C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No DTP immunisation, for now
Govt hospitals, dispensaries told to hold back batch-994 vaccine
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
In a belated but significant decision, the UT health department has directed all dispensaries, the PGI, the GMSH and the GMCH to immediately stop DTP immunisation in the city and withhold stocks of the vaccine (batch 994) supplied by Biological E Limited, a South India-based pharmaceutical company.

The decision is the fallout of the death of one-and-a-half-month-old Arnav, who reportedly died under mysterious circumstances a few hours after being administered the vaccine at a Ram Darbar dispensary on February 8.

Arnav’s father, Ladoo Tiwari of Kajheri village, had initially accused the GMSH authorities of delaying treatment to the infant and alleged negligence on their part.

As reported earlier, Arnav was administered the vaccine around 2 pm and he started vomiting about an hour-and-a-half later. He was brought to the GMSH, where he was declared brought dead. An inquiry was ordered and the report was still awaited.

According to sources, though Arnav died on Wednesday the previous week and an inquiry was ordered a day later, the UT health department ordered the discontinuation of the DTP vaccine only on Monday.

The decision, which many in the administration dubbed a belated one, was taken at a meeting of the adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) committee.

The sources also revealed that apart from Arnav’s death, an incident of a child having seizures following the administration of the vaccine was reported. Though details were not available, senior health officials confirmed it.

The decision of the AEFI committee came under criticism, with some doctors saying on the condition of anonymity that the discontinuation of the vaccine should have been ordered the day after the infant’s death.

Officials with the health department claimed that as per the practice, at least two adverse-impact cases had to be reported before any decision on the discontinuation of a vaccine was taken.

Sources said between 50 and 100 children per month were administered the DTP vaccine in each of the 20 dispensaries.

While it was administered twice a week (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) at dispensaries, it was also available at the PGI and other government hospitals in the city.

When this correspondent visited a few dispensaries in the city, including those at Sectors 20 and 8 and Ram Darbar, the staff said the vaccine was unavailable.

Attendants revealed that the administration of the vaccine had been stopped on the instructions of the health department.

A senior health official revealed that alternative arrangements were being made and the ‘suspicious’ batch 994 was being replaced with fresh stocks.



Schools put onus on education dept, serve it five-day notice
‘Perform your duties by February 20 or forget RTE’
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Turning the tables on the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, private schools in the city have now set February 20 the deadline for the UT education department to fulfil its ‘duties’ or forget the implementation of the Act.

The deadline of the department for RTE admissions ended today. In a strongly worded letter to DPI(S) Sandeep Hans, the Independent School Association gave the department five days to resubmit child mapping results, finalise reimbursements, fill vacant government school seats and reimburse previous year’s payments, running into crores.

In case of failure to do so, the schools threatened to “explain their point of view to the eligible students and their parents through a public notice in leading newspapers”.

“Private schools have been waiting since December 24, 2010, for guidelines, In their absence, it is practically impossible to go through the formalities of admissions under the RTE Act in spite of our sincere and honest desire to implement the instructions in letter and spirit,” the letter read.

“We shall request you again to give clear guidelines to us on your duties. As responsible citizens of the City Beautiful, we will not like to keep parents in the dark, hoping to get admission in one of the schools. We will give advertisements, informing them about the sorry state of affairs,” the letter further read.

While the education department failed to elaborate on the fate of the Act, it issued a statement that the media would be informed about the state of RTE admissions tomorrow. Schools seemed to be in no mood to relent.

“It has been almost two years and we have been repeating the same thing. We are asking it to do the duties mandated by the Act, failing which the RTE can never be implemented. The UT is not ready for the Act,” said Independent School Association president HS Mamik.



Doctor gone, geriatric OPD at GMCH closed down
Be it super-specialists, senior and junior residents or nurses, staff shortage at UT’s flagship hospital acute
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The delay in recruitment of doctors and senior and junior residents has hit the working of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32.

The hospital authorities were forced to close down the geriatric OPD, exclusively for the aged, as it had no senior resident available today.

According to sources, the senior resident who had so far been managing the OPD, located on the ground floor of the B block, had completed his three-year tenure here and left.

With no other doctor readily available, the hospital authorities were forced to lock the OPD, causing inconvenience to the aged who turned up for check-up.

