C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI Strike
Holiday aggravates patients’ misery
Day 4 No arrangements at OPDs, labs remain shut
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The PGI authorities preferred to observe holiday today in spite of huge backlog at various laboratories owing to the ongoing strike by medical technologists here.

No arrangements were made to restore healthcare services for patients visiting OPDs, which have been severely hit during the past three days.

Many patients had to return home without getting their tests carried out as the laboratories were closed and no additional arrangements were made for outdoor patients.

Shalini Kaushal, who had come from Saharnpur for treatment, said: “After diagnosis, the doctor had asked me to get a blood test done but the counters were closed. It is not only causing me undue harassment but also burning a hole in my pocket. PGI authorities should understand the plight of patients.”

“Emergency services like taking samples of blood, urine and X ray have been hit, but the authorities seem to care less,” said Madhuri, an attendant of a patient from Ludhiana.

Another patient who was asked to get a chest X ray done had to return home without undergoing the test owing to a holiday.

Aman Sharma from Muktsar said the administration had shown callous attitude towards the plight of patients, as the former had failed to provide essential services during the strike period.

Over 200 technologists are on strike and those who had been deputed in their place were absent from duty today. All counters and laboratories also remained closed.

When contacted, PGI deputy director (administration) A.K. Gupta admitted that patients had been put through inconvenience.

“We have not made any arrangements today as this is a notified holiday. Laboratories and X ray rooms are supposed to be closed on notified holidays.”

However, Gupta acknowledged that some arrangements should have been made as the strike had hit working on normal days.



Authorities’ stand

The PGI authorities claim to have sorted out most of the demands of the Medical Technologists Association (MTA) during the past four years.

In a press release, the authorities said the insurance scheme for PGI employees had been aligned to make it on a par with the Central Government Employees Group Insurance Scheme, 1980, as demanded by the employees.

The demand regarding counting of past service of seven research employees of DBT/ICMR projects was also acceded to by the authorities, said the PGI administration.

Also, the administration ensured that medical facilities were streamlined and experience required for sponsorship for MSc (medical technology) course was reduced from five to three years, as demanded by the MTA.

For participation of employees in the PGI affairs, representation of the association was included in the house allotment committee as well as welfare canteen. Other steps had been taken to meet the expectations of employees, said authorities. These include forwarding of paramedical and Physiotherapist Council Bills, 2004 to Government of India, and conducting ACPs and DPCs on time to ensure timely benefits to the employees.

The administration recruited 24 junior laboratory technicians in 2006 and promoted 12 technical staff in 2007 and ACP to 28 technical staff. However, the constitution of permanent negotiation machinery at the PGI was rejected by the association, it added. Even interests of retired employees were looked into as re-fixation of pension of medical technologists retired between April 1982 and May 1999 were revised after taking into consideration the notional pay revisions as per the Government of India instructions. Orders were issued on November 30, 2006 and payments were made to eligible employees in October 2007, claimed the authorities.

While process for filling vacant sanctioned posts of tutor and lecturer of technical cadres along with the teaching staff of Institute of Paramedical Sciences has been started, the National Institute of Paramedical Sciences had been set up to provide them with opportunities for career advancement.

Most of the demands of the employees were referred to the government for consideration, said the administration.

These include grant of hospital patient care allowance to group A and B paramedical staff, even though patient care allowance was permissible only to group C and D non-ministerial staff under the government policy. Nowhere in the country was the PCA being paid to group A and B employees, it added.

On persistent demand of the association, the matter was referred to the Government of India/ministry of health for consideration, said the release. On the grant of arrears from January 1, 1996 to December 12, 2002 to junior lab technicians under part B notification of 5th Central Pay Commission, authorities maintained that the department of expenditure did not agree to the grant of arrears. However, the matter was again taken up with the ministry of finance.



Nayagaon NAC
Delimitation of wards completed
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
The delimitation of wards for the first-ever elections to Nayagaon Notified Area Committee (NAC) here have been done.
Reserved Wards 
Number /Category
1, 14 &15/ Scheduled Castes
5 /Backward Castes
4, 7, 10 & 13 /Women

The NAC that includes Kansal, Karoran and Nadah villages has been divided into 15 wards.

The NAC was constituted in the end of 2006 following which it was being run by an executive officer.

Elections to the municipal body from these wards are expected to take place this year.

In a notification issued by the Punjab government recently, three wards have been reserved for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, while another ward has been reserved for candidates belonging to Backward Castes. As many as four wards have been reserved for women candidates.

The department of local government has not empowered the executive officer of the Nayagaon NAC to consider and pass building plans or undertake development works in the area.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has exempted the area from provisions of the Punjab Capital Periphery Control Act but in the absence of a master plan of the area, the NAC cannot be made functional.

A part regional plan was prepared for the area but was withdrawn by the government.

The NAC is also yet to adopt the municipal building bylaws for the area. With the area falling right behind Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex, the department of local government would have to coordinate with the Chandigarh administration before taking a decision regarding the floor area ratio and height restriction of buildings in the area.

Sources added that the Chandigarh administration would have to also allow alignment of the road, water and sewerage system of the Nayagaon NAC with Chandigarh since Kansal and Karoran villages bordered Chandigarh at many places.



DGP suspends Mullanpur Garibdass SHO
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
Punjab director general of police N.P.S. Aulakh has ordered the suspension of SHO Kashmira Singh posted at Mullanpur Garibdass. The SHO has been suspended for dereliction of duty, said the DGP. Departmental action would also be taken against him for not acting on a complaint, he added.

Balwinder Singh, a resident of the area, had complained to SSP SAS Nagar R.S. Khatra alleging that a part of his land had been grabbed by certain persons and his relative had been kidnapped. “The complaint was given in the first week of March but no action had been taken on it either by the SSP or the SHO,” said Aulakh. An explanation has also been sought from Khatra on why no action was taken in the case.

The orders suspending the SHO were faxed to the SSP office last evening. The SHO was told to report to PAP, Jalandhar. However, the orders were revised this afternoon when the SSP received another fax that the suspended SHO has to be sent to the border range.

The Chandigarh administration has constituted a grievances committee for monitoring grievances of serving soldiers, ex-servicemen and their dependents. The DC will be the chairman and the zila sainik welfare officer will be the secretary of the committee.

Members of the committee include the SSP, additional commissioner of the MC, the ADC, assistant estate officer, joint secretary (home), representative from the station headquarters Chandimandir, DPI (colleges and schools), secretary, Chandigarh Housing Board, and XEN (headquarters) from the engineering department.

Complaints/grievances will be routed through the zila sainik welfare office.

The complaints will be registered and a distinct registration number would be given to each applicant he appeared before DIG Patiala range Paramjit Singh Gill, who wrote on March 13 to the SSP to get his grievance redressed. The DIG again wrote to the SSP on March 31 to take action on the complaint.

“However still when no action was taken, the DIG wrote yet another letter to the SSP sending a copy to me for information some days ago, following which I have suspended the SHO,” said Aulakh. When contacted, SSP Khatra said he had received the order from the DGP. “The SHO has not been suspended as yet. Certain references have been made in the DGP’s order and the files pertaining to the references have been called for,” he said.

Sources, however, added that the reasons given for the suspension of the SHO were not correct as requisite action on Balwinder’s complaint had already been taken. The SHO has booked both parties involved in the case and an independent inquiry by a gazetted officer was conducted on the complaint. The report of the inquiry had also been submitted to the SSP. Court orders in the case had also been complied with, asserted sources.

Sources alleged that the DGP had acted against the SHO for personal reasons as the SHO Mullapnur was in charge of the area where the DGP’s son had bought land. The matter had been highlighted recently following allegations levelled by the trustees of the Ratwara Sahib Gurdwara.

Denying any personal motive in the SHO’s suspension, the DGP said, “The complaint relates to an incident that took place a month ago. It is not a fresh complaint filed to help me suspend the SHO. It would be impossible for me to function if I were to keep thinking that every action of mine could be read as having a personal motive to it,” he said.



Zinta talks ‘Punjabiyat’
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
No Bollywood stars. No hi-fi Western performers. Just pure ‘Punjabiyat’ will reign the inaugural ceremony of the Kings XI Punjab match tomorrow, says Preity Zinta, co0promoter of the local team.

The actress, who seems to be awestruck with the love and support being shown by people of Punjab to her during her stay here, said: “During my sojourn here, I have realised that there is no substitute to ‘Punjabiyat’ no matter where we go. As Punjabi dance, songs and its people have dominated every walk of life across the globe, I decided to depict the true Punjabi flavour in the tomorrow’s opening ceremony.”

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune at the stadium here today, the Himachal girl said: “Punjabi songs and ‘dhol’ beats will not only enthrall spectators but also make them shake their legs during the ceremony.”

Expressing both nervousness and excitement for tomorrow’s match with Chennai Super Kings, the glamour girl said: “These days I have been eating, breathing and talking cricket. I have had some sleepless nights lately. Yes, I am nervous for tomorrow’s match,” said Zinta.

On whether she was worried about the future of the league, like Shah Rukh Khan, Preity was of the view that no new work was easy.

“I had never thought that one day I would be part of the game. But life is like that. I am working hard and hopeful of getting positive results,” said Preity, thanking the Punjab government, PCA authorities and people of the state for extending her support.

The inaugural match between the local favourites Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings will start at 5 pm under floodlights at Punjab Cricket Stadium.

“We will open the gates for public at 2 pm. I appeal people to come in time so that they do not miss the opening programme,” the star urged.



Admn to go tough on encroachers
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
With elections scheduled for next year, the Chandigarh administration is taking upon itself the ‘tough’ task of checking encroachments in the city.

Though conviction of the administration to act tough is yet to be seen, the junior engineers and the section officers have now been assigned the responsibility to check encroachments on government land under their respective jurisdictions. Apart from keeping a constant vigil on encroachers, the officials have been asked to seek police help for immediate removal of such structures, temporary and permanent.

The issue of rising encroachments was seriously reviewed at a recent meeting called by the UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar. At the level of the district magistrate a task force under the respective sub-divisional magistrates is already in place.

Apart from junior engineers, departments like the Chandigarh municipal corporation, Chandigarh Housing Board and the estate office have also been made accountable for protecting the land under their possession. To limit the boundary of existing labour colonies, the department concerned has been asked to put up pillars. Any encroachment beyond the demarcated land would have to be removed within 48 hours of being noticed. “We have registered a number of FIRs against the encroachers in labour colonies”, claimed a senior official.

The administration has also noticed that not only private persons were resorting to encroachments, evens some government undertakings and public sector enterprises, while laying lines for various services, resort to temporary encroachments on government land.

Major encroachments awaiting the administration’s axe include commercial and residential structures in Ram Darbar, Maloya and Mauli Jagran, godowns in Daria village, encroachments in Colony number 4 and 5, residential and commercial structures in Buterla village and fresh constructions in Kajehri village.

Meanwhile, in another issue, the administration has decided not to carry out any fresh biometric survey to identify the number of residents in labour colonies. Admitting that some unidentified persons might have been brought in their relatives or others from their parent state to get them included in the next biometric survey, an official said no fresh survey would be carried out. The issue of the administration awarding the jhuggi dwellers by giving them dwelling units has already attracted the ire of the original inhabitants of the city.



8 hurt as tanker falls in ditch
Tribune News Service

Panhckula, April 18
Eight people, including a woman, had a narrow escape when the tanker they were travelling in, overturned and fell into a ditch near Nada Sahib here today. The tanker was carrying diesel. However, the police personnel present on the spot acted swiftly and took out all the occupants and shifted them to the Panchkula civil hospital.

The doctors at the hospital said all the eight people had suffered injuries. Three were discharged after being administered first aid while others with head injuries were kept under observation. The injured were identified as Kishan, Amir Khan, Amit, Sonia, Kahsmiri Khan, Avtar Singh, tanker driver Harminder and cleaner Mohan.

According to Harminder, he lost the control over the vehicle when he tried to escape a head-on collision with a bus coming from Panchkula side at a sharp curve on the road. “As soon as I applied brakes to avoid collision, the tanker skidded into a 10-feet deep ditch on the roadside,” said Harmider after he was discharged from the hospital.

The police personnel stationed at the spot rescued the passengers and immediately called cranes to lift the vehicle out of the ditch to avoid any mishap as the fuel filled in the tanker had started spilling onto the ground.

Avtar Singh, an injured, who was also discharged along with the driver and cleaner, said the tanker was coming from Jagadhari and there were six passengers in it whom the driver had picked up on the way.



Councillor’s kidnapping
Police raids parts of Punjab, Haryana
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
In order to trace the whereabouts of the missing India National Lok Dal councillor Gautam Prasad, police personnel from a special investigating team conducted raids on different parts of Haryana and Punjab.

Though the officials were hopeful of success before the next date of hearing in the case, the raiding teams were not able to get any clue till late night.

The state of Haryana had announced the constitution of a special investigating team (SIT) after Prasad’s wife Kunti Devi filed a habeas corpus petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday.

Prasad, elected on INLD ticket from ward number 27 in the elections to the local civic body held on March 30, went missing on April 9.

The family had alleged that he was picked up forcibly by Congress municipal councillor Naresh Rawal and president of the Local Depot Holders’ Association Om Parkash Gupta. A case against the accused had already been registered at the Sector 5 police station.

The court fixed April 21 as the next date of hearing the matter and directed the state to file a status report on the action taken by the SIT in the matter.

Acting on the directions of the court, the teams of the district police raided some places in Muktsar district in Punjab and Kurukshetra district in Haryana. Sources in the police said calls made by Prasad after April 9 were found to have originated from these areas.

Though the teams were still on the look out, Panchkula DSP Abhay singh, who is heading the SIT, accompanied by chief investigation officer in the case Mukesh Malhotra, SHO, Sector 5 police station, and inspector Kulbhushan, CIA in charge, Panchkula, tried to find out clues about the conversation that took place between Prasad and his family after April 9.



Autos flouting parking norms 
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The traffic police here seems to be oblivious of illegally parked autos on various roads, which are becoming a major nuisance for city residents.

Scores of auto-rickshaws wait for customers right in front of the ISBT-17, but are rarely challaned. Drivers of auto-rickshaws have made their own route permits for plying anywhere within the municipal limits. Albeit the traffic police have installed boards displaying that illegally parked vehicles would be towed away all around the city, auto-rickshaw drivers are flouting the rules with impunity.

In addition, auto-rickshaw drivers abruptly stop anywhere on the road to pick or drop passengers, which leads to traffic chaos and accidents. Many auto-rickshaws do not even have proper indicators. The chaos is accentuated when passengers do not have any change to pay the fares, as it leads to wastage of time and subsequent jams. Most of the autos do not have a pollution check certificate also.



Rising vehicle thefts cause for concern 
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
If data related to vehicle thefts is to be believed, police here have miserably failed to check the growing menace of thefts. Compared to last year, the figures have almost doubled this year.

A senior police official said although the police have taken many steps to check rising number of thefts, they have been unable to plug the root cause of the menace.

During the last three months, 248 cases of vehicle theft have been lodged whereas only 136 cases were registered last year during the corresponding period. On an average three vehicles are stolen everyday day from different parts of the city!

Not only are vehicles being stolen, gangs of petty thieves are stealing car stereos, batteries and other accessories. A substantial number of such incidents go unreported, with the police dragging its feet to register cases. Meanwhile, those indulging in incidents of thefts are not believed to be members of organised gangs, but drug addicts and unemployed youths from slums.



Book on master-disciple relation released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The book release function of “One Master One Disciple” by Jyotii Subramanian at Browser today turned out to be a meditation session for the audience.

The book is an autobiography in which Jyotii shares her spiritual experiences. She reveals that it is a journey of her soul which experiences complete transformation after meeting her Guru Yogiraj Siddhanath.

