C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Showers cool city, monsoon in a day or two
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The southwest monsoon is likely to hit the city as well as neighbouring Punjab and Haryana in a day or two as premonsoon showers drenched the city today, bringing respite to residents braving the sultry weather for the past couple of days.

Various parts of the city received moderate rain during the four hours ending 4:30 pm, which brought down the temperature to tolerable levels of 33.1 degrees Celsius, the weatherman said.

"The city received premonsoon rain today, and monsoon showers are expected in a day or two," said the duty officer at the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The rain gauges of the weather office have measured 70 mm of rain till 5:30 pm in the city, which had received over 2.8 mm of rain during the past three days.

The weatherman said the minimum temperature dropped by over three degrees to touch 33.1 degrees Celsius. Yesterday, the minimum was 36.3 degrees. However, the minimum temperature stood at 28.2 compared to 28.3 degrees recorded yesterday.

However, the rain has brought in high humidity with the city experiencing 100 per cent humidity after the showers.

The met department earlier said the monsoon had missed the onset date of June 29. Last year the monsoon had reached the city on June 30.

The met office’s projection of likely monsoon in the region is based on its assertion that the monsoon had covered about 80 per cent of the country. Aided by the low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal, the monsoon has covered entire central India as well as some areas of Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh.

Weather scientists at the IMD said that region may get monsoon rains by July 6 or 7 and heavier showers by the next weekend. "Conditions are favourable for the southwest monsoon advancing further over some more areas of the northwest region, Rajasthan, remaining parts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and some parts of eastern Rajasthan and western UP in the next two days," IMD director Surender Paul said.

He added monsoon winds would not take long to reach the region as the cloud formations were visible over Bhopal. However, he mentioned that predicting the precise date for the monsoon’s arrival would only be possible after some more days had passed.

According to Met officials, the southwest monsoon will advance over the city and neighbouring states by July 6-7. The monsoon will hit the city a couple of days later though premonsoon showers are set to continue during this period.

"This rain is very welcome. Today, being a Sunday, I'll just stay back at home and enjoy the rain from my balcony," said Rajat Sarkar, a Sector 28 resident.

The showers provided the citizens a perfect Sunday. "Finally, the premonsoon showers arrived, bringing much needed relief from the heat. Today being a Sunday I plan to go out with my family in the evening and hope the weather will remain pleasant for the remaining part of the day," said Puran Sharma, a municipal corporation employee.

“These are premonsoon showers. The region is expected to receive more light to moderate showers in the next two-three days in the city on Monday,” the official said.

“The sky will be partly cloudy on Monday with possibility of a few spells of heavy rain or thundershowers accompanied with squall in some areas of Punjab and Haryana tomorrow, the Met office warned. The maximum temperature is expected to hover around 33 degrees Celsius, while the minimum will hover around 23 degrees,” it added.Back


Morning stalkers strike again
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
After an interval of over two months unidentified motorcyclists armed with pistols again terrorised morning walkers. This time too it was women who turned out to be the assailants’ targets.

In two separate incidents the armed assailants robbed two women at gunpoint during the early morning hours in Khuda Ali Sher village here on Friday. In another incident that occurred on Thursday night two unidentified motorcyclists robbed two sisters of their jewellery near Punjab Engineering College.

These incidents are a shocking reminder of a spate of four incidents of women robbed at gunpoint by unidentified motorcyclists in the city on April 19. The police has not yet been able to track down the miscreants.

Narrating the horrific incident, Paramjit Kaur, a resident of Khuda Ali Sher village, said she was taking an early morning walk with her neighbour towards the Punjab civil secretariat side on Friday morning when two motorcyclists approached them at about 5:55 am asking thee way to Khuda Lahora village.

Before she could say anything one of the bikers pulled out a pistol and put it on her forehead. He threatened her to hand him her ornaments, which she did fearing for her life. The attacker sped away taking away her gold chain, earrings and a ring.

The assailant also tried to rob Paramjit’s companion but seeing someone coming in their direction they drove away on their motorbike bearing registration number CH01 9161. At the same time a security guard posted at the secretariat arrived at the scene and promptly called up the police.

After a gap of a few minutes, Keshav Ram, an employee of the Punjab Tubewell Corp, and his wife, Bhagwati, fell prey to robbers riding a motorcycle. Ram said the motorcyclist asked him the way to Khuda Lahora village and then one of them put a pistol on his temple and began removing his wife’s earrings.

