C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Monsoon hits tricity
Arrives two days in advance; Met department records 22.6mm rainfall
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Against the earlier prediction that monsoon would arrive in the tricity region after the first week of this month, the monsoon has arrived two days in advance. The met department has recorded 22.6mm rainfall this afternoon.

The weather office warned that Saturday could be another uncertain day with mainly cloudy sky and possibility of rain or thunderstorm. It said light to moderate rain or thundershowers might occur at a few places in Haryana and Punjab and rainfall activity would increase in the subsequent three days.

The weather office has predicted that there would be no major change in the day temperatures, but there would be an increase in the night temperatures.

The Chandigarh Met Director, Surinder Pal, said monsoon had arrived in the tricity region even though it was yet to reach the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. Humidity would increase in the days to come.

Meanwhile, Hisar continued to be the hottest with 41.3 degrees Celsius. In Punjab, Amritsar remained the hottest with 39.8 degrees Celsius.

Monsoon is here; city records 22.6mm rainfall

Panjab University students play kabaddi at a water-logged playground after heavy rain in Chandigarh on Friday.
Panjab University students play kabaddi at a water-logged playground after heavy rain in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari
Motorists switch on the headlights of their vehicles near the UT Guest House amid dark clouds and rain in Chandigarh on Friday.
Motorists switch on the headlights of their vehicles near the UT Guest House amid dark clouds and rain in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune Photo: S Chandan
People push a car stuck in mud at the tehsil complex parking in Dera Bassi.
People push a car stuck in mud at the tehsil complex parking in Dera Bassi. Tribune Photo: Nitin Mittal
Motorists drive through water accumulated due to heavy rain in Patiala.
Motorists drive through water accumulated due to heavy rain in Patiala. Tribune Photo: Rajesh Sachar



Diarrhoea outbreak
High bacteria count in water samples
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
While there was no let-up in the number of new patients suffering from diarrhoea reaching hospitals from Mauli Jagran, seven more samples of drinking water from the locality have been found unfit for human consumption.

A total of 20 samples were collected by the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, from various houses of the locality. Out of these, seven samples were found contaminated with bacteria.

Out of three other samples, one failed quality test yesterday. However, whether water contamination was the reason behind the epidemic in Mauli Jagran could be established only after the stool of patients is tested in a diagnostics laboratory, sources at the GMCH said.

Meanwhile, the number of patients from the locality has reached over 1,800. Today, 176 new patients were found suffering from diarrhoea. Twentysix of them were admitted to other hospitals, the spokesperson for the health department said.

Municipal chief engineer SS Bida could not be contacted for comments.

Unsafe levels
A potable water sample is termed unfit for human consumption when it is found containing more than three bacteria counts. The samples collected from Mauli Jagran have been found with bacterias as high as 1,800, sources at the GMCH said.



Mobile phone towers for some residential areas
Admn to allow microcell towers in Sec 1-6 and at group housing societies in Sec 48-50
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
In a major relief to residents and telecom operators, the UT Administration is going to allow mobile phone towers at residential areas in certain sectors where no commercial site exists.

At Sectors 1 to 6, there are no commercial pockets. Similar is the situation in group housing societies at Sectors 48, 49 and 50.

Making a major change in the existing policy, the UT Administration will allow microcell site towers in these areas instead of huge ones. Microcell site towers are less in height and cover less space.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Administration to listen to the views of companies and decide about the new policy.

Following this, the Administration convened a meeting, in which several telecom companies pointed out the lacunae in the present policy.

They said if mobile phone towers were not allowed in all residential areas, northern sectors and group housing societies would be without towers, causing problems to residents there.

An official claimed that the new policy would also strengthen the mobile phone network system in the city and ensure the safety of residents.

The draft policy would be placed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court soon. At present, the Supreme Court had ordered status quo on the removal of 180 mobile phone towers in residential areas in the city.

Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh, in his report submitted to UT Finance Secretary VK Singh, had pointed out that more than 300 mobile phone towers were illegal.

The UT Administration had sought the report after receiving directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it should notify its policy on mobile phone towers in residential areas in two months.

The court had made it clear that it wanted the towers to be shifted out of residential areas in a phased manner.

