C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU VC in the line of fire
Draws Syndicate’s ire for failing to fill key posts
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The attitude of Panjab University (PU) in filling key administrative posts came in for severe criticism during the Syndicate meeting here this evening. The Vice-Chancellor came in the line of fire for the persistent delay in the filling of key posts.

A Syndic said: “Is it even possible for any educational institution of the stature of Panjab University to function without a Registrar, Controller of Examination, Director Public Relations and Dean Colleges, to name a few, for such a long period of time? I am surprised how it has worked as all these posts constitute the basic fibre of a university. The university needs to realise that these vacant posts have a direct bearing on the normal functioning of an institution.”

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof RC Sobti, had, in the Syndicate meeting on April 30, “pompously” announced that he would fill the key posts of Registrar, Dean, College Development Council, Director Public Relations and Controller Examination “within a month before the next Syndicate meeting.” He has failed to do so to date.

Dr Rabindernath Sharma, a Syndicate member, persisted on a deadline to meet the requirements. This led to a verbal spat with a senior member saying it was “amusing and not befitting the stature of the proceedings of the cabinet of the top body of the university”.

“At every meeting we are told that the authorities are on the job, but no recruitment has been done. How can the university pull up regional colleges when the same thing ails our own system? We have a very poor top management office in place. We have a right to know what the university is doing about it and what are the problems being faced by it. We want a realistic deadline,” he said.

Syndic DPS Randhawa supported him saying, “If a person is handling three positions, can he do justice to any one of them? When will that person sleep, eat or attend to personal concerns?”

Sobti insisted that he was on the job, but refused to give any deadline.

While most key posts have been advertised many times and in some cases screening and interviews have also been conducted, the PU has failed to fill them citing non-availability of “competent” candidates as the key reason. Many accuse the university of looking for “convenient” candidates. The recruitment process also led to a break up between the Ashok Goyal and GK Chatrath group, thereby changing the decade-old power chemistry of the university.



Vehicles of food joints impounded
Violation of Advertisement Control Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
In a drive against home delivery vehicles of major food joints, the enforcement staff of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) today challaned about 70 vehicles.

According to sources, the vehicles, including five catering vans, were challaned for violation of the Advertisement Control Act by displaying advertisements on two-wheelers and four-wheelers against rules.

The impounded vehicles, which belonged to Domino’s, Hot Millions, Pizza Hut and KFC, will be released only after they paid up the compounding charges and give an undertaking not to put up advertisements on vehicles again, an official added.

The sources said the drive was conducted following complaints that the vehicles were violating the Act even after repeated warnings.

Home deliveries to several sectors, particularly southern sectors and Phase III sectors (Sector 48 onwards), were affected due to the MC action.

‘Services not hit’

A representative of the Domino’s in Sector 34 claimed that their home delivery services were not affected. Besides, home delivery vehicles, personal vehicles were pressed into service to serve customers. A Hot Millions representative also claimed that their home delivery services continued as normal.



CT scanner at GMCH non-functional for over a week
Patients not being informed; made to wait for long before being referred to the PGI
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The CT (computed tomography) scan machine in the emergency wing of Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32, has not been working since more than a week. To make the matters worse incoming patients are not informed about the facility being nonfunctional and made to wait long hours before being referred to PGI.

Narrating his “traumatic” experience, Vivek Dutta, who accompanied a patient, RK Bali, to hospital’s emergency section on Saturday, said: “After a seemingly endless wait lasting more than three hours when I wheeled in the trolley carrying my father-in-law, doctors on duty said a minute’s delay could have been fatal.”

“We waited for a response in the emergency of GMCH for more than three hours yesterday. We were informed a CT scan was needed because the patient had suffered a nervous breakdown. I waited for over two hours before I pushed the trolley carrying my father-in-law to the CT scan centre. The staff on duty there said it could take an hour, two hours or even two days because the spare parts of the machine were not available locally,” he added.

Dutta said when he persisted with a doctor to attend to his patient he was told the CT scan machine was not working at all and that he should take him to PGI. “A hospital attendant asked me to take him to Fortis hospital instead to avoid the rush and another long wait. I had no option but to carry him away from GMCH. I’m peeved at the casual attitude of the staff in handling a patient asking for emergency care”.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Vipin Kaushal, the hospital’s medical superintendent, said: “The machine has not been working for the past couple of days. The agency responsible for conducting CT scans at the hospital has made alternate arrangements outside and the scans are being done at hospital rates”.

“There is some mechanical error in the machine and engineers are already on the job. However, no patient in the hospital wards or its emergency wing has been affected. Only those who wish to be referred to PGI are being sent there”, Kaushal added.

Said Aneesh Gupta, a visitor to the hospital: “A CT scan machine is a very important device which is associated with advanced tests pertaining to the head, spine, throat, stomach and other parts. It’s not possible to take all emergency patients outside the hospital depending on sensitivity of their cases. My point is that if a certain facility isn’t available at any point of time, hospital officials should immediately put the information on display at various points identified for flashing the hospital news round the clock.”



MC recruitment drive will have to wait
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The massive recruitment drive by the Municipal Corporation (MC) to recruit about 4,000 employees to take care of the new departments transferred by the UT Administration to the civic body will have to wait till next year.

With the schedule of posts and recruitment rules yet to be finalised, the recruitment to the posts will not take place before the elections scheduled for December. At present, the Administration is in the process of finalising the recruitment rules, sources stated.

And with the model code of conduct expected to come into force within two months, time is running out for the civic body to recruit staff.

However, the MC will fill 832 posts, including that of junior engineer, clerk and subdivisional official, which have not been filled for years, according to the existing rules governing appointments.

In the absence of its own cadre, deputationists from neighbouring states and the Administration are holding all key posts in most of the MC departments. During a meeting, Congress councillors were reportedly told by the Administrator that they should first clear the backlog of 832 posts before recruiting about 4,000 employees.

Mayor Ravinderpal Singh Palli, at a meeting of the MC general house on July 29, had informed that the civic body would fill the posts soon with a view to mitigating staff shortage.

Recently, the MC House had okayed a proposal for the requirement of staff in various wings, including buildings and roads and the public health department (1,700 employees), fire services (300), medical officer of health (340) and commissioner’s office (461). The proposal also covered an administrative staff of 213 for primary health and 495 for the education department that was recently transferred to the corporation.

Ray of hope for ex-servicemen

The backlog of 28 posts of ex-servicemen in the MC will be cleared within two months. This assurance was given by Mayor Ravinderpal Singh Palli to nominated councillor Brig KS Chandpuri (retd) when he raised the issue during the MC House meeting on July 29. Chandpuri had termed the non-filing of the posts for the ex-servicemen category as a “fraud on the people who had served the country for several years”. According to norms, 10 per cent in Group “C” and 2 per cent in Group “D” are reserved for ex-servicemen.



Met sees less rain this monsoon
City has received more rain in less time since June 1
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The tricity is expected to receive less rainfall during this monsoon season as compared to that in the previous year when 1,178 millimeters of rain was recorded in June-September. An analysis of precipitation during the past four years reveals that in 2007 the area received about 645 mm of rain against the national average of 846.6 mm. However, the figure rose to 1,112.8 mm the next year but in 2009 rainfall decreased sharply by about 350 mm to 758.4 mm.

Earlier, from 2000 to 2005, rainfall recorded in the city during the monsoon months hovered between 820 to 940 mm. However, in 2006 there was sharp decline with the city receiving 541.5 mm of rain, a decrease of around 300 mm.

Admitting there had been a slight deviation from the normal rainfall pattern, the meteorological department said the tricity had received over 460mm rainfall since June 1 this year. Met officials say the monsoon is supposed to last in the city till September-end.

Indian Meteorological Department director Surender Paul said this year the intensity of rainfall had been greater than in previous years, which means there has been more rain in less time. “Rainfall has also been normal in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana”, he added.

Paul said even though there had been no change in the monsoon pattern during the past 30 years (1980-2010), the tricity has been experiencing a decreasing pattern in rainfall in the post-monsoon period, that is, from October until March. “Increase in average temperatures by 0.3 degrees Celsius has led to pressure on the atmosphere, resulting in more rainfall. However, it’s difficult to specify the area that could experience rainfall”, he added.

Meanwhile, the city recorded a maximum temperature of 34.8° C on Sunday, over two degrees less than that recorded on Saturday, while the minimum recorded was 27.4°. Maximum humidity was at 89 per cent and the minimum at 61 per cent. The weatherman has predicted a decrease in rainfall activity during the next two days.

“The sky will be partly cloudy on Monday with the possibility of thundery conditions. Light to moderate rain or thundershowers may occur at isolated places in Haryana and Punjab during the next 24 hours. The maximum temperature is likely to increase to around 35° C while the minimum is expected to be about 27°”, the met said.


Where even basic amenities terminate!
Lack of hygiene, filth all around, and shortage of parking space are perennial problems at ISBT-43
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Disposable glasses and polybags strewn all around.
Disposable glasses and polybags strewn all around.

Chandigarh, July 30
While the Inter-State Bus Terminus in Sector 43 was conceived as a state-of-the-art facility, it has failed to live up to its reputation as even the most basic amenities are lacking there. Inadequate parking space, unkempt platforms and overcharging by auto-rickshaw drivers are some of the many problems visitors face on a daily basis.

Only a handful of employees hired by the transport department are looking after the sanitation of the entire terminus. This, ever since the contract of the contractor handling the job ended a few months ago. In the absence of a regular contractor, cleanliness has become the primary casualty at the bus terminus.

Heaps of debris and garbage remain scattered on the platform used by scores of passengers, making the surroundings unhygienic. Station supervisor Manohar Lal says the work has been suffering in the absence of a regular contractor.

“Earlier, 70 employees were taking care of cleanliness at the terminus. The number has gone down to just 30 with the exit of the contractor,” he says.

However, the process to allot the contract has begun and soon the work will be outsourced to a new contractor, he adds. In the absence of sufficient parking space, visitors are forced to park their vehicles wherever they can find space.

Debris lying in front of a toilet.
Debris lying in front of a toilet.

The underground parking at the bus terminus remains unutilised, as water seepage makes it difficult for motorists to use it for parking their vehicles.

Monsoon rain has turned the underground parking into a pool. The parking lot has also been lying vacant for the want of a contractor.

Basic amenities like toilets and potable water are a luxury at the terminus. Far from being hygienic, the public conveniences are a picture of neglect, causing inconvenience to thousands of passengers visiting the ISBT everyday.

There is no respite for passengers once they leave the terminus either, as they are fleeced by auto-rickshaw drivers. Travellers are charged exorbitant fares by the drivers in the absence of a functional prepaid booth meant for booking auto-rickshaws at the terminus.

While the booth is located at the ISBT, the authorities have forgotten to make it functional.

Ishani Sharma, a college student, says auto-rickshaw drivers fleece travellers by charging fares at will.

“While local residents are aware of the fares, those coming from other places end up overpaying auto-rickshaw drivers,” she adds.

Pedestrians’ nightmare

In the absence of a footbridge, crossing the highway opposite the ISBT-43 is a risky proposition for pedestrians. They are forced to negotiate the busy highway to cross over to the other side, thereby jeopardising many lives. Absence of grills at most places on the median only adds to the problem.

Speaking Out

Despite the fact that thousands of people visit the ISBT-43 everyday, the administration has failed to provide enough parking space.

— Hatinder Thakur

I feel that hygiene at the bus stand should be the first priority as it has become difficult to wait for buses with the foul smell and unhygienic view on platforms.

— Rakesh Kumar

The authorities should ensure that the pre-paid booth is functional at the earliest so that the monopoly of auto-rickshaw drivers is over.

— Vivek Sharma 



Illegal  PG accommodation
Fear of crackdown prompts landlords to act
Ask paying guests to fill in verification forms to avoid action
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The fear of crackdown by the UT administration as part of their intensive campaign against landlords illegally renting out their premises to paying guests (PGs) in the city has forced them to get verification forms filled by the occupants.

Sahil Chauhan, a postgraduate student at Panjab University, who resides as a PG in Sector 15, says he has been asked to fill the verification form by his landlord.

“In fact all students residing in my PG accommodation have been asked to furnish their details at the earliest or else we will have to vacate the accommodation,” Chauhan adds.

Manipal Singh, another PG resident in Sector 22, says he has been residing in the same accommodation for the past two years. All these years, he claims, he has never been asked to fill a verification form. However, all of a sudden, his landlord has now asked him to fill out the verification form.

A landlord running a PG in Sector 34, praying anonymity, says he has distributed verification forms among his PG residents and asked them to deposit them by the first week of August.

“In the wake of the UT administration’s campaign to verify PGs in the city, most landlords offering PG accommodations in our sectors have also started asking the occupants to give their details,” says a PG owner.

“It is becoming difficult to rent a PG accommodation in the city as landlords have now begun making detailed enquiries before offering a PG. It has been almost 10 days now since I started hunting for a decent PG accommodation. But I have failed to find one,” says Rohit Singh, who works with a multi-national company.

In some sectors, landlords have decided to offer the accommodation only to families and not students.

During a recent meeting, the UT administration and the police had also decided to start a verification drive in various sectors and penalise landlords who failed to get a prior verification of their paying guests done.

Hub of students staying as PGs

Much of the city’s student community living as PGs is concentrated in Sectors 8, 10, 11, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 27, 32, 33, 34 and 35. Apprehending crackdown, landlords in some sectors have decided to offer their accommodations only to families and not studentsxx




Co-ordination blues in Mohali
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 31
Due to lack of co-ordination between the district administration, the police and the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), the business of unregistered paying guest (PG) accommodation is thriving here.

The police and the GMADA estate office work in isolation while checking PG accommodation here. As a result, efforts by the estate officer to seek an undertaking from operators of 126 illegal PG houses to shut their activity or get it registered has failed to make an impact.

Explaining the flaw, sources said the police were carrying out the verification of occupants in PG accommodation, but failed to check the number of PGs.

As a result, the estate officer has no clue about the number of persons staying as PGs and had to rely on rent deed agreements produced by landlords.

In many cases, landlords make rent deed agreements to camouflage their illegal activity. Police officials stated that GMADA should write to the police to seek information.

In the past, the estate office had found 126 unregistered PGs. “To physically verify undertakings given by property owners, we are carrying out a survey of the town again,” said GMADA estate officer Balbir Singh.



Workers found laying pipes illegally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
A team of the municipal corporation detected the illegal laying of pipes near the road separating Sectors 28 and 29 this evening.

According to SDO Ravinder Sharma, they got information of pipes being laid near Sector 29.

A team reached the spot and enquired about permission, which the labourers failed to furnish.

“We asked the labourers to show permission, but they failed to present relevant documents and fled from the scene, leaving their tools behind,” he said.

He added that the tools were seized and a case referred to the police.

“It is suspected that the pipes were being laid illegally. We will wait for the contractor carrying out the work to furnish permission by tomorrow, failing which police action will be recommended,” he added.

This was the second case of illegal laying of pipes detected this year.

Illegally laid pipes were earlier detected on the road separating Sectors 33 and 34.

An inquiry was initiated in the case and the report was tabled before the MC, but no action was taken.



Admn should have rules in place 

Chandigarh and its satellite towns have become an educational hub, where students stay during the course of their studies. Besides educational institutions, there are information technology companies, which employ a large number of executives. But unfortunately, educational institutions, including Panjab University and colleges, have insufficient space to accommodate all students in hostels.

This has led to the need for paying guest (PG) accommodation. To supplement their income, several house owners are renting out their accommodation to paying guests. However, a number of these house owners tend to fleece students by charging exorbitantly. Apparently, they are not paying the charges due to the administration.

The administration needs to get in place certain rules and be strict on the ground. There should be rules on registration with the administration, commercial electricity and water charges and other miscellaneous needs, owners being liable for law and order problem on their premises, reporting of credentials of tenants to the police by house owners, lists of all occupants being displayed at a prominent place and regular police visits.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Night shelters

Since Chandigarh is an educational hub, with scores of academic and professional colleges, there are thousands of students who come from outside cities and states for studying here. So, they need some sort of accommodation. Not all students get the facilities of hostels as these are in limited number. Rents are too high. Thus, students seek PG facilities, which are also lower.

There are some greedy people who offer PG accommodation at higher rates to these helpless students. The raid one one such building at Sector 35 the other day shows how unscrupulous persons violate all building laws to accommodate five students per room to amass money. This is really an act to be condemned by all. But the students have no alternative.

The UT administration should keep this aspect in mind and build some ‘raen baseras’ (night shelters) or construct hostles for such students at nominal rates so that students coming from outside do not suffer for want of accommodation. Simply challaning owners who offer PG facilities to students in the city is not the final solution.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Register with MC

There are very simple ways to deal with the present PG problem in Chandigarh. With the kind of incomes generated from the concept, PG accommodation owners should own up some responsibilities too. All PG accommodation should be registered with the MC on payment of a an annual fee of Rs 24,000 per year. The MC should also earn as PG accommodation owners are charging upto Rs 4,000 per month per person.

The next step should be informing the police station of the sector with details of every PG, with credentials. This will help in tackling the social security problem in the city. Last but not least, it is better for the administration to use this situation to its advantage and provide more working men’s and women’s hostels.

Prashant S Kumar, Chandigarh

Plan more hostels

Chandigarh has emerged a major hub of educational, commercial and IT activities. This growth needs supporting infrastructure, particularly in the field of accommodation, for which Chandigarh does not have adequate space. The concept of PG accommodation has had an impact, not merely in Chandigarh, but also in adjoining towns of Mohali and Panchkula.

The government needs to plan for providing more hostels and accommodation for students at the earliest. Unlicensed accommodation should not be allowed at any cost and the administration needs to set more examples, like the recent sealing of a house at Sector 35.

SS Arora, Mohali

Owners in a spin

The Chandigarh administration has taken the right decision to seal PG accommodation in the city. The accommodation is given to students and working women. Thousands of paying guests are staying in the city without registration. One of the main conditions for registration of PG accommodation in residential areas should be that there is no building bylaw violations in the premises after grant of completion certificate.

The PG accommodation owners advertise their accommodation in newspapers, with contact numbers. Students have to face a number of difficulties, such as water problems, overcrowding and high charges per bed. Owners should be penalised for violating building bylaws.

Owners are now caught in a web over providing details on their property to the authorities. They have breached building bylaws, constructed rooms and made big business. The authorities should make enquiries for running PG accommodation in residential premises. There is an immediate need to check the practice of the outsiders being charged huge amounts.

ML Garg, Chandigarh

open house response'

The Chandigarh administration sealed a paying guest accommodation at Sector 35 past week. At least 40 paying guests were crowded in eight rooms on upper floors. While getting accommodation in the city has become an ordeal for outsiders, particularly students, paying guest accommodation owners are minting money by overcrowding their residential quarters. Write to openhouse@tribunemail.com about the problems faced in getting accommodation in the city and alternative solutions for providing residential quarters for the burgeoning population of students and professionals from outside the city.



Ghirra denies knowledge of ammunition found
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Tainted Punjab Police Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Raka Ghirra has denied knowledge about the ammunition, found in large numbers from her Sector-15 residence, during her interrogation by the Chandigarh Police.

“I do not have any knowledge about the ammunition. It was lying in an old trunk, which belonged to my late father-in-law. I had never had opened it,” said the local police, quoting Ghirra.

She told the police that her father-in-law, Parkash Chand, who was an Inspector-General with the Punjab Police, had bought 500 rounds of cartridge in Singapore and was to submit documents.

“My late father-in-law and late husband, Ranbir Singh (who was also DSP with the Punjab Police), had served during the days of terrorism. These cartridges may belong to that period. I do not know about these,” said the police, quoting Ghirra.

Ghirra had given the same statements to the CBI during its preliminary investigation into the matter. During the raid, the CBI had recovered around 1,200 cartridges, some of which was in the prohibitive category.

The Chandigarh Police today went to Ghirra’s house at Sector 15. “Her brother-in-law, Varinder Kumar, produced certain documents related to investigations, including the licence of two weapons (a .12-bore double-barrelled gun and a revolver) in Ghirra’s name. The licence was originally in her husband’s name, but was later transferred in her name following her husband’s death,” said a member of the local investigating team.

Ghirra is also said to have produced a lifetime permit, allowing the possession of 24 bottles of liquor. A senior officer denied that they would seek an extension of her police remand. 



City’s night flying pioneer is Southern Air Command chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Air Marshal Satish Pal Singh has been appointed as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the IAF’s Southern Air Command. Prior to this, he was the Senior Air Staff Officer at Eastern Air Command. He takes over from Air Marshal Sumit Mukerjee.

An alumnus of Sainik School, Kunjpura, Air Marshal Singh belongs to Kurukshetra, and was commissioned into the flying branch in June 1974. He is a qualified flying instructor and has flown over 6,800 hours on various aircrafts. A graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and the Army War College, Mhow, he has also undergone the Political and Strategic Higher Study Course in Brazil in 2007.

Having commanded two premier transport squadrons and an important flying station, the cradle of transport and helicopter fleet training as well as the staging base for the prestigious Aero India show, Air Marshal Singh has served as the chief flying instructor at Flying Instructors’ School and Principal Director, Operations, (Transport & Helicopter) at the Air Headquarters.

While posted at Chandigarh, he had the distinction of being the first pilot to land An-32 and IL-76 aircrafts by night at Thoise in Ladakh. For distinguished service and other achievements, he was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal for gallantry during the 1999 Kargil operations. 



City colleges have no provision for parking
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
With the new academic session beginning in city colleges, swanky cars parked haphazardly outside the campus are giving the authorities jitters.

An exponential increase in the number of cars being brought to colleges by students, who are barely out of school, and a dearth of space for student cars has aggravated the menace.

At the peak college hours, traffic jams on roads leading to DAV College, Sector 10, or Sector 32, where GGDSD College, St Anne’s Convent School, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Regional Institute of English (RIE) and State Institute of Education are located, are a common sight.“Parking menace outside colleges is on an all time high. With the UT administration failing to tide over the problem, the situation is going to turn from bad to worse,” said a government college official.

Barring certain government colleges, which have provided sufficient space to students for parking their cars, it is strange how certain private colleges have been adding more units and courses without making any parking arrangements. The traffic police, on the other hand, said the problem can be solved by creating more awareness among students about car-pooling.

“The parking crunch has always persisted. We have also written to colleges to make a list of students possessing vehicles. There is not much that the colleges can do with the limited infrastructure. However, the emphases must be on creating awareness among students on car-pooling. The traffic police, at its own level has launched awareness campaigns in colleges and will continue to do so in future,” said Vijay Kumar, DSP (traffic), UT.

Incidentally, despite traffic awareness drives being carried out in various schools and colleges, car-pooling in not being campaigned actively by the authorities of private or government colleges.



Punjab to be covered under road safety project
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 31
All districts of Punjab would be covered under the Road Safety Project (RS -10) being run by the United Nations Organisation, said Satish Chandra, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, here on Friday.

While addressing the participants at a high-level review meeting of the project, the Principal Secretary said presently Jalandhar had been identified for the implementation of this project on a pilot basis. Once the first phase ends in December, the project would be extended to the whole of Punjab.

He said the project had been initiated by the United Nations in collaboration with several international agencies. The project was being implemented in 10 different countries, including India. Two states, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, were selected for this project.

He said the objective of the project was to strengthen the road safety mechanism and curtail roadside trauma cases by effective traffic management as well as improved infrastructure.

He said Punjab had achieved some success in tackling road trauma cases, but much more was still to be done. He lauded the role of ‘Dial-108 Emergency Response Services’ in handling road accidents. He, however, emphasised upon modern gadgets and equipment like speed radar and alcometer and assured that funds would not be any constraint in this regard.

The three trauma centres set up at Amritsar, Pathankot and Jalandhar were functioning well and another such centre would be set up at Khanna, he added.

ADGP (traffic) RP Singh emphasised on awareness about traffic rules and change in the mindset of people towards traffic norms. He said eight lakh challans for different traffic violations were issued during the past one year. The help of new technology like GPS system was being taken to curtail traffic violations and the aim was to reduce roadside trauma cases by half in the near future.

Dr Ashok Nayyar, Director of Health & Family Welfare-cum-Nodal Officer RS-10 Project, said that out of the various factors resulting in road traffic injuries, drunken driving and over speeding were identified for a detailed study.

The enforcement of the project would begin from August and the results would start emerging by the end of this year. He disclosed that the UNO had declared the 2011-20 decade as Global Road Safety Decade. He impressed upon the media to play a more proactive role in creating further awareness on road safety. 



Occupants of Akal Ashram Colony to be evicted
Tribune News Service

GMADA has decided not to regularise houses in Akal Ashram Colony, Sohana.
GMADA has decided not to regularise houses in Akal Ashram Colony, Sohana. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, July 31
The estate office has decided to evict the occupants of Akal Ashram Colony as the houses had disturbed the planning of a public building and SS Flats in Sectors 76 to 80.

The Additional Chief Administrator, in a meeting held on June 26, had decided to issue eviction notices to the occupants of the colony.

Reacting to the decision, the Akal Ashram Colony Welfare Society said while half of the colony had been regularised in 2001, the remaining had been left out.

The society pointed out that the SAD government had been regularising religious structures and illegal colonies, whereas the Akal Ashram Colony, which came into existence much before the acquisition of land for Sectors 76 to 80, had valid registries of their plots.

The occupants have been since long demanding regularisation of their structures. “If the government can adjust Radha Swami Satsang and exempt land allotted to judges’ society, there is every reason the plot owners in Akal Ashram Colony can be adjusted,” said Harmider Singh Kalra, a resident of the colony. 



Stray cattle, dogs continue to haunt Panchkula residents
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
Stray cattle and stray dogs seem to have become a permanent menace for the local residents. While herds of cattle could be seen in almost every part of the town, the stray dogs have been playing havoc with the lives of locals. This is despite the repeated claims of the authorities concerned that steps are being taken to improve the situation.

Stray cattle cross a road separating Sectors 10 and 11, posing a risk to the lives of commuters; and (right) a stray dog near showrooms of Panchkula’s Sector 14.
Stray cattle cross a road separating Sectors 10 and 11, posing a risk to the lives of commuters; and (right) a stray dog near showrooms of Panchkula’s Sector 14. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal

A random survey of the town revealed that the roads in Sectors 7, 10, 11, 12, 12-A, 15, 16, 20, 21, the Zirakpur-Pinjore highway and the Panchkula-Barwala highway remain occupied by cows and buffaloes. While during nights these stray cattle lead to road accidents, in mornings roads are splattered with their dung in front of houses.

“I have to face inconvenience every day while leaving my home on my car as cattle remain seated on the road in front of my house,” says Dr Harsh Mohan, a resident of Sector 21.

Residents of 13 villages falling in municipal limits leave their cattle on roads in the evening for straying. Similarly, stray dogs have become a nuisance for the residents. According to information, more than 400 dog bites have been reported in the town during the past one year.

Stray dogs can be found in any part of the town, especially inside the boundary walls of offices in Sectors 2, 4 and 6. While these dogs can be seen basking in the parking areas of offices in Sectors 2 and 4, one of the dog was found under the bed of a ward at General Hospital, Sector 6, when the chief parliamentary secretary (health) visited the hospital last week.

Even parks are found occupied by stray dogs. “It has become difficult to go in parks with small children as there is always a risk of these dogs attacking them,” said Urmila of Sector 14.



Tricity Scan

chandigarh Scan
Cleanliness drive
The NGO Tammana kicked off the cleanliness drive Cyclothon in collaboration with the municipal corporation on Sunday. Former Mayor Pradeep Chhabra flagged off the 2.5-km rally at Sector 22. Around 95 members of the NGO, wearing T-shirts with ‘I am not a litter bug’ printed on those, cycled across the city to clean up areas that were the worst affected. “We chose to pick up garbage to make the people realise the importance of keeping the city clean,” said Tammana founder-president Isha Kakaria.

‘Swar Udgam’

Niharika Yadav from Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, won the Hindustani classical vocal music contest organised by Mount Carmel School as a part of ‘Swar Udgam’, an inter-school contest. Harshit Sharma from St Soldier International School, Sector 28, stood second and Shefali from Stepping Stones School, Sector 37, was third. Manika Gupta from Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, won the geet/ghazal contest. Deepuika Sood from Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 15, Panchkula, stood second and Aanchal Vij from Karam Singh International Schol, Sector 41, was third.

Sec-20 poll

The House Owners Association, Sector 20-A, unanimously elected Suresh Kapila president here on Sunday. Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh Palli was the chief guest.

Surgery workshop

The Grewal Eye Institute here conducted the first national live surgery workshop on ‘Current management of presbyopia’ here on Sunday. It was aimed at creating awareness about PresbyMAX, an advanced procedure to treat presbyopia.

Mohali Scan
Blood donated

At least 89 units of blood were donated at a camp conducted by a team of doctors from the department of transfusion medicine of the PGI.

Award of excellence

Dr KM Kapoor, senior consultant, department of cosmetic surgery, Fortis Hospital, has been conferred an award of excellence in innovative medical tourism. He has been instrumental in making Chandigarh a popular destination for cosmetic surgery.

Tribune Reporters



At last, group insurance for research scholars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
In what is bound to bring joy to hundreds of research scholars at the university, they will be covered under the group insurance scheme introduced the previous year. Around 11,000 students staying on the campus were already covered under this group insurance scheme.

The insurance, which is provided by a private company, provides a cover, wherein a student gets Rs 10,000 in case of injury, the next of kin get Rs 2 lakh case of a student’s death and a student gets Rs 1 lakh in case of parent’s death.

The ambiguity over insurance cover to research scholars residing on the campus had came to the fore after PhD research scholar Kirti Chalana met with an an accident on February 24 while she was making preparations for the annual conference of her department at the law auditorium.

She went to fetch a table cloth and a lamp before the inauguration of the conference. The Activa scooter, which she was riding pillion, skidded near the auditorium. She sustained injuries on the neck and was immediately taken to the PGI.

Her family, who spent lakhs during her stay at the PGI ICU, had blamed the university for not including research scholars in the insurance scheme.

The university authorities had claimed that the research scholars never opted for it.

Seeking more time? Justify in writing

PhD research scholars and their guides will now have to give a justification in writing in case they are seeking time extension to submit thesis. This decision came following a question raised by Syndicate member RPS Josh. “We need to ask the candidate and his guide what their work in the allowed period of five years has been and critically review extensions. Guides also need to be held accountable as it will help us deal with some members accused of intentionally delaying PhD degrees,” he said. He also raised an objection to the approval of employing over 30 lecturers at various colleges. Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti claimed that the process was already under way.

No hike in BCom fee at pvt colleges

Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti informed the Syndicate that there was no hike in BCom fee at private colleges this year. The PU, which had announced the hike the previous month following a committee ecommendation, had to withdraw it after a local student leader highlighted the fact that it had been hiked the year before as well.

5-yr course in social work, not yet

The Syndicate deferred the commencement of a five-year integrated course in social work as a majority of its members insisted on hiring faculty and putting proper infrastructure in place before starting any new course.



Syndicate Relief For Josan 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
BC Josan, suspended principal of DAV College, Sector 10, heaved a sigh of relief today as the Panjab University (PU) Syndicate today rejected the Justice Sekhon report recommendations, levying a heavy fine on him for handing out degrees of the now derecognised Bachelor’s of Physical Education (BPEd) course, offered by the college the previous year.

The report postulate, holding Josan guilty of withholding important material information while seeking degrees from the PU, was rejected by a majority of the Syndicate members.

Though this would have no bearing on Josan’s request to revoke his suspension, it was the most-hyped agenda item in today’s meeting, which lead to heated arguments.

Representatives of Punjab college principals claimed that the report defied logic and the committee had overstepped its purview.

“It was a fact-finding committee and was not authorised to spell out punishment. The evidence and facts were not in line with the committee’s recommendations.

A majority of Syndicate members were against it and Josan was given a clean chit,” said SS Randhawa, president of the Association of Principals of Panjab University Affiliated Colleges.

The issue had rocked Panjab University the previous year when, despite being disaffiliated and barred from getting degrees, Josan was accused of withholding information, seeking degrees, which were unrecognised, from the PU and handing those over to passouts.

VC: Suspension a separate issue

y Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti clarified that the Justice Sekhon report would not play any role in the ongoing review of Josan’s request to revoke his suspension. The university would take the merits in the charge sheet into account before the Registrar gave a decision, he stated.



Resentment over promotion
GMHS-41 in charge sans BEd degree
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The UT education department’s recent act of making Vinod Sharma, a Sanskrit master, in charge of the GMHS, Sector 41, has led to resentment among teachers, who claim that it is unjustified as Vinod does not have a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree.

In a representation submitted to the Finance Secretary, a group of local teachers have asserted that Vinod has a basic qualification as OT (Sanskrit) while the key requsite for being a headmaster is a BEd degree.

“While the department claims to just have made him in charge, his joining clearly states him as headmaster. According to norms, while OT is considered equivalent to BEd in case of promotion of master to lecturer, the condition does not apply in case of promotion to headmaster,” reads the representation.

“He has been made in charge and will soon be headmaster, after the upcoming DPC, which is against stated service rules. The education department is unduly favouring him while his qualification does not permit so,” the representation adds.

While DPI(S) Sandeep Hans was unavailable for comment, a senior official justified the decision. He said, “Promotion is based on years in service. If this is the argument, why was he even made master? There are precedents wherein language teachers have been promoted to headmasters.”



PU to get cracking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Panjab University is all set to tighten its noose around affiliated colleges, which contrary to UGC recommendations, are having a majority of faculty on ad hoc basis.

The issue was brought up by Syndicate member DPS Randhawa, who said UGC norms barred any college from hiring more than 10 per cent of its faculty on an ad hoc basis. “We cannot overlook UGC norms and adhocism is fatal to the academic fibre of the entire university,” he said.

Following this, many Syndicate members started naming erring colleges. Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti said instead of taking up individual cases, each college would be reviewed separately and inspections would be conducted.



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