C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dengue stings tricity
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The city has witnessed an alarming rise in the number of dengue cases over past two months. While only three cases were reported in August this year, the number has now reached 187.

Of these, 113 cases are from the city. Last year, the number of patients suffering from dengue was 73. Officials in the UT Health Department said most of the patients were found to have contracted mild dengue and no deaths have been reported so far. The virus affected children and elderly due to weak immunity, said the officials.

“The dengue virus is attributed as day biter and often breeds in artificial setting of water which may include water stored in vessels, buckets and excess water in flower pots,” said an expert from the PGIMER, Chandigarh.

Dr Naresh Sharma, head of UT anti-malaria unit, said that more than 30 cases had been reported over the last week and a majority of residents were from Mauli Jagran, Hallo Majra, Maloya Colony and other periphery areas of the city.

Prevention only cure

During a continuous medical education programme at the PGIMER on virology last month, experts had determined that gene mutation in dengue virus has undermined the effect of the available vaccines, rendering the disease incurable. Prevention is the only cure
Dengue is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito — aedes egypti. When the mosquito bites a person infected with the virus, it spreads it to others, but can survive the virus itself. The symptoms include high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding
The mosquito can breed in 10-15ml of water too. Doctors advise use of repellent creams and mosquito coils. In some people, dengue is moderate and goes away on its own after a few days of fever depending on their immunity



20 test positive in Mohali district
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 10
At least 20 patients have been tested positive for dengue in Mohali district. Besides, 62 suspected cases have been reported in the district.

The Civil Hospital in Phase VI, which has the only laboratory in the entire state for testing dengue, has so far confirmed 20 cases of dengue. Fortis Hospital in Phase IX has also sent samples of 62 patients for testing. Though the number of confirmed dengue patients has already crossed the last year’s figure of 16, the health staff maintained that the situation was not alarming and well under control.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Dr JS Cheema, Civil Surgeon, Mohali, said 20 persons have tested positive and reports of suspected patients was yet to come.

“After some tests, we have started the treatment. But we are yet to get the report of 62 samples sent to the Civil Hospital laboratory,” said Dr Anita from Fortis Hospital.

Dr Cheema maintained that there was no need to worry. “The situation is under control. We send our teams to the area from where the cases have been reported to check the other persons residing in the locality. Besides, we also undertake fogging in the affected areas make people aware about the preventive measures to be taken to control dengue,” added Dr Cheema.



Six in P’kula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 10
Panchkula is far better than Chandigarh and Mohali as far as dengue cases are concerned. A total of six dengue cases have been confirmed in the town so far.

“There is a rise in the number of patients suffering from dengue in the months of August, September and October. Children are most affected due to their low immunity,” said a senior doctor at the general hospital, Panchkula. Most of the cases have been reported from Abhaypur near Sector 20 in Panchkula.

“Fogging is regularly been done in affected areas.

The situation here is far better than in Chandigarh and Mohali,” said Dr Anil, the medical official who deals in such cases. He added: “Panchkula reported 79 cases of dengue in 2008.”



Chitkara University closed for six days
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, October 10
The management of Chitkara University has decided to close the varsity for six days as a precautionary measure following protest by students over the death of a BCom student, Rohan Singla, on Monday.

Mohit Chitkara, vice-president of Chitkara Educational Trust said they have closed the university for six days. The university will reopen on Monday. He said this has been done to maintain peace on the campus.

The university has also decided to appoint more hostel wardens. Sources said the university has now decided to appoint a chief hostel warden, a warden, an assistant warden and a caretaker in the university who would remain on the campus 24 hours a day. This was seen as a step to maintain discipline among students.

On the appointment of hostel wardens, Mohit Chitkara said they have sufficient number of wardens and more appointments were being made to maintain discipline and peace on the campus.

Though the body of the deceased was handed over to the family, resentment prevailed among the students over the lack of medical facility on the university campus. Some of the students on the condition of anonymity said that they do not want to disturb peace on the campus and added that the authorities should make arrangement for providing medical treatment to the students in case of emergency.

Following death of a BCom student, the students of the university held a massive protest on campus and blocked the Rajpura-Chandigarh road on Monday evening.



Members ecstatic as Central Club reopens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The euphoria of triumph filled the air as members of Central Club celebrated when a team of the UT Estate Office opened the gates of the club for its members.

Acting on the orders of a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the UT officials removed the seals on the two entrance gates to the club. The club management has been asked to clear the dues of around Rs 11 lakh within a month.

“We are back in the club after 19 days. It’s victory of the members and it has exposed the biased approach of the Chandigarh Administration,” said exhilarated Vinod Talwar, president of the club.

Another elderly member Reva Gandhi said: “It’s a moment to celebrate. Collecting funds will not be a problem and every effort will be made to bring the club back on track.”

Unlike the September 21 and September 22 happening when a strong posse of UT officials and police descended on the club to seal it, a five-member team of officials of the estate office arrived on the club premises and opened the seal.

Showing copies of the High Court orders, Talwar said the administration had been asked to furnish details of the area in possession of Chandigarh Club and Golf Club, structures raised by the two clubs, the rate of rent being charged, details of commercial activity being carried out and the proposal made by the chief engineer regarding the rent of these two clubs was implemented or not.

SK Kakkar, another member of the club, said the club would become functional from tomorrow and a general body meeting had been called on next Sunday to generate funds to be paid to the administration. There are around 1,500 members, a majority of them between the age of 70 and 90 years, he said.

Club employees elated

The shock and despair turned into smiles for the employees of the club who were rendered jobless when the club was sealed. Kamla Devi and other employees were waiting impatiently for the club to open.



Rahul’s visit
Raids at PU hostels, 5 outsiders nabbed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
At least five outsiders were nabbed during raids by the Chandigarh Police in the boys hostels at Panjab University on Wednesday morning in the wake of Rahul Gandhi's visit on the campus.

The raids were conducted simultaneously at all seven hostels giving no time for anyone to escape. The students found giving shelter to outsiders would be fined Rs 1,000. The raids began around 5 am and continued till 7 am.

University officials said the outsiders were either staying without making entry in the hostel visitor's register or didn't had the permission to stay.

The police said that all outsiders were released after verification and warning.

"The raids were conducted simultaneously in all the hostels so that the students don't get time to inform others staying in different hostels," said a police official. Meanwhile, no weapons were recovered from the hostels.


drunk students’ case
Students beg for another chance
Plead guilty, say they want to study further, but their future is at stake
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
“Give us one more chance to undo our mistake,” begged one of the four students who were expelled by Gyandeep School, a day after they were rounded up by the city police for consuming liquor on the premises of the school on Monday.

Two of the four students, The Tribune spoke to after their expulsion, said they deserved the punishment and were remorseful, but they should be given another chance to correct their mistake.

“We should be allowed to apologise and given another chance to undo our mistake,” said a student requesting The Tribune to put in a word to the Principal of the school.

Another student said that the whole incident had put their entire future at stake. “First the police took us away despite our repeated request to let us off with a warning. Further it was major embarrassment to face the media as our photographs figured in newspapers.”

As told by them, it was the birthday party of one of the students, which turned a nightmare for all of them. One of the students, who birthday turned sour on Monday, said that none of them were habitual drunkard but one of the friends insisted on having liquor, so they brought the liquor and had it.

“But we want to study further. Our lives will be ruined if we are not given one more chance, he said.

Two students, as it is learnt, have lost their father and they are the only child. “More than anything else, I am sorry for my mother who spent her life bringing me up after my father’s death,’’ said a student.

Two are children of police personnel

Two of the four boys are children of police personnel posted in the city. One of them is a son of a woman police official.



Expelling them would not solve the purpose: Experts
Say education without reform may make students wayward
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Who will reform these four children is the biggest question staring in the face of school authorities, parents as well as the police. The police said it did its job by rounding them up. The school authorities said that it was necessary to expel them to send a message across to other children.

The family of two of the students packed them off to their respective villages, one was sent to Garhwal and another to Gurdaspur, to avoid major embarrassment at home.

Ravinder Talwar, member of DAV managing committee, said that the whole episode had put the future of the students in limbo, where as the things could have been better, had the school taken their stand on the issue.

They should not have allowed the police to intervene in the matter at any cost and rather solved it at their own end. At the most, they should have been suspended from the school for a few days and given them enough time to re-think about their mistakes, he said.

Panchkula based Educationist S Kumar said that the students should be excused in this case and must be counselled by some psychologist. No doubt their action was wrong but education without reform would lead many such students towards a path, which may be detrimental for them in future.