The draft policy on mobile phone towers, which was prepared in 2004, made it clear that no such tower would be allowed in residential areas.

Such towers would be allowed on commercial buildings which had completion certificates and sanctioned building plans.

The policy further read that commercial buildings should have sewerage connections and should be inspected by the estate office staff.

The owners of mobile phone companies had challenged other provisions and directions in the policy.

The policy could not be notified since the court had stayed it. The litigation was sent to the Supreme Court and was subsequently reverted to the High Court.

What microcell site tower is
Microcell site towers are less in height and cover less space compared to mobile phone towers. The range is less than two kilometres. The antennae are mounted at the street level and can often be disguised as building features to be visually less intrusive. 



Night food street in new avatar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Two months after the night food street in the city lost its flavour with the pulling down of shutters on the unique project, the Municipal Corporation (MC) is all set to spice up the night life of the city residents once again.

It will now be re-launched, but with a difference. To begin with just four of the 10 kiosks would be functional and non-vegetarian food would not be offered. The contract would range from one to three years.

The High Court had asked the authorities concerned to file an affidavit in this regard. The Municipal Commissioner on the previous date of hearing had submitted that the food street was not visualised to provide inexpensive food for attendants of PGI patients or students. He had, however, submitted that the new policy pertaining to the night food street would be framed considering the observations of the court.

The court had earlier also made it clear that it wanted the authorities concerned to ensure that the ingredient of reasonableness is added to the dishes.

After taking a suo motu cognizance of a news report on high prices being allegedly charged by vendors at the night food street, the court had earlier issued a notice of motion to the UT Administration.

Placing on record the news report, the then Chief Justice had asserted: "If the facts appearing in the news item are correct, the matter deserves to be looked in the public interest jurisdiction of the court."

The food street had come into existence some three years ago and was providing food at nominal rates to attendants of patients at the PGI and to Panjab University students. But the rising prices had left the residents bitter, the Chief Justice had observed in reference to the news report.

Only 4 kiosks to function
The night food street will be re-launched, but with a difference. To begin with, just four of the 10 kiosks will be functional and non-vegetarian food will not be served. The contract will range from one to three years. 


4 vends sold
Excise and taxation dept holds auction of 60 liquor vends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
It seems that the new UT excise policy is weighing heavy on contractors. In its last bid to dispose of the remaining 60 IMFL and countrymade liquor vends, the UT excise and taxation department could sell only four countrymade liquor vends after reducing the reserve price by 20 per cent.

Contractors attributed it to the high costs in the trade. The vends sold today were located at Daria, Ram Darbar, Sector-26 Grain Market and Mani Majra. The department earned Rs 1.32 crore from the allotment.

Sources said the department had been able to sell 155 of the 217 vends under the new policy. In the first auction on April 20, the department could not dispose of 37 per cent of the vends. Not a single bid was received for 82 of the 215 vends advertised.

In the second attempt, the department could dispose of 13 of the 82 vends on sale. A substantial increase in licence fee and excise duty was said to be one of the main reasons for the poor response.

"Most vends located on the border with Mohali and those capable of generating high business attracted bidders," admitted a UT official. On the other hand, the department claimed that it earned a bid money of Rs 152 crore, compared to Rs 124 crore last year.



Traffic awareness workshop today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
In order to spread awareness about road safety rules among the public, the traffic police, in association with the NGO Tamanna, will organise a traffic awareness workshop.

The workshop, ‘Traffic Character Human Chain’, will be held at the plaza in Sector 17 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm tomorrow.

Youth members of the NGO will be dressed up as road signs, traffic lights and rules to leave a visual impact. A verbal quiz, with gifts to win, will be another attraction.



Waterlogging exposes MC's ill-preparedness 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 6
Monsoon season's first rainfall that lashed the region for more than one hour today exposed the ill-preparedness of the municipal corporation to deal with waterlogging. As per official sources, Panchkula had received about 25 mm rainfall as compared to 5 mm recorded last year.

Waterlogging was witnessed in low-lying areas such as Rajiv Colony, Ambedkar Colony, Bhudhanpur near Sector 16 and Sector 19. The water had entered jhuggies.

Vehicles broke down in the middle of the roads, at the roundabout of Sector 20 T-Point near the market, Tawa Chowk, Shakti Bhawan Chowk and Sectors 17 and 18. Traffic moved at a snail's pace. The situation was worse in Sector 19.

The power supply remained suspended in some areas as heavy rain accompanied by strong winds lashed the district, especially in the rural areas, and the people had to remain without power for more than one to two hours.

A senior MC official said water got accumulated near the roundabout which was cleared within a few minutes.



Civic body’s yearly income from ads goes up
Our Correspondent

Mohali , July 6
The yearly income of the Mohali municipal corporation from advertisements has gone up three times from Rs 1.75 crore to Rs 5.33 crore.

Varun Roojam, Commissioner of the civic body, who is also the Deputy Commissioner, said work related to advertisements was today outsourced through e-tendering. The number of advertisements were reduced in order to beautify the town and advertisements were allowed only on unipoles and gantries. Even then the revenue from ads had gone up drastically, he added.

The civic body had invited tenders from advertisement agencies having at least a turn over of Rs 2 crore and a two-year experience of running or managing advertisement jobs. The contract will be given for a period of three years beginning July 21. The reserve price fixed by the corporation is Rs 2.75 crore per year.

Foundation stone laid

Mohali: Union Minister Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation Jairam Ramesh laid the foundation stone of a Rs 4.50-crore advanced water-testing laboratory in Phase II here today .

The laboratory will have facilities for testing the presence of uranium and other heavy metals in water and will benefit not only Punjab, but also Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Chandigarh and other northern states.

The minister said underground water was becoming polluted. The Centre had given Rs 3.80 crore for setting up the laboratory which would be ready in seven months.

He said Punjab had demanded Rs 50 lakh for the construction of the building of laboratory which would be looked into. The laboratory would have the latest equipment and would be one of its kind in the region.

The union minister had a round of the state water supply department's water testing laboratory and grievance redress centre. He also planted a sapling.

Among others present included Vilasini Ramachandran, secretary, department of water supply and sanitation, Government of India, and secretary of the department of water supply and sanitation, Punjab, Sanjay Kumar.



CHB puts ball in Admn’s court
 Earnest money refund to 3,000 unsuccessful special housing scheme applicants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Extending the uncertainty over the fate of the refund of earnest money to 3,000 unsuccessful applicants in the special housing scheme for UT employees floated in 2008, the board of members of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has referred the matter to Chandigarh Administration.

The onus of taking a decision on the sensitive issue has been put on the Administration. "Refunding the earnest money of 3,000 employees involves a crucial decision. Some employees have been seeking interest as the earnest money has not been refunded within a month of the draw of lots," said a senior CHB official.

It had been pointed out that unsuccessful applicants had approached the board authorities to retain their money till the Administration took a final decision on their demand regarding the allotment of dwelling units to all eligible employees.

But after a long lapse of time, some of the unsuccessful applicants, who had not given their consent for the retention of money, claimed interest on the earnest money. In some of the cases, the refund had been made to the unsuccessful applicants.

The senior standing counsel for the board had advised that earnest money be refunded to unsuccessful applicants. The earnest money cannot be treated for a new scheme, it had been pointed out.

Even the scheme for successful applicants had been inordinately delayed. Under the scheme, floated five years ago, around 4,000 flats have to be constructed at Sectors 52, 53 and 56.

Under the scheme, 252 lots were drawn for category A, which was 3-BHK (bedroom-hall-kitchen); 168 for category B, which was 2-BHK; 3,066 for category 3, which was 1-BHK; and 444 for category D, which was for the economically weaker section.

At the last board meeting, the board had approved to increase the cost of the flat, with a decision to increase the number of flats from four storeys to six.

Sources in the CHB said while the scheme was being delayed inordinately due one reason or the other, the board had started refunding money to unsuccessful employees who had not shown interest in getting flats. There were around 80 such applicants.

Meanwhile, successful applicants decried the inordinate delay in the issuance of allotment letters. The employees lamented that despite the draw of lots in November, 2010, no allotment letter had been issued and the cost of construction had gone up.

Many employees had taken loans to fund the cost of their flats. Some of the employees were about to retire and it would be difficult for them to bear the increased cost of their flats after retirement.



PGI contractual workers end stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh July 6
Contractual workers with the PGI ended their strike today after the PGI administration agreed to take up their demands at the next meeting of the standing finance committee.
Medical waste lies beside the stairs behind the emergency at the PGI in Chandigarh on Friday.
Medical waste lies beside the stairs behind the emergency at the PGI in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Both parties held two rounds of negotiations during the day. Finally, the settlement was signed in the evening.

The employees were on strike since yesterday, demanding minimum pay scale and grade pay on the lines sanctioned or paid to various Group C employees by the committee at its meeting held in July, 2010.

A regular and directly employed sanitation attendant (Group D worker) drew Rs 14,370, besides bonus, LTC and leave, but those employed through a contractor were being paid only Rs 6,000.



Traffic policeman slapped, abused
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
In yet another incident of assault on policemen, a head constable with the traffic police was slapped and abused by a resident who was stopped for checking at the traffic light point on the road separating Sectors 23 and 24 here this evening.

The police arrested the accused, 57-year-old Jang Bahadur of Sector 40. The accused, a government employee, worked with the Haryana Laboratories at Sector 11. The incident occurred when Sharminder was on duty at the traffic light point on his motorcycle. He signalled the person driving a Swift car to stop to check documents.

Jang Bahadur confronted him and refused to show him the documents of his vehicle. A heated scuffle ensued and the accused slapped and hurled abuses at the policeman.

The head constable called up the police control room. The accused was arrested and booked under Sections 279, 332 and 353 of the IPC at the Sector-11 police station.He would be produced in court tomorrow.

This was the fifth incident of a traffic policeman being assaulted on duty this month.



EWS dwelling meant for J& K migrants
Eviction orders stayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
In an interim relief to illegal occupants of EWS dwelling units in Sectors 26 and 29, who were issued eviction notice, a local court has stayed the eviction orders till further orders.

Against the orders of the SDM (East), who had issued final eviction orders under the Public Premises Act, the illegal occupants had gone to the court.

Last month, the SDM had issued 15-day notice to the illegal occupants of 60 EWS houses in Sector 29 and another 26 to EWS illegal occupants in Sector 26 that were meant for migrants from Jammu and Kashmir. Issued under Section 5 of the Public Premises (PP) Act, 1971, the illegal occupants have been given the ultimatum failing which they would be forcibly evicted. Around 185 families were living in these houses.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked the Chandigarh Administration to explain its stand on the illegal occupations of government houses in the city meant for migrant labour from Jammu and Kashmir following which notices under Section 4 of the PP Act bwere issued to the illegal occupants by the SDM (East).

Though the notices were issued to the illegal occupants after the Assistant labour Commissioner, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, intimated the UT estate office that the houses were occupied illegally.

On the basis of the communication, the SDM (East), exercising powers under the Public Premises Act, 1971, had issued eviction notices to residents of about 60 dwelling units. 

The accused may face action
In June, the SDM had issued 15-day notice to the illegal occupants of 60 EWS houses in Sector 29 and another 26 to EWS illegal occupants in Sector 26 that were meant for migrants from Jammu and Kashmir. Issued under Section 5 of the Public Premises (PP) Act, 1971, the illegal occupants have been given the ultimatum failing which they would be forcibly evicted. Around 185 families were living in these houses




garbage collection
No effective policy in place
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Municipal Corporation has failed to chalk out any effective policy for the segregation and lifting of garbage of the city till date. Due to non- availability of bylaws, the authorities could not implement many of them suitably in the city.

In fact during the past three general house meetings, a majority of the councillors had taken up the issue and found faults in the management of garbage collection and lifting system adopted by the MC in their area.

Even the JP Company representatives at the garbage plant alleged that though the corporation had assured the administration that the waste of the slaughter house, hotels, vegetable markets would be segregated at the SSK and then sent to the plant, yet nothing had been done in this regard so far. They said that recently they had sent a detailed data as to how much slaughter house and bio-medical waste was received by them at the plant on day-to-day basis and also inordinate delay made by the MC authorities in sending the bins to the plant.

In 2001, door-to door collection of garbage project was launched by the administration. NGOs and resident welfare associations were involved to execute the project, but the policy was silent on the fact that if somebody violated or harassed the public what action could be taken against them.

In 2002, the Sehaj Safai Kender(SSK) were started by the authorities. A proposal to set up 132 SSKs in various sectors of the city was mooted up. As per the proposal, after door-to-door collection of the garbage, it would be segregated at SSKs by the employees. Even the authorities had decided that special provisions would be made at the SSKs for the domestic hazard waste.

But the fact is that no provision has been made for the segregation of garbage in the SSKs till date. It has become a collection centre from where the garbage is sent to the garbage processing plant, Dadu Majra. As per the records of the corporation there are 31 trucks which cover the entire city and collect the garbage from more than 400 bins which are further transported to the garbage plant on a daily basis.

As per the company's record, on an average, each dumper collects the garbage of around seven to eight bins daily and rest are left due to the shortage of vehicles with the corporation. Even on the weekends, the garbage plant does not receive sufficient amount of garbage to run it to the optimum level.

However, the authorities keep on claiming that they are preparing a policy for proper segregation of garbage but when this decision will mature and implemented, nobody knows.



Ministry of Environment, Forests for action against highway authority
Unauthorised use of forest land under the Indian Forest Act
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 6
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Northern Region, has directed Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Haryana, to take action against the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the unauthorised use of forest land under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Central) SK Sehrawat had issued the order following the Haryana forest department's report confirming that the National Highway Forest Conservation Act, 1980, had been violated by the NHAI.

During an inspection on April 18, the forest department had found that at most of the places the entire forest land had been used by the NHAI to construct toll plaza and buildings on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo NH-22 near Chandimandir without prior permission under the said Act.

The inquiry report by Conservator of Forests, North Circle, had stated that flyovers were six-laned and in addition to that there were two-laned roads on either side. Besides, services lands and bus stops were also constructed which used the entire available forest land. The report also pointed out that NHAI did not mention the details of the constructions. Even the toll plaza was not mentioned in the submitted proposal.

On February 23, the forest department also wrote to the project director of NHAI, Anil Dahiya, regarding violation of the FCA, 1980. On March 18, a notice was issued to Dahiya. Later, on March 28, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Haryana, was told that instead of four-lanes, a six-lane road had been constructed.

While replying to the notice on March 29, Dahiya had submitted that no violation of the FCA was committed. "When the clearance for protected forest strip has already been accorded in 2007 and additional land has been acquired by NHAI on both sides of the NH-22 by way of acquisition under the NH Act, 1956, and transfer from the Ministry of Defence, no violation has been committed by NHAI in any manner of the forest conservation Act, 1980, read the reply filed by Dahiya.

Advocate Vijay Bansal, chairman, Shivalik Vikas Manch, and Indian National Lok Dal leader, had raised the issue of violation of the FCA, 1980, has sought an action taken report through RTI.

Bansal said action should be taken under the FCA, 1980, as the said Act had been violated by the NHAI by not only constructing the toll plaza and other buildings, but also the six-laning of the NH-22 for which no prior permission had been sought. He said if the department failed to initiate action under the said Act they would be forced to move the High Court against the order.



Power cuts yet again

Chandigarh, July 6
Residents of various sectors once again witnessed power cuts last night and this afternoon. Residents of Sectors 44, 45 and 22 and Mani Majra faced power cuts. Power cuts left city residents suffering sleepless nights. Residents also found it difficult to handle young children in the absence of electricity during night.

Himani of Sector 45 said there was a power cut from 10:30 pm to 11:30 pm last night. She added that though the voltage was low earlier, but finally, a power cut was imposed.

Vandana Pandey of Sector 44 said there was a one-hour power cut this afternoon. She added that they did not face the problem of heat due to rain, but faced inconvenience.

Sources said one of the reasons for the breakdowns was that consumers did not come forward to declare actual load.

Last year, only 5,000 consumers had approached the electricity department to declare their actual electricity load, they added. — TNS



Power shortage affecting work in telemedicine centres: Expert
Our Correspondent

Mohali , July 6
Ninety per cent of the telemedicine centres in the country are not working as per plans due to various reasons and it is time to translate vision into realty. No Indian should be deprived of specialised consultation which should only be a click away.

Stating this at the fifth national workshop on “Telemedicine today and tomorrow - latest trends” held at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) here today, Dr K Ganapathy, president, Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation, Chennai, said telemedicine centres did not function due to reasons like lack of power or technicians being on leave.

He said plans alone were insufficient and there was a need to implement these.

Dr Ganapathy, who was the chief guest, said the project would not take off till the end user got the benefit. Telemedicine was not an end by itself; it was a tool to achieve an end. He said “we were not able to integrate” into the core of the healthcare system. He gave tips to delegates about the aspects of telemedicine which were needed to be taken into account to ensure telemedicine’s sustainability.

Vini Mahajan, principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, who was the guest of honour, spoke on the forward-looking approach that Punjab had adopted with respect to the application of Information Technology in the state’s healthcare delivery system.

She said the department of health and family welfare was open to collaboration with C-DAC to launch, implement and run information technology-based projects cenetred around healthcare which could improve the speed, quality and efficiency of work processes.

Prof Rajat Moona, director general, C-DAC, gave an overview of C-DAC’s thematics research areas and also talked about various health informatics initiatives that C-DAC had embarked on at its various branches across the country.

While enumerating the benefits of telemedicine, he also highlighted the need for boosting telemedicine at the national level.

The workshop aimed at providing latest and emerging trends in e-health applications. Earlier workshops in this series had focused on the implementation, cost and quality factors pertaining to the telemedicine systems. The workshop was attended by over 100 delegates, including doctors from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, PGMIER, Indian Army, ONGC, health industry and academicians. 

Trends in e-health discussed
The workshop aimed at providing latest and emerging trends in e-health applications. Earlier workshops in this series had focused on the implementation, cost and quality factors pertaining to the telemedicine systems.over 100 delegates, including doctors from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, PGMIER, Indian Army, ONGC, health industry and academicians.




Rs 60 Bus pass for students
 CTU to create special route plans, buses to ply regularly 
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
In what will give relief to thousands of parents whose children are studying at government schools in the city, UT education department in collaboration with the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking has decided to provide students with transport facility at an affordable price of Rs 60 per month. In an affidavit filed by the department in High Court today, it stated the CTU has agreed to issue monthly passes at Rs 60 to school students in addition to creating special route plans for students.

"The plan has been inspired from Delhi where DTC buses ply on special routes near schools and colleges, especially around commencement and closing timings of the institutions. Students are issued passes by the DTC," an official of the education department said.

"Similarly, all school students in Chandigarh will be able to get passes issued for the CTU buses. These buses will ply on school routes at regular intervals," he said, adding, "If all goes well, no student will be seen standing at bus doors now."

While welcoming the initiative taken by the UT education department, Gurbir Singh, president of parent teacher association of a government school, said that for it to be successful, regular bus service would have to be provided by the CTU.

"The idea sounds great but they should ensure frequent bus service in morning and afternoon when schools start and close. If there are not enough buses, problem will persist. We, however, welcome the initiative as it will be of huge help to students," Singh said.

If the new plan is implemented, it would provide a cheap and safe alternative for government school students. 



New VC will do better than me: Prof RC Sobti 
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The term of Professor RC Sobti, the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, will come to an end later this month. His six-year term has seen him being lauded for certain actions, such as getting PU out of its financial mess, and also being criticised for certain decisions, including his appearing for the interview held for selection of PU's next VC despite being the sitting one. Although, in his interaction with our correspondent Sumedha Sharma, Prof Sobti remained tight-lipped on the issue of the interview, he opened up to some other questions.

Q: How do you sum up your six-year term as the Vice-Chancellor?

A: Wonderful is what best explains my time here. Before I became the VC, I was a faculty member at PU for about 32 years, but this position changed my life. It was an enriching experience as I could work with the best of teachers, students, and administrative staff to pay back to my alma mater.

Q: What do you think has been your biggest achievement?

A: It is tough to single out any one thing, but I think PU’s financial progress under me was commendable. In 2006, PU’s grant stood at about Rs 48 crore and income was about Rs 98 crore. There was a huge deficit; however, today we have no deficits, and in the last six years funds to the tune of about Rs 500 crore have been generated.

I have paved way for a secure future of university, as it will continue to get Rs 150 crore as its assured grant from the Centre and Rs 21 crore from the Punjab government. Thanks to this surplus, the fee has not been increased in the last six years.

Some of my other achievements include introduction of semester system, revision of curriculum and reformation of examination system. The campus is undergoing a huge change as we are coming up with many new hostels and other infrastructure. In terms of research the h-factor for PU has increased from 53 to 89 under me.

Creation of a vibrant campus with six new institutes and nearly four-dozen new courses has given me a great satisfaction.

Q: Your tenure has been a roller-coaster ride, especially the later part which was full of controversies. What do you have to say about it?

A: Whatever be the controversy, it could not hamper my zeal to keep working for the institution. Many new things have been done recently for teachers as well as non-teachers, particularly female staff and retirees, and students and campus as a whole.

Q: The entire university is intrigued by the fact that you despite being sitting VC appeared for the interview conducted for the selection of the next VC, and got rejected. What made you do so?

A: It’s my prerogative and my decision and I have got nothing to explain.

Q: What do you have to say about the Senate's role in affairs of the university? How will you explain your 'love-hate' relationship with it?

A: It was their fullest support at all the times that encouraged me to do my duty. Of course, issue-based difference of opinion might have existed. It's a democratic set-up after all.

Q: What is your reaction to the allegation that you aided in the increased interference of Senators in administration?

A: This is wrong. They are part of the governance in a set-up envisaged in the act of Panjab University.

Q: What do you have to say about the PUTA and your recent spats with it?

A: I did my job and they did theirs. I have worked for teachers' welfare to best of my capabilities and have considered all demands that PUTA raised this year. Difference of opinion might have existed, but such differences are good for healthy working of a democratic institute.

Q: Are there any plans which have been left unfulfilled, and you wish that your successor would execute them?

A: Development is a gradual and continuous process. I have played my role and now it's Professor Grover's turn to continue the process. I wish him luck for the same. My successor is best of the person, and I know he will do better than me in his service to our alma mater.

Q: Has the university paid you back for all your efforts?

A: You should do your duty and never expect for any reward. Whatever I am, it's because of this institute; and if I have contributed a bit, it’s because of capabilities nurtured by it. This has given me inner happiness and strength.

Q: How do you wish to be remembered?

A: People might have always called it a publicity stunt, but making campus green was my passion. Today when I see saplings have transformed into plants and will soon be trees, I know that even after decades I will be here to serve.

I wish to be remembered like a tree that faced both rain and sun but still 
bore fruits. 



Campus Brief

Parties protest, date extended

Chandigarh: Panjab University has extended the last date for submission of application forms for admissions to MA and OCET related courses to July 9. Earlier, the last date was declared as July 2 but the university extended it because of late declaration of the OCET results. After the decision was declared by the unviersity authorities, both the major students' organisations of the unversity, PUSU and SOPU, claimed credit for it. Both parties had protested and raised the demand for the extension in last few days. "Elections are around the corner, so such race is expected. Both the parties had come to us and we have fulfiled their demand," said a university official.

OCET interviews at PU

Candidates who have cleared the OCET-2012 conducted by Panjab University and have also submitted forms for admission to MA English (semester system) have been called for an interview on July 16. Interviews for admission to MA Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology; and MSc(Hons) Botany will be held on July 13.

School for Open Learning entrance

The last date for submission of entrance test forms for admission to the University School of Open Learning at PU is July 17, 2012. The forms can be submitted only online, and are available on the official website of Panjab University (www.puchd.ac.in).

Indo Global signs MoU

Students of the Indo Global Colleges will get an opportunity to design software and applications for Drona Edutronics. The Indo Global Colleges signed an MoU with Drona Edutronics for creation of Campus Business Parks on Friday. Under the proposed project at the Abhipur Campus near Chandigarh, selected engineering students of the Indo Global Colleges will receive a fixed monthly salary for doing this project while pursuing their education on the campus.

Tribune Reporters



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |