C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City fails to get mental health institute
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Chandigarh which boasts of one of the best health facilities in the country has no place to treat persons suffering from mental disorders, thanks to the lackadaisical approach of the city administration.

As per a rough estimate, there are 8,400 patients of schizophrenia in Chandigarh only and nearly 2,000 of them have a chronic problem and, thus, require long-term hospitalisation. Although a 100-bed mental health institute was approved by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare eight years ago, it is yet to see the light of the day, as the local administration has failed to act in this regard.

The approved institute proposes to have separate units for males and females for long stay as well as intermediate stay. Separate units for undertrials and criminals having mental disorders is also proposed to be part of the institute. It will also house a workshop and outdoor sports playground. While land for the purpose has been earmarked in Sector 32, and 93 posts, including medical superintendent, psychiatrist specialists, clinical psychologists and other supporting staff, had been created by the Union Ministry in April last year, the local administration did not act on it.

Secretary Health Ram Niwas said the administration had already started other major projects in the health sector, including construction of E Block in Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and administrative-cum-OPD block in Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16. Mental Health Institute, however, has been kept on the priority list for this year.

Apart from the above cited figures of patients, many people with medical problems, including obsessive compulsive disorders, resistant depression and bipolar mood disorders, and personality disorder require long hospitalisation and care. Though the hospitals at Chandigarh, PGI, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, are providing care for acutely ill patients, there are no facilities for long-term stay and rehabilitation of mentally ill persons.

The setting up of this institute in Chandigarh will not only help the patients and their families in the tricity, it will come as a boon for the people in the whole region as there is no such institute in a radius of 100 km, says Colonel AK Mehndiratta (retd), president of Prayatan, an NGO, which is working for the rehabilitation of mentally challenged patients.

“One of us in Prayatan from Panchkula has two sons, both suffering from mental sickness, and he has no place to keep his children where they can be taken care of,” said Colonel Mehndiratta. There were thousands others like him who have been left to struggle on their own to take care of their children. We have knocked on every possible door in the administration but to no avail, rued Mehndiratta.

Poverty linked to disorders

A few years ago, a random survey conducted on children coming to the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children (GIMRC) in the city found a relation between the disorder among children and poverty. Over 70 per cent of the 300 children coming to the GIMRC were found to be from socially and economically weaker sections of society. It was noticed that one of the common causes was poverty, due to which mothers could neither get nutritious diet before or during pregnancy nor get antenatal care. Infection went untreated in some expectant mothers. And deliveries were carried out at homes in slums or villages by midwives, said Dr BS Chavan, joint director, GIMRC.

Why need for such institute

Most of mental health services in Chandigarh provide care for acute cases and there are hardly any services for the chronically mentally ill patients. There is no place in Chandigarh where abandoned, orphaned destitute persons with mental disorders can be kept and cared for. Many undertrials/convicts with mental diseases are being kept in prison against the guidelines of the apex court. Chandigarh does not have any services for social and vocational rehabilitation of chronically mentally ill persons. As per the curriculum of the post graduate training course in psychiatry, the post graduate students are required to undergo training in a mental hospital.



Ludhiana-City route
Pvt bus operators take passengers for a ride
Alleged to enjoy political backing
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Punjab police as well as the Mohali district administration continue to turn a blind eye to incidents of harassment of passengers travelling in privately operated buses running between the city and Ludhiana. Those heading for Chandigarh are often dropped in Kharar and if any one protests with the conductor the latter is assisted by the bus “helpers” to shout him down and ask the passengers to alight from the bus.

The bus staff even resorts to a “mild push” to force the passengers to get aboard vans parked in Kharar and be taken to the interstate bus terminal in Sector 43. There the harried travelers find they are unable to file any complaints as the ISBT has no office to receive them.

As most of the private operators running buses in Punjab are barred from plying their vehicles on city roads they do not pay any road tax. Simply put, these bus operators are depriving the administration of lakhs of rupees in taxes.

When asked by this reporter to comment on the matter Satish Kumar, a senior counter in charge at the ISBT, Sector 43, said: “These private buses are prohibited from entering Chandigarh. There’s nothing new in the buses unloading their passengers in Kharar and then transporting them to the ISBT. The practice has been going on unchecked for over five years now”.