One of the CBSE counsellors Rakesh Sachdeva said that the principle of natural justice should have been applied in this case. “Children at this age do commit mistake but we need to have heart for them and understand the root cause of the problem rather than simply expelling them. Talking corrective methods and enlightening the deviant minds is the real purpose of education, she said.

Principal may consider on compaissionate grounds

The school will allow them to appear in the examination so that their year is not wasted. Further, we may consider their case on compassionate grounds

— S Deswal, Principal, Gyandeep School, Sector 20



Finally, councillors, officials bury the hatchet at tea party
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Following a 12-day standoff, the councillors and the municipal corporation officials today settled their differences during a tea party organised at the Mayor’s residence in Sector 24.

During the civic body’s house meet, held two weeks ago, all the officials had walked out revolting against one of the councillor’s statement. Taking offence to the councillors who demanded that an FIR be lodged against the public and health wing officers, the MC officials had boycotted the house.

During today’s meeting, however, the officials, including the MC Commissioner, VP Singh, assured the councillors that they would offer better coordination in future. The last house meet was held on September 28.

Some of the councillors, on the other hand, called today’s meeting a “cosmetic exercise”. A senior councillor said that the officials continued to speak in “harsh” tone and the patch up appeared to be “cosmetic”.

According to sources, the officials avoided discussions over the ruckus created during the house meet.



rajiv technology park
SC verdict on land acquisition today
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 10
The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict tomorrow on a bunch of petitions challenging the acquisition of land for the Phase III of the Rajiv Gandhi Technology Park being set up close to the Sukhna Lake Wildlife Sanctuary.

The SC had ordered status quo on May 11 on the appeals filed by Surinder Singh Brar and other affected persons whose land had been acquired for the project. As much as 272 acres had been acquired for the project.

The status quo order had stalled all constructions and further alienation of the land to technology companies.

The petitioners had contended that the project was being set up even without clearance from the Ministry of Forest and Environment despite the fact that it was close to the ecologically sensitive Sukhna Lake and the wildlife sanctuary.

According to the petitions, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed their pleas without considering the relevant material.

The Chandigarh Administration acquired the farmers’ land ostensibly for public purpose, but in fact was utilising the land for favouring real estate companies. the petitioners contended that one of the IT companies which was allotted land through a draw of lot had not even put in its application.

Incidentally, the SC had cleared the land acquisition for the first two phases.



Revision in pension demanded
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October10
A delegation of the Haryana Government Retired Officers' Welfare Association, Panchkula, met Haryana Finance minister HS Chatha on Wednesday and requested that pension should be calculated on the last pay drawn by the government employees, with effect from January 1, 2006.

The rules have already been amended from November 30, 2007 and the new scales were granted by the government. It was also requested to consider release of full pension (50 per cent) with effect from January 1, 2006 after completing 28 years of service as the Central Government had already removed the anomaly.



100 years of 'simple and upright life'
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Certain nostalgia can be felt while leafing through the old family album of Kulwant Kaur, a resident of Sector 21, who on October 12 will achieve the rare feat of completing 100 years of her life.

Every photo in the album brings alive her old memories including the days spent in the barracks of the Sikh Regiment at Jabalpur, Ambala and Naushera, now in Pakistan. There are also other photos showing her at congregations along with wives of other soldiers, and family portraits that have an aura of simplicity of that era.

“Being the wife of late Captain Basta Singh of the Sikh Regiment, who retired in 1955, my mother spent most of her time at various places before the partition.

However, wherever she stayed, she kept herself busy in community service, specially guiding wives of other soliders,” says her 62- year-old son Jaspreet Singh. He feels proud of the life his mother has led with simplicity and compassion.

Interacting with Kulwant Kaur, who has been residing in the city since 1956, is a bit difficult as memories are fading away with age. She, however, does remember some incidents from her life, especially from the days of partition when she came to Ambala after the Sikh regiment was shifted there.

With her birthday around the corner, she is eagerly waiting for her whole family to gather for the grand celebrations. She has two sons, one of whom will be arriving from England. The list of the extended family is rather long with 11 grand children and 14 great grand children.

“I am very proud of my family for celebrating my birthday,” she says.

Her daughter-in-law Jasbir Kaur says that Kulwant Kaur has always led a disciplined life. “An important aspect of her life that even keeps her going today is her zeal to lead simple and upright life,” says Jasbir Kaur.



Ex-services league to meet on October 28
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The Triennial Annual General Body Meeting of Indian Ex-services League (UT) Chandigarh will be held at 11am on October 28 at Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir Auditorium, Sector 24, in Chandigarh.

