C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Silver Oaks in kidney trouble
Accused of removing 13-yr-old girl’s organ without parents’ consent 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Silver Oaks hospital in Mohali is in the thick of controversy over what is being alleged as an arbitrary removal of a kidney of a 13-year-old Patiala girl, Navneet.

While the parents of the girl, who is now battling for her life at the PGI, have accused the Silver Oaks authorities of removing the kidney “without informing them”, the hospital has dubbed the allegations as malicious and claimed that they had informed the patient’s parents about the nephrectomy.

While the world nephrectomy may sound alien to most of us, its medical dictionary meaning is “a surgical procedure for the removal of a kidney or section of a kidney”.

While the girl’s father, Jaspal, who has lodged a complaint with the Mohali police claiming that he had not been informed about the procedure, the hospital authorities claim to have his written consent. The police on its part is claiming of inquiring into the incident.

In his complaint, Jaspal Singh, a resident of Patiala, has accused that the hospital had removed his daughter’s kidney after informing them that they were merely conducting a surgery for the removal of a “malignant tumour” in her kidney. Talking to The Tribune, Jaspal said, “My daughter was suffering from abdomen swelling and after several diagnostic and pathological tests, doctors told him that his daughter had a “rasaoli” (tumor) in the kidney, requiring a surgery.”

He said they admitted her to Silver Oaks for surgery on January 1 and she was operated upon the next day and subsequently discharged on January 5. “However, soon after being discharged, she complained of acute abdominal pain and we brought her back to Silver Oaks only to be told to take her to the PGI,” he said.

“It was only after tests were conducted at the PGI that we were told that her left kidney had been removed,” alleged Jaspal, a truck driver, swearing that they had not been informed about any such procedure.

Dr Arjinder Bains of Silver Oaks, who operated upon the girl, said: “We had taken the parent’s consent for nephrectomy. He also claimed that they had explained the consequences to the family well before the surgery. Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said: “I was not in the office today. We will take appropriate action on the complaint.”



PGI to study Santokh Singh Dhir’s brain
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu and renowned Punjabi writer Santokh Singh Dhir, who died at the PGI on February 8, may not have had anything in common in life except their intellect and agility, so evident even in the ripe age of 90-plus. This has aroused the interest of doctors to carry out a research on their brains to unravel the secrets that made these men so different in terms of alertness of mind from millions of others of the their age.

While the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans), Bangalore, had recently expressed an interest to conduct research on the brain of the former West Bengal Chief Minister, who died at the age of 95, the anatomy department of the PGI is all set to do a similar study on late Punjabi writer Santokh Singh Dhir’s, whose body was donated for research by his family members yesterday, even though when he was not registered for cadaver donation.

Born on December 2, 1920, Santokh Singh, popularly known as Dhir in Punjabi literary world, was awarded the Sahitya Academy award in 1996. He dominated the contemporary literary scene through his astounding creative energy and unflinching commitment to social cause. With a large number of novels, short stories and travelogues to his credit, Dhir was also an avid poet and a folk writer.

Nearly all the Punjabi textbooks taught at different universities in the state include his short stories or poems. Several of his stories have also been translated in English and in his own words, his novels, Nawan Janam and Yaadgar, were his masterpieces.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Daisy Sahni, head of the anatomy department, PGI, said: “We have never received a cadaver of such an intellectual and we will conduct a research on his brain to see what made him so agile and active at
his age. He was even writing in his last days.”

According to Dr Daisy, there are numerous age-related changes in the human brain and some brains are more alert than others. There are some factors that prevent the fast ageing of the brain. We want to look into those. Dr Sahni revealed that they have a bank of about 1,000 brains on which research work is conducted. 



Ram Gopal’s case gets murkier
Petitioners accuse magistrate of bias 
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The controversy in the inspector Ram Gopal’s case is getting murkier. A day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued notice of motion to the Chandigarh administration and others on a petition filed by six Chandigarh Police personnel, they moved the court again accusing the court below of bias - a contention denied by the magistrate.

The six petitioners on Tuesday had claimed that Ram Gopal was an influential person. Two courts had already sent back the case holding that they did not want to hear the matter. As such, it was a fit case to be transferred from Chandigarh to any other court in Punjab.

Wednesday saw them move another application for staying further proceedings till the decision on their petition. They alleged: “The attitude of the magistrate was biased and he was arrogant. He had stated that as the petitioners had not got an order from the High Court, he would accept the untraced report and would pass an order against the petitioners.”