She adds that through this book, she has tried to highlight the sacred relation between guru and shishya, which has nowadays lost its grace.

While talking to The Tribune, she said, “The book is not just a wrap up of fine words depicting her spiritual experiences, rather it focuses on how a person can gain internal relaxation if he involves both his soul and body.” She added that a person who was not in a habit of doing meditation would not experience this bliss. 



Counselling key to settling dowry cases
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Dowry cases have doubled in the past seven years and change in lifestyle is said to be one of the major factors behind growing incidents of dowry disputes and domestic violence.

Counsellors at the women cell believe that soaps on television are affecting the mind of younger generation and brewing marital discontent. On an average, the cell receives 30 complaints every day.

According to information, the complaints received by the women cell regarding dowry harassment and torture by in-laws has doubled during the past seven years.

In 2001, 569 complaints were registered with the cell and the number increased to 1,280 in 2007.

Also, the number of cases being registered against in-laws has increased from 36 in 2001 to 117 in 2007.

During the past three months, 246 complaints have already been received, where as seven cases of dowry complaints have been registered.

The Women and Child Support Unit in Sector 17 tries and settle disputes between families through counselling programme.

In all, 19 counsellors in corporation with the family welfare unit provide guidance and counselling to affected families. Around 60 per cent dispute cases are settled through the women cell.

While, 200 cases were settled during 2001, over 500 cases were settled in 2007, wherein both parties ended in a mutual ompromise.

During the past three months, around 90 cases have already been resolved through this unit.

Anish, a member of an affected family, who had approached the women cell, said: “During counselling sessions, I was made to realise that forgiving and forgetting play a vital role in life,”.

However, in some cases disputes between members persist in spite of counselling sessions.



No cold water facility at railway station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Chandigarh railway station, which boasts of providing the best of amenities to passengers, is bereft of a basic amenity like cold drinking water.

A number of visitors to the railway station complain that though summers had already set in, the railway authorities had not bothered to provide cold drinking water. At one of the spot, the tap had not been fixed. An official said a recent experiment of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation to provide potable water at nominal cost had not found much favour.

Besides, the facility to issue platform ticket was also not located at a proper place. “Normally there is a huge rush of ticket seekers, therefore the windows for issuing platform ticket is not accessible”, said a harried passenger.



Street play on female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Punjab Performers Association has taken upon itself the task of sensitising the rural folk to the issue of female foeticide. Members of the association, under the guidance of script writer and director Raman Mittal, are visiting various villages of Chandigarh and adjoining areas of Punjab these days to present street plays on the issue.

Talking to The Tribune, the director said the play depicted the helplessness of a pregnant woman, Kiran, who does not want to get a sex determination test done. Kiran is forced by her husband to get the test done, but she decides to give birth to the child. Dr Amandeep Bhogal, Jasbir Kumar, Rajesh Kumar and Amandeep Singh played the key roles in the play. 



Giant laddoo marks Hanuman Jayanti
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 18
Members of the Sri Vaisno Sewa Mandal celebrated Hanuman Jayanti with traditional fervour at Vaishno Devi Mandir in Phase 3A here today.

The temple has been holding celebrations each year for the past 12 years. The main attraction of the festivities was the giant laddoo weighing 3.5 quintal. Last year, the laddoo was bigger in size and weighed 5.5 quintal. 



Speaking Out
‘Patients at receiving end’

Patients and their attendants had to return home without getting their tests done as all counters were closed at the PGI on account of holiday today. Anuja Jaiswal talked to some of them to gauge their discontent over the attitude of the agitating technologists as it has resulted in paralysis of vital services. They have asked them to call off the strike immediately.

Technologists’ profession is vital in healthcare system and the strike has directly impacted patients visiting the hospital due to absence of essential services. They must resolve the matter through dialogue with authorities. 



— Kamal Kishore, Nangal

Patient-care has been badly affected at the PGI, as technologists have refused to do their job. Patients are suffering as the staff’s replacement is unfamiliar with the job. This is unfair on patients and the strike should be called off. Patients need better treatment. 


— Vivek, Chandigarh

All issues can be resolved amicably, without resorting to strikes. If issues remain unresolved, there is always a legal recourse. Strike results in serious problem for patients as also loss of man hour. Strike is not the solution of any problem. 



— Ranju, Chandigarh

The protesters must understand that their nature of job demands higher responsibility. They should not forget that their primary duty is to help those who are suffering. Higher pay automatically comes as a reward for saving the lives of patients. 



— Madhuri , Ludhiana

Protests should be carried out in a manner that it causes least inconvenience to patients. Wearing black band on hands or head is perhaps the right way of showing one’s dissent to the authorities and the government. 



— Charu Satija, Chandigarh



Traffic woes

The Charm of City beautiful is gradually declining and traffic chaos is now assuming alarming proportions. This menace needs to be tackled on a war footing by not only the administration but also by masses using road space.

Certain effective administrative actions like imposing flying squads and random checks need to be carried out. Also generating public participation by advertisements needs to be done.

Using mobile phones while driving, driving with loud music, drunken driving and driving with high beam at night should invite heavy penalties and non-bail able arrest. There is also a need to demolish roundabouts and have traffic lights installed with a traffic check post manned by police at congested junctions.

Lt Col Harminder Pal Singh (SM), Chandimandir

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Now, deposit school fee at e-sampark centres
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The fee and funds for all government school students would be transacted through e-sampark centers across the city.

The Last date for acceptance for depositing the fee and funds, preferably cash, would be the 10th of every month at any of the e-sampark centers of the city as per their working hours. However, the students have been recommended to deposit their fee and funds by the 9th and 19th, respectively, of each month.

Earlier, the class teachers used to collect the fee from the students and deposit it with the accountant, who further used to deposit it with the treasury.

If, in case, the two specified days happen to be a holiday then the next working day would be the last date of acceptance. After last date, the fee and funds would be accepted along with a fine of Rs 1 per day. No fee is charged till class VIII at any government school. This significant move would be applicable to around 40,000 students studying in Class IX onwards. The required software is being installed initially at 21 senior secondary schools of the city.

The education officials clarified that if a child fails to deposit his/her fee within the stipulated time, his/her name would be struck off and he/she would have to seek re-admission. To categorise the students, every school would issue an identity card to each of its student with a unique code embossed on it.

Confirming this significant move, the DPI (S) S.K. Setia said, “Since digitisation of student record is under process, the transaction of those schools would be shifted to sampark centers immediately whose data has been compiled with in charge of sampark centers. Rest of the schools have been directed to compile the students’ data within seven days.

Setia also clarified that if a student deposits his dues through cheque and it gets dishonoured then the concerned school would be liable to realise the funds.

Since, the sampark Centres would carry out the remittance of fee and funds to treasury with the help of Axis Bank, each school would open their current account with the bank.

The Chandigarh education department has entered into an agreement with the department of information technology, for the purpose. All transaction cost would be borne by the IT department. The education department would provide necessary hardware for data assessing to all schools by April 25.



Self-financing courses to cost more at PU
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Panjab University’s current financial crunch is reflecting on the newly announced self-financing diploma courses. The fee structure of the new courses is on the higher side and is raising many eyebrows. While the ongoing degree courses are affordable, the students seeking admissions in the new courses are feeling the pinch. It seems the university is giving way to private intuitions and in the name of self-financing courses, they are out to earn big bucks, students feel.

For instance, the department of journalism and mass communication is starting with diploma in Punjabi and Hindi journalism from the ensuing academic session and the fee structure has been fixed to Rs 20,000 and surprisingly, the fee for two-year degree in journalism and mass communication is almost half of the diploma. It is pertinent to mention here that the board of finance in its meeting, held recently, had approved a seed money of Rs 5 lakh to start the language diploma courses in the diploma and another diploma in Urdu journalism is also on the anvil.

“On one hand the university wants to encourage students to take interest in languages and on the other hand the soaring fee structure is proving to be a deterrent for those students who want to learn,” said an agitated parent. “How can there be so much disparity between fee structures in the courses running under one department,” questions Pooja, an aspiring student.

But the experts in Panjab University have their own perspective about the issue. Mohanmeet Khosla, chairperson of the department, said, “The university has to evolve in response to the needs of the industry and the market. If for that, the university doesn’t have funds it has to workout strategies for he benefits of the student community and self-financing courses are those courses, which are not funded by any outside agency like the UGC or others”.

Similarly, there are other departments as well, which are starting with new self-financing courses this session, including Centre for Emerging Areas in Social Sciences, which is starting with a course in Police administration, human right besides others.

“All the courses running in the university, including self-financing courses have provision of fee concession for socially disadvantaged or needy students,” said Prof B.S. Ghuman, dean faculty of arts and head of he department, public administration.



Central Varsity Status
More teachers, students join chain fast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
More teachers, students, employees and general public has started rallying for the demand for Central university status to Panjab University. This is happening as the message percolates down to the public about the discriminatory attitude of the politicians in power, who are busy in head counting for the forthcoming elections, disclosed Prof Manjit Singh, coordinator, Joint Action Committee (JAC).

Panjab University Teachers’ Association started demanding central university status for PU almost two years back and students and technical staff too has joined this year. “How come one of the four oldest universities of India, the Panjab University, has been left out while the entire country has been gifted with 30 Cntral universities and many more Cntrally funded science institutes and IITs, asked Prof Singh.

Even the universities with the total faculty strength of not more than couple of scores have been given Central university status whereas PU has become a victim to the feudalistic egos of the political bosses. It was a reaction to such apathetic attitude of the ruling elites that today almost the entire faculty of 35 teachers of the department of evening studies sat till midday along with the batch of six fasting teachers and students.

Teachers who sat on the chain fast were Dr Mohd Khalid, Dr N.K. Sehgal and Dr Chander Mohan, all from the department of evening studies, Dr Ashu Pasricha, department of Gandhian studies and Dr Manmohan Chauhan, department of German and Anil Arora, a student from the department of Gandhian studies.

A consensus is building up that in case governments refuse to relent on the demand for 100 per cent funding of the university by the Central government only to safeguard narrow political interest, the entire community of PU shall continue to struggle till the most legitimate demand of Central university status is accepted, said Prof A.S. Ahluwalia, chairman, JAC. Revealing the strategy of prolonged battle, Prof Ahluwalia said, the university has more than 50 departments and if the faculty and students of each department sit on fast for a day, we can give a fight for next 50 days as a part of first round and which can be repeated all over again.

Meanwhile Preet, president, PU Laboratory Technical Staff Association has communicated that a batch of two persons from technical staff shall sit on chain fast every day along with the other fasting teachers and students. Sunny Bharadwaj, co-coordinator of the JAC, has announced that once the examinations of the students are over, students will also plunge into the struggle for saving PU from the ongoing financial crisis. 



Road Show
750 students take part
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
More than 750 students participated in The Canadian Universities and Colleges Road Show-2008 held here today. The road show brought together the institutes from Canada.

Around 14 universities and colleges participated in this event offering courses with fee varying from Canadian $11,000 to $15,000, annually. The courses on offer were diplomas, degrees and postgraduate programs in fields like art and design, biotechnology, engineering, health and science, hospitality, IT and nursing.

The interviews for students were conducted at the venue and on-the-spot admission offers were made. Apart from the admissions selection criteria and subsequent visa process were also explained.



Judicial officer seeks reason behind case transfer
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Transfer of cases from one court to another on request of a judicial officer is a routine affair. But rarely does declining of such a request lead the judicial officer to ask for the reason behind it.

There are two cases involving Aman Mago and Sanjay Bhardwaj in two different courts in the district courts, Sector 17. The trial of one case is in progress in the court of additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) R.S. Attri, while the other is in the court of additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ), Ravi Kumar Sondhi.

One of the accused feared conviction and requested ADSJ Ravi Kumar Sondhi to transfer his case to another court. Thereafter, the judge requested the sessions judge K.K. Garg to transfer the said case to another court, but it was declined.

Following this the ADSJ R.S. Attri requested the sessions judge to transfer the case involving the two parties to some other court that was allowed. The case of Aman Mago and Sanjay Bhardwaj was then transferred to the court of ADSJ Ravi Kumar Sondhi. Interestingly, Sondhi then requested the sessions judge to explain the reason for declining his appeal of transferring the said case from his court. Giving the reason, sessions judge, K.K. Garg stated, “As per the reference made by Ravi Kumar Sondhi, the present case was transferred to his court from the court of R.S. Attri. Whereas in another case between the same parties the reference made by him was declined in view of Section 409 of CrPC and in circumstances the file was sent for further appropriate orders.”

Elaborating on it the judge mentioned: “Attri said due to personal reasons he didn’t want to pursue the case. From the perusal of reference it was not clear what appropriate orders additional sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi had sought from this court. The additional sessions judge was required to advice the party to approach the proper court and not make reference in this way.”



Insurance firm asked to pay Rs 50,000 compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed the New India Assurance Co Ltd to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to a resident of Mohali, here today.

Aggrieved by orders pronounced by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, that asked the insurance firm to release the claim for an operation under a policy, the firm had appealed before the Commission.

Ravinder Pal Singh had purchased a ‘Good Health Policy’ through Citibank group in June 2003 from the insurance firm. The policy was reviewed in June 2004 for a year. Thereafter, Ravinder developed pain in the knees and was advised total knee replacement. He got the operation done from Fortis Hospital at cost of Rs 3.35 lakh. However, when Ravinder applied for the claim it was repudiated.

The insurance firm argued Ravinder was issued insurance on June 1, 2003 and the surgery was done on September 28, 2005, before completion of three years mandatory waiting period.

The Commission headed by Justice S.N. Gupta stated: “Ravinder had to delay the surgery which was advised to him by the Fortis Hospital on September 6, 2005. He has suffered the pain and inconvenience for all these years as he was made to postpone the surgery.”

The Commission held that if Ravinder was continuing with the policy, he would be entitled to the expenses of surgery.



Firm asked to surrender Rs 55,155
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited, Sector 9, to pay Rs 5,000 compensation to a resident to Panchkula. The commission also asked the insurance firm to surrender a sum of Rs 55,155.

The complainant Sudhir Kumar Garg had bought an insurance policy for Rs 2,19,000 after paying annual premium of Rs 10,037 for 20 years. As per the policy the insurance firm was supposed to surrender Rs 56,360. But although he wrote about it to the insurance ombudsman, his claim was rejected.

However, officials of the firm said the insurance ombudsman is a quasi-judicial body who had dismissed his complaint through a speaking order.

But the commission stated that the insurance firm ombudsman doesn’t act as an arbitrator. It was further held that there was no evidence to substantiate that Garg was informed about the terms and internal guidelines of the firm.



Rs 25,000 penalty slapped on bank
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The district consumer disputes redressal forum directed the State Bank of India to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation for deficiency in services to a petitioner, here yesterday.

Ashok Kumar had availed a loan of Rs 5 lakh under the SBI Life Home Insurance scheme. He along with his wife had also filled up an application wherein in case of death of the borrower, his legal heirs are absolved of the balance liability towards the bank. Sadly, Ashok Kumar died during the pendency of the loan and the claim was refused by the bank, against which his wife had approached the consumer forum.

The petitioner claimed that the said scheme was not considered by the bank.

On the other hand, bank officials denied that they had received any application.

Further, in order to become a member of the Group Insurance Scheme for housing loan the person concerned has to give their consent-cum-authority letter, which was not submitted by the petitioner or her husband.

Meanwhile, the forum headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal stated: “We are of the opinion that the said application forms were filled up by the petitioner and her husband and were handed over, but the bank did not perform the service which was expected of it. By retaining the papers the bank has caused a huge loss to the petitioner. The total loan amount remaining to the credit of Ashok Kumar could have been liquidated and the surplus amount, if any, paid to the nominee.”



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