C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


GMCH-32 to chart fresh course of action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
After years of waiting for a deemed university status, the authorities at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, today put their thinking caps on yet again---to prepare a blueprint for their autonomy.

The move comes in the wake of the Union Government rejecting the proposal to accord deemed university status to the hospital.

“We have been told to send a fresh proposal for getting autonomous status for the hospital on the lines of the PGI and the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training (NITTT),” Prof H.M. Swami, Director-Principal, GMCH-32, said.

Having been instrumental in preparing a case for seeking a deemed university status, Prof Swami maintained that they would start afresh to plan for the autonomy.

Losing out on the race for graduating to a deemed university from a medical college has meant that Panjab University will continue to award degrees to students passing out of the GMCH and hold the entrance exam for admission.

“Besides, we were hoping to decide on beginning a few new courses, including a nursing college on our premises once we became a university. In such a situation there would have been no need to go through various channels and apply to the Medical Council of India (MCI) for a new course. It could have all been done at our own level,” he explained.

However, while the deemed university status has been shelved for the time being, the authorities are trying to look at what they have got in exchange.

“We are going to begin with a clean slate. We have asked for details and guidelines about the autonomous status of the university and various other institutes which have been granted autonomy in the past. Once we have studied these, we will chart our course of action,” he stated.

When autonomy is granted, the GMCH-32 authorities will be able to recruit doctors on their own, without the Union Public Service Commission's (UPSC) intervention though these would be in accordance with the UPSC rules.

Also, the hospital would be entitled to special fund from the HRD Ministry to run the hospital and college. The Director-Principal said he had no clue about the grounds on which deemed university status had been rejected to the college while the Home Secretary, Mr Krishan Mohan, was not available for comment.



Poor connectivity hits PU phone lines
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
In this age of hi-tech telecommunications, Panjab University is still grappling with the basics of the machine Alexander Graham Bell invented. An acutely short staffed and ill maintained system of telephones in the university has made it virtually impossible for outsiders to contact anyone in the university.

For the past few months, the university has virtually remained incommunicado, as the two EPBAX numbers listed for the university failed to connect the callers inside the university and the direct inwards dialling routes are perpetually busy.

Try dialling the numbers 2541441 and 2541440, and it could mean a wait of listening to the bell ring for hours without any response. And these are the only two numbers listed in various directories for the university’s EPBAX system. The worst-affected are the students from outside Chandigarh from remote areas of Punjab who want to get some small information and are not able to get through to anyone in the university.

The university’s telephones in charge, Prof S.S. Bhasin, denied that there was any such problem and said they had never received any complaint regarding this. “One of the numbers was out of order for some months but the other had no problem. We have only two staff members who man the entire exchange. May be they were busy handling the other lines,” he said.

The “other lines” are the internal numbers, which the staff members are busy connecting. Over a 1000 university employees have access to four-digit internal numbers, which they can dial directly from their telephone set. “However, they prefer to dial in the exchange and ask to be connected within the university which keeps the staff busy,” added Prof Bhasin. Obviously, the staff is busy connecting the university employees at the cost of the outsiders waiting to call the university.

According to Prof Bhasin, the two staff members are handling 22 lines. Out of these, 16 are the direct inwards dialling (DID) lines. The callers from outside prefix the numbers 253 before the four-digit numbers and can access over a thousand employees. “But if the problem is that if these are being used internally, the caller consistently gets the route busy message. We are aware of this problem since university employees themselves trying to access their departments from their residence are unable to get through. You call after 5 p.m. and you will get through immediately,” said Prof Bhasin.

There is no system in place which can separate the two university main numbers from the rest of the lines. Interestingly also a fault in the system can go unnoticed for days and even months. “We keep checking the lines once a week and see if all are activated. But the moment we realise that some lines are not working, we shoot a letter to the BSNL authorities to repair these,” he added. This, in turn, could mean another month before the repair is carried out. The number 2541550 was out of order for months but no one seemed to have bothered to even check.

