C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Not even a hint of remorse
Vajinder, Renu get two-day police remand for barbaric murder of Pooja
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Blinded by love, they killed Pooja barbarically. Even after committing the gory crime, Vajinder and Renu do not have an iota of remorse. “She was coming between us and continued to be a constant obstacle. We had to kill her,” Renu told the police in a matter of fact manner.

“Wo beech se hat hi nahin rahi thi (she was not going away),” said Renu, the co-accused in Pooja’s murder, while being interrogated by the police today.

Renu is also married and her husband stays in Saudi Arabia. On July 13, Vajinder and Renu first drugged Pooja, strangled her, set her afire and dumped her body in Hoshiarpur. There was no trace of guilt on their faces as they were produced in the district courts today. They were calm and composed all along.

Police officers investigating the case said Renu and Vajinder were bent on killing Pooja as she was unwilling to divorce him. None of the family members of the accused were present in the court and the two are yet to arrange for a lawyer. The court remanded them in two-day police custody. Requesting for a police remand, Inspector Harjit Kaur, SHO, Sector 19 police station, said they needed to recover Pooja’s mobile phone, slippers and the bottle of petrol which was used to carry out the crime. The couple will be taken to Hoshiarpur again to collect evidence in the case.



A family of tragic deaths
Youngest brother immolated himself, mother died saving him; another brother poisoned to death; now, Pooja meets gory end
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
It’s a family history interspersed with tragedies. Pooja, who was brutally murdered by her husband and his girlfriend, has the sole surviving sibling of her elder brother Prem Chand. Once a family of four siblings, Pooja’s younger brother had immolated himself in 2008 and her mother had died while trying to save him. Her youngest brother was poisoned to death in 2005 and his murder case is still unsolved.

Tragedy is not new to Prem Chand, who is a professor in a college at Rampur near Shimla. He is now left with no immediate blood relation after his sister’s gruesome and untimely death. He had earlier faced two separate tragedies that were no less horrifying than his sister’s murder.

“My sister Pooja was the only one with whom I bonded. We were four siblings. My younger brother Rajkumar was poisoned to death in 2005. He was 30 years old and the case is still unsolved. My youngest brother Bhavnesh immolated himself in 2008. He was a drug addict and was suffering from depression. My mother Hira Devi tried to save him, but was engulfed in flames. She too died,” he said, sobbing outside the mortuary where Pooja’s postmortem was being conducted today.

“It seems I have been cursed. It’s a tragedy after tragedy for me and I am left alone,” he said.

Pooja broke off engagement to marry Vajinder

Pooja was engaged to marry someone else in Rampur in 2007. But fate had other plans and she married Vajinder. She came to Chandigarh in connection with a job and met Vajinder. They fell in love and she broke off her engagement to marry him.

Strangulation cause of death

Pooja died of strangulation as per the postmortem report. Doctors faced a lot of difficulty while conducting the autopsy as the body was badly charred.



Call details did them in
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Call details of Vajinder and Renu on the fateful day they killed Pooja gave the police a crucial lead and led to the arrest of the accused in the sensational murder case. After a missing person report was lodged in the Sector 19 police station on July 13 about Pooja disappearance, the police swung into action and scrutinised the call details of Vajinder. They found that he was in constant touch with a woman on that day and their location was traced to Hoshiarpur.

“We got suspicious after Pooja’s brother told us that relations between the couple were strained. We scrutinised the call details whe we learnt that Vajinder was in constant touch with girl named Renu,” an investigating officer said.

"During interrogation, Vajinder told us he had gone to Jalandhar on July 13. But when we checked his tower location, we found that he was in Hoshiarpur and not Jalandhar on that day. It became clear he was telling a lie," the police said.

“Vajinder came to the police station on July 14 and pleaded with us to search for his missing wife. He used to bring his three-year-old daughter along and beg us to look for Pooja for the child’s sake,” the police said. Vajinder was interrogated extensively and relentlessly. He was flooded with questions. He got confused and finally came clean, the police said.



Extra-marital affairs cause many murders in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
As Pooja’s murder by her husband Vajinder and his girlfriend Renu continues to send shock waves, a peep into murders in the recent past reveals that a number of gory crimes have been committed in the city with extra-marital relations as the motive. Blinded by love, these couples resort to eliminating their unwanted spouses as the only way to get rid of them. Pooja’s cold-blooded murder is not the only case in point.

There have been several murders in the recent past, indicating how residents have killed their partners to be with their paramours.

May, 2008: Anuradha was brutally murdered at Sector 38 (West). The police had arrested her husband and two servants for the murder. Her husband Baljinder Singh, alias Talla, killed her as he had an affair with model Noor Kataria, whom he wanted to marry.

September 9, 2011: The police arrested a mother of four children, along with her alleged paramour, in a murder case. Sunita and Naresh were arrested for killing her husband Patti Ram, a rickshaw-puller.

