C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Army health scheme plagued
Owes Rs 60 crore to 30 empanelled centres, including Rs 40-cr Fortis bills 
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
A couple of weeks ago, braving the scorching summer heat, an elderly ex-serviceman travelled from Bathinda to Mohali to avail himself of treatment at a hospital empanelled under the Ex-Servicemen's Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS). On arriving here in the afternoon, he was, however, turned away on the grounds that no beds were available at the hospital. 

On the matter being pursued by a local ex-servicemen's association, it was revealed that the ex-serviceman had not followed the proper referral channel and instead of being routed through the local ECHS office, he had landed directly at the hospital.

This is not a singular case. Local associations taking up ex-servicemen's problems say about half a dozen cases have been brought to their notice in the past three months where ECHS patients have been turned away, ostensibly on the procedural grounds.

Almost a decade after it was launched, the ECHS continues to face functional and administrative problems. Large outstanding payments to private empanelled hospitals, complaints of senior citizens not being entertained, procedural anomalies and unavailability of medicines are among them.

Launched in April, 2003, the ECHS entitles ex-servicemen and their dependents to comprehensive medicare in service hospitals as well as the empanelled private hospitals. Prior to this, they could avail themselves of facilities only for specific high-cost surgeries or treatment for a limited number of diseases covered under the Army group insurance schemes, which provided only limited relief vis-a-vis the schemes available to the other Central Government employees.

The ex-servicemen associations have claimed that there have been instances where veterans have not been entertained by some hospitals, ostensibly due to their commercial interests. Some have also claimed that they have experienced difficulty in being admitted to a hospital in cases of minor or low-level treatment.

The representatives of private hospitals maintain that no patient is refused admission unless there is a genuine reason like unavailability of a bed or the specialist concerned. No emergency case is turned away. Another reason cited for patients being not entertained is that they have not been referred to the hospital by the designated ECHS polyclinic, which would result in administrative hassles later on. Given the quantum of ECHS patient inflow, the number of patients turned away, if unavoidable, is negligible, they say.

Many of these issues were raised at a meeting over ECHS held at the Headquarters, Western Command, Chandi Mandir, about a month ago. Besides the matter of pending bills, allegations of hospitals inflating bills also cropped up. In fact, it was reportedly a representative of a private hospital who himself pointed out that some hospitals were inflating bills.

There are 30 empanelled hospitals, diagnostic centres and laboratories in the tricity region and their total outstanding payment is estimated to be over Rs 60 crore.

In the tricity, the ECHS authorities owe about Rs 40 crore to Fortis Hospital, one of the largest private hospitals in the region. A spokesperson for the hospital said on an average 180 or 200 ECHS patients are attended to daily at the OPD while on any given day there are 25 or 30 ECHS patients in the various ICUs/CCUs of this hospital and another 55 or 75 admitted as in patients.

A senior staffer at another private hospital claimed that his institute had outstanding payments worth over Rs 15 crore. Chandigarh is a high-pressure centre where patients come from the neighbouring states. He said while bills might take up to five or six months to be cleared from the Chandigarh centre of the ECHS, those from other centres like Dharamsala take much longer. The Alchemist in Panchkula owed about Rs 1.5 crore to the ECHS authorities, he added.

Official sources at the Headquarters, Western Command, said they were ‘alive’ to the problems being faced by the stakeholders and efforts were being made to bring down the time period for releasing payments. “We have started online bill processing at five major stations, including Chandigarh, where bills can be submitted online by hospitals, which will cut down the time period,” a senior officer said.

“We are also working out a system where a hospital would give us 2 per cent discount on the bills that are cleared within seven or 10 days,” he added.

According to the hospital authorities, the verification process for bills is long and tedious, involving several establishments and hierarchical levels.

A new system of dispensing medicines is also being adopted, where the dispensaries at the ECHS polyclinics would be outsourced to private players. They would be responsible for procuring and stocking medical supplies and disbursing them as prescribed, with the cost of the supplies being borne by the ECHS as mutually fixed. A meeting between the ECHS authorities and prospective vendors to discuss the modalities of outsourcing was held in New Delhi a few days ago.