“The magistrate was informed by the counsel in the trial court that as a petition for transfer of the case had been filed and notice of motion had been issued for March 11, it would not be proper for the trial court to proceed with the case. But even then the trial court was proceeding with the case.”

“The magistrate made it clear to the counsel for the petitioners that he would hear the arguments for 15 minutes from both the sides and that no further time would be given and adjourned the case to February 10,” they alleged

After the application was placed before the High Court by counsel TPS Tung, Justice MMS Bedi asked the police personnel to file affidavits. Complying with the directions, petitioners Yashpal and others filed the affidavits reiterating the stand taken in the plea.

As the matter came up for re-hearing in the afternoon, Tung informed the Bench that the affidavits had been filed and at least three of the petitioners were present in the courtroom.

Taking on record the affidavits, Justice Bedi asserted that their stand was contrary to the comments of the trial magistrate, who had claimed the petitioners were asked to argue the matter, otherwise appropriate orders would be passed. Before parting with the case, Justice Bedi reserved till Thursday the orders in the case. The petitioners had earlier alleged that Ram Gopal had produced a forged and fabricated certificate before the police, stating that he was declared a world champion as he stood first and won a gold medal in the World Yoga Sport Cup held in Genoa in Italy.

On the basis of this, Ram Gopal was given seniority. When the facts were checked from the website of the International Yoga Federation, Balmukund Singh of India had stood first. Later, a case of cheating and forgery was registered against Ram Gopal at the Sector 3 police station on April 25, 2008. The investigation of the case was entrusted to ASP Central, who in order to help Ram Gopal and without considering the inquiry report, submitted untraced report in the trial court. 



Drinking among girls on PU campus triggers concern
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
A girl residing in hostel No. 6 on the Panjab University campus, who was reportedly under the influence of alcohol, was taken to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, in an ambulance last night after she returned to the hostel, vomiting badly, around 10 pm.

The girl was so unsteady that the security guard at the gate had to help her to stagger to the hostel reception as she could not even stand up straight.

Though stating the girl was given medical aid when she was found vomiting profusely, the hostel warden, however, refused to admit she was drunk, although some of her acquaintances confirmed she was inebriated and even narrated the incident.

Such recurrent incidents on the campus, especially involving girls, in the recent past have created concern among the varsity’s administration officials over the need for emotional counselling of youngsters.

A few weeks back some girls were caught drinking in their hostel room on the PU campus after their roommate had objected and then complained to the warden. Though that incident was kept under wraps and the identity of the girls never revealed, for obvious reasons, such occurrences are visibly on the rise.

“Unless moral values are inculcated education in young people, the education being imparted in universities and colleges is incomplete,” said Tarundeep, a counselor at GGDSD College, Sector 32.

“It’s not a healthy trend. These students need to be taught how to handle stress. ‘Coping skills’ need to be inculcated, which is a special training that is given to the youth. Fortunately in schools we still have counsellors, but in universities and colleges they are missing,” said Punita Singh, a counselor at Carmel Convent School, Sector 9.

While the PU administration remains tightlipped on such issues, the fact remains the trend that was earlier restricted to boys is now becoming a common among girls also.

“Though we can’t resort to ‘moral policing’ if any such case is found it’s our moral duty to properly guide students indulging in such behaviour,” said a warden on the condition of anonymity.

Some time back an incident was reported in which three boys were suspended from a PU hostel when they were found indulging in violence and damaged hostel property after consuming alcohol.


Admn efforts help revive dying Sukhna: Report
Forest dept built 193 check dams to keep silt at bay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Chandigarh administration has done a Chewang Norphel. What India’s ‘glacier man’ did for the one lakh population of Leh, the forest department of the UT Administration has done for over 10 lakh city residents.

While he created 10 glaciers in Leh over 10 years, the forest department constructed as many as 193 check dams (water bodies) to desilt and save Sukhna Lake from disappearance.

The lake, which was dying due to heavy inflow of silt, has been saved by the efforts of the forest department, which built and monitored these water bodies in its catchment area, popularly known as the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.

Besides, these have made Chandigarh a model of soil and moisture conservation, and rainwater harvesting in the country.

These form part of the findings of a study conducted by the Society for Promotion and Conservation of Environment (SPACE) at the behest of the Chandigarh administration.

The study, whose findings are yet to be released, reveals that the water bodies built and maintained by the forest department not only gave Sukhna Lake an extended life span but also helped improve the fertility of the soil and other parameters, raised the underground water table, and facilitated thick vegetation, plantation and forestation in the catchment area of the lake.

“More importantly, the moisture retention in soil is contributing vastly towards biodiversity in the Shivalik region”, said Sanjay Kumar, forest-cum-finance secretary, UT administration.

Thanks to these water bodies, intense plantation has been done in the area, converting the entire Shivalik Hills into a thick forest.

“The rate of soil erosion in the catchment area of Sukhna Lake, which was 160 metric ton per hectare per year in 1988, has been bought down to only five metric ton per hectare per year, and no fresh silt is now coming into the lake,” Sanjay Kumar added.

The catchment area of Sukhna Lake was a thick forest replete with flora and fauna around 40 years ago. “The silt started swallowing the artificial 3-km rain-fed lake (1.52 km long and 1.49 km wide). In 1958, its water spread was 230 hectares and average depth around 4.69 metres, but due to heavy siltation, the depth got reduced to two metres in 2004,” said Ishwar Singh, conservator of forests, Chandigarh.

“Up to 1962, around 20 per cent of the lake got silted. And up to 2009, it lost almost 66 per cent of the area and water holding capacity. In 2007, siltation had also reduced its area to only 154 hectares. The survival of the lake was virtually at stake. But now we are able to extend its life span,” said Ishwar Singh.

The administration had launched Rs 73-crore ‘Save Sukhna Lake’ plan and the engineering department was assigned the task of removing the silt.

On the other hand, the forest department constructed 193 silt retention dams in the sanctuary.

These dams, says SPACE study, have not only retained silt but also collected rainwater from the catchment area. These are serving the purpose of “water hole” for the preservation and survival of wildlife.

In addition to the 193 water bodies, there are two in Patiala ki Rao forest, near Dhanas village, two in the botanical garden near Sarangpur village, two behind the lake reserve forest and two in Sukhna choe reserve forest. “All these water bodies, harvesting rainwater from the respective reserve forest area, have helped promote eco-tourism in Chandigarh,” Ishwar Singh added.



F&CC turns down budget
Mayor directs officials to present a revised budget with a 25 per cent increase in comparison to last year’s budget on February 15
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Members of the municipal corporation’s finance and contracts committee (F&CC) decided against approving the budget of Rs 516.40 crore tabled at a meeting due to reduction in plan budget for the next financial year here today.

Mayor Anu Chatrath chaired the meeting, which was attended by members of the F&CC and officers of the corporation.

The officers had tabled the budget of Rs 178.41 crore under plan head and Rs 182.23 crore under non-plan head for the next financial year, whereas last year’s plan budget was Rs 256.19 crore and non-plan Rs 175.12 crore.

The proposed budget expenditure in previous year was Rs 670.20 crore, whereas the proposed expenditure earmarked for the next year was Rs 476.32 crore.

The Mayor directed officers to present a revised budget with 25 per cent increase in comparison to last year’s budget at an F&CC meeting on February 15

She also asked them to earmark special funds for the upkeep and construction of new community centres.

Objecting to the budget, Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma said it was strange that the area under the jurisdiction of the corporation was increasing every year but the authorities were reducing the proposed plan budget, which was for development works of the city.

He said when the authorities were outsourcing all development works to contractors, why were they planning to decrease the plan budget.

Sharma objected to the expenditure of 50 per cent in nine months of the last financial year and remaining 50 per cent in past three months.

At this, MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria informed the committee that the officers would not be able to spend more than Rs 100 crore in a year on development works, so they had proposed only that much amount for the coming financial year.

He said even some unspent amount for development work was lying with the corporation.

Councillors expressed their resentment at this and said if the officers were not capable of undertaking all development works, they should be relieved from jobs.

They also questioned the rationale behind proposing property tax, hike in water tariff and paid parking by the authorities when they had sufficient unspent funds with them. 



Meeting to review industrial policy today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
UT Administrator Shivraj Patil has summoned UT Adviser, Home Secretary, Finance Secretary and the director of industries tomorrow for a meeting to review the industrial policy of the Union Territory, sources said here today.

The meeting is being seen as the first one in the direction of the Union Territory framing a new industrial policy.

Importantly, one of the issues is the permission for an increased FAR for plot owners in Industrial Area.

While taking any decision, the Union Territory will have to be conscious about the number of cases already flouting the FAR norms.