June, 2010: The police arrested Meena and her paramour for killing her husband. The accused, mother of five children, and Ved Parkash (19) 
were arrested for the murder of Avdesh at the Bapu Dham Colony.



Anupama may not walk again
CTU bus had run over her leg; surgery to decide fate
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Seventeen-year-old Anupama, whose leg was crushed under a speeding CTU bus yesterday, may not be able to walk on her own again. Whether she would be able to walk would be known only after surgery. Writhing in pain all day on the hospital bed, Anupama waited to be wheeled in the operating theatre.

Doctors at the PGI said that her ankle had been crushed. “We will know better once we see the bone. The biggest challenge for us is the arrest of blood loss which is continuing,” they said.

With an oxygen mask and a leg drenched in blood, Anupama has been braving the pain. “She is my only child. Divine grace is my last hope,” said Konika, her mother, while comforting Anupama. “Doctors say it will be fine, but it is a trauma to see your child lying in a pool of blood and writhing in pain,” she said holding back her tears.

Borrowing money for treatment

I have borrowed Rs 25,000 from friends for my daughter’s treatment. The CTU authorities did not even bother to enquire about her condition. I feel dejected. Some union leaders of the CTU visited us this morning, but did not promise any help.

— Amit Sarkar, Anupama’s father

Will help: Union

Ranjit Singh Hans, CTU Employees Union general secretary, said members of the union had visited the victim’s family and the union would help them in every possible way.

“I have been motivating her to get through this crisis in her life. But I am not even sure what her fate holds for her. My eyes well up seeing her condition. I leave her in the ward and step out to cry,” said Konika, choking.

Anupama, a resident of Mauli Jagran, had joined school in Chandigarh only a week ago after passing her matriculation exam from a school in Panchkula.

“My daughter is a good student and I was happy that she got admission in a model school after clearing the Class X exam with 72 per cent,” said Amit Sarkar, the girl’s father. The accident has shattered me psychologically as well as financially. I am employed with a private company and barely earn Rs 6,000 every month. I was having lunch when a policeman informed me about the accident on phone,” he said.



Residents lose faith in Patil’s darbar
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The public darbar of UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil has lost its appeal with the public. For the public hearing session of July 16, which was cancelled by the UT Administration, only five complainants had registered themselves.

Official records reveal that 38 complainants had come to meet the Administrator for the public session on September 15. But for the past few months, the darbar is witnessing a low turnout. Sources said since there was no certainty over the holding of the darbar, people were losing interest.

Also in several cases, which were claimed to have been ‘disposed of’ by the Administration, the complainants are still waiting for justice.

Defending the Administration, a senior official said for Monday’s public hearing session, the Administration had received only five complaints. At times when the complaints received were small in number, it was not administratively expedient to hold the session. Moreover, in the previous sessions, the Administration had received complaints pertaining to personal demands like seeking jobs or allotment of land and houses. Records indicated that a number of complaints which were being received related to matters that were sub-judice, he said.

Officials had been directed to further strengthen the public grievance mechanism in their respective departments. The Administration had also recently launched an online grievance monitoring system, wherein residents could file their complaints online, he added.

No redress

March 19: BSP councillor Jannat Jahan brought to the notice of the Administrator that Deep Complex located in her ward was being meted out “stepmotherly” treatment. Residents of the complex at Hallo Majra were being deprived of basic amenities.

Shivraj Patil had directed the officials concerned to extend basic amenities, including potable water and electricity, to the complex until the outcome of a final decision, but to no avail. Jannat Jahan said she would raise the issue before the highest authorities, including the President of India.

January 2: Members of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) met the Administrator and raised issues of public interest. They also submitted a memorandum. PC Sanghi, chairman of FOSWAC, said they had not received any positive response from the authorities to tackle problems pertaining to civic amenities in southern sectors and stray dog menace.

October 20: Rajbir Singh, father of 21-year-old MBA student Neha Ahlawat who was murdered on July 31, 2009, met Patil. After listening to his grievances, the Administrator had questioned the IGP, PK Srivastava, about the progress in the case and also directed him to trace the accused at the earliest. To date, the Chandigarh Police has made no headway in the case.



No blood bond, but kidney swap brings these families closer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A common fear of losing their loved ones made two families come together and swap kidneys. The wife of a renal failure patient, Bhupinder Singh, donated her kidney to save Umender Singh and his wife donated her kidney to save Bhupinder.

Bhupinder Singh, with an A+ve blood group, could not get a transplant done as his wife Harminder Kaur’s blood group did not match his. Bhupinder had been on dialysis for two years as there was no other donor in the family.

Incidentally, Umender Singh, with a B+ve blood group, also needed a kidney and his wife Anila was a willing donor, but her blood group was A+ve.

As luck would have it, both the families came together at Ivy Hospital, where doctors advised them to donate the kidneys.

