C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Impure water blamed for typhoid outbreak
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, May 14
A year after the outbreak of cholera in Dhakoli, about 200 residents in Lohgarh village near here are suspected to have been infected with typhoid fever. While Mohali district officials are yet to confirm the villagers have contracted the dreaded waterborne disease, doctors attending upon the patients said judging from the symptoms it appeared to be typhoid.

Health officials fear contaminated drinking water is the source of the contagion. A report on the water samples taken from the village is expected to arrive on Monday.

Mohali Civil Surgeon PK Sridhar said the infection had been prevented from spreading after the health officials managed to bring down the number of patients reporting the symptoms. “We noticed the outbreak of typhoid symptoms on May 11 when a malaria worker reported the cases to health officials. We immediately organised medical camps,” he stated.

Several residents of Lohgarh complained recently of suffering from typhoid, diarrhoea and other viral and waterborne diseases. In a medical camp held on Friday, 50 out of a total of 175 patients were diagnosed with typhoid while over a hundred others were either found to be suffering from diarrhea or cholera.

Apart from them, many patients have already been receiving treatment at PGI, Chandigarh, Government Hospital, Panchkula, Civil Hospital, Zirakpur and some private clinics in the area.

Residents of the village, which has a population of about 1,500, claimed they had been receiving contaminated water supply for the past many days but their complaints to civic officials had yielded no result. Incidentally, NK Sharma, chairman of the district planning board and president of the Zirakpur municipal council, resides in the same village.

When contacted, Sharma said tests were being conducted to check the quality of water being supplied in the village, adding “appropriate measures would be taken accordingly”.

Dr Rajeev Bhalla, senior medical officer at Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, said in order to tackle the problem he had visited the area along with medical teams and held a medical camp there. “Door-to-door health checkups were also conducted and villagers have been instructed to use boiled water for drinking purpose. Water samples collected in the area by medical specialists have been sent for laboratory testing”, he added.



Vacation Time
Your doctor’s on leave!
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
When you walk into the PGI or the GMCH-32 tomorrow, don’t be surprised to find a board “on vacation” hanging outside the room of your doctor. Come Monday, nearly 50 per cent of doctors and faculty members of these hospitals would be on a summer break for a month.

  • Half of the PGI faculty would be on leave from May 16 to June 14 and the rest from June 16 to July 15
  • At the GMCH-32, the faculty would be on leave from May 15 to June 13 and the remaining half from June 15 to July 14

The question is what would the patients do? Though the hospital authorities claim that “all will be well”, one doesn’t need to be an expert to know that the services would be hit.

What would the situation be at the GMCH-32 when the hospital’s only gastroenterologist, nephrologists and doctors of cardiac intervention go on leave from tomorrow or next week until June? The Medical Superintendent, Dr Vipin Kaushal, however, feels work would go on as usual. In support of his claim, Dr Kaushal says that as such there are no sanctioned posts for specialities in cardiology, gastroenterology or nephrology in the college. “The work is looked after by the medicine department and if these doctors, who are authorised to do, are on leave, the second in line trained for the work would look after their departments,” he adds.

PGI official spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar says vacation is an annual feature. “Everything will go on as usual. We will manage the inflow of patients as effectively as we usually do with half the faculty (170) along with 900 residents,” she says.

Claims apart, insiders admit that work does suffer due to these vacations. “Major surgeries would be delayed as the consultants cannot leave these to resident doctors,” a medico says, adding sarcastically that if the hospital authorities feel that nothing would change with 50 per cent of doctors on leave, they should cut their strength and save money for the exchequer.

Staff members say that services in the OPD are likely to suffer and records would prove that the number of surgeries goes down considerably during the vacation period. “Those patients whose surgeries were scheduled for this period would have to face problems and many surgeries are being rescheduled,” a senior doctor says.

According to the public relation department of the PGI, about 75-80 surgeries are conducted on normal days and these fall by 10 to15 per cent during vacation.



GMSSS-20 boy tops Haryana matric exam in P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 14
Hardeep, a student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 20 stood first in this district by scoring 95.8 per cent (479/500) in the matriculation examination conducted by the Haryana School Education Board, which announced the results today.

Payal of JP Gurukul School, Pinjore secured the second position with 94 per cent while Yuvraj of New India Senior Secondary School, Sector 15 was ranked at the third position in the district by scoring 93.6 per cent.

Of the top four positions two have been secured by students of government-run schools. Jasleen Kaur of Sarthak GMSSS, Sector 12 bagged the fourth position by getting 93.4 per cent.

Sunita, Hardeep’s mother and a housewife, said even though her son opted for the nonmedical stream he wants to become an IAS officer and attending coaching classes for the competitive exams. Hardeep’s father is a teacher who is presently posted in Kaithal, she added.

In the district’s rural areas Sushma of GGSSS Barwala bagged the first position by securing 92.6 per cent while Surbhi of the same school with 87.8 per cent and Seema Devi of GSSS Chimken got the second and third position, respectively.

Elated over the excellent performance shown by her students, Kamlesh Chauhan, principal of GGSSH, Barwala, said the toppers from her school have secured the first position in the district’s rural areas through self-study without having ever attended any coaching classes.



Man gets life for murdering teenager
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
District & sessions judge SK Goel today convicted Shamshudeen alias Pauwa and sentenced him to life imprisonment for killing a teenager. The judge also slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on him.

The police had arrested Shamshudeen, who hails from Gonda district in Uttar Pradesh, on September 13, 2008 after a complaint was filed by of Jagdish Singh, father of the murdered youth, Sanjeet. A case under section 302 of the IPC was later registered against the suspect.

Shamshudeen stabbed Sanjeet, 17, a resident of Kajheri village, in the right thigh after a quarrel over money. Sanjeet was taken to Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 16, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Sanjeet had purchased a mobile phone from Shamshudeen for Rs 3,000 and had paid the latter Rs 2,000 only. On the night of September 12, 2008, Sanjeet along with his neighbour, Dinesh, was standing near the Kajheri chowk where Shamshudeen was also present. Both got into a heated argument over the remaining Rs 1,000 to be paid for the cellphone, following which Shamshudeen attacked the youth with a knife.


IT Park Mess
3 more bureaucrats summoned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
On the last day of its visit, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) team summoned three senior bureaucrats in connection with the alleged irregularities highlighted in the special audit in the allotment of land to certain IT giants in the IT Park here.

Former UT Finance Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, former IT and Tourism Director Vivek Atray and Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) Mohanjeet Singh were quizzed by the team headed by Arun Ramanathan, former Union Finance Secretary and inquiry officer appointed by the MHA, at the UT guest house.

Karan Avtar Singh and Atray reportedly played an instrumental role in formulating policies which led to the allotment of land to the IT majors. The bureaucrats were asked about their versions to the objections raised in the special audit report to corroborate the allegations of malpractices in the allotment of land at the IT Park, sources said.

Ramanathan, who flew back to Delhi after a three-day visit to the city, also scrutinised files pertaining to land allotment. A majority of the files are with the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC), which also probed the land allotment.

The MHA had ordered an inquiry by Ramanathan and asked the UT administration to extend support to him. The special audit, conducted by a team of officials headed by the MHA’s chief controller of accounts, had found “glaring discrepancies” in the allotment of land.

The special audit had come down heavily on the administration for acquiring commercial land at low prices and allotting it to private players at prices much lower than market rates.

Mohanjeet was reportedly questioned regarding the allotment of land for the Prideasia ultra-luxury project to the real estate major Parsvanth Developers. The project had run into rough weather in the backdrop of the slugfest between the CHB and the Parsvnath.



Damage to Shivalik Hills
Third case registered against violators
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 14
In continuation of the action against violators who had levelled the eco-fragile Shivalik Hills in Chandigarh’s periphery, the Punjab forest department today lodged another complaint with the police in connection with another road being carved out near Gurdha village in Majrian block.

After probing the case, the police registered a third case under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, Indian Forest Act and Forest Conservation Act against the violators.

The action follows directives of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to probe the matter and find out the persons behind the violations.

The violators had used heavy machinery to uproot hundreds of trees to pave way for access roads to farmhouse sites sold to “outsiders” in the area.

The hillocks being targeted are spread over the common village land in Majri block, comprising five villages — Bhagindi, Gurdha, Kasauli, Jyanti Majri and Karaundewala.

Sources said on the directions of the Chief Minister, the police was also probing the role of revenue officials in the shady land deals that resulted in damage to the hills.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament and Punjab Youth Congress chief Ravneet Singh Bittu today thanked the Chief Minister for rapid and appropriate action against land grabbers, in spite of some of them being VIPs.

Though the cases having been registered against the land mafia under the various sections of Forest Acts, Bittu said action still needed to be taken against them for getting the “girdwari” changed in revenue records illegally, with the connivance of corrupt revenue officials.

Assuring poor farmers of these villages, Ravneet added that the officers involved in the scam would not be spared as none could take illegal possession of their lands.