Staff members of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), the city’s state-run bus operator, said the “catch” in the entire situation was that the private bus operators in question had strong “political backing” in Punjab.

Said Ravinder Singh, a bus passenger: “It’s pointless to take up the issue with the UT administration because the fault lies with the Punjab police and administration officials in Mohali district, where the bus passengers are told to alight before they reach Chandigarh. It’s impossible for the bus operators to continue with this practice without the knowledge of the local police and administration.”

In an unruly scene witnessed by this reporter a senior citizen who questioned a bus conductor for “wrongly” dropping him in Kharar was pushed back by the latter.

After a heated argument ensued the conductor was joined by another member of the bus staff who apparently was hired for this job.



Police for curbing car sales to ease parking woes
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
In a significant development, the inspector general of police has written to the UT administration seeking police verification of all prospective vehicle buyers in the city be made mandatory. In case the proposal is approved all new purchases will be allowed only if the police issues a certificate vouching the buyer has ample parking space.

Up against the wall to manage the increasingly heavy vehicular flow on the city’s streets, the administration has been hamstrung in finding a workable solution to rising traffic congestion and shrinking parking space in the city.

Confirming the move, deputy commissioner Brijendra Singh said: “We’ve received the proposal and are working on its implementation, if possible. I’ll be able to comment on the issue only after we get feedback from the registering & licensing authority and other departments concerned”.

If the police’s proposal is accepted no one in the city will be able to buy a car, motorcycle or without a certificate confirming the buyer has adequate space available to park his vehicle. However, the plan needs to implemented very strictly otherwise the exercise could end up as another avenue for cops to grease their palms.

“The proposal sounds interesting. However, the exercise of verifying all vehicle registrations will be a tedious task as in the first place we don’t have enough manpower. The department can choose to make verification for a limited number of vehicles each day. The idea is to refuse certain permissions and set examples for others not to apply for certificates till they had ample space. Maybe the exercise needs a more serious touch,” said Brijendra.

Currently purchasers of only commercial vehicles in the city are supposed to give an affidavit affirming they had enough parking space to park their vehicles. Even there several commercial vehicles continue to be parked illegally.

Said a car dealer: “We’re very well aware of the fact these affidavits submitted by commercial vehicle owners were never verified on the ground. In a similar way certificates for parking are only meant for letting cops make money.”

Bursting at seams

Chandigarh had over 740,000 vehicles registered on its official records by end-2010. Of the total as many as 45,481 were registered last year alone. With a population of about 1.2 million the city has one of the highest vehicle ownership per capita. Parking problems are visible all over the city, particularly on the entire stretch of the Madhya Marg artery on all working days. None of the multilevel parking projects have taken off till date and the concept of car pools has not caught the residents’ fancy.



Consumer Courts
Business houses cook up stories for false claims
Anuja Jaiswal/TNS

Chandigarh, February 20
If you thought it’s only customers who cook up false cases and fabricate evidence to get claims from consumer courts, it’s time for a reality check. Though one cannot rule out the existence of greedy individuals who attempt to use consumer laws to fleece companies, business houses, too, go to the extent of fabricating evidence to get out of legal tangles and to avoid paying compensations.

It turns out that in the past three years, at least a dozen “respondents” (mainly companies) have resorted to such dubious ways, but have been caught in the act. And consumer courts have rightly penalised them by imposing fines to the tune of even Rs 1 lakh for their acts.

Last year, consumer forum (I) passed an order asking Silver City Housing and Infrastructure Ltd to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to one Gursharan Singh for filing a false affidavit relating to the progress of construction at a project site.

The court observed that the company had taken a false stand with the object of defeating the rights of the complainant.

According to forum members, this trend is “unfortunate” as it aims at defeating the rights of the customers and the very purpose of the Act. The members, however, claim that they have “limited” powers to deal with such companies.

Explaining their limitations, a member said, “Though we have the power equivalent to that of a civil court, we are not equipped with power of criminal procedure code. In case we find forgery by a company or an individual during the trial, we can initiate action against the accused by imposing only monetary penalty in the form of punitive damages or costs,’’ said the member, adding that for criminal action they can only refer the file to the appropriate court of Judicial Magistrate for commencing perjury proceedings, which seldom happens. President of the Chandigarh Consumer Courts Bar Association, Pankaj Chandgothia, says if cases of forgery come to light after the trial is over, the aggrieved has the option of filing an FIR and later contest the case in the district court.