“It was a happy moment for all of us,” said Dr Raka Kaushal, director of nephrology at the hospital.

“We arranged for a meeting between both the families and they agreed to swap kidneys. It took us around two months to get permission from the authorisation committee,” the doctor said.

Both the surgeries were carried out simultaneously on June 28.

“I am so thankful to God that we met Bhupinder’s family at the hospital. It was nothing short of divine help,” said Anila, Umender’s wife.

“I was under constant stress for the last two years. I did not know a miracle would come our way,” said Harminder Kaur.



3 DAV students convicted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Additional District and Sessions Judge Shalini Nagpal today convicted three DAV College students under the Arms Act. The three were booked in August 2007 for firing two gunshots on the college premises. Amandeep Singh Multani, a SOPU party leader, had a narrow escape as they had fired at him.

The court convicted Nitinpreet Singh Brar, a Students Organisation of India (SOI) leader, and two others. The police had recovered a .32 bore pistol and two cartridges from his car. Nitinpreet was booked under Section 307, IPC.

In August 2007, two shots were fired during a group clash at DAV-10, in which Multani had a narrow escape. Nitinpreet had fired at Multani.

While the students have been convicted under the Arms Act, they were acquitted in the attempt-to-murder case registered against them.



Detectives busy
Suspicious spouses hire them to watch partners

Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The trend of suspicious spouses hiring private eyes to monitor their partners in rising in Chandigarh, with detectives witnessing an increase in the number of clients approaching them for spying suspected post-marital affairs.

Detectives claim that their services are hired by suspicious spouses to monitor activities of their partners, whose fidelity they suspect or wish to know where they spend money.

There has been an enormous rise in cases of post-marital affairs in recent years. In most cases, both partners are found to be working.

Kuldeep Singh Sondhi, owner of the Chanakya Detective and Security Services at Sector 17, said his company received between 10 and 15 such cases every month.

"Only select people who had spending power used to approach us earlier. Now couples from the middle and lower-middle classes approach us for spying on spouses," he said.

"These days, both husbands and wives are working and that has increased their spending power. This has resulted in an over 20 per cent increase in cases," he added.

He further said technology was a factor responsible for rising cases of suspicion among partners. "Making friends on social networking sites creates doubt," he added.

Another detective agency supported the trend. Sukhminder Singh, director of the Detective Force Agency at Sector 8 said people had failed to adapt to westernisation.

"Insecurity among spouses, particularly husbands, has increased with modernisation of society. This is because wives go out to work," he added.

He further said around 60 per cent cases proved spouses cheating on their partners while 40 per cent turned out to be mere suspicion.

"We hardly used to get such cases in the region earlier. The number in the last few years has gone up to between six and eight cases a month," he said.

Detectives were playing the roles of matchmakers theses days as cases of pre-marital investigations were received by detective companies.

"In the present scenario, clients even want to know about the character and medical history of the person they are going to marry," he added.

Charges vary

Charges of spying on spouses depend on the person's profile, manpower and infrastructure required, risk involved, area of movement and days involved.

A source in the industry said honey traps were being laid in some cases for spouses to check their fidelity.

"We have come across a few cases where the husband wants to spy on his wife because she used to frequently attend parties and socialise with male friends," sources said.

They added, "In such cases, honey traps are being laid to check whether the spouses fall in those or not."

Harpreet Singh, employee of the Global Detective Agency, said there was a rise in cases of spouses suspecting partners. They received over 10 cases every month, he added.



Audit report: PCL extends ‘undue’ favour to RIL
Punjab Communication Ltd to suffer loss of Rs 82.40 lakh by end of lease period
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
An ‘undue’ favour to Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) by incorporating a different rental increase clause against its prevailing practice would result into a loss of Rs 82.40 lakh to Punjab Communication Ltd at the time of culmination of the rent lease.

This was stated in the latest audit and inspection report for the financial year 2010-11 by the Principal Auditor General, Punjab. Objection has been raised against the company for having leased out its unutilised building situated in C-135, Phase VIII, Industrial Focal Point, against the past practice of its rental scheme.

The company used to charge 7 per cent to 10 more on the prevailing rent every year. ‘But in the case of RIL, the company had incorporated a rental increase clause of 15 per cent after every three years in the lease agreement with the lessee (RIL) instead of a minimum 5 per cent annual increase each year. This undue favour resulted into a loss of Rs 82.40 lakh to the PCL (calculated from January 2008 to December 2024, including Rs 38.37 lakh up to December 2015)’ stated the report.

It was observed that the PCL leased out the building to RIL for a period of nine years, from January 2007 to December 2015, at a monthly rent of Rs 5.25 lakh (commencing from February 2007).

The report stated: ‘As per the terms of the agreement, the lessee was to pay an increase in the above rental value at 15 per cent every three years subject to initial lock in period of three years. The initial period of nine years (December 2024) with same lock-in-period of three years for which the lessee was to execute a fresh lease deed on the same terms and conditions contained in the lease subject to escalation of 25 per cent on the last rent paid and thereafter escalation would be 15 per cent after every three years’.

