to inclement weather,” said another airlines official.

The equipment would ensure safe landing of the aircraft in low visibility conditions. “The flights can now land at 1,000 to 1,200 metres visibility and this, over a period of time, can be improved further with corresponding improvements in the approach lighting system,” sources said.



Rare abdominal artery surgery conducted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
In a rare surgery performed by the director of cardiology at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, Dr HK Bali, the life of a 64-year-old patient who had suffered massive internal bleeding in the abdomen due to rupture of an artery was saved.

“The patient, Napinder Singh of Jalandhar, was rushed to the hospital with a ruptured abdominal artery. The celiac (the artery that supplies blood to the liver, spleen and stomach) and its branches was ruptured after getting inordinately widened. This had led to massive bleeding in the patient’s abdomen and liver,” he said.

“We reconstructed the ruptured giant aneurysm using two large stent grafts. We had to innovate and use large stent grafts that we normally use to treat arteries supplying blood to the legs (Iliac artery aneurysms). Such a procedure to treat giant ruptured aneurysm of the hepatic artery has never been carried out in the world earlier,” Bali claimed.

“The ruptured aneurysms are a very important cause of sudden massive intraabdominal bleeding. This can be fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated in time. Open surgery required to treat this ruptured aneurysm involved a high risk considering the location of the aneurysm, its size and the fact there was blood all around the aneurysm. Napinder had one of the largest aneurysms described in medical literature, measuring almost 20 mm in its widest part. The only surgery possible was to exclude the aneurysm by ligation. However, this would have interrupted blood supply to the liver, possibly producing massive liver injury and even failure. The challenge was to treat the bleeding aneurysm without compromising blood supply to the liver and other organs,” Bali noted.

Napinder, who is now symptom free, was discharged from the hospital after three days of surgery.



IRCTC restaurants on highways soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
After losing its catering services in trains, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has decided to open roadside eateries soon.

The IRCTC claims that its restaurants will provide quality food at a reasonable cost. Initially the eateries will only be opened on the Chandigarh-Shimla, Punjab and Ambala-Delhi highways.

According to RK Sondh, chief regional manager, IRCTC, the job of catering inside trains has been taken over by the Railways, and so, they have come up with this new plan.

He said the corporation was in the process of signing memorandums of understanding with state governments, which would also contain all facilities these eateries would provide, he added.

He further added that these restaurants would start functioning within 6 or 8 months. If these restaurants proved successful, IRCTC planned to equip those with board and lodging facilities.

The IRCTC was responsible for catering in trains, but the job was taken over by the Railways as per the new catering policy. Catering in Shatabdi was taken away from the corporation this month.

“We have also decided to sell bottled water ‘Rail Neer’ in the open market to generate more revenue for the Railways,” he said.

This decision was taken recently at the IRCTC headquarters in New Delhi. The IRCTC would sell ‘Rail Neer’ at the same price of Rs 12 each bottle.



Garbage dumped in Sukhna choe irk residents
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, February 18
Heaps of garbage and other waste material dumped in the Sukhna choe, a seasonal rivulet, has become a matter of concern for the local administration and the drainage department.

Residents of Baltana and surrounding areas complain that it is difficult to cross the seasonal rivulet near the Choice road as stench coming from the waste cause breathing problems.

They allege that the waste material, including polythene, plastic and other industrial pollutants, are being carried by the Sukhna choe, which joins the Ghaggar, thus polluting it.

They demanded that the local administration should take this matter seriously and asked the department concerned to carry out cleanliness drive. Virinder, a resident of Ekta Vihar, says: “It poses a serious threat to the health of the local residents and an epidemic could break in the area any time due to such unhygienic conditions.”

“This garbage is lying here from the past many months, but the authorities concerned are quite ignorant towards it,” says Nandna Sharma, a resident of Preet Vihar. She asserts that the department concerned should take immediate step to address this problem.

SDO, drainage department, Kuljit Singh, when contacted, claimed that the department had given notices many times regarding this problem. He said the department would write to the Zirakpur council to check this activity and take preventive measures to solve this problem.



Local cricketers want a repeat of 1983
Deepankar Sharda

Chandigarh, February 16
As the most awaited cricketing bonanza of the year, the ICC- Cricket World Cup Championship is about to start, local cricket players are all excited to experience the biggest event in the history of the game.

While playing a match of the Vijay Hazare Tournament at the cricket stadium at Sector -16, some city players shared their vision on the upcoming World Cup.

“We all want that the upcoming cricket championship is a memorable one and we hope that the ‘Men in Blue’ (Indian team) will take us back to1983”, said the players.

As the Indian team is the hot favorites for this edition of the World Cup, the players also think that other teams from this subcontinent were also strong contenders for the prestigious cup.
Sarul Kanwar
Sarul Kanwar

While waiting for the ground to get dry in view of the heavy drizzle at night, Sarul Kanwar, who represented the city in the ‘Duleep Trophy’, and got a chance to be a part of the Mumbai Indians team for the next three years, shared his hope for the upcoming World Cup.

“The tournament is going to be the largest sporting event and our nation is a cricket -driven country and now it is our Indian team, which can make the cricket lovers smile, ” said Kanwar.

According to him, his favorite team had full chance to perform well in the tournament. “Team India has got a good combination of batting as well as bowling lineup and I am sure that this combination will get full support from the fielding department of the team” said Sarul.
Gurkirat Singh
Gurkirat Singh

Another Ranji Trophy player, Gurkirat Singh, also thinks that team India will win the World Cup while playing in their own country.

“Latest performance by Piyush Chawla says it all, we can say that the spinning attack will be at its best as per the requirement of the pitches in the subcontinent, the batsmen of other countries will find it difficult to face the Indian spinners” said Singh.

Adding further that he wished to witness some action from his favorite players Shahid Afridi and Sanghakara.

Gurinder Singh
Gurinder Singh 

Ranji Trophy debutant teenager Gurinder Singh (18), who was the member of National Camp for Junior India team U-19, also supported that being one of the host for the tournament, the Indian team would get all benefits, including pitch facts and crowd support for the upcoming event.

“Recent performance by the team will help a lot to judge the situation of the match as the squad is looking forward to be in a good position” said Gurinder adding further that he wanted to see his favorite and local lad Yuvraj Singh smash the ball all over the ground once again. As all hopes are set for the upcoming Cricket World Cup, some of the players also assume that the quarterfinal knockout stage will clear the cloud over the strong contender of the cup.



DTH service providers score
Standoff over telecast on cable network
Deepankar Sharda

Chandigarh, February 18
The subscribers to the cable television in the tricity will not be able to watch the live telecast of the ICC World Cup, starting tomorrow, in view of the ongoing tussle between the broadcasters and cable operators.

Cricket afficionados will be deprived of the live telecast of the matches on the cable television as the operators have allegedly not cleared the dues of the broadcasters.

An official of one of the broadcasters said there was no breakthrough in the ongoing “negotiations” between the two sides and the issue seems unlikely to be resolved in the near future, which could dishearten the cricket lovers.

However, with cricket fever reaching its zenith, buffs are now subscribing to the direct-to-home (DTH) service to save themselves from last-minute disappointment.

“I did not want to miss the opening ceremony of the World Cup, especially after seeing the grand opening of the Commonwealth Games. However, it was not telecast live on the cable television,” said Amit Mittal, an 11-year-old cricket lover.

Vikram Mehra, chief marketing head of Tata Sky TV, said: “There has been a phenomenal increase in the sale of the product in the Chandigarh region as the viewers do not want to miss the live action just because of a controversy between the broadcasters and the operators,” said Mehra.

“I have already missed the opening ceremony of the World Cup and I don’t want to miss any of the matches of the cricket championship. So I have subscribed to the DTH service,” said Anuj Agnihotri, a lawyer by profession.

Big Switch

With the standoff between cable operators and broadcasters continuing over the live telecast of World Cup matches, more and more cricket buffs are now subscribing to the direct-to-home (DTH) service to save themselves from last-minute disappointment



50 cops get driving tips

Chandigarh, February 18
Fifty Chandigarh Police personnel trainees of the first batch completed their course at the Maruti Driving School run by Berkeley Automobiles at Panchkula. Maruti Suzuki has initiated a training initiative on driving course for cops.

SSP Naunihal Singh handed over the certificates to cops who completed the course today. Around 200 head constables and constables of the PCR are being imparted 21 days driving training and another 200 would be trained during the specially designed refresher courses. — TNS



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