C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No hike in UT power tariff
Panel dismisses Electricity Department's plea for 48% increase
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Providing a major relief to city residents, the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) today dismissed a petition filed by the UT Electricity Department for a 48.68 per cent hike in the power tariff in all categories. There will now be no power tariff hike during the financial year 2013-14 and the existing tariff will continue.

An order passed by the JERC states, “The petitioner has proposed an average tariff hike of 48.68 per cent in the existing tariff for the financial year 2013-14. The commission has determined the retail tariff for 2013-14 keeping in view the guiding principles as stated in Section 61 of the Act concerned and has also considered the suggestions/objections of the stakeholders in this regard.

Keeping in mind the approved Aggregate Revenue Requirement (ARR) for 2013-14 and the reviewed gap of the financial year 2012-13, the commission is of the view that there is a surplus of Rs 1.57 crore, and thus there is no need for revising the tariff.”

In its petition, the UT Electricity Department had demanded a power tariff hike on the grounds that it wanted to make up for a loss of Rs 344 crore (Rs 154 crore in 2011-12, Rs 87 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 103 crore (projected for 2013-14).

Rejecting the plea of the UT to carry forward the costs, the JERC ordered, “The commission is of the view that the petitioner until now has not submitted the audited accounts based on commercial accounting principles for regulated business of electricity as per the regulatory requirement. It hasen't prepared a fixed asset and depreciation register and the commission is of the view that the expenditure, as claimed under various heads, is on an assumption basis. Till such time the department prepares and maintains an asset and depreciation register and gets it duly audited, it is not feasible for the commission to consider carrying costs in accordance with Provision 4 of Regulation 8 for "review and truing up" of the JERC Tariff Regulations, 2009.”

UT Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh said after studying the order, they would hold discussions with their seniors regarding challenging the order of the commission.

Welcoming the decision, Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said they were thankful to the commission that it had accepted their objections and decided not to increase the power tariff. Echoing similar views, Sandeep Sahni, president of the Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, said it was a major relief for industrialists and traders in the city.

Blow to private educational institutes

In its order, the JERC has directed the UT Electricity Department to charge commercial tariff from private educational institutes. The order states, “The commission has decided that the non-domestic slab shall be applicable to private schools/colleges, coaching institutes and research institutes other than those run by the UT Administration.” At present, a majority of the private educational institutes are paying domestic tariff

Pay interest to consumers: Commission

  • The JERC has directed the department to pay interest to consumers on the security amount deposited by them for the installation of a meter
  • Directions have been issued to the Electricity Department to compile a list of defaulters by June 30



Love marriage ends in minor’s death; husband rounded up
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 17
In a gory end to a love story of two teenagers, a 17-year-old girl was allegedly murdered and her body dumped at the General Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula, late last night. The victim, Kusum, a resident of Sector 56, Chandigarh, had a love marriage with a 20-year-old youth of the Rajiv Colony in Sector 16, Panchkula, four months ago.

Her husband, Sachin, brought her to the hospital claiming that she had hung herself. However, when the hospital authorities informed the police, he fled. Later, the police went to her in-laws' house, but found it locked. Kusum was declared brought dead at the hospital.

Kusum, a student of Class X and a good cricket player, fell in love with Sachin, who was unemployed. They eloped and tied the knot. The couple also sought police protection from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Later, the parents accepted the couple and the girl was putting up with her husband, who stays with his two brothers and mother at the colony.

“We got a call from the police today that our daughter is dead. We don’t know how it happened. The boy and his mother are nowhere to be seen after the incident. We suspect that they have done something to our daughter,” alleged Nirmala, Kusum's mother.

“Though the boy told the hospital authorities that his wife died after she hung herself, no such evidence was found. The postmortem report shows no hanging mark. There is definitely something fishy,” said ASI Sewa Singh, in charge of the Sector 16 police post, who visited the spot.

The police has registered a case under Sections 302 (murder) and 34 of the IPC.

Rajpal, victim's father who is a shopkeeper, said his daughter had on several occasions regretted having married Sachin. “I agree she was a minor, but she used to often say I committed a blunder by marrying Sachin. She had also said that she was scared of staying at her in-laws' house,” said Rajpal.

The father told the police that he had opened an account in Kusum’s name. The boy was aware of this fact. However, he did not know that there were just Rs 16,000 in the account. Sachin has been rounded up by the police.

No O mark, no V mark; doctor surprised

Only a single mark was found on the girl's neck. “The mark was going horizontally and obliquely. It is strange that neither an “O” mark nor a “V” mark was found. Had the girl hung herself, a “V” mark would have been seen and had someone strangulated her, the impression of the hands would have appeared on the neck,” said Dr Sunil Gambhir, who conducted the postmortem.

Kusum Diary holds the key

According to the family, Kusum was in the habit of writing a diary. She used to record each moment of her day in the diary, in which she has also allegedly mentioned how her love was "trampled" by Sachin. The police has seized the diary and has found that some pages in it were burnt by the accused.



minor’s death
Love gone awry?
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 17
Seventeen-year-old Kusum, whose body was dumped by her husband, Sachin, at the General Hospital, Sector 6, had met him for the first time at their common school. She was a Class X student, while he was studying in Class XII. Sachin got attracted to her when she led the school cricket team to victory. It was from here that the two eventually got close and decided to get married.

“We were aware that Kusum had an affair with a youth from a different caste. A day before Divali in 2012, she eloped from the house. She left a letter stating that she was in love with a youth and wanted to stay with him,” said a relative.

“We all were shattered and tried our best to bring her back. Then one day, she called to inform us that she was getting married,” he said.

The two got married at the Mansa Devi temple and then headed to court. “As both were minors, they somehow managed to get fake documents that allowed they to register their marriage,” said the relative.

To avoid any untoward incident, the couple also sought police protection from the High Court and then settled at the boy's house.

For a few days, Kusum was happy living there but things starting to change soon, said the relative. “This Holi, when she came to meet us, she cried saying that she had committed a blunder by marrying Sachin who used to beat her,” said her father, Raj Pal.



Sohi Banquet
Co-owner's property attached
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Income Tax Department today attached the property of one of the business partners of Sohi Banquet, Balbir Singh, for non-payment of taxes (including interest) to the tune of Rs 1.75 crore for the assessment year 2004-05.

A team of the tax recovery wing, led by tax recovery officer Bikramjeet Singh and assisted by tax inspectors Rajiv Kaushias and Ram Nath, visited Sohi Banquet at Zirakpur and issued a notice to the owner. The team also affixed a copy of the notice on the gate of the banquet hall while another copy was received by caretaker Sanjeev Ghosh on Balbir Singh's behalf.

The tax recovery officer said the department had appointed Bharat Bhushan as the receiver to monitor Balbir Singh's business accounts and in case evasion was detected, cash would have to be deposited with the department. He said the action was taken today on the directions of Income Tax Commissioner (I) BS Sandhu. Balbir Singh has a 50 per cent share in Sohi Banquet.

Balbir Singh had made an appeal to reduce the pending amount, which was turned down by the department. The tax recovery wing issued a notice to Balbir Singh on March 15 to deposit the pending amount within a fortnight.

The tax recovery officer said a communication regarding the action by the department had also been sent to the tehsildar of the area. He said during the next three months, the department would evaluate Balbir Singh's property for auction to recover the pending amount.



Rash driving: 2 PU students suspended
Now, challans to be issued for traffic violations on the campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Panjab University (PU) today suspended two students of the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) and barred them from attending classes for rash driving on the campus, that had led to a major accident yesterday.

It has been decided that students will now be issued challans for traffic violations on the main roads on the campus, including Gate No. I (opposite the PGI) and the road opposite the girls' hostel No. 3. The road from the girls' hostel No. 3 to Ankur School will be made a no-vehicle zone form 6 pm to 9.30 pm.

The students, identified as Gurvir Kaur, who was driving a Honda car, and Amiteshwar, who was driving an Innova, have been suspended from the department. They will also be asked to pay 10 times the cost of the damage caused to the PU property due to the accident.

An official said Vice-Chancellor Arun Grover had formed a five-member committee to probe the incident and submit a report. "Until the committee submits its report, the students will remain suspended," the official said.

One of the committee members said both students would be asked to give their statements in writing regarding the incident. "Right now they have been suspended and the final action against them will be decided on the basis of the inquiry report," said the committee member.

The university has also decided to write to the police to issue challans to traffic violators on the campus to ensure that traffic rules are followed there. "Challans for various traffic violations, including riding two-wheelers without helmets and overspeeding, will be issued on the campus," he said.

The university has also decided that from the coming academic session, hostel inmates will not be allowed to keep a four-wheeler.

PU will soon purchase more buses to start a shuttle bus service from 7 am to 10 pm to encourage campus residents, including students, teachers and the non-teaching staff, to avail of the bus service. "Paid parking at designated places will also be introduced for outsiders to control the increasing traffic and solve the parking problem," the official said.

Varsity plan to control traffic

  • Traffic challans to be issued on two main roads on the PU campus
  • Hostel inmates not to be allowed to keep four-wheelers from the coming academic session
  • Shuttle bus service to be introduced on the campus to check the increasing use of private vehicles



At PGI, patients have a harrowing time
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
It is a long wait for outdoor patients at the PGI for getting the actual treatment as they are caught up in procedures and delays at various counters for registration and tests. They have to shuttle between the OPD Block and the Research Block before the treatment begins.

If the experience of some patients who braved long waiting hours at the registration counters and then at special clinics and OPDs at the institution on Tuesday is any indication, availing treatment seems to be a Herculean task.

A team of Chandigarh Tribune accompanied four patients between 8 am and 2 pm on Tuesday at the New OPD Block to see how they went through a harrowing time before they could actually receive treatment for their ailments.

Huge time lapses, an apprehension whether they will be able to meet the doctor or not, lack of seating space and harassment in locating the counters and OPD rooms were among the common problems faced by the five patients.

Picture this: For a poor 55-year-old daily wager, Jai Singh, affording an accommodation in the city was not possible, but he had to wait for a week for meeting the doctor with his test reports ready. Unable to afford even the minimal Rs 10 per day fee at the serai, he had no option but to put up in a nearby park. "My entire income was spent in getting the tests conducted. Since I had to save some money for medicines and for my travel back to Saharanpur, I decided to stay in the park like many other patients," he said.


As the registration counters function from 8 am to 11 am, a lot of patients fail to get a chance to get themselves registered. "Why don't they start a token system for all those standing in queues. This will bring some respite for patients who are not sure whether they will be able to get themselves registered till the closing time or not," said Rafat, a 28-year-old patient, who could not get the registration card despite waiting in the line for over two hours.

Blame it on the lack of vision in allocating buildings (especially the New OPD Block and the Research Block) with a lot of distance between these, or lack of interconnectivity between departments, which could help doctors in viewing reports of patients, the problem has become prominent at the hospital.

Officials blame it on overcrowding at the hospital.



Getting treatment at PGI a tall order for patients
Tribune reporter Ritika Jha Palial and photographer Pradeep Tewari give a first-hand report of the challenges faced by patients at the PGI, the premier medical institute in the region

The next time you plan to visit the OPD at the PGI here for any kind of ailment, keep yourself free for at least a week. Peeping into the lives of five patients, who visited the PGI on Tuesday, Chandigarh Tribune found a patient has to face several challenges before the actual treatment starts.

While a poor daily wage earner with severe breathing problem got a chance to present his test reports before a doctor eight days after registration, a 28-year-old woman suffering from pain in the lower abdomen could not get a registration card despite standing in a queue for three hours with her two children.

Another patient, who travelled several kilometres in the pursuit of immediate relief from pain in his abdomen, somehow managed to consult a doctor the same day after registering on Tuesday. Yet, he kept struggling to locate the research block for blood tests the whole day.

For a 55-year-old farmer, who had been feeling suffocated due to his inability to speak for the past few days, spending four and a half hours in a queue at the PGI with empty stomach on Tuesday resulted in another around of patience and wait in a queue at the registration counter on Wednesday. He was asked to obtain another registration card to meet the physician.

With a catheter placed on her nose and holding its other end in her hands, a 50-year-old lung cancer patient dared to walk up to the New OPD Block from a serai but kept waiting for some relief. She received her test report on Tuesday, a week later than the date of issuance of the report, and kept waiting for radiotherapy. But, she could not find anyone till the lunch break(1pm).

The entrance of the New OPD Block at the PGI.

Jai Singh from Saharanpur stayed in a park for 8 days

Jai Singh sits on the floor as he could not find an empty chair outside the chest clinic. His wife lies by his side
Jai Singh sits on the floor as he could not find an empty chair outside the chest clinic. His wife lies by his side.

While he wanted to return home (in Saharanpur) and come again after three days to collect his reports and meet the doctor again, he could not find enough money to do so. In fact, when he somehow estimated the cost of medicines, which were to be prescribed in his second visit to the OPD, he felt that he couldn’t even pay Rs 70 (Rs 10 per day) for staying in any of the serais at the PGI. “I needed money for food also,” said Jai Singh. He then decided to put up in an open park.

As his breathing problem persisted, he rushed to the PGI last week (on Monday) and obtained the registration card after standing in a queue for about two hours. After he met a doctor in the chest clinic, he was asked to undergo a few tests. However, owing to a long waiting list at the labs, he got the test reports on Monday and again visited the chest clinic for showing the reports to the doctor. He had stayed away from work all these days. “My wife is with me,” he said.

Standing in a queue for two hours proved futile for Rafat from Chhapra in Bihar

Rafat, along with her children, returns home
Rafat, along with her children, returns home.

Having failed twice to meet a doctor in the Eye OPD, Rafat (28), a resident of Chhapra district in Bihar, accompanied by her two children, visited the registration counter again. She is suffering from pain in the lower abdomen. However, this time, she could not even register despite joining a queue around 9 am.

She has been putting up with her sister-in-law in the city for the past three weeks. While she had visited the hospital for an eye checkup twice in the last 15 days (on April 6 and then on April 11), she could not get a chance to meet a doctor due to a long waiting list.