Terming it as ‘undue’ favour to the RIL, the audit report observed that the company never entered into any lease agreement for a period of more than three years and was charging 7 per cent to 10 per cent increase every year as per the practice prevalent in the company.



Chandigarh scan
Presidential poll

Satya Pal Jain, former MP from Chandigarh and the national incharge of the legal and legislative cell of the BJP, has been nominated as the polling agent of PA Sangma during the presidential election at the Parliament House, New Delhi on July 19. Sangma, one of the candidates for the office of President of India, informed this to the returning officer for the election in a written communication on Wednesday. Jain had also represented Sangma on July 2 at the time of scrutiny of nomination papers.

Saplings planted

Under State Bank of India's "Go Green Campaign", saplings were planted on the Punjab Engineering College campus, Sector 12, on Wednesday. NK Chari, chief general manager of the bank's Chandigarh circle, and Prof Manoj Datta, director of the college planted the saplings in presence of MC Councillor Saurabh Joshi and senior functionaries of the bank. Speaking on the occasion, Chari said that bank branches under the Chandigarh circle had started tree plantation campaign on the Bank Day and would continue the same till the end of August.

Cultural programme

Indian Council for Child Welfare organised a cultural fuction, marking the end of a bhangra workshop, at the Open Air Theatre of Bal Bhawan, Sector 23, on Wednesday. children in the age group of three to sixteen years had participated in the workshop. Varsha Khangwal, director social welfare-cum-honorary secretary, ICCW, was the chief guest on the occasion. Children performed on songs like "Mundri Banai phire, bitch nag jadai phire" and "Jado mera luck hilda". Children also performed on the dhol beats.

Residents ask MC to act

The welfare association of MIG Houses, Sector 40 C, has demanded that road gullies in their area be cleaned. SK Khosla, general secretary of the association said the slope of the entire city is towards the southern sectors and sector 40 being at the fag end of the city is the worst affected sector. There was no arrangement to face the incessant rains despite the tall claims made by the Municipal Corporation, he said. He added that flood like situation was witnessed during the first rain of this season on July 7.

Plantation drive

With an aim to increase the green cover in the city, the Youth Innovative Society as part of Vanmhaotsav Week 2012 (Department of Forest and Wildlife) planted 50 saplings on at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 21, on Wednesday. The president of the citizen association, Sector 21, Baljinder Singh Bittu, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, led this campaign accompanied by the school principal, society members, students, representatives of Mahila Parishad, citizen association members and representatives of school management committee.


Indian Council for Child Welfare, Bal Bhawan, Sector 23, Chandigarh, in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare, Forest and Wildlife, and the NGO Sai Tara Ummat Foundation celebrated Vanmahotsav at Bal Bhawan, Sector 23. On this occasion, Home Secretary Anil Kumar planted the sapling of Ashoka tree. He interacted with children and encouraged them to plant more trees and to keep the environment clean and green. Home Secretary also admired the unique model of the Partnership Initiative Programme of the Chandigarh Administration under which the administration and NGO's are working collectively for the welfare of deprived sections of society. — TNS



Govt dispensaries in pathetic condition in Mohali
Hallmark: Shortage of medicines, poorly maintained campuses, wild growth, broken windows
Kulwinder Sangha

A broken window of the Civil Dispensary in Phase I, Mohali.

Wild growth covers the surrounding of the Civil Dispensary in Phase IX. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, July 18
Shortage of medicines, poorly maintained campuses with wild growth, worn out furniture, buildings in which seepage is evident are the hallmarks of the government dispensaries in various parts of the town.

It is learnt that no supply of medicines was received by the dispensaries over the past eight months. Only the Primary Health Centre in Phase III-B1 received its share of medicines in May. Even the basic drugs like paracetamol, anti- allergy, anti-diarrohea and antibiotic tablets are not available at most of the dispensaries. The staff members employed at these dispensaries claimed that they purchased some of the medicines from their own pockets to keep the system running.

Employees of the dispensaries said that the problem of shortage of medicines was brought to the notice of the Civil Surgeon who had assured that they would get the supply within a short period of time. The Primary Health Centre was also planning to purchase the necessary medicines from the funds arranged by the Rogi Kalyan Samiti.

The maximum number of patients visit the Phase I dispensary, the number ranging between 70 and 100. The maximum rush is on Wednesdays when the immunisation is done. Other dispensaries get patients ranging between 35 and 40.

During a round of the Phase-I dispensary, seepage was seen in the room where medicines were stored and in other areas as well. Some window panes were found to be broken. The plaster of the boundary was also coming off.

Dispensaries did not have adequate furniture. Most of it was in a worn-out state. Seepage could be seen in many areas. Short of class-IV employees has also plagued these medical centres.

