C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


It stinks to be a resident, hurts to be a patient
Bins overflow as Dadu Majra residents oppose dumping of refuse
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Perhaps for the first time, the internationally acclaimed City Beautiful was stinking all over. On Tuesday, over 500 bins were overflowing with stinking garbage and filth as the garbage collection system of the city had come to a grinding halt.

Reason: For the past two days, about 700 tonnes of garbage (350 tonnes per day) collected from across the city has not been lifted by 250 trucks of the Municipal Corporation (MC) due to the agitation by residents of Dadu Majra outside the garbage plant there.

As if this was not enough for city residents, the foul smell which was earlier affecting a few sectors around the Dadu Majra dumping ground, today spread all over the city, as heaps of garbage were lying in Sehaj Safai Kendra (SSKs) or garbage bins as the refuse was not sent to the garbage processing plant.

Accepting the fact, MC sweeper union president Sham Lal Ghavari said for the past two days, sweepers were not lifting any garbage from the SSKs or the garbage bins placed in various sectors of the city. In fact, today not even a single garbage-lifting vehicle had been sent to the dumping ground or plant.

MC Commissioner Prerna Puri today refused to meet the delegation of the sweepers who went to meet her.

Admitting that for the past two days the plant was not accepting MC garbage vehicles, a representative of the garbage processing plant at Dadu Majra said that for the past four days they were not being allowed to dispose of their inert in the dumping ground. The representative alleged that the residents who were holding the protest near the plant were not allowing the movement of inert vehicles to the dumping ground. 



garbage mess
Protesters mull fast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Showing no sign of letup, residents of Dadu Majra and Sector 25 staged a protest for the second consecutive day today against the municipal corporation, demanding the shifting of the dumping ground.

The residents have threatened to intensify the protest from Wednesday by starting a hunger strike if the authorities failed to take any action. People from all walks of life joined the protest today.

Banarsi Dass, a resident of Dadu Majra, said the protest would continue if the authorities failed to address their grievances.

“The protest will be called off only when the MC comes up with a permanent solution to the problem,” he said.

The protesters claimed that they won’t let even a single MC vehicle enter the dumping ground to dump garbage till they got a permanent solution to the problem.

The residents complained that people had started developing skin and breathing problems due to the contamination of air near the dumping ground.

Ram Saroop, another resident, said the MC had only been assuring the residents of fixing the problem for the past few years. However, the problem still persists.

In the past few days, the problem of stench has worsened and has reached other parts of the city, including Sectors 25, 36, 37, 38 and 39.

Meanwhile, a meeting of MC officials, chaired by MC Commissioner, was held in the evening to discuss the issue.

Area councillor Kamlesh, who also attended the meeting, said she had asked the MC to either take action against the company running the garbage processing plant or shut the plant down.

Kamlesh also met UT Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh on the issue but to no avail.



Medical services partially hit by doctors’ strike at GMCH-32
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Medical services at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, were partially hit as nearly 60 resident doctors of the hospital went on mass casual leave today to protest against the shortage of doctors in the hospital.

The worst hit was the general surgery department, where a couple of surgeries scheduled for the day were postponed and several patients were forced to go back or referred to other hospitals.

Though the hospital authorities claimed that the mass casual leave had no impact on the services, a visit to the hospital was enough to show that all wasn’t well. Sources said though emergency services remained operational throughout the day, the shortage of doctors did cause trouble to several patients.

Darshna Devi, who had come to the emergency ward with her ailing husband Raj Kumar from Karnal, said she had been told to come again tomorrow. “My husband is unable to walk and the doctor at the emergency told me that since he isn’t a serious case, he can be brought in again tomorrow,” she told Chandigarh Tribune. He was taken back to Karnal without being attended.

Doctors at the emergency confirmed that they were only taking up serious cases, as they didn’t have enough hands to deal with all patients coming in. “We are compelled to say no to cases which aren’t life-threatening,” said an Emergency Medical Officer.

An attendant of a patient, Khan Mohammad (65), who had been brought from Yamunanagar, said he had been advised to go to PGI. “His condition has been deteriorating for the past four days, as he is not eating,” said the attendant, adding that due to the shortage of doctors, he had been referred to the PGI. He had to return to Yamunanagar without being treated, as he was reluctant to be treated at the PGI, where the patient rush had risen.

Sources revealed that two of the eight surgeries scheduled for the day were postponed due to the mass casual leave.



Nod to 4 pc luxury tax on weddings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
This year wedding parties and other get-togethers held in the city’s hotels and banquet halls will cost more with the UT administration deciding to levy a 4 per cent luxury tax on such functions with immediate effect.

A customer will now have to pay a minimum of 19.59 per cent of the bill in taxes (VAT-12.5% + service tax (food & beverages) - 3.09% + luxury tax- 4%) if he opts for a local hotel or banquet hall to organize a function. The figure will swell further to 24.74 per cent if one hires a room at the hotel as another 5.15 per cent service tax is levied. With several hotels and restaurants also charging 10 per cent of the total bill as service charge, the total taxes o be paid would then touch 34.74 per cent of the bill.

The new tax is bound to burn a hole in the pockets of customers and the Chandigarh Hospitality Association has condemned the administration’s move, saying it would adversely affect the local hospitality industry and tourism as well.

“Besides, the imposition of a luxury tax will have a direct bearing on corporate travellers who comprise about 70 per cent of the total hotel guests in the city. These visitors who use accommodation and banquet facilities have stringent entitlements for the same. Burdening the customers with heavy taxes means be ready to lose them,” said the association’s secretary, Ankit Gupta. He added the administration has not clarified matters like how much tax should be levied on rooms sold on meal plans.



Academic chairs at PU vacant for years
Were set up to promote research, culture of debate on campus
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Having failed to get a nod from Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen, the Manmohan Singh Chair established by Panjab University two years ago is the latest addition to a long list of vacant chairs meant to promote academic excellence and the culture of debate in key disciplines at the varsity.

Otherwise claiming to have made it to the list of “centers of excellence” in education, the university is, however, yet to achieve success in wooing eminent scholars to serve as suitable “guiding lights” in the discipline concerned as over a dozen chairs have remained vacant for decades, in some cases.

When contacted PU vice chancellor RC Sobti, chose to be reticent on the issue, saying, “I won’t comment on this topic.”

A senior PU official blamed the vacancy of chairs on “uninterested invitees”. However, if the records or claims of Panjab University Teachers Association are anything to go by, then it is the university’s alleged lack of intent that has led to this as in many cases no invites have been sent to eminent scholars who were shortlisted for the past seven years.

“The Manmohan Singh Chair is being talked about because it’s the most recent chair to have been established. But there are other chairs such as the Guru Ravi Das Chair and the Tagore Chair, both of which have been vacant for the past few years with the varsity reportedly not inviting any eminent scholar. This has affected research in these areas. Many committees have been set up during the tenure of former vice chancellor KN Pathak as well as that of Sobti to shortlist invitees and obtain the PU senate’s approval, but their fate remains unknown. It affects our research index,” said PUTA president Akshay Kumar.

In addition to chairs, there is a category of sanctioned faculty positions that have been dedicated to eminent educationists as a tribute to their contributions. While PU has adopted the application and interview mode to fill these professorships, PUTA has demanded the appointments should be made on the basis of invitation.

“We should invite eminent practitioners of the relevant departments for these professorships, which will improve our faculty’s academic standards. It shouldn’t be used as an ‘adjustment’ option. No dedication or chair should ever be dubbed as a normal professorship,” said Kumar. PU officials disagreed, averring, “These are normal teaching positions. What should we do if there are no invitees? Holding interviews is perfectly legal.”



Doc, woman booked for female foeticide
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 20
In a district of the state where women are heading key administrative departments, the police on Tuesday booked a woman and a doctor for preventing a resident giving birth to a female child under section 312 of the Indian Penal Code (causing a miscarriage) and the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The doctor’s two clinics in Manimajra (Batra clinic) and in Panchkula have been sealed.

In her complaint deputy civil surgeon Dr Saroj stated Dr Meenu Batra had conducted the operation for aborting the foetus in a house (no 1005) in Sector 9 currently being used as a clinic.

Sanjana, a resident of Sector 7, had reportedly found she was carrying a girl child after she underwent a test in the Batra clinic and had later asked for the foetus to be aborted. At the time of the operation she was 14 to 17 weeks pregnant. According to medical experts, an abortion within 12 weeks of pregnancy is said to be safe. However, determination of the sex of the foetus is prohibited. The matter came to light only after Sanjana developed complications. Her in-laws took her to the General Hospital. Doctors came to know about the abortion. When they asked her, she told them everything. The doctors called up senior health officials. On Monday the Panchkula health department informed Chandigarh officials. The Batra clinic in Manimajra and the clinic in Panchkula were sealed.




