C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Metro moves step closer to reality
UT Admn, Punjab, Haryana agree on the terms and
conditions of MoU; to share cost of project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The UT Administration, Punjab and Haryana have finally agreed on the terms and conditions of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was circulated by the Ministry of Urban Development for the implementation of the Metro rail project in the tricity.

At a meeting held today, which was chaired by UT Adviser KK Sharma and attended by officials of Punjab and Haryana, it was decided that the cost of the Metro project will be borne equally by Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and the Centre.

MM Sabharwal, Joint Secretary, Transport, UT, said a draft MoU was discussed in detail at the meeting. Representatives of Punjab and Haryana agreed on the terms of the draft MoU pertaining to the Metro project. The approval will be conveyed to the Centre following which an MoU will be formally signed by the stakeholders after the Centre gives its nod.

Earlier, the project was to be implemented under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. However, Punjab and Haryana were not ready for the PPP mode. Later, the UT altered the MoU of the project so that the stakeholders could reach a consensus for the execution of the project.

Following directions from the Ministry of Urban Development, the stakeholders are working on the formation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for executing the project.

Special purpose vehicle

The UT Administration, Punjab and Haryana have already agreed to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the Metro project. It was also discussed that the SPV may be named as the Chandigarh Tricity Multi-Modal Transport Corporation (CTMTC).

Metro project will have 2 corridors

The Metro project will have two corridors having a total length of 37.57 km. A substantial part of the Metro line will be in Chandigarh. The East-West Corridor will extend from the Transport Terminal in Mohali to the grain market in Panchkula. The North-East Corridor will be from the Capitol Complex in Sector 9 to Gurdwara Singh Shaheedan in Sohana. The total cost of the project is expected to be around Rs 10,900 crore. It is proposed that within the sectoral grid of Chandigarh, the Metro will be underground keeping in view the heritage of the city. Milestones have been erected along the route of the Metro. The first corridor is expected to be operational by 2018.



Physics Nobel Prize for Higgs, Englert
PU celebrates its contribution to Higgs particle project
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Teachers and technical staff associated with the Higgs particle project at the laboratory of the physics department at the PU. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 9
The physics department at the Panjab University, that has been associated with the Higgs particle project for the past over two decades, is basking in the glory of two scientists who have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, which was recently confirmed through the discovery of predicted fundamental particle by the ALTAS and Compact Muon Solonide (CMS) experiment at the CERN's Large Hardon Collider (LHC). The PU has designed one of the sub-detectors of the CMS.

The announcement of the Nobel Prize for Britain's Peter Higgs and Francois Englert of Belgium was made yesterday. The "high-energy physics group" of the PU, comprising faculty members Prof JB Singh, Prof S Beri, Prof Manjit Kaur, Dr Vipin Bhatnagar and Prof JM Kohli (retd), along with engineers VK Bhandari and Baljinder Singh, had been participating in the CERN-based experiment CMS at the LHC since 1992.

The group is participating in the experiment at the LHC at CERN, Switzerland. CERN is a European organisation for nuclear research in Geneva.

The LHC is going to be the highest energy accelerator for the next 10 to 15 years and will provide a unique opportunity for the search of new particles and new physics at TeV scale. The CMS experiment is one of the two large general purpose particle physics detectors capable of studying many aspects of proton-proton collisions at the Centre of Mass Energy (14TeV). It contains sub-detectors, which are designed to measure the energy and momentum of photons, electrons, muons and other particles produced in the collision.

Prof Manjit Kaur said Panjab University, along with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), took the responsibility of designing, fabricating, testing and installation of one of the sub-detectors called Outer Hadron Calorimeter (HO) into the CMS detector. "For this purpose, we got about 900 plastic scintillator tiles grooved at Central Tool Room (CTR), Ludhaina. These tiles were assembled in the form of a detector and tested with data acquisition at the PU and the TIFR. After complete testing and assembly, these have been integrated with the CMS detector," she said.

Prof JB Singh said during the next 10 to 15 years, these detectors would be used for data collection at the LHC and they needed to make sure the smooth running of "our HO detector with some required upgrade".