Wild growth was seen in abundance at these dispensaries. Dr Kulmeet Singh Gill, working in Phase-IX dispensary, said that he had requested the civic body officials to get the wild growth cut and it would be done soon.

There is no provision of water-coolers in any of the dispensaries. While doctors and paramedics carried potable water from their houses for personal consumption, patients had to depend solely on water supplied through taps by the department concerned, which was not available most of the time because of the supply schedule. Long power cuts also posed problems as there was no power back-up system available.

Dr Usha Bansal , Civil Surgeon , said that the dispensaries had been asked to give their requirement of medicines which would be purchased as soon as the budget was made available. A committee had already been constituted for the purchase of medicines for the dispensaries, she added. 



No staff member guilty, says inquiry report
Two-member committee set up to probe afresh incident involving patient harassment at GMSH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The inquiry committee has not found any staff member guilty of harassing patient Laxmi at the gynaecology ward of the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH) at Sector 16 here. Dr Chandermohan, Director, Health, found the report inconclusive and constituted another two-member committee to look into the matter.

The report submitted by Dr Neera Batra, head of the department of gynaecology, revealed that there was no negligence in treatment, said the Director, Health.

Many lapses were visible in the system, including lack of rapport between patients and staff, which particularly led to the unpleasant situation on July 10, he said.

On July 10, Laxmi’s husband Shailesh alleged that his family was maltreated by the staff. Laxmi was admitted on July 9 for an intra-uterine death.

While the staff refused to keep the foetus at the mortuary of the hospital, Laxmi was not attended to by any doctor or nurse that night, he alleged.

He further alleged that Laxmi was made to walk immediately afterwards as there was no ward attendant present.

A committee comprising the deputy medical superintendent, Dr G Dewan, and Dr SK Bhalla was constituted to analyse the situation in general in terms of maternal healthcare, Dr Chandermohan said.

The committee would look into the incident, prepare a comprehensive report and suggest remedial measures, he added.

Enquiries by the Chandigarh Tribune revealed that there was only one nurse at the ward on the night the incident took place to look after 30 patients.

It was also revealed that the nurse and a doctor took out the placenta of patient at the operation theatre in the morning.

Following this, Laxmi was asked to go to her bed and as there was no ward attendant at the ward. She had to go on foot, which could have been detrimental to her health.



Admn to propose Kajauli water for Sukhna again
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
After witnessing the poor condition of the Sukhna Lake, which has almost dried up, the Chandigarh Administration is again going to put forward a proposal to bring water from the Kajauli waterworks to the lake, particularly during monsoons and winters, when water demand is less.

To ensure that the Sukhna Lake does not dry up in the coming years due to the absence of water, the Chandigarh Administration is going to put forward this proposal before the Save Sukhna Lake Committee at the next meeting.

In the beginning of this year, the proposal was forwarded by the Chandigarh Administration, but members of the committee, constituted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had rejected it.

One of the members said they had not thought this much area of the lake would dry up. The cost of setting up pipelines to bring water from the Kajauli waterworks to the lake was also a factor, he added.

The original area that the Sukhna Lake spanned had shrunk considerably.

In 1958, it encompassed 228 hectares.

Now it spanned only across 148 hectares, down by almost a third.

A senior official with the UT Administration said they would try to convince the committee that they could not depend only on rain to solve the water crisis of the lake.

Water from non-natural sources was a must and there was less demand for water in monsoons and winters, the official added.

In case the UT got water from the Kajauli waterworks, it would suffocate the weed that grew in the swamp as it would not be able to come above the water level.

Fall in rain

Last year, the city received 762 mm monsoon rain. The normal monsoon rain was 846 mm. In 2010, the city received 1178.1 mm monsoon rain.

Plan on hold

The depleting water level has forced the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation to postpone its plans to introduce more pedal-boats and motorboats at the lake. It is strange that the Administration plans more boats when the existing 85 boats are not being put to optimum use



Patients at GMSH made to suffer inconvenience
At least seven machines at the hospital in Sector 16 lying out of order for the last three days
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The woes of patients at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH) in Sector 16 here do not seem to end. Dozens of patients requiring multiple diagnostic tests at laboratories have to wait for the next day to get reports as at least seven important machines at the hospital have gone out of order in the last three days.

During a visit to the hospital, it was found that the cell counter at the haematolgy department and six semi-auto analysers at the biochemistry laboratory were lying non-functional and the staff had labelled those out of order.

Treatment of patients had to be delayed by at least one day. The authorities sought the help of staff at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Sector 32 to conduct the tests.

There were at least 400 diagnostic tests of over 50 patients, including lipid profile, liver function tests, sugar test, kidney function tests and Hb-TLC-DLC-platelet count, conducted on the machines.

Samples were collected in the morning and reports delivered at 1 pm, after which patients were able to consult doctors at the OPD the same day to pursue treatment.

