C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT Council takes up key issues today
On agenda: House tax, linking vehicle purchase with availability of parking space

Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
The cost of living in the city would increase if the UT Administration’s advisory council gives green light to pass key proposals like the imposition of house tax and purchase of vehicles only with the availability of parking space with the buyers. The advisory council meeting, scheduled for tomorrow, will discuss these proposals and give its clearance for their implementation.

Sources in the Administration revealed that in view of increasing vehicles in the city, the authorities had come up with the recommendation that the buyers had to prove beforehand that they had parking space before the purchase of vehicle. Officials said as there was an acute shortage of parking space in commercial and residential areas in the city, this proposal had been mooted by the authorities.

The MC is also planning to increase the parking fee five times to manage the heavy rush of vehicles in commercial parking lots.

A senior official of the UT Administration said the Municipal Corporation authorities had been avoiding imposing house tax for the past two years for which a number of reminders had been given to them. The official said under the JNNRUM, the MC would have to impose 2 per cent of house tax to avail the grant-in-aid for a number of ongoing projects, but the MC had not tabled the issue in the General House meeting so far. The proposal of imposing house tax would also be discussed at the meeting.

The tax structure in the city reflects in the living standards. Chandigarh has a high per capita income, so it should be expected to pay a viable tax, said a resident of Sector 7.

Officials said the council would also finalise the decision about the construction of under passes, multi-level parking, mass rapid transport system and master plan of the city.

Sources said the authorities were thinking about preparing a report about the comparative study of a number of vehicles and the capacity of the roads of the city.

Officials said for the propagation of solar energy in the city, theauthorities would also table the solar city project to maximise the use of solar energy by the department concerned of the UT Administration. It would also earmark land for the setting up of infrastructure for solar plants.



Police ropes in college students
Novel campaign to spread safety awareness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
The UT police has roped in at least 500 youths from a city college to interact with city residents, particularly senior citizens, to maintain a link with the police stations concerned and spread awareness on safety measures. This has been done in the direction of indirectly reviving the beat system of the police which has taken a heavy beating over the years.

As senior police officials today apprised students of MCM DAV College Sector 36 about the campaign, the idea was received with much enthusiasm, with zealous students expressing their willingness to work in this direction.

UT Inspector-General of Police, PK Srivastava, while addreessing the students, said they had planned to form combined teams by roping in youths to bridge the communication gap between the police and the public and to show the people-friendly face of the police.

“Our main thrust is to be citizen-friendly. The students accompanied by the police will be urging residents to adhere to traffic rules and not to encourage minor or drunken driving and to install anti-burglar alarms at their homes. We plan to rope in youths from almost all colleges,” said Srivastava.

The students will be accompanying the beat staff police and knock the doors of senior citizens. Each student will be given a beat to work on. The plan will take one week to materialise.

While MCM DAV College Sector 36 is already roped in, the next college in line is Dev Samaj College.

DIG Alok Kumar interacted with students regarding the innovative mechanism devised to beautify and secure the City Beautiful.

Citizen-friendly motive

Our main thrust is to be citizen-friendly. The students accompanied by the police will be urging residents to adhere to traffic rules and not to encourage minor or drunken driving and to install anti-burglar alarms at their homes. We plan to rope in youths from almost all colleges.

— PK Srivastava, UT Inspector-General of Police



Tension at GMSH-16 after baby’s death
Parents, relatives allege negligence on part of the hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Tension prevailed at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, here this evening when the parents and relatives of a one-and-a-half-month-old baby boy, who reportedly died after being brought to the hospital, protested and blamed the doctors for death due to negligence.

The hospital authorities refuted the allegations and claimed that the child was “brought dead”.

According to the baby’s father, Guddu Tewari, a resident of Kajheri, they had gone to the medical dispensary at Ramdarbar in the morning to get the child vaccinated. He claimed that at the dispensary the doctor who administered the vaccine to the baby boy advised them to give him paracetamol in case of fever.

Tewari, who hails from Jagdishpura village, Bihar, said they subsequently went to Sector 17 for shopping, where the child started vomiting. “They immediately rushed him to Sector 16 hospital at about 3.30 pm, but no doctor attended him for almost half an hour,” he alleged.

Tewari said the hospital staff delayed the issuance of the card and his repeated requests to doctors to attend the child did not yield any result.

When contacted, Dr Rajesh Dheer, officiating Deputy Medical Superintendent (DMS), denied any negligence on part of the hospital and said the child was brought dead. “The child had died due to “aspiration of milk”, which was revealed after tube was put inside lungs,” he said.

He said he was informed by the emergency medical officer (EMO) that “rigor mortis” had already developed when the child was brought to hospital. He said when the doctor concerned declared him dead, the family took away his body from the hospital and returned after two hours around 7 pm and blamed the hospital for the child’s death.

‘Was brought dead’

There was no negligence on part of the hospital. The child was brought dead. It had died due to ‘aspiration of milk’, which was revealed after a tube was put inside his lungs. - Dr Rajesh Dheer, officiating Deputy Medical Superintendent, GMSH-16



Girl killed after fall from auto-rickshaw
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
In a tragic incident, a nine-year-old girl died after falling from an autorickshaw on the sector18/21 dividing road here this afternoon. The child fell on the road after the driver suddenly applied brakes. There were five children seated in the vehicle and the vehicle was being driven recklessly, eyewitnesses said.

The police booked the driver of the autorickshaw, Ram Pyaare, in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304 A of the IPC.

The autoricksaw was on its way to drop students of Government Primary School Sector 16 when the mishap occurred. The child received serious head injuries and was declared brought dead at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital Sector 16.

The victim, Archana, was a class III student of the school. Her brother, Rahul, was also in the autorickshaw at the time of the accident. An eyewitness, Rakesh Kumar, who works in a cycle shop, told the police that he witnessed the child falling from the vehicle after the driver suddenly applied brakes.

“The accused had not taken any safety measures while carrying the children and was driving at a great speed,” said inspector Pargat Singh, SHO, Sector 19 police station.

However, Ram Pyaare told the police that Archana was trying to hold hands of another girl seated in another auto running parallel to them when she fell.

Past cases:

Earlier incidents this year involving minors as victims:

February 15, 2011: A five-year-old girl was crushed to death by a truck near the Chandigarh airport. Shikha Kumari, a nursery class student of Government Model School, Makhanmajra village died while the driver of the truck was reversing the vehicle

February 23, 2011: A 12-year-old boy was crushed under a tractor-trailer near Colony No 4. The victim, Rakesh Kumar, alias Munna, came under the front wheel of the vehicle and died on the spot

February 25, 2011: Four-year-old Anshit Goyal was killed after being hit by a speeding Innova car in Sector 23 and the police arrested a 15-year-old class IX student as the accused. The minor boy, who is a IX student of Manav Mangal School, was on a joyride when he failed to notice the child playing outside his house.

March 23, 2011: An 18-month-old girl was crushed to death by a car driven by a Panjab University student. The mishap took place when the 22-year-old girl Ravneet Kaur was reversing her car in the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital when she failed to notice the girl

May, 2011: A 10-year-old girl was killed after she was crushed by a motorcycle driven on the sector 46/47 dividing road.



Water supply to be hit today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
There will be no afternoon water supply from 1 to 2 pm tomorrow due to urgent repair by the department concerned. A spokesman of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, said that there would be full supply of pressure from 3 to 9 am and low pressure from 6 to 9 pm in the city.



Chandigarh scan
Training in animation

Picasso Animation College (PAC), a leader in animation training in India, has joined hands with The British School to bring to the region state-of-the-art training in the field of animation. Picasso has been awarded as one of the best animation training companies of the year at IIT Delhi recently. To mark the entry of Picasso into the region, a seminar was also organised at the school that detailed benefits of a career in animation. The seminar analysed prospects of animation and visual effects in the industry. The participants were informed about the collaboration and how they can take advantage of the latest animation techniques.

50 attend special session

“White coat syndrome or anxiety and stress caused in some people when meeting a doctor can result in blood pressure getting elevated. Such persons should relax and wait in the reception area of a clinic or hospital for about half-an-hour before getting their blood pressure checked. Also, one should not start on medication just based on one or two readings. Instead, one should check ones blood pressure at different times during the day over a few days and then start on medication, if required, based on the consultation with a doctor.” This was the advice given by Dr Yash Paul Sharma, head-cardiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, to members of the Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik at a special session here. Over 50 members led by president Ashok Laroia attended the session.

Bird race on February 12

The Chandigarh Bird Club is organising the annual bird race on February 12. For the seventh year in the running, the India Bird Races, supported by HSBC, have become a popular affair at several Indian metros. Chief coordinators for this year’s bird race in the city included Rima Dhillon, Navjit Singh and Sarabjeet Kaur. There will also be an interactive session where the participants will share their experience.

40 challaned

A special anti-encroachment drive was carried out on Wednesday by the enforcement wing of the municipal corporation in the motor market, Sector 38. During the drive, 36 cars, three three-wheelers and one motorcycle were lifted. As many as 40 challans were issued to the violators during the drive.

Action committee formed

To discuss issues pertaining to the Indian Nursing Council, an action committee of 11 members was constituted at the meeting of Nursing Training Institutes Association, Punjab, on Wednesday. The action committee members are Dr Zora Singh, chairman, Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes; Dr HS Gill, Dr Rohin Sachdeva, Prof BS Balluana, Rakesh Kumar, Dr Sarabjit Narangwal, Natrajan Kaushal, Dr Ravinder Pal, Dr Charanjit Singh Walia, BS Garcha and Er Shiva Arya. CS Walia, president Nursing Training Institutes Association, slammed the policy of INC regarding eligibility of the admission criteria of ANM (auxiliary nurse midwife) and GNM (general nursing and Midwife).

Symposium in mathematics

The Chandigarh symposium in mathematics was inaugurated by Prof IBS Passi, the emeritus professor, department of mathematics, Panjab University, and honorary professor, IISER, Mohali, and presided over by Padam Bhushan Prof RP Bambah, ex-Vice-Chancellor and professor emeritus, department of mathematics, Panjab University, here on Wednesday.

‘Provide antecedents in writing’

To put some check on immigration, emigration, student visa companies running in the UT Chandigarh, District Magistrate Brijendra Singh has directed that before establishing such companies, it is mandatory for the owner of the company to provide complete antecedents in writing to the Chandigarh police at the public window, Police Headquarters, Sector 9, Chandigarh, within seven days as and when they start their consultancy business in the city. The orders were issued in the general public so that these people cannot dupe the general public.

— Tribune Reporters



‘Safai abhiyans’ fail to keep town clean
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 8
Lack of proper supervision by the Mohali Municipal Council and inadequate number of safai sewaks deployed by the concerned contractors resulted in poor sanitation in the town.

A number of “safai abhiyans” conducted by the civic body authorities from time to time have failed to satisfy the residents who often allege that the sanitation contractors are hand in glove with council concerned employees and fail to work according to the terms of the agreement.

Heaps of garbage, dry leaves, and garden waste are a common sight in the town. Even the footpaths along the main roads can be seen strewn with filth and polythene bags. The council, at present, has three chief sanitary inspectors and five sanitary inspectors. The civic body has even failed to register complaints of residents at the four centres set up in this regard. Such complaint centres have become non-functional over the past many months.

Kuljeet Kaur, resident of Phase III A, said that sanitation was poor in the area. The safai sewaks come to clean the roads, whenever, they feel like and not on a regular basis. Dry leaves collected by them along the main roads were often set on fire creating pollution in violation of the norms.

Sanitary inspectors of the civic body were rarely seen checking the work of contractors in the town, said SS Barnala, former municipal councilor.

Administrator of the council JC Sabharwal, however, said that he had ordered the sanitary inspectors to make the four complaint centres functional immediately. The complaint centre for zone I would be located in Sadar Octroi post, for zone 2 in the Rose Garden, for zone three in the Silvi Park and for zone 4 in the office of water works at the Phase VII industrial area.