He said consumer courts are not too technical because summary procedure is prescribed.

Therefore, photostat copies of documents, which can be easily manipulated, supported by an affidavit, of the complainant or the respondents are accepted as evidence.



Cops turn devout in bid to shed ‘tough’ image
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 20
In an unusual scene witnessed on Sunday at the Phase 8 police station here, instead of the usual sight of a gun toting cop guarding the entrance visitors were welcomed with folded hands and served food. In an effort to shed their “tough” image the staff organized an ‘akhand path’ (Sikh religious ceremony) at the station and invited members of the public as well their colleagues from other police stations. The event was the result of a proposal made by Kirpal Singh Dhuria, a retired official of Punjab Sugarfed, who was keen to bridge the gap between the police and the public.

“Due to a negative impression formed about the men in khaki no one comes forward to involve them and their families in social causes and accept them as part of society. I saw them religiously doing all the duties, from sweeping the area to running community kitchens. It’s one of the best forums to encourage community policing”, Dhuria averred.

Deputy superintendent of police (city II) Rajwinder Singh Sohal felt the event would be an “enriching experience” for the policemen. Gurmel Singh, the head ‘munshi’ (clerk) at the Phase 8 police station, said earlier no one had come up with such a proposal. “We’re quite elated with today’s experience”, he admitted.

It was not only the staff at the police station but also a number of cops from other stations in the district had come in large numbers to attend the akhand path’. To give a further impetus to the initiative Kirpal now plans to hold a blood donation camp at the police station.



After 2 years, 3 booked in incubator death case
Police forms team to nab the head of paediatrics department, 2 other staff members
Aman Sood
Tribune News Service

The phototherapy unit at the Government Rajindra Hospital, where six infants were charred to death on January 31, 2009, in Patiala.
The phototherapy unit at the Government Rajindra Hospital, where six infants were charred to death on January 31, 2009, in Patiala. A file photograph

Patiala, February 20
Almost two years after the tragic incident in which six infants were charred to death at the phototherapy unit in Government Rajindra Hospital in 2009, the Punjab police has registered an FIR today against the head of the department and has dispatched teams to arrest the accused.

Highly placed sources confirmed that the police has registered a case against the head of the paediatrics department, Dr KK Lochan, and two others at the civil lines police station.

While initially the government had ordered a judicial probe into the episode after the medical education minister had resigned over the issue, the home department later ordered a criminal probe by the police department.

The minister concerned, Tikshan Sud, had resigned from his post but had later withdrawn his resignation.

“We have registered an FIR under Section 304 of the IPC against the guilty doctor and two other staff members,” confirmed SHO, civil lines, GS Sikand. The FIR follows a report submitted after an inquiry into the whole incident was conducted by SP (operation) SS Boparai almost a couple of months back.

The government had already received a report submitted by former Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge KC Gupta, who was appointed as a one-man inquiry committee by the Punjab Chief Minister.

In his report, Gupta had recommended to charge-sheet four government employees, including two doctors and one class IV employee of Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, the then principal, Jaswinder Pal Kaur Shergill, and the head of the paediatrics department Dr KK Lochan.

Patiala SSP Gurpreet Singh Gill confirmed to the TNS that the FIR was registered against Dr Lochan and two others and teams have been formed to arrest the accused. “It was gross negligence that led to the fire and the case has been registered after an in-depth probe,” he added.

Sources told The Tribune that the police report pointed towards the head of the department who should have taken proper care and lapses on his part acted as a catalyst into the incident.

During their recent visits to Patiala, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had promised concrete action in this case.



Open House Response
Exit of director ungraceful

Amixed response was received to the ouster of Dr GK Gauba, director-principal HS Judge Institute of Dental Sciences and Research. Though this was a voluntary exit by Dr Gauba, the decision was not welcomed by all. I know Dr Gauba very well. He is a committed and dedicated academician.

He has worked hard to take the institute to pinnacle of glory. I am of the firm opinion that the incident was wrongly projected. The issue fell prey to politics otherwise it would not have assumed such a disgraceful and alarming dimension.

Some bad elements staged conspiracies and launched campaigns to achieve their ulterior motives. They motivated and instigated students to pollute and poison the atmosphere with stubborn and unyielding attitudes forcing the management and administration of the university to concede to their demands. What do the students want? Should the discipline and ethical values be eliminated and eradicated from colleges and universities which are known to be the temples of learning? If this is what they want then they are wrong. It hardly matters whether Dr Krishan Gauba is around or not, but such attitude can ruin their career.

Punjab University should adopt corrective measures to contain such unlawful activities so that teachers do not face such contempt and criticism. I would once again say that his exit was unfortunate.

Prof SG Damle, VC MM University, Mullana (Ambala)

What is the use of this student politics?

Student’s protest against teachers lacks justification. One cannot forget the example of Eklavya who gave his thumb to his guru.

My question is what is the use of students’ politics? Petty politics has always created problems. Crores of rupees go down the drain during student elections. Students adopt unfair means like corruption and drugs to achieve what they want. Such activities need to be banned on the campus.

Harmanjit Singh Jugait

Parents, too, need counselling

Being a student, I read the complete episode of Dr Gauba with great interest mainly to analyse which way our education system was heading. But, after going through sequences of the incident, I couldn’t stop myself from penning down my views. I was shocked to read that father of a girl student said Dr Gauba used vulgar language with his daughter. The charges, however, were never proved later. Such a conduct was never expected from a father.

Rather, in my opinion parents should have stopped their child from blowing the incident out of proportion.

Students cannot expect much from the university management and even student leaders. Campus politics stinks.


Dress-code important

Students, especially professionals, should wear formal clothes. T-shirts and jeans are informal dresses and should be worn occasionally. The turmoil over a girl wearing a T-shirt that had “I love New York ” written on it has affected the teacher-student relationship. If the principal asked the student to avoid wearing such clothes, what was wrong in it? The students should not have felt humiliated. Interns should wear decent clothes. They should be more disciplined as they are the future doctors.

Their professional behaviour will help them and leave a soothing effect on patients. Doctors need to wear proper uniform and not T-shirts and jeans while working in clinics which will also develop a sense of devotion and dedication. They will also learn professional ethics. We should ponder over this matter and introspect, so that such ugly situations do not take place in future.


Teacher-student relation needs a review

The PU syndicate’s decision to accept Dr Gauba’s resignation was wrong. If students don’t follow the dress-code properly, the situation can worsen. If Army official start wearing T-shirts, it will be unprofessional and against the ethics. No one should underestimate the impact that a student-teacher relationship has on a student’s learning.

Dr Gauba put in five years of service, he did not deserve such a treatment. The unfortunate incident has given all reasons to believe that there was bigger politics going on behind the scenes. The incident carried much more weight and more deeper meaning than a simple students’ protest against their principal.

Dr Gauba deserved a more dignified exit because it was he who actually set up the medical institute.

Baljit Singh Maan



Public Sector
‘Need to adopt UK model to improve efficiency’
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, February 20
Though the private sector has been ever emphasising on improving its efficiency, the need to lay stress on the same is being recognised lately in the government sector also. The fact that the public sector in India has a great responsibility of delivering services to the citizens makes it imperative for it to find ways to achieve performance excellence, says Sanjay Sharma, who recently completed his dissertation project on “A critical evaluation of the performance management practices in the Indian public sector” from Glasgow Caledonian University.

His work was adjudged the best dissertation on the MSc (operations and business management programme) in which he achieved distinction as well.

“We are a vast country and though our public offices are trying their best to reach out to people in every possible way, it leaves much to be desired in terms of further improving the efficiency of our delivery system. We can speed up the pace of social development by incorporating some techniques which have successfully been in operation in some developed countries today,” says Sanjay, currently employed with the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Punjab.

While planning to take his study forward, Sanjay believes that the state governments can benefit a lot from his study. “I am planning to do Ph.D under the guidance of Dr Susan Ogden (a noted authority on performance management in the UK) in the same field.

A few of the reforms initiatives that took place in public sector globally based on the extensively researched new public management (NPM) reforms include - Next Steps Initiatives and Public Sector Agreements in PSUs in the UK. “The Punjab Government can also achieve excellence in delivering services to the public by adopting the NPM model,” he added.



Short-lived joy

The posting of new Adviser to the UT Administrator KK Sharma kept reporters on tenterhooks last week. While the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had cleared Sharma’s name, the meeting between Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit led to speculation that Sharma was being “retained” by the Delhi Government.

While claims and counter-claims ruled the roost, rumour mills worked overtime with speculation rife that the current incumbent Pradip Mehra may finally stay in Chandigarh. However, the air cleared with Sharma reportedly allowed to be in New Delhi till the Delhi Budget is presented by next month.

Surely, Mehra’s joy of “overstaying” in Chandigarh proved short lived.

Warm welcome

It was not just a re-union of old students of Panjab University on Saturday but an emotional comeback to the alma mater. The alumni, mostly elderly citizens, were made to feel special with rose tucked as badges on their coat pockets.

Everyone present appreciated the warm welcome given to the alumni of 1970 batch and previous batches. Certain alumni were also spotted recounting their student days as they received awards on the stage with moist eyes.

“I have never felt so proud of being an alumnus (of PU) as today. The manner in which I was greeted and awarded today was so special,” said a pass out of 1967 batch of the PU.

Teacher-taught relation

The last few days have seen the teacher-taught relation touch an all-time low in Panjab University. The teachers are sore about the “undue weightage” being given to the demands of students. Even under the existing circumstances, certain teachers are calling up The Tribune office to show their sympathy towards students. No one wants to be quoted or seen in public except a few like Dr Gurmeet Singh.

Syndic and assistant professor, Department of Hindi, Dr Gurmeet Singh, who was one of the instrumental figures in having the senate gallery opened for student audience once again, stood with the students in the recent fiasco involving the students seeking the ouster of Prof Dinesh Gupta, chairman of University Business School.

On the day the university syndicate, the special committee and the Vice-Chancellor were engaged in animated discussions to get the students give up their rigid stand, Dr Gurmeet Singh was able to persuade the students and their parents, for once, to call off their strike and agree to get back to their classes.

Devotees broom town

Hundreds of devotees, especially women and young girls, thronged the City Centre in Sector 5 on February 19 holding brooms to clean the area of rubbish in view of the religious congregation to be addressed by Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

This had made the job of the civic body easier as it is already facing shortage of sanitation workers and had outsourced the job to private contractors in the town. The devotees not only cleaned the roads of the litter, but had also engaged JCB machine to clear wild grass and bushes in the 20-acre ground.

— Contributed by Pradeep Sharma, Sanjeev Bariana, Neha Miglani and Sanjay Bumbroo



2,000 run for a cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
More than 2,000 participants took part in a run this morning. The event, organised by the Indo-Canadian Cancer Research Foundation and the Consulate General of Canada, aimed at raising funds for cancer research.

The 4.2km run began from the Canadian Consulate Office in Sector 17 and culminated at Leisure Valley, Sector 10. Bicycles and skates were also used by the participants.

Scott Slessor, consulate general, said, “The event raises funds for research projects on cancer.” It is organised in memory of Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox who was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres and also cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting world-wide legacy.

The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fund raiser. Over C$ 500 million has been raised in his name.

Fox was a distance runner and basketball player in school and university. His right leg was amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteoarcoma. However, he continued to run with an artificial leg.

In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. Fox hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada's 24 million people.

The Marathon of Hope began on April 12, 1980.



Elect leaders with clean image: Dera chief
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Devotees, who had come to attend a religious congregation of Dera Sacha Sauda, cause traffic jam on the road separating Sectors 5 and 8 in Panchkula on Sunday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, February 20
Reiterating his stand of not supporting any political party in the assembly elections to be held in Punjab next year, Dera Sacha Saudha Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh said people should elect leaders with a clean image.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was in the town to preside over a religious congregation at City Centre in Sector 5 here today, said political leaders were trying to grab the public money for their selfish interests.

He said people should recognise these leaders and not vote for them in the elections to be held next year so that they could get good governance.

Dera chief, who wields a considerable clout in Barnala, Mansa, Muktsar, Ferozepore, Sangrur, Patiala, Faridkot and Moga districts in the state, said he would not form any political outfit as he was not interested in politics. He said his main aim was to remove superstitions among the public.

Notably, the Dera had played a significant role during the last assembly elections in Punjab when it had supported the Congress. With the Dera’s support, the Congress had registered convincing victories on a number of seats in the Malwa region, which was considered to be a stronghold of the Akalis.

The Dera chief also urged the gathering to avoid liquor or drugs, which had already ruined many households in Punjab and Haryana. He said there was a need to properly educate the present generation so that they could contribute to the nation building.

More than one lakh people from different parts of Haryana and Punjab had visited the city to listen to the discourse of the Dera chief since early morning. The workers of the Dera had set up stalls around the City Centre to organise “langar” (community kitchen) for the devotees.

The police had a tough time controlling the traffic at the entry points to the town as well as on the major roads in Panchkula. The Dera workers were also assisting the police in regulating traffic in the town.

Traffic jam in tricity

There was a traffic jam in the tricity as thousands of vehicles, carrying more than 75,000 people, thronged the congregation to be addressed by Dear chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh at City Centre in Sector 5.



340 examined at health camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Chandigarh Administration today organised a health check up camp in Palsora colony for creating awareness under the Rashtriya Swasthaya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a health insurance scheme for below poverty line (BPL) families.

According to a press note, patients are made aware of the benefits to be given for this scheme. Over 340 patients were examined and given medicines free of cost at the camp. RSBY smart card holders were given pamphlets explaining benefits of the scheme by the Indian Red Cross Society.

Under this scheme, the BPL families have been issued the RSBY smart cards by paying only Rs 30. The sum insured for one family is Rs 30,000. Maternity benefits are also covered under this scheme.



Janata Darbar
430 applications received
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC) today organised a Janata Darbar at Indira Colony here. According to a press release, the darbar is held every week to take up issues such as issuance of BPL cards, ration cards, widow pension scheme and rehabilitation of jhuggi-dwellers of Indira Colony, whose tenements were demolished by the authorities concerned.

More than 60 women who did not get widow

pension submitted their applications. More than 200 persons, who were without the ration cards and were facing a number of problems, turned up at the darbar.

The Youth Congress was asked to take up the issues of sprucing up playgrounds and greenbelts.

Meanwhile, over 430 applications were received at the Janata Darbar.



Architects festival on anvil

Chandigarh, February 20
The Chandigarh-Punjab chapter of Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) will organise a three-day “Young Architects Festival” on October 14 this year. More than 800 architects, students and professionals are expected to participate in the festival.

This was stated in a statement issued here today by Surinder Bahga, who has been elected president of the chapter for 2010-12.

The chapter was given the best chapter award in 2009 and best chapter runners-up award in 2010 at the National Architects Conference held in Nagpur and Lucknow, respectively.

Meanwhile the following were elected other office-bearers of the chapter: vice-chairman: Rakesh Bansal; treasurer: Sarbjit Bahga; joint secretaries: Jaswinder Singh and Archana Choudhary; executive members: Manmohan Khanna, Sanjay Goel, Gagandeep Singh Ghai, Shiv Dev Singh and Rajinder Singh Sandhu, co-opted members: Ashok Juneja and Raj Kumar Aggarwal. — TNS



Seminar on labour laws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Chandigarh chapter of Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) today organised a seminar on labour laws for the benefits of industrialists and professionals.

Mukesh Sharma, chairman of the chapter, while giving a brief introduction, welcomed chief guest RL Prabhakar, eminent company secretary, and key speaker Anupam Malik, joint labour commissioner, Government of Haryana, labour department.

He said the chapter had taken the initiative to promote good governance in corporate sector.

Presentations were given by Anupam Malik and Joravar Singh, CEO, Olumpus Management Consultancy.

Other aspects discussed in the seminar were labour laws and their compliance keeping in mind the rights and welfare of employees.

The compliance of labour laws is fundamental to working of any business and for creating an atmosphere of trust in any organisation, besides productivity and profitability.

Manish Aggarwal, secretary, GS Sarin, joint secretary, and Meena Rohilla, treasurer, Chandigarh chapter of ICSI, were also present. More than 150 professionals and industrialists attended the seminar.



