C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Minor’s ‘rape’ by policemen
Rape victim turns hostile
Says she had affair with one of the cops, does not know others
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
In a setback to the prosecution in the case involving five UT policemen, who have been accused of repeatedly raping a 17-year-old schoolgirl, the schoolgirl turned hostile today. The five accused were thrashed by angry BJP protesters as they were taken to the court in December, 2013.

Recording evidence before a special court for crime against women here today, the complainant said: “She had a relationship with Akshay, one of the five accused, and intended to marry him. But, she did not know the other four accused”.

She also told the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Anshu Shukla that her original complaint was about a dispute in her family that erupted after her parents came to learn about her affair with Akshay. “Political activists forced me to lodge a complaint against the policemen,” she told the court.

The case had hit the headlines on December 19 last year when the girl had alleged that she was raped by the five policemen, identified as Anil, Akshay, Jagtar, Himmat Singh and Sunil. The Police Department had terminated their services the next day.

She also told the court that while she was reluctant to lodge the complaint against the policemen, she was forced to change several sheets before the complaint, alleging rape, was finalised by the political activists and given to the police, said Harish Bhardwaj, defense counsel for Anil.

During the next hearing of the case, scheduled for March 25, other witnesses will record evidence.

Earlier statement still holds ground

Since the girl is a minor, her initial statement recorded before the court still holds ground. She had narrated the trauma she had been facing at the hands of the five constables who exploited her. The statements were recorded in-camera, during which the victim broke down several times.

“I was scared of going outside my house as the accused used to chase me in a police van. They took me to several places where they raped me at gunpoint. I was forced to take oral contraceptive,” she had said earlier.



Seven candidates file nominations
Tribune News Service

AAP candidate Gul Panag files nominations papers in Chandigarh on Friday
AAP candidate Gul Panag files nominations papers in Chandigarh on Friday

Chandigarh, March 21
It was a day of nominations today. The BJP candidate, Kirron Kher (61), Aam Adami Party candidate Gul Panag (35) and five others filed their nominations at the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer's office in Sector 17.

Former Member Parliament (MP) and BJP leader Satyapal Jain arrived at the office about 20 minutes before Bollywood actress Kirron Kher, accompanied by her husband Anupam Kher, Chandigarh BJP in-charge Aarti Mehra and city unit president Sanjay Tandon reached there.

They reached the office in three cars. Later, when Kirron Kher was filing her nomination papers, the party supporters, including BJP councilors, assembled outside the office. The BJP leader, Harmohan Dhawan, was conspicuous by his absence.

After Kirron Kher had left the office, Gul Panag reached there. The AAP candidate mentioned her name as Gulkirat Kaur Panag in the nomination papers. Accompanied by around 200 supporters, Gul Panag walked down to the office, passing through the main blocks of Sector 17. Her supporters raised slogans during her campaign in the market.

Kawaljit Singh, a candidate from the CPI (ML) Liberation, reached the office along with his supporters. Khem Lal Bansal from the Inqalab Vikas Dal; Sushma Singla and Ajay Singla, both Independents; and Amarjit Kaur from the Hindustan Krantikari Dal also filed their nomination papers today.

The Election Department has received a total of 11 nominations. March 22 is the last day to file nominations.

Gul tries to strike a chord

In a bid to strike a chord with the Punjabi-speaking population, Gul Panag addressed everyone in Punjabi.

Bollywood actors pull crowds

On getting to know that celebrities Anupam Kher, Kirron Kher and Gul Panag have arrived at the DC Office, visitors and staff gathered outside the building to have a glimpse of the Bollywood actors.



Kirron Kher the richest in the fray
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
With movable and immovable assets worth about Rs 23.88 crore, BJP candidate Kirron Kher is the richest among the candidates who have filed nominations for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat so far. Aam Adami Party (AAP) candidate Gulkirat Kaur Panag (the name written on her nomination papers), who has movable and immovable assets worth Rs 4.20 crore, is the third richest candidate in the fray after Congress candidate and four times MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is worth Rs 6.09 crore.

Kirron Kher and her husband Anupam Kher together possess assets worth Rs 33.53 crore. Gul Panag and her husband Gurshivinder Singh Attari, a commercial pilot, have joint assets worth Rs 12.09 crore.

Kirron’s love for jewellery is evident in her collection of gold and silver jewellery worth Rs 3.74 crore. She also has a share in a Sector 17 showroom worth Rs 5 crore and a share worth Rs 7.84 crore in her ancestral property in Sector 8. She owns a house at Juhu in Mumbai, which is worth Rs 3 crore.

Model-turned-politician Gul Panag’s owns a Hero Honda and a Moped while her husband owns a Royal Enfield and a BMW bike. Gul Panag also owns an Audi Q 5 and two multi-utility vans.

Gul has invested in real estate and has shares in eight residential properties, including flats in Noida, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai. She owns jewellery worth Rs 18.26 lakh.



PU students refuse to budge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The Panjab University (PU) authorities attempt to defuse the crisis by roping in a former Vice-Chancellor, Prof KN Pathak, failed as the students continued with their dharna over fee hike for the third consecutive day today.

The former VC, along with two of the faculty members, had talked with two representatives of the Students for Society (SFS) for half an hour but the dialogue remained inconclusive. The students continued their protest after getting support from other student parties and the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC).

Today also, the protesting students got all the departments vacated and shut gate number 2. They pulled down the shutters of the shops on the university campus. Later, the shopkeepers protested their action.

Medical board examines students’ injuries

The issue of nine protesting students being allegedly assaulted by the Chandigarh Police on March 18 on Friday took a new turn with the Medical Superintendent of the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, Dr Vandana Gupta, constituting a medical board to examine the injuries inflicted on the nine students.

The board has been constituted on a request of the students. The board, comprising Dr Mandeep and Dr KS Bal, examined the students late evening. While a final report is yet to be prepared, sources confirmed there were bruises on the bodies of the students. No critical injury was found.

No complaint received, say police

Meanwhile, the UT police have not initiated any inquiry into the incident. The SSP, Sukhchain Singh Gill, rejected the allegations levelled by the students. “We haven’t received any complaint either regarding torture by the police in the lock-up,” the SSP added.

While joining back the dharna, the nine students alleged they were brutally beaten up by a constable in police custody. They demanded the cases registered against all the nine students should be quashed at the earliest and Malkit Singh, SHO of the Sector 11 police station, who was allegedly responsible for lathi charge on students, should be suspended.

Senate to take up PUCSC demand today

Dean, Student Welfare, Navdeep Goyal, will take up the matter at the senate meeting scheduled for Saturday. The PUCSC had submitted a memorandum to him, seeking a rollback in the fee hike.



PU stir: Communication gap to blame
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
A communication gap between the Panjab University authorities and the students' unions over the fee hike has turned out to be the main reason for the continued unrest on the university campus.

Former senators and members of the fee committee of the university find it strange that the issue that used to be resolved through dialogue in the past has now come out on roads exposing the alleged failure of the PU authorities in resolving the matter.

The intervention of police to force the students to end their protest has also garnered criticism.

Tarsem Bahia, a former PU senator and a former member of the PU Fee Committee, said he was surprised that students had to protest to press their demands to the Vice-Chancellor (VC) and his team.

"A large number of faculty members had told me that VC Arun Kumar Grover was inaccessible to the faculty and students for the last six months. If the VC had interacted with the students on the first day of the protest, the situation could have been better today. The Dean Student Welfare is also responsible for this situation," said Bahia.

Dr AC Vaid, another former PU senator who had also been the chairman of the fee committee for three years, said students should have been involved while taking a decision on fee hike.

PU former senator PS Sanga said the violence on the campus was the outcome of the intervention of political parties in the functioning of the university. Recently, the university had allowed political parties to organise events on the campus and now, students too have started getting involved in petty politics, he added.

No representation to students in decision-making bodies

The president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council, (PUCSC), Chandan Rana, complained that there was no representation of students in the decision-making bodies of the university such as the fee committee. He said they would submit a memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor and demand a fair representation to the council in the fee committee.


Finally, Kirron Kher has Dhawan on her side
Modi as PM more important than I becoming an MP, says Harmohan Dhawan after lending support to BJP nominee
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Putting an end to a three-day political drama which ensued the announcement of Kirron Kher as the BJP candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, former union minister and senior leader of the party Harmohan Dhawan today announced his wholehearted supported to Kher.

Yesterday, Kirron Kher and other BJP leaders had called on Dhawan, who was one of the strong contenders for the BJP ticket, to seek his support for the party’s election campaign but had returned empty-handed. However, during a meeting of his supporters and party workers at his Sector 9 residence here today, Dhawan owerHoweverHoweverHHDh asaaannouncedaaannounced that they will support Kirron Kher.

With today’s announcement, all the three top local BJP leaders — city unit chief Sanjay Tandon, ex-MP Satya Pal Jain and Dhawan — are supporting Kher.

Addressing his supporters, the former minister said everybody in the city was saying that Dhawan would win this time if the party gave him the ticket. But within the party, a conspiracy was being hatched against him and he was cheated, he claimed. “This time to make Harmohan Dhawan an MP is not necessary but to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister is important,” he said.

Dhawan said, “The BJP is our mother and we will not allow anyone to weaken her. This election is not about individuals but about the party and Narendra Modi.”

He appealed to his supporters to forget everything and support the BJP candidate. Dhawan’s speech was received with rounds of applause and slogans in his favour.

Kirron Kher, party leaders meet Dhawan

After Dhawan’s announcement, BJP candidate Kirron Kher, city unit president Sanjay Tandon and ex-MP Satya Pal Jain met him at his house. They thanked him for extending support to the party candidate.

With Dhawan comes support of BJP leaders in 22 UT villages

Dhawan along with Kirron Kher and other party leaders went to Khuda Ali Sher village where BJP leaders of 22 villages in the UT had called a meeting to decide on their future course of action. The leaders of these villages welcomed Dhawan’s decision and said they would now support Kirron Kher.

Rajnath, Jaitley call up Harmohan Dhawan

To appease Harmohan Dhawan, BJP national president Rajnath Singh and senior leader Arun Jaitely called up Harmohan Dhawan on Thursday night. Sources said Dhawan was assured that after the BJP came into power, he would get a ‘respectable’ position in the government.

Independent councillor to join BJP

On the call of senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan, an independent councillor in the Municipal Corporation, Gurcharan Kala, is all set to join the BJP. Kala, a former BJP leader and a Dhawan supporter, is likely to join the saffron party along with his supporters at a rally in Mani Majra on Sunday. Mani Majra has two municipal wards and around 1.25 lakh voters. Once Kala joins the BJP, both the councillors will be from the BJP. — TNS

Leaders speak

Harmohan Dhawan ji is my elder brother. Now, we will make joint efforts to win the Chandigarh seat for the BJP.~

Kirron Kher, BJP candidate

I was confident of Dhawan ji’s support and the BJP is united now.~

Sanjay Tandon, BJP city unit president

We will campaign together and will win as well. Every party worker will make efforts to win the Chandigarh seat for Narendra Modi.~

Satya Pal Jain, Former MP



Come home after winning, Anupam tells Kirron
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
‘Ab election jeet kar ghar aana’ (come home after winning the election), said Bollywood actor Anupam Kher to his wife Kirron Kher, the BJP candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, soon after she filed her nomination papers with the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer.

Kirron Kher turned emotional and hugged him at the DC office. While coming out, she thanked her husband for his support.

Speaking to TNS, Anupam Kher said he would keep visiting Chandigarh to campaign for his wife to ensure her win. “Due to work, I have to go back to Mumbai. However, I will visit the city to take party in Kirron’s election campaign,” he said.

On whether the city would see more Bollywood actors campaigning for Kirron, Anupam replied that he would not approach anyone to join the campaign, adding that if someone wished to take part in the campaign he/she was welcome. “Moreover, Kirron herself is a celebrity,” he said.

“It’s been around 28 years since we got married. I know her very well. She is a responsible woman and capable to serve the city if given a chance,” he added.



news analysis
Shot in the arm for BJP, challenge for Bansal
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The BJP got a shot in the arm today with former minister Harmohan Dhawan lending support to Kirron Kher, the party’s candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.

Dhawan, who is a popular leader in the city, particularly in colonies and villages which account for 3 lakh votes out of the total 6 lakh voters in the city, will also pose a challenge to the Congress candidate, Pawan Kumar Bansal. This when the sitting MP also has a significant vote bank in colonies and villages.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal had got 1,61,042 votes while BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain polled 1,02,075 votes. Harmohan Dhawan, who contested the election on the BSP ticket, had secured 61,434 votes. The sum of votes that Dhawan and Jain got in 2009 is 2,467 more than what the Congress candidate had polled.

Likewise, in villages and colonies, the combined voting share of Dhawan and Jain were more than that of Bansal’s.

With Dhawan’s support, the election campaign of the BJP candidate has got an impetus as he had fought for the rights of the residents of colonies and villages and the party can expect to better its performance in these areas.



Election Dept to deliver voter slips on doorstep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The UT Election Department will distribute the voter slip at voters’ doorsteps. There are around 6.05 lakh voters in the city.

Earlier, voters used to rely on the voter lists of the political parties, who erect their tents outside the polling booths.

UT Joint Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Tilak Raj stated that voter slips would be delivered at voters’ residences so as to assist them in casting their vote.

“The process to deliver the voter slip will start after March 22, once we are ready with the supplementary voter list,” he stated.

The Joint CEO further stated that the residents, who had applied for voter-ID card, would get it along with the voter slip.

Officials stated that those who have lost their voter-ID cards can cast vote by just showing their voter slips.

“Even if a voter doesn’t have any of these two documents, they can still cast their vote by showing their identity card. However, their name should be on the electoral rolls. Furthermore, a voter having the voter-ID card and the voter slip would not be able to cast the vote if his name does not figure on the votes list,” Tilak Raj said.



Students sensitised

Chandigarh, March 21
As a part of its voter awareness and motivation campaign, the Election Department held a poster-making and slogan-writing contest in Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, here today.

Over 65 students in the age-group of 13-18 years participated in the event, which aimed at sensitising students to the General Election-2014 and the value of the votes of their family members and relatives. — TNS



poll notes
Congress padyatra in Khuda Lahora

Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal carried out a Padyatra in Khuda Lahora village on Friday morning. The march was well received by the villagers who shouted slogans in favour of the party. Congress leaders and supporters apprised the villagers of the people-friendly policies of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the development works carried out by Bansal as MP.

AAP campaign

AAP candidate Gulkirat Kaur Panag started the day with a door-to-door campaign in Sector 41. She said, “My style of governance will not be the one where the constituents have the will of their own representative imposed on them. Every decision must have the mark of participation of the citizens concerned. Then only we will have a true democracy.”

Jannat meets residents of Faida village

BSP candidate Jannat Jahan carried out her door-to-door campaign in Faida village on Friday. Addressing residents, she said people know the anti-growth face of the Congress MP, Pawan Kumar Bansal. Jannat Jahan appealed to the villagers to vote for the BSP for the betterment of society. She alleged that the Congress was the mother of corruption and inflation. — TNS



Candidates chirp

Kirron Kher @KirronKherBJP

Thank you Chandigarh for a possibility of giving me a chance to serve you. The oath-taking ceremony while filing nominations was the 1st step.

Good morning Chandigarh! Today is the most important day of my life. I start my journey of serving the people of my city, officially. Win or not!

On my way to file nomination papers as the BJP candidate for Chandigarh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. As @AnupamPkher will say Jai Ho!

Gul Panag @GulPanag

And the day begins!! Yes.

Halla Bol !!!! #change4chandigarh

In the ring now. Nomination filed.

And it begins. #change4chandigarh #nomination



Ambala votes 2014
BJP campaigns alone as HJC focuses on Hisar
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune New Service

Panchkula, March 21
With the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) supremo Kuldeep Bishnoi filing his candidature from Hisar parliament constituency and denial by former Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan from contesting from Karnal Lok Sabha seat, a majority of the HJC congress leader and supporters have shifted their base from Panchkula.

The BJP candidate Rattan Lal Kataria, who had been enjoying full support of the HJC till Thursday, was seen addressing public meetings in Nariangarh and Yamunanagar in absence of his allies.

It is learnt that the HJC leaders were a little bit disappointed as the BJP leaders ignored HJC workers during a public meeting held in Barwala on Thursday.

The another factor is that Chander Mohan is having a strong hold in Panchkula and Kalka assembly constituencies so his loyalists are showing least interest in accompanying the BJP candidate Rattan Lal Kataria for his election campaigning.

Shashi Sharma, district president of HJC denied the reports and clarified that the party supporters were accompanying Kuldeep Bishnoi in Hisar where he filed him nominations today.

He made it clear that those who were away to Hisar will be back in Panchkula by the evening and join Kataria again. Sharma however, claimed that local party leaders accompanied Kataria during his campaign.

“Chander Mohan has given us standing instructions to assist Kataria wholeheartedly and ensure his victory,” claimed Sharma.

Vikas Paul, official spokesperson of the BJP, said the HJC leaders were canvassing with them after the BJP-HJC pact and apprehends that their rivals were spreading such rumours to mislead the voters.

Rajkumar of Cong to file nomination today

The Congress candidate from Ambala parliament constituency Raj Kumar Valmiki will file his nominations papers at Ambala tomorrow. Raj Kumar Valmiki inaugurated his office in Sector 9, Panchkula, this morning and addressed a gathering. He assured over all development of the district besides a new university and health care institution. He also listed the development works taken up during the Congress regime in last one decade. Later, DK Bansal held a meeting with the members of the Loading Four Wheelers Association, Panchkula, lead by Singhara Singh seeking votes for the Congress candidate.

BSP candidate visits Barwala

Better primary education, adequate basic civic amenities and uplifting of down trodden are BSP’s priorities.This was stated by the BSP candidate Kapoor Singh during his election campaign in the Barwala area today. He promised widening of the Yamunanagar-Saha-Ambala road, potable water to residents of Shivalik belt, better infrastructure in government schools and basic civic amenities in rural areas.

While addressing public meetings at different places, Kapoor Singh claimed that the Yamunanagar-Saha-Ambala road will be widened with in six months if he wins the election.

Abandoned by former MP, Kumari Sailja, the project to lay a railway line up to Ambala will be given shape while providing potable water in every kitchen in rural areas, especially in Shivalik belt, will be his main priority, assured the BSP candidate.

The party will leave no stone unturned to uplift the downtrodden, scheduled caste and backward class.

INLD, AAP candidates file nominations

Keeping it a low-key affair, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate, Dr Kusum Bala Sherwal, filed her nomination in Ambala on Friday. The party leaders and workers conducted ‘nukkad’ meetings with residents to seek their vote and support. Manoj Aggarwal, district chief of the party, said the election campaigning would be accelerated from Saturday. Aam Adami Party (AAP) candidate SP Singh also filed his nomination. He said during his campaign, he would expose the scams and scandals perpetrated by his rivals.



Sewage enters govt school premises

Mohali, March 21
A lot of inconvenience was faced by students and staff of Government Elementary School in Kumbra village here as water from an overflowing sewer entered the premises of the school.

When students came to the school in the morning they found that the filthy water had entered the building. Teachers had to hold classes in a building which was under-construction.

According to reports, the sewerage of the village was blocked for the past five years.

It is learnt that the village does not have a panchayat at present. The Panchayat Department has appointed an administrator in place of the panchayat. No efforts have been made to clean the sewer system to bring relief to the residents.

A case filed earlier by a former block samiti member in connection with alleged sub-standard sewer work in the village is pending in a court. — OC



P’kula Police use ‘kundi’ power
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 21
Panchkula's biggest police station in Sector 14 is getting the supply of power illegally. A kundi connection was found by the Chandigarh Tribune team, here today.

The police station was declared as a people friendly police station, the premises also consist of the police community hub and a conflict centre. The power for the entire building is being drawn directly from the main supply line. The electricity consumed by the building is the highest as compared to other police stations. Sources said that at least 10 kw are consumed by the building.

DS Dhanda, executive engineer, UHBVNL said, “I will send my team to the spot soon. If it is true, a case of electricity theft would be registered.”

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashwin Shenvi said ,"There is a temporary metre connection. We are in contact with the electricity department to convert it to a permanent meter.”

Chandigarh Tribune team found that a meter was installed but the supply was not being taken through it. Direct supply was withdrawn from transformer.

A police official deployed at the police station, on the condition of anonymity said, “The meter got burnt some time back and wasn’t functioning. Without light, it was difficult to work in the police station. But we will remove it soon.”



power tariff
City residents oppose proposed hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
City residents today opposed the power tariff hike proposed by the UT Electricity Department during a public hearing session organised by the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) here.

In a petition filed before the JERC, the UT Electricity Department had proposed a hike of 21 per cent in the power tariff.

The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) demanded that the transmission and distribution loss of electricity should be reduced to 5-7 per cent by enforcing the rules.

CBM president Charanjiv Singh said the unauthorised connections should be located and the offenders should be dealt with strictly so as to prevent huge losses. Further, due payments should be realised and the list of defaulters should be made public.

Advocate Ajay Jagga said the petition couldn’t be considered, as despite JERC directions, the accounts were not being prepared on commercial accounting principles. He sought adjournment of hearing as the model code of conduct was in force.

On Jagga’s demand, JERC chairman SK Chaturvedi clarified that the session was organised only after getting permission from the Election Commission. However, the decision taken on the basis of today’s hearing would be announced after the model code of conduct was withdrawn.

Gopal Joshi of the UT Powermen Union raised the issue of staff and material shortage in the Electricity Department.

Meanwhile, the Indian Citizens Forum objected to the decision of the Electricity Department to charge domestic rates from the consumers doing commercial activities at residential places. SK Nayar of the forum said the department was incurring heavy losses due to the decision.



Play to commemorate ideologies of Bhagat Singh
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 21
On the occasion of Martyrdom Day, a rich tribute will be paid to Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

The theatre wing ‘Kalakaar' of Hallmark Public School, Sector 15, Panchkula, will enact a play titled 'Gagan Damama Baajyo', by a well-known playwright Piyush Mishra.

The play will be rolled out at Yavnika Open Air Theatre in Sector 5, Panchkula, from 7 pm onwards on Sunday.

The voice of the 'sutradhar' in the play has been given by Jivtesh Garg, director, Hallmark Public School. Garg said, “Our young actors’ aim is at sharing with the youth the ideology of the Bhagat Singh. The play will replete with all the essential ingredients such as music and lights.”

The director of the play is Abhishek Sharma, who is a postgraduate from the Department of Indian Theatre, PU.


Artistes perform during a three-day festival at the Plaza in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Friday
Artistes perform during a three-day festival at the Plaza in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

250 artistes to take part in Octave 2014
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Folk cultures from north-east states were performed on stage during the cultural extravaganza ‘Octave 2014’ by the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC), Patiala, in Sector 17 today.

The three-day mega event was inaugurated by Governor Shiv Raj Patil. Around 250 artistes would be participating in the event.



Delay in conceiving can lead to Down Syndrome in children: Experts
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Delay in conception (after 35 years of age) is emerging as one of the leading factors responsible for Down Syndrome in children.

According to experts, monitoring the genetic screening centre for diagnosing genetic disorders in foetus, much before the birth of the child, it is not the prime cause and hence, can definitely be prevented.

In line with the national average of one child born with the syndrome per 800 newborns a year, the Genetic Centre in Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, found that 16 of total 21,000 pregnant women from city, screened in past 7 years, were at a high risk of diagnosis of Down syndrome in their infants.

According to the experts, timely conception (before 30 years of age) can prevent the disability in children and genetic screening can help parents know in advance about the possible deformities in their baby. The parents can then legally terminate pregnancy, said experts.

The GMCH-32 permits referral to the lone genetic centre facility, here, from all the government and private gynecologists. “The screening provides prevention-based approach, which in turn reduces socio-economic burden on the families,” said the UT Health Secretary, Anil Kumar.

In India, financial implications and inadequate resources leave no other option, but to terminate the pregnancy, said experts.

“Despite a lot of counseling, 16 women, whose babies bore symptoms of the Down syndrome, none could accept continuing with the pregnancy,” said the consultant in-charge, Genetic Centre, Dr Gurjit Kaur.

“A recent US-based study revealed that delayed conception is a common factor which generally gives rise to Down syndrome. But, in the west, pregnant women need not terminate their pregnancies, even after the diagnosis of the syndrome in their babies. All thanks to effective awareness,” said Dr BS Chavan, joint director, Regional Institute of Mentally Handicapped. Acceptability and lack of resources are yet to see the day of light in India, added Chavan.

What is Down Syndrome

It is a genetic disorder associated with delay in physical growth, characteristic facial features and intellectual disability.

What is genetic screening

Screening means testing healthy pregnant population to pick up those mothers who are at a higher risk of carrying abnormal babies.

When it is required and who needs it

All pregnant women must undergo this test to ensure that their babies are normal and healthy.

Meanwhile, on the occasion of the International Down Syndrome Day, the Regional Institute of Mentally Handicapped (RIMH) launched the Chandigarh Down Syndrome Society to support children, who have been diagnosed with the disease.

A total of 158 children affected with Down syndrome are enrolled in the programme currently. A medical check-up camp was also organised on the occasion and many games were also held for the special children.

“We will also maintain a record for the follow-ups,” said Dr BS Chavan, joint director, RIMH.



Stress leads to heart attacks in youngsters: Research
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
As per a research conducted by the PGIMER, 25 per cent of 127 patients with cardiogeinic shock (heart attack) were aged below 50 years. While the research emphasised on procedures to reduce mortality among those suffering cardiogenic shock, researchers also discovered that risk factors such as diabetes, stress, smoking and drug intake were prominent yet controllable causes of the problem in the young patients.

The research conducted by the Department of Cardiology, PGIMER, over the past three years, found that in 127 patients (suffering acute myocardial infarction), from across northern region, overall mortality rate was 54 per cent.

“We have seen patients as young as 20 suffering from heart attacks. Among youngsters, stress and excess calorie intake are leading factors responsible for the early onset of cardiogenic shock,” said the head of the Department of Cardiology, PGIMER, Dr Yash Paul Sharma, while addressing the mediapersons, here.

Common causes of heart attacks are- Irregularity in taking medicines, drug intake, high consumption of alcohol and smoking.

High calorie intake is also dangerous for health.

A doctor must be consulted immediately, if someone complains of regular chest pain, is a patient of hypertension (high BP) and has a problem of less urination.

Warning bells

A doctor must be consulted immediately, if someone complains of regular chest pain, is a patient of hypertension (high BP) and has a problem of less urination.



VYOM 2014 kicks-off

Chandigarh, March 21
Hundreds of college students participated in VYOM 2014 at the PEC University of Technology. The UT Technical Education, secretary, Sarvjit Singh, inaugurated the technical festival.

An interactive session by renowned Mumbai dabbawala’s on the entrepreneurial idea of the best delivery system in India was also organised on the occasion. Another invitee Nek Chand shared his experiences with students. — TNS



pu notes
Applications invited

Panjab University (PU) has invited applications for the BA/BCom LLB (Honours) five years integrated courses at the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) and it’s regional centres at Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana. PU spokesman said the prospectus and application form for the entrance test is available on the website http://uglaw.puchd.ac.in/. Interested students can apply till April 25. The entrance test will be conducted on May 18.

Students of Allen career institute get fellowship

Hardik Verma, who is appearing for his Class XII boards examinations and is being mentored by the Chandigarh Centre of Allen Career Institute, has bagged top rank in the tri-city and 17th rank in the All-India In Award of Fellowship, under the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) being run by the Indian Institute of Science and funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. Nine students of Classes XI and XII trainees of the Chandigarh branch of Allen have also been granted the fellowship.

Desh Bhagat Radio wins special jury award

Chandigarh-based Desh Bhagat Radio was given the special jury award, in the category of community engagement award, for its campaign, 100 hours-no drugs in September. The campaign was supported by the Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, who gave the opening message of the campaign, and the UT Administration, with Home Secretary Anil Kumar concluding the 100-hour live on-air campaign. Dr Zora Singh, chairman, Desh Bhagat Radio, said he believes in quality work. — TNS



school notes

Chandigarh: Students of Banyan Tree School participated in the Cybolympiad organised by the Edusoft IT Solutions. The contest had two levels. The top six students qualified for the second round. Sommya Soni of Class VII was presented a portable media player for his outstanding performance in the second level of the contest.


Zirakpur: On the concluding day of the final examinations, students of Classes VII and VIII of St Joan Public School, Zirakpur, were taken to the Horticulture Garden, Panchkula, for recreation. Beautiful flowers and the flowing Ghaggar made the trip refreshing. “Such activities refreshes the minds of students,” said a teacher.

Teddy Bear day

Mohali: The junior wing of Ashmah International School celebrated the Teddy Bear day with fun and frolic on the school campus. To make the event memorable, a formal invitation was sent to students who came in attractive and bright dresses. The party hall was decorated with beautiful ribbons, balloons and festoons. Students enjoyed the event up to the hilt. Their excitement reached the height when they received return gifts. — TNS



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