C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Poor enforcement of fire control Act
Firefighting claims fall apart
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
In a telling commentary on the enforcement of the Fire Prevention and Control Act, 1986, the heap of files in the passage of the record room of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which was gutted, hampered the firefighting operations.

The non-functional generator set without diesel further aggravated the problem as no power was available to draw water for the fire-dousing operations. Further, the tall claims of quarterly checking of every building was exposed in yesterday’s fire incident at the record room when it was found that neither the fire alarm nor smoke detectors were functional.

The fire Act makes it mandatory for MC teams comprising fire officials to inspect each building every three months for adherence to these norms. A mandatory report is to be submitted to the Chief Fire Officer in this regard.

It seems that the enforcement of the Act is going up in smoke in the city. In fact, the common cause for the two recent fires in a span of a week in two major government buildings seems to be the result of the callousness of the fire department in enforcing the provisions of the Act in hundreds of buildings.

Touted to be one of the most-equipped departments in the region in terms of men and machinery, the prevention of avoidable fire incidents continues to be the Achilles heel for the fire and emergency department.

Yesterday’s fire at the High Court and the January 24 fire on the ninth floor of the Punjab and Haryana Secretariat are examples of the lackadaisical attitude of the fire department. Further, belying the claims of the civic body, there were no trained employees in the secretariat building to control the fire in the initial stage. With the MC merely paying lip service to the regular monitoring of firefighting arrangements in the buildings of the city, such incidents are staring residents in the face.



Shortage of doctors afflicts GMSH
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Expectant mothers, planning to visit the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, beware. There are not likely to be many experienced doctors around to respond to an emergency call. For, the gynaecology department at the hospital has “virtually” run short of doctors.

With the exodus of three doctors, including one who superannuated today, the strength of doctors in the department has dwindled to a mere six, which works out to just one-third of a total number of 18 doctors in the department five years ago.

There have already been two incidents of medical negligence in recent months. On July 21, a woman was forced to move from one counter to another during labour, leading to the death of her newborn who was delivered in the outpatient department. Subsequently, on December 16, wrong blood group was transfused to an expectant mother leading to the death of the foetus in the womb, consequent to which her kidneys were damaged. While four doctors were booked for negligence in the first case, three others had been facing the same fate as the inquiry conducted by a judicial magistrate has indicted them for the second incident.

Today, two senior medicos, Dr Amarjeet Kaur, and Dr Reeta Bhardwaj, quit the hospital. While Amarjeet Kaur surrendered her three-month salary to seek voluntary retirement, her colleague, Dr Bhardwaj, has sought repatriation to her parent state of Punjab. The third, Dr Pushpa Mathuria, a medical officer, retired today on attaining superannuation.

“There is panic among the medical fraternity after these incidents and the registration of criminal cases against four doctors. Not many are interested in working at the hospital, once considered a favourite destination for those on deputation,” a doctor at the hospital said.

The increasing rush of patients and sharp decline in the staff strength, with a mix of fears of facing a criminal case in the event of any mistake, is taking a toll on the morale of doctors.

On the condition of anonymity, many doctors confided that they were unable to cope with the stress and increasing workload. Apprehending that there was possibility of the exodus of more doctors from the hospital, sources said despite a hullabaloo no efforts were being made to improve the strength of the doctors in the hospital.

Patient inflow

The shortage of doctors has been plaguing the hospital in each and every department since long and it has led to the deterioration in service to patients. While the total number of doctors in the hospital has been reduced to mere 114 against a sanctioned strength of 145, the number of patients has increased manifold. In the gynaecology department, six doctors will now take care of an OPD where 250 patients frequent daily along with attendants and on an average 25 deliveries take place, apart from surgeries and general ward patients.



100 in line for post of PGI Director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
At least 100 doctors from across the country are in the queue for heading the PGI, Chandigarh, the premier health institute of the region, for which the deadline to submit applications ended today.

According to information, in addition to prominent personalities in the field of medical science from all over the country, nearly 20 doctors from the PGI have applied for the post of Director, which is going to fall vacant after the tenure of the present incumbent, Dr KK Talwar, ends on April 30.

