C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Dhillon Case
PU panel quits over ‘wrongful’ admission
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
In a major embarrassment to the vice chancellor, all members of the board of control of the department of laws of Panjab University have resigned over ‘wrongful’ admission to a student.

In a ‘strong-worded’ letter, the seven board members, including the department chairman, have alleged the use of “brute power”by the VC in going out of the way to favour a candidate by creating an additional seat for him.

The case pertains to Brinder Dhillon whose admission was approved by the syndicate even though the admission form showed major discrepancies. He failed to attend counselling and has FIRs registered against him.

The board on receiving the orders of the VC to promote Dhillon to the second semester held a meeting on January 24.

The letter mentions that despite the VC’s reply before the Punjab and Haryana High wherein he admitted that Dhillon’s admission form had major discrepancies, an additional seat was created for him through a ‘midnight process’. All this while, the authorities turned a deaf ear to complaints regarding his misconduct and a representation by the teaching faculty seeking his rustication.

The letter says the recommendation of Dhillon’s promotion to the next semester was a blatant violation of the university regulation (8.1, page 351,PU calendar Volume II) that states ‘promotion from semester I to II, II to III, III to IV, IV to V and V to VI shall be allowed to a student even if he fails to appear or qualify in the papers prescribed for the respective semester examination, provided that he fulfils the attendance and other requirements under the rules’.

The promotion, violating the regulation (I of Page 359, PU calendar) would be reducing the three-year LLB course to two-and-a-half-years which is in violation of not only the university calendar but also the Bar Council of India rules.

The resignation letter has been submitted to the VC. Despite repeated attempts, the VC could not be contacted.



Gang that stole cars for joyride busted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
The crime branch of the Chandigarh police at a press conference today said it had been successful in busting a gang of car thieves. Six vehicles had also been recovered.

On January 22, a police team headed by sub-inspector Rajinder Pal and Jaspal Singh got information about a car being stolen in Sector 38.

The police rushed from Sector 40 and caught Ravi Kumar and Deepak Sharma.

On interrogating them, the police was able to trace and arrest three other members of the gang. They were identified as Mandip Singh of Tarn Taran, Amanpreet Singh of Mohali and Dilbag Singh of Phagwara.

The police has recovered four cars, including a government Gypsy, a motor cycle, two mobile phones and a gold ring from them.

Prem Chand Banth, in charge of the crime branch, said, “The thieves used to put a master key in cars and steal them usually at night. Later they used to change the number plates.”

All the accused were youngsters except Dilbagh Singh. “Dilbagh owned a car repair shop. The stolen cars were used by them for the purpose of joyride,” the police said.

The accused belonged to well-off families.



WWICS fined Rs 50,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed WorldWide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS) , Sector 22, to pay Rs 50,000 for deficiency in service.

The forum has asked the consultancy to refund the Rs 30,000 fee deposited by Ashish Prajapati, a resident of Mohali.

Prajapati said he entered into an agreement with WWICS for immigration to Australia for which he paid Rs 30,000 on April 2, 2007 and then Rs 15,000 on April 15.

He maintained he deposited $300 in favour of Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) as fee vide a cheque for which he had to get loan from the ICICI Bank.

As per the agreement, WWICS was to provide consultancy to the him for immigration to Australia. As such, Prajapati prepared his skill assessment documents with the help of the a top official of the consultancy.

The executive through mail confirmed that his documents had been sent to TRA on May 28, 2007. But the information was wrong.

The petitioner was shocked when his skills assessment application was rejected by the Australian Government, department of employment and workplace relations.

The petitioner averred to have sent several letters to the immigration firm and even visited their office personally seeking refund of fee but in vain.



Schools to reopen on Feb 11
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
The UT education department has decided to extend holidays for the junior classes till Saturday. Primary schools will now reopen on Monday, February 11. All schools, government and private, should strictly follow the orders, said the DPI(S).

The school hours for senior classes from February 11 for single-shift schools will be 8.30 am to 2 pm and for double-shift schools 8 am to 1.15 pm for the morning shift and 12 noon to 5 pm for the evening shift.

Teachers and other staff in the evening shift will report at 11.30 am.

When contacted, D.S. Bedi, principal of Shivalik Public School and president of the Independent Schools Association, said in view of the severe cold conditions, the member-schools had been told to remain closed till February 10.

Mount Carmel, St Stephen’s School, Carmel Convent and St. John’s have announced holidays till February 10. However, Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, held a meeting with the parents today and decided that the school would remain open and would start at 9 am, said principal Meenakshi Mohindra.

Vivek High School in Sector 38 is closed till Friday, February 8.

The Panchkula district administration said all schools would reopen tomorrow. However, Hansraj School, Sector 6, announced that it would remain closed tomorrow while classes would be held for senior classes from February 8. February 9 shall be a holiday on account of second Saturday.



Stone Deaf
Ailing woman pleads for help; gets none
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
This sure is a modern city -- modern to the extent of indifference. And its concrete now grows in people’s hearts. Why else would a 35-something woman, home alone and ailing, stand on the roadside in the dead of night, pleading for help and getting none. She could have died on the road that night.

Mine, too, was among several vehicles that passed her by the day before yesterday night. But then something inside my heart rankled, and I rushed back to where she was perched. By now, she had fallen to the ground, writhing in pain, desperate for help. Just 50 metres away was a police station.

“Please take me to the hospital,” she screamed, going down on her knees. Till now, all she had managed was curious responses from passersby. The police also were of no help. When she called on 100, she was asked to dial 102 for an ambulance. But 102 would not respond.

As the woman’s condition worsened (she could barely walk and needed help for being shifted to the vehicle), the city’s trauma care facility was put to test.

The problem was her “sickness”. The policemen would, perhaps, have come to her aid has she been hit by a speeding truck. But the thought of a “sick” woman in need of help just didn’t strike them. Strange, a city with the best infrastructure in the country is yet to have a system for trauma care for people trapped in situations that may not seem like emergencies.

This correspondent rushed to the nearby police station and got a PCR vehicle for help. Despite the intervention of police officers on duty, the vehicle took 10 minutes to land. And then, there was no policewoman in uniform at the police station.

But the officer on duty summoned a lady constable and rushed her to the aid of the sick woman. Three cops then pulled the woman into the vehicle, but not before they had asked her rather insensitively - “Do you live alone?” “Don’t you have good neighbours?”

The van finally moved to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital in Sector 16, where the woman was administered three painkilling injections. Doctors on duty asked her to get an MRI done. They said she could have had had a paralytic stroke had more time been lost.



‘Hafta’ cop dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Head constable Nachhattar Singh was dismissed from service by SSP S.S. Srivastava today under Article 311 of the Constitution.

The SSP said: “We take corruption cases very seriously. Head constable Nachhattar Singh has been dismissed on account of his conviction in a corruption case.”

Demanding hafta from a teastall owner landed the head constable in trouble. CBI special judge Jagdeep Jain recently sentenced him to a year’s rigorous imprisonment (RI) for demanding bribe from the tea stall owner.

The complainant, Bindeshwari Prasad Shukla, alleged that Nachhattar Singh had demanded Rs 300 per week as hafta from him as well as the amount for previous two months.



Another round of snow in Shimla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Dense fog continued to envelop the city as the maximum temperature rose by 6.6 degrees, abating the cold wave a little. The night temperature, however, fell to 7.4 degrees, ensuring a chilly night.

The met office said moderate to heavy rain or snow would occur at most places in Himachal, further affecting the weather in the plains. Light to moderate rain or thundershowers at many places in Punjab and Haryana were likely during the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, the power situation in the city was affected with many southern sectors facing power shutdown for about two hours this afternoon. The cold wave coupled with snow and rain in Himachal and dense fog caused a breakdown of the major 400 KV transmission lines of the power grid in the northern region.

About 40 transmission lines broke down during the intervening night of February 4 and 5, leading to disruption of supply in many parts of Punjab, Haryana and UT.

Meanwhile, the higher reaches in Himachal had another spell of snow while the lower areas of the state had rain, bringing a considerable fall in temperature. Shimla and upper areas, including Kufri, Naldehra and Narkanda, also had snow.

The minimum temperature in Amritsar was 2.2 degrees, turning it the coldest place in Punjab, followed by Bathinda with 2.4 degrees, Halwara 4.4 degrees, Adampur 5.8 degrees, Patiala 6.1 degrees and Pathankot 7 degrees.



Flights cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Rain and poor visibility in the morning delayed flights to and from the city today.Three flights to the New Delhi were cancelled and the rest delayed by over five hours.

Thick fog in New Delhi led to cancellation of most incoming flights. Jet Airways and Jet Lite both cancelled their Chandigarh-Delhi flight. The Indian Airlines Chandigarh-Delhi-Mumbai flight was also cancelled.

The Jet Airways Chandigarh-Mumbai flight was more than four hours behind schedule. It landed in the city at 5pm. Simplifly Deccan had to cancel their Chandigarh-Jammu flight, while the Chandigarh-New Delhi flight was 45 minutes late.

The MDLR Chandigarh-Delhi flight, which leaves at 7.20 am left at 2 pm, after a seven-hour delay.

Airport sources stated that this year there had been less number of cancellations of flights due to bad weather as compared to last year. “Though there has been an intense cold wave witnessed this year, there has not been much fog and thus the visibility has been more or less clear.” 



After 15 years, Nehru centre project ready to roll
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Grounded for 15 years, the ambitious Nehru Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) project at sub city centre plaza in Sector 34 is finally ready to roll. To come up in Corbusean traditions, the centre will divide the plaza and will have a unique theatre street to add aesthetics.

The UT administrator recently approved the design and concept of the centre, which will be created by renowned architect Namita Satnam, currently working on the Naval Academy project at Ezhimale, Kerala. At home, Satnam won a competition. The UT administration’s engineering department had earlier organised to select a consulting architect for the NCPA.

The centre would comprise an auditorium for 1, 500 persons, and one smaller for 250 persons, two conference halls, a cafeteria and parking spaces.

Confirming to The Tribune the approval of her conceptual design, Namita Satnam said the idea was to create an open interactive structure. “We will use the 15-year-old structure existing at the site. The main feature of the NCPA building will be a theatre street that will connect the central plaza on either side,” she says.

The UT administration had long ago raised a basic structure at the site in Sector 34. It was however never used as the project was abandoned, to be revived now. Interactive design of the centre seeks to dissolve the rigid boundaries and help from the people of the surrounding central plaza of the sub city centre. The theatre street, says Satnam, will be animated with the spillover from street plays, exhibitions and theatres on either side. On the face of it, the street appears very European in style.

But Satnam faces a formidable challenge to harmonise the new structure of NCPA with the existing urban structures, which are haphazard and ugly. That’s why perhaps Satnam’s design draws heavily from Corbusean features. “While retaining Chandigarh’s cuboid framework, our design exploits colours and forms to offset the building against the grey concrete blocks around it,” says Satnam, who will work on the project with Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB). The project was earlier with the UT engineering department but was recently handed over to CHB. The board officials had already approved Satnam’s design and work would start any time now.

The best part of Satnam’s design is the Corbusean legacy of primary colours. Her building would be executed in red, blue and yellow along with colours of concrete and would have sculptural play of shapes. Theatre Street would be the hallmark of NCPA, its open, inviting spirit would find a reflection in the centre’s exterior. 



Auction of largest commercial land in Mohali tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 6
All is set for the largest commercial land auction ever in Chandigarh and Mohali. Scheduled to be held on February 8, the site spread across 9.60 acres provides freedom for the development of a multiplex, shopping mall, hotel, service apartments or anything the buyer may wish to develop except industry. The reserve price for the site has been kept as Rs 1 lakh per square yard and this works out to be Rs 464 crore.

The plot is in Mohali right on the Chandigarh border. The site has attracted enquiries from real estate investors of national repute and others, including Reliance Industries, Omaxe, DLF, Indian Tabacco Company, Housing and Urban Development Corporation of India (Hudco), Ansals and Unitech. Both Anil Ambani and Mukesh Ambani led Reliance groups are also said to have shown interest in the site. Sources said the main attraction for the prospective bidders is the the location of the site being in Mohali bordering Chandigarh. Also, the site is surrounded by a population of more than 20,000 families of upper, middle and high income groups.

The proposed international airport, existing railway station, PCA cricket stadium, IT cluster, Knowledge City and the proposed golf course/club are located at a distance of 3-5 km from the site. The plot juts out into Sector 49 with 100 feet wide roads on two sides.

Another attraction is the area of the site, 46,464 square yards, being the largest ever available for auction in the history of Chandigarh and Mohali. Building controls offered for the site are yet another attraction for the prospective bidders. The site offers 1:3 FAR, 45 per cent ground coverage and maximum permissible height of 40 metres.

Terms and conditions of the auction provides for handing over of the possession of the site against 25 per cent payment. The balance is to paid by way of equated yearly instalments. A spokesperson for GMADA said the bidders would be required to deposit an amount equivalent to 1 per cent of the reserve price as eligibility fee.



No more rituals at Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
The UT administration has banned religious ceremonies and rituals at the Sukhna Lake. The lake was declared a ‘silence zone’ on January 19, 2005. After three years of the order, district magistrate R.K. Rao today issued orders under Section 144, CrPC.

The administration has banned floating of earthen lamps and bursting crackers in the lake area.

The administration had received several complaints on various rituals at the lake causing noise and water pollution.

The order that comes into force from February 7 will be effective up to April 7.



Business partner behind Anand’s death, alleges son
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Harvinder Singh, son of C.N. Anand, who shot himself in Vikaspuri, West Delhi, on Monday night, alleged that his father’s business partner, O.S. Bedi, was responsible for Anand’s death.

Speaking to The Tribune, he alleged, “Bedi, a resident of Sector 8, used to give threatening calls to my father. This was weighing on his mind and he was constantly in a state of depression.”

He said Bedi and his father were business partners and ran a construction company. Due to strained relations, their partnership broke in 1999. “A number of court cases were pending, because of which Bedi used to give threatening calls,” he claimed.

Two suicide notes found on Anand said he was depressed as he had been cheated by several persons and did not wish to live anymore.

Harvinder said, “My father has mentioned the name of Bedi in the suicide note which is with the police. There are names of some other people as well.”

Bedi said, “I have never talked to Anand regarding the court cases and was shocked to hear about his death.”

On Monday afternoon, his son Harvinder Singh and daughter-in-law left for Apollo Hospital to see a relative. Thereafter, Anand asked his manager to leave him alone and bolted the door from inside. “When Anand did not come out of his room till late in the evening, the servant knocked at the door, which was later broke open. Anand’s body was lying on a chair and blood was oozing out from his mouth,” said a senior police officer.

The police recovered a pistol from the room.

One of the suicide notes was addressed to his manager and the other to his family.

In the suicide note to his manager he had written: “You have been taking care of me for the past 30 years. I am grateful to you. Please take care of my family after my death as you have been doing all these years.”

In the note to his family, he said he was fed up with life as he had been cheated in his business and did not have the courage to fight.



Arts college teachers win legal battle
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Allowing a bunch of petitions filed by Government Arts College lecturers, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed that the petitioners be treated as regular employees from the date of their initial appointment.

As many as nine Arts College lecturers are expected to benefit from the High Court judgement, which comes as a relief to them after years of legal battles against the administration and others.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court this afternoon, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Mohinder Pal, also directed that the petitioners were entitled to all consequential benefits in accordance with law.

The Bench also ordered the setting aside of an order by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in the matter. The order’s copy was not yet available.

In one of the petitions against the UT Administration, Government College of Arts, the University Grants Commission and others, petitioner Somangal Roy had sought directions to the respondents to regularise him as a lecturer with effect from the date of his initial appointment with all consequential benefits, including seniority, senior scale and selection grade. Directions were also sought for quashing CAT order dated June 8, 2001, whereby his application in the matter was dismissed.

Going into the background of the matter, counsel for the petitioner contended that Roy had done five-year diploma in fine arts (modeling and sculpture) from Government College of Arts, Calcutta University.

He was appointed lecturer in sculpture after the college advertised the posts in the Employment News of August 5, 1989. Panjab University, subsequently, approved the appointment.

He added that the teaching faculty of the college was re-organised vide order dated October 1, 1986, and the post of assistant lecturers and instructors were re-designated as lecturers. Subsequently, fresh recruitment rules were notified by the UT Administration for the post of lecturers in the college on December 24, 1999, and the posts of lecturers were declared “A” class.

The petitioner, along with four lecturers, filed an application in the CAT, which was disposed of with direction to the petitioners to make a representation about their grievance to the respondents.

After the administration did not regularise the petitioner’s services, he moved the Tribunal, which was again disposed of. Later on, three posts of lecturers in sculptor were advertised by the Union Public Service Commission, following which they again filed an application, but the same was dismissed by the CAT vide the June 2001 order. 



Now, pay more for traffic offences
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
The Chandigarh administration has enhanced the fine for traffic offences. The decision was taken to ensure public safety. The hiked penalty charges would be applicable from the date of notification which will be issued shortly. Composition fees for offences under Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act have been raised. The minimum penalty of Rs 100 under this section has been increased to Rs 300.

Under Section 179 -- disobedience of the challaning office -- the penalty has been enhanced to Rs 800 from Rs 500.

Under Section 183, the fine for overspeeding has been enhanced to Rs 700 from Rs 400. Under Section 189, the penalty has been doubled to Rs 1,000 from Rs 500.

The fine for unauthorised interference with the vehicle under Section 198, has been enhanced to Rs 400. It was earlier Rs 100.



Federation gives memo to mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
The Chandigarh Subordinate Service Federation, UT, has submitted a list of its demands to the mayor.

The demands include abolition of contract system, filling of posts, regularisation of services of daily wage workers, promotions in each department, land for building houses of employees and incentive.



Sector 17 shoppers’ paradise? Hardly
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Squatters, footpath vendors, fish sellers and beggars - all contribute towards turning Sector 17, a shopper’s paradise, to squatters’ Shangri-la. Even as the Chandigarh municipal corporation and the health department choose to look the other way, there is rapid defacement of Sector 17.

Traders and shopkeepers in Sector 17-E say not only is the defacement an eyesore for visitors, but they are losing out on business too.With a huge population of beggars and daily-wage earners having made the elegant corridors of this market their home, they have no qualms about relieving themselves here each morning. As a result, the market block reeks of foul smell every morning.

If encroachment by vendors was not enough, now chicken and fish snack vendors have set shop near the Piazza. This inspite the fact that there is an order banning the sale of food articles in the open in Sector 17.

These vendors, complete with their stock of chicken and fish, do brisk business every evening, even as the emanating smell discourages customers from going to the shops in the E block.

“They just pour the oil into the drain and their customers spill the leftover on the pavement.Though the matter has been taken up with the authorities, MC officials, the police and the vendors work in collusin to ensures that they are not removed,” says Suraj Sood, owner of Pepe Jeans Store.

Shopkeepers allege they are challaned and checked by the MCC officials on a regular basis for minor violations like garbage spilled outside the bins, but no action is taken against these vendors. Interestingly, hardly any garbage bins are kept by the MCC in this part of Sector 17.

They also allege that the drive launched by the authorities to remove encroachments is often half- hearted. “Most of the times, footpath vendors are in the know of things much before a drive is launched, and disappear before the encroachment staff reach here.

“They return a few hours later and it is business as usual for them,” says Sanjay Abbot of Softy Corner.

MC officials say that during the past one month they have issued hundreds of challans to footpath vendors. The anti-encroachment staff had been deployed in Sector 17, but most vendors being women, they had made numerous representations to the administration, requesting for woman staff to deal with them.



Neonatal ICU at Command Hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
A state-of-the-art neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was commissioned at the Western Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, today.

Having the facility to treat premature and low birth weight babies, the unit would go a long way in preventing development problems and help reduce the neonatal mortality rate.

The unit would have a neonatalogist, pediatricians, and nursing and paramedical staff. It was inaugurated by Bina Aul, officiating president of the Army Wives Welfare Association, Western Command.

Although the mortality rate at the hospital is six per 1,000 live births as compared to the national figure of 40 per 1,000, the unit aims at combining a family centred supportive approach with the advances in neonatal medicine.



Councillor manhandled by colleague
MC asked to submit report
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 6
The department of local government, Punjab, has asked the Mohali municipal council to give a report in connection with the alleged incident of assault on a councillor by his colleague.

Baljit Kaur, municipal councillor from ward number 25, had allegedly tried to slap Rajinder Sharma, municipal councillor from ward number 2, when the general body meeting concluded on December 31 last year.

Executive officer of the civic body J. S. Thind said the letter from the office of the director, department of local government, was received about three days back. The director had asked the civic body to submit a report on the incident involving the two councillors within a week. Copies of the complaints made by the two councillors to senior government officials, were sent along with the letter of the director. Statements of some employees of the civic body would be recorded before filing the report, added Thind.

On January 7, Sharma had, through a written complaint, requested principal secretary, department of local government, to take action against Baljit Kaur. In the complaint, Sharma alleged that as the meeting concluded, Baljit Kaur started using derogatory language saying that he was interfering in her ward. When councillors started getting up to leave the meeting hall, Baljit Kaur came towards him and allegedly tried to slap him on the face. But, he protected himself with his forearm. He said even Baljit Kaur’s husband allegedly abused him and pushed him when he came out of the meeting hall.

Baljit Kaur, too, made a written complaint to the director of the department concerned on January 1 demanding action against Sharma for allegedly misbehaving with her. In the complaint, she said she was questioning the president of the council regarding the failure of the civic body to remove rehris parked illegally on footpaths in her ward. Even as the president failed to give any answer, Sharma allegedly started interfering and blaming her in the matter. When Sharma did not stop interfering, she went near the place where the president was sitting to question him. She alleged that Sharma also reached there and tried to manhandle her while using derogatory language. She said in the complaint that both, the president and the Kharar MLA, were behind the incident.



Gang of snatchers busted, 3 held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 6
Even as the local police claimed to have arrested three snatchers yesterday, a gang of three youths robbed a shopkeeper near Sector 17 when he was on his way back home last night.

With the arrest of the accused Mange, Rajinder and Kanwaljit hailing from Delhi, the police claimed to have solved nearly 20 cases of snatchings reported from the city in the recent past.

Devinder, a milk vendor at Sector 18, was on his way back home at Mauli Jagran when three youths in a Maruti car robbed him of Rs 18,000.

SP Sandip Khirwar said even as the accused had confessed their involvement in many snatching incidents, they were inactive since last couple of weeks and atleast two other gangs were involved in the snatching cases reported recently. The three accused were staying at Banur as after committing the crime, they used to cross over to Zirakpur, making it difficult for the local police to trace them, said Khirwar. In fact, the densely populated area of Baltana and slums around the city had become a safe haven for petty criminals, said the SP.

A strategy was being drawn up with the help of the Zirakpur and Chandigarh police to check such incidents and even a police post was set up at Baltana for the purpose, he said.



Examination Phobia
Now, help is just a phone call away
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 6
Suffering from examination phobia? Under stress? Don’t worry; help is now just a phone call away.

A wing of the national service scheme (NSS) has launched a helpline to motivate students of classes VIII, X and XII. Help will be provided by SAS Nagar district DPRO Dr Uma Sharma and lecturer at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B1 Dr Sarabjit Kaur Sohal. They will be available from 5 pm to 9 pm at numbers 9814600460 (Dr Sharma) and 9417182482 (Dr Sohal).

Sharma said through the helpline, she would try to reduce stress levels of students who were facing examination-related fears. As students felt mentally disturbed during examinations, the helpline would help in motivating them and preparing them to develop a healthy competitive spirit. The helpline would function till the end of board examinations.

Sohal, who is an NSS programme officer and also Indira Gandhi NSS national awardee, said wherever needed, the helpline would provide counselling and medical help. Cheema Medical Complex, Phase IV, had agreed to provide free medical help to students for examination-related problems. Links had also been established with the Punjab School Education Board authorities for providing information about various examinations.

She said such a helpline was launched even last year and she had received several calls from students from Punjab.



Patient’s Death
Family alleges negligence on hospital’s part
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 6
Relatives of Darshan Singh (55), a resident of Fatehgarh Sahib who died at Fortis Hospital here last week, have alleged that negligence on part of doctors at Prime Heart Institute, where the patient was earlier admitted, led to his death.

Sukhvinder Singh, a relative of the deceased, said the doctors at Prime Heart Institute kept them in the dark about the deteriorating condition of their patient. The doctors at the heart institute, however, denied the charges stating that the patient had come to the hospital in a very serious state and one complication had led to another.

According to Sukhvinder Singh, Darshan Singh was admitted to Prime Heart Institute, Sector 69, on January 5 with a heart problem. He was operated upon and a pacemaker was implanted. The patient’s condition improved and he was to be discharged on January 10 but on January 9, he fell down in the bathroom and his condition worsened. He was shifted back to the ICU and remained there till January 23 when the doctors at the hospital asked the family to shift him to Cosmos Hospital for a surgical procedure. “But we shifted the patient to Fortis Hospital on January 25. He passed away the next day,” said Sukhvinder. “If the hospital is not properly equipped then why was our patient kept there?” questioned Sukhvinder.

Dr Puneet K. Verma of Prime Hospital, however, denied these allegations. “The patient was implanted with a temporary pacemaker followed by a permanent one. His life was saved and he was to be discharged. But a day before that he bled profusely while passing stools and almost collapsed due to the blood loss. He did not fall, as is being alleged by the family,” said Dr Verma. “A tumour was diagnosed in his stomach. Also, gangrene had set in. Our visiting expert suggested a surgical procedure, which could not be carried out in our hospital. So we suggested that the patient be taken to Cosmos,” said Dr Verma. He added that the patient’s relatives were constantly told about the condition.

The relatives further alleged that the hospital overcharged them. “We had already paid Rs 2.5 lakh for the pace maker. Later, we were given a bill of another Rs 2.4 lakh for tests and other procedures,” said Sukhvinder.

Dr Verma said the patient’s relatives refused to pay the pending amount. “We gave a written complaint to the police following which they gave us a post-dated cheque,” said Dr Verma.



School playground or venue for marriages?
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 6
The playground of Munnalal Puri Government Senior Secondary School in Mullanpur Garibdass village has become a venue for marriages.

In the absence of a community centre, the village panchayat has been allowing the use of the ground to host parties and weddings.

Marriage invitation cards mention the school as the venue and the weddings leave the place strewn with leftover food and broken crockery.

“We have proposed to the village that a small piece of land be set aside for the construction of a community centre but it seems no one is bothered,” said Arvind Puri, a resident of the area.

Marriages take place not only on Sundays when the school is closed but also on weekdays. Yesterday a marriage was solemnised in the school while the school was open. The blaring sound of music did not allow any studies to take place.

The cleaning up of the ground the day after the marriage is no mean task either.

“The place is full of filth and the leftover food attracts stray animals into the school premises. It also becomes the breeding ground for diseases. The broken crockery is, however, the most difficult to gather and discard. It can lead to serious injuries to the students,” said Puri.



Seminar on global warming
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
An interactive seminar on the threat of global warming is being organised by the Asian Education Society. The two-day event would be held at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development on February 8 and 9.



Beggar menace

APROPOS news in Chandigarh Tribune on the Jan 23, it is a good step that government has taken regarding educating and rehabilitation of beggars in Chandigarh. In this way either all the beggars will come in mainstream in a phase programme or leave Chandigarh forever.

I think the work of locating the beggars in Chandigarh and Mani Marja should be given to the police, as it will be more effective.

Daily visits of beggars in early hours are a common sight. Cow cards fixed with loud speakers and bhajans in full pitch of voice has also become very common way of begging. I want to know if the authorities will take effective measures to end beggar menace. As the city is heading towards heritage status, the authorities should take strict action and make Chandigarh beggar free city.

G.K. Chopra, Chandigarh

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From Schools & Colleges
Students sensitised about female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
The Geetanjali helpline of MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, organised an inter-college sensitisation programme on “Female Foeticide: the disappearing girl child” today. Asha Hooda and Justice A.L. Bahri were the chief guest on the occasion. Dr Puneet Bedi called the event a mature step from the college helpline towards creating a more informed and empowered future by securing the girl child. The programme began with the screening of ‘Uska Aana’, which included presentations by distinguished members of the field of medicine, laws and academia. Dr Neelima Aggarwal, assistant professor obstetrics and gynaecology, PGIMER, educated the audience about ‘Unsafe Abortion’; while Dr Satvir Chaudhary, director health services: Malaria, Haryana apprised the students on the causes and necessary measures to balance sex ratio. Dr Nishtha Jaiswal, professor in department of laws, PU, educated the audience about the legal aspects of female foeticide and Kamini Tayal, lecturer of sociology, MCM DAV College, talked about the necessity of reforming the cultural mind-set of the society and realising the social responsibility of one and all to work in this direction.

Farewell: A farewell function was held for the students of Class X of St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, in the school campus today. The three-day function began with the lamp of knowledge ceremony where each student of Class X passed on the lamp of knowledge to their immediate juniors. The class teachers read out the achievements of the outgoing batch in the field of academics and other extra-curricular activities.

Blood donation: The Blood Donors Society of Government College Sector 11, in association with the Blood Bank Society, PGI, and State Bank of India organised a blood donation camp today. The students and staff members of the college donated more than 150 units of blood. Mayor Pradeep Chabbra inaugurated the camp. Certificates and mementos were given to all donors.

Dead: N.D. Grover, retired principal and vice-president of DAV College Managing Committee, New Delhi, expired today. His cremation will be on February 8 at Sector 25 cremation grounds at 12 noon. All DAV schools and colleges in the city will remain closed on February 7 as a mark of respect.

