C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


OT technicians at PGI go on strike
Row over destroying used needles; patients bear brunt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
A row over destruction of used needles seems to have snowballed into a major controversy, with over 80 operation theatre (OT) technicians proceeding on a sudden strike last night, leaving hundreds of anxious patients at the PGI a harassed and worried lot.

A cross-section of patients and attendants, talking to The Tribune, revealed that while some of the operations had to be cancelled, a majority were delayed by hours, though PGI Medical Superintendent AK Gupta claimed that everything was under control, with 97 operations being conducted in different operation theatres, as of this afternoon.

The OT technicians proceeded on strike at 9:30 pm last night, accusing Dr Jyotsana Vig, head of the anaesthesia department, of misbehaving with and rebuking them at a meeting.

This meeting was aimed at fixing the responsibility of destroying used needles and resolving the ongoing tiff between a nurse and an OT technician.

Soon after the announcement of the strike, the PGI authorities chipped in its faculty, resident doctors and nursing staff to handle operation theatres.

Both the parties had not yet attempted to break the ice. The PGI authorities said “the action of OT technicians is unwarranted and without any basis”.

“My husband is getting operated upon for prostrate cancer. Though we were asked to come at 9 am, he was wheeled into the operation theatre only at noon,” said Babita Kaur from Phagwara, waiting outside the emergency OT.

“My father was supposed to be operated upon at 11 pm last night, but we were asked to wait after the strike was declared and because necessary arrangements had to be made. We visited the OT at night, but were asked to wait until the next morning as emergency cases needed more attention. We reached the scheduled OT at 9 am, but had to wait for another three hours since a case of emergency cesarean delivery had come up. It was only at 11 am today that we finally got our chance. These 12 hours have been a cause of utter anxiety to us,” said Sidharth Verma, an attendant of an accident victim, who was scheduled to have been operated upon last night.

They suffer

Four-month-old Nishtha from Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, was to be operated upon for a congenital leg disability today. The operation was cancelled for not being ‘urgent’ enough. “When we went to the OT, we were informed that the operation had been cancelled as there was a strike and only urgent cases would be taken up. We tried to explain our problems, but doctors would not listen. You can imagine our plight, having such a young child admitted here,” said her father.

Stance firm

The PGI managed the strike well. The union approached me last night after the meeting. I thought the issue was resolved, but they moved on strike suddenly. Their action is unjustified and unwarranted. Those on probation should be ready to be dealt with according to the clauses of their contract, which in some cases, also tantamount to termination.

— Dr Surjeet Singh, deputy director, PGI

I did nothing wrong. Destroying needles is nobody’s specified job. Two OT technicians had refused to destroy those, saying their union forbade them. I was not rude to anybody. Their leader had a complaint against a nurse. I told him that problems had cropped up ever since he had joined the team. I suggested that he shift to some other department and we monitor his behaviour and of the nurse.

— Dr Jyotsana Vig, head of the anaesthesia department

As per the PGI’s directive, the user needs to destroy the needle. In an emergency, surgeons or residents keep on stacking needles and then ask us to destroy those. When we approached the department head, she replied that the doctors were tired. She threatened to transfer our leader. We kept on waiting for intervention from the PGI authorities, but nobody was ready to speak to us. Dr Vig will have to submit a written apology.

— Manoj Kumar, general secretary, OT Technicians Association



PUSU split wide open
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The oldest student organisation at Panjab University, Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), which is 34 years old, officially split today, with the ouster of one former president and a warning to the outgoing president.

Former PUSU president Simranjit Singh Dhillon was declared suspended from the party by the governing council of the organisation. Udey Wiring, PUSU president for 2010-2011, was given a show-cause notice on charges of indiscipline.

During a press conference at the Student Centre on the campus, the senior PUSU cadre today accused Dhillon and Wiring of announcing a new party president, Jujwinder Singh Judo, without following a democratic procedure. The announcements by the senior PUSU cadre led to a war of words between the two lobbies.

The senior PUSU lobby, comprising founder members and former leaders, included Jatinder Singh Virk, Malwinder Kang, Jaskaran Brar, Binder Singh, Vipan Khamboj and Rupinder Mann. On the other hand, PUSU leaders of the past three years, including Simrandeep Sandhu, Arshbir Johal, Dhillon and Wiring, comprised the other lobby.

Displaying their strength, the senior PUSU cadre gathered nearly 250 students at the Student Centre to address mediapersons. Later, Dhillon and Wiring hosted another press conference to prove that theirs was the real PUSU, with nearly 100 supporters outside boys’ hostel 6. In what led to a major identity crisis, the two lobbies claiming to be the original PUSU.

