C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rathore’s girl, too, defaulted on fee
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Key findings of report

l Ruchika Girhotra was the only student to have been expelled for the non-payment of fee in the past 20 years.
l The school has to date overlooked over 135 similar fee default cases, including that of Rathore’s daughter.
l The school acted under some compelling influence in the arbitrary decision to single out Ruchika and selectively applied the rules pertaining to the non-payment of fee in her case.
l This act of the school authorities certainly would have contributed to mortifying the self-esteem, self-confidence, integrity and reputation of a young girl.

Admn decides to

l Withdraw the state award of the principal, Sr. Sebastina
l Set up a mechanism to stop similar acts by other schools in future.
l Urge the school management to take strict action against the principal

Chandigarh, January 7
In a startling revelation made by the UT administration today, Sacred Heart School expelled Ruchika Girhotra in 1990 for non-payment of fee, but it overlooked the fact that SPS Rathore’s own daughter, Priyanjali, was also a defaulter for the quarters of April and October the same year.

The fact was brought forth today in the inquiry reported submitted to the UT Administrator, holding Sacred Heart guilty of expelling Ruchika in a mala fide manner.

The report established that Ruchika was the only student to have been expelled for non-payment of fee in the past 20 years while as many as 135 such cases had been reported so far. Out of these, 17 were reported the same year Ruchika was expelled and also included Priyanjali Rathore.

While this fact has proved to be a major ground for establishing the biased attitude of the school authorities, the principal, Sr. Sebastina, has asserted in her statement that she was not aware that Priyanjali had ever defaulted in the payment of fee for two quarters.

The administration has zeroed in on eight cases of non-payment of fee which were far more serious.

The most glaring one was that of Niharika Sharma of Class X-D (the same section as Ruchika’s) who paid the fee for the first time in October 1990 — six months after she defaulted — but the school authorities only victimised Ruchika and expelled her in an insensitive, unthoughtful, arbitrary and harsh manner.



Decision on Rathore’s bail plea today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 7
Additional District and Sessions Judge Sanjeev Jindal today reserved his decision on the anticipatory bail plea of former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore and co-accused Sewa Singh in the Ruchika molestation case for tomorrow.

Rathore had moved the court on December 30, seeking anticipatory bail following the registration of two fresh FIRs against him following the complaints of Ruchika’s father Subhash Girhtora and his son Ashu. They accused Rathore of attempt to murder, illegal detention and forging of documents. Though another fresh case of abetment to suicide was slapped on Rathore later, he did not file any application for anticipatory bail in it.

Earlier, Abha Rathore, pleading for anticipatory bail for her husband, submitted that though the police and the complainants did not have an iota of evidence to prove the allegations levelled in the FIRs against Rathore, he had been “wrongly” booked due to media hype.

The complainants had used the media to mount pressure on the police and the government to register criminal cases against him, she contended.

She said the media was portraying Rathore as a monster, molester and an animal and pronouncing its own judgements holding him guilty. She pleaded that her husband, a 67-year-old man who had undergone aortic valve surgery, should be granted anticipatory bail as he was not opposed to any investigation like in the past.

Rathore had already been absolved of many charges in the court and he was again being subject to harassment and humiliation, she added, arguing that several allegations were levelled against Rathore for the first time during the past 16 years even though the complainants had got a number of opportunities to reveal everything to the investigating agencies and various courts.

The counsel of Sewa Singh told the court that his client handled the investigations in the case for only one day (from October 25 to October 26). He arrested Ashu following the disclosure statement of Sandeep on October 25, 1993, on the orders of SI Prem Dutt and handed over the case to him the next day. Claiming that the media was being given distorted facts by the complainants, he argued that Ashu never complained to anybody during this period that he was involved in false cases and it was only after more than 16 years that he was coming up with such claims. He also denied that Sewa Singh acted on the behest of Rathore.

Pankaj Bhardwaj, counsel for the Girhotras and Anand Prakash, contended that the accused should not be granted bail, but should be put behind the bars as he could influence investigations. It was only because of his influence that the FIR in the case was registered after seven years of the incident and that also on the intervention of the court, he stated.

He also sought immediate custodial interrogation of Rathore, the then Ambala SP, KP Singh, and the other accused in the case.

“Rathore masterminded everything and it was not possible to discuss the matter with him over a cup of tea to unearth the truth,” he contended. “It is the rarest of rare cases where a former CBI official has said Rathore tried to bribe him and even former Haryana DGP, RR Singh, said Rathore threatened him,” Bhardwaj added.

The public prosecutor sought some time to file the reply when the judge asked him why the state had not collected evidence since the matter came up before the court on January 1.



Lid blown off school’s claims
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

This is the first installment of her justice. I still remember how much she cried when they threw her out. The goons outside her house would taunt her for this expulsion and many cited her alleged loose character as a reason for this. Girhotra Uncle pleaded that she needed their support to fight but they never listened. Thankfully though after so many years the world got to know the truth behind hollow idles.-Aradhna

Report tool in abetment case: Pankaj Bhardwaj

Appreciating UT’s efforts, Pankaj Bhardwaj, the counsel of Anand Prakash, said that this report would be a major tool in the ongoing abetment to suicide case against Rathore.

When questioned about School being a party he said that it will automatically happen with CBI enquiry for circumstancial eveidence. The UT admnistration has refuse to initiate any legal proceedings against the school.

Chandigarh, January 7
The UT administration enquiry report which was made public today not only found Sacred Heart School, sector 26 guilty of expelling Ruchika Girhotra in an arbitrary fashion but also traumatizing her there by indelibly scarring her impressionable mind.

The report gave a serious blow to the prior claims of school authorities and even considered them a pack of lies at one instance. It may be noted while Father Thomas, Anchanikal Vicar General and Spokesman of the Chandigarh Shimla Diocese had all this while insisted that Ruchika was never expelled but it was just her name that was struck off the rolls the enquiry officer SDM Prerna Puri asserted that school was just trying to escape the responsibility by laying with words as both the situations were the sides of the same coin.

Similarly while Principal Sr. Sebastina insisted upon the fact that Ruchika was the sole fee defaulter in year 1990 the records reveled that there were 17 others, which also included Rathore’s own daughter.

It may be noted that though the school had so far stressed upon the fact that every student has a right to be treated fairly and ethically, with respect and dignity to pursue education in a supportive and encouraging environment, it was declared guilty of violating the same.

While UT administration will withdraw the award conferred upon the Principal it will also be forwarding the report to CBSE, SP Panchkula and School management for appropriate action. As far as the affiliation of the same is concerned the administration has denied canceling it just for sake of 2500 students of this school.



Sun brings respite, mercury may rise further
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
City residents got some respite from the unrelenting cold today after the sun came out from the clouds after a foggy morning. The adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana also enjoyed relief from the dense fog that had thrown life out of gear during the past few days.

However, the minimum temperature rose marginally to 4.0 degrees compared to 3.4 degrees Celsius recorded on Wednesday, with the maximum temperature also rising slightly to 16.2 degrees C.

Flight schedules, which had gone awry due to the poor runway visibility at Chandigarh airport for the past seven days, remained cancelled for the eighth day today.

Rail traffic, however, continued to be disrupted with trains running late by several hours. Among the trains delayed were the New Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi, Kalka-Howrah Mail, Chandigarh-Lucknow Sadbhavana Express and the New Delhi-Kalka Himalayan Queen.

The meteorological department has predicted a rise in day and night temperatures tomorrow. “We’re expecting temperatures to increase by at least 2 degrees C in the next 24 hours. However, light fog and chilly winds are expected to continue,” said the met office director. After foggy conditions early in the morning the sun shone on the city as well adjoining Punjab and Haryana today even as the mercury rose by about 2°C in most parts of the region.

For the last few days the foggy weather and a sharp drop in day and night temperatures had sent the city’s denizens scurrying for woollens. Today, though the minimum temperature dropped to 4.0 degrees C, it was a relatively warmer day with the maximum temperature rising marginally to 16.2 d from yesterday’s 15.4 degrees C.

The early morning fog also disappeared as the day progressed. People could be seen across the city basking in the afternoon sun. The scene was no different outside government offices, with most employees trying to make the most of the warm sunshine.

