C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Wait never ends at PGI 
Attendants find it hard to get trolleys, wheelchairs outside emergency 
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

An ambulance and a private vehicle with patients lying inside stationed outside the Emergency ward gate of the PGI while attendants search for trolleys to take patient inside.
An ambulance and a private vehicle with patients lying inside stationed outside the Emergency ward gate of the PGI while attendants search for trolleys to take patient inside. Photos by writer 

Chandigarh, July 23
It’s not only at the Emergency wing or the Trauma Centre of the PGI where patients have to wait for days for treatment. The delay here starts right at the entrance of the hospital.

Today, many critical patients had to wait at 15 to 30 minutes at the door of Emergency wing for want of stretcher trolleys. As no stretcher trolley was available at the main door in the evening, the attendants had to go inside the hospital in search of the same so that the patients could be taken into the Emergency ward.

”It took us more than 15 minutes before we could take my sister Mansa Devi inside the hospital,” said Prahlad, a resident of Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. “She had undergone a surgery for tumour in the brain last month. Her condition deteriorated again today and we started from our home in the morning. But we did not expect such delay here,” he said.

While the driver of an ambulance and attendants of Satya Devi (80), another patient from Hamirpur, had been searching for a trolley, her daughter was sitting on her side in the ambulance. It has been more than 10 minutes that we have parked the ambulance in front of the Emergency, but could not take the patient inside due to the unavailability of a trolley,” said the daughter of Satya Devi.

The situation for Manish Bali, a technician with Philips Healthcare, however, was a little tricky. Bali with one of his colleagues noticed an unidentified person lying unconscious in Nehru Hospital and took him in his car in front of the Emergency. First it took them more than 15 minutes to find a trolley. Then the doctor asked him to take the responsibility of the patient. “I wanted to help someone, but now the doctor here has been asking me to stay back and take care of the patient,” he said.

Several patients can be seen waiting for wheelchairs and trolleys in front of the OPD every.

PGI spokesperson Manju Wdwalkar said the Emergency, with a capacity of 100 patients, is always full. Over 200 extra patients are occupying the trolleys meant to be stationed at the entry gate. Moreover the attendants of patients take away the trolleys to any area of the PGI to leave there leading to shortage in the Emergency, she added. 



Anupama still critical
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Anupama’s condition has further deteriorated with her kidneys getting affected and her blood pressure dipping to as low as 65/40 against the normal 120/80.

Moreover, she is in a state of shock. As her urine output is abysmally low, she has been put on peritoneal dialysis. “The patient is under shock and is not responding to treatment since she has undergone amputation,” informed a medico to her relatives.

Anupama (16) was admitted to the PGI on July 17 after a bus ran over her leg in Sector 18. Her surgery was delayed for more than three days and she got infected with gas gangrene leading to amputation of her leg.

Since then, Anupama has been lying unconscious on life support system at the Advanced Trauma Ward as doctors said the infection has spread to her abdomen.

Her parents alleged that negligence on the part of the hospital reduced their daughter to a vegetable.

Her school friends also reached the hospital to see her today. One of them introducing herself as Varsha said Anupama was a brilliant student. Though she never discussed about her aim in life specifically, but she used to say that she wanted to do something so her parents feel proud of her, added Varsha. 



CBSE to issue final disaffiliation notice to Sacred Heart School
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) today decided to issue the final disaffiliation notice to the management of Sacred Heart School, Chandigarh, for its failure to take action against the principal and the staff in charge of the institution when molestation victim Ruchika Girhotra was expelled from the school.

CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi confirmed the development to The Tribune today and said the notice was being sent because the school management had failed to get back to the board with an action taken report despite a lapse of one-and-a-half year since the direction to this effect was issued.

“The school management was asked to take action against the then principal and the staff for having expelled the girl on grounds of non-payment of fee. It has been four months since we sent a reminder. Now we have decided to issue a final notice. The notice is being sent under affiliation bylaws of the board. We have taken the decision,” Joshi said.

Ruchika Girhotra was expelled from Sacred Heart, Sector 26, Chandigarh, on December 20, 1990, two weeks after an inquiry indicted Haryana’s former top cop SPS Rathore for molesting her. She later committed suicide.

The school had cited non-payment of fee as the reason for the expulsion, but a subsequent inquiry by the Chandigarh Administration revealed that there had been around 135 similar cases of non-payment of fee at Sacred Heart. Of 17 such cases in 1990, eight students paid their fee later than Ruchika, but were not expelled. One of these students was Rathore’s daughter.

The expulsion took place during principal Sister Sebastina’s time. It was against her that the CBSE had sought action from the school management. Inquiries by The Tribune revealed that Sister Sebastina was no longer heading Sacred Heart and had reportedly been promoted as the provincial head within the management of Sacred Heart schools. She is now stationed outside Chandigarh.

The CBSE has decided to issue the disaffiliation notice on grounds that the expulsion of Ruchika was flimsy and baseless and no action was taken against the guilty.

The CBSE, which affiliates Sacred Heart, in its first notice to the school management in December 2010, had said, “Non-payment of fee was never intimated to Ruchika’s parents. Under CBSE affiliation byelaws, schools must report abnormal behaviour and events to parents in the interest of the child. Non-payment of fee, even if accepted as a ground for expulsion, was not normal on Ruchika’s part. But the school principal never cared to intimate her parents and violated CBSE affiliation byelaws under which she must be charged now.”

The CBSE affiliation bylaws are like service rules that govern the conduct of government officials. Though the CBSE can’t suggest the nature of action to be taken against the principal of a private school, its affiliation bylaws bind the schools that seek its stamp. These provide for suspension, even termination of service of heads in extreme cases of violation.

The CBSE had earlier told the school management to decide the nature of action. Its notice had followed a magisterial probe by the Chandigarh Administration which established that the child was singularly targeted. 



Students exposed to road accidents outside school 
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
In the absence of adequate number of buses, students of many government schools are seen pushing each other to board a bus back home after school hours.

The authorities, it seems, have learnt no lesson despite the tragic incident in which 16-year-old Anupama lost her leg while boarding a CTU bus in front of Government Model Senior Secondary for Girls, Sector 18, last week. She is now battling for life at the PGI.

A visit to many government schools, including the Sector 18 government school, revealed that students of schools located on the main roads are more exposed to mishaps.

Given the seriousness of the problem, there are no safety arrangements either by the school authorities or by the city traffic police for the safe departure of students from schools. Students rush out in droves as soon as the school is over. The problem aggravates when students push each other to catch the bus, which is already full to capacity.

A Class XI student of Government Model Senior Secondary for Girls Manisha, who is a classmate of Anupama, said they face a major problem in boarding the bus due to rush. Moreover, bus drivers are also careless when they approach a school. They don’t make sure that all passengers are safely inside the bus before moving ahead.

A government schoolteacher says that a joint effort by schools, district authorities and the CTU official is needed to control the situation outside schools.

Principal of the Sector 18 Government Model Senior Secondary School for Girls Nirupama Krishna said they were helpless to control students’ movement outside school. “We need to have traffic police personnel in front of schools, especially those on main roads, to control the traffic,” she said.

DPI (Schools) Upkar Singh said: “The problem does not have a straightjacket solution. This issue needs to be looked into more at the operational level. We will soon call a meeting of principals of all government schools and sensitise them about the safety of schoolchildren both the inside and outside the school. If needed, we can also have a meeting with the CTU officials to streamline the bus service for students.” 



New VC Grover vows to promote research at PU
In favour of sabbatical leave to teachers for research
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
After taking over as the new Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Arun Grover on Monday said his priority would be to promote research.

Grover said special focus would be given to new research projects for which a strategy would be devised and teachers will be compelled to go on sabbatical leave to pursue research.

“I think research output in the PU needs to be enhanced which can be done when teachers get enough time for the same,” Grover said. The new VC said he had been informed that the PU was going through faculty crunch and in such a case, the overburdened teachers don’t get enough time to pursue research. “The problem of faculty shortage would be addressed on priority,” he said. Grover said after every six-year of service, teachers are entitled to get one-year sabbatical leave to pursue research and the university would encourage teachers to take sabbatical leave.

The VC said experienced researchers should also stay in the PU after their retirement to help the university grow in the field of research. The PU is now going to workout a strategy that would involve teachers as well as the students for pursuing research.

A policy for the PU-affiliated colleges will be devised so that college teachers contribute in research. “The PU is fortunate to have around 190 affiliated colleges and the teachers can make a great contribution to research,” Grover added.

While serving at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Grover had also started a best thesis award to promote research. 



Verma appointed SO to VC
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Soon after taking charge on Monday, Vice-Chancellor Arun Grover appointed SL Verma as the special officer (SO) to the VC, transferring Santosh Chopra.

The development has raised many eyebrows as Verma remained the special officer for several years with former VC KN Pathak. Insiders say Grover is close to KN Pathak as the former remained his student for some years. Pathak had also invited Grover for teaching in PU’s physics department in 1990 and it seems that the decision has been taken by new VC following Pathak’s advice. However, it is the VC’s discretion to appoint the special officer.

Verma had served as the special officer to the VC during Pathak’s tenure. However, after RC Sobti took over as the Vice-Chancellor, Verma was posted as the Assistant Registrar and he retired a few years ago.

“It seems the decision was pre-decided as Verma was appointed as the special officer to the VC as within hours of Grover taking the charge,” said a PU official. One of the senate members said it might be on the recommendations of KN Pathak that the new VC appointed Verma as his special officer. Sources said Grover came to the PU’s physics department for teaching in 1991 and Verma was also posted in the same department.

This is for the first time that a retired official has been appointed as the special officer to the VC. 



Couple rewarded for apprehending snatchers
Tribune News Service

Senior officials of the UT police rewarding Satbir Singh Walia and his wife Rajbir Kaur.
Senior officials of the UT police rewarding Satbir Singh Walia and his wife Rajbir Kaur. A Tribune photograph 

Chandigarh, July 23
A week after the public helped the police nab two snatchers when they almost sped away after snatching a gold chain from a local resident, the UT police today rewarded the couple for their brave act.

Rajbir Kaur, a Sector 23 resident, was heading home with her husband on a two-wheeler on July 16 when two motorcycle-borne youths had snatched the gold chain she was wearing.

Kaur, a housewife, immediately raised the alarm when her husband chased the snatchers on his two-wheeler and the snatchers failed to escape due to heavy traffic. The two were nabbed and beaten up by the public. The duo, Tinku (26) and Dhiraj (22), residents of Ram Darbar, were later handed over to the police.

The police today gave cash reward of Rs 2,000 each and a commendation certificates to Satbir Singh Walia and his wife Rajbir Kaur for the act.

A senior police official said that such efforts are always lauded and they encourage people to proactively help the police in these ways as public participation boosts effective policing in city.


maintenance of parks
Resident welfare associations refute MC policy
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

A broken swing at a park in Sector 32 and benches used for drying clothes.
A broken swing at a park in Sector 32 and benches used for drying clothes.

Broken swings and lack of cleanliness at a park in Sector 47.
Broken swings and lack of cleanliness at a park in Sector 47.

Chandigarh, July 23
Though the Municipal Corporation is yet to call for applications from the Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) for taking over the maintenance of parks yet the associations have rejected this offer due to many flaws in it.

In the recent meeting of the resident welfare associations, majority of the associations opposed the approved policy and decided not to opt for it in their areas.

Members of the RWA found it strange that the corporation was asking them to maintain the parks at the cost of Rs 1.50 per square meter, which includes labour component and cost of farm manure. Whereas the private contractors are being paid much more for the same work.

They objected that as per policy the authorities will not provide any infrastructure and stores to place the machinery which automatically will increase the cost of maintenance.

In the meeting, the members also raised the issue that in case of any theft in the park how the RWA’s would replace the articles at their own cost as the authorities are only going to pay the amount for the maintenance of the parks.

Members opined that it would not be possible for the RWA’s to maintain regular account of the petty works and this might result in creating problem during auditing.

When contacted MC Chief Engineer SS Bidda said the general house had approved the policy but the applications for it were yet to be invited by the authorities.

FOSWAC president PC Sangi said that the issue was also discussed in the executive meeting of the RWA’s but no final decision was not taken on it so far. RWA general secretary Kulbhushan Kanwar however, suggested that the corporation should deploy labour, on its own, under the supervision of RWA’s for the maintenance of parks.

He said that the grant, which the corporation is offering for the maintenance of parks, is very nominal, as no funds for the infrastructure support has been offered by them.

As per records of the corporation, a similar policy was adopted by the authorities in the city for the maintenance of the parks and green belts two years ago.

But it flopped as the grant fixed by the authorities was very nominal. Resident welfare associations had then urged the authorities to increase the grant if they wanted them to continue with the work but no action was taken so the scheme flopped.



MC electricity dept lacks necessary equipments
Requires to purchase Rs 2 crore electrical material
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
It seems that for the last two years the Municipal Corporation electricity department is non-functional as it neither has the necessary electrical material for attending to the complaints nor its own machinery is in proper working condition.

In a report tabled in the electricity committee meeting held, here today, it was revealed by the officials of the department that for the last two years, they have not purchased any electrical material for repairing the electricity faults. Officials stated that there was urgent requirement of purchasing of electrical material amounting to Rs 2 crore as there were a number of petty works lying pending for a long time but no action has been taken by the department to procure the material.

In a meeting, the officials also revealed that out of four boom ladders used for repairing street lights two were non-functional due to technical faults and two vehicles for the transportation of labour and electrical material were also not functional. Officials said that the field staff of the department was not equipped with any vehicle for the inspection and knowing the actual status of the lights in the parks and streetlights in the city.

It was also discussed in the meeting that due to a shortage of staff there was uneven distribution of work in the sub-divisions of the department. Chairman Arun Sood directed the officials to prepare a proposal for the requirement of electrical material and staff of the department and table it in the next meeting of the committee.

A senior official informed the committee members that every month the corporation was paying Rs 1 crore as electricity bill to the UT Administration but the department was clueless about whom to contact in case of any fault in it. And when there is a major fault in the functioning of the streetlights they have to run from post to pillar to get them repaired from the electrical department of the administration.

The committee asked the officials to write a letter to the UT electricity department to provide the contact numbers of all the officials dealing with streetlights in each area.

Members also decided unanimously that a uniform policy should be frame for installation of lights in parks and green belts of the city. It has also been directed to the officials that in every alternative meeting an action taken report should be tabled before the committee informing the status of work.



Yet another plan to revive Sukhna
Admn mulls proposal to get water to Sukhna from Patiala ki Rao
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
It seems that the Chandigarh Administration is keeping alive Sukhna Lake - at least in 'proposals'. However, most of the proposals to kick life into Sukhna have never seen the light of the day. The UT Administration has now come up with yet another proposal to solve the water crisis of the lake.

This time the UT Administration has proposed to bring water to Sukhna Lake from Patiala ki Rao. A senior official of the UT Administration said that as per their estimate the distance between the Sukhna Lake and Patiala ki Rao is 3.25 km. He added that they would lay a pipeline from Patiala ki Rao to Sukhna Lake and would get water through the pipeline.

The official further said that they would divert water in the rainy season when there is an overflow of water in Patiala ki Rao. He added that the project would be cost effective in comparison to the proposal to bring water from Kajauli.

Sources revealed that in the coming meeting of Save Sukhna Lake committee, constituted on the directions of Punjab and Haryana High Court, the UT Administration officials would hold discussions with the representatives of Punjab Government and would seek their support for bringing water from Patiala ki Rao.

Before this proposal, the committee had rejected the previous proposal to utilise the water supply of Chandigarh from Kajauli waterworks to fill the Sukhna Lake in winters. Recently, the Administration had put forward the proposal before the committee that during winter the demand for water was less and hence, water could be supplied from the Kajauli waterworks. Water had to be supplied to the lake to solve the problem of weeds that grow in swampy conditions.

It is not the only proposal which was rejected by the committee members but the proposals of digging the lake 2 feet deep in the summer, buying high-tech machines to deal with silt and weed problem were also rejected.

Last year, the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) at Roorkee, which is conducting a year-long study on the lake, in its preliminary report submitted to the UT Administration had stated that nearly 50 per cent of the water body would run dry by June. The report came true this year when a major portion of the lake dried up. 

y The UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil today held a review meeting in connection with the UT Administration's efforts to save the Sukhna Lake. In the meeting the UT officials informed the Administrator that the recent rainfall had hampered the de-siltation drive at the lake. The Administrator issued directions to strengthen the 'bandh' walking track which the engineering department is constructing. 

y On the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the UT Administration has started releasing water from four check dams. The High Court on Friday had directed the Chandigarh Administration to make immediate arrangements to release water from the check dams into the lake. The UT Administration used siphoning technique to release water from these check dams. But the UT Administration has no mechanism to know that how much water ultimately reached the lake after being released from the check dams.

The UT was expecting a Rs 72 crore mechanical desilting project, which after lying buried in files of the Centre, was officially shelved.

The Administration had worked separately with the Panjab University, Chandigarh, the National Institute of Hydrology, Rorkee, the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, and the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, to identify and manage the weed menace. But there has not been any definite solution till date.

It was also proposed to get water from the Bhakra Canal mainline to fill the lake which did not work out.

The Administration also thought about filling the lake with tertiary waters which turned out to be another proposal which was not feasible.



Apex court extends stay on demolition in catchment area
UT Administration seeks four weeks’ time to file reply
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The Supreme Court today extended the stay on demolition of constructions in the Sukhna catchment area. During the resumed hearing in the Sukhna catchment area case, the UT Administration today sought four weeks time to file a reply.

Meanwhile, the apex court also ordered that further construction would not be allowed in the catchment area till further orders. On May 14, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to demolish without notice any construction being carried out in the Sukhna lake's catchment area despite a stay ordered by the High Court on March 14. Also, the High Court had directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to stop construction activity in the lake's catchment area.

We direct the states of Punjab and Haryana, as well as the Chandigarh Administration to put their enforcement agencies in action and construction activities going on in the catchment area as per the map of the Survey of India should be immediately stopped, and any construction raised in violation of the directions issued by the court be demolished without issuing any notice, the Bench of acting Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Alok Singh had ruled.

Against the High Court order, Kumar Realtors Private Limited and another petitioners had moved the Supreme Court and on May 22, the apex court had stayed the demolition drive and disallowed further construction.



Land meant for general public allocated to babus
Prime chunk of 11 acre land in Sector 53 earmarked for officials
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigrh, July 23
Under the 2008 Special Housing Scheme floated by the Chandigarh Housing Board, a prime chunk of 11.79-acre land in Sector 53, reserved for general housing scheme, was earmarked for the UT employees scheme. Previously, the land for the UT employees was reserved in Sectors 52 and 56.

For the A-category (three-bedroom flats), mostly to be allotted to the IAS, IPS and state civil services officers who have served in the UT, the Chandigarh Administration earmarked an additional 11.79-acre land out the total 20.77-acre land in sector 53.

"Not only the number of houses was reduced from 340 (under the general housing scheme) to 252 (under the UT employee scheme), the CHB suffered a huge loss as flats for the UT employees are to be made at a subsidised cost; while the CHB was to earn profit from the general housing scheme," said a senior UT official.

Sources reveal that though the CHB had sent a proposal for general housing in Sector 53, in a meeting held under the then Secretary Housing it was decided to utilise a part of the pocket for planning three-bedroom houses, leaving only 8.94-acre land for general housing.

As per the original plan, Chandigarh Administration had earmarked 89.87-acre land in Sectors 53, 54 and 55 for the general housing scheme.

But citing the preparation of master plan for Chandigarh, the CHB stated that the parameters for planning the general housing scheme were still awaited.

The Chief Executive Officer of the CHB, TD Jogpal, was not available for comments.

The UT employees scheme yet to take off

The UT employee scheme has been delayed once again as the consultant for getting the environmental clearance for the housing project has not been finalised yet. Without the environmental clearance, work at the site cannot be started. Around 4,000 flats have to be constructed at Sectors 52, 53 and 56. The cost of the flats has already gone up. The successful applicants under the scheme have criticised the delay in issuing of allotment letters. The employees have lamented that despite the draw of lots in November 2010, no allotment letter has been issued and the cost of construction has gone up. Many employees have taken loans to fund the cost of their flats.



DSPs statement recorded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
A local court today recorded the statement of DSP (Operation cell) Jagbir Singh in connection with the infamous Burail jailbreak case. The DSP was the operation cell incharge when the incident was reported in 2004.

Assassins of former Punjab Chief Minister, Hawara, Bheora and their accomplice Jagtar Singh Tara, along with another murder convict Devi Singh, had made a sensational escape from the Burail jail in January 2004 by digging a 104 foot long tunnel. While Hawara and Bheora were arrested, Tara and Devi Singh are still at large. Both the convicts Hawara and Bheora are lodged in Tihar Jail in connection with the New Delhi blasts of 2004 and were brought to the district courts for the hearing.

The duo will be produced in the court in the next hearing of the case on September 18.



Unclaimed bodies rot at PGI

Chandigarh, July 23
Many unclaimed bodies at the mortuary of the PGI are left for rotting without keeping them in freezers. Madan Lal, a member of All-India Sewa Samiti that cremates these bodies voluntarily, said these bodies also deserve care like that of identified bodies.

Nobody can be authorised to let human bodies to decay even if it was unidentified, he said. There are 6 bodies lying in the mortuary, he said. All these are put under a fan to decay for days together. Carrying such bodies for cremation also becomes a tough task as foul smell emanates from them, he said.

PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said that the there was huge rush at the mortuary of the PGI. Moreover, the police takes a long time to declare them unclaimed leading to the pile up such bodies, she added. — TNS



Mohali to get latest fire engine
Rs 5 crore equipment will have 54-metre ladder
Kulwinder Sangha

A file photo

Mohali, July 23
At last, the Mohali fire brigade will have one of the latest fire engines equipped with a hydraulic ladder to tackle flames and other emergencies in the high-rise buildings.

The latest fire engine, equipped with a hydraulic ladder measuring 54 metres, is likely to reach here by the end of August. The cost of the machine is nearly Rs 5 crore that is being purchased by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA).

Divisional Engineer, GMADA, Devinder Singh, who had gone to Finland last month along with his senior, Superintending Engineer, for the inspection of the high-tech vehicle, the engine was tested and the machine was found to be okay.

He said Bronto Skylift, a Finland company, had been asked to carry out some alterations in accordance with the terms of the agreement. The same company had supplied a fire engine to Chandigarh but the length of the ladder in that case was only 45 metres but the engine being purchased for Mohali would have a ladder measuring 54 metres, added he.

Devinder said the order for the high-tech fire engine was placed in March after the letter of credit of the company was opened. It was asked to supply the vehicle within six months. A third-party inspection of the fire engine would also be carried out, a report of which would be sent to the GMADA office by the company.

He further said the shipment of the fire engine would be done around mid-August and it was likely to reach here by the end of that month.

The GMADA is also planning to purchase an emergency rescue tender for the local fire brigade at a cost of Rs 1 crore apart from additional gypsies.

The Mohali fire brigade had been crying for hi-tech equipment over years, as it was not able to tackle emergencies in the high-rise buildings. Several letters were written to the local civic body in this regard. But due to shortage of funds the required vehicle could not be purchased.

Several times the local fire brigade found itself inadequate in tackling crisis; recently it could not rescue a sewadar who was stranded on a 110-foot-high Nishan Sahib in a gurdwara at Sohana. The fire engine, which reached the scene had a ladder of only about 35 ft. Help from the Chandigarh fire brigade had to be sought to bring down sewadar who had got stuck at a height of more than 100 ft.



Fire breaks out at house
Tribune News Service

The house that had caught fire at Phase III-B1 in Mohali on Monday.
The house that had caught fire at Phase III-B1 in Mohali on Monday. Tribune photo: vicky gharu

Mohali, July 23
A major tragedy was averted when a fire broke out at a in Phase 3B1, here last night. The household items, including air-conditioner and refrigerator, lying in two rooms of the house were gutted in the fire. No casualty was reported in the mishap.

According to sources, the fire broke out about 12.30 am.

A fire tender reached the spot within 20 minutes and controlled the fire.

A short circuit was said to be the reason behind the fire.



Chandigarh Scan
Candle march

India Against Corruption organised a candle march at Sector 17 Plaza to make the general public aware of the reason behind the “anshan” of “Team Anna” from July 25. Rahul Bhartiya, Chandigarh incharge of the movement, participated in the candle march along with many volunteers. People were informed that the indefinite fast starting from July 25 all across the nation was to demand constitution of a special investigation team against 15 ministers with serious criminal and corruption charges. “Since the past one year we have been fighting for Jan Lokpal, but in the recently concluded budget session, the Lokpal was again put in a deep freezer by sending it to a select committee,” Bhartiya said. Even in the current Union cabinet there were 15 tainted ministers, many of whom would have been in jail had a strong Lokpal been there, he said.

Office-bearers elected

ML Pangotra and Mr Rajpal Sharma have been unanimously elected as the chairman and secretary general of the Co-ordination Committee of the Central Government Pensioners Associations, Chandigarh. Their term will end in July 2014. The other office-bearers who were also elected unanimously are PS Bedi as the senior vice-chairman, Pyara Singh and JS Lalia as vice-chairmen, RP Sharma as the finance secretary, Joginder Singh as the organising secretary and Jagtar Singh as the joint secretary. During the Annual General Meeting, the Committee demanded the opening of two more CGHS dispensaries, one in Panchkula and other at Mohali.

Environment conservation

To enlighten students about the need to protect the environment, “Nature Conservation Week” is being observed at Sant Isher Singh Public School. Students made eco-friendly models out of waste projects during the event. The school principal said such educative programmes would keep the kids informed of environmental issues. It would help people make informed decisions concerning current and future conservation issues, she said.

Teej celebration

Teej was celebrated with zeal by the girl students of Shastri Model School, Phase I, Mohali. The event was inaugurated by the school principal by starting the swings in the school. She stressed on the celebration of these old and cultural festivals. The girls presented cultural items related to the festival. “Mehndi” competition was also organised for the girl students. Green-coloured bangles were gifted to every teacher of the school. At the end of the function “kheer” and “puri” were distributed to everyone present on the occasion. 
— Tribune Reporters



Syndics to meet in 10 days
Meeting mandatory every month, not called for two months
Amit Sharma 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23 
Not delaying the Syndicate meeting of Panjab University any more which has led to unrest among the fellows, the new Vice-Chancellor on the very first day of his joining gave orders to hold the meeting within 10 working days. The meeting would be tentatively held on August 4. 

It is compulsory to hold a Syndicate meeting once a month. In the month of June, however, the meeting could not be held due to the summer break, as during the break the Syndics are also unavailable. The meeting was then supposed to be held in July, however, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti did not call for a meeting; although, his tenure was to end on July 22.

Skipping the meeting for two consecutive months had led to unrest among the members who said as the meeting was missed in June, it was mandatory to hold it in July. The new VC, Prof Arun Grover, said a 10-day notice had been given and the process had been started. "Within 10 working days the meeting would be called, and all the pending issues would be tabled," Grover said. The PU officials said the Syndicate meeting was crucial as the Senate elections were scheduled in September, before which many important issues were needed to be taken-up. They further said Prof RC Sobti should have chaired the meeting as he was aware of the issues, and Prof Grover would take some time to take stock of the pending issues.

A Syndic said it was appreciable that gauging the need to call the meeting at the earliest, the new VC initiated the process and was hopeful of holding the meeting in the first week of August.As per rules, the Syndicate agenda once printed should reach the Syndics at least a week before the meeting. 



University clears pending cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23 
Panjab University has cleared around 70 pending transfer and approval cases of teachers from Punjab and Haryana who are on deputation in the city colleges. The decision was recently taken by the university.

RPS Josh, a Senate member, said the teachers were facing hardship from last many years due to the pending approval cases due to which they could not teach the Honour classes. With the teachers on deputation getting an approval, they would now also have the right to vote in the Senate elections.



I had never thought of being VC four months back: Prof Grover
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
After taking over the charge as the new Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Prof Arun K Grover said he had never thought of being the university VC about four months back. It was the faculty of the physics department at PU which encouraged him to join the race for the post, he said.

"It was the faculty at the physics department, mostly the younger lot, that asked me to send my curriculum vitae (CV)," Grover said.

The faculty members forwarded his CV to the selection committee, he said.

An alumnus of the physics department, Grover studied in the department from 1968 to 1972. It was after his PU stint that he left for the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research to join as a PhD student in 1972 and eventually, settled for a research assignment.

While at TIFR, Grover came to PU on deputation for around four years in 1991 on the invitation of his former teacher Professor KN Pathak, who later also served as the Vice-Chancellor of PU.

After passing out of PU in 1972, Grover used to frequently visit the city to meet his classmates who were pursuing research at PU. Teachers of the physics department were also present at the joining ceremony of Prof Grover held today at the VC office. Professor Pathak also came to meet Prof Grover.



Students have fun with math
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Mathematics, phobia for many, can be fun too. This is the idea behind a two-day inter-school competition "Mathemania" that started today at St Xavier's School, Sector 44. More than 300 students from 26 schools in the tricity area participated in the competition.

Students took part in various games, puzzles, and quiz competitions based on mathematical concepts. The events with varying levels of difficulty catered to students of different classes.

Vice-Principal of St Xavier's School Chandan Patwal said: "The whole exercise aimed at removing math phobia that students usually have." She said it was important that kids from an early age started indulging in various puzzle and logic-based games.

On the first day, the competition was held for students of Classes V-VI and IX-X and winners were felicitated. On Tuesday, students of Classes VII-VIII and XI-XII would compete for the top honours.



Panchkula girl ‘essays’ her way to top
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Fourteen-year-old Panchkula girl Kriti Salwan has qualified for the "National Essay Writing Competition" under the junior category. The competition organised by TATA Building India was based on the theme "Cleaner and Greener India".

Student of The Gurukul, Sector 20, Panchkula, Kriti was among 52 students selected from across the country who will be competing at the national-level competition. Kriti was felicitated for being the city-level winner at a ceremony in New Delhi on July 19. She received the award from Yadwindra Thandav, member of the Advisory Council of the Government of India, and Professor Aslam, Vice-Chancellor of IGNOU.

Kriti said, "I am very excited to be qualified for the national competition and I hope my essay gets selected for the final list of winners."

An avid reader, her favourite writers include Charles Dickens.

A total of 16 winners will be announced under various categories in the national-level competition.



Registration opens for Math Olympiad
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The first round for selection to the Indian National Mathematical Olympiad would be held on September 16 at Lajpat Rai Bhawan, Sector 15.

The region will send a team of about 30 students to appear in the INMO test to be conducted by the National Board for Higher Mathematics next year. The competition is open to the students of Classes XI and XII. Meritorious students of Class X are also allowed to appear for the test.

The registration for the first round is taking place at the Department of Mathematics, Panjab University. Participants should apply latest by September 7.

In the recently concluded 53rd International Mathematical Olympiad at Argentina, the six-member Indian team secured 11th position, a press release stated.



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