C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


700 trees at Sector 26 nursery face axe
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service
A room that was demolished after a decision to shift the nursery was taken
A room that was demolished after a decision to shift the nursery was taken.
A guava tree has dried for want of care at the nursery.
A guava tree has dried for want of care at the nursery. Tribune photos by Karam Singh

Chandigarh, April 15
After almost doing away with the green cover in the periphery, it is learnt that the Chandigarh administration is readying to cut down at least 700 fruit-bearing trees and medical plants in the Sector 26 nursery here. The nursery has already been shifted to Sector 29.

There is a proposal that a civil services institute will come up on the land. Officials, however, claim that no final decision has been taken yet.

Also at stake is a heritage pond, located in one corner of the nursery, that is used as a sight-seeing spot for migratory birds and to hold environment-related camps for schoolchildren.

UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar said there was no concrete decision to set up the institute. “The administration was in favour of protecting the green cover and saving maximum number of trees. We have planned to plant one million trees,” he said.

Frequent visitors to the nursery say that several saplings of mango, neem, mulberry, litchi and chikoo that had been planted in the early 80s, had grown into trees. “Instead of removing the lush green cover, it should be maintained and the sale of fruit-bearing trees should be promoted,” Ashwani Kumar, who has been visiting the nursery to buy plants, said, adding that the institute could be established in the southern part of the city.

The MC has been maintaining the nursery. A few months ago, the UT administrator visited the place and subsequently, orders were passed to shift the nursery to Sector 29.

Ever since the decision to shift the nursery was taken, the trees are not being cared for. Some guava trees have dried and the others face the same fate.

Upset over the closing of the nursery, gardeners say a number of people still visit the place to inquire about saplings.

An official disclosed that the contract to collect fruits fetched a few lakhs. “But with the barbed fence gone, the trees were vulnerable,” a watchman at the nursery said.

Sources in the administration revealed that the engineering department in its survey plan had listed around 600 trees at the site. However, a survey of the trees by the MC revealed that there were 742 trees.

An encumbrance free certificate of the site has been sought by the office of the chief architect.

S.K. Sharma, president of the Environment Society of India, said the area should be preserved to promote nature as it was one of the favourite spots for migratory birds.



Technicians’ strike hits work at PGI
But surgeries on schedule; ad hoc staff dismissed
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Patient care services were affected at the OPD of the PGI on the first day of a strike by technicians here today, even though the PGI had drawn technicians from other institutes.

The PGI staff was forced to ask patients to return who had come for various tests. Several patients who had come fasting for blood sugar detection test had to go back due to the strike. Not a single technician or student was available. Even staff members who were present there were of little help.

The patients preferred to get the tests done at private clinics as the strike is scheduled to continue for two more days. Saligram, a patient from Nangal, said, “I was suggested a blood test after diagnosis. I deposited Rs 100 at the counter immediately, but the sample collection centre refused to take the blood sample as no technician was available. I have to spend a lot of money again and I don’t know how long I will have to wait,” he said.

A patient from Kurukshetra waits for a test at the OPD block.
A patient from Kurukshetra waits for a test at the OPD block. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Another patient, Suchha Singh, told The Tribune that he did not have enough money to get the test done from outside.

The emergency functioning was also affected slightly as no technician was available in room numbers 23, 24 and 25.

Naveen Kripal Kaur, who came from Kurukshetra for a blood and urine test, said the emergency staff refused to take the blood sample due to shortage of staff.

The PGI administration, however, claimed that laboratory diagnostic services functioned between 80 to 90 per cent in emergency, OPD and indoors. Operating theatre services functioned normally and no case was cancelled or postponed due to the strike.

Technicians claimed, “The lives of patients are at risk as students of B.Sc medical technology and untrained medical technologists have been deputed in sensitive departments.”

About 80 per cent members participated in the strike, they added.



Doctor drugged, robbed in Delhi
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
A doctor was robbed of his laptop and valuables by swindlers in Delhi after he was given a sedative-laced soft drink on Sunday afternoon. He gained consciousness the next day and found himself on a bed in the AIIMS, New Delhi.

Dr Avinash Kumar (26), an audiologist and speech pathologist in the ENT department of the PGI here, told The Tribune today that the Delhi Police was dilly-dalling the matter. Fed up with its attitude, he returned to the city last evening.

The swindlers decamped with a laptop worth Rs 42,000, a mobile phone, Rs 5,000, a credit card, two ATM-cum-debit cards, some jewellery and other articles.

Dr Avinash said he boarded a Volvo bus for Delhi from Chandigarh on Sunday at 8 am. He was on his way to Mumbai and had to board a train. He reached the ISBT, Delhi, at 1 pm and took an autorickshaw for the railway station. An autorickshaw driver offered to take him to the railway station for Rs 60, asking him if he would agree to go along with two other passengers.

“On the way, one of the passengers asked for a drink from my water bottle. While drinking from the bottle, he spilled some water. After some time, he asked the driver to stop the vehicle as he wanted to buy a cold drink. He came after a long time with two empty glasses and a bottle in his hand. He offered me some, but I refused. He kept insisting and I reluctantly drank it. Its taste was normal and later I found myself in hospital the next day,” he said.

Before that he went to a police post at the AIIMS, but the cops did not pay heed to his complaint.

The investigating officer of the case maintained that a complaint had been lodged at the ISBT on Sunday night. As Dr Avinash was not fit to give his statement, he said he would come again to get his statement recorded, the ASI added.



Crafts fair to open on April 18
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Chandigarh is all set to have its own Surajkund crafts fair. Come April 18, the development commissioner (handicrafts), the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the Chandigarh administration will replicate the Surajkund experiment at the Rock Garden here with a 10-day crafts fair aimed at bringing the buyers face-to-face with the master craftsmen.

"With Chandigarh emerging as a tourist hub the fair would provide patronage to the craftsmen and eliminate the middlemen ultimately benefiting the customers," S.K. Misra, INTACH chairman, said here today, unveiling the ambitious plans to make the event an annual affair.

Regarding the choice of the venue, Misra said, “There could not have been a better choice than the Rock Garden, the masterpiece created by creative genius Nek Chand."

Besides showcasing some of the finest Indian cultural heritage in the shape of fine metal work, block printing, kantha, pottery, terracotta and paintings by about 150 master craftsmen, fun and frolic would be an integral part of the fair, to be inaugurated by the adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra. Performances by Pakistani ‘qawaals’ on April 24 and vocalist Shanti Hiranand and playback singer Bhupinder would spice up the fair. Vivek Atray, director, tourism, said the administration would provide needed support to make the event successful.

Convener of the local chapter of INTACH V.K. Kapoor claimed that seeing the buying capacity of the residents of the region, Chandigarh crafts fair would soon compete with the Surajkund fair.

A nominal entry fee of Rs 10 would be levied on general public and entry for school children would be free.



17-yr-old student killed in accident

Mohali, April 15
A 17-year-old student was killed and another seriously injured in a collision between a school bus and a scooter on the dividing road of Sectors 67 and 68 here this afternoon.

Jaskaran Jit Singh, a resident of Sector 44, Chandigarh, and his friend Satkirat Singh, a resident of Sector 67 here, had sustained serious injuries and were taken to hospital by the police. Jaskaran was declared brought dead.

Navtej Singh, an uncle of the deceased, said Jaskaran had recently appeared for the Class X board examinations and was a student of St Stephen’s School in Chandigarh.

The family got a call about the incident from the mobile phone of the victim, he said.

An eyewitness said both boys were going on a scooter and when they reached the road dividing Sectors 67-68, a speeding school bus hit the scooter. Jaskaran was driving the scooter while his friend was riding pillion. The bus driver sped away after the accident.

The bus involved in the accident was of Manav Mangal School. The director of the school, Sanjay Sardana, said the bus did not belong to the school, but was being used on a contract basis.

Investigating officer Ram Kishan said Jaskaran was the only son of a Chandigarh-based family. A case had been registered against the bus driver, Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Paprali village near Kurali. He was yet to be arrested.



CBI raids Sports Complex office
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today carried out searches at the office of the Sports Complex, Sector 42, following a complaint regarding misappropriation of funds.

Sources in the CBI said there were allegations of embezzlement of funds worth Rs 1.5 crore. This also involved purchase of floor mat imported from England at the cost of Rs 12.5 lakh.

Three gymnasia were set up by the UT administration in which the equipment installed was allegedly imported from a single company, “Technogym”. The equipment was installed at Lake Club, Sports Complex, Sector 42, and Sector 23.

The CBI acted on a complaint lodged by a Sector-22 resident, Vivek Aditya, a user of the gym at the Lake Club.

The search operation lasted over nine hours and the officials locked the premises in the complex. It was learnt that the officials had seized certain incriminating documents pertaining to the records of equipment purchase.

Sources added that certain documents relating to the equipment were found missing and those recovered from there had certain discrepancies.

A senior CBI officer, preferring anonymity, said besides officials of the sports department, the involvement of authorities of the UT finance department could not be ruled out at this stage. They would be asked to join the investigation at a later stage in this regard.

Officials searched the complex and equipment, and tallied the information gathered with the record.

Chandigarh sports department joint director J.P.S. Sidhu told the TNS that it was routine inquiry to check the records of the department and those of Technogym. “We have provided the officials with the required paperwork.”

Technogym, an Italian company, makes gymnasium equipment used by Olympic player across the world.

The authorities had not invited any tenders to buy the equipment.



Preserving Monuments
Punjab, Haryana accused of failure to enact law
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
In a severe indictment of Punjab and Haryana governments on the issue of the conservation of historical monuments, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) today alleged that the two state governments were dragging their feet on the legislation to protect these monuments.

“The governments seem to be having a mental block on enacting legislations that will go a long way in conserving several monuments not covered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),” INTACH chairman S.K. Misra told The Tribune here today.

S.K. Misra
S.K. Misra

The delaying tactics of the Punjab and Haryana governments were in sharp contrast to the governments in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Goa, which had come out with draft legislations on the issue. Though the Punjab government had amended the Act concerning the historical monuments, these amendments fell short of the expectations of the general public and the conservationists.

Misra, who was here in connection with the 10-day craft fair at the Rock Garden from April 18, alleged that the restoration work of the Quila Mubarak, Patiala, was “kept pending” for a period of about three years. And it took quite an effort on the part of INTACH to get a grant of Rs 1 crore from the Punjab government for the conservation of Jagatjit Palace in Kapurthala.

Founded in 1984, INTACH has documented about 75,000 historical sites, besides over 5,000 on the ASI list. The trust operates through a network of conservationists with a view to preserving the rich cultural heritage of the country. The trust, which is not funded by any government agency, however, seeks project-specific grants from the government agencies.

Misra stated that buoyed by the success of an international conference in December last year, INTACH was holding a conference of the Asian countries to evolve a consensus on the issue of conservation initiatives in these countries in December 2008.

Meanwhile, Misra informed that a Delhi court had reserved its judgement on an INTACH petition against the holding of 2010 Commonwealth Games on the bed of the Yamuna.

Commenting on the ongoing projects of the trust, Misra said the Goa government entrusted the preservation of monuments in the state to INTACH.



UT quota quarters with admn, not MC, says CAT
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Has the ownership of the UT quota accommodation been transferred to the municipal corporation? No! says a recent order pronounced by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

Clearing the confusion over the ownership of the government quarters on a plea, CAT has held that under rule 8 of the Government Residents (Chandigarh Administration General Pool) Allotment Rules, 1996, administration is the only coordinating and controlling authority in respect of all residences.

“No authority has ever legally transferred these quarters from administration’s pool to the municipal corporation. It can be safely concluded that the house in question was never transferred to the municipal corporation and it remains with the UT and belongs to the Chandigarh administration.”

After the death of applicant Harmeet Singh’s father, who worked as tubewell operator in public health division, the former was allotted a government accommodation and appointed clerk in the office of executive engineer on compassionate grounds.

He submitted an application to the municipal corporation for allotment of a government quarter in his favour.

The secretary, house allotment committee, public health division, rejected the Harmeet’s plea under the notion that the house belonged to the corporation.

Harmeet, however, stated in the application that the administration exercised the right to allot the house in question instead of the corporation.

Considering the notifications made by the administration, CAT maintained: “The earlier orders of cancellation were passed by the incompetent authority having no jurisdiction to do so.”

The secretary, house allotment committee, issued a show-cause notice to the applicant stating that the plea of allotment of house was declined on the ground that it could be retained for a period of one year after the death of applicant’s father.

The notice further stated that the applicant had illegally retained the house after the lapse of one year and it belonged to the corporation.

The UT engineering department argued that the house in question fell in the list of water supply houses that were transferred to the municipal corporation. The department further averred that the applicant had concealed facts and the allotment of the house was thus cancelled.

CAT said: “The applicant is allowed to retain the house in question in terms of allotment, for which the applicant has been regularly paying the licence fee.” Commenting on the issue, Chandigarh Allotment Committee secretary Ashwini Kumar said: “There is no confusion on the ownership of government accommodation as per rules.”


Sector 17 piazzas should be revamped: Architect
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
"The architectural splendour of Chandigarh is great but the need of the hour is to redevelop the existing Sector 17 piazzas in the light of changing needs of the visitors,” opined Catherine Maumi, architect and Professor, St Etienne School of Architecture, Paris, France.

In town to conduct a joint workshop with Chandigarh College of Architecture on re-development of pedestrian piazzas in Sector 17 and to preserve the heritage for which Chandigarh is known for, Catherine said regionalism should be the prime objective for the purpose.

“Chandigarh lays utmost emphasis on pedestrian use of spaces. It has ushered in new terminology in planning a city and Le Corbusier’s attempts at comprehending scale of urban level have been achieved through pedestrian paths. We have observed the basic concept and functioning of piazaas in Sector 17 and back in France after studying it thoroughly, we would give our layout plan to make it more activity-based,” said Catherine.

Chandigarh has become a hub of new activities such as Information Technology Park, expanding the use of shopping malls, multiplexes, changing land-use patterns in and around its periphery. “I compare the Sector 17 piazza with La Defence area in Paris. Since being the central point of Chandigarh, we are recommending on making it more activity based like I recommend low floored eatery joints, cafes and other entertainment spots to attract tourism,” she said. Catherine advocated to develop connectivity of Sector 17 to surrounding sectors through pedestrian pathways like bridges, but is not in favour of making underground subways. “The subways, throughout the globe, have turned out to be unsafe. Instead, there is provision of small pedestrian bridges in Le Corbusier’s plan that connects to various sectors. This point can be evaluated.”

About the unmanageable traffic, she said the public transport needs to be revamped and people should be discouraged from using their private vehicles on road.“In Paris, still many people, including myself, have not bought cars because it is convenient and cheap to travel by public transport like trams, buses, taxis and mono rail. The Chandigarh administration should think on these lines,” she suggested.

In Paris, the week starts from Monday but to regulate traffic primary schools have their day off on Wednesdays, besides Sundays. She appreciated the step taken by Bangalore and Karnataka states to get schools closed on Mondays and open on Saturdays.



Child counsellor chosen for international assignment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Punita Singh, a child counselor with Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, has been chosen to visit schools in Geneva. Probably the only one from the Northern region ever, Punita would visit Le Roches International School of Hotel Management and Glion Institute of Higher Education group of schools. Glion and Roches have three campuses in Switzerland.

Punita would observe the method Swiss school administration adopts while counseling children. Both schools have students coming from more than 80 different countries and offer certificate, diploma, bachelor and master’s programme in the field of hospitality, event, sports and entertainment management.

Punita, a Masters in English and Guidance and Counselling from Panjab University, said: “It is a great feeling to represent the city for such a prestigious assignment. It is basically a first hand experience to learn how they cope up with the students’ restlessness.

After learning their programme method, I would be able to apply them here in our school. Besides, I would get to learn how and what programmes and courses could be beneficial for young aspirants here in India After going through this programme, I would be able to bridge the gap with students.”

Pimo Mazurcza, the regional admissions director, who gave a presentation at Carmel Convent school on April 11, and Ganesh Kohli, the educational consultant in India for Laureate Hospitality Education at Switzerland, said Punita was chosen because of her versatile talent.

“Despite being academically qualified, her biggest asset which helped her grab this opportunity is that she is multilingual. Besides, her vast experience in career counseling counted the most,” they said.



Misconduct by councillor
Chief engineer writes to MC commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The issue of alleged misbehaviour of BJP councillor Anil Dubey with superintending engineer of municipal corporation Yogesh Gupta threatens to snowball into a major controversy, with the chief engineer bringing the matter to the notice of the MC commissioner.

Sources in the corporation said it was alleged that Dubey had barged into a room where a meeting of officials was under way and misbehaved with Gupta.

Dubey and sanitation committee chairman Resham Chand Jakhu went to the office of chief engineer S.K. Bansal after the sanitation committee meeting and had heated arguments with Gupta over the non-completion of work on road widening in Mauli Jagran.

In his complaint, Bansal stated that additional executive engineer Mahender Vikram and Arun Kumar of horticulture department were present in the room when the incident took place.

He also told the commissioner that Gupta had lodged a written complaint with him regarding the issue and the councillor had abused Gupta. Bansal today admitted that he had given a complaint to the commissioner.

He, however, added that a councillor had met him today and it seemed that the matter would be resolved amicably.

On the other hand, Dubey claimed that no meeting was under way when they went to the chief engineer’s room.

He claimed that he had only asked Gupta to personally visit the area and see the condition of the stretch of dilapidated road. He also told him that if the work was not completed, he would raise the issue in the house. Gupta got agitated at this and used abusive language, he alleged.

Mayor Pardeep Chhabra said he would look into the matter and indiscipline would not be tolerated.

Commissioner Raji P. Srivastva confirmed that she had received a complaint and would look into the issue.



Burgeoning Protests
Police for invoking Section 144 at Sector-17 rally ground
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Looking at the increasing number of dharnas and rallies, the Chandigarh police intends to invoke Section 144 at the ground adjacent to Hotel Shivalikview in Sector 17.

The increasing number of protests has become a cause for concern for the local police, as these have been affecting traffic on city roads.

The police has to block the road separating Sectors 16 and 17, including the cricket stadium roundabout, for security reasons.

According to sources in the police, around 15 rallies are held every month and the number sometimes crosses 20. The police doesn’t allow protesters to go past the barricades and arrests those who trespass the area under Section 188 of the IPC.

Recently, the police had arrested 12 anganwadi workers under the Section.

ASP Madhur Verma, while talking to the TNS, said: “Rallies and dharnas have become a headache for the police. The area is a public place and such protests cause a lot of inconvenience to the general public. In spite of the fact that we do not allow protesters to trespass the area where Section 144 is applicable, protesters manage to go past the barricades.

“We have sent a recommendation to the police headquarters to write to the administration to invoke Section 144 there,” said the police officer. According to SSP S.S. Srivastava, “We are looking into this matter. After a study and survey, we will take necessary action.”



Now, expect faster work at passport office
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Work at the Regional Passport Office (RPO), which was in news for delay in delivery of passports, is set to be faster. Reason: The work of installation of a new high-end server is at its final stage here.

Sources in the passport office said with the revamping of the computer processing system, the speed would increase manifold. Besides, the proposal of outsourcing of receiving of application forms for passports to private parties by opening 68 Passport Facilitation Centres (PFC) is also at its final stage. New split air conditioners are being installed at a rapid pace inside the building for the convenience of applicants, who have to stand in queues for a long time to get their work done.

As per the figures available, the 32 RPO’s across India had created a record by issuing over 50 lakh passports last year. Sources said at the Chandigarh office computers are over 10 years old and are not able to sustain the current workload. Due to slow processing speed it takes a longer time to provide information. However, the high-end server would increase the processing speed by over 100 times. The cost of the system is around Rs 18 lakh.

Confirming the development, Vitul Kumar, the regional passport officer, Chandigarh, said the present system would start functioning within a week. It would help the officials verify the information within no time. He added that air- conditioners were being installed a cost of Rs seven lakh and the work is at its last stage.



Rickety swings in parks passe
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Children have something new to look forward to in parks, thanks to a unique initiative under the MPLAD scheme that would install state-of-the-art multiple play equipment in parks.

Swings in four parks have already been replaced. Costing about Rs 3.25 lakh each, the equipment is a hit with children.

The play equipment has been installed at Shivalik Garden, Mani Majra, Moonlit Park, Sector 22, Mini Rose Garden, Sector 24, and the greenbelt in Sector 15.

“Union minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal has sanctioned an additional sum of Rs 30 lakh for the installation of the equipment in other parks. Under the second phase, the greenbelts in southern sectors and slums would be given priority,” mayor Pardeep Chhabra told The Tribune here today.

Chhabra, who is a special representative of the minister for the MPLAD scheme, said the equipment was being installed through a Delhi-based company.

The aim was to gradually cover the whole city, he said.

“Earlier, children used to be glued to the TV and computer. But with the new play equipment, my children venture out of the house for a few hours in the evening and do some physical activity,” Manju, a Sector 22 resident, said.



Councillor’s ‘kidnapping’ takes new turn
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
The alleged kidnapping of Gautam Prasad, an INLD councillor of the local municipal council, by certain Congressmen has taken a new turn with the councillor writing a letter to district officials that "he had left home on his own".

According to sources, the DC reportedly received a letter written by Gautam Prasad yesterday. The SP and SDM also received copies of the letter.

Earlier, the councillor’s wife, in a complaint to the police, alleged that prominent Congress leader Naresh Rawal and certain other persons had kidnapped her husband. Prasad had been missing from his home since past several days.



MC gets hi-tech sweeping machines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The Chandigarh municipal corporation got three new hi-tech garbage sweeping machines imported from Italy today. Sources in the corporation said the new machines had been brought to the city and put on trial.

The machines have been procured at the cost of Rs 3 crore. One of the machines is bigger in size in comparison to the other two. Company engineers are accompanying the machines to give demonstration to officials and engineering staff about their handling and maintenance.

Meanwhile, the UT administration today gave its nod to the construction of four new community centres in the city. These centres would be constructed in Sectors 48, 49, 50 and in rehabilitation colony in Sector 52.



Chaitanya Gaudiya Math conference ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
A helicopter showering flower petals on the chariot carrying Sri Gaursunder and Sri Radha Madhav was the highlight of the concluding day of the 38th conference of Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, here today. Earlier, kirtan was started by Srila Vishnu Maharaj who had come from Delhi for this programme. Two band parties led the chariot from the front and three groups of devotees performing kirtan were between the band and the chariot, followed by a large number of people pulling the chariot.



Autorickshaw stand inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Former BJP president Jai Ram Joshi inaugurated an autorickshaw stand at the ISBT, Sector 43, today.

Addressing a function organised by the Mithila Auto Rickshaw Drivers Association, Joshi called upon autorickshaw drivers to take care of the convenience of passengers.

Joshi was specially invited by the association for the inauguration of the stand, which has been leased out by the administration.

Association chairman Abhey Kumar Jha said with the starting of the stand, the outstanding demand of the drivers had been met.



City lacks traffic discipline

Chandigarh needs traffic discipline and it clearly reflects from the city roads. The traffic police should try to teach people about traffic rules, half of us are not aware of many of them. First of all we need to give the drivers an understanding of lane discipline, proper use of roundabouts system and at the same time and give full understanding of the road traffic system to them; in the UK it is called The Highway Code, in India drive on the same pattern as in the UK.

Drivers must be checked properly before they are allowed on the roads. The driving instructors/examiners with the assistance of office concerned should make sure the system is followed properly. Afterwards it is for the traffic police department to check the application of the above, and then we can streamline traffic not only in the tricity but all over India.

This dream of one-way system is far beyond the present drivers of India.

If any department is really concerned about this issue, they should spend some time in the UK learning the above and make sure it gets implemented.

Ashwani Lakhanpal, Coventry (UK)

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Central Varsity Status
Mass rally today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The chain fast by students and teachers demanding a Central university status for Panjab University entered the ninth day today. Teachers, students and research scholars are queuing up for the fast.

Dr D.K. Dhawan, Dr D.V. Rai, and Dr M.L. Garg from the department of biophysics, Dr Loveleen Kaur, Regional Resource Centre, and research scholars Anshu Malhotra and Praveen Nair from the department of biophysics sat on the fast.

A large number of teachers and students have volunteered for a peaceful protest against the indifference of political parties towards the future of PU as an institute of national importance.

On the tenth day tomorrow, the joint action committee has given a call for a mass public rally in front of the university guest house which is the site of the chain fast. A large number of students, teachers and employees will join the rally. Preet, president of the PU Lab Technical Staff Association, said the technical staff was ready to join the ongoing agitation and would sit on chain fast.

Meanwhile, PCCTU vice-president Prof Anil Sarwal has intimated JAC leadership that the teachers of various colleges of the city were eager to join the mass protest to be held on the campus tomorrow. At the same time, JAC leadership has started contacting various organisations/associations of the city in order to highlight the discriminatory attitude of the Punjab government towards the city in general and PU in particular.

JAC chairman Prof A.S. Ahluwalia has reiterated its appeal to the alumni of Panjab University to come forward and request the Prime Minister to intervene at this critical juncture and declare PU a Central university so that it could be pulled out of the current financial crunch.



Joint workshop on architecture concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Ten students and two faculty members from St Etienne School of Architecture, Paris, paid a visit to the town to participate in a joint workshop with Chandigarh College of Architecture, which concluded on its premises in Sector 12, here today.

The programme was attended by students from Poland, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, France and Spain. The objective was to understand the basic character of Chandigarh and to generate suggestions to revamp the system making it a better place to live in.

“The intention of the programme was to familiarise the students with problems connected with designing public domain in Indian context, to make them aware of Indian climate and its role in building environment, to enhance aesthetic impact and planning issues,” said Rajnish Wattas, principal, Chandigarh Architectural College.

Catherine Maumi and Claude Tantel, architect teachers from St Etienne School of Architecture, were responsible for organising the workshop from the French side and Rajnish Wattas represented the Chandigarh side. During the ten-day workshop, Isanbelle Nornmand, director Allaince Francaise, and S.D. Sharma, eminent architect, threw light on use of pedestrian piazzas in Sector 17 in the Indian context and future needs, K.D.S. Mankotia discussed designing problem, Jeet Kumar Gupta, town planner, on planning principles, services and allied issues in the context of city plans, technical sessions were discussed by Rommel Mehta, head, department of landscape design, S.L. Kaushal, ex chief architect.

The group also visited various sites of the city and underwent studio working, presentations and exhibition of designing works. Similar programme has been scheduled for city students to study and evaluate the designing and planning structure of Paris in November. “Atleast 10 students and two faculty members would be invited to undergo similar kind of programme at Fermini City in Paris in November,” told Claude Tantel.

Claude viewed that the cultural heritage of the city should at any cost be kept intact while redesigning the structure and planning of the city because it is important to maintain the character of the city. “We should focus on saving energy, preserve heritage status and at the same time modernise the setup of the city,” said Claude.

Paul and Sarah find the city set up quite interesting but recommend revamping the traffic system especially at the roundabouts. “Since at most of the roundabouts, the vehicles are free to move from all directions, this creates chaos.

The traffic flow should be there from one direction only. Otherwise, the roundabouts are beautifully kept and denote the character of the city,” they said.

Since this programme being the exchange of culture, customs and habits, Gergely, Pilar, Eve, Nancy, Marta and Joana, were thrilled to enjoy Punjabi music and spicy food cooked in Punjabi style especially chicken curry and paneer tikka. “The hospitality of the people of Chandigarh is true to its ‘Open Hand’ symbol. The city people are open-minded and open-hearted people,” expressed Stephanie and Ania.



Now, diploma in Urdu journalism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Language journalism is the buzzword for Panjab University. After postgraduate diploma in Hindi journalism and Punjabi journalism, there is a proposal to start a postgraduate diploma in Urdu journalism soon. The aim is to revive interest in the language as well as give an opportunity to those students who were not able to take up the course for the want of the choice of language.

According to Prof Shakeel M. Khan, chairperson, department of Urdu, the department will impart skills in Urdu writing and help students understand the nuances of journalism in Urdu language. The syllabus will be the same as it is in English and Hindi journalism. Initially, there would be 10 seats and the admission will be based on entrance test. Also, the department has proposed to start postgraduate diploma in palaeography, the study of analysing and reading handwriting and MA in comparative literature. According to sources, a chair in the name of “Allahmah Iqbal,” founder member of PU at Lahore is also proposed. Allahmah Iqbal was a scholar in Urdu, Persian and Philosophy. The other new courses include postgraduate diploma in central Asian and Islamic studies and diploma in Islamic theology in the subject of Persian and diploma in modern language comparative studies in the subject of Urdu.



State-of-the-art computer lab at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The department of political science, Panjab University, has developed a computer lab after it received a grant from the UGC under Special Assistance Programme (SAP). Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, inaugurated the lab, which has got more than a dozen state-of-the-art computers likely to have internet connectivity.

Dr Ronki Ram, chairman of the department, welcomed the guests and spoke about the activities and future academic agenda of the department. Prof B.S. Brar, coordinator of the SAP, was also present on the occasion. Prof Sobti expressed the satisfaction over various academic programmes undertaken by the department in the recent years and underlined the critical need for the faculty and the students to take Panjab University to great heights in its diamond jubilee year. The department is in the process of renovating its seminar hall and also library halls under the UGC-ASIHSS grants.



Consumer Courts
Inform customers before changing tariff plan, engg dept told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the UT engineering department to inform consumers before changing the tariff plan from residential to commercial.

Coming down heavily on the department, the forum stated: “The engineering department is not adopting legal procedure and there are thousands of consumers who may have been similarly charged. We, therefore, direct the department to stop this illegal practice. The department is asked to first serve legal notice before changing the tariff plan from residential to commercial.”

Petitioner Swaran Singh, a resident of Sector 21, had alleged that he was being billed for water on commercial basis instead of domestic. He made a representation and filed an affidavit to bring this fact to the notice of the department.

In a written statement, the department argued that the petitioner had been carrying out renovation work at his residence, so commercial tariff was imposed for the water connection.

The forum said: “The department is directed to overhaul the account of the complainant and withdraw the commercial tariff from the date it was imposed.”

Insurance firm penalised

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed New India Assurance Co. Ltd. to pay Rs 50,000 in compensation along with a claim of Rs 1,04,586 to a Panchkula resident for repudiating claim.

The petitioner, Surinder Kumar Goyal, had got his truck insured from the insurance firm in May, 2006.

The truck met with an accident, for which the insurance firm declined to give the claim.

The claim was rejected on the ground that the person driving the truck at the time of the accident didn’t have a valid driver’s licence.

The insurance firm stated that the person driving the vehicle had a driver’s licence for motor vehicle and LTV vehicles.

The forum said: “By withholding the claim, the insurance firm has harassed the petitioner and are directed to pay the compensation.”



Co-accused gets bail in assault case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg today granted bail to Vikas Kumar, allegedly involved in a case of assault on a policeman.

According to the prosecution, head constable Satnam Singh was on duty at Aroma traffic lights when he pulled over the car of accused Gaurav Kumar and co-accused Vikas Kumar.

Thereafter, he asked Gaurav Kumar to show his licence. As the traffic lights turned green, the accused drove away the car, injuring the policeman.

The court granted bail on the ground that the petitioner, Vikas, was not driving the car.



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