C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Police short of Bullets
  In the absence of enough ammunition, regular training is the first casualty, say officers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

The Chandigarh Police is massively short on the ammunition quota front. At least the official figures speak so. Except for its quota of bullets for probably the oldest stock of armoury, including the 303 rifles and .38 revolver, the police is short in its stock for a majority of other weaponry, including SLRs, LMGs, Snapper rifles, AK-47, Insas Rifle 5.56, 9mm carbines, .22 rifles and .38 pistols, besides several others.

Official data in possession of the Tribune revealed that the police was at least 85 per cent short in its quota for the SLR guns, more than 90 per cent short in its quota for the AK 47s and more than 91 per cent short in its quota for Insas Rifle of the 5.56 make. The police is also more than 90 per cent short in its quota of bullets for 9mm carbine and .38 pistols.

SSP Naunihal Singh said his office was not the correct quarter to address the question with regard to the store of the UT weapons. DIG Alok Kumar could not be contacted despite repeated efforts throughout the day.

The police is also lacking in its stocks of a number of guns, including the SLR 5.62, LMGS, Snapper Rifles, AK 47s, Insas 5.56, 9 mm Carbine and 9 mm pistol. In fact, the police does not have even a single Glock pistol and even a single MP 5 mm Carbine in its stock against the laid-down requirements.

A senior officer, requesting anonymity, said the police was pretty geared up to meet any exigency. However, in the national perspective, there were other territories like Chhatisgarh, which were currently on the top of the Centre’s priority, so sometimes the quota allocated for relatively peaceful areas appeared to be relaxed. The officer claimed that the ammunition shortage did have an impact on regular police training sessions.

The police had carried out two elaborate mock drills to see the police reaction time in case of an emergency: one was on December 21, 2009, in Sector 17 and another was carried out on February 16 earlier this year at the Chandigarh airport.

At the same time it is worth mentioning that the city’s security was important in the context of it being the capital of two important states, particularly Punjab, located next to international border. The city is not far from the Bhakra dam, which is on the list of the most-protected sites on the security in the country. As a small indicator, security across the city was beefed up by the Home Ministry following the Mumbai serial blasts in July last year. The Chandigarh Police does have its required reserves of arms and ammunition for 303 LMG 303 (5), Sian Gun (65), Musket (11), Revolver .38 (212), Revolver .38(special)(25), Very Light Pistol (25), Anti-Riot Gun (50) and air pistols, besides others. 



Train to Bandra flagged off
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
To increase the connectivity between Chandigarh and Mumbai, the the country’s commercial capital, the much-awaited first direct long-distance train from the city to Bandra was flagged off amidst much fanfare by local MP and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal at the railway station here this morning.

On day one, the train ran to its full capacity of 422 passengers, indicating its popularity. Arvinder Kaur, a Mohali resident, said, “It was a long-pending demand. The train is of interest to tourists, businessmen and those who want to meet their relatives in the commercial capital.”

The new 18-coach train would connect religious, commercial and places of tourist importance like Gurgaon, Ajmer, Abu Road (Mount Abu) Ahmedabad, Vadodara. In view of the non-electrified sections, the train would take 27 hours to cover 1,605 km compared to the Paschim express link train, which takes about 29 hours.

According to information, no seat is available in the train up to May 31.

The express weekly train will run from the city every Sunday at 5.45 am to reach Bandra Terminus at 9.20 am the next day, and from Bandra Terminus it will start every Monday at 12.05 pm to reach Chandigarh at 16.20 pm the next day. The fare for the sleeper class is Rs 453, for AC 3-tier and AC 2-tier, it is Rs 1,219 and Rs 1,607 respectively.

Interacting with mediapersons, Bansal said the Chandigarh-Bandra train would shortly be made twice a week and added that the train from the city to Dibrugarh would also ply twice a week very soon. He said the double tracking of the Ambala-Dappar line would start soon and an amount of Rs 30 crore had been sanctioned for the same in the recent budget. He said the work on the underpasses near Mauli Jagran and Mani Majra Housing complex would also be started soon and four meetings had been held between the technical committee of the Railways and the Chandigarh Administration in this regard.

Expressing ignorance about the lukewarm response and the demand for the change in the timings of the Amritsar-Duronto Express train from evening to morning, he said he would take up the matter with the ministry in this regard.

The MP while informing about the new rail link from the city to Yamunanagar, said the Railways had already finalised the proposal and sent it to the Planning Commission for concurrence. He hoped that the new proposal would be cleared soon. Commenting on the upgradation of the railway station to world standards, he said the Railways was already facing financial crunch and the city has other priorities. He said the city was well connected by rail and air and the passengers require better facilities and more train connectivity from the city to other parts of the country.

Defending the Railway and the General Budget 2012-13, Bansal said the increase in fare was long needed to improve the services and it was in the interest of the commuters. He, however, refused to comment on the ongoing controversy involving the railway minister Dinesh Trivedi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. On the general budget he ridiculed the opposition leaders for terming the budget as anti-people. He said the main emphasis had been given to the manufacturing sector to create more jobs for the unemployed. He said that he was surprised over the response to the budget by opposition leaders. He said on the one hand they do not want the subsidies worth Rs 1.88 lakh crore on the fertilizers and petroleum products to be waived off, on the other they were forcing the government to roll back the increase in taxes.

City Mayor Raja Bala Malik, divisional railway manager (DRM) and Sr Divisional Commercial Manager Ambal P K Sanghi and GM Singh, respectively, additional DRM, Pramod Kumar and senior officers Ambala Railways division were among those present on the occasion.



Facebook, special email IDs for MC councillors non-functional
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Despite incurring expenditure of lakhs of rupees, the Municipal Corporation’s attempts at making its functioning tech-savvy while catering to the routine public grievances have failed, as neither the Facebook nor the special email IDs for councillors or a common redress number for different complaints have been working for the past three months.

Gurmail Singh, an annoyed resident of Sector 21, said “The corporation’s IT system collapsed long time back. The common complaint centre too is not working. To make maters worse, no one seems bothered. The authorities seem to be ignoring such a big public-oriented problem.”


The MC Facebook account which was launched last year with a great pomp and show by former mayor Ravinder Pal Singh is nobody’s baby these days. Neither are the authorities bothered to respond to the post sent by the public nor are the councillors concerned to carry forward the residents’ complaints to the officials concerned to resolve them.

Ironically, a computer programmer who was appointed by the MC last year to respond to the complaints on a regular basis is busy these days deleting all those posts on the wall of the Facebook, which the authorities do not want to deal with or are not under the purview of the MC. Records of the Facebook show that in the past three months, only three posts have been sent on the Facebook by the residents. Out of which, the MC authorities have not responded to a single compliant. The first post of this year is by a resident Kushal Sharma, who had posted that “MC U has to reply at least …. Complaints to baad mein solve kernaaa…”

E-mail ID

Sailing in the same boat is the condition of the MC website, as under the column official email ID’s of the newly elected councilors is displayed for the past three months “website is currently under construction”. Resultantly, the residents are left with no other option but to make a call to their area councillors for petty works or visit the corporation office for filing the written complaints or suggestions.

Records of the corporation show that during the previous tenure of the MC, all councillors were issued their official e-mail IDs so that any resident of the city could post their mail anytime to the area councilor with regard to their grievances or suggestions. For round-the-clock availability of the area councillors, laptops worth lakh of rupees were issued to them.

MC website

In fact the authorities have failed to update the website as under the column of working and history of the corporation, the official website for the past three months depicts “under construction” for the past three months.

Due to these errors, the MC website which is considered as “people-friendly” by making the system hassle-free for day-to-day public dealing in various MC departments has actually ended up in only carrying detailed documentation required for the water and sewerage connections, community centre or ground booking and deposit of the property tax. Resultantly, for even petty works or obtaining information one has to visit the MC office to get their work done. 



HC quashes order cancelling booth allotment
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
In a significant judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed an order cancelling the allotment of a booth in Chandigarh on the grounds that the shopkeeper was selling stuff other than the one specified in the allotment letter.

The Bench referred to its own previous order to hold that commercial sites can be used for any purpose mentioned in a schedule, “except in respect of seven restricted trades mentioned in it”.

The judgment is significant as the orders make it clear that the shopkeepers can change the trade within the prescribed parameters.

The ruling by the Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice AN Jindal came on a petition by Kamlesh Gaba against the Chandigarh Administration and other respondents.

The petitioner had challenged the order dated February 2, 1985, and three subsequent orders, “whereby booth allotted to the petitioner was cancelled for the reason that the same is being used for the sale of confectionery and stationery items and not for sale of pan and cigarette purpose, mentioned in the letter of allotment”.

The Bench asserted: “The issue of permissible use of the commercial sites, excluding individual sites in Chandigarh, came up before this Court for consideration in CWP number 16484 of 2009 titled Sham Lal Sharma versus Union of India and others, decided on February 15, wherein relying upon notification dated June 25, 2002, as amended on March 31, 2006, it has been held that the commercial sites can be used for any purpose mentioned in Schedule-I, except in respect of seven restricted trades mentioned in the said schedule.”

Quoting the order, the Bench asserted: “The allottee or occupier does not require prior permission to change user or payment of conversion charges, except information as part of condition number three of the notification dated March 31, 2006.”

“Such modifications now permit the use of commercial sites except industrial sites for any trade mentioned in “(A) New General Trade” and “(B) New Special Trade” of Schedule-II without applying for the conversion of trade and without paying conversion fee.”

“The restriction is only in respect of migration to seven trades as mentioned in New Special Trade Category of Schedule-II. The seven trades alone require prior permission of the Chief Administrator.”

“Therefore, in terms of the notification dated March 31, 2006, all allottees of commercial sites/premises are permitted to use the sites allotted for any purpose mentioned in Schedule-II except in respect of seven trades.”

The Bench concluded: “For the reasons recorded in Sham Lal Sharma's case, the orders of resumption passed by the authorities are not sustainable. Consequently, the present writ petition is allowed. The orders of resumption are quashed.” 



Lawyer loses Rs 8,000 to online fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
A city resident was defrauded of Rs 8,200 by online fraudsters who assured her a job in a multinational company. The case of online job scam surfaced after the UT police realiSed that the accused had similarly cheated more than 40 other persons in various parts of the country. The Cyber Cell of the UT police has registered a case under various Sections of the IT Act in the Sector 11 police station. The police is yet to find out the identity of the accused.

A Sector 15 resident and an advocate by profession, Prerna, was promised a job in Wipro Technologies for the post of executive manager. She received an email asking her to deposit an amount of Rs 8,250 as fees for security, air travel and other expenses. She was told that the amount was refundable. She deposited the amount in a bank account of Raj Kumar in the PNB bank.

After that there was no response from the company and Prerna realised that she had been duped. She then reported the matter to the police.

The police said the mail to the victim was sent from wipro@tech-centre.com and as per the instructions in the mail, the girl had deposited the money in the account.

Later, the police traced the bank account to Dehradun branch of the bank. The bank authorities told the police that they had received over 40 complaints pertaining to the particular account in the last week. However, the address given by the owner was fake and even the guarantor was fake, making police investigations fall flat.

No success

The Cyber Crime Cell has registered atleast four cases of online job scam in the past. However, none of the cases have been solved. One such case reported in 2008 was of Surinder Chauhan, a resident of Sector 32, who lost Rs 50,000 after he responded to a fraudulent email. A case was registered on January 16, 2008. The sender lured Chauhan by asking him to send his resume for a lucrative job in Mela International - a hotel in the UK. Later, he received a reply, stating that he had been selected and was asked to deposit a sum of Rs 15,000. After he transferred the amount, a caller from the UK asked him to deposit another Rs 35,000. The case has been marked untraced.


Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass work still on
Finishing of 10-km stretch under way, CCTV cameras may be installed, toll to be charged from April 1
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 18
Commuters using National Highway 22 are likely to have a harrowing time for another two weeks as finishing of the 10-km Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass is still going on.

A random survey of the bypass, comprising eight bridges and four underpasses, has indicated that the centre medians on road dividers are being installed at various places.

Grills are also being installed at various places on the hilly track near Parwanoo, which will help restrict landslides during the rainy season.

The construction was started two-and-a-half-years ago. The project was supposed to be completed in December last.

The detailed project report prepared 10 years ago had to be revised as many structures had come up on the route, said an official with the construction company on the condition of anonymity.

Following this, new alignment of the road had to be devised, which also contributed to the delay in meeting the deadline, he added.

Once the bypass was thrown open, commuters would no longer be held up in traffic jams for hours at the narrow road passing through Pinjore and Kalka.

While a toll plaza had been set up at Surajpur, near Pinjore, there was also a proposal to instal CCTV cameras at the bypass.

Despite repeated attempts, NHAI Director Anil Dahiya could not be contacted as he did not respond to phone calls.

The trial run at the toll plaza had been started by the staff of the construction company. According to sources, toll would be charged from April 1.

A chart displays toll rates for vehicles.
A chart displays toll rates for vehicles. 

A view of the toll plaza on the highway.
A view of the toll plaza on the highway. Tribune Photos: Nitin Mittal

A view of the Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass.
A view of the Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass.



‘Regional parties emerging stronger’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The BJP leader and actor, Shatrughan Sinha, said today that regional parties had emerged stronger in the five states where the Assembly elections were held recently. The poll results had shaken the national parties out of their slumber and forced them to analyse as to why they were losing base among the masses.

Shatrughan Sinha, former Union Minister, during a visit to the Chandigarh on Sunday.
Shatrughan Sinha, former Union Minister, during a visit to the Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

During a press conference here today, the BJP leader said the national parties needed to rework their functioning.

On being asked about the comparison made by a US magazine between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, he said there was "no match" between the two and no one stood even close to the Gujarat Chief Minister. “Modi is a man of stature, great standing and one who has ensured all-round development of Gujarat and brought glory and shine to the state,” he added.

The actor-turned-politician felt that Modi has all the qualities which made him a top leader, but at the same time he added he also held senior leader LK Advani in high esteem. The ageing BJP leader has carved a place of his own, he added.

When asked about the leader who will lead the BJP in the next parliamentary elections, the cine star said: “Let the time come, a collective decision will be taken". 



2 docs quit, work at PGI burns unit to suffer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The plastic surgery department of the PGI suffered a fresh jolt last week when two of its senior doctors left the institute for joining private sector. Prof Gautam Biswas of the department has left for his home state West Bengal while the other surgeon, Associate Prof Surender Singh Makkar has joined a private hospital in Mohali.

The leaving doctors claimed that they had left the institute for personal reasons.

In August, 2010, Associate Prof Vipul Nanda had left the department. Now, except Dr RK Sharma, head of department, has left with no professor or associate professor which will hamper work at the burns unit.

Sources said another doctor in neuro surgery department has also put in his papers. 



Inside Babudom
Ex-babu develops website on polls
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Damanbir Singh Jaspal, who superannuated from the Indian Administrative Service late last year, has taken upon himself the onerous task of educating those who evince interest in electoral politics.

Damanbir JaspalA dedicated public relations man, Damanbir Jaspal, has never let his passion for gathering and disseminating information subside. He has recently launched an informative website, all on his own on elections in five states, including Punjab.

Jaspal, who remained Director and then Secretary, Information and Public Relations for a long time, also remained associated with some of the publications of the Punjab government.

His website www.electionplans.com not only carries comprehensive and incisive details of the recently concluded election process in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Uttar Pradesh but also provides interesting comparisons of the past three assembly elections.

“Our website is not only helpful to the common man but also to research scholars who analyse electoral battles by taking various factors, including polling patterns and percentages, margins of victory and changes in voting patterns,” says Jaspal.

Months before his retirement, he organised exhibitions of photographs of his research on trees at historic gurdwaras worldwide.

When he took one of his exhibitions to Pakistan, he had a chance to run into former Test cricketer and politician Imran Khan.

“When I revealed my plans for launching an interactive website on elections, one of the confidants of Imran Khan wanted me to design something for Pakistan also.

He told me that a good interactive website could help improve polling percentage in Pakistan that was generally around 35 per cent.

“He was hopeful that even if polling percentage goes up to 50 per cent democracy would become more vibrant and energetic in Pakistan,” says Jaspal, adding that he politely turned down the offer.

Jaspal, however, feels that the voting pattern and rising participation of electors in Punjab assembly elections in itself is an interesting subject for study and research.

“We will love to undertake this project in case any organisation or foundation comes forward to collaborate with us,”  claims Jaspal. 



With SAD-BJP in saddle, no action against erring Infotech officials
 Irregularities in allotment of sites at IT Park in Sector 67 of Mohali
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
With the SAD-BJP combine retaining power, no action is being taken against erring officials of the state-owned Punjab Information and Communication Technology Corporation Ltd (Infotech) in case of irregularities in the allotment of sites at the Information Technology (IT) Park in Sector 67 of Mohali.

At the fag-end of his previous term, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had ordered the cancellation of the sites and departmental action against the erring officials for contravention of laid-down selection criteria on the basis of a note by then Industries Minister Tiksan Sud.

Following the orders, the allotment of all six sites were cancelled by Infotech and the allottees were refunded their earnest money. At least five of the allottees are learnt to have accepted the refunded money.

Sources revealed that after cancelling the allotments, senior Infotech officials, in a note to the higher authorities, maintained that no action was required against the officials.

On the basis of the communication, departmental action was likely to be delayed. Infotech chairman HS Grewal said he was not aware about the latest development on the issue.

The sites had been allotted in 20011 under an off-the-shelf scheme of the Punjab Infotech. The of sites allotted were valued at crores.

The companies, Scott Edil Infotech Private Limited, Shalimar Estates Limited, Alpha Technologies, Matrix Processing House, Giga Net Technologies Private Limited and Metsmartz LLC, had been allotted the sites.

Though the issue had been probed for long, senior Infotech officials, during the courses of departmental inquiries, kept maintaining that no rule had been amended.

Two parallel complaints by Vivek Aditya and Suresh Kumar Seengal to the Punjab Chief Minister, the Punjab Chief Secretary and the Industries Secretary had led to the action.

It had been alleged by the complainants that while deserving applicants had been ignored, the sites were allotted without assigning reason.

It had been stated that selection criteria approved by the board of directors had been overruled, changes in selection criteria not brought to the notice of the board till allotment and efforts made for post-facto approvals.

The committee members, RK Nangia, senior executive director (finance), RK Sangwan, senior executive director (tech) and BK Sharma, manager, in their report, submitted in July, 2011, stated that they had examined all facts and circumstances and there was no merit in the complaints.

The report was placed before the board of directors before the possession of the sites was to be
handed over to the allottees. When contacted, Nangia said he was on leave and was ignorant about the issue.



Garbage all around at Phase VI
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 18
With filth scattered all around and heaps of garbage lying at several places in the town, the much-hyped motto ‘Clean Mohali Green Mohali’ seems to have lost its meaning.
Garbage dumped on the roadside at Phase VI of Mohali.
Garbage dumped on the roadside at Phase VI of Mohali. A Tribune photograph

The state of affairs is pathetic, particularly at Phase VI, where several spots have become small dumps due to the scattered filth and garbage.

The situation is the worst in areas adjoining Sector 55, where slum-dwellers of neighbouring areas in Chandigarh have been dumping garbage.

Such spots, emanating stink all the time, can be seen aplenty at Phase VI, particularly in the commercial belt. Residents of the area lament living under unhygienic conditions.

Pointing to the garbage scattered in a large portion of the market opposite Sector 55 of Chandigarh, Charanjit Singh of Phase VI lamented that many a time, it was difficult to pass by the site.

“The spot is located in the main market near the main road, but you can see the state of affairs here. No one can stand near the site for over a minute,” he said.

He added that several complaints had been lodged by residents and shopkeepers of the area, but they had failed to move the administration.

The municipal council authorities did not seem to be bothered about the issue. The story was no different inside the phase, where one could see similar spots, presenting an ugly picture, every few yards.

“If you term it a ‘model city’, you can easily assess the state of affairs in towns and villages in the state,” said Nirnajan Singh sarcastically. The heaps of garbage and filth attracted stray cattle and other animals, which were another hazard to human life, he added.

Giving the reason, an official with the district administration said the situation had worsened following the dissolution of the municipal corporation a few months ago by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“No official is ready to work in this regard. We have to manage things on our own,” claimed Rajesh Sharma, former municipal councillor of the area.

He alleged that some sweepers working in sectors of Chandigarh located nearby used to throw garbage in the area, which was the main reason of the poor state of affairs.

“Now, we, along with Chandigarh officials, plan to carry out a joint operation to clean things here. I am sure that things will improve after that,” he said. He added that the operation would begin next fortnight.



Price Watch
Brinjal selling at Rs 50 per kg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
With the onset of summer the prices of green vegetables in the market have started spiralling. While the winter crops of cauliflower, brinjal, carrot, green peas and French beans have already been exhausted in the local fields, the summer crop of vegetables, including lady’s finger, is yet to be ready for harvesting. No wonder brinjal is being sold at a price as high as Rs 50 a kg in the market. 

Carrot, which is being supplied from Rajasthan, has been selling at Rs 25 per kg. The French bean, lady’s finger and bitter gourd (karela) coming from West Bengal are priced at Rs 50, Rs 60 and Rs 80 per kg respectively. The pumpkin and long guard brought from Rajasthan are selling up to Rs 30 and 40 per kg respectively. Even the prices of potato and onion have registered an increase up to 25 per cent. The fresh crop of potato is coming from the neighbouring districts of Punjab and Haryana and is selling from Rs 5 to Rs 8 per kg in the local market.



Officer on leave, social welfare dept work hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Almost a month after HCS officer Varsha Khangwal went on leave, the Chandigarh Administration has woken up to the need of assigning her work to another UT official.

In the absence of any arrangement in the past, the functioning of various wings of the Social Welfare Department was hampered as the case files were kept pending.

Several cases of pending dues of the Child and Welfare Department and other wings of the department were not being cleared.

In view of the increasing number of pending cases, Chief Executive Officer of Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) Rajesh Jogpal has been given the additional work of social welfare.



150 visit camp for disabled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Over 150 persons visited the multiple specialised camp for the physically challenged held here today. The camp was organised by the Chandigarh unit of Cheshire Homes. It was established in November, 2002, to provide shelter to the physically challenged and encourage spiritually the people with physical and mental disabilities.

Dr Raj Bahadur, Director Principal, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, visited the camp and also handed over prosthetic limbs (right forearm), a wheel chair and a bicycle to the needy persons.

Gurdip Singh Deep, president of Cheshire Homes, said the objective of the camp was to provide single-window service to the physically challenged in the region and bring various agencies together for their benefit.

A team of doctors from Government Medical College and Hospital Sector 32 conducted the assessment of nearly 50 persons for disability certification.

Over 100 railway passes were also issued to physically challenged persons. Twenty persons donated blood on the occasion.



Eye centre celebrates Founder’s Day 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The sixth Founder’s Day was celebrated at the Advanced Eye Centre, PGI, here today. While Dr Nam Perumalsamy, Chairman Emeritus, Aravind Eye Care Hospital, Madurai, delivered the Founder’s Day lecture on “Aravind Model of Eye Care”, a continuing medical education programme in ophthalmology was also organised. On the occasion, appreciation awards were given Sister Daljit Kaur, Subhash Parwana and Raj Kumar for their meritorious work.