The group members and students of the physics department at the PU are studying various aspects of physics. With the start of the LHC in 2008, the group members have participated in data collection with the CMS and "physics analysis" related to various aspects of physics, including Higgs Boson and B-physics. The group also developed expertise in setting up the grid computing infrastructure for unifying it with the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid for "doing the distributed data analysis".

At present, Prof S Beri is in Geneva along with research scholars from the PU who are assisting in the project. Prof Vipin Bhatnagar will also visit Geneva soon. "Tachers and students associated with the project keep on visiting CERN to assist in the experiment," said Prof JB Singh.

Ramandeep Kumar, one of the students who was in Geneva a few months ago, said he had met Peter Higgs during his visit.

Students involved in project

PU students associated with the project at present include Ramandeep Kumar, Anterpreet Kaur, Nishu Naib, Archana Sharma, Tanisha, Manveer Kaur, Amandeep Kaur, Bhavandeep, Ankita Mehta, Monica Mittal, Ruchi Gupta and Genius Walia.

What's next

Currently, the group is involved in fabricating another sub-detector, Resistive Plate Chambers (RPCs), in collaboration with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai. The RPCs are gaseous detectors based on "bakelite 2mm gaps with X, Y readouts". Panjab Univesity has set up a new gaseous detector development facility as part of this work. In all, 200 RPCs are required for the experiment and 50 will be fabricated in India.



Festival rush
Endless wait for rail tickets at Tatkal counters in city
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Deepak, a resident of Hallo Majra who turned up at the Chandigarh railway station at 6 pm yesterday to get a Tatkal reservation done for Uttar Pradesh, is still trying his luck, but is unsure whether he will be able to get a ticket.

“I am here since Monday evening to try my luck for a Tatkal ticket. I am told the reservation for trains going towards UP has been closed as no tickets are available for the next one month," he said.

Sailing in the same boat is Ramzan Hussain, who went to the reservation counter at the ISBT, Sector 17, at 2 am yesterday to get a ticket for Guwahati. "After seeing a crowd waiting for their turn, I regretted why I did not come earlier to be ahead in the queue at the Tatkal counter," he said.

The situation at the third railway reservation counter in the city at the ISBT, Sector 43, is no different.

Parveen Kumar, superintendent at the Chandigarh railway station, said all three reservation counters in the city entertained Tatkal reservations only between 10 am and 10.30 am. He said the waiting lists of all trains were sent to the higher authorities in routine, which decided on increasing the trains, depending on the availability.

An official at one of the Tatkal counters said the demand for rail ticket would increase in the coming days in view of the festival season. Despite having introduced six special trains, the demand for tickets was increasing, he said.

He said for the past one week, it had been noticed that people started queueing up at reservation counters in the wee hours to get tickets.

After trying their luck at online booking, several residents turned up at Tatkal counters only to return disappointed.



World sight day today
700 await cornea transplant
Timely harvesting of donors’ eyes a challenge for doctors
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Even as the number of eye donations and persons who have pledged their eyes has improved significantly at the eye banks of the PGI and the GMCH, Sector 32, ensuring the utility of most of the donated eyes in cornea transplants continues to be a challenge for doctors. In a majority of the cases, it has been found that donors are not taken to eye banks within the prescribed time for harvesting their eyes so that these are fit for cornea transplants.

Tomorrow is World Sight Day. More than 700 patients from across the northern region, including the city, are currently awaiting a cornea transplant and are in search of a donor. “More than 3,300 eyes have been donated at our eye bank since its inception in the 1960s. However, all donated eyes could not be utilised for cornea transplants. One of the major reasons was the delayed harvesting of eyes. We tell our volunteers to take the donors to an eye bank within 10 hours of the death. Otherwise, the purpose of eye donation may not be served completely, despite their valuable contribution,” said Dr Amit Gupta, Associate Professor, Department of Opthalmology, PGI.

Though more than 5,571 people have pledged their eyes at the eye bank of the GMCH, so far, and their number being much higher at the PGI, awareness regarding taking the donors to an eye bank within the prescribed time remains low, say doctors.

“In winters, the shelf life of the eyes remains relatively higher, but in summers, the eyes need to be harvested early. There is enthusiasm among individuals for pledging their eyes, but if the eyes are not utilised to their potential, the very purpose of donation gets defeated,” said Dr Sunandan Sood, Head, Department of Opthalmology, GMCH.

