C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bal Niketan shame
Of 15 complainants, 13 backtrack
Say they were never harassed by the supervisor; signed complaint under pressure from child helpline
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The molestation case against Manish Kumar, supervisor of Children's Home for Girls (earlier Bal Niketan) in Sector 15 here, has taken a curious turn with 13 of the 15 complainants distancing themselves from their previous statements that had led to the registration of an FIR against the supervisor.

In handwritten letters submitted to Amar Kulwant Singh, the then honorary secretary of the society which runs the home, the girls alleged that they were pressured by the child helpline to sign the original complaint, while the fact was that the supervisor never misbehaved with them.

The fresh statements submitted to the former honorary secretary of the society in the second week of April now form part of the police investigations. The statements have also been submitted to the Chandigarh Commission for the Protection of Child Rights.

Incidentally, the statements have not been submitted to the child helpline that initially probed the matter followed by an inquiry by the UT’s Social Welfare Department that ultimately led to the registration of the FIR.

While three handwritten letters were addressed to the former honorary secretary of the Bal Niketan Society on April 10, another letter was written by one of the complainants on April 23 regarding the incident.

What the letters state

In the first letter signed by five inmates (four of whom are complainants) of the home on April 10, they said, "We are orphans and have been residing in this home for seven to 11 years, but sir (Manish Kumar) has not done anything wrong with us. He always treated us like a father and never viewed us with wicked eyes. Whatever we had stated earlier should not taken as our true statement and this letter should be considered as a fresh statement”.

In another handwritten letter sent by seven inmates (four of whom are complainants), they said, “We have been residing in this home for the past eight years and sir (Manish Kumar) never misbehaved with us. The statement which was given to the child helpline representatives had been made under pressure and sir should not be thrown out of the job."

In the third handwritten letter sent by 10 inmates (nine of whom are complainants), they said, “We have been residing in this home for long and sir (Manish Kumar) has never misbehaved with us or done anything wrong to us. The statements recorded with the child helpline were given under pressure and sir should not be thrown out of job as he treated us like his own kids”.

In the fourth letter, one of the inmates and her elder sister, who used to live in Bal Niketan earlier, have submitted their statements in favour of Manish Kumar. Both have mentioned that Manish Kumar always behaved with them like a father and they were provided family atmosphere.

On April 23, one of the complainants wrote another letter to the former honorary secretary stating that Manish Kumar, along with his wife Meena, took good care of the inmates. The complainant stated that on April 2, when all inmates were attending school, two women of the child helpline came to their classroom and instigated them against Manish Kumar.

When the inmates refused to say anything against him, the women started pressuring them and asked them to sign on a paper to support the main complainant, an inmate of Bal Niketan.

In the letter, the inmates mentioned that none of them went to the police to lodge a complaint as nothing had happened in the home.

The chairman of the Child Welfare Committee, Father Sebastean Jose, said he had received the letters, but these were meant for his information only and were not be forwarded to anyone.

The chairperson of the Chandigarh Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, Prof Devi Sirohi, refused to comment on the letters stating that she had received these today only.

Col Ravi Bedi, director of the child helpline, said the helpline had perfomed its duty by raising the issue. He said representatives of the child helpline went to the school to dig out the truth and they had submitted their report to the Social Welfare Department for further action.

Former honorary secretary of Bal Niketan Society Amar Kulwant Kaur said all letters submitted to her by the inmates had been forwarded to the police and the child commission.

UT Social Welfare Department Director Rajesh Jogpal said he was clueless about any such letters having been written by the inmates.

Parents' letter

Nine inmates of Chandi Kusht Ashram in Sector 47, who were earlier residing in Bal Niketan, had also sent a handwritten letter the society representative on April 10.

In a letter, they stated, “We are inmates of Kusht Ashram and were in Class V when sir (Manish Kumar) joined his job at Bal Niketan. We passed Class XII from that home and sir (Manish Kumar) always behaved with us like a father and guided us whenever we needed assistance."

The parents of three inmates wrote on April 6 that they did not any complainant against Bal Niketan and their children were safe there.”

The case

On April 22, the UT police booked Bal Niketan supervisor Manish Kumar under Sections 354 and 354 A of the IPC, and Section 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Besides, the role of two women caretakers, Manjeet and Meena, is also being investigated for alleged negligence.

Girls had submitted a written complaint at the public window of the Police Headquarters against the supervisor. The girls had complained that they were sexually assaulted, beaten up, tortured and intimidated by the supervisor.

