C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT babus closed their eyes to violations
  Authorities bent rules for Acropolis project of Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew 
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The UT babus allegedly closed their eyes to the violations done by Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla while raising Acropolis, a project of Mirage Infra Limited. Singla was arrested by the CBI for receiving kickbacks.

The Acropolis commercial complex.
The Acropolis commercial complex. A file photo

The allegation holds weight going by the minutes of two different meetings of the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Chandigarh, and the Expert Appraisal committee, Chandigarh. The authorities not only bent the rules, but also hid certain facts.

Perusal of the minutes of the meeting on February 2013 and June 2012, a copy of which is with The Tribune, revealed how the UT officials turned a blind eye towards the violations at the Acropolis site. The officials and the committee members blindly trusted the representation of Mirage Infra Ltd without even checking the ground realities.

The minutes of the meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee on June 2012 read: “The committee visited the site of M/S Mirage Infra Ltd for its commercial complex Acropolis, plot no 68, Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh, on June 9, 2012, at 10.30 am and it was found that the proponent (Mirage Infra) had constructed the framework of ground floor plus three floors without having environment clearance. The proponent has violated the provisions of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification.”

“The committee unanimously resolved that the proponent might be asked that the matter relating to violations be put up to the board of directors of the company for consideration of its environment related policy of action as also a formal written commitment in the form of formal resolution be submitted to the effect that violation of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, will not be repeated in future,” the minutes of the meeting read.

But after the meeting, the UT officials and committee members never bothered to check the project site. Despite the committee warning and without obtaining environmental clearance, the owner of Acropolis constructed two additional floors.

At a meeting of the Environment Impact Assessment Authority held on February 20, 2013, the facts which were tabled before the Authority were ground plus three floors, whereas the ground reality was different as there was ground plus five floors.

The minutes of the second meeting read: “The framework of the ground plus three floors has been constructed without having environment clearance.”

“So far as the violation case of the proponent is concerned, the proponent has submitted the resolution from the board of directors wherein it is undertaken that no violation will be repeated in future. The authority has already urged the Chandigarh Administration for taking legal action against the project proponent in regard of the violation under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, ” the minutes further read. 

Environment clearance

* The Environment Impact Assessment Authority at its meeting on February 20, 2013, had unanimously resolved to grant environment clearance to the project. But the authority gave environment clearance for ground plus three floors, but it was ground plus five floors.

* Experts said the environment clearance was not valid and the owner should file fresh application mentioning ground plus five floors 

Adviser to seek report

When contacted, UT Adviser KK Sharma said he would seek report from the Secretary, Forests, on the violations, if any, in the project. 



Electricity Dept head cashier convicted of Rs 1.64-crore fraud 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Shalini Singh Nagpal today convicted a head cashier with the UT Electricity Department of embezzling Rs 1.64 crore.

The accused, Mangat Ram, who remained on the post of a head cashier, had been convicted in two FIRs for which police had filed five separate chargesheets. This was the first of its kind fraud that brought a major embarrassment to the UT Administration.

The court convicted Mangat Ram under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC in a case registered at the Sector 11 police station. He has also been convicted in a separate case under Sections 420, 467, 471 and 477-A of the IPC and Sections 13 (1) (d) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The quantum of sentence will be pronounced on May 7 and 8.

The case was registered on May 2, 2008, when an audit of the State Bank of India (SBI) revealed that the head cashier with the UT Electricity Department had failed to deposit Rs 1.64 crore collected through electricity bills and new connections |in the SBI’s treasury for four years from 2003 to 2007.

As per the prosecution, the accused forged vouchers of the bank and prepared fake stamps to show that the amount was been deposited.

“This was the first of its kind fraud that rocked the UT Electricity Department. Cross verifications by the SBI and reports of the CFSL that vouchers were fake in addition to statements of two SDOs Deepak Charit and Anil Dhaneja highlighting the fraud were instrumental in strengthening the case,” said public prosecutor Manu Kakkar.

The police stated that Mangat Ram committed the fraud whild holding various posts from 2003 to 2007, thus as many as five chargesheets were filed.

The SBI authorities gave samples of the stamp which were verified by the CFSL and it was found that the stamps which the accused produced before the department was not original. 



Promised role in movie, model raped in vehicle 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
A 30-year-old city-based model was allegedly raped by a Sangrur resident on the promises of being given the lead role in a Punjabi film last night. The victim, who is married, was allegedly raped in a car near Sukhna Lake. She was forcefully made to consume liquor so as to impress the director.

She reported the matter at the Sector 3 police station in the wee hours of Monday. The police has registered a case. The accused, Gaganpreet is absconding.

In her complaint to the police, the victim, who had done a few modelling assignments in Mumbai, stated that she was putting up as a paying guest in Sector 23 as she was having a dispute with her husband. She met Gaganpreet two months ago who said he was in touch with some Punjabi movie directors.