Samples were now being sent to the laboratory of the GMCH, from where reports were received the next day.

The name of the hospital had lost relevance as a large number of important machines were out of order, delaying treatment, said Ravinder Singh, who came to collect reports of diagnostic tests of his mother today.

This forced patients to visit the hospital twice in two days, but the harassment could have been avoided had the authorities been alert, said Seema, who came to consult the doctor after collecting her reports today.

When contacted, medical superintendent Rajiv Vadehra said he had already ordered that the machines be replaced. He added that things would be smooth by tomorrow.



Civil Surgeon Office
Shortage of staff affecting work
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

A view of the rush in the Civil Hospital at Phase VI in Mohali. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, July 18
The public is subjected to harassment as there is shortage of staff at the Civil Surgeon Office. Sources in the department said that several files, those related to issuance of birth and death registration certificates and medical reimbursements, had been piling up. Besides, implementation of national programmes for public welfare was also being affected due to staff shortage, here.

According to the norm posts, a total of 70 medical, paramedical and clerical posts are to be created for the office of the civil surgeon, said a senior official in the office.

“But against the norm posts, there were only 27 sanctioned posts out of which only 14 post had filled while 13 were still vacant. How can we manage with such a small staff? Everybody is overburdened here and it is the work as well as the public who ultimately suffer”, said the official.

The office has no junior statistical assistant, superintendent (grade II), steno typist, junior statistical nosologist, medical laboratory technician (grade II), district public health nurse and even a sweeper. Against five posts of clerk/ computer assistant, only one post has been filled.

Adding insult to injury, no computer has been given to the office, which is responsible to check and supervise all the medical affairs and implementation of national health programmes in the entire district. “One of our colleagues has installed his personal computer here, which is being used for the office work”, said the official.

To do the routine work (which can not be avoided), the office has requisitioned pharmaceuticals and other staff from the field, so now, the work in the field is suffering.

When contacted, Usha Bansal, the Mohali Civil Surgeon, admitted that the office was facing shortage of staff. “I have apprised the authorities of the issue. Despite the staff shortage, we try our level best to complete those works directly related to public dealing on a priority basis”, said Bansal.

Not only the Civil Surgeon Office, the Civil Hospital too faces severe shortage of doctors, specialists and other medical staff that has led to huge rush in the hospital on a routine basis.



MC suffers losses
Shops and parking lots lying vacant for several years
Tribune News Service

The fish market at Sector 41 that has not been allotted to shopkeepers in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, July 18
The Municipal Corporation is suffering loss of lakhs of rupees every year as several shops and parking lots are lying vacant for a long time. The authorities don’t even want to unravel the reasons why these are lying vacant.

A survey was conducted by the corporation recently in which it was found out that in three villages, including Badheri, Buterla, Burail, about 60 per cent of the shops were lying vacant due to non-allotment. As per the survey, in Badheri there are 16 shops out which seven were lying vacant for the last six years. In Buterla, out of 10 shops six were lying vacant. Even one of the shops has not paid rent for the last 15 years and another one is lying vacant for the last 12 years. Sailing in the same boat is Burail where out of three shops one is lying vacant for two years. In 2009, a report was prepared by the corporation according to which out of 62 shops in six villages, which are under the jurisdiction of corporation, 22 were vacant.

A senior official of the corporation said that earlier the shops were allotted on lease basis but later on the MC decided to rent these out. But even, the traders showed less interest.

Similarly, for the last two years the MC has failed to take permission from the UT Administration to lease out the first air-conditioned fish market at Sector 41 which has not been allotted till date due to poor response in auction. In 2010 the corporation tried to auction the shops of the market but only one bidder turned up for the auction. The auction was cancelled and authorities decided to re-auction these later on.

Records of the corporation show that the UT Administration had incurred Rs 90 lakh for the construction of this infrastructure, including machinery installed in it. The market was handed over to the MC in 2009 for auctioning the shops. The official in the administration revealed that by not allotting the shops to any retailers and shopkeepers, the corporation had wasted lakhs of rupees which was invested in setting it up. All the hi-tech equipment that was installed might have become rusted by now, said the official.

Even for the past six months, four parking lots, including Sukhna Lake in Sector 5, MOH and CMC Hospital in Sector 17 and Sector 34 parking lot, have not been allotted to any contractor due of low bidding during the January auction. The authorities concerned are losing about Rs 5 lakh every month.



GMADA responsible for haphazard development: MLA
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
Local MLA Balbir Sidhu flayed the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for haphazard development in the area without caring for the original master plan of the town. “In the name of development, GMADA is spoiling the town”, said Sidhu. He further said that he had also written a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in this regard.

He hit out at GMADA for obstructing the natural flow of water by raising the level of key roads in the town, Sidhu said that due to ‘shortsightedness’ of GMADA, the common man was bound to suffer during the rainy season.

“By raising the level of the roads above the plinth level in the residential areas, water logging had begun to take place in certain phases. I had brought it to the notice of GMADA and other authorities well before starting of the work, but the authorities concerned paid no heed to our submissions”, said Sidhu.

He also said that the raising of the level of the shopping street had also resulted in shrinking of parking lots in front of the main markets of the phases. “On one side, the number of vehicles is increasing rapidly and our authorities are reducing the parking spaces. Moreover, fully grown trees have also been uprooted ruthlessly in the name of modernisation in the city”, said Sidhu while demanding that the Chief Minister should intervene and save the original master plan of the city by issuing strict instructions to the authorities concerned.



From schools
Teej celebration

Panchkula: In an effort to promote the rich cultural heritage of North India, The British School organised "Teej" celebrations. The celebrations included rides on swings, games, music and dance. Different activities like scribbling competition, and show and tell were organized to mark the day. The students presented a variety of cultural activities. The students of kindergarten class also performed a folk dance. The students of nursery and lower kindergarten danced to the une of songs such as "chak dhoom dhoom" and "Barso re megha".

Eating outside day

Mohali: Kindergarten kids of Shamrock Senior Secondary School, Sector 69, celebrated "Eating Outside Day" at a Chandigarh-based fast food chain in Sector 35. Retd Air Commander RK Sharma, school principal, said students should be given a chance to enjoy as nowadays they are burdened with extra workload at school.

Tree plantation

Anee's School organised "Plantation Drive Day" to create awareness among the students about the importance of greenery in our lives. The students from Classes IV to X prepared placards on "Green Earth, Healthy Earth", and took part in a rally to spread the message in the city. The rally was flagged off by the school chairman Aneet Goel. — Tribune Reporters



Mayor tells MC to find out spots where water accumulates often
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Municipal Corporation Mayor Raj Bala Malik today instructed the engineering wing officials to find locations where water accumulates frequently and to provide new road gullies in the spots and put the estimates before the Water Supply Disposal Committee.

Mayor along with other councillors inspected the MC employees’ work on cleaning the road gullies in Sector 22, 37 and 38. During the inspection the officials of the engineering wing of MC were asked to take necessary steps to carry on the repair works of the road gullies. The officials were also directed to ensure proper maintenance of the road gullies of V-6, V-5 and other roads.

The team of engineering wing started the cleaning work of road gullies on the spot and removed the accumulated malba around the road gullies. Councillor Arun Sood visited in Sector 37 and 38 along with the inspecting team.



Remove encroachments from MC land: Mohali DC
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam ordered the executive officers of the local municipal corporation to ensure removal of encroachment on the corporation land. “Take action immediately against the encroachers”, said Roojam while heading a review meeting of the MC here today.

The Deputy Commissioner also said that all the development works undertaken by the corporation must be completed within the set timeframe.

Apart from that, Roojam also showed his concern over providing clean potable water, particularly in the rural areas of the district. The officials concerned were given instructions to make potable water available in the areas, where cases of diarrhoea had surfaced recently.

“power connections to the tubewells in rural areas will be given on a priority basis. Besides, our emphasis will be on cleanliness especially in such areas so that no more cases of water-borne diseases resurface”, said Roojam.



Professor gets Young Scientist Award
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 18
A faculty member and two students of the GGS-Sachdeva Group of Institutes were awarded the Young Scientist Award and two Best Poster Presentation Awards in Delhi.

The awards were given at the first annual conference on “Pharma Vision: Raising awareness towards recent advancement in pharmaceutical research” at the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. The annual conference was organised by the Society of Pharmaceutical Education and Research.

Gurfateh Singh Sugga, assistant professor , Sachdeva College of Pharmacy, won the Young Scientist Award while Sunita Kumari and Palvi Jamval, fourth semester students of B.pharma, won the Best Poster Presentation Award on topic entitled “Fibrates: The Best Modifying Strategy for Dyslipidemias” in the stream of pharmacology and on “Antiulcer Activity of Shialjit: A Novel Clinical Approach”.



Shabana awarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Veteran film and theatre artiste Shabana Azmi was given the Women Empowerment Award by Dr Amrik Singh Cheema Foundation Trust at the Tagore Theatre here today. The Trust organised a seminar on ‘Green Revolution - White Revolution - Challenges Ahead’. The artiste said women played a very important role in society.

If they were not empowered, the country was not developing, she said. “Women are the backbone of society, which needs to be strengthened,” she added.

She spoke about the need for the promotion of organic farming. She said agriculture needed promotion.

“The government should provide subsidies to farmers to promote organic farming,” she said. The event was followed by an informative talk on organic farming.



150 violators challaned
Tribune News Service

Workers of the enforcement wing load seized materials in a truck during an anti-encroachment drive in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, July 18
As many as 150 challans were issued to encroachers in various markets of the city by enforcement team during a special anti-encroachment drive held today. The team visited markets, including Sector 15, 18, 22, 32 and 34, to challan violators for encroaching up on the government land.

