C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mehram’s killing
Residents question shoddy probe
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 9
Resentment is prevailing among city residents over the inability of the Mohali police in handling the kidnapping of six-year-old Mehram Singh Sandhu, at the same time questions are being raised on the shoddy investigations done by the police in the case.

"Had the police acted immediately after the child was kidnapped, his life could have been saved", feel the residents and kin of the deceased. Mehram's body was found buried in a garbage dumping yard at Sector 69 10 days after his kidnapping on October 28.

The day, when Mehram was kidnapped, the police was busy on VVIP duty as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was in the town the same evening and no official was available to listen to the complaint of Mehram’s family. The family was told to come the next day to file the complaint.

Notably, the FIR was only lodged when Mehram kin, including mother Harinder Kaur and grandmother Jaswinder Kaur, blocked the traffic on October 29 afternoon.

Exactly 10 days after the kidnapping, Mehram’s body was found buried in the dumping yard. In the 10 days, the police did not do enough to nab the culprits.

“Now, the Mohali police have been conducting search in various localities and villages to nab the culprit. Why didn’t they launch such drives before the body was recovered? Police inaction and negligence is evident and action should be taken against the erring officials”, said Bir Davinder Singh, former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Amar Singh, a neigbour, said, “Why didn’t the police prepare the sketch of the kidnapper immediately after the child was kidnapped?” He added that the body was found by a safai karamchari in the garbage dumpingyard which showed that the police did not search the deserted areas thoroughly during their combing operation, he added.

No negligence on part of the police: Mohali SSP

Refuting the allegations, Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti said that there was no negligence on part of the police. “We formed special teams to work out the case. The kin of the child told the police that they had doubt on the paternal family of the child. We rounded them up and did thorough investigation. At that time, safety of the child was of utmost importance to us, so we were quietly doing the job,” claimed SSP Bhatti.

Laidback police

  • Did not learn any lesson from Khushpreet case.
  • Did not register FIR on the day of kidnapping.
  • Did not question people in the locality to ascertain the appearance of the suspect.
  • Kept on waiting for the ransom call and focused only on the angle of alleged involvement of father behind his disappearance.
  • Did not carry out combing operation in the area.

Residents take out candle march

Around 500 residents of the area, including kin of Mehram Sandhu, held a candle march from Phase IX to the Phase VIII police station on Sunday evening. Holding the photograph of Mehram Singh Sandhu, his grandmother, Jaswinder Kaur, led the march to the police station, where they demanded immediate arrest of culprits.

Cops announce Rs 1 lakh reward

Still groping in dark, the Mohali police on Sunday announced ~ 1 lakh reward for providing information about the culprits. “The name of the person (who provided the information) will be kept a secret,” said SSP Bhatti.

MP visits Mehram’s house

Anandpur Sahib constituency MP Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra visited the victim’s residence on Sunday morning and extended his condolence to the family. He also directed the police to nab the culprits soon.

Medical report

The medical report confirmed that age of the victim was between five and seven years.



police inaction
Now, kin of missing P’kula contractor take to streets 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 9
Mehram’s kidnapping case has created panic amongst the kin of a kidnapped victim in Panchkula. After the Mohali police’s failure to trace the child who was later found murdered, the fear of the victim meeting the same fate has brought the kin of a kidnapped contractor on to the streets here today.

Over 200 persons barged into the Sector 20 police station this morning giving an ultimatum to the police to trace the victim, Shiv Kumar Sharma, a resident of Sector 20, else they would go violent. The persons alleged that despite giving leads the police, they were not working on it and waiting for the tragedy to happen.

Sharma had gone for some work in his Chevrolet Beat car on October 25. After three days, his car was found abandoned in the Sector 20 market.

When the Station House Officer, Inspector Surinder Kumar could not manage the mob, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sumer Pratap Singh reached the spot and checked the call details of the victim. Later, he pacified the mob by transferring the case to the Crime Investigating agency (CIA).

“The Panchkula police did not even bother to get the abandoned car examined from the forensic team. They did not even take the fingerprints which could have given clues about the kidnappers,” said Raj Kumar, a protester.

He added, “Do the police want Sharma to meet the same fate as Mehram.”

The wife and child of the victim sat with the agitators outside the police station.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the ASP said, “We have transferred the case to the top investigators in the district that is the CIA. The call details have already been taken out and we are working on the case.”

Family announces Rs 5 lakh reward

Apprehending that the Panchkula police may not be able to trace the contractor, the family has announced a reward of ~5 lakh to the person who gives information about his whereabouts. The RWAs and neighbours have contributed to the reward. 

Over 12 persons still missing in P’kula district

Over 12 persons still remain untraced in the district. In all the missing cases, after registering a kidnapping case, the police seem to have taken them lightly. 