At the GMCH, nearly 1,500 eyes have been donated so far, while the number is more than 3,300 at the PGI. Until last year, the PGI had utilised nearly 2,100 of these eyes for cornea transplants.

"At the PGI, more than 5,000 individuals pledge eye donation every year," said Dr Amit Gupta.



Inflation cuts demon king Ravana to size
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Workers prepare an effigy of Ravana in Mohali on Wednesday.
Workers prepare an effigy of Ravana in Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Chandigarh, October 9
Inflation has not spared even the demon king Ravana. This Dasehra, many Ramlila committees have reduced the size of the Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakarna's effigies due to the rising cost. Director of OSF Sanskritik Manch, Sector 29, SS Sharma said due to an increase in the cost, they had reduced the size of the effigies from 80 ft to 70 ft this year.

“However, the smaller size will not rob the festival of its sheen as we will arrange a good function. The sanctity of the day will definitely be maintained at our function," he said. Rajinder Bagga, assistant director of the Sector 17 Ramlila committee, said the cost of the effigies had gone up by at least 25 per cent due to an increase in the labour and material charges. As the costs of crackers, too, has gone up, it has definitely impacted the Dasehra celebrations.

This year, the height of the effigies will not go beyond 55 to 60 ft. “I feel the message of the Dasehra festival, which is the victory of good over evil, is more important than the cost issue,” he said.

Uncertainty over weather is another factor that has led to a reduction in the size of the effigies. Jatinder Bhatia, who represents the Sector 46 Dasehra committee, said due to fear of inclement weather, many committees had decided not to invest too much on the effigies as a result of which the size of these will be less than earlier this year. Last year, heavy rain on the eve of Dasehra had affected the celebrations.

BC Dotial, president of the Badrish Ramlila Kala Niketan, Sector 30-A, is of view that Ramlila committees should collectively hold one function each in the southern, eastern, western and northern sectors. “In the city, Dasehra is celebrated in over 25 places. If Ramlila committees come together and plan collective functions in their areas, it will not only reduce the cost on the functions, but the fuctions will be better administered,” he said.

However, the other attractions will remain the same. The Sector 46 Dasehra celebrations will have an air show this year as well. The committee has also planned a laser show.



Lack of equipment, staff ails ESI Hospital
Kulwinder Sangha

The ESI Hospital at the Industrial Area, Phase VII, Mohali; and (right) a wall of the hospital in a deplorable condition. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, October 9
Lack of hi-tech equipment, inadequate staff, lack of cleanliness and a building in a state of neglect are among the hallmarks of the ESI Hospital in the Phase VII industrial area here.

The 30-bed hospital, which is a referral hospital for ESI dispensaries here, does not have the facilities for conducting major surgeries. In such cases, patients have to be referred to other hospitals, including private ones like Max Super Speciality Hospital and Fortis.

The performance of the hospital in the matter of institutional deliveries, to which the government gives encouragement, has been poor. At a meeting of the District Health Society held on September 5, which was presided over by the Deputy Commissioner, the figure for such deliveries was only 21 from April 1 to July 31. This was a drop of 9 per cent over the corresponding period in the previous year.

Torn bed sheets being used at the ESI Hospital in Mohali.

Sources said that due to the lack of adequate equipment at the ESI Hospital, advanced eye surgeries have to be conducted at the Phase VI Civil Hospital. The dental wing remained non-functional for a long time as the only doctor concerned was on leave.

There is only one laboratory technician at the hospital and the lab facility is unavailable when the person takes leave. Owing to the shortage of staff, the ultrasound facility is not available throughout the week.

The electrical wiring of the hospital building, which was constructed in 1989, poses a danger and is need of replacement. Fire had broken out in a part of the building some time ago due to the poor wiring. It is learnt that an expenditure estimate of Rs 2.50 lakh for replacing the wiring was sent to the higher authorities, but the estimate was rejected.

A Tribune team found seepage in several parts of the hospital building and rusted widow frames. Most of the wards did not have patients and many beds had unclean bed sheets. In one instance, even a torn bed sheet had been spread.

What the SMO says

The SMO in charge of the hospital, Dr Amrit Chahal, said the provision of various facilