C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


mc elections
Young Cong list, courtesy Rahul
List changed at last minute to include fresh faces
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The Rahul Gandhi factor has led to last-minute changes in the list of the local Congress for the forthcoming Municipal Corporation elections scheduled for December 17 with the inclusion of “young emerging faces” below 35 years of age. The BJP, too, has made special efforts to include “young blood”.

The Congress list during the past fortnight witnessed several changes which ended with the inclusion of four names in the “young” category. Many celebrations went kaput. In one instance, Pawan Sharma, a prospective candidate as per the earlier list, even organised a press conference announcing his candidature.

The BJP list, which was finalised after “heated” rounds of discussions after the Congress announced its names, made a special place for young aspirants in its list released late last night.

BB Bahl, president of the local unit of the Congress, remarked: “As an inevitable change, the old order has to make place for the new. The party has taken a conscious decision to make the youth a party to the decision-making process in managing the affairs of the city.”

Satya Pal Jain, a former MP for the BJP, said: “Our party is always committed to taking the youngsters along with the top leader to pass on leadership gradually, but definitely.”

Dharamveer (34), Jasbir Singh Bunty (32), Anita Tewari (33), Neeru Yadav (27) and Gurbax Rawat (30), all below 35 years of age, are the new induction by the Congress following the directions of the party high command in Delhi.

Rajesh Sharma (41), contesting from Ward No. 8, might not be in the category of youth, but his candidature has banked on his proficiency in dealing with youth affairs. He is also associated with the All India Anti-Terrorist Front.

Saurabh Joshi, 30-year-old son of Jai Ram Joshi, a senior BJP leader, is the youngest BJP candidate. Brother of another BJP veteran, Vineet Joshi, is pitted against Anu Chatrath, a former Mayor and a heavyweight candidate of the Congress.

Arun Sood (41) is an interesting addition to the party list because it has replaced Kamla Sharma, the first Mayor and among the old guard of the local BJP. Devesh Moudgil (34) has retained his seat despite losing the last elections. The BJP has included the name of Raj Kishore (34) for the Bapu Dham area.

Prominent among the old names that have paved way for the young is Kamla Sharma, a senior BJP leader, and the first Mayor of the Chandigarh MC Bhupinder Singh Badheri, an old hand in the Congress political arena.

Mayor Ravinder Pali could not make it to the list as the ward he was interested in clashed with the ward of a Congress top boss’ favourite.

It is learnt that the original Congress list was cleared at least four months ago by a committee comprising MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, Ram Pal Sharma, senior vice-president, and BB Bahl, president of the local unit of the party.

When certain quarters took up the matter of including youngsters with the party high command, the list was changed. “We received a message from Rahul Gandhi to take up the problems of city residents with a fresh perspective,” a Congress candidate said.



Battle for MC ballot 2011
BJP makes 4 changes in list, Satinder Dhawan withdraws candidature in protest
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
In an important development, Satinder Dhawan, wife of Harmohan Dhawan, former Member of Parliament, announced that she was withdrawing her candidature on the BJP ticket for the forthcoming municipal corporation elections from ward 1.

Confirming the decision, Harmohan Dhawan said, “The BJP leadership was not showing any fair play in finalising the list of candidates. In a sudden change of guard, the leaders changed four candidates in the list released yesterday. I was not taken into confidence and all those changed were basically my men.”

“An emergency meeting of the party was called today and presided over by local unit president Sanjay Tandon. I was abruptly informed that four names had been changed in the list released yesterday. I raised an objection because the changes were not made after taking me into confidence,” he added.

“Satinder has withdrawn her name because she is not satisfied with the party decision on the changes. We are still very committed to the BJP and will carry out the instructions, if any, to work for the party during the elections,” he further said. The BJP leadership denied receiving papers announcing the withdrawal of Satinder’s name.

Changes in list

Succumbing to pressure from different groups, the BJP made the changes to the list of candidates announced yesterday.

Laxmi Devi of Maloya replaced Shyama Negi and Anil Kumar Dubey of Mauli Jagran took the place of Darshan Singh Garg.

Satyavan Shera of Ram Darbar replaced Shripal Verma and Jagtar Singh Jagga of Mani Majra took the place of Gurcharan Dass Kalia.

Workers complain

Teams led by Jujhar Singh of Badheri and Sukhjeet Singh, a former sarpanch of Hallo Majra, went to the BJP office and complained against the candidates selected from their respective wards.

It was pointed out that the party was ignoring local candidates and instead, preferring migrants, which was not fair.

Wards to watch

While all candidates are expected to sweat it out in the election arena, sparing no resources, some wards in the city will grab more public attention than others.

Ward 8, pitting Rajesh Sharma of the Congress against Arun Sood of the BJP, will be among the most-talked-about wards.

Rajesh is known for his association with activities of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front and candle marches for peace.

He replaced Pawan Sharma, a self-proclaimed big leader. Arun is in the news as he has replaced Kamla Sharma, a former Mayor.

Ward 2, pitting former Mayor Anu Chatrath of the Congress against Saurabh Joshi, a first-time BJP candidate, will generate public interest.

Joshi is a son of BJP heavyweight Jai Ram Joshi. Both contestants are based in Sector 15. The former Mayor is an experienced hand against fresh blood, who has plenty of goodwill in the ward. Another interesting contest will be in ward 9. SAD candidate Harjinder Kaur has won every time since the elections were first held in 1996.

She has got the ticket again, as expected. The Congress has fielded a heavyweight, Chander Mukhi Sharma. Like his opponent, he has been a councillor every time, but from ward 1. The ward has now been reserved for women, forcing him to shift.

SAD undecided

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had not finalised its list. Confirming the fact, Harjinder has said they are making last-minute adjustments and the list is expected to be out by tomorrow.

Rumours doing the rounds are that a change of ward for her is being discussed in political circles.

She has denied this, saying she has nurtured her ward long enough for the people to vote her back and the party knows it.

Saroj not in fray

Saroj Sharma, an office-bearer of the district Congress committee, has denied that she will contest independently after being denied the ticket from ward 21. The party has given the ticket to Indu Singla.



GMADA cancels bids of three auctioned plots
Buyers default on payment
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 24
Within three days of the auction that saw bidders quoting rates for residential plots higher than their market value, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has cancelled the bids of three of the auctioned plots as the buyers failed to deposit 10 per cent of the total bid money.

After depositing the bid fee of Rs 2.5 lakh each, none of the three buyers came forward to deposit the first instalment of 10 per cent of the total bid money. After waiting for over 24 hours, the estate officer cancelled the auction of a 10 marla plot in Sector 56, a four marla plot in Sector 61 and a one kanal plot in Sector 71. He has written to the Chief Administrator to initiate further action against the three bidders. The bid money of Rs 2.5 lakh deposited by each bidder has been forfeited.

During the auction, the 10 marla plot in Sector 56 (Phase 6) had been sold for a whopping Rs 2.94 crore against a reserve price of Rs 1.19 crore and the four marla plot in Sector 61 (Phase 7) had been sold for Rs 1.30 crore against a reserve price of Rs 41 lakh. The third plot, a 500 sq yard plot in Sector 71, was sold for Rs 4.05 crore. All three plots were sold at rates higher than the market value, giving credence to the fact that certain bidders quoted higher rates to jack up the prices.

On the first day of the auction of residential plots, GMADA had sold 32 residential plots. Sources in GMADA said the bidders had been given a day’s time to deposit the 10 per cent of the bid money as they could not get the drafts made since it was late evening. But the bidders took the relaxation to their advantage. “Earlier GMADA used to accept cash at the counter. But now it asks for draft,” said a real estate analyst.

A major controversy had surfaced when certain officials of the corporation, while auctioning a 1.52-acre freehold commercial site in the Sector 67 information technology (IT) park here, failed to ensure that the buyer deposited Rs 4.15 crore, part of the bid money of Rs 6.2 crore. Though the next bidder had quoted just Rs 2 lakh less than the highest bidder, Infotech should have allowed the second bidder to buy the property as the first bidder had failed to deposit the 10 per cent amount on the spot. Certain participants also raised the issue of the second highest bidder getting the respective site during the GMADA auction.

Jinxed plot

It is not the first time that the auction of a 100 sq yard plot in Sector 61 has been cancelled. Sources in GMADA said the auction of the plot had been cancelled on three previous occasions also.



Ailing addict jumps off 4th floor at GMCH
Lands on canopy, struggling for life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Sarbjeet Singh, a 52-year-old opium addict undergoing treatment at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, allegedly attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of the C-block this morning. He survived as he landed on the canopy of the second floor, but his condition is critical.

Sarbjeet reportedly jumped at about 11.30 am, minutes after he had returned from the psychiatry ward where he had been examined and counselled for his addiction. According to his wife, Sarbjeet Kaur, the doctors at the psychiatry ward had apparently found nothing wrong with him and had even claimed the he was not suffering from any depression.

She said once they returned to the surgical ward, he asked her to go for a bath and requested another attendant to get him a glass of water. When the attendant returned, he did not find Sarbjeet Singh on the bed. When he looked around, he saw a man lying in a pool of blood on the canopy of the second floor.

Eyewitnesses in the waiting area of the operating theatre on the second floor said they were distracted after hearing a loud thud. An attendant said when people saw the man lying in a pool of blood, they raised the alarm.

Dr Vipin Kaushal, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, said Sarbjeet Singh had undergone a surgery for the perforation of his intestine recently. He was moved to the ICU and later the male ward.



Burail Jail inmates to get STD facility
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
In a special facility to the inmates of Burail Jail, the UT Administration has decided to install STD facilities there. The decision comes on the pattern of the facilities available at Tihar Jail in Delhi. The facility will benefit a number of prisoners languishing in the jail.

Recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued directions to the UT Administration to start the facility in the jail. The directions were passed on a petition arising out of a suo motu cognizance.

A senior official of the UT Administration said they would not allow inmates to make a direct call, instead they would use the biometric system for the facility. The jail authorities would take the fingerprints of every inmate and the details would be stored in a system.

The jail authorities would take two numbers from each prisoners and these numbers would be saved in the system. Whenever a prisoner would want to make a call, he would approach the telephone booth and would put his finger on a scanner. By putting his finger on the scanner, the system would display two phone numbers given by the prisoner.

He would have to touch one number to make a call. The charges for the STD facility are yet to be decided.

Sources said the process of installation of the STD facility would take about three months.

The authorities are yet to decide on the issue of recording the conversations of the inmates even though the High Court had held that in special circumstances, wherein the jail authorities have suspicion about a convict, his telephonic conversation could be taped.



Trains running late by several hours
Kalka-Ambala-Delhi train cancelled
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Fog in the area delayed a majority of trains here today. While the railway authorities have already decided to cancel the Kalka-Ambala-Delhi passenger train, officials at the Ambala division have written a letter to the railway headquarters in New Delhi suggesting that Unchahar Express running between Allahabad and Chandigarh should be cancelled as soon as possible as it is running late by 16 hours.

Earlier the railway authorities had announced that the train would be suspended from December 20 as fog was causing long delays and passengers were being harassed.

The 54303 Delhi-Ambala-Kalka Up and 54304 Kalka-Ambala-Delhi Down trains are being cancelled due to foggy weather and will be resumed only after the weather improves in the region. Today, the Chandigarh-Allahabad Unchahar Express left the local station at 9.15 pm while it’s time of departure is 4.20 pm.

Similarly, the Kalka-Howrah mail scheduled to leave at 1.10 am could resume its journey after a delay of 7.35 hours at 8.45 am.

The Lucknow-Chandigarh Express also missed its arrival time of 10 am with a delay of nine hours. It reached at 7 pm. Train No. 2311 Howrah-Kalka was running 11 hours late and reached at 2 pm against its scheduled time of 3 am. Train No. 4217 Allahabad-Chandigarh Unchahar has been running 16 hours late. It is likely to reach Chandigarh past midnight. This will further delay the departure of the Sadbhawna Express which is likely to leave Chandigarh after 2 am even though its scheduled departure time is 8.50 pm.

Meanwhile, the Met has predicted a respite from fog in the coming days. Fog in the region is due to the northwesterly winds which has increased the moisture content. These conditions will start improving with the westerly disturbances from November 26.


The legend that is Ghulam Ali
SD Sharma

Due to paucity of space fans stand and watch ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali perform at Tagore theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Thursday
Due to paucity of space fans stand and watch ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali perform at Tagore theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Thursday. tribune photo: Vicky gharu

Chandigarh, November 24
The indomitable ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali delighted the audience at a concert organised by an NGO, Naad Foundation, at the Tagore Theatre here today. Singing for a noble cause, Ghulam Ali doled out his choicest ghazals.

He commenced the recital with “Apni tasveer ko” based on raga kaushik dhwani which melted into another “Phir kisi rahe guzar per shayad” weaved in raga mohini ahir. The recital gained momentum with “Faasle aise bhi honge” and “Kaisi chali hai hawa tere shehar mein”.

The audience was simply delighted and applauded effusively as he rendered his most popular ghazal “Chupke chupke” and a Punjabi song in the first session.

The legendary maestro established an instant rapport as he explained the raga structure and finer nuances of his ghazals to the audience in the jam-packed theatre. Despite indisposition and a sore throat, he maintained his tradition of excellence in depicting the lyrical

expression and delicacy of thought and embellishing his recital with entertaining ghazals. An array of accomplished musicians augmented the performance level. Ghulam Ali appreciated the intrusive audience and obliged them with “farmaishi” ghazals in the concluding session.

During the captivating concert, noted playback singer and ghazal virtuoso, Vinod Sehgal, a foremost disciple of ghazal king Jagjit Singh, displayed his versatility with his hit ghazals. Sehgal paid tributes to his guru by presenting his ghazal “Aadmi aadmi ko kya dega” before his popular numbers “Hain aur bhi duniyan” and “Koi din agar zindgani” from Mirza Gahlib and “Chhod ayae voh galiyan” from the film “Machis”. He rendered self-composed ghazals like “Ikk dua ne” and “Agar talaash karun” to perfection.

Earlier Naad founder Nishi Singh, Punjabi singer Jasbir Jassi and sufiana maestro Barkat Sidhu honoured him.



Only bane no gain for Mohali residents
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, November 24
The formation of the Mohali Municipal Corporation has been of little benefit to the town and former councillors feel that they may find it very difficult to face the electorate during the civic body poll likely to be held after the Assembly elections in the state.

Most of the councillors, including those owing allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), are of the view that they had committed the biggest mistake by cutting short their tenure by nearly eight months for the upgrading of the civic body to the level of a corporation hoping that such a sacrifice might accelerate the development of the town. But what they faced was total disappointment.

Former councillors said that they were committed to carry out the development work in their wards as they were answerable to the residents who had elected them. But officials of the corporation were not bothered about the town and neither were interested in solving the problems brought to their notice by former councillors.

Nearly 11 months have passed since the Municipal Council was given the status of a corporation but no development activity has been initiated so far. Had the elected body not been dissolved in January, the councillors would have ensured that proper development was carried out in their wards. The term of the elected body had expired in August.

Rajinder Sharma, former councillor who owes allegiance to the SAD, said that the residents would be giving a “good beating” to the councillors when they go to ask for votes in the next civic body elections. He said that he had stopped moving in his ward as he was unable to solve the problems of residents. When he went to the office of the civic body with problems, assurances were given that the work would be done but no action was taken later. Residents questioned him as to how could he be so ineffective when he owed allegiance to the ruling party in the state. The corporation was made only to remove the Congress-backed president and not for the development of the town. Works cleared by the elected body were only being carried out and no fresh work order was given by officials of the corporation over the past nearly one year, he added.

Airing similar views another former councillor owing allegiance to the SAD, Amrik Singh said that the corporation was totally non-existent. Sanitation was in a state of neglect in the town but no official was bothered. He said he had gone to the office of the civic body to ask officials to repair one road cut in his ward. Nearly a year had passed but nothing had been done so far because of the indifferent attitude of senior officials. It would be very difficult to face the public in the next civic body elections as they would raise various questions about our role.

Former Congress-backed president of the civic body Rajinder Singh Rana said that sanitation was very poor but when the officials were approached in this regard no action was taken. Contractors had to be approached to get the work done. Internal areas were in a state of neglect as the corporation officials failed to listen to former councillors. He said that injustice done to him would be brought to the notice of residents when he goes to ask them for votes. The corporation was formed only to unseat him from the post and not for developing Mohali.

Another former councillor owing allegiance to the Congress, Kuljit Singh Bedi, also criticised the corporation for failing to maintain proper sanitation in the town. He said that the corporation officials cited fund shortage for carrying out development in the town but elected representatives also faced the same position but works were still carried out.

Formation of Mohali MC

Councillors, including those owing allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal, are of the view that they have committed a mistake by cutting short their tenure by nearly eight months for the upgrading of the civic body to the level of a corporation hoping that such a sacrifice might accelerate the development of the town. But what they faced was total disappointment.



Two former councillors move HC
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 24
Two former councillors of Mohali Municipal Council Manjeet Sethi and MS Lang have moved the Punjab and Haryana High COurt against the Punjab GOvernment for failing to constitute an elected body of the Mohali Municipal Corporation.

Neither the population criteria nor the budgetary proposals were in support of the formation of the MUnicipal Corporation. The case is listed for tomorrow.



CIC raps Admn for not providing info on time
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The Central Information Commissioner (CIC) has pulled up the UT Administration for not providing information sought under RTI Act within the stipulated time.

Besides fixing the deadline for providing the information sought in two appeals against the former Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the UT Estate Office and slapping a case against the CPIO of the local Municipal Commissioner, the CIC has issued notices to them, asking them why a penalty should not be imposed against them.

The CIC, Deepak Sandhu, who was in the city recently to hear several appeals against various departments of the Administration for not providing information, issued two show-cause notices to Bhupesh Mittal, former CPIO of the UT Estate Office, in an appeal by YP Mahajan, who sought information regarding ownership of a plot and a booth at Dadu Majra.

Not only did the CIC direct the Estate Office to provide Mahajan the information sought within seven days but also issued a notice to Mittal, currently posted in the office of Director Transport, to show cause why a penalty should not be imposed on him.

The same action was taken against Mittal in case of an appeal by Rajesh Kumar, who asked for a copy of a letter sent by the President’s Secretariat.

The CIC also directed the CPIO of the Municipal Commissioner to provide the information sought to Satish Kumar of Sector 30, who wanted information about selections in the corporation’s fire wing in July 2010.

The information was not provided to the applicant despite the orders of the first appellate authority to furnish it within 30 days.

The CIC directed the CPIO to give the information as per decision of the first appellate authority and simultaneously, issued a notice to show cause why a penalty should not be imposed on him. About 13 such appeals were taken up by the CIC in the city recently.



MC Ward Woes
Believe it or not — this ward is in City Beautiful

An open sewer at Colony Number 4
An open sewer at Colony Number 4. Tribune Photos: Manoj Mahajan

Ward No. 20 is the area where the residents are still waiting to get their petty issues like garbage collection, sanitation and maintenance of streetlights resolved. In fact, the works like laying of paver blocks and re-carpeting of a few roads which were conducted in the past five years are of very low quality. Most of those are a shambles and the public of this ward has not got much in the kitty in the past.


For the residents of this ward, there is no sanitation service provided by the MC for the cleanliness of the area. The MC has a separate department for this service, but it seems that its responsibility is to pass its duty on to the private sector and keep no check on the services provided by the contractor on a day-to-day basis. At Colony Number 4, the municipal corporation has yet to come up with door-to-door garbage collection. The public has to use the open space nearby as garbage bins perforce.

Internal parks

A number of times, residents have opposed the conversion of open spaces into internal parks in the ward as there is nobody to take care of those areas. Ignoring this request, the authorities have kept on developing small parks in the ward, which are of no use to the residents. In fact, the play equipment recently installed in internal parks has been damaged by bad elements as there is no security at the parks.


Lakhs have been spent by the authorities on installing streetlights in the ward, but interestingly, the MC is not spending much to maintain these lights. Due to this, there are a number of roads in the ward where the lights are not working and residents are facing problems. Residents’ have complained that the department has refused to instal high-mask lights in the areas where the public requires those. They say the installation of lights in the ward it according to the whims and fancies of the authorities concerned.

Paver blocks

In this ward, it has been found that paver blocks laid a year ago have either broken or have caved in. In Sector 29, the contractor had laid paver blocks of different sizes. As per the MC manual, the compressive strength of paver blocks had to be checked by the institution registered with the municipal corporation. Even in some parts of this ward, it was found that on internal roads, where concrete footpaths had been laid, no space had been left around trees for proper nourishment of roots. Even new trees in these sectors were found to be leaning as those were not getting sufficient space to grow due to concrete surroundings.

Condition of roads

For the past five years, a number of road re-carpeting proposals for this ward are lying pending with the department. Residents say whenever they approach the authorities, they come up with one excuse or the other to delay work. In fact, the long-pending proposal of re-carpeting of roads at Phase I, Industrial Area, is still pending.

A road at Phase I of Industrial Area in a bad shape; and (right) Stray cattle sit in a park at Sector 29 in Chandigarh
A road at Phase I of Industrial Area in a bad shape; and (right) Stray cattle sit in a park at Sector 29 in Chandigarh.



Ward No 13 remains neglected in Baltana
Rajiv Bhatia

(Above) Garbage thrown on the road in Ward No 13
(Above) Garbage thrown on the road in Ward No 13; (below) A potholed road in Ward No 13, Zirakpur.

Zirakpur, November 24
Heaps of garbage, potholed roads, non-functional streetlights, improper drainage system, low-water pressure and congested roads are the hallmarks of Ward No 13 in Baltana. The ward is the oldest area of Baltana in Zirakpur where many residential colonies came up in early 80s.

The ward comprises Preet Vihar, Ganesh Vihar, Saini Vihar Phase-2, Anand Vihar, Tribune Colony, Prem Vihar, Vishnu Puram and a street of Saini Vihar Phase-III ranks low on the development scale with much required to be done.

Many areas of Ward Number 13 have broken roads with deep potholes. The main road linked to Ward Number 13 is in poor condition. The roads in Ganesh Vihar, Saini Vihar Phase-2, Anand Vihar are yet to be laid. The problem of poor sanitation persists in this ward.

The high-tension wires are hanging loose and newly installed meter boxes outside the houses pose a threat to their lives. Encroachments on congested roads make it difficult for commuters to commute. Parked vehicles outside the houses block the movement for other vehicles. Streetlights have not been functioning properly in most of the residential colonies of this ward.

Sanitation is in a state of neglect in Preet Vihar, Ganesh Vihar and Prem Vihar. Residents alleged that safai karamcharis come to clean the area only once in a month. The garbage is dumped along the roads and on vacant plots in the ward. They demanded that the council should arrange for dustbins to be kept at proper sites.



Mock drill at airport
Tribune News Service

Police and bomb disposal personnel at the Chandigarh airport during a mock drill on Thursday
Police and bomb disposal personnel at the Chandigarh airport during a mock drill on Thursday. Tribune Photo: Nitin Mittal

Chandigarh, November 24
Panic prevailed at the Chandigarh airport here this afternoon after the police received a telephone call that a bomb would explode there in a few minutes.

A heavy police posse reached the spot and cordoned the area. It turned out to be a mock drill exercise to check the response time and preparedness of the UT police.

The Sector-31 police station received the call at 1:11 pm from the police control room that someone had given information about a bomb having been planted at the airport.

Besides the police, fire brigade, bomb disposal, ambulance and security teams were pressed into service. The area was cordoned off and a thorough search conducted.

The operation lasted an hour till it was realised that it was a mock drill. SHO Jaspal Singh said all the teams reached the spot within minutes.



Admn hikes staff’s minimum wages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The Chandigarh Administration has increased the basic daily and monthly rates of minimum wages for its employees for the remaining half year, ending March 31 next year.

The Administration has decided to pay the new rates, which have been revised as per the Consumer Price Index Number of Chandigarh Centre, from October 1.

Under new rates, there is an increase of Rs 390 and Rs 15.07 in the monthly wages (new rates Rs 6092; old rates Rs 5700) and daily wages (new rates Rs 234.30; old rates Rs 219.23).

Employees under highly skilled category will get Rs 392 more in a month (new rates Rs 7167; old rates Rs 6775) and Rs 15.08 per day (new rates Rs 275.65; old rates Rs 260.57). The rates under other categories are as under:



Young smoker? You may have a lung ailment
Early diagnosis helps cure chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
With increasing number of youngsters picking up the habit of smoking, there is a rise in patients afflicted with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung ailment. Doctors say there is a need for early diagnosis in order to ensure effective treatment of this disease.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Dr SK Jindal, head of pulmonary medicine department at the PGI, has said that as per the study of the Indian Council of Medical Research, pioneered by the PGI, COPD accounts for a prevalence of over 4 per cent of adult population.

However, recent studies indicate that between 25 and 50 per cent of people with clinically significant COPD do not even know they are suffering from such an ailment.

That is because the early stages of COPD are often unrecognised, he has said, adding that the ailment is caused due to airways getting narrowed and blocked with secretions and over a period of time, the lung tissue is permanently damaged.

Dr Jindal has said that almost 80 per cent of COPD cases are caused by cigarette smoking while other types of tobacco smoke are also strong risk factors.

“If a person has smoked 10 packs of cigarette per year over 10 years, the risk of contracting lung diseases is between 80 and 90 percent,” says the expert.

Early symptoms include coughing sputum and breathlessness during exercise or exertion. The diseases are progressive and patients increasingly find it difficult to carry out daily activities like climbing stairs, walking and bathing, he says.

Other causes include heavy exposure to occupational dust, chemicals and air pollution, both indoors, in poorly ventilated kitchens, and outdoors.

The Journal of Association of Physicians of India reports 65 million Indians suffer from various chronic respiratory diseases, excluding tuberculosis.

COPD is under-diagnosed or detected too late. But a simple and painless breathing test, called spirometry, can help to establish the diagnosis.

Many national and international COPD guidelines including those prepared by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, identify spirometry as the gold standard for diagnosing COPD.



Council for regulatory body on real estate sector
Wants restrictions on lending institutions; two-day consumers’ convention begins today
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The Chandigarh Consumer Council (CCC) wants a regulatory authority for the real estate sector to save gullible consumers from being duped of their hard-earned money by realtors who lure them to purchase apartments.

The CCC also wants restrictions on banks and other financial institutions for providing loans to the consumers for non-existent apartments to be built by private builders.

CCC chairman RK Kaplash has alleged that private builders take huge loans for construction of apartments and pass these on to consumers, who have to pay instalments for non-existent flats which they are likely to get after a period of two or three years.

Giving details of the two-day National Consumers’ Convention, ‘Consumer Empowerment’, to be organised by the CCC at Sector 19 from tomorrow, Kaplash said consumer issues, including citizens’ charter on government offices, good governance and health issues, were likely to be taken up during the convention.

He said the convention was likely to see the participation of nearly 400 delegates from various parts of the country and about 145 delegates had already confirmed their participation. He added that Romesh Dhawala, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies, Himachal Pradesh, would inaugurate the convention.

Giving further details, Kaplash said Manoj Kumar Parida, Joint Secretary, Consumer Affairs, Government of India, and Amitabh Rajan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India, would discuss consumer issues during the two-day convention. A special attraction would be Dr Rainer Metz, Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Government of Germany, he added.

Dr Gayatri Mahindroo, Director, National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Health Services, would also deliver an expert talk, he said. Some of the important subjects that woudl be discussed and debated threadbare were consumer benefits by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Health Services and consumers’ right to food safety under plenary sessions on the first day, he added.

Kaplash said the opening session would focus on consumer empowerment in relation to energy and fuel efficiency. The stress during the first and second plenary would be on an alternative complaint dispute redress system and public service quality and citizens’ charter, respectively, he added. The valedictory session would witness concrete resolutions to problems through recommendations during the convention, he further said.



Another ‘sheesha’ bar raided in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 24
A day after two hukkah bars were banned in the town, the Food and Drugs Authority Department lifted samples of tobacco being used in another such sheesha bar here today. A team of officials led by Panchkula drug controller Pooja Chaudhary reached Mocha Sheesha Bar in Sector 8 and took samples of qehwa tobacco molasses cordinal punch.Mocha was opened recently.

The management was also asked to present the record of sale and purchase of the tobacco. The samples will be sent for laboratory analysis and action will be taken as per the report sent by the laboratory, said Chaudhary.

Following this, the officials visited another sheesha bar in Sector 16 but noting objectionable was found there.

The authorities had banned Head Hose in Sector 9 and Arabian Lounge in Sector 5 of Mansa Devi Complex from running the business yesterday after the samples of qehwa tobacco molasses cordinal punch, lifted from there were found to contain nicotine. Use of nicotine is prohibited under Section 15B of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and any sale and purchase for it can be made only after obtaining a license from the authorities.



Regular raids must at ultrasound centres: DC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula November 24
In order to implement effectively the PNDT Act and to further improve the sex ratio, the district administration, has issued directions to the health department to carry out regular raids at various ultrasound centres running at different places in the district.

While giving this information here today, Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar said that the aim behind issuing these directions was to eradicate the social evil of female foeticide from the society. According to 2011 census, there were 871 females against every 1,000 males. This ration was better than what was found 10 years ago in 2001. That time only 823 females were registerd against 1,000 males in the district. The progress in this regard was satisfactory but still more was needed to be done in this direction, she asserted. A District Task Force Committee had also been constituted to take effective measures to improve the sex ratio in the district, she added. 



Phones still dead in Sec 70, 71
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 24
Telephone subscribers of Sector 70, 71 and Phase 3B2 continue to suffer as damaged part of the underground telephone cable are still being repaired.

The telephone cable had been damaged when a JCB was digging up the foundation stone of the over bridge. Officials in the telephone department said that the repair work could take few more days.



Tricity scan

Professor honoured

The University Grants Commission, New Delhi, has honoured Professor KP Singh, a former director, Centre of Advanced Study in geology, by offering him a Professor Emeritus Fellowship in geology. His work will focus on water quality, water logging and human health issues in South-western Punjab. Singh, a recipient of two gold medals, has authored more than 100 research papers published in national and international journals besides one book.

Doc awarded

Dr Kim Vaiphei, professor, department of histopathology, PGI, was conferred the ISG-WIN-Medicare Plenary Session Award, 2011, by the Indian Society of Gastroenterology in the 52nd Annual Conference of Indian Society of Gastroenterology held at Coimbatore from November 18 to 22 . Her research involves understanding the pathobiology in the development of Coeliac disease in adults. Kim said, Coeliac disease was a hypersensitive disorder developed as the result of intake of gluten protein present in wheat, which constitutes an important component of the staple diet especially in the Northern part of the country. The work has been carried out in collaboration with the departments of gastroenterology and experimental medicine of the institute.

Thanksgiving Day

Students of Blue Bird High School joined hands to thank mother nature for whatever they received from God. They gave mats and biscuits for animals at People For Animals, Sector 11. old books, old spectacles, shoes, socks, woolen garments and sheets were collected and all the material will be sent to slum areas for the needy.

Ravi Rana declared best

An inter-house hockey tournament was organised at Saint Soldier’s School, Panchkula. The first semifinal was played between Nilgiri House and Everest House. Everest House won the match by 1-0. Himalaya House defeated the Aravali in the second semifinal by 2-0. The Everest House and The Himalaya House came face-to-face in the finals. However, The Himalaya House won the tournament by 4-3 through penalty strokes. Ravi Rana was declared ‘The Best Player’ of the tournament.

Date with butterflies

Rare species of butterflies captured in camera were showcased during a workshop conducted on Thursday morning by an ardent nature lover Kulbhushan Kanwar at The Gurukul, Sector 20. Evoking a sense of responsibility towards the environment the event left the students of The Gurukul mesmerised in a delightful world of nature where species co-exist. Butterflies - one of the most amazing creation of nature - with their beautiful, intricate and colourful wings caught the fancy of The Gurukulites.

Pensioners’ protest

In protest against the indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government, pensioners will hold a rally at YPS Chowk in Phase 8 here tomorrow at 10.30 am. General secretary of the Punjab Government Pensioners Association Mohan Singh said the government was not keeping its promise of issuing a notification accepting their demands despite assurances at various meetings with the association. Their main demands are implementation of recommendations the 5th Pay Commission on pensioners by merging 50 per cent DA into basic pay, increase in old-age pension at the rate of 10 per cent on attaining the age of 70 and hike of 15 per cent on attaining the age of 75 and increase in medical allowance from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 among others. Chairman of the association Ragbhir Singh Sandhu urged all pensioners to participate in the rally to make it a success.

NIPER awarded

The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) has been awarded with the Thomson Reuters Innovation Award, 2011, in recognition of its work in the pharmaceutical sector. The award was given at a function held recently at Delhi. Dr KK Bhutani, director of NIPER, received the award, which was conferred upon the institution under the sector pharma- academic and government. The award is given to the institute in four most innovative industrial sectors-pharma corporate, pharma academic and government, and hi-tech corporate, and high-tech academic and government.Other recipients of the award are Hi-Tech Corporate: Tata Steel Limited, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).


The Chandigarh Management Association (CMA) on Thursaday launched an inter-college business quiz competition - “Brain Buster” in tricity.Dr Anshu Kataria, President, CMA and Chairman, Aryans Group of Colleges, while launching “Brain Buster” at Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Sector-27-B, Chandigarh, said that the main purpose of this business quiz was to promote management education and Management profession tricity.