They were forced to go to the OPD of the medicine department on the fifth floor. The department had only six senior residents, against a sanctioned strength of 18. Many returned without check-up due to the crowd there.

The GMCH was not only facing acute shortage of senior and junior residents, with 81 vacancies, but also of super-specialists. Of the two super-specialists, one each in neurosurgery and urology, Dr Arvind, the neurosurgeon, had quit.

The hospital now had only a super-specialist for urology, with other posts of super-specialist with departments like cardiology, neurology and endocrinology lying vacant.

More than 50 per cent of the 703 sanctioned posts of nurse at the hospital were also lying vacant. Efforts to contact the director-principal, Dr Raj Bahadur, were futile.



Audit report indicts UT police
Irregularities in purchase of 139 vehicles worth Rs 7 crore
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The UT police flouted norms while inducting 139 vehicles, worth Rs 7 crore, into their fleet past year. The audit report of the police, procured under the RTI Act, pointed out glaring irregularities in the purchase of vehicles past year.

The audit also pointed out excess deployment of 34 vehicles in the PCR. The UT police was asked to furnish a reply in the matter. The addition of vehicles had raised the consumption of fuel by the UT police.

Interestingly, the Government of India had not granted approval for nine new vehicles during the financial year while the department went ahead and made a purchase of 139 new vehicles. The UT police was asked by the audit department to justify such a huge purchase.

“During the scrutiny of records of the UT police, it was revealed that the department had made a huge purchase of 139 vehicles, worth Rs 7 crore, without the approval of the Government of India,” stated the report.

The report stated that as per the economy instructions issued by the department of expenditure, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, there was a ban on the purchase of new vehicles, except for requirements of the defence forces and security organisations.

Irregularities had been found in the excess deployment of 34 vehicles with the PCR. “The deployment of excess vehicles with the PCR has resulted in excessive consumption of petrol,” stated the report.

As many as 49 PCR vehicles were literally stranded on roads past week after the UT police exhausted its quota of fuel. The Administration had then issued Rs 1.5 crore as grant for fuel.



7-year-old girl identifies ‘killer’
Says servant murdered her grandmother on August 20
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 15
It was surely not a common hearing when a seven-year-old girl stood boldly in the witness box to identify the killer of her grandmother here today.

Pratibha testified in the district court and identified the servant, Akhilesh Paswan, accused of killing her grandmother. The accused was present in the courtroom when she testified against him.

Akhilesh reportedly killed 65-year-old Shanti Devi and left Pratibha, her elder sister Garima and her mother Isha wounded at the Sector-12 house on August 20 past year.

To strengthen the case, the prosecution included Pratibha as the prime prosecution witness. Before recording her statement, the judge checked whether she was fit enough to record her statement.

To check this, the judge first asked her a few questions about her age, school and names of her parents, besides others. After this, the judge declared her fit enough to record her statement. The hearing began when Pratibha was provided with a stool to stand tall enough in court to testify.

She identified Akhilesh and told the court that after attacking her grandmother, he attacked her, her sister and mother with scissors. Her mother Isha also identified the killer and recorded her statement in court.

On the night of August 20, Paswan reportedly murdered Shanti Devi (65) with a pair of scissors when she was alone at her Sector-12 house.

After stabbing her, he pulled her from the bedroom to the bathroom. The accused also attacked Isha (38), Garima (9) and Pratibha (7) when they returned home after a stroll.

Isha and Garima were treated and discharged. Pratibha, who was injured in the waist, had to undergo surgery at the PGI, Chandigarh.

It was for money

Sources said money was the reason behind the murder. Akhilesh had seen the owner of the house, Praveen Kumar, bring a huge amount of money to the house, which was kept in the cupboard. The accused was also aware that Praveen used to return late at night and his wife and children used to go out for walk after dinner. After dinner, only Shanti Devi and Akhilesh were left in the house.


MC staff ‘manhandled’ during anti-encroachment drive
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 15
The anti-encroachment drive being carried out by the Zirakpur municipal council took an ugly turn after a shop attendant entered into a scuffle with the employees of the civic body.

Sources said the council employees and the attendant exchanged blows.

All this while, the MC chief sanitary inspector remained a mute spectator, sources added. This has not happened for the first time. Last year, during an anti-encroachment drive in Baltana, shopkeepers shouted slogans and manhandled the MC officials. It was learnt that the MC officials were not accompanied by police personnel.

However, the civic body officials denied having entered into a scuffle with the shopkeeper during the anti-encroachment drive. They said a few shopkeepers objected to the drive but a brawl did not take place.

A team led by Harinder Pal Singh, chief sanitary inspector, along with the council officials, today conducted an anti-encroachment drive and removed rehris parked along the Zirakpur-Patiala highway,

Zirakpur-Chandigarh highway and Zirakpur-Kalka highway. The drive was carried out to solve the problem of traffic congestion on the highways, said an MC official. He added that the shopkeepers had also encroached upon footpaths and space outside shops in the main market. They had kept goods, including utensils and glow signboards along the road. During the drive, all these items were removed form the roads. He said some of the shopkeepers were issued a warning. “The council will continue to carry out such drives in coming days,” the official added. 



Corporation or council? No idea!
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 15
Is the Mohali civic body a corporation or a council? Well, going by certain documents the civic body holds the status of a corporation and that of a council at the same time.

The civic body has been issuing birth and death certificates over the past more than two months on which it describes itself as a municipal corporation and a municipal council as well.

The computerised details mentioned on the birth and death certificates show the civic body as a corporation while an official stamp put on these documents shows it as a council.

The municipal council was upgraded to the level of a corporation by the Punjab government in January last year. Soon after the civic body started mentioning itself as a corporation on the birth and death certificates. But the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the government notification on November 25 through which the civic body was given the status of a corporation.Even though the civic body started mentioning itself as a municipal council in all official records after the stay orders of the High Court, the software used in preparing birth and death certificates remained unchanged.

As many as 278 birth certificates have been issued by the civic body till February 9 this year while the figure of death certificates issued till February 9 stood at 297.

Both the executive officers of the civic body, Radesh Kalra and Jagjit Singh Shahi, said employees had not changed the software as the case in connection with the 
upgradation of the civic body was still pending in the court.

When the lacuna was brought to the notice of the officials concerned today, directions were, however, given to employees to change the software according to the present status of the civic body. 



File detailed reply, HC tells Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the UT Administration to file a detailed reply on security tents in greenbelts.

In an affidavit placed before the Bench of Justice MM Kumar and Justice Rajiv Narain Raina, UT SP RS Ghuman said it was not possible to compromise on the protection provided.

He added that a meeting was convened to discuss the issue on January 16, which was chaired by the Adviser to the Chandigarh Administrator.

During the meeting, it was decided to make efforts to shift security tents from greenbelts, the affidavit stated.

The reply further stated that most tents had been erected for Punjab and Haryana government officials and the Chandigarh IG had been requested to convene a meeting to deliberate on the issue with the authorities concerned. The case would now come up for further hearing on March 22.

Taking suo motu cognisance of the news report “Who’ll bell the cat” in these columns on violations by bigwigs in government accommodation, Justice Ranjit Singh had asserted, “No one is above the law, howsoever high he or she may be placed. The Chandigarh Administration needs to be asked to perform its functions in accordance with the law.”



Centre vexes Punjab, Haryana officers
Coming up: 2 new secretaries, both from AGMUT cadre
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Officers from Punjab and Haryana on deputation to Chandigarh are seeing red in the Centre’s move to post two new secretaries of the AGMUT cadre with the Chandigarh Administration.

Though no officer is ready to come on record, most of them are of the view that the step is not right and goes against the spirit of the Reorganisation Act, which has specified the allocation of officials to Chandigarh from Punjab and Haryana. Punjab and Haryana governments have already apprised the Centre of their displeasure on the issue.

“This is the first time after the creation of Chandigarh that the UT cadre is getting stronger in the city. The move is not right as Chandigarh is different from union territories like Puducherry, Daman and Diu and Goa. The city belongs to Punjab and Haryana. Domination should remain with officers of both states,” said a senior officer of the Haryana cadre, on the condition of anonymity.

Another senior officer with the Chandigarh Administration tried to shrug off the issue, saying the Ministry of Home Affairs had to look after these things. He did not stop himself from pointing out that after two new secretary level officers from the AGMUT cadre, the balance and chemistry of top functionaries here would be disturbed.

There were seven IAS officers from the AGMUT cadre in the Chandigarh Administration already and the number of officers from Punjab and Haryana was three and two, respectively.

The fact that important departments like personnel and CITCO were with UT Adviser KK Sharma, an AGMUT-cadre officer, indicated to the ‘domination’ of these officers.

Earlier, these departments were under the Home Secretary, a Haryana-cadre officer. The new secretaries were likely to join in the second week of March, Sharma said.



Volvo seeks CTU fleet entry 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The company manufacturing swanky Volvo busus has sought entry into the fleet of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU). The company recently gave its presentation before Chandigarh Administration for its buses which have been especially made to ply within city.

The Volvo buses have been plying on local routes in Bangalore presently. Speaking on the issue, UT Home Secretary Anil Kumar said that upgrading public transport facilities was high on the agenda of the UT Administration.

“We need high-quality buses for our public transport. Volvo is a reputed brand name, but we have to see the our finances before taking any decision,” said Anil Kumar.

The cost of a Volvo bus is around Rs 80 lakh, which is about 20 lakh more than any regular bus of our fleet, added Anil Kumar. When asked whether or not the luxurious bus, which is quite big in size, would be suitable for the city’s roads, Anil Kumar said that everything would be taken into consideration before taking any decision.

But it was too early to comment on the issue as the company had only given its presentation, he added.

Notably, the CTU is going to add as many 86 buses to its fleet of 560 vehicles. “We are also looking forward for a grant under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme to upgrade our transport system”, said Anil Kumar. 



UT civic body not so ‘I-T savvy’
No email IDs of new councillors on official website
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Tall claims of the Municipal Corporation to make it I-T savvy has been exposed as it has failed in the past more than a month to issue and display the official email IDs of the newly elected councillors on its website. Interestingly, for the past more than a month the status of the page on the MC official website is ‘website is currently under construction’.

In fact, the MC has a separate computer cell to update its website but it has unfortunately failed to update the basic information about the newly elected and nominated councillors on their website in more than a month’s time. Sources in the corporation revealed that the department had planned to issue official e-mail IDs to the newly elected councillors on February 16 during the scheduled general house meeting, but as the meeting had been cancelled so they too had postponed their plan.

MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach said the process of updating of the official website was going on and would be completed soon. Ironically, the MC website which is considered as ‘people’s friendly’has ended up in only carrying detailed documentation required for the water and sewerage connection, community centre or ground booking and deposit of the property tax. Resultantly, for even petty works or obtaining information one has to visit the MC office to get their work done.

Records of the corporation show that during the previous tenure of the MC, all the councillors were issued their official e-mail IDs so that any resident of the city could post their mail anytime to the area councillor with regard to their grievances or suggestions. At that time all 35 elected and nominated councillors were also issued hi-tech laptops by the MC to cater to the day-to-day complaints of the residents and forward it to the officials concerned for doing the needful. Surprisingly, the page on the website which gives information regarding the departments of the corporation also depicts the same status as under construction. On this page, the authorities depict the details about the areas which come under the preview of the respective wings of the MC. Another page of the website which is under construction for long is the history of MC. This page has been under construction for a long time as the authorities have failed to procure the photographs of the councillors, which have to be added to this page with their ward number and names. 



MC launches drive against illegal signboards, hoardings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Municipal Corporation today removed about a 100 signboards and hoardings displayed by shopkeepers in the Plaza area of Sector 17 for violating Section 5, Chandigarh Advertisement Control Order, 1954. Official of the enforcement department said that notices were issued to these shopkeepers earlier for displaying advertisement boards which were in violation of the Advertisement Control Order.

This is in pursuance of the decision, taken in a meeting held under the chairmanship of UT Advisor, in which it was decided that the MC would strictly enforce the order in Sector 17.

The defaulters had been asked to remove the hoardings and advertisements within a period of seven days, failing which the same have now been removed at the cost of the owners, and the materials used for the said advertisement have been confiscated. Notices are also being issued to other defaulters for violations of the order in other markets as well.

Meanwhile, in another enforcement drive, the department has also challaned 70 shopkeepers in Sector 19 and 22 for encroachment of the MC land. 



Himalayan Queen arrives late
Level-crossing barrier pole near Pinjore got entangled with the 25000-volt high-tension wires of the Railways after a truck hit it
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Himalayan Queen express train arrived late by about half an hour from Kalka as the level-crossing barrier pole near Pinjore got entangled with the power supply cables of the Railways after a truck hit it.

The incident also led to hundreds of vehicles stranded for about one hour at the level-crossing in the Model Town area on the Pinjore-Nalagarh national highway this evening.

According to information, the incident occurred when the railway gateman Ramsanjiwan was trying to close the rail-level at 3.45 pm. The railway official directed the driver of the truck coming from Baddi in Himachal Pradesh to stop the vehicle but the fast approaching truck hit the barrier. There was heavy sparking as the barriers got entangled with the 25000-volt high-tension wires.

A major tragedy was also averted as the Bandra-Kalka Paschim Express train, which was schedule to arrive at the spot at 4.30 pm was late. The gateman immediately informed the senior officers and a team of the railway electricity department in Chandigarh led by Section Engineer Sohan Lal arrived at the spot and attached the discharges to disconnect the power supply. The traffic on the line was restored after half an hour after the officials removed the barrier pole from the site.

The police had tough time in restoring the traffic as hundreds of vehicles coming from the Baddi and Pinjore side blocked the road.



Baby’s death case gets murkier
The baby had died last week at GMSH after being given DTP vaccine 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
A fresh controversy is brewing over the mysterious death of one and half month baby, Arnav, who succumbed hours after being administered DTP vaccine last Wednesday.The GMSH authorities have reportedly completed the inquiry without even recording the statement of the deceased’s father, Ladoo Tiwari.

Accusing the hospital authorities of a cover up, Tiwari told Chandigarh Tribune that he had visited the hospital on Monday and was told by Medical Superintendent 
Dr Rajiv Vadhera to give his complaint in writing. He said when he went to submit his complaint to the inquiry officer, Dr SK Bhalla, this morning, he was informed that the inquiry was already completed and the report submitted in a sealed cover to the MS.

“How can they complete the inquiry without even taking my version? I have lost my child and they don’t even think it proper to record my statement,” said an agitated Tiwari. He said he subsequently met Vadhera who asked Bhalla to record his statement. “I have been called again tomorrow,” he said, reiterating his claim that his child wasn’t dead when brought to the hospital, as is being claimed by the authorities.

Expressing concerns over a fair inquiry, Tiwari said, “Their attitude is hostile from the word go. What can I then say on the fairness of the authorities?” 
While Vadhera was not available for comment, Dr Bhalla, when contacted, refused to say anything on the report.



Mock drill carried out at airport
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
In view of the recent bomb blasts in the National Capital, the Chandigarh Police conducted a mock drill at the airport here today after receiving a bomb scare call.

Personnel with various security agencies swung into action after a call about a bomb being planted at the airport was received at 11 am. They reached the airport within 20 minutes and started searching for the bomb.

SHO Jaspal Singh said they received a call that a bomb had been planted at the airport, after which a police team led by DSP BS Negi, along with a fire brigade and ambulances, reached the airport and checked the terminal and parking area.

The action shocked passengers and their relatives for a moment, but they soon realised that it was a mock drill. A team of doctors, a bomb disposal squad and a posse of policemen reached the airport and positioned themselves.

Airport director HS Toor said the call was received around 11 am. After the security teams reached the spot and conducted a search, they were informed that it was a mock drill, he added.

He further said the drills were being carried out in view of the recent bomb blasts in Delhi. The drill went off smoothly and passengers did not face inconvenience, he added.

Flights landed and took off as per schedule, he stated. The drill did not interfere with the working and business went on as usual, he added. The exercise lasted about an hour, with passengers trying to understand what it was all about.

Suresh Kumar said he was waiting at the lounge when he received a call from relatives at the visitors’ gallery about the movement of a heavy posse of policemen.

Scheduled to board the Indian Airlines flight to Delhi, he said they were later informed that there was no need to panic as a mock drill was carried out by security agencies.



Production prestigious, aberrations notwithstanding
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 15
The Ajnabi Rangkarmi presented their prestigious Hindi play “Taj Mahal Ka Tender” in collaboration with the Chandigarh Police at the Tagore theatre here today.

The play, written by Ajay Shukla, and directed by film and TV actor Kuldeep Sharma (who also excelled in the lead role ofa chief engineer) was widely appreciated.

Structured partly in the royal spelndour of emperor Shahjehan and partly in the present day political and administrative set up, the play was full of wit, sarcasm and humour. It brought into sharp focus the unethical evils of nepotism, corruption and hypocrisy ailing the society and governance.

The large audience, comprising of police personnel and families relished the play. Sachin Sharma, who portrayed Shahjehan, Mukesh Sharma (as Bheyya ji), and Ms Navedeep (as Netani) won applause from the audience. The play also had Parvesh Sethi, Vinod Sharma, Baljit Zakhmi in major roles. The costumes and make up by Bharti and music by Bharti were also widely appreciated. Chief guest Alok Kumar, DIG, honoured the artists. DC Brijendra Singh also graced the function.



Chilly winds lash tricity
Night temperature to dip further, sunny day ahead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Chilly winds lashed the tricity region today as the night temperature plummeted by four degrees Celsius in view of the snowfall in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The cold-wave conditions are likely to continue as the weather office has predicted further fall in the night temperature. However, the day temperature will increase as the weather office has predicted sunny day ahead.

The minimum temperature touched 7.6 degrees Celsius, one degree below normal on Wednesday against the 11.8 degrees Celsius recorded yesterday. The maximum temperature also declined by two notches to touch 18 degrees Celsius five degrees below normal. The maximum relative humidity was recorded at 80 per cent while the minimum was recorded at 30 per cent.

The weather office has predicted mainly clear sky with mist or haze occurring during morning and evening hours. The day temperature is likely to increase by two notches as the maximum temperature on Thursday will be around 20 ºC.

However, the night temperature is likely to fall further by about half a degrees to touch 7 ºC on Friday, said the met department.

Amritsar in Punjab recorded the minimum temperature of 1.6 degrees Celsius five degrees below normal followed by Ludhiana and Patiala where it was 5 and 5.6 degrees Celsius, respectively. Hissar in Haryana emerged as the coldest with the minimum temperature recorded at 4 degrees Celsius, six degrees below normal.

The weather will remain dry in Punjab and Haryana. The days will be sunny. Mist or haze may occur during morning and evening in the two states. 



Chandigarh scan

Mayor holds meeting: Raj Bala Malik, Mayor, Municipal Corporation held a review meeting regarding the construction work at Mahila Bhawan at Sector 38 today afternoon. She was accompanied by Mukesh Anand, Superintending Engineer, B&R Circle and RC Diwan, SE Public Health, the project architect, contractor and other concerned officials of road wing and public health wing. During the visit, the contractor demanded early payment of his dues so that the construction work could be held smoothly. Mayor assured that she would call all the concerned officers regarding the finance matters. She also instructed the engineers to speed up the construction work.

Professor felicitated: Dr Santosh Kumar, assistant professor, department of urology, PGIMER, was awarded the MIUC International Travel Fellowship at Bengaluru by the Urological Society of India. Under the aegis of this fellowship, he attended the British Association of Urology Surgeons (BAUS) conference at Liverpool and joined the Royal Liverpool University Hospital for renal transplant and robotic surgery for three weeks. He was selected on the basis of his track record, teaching experience and research paper published in journals of international repute.

Sanitation campaign: A sanitation campaign was flagged off by Arun Sood, area Councillor, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, in Sector 37, on Wednesday, in the presence of staff of the sanitation wing, Municipal Corporation, for the upkeep of sanitation. Safai karamcharis of the Sanitation Wing of Municipal Corporation made an impressive rally by carrying placards displaying messages for the residents to cooperate in maintaining the sanitation of City Beautiful by keeping their premises and surroundings clean.by disposing of garbage in the correct manner.

PU seminar: A two-day seminar on “History Society and Punjabi Novel” concluded at the ICSSR complex at PU campus here on Wednesday. The seminar was organised by the Department of Evening Studies, Panjab University, in collaboration with the ICSSR. The first session of the seminar was presided over by Dr Rajinder Singh Brar, chairman, Department of Punjabi, Punjabi University, Patiala. In the presidential forum, Dr Sukhdev Singh Sirsa, Chairman, Punjabi Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Ajit Singh Rahi, a novelist from Australia, were also present. Four papers were presented during the session. Dr Yograj Angris, associate professor, Punjabi Department, PU, presented a paperon Pakastani write Faqar Jaman Hura’s novel ‘Kamjat’. Dr Gurmukh Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala presented a paper based on Bhisam Sahni’s novel ‘Tamas’. The paper presented by Dr Surjit Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala, was on ‘Samkali Punjabi Novel-Saroka Te Sandarb’. Dr Suman Makkar, associate professor of Economics, Department of Evening Studies, Panjab University, presented a paper on ‘Socio-Economic Implications of Soil fatigue and declaration in agricultural productivity in Punjab’ based on Baldev Singh’s novel ‘Anndata’. An interaction session was also held on the papers presented during the event.

PU event on econonics: The Department of Economics, Panjab University, organised a national seminar on ‘Economic Development and Inclusive Growth in India, a press release said here on Wednesday. The seminar was inaugurated by Prof GK Chadha, president, South Asian University, New Delhi, and Prof SS Johl, former Vice-Chairman, Punjab Planning Board, delivered the keynote address. The seminar was widely attended by participants from Punjab, J and K, UP and Andhra Pradesh. Nearly 30 papers were presented in the four technical sessions informed the UGC-SAP Coordinator, Prof. Upinder Sawhney. Prof GK Chadha highlighted that though the Indian economy is the second fastest growing economy in the world, we were at the tail end in terms of human development indices and therefore the growth process was not inclusive.

Seminar on media: The School of Communication Studies, Panjab University, in collaboration with the UGC, Department of Information, Pubic Relations, Government of Haryana is organising a national seminar on ‘New Media: Potentials and Problems’ in the
seminar hall of the department, Arts Block VII, PU campus, on Friday, a press release said here. Professor BK Kuthiala, Vice-Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National Journalism University, Bhopal will deliver the thematic address.

International conference on nanoscience: As a perfect prelude to the international conference on ‘Frontiers in Nanoscience, Nanotechnology and Their Applications: NanoSciTech- 2012’, a pre-conference workshop was inaugurated today at Panjab University by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof RC Sobti. In his inaugural address, lauding the efforts of nanotechnologists in making nano-based technologies accessible for serving the mankind better, Prof Sobti cautioned against their rampant and indiscriminate use owing to problems like toxicity, cost
etc. In the first session, Prof Indu Pal Kaur presented an explicit talk on applications of Solid Lipid Nanoparticles (SLNs) as effective drug delivery systems.

Bookings open: The bookings for the much awaited KTM 200 Duke opened at the KTM store in Chandigarh today. Known for their legendary racing achievements, KTM is Europe’s second largest motorcycle manufacturer and dominates the off-road segment across the world. KTM debuts in India with its premium street bike brand , the DUKE. — tribune reporters



Students file complaint
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The student of Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, have submitted a memorandum to the college authorities demanding renovations of the washrooms of the hostels.

Irked over the condition of the washrooms, the students have demanded an immediate repair. Prabhpreet Singh, a student leader, said that the hostel residents have been complaining about the washrooms since the academic session began. However, the college has failed to renovate them.

The students claimed that if the college failed to give the basic facilities in the hostel they would intensify their protest and even make a representation to the Finance-cum-Education Secretary VK Singh. 



Students to get upgraded version of Aakash tablet 
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The twenty lucky college students who had got the world’s lowest priced 7-inch touch screen computing and Internet device, Aakash, would now get a chance to use its upgraded version. The students had got the tablet PC on a trial basis and had also given the feedback regarding the functioning the device after which Aakash-2 came up.

Two professors from the city, Dr Dalip Kumar and Dr Pradeep Walia, were part of the team of technical experts who handled the implementation of the project.

As a part of the project the students had got the pocket-sized tablet PC on trial basis. Dr Dalip Kumar of Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42, said that they have recently received a communication from IIT Rajasthan offering them the upgraded version of Aakash. “We have been asked to return Aakash and avail Aakash-2 in return,” he said.

Kumar further added that they are yet to find out as whether they would have to send the feedback of the new device. “We are yet to reply to the communication send to us, and only then would it be clear as to whether feedback needs to be sent or not,” he said.

The IIT has also offered to pay for the handling charges of sending the tablet PC back.

After the trials, the students had highlighted some of the negative aspects of the device, which included long charging time, generation of heating after just 30 minutes of usage etc. The device also reportedly hangs up frequently. The students are presently supposed to use Aakash till March 31. However, after getting the new devices, the duration would extend.

The university has already asked all the departments to submit the requirements for the tablet on the basis of which Aakash would be provided to the students at subsidised rates. 



NSUI leaders go on indefinite hunger strike
Inquiry going on against the striking members for thrashing hostel employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Panjab University student leaders Sunny Mehta and Ravinder Singh Rawat, affiliated to the National Students Union of India (NSUI), went on an indefinite hunger strike today demanding withdrawal of hike in hostel mess charges and prices of items at the Students Centre. The authorities however dubbed it as a reaction to an enquiry being marked against Sunny for brutally thrashing hostel employees.

“Not even a single student has walked up to us to complain about the hike which was imposed with consent of all student parties. Sunny, a few days ago, bashed two hostel employees, with belt accusing them of theft. An enquiry was marked against him where he repeatedly failed to appear. When we gave him a final warning, he went on this strike. We will not be blackmailed this way,” said Dean Student Welfare AS Ahluwalia.

“There is nothing of that sorts. The mess servants were caught stealing from our rooms and we just made them confess so. We never beat anybody. PU is just making excuses to evade the issue,” said Mehta.



RTE Act yet to see implementation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Yet another year has gone by without thousands of city children getting admission to schools under the Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education Act.

If one goes by the version of the UT education department, the reason behind the problem is the lack of intent on the part of city’s private schools. But if schools are to be believed, it is UT’s persistent failure to fulfill its duties mandated under the Act.

The schools have sent a list of duties to the department asking it to fulfill them latest by February 20. Ironically, the situation is almost the same as it was in 2010.

Following issues remain unresolved, say schools:

Child mapping: RTE Act mandates the local administration to carry out child mapping and school mapping before the Act can be successfully implemented. This would provide for ensuring schooling to all and not only to the EWS or backward classes. The UT Administration conducted this exercise in 2010 itself and then admitted to the results being botched up. But, shockingly it again asked schools to use the same defunct data which failed to identify any eligible child in city slums next year.

Reimbursement of fees, books, uniforms, and transports: The act mandates that local administration will reimburse private schools for providing free education under the RTE. Leave aside taking a final decision on books, uniforms, transport, the UT Administration has till date not informed schools about the reimbursement of fee.

Neighbourhood criteria: While the RTE defines 1km area around schools as its neighbourhoo, the UT Administration asked private schools to overlook it and accept applications from the entire city, leading to a confrontation between schools.

Empty RTE seats in private and govt schools: While 50 per cent of seats in government schools are empty, over 2000 (out of the 3000 RTE seats) are empty in private schools. Unfortunately, the UT Administration’s ambitious awareness program has failed to take off.



NIPER students, staff honoured
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 15
“The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) has surpassed all expectations in providing quality output in pharmaceutical sciences,” said Prof YK Chawla, director, PGIMER, while speaking at the foundation day function of NIPER today.

While delivering the foundation day lecture entitled “What do clinicians expect from NIPER-like institutions”, Chawla, who was chief guest, said it was important that a registry of patients with drug-induced hepatic injury and elucidation genetics and mechanism of hepatotoxicity was established in the country. Research going on in a number of different areas would compliment the research going on in the medical field. He further underlined the characteristics of a star pharmacist which included compassionate care giver, decision maker, active communicator, lifelong trainer, good manager, leader, good teacher and researcher.

Earlier, Prof KK Bhutani, director, read out the progress report pertaining to the activities undertaken by the institute in last 12 months. He said NIPER had been recognised as one of the four most innovative industrial sectors in India and had received Thomson Reuters Innovative Award, 2011, by the Thomson Reuters and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The director awarded three selected employees for best research support, best technical support and best administrative support. Students, staff and research scientists were also given prizes for their individual performances in activities related to science/general quiz and other activities.

Approximately 700 students, faculty, staff and invited guests from various institutes were present during the function.



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