Findings of the Social Welfare Dept committee

The four-member committee found that the complaints were genuine. “Manish Kumar used to sexually harass the girls. They complained to the caretakers, Manjit and Meena, about it, but no action was taken on their part, which shows insensitivity towards the inmates and negligence of duty. Manish Kumar used to hug and touch the children intentionally and used to often come to their dormitories when they were alone. He has been committing the crime with the girl inmates of the shelter home for the past many years," the report stated.


  • April 2, 2014: Child helpline receives a phone call regarding alleged molestation by Bal Niketan supervisor Manish Kumar. Team visits school to meet inmates
  • April 3: UT Social Welfare Department constitutes a four-member committee to probe the matter
  • April 16: Committee report sent to the UT Deputy Commissioner
  • April 22: FIR lodged against the supervisor
  • April 24: Manish Kumar arrested. Complainants asked to shift to Snehalaya for security reasons; lock themselves up in the dormitory
  • April 25: UT Social Welfare Department takes over the management of the Bal Niketan Society and changes its name to Children's Home for Girls.



Expansion of IT Park
Acquire 272 acres, says parliamentary sub-committee
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
While the Supreme Court had quashed the acquisition of land for Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park, a parliamentary sub-committee has now recommended the acquisition of another 272 acres for the expansion of IT Park.

Members of the Sub-committee on the Administration of Union Territories of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, in their recommendations submitted to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), have submitted that the acquisition of another 272 acres for the expansion of IT Park should be completed and the allotment done.

“Infrastructure such as roads, sewerage and drainage should be developed along with the development of housing and office space in IT Park and every step and caution should be taken to see that Chandigarh is not converted into a smoke-emitting concrete jungle,” the committee has recommended.

The MHA has forwarded the report of the sub-committee to the UT Administration and sought its reply.

UT Adviser KK Sharma said directions had been issued to the department concerned to prepare a reply in this regard which would be submitted to the MHA.

The Supreme Court, in two orders issued in October 2012 and July 2013, had quashed the acquisition of land for the expansion of IT Park by the Administration. The land acquisition process, which was quashed, included the land of Flying Sikh Milkha Singh.

Admn had started acquiring land during General Rodrigues' term

During the tenure of a former UT Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd), the Administration had started acquiring land for IT Park, Phase III. The notifications to acquire 272 acres were issued in June 2006, August 2006 and February 2007. The special audit by the MHA raised objections to the land acquired for the third phase and submitted a report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The landowners moved court, but in March 2011, the HC rejected their petitions. They then moved the Supreme Court, which on October 12, 2012, quashed the acquisition of land for the expansion of IT Park.

IT Park houses 50 companies

IT Park currently houses at least 50 companies, including IT giants Infosys and Tech Mahindra, which have nearly 17,000 employees. To create an IT-friendly environment, the Administration had invested more than Rs 100 crore in the park, besides giving additional benefits such as exemption from value-added tax, central sales tax, electricity duty, stamp duty and property tax.

What SC said on land acquisition process

A Bench of Justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya, in its order in October 2012, had held that the land acquisition process was conducted in a “casual and mechanical” manner, giving legal provisions meant for protecting the interests of farmers, small landholders, agriculture, environment and ecology the go-by. The Bench noted that the Chandigarh Administrator was the sole authority that could acquire land on behalf of the Union Territory and no other officer “is competent to exercise the power” under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, and the Land Acquisition (Companies) Rules, 1963. However, he delegated his power to the Adviser, the Bench had said.



Left in the dark by storm, 1,250 called up power helpline
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
With the UT Electricity Department finding it difficult to restore the power supply to many sectors after the storm last evening, as many as 1,250 city residents called the department helpline during the past 24 hours.

According to officials, of the 1,250 complaints, a majority of the calls were from southern sectors. Residents were upset with the "slow efforts" of the staff in restoring the power supply.

The figure of the calls could have been more as a number of residents complained that every time they called up, the number was busy. Besides, the department also received complaints at its 14 sub-complaint centres, which were around 500 in number.

Seema Bisht, a resident of Sector 39-C, said last night her husband had dialled the helpline number several times, but every time it was busy. She said in her sector, the power supply got disrupted at 6 pm yesterday and was restored at 7 am today.

Jayant Singh, a resident of Sector 28-C, said in his sector, there was no power from 7 pm yesterday till 10 am today.

"The power staff only cater to the calls made by residents of VIP sectors," he alleged.

Due to the power outage in various parts of the city, traffic signals did not function, leading to a chaos on the roads.

UT Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh said their staff worked hard to restore the power supply in almost all sectors by this morning. Due to the storm, power supply lines got damaged, which were repaired at the earliest, he said.

Helpline also caters to complaints regarding monkey menace

Helpline No. 0172-4639999 not only caters to complaints related to the Electricity Department but also to complaints regarding the monkey menace and burning of dry leaves. There are three lines on this helpline number and three attendants take calls. They then inform the area official concerned about the problem.

Power Dept ailing

In spite of the fact that after every storm, power supply lines get damaged in the city, the UT Electricity Department has hardly done anything to overcome this problem. There is no coordination between the UT and the MC over regular pruning of trees near the power supply lines. There are 14 complaint centres in the city, but the department has just four vehicles fitted with boom ladders. Besides, the department is grappling with an acute shortage of material, making things difficult for the staff.

According to official records, 176 items are listed in the stock register maintained by the department, most of which are out of stock.

Among the unavailable material are basic items such as meters, cables, insulators, tube-holders and starters.

Criticising the department for its "lax attitude", UT Powermen Union general secretary Gopal Dutt Joshi said, "How can the department expect us to deliver when the staff are not provided with even basic items?"



Road rage: Youths thrash bus driver
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 5
In a case of road rage, a bus driver suffered serious injuries when he was allegedly thrashed by six youths after he applied sudden brakes near the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, here late last night, resulting in a collision.

The victim, Ashok, who was driving a Himachal Roadways bus, suddenly stopped the bus due to poor visibility during heavy rain following which an Accent car rammed into it from the rear. The car-borne youths, who were in the age group of 18 to 22, got down and allegedly thrashed the driver.

According to the police, all of them seemed to be from well-off families. The Accent bore a Punjab number.

The police have registered a case under Sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from performing his duty), 353 (assault or use of criminal force), 186, 279 (rash driving), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 149 of the IPC against the youths, who fled after the incident.

Inspector Malkiat Singh, SHO of the Sector 5 police station, said the accused would be arrested soon.

One of the passengers called up the police, but by the time they reached the spot, the youths had fled.

The victim was taken to the General Hospital. The police had to call a separate roadways bus to ferry the passengers.

“They came and pulled me out of the bus.

They did not allow me to speak and started beating me up,” the victim told the police.

He said due to the bad weather, the visibility was poor as a result of which he had to apply brakes.

The police said the front portion of the car got badly damaged following which the youths thrashed the driver.



Storm aftermath
Close shave for businessman’s family
SUV gets stuck in waterlogged underpass near CTU workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
A Chandigarh-based businessman, Gagan Chhabra, and his family had a miraculous escape when their Mercedes Benz SUV got stuck in a waterlogged underpass near the CTU workshop in the Industrial Area, Phase I, here last night.

In the absence of any warning sign by the municipal corporation about the depth of water and barricading, he drove through the waterlogged underpass only to realise that his vehicle was half in water. Gagan was on the way home after watching a movie at Elante Mall in the Industrial Area.

Before any help could come his way, he somehow managed to push himself, his wife, Harleen, and two daughters, Maima and Naisha, out of the open windowpanes of the vehicle.

“We had a dreadful time as there was no help around. The streetlights were also not functioning,” he said.

Ironically, the spot lies on one of the busiest roads leading to the Chandigarh railway station. The MC has made no arrangements to warn road users about the danger of driving through the waterlogged road. No official of the MC or any PCR vehicle was stationed there to guide the road users to take an alternative route.

Making matters worse, a broken transformer and an open junction box were lying on the road berm, precariously close to the waterlogged section of the underpass.

A call made to the police control room got a response that the traffic police could help him. But before the police help could arrive, officials of the Mercedes Benz helped Gagan in retrieving his SUV.

MC Chief Engineer Mukesh Anand said he was aware of the problem and they had a plan to augment the storm water drain to check the waterlogging at the underpass.

Interestingly, the MC has spent lakhs of rupees to check waterlogging, but to no avail.


Better Chandigarh
Dispensaries only in name, say city residents
A substantial decrease in the number of patients visiting the OPDs at dispensaries has been witnessed over the past one year. Staff shortage, unhygienic environs, power outages and low water supply have severely hampered health services at the facilities.
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The uneven distribution of powers — for managing a majority of civic dispensaries in the city — between the Municipal Corporation and the UT Health Department has affected health services at a majority of dispensaries.

The staff, managing the dispensaries, are at the receiving end as both the authorities concerned keep passing the buck about their responsibility.

A day after the stark contrast between the dispensaries — jointly handled by the UT Administration and MC and those maintained purely by the Administration — was highlighted, Chandigarh Tribune sought suggestions from patients and local councillors to improve the present state of affairs at these centres.