Chill persists as sun plays hide-and-seek
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Sun continued to play hide-and-seek today, even as chill continued to prevail in the city and its adjoining areas.

The region experienced intermittent drizzle yesterday and on Sunday night. Sun, that played hide-and-seek throughout the day, failed to give residents the much-needed respite from chill.

The mercury took a U-turn in the morning and plummeted considerably to settle at 6.6 °Celsius from 13.0 degrees °C recorded yesterday.

The maximum temperature rose marginally to 20 °C from Tuesday’s 19.5 °C.

Skies in the city remained overcast after yesterday’s rain, which revived the chill following a week of sunny weather.

The western disturbance, which caused the rain yesterday, was passing over the region and cloudy conditions were likely to persist tomorrow, with the possibility of light rain in some areas, a spokesperson for the weather department said.

However, the system was weakening and was likely to pass over in the next 48 hours, he said.

Though air traffic remained normal today, train services were delayed by two to nine hours today.

While the Dibrugarh-Chandigarh (5903) express arrived late by two hours from its scheduled time of 1.15 pm, Unchahar Express (4217) reached nine hours behind schedule at 7 pm instead of 10 am.

As the mercury plummets and cold wave like conditions continue, the weather can prove tough on the skin.

Cold temperatures, coupled with low humidity and dry indoor heating, rob the skin of moisture, leaving it dry and flaky, says Dr Rakesh Sharma, a dermatologist of

The sun broke the cloud cover for a couple of hours around noon and the bright sun shine brought some relief from chilly winds to residents. However, as the day progressed, the sky was again overcast with dark clouds looming all over in the evening.

The weatherman has forecast light to moderate rain or thundershowers in isolated places of Punjab and Haryana in the next 48 hours.



AIR launches Gyan Vani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Gyan Vani, an educational broadcast channel of the All-India Radio, Chandigarh, was inaugurated on its premises here today.

CM Jatua, member, ministry of information and broadcasting, was the chief guest.

The occasion coincided with the celebrations of completion of a decade of Gyan Darshan, a joint venture of the ministry of I&B, IGNOU and Prasar Bharti.

Launched in November, 2001, Gyan Vani, operating through FM stations in various cities of the country, aimed at enhancing and supplementing the teaching-learning process by reaching out to listeners through a low-cost popular mass medium using interactive formats.

The range of Gyani Vani broadcast would be around 70 km (aerial distance) and it would cover entire Chandigarh and adjoining towns and rural areas of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Gyani Vani serves as an ideal medium for niche audience, addressing local educational, developmental and socio-cultural requirements.

The channel would by and large be broadcast in English, Hindi and Punjabi languages.



Australian company to redesign Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 10
In order to give a facelift to Mohali, an Australian multinational town planning company has been asked to revamp the design of the town.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today stated that after the implementation of plans, the town would have a new face in about a year.

While apologising, the Deputy Chief Minister who was late at the function by nearly two hours, said he was busy attending meetings with foreign multinational companies regarding the development of the state.

He said Singapore-based company Jurong International had earlier finalised the master plan of Mohali and now an Australian company had been asked to chalk out the future plan of the town. A Malaysian town planning company was asked to help in improving the design of Amritsar. Development in Jalandhar was also on the cards.

The detailed presentations given by these companies had been scrutinised and they had been asked to go ahead and finalise the conceptual plans after incorporating the suggestions given by the government.

Badal, who was here to lay the foundation stone of a mega housing project “39 West” being developed by the HPSO, said the government had listed the shortcomings faced by the state and plans had been drawn up to get over the hurdles with an aim to make Punjab number one state in the country.

Giving details about the power scenario, the Deputy Chief Minister said with the completion of Talwandi Sabo, Goindwal Sahib, Rajpura and Gidderbaha power plants, having a combined generation capacity of over 6,000 MW, Punjab would become the first power surplus state in the country in about three years.

He said work on Talwandi Sabo and Goindwal Sahib plants was in progress, while multinational company L&T had bagged the Rajpura project. He said 2,600 MW Gidderbaha plant would be put on a fast track.

He said the second international airport in the state was being developed in Mohali. The first one was developed in Amritsar, foundation stone of which was also laid by Parkash Singh Badal. States like Haryana, UP and Bihar did not have even one international airport.

Sukhbir said road connectivity had also been improved in the state. A six-lane expressway linking Jalandhar to Ambala had been approved, which would have 116 flyovers for the smooth flow of traffic. Four-way laning of the Chandigarh-Patiala-Bathinda and the Chandigarh-Ludhiana-Moga-Ferozepur roads had also been approved.

In the education sphere, the government had brought institutes like Indian School of Business and National Biotech Centre in Mohali, IIT in Ropar and Central University in Bathinda so that youth of the state did not have to depend on other states for getting quality education.

Efforts were being made to bring a foreign university in Ludhiana. 



Tenders of admn to go online from March 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Come March 31 and all tender forms for projects worth Rs 10 lakh and above pertaining to various departments of the UT administration will be available on the official website. The decision, which was taken a few days back in one of the meetings chaired by the finance secretary-cum-secretary information technology, comes in the wake of increasing monopoly of contractors in departments, including the housing board, municipal corporation and the engineering department. After April 30, accepting the hardcopy of tender forms in the office by any officer will be counted as corrupt practice.

According to administration sources, the state informatics officer of the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Ajay Rampal, stated in the meeting that the tendering portal was ready and at the same time had been tested by the NIC.

He further informed that the nodal officers appointed by the users departments, including engineering, housing board and municipal corporation, had already been issued digital signatures by SPIC and the same needed to be upgraded with the software solutions provided by the NIC.

Tenders forms above Rs 10 lakh will be available on the website, www.chandigarh.gov.in/tender.gov.in from March 31 onwards. The forms would be available free of cost.

At the meeting it was decided that since the e-procurement software module was available, no form above Rs 10 lakh should be accepted in the physical form but the same should be accepted online.

It was further opined at the meeting that with regard to smaller tenders of the value of less than Rs 10 lakh, these would also be made available on the website soon and by April 1 the sale of such forms shall be totally done away with.

In order to review the work pertaining to smaller tenders, a review meeting would be held in the first week of May.

Talking to The Tribune in this regard, local contractors said a handful of contractors had their monopoly in almost all departments due to which small contractors like them did not get any work.

Since it was easy to find out as to how many tender forms had been taken by which contactor and in which department, there was no secrecy in the process.

They said many departmental officers used to decide in advance as to which work had to be given to which contractor and in many cases work would start much before the actual tenders would be allotted.



Mad rush at CHB camps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Camps are being organised by the Chandigarh Housing Board in Sector 51 under its rehabilitation scheme for allotting tenements to people. Under this scheme, houses are to be allotted in Sectors 51 and 56.

Consequently, thousands of people have been queuing up everyday from early in the morning till late in the evening for the allotment letters of their new tenements.

The beneficiaries today alleged lackadaisical attitude on part of the board authorities in making them sit through the day just to hand over their allotment letters.

On the contrary, board officials maintained that they had called only those persons to the camp whose papers were to be scrutinised.

However, it was getting difficult for them as even those people whose papers had been rejected earlier or those who had not been informed had been turning up, making it difficult for the officials at the camp to manage the rush.



Row over orphaned boy takes communal tone
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Heated arguments took place today between members of two communities residing in the Ramdarbar area here over the custody of an 8-year-old orphaned boy whose father Kamludeen, a beggar, died on February 7.

The dispute arose when the boy returned home along with Mohammad Sheikh, who had accompanied the boy to his native village, and came to know about his father’s death. Residents of the area, which is dominated by a particular community, decided to give custody of the boy to a madrassa. However, members of another community residing in the same area objected, saying as the boy did not “belong to the other (Sheikh’s) community” he should be handed over to an orphanage.

A police squad, headed by Sector 31 police station in charge Bhupinder Singh, arrived at the scene and pacified both groups.

Bhupinder told them the boy would be presented before the subdivisional magistrate (south) tomorrow said the boy would be presented before the SDM tomorrow in the presence of representatives of two communities. He added the beggar’s dwelling had also been sealed.

Sources said Kamludeen had handed over his son to Sheikh a few days ago and the latter had taken the boy to his village. In the meantime Kamludeen died on Sunday and some unidentified people were reported to have forcibly taken possession of the beggar’s dwelling. When Sheikh returned to the city today he was told about this and informed the police. The latter immediately arrived at the scene and the suspects fled from the dwelling.

Later, the members of Sheikh’s community decided to hand over custody of the boy to a madrassa. However when members of the other community came to know about this they raised a hue and cry saying the boy “belonged to their community” and should be sent to an orphanage.