Campus placement

A campus placement drive was conducted for the students of SSIET, Dera Bassi, on the institute campus. There were pre-placement talks, and presentations by HR managers of these firms who gave brief description about the company and job profile. Prof Avtar Singh, chairman, Sukhmani Group, was also present on the occasion. — TNS



Eco-friendly ‘Torero’ consumes less fuel
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Taking the technology one step ahead, a team of mechanical and production engineering students of PEC University of Technology are developing an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) that focuses on lesser fuel consumption and reducing emissions. The off-roader recreational vehicle is going to have a new form of transmission, which allows the engine to run at its maximum efficiency thus helping in reducing emissions as well increasing the mileage. A 20-member team is developing the vehicle called ‘Torero’ (bull fighter) which will make a debut in February at the BAJA event.

The team includes Anmol Sahore (team captain), Dhruv Gupta, Bakul Gupta, Shoaib Ahmed, Charandeep Singh, Ajay Goyal, Hitesh Ahuja, Abhishek Mengi, Tarun Bansal, Amandeep Singh, Ashish Paul, Gurpreet Singh, Satnamveer Singh, Sahitya Kumar, Karan Bansal, Digvijay Rathour, Ravijit Singh, Aviral Sharma, Karan Gill, Gaurav Choudhary.

Listing the merits of the vehicle that makes it different from other ATV’s, team captain Anmol said that the continuously varying transmission (CVT) is a new concept they are introducing in the ATV. “This is the new form of transmission which allows the engine to run at its maximum efficiency thus helping in reducing emissions as well increasing the mileage of the vehicle”, he said.

Anmol further said that the ATV would have the feature of automatic gear system on the lines of new-technology cars. “There will be no hassle of shifting gears which leads to more fuel consumption”, he added.

Dhruv, another team member, explaining the new concept said that the kinetic energy regeneration system (KERS) helped recover the energy of the vehicle which otherwise would have been lost as heat energy during braking. Dhruv further said that with the installation of catalytic converter (CC) they further tend to reduce the emissions of an internal combustion engine.

The team boasts of specially designed braking system to give an edge to the off-road ability of the vehicle by enhancing maneuverability.

The team members said that for the body works they would be using reinforced polymers instead of the conventional sheet metal.



rte act
Complete survey by Dec 25 or no RTE, say schools
Pvt schools, education dept embroiled in new controversy
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Brewing a fresh controversy, city private schools have given a final ultimatum to the UT education department to declare the child mapping results and finalise the corresponding reimbursement latest by December 25 failing which they will abort all plans to reserve 25 per cent seats under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

The schools say that they have been forced to give this ultimatum because of the education departments’ snail pace on the issue, which has complicated the matters for them. According to schools, they cannot afford to wait later than December and if seats are left vacant there will be no takers.

“Admission for general nursery seats will be done in December. If UT fails to work out things and our seats remain vacant where shall we go? We cannot afford to have even 10 per cent of seats vacant so we wish to finish RTE admissions along with other admissions and that will only be possible once we get the list,” said a local school principal.

It’s been a year now and UT has failed to resolve the child mapping and reimbursement tussle with schools. According to RTE Act, local administration is suppose to carry out a survey identifying the children and make the results public on basis of which the schools are expected to undertake admissions. This survey was conducted in December last year but the results were botched up as many areas were left out. While UT made numerous declarations to either conduct a resurvey or rectify these results nothing concrete has been done till date though the education department has promised to upload the results in few days.

As far as reimbursement is concerned, the schools will be paid their average learning cost or that of government schools, whichever is less. UT on the basis of the report of AG office has worked out Rs1,163 as reimbursement while schools have refused to accept the same.

Matter blown out of proportion

They are just blowing the matter out of proportion. Poor people should approach the schools and apply for admissions. Till mapping results are out the schools can consider children who apply voluntarily for admission to the RTE seats.

Senior, UT Official

If the RTE Act asks us to reserve seats then UT is required to conduct survey before that. They cannot wash their hands off the responsibility mandated by the Act and preach us to follow it. We will not admit any body till his/ her name figures in the list to be provided by the department, as we have no means to verify their claims of being eligible. Also we cannot hand out seats before knowing how much will we get?

HS Malik, president, Independent School Association




2-day workshop on flow cytometry opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The two-day workshop on flow cytometry organised by the department of experimental medicine and biotechnology at the PGI was inaugurated by scientist PM Bhargava here today. The theme of the workshop was laboratory to clinic.

After the inauguration, Professor Bhargava delivered the RN Chakravarti Memorial Oration Lecture on “The likely scenario of medical and healthcare in 2050”.

Experts said flow cytometry was an advanced technique for counting and examining microscopic particles such as cells and chromosomes objectively.

In this technique, the particles were first suspended in a stream of fluid and then analysed by passing those through a sophisticated detection system, they elaborated. “Flow cytometry is used in diagnosis of disorders like blood cancer and AIDS,” said experts. It had broad applications in transplantation, haematology, genetics, cancer immunology, prenatal diagnosis and chemotherapy, they explained.

The workshop was being held to familiarise postgraduate students and faculty from various institutions in the region to this technological advancement. The workshop involved lectures from specialists in the field of flow cytometry. It aimed to provide bench-top training to participants in the form of various wet laboratory experiments.



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