“The intense cold seemed to have robbed us of all cheer. People would be shivering and complaining about the cold, but with today’s change in weather everybody in the office kept looking for excuses to go out in the sunshine,” said a Haryana government employee.

The met office has predicted a clear sky in the next 24 hours and mist or fog during night and morning. Temperatures are likely to rise further and hover between 5 and 17 degrees C on Friday.



Costly generators meant for tubewells lying idle
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 7
In a classic case of taxpayers’ money going down the drain, two diesel-run power generator sets purchased by Mohali municipal council to operate tubewells in Industrial Area, Phase IX are gathering dust.

In the event of a power failure, the MC is supposed to run the tubewells on the generator sets to ensure water supply is not affected. “Each generator set has been purchased at a cost of lakhs of rupees. However, we’ve never seen them functioning”, said an industrialist.

For the past few months the power supply situation has worsened with the Industrial Area facing weekly cuts. A few days back when there was a power failure the tubewells did not operate as there was no diesel in the generator sets.

Enquiries reveal the civic body as failed to supply diesel to operate the generator sets, as a result of which they have never been run.

A large amount of money has also been spent on laying a concrete floor in the area to place the generator sets.



New attraction at Mohali: A Sikh museum
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 7
The state government has chalked out an elaborate plan to promote tourism in Punjab so that state’s rich cultural heritage can prosper. Tourism, Culture and Jails Minister Hira Singh Gabria said this after inaugurating the “Sikh Ajiab Ghar” here today.

The museum houses statues of Sikh martyrs prepared by Parvinder Singh.

Appreciating the effort put in by Parvinder Singh, in educating future generations about the rich Sikh history, the minister assured all possible assistance to the artist in going ahead with the project. He also announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the artist from his discretionary quota.

Parvinder Singh said he had put up statues of Baba Banda Singh Bhadhur, Bhai Mani Singh, Bhai Mati Dass, Bhai Taru Singh, Baba Deep Singh and a number of other martyrs and scenes of atrocities inflicted by the Mughals on the Sikhs. He said more replicas of Sikh martyrs would also be added to the collection.

Jaswant Singh Bhullar, president of the Mohali Ramgharia Sabha, also announced a grant of Rs 51,000 for the museum.

Talking about renovation of modern jails in Faridkot and Kapurthala, the minister said at least 48 houses each were being built for the families of jail inmates. Though a number of jails were in bad shape, the government was taking modernisation of five major jails.



Sirohi is customs chief

Chandigarh, January 7
PK Sirohi, a 1978 batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), has joined as the Chief Commissioner of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax, Chandigarh zone. The zone comprises Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.

He has served in various capacities at the Central Excise Commissionerate, Pune and Mumbai, Central Excise Department, New Delhi, the Settlement Commission, Mumbai, and the Tax Recovery Cell, New Delhi.


Governing bodies may run community centres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The municipal corporation (MC) is mooting a proposal to hand over the maintenance and upkeep of community centres in various sectors of the city to the elected governing bodies, headed by area councillors.

At present, the MC authorities are giving 75 per cent of monthly earnings from the booking fee to the governing bodies of community centres and the rest is deposited in the kitty of the MC. Sources said the five community centres in Sectors 19, 21, 35, 45 and Mani Majra, which had their elected governing bodies, had been getting their share from the booking fee.

The authorities were proposing that the governing bodies take care of maintenance of infrastructure of community centres like the repair and whitewash of buildings, purchase of furniture, appointing watchmen and keeping surroundings green.

The sources revealed that according to this proposal, the project would be commenced with the five community centres which had constituted their governing bodies.

The sources disclosed that the house had approved a proposal in 2001 that governing bodies of the community centres be given a 75 per cent share of the earnings for minor repairs of buildings and day-to-day expenditure while the rest would be managed by the authorities.

The house had decided that the corporation would open the account with Rs 5,000 in the name of the governing body, in which their additional share would be transferred every month.

An official said the authorities had recently renovated most community centres so that the governing bodies, which had sufficient funds to manage day-to-day affairs, did not have to spend much on maintenance.

Mayor Anu Chatrath said the governing bodies were ready to maintain the community centres, but the authorities had not been releasing funds to those in time.

Referring to the governing body of the community centre in her area, she said the authorities had not opened the account in which they could transfer their share for the last one month.

Councillor Jatinder Bhatia remarked that this proposal would help in managing community centres in a better manner, but pointed out that some community centres which generated less income would be difficult to sustain.

Councillor Pradeep Chhabra opined that there was a need to revamp the community centre policy and the role of governing bodies in it.



Admn battles termite menace
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Termite menace continues unabated, particularly affecting green trees all over the city. A survey of trees along the city roads shows deep scars of termite infection along the Madhya Marg, the Sarovar Path, the Vigyan Path and the Dakshin Marg, besides others.

In a particular case, trees in the Leisure Valley show signs of heavy infection and the wing concerned of the administration can be seen on job attempting to save the trees.

Deputy conservator of forests Ishwar Singh says: “The problem of termites is unique to the region. Not just green trees, they infect furniture in houses and offices as well. In touch with the MC, the UT has initiated different programmes over the years and are still continuing.”

He says around 1,500 trees have been found to be infected in the Leisure Valley alone and a treatment process is being carried out.

The UT has had at least three meetings with experts from the forest research institute, Dehradun, on the issue and prepared a rough plan of action, which is being carried out separately by the wings concerned of the administration.

One of the recommendations being worked, on ground, is the treatment of roots of new plants and a subsequent follow-up, which shows encouraging results in preventing termite “invasion”.

The FRI has also made suggestions treating infected trees.



Census preparations under way
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Preparations for the census-2011 have begun and the Government of India has decided to create the National Population Register (NPR), which will contain information on specific data items for each individual.

The preparation of the NPR is a unique and additional feature of the census and when created, it will be a comprehensive database in the country. This information has been given by the Directorate of Census Operation, Chandigarh.

The census will be conducted in two phases, houselisting operations and population enumeration. The houselisting operations will take place in Chandigarh between April 1 and May 15.

During this phase, the houselisting and housing census schedule and the NPR schedule will be canvassed in every household. The population enumeration will be held in February and March, 2011.

The census is an exercise conducted every decade. It is administered by the Centre and in turn, executed by the state governments.

The administration has designated the Deputy Commissioner as the principal census officer, the Subdivisional Magistrate (Central) as the district census officer, the Assistant Officer as the city census officer and the Tehsildar (Revenue) as the census charge officer (Rural). They will act as the nodal department to coordinate census activities.

The census is a comprehensive source of data on socio-economic and demographic characteristics at all levels for use in Five-Year Plans, annual plans, welfare schemes and the electoral process.



District crisis groups in all Punjab dists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
District crisis groups (DCGs) have been constituted in all districts of Punjab for tackling industrial disasters, Tiksham Sud, Punjab Minister for Forests and Labour, said here today.

Speaking during a two-day programme on industrial disaster risk management, Sud said the Punjab government had constituted DCGs under the chairmanship of the respective Deputy Commissioners. These groups would monitor and regulate the preparedness of chemical (industrial) disaster management in their respective districts.

He stressed the need for training to refresh reflex action during an emergency. He highlighted the importance of mock drills for improving the response and preparedness of the civic administration.

NK Wadhavan, Punjab Labour Commissioner, appreciated the initiative taken by the Directorate of Factories and the Disaster Management Institute to link the capacity building initiative with the Germany Advisory Service for Environmental Management under the Indo-German bilateral cooperation.

Sodhi Mall, Joint Director, Directorate of Factories, BH Upadyay of Ranbaxy and Parmajit Singh of Parabolic Drugs made technical presentations.

At least 125 delegates from chemical industries in Punjab participated in the seminar. The programme was coordinated by the Punjab Industrial Safety Council.

Rakesh Dubey, Director, Disaster Management Institute, Bhopal, and Hardayal Singh Gill, Additional Director, Directorate of Factories, were also present.



30 tubewells to be installed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 7
The Mohali district administration is spending Rs 170 crore on the installation of 30 new tube wells in rural areas across the district. The tube wells will be fully operational by March 31.

