C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


2 youths drown in Sec-23 pool
Were in their twenties, belonged to Jubbal in Shimla district
Tribune News Service

Grieving families of the deceased at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh
Inconsable Grieving families of the deceased at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, June 17
Two youths from Shimla drowned in the swimming pool at Sector 23 late last night. They entered the 12-foot-deep pool to beat the summer heat by scaling the wall.

The police fished out the bodies of the victims, identified as 28-year-old Nitin Mokta and 26-year-old Ajay Lohlta, in the wee hours today after an hour-long search operation.

Ajay was employed with the HDFC Bank at Sector 35 here. He was staying in the city for the past over four years. He stayed in rented accommodation at Sector 23.

Nitin came to the city on June 15 with three friends for some work. They were staying at Ajay’s place. Nitin was working as private contractor with the Shimla Municipal Corporation.

According to preliminary investigations, the two were swimming when Nitin went to the deep side and began to drown. He cried for help and Ajay, who was then out of the pool, rushed to his rescue.

No security guard or other person was present near the pool. Ajay broke a branch of the tree and pressed it in the water for Nitin to catch hold of it.

As Nitin held the branch, Ajay was pulled into the water and both of them drowned. Nitin was still seen holding on to the branch when his body was recovered.

The police said Nitin and Ajay, along with their friends Nitin Chauhan, Ashish and Devesh, first had dinner at Sector 23 around 10:30 pm when Ajay suggested that they go to the nearby swimming pool.

It was Nitin Chauhan’s birthday yesterday. While the other three refused to go to the pool, saying they wanted to sleep, Nitin Mokta agreed to accompany Ajay.

Around 1:30 am, Nitin Chauhan woke up and found that the two had still not returned from the pool. He went in search of the two. He found the clothes of the two lying by the side of the pool. Then he noticed that the two had drowned.

He called his other two friends. They called the police control room. The police began a search operation. A fire brigade was pressed into service and the bodies were recovered on the floor of the pool.

Their families were informed and the post-mortem examination of the bodies was conducted. Their relatives said both were not good swimmers, adding that they were natives of Jubbal in Shimla district.

A ladder and a rope, around 15 feet in length, was found near the spot. It was believed that Ajay used the two for rescuing Nitin. The police said it had sent blood samples of the two to the CFSL to ascertain whether they were drunk.

Lackadaisical security

The incident laid bare the lackadaisical security measures at the swimming pool, being run by the Chandigarh administration. The police said Ajay was a regular at the pool and used to scale the wall late at night and dive into the pool. The guard posted near the pool, Ravinder Singh, was at the adjoining table tennis centre when the incident occurred. He came to know of the incident only when a police party knocked at his door.

Families shattered

Ajay is survived by his parents and a younger sister. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital when the families of the deceased arrived from Shimla. Ajay’s father, Shamsher Lohlta, is an agriculturist. Nitin’s father passed away two years ago. His brother Tepinder said he spoke to Nitin two days ago.



UT admn, GMCH told pay Rs 8 lakh as compensation
Patient had died due to infection contracted at hospital
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
In an unprecedented order, which is surely going to ruffle many feathers in the medical fraternity, the UT Consumer Forum (I) has directed the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and the UT administration to pay Rs 8 lakh as compensation to a couple whose son allegedly died due to infection contracted at the hospital due to the negligence of the authorities.

Dismissing the hospital’s plea that all care was taken while treating 25-year-old Hitender Kakkar for the burn injuries that he had sustained, forum president PD Goel stated that negligence was evident as the hospital had failed to substantiate its claims. He observed that the onus of proving that there was no negligence in treatment was on the hospital and the parents of the deceased had nothing to substantiate as their complaint was enough to highlight negligence in the case.

The parents of the deceased, Geeta Rani Kakkar and Gurwnditta Kakkar, had stated that their son was admitted to the GMCH with a history of flame burns from a firecracker after being referred by Pawan Goel Hospital, Kurushetra, on October 26, 2008. They had stated that he was initially admitted to the emergency ward, but was later shifted to the burns ward as his condition had reportedly started improving.

On November 7, 2008, at 2 pm, the bed no. 1, which was allotted to Hitender earlier, was allotted to some other patient and he was shifted to bed no. 8 in another room. This shifting was objected to by the parents, but the hospital authorities went ahead with it without giving any reason.

When the patient’s wife tried to contact the doctor on duty, no doctor was available. The complainant failed to contact the emergency medical officer of the GMCH. Subsequently, the patient’s parents sent an e-mail, showing their resentment over the shifting. They also reported the matter to the medical superintendent of the hospital.

They alleged that the patient, Praveen Kumar, with 80 per cent burns, who was allotted bed no. 1, died the same day. Thereafter, the same bed was re-allotted to their son without sterilising or disinfecting it. After shifting, his condition started deteriorating and he died at 10 pm the same night. The complainant also alleged that the patient contracted infection due to the negligence of the hospital authorities.

The complainant also produced an affidavit of attendants of other patients who were admitted to the GMCH with burn injuries, in which it was clearly mentioned that prior to the shifting, neither was the bed sterilised or disinfected and neither were the bedsheets changed.

In their reply, the Chandigarh administration and the GMCH authorities stated that the patient was immediately attended to and after initial resuscitation and management, he was shifted from the emergency ward to bed no.1 in the burns unit. The patient was treated with utmost care and attention and was also given due standard treatment, as per the established protocol on attending to such cases, they stated.

They further stated that the patient’s condition deteriorated on November 7 due to septicaemia, which was due to the presence of multiple pus pockets in both lungs and both kidneys, and consequently, cardiac arrest became the cause of his demise. The forum held that the staff of hospital and the UT administration were guilty of not explaining the circumstances of shifting the patient from one bed to another to the attendants of Hitender.

The doctor attending on the patient recommended blood culture on November 5, but it was not conducted by the hospital authorities. It further proved that despite the doctor’s advice, the hospital authorities had not done blood culture, which amounted to deficiency in service.



Inebriated policeman runs amok at PGI
Abuses woman staffer, thrashes two of her colleagues
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Scores of heart patients at the advanced cardiac centre (ACC) at the PGI had a sleepless night as a tipsy cop thrashed staff members of the hospital the previous night.

The trouble started when head constable Balbir Singh, accompanying a prisoner admitted to the ACC, went berserk after a woman employee objected to him consuming liquor at the hospital.

In response to her objection, the inebriated cop hurled abuses at her. When a male nurse and a hospital attendant rushed to her rescue, Balbir reportedly thrashed them.

Following this, Balbir fled, leaving the prisoner in the custody of his junior, constable Sandeep Singh. The three victims lodged a complaint with the police and the hospital authorities.

Narrating the sequence of events, Bimla, a sweeper, said she noticed Balbir and two others consuming liquor in the stairs for the emergency exit around 7:45 pm.

When she objected to this, Balbir was enraged and started hurling abuses at her. “He caught hold of me and tried to strangulate me,” she alleged.

“When I raised an alarm, Chanan Ram, a male nurse, and Chhota Ram, an attendant, rushed to my rescue, but they were hit by Balbir,” she further alleged.

In the meantime, some patients in the ward and their attendants gathered on the spot and the PGI security was informed. Balbir managed to escape before security personnel reached the spot.

The allegations of Bimla were substantiated by patients and their attenadants, who were yet to recover from the shock of the incident.

“Balbir was hitting the two employees when I reached the spot,” said Sachin, looking after his mother. After suffering a heart attack, she had been admitted to the same ward room where Balbir was deputed to take care of the prisoner.

“It was beyond our imagination that a policeman deputed at a sensitive place like a hospital would behave like a street bully,” said Paramjot, an attendant.

The SHO of the Sector-11 police station, Gurmukh Singh, said he sent cops to inquire into the incident. Balbir was found absent from duty and he had deputed another policeman in his place, he added. He sent a report to his seniors while registering a daily diary report, said the SHO.



3 villages adjoining Shivaliks included in Nayagaon NAC
May endanger ecologically fragile forest area
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Nayagaon (Mohali), June 17
In yet another populist move that may spell doom for the ecologically fragile forest area in Chandigarh’s periphery, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday announced the inclusion of Seonk, Perch and Choti Karor villages in the Nayagaon notified area committee (NAC). The Shivalik Hills abutting the villages are increasingly facing a severe threat from members of the land “mafia” who are eyeing the area to build farmhouses there.

Following a demand raised by Morinda MLA Ujjagar Singh Wadali, who said the ‘panchayats’ had passed a resolution for inclusion of the villages in the Nayagaon NAC, Badal said at a public function here if the ‘panchayats’ and the Nayagaon NAC agreed on the matter the area should be included though a resolution within 15 days. It is believed certain politically well-connected people, who had bought land that was recently delisted from the Punjab Land Preservation Act, are pushing for the NAC status.

While SAD leaders are taking credit for having got land in villages delisted from the provisions of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, they are misleading the villagers by not informing them the land has been listed by the central environment & forests ministry on the condition that the nature of land use wouldn’t be changed. However, inclusion of the area in the NAC means the land would be used for housing as has happened in the case of Nayagaon.

In the case of Nayagaon the land “mafia”, under the garb of NAC status, has caused extensive damage to the undulating hills.

Virtually an urban slum

Besides causing damage to the Shivalik Hills, formation of the notified area committee in Nayagaon in 2006 without any planning has turned the area into a virtual urban slum. The Punjab Chief Minister admitted that residents of the area were living in pathetic conditions. Though the planners were against any urbanisation in the area, politicians had acted against their advice.



Girl kills herself for failing in exam
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 17
A girl student of class X who flunked the board examination committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at her house in Khanpur village last night.

Kamaljeet Kaur had taken the examination under the private course of the Punjab School Education Board and had taken coaching at an academy in Sirhind.

Police officials said the girl consumed some poisonous substance around 11.30 pm and was taken to the Fatehgarh Sahib Civil Hospital from where she was referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh. She was declared dead around 12.30 am.

Investigating officer Vijay Singh said the girl was the youngest of the three siblings and belonged to a family of labourers.

The family members of the girl were yet to arrive with the body at the Fatehgarh Sahib Civil Hospital where a post-mortem examination would be conducted, he said.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC, he added.


Local bodies dept marks probe into embezzlement
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 17
The director (local bodies), Haryana, acting on a complaint of alleged misappropriation of funds of Panchkula municipal council, has marked an inquiry into the wrongdoing. The inquiry has been marked by the department following a complaint filed by SK Nayyar, president of the Citizen Welfare Association Panchkula.

In a communication to Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar, the director (local bodies) has asked her to conduct a probe into the allegation through an officer of senior rank and submit a report in his office. Nayyar had alleged that contracts of MC works had been allotted to companies floated by some sitting and former councillors of the MC.

He had also submitted some documents procured under the RTI Act, which suggested that various MC works were allegedly allotted to M/s Om Sons Engineers, owned by former councilor Sunil Talwar, M/s Rawal Electrical Co, owned by MC president Ravinder Rawal and his brother, and certain other councillors. He had also sought directions to recover the allegedly misappropriated government revenue and disqualify such councillors with immediately effect to keep the dignity and integrity of the MC Act. However, Rawal said the contracts were given at a time when the council was dissolved and there was no illegality in that. He said the allegations levelled against him were unfair and he would initiate legal action against the complainant.



Increase frequency of local buses, Ram Niwas tells CTU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Secretary Transport, Chandigarh Administration, Ram Niwas reviewed the working of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) at a review meeting held here today.

He directed the authorities to increase the frequency of local buses so that no passenger had to wait for more than 15 minutes. For better transport connectivity and convenience of passengers, more mini-buses can be deployed to reduce the waiting period at certain places where there is high-density flow of passenger traffic. He also laid emphasis on strengthening the grid transportation system.

He directed the Director Transport to make the inventory of fleet of buses of the CTU and further asked to project the future requirement of buses for better convenience and facilitation of passengers using surface transportation in Chandigarh.

The CTU has achieved an increase of 6 per cent in occupancy as compared to the last year and revenue addition of Rs 39 lakh during the month of June as compared to the corresponding period last year.



Youth wrongly sent to jail out after 2 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
After remaining behind bars for two months despite having been acquitted, 27-year old Ravi Kumar was finally released today after the Additional District and Sessions Judge submitted a report staying that the judgment writer committed a mistake.

Ravi languished behind bars for over two months owing to the mistake by the court staff. He was acquitted by the court on April 8, but was made to stay behind bars, thanks to ‘error’ on part of judgment as claimed by the ADJ in the report.

A report was sought yesterday from the then judge who had acquitted Ravi Kumar from a case of rash and negligent driving. The Judge concerned is at present posted in Amritsar. The District and Sessions Judge, Chandigarh, sought a report asking the Additional District and Sessions Judge to explain as to how despite a judgment reading acquittal, Ravi Kumar was sent behind bars on April 8.

Ravi Kumar was sent to Burail Jail after the judge, during his posting in Chandigarh as ADJ, had “dismissed” Ravi's appeal challenging the one and half year imprisonment awarded to him by a lower Court in 2009.

Having spent over two months behind the bars, he and his family members had discovered that he was never convicted, rather was acquitted on April 8.

The family member was shocked to learn that Ravi Kumar stands acquitted. The family members, who are illiterate, did not realize that the written judgment they had received by the Court, a month back, reads that Ravi Kumar is acquitted.

When shown the judgment, the Burail Jail officials were also shocked to learn that a man acquitted by the Court is languishing in the jail for over two months.



Kenyan delegation visits P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 17
A nine-member delegation from Kenya under the chairmanship of Charles Nyachai visited the mini secretariat to study and analyse the process and working of the administration in the district here today.

The delegation also discussed various schemes and policies being implemented by the central and state governments.

Briefing the delegation about the structure of Panchkula, Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar said the district had an urban population of 45 per cent, while the rest 55 per cent resided in the rural areas. She said the city also shared border with two states — Himachal Pradesh and Punjab — and also Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Brar told the delegation that the DC at district level and Sub-Divisional Magistrate at the sub-division level redressed the grievances of people.

She further informed that with a view to reviewing the progress of various development works and implementation of various welfare schemes of the state government, a monthly meeting of officers’ board was convened under the chairmanship of the DC.

On the online facility of land records, she maintained that the state government had achieved a landmark in the field of systematic land record management wherein the record of each inch of land in the state had been monitored.

Details about the owner, sale and purchase of land was maintained and also made online to ensure transparency in the working of the government.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate KK Kalsan, zila parishad chairman Rajesh Kona and senior officers of the district administration were among those present.



Rampur Budda to get civic amenities
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 17
Following the Punjab government’s notification to include Rampur Budda village within the Zirakpur municipal limits civic officials said all basic amenities will be provided to its residents.

An official claimed the municipal council will spend Rs 1.5 crore on better roads, clean drinking water, proper sewage lines and other facilities. “The departments concerned were preparing cost estimates of development work, which would be taken up at the upcoming MC meeting”, he added.



Tricity scan
MC Chief Engineer visits site

Municipal Corporation Chief Engineer SS Bida on Friday visited the construction site of a new bridge in Mani Majra accompanied by engineers from the roads and public health departments to inspect the work. During the inspection, the Chief Engineer directed officials to immediately start the work of construction of RCC box culvert, which was held up. He also inspected work on re-carpeting of old Ropar and rigid pavement in motor market in Mani Majra.

Flat sealed

The UT Estate Office on Friday sealed the residential premises in the transit flats in Sector 19 used by KK Garg, former District and Session Judge of the District Courts here. According to sources, the premises were sealed under the Public Premises Act. Consequent upon his transfer to Kapurthala, Garg had allegedly not handed over the possession of the premises to the UT Administration.

Theatre workshop

Young children undergoing training under the passouts of the department of theatre, Panjab University, showcased their imbibed skills during a purview to the ongoing workshop being conducted by the Tagore Theatre here on Friday. Young children are learning the nuisances of acting and related art, including meditation, relaxation and improvisation techniques at the hands of Asha Saklani and Abhishek Sharma under the guidance of Kuldip Sharma, director of Tagore Theatre.

No public hearing session

No public hearing session will be held at the UT secretariat on June 20, an official press note said. UT Administrator Shivraj Patil is said to be touring Rajasthan.

No water supply

There will be no noon water supply on June 18 due to the maintenance of 220 KVA sub-station at Kharar by the Punjab State Electricity Board. The water will be supplied at full pressure in the city from 3.30 am to 9 am and low water supply from 6.45 pm to 9 pm.

Wheelchairs donated

Sidh Baba Balak Nath Sewa Mandal, Sector 29-A, Chandigarh, has donated 20 wheelchairs and 20 statures with mattress to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32. A brief function was held at GMCH-32 where Prof Raj Bahadur lauded the role played by Sidh Baba Balak Nath Sewa Mandal and thanked all executive members for this noble cause.

Power supply affected

Power supply to parts of Panchkula and adjoining areas was affected on Friday, following a “sudden fault in control cables”, which led to outage of Tepla sub-station. HVPN made alternate arrangements from outstation sub-stations, including Baddi in Himachal Pradesh and Shahabad. The supply lines collapsed around 11.30 am. Power supply was restored to 80 per cent of the affected areas by 1 pm. Supply to Mullana, Saha, Barada, Mohda, Layalpur Basti and parts of the Industrial Area was affected till late in the evening.

Gastrointestinal Diseases Clinic

On the completion of its three years, Alchemist Hospital, Sector 21, here started a super-specialty Gastrointestinal (GI) Diseases Clinic, first of its kind in the region, offering complete solutions for gastrointestinal diseases. For this, the hospital has added in its team, Dr Manmohan Singh Bedi (GI Surgeon) and Dr Pradeep Kumar (GI physician), besides equipping the clinic with latest equipment like ERCP (side viewing scopes), endoscope for upper and lower GI, harmonic scalpel, laparoscopic image-I, HD, etc. The clinic will offer a wide range of services pertaining to diagnosis and treatment of liver, gall bladder, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract whether benign or malignant.

Dharna staged

Employees of the Suvidha Centre at Mohali on Friday stopped work and staged a dharna in front of the office of director, IT Punjab, demanding regularisation of their services. The strike was a part of the statewide call given by the association of employees. Due to the closure of the centre, a number of persons visiting the Deputy Commissioner complex faced a lot of harassment, as centres remained unattended.


Members of the RMSA Teachers’ Union on Friday took out a massive rally at Landran here. Demanding regularisation of their services, contractual teachers marched from Phase 3B1 school to Landran traffic lights to mobilise public opinion. — TNS



For 2,000 BCom seats, PU gets twice as many registrations
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
With four days to go for the deadline to expire, over 4,000 online applications have been received by Panjab University for admission to the bachelor of commerce program. Currently city colleges have nearly 2,000 seats for the first-year BCom course.

In a new concept for admissions introduced this year, prospective candidates are required to correct mistakes in their application forms posted on the official website of BCom centralized admissions. For this a student has to access his or her site account every day. The forms are being processed at the University Business School and the last date to apply for the course is June 21, said PU officials.

Last year nearly 9,500 online applications were received against 4,300 seats for the centralized online admission process to the first-year BCom course in PU affiliated colleges in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur.

Students with a score of less than 60 percent in class 12 (commerce group) failed to secure a seat in city colleges during centralized BCom admissions for the 2010-11 academic session. At last year’s counselling sessions held on the PU campus nearly a thousand BCom applicants had to return disappointed because of the high percentage cutoff.

“We’ve mentioned on the website students are required to check it frequently so that they don’t miss out on any important details. A team of lecturers from city colleges are compiling the applications and verifying if there is a lacuna in any form. The students would also be given time to correct their information and check the name of the college they have been allotted,” said AK Vashisht, coordinator of BCom admissions., adding, “There won’t be any assembling of parents or applicants this year because of the online system”.

However, on the issue of increasing seats for the BCom course in city colleges, PU officials claimed due to a shortage of teachers and inadequate facilities to accommodate more students no college was granted more units to raise the number of seats for the 2011-12 session.

New concept

In a new concept for admissions introduced this year, prospective candidates are required to correct mistakes in their application forms posted on the official website of BCom centralized admissions. For this a student has to access his or her site account every day. The forms are being processed at the University Business School and the last date to apply for the course is June 21, said PU officials. Last year nearly 9,500 online applications were received against 4,300 seats for the centralized online admission process to the first-year BCom course in PU affiliated colleges in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur.



Green Olympiad to assess environment sensitivity
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has joined hands with TERI to conduct Green Olympiad in its affiliated schools for Classes VIII to X.

The examination, which would be held on August 27 and September 24, would consist of objective type, multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and there would be no negative marking.

The Olympiad aimed to assess environment related sensitivity of the students, as it would add uniformity and streamline environment education, which forms an integral part of the school education.

The subject though is integral, is reduced to a mere formality in Classes IX and X for want of regular examination techniques.

“Right from Class I, we emphasise on environment education as the key subject. In many schools, environment studies (EVS) is a major subject till Class V, which covers aspects from both science and social science. However, unfortunately it loses its relevance after Class VII where clearing environment education examination becomes a sheer formality for many. This Olympiad will not only assess various environment ethics instilled in students but will also makes environment sensitivity an essential part of the evaluation,” said a senior official from the CBSE.



Help desks
PUSU stages silent protest

Chandigarh, June 17
Expressing their dissent on the delay of help desks for students, nearly 50 representatives of Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) today staged a silent protest outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

Members submitted a memorandum to the Panjab University authorities today. The student leaders added that students were facing a lot of inconvenience due to the delay.

“There is no one to help and guide students through the admission process. Students from all over India seek admission in PU and they have no clue about how to proceed for admissions,” said Jujwinder. He added that those seeking admission are charged Rs 500, whereas at the help desks, admission forms are given free. — TNS



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