Politicians cash in on the situation

Both BJP and Congress leaders were seen talking to the protesters at the spot. 

Missing links

  • Why didn’t the police get the abandoned car of the victim examined?
  • Why were the call details not examined?
  • Why were the persons working with Sharma not interrogated immediately?
  • Why were the neighbouring police stations not put on high alert?



Sant Rampal’s appearance in High Court
UT police tighten security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The Chandigarh Police buckled up their shoes anticipating large turnout of godman Sant Rampal’s followers in the city following his appearance in the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday.

As many as 5,000 police personnel have been deployed at the entry points to the city and railway station on Sunday evening in a bid to restrict the followers from reaching the city.

Sukhchain Singh Gill, SSP, UT, said that elaborate arrangements had been made to check the inflow of Rampal’s followers. “Rapid Action Force (RAF), paramilitary force, anti-riot force have been deployed to maintain law and order in the city”, the SSP said.

The forces from both the UT and Punjab have been called in to beef up security at all the entry points to the city. Sources said that well-equipped police personnel would lead the forces in case the mob got aggressive. 

Special security arrangements at rly station 

Around 400 police personnel of the Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) will be deployed at the Chandigarh railway station on Monday. Special staff have been deployed for checking tickets at the entry point of the station to avoid the entry of Sant Rampal’s followers. This has been done to avoid the stampede-like situation that happened during the last hearing in court. 18 Duty Magistrates 
on duty “Eighteen Duty Magistrates will be on duty across the city to maintain law and order. There will be no traffic diversion to ensure that normal life is not hit,” said MM Sabharwal, spokesperson, UT Administration. 

Two-tier security cover at HC

There will be two-tier security cover at the High Court to keep away the godman’s followers from reaching near the court premises. 



Two killed as car rams into auto
Mishap took place near Mani Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Two persons died while three others were injured after a recklessly driven car and an auto-rickshaw met with an accident at the Shastri Nagar light point near Mani Majra railway-level crossing, this morning.

The accident took place at around 6.55 am when the auto ferrying four passengers was on its way to Mani Majra. A Verna car coming from the IT Park side hit the auto.

The auto driver identified as Mahinder Singh (45) and one of the passengers Rohit Thakur (21) died in the accident while Satish Kumar (21), Ashish (19) and Rameshwar (60) were seriously injured.

The police said that Rohit died on the spot while Mahinder succumbed to his injuries at the PGI. The injured were also rushed to the PGI where their condition is said to be serious.

The car after hitting the auto rammed into the divider. The accused driving the car managed to flee from the spot leaving the vehicle behind.

Police sources said  eyewitnesses said around six-persons were travelling in the car at time of the accident. The car has a registration number of Punjab.

Deceased Rohit and his two friends who work at a restaurant in Sector 26 were on their way back to their rented accommodation in Mani Majra when the incident took place. Ravi Raj, a relative of Mahinder, said that Maninder was working as a security guard at a factory in Panchkula and he used to drive an auto as a part-time job. The police have impounded the car. The police have registered a case at the Mani Majra police station. 

3 seriously injured

The auto ferrying four passengers was on its way to Mani Majra. A Verna car coming from the IT Park side hit the auto. The auto driver identified as Mahinder Singh (45) and one of the passengers Rohit Thakur (21) died in the accident, while Satish Kumar (21), Ashish (19) and Rameshwar (60) were seriously injured.



Parking problem plagues PU campus
Around 10,000 vehicles turn up at varsity every day, reveals survey
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Around 10,000 vehicles, including two-wheelers and four-wheelers of staff, students and outsiders, turn up on the Panjab University campus every day, leading to parking problem. This has been revealed in a two-day survey conducted by the traffic committee of the university.

In the survey report of the committee, it was mentioned that the worst affected areas, which face parking problem almost daily, are Vice-Chancellor’s office lane and Arts Block 3, 4 and 5 lane. Faculty members, students and commuters face parking problems in these areas on a daily basis.

The traffic committee recommended that road berms near the departments of Vice-Chancellors office lane should be converted into a parking area as there is an adequate vacant space available outside the department.

Another recommendation of the committee is that a parking lot should be developed between Arts Blocks 1 and 2 for two-wheelers and four-wheelers.

The report will be tabled in the next traffic committee meeting, which is headed by Dean Student Welfare Navdeep Goyal.

In the report, the committee stated that if the parking area on the campus increases then there would be no need to earmark separate parking lots in the university.

Sources said no special recommendation was made by the committee in its report for separate parking area for outsiders.

Last month, a meeting was convened by PU Registrar GS Chadha in which it was decided that a survey should be conducted to monitor the inflow of vehicles on the campus so that separate arrangements could be made for the outsiders.

The sources said in the meeting, the officials were asked to earmark parking lots in the campus for faculty, students and outsiders.

In the meeting it was also decided that a survey should be conducted regarding the inflow of the outside vehicles on the campus and also of the residents.

On the basis of the survey, the area will be earmarked near the gate points on the campus for the parking of outside vehicles and make the parking more manageable here.



Literati 2014
Literature fest concludes on a high note
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The Chandigarh Lit Fest, Literati 2014, concluded with great pomp and show at the Lake Club here today.
The last day of the discussions covered a vast spectrum of ancient Buddhist art, defence writings, photographic archives and jamming notes. Hindi and Panjabi writers discussed the challenges that the new generation faces, their implications and the impact on the changing cultural norms.

Devapriya Roy, Gurpartap Khairah and Anita Rai shared their works and the process of writing in the session, “All Things Wise & Wonderful”. Young couples Saurav Jha and Devapriya Roy and Krishna Shastri Devalapalli and Chitra Viraraghavan exchanged notes on being married and yet engaging in the creative process with equal passion.

In another session, Lt Gen Parkash Katoch (retd), Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain, Saurav Jha and Suresh Gopal shared their views in the session “LoC: Defence Writings in India”.

Surjit Patar, Balwainder Grewal, Pali Bhupinder Singh and Atamjit Baldev Singh Dhaliwal shared their experience in the session, “The Great Disconnect: Punjabi Literature and Youth Today”.

The authors were all commendation for the ambience, meaningful deliberations and intelligent interaction with the Chandigarh audience. A number of authors announced that they would release their next books at the “Literati 2015”.

World famous art historian, photographer and documentary maker on the Indian ancient art Benoy K Behl took the audience to a tranquil visual treat as he unfolded the intricacies of the ancient Indian art dating back to 2nd and 5th centuries BC. Sharing the images that he photographed over months in Buddhist caves in the Ajanta and Ellora and painstakingly documented them, he described the high quality of art where fine detailing was exquisitely carried out by the artists at that time, which proves that they were highly evolved.

“The Chandigarh Literary Society (CLS) organised an essay-writing competition last month as a precursor to the Lit Fest, inviting entries from schoolchildren of the tricity. There was a good response and we received almost 40 entries from the students studying in the middle and senior classes on diverse topics given to them,” said Sumita Gupta, chairperson, CLS.

In the middle class segment (Class V to Class VIII), Aanya Bedi of Carmel Convent School bagged the first position, while Mani Shankar and Pranay Garg of DPS, Chandigarh, won the second and third positions, respectively.

In the senior section (Class IX to Class XII), DPS, Chandigarh, student Apala Mandal bagged the first position, while Shivam Sood and Nehel Gupta, students of the same school, bagged the second and third prizes, respectively.

The topics for essay-writing competition for Class V to Class VIII students were “whether students should be required to learn poetry” and “should a book-reading club be made mandatory for all schools”.

In the senior section (Class IX to Class XII), the topics included “English language skills should not be tested in exams like UPSC”, and “it is sometimes right for the government to restrict the freedom of speech”.



Musical play mesmerises audience

Panchkula, November 9
To celebrate the successful completion of its 20 glorious years, students of Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 15, Panchkula, enthralled the audience with a mesmerising musical play – “Kahat Kabir”.

Eminent Sufi singer Mamta Joshi was the chief guest. Members of the Bhavan’s Management Committee were also present on the occasion. Bhavan’s annual function is a meaningful demonstration of innate values of human society.

“Kahat Kabir” depicts the ongoing strife between Hindus and Muslims, the bone of contention which plagues Indian society even now. Around 200 enthusiastic students participated and made the show a huge success.

Young students skilfully brought 120 years of this great sage’s life live on the stage. The highlights of his life like childhood, marriage, renunciation and developing into a saint kept the audience spellbound. The melodious recital of the famous “saakhis” of Kabir filled the entire milieu with sweetness.

The musical play ended with the universal message of saint Kabir that ‘love transcends all barriers of cast, creed and religion’. — TNS



Minor fire at PGIMER
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
A minor fire broke near the residential area of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) today afternoon.
The Fire Department received a call at around 2 pm today and one fire tender was sent to the spot from Sector 38 Fire Station.

The fire broke in woods around House Number 139 on the residential campus of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and was doused within a few minutes.

“No loss of life or property was reported from the spot,” said an official from the Fire Department.



Open House response
With ban in place, it’s time to enforce it strictly 
The Chandigarh Administration has directed all hotel and restaurant operators not to make customers pay the illegal service charge. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers what needs to be done to ensure that the customers are not taken for a ride.

Make consumers aware

To ensure that customers are not taken for a ride on account of service charge, it is important to make them aware. The Department of Consumer Affairs should take the lead in informing the people about the illegality of service charge, through public notices, carrying a helpline number, in print and electronic media. The affected people must approach the consumer forum by filing a complaint in this regard under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Ajay Jagga, Chandigarh

Proprietors will manipulate orders

As there are no fixed or standard charges for any dish served at restaurants unlike the MRP for other commodities, the restaurant owners will simply recover the service charge by enhancing the rates. Ultimately, the customers will have to pay and will remain a victim.

IPS Anand, Mani Majra

Service tax, too, needs to go

Not just the service charge, the service tax levied by the administration is also an unnecessary burden on the customers. The rates of the items served at hotels are too high to be afforded by a common man.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh

Finally, got rid of superfluous charge

Since the rates in menu cards of hotels are already very high, taking into account the services provided and the profit margin, inclusion of service charge in the bill is superfluous.

SC Luthra, MHC, Mani Majra

Start a helpline

The Administration must start a helpline number for customers to complain about the levying of service charge. The authorities must also direct all eateries to put up notices declaring that levying service charge is illegal.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh, Minhas (retd), Mohali

Constant vigilance must

While doing business, people should always be honest and fair. Constant vigilance on the part of government bodies and society is a must to keep a check on unfair trade practices of hotel and restaurant owners.

KC Rana, Chandigarh

Residents should become proactive

Very few people could differentiate between the service tax and service charge levied by hotels and restaurants till the Chandigarh Administration banned the service charge. Residents must come forward to lodge complaints with the authorities concerned in case they find service charge listed on their bill.

Ravinder Nath, Chandigarh

Put up public notices

People must be made aware of the fact that the service charge, which they are compelled to pay, is illegal. The Administration should put up notices informing this at the entrance to all eateries.

SL Khera,Chandigarh

Department hand in glove

The Excise and Taxation Department officials must be knowing about the levying of service charge, but failed to check this practice for so long for reasons best known to them. Although, the slip of computerised billing that the consumer gets has service charge listed on it, the proprietors might be removing it from the system at the back end.

Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

Enforcement came too late

The UT Administration has rightly cracked the whip on eateries levying service charge on customers for the “food served on the table”. This illegal practice has been going on for many years despite the orders against it in 2006.

RK Kapoor, USA

Refund charged amount

Service charge can only be charged with the authority of law. Hitherto, the restaurants that have been illegally charging the tax on food service should refund the amount to the consumers.

Ajit Singh, Canada

Boycott defaulting eateries

Customer patronage plays a significant role in success of any hotel. Hotels may resort to dubious practices at their own peril. Mere avoidance by people can teach the desired lesson to errant hoteliers.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Five-star hotels continue to flout norms

The service charge on food served in hotels and restaurants is disallowed by the UT. Five-star hotels, however, are still charging service charge on the food served in their restaurant. This needs to be checked.

Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh

Appoint nodal officer

The Administration must appoint a nodal officer who can be contacted in case of the violation of law. Customers need to be more active in complaining against the violators. The laxity in not enforcing the law for the past eight years is a matter of concern.

Wg Cdr JS Bhalla, Chandigarh

Add a note to menu card

Restaurant owners might continue to flout the orders of the Chandigarh Administration unless these are enforced strictly. The proprietors must be made to add a note in this regard on the menu card besides displaying it prominently at the reception desk.

DS Banati, Mohali

Crack whip on exorbitant profit margins

The profit margin on food and beverages served in hotels is over 400 per cent. The margin in the non-vegetarian dishes is even higher. There is a need to check this by disallowing illegal charging of taxes.

Col RD Singh (retd), Ambala

People must be more vigilant

Many customers have no idea about the illegality of service charge levied on them. Some, despite knowing, ignore it as they do not want to waste their valuable time arguing on such matters. The customers should be more vigilant.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Customers deserve better treatment

The customer should be considered the king. A customer should only be charged for the food he purchases other than the taxes levied by the government. Levying of service charge should be stopped.

Aishwarya, Mohali

Cancel the licence

Following the ban, the Administration must take strict action against hotels and restaurants that levy service charge. The defaulters must be fined heavily and their licence should be cancelled if they still fail to shun the practice.

Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh

Court must intervene

Court must intervene to satisfy both the parties: eateries and customers. Till a final decision is taken, surprise checks must be carried out to catch the defaulters.

Pradyumn Gupta, Chandigarh

Book the defaulters

Most restaurants include the service charge in their bill. Most of us are not even aware of its illegality. A case must be registered against the company duping the customers of their hard-earned money. It is high time that local MP Kirron Kher intervenes.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Kudos to lawyers who raised the issue

The Administration had declared this practice illegal in 2006. But the authorities concerned failed to act. Kudos must go to the lawyers who raised this issue. Now, strict enforcement of the order must be ensured.

Vidya Sagar Garg, Panchkula

Introduce online help desk

It is apparent that defaulters have been enjoying the patronage of the Excise and Taxation Department. For an effective and efficient action against the defaulters, a helpline and web-based help desk should be introduced to enable the public to bring to the notice of the authorities any such case, along with the proof in form of a scanned copy of the bill.

Prabhpreet Kaur, Chandigarh

Publish notices in newspapers

The authorities must publish public notices in different newspapers warning the offenders of stern action, including the cancellation of their licence. The public must also act responsibly and not pay the service charge. People must submit written complaints along with the proof to the authority concerned.

SP Wadhwa, Mohali

Impose heavy penalty

To check this malpractice, the Administration should order all hotels and restaurants to display on their premises this message: “No service charge is levied on food items here”. In the event of non-compliance of the order, heavy penalty must be imposed.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Complaints still pouring in

This issue was first raised in the first VAT advisory committee meeting in 2012. There is great public anger and resentment against this unlawful service charge that must be stopped, as payment of “tip” is voluntary, not mandatory. After a lot of public pressure and media reports, illegal charges have been banned by the Administration, but still complaints are pouring in. The Excise and Taxation Department must take effective action to stop this unlawful trade practice in the interest of public.

Jagdishpal Singh Kalra, Chandigarh

Laws must not delay delivery of justice

There is a general perception that laws are made just to delay the process of delivery of justice to the law-abiding citizens. The million-dollar question remains: Why laws are enacted if they are not to be implemented? With a view to check the growing trend, the Administration needs to crack the whip on those found guilty of blatant violation of the order.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Recover the money for welfare projects

For the past few years, we have been silently paying a bit extra, in addition to the “tip”, whenever we visited a restaurant or a hotel. It now transpires that this extra bit — service charge — was cleverly used as a cover for additional profit. Hotels and restaurants should be penalised and made to deposit the service charge collected by them to date. The money collected can be used by the Administration and the Municipal Corporation for funding welfare projects.

Jai Singh, Chandigarh

Bring the practice to an end

The rates of vegetables have come down and are likely to come down further during the winter season. So, the profit margin of hotel and restaurant operators is bound to increase. Therefore, there is no need to levy the service charge.

Col Balbir Singh (retd), Chandigarh

Hoteliers made lakhs by levying service charge
Rajmeet Singh *

A recent order of the Chandigarh Administration, though delayed, terming the levying of service charge by hotel and restaurant owners illegal may have gone down well with the customers, but it has brought under the scanner the fact that as to how the service industry had been levying the tax for the past eight years.

With the income generated under the head of service charge not going into the government’s coffers (as it is not being shown in the accounts books), the hoteliers have been becoming richer at the cost of the unsuspecting customers. By rough estimates, any hotelier by levying the charge earns Rs 30,000 on a sale of Rs 3 lakh made in a day.

The Determination of Valuation of Services Rules, 2006, declared that in every bill of restaurant/eatery, there is a component of service that is 40 per cent, and it cannot be enhanced by adding more service charges. As such, it has been defined through a statute under service tax.

Under Article 265 of the Constitution of India, there cannot be any tax (includes any charge) unless it has the force of law. So, at present, the service charge has no backing of the law. Still, the practice continues as the Excise and Taxation Department and the Department of Consumer Affairs looks the other way.

The service charge is not equal to or equivalent to service tax. The service tax is a government-levied cess and people are bound to pay it. But there is no such cess called the service charge or “S.C.” or “Ser Char” or “Ser Charges”.

Consumers are not supposed to pay for the service of carrying the food to the table. That cost is included in the cost of the food indicated on the menu. Consumers rarely go through details of the taxes printed on the bill and read the gross total.

Experts point out that as per the standard practice, the tax is first charged on the food bill and then service charges are added to it, which is against the settled principles of law and the enactment of the Parliament.

The UT has intervened to stop the practice, but it continues in the neighbouring towns of Mohali and Panchkula.

The Department of Consumer Affairs must give due publicity to this issue through public notices and direct the hoteliers to display on their notice boards that it is illegal to levy service charge.

(* The writer is Chief City Reporter)



BJP to enrol 1 lakh members in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The Bharatiya Janata Party today organised a workshop on its membership campaign.
The workshop was inaugurated by national secretary and co-convener of membership Sudha Yadav.

Yadav said according to the party constitution, one-time membership was valid for six years only. Thereafter, every member must obtain the membership afresh, she said.

Local unit president Sanjay Tandon said the membership campaign should be connected with the Clean India mission. He said the party planned to enrol one lakh members in the city.

Local MP Kirron Kher said the party’s massive membership campaign showed the faith the party had in the strength of the masses.

The BJP, which targets to enrol 10 crore members all over the country, has started to obtain online membership as well. 



health notes
Health camp

Chandigarh: A health camp was organised by the endocrinology and radiodiagnosis departments of the PGI at the senior citizen's home in Sector 15. The doctors had an interactive session with the residents.

Medical checkup

GMCH-32 doctors conducted a blood sugar checkup and eye screening camp for the residents of Mani Majra. — TNS



Goods worth lakhs gutted in fire at factory

Panchkula, November 9
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were gutted in a fire at a factory in the Industrial Area, Phase I, here.
The fire broke out at a unit producing garments. Two fire tenders reached the spot to douse the fire. The police, too, reached there.

Short circuit was said to be the possible cause. — TNS



PGI’s telemedicine takes a leap
Screens patients with handheld ECG device that sends reports to docs via mobile
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
In a boon for scores of patients dying of heart ailments due to lack of access to advanced cardiology care in rural areas, a study conducted by the PGIMER has proven efficiency of a handheld ECG device that sends reports to distant doctors through mobile phones.

The handheld tele-electrocardiogram (ECG), developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre’s (BARC) electronics wing under a joint project of the PGIMER, examined 450 patients living in the periphery of Chandigarh.

“Telemonitoring is a medical practice that involves remotely monitoring patients who are not at the same location as the healthcare provider. The purpose of our study was to use handheld tele-electrocardiogram (ECG) to identify heart conditions in the rural underserved population where the doctor-patient ratio is low and access to healthcare is difficult,” said Professor Meenu Singh, in charge, PGIMER’s telemedicine unit and also the lead researcher.

The study titled, “Application of handheld tele-ECG for health care delivery in rural India” was published in the International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications in September this year.

“The reports sent using the device were largely clear. This can prove to be a very effective tool in rural areas as advanced cardiology centres are limited in our country as of now and the rural population is equally affected with cardiovascular diseases,” said Dr Manoj Kumar Rohit, additional professor, Cardiology Department, PGIMER, who examined the reports sent using the device.

About telemedicine and CVD prevalence

According to the Global Status Report on Non-communicable Diseases (2011), a reversal in trend has been observed with rural areas accounting for an equal, and sometimes higher, burden of CVD and its risk factors. Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications for health and education 
of the patient or healthcare provider.

How the device works

The handheld tele-ECG has a feature of recording ECG of the subject and displaying it on the mobile screen. After complete recording, the ECG could be sent to an expert’s mobile phone through multimedia messaging service for his opinion. The device has mobile as well as LAN connectivity. It provides acquisition, processing, storing and visualisation of ECG in real time by using a secure GPRS connection for the transfer of ECG data.

Other facts

  • Duration of study: April 2011 to March 2013
  • Results: ECG was interpreted as normal in 70 per cent individuals. Left ventricular hypertrophy (9.3%) was the commonest abnormality followed by old myocardial infarction (5.3%). Patient satisfaction was reported to be 95%.
  • Conclusion: Tele-ECG is a cost-effective, portable and convenient tool for monitoring the heart. 



UT police nab close aide of KCF chief from Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The Chandigarh Police today claimed to have arrested a person identified as Jasbir Singh, resident of Sector 33, who is reportedly a close associate of Paramjit Singh Panjwar, Chief, Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), and residing in Pakistan.

Police officials claimed that on the intervening night of November 8 and 9, a team of the Operation Cell headed by inspector Jasminder Singh arrested Jasbir from Khair Dinke village, Tarn Taran district, Punjab.

The police said Jasbir allegedly assisted Rattandeep Singh in executing a blast in the parking area near the Passport Office in Sector 34 on June 30, 1999, that left three people injured and several vehicles damaged.

“Jasbir also provided financial assistance to Rattandeep Singh on the directions of Paramjit Singh Panjwar. Jasbir, during his visit to Pakistan, used to stay with Panjwar,” added the police.

Earlier, accused Rattandeep Singh was brought on production warrants on November 5 and produced in the court from where he was taken on a police remand up to November 13. Two accused — Gurbaksh Singh and Sher Singh — were convicted by the court in the present case and sentenced to 10-year jail along with fine.

Jasbir was produced in the court today and remanded to police custody for four days. 



Feasting on Punjabi delicacies at PGI

As more than 80 per cent of doctors participating in the national-level conference at the PGI comprised those coming from southern parts of the country, PGI neurologists (the hosts) set up a Punjabi courtyard for them. The guest doctors were seen relishing Punjabi cuisine, including saag and makki ki roti, after taking breaks from the prolonged lectures in the conference on all the four days. Besides food, the south Indian doctors were also amazed at the statues of buffaloes and Punjabi Jats.

Speaking English with Haryanvi touch

A function organised by the UT Transport Department to flag off new midi buses of the CTU saw a general manager blending Haryanvi dialect with English to strike a chord with senior officials and the lower staff.