Progress report on the project was reviewed during a meeting of the District Planning Committee chaired by its chairman NK Sharma here today.

At the meeting, which was attended by senior officials, NK Sharma said an “agriculture plan” of Rs 114 crore has been sent to the Centre for approval. The proposal aims at promoting diary farming, agriculture, fishery, horticulture and opening of polyclinic centres and agri-centres.

“Since Mohali district is one of the most important districts of Punjab, the state government is determined to improve basic amenities through better coordination with implementing agencies,” said Sharma.

During the current financial year, the government has spent Rs 317 lakh on various projects.

The Deputy Commissioner, Prabhjot Singh Mand, who was also present at the meeting, directed the officials to furnish utilisation certificates.



2 killed, 5 hurt in accidents
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur/Lalru, January 7
The early morning fog has taken its toll here with two persons being killed and five others getting injured in four road accidents on the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway in the past 24 hours. Also, three vehicles collided at Zirakpur due to fog.

Though no one was sustained in the accident, it resulted in a traffic jam, which lasted around half-an-hour, on the highway.

In the first accident at Zirakpur, an unidentified cyclist was killed after being hit by a speeding vehicle near Singhpura village this evening.

The body of the victim has been kept for identification at the civil hospital, Dera Bassi. The police said a case has been registered.

In another incident, a resident of Chandigarh Swaran Singh sustained serious injuries after his motor cycle was hit by a speeding truck near Silver City on the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway today.

The victim was taken to the GMCH, Sector 32, for treatment. The truck driver fled the scene after the accident.

In the third incident, a truck driver and a cleaner suffered serious injuries after their truck tumbled on the side of a link road near Singhpura village here this morning.

The injured were taken to a private hospital for the treatment. The truck driver told the police that due to heavy fog, he could not see the road properly due to which the truck flipped on the side.

At Lalru, a man was killed and another injured in a road accident on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway, near Handesra village, late last night.

The accident took place when Harbans Singh, a resident of Tasimbli village, and Bhag Singh, a resident of Lalru, were on their way home on a motor cycle and cycle, respectively.

When they reached Handesra village, a speeding vehicle hit the motor cycle and the cycle from behind. The riders sustained serious injuries.

The police stated that Harbans was taken to the Ambala City hospital where he was declared brought dead, while Bhag Singh was admitted to the GMCH-32 for further treatment.

The driver of the Swaraj Mazda managed to flee the scene leaving behind the vehicle.

The investigating officer stated that a case has been registered against the driver of the vehicle.



Fog hits road traffic
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, January 7
With fog engulfing the region, especially in the early and late night hours, traffic on the stretch between Zirakpur-Lalru on the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway continues to move at snail’s pace due to poor visibility.

Traffic on the Zirakpur-Patiala road and the Zirkapur-Panchkula road has also been affected.

Commuters are facing hard times crossing the stretch, especially during night.

They complained that the four-laning of the highway had been of little help as streetlights were not functioning and trucks parked by the roadside also caused inconvenience.

A commuter claimed that streetlights from Sharma farm house to Dera Bassi railway overbridge were not functional, causing difficulty in locating vehicles moving ahead or those crossing the median.

Travelling on the highway during night was not easy as traffic moved at slow speed due to low visibility. Cyclists and pedestrians were the toughest to sight.

In the absence of streetlights on the entrance to Zirkapur, commuters faced difficulty in crossing the stretch till the flyover.

Also, dust on self-illuminating indicators along the edge of the road made things more difficult for motorists.

Visibility went down to a few metres from Chhat lights to Dera Bassi railway overbridge.

The work on widening of Zirkapur-Kalka highway was also posing problems for motorists.

“I had returned from Patiala and it took me five hours to reach here,” said Kapil, a resident of Zirakpur.

Fog was so dense that it was difficult to even judge the speed of your vehicle, he said.

Bus passengers also faced inconvenience due to the fog.

Vipin Sharma, a resident of Karnal, said he had been waiting for bus for the past two hours but most buses were apparently running late.

