C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Drunk driving claims another life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
A business process outsourcing (BPO) employee died while four others were injured when the vehicle they were travelling in rammed into the Sectors 7, 19, 26 and 27 roundabout on Madhya Marg in the wee hours of Saturday. All the youths in their mid-twenties were drunk at the time of the accident.

The deceased has been identified as 27-year-old Ashish Kashyap, who was working with a BPO company at the IT park, Chandigarh. Ashish, a native of Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh, was residing in a rented accommodation at Sector 4 in Panchkula. He was behind the wheels when the accident took place. The youths were returning from Sector 22 after having food.

Inspector Anokh Singh, SHO, Sector 26 police station, said the medical report of the youths confirmed the presence of alcohol in their blood.

The injured have been identified as Jatin, Nilesh, Sohan and Shashank, all residents of Panchkula. Jatin and Nilesh have been hospitalised.

The police said the car was on a high speed and it rammed into the roundabout following which the heads of Ashish, who was driving the vehicle, and Nilesh, who was sitting next to him, banged into the front mirror of the vehicle. The front portion of car was damaged. The police has initiated inquest proceedings in the case.



Infant dies of swine flu
Tribune News Service

Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Severe or persistent vomiting
Blood in sputum

Chandigarh, January 19
A six-month-old baby girl from Mohali died of swine flu today at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32.

Vrishti was admitted to the hospital on Friday and was put on a ventilator.

Doctors at GMCH-32 said the infant was suffering severe respiratory infection. “The patient was first administered medication for flu. She was put on a ventilator after her condition deteriorated,” said a doctor.

This is the second swine flu death in the tricity. Two weeks ago, a 29-year-old woman from Mani Majra died of swine flu at the PGIMER, Chandigarh.

UT nodal officer for National Vector-Borne Disease Programme Dr Anil Garg said: “The officials concerned in Punjab have contacted the family members of the infant and they have been given tamiflu tablets.”

The nodal officer in charge for flu in Punjab, Dr Deepak Bhatia, said it was the first death in Mohali.

A 31-year-old female patient admitted to the GMCH-32 has also tested positive for swine flu.

A total of seven deaths have been reported and 27 persons have tested positive for swine flu in hospitals across the city. Five patients tested positive for H1N1 from the city, 12 from Punjab, two from Himachal and one each from Jharkhand and Haryana.



City fails to count patients suffering from TB
Central Govt declared TB a notifiable disease on May 7, 2012
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The city does not have the record of patients suffering from tuberculosis (TB) even after eight months of the Union Government declaring it a notifiable disease.

A majority of private hospitals and clinics in the city have failed to register themselves with the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP).

Official data reveals that about 2,500 new TB patients are notified every year in the city.

These constitute only those who avail treatment at government institutions. The actual number of patients suffering from TB is supposed to be much higher, reveal health officials.

State TB officer, Chandigarh, Dr Anil Garg said the multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) was on the rise owing to a variety of treatments available in private and corporate healthcare institutions. The significance of the notification of patients suffering from tuberculosis was to ensure that the patient was tracked completely till the completion of the treatment.

The diagnosis and the treatment of pulmonary and extra-pulmonary tuberculosis is available free of cost at government-run institutions, including government hospitals and dispensaries.

On May 7, 2012, the Central Government declared tuberculosis a notifiable disease. This primarily expected the healthcare providers, including clinical establishments run or managed by the government, private institutions and NGOs, to get themselves registered with the RNTCP and provide details of tuberculosis patients visiting them regularly. 

What is a notifiable disease?

It’s a disease that is identified as a major health problem accounting for substantial morbidity and mortality in the country.


The significance for notification of patients suffering from tuberculosis was to ensure that the patient is tracked completely till the completion of his treatment. This will also help in determining the true patient load.

Risk of transmitting disease

State TB Officer Dr Anil Garg said: “By stopping treatment midway, many patients suffering from tuberculosis pose a risk of transmitting the disease to others. Patients availing treatment under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) are tracked regularly. Since we have their records, we can contact them in case they fail to turn up for the follow-up treatment. But without notification of patients, we cannot follow this technique on patients visiting private institutions.” 



Shopkeepers defy orders
Fail to put up separate rate lists at PU
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Shopkeepers at the student centre in Panjab University continue to fleece students. Despite the PU authorities issuing a notice to shopkeepers asking them to display separate rate lists for students and outsiders before January 11, nothing has been done.

The efforts of students, who have been demanding the same since November last year, have proved futile.

As per the notice issued by the office of the Dean, Student Welfare, shopkeepers were supposed to display both the rate lists by January 11.

It was stated that if they failed to comply with the directions, a fine would be imposed on them, but the university has not initiated action against them so far.

Sunny Mehta, NSUI leader, said only protests could move the authorities.

"We have been raising the issue for over two months and still the university has failed to solve the problem and penalise the shopkeepers," Mehta said.

Mehta stated that the university had given a nod to the extension of shops at the centre but had failed to revise the rent.

As the shop owners have put up the rate list for outsiders, PU students end up paying more.

AS Ahluwalia, Dean, Student Welfare, said he had visited the shops a few days ago and had asked the shopkeepers to display the rate lists.

"A few shopkeepers had displayed printed lists which were not readable. They were told to put up lists which could be easily read," the DSW said.

He stated that all the shopkeepers would be fined on Monday.

In the absence of separate rate lists and unawareness among students about different rates, they end up paying Rs 3-Rs 8 more for various beverages and food items. While a cup of coffee costs a student Rs 12, the same costs an outsider Rs 15.



‘Busy’ Administrator cancels public darbar
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The UT Administration has again cancelled the public hearing session (public darbar). Courtesy: UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil’s busy schedule.

The public hearing session, which was scheduled for Monday, January 21, will not be held as the Administrator has a meeting with the defence officials. No public hearing session has been held since the past two months.

The last session on November 19, 2012, had witnessed a poor response as only three complaints turned up. Thereafter, the UT Administration cancelled two public hearings in December and one in January. Since January 2012, Patil has only attended 10 sessions out of the scheduled 25. Patil assumed office as the Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator on January 22, 2010. There should have been 71 public hearing sessions till date. However, Patil managed to hold only 31 sessions so far, less than one session per month. The sessions are usually held on the first and third Mondays of every month.

Besides, there is no record with the UT Administration on the present status of the complaints heard by Patil during his three-year tenure. In a majority of the cases, officials of the UT Administration do not even know about the status of complaints.

The IT department of the UT Administration prepares a list of complainants after the screening process. The IT department also seeks reply from the departments concerned against whom the complaint was submitted. The complaint and the response of the department are put before Patil in the public darbar.

However, after the public darbar, no department keeps the track of the complaints.

Patil had attended his first public hearing session on February 1, 2010. The heads of all departments concerned were present to redress the grievances of 13 complainants.


Ex-serviceman quota
Few takers for teaching posts
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The education department is in a fix over the vacant posts in the ex-servicemen quota, which could not be filled during the recent recruitment of 536 teachers.

Over 90 per cent of the 56 reserved posts under the ex-serviceman category are still lying vacant due to the poor response in this category.

The education department was earlier thinking of filling these posts by giving calls to the waiting list candidates of general category and other respective categories but the officials said that they could not find any provision regarding conversion of these seats.

“There are chances that the department may write to state sainik board to take their advice on this matter,” said a senior official of the department

According to officials, the department needs to seek a no-objection certificate from the competent authority to fill these seats from the other categories but overall clarity on this issue will take some time since the issue is currently being discussed at the highest level.

Among the total 56 posts of ex-servicemen quota, 36 posts are for general category, 19 posts are for OBC, 9 posts are for SC and 2 posts are for physically handicap.

Even as the final merit list of the remaining JBT teachers has been finalized, so far only 4-5 seats could be filled, rest are lying vacant.

Earlier this week, the department gave the appointment letter to 150 teachers from the general category. On Monday another lot of 150 teachers of the general category will be given the appointment letter. On Tuesday, 118 candidates of OBC category will get the induction letter followed by appointment letters of other categories on Wednesday.

Department officials said that the fresh recruitment would meet the shortfall of teachers in the government schools here. Among the teachers recruited, 322 are from the general category, 166 from OBC, 85 from SC, 15 for physically handicap.



Second historian from Punjab gets top honours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Prof Indu Banga, an eminent historian of Punjab, has been unanimously elected in absentia as the general president for the 74th session of the Indian History Congress.

So far only two other historians from the Punjab have been chosen for this honour.

Professor Banga, who retired from Panjab University in 2008, has published as many as 10 books and 60 research papers.

Professor Banga was made the general president of the Punjab History Conference in 2011, and has also been awarded gold medal by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, in 2003 for her ‘outstanding contribution to Indian History’.

The Indian History Congress is the apex body of the historians of India and also the largest professional organisation in social sciences and humanities in the country. It was founded in 1935 to promote scientific and secular study of Indian history.

Professor Banga said during her tenure she would focus on encouraging young researchers.

She said, “The Indian History Congress every year honours few researchers on the basis of their research. I will ensure that there is a mechanism through which we could check plagiarism before honouring the scholars for their research.”

The annual session of the Indian History Congress, which draws delegates from all over Indian and abroad, is held under an eminent historian elected as its general president. In its session held in the University of Mumbai in December 2012, Professor Banga was unanimously elected as general president.



auction of vanity numbers
RLA mulls installation of CCTV cameras
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
After receiving complaints regarding the formation of cartels during an auction of vanity numbers on Thursday, the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) is planning to install CCTV camera on the premises to monitor the participation of agents.

Bidders had alleged that a few groups had formed cartels to bring down the bids of the vanity numbers.

Following which, the Registering and Licensing Authority cancelled the auction.

Officials said during the auction of CH 01 AR 0001, the authorities fetched only Rs 3.51 lakh and for other single digit numbers which fetched lakhs earlier either went as per the base price or slightly above it.

A senior official said the next date for the auction would be decided after a thorough investigation of what went wrong in the auction.

"The department will return the money which was deposited by the successful bidders," he added.

In the auction held on Thursday, 38 numbers fetched Rs 13.96 lakh. There were allegations that for the first 10 numbers, most of the bidders were same and had allegedly formed a cartel to decrease the bid amounts. 



anti-encroachment drive
75 challans issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The enforcement wing of the Municipal Corporation today removed encroachments from various parts of Sector 17.

The drive was carried out under the supervision of Lalit Siwach, Additional Commissioner, and Superintendent Kashmira Singh.

Kashmira Singh said they had deployed five sub-inspectors for the work.

During the drive, 75 challans were issued to violators.

The enforcement team removed encroachments from bank square, plaza and outer area of Sector 17 and seized various items, including stoves, bhattis, gas cylinders, chairs, tables, clay pots, readymade garments and shoes.



Panchkula civic body elections to be delayed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 19
Even as the ward formation in Panchkula has been finalised, the Municipal Corporation (MC) elections are expected to take place in Panchkula before March 16, the day when the three year period to hold MC elections lapses. Though the state election commission has assured the conducting of elections as soon as possible, it is being claimed that as the election process is time consuming so holding elections in the middle of the March would not be possible.

The notification about the formation of Municipal Corporation was done on March 17, 2010. Accordingly the period to hold the elections within three years would elapse on March 16, 2013.

“The ward formation was finalised yesterday and a period of 72 days in required for completing the election procedure, which won't be possible till March 16,” said Dharam Vir, State Election Commissioner.

He further added, “The elections would be conducted as soon as possible and I have convened a meeting of all officials on January 21, so that the preparation of voter's lists starts and the process is completed quickly.”

It was also stated that as the students faced examinations in the month of March, elections during that period would not be preferred.

“It is expected that the period for holding elections will be extended by about six months ,” said BB Singhal, former MC Vice-President.

“In any case, we are ready for the elections,” added former MC President, Ravinder Rawal.

It was yesterday, when the formation of 20 wards was finalised in Panchkula, after the draft notification was issued by the government seeking objections and suggestions from the public regarding the same. According to the MC officials, the objections were rejected on merit following which the wards were finalised. Although the ward delimitation and the formation of Municipal Council or Municipal Corporation are still pending in the court.



Avirbhav entralls audience
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Artiste Avirbhav Verma today gave a solo tabla performance under ‘Horizon Series’ programme at Randhawa Auditorium, Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16.

The event was organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in collaboration with Pracheen Kala Kendra.

Avirbhav’s performance left the audience spellbound when he presented the intricacies of taals and different other rhythm combination through his performance. Son of illustrious tabla player, Pawan Kumar Verma, Avirbhav learnt the first lesson from his father.



One killed in accident

Mohali, January 19
One person was killed and another injured, when a truck hit their motor cycle. They were riding on the Mohali- Balongi bridge, here this evening.

According to reports, the two persons on the motorcyle, fell down and were injured. The passersby caught the truck driver and handed him over to the police.The injured victims, Jasbir Singh and Jaswinder Singh, were admitted to different hospitals. Later, Jasbir Singh was reported to have succumbed to his injuries. The MLA, Balbir Singh Sidhu, said that he rang up 108 for ambulance service, but the vehicle did not reach immediately. The accident victims then had to be transported to hospital in a private vehicle. —OC



Medical camp held at golf club

Chandigarh, January 19
The Chandigarh Golf Club in association with Max Hospital today organised a medical check-up camp for as many as 100 permanent employees at the premises of the golf club.

According to GS Sandhu, President, CGC, the main purpose of this camp was to make sure that everyone is free of any illness.

Dr GS Kochhar, chairman, health, Golf club, and former senior consultant PGI was also a part of the exercise. —TNS



Mission admission gets complicated
Parents unhappy with ‘arbitrary’ categorisation adopted by private unaided schools for allotment of seats
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Preferential quota includes siblings of students already studying in the school, wards of alumni and staff members
The RTE Act is not applicable in these schools. Their preferential quota includes seats for Christian minority.

Chandigarh, January 19
Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 33, conducted a draw of lots for admission to entry-level classes today.

The admission process that began on November 30 last year was mired by a number of issues, with parents expressing resentment over “arbitrary” categorisation being adopted by private unaided schools for the allotment of seats.

As compared to last year, the number of forms that were sold in private schools witnessed an increase by 15-20 per cent, but the number of seats made available for students under the general category was reduced.

The preference to siblings of students, besides wards of alumni and staff members over thousands of general category students emerged as a big issue.

The decision of Saupin’s School, Sector 32, to shift from the draw of lots system to the point system raised a hue and cry among parents earlier this month.

Avinash Mehta, a parent, said the schools squeezed the general candidates to minority.

"Even as hundreds of applicants applied for admission, only a few seats were declared through the draw of lots for the general public," he said.

Another parent, Anil Singla, said he applied in four schools, but could not get his son admitted to any one of those.

HS Mamik, president of Independent School, Association, Chandigarh, said, "The schools should not be blamed for limited seats and making categorisation for their allotment of seats since they have every right to create their own criteria as per the MHRD guidelines."

“It is sad that several students had to suffer, but the problem will continue to persist unless the Administration does not form pro-education policies. They are not realising that we need more classrooms and schools in the city,” said Mamik.

However, voice is being raised against the arbitrary allotment of seats for the preferential quotas at the cost of the general category.

“This must be stopped. At least 50 per cent of the seats should be given to students under the general category,” said Bhawna Joshi, a parent.

Taruna Vashisht, headmistress, Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 33, said, “We had 49 forms against the siblings of those already studying in the school, but we gave admitted 10 candidates to strike a balance. Out of the 75 seats, we gave 48 seats to students under the general category under the RTE Act," she said.

Kavita Das, principal of St John’s High School, Sector 26, said, "The school gave maximum seats to students under the general category through a draw of lots after giving preference to Christian minority since we understand the anxiety of parents."

Tomorrow is the last day for the draw of lots in private schools. DAV, Sector 15, and KBDAV, Sector 7, will conduct a draw of lots on their school premises.

Amendment to MHRD guidelines sought
Since students under the general category were ignored in the recent admission process, parents sought amendment to the MHRD guidelines, which otherwise give right to schools to formulate their own policy and criteria for admission for seats other than those under the RTE Act. RTE activist Pankaj Chandgothia said the guidelines must be amended to put a cap on seats under preferential categories because there is no rationality found in allotment of seats under various categories by the school authorities.



Annual management fest held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The BBA Club of GGDSD College, Sector 32, organised the 14th Annual Management Fest - Panache 2013.

Students from over 20 educational institutes vied for prizes in different events through out the day.

Guest of Honour Savita Bhatti gave away the prizes to the award winners.

Monica Sachdeva, coordinator, BBA Club, said: “The fest helped inculcate team work, professionalism and managerial skills among students.”

Upkar Krishan Sharma, president, GGDSD Society, encouraged the students to participate enthusiastically in such events that play a crucial role in the all round development of their personalities.



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