Describing the robbers, Keshav said they were of sturdy built and in their midtwenties. They were wearing helmets and carrying knapsacks on their backs. He said after the incident he and his wife went straight to the Sector 11 police station to report the matter.

Sector 11 police station SHO inspector Sukhbir Rana said a case of snatching had been registered on a complaint filed by Paramjit. However, he added no other similar incident was reported to the police and efforts were on to trace the culprits.

On April 19 two armed youths riding a black Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle unleashed terror among morning walkers in the city, robbing four women within a span of 45 minutes. The victims included Jaspal Kaur, a resident of Sector 36, Indrawati, a Sector 31A resident, Kalpa Devi, a Sector 29 resident, and Kusum, a resident of Sector 26.



UT healthcare services found wanting
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The UT administration’s health department has admitted deficiencies in at least 16 different areas of advanced healthcare care facilities in the city as also in four aspects of primary healthcare.

Despite the city’s population having crossed 1.1 million and the ambitious Medicity project apparently grounded, there is no firm timetable for setting up the third government-run hospital in sight, at least in the immediate future.

A crosssection of experts who were approached for their comments said the administration needed to have an action plan in place to gear up for the future by plugging loopholes in the existing healthcare system. Government health providers, PGI and even private practitioners should identify such a plan on a common platform, they added.

An informal note recently prepared by the health department list the shortcomings as “lesser operation theatres, intensive cardiac care units, neurosurgery facilities, radiotherapy, neonatal ICU, pediatric surgery, forensic departments, technical staff and referral ambulance system” besides some others.

In the area of primary acre the note has pointed out that at least 15 sectors do not have civil dispensaries, existing dispensaries have inadequate staff, the influx of migrants has severely burdened healthcare services very difficult in certain areas and the lack of an effective ambulance system along with paramedical staff.

The list does not take into account the facilities available at PGI. At the same time, despite the best medical facilities in advanced healthcare, there is no denying the fact that the region’s premier hospital is too overburdened and is facing a faculty crunch.

Private practice physicians blame the UT administration for poor on the private healthcare front. Besides sites for big hospitals in certain areas, there was no provision for smaller hospitals in the city. A number of hospitals in residential areas are stuck in legal wrangling with the administration.

“An SCO in a market is too small for a hospital. The administration also doesn’t have clear cut policy on conversion of these sites into hospitals”, a senior doctor said.

Detailing some of the administration’s initiatives, UT health secretary Ram Niwas said: “The administration will very shortly commence MRI facilities at Government Multispecialty Hospital in Sector 16. UPSC has sanctioned 32 posts of specialists for Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32 and the recruitment will be completed shortly. The administration has also sent a proposal to create 600 posts, including those of includes super specialists, in the health department. The administration also plans to set up a separate hostel for nurses”.



Industrial Area losing its character
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
What was once the City Beautiful’s window to the industrial world has now lost its identity. Thanks to the lopsided vision of those at the helm in the past, the combined units of Industrial Area, Phases I and II, which were once considered the backbone of industries in the periphery of neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, have now turned into an arcade of shops selling common wares like shoes, clothes and furniture.

No wonder that the Industrial Area is dying a slow death. Even the rechristening of its name to Industrial-cum-Business Park has not done much to infuse life into it.

Conversion Policy — The undoing

The UT administration had in 2005 come out with the conversion policy under which 77 plots were initially allowed to carry out commercial activities after paying a hefty conversion fee.

This paved the way for dilution of character of the Industrial Area after which big industrial units were converted into shopping malls-cum-multiplexes and others into hotels.

Since then, the Industrial Area has been a scene of chaos in terms of its parking and other civic amenities, even though only one multiplex and five commercial complexes have taken shape so far while two more are on their way.

With infrastructural facilities like water, electricity, parking, roads and sewerage already bursting at the seams - going by the increasing needs of the new facet of the industrial area - no efforts have been made so far to tackle the growing burden on the existing facilities.

Phase I is the worst hit, as a number of big plots measuring several acres have been converted.

Initially, the administration decided to allow conversion of plots measuring not less than four acres, the area span for conversion was later reduced to one acre followed by four kanal and then finally two kanal.

Industrialists disillusioned

Big industrialists who paid hefty fee to the administration for getting the land use changed cried foul when the administration allowed some non-IT activities in the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park. They rued that while they had got the land use changed after paying crores of rupees per square yard, others managed to get land at subsidised rates in the IT park to run the same business.

On the other hand, when small industrial shed owners and plot owners, after the winding up of some big names in the periphery, made temporary changes, they had to meet with stiff resistance from the administration in the form of notices of violations and misuse by the UT estate office.

Small plot owners have since the been requesting the administration to charge fee on the pattern of others and allow them to function but to no avail.


Despite repeated claims of the administration of working on a new industrial policy for the past several years, nothing concrete has been seen as yet.

The administration is also in the process of expanding the Industrial Area and a third phase is being chalked out. UT Finance Secretary said: “The land has already been identified and in fact work has also been started. To start with, a warehouse is being created at the place.”



Rain throws life out of gear in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 4
Residents in a block of about 40 marla houses in Phase 3 B 2 here today spent the day flushing out rainwater after a heavy downpour flooded their premises. Soon after the rain started, the houses were knee deep in water.

Otherwise used to the problem of rainwater entering their low-lying houses after every rainfall, the residents this year were expecting that they would be spared of rain fury as the Punjab’s Public Health Department had laid a new five km-long storm water line at a cost of Rs 2.63 crore to relieve them of the menace. But still the houses were flooded.

“The new line was laid at the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after the residents took legal recourse. The line was supposed to have opened,” said Ravinder Bansal, a resident of the area.

Irritated the residents called up the Public Health Officials. Executive Engineer, Public Health, HS Dhammi, said the new line did function and the rainwater was drained after some time.

He clarified that since the line had to be completed within six months, various works to repair the road berms and other dug up portions was still going on.

“The houses were flooded due to an over flowing 72” storm water line in the area,” he added.

Normal life was also thrown out of gear as the downpour today resulted in flooding of roads throughout the city. The Mohali MC and the Public Health authorities were caught napping as the rainwater entered many houses, damaging their property. Even an hour after the downpour, no official of the MC was seen on the roads and the residents were left on their own to pump out the water.

The residents in different parts of the city demand that the GMADA and Public Health should upgrade other storm water lines as a number of the low lying areas were flooded during rains. Fire brigade had to be requisitioned in Phase 5 after rainwater threatened to enter houses. Water also entered house in Phase 2.

Chaos prevailed on the roads as vehicles were stranded. Water logging was witnessed near Bougainvillea Garden in Phase IV, which led to traffic congestion. There was a lot of water on the road leading from Phase II to the PSEB office in Phase I, creating problems for road users.


Open House 
PU's hurried decision on Senate needs a re-look
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Faculty and Senate members are aghast over the manner in which Panjab University has altered the system for recording the meeting of the Senate and the Syndicate, the highest academic bodies consisting of elected members. The decisions inside the house affect more than 70 teaching departments and centres on the campus and more than 175 affiliated colleges.

The university has decided that "in future, in the proceedings of the meeting of the Syndicate and the Senate, only resolved part be included."

The university Senate proceedings were being recorded, in a particular manner from the past 128 years and anyone can see the details of the debates and the name of people making a point, ever since the proceedings were being recorded. The sudden decision without even listing the mater for discussion in the house has led to voices of discomfort.

An important aspect of the controversial decision is that the university Calendar II(a)(i) clearly says that "No item of business should be included in the agenda of Senate unless it has first been considered by the syndicate." There is exemption to Regulation 13 where besides routine provisions, (i) refers to "any other matter with permission of the chairman".

It has been pointed out that the matter under discussion on deleting debates from the circulated proceedings was never discussed in any of the earlier Syndicate proceedings. Going by the nature of the matter, it was not urgent enough to have been ushered in suddenly by the chairman of the house. The issue needed an academic debate before being introduced.

Infact in another context, Prof RP.Bambah, a former Vice-Chancellor and a fellow of the Senate, in the proceedings of the Senate dated

December 6, 2009 has been recorded as "the provision was that only those matters could be discussed in the Senate, decision on which were taken by the Syndicate. If any adhoc decision was taken emotionally, it would set a bad precedent. According to him, suggestions, if any should be given to the Vice-Chancellor in writing, who in turn should get the same examined by a committee of experts and their recommendations placed before the syndicate for consideration which could apply its mind".

In the process of not divulging the details of deliberations, inside the house, it will be unclear to follow the logic behind the important university decisions, particularly controversial ones.

Certain times the objections raised by members on important issues, particularly appointments, have been quoted in the courts to the benefit of the applicants. Members are known to have submitted their objections in writing, some times, which were included in the senate proceedings later on.

In a parallel to the country's parliament and the state assemblies, details of the discussions inside need to be covered in all details, specifically quotes of divergent nature in any decision taken by the house. The senate proceedings should be circulated with details of the academic debate. It is interesting even to read about the logic behind the disagreeing parties, particularly in an academic atmosphere like a university campus.

The university has said that it would keep a separate record of the senate proceedings which will have all details of the debate in the house. This record will incorporate the names of all the speakers and their point of view. Anyone wishing to have an eye on the details iof the proceedings could peruse the records with the special permission of the authorities.

What was the point in having two set of records on the same issue? The university instead needed to work out a smarter way of recording the house proceedings. One can always argue over the manner in which the senate items are listed and the proceedings are recorded. The English looks archaic, in several instances. Probably simple language can be used. This was a bigger issue in improving the senate proceedings rather than simply doing away with the debate portion in the proceedings.

The point is that the syndicate meetings need to be sent to the residence of the members well before the senate meetings. This would not only reduce their carrying weight but also give them some time to go through the proceedings and come prepared for discussion in the house.

The university can consider ignoring lesser important issues in the house to be recorded. However, the academic matter generating debate needs to be recorded in maximum details as possible. Our future generations might at some point of time like to examine the logic why certain decision was taken.

The other side of the coin

One important aspect of senate discussions, like many political debates, is certain speakers wanting to merely make populist statements and get themselves recorded. Certain populist voices often attempt to get their point scribbled on the paper of house proceedings so that the message reached their respective constituencies. Often, it did not matter whether the point had any relevance to the issue under discussion or not. A casual perusal of the senate records reveals that the fellows from the graduate constituency are among the most vocal in the house. They mean a lot of business whether they raised a serious issue or even if defended a controversial one.

It is worth mentioning that the issue of deleting the house discussions and names of senate members cropped up when certain members pointed out the agenda items to be too bulky in a meeting of the senate, last year. Members at that point time were carrying at least two heavy volumes of previous syndicate meetings and the agenda for the senate meeting, in progress.

Reacting to the situation, the university decided to do away with discussions from the senate proceedings. Only decisions were important. Sounds logical to a great extent, doesn't it?

At thw same time, the issue of a 'Healthy debate' too is very subjective because in the senate very often the floor is held in making statements which only served as the podium to some for conveying their vote banks that their issues were being taken up inside the house. The catch, in many cases, was that nothing could be done, at all, in the matter and the speakers knew very well.

Ramblings in the house

Objections with regard to the new method of recording the house proceedings have already been raised by certain senate members. More senate members are likely to join the voice of protest against the change in the forthcoming senate meeting.

In a letter to the Vice Chancellor, Prorf R.C.Sobti, recently, the fellows including Rabinder Nath Sharma, Manjit Singh, H.S.Gosal and N.K.Ojha have pointed out that "parliamentary proceedings, till date, are properly documented and are now even video recorded. The debates are the backbone of our constitution and are cited relied upon for purposes of legal interpretation".

It has also been pointed out that "Under RTI Act 2005, it is obligatory for every public authority to give reasons for its decisions to the affected persons. Only detailed recordings of proceedings can unfold the causative factor and reasons that go into making of a decision or a resolution".

It also mentioned that "as the highest body of an academic institution, it is all the more obligatory that it publicises its debates and discussions with conviction and courage".



Foundation Day
PGI faculty to review boycott threat
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The top management of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is working overtime to convince the Faculty Association to withdraw its unprecedented threat to boycott the foundation day celebrations of the institute on July 7 in view of the non-implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission report.

And if insiders are to be believed, initial parleys between the PGI Director and members of the association have paid as the latter have decided to review their decision at the general body meeting on July 6.

Sources said PGI Director Prof KK Talwar had spoken to the association president Prof A Rajwanshi and the latter had assured him to review the decision at the general body meeting. However, as far as the hardliners in the association are concerned, the decision to boycott the function is final and there will be no change in it.

If the boycott is successful, it will be for the first time in the PGI's history that the entire 415-member faculty will stay away from the prestigious institute day celebrations.

A senior member of the association said a decision to boycott the celebrations was taken at a recent general body meeting. It was decided that none of 415 faculty members will attend the function, which will be attended by a couple of Union Ministers, including Minister of State for External Affairs, Preneet Kaur.

General secretary of PGI Faculty Association Dr Ritesh Agarwal said: “The Sixth Pay Commission has recommended that the duration of promotion at each level be reduced and the selected faculty be promoted to the next level.” 



Free yoga sessions for city residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
To promote yoga like other ayurvedic systems of medicine, the UT administration has started free yoga sessions for city residents.

Confirming the move, Dr Rajeshwar Rana, director, Ayush (ayurvedic, yoga, unani, siddhi, and homoeopathy), said since there was a great demand for yoga centres in city, shift centres had been started a couple of months back. “The huge success of these classes has led the administration to start such sessions on a monthly basis in all sectors of the city,” he added.

“We have planned to organise classes for a month in each sector,” said Dr Rana, while elaborating on the project. He said two regular yoga instructors, along with two helpers, had been appointed to look after the project. “People will learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle through aasana,” he said. “Yoga is a safe and dependable treatment methodology, which by strengthening our physical and mental faculties, gives us the capacity to fight a disease. Experience tells us that if medical specialists, too, add this to their treatment regime, it will benefit patients,” says Dr Rana.

According to health officials, Chandigarh mostly have cases of lifestyle diseases than the national average. “Year after year, this trend has continued indicating that residents are leading sedentary lives, with high calorific food intake and low physical activity. So we planned to promote traditional system of physical activity, which is a science as well as art of healthy living mentally, morally and spiritually.” 



City girl scales Rudugaira peak

Chandigarh, July 4
Twenty-year-old Divya Gurnay, a student of MCM DAV College, Sector 36, scaled Rudugaira peak, 5,819 m(19090 ft ), in the region of Gangotri glacier on June 17, 2010.

She was part of a 19-member all girls team from various corners of India. Divya Gurunay is the first young lady from the region to have accomplished this task. Gitanjali of Indian Army and 35-year-old graphic designer from Bangalore Sonali were part of the team. The expedition was organised by the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), an institute of Indian Army, after completion of the advanced course in mountaineering. — TNS



Begging or no begging?
‘Shani’ kids thrive on city streets
Anil Jerath/TNS

Chandigarh, July 4
Can those, especially children, who collect money from people on Saturdays, particularly at traffic crossings, in the name of “Shani devta” be termed beggars?

Jagriti, an NGO, is lobbying with the political leadership and the police not to treat “Shani children” as beggars.

The traffic police recently banned begging at road crossings. Whether donating a few coins, oil, grain or clothes helps save one from the ill-effects of “Shani” (Saturn) or not, it surely ensures quick money for many, mostly children.

Jagriti secretary Swaroop Chandra says these children earn around Rs 150 on Saturdays. “Add to this the oil, clothes and grains collected by them and one can understand the extent of money involved in this work,” he says.

It is believed that in the vicinity of northern sectors alone, children manage to collect around Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500 every Saturday.

Chandra attributes this rise in earning to “religious fear” among people. It is believed that by donating money to “Shani” one can get rid of the “Shanidasha” (bad effect).

Rajinder Kumar (18), a resident of Rajpura, who seeks alms to calm down Shani Dev, does not even know who Shani is. “All I know is that the day makes me earn a few hundred rupees,” he says.

Rajinder does not go to school and waits for Saturdays so that he can hit the streets.

Dressed in white kurta and red stole, he claims he can bring relief from “Shani Dev” to those who can offer him something. He also collects a lot of mustard oil on the day.

The “Shani children” are also facing problems following the traffic police’s order to motorists not to encourage beggars and vendors at signals to ensure smooth flow of traffic. A police officer, on request of anonymity, says they have nothing against these urchins. By giving money or alms on Saturday you can’t earn “punya” (grace), he adds.

Anuradha Khanna, a housewife, says: “Every Saturday it is a must for the entire family to offer coins so that nothing bad happens to them during the day. They sell the oil to shopkeepers and it is a business for them.”

NGO secretary Swaroop Chandra says the government should identify such kids and do something for them so that they get to study instead of begging. “Parents of such children should be punished,” he adds.



No compensation in sight for victims
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Even 26 years after the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, many victims have not been provided with relief or compensation by the UT administration.Though 143 victims who were able to file FIRs at the respective stations regarding their loss were compensated according to the directions issued by the Center, at least 67 were still running from pillar to post in the absence of any FIR registered at the place from where they were displaced.

In fact, those who had suffered during the riots directly and got the police complaints filed were compensated by the UT administration but the ones who could not muster the courage to go back to their places and get FIRs registered were denied their dues, said Baljit Singh Khalsa, a resident of Sector 40.

Moreover, there were cases of people who migrated to Punjab due to panic during riots and were not given a single penny, he said.

Tarlok Singh, a resident of Sector 27, had a flourishing transport business in West Bengal before his three trucks were burnt down by a mob and he along with family had to shift to the city.

Jasbir Singh, another victim who settled down in Sector 41 after his house and truck were burnt in Mahendergarh district, Haryana, was refused compensation in the absence an FIR.

Surjit Kaur, a resident of Sector 35, finds herself helpless as her FIR registered at Ranchi is lost and the administration denied her any relief.

“We had submitted income tax returns, ration cards and papers regarding transfer of cooking gas connection from places of our origin to Chandigarh but the authorities refused to oblige,” said the victims.

Official sources said the matter had already been taken up with the central government and the applications of such claimants would be disposed of as soon as the directions were issued in this regard.



Centralised grievance redress system sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) today demanded the setting up of a centralised public grievance redress and monitoring system by the Chandigarh administration on the Haryana pattern.

The demand was raised at its executive committee meeting held here.

It was demanded that the administration should start the system in association with the department of administrative reforms and public grievances, Government of India , for the redressal of all kinds of citizens’ grievances as part of its e-governance system.

The launching of such a system is all the more important in a city like Chandigarh where democratic setup is not there and the administration is pre-dominantly governed by bureaucrats.

The members expressed concern at the rising crime and lawlessness, especially snachings, robbings and the recent incidents of assault on police personnel, former cricket coach and an SDM, which had created panic among the common man.

The other issues taken up at the meeting included the formation of a revised master plan and setting up of regional planning and development authority for Chandigarh region on NCR pattern, checking of haphazard growth in peripheral areas around the city, taking remedial measures to tackle scarcity of water and establishment of a power plant to meet the future needs of electricity, bringing affordable housing for low and middle income groups, building sufficient hostel accommodation to check the menace of mushrooming of unauthorized paying guest houses in residential areas,upgrade of infrastructure and civic amenities in southern sectors, including providing a club and a hospital.

The members expressed their concern about the lackadaisical attitude of the health department in opening of Jan Aushadhi stores in the city.



Bus runs over elderly at ISBT-17

Chandigarh, July 4
Bachna Ram, a 60-year-old resident of Ambala, was killed after he was run over by a Punjab Roadways bus at the ISBT, Sector 17, here this morning.The police said the accident took place around 11.30 am when the driver of the bus was reserving the vehicle.

The driver, Ravinder Kumar, of Anandpur Sahib was reversing the Delhi-bound bus without taking the help of the conductor.

Eyewitnesses told the police that the victim was standing behind the bus at the counter where it was to be parked. The bus knocked down the victim and before he could crawl out his head was crushed under the rear tyres, killing him on the spot.

Bachna Ram was a labourer by profession. The police shifted the body to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, and informed the victim’s family about the mishap.

The police arrested the bus driver after registering a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving against him. — TNS



Rotary president installed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The installation ceremony of Rotary Club, Chandigarh central, was organised at the PHD house here today. Justice TPS Mann of Punjab and Haryana High Court was the chief guest.

Jagjeet Singh Walia was installed as club president for 2010-11. Also, Mahesh Arora was installed as vice-president, Neeraj Punj as secretary and Mahesh Bansal as joint secretary.

Addressing the gathering, Jagjeet Singh highlighted the projects to be undertaken along with the ongoing projects by the club.

He said: “A pulmonary rehabilitation centre will be launched shortly at the GMCH-32, water purifiers will be installed in schools, dispensaries and villages of the UT. Upgrade of adopted Kishangarh village, de-worming of rural children, annual inter-school rural sports meet would also be organised. Justice Mann lauded the role of the club in serving the community. He appreciated the efforts of the club in eradicating polio.



Queen’s Baton Relay fails to enthuse

With the lukewarm response to Queen’s Baton relay, the much-hyped event turned out to be a damp squib. The Chandigarh Administration had worked hard to ensure mass participation

in the welcome ceremony, but the turnout at the stadium was only about 500 persons, consisting mostly of school students.

Even for the special train on Commonwealth Games, there were only a few takers. “The response was contrary to our expectations. We had thought people would turn up in large numbers,” an official, accompanying the relay, stated.

Suchet, a resident, said: “I did not go to the function as it would have reminded me that once we were ruled by the British.”

A cavalcade, consisting of 26 vehicles like Land Cruisers, decorated trucks, pilot jeeps and motorcycles and an ambulance, besides tight security arrangements, were enough to amuse onlookers in the city.

From Chandi Mandir to the Sector 16 Cricket Stadium, the police and Army personnel were deployed at every 50 metres. “Kya Pradhan Mantri aaye hain shehar mein (Is the Prime Minister in the city)?” a migrant labourer asked after seeing the cavalcade. Another was overheard asking his friend: “Yeh kya lekar bhaag rahen hain (What are they holding and running)”.

Veterans ignored

A number of sportspersons of the city, including veterans of Asian and Olympic games, feel ignored for not being involved in the Queen’s Baton function on Saturday.

Gurbakhsh Singh, a former international volleyball player, said: “The entire exercise of organising a programme for sportspersons without involving them is useless. The tri-city is home to dozens of leading sportspersons from various fields, who at least deserved a invite.”

Nothing’s certain

The FIFA fever ended in despair for many. Many youngsters who were watching the game only for the love of their teams like Argentina, Italy and Brazil could not believe that their favourite teams had been shown the door by underdogs like Paraguay, Uruguay and Ghana. Wonder if FIFA is also going the cricket way where lesser known teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have begun to beat strong teams like India, Pakistan and even Sri Lanka. Whatever the outcome of the finals, the thing worth learning from the games is that one can never be sure of anything, neither in sports nor in life.

Cremations his first call

Gopal Yadav “Pali” is a contented man. For the past 20 years, he has been serving a cause that nobody else takes up. Belonging to a poor Brahmin family from Bihar and residing in Hallo Majra village, the white-bearded Pali, with a traditional boat-cap, rushes to the cremation ground as soon as he is called by villagers.

He hangs on until the entire body is turned to ashes. It does not matter if it is dead of night, or cold or sweltering hot, he is there to help all. He neither charges anything for this service nor accepts anything in kind. A man of few words and soft spoken, he politely turns down financial payments for this unique service.

Quota everywhere

Panjab University has streamlined the hostel admissions this year and has uploaded the break up of the number of hostel seats allotted to each department. The list on the website even mentions the number of seats reserved for the SC/ST category and Backward Classes in each department. There seems to be no respite from reservations, be it in academics or getting a hostel room.

Poor traffic sense

The view of a traffic jam on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway.
The view of a traffic jam on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway. Tribune photo: S. Chandan

It has been over six years since the Chandigarh Traffic Police and the UT engineering wing installed lights at the busy roundabouts in the city to reduce traffic snarls. However, it has not yielded the desired results. A large number of motorists with poor road sense continue to drive into the traffic coming from the left and create chaos.

The authorities are now thinking of installing another set of lights on the Tribune roundabout. A traffic police officer said if this concept helped in reducing traffic snarls to “some extent”, they would put lights on other roundabouts, too. “We have already installed CCTV cameras on the lights, but people continue to run into each other, paying scant regard to their own safety,” he said.

No lessons learnt

The Mohali district administration has failed to learn from past experiences. Despite two tragic road accidents in the last one month, it has not put in place an ambulance service to rush victims to nearby hospitals. Though the developed part of the city is only over 50 sq km, no ambulance is available in case of an emergency.

An ambulance at the Civil Hospital, Phase 6, seldom arrives on time. On June 18, three students (in their early 20s) -- two from Sangrur and one from Karnal -- were killed and the fourth suffered serious injuries in a road accident involving a Maruti Zen and a Tata Sumo near Phase III-B-2. The victims had to be taken to hospital in a police Gypsy.

In another incident, the SHO of the Sohana Police station had to requisition a private truck to help two road accident victims as no ambulance could be arranged. As per procedure, there has to be a contingency plan to deal with such situations.

— Contributions by Deepankar Sharda, Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Akash Ghai, Smriti Sharma Vasudeva, Anil Jerath, Neha Miglani, Ramanjit Singh and Rajmeet Singh



Illegal tree felling
Three months on, probe yields no result
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 4
Punjab’s forest department has been adopting a double standard in probing cases of illicit tree felling. While the forest officials took less than 15 days to probe the case of illicit felling of tress in Perch forest, it has taken over three months to probe a case of illicit felling of Khair tree in Bardar village.

Three different officials have been deputed to probe the matter and still nothing has come out.

“The forest department is trying to protect certain officials whose connivance has come in the open. Despite repeated complaints the forest department is delaying the issue due to reasons known best to them,” said a resident of Bardhar village.

Three women of the village, Banti Devi, Piari Devi and Guro Devi, who had earlier complained before the National Commission for Women for being harassed by the police in connivance with the forest officials for exposing a scam in reckless felling of tree in the area, have now written to the principal secretary, department of forest and wildlife.

In April several residents of Bardhar village in their representation to the additional principal chief conservator of forests, Punjab, MP Rai, had pointed out that under the garb of securing permit for tree felling, the unscrupulous elements even ventured into other nearby areas and indulged in large scale tree felling.

A tractor trolley with the illegally felled trees had been seized in presence of the forest officials.

Despite recent incident of illicit tree felling in Parol and large-scale damage to Shivalik Hills Jyanti Majri, forest officials were not taking the complaints seriously.

The complainants have stated that despite complaints against forest ranger Randhir Singh Chakkal, Siswan forest range, Sukhwinder Singh block officer and Balwinder Singh forest guard, no action was being taken against them.

None of the officials were available for comments. 



Multi-art theatre fest ends
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
The two-day Multi-Art Theatre Festival jointly organised by the Sandli Pairan Kala Kender and Natya Toli concluded with the staging of a Punjabi play “Va-Varolle” at the Randhawa Auditorium here today.

The play depicts the life of a young student, Deepa, who fell prey to the whirlwind of terrorism. At the very outset, the role of authorities in dealing with the troublesome times and untoward situations of fake encounters were amply revealed in the play.

Playwright Jaswinder Singh Baru and director Parveen Jaggi had attempted to offer an analytical view of the holocaust in Punjab and how one wrong decision could make one’s life miserable. The play was enacted by actors, Avtar Singh, Komaldeep, Rajnish, Gaurav, Soniya, Aman, Master Gandharv, Gagan, Jangbir and Saurav Khandelwal.

Earlier 21 poets read out over 50 poems as a part of the fest, besides display of 50 paintings and 35 photographs remained an added attraction. Chief guest and noted theatre personality Parvesh Sethi presented an award of excellence to city artist Baljit Bala instituted by the organisers.



Merit list for admission to BBA, BCA out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Government colleges in city have declared the merit list for admission to BBA (I) and BCA (I) courses today.The merit list, with names of students under different categories, has been uploaded on the website www.gc11.com.

For bachelors in business administration (BBA), there are 102 seats under the UT pool, for which nearly 300 students have been shortlisted.

These students have scored 65 per cent and above in their Class XII board exams. “The cutoff list will be finalised after the counselling,” said Dr Shyam Sunder, principal, Postgraduate Government College, Sector 11. Under the “other than UT” pool, for which there are 18 seats in city colleges, 88 candidates have been shortlisted with 78 per cent marks and above.

More than 417 candidates have been included in the merit list of bachelors of computer applications (BCA) for 240 seats. Under the UT pool, students with more than 70 per cent in Class XII have been included in the merit list while for “other than UT pool”, students with 75 per cent marks and above have made it to the merit list. 



Computer training

Chandigarh, July 4
A 25-day intense in-service training programme on computer aided learning was organised for 300 teachers at six venues under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The programme aimed to make teaching-learning processes more interesting and to break the monotony of passive teaching. — TNS



PU website needs revision
Details of affiliated colleges outdated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Panjab University is yet to update the details of its affiliated colleges posted at its official website. The nomenclature as well as contact numbers of these colleges are outdated and need revision.

The link of the PU’s College Development Council at www.puchd.ac.in leads to a “non-operational” database of the affiliated colleges. DCDC AK Bhandari was not available for his comments on updating the website.

The information pertaining to the colleges has not been updated and this is despite the fact that the PU website now contains the latest syllabi of all courses offered by the university under separate heads for the convenience of the students.

Uploading the syllabi of various courses on the official website has come as a great relief for students, since each year the students in the affiliated colleges and departments used to face a hard time while acquiring a copy of the updated syllabi.

In addition to this, the website now also gives a unique outlook to the course offered by the university on basic statistical learning. The e-learning course offered by PU, information regarding which has now been uploaded on the website, is quite a fascination. The web link to the e-learning course offered by the University School of Open Learning (USOL) offers the students to create an individual account to access the details regarding the course.



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