The Advanced Eye Centre was set up on March 18, 2006, with the objective of providing high quality tertiary eye care to patients coming from the entire North-West India. Till the setting up of this centre, no such advanced facility existed in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

More than 1 million patients (10,47,120) have been treated at the centre out of whom almost 7 lakh patients have been treated in the various special clinics of the centre namely uveitis, retina, cornea, glaucoma, lens and squint, etc.

Ever since the centre came up nearly 35,000 major surgeries have been performed including 613 corneal grafts. 



ENT workshop concludes

Chandigarh, March 18
The two-day cadaveric head and neck and temporal bone workshop organised by the department of ENT at the PGI concluded here today. The workshop was aimed at training young surgeons to perform surgical procedures on the head, neck and temporal bones. The second day of the workshop started with a demonstration of various surgical procedures on the temporal bone by Prof Naresh K Panda, head, ENT department, PGI. The course participants then performed various surgical procedures on the temporal bone.

Important structures are hidden in the bony confines of the temporal bone and requires expertise on the part of the surgeon. Dr Tullika Gupta and Dr Anjali Aggarwal delivered lectures on applied anatomy of neck and thyroid gland. This was followed by a demonstration of surgical procedures on cadavers by Prof Ashok K Gupta, Dr Jaimanti Bakshi and Prof Panda. The trainees then performed hands-on dissection on the cadavers. — TNS



Anti-human trafficking workshop begins today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Chandigarh Police, in collaboration with the Institute of Correctional Administration, Chandigarh, is organising a three-day State-level Training of Trainer (ToT) Workshop on Anti-Human Trafficking for the officers of the Chandigarh Police, Health, Labour, Prosecution and Social Welfare Departments and also NGOs from March 19 to 21. The workshop aims at sensitisation all the stakeholders towards issues of human trafficking and bringing all the stakeholders together to tackle this problem.

The training programme will be inaugurated by Professor PS Jaswal, Vice-Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi National Law University (RGNLU), Patiala, on March 19 at 10 am.

Various experts from the country will be the resource persons who will deliver addresses on various aspects relating to anti-human trafficking such as basic concepts of human trafficking and its law and procedures; effective prosecution of trafficking crimes; investigation of human trafficking; intelligence gathering on human trafficking; post rescue and rehabilitation of survivors of trafficking; psycho-social intervention for survivors of trafficking; labour trafficking issues and the role of NGOs in prevention and rehabilitation of survivors of trafficking in this training programme.



Dolly Guleria to sing for senior citizens

Chandigarh, March 18
As a part of the celebrations of its 16th anniversary, the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association has organised a music at the Tagore theatre on March 21, disclosed Brig Keshav Chandra.

According to VS Sodhi, organiser, Sufi and folk maestro Dolly Guleria will be the star attraction at the celebrations. All music lovers are also welcome but must ensure their entry by 6.15 pm, adds Sodhi. — OC



open house response
Impose drunk-driving penalty according to alcohol content

In future, if one commits a driving-related offence, he or she may have to shell out a fine up to five times the existing penalty. It’s a wonderful Bill, in case, implemented in order to curb the rising number of road accidents. A Bill proposing amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, is likely to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha during the coming budget session. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways should display the Cabinet-approved amendments adequately in newspapers, on signages and even on its website. The state police headquarters should form youth cells and rope in youngsters for night patrolling in the city.

This is the second time the Bill is being introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The previous effort was made in 2007. The UPA government is now introducing a strong Bill against traffic offenders. Hope the new law will equally apply to the top brass who generally park their red-beacon vehicles on roadsides. First, there must be a proper computerised record-keeping system interlinked throughout the country.

Computerisation will help in keeping an updated track record of all drivers which will help keep a watch on habitual offenders. Cases of drunk driving should be dealt with according to the quantity of alcohol found in the blood of an offender instead of a general law applicable to all such offenders. A person having 300 ml of alcohol in his blood should get a different punishment compared to those found with lower alcohol contents like 30 ml in their blood.

For the last over 7 years, I’ve been writing letters to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and many city police officials on the matter. The government and city top brass must enforce tough traffic laws in our city and no interference should be entertained.

Er Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Hefty fines can help check violations

These days more people die in accidents on the roads than of any diseases. The number of deaths caused by over-speeding and drunk driving is persistently on the rise as every year a large number of youngsters lose their lives in road rage. The state governments are not able to control the number of accidents through law enforcement alone and a heftier financial penalty may be a deterrent to rash and negligent driving. There is nothing wrong with the new proposal of charging huge fines as it is for the safety of people. People who are caught for violations just give a Rs 100 note to traffic cops and drive away. Nobody is afraid of this Rs 100 fine. So the amended Motor Vehicle Act is expected to bring in good results and reduce traffic violations. Anybody found drunk while driving must not be spared and suitably punished. Apart from charging hefty fines, the traffic police must ensure that checks and nakas are held on a daily basis and not only on special days. Signboards clearly indicating the permissible speed limits should be erected on roadsides.

Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula

Need to curb rash driving

Everyday a number of people are injured and killed in road accidents. These accidents occur mainly due to the negligence and carelessness of drivers, lenient traffic rules and to a large extent due to drunk driving. The move to impose hefty fines for offences like over speeding, drunk driving and using mobile while driving will help curb the menace of rash driving. It is high time that something stern and effective needs to be done.

Drunk driving, an illegal act, should be governed by stern laws which entail not only levying hefty fines or revocation of licence, but also prosecution of a violator on criminal charge. The police is ought to be more strict while enforcing traffic rules. No offender should be exempted from punishment, come what may. Also, there should be strict checking in the middle of the night when most crimes and cases of road rage occur. Different sectors, government and public, should also come forward and join hands to make the Indian roads safer. The education sector and the media can create enhanced community awareness and understanding of causes and consequences of road accidents.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Sector-38C, Chandigarh

Step up media coverage

The aggressive media coverage of the cases of court punishment for drunken driving, which was witnessed in the city a couple of months ago, has lost steam in the recent past. The news that hit the page one consistently for some time seems to have lost its attraction.

These days drunk-driving cases are getting lesser prominence in the city newspapers. It is felt that when an offence becomes too common, it becomes less important for the Press.

The police and the media, too, need to keep addressing issues like drunk driving and this should be their top priority. Instead of just carrying pictures of the offenders in newspapers, the issue needs a wider coverage. In fact, cases of road accidents due to drunk driving needs to be highlighted.

Rakeshwar Katoch



Sangeet sammelan concludes
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 18
The four-day 42nd Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan concluded this evening at Tagore Theatre.
Vocal performance by Kalapini Komkali during 42nd Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan on Sunday.
Vocal performance by Kalapini Komkali during 42nd Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan on Sunday. Tribune photo: pradeep tewari

Kalapini Komkali, the disciple and daughter of legendary Pandit Kumar Gandharva and Vidushi Vasundhara Komkali, began her recital with Raga Kalyan and doled out two compositions immortalized by Guru Kumar Gandharva. She rendered Vilambat and Drut compositions before presenting another bandish in raga Jog. Kalapini’s performance in “Raga Basant Piya sang khelo ri” and Thumri in Raga Kaafi had a soothing impact.

In the second session, young dancers, Dakshina Vaidyanathan and Amrit Sinha presented a jugalbandi in bharatnatyam as also excelled in exotic varnam. Dakshina’s solo dance on Meera bhajan was again followed by dance of Lord Shiva by Amrit that left the spectators asking for more.

Dakshina and Amrit concluded their jugalbandi with Thillana, where the virtuosity of the raga was reflected in complex and vibrant footwork, eloquent stage movements, body gestures and perfect synchronisation.



Chandigarh Scan
400 donate blood

More than 400 volunteers donated blood in a blood donation camp organised here on Sunday. Satya Gopal, IAS, chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board was the chief guest on the occasion. Certain donors including Pragraj Sharma, Rakesh Rasila and Randeep Batta who had donated blood more than 200, 100 and 90 times, respectively.

Chandikrit-2012 from today

A five-day industrial fair “Chandikrit-2012” from March 19 to 23 will begin at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, here on Sunday. The exhibits on the display products, being manufactured by micro, small and medium enterprises of Chandigarh and that of the adjoining areas of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh will be demonstrated. This fair also includes special attractions of Le-Corbusier Centre. No entry fee would be charged from the visitors.

Dinesh Mongia to train poor children
Dinesh Mongia, an international fame cricketer, today visited ‘Theatre Age’; an NGO involved in working for the under-privileged children, and gave cricket tips to the children. It is noteworthy that a team of theatre age children is going to participate in the ‘guly cricket’ tournament being organised by the Chandigarh police. Cricketer Dinesh Mongia will train these children for the tournament and will train the best performers for later training in the sport. On the occasion, Zulfiqar Khan, president, Theatre Age announced the formation of ‘Theatre Age Cricket Academy’ and requested Dinesh Mongia to accept the responsibility to chair it, to that he consented.


Aryans College of Engineering (ACE) organised a seminar on “Transformation of Knowledge-Science to Engineering and Technology” in the college campus on the Chandigarh-Patiala Highway, near Chandigarh. On the occasion, Surita Maini, an associate professor, Sant Longowal Institute Of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), Longowal, Sangrur, was the keynote speaker of the event. Dr Anshu Kataria, chairman, Aryans Group of Colleges (AGC) presided over the function. — TNS



Videograph selection committee meetings: PUTA
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
In a bid to ensure transparency in the selections of the teaching posts, made in Panjab University, the authorities on the demand made by the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) are mulling over to the video-graph the proceedings of the meetings of the selection committee. The issue would be coming-up in the upcoming Syndicate meeting for approval.

On the basis of demand raised by PUTA, a committee was constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to look into the demand of recording the proceeding of the selection committee.

During the committee meeting, PUTA secretary, Mohammad Khalid, stressed that in order to maintain transparency and strengthen the system, there was a need for vidoegraphy and to begin with the university should start the videograhpy of the proceedings at the entry level during the recruitment of assistant professors.

Rabinder Nath Sharma, a fellow and members of the panel, to discuss the issue stated that the university has already decided to videograph the proceedings of the Senate and Syndicate meetings and it would be better if it would be extended to selection committee as several times it has been found that persons who were not the members of the selection committee, were found present in the meeting of the selection committee.

The committee has resolved that the vidoegraphying of the proceedings should be only seen as a tool for ensuring transparency and since the issue needs further deliberations the proposal should be considered with other alternatives. The committee also mentioned that if the university starts viedographying, then the Dean University Instructions (DUI) or the registrar would keep the record of the meetings at least three years.

It has also been resolved that only those subject experts would be appointed, whose names existed in the panel suggested by the concerned department.

The committee also stated that all the efforts to ensure transparency and make the system credible be made.



Failed students allege biased appraisal
GMCH-32 demands independent evaluation of six radio-diagnosis students
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, (GMCH-32) has once again demanded an ‘independent evaluation’ of the six candidates of BSc (radio diagnosis), raising doubts over the Panjab University’s (PU) evaluations, stating that from the statements of students it appeared that there was some discrepancy in the evaluation. The issues for the second-time would be tabled before the PU Syndicate, which had, earlier, asked the GMCH 32 to provide factual details in support of request for the ‘independent evaluation’.

A request for re-evaluation was made by the hospital to PU’s Controller Examination, who had forwarded the case to the Syndicate for approval stating that the six students, out of which two had failed, were demoralised and one of them was the topper of the previous batch, however, the house in its meeting held on January 31, asked the hospital to form a committee and to look into the issue and submit a detailed report for consideration.

Following the directions of the Syndicate GMCH 32 formed a committee under the Chairmanship of Jasvinder Kaur, Aditional Director (administration), and the committee through a questionnaire examined all the students.

Ritakshi, one of the students, who had failed in all the four subjects, had stated that some of the passed students did not even deserve to pass and that she had been failed because of personal bias. She added that if the re-evaluation was done she would ‘definitely’ pass.

Rajni, another unsuccessful candidate, who had requested for the re-evaluation, also raised doubts on the re-evaluation and that she had failed in physics for medical imaging with 15 marks less than the passing marks. She stated that if the re-evaluation was done, she would pass, although Rajni, during the inquiry had evaded the question whether, she had been failed due to personal bias.

During the inquiry from four other students who had passed in the examination, out of them, the two wanted the re-evaluation. Thereafter, the college has recommended that independent examiners should conduct the re-evaluation of all the students in all the subjects.

The issue would be discussed during the Syndicate meeting on March 24.



‘Introduce five-day work schedule in PU, affiliated colleges’
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The colleges affiliated to Panjab University (PU) may introduce five-day a week working schedule from the coming academic session, on the resolution moved by a PU syndic. The proposal would be tabled before the syndicate.

On the resolution, proposed by Dr Dinesh Talwar, a fellow demanding that the five-day working a week in the colleges, the syndicate would be discussing the issue in the next meeting.

Dr Talwar, explaining the rationale behind his proposal, said that the students and the staff of all the faculties in the affiliated colleges are set at a disadvantage because they find little time for themselves for self-study and self-improvement.

“The university, all of its departments and the administrative offices have five-day a week. There is no justification that two systems are being followed under the same university guidelines and this dichotomy should be done away with,” he said.

Dr Tawlar, in his resolution, has also mentioned that this should be introduced as all the departments, administrative offices as well the PU affiliated colleges follow the same as of Punjab Civil Services.

Reacting to the proposal, Gurpreet Singh a student of DAV College, said that the same rules should be followed in the colleges as well so that the students also get enough time to study and even relax after the hectic five-day schedule.

Hasty sham
"The university, all of its departments and the administrative offices have five-day a week. There is no justification that two systems are being followed under the same university guidelines and this dichotomy should be done away with."— — Dr Dinesh Talwar, PU syndic 



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