C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Hospitals give fire-safety norms the go-by
Bansal opens new block at Mani Majra Civil Hospital 
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurates the Emergency-cum-Mother and Child Health Block at the Civil Hospital (below) at Mani Majra in Chandigarh on Sunday.

Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurates the Emergency-cum-Mother and Child Health Block at the Civil Hospital (below) at Mani Majra in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurates the Emergency-cum-Mother and Child Health Block at the Civil Hospital (below) at Mani Majra in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photos: S Chandan

Chandigarh, April 7
Even as the Emergency-cum-Mother and Child Health Block of the Civil Hospital in Mani Majra was inaugurated today with much fanfare by Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, raising its total capacity to 100 beds, the hospital authorities are yet to remove numerous fire-safety violations in the building.

The new block, which houses 40 beds and aims at catering to expectant women round the clock, was audited by the UT Fire Department a few months ago and various violations were pointed out.

The mandatory no-objection certificate (NOC) is yet to be obtained from the Fire Department. Chief Fire Officer Rajiv Gupta said the NOC was a pre-requisite for any private/government building for obtaining an occupation certificate from the Deputy Commissioner. Despite this, the building was made functional today.

The violations

There are no signboards inside the hospital showing the exit route. In case of an emergency, it will be difficult for the fire staff to evacuate patients from the building.

The fire-detection system, which senses short circuits and smoke, and has to be installed in each room, has been installed only in a few rooms.

There are no sprinklers in the basement of the building. Water is sprayed in case of excessive heating in the basement.

The firefighting system is inadequate. Landing walls and nosals of hose reels are missing at a majority of the points, making it difficult to connect the pipe and extract water.

What the hospital offers

Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurated the building today. He sanctioned Rs 30 lakh from the MPLAD Fund for multi para-monitors and a cardiac monitor-cum-defibrillator for cardiac care emergencies at the Civil Hospital.

The hospital has already been running seven departments, including Gyanaecology, Paediatrics, Dental, Pathology, Medicine Dermatology and Orthopaedics for the past few months.

The new Emergency-cum-Mother and Child Health Block has been set up at a cost of Rs 6.87 crore.

“This block will ensure round-the-clock availability of doctors to provide relief to expectant women and newborns in particular,” said an official.

More than 850 patients visit the hospital everyday. The number is likely to go up with the addition of the new block.



GMSH-16 fails to remove violations in New OPD Block 
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

The New OPD Block at the GMSH-16
The New OPD Block at the GMSH-16

Chandigarh, April 7
The New OPD Block at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, continues to function without removing the fire safety violations in the building, putting thousands of lives to risk everyday.

This building has been housing eight crucial departments for the past six months and more than 2,000 patients visit it everyday. While the hospital management says it is awaiting a communication from the UT Engineering Wing, which is yet to "formally hand over the building to the hospital", the Engineering Department claims that some of the violations have been removed.

The Fire Department has pointed out that the permission to occupy the building cannot be obtained without removing the fire safety violations for any government or private building.

The building, however, has been housing the departments of Medicine, Skin, Orthopaedics and Physiotherapy, Paediatrics, Psychiatry, Surgery, ENT and Eye since October last year.

The issue was highlighted in these columns earlier also.

The Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr Rajiv Vadhera, said: "We are waiting for a communication regarding the removal of violations from the Engineering Wing. The building is currently being looked after by the wing."

Violations pointed out by the Fire Dept

A corridor connecting the Emergency wing with the OPD block is a hindrance to a fire tender to reach the Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD) in case of an emergency. This department houses the autoclave unit of the hospital, where surgical instruments and linens are sterilised at a very high temperature. The nursery where newborns are shifted is also located next to the CSSD on the upper floor. In case of an emergency, it will be difficult to reach it because of the disadvantage in the location of both the units.

The new OPD building has also blocked certain locations in the hospital building which were earlier accessible to fire tenders, according to officials of the Fire Department. There is only one entry and one exit point in the Emergency wing, which will make it difficult for the fire tenders to evacuate patients and staff during an emergency.

Engineering Dept's claims

"Some of the violations have already been removed and the Fire Department will soon conduct an inspection for granting a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the building," said UT Chief Engineer SK Chadha.

Asked about specific violations which were removed, Chadha said: "It is difficult to explain everything at the moment but a major part of the violations has been removed. We have also installed paver blocks all around the building for the smooth movement of vehicles".

Fire Dept's take

"We have written to the Engineering Department as well as the Chief Architect to first remove the violations pointed out by us and then allow the building for use. Usually the permission for occupying a building is not granted by the DC until an NOC from the Fire Department is issued," said an official of the Fire Department.



5 foreign students hit constables, held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The UT police arrested five foreign students studying in the city for allegedly hitting two policemen posted with the Cheetah squad in Sector 15 in the wee hours today.

The students, who have been sent to judicial custody, are pursuing higher education. While two are students of engineering in a private institute, the remaining three are students of Panjab University. The accused have been identified as Vangyal, Jigmewangchuk, Kezong, Jonyang and Ugyen, three of whom are residents of Bhutan, and two are from Tibet. They were staying in Sector 15 as paying guests.

Jigmewangchuk and Kezong are engineering students at Chitkara University while the other accused are pursuing graduation in the arts stream from the University School of Open Learning (USOL), Panjab University.

The incident occurred when constables Sandeep and Sanjay of the Cheetah squad were deployed at the Sectors 14/15 dividing road. The accused came there in a car bearing the registration number (CH-03F-8701) and were allegedly in an inebriated condition. Kezon was driving the car at a high speed and all students were reportedly drunk and screaming in the car.

The students were stopped by the constables for routine verification as their car was at a high speed. They, however, fled after passing obscene remarks and abusing the police. The constables chased the accused on their duty bike. The accused then hit the constables’ motorcycle and fled the spot. The constables fell and sustained minor inujries.

The injured constables informed the police control room (PCR). A police party traced the accused in a residential area in Sector 15 D. On seeing the police, the accused tried to escape on foot, but were apprehended. The medical examination confirmed that the accused had consumed liquor. Sandeep and Sanjay were taken to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital for treatment.

A case of rioting, voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servants from performing their duty and assault under Sections 147, 149, 332 and 353 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 11 police station. The accused were produced in court and sent to judicial custody.

The police have impounded the youths’ car.

Were staying as paying guests

The accused have been identified as Vangyal, Jigmewangchuk, Kezong, Jonyang and Ugyen, three of whom are residents of Bhutan and two of Tibet. They were staying in Sector 15 as paying guests. While two of them are pursuing engineering at a private institute, the remaining three are students of Panjab University



Panchkula reels under 10-hour power cuts 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 7
The entire township of Panchkula is reeling under power cuts of about 10 to 12 hours daily. Officials have blamed the frequent power cuts on urgent maintenance work for the Navratra festival.

For the past four days, rotational power cuts are are being imposed during the daytime in Sectors 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 18 and 21, the Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 4 and Sector 5, Bhainsa Tibba, Saketri, Swastik Vihar, the Mansa Devi market and the mini-secretariat. The Electricity Department has been informing the people regarding the power cuts through the media daily.

“The excuse being given by the officials makes little sense. Since they knew the dates of the Navratras, the maintenance work could have been done earlier when power cuts wouldn't have made much of a difference since the weather was pleasant,” said Manoj Aggarwal, a resident of Sector 21, Panchkula.

He said, “The fact is that they don’t have enough electricity for the township.”

Vishal Raji, another resident, said, “I am afraid, if this is the situation now, what will happen at the peak of the summer in May and June.”

The scheduled timings for the power cuts in various parts of the township are either from 9 am to 5 pm, 8 am to 4 pm or from 7 am to 5 pm.

The Navratra festival will take off on April 11 at the Mansa Devi shrine.

The power demand during the peak hours in the evening at the shrine is 100 A while the supply is between 40 A to 60 A.

Officials said they were making sufficient back-up for the fest. 



CITCO officials in the dock as crucial records go missing
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
At least four officials, including a senior manager, of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation (CITCO) are in the dock over the missing of crucial records pertaining to gifts received under promotional schemes against the purchase of liquor.

The 17-year-old records pertain to gifts received in the shape of silver, gold and cash incentives, which were offered under various promotional schemes by liquor companies from 1991 to 1996, when CITCO was the sole distributor of liquor in the city.

Taking a serious note of the lapse, the Central Information Commission (CIC), while hearing an appeal, has recommended to the MD, CITCO, to give a final opportunity to the erring officials to trace the records, failing which action should be initiated against them.

The issue of the missing records came to light when the president of the CITCO Workers Union, Kashmir Chand, approached the CIC seeking copies of the distribution policy of liquor to retailers with special reference to the records of the gifts. It is being suspected that the gifts received under the promotional schemes were gobbled up.

During the course of the hearing, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) stated that the information sought had not been found despite the fact that the first appellate authority in his capacity as the Managing Director, CITCO, had constituted a team of officers to locate the records. Barring a file pertaining to the insurance of the liquor stock, no other record was found.

The appellant in the case, Kashmir Chand, alleged serious wrongdoings in the matter of handling the gifts. He maintained that the five officials deployed in the liquor division of CITCO had failed to maintain the records of the gifts received between 1991 and 1996.

After hearing both parties, Information Commissioner Deepak Sandhu directed the CPIO to make more efforts to locate the records sought by the appellant within four weeks.

He recommended the CITCO MD to identify the officers responsible for maintaining and preserving the records and initiate an inquiry into the matter through the Vigilance Department.


GMADA water project work on in full swing
To meet water needs of Mohali town, periphery; set to meet August 31, 2014, deadline 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Work in progress at Bukhri village
Work in progress at Bukhri village 

Mohali, April 7
To meet the substantially growing water needs of Mohali town and its periphery areas, including Zirakpur, Lalru and Dera Bassi, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is all set to complete its pilot project of laying down 23.5-km-long pipeline (Phase V and VI) and construction of treatment plant at Jandpur village before August next year.

The 80 MGD pipeline of Phase V and Phase VI of Kajauli waterworks is being laid up to Jandpur village and with the project worth Rs 156 crore readied, the water problems of Mohali and its periphery areas (subjected to the decision of the court in the matter of sharing of water with the UT, Panchkula and Haryana) will be addressed completely.

A visit by the Tribune team at the project sites in Bukhri village and Gharuan village revealed that the work was on in full swing there.

Around 200 workers and advanced machinery have been put into service at the sites to meet the deadline of August 31, 2014.

“We have already laid about 4.5 km-long pipeline with the capacity of 80-MGD water,” said AK Sinha, Chief Administrator, GMADA. He said about 3-km-long pipeline had been laid at Gharuan village, about 10 km away from Bukhri site village, where 1.5-km-long pipeline had been laid. The pipeline is being laid at different sites in parts to speed up the work.

Under the progress plan of the project, the senior functionaries of Welspun Company (which has been given the responsibility to complete the project) claimed that they were targeting to lay 1.7-km-long pipeline every month.

“As per our bar chart, we are working ahead of time,” said Pardeep Sekhri, Superintending Engineer, GMADA, who is supervising the project. The project started in March, 2012.

Giving reasons of the pipeline covering just 4.5 km in a span of one year, Sekhri said first few months had gone in designing and vetting by the experts. “The actual work on laying the pipeline began in October last year. Now, the work is in full swing as the pipes for covering 7 km have been readied,” said Sekhri.

He said, “This is the first time that the pipes having 12-mm thickness and 2,200 mm internal diameter are being laid here in the region.”

“Earlier, in Phase I, II, III and IV of the Kajauli waterworks, the diameter of four pipelines having capacity of 20 MGD each was 1,200 mm”, said Sekhri. 

The project

  • A total of 116.65 acres of land was acquired for the project.
  • For the pipeline and water treatment plant of Phase VI and VII, a total of 116.65 acres of land had been acquired.

Reality check

  • Mohali’s present water demand is around 25 MGD against the availability of 13 MGD (10 MGD from Bhakra canal and 3 MGD from tube wells) water.
  • With GMADA undertaking new townships like Aero City, Eco City, Medi City, IT Park and more to come, the water demand of the region will be more than double within next five years and may touch 50 MGD of water.
  • From the existing four pipelines, the Mohali town is getting just 10 MGD of water under the sharing pattern, while the UT is utilising 58 MGD and share of Panchkula (6 MGD), and Chandimandir (3 MGD).

Water-sharing pattern

In the meeting, headed by the then Home Minister of India on July 6, 1983, it was decided that Punjab and Haryana would release 20 MGD of water from Bhakhra Main Line free of cost in the ratio of 12:8 MGD, respectively. 



monkey menace
Plant fruit trees in forest areas

We will witness a time when monkeys will dominate the residents. They used to enter the houses and lock themselves inside. Our area was the worst affected with the monkeys. We were the first to hire langurs to keep monkeys at a bay. The problem is somewhat under control since past few months as we have hired two langurs who regular rounds of the area.

—Surinder Sharma,
President, RWA, Sector 15, Chandigarh

We had collected about Rs 1 lakh by taking contributions from all the residents recently. We utilised the amount to hire langurs. It has become a part of our household budget as there was no other option available before us.

, A resident of Sector 15, Chandigarh

The problem of monkey menace is one of the major concerns before the administration. Residents do not feel safe even at their home since monkeys often attack them in the lawns and courtyards. Residents are being forced to hire the langurs even at their own expenses, since they are fed up of the menace.

—Anu Chatrath
, A resident of Sector 8, Chandigarh 

UT Admn should plant fruit trees in forest areas

The administration should plant more fruit bearing tress in forest areas around the city so that less number of monkeys come to the city in search of food. The sterilisation should be done from time to time and Langurs should be used to keep the monkeys away from residential areas. People should be made aware to stop feeding monkeys and stop keeping eatables in open.
—Sunil Chopra, Joint Secretary, RWA, Sector 18, Chandigarh

Special helpline should be created

There is a need to contain the growing population of monkeys and make the residents aware about the need to avoid confrontation with the animals. The forest department should be proactive in responding to the distress calls from the residents who complain about monkeys creating ruckus in their areas. Special helpline should be created in the city to deal with the menace.
—Rajinder Sharma, A former CTP of Punjab

Take lessons from Shimla Municipal Corporation

Monkey scare in the city has left residents helpless and harassed. I feel that the UT Administration should study the measures adopted by the municipal corporation in Shimla to tackle the problem.

—Kapish Chauhan
, A resident of Sector 10, Chandigarh

Restrict entry of monkeys to city areas

I feel that more emphasis should be made on restricting the number of monkeys from entering the city as after a point they would come in conflict with the human habitations which will disturb the nature. For which I feel some arrangements should be made to restrict their entry in the city.

—Gobind Khatra
, A resident of Sector 9, Chandigarh

Feeling scared even at home

The monkeys not only trouble the residents by entering the houses and destroying their items but also bite them in case of retaliation. Last year, as many as 50 monkey bite cases were reported in our area. It gets annoying and traumatic for a person since he does not feel safe even while being at home.

, A resident of Sector 15, Chandigarh

Sterilisation method

The vital reason for monkey menace is deforestation. The authorities should take measures to control their population. Sterilisation method should be adopted. This will really help in curbing the monkey menace in the tricity and help the monkey species too.

—Piyush Mittal
, A resident of Sector 17, Panchkula

Residents should stop feeding monkeys

I feel that the residents are also responsible for the monkey menace. Despite being mentioned by the authorities that the monkeys should not be fed, residents' don't stop and keep feeding the monkeys. Even on the road that leads to Nada Sahib on the NH-73, one can witness groups of monkeys because they are aware that they will be fed by the passers-by.
—Manbir Singh Rathi, A resident of Sector 4, Panchkula

Stop deforestation

To get rid of the monkey menace, there is a need to start multiple initiatives. Tough steps should be taken to stop further deforestation of forest areas near Sukhna and forest areas near PU. The need of hour is to inform the citizens to stop feeding the monkeys. Administration and other connecting agencies of both Punjab and Chandigarh should stop building infrastructure near forest areas like Kansal and Caimwala.
—Arvind Rana, A government teacher

Long-term solution: wildlife sanctuary

Using langurs to get rid of stray monkeys is a short-term initiative, which was banned by the court too. The only permanent solution is the wildlife sanctuary. Unless enough money is spent on maintaining the forests cover, the animals will keep coming back to urban areas for food.

—Anujit Kaur
, Principal, GMSSS-16, Chandigarh

Monkey menace is not only the problem in Chandigarh but it is a cause of concern for the entire country. Human beings have encroached upon the habitat of monkeys due to which monkeys have entered the cities. We should now learn to live with monkeys. UT Administration will be planting fruit growing trees in Nepli and Kansal forest in Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary to attract monkeys. Besides, the administration has already engaged trained monkey catchers and the administration is also sensitising residents.
— Satosh Kumar, Forests-cum-Chief Wildlife Warden, UT

The use of term 'Monkey Menace' is totally wrong. The people and media have already declared it a menace. The city is full of VIPs who feel that there should not any problem. Earlier, the PGI was carrying out research on monkeys but later when government banned such researches they left these monkeys in open. The presence of monkeys is more around the PGI only. The population of monkeys in Chandigarh is under 200. Monkeys are coming to city because of less water ponds and poor plantation in the forest areas. We should grow more fruit growing trees and create natural ponds in forest areas. Like Chandigarh Administration, Punjab and Haryana should put more efforts to control it. People feed monkeys at city temples on specific days following which monkeys get attracted for food. People should avoid direct eye contact and should not scream on seeing a monkey.
— Payal Sodhi, People For Animals, Chandigarh

Open house question

Already burdened with the increasing school fee, the rising budget for school books at the beginning of each academic session sends shiver down the spine of the parents. On top of it, there is no government cap to control the prices of the books. What can be done to keep the education within the reach of the parents? Write your suggestions to openhouse@tribunemail.com 



Country’s 2nd all-women post office opens in city
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The country’s second all-women post office has been opened in Sector 8, Chandigarh, by the Punjab postal circle. Recently, the Union Ministry had sent a communication to 20 circles of the Postal Department that at least one all-women post office should be opened in each circle.

KL Khanna, Chief Post Master General (CPMG), stated that after the directions from the ministry, an all-women manned post office of the non-delivery section has been opened in the city. He said that the department was also mooting a plan to open such women post offices in other parts of Punjab.

He said that a departmental survey was going on for the posting of women staff in these post offices. He said that as a pilot project the department had introduced all-women services in the non-delivery office as there was shortage of women staff in the department.

The post office has deployed four women staff members in the all-women post office. These include sub-postmaster, two postal assistant and multi-tasking staff. The staff will manage two counters located in the post office, which include multi-purpose counter machine and saving account counter. All these counters will now be manned by the women employees only. The working hours will be from 9 am to 5 pm. Records of the Postal Department revealed that there were around 92 post offices in the Chandigarh circle, including Mohali, out of which 10 post offices were headed by woman postmasters. The responsibility of managing the first all-women post office has been entrusted to sub-woman postmaster Usha Rani Singla.

A senior official said that the government was planning to open similar post offices in metropolitan cities across the country for the convenience of the women folk. The Postal Department identified Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Bangalore to start with the unique project.



Vital documents missing from chargesheet: Defence counsel 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 7
The 1,500-page chargesheet filed by the Panchkula police in court against Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary has incomplete documents attached with it. The defense counsel pointed out that various documents such as the complete abortion reports were missing. He said even the hair sample report had not been submitted by the police.

It was stated that the most vital documents which are given with the chargesheet were missing. Also the consent report during Jyoti’s abortion where signatures of Chaudhary had been made when he had gone with Jyoti to the IVF Hospital, Sector 20, Chandigarh, was not there. Even the FSL report of hair sample and the seat covers taken from the car where Jyoti was killed were missing.

When contacted, AS Sukhija, the counsel of Chaudhary, said, “The entire report is talking about the disclosure of the accused which is actually inadmissible. The prosecution is mainly talking about the statements given under 173 of CrPC and the documents are incomplete.”

He further added, “I feel that the documents must be complete in the judicial file, the challan given is incomplete.”

Recently, the Panchkula police had filed a chargesheet in the Jyoti murder case against Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary and other accused. During the last hearing, the police had taken the handwriting samples of the accused.

The chargesheet stated that Jyoti was coming in the way of Doon MLA’s political aspirations and that is why he eliminated her with the help of his aides.

Jyoti(24), was found murdered on a road in Sector 21, Panchkula. The victim who hailed from Hoshiarpur was putting up as a paying guest in Sector 21, Chandigarh. Chaudhary, his nephews Gurmeet and Dharampal, Paramjit and a truck driver were arrested by the police after the incident. The investigations revealed that the girl was strangulated and she was then run over by a truck to make it look like an accident.



Thousands of litres of potable water being wasted at PGIMER
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Thousands of litres of drinking water is being wasted at PGIMER for the past one month, due to a leakage in an underground water pipeline near the Oral Health Centre. Consistent waterlogging can be seen in the area, which is at a stone throwaway distance from the office of the Medical Superintendent. Yet, the authorities have not taken action to check the leakage.

Due to excessive waterlogging, especially in the two-wheeler parking area near the Oral Health Centre, visitors fall short of space for parking their vehicles.

“My wife is admitted to the gynaecology ward for the past two weeks as she suffered some complication during the delivery. I prefer parking my motorcycle here since it takes lesser time to reach the hospital. But I have been struggling to find space since most of the area remains wet and muddy,” said Parkash Kumar, a resident of Sector 40.

The accumulated water, however, in some parts appears to be so clean that some of the staff members sometimes use the water for drinking. “The staff deputed in the area, including the security guards, often fill their water bottles with the accumulated water since these pipelines carry drinking water and the accumulated water looks clean,” said a member of the PGI staff deputed in the area.

The situation has been the same for the past many weeks, causing a lot of inconvenience to the staff, patients and their attendants, as they tend to park their vehicles in the open space near the Nehru Sarai and also the Oral Health Centre, blocking the way to Nehru Hospital.

“The patients’ attendants come in a state of despair and are always in a rush due to the critical condition of their relatives. When they do not find space in the parking lot, they park their vehicles in front of the Oral Health Centre and also in the space between the Nehru Hospital and the centre. It becomes difficult for us to make them understand the rules and tell them to look for space in other parking areas, which are relatively far”, said a security official.

The water also poses a risk of becoming a breeding for dengue mosquitoes, as they breed in clean water.



232 challans issued in two hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Chandigarh Traffic Police conducted a special drive against over-speeding and black filming of windows on vehicles and issued a total of 232 challans in a span of two hours today.

As many as five checkpoints were set up to check over-speeding in different sectors and two checkpoints were set up to check black filming of windows on vehicles from 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm today.

During the drive, as many as 232 challans have been issued that include 184 for over-speeding, 12 for black filming of windows and 36 miscellaneous challans. A total fine of Rs 38,900 was collected for different violations during the drive. Traffic police officials said the drive would continue over the coming days.



Water shortage ails Sector 41 residents

Chandigarh, April 7
Residents of Buterla village, Sector-41, are a harassed lot since there is no water supply in a majority of households for the past 15 days.

Despite several complaints made by the area councillor, no water has been supplied from the main supply line and no water tank has been sent to cater to the residents’ needs.

The residents living on the first floor and second floor are being forced to borrow water from the ground floor due to low water pressure. “The water supply has remained poor in the area for the past one month. In fact there is no water supply for those living on the upper floors . We have been writing to the authorities to take action but to no avail”, said Malkit Singh, Area Councillor. — TNS



Now, DC-cum-Estate Officer to hear cases of building violations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Keeping in mind the backlog of court cases in the Estate Office, the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer would also be hearing cases pertaining to misuse and building violations.

Exercising quasi-judicial powers of the estate officer, the Assistant Estate Officer (AEO) and Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) presently hear the cases on regular basis. The backlog of cases has also gone up after the estate office started issuing afresh notices to the violators under the Estate Rules 2007.

Sources said to speed up the disposal of the cases; the Estate Officer has sought details about the long pending cases from the concerned officials. Apart from the misuse and violations, cases pertaining to allotment and non-payment will also heard by officials exercising the quasi-judicial powers.

"The estate officer is competent to extend his powers to other officials in the estate office so that the backlog of cases does not happen. Three officials hearing the cases will certainly reduce the backlog," said a senior UT official.

The Estate Officer apart from monitoring the disposal of the cases on regular basis was also hearing the remand cases.

In 2007, during the tenure of the previous UT Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues, the Chandigarh Administration had decided that only officers of adequate seniority and experience would be invested with the quasi-judicial powers of the Estate Officer to restore the importance of the office of the Estate Officer and to separate executive functions from quasi-judicial functions for ensuring a transparent, responsive and efficient administration. It was the felt delegation of powers of Estate Officer would lead to satisfactory disposal of work. Apart from the then Deputy Commissioner-cum Estate Officer, the Chief Executive Officer, Chandigarh Housing Board, Additional Deputy Commissioner, had also been empowered to discharge the quasi-judicial functions of the Estate Officer under the Act. 

what the administration decided

In 2007, during the tenure of the previous UT Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues, the Chandigarh Administration had decided that only officers of adequate seniority and experience would be invested with the quasi-judicial powers of the Estate Officer.



health  notes
Workshop on cadaver head and temporal bone

Chandigarh: A two-day hand on cadaver head, neck and temporal bone workshop organised by the Department of ENT at the PGI concluded on Sunday. The two-day workshop was aimed to train the young trainee surgeons to perform hands on surgical procedures on the cadavers.The first day of the workshop included two lectures by Dr Tullika Gupta and Dr Anjali Aggarwal on applied anatomy of larynx and parotid gland. This was followed by demonstration of surgical procedures on the cadavers by Dr Roshan Verma, Dr Jaimanti Bakshi and Prof Naresh K Panda. The trainee surgeons then performed hands on dissection on the cadavers. On the second day of the workshop, surgical trainees performed various surgical procedures on the temporal bones.

Workshop on qualitative research

The School of Public Health, PGI, is organising a five-day national workshop on “Qualitative Research”. It will start from Monday. As many as 35 health care professionals, academicians, post graduate students of Medical colleges, PhD students are attending this workshop. Four modules which include research design; sampling methodologies; data collection; data analysis and report writing will be covered in five days. The purpose of the workshop is to strengthen the capacity of professionals from public health, medical and allied sciences. The workshop is being held at the Common Wealth Youth Programme Asia Centre in Sector 12, Chandigarh. Dr Venkatesan Chakrapani from the Centre of Sexuality and Health Research and Policy and Dr Pushpesh Kumar from the Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad, Prof Miraim Samuel from the Department of Social Work of Madras Christian College, and Dr Shalini Bharat from the School of Health Systems Studies, Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, and Dr Manmeet Kaur of School of Public Health, PGI, are the resource persons of the workshop.—TNS 



Students in a fix over NEET
Many medical colleges have issued dates for separate entrance tests
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The move of the Central Government to organise a single medical entrance exam for both the MBBS and BDS courses through the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) has led to confusion among the undergraduate medical aspirants in the region.

Even as the Central Board of Secondary Education is all set to conduct the first-ever NEET on May 5, several medical colleges across India have already issued dates for their separate medical entrance examination.

“We were informed that there will be a single medical entrance test for all medical colleges across country, but now we are in a fix because there are several colleges that have scheduled their entrance examinations in April and May,” said city-based medical aspirant Vibha Jain.

Echoing similar sentiments, another student, Mohit Rana, said the whole purpose of the NEET was to unburden students from the multiple medical entrance exams, but there seemed to be no change in the situation. “With entrance forms of several colleges already out in the market, we are left with no option but to apply for them separately,” he said.

Banaras Hindu University; Christian Medical College, Vellore and Ludhiana, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi; KGMC, Manipal; Aligarh Muslim University; Bharti Vidya Peeth, Pune; JIPMER, Puducherry; and UP CPMT are among the colleges which have already declared dates for their separate medical entrance exams for the admission to the MBBS and BDS courses.

City-based biology expert and PMT trainer Dr Arvind Goyal said the entire confusion existed because of the judgment on the validity of the NEET pending before the Supreme Court.

Several private medical colleges and state governments challenged the decision of the Central Government to hold the NEET, arguing that the absence of a uniform syllabus at the junior-college level and no policy or clear guidelines on the admission of students not domiciled in a state, made it difficult to conduct a common exam.

“As per the media reports, the judgement on this issue was expected in January earlier this year but since the judgement is still awaited, there is no clarity whether separate entrance exams of different colleges are valid or not,” said Dr Arvind.

Panchkula-based parent Nidhi Arora, said not just students, parents too were in a state of confusion. “The court must speed up its process and give the judgement at the earliest because the entrance exams of private colleges are about to start,” she said.

A Mohali-based student, Yuvraj, said corruption was rampant during the admission to medical colleges. “Considering this, the NEET is must for streamlining the whole system and also to save lakhs of students from unnecessary burden of appearing for different medical entrance exams every year. However, if not implemented uniformly across states, it will lose its importance,” he said.

Chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education Vineet Joshi said being a conducting body; the board is all set for the NEET. “We will be abiding by the future directions of the Supreme Court,” he said.

GMCH-32 to go with NEET

Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, will conduct no separate entrance test this year. Institute director Raj Bhadur said the college will not conduct the Chandigarh PMT and will consider results of the National Eligibility Entrance Test. Candidates will be selected on the basis of their state ranks, which will be separately announced along with the all-India ranks of students.



NSUI leader pastes posters all over PU campus; other parties cry foul
Tribune News Service

An NSUI leader’s posters pasted on the space allotted to other student parties on the Panjab University campus in Chandigarh on Sunday.
An NSUI leader’s posters pasted on the space allotted to other student parties on the Panjab University campus in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, April 7
As the new academic session is approaching, various student parties have started making efforts to make their presence felt on the Panjab University campus. In one such bid, a National Students Union of India (NSUI) leader got his posters pasted on all notice boards allotted to different student parties on the campus.

The incident has led to resentment among leaders and members of other student parties, who see NSUI leader Kamalpreet Singh’s posters as a violation of the university rules.

Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) leader Sumit Goklaney, said the move was violation of rules as when every student party had been assigned a designated place to paste their posters, how could one party paste its posters everywhere. Posters of our party president have either been torn or the NSUI leader’s posters have been pasted on them,” the PUSU leader said.

Pasting of posters over other posters has led to many conflicts between student parties in the past as well. In order to solve the problem, the university authorities allotted designated boards to all the student parties some years ago.

The Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) leader Vikramjit Singh Middukhera said pasting of posters on the display boards could lead to arguments between parties with the new session around the corner. “Leaders should act responsibly while pasting posters in order to avoid any dispute,” the SOPU leader said.

NSUI leader Kamalpreet Singh said as soon as the new academic session started, he would remove his posters pasted on the display boards of other parties.



UICET students promote organic food
Provide platform to Ropar-based farmers to reach out to city residents 
Tribune News Service

Students of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Panjab University, sell organic vegetables at Sector 34 in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Students of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Panjab University, sell organic vegetables at Sector 34 in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, April 7
In a bid to promote the use of organic products on World Health Day, Enactus, a students’ organisation of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), Panjab University, organised an awareness drive in Sector 34.

As a part of the drive, students went door-to-door making residents aware about harms of chemical fertilizers, that diminish the soil fertility, and chemical pesticides that affect the health of people. The volunteers urged the public to shift to organic fruits and vegetable.

The drive saw an active participation of both students and farmers. Farmers carrying organic vegetables on a cart joined the students. Farmers claimed that organic farming led to a better yield and, thus, provided a blend of quality and quantity, which was not possible in the case of chemical-intensive farming.

Enactus is an organisation run by students with the sole objective of providing sustainable business solutions to the community. The drive was a part of their project ‘Krishi’ in which they are working with farmers based in Ropar and neighbouring villages. These farmers produce organic products, including grains, vegetables and fruits, but reaching out to the masses and creating a market for themselves posed as a challenge to them, Saurabh Mittal, a member of the college organisation said.

“We focused on creating a market for them in and around Chandigarh. Apart from this we have also obtained licences for them to set up their stalls in apni mandis,” students said.

The UICET students are also trying to rope-in hostels and restaurants in the city to use the organic products. Students said the endeavour aimed at fulfilling the dual objective of providing a sustainable and long-term market to the farmers and encouraging everyone to eat organic food.



Chandigarh  Scan
Yoga camp

Chandigarh: The Patanjali Yog Samiti, Chandigarh, organised a three-day free yoga camp at Sector 37, Chandigarh, which concluded today in the morning. As many as 160 people participated the camp. RR Passi, head of Chandigarh unit, Patanjli Yog Samiti, impressed upon the participants the importance of a healthy body and mind.

Coolex- 2013 Expo

The ongoing CII Coolex-2013 Expo, which will enter its last day on Monday, attracted huge crowds from diverse fields on Sunday. Residents made full use of the new launches, attractive offers, schemes and discounted prices of cooling systems to combat the upcoming summers. The wide range of all weather, energy efficient ACs, deep freezers, evaporative air coolers, and refrigerators caught the fancy of visitors from HP, Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana which included residents, hoteliers, industrialists, factory owners, professionals, hospitals, large commercial establishments and the corporates.

Blood donation camp

The Uttrakhand Yuva Manch in association with the Punjab National Bank on Sunday organised a blood donation camp at Garhwal Bhawan, Sector 29, Chandigarh, in which as many as 202 people donated blood. This was the 20th consecutive blood donation camp organised by the manch. The camp was inaugurated by Kalpana Gupta, Circle Head, PNB, in the presence of manch’s members. Present on the occasion, Gurbax Rawat applauded the effort of community youth for the noble cause.

Gagging creative minds

“The ban imposed on Punjabi film Sadda Haq is not justified and is a measure to gag the creativity of the film makers,” said Paramjit Singh Kalkat and Jarnail Singh, both are the partners of Kalkat Production House and producers of up coming Punjabi Movie Rangroot. They said that the when the Censor Board, a central body of Government of India, has granted approval, the state government had no right to impose the ban. “The nod of Censor Board that Sadda Haq fulfills all the norms laid down by government and is a clean movie to watch,” he said.

Dietetics Meet

Mohali: Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mohali, organised the Annual Dietetics Meet 2013 on Sunday. This one day meet was conducted by the department of dietetics at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mohali. The program organised on the occasion of the World Health Day also to discuss the high prevalence of dieting, slimming practices and unhealthy misconceptions about weight loss amongst Indians in general and Punjabis in particular. The meet also discussed some current trends in nutrition in India. The meet was inaugurated by Satyapal Jain, former MP, Chandigarh. Speaking during occasions, Dr MS Bedi, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon, briefed the gathering about the relevance of the meet with special reference to the spreading tentacles of obesity in Punjab. —TNS 



City gets second govt smart school
UT Administration to open five more in the current academic session
Tribune News Service

students attend class on the first day.
students attend class on the first day. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Parents wait for their children outside the school premises at Sector 50 in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Parents wait for their children outside the school premises at Sector 50 in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, April 7
In further fillip to the smart school education in government schools, the UT administration is all set to open five more smart schools in the current academic session. The announcement was made today during the opening ceremony of the second government smart school in Sector 50.

Local Member Parliament and Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurated the school in the presence of senior officials of the UT administration.

Officials said while one of the smart schools was under construction in Sector 54, the education department had decided to upgrade four existing schools - Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 16; GMSSS-35; GMSSS, Manimajra; and Government Model High School, Sector 28 -- to smart schools by the year end.

The upgradation process of three of these schools would be funded from the Member Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund, said Bansal during his address at the inauguration ceremony. He asked the administration to use Rs 40 lakh from his MPLAD fund on each school.

He appreciated efforts of the UT education department to make Chandigarh the first city in India for focussing on the high-tech interactive classrooms and challenging itself by raising the bar of quality standards in education.

The education department opened the first smart school of the city in Sector 53 last year. They newly opened smart school is set to give a further boost to the interactive and modern education.

Director Public Instructions (Schools) Upkar Singh said the smart school education would not only make learning an enjoyable experience, but it would also prepare children for future challenges at a time when technology had become an integral part of our lives.

Upkar Singh, however, asked teachers not to ignore our traditional method of education in the process of adopting new technology.

He directed teachers of the new smart school to combine both the modern and traditional practices to give a wholesome education to children. 

Filtered water in all schools soon

Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal directed the UT administration to use his Member Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund to provide clean and filtered drinking water to students of all government schools in Chandigarh. He also asked teachers to tell students about the importance of water conservation

Two new govt schools in Dhanas

UT Adviser KK Sharma said the administration had recently sanctioned two new government schools in Dhanas. These schools will come up with an estimated budget of ~22 crore. A total outlay of ~38 crore has been kept for school infrastructure in Chandigarh this financial year, Sharma said



Complimentary copies of textbooks on sale at bookstore 
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
As if the sale of academic books worth crores of rupees was not enough, a bookseller in the city was found selling complimentary copies of textbooks to a parent.

The sale of these copies is strictly prohibited. These books are meant for the use of teachers only.

A parent, Subhash Chander, said he was shocked to see the ‘complimentary copy’ stamp on a newly bought Class X textbook of his daughter. When Subhash Chander, a central government employee working at the PGI, confronted the Sector 19-based bookseller, he agreed to exchange five such books. “He should not have sold the books at the first place. We don’t know how many such copies were sold by him. Many parents don’t even bother to come back and demand for another copy,” he said.

When this correspondent contacted Gaurav Manchanda, owner of the bookshop, he said the textbook was not sold intentionally. “It must have got mixed with other books,” he said. Manchanda said it was a lone incident and should not be misconstrued otherwise.

Many parents, however, complained local bookshops did not provide original bills at the time of sale. A parent, Munish Kumar, said it was wrong on the part of booksellers to ask parents to later collect bills.



Educative, fun activities bring CCET fest Lexicon to an end
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Lexicon, a three-day fest organised by the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26, came to an end with prizes worth over Rs 2 lakh distributed among winners of various events.

The fest attracted around 700 participants and thousands of spectators. The day began with the final rounds of the National Parliamentary Debate. The event was followed by group discussions which compelled participants to talk on abstract issues with varied perspectives such as 'The Blue World', 'The Clock Struck 13' and 'Freedom of Speech versus Blasphemy'.

The general quiz, with over 80 participants, was one of the most successful events of the day.

Just-A-Minute event was enjoyed by everyone. It required contestants to speak for a minute without stuttering or making a mistake, leading to some challenging but funny moments.

The events ended with wonderful performances by various dance groups from the region. The students performed various cultural activities such as the Western group dance, bhangra and group song.



No need for borders, we are global citizens: Sunita Williams
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
“There are no borders on Earth; it’s just water that is visible from the space. I believe there should not be any [manmade] borders as well, as we all are global citizens,” said Sunita Williams during an interview to Jyotirgamaya, the community radio of Panjab University.

The Indian American astronaut, who holds the record for the longest space flight by a woman, gave the interview during her recent visit to Delhi.

The interview was aired as a part of a 10-minute feature on Williams during the programme ‘Humari Beti’ that aims at sensitising the public on the gender issues.

During the interaction, the astronaut said her whole family including her husband had always been supportive to her.

Speaking about the relevance of airing the interview, Archana R Singh, chairperson, School of Communication Studies (SCS), Panjab University, said the astronaut was encouraged by her family to join the US Naval Academy.

“Through the interview we want to send a message that girls are not lesser capable than boys and sky is the limit for them. Families need to support them, which is what happened in the case of Sunita Williams,” said Singh.

Singh said in ‘Hamari Beti’, they interviewed women with grit, determination, initiative and strong willpower, who could be a role model for other girls. 



from schools
Graduation ceremony

Students attend the graduation ceremony at Government High School, Dadu Majra, in Chandigarh.
Students attend the graduation ceremony at Government High School, Dadu Majra, in Chandigarh. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh: The first graduation ceremony was celebrated at Government High School, Dadu Majra. Director Public Instructions (Schools) Mr Upkar Singh was the chief guest on the occasion. District Education Officer Ram Kumar, Assistant Director of Vocational Education Suman Sharma, Headmistress of Government Model High School, Sector 38 (W), Vibha Sareen, were also present. All of them motivated students to excel in every field. Upkar Singh lighted the ceremonial lamp. Students presented a cultural programme.

Orientation day

Mohali: Teachers of The Millennium School interacted with parents during the orientation programme. Teachers apprised parent of the new-age learning methodologies and techniques being adopted nowadays. Addressing the key concern of parents to provide individual attention to their children, Komal Singh, principal, said there was a need for a multi-pronged approach and predictive strategy to address the issues confronting the system in an integrated manner. Supporting the ancient Gurukul system, she said the focus should be on the individual and on personalised learning. —TNS



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