C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


It’s pouring plenty this monsoon
Chandigarh records 25 pc more rain than normal till date
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
A short spell of torrential rain lashed the city this morning, inundating various areas. The city has recorded 24.9 per cent more rainfall this monsoon than the normal so far.

The sky had been overcast since early morning. Around 9 am, the momentum picked up as a thick blanket of grey clouds poured down aggressively over the city.

Several sectors were under a sheet of water as the city experienced heavy rain for about an hour.

Admitting it was the season’s heaviest rainfall - 25mm - in a short spell in the city, Met official said with the southwest monsoon remaining active, rain and thundershowers were expected to continue for a couple of days.

Surender Paul, Director, India Meteorological Department, said, “As per our records, the city has experienced 773.1 mm rainfall this monsoon, which is 24.9 per cent more than the normal rainfall (691.9 mm) till today.”

The day temperature in the city was 32°C, while the minimum was 26.5°C.

The market areas in Sectors 7, 18, 20, 30 and 29 were in a mess as people had to wade through knee-deep water in several areas. Office-goers had a harrowing time as they were caught unawares when it suddenly started pouring heavily this morning.

Meanwhile, weather officials have predicted more rainfall and thundershowers over the next 48 hours.

Met officials said southern sectors and Mohali had the heaviest rainfall this morning. Traffic jams were witnessed in southern sectors, especially near Attawa Chowk and Sector 41 roundabout. The road leading to the ISBT-43 was under knee-deep water.

After the downpour, thoroughfares and roads were choc-a-bloc with stranded vehicles as rainwater inundated several low-lying areas. Massive traffic snarls were witnessed due to waterlogging in several parts of the city.

However, rail and air services remained unaffected.

According to weathermen, the sky will remain overcast and there will be one or two spells of rain in the city and adjoining areas of Punjab and Haryana over the next 24 hours. The maximum and minimum temperature is likely to be around 32°C and 24°C, respectively, tomorrow.



GMADA to allow ‘need-based’ changes in houses
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 23
Thousands of residential property allottees, who were facing resumption or cancellation of proceedings for building code violations, have a reason to rejoice as the Punjab housing & urban development department has finalised the “need-based” changes that will be permitted in all categories of houses in Mohali, relaxing the archaic bylaws.

A formal announcement in this regard is expected during the forthcoming visit of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to the town.

The need-based changes mean an allottee can extend the front and rear balconies of his property by three feet; the verandah on the first floor of HE houses can be converted into a room; a 2.25 metre mumty (to cover the stairs) excluded from the height of a building above the second floor can be constructed; and the kitchen in HIG houses can be extended or a 150 sq ft store/servant quarter would be legally permitted in the rear courtyard of houses.

The last time some relaxations were allowed was in the mid-1990s by the erstwhile PUDA. GMADA chief administrator VP Singh said the latest relaxations would be announced soon.

One of the crucial decisions to increase the floor area ration (FAR) for different sizes of houses would, however, require approval from the housing department secretary. More FAR would mean that the allottee would have more covered area on the second floor, increasing the value of the property.

For other need-based changes, the GMADA chief administrator will be the competent authority to relax or compound the constructions under the Punjab Regional & Town Planning Development Act, 1995. The need-based changes have been permitted on the lines of the relaxations allowed by the UT administration and the Chandigarh Housing Board.

Sources said after analysing representations of resident welfare associations, a committee comprising GMADA’s additional chief administrator, the estate officer, the senior architect and the district town planner, which was set up in 2006 to study need-based changes in building bylaws, had made the recommendations earlier this year. The announcement was being timed with the CM’s visit to derive political mileage, the sources added.

The proposed people-friendly relaxations apart, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority is reportedly mum over the pitfalls that could surface due to the relaxations. The authority has not ensured that an allottee would not use the relaxation to raise a mumty to construct a small accommodation on the third floor or relaxation to extend the balconies would not result in an allottee adding the extended area to a room.

It has also been pointed that the relaxations would vary for different categories of houses.

New floor area ratios proposed

Size of plot less than one kanal 2 FAR

1 kanal and above (less than 2 kanals) 1.50 FAR

Two kanals 1.25 FAR

Above two kanals 1 FAR

Major changes permitted

l 3 ft extension in roof projection on front and rear

l Temporary car shed in front courtyard

l 2.25 metre mumty above permitted height of building to approach 3rd floor through stairs

l HE houses (first floor) verandah can be converted into room



Fraud exposes lax security at SBI ATMs
3 more persons report losing moneyRamanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The police’s investigations into the fraudulent withdrawals from ATMs of State Bank of India using cloned ATM cards has so far revealed flaws on the part of the bank in preventing the crime.

