Saturday, May 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



ICMR asks PGI to submit revised proposal
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , May 25
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has asked the PGI to submit a revised proposal for the prestigious Advanced Centre of Molecular Medicine (ACMM), a part of its ambitious human genome project.

In a fax message, the ICMR has asked the PGI to make a fresh representation on June 2 in its Delhi headquarters before a three-member committee. The PGI, besides AIIMS, New Delhi, Sanjay Gandhi PGI, Lukhnow and Tata Cancer Institute, Mumbai, were identified by the ICMR earlier this year to be part of this multi-crore research project.

In the latest communication, the PGI has been asked to submit a revised proposal keeping in mind the infrastructure requirement, specific training component that will be completed at the end of five years and the goal of training project. In this connection, the PGI also held a high-level meeting with the project coordinators which includes senior PGI professors to chart the guideline for the new proposal, keeping in view the fresh guidelines set by the ICMR.

The initial proposal for setting up the centre for molecular medicine was submitted to the ICMR in May last which also included a grant of Rs 48 crore. Besides expenditure on setting up office, patient servicing, fixtures, equipment, faculty, staff personnel and sophisticated chemicals, the figure included cost of a new building at an estimated Rs 18 crore.

Sources add that a major reason why the ICMR has asked for a fresh proposal is because it has decided not to give grant for the building and has unofficially confirmed that the PGI will get just Rs 10 crore for the project. “ This is clearly not sufficient if a full-fledged ACMM just like the Advanced Paediatric Centre has to come up in the institute, “ says a senior faculty member, adding that setting up much required transgenic animal facility for the project is in itself a very expensive proposition.

The PGI had proposed eight divisions for the centre. These include divisions of structural genomic, functional genomic, computational genomic, molecular diagnostics, clinical and community genetics, vascular and cell biology, developmental biology, gene therapy and human resources development.

“Advances in molecular medicine, and in particular information about the human genome sequence and its variants are necessary to identify particular genes that play a significant role in hereditary contribution to common disease. The atlas of the human genome will revolutionise medical practice as human genes will be eventually found and accurate diagnostics developed for most inherited diseases,” says a research scholar.

Considering the fact that Rs 10 crore sanctioned by the ICMR will clearly not be sufficient to set up a full-fledged ACMM, it is learnt that the PGI has also asked the Union Health Ministry for monetary help in the project.



Dr Raman Abrol
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Dr Raman Abrol, an ENT surgeon in the GMCH, Sector 32, has been invited to the Ear, Nose, Throat Hospital at Graz, Austria, for a month-long training programme

According to Dr Abrol, this will provide him with an excellent opportunity to interact and train with Prof Stammberger, an expert in the field.

Dr Abrol, a postgraduate from the PGI, has keen interests in endoscopic surgery and has been performing these operations in the GMCH. 


Minister’s order ‘not implemented’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The PGI Employees Union in a letter to the Union Health Minister, Dr C.P. Thakur, today alleged that the PGI administration has not implemented his order on the reinstatement of the dismissed union leader, Mr Ashwini Munjal.

The letter adds that the PGI administration is deliberately showing disrespect to the order given by the Health Minister who is also the President of the institute. 


Blood shortage at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The PGI Blood Bank is facing an acute shortage of blood group AB and has requested the donors to donate blood in its blood donor complex which remains functional from 7 am to 7 pm from Monday to Saturday.


MC planning purchase of road-sweeping machine
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 25
The SAS Nagar Municipal Council is contemplating purchase of a machine from a Samrala-based company to clean and sweep roads in the town. The machine, a tractor-trailer road vacuum sweeper, has recently been purchased by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh.

An agenda item to purchase the machine will be taken up at the meeting of the civic body scheduled for tomorrow. The machine, costing around Rs 6.31 lakh, is reportedly capable of sweeping major roads with speed as well as efficiency. The civic body has proposed a budget of Rs 7 lakh for purchasing the machine. An official of the civic body said for expenditure above Rs 5 lakh, sanction of the Director, Local Government, was required.

The Patiala civic body has also reportedly procured the machine.

The Samrala-based company, during a demonstration in Chandigarh, had claimed that the machine could clean a 2.5-km stretch of road in one hour. Its side rotary brush has extra access to reach and sweep far-ends of road along the footpaths. In addition, the far-reaching flexible suction pipe in the machine has the capacity to suck garbage from “awkward” areas. It can pick up almost everything from glass pieces, nails to even small stones. The big brush could also be used to spill water and wash the swept area.

The machine, with a dust storage tank, has a flexible hose with powerful suction nozzle for cleaning areas like footpaths, plant roots, etc. Fitted with an attachable tractor-trailer and two dustbins on each side for storage of stones and unwanted material lying on roads, the machine can also be used during night.

Meanwhile, a total of 74 items, including development works worth Rs 1.36 crore, are on the agenda of the meeting.



Beant memorial: Admn exploring other uses of site
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh May 25
After the Punjab Government’s volte face on funding the Beant Singh memorial project, the Chandigarh Administration, if it does not gets funds, will explore other alternative ways for the optimum use of the space and the building, well placed sources said.

At a high-level meeting here today the Administration decided to seek details of the money required to even partially complete the Rs 20-crore project being built in Sector 42 here. Once these details would be available, various possibilities to use the land, the library and other infrastructure would be explored, said a top official, who did not wish to be quoted. Another official confirmed that ‘‘alternative use of the building other than originally envisaged was being thought off . ’’

A final decision on the issue would be taken within the next three weeks when all details would be provided on the financial aspects and liabilities. The possibility of asking the Centre to pitch was also being considered.

The Administration would decide if it wanted to go ahead with the project or not. At present the Administration was committed to providing its share of the money but Punjab was holding back about Rs 6 crore of the nearly Rs 8 crore required to complete the project.

At today’s meeting the Punjab team was armed with demands to seek a utilisation certificate for a sum of Rs 2.20 crore already given by Punjab. The Administration tabled the requisite copies of all certificates saying that the same had already been sent.

Initially the state had pledged Rs 8 crore for the project but had stopped payments after pumping in Rs 2.20 crore and repeated pleas by Chandigarh had yielded no result.

Sources indicated that a change of political leadership in the state had led to a change of heart for funding a memorial for Beant Singh, who was a Congress Chief Minister.

Sources said just to complete one building at the memorial site and leaving the other building after completing only the basement would cost about Rs 2.50 crore more. And in case both the buildings were to be completed in totality then a sum of Rs 8 crore was required.

Meanwhile, the contractor of the project had already petitioned the Chandigarh Administration seeking penalty for the delay.

All such matters would be sorted out within the next 20 days say Administration officials.



No action against defaulters
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 25
Even as the SAS Nagar Municipal Council has decided to penalise those defacing public property, no action has been taken against the defaulters so far.

The civic body at its last meeting held on April 23 had decided to penalise the offenders under the relevant sections of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911. A court octroi inspector was to be given the task of identifying the people behind smudging posters and handbills.

Once authorised the official would penalise the violators and get a First Information Report (FIR) lodged with the police. Sources in the civic body said the formality to appoint the officials could not be completed as the Executive Officer (EO) was on leave.

Though provisions under the Punjab Municipal Act existed, the civic body had been dragging its feet on the issue in the past even as the defacement of public property in the town existed. Important signboards and sector- guide maps have been smudged with poster and handbills.

In Chandigarh several persons have already been booked under the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act. The Chandigarh Police was taking action against the violators under the West Bengal Prevention of Defacement of Property Act as extended to Chandigarh. The violators are being fined between Rs 500 and Rs 1000 or sentenced to simple imprisonment for three months under the Act. Under the amended provisions of the Municipal Act, a penalty of over Rs 1000 could be imposed on the defaulters.

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