C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rly station to get world-class makeover
Will have commercial complex, waiting area, banking services and cloak room under one roof
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
There is good news for railway passengers commuting from the Chandigarh railway station. After initiating beautification work on the façade of the Chandigarh side of the railway station, the Railways has drawn up an ambitious plan to develop world-class infrastructure here. The work will begin from the entry point of the Panchkula side. At present, the area is poorly maintained.

Under the countrywide project to develop four world-class railway stations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already convened a meeting of railway officials to review the status of the project. In 2013, the city railway station was chosen to have world-class facilities during the tenure of former Union Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

The station will be linked with wide roads on both sides with the highway, on one side with Chandigarh-Shimla road and on the other side with the Chandigarh- Zirakpur-Ambala highway.

Since over 600 acre of land is available with the Railways on the Panchkula side, The Railways has planned to have major facilities, including a commercial complex. The plan has already been drafted and the construction will commence after getting approvals from the Chandigarh Administration.

The plan has been prepared on the pattern of international airports. The station will have two floors, on the first floor there will be a waiting room for the passengers and to board the train the passengers will have to come down to the platforms as and when the trains arrive.

The main building and circulating area will be converted into a multi-storeyed complex. There will be a bank, food beverage and ticket counters on the ground floor, a food court, cloak rooms and shops on the first floor, a VIP waiting lounge on the second floor and women’s waiting rooms on the third. Sources said that the emphasis would be to provide all facilities to the passengers at the station complex itself. The commuters will not have to go out of the station to avail such facilities.

Facilities like escalators, wide-foot overbridges, mechanised parcel handling, entry and exit points at different grids will also be designed according to the international standards. The entry and exit points from both the Chandigarh and Panchkula sides will remain the same. The plan has the provision for the Metro and high-speed trains planned for the future.

Under the world-class proposal to separate the commercial and passenger area, a green patch with landscaping will be developed at the station.

Railways to submit revised plan: DRM

By next week, the Railways is going to submit a revised plan to the Chandigarh Administration. After the plans are approved by the UT administration, the allotment of work of the world-class station will be allotted.

— Anil K Kathpal, divisional railway manager, Ambala station

Plan on the pattern of international airports

  • To be linked with Chandigarh-Shimla road and the Chandigarh- Zirakpur-Ambala highway
  • To have two floors. First floor will have waiting area and the ground floor will have the platforms.
  • Main building and circulating area to be converted into a multi-storeyed complex.



Sec 51: Youth shot at
Old rivalry may be reason behind attack
Tribune News Service

The victim, Sukhjinder Singh Sethi, admitted to the GMSH-16, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

Police officials at the crime spot in Sector 51.

Chandigarh, November 23
A 38-year-old man was shot at after three persons allegedly open fire on him at his uncle’s residence in Sector 51 here this evening. The victim, who got injured in his right leg, has been identified as Sukhjinder Singh Sethi, a resident of Amritsar who was staying at his uncle’s house.

After the incident, a team of CFSL arrived at the spot and recovered two bullet shells from the spot. The police is suspecting on an old rivalry as the victim’s uncle had a property dispute. According to Urvija Goyal, ASP (South), a case has been registered against unknown accused persons under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC and under the Arms act at the sector 49 police post.

The victim alleged that the accused initially fired two rounds of gunshots and he was shot at on the right leg during a scuffle with the accused. On the contrary, police’s sources claim that the accused fired two gunshots and one struck on the victim’s leg after hitting a window. Soon after the incident, the victim was rushed to Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16 (GMSH-16) where his condition is said to be stable. However, he is still under observation. The victim runs his own transport agency in Amritsar.

The police sources said the incident took place around 7.25 pm when Sethi and his uncle were sitting at their residence. “I heard few voices and someone was repeatedly knocking at the door. When Sukhjinder went out to see who was at the door, the three unidentified persons opened fire. I heard three rounds of gunshots being fired” said victm’s uncle Sukhwant Singh Bajwa, the owner of the house. The statement of the victim was yet to be recorded, till the filing of the report, as he was not fit to give his statement.

The police sources said that two rounds were fired by the accused and one of them hit the victim’s leg after hitting a window pane. The victim’s uncle had called the police.



Thieves use washroom, eat bananas as family sleeps
Strike at a house in Sector 15, Panchkula; decamp with gold jewellery, cash and valuables
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 23
Thieves struck at a house in Sector 15 early this morning and decamped with cash, jewellery and valuables worth lakhs while the family was asleep. The miscreants not only ate fruits but also used the washrooms while the family was asleep and unaware of the theft taking place in their house.

The owner, Arun Kumar, who works with a private company, was asleep with his family when the incident took place.

Assisitant sub-inspector Jai Singh, in charge of the Sector 15 police post, said: “Thieves made their entry from the kitchen door, which was left open by mistake. So, we are suspecting that they have made entry to the house from there. But this is surprising as to how come the family could not sense any movement in the house.” The police are suspecting it to be the handiwork of the gang that commits thefts in the houses using sprays.

Arun’s mother had checked the time on her cellphone at 4.56 am. When she got up at 5.19 am, it was missing thereby giving a clue to the police that the theft took place between 4.56 am and 5.15 am. The robbers decamped with the mobile phone too. “The elderly woman then went to the washroom and found the cupboards open. When the family called up on her cellphone at 5.29 am, it was disconnected,” said the official.

The cupboard in the storeroom was opened with the help of a candle, the police said. Gold chains, rings, Rs 20,000 and other valuables have been stolen. The exact loss has not been ascertained.

“We found peels of bananas on the top of the fridge which were eaten by the thieves. They had even used the washrooms,” said another police official.

The police said that the house next door is a vacant plot so the miscreants may have escaped from there.

The family had employed a woman servant seven days ago who has gone missing since the incident.

Previous thefts

Ten days ago, a similar theft was committed at House Number 1,114 in Sector 15. The family members felt dizzy when it woke up.

Four houses - one belonging to a former Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and three businessmen — were targeted on April 23 in Sector 6.

Two houses (one belonging to a businessman and the other to a merchant navy officer) were struck on April 26 in Sector 4.

A councillor’s house was struck in Sector 2 on May 5.

A businessman’s house was targeted in Sector 7 on May 11.

Suspects may have used sedative spray

The police said the thieves made their entry from the kitchen door as it was left open. The family was unable to sense movement in the house. It is being suspected that it might be the handiwork of the gang that commits thefts using sprays.



cii agro-tech 2014
Farm equipment catch fancy of residents
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
As the city hosted the second day of the Agricultural Expo, Agro-Tech 2014, the advances in technology in farming exhibited in the form of hi-tech equipment not only attracted farmers but also caught fancy of common residents. Counters displaying the automatic feed system for poultry and dairy farm development mobile vans, live display of fish farming, ‘vito’ oil filtration system witnessed the highest footfall of residents, in addition over 5,000 farmers who registered afresh.

Six-year-old Piyush Sharma, who was taken to the expo by his father, Anirudh Sharma, a Ludhiana businessman, was amazed to see the automatic feeding equipment for poulty. “In fact, it is an interesting product,” he added.

Animal Identification system, foldable water tanks were among other products generating curiosity among common visitors. Darbar Singh, a farmer from Bathinda, said, “We need to have Animal Identification system. It is very useful.”

The four-day Agro-Tech festival started on Saturday at Parade Ground in Sector 17.

Over 200 new products are expected to be launched. There are 162 exhibitors.

Treat organic waste and form urea for garden

A product called eco bin has been launched at the Agro-Tech that converts organic waste like peels of fruits, boiled eggs and vegetable waste into urea. The urea can be used in gardening.



Label trouble brews for city’s booze lovers
Many question the quality of liquor being sold at vends with and without 3D holograms
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Bacchus lovers in the city are at the receiving end as the UT Excise and Taxation Department has botched up with the fixing of 3D hologram on Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) bottles being sold at liquor vends here.

Every year, around five crore bottles of IMFL are sold at liquor vends across the city. At the time of introducing the hologram in the excise policy 2014-2015, the UT officials had claimed that the liquor would be made available with an assurance that it was not spurious, diluted or from outside the UT.

But six months after the hologram was introduced, the department has failed to supply adequate number of the 3 D stickers that contains a text and linear bar code indicating the code allocated to a particular liquor manufacturer.

As a result, bottles having hologram and the ones without these have left the Bacchus lovers confused about the quality of the liquor available. A random survey across the city revealed that at most of the liquor vends, both types were available and this further confused the customers as to which bottle to buy.

“As per the legal provisions, no liquor bottle can be sold without a hologram. It is an offence to supply bottles without the hologram”, admitted a liquor contractor.

Sources said the UT Excise Department had zeroed in on a Nagpur-based company to supply the holograms at 21 paisa per piece and had asked the liquor companies to place the orders for holograms according to their requirements.

On being asked about the absence of hologram on bottles, the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, RC Bhalla, said he would get it verified. On the other hand, liquor manufacturers blame it on the department for delay in supplying the hologram.



Vegetable market: Project hangs fire for 14 years
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 23
Even after 14 years, the lone vegetable market, set up by the Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board at an area of over 17 acres in Sector 20 has reportedly failed to take off. The alleged indifferent attitude of the board officials towards not giving a thought to develop it on the pattern of a grain market, developed by the UT administration in Sector 26, Chandigarh, is to be blamed for the failure.

As per the sources, the government has allegedly failed to develop the market on the Shimla-Ambala National Highway as a transit point for agriculture and horticulture produce being transported from Himachal Pradesh to vegetable markets in Delhi and other metro cities.

The market, on a land, was transferred to the State Agriculture Marketing Board in 1997. It was developed by the board in the year 2000 with a purpose to benefit the area residents, besides facilitating the farmers of the region to sell their produce here.

The main point of setting up the market in the area has failed miserably, said a senior official of the board.

Enquiries revealed that the market comprises grain market, vegetable market and apple market, (Sections housing 73, 30 and 44 shop-cum-flats), respectively. Over 55 shop-cum-flats (SCFs) are still lying vacant while owners of a majority of the sold out SCFs are still non-operational.

The board has resumed three SCFs as their owners had failed to abide by the rules and guidelines of the board, said the secretary of the market committee, JK Bansal.

The owners of the SCFs alleged that there is not only a lack of basic civic amenities but even the connectivity with the Sector 20 general market is not up to the mark.

They alleged that the board authorities had hardly made any attempt to promote sale purchase activities in the shops.

The authorities have allotted sanitation works of the market to a private contractor on exorbitant rates but heaps of garbage and solid waste keep on piling at every nook and corner of the market.

A deep pit adjacent to the offices of the secretary, Market Committee, is being used as a dumping yard for the solid waste and water discharged by various shops. The stagnant water has been proving a breeding ground for mosquitoes here.

There are just two scavengers (safai karamcharis) looking after the market. Instead of disposing off the garbage properly, they burn the left over in the market itself, alleged Varinder Garg, an owner of a SCF.

JK Bansal, secretary of the Market Committee, said he had received considerable paddy this year as compared to the previous years. He, however, was of the opinion that the market had failed to serve the purpose as land, under cultivation in the part of the state, has shrunk due to massive urbanisation.



Crafts mela ends on a colourful note
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The 6th Chandigarh National Crafts Mela organised by the Chandigarh Administration and the North Zone Culture Centre concluded with a medley of folk performances of India at Kala Gram today. The closing ceremony was attended by the Secretary Cultural Affairs, senior officers of the administration and a large number of people from the tricity and the adjoining areas.

Heavy rush witnessed on the concluding day. Artistes present an item.

Around 215 craftsperson and artisans from across the country participated in this year’s mega tourism cultural event. Around 400 folk artistes and dancers from the far-flung areas of the country were specially called along with dance troupes from Kerala, Tamil Naidu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, etc.

The main attraction of the crafts mela was the participation of Shilp Gurus, Sant Kabir awardees, national awardees, national merit certificate holders and state awardees who have put their craftsmanship at the highest level for display for the public and the residents of the tricity.

Around 22 states and Union Territories of the country participated in the event to showcase their handlooms and handicrafts.

The evening unfolded with a colourful performance titled “folk dances India” in which more than 300 folk artisans and performers gave an astonishing colourful performance. There were dances from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Orissa.

This year, the 10-day 6th Chandigarh Crafts Mela attracted a lot of foreign and Indian tourists apart from people joining in the festivities at Kala Gram.



Mayor aspirants on wooing spree

In the recent MC House meeting, aspirants for the post of Mayor, both from the Congress and BJP, did not miss a chance to woo the nominated councillors. They were seen sitting together to have discussions with the nominated councillors. The nine nominated councillors always play a crucial role in the Mayor’s election, which is scheduled to be held on January 1.

Hoax call

On November 17, a hoax call was received regarding inspection at the Chandigarh railway station by city MP Kirron Kher, on the date of hearing of Dera head Rampal. The station was cordoned off with tight security and as the red light vehicle entered the station premises, the police officials on duty started lining up expecting that Kirron would inspect security arrangements at the station. However, they were relieved when she did not even step down from her vehicle but only dropped her relative near the VIP gate who boarded the afternoon shatabdi.

Not so tech-savvy

The lack of knowledge among doctors about identifying and handling spam messages left some of them high and dry this week. Three doctors, working in different government hospitals in the city, happened to allow access of their email IDs to hackers by following a link sent across from the hacked ID of a known contact. While it is advised that whenever a link asks for a surfer’s login details it is a spam, the not so tech-savvy doctors fell into the trap while being curious to see the link.

Selfies with Rampal!

The entire Haryana police was looking for Dera head Rampal in Hisar but could not trace him in 12 days. When he was arrested after a tough operation, he became an ‘attractive’ criminal for the staff at the General Hospital. Talking about who was the one who made the Haryana government dance to his tunes, the staff could be seen requesting the doctors to allow a selfie with him.

Players surprised!

Players at the Champions Tennis League (CTL) were caught in a surprise at the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) when they were disturbed by whistles and sharp comments in between the serves. Tennis, usually known as a game of discipline, had spectators witnessing the other side of the coin in Chandigarh.

Volley of similar questions

The interaction between Nikki Haley, the US Governor of South Carolina and students of Rayat-Bahra University at Kharar turned interesting when all seven students (who put questions to the governor) asked the same thing: ‘What are the opportunities for students of ——’? The only difference was that the names of courses were different. The first Indian-origin woman US Governor of South Carolina, too, was seen smiling on the similarity of questions but she encouraged all of them, giving all most the same reply: ‘The opportunities for them were very high in her country”.

Contributed by Rajinder Nagarkoti, Aarti Kapur, Ritika Jha Palial, Hina Rohtaki, Deepankar Sharda and Akash Ghai



Open House response
Verify antecedents of domestic help before hiring

The murder of Neelam Saini, a senior citizen, by her domestic help revealed the grave risk that elderly, who live alone, are exposed to. A lot of schemes for the welfare of the elderly have failed to work. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers what needs to be done to improve the security of senior citizens

Register elderly persons living alone

Shifali Saini, daughter of Neelam Saini who was murdered by her domestic help, at the victim’s residence in Sector 35, Chandigarh. A file photograph

Registration of elderly persons staying alone should be made mandatory with the police station concerned. The beat officer concerned should submit a report on the welfare and security of such persons to the police station every alternate day. Further, there should be co-ordination between the police and the welfare department.

Prabhpreet Kaur, Mani Majra

Need to secure old persons physically, financially

The police propagate outlandish and ludicrous beliefs and proclaim dos and don’ts for senior citizens. But there is a very little understanding of the gravity of the ground situation. There is a greater need for physical, financial and social security of senior citizens.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Exercise caution while hiring domestic help

There is no denying the fact that senior citizens need extra attention and security. But at the same time, domestic helps should be employed with caution. Their antecedents and character should be fully verified by the police and their complete record should be maintained. Further, the police have to be alert, honest and instill a sense of fear among criminals. A sense of security among citizens is equally important as every citizen has the right to live peacefully.

Jagdishpal Singh Kalra, Chandigarh

Set up separate dept for security of elderly

The police should set up a separate department for security of senior citizens. They should pay more attention to the area where the number of elderly persons living alone is high. CCTV cameras should be installed at each house where old people reside alone and there should be a provision of high-alert alarm.

Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh

Intensify police patrolling

Police patrolling needs to be intensified in and around the city to handle any criminal eventuality. Police verification while hiring domestic helps must be done with utmost caution, leaving nothing to chance. Awarding exemplary punishment to those involved in targeting the elderly would help check the malaise to some extent.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Hold drive for verification of domestic helps

The police should have a database of such vulnerable citizens and the beat box officials concerned should be given special instructions to ensure their safety. A door-to-door drive for verification of domestic servants should be started. Those hiring domestic helps should get their police verification done before engaging their services. Appointing a nodal officer for interaction with elderly people may be helpful.

Vidya Sagar Garg, Panchkula

Housing society a better place to live in

Elderly should live preferably in flats where neighbours and housing societies are more caring and of great help in the hour of need. As far as their security is concerned, they should hire domestic helps from registered agencies only. Further, they should get the identity of the help verified by the police.

Col. Balbir Singh (retd), Chandigarh

Interactions between cops, old people needed

Categorise old people area wise. The UT Administration and the police should have regular interaction with the groups thus formed and the problems being faced by them, if any, should be expeditiously addressed. Such interactions will instill a sense of security in them.

Madhu RD Singh, Ambala Cantt

Cops should visit homes of old persons living alone

The details of all the senior citizens, who are living alone, should be readily available with the SHO of the area concerned. The police should pay surprise visits to their residences off and on. This would not only help in making them feel secure but would also act as a deterrent against crimes committed by domestic helps. Furthermore, the details of domestic helps should be well-documented and provided to the police station concerned.

SK Mittal, Panchkula

Alert neighbours can be more effective than police

Elderly-centric government schemes are very effective in developed countries where people, by and large, are very disciplined and sincere. However, most people in our country are indifferent to what is happening to others. There are two established trends for the heinous crimes in the tricity. One, domestic helps resorting to killing their masters with an aim to commit a robbery and second, anti-social elements kidnapping children for ransom. We need to be a good Samaritan and compassionate. Alert neighbours can be more effective than the police patrolling.

Dr Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Elderly are soft targets

Senior citizens staying alone are soft targets for rogue and rowdy elements as they provide least resistance to the attacker. Those above 60 years of age should get themselves registered with the Senior Citizens Association While employing a domestic help, they should be critical and selective. Before hiring, check the credentials of the domestic help from the previous employer.

Wg Cdr JS Bhalla (retd), Chandigarh

Sensitise families, neighbours

The inexplicable indifference and disregard at the hands of families, the police, the local administration and even neighbours besides debility and isolation have rendered the elderly totally unsafe and vulnerable. Only regular identification of the elderly, intensive awareness campaign for their families and neighbours, verification and registration of servants, expeditious patrol and beat policing, adequate safety measures, timely nabbing and conviction of culprits and exemplary punishment for criminals can check crimes against elderly.

OP Coushik, Zirakpur

Onus on children too

The safest way to ensure security of senior citizens is to make sure they live with their family. Those who have to live in other towns because of their professional duties should not leave their parents back in their hometown under the ‘care’ of servants. The possibility of a ‘reliable’ servant taking to crime to make quick money cannot be ruled out. No wonder, most of the helpless senior citizens lose their lives to the greed of servants.

RK Kapoor, New Jersey (USA)

Frame safety guidelines

After framing concrete guidelines for safety of elderly persons living alone, the police should hold personal interaction with them frequently and also keep their domestic helps under surveillance. Senior police officials should check whether the cops in the area are taking all these steps or not and take action against them if they are found wanting.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Special cell needed

The police should set up a senior citizen cell, which should work towards safety of elderly persons living alone.

Baljinder Singh Sandhu, Chandigarh

SOS mobile app can help

Sub-sector welfare committees should be formed and entrusted with the responsibility of providing care to elders living alone in their respective areas. Members of such committees should get verification of the domestic help done and maintain a proper record. An SOS mobile application should be created by the police and they should accord topmost priority to the alerts sounded by old people. On their part, old persons should try to become a bit tech savvy and know how to use the application.

Jai Singh, Chandigarh

Ensure registration of domestic help

Despite clear-cut legal stipulation, neither the police nor the residents are serious towards registration of domestic help and tenants. Consequently, cases of murder, especially of old people living alone, are inevitable. Strict compliance with procedures by residents and fixation of accountability of the SHO concerned remain the only remedy to check crime committed by those who are basically hired to help.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Start dedicated helpline for elderly

There is a huge scope for improvement in the security of the elderly in the tricity. Rather, it should be given a top priority. Before keeping a servant, getting police verification done is a must. The antecedents of domestic help have to be verified by all means. A dedicated helpline to reach out to elderly on phone in case of need has become all the more necessary.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Update police before hiring domestic help

Registration of agencies providing domestic helps should be made mandatory and held accountable in case of any untoward incident. The owners must not delay or avoid reporting the details of the domestic help, hired from any source, to the nearest police station, as made mandatory by the government.

Baldevinder Singh Cheema, Chandigarh

Be careful in selection

Senior citizens living alone are easy target of criminals. There is no gainsaying that elderly need services of domestic help but they should be selected carefully. Their antecedents should be properly verified and recorded with the police. The police should maintain record of all the senior citizens and their servants.

Col BIS Cheema, Chandigarh

Be safe than sorry

Many bad elements gain entry into houses as innocent servants and commit crime at the earliest opportunity and disappear. In most of the cases, the names/addresses/IDs provided turn out to be fake. We should try to act smart in advance rather than raising hue and cry later. The society must come forward and help the law-enforcing bodies in minimising crime.

KC Rana, Chandigarh

Service provider should be taken to task

Elderly persons living alone should be more careful while employing domestic servants and verify their antecedents. The agency that provided domestic help, who later committed a heinous crime, must be taken to task.

IPS Anand, Mani Majra

Cops have to be proactive

Cops should pay regular visits to the houses where old people stay alone. It should be made sure that domestic helps hired by the elderly are registered with the nearest police station. Any suspicious activity should be taken note of and dealt with accordingly.

Dr Navkirat Chauhan, Chandigarh

Enforce neighbourhood watch schemes

Each police station must have a senior citizens cell, toll-free helpline, officials for special verification of domestic help and an interactive website to help monitor the activities of those serving as a domestic help to elderly. Involvement of residents welfare association and senior citizens societies is required to enforce neighbourhood watch schemes.

Komal Singh, Chandigarh

Dire need for effective mechanism to ensure sefety of elderly
Rajmeet Singh*

Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh, once known as a safe city for retired persons, is fighting hard to retain the tag. With the crime graph in the tricity rising, senior citizens are becoming soft targets and feel insecure even inside their own houses.

The recent murder of 75-year-old Neelam Saini by her domestic help at her house in Sector 35 has exposed the vulnerability of the elderly persons living alone. The police are clueless about the perpetrator as it has no record about his credential and no police official ever visited to know about the victim’s well-being.

Statistics reveal that there are around 60,000 persons above 60 years of age living in the city. Of these, at least five per cent have no one to look after them as they either do not have children or are neglected by their progeny.

Though the police do not have any data about the total number of incidents of crime against senior citizens, records reveal that a number of such heinous cases of crime against senior citizens have remained unsolved.

In all cases, the targets were senior citizens, who proved to be soft targets.

An initiative of the Chandigarh Police launched with much fanfare in the year 2000, Help the Aged Persons Scheme (HAPS), has remained on paper. The scheme entailed cops visiting houses of senior citizens at regular intervals to instill a sense of security and assist them in outdoor jobs. The scheme had promised medical help and making arrangements for necessary jobs like payment of bills. However, the scheme was given a silent burial by the officials concerned.

A similar scheme announced by Panchkula to introduce electronic beat patrolling system for senior citizens remained implemented. The scheme could have ensured that patrolling by beat staff and the police control room (PCR) vehicles is regular, comprehensive and uniformly distributed. But it never took off.

It is time we took care of our senior citizens and devise an effective mechanism to ensure the safety of elderly persons, especially those living alone. It is not only the duty of the state but of the society as a whole.

* (The writer is Chief City Reporter)

Open house question

There has been a series of fatal accidents involving teenagers who cared two hoots about the traffic rules. Underage driving, combined with triple-riding and overspeeding without wearing helmet, only enhances the risk of those riding two-wheeler. Poor enforcement of rules by the traffic police and laxity on the part of parents are to be equally blamed for the problem. What needs to be done to curb the menace. Write your comments in not more than 100 words along with passport size picture to openhouse@tribunemail.com



Over commercialisation of Northern Railways
UT asks Railways to rework plan
Need for a buffer zone around the commercial area has also been demanded
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Chandigarh Administration has objected to the over commercialisation plans of the Northern Railways under the world-class railway station project. The UT Administration has categorically told railways officials that since the station had been earmarked in the transportation node in the final master plan-2031, the planning of the railways has to be in sync with the overall planning of the area.

The focus should be on giving passenger-related facilities rather than over commercialisation.

The railway authorities have been advised to have at least 10 tracks.

Of the 600 acres of land with railways around the Chandigarh railway station, the authorities had planned commercialisation on around 160 acres. However, the UT has asked railway officials to bring it down to half. The need for a buffer zone around the commercial area has also been sought.

A series of meeting have already taken place between the railway and the UT officials.

UT finance secretary Sarvjit Singh said the railways had been asked to submit a revised plan in view of the given parameters. “We are still waiting for a revised plan before we proceed further.”

Meanwhile, the railway officials were also told to meet the heritage norms.

In the offing

  • The UT has told railways officials that since the station had been earmarked in the transportation node in the final master plan-2031, the planning of the railways has to be in sync with the overall planning of the area.
  • The focus should be on giving passenger-related facilities rather than over commercialisation. The railways have been advised to have at least 10 tracks.



Sweet tooth costs Panchkula children dear
6,979 found suffering from dental caries in govt schools, anganwadi centres
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 23
Panchkula children appear to have a sweet tooth. A survey carried out by the Health Department while examining children in government schools and anganwadi centres found 6,979 students out of 14,819 suffering from dental caries.

From April 2014 till date, 49,498 children were examined. Of whom, 32,607 were from government schools, while 16,891 were from anganwadi centres. Of the total number of students examined, 14,819 were found to be suffering from various diseases, of which 6,979 are dental caries.

As many as 33 children were defective by birth and those with deficiency were 924. The number of students diagnosed with developmental delay and disability was 3,642.

“We conduct a regular check-up in all schools and provide free medical aid. Most of the children were found suffering from dental caries. The children who require intensive treatment are treated at the PGI. We get funds sanctioned for such children,” said Deputy Civil Surgeon Dr Saroj Aggarwal. The students were examined in 292 government schools and 526 anganwadi centres.

In 2013, dental caries formed a majority of the cases. Out of the 4,707 children diagnosed with various diseases, 3,495 were found suffering from dental caries. A total of 43,504 children were examined, of whom 3,883 were diagnosed with various deficiencies and 2,417 with developmental delays.

From July 2013 (when the programme was started) to March 2014, 251 government schools and 526 anganwadi centres were covered.

“Our efforts are to cure children. If they are not treated at the early stage, the problems can get severe. So, we get funds sanctioned for treatment,” said Aggarwal.



Sikh scholars discuss Nanak’s teachings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Historians and Sikh scholars have advocated a strong move to translate the message of Guru Nanak Dev to promote harmonious and peaceful co-existence, locally as well as globally. This was decided on the second day of the silver jubilee celebrations of the Institute of Sikh Studies (IOSS), here today.

The scholars laid stress on the creation and promotion of a casteless society.

The Sikh scholars passed a resolution demanding that the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) and Sri Akal Takht Sahib must revert to the original Nanakshahi Calendar in view of several distortions which had crept in due to frequent amendments in the recent past.

The gathering supported the demand of Gurbakhsh Singh Khalsa, sitting on an indefinite hunger strike at Gurdwara Lakhnor, Ambala, calling for the release of those Sikh prisoners who had completed their jail terms due to the 1984 riots.

Meanwhile, the founder members — Bibi Baljit Kaur, Bhai Ashok Singh and S Inderjit Singh — also honoured famous Historian Dr Kirpal Singh, Prof Emeritus Gurdev Singh, IAS (retd), and present patron of IOSS, and Sardar Sardul Singh for their service to the IOSS.

The seminar took off with a presentation by Harinder Singh of the Sikh Research Institute, USA. Dr BS Ghuman, Head of Department of Public Administration at PU, was also present.

Two books — Sainapati’s Gursobha and “Nereon Dithe Dr Kharak Singh” were released.



PGI doctor awarded for identifying genes that increase risk of injuries
Knee injuries can be due to specific gene structure, reveals study
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
A PGIMER study by Dr Mandeep Dhillon has established that individuals suffering knee injuries can have their genes responsible for it. A professor in the Department of Orthopaedics, PGIMER, and lead researcher, Dr Dhillon has been awarded the RC Ralhan gold medal for the findings.

As part of the study, 50 patients were examined.

Dr Dhillon was awarded for the best original research work in orthopaedics at the recently concluded National Conference of the Indian Orthopaedic Association.

The work on genetic predisposition for developing Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) knee injuries was part of a larger project currently underway at the PGI, which is looking at genetic variations and chances of predisposition to knee injuries.

Started as a thesis project with Dr Rakesh John, this has now evolved into a larger project with Dr Sharad Prabhakar of orthopaedics and Dr Akshay Anand of the Neurosciences Department expanding the research into other areas.

Some genetic polymorphisms, which were proven to be correlated with chances of getting knee ligament injuries, were shown to be absent in Indians, thus showing a significant ethnic variation and leading to future avenues of research.

No such studies have been conducted in Asia or India, said Dr Dhillon.

Significance of study

The importance of the study is the advance examination of sportspersons to risk of injuries due to their genetic structure. The findings of the study, currently sent for publication, appeared in the PGI journal.

Sample size

50 patients with ligament injuries were taken (for surgery) and another 52 patients of a similar age in a controlled group. All were aged between 18 and 45.



Roadways exam: Chaos at Sec 43 bus stand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Chaos was witnessed at the Sector 43 Inter-state Bus Terminus today as hundreds of candidates — who had arrived in the city to take the written test for the post of conductors and drivers in the Punjab Roadways — boarded buses for different destinations in Punjab.

Due to the heavy rush, other passengers failed to board their respective buses.

The test for 1,200, posts each of drivers and conductors, was held at different centres in the city.

While the test for drivers was held in the morning shift, the test of conductors was conducted in the evening.

At the end of both the sessions, a large number of candidates descended at the bus stand to board the buses.

Youths could be seen sitting on the roof-top of buses as a number of buses failed to accommodate commuters.

Arshdeep Singh, who had to go to Hoshiarpur, was forced to wait for three hours to get a bus.

Scores of candidates descended at the Inter-state Bus Terminus, Sector 43, to board buses for their respective destinations in Punjab. The candidates arrived to take the written test for the post of conductors and drivers in Punjab Roadways.



Teachers protest, seek joining letters
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 23
Over 1,000 JBTs with the Haryana Education Department today held a protest against the government for not giving them joining letters. The teachers gathered at the rear side of the HAFED Ground in Sector 5 here. Later, the protesting teachers marched towards the Mini-Secretariat to meet the Deputy Commissioner.

Failing to meet the Deputy Commissioner, the protestors met Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Hema Sharma and presented a memorandum to her.

The protestors said they were on an indefinite agitation. They would continue with their agitation till their problem was solved.

As many as 9,870 JBTs were selected by the then Haryana Government, but they were not given joining letters.



From Schools & Colleges
Dance O Mania

Mohali: Dance O Mania was organised at JLPL School. The high decibel show comprised of scintillating dance performances to mark the 32nd annual mega dance show of Rockstar Academy in association with JLPL School. Sameer Mahajan, Director, Rockstar Academy, said the programme had all the ingredients of a captivating dance ensemble.

Opening ceremony

Chapter opening ceremony of the Institution of Water and Environment (India), Punjab centre, was held on Sunday. Dr Surinder Kumar, Director, Ministry of Environment and Forest, was the chief guest on the occasion. Dr Surinder Kumar gave a presentation on environmental monitoring. Dr Surinder gave meaning to every alphabet of the environment with his long-term association with the Environment Department. — TNS



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