She met Gaganpreet at 11 pm on Sunday. The accused told her that she would get an opportunity to work in a film. He took her in his Fortuner SUV to Sector 15 where both of them consumed beer.

Both Gaganpreet and the victim headed towards the forest area near Sukhna Lake where the accused allegedly raped her.

The accused then dropped the victim at her PG accommodation. When she regained consciousness, she realised that she had been raped. The victim went to the police station and filed a complaint against the accused. The victim said she was made to drink a heavy dose of liquor and she could not object to the accused’s advances.

The girl was taken for a medical examination at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16. The medical report confirmed of rape. The police said hunt was on to nab the accused and his call records were being traced. 



4 killed, 6 hurt as truck collides with van 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 6
Four persons were killed and six sustained serious injuries when a truck collided head-on with a Tata Magic van around 5.30 am near Mauli Baidwan village today. The deceased were identified as Hifazudin and Chulka from West Bengal and Munish Kumar from Ambala. The fourth victim is yet to be identified.

The truck and the van involved in the accident at Sector 68, Mohali, on Sunday night.
The truck and the van involved in the accident at Sector 68, Mohali, on Sunday night.
The truck and the van involved in the accident at Sector 68, Mohali, on Sunday night. Tribune photos 

The injured included Naman Yadav and Gurmail Singh, the truck driver, who have been shifted to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, and Jatinder Madan, who is under observation at Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32. Three injured, who are yet to be identified, have been shifted to the PGI.

The police 14 persons, all migrant labourers, were travelling in the van which was on its way to a construction site at Sector 98. “When the ill-fated vehicle reached near the traffic lights on Mouli road, it was hit by a speedy truck coming from opposite side. The impact of the collision was so intense that the truck overturned after hitting a electricity pole while the van was completely damaged,” said assistant sub-inspector Jarnail Singh, the investigating officer in the case.

The truck, which belonged to Reliance Fresh, was loaded with vegetables and was on its way from Sirhind to Panchkula.

Hifazudin died on the spot and Munish Kumar, who was driving the van, succumbed to his injuries at the Phase VI Civil Hospital. Chulka and an unidentified injured died at the GMSH-16 and the PGI.

The labourers had hired the van from the Ambala railway station. “Most of these labourers were coming to the town for the first time and they were not known to each other,” said a police official.

A case under Sections 279, 337, 338, 427 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against Gurmail Singh, the truck driver, at the Sohana police station. 



Security checks annoy docs 
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Doctors at the PGI are feeling the heat due to the multi-layered security at the institute. The security has been stepped up at the PGI as Pakistan prisoner Pakistan prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay is admitted to the hospital.

Undergoing a security check every time they enter the trauma centre and the ICU where Sanaullah is undergoing treatment is nothing less than harassment, say doctors.

The security arrangements in and around the Advanced Trauma Centre are so tight that even senior doctors are being repeatedly screened before entering the ICU. A doorframe metal detector has been installed near the entry of the ICU.

“We were never used to such security checks. We are not being spared even once while entering the ICU. When we rush to the see a patient, it gets very inconvenient to wait for the security check.

We have to undergo multi-layered security checks before finally reaching patients,” said a PGI doctor.

“It’s good to be alert and have high security even on a usual day. But not for the PGI staff. The PGI security guards recognise us. But the police officials are always suspicious. They have strict instructions from the higher authorities not to allow anybody without a check no matter how many times they have seen us treating the patients in past four days,” said another doctor.

The entire area around the ICU has been flooded with security officials and the ICU gate has been closed to attendants. The visitor’s entry has also been banned, both at the Advanced Trauma Centre as well as the Emergency without passes.



SIT summons Doon MLA’s wife 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 6
The special investigation team (SIT) has summoned Doon MLA’s wife Nidhi to join the investigations. The summons has been issued under Section 160 of the CrPC.

Earlier, the MLA’s wife was summoned twice, but she did not turn up. Nidhi in her conversation with her maternal uncle, as stated in the chargesheet, was making attempts to influence Jyoti’s father Buti Ram. She was heard offering lakhs through a third person to hush up the case. It is also being investigated as to whether she knew about Jyoti or not.

Not only this, efforts are being made to make Satpal, the personal security officer of Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary, a witness.

A team has also been sent to Satpal’s village in Punjab to seek his help.

In a statement to the police, Chaudhary had claimed that he had offered Rs 25 lakh to Satpal if he agreed to take upon himself the charge of killing Jyoti. However, Satpal got scared after reading newspaper reports and quit the job.


10 liquor vends surrendered
  Ceded within 2 weeks of auction; bidders say high cost involved in business
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Within two weeks of auctioning liquor vends in the city, at least 10 liquor vends have been surrendered by the bidders. Some of the surrendered vends had attracted high bids.

Attributing the surrender of the vends to high costs involved in running the business, the bidders failed to deposit the 30 per cent of the bid money within seven days of allotment. Over Rs one crore, earnest money deposited by the bidders has been surrendered.

Mohammed Shayin, Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, said the exact situation would be known tomorrow.

The surrendered vends were allotted in the first phase of allotment of vends through tendering process held on April 23. In the first phase, the Excise and Taxation Department could sell only 47 per cent of the vends,

“It is an outcome of the UT’s move to bring the excise duty and assessment fee in its new excise policy (2013-2014) at par with Punjab”, said a liquor contractor.

In the second attempt to sell the vends on April 30, the department could dispose of another 21 vends. The number of vends surrendered out of the allotment held on April 30 would be known tomorrow.

Now, the department will make another attempt to dispose of all the vends that have been surrendered in the first two attempts.



gmch Sector 32
Patients in Block C have a harrowing time
 Bodies kept in mortury emanate foul smell as freezers develop snag
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The entire Block C at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, was filled with foul smell on Monday as some of the freezers inside the mortuary had stopped working.
A view of the mortuary at the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, on Monday.
A view of the mortuary at the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Sources said, the freezers had developed a snag two days ago and the bodies were lying inside the freezers at normal temperature. Once the foul smell began emanating, one of the mortuary attendants informed the officials about it.

On enquiring, the officials found that the freezers were not working. Patients visiting the Block C of the hospital that houses various OPDs, including general medicine, and also nerve detection centre, had to bear with the foul smell throughout the day.

This is not the first time when the freezers inside the mortuary of the hospital had developed a snag. In August, last year, a similar problem had occurred when the bodies were lying at the normal temperature for days together.

Officials said that smell was there inside, as there was lack of ventilation, in the area but the freezers were being repaired.

When contacted, Dr Dasari Harish, head, department of forensic medicine, said, “The foul smell spread as the entire area is air-conditioned and there is no ventilation there. We took note of the problem and the freezers are being repaired. The bodies have now been kept in Block L to carry out the repair work quickly.



Patil promises help to family of stray cattle victim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The UT Administrator, Shivraj V Patil, today assured the family members of 33-year-old Harpreet Singh Sodhi, who died in an accident involving stray cattle on April 6, of every possible help from the UT Administration.

Family members of Harpreet Singh Sodhi had submitted a representation to the UT Administration seeking government job for his wife and compensation at Patil’s public hearing session today.

Victim’s uncle Pritpal Singh Sodhi said that the Administration had given them assurance and they were hopeful that it would consider their demand.

Earlier, the municipal corporation had also resolved to provide a contractual job to the victim’s widow. Even the councillors had agreed to give their one-month salary to the victim’s family.

Satish Chandra Sharma, chairman, Group Housing Cooperative Societies Welfare Council, another complainant at the public hearing session, requested that the basic services be provided to residents of the group housing cooperative societies spread over Sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51 Chandigarh. To this the official concerned informed that the deed letter clearly mentioned that the external services would be provided by the UT Engineering Department, which had already been provided and that the arrangement for the internal services would be done by the society itself.

Another complainant Mahesh Sharma, president, Pragati Market Welfare Association, requested that leasehold plots in Pragati Market Sector 23, Chandigarh, be converted into freehold plots. To this, Patil said that such property was meant to be given on lease only and the association could not be given the ownership of it.

Complainant not allowed to meet UT Administrator

Complainant Om Prakash who had also come to the UT Secretariat to meet UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil was not allowed to meet him. He had come to highlight corruption issues, 



ABVP holds protest against Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Representatives of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) today organised a protest against Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and the cane charging on ABVP workers on Sunday. Members of the ABVP gathered at the Student Centre, Panjab University, in the evening and demonstrated against the Minister’s alleged involvement in the graft case and the Chandigarh police for cane charging.

The ABVP, while demonstrating, announced that they would boycott all programmes addressed by Pawan Kumar Bansal in the university and colleges. On Sunday, members of the ABVP were beaten up brutally by the police. There were protests by the ABVP in the entire country against the corruption.



Inquiry against SHO for beating up protesters outside Bansal’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
A day after the police resorted to cane charge on protesting members of the ABVP outside the residence of Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal in Sector 28, senior police officials have marked an inquiry against Inspector Anokh Singh, Station House Officer (SHO) of Sector 26 police station.

Two ABVP leaders were injured while they were protesting outside Bansal’s residence yesterday. UT Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Alok Kumar will be conducting the inquiry. The police ordered an inquiry after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and ABVP members led by local BJP president Sanjay Tandon met the UT police IGP RP Upadhyaya today.

The police recorded the statement of the two who were injured and ordered that Inspector Anokh Singh would refrain from any work outside the police station till the completion of the inquiry.

ABVP workers Dinesh Chauhan and Sumit Pal Randhawa were beaten up during the protest yesterday. Sanjay Tandon also showed picture and video clips of the protest held yesterday in which the police was seen mercilessly thrashing the protesters.

According to sources in the Police Department, Anokh Singh and Industrial Area police station SHO Narender Patial were seen resorting to indiscriminate lathi charge on the protesters in the video clip. The police had also taken the protesters under preventive arrest. At least six more protestors were injured in the lathicharge.

Meanwhile, the police registered a case of rioting, causing hurt to deter public servant from performing his duty and assault or criminal force at the Sector 26 police station against unidentified persons who ran away after damaging the barricade outside Bansal’s house in Sector 28. The accused will be identified on the basis of footage.



‘Long Short Walk’ organised

Chandigarh, May 6
The United Nations, World Health Organisation and the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety conducted “Long Short Walk” calling for safety of pedestrians at the Sector 16-17 light point.

ArriveSAFE and the Chandigarh Traffic Police organised the walk in the city. UT IGP RP Upadhyaya, flagged off the walk. The SSP, Traffic and Security, Maneesh Chaudhry, IPS, and officials of Chandigarh Traffic Police joined the walk. More than 400 school and college students, volunteers of ArriveSAFE took part in the walk demanding “Safe walking - Our right”. A “stilt walker” with a messages to respect pedestrians, assisted the children in crossing the road on the zebra crossing. —TNS



ESZ: UT violates guidelines of MoEF
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
While preparing the draft of Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ), the UT Administration has violated the guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary catchment area is around 36 km, out of which only two km falls under the jurisdiction of the UT Administration and the remaining area is in Punjab and Haryana. The Administration has only prepared draft report on two km and not touched the remaining 34 km area. On this issue, the UT has not taken consent from Punjab and Haryana.

Whereas the ministry guidelines says, “In cases where the boundary of a protected area abuts the boundary of another state or union territory where it does not form part of any protected area, it shall be the endeavour of both the state and the union territory governments to have a mutual consultation and decide upon the width of the ESZ around the protected area in question.”

On the issue, a delegation led by Nayagaon councillor Arun Singh met UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil during the public hearing session at the UT Secretariat in Sector 9 today.

The members of the delegation submitted that the Chandigarh had got the control of only 2 km of the area around Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, and any decision by the UT administration in the matter without the consent of Punjab and Haryana shall not be legally enforceable as it would be against the guidelines circulated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Moreover, it will also affect the residents of Nayagaon. Arun Singh said that Patil has assured them that the Administration would consider their demands. The UT Administration has to declare and submit the report on the ESZ to the Ministry of Environment and Forests before May 15.

What is eco-sensitive zone?

An eco-sensitive zone is a fragile ecosystem area where conservation or preservation of natural environment is sustained by state control and grants. 



Rules, regulations not meant for cops!
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 6
Policemen escorting VVIPs were today found flouting rules and regulations with wearing no seat belts and talking on cellphones.

A number of VVIPs visited the Indradhanush Auditorium, Sector 5, Panchkula, today morning ahead of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s visit. Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s son Deepinder Hooda, president of the Haryana Congress Committee Phool Chand Mulana and many other VVIPs visited the auditorium.

The policemen escorting these VVIPs were found making a mockery of the rules and regulations. Not even a single policeman of any PCR vehicle was wearing the seat belt and two of them were found talking on cellphones while driving.

“The policemen should practice what they preach. They think that if they are escorting VVIPs, they can violate rules,” said Seema Grover, a commuter and a resident of Sector 10, Panchkula.

Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit the auditorium on May 8. He is expected to be here at the auditorium from 10 am to 5 pm for a party meeting. There will be three sessions of the meeting and he would interact with the party MPs, MLAs, former legislatures and office-bearers.

PCR vehicle catches fire

A PCR vehicle caught fire while rehearsing for Rahul Gandhi’s visit here this afternoon. Due to a short circuit, dense fumes started coming out of it. The policemen managed to control the situation.



14 file papers for Mohali Zila Parishad elections
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 6
Fourteen candidates from different zones of the district today filed their nomination papers for the Zila Parishad elections. Meanwhile, 72 candidates filed their nomination for the block samiti poll.

All the candidates, who filed their nomination today, are from Shiromani Akali Dal. The Congress and BJP candidates will file their papers tomorrow, which is the last day for the purpose.

Among close relatives and associates of senior leaders of Akali Dal, who have filed their nomination for the zila parishad seats, are Sahib Singh Badali and Neelam Sharma. Sahib Singh Badali is the son-in-law of the former MLA from Kharar, Ujjagar Singh Badali, while Neelam Sharma is the wife of the political adviser of Punjab chief parliamentary secretary NK Sharma. Sahib Singh Badali has filed his papers from Zone No. 5, and Neelam Sharma will contest from Zone No. 1, Mubarakpur (general). The other candidates contesting the poll for zila parishad include Karnail Singh and Sukhwinder Singh (Jolla Kalan zone (SC)); Paramjit Kaur (Zone No. 5); Vimal Kaur and Paramjit Kaur (independent) from Zone No. 7, Mullanpur Garibdass; Malkit Singh and Prabhjot Singh from Zone No. 8, Manauli; Karamjit Kaur and Gurpreet Kaur from Zone No. 9, Dharamgarh (woman); and Gurnam Singh and Dashmesh Singh from Zone No. 10 (general).

For the block samiti seats in different zones, as many as 17 candidates have filed their papers from Majri, while 31 will contest from Kharar and 24 from Dera Bassi.

Tomorrow, nominations would be received between 11 am and 3 pm. The scrutiny of nomination papers would take place on May 8. The date of withdrawal of nomination papers is May 9 till 3 pm.

Earlier, the offices of Mohali Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Parveen Thind and SDM Lakhmir Singh witnessed a huge rush. Thind received nomination papers of candidates of the Zila Parishad poll, whereas the papers of candidates for the block samiti election were received at the SDM’s office.

Congress announces list

Opening their cards for the forthcoming block samiti and zila parishad elections, the district Congress today announced the list of their candidates.

Giving details, Balbir Singh Sidhu, MLA from the area, said the list was declared after getting Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Partap Singh Bajwa’s nod. Names of the candidates for the zila parishad poll are Boota Singh from Sohana Zone, and Sukhwinder Kaur, wife od ex-sarpanch of Tangori village Manjit Singh, from Manouli Zone.

For the block samiti election, the prospective candidates include Harjit Singh Gholu from Sohana Zone, Sukhjinder Kaur from Kumba Zone, Sikandar Kaur from Bakarpur Zone, Jaswinder Kaur from Patton Zone, Inderjit Kaur from Gobindgarh Zone, Jagbir Kaur from Lakhnour Zone, Manjeet Kaur from Manouli Zone, Balbir Singh from Bhago Majra (Beirampur) Zone, Harpreet Kaur from Mote Majra Zone, Kishan Kumar from Balongi Zone, Balwinder Singh from Daun Zone, Jasdeep Singh Jassi Ballomajra from Chapper Chiri Kalan Zone, Sukhwinder Kaur from Behlolpur Zone, and Harjas Singh from Durali Zone.



Four youths injured as car overturns
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 6
Bunking their school and going for an outing to Pinjore cost four youths heavily. These youths were seriously injured after the Skoda car in which they were travelling overturned due to over speeding. The victims, all students of class XI, were coming back from Pinjore after reportedly bunking their classes.

The victims, identified as Rohit, Karan Tiwana, Jaspreet and Karam Singh, were immediately rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, where the condition of Tiwana is stated to be critical.

No one was ready to speak about the incident at the hospital. The car got badly damaged in the 



world Asthma day
Doctors sensitise people on early diagnosis of asthma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
On the eve of World Asthma Day, city doctors came together to sensitise the masses on the early diagnosis of asthma and the right treatment to control the condition.

“Patients of asthma, who are not under the right treatment, run the risk of asthma attacks that often require admission to a hospital and can even be life-threatening. If asthma is treated as per the guidelines, the cost of managing asthma can be reduced tremendously both for the individual and the government,” said experts while delivering a lecture at Panjab University (PU) here today.

The most effective asthma treatment - Inhalation Therapy - is available in India at a price as low as Rs 4 to Rs 6 per day, which means that a year’s supply of medicine is less than the cost of one night’s stay at a hospital.

The doctors reinstated that the lack of awareness on asthma in India prevented it from being diagnosed in the early stages and of the 30 million asthmatics in the country, most were unaware, undiagnosed or were being sub optimally treated for asthma. Further, it had been found that adherence to asthma medication regime was very poor and tend to falter after a few months in both children and adults and the rate of non-­adherence had been estimated to be around 50 per cent.

Commenting on the current scenario of asthma in India, Dr SK Jindal, Head, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, said: “Asthma is a chronic disease, which requires long-term treatment. Many patients stop treatment after some weeks once they start feeling better. This can be dangerous, since stopping treatment can lead to reactivation of the disease and precipitate an asthma attack”.

Dr Jindal said: "It is important to diagnose asthma at an early stage as it helps in preserving the condition of lungs. Asthma usually manifests itself through symptoms like coughing, tightness in the chest and wheezing, but it is important to consider asthma as a diagnosis, particularly if these symptoms are recurrent, and consult a doctor at the earliest. Simple tools like peak flow meter are available to diagnose and monitor asthma. By using currently recommended treatment, asthma can be fully controlled and people with asthma can lead a complete active life".



Working women hostel inmates protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Around 70 girls of the working women hostel, Sector 24, today held a protest against the UT Social Welfare Department for not maintaining the quality of food and proper hygiene in the hostel.

The girls alleged that the department had failed to check the quality of food served in the hostel and many of them were facing health problems.

The Director of the UT Social Welfare Department Rajesh Jogpal said as the contract had expired, a new contract was being signed to serve food in the hostel. The director said he had not received any complaint about the quality of food.

The inmates said despite repeated complaints to the warden, the authorities failed to improve the quality of food. A protester alleged that a fortnight ago, a girl complained of stomach ache after consuming food at the mess. The authorities have also failed to install a water purifier in the hostel, alleged the protesters. 



Overloading continues in P’kula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 6
Lives of hundreds of schoolchildren are put to risk on a daily basis by the school bus operators who continue to overload buses in the town.

A reality check was done by the Chandigarh Tribune, during which students were found packed like sardines in mini vans, school buses and auto-rickshaws, despite the recent issuance of challans by the Panchkula police.

Students forced to stand in a school bus due to unavailability of an adequate number of seats
Students forced to stand in a school bus due to unavailability of an adequate number of seats; and (below) an overloaded rickshaw in Sector 14, Panchkula.
an overloaded rickshaw in Sector 14, Panchkula

As the school authorities continued to shun their responsibility, the Panchkula police had started issuing challans to the violating school buses, under the charge of Assistant Commissioner of Police Vinod Kumar.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashwin Shenvi said over 25 challans were issued for various violations including overloading.

Despite the drive conducted in mornings, overloading continues. “Bus drivers are least afraid of the police, as they continue to break rules in the presence of policemen,” said Gurmeet Kaur, a parent, outside Little Flower Convent School, Sector 14.

“What can children do? They have no other option. We have complained about this to the school authorities a number of times, but our complaints fall on deaf ears,” she said.

No lessons learnt

No lessons were learnt by the school authorities from the recent incident in which three children fell off the rear seat of a mini van when its rear door opened due to overloading in Sector 15, Panchkula. The van, belonging to Shishu Greha, was carrying 15 children, nearly double of its capacity. During the reality check, The Chandigarh Tribune team found the rear door of another school van remained open, putting at risk lives of children



Student fractures leg, others injured as auto overturns
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 6
A ten-year-old Jaspreet Kaur, a student of Shivalik Public School, Sector 41, suffered a fracture in her right leg when the auto-rickshaw she was commuting in, with other students of different schools of Chandigarh, overturned at Daun village here this afternoon.
The damaged auto-rickshaw after it overturned near Kharar on Monday
The damaged auto-rickshaw after it overturned near Kharar on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Other students who sustained injuries in the accident include Danika (8) of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 40; Kush Sharma (9) of Guru Harkishan School, Sector 40; and Anjali (7) of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 43.

Sunil Kumar, who was driving the auto-rickshaw, said he was on the way to Kharar to drop off the children when the incident occurred.

“I lost control over the vehicle when a student bumped into me from behind, following which the vehicle overturned,” said Sunil Kumar, who too sustained injuries in the accident and was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Phase VI.

The police reached the spot and initiated legal action against Sunil Kumar.



Barik takes over as 3 BRD chief 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Air Commodore Arun Kumar Barik today assumed the charge of the Air Officer Commanding, No 3 Base Repair Depot (3 BRD) today. Prior to this appointment, he was serving as the Chief Engineering Officer at Headquarters, Eastern Air Command, Shillong. He takes over from Air Cmde Suresh Singh who has been posted at Headquarters, Maintenance Command, Nagpur.

A ceremonial parade was organised at the depot to mark the change of command. 3 BRD is the country’s largest helicopter repair and overhaul establishment responsible for maintenance of the IAF’s Russian origin helicopter fleet. In March, the Depot was awarded the President’s Colours.

Air Cmde Barik was commissioned as an engineer in the aeronautical engineering (mechanical) branch on February 14, 1983. He is trained on SU 30 and Mig 21 fighter aircraft. His earlier appointments include Commanding Officer of the Air Force Liaisoning Establishment, Chief Engineering Officer of a fighter base and Director (Engineering-A) at Air Headquarters.

He was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished service on January 26, 2010. 



Operations and maintenance panel meets after 4 years
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 6
A panel on the operation and maintenance of the Mohali district administrative complex has failed to meet for more than four years, with the unutilised funds for the purpose accumulating to over Rs 1 crore.

A meeting of the panel held for the first time today came as a relief to the suffering employees, who had been waiting for a better maintenance of the complex and much-needed office items. While small expenses related to the staff were being met under the head ‘miscellaneous expenses’, unused government funds for the operation and maintenance of the complex kept accumulating over the years, standing at Rs 1.03 crore presently.

Sources said the first panel meeting was presided over by a senior official on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner and attended by, among others, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

It is learnt that demands raised by employees from time to time over the past four years, including those relating to the leakage in the building, maintenance of washrooms and the purchase of furniture and computers, were discussed at length. It was decided that in the first phase, Rs 6 lakh to Rs 8 lakh would be spent on the maintenance work and the purchase of required items.

Sources said the RE-II branch of the Punjab Department of Revenue and Rehabilitation had set up the Operation and Maintenance Society for District Administrative Complexes in 2008. The registered office of the society was to be the office of the Deputy Commissioner concerned.

The governing body of the society, which was to meet on a quarterly basis, was to have the Deputy Commissioner as the chairman and the Assistant Commissioner (General) as the member secretary. The executive committee, which was to be under the governing body, was to include as its members the local SDM, the executive engineers of the PWD (B&R) and Public Health Department, the District Fire Officer and the District Revenue Officer. 



Belgian visa application centre opens in Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
With opening of the Belgian visa application centre in the city, it will become easier for those residing in the region to submit their applications. HE Pierre Vaesen, Belgian Ambassador to India, today inaugurated the new centre at Sector 8-C.

He said recently six new service centres were opened by the embassy at Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune. This strategic move is aimed at offering new services, facilities and benefits to visa applicants, boost tourism, trade, investments, and improve bilateral ties with India.

Vaesen revealed last year 41,000 visas to Belgium were issued all over the country. He said looking at the potential of this region, the embassy had decided to open a centre here.

The VFS Global–operated Schengen Visa Application Centre (SVAC) at Chandigarh will accept the visa applications for Belgium from the applicants of this region.



City enthusiast unveils tallest bicycle with Open Hand symbol frame
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
City-based Rajiv, who already has his name listed in the Limca Book of Records, has designed the tallest cycle with the Open Hand symbol for promoting bicycle tourism for maintaining a clean environment in Chandigarh.
Rajiv rides his specially designed bicycle in Chandigarh on Monday
Rajiv rides his specially designed bicycle in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

While launching the bicycle today, Rajiv said it was made of stainless steel and was made at a cost of nearly Rs 80,000. The cycle, which is 10.6 feet tall and 9.6 feet long, will be used by Rajiv for riding from Chandigarh to Mumbai in order to create a Guinness World Record.

In 2001 he made yet unbeaten record of riding the tallest bicycle from Chandigarh to Delhi. He repeated the same feat in 2011 by covering the distance from Chandigarh to Ludhiana on the tallest bicycle. Rajiv, aged 34, has been riding cycles for the past 18 years to promote the habit of bicycling among people. “It is not only eco-friendly but also keeps us fit,” said Rajiv. 



UT notifies state advisory council
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
After a series of meetings, the UT notified the state advisory council under Section 34 of the Right to Education (RTE) Act and will soon be issued in the official UT Gazette. The council, consisting of 15 members, will advise as well monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Act in an effective manner.

Even as UT Administrator Shivraj Patil approved the constitution of the council last year in September, the issue was pending since then due to the confusion over the notifying authority under the Act.

As per information, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) replied twice to the Chandigarh Administration that as per the provision of the RTE Act, the UT was competent enough to notify the council at its own end. In last correspondence with the department shared earlier this year, the MHRD clearly wrote back stating that the Chandigarh Administration required no approval from their office for the notification of the state advisory council under the RTE Act.

The UT Law Department, however, repeatedly ignored the MHRD’s repeated advisory on this issue, probably due to their extra vigilant approach and directed the UT Education Department more than twice to get the council notified from the Ministry concerned.

To solve this dispute, a high-powered meeting was held last month where it was decided to follow the ministry’s advisory and get the council notified in the UT only.

A senior official of the Education Department said following the direction of that meeting, higher officials concerned have notified the final draft of the council and within a week, it will appear in the UT Gazette.

“Before the notification, the file was first moved to the Law Department for vetting and thereafter, it got the final notification,” the official said.

As per the information, the members of the council have been appointed from among the persons having experience in the field of elementary education and child development, besides ex-officio members of government departments concerned.

As per the information, the board has seven ex-officio members, including Advisor to the Chandigarh Administrator, Education Secretary, Director of State Institute of Education, DPI (schools), Director, Higher Education, District Education Officer and chairman of the Right to Education Protection Authority.

Among persons nominated from the field of education include Amarjit Kaur, Principal of GSSS-Sector 15, Sartul Singh, retired JBT teacher, Father Sebestian Jose, president of NGO Don Bosco and Nav Jeevan Society, Vandana Singh, special officiating officer at the Government Institute of Mentally Retired Children, Sector 32, JS Jayara, head, Institute of Blind, Sector 26, Chandigarh, Sudha Katyal, lecturer of Home Science College, Sector 10, Pritpal Kaur, retired deputy director, Adult Education Department, and Rakesh Sachdeva, principal of DAV Senior Secondary School-Sector 15.

Officials said all required terms and conditions prescribed under the Act had been followed while constituting the council. For instance, the council has one-third women members, besides people representing the SC/ST and minorities. Two members, Vandana Singh and JS Jayara, are appointed as members for their experience in educating kids with special needs.

Likewise, Rakesh Sachdeva, Sudha Katyal and Pritpal Kaur have been taken in for their experience in elementary education and child development.



Panjab University not to re-conduct maths exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Taking a U-turn over its decision on re-conducting BA, BSc second-year paper-B of mathematics on May 11, Panjab University today decided that it will not re-conduct the exam now.