It will be followed by election of executive committee members composing of president, senior vice-president, vice-president, general secretary joint secretary, press secretary and honorary treasurer.

Registered league members desirous of contesting election can to submit their nomination form by October 20 to General Secretary Sqn Ldr GS Deol, H.No 1399, Sector 34C, Chandigarh.

Nomination form may be collected from the above mentioned address. All ex-services members of Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula and surrounding villages are requested to attend.



Three cases of robbery in 24 hours

Chandigarh, October 3
Three separate cases of robbery where mobile and money was snatched were reported from across the city in last 24 hours.

In a quarrel, two persons beat up Rakesh, a resident of Sector 20, and snatched away his two mobiles phones this afternoon.

The victim got injured and was admitted to GMCH-32. The police said they had received a complaint of robbery but later Rakesh said it was just a quarrel with his friends and he refused to register any complaint.

In another incident reported last night, Raj Pal, a resident of Khuda Lahora, alleged that three to four persons in a car snatched away his mobile phone and Rs 700 cash. He alleged that the assailants snatched the phone near the road separating Sector 22-23.

The police said no case was registered as the complainant did not turn up in morning.

In the third incident at 11 pm, a cyclist, Dheeraj, resident of Burail village alleged that four persons gagged him while he was going home and snatched away his mobile phone, Rs 600 cash and three ATM cards from near the road separating Sector 44-45. However, the police scrutinised the CCTV camera footage installed on that road and found that the complainant was not seen in the area at the time he had told the police. — TNS



Woman ends life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
A 27-year-old woman allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself at Ram Darbar here today.

The victim, Indu, is survived by husband and three children. She was suffering from depression.

No suicide note was recovered from the spot and the police has initiated inquest proceedings.



Won’t let campus turn into political arena: PU
Says permission was given for student convention, outsiders not allowed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Making its stand clear on the objections raised by the student organisations against permitting the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) to hold a function with the Congress General Secretary as the chief guest, the university authorities stated that they had given the permission for a student convention and would not let the campus turn into a political arena with other politicians participating in the function too. Meanwhile, students staged a protest on the campus.

Witnessing criticism from the student bodies, PU Registrar AK Bhandari and Dean Student Welfare (DSW) AS Ahluwalia held a meeting with the student leaders to discuss the issue. The meeting was attended by the UT police officials including SP Desraj Singh.

PU Registrar, responding to the objections raised by students, said that the permission had been granted for a student convention. “We would ensure that the entry to the function is restricted to the campus students only,” he said.

PU officials said that they would not allow buses carrying students from Punjab to enter the university campus, and the entry to the function would be made on the basis of identity cards.

The leaders of various student organisations including ABVP, INSO, SOI, SFI and PUSU staged a protest against the PU authorities terming Rahul Gandhi’s visit a political rally.

Legal adviser of SOI Paramvir Singh said that on the demand raised by them, passes issued by the NSUI have been cancelled, and only the university students will be given an entry.

ABVP leader Dinesh Chauhan said that the university was not an arena for national politics and such rallies should not be held on the campus. “The student council has taken the permission for a student convention; however, it’s surprising that the organisers are issuing passes, that too bearing the name of their party. Hoardings installed on the campus and in the other parts of the city bear photographs of Congress leaders, and such persons who are not even students of the university,” he said.

SFI leader Prabhpreet Singh said PU was trying to misguide them by calling it a student convention.



Security beefed up on campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Over 600 policemen have been deployed on the Panjab University campus in the wake of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the university tomorrow.

Restrictions have also been imposed on the entry tothe campus.

An official statement of the Chandigarh Traffic Police stated that Gate No 1, opposite the PGI, would be closed tomorrow. Meanwhile Gates No 2 and 3 would remain open for the staff, students and general public. The parking of vehicles near Gandhi Bhawan, University Business School, Arts block and library would not be allowed, the statement stated.

Moreover, identity cards of all the visitors to the university will be checked and no weapon will be allowed on the campus.

Different police units including an anti-sabotage unit, anti-riot teams and quick-reaction team have also been deployed on the campus.



CAT begins today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Common Admission Test (CAT) for admission to the 13 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and various colleges offering postgraduate management courses will begin tomorrow. Around 2.15 lakh students registered for the entrance examination to be held from October 11 to November 6. The number of applicants has seen only a marginal rise in comparison to the last year. For majority of the prestigious B-schools in the country, the process of registration came to an end in the first week of October itself.

In total, admission to more than 2,000 seats in the various IIMs will be done through this test. Along with the IIMs, numerous top management schools in the country such as MDI, Gurgaon; and IMT, Ghaziabad accept the CAT scores.

As far as the northern region is concerned, anxiety could be seen on the faces of many aspirants who would be appearing for the test at the main test center of the region, Chandigarh.

Hirdesh Madan, head of a prominent coaching institute, said: “In comparison to the last year’s figure of 8,000 students who appeared for the exam, this year more than 9,000 students are set to appear for the examination from Chandigarh.”

The city has only one test centre this year: Indo Global College of Engineering at Abheypur village in Mohali.



CBSE's proficiency test for Class X students in April
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Optional proficiency test for the Class X students will be held in April next year. The test, to be conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) after the board exams, would measure the student’s ability to learn, understand and internalise the related concepts and principles of a subject.

This test will be conducted for all the five main subjects including English, Hindi, mathematics, social science and science on separate days from April 8 to 12. The students will be allowed to appear for subjects of their choice. The CBSE officials informed that it is an optional exam. Students willing to appear for this test will be required to pay a separate fee, details of which are available on the CBSE website.

Officials said the test would be based on Classes IX and X syllabus of the CBSE, and all the questions will be multiple-choice type with only one correct answer. Negative marks will be awarded for the wrong answers.

The willing schools are required to submit the related information about the students to the board through online registration till November 30.



Toll-free enquiry numbers not working at PU
Disconnected due to non-payment of bills, outstation students inconvenienced
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Putting thousands of students at inconvenience, the toll-free enquiry numbers that were introduced to assist the outstation students of the Panjab University and its 180 affiliated colleges, have not been working for the last three months due to the pending bills of over Rs 70,000. The three toll-free numbers that used to receive over 500 calls daily have also been removed from the university’s website.

The toll-free service was introduced in November 2010 to assist the students who had to visit the city for making any enquiry.

Director, computer centre, Tankeshwar Kumar said that they had received a communication from the enquiry block for removing the toll-free numbers from the PU website.

Officials at the enquiry block of the university said that over two months back the service providers sent them bills for Rs 32,000, Rs 26,000 and Rs 17,000 despite the authorities having regularly paid the phone bills.

“On contacting the service providers, we were told that those bills included the amount not added to the previous bills, as earlier the bills were calculated on an average basis,” officials said.

The enquiry block forwarded the bills to the accounts branch, which raised an objection and questioned the reason behind the fresh bills.

There are over three lakh students studying in PU-affiliated colleges, while several thousands of students take admission to the University School of Open Learning (USOL) every year. All these students are dependent on these enquiry numbers.

Manipal Singh, a student from Punjab, said it was not possible for students to come all the way to Chandigarh for every small enquiry. The university should come up with some alternative numbers for assistance.

PU Registrar AK Bhandari said the matter was being looked into. “The numbers are not available temporarily. We are planning to activate only two toll-free numbers out of the three,” he said.



curtain raiser
Website launched for UIET’s tech fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The University Institute of Engineering and Technology organised a curtain raiser for its technical fest Aavishkar-12, to be held on October 15 and 16, at Panjab University today.

The organising secretary, Professor Sunil Agarwal, launched the website and the official T-shirts for the fest. The organisers said the event was an entrepreneurial workshop aimed at nurturing the skills of the students. During the event, mentors, mostly heads and co-founders of various corporations, will interact with students, they said.

During the curtain-raiser, a theme-based poster-making and painting competition, “Stylize Aavishkar”, was also held. The best paintings were also awarded on the occasion.



Institute takes green initiative

Chandigarh, October 10
The Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology has taken a step forward towards the betterment of the environment. The institution is taking part in “Techfest Green Campus Challenge” organised by the IIT, Mumbai, with the vision of making campuses all over India more sustainable, green and to promote the idea among the youth of our country.

A team of around 25 Svietians will be working on the “Go Green” theme during October and November. Under this task, there are various sub themes such as energy, water resource management, bio diversity and land management, sustainability, design and creativity and social outreach. Around 150 tasks have been assigned to students under these themes. To make this campaign a success, the team has been organising awareness sessions, poster-making and t-shirt-painting competitions using organic colours for the students on the college campus. Not too much.. — TNS



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