Talk on ‘lost river’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The First Friday Forum organised a talk on “the story of a lost river” by IS Kalsi, a petroleum and drilling engineer here.

Addressing the function, Kalsi said the river was discovered in the early 19th century through topographical exploration by British officials in the Shivalik Hills, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Recently, its evolution and disappearance have been traced by satellite imagery.The river’s buried courses and the isotopic analysis of ancient waters, still stored under the Thar Desert of Rajasthan and Haryana, have proved its existence, he stated.

In 2007, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation collaborated with the department of geology, Kurukshetra University, to embark upon the project of exploration of the river. In 2009, the project succeeded in locating the lost river with flowing existing aquifers in Pehowa and Kurukshetra districts, he added.



Villagers protest against coloniser

Mohali, February 20
Residents of Durali and Sugarh protested against a private developer for forcibly closing the way to their fields here today.

Gurman Singh, a resident of Durali, alleged that the developer, Pearl Group, while constructing roads in Sector 100, was blocking their way to their fields.

The developer had also encroached upon the village shamlat land and had not paid any money to the shareholders of the village. — TNS



Classical performance enthrals audience

Mohali, February 20
The Army Institute of Law, Mohali, hosted a musical event, which witnessed performance by renowned musician Pandit Tejindre Narayan Majumdar.

The event was organised by the Army Institute of Law in association with the Society for Classical Music and Culture amongst Youth (SPIC MACAY).

The mesmerising classical performance enthralled audience. The event ended with the felicitation of Pt Majumdar and Ustaad Akram Khan by guest of honour Maj Gen B Chakravarty, chairman, Army Institute of Law. — TNS



Commuters suffer as admn looks other way
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, February 20
Mounds of sand on the Zirakpur-Chandigarh road near the flyover are causing inconvenience to thousands of commuters, who have been travelling on this stretch everyday. Even the huge lumps of sand lying along the roadside makes journey tough for two-wheelers.

However, the authorities concerned are apparently not bothered to address this problem. Residents demanded that the authorities should look into the problem. Raghav Singhal, a trader, said: “This is an important road and is also considered gateway to Chandigarh, but still authorities are giving it a step-motherly treatment. The authorities should focus on landscaping and present a better picture before the tourists coming to this area.” An official of the GMR assured that he would visit the site tomorrow and solve the problem on priority.



Camp by health dept

Chandigarh, February 20
The UT health department in collaboration with the Young Healthcare and Social Welfare Society organised a multi-speciality camp at the Chandigarh Press Club here today.

A team of doctors from the health department led by Dr NK Aggarwal examined members of the club.

To create awareness about the health-related issues, the society will organise a series of health camps, seminar and workshop in Chandigarh and peripheral areas. — TNS



PTU to introduce value inculcation course
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Replicating the model of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Delhi and Kanpur, nearly 306 colleges affiliated to Punjab Technical University (PTU), out of which 49 are in Chandigarh region, will now be taught “human values and professional ethics” as a part of their curriculum.

Rajneesh Arora, PTU Vice-Chancellor, at Panjab University campus today for the valedictory function of an international conference organised by students said value inculcation was important for students to apply their technical knowledge in the right direction.

“The academic council of the university resolved that the students enrolled from 2011 onwards would be required to study the foundation course in human values and professional ethics. Drawing inspiration from the National Resource Centre for Value Education in Engineering (NRCVEE) at IIT, Delhi, several technical institutions realised the importance of inculcating this subject as a part of the main curriculum. IIT, Kanpur; IIIT, Hyderabad; and UP Technical University have already adopted this value inculcation course,” said Arora.

Besides value education, the foundation course includes topics like harmony in society and nature, aiming to widen the vision of students from family order to the world family order. It devotes seven chapters to harmony with self, body, family, society, nature and existence, besides talking of self-exploration.

The newly inducted course also focuses on the importance of right understanding and includes topics like professional ethics in the light of right understanding.

Illustrating on the need to introduce this subject, RP Bhardwaj, coordinator for value education cell, PTU said, “The syllabus for the foundation course in human values and professional ethics is also being framed in Hindi, Punjabi and other languages. The course has been introduced to address the real purpose of education. In continuation to a series of workshops being organised by PTU from May 2011 onwards, we are also conducting eight-day workshops for teachers and students.”

