C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Seats in city colleges up by 3,000
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Panjab University has increased the total number of seats by 3,000 in Chandigarh and about 10,000 in Punjab through its affiliated colleges. The university authorities have decided to increase 10 seats per unit in BBA, BCA and B.Com, the total not exceeding 25 seats, and 10 seats in each course in its affiliated colleges of arts, science and commerce for 2008-09.

The decision was taken at a meeting of college principals called by the vice-chancellor today. According to sources, there are around 98 arts, science and commerce colleges affiliated to the PU.

Last year also, 10 seats each were increased in a similar manner in all colleges after a demand for additional seats.

Prof R.C. Sobti, VC, said: “We are only following what knowledge commission reports have suggested. It was said higher education should be made accessible to as many students as possible.”

Welcoming the move, B.C. Josan, principal of DAV College-10, said: “We will provide students with all facilities and infrastructure.”

Though the decision was cheered by students and academicians, insiders had another story to tell.

According to sources, every year colleges start new courses, most of which are self financing. The fee structure of these courses is decided according to the number of seats allotted to the course and the expenditure on infrastructure and faculty. As a result, the fee is usually on the higher side since the seats approved initially are not many. Later, the colleges demand additional seats, but do not lower the fee, thus making profit.

A section of academicians are not happy with the decision. First, the university decides to have a uniform fee structure in colleges to prevent overcharging and later the colleges are given additional seats to help make up for the loss.

Sources said some private colleges in the city would incur a loss of around Rs 2 crore each following the uniform fee structure decision.



Fee Regulation
VC warns erring colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Panjab University today cracked the whip on colleges found violating the decision of the syndicate on uniform fee structure.

The VC, Prof R C Sobti, held a meeting of principals of private colleges in the city and issued orders specifying that colleges could not force students to take up add-on courses. A college is allowed a minimum 20 and a maximum 40 seats in any add-on course.The VC warned that any college found violating the PU calendar would be taken to task.

The VC asked all colleges to strictly follow university directions on fee regulations and not deviate from the same.These orders were passed in the morning, yet the matter remained the subject of discussion on the campus throughout the day.

A group of senators favoured an emergency meeting of the senate to decide on punitive action against the erring colleges.

On the first day of college admissions yesterday, private colleges were found charging different fee for the same courses, despite syndicate decision to the contrary.

When contacted, the principal of DAV College, Sector 10, BC Josan, said:“ We will abide by the university instructions and not force students to take up add-on courses”. He said most admissions made yesterday were in BCom and “we did not exceed the prescribed number of seats.”



Can PU tackle cyber ragging?
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Clippings showing ragging in Delhi University have been posted at all major web portals on the Internet. These clippings show novel ways of ragging, which are extreme. As Panjab University opens its doors to fresh students in a fortnight or so, this threat of cyber ragging cannot be ignored. Though the university has decided to lodge FIRs against those found indulging in this practice as per the Supreme Court guidelines, it is yet to find ways to combat the new hi-tech threat.

The university has already formed a 24-member anti-ragging standing committee to deal with the problem. Those students found guilty this year will be expelled and can be sent to jail given the seriousness of ragging.

"Mobile phones with cameras and video-recording should be banned on the campus especially in the hostels", says a PU student leader.

When contacted, vice-chancellor, Prof R C Sobti, said, "Not everything can be got done by pressure or fear. Such sensitive issues can only be dealt with dialogue. I am sure nothing of the sort will happen in our university".

Nevertheless, raging in today's tech-savvy world needs special handling.



Cops don’t buy Samir’s kidnap story
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The mystery shrouding the disappearance of the Mukerian-based bank manager, Samir Gupta, failed to unravel even after his return.

Gupta, who returned to the city from Bulandshahr this evening, failed to give any satisfactory answer about his whereabouts for the past two days either to the police or the media on the plea that he was "tense and unfit" to speak.

DSP Jaswant Singh Khera said on the request of Gupta, he was being sent for a medical examination.

Sohan Lal, Gupta's close relative who brought him from Delhi, said Samir was too confused and not in a state to speak. He said he had picked him up from the Delhi bus stand last night.

Talking to The Tribune at a police station, Gupta did not clearly state if he was kidnapped. However, he maintained that he was taken away by a group of people to Bulandshahr. He said since he was administered some sedatives and intoxicants at Ambala, he did not remember anything. He kept insisting that his life was in danger and demanded police security.

In his statement to the police, he said two persons claiming to be CID officials met him when he got down in Sector 43 on Sunday. They asked him to accompany him to meet some senior officials in connection with a complaint regarding malpractices in the bank.

“They took me to a nearby car in which two other men were sitting. The car did not start due to some fault and we boarded a bus to Sector 17, from where we went to Ambala,” he told the police.

He said he was given some intoxicants and taken to Bulandshahr where he was confined in an old building.

He failed to give any satisfactory answers about his alleged kidnappers or how he managed to get away from them.

Officials said if the kidnapping was faked, action would be taken against him.



For his good, parents get son kidnapped
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 9
In a heart-rending incident, parents of a drug addict forced workers of a de-addiction centre to “kidnap” their son and take him to the centre for treatment.

The 20-year-old youth was forcibly picked up from Phase IX by a team of workers from a local de-addiction centre this afternoon. His parents had come from Mandi Gobindgarh to Mohali today to get their son admitted to the centre.

By the time they reached the centre, he realised what was happening and ran away. His parents then requested the workers to look for him. He was found outside a hotel in Phase IX, from where he was picked up and pushed into a car. He raised the alarm and people gathered in a bid to save him from what seemed to be a daylight kidnapping.

The centre workers, however, managed to speed away. The onlookers contacted the police, which intercepted the car. The police let them go in the evening when the parents of the youth said it had been done at their behest.



GMCH-32 just short of everything
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
A major shortage of essential medicines, cotton and gauze may hit patient-care services in Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, owing to laxity of the hospital’s finance department.

According to senior officials of the hospital, shortage of cotton, gauze, painkiller medicines and hepatitis B and C diagnostic kit has become routine in the hospital and threatens to cripple patient care if no remedial steps are taken.

The primary reason for the situation to reach this impasse is delayed payment of bills of suppliers and failure to revise the tender rates.

Sources alleged that the entire process of inviting tenders for medicines and medical supplies was faulty. This, they say, is evident from the fact that tenders for cotton and gauze have been advertised thrice in the past two years.

“The process of approval of the tenders takes a long time, sometimes even three to four months. With prices of medicines constantly fluctuating, the rates quoted in the tenders become irrelevant by the time the finance department approves them. As a result suppliers refuse to take the orders at old rates,” explained sources.

However, hospital authorities are not willing to comment on the situation on record. Director-principal Dr Raj Bahadur outrightly refused to comment. “Please contact additional director, administration, R S Verma, for any clarification”, he said. Verma, too, skirted the issue on the plea that he was a “non-medico person” and thus not competent to comment. However, medical superintendent Dr Ram Singh admitted that there was a shortage of cotton and gauze due to tendering problems. But he maintained that the hospital was “managing well” and there was no need for panic.

Nevertheless, the suppliers confirmed these shortcomings in the tender approval process and admitted that they were hesitant to supply medicines and other medical material at old rates. One supplier even admitted that he had totally stopped the supply owing to non-payment of his dues.

“It’s very difficult to supply any more the material on the same rate, which had been put four months back,” said a cotton supplier, adding that all his efforts for the revision of rates had failed.

Owner of Madco Pharma, Arun Bali, told The Tribune that he hadn’t received payment for the supplies made in March and about Rs 7 lakh were outstanding. Another supplier, Rakesh Sharma, of Rakesh Enterprise said he had stopped supplies to the hospital, as his dues had not been cleared. He said he was assured that his payment would be cleared in 21 days but even after two months his dues were outstanding. As a result, stocks of several medicines and essential material at the hospitals are fast depleting. There is already a shortage of cotton and gauze and medicines including paracetamol and beuscopam (a drug prescribed as a pain killer). Also, there is a shortfall of basic routine antibiotic medicines.


Allotment rules amended
No govt houses for P’kula, Mohali officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Chandigarh administration has decided not to allot government accommodation to officials posted in the adjoining districts of Punjab and Haryana. This rule applies to senior officials of the two states.

As of now, the decision would be applicable to future allotments.

UT home secretary Sanjay Kumar said this had been done to enable employees posted in Chandigarh to get accommodation.

By making an amendment to the Government Residences (Chandigarh Administration General Pool) Allotment Rules, 1996, a provision has been made to check employees who managed to get house in the city despite being posted with the district administration in Mohali or Panchkula.

The amendment would not be applicable to those posted at the state-level offices located in the city or in Mohali and Panchkula.

There is a shortage of houses in the general pool. Due to the allotment to employees posted in the neighbouring states, the waiting list of UT employees is increasing.

“The amendment has been made because when the allotment rules were made, the two districts had not come up. Now, it has become mandatory to change the provisions as government accommodation is becoming scarce,” an official said.

Ever since the two districts have come up, the strength of employees posted there has gone up, but a number of such employees are residing in the city.



Sampark centres to accept VAT, CST returns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Chandigarh administration has decided to receive VAT and CST returns (quarterly/monthly) at e-sampark centres in the city. This has been done to extend the service to assesses.

The decision will facilitate traders to file their returns at their nearest e-sampark centres.

All VAT/CST returns along with tax due will be presented in duplicate to sampark centres. To avoid inconvenience, all VAT returns along with annexures should be page-marked.

Similarly, CST returns and tax payment under the CST will need to be separate.

On receipt of VAT/CST return, the computer will generate a receipt. One copy of the receipt will be pasted on the duplicate copy of the VAT/CST return and returned to the dealer as a token of receipt of the return.

The last date for payment of tax to be made through cheque is July 20, while that for payment of tax in cash is July 30.

In case of tax in the form of cash, VAT/CST returns will be accepted only at e-sampark centre, Central Treasury, Sector 17, Chandigarh.

The department has also started helpline at following telephone numbers: 2703945, 2702998, 2703019 or 2703934.



Contractor locks in XEN, SDO
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
High drama was witnessed at the MC’s office in Sector 17 here this afternoon when a contractor reportedly locked Surinder Singh Kandhola, XEN, electricity, and SDO A.K. Dadwal, who was placed under suspension after being booked in a corruption case.

The contractor, Tarlochan Singh, had accused Dadwal and two other MC employees of corruption on May 30. He alleged that the accused were demanding Rs 30,000 from him to clear his bills.

The police took both parties to a police post in Sector 17, where a compromise was reached after about three hours.

Sources in the corporation said the drama started at around 3.30 pm when Dadwal came to the office of Kandhola and sought his permission to see some documents. Kandhola directed Hukam Chand, a clerk in the accounts branch, to show him the documents. At the same time, Tarlochan barged into the accounts branch and objected to it.

Dadwal asked him to keep off as he had taken permission but Tarlochan refused to relent.

“Tarlochan lost his cool and began abusing me. He also hurled a chair at me. I went to the XEN’s office to report the matter and Tarlochan locked us from outside. I informed the police about the matter,” Dadwal said.

Denying the allegations, Tarlochan said “on seeing me, he began to threaten me and said he had applied for a license for a pistol and would kill me. I had already taken up the issue with the police apprehending threat perception from the accused.”

The chief engineer, S.K. Bansal, refused to comment, saying that they were yet to get a written report about the matter.

Kandhola maintained that he had filed a report and sent to the higher authorities.

Sub-inspector Ramesh Chand said both parties had reached a compromise.



PU gets two patents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Based on the scientific innovations by Dr R.K. Kohli, senior professor and coordinator, Centre for Environment, Panjab University (PU), in collaboration with Dr Parikshit Bansal from NIPER and Dr Jatinder Arora of Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, PU, the patent office of the Government of India granted the team two separate patents.

The team developed technologies for converting wastes/polluting substances into useful products in a low-cost, rapid and eco-friendly manner and applied for patents in 2004 through the Technology and Information Forecasting Council (TIFAC) under the ministry of science and technology. Their efforts have resulted in solving major global environmental pollution problems caused by mammalian hair/ bird feathers and an obnoxious weed known as ‘Congress grass’.

Dr Kohli and Dr Bansal were motivated after reading an article in "Down to Earth" magazine (July 15, 2003). The article mentioned that over 3,000 families in Koppal district (Karnataka) engaged in hair-processing industry, faced threat to livelihood because their vocation was causing pollution. As a sequel, the government had ordered closure of the units.

Concerned with this global environmental problem, Dr Kohli and Dr Bansal took up the challenge of developing a low-cost, eco-friendly technology for the same using earthworms as bioreactors and ‘mini factories’. Success came after several months of efforts and experiments.

The technology developed not only solved the problem of pollution caused by hair, but also resulted in a beneficial byproduct-organic fertiliser. The fertiliser, which is produced within two months, is a potent odourless, disease free, soil-fertility agent, promoting plant growth. In view of this, the technology developed enjoys "high impact value" in terms of benefits to the society and the environment. It offers direct advantages to the industry. Apart from converting a polluting activity into an eco-friendly one, it creates a source of additional income for the workers.

Encouraged by their success, the team took-up another challenge- to solve the problem of pollution caused by Congress grass (Parthenium hysterophorus). Congress grass is a problematic weed which has proliferated widely in different parts of the country, poisoning cultivable lands/gardens, depleting fodder and biodiversity and causing ecological imbalance, besides posing serious health hazards to humans and cattle. In the process developed by the team of scientists, the weed is harvested, processed and eventually converted into useful organic manure using earthworms as bioreactors.

Other critical steps in the technology include termination of the seed-sprout potential of the weed and optimum plant to worm ratios, which were standardised after careful scientific studies. The technology not only helps to overcome the nuisance caused by the weed but also results in a useful and beneficial product.



Parking: Cab operators harass motorists
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
AC cab operators seem to be a law unto themselves. Their alleged high-handedness has been inconveniencing motorists, but the city administration seems to be doing nothing about it.

A case in point is the land reportedly leased by the administration to cab operators to park their taxis in Sector 17-A. Staff manning the parking area do not allow private vehicles there.

This is despite the fact that the adjoining paid parkings have limited space. “The denial of parking rights to the general public amounts to virtual encroachment on public land by cab operators. Even if the land has been leased to them, they have no right to deny parking rights to motorists,” Arvind Kumar, who was not allowed to park his car, said.

Recently this correspondent, who had parked his car there as the adjoining parking lot was being recarpeted, was harassed for over an hour and not allowed to take out his car. Police help had to be taken to take the car out.

Official sources said there was no ban on the parking of vehicles by the public as the land had only been leased to cab owners for parking purposes. The cab staff had no right to misbehave with the public, they said.



Non-AC cabs to hit road by month-end
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Almost two years after the Chandigarh administration “hurriedly” introduced AC cabs, it has thought of providing an alternative mode of cheap travel by cabs.

By month-end, non-AC cabs will hit the roads and would cost about 50 per cent less than AC cabs.

The state transport secretary, Dr Vandana Disodia, said the concept had been introduced in January this year. “We hope that non-AC cabs would offer affordable travel to the common man,” she said.

“As compared to AC cabs which cost Rs 15 per km

(revised in January), travel by a non-AC cab would cost Rs 6 per km. These cabs would run on the same routes as AC cabs,” a senior official said.

So far, only one local company, Guneet Finalise, has come forward to run the service and has been allowed 10 cabs.

Sources said initially there was a plan to have a tie-up with a known car manufacturer, but the plan could not materialise due to some reasons.

Arman, a frequent user of AC cabs, feels that non- AC cabs would give tough competition to AC cabs.

The air-conditioner is generally used from May to August. It makes no sense to pay Rs 9 per km for an AC cab, said Sanjiv, who has been using AC cabs to travel from the Chandigarh railway station to Mohali. He says drivers of AC cabs usually refuse short distances.

Sources said the operators of AC cabs had been urging the transport department to increase the fares as the prices of petrol had gone up. The department had, however, refused any further increase. A flat rate of Rs 15 per km was agreed to in January.



Phasing out of old autorickshaws
Owners to protest admn move
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
At least 1,200 autorickshaws running on petrol/diesel that were issued permit for 15 years by the state transport authority (STA) will go off road once the decision of the Chandigarh administration to phase out all such vehicles within one year comes into force.

Earlier, the decision was to phase out the autorickshaws in the next three years.

After scrapping old autorickshaws, the STA had issued new permits in 2003. The permits are issued under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Chandigarh Autorickshaw Union president H.S. Sawhney said it would spell doom for hundreds of autorickshaw owners who had taken loan from financial institutions.

He said once the STA had issued the permit for 15 years, it would be wrong to take autorickshaws off road.

“We will oppose it and protest against the unrealistic move of the Chandigarh administration. They should have thought about it while issuing permits in 2003,” he said.

“Such decisions should be taken bearing all factors in mind,” said Rajwinder, an autorickshaw driver who is yet to repay the loan he had taken from a financial institution. The affected lot has demanded that the administration should come to the rescue of autorickshaw owners.

Meanwhile, the STA has extended the deadline for the purchase of LPG autorickshaws to August 31. The administration, through the STA, had earlier decided to issue permits to LPG-run autorickshaws (passenger carrier).

As many as 986 applicants had applied for permits, out of whom 805 applicants were found eligible after scrutiny.



IAF trekking expedition returns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Air Cmde S.R.K. Nair, Air Officer Commanding, 12 Wing welcomed back the Indian Air Force trekking expedition, which returned to the Air Force Station here today after successfully traversing Chamba, Bharmaur and Lahaul Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. The team had left Chandigarh on June 26.

Comprising seven Air Force officers, the team covered a distance of about 200 km and scaled a height of 16,535 feet while crossing the two passes, namely Kugti and Darati. Wg Cdr K. Dinesh, a qualified mountaineer and a trekker since his college days, headed the team. Other members of the expedition included Sqn Ldr Bhavana Mehra, Sqn Ldr A.P. Singh, Flt Lt Shantanu Verma, Flt Lt C.G. Varghese and Fg Offr Manoj Rana.

Aimed at spreading awareness about the Indian Air Force among the people in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh and encouraging youngsters to join the IAF, the expedition camped at Kugti village at a height of 11,000 feet.

The members visited the Kugti High School, where they delivered a lecture on the IAF and its role towards defending the nation. They also distributed caps and placards among the children. During the trek, the team also distributed basic medicines to the shepherds and other villagers.



Governor takes stock of Sarangpur project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
To give a push to infrastructure development in the institutional area of Sarangpur, UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues today visited the site and took stock of the progress of different components of work in this significant project including the education city, the equesterian academy, the film city and the amusement park.

Accompanied by Jean Rodrigues, the Administrator went around the area and discussed with the senior officers of the administration the framework and road map for the creation of physical and supportive infrastructure and the provision of various services for the citizens. He told them to simultaneously undertake plantation of flowering and ornamental trees and landscaping work to improve the environment of the area.

He emphasised the need to adopt technologically advanced and mechanical means of delivery of various services and proper maintenance and beautification of the area.

While discussing the construction of colleges coming up in the education city, Rodrigues told officials to simultaneously undertake construction of hostels for the students and residential accommodation for the staff. 



Rodrigues to open IT conclave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
e-Revolution 2008, the fourth in the series of international conclaves initiated by the Chandigarh administration along with the Governments of Punjab and Haryana and STPI, to promote this region for information and communication technology industry will be held on August 7 and 8. The theme of this year’s mega IT event is "The changing landscape: creating new trends and opportunities". The event will be inaugurated by UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues. 



Fewer cuts has power dept smiling
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The city’s electricity department, which usually faces the heat from consumers in summer, is smiling. Reason: Very few power cuts owing to reduced demand for electricity.

Taking in account the trend in the rise in demand for power in the city from 250 MW in 2006 to 284 MW in 2007, the department had expected the demand to touch 316 MW this year.

However, the demand has only risen to 300 MW, a six per cent rise, this year.

A senior official in the electricity department said: “There has been a minor increase of six per cent in the demand for power this year, which is much lower than our expectation. We attribute this to the early arrival of monsoon.”

Expecting a rise in demand, the electricity department had installed two transformers of 20 MW capacity each in the Industrial Area.

Other than transformers, around 30 distribution transformers were installed in different sectors all over the city.

Anticipating the demand to rise this year, the department had also installed 11 feeders of 11 KV in city.

Though two new malls - DTC and Centra Mall - have come up in city, these have not made much of a difference in the demand for power. The transformers had been installed keeping in mind the coming up of malls in the city.

The demand is expected to rise next year, as some more multiplexes are planning to open.

According to sources, the demand is expected to increase by seven to eight per cent by next year.



Fun Republic Case
CBI probe drags on
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The CBI is taking its own time to investigate the infamous Fun Republic case. Names of some officials in the estate office and Chandigarh Administration had figured in the sensational case based on charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy.

It has been over 16 months since the CBI booked Kewal Dhillon, senior Congress leader whose Dhillon Group of Companies owns the complex, and others officials of the estate office.

“While the CBI shows alacrity in arresting persons, the investigations take long and investigative officers change a number of times, so the output is less. In a few cases, it presents the challan without arresting the person and the accused is then summoned by the court,” said senior advocate Ranbindra Pandit.

Talking to The Tribune, SP Mahesh Aggarwal said, “The probe in the matter is still on and the investigating agency may take a couple of months before submitting the challan in the court.”

The arrests were made after a report was submitted by MC, listing violations evaluated at over Rs 6 crore, including a penalty of Rs 4.5 crore and Rs 1.5 crore conversion charges.

The CBI had seized documents indicating that though the multiplex had not received any completion certificate, it went on screening movies. The certificate was issued in 2006, but FR has been functioning since 2004.

After the raid on February 21, a note on the facts of the case has reportedly been prepared. After the revised plan was approved on April 16, 2004, a composition fee of Rs 28,11,180 was challenged by the owner, who sought clarification from the finance department. Following this, the fee was reduced to Rs 4,48,529.



Consumer Forum
Citi Bank told to pay compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Citi Bank to issue no-dues certificate and pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 for harassing a resident of Mohali.

The petitioner, Swaran Singh, stated that he had purchased a Maruti car and the bank and offered a loan of Rs 1 lakh for re-financing the car. The bank re-financed the car against the loan in favour of Citi Bank on the registration certificate of the car. He claimed to have paid all instalments in time and said he had cleared the loan with interest by April 2006.

However, he said the bank had not issued the no-due certificate. The forum issued notices to the bank whose counsel appeared but no reply was given.



Mansa Devi board moots hospital for the poor
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 9
At a time when Indian private health care business is booming- it is expected to touch 18 billion dollars in a few years- and many renowned corporate houses opening super-speciality hospitals to earn big money, Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board here has come up with a proposal to open one such hospital that would cater to the poor.

The board has invited expression of interest (EoI) from NGOs, charitable societies and corporate houses for opening a 100-bed hospital that would mainly cater to those who cannot afford to pay the huge costs at corporate-run "five-star" hospitals.

The shrine has not only offered to provide 25 acres of prime land free of cost at Panchkula on a BoT (build, operate, and transfer) basis, it also plans to fund treatment of the poor. The board gets donations amounting to Rs 5 crore per year.

Shrine board administrator Rajinder Kataria, who is also Panchkula DC, said: " If required, we can provide additional land up to 80 acres". He said several charitable organisations had approached him with the proposal of providing state-of-the-art healthcare to the needy as being done by religious organisations in the south.

He said when he suggested the same to Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, he immediately gave the "go-ahead".

Despite the 150-bed Civil Hospital in the city, patients have to go to hospitals in Chandigarh for surgery and super-special treatment.The hospital is proposed to be built near the open area being used for parking during Navratras.

In addition to a trauma centre, facilities in radiology, cardio-thoracic surgery, neuro surgery, and ophthalmic surgery are proposed to be provided at the hospital.

The hospital OPD would cater to up to 1000 visitors.It would be a no profit, no loss project. 



Elderly couples find solace in old-age homes
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Are you offering emotional support to the elders ? Is your association helping senior citizens overcome the problem of loneliness? What support can you give to a person who is facing isolation? These are queries which are made by NRIs through Internet to Helpage India, an association dealing with the elder citizens’ problems and assisting them in leading a happy life.

“My mother is in her late 70s. Considering her falling health, I want somebody to take care of her by personally visiting her once in a week. It is not possible for me to take care of her as I stay abroad.”

This was a query posted by an NRI to Helpage India. On the other side, demand of first-class old age homes for elders in or around the city where they reside is also on a high in the urban areas of the country.

Dr Harvinder S. Bakshi, regional director, North, Helpage India, said the number of similar queries from the NRIs had gone up in the past one year. They look for assistance to locate good quality old- age homes for their elders and some even want voluntary associations to give personal support to their elders.

He said those belonging to the higher strata preferred to go for sophisticated old-age homes as they wanted their elders to lead a comfortable life in a safe environment.

Bhavneshwar Sharma, state manager, HelpageIndia, said the metros were no longer considered safe for elderly couples whose children were settled abroad. They were often considered as “soft targets” by the criminals. As a result, the only alternative was a good quality old- age home where they could lead the remaining years of their lives blissfully.



PTL takes up ‘Green Mohali’ mission
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 9
Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL) has decided to spend one per cent of its profit on community development in the sphere of health, education and environment protection as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR).

To take forward this agenda, Bishwambhar Mishra, managing director and CEO, PTL, and A.M. Sawhney, DMD, PTL, have taken up a mission of building a ‘Green Mohali’ by planting 10,000 neem and amla saplings. Launching the programme yesterday, company officials and Mohali deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari planted saplings at the Paraplegic Rehabilitatin Centre.

In the coming days, the company has decided to plant 200 saplings at the centre. Sawhney said plantation would be spread across Mohali to check environmental degradation and improve ecology of the city for which medicinal trees had been selected. Adequate watering and manure has been catered for and also, plantation sites have been selected with care to achieve maximum survival of plants.



Development course for SMOs
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 9
The sixth professional development course (PDC) in management, public health and health sector reforms for district-level senior medical officers was inaugurated by health and family welfare minister Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla here yesterday.

Addressing the gathering, Chawla said doctors were largely associated with clinical skills, whereas in today’s competitive world, professionals were required to have a good understanding of management skills and up-to-date knowledge of the latest developments in order to maintain pace with the fast-moving world. This course, she said, would be very useful for doctors and would sensitise them to develop specialised skills in management and health sector reforms. This would particularly be very beneficial while handling administrative positions, she added. She emphasised that the prime aim of the department was to provide better health care services in rural and far-flung areas with special focus on poor population.

Satish Chandra, mission director, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) stated that by completing this course, doctors would develop a good understanding of management and administrative working. He said after undergoing this training programme, the doctors would be expected to act as “agents of change” to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of services offered as integral part of the on-going health and family welfare programmes in general and the NRHM in particular.

Tilak R. Sarangal, secretary, health and managing director, PHSC, said during the 10-week long course, 20 senior medical officers from various districts of Punjab would be imparted specialised training.



Justice Aggarwal bereaved
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 9
Darshan Lal (57), a patwari posted at Dera Bassi, died in an accident here last evening. The victim was the brother of Justice S.N. Aggarwal, chairman of the Consumer Forum, Punjab.

Resident of Sector 19, Darshan Lal was coming back home from work when a speeding bus crushed him. The accident took place at about 8.30 pm hen Darshan Lal had just alighted from a bus at Zirakpur chowk and was trying to find a bus to reach Chandigarh. A speeding bus coming from Gwalior and going towards Chandigarh allegedly ran over him.

Darshan Lal was critically injured and was taken to GMCH-32 where he was declared brought dead. The police impounded the bus but the driver is yet to be arrested.

Cremation of the deceased will take place tomorrow at Sector 25 at 9am.



2 students hurt in bus-car collision
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 9
Two school children were injured when their school bus collided with a Balero at Sector 26 here today. The children belonged to Doon Public School, Sector 21.

According to information, the injured are students of pre-nursery and nursery and were discharged from Panchkula Civil Hospital after being administered first aid.

The accident happened when the bus was going towards Sector 28 to drop children home. None of the drivers was hurt in the accident.



Street play on female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Punjabi Movies and Theatre Academy has taken upon itself the task of sensitising the issue of female foeticide. Members of the academy, under the guidance of scriptwriter Manbhavan and director Daljeet Singh, presented street play ‘Problem 3050’ at Plaza, Sector 17, here, today. The director said the play was based on the prevailing evil of female foeticide. The play revolves around two brothers who had never seen women and they pray to God for bestowing a lady in their lives.



Left out, reforms in

With the Left withdrawing its support to the UPA government and the SP backing the Indo-US nuclear deal and the government, the treasury benches must be having a sigh of relief.

The Left never allowed the finance minister to carry out the economic reforms. Since the Left is out of the picture, the finance minister should push the pending reforms to their logical conclusion. The government should also go in for disinvestment of BHEL and BSNL to raise the much needed funds.

J.S. Bhalla, Chandigarh

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Stumped by rules, student left high and dry
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Yesterday, Pushpender had a seat (reserved category) in two colleges. Today, he has none.

Government College, Sector 11, refused admission to Pushpender in BSc (Biotechnology) (application form no. 14558) when another reserved category candidate with higher percentage came to them.

Since his seat was approved at four counselling sessions, Pushpender had already opted out of admission to Government College, Sector 46.

Principal AL Gaba claimed that the seat was offered to another candidate because he had secured than Pushpendra and this was done according to the “stipulated” guidelines.

The guidelines clearly say that admissions would be done according to merit/on the basis of first come, first serve basis.

The director of higher education, Raji P Srivastava, said: “Justice would be done. I will look into the matter”.

Pushpender’s father, Jagdish Chand, master craftsman with the IAF, said after all formalities were cleared at GCM, they decided not to attend counselling at Government College-46.

“When we were about to go to the fee counter to deposit fee, the fourth counsellor took my son’s form out of a bundle and cancelled it. How can they give admission to a candidate who was not present at the time of counselling”, asked Jagdish.

Said Pushpender: “Does this mean if tomorrow they are approached by someone with higher marks, they (college) will cancel this admission too”.

The dean, college instruction, Dr Nindru Bala, justified the college move, saying the candidate had no claim on the seat as he had not deposited the fee by then.



Class XI Admissions
Busy day for schools offering vocational courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The counters of schools offering vocational stream had a busy day on the seventh day of the counselling session for Class XI, underway at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, here, today.

A total of 1,241 students are reported to have been admitted today. The department announced that the admissions in the vocational stream have been closed in GMSSS-10 (hotel management), GMSSS-23 (electronics, electrical and automobile), GMSSS-32 (MLT), GGMSSS-18 (stenography) and GMSSS-40 (electronics). Out of a total 1,968 seats, 1,135 seats are still lying vacant in vocational stream.

With the filling up of all seats in science and commerce streams (general category), the other stream, which gained momentum, was humanities. GMSSS-16 and GMSSS-35 also announced the closure of the admissions in the humanities stream for the general category. However, out of total 5,269 seats, only 1,510 seats have been filled up yet.

Meanwhile, the counselling ended in GGMSSS-18 in which a few seats were still available in the science stream.

The total tally of admissions in all the streams till date is as follows:



Students demand transfer of SI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The members of the Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), under the leadership of Barinder Singh Dhillon, campus president, SOPU, along with members of the HSA and the NSUI, held an agitation in front of VC office today demanding transfer of sub-inspector Uday Pal from the university.

The DSW of the university reached the spot and pacified the students, assuring them to look up into the matter and do the needful as soon as possible.



Freshers all geared up for campus life
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, June 9
Even with number of seats starting to shrink after the first day of college admissions, nothing seems to beat the freshers’ spirit to enter college. Amidst all the percentages, forms and documents, the students can’t wait enough for the best three years of their lives to start.

Ask anyone, and it is evident that after school, everyone is looking forward to the new academic session to begin, hoping for the rang de basanti and jaane tu.. ya jaane na kind of movie masti.

The tension of getting college and course of their preference did not stop the freshers to take the feel of college ki hawa, imagining what life will be like after some days, when college will finally start.

All those who had made it through the fist cutoff list came to colleges today, hanging out at the famous addas in college, be it canteens, lawns or stairs outside the buildings.

“Finally no more dress code. I will be able to wear anything I want now. I have been planning my shopping from weeks. I have submitted my fees today, so finally it’s going to be shopping time this weekend. I can’t express how excited I am for the college to begin. I feel all grown up,” says Tiya, applicant at MCM DAV College.

While girls just can’t stop thinking about their new wardrobes, guys are dreaming about dating and hanging out late.

“I am taking up a flat with a few friends. I have asked my dad to increase my pocket money as well. I plan on having loads of fun in college. Roaming out, partying out late, and not to forget, dating,” said Shushant, an applicant at DAV College.

No wonder, everyone on the block has some plans or the other, including the seniors. Their reactions seemed to echo that they just couldn’t wait for the “healthy interaction sessions” with their juniors.

With many seats already filled yesterday under the fist cut off list, more anxiety on faces of students and parents was evidently visible today. Murmur in college corridors, queues at admission counters and small clusters at the enquiry offices was the overall scene today. One could see freshers frantically racing from one counter to the other, with their forms in hand and their parents behind them as well. Others included those who had their counselling today, or were in the waiting list.



Provide bulletproof car to judge, HC tells Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Chandigarh’s additional district and sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi will now travel in the protection of a bulletproof car. Sondhi had dealt with the assassination case of Punjab’s former chief minister Beant Singh.

Taking up a matter pertaining to the security of the judge, Justice Vinod Kumar Sharma of the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday directed the union government to provide a bulletproof car to Sondhi.

The High Court had earlier issued a notice to the UT administration. Subsequently, on UT’s senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta’s request, the High Court had made Punjab and Haryana advocates-general a party, along with the union government.

As the matter came up for hearing yesterday, Gupta submitted that the UT administration had written to the centre to provide the bulletproof car to Sondhi. But, the centre had turned down the request.

Claiming that the administration was providing round-the-clock security to the judge, Gupta said two head constables and eight constables had been guarding the residence, while two PSOs and four commandos had been deployed with Sondhi.

Before parting the order, the High Court directed the union government to provide a bulletproof car within a month and also asked Haryana and Punjab governments to provide their own escort vehicle to the judge, in addition to UT escort vehicle, whenever he would visit their respective states.



Judge upholds jail term for lawyer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Upholding the order of the judicial magistrate (JMIC), district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg yesterday sentenced a lawyer, Rajesh Kohli, to three-year imprisonment for tampering with records at the district courts.

According to the prosecution, Rajesh had gone to the record room at the courts in Sector 17 in January 1994 and asked the court employee for access of a case file for inspection.

The file pertained to divorce case of his sister, Pratiba, wherein she had been given a one-time settlement of Rs 75,000.

Rajesh allegedly tampered with the records by changing Rs 75,000 to Rs 2.75 lakh.

Thereafter, the court staff reported the matter to the sessions judge and an FIR was registered against him on January 25, 1994.

After a seven-year trial, Rajesh was sentenced to three-year imprisonment by judicial magistrate Gurvinder Kaur in 2001.



Man gets 1-yr jail for assault
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg yesterday sentenced Ashok Kumar to one-year imprisonment in an assault case.

The court converted the attempted murder case, under which the accused was booked, to assault due to lack of evidence.

According to the prosecution, Ashok Kumar and Avtar Singh, residents of Dadu Majra, had allegedly assaulted a neighbour, Kanta, after the two had an altercation with the victim’s husband, Saha Nand, on August 19, 2004.

It was stated that Ashok, an alcoholic, was the neighbour of the complainant and on the day of the incident he had started a fight with Saha Nand late in the night.

When Kanta came outside, Ashok and Avtar hit her with bricks. She was taken to the hospital and a case was registered.

Avtar Singh has been declared a proclaimed offender in the case.



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