C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Even after 4-laning, killer stretch remains
Tribune News Service

Dappar (Dera Bassi), December 11
The Chandigarh-Ambala section of the national highway continues to be a “killer” stretch.

A sum of Rs 298 crore has been spent by the national highway authority of India (NHAI) on the four-laning of the 35-km stretch of the highway, but it has not helped in curtailing the number of accidents.

Official figures reveal that 60 persons have lost their lives in accidents on this stretch in the past 11 months. So far, the number of accidents has touched 150.

Enquiries reveal that the major reason for accidents was that in order to cut the travelling distance, road users often drive on the wrong side. “We have been challaning people for driving on the wrong side. A highway patrol has been deputed at accident-prone points,” the SP (traffic), Mohali, S.S. Gill, said.

Even then, accidents continue to happen. At several points, village link roads open on the highway. It is here that fast moving traffic collides with vehicles coming from link roads. The NHAI has not provided any slow carriageway along the highway.

The problem worsened after the NHAI put a divider on the dual carriageway, but left cuts at some places. The problem areas identified by the police are at the takeoff point of the Zirakpur flyover, near a farmhouse at Singpura, link road to Chatt village, Bhankarpur bridge, takeoff point of Dera Bassi flyover, Dera Bassi bus stand, link road of Handesra, Jherimri and Lehli villages and the Lalru bus stand.

At Zirakpur, 23 persons have died and 20 injured in 41 accidents that took place since January this year. At Lalru, 25 persons lost their lives and 40 were injured in 61 accidents.

Sources in the district administration said a lot of politicking had gone into the planning of road cuts on the highway. Citing an example, an official said a cut had been given at a point where four roads joined at Singpura village. Rapid urbanisation in Zirakpur and Dera Bassi had added to the chaos as no provision had been made for slow carriageway. Fast moving traffic should have been segregated.

A large number of structures in the form of residential colonies, malls and other commercial buildings are coming up along the highway and futuristic planning had to be kept in mind to widen the road.



A first — Urdu book on AIDS orphans
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
It’s the first book in the subcontinent on AIDS orphans and that too a fiction. Though this in itself arouses curiosity about “Aakhri Adhyaay”, the book has much to offer.

It is the latest book penned by K.L. Zakir, an eminent Urdu author who has penned over 100 books. A kind face radiating warmth, Zakir speaks of the humane aspect, rather than psychological, regarding this unfortunate AIDS inheritance.

“This is actually the outcome of various thought-provoking and heart-rending stories that I came across over a period of 10 years. I remember reading a book by an African girl, “The Confessions of an AIDS Victim”, and I was touched,” he says.

He was toying with the idea for a long time and a conference on AIDS orphans, “Children on the Brink”, held in Africa in 2002 got the plot and characters in place.

“It was followed by various news articles on the maltreatment of AIDS victims in India. It was then that I decided that if I delay in penning it down, it would be a crime. But I had too ensure that though it was fiction, I had to get the facts right and so I consulted doctors and travelled extensively to understand victims. I wanted to emphasise that not only unprotected sex, but also other reasons cause AIDS,” he says.

On the response to the book, Zakir says it has been overwhelming and though it is in Urdu, it has not lessened the interest of people. There is a plan to translate the book into English and Hindi. Quoting a friend, he says he could not read beyond the first chapter because of the pain of the characters. “I knew that very moment that I was successful in bringing out their misery,” he adds.



Chand, Fiza run into protest at dargah
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
Chand Mohammad (Chander Mohan), former deputy Chief Minister of Haryana, visited the town for the first time after his marriage with Fiza (Anuradha Bali) and offered obeisance at the dargah of Nau Gaja Peer here today.

The visit was, however, marred by the conspicuous absence of his supporters and a protest by some BJP activists who raised slogans against him. The media was present in full strength though.

Chand Mohammad (Chander Mohan) and Fiza (Anuradha Bali) pray at a dargah in Panchkula on Thursday; and BJP workers protest against them during their visit.
Chand Mohammad (Chander Mohan) and Fiza (Anuradha Bali) pray at a dargah in Panchkula on Thursday; and BJP workers protest against them during their visit. Tribune photos: Kamal Kishore

The newly married couple reached the dargah around 3 pm in a Santro car driven by Chand Mohammad and they made their offerings amid slogans raised by BJP activists. The Panchkula district Congress vice-president, K.P. Singh, also joined the BJP protest.

Rekha Sharma, a social activist and a family friend of Chander Mohan, confronted him and accused him of betraying his wife and chidren. An unfazed Chand Mohammad, however, termed the protesters as “mentally challenged”.

The couple stayed there for 15 minutes before leaving for Nada Sahib to pay obeisance.

Panchkula municipal council president Ravinder Rawal, Panchkula district president Om Parkash Devinagar and Congress councillors have distanced themselves from their MLA.

Requesting anonymity, a confidant from Panchkula, said local Congress workers had become “directionless” in the absence of the MLA and it would not be easy for anybody to claim proximity with the former deputy CM in the present circumstances.

His second marriage, conversion to Islam and abdication of responsibility towards his first wife and two children would not go down well with the masses and no politician would like to face the wrath of the public, another Congressman said.

Their apprehensions are not without any ground. While the opposition is gearing up to cash in on the situation, people seem to be in no mood to accept the act of their leader.

Though people were ready to accept his decision to get out of his marriage to some extent, they were not ready to forgive him for his comments about his children.

“A politician also has the right to move out of a relationship in case he does not feel comfortable with his wife,” said Davinder Mahajan, a resident of Mansa Devi Complex, “but he should have taken the responsibility of his children.”

“Chander Mohan has made up an excuse to solemnise his second marriage,” said Neena Katyal, a resident of Sector 8. “Had he felt suffocated in the relationship, he would have ended the relationship in the initial years of marriage,” she said. The women of the town would not accept him as a leader anymore, she added.

“It is strange that a politician took 18 years to understand that he could not stay with his wife,” said Maya Verma of Sector 11, adding that “I am a staunch Congress supporter, but now I am not going to vote for him.” 



Stipend to dental students withdrawn
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
With the implementation of the Dental Council of India’s (DCI) regulation passed in 2006, dental students of the present batch at Dr H S Judge Dental Institute, Panjab University, will be deprived of the paid rotatory internship.

This would mean that the students would no longer be entitled for a stipend, varying between Rs 1500-2500 depending upon the institute, during the fifth year of their course.

However, at the same time, the DCI has redistributed the number of subjects per year for the five-year course and reduced them from seven to four each year, giving students a breather.

According to sources, the decision was taken by the DCI in a meeting held in September, 2006. However, the government notification reached the university by January, 2007.

Later, following the notification, the governing bodies of the university, the Senate and the syndicate approved the same followed by its approval by the academic council causing the two-year delay in implementation.

Now, the same has been approved in a meeting of the faculty of medical sciences.

According to the new notification, the BDS (Bachelor in Dental Sciences) course module would remain the same except for the fifth year practical training part. Earlier, the fifth year was completely dedicated for practical training and the students did not have to take theoretical examinations. From now on, besides the practical training, which starts in the third year itself and continues till the fifth, the students will also have to appear for four examinations in the last year.

However, this would come with an additional benefit for the students that they would be able to pay the same amount of fee in five years time.

Nevertheless, it needs to be ensured that the private colleges, which outnumber the government dental institutes, do not charge the students additional fee for the fifth year in the light of examinations.

It must be mentioned here that there are 283 dental institutes in the country, out of which only 30 are government institutes.

When contacted, Dr K Gauba, director of Dr H S J Dental institute admitting the delay, said, “The new regulation has definitely redistributed the subjects and have lessened the burden on students by uniformly distributing them over a period of five years”.


Water rationing
Rs 260 crore project a non-starter
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 11
With water rationing going well beyond the summer months in the town, the Rs 260 crore project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for improving water supply position has turned out to be a non- starter even after an year.

The ageing water supply system has not been able to cater to the needs of residents of the expanding town who faced nearly eight months of water rationing this year and were likely to face tough times in the coming summers once again. The water rationing this year began on March 11 and went on till early November. The night supply of water for filling overhead tanks during this period was provided on alternate days.

According to sources, consultants were hired by the authorities concerned to discuss projects drawn under the JNNURM but only two meetings were held in connection with the water augmentation proposal.

One such meeting was held in March and another in July and it appears that the project has been kept on the backburner, at least for the time being.For improving services to consumers, the department of water supply and sanitation had drawn a high-tech project in response to a request by the local municipal council.

The project prepared by A.S. Kalsi, executive engineer, last year involved upgradation of the town’s water supply infrastructure for proper monitoring and automation with the remote computerised wireless surveillance supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The proposed project included the laying of 48 supply line from Kajauli waterworks to the town under Phase V and the sinking and automation of 33 new tubewells to meet the demand for the drinking water in addition to canal water of 10 mgd.

The Government of India had selected Mohali among three districts of Punjab for infrastructure and overall development under the JNNURM for which an amount of Rs 360 crore was earmarked.

The department had brought to the notice of the civic body that there was a need to augment the water supply system as the machinery installed at the water treatment plant in Sector 56 was more than 20 years old and needed replacement.

There was a need to implement SCADA system at the water treatment plants in Sectors 56 and 57 and at the pump house in Sector 64 to operate the machinery in a computerised way.

The SCADA system was at present functioning at the Phase IV Kajauli waterworks. The department of water supply and sanitation was maintaining the services in residential Phases I to VII and IX to XI, Sectors 48-C, 70 and 71 and industrial Phases I to V.



Panchayat Bhavan
Ideals abandoned for commercial gains
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Constructed in the 60s with lofty ideals of promoting panchayati raj movement, the Panchayat Bhavan in Sector 18 seems to have strayed from its purpose.

With commercial bug biting the authorities concerned, the panchayat bhavan has merely been reduced to a board-cum-lodging place and a centre for organising exhibitions and sales.

In fact, its transformation to a commercial centre is official now with the hospitality department confirming that with the “reorganisation of the Punjab in 1966, the objectives of the panchayat bhavan underwent changes”, information sought under RTI by Sector-27 resident R.K. Garg shows.

Interestingly, even after its transfer to the UT hospitality department in 1966, the society continued to work unregistered. It was only on August 1, 1996, that the Panchayat Bhavan Society was formed under the chairmanship of home secretary and subsequently registered with the Registrar of Firms and Societies, Chandigarh Administration.

Going commercial, the department “aggressively” marketed the panchayat bhavan as “an ideal place for social functions, meetings and seminars” due to its proximity to ISBT, Sector 17, and railway station.

In fact, the department had prepared colourful brochures to attract visitors to stay here and put up exhibitions and stalls.

While an air-conditioned room costs Rs 700, the highest tariff for the big hall is Rs 6,000 per day with the minimum being Rs 1,100.

And this hardly conforms to the original objectives of the bhavan, which included “to serve as a place where members of the panchayati raj institutions can stay and meet when they visit Chandigarh” and “to provide training to various categories of personnel concerned with the implementation of the panchayati raj”. It was also under its mandate that it would “serve as a well-equipped centre for seminars and conferences on matters concerning panchayati raj and allied subjects”.

Meanwhile, the finances of the cash-rich bhavan, having fixed deposits of Rs 38 lakh, are also shrouded in mystery. While the receipt of the room rent portion goes to the government treasury, the receipts on account of sundry charges and bedding charges are credited to the account of the Panchayat Bhavan Society.



Disability Certificate
80 pc remain deprived of privileges given by govt
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Chandigarh has about 15,000 people suffering from various disabilities but only 20 per cent of them have the government’s disability certificate that entitles them to various “privileges”, including job reservation, and special rates for medical aid and travel.

While year after year the Chandigarh administration celebrates the World Disability Day with a renewed pledge to help these “specially abled” people, their words don’t match the action as 80 per cent of them remain deprived of these small privileges due to inordinate procedural delays in giving the required disability certificate.

The three step procedural formalities for getting the disability certificate starts with registration, followed by filing an application and then the final medical test. Though this entire procedure is expected to complete in a month, it often takes much more than that due to various procedural wrangles.

The medical board, which is supposed to meet every Friday of the month to complete the formalities, often fails to keep date and as a result the meeting is postponed several times for various reasons. Dr Sunandan Sood, chairman of the medical board GMCH-32, admits there are instances when no sittings are held for several months. He said this postponement had prevalent for the past few years and have resulted in a backlog.

According to experts, there is plethora of schemes for the disabled, initiated by various departments, but those without the certificates fail to derive any benefits.

Member of the Association of Parents of Mentally Retarded Children in the city confess that getting a certificate is a cumbersome task often ends up in frustration and even humiliation at the hands of the babus.

“I have seen parents carry children afflicted with cerebral palsy and MR from one floor to another to convince the clerks about the disability of their wards and how they are treated,” said a member on condition of anonymity.

The three institutes where the disability certificates are issued in the city are: Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), GMCH-32 and GMH-16 Hospital. As per information, there are four forms of disability, which the certificate recognises: blind, deaf and dumb, orthopedic and mental.



Admn mulls widening of Madhya Marg
Proposes feasibility study to start with
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The UT administration is toying with the idea of widening the busy Madhya Marg connecting the city with Panchkula. In fact, sparing a thought for the traffic congestion, the administration proposes to commission a feasibility study for taking care of all aspects related to the ambitious project.

A broad consensus on the issue was hammered out at a meeting of secretaries here yesterday. The UT engineering department was asked to coordinate with the Chandigarh traffic police for the feasibility study.

With thousands of vehicles passing through the Madhya Marg, the main link between Chandigarh and Panchkula, traffic congestion on the busy hours was a routine affair on the strategic road. With a view to take care of the traffic chaos on the road and reduce the accident rates, the feasibility of widening the road was being studied, a senior official said.

However, sources said the road-widening would pose its own set of problems as scores of trees from the PGI to the housing board chowk, adjoining Panchkula, would have to be felled for the project. This coupled with the shifting of essential services like electricity lines and bus queue shelters would pose certain practical problems to the authorities concerned.

Saying that widening of the road was the only option, official sources said certain stretches of roads, including the road in front of the Kala Gram, were “accident-prone” with fatal accidents being reported regularly.

In fact, the widening project would be second major initiative by the administration to ease traffic flow on the Madhya Marg. Earlier, the administration had sanctioned the construction of underpasses on the Madhya Marg.

Officials highlighted that with the UT getting enhanced budgetary allocations from the central government recently, the money for the project would not be a problem. In fact, the current project was part of the overall development of the road network in the union territory, the officials added.



Residents up in arms against road digging
Archit Watt

Heaps of dug out mud for laying sewerage pipeline in Sector 55
Heaps of dug out mud for laying sewerage pipeline in Sector 55 on Thursday. Tribune Photo: Vicky Gharu

Chandigarh, December 11
The municipal corporation’s (MC) tall claim of efficiency falls flat as residents of Sector 55 are raising their voice against the continued haphazard digging of the road for laying a sewerage pipeline.

Reportedly, the work of laying the new sewerage pipeline has been in progress since two months and the entire stretch has been dug up causing extreme inconvenience to the residents.

“Are they building a road to moon? They have made deep pits and over the last two months nobody cared to fill them, what if anybody falls into it,” said Arun, an agitated resident.

“If they are digging the stretch then they should also refill the pits side by side and I am amazed that it is taking months to put the sewerage pipeline in such a smaller stretch,” said Ankita, another angered resident. We can’t even open the window as dust comes inside and it is a big threat to our health, she further added.

Huge heaps of dug out mud are also creating inconvenience to public. Mayor Pardeep Chabra said, “I am aware about the laying of the sewerage pipeline, but I have to check the status of the work.”



Terror Threat
Mock drill at airport
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The Chandigarh police today carried out a mock drill at the Chandigarh airport to check the status of security measures in the wake of the recent threat of terror attacks on airports across the country.

The police involved all units of its force, fire brigade department, airport security and hospitals in the drill, which lasted over two hours.

UT SP (traffic and security) H.S. Doon told the TNS that all units of the Chandigarh police, including the bomb disposal and dog squad, teams from operations cell and police officers from various police stations took part in the drill. The police checked the reaction time of the teams and issued instructions to introduce steps for improvements wherever discrepancies were noticed. The police personnel at all checkpoints in the city were alerted beside the fire brigade and internal security of the airport and hospitals were also put on alert in an attempt to ready them for any eventuality, said Doon.



Need for ‘collaboration’ to fight diseases
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 11
The global prevalence of the dreaded disease, kala azar, is estimated to be 2.5 million cases per year. The incidence of the infectious disease in India is among the highest in the world and diseases like Leishmaniasis and HIV co-infection are on rise and pose a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge, said Prof V.P Sharma, former director, Malaria Research Centre, Delhi, and additional director, ICMR.

Sharma was speaking at the inaugural function of an international conference on ‘Biotechnological approaches to neuro immunomodulation and infectious diseases’ organised at the National Institute Of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali.

Sharma said there was the need for international collaboration to fight infectious diseases. The Department of Biotechnology has been funding research and development efforts in this direction. The global fund has become the main source of finance for programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria with $11.4-billion approved funding. The global fund has signed grant agreements worth $102 billion for 579 grants in 137 countries and has disbursed $6.8 billion to recipients.

Prof V.S Chauhan, director, ICGEB, New Delhi, delivered the guest lecture in which he talked about the development of vaccine for malaria.

Prof P. Rama Rao, director, NIPER, also briefed the audience about the institute and its progress in the area of education and research. Dr C.L Kaul, former director, NIPER, was also present on the occasion. As many as 28 speakers from India, the US and Germany are participating in the conference.



Free treatment for school students
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 11
The department of health and family welfare, Punjab, will provide free treatment to the students studying in government and government-aided schools, who were suffering from heart ailments, under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

Satish Chandra, director, NRHM, said the students studying in Classes I to XII, who suffered from rheumatic heart diseases and congenital heart diseases, would be treated at the PGI, Chandigarh.

The director said any student suffering from any of the two diseases could submit a special form after getting it attested from the school headmaster and district education officer at the office of the civil surgeon. If officials of the health department were convinced that the applicant needed medical aid, the treatment would be carried out after getting echo tests done from government medical colleges at Amritsar, Patiala, Faridkot, CMC and DMC, Ludhiana, and the PGI.

The Punjab government will bear the entire expenditure on the treatment, except the travel and stay expenses.

Chandra said Dr K. S. Dhillon, assistant director, was appointed state nodal officer in this regard, who could be contacted on the telephone numbers, 0172 - 2600994 and 2604657.

Heads of the primary health centres, civil hospitals, community health centres and dispensaries were directed to diagnose school students suffering from rheumatic heart diseases and congenital heart diseases.



‘States cannot be given equal industrial packages’
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
“Just as one recipe cannot be served to all, similarly, funds cannot be distributed to all states in one pattern. A lot depends on geographical conditions of the state, its topography, population and other aspects,” said Vinod Kumar Duggal, former secretary, government of India and a member of the commission on Centre-State relations, while addressing the mediapersons on the sidelines of the two-day north western regional workshop on Centre-State relations, which concluded today. He was referring to the industrial packages give to the states such as Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

While replying to a question pertaining to the time frame within which the commission would prepare the recommendations, Duggal said, “The Sarkaria Commission, which was constituted in 1983, took five years to come up with 247 recommendations and 179 have been accepted and implemented while the rest are deliberated upon. Since then, there have been sea changes in the need to have such a commission by various political parties, states and other stake holders, to view and review the Centre and state relations. The mandate is much vast and bigger now,” he said.

Talking about financial autonomy to states, he said, “The recommendations would be arrived upon only after one-to-one consultations with state representatives.” He also said in the wake of recent terror attacks in the country, the issue of national security with respect to states, was also being addressed.

Meanwhile, in his address during the valedictory ceremony of the workshop, Dr A.R. Kidwai, Governor of Haryana, stressed on the need for cooperation if the country was to tread a holistic path to growth and called for the commission to analyse how best the resources available could be utilised.



‘Aadhi Raat Ke Baad’ staged
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 11
The host theatre group registered their presence with a Hindi play “ Aadhi Raat ke Baad” in the ongoing TFT festival at the Tagore Theatre, here today.

The play written by acclaimed playwright Shanker Shesh had been subjected to certain aberrations by director Sudesh Sharma to focus attention on the latest controversial cases of corruption.

The issues raised in the play relate to a common man who has to live with the corrupt system. The playwright and the director has employed three characters ie a judge, a thief and a mediaperson in a bid to excavate explosive truths ailing the system in different spheres of life.

The lead role of a judge was executed to perfection by the district and session judge (Retd), KK Doda.

Meanwhile, there was a cogent play “Amma” presented here yesterday. Yeh jabar bhi dekha hai tareekh ki nazron ne , Lamhon ne khata ki hai sadiyon ne saza payee”, the essence of the Urdu couplet by poet Muzzafar Razmi seemed to have inspired Kolkata-based acclaimed thespian Probir Guha to document the sagas of sufferings due to disasters perpetuated by terrorist attacks. But the point of concern as perceived by Probir Guha, the “Mother” in all its manifestations remains at the receiving end while loosing someone as a mother, sister, daughter or grand mother. Realizing fully that because of being an apostle of innate compassion, selfless service and self sacrifice for her progeny , the mother is all supreme, Probir had evolved his popular play Amma.

The play was a veritable focus on the sacred reverence of goddess accorded to mother and hailed as an angel, but today, she had been subjected to the inhuman unethical tortures and rape besides deprivation of ethics and values. But, as the intensity of pangs and tribulations of terrorist infested innocent people brought by actors on stage revisited their inquisitive minds, the large audience complimented the artists in unison and gave a standing ovation.

But nevertheless the play lacked the continuity of communication as at times the dimly-heard voice of artists could not match their acting spell.

Speaking on the occasion, HK Dua, Editor-in-Chief of Tribune group of Newspapers, maintained the tri-lingual play, using less words the actors have conveyed the tru essence of life. Aditi Dua, wfe of HK Dua, and Vijay Vardhan, IAS, honoured the artists.



‘Mahadevbhai’ casts spell on audience
SD Sharma

An artist perform in a play “Mahadevbhai” in Chandigarh
An artist perform in a play “Mahadevbhai” in Chandigarh on Thursday. Photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, December 11
The Durga Das Foundation presented a biographical monologue performance in English by Mumbai-based actor Jaimini Pathak at the Strawberry Fields School Amphitheatre, here today.

The solo dramatic spectacle, ‘Mahadevabahai’ is a veritable depiction of the life experience of Mahadevbhai Desai, the secretary of Mahatma Gandhi. Both the text and treatment of immaculate acting by Jaimini given to the script, evolved and directed by Ramu Ramanathan, looked complimentary to each other.

Eulogising Mahatma Gandhi as the apostle truth, Martin Luther King claimed “From my background, I gained my regulating Christian ideals. From Gandhi, I learned my operational technique.”

But the intrusive disciple, Mahadevbhai Desai, had learnt and imbibed much more from the Mahatma.

The play is based on the daily diary that Mahadev Desai maintained during the period 1917 to 1942, in which he jotted down the innumerable letters to and by Gandhiji, as well as conversations, lectures and discourses. This made Mahadevbhai a key witness to Gandhiji, besides proving Mahadevbhai’s own commitment to Satyagraha and the struggle for independence.

One actor plays out various historical characters like Gandhiji, Mahadevbhai, Nehru, Patel and Ambedkar, among others. Besides the obvious historical happenings, there is an attempt to contextualise the freedom movement and the birth of the democratic nation, with events in contemporary India.

Earlier, the director of the DD Foundation, Atul Khanna, welcomed Pradeep Mehra, IAS, general ( retd.) Aditi Dua, wife of HK Dua, Editor-in-chief of Tribune group of Newspapers, VP Malik, were present throughout the absorbing programme.



Govt Hospitals
Staff shortage hurts ultrasound facility
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Driver Sham Lal’s death at the emergency ward of the GMCH, Sector 32, yesterday due to the inordinate delay in treatment owning to non-availability of ultrasound has once again exposed the claims of the city’s premier hospital of having adequate emergency treatment facilities.

The fact that the hospital did not have any doctor to conduct the ultrasound has shocked many since this is one of the basic examinations required to assess internal damage, particularly in the abdomen areas.

Equally shocking is that even the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, does not have round-the-clock ultrasound facility and doctors have to be summoned, after duty hours, to conduct the test.

Admitting that non-availability of ultrasound facilities was due to shortage of staff, health secretary Ram Niwas said they were in the process of resolving the problem.

“All hospitals have round-the-clock facilities for CT scan but yes ultrasound is a problem,” he said, adding that the administration might look into the possibility of outsourcing “this too” to private operators.

Incidentally, Shyam’s death due to the alleged negligence of doctors is the third such case in over one month.

A month ago, a resident of Sector 22, Mukesh, died as the GMCH-32 hospital didn’t have blood platelets that were required for him.

Another patient Hitendra (25), a resident of Kurukshetra, died of burns sustained by him on Diwali night.

His father, Gurdayal Kakkar, reportedly accused doctors in emergency of not attending to his son properly.

Though inquiries were initiated in the earlier two cases, their fate remains unknown.

Efforts to contact GMCH’s director-principal Dr Raj Bhadur for comments proved futile as he was “busy at a meeting” all through the day.



Red Cross must help curb social evils: Guv
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Advocating the need for expanding the role of the Red Cross movement, Punjab Governor and UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues called for focussed attention on the eradication of social ills of drug addiction and female foeticide by adopting multi-prolonged strategies.

Presiding over the state-level managing body and executive committee meeting of the Punjab Red Cross here today, Rodrigues said the problem of drug addiction had risen to alarming proportions in urban and rural areas of the state and needed a crusade against it through the tools of education, therapeutic treatment of the affected people, practical approach for their rehabilitation and making them useful and productive members of our society.

Jean Rodrigues, president of the Punjab State Red Cross Hospital Welfare Section, and Laxmi Kanta Chawla, health and family welfare minister, Punjab, also attended the meeting.



Auto-rickshaw panel memo to STA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The Chandigarh Mohali Panchkula Auto-Rickshaw Joint Action Committee members yesterday submitted a memorandum with the office of the State Transport Authority (STA).

Om Parkash, general secretary of the committee, said the administration was adopting a Delhi pattern, forcing them to replace their existing diesel-run three-wheelers with those of LPG. “Our grievance is that majority of us are still paying the installments of their diesel auto-rickshaws. Now, the administration is further burdening us to purchase LPG-driven autos,” he said.

The drivers rued that the LPG-driven auto-rickshaws had more running cost comparative to the diesel-run ones. The drivers also resented the challaning drive conducted by the STA.



Purchase of JCB machines VB seeks discharge of Kahlon
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 11
The eight-year-old Punjab vigilance case against former rural development and panchayat minister Nirmal Singh Kahlon, pertaining to the purchase of 103 JCB machines, took a new turn today.

The vigilance bureau today moved an application in a local court, seeking discharge of Kahlon, who is now Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha. In the application, the bureau stated that investigation in to the case had revealed that the former minister had no role in the case. A committee had been constituted to purchase the machines. The court will hear the case on December 17.

Interestingly, when the bureau registered an FIR on May 16, 2002, against the Akali leader and other officials of the department, the Congress had been in power.



Panchayat Polls
Panel flays admn for ignoring Punjabi language
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The Pind Bachao Committee has criticised the Chandigarh administration for ignoring the Punjabi language while preparing electoral rolls for the forthcoming panchayat polls on December 14.

In a representation to the state election commissioner, UT Chandigarh, the committee alleged that the voters’ list issued by the administration was in Hindi and English and Punjabi had been ignored.

The villages whose lands had been acquired consist of Punjabi-speaking population, including Dalits and other communities. The committee members will wear black badges to register their protest during elections against the neglect of Punjabi language in the voters’ list.

Meanwhile, the election commissioner has directed owners of all factories, shops, contractors and commercial establishments to give short leave to workers on December 14 between 8 am to 5 pm for casting their ballot.



Councillor ‘manhandles’ Panchkula resident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
A Panchkula resident, Ajay Teer, today accused MC councillor Anil Dube and others of manhandling him at the level crossing in Mani Majra, here this morning.

The police said the complainant was taken to the GMSH-16 for medical examination, which confirmed minor injuries.

SHO Mani Majra police station Hari Kumar said: “Ajay and Anil’s vehicles had a minor accident, following which Ajay alleged that four persons came out and manhandled him.” The vehicle has been identified to be in the name of Anil Dube, he added.

A DDR has been filed in this regard.



‘Kidnapped’ boy returns home

Panchkula, December 11
A student of Army School, Chandimandir, ‘kidnapped’ from Panchkula yesterday returned his home safely today. The parents of the student, identified as Rohit (12), said he had left for Ambala without informing them.

The SHO of Chandimandir, Harbhajan Singh, said Rohit did not reach his home after the school was over and his parents when failed to locate him they lodged a complaint with the police apprehending his kidnapping last night. — TNS



CTU GM stripped of charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The Chandigarh administration has stripped Surinder Kumar, general manager of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), of his charge for allegedly favouring a company.

According to sources, Surinder Kumar is charged with favouring a particular firm that had submitted tenders for the fabrication of bodies of 61 CTU buses.




Following in father’s footsteps

Sons follow footsteps of their fathers and this saying has been proved in the case of Bhajan Lal and Chander Mohan.

The only difference is that Bhajan Lal did it in politics and his son in his personal life. Bhajan Lal is famous for changing parties as per his “needs” and his son went a step further and changed his name and religion to achieve his aim of getting married to his love.

Now, Chander Mohan alias Chand Mohammad must be looking for a new party to contest polls. Though his family has disowned him, he can take this as a lesson and start his political career afresh.

Gurmukh Singh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



DAV principal’s appointment
Education department wakes up, finally
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
It seems that after sleeping over the conditional appointment of Vibha Ray, principal, DAV- Sector 8, for about a year, the UT education department has finally woken up and is ‘considering the conditions’ which are must for her to retain the office.

Going by the letter issued by the then DPI (S), SK Setia, Vibha’s appointment was regularised as one-time settlement subjected to 13 conditions, failure of which would mean the approval would be non-operative without any further notice.