The problem

The UT Administration while shifting the responsibility of providing hardware and basic items and maintenance of dispensaries to the MC, kept the control of doctors’ salaries, power supply and medicines with itself, leaving the MC toothless.

Also, out of 21 dispensaries, the complete charge of four-five dispensaries has been retained by the UT Health Department.

The condition of dispensaries has gone from bad to worse ever since the Municipal Corporation took over its maintenance in 2010.

This has also exposed its ‘failure’ in delivering the basic health services.

The Chandigarh Administration is equally to blame as it has also ‘failed’ to transfer the functioning of the dispensaries from the Health Department to the civic body.

This has led to a substantial decrease in the number of patients visiting the OPDs over the past one year.

A host of problems plaguing the dispensaries include unhygienic environs, power outages, low water supply, thefts and erratic supply of medicines.


  • Only one authority should take charge of all services.
  • Nodal officer should be appointed for co-ordination between the authorities and dispensary staff.
  • Regular inspections should be carried out.
  • During shortage of medicines, notices and names of alternative health centres should be displayed.
  • Helplines should be set up for registration of complaints.


Such problems are bound to happen when two different agencies are involved in the management of services. Until the complete control of services is with the MC, how can it work independently and effectively? Right from the rank of doctors to the purchase of medicines, the entire state of affairs should be handed over to the MC. Patients should not suffer.

— Mukesh Bassi, councillor

What the health secretary says

The supply of medicines is the responsibility of the Health Department. Maintenance is another major aspect and it already lies with the Municipal Corporation. When there are adequate funds, I don’t think there should be any confusion among organisations about the respective roles.

— Anil Kumar, UT Health Secretary


Rather than improving, the condition of dispensaries has worsened in the past three years. Instead of dividing the roles, the powers should have either been given to the MC or retained by the UT Administration. Sample collection counters should also be set up to save the time of patients.

— Raman, resident of Sector 25

The shortage of medicines is a major problem at the dispensaries and has become a regular feature. Water shortage is another issue plaguing it. Often we are asked to bring our own water from home. The staff expresses its helplessness in ensuring better services.

— Gita, resident of Sector 25

Since the services relate to health, I feel the maintenance and entire responsibility of dispensaries should remain with the health authorities. This is the only solution for improving the present state of affairs at the dispensaries.

— Vishavjit, resident of Dhanas



Major relief for industrialists in city
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
In a major relief to city industrialists, the parliamentary panel has agreed to the long-pending demand of converting industrial sites from leasehold into freehold. The Sub-committee on the Administration of Union Territories of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs in its recent report submitted to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has recommended the conversion of Industrial plots from leasehold into freehold.

The committee also stated that the demand of the industrialists should be ‘considered appropriately’.The move will affect owners of 1,540 industrial sites of different sizes in the Industrial Area, Phase I and II.

The recommendation is opposite to the recent decision wherein the UT Administration had stated that a proposal for the conversion of the industrial sites from leasehold into freehold has not been found feasible. A committee, under the chairmanship of UT Adviser KK Sharma, had taken the decision.

Now, the UT will have to submit their reply on or before May 10 to the MHA on these recommendations.

At present, almost 50 per cent of the plots in the Industrial Area are freehold, while the remaining are leasehold. Most industrial plots have either changed hands on the basis of the power of attorney or are under litigation due to family disputes over division, causing revenue loss to the UT Administration. The industrialists believe that allowing the conversion of industrial sites from leasehold into freehold will help industrial units grow.

Mukesh Bassi, Member of Industries Association of Chandigarh and MC Councillor said the committee’s recommendations would be beneficial for the industrialists of the City Beautiful, as they were demanding conversion of the leasehold industrial plots into freehold on the pattern of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. They are hopeful this time that the Administration will consider these recommendations, he said.

Other important recommendations

Proper Implementation of MSMED Act, 2006

The MSMED Act, 2006, should be implemented in the UT properly and more activities should be allowed in the industrial area by proper implementation. The UT Administration should implement the Act in letter and spirit. Notices issued to industrialists for misuse should be withdrawn.

Implementation of industrial policy

The UT Administration should take immediate action to notify the draft Industrial policy, which is under process.

Reduce misuse charges

The UT Administration should undertake downward revision of the misuse charges of Rs 500 per sq. ft. per month on a priority basis and notify the same at the earliest.

Allow automobile service stations

The committee is not convinced with the stand taken by the UT Administration. The committee therefore recommends that the UT Administration should reconsider its decision and allow automobile service stations in the Industrial Area.

Allow warehousing units

If the warehousing units are complying with the fire and safety norms, then there should not be any problem in allowing them to function in the Industrial Area. The suggestion may be reconsidered.



Long queues irk power bill payers
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 5
Electricity bill payers had a harrowing time standing in long queues in the sweltering heat at payment counters at the main office of Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) in the industrial area here today.

Consumers waiting in queues, some of them for almost two hours, expressed resentment against the PSPCL authorities for their miserable plight. The lines extended well outside the small queue shelters in front of the counters, compelling a large number of persons to stand in line in the sun. Even the old fans in the queue shelters were not working and people had to sweat it out in the hot weather.

Some agitated consumers crowded into the office of the SDO (Commercial) asking him to increase the number of payment counters, but to no avail.

At one of the counters, some bill payers were heard shouting “back-door entry band karo” after they saw that some bills were being cleared by officials on duty of persons who were not standing in the queue.

Sohan Singh, a resident of Phase X, here, said he had come all the way to pay his power bill in the industrial area as other payment collection centres near Phase X were not functioning.

He said he had shifted to Mohali in 1988, when people used to stand in long queues to make bill payments. Nothing much seemed to have changed over the past 25 years as even today he had to stand in a queue for about two hours to pay his power bill.

The authorities were not bothered about the convenience of consumers, he added.

Inder Virmani, another resident of Phase X, said he had received his power bill about three days ago and came to make the payment to avoid the rush that was generally seen when bills were paid near the last date for payment.

He said he came around 11.45 am but feared he might have to go back as it would not be possible to make the payment today seeing the number of persons in the queue.

A resident of Phase III B1, Jagir Dass, said he had to wait in the queue for about an hour-and-a-half to pay his bill. The fans installed in the queue shelter were not working and people were having a hard time in the sweltering heat.

SDO (Commercial) Jaspal Singh said there were holidays during the past five days that had led to an increase in the number of persons who came to pay their bills. When asked why fans in the queue shelters were not working, he said he would look into the matter.



Mend your ways, Mohali DC tells govt officials
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 5
Miffed over the lackadaisical attitude and growing complaints of shirking duty against several government officials, Mohali Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu cautioned the entire government staff to mend their ways.

Summoning every rank and file from various departments in an emergency-called meeting, Sidhu said he was getting complaints on a regular basis about harassment of the public at government offices.

“I cautioned you all, either mend your ways or be ready to face the music”, said Sidhu while issuing warning to the officials present in the meeting.

He said the complaints regarding public harassment, dereliction of duty and bribery would be taken seriously.

He also warned those officials who used to reach their offices late. “I would take action not only against the erring officials but also against their branch head,” said Sidhu.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Sidhu admitted that several government officials were not taking their work seriously.

“I have been getting complaints in this regard so I called a meeting,” said the DC.

Now onwards, surprise checks would also be conducted in various departments, he added.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Parveen Kumar Thind, SDM Lakhmir Singh and District Development Panchayat Officer GS Sarao were among the other senior functionaries who were present in the meeting.



world asthma day today
‘Social stigma stops patients from using inhalers’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Even as the inhalation therapy is considered most effective form to treat and cure asthma, affluent and educated classes shy away from using inhalers openly due to social stigma. The dependence on oral steroids instead has been resulting into side-effects, say pulmonary experts here.

On the eve of the World Asthma Day, city doctors came together at an event to sensitise people to early diagnosis of asthma and the right treatment to control the condition. The event was organised by a private pharma company, which launched a website for providing information on chronic conditions like asthma.

Asthmatic patients not receiving the right treatment ran the risk of attack that often required hospitalisation and could be life-threatening too, they said.

Inhalation therapy, the most-effective treatment for asthma is available in India at a price as low as Rs 4 to Rs 6 per day, which meant that a year’s supply of medicine was less than the cost of a night-long admission in a hospital.

“However, the tendency of not using inhalers publically is very common among patients belonging to the middle to high-class families. Parents fear that their asthmatic kids may get addicted to inhalers. It is a myth,” said Dr SK Jindal, former Head, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, PGIMER.

Dr Meenu Singh from PGIMER’s Advanced Paediatric Centre said, "There is an immense fear associated with words 'asthma' and 'inhalers'. The inhibition restricts the correct treatment for the disease. At times, doctors find it difficult to convince the patient to use inhalers and therefore, use an alternative term for 'asthma' like 'bronchial spasms' or 'wheezing cough'. Further, a doctor might have to prescribe oral tablets to ensure that patients do not give up entirely on the treatment due to fears associated with inhalers.”

For awareness, govt doctors bank on pvt firms

In what can be termed as a result of lack of financial support from the PGIMER in holding awareness programmes, PGI doctors are readily accepting offers from private pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturing companies for the purpose.

In the past three months, three PGI consultants were seen reaching out to public via campaigns, device launch and press conferences funded by private companies.

The private sector, meanwhile, is cashing in on the names of these popular consultants while promoting their services and products.

PGIMER official spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said, “As far as doctors are holding educational and awareness events, there is nothing wrong. Besides, the PGIMER does fund a number of symposiums off and on.”



Every 20th school-goer in tricity asthmatic: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
To mark the World Asthma Day, Max Super-Speciality Hospital (MSSH), Mohali, held a health talk on “how to identify and control asthma” at Manav Mangal School, Sector 21, here today. Around 200 students of Class X and teachers of Manav Mangal School attended the session.

Dr Arpinder Gill, senior consultant, MSSH, Mohali, said one in 20 school-going children in the tricity were suffering from asthma. In the recent years, there had been a global increase in the number of asthmatics, including children.

One of the basic causes of the disease was urbanisation and increase in environmental pollution, Dr Gill said. He added that it was essential to know that the attack could be seasonal, as even a breath of fresh air could turn one asthmatic if the pollen count in the air was high.

Dr Gill informed that the symptoms of the disease included congestion in the chest, coughing and wheezing.

Asthma could develop quickly and range from a mild discomfort to a life-threatening attack, he said.

He urged the school authorities to train some teachers along with the school health nurse or doctor who could provide first aid therapy in case a student faces an asthma attack.



freezers in mortuary go out of order
Hospital tells kin to bring ice slabs to preserve cadavers
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 5
The General Hospital authorities are asking the kin of the dead to bring ice slabs to preserve the cadaver as all the four freezers at the mortuary were out of order. For the last five days, the freezers are lying non-functional causing the bodies kept there to decompose.

The General Hospital is the only infirmary in Panchkula where mortuary facility is available.

Notably, the freezers had stopped working last year as well following which new freezers were purchased for around Rs 5 lakh. The new freezers giving up in just eight months after their purchase raise questions about their quality.

"My grandfather died a natural death a few days ago. We were already in a state of shock when the staff at the mortuary said we need to bring ice slabs otherwise the body would decompose," said Vidhu (name changed), a resident of Sector 11 here.

Since the freezers are not working at the hospital, the staff members have been asking the deceased's kin to try for getting the post-mortem done at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, Chandigarh.

"I have been shuttling between the GMSH-16 and the General Hospital, Panchkula. The staff at the GMSH tells me that the post-mortem will be done at the Panchkula hospital and when I come here, I am told that since freezers are not working, I should first ask the Chandigarh hospital if the body could be kept there," said Jyoti Sehgal, a resident of Sector 16, who lost her mother.

An official at the mortuary, wishing anonymity, said, "We have asked the higher authorities to get the freezers replaced."



Nurse to get national award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
A staff nurse working with the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, has been selected for National Florence Nightingale Award -2014 for her exemplary services.

The award carries Rs 50, 000, a medal and a merit certificate. It will be given away by the President of India on May 12 at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.

Kailash RM has been working with the Chandigarh Administration since 1989.

“She is dedicated, responsible and with her skill and knowledge, she takes care of patients. In case of emergency, she is even capable of leading a team,” read an official note from the Chandigarh Administration. She has contributed in upkeep and maintenance of equipment, instruments, sample collection, record keeping and manpower management .

The Chandigarh Administration acknowledged her services with Commendation Award on Republic Day 2013.



Villagers protest opening of liquor vend
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 5
Residents of Jagatpura village today blocked traffic on the main road in protest against opening of a liquor vend at the entry point of the village. The protesters, including several women, sat on a dharna in the middle of the road and demanded that liquor vend should be shifted immediately.

Amanjot Kaur Ramoowalia, chairperson of Mohali District Planning Committee, reached the spot and assured the protesters to take an appropriate step in this direction. Mohali Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu was also apprised of the situation.

Meanwhile, owing to the protest by villagers, the contractor did not open the liquor vend this evening.

“We will not allow the opening of liquor vend here on any condition,” said Sukhinder Singh, a former sarpanch of Jagatpura village.



Incompatible kidney transplants done at Fortis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Fortis Hospital, Mohali, conducted three kidney transplants wherein the blood groups of donors and recipients were incompatible.

Addressing mediapersons, surgical director of the incompatible kidney programme at Fortis Hospital Dr Priyadarshi Ranjan said the three incompatible kidney transplants in a row have given a new lease of life to Om Prakash, Saroj and Santosh.

Dr Ranjan conducted the surgeries around a month ago and the three patients are recuperating.



Admn told to set up dog pound in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court was today told that not even a single case of rabies has been reported in the city in the last four years. Taking up the matter hovering around the presence of stray dogs in the city, the Bench meanwhile directed the Chandigarh Municipal Commissioner to seek instructions from the UT Administration on setting up of a dog pound in the city.

For the purpose, Justice Rajan Gupta of the High Court has set Wednesday as the deadline.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, Municipal Corporation Joint Commissioner Rajiv Kumar Gupta informed the High Court about the steps taken by the corporation to control dog menace in the city.

In a detailed affidavit, Gupta claimed that 8,199 incidents of dog bites were reported in rabies vaccination clinic of Sector 19, Chandigarh, from January 2013 till April 2014. Out of the total incidents, 1,823 cases pertained to bites by pet dogs, while remaining 6,376 incidents pertained to bites by stray dogs.

He added 6,948 dogs in the last five years have been sterilised and vaccinated against rabies. He also told the court that the Administration has completely banned commercial breeding of the dogs in the city. Otherwise, on an average, 300 dogs were being vaccinated annually. The corporation also told the court that the MC had no policy or scheme to provide compensation to the dog-bite victims in absence of statutory mandate. “However, the MC, Chandigarh, is running rabies vaccination clinic which is providing free of cost treatment against dig bites through qualified medical doctors. One dog van with announcement system and 10 trained dogcatchers under the associated three NGOs,” it added.



Bal Sadan in P’kula inspected

Panchkula, May 5
As part of their ongoing inspection at the homes for the destitute after the Chandigarh incident, District and Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman of the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) RK Sondhi today visited Bal Sadan in Sector 12, Panchkula.

He enquired about the girls’ welbeing. Women panel advocates and advocate Manbir Singh Rathi also accompanied him. They interacted with the children there. Women advocates will be interacting with them daily. Sondhi also checked the security measures being taken at the home. He ensured the attendance of the children was being taken. — TNS



High drama at Sector 41 market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
A high drama was witnessed at the Krishna Market in Sector 41 here this evening when a team of UT officials, led by Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Shayin, reached the market on getting complaints that original allottees who had sold-off their booths had reached the market in the wake of an owner verification survey being done by the UT Estate Office tomorrow.

The DC, who was accompanied by SDM Kashish Mittal and Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Balbir SIngh Dhol, interacted with the shopkeepers.

The Estate Office is holding an ownership verification camp to verify complaints that a number of booths had been sold-off in violation of the allotment norms.

Some of the shopkeepers even objected to the verification drive by the Estate Office stating that it was a sheer harassment.



City records lowest maximum temperature in ten years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The city recorded the lowest maximum temperature of 34.4 degree Celsius in the last 10 years today, which is three notches below the normal. As per the records of the Met Department the reported temperature is between 40 and 44 degree Celsius in May in the past 10 years.

As per the met report the day and night temperature dropped from the normal due to 39 mm rainfall recorded in the last 24 hours. As per the Met Department, there are chances of partly cloudy sky tomorrow with maximum temperature touching 37 degree Celsius and minimum temperature 22 degree Celsius.

Met officials said that due to western disturbance the day and night temperature had dipped from the normal.

In the next two days there will be clear sky due to which there will be increase in the day temperature. The Met Department recorded 19.8 degree Celsius minimum temperature today.



Reappear ExamINATION
Students stage protest, seek re-examination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
High drama was witnessed outside the Director Public Instructions DPI (S) office, Sector 9, today as more than 100 students of Class IX — who did not clear a 
re-appear examination — demanded that they be given another chance to take the exam.

The students — studying in CBSE-affiliated government schools in UT — have not been able to score the minimum percentage required to qualify for Class X.

Accompanied by representatives of the CPI (ML) Liberation and All India Students’ Association, the students and their parents staged a silent protest outside the DPI (S) office.

A five-member delegation also submitted a written application to Deputy DPI (S) Chanchal Singh in this regard.

CPI ML leader Kawaljeet informed the Deputy DPI that the poor result of Class IX would adversely affect the number of school dropouts and hence, the department should find a solution to the problem.

Out of 158 students at Government School, Dhanas, only 47 students have passed the exam. Likewise, out of 133 students at Government School, Sector 30, only 30 students have passed, while out of 106 students at Government School, Sector 26, only two have passed the exam, said Kawaljeet.

The protesters ‘blamed’ the school authorities for the poor result. However, the Deputy DPI said, “The poor results are due to low attendance. During this time of the year, migrant labourers take their children to their villages and return in July. By then, a substantial syllabus has been covered,” added Chanchal.

A controversy emerged when the Deputy DPI stated, “Parents converse in Punjabi or Hindi at home, but their children study in English Model schools. As such, the students are neither comfortable in speaking English nor in their native language.”

The Deputy DPI’s remark flared a debate.

Navkiran, member of All India Students’ Association, said, “What about those students who want to study science or mathematics further. How will they cope up if they don’t have a strong foundation in English?”

Though the authority failed to give any justification for his remark, he assured the parents that a re-examination would be conducted by the end of this month.

The students of Senior Secondary School, Dhanas, alleged that they were not given special classes before the re-appear exam.

Meanwhile, the next meeting between the parents and the UT Education Department authorities is scheduled for Thursday.



2 new courses to start at GGDSD

Chandigarh, May 5
Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma (GGDSD) College will start two new courses from the academic session 2014-15. The college today received the UGC’s approval to run new vocational courses, including Retail Management and Food Processing and Preservation under the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

GGDSD is the only college in the city to get permission to run these courses.

A grant of Rs 1.85 crore has been allocated to run these courses. These vocational courses will equip students to gain employment on the completion of diploma, advanced diploma and three-year degree to be awarded by Panjab University, Chandigarh.

The eligibility for these courses is 10+2 in any stream with a minimum of 50 per cent marks. The number of seats allocated for each course is 25.

Principal Dr Bhushan K Sharma said the provision for multiple exit point will be provided to students. “After first year, a student will be awarded diploma, after second year, an advanced diploma, and after the third year, the student will get a Bachelor of Vocational Degree by Panjab University,” he added. — TNS



10 Rayat & Bahra students clear GATE
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 5
Ten students of the Rayat & Bahra Group of Institutes have cleared the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)-2014. The scores achieved by these students ranged from 710 with 99.29 percentile to 392 with 90 percentile.

The qualifying students were from the field of Mechanical Engineering. Amarjeet Singh scored 710 with 99.29 percentile, followed by Tajinder Walia with a score of 685 and 98.86 percentile.

As per information, a total of 10,33,625 candidates registered for GATE-2014 and 8,89,156 candidates appeared for the examination across the country.

Only 16.84 per cent of the candidates qualified for the examination.

GATE, a national-level examination, tests the comprehensive understanding of the candidates in various undergraduate subjects in engineering/technology/architecture and postgraduate-level subjects in science.



Hand Hygiene Day observed

Chandigarh, May 5
World Hand Hygiene Day was celebrated by the Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, PGIMER, at the Civil Dispensary and at schools here today.

The organiser of the event, Dr Ravneet Kaur, assistant professor at PGIMER, said painting and slogan-writing competitions were organised for the students of Government Model High School and Shri Guru Harkrishan Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 38-D.

Dr JS Thakur, additional professor, Community Medicine, and Dr Ravindra Khaiwal, assistant professor, Environmental Health, were the chief guests. — TNS



Employees serve notice on Education Department
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The UT Cadre Educational Employees’ Union has served a legal notice on the Director Public Instructions (schools) regarding teachers and employees of other states serving on deputation in the city.

President of the union, Swarn Singh Kamboj, alleged that in a gross violation of the norms laid down by the administration, the educationists from other states had been serving on deputation in the city for over a decade.

He further said due to the employees serving on deputation, the city’s own educationists were at the receiving end as no fresh recruitment or promotions had been carried out.



Phonics workshop for parents

Chandigarh: Tribune Model School organised a phonics workshop for the parents of the kindergarten section on its campus here today. The school authorities said the workshop had been organised to familiarise the parents with effective teaching and learning strategies associated with the concept of sound.

The workshop stressed upon the need to learn the letter programme for efficient reading, pronunciation and word building.

Founder’s day celebrated

A host of activities were organised at the annual fete of St John’s High School, held to mark the school’s founder's day today. The celebrations commenced with a prayer ceremony.

Various stalls, including food, face-painting, games, lucky dip, roll the ball, auction, chillies in the bottle and others, were set up . A large number of visitors thronged the ice-cream stalls to beat the scorching heat.

Student bouncers were deployed at various spots to avoid any untoward incident. The students were clad in all-black T-shirts, which were specially designed for the occasion.

Institute week at Sacred Heart School

Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, celebrated its institute week on the campus.

The event was organised to commemorate the 116th year of the school’s inception.

Various activities and competitions were organised throughout the week. A diary quiz was conducted for the students of Classes VI to VIII. A debate competition was organised for the students of Classes XI and XII. This was followed by a declamation competition for Classes IX and X.

An activity based on ‘best out of waste’ was also organized for Classes VI to X.

The winners of all the competitions were felicitated by school principal Nisha. — TNS



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