The drive was carried out under the supervision of Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach and assisted by Inspector Kashmir Singh and other enforcement staff of the MCC.

During the drive, all the walls and passages have been cleared in the Patel Market, Sector 15, Shastri Market, Sector 22, and markets of Sector 18 and 32. The enforcement team removed and seized gas cylinders, tables, chairs, readymade garments, refrigerators, coolers and fridges from the passages of the markets. In addition to it, two vehicles used for selling various food items and milk were seized from Patel Market and Sector 18.



Rs 72 crore to make state green, pollution free
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 18
“To make the state clean, green and pollution free, the Punjab government will spend Rs 72 crore”, NK Sharma, chief parliamentary secretary, industries, said here.

Sharma said that in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and other nearby areas, over one lakh saplings would be planted very soon. “All open spaces will be used for the purpose here”, Sharma said.

He further said that they were also making efforts to attract big industries here which would help create job opportunities for the unemployed youth here.



95-year-old woman undergoes angioplasty

Panchkula, July 18
Relatives of an over-95-year-old woman at Sector 16 persuaded a consultant cardiologist at the Alchemist Hospital in Sector 21 to perform high-risk angioplasty on her.

She was recovering. Dr Karun Behal presented the patient before mediapersons on her first follow-up yesterday. He said Karm Kaur was admitted for acute chest pain.

He said he prescribed medicines, which provided temporary relief.

He said the family was insistent on surgery.

He said he inserted a stent in a 99 per cent blocked artery. — TNS



Goof-up in MEd exam at PU
Admit cards mention negative marking, answer sheets state none; confusion cleared after 30 minutes
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Due to yet another examination goof-up at Panjab University, the students who appeared for MEd entrance exam held on July 15 are in a fix whether they would manage to clear the exam or not. Although the admit cards of the students appearing for the exam mentioned negative marking for wrong answers, the answer sheets stated that there would be no negative marking.

Assuming no negative marking, students attempted the question paper for around 30 minutes after which they were told marks would be deducted for wrong answers. Total duration of exam was 90 minutes.

"After reading two different instructions everybody was in a fix and started inquiring about the matter from the invigilators; however, even they didn't have the details. Not wasting time, we started attempting the questions, and it was after 30 minutes that we were finally told there would be negative marking," said one of the candidates.

Official sources said the invigilators clarified the issue with the examination branch; however, by the time the examination branch could revert back, students had already attempted major part of examination. "Then an announcement was made in all the examination centers to clear the confusion," said an official.

Applicants claimed that they had already attempted over 25 questions out of the total 75 when they finally got to know that there would be negative marking for each wrong answer. The students who had attempted the paper assuming there was no negative marking, before the confusion ended, said that the goof-up made by PU might cost them their chance to get admission in MEd.

Over 3,300 students appeared for the entrance exam at 14 centers in PU for admission in the university and its affiliated colleges.

Despite repeated efforts and a number of committees formed to make suggestions on improving the examination system, various question papers of the university exams this year continued to have glaring mistakes.

Despite repeated attempts, PU Registrar AK Bhandari, who is also officiating Controller Examination, could not be contacted for comments.



PU's apathy: New building without ramp for differently abled
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The New Building of Emerging Areas that will house six departments was inaugurated today at Panjab University today; however, the building does not have a ramp for persons with disabilities.

Although the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, clearly indicates the need for a disabled-friendly infrastructure in buildings; the new building lacks a ramp even at the entry. The Act makes it compulsory for the buildings to have ramps for persons with disabilities. It also mandates the building to have hand railings and separate toilets for them.

The building, presently, has three separate staircases and a provision for an elevator; however, the elevator is also yet to be installed.

"The departments have already been shifted to the building; however, if a physically challenged person takes admission in these departments, that student would have no means to reach the upper floors of the building," said a PU official.

Harman Sidhu who runs an NGO, Arrive Safe, said the inauguration of a building without ramps showed how insensitive the PU authorities were towards the needs of the physically challenged people.

The new building will house Centre for Social Works, Centre for Human Rights, Centre for Police Administration, University Institute of Fashion Technology and Vocational Development, Department of Life Long Learning and Extension, and Centre for Women Studies.

Quoting his own example, Sidhu said he had also applied for admission in the Department of Police Administration two years back when the department was operating in another building; however, he could not join the department as the building didn't have a ramp. "Despite the department being shifted to the new building, I still can't take admission," he said.

Sidhu further said the elevator in the building could not be used at the time of a fire, which necessitated a ramp for physically challenged students.

Outgoing Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti, who inaugurated the building today, said he would inquire with the construction department as to why the facility of a ramp was not provided in the building. "There is still Rs six crore left with the university of the fund allotted for this particular project. It can be utilised for the construction of a ramp in the building," Sobti said.



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