‘Need to popularise cycling in city’
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Laying cycle tracks across the city by spending crores of rupees would not fulfil the Chandigarh Administration’s aim of managing the slow-moving traffic in the city till cycling was popularised among residents. This was stated by Lord Mayor, Councillor Mike Cookson of Newcastle upon Tyne stated this while taking to The Tribune during his visit to the city today.

He said he had also visited the city four year ago. At that time, he had purchased a city map from the Chandigarh railway station, but did not find any mention of cycle tracks in the publication. This showed how concerned the authorities were about popularising their initiatives aimed at traffic management across the city.

Mike Cookson felt the days were not far when Chandigarh residents would also face the same traffic problems as were being faced by those living in Delhi. He said a similar situation prevailed in his country, too. Cycling had been popularised to tackle the problem there, he added.

He said he would meet city Mayor Anu Chatrath tomorrow to discuss the issues on which both countries could share their experiences. He said a large number of Asians lived in Newcastle upon Tyne, so an effort was being made to open a dialogue between both countries to have frequent culture programmes.

An architect by profession, Mike Cookson said Chandigarh had always attracted him because of its unique planning and management. His wife, Lady Mayor Dorrie Cookson, also accompanied Cookson.



Western Command shooters win laurels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Western Command shooting team won five medals at the National Combat Forces Shooting Championship held in Mhow. The team members were honoured by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Lt Gen SR Ghosh at Command Headquarters, Chandimandir, here today.

CHM Balbir Singh won a gold medal, L Nk Mandeep Singh and Manoj Kumar bagged silver medals, whereas bronze medals were awarded to L Nk Charan Singh and Hav Ravinder Singh. General Ghosh lauded the performance of the Command shooters who convincingly displayed their military prowess in firepower accuracy by securing top positions.



Ambala div suffers losses owing to fog
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Northern Railway, Ambala division, has suffered heavy losses due to cancellation or running late of a number of trains owing to fog and biting cold last month.

RK Saxena, additional divisional railway manager, has stated that his division suffered a loss of around Rs 3 crore during the past one month as five trains were cancelled whereas over 12 trains ran behind scheduled time.

The division had been under the blanket of fog for the past over a month due to which normal life had been adversely affected. Its impact could be seen on the rail traffic, he said.

Over 200 trains passed through the Ambala Cantonment railway station and around 21,000 passengers boarded trains for different destinations daily but the trains had been running late during the past one month, causing losses to the railways.

The incidence of cancellation of trains was continuous during the second fortnight of January, including some trains that had been cancelled for indefinite period, he further added.

R K Saxena said the division had suffered revenue losses due to lesser sale of tickets and refund of tickets at every station in the division in view of fog.

The long-haul trains had been run their departure times the next day, he added.



Quiz, debate mark tech fest at GCG-11
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
More than 200 students from 20 colleges of the region participated in “Tech Zeal 10” organised by the department of computer applications, Government College for Girls, Sector 11, here today.

“Net Book versus Smart Phone”, “IT still a career option”, “Competition beneficial to the learning process” and “Human Intelligence versus Artificial Intelligence” were the topics of “Words War”- a debate competition. “Games Bond” tested the speed of participants. “70 mm” was a contest of movie making talent. “Twists and Turns”-a dance competition, was highly enjoyed by the gathering. Participants danced to the foot-tapping numbers of the latest songs. In “Treasure Hunt”, participants were given clues to cross mental and physical obstacles to reach the treasure trove. “Semantica” tested the programming skills through problem solving, critical analysis and quick thinking. “Mind Scratching”-a quiz, was thoroughly appreciated. “Digital Collage” contest tested the creative skills of students. Several social issues were presented in “Nukkad Nautanki”, a street-play competition.

The first prize in the “Words War” went to GCG-11, while GCG-42 and GCG-14, Panchkula, bagged the second and the third prizes, respectively. In the “Games Bond” event, Government College of Commerce, Sector 42, was declared the best team. In the “70 mm” event, DAV College, Sector 10, won the first prize, while GC, Sector 46, and Arena Multimedia bagged the second prize and GCG-11 and GCCBA-42 stood third.

In the “Twist and Turns”, GC-11 won the first prize, while GCG-11 and MCM DAV College won the third prize. In the “Treasure Hunt” event, GC-46 won the best team award. In the “Semantica” event, first prize was bagged by GCG-11, while the second and third prizes were given to GC-46 and department of computer applications, PU. In “Mind Scratching”, GC-11 stood first, while in the “Digital Collage”, DAV College, Sector 10, emerged victorious. 