Looks do matter

Who says look don't matter. On the inauguration of Japanese Garden in Sector 31, all MC officials, including MC Commissioner, Chief Engineer and Superintending Engineer, were wearing suits instead of trousers and shirts. Sources said the MC Commissioner had suggested that the civic body officials dress up formally at the inauguration function of the garden. On the contrary, officials of the UT Administration came dressed in trousers and shirts.

Trying time

The UT Police had a trying time when an offender, who had earlier escaped from jail and then snatched a car, was rearrested and produced in court. The sister and mother of the accused kept calling names and abusing the police personnel while alleging wrongful arrest. The mother-sister duo even intervened in the court proceedings and was later arrested.

Dreams shattered

A senior officer, who was expecting a plum post in Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's office, got a major jolt during the oath-taking ceremony. The officer, a 'self-styled' aide to Khattar, did not allow senior officials to come on stage during the ceremony and could be seen driving them away owing to security reasons. However, the officer suffered a jolt when the SPG asked him to leave the stage due to security reasons.

Contributed by Ritika Jha Palial, Rajmeet Singh, Rajinder Nagarkoti, Aneesha Sareen and Hina Rohtaki



GPS on ambulances nowhere in sight
Was to be launched to improve response time of ambulances during golden hour
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Announcing to launch a centrally controlled monitoring system for ambulances using the global positioning system (GPS) to improve the response time of ambulances during golden hour (the first and most crucial hour for a victim after an accident) two years ago, the UT Health Department seems to have forgotten about it completely.

The system was announced with a lot of fanfare and a trial was also conducted by the then acting UT Director Health Services (DHS), Dr Rajiv Vadehra. However, the project failed to take off.

The original proposal was to install GPS devices on all 10 ambulances belonging to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16. The aim was to track and monitor them through a control room set up in the hospital.

The purpose was to help the hospital act faster in the golden hour. Operators at the base centre could locate the ambulances nearest to the patient's location and inform the driver.

Meanwhile, the global positioning system will also ensure that ambulances reach the desired location and hospital faster, brightening the chances of saving lives. This will also check misuse of ambulances. Misuse of ambulances

Records of the hospital (between 2012 and 2013) revealed that the ambulances had been wasting 65 per cent of the travel time on duties other than the emergency cases. Only 35 per cent of the time was being spent on ferrying patients. In February 2012, one of the ambulances was found to have covered 30 km for ferrying patients while the mileage for the month was 600 km. Records revealed that two ambulances travelled only 600 km for services such as patient care in a month.

Misuse of ambulances

Records of the hospital (between 2012 and 2013) revealed that the ambulances had been wasting 65 per cent of the travel time on duties other than the emergency cases. Only 35 per cent of the time was being spent on ferrying patients. In February 2012, one of the ambulances was found to have covered 30 km for ferrying patients while the mileage for the month was 600 km. Records revealed that two ambulances travelled only 600 km for services such as patient care in a month.

States using the system

The states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are currently using the services. The ambulances have a response time of 7 to 10 minutes. The services are a boon to scores of patients.

Can help during golden hour

The purpose was to help the hospital act faster in the golden hour. Operators at the base centre could locate the ambulances nearest to the patient's location and inform the driver. 

Will expedite procurement process: Health Secy

While UT DHS, Dr VK Gagneja couldn’t be contacted for comments, UT Health Secretary Anil Kumar said "We’ve issued instructions to the DHS to expedite the process of procurement of the advance life support ambulances. The GPS system will be installed on these ambulances to enhance the response time during the golden hour.



Neurology conference concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
The 22nd annual conference of the Indian Academy of Neurology (IANCON 2014) – which commenced at the PGIMER on November 6 — concluded today. More than 1,500 delegates participated in the academic bonanza.
A plethora of activities, including seminars on challenges facing the diagnosis of neuromuscular diseases.

The PGI Clinicopathological Conference was convened by Dr JS Chopra and Dr S Prabhakar. Neurologists from across the country presented their research work in the award paper category.

The conference was organised by the Department of Neurology, PGIMER. The organising committee included Prof Vivek Lal, head of the department of neurology and organising secretary; Dr Manish Modi, treasurer, Dr Dheeraj Khurana, Dr Parampreet Singh, Dr Manoj K Goyal, DrSahil Mehta and Dr Anu Gupta.

Dr Sudesh Prabhakar, retired Prof and head of department, neurology, was the organising chairman.

Dr UK Misra and Dr SM Katrak deliberated on challenges facing the diagnosis of neuromuscular diseases. Concurrent sessions on epilepsy and dementia (disease of memory) were excellent an academic feast for all delegates. Dr VN Mishra, Dr Maya Thomas and Dr Bhawana Sharma deliberated on epilepsy.

A debate on the utility of clot lysing drug (thrombolysis) in stroke beyond the guidelines was conducted by Dr Jayanto Roy and Dr Subhash Kaul. 



Minister adopts Daun village
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 9
Under the Prime Minister’s innovative scheme of Adarsh Gram Yojna, the Anandpur Sahib constituency member of parliament, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, adopted Mohali district’s historical village Daun, here.

All proceedings of bringing the village under the scheme will take place tomorrow afternoon during a function, which will be attended by the senior administrative authorities, including Mohali Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu.

“Thousands of people come to celebrate Maghi Mela in the village every year. Besides, the village has its connection with third Sikh guru, Guru Amardass Jee and Baba Kharak Singh,” claimed the residents of the village.

Chandumajra said all the developmental works, including improvement in drinking water supply system, drainage system and street lighting, would be done on preference in the village.

“To make it an ‘adarsh gram’, regular meeting will be held with the residents in connection with the development of the village,” said Chandumajra. 



Swachh Bharat
PGGCG-11 students, staff pitch in
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 9
As part of the Swachh Bharat campaign, staff and students of the computer applications department along with NSS volunteers cleaned the new block on the Post Graduate Government College for Girls campus in Sector 11.

The students and staff swept the floors, cleaned the windowpanes, blackboards, notice boards, furniture and other audio-visual equipment in the classrooms and computer labs.

The college provided them the necessary material like dusters and brooms. Principal Achila Dogra led the students during the cleanliness drive.

The college has divided the entire college into blocks and for each block of classrooms, student volunteers and teacher in-charges have been identified. Posters encouraging students to keep the college clean have been pasted at various places. 



From schools
134 units of blood collected

Chandigarh: DAV School, Sector 15A, here organised a blood donation camp. Sector 15-based coaching institute AAA-Bright Academy joined hands with DAV School to organise the camp. As many as 134 units of blood were collected on the occasion. People from all walks of life were motivated to donate blood voluntarily on the occasion.

Cross-country marathon

St John’s High School organised a cross-country marathon for its students. It’s a traditional event at St John’s wherein a large number of students participate to contribute to their house points and at the same time spread the message of the importance of leading a healthy life. There were four categories of runners – U-12, U-14, U-17 and U-19. Children were given chest numbers so that the positions of the marathon could be easily decided.

Blood donation camp at P’kula school

Panchkula: Hansraj Public School organised a blood donation camp on Saturday. It was inaugurated by principal Jaya Bhardwaj. Teachers, staff, students, parents, relatives and neighbours came forward willingly to donate blood at the camp. HR Gandhar, vice-chairman, Hansraj Public School, appreciated the efforts put in by the principal and congratulated her for the success for the camp. “It speaks volumes about the yeoman task undertaken by Hansraj,” said parents. The camp, which was organised  with the help of the Department of Transfusion Medicine, General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, was a great success. As many as 100 units of blood were collected on the occasion. “A loud and clear message has gone to the younger generation to donate blood on a regular basis when they come of age,” said principal Jaya Bhardwaj. She conveyed her gratitude to all those who donated blood at the camp and urged for a more enthusiastic response in future also. — TNS



Eatery owner violates norms at varsity
Installs benches at PU Student Centre without seeking permission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Ignoring the damage to the ‘heritage zone’ of Panjab University, one of the eatery shops installed new benches on the premises of the Student Centre without seeking any permission from the authorities concerned.
During a visit to the Student Centre today, it was found that benches were installed with tables outside the shop.

As per norms, even if the university authorities want to make any changes in the Student Centre they have to seek permission from the UT Chief Architect as this property is under the heritage zone of the Chandigarh Administration.

PU Chief Security Officer Jatinder Grover said they had sent a report about the installation of benches to the Dean Student Welfare and action would be initiated by them against the shop owner.

He said five benches, which were installed at the parking area of the centre, were removed yesterday after it came to the notice of the authorities.

A student said it was strange that the authorities took two days to decide on the illegal installation of benches at the centre by the eatery owner. The eatery owner took this step to increase its sale and the authorities were yet to take action against him.



Students display skills at annual carnival

Panchkula, November 9
‘Sitare Zameen Pe’, the annual carnival of The Sky World School, was held on the school premises in Sector 21, here, today. The event began with Ganesh Vandana presented by students of the school. Later, the students sang English songs and a French song, too. Children from Playway to Class I performed various dance items on the occasion. As many as 250 students of the school took part in the event.

It was organised by the school not only to highlight the talent of its students but also to provide a platform to children from society. This is in accordance with the distinctive 'The Sky World School' ethos of fulfilling one’s responsibility towards children and parents connected not only with the school but also with society. To achieve this, open competitions were organised in which as many as 500 children in the age group of 3-12 years took part. The children gave their best in solo dance and fancy dress competitions. — TNS



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |