C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Booth Scam
Report’s legality, modus operandi under scanner
Pradeep Sharma/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Even as the magisterial inquiry into the booth scam conducted by senior PCS officer PS Shergill has created ripples in political and bureaucratic circles here, the legality of the report and modus operandi of the inquiry officer has come under the scanner.

After the revelation of the involvement of bigwigs in the report, it is simultaneously being termed one-sided and a fallout of personal bias, particularly against the Congress, whose leaders Pawan Bansal, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, and Pardeep Chabbra, former Mayor and area councillor, have been accused of shielding the booth mafia.

The report heavily relies on the 43-page statement of the main complainant, Dinesh Sood, and his personal notes made over the past 35 years.

While the statements of 12 other witnesses have also been recorded, versions of the persons indicted, including the bigwigs, finds no mention in the report.

“In any inquiry, both the accused and the complainants should be given an opportunity to give their side of the story. However, the Shergill report has virtually condemned all suspects, without even giving them an opportunity to clarify their stand,” Pankaj Chandgothia, convener of the Society for Campaign Against Misinformation, said here today.

Interestingly, though Shergill was appointed inquiry officer in March, 2010, the inquiry report states that ‘the examination of records supplied by the estate office could begin only on January 14, 2011’, which, incidentally, was a day after he was repatriated to Punjab, his parent cadre.

Chronology of events

n June 9, 2008: UT administration asks SDMs concerned to verify details of false affidavits and submit a report on the Rehri Market, Sector 22-D

n March 3, 2010: PS Shergill, then SDM (Central), appointed inquiry officer for verification of complaint against claimants of Rehri Market

n February 23, 2011: Shergill submits report to UT Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer Brijendra Singh

Putting cart before horse

The report claimed that he received records from the estate office only in the last week of December, 2010, and on January 13, 2011. Yet, this did not stop him from recording the statements of all 13 witnesses between September 7, 2010, and December 16, 2010, which was well before he received any records in the case. It is an elementary principle of law that witnesses should be examined in the presence of records.

Breach of privilege?

The statement attributed to Pawan Bansal in the inquiry report that he “enquired about the case” cannot be interpreted that the booth mafia enjoyed the protection of the Union minister. By casting such aspersions on a sitting Lok Sabha member, Shergill seems to have breached the ‘privilege of the House’. While the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech under Article 19 to each citizen, Articles 105 and 194 lay special emphasis on the right of free speech of members of legislatures, according to lawyer Pankaj Chandgothia.

Was Shergill inquiry officer?

Shergill was neither given any constitutional power, nor was he appointed under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. An inquiry officer is usually appointed by name and not by post and he is given all paraphernalia required to conduct the inquiry, such as power of a civil court to issue summons and receive evidence on affidavits. Such powers were available to Shergill.



Patients left in the lurch as AIDS drug 
supply runs dry
Arun Sharma/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Hundreds of patients afflicted with AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) (AIDS) have been put in a tight spot after stocks of the vital medicine Zidolam-N (a three-drug combination), which is administered as the first line of treatment, became exhausted at the PGI. Almost two-thirds of the patients visiting the anti-retroviral therapy centre at the hospital require this medicine, which costs Rs 1,700 for a dose for one month. However, the drug is provided free of cost by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO).

Though no fresh figures on patients visiting the anti-retroviral therapy centre are available, according to the NACO website a total of 1,309 patients were on the list of this centre two years ago in March 2009. Enquiries revealed supplies of the drug had been dwindling for the past two months due to which the quantity being provided to the patients has been reduced. The patients were being issued a dose of two months in one go so to do away with frequent visits to the centre to procure the medicine. After supplies of the medicine began decreasing the patients were issued half of this quantity, which in effect meant a dose for only one week before the hospital stopped providing the drug altogether on Thursday. However the shortage has brought worries to poor patients who cannot afford the high cost of treatment with a meager income.

Rani (name changed), a resident of Dhanas village, said her husband who was a truck driver died of AIDS two years ago, leaving her infected with HIV and two children to look after. Now she is selling vegetables to make ends meet and has been asked by officials at the anti-retroviral therapy centre at the PGI to purchase the costly drug from the market. Santosh (name changed), a resident of Sector 30, has the same tale of woes to narrate. Her husband, a rickshaw puller, died of the disease when she was also confirmed to have been afflicted with AIDS. Now she cannot even imagine being able to afford the drug needed for her treatment since she earns only Rs 1,000 a month as a domestic servant.

When contacted PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said the anti-retroviral therapy centre was being run by NACO and there was a shortage of supplies of anti-AIDS drugs throughout the country. “Patients are being advised to take an alternative drug needed for treatment which is available at the centre. However, those who insist upon the same combination drug have been told to buy it from the open market”, she added.



Man killed, son injured in accident
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 6
Nishan Singh, driver of the Mohali district public relation officer, was killed and his son Manider Singh was injured when the bullet motorcycle they were riding was hit by a speeding Mahindra Scorpio near the Mandi board traffic lights in Sector 66 here late this evening.

The victim was going from his house in Sector 66 to Phase X when the Scorpio car being driven by Gurpreet hit them at the traffic light. While Nishan Singh was crushed under the vehicle, his son received injuries.

The occupants in the Scorpio car, driver Gurpreet and his co-passenger Charanjeet, were overpowered by the passers-by and were handed over to the police.

A police official said both were caught in an inebriated condition and had been taken to the Government Civil Hospital, Phase VI, for medical examination. 



Realty greed lands seven behind bars
NRI reports trespass, wrongful restraint, intimidation to cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Seven persons, including four local property dealers, were arrested here today on the basis of a complaint by a non-resident Indian (NRI), who filed a complaint of house trespass, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation against them.

Gurmez Kaur (73), a British citizen, alleged that Amandeep Rana, running his business under SR Associates at Manimajra, Jaspal Singh, Daljit Singh and Deepak, along with their associates Nitin, Bansi and Ajay, not only adopted illegal means during the deal to sell her house (3045, Sector 19), but also confined her for the whole of last night within the house.

“Rana and his associates came to my house, where I came to spend a night after shifting from a hotel at Panchkula, and threatened me in case I tried to go out of the house. They forcefully took away the documents of the house and gave me a cheque for Rs 10 lakh. They told me that the deal had been struck. They threatened to kill me if I tried to tell anybody about the deal. Bansi and Ajay were deputed at my house for the night and they did not let me go out,” alleged the NRI.

She added that she somehow managed to contact one of her acquaintances here, who informed the police. Refuting the charges, the accused said the deal was struck and she accepted the cheque for Rs 10 lakh as ‘biana’ (token money).

Gurmez said she reached Chandigarh on March 2 to sell her house and contacted Rana in this regard. The complainant stated that she asked the property dealers to call another property dealer, Panchkula-based Bajwa, with whom she had struck a deal past year.

“Bajwa had given my husband, Avtar Singh, Rs 30 lakh, but somehow, the deal was not through. I wanted to make Bajwa aware of the latest deal,” she said.

Following her complaint, the police arrested the seven persons and registered a case under Sections 342, 506, 452, 454, 380 and 34 of the IPC at the Sector 19 police station.



PGI to put organs from smokers, alcoholics 
on display
Arun Sharma/TNS

From left: Haematomic brain, fatty heart, cirrhotic liver and smoker’s lung on display at the anatomy department of the PGI in Chandigarh. Tribune photographs
From left: Haematomic brain, fatty heart, cirrhotic liver and smoker’s lung on display at the anatomy department of the PGI in Chandigarh. Tribune photographs

Chandigarh, March 6
Seeing is believing. Putting this ancient piece of wisdom into practice, the anatomy department of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGI) will invite the city’s youngsters to visit its human organs display and research section. Organs of people who died of lung cancer brought on by smoking, heavy drinkers who succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver and helmetless motorcycle and scooter riders killed due to head injuries are to be displayed prominently to deter young people from smoking, excessive drinking and avoiding wearing helmet while riding two-wheelers.

“This will help youngsters to correlate the advice on these things. Visuals always leave better memories than audio. Whenever someone, especially a young person, is given advice, he or she is prone to forget it. After they visit our display, youngsters will be able to correlate the advice with what will be shown”, said Dr Daisy Sahni, head of the PGI’s anatomy department.

The human brain showing extensive extra dural heamatoma on the left parieto-temporal region, due to rupture of the middle meningeal artery, will help in explaining the benefits of wearing a helmet when riding a motorbike or scooter. In fact, the extra dural heamatoma due to trauma caused by road accidents is potentially deadly because the buildup of blood may increase pressure in the intracranial space that compresses delicate brain tissue. This condition is present in one to three per cent of head injuries.

Similarly, samples of a normal liver along with livers infected with cirrhosis will be displayed. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver. Scar tissue forms because of injury or long-term disease or alcohol consumption.

“We invite students from the city’s schools on July 23 every year while commemorating Dr IJ Diwan, who set up the anatomy department at PGI”, said Sahni. Now extending the community service it is being planned that students of classes 9 to 12 from various schools are to be invited every month and see the grave health risks posed by smoking and alcohol and drug abuse as well as the dangers in avoiding safety measures during driving. “Students from these classes are chosen because of their age group. This is a time when they are prone to fall prey to these habits”, said Sahni.

“Parents of children who want to visit the display can contact the PGI anatomy department”, she added.


Chandigarh Overseas in dock over TDS
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The promoters of Fashion Technology Park, Chandigarh Overseas Private Limited, and its managing director, Sumesh Chawla, are in the dock as the income tax (I-T) department has initiated prosecution proceedings against them for not depositing TDS (tax deducted at source) to the tune of Rs 68 lakh.

Confirming the move, HC Negi, Commissioner (TDS), said, “We have launched prosecution under Section 276-B against the company for failing to deposit tax deducted from employees and other payment on time. TDS should be deposited in the government account within seven days of the day of deduction.”

He said the company had deducted Rs 68 lakh as TDS with regard to payments made to contractors, employees’ salary, building rent and commission for the financial year 2006-07, but not deposited with the government till 2009.

Giving details of the TDS, assessing officer Anil Kumar Lubana said while a deduction of Rs 9 lakh was made against payments to contractors, Rs 44 lakh was deducted from salaries paid. Deductions to the tune of Rs 4 lakh and Rs 6.85 lakh were also made on account rent paid and payment for technical services, respectively, he added.

He said though the company had subsequently deposited a partial amount after an I-T survey, it failed to pay the balance on time. The violations were punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than three months and extendable to seven years, with fine, he asserted.

When contacted, Chawla, admitted the delay in depositing TDS. He added that the partial payment of the same had been made. However, he had no information about prosecution being launched by the I-T department, he claimed.



Sanskriti Express arrives in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The city will get closer to the life and achievements of poet Rabindranath Tagore as Ambala division of the Northern Railway brings in Sanskriti Express, a special exhibition train on the Nobel laureate.

The train that arrived at the city railway station today was open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm. The train is here to stay till March 9. Admission to the exhibition train is free.

An initiative by the Indian Railways, the Sanskriti Express will commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore, showcasing his life and philosophy.

The five air-conditioned coaches are designed to depict Tagore's achievements and thoughts and they are: Jibon Smriti- Tagore’s life, his reminiscences, Santhiniketan and Sriniketan; Gitanjali - Songs, verses and poems; Muktodhara - short stories, novels dramas, essays, and Tagore, the performer; Chitrarekha - paintings, portraits and sketches; SeshKatha and Smaranika - final journey and last days; Shantiniketan handicrafts to browse and buy.

Sanskriti Express was flagged off from Rail Museum, Howrah, on May 9 last year and would run throughout the country and return to Howrah on May 8.



Serving society in her blood
Neha Miglani/TNS

Chandigarh, March 6
Having dedicated 46 years to the blood donation movement, Kanta Saroop Krishen, founding member of the Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh, was awarded with the special Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony at Panjab University here today.

Speaking out

Contributing to the voluntary blood donation movement is like a religion for her family, says Kanta. Not expecting the award today, Kanta was seen interacting with other blood donors with moist eyes.

“I have been associated with the voluntary blood donation movement since 1964. It started when my children started going to school. I wanted to do something for the society, as my services were not required much at home,” said Kanta.

“I contacted the then PGI director who told me that a new blood bank movement was coming up. He told me to motivate volunteers and take the movement forward. I was not so confident, as I didn’t have any medical background. Today my entire family is involved in the movement,” she added.

After receiving the award she said: “The real credit goes to hundreds of volunteers, who made this dream of voluntary blood donation movement a reality. There are still some areas where commercial blood donation is still on and I hope this will also be sorted out soon,” she added.

When questioned about the number of volunteers she motivated during her association with the movement, she answered: “Countless, must be thousands from across Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. I have donated blood 33 times, my daughter Niti has donated blood 50 times and her husband Mac Sarin also donated the blood 106 times.”



Health call for morning walkers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
A six-member team, including two doctors led by Dr S K Bhandari, former medical superintendent of Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, conducted a free health check-up camp at Fragrance Garden, Sector 36, here this morning.

More than 100 morning walkers reached to get themselves medically examined. A total of 15 persons were suspected to be suffering from high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

They were asked to consult a physician and get a thorough check-up done. The body mass Index, blood sugar and blood pressure of the visitors were checked at the camp.

Mild exercises were not sufficient for a good health when a person don’t take care of eating habits, said Dr Bhandari. People must change their eating habits according to their age, he added.



800 donors awarded for noble cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Over 800 blood donors were awarded in a ceremony held today on Panjab University grounds organised by the Rotary and Blood Bank Society resource centre.

Twenty-five institutions, which supported the voluntary blood donation movement, were also presented awards at the event, which was organised in association with the State Aids Control Society.

Besides Pradip Mehra, Adviser to the UT Administrator, Panjab University Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti and Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh, 14 other leading citizens of the city were also present at the ceremony to give away the awards.

Giving details of awardees, Blood Bank Society general secretary Niti Sarin said, “In the period from September 2009 to January 2011, a voluntary blood donor could donate blood for maximum six times and there were four donors, who achieved this mark. These included Rajeev Manchanda, Simratjit Singh Spal, Vipul Bhandari and Gurinder Singh Uberoi. Seven donors donated blood five times during this period and they were Ashok Malhotra, Ashok Sharma, Bismi Patrich, Mac Sarin, Rajbir Chhabria, S Goel and Sonal Sood. There were 25 donors, who donated blood more than four times and more than 750 donors, who donated blood twice and thrice.”

“We also honoured seven Apheresis blood donors because of their patience and commitment to the voluntary blood donation movement cause. Apheresis is a medical technology in which blood of a donor is passed through a sophisticated machine, which separates one particular constituent, for example platelets for a dengue patient and returns the remainder. This is a time consuming process and can take up to one-and-a-half hours to complete. The donors included Amandeep Singh, Devinder Singh, Gautam Sharma, Hardeep Singh, Satbir, Sameer Kumar and Sukjinder Paul Singh,” she added.



Students, too, come forward
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
A total of 105 students and staff members of the Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management donated blood at a camp organised in association with the State Bank of India here today.

The camp was conducted by the department of transfusion medicine, PGI. Pradip Ray, deputy general manager, and CDO, SBI, Chandigarh.

Also, 350 donors donated blood in the 35th blood donation camp organised by Sri Sathya Sai Seva organisation.



HCS recruitment scam
INSO to hold protest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 6
INSO, the student wing of the Indian National Lok Dal, will hold a protest rally near the office of the Haryana Pradesh Selection Commission (HPSC) in April to protest against the HCS recruitment scam of 2009.

INSO state president Vikas Rathee, in a missive to the Haryana Governor, alleged that meritorious and deserving candidates had been ignored to favour those holding high positions in the state government or to close relatives of political bigwigs.

Hard work, commitment, dedication and knowledge were completely overlooked to benefit a few, he added.

Rathi said expert members were missing from the interview panel, which was in contravention of the selection norms across the country.

The cutoff marks for the main examination and selection were fixed at 358 and 425, respectively, to favour the wards of influential persons in the state, he alleged.

The INSO leader said there was a need for reforms to weed out corruption in the HPSC and strengthen transparency and honesty in the selection procedure.

He said the cost of forms for the examination conducted by the HPSC should be brought down to Rs 20 from Rs 1,000 so that poor candidates could also take the examination.

The interview board panel should involve experts on respective subjects, besides video-graphing the interviews, to bring more transparency to the procedure, he added.

He said people had lost faith in the Congress-led state government, adding that his organisation had decided to launch a signature campaign in the state. They would approach the President of India in this regard shortly, he added.



Dentist Day at govt college
Tribune Reporters

Dera Bassi, March 6
A free dental check-up camp was organised by National Dental College, Dera Bassi, to mark the Dentist Day here today. The camp was inaugurated by college principal Tejpal Singh Ahluwalia.

A total 289 patients were examined during the camp. Col Mesih said 50 patients had been selected for free dentures in the college, while 60 patients would be given treatment for cleaning, filling and other dental facilities free of cost.

Students of the college presented an anti-drugs skit “Yaar Anmulle” during the camp.

Dental check-up camp

Panchkula: A dental check-up camp was organised for schoolchildren and residents of Gharikotoha village by BRS Dental College and General Hospital, Sultanpur, to mark the Dentist Day today.

A group of 50 doctors visited the village along with Dr Sanjay Kalra, principal of the institute. Kalra gave lectures to the villagers to create awareness about oral health care. The college also organised an Oral Health Exhibition besides adopting the village for further treatment.



Life Line gesture

Chandigarh, March 6
Chandigarh-based Life Line, a non government organisation (NGO), working for the needy patients in the emergency wards at the PGI, has donated an ambulance to the PGI.

The organisation has already donated eight ambulances to the PGI. The ambulance was received by Dr Anil Gupta, Medical Superintendent, PGI, Chandigarh.

“The aim is to take care of unattended patients and to save their lives. Our attendant stays with the patient till the time any relative or friend comes. We get the registration done, call the doctor and other tests done free of cost,” said Ravinder Gupta, president, of the NGO. — TNS



750 tested at eye camp
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, March 6
A free eye check-up camp was held by eye specialists from Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Patiala, in association with Hari Om Opticals, here today.

More than 250 patients were examined for various eye-related problems and 35 patients would be operated by the doctors. A team comprising Dr Balbir Singh and Dr Nidhi Bansal examined the patients.

Bassi Pathana: The local unit of Bharat Vikas Parishad organised a free eye check up-cum-operation camp at the Civil Hospital here yesterday.

Raj Khurana, chief parliamentary secretary, was the chief guest, whereas Didar Singh Bhatti, MLA, and Jagdeep Singh Cheema, district president SAD (B), presided over. A team of doctors led by Dr Charnjit Singh from the PGI examined 
500 patients and conducted 75 operations.



PGI starts research on glaucoma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
In order to study the causes behind varying results of surgery among children suffering with glaucoma, the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) has started a research project.

The project started with the help of the department of biotechnology is the first of its kind to study such cases in the region, said Dr SS Pandav and Dr Sushmita Kaushik of the Advanced Eye Centre, PGI, here on Friday.

Interacting with mediapersons on the eve of the World Glaucoma Week, Dr Pandav said childhood glaucoma, usually diagnosed within the first year of life, was a rare condition that might be inherited by incorrect development of the drainage system of eyes before birth. This leads to increased intraocular pressure, which in turn damages the optic nerve. Unusual large eyes, sensitivity of eyes to lights and whiteness in cornea of a baby can be diagnosed as glaucoma. In many cases, the defects can be corrected with surgery or medication, he said.

Babies with such symptoms of glaucoma are given anaesthesia to check the intraocular pressure and treatment required treatment is provided at the PGI, said Dr Sushmita. Nearly 100 surgeries of such babies are carried out at the PGI every year, she said.

However, in many cases children do not get benefit of the surgery and during the three-year research project funded by the department of biotechnology, New Delhi, it will be studied that why there are different results in these patients with similar treatment, she added.

The early a patient of glaucoma is detected, more are the chances of his losing the vision, said doctors. The damage to the eyes of such patients can be arrested, but it cannot be reverted.

Moreover, most types of glaucoma do not have symptoms in early stages and it is often referred to as the “silent thief of the sight”.

Currently, an estimated 11 million persons in India suffer from glaucoma and more than 90 per cent are undiagnosed. This is partly because the disease is usually asymptomatic and also because if any decrease in vision does occur, it is often attributed to cataract which is also common in the same age group and not investigated promptly, said the ophthalmologists.

Eye pressure

Everybody going for an eye check-up for reading glasses must always ask an ophthalmologist if the eye pressure is all right. Even if an optometrist is checking the spectacles, he may at least suggest a doctor who will check it for you.

Who is at risk?

n Anybody over the age of 40

n Those who have a blood relative with glaucoma

n Any history of an injury to the eye

n Those using steroids for a long duration

Warning signs

n Frequent changes in spectacle power

n Attacks of headache and eye pain associated with a decrease in vision or redness

n Difficulty in seeing objects on the side

n A large eye in an infant

n Eye pressure recorded as high anytime



Spring fest concludes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 6
The 25th Panchkula Spring Festival organised by the Haryana Urban Development Authority was concluded at Town Park here today. Bhangra and gatka was much appreciated by the audience.

The festival was inaugurated by KK Jalan, Commissioner, Town and Country Planning, Haryana, here yesterday.

Artistes attired in different costumes brought the diverse cultures of the region to the city park.

Fancy dress, face-painting, hasya kavi sammelan of children, rangoli, mehndi and painting competitions were also held.


Healthy baby show

Boys: Six months to one-and-half year: Medhansh 1, Hardik Khosla and Dig Vijay Singh 2, Suhani and Anish Dhiman 3

One-and-a-half to three years: Harkaranvir Singh 1, Bandan Deep Kaur Otaal and Tanmay Singh 2, Anglina and Anmol Jannat Sarwal 3

Three to four years: Gurman Kaur Hans 1, Samaira Taneja and Mo Anas 2

Duet dance

Above 10 years: Malhaar Mahajan and Jasmine 1, Sonia and Komal 2

Below 10 years: Pankhuri Garg, Sanya Chadha 1. Simran Kaur and Muskan 2

Mono Acting

Junior: Nigayia Garg 1 and Anmol Chauhan 2

Senior: Harshvardhan 1 and Sarang Kalsi 2



Senior citizens felicitated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The Senior Citizens’ Welfare Association, Mani Majra, celebrated its annual day at the Gurukul Global School, Mani Majra.

Kanwar Sandhu, managing editor of Day and Night news channel, was the chief guest. Maj Gen MS Kandal graced the occasion as the guest of honour. General secretary JC Gulati read the annual report.

Kanwar Sandhu said the state capital region (SCR) comprising Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali has a large number of senior citizens, who have excelled in various fields of life, especially in civil services, defence services and academics. For the sake of posterity, there is a need to tap and catalogue this talent, along with their achievements by making a category-wise directory of senior citizens.

Those honoured on the occasion were Maj Gen MS Kandal (retd) for his valuable services in the field of social welfare; Dr Anurag Sharma DM, VD Singh and DK Chopra for their services in the field of medicine; Parveen Satya, managing director and others.



Stress to conserve environment

Chandigarh, March 6
The pre-primary and primary wing of AKSIPS-41-B put up a special show at the annual day celebrations of the school.

Lt Gen BKN Chibber, former UT Administrator, inaugurated the programme. A thought-provoking performance in the form of dance and songs titled, “Aa Ab Laut Chalen”, was presented by the students to highlight the need to conserve environment. Jungle book was brought alive by the students, who acted on Tarzan story.

Chibber applauded the relevance of the message and urged the students to keep their environment clean and conserve it. School principal Jagjit Sekhon presented a vote of thanks and appreciated the efforts of the students. — TNS



Fireworks on show at PU Syndicate

The recent Panjab University (PU) Syndicate meeting was dramatic, with contentious remarks being passed by certain members.

The heated arguments took a toll on the health of Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti and a doctor was summoned for his medical check-up towards the end of the meeting. The arguments were triggered by a Syndicate member, who raised objection to the exit of Krishan Gauba as principal-director, Dr HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital.

Police help

Police personnel deployed in and around the PCA Stadium at Mohali may have been caught on camera taking a power-nap, playing cards or securing empty roads, but they were also seen helping some cricket lovers from outside the state to make sure they saw action on the pitch.

During the one-day match between South Africa and the Netherlands, Punjab Police officials were seen helping five members of a family, who came from Leh in Ladakh, but failed to get entry tickets on the day of the match.

After the innings of the team batting first, one of the top officials from Punjab Police present called a constable deployed on gate number 6 and told him to do some ‘Punya da kaam’ (social service) by giving entry to the family without ticket.

Black market

Foreign visitors who came to watch the match between South Africa and the Netherlands were seen taking tickets on the black market from local youths. The youths were seen selling free entry passes, which they got from their sources inside the stadium, and making profit.

Some foreign students pursuing studies from the Panjab University and other colleges nearby, who reached late, took the tickets from the market right behind a police booth, where police officials were seated.

When a constable was told about this, he said, “Can you tell me about those youths so that I can take some tickets for my cousin, who failed to buy tickets as he was late?”


Poetry and medicine may be strange bedfellows, but Dr Tej Pal Singh Chawla is equally proficient in both. He uses the pseudonym ‘Tej’ and presents poems in ‘tarannum’ (musical recitation). This was more than evident when the First Friday Forum organised the poetry soiree ‘Atam Chaanan’ by Dr Chawla the other day. He recited select verses in Punjabi on social and spiritual themes to show how a physician viewed life through the medium of poetry.

Labour crunch

The upcoming festival of Holi has led to a labour crunch in the construction industry in the city. Hundreds of migrant workers have taken leave to visit their hometowns for the festival. A majority of construction workers here are from Bihar. Mukesh Pandey, a labourer, said Holi was important in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and workers had started making preparations for it.

This time, they had distributed pamphlets among the Bihari community, informing them about the festival back home, he added. “The less availability of workforce may provide room for growth of pre-engineered buildings. This is already being used in high-end housing projects and commercial buildings,” he said.

No ambulance!

Touted as the Paris of Punjab by Akalis, Mohali does not have a single ambulance to evacuate road accident victims. Several lives lost on the town’s roads could have been saved had the ambulance with the Mohali Police been put to use. The ambulance with the Phase 6 Civil Hospital is mostly unavailable. Responding to statements issued by Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on going hi-tech, a reader has pointed out that instead of promising dreams to residents, basic services like proper roads, tow-away vehicles and ambulances, streetlights and water supply should be ensured.

Contributed by Neha Miglani, Deepankar Sharda, Pradeep Sharma, Anil Jerath and Rajmeet Singh



Open House Response
Night Food Street alive, but not kicking

Night Food Street, launched with much fanfare on the lines of Lahore Night Food Street by the Chandigarh Administration and Municipal Corporation, had inherent infirmities from the beginning.

It lacked proper infrastructural facilities, it offered low quality food and prices were exorbitant. As a result, it got a cold response from the public.

Situation got worsen in the second year of its working. The switch in terms of allotment of the kiosks from secret bids to an auction led to a change in the entire concept of the project.

There was unanimity among the councillors that the Night Food Street was not a profit-making venture. This added to the woes of the kiosk owners as auction put the rentals on a very high side.

Launched with an idea of attracting tourists in the street to savour tasty non-vegetarian and vegetarian delicacies and as a students’ joint, who studied late in their hostels, the idea lacked practicality. The “parantha walas” served low cost food, though it was served on the road-side, attendants of the PGI patients also found it heavy on their pockets. There were no drunken brawls worth a mention.

The launch of the food street attracted “an unfriendly crowd” making it an unsafe place for those visiting the spot with their families. Despite media bringing the menace to the notice of both the officers of the Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh Administration, measures were found wanting and 
police personnel deputed to provide security cover found them being “insecure”.

Chandigarh Police wanted closure of the night street or shorten its timing in the wake of anti-social elements. The police also suggested installation of CCTV cameras and deployment of private security guards. The advisory of the police was resented by the then Mayor Kamlesh.

A team of the Chandigarh Administration found that the street operated in unhygienic conditions, yet rather than giving into the suggestions, the authorities concerned proposed more night food streets in the city and one such street is slated to be opened at Sector 48.

Considering the backdrop, citizens have to ponder about the continuance of the food streets. We need to learn that food streets in Lahore are never empty and work the whole night without any disturbance. The police needs to be strict with the rowdy elements and ensure safety to the visitors. Our tourists and other city visitors must feel safe and secure while visiting these joints in the night.

Satish Chandra Sharma, Chandigarh

Wrong place

The very choice of the PGI-University area for the purpose of a Night Food Street is wrong.

This place is only suited for a “rehri market” as Sanjeev Singh Bariana points out in his article, “Night Food Street needs a revamp” in these columns on February 7 by saying that most visitors here are students or those accompanying patients to the PGI.

The area had been functioning as a cluster of open-air shops which catered to the needs of the PU students and the relatives of the patients in the PGI.

The rates were as normal as at any other place in the city. The Municipal Corporation should think of reviving the age-old system here by improving sanitary and other infrastructural conditions with proper lights, water and its disposal, well maintained clean toilets etc.

The idea of a food street should be abandoned by the MC. The food street should be shifted to some other site if the MC really wants such a thing in the City Beautiful. A special project should be launched taking care of all the needs of the people and a special open space should be chosen for the same.

The Food Street must be located in the heart of the city if possible.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Provide security

The idea of a food street is a novel one, as it satisfies the need of people at odd hours. The police should arrange for adequate security of the people.

The issue is not just making arrangements by the police, but there must be strict implementation of law.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Rajasthan

Noise pollution

I am a regular visitor to the Night Food Street every night after our study hours at Panjab University library.

It is a nice venue for students to exchange their notes. However, against all expectations we only sip our cup of tea and return running to the campus, mainly due to security reasons.

A sizable number of visitors, who drive their vehicles after boozing, is a clear violation of the law. Interestingly, it is not difficult for the police to identify the defaulters because the place witnesses nearly the same gathering every night. We are not scared of them. It is just that drunken brawls are common and we get scared when it comes to our security. The noisy gathering spoils the fun.

Preetinder Syal, Chandigarh



Sitar recital marks end of sangeet sammelan
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 6
An enchantingly delightful and scintillating sitar recital by Ustad Shujaat Husain Khan marked the grandiose conclusion of the 41st All-India Bhaskar Rao Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan at the Tagore Theatre here today.

The much awaited three-day annual classical music extravaganza organised by the Pracheen Kala Kendra featured acclaimed maestros of dance, vocal and instrumental music.

Representing the seventh generation of illustrious Imdadkhani gharana, the sitar wizard, Shujaat Khan was at his demonstrative best in the elaborated exposition of popular raga Yaman Kalyan through a repose alaap, jod and jhala. He explored the raga in its myriad forms invariably producing a cohesive melody with each musical note embracing the next and melting into a melodic glide (meend) much to the delight of audience.

Shujaat Khan sang along vocal phrases like “Darshan doh”, “Sangg Sakhian” and more virtually making the sitar to sing in perfect harmony between the voice and instrument.

In a mesmerising spell of vocal and instrumental format, he presented Amir Khusro’s “Chhap Tilak” and a concluding “Pahadi dhun” to establish his supremacy in both realms.

Shobha Koser and Sajal Koser welcomed chief guest Ram Niwas, who honoured the artistes.

Earlier, the sammelan got off to a majestic start with a brilliant magical recital by Padma Shri Begum Parveen Sultana bringing alive the melodic character of a complex raga Puriya dhansheri.

After a deep reposeful alaap, she rendered “Bada khyal in ek tal”, “Laage more nayan,” which melted into “Payayali jhankaar” in drut lya.

In the exposition of a newly innovated mishar raga, she doled out a composition “Sohee daate” and a tarana before creating a spiritual aura with Meera bhajan and later in another invocatory “Bhawani dyaani”.

But the enraptured audience asked for more and she presented a thumri in raga Pilu and her Bollywood hit “Hamme tumse pyar kitna” from film Kudrat. Living up to her sobriquet of sangeet Samratini, Begum Parveen shined through the recital with an immaculate improvisation of spiraling musical phrases, planting of soulful notes and her voice traversing in four octaves, a rarity indeed.

The second day belonged to the celebrated kathak maestros, Pandit Jaikishan Maharaj and Deepak Maharaj, both sons and disciples of Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj. They delineated the finer nuances of dance though a group choreography “Kramsha”, directed by Jaikishan Maharaj, and an entrancing solo by the vibrant virtuoso, Deepak Maharaj, which received rich applauses.



One’s event, others’ pain
Traffic crawls on Zirakpur-P’kula stretch
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 6
Traffic on the Zirakpur-Panchkula stretch here moved at a snail’s pace today following an exhibition organised at a marriage palace on the Kalka highway.

Commuters alleged that vehicles were parked outside the marriage palace, causing inconvenience, as no traffic cop was present on the spot. They stated that the owner of the marriage palace should arrange proper parking space before organising an event.

As per reports, there was chaos on the road and the vehicles remained stranded for a few hours. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had, time and again, stressed on ensuring free flow of traffic on highways.

Sarbjit Singh, a resident of Dhakoli, said the police took these directions seriously initially and issued some challans, but had now become lax. Neetu, a resident of Ludhiana, stated that she was moving towards Kalka along with her family to attend a marriage, but got stuck due to wrong parking on the highway.

However, the police claimed that traffic movement on the highway was not affected as no information about a traffic jam was received.



PU Notes

CHANDIGARH: A national seminar on “Optimum utilisation of resources for education: Institutions and community” sponsored by the special assistance programme of the University Grants Commission (UGC) will be organised by the department of education at the Golden Jubilee Hall on the campus on March 7. The seminar convener informed that it is being organised to prepare the students with attitude, mindset and skills for integrating their knowledge with local resources.

Athletics meet

The 50th Panjab University campus Annual Athletics Meet (men and women) will be held on March 7 on PU grounds. More than 400 athletes from various departments of Panjab University would participate in the meet, which will be conducted in professional and non-professional categories.

Training programme

The five-day training programme on the “Basic care of elderly and issues related to elderly” organised by the Centre for Social Work, University Institute of Emerging Areas in Social Sciences (UIEASS), Panjab University, in collaboration with the Regional Resource Training Centre, Anugraha, and National Institute of Social Defence of the Union government concluded on Saturday. The training programme witnessed participation of students, senior citizens and NGOs concerned, divided into five different groups.


Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) today held a meeting with retired teachers who had approached Punjab and Haryana High court on retirement age issue. PUTA officials said the university would ensure re-employment for these faculty members. Jaspal Kaang, president, PUTA, said a formal communication regarding the acceptance of Panjab University as centrally-funded institution was expected soon.

Interactive session

Department of Gandhian Studies, Panjab University, along with an NGO, Yuvsatta, with the support of Regional Institute of English (RIE), organised an interaction of foreign students with 25 English teachers from Afghanistan.

These teachers are currently undergoing an English language teaching training course at RIE.

Students from various south Asian countries were present. — TNS



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