Saturday, April 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Wake-up call for Union Territory doctors
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , April 27
It is time for UT Administration doctors to gird up their loins and get ready to be assessed as per the benchmark set up by the Health Department. As to assess working of its specialists, the department has introduced a new performance based benchmark system for the doctors working in the General Hospital, Sector 16, and Primary Health Services, Mani Majra.

According to Dr Rameshwar Chander, Director, Health Services, the system has been devised to gain multifold benefits. While primarily it aims at a feedback on number of patients each discipline admitted, it will also ensure that each doctor, definitely treats and admits specified number of cases allocated as per the benchmark.

For example, a medical specialist in GH-16 will have to make 45 admissions and conduct 12 invasive tests, surgical specialist undertake 12 major and 30 minor surgeries. Likewise parameters have also been pre-set for each discipline, including ENT, Eye, gynaecology, orthopaedician, skin besides others for both GH-16 and PHS, Mani Majra

Moreover, even the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of the doctors will also be based on the number of admissions made. Dr Rameshwar Chander says that this will ensure more interest from individuals resulting in better performance. Besides, the doctors will make a self assessment of their work on the basis of which ACRs will be written.

Concept of the benchmark is based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines which are already being implemented by the Punjab Health System Corporation and has been devised in respect of admissions in hospitals and various diseases . The system will also help chalk out a better management plan for future.

Earlier patients would get slips with their name , age and department issued at the registration center After being treated from the concerned department, patients would get back to the counters for registration.

However, doctors say that few patients bothered to do that. Especially after the Punjab and Haryana governments and the Chandigarh Administration stopped outdoor reimbursements, patients stopped the practice of getting themselves registered while hospitals failed to get the exact number of patients treated on a particular day.

Dr Rameshwar Chander says that the benchmark system will streamline the procedure. A patient will be issued an OPD slip with registration number and date which will also be endorsed by the treating doctor in his register.

Dr G. Diwan, Deputy Medical Superintendent, adds that ever since introduction of this scheme, the number of registered OPD admissions in the General Hospital, Sector 16, has already gone up by 25 per cent.


Few women drivers wear helmets: traffic police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
When 21-year-old Kanika Gupta, a final-year student of the BCA course in the Sector 32 SD College, died in a road accident here yesterday, she became the seventh woman victim here who had been riding a two-wheeler without wearing a helmet.

The general perception is that rules are meant to be broken, even at the cost of one’s life. This explains why women here don’t wear helmets while driving on the city roads.

Figures compiled by the Accident Cell of the Chandigarh traffic police show that 40 persons have been killed and 130 injured so far in road accidents here this year. Past year, 120 persons were killed and 453 injured in road accidents here.

Officials of the traffic police say that most of these victims were two-wheeler riders who were driving without wearing helmets. The Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Mr Vijay Pal Singh, said the police could not control the situation when people were not ready to obey traffic rules.

“Few women drivers wear helmets while driving two-wheelers. After a stay order by the Supreme Court, the police cannot even fine women drivers who don’t wear helmets. Wearing a helmet is a minor safety precaution in their own interest,” he said.

Most two-wheeler riders take advantage of the staff shortage in the traffic police. Riders only wear helmets when they approach traffic lights where policemen have been deployed.

The traffic police has launched many drives to catch underaged drivers. In March where two teenagers, who were not wearing helmets while riding a two-wheeler, were killed in a road mishap. After this, the police launched a drive to target students of schools and colleges here who were underaged drivers, but discontinued it soon afterwards.

The UT Inspector General of Police, Mr B.S. Bassi, has urged parents to ensure that their children obtain valid licences before driving a motor vehicle if they are over the age of 18. “The children between the age of 16 and 18 should drive only two-wheelers of not more than 50 cc capacity,” he said.



Goodbye to long queues
Pay bills through banks now

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Use electronic clearance scheme (ECS-debit clearing) for a quick payment of telephone, electricity-supply and water-supply bills through banks, says the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The RBI said here today that, under the ECS, the departments concerned, after receiving authorisations from consumers, would be able to collect the payment of bills from bank accounts of consumers. The scheme ensures that consumers are able to make timely payments of their bills without having to issue cheques or visit the office concerned.

The decision to route the payment of electricity-supply and water-supply bills through the ECS was taken by the UT Electricity Department and the Municipal Corporation in January this year.

Consumers have to fill-up mandate forms in duplicate and get these attested from their banks. The departments concerned, after receiving these forms, will include the particulars in the records. The bills will reach consumers well before the due date.

Consumers will have to keep balance amounts, equivalent to the charges, in their accounts to settle the bills on the due date. The payment will be instantly credited to the account of the department concerned on the due date. In case of any dispute, consumers can withdraw the mandates till the bill are ratified.

The mandate forms are available in the office of the BSNL, the UT Electricity Department, The Municipal Corporation and branches of all banks in the city, SAS Nagar and Panchkula. Any clarification regarding the ECS can be sought either from the departments concerned and banks or the RBI officials on telephone numbers 704973 and 702469 or e-mail addresses [email protected] and [email protected], according to the RBI.


PEC teachers fear losing status
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The UT Education and Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, said here today that the proposed upgrading of Punjab Engineering College into a deemed university would not affect teachers or the other staff of the college. However, the staff fears that service rules will be changed after the upgrading.

Though some teachers of the college support the move, the others say that the upgrading will make them lose their status as government employees.

Some teachers said the UP Medical College Teachers Association had moved court to retain their government-employees status after six medical colleges had been turned into autonomous societies. In this case, the Supreme Court had ordered that, “As far as existing teachers and other staff of the college is concerned, their status as government servants shall not be altered.” “By upgrading the PEC, the Chandigarh Administration will invite all sorts of litigations from the staff,” said a senior professor of the college.

Mr Gujral said the teachers would be university employees and their service conditions and the other benefits “might be better than those of government employees”.

The PEC teachers are not the only ones who are worried. Class XII students who aspire to join the college this year are also unsure about their future. The college has not given any official statement on slashing the 85 per cent city quota. The college Principal, Prof R.S. Gupta, said the changes would come into effect from the next session, so, aspirants had nothing to fear this year. Mr Gujral said students of the city would be accommodated in one way or the other after the quota was slashed to 50 per cent after the upgrading.


IBP petrol station violating norms to promote sales
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Strange it might sound, but some buildings in the city seem to care two hoots for the provisions of the Chandigarh master plan. Despite the fact that the master plan bars all institutional and commercial buildings from having a direct opening or access to the V2 roads, the Sector 33 IBP petrol station is flouting the norms with impunity.

In spite of having a slow carriageway on Dakshin Marg, the Sector 33 company-operated petrol station of the IBP still continues to have a direct access to the V2 road. This access was earlier justified in the absence of a slow carriageway. But strangely enough, the opening to the petrol station on the main road is still existing despite the construction of a slow carriageway by the PWD.

Meanwhile, sources in the Administration revealed that the UT Engineering Department had closed down the main opening to the station along the V2 road after constructing the slow carriageway about a month back. The petrol station authorities, when contacted by Chandigarh Tribune, however, had an interesting story to tell. Confirming the statement, Ms S. Thomas, retail officer, bragged proximity to the powers that be. She confessed: "The closure of the main opening to our petrol station had started affecting our sales. The sales were really diminishing. We had our officials exert pressure on the officials concerned so that the opening could be restored. And it was restored after once being closed down."

The officer further said that the service lane to the petrol station was still not metalled. "In the absence of the direct opening along the main road, the vehicles had started diverting away from the petrol station. We had to really work hard to regain the direct access to the pump," she said.

Coming back to rules — the Chandigarh master plan also makes specific provisions with regard to entry and exit points of the slow carriageways along the V2 roads. It states that the slow carriageways along such roads can have only one entry and one exit point to the main V2 road.

However, the slow carriageway along Dakshin Marg in Sector 33 has a total of three entry points. And the same is in gross violation of the rules. Not just that, it causes a lot of traffic hazard along the main road. Incidentally, with the provision of the slow carriageway, the official entry point towards Sector 33 A and B has also now been blocked, thus further aggravating the traffic hazard problem.

Meanwhile, the UT Chief Architect, Mr Sarabjeet Singh Sandhu, when contacted, confirmed that no commercial building or institution could have an access to the V2 roads directly when the slow carriageway was existing. As per rules, while one entry to the slow carriageway is allowed near the roundabout at the start of the V2 road, another entry is allowed towards the end of the road. No other entry in between is allowed.

The Sector 33 IBP petrol station, however, seems to be an exception.



Over 60 pc storm water gullies lying blocked
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 27
The SAS Nagar Municipal Council could not have found itself in such an awkward situation. Despite paying over Rs 4 crore to the Public Health Department each year, it is finding it difficult to get the maintenance of water and sewerage in the town.

As a result over 60 per cent of the strom water gullies in the town, which had to be cleansed by March 31, are still lying blocked with trash, dust and plastic carrybags. Collecting of dry leaves and burning them on the storm water gullies has added to the problem. At some places broken covers of the strom water gullies have become virtual "deathtraps" for the road-users.

Expenditure (in lakhs) being incurred on maintenance of water supply, storm and sewerage.

Year  Total expenditure  Revenue collected  Extra expenditure 


































*The different between the expenditure and the revenue earned decreased during 2000-2001 as compared to the previous year due to an increase in the water and sewerage rates.

Enraged with wild growth around the chocked strom water gullies, residents have been knocking at the doors of municipal councillors of their respective wards for the poor state of amenities. But in return they get to see helpless councillor blaming the Public Health for the situation. Even the President of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, did not mince words to criticise the Public Health wing. "I had clearly told them to clean the strom water gullies and clear the blocked sewerage lines by March 31. Three reminders to give details of the expenditure have not elicited any response".

The practice of the Public Health Department handling the maintenance of essential services and charging money, for it was going on for the past many years as per government rules. "We are seriously thinking of privatising the maintenance of essential services ".

To ascertain the gravity of the problem, The Tribune visited different areas of the town and sought comments from municipal councillors. Mr Shyam Bansal, a councillor from Ward No. 3 ( Phase 1), said he had been requesting the Public Health wing for the past several months to get the blocked road gullies cleaned, but without any result.

A storm water gully in front of house No 509 was full of dry leaves. At a short distance a storm water gully along the main road dividing Phases 1 and 6 was hardly visible. Mr Surinder Kaur, a resident of house No 578, said no employee of the Public Health wing had visited the site for the past one year.

Similarly, on the road running between housing board houses in Phase 1 and the Phase 2 market, at least 50 per cent of the storm water gullies required immediate attention. In phases 3B 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 the gullies required attention. Mr Amrik Singh, councillor from Phase 11, said the road gullies along the main road from PCA Stadium in Phase 9 to Phase 11 were in bad shape. Mr Manmohan Singh Langh, a councillor from Phase 7, said though some work had been done in January, still 50 per cent of the gullies required immediate repair.

Mr N.K. Marwaha, councillor from Phase 3B 2, said 60 per cent of the storm water gullies were blocked." I had called the SDO and the JE of the Public Health to see for themselves but they said they had no machinery to clear the blocked storm water lines". Mr Manjeet Sethi, councillor from ward no 9, said storm water gullies at the back of houses No 201 to 219 were cleaned but the filth was left along the road.

The President of the civic body said privatisation was the only solution to the problem. The civic body was hopeful of saving a "wasteful expenditure" of around Rs 1 crore annually.

Sources in the civic body said officials of the engineering wing were preparing an estimate of the expenditure the civic body would save by either taking over the Public Health works in its hands or privatising it. With each passing year the expenditure was rising as compared to the income. The civic body was shelling out around Rs 4 crore annually to the Public Health Department for maintenance of water supply, storm water and sewerage. This includes 14 per cent departmental charges being levied by the civic body. The extra expenditure from March, 1993, till November, 2000, was around Rs 3.36 crore. An official of the civic body said the permission to privatise the essential services had to be cleared at the government level as it involved two departments — Local Government and Public Works Department.


Market forces rule media: Sawant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Media was being run as a business with an eye on profits. The contents at large were market-oriented and not mass-oriented, said Justice P.B. Sawant,

Chairman of the Press Council of India, while speaking on the inaugural day of the two day seminar on Media accountability at the Haryana Niwas here today.

Justice Sawant said roughly 50,000 small publications were coming out in the country with the sole objective of blackmailing people for getting advertisements. Stressing on the role of the media to act as an educator, Justice Sawant said media could play a great role in shifting the tastes and values of its readers Even the entertainment package should be designed with an eye to educate people. There were five ways of increasing accountability, and these are having an internal ombudsman, a media watch group, the press council , the readers column and importantly the role of the journalist.

Giving an example, he said when the Enron power project was being set up in Maharashtra the entire media was supporting Enron’s viewpoint and the views of the social activists were being played down. In reality what the activists were saying then has now turned out to be true as each unit of power from Enron was costing Rs 25. And, he said, surprisingly , Enron’s solicitors had told the government that the company will “manage” the media.

All this is on record, Justice Sawant said. Seeking more powers for itself, the Press Council has asked Parliament to provide for powers to act on the lines of “ contempt of court” whenever any publication errs in publishing or acting on a censure issued by the PCI .

Justice Sawant today said that media has a right to “constructively criticise” the judgement by pointing out omissions of the fact. There is no contempt of court in the constructive criticism of judgement. He said people have some confidence in judiciary, but if it is shattered, the rule of law will end, adding that both judiciary and media had “something to learn.”

Reacting to a question on having a uniform media teaching curriculum across the country, he said it was good suggestion. There was nothing unethical in the tehelka tapes. Everything was in public interest. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr PC) also it was obligatory for every citizen to report any wrong doing.

During the opening session, Prof H.S. Dilgir said it was strange how we are talking about accountability in the most corrupt country. Dr Rajeshwar Dayal from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung said the seminar here is the second in the series. The first was organised in Hyderabad. Two more seminars will be organised at Shillong and Mumbai, respectively.

A former Chairman of the Department of Mass Communication , Panjab University, Prof B.S. Thakur, said self-regulation is the only answer. Code of ethics are here but there is neither a will nor any enforcement. He suggested the formation of the office of an ombudsman, which can practice with clear objective and authority. Ajit Pathak, national president of the Public Relations Society of India (PRSI), held the opinion that due to rapid and many-sided growth of mass media, the accountability part has become necessary. Associate Editor of The Tribune K.P. Sinha said objective journalism has lost the basic values and traditional dignity.

In the pullout era, what mattered was bulk and weight rather then sense and quality. The profession needed introspection.



More amusement in park
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 27
Another fun-sport facility, Wunder Water, was inaugurated in Fun City of Panchkula today. These six curvaceous slides originate from a 45-foot tall tower and end in a shallow pool.

This new extension includes multilane white slide, crazy cruise, body slide, Typhoon Tunnel, mini aqua trail and float slide. An activity pool is also there for children.

“Riding these slides has been a thrilling experience for us,” said Shweta and Moushmi, two teenaged visitors. “Sliding down from such a height into the water pool is really adventurous,” they said. “Typhoon Tunnel is the scariest and the most thrilling of all things,” said Naresh, another young visitor. “The inside of the tunnel reminds one of a black hole,” he said.

Mr Kamaljit Singh, Managing Director of Fun City, said there would be more additions to the facilities here soon, including an 18-hole golf course and a jacuzzi.


Power cuts irk residents
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 27
Despite assurance of the PSEB officials to reduce power cuts, the Zirakpur Notified Area Committee is still witnessing unscheduled and long power cuts that are sometimes night-long.

Electricity supply was disconnected on Thursday at 11.45 pm and was restored at 7.30 pm in Bartana .It was again discontinued from 8.30 am to 11.15 am.

Mr Hemant Kumar, a resident of Govind Vihar, Bartana, said. "The PSEB is not in a mood to spare consumer as it has become the routine to disconnect the supply at nights when people retire to bed.

"We are ready to face the cuts in morning or afternoon but the cuts at odd hours are unbearable."

Mr Satinder Singh of Preet Nagar, Zirakpur, said:"Our life has become like a hell in the absence of power and with the presence of mosquitos. The PSEB and mosquitos both have become a headache for us".

The life of students and employees has become more miserable as they could not get complete rest due to shut down and feel drowsiness the next day.

The career of Vibhu, a student who is preparing for CET, is at stake.

He said: "I couldn't devote as much time as I should have. It's all due to the power failure. If it goes on, the hope of getting the examinations cleared will not be fulfilled.

According to Rajiv Sharma, the power cuts are at its peak nowadays while the summer is not that sultry. What will happen in May and June when the summer will be at its peak?

The XEN was not available for comments.


Relay of DD programmes via LPT stopped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Doordarshan (DD) authorities have stopped relaying national network programmes (DD 1) from the low powered transmitter (LPT) at Kasauli, which caters to audiences in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

DD authorities are now relaying programmes from DD Jalandhar only for four hours in the evening from 4 p.m., with the result that the LPT remains idle for 20 hours.

According to the authorities, relaying of DD 1 programmes from the LPT has been stopped as the same are also being relayed from the high powered transmitter, which is also installed at Kasauli and relays programmes for the same areas as are catered to by the LPT.

The DD authorities can make use of the LPT by relaying programmes of DD Punjabi Channel started by Jalandhar DD recently. This will result in optimum utilisation of the LPT. There would be no additional expenditure and Punjabi programmes can be relayed through the terrestrial mode. Audience desiring to view DD 1, DD 2, DD Jalandhar and DD Punjabi channels would not require cable connection.



Attack on MC men flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Coordination Committee of the government and MC employees and workers, at a meeting held today have condemned the incident in which the Section Officer, Mr Ravinder Sharma, and other employees of the corporation were attacked and assaulted by the employees of a liquor contractor.

In a letter written to the Adviser to the Administrator, Commissioner and the Chief Engineer, the Convener, Mr Ramesh Kant, has urged them to take up the matter with the concerned authorities to get the culprits arrested immediately. He said employees of the MC were performing their duties as per the orders of the Commissioner. As per the orders, the Section Officer, Mr Sharma, was directed to ensure that no construction of liquor vend be made at the site, but when he tried to stop the construction work, they assualted him and in the scuffle his watch, a gold chain and official radio set were lost. The labourers were also attacked.

The employees further lamented that in spite of their lodging a formal complaint with the Sector 17 police station, no arrests has been made so far.


Elopement attempt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The parents of a young girl today foiled an attempt of elopement when they unsuccessfully tried to catch the accused. The latter, however, managed to escape alongwith an accomplice.

The girl received a call from her beau at her Phase VII residence at around 10.45 a.m. and asked her to meet him at a nearby bus stop. The call was intercepted by the girl’s parents, who decided to follow their daughter.

Once they reached the bus stand, the parents raised an alarm as soon as they spotted their daughter while she was trying to sit in the car. The two youth in the Maruti car ( PB-02T-9498) fled away, with the girl’s parents at their heels. 



Kalka-Amritsar train suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Following orders from Railway Headquarters, the running of the Kalka-Amritsar passenger train has been suspended.

The Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala, Mr Ashwini Kapoor, confirmed that the running of the train had been cancelled till further orders.

Railway sources said that the possible reason for termination of this train was that the rake may have been required elsewhere.



CHB allottees plan chetna rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The CHB Residents Federation, a representative body of 35 welfare associations, will hold a chenta rally in Sector 46-C market tomorrow in support of their long-pending demands.

According to a press note, leaders of all major political parties will accompany leaders of the federation to submit a memorandum to the UT Administrator at his residence.



Antakshari audition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
An audition test for participation in Close Up Antakshari being telecast these days on Zee Television will be held in the city on Saturday and Sunday (April 28 and 29). The venue for the audition is Sood Bhawan, Sector 44-A. The registration of candidates for the test will start at 9 a.m. on both days.


Man killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Jasbir Singh, a resident of Kaimbwala, was killed when he fell off his scooter after hitting a bicycle near a liquor shop in Kaimbwala.

The deceased had hit Seema, who was on a bicycle, late last night. Both were injured and rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where Jasbir Singh was declared as brought dead. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered.

Four cases of theft

Four cases of theft have been reported in different parts of the city during the past 24 hours. In one of the cases, the accused, Jeet Singh, was arrested after he had stolen a front wheel drum from the PRTC workshop.

A scooter (CH-01B-7115) was stolen from the Sector 37 market last night. The stereo of a car (CH-03 6985) was stolen while it was parked near Ghazal Hotel, Sector 17, last night. A bicycle was stolen from a Ram Darbar residence of Arvind Kumar.

The police has registered cases under Section 379 of the IPC.


Offerings, ornaments stolen from temple
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Silver ornaments and Rs 10,000 were stolen from a temple in Sector 32 last night.

According to an FIR registered under Section 380 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr B.D. Kalra, Secretary of the Pracheen Hanuman Mandir, the door of the temple could not be shut properly last night. The miscreant thus sneaked into the temple and decamped with the offerings and 11 silver mukuts of the deities.

It may be noted that thefts in religious places have become a common occurance in the recent past. In fact two similar cases were also reported in a church and in a temple yesterday.

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