C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Time to make your move now
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
With the numbers being important for the formation of the next government at the Centre, the lone Chandigarh parliamentary seat has assumed significance as the electoral ball has moved to the people’s court tomorrow to elect their representative for the next Lok Sabha.

It is for the people to make the next move on the political chess board as a three-cornered keen contest among the virtually permanent rivals -- Pawan Bansal (Congress), Satya Pal Jain (BJP) and Harmohan Dhawan (BSP) -- is on the cards, with smaller players, including the RJD and the 10 Independents, set to play spoilsport for mainline parties.

It is not going to be a cakewalk for MP and minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal, who won the seat with a margin of over 45,000 votes in 2004. With the Opposition making the anti-incumbency factor as a major plank and the BSP and RJD factors coming into play, it seems to be anybody’s game at the hustings with political pundits predicting a neck-and-neck fight between Bansal and Jain.

However, Bansal has made development as his main issue, claiming that the city had witnessed unprecedented development during the past 10 years, bringing in on the world map.

Political observers opined that the voting percentage would have a direct impact on the outcome of the poll this time around. In 2004, around 52 per cent of the total electorate of 5.27 lakh cast their votes with colonies and villages registering a higher percentage of votes than the urban areas.

It was no-holds-barred campaign in Chandigarh this time with allegations and counter allegations ruling the roost. While Bansal sought votes on his development work and in the name of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his bete noire Jain turned the campaigning into a slanging match, levelling personal allegations against Bansal and his family at the fag end of the campaigning.

Dhawan focussed on Bansal’s failure on all fronts and his performance during his tenure as MP for 19 months and as minister for four months.



Nurses Day
Nothing in it for us, say nurses
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
City hospitals celebrated International Nurses Day today even as the working conditions and poor pay structures of modern day “nightingales” in the private sector did not bring a smile to many faces.

Salaries starting at a mere Rs 5,000-Rs 8,000; working hours ranging from eight to 16 hours daily; job insecurity and high stress more or less sums up the sorry state of the nursing profession that has been eulogised for years in the name of Florence Nightangale.

In contrast, the situation is better off in government hospitals, where nurses get between Rs 26,000-Rs 27,000 plus perks (at the PGI after the implementation of the sixth pay commission report) from the day they don the white uniform.

While the starting pay scales in other government hospitals in the city are still hovering around Rs 14,300, these are also slated to shoot to the PGI levels once the pay commission report is implemented by the UT administration.

“Nurses are the backbone of a hospital and take a great load of work, but we are being paid less than safai karamcharis and Class IV employees in the government sector. It is a pity that we get such a raw deal,” Kavita (name changed), a nurse at Grecian Hospital, Mohali, said, adding that she was getting just Rs 5,000.

Kavita said while they were entitled to paltry annual increments, there was stagnation in the profession. But she said sometimes, hospitals did have a career promotion plan.

“Most of us are working here to gain experience and get an opportunity to work abroad,” said Ritu (name changed), a nurse at Ivy Hospital, Mohali. “While we are paid about $100 here for working eight to 12 hours daily, in the US and Canada, a nurse gets $20 to $40 per hour,” she said, adding that the working conditions in the private hospitals were bad.

The skewed nurse-patient ratio in the hospitals also worsens the work environment. While the International Council of Nurses recommends one nurse per six patients in a ward, in the city hospitals, they attend to many more patients.

Claiming that nurses here were treated more like maids, a nurse at Cheema Medical Complex, Mohali, said doctors never value “our” suggestions on patient care. “We do not have job security and just have to say yes to everything,” she said.

Ajay Cheema, owner of the medical complex, admitted: “We are paying Rs 5,000-6,000 to fresh candidates, but we provide the best healthcare services.”

Dr Shivpreet Singh Samra of Grecian Hospital said: “We pay the nursing staff as per their qualification. At present, we are paying around Rs 5,500 as starting salary.”

Ivy Hospital nurses are also getting the same salary package at the initial level. Gurtej Singh, CEO of the hospital, said the same amount was being paid to freshers.



PEC employees complain to Adviser
Told to attend office on polling day
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Punjab Engineering College (PEC) seems to have run into trouble with its employees approaching the UT Adviser against the alleged act of forcing some employees to attend office tomorrow even though it has been declared a public holiday in lieu of the Lok Sabha polls.

According to a notice issued by a senior librarian, some library staff members have offered to work voluntarily in the wake of the examinations starting from May 14 as reading rooms would be open on May 13. The employees have been promised compensatory leave for later.

However, in a written complaint, the employees’ union has told a different story altogether. According to it, though the notice emphasised that attendance was voluntary, most of them were being threatened with disciplinary action if they refused to come.

“The affected employees submitted a complaint to the union, saying that they were being forced to come and were also being threatened with dire consequences if they failed to do so. We have attached that complaint with ours and sent to the Adviser. Tomorrow is a public holiday and the act violates the code. We want necessary action against the college authorities,” Hari Mohan, president of the employees’ union, said.

While the PEC director could not be contacted, one of the officials on the condition of anonymity said: “The notice is self explanatory and calls for voluntary attendance and nobody is being forced. The issue is just being blown out of proportion to create tension.”

As per the UT administration’s directives, May 13 would be observed as a public holiday in all offices, boards, corporations and institutions under the administration and also within the meaning of Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act on account of the Lok Sabha elections.



17 R&O bags Flight Safety Trophy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The 17th Reconnaissance and Observation (17 R&O) Flight of 660 Army Aviation Squadron received the coveted Western Command Flight Safety Trophy for the year 2008-09 for having been adjudged the best operational flying unit in the Western Command.

The trophy was presented to the unit by Lt Gen TK Sapru, GOC-in-C, Western Command, during the Western Command Annual Flight Safety Conference held at Chandimandir Cantonment today.

The Army commander highlighted the commendable performance of aviation units in the Western Command, both within the country as well as on UN peacekeeping missions aboard. He stressed upon the importance of synergy between man and machine for a safe flying environment.

Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lt Gen AN Aul, chaired the conference. Maj Gen AH Gadre, Additional Director General, Army Aviation, from Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Army), and a host of other service officers participated in the conference.

General Aul congratulated the Army Aviation Corps for its outstanding performance and an achievement of over 7,000 hours of accident and incident-free operational helicopter flying over vast semi-desert and mountainous terrain in the area of responsibility of the Command.

Army Aviation units of Western Command have also bagged the prestigious Chief of the Army Staff Flight Safety Trophy for the best Army Aviation Flight and also the trophy for the best Maintenance Flight.


It’s pamphlet war now
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
After the war of words, it is the turn for “pamphlet war” between Congress candidate Pawan Bansal and BJP’s Satya Pal Jain.

Showing a pamphlet released by the BJP, Congress candidate Pawan Bansal accused Satya Pal Jain of making attempts to tarnish his image and flouting democratic norms.

The pamphlet issued by the BJP allegedly put certain questions to Bansal relating to his wealth, acquisition of plot for DPS School in Sector 40 at subsidised rates and setting up of a pharmaceutical firm at Baddi after “abolishing” taxes to the tune of crores and a benami 4.5 acre plot in the Industrial Area.

Saying Jain was frustrated, Bansal today wrote a letter, enclosing the pamphlet, to BJP supremo LK Advani, requesting him to constitute a committee of senior BJP leaders to inquire into the conduct of Jain.

The letter says: “In the past also, I have been the target of the ravings and rantings of a frustrated Jain on many occasions. In fact, it has been his futile attempt to dent a reputation that I have assiduously built over the years.

“I dismiss his barrage of allegations with the contempt it deserves. If even an iota of evidence surfaces, suggesting or pointing any wrongdoing on my part … I will quit public life forever, even after winning the present elections,” he said.

He said he came from a well-to-do family background and all the property he owned had been bought before 1978. “There had been no addition to my property in the past three decades. All my relatives are sound, if they buy some property that does not mean that the property belongs to me,” he said.

“I am forced to say that when Jain used to work as a newspaper hawker getting 2 paisas, I studied in a school where the fee was Rs 200,” he retorted.

Bansal said his son and nephew would decide whether to go in for judicial intervention in the matter. “I will fight on the political front,” he said, showing certain posters of the BJP containing the photograph of only Jain. “It apparently shows that the local unit of the BJP hardly recognises LK Advani as its supreme leader,” he quipped. On the other hand, Jain, while accusing Bansal of trying to evade the issues raised in the pamphlet, challenged him to go to court. “All questions raised in the pamphlet are based on documentary proof and have been reported in reputed newspapers. He should have answered the questions,” he said.

Reacting to Bansal’s statement, Jain said it was not a crime to be born in a poor family. “I am proud that this son of a newspaper vendor got an opportunity to serve a city like Chandigarh while acquiring the topmost position,” he added.



Candidates play mind games
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
On the penultimate day of polling for the Lok Sabha elections, major contenders today staked their claim to the city seat at separate press conferences here today.

BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan was hopeful of clinching the top position, followed by BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain and Congress candidate Pawan Bansal in the third place. Rashtriya Janata Dal’s candidate Hafiz Anwar Ul Haq, too, claimed that he would grab the first place.

“My victory is certain. The Congress and the BJP are fighting for the second or third slot,” claimed Anwar.

The two front-runners — Congress party’s Pawan Bansal and BJP’s Satya Pal Jain — did not think much of their rivals either.

Claiming that his campaign had gained momentum in urban areas, where the party had been lagging behind earlier, Dhawan said: “With the support of the Left, trade unions, government employees, insurance sector and small traders have all made up their mind for a change in our favour.”

He claimed that colonies and villages were already backing him but with the urban voter deciding to vote in his favour, the contest would be a one-sided one.

“The BJP candidate has no base in villages and colonies but urban voters do vote for him and looking at the present scenario, I can see Bansal finishing a poor third. Except for big corporate sector, no one is backing him this time.”

He claimed that the next government at the Centre would be formed with the help of the BSP and the Left. RJD national general secretary Kumar Alam, in town to support party candidate Hafiz Anwar Ul Haq, said RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s rally had assured the victory of their candidate.

“The substantial number of migrant citizens from Bihar and UP based in Chandigarh were already with the RJD and if even if few were left, they have now come on our side after listening to Lalu,” he said.

Haq added that time had come for Bansal, Dhawan and Jain to retire.

“These leaders must retire now, as Chandigarh is now the city of youngsters and they need someone young to lead them.”

Haq said Lalu had assured him that he would personally look into the development of the city and would accelerate city’s growth on a par with the development of railways.

He added that he would accelerate the process of bringing Metro to the city.

Accusing the Congress of having influenced the Chandigarh administration, Haq said it was because of the intervention of Bansal that Lalu was not able to meet mediapersons on the pretext of security threat.

Haq also accused some miscreant elements of damaging the car of his wife who was on a campaigning tour for him at Colony No. 5.

Earlier, accusing certain newspaper managements of generating “surrogate news”, Dhawan talked of conducting public audit to expose them publically after the elections.

“Even I have been approached by certain managements of newspapers for ‘packaged news’ for which I refused. This downfall in journalism is disturbing as certain political parties are hand in glove with newspaper managements to give a fillip to their campaign.”



BJP youth cell chief, supporters join Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
A day prior to the polling, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a jolt when its youth cell president Ram Achbar Yadav and ward No. 19 president Chhotelal along with their supporters joined the Congress.

Those who joined the Congress included Ram Manuj Maurya, Raksh Ram Yadav, Vijay Maurya, Laxman Yadav, Dinesh Gupta, Moti Lal LMourya, Kailash Yadav, Faujdar Maurya, Pawan, Deepu, Ramdaas, Purndev Thakur, Bablu Yadav, Jai Daran Yadav, Suraat Yadav, Chhotu, Subhash, Ramakant, Bhola, Nanhu Maurya, Mahendra Sngh, Shanker and Shravan Kumar. They said they had more faith in the Congress than the BJP, which had become self-centered in the past few years.

In another development, office-bearers and members of the 33 Gurdwara Parbandak Committee reiterated their support to Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal and appealed to the Sikh community to vote for him, while acknowledging satisfaction over Prime Ministerial candidate Manmohan Singh, whom they said was the best choice for the country.

The statement was issued by Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (Sector 34 gurdwara) general secretary Harjit Singh, manager Ajit Singh (Sector 22 gurdwara), president Kesar Singh (Sector 46 gurdwara), president Balwinder Singh (Sector 19 gurdwara), president Mahinder Singh Bedi (Sector 37 gurdwara), president Tara Singh (Sector 38 gurdwara) and general secretary Ajaib Singh (Sector 8 gurdwara).

Meanwhile, a large number of people along with office-bearers of the Bharatiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj, Prantiya Sangthan (Chandigarh), led by its convener BL Manchal, treasurer Vir Ravindra Kumar refuted the allegation that some of its members had offered their support to the BJP and asserted that they had always been backing Bansal.

“It was just a false propaganda by some mischievous elements,” Manchal said.

In a statement, Jain Samaj president Surendra Jain said no member of the samaj had ever consented to support the BJP as had been reported in a section of Press and reiterated that all members of the samaj were with Bansal.



All set for polls: Mehra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
With all election arrangements, including security measures, in place, Chandigarh is set for the conduct of free and fair polls tomorrow, said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Pradip Mehra here today.

After the third randomisation, EVMs have been assigned to the polling officials and polling stations, he said. Strict security measures, including sealing of borders with the neighbouring states, have been taken to avoid any untoward incident, Mehra claimed.

With the Election Commission and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) agreeing to the request of the Chandigarh administration for two more companies of security personnel, a strict vigil would be maintained at all polling booths, including 85 sensitive booths, the CEO asserted.

Mehra said keeping in view the sultry weather, provision of drinking water had been made at all polling stations.

In fact, for the first time provisions had been made for visually challenged persons to cast their votes without the assistance of any person by reading Braille language pasted on the EVMs, he said.

Claiming that the election department was committed to holding elections in “totally objective and dispassionate manner”, Mehra said special raids were being conducted to seize liquor allegedly intended to be distributed among voters.

As many as 12 Sector magistrates with equal number of DSPs, 50 supervisors, 27 micro observers had been deployed for the election duty.

Around 2,500 polling personnel and 3,500 police personnel, drawn from the Chandigarh police, the CRPF and the Haryana police have been deployed, poll officials said.

Besides, 12 vulnerable areas had been identified in slums and 12 quick reaction teams had been deployed to avoid any eventuality.

Meanwhile, EVMs will be stored in the strong room in the presence of observers, contesting candidates/their agents.

Tight security arrangements have been made at the counting centres for the safe custody of EVMs and polling material. Under the instructions of the Election Commission, candidates/ their authorised representatives can also keep a watch at the strong rooms.

Video cameras/CCTVs are being installed outside the strong rooms. Sufficient number of police personnel have been deployed round the clock to keep a vigil of these rooms, officials added.



Liquor seizures ahead of polls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
In the runup to elections for the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency, the local police stepped up its campaign against liquor smuggling and seized huge quantities of liquor in the past week.

The police arrested a Bihar resident while carrying 109 cartons of liquor without possessing a valid permit from a roadblock near the furniture market in the wee hours today. A woman was also arrested in Sector 38-West with 105 nips of liquor last night.

According to police station-36 SHO Anokh Singh, a police team on a late-night duty pulled over a pickup near the furniture market around 1 am. An occupant of the pickup jumped and fled the scene, while another person was arrested.

The search of the vehicle led to the seizure of 190 cartons of country-made liquor, which was being smuggled to Himachal Pradesh.

The man arrested has been identified as Ajay Kumar of Bihar. He could not reveal the place of origin of the consignment.

He said he got the consignment from a man in Sector 42. He named another person, Sunil Kumar, who knew the source of the liquor.

The accused failed to produce the documents of the vehicle, a Mahindra Pickup (HP 71 0254), in which the liquor was being smuggled.

In another seizure, police station-39 SHO Janak Rana said Usha of Sector 38-West was arrested while carrying 105 nips of country-made liquor in a sack last night.

She did not belong to any political party but had been involved in smuggling of liquor for some time. She had procured the liquor to make quick buck during the dry days declared due to elections.

Apart from these seizures, the police arrested over 10 persons in the past one week for indulging in liquor trafficking.

The police arrested Deepak of Sector 38 from Sector 22 while carrying 18 cartons of liquor illegally.

The police also arrested a Ram Darbar resident, Pardeep Kumar, with eight bottles of country-made liquor from the same locality.

The police had also arrested a BJP activist, Rajiv Goel, and his driver with 100 cartons of liquor without valid permit.

A few days ago, the police arrested Goel’s employee with five cartons of liquor without permit outside the latter’s shop in Sector 18.



Haryana lends 2 companies to city police
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The Chandigarh police got a breather on the eve of polling for the fifth phase of the general election here with the Haryana Armed Police today providing two companies to its local counterparts.

With this, around 2,800 policemen, including personnel from paramilitary and reserve police force, will be deployed across the city during the polling. One company consists of around 70 personnel.

Talking to the TNS, UT SSP SS Srivastva said agreeing to their demand of providing two more companies, the election commission sanctioned two companies from the Haryana Armed Police to them.

In all, around 50 nakas in and around the city in the bordering areas have been set up for the election day.

All eleven DSPs of the city police have been assigned the responsibility of taking care of the 11 police stations in the city and the area falling under their jurisdiction.

The Inspector-General of Police and the SSP briefed the force about their poll-related duties this morning.

The police has deployed 80 mobile patrolling parties across the city. In all, 13 sensitive areas have been identified in the city having 422 booths in 163 buildings.

The police has identified 85 polling booths as sensitive.

A police officer said a head constable, a constable and a home guard volunteer will be deployed at every normal polling booth, while an assistant sub-inspector or a sub-inspector along with a woman officer will man a polling station.

Besides, 12 armed teams of reserved police force, 12 quick reaction teams and eight mounted force staff would be deployed at sensitive areas in slums and at villages in the city.

DSP (PCR) Vijay Kumar, who is the nodal police officer for Lok Sabha elections, will coordinate with the police teams deployed on election duty.



BSP focussing on voters in Kandi area
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 12
The percentage and pattern of polling in the Mohali, Kharar and Balachur segments of the Anandpur Sahib parliamentary seat would tilt the scale in favour of the winning candidates.

It has turned out to be a triangular contest between SAD candidate Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, Congress candidate Ravneet Bittu and BSP candidate Kewal Krishan Chaudhary in three segments. In fact, the BSP candidate has emerged a dark horse and could pose a serious threat to the Congress.

The BSP, due to its changed strategy, could be successful in making a major dent in the Congress vote bank in the Kandi area.

Expecting a comparatively low voter turnout in the urban areas, the BSP is concentrating in the Kandi area, which has a sizeable chunk of voters comprising of Gujjars, Balmiki, Bajigar and Ramdasias. The drifting of the vote bank of Gujjars and others to the BSP could spell doom for the Congress.

All the three candidates have been claiming support of the voters hailing from different communities -- Saini, Gujjar, Balmiki, Brahmin, Kashyap Rajput, Namdhari, Bajigar, Aggarwal, Khatri, Baati, Ramdasia, Ramgarhia, Arora, Muslims and Christians.

In the Mohali city, it is direct fight between the SAD and the Congress. The Congress is hopeful of repeating the retake of the last two Vidhan Sabha election held in 2002 and 2007. However, in the Majri block of the Kharar segments, the SAD-BJP combine could get more votes.

45 bottles of liquor seized

Pulling up its socks, the Mohali police today seized 45 bottles of liquor bottles in two cases. While 30 bottles were being taken in a Scorpio of a Congress supporter, 14 bottles in another case were caught in Janta Colony also from a Congress supporter. Though SAD workers claimed huge quantity of bottles were being supplied to the supporters by the Congress, the leader of the Congress denied it. Sources reveal that both the parties were supplying liquor to their supporters.



74 polling booths declared sensitive
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 12
All the poll arrangements in the SAS Nagar assembly constituency were completed today. An election official disclosed that 170 polling stations had been set up in connection with the Lok Sabha elections.

As many as 74 polling booths, to be set up in 39 polling stations, have been declared sensitive.

Many of these are also located in Mohali town. Among these are Shastri Model School, Phase I (4), public health office, Phase II (2), Khalsa College, Phase III-A (3), BR Ambedkar Institute, Phase III-B2 (3), Sherwood Convent School, Phase IV (3), Shivalik Public School, Phase VI (4), Government Elementary School, Phase V (4), Government Elementary School, Phase IX (3), Government School, Phase VII (4), Ajit Karam Singh School, Phase XI (4), and Government High School, Phase XI (4).

The polling staff was given the electronic voting machines from Shivalik Public School, Phase VI.

Meanwhile, the president of the Mohali district unit of the BJP, Amardeep Sharma, today said he had been approached by industrial workers stating that certain industrial units were not abiding by the government notification of tomorrow being a paid holiday. He said he was taking up the matter with the labour department. The Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, Prabhjot Singh Mand, said tomorrow was a paid holiday and everyone had to abide by it.



Section 144 imposed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 12
A ban has been imposed by the District Magistrate on the gathering of five or more persons at public places in Mohali to maintain law and order in connection with the Lok Sabha polls being held tomorrow.

As per the ban orders issued under Section 144 of the CrPc, five or more persons would not be allowed to hold meetings, raise slogans and organise processions without permission.

However, these orders did not apply to the police, home guards, government employees and the processions held in connection with marriages or deaths.

Another order of the District Magistrate said all supporters, relatives and others who had come to the district for canvassing in support of certain candidates should move out of the district.



IAF gives safety tips to students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
As part of its flight safety campaign, the Indian Air Force (IAF) today conducted an awareness workshop for students at Mt Carmel School, Sector 47. A film on career opportunities in the air force and a motivational movie named “Akash Yodha” was also screened on the occasion.

A large number of aircraft posters, pamphlets, caps, notebooks, pencils and pens carrying flight safety slogans were also distributed to the students. The campaign concluded with a drawing competition, in which more than 250 students participated.

The aim of this workshop was to make students aware that disposal of garbage and food items in the open attracted birds, which was among the major causes of accidents involving both air force and civil aircrafts.

Wing Commander Pankaj Chopra, Flight Safety Officer, Air Force Station, Chandigarh, along with his team, explained the importance of flight safety and the role of every citizen towards enhancing it, which would reduce the cases of bird-hits on aircrafts.

The students were also given an overview of the career opportunities in the Indian Air Force.



Members of health ministry visit GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
A two-member team from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, inspected Government Medical College and Hospital for starting a certificate course on “Pre-Hospital Trauma Technician” here yesterday.

The team consisting of Dr Prem Sagar and Dr M Pawar, visited various areas of the hospital, including emergency, OPDs, wards, ICU and operation theatres.

The team found that infrastructure of the hospital had a capacity of providing medical care to the patients, training and academic opportunities to the students.



Train rolls forward without engine
DRM dismisses it as minor incident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Last night’s incident of a packed 2232 Sadhbhavna Express (Chandigarh-Lucknow) rolling down the gradient uncontrollably without an engine at the Chandigarh railway station has raised eyebrows on the vigilance of the railway staff.

Preliminary investigations into the last night’s incident revealed that somebody had released the brakes of the engine a bit too early than the actual time of release.

Divisional regional manager, Ambala division, HK Jaggi dismissed it as a “minor incident” and said an official from Ambala had been deputed at the Chandigarh railway station to look into the matter, apart from an inquiry team that has been set up.

“Some brakes are released when a train starts, but in this case it appears somebody did it earlier than usual. We will shortly find out how it happened,” said the DRM.

Meanwhile, the police constables on duty said the incident could have snowballed into a major accident.

The train was spotted rolling down the gradient for around 150 metres without control.

“Around 8 pm, the train started moving on the track, even as it was slow but was uncontrolled. The loading staff tried hard to stop the train by putting boulders on the track but in vain. It finally stopped when it hit an engine in front,” said Brajesh Kumar, who was on duty at the station at the time of the incident.

Joginder Singh Bhogal, member, railway users committee, Northern railways, emphasised the need for keeping passenger security on top priority.

“The incident could be the result of carelessness on part of technical staff, a human error or negligence on part of the driver. The reasons would be known after a technical inquiry but passenger security needs to be on a par with other development activity,” said Bhogal.

Stating that the guard on duty who brought the situation under control must be appreciated, he said the presence of mind of men on duty saved many lives as the incident could have turned into a major accident had the train rolled further.



PU assures jobs to visually impaired
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
With the vice-chancellor of Panjab University giving a final nod to the recommendations of the committee constituted to make the university friendly for visually impaired, it will soon install Braille-equipped computers and books in the library.

In addition to the approved postulates like reservation of seats in all departments and free hostels, the university has gone a step further by promising campus placements for the visually-impaired students.

According to authorities, these students would get reservation in all streams along with accommodation in hostels free of cost.

The authorities added that the university should develop or install a new software in all departments to record the study material and get all notes recorded for the visually-impaired students.

The university also promised to place these students at suitable posts in good organisations.



Nurses Day
‘Nurses should be compassionate’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The city hospitals celebrated the birth anniversary of founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale today as International Nurses Day to commemorate her contribution, dedication, and devotion towards the nursing profession.


Nurses at PGIMER are celebrating the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale from May 12 to 18. The theme for this year is ‘Delivering Quality, Serving Communities: Nurses Leading Care Innovation.’

The function started with lighting of a lamp by PGIMER director Prof KK Talwar, who was the chief guest on the occasion. He appreciated the services provided to the patients by nurses of Nehru Hospital.

He said the nursing should have a human touch and should be concerned about needs of their patients.

He inspired them to interact politely with the patients.

The medical superintendent-cum-head of Hospital Administration, Prof AK Gupta, appreciated the hard work and dedication of nurses. Quoting that ‘Even the best can be improved’, Prof Gupta called upon the nurses to improve the standards of aseptic techniques and other aspects of patient care. He paid rich tributes to Florence Nightingale and inspired the nurses to emulate her.

Nursing superintendent Amarjit Nafra highlighted the activities to be carried out over the week like handwashing techniques, seminar on role of nurse in health care innovation and health teaching in different wards of Nehru Hospital. She encouraged them to participate in all programmes and make the theme a reality.

The function ended with a vote of thanks by deputy nursing superintendent Saroj Gill followed by a cake-cutting ceremony by Prof Talwar.


The nursing department of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, is also celebrating International Nurses Week (May 12 to 18) to mark the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

The activities started with an inaugural function organised by the nursing department. The chief guest on the occasion was director principal of GMCH-32 Prof Raj Bahadur. He congratulated and motivated the nurses to provide quality services in the hospital by serving with dedication and compassion.

The theme of the week is “Delivering quality, serving Communities: Nurses Leading Care Innovations”. It is targeted at finding and adopting new information and better ways of promoting health, preventing disease and better patient care.

Medical superintendent, GMCH-32, Dr Vipin K. Koushal also emphasised on better patient-nurse relationship so that patients feel comfortable in the hospital.

Acting nursing superintendent Balwinder Kaur welcomed the dignitaries, guests and staff. Nurse Sandeep said nurses should engage in innovative activities in various areas, especially communities to reduce costs of the treatment.

Nurses of GMCH are organising various health education activities throughout the week in communities and hospital settings like quiz competition, health education in communities and hospitals on topics like female foeticide, prevention of water-borne diseases and optional immunisation.

Fortis Hospital

Fortis Hospital, Mohali, today celebrated International Nurses Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. The director of Women’s Resource and Advocacy Centre and vice-president of National Alliance of Women, Dr Pam Rajput, was the chief guest on the occasion.

More than 100 nurses attended the inaugural session, which started with the lamp-lighting ceremony by Dr Pam Rajput, Ashish Bhatia, regional head, North, Fortis Healthcare.

A series of programmes have been planned at the hospital, keeping the theme in mind. There will be a session on ‘Innovative role play regarding patient care and patient satisfaction’ on May 13. A poster competition will be organised and there will be a free check-up camp on May 15. Games based on the overall theme will be conducted on May 16. The prize distribution and a cultural programme will be organised on May 18.

Dr Rajput expressed gratitude to the nurses of Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

Nursing superintendent, Fortis Hospital, Vinesh Sharma, said: “Our nurses at Fortis are helping in innovating management policy. It is good to see that they are displaying leadership skills and are providing a tremendous amount of care and compassion to patients.”

Ivy Hospital

The International Nurses Day was celebrated at Ivy Multi-speciality Hospital here today. The nurses presented cultural programmes on the occasion.

Medical director, Ivy Hospital, Dr Kanwal Deep, said: “We take extra care of our staff. To make our nurses happy and to inspire them with the deeds of great Nightingale, we decided to celebrate the Nurses Day.” The nursing staff presented dance items on popular hindi numbers and a skit on this occasion. The programme started with the lighting of a lamp by CEO Gurtej Singh.



Speaking Out
Day off on poll day?

The D-day has finally arrived. The city is all set to vote but should the election day be an entire day off or a half day exemption is good enough? Here are the views of a few voters of the city.

I think a half day leave is ideal enough to be given to employees. Organisations must be responsive towards every citizen's duty and responsibility to choose the right electorate. The half day leave will give sufficient time to the employees to exercise their right. On the contrary a full day holiday would just mean loss of precious human resource value.

— Hridesh Madan

I believe that just about 2 hours off is good enough on the election day. For a responsible citizen, work is also as much a priority as casting a vote. On the pretext of voting, not carrying out one’s duty is not a great way to pay homage to martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation and not a true way to contribute in the largest democracy in the world.

— Ritu Bagal

In my opinion, election day should not be a full day holiday at all. Those who do not want to vote will not vote. Giving a full day holiday will not motivate them rather it is a sheer wastage of precious time of the country.

— Gurmeet Kaur

In my opinion there should definitely be a full day holiday on the election day. This will avoid any disturbance. You can vote in a tension-free atmosphere and can also encourage family members to vote. At least you should have the liberty to vote at the time when you feel convenient. It will encourage voters too.

— Surjit Singh



PU mulls dual degrees for students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
If Panjab University Vice-Chancellor’s ambitious plan falls in place, Panjab University students might be able to obtain dual degrees soon.

The students if willing will be able to obtain masters in diverse subjects like science and humanities, simultaneously, not only from the university but also from the foreign universities as well with whom they have signed an MOU.

The plan is based on the fact that many courses have a few common subjects and is an extension of programmes being run by the university counterparts across the world.

In this a student of one stream can undertake a simultaneous study of the common subjects of the other and will be able to get degrees in both the subjects given the fact that he acquires requisite marks that can be divided between both streams.

The project that aims to make traditional degree courses job oriented was proposed by the Vice-Chancellor and all department heads will get back to him with their suggestions on the integrities of its implementation.

“A lot of our courses share common subjects. The pattern is being followed in many foreign universities where the students get dual degrees by attending summer semesters, evening classes, etc. in addition to their regular course. We can involve research scholars to teach in such programmes,” said the VC.



Pay Panel Recommendations
Teachers take to streets
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 12
All university and college teachers of the state staged a dharna in front of the office of the Higher Education Commissioner here today to protest against the non-implementation of the notification of the HRD Ministry on revised pay scales for the university and college teachers.

Prof NS Kaushal, president, Haryana Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (HFUCTO), said a strong resentment was brewing up among the teachers of the university and colleges against the state government due to an unnecessary delay in the implementation of the revised pay scales.

He demanded that the state government should immediately implement the revised pay scales as per the notification of the MHRD dated December 31, 2008.

About 1,500 teachers from various teaching organisations, including government colleges, government-aided colleges, Kurukshetra University, Maharishi Dayanand University, Chaudhary Devi Lal University and Guru Jambheshwar University, etc. participated in the dharna.

The teachers expressed their resentment against the state government for not implementing the revised pay scales immediately. They further criticised the Vice-Chancellors of various universities for not putting the demands of the teachers to the state government in a proper and effective manner.

While briefing the media, Dr Rajbir Parashar said there would be a meeting of the HFUCTO on May 18 at Kurukshetra University, which would decide the further course of action.



Food Street brawl
PU lets student leader off hook
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The committee constituted by Panjab University to consider the demand of taking a stern action against students’ union president Sahil Nanda for his involvement in a brawl outside the Food Street submitted its report today.

According to sources, the university had decided not to take any action, as Sahil was booked under the Sections 107,51 of the CrPc only. The sources said the university had asked to issue warnings to all five students involved in the brawl.



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