On Tuesday, she had stood in a queue, holding her child, for two hours. By the time her turn came, the registration counter was closed (at 11.20pm) by the staff. There were several other patients waiting in the queue when the counter was closed by the staff. “They should issue tokens to the patients standing in the queue so that they get some idea whether they will get a chance for registration till the closing time or not,” Rafat said.

Mandeep had a harrowing time locating Research Block

Mandeep Singh asks personnel at a help desk for the way to the research block
Mandeep Singh asks personnel at a help desk for the way to the research block.

Mandeep Singh (31) had been suffering a severe pain in the abdomen for the past few days. The doctor in Shahabad, whom he first consulted, suggested him he should visit the PGI. He rushed to the registration counter at 8 am and managed to obtain the card within one hour. However, he could meet the doctor at 12 pm due to heavy rush at the OPD. The doctor asked him to undergo endoscopy and told him to come on May 15. “When I requested for an earlier date, the doctor said there is a long waiting list,” Mandeep said.

His actual struggle started when he had to locate the Research Block, which is close (nearly 200 metres) to the OPD block, for blood tests. He first asked a guard about the way to the block, but could not get a satisfactory explanation. He then went up to the official sitting at the help desk on Level 3 of the building.

Even then he could vaguely know that the Research Block is located near the emergency ward. Upon reaching the block at around 1 pm, he was asked by the staff there to come after the lunch break. Later, he was asked to leave his samples and check for reports on Wednesday, while he continued to suffer from pain.

Sompati from UP got test report after a week

Sompati, along with her son and daughter, returns to a serai on the PGI campus
Sompati, along with her son and daughter, returns to a serai on the PGI campus.

A patient with squamous cell cancer, Sompati (50) has been putting up in the Nehru Serai. In the absence of any vehicle, she had to walk up to the OPD Block from the Nehru Serai with a catheter placed on her nose. She was accompanied by her two sons and a daughter-in-law when they all came to the New OPD to collect the report of a test recommended two weeks ago. While the date of issuance of the report, as mentioned in the report, is April 9, she got it on Wednesday (around 11 am). The official who provided the report, asked her to go to the radiotherapy room for further consultation. However, she kept waiting in vain. There was nobody in the room. We asked a peon about the official who sits in the room. He asked us to wait. We had waited for hours. The peon told us that we should come after 2pm since nobody would be available during the lunch break (1 pm to 2pm).

Yet another day of registration for 51-yr-old Kuldeep Singh

After braving the rush at the registration counter and then at the OPD, Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Sector 51, Chandigarh, finally met a doctor at the ENT OPD at 12.30pm. The doctor told him to consult a physician for a blood pressure checkup. Ironically, despite the ENT doctor writing the prescribed test on his OPD card, Kuldeep will have to again stand in a queue on Wednesday to obtain a separate registration card for meeting a physician.

Last week, he felt soreness in his throat when he got up in the morning and he felt difficulty in speaking. Even his voice changed a little. The problem persisted on Monday when his throat completely choked and he felt pain in swallowing food. He came to the PGI on Tuesday.


Too many registration counters

There are a total of 28 counters in the New OPD Block on different floors, including six registration counters located on the ground floor. As all the counters look similar, a patient with a different ailment often gets confused and joins a queue in front of Counter No. 13, and ends up wasting time and energy

Lack of clarity on the registration of old patients

The counter for registration of old patients for internal medicine is located on the ground floor near the entrance. For other departments, there are counters on the upper floors. A patient, who comes for the second time, generally checks the “Old Patients” board and joins the queue on the ground floor, without realising that he needs to go to the floor of the respective OPD for registration

Registration counter works for limited time

The timings of the registration counters are limited from 8 am to 11 am. However, patients keep lining up till late and there is no assurance as to whether they will get a chance till the closing of the counter or not.

Separate cards for each department

In case a patient is referred to another department, he needs to register separately at the respective counter. However, by the time his case is referred to other department, the registration counters are closed, forcing the patient to wait till the next morning.

Shortage of parking space

A patient/attendant, who rushes to join a queue at a registration counter as early as it opens, has to reach at least 15 minutes in advance since he has to first struggle to find parking space near the OPD Block. There is only one multi-level parking for the public, which often remains fully occupied.

Patients forced to shuttle between floors for tests

An anaemic patient, for instance, is asked to undergo three different tests, including a thyroid profile, calcium profile and a haematology test. For the thyroid test, he needs to go to the fourth floor (room no. 4007) in the New OPD Block. For the calcium profile, the patient will have to visit the research block, located 200 metres away from the New OPD Block and for the haematology test, he again needs to go to the ground floor (room number 25) in the New OPD Block.


  • Patient stands in long queues at the registration counter
  • After receiving a registration card, he goes to the respective OPD
  • Often, he does not find any chair to sit
  • After consulting a doctor the patient is asked to undergo some tests
  • He then registers for tests (including X-ray, ultrasound, thyroid, etc) at separate counters
  • On a given day, a patient finds at least four-day waiting list for a test
  • He then shuttles between different floors of the OPD Block and research block for giving samples
  • After giving the samples, he has to wait for at least three days for obtaining the reports
  • He then registers again as an old patient and then goes to the OPD to meet the doctor
  • This process takes at least one week and sometimes longer depending upon the waiting list for tests, and availability of reports


  • No inter-connectivity between departments
  • There is a lack of computerisation for centralised records and interconnectivity between the departments. The Rs 25-crore computerisation project, which was proposed 12 years ago, is yet to take off.
  • Lack of single window for tests/registrations
  • There are numerous counters in the hospital and a patient keeps shuttling between them. There are separate counters for medical tests, reports, registration and fee.

Solutions suggested by PGI

  • To control the patient inflow, a 300-bed satellite centre of the PGI is being set up in Sangrur, Punjab, in collaboration with the Tata Memorial Centre
  • A 100-bed facility will also be set up in the border district of Ferozepur, said official spokesperson for the PGI Manju Wadwalkar. “We are also in touch with the other government hospitals in the city and we keep requesting them not to refer ordinary cases to the PGI,” she added.

Solutions mooted by PATIENTS and ATTENDANTS

  • There should be a single-window system each for registration, tests (registration) and obtaining test reports
  • Patients should be issued token at the registration counters so that they can get to know how long they will have to wait in a queue
  • There should be a single-window for the registration of old patients for all the departments
  • Instead of chairs, the PGI should install benches to increase seating capacity (the chairs have gaps in between leaving a lot of space underutilised)


  • More than 6,000 patients visit the OPDs everyday and a majority of them suffer similar inconvenience
  • According to the official figures, last year 19 lakh patients (7,000 per day) visited the OPDs and 71,000 were admitted to the hospital
  • Only 500 consultants to take care of a large number of patients


Raj Bahadur’s stint at GMCH didn’t have UPSC nod: Doc
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Dr Raj Bahadur’s tenure as the Director-Principal of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, has been full of controversies since his appointment in December 2007.

His colleagues and those who were in the race for this top post have challenged his selection alleging that it violated the UPSC norms, and also moved the High Court and the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in this regard. Dr Atul Sachdev, the new head of the institute, was one of the five in-house doctors who had moved the CAT last year, challenging the eligibility criteria on the basis of which Dr Raj Bahadur was appointed.

Another senior GMCH doctor, Dr Jagdish Chander, recently challenged the appointment on grounds that it was done without the approval of UPSC. The tribunal reserved the judgement last month.

Going by the petition, “Fifteen days ahead of Dr Bahadur’s appointment, the UPSC had written to the administration twice stating that the administration did not have the jurisdiction to form any selection committee.”

The letters also reveal that the UT Administration did not send the annual confidential reports (ACRs) and other related documents of any of the nine applicants, including Dr Bahadur’s.

“Selection is made during a selection committee meeting conducted by the UPSC,” stated the UPSC on November 15, 2007, in response to a letter sent by the administration on November 6 that sought the approval of UPSC for the selection of Dr Bahadur as principal, GMCH-32, mentions the petition.

While the UPSC then shot another letter on November 30, 2007, pointing out deficiencies in the documents pertaining to the applicants provided by the administration and stated that the administration was not authorised to appoint anyone, Dr Raj Bahadur was appointed the next day on December 1, 2007, alleged the petitioner.

On February 19, 2008, the UPSC categorically wrote to the administration: “It is not within the jurisdiction of the Chandigarh Administration to constitute the selection committee and appoint a candidate on deputation to the post (Dr Raj Bahadur). The entire exercise is to be conducted by the UPSC.”

“The role of the department is restricted to forwarding a complete proposal along with applications and biodata of applicants to the UPSC, strictly as per the checklist prescribed by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. It is for the UPSC to decide whether a particular applicant is eligible or not,” read the petition.

Despite this, Dr Raj Bahadur not only continued to serve his three-year tenure as the Director-Principal but was also given 10 extensions, it was alleged.

The UPSC also repeatedly wrote to the administration seeking photocopies of ACRs, integrity certificate, vigilance clearance, past ten year’s penalty certificates and scales of pay for all the nine applicants including Dr Raj Bahdaur. Other applicants included Dr Surender Kashyap, Dr Harsh Mohan, Dr KK Gombar, Dr AK Janmeja, Dr BS Chavan, Dr Arjun Dass, Dr Suman Kochar and Dr Sunanadan Sood. The administration, however, did not bother to provide these documents, despite several reminders, stated the petition.

Finally, the UPSC returned the proposal to the administration in February 2011, seeking fresh proposal, it was alleged. Dr Bahadur completed his five-year deputation from department of orthopedics, PGI, in November 2012.

Refraining to comment over the matter, UT Home Secretary, Anil Kumar said, Dr Bahadur would be leaving Government Medical College and Hospital in a day or two.



Police encouraging wrong parking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
A classic case of double standards of the Chandigarh police could be viewed at the SDM office east, Industrial Area, Phase I, where a police personnel has been deployed specially by the authorities to get the vehicles parked on the roadside which is otherwise an offence.

Interestingly, the police department, which is preaching the residents to park their vehicles in the allocated parking lots, are themselves guiding the public to park their vehicles on the roadside due to shortage of parking space on the office premises.

During a visit to the SDM office east, it was found that as there is no parking space available inside the premises all the two and four wheeler were parked on the road. Only those vehicles were allowed to enter the premises on which the high security number plates were to be affixed by the employees of the company. A number of times this issue has been taken with the registration and licensing authorities, who had assured to give an alternative site for the fixation of HSNP to avoid any inconvenience to the public but all in vain.

Adding to the woes of the people, the staff on the counters for the registration of the vehicles also do not turn up in office on time to open the counters. A Complaints in this regarding were also lodged by the visitors for delay in issuing the registration formalities and the affixation of HSNP.

A visitor to the SDM office, Satish Sharma, suggested that if there is no parking space in the premises, the authorities should earmark the parking lot outside on road berm to avoid any inconvenience to the public. He said there is plenty of space lying vacant outside the office which could be utilised as parking for the vehicles.



kharar-ropar highway
Protest leaves commuters stranded
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 17
Hundreds of commuters were left stranded for four hours when around 300 non-teaching staff members of the Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan blocked the Kharar-Ropar highway at around 2 pm to press 
for their demands at Kharar today.

The protestors, including nearly 50 women employees, sat on the road, blocking the flow of traffic on the busy highway. The staff members were demanding regularisation of their services and raise in wages.

All efforts of the police and administration to lift the blockade fell on deaf ears, as hundreds of vehicles got stuck in the jam on both sides of the highway. The police, finally, diverted the traffic coming from the Ropar and Morinda side to the Kurali-Siswan road, and that from the Mohali and Chandigarh side to the Sirhind-Ludhiana road.

Ludhiana-based businessman Rajinder Singh, who was on his way to Chandigarh, alleged that he was caught in the jam as there were no policemen present on the Morinda side to warn commuters about it. “I have to reach Chandigarh for an urgent work, but have been stuck in the jam for the past two hours,” he said.

Another commuter, Ajay Pal, who was travelling along with his family to Panchkula, was stuck in the jam for over three hours. “Why don’t the authorities take a strict action against such protestors, who harass the public by blocking roads? Look at my children; they are exhausted due to this snarl-up,” said Ajay Pal.

Mohali Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) Darshan Singh Mann’s assurance to the protestors that within next 10 days, the administration will fix a meeting of their representatives with the Punjab Chief Minister, finally, led to lifting of the blockade around 6 pm.



death in Accident
Councillor’s initiative gains steam
NGOs, individuals chip in with financial support
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The initiative of a Municipal Corporation councillor to give his one month salary to the family of 33-year-old Harpeet Singh Sodhi, who died in a road accident involving stray cattle, has gained support from fellow councillors, NGOs and individual city residents.

On councillor Mukesh Bassi’s proposal, chartered accountant Sunil Gupta, who is also president of Aggarwal Sabha Panchkula, today announced that he would give Rs 21,000 to the family from his own pocket. In addition to that he said that they would soon hold a meeting of Aggarwal Sabha and would decide that how Sabha could help the family members.

Besides, other Municipal Corporation councillors, Babu Lal and Shagufta Praveen, nominated councillors, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor Hira Negi, Senior Deputy Mayor Rana Kashmiri Devi, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) councillor Naresh Kumar, have also decided to provide financial assistance to the family members.

Sachin Sharma, chairman of Youth Innovative Society, said that they would organise a programme and collection made out of that programme would be given to the family members of Harpeet Singh Sodhi.

Meanwhile Mukesh Bassi said that after consenting with Mayor Subhash Chawla, he had requested all his fellow councillors and friends for providing financial assistance to the family.

The nominated councillor Babu lal and BSP councillor Naresh Kumar today submitted their cheques of one month salary.

On Mukesh Bassi’s proposal, nominated councillor Sat Paul Bansal had already announced that he would give Rs 50,000 to Harpreet Singh’s family.



Ambala division bags five awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
As many as five awards were bagged by the northern railway Ambala division on the Railway Day. The function was held in Mumbai where in the Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal conferred the awards on senior divisional operations manager, Ambala, Nar Singh, senior divisional engineer manager, R R Raju, station master, Sadugarh, Ram Phool Meena, loco-pilot, Ram Diptta and tax commissioner reservation, Manoj Kumar for their excellent performance in the last financial year.

The Ambala division was also awarded for its punctuality, boarding and goods operation, staff care and for its transparency in the operation wing. Nar Singh who has been given life time award said that this was a great honour for any railway employee.

He said that he had received such an award for the first time ever since he was working in the department. He lauded the gesture of the Railway Minister in appreciating the operation wing for their excellent performance especially in staff management of the division.

The divisional railway manager, Ambala, PK Sangi was also honoured recently by the Union Minister Bansal for promoting Hindi language in all official works.



Construction work on causeways begins at Khanpur bridge
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 17
With a motive of making the area traffic-jam free, the District Administration has started construction of causeways along the Khanpur Bridge at Kharar here. “A sum of Rs 3.30 crores would be spent on the project, which would be completed by June 30”, said Varun Roojam, the Mohali Deputy Commissioner after inspecting the site here today.

Hundreds of vehicles pass through this road, having the bridge, daily, which results in traffic jams every now and then. “With the construction of the causeways here, the problem would be addressed”, said Roojam. He further said that repair of the bridge would also be undertaken at the same time.



Regularisation of services: Committee submits report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
After a report in these columns regarding the delay in regularisation of services of around 2,034 daily wagers and work-charged employees of the UT Administration, a three-member committee has submitted its report to UT Adviser KK Sharma.

Sources said a special meeting would be called by the UT Adviser to discuss the report. The committee comprising of Forest Secretary, Joint Secretary (Personnel) and UT Chief Engineer has recommended the services could be regularised if the employees fulfilled the educational qualification criteria.

The committee also suggested that as per the recruitment rules age relaxation could be given to these employees.

Employees who completed ten years of service till December 2006, should be regularised by creation of new posts, stated the report.



All that glitters is not gold!
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 17
Two miscreants who snatched a ‘gold’ chain from a woman in Sector 4 last night would have cursed themselves on realising that it was worth only Rs 30. The victim, Shanti Devi, was standing outside her house when two motorcycle-borne youths targeted her.

Although she resisted, they managed to flee with their ‘prized’ catch.

Shanti Devi told the police that her chain was an artificial one bought from a local market for only Rs 30.



misuse of water
MC issues 27 challans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Continuing with their drive against the misuse of drinking water, the Municipal Corporation today issued 27 challans. Till date, the MC has issued notices to 107 violators for washing cars and watering lawns.

The MC had decided to impose a fine of Rs 2,000 on violators, to be included in the water bill.

From April 15 to June 30, watering of lawns and washing of cars and courtyards using a hose will not be allowed from 5.30 am to 8.30 am. A fine will be imposed in case of leakages in pipes, overflowing water tanks or water coolers.



streamlining traffic on the campus
Suggestions remain on paper at PU
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

(Clockwise from left) Students and a security guard ride two-wheelers without wearing helmets on the Panjab University campus on Wednesday
(Clockwise from left) Students and a security guard ride two-wheelers without wearing helmets on the Panjab University campus on Wednesday. Tribune photos: S. Chandan

Chandigarh, April 17
A series of meetings held during the past few years and number of suggestions made to control traffic and negligent driving by students have only remained on paper at Panjab University. The incident of rash driving by students on the PU campus has once again pointed out the grave problem of traffic on the PU campus.

Panjab University in last few years have formed various committees which came up with a number of suggestions to control traffic, however, everything remained on papers only. The steps included separate parking space for visitors with a fee, stopping the vehicles that enter from gate number 1 and special tow-away zones.

Prof Manjit Singh of Sociology, who in 2010 headed a committee over traffic, had said that around 15 solutions to control the traffic which were not implemented. He said, “This is a high time that we act and address the growing traffic problems. Negligent driving has become a nuisance on university campus,” said Singh.

The traffic violations that are common on the campus are helmet less riding, triple riding and over-speeding.

Former Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti once had decided to make every first Monday of the month as vehicle-free. The idea received strong criticism from students and faculty members. He suggested that once a week everyone on the campus should come on cycle instead of cars and scooters. And to make the idea a success he also offered loans to students for purchasing cycles.

Interestingly, PU had allocated a sum of Rs 30 crore in 2011-12 budget for a multi-level parking on the campus. However, later the authorities decided to scrap the project.

In a drastic step, the university in 2011 decided that students owing four-wheelers would not be allowed admission in hostels during the first-year of their academic course. However, with no mechanism in place to check the effectiveness of the rule the students owning cars still managed to get hostel rooms.

Various suggestions biting dust

  • Opening the gate near the law department to regulate the growing traffic by restricting the vehicles coming to many departments from moving across the campus. It should cater to the departments including law, UILS, pharmacy, school of communication studies and other hostels and the departments near them.
  • Students would be issued stickers of specific colours for their vehicles to enter from a particular gate to head directly towards the department.
  • The committee formed to deal with traffic congestion has suggested a connecting road from student centre to the road leading to the pharmacy department to remove a diversion and make traffic on the route one-way.
  • To make another stretch from the library roundabout to the law department, a one-way traffic zone.
  • Making the road straight from the library roundabout to the area flanking student centre on to UILS, law department and pharmacy department.



SOPU wants law entrance exam date changed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Members of the SOPU party today staged a protest outside the administrative block of the PU demanding change in the date of the Law entrance exam of the Panjab University as it is clashing with the entrance date of Delhi University.

SOPU leader Rashpal Hakuwala said the university has failed to take any decision on the representation given by them.

Controller of Examination (COE) Parvinder Singh said the matter was already in his knowledge and they were taking a clarification whether the dates were clashing with the DU or not.

“We will certainly change the date after verifying the information for which a meeting has been called on Thursday,” said COE

The date for Law entrance is June 9 for both the universities. PU officials said,

“The decision will soon be taken and all the applicants will be informed as per the decision.”



Expert lays stress on higher education
Says it is a trusted source of economic, social development
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
A two-day seminar on “Education Development - Public Private Partnership” concluded at the ICSSR Complex, Panjab University, today. Prof BS Ghuman, seminar coordinator, in summation of the seminar proceedings, said: “Higher education is a trusted source of economic and social development.

However, in India access to higher education is only 15 per cent. It is unevenly distributed on account of caste, class and gender.”

“Quality of higher education and low employability are also the concerned areas. For improving the quality of education and employability, it is recommended that all the stakeholders, including students, parents, civil society and potential employers should be involved in curriculum development, teaching and research,” he said.

Ghuman said, “The PPP model is also emerging as a vehicle to improve access and quality of higher education. For making it more effective, funding pattern, responsibilities and accountability of both partners should be made part of MOU.”

Dr BP Mathur in his valedictory remarks stressed on the role of values and ethics in quality education.

The seminar was attended by a large number of academicians, research scholars and students.



Students protest against delay in declaration of results

Chandigarh, April 17
The members of NSUI today staged a protest outside the office of the Vice-Chancellor at Panjab University over delay in declaration of results of third-semester sociology students.

NSUI leader Jewanjot Chahal, who was leading the protest, said the internal assessment in the Sociology of Crime and Social Development subject has not been sent to the examination branch and that had led to delay in declaration of the result.

Sources said this ongoing conflict between the sociology department and the teacher over conducting internal tests in the department based on which the students were allotted internal assessment marks.

Students claimed that the internal politics among the teachers have left them at the receiving end. “The university authorities should intervene and sort out the issues so that the students don’t suffer,” said students.

NSUI leader said the university authorities have assured them that the issue would be discussed on April 25. — TNS



Contractual teachers relieved from duty without prior notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Education Department today announced the list of 187 Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs), who were promoted as lecturers after a gap of 22 years. A total of 13 contractual teachers, including three fine arts, two physics and nine English teachers, were relived form their duties without any prior notice.

An approval in this regard came on April 9 and on joining basis, the department has finalised the list.

On other hand, the step has affected around 100 teachers, who joined the department on deputation basis.

"In absence of these employees, we were working for the department. And now the department has taken a partial decision. We were working for the department from past 11 years on a low basic salary. The department has taken our help but now they have relieved about 13 teachers without any prior notice," said a source.



Farewell party

Chandigarh, April 17
A farewell party was organised at Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, for the BSc final year students of hospitality and hotel administration and diploma students of food production.

The show started with a band performance relating the life of the third year students. The function concluded with an energetic, vibrant and colourful bhangra which showcased the rich culture of Punjab.

Principal Bharti Tyagi welcomed the passing out batches for the party. She said the cultural programme performed by the students of the college was a testimony of their commitment. — TNS





Chandigarh: The Stepping Stones Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, hosted the Alice Workshop organised by the CBSE in collaboration with Oracle group. Teachers from |different schools of the region participated in the three-day training programme. Khande Rao, Regional Officer CBSE, lit lamp of knowledge at the inaugural session and addressed the participants. He motivated them to maintain high standards of excellence through the use of modern technology.

Lemonade activity held at Saupin’s School

The students of pre-primary classes of Saupin's School, Panchkula, welcomed the hot summer with lemonade activity. The students enjoyed squeezing lemon into the water and mixing sugar. The children of the school were taught about keeping their body cool and refreshed during the scorching summer. — TNS



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