C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Paid parking to go hi-tech
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Taking a cue from the metros, the municipal corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) proposes to introduce computer-guided parking in the city.

A four-member committee under the chairmanship of mayor Pradeep Chhabra has been formed to study the feasibility of the project.

Representatives of an Italy-based firm,FACC, credited with the introduction of the state-of-the-art parking system in a couple of metros, besides Noida and Jaipur, made a presentation to the civic body top brass yesterday.

The corporation has decided "in principle" to introduce the new system in a Sector 17 parking lot on a "pilot basis". Depending upon the feasibility and response to the pilot project, the MCC may invite other companies for presentations to make the parking system transparent and hassle-free, Chhabra said.

The new system, sources claim, will save motorists from harassment at the hands of the parking staff, who are often rude.

Also, in the backdrop of the limited parking space in various parts of the city, including Sectors 8,9, 17,22 and 35, there is hardly space for parking of vehicles during peak hours.

As fee is charged at entry, heated arguments between the parking staff and motorists are routine with the latter not finding space to park.

The new system will take care of these problems.The "user-friendly" computerised system will significantly reduce the chances of theft and also inform motorists on the availability of parking space.

Since the parking fee would be charged at exit, there will be less chances of fleecing by parking contractors.

The finance and contract committee of the civic body, debating a proposal moved by councillor M.P.S. Chawla to streamline the parking system, recently authorised the mayor to constitute a committee.

Chawla had proposed a fine of Rs 300 for four- wheelers, and Rs 200 for two-wheelers parked wrongly.

System Benefits

n Reduce auto thefts
n Check overcharging
n Tackle shortage of parking staff
n Help utilise parking lots properly



House Rent
UT decides to get its dues
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Several government employees of Punjab and Haryana owe lakhs of rupees as arrears on account of house rent (licence fee) to the Chandigarh administration.

Serving and retired employees who had been allotted government accommodation by the administration, have not paid their arrears. In some cases, employees who have been transferred out continue to hold accommodation even after the expiry of the stipulated six-month period. There have been instances when employees (on being transferred) have lived in government accommodation till retirement.

The administration has now taken up the matter with the state governments of Punjab and Haryana.The secretary, house allotment committee, Chandigarh administration, has sought updated information on the transfer of employees from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, orders on retirement and dismissal from all heads of departments of the two state governments, boards and corporations in the city.

The recovery schedules and information on the death of employees has also been sought by the administration. A senior official said information had been sought from respective state governments as the record was being computerised.

It would ultimately help in updating information on a regular basis and help realise the arrears.



Sameera brings back verve to ICL
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
The ongoing Twenty20 tournament of the Indian Cricket League (ICL) got its zing back this evening, with actor Sameera Reddy sizzling across the space of performance.

No wonder the crowd at Tau Devi Lal Cricket Stadium here was overheard muttering: "They should have got her for the opener...".

Draped in black and armed with attitude, Sameera ascended the ICL stage twice during the day for presentations. To her fortune, the stadium was fairly packed with no empty stands greeting her troupe. Not that it would have mattered, said the dusky dame when she held a press conference after her performance late this evening.

She loves live performances and does not mind the numbers witnessing her as she dances. “To me, bring live is what matters. I enjoy connecting with people,” she said.

Every bit a stunner, the actor in fact today managed to take the crowds along.

Reaching out from across the stage, she beckoned the youngsters to join in her footsteps. So as she danced to the power-packed numbers of her latest film "Race" and the past flick "Welcome", the crowds danced to her tunes from where they were enjoying every bit of the synergy.

That's what the game of cricket of all about -- entertainment and synergy, said Sameera, as she walked down the memory lane, remembering days when she did not quite like the ways of Bollywood. "When I entered the industry, I had no idea what it was going to be like. I was just a kid wanting to prove something.

But when the reality dawned on me, I ran back to my family. They supported me and helped me stage a comeback. Here I am now, happy and confident about what I am doing and what is up my way...," said Sameera, batting for ICL, which entered the third day today on a jubilant note.



ICL fined Rs 1 lakh
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
The district administration today imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the ICL holding its matches at Tau Devi Lal Stadium.

The ICL was embroiled in a controversy as soon as it took off with the district administration serving the organisers with a notice for starting the tournament on March 9 without the required permission.

The administration, after imposing the fine, gave the organisers a day’s permission to hold the event.



Finally, DAV colleges submit replies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
After much dilly-dallying, the two DAV colleges in the city have finally submitted their replies to RTI queries. But the replies submitted are vague.

Prof Avanindra Chopra received a reply from the MCM DAV College authorities saying: “We are not receiving any grants or expenditure on advertisement from government/DPI/public authority.

“The expenditure is met by the college and no further information on the issue can be provided.”

Prof Chopra, Prof Arun Kumar Aggarwal and Dr R.P. Singh were given the information sought under the RTI Act on the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions.

Prof Aggarwal, who had sought information on fee structure, was not given any explanation about the manner in which the college had bifurcated various heads and quantum of fees/funds charged from the students. S. Marriya, in his reply, stated that fees/funds were based on ‘norms and assessment’ of the management without giving any supporting evidence.

And to the application on provident fund deductions, the principals declined to give any details.

The applicants said they were told to get information from the office of the director, higher education, Chandigarh administration.



Admn tightens noose around schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Chandigarh education department has tightened the noose around those private schools of the city, which do not comply to the mandatory 15 per cent reservation quota scheme for the children belonging to economically weaker section (EWS).

After preparing the actual status report on the issue, the department called upon the meeting of all heads of private schools of the city at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, here today.

Almost all privately owned school representatives attended the meeting chaired by DPI (S) S.K. Setia. Ironically, out of 35 schools, 25 schools did not fulfil the mandatory 15 per cent EWS quota seat criterion.

The DPI (S) directed all the schools to follow the rule and cited certain standards of running special schools for the economically weaker students. The department has instructed them to follow the pattern adopted by Sacred Heart School, Sector 26. “I have told the school heads to open a special Hindi school just on the lines of Sacred Heart School. This step is appreciable because the children belonging to economically weaker section of the society do not find themselves comfortable with the English medium. Further, if space is the problem, the special school can be run in the evening shifts,” said Setia.

Taking stern view against the schools who showed their inability to meet the extra expenditure, the DPI (S) has directed them to submit their balance sheet for the last five-years. “After having their income and expenditure details, we would have an idea of what amount of money flow has been made to make movable and immovable assets.”

The DPI (S) has also told the school heads to enthuse youth into more and more of NSS activities and instil moral values of education.



Consumer Courts
Motor firm to pay Rs 1 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked the managing director of EM PEE Motors to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for indulging in an unfair trade practice.

The petitioner Gaganpreet Ahuja, a resident of Mohali, had purchased a Toyota Innova from EM PEE Motors on October 14, 2005 for Rs 8 lakh. She stated that the car met with an accident near Babarpur village in Panipat district on October 30, 2005. A DDR was registered after the accident.

She alleged that she was not given the estimate or the receipt after the servicing of the car was done. She stated that after the third service of the car in March 2006 the car again met with an accident near the showroom of EM PEE Motors. So, she gave the car for repairs in the showroom. The car was delivered at her home after servicing on May 25, 2006 with a bill of Rs 54,187.

Ahuja alleged that the motor firm had opened the engine of the car without her permission. Subsequently she approached the motor firm several times to resolve the matter but no action was taken.

The motor company replied that the car was purchased from them but denied having opened the engine.

The forum headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal stated: “The motor firm has indulged in an unfair trade practice and are directed to replace the engine of the Innova vehicle with a new engine.”



Foreign jaunts fail to improve civic maintenance
Rajiv Bhatia

Chandigarh, March 11
Road users in the city are complaining daily about traffic snarls due to “unprofessional approach” of the engineering officials. No effort is made to undertake jobs like painting road markings, maintenance of road and streetlights during the low-traffic hours or wee hours. “UT officials are eager to go on foreign jaunts to study various aspects of civic maintenance. But after spending lakhs on foreign visits, they fail to ape the basic rules to maintain the amenities”, observes Vipin Kumar, a city-based businessman who feels that the problem can be solved by carrying out such maintenance activities after office hours. The authorities concerned have so far done nothing in this regard.

Vipin Kumar also says, “I went to Australia for a business trip and realised they clean the roads and finish off washing, etc before the town gets up in the morning”.

Neither any road closure for maintenance is notified in advance so that the road users could take an alternative route to reach their destination. On the pattern of power shutdowns, the engineering department of the concerned agency should release daily schedule of maintenance.

Yogesh, another city-based businessman who has recently returned from a trip to Asian countries, pointed out that they have adopted tourism policies to promote the city as a tourist destination. They should also take care of public convenience.

"Last year a delegation from the municipal corporation also went to Singapore on a study trip to learn how to improve the system of paid parking and cleanliness of the roads in the city. But why are they not incorporating good things like cleaning and maintaining of roads in wee hours?” said Mandeep, a city resident.



Mohali hospital to set up health mall
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Mohali-based Ivy Hospital today announced the opening of country’s first health mall in a bid to bring super-specialities under one roof and provide integrated health care services.

To be spread over an area of 1.3 lakh square feet, the health mall would bring some of the best doctors, medical institutes and infrastructure on the hospital campus in Sector 71, Mohali, under one roof to offer “honest and affordable health care” to the people, Gurtej Singh, CEO, said here today.

In fact, the facilities by Delhi’s leading RG Stone and Urology Institute and the Radiation Therapy Services Inc. (USA) at the proposed health mall would be operational by March-end. Besides, the hospital has reached an understanding with renowned surgeons, medical institutes and clinics to offer speciality departments in oncology, dentistry, pathology, laparascopic and general surgery at the health mall. An advanced nephrology department and dialysis unit were already functioning successfully from the 190-bedded hospital, Kanwaldeep, director health services, informed.

“With Mohali, one of the fastest emerging towns in the region, the unique concept would revolutionise and synergise various aspects of specialised health care industry,” Gurtej Singh claimed.

The company had already pumped in Rs 40 crore in the Rs 100 crore project for the creation of basic infrastructure. In fact, it would be a symbiotic relationship between the hospital and various partners since they would get ready-made infrastructure on the sprawling hospital campus.

Talking about the economic aspects of the project, the CEO asserted that the equipment and the overhead costs would be shared by various stakeholders making the project “economically viable”. This would ultimately reduce the profitability gestation period from a 3-4 years time span to 8-10 months making it possible for the hospital to pass on the economic benefits to the patients, Gurtej Singh said.

Meanwhile, to cash in on the medical tourism, a dedicated international patients’ help desk had been started at the Sector 71 hospital for catering to the needs of overseas patients. The desk offers a range of services like distant consultation through telemedicine and e-mails, coordination for doctors’ appointment, local travel, boarding and lodging arrangements, provision of local facilities, cuisine options and interpreters for overseas patients.



Estate office bifurcation move hangs fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Due to one sanctioned post of SDO (building), a proposal of the UT estate office to bifurcate the work of the building branch has been delayed.

The proposal had been made to check the duplicity and unnecessary harassment to the public. This would have decided to redefine the areas of the field staff of the building branch and the enforcement staff to ensure better utilisation of manpower.

Sources said the proposal had been sent to the finance department for taking the sanction. Unless the second post was not created, the bifurcation of work was not possible.

An official said once approved, a junior engineer would be given independent charge of a specific sector and would be accountable for checking building violations. The SDO concerned would be in charge of the field staff.

At present, the JEs of the building branch and the enforcement wing work parallel to each other and there is duplicity of work.



Skoda car catches fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
A day after when a fire broke out at the Advance Pediatrics Centre at the PGI, another incident was reported when a Skoda car (DL 2C M 9978) caught fire at the rear of UT Secretariat, Sector 9 due to a short circuit.

According to the information, the fire department got a call at 12.40 pm in his regard. Reacting to the call, a fire engine from Sector 17, fire wing was immediately sent to the spot, which controlled the fire. The car belongs to Paras Private. However, the loss is still not known.



Check encroachment menace

Despite repeated action by HUDA, encroachments can be seen in almost every market of Panchkula, especially in Sector 7. Due to a large number of stalls in markets, there is hardly any space left to pass through. The authorities have failed to put a check on these encroachments. Every time an encroachment is removed, it comes back again.

The problem is grave and HUDA should take a strict action against them. Encroachments are leading to parking problems also. To deal with the parking woes, encroachments have to be controlled or removed. A conscious effort on the part of the administration is required if they really want to do away with this increasing menace. The authority now has to deal with this problem sternly and it should be tackled on priority.

Dr Shruti Kapoor, Panchkula

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GMSH-16 can award gynae degree
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, can now award postgraduate degree in paediatrics and gynaecology and obstetrics.

According to a press note issued here today, this has been done as the hospital has adequate infrastructure and sufficient number of postgraduate doctors available in these specialities. As many as four seats for the department of gynaecology and obstetrics and two for the department of paediatrics had been sanctioned.



From Schools & Colleges
Rinki bags best student title
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Neha Beri was crowned Miss BCA in the modelling contest held during the valediction function organised by the department of BCA at Government College for Girls, Sector 11, here today. Ankita Bansal was adjudged as Miss Elegant, whereas Sonal emerged as Miss Charming. The students of BCA-III also presented singing and dancing performances.

Meanwhile, Rinki was adjudged as Best Student while Deepika and Benu Walia went home with Intellectual Personality and Most Talented Student titles. Promila Kaushal, principal of the college wished success to the students.

Exchange program

With an aim to expose the children to the art and culture of Scotland, Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 45, here today joined hands with Bearsden School, Scotland. Harpreet Kaur, principal of the school said the idea was to bring about exchange of views on global issues like ‘Peace’ and ‘Pollution’ in order to initiate thinking process in younger generation.

Placement week

In order to provide students with job opportunities, Air Hostess Academy (AHA), Chandigarh, today organised its ‘placement week’ in association with Indigo Airlines and Kingfisher Deccan from Aviation Industry and Crown Plaza (a new 5 star hotel in Gurgaon) from the hospitality sector. The drive will be on till March 14.

The first day of the placement week saw a lot of enthusiasm amongst the students as over 100 students of Amritsar, Jammu and Ludhiana centres, appeared for the interview.



PU Notes

Course: A three-week UGC sponsored refresher course for college teachers was inaugurated today at the Department of English, PU. The thrust of the refresher course is on ‘Interdisciplinary approaches to literature.” Prof Shelley Walia delivered the inaugural lecture on ‘Theory and the act of resistance.’

Lecture: The department of ancient Indian history, culture and archaeology, PU, is organising Prof Jagannath Agrawal memorial lecture on ‘The sense of wonder’ by Prof B.N. Goswami, Professor Emeritus, PU, on March 13 in the department of fine arts, PU.



2 acquitted of murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Additional district and sessions judge R.S. Attri today exonerated two of murder charges due to lack of evidence.

The two accused, Krishna Devi and Kamlesh, were booked for murdering Thakur Prasad, husband of Krishna Devi. The body of deceased was found lying in a rickshaw in Hallomajra on May 23, 2005.



Review selection of nurses: CAT
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Considering the application of Vanita, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) asked the Department of Medical Education and Research, Sector 9, and Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32, to review the selection for the post of staff nurses.

Vanita, resident of Sector 40, had challenged the procedure of selection followed by officials in the hospital for the posts of regular staff nurse.

Taking a note that the hospital has still not got over with the selection process for the post, the CAT observed: “Since GMCH-32 is still in the process of the selection made and correct any irregularity, if any, we dispose of the application with direction to complete the process of reconsideration of the selection to post of staff nurses made in year 2007 a per law.”

Vanita, who was working on contract with the hospital as staff nurse had appealed before the tribunal with a request of quashing the selection list for the post of staff nurse.

Vanita pointed out that ex-director Swami issued an advertisement in a national daily for filling post of 40 regular staff nurses for the hospital appeared on February 20, 2006.

She had also applied for the post. Vanita further added that she belonged to the scheduled caste and scored 2 marks out of 10 in the written test and interview. Thus Vanita was not selected for the post. She alleged that the criterion of selection was incorrect.

Thereafter, she moved an application under the RTI Act to inquire the procedure of selection.

The counsel for GMCH-32 produced before the tribunal an order dated February 22, 2008, whereby a committee has been set up to review and reconsider the recruitment process. The members of the committee formulated to review the selection process to the posts of staff nurse include the director of GMCH-32.



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