Nonagenarian stages sit-in
Opposes pitching of tents in service lane by current, ex-DGPs’ guards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
A 93-year-old Sector-18 resident, Dayawanti Sharma, staged a sit-in in front of her neighbours’ — DGP (Punjab) Shashikant and former DGP AP Pandey — houses today, following alleged encroachment by security personnel on the service lane at the rear of her house.

She sat in a chair in front of the DGPs’ houses for over three hours, demanding immediate removal of the scrap material, tents and other store items of the officers’ houses.

The security personnel attached to the officers concerned tried to woo her and finally succeeded in making her leave, assuring her that the place would be adequately cleared.

Security personnel’s tents, housing over 10 gunmen, have been pitched in the service lane.

She claimed that besides littering the entire lane, the security staff also created a lot of noise, particularly during late evening hours.

She said: “I am leaving on an assurance that the place will be cleared of illegal occupation. These people don’t realise that people in the entire neighbourhood have been complaining of rats in their houses, besides the dirt and ruckus they create. Rodents are drawn to the tents pitched in the open.”

A guard, requesting anonymity, said: “We earlier had our tents in the green area outside the officers’ residences. However, the High Court asked us to move out. What can we do? We don’t have any place to stay inside the officers’ residences. So we have to stay outside. The government, besides, obeying the HC in clearing the parks, should also provide us with a decent place to stay.”



Weekday drive zaps drunk drivers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Chandigarh traffic police caught drunk drivers by surprise on Monday night by carrying out a surprise drive on a weekday. While the police has been conducting the drive on weekends this year, a large number of drunk drivers were in for a shock after they ended up getting challaned on a weekday, when they had least expected.

Around 10 pm, checkpoints were set up across the city, and the traffic police issued 59 challans, including 56 for drunk driving.

Four vehicles belonging to drunk drivers were impounded after they failed to produce valid documents.

The traffic police had set up barricades across intersections on the Madhya Marg and towards the South End roundabout in Sector 35, besides other points.

“This is the first time that we have organised such a drive on a weekday. Drivers had started talking it easy on weekdays, presuming that such drives were carried out only on weekends. This is a wakeup call for those mixing drinking with driving. Such drives will continue in the future,” he said.

2 jailed till rising of court

Chandigarh: The district court imprisoned two persons for drunk driving till the rising of the court today. Judge Deepak Raj Garg’s special court for traffic offences awarded punishment to Atul Sharma, a resident of Sector 20, Chandigarh, and Tejinder Singh, a resident of Chai Bazar, Anandpur Sahib. A fine of ~1,000 and ~1,200 was also imposed.



Spurious ghee came from Delhi

Chandigarh, September 20
A day after the UT police seized 75-kg spurious ghee being supplied to a temple in Sector 29, the police said the ghee was being supplied to accused from Delhi.

The police said the shopkeeper, Naresh Sharma, told them that the tins with fake Verka label were reaching the city from New Delhi.

The shopkeeper added that he was selling these because he had been getting these at comparatively cheaper rates. The police had received a complaint against the shopkeeper from Sector-29 Sai Temple president Ramesh Kalia. The police had then arrested the Sector-26 resident, Naresh Sharma, in a case under Section 420 of the IPC. The police today summoned Verka officials to verify the authenticity of the ghee. The Verka authorities denied the ghee sold to temple was theirs as the company’s hologram was missing. TNS



disco brawl
Cop’s statement recorded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
DSP Kamaldeep Singh, inquiry officer in a case of brawl involving an inspector at a discotheque, today recorded the statement of Inspector Jaswinder Singh. The police official has been accused of creating ruckus at Scores in Sector 8 on Saturday night.

The statement was recorded at the police headquarters, Sector 9, and a fact-finding report would be submitted in a day or two, the DSP said.

On September 17, Inspector Jaswinder Singh allegedly thrashed a bouncer, Surjeet Singh, when two girls reportedly approached the bouncer alleging misbehaviour by the inspector.



Govt’s retired staff express resentment
Accuse GMADA of considering them ineligible to apply
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 20
With just a day for launch of Mullanpur Eco City by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), retired employees of the Punjab government settled outside the state have expressed their resentment for not allowing them to apply under the scheme.

“When the Central government and UT acknowledge their retired employees, Punjab cannot be indifferent to its retired employees,” said Rakesh Singh, a retired Punjab PWD executive engineer, who resides in Panchkula.

After going through the eligibility guidelines of the scheme posted on GMADA’s website, a number of retired persons pointed out that GMADA believes that every retired employee owns a house. “If the Punjab and Haryana High Court employees living in Panchkula or any other town other than Punjab and Chandigarh can be eligible for the scheme, then the retired Punjab government employees living outside Punjab and Chandigarh should also be eligible,” said Malkiat Singh, who lives in Ambala after serving the Punjab education department for 30 years.

It has also been pointed out that the Punjab and Haryana High Court employees had also been considered in housing schemes floated by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) and the Punjab government has considered them for the Mullanpur scheme. On the other hand, Punjab pensioners or their widows have been left out.

Unfair trade practice

Due to failure on part of GMADA to make a public announcement about the schedule to refund earnest money of the unsuccessful applicants, the banks are likely to adopt unfair trade practice by holding the earnest money of the financed applications for over three months, as had been done in case of Aerocity project. Sources said though GMADA was keen on returning the earnest money within a month of holding the draw of lots, it was not ready to make its intentions public.

“If GMADA returns the money within a month of holding draw of lots, it should direct banks to start the process to refund a portion of interest charged on the financed earnest money from the day the money is credited into accounts of banks. These days money is transferred electronically,” said Shavinder Singh, a prospective applicant.

Moreover, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guideline allows the banks to charge interest for the period when the money lies with agency floating a housing scheme. If GMADA hold the draw of lots on November 28, it is expected to complete the process to refund the money to the unsuccessful applicants or the banks by December end. Going by the yardstick, the banks have no right to hold the money beyond three months.

Since GMADA officials are particular about mentioning the dates-wise schedule of the entire process, the banks should have no problem in refunding the earnest money to the applicants soon after the money was credited back in their accounts.



Nuances of music bared
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 20
Musicologist and tabla maestro Guru Sushil Kumar Jain of the Punjab ‘gharana’ delineated and demonstrated the role of Vedic principles in music during a seminar at the GCG-11 auditorium here today.

He made special reference to grammar for composing a ‘raaga’ and rhythmic patterns.

He delved on the origin and formation of ‘raaga’ from ‘swaras’ and explained the finer musical nuances by singing ‘Raaga Bihag’ and ‘Miyan ki Malhar’.

He said poetry was the basis of music and dance and any musical or dance composition must reflect the theme of verse in a suitable ‘raaga’.

He was in command singing in his Patiala ‘gharana’ style as he defined syllables like ‘chhand’, ‘alankar’ and ‘taala’.

Gurjinder Singh provided admirable accompaniment on the tabla. The audience mainly comprised music and dance students.



Human resilience amid Indo-Pak conflict
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, September 20
Sans a conventional storyline, a plot and thrilling actions, Mumbai-based Essay Communication’s play ‘Lakeerein’ was staged on Day Four of the Chandigarh Theatre festival here today.

Written by Gulzar and directed by Salim Arif, the play presented the political dialogue of times like Partition, Emergency and the wars and tension across the border.

Riding on social and intellectual depth, it brought alive the pangs of Partition. Three stories were weaved to depict the saga of human resilience encompassing 60 years of Indo-Pak conflict.

The slow-paced first part, dominated by narratives, gradually got transformed into a majestic performance, with Yashpal Sharma taking it to a spectacular level.

Poetic renditions by Salim Arif and on-stage singing by ghazal exponent Seema Sehgal reached the hearts of the audience.



60,000 professionals return to India annually: Study
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
India is among top few countries that have been witnessing strong “return migration”. While a study revealed that nearly 60,000 top professionals are returning to India every year for the past three years, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs puts the number of returning professionals at a lakh a year.

“It is because of the booming Indian economy that has been witnessing 7 to 8 per cent annual growth against some of the European or advanced countries staggering at below 1 per cent growth,” says A. Didar Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

Most of those returning are IT specialists, finance experts, besides those from service areas, including health care, hospitality and other areas.

A Didar Singh was here to release the Study of Indian Diaspora with particular reference to development and migration from the State of Punjab. The study was conducted by a team of Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here. The study team was headed by a retired diplomat, Paramjit Singh Sahai, and included Dr Krishan Chand, Pawan Kumar and Tania Sahai.

The Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs will ink another MoU with CRRID to make the Institute a research partner on issues facing Indian diaspora. At present, the Ministry has agreements with four research institutes in India besides an equal number of partners in overseas organisations.

Didar Singh held that though India’s avowed policy was not to encourage migration from its shores but at the same time it was signing agreements and going for human resources mobility partnership with various countries to ensure well-being of Indian workers, especially skilled workers.

Migration, he said, was linked to global development. It was why the migrant force moves to areas of opportunities. Besides enhancing skills that is the key in migration, the Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs is also in the process of standardising and certifying these skills.

He also clarified that anyone holding an Indian passport, whether living in India or abroad, was entitled to hold agricultural land and plantation in the country. The same facility was not available to the People of Indian Origin or those holding Overseas Citizen of India card.

While talking about the voting rights, he said even those born outside India but holding an Indian passport can get themselves registered as voters at the address of their parents or the last address of the family in India on which passports have been issued to them.

Punjab Chief Secretary SC Aggarwal said primary tasks before the government was to prepare people for legal migration and ensure that laws concerning NRIs about their property and also those relating to matrimonial affairs were in place to minimise their hardships.

Earlier, Sucha Singh Gill, Director-General , CRRID, talked about the study undertaken by the Institute while Rashpal Malhotra, Executive Vice-Chairman, CRRID, highlighted various projects undertaken by CRRID for preparing a data bank of the NRIs.



Fire breaks out in factory, 1 injured
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 20
One person was injured and loss of lakhs was caused by a fire that broke out in a factory situated at the Focal Point, Dera Bassi, this evening.

It had damaged the company’s generator and boxes of paints, thereby causing the loss in lakhs.

Fire tenders reached the spot on time and controlled the spreading fire.

The reason of the fire could not be identified yet.



Trycity scvan

IOC donation to HelpAge India:
The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) donated Rs 3.2 lakh to HelpAge India on Tuesday as help in its crusade for the well-being of poor elderly people. The cheque was released by IOC general manager RK Arora.

Hutments razed: At least 20 hutments were demolished near New Indira Colony at Mani Majra here on Tuesday. The police assisted the enforcement staff in the drive, supervised by enforcement inspector Kashmir Singh.

BJP protest: Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gheraoed the Mani Majra police station on Tuesday to protest against the registration of a case against BJP councillor Anil Dubey. Party activists raised slogans against the Chandigarh Police and the Congress.

Fellowship: Dr Mandeep S Dhillon, head of the departments of orthopaedics and physical medicine at the PGI, has been awarded fellowship of the National Academy of Medical Sciences in orthopaedics for 2011.

Invited: Dr Kewal Krishan, senior assistant professor in the department of anthropology at Panjab University, has been invited to deliver a lecture during the 10th International Symposium on Forensic Sciences, to be held at Bratislava in the Slovak Republic from September 27 to 30.

Workshop: The central placement cell of Panjab University organised a workshop on soft skills and personality development in collaboration with the UIAMS as pre-placement training for students of languages.

Awarded: Dr Anil Kumar, associate professor of pharmacology in the university  institute of pharmaceutical sciences, has been awarded the Young Pharmacy Teacher of the Year Award 2011 by the Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India.

Parents participate in Family Day celebrations at The Millennium School in Mohali
Parents participate in Family Day celebrations at The Millennium School in Mohali on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

PNB meeting:
A special district-level consultative committee meeting was convened by the lead office of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Tuesday. Patiala circle deputy general manager AK Sharma appealed to all banks and government departments to ensure e-governance, as desired by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

New member: Pearson Foundation president-cum-CEO Mark Nieker announced on Tuesday that it had joined the ‘Support My School’ initiative, a public-private partnership. The initiative had been launched earlier this year with the goal of establishing a learning environment and improving basic amenities in rural areas.

Blood donation:
Amartex Industries organised a blood donation camp at the showroom complex on Tuesday. At least 100 employees participated in the camp, inaugurated by CMD Arun Kumar. — Tribune Reporters



PU convocation on Dec 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Panjab University (PU) plans to have its convocation on December 16. The convocation, generally held in Feburary, has been advanced. Chancellor Hamid Ansari is expected to pay a visit to the PU.

Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti said details were yet to be worked out. Sources said a majority of degrees would be honorary, a list of which would be approved during the Syndicate meeting on September 27.



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