While the letter taking the cognizance of various anomalies in the school administration and questioning various financial transactions, it had directed the school to undertake various steps with an immediate effect. However, no inspection was ever carried to confirm the compliance of the orders.

It may be noted that ‘The Tribune’ highlighted violations of various conditions mentioned in this letter over a period of time. While the school authorities were reported to be levying extra funds in addition to the prescribed fee from students and its failure to remove surplus teachers as demanded in the letter. But, the department till date has not undertaken any official enquiry.

“The conditions mentioned in the letter were even approved by the adviser to the administrator. The department had, in 13 different clauses, directed the school to take few steps like removing 11 TGTS and submitting their salaries in GIA account or certifying that no extra money has been charged from students so far. However, after the ex-DPI’s exit nobody enquired whether the conditions were fulfilled or not and till date the school suffers from loads of anomalies.” a source in the department said.

Meanwhile, Samwartak Singh, current DPI (S) said, “we are considering the conditions,” though he failed to clarify that this consideration tantamounted to an enquiry or just evaluating the validity of the directive.



Zirakpur school lacks basic facilities
Pawan Tiwari/Priya Chadha

Chandigarh, December 11
At a time when India is considered to be at the threshold of emerging as a developed nation, schools san basic facilities like toilets, that too, in a prosperous state like Punjab.

But a visit to the government elementary school in Lohgarh, Zirakpur, lays bare the rather tall claims of the administration of providing quality education to students.

The school where around 150 toddlers (from class I to V) study, there is no toilet for them and are forced to use the open spaces for daily needs.

The only toilet in the building has been reserved for the staff and students are utilising the schools ground for the same.

The toilet which was supposed to be used by the students is out of use. “Our school ground is our toilet, we go in open for loo”, said a fourth class student.

The in charge of the school said, “We have pleaded the school board a number of times to construct proper toilets for the students but no response so far.

Moreover, there is only one tap and no water storage tank in the school and the water supply stops with the power cut.” she added.

While the teachers are waiting for the authorities to take some steps, the reaction of district education officer Prakash Watti towards the problem was shocking. She said, “we have put the issues in a development plan and we are waiting for the grant of the funds.”



PU Notes
Welfare department to host youth fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The youth welfare department, Panjab University, for the first time is going to host North Indian Inter-University Youth Festival from December 13 to 17 on the campus.

More than 3000 student artists from 70 universities will participate in the fields of music, theatre, fine arts, folk art, heritage, quiz, poetical symposium, debates, dances and painting etc. These participants have already topped in their respective areas in the inter-zonal festivals of their universities.

The four venues on the PU Campus have been finalised. The university auditorium will be the venue for the inauguration and valedictory function besides dance, theatrical (Play/Skit) and folk orchestra items. The English auditorium will host music competitions like vocal (solo) and classical instrumental (solo) group song, etc.

The Evening Studies Auditorium will host the elocution, debate, recitation and quiz. The fourth venue i.e. Fine Arts Museum will be the venue for poster making, cartooning,

on-the-spot painting competition, collage making, clay modelling, rangoli and installation competitions.

International project

Dr. Rajeev K. Puri, reader, department of physics, PU, is granted an international project by the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR) for carrying out nuclear research on reactions.

This project was accepted after a peer review in India and France. In the first phase, a grant of Rs 72 Lakhs has been sanctioned. The principal collaborator from France is Prof Joerg Aichelin, who is an internationally-known nuclear scientist with 9000 citations.

This project will enable Dr Puri and his team to visit and work with International institute for Nuclear Physics at Nantes, France, for five years. Similarly, France experts will visit the Panjab University for a joint venture.

Dr. Puri is a renowned nuclear scientist. His nuclear model that challenged the nuclear multi-fragmentation model of Niels Bohr Institute is used worldwide. Dr Puri is also a recipient of national awards from the Atomic energy Commission of India and other from the India Physics Association - the apex body of physicists in the country.

He is also nominated for covet awards like BM Birla science prize and Bhatnagar Award. At international front, he is also receipt of senior Common wealth fellowship (UK), Neil Bohr Institute Fellowship (Denmark), Italian nuclear national fellowship (Italy), National Scientific research fellowship (Belgium), Michigan state university fellowship (USA).

Dr Puri was also a member of the governing body, Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology and Environment, from 2001-2004 under the chairmanship of Prof P.K. Dhumal, Chief minister, Himachal Pradesh



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