C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


4 drown in Morni lake
Had gone for swimming in Tikar Taal despite ban
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 12
Four youths who had gone on a trip to Morni drowned in the Tikar Taal this evening. While the body of one of the victims, Jatin, has been recovered, the other three are still missing.

The police has identified two victims -- 21-year-old Jaswinder of Police Colony in Panchkula and Jatin of Housing Board Colony, Sector 26 -- from the registration certificates of their motorcycles.

Jatin’s neighbours said he had shifted to Zirakpur a month ago. His friend, Anoop, had also gone with him and had not returned. They said they were students of GCM, Sector 11, Chandigarh.

Jaswinder is the son of ASI Vijender Singh of the Panchkula police.

It was after visitors noticed that the youths who had gone to take a plunge into the pond, despite prohibition, had not returned that they called the police. The police requisitioned divers who recovered one body. Since it had gone dark, the bodies of the others could not be traced and the search operation was put off till tomorrow morning. The police has recovered clothes, slippers, mobile phones and motorcycle keys from the spot.

“It was around 4 pm that the youths decided to take a plunge into the lake. They kept their clothes and other belongings on the bank and jumped. It was when the other visitors realised that the youths had not surfaced that we were informed,” said ASI Paramjit Singh, in charge of the Morni police post.

“We reached the spot and waited for sometime, but the youths were nowhere to be seen. We then called for the divers, who recovered one body,” he said.

The area where the incident took place is prohibited for visitors during monsoon.



7 months gone, but councillors haven’t spent a penny of ward fund
Reason: Municipal Corporation still to approve development proposals put forth by seven councillors
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Seven months into the first term of the Municipal Corporation House, seven councillors out of a total of 26 have yet to open their spending ward development fund (WDF) account. As a result, lakhs of residents of these wards are still awaiting basic amenities, including installation of streetlights, play equipment in parks, security gates in back lanes, and widening and re-carpeting of roads.

At the same time, some councillors are spending lakhs of rupees in providing necessary amenities in their wards. Councillors who are are leading in spending the WDF are Gurbax Rawat of Ward No. 9, who has spent Rs 33.35 lakh so far, followed by former Mayor and councillor Harjinder Kaur with Rs 24.2 lakh.

Councillors Saurab Joshi (Ward No. 2), Asha Kumari Jaswal (Ward No. 4), Sheela Devi (Ward No. 12), Rana Kashmiri Devi (Ward No. 14), Rajesh Kumar Gupta (Ward No. 16) and Satinder Singh (Ward No. 18) have yet to spend a single penny from their WDF.

Laxmi Devi, councillor of Ward No. 7 who died last month, had also not used the money. The majority of councillors, who have not spent the fund, claim that they had submitted their requests four months ago to the departments concerned, but to date these were being process and had not been tabled for approval.

In the General House meeting last year, a policy was approved that development works approved under the WDF would be completed in a minimum of two months and the maximum of three from the date of the request made by the councillor.

Councillor of Ward No. 16 Rajesh Kumar Gupta, who was also the former councillor of the area, remarked that he had not submitted any list of works under the WDF this year as a majority of works approved two years ago by the corporation had not even started. He said he had submitted three works under the WDF pertaining to security gates, grass in green belts and road widening, but none of the works had been tabled by the departments concerned.

Councillor of ward number 14, Rana Kashmiri Devi, who is mother of the former councillor of the ward, said this year she had submitted development works worth Rs 14 lakh, but these were yet to be taken up by the department. There is a long list of pending works approved during the last term when her son Vijay Rana was the councillor. She said it was strange that even after seven months, not a single proposal had been approved by the authorities.

The councillor of Ward No. 18, Satinder Singh, said during the last four months, he had requested for 10 development works, but he was not even aware about the status of his request. He had proposed works worth Rs 20 lakh regarding streetlights in Sector 28, gymnasium in community centre, and playground and play equipment in green belts.

Sailing in the same boat are three other councillors. Saurab Joshi, councillor of Ward No. 2, complained that in the last six months, not even a single proposal mooted by him had been tabled at any committee meeting. 

It is due to the apathetic attitude of the departments concerned that councillors fail to even get development works commenced in their wards
— Saurab Joshi, Councillor, Ward No. 2

What is the idea behind the proposal to increase the WDF to Rs 1 crore when the authorities have not even cleared the projects submitted by councillors?
— Sheela Devi, Councillor, Ward No. 12

The authorities should speed up the process and approve proposals immediately after these are submitted by councillors
— Rana Kashmiri Devi, area councillor of ward number 14

I had raised the issue of delay in commencing works under the WDF in the last F&CC meeting. I got a set reply that it was being processed
— Rajesh Gupta, Councillor, Ward No. 16

It is a mockery of the system that the organisation which has been set up for development works does not entertain the request of councillors for a long time
— Satinder singh, Councillor, Ward No. 18



80% rainwater not finding way into lake
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

The dry bed of Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh.
The dry bed of Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh. tribune photo: manoj mahajan

Chandigarh, August 12
A study conducted by the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, has revealed that 80 per cent of the rainfall in the Sukhna catchment area is not finding its way into the lake. The remaining rainfall is either stored in 150 check dams or flows downstream into the lake.

Statistics provided by the NIH show that in case of normal rainfall of 700 mm, the 42 sq km catchment area receives 3,000-hectare-metre rainfall. Out of this, 217-hectare metre gets stored in 150 check dams constructed in the catchment area while 380-hectare metre reaches the lake through run-off from the catchment area.

Sources said the UT Administration had no idea where this 2,400-hectare-metre rainwater goes. Though water also gets lost due to seepage or evaporation, there is no data with the Administration about the loss of water in the catchment area. Around 500-hectare-metre water is required every year to fill the lake. If the Administration makes more arrangements to save water in the catchment area, there would be no water crisis for the lake, the sources said.

A senior official of the Administration said they had now asked the NIH to conduct a study on where this water goes. This is the preliminary study and the detailed study is awaited.

SPACE study

The Society for Promotion and Conservation of Environment (SPACE) in a recent study had stated that out of 150 check dams, water could be released from only 48 dams. But the release of water would only increase 0.55-metre level in the lake. Water is also needed for animals in the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.

Water diversion

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked the NIH to study the feasibility of diverting the flow of water from Patiala Ki Rao or Ghaggar into the lake. But the Punjab Government has said such a move was not viable.


Swimming pools at PGI not in the pink of health
Ritika Jha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
It seems that the two swimming pools of the city’s premier health institute are not in the pink of health.

Exposing the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities, the stagnant water in the pools is posing a serious health hazard.

While the dirty water in the pools is fast turning out to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, the PGI is yet to wake up to the grave situation.

Fungi can be seen on the surface of the unfiltered water accumulated in the two pools, one for staff members and another for their children.

As per attendants, the members have not been visiting the pools for the past one month.

There are a total of four batches, two each in morning and evening. The pools have been lying unattended for the past one month as nobody comes for swimming during the monsoon. The water has not been drained out even once ever since it rained for the first time this season," said a caretaker.

“We cannot clear the water on our own since the in-built filters are also not working. We had requested the authorities to take note of the situation, but they are yet to visit the pool area,” added the caretaker.

When contacted, PGI’s public relations officer Manju Wadwalkar said, “We have brought the matter to the notice of the authorities concerned. They said they would look into the matter.”

There are four in-built filters in the pools. About 200 members are currently enrolled in four batches.



PGI mulls MD PhD course for clinicians
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
The PGI authorities are mulling over starting an MD PhD programme. A special committee has already been set up to discuss the issue.

As only a a few clinicians are keen on pursuing research as a career, the Administration should give them opportunities.

"The Director and Dean of the PGI have announced that the institute had decided to earmark funds for promoting research and was actively considering the possibility of developing a separate stream of researchers giving joint appointments and hiring adjunct faculty," said the PGI's spokesperson, Manju Wadwalkar.

They were waiting for an approval from the statutory bodies, she added.

During the golden jubilee celebration of the PGI yesterday, Prof VI Mathan, former director of Christian Medical College, Vellore, presented views on the status of health research in the country and how to take it forward.

He said attending to patients should be considered as an opportunity to raise clinically important research questions and to answer them through appropriate methodology.

A total of 236 posters displaying the findings of research on a variety of subjects were put up on display. The topics covered included the basics of anatomy; high-quality biochemistry which described the discovery of new findings such as proteins, transporters and genes; molecular biology research to more clinically relevant topics, including disease epidemiology as well as specific organ system-based research. The disease-based research highlighted the findings of diseases relevant to Indian population.



Open House
People losing faith in public darbar

The very innovative step taken by the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator of holding public darbars to listen to common man's grievances is not being implemented properly. The darbars which were originally started to listen to common man's grievances are not conducted regularly and thus are ineffective. Also, many people of the city are not aware when, where and at what time the darbars are taking place. Punjab and UT Administrator is so busy with his prior appointments and heavily loaded with his other work that he does not get time for listening to public grievances. So, the public darbars should be closed down and the money used to arrange the darbars should be used for some other work. There are many other ways in which complaints of a common man could be heard. It is true that common man is facing a lot of hardships in today's world. A few other steps for listening to public grievances instead of holding darbars are: Firstly, complaint boxes should introduced and set up and various places in the city. The complaint boxes should be checked regularly and the work on the complaints should be acted upon quickly. Secondly, the UT Administration can launch a special website. People of the city can mail their problems and complaints on the site. Those who cannot go to the complaint boxes can easily mail their problems sitting at home. Thirdly, a special phone number can also be introduced for recording the complaints. It is a quick and easy process.

Guryog Kaur, SAS Nagar

Open house question

The issue of imposing house tax is widely debated at various public forums. While MC is under pressure to impose the tax to generate more revenue, residents and councillors are opposing it. What should be done to generate revenue rather than imposing tax? Write your opinion and suggestions at openhouse@tribunemail.com

Proper publicity is absent

The public darbar or grievance redressal mechanism is extremely useful and should be continued. This is the best and highest platform for the citizens to put forth their grievances and also has a good impact on the working of the Administration. It is wrong to say that not many people are coming forward to participate in public darbar. In fact, awareness about the public darbar among people is comparatively less. More publicity of public darbars should be done.

A common man doesn’t know how to reach and use this platform or how to raise issues. If the Administration becomes more serious about it, it is almost a certainty that public dabar will be a grand success. In the past, intimation on public darbar was not released and as such most of the people were not aware of the schedule. There are hardly two such interactions with the Administrator in a month which can be fixed according to his convenience. Our Administrator is a former Union Home Minister and Speaker of Lok Sabha, hence can try to deal with such demands in the larger interest of justice.

Ajay Jagga, Chandigarh

Make maximum use of e-interactions

The practice of holding darbars and sangat darshans belongs to the bygone eras when population was small and communication system was not so well developed. In today’s time, the right thing would be to widely publicise e-mail addresses and mobile numbers (for SMSs only) for receiving complaints. Secondly, complaint-cum-suggestion boxes can be installed at strategic and convenient locations. Thirdly, people can be invited to submit their grievances at sampark centres. All suggestions and complaints so received should be duly registered electronically and dealt with by the department concerned in a time-bound manner. The top administrators, e.g Governor or Chief Minister, can conduct random checks to make sure that the public grievances are being effectively redressed. Monthly figures of complaints resolved vis-a-vis those received can be publicised.

Tejinder Singh Kalra, Mohali

Public darbar is ineffective

Though Chandigarh is very much a part of the democratic set-up of the country, the citizens here are a harried lot as far as redressal of their grievances is concerned. In absence of any effective and result-oriented mechanism in the present framework, where bureaucracy rules supreme, complainants' voice get completely stifled. Such a state of affairs is a direct outcome of the absence of any accountability of the set-up towards the welfare of common man.

The much hyped public darbar of the administrator have lost its sheen as the complainants have been earning the wrath of the officials concerned. Even the directions of the Administrator were pushed under the carpet by officials in the Deep Complex case, which was taken up by a dynamic area councillor with the Administrator about six months ago. The remedy lies in giving administrative and punitive powers to the area councillors as well to the local MPs.

SC Luthra, Mani Majra

Meeting ‘aam adami’ is vital

The UT Administrator should continue the practice of meeting ‘aam adami’ to listen to their grievances, a step that was ended by his predecessor Rodrigues. A few local officials do not listen to common men. Many complain that the applications submitted to the Administrator at public darbar are not followed up. Some of them do not find their work getting done despite meeting the Administrator. If a councillor of Municipal Corporation is expressing displeasure over the fact that his grievances was not being followed up, then what a common man can expect? The UT Administrator should ask the public relations department to send the report on the action taken in response to a complaint from the officer concerned.

No doubt, Shivraj Patil should be particular about public darbar, which he holds on the first and last Monday of every month. I feel that that the forum gives him the opportunity to directly interact with the masses and get their work done. The Administrator should firmly believe that he is at that position where he can do his best for the common men.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Red-tapism hinders problem solving capacity

It was appreciated by the citizens of Chandigarh when the present Administrator continued with the practice, listening to the grievances of the people twice a month, inherited from his predecessor. With a population of about 1.2 million and in the absence of any permanent centralised grievances resolving mechanism, citizens are facing innumerous problems every day due to the indifferent and callous attitude of the administrative set up. Though many problems can be addressed at the official level, red-tapism, governance deficit and incompetence on the part of bureaucracy coupled with obsolete Acts and rules, are the stumbling blocks in the way of solving problems immediately. Consequently, people especially the senior citizens and women are suffering badly and have to go from pillar to post to get their genuine issues resolved.

The UT Administrator, as per reports, seems to have abandoned the darbar as there are ‘too less’ complaints. It is the harassment that people face has lead to a situation where fewer complaints are being registered. Firstly, regular darbar was not being held since the Administrator took charge. Those who have already presented their problems twice were not allowed to meet the Administrator after the hearings even if the problems still persist. One applicant was not allowed to meet the Administrator when he wanted to present the case thrice to re-open the post office at Sector 40 which was abruptly closed down about five years ago. Closing of the post office affected people, especially the senior citizens. Straightway denying meeting a person who has met him twice is not in accordance with the spirit of democratic ethics which also erodes the right to expression.

To streamline the things in its right earnest, it would be in the fitness of things and in the interest of the people, if the Administrator continues to hear the problems of the citizens twice a month. If it is not possible, the adviser to the Administrator should attend to the grievances of the people daily.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Full-time Administrator needed

The job of an administrator is a full-time job and requires 100 per cent time and attention of the person who is carrying out the duty. The governor of Punjab, who already has a ton of duties on his shoulders, is also given the part-time responsibility of hearing grievances and resolving those. It is quite obvious that he will remain busy being the governor of the state. If due to his busy schedule darbars are not being held, he is to be partially blamed. Only a fewer complaints are coming from the people as they are losing faith in the system due to the ignorance of the authorities. Time and result-based changes are needed so that problems of a common man are redressed. Firstly, an administrator who is solely attending to public grievances should be appointed. The darbars should be held regularly. If for any reason the administrator is not available, another official should be appointed to carry out the duties.

Isha Dahiya, Panchkula

26 out of 60 sessions have been organised

The idea of holding public darbars has to be implemented in letter and spirit. Due to the busy schedule of Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj Patil, only 26 such sessions have been conducted so far, which is less than one meeting per month. The common man has always been suffering because of the callous attitude of the Administration. It is high time that Administration give priority to public darbars. To hold the public darbars in time and effectively, a qualified team should be appointed with the appropriate power so that darbars are not cancelled or postponed in the absence of the governor. Due to lack of awareness, very few complainants have come forward for registering their complaints. To make people aware of the importance as well as time and date, proper publicity is required. This can be done through newspapers, paper bills and radio stations which are quite popular these days.

Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula

Reason for low turnout- repeated cancellations

The public darbar has completely failed to serve the purpose. Earlier, residents used to turn out in large numbers. In past one year, only a few complainants have been attending the darbar. The uncertainty over the holding of the sessions is the main reason behind the low turnout. Patil’s darbar has lost its appeal due to repeated cancellations owing to his busy schedule. In his 30-month tenure as UT Administrator, there should have been 60 public hearing sessions. However, Patil has managed to hold only 26 so far. The UT Administrator should make sure that the public darbars are held on time and must plan his schedule accordingly.

Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Wastage of time and money

The open darbar system floated by the UT Administrator has turned out to be a classic case of "Naam badey aur darshan chhotey ". First of all, there have been more cancellations than actual holdings of the darbar. Secondly, even if held, it has not resulted in redressing the grievance of any citizen to the full extent.

The public took the open darbar system at its face value and thought that it would work in the same way as a king's darbar used to work in the medieval times. But the Administrator's directions got caught up in red-tapism and seldom got carried out to the satisfaction of the aggrieved complainant.

As a result, lakhs of rupees (cost of holding the darbar) and thousands of official hours were wasted. The same time and money could have been used in doing something constructive. The directives of the Administrator have no legal binding on any of the authorities. Therefore, a false hope was presented to the public. They thought they have a one-stop solution to their problems. The officials and authorities, who have scant regard for court orders and their own notifications, cannot be expected to implement the directives with no legal binding. The entire exercise of open darbar has only resulted in lowering the prestige of the Administrator. Such meaningless exercises should be abolished at once.

Pankaj Chandgothia, Panchkula



Prevalence of infections higher in intensive care units: Study
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
In a self-analytical study conducted by a team of PGI doctors, it was found that surgical site infection (SSI) was the most common form of infections picked up by patients (termed as hospital acquired infection) while undergoing treatment at the institute.

The point prevalence (random survey) study conducted by a team of doctors from the department of hospital administration and department of medical microbiology found that the SSI was prevalent among 32 per cent of the total 129 patients acquiring hospital infections in 2011.

The study conducted over a period of three years, starting 2008, also found that the rate of hospital acquired infection affecting patients doubled in three years, rising from 17 per cent in 2008 to 32 per cent in 2011.

Of all the 1,834 patients in the intensive care unit, emergency and those admitted to other centres, the prevalence of infections in intensive care units was higher (26.4 per cent) than the overall prevalence of hospital acquired infection (7.03 per cent) at the PGI.

"Although the outcome of hospital acquired infection generally remains moderate, it is crucial for any institution to curb the infections. These infections not only add to the difficulties and inconvenience to patients acquiring the infection, but also elevate the burden on doctors and other staff," said one of the researchers, Dr Ashok Kumar, assistant professor, department of hospital administration.

The researchers are currently determining the causes of the increase in hospital acquired infection over three years and all other key findings of the research, in addition to finding solutions to the problem.

The study has already been sent for publication in journal of hospital infection and being currently reviewed. Researchers include Dr Ashok Kumar, Dr Manisha Biswal, Dr Navneet Dhaliwal, Dr Mahesh, Dr Suma B Appannanavar, Dr Vikas Gautam, Dr Pallab Ray, Dr AK Gupta and Dr Neelam Taneja.

During the study, patients admitted to the department of ophthalmology and paediatrics were excluded.



Adopt Citizens’ Charter before imposing house tax: CHB
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
A meeting held by the CHB Federation on the issue of house tax witnessed heated arguments between the Congress and BJP councillors at the community centre in Sector 45 here.

The councillors demanded that the Administration should adopt Citizens’ Charter, Right to Service Act in the UT offices and put in place the Public Audit System.

The federation stated that as there were a few people, there was no need of imposing the house tax on the residents of the city at present and if the imposition of the tax could not be postponed, the Administration must end people’s harassment in the UT offices by adopting Citizens’ Charter, Right to Service Act, and put in place the Public Audit System to ensure that every penny paid by people would be saved from corrupt elements and spent on public welfare.

Political leaders should shun populism and behave like leaders of sensible people and not like helpless puppets. They must educate people to help the Administration build revenue.

MP Kohli, nominated councillor and vice-chairman, House Tax Committee, appreciated the federation’s effort in creating public interest in the matters that were important and assured the Assembly that if the house tax was levied in the city, it would be even lesser than the lowest house tax being charged in the neighbouring states of Haryana.

Subhash Chawla said if routine projects were to be executed in the city, there was no need to levy the tax, but if mega projects like Metro were to be implemented in the city, it was necessary to levy the tax to raise revenue. Arun Sood of the BJP said there was no need to levy the tax in the city as there were alternative ways of raising the revenue. 



Family gave up battle due to insecurity, says friend
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 12
Six months after security was withdrawn from outside the house of Ruchika Girhotra, who committed suicide after alleged molestation and subsequent harassment by a former Inspector General of Police, Haryana, in 1990, the abandoned police control room vehicle parked outside her Sector 12 house tells the story of the apathy of the poice department.

The abandoned PCR vehicle, which doubled as a makeshift accommodation and a mobile police post, now has punctured tyres and is covered with dust. Even before Ruchika's family gave up the legal battle to get her justice, security was withdrawn from outside the house without any notice.

According to Anand Prakash, father of Ruchika's friend Aradhna, who has stood by the family through thick and thin, it was the insecurity that made Girhotra family give up the battle. Girhotras had accepted the closure report by the Central Bureau of Investigation on June 1; hence, bringing to an end their pursuit for justice.

"It has been months since the security that was provided outside our house was withdrawn. We have been feeling unsafe, but what can we do because all has already been lost. Not even a single policeman who used to be deployed here and stayed in the PCR vehicle stationed outside our house has come," said Kavita Girhotra, sister-in-law of Ruchika.

She further added, "The whole system from top to bottom is porous and faulty. When we move out, we have to be very careful."

Anand Prakash asked when the security had been withdrawn, why was the PCR vehicle abandoned there. It was merely an eye wash, he alleged.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Dheeraj Setia failed to respond to this correspondent despite a number of phone calls and messages.



NIH to find ways to save Sukhna Lake
It will check the feasibility of diverting water from Ghaggar river
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), which is carrying out a study on the parched Sukhna Lake, to check the feasibility of diverting water from Patiala-Ki-Rao or Ghaggar river into it.

The water supply to the lake from its catchment area has fallen sharply due to the deficient monsoon.

A premier institute in the area of hydrology and water resources in India, it was established in 1978. With its headquarters at Roorkee in Uttarakhand, the institute is well equipped to carry out computer, laboratory and field oriented studies.

As the Save Sukhna Lake case came up for resumed hearing this morning, a Division Bench of the High Court was informed by the Counsel for the Chandigarh Administration, Sanjay Kaushal that the institute was carrying out the study.

The assertion came after amicus curiae (friend of the court) Tanu Bedi sought the issuance of directions for making the Ministry of Water Resources a party in the case being heard by the High Court in public interest.

Responding to the suggestion, Kaushal informed the Bench that the institute was a Government of India establishment under the Ministry of Water Resources. Taking note of the assertion, the Bench asked for the complete report in a month.

The Bench of Acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice T.S. Dhindsa also asked the institute to study the feasibility of diverting the flow of water from Patiala-Ki-Rao or Ghaggar River into the Sukhna Lake.

The High Court, on the previous date of hearing, had asked chief secretaries of Punjab and Haryana to discuss with the Advisor to the UT Administrator and find an alternative source of water supply to Sukhna Lake.

The directions came after Kaushal said water could not reach the Sukhna Lake from the catchment area due to deficient rain.

To save Sukhna Lake from completely drying up, the High Court has already asked the Chandigarh Administration to release water from the check dams into it.

The Bench had also refused to vacate the stay on construction in the Lake’s catchment area, even though a demand for the same was raised by a law officer for Punjab State.

It had also sought a report on authorised and unauthorised construction till March 14, 2011, when building activity of any kind in the catchment area was prohibited. Report was also sought on construction up to May 21, when the matter was placed beforethe Supreme Court 



Alliance for safe food formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
An alliance for safe food has been established in Chandigarh on the initiative of Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM) with like-minded socio-cultural organisations of the tricity.

At a meeting organised here today, Umendra Dutt, the Executive Director of KVM, said the alliance will promote organic food through various events and workshops for residents in the tricity of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

“The initiative is part of the 'India for Safe Food' movement which is currently underway in various cities of the country.

The Chandigarh-based alliance will act as a support base for the movement in north India,” he added.

While discussing the damaging impact of pesticide use in agriculture on human health, the alliance members talked about strategies to provide organic food at the doorsteps of the residents.

“Besides liaising between organic farmers and consumers, the alliance will also educate people on how to grow their own food in limited urban space,” said Gaurav Sahai, a city-based organic farmer who initiated Sattva, a group of organic food lovers.

Those present at the meeting included consumer rights’ activists, health professionals, lawyers, business executives, students as well as housewives.

The 'Safe Food' alliance includes various socio-cultural organisations including, Aawaaz, Servants of the People's Society, Sattva Farms, Daanish Foundation, Preetlarhi, Developing Indigenous Resources, Punjab Manch, Environmental Health Action Group, Bharatiya Gharahk Panchayat, Panchnad Research Institute, Voluntary Health Association of Punjab, Chandigarh Consumers' Forum, Support Initiatives in Development Trust, Dr Dharamvir Singh Bhatia Smarak Samiti, Giri Soft Tech, Yuva Dharti, Patanjali Yog Samiti, Progressive Lawyers' Forum and Citizens' Voice.



Chandigarh Scan
550 attend free medical camp

Over 550 persons attended a free socio-medical camp at Bapu Dham Colony on Sunday. The camp, organised by Chandigarh Senior Citizens' Association in collaboration with the UT Administration, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and Chandigarh Police at the police hall, was the first in a series of such camps during a month-long celebrations of the International Senior Citizens' Day. The visitors were treated or counselled for various ailments. Sahayata Cancer Sahyog, a non-governmental organisation, apprised the attendees of symptoms of cancer, and listed patients for mammography at the PGI. The organisers said welfare activities, such as the camp, were a way to utilise the experience and expertise of the senior citizens to show their continued relevance as an important segment of the community.

Policemen rehearse ahead of the Independence Day at the Parade Ground in Sector 17, Chandigarh.
Policemen rehearse ahead of the Independence Day at the Parade Ground in Sector 17, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: S. Chandan

Entrepreneurs stress on start-ups

Stressing that the country has become the largest customer-centric market in the world, Vishal Jain, an entrepreneur, pointed out that new trends were emerging in the region for business. He, however, asked youngsters to step out of their "comfort zones" to utilize these opportunities. Jain was speaking at the "National Entrepreneurship Summit 2012" organised by Rayat Bahra Group in collaboration with TIE-Chandigarh Chapter and PHD Chamber of Commerce on Saturday. Special secretary of science, technology and environment department, Punjab, Bhawna Garg inaugurated the event attended by over 120 entrepreneurs from North India. Divided into three sessions, the event had discussions on how start-ups could support the industry by designing new products and services, and identifying and overcoming shortcomings. Discussions also revolved around finding ways for the industry to help young start-ups in terms of providing business opportunities.

Alliance to promote organic food

An alliance has been formed to promote organic food in the trcity. Umendra Dutt, executive director of a private firm dealing in organic products, said the alliance would promote organic food through various events and workshops for residents in the tricity area. "The initiative is part of the 'India for Safe Food' movement which is currently underway in various cities of the country. The Chandigarh-based alliance will act as a support base for the movement in the north," he said. The alliance members discussed the impact of pesticide use in agriculture on human health. To tackle this menace, they discussed strategies to provide organic food at the doorsteps of the residents. "Besides acting as a platform between organic farmers and consumers, the alliance will also educate people on how to grow their own food in limited urban space," said Gaurav Sahai, a city-based organic farmer who has initiated Sattva, a group of organic food lovers. — TNS



Departments fail to check eligibility, put onus on wardens
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Although students pursing a second master's degree at Panjab University are not eligible for admission to a hostel, departments fail to check whether a student had earlier pursued any degree on the campus, before allotting hostel seats.

In many cases, students having completed post-graduation at the university took admission in another department to avail the hostel facility. For getting around the rules, students did not mention that they had earlier pursued a course and furnished documents that showed a gap year.

The law department had prepared a rubber stamp that stated the hostel warden should check all the eligibility conditions of a student before allotting a hostel seat. The department while recommending the hostel admission put the same stamp on the form.

Over-burdened wardens, however, found it difficult to cross-check the furnished documents of hundreds of students during admissions.

A hostel warden said: "Only those students who are recommended by a department get a hostel seat. How can they expect wardens to check whether students are eligible?"

Dean Student Welfare Prof AS Ahluwalia said there had been a problem in verifying the eligibility of students, as departments did not cooperate with hostel wardens during the process.

"It is not feasible for a warden to check the eligibility of every student. Departments should assist them in this process," Ahluwalia said.

DSW further said that he would be writing to all the departments directing them to check the eligibility of students before recommending their name for admission to hostels on the campus.



PU to amend rules for hostel seats
PUSU leader finds loophole to get admission to hostel no. 5 despite pursuing a second degree
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
After a student leader got a hostel seat at Panjab University even though he is pursuing a second degree, the university authorities have decided to revise the rules for hostel admission from the next academic session.

According to the rules, a student pursuing a second master's degree or a student who joins a non-professional course after completing a professional course is not entitled to a hostel seat. The rule book, however, is silent in the case of a student joining another professional course after completing one.

Taking benefit of this loophole, Panjab University Students' Union leader Sumit Gokhlaney, who was a presidential candidate in the last year's student council election, managed to get admission to the hostel no. 5, despite pursuing a second degree from the university.

Gokhlaney after completing MCom had taken admission to the department of law. He told this correspondent: "I have switched from MCom to law; both are professional courses, and the rule book nowhere mentions that a student won't get a hostel seat on taking admission to another professional course after completing one."

Rival student organisations, however, have raised objections against Gokhlaney getting hostel admission.

PU students claimed that there should be uniformity in rules for all the students pursuing a second degree, whether it is a professional or a non-professional course.

Dean Student Welfare Prof AS Ahluwalia said that the case had been brought to his notice. It was because the rules when framed did not mention that even on moving from one professional course to another, a student would be denied a hostel seat, the PUSU leader managed to get admission to a hostel, he admitted.

"We were also surprised after reading the rule book that exempts such cases. We are now going to amend the rule, and from the next year only those students whose case gets an approval from the committee will get hostel admission," Prof Ahluwalia said.



Children make a beeline for library on freedom fighters
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Children listen to Jagjit Bhagat Singh (wearing hat) at Kraanti Kona in Panchkula on Sunday.
Children listen to Jagjit Bhagat Singh (wearing hat) at Kraanti Kona in Panchkula on Sunday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, August 12
Vishal Sharma, a Class VI student, who has to perform the role of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh on the Independence Day, has found an ideal place to know more about him. Everyday, Vishal spends an hour at "Kraanti Kona", a special library stocked with books on various freedom fighters, reading about Bhagat Singh.

Riya Chabbra too takes her 11-year-old daughter to the library, situated in Sector 14, so that she might become aware of the sacrifices made by freedom fighters.

Books on Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Raj Guru, and Sukhdev are quite in demand at the library these days, says Jagdish Bhagat Singh, owner of the establishment.

"As Independence Day is approaching, kids between the age-group of 7-15 are thronging the library these days. Some say that they have to perform the role of a particular freedom fighter, and some say that they want to know more about the struggle for independence," he adds.

A student of Class IX, Taani Malhotra is visiting the library to satiate her "inquisitiveness". "We were just discussing about the function on August 15, and our teacher shared interesting anecdotes from the lives of freedom fighters. So, the inquisitiveness to know more about their life and their sacrifice brought me here."



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