Stem cell technology can heal injuries, say scientists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
“The stem-cell technology and genetic engineering is capable of healing injured parts of the body, treating impairments and even completely replacing them due to regenerative merits,” claimed scientists at the 13th Panjab Science Congress, which concluded yesterday at Panjab University. “The stem-cell technology is becoming popular day by day. There are two types of stem-cell technologies, one is embryonic stem-cell research technology and the other is adult stem-cell research technology,” said Prof RC Sobti.

He dwelt on the characteristics and categories of stem cells. He said stem cells were capable of proliferation, self-renewal and progeny. Highlighting the research work in the field of stem cells at Panjab University, he stated that stem cells were significant, as they could cure several deadly diseases, including heart ailments.

“Here a lot of sensitive religious issues are involved and hence the scientists are focusing more on the research of adult cells. The field has an immense scope and such courses are on demand,” said Dr Sanjeev Puri. 



Thanksgiving week
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 10
The Saupin’s Community Service Organisation of Saupin’s School, Mohali, celebrated the ongoing “Thanksgiving Week” with fervour. Students decided to make cards and give them to people.

Keeping the spirit alive, children expressed their thanks and gratitude through cards to their neighbours.

Besides, they visited the police station and fire station. Students also met heads of the market associations and municipal councillors, who had rendered their continuous support and care whenever required throughout the year. It was a thrilling experience for children to thank people who provided social service to society.



Shivalik school disaffiliation 
After CBSE, admn follows suit
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, February 10
After losing its affiliation from the CBSE, Shivalik Public School is in for another jolt with the UT administration deciding against providing recognition to the school.

The decision according to senior officials is based on the findings of a recent inspection of the school, which was done to verify the reasons cited by the CBSE while disaffiliating it. Though the inspection report is yet to be submitted to the UT Home Secretary, according to senior officials, the school has been found lacking on various grounds.

“The school, despite constant instructions from the department, is not fulfilling 15 per cent quota reserved for the students of the economic weaker sections of society. It is also found lacking on the part of maintaining a six-month reserve fund. It is not the only case, but there are many institutions who despite of constant notices continue to violate all norms so how can we recognise them?” asserted a senior official.

As far as the fire safety norms are concerned, the school has been found fulfilling all norms, while the report of the building bylaws violation is waited from the estate office. Interestingly, initially both school and education department officials were talking of writing to the CBSE claiming that the school had been found fulfilling all norms in 2009, but things have taken a different turn now.

“How can we say anything to the CBSE? We did the inspection to decide upon our recognition. In 2009, all schools said they were not clear of the norms and thus violated them in ignorance so we did mass inspection and made recommendations, but if still they continued with the violations we could not help it,” said a UT education department official.



Education dept demands fee details of pvt schools
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Following what has now become a ritual, the UT education department has demanded fee details of various private schools to tackle speculated fee hike and existent exorbitant nursery registration fee in various schools.

Though the high ups promise to tackle the situation as per the decision, which will be taken once they get the details, the past seems to be all set to repeat.

It may be recalled that the last academic year when almost all schools went in for a massive hike in their tuition fee, it was not less that 15 PTA associations who approached the department for help.

Responding to their call, the administration announced to have asked all schools to justify the hike by submitting their balance sheets. Months passed but nothing happened and all that the department did for an entire year was to issue stern final notices to them. These notices were followed by mass audit in November 2009 where the administration once against promised to curb the unjustified fee hike by asking the schools to submit the information.

Prior to this, the demand had been made umpteenth times but either no data was received in most of the cases or it was never reviewed.

It may be noted that this move was spearheaded by Ex-DPI (S) SK Setia and ex-Home Secretary Sanjay Kumar who asked the schools to submit documentary proofs of all expenditure and even maintained that the fee could not be increased on plea of ploughing back the money by providing more facilities.

“As per their allotment letters these schools cannot make money at their whims and fancies. They are provided numerous waivers from the administration then in return of which they have to follow all norms. As far as it’s the matter of students’ welfare, the administration is free to have its say. We will soon be taking strong steps in this regard and those schools who try to create a problem will loose their recognition for sure,” asserted a senior UT official.

The schools, however, seem to think otherwise, as an office-bearer of the independent school association responded, “They have not given us anything but the land was leased out. If we charge any fee we justify it by giving extraordinary learning standard and infrastructure to the students. We do understand our parents and are never unjust. The administration before poking nose in our matters should look at their schools where funds worth lakhs are embezzled every year.”



Teachers’ Recruitment
UT in review mode
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
With the final results of recently held UT teachers’ recruitment having yet again hit a controversy after the cash-for-job scam, the administration has got into a review mode to ensure all is well.

According to sources, with the media reports’ accusing the administration of violating its advertised policy and accommodating non-deserving candidates, UT Adviser Pradeep Mehra is all set to take up the matter with the education department’s high ups.

While Mehra could not be contacted for comments, one of the senior officials revealed that he not only planned to clarify everything but if required would also put the entire result to the review to a special committee.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Ram Niwas has rubbished all accusations stating that the confusion has risen due to the advertisement published in 2007.

“The policy which was advertised had several lapses and would have hampered the transparency so we hold a meeting and came out with a new policy, which was made public through the media. All candidates who are raising objections are talking about the old policy. After the scam was unearthed, I made all possible efforts to ensure a transparent selection and achieved it. This controversy is just a rumour,” he said.



Non-teaching staff demand release of pay scales
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
More than 150 non-teaching employees from all aided colleges of Chandigarh participated in the rally held at DAV College, Sector 10, here today.

Employees of DAV College, Sector 10, SGGS College for Men and Women, Sector 26, Dev Samaj College, Sector 45 and Sector 36, MCM DAV College, Sector 36, and SD College, Sector 32, participated in the rally organised in protest against the non-release of revised pay scales by the Chandigarh administration.

Federation president RK Sharma and general secretary Raj Kumar addressed the rally and demanded early release of the revised pay scales.

They also said step motherly treatment was being meted out to the non-teaching employees of the aided colleges of Chandigarh.

The rally was also addressed by Syndicate member Dinesh Talwar, Panjab University, and DAV College Teachers’ Union president Iqbalpreet Kaur, teaching union general secretary, Dr RP Singh, and Dr Shivani Chopra, DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, assured their full support to the genuine demand of the federation.

The next rally of the federation will be held on Saturday at GGDSD College, Sector 32.



Contests to increase patriotic quotient of students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Spirit India, students’ volunteer group of GGDSD College, Sector 32, working under the aegis of an NGO, “Aavahan”, celebrated their third anniversary on the college premises today.

As a part of the celebrations, the volunteers organised numerous competitions aimed at increasing the patriotic quotient of the students by making them aware about issues like conservation of resources and provided a platform for them to express their ideas about India of their dreams.

The programme, which started with the National Song “Vande Mataram” rendered by Madhur, a lecturer in the department of economics, was presided over by Prof Dr Rashpal Malhotra, director, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).

Principal Dr AC Vaid also addressed the students and exhorted them to become good human beings and work for the country by imbibing the spirit of working for the betterment of others.

Meera Sharma, group coordinator, drew attention towards various ills plaguing society and enumerated the efforts of the volunteers of Spirit India towards eradicating these problems by conducting workshops, seminars, awareness drives, presenting skits, etc. She also highlighted the work of the volunteers under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, the MoU of which was signed between the UT administration and Aavahan.



Rang Utsav at music dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The department of music, Panjab University, celebrated Basant Raga and Rang Utsav in the Evening Studies Auditorium here today. Prof Surinder Sharma was the chief guest and Dr SM Kant, director youth welfare department, was the guest of honour.

Students performed Saraswati poojan with recitation of vedic mantras and Saraswati vandhana. Pandit Salil Mohan Bhatt, son of Grammy Award winner Pandit Bhushan Mohan Bhatt played raga nat bhairav on Satvik Veena with all intricacies of instrumental music. Mahendra Kumar accompanied him on tabla. The second performance was by Naresh Kumar Malhotra in vocal music, a disciple of Pandit Tejpal Singh Bhandhu. He started with raga basant (three compositions) followed by raga bahar and last presentation was a bhajan of Meera Bai. Dr Paramjit Singh accompanied him on tabla and Dr Neeraj Gandhi on harmonium. 



Install CCTV cameras: UT Home Secretary

Chandigarh, February 10
UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas at a meeting today has asked all educational institutions in the city, including schools and colleges, to install CCTV cameras within coming three months.

Sources said in the first step, the educational institutions had been asked to install the cameras at the entrances. The step has been initiated in the direction of keeping a watch on the students’ activity once they entered the campus. The move has also been initiated to keep a check on the students bunking their classes and going outside the campus particularly from the schools. — TNS



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