Last month the PGI had asked the Vice-Chancellors of universities and directors of medical institutes and medical research to nominate eligible candidates. The upper limit for the post will be 60 years, but the age limit for government employees and employees of various autonomous institutes like the PGI can be relaxed. The tenure will be five years or till the retirement age of 65 years is attained, whichever is earlier.

Only those candidates will be eligible who have 14 years of teaching experience in medical institutes and have at least seven years of experience as an administrative head of either a department or a medical institute.



Clients feel shortchanged most by insurers, banks
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
In marketing parlance a consumer may be dubbed as “king”. However, in reality that does not seem to be the case, particularly so for the mushrooming private sector insurance and banking firms that virtually promise the moon to their clients at the time of enrolling them for their products, but turn into tough nuts to crack while settling claims and providing services later.

If you think this to be an overstatement, statistics from the two consumer forums in the city is testimony to the long list of dissatisfied customers from these two sectors.

Only last week the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had ordered Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co and Citibank to pay Rs 18.75 lakh to a Panchkula resident, Ritu Sodhi, whose husband died in a road accident in the city in July 2007. Ritu was being denied settlement of the accident insurance cover of her deceased husband, Mohinder Pal Singh Sodhi, by the companies on flimsy grounds and had even raised questions on the territorial jurisdiction of the commission on the plea that the firm’s office was located in Chennai and the agreement had taken place there.

Statistics provided by forum officials reveal that 2,332 complaints have been filed against insurance companies from 2005 to 2010. In a nutshell the insurance sector, which promises its consumers of being with them in times of distress, ends up having the most dissatisfied customers. During the last three months of 2010 (Oct-Dec) the maximum number of complaints was reported from the insurance sector. In specified categories like banking, insurance, telecom, electricity supply, over a hundred of the 377complaints filed were against insurance firms.

Insurance is closely followed by banking, which has 1,539 cases filed in the consumer forum from 2005 till December 2010. Consumer court lawyers too agree with this trend. “Litigations against banking and insurance companies have seen a sharp rise in the last five years,” said a consumer court lawyer.

“The deficiency in services was there. Banks don’t spell out the full terms and conditions at the time of signing an agreement. People should head for consumer courts if their rights have been denied,” says Vijay Arora, a businessman who won a case against a bank in the consumer court.

TR Verma, senior manager of Punjab National Bank, Panchkula and general secretary of the PNB Officers Association, Haryana, says both the banking and insurance sectors have a large clientele base and, since the dealings are of a financial nature, any deficiency in services is easily quantifiable in monetary terms. He attributes the high number of complaints to the fact that by and large the clientele of these two sectors is well educated and very aware of their rights.

The third on the list of complaints are service providers like telecom and housing. Both sectors saw almost 971 and 957 cases filed, respectively, from 2005 till December 2010. These were followed by complaints against the electricity department where the most common grudge is wrong billing.



Khushpreet Case
HC issues notice on PIL for CBI probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Khushpreet kidnapping and murder case has now come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court scanner. Taking up a petition for a CBI probe into the case filed in the public interest, a division bench of the court today issued notice of motion to the UT administration along with the states of Punjab and Haryana.

The petition for an investigation into the kidnapping and murder of the five-year-old boy, filed by the World Human Rights Protection Council through its chairman, advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal, was placed before the bench comprising acting chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Augustine George Masih. The petitioner sought tough action against the “errant” Chandigarh police officers allegedly responsible for the boy’s death.

The bench issued notice to the respondents for March 9 to file their reply.

Khushpreet was kidnapped on December 21, 2010 from Burail and was later found brutally murdered on January 5 in Mohali, hardly two kilometers from his home. After protests the UT administration had ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. His family has already returned the compensation offered by the administration.

Seeking a CBI probe in the case, Lakhanpal submitted the police had failed miserably to solve the case. Apparently dissatisfied with the probe report, Lakhanpal sought directions to register a criminal case against the allegedly errant police officers under section 304A of the Indian Penal Code on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The petitioner also sought directions to the UT administration to come up with a special cell to deal with similar situations and employ specially trained cops.



Shivraj Patil honours 101 NCC cadets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Shivraj V Patil, UT Administrator, Chandigarh, felicitated 101 NCC cadets, including seven from Chandigarh, as well as NCC officers, who had participated in the prestigious Republic Day Camp at New Delhi this year. The cadets included 25 girls from Punjab and two from the city.

The Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate had sent a contingent comprising 155 cadets, including a 44-cadet band from Sainik School, Kapurthala.

The remaining cadets were from the other two states. The contingent, which was adjudged as the second runners-up amongst the 17 NCC directorates, had a host of achievements to its credit. The Most Enterprising Naval Unit (MENU) of the NCC title was won by the No.1 Chandigarh Naval NCC Unit. The Prime Minister’s trophy in this category was also given to this unit. Three cadets, Puneet Dubey and Sunil Sharma from Chandigarh and Sukhjinder Singh from Nangal won the gold for their camp ship model (powered).

Addressing the cadets Patil said, “Confidence building in the youth is very essential and the NCC is playing an important role in this arena by inculcating a sense of discipline and channelising the energies of youth for constructive purposes.”He said the NCC cadets could play an important role in disaster management.


Alarm at bank goes off due to snag, triggers panic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Panic spread in the Sector 19 market when the alarm of an auto dialer system of the Canara Bank branch there went off due to a technical snag this morning.

The incident occured at 12.45 pm. A large number of people gathered at the spot immediately, presuming that a theft was taking place at the bank.

As the system was connected to the Police Control Room, the police station in the area and senior officials of banks, the police reached the spot within minutes.

The chief manager of the branch, Lalit Mohan, who also got a message of ‘fire in the bank’ on his mobile, told the police that nothing happened and the siren went off due to a technical snag.

He said as soon as he got the message from the system, the entire premises were checked immediately by him and other senior officials. “Nothing unusual was found at the bank,” he added.

The system was installed at the bank just 20 days back, in the wake of the Tanishq robbery at Manimajra on January 12. This was the second such incident in the city in this week. On Saturday, the siren of the Sector 35 branch of the same bank went off accidentally.



MC seals 12 illegal sheds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Twelve illegal sheds were sealed by the enforcement staff of the municipal corporation (MC) at the Sector 19 Sadar Bazaar here today. The team sealed all closed sheds as their owners had not opened those.

The drive was conducted under the supervision of MC Additional Commissioner II Lalit Siwach.

The shed owners alleged that the authorities had not informed them earlier about the drive.

They said all shed owners had obtained a stay order from the high court, which were ignored by the authorities.

Enforcement inspector KD Sharma said they had cross-checked the documents produced by the shed owners about the stay order.

He said the time period of the stay order had expired and action could be taken by the department.

Besides the enforcement staff, police personnel were deployed so that the drive was conducted in a peaceful manner.



MC to prepare report on streetlights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
A detailed report on the status of streetlights and their current condition in the city will be prepared by the municipal corporation (MC).

This was decided during an electricity committee meeting chaired by councillor Kamlesh here today.

Kamlesh directed the officials to prepare a comprehensive report on the number of streetlights installed in various sectors and their condition and table it at the next meeting.

In the meeting, the officials informed the members of the committee that the MC was paying Rs 80 lakh per month to the UT electricity wing for the supply of electricity to streetlights and their maintenance.

Objecting to this, a number of members raised the point that a majority of streetlights in southern sectors and internal roads were non-functional.

The committee also decided that only those agenda items which were proposed by area councillors would be entertained in the future.



Villages, Colonies
Fire safety to be monitored
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
A joint team, comprising fire and emergency committee members along with fire and emergency services officials, will monitor fire safety measures in schools, coaching institutes, hotels and guest houses in villages and colonies from February 3.

A decision to this effect was taken during the fire and emergency committee meeting held today under the chairmanship of councillor Devinder Singh Babla.

The members decided that the department would issue notices to those violating fire safety norms and strict action would be taken against them. It was also decided that the department would conduct mock drills in major markets during February.

The members asked the officials to ask all departments to remove alignment along electricity and telephone wires which hindered the movement of firefighting vehicles.

The members also asked the officials to take up the matter of new fire stations at Sectors 39 and 52 and the IT Park with the UT Administration.



PGI to have geriatric centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has given its nod to the setting up of a regional geriatric centre at the PGI here.

The 30-bedded centre will help in dealing with health complications being faced by elderly people.

The setting up of the centre will help in catering to the needs of the local population, which consists of a major portion of senior citizens.

It will be one of the eight centres to be set up across the country under the National Programme for the Health Care of the Elderly.

Senior citizens are prone to degeneration, prostrate problems, stroke and malignancy. There has been a need for specialists to take care of them.

The Government Medical College and Hospital at Sector 32 and the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital at Sector 16 run geriatric clinics, but the facilities there are far from adequate.



Coming up: Botanical Garden as tourist spot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The UT Administration is focusing on the Botanical Garden, spread over 10 acres, as a new tourist destination on the western side of Chandigarh.

The Administration has already taken the initiative to make this eco-tourism park, located near Sarangpur village, a major tourist spot.

Tourism facilities sought to be set up with Central financial assistance from the Ministry of Tourism includes setting up a nature interpretation centre, which will display the flora and fauna to be found at the Kansal and Nepli forest sanctuaries.

A special tourist touch-screen kiosk will be installed to disseminate information about various features of the park, enabling tourists to visit their specific area of interest, tree-top huts and meditation huts.

The Botanical Garden is being touted as the biggest nature park, with development in the vicinity, spread over 176 acres, having more than a hundred species of medicinal trees and shrubs.



Census official meets school principals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Bindhyeshwari Negi, Director and Joint Registrar-General, Census Operations, Chandigarh, called a meeting of principals of schools here today.

She apprised them of the project ‘Census and You’ and the need to make children aware of the Census, taking place from February 9 to 28.

She urged the principals to read out the message on Census and its importance and organise discussions.

School kits containing awareness material were distributed among the principals and they were told that the student adjudged best would be awarded a Census certificate.

She also spoke on education of girls, sex ratio, female participation in work and gender sensitisation. She said Census data would be the base of UID cards to be prepared by the government.



Vacation of community centres
Councillor approaches GMADA chief
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 31
A former municipal councillor has sought the implementation of directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court from the chief administrator, GMADA, regarding the vacation of community centres so that these could be used by the public.

Kuljit Singh Bedi today met the chief administrator and gave a copy of the directions of the division bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court. The division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had on January 21 directed the chief administrator, GMADA, to dispose of the representation filed by the petitioner on December 1, 2010, within a period of six weeks.

Bedi had given a notice to GMADA asking the authority to get the community centres vacated within a month, failing which he would be compelled to go to court in public interest.

In a letter which was written to the chief administrator, Bedi had stated that as a municipal councillor, he was receiving complaints from residents regarding the misuse of community centres. He added that it was not for the first time that community centres had been encroached upon. Even during terrorism days, the police had occupied these buildings depriving residents of the facility who were compelled to hold functions by putting up tents in parks or hiring marriage palaces by paying substantial amounts. Even the habitat centre constructed in Phase X was not being used by residents as it was in the possession of some other department.

PUDA (now GMADA) has constructed eight community centres in different parts of the town for the convenience of residents. But the centres located in Phases VI, XI and Sector 71 are in the possession of the police, while another located in Phase III-B1 is being used as a court complex.



BSP protests ‘Punjab bias’ against SAD opponents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Punjab unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) organised a ‘dharna’ at the rally ground, Sector 25, here today to protest against the treatment being meted out to political parties and democratic fronts other than the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) by the state government.

Avtar Singh Kareempuri, state president of the party, said, “During the protest rallies after the death of Sant Ramanand, who was shot dead in Vienna in 2009, the police registered cases against 2000 BSP workers who had participated in the protest rally at Jalandhar.”

Cases were still dragging on while cases against certain political opponents were being withdrawn, he said. The police had not done anything against SAD leaders in cases registered against them while BSP workers were being harassed, he stated. BSP leaders warned the state government of serious action if cases against its workers were not withdrawn immediately.

Kareempuri said, “The administration has shown itself in poor light in handling the Khushpreet kidnap and murder case. Suspending SHOs is not enough. It will not be off the mark to say that the capital of Punjab and Haryana is turning into a capital of criminals.”



Pandit Bhatt weaves magic
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 31
The first-ever SPICMACAY-ICCR fortnightly classical music festival commenced on a melodic note at the IMTECH auditorium here today.

The event organised by the Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music Among Youth (SPICMACAY), in association with ICCR, featured Grammy Award winner Mohan Veena wizard Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt in the opening concert.

Due to the delayed flight, he made it to the stage directly, rejuvenated, however, by the warm welcome by the waiting audience.

Pandit Bhatt shared his experience of facing unprecedented inconvenience through a newly innovated raaga “Vishaw Ranjani”, which he said had been composed today itself.

A blend of raaga “Madhuwanti” and “Shivranjani”, when played on the Mohan Veena, captivated the audience.

Then he presented his composition, which had won him the Grammy Award, much to the delight of the intrusive audience, including a large number of students.

Pandit Bhatt then involved the audience in his otherwise sleek performance. He detailed the complete sargam of the popular Rajasthani song “ Padharo mhajare des” and exhorted the audience to sing along as he delineated the song on the Mohan Veena.

As the festival was dedicated to the cherished memory of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, the maestro played his popular bhajan “Jo bhaje so hi”, immortalised by the legend.

Tabla maestro Ram Kumar accompanied him. Earlier, Dr S Lavasa of (SPICMACAY welcomed the chief guest, Dr Girish Sahni, IMTECH director, who honoured Pandit Bhatt.



Sartaj strikes a chord
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 31
Living up to his reputation as a fast-emerging popular Punjabi singer, Satinder Sartaj kept the audience enthralled at the Tagore Theatre here today.

The live concert, veritably titled “Mehfil-e-Sartaj”, organised by the Spice-n-Dice, got off to a inordinately delayed, but musically majestic start, with Sartaj rendering “Haq Bahu dam dam Bahu”, the famous “kalaams” of Sufi mystic Hazrat Baba Sultan Bahu.

A gifted poet, Sartaj interspersed his recital with his own couplets and that of great Sufi poets to match the theme of his song and embellish its performance.

Confident of his adroit mastery over the “Su laya taal”, he established an instant rapport with the audience before doling out his masterpiece and most popular bandish “Sain ve saadi fariyad”. He also displayed his poetic prowess in this invocatory song.

The audience joined him in singing and kept clapping, endorsing appreciation for the artiste, especially the musical expression, attaining a crescendo effect.

His next song “Dil sab de vakhre ne” too had multiple phrases, reflecting varied thoughts and emotions, sometimes spiritual and romantic in the next stanza. The audience really relished it.

He presented “Ley ke dafli” from his next album, due for release this month, which kept the audience in good humour.

Drifting from the pace, he ventured to sing the ghazal “Mere huzoor eh ki” and the soul-stirring song “Thabba ku zullfan walea” by Shiv Kumar Batalavi.

He was certainly at his best as he gave a glimpse of his classical music background. He saluted the grandeur of Punjabi language, culture and motherhood through many captivating songs. Before the concert, talking to mediapersons, Sartaj claimed that he was a born poet, but his talent had come to the surface much later.

Holding a doctorate in music in classical music from Panjab University, Sartaj said, “ My lyrics and musical compositions reflect my life’s elemental experiences with nature, which inspire me. I want to reach to every music lover through my recordings or live concerts, which I relish. I have attempted to give a new dimension to Punjabi ‘gayaki’, making it a blend of Sufi, folk and popular music.”



3 PGI docs honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Pro Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Dr Naveen Kalra and Dr Kushaljit Singh Sodhi of the department of radiodiagnosis at the PGI were honoured during the four-day annual meeting of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, which concluded in New Delhi today.

Professor Sandhu was conferred fellowship of the Indian College of Radiology and Imaging. He was also awarded Dr ML Aggarwal memorial oration.

Dr Kalra was awarded Prof VP Lakhanpal gold medal. Dr Sodhi was conferred fellowship of the Indian College of Radiology and Imaging.



Travel agency told to compensate complainant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The local District Consumer Forum has directed a Delhi-based travel agency to pay a compensation of ` 20,000 to a city resident for causing “harassment and inconvenience” to his daughter who had to spend two more days in Geneva as the air ticket was not sent to her on time. Besides, the agent has also been asked to refund the cost of the ticket, ` 48,000.

Dr Lalit M Bhardwaj, a resident of CSIO campus, Sector 30, filed a complaint with the forum that his daughter, who was to fly from Geneva to Delhi on July 28 last, could not do so as the travel agency, Travel Works Holiday, did not hand over the ticket on time.

He stated in his complaint that he had paid `48,000 to the agent, but the ticket was not given to them.

The complainant has also stated that though the agent had assured him a confirmed ticket for July 29, that too wasn’t done. As a result his daughter had to stay back in Geneva for two more days. She returned after purchasing another ticket.

Bhardwaj’s harassment didn’t end there, as the travel agency first dillydallied in refunding the ticket and later when it issued a cheque, the same bounced due to insufficient funds in bank.

Though a notice was served to the travel agency, no one appeared and an exparte order was passed by forum member Rajinder Singh Gill and presiding member Ashok Raj Bhandari. A penal interest of ` 18 per cent has also been imposed on the agency.



PF info delay costs firm Rs 5,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The failure of a security agency, Lynx Security Private Limited, in providing information about provident fund (PF) to one of its employees has cost it `5,000.

The employee, Kulwant Singh, a resident of Mohali, had asked for information relating to his PF account, but he was not provided it despite repeated requests.

He subsequently approached the consumer forum, which directed the company to give all relevant information and pay a compensation of `5,000 to him.

The order was passed by presiding member Rajinder Singh Gill and member Madanjit Kaur Sahota.



Baltana-Panchkula Road
Uprooted tiles hindering traffic flow
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, January 31
Uprooted tiles on a small stretch of the Baltana-Panchkula road is affecting the smooth flow of traffic. The tiles were installed by the Zirakpur Municipal Council few days back after spending lakhs of rupees in an attempt to prevent the damage caused on the stretch during the rainy season. But the solution has proved to be a problem for the commuters as the tiles have come off.

An MC official stated that in the absence of drains, the tiles were installed to make the road better for commuters and approximately Rs 9 lakh was spent on it.

Shopkeepers complained that the council had laid down the tiles few days back but it seemed that they had just wasted the public money as the tiles got uprooted in no time. They said the tiles could not withstand the weight of the heavy vehicles.

Shammi Singh, a shopkeeper, alleged that the council official should have checked the material used by the contractor.

Talking to Zirakpur MC President, NK Sharma, stated that he would visit the site tomorrow to check the condition of the road. He said the payment would not be made to the contractor if the work was not found satisfactory.



Gurdev Nagar Colony
Residents raise slogan against MC officials
Demand basic amenities at the earliest
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 31
Residents, including women of Gurdev Nagar Colony in Pabhat village today protested against Zirakpur Municipal Council officials for not providing them basic amenities, which they have been demanding for the past four years. They raised slogans against the officials and demanded their problems be solved at the earliest.

While raising slogans against the council officials, residents stated that more than 250 houses still lacked the basic civic amenities. Though the colony was developed by a private coloniser about four years back, the council failed to provide them any civic amenity.

They alleged that the council had not provided proper drinking water to this locality and the residents were forced to call private tankers to meet their needs. Residents rued that they had asked the council many times to install a tubewell in their colony but the officials, including the area councilor had turned a blind eye.

Sharanjit Kaur, a resident of the colony, said the roads were in bad condition. She says, “It is not easy for two wheelers to drive on damaged road”.

Later, they handed over their complaint to the MC Executive Officer. The MC official stated that the tubewell would be installed soon and also assured them that basic amenities would be provided soon.



Reaching out to masses
Cops return case property worth Rs 3 crore
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
In a gesture aimed at reaching out to the masses, the Mohali Police officials today joined hands with politicians (although those belonging to the ruling party) to return case property items worth about `3 crore to owners at a specially convened district-level camp organised at Government College in Phase 6 here.

Playing host to a gathering of claimants, burly looking policemen instead of wielding batons were seen returning recovered (case property) items. In a two-hour long function, items ranging from bicycles to trucks were returned to the owners in 119 cases that had been reported during the past one year. For owners of four-wheelers and two-wheelers, keys of the vehicles (tied with red ribbons) were handed over by the Inspector-General of Police (Zone-I) Patiala, Paramjit Singh.

District Planning Board chairman NK Sharma, Morinda MLA Ujjar Singh Wadali and Banur MLA Jasjit Singh Bunny were also present on the occasion. Involving people’s representatives at such events strengthens bond between the police and the public, said a senior police official while justifying the presence of Akali politicians.

Expressing satisfaction, one of the claimants, Pardeep Singh, was a happy man on getting back his stolen laptop. Equally contented was Balbir Singh, a resident of Nagla village, on getting back his truck.

“Since a major component of crime includes theft of movable and immovable property, holding such camps would strengthen the concept of community policing. We are not doing any favour as it is our duty,” said Paramjit Singh.

In some of the cases the items had already been returned to the claimants. Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said, “Instead of making the claimants run between the police stations and the court, the police stations concerned were asked to complete the formalities before handing over the items”. Besides the items returned today, another stolen property worth ` 1 crore would be returned in the next phase. At the venue, the hosts had put up counters for each of the police station.



Green belts wear pale look in Mohali
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 31
Here, most green belts in the commercial areas are without greenery, lack cleanliness and have been encroached upon from all directions.

A person moving along the commercial belt can only see dry grass in most of the areas which are badly maintained and give an ugly look. The railing is broken in some areas and small parts of the green belts are also put to personal use. Heaps of burnt leaves were seen lying in one of the green belts.

Green belts in Phases V, VI and X have no greenery at all. The grass has gone dry though the wild growth was removed after The Tribune had highlighted their state on October 22. The position is worse in Phase V where the railing was found to be broken and a cobbler, taxi stand owners and a food seller were making personal use of some parts of the green belts. In Phase VII also a barber had put up his chair and table along a tree in the green belt area.

The maintenance of these areas was given to private contractors by the Municipal Council ( now corporation) . The contractors were asked to maintain these belts and were allowed to put up advertisements in these areas. Though, the contractors were minting money by putting up a large number of advertisements, the work of maintaining these areas was not on their priority list.

The council had after much persuasion taken charge of these green belts from GMADA in April on the plea that permitting advertisements was the right of the civic body.

HS Dhaliwal, executive engineer of the horticulture wing of GMADA, said that he was pained to see the green belts in a state of neglect. He said that when these belts were handed over to the civic body, great stress was laid on their proper maintenance. But by taking over these belts the council started earning a revenue but conveniently forgot its duty to ensure that the companies allowed to use the green spaces for advertisement purposes maintained and beautified these pockets.

Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Parveen Kumar, who had taken over charge about 20 days ago, said that he was looking into the problems faced by residents and holding meetings with officials concerned. Things would start rolling in the next 10 to 15 days, he added.



Auction postponed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
Punjab Infotech has postponed tomorrow’s auction of commercial site in IT Park of Sector 67 here. Two previous efforts by the government undertaking to sell the sites has failed.

The sites to go under the hammer were for hotel, multiplexes and a shopping mall. An official of Punjab Infotech said that the last late to submit the fee was extended to January 29.



New day, new protest on PU campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Two separate protests were held on the Panjab University campus today. Students expressed anger over being charged for availing wi-fi facility.

Stipend issue of dental college students was also brought up. Students also raised the issue of hike in food rates on the campus.

Dental college students demanded that they must not be marked absent for the entire day if they were late in the morning classes.

This plea was, however, dismissed by the dental colleges officials, who claimed that the future doctors must be responsible enough to report on duty on time and the same was being done to ensure discipline.

The department officials added that students, including certain members of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), also demanded timely payment of stipend, which they claimed was accepted by the authorities.

Dean student welfare (DSW) Naval Kishore was not available for the comments on the two protests held on campus.

Another protest by a different lobby of PUSU was held outside the VC’s office in the afternoon where student leaders claimed that fee for wi-fi facility was being charged abruptly in the mid session.

The protesters said the prices of meals in PU hostels were costlier than those at PGIMER and the Mini Secretariat. “If the food rates at these places can be subsidised, why cannot PU offer food on subsidised rates?” asked a PUSU member.

The student leaders urged the PU authorities to roll back food prices on the campus.

“The DSW has called a meeting on Friday to address the issue and in case the rates are not rolled back we will go on a hunger strike,” said a PUSU student leader.

Issues raised by student leaders

n Hostel residents being charged Rs 100 per month for wi-fi facility which was earlier free of cost
n Hike in prices of meals at PU hostels
n Payment of stipend to dental college students
n Non-availability of hot water in hostels

Incidentally, two different lobbies within the PUSU, today backed the two protests on the PU campus. Certain members of PUSU, who participated in the morning protest, were not aware of the fact that members of their own student organisation were involved in another protest that was held in the afternoon.



UGC Guidelines
Research compulsory for PhD
Leave blues for aspirants
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Panjab University’s decision to implement the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) guidelines on compulsory course-work during the PhD programme has left several college teachers in the lurch.

These teachers, who aspire to do research work in PU, but have been declined leave from their respective colleges to do so, are in a fix.

The issue was discussed at the Syndicate meeting on January 21 and a representation in this regard was submitted to PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti by college teachers.

Incidentally, the university has already issued a notification regarding enforcement of course-work for PhD programme in December 2010 to all its teaching departments. However, modalities are yet to be worked out for those in-service teachers who have been recruited against regular posts in colleges on the basis of UGC-NET and aspire to do PhD from PU.

The university Syndics and Senators have expressed concern over the issue and have demanded an immediate action in the matter.

“The issue is serious and must be dealt with immediately. There are several teachers in PU affiliated colleges who are willing to join as fresh candidates for PU’s PhD programme. But their colleges will not sanction them long leave to do the course. What arrangement has PU made to ensure that these teachers, who hail from different colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh, do their course work?” questioned RPS Josh, a PU Syndic.

The university officials claim that the details will be worked out in the case.

“Modalities will be worked out to see the feasibility of how college teachers can be accommodated for the course work,” said PU public relation officer Anil Kapoor.

Certain members of the PU’s highest governing body, the Senate, also questioned the execution of the course work in various departments.

“The course work in several PU departments has not begun despite notification of implementation of the UGC guidelines. Why can’t we conduct the course work for college teachers during vacation period? There is a lack of coordination and this issue, along with several other related issues, should have been discussed at length in the Senate,” said Prabjit Singh, a Senator.

Stating that the course work was crucial for PU research scholars to secure a job in other universities, Singh added that the details of when and how the course work would be done in all departments should have been accompanied by a fresh notification issued by PU in December 2010.



Oil, gas conservation fortnight ends

Chandigarh, January 31
The oil and gas conservation fortnight wherein all three state-run oil marketing companies organised a plethora of activities for school and college students to create awareness about oil conservation concluded today at Bal Bhavan . Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh was the chief guest. During the15 day celebrations held in the city, various contests were held for schoolchildren, including quiz, drawing and painting contests, slogan writing, besides, essay writing and extempore.

Students of Guru Nanak Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Sector 30, Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 37,CRB Public School, Sector 7, spread the message of oil and gas conservation through symbolic cultural programmes which were appreciated by the audience. Amit Mehra, state-level coordinator (oil industry), Chandigarh, and senior regional manager, HPCL, said as part of the fortnight, mass rallies, cycle rallies, LPG and kerosene conservation clinics were also organised. — TNS



From School & Colleges
Mount Carmel wins quiz

Chandigarh: Mount Carmel School, Sector 47-B, secured the first position in the final round of quiz on “Earthquake Tips” organised by IIT-Kanpur and the BMTPC, a constituent of the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Government of India. The quiz was held on January 26, 2011. Out of the 11 schools, it was the Mount Carmel’s team comprising Pradipti Dash of Class VIII, Mansimar Kaur of Class IX, Sukhtaran Singh and Robin Singh of Class X which stood first.


Sri Guru Gobind Singh (SGGS) College, Sector 26, will organise a one-day IT fest ‘Techbeats 2K11’ on Tuesday. Students from over 40 colleges located in and around the city will be taking part in the fest which will feature IT (information technology) and cultural events. Harjinder Singh, chairman, Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council, Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh Committee, will be the chief guest who will deliver a talk on “Innovation”. Dr Renu Vig, director, University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University, will be the guest of honour.


Zirakpur: A workshop on salad making was organised by students of St Joans Public School here today. Namita gave tips on healthy eating. She said salad had higher content of fibre and nutrients. — TNS



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