Saturday, December 8, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Admn amends sites, building rules
Invites public objections, suggestions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
In a move to strengthen its arms on the issue of misuse of commercial property, the Chandigarh Administration has amended the Chandigarh Sale of Sites and Building Rules, 1960, and the Chandigarh Leasehold Sites and Building Rules, 1973.

These amendments relate to the initial deposit of the bid money at the fall of the hammer, number of instalments, misuse, violations and surrender of sites, among others. They shall come into force with immediate effect.

These draft amendments are available in the Estate Office, Sector 17, and general public may file objections, suggestions and comments by December 21, a spokesperson said today.

These rules may be called the Chandigarh Leasehold of Sites and Building (Amendment) Rules, 2001.

As of now the applicant is required to deposit money within 30 days of the date of receipt of the allotment order. Following the amendment when a lease is by auction, the lessee shall make initial payment of 40 per cent of the bid accepted by the auctioning officer, 15 per cent of the bid shall be paid on the spot by the intending lessee in the prescribed mode of payment. The balance amount of 25 per cent of the bid shall be payable within 90 days of the date of auction.

However, there shall be option for the intending lessee to deposit 40 per cent of the bid money at the fall of the hammer. The letter of allotment shall be issued to the lessee within 30 days of the payment of 40 per cent of the bid money.

For the extension period the Chief Administrator can now condone the delay or extend the period of 90 days referred.

In the case of surrender the allottee can, within a period of 180 days, from the date of allotment or auction, surrender the site or building by giving a written notice to the Estate Officer. The allottee shall be liable to pay interest, including interest on the delayed payments, ground rent and other charges, if any, in accordance with the rules. The Estate Officer shall accept the surrender after imposing a cut of 3 per cent of the total premium payable.

If a surrender is sought by the lessee after two years from the date of auction/allotment, but not later than four years from such a date, the allottee shall be liable for a cut of 6 per cent of the premium and in addition the interest, ground rent and other charges due.

In a major shift the onus of misuses will lie both on the allottee and the occupant. They will be given one month to remove the violation.

The Estate Officer shall afford an opportunity of being heard to the allottee and the occupant.

If at the end of six months from the notice, the Estate Officer is satisfied that the misuse or violation continues, then the Estate Officer shall cancel the lease and resume the property and shall forfeit an amount up to 10 per cent of the total premium.


England cricketers try their luck at golf
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Cricketers from England spent their day playing golf at the picturesque Chandigarh Golf Course in Sector 6 here today. The day was free for the team as it had lost the Test match in four days. Otherwise today would have been the last day of the Test match.

Top Indian players like Sachin Tendulkar had left the city last night itself. He made a dash to catch the 11 p.m. flight from Delhi to Mumbai. By later afternoon, he had left the city in a hired luxury car, sources said.

This morning about 25 Englishmen, which included cricketers, media persons and visitors, enjoyed a long game of golf under a warm December sun. The captain of the England team, Nasser Hussain, himself is a keen golfer. As expected he was the cynosure of all eyes on the course and much photographed by the local media. He was very friendly with the caddies and courteous to fellow golfers on the course. He signed autographs on T-shirts.

A few of his shots, as well as those executed by his team-mates, received an appreciative nod from keen and regular golfers on the course. Also on the golf course was Mark Ramprakash. He has generated great interest in the city due his Indian origin.

Like the past five days Nasser avoided the media today also. Why did the team not practice playing spin instead of golfing? The captain had told a TV audience yesterday that they would not find anyone like Harbhajan or Kumble to practice with. So the team would be watching videos of the two to see what can be done. Media manager of the team, Mr David Clarke, said there have been so many calls for personal interviews with Nasser that it is almost impossible to meet the demands.

On the other hand, thanks to the largeheartedness of the Golf Club management, no green fee was charged from guests from England. A regular golfer commented: “It is okay to invite top cricket stars, but what about laying out the red carpet for other Englishmen?” Dr Ravinder Chaddha, a former physio with the Indian cricket team and a keen golfer, when contacted for his comments on the issue, said he did not know anything. However, he added the Indian cricket team is never extended such courtesies anywhere in the world, what to talk of media contingent or fans accompanying them.

Meanwhile, on the India team front several of the players used the day today to make a dash to meet their families. The team had arrived here straight from South Africa. The only ones left behind tonight were Kerala youngster Tinnu Yohanan and Mumbai man Iqbal Siddique.


Fate of 148 candidates to be decided today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Around 7,50,000 voters will tomorrow decide the fate of 148 candidates for the Municipal Corporation elections and 36 panchayats after a 14-day low-profile campaign due to severe restrictions imposed by the Election Commission.

The voter will exercise his franchise at 567 booths for the poll and more than half of 68 booths for the panchayat polls where 9 members were elected unopposed earlier, leaving only 10 seats of panchayat samitis and 2 of gram sabhas to be decided.

The voters, who had expressed indifference during the first election to the MC with 46 per cent only exercising their option of deciding who should rule them, have been appealed by the EC to come to vote, fearing the polling may again be low.

Only 24.5 per cent of the city voters last time exercised their franchise and the less developed areas, mostly colonies and villages, had polled a healthy 62.3 per cent.

The EC believes that low percentage of voting could be due to the fact that a lot of people might be registered as voters but might have moved away from the city and employees taking the advantage of a public holiday for recreation outside.

The scenario could even be grimmer this time as there are two consecutive holidays when a large number of the people from Chandigarh go holidaying.

However, the EC has warned the people against impersonation which is punishable for one year under the 171D of the Indian Penal Code with a term of five years and the police having no right to release those found to be impersonating by the Returning Officer.

The Commission has employed 5000 civil staff and an equal number of security personnel, including commandos, for 71 sensitive booths and cracked whip on organisations seeking to appeal to the voter in the name of religion and caste.

The three main contenders, the Congress, the BJP and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, had accused each other of non-seriousness towards development.

The Chandigarh Vikas Manch, headed by Mr Harmohan Dhawan, who had been cutting into the Congress vote bank and was thought to be instrumental in the Congress MP Pawan Bansal’s victory in the last Lok Sabha elections, is fighting the election on radical issues of right to recall and political parties not contesting on party lines.

Mr Dhawan had won three seats last time against one of the Congress and the BJP had virtually swept the election.

NDA partners Janata Dal-U, Lok Janshakti Party, Shiv Sena, rebel Akalis and the Samata Party are amongst those who are opposing the BJP in the elections along with others.

Shops closed today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
All the factories, shops and commercial establishments located in Chandigarh will remain closed tomorrow in view of the elections of the Municipal Corporation, the Labour Department, Chandigarh, said today.

This has been done to provide the public with an opportunity to exercise their franchise and no worker will be required or allowed to work on the day, a spokesperson of the Administration said. Already the Chandigarh Administration has declared tomorrow as a closed day under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

The offices of the Punjab Government located in Chandigarh will also remain closed.Back


Routine policing work hit in UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Heavy police deployment for the local Municipal Corporation polls has left police stations as well as other public-dealing units with just a handful of staff to manage regular activities, thereby seriously affecting routine policing work.

“About 80 per cent staff from police stations has been deployed on election duty, leaving just a few personnel to hold the fort,” a senior police functionary revealed, adding that virtually the entire staff from other units such as the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Crime Against Women Cell (CAW), Crime Branch and CID would not be available for normal police work for two days.

Sources reveal that only three persons each are available in the EOW and the CAW against a posted strength of 34 personnel and 39 personnel, respectively. Only a single person, on an 8-hour duty shift, would be available in these units at a time.

As per available statistics, the posted strength of a police station in the city varies from 47-83 constables and from 9 to 22 Head Constables, the combined strength of all 11 police stations in this category being 745 and185 respectively. Besides, there are a total of 165 non-gazetted officers, including Station House Officers. Of this strength only about 20 per cent are manning police stations.

Police functionaries say that just about 12-18 personnel are available in a police station.

These include the munshi, wireless operator, sentries and the malkhana incharge. In case of an exigency, they will also have to go out in the field, besides overseeing their routine office work, adding to their burden.


Wooing people on regional basis unwise: Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Chandigarh Vikas Manch chief Harmohan Dhawan here today administered oath to the Manch candidates to resign after one year if found wanting in work.

Expressing hope that the “high command of Chandigarh”, the local people, are going to completely reject the ‘’non-performing and squabbling’’ Congress and the BJP, he said the Manch was going to rout the two in the elections scheduled for tomorrow.

The Panthic Morcha candidate from ward number 13, Ms Gurdeep Kaur, announced in the presence of Mr Dhawan her support to the CVM candidate, Ms Harpreet Kaur.

The Morcha, in a press note, denied saying Ms Kaur informed them in the evening that she was still in the fray.

Mr Dhawan said the people of the city had to pay the price in the shape of development coming to a halt during the Congress and BJP’s stint at the helm of affairs.

He said the BJP-SAD and the Congress had to fight for third and fourth place as they were not even in contention before the CVM and the BSP.

Mr Dhawan attacked the BJP and Congress’ attempt to disturb the cosmopolitan and harmonious culture of the city by wooing voters in the name of their place of origin by bringing leaders from different places.

Bringing leaders from outside also shows the perceived lack of confidence in the local leaders of the two parties and the Congress’ distrust in the migrants that they would not accept any local leader and only leaders of their origin could appeal to them.

He said this is a dangerous situation as it amounts to disbelieving migrants that they had yet not assimilated themselves in the local identity and local political leadership, a general cause of separatist feelings.


Congress confident of sweeping poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Congress here today expressed confidence to sweep tomorrow’s Municipal Corporation and panchayat polls and announced that a manifesto implementation committee will be set up immediately after the party’s victory.

The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee President, Mr B. B. Bahl, said the seniormost three or four leaders of the party would be appointed on the committee and within six months implementation will be visible.

Local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal said even the BJP-Akali Dal had officially realised their “past mistakes” in the Municipal Corporation and the people will hopefully pro-actively dismiss them for these.

Mr Bansal said that after going through the manifesto of the BJP, it was obvious that they did not complete anything in the last five years as they themselves have promised to complete most of things now.

He said that the alliance is in a state of utter confusion and to prevent a Punjab backlash, SAD even did not contest on symbol.

The confusion has been aggravated to an extent that nobody knows how many Akalis of different factions are contesting and opposing each other.

Mr Bansal accused the former BJP MP Satya Pal Jain of depriving the people to development during his term by only allowing 26 out of 101 works recommended to be executed when Mr Jain became MP.

He said despite this attitude, when Mr Bansal was elected he asked the DC to complete all works recommended by Mr Jain from the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) Fund.

Mr Bansal said such was the state of affairs of the BJP-ruled MC that he himself contributed money to buy tippers and JCBs.

He said in this term he had already recommended development works worth Rs 6 crore against a limit of Rs 4 crore.

Mr Bansal dismissed Chandigarh Vikas Manch led by former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan, whose jump in the fray had been leading to the Congress losing one after another Lok Sabha elections and even MC polls.

He said that the manch, by raising the issue of non-political panchayats and municipalities, was trying to make a virtue out of its weakness.

The former Indian Youth Congress President, Mr Munish Tiwari, also said the party, which was fighting under the leadership of Mr Bahl, is sure of a historic victory.

He said the people were looking for a change both because of local performance of the BJP and SAD as well as failure of the NDA government.

Mr Tiwari said the BJP, which claimed to be a “party with a difference”, had now proved to be a “party of differences”.

BJP-SAD alliance gets setback
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The BJP-SAD alliance today got a poll-eve setback with one of its ad hoc committee members and a councillor, Air Marshal, R. S. Bedi, announcing to join the Congress.

Announcing to join the Congress, he said that as ex-servicemen were not being heard in the BJP, he joined the Congress to get their demands fulfilled. This is the second such setback to the BJP in the city after another ad hoc committee member, Mr Bachan Singh, joined the Chandigarh Vikas Manch immediately after distribution of the ticket.


Four hurt in clashes
Our Correspondent

Admitted to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, Vikram Rana, who was injured after being attacked by a property dealer and his men in Bartana village, near Zirakpur, on Thursday night and (right) Mr Kaur Singh, a patwari of Kheri Jattan, who was hit by a farmer. —  Photos Karam Singh

Dera Bassi, December 7
Four persons sustained injuries in two separate incidents involving a property dealer, a senior official of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, a senior police official and a patwari in this subdivision yesterday.

Three persons sustained injuries, one of them serious head injuries, in a clash between a gang belonging to a local property dealer and two transporters of Bartana village, near Zirakpur, late last night.

Sources said Vikram Rana and his younger brother, Sanjay, were attacked by Phool Singh, a local property dealer, and his men with iron rods, sticks and some other weapons at about 10.30 p.m.

In the attack Vikram Rana sustained injuries on his head, while Sanjay on the legs. Vikram was later taken to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, for medication. A worker of Phool Singh, a resident of Devi Nagar, near Dera Bassi, also sustained minor injuries in the clash.

Vikram Rana told Chandigarh Tribune that he along with Sanjay was on his way back home in a Canter. As they reached the office of Phool Singh in the village, he saw Phool Singh’s car parked between the road.

“As I blew horn, Phool Singh, reportedly armed with a double-barrel gun, came outside the office and dragged me out of the Canter. He hit me on my face and then some of his men attacked me on my head with an iron rod,” alleged Vikram.

“Phool Singh also fired a shot in the air and another on Sanjay, but he missed the target,” he added.

Sources said that the attackers informed the police and they were taken to Lohgarh police post. Later, the injured — Vikram Rana and Babu Ram — were taken to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi.

Eyewitnesses confirm that the clash occurred in the presence of the Chairman of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, Mr Dhanwant Singh, and a senior police official, who were accompanying Phool Singh at that time.

A retired ASI of the Chandigarh police, Mr Prem Chand, father of the victim, said that he had purchased a plot at Bartana from Phool Singh some years ago and was residing with his family after constructing a house there.

Mr Chand alleged that after the incident Phool Singh threatened him and his family with dire consequences.

He alleged the police detained all ladies of the family kept in the police post for the whole night.

On the other hand, Phool Singh alleged that Prem Chand used to commit thefts in the village for some time and even was caught red-handed many times. “Last night, our workers caught them breaking into our godown which resulted into a clash,” he alleged.

He said that Mr Dhanwant Singh was called upon for help. He, however, denied involvement of any senior police official.

When contacted Mr Jatinder Singh Khaira, DSP, said that Prem Chand along with his family members and children assembled in the Lohgarh police post premises and despite of repeated requests they did not left the chowki.

Mr Khaira denied any involvement of any police official in the case.

A case has been registered at Dera Bassi police station against both the parties.

In another incident, a patwari of Kheri Jattan circle while on duty was injured after being hit with a brick by a farmer of Chhachhroli village on Thursday morning. The patwari was in his office located on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road, 2 km from Dera Bassi.

According to the police, Hari Singh, a resident of Chhachhroli village, hit Mr Kaur Singh on his face and back after the patwari asked him to wait for some time for a copy of revenue record he was demanding.

Irate farmer reportedly hit Mr Kaur Singh as he was being ignored by the patwari for the past many days. The patwari was forcing the farmer to pay repeated visits.

A case under Sections 353, 186 and 332, IPC, has been registered against Hari Singh.


Varsity accreditation compulsory
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The University Grants Commission has made it mandatory that all universities should get accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council by December, 2002, Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Director of the NAAC, said at the All-India Vice-Chancellors’ Conference at Panjab University here today.

Professor Pillai said that all colleges were required to be accredited by December, 2003. Following an internationally recognised pattern involving the preparation of a self-study report, its validation by an external peer team of academics, onsite visit, interactions and final accreditation and grading based on various criteria, the NAAC had accredited more than 210 institutions so far, including universities and colleges.

Talking to TNS Professor Pillai said the NAAC would endeavour to prepare quality files of universities. In the next two years the NAAC would identify 10 top universities and 10 top departments in each subject for special privileges.

He said the NAAC would soon venture into assessing the quality of research and research journals. There had been a decline in the quality of research. The social relevance of research would have added weightage.

He also underlined the need for a interface involving the NAAC, the UGC and government bodies to explain the real meaning of autonomy to the political wing. He said that most of the universities also did not have mission statements.

The process of assessment by the autonomous body was initiated in 1994 making the NAAC one among the 200-odd accreditation bodies recognised at the international level. Professor Pillai said that the accreditation of all institutions within the stipulated time was a Herculean task. More important than complete accreditation was ensuring the maximum participation.

A university needed to secure at least 55 per cent to qualify for the minimum gradation. There had been instances when certain institutions had been denied accreditation because of “lapses” in the minimum qualifications. He said that certain ways would be worked out to better determine merit even in the same grades. He was reacting to a question on a very good university being at the same status with another university, which had much fewer facilities. “The grade was the same (A) for an institution with 75 per cent and that at a level of 90 per cent”, it was pointed out.

The NAAC was a “not a fault-finding but a development-enabling body’, he said.

Professor Pillai announced certain important decisions taken at a meeting of state Higher Education Secretaries held earlier this year. The year 2002 would be observed as the “Year of quality in education”. The states would establish effective mechanisms to monitor the progress of assessment and accreditation. Departmental accreditation in universities and autonomous institutions would be initiated immediately and encouraged.

He said NAAC accreditation with a suitable grading would be made a prerequisite for the grant and continuation of autonomous status. All institutions might be directed to undergo a voluntary self-study adopting the general framework and criteria suggested by the NAAC. The self-study should result in a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threat) analysis. Then the self-study exercise undertaken by the college be examined by a technical voluntary committee of experts should and suggestions given to the college for improvement.

Professor Pillai said those institutions which were yet to reach the minimum acceptable quality standards would be advised to improve and submit themselves to accreditation at a later stage.

He said NAAC accreditation with a suitable grading would be made a prerequisite for granting and continuation of autonomy status, self-financing institutions and deemed universities. The NAAC would create opportunities for formal interaction with accredited and non-accredited institutions and also with various government and non-government funding agencies.

The report shows that Guru Nanak Dev University and Punjabi University have been accorded five-star status. Only one college in the state has been accredited (DAV College, Jalandhar). Panjab University has also been accorded five-star status. The local Dev Samaj College of Education has been accorded four-star status.

Kurukshetra University and the University of Jammu have four-star status.


Pathak for national approach to fee structure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
State governments are increasingly expressing their helplessness in providing the required financial support for the proper maintenance of universities.

This and many more concerns facing university education in the country came up for detailed discussion at the 76th annual meeting of the Association of Indian Universities at Panjab University here today.

An official press release said that the deliberations hinted at the problem of universities increasingly left to fend for themselves. The new mantra of making universities self-financing was creating more problems. The lack of funds was resulting in a decline in education standards.

It was pointed out that efforts to generate funds through the commercialisation of education was bound to be resisted by students. The introduction of self-financing courses had mitigated the problems faced by universities to a limited extent.

Prof K.N. Pathak said the AIU must evolve a national approach to the restructuring of fees and the provision of adequate grants from governments for enabling the universities to overcome their financial difficulties.

Prof K.B. Powar, secretary-general of the AIU, said that a special exercise for working out the costs of various courses and related fee structure had been undertaken. Many Vice-Chancellors were of the view that the Planning Commission should be approached to take a serious view of the problem.

During the discussions, it emerged that courses in basic sciences, humanities and social sciences were getting less attention because of emphasis being laid on applied sciences and vocational courses. It was suggested that the UGC should be approached to encourage universities to become national centres of excellence.

The official release said that issues pertaining to the quality of education, research in universities, funding of higher education, academic restructuring, planning and networking, resource sharing and academic audit were central to the deliberations during the day.

It was also said that a revision of the fee structure should be done so that any student whose parents were Income tax payers must pay at least 20 per cent of the cost of education and academic restructuring.

Prof H.P. Dixit, president of the AIU, assured the Vice-Chancellors that the suggestions made by the members would be taken up for detailed discussion in the relevant subcommittees to be constituted by the Standing Committee.Back



Declining research quality worries varsities
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and the Vice-Chancellors’ conference today expressed its concern over the plummeting standards of research in institutions of higher learning.

During closed-door deliberations on the third day, focus was on how to improve the quality of research and what necessary checks and balances should be introduced. The host Panjab University Vice-Chancellor, Dr K N Pathak, told TNS that it was agreed upon to constitute a committee at the AIU level to make an indepth study of the issues involved and make appropriate recommendations to the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Among the many suggestions made by Dr Pathak and endorsed by several other Vice-Chancellors was the one on introducing “entrance’’ tests for enrolment for Ph.D courses. A student aspiring to do Ph.D must have at least three publications to his credit in the “referred” journals and that too should be shortlisted by the UGC, besides three seminars to his credit.

It was pointed out that duplication or repeat of topics was another bane of research being done in the universities. This resulted in mediocrity and no purpose was served. Dr Pathak even suggested that there had to be strict monitoring and evaluation of research which also must be relevant to the times, may it be academic, fundamental, applied or social sciences.

In fact, even the system of awarding “stars” was debated and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) system of evaluation discussed. Many felt that grading by points would be more appropriate.

Therefore the question arises, who is responsible for the declining standards of higher education, both teaching and research? Understandably, no Vice-Chancellor is willing to go on record. The fact remains that it is the teacher, the guide of the research scholar, to whom a major part of the blame must be apportioned for the diluted standards of research.

The Netaji Subhas Open University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Surabhi Banerjee, is a strong votary of transmission of higher education for all through the “open or distance” education because it cuts across several barriers: time-frame, age, economic, financial, etc. In her domain there are 36 “study circles” located in selected affiliated colleges with an enrolment of 6,000-odd students. Her university is barely four-year old. The system of education is semester.

The country has around 10 open universities. Indira Gandhi National Open University, currently engaged in framing “modules” of education from grassroots to universities, is the pioneer. Dr Banerjee herself strongly believes that schools are the true “nurseries” from which students would grow out to join colleges and universities. Therefore, the Vice-Chancellors and university teachers would be serving their own cause were they to pay equal attention to raise the standards at the school level if the edifice of higher education, teaching and research, is to be sustained.

Dr Banerjee finds the conference immensely useful and feels conventional and open teaching should help develop necessary skills among students, who cannot seek admission into “preferred” institutions, where seats, too, cannot be stretched.

She says that “adaption” of Western models of education in the Indian education and social context would go a long way in improving standards of higher education. Involvement of students is equally important. Their screening after plus two for admission to graduate and later postgraduate courses must be strictly on “merit”. Otherwise, the teacher-student ratio will further widen, creating a communication gap between the two and diluting education.

The universities must also slash their own flab and provide new avenues to students rather than becoming machines producing mere degree holders, who are unemployable, she stressed.Back


Dr Bambah fetes Vice-Chancellors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Participants of the 76th annual conference of the Association of Indian Universities and Vice-Chancellors’ Conference were today feted by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development governing body Vice-Chairman, Dr R.P. Bambah, here today.

A former Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University and host to the conference Dr Bambah greeted the Vice-Chancellors and shared his experiences with them while appreciating the issues exercising the mind of the academics and administrators assembled in Chandigarh.

At hand were a couple, Prof Robert Engler and Inea Engler, Visiting Professors at CRRID. CRRID Director Rashpal Malhotra briefed the guests on the activities of the institution and presented them with the CRRID journal, “Man and Development” and a book on, “Madrasas in India”.

The Vice-Chancellors converted the lunch hosted by Dr Bambah into a working session and continued the discussions. 


Heritage monument in a state of neglect
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Few people would know that the Sector 9 Lily Garden houses a heritage monument, which was dedicated to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1989, his birth centenary year. The site of location for this sculptural form was specifically chosen by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanerette, who conceived its design collectively. Inspiration behind the form was that Pandit Nehru had first inspected the layout plan and site of Chandigarh from a tower at this very chosen location.

Even today the following words are embossed on the monument: “This monument was erected in the garden as a mark of tribute to Nehru’s vision of planned urban development in the free and renaissant India.”

As years passed by, the monument became less and less prominent in the social memory. In fact not many people in this city would be aware of the fact that even the Lily Garden was developed not just as a garden, but as a place of importance, because it housed this precious memorial.

Perched in the middle of the garden, the said monument today tells a tale of neglect.

As 50 years of the historic event (Nehru inspected the city site on April 2, 1952) near completion next year on April 2, the authorities concerned are paying no attention to preserve the monument, lying in a shambles. Many slabs which mark its facade have fallen off (or perhaps stolen) and wild grass is growing all around the structure. While the UT Administration states that the entire responsibility of maintenance of the garden and the monument therein was handed over to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh in 1996, the MCC, on its part, is not caring enough for the site.

Interestingly, the monument was dedicated to Pandit Nehru by the UT Administration.

One of the slabs on the structure mentions: “This monument is dedicated to the memory of Jawaharlal Nehru on November 14, 1989 in his birth centenary year.” The names of Ashok Pradhan, the then Adviser and S.S. Ray, the then Punjab Governor, are also embossed on the monument.

The ugliest part of the complex is the web of barbed wires all around the memorial. A highly placed official in the UT Administration informed that the net of wires had been erected with a purpose to beautify the monument and the garden. “Creepers were to be grown all around to create an aesthetic effect,” he said. As of today, there are no such plants on the net of wires. They are all lying loose, presenting a ugly face.

Even the moulds, which the corporation’s Horticulture Department had once installed in the park to grow flowering plants therein, are lying empty.

The insects are now finding home in the 20-odd moulds which were procured and placed in the park to add to its ambience. MCC’s Executive Engineer, Horticulture, Mr Raghbir Singh, when contacted, admitted that the moulds were not being used for the purpose they were installed. He, however, blamed the state of neglect on lack of water supply in the Lily Garden.

“Water supply pipes are lying choked for long. A proposal of water supply to the Garden is pending with the Public Health division. We are planning to have tertiary water supply for this area.” He did not react to the dilapidated state of the monument. He said, “This is the work of Building and Repair department.”

Meanwhile, sculptor Shiv Singh informed that the Lily Garden monument was one of the three heritage monuments conceived by Corbusier and Pierre Jeanerette. He said: “The monuments were to be given shape later. Over the years, the UT Administration has got too busy to pay attention to these art forms.”

While responsibility of the structure’s maintenance remains to be fixed, its condition is going from bad to worse. Amidst dirt and filth which mark the memorial’s surrounding, Nehru’s ambitious words, embossed on the sculpture, seem to lose relevance.

They read: “Let this be a new town symbolic of the freedom of India, unfettered by traditions of the past, an expression of this nation’s faith in future.”


Few experts to treat rheumatoid arthritis’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
‘‘There are simply not enough of us around to take care of the problem,’’ stated Prof James Cassidy, eminent rheumatologist from Missouri, USA, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune about the reason why a complete cure had not been found for a very common problem, rheumatoid arthritis.

‘‘The biggest problem is that there are more patients than trained professionals in the field who can detect the problem for the patient and start him or her on the path of remission’’, added Prof Tauny Southwood from Birmingham, UK.

Prof Balu Athreya, another leading rheumatologist from Philadelphia, USA said that although there is no cure for the disease, there are many ways of managing the disease and controlling it to a point of remission. ‘‘Remission basically means the stage when the disease is under control but can recur.”

Prof Cassidy, Prof Arthya and Prof Southwood, all specialists in paediatric rheumatology, are in the city to attend the 17th annual conference of Indian Rheumatology Association to be held in the PGI.

Prof Cassidy and Prof Athreya explained that there were no exact figures available for the total number of children in the country but ‘‘four cities have decided to get together and start a project to find out exactly how many children are suffering from the degenerative disease,’’ said Prof Athreya.

Prof Southwood explained that among children this is a fairly rare disease and is basically genetic in nature. ‘‘Although we do not know for sure what is the cause of the disease but some virus and bacteria have been identified to trigger the onset of the disease in a person who is genetically susceptible’’. ‘‘And finding the cure will obviously depend on what the exact cause is. Right now we have control programes available for patients and we believe that early detection increases the chances of a better response to these control programmes.’’

Is detection of the disease a big problem? All three agree. ‘‘Only a well-trained experienced rheumatologist can detect the disease. There is no one test to confirm that a patient suffering from certain indicative symptoms is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Only an expert clinician can detect the disease,’’ they said.

‘‘Which also is the cause of the problem. There are not enough trained or experienced doctors and so the disease goes undetected in many cases and reaches a point where it causes permanent deformities.’’

Talking about alternative forms of medicines helping in controlling the disease, Prof Southwood stated that alternative medicine forms act in various ways. The same medicine might help one person but it might not work for others. So one cannot really say that there is a cure available in alternative forms of medicines.’’

All experts agree that some of the latest medicines which have come into the market are although much more effective than the traditional medicines but very expensive. ‘‘You talk about India, even in the USA these medicines are very expensive,’’ says Prof Cassidy.

‘‘But the old medicines are still effective and a large number of patients are using these. The basic treatment in itself is an almost inexpensive proposition but for that the disease has to be detected early,’’ says Prof Southwood.

Meanwhile, Dr A.N. Malviya, India’s leading rheumatologist, talking to Chandigarh Tribune cautioned patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis against the excessive use of pain killers. “Pain killers are plain killers. What is required to effectively control the disease is early detection of the disease and its treatment from an experienced rheumatologist,” he said.

Dr Malviya had been working with AIIMS, New Delhi, for more than 30 years and is credited with introducing methotrexate, one of the most cost effective medicines for control of rheumatoid arthritis in the country. Dr Malviya explained that the latest drug in the market — lefunomide — is a more effective drug but rather expensive and although “the rate has been slashed to half, it still is quite unaffordable.”

Dr Malviya also stressed that although rheumatoid diseases were rampant in the country, few doctors were involved in specialising in them. “We have a serious dearth of experienced rheumatologists not just in India but all over the world, and we have been shouting from rooftops for years now that specialised courses be introduced at undergraduate and graduate level of medicine so that there are enough doctors who can take care of the growing number of patients.”

What people also fail to realise is that rheumatoid arthritis is a painful degenerative crippling disease most common among young women and in another form among young men. “We request the public to go to a rheumatologist if they have symptoms of a rheumatic disease. These symptoms include swelling of finger joints, including the wrists in women and swelling in the knees with backache in men. The most indicative symptom of rheumatic arthritis is morning stiffness in joints which goes way with gradual movement,” he said.


Rheumatology conference opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The 17th annual conference of the Indian Rheumatology Association was inaugurated by the UT Administrator, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) at the PGI here today.

General Jacob said, “Arthritis is a common problem. It greatly reduces the productivity of an individual. The disease does not kill but produces economic, social and psychological burden for the family and the community. It is important that experts give their undivided attention to the development of safe, effective and low-cost remedies for such problems.”

The Administrator, however, cautioned that all medical advances should be used judiciously and ethically. A session in the conference is devoted specifically to discussion on the ethical aspect of the profession.

In the sessions held earlier in the day, patient care discussions on rheumatic diseases and pregnancy and eye problems took place. Guest lectures were delivered by Prof Athreya, Prof Reece and Prof Cassidy. Discussions on whether Indian Rheumatologists should treat HIV infection; the usefulness of anti-tumour necrosis and whether the speciality of rheumatology in India should break away from medicine and pediatrics were held.

Dr S. Mukherjee delivered the presidential oration, while Dr Ashok Kumar delivered the Knoll Oration.Back


Jacob’s appeal to donate for Flag Day Fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Armed Forces Flag Day is a day of introspection, remembrance, gratitude and renewal of our pledge to live up to our responsibility towards the kith and kin of those who have sacrificed their today for our tomorrow, as also to those physically challenged who have to manage their lives.

Stating this while formally initiating the Flag Day fund raising campaign, the Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), appealed to people to contribute liberally towards the fund as it is used for providing financial assistance to the families of the war-wounded, aged and ailing ex-servicemen, their widows and dependents.

The Governor said the Punjab Government has paid exgratia amounting to Rs 3.86 crore to beneficiaries. In addition, five dependants of martyrs have been absorbed into the PCS, 18 in other Class I and Class II jobs, while 63 have been appointed to class III posts and 44 others have been provided with class IV jobs. Besides, plots or Rs 5 lakh in cash have also been given to families of martyrs and disabled soldiers.

Meanwhile, immediate financial assistance was granted to a battle casualty of the Kargil war, Naik Jasbir Singh, by the Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, Brig K.S. Kahlon, here today. Jasbir Singh, who suffered 100 per cent blindness, has been decorated with the Sena Medal and the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card. As a welfare measure, a high-powered committee has recommended the appointment of his wife, Rajneesh Kaur, as an Assistant Food and Supply Officer in the state government.

On the occasion, flags were also pinned on the lapels of the Governor, Minister, Local Bodies, Balramji Dass Tandon, and Punjab Chief Secretary, N.K. Arora, all of whom donated liberally towards the fund.


Milk, paneer and fast food too
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Mr Prem Singh Saini is an original inhabitant of Chandigarh. His land was acquired for carving out new sectors of the city. And he made a neat packet as compensation in the bargain. Today, he is the sarpanch of Kajheri village and contender for the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections from Ward 8, backed by the Congress. He is also the owner of a couple of showrooms in the Sector 44-C market, opposite the Garden of Annuals.

It is in one of these showrooms that he is running Saini Sweet House and Restaurant.

Saini Sweet House, as the name suggests, is basically a sweetmeat shop that has expanded to dairy products, salties and food. So, if you are looking for good fresh milk, curd or paneer, any time of the day from 7 a.m. onwards, just head towards Mr Prem Singh’s shop. They even serve lassi in big steel glasses in true Punjabi style.

In the three years that the eatery has been in existence, it has earned a name for good snacks and fast food. The samosas are packed with kaaju, badaam and kishmish, even as the half-fried paneer pakoras look inviting displayed in the corridor outside the shop, as they await another dip in the boiling oil pan before they are ready to be served.

Their other fast food items like dosa-sambar, uttapam, noodles, chaat, chana-puri, chana-bhatura and hot gulab jamuns and gajrela too seem to be favoured by residents of the sector. The assortment of mithais like kaaju barfi, milk cake, rasmalai, etc. are the pick of those with a sweet tooth or for special occasions.

However, the restaurant area does not seem to have gained much popularity. “While their quality of food is okay, the quality of service leaves much to be desired,” complained an agitated group of kitty party women. They offer Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines, in addition to snacks and beverages.

But since their sale of mithai and dairy goods was adversely affected when they started serving non-veg items in snacks and meals, they have done away with these dishes. Now, it’s a totally vegetarian restaurant, claims Mr Prem Singh.

The basement of the showroom is used as a banquet hall, where birthday, kitty and other parties are held.


Eco-friendly bricks hit the market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Eco-friendly stiff extruded bricks have become available for the first time in India.

This disclosure was made at a two-day conference on “Emerging Trends in Brick Industry” which opened here today. The conference being organised jointly by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) and Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) is being attended by over 400 brick kiln owners.

A leading research and development organisation engaged in improving brick manufacturing in the country, Priya Clay Products, has set up a state-of-the-art extrusion brick plant in Birdhana village in Haryana under assistance from Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and Housing Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO) using latest global technologies.

The stiff extruded bricks are environment friendly as well as economical as the raw material used are fly ash and inferior grade of clay, which is not suitable for agriculture.These bricks are manufactured using energy-efficient kiln using various alternative fuels such as saw dust, lignite, agrowastes and industrial wastes.The quality of the bricks is world class and as per Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specifications.

The bricks in various shapes and sizes are of consistent and optimised size as they are totally machine made. This helps in minimising the cost of construction with less use of mortar for plastering as well as masonry work. Due to its good shape, most of the constructions using these bricks need no plastering as they have their own beauty.

The bricks being lighter in weight act as a good insuraltors and their use leads to lowering air conditioning costs, structural costs in multi-storey buildings, without compromising on quality and strength.

The stiff extruded bricks can be widely used for constructing brick homes, garden walls, pavements, multi storey buildings and pavers for interior decorations.

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