Dhillon and Wiring claimed that the senior PUSU leaders were outsiders and were involved with state and national political parties, who could, hence, not interfere in PUSU matters.

Announcement of suspension

We declare Simrajit Singh Dhillon suspended from PUSU on disciplinary grounds. An announcement was made regarding a new president without following proper procedures. Senior PUSU members were compelled to interfere in the matter following several complaints against Dhillon and Udey Wiring.

— Jaskaran Brar, founder-member of PUSU

Response to suspension

Who are they to suspend me? They are outsiders and most are affiliated to political parties. It has been a tradition that the current leadership, which comprises students. Out of sheer respect, we will discuss the matter with them, but such interference is not tolerable.

— Simranjit Singh Dhillon, former PUSU president

In a nutshell

  • Old and new PUSU at loggerheads on PU campus
  • Past president Simranjit Singh Dhillon suspended from party
  • Show-cause notice to outgoing president Udey Wiring
  • Crucial twist to student politics at PU

Two PUSU presidents?

The senior PUSU cadre nominated Sukhjit Singh Brar PUSU president today. However, the other lobby had declared Jujwinder Singh Judo PUSU president a few days ago and asserted that he continued to head the party this year.

After-effects of rift

With two PUSU presidents for the 2011-2012 academic session, confusion prevails on who will contest the student council poll this year. Both lobbies claim to be the original PUSU and both are adamant on having their supporter as the student body president.

Fact sheet

  • Jaskaran Brar, who was PUSU president for six years, founded this student organisation in 1977
  • In 1980, PUSU candidate won the student council president’s post for the first time
  • Progressive Students Union, which was a prominent student organisation those days, was dissolved in 1982 following PUSU’s dominance
  • After the curb on a student council poll at PU was lifted in 1996, PUSU won eight of the 14 elections



Suicide bid by mentally challenged youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
A 20-year-old student of the Regional Institute for Mentally Handicapped tried to kill himself by jumping from the fourth floor of the institute building at Sector 31 here today. The victim was identified as Subhash Kumar, a resident of Maloya. He jumped from the top floor of the building in the afternoon. The police was informed about the incident.

The victim was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital at Sector 32, where his condition was stated to be critical. No suicide note was found from the spot.

The police were looking into the reasons for Subhash taking the extreme step. The police booked him in a case of suicide attempt under Section 309 of the IPC.

The SHO of the Sector-31 police station, inspector Jaspal Singh, said they questioned his teachers, who said the student had been suffering from severe depression for a long time.


Summer Woes begin in Mohali
50 pc new tubewells non-functional
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 15
With the days getting warmer and the demand for water beginning to rise here, nearly 50 per cent of the new deep tubewells sunk by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority ( GMADA) and the Municipal Corporation have still not become functional.

As many as 16 new deep tubewells were to be sunk by both agencies and the work on the project, worth about Rs 4 crore, had started nearly a year ago. GMADA was to sink 11 of these tubewells in various parts of the town to overcome shortage. Only seven of these have so far been handed over to the Water Supply and Sanitation Department, which is responsible for the supply of water in most parts of the town. Tubewells sunk in Phases VII, III B 2, I and Matour village by GMADA have not become functional so far.

The corporation (earlier council) has handed over only one of the five tubewells to the supply wing so far. The work on tubewells being sunk by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board for the civic body in Phases III A, III B 2 and V is still in progress and might take another two weeks or so to get completed.

It is learnt that the Mohali Deputy Commissioner, Parveen Kumar, had held a meeting with officials of GMADA, corporation and the water supply wing on December 28 to know the progress about the new tubewells. Both GMADA and the civic body officials had given an assurance that the new tubewells would be handed over by January 15. However, only eight tubewells were handed over to the supply wing about two weeks ago. Residents living on upper floors have already started experiencing low pressure of water and as the temperature goes up, the demand will rise after which the position is likely deteriorate.

However, the Executive Engineer of the water supply wing, HPS Dhillon, was hopeful that the water supply position in Mohali would be better as compared to last year after all the 16 new tubewells became functional.

The discharge from most of the new tubewells was about 10,000 gallons per hour. Such a good discharge would help in reducing the gap between the demand and supply by 2 million gallons a day (mgd). The demand of water in summers was 23 mgd against the availability of only 13.2 mgd. Mohali was getting only 10 mgd of water from Kajauli waterworks and 3.2 mgd from old tubewells. Now the supply from deep tubewells will increase the availability by 2 mgd. GMADA Executive Engineer Sunil Kansal said the new tubewells would be handed over in the next three days. The Executive Officer of the Corporation, Amna Kumar Goyal, said that the work had got delayed as the tubewells were sunk by the Sewerage Board. Requests were made time and again to them to complete the work before the onset of summer but to no avail. Efforts, however, will be made to hand over the new tubewells to the Water Supply Wing at the earliest, added Goyal.

‘Water situation would be better compared to last year’

The Executive Engineer of the water supply wing, HPS Dhillon, was hopeful that the water supply position in Mohali would be better as compared to last year after all the 16 new tubewells became functional. The discharge from most of the new tubewells was about 10,000 gallons per hour. Such a good discharge will help in reducing the gap between the demand and supply by 2 million gallons a day (mgd). The demand of water in summers was 23 mgd against the availability of only 13.2 mgd. Mohali was getting only 10 mgd of water from Kajauli waterworks and 3.2 mgd from old tubewells. Now the supply from deep tubewells will increase the availability by 2 mgd.



Additional 75 MW power for city
Residents may breathe easy this summer
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
With the UT Administration set to get around 75 megawatt (MW) additional power, the city residents can breathe easy and expect fewer power cuts in the sultry summer weather.

If UT officials are to be believed, the power situation is going to be comfortable in the backdrop of opening of tenders for the supply of 50 MW power on March 18 by the government and private players to Chandigarh. This coupled with supply of 25 MW by the Jammu and Kashmir government under the power-sharing agreement should ease the power situation, a senior official said here today.

With the availability of additional power, the total power supply should be around 320 MW, which seems to be adequate to meet the rising demand.

Last year, the peak demand was pegged at around 325 MW, with the average power consumption hovering around 300 MW. The supply last year was pegged a much below the 300-MW mark.

Having an area of 114 sq km, Chandigarh does not have any source of power generation and is dependent on outside sources for power supply.

Given its VIP status as the capital of Punjab and Haryana, besides the administrative headquarters of the UT, the administration has had a tough time meeting the round-the-clock demand for power in VIP areas, particularly in the summer.

Since power requirements of the residents of Chandigarh, having second highest per capita income in the country, increase substantially in summer, trippings are common particularly in southern sectors.

Electrical appliances like air-conditioners, fans and coolers consumed a major chunk of the power supply in the summer, creating an artificial shortage.

Increased seasonal demand had given sleepless nights to the residents, especially residents of Phases II and III (Sector 30 onwards) in summer last year.

Why more power cuts in southern sectors?

  • Density of population higher than northern sectors
  • Use of air-conditioners and fans higher
  • Tripping due to outdated transmission system
  • Drawing of power more than the sanctioned load

Power cut-free summer ahead?

Officials claim though the power situation is comfortable, power cuts are inevitable due a variety of reasons. Maintenance of the power distribution system, drawing of more than the sanctioned power load and a sudden increase in the peak supply hours may result in power cuts



‘We now have standard operating procedure to handle kidnappings for ransom’

With police modernisation schemes getting sanctioned in the current financial year 2010-11, the UT police is all set to feature as among the country’s premier police forces in the coming years. With plans to set up a state-of-the-art shooting range and solar-powered buildings, the UT police is gearing up to effect a major overhaul. UT Inspector-General of Police
PK Srivastava talks to Senior Correspondent Aneesha Sareen about the future prospects, modernisation plans and steps being taken to strengthen investigation

Has the police learnt any lessons from its handling of the Khushpreet case?

Yes, the police has issued a standard operating procedure to deal with kidnapping for ransom cases. Joint operation teams have been formed with the police forces of neighbouring states and we are now focussing on better coordination. The Khushpreet case is not over for us. Nor is the Neha murder case as we are still at it. Special teams formed for investigation of both these cases are working day and night and we are hopeful of cracking both the cases soon.

What is the root cause of the spurt in crime in the city over the years, especially with respect to cases of snatching?

In the first two months of the year itself, we arrested 88 juveniles for their involvement in snatching and robbery cases across the city, which is a disturbing trend. To curb the menace, the police is planning to visit schools and organise sports activities for juveniles to channel their activities in a better way.

What does the UT police envision for the years ahead?

The police has got two major chunks of land, measuring 127 acres, for setting up a Recruit Training Centre (RTC), Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and an underground police control room. The land has been acquired in Sarangpur and Dhanas and the police plans to construct state-of-the-art buildings on these sites. The police will set an example for the rest of the country to follow. Recently, architects and police officers visited Pune where they consulted renowned architect Christopher Charles Beninger for tips on solar powering the buildings and making them eco-friendly. Moreover, seven acres have especially been allocated for an underground control room and a safe house. All this is being done to meet our future demands.

Any steps to improve training for police personnel?

We have been sanctioned Rs 3 crore for the shooting range in Dhanas. While the modernised shooting range will provide training to Punjab and Haryana police personnel as well, it will also cater to providing sports infrastructure. At present, the UT police personnel have to travel to other states for training in shooting. All this will be a thing of the past as the UT police will be self-equipped to provide such training. The UT administration has been supportive in our requirements.

How is the UT police preparing to handle crime in the city?

The results will be visible in April when the additional fleet of 20 PCR vans will be seen on the roads. The beat system has been revamped with the police designating a total of 350 police personnel for grievance redressal, community liaison and keeping an eye on criminals. Hi-tech cells have been made in each sub-division of the police. Unlike in the past, the cyber cell is now functioning with each division. For investigation, we have pumped more officers and are clearing our backlog.



Godfrey Phillips Awards
10 get recognition for bravery
Manpriya Khurana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
They are special because they are exceptionally bold, men and women who performed extraordinary acts of courage under very ordinary circumstances. At a city hotel the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Awards celebrated twenty years of saluting real-life heroes by honouring ten brave people from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

“We advertise for the awards and invite entries through our own marketing strategies. Besides, nongovernment organizations too send in their entries. Then there’s the police that gets in touch with us and sends in its entries,” said Godfrey Phillips India Ltd general secretary Harmanjit Singh at a briefing about the company’s corporate social responsibility initiative.

“We also receive entries from the media, and then there’s the active online social media. But I’d say we’d like to receive many more than the close to 200 entries we receive”, he added.

Sometimes it takes immense courage just to stand up for your own self. There stood ten people on the dais, from different walks of life, each brought together by one common virtue - bravery. Awards in different categories were given to the late Sanjay Kumar and Birmati of Haryana; Hemraj of Himachal Pradesh; Kamaljit Soi, Harinder Pal Singh, Anuradha Sharma and Ilamjot Singh of Punjab; Narender Singh Jamwal of Himachal Pradesh; and NGOs My Mother Most Beautiful and Umeed of Punjab.

The ‘physical bravery’ award went to Kumar who the citation said belonged to the “rare category of selfless men and sacrificed his life trying to save a drowning boy”.

Seventy per cent disability in his left leg did not stop Harinder from being a wonderful ‘bhangra’ dancer, an adventure sports freak and a social worker to the core. He received the ‘mind of steel’ award.

Continuing with the ‘physical bravery’ award, Soi, while driving from Chandigarh to Ludhiana, stepped on the break pedal on seeing a serious accident between two cars. She helped the victims come out of their vehicles, took them to hospital and arranged thirty units of blood, saving eleven lives.

“The best part is these people didn’t foresee any recognition of their efforts. Our criterion for making the selections is the act itself, how selfless it is and the risk perception involved. It’s a five-point criteria for judging”, remarked Harinder.

Moving on, five daughters, rural background, societal restrictions didn’t stop Birmati to make any differences and do what she loved - campaigning against female foeticide, child labour and illiteracy among girls. She has to her credit a massive tree plantation drive in about 35 acres. Which is why she stood there representing ‘social bravery’.

“We were made to believe women are supposed to stay within the four walls of a house and not do anything else. But we stood our ground”, she said.

The zonal awards will be followed by the national awards that take place in Delhi.



Official thrashes suspect, residents stage protest

Panchkula, March 15
Residents of EWS Colony in Sector 15 here ‘gheraoed’ (surrounded in protest) a police post in the same area after a senior district administration officer allegedly thrashed one of the four suspects apprehended for “eve teasing”.

After hearing about the police action the residents gathered near the post and raised slogans against the cops and the administration for “mercilessly beating” one of the suspects, identified as Surinder, involved in the incident after allegedly locking him up in a room at the police post.

After receiving a complaint filed by Varinder, uncle of the girl involved in the incident, the police reportedly arrested four boys - Surinder, Tarun, Rajesh and Gaurav. Varinder had alleged the four used to tease his niece when she went for her tuition classes in Sector 15. The girl had also complained about this to her teacher who had asked her to change her route, he had stated.

The police said on Tuesday the girl reported the matter to her parents after the boys again teased her near the tuition centre. Her parents and relatives, who soon arrived at the scene, caught hold of the youths and thrashed them before handing them over to the cops. Later the relatives also informed a district administration official, who was reportedly “known” to them, about the incident. The official also allegedly beat up Surinder.

When informed about the matter, deputy superintendent of police Iqbal Kaur accompanied with Sector 14 police SHO Aman Kumar arrived at the scene and tried to pacify the agitating residents. He told them Surinder would be medically examined and the police would take action against him if he was found culpable. — TNS



Delay in announcement of result
PU law dept students stage protest
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
Panjab University officials today cautioned administrative block employees from showing results to students unofficially before formal declaration of the result by the controller of examination is made.

“The results will be locked till an official announcement is made,” said PU dean student welfare (DSW) Naval Kishore, while pacifying students of the department of laws, who went on a strike today.

Agitated by the delay in announcement of their results, nearly a dozen students of the department of laws today staged a protest outside the department. These students claimed that the results of the first, third and fifth semester were delayed by over four months. Barring the first lecture, no classes were held in the department, claimed the students.

“The students have a harrowing time figuring out whether to apply for the re-appear examination or not. Our next semester examination begins in a few days and we still do not have results of the last semester examination. Some students who have contacts in the PU’s administrative block can check their result, but those who do not have any influence have to wait for over four months,” said Ranjot Singh Dhillon, department representative.

These students, who were supporters of the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), also protested against the practice of seeking results from the administrative wing of PU before the official announcement.

Taking cognisance of this demand, the DSW announced corrective measures after holding a meeting with the department chairperson.

“The results of the first, third and fifth semester would be announced within two days. We have also set up an inquiry to find reasons for this delay in the results for the law students,” said DSW.



Seminar to promote consumer awareness
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 15
“In today’s world, children are the most prolific consumers, who must be made aware of their rights,” said Justice (retd) Harphul Singh Brar in a consumer awareness seminar organised by HOPE, an organisation to create awareness among young people, in association with the Chandigarh Consumer Courts Bar Association to mark the World Consumer Day at The British School here today.

Justice Brar, who is presently the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, Government of India, also released a booklet “Consumer Law Guide” compiled by Pankaj Chandgothia, Advocate and president of the Consumer Courts Bar Association, for free distribution among general public in order to promote consumer awareness.

In his keynote address, Chandgothia, while giving tips to schoolchildren on consumer protection said children often forced their parents to buy goods, so it is the child who must be educated about the consumer rights. He gave examples of unfair trade practices by companies of special interest to the children.

Ashok Jain, president, District Consumer Forum, Panchkula, launched an online “Consumer Hotline” and also a mobile number to solve any queries. Any person can SMS his query to mobile number 09501456699 or send email to consumer.query@yahoo.in<mailto:consumer.query@yahoo.in>, which will be answered free of cost within 24 hours by the consumer law expert.



Mass Copying Case
School intimates PSEB about arrangements, says principal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 15
In connection with the surprise check conducted by Punjab education minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan at Sant Isher Singh School, Sector 70, yesterday, following which the examination centre at the school has been blacklisted and the entire staff on examination duty has been changed, the school principal today stated that the examination centre was made at the second floor because the number of students appearing in the examinations were 319 and space available at the ground floor was inadequate.

The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) had been intimated about the arrangement of locating the examination centre at the second floor in a communication send on March 1.

She also clarified that each examination was being conducted peacefully and no police case of mass copying had been registered. The minister had ordered to change the entire staff on the examination duty.



Discussion on Windows 7
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 15
The Jaypee University of Information Technology (JUIT), Waknaghat, organised “Dream Spark Yatra”, a seminar on Microsoft initiative for students, who are passionate about technology here today.

The students participated in a discussion on Windows 7 organised by Dhiraj Mendiratta, a senior software development engineer. University Registrar Brig Balbir Singh (retd) talked about thinking beyond convention and urged the students to engage themselves in fruitful activities.

The university dean, Prof Dr TS Lamba discussed latest technologies from the field of computers, electronics, physics, etc.



World record

Chandigarh, March 15
Fevicol, a well-known brand, recently partnered and supported IIT, Roorkee, students’ initiative of attaining a world record in creating the world’s largest handmade world map, measuring around 250 sq mts.

A total of 118 students from the college actively participated in putting together the first largest handmade world map from March 11-13 on Saharanpur campus.

The aim of the event was to achieve one mission, “One World” with a theme based to promote a greener peaceful world. — TNS




Orientation course

CHANDIGARH: A four-week orientation course for college and university lecturers concluded at the Academic Staff College, Panjab University, here on Tuesday. Thirty-seven participants from various disciplines and from different institutions of Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Andhra Pradesh attended the course. The theme of the programme was “Pedagogy and liberation: Dismantling the culture of silence”. Shelley Walia, director, Academic Staff College, highlighted the importance of creativity in teaching and cautioned the teachers against rigidity of the unthinking system, which can be a hindrance to the fluid and flexible flow of idea. — TNS



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |