C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


26 sq-km bone of contention
UT Admn holds 6 meetings in a year, but forest officials left out
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The UT Administration seems to be least interested in resolving an inter-state dispute over a 26 sq-km patch of the eco-fragile Sukhna wildlife sanctuary area. The seriousness of the Administration can be gauged from the fact that in the last year, six meetings have been held, but the Administration has never invited officials of the forest and wildlife department, a major stakeholder of the area, to resolve the contentious issue.

This area, touching the boundaries of Punjab in Kansal village and Haryana in Saketri village, has witnessed haphazard constructions with land sharks eyeing the area. The Camelot project of TATA, which has been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was also coming up in the Kansal area.

Sources revealed that the officials of the departments of urban planning, architect, Deputy Commissioner’s office, legal wing and even representatives of Punjab and Haryana also attended the meetings, but not once were officials of the forest and wildlife department invited.

In response to a communication of the UT Chief Architect, the office of the Deputy Commissioner had requested the home department for a legal opinion on the status of the land to decide on future planning.

The DC’s office had submitted its report to the Administration, in which it was mentioned that though the ownership and possession of the land was with the UT, it fell under the revenue jurisdiction of Punjab and Haryana.

DC Brijendra Singh had sought legal opinion on land ownership. So far, the legal department has not submitted its report to the Administration.

The land was transferred to the UT on March 15, 1963, but fell outside the 114-sq km territory in the revenue records of the UT.

The UT area of 114 sq km does not include the 26 sq-km area of the Sukhna wildlife sanctuary and 2.17 sq km of Sector 1, where the Capitol Complex and Rajindra Park are located.

Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary

Seeking extension: Due to a dispute over the area, the UT Administration has already decided to seek another extension of four to six months from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to complete the master plan. The court had fixed January 9 as deadline to complete it.



Doctors spending 3 mins on patient instead of recommended 10: PGI survey
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
It may sound strange, but doctors in the public sector hospitals in the city spend on an average merely three minutes on a patient, just a little more than the time it takes to cook the two-minute noodles.

A recent study by the community medicine department of the PGI, which was sponsored by the National Rural Health Mission, reveals that doctors in various secondary-level hospitals, including the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital-16, spend only 180 seconds (three minutes) on a patient in the OPD. Though some doctors claim this time is “sufficient”, keeping in view the rush that government hospitals witness, the Medial Council of India has been propagating that at least 10 minutes should be spend on each patient in the OPD.

The study also attempted to look at the satisfaction levels of the patients on various parameters, including the overall time spent in the OPD by a patient, accessibility and staff and doctors’ behaviour. Surprisingly, 60 per cent of the 1,000 people, including over 510 women, who were interviewed, were satisfied with the overall quality of the OPD services.

On the time spent by the doctors on the patients, 86 per cent said doctors heard them carefully. However, 68 per cent were dissatisfied with the privacy the doctors maintained while examining or talking to them. About 82 per cent people were uncomfortable with the excessive use of medical terminologies by physicians.

The study also revealed that long queues and waiting time irked a majority (more than 50 per cent) of patients. The study showed that the waiting time at the reception counter at the GMSH-16 was 11 minutes and on an average, three minutes at the dispensaries, polyclinics, and the community health centre (CHC).

Dr Sonu Goel, principal investigator of the study and a faculty member at the community medicine department, PGI, said the study found that excessive waiting time was perhaps the greatest cause of irritation and dissatisfaction among the patients. The study was conducted over a period of six months from September 2010 at health units, including the GMSH, CHC-22 and polyclinics in Sector 45 and Sector 10.

The patients frequented the departments of general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, orthopaedics, otorhinolaryngology, ophthalmology, cardiology, neurosurgery, tuberculosis and chest disease.



UT setting up barracks for 600 policemen at Sarangpur
Project costing Rs 6.15 crore will begin next month

Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The UT Administration has been setting up advanced barracks to accommodate at least 600 policemen in Sarangpur. The project costing about Rs 6.15 crore will begin next month, which means each barrack will cost the administration over Rs 10 lakh.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, a senior official of the UT Engineering Department, requesting anonymity, said that as many as 55 temporary barracks would be constructed under the project.

“Though these barracks will be a temporary set up but these will have kitchen and dining facilities. Pre-fabricated toilets will be used at the camping sites,” said the official.

When questioned about the cost of these barracks on the higher side, the official added that though these barracks would be temporary set up at Sarangpur, these would be permanent assets.

“The barracks could be shifted to any place at any time, as PUF panels for walls and roofing will be used. The frame work will be of tubular steel columns, steel trusses and purlins,” said the official.

Last year, the Chandigarh Police Department had proposed the administration to provide temporary accommodations to about 600 police personnel of the Indian Reserve Battalion, attached with the UT Police.

The Inspector-General of UT Police has already approved the details and layout plans of the proposed barracks.

The allotment of work will be done on January 16. The deadline of completion of the project is July 15.



It’s all dark in Industrial Area, Phase I
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Wrangling over the fixing of damaged underground wires has made the streetlights of Industrial Area non-functional. For instance, in Industrial Area, Phase I, 60 per cent of the streetlights are lying non-functional. The laying of paver blocks two years ago damaged the underground wiring there.

Sources in the corporation said for the past one year, there had been a tussle between the road and electrical wings of the civic body, as to who would pay for the damage done by the respective departments.

Sources said to repair underground cables, the electrical wing had proposed to dismantle the installed paver blocks in the area for which the road wing was claiming a fine of around Rs 1 lakh from the electrical wing for damaging the paver blocks. Whereas the electrical wing had refused to make any payment for the repair work as the damage to the underground wires was done by the road wing while laying the paver blocks.

Sources said for the past one year, letters were being exchanged between the departments, but the issue had not been resolved so far. Resultantly, designer streetlights, which were installed after spending lakhs of rupees, have been lying non-functional.

MC Chief Engineer SS Bidda said there was proper coordination between all departments and no such problem had come to his notice.

In one of the green belts of Sector 27 while constructing a joggers path, underground electrical cables were damaged by the road wing. Sources in the department said to repair the streetlights an estimate of around Rs 5 lakh had been sanctioned but the work was yet to start. Similarly, there are a number of green belts and roads, where streetlights have not been functioning due to damaged underground cables.



Unauthorised parking bane of town
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 7
The Mohali administration has failed to check the menace of unauthorised parking of vehicles along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, Zirakpur-Patiala highway and Zirakpur-Kalka highway.

Adding to the woes, fruit and vegetable vendors also park their rehris along roads on the Zirakpur-Patiala and Zirakpur-Kalka highways. To make the matter worse, Kinnow vendors have started running business along the highway.

In 2011, the Dera Bassi SDM had removed the vendors after conducting drives and cases were registered by the police against the vendors on the directions of Mohali Deputy Commissioner.

A visit to the area revealed that vehicles, including mini-buses, trucks remained parked along the highway, obstructing vehicular movement.

A few months ago, the Dera Bassi SDM, along with the Zirakpur traffic police and municipal council officials, conducted drives to remove encroachments along the highways.

Subhash Chawla, a resident of Zirakpur, said, “In the absence of adequate parking space, they had to park their vehicles along roads.”

Shopkeepers lamented that neither the council nor the Mohali administration had initiated any proposal to solve the menace.

A police official said they were challaning the violators.



Ex-servicemen to boycott poll
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 7
The Punjab Ex Servicemen Grievances Cell today decided not to cast vote in the forthcoming Assembly elections. The cell has around 8 lakh members across the state. Lt Col SS Sohi, president of the cell, during a meeting held in Jalandhar today, said the policies of the major parties, Congress and SAD were reviewed.

“Since the political parties have done nothing to solve the problems of ex-servicemen, we will not cast vote,” he added.

The SAD government stopped issuing gun licences to the ex-servicemen, shortage of staff and sainik sadan figured nowhere on the priority list of the government. Around 67,000 tubewell connections released recently, had gone to SAD supporters. The 13 per cent job quota remained unfilled and the CSD canteen taxes in the state were the highest, he added.

The Congress government has done nothing to remove the unreasonable gaps and anomalies in the pensions of Naik to Sub Major, Capts, Majors and Maj Generals. The Ministry of Defence has taken over all ESM Welfare Funds and CSD canteen services control from the Army Headquarters and also stopped sale of cars.

Among others present included Brig HS Toor, Col Hk Singh, Maj SS Aulakh (Ludhiana), Col KS Grewal (Patiala), Lt Col SS Sohi (Mohali), Capt BS Bhatti (Bathinda) and Hav DC Kataria (Phillaur).



Assembly poll
Candidates can spend only Rs 16 lakh
Tribune News Service

A team of the election department checks unaccounted cash seized at a naka in Mohali on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, January 7
The central poll observer for the Mohali, Dera Bassi and Kharar constituencies, Jagdish Chander, today informed that the candidates in the fray could spend a maximum of Rs 16 lakh during the election period. Those spending more could face cancellation of their candidature.

He said paid advertisements in the print media, radio and television channels would be added to the expenditure of the candidates.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, said separate committees had been constituted to monitor news and advertisements being published in the media.

The district election officer, Mohali, said barring a nomination paper filed by PPP candidate Bhagwant Singh from Dera Bassi, no papers were filed in the Kharar and Mohali constituencies.

The nominations can be filed between 11 am and 3 pm.

Meanwhile, the election officer would be issuing a notice to the owner of Jagjit Printing Press on the basis of a report of the flying squad which had noticed anomaly in the quantity of posters for SAD candidate from Mohali and Kharar (Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and Ujagar Singh Wadali).

On the basis of the reply filed by the publisher, further action would be taken.



Mercury dips further
Tribune News Service

Shoppers walk in the open even as it drizzles at Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Saturday.
Shoppers walk in the open even as it drizzles at Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Saturday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 7
Hailstorm and rain lashed the region this morning escalating the ongoing chilly conditions. The weatherman, however, has predicted respite from cold from tomorrow. From tomorrow, temperatures during night will increase, said officials at the Chandigarh Meteriological Centre.

Surindar Paul, director, Chandigarh Meteriological Centre, said strong winds and hailstorm were due to westerly disturbances and cyclonic conditions over Punjab region. However, the temperatures will begin to rise gradually, he said. The fog that has cleared since Friday noon is likely to engulf the region again on Monday morning, added Paul.

Meanwhile, flights from the city airport took off as usual as there was no fog in the region. Similarly, all trains barring Lucknow-Chandigarh Express and Kalka Howrah mail were running as per their scheduled times.



‘Poetry expresses human emotions’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 7
“Poetry is reflective and expressive of human emotions, all articulated in a suitable paradigm of words and mother of all 64 fine and performing arts, including musical arts, painting, sculpture and architecture,” said Dr SS Bhatti, an academician.

Poet and critic of astounding merit. He maintained that poetry was so extolled in the country that all texts, both secular and religious, were written in verse-form and eulogised by the naïve and connoisseurs from all segments of society.

He illustrated little-known points from his well-researched presentation with apt examples from the poems of great Urdu poets. On persistent demand, Bhatti recited a few of his own Urdu couplets from his 2,500 anthologised verses in his forthcoming book “Shu-oor-i-Bekhudi” (conscious unconsciousness).



Robbery case solved
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 7
With the arrest of Naveen Kumar, a resident of Samalka in Panipat district, the police claimed to have solved Ram Dairy robbery case here today.

The incident dates back to December 11, 2009, when Ram Kumar, owner of the dairy, was sitting with a friend in the shop around 7.30 pm, the accused along with his one accomplice wearing monkey caps, asked him to hand over money to them.

When he refused to do so, one of the accused opened fire. The robbers then took away the money.



Bonanza for AI passengers

Chandigarh, January 7
The Air India has come out with a bonanza for its passengers who book their tickets through its website. Every 100th ticket will entail a complementary ticket for a return domestic travel with in India only. The complementary ticket which will be issued during the offer period (January 9 to March 31), will be valid for six months from date of issuance and can be availed for any direct flights on AI, a press note said. — TNS



Out of 9 govt colleges, only one has regular principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Out of the total nine government colleges in the city, only one has a permanent principal, all the other colleges are being run by the senior most professors acting as officiating principals. The Postgraduate Government College, Sector 11, is the only college with a regular principal.

A senior professor at one of the government colleges said that the direct repercussions the colleges not having regular principals had to face were that they couldn’t apply for the Potential for Excellence status from the University Grants Commission under which the colleges are given grant; the colleges can’t even apply for innovative courses.

“The government college principals cannot be a part of the academic body of university in the Senate. There are seats reserved in the Senate under the principal constituency, however, as there are no regular principals in the city government colleges, they cannot contest the Senate elections neither can they cast their votes”, a professor said.

The colleges without a regular principal include Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Government College, Sector 46, Government College of Education, Sector-20-D,Government Home Science College, Sector 10, Government College of Yoga Education and Health College Sector 23, Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26, and Government College of Commerce and Business Administration, Sector 42

A senior official of the UT administration said that the there was a stay on appointments in the High Court, following which the appointments were not done. “There is a recent judgment by the Supreme Court regarding the appointment of regular principals which is being considered by the administration. The rules are being framed and appointment process is expected to start soon”, the official said.



PG semester exams
Reluctant, most teachers return answersheets unchecked
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
In what has pushed Panjab University examination branch officials to the wall, only 20 per cent of over 500 teachers of postgraduate courses on the campus and affiliated colleges have participated in the evaluation process of the PG semester exam conducted recently.

Despite the PU having opted out of table-marking and sending papers to respective professors’ homes, a majority of faculty members have returned unchecked papers and that, too, without any note stating a reason.

Officials said this was bound to take a toll on the declaration of results of history, Hindi, political science and Punjabi.

“It’s the first time that the PG semester exams have taken place and we are already working hard on declaring the results by January 30. But for a few subjects like history, things are pretty difficult as teachers are unwilling to evaluate,” said an examination branch official.

The Senate had recently made it mandatory for all teachers to participate in the evaluation process and even asked them to check 200 copies each.

“We tried to facilitate teachers by sending papers at their homes, but for them, evaluation doesn’t seem to be a part of academic duties. What is more irksome is the fact that the board of studies of each department has probably failed to seek the consent of teachers before sending their names for evaluation. That is why the teachers who were recommended have returned the papers without either checking or giving a valid reason for the same. We are facing a tough time sending the papers and getting them back,” the official remarked.

White paper sought

While Controller Examination AK Bhandari failed to answer repeated phone calls made to him, Panjab University Teachers Association president Akshay Kumar demanded a white paper on the issue. “It’s a serious thing that over 70 per cent teachers are not participating in evaluation. Rather than painting everybody in the same colour, the authorities should bring out a white paper on those who have not checked papers for a long time,” he said.



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