Buses usually ran on regular intervals for his destination but fog had affected travel time as well as the frequency of buses, he added.



Tax waiver for bordering states unfair: Mohali industry
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 7
Protesting against the extension of incentive package to neighbouring states of Punjab, BS Anand, president, Mohali Industries Association (MIA), has said that income tax and central excise waiver to the states neighbouring has resulted in discrimination against Punjab and preference for states enjoying tax holiday, whereas it is prohibited under Article 303 of the Constitution of India.

He said as a result, the goods produced in Punjab were expensive in comparison to these states and caused a discrimination against trade and commerce of Punjab in violation of Article 301 of the Constitution (freedom of trade and commerce throughout India) and Article 303, that restricts powers of the union and states to make laws with regard to trade and commerce discriminating between one state and another.

He said: “The grant of discriminatory fiscal incentives to industries set up in the neighbouring states has led to a mass exodus of industries from Punjab to its neighbours, resulting in crippling of its industrial and economic growth.”

Explaining the implications of the tax incentives to its neighbouring states, KS Mahal, general secretary, MIA, said goods manufactured in Punjab would have to pay central excise whereas those produced in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir would be exempt from payment of central excise. He further said the Punjab government should file a suit in the Supreme Court against the extension of package of incentives given by the Centre to the neighbouring states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.



Road Safety Week ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The 21st Road Safety Week conducted by the Chandigarh traffic police concluded at the Children Traffic Park in Sector 23 here today.

A blood donation camp, a painting competition and workshops for bus, school bus and truck drivers, rickshaw-pullers and students were organised during the week.

The police also conducted a road safety exhibition at the Sector 17 Plaza and a scooter rally was organised by girls to promote the wearing of safety helmet among female two-wheeler riders.

Based on the theme ‘Life is safe if driving is safe’, it was started on January 1. UT DIG (Headquarters) Mahabir Singh was the chief guest at the concluding function.

School students presented cultural programme. UT SP (Traffic) Hardeep Singh Doon spoke on road safety activities being conducted and measures undertaken to improve traffic in the city.



Theft at shops
Watchman cooked up kidnapping: Police
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 7
Investigations by the police into a series of thefts at shops in Phase V today revealed that the watchman, Raju, was never kidnapped by burglars, with the former confessing to sleeping at his house when the theft took place. He was only informed about the theft by his fellow early in the morning.

He concocted the story to escape punishment by shopkeepers and the police.

SP (city) SS Gill said the on being questioned about the locations where he was taken by the burglars, the watchman broke down and revealed the true story.

Thieves had taken away cash and goods worth lakhs of rupees from four shops in Phase V and the watchman of the area was reportedly made captive by some persons during the period when thefts were being committed.

Phase I SHO had checked the market few hours before the theft. Yesterday, Suresh Kumar, a municipal councillor, had complained that thieves had struck at his shop and that of his brother and taken away grocery items worth lakhs of rupees. Two more shops in the vicinity were also targeted. He said the crime came to notice around 6 am when his son came to open the shop and found the locks broken.

While Suresh had suffered a loss of around Rs 2 lakh, his brother, who had a grocery wholesale shop, suffered a loss of over Rs 5 lakh. The thieves had decamped with desi ghee, dry fruits and Rs 3 lakh in cash from his shop. Thieves had also taken away Rs 75,000 from the third shop apart from boxes of dry fruit and cosmetics.



New academic session begins at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The new academic session at the PGI began today with an enlightening address by Dr VM Katoch, Secretary to the Government of India, department of health research and director-general, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi. While addressing new students, Dr Katoch said, “The PGI is one of the leading institutes in the country and students, who are trained here, also have to lead in their respective fields.

“Students of the institute will become future leaders. They are the ones, who are going to expand the health research agenda and strengthen the peripheral facilities. They are not only going to be medical practitioners, but also good managers,” he added.

He advised students to keep themselves updated at all levels and gain a broad-based knowledge rather than restrict themselves to a single area of study or research. They have to be “thinking academicians” and all-rounders so that they reach a highly competitive academic level.

Earlier, Prof KK Talwar introduced the chief guest to audience and welcomed the new entrants. Prof Talwar said, “A New Year and a new session gives us an opportunity to remind ourselves about our aims and ideals at the PGI, as exemplified by our founder medical icons like Dr Tulsi Dass, Dr SS Anand, Dr PN Chhuttani and many others.”

“The faculty members have always made proud additions to the matchless reputation of the institute. In the previous year, they have received numerous awards, orations, memberships and fellowships of academic societies. The PGI faculty attracted approximately Rs 14 crore as extramural grant for various research projects and published over 643 articles last year,” he said. “I am extremely grateful to our chief guest Prof Katoch for his constant help. The ICMR, under his leadership, has taken a decision to establish a Centre for Clinical Research in Non-Communicable Diseases like diabetes, coronary artery disease and stroke at the PGI,” he added.

“Till date over 2880 students in medical specialities and around 1308 students in surgical specialities have received degrees in postgraduate courses, while over 692 students in medical specialities and about 578 students in surgical specialities have received training in super-speciality courses, respectively. More than 503 students have completed PhD degrees,” Talwar said.

Earlier, PGI logos were presented to the new entrants. Around 109 candidates have joined the MD/MS course in major specialities like anaesthesia, medicine, nuclear medicine, gynaecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, orthosurgery, radio diagnosis, general surgery, microbiology and pathology. Nearly 32 students have joined the DM/Mch course in cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery, paediatric surgery, plastic surgery, urology and surgical gastroenterology.



PU students protest against online attendance
Submit memo to VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Students of department of laws, Panjab University, today initiated a strike against the introduction of online attendance system and authorities refusal to accept medical certificates of students.

Though the university has made its stand clear that the online system is not mandatory for departments and it was also announced at the meeting of chairpersons yesterday, the students maintained that they would continue their strike if their demands were not met.

Lead by Udey Wirring, president of PUSU, along with Narinder Gujjar, the students claimed that they had to pay hefty fees to migrate from regional campus of the university to the main campus.

They also demanded that in case a student failed to fulfill the condition of minimum lectures in a particular subject, the student should be debarred for that subject only and should not be detained for two semesters.

The students also raised the issue of increase in minimum lectures per subject from 33 to 70 per cent, which, they claimed, was a harsh step.

The issue of preference given to UILS students for admission to LLM course was also highlighted in the memorandum submitted to the Vice-Chancellor by the students.

“Certificates of PGI doctors were not considered by the authorities sometimes. This harsh attitude would make things difficult for the students,” said Arshbir Singh, PUSU member.

Meanwhile, dismissing the claims, the authorities said the attendance rules that the students were talking about were not even known to them and it was the discretion of the chairperson to implement the online system.

“The announcement was made at the meeting of chairpersons yesterday by the Vice-Chancellor and the issue had finished. It is not mandatory for any department to implement it and it is chairperson’s choice. About the other demands, no communication has reached the university to implement any of the ceilings on attendance per subject,” said Prof Naval Kishore, Dean student welfare.

However, the chairperson of the department, Prof PS Jaswal was not available for comments.



Suicide at PGI Nursing Institute
Students allege harassment by principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The suicide by MSc nursing student, Anshu Mathew of the National Institute of Nursing at the PGI on Monday triggered tense moments on the PGI campus here today.

Students of the Nursing College alleged that harassment by college principal Inderjit Walia and “inaction” by the PGI administration against the principal were responsible for the tragedy.

In the evening when the function of new academic session began at Bhargava auditorium, nursing college students raised slogan against the principal. They demanded immediate action against the principal.

Soon after the protest, they submitted a memorandum to Dr KK Talwar, PGI director, in which they appealed to expel the principal along with lecturer Sukhpal Kaur, Avinash Rana and Sunita Sharma.



Seminar on alcoholism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The NSS unit and medical committee of MCM DAV College today organised a seminar on “Alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous”.

Dr Mukta Dhawan, lecturer in the department of anatomy, Swami Devi Dyal Dental College, Barwala, apprised students and staff about the adverse effects of alcoholism. Students interacted with the visiting faculty.

Principal of the college Dr Puneet Bedi also addressed students and urged them to eradicate the evil from the society.



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