This robotic hand can write English!
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Scientists have developed a robotic hand that has the ability to write English alphabets. Writing is one of the tasks that can easily be achieved by humans, but not by robots.

Called the myoelectric hand prosthesis, the five-fingered gadget writes alphabets by sensing the electromyogram (EMG) from the identified available muscles of the amputated residual limb. EMG is the technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. The development of such a prosthetic would be of immense value to those whose loss of their strong hand could mean a severe set back to their professional work or ability to earn their living.

According to a paper presented by scientists from School of Bio-Sciences and Technology, VIT University, Vellore, at an ongoing conference on medical instrumentation here, EMG signals are sensed from the skin surface through electrodes and are conditioned using techniques involving instrumentation amplifier and filters.

The signals are then fed to a trigger micro-controller that in turn actuates the servomotors connected to the finger segments of the prosthetic hand through tendon-driven mechanism. Unlike artificial hands available nowadays that are highly complex, the complexity of this hand is claimed to be highly reduced by the implementation of a spring-loaded hinge technique at the joints. This also reduces weight and eases control. The finger flexion motion is done by pulling a cable.



PCA coughs up Rs 6.4-cr tax arrears
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
A day after the Income Tax authorities attached three bank accounts of the Punjab Cricket Association for non-payment of a “demand” of Rs 6.4 crore of tax arrears, the association today coughed up the money to settle their dues.

According to IT joint commissioner Manjit Singh, a cheque, drawn on HDFC Bank, for Rs 6.4 crore was handed over by the PCA authorities to the IT department.

The IT department had issued demand notices to the PCA for 2002-2003 and 2007-2008 last year after it withdrew tax exemptions from charitable trusts and non-governmental organisations that were indulging in commercial activities.

The tax liabilities of the PCA for 2002-03 and 2007-08 were assessed at Rs 30 lakh and Rs 6.1 lakh, respectively. Though the PCA has paid the outstanding amount of Rs 6.4 crores, it is still not off the IT hook as its account for the remaining four years (2003-04, 2004-06, 2006-07 and 2008-09) are still under assessment.

After the IT authorities withdrew the tax exemption (under Section 12A of IT Act) of charitable trusts and NGOs indulging in commercial activities in 2009, it had reassessed the accounts of all such organisations, including the PCA, of the last six years.



Campaign to bare khap panchayats
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 14
Social and political activists of the state today decided to launch an awareness campaign to expose the hidden agenda of khap panchayats, which are trying to “divert the attention from real issues” in the state.

The decision was taken during a seminar organised by the Democratic Forum of Panchkula in which various activists active in the area of civil liberty and social activism took part.

Jagmati Sangwan, Director, Women Studies Centre, Maharishi Dayanand University Rohtak, said khap panchayats were trying to retain their traditional hold and hegemony in the rural areas of the state, which were basically anti-women and anti-weaker sections of society.

“These panchayats have sensed that the individualistic marriages can change the social structure of society and may cause a big setback to their hegemony. They are trying to create pseudo-hype in society that brother and sisters have started marrying each other and this will destroy our social setup.”

She appealed to people not to allow khaps to misuse the platform of panchayats for illegal activities.

She underlined the need to isolate such retrograde forces so that society could move towards progress.

DR Chaudhary, member, Haryana Administrative Reform Commission, said khaps were exploiting the emotions of common people for their vested interest and were least bothered about genuine problems of people.



NCC cadets pitch in to save Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
As many as 1,500 NCC cadets, including 400 girls from the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh directorate, today joined hands to help save Sukhna Lake. They were accompanied by officers of the armed forces, associate NCC officers and other staff members.

The cadets removed grass, weeds and silt from the dry portion of the lakebed and embankment and cleared the surroundings. They also joined in a road rally around the lake to help spread the message to save the identity and charm of the lake, protect the environment and promote tourism and water sports.

The “Save Sukhna Campaign”, launched by the Chandigarh administration in April, is being undertaken in two phases. Built in 1958 across Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream flowing down from the Shivalik hills, its capacity has reduced over the years due to accumulation of hundreds of tonnes of slit flowing into it.

The NCC utilises this lake for training its cadets in waterborne activities like boat pulling, sailing and kayaking, but silt and growth of weeds has made it difficult for safe boat operations in the lake.



Snag hits water supply
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 14
The water supply to some areas got adversely affected due to a sang in the supply network in Phase I yesterday.

The snag which affected the water supply last evening was repaired late at night. However, the water pressure remained low during the day today and water was not available on the first floor in Phase II at 7.30 am.

Late risers, who had not stored their water, were caught unawares and had to pump water from underground tanks to run their daily chores.

HPS Dhillon, executive engineer, water supply and sanitation wing, said a bend in the water supply line near the Phase I Khokha Market had developed a snag and was repaired.

Water could not be supplied at full pressure after the repair as a precautionary measure.

He said an earthmover of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority working near the market had disturbed the bend, which affected the supply.



UT revises workers’ minimum wages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The UT administration has increased the basic daily and monthly rates of minimum wages for daily and monthly rated employees as per the Consumer Price Index Number of Chandigarh Centre for the half year ending March, 2010.

The monthly minimum wages for unskilled workers have been increased from Rs 4,091.50 to 4,431.50 from April 1, 2010.

For semi-skilled (II), it has been increased from Rs 4241.50 to Rs 4,581.50. For semi-skilled (I), the minimum monthly wages have been hiked from Rs 4,341.50 to Rs 4,681.50, for skilled (II) from Rs 4,541.50 to Rs 4,881.50, for skilled (I) from Rs 4,766.50 to Rs 5,106.50 and for highly skilled from Rs 5,166.50 to Rs 5,506.50.

Similarly, for class III (staff) the minimum monthly wages have been increased from Rs 4,366.50 to Rs 4,706.50, for class-II (staff) from Rs 4,516.50 to Rs 4,856.50 and for class I (staff) from Rs 4,877.50 to Rs 5,217.50.



Class XI Admissions
Parents, students in a fix
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
If one goes by the number of frantic calls received by the UT education department and regional office of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) over the last few days, parents and students are in utter state of confusion and panic over the forthcoming Class XI admissions.

With the Class X results are just round the corner and most of the private schools claiming to have already filled their seats by making provisional admissions, the parents are running from pillar to post to decide on the future course of action.

According to most of them what has added to their mental agony is the fact that the CBSE has till date not made any satisfactory statement regarding the future of those students who wish to seek admission after the declaration of the Board results.

“They don’t realise our agony. The Board had made tall promises about banning the provisional admissions so we chose to wait for the results, but now with reports of seats being already filled in most of the renowned schools we are worried about the future of our child who wanted to shift to a private institution,” claimed Reena Sarin, whose daughter appeared for Class X from GMSSS, Sector 35.

For other parents like Navjot Kaur whose son has appeared from a private institution, things are even worse, “The Board made tall declarations about banning the provisional admissions so I didn’t get my child admitted to the school of his choice. Now every other day we hear reports of science seats being full in all renowned schools and my son is under immense mental pressure. We opted to go in for last minute provisional admissions but the school has now asked us to deposit Rs 80,000 as building fund just double of what my neighbours have paid.”

According to sources, many city schools who in blatant violation of admission bylaws have already gone ahead with the provisional admissions on basis of pre-boards score have now started charging exorbitant building fund fee to provide last minute admissions to the students.

“We are getting nothing less than 60 calls everyday where the parents call up and ask us whether they should wait for the Board’s results or go ahead with the provisional admissions. We have also got verbal complaints about some schools exhorting huge amount of money as funds by creating a rumour of seats being full in all major streams. The queries also pertain to the admission criteria,” said a senior official of the UT education department.

Officials of the CBSE claim to be facing same situation and have blamed the private schools for it.

“Just to make money they created panic amongst the parents professing that there was no policy to make admission through grades. They are creating hype about their seats being full. We get many calls and we tell every parent that they should wait for the Class X results,” he said.



Change in pattern of syllabus of law dept
Professor condemns Syndicate’s decision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Panjab University’s Syndicate decision to change the pattern of syllabus and question paper of the department of laws was today questioned and condemned by Prof Shashi Sharma, a senior professor of the department, in an “open letter” to all teachers of PU.

However, the university in its official version has dismissed his protest as a “non-issue”.

Through the director public relations, PU, department chairperson, Prof PS Jaswal, said since the professor concerned was not present at the meeting of the board of studies held in March, 2010 and that of faculty of law held in April, 2010, where the decision was taken, it was redundant to discuss it now.

“The change in the pattern was unanimously passed by every academic body and then the Syndicate passed it. The Bar Council of India governs the academic matters in law and they have been strictly adhered to. There is no question of any protest now since the professor was not present at the meetings,” said GK Chathrath, dean faculty of laws.

On the written dissent given by Prof Shashi at the faculty meeting, Chathrath replied that the dissent of only those professors could be recorded who were present at the meeting.

“In any case, there was no increase or modification in the syllabus and only the pattern has been reviewed as per the Bar Council rules,” added Chathrath. On the other hand, claiming that the students will be discouraged to study all parts of the syllabus if the units are reduced to two, Prof Shashi said this would only encourage non-seriousness among the students.

“We had re-organised this system four years back for improvement and the syllabus was divided into four parts so that the students study every part of the syllabus. By making such changes we are just prompting the students not to study all parts of the syllabus,” said Prof Shashi.

In his mail, he mentioned that “by converting the syllabus from four to two units and question paper from five to three, the authorities are officially, prompting and patronising the students not to study the whole syllabus of the law subjects.” He also added that the public rejoinder is “to the so-called reasons given in clause 26 of the minutes of the faculty meeting held on April 2 this year.”



Panchkula govt schools record jump in pass percentage
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 14
Government schools in the district have registered a considerable jump in their pass percentage in the matriculation examinations declared by the Haryana School Education Board today.

The government schools recorded a pass percentage of 76.9 per cent, which is around 8.18 per cent more than last year’s result of 68.2 per cent. Not only this, the government schools have yielded an improved result as compared to the overall results of the government schools across the state, which is 76.3 per cent.

Around 3,900 students, both from private and government schools, had appeared for the examination that were held in March this year.

Around 3,080 students were declared pass by the Board. In the Barwala block, 70.3 per cent students had cleared the exams, while in the Raipur Rani block, 78.23 per cent students cleared the exams. In the Pinjore block, which includes Panchkula town, 83.21 per cent students have passed the exams, while the backward area of Morni recorded 64.8 per cent, the lowest in the district.

Elated over the excellent results shown by various schools in the district, Nalini Mimani, district education official, said, “This year the students have shown incredible improvement. Apart from improving the track record of the government schools, this year’s result will also boost the morale of the coming batches as well.”

The private schools scored a pass percentage of 88.18 per cent, which are around 5 per cent less than the overall score of the private schools across the state. The district has around 20 private schools affiliated with the Board. Out of these private schools, JP Gurukul, Pinjore, Noble Public School, Pinjore, and BN Senior Secondary School, Sector 12, Panchkula, have shown cent percent results.

Out of the 57 government schools, six schools scored 100 per cent result in the Class X examination held this year. These schools include Government Senior Secondary School, Toda, SGIMSS School, Sector 12-A, Panchkula, Government High School (GHS), Billa, Mauli, Tharwa and Bataur.



UT’s madarsa proposal still to get nod
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Even after six months of announcing a scheme to strengthen UT madarsas, the ministry of human resource and development is yet to sanction the proposal.

The proposal, which was mooted under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan in November, aimed at the adoption of over six madarsas by the education department. The project was sent to the ministry for approval and sanction of funds, but nothing has come of it yet.

The delay has disappointed the madarsa authorities who were promised the “adoption” from this academic session only. “The ministry has launched a centrally funded SPQM scheme under which all madarsas across the country are meant to be strengthened by the support of local administrative units. We, as part of the SSA, mooted a proposal according to which not only was an infrastructural makeover planned, but also these would have been upgraded. The SSA is yet to get any go-ahead,” said Prit Pal Kaur, mission coordinator SSA.

“Last year the former DPI (S) had promised to adopt the madarsas. Though we are getting support from the SSA in form of midday meal, books and teachers, but these facilities are for day scholars. The needs of our hostel inmates are much more. We had planned to upgrade classes till Class X from this session, but we have not got any communication so far,” Maulvi Shakeel of the Mani Majra madarsa said.



IIFT students showcase talent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The evening was high on glamour as the students of IIFT showcased their annual collections at a fashion show, Lakshya-2010 organised at the City Center mall, IT Park, here.

Working on a choice of themes to design their collections like monsoon, toy story, color competition, fresh floral, ethno paradise and metallic mobility, the designs had variety in terms of fabrics, cuts and finishing. Using cotton, chiffon, crepe, satin, crinkly georgette, silk taffeta and leather the clothes were designed keeping in mind the fashion forecast and colors.

Surface ornamentation was given with embroidery in semi precious stones, sequins, shimmer embellishments, decorative bias facing, embroidered ruffles, handmade buttons et al.

A total number of 70 dresses were displayed by a group of 50 students and the grand finale had 12 rounds. Lead models like Shriya Kishore, Shipra Malik, Sahiba Singh, Ekta, Hida, Bindiya and others from city presented the collections. Kaushik Ghosh choreographed the show.

Apart from creative designer den, the show’s highlight was the escalators that were turned into ramp. “It was the first time the concept had been tried and I am glad that it worked pretty well for all of us. If clothes struck everybody’s attention then the innovative ramp sure added the required element of surprise,” said Ghosh.



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