Trams to run on non-metro routes in city, periphery
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
As the much-debated Metro for Chandigarh is yet to take off on the ground, the Chandigarh Administration is now considering plying trams in the city and on its periphery. The trams would ply on the routes that have not been found feasible for the Metro project.

Officials in the Administration said the tram project would improve the public transport system in the city. The Administration has already made a provision of Rs 10 crore in the annual budget for studying the tram project. “By running trams on the non-metro routes, we would completely integrate the public transport network. The proposed trams would not disturb the Metro lines, but the system will act as a feeder at certain points,” said a senior official.

The tram project would cost around Rs 50 crore per km and discussions with the experts are already on. Sources said the project would be a step towards upgrading the public transport in the system. A detailed project report would be prepared shortly and high-speed trams with air-conditioned coaches and modern facilities would be procured.

The main purpose behind the project is to encourage the residents of the city to use the public transport. About 40 per cent of the population uses the private transport in developed cities, but the figure here is about 80 per cent.

On the issue of Metro, an official said the project would begin in 2013 and the residents would be able to avail themselves of the facility from 2018. The project will be built at a cost of Rs 8,388 crore.

The first route of the Metro will cover Mullanpur, Sarangpur, Khuda Lahora, PGI, Sectors 16, 9, 7, 26, Timber Market in Sector 26, Chandigarh Railway Station, Housing Board Chowk, Mansa Devi Complex in Panchkula, HUDA office, City Centre, Panchkula bus stand, Sector 14 of Panchkula and the Grain Market of Sector 20, Panchkula.

The second route will have the Capitol Complex, Sectors 9,17, 22 near the Aroma lightpoint, Sectors 34, 43, 52, Sector 62 and 70 of Mohali and Gurdwara Shahidan.

Different proposals to upgrade public transport have been mooted by officials. But most have been shelved after the officials on deputation return to their parent states. In 2005, the UT Administration had also proposed to run a monorail in the city and on its periphery. 

HC informed
The UT Administration has also informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court through an affidavit about the proposal of running trams in the city. In the affidavit, the UT Administration has sought time from the High Court to complete the city master plan.



MC claim on treated water falls flat
Only 4 MGD of water reaching city from Diggian against 10 MGD claimed by it
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
At a time when the city is reeling under water shortage, the MC has failed to make full use of the tertiary treated water being pumped from the Diggian treatment plant. Against the official claim of 10 MGD of treated water being supplied, only 4 MGD of water is reaching the city for the watering of the green belts.

The claim of the municipal corporation fell flat at the Finance and Contract Committee meeting held yesterday when the officials concerned accepted that only 4 MGD of treated water was being utilised by the authorities. The councillors, while contradicting the previous claim of the officials that 20 MGD of treated water was being supplied to the city, had raised the issue at the meeting.

Accepting the fact that at present only 4 MGD of tertiary treated water is released from the Diggian plant for the city, the officials said it was used for a few big gardens. But all the small gardens are not getting tertiary treated water.

Congress councillor Subhash Chawla said even after spending crores of rupees on the installation of tertiary treated water (TTW) plant to save 20 MGD of potable water in the city, there had been no improvement on the water front in the city this year.

As per an MC report, if this project is implemented properly, then 20 MGD (million gallon per day) of drinking water and its generation cost of Rs 40 crore can be saved by the authorities.

In 2005, the TTW pipelines were laid to release 10 MGD of water for 24 sectors but only three parks, including those in Sector 22 and 23 and adjoining Sector 31 and 47 were using 3 MGD of water out of the total supply.

In fact, the UT Administration had also launched a project in 1990 to supply treated water to the residential areas in the Sectors from 1 to 12 and Sector 16. Records of the administration revealed that out of 600 houses in these sectors around 300 houses are having connections of the TTW supply for their lawns. The rest of the house have either disconnected their connections or do not avail themselves of the facility from the day it was launched by the authorities.



holiday effect
Trains’ waiting lists getting longer everyday
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
For those who are looking forward to travelling by train from the city during summer holidays, there is not much joy. A majority of the trains to key destinations have the 'no-room-vacant' status.

Even though the North-Western Railway (NWR) have started around six summer specials and added extra coaches to different trains, the arrangements, too, have proved insufficient to cope passengers’ rush.

There are reports that many persons, who intended to book tickets for different trains, including the Chandigarh-Lucknow Sadbhavna Express and the Chandigarh-Allahabad Unchahar Express, have to return disappointed, as no reservation is available on most of these trains for the next couple of weeks. Despite the long waiting list this year, these trains, which are witnessing a huge rush of passengers, have not been given extension. The current trains running on these routes have failed to cope the rush.

A senior official of Ambala Railway Division said the Unchahar Express and the Gareeb Rath connecting the city with Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Ajmer in Rajasthan were completely booked with the waiting list increasing every day. He said the decision of the authorities to increase the reservation period from 90 days to 120 days had further complicated the matters as the people booked their seats without knowing whether they would be able to actually travel or not. The trains for Mumbai and Hawra are also completely booked till July 30.

“We have been providing extra coaches as and when needed on these trains,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ashwani Bhatt, an IT professional working at a call centre in Mohali, is a worried man. He has been repeatedly visiting the railway reservation counter and checking the railway website to get his tickets to Mumbai confirmed. He said: “I planned a visit to my home town a fortnight ago. However, the reservation status shows that I can't get tickets for Mumbai before July 30."

He said this has also led to a fluctuation in the flight fares. "The Chandigarh-Mumbai flight, which usually costs around Rs 9,000, is now available for about Rs 12,500,” he added. 


Jaspal Bhatti welcomes power cuts in his style
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
When almost the entire city is reeling under power cuts, noted satirist Jaspal Bhatti has a reason to rejoice. Not that he owns a generator or an inverter manufacturing company, but because he is coming up with a Punjabi comedy movie, “Power Cut”, which is set for release soon.
Jaspal Bhatti with artistes of his movie ‘Power Cut’ distributes hand fans to make a satire on power crisis at Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Wednesday.
Jaspal Bhatti with artistes of his movie ‘Power Cut’ distributes hand fans to make a satire on power crisis at Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Maanoj ahajan 

Jasraj Bhatti, son of Jaspal Bhatti, Surilie Gautam and Zafar Khan welcomed “power cuts”’ in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana today by distributing hand fans in the Sector-17 Plaza here.

“If our politicians planned for electrical power with half their energy that they apply to gain political power, the country’ future would brighten up with full wattage. We are thankful to the inefficient power ministry and electricity department to inspire us to make a romantic comedy movie on the backdrop of our power system,” said Bhatti on the occasion.

Bhatti plans to dub “Power Cut” in other languages like Hindi and Tamil. Bhatti feels Tamil Nadu has same electricity problem that Punjab and Delhi have.



Mock drill held by UT police at Kali Bari Mandir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
A mock drill was conducted by the UT police at the Kali Bari Mandir, Sector 31, this evening. The police received information that a bomb has been planted at the temple, following which the police teams rushed to the spot.

According to the information, the local police received information at 5.56 pm that a bomb has been planted at the temple. The police team from the Sector 31 police station, a dog squad, bomb disposal squad and other units of the police reached the spot and started search operation.

The police teams carried out a search operation till about 7.30 pm at the temple complex.

Meanwhile, devotees to the temple were surprised to see the police force in a large number carrying out a search operation at the temple.

“Initially, I thought that a bomb has been planted in the temple that spread terror among the devotees, however, later on, we came to know that it was a mock drill,” said a devotee.



GMCH-32 nurses to go on mass casual leave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Protesting against the alleged indifferent attitude of the authorities towards their demands, nursing staff at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, has decided to go on a mass casual leave on June 15.

The nurses at the hospital have been on agitation from last month.

The demands of the nurses include implementation of Central pay scale and Central civil service rules, as they are the employees of the Central government.

Another major demand is to fill up vacant posts at the earliest, concerning the coming monsoon season when a sudden spurt of diseases would occur that would double or triple patients and severity of the disease and death rate. The nurses are demanding to implement their upgradation from 2006 and arrears from 2006.

Another big demand is to change their designation from staff nurse to nursing officer.

“We have met the additional director (administration) as well as the director-principal, Dr Raj Bahadur, over the issue. But no remedial steps were taken to address the grievances of the nursing staff, therefore leaving no option for us but to go on the mass casual leave on June 15,” said Vijay Kumar, president, GMCH Nurses’ Welfare Association, and press secretary, coordination committee of UT and MC employees.

On the other hand, Dr Raj Bahadur said out of 36 demands raised by the union leaders, 24 major demands had been accepted by the hospital administration. The process of recruiting nurses, which is one of the major demands of the nursing staff, had been started even before they had resorted agitation last month, he said. The remaining demands are to be tackled at the higher level, including the Union Ministry of Health, added the director-principal.



Filmcity Project
Notice issued to Parsvnath

Chandigarh, June 13
On the petition filed by the UT Administration opposing payment of Rs 50 crore, which was awarded by a three-member arbitration tribunal in connection with the Filmcity project dispute, a local court recently issued notice to the Parsvnath.

A senior official of the UT Administration said the administration had moved the court against the decision of the arbitration tribunal and now the court has issued notice to the Parsvnath.

In the appeal filed by the UT Administration in the district court, the administration has contended that the arbitration tribunal has travelled beyond the terms of the agreement, has not been appreciated, wrongly interpreted and has ignored various provisions of the agreement, besides misconducting the proceedings have rendered the award against the provisions of the agreement, settled principles and provisions of law.

Terming the award of Rs 50 crore as unjust and unreasonable, the administration has submitted that the award (judgment) is so patently illegal that would shock the conscience of a person of ordinary prudence.

The tribunal on March 10 had held the administration squarely responsible for not approving zoning plan for the Filmcity project. Holding that the breach of contract is on part of the Chandigarh Administration, the tribunal had directed it to pay Rs 49.18 crore with an interest of 12 per cent from December 2009. The dispute relates to the Filmcity project, which was to come up in an area of 30 acres in Sarangpur village. The project was awarded in 2007. Rs 191-crore project was allotted to Parsvnath but later scrapped. — TNS



BSNL to release 8 lakh cell connections
Suman Bhatnagar

Ambala, June 13
The Haryana BSNL will release 8 lakh new connections of the mobile phones soon to meet the demands of consumers. Talking to the media persons, here today, GK Upadhyay, chief GMT, Haryana, said that the equipments of latest technology would be installed in the NCR region to improve the mobile phone service.

He said that initially Gurgaon, Rohtak, Sonepat and Faridabad districts would be benefited by the scheme. Later, the technology would be introduced in other districts too. He said that 800 new towers would be installed in the state to improve the frequency of the cell phones. He said that the complaints of the mobile phone consumers would be attended online.

Replying to a question, he said that staff would be deployed in Ambala City to attend the complaints of the consumer even on Sunday.



Melody and rhythm mark Shiamak’s Summer Funk Programme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Is this a Broadway Musical or is it an extravagant Bollywood film set? The scene is a dance floor teeming with young people, moving to rhythmic beats, demonstrating high energy and infectious enthusiasm. Wearing glittering costumes, akin to what Elvis Presley wore in his hey days and later Rishi Kapoor in Om Shanti Om in Karz, this was a more modern and contemporary version of all these genres of dance and music.

In its annual Summer Funk programme, the Shiamak Davar International India Private Limited, in collaboration with the city's Durga Das Foundation, held the grand finale of its fortnight-long workshop at the Tagore Theatre today evening.

Around 300 participants grooved to chartbusting numbers from Hindi films and also from some of the latest foot tapping English tunes. The common thread that wove through each of the ten musical sequences was the fun that the dancers seemed to be having. Well choreographed steps that moved in tandem to the beat, these were smart and stylised versions reminiscent of the best of the disco era, the hip hop and jazz and the modern and contemporary versions dominated much of the song and dance drill patronised by the 'movers and shakers' across the world.

The Shiamak workshop has been a much sought after annual feature in the city with new wannabe dancers and the older ones, joining in to refine their steps, move to higher levels and to continue their love affair with modern fusion dance. The underlying feature in this style of dance is the emphasis on fitness and exercise. Resultantly, the dance steps are more energised and synchronised.

With smiles on their faces and a lot of energy on stage, the audience too seemed to have a great time as they sang along, tapped their feet and cheered the dancers. The overall mood was upbeat, the way only music and dance can, transcending all barriers through the magic of sound, melody and rhythm.



Rock garden
Tourists disappointed
 Water feature non-operational for last two days
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Hundreds of tourists visiting the world renowned Rock Garden are feeling disappointed, as the water feature in one of the most famous tourist spots of Chandigarh, is lying non-operational from the last two days.

The motor, which was used to recycle water to run the waterfall in the Rock Garden, is not working from the last two days. The creator of the Rock Garden, Nek Chand, also complained to persons concerned who were managing the operations of motor, but to no avail.

The self-taught artist, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 1984, Nek Chand, said the visitors were complaining him about the non-functional waterfall, which was one of the major attractions of the garden. He added that from the past two days, he was busy dealing with visitors’ complaints regarding the waterfall.

Lionel Manley, a tourist from Tamil Nadu, said they enjoyed the beautiful Rock Garden. He added that they had seen pictures of waterfall on the Internet and had decided to click photos in front of the waterfall, but as it was not working, they feel disappointed.

Gopal Singh Aithani, a tourist from Delhi, said he recorded each and every moment in the Rock Garden and would love to record the running waterfall as well. But he appreciated the efforts of Nek Chand and said the sculptures made here were nice and beautiful.

Nisha Singh, a tourist from Pune, said she had come to Punjab for a two-month training programme and had decided to visit the Rock Garden as well. But she felt disappointed, as the waterfall was not running in the garden.

Spread over 25 acres and having several thousand sculptures in a large mosaic courtyards linked by walled paths and deep gorges, the Rock Garden also combines huge buildings with a series of interlinking waterfalls. It attracts a large number of visitors everyday. This creation has even appeared on the Indian stamp in the 1983.



MC razes illegal structures
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The enforcement wing of the municipal corporation has demolished encroachments in the green belt of Sector 29 here today. A building contractor had raised temporary structures in the park behind Shirdi Sai Temple.

According to enforcement inspector Kashmira Singh, horticulture department SDO Krishan Pal had lodged a complaint in this regard with the enforcement wing.

Over two dozen workers of the municipal corporation reached the spot this afternoon and demolished three structures in the green belt. The offender had assured of removing malba and material from the spot immediately, said Kashmira Singh.



Misuse of public funds
 Municipal Corporation to replace tiles in good condition
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 13
Residents in Phase II have raised objections to the wastage of public funds by the Municipal Corporation, which is replacing tiles in good condition with new ones on the footpaths and other stretches along the road.
Tiles in good condition that will be replaced with new ones by the MC at Phase 2 in Mohali.
Tiles in good condition that will be replaced with new ones by the MC at Phase 2 in Mohali. Tribune photo: vicky gharu

A retired Army officer said the civic body was wasting lot of public money by replacing tiles in good condition with new ones. Such an exercise should have been undertaken only in those areas where footpath has been damaged. It appeared as if no agency existed which could stop public funds from being wasted.

BD Singla, Superintending Engineer of the civic body, however, said that as the number of vehicles in the town had gone up, residents were facing parking problems. The corporation was trying to create more space for parking by reconstructing footpaths. The effort had been appreciated by a number of residents. He said that if tiles were replaced in some pockets and not in others, residents would start alleging that a pick and choose policy was adopted by the civic body while executing maintenance works.

Moreover, tiles were also replaced to create symmetry in the work in a particular area.



Adapt to new technologies, says Haryana DGP
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
As the workload of the police in the state has increased considerably, there is a need to adapt to new technologies to maintain law and order. This was stated by Ranjeev S Dalal, Haryana Director-General of Police (DGP), during a police recruitment drive at the Police Lines here on Monday.

Dalal said the country was facing internal turmoil and Haryana was also a part of it. He said it had become a fashion to organise protest rallies on national highways, leading to traffic jams in various parts of the state.

He said people should be patriotic and avoid indulging in conflicts with the police. He said false cases were being lodged at police stations to harass innocent people.

The DGP said the police was trying to solve cases in a fair manner without taking the side of anyone. He said they tried to reach the site of the crime and seize vital proof before it could be destroyed.

He said the department had made elaborate arrangements to provide training to its staff in photography and other techniques. He said a multi-media laboratory had been set up at the Haryana Police Academy in Madhuban at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore.

Congratulating passout cadets, he said parents should try to restrict their children from getting involved in family disputes and allow them to serve the nation in a better way.

He advised the cadets not to get disheartened while facing problems and try to remember the services of martyrs who laid their lives for the safety of the nation.

Talking about the facilities being provided to police personnel in the state, Dalal said modern flats were being constructed at Palwal, Mewat, Hisar and Kaithal. For this, the state government had provided a loan of Rs 300 crore to the police, he added. He said 500 houses were being constructed at Gurgaon at a cost of Rs 75 crore.



Seminar on preventing child abuse held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 12
A special seminar on “Preventing Child Abuse” for underprivileged children living in various slums of the town was organised at Ashiana Children’s Home in Sector 16 here today.

Over 100 children from Indira Colony, Rajiv Colony, Mauli Jagran and orphans residing at Ashiana Children’s Home attended the session conducted by a private Hospital at Mohali.

A free health check-up camp was also organised after the session.

Explaining to the children about what child sexual abuse meant, the resource person said that this had been defined as the emotional, physical, psychological and sexual manipulation of a child for the purpose of gratification of an older individual or adult.

He informed children that they needed to be careful as the Study on Child Abuse: India 2007 conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development had shown that 53.22 per cent children had reportedly faced sexual abuse.

The study also reported that 50 per cent abusers were known to the victim children and in most of the cases children had not reported the matter to anyone, he added.



Cong leaders of Barwala block join HJC

Panchkula, June 13
The Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) received a shot in the arm as senior congress leaders from the Barwala block joined the party during a meeting organised by former deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan here today.
Haryana Janhit Congress leader Chander Mohan addresses Congress leaders of Barwala block at his residence in Panchkula on Wednesday.
Haryana Janhit Congress leader Chander Mohan addresses Congress leaders of Barwala block at his residence in Panchkula on Wednesday. Tribune photo: nitin mittal

Block Congress President Rajender Kaka, Ex-Chairman Market Committee Sahab Singh Rana, Block general secretary Harpal Singh, Tejeshwar Sharma, Mohan Lal Verma of Indian National Lok Dal and Amar Singh of Bahujan Samaj Party were among the 597 leaders who joined the party during the meeting convened at the residence of Chander Mohan, who had recently joined the HJC.

Speaking to the media, Chander Mohan said that he was ready to contest the elections from Kalka as well as Panchkula assembly constituency. However, he added that Panchkula was his personal choice. He said his father and former Chief Minister late Bhajan Lal had dreamt of making Panchkula as Paris. He rued that successive governments had failed to initiate any development projects for the city. He said that people in the town know about the projects brought to the city by his father and if elected he would try to fulfill the dream of his father.

Launching a scathing attack on the State Government led by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the former Deputy Chief Minister said that that no professional colleges were being set up in the district while medical college and other professional colleges and universities were coming up in Rohtak district the home constituency of the CM. He said the people in the state were fed up with the present government and that the BJP-HJC combine would win with two third majority in the next elections to be held after about two years.

Chander Mohan said that he would also hold a meeting with various leaders in Kalka, Pinjore, Raipurrani and Morni block and added that he was hopeful of getting thumping support from the people in these regions.



Residents get dirty potable water
Tribune News Service

Residents of Phase 3 A show dirty potable water in Mohali on Wednesday.
Residents of Phase 3 A show dirty potable water in Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: vicky gharu

Mohali, June 13
Residents of Phase 3 A here have complained about dirty drinking water coming in the taps for the last few days. Complaints to the public health officials have fallen on deaf ears.

The residents alleged that the water was not being treated before being supplied in the residential areas.

Manjeet Sethi, a resident of Phase 3 A, said dirty water was being supplied for the past one week. The water contained dust. It is learnt that the filters in the supply lines were not being properly cleaned.



Railway to launch Kashmir holiday tour package
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
After venturing out for organising special trains to various religious places, the Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has now started organising special package tours to tourist destination in the country.

The IRCTC has started a special holiday package tour to Kashmir and the first batch for the six-day, five-night tour would leave for the valley on June 20. The corporation would charge Rs 18,111 for a single person and Rs 8,313 per person for couples. Rs 7,274 per person would be charged in case three persons share the facility. These rates are applicable ex-Srinagar, a senior IRCTC official said.

The five nights and six days’ stay in the Kashmir valley will include two nights’ stay in a houseboat and three nights’ stay at a three star hotel. The tourists travelling by air or by bus would be received by the IRCTC staff at the Srinagar airport and the bus stand and would be taken to houseboat. After the breakfast they would enjoy the ride in a Shikarah in world famous Dal Lake. The corporation would provide breakfast and dinner while the tourists would have to take lunch on their own.

The tourists would be taken to Shankracharya temple, Chashme Shahi, Pari Mahal, Botanical Garden, Zaharwan hills, Mughal Garden and to markets around the Dal Lake on the next day. On the third day the tourists would be taken for sightseeing in Gurlmarg while on the fourth day they would be taken to Pahalgam in South Kashmir. On the fifth day tourists would be taken to Sonmarg and would be dropped at the bus stand or airport for their return journey.

IRCTC assistant manager (Tourism) Kailash Hatwalkar said that tour packages would start from June 20 and would be continued as and when the demand arose. He said a group consisting of five or six persons could book the holiday packages. The booking would have to be made at least one week 
in advance.



Laser technology for eye surgery launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
India’s leading network of eye hospitals, the Centre for Sight will open 15 new centres in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir during next three years.

This was announced by renowned ophthalmologist and CMD of the centre, Dr Mahipal Singh Sachdev, a Padam Shree awardee here today on the occasion of the launch of femotosecond laser technology for cataract surgery.

The Centre for Sight has tied up with the Chandigarh-based centre. Now, the total number of Centre for Sight super-specialty eye hospitals goes up to 40 across India, he said.

Addressing a press conference, Dr Sachdev said, “The launch of femtosecond laser technology is the first-of-its-kind in Haryana and Chandigarh.”

The femtosecond laser technology is the latest and best technology for cataract surgery available throughout the world. This bladeless and stitches less technique for cataract surgery delivers precise results and is a boon for the patient.



Chandigarh Scan

Protest against power cuts
Youth Innovative Society has reacted strongly to the UT’s scheduled power cuts, especially in the densely populated sectors. When the common man is reeling under sweltering heat due to cuts by the electricity department, the top brass of Chandigarh Adminstration and VIPs are enjoying uninterrupted power supply. Chandigarh Administration and Electricity Department have always subjected the common man to step-motherly treatment. The official machinery seems to have completely collapsed as some areas are facing power outages while the babus are resting in their air conditioned rooms, said the society members.

Unhygienic pork destroyed
A joint raid was conducted by the Medical Officer of Health in assistance with the enforcement wing of the Municipal Corporation and police at Kumhar & Janta Colony, Sector 25, here today. During the raid 60 Kg of unstamped pork, unfit for human consumption, was seized and destroyed. A challan was issued to the violator and four temporary structures/kiosks used for selling the meat were removed from the area.

Summer workshop
Ashmah International School, Mohali, offered students a summer adventure with various activities including creative paradise, dancing, singing, writing skills, art and craft, and cooking without fire.The children also learnt moral values during the workshop. The action packed workshop enabled students to discover and experience exciting subjects while gaining new skills. Principal Roopinder Ghuman said that during such workshops even introvert children show their talent. Prizes were also distributed during the event.

Meeting with rice millers
Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, in a meeting with rice millers and officials of various departments has asked the mill owners and the owner of Saila plant to implement the High Court orders regarding the storage of rice husk and rice ash, and directed the concerned officials to ensure that no rice mill violates the orders. The DC also briefed the meeting about the orders of the High Court regarding the storage of rice husk. He directed the rice mill owners to construct storage sheds upto 10 feet high. The sheds should have only one door and a specific device to control pollution at the roof. He also directed to construct a concrete passage for the transportation of rice and paddy so that dust may not come out. The DC directed the officials of Punjab Pollution Control Board to ensure the implementation of the High Court orders by June 18.

Gian Jyoti Institute of Manangement and Technology, Phase 2, organised a seminar on World Child Labour Day at its campus. Students of the institute gave speeches on the issue during the event. JS Bedi, chairman, Gian Jyoti Group of Institutions, said that child labour is a curse for the Indian society. He said that education opportunities should be provided to everyone and it is our morel duty to stop child labour.

Mohali DSP RS Sohal organised a meeting with the chemists of Mohali and Nayagoan to make them aware about the new drive by Punjab police to eradicate the menace of drugs. The shopkeepers were informed about the rules and were told not to sell habit forming drugs without prescription.

— Tribune Reporters



PU offering unconventional courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Gone are the days when students pursued MA in traditional subjects only. Panjab University has a lot more to offer with courses like MA in Community Education and Development, and BEd (Special Education with Specialisation in Learning Disabilities).

Community Education is an interdisciplinary course which would enable students to understand the issues pertaining to community development at the national as well as at the global level.

Dr Navleen Kaur, Chairperson, Department of Community Education and Disability Studies, stated that for the overall development of the society, it is important to understand the issues pertaining to the development of the community as well as the individuals.

Officials stated that in order to understand the dynamics of community life, theoretically and practically, and to train the students to develop skills for catering to the needs of the children so that they contribute to the overall development of the society, the university offers MA in Community Education and Development. Listing the objectives and the basic idea behind the course, officials said that the

course caters to the communities in general and the socially marginalised and poor sections in particular.

The course also helps in training and building human resources for the overall development of the society by having partnership with the state, civil society and NGOs. “Those who pursue this course can get employed in educational institutions as counsellors, as facilitators in government and non-government organisations, as public health educators, human rights activists and in other institutions devoted to the upliftment of the community,” said the officials.

The department also offers BEd (Special Education with Specialisation in Learning Disabilities). The course is designed to enable students acquire knowledge about the changes in the Indian society in view of the recent trends in education and national goals.

Listing the merits of the course, officials said that it helps to coordinate and collaborate with parents, family, doctors and the community in general to help children with learning disabilities become productive and useful members of society. It also equips them with various techniques of inclusive teaching and evaluation in special education.

The admissions for both the courses have begun and the last date for applying is July 2.



UIHMT counselling from June 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The counselling for admission to the Panjab University Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism (UIHMT) will begin from June 20. The counselling for admission to BSc courses in hospitality and hotel management and tourism management will be held.

According to PU officials, the counselling will be held at UIHMT and details can be availed through the PU website.

Prof Lalit K Bansal, director UIHMT, stated that candidates are required to appear for the counselling along with original detail marks certificates of classes X and XII, character certificate from the last institute attended and attested photocopies of all certificates.

Bansal stated that the students having a gap year in the academic career are required to furnish an affidavit to the effect, attested by the Magistrate, that the student was not involved in an offence or unlawful activities during the gap years. 



PEC students win prize in US competition
 Design mechanism to generate power utilising motion of automobilesTribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
An innovative engineering project for generating electricity by utilising the motion of automobiles through a compressible speed breaker mechanism fitted into the roads made by the students of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) won the third-prize at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Annual Conference Student Competition held in the USA. Eight teams from across the world were selected for the competition.

The team members behind the innovative concept included Tarun Kumar, Rishab Sekhri, Dheeraj Bharadwaj (all final year students of production engineering), and Apaksh Gupta and Navijit Singh (both second year students of civil engineering). The project is an innovative engineering idea useful in producing ‘Green Energy’.

The students conceptualised a design to utilise the motion of automobiles to generate electricity by using a compressible speed breaker mechanism fitted into the roads.

Students stated that this electrical energy can be utilised to run the traffic signals, street lights etc. This project can be fitted on the roads where thousands of vehicles pass in a single day and thereby producing a fair amount of electricity which can even be used for various purposes.

The SME Annual Conference Student Competition took place at Marriott, Key Centre, Downtown, Cleveland, Ohio State, USA on June 4. PEC was one of the eight teams selected all over the world by SME depending upon the concept and feasibility of the project.

Two teams of judges evaluated the projects on the basis of the idea, innovation, design, manufacturing feasibility and application.



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