While the world is talking blue-tooth connectivity, the university is busy patting its back for having a fully functional inter-com system. “We have never received any complaint from anyone. In fact we are told by the university staff that the intercom is working wonderfully. In fact we have been busy giving additional lines to the UIET and the new dental college,” pointed out Prof Bhasin.

And where is an outsider supposed to complain that no one is picking up the university telephones. No one knows but the VC office staff mentioned that they receive more than 10 calls a day that the university’s main telephone numbers are bust. These complaints have obviously failed to ring a bell.



Engaged in the art of honing housekeeping skills
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 1
They promise the "perfect blend" of specialised guidance and global exposure and after seven years of churning out hospitality professionals in this region, the Sarva - North India Institute of Hotel Management (Sarva--NIIHM) is all set to broaden its scope, and encompass housewives into their fold at its new centre in Sector 8.

"Being a housewife myself I realise there is always an avid curiosity to enhance one's housekeeping skills, lay the perfect table, throw great get-togethers and, all this, within a budget. What we hope to do through this course is to add polish and depth to their overall knowledge," avers Malini Dahiya, Director, Sarva-NIIHM.

So apart from the cookery aspects, there is table setting, service arrangement, even budgeting and computers to delve into.

"It is like a finishing school except that the skill sets are real and tangible here," explains Malini.

She should know, for Sarva-NIIHM has ventured a long from way from its inception in 1999 with more than a 100 young people being trained by its every year undergoing various programmes that suit the needs and requirements, both of the students and the industry.

Apart from fast track programmes for professionals, there are one and three-year diploma courses and a graduate programme with the degree from Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar. What is more, in a special affiliation with the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH & LA)-a non-profit organisation and the biggest provider of hospitality education in the United States-all students availing themselves of the three-year diploma course are granted a certificate from AH & LA.

"What makes this so special is that this certification is recognised the world over," stresses Malini. This is not all, for the piece de resistance comes in the form of a special tie-up with Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh, England, whereby a student can opt to spend his third-year at this college at a highly subsidised rate.

Hospitality seems a great career option what with this sector all set to boom in the region. According to the Principal, Naresh Trehan, "Now that the Taj is here, there are several big names like the Hilton and Oberoi being talked about apart from private players who are also interested in building five-star properties here. So really there is plenty to look forward to."

What the institute believes in giving its students is that 'easy confidence' and with the new semester beginning on August 16, Sarva-NIIHM is all set to spruce up a new lot of eager youngsters helping them embark on a new career high.



New Deans appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Prof Naval Kishore of the Department of Geology has been appointed Dean, Student Welfare, Panjab University, while Prof Shelly Walia of the Department of English has been appointed Dean, Foreign Students.

Prof Tejinder Gill of the Department of Zoology has been appointed Dean of Alumni Relations. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof R.C. Sobti, made these appointments today.

While Professor Walia took charge today, Professor Naval Kishore will join tomorrow. Professor Gill will join on August 22.

The Syndicate had yesterday approved the appointment of Mr H.C. Malhotra, former Joint Registrar, Panjab University, as secretary to the Vice-Chancellor. Mr Malhotra has already served the university for 45 years.

Prof S.K. Sharma, Department of Correspondence Studies, will be Honorary Director, Academic Staff College, Panjab University, Chandigarh, while Prof V.K. Rattan, Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology as Director (Honorary), Energy Research Centre, Panjab University.



Experts address NIIFT freshers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 1
Experts from the garment industry spoke to new students of the Northern India Institute of Fashion Technology (NIIFT) as part of a three-day orientation programme here today.

Mr S.S. Aich, CEO, Nahar Fabrics, briefed the students about various processes involved during the manufacturing of the fabric till the garment stage. He also discussed various fabric treatments and finishes being used in the garment industry.

According to Mr Aich, developing countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have a strong hold in the textile industry as this segment is labour intensive.

Mrs Vidhu Mohan, renowned psychologist, discussed the importance of good communication skills, methods to solve intra-personal conflicts, time management, self-motivation and positive thinking.

Mr Pushpinder, Marketing Manager, TCNS, Gurgaon, talked about various aspects to be kept in mind to be a successful merchandiser in the industry. He laid stress on multipoint interaction. He also discussed the importance of relationship management as a key to success.

Dr Tirthankar Bhattacharya, Lecturer, History of Art, Panjab University, discussed on how to view a work of art with the help of illustration.

Yesterday, the new session was formally inaugurated with the lighting of the lamp by Mr Sanjay Kumar, Executive Director, NIIFT, Mohali, and the Director, Industries and Commerce, Punjab. He said the textile industry was poised for a big leap and the students could look forward to a bright career ahead.

Addressing the students, Director Vijay Sharma enlightened the student on current trends in the Textile and garment industry. She said continuous innovation was critical to succeed in any consumer industry and fashion was no exception.



Condolence meeting

Chandigarh, August 1
A condolence meeting of students, employees and faculty members was held at the university auditorium here today to condole the demise of Dr D.C. Saxena, Professor of English, Panjab University, Chandigarh, who passed away on July 29.

The faculty and administrative staff offered condolences to the bereaved family. TNS



high court
HC orders early four-laning of Chandigarh-Parwanoo road
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 1
In a major decision, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that the busy Chandigarh-Parwanoo stretch of National Highway-21 be four-laned at the earliest.

Giving this direction along with a host of other directions to make travel in the region comfortable, easier and safe, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court headed by Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi observed that the road stretch between Chandigarh and Parwanoo had many traffic bottle-necks, resulting in extreme discomfort to the travellers.

During resumed hearing of the PIL filed by Mr H.K. Puri, whose young son was killed in a road accident, the Bench also directed that the encroachments on side of the highway stretch between Zirakpur and Lalru should be removed at the earliest so as to speed up the ongoing project of four-laning of Chandigarh-Ambala highway.

The scope of Mr Puri's PIL, filed through the Sarin Legal Foundation in 1998, was expanded by the court, resulting in many important directions on previous occasions.

It was during an earlier hearing that the court had ordered four-laning of the Chandigarh-Ambala highway.

Today, the Bench also told the state governments of Punjab and Haryana as well as UT Administration to strictly implement an earlier court order, which said that any state-owned roadways bus driver convicted for rash and negligent driving should be dismissed from service.

While the earlier order pertained to Haryana only, today the Bench extended it to Punjab and Chandigarh also.

Taking serious notice of the problems caused to commuters due to haphazard stopping of roadways buses in the middle of the busy highways, the Bench ordered the authorities to take necessary steps to ensure that bus drivers did not stop the buses on the road.

In order to smoothen the flow of traffic through the main bazaar of Kalka town, the court ordered that no vehicles should be allowed to be parked on the roadside in the bazaar.

Observing that lack of effective policing also results in problems for the commuters, the Bench also ordered that four traffic policemen be stationed at the level crossing near Kalka to regulate traffic.

After giving these directions, the court adjourned the matter for six months.



Admissions in NRI category: matter reaches High Court
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 1
The issue of alleged irregularities in the admission process for NRI seats for the MBBS course at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, here, reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

In her petition, one of the candidates, Ms Harpreet Kaur, alleged that serious irregularities had been committed during counselling for admissions in the NRI category. She alleged that the merit list prepared by the counselling committee contained names of candidates who were not eligible for admission under the category. She also alleged that the last date for submission of forms was extended for no reason at all. The petitioner, who was at serial number 5 in the merit list, stated that though preference had to be given to candidates with ancestral property in the city, the merit list prepared by the committee contained names of candidates who did not fall in this category.

Her counsel drew the attention of the court to the fact while the father of a candidate had bought a small cubicle in Manimajra in January 2006, as proof of owning property in the city, another candidate had given his address as a house in Sector 44-B that had been sold four years ago.

In this regard, the petitioner claimed to have made complaints to the authorities, including the Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, and the Principal-Director of the college. However, since no action was taken, she approached the High Court.

After hearing her counsel, advocate Chetan Mittal, the Bench of Mr Justice Vinay Mittal and Mr Justice H.S. Bhalla issued notice of motion for August 8.



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