C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


P’kula MC ex-chief in dock
Indicted by VB for allotting ad contract without inviting bids
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 15
Former president of the Panchkula Municipal Council (MC) and Congress leader Manvir Kaur Gill is in the dock for not inviting bids for the advertising rights on 20 permanent structures and 19 Police Control Room (PCR) vehicles of the Panchkula police. She allegedly gave the advertisement rights to a particular contractor causing loss of lakhs to the civic body.

Following an inquiry, the Haryana Vigilance Bureau (VB) has recommended a legal action against the former MC chief after indicting her for favouring the contractor. Seeking details of the loss incurred in the process, the Vigilance Bureau has asked the MC authorities to recover the amount from Gill as no action could be taken against her under the Municipal Act as she was no more a part of the civic body. Gill lost the MC elections in March 2008.

The case dates back to 2007 when Gill on the request of the Panchkula police decided to set up 19 shelters for PCR vans and 20 structures for traffic police personnel. Instead of getting the matter passed in the MC House and consulting technical experts, the contract was allotted to a Panchkula-based construction company - Social Promoters - on April 18, 2007, in violation of norms, observed the inquiry officer of the Vigilance Bureau in his report.

Later, she took the file of the case with her and did not send it back to the municipal office even after being repeatedly asked by officials, it was alleged. The contractor was supposed to construct the shelters and umbrellas on his expense and was allowed to display advertisements on the same for five years.

The contractor was to deposit Rs 1,98,360 as advertisement fee with the municipal council with an annual increase of 5 per cent. The contractor, however, deposited the advertisement fee for the first year, till May 14, 2008.

Besides Gill, the then municipal council executive officer, Rohtash Bishnoi, and secretary BB Bhardwaj did not get the resolution passed in MC House before allotting the work to the contractor. Moreover, no advertisement was given to invite tenders for the contract, said the report while recommending action against the executive officer and the secretary under the Haryana Civil Services Rule 7.

Following the recommendations of the Vigilance Bureau, the municipal corporation assessed that the contractor was supposed to deposit Rs 8,91,105 between May 2008 and May 2011, but the money was never deposited. The total loss, however, could not be assessed, said sources in the MC. “Had the bids for the work been invited for the contract, the civic body might have got a bigger advertisement fee. However, there is no method to assess the loss,” said sources.

Gill denies allegations

When contacted, Manvir Kaur Gill denied the allegations. She said the MC executive officer and the secretary were dealing with the matter. “As the president of civic body, I had no role in allotting the tender. So I cannot be held responsible for the loss to revenue. As far as the missing file is concerned, I have already told the inquiry officer that there was no record mentioning that the file was with me. Moreover, former secretary BB Bhardwaj, who deposed as a witness against me before the inquiry officer, is himself an accused in the case,” said Gill.

The case

The case dates back to 2007 when the then president of the Panchkula Municipal Council Manvir Kaur Gill decided to set up 19 shelters for PCR vans and 20 structures for traffic police personnel. Instead of getting the matter passed in the MC House and consulting technical experts, the contract was allotted to a Panchkula-based construction company - Social Promoters in violation of norms, causing loss of lakhs to the MC, observed the inquiry officer of the Vigilance Bureau in his report.



2 booked for abducting Carmel Convent girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
A class XI girl student of Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, was allegedly kidnapped by a youth on October 11.

The police registered a case today on the complaint of the girl’s parents. The girl reportedly eloped with her boyfriend in connivance with his relative, a doctor. Acting on the complaint of Rupinderpal, a resident of Sector 23, the police registered a case of kidnapping against Inderjit Singh Malik and Sangeeta, a resident of Orbit Apartment 1, VIP Road, Zirakpur.

The complainant alleged that Sangeeta was a relative of Inderjit who helped him elope with his minor daughter.



Snatchings on rise in festive season
3 incidents reported within 40 minutes, police clueless
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
If you are wearing jewellery, be on the alert. Do not trust unknown persons as chain and purse snatchers are on the prowl this festive season.

Three incidents of snatching were reported in southern sectors yesterday within a span of 40 minutes when women were out shopping for Karva Chauth.

Police records revealed that over 12 snatching incidents were reported in the city last week, including six from southern sectors.

Sudha Goel, a resident of Sector 45-C, alleged that two motorcycle-borne persons snatched her gold chain from near a park in Sector 45-C on Friday. Another woman, Poonam Ghai, a resident of Sector 37, reported that youths on a motorcycle snatched her purse containing Rs 200, a mobile phone and a gold ring from near SD Mandir in Sector 37.

Kavya, a resident of Sector 40-B, alleged that two persons riding a black motorcycle snatched her purse containing a mobile phone, Rs 3,000, a voter card and an identity card from near the booth market in Sector 40-D. All these snatchings took place within a span of 40 minutes yesterday evening when women were out shopping for Karva Chauth,

the police said. The snatching victims also include a 75-year-old retired schoolteacher, Surinder Kaur. She suffered injuries when the snatchers attacked her.

The UT Police has failed to nab even a single snatcher even as the number of such incidents is on the rise.

Though the police has set up a ‘cheetah squad’ and organised all-night nakas to curb the crime during the festive season, all efforts have failed to curb the snatching incidents.



Long wait for kidney transplant
UT Administration yet to constitute authorisation committee
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Its been over six years since the apex court made it mandatory for kidney donors and recipients (other than blood relations) to seek an approval for a transplant form an authorisation committee of their domicile state/union territory, but the UT Administration is yet to constitute such a committee.

The administration’s apathy is proving a double whammy for kidney patients who, besides undergoing the pain and the sufferings of the disease, have to run from pillar to post to seek approval for a life-saving transplant.

Sources in the UT health department said though they get about five-six requests every year for approval for kidney transplant, they are helpless to do anything as the Union Health Ministry has still not approved the administration’s proposal for constituting an authorisation committee. “We give a letter to the donor/recipient saying that since there is no authorisation committee in place, the onus of the legality of the transplant would rest on the doctor who conducts the surgery,” said an official, admitting that such a letter was of no help to the patient.

Though all states have authorisation committees for over a decade, the apex court order of March 31, 2005, (Kuldeep Singh Vs State of Tamil Nadu) stated that the approval/NOC from the concerned state/union territory, authorisation committee was mandatory from the domicile state/union territory of the donor as well as the recipient. Following this directive, the Union government had amended the Organ Transplant Act in 2008 by inserting Rule 6B (supra), which makes an approval from the state of domicile mandatory for a transplant.

Incidentally, the PGI has the authorisation committee of eight members, but it only approves cases for transplantation in the institute only.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr AK Gupta, medical superintendent, PGI, and also the chairman of authorisation committee, said: “People with organ failure often have to undergo transplants. The Transplant of Human Organs Act permits those with organ failure to receive healthy ones donated by blood relatives, including parents, children or siblings or spouses. If the donor and recipient are not related, they have to appear before the committee for approval and we approve such cases after examining the case thoroughly.”

He said the PGI has a eight-member committee, including a retired DG, Punjab, a retired VC, Panjab University, two serving professors of the surgery and gastroenterology departments and the Secretary Health, UT, and the UT Director of Health Services.

Recently, Parliament cleared a Bill effecting landmark amendments in the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, expanding the definition of "near relatives" who can donate organs to include grandparents and grandchildren.

‘Proposal sent’

Admitting that the authorisation committee was yet to be formed, Director Heath Services, UT, Dr Chandermohan, said: “We have already sent a proposal to the Union Health Secretary and are awaiting an approval.” He said the proposal was initially sent in 2009 and a reminder was sent even this year.


sector scan
Dumpyard, cesspools welcome you
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Wild growth; and (right) heaps of garbage at Sector 69 in Mohali.
Wild growth; and (right) heaps of garbage at Sector 69 in Mohali

Mohali, October 15
The location of Sector 69, along the strategic Chandigarh-Landran road, seems to be working to the disadvantage of residents.

Ever since its conception, an open area adjacent to the Singh Shahidan gurdwara at Sohana has been converted in a garbage-dumping site.

As if the stinking smell is not enough, the indifferent attitude of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has resulted in low-lying areas of the sector turning in to cesspools of stinking water.

The sector has eight schools and two hospitals, which have also become a source of nuisance for residents.

School buses moving in and out throughout the day often result in accidents.

“Since the sector has not been transferred to the municipal corporation, it is still being looked after by GMADA. No official has bothered to visit us and listen to our grievances,” says Amarinder Kaur, a resident.

Unplanned settlements at Lambian village, along Sector 62 (Phase VIII), have also created unhygienic conditions.

The resident welfare association plans to move the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in this regard.



Security stepped up for India-England ODI
Rajiv Bhatia

Mohali, October 15
Leaving nothing to chance, the Mohali police has decided to deploy more than 1,200 police personnel, including five Superintendent of Police (SP) and 23 Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSPs) to ensure foolproof security arrangements for the third one-day international to be played between India and England at the PCA Stadium at Mohali on October 20.

The police has already started search operations in the Mohali district to keep a check on bad hats. A police official said they had made elaborate security arrangements for the one-day match. He said five SPs, 23 DSPs, 35 inspectors, 130 NGOs, 170 head constables, 690 constables, 50 women constables and 60 traffic cops would be put on duty.

Besides, there would be an eagle-eye vigil through CCTV cameras to be installed in and around the stadium. The visitors have been advised to strictly follow the instructions given on their tickets, the official said.

Special police teams from other districts have also been requisitioned for the match and the rehearsal would start from October 18. “We have already started search operations in the district to keep a tap on the activities of anti-social elements,” a police official said. Police parties will also set up checkpoints on the all intersections in the district.

A DSP-level officer has already started the search inside the stadium to make it clear for the net practice by both the teams, said the police official.

The Chandigarh Police has also made elaborate security arrangements at the hotel where both the teams will stay.



Civic body employees tow away SUV
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Employees of the municipal corporation (MC) were taken by a surprise when they saw Tata Arya parked outside their office. The enforcement wing of the MC had lifted the car from Sector 9.

Officials said during the drive it was found that the company had taken permission to display one car in 15x15 tent, but it had placed another car which was lifted by the department. Enforcement inspector Kashmira Singh said the car would be released on Monday.

Six cars dumped in the motor market at Mani Majra were also lifted. Officials said the department was conducting a special drive to clear parking lots of dumped vehicles.

The drive was carried out under the directions of Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach. It was supervised by enforcement inspector Kashmira Singh, sub-inspectors and supporting staff of the enforcement wing.



Endurance run to mark concluding day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The concluding day of Panjab University SAEINDIA NIS EFFICYCLE-2011 will be marked by an endurance run which will be the final test of various human powered-cum-electric three-wheelers designed by 33 teams from top engineering colleges.

During the last two days, the designs have underwent e-evaluations related to design, cost, marketing presentation, utility, electricity utility and acceleration. On the last day, the teams will drive their vehicle continuously for over an hour to maximise their score. The event is an opportunity for engineering students to set up a trend of using eco-friendly vehicles in India and come up with some innovative designs. A participating vehicle must be aerodynamic, highly engineered and ergonomically designed.



Pink October Day observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Cancer Awareness Society (CAS) at the PGGC-11 organised a plethora of events on Saturday to mark Pink October Day.

Over 100 girl students and female faculty members took out a rally holding placards and pink balloons in their hands.



Sunscreens can do more harm than good: Experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The mass awareness about the dangers to the skin due to excessive exposure to sun has increased the use of sunscreen lotions, but a few know that these products can sometimes cause more harm than good. Studies have shown that at least 1 per cent of all skin allergies are caused by the use of sunscreen lotions.

These facts came to light during the national conference of the Contact and Occupational Dermatoses Forum of India at the PGI here today. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Dr SD Mehta, head of the dermatology department, GMSH-16, and also the member of the local organising committee, said many people are allergic to para-aminobenzoic acid, which is a common ingredient in sunscreen lotions. He said, “I always advise patients to apply a small quantity of any new skin product on inner parts of the body to assess the reaction before using it on regular basis.”

“Most common triggers of allergies are fragrance, preservatives or chemicals that are used in sunscreen lotions,” said skin specialist Dr GP Thami, head of the dermatology department, GMCH-32. Studies have shown that compounds such as oxybenzone and dioxybenzone in sunscreen lotions are often associated with allergies. He said people with wheatish and dark complexions do not require sunscreen lotions.

Dr Rosemary Nixon from Melbourne, Australia, who also presented a paper, said the sunscreen allergy is quite uncommon in Australia too. “We have identified 84 relevant reactions in a total of 6,292 patients patch tested at the Skin and Cancer Foundation in Melbourne over an 18 years period.”

Females are more likely to be affected with sunscreen due to use of cosmetics regularly, which can be vulnerable. Certain medications can also make an individual prone to solar allergy or sunscreen allergy, said doctors.

Experts felt it is important to determine which form of sunscreen lotion an individual is allergic to. Sunscreens contain chemical absorbers to absorb UV rays. Sunblocks, which reflect sunrays, are more likely to have zinc or potassium that can cause irritation.Experts, however, felt that people prone to allergies need not completely stop using sunscreen lotions. 



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