Imbibing human values

Waking up to the need of imbibing human values among youngsters, particularly students in colleges and universities, all colleges affiliated to PTU, which include 49 in Chandigarh region, have now introduced a foundation course in “human values and professional ethics” for students, who seek admission from 2011 onwards.



‘Behave good to earn extra marks’
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Good and disciplined behaviour in classrooms will now earn extra marks for Class IX students of schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). A circular issued this month by the board has directed the schools to award higher grades in scholastic subjects like English, mathematics, science or social science to students displaying a “good” attitude towards teachers, leadership and disciplined behaviour.

The directive is a part of the board’s latest promotion policy, which insists on making performance in non-academic areas as a key criterion of promotion from one class to another.

“A student, who scores in the highest range of grade points in co-scholastic (non-academic) areas, should be upgraded to the next higher level in two scholastic subjects and those in the second highest range may be upgraded to the next higher grade in one scholastic subject,” read the circular.

For example, if a student is good at debating, which reveals his leadership qualities, then based on his performance, his grade in a subject like English should be upgraded.

The circular further instructs school heads to explain this promotion policy in detail to the parents, teachers and students to create awareness and avoid unnecessary inconvenience at a later stage. Board officials said this directive was a reminder to schools that had failed to take an assessment in the non-academic areas.

“Despite the CBSE having introduced a continuous and comprehensive evaluation system, many schools still consider only academic skills for promotion. This circular directs such schools to take note of the importance the board places on developing life skills, attitudes and values of children,” said CBSE regional director RJ Khanderao.

The schools have welcomed the directive but have demanded more clarification on it.

“Making the co-scholastic area an important part of promotion is helpful in dealing with increasing lawlessness in certain schools. The board, however, needs to give more details about adding these marks to subjects like mathematics or science,” said Independent School Association president HS Mamik.



Stress on cultural integrity among youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
With emphasis on cultural integrity among youth, the second day of WOSY, an international seminar held at Panjab University’s English Auditorium, today began with a speech by Sunil Gupta, Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, who emphasised on the issue of cultural understanding amongst the youth from different background.

The event is being organised in collaboration with student representatives of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Gupta also urged the youth to be the main factor in developing the theme “world is family” or “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam”.

He appreciated the effort and role of WOSY for providing a common platform where students from different countries with different culture and ethics come together to set up an example of unity in diversity.

Later a paper presentation was held where delegates put forward their own ideas to increase the inter-cultural understanding among the youth.

Valedictory ceremony was attended by Avanish Rai Khanna (a member of the Parliament, Rajya Sahba, Punjab) and Dr Rajnish Arora (Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar).



Govt fails to provide guidelines to schools

Panchkula, February 20
The Union government has only passed the RTE Act, but it has failed to give specific guidelines or a direction under the RTE Act to schools, said Brother Christopher, principal St Georges College, Mussoorie.

Talking to the Tribune at the Manorite alumni meet held here late last night, Brother Christopher said even though the act allowed reaching more to underprivileged children of society, the poor children would not be able to compete with their urban counterparts.

He said instead of reserving a specific quota, the schools should be allowed to start special classes for these children. He said the underprivileged children needed to be provided education in their mother tongue, as it would be difficult for them to learn courses in English.

Christopher said they had started a school in Busawalgaon village near Mussoorie to provide education to the children of the rural poor. He said a social service club of the college looked after the infrastructure and other facilities to be provided to the students, besides salary of teachers. — TNS



From Schools
Sports day

CHANDIGARH: The annual sports day of the primary wing of Shivalik Public School, Sector 41 B, today kicked off with a marchpast followed by a flag hoisting ceremony by school director DS Bedi. After an oath ceremony, the events were declared opened by the school director. School principal Gurkiranjeet Nalwa and coordinator Dass were the guests of honour. Games like obstacle race, relay race, etc, were held and later awards were distributed.

Youth services camp

Nine students of GGSVM participated in the international youth services camp organised by the directorate of youth services camp. Hardayapal Kaur, deputy director of Youth Services, Punjab, flagged off the bus of volunteers. During the camp, students were made to do “Neurobics”, a brain exercise. School principal Leena Varma motivated the students to participate in such events. — TNS



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