Seminar: The department of commerce and placement cell at Government College, Sector 46, organised a seminar for commerce students on “Changing Role of Accountants in Emerging Economies”. Lalit Sharma, chartered accountant, was the key resource person. Dr S.K. Kanwar explained the need of practical exposure especially in the field of accounting. Lalit Sharma gave information about latest softwares used in the field of accounting all over the world. He also guided the students how to acquire the required practical skills along with formal education.

Moot Court:
The Army Institute of Law, Mohali, will organise ‘National Corporate Law Moot Court Competition’ in association with Surana and Surana International Attorneys. As an endeavour to impart practical knowledge to law students, the institute annually organises moot court competitions. This year, the competition is scheduled to be held from February 8 till February 10. About 44 teams comprising 150 students from across the nation will take part in the competition. Eminent judges from Punjab and Haryana High Court and various other luminaries have been invited to adjudge the competition. Prize money worth Rs 54,000 is to be awarded to the winners under different categories.

Farewell: A colourful farewell marked the end of another satisfying academic session at Shivalik Public School, Phase VI, here. A floral welcome was given to director principal D.S. Bedi, principal Bedi and Satpal Kaur Grewal, principal, Shivalik Institute of Education and Research. It was followed by shabad and variety of entertainment programme by the students of Class XI. Gurleen Kaur was chosen Miss Shivalik, Gulinder Singh Mr Shivalik, Gursimran Sekhon Miss Charming and Aridaman Singh Mr Personality. 



PU Notes
Lecturers attend workshop on capacity building
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
A six-day UGC sponsored workshop on “Capacity Building for Women Managers in Higher Education” concluded at PU campus here today. The workshop was attended by 35 lectures from the university and colleges of Chandigarh, Mohali and Ropar.

The workshop aimed to sensitise and enable women in higher education to rise above social and academic constraints and take up administrative and decision-making positions in their institutions.

Conference: A three-day national seminar on “Person, Consciousness and Culture” was organised today by the department of philosophy, PU. The seminar started with a welcome address by Prof V.T. Sebastian, chairperson and director of the seminar.

In his inaugural address, Prof M.M. Puri, former vice-chancellor, PU, highlighted the importance of intellectual exchanges among scholars from humanities and social sciences and said the relevance of body in realising of consciousness cannot be denied.

In his keynote address, Prof Dharmendra Goel, Prof Emeritus, department of philosophy, PU, drew the attention of academic fraternity towards three important humanist values, including humility, courage and knowledge, in critical appreciations of theme of the seminar.

Dr John V George, IPS, director general of police, Haryana, spoke about various manifestations of identity-conflicts in today’s troubled times.

The inaugural session was followed by three book releases. The book “Death and Transcendence” of Prof V.T. Sebastian was released by Prof S.A. Shaida, IIT, Kanpur. The book “Understanding Bhakti” of Prof H.P. Sah was released by Prof Dharmendra Goel and the book “Growth of Scientific Knowledge” of Prof Asha Maudgil was released by Prof Dubey.

Lecture: Andrew Bird from Oxford Brooks University, UK, delivered a lecture on “LL.M. Programme in International Law” at the department of laws, PU Campus, here today as a part of the diamond jubilee celebrations of the university. Andrew Bird gave details of the seven disciplines like International Economic Law, Public International Law, Human Rights, Banking Laws, Insurance Laws etc. to the final year students of LL.B. Students posed questions regarding fee structure and the future prospects of the LL.M. course.

Seminar: As a part of celebrations of Diamond Jubilee, the department of sociology organised a weekly seminar on “Science and Society: a Spirit Behind” by Prof O.P. Katare, chairperson, department of UIPS, PU. He said the scientific approach of learning should not be confined to science and society only. Rather, we need to follow this approach to understand ourselves, he added. He emphatically highlighted that young scholars and scientists should learn to introspect themselves with positive thinking and humility.



Threat to Lawyer
Notice of motion to SSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Taking up a petition by Himmat Singh Shergill, a lawyer, for police protection following a threat to his life, allegedly from SAD leaders, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued “dasti” notice of motion for February 11 to the UT SSP.

Shergill stated before a Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanaljit Singh Ahluwalia that he was threatened after he argued the case of Manmohan Singh Gumtala, general-secretary of the Amritsar urban unit of the SAD, for protection.

The petitioner was his maternal uncle and had pleaded for directions against the “fascist” way of the forcible membership drive of the party.

The petitioner had made CM Prakash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Singh Badal and Majithia MP as respondents. He also submitted that Badal and his followers could harm him.



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