DSP (crime) Satbir Singh said all the incidents occurred at SBI ATMs and the bank had not deployed any security guard at any of its ATMs in the city. “Had security guards been deployed at the ATMS the suspects wouldn’t have been able to install the skimmer device to download information from the ATM cards”, he said.

The cyber crime investigation cell of the Chandigarh police today received three more complaints in which the victims alleged money had been fraudulently withdrawn from ATMs using cloned cards.

One of the victims, Ankur, a resident of Sector 32, alleged he lost Rs 20,000 while Rajni of Sector 56 claimed she had been duped of Rs 56,000. Similarly, Monika, another city resident, alleged she had received messages that Rs 35,000 had been withdrawn from her bank account in two separate transactions.

Sources close to CCIC said CCTV footage revealed the suspects had spent over three hours at the ATM, exposing a major lapse on the part of the bank as far as security of the ATMs was concerned. The suspects spent enough time to install the skimmer device and a small camera to record the PIN (personal identification Number) code of the ATM card when the customer feeds it while withdrawing money. They also covered the CCTV camera with a cloth to prevent being identified.

A police officer said the even the CCTV cameras installed at the ATM machine was of a very low resolution and the place of light was also wrong, leading to poor quality of the CCTV footage. “We’re still trying to prepare a sketch of the suspects and are hopeful of nabbing him soon”, DSP Satbir said.

Take care, says SBI

State Bank of India’s assistant general manager (PR&CSB) today claimed the bank’s ATM cum debit cards were “totally secure” with multilevel security systems meeting RBI guidelines. He added the cards could only be operated with the authorised PIN. “Users are advised to keep their card safe and secure and not to disclose their PIN to anyone. Also, during transactions, customers should ensure there is no other person near the ATM. As a cautionary measure cardholders should stand close to the ATM keyboard while typing their PIN. Customers are also requested to change their PINs frequently and immediately in case they feel the confidentiality of the PINs has been compromised”, the SBI official advised. The bank said it was verifying the complaints it had received recently. 



Eye flu spreads wings in city
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
With other seasonal diseases and infections, conjunctivitis, caused by pathogens (viral or bacterial), has begun to spread its wings in the city. Though only a few patients have been visiting the hospitals and dispensaries as of now, the number may increase drastically in the coming days, as this virus spreads very fast from one person to another.

Acute conjunctivitis is caused by viral and bacterial infection, spread by touch, whether directly or indirectly. The infection usually spreads during the monsoon season and the symptoms are: redness of the eye, discharge, itching and watering.

Every day there are one or two patients reaching the dispensary of Sector 28, says Dr Rajiv Kaplia. At PGI, patients are coming for treatment at the OPD, says Dr Amod Gupta, professor and head of ophthalmology.

Whenever a patient of conjunctivitis touches the infected eye, the bacteria is transferred from his fingers on to any place he touches, and thus he infects other persons as well, says Gupta.

The virus has an incubation period of one month, and only one and foolproof method to avoid it is not to touch the eyes without proper washing of hands, Gupta said. And in case one contracts the infection, he or she must consult an eye specialist, as self -medication can be harmful. However, if it is not possible to consult a doctor immediately, one can keep an ice cube wrapped in a thin cloth over the eyes, which will provide some relief to the patient, said Gupta.

However, one needs to be cautious, as other eye diseases and infections too have similar symptoms, as that of conjunctivitis. There are many patients who avoid medication thinking it to be conjunctivitis thus aggravating the problem, said Gupta.

Only a doctor can diagnose the exact cause of the problem and prescribe the required medication, he added.


l Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water.

l Wash discharge from eyes twice a day.

l Wash clothes used by patient with detergent.

l Wear disposable contact lenses. 


l Wear eye make up.

l Share eye make up with others.

l Avoid using contact lenses.

l Touch or rub the infected eye.



2 test positive for swine flu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
With two more persons testing positive for the H1N1 virus, the number of patients suffering from swine flu in the city reached three today.

According to Abha Rana, nodal officer of the Chandigarh health department for swine flu, a resident of Sector 8 and another from Sector 36 have been admitted to the PGI and Fortis hospital, respectively.

It was on August 14 when a 30-year-old person, a resident of Sector 35, was admitted to Fortis Hospital and found suffering from swine flu. It was the first case of the infection from the city this year.

Today, a 57-year-old female from Sector 8-B, who was admitted to the PGI on August 18, was found positive. Her condition was stable. The 43-year-old resident of Sector 36 was admitted to Fortis and has been put on ventilator due to his serious condition, said the nodal officer.

According to Rana, families of both patients have been given proper medicine and quarantined. No history of their visit to a foreign country was reported, he added.



Parsvnath, CHB told to refund ` 2.84 cr to 6 complainants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The almost-scrapped luxury flagship housing project Prideasia of the Parsvnath and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is costing them dear. Taking serious note of the delay in the start of construction, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed Parsvnath and the CHB to refund over Rs 2.84 crore to six complainants.

The Commission has also asked them to pay Rs 5,000 jointly as the cost of litigation.

Shamsher Singh Sidhu, a resident of Sector 8, stated in a complaint before the commission that the developers had advertised their township in the name of Prideasia. For providing an idea of the flat the developers had built a sample flat at the site.

He applied for the flat after seeing the sample flat in 2006 and deposited a booking amount of Rs 9.81 lakh.

The flat costing Rs 2,08,5000 was supposed to be completed within 36 months as per the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Subsequently, the complainant sought for an upgradation of the flat from three bedrooms to penthouse for which the developer demanded Rs 46,31,500 more. The amount was deposited in December 2007.

Despite taking the amount of Rs 56, 12,500 the developer did not inform the complainant about the progress of the project. Later, Sidhu was informed that the project had not even taken off.

In its reply in 2009 to the complainant’s complaints, the Chandigarh Housing Board, argued that the complainant had entered into the Flat Buyer Agreement with the Parsvnath. It was the responsibility of the developer to deliver the residential unit to the buyer and there was no deficiency on the part of CHB.

Parsvnath in its reply stated that the said land was not made available to it by the CHB with the result that the firm could not start the construction.

They also mentioned that the amount deposited towards cost of flats by the complainant was not with the developers, rather it was lying deposited in the joint account with the CHB and that Parsvnath was not operating upon the account.

The Commission also directed Parsvnath to pay compensation in each complaint case for not offering the built up flat within 36 months at Rs 10 per square feet.



Ministry rejects PGI faculty’s promotion plea
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The union health ministry has turned down the demand of PGI faculty members to introduce the new line of promotion (‘3-3-4 scheme’) with effect from January 2006 and has instead made it effective from January this year.

Under the new scheme an assistant professor will rise to the rank of professor in ten years after being promoted as associate professor, additional professor and finally professor in three, three and four years, respectively.

According to sources close to the health ministry, faculties of both AIIMS and PGI had been demanding implementation of the new line of promotion from January 2006. This was being done as the sixth pay commission, which had recommended reduction of promotion durations of doctors at all levels, was implemented with effect from January 2006.

However, the plea has been turned down by the ministry that, in identical letters addressed to the directors of the two institutes, has stated the new promotion scheme will take effect from the date of the order, i.e., January 12, 2010 and not in retrospect.

The letter, dated August 13 and signed by SN Sharma, undersecretary in the government of India, states: "I am directed to refer the representations regarding implementation of the new scheme of promotion (‘3-3-4’) in respect of faculty with effect from January 1, 2006 and to state the revision in the original scales of pay and the accompanying benefits of faster career progression are based on the time honoured UGC pattern under which the revision of pay scales get affect from a date prior to issue of orders but the improvement and career advancements like reduced time period for promotion and introduction of new line of promotion, etc, take effect from a latter date”.

The decision is certainly going to raise hackles among PGI faculty members as it is likely to affect their promotion prospects by a year or two. It is reliably learnt the faculty has called a general body meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue.

When contacted, Dr A Rajwanshi, president of the Faculty Association of PGI, said: "We’re obviously very disappointed with this decision". He said the decision was a major setback for the faculty members, as it would affect their promotion for one to two years.

“The sixth pay commission had recommended the duration of promotion at each level be reduced and the selected faculty be promoted to the next level. The aim of this recommendation was to prevent stagnation and exodus of faculty from the institute and retain excellence. But the ministry implemented the pay from January 1, 2006 but not the promotions”, said Rajwanshi.

He said currently an assistant professor is promoted to the rank of a professor after a minimum duration of 15 years, which is in stark contrast to other medical colleges in the country, in which the maximum duration is eight years with no cadre of additional professor.



CITCO's generosity digs holes in govt pocket
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
For the UT Administration’s hospitality arm CITCO, charity begins at home. For as many as 60 departments belonging to the UT administration, Punjab and even certain Central government departments, have emptied the corporation’s coffer and left it poorer by more than Rs 30 lakh. These departments are enjoying “unpaid fuel” from CITCO’s Sector 9 petrol pump by overdrafting thousands of litres petrol to run its official cars.

While the general public continues to pay for the skyrocketing prices of petrol and diesel, thanks to the lopsided policies of the government, the departments belonging to the Chandigarh administration and Punjab government and some from the Centre continue to enjoy “unpaid fuel” on the expenses of CITCO.