The mathematics paper-B on “differential equations” held on April 17 had shocked everyone after it was found to be a replica of the 2012 question paper.

The university on April 26 had declared a fresh date and schedule for the re-examination, after which the university sent the issue to the BoS which had recommended that the exam should not be re-conducted. Ironically, the PU authorities are yet to decide the fate of the students as to whether they will be given grace marks.

A student from DAV College, Sector 10, said: “The students didn’t have any fault in the question paper getting repeated. For the past 15 days, they have been in a fix over the status of the exam”.

Notably, the decision over the BA final-year question paper of Punjabi getting repeated is also pending.

The exam was held on April 27 and during the examination it was found that the question paper was exactly the same that had appeared the last year.

The case was sent to the BoS, which had again recommended that no re-exam should be conducted. The final decision over the exam was taken today.



Star nite, cultural events mark conclusion of Malhaar-2013

Panchkula, May 6
On the last day of “Malhaar-2013”, the annual fest of the Swami Devi Dyal Group of Professional Institutions, Barwala, Haryana Director-General of Police Shriniwas Vashist visited the college campus as the chief guest. The annual fest was going on for the past three days.

President Moti Lal Jindal, vice-president Ashok Jindal, general secretary Amit Jindal and the college management welcomed the chief guest by offering a bouquet and thanked him for giving his blessings to the students of the institution.

The last day of the fest was devoted to cultural events, which was accompanied by a star nite by Punjabi singer Preet Harpal. The closing day started with the Ganesh Vandana. It was followed by various cultural events like dance, bhangra, singing, rock band, performed by students of the institution.

Vashist interacted with students and congratulated them for organising such a wonderful event and showcasing the talent through various cultural activities.

He briefed the students about the value of culture, along with education. He thanked the college management for inviting him to become a part of the annual function. — TNS



Academic session 2013-14
Education Dept revising list of students travelling in CTU buses
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The Education Department has begun the exercise to revise the list of students travelling in CTU buses for the academic session 2013-14. The data is important to start more special buses for students in the future.

Last year, above 8,000 students were found travelling in CTU buses. Based on this data, the CTU in coordination with the Education Department started 20 school buses for these students, which was recently increased to 40. At present, 25 buses are ferrying government school students in the morning and 15 buses after the closing hours.

Officials said the fresh data had been sought from all schools heads to ascertain how many students travelling by CTU buses had been increased vis-à-vis the last academic year.

“We are expecting some increase in the number of students, but the exact data will be known after its compilation. All schools heads have already been sent the letter to compile their respective information and send to the department at the earliest,” the officials said.

A senior official said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also directed the UT to revise its concerned data.

“The CTU is soon to acquire a new fleet of buses. This revised data will help us in claiming more buses for students in the future,” he said.

It was Anupama’s death, a student of GGMSSS-18, which triggered the debate over the separate transportation facility for government schools.



Diplomas conferred on 95 students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
As many as 95 students of classical music (vocal & instrumental), classical dance and fine arts (painting) of the northern region comprising Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh were conferred upon bhaskar and visharad diplomas during a convocation of Pracheen Kala Kendra at MS Randhawa Auditorium of Punjab Kala Bhawan.

The convocation began with a brief introduction of Pracheen Kala Kendra and its multifarious activities in the realm of classical arts followed by traditional lighting of the lamp and a welcome address by secretary of the organisation Sajal Koser.

This was followed by a musical programme which began with tabla recital by a student from Batala, Amandeep Gupta, who stood first in the bhaskar examination.

A vocal recital by Satwant Kaur from Bathinda enthralled the audience. Churamani awardee Janmajay Singh Guleria was at his best in the folk songs category.

Visharad student Hargun Kaur recited raag madhubati, raag chhota khayal, raag bada khayal and tarana. The programme concluded with Minaketan Sahu’s Odissi dance.



Expelled guest faculty, contractual teachers stage dharna

Chandigarh, May 6
Several expelled guest faculty and contractual teachers again staged a protest for several hours near Sector 17 here against the Education Department’s inaction to re-employ them. A teacher said they would continue to protest till the time the department would not adjust them. Around 100 guest faculty teachers and 13 contractual teachers were relieved from their jobs after the recent promotion of permanent government teachers as lecturers.

A teacher said it was a gross injustice to issue relieving orders without prior notice.

Swarn Singh Kamboj, president of the UT Cadre Teachers Welfare Association, said the Education Department, Chandigarh, was doing a gross injustice to the part-time lecturers, temporary/ad hoc teachers and contractual lecturers by not regularising them even after the department had made them to work for several years now.

Another relieved teacher said: “We were given an assurance that we will be re-employed soon, but we have not heard anything from the Education Department so far”.

“Most of us are mentally harassed and our family is the one getting extremely affected by it,” said a teacher.

Meanwhile, several guest faculty teachers, too, had filed a petition with the Chandigarh Administrative Tribunal, the hearing of which is scheduled tomorrow. — TNS



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