Sanitary inspectors had been asked to be present for an hour in the complaint centres to register the grievances of the residents and ensure that these were addressed, added Sabharwal. He said penalties had been imposed on the contractors for engaging inadequate number of safai sewaks. A sum of Rs 62,000 was deducted from their payments in December and another Rs 62,000 was deducted in January.

The town has been divided in four zones for cleaning purposes. Zone one consists of Phases I, II, III , IV and VI, Zone two of Phases III A , III B 1, III B 2 , VII and VIII, Zone three has Phases IX to XI ,Sector 48 C and Industrial Area, Phase IX. Sectors 70, 71, Phase V and industrial are Phases VII and VIII fall in Zone four.



MC for turning open spaces into parking lots
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
To resolve the long-pending problem of parking in residential areas of the city, the municipal corporation (MC) is again going to draft a proposal for converting the open space in each sector into a community parking lot. Mayor Raj Bala Malik has asked officials to shortlist sites for community parking in the city and submit it as soon as possible. Sources in the corporation said past year, dozens of community parking proposals had been submitted to the UT Chief Architect’s department, but a majority of those have been rejected as the required land was not available for setting up the project. An official said incumbent Mayor had asked them to draft a list of fresh sites for community parking.

The official said past year, the corporation chalked out a plan to identify open spaces as per the requirement of each sector, which could be converted into community parking lots. As per the records of the MC, the city had about 1,600 small parks. It had been proposed that an open space be earmarked, which could be converted into a parking lot for a cluster of 50 houses.

The official revealed that around 200 cars were getting registered in the city everyday, which obviously meant an increase in demand of parking space in commercial and residential areas.

Every year, the MC was increasing commercial parking lots in various sectors as per the requirement, but except community parking at Sector 19, no other project had been approved till date.



Proposal for CCTV turned down
Tribune News Service

A CCTV camera installed at police station in Zirakpur on Wednesday. Tribune Photo: Nitin Mittal

Zirakpur, February 8
Now, third eye will not maintain a vigil in Zirakpur. For, the local government, Punjab, has turned down a proposal for the installing the CCTV in the town. The matter has been pending for a year now. It was in January 2011, that the Zirakpur Municipal Council had mooted a proposal to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras all across the town. The purpose of installing the cameras is primarily for security point of view and to effectively regulate traffic flow at the congested sections on the highway.

But the proposal did not find a favour with the local government of Punjab. Sources in Zirakpur MC Office stated that the council had sent a proposal for installing the CCTVs for approval of the local government. An amount of Rs 9 lakh would be spent on the project. But the government had not accepted it and replied that the funds for the police functioning were arrogated from the different head, official added.

On January 26, 2011, the council along with the police department had conducted a meeting and planned to install the CCTV cameras, equipped with latest technology, at more than 20 sensitive points in the town.

During the meeting, it was decided that a private company would be hired to install the cameras and funds would be spent by the police department as well as the Municipal Council, sources added.

A control room would be set up at the Zirakpur police station and its working would be monitored by the Station House Officer (SHO).

A senior council official stated that the matter would be discussed in the council meeting after the code of conduct will over by the Election Commission.

CCTV cameras installed at police station

“More than five CCTV cameras were installed in Zirakpur police station for security purposes. However, the cameras are yet to start functioning. A police official stated that the entire police station would be under the surveillance once the cameras became operational. He added that the cameras were also installed to check the violations and vigil on the anti-social elements.



Dust off, at last
Six AC buses parked at workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
A day after The Tribune published a news report on six AC buses parked at a workshop for the past eight months due to non-functional ACs, the transport department today moved the case for bus repairs and held a meeting on the issue.

The six mini-buses were parked at the CTU workshop, leading to losses worth lakhs. On an average, each bus generated Rs 4,000 as revenue per day.

Transport director TPS Phoolka held a meeting with the CTU manager to discuss the issue of getting the buses repaired at the earliest.

“We have decided to get the ACs repaired at the earliest. We are looking for companies that can repair the ACs at lowest rates,” Phoolka said, adding that the issue was a priority.



Seizures common among minors, says study
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
A study conducted by the paediatrics department of the PGI here has revealed the prevalence of seizures, including epileptic ones, at least 12 per thousand minors, under the age of 18. Talking to mediapersons here today, Dr Pratibha Singhi, chief of child neurology and neuro-development at the PGI, said the study was conducted on 3,684 children.

While the prevalence rate of seizures among children in urban areas was 9 per 1,000, it was 16 per 1,000 in rural areas. The prevalence of epileptic attacks was 6.24, though no figures were available on the national level.

Various studies indicated that 5 per 1,000 person suffered from this disorder. The worldwide prevalence of epilepsy was about 7 per 1,000 in children.

Explaining the difference between epilepsy and seizures, Dr Singhi said most seizures were febrile, which were associated only with fever, Epilepsy was the result of multiple seizures or fits, with at least two occurring without immediate cause. Dr Singhi explained, “Epilepsy is related to the brain. The level of electromagnetic waves sent from one part of the brain to the other and the rest of the body or the chemical balance get disturbed. As a result, waves or the imbalance cause stay in a part for a longer period, causing disturbance.” Dr Singhi said many people considered epilepsy a kind of a mystical problem and not a disease. Even the educated in cities put a black shoe near a patient’s nose whenever an epileptic attack occurred.

An epileptic attack would last between two and three minutes and some for a shorter duration. By the time a shoe or a black thread was used, the person would have already recovered, making people believe that the superstition worked.

Mild epilepsy could turn chronic due to delay in treatment. Dr Singhi said, “People ignore initial symptoms, as a result of which the condition is aggravated.” Proper treatment was the only cure.

What to do...

  • Stay calm
  • Loosen tight clothes around neck
  • Remove spectacles
  • Prevent patient from injuring himself
  • After seizure stops, turn patient to side and wipe froth coming from mouth
  • Consult doctor if seizure lasts over 5 minutes

And what not?

  • Move patient to another place during seizure
  • Insert spoon or such articles in mouth
  • Restrict convulsive movements
  • Crowd around patient
  • Give water or any other liquid till patient is fully conscious?



Perfect picture of poor upkeep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Tall claims of the municipal corporation (MC) on sprucing up all parks in the city do not hold ground, going by a random visit to parts of the city today. Dug-up areas, unkempt hedges, broken swings and heaps of garbage were common.

A part of the railing-supporting base lies broken at a park in Sector 46 of Chandigarh. Tribune Photo: Parvesh Chauhan
Debris lies at a park, adjoining Attawa village, in Sector 42 of Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

There were heaps of garbage at a park in Sector 32 for the past several days. A retired bureaucrat living in the vicinity of the area said a wedding function was organised at the park a couple of days back.

Paper foils and eatables lied scattered on the ground, he rued. He was unhappy that the area had not been cleaned, leading to unpleasant sight and smell.

A park near the Attawa chowk at Sector 42 had not been repaired after digging work had been carried out more than two months back.

Tarsem Lal, a local resident, said it had become a parking area for tractors and trolleys. People had been throwing garbage in the park, which remained there for days together, he added.

The railing around a public park at Sector 46 was in a pitiable state because of the negligence of residents and the poor upkeep of the authorities concerned.

The concrete wall had been broken at many places and attempts had been made to bend the iron railings, probably to steal the iron.

The matter had been taken up by newly elected councillors during the previous meeting. The new councillors spoke on the poor standard of sanitation at various parks in the city.



Mercy Demand
Students promise to score 5.5 CGPA, maintain SGPA

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Failing to get a chance to continue with their mechanical engineering (ME), three students of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) today gave an undertaking to the college for scoring 5.5 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) in the second semester and maintain a score of 5.5 sessional grade point average (SGPA) at the end of both semesters.

Usually, the students need 4.5 CGPA and SGPA to clear the first year. The students also submitted the similar undertaking to the Finance Secretary, who is also secretary technical education.

The students submitted an undertaking with the college that they would also improve their scores in the next examinations or else their admissions should be cancelled. “On the pattern of the students who have been given another chance to improve their scores, we have also given the undertaking to improve the performance,” said the students.

To convince the college authorities, the students have claimed that they would be scoring more than required to continue their ME at PEC.

Fourteen first semester students had failed to get the minimum criteria of 4.5 CGPA, but in a decision taken by the PEC authorities, it was held that mercy would be granted to only eight students. The students who have been left behind had lesser scores in comparison to the eight, who have been given another chance by the college.

The PEC director also held a meeting with the Finance Secretary in the evening.



Cattle menace
No more space in cattle pound
Sanjeev Bariana
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 8
Despite action, taken by the Panchkula Municipal Corporation, to solve the stray cattle menace, there is lot more to be done as a number of stray cattle still pose threat on the city roads. In a recent reply submitted before the district court, the corporation had submitted that 487 stray cattle were captured between November 2 last year and January 21 and only nine have been released after a fine was paid.

Requesting anonymity, an official of the corporation said, there is no more space in Pinjore cattle pound; therefore, they have slowed down the drive.

Groups of stray cattle can be seen at Sectors 18 and 7. Cattle are found in Sector-12 and Railly village. Sectors like 16, 17, 4 and 14 also have to deal with the same problem. Sameer Sethi, a resident of Sector 16, said sometimes, it becomes difficult to drive on the city roads due to stray cattle.

Echoing similar view, Advocate Kamal Joshi said he failed to understand when the authorities would wake up from their slumber and would take strict action against the defaulters.



Residents protest after GMADA demolishes ‘mazar’
Our Correspondent

One of the protestors on road after GMADA demolished a ‘mazaar’ at Industrial Area, Phase-I, Mohali, on Wednesday. Tribune Photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, February 8
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) demolished a ‘mazar’ near Shahimajra village, here today. The demolition drive led to protests by some residents.

The protesters objected to the demolition and blocked the traffic in protest against the action taken by GMADA. The protestors tried to restore the place by holding certain ceremonies.

The protesters said that the GMADA authorities should have given a notice before demolishing the structure. Land had also been encroached upon in Phase I where construction had been carried out but GMADA did not take any action in that case. But here, the structure which was raised nearly 15 years ago, was repeatedly being demolished.

The highhanded of GMADA authorities would not be tolerated and a fresh structure would be raised, added protestors.



Council advises, MC stays inactive
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Sounds strange, but it is a fact that major issues recommended by the Advisory Council past year had been hanging fire. Past year, in February, the council had approved a number of suggestions made by the subcommittee on the maintenance of heritage, but no suggestion had been executed.

Reports of the council revealed that two committees, the Chandigarh heritage conservation committee, chaired by Sumit Kaur, and a special committee headed by the PEC director Manoj Dutta, had tabled detailed reports on the identification, conservation and maintenance of heritage and architectural buildings, but no action was taken.

During the meeting, a decision was taken to beautify and repair buildings, including the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Panjab University, the Neelam cinema and 13-type cheap houses at Sector 22. In the report, the subcommittee drafted a proposal of Rs 33.35 lakh for the beautification of these defaced buildings.

The subcommittee also pointed out the leakage from the roof, cracks in walls and growth of wild grass on the roof of the Vidhan Sabha. Members asked the department concerned to initiate a rainwater-harvesting system and take immediate steps to repair and renovate buildings.



Crime file
2 booked for immigration fraud
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 8
The police has booked two persons running an immigration company on the charges of duping people of Rs 29.88 lakh on the pretext of sending them abroad. In a complaint to the police, Mukesh Kumar, resident of Nawanshahr, and others said that they had allegedly been cheated by Deepak Arora and Karandeep who were running a company by the name of Jet Immigration in Phase VI here.

They had been promised at the time of payments that they would be sent abroad. But they were not sent and the company had even failed to return their money.

The police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC.



Best JCO, NCO awarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Subedar Sovan Singh of Garhwal Rifles has been adjudged as the best junior commissioned officer (JCO) of the Western Command, while Hav Mehar Singh of the artillery has been adjudged as the best non-commissioned officer (NCO) for 2011.

They were awarded the Army commanders’ commendation cards and Western Command silver trophies by Lt Gen SR Ghosh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, at a function organised at Chandi Mandir yesterday.

Naib Subedar Sahib Singh of 14 Punjab stood second and Subedar Hira Singh of 7 Kumaun stood third in the JCO category, while Hav Pitambar Thapa and Hav Pramod Kumar also stood second and third, respectively.

There were 20 competitors, including 10 JCOs, from the command for these positions. The practice to select best JCOs and NCOs started last year to motivate and encourage them to attain high levels of professional and personal skills.



N-choe stink far from over
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
The work of making the N-choe sludge-free is still not over. More than two years after The Tribune raised a storm over sanitation concerns going down the drain, the municipal corporation (MC) today claimed that the work of laying a sewer parallel to the N-choe was in progress.

An affidavit filed by MC superintending engineer RC Diwan said 40 per cent of the work was complete and it was taking time as the soil was sandy.

The affidavit placed before the Bench headed by Justice MM Kumar added the work of laying a gravity sewer at Sectors 50 and 51, on the other hand, was complete and commissioned.

The MC, in its affidavits, had all along been asserting that the entire project was to be completed in two parts. While part two of the project was complete, part one was delayed due to rain.

The MC, on the previous date of hearing, had added that the entire project was expected to be complete by March 31. The N-choe originated from the Shanti Kunj at Sector 3 and entered Mohali after passing through various sectors.



Safety through SMS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
In order to create awareness among the general public not to cross the railway line if a train is approaching, the northern railway has started a campaign by sending SMSes to the people to care for their lives.

“Time is valuable, but life is more precious. Never make haste at an unmanned level crossing. Never cross unmanned railway crossing until you are sure there is no incoming train or the train has passed,” is the SMS text.

Hundreds of persons lose lives every year as victims try to cross unmanned level crossings even as a train is approaching the place, in order to save time or reach their destination fast.

Recently, a girl of Sector 19, Panchkula, lost her life as she tried to cross the level crossing in the area. She had failed to notice the fast-approaching train as she was talking on her mobile phone.



Cold wave to stay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Cold-wave conditions persisted in the tricity as the day temperature plummeted by about two degree Celsius after fresh snowfall in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The weather office predicted a further decline in the night temperature as rain or thundershowers, accompanied by snow, could occur at a few places in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

A mainly clear sky, with mist or haze during the morning and evening hours, was predicted. The maximum temperature on Thursday would be around 19 degree Celsius and the minimum on Friday around 6 degree Celsius.



Documents seized from sealed immigration firm
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Four days after the UT police sealed as many as 17 immigration firms, the SIT, accompanied by the Protector of Emigrants, Chandigarh, yesterday carried out a search at the office of WWICS, Sector-22, which had been sealed.

Some incriminating documents and advertisements of WWICS regarding work permit were taken into possession, which clearly showed that the company was issuing work permits without having any work permit licence.

After the sealing of the office of WWICS, the company had made a representation to the SSP.

The company had been asked to clarify on these points, an official of SIT said.



Student missing after father’s rebuke
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
A student of class VI of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31, Rohit (12) has been missing since Monday afternoon.

On a complaint of Rohit’s father Vinod Kumar Choubey, the police has registered a missing complaint at the Sector 31 police station.

Vinod Kumar said he had received some complaint from Rohit’s school, following which he scolded his son and left for his work. Thereafter, Rohit went outside and had not returned since then.



Stress to follow traffic rules

Chandigarh, February 8
The Chandigarh Traffic Police today organised a road safety exhibition and workshop at the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Panjab University, during the inauguration of Traffic Rules Awareness Week being celebrated by the legal studies department.

DIG Alok Kumar emphasised that the most important aspect of road safety was the responsible behaviour of road users. The DIG also appealed to the students to observe traffic discipline and follow rules and cooperate with the traffic police. — TNS



Panjab university
Conviction rate of UMC dips
Aspersions cast on inclusion of Senators in unfair means committee

Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
With conviction rate of Panjab University’s unfair means committee (UMC) having dipped drastically from 84 per cent in 2009 to 74 per cent in 2010 and 61 per cent in 2011, though the average number of cases remains same, aspersions are being cast on inclusion of Senators in this committee.

Going by the feedback submitted by a retired judge, who had been on the UMC panel, PU Senators owing to their different stakes hamper the objectivity of the committee with their “sifarish”.

“Being a part of the PU’s UMC panel was extremely shameful for me, as the cases were decided not on their legal merits, but politics of PU Senate. Though I have been offered this post again, I am in no mood to take it, as Senators walk in and give me a list of defaulters to be let off, as they are their vote banks. I would suggest that the Senators should be barred from such academic committees,” read the letter sent by this judge.

“The number of incoming cases is same and conviction has reduced, so isn’t the reason obvious. Over the year, number of Senators being put in such committees has increased, decreasing the objectivity considerably. I know that it has been a decade-long practice and involvement of fellows was deemed important, as they were the key stakeholders of the university. Things, however, are not so ideal now, such committees are generally misused by those who are involved in day-to-day politics of Senate and university,” said Tasrem Bahia, a former Senator for 30 years.

Interestingly, his view finds support amongst a section of current Senators who feel that its high time that politicisation of academics is dealt with.

“I have been raising this issue for a while now. It’s time that we accept that Senate today is primarily about politics and in interest of students, the academic committees should be free from its impact. Anybody who stands to gain in Senate by decisions taken here should not be there,” said Senator AC Vaid.

“I am not saying remove Senators completely but we should put those names whom we deal inaccessible to a large section of students and people,” agreed Rabinder Nath Sharma.

PU power Senator GK Chatrath, however, claims it to be a question mark on the honesty of Senators.

“Any child caught with a parchi cannot be saved even by God, leave aside Senator’s sifarish. Are you trying to say that we are all dishonest? Get me the name of a person who got a student let off and the Senate will deal with him sternly. The fellows are guardians of PU’s dignity and thus are a part of the committees,” said Chatrath. Even a senior PU official claimed that its high time Senate and Syndicate are separated from academics.

“Any wrong thing that suits their interest shouldn’t be allowed to continue just because it has been on for years,” said this official.



PU teachers at warring ends
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
In what is bound to brew into a major controversy, Panjab University teachers are at warring ends over the Vice-Chancellor’s (VC) alleged public “vilification”. A day after PUTA asking the Chancellor to institute an inquiry into press reports questioning VC RC Sobti’s research credentials, PU director public relations, Mohanmeet Khosla, issued an official press note bashing the body for acting on teachers’ behalf, who supported Sobti.

“Faculty members of Panjab University came out in strong support of Prof RC Sobti by instituting a signature campaign in his favour - details of which will be sent to the University’s Chancellor and Vice-President, Dr Hamid Ansari, tomorrow. This counters the claim made by a few office-bearers of PUTA of having acted on their behalf in approaching Dr Ansari to institute an inquiry against Prof Sobti. Many faculty members expressed their angst at the manner in which institutional prestige was being jeopardised by needless controversies and questioned the timing of these news reports towards the tail end of the Vice-Chancellor’s tenure,” read the note.

PUTA, meanwhile, has accused the Vice-Chancellor to be misusing DPR office for his personal publicity.

“A majority of teachers are not even aware of any such campaign and even the official note fails to state the number of teachers who participated in the campaign. In what capacity did she go ahead organising such event and sending notes? Is she PU PRO or VC PRO? We can have an open house on this issue and judge teachers mandate. We just asked inquiry into the media reports but never held the VC guilty because we have full respect for his research credentials,” said PUTA president, Dr Akshay.

While Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti could not be contacted for his comments, a senior official revealed that the signature campaign was not an official function and the authorities have no information about any such note.

‘Vilification’ campaign

In what is bound to brew into a major controversy, Panjab University teachers are at warring ends over the Vice-Chancellor’s (VC) alleged public “vilification”. A day after PUTA asking the Chancellor to institute an inquiry into press reports questioning VC RC Sobti’s research credentials, PU director public relations, Mohanmeet Khosla, issued an official press note bashing the body for acting on teachers’ behalf, who supported Sobti. PUTA, meanwhile, has accused the Vice-Chancellor to be misusing DPR office for his personal publicity.



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