If the latest report of internal audit for the last month is to be believed, there are 22 departments, including the Election Department, Punjab, DIG / CM security, Punjab, Central Water Commission, Narcotics Control Bureau et, which owe CITCO more than Rs 20 lakh with no security amount deposited at all with the corporation against the purchase of petrol.

Not only this, there are about 38 departments where the credit allowed for the purchase of petrol has exceeded the security amount by the respective department. Total amount to be paid to CITCO in this category is above Rs 10 lakh.

Some of the departments in this category include 82nd Battalion, PAP (Punjab Armed Police), Punjab, Horticulture Subdivision (II), PGI besides others.

Senior officials in the department say that though this amount has been long pending, the departments show little or no interest at all in clearing their dues.

The delayed payments result in loss of crores of rupees to the corporation, as the corporation has to pay in advance to the fuel companies.

In fact, in many cases in the past, CITCO had even discontinued petrol allowance to many departments on account of non-payment of dues.

Officials, however, express their helplessness due to pressure exerted on them from senior functionaries of these departments to continue with the fuel on credit thus piling on the arrears and loss to the exchequer.

Depts enjoy ‘unpaid fuel’

As many as 60 departments belonging to the UT administration, Punjab and certain Central government departments have emptied the corporation’s coffer and left it poorer by more than Rs 30 lakh.They are enjoying ‘unpaid fuel’ from CITCO’s Sector 9 petrol pump by overdrafting thousands of litres petrol to run its official cars.

Departments with nil security

Outstanding amount

ll DIG/ CM, Security, — Pb, Rs 1,65,005

l DGP (Pb) — Rs 7,56,688

l ADGP, CID, Pb — Rs 1,91,043

l Under Secretary General — Rs 4,25,395

l Punjab Raj Bhawan — Rs 59,219

l Narcotics Control Bureau — Rs 19,089

l ADGP (crime), Pb — Rs 49,572

l Deputy Director, ENF — Rs 48,286

l Election Department, Pb — Rs 28,951

llCentral Water Commission — Rs 10,021 

Departments where credit allowed exceeded the security

Department Deficit Amount

l STA (state transport authority) — Rs 44, 049

l Chandigarh MC — Rs 66,264

l 82nd BN, PAP, (Pb) — Rs2,65,464

l Vigilance bureau (PB) — Rs 45,601

l Horticulture subdivision (I) — Rs 70,506

l Horticulture subdivision (II) — Rs 2,88,365

l PGI — Rs 44,260

l SDE (maintenance) — 2 — Rs 19,797

l MCPH Div 2 — Rs 26,036

l Chandigarh College of Architecture — Rs 18,975


Power employees’ strike on Sept 7 
Decry privatisation policies of Centre, UT admn 
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
In pursuance of the call given by the central trade unions, the electricity employees of Chandigarh under the banner of UT Powermen Union will observe a one-day strike on September 7.

The decision was taken at the executive committee meeting of the union held under Ram Sarup, president of the union. A strike notice in this regard has been submitted to the UT Chief Engineer and a preparation rally was held before the electricity office at Sector 10.

General secretary of the union Gopal Datt Joshi criticised the privatisation policies of the Central government and the UT administration. He said these policies were being implemented under the dictate of the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO. He also flayed the government for its failure to control the prices of essential commodities.

Coming down heavily on the Chandigarh administration, Joshi alleged that already agreed demands of the union, including removal of pay anomalies between the senior and junior employees, amendments in rules of various categories, filling of vacant posts in all cadres, scrapping of 5 per cent ceiling on companionate appointments, regularisation of strike period and withdrawal of privatisation of the electricity department and scrapping of the contractual system had not been given due consideration. Union president Ram Sarup accused the engineering department authorities of dragging their feet on the implementation of the agreed demands.



CPIOs drag feet over info under RTIPradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Certain Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs) of the Engineering Department continue to drag their feet on the supply of information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

In fact, RTI activist RK Garg has been moving from pillar to post to get information from the CPIOs for the past over two months defeating the very purpose of the RTI Act formulated to ensure transparency in public life.

On June 17, Garg had filed an application to the Assistant Engineer (Electricity Operation), who transferred it to the XEN (Division No 1) on June 25.No information has been given.

In a communication dated July 21, Garg was informed by the CPIO (Electricity Operations Division No 2) to deposit Rs 34, which was paid on August 12th August 2010.Garg is yet to receive any information.

The CPIO (Electricity Operations Division No 3) informed Garg to deposit Rs 120 on July 15, which he deposited on July 19. In this case also no information had been supplied.

In another case, the CPIO-cum-XEN, transferred his application to the Public Health Circle on June 29.However, Garg is still awaiting information.

On transfer of application from the Superintending Engineer (SE) to the XEN Project (Public Health Division No 7) the department supplied him information regarding purchase of seven split ACs for Rock Garden. In this case also, complete information was not supplied.

Garg alleged that on July 26, the Assistant Engineer-cum-CPIO forwarded the application to the Additional Director M/s DOEACC Society for the supply of information. In fact, the application was transferred after over one month. 
Garg is still waiting for the information.

Demanding free supply of information and refund of the fee already deposited, Garg urged the Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary, Engineering, to intervene in the matter. 



House collapses in Hallo Majra
No Casualty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
A dilapidated house collapsed in Hallo Majra village near here during a heavy rain this morning. No one was injured in the mishap, as the two labourers, who live on rent in the house, were out to work.

The SHO of the Sector 31 police station, Inspector Bakshish Singh, said the police received information about the mishap around 10.30 am and rushed to the spot.

Fire brigade was also informed about the incident. The house belonged to Satinderpal Singh, a resident of Zirakpur, who had given it on rent to the two labourers, Kalash and Ravi Kumar.

The SHO said the two-storyed house was in a bad shape. A neighbour sharing the common wall of the house had dug up a foundation for construction. “The heavy rain and dug-up portion in the adjoining plot further weakened the house resulting in its collapse”, the SHO said.



Recruitment of subdivisional officers draws flak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Heated arguments were exchanged between the members of the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) and officials of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation at a meeting chaired by Mayor Anu Chatrath here today.

They discussed the communiqué, which was sent to the administration regarding 22 posts of the sub-divisional officer (SDO).

In a letter, sent by the MC assistant commissioner to the Chandigarh administration, it was requested that as the general house had deferred the agenda of appointing new SDO in the corporation, it should be suspended.

All the members raised an objection on why the administration was asked to suspend the decision taken at the last meeting.

Members also complained that why the recruitment and promotion policy had not been tabled earlier.

It was decided at the meeting that the committee members will meet the UT administrator to acquaint him about the irresponsible conduct of the officials.

Last month an issue was tabled in the general house about the approval of appointment of 22 fresh SDOs, but the house decided that before appointing new staff, the authorities should table the recruitment and promotion policy.

On the basis of which the agenda was deferred and it was decided that it will be taken up later on.

The committee also decided to conduct a detailed survey of all milk booth sites, including those developed in green belts and on MC land and fix a monthly rent of Rs 2,000 for the booths.

Members also approved that if number of applications received for booking exhibition ground, Sector 34, circus ground, Sector 17, and Housing Board ground, Mani majra, was of the same day then draw of lots would be held, otherwise, the booking would be done on first come first served basis.

The committee also fixed the commercial rates of the circus ground and Sector 17 ground as Rs 15,000 per day, exhibition ground, Sector 34, as Rs 20,000 per day and Housing Board ground, Mani Majra, as Rs 15,000 per day. 



Haryana Govt violating amended rules 
Bends backwards to retain services of HCS officer
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Haryana Government has bent backwards in retaining the services of HCS officer Maheshwar Sharma, who was recently sent on deputation to Chandigarh and posted as the Joint Secretary (Home).

In fact, in being generous to Sharma, currently holding significant post of Secretary, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the Haryana’s top political and administrative brass, seem to have violated its own recently amended rules.

Eyebrows are being raised at the decision of the Haryana Government in sending a new panel of HCS officers RS Verma, Ritu, Yogesh and Mahabir Singh. Surprisingly, the Chandigarh Administration recently repatriated Verma to Haryana.

With a view to ease “officer crunch”, the Haryana Government had recently amended the HCS (Executive Branch) Rules, 2008. Under these new rules, prior consent of HCS officers for deputation to Chandigarh was not required. The decision seems to be an upshot of the unwillingness expressed by a large number of HCS officers to be deputed to the city, resulting in UT posts in the Haryana quota remaining vacant.

A HCS official informed that the government decision was a “mockery” of the deputation policy. If Sharma was not sent to the city, what was the rationale in clearing his name for deputation in Chandigarh in the first place, the officer said adding that it would set a bad precedent.

Chandigarh, which was considered to be an “El Dorado” by PCS and HCS officials for postings in the past, has now suddenly become an ‘undesirable’ destination. Controversies surrounding mega projects and land allotment to firms in IT Park are primarily blamed for HCS officers avoiding the Union Territory.

It may be mentioned that the UT Administration recently announced posting of four HCS officers, including Sharma. The other three officers were Lalit Kumar, Mahavir Kaushik and Tilak Raj.



Information under RTI sought
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 23
A municipal councillor has sought information under the RTI Act to know what the Municipal Council was doing to tackle the problem of stray animals in the town.

Kuljit Singh Bedi has requested the public information officer of the civic body to know whether the council had a proper policy to catch stray animals. He has asked information about the number of employees deployed to catch stray animals, number of vehicles used, how many animals were caught between April 1 and August 15 and how much fine was recovered.

He also wanted to know whether the council had a cattle catcher van and how much amount was spent to purchase the vehicle, where were the animals left after they were caught and had the civic body ever carried out a special campaign to catch stray animals.



Mobile exhibition van flagged off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria today flagged off a mobile exhibition van of the products prepared by BPL (below poverty line beneficiaries) trainees, who had undergone training in various vocations with different NGOs in the urban colonies of the city under the Centrally sponsored scheme being implemented by the corporation. The exhibition will be for five days. The exhibition entitled “Exploring: Potential and visibility” showcase the work of BPL trainees under STEP-UP component of Swaran Jayanti Shastri Rozgar Yojna (SJSRY) in collaboration with outreach activity centre, Government Museum and Art Gallery.

Dr Roshan Sunkaria stated that the exhibition would display work of 150-plus beneficiaries from slums and rehabilitated colonies of the city, which will include handicraft articles, including leather, jute bags, purses, pillow covers, bed covers, sheets, quilts, paintings and soft toys. The objective behind organising such exhibition is to create space, visibility in the city and also to mainstream the BPL community.

This will develop in them a sense of understanding of market trends, cost effectiveness, fashion trends and market demands too. He said this would further explore the potential and gave visibility to the urban poor community and paved way for them in the market to survive.



Many activities in the offing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The city is getting ready for a packed week of events and special offers to celebrate the World Tourism Week from September 26.

The celebrations will encompass a gamut of activities ranging from free guided tour of the city to international cyclothon to musical evenings to fun frolic activities.

This was decided at a meeting convened by tourism secretary Ram Niwas recently.

On September 26, the administration will hold Chandigarh Cyclothon. Morning Raga on Indian classical and fusion music at the Sukhna Lake and musical evening by a renowned Punjabi singer in Sector 17 will be held on September 27.

Quiz on tourism in Chandigarh will be organised on September 28 with the participation of students from government and private schools. While a tourism painting competition and play “Shaturmurg” by Rakesh Bedi will be staged on September 29, qawwali evening will be held on September 30 at the lake in Sector-42.

On October 1, the celebrations will conclude with ghazal evening at the Tagore Theatre.

Besides, 15 food festivals will be organised in various hotels and restaurants till the end of the Commonwealth Games.

The Chandigarh College of Arts and Chandigarh College of Architecture will prepare floats and mascots of Commonwealth Games to be set up at Sukhna Lake and other prominent places in the city during the week-long celebrations.

The mascot will move around the city on the hop-on, hop-off bus to create a festive ambience in the city till the end of the Commonwealth Games.

Similarly, activities like tattoo painting, sketching, portrait making, statue portrayal, etc. will be undertaken by the students of Chandigarh College of Arts at the Sukhna Lake.

In addition, competitions like singing, dancing, rock band live performances and other cultural evenings will also be held at the lake during the celebrations.

Sukhna Lake, Open Hand Monument and UT Secretariat will be illuminated as part of the celebrations.

A special food festival will be organised by CITCO and special discounts will be offered in CITCO hotels/outlets.



Rush at PGI OPD
Tempers run high 

Chandigarh, August 23
The increasing crowd at the PGI OPDs led to a spat between patients and doctors this afternoon when some of the patients waiting for there turn since morning forced their entry in to the room of a senior doctor. When doctors raised objection to it, the patients misbehaved with the medicos.

Protesting over the issue, all doctors in OPD suspended their work and left the spot. However, after an hour the doctors returned and examined the patients. The agitated patients alleged that they were sitting at the OPD of the internal medicine department since morning still they had no clue as to when the doctors would examine them. Even their files were not put on the tables of doctors even after they had got them regiseterd as early as 8 am.

Sikander, a resident of Phase V, Mohali, said he got himself registered at 8.30 am and went to the OPD. And there was no call till 1 pm, he said.

There were only two attendants to monitor the long queues of patients, he said.

The central registration department had failed to send the files of the patients in time to the doctors leading to chaos. The PGI spokesperson when contacted, said there was a communication gap due to the onset of new session, as many resident doctors were in a process of joining the department. — TNS



Protest against land acquisition
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 23
On the first day of filing of objections to the acquisition of land for the Mullanpur urban estate, some land owners, while appearing before the Land Acquisition Collector, GMADA, stated that they were not interested in giving their land for the acquisition.

The villagers, led by the Joint Action Committee of the villages Devinagar, Bharaujian, Mullanpur, Ratwara Sahib and Ferozepore and former Congress Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang after filing their objections staged a dharna outside the office of GMADA here.

Kang said the villagers were opposed to the acquisition as their land was located along the Chandigarh-Baddi road and the value of the land had increased manifold. He claimed that since the landowners had filed a case in the high court, the proceedings should be stayed till the decision of the court.

GMADA is acquiring land for 500 acres urban estate at Mullanpur. Another section of the villagers said they deserved a much higher compensation than Rs 1.50 crore an acre.

The Land Acquisition Collector GMADA Balbir Singh said the villagers had been explained about the provision of the Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act. 



SOPU, PUSU stage protests
Security at PU under scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and Panjab University Student Organisation (PUSU) today staged two separate protests, putting security of Panjab University under scanner.

SOPU supporters today locked the department of BA, BEd to highlight the difficulty being faced by students. Even after reaching the spot, the students hardly gave a chance to the PU security staff to act and ensure peace.

Certain senior students of the integrated BA, BEd course raised the issue of disaffiliation of their course and role of PU authorities in the case.

SOPU president Harshvardhan Singh said SOPU would continue to support the cause of the students and would stand by them. “We strongly condemn any fake promises by the authorities regarding newly opened self-financed courses,” said Harshvardhan.

Later, a memorandum was submitted regarding removal of credit system in the science departments.

In another protest held in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office, PUSU raised issues concerning the students of science departments. The protest, which lasted for an hour, was against the decision of the PU authorities to rollback deduction in examination fee of the science departments.

PUSU members claimed that earlier on the same issue, the PU authorities had rolled back the examination fee and had issued a new circular.

PUSU leader Udey Wirring said, “The credit system, as was introduced, lays down the minimum requirement of 80 per cent credit in the examination for admission to next year.”

He said their demand was to relax the minimum requirement of credits to 60 per cent rather than 80 per cent for the benefit of the students. PUSU also demanded that the science departments be permitted to host a common “science fest” on the lines of “Goonj” and “Cyanide”.



Summer school on nanotechnology in drug delivery
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 23
A five-day summer school on “Nanotechnology in advanced drug delivery” began at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, here today.

Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, inaugurated the event. He also released a souvenir on the occasion. Delivering the inaugural address, he said there were several opportunities in the field of nanotechnology as it was a highly challenging and rewarding key research area in the modern scientific set-up.

He said the power of nanotechnology was rooted in its potential to transform and revolutionise multiple technology and industry sectors, including aerospace, agriculture, biotechnology, homeland security, national defence, energy, information technology, medicine and transportation.

He said nanotechnology-based drug delivery technologies continued to provide a strategy to expand market opportunities for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Earlier, welcoming the delegates, NIPER’s Officiating Director Prof KK Bhutani said the institute initiated research in nanotechnology-drug delivery in September, 2003, and considering the progress made so far, the Department of Science and Technology encouraged it to set up a dedicated facility for drug-delivery research in the form of a centre for pharmaceutical nanotechnology.

Dr Sanyog Jain, assistant professor and convener of the summer school, spoke on the objectives of the  five-day event.

He said the emphasis would be on encouraging the young talent of the country in the area of nanotechnology and drug delivery. Budding researchers, scientists, faculty, staff and students of the institute attended the inaugural function.



Violation of Rules in Recruitment
PU: RTI activist writes to VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
A local RTI activist, Rajinder Singla, today wrote a public letter to the Panjab University Chancellor and other officials of the university regarding the alleged violation of rules in recruitment to the administrative posts like that of the Registrar, Controller of Examinations and Dean, College Development Council, interview for which is scheduled for August 25, 2010.

He levelled allegations against a senior official of the university, who he claimed was the favourite for the post of Registrar and Controller of Examination.

Responding to the allegations of Singla, a senior functionary of the university, on the condition of anonymity, said that the allegations were baseless and the recruitment was being done as per law. “These allegations are levelled when people, including certain fellows, not unable to get their unlawful work done by authorities through unfair means. It is just a means to pressurise the authorities to get their work done,” he said.



Former student leaders back in action
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Old players of Panjab University student politics, who have reigned as party presidents of prominent students’ organisations in the past, are again back in action this year.

Be it Simrandeep Dhillon of the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU), who is now a student of the Department of English and Cultural Studies, or Harpreet Multani of the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and Brinder Dhillon (SOPU), who have sought admission in the Department of German Studies, these former student leaders are expected to play a key role in the forthcoming student poll as well.

Besides these leaders, certain supporters of these prominent parties have got themselves enrolled in the departments like human rights, community education, etc., which has hardly any connection with their previous degrees.

While Multani was SOPU president in 2007, Brinder reigned as the campus president in 2008 and continued to guide the party in 2009 when Amit Bhatia was the president of Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC). Simrandeep (PUSU), on the other hand, has been a prominent face on the campus since 2008-2009 and is now actively involved in the upcoming student poll.

“The presence of seniors in the party ensures that new candidates are well versed with the strategy of the student election. Knowledge on how to organise the election campaign, how to contest election and deal with the students of various departments and making the front-runners understand the technicalities of the student election is essential,” said PUSU leader Simrandeep Dhillon.

“We consider SOPU as one family and all of us work with consensus on all issues. It is with the support of the ones, who are more experienced, that we get to know how to tackle situations and what genuine issues to raise,” said SOPU leader Harshvardhan Singh.



Memories relived
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 23
A special reunion of the old students of Mahendra College was organised at the Punjab Kala Bhawan, Chandigarh, under the chairmanship of Justice MR Agnihotri.

Members resolved to undertake socially useful projects and to meet on the third Saturday of every month to review the progress made.

Rich tributes were paid to Prof Joginder Kaushal, an alumnus of Mahendra College and a renowned academician at Punjabi University, who passed away recently.

Dr BM Issar shared his educational ventures with the gathering and showed his keenness to contribute in the service of the community.

Baby Sugandh Khanna, winner in the Mohd Rafi Memorial-2010 contest, doled out a repertoire of old romantic songs, while principal Swaran Singh, ex-chairman Punjab School Education Board and a noted violinist, mesmerised the audience with the choicest lyrics of his college mate Sahir Ludhianvi, besides lyrics of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Baba Bulleh Shah.

NS Rattan IAS (retd), Prof Darshan Singh and KK Gupta also recited poems and couplets of master poets.



PU VC on economic forum
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Panjab University Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti has been nominated as the national executive member (special invitee) on the board of executive members of the Indian Economic Association, a national forum of eminent economic thinkers and activists, presided over by Prof Sukhdev Thorat, chairperson, UGC.

Dr Anil Kumar Thakur, secretary, Indian Economic Association, has communicated the information to the university. Sobti will attend the meeting of the national executives on September 11 at AN Sinha Institute, Patna.

The IEA has also invited Sobti to be the guest of honour in the inaugural session of the annual conference of EAB to be held at AN Sinha Institute, Patna (September 11-13). Prof Sukhdev Thorat will be the chief guest on the occasion.

Sobti today announced that “it would be a privilege to organise the annual conference of the Indian Economic Association in December at Panjab University, in which eminent scholars, intellectuals and thinkers would participate and interact with one another in order to explore new frontiers of knowledge and research. He added that the event would immensely contribute to the academic enrichment of the PU faculty and students.”



Each dept to have visitors’ register
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
A visitors’ register will now be maintained in each department at Panjab University to keep a tab on persons entering the departments.

Taking cognisance of the non-issuance of identity cards to students by certain departments, due to which checking the same on the campus was proving futile for PU security, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti today held a meeting of senior officials. Later at the meeting of teaching faculty and chairpersons, he said a register must be kept at the entry of each building. The students as well as visitors would be required to mark the purpose of the visit and official they wish to meet in the register. He said each department should appoint one or two teachers in charge to check the identity cards of the university students.

He added that chairpersons of all departments must ensure that every student and employee carries the identity card.



Surge in PhD enrolment at PU
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Be it the present cash-rich status or the threat that Panjab University now poses to certain leading universities in the country for grabbing attention from the Union government, an unprecedented number of applications have been received this year for enrolment in PU’s PhD programmes.

Sample this: for admission to three seats in human resource management (HRM) and industrial relations (IR) offered by the PU, 112 students applied this year. For nearly 24 vacant seats available in the department of English and cultural studies, the number of applicants is 132!

In case of University Business School’s marketing and international business, 136 students applied for six seats, while for accounts and finance stream, 131 students showed interest for the same number of vacant seats.

Similarly, as mentioned in the PU’s prospectus, for admission to the PhD programme of the department of education, 307 students applied for 49 vacant seats.

While in certain departments the number of applicants is much more than the number of tentative seats available, it is skewed ratio in certain departments where the number of seats is more, but less applicants.

In one such department in the faculty of arts, eight students applied for admission to 25 seats. In yet another popular department, two students have applied for seven seats.

“Much depends on the demand and supply forces in the market. Since the number of BEd graduates is more, the demand for PhD programme is proportional in that subject. There has been an unparalleled response in the social science subjects this year and the PhD programme offered by the PU is among the most sought-after in the region,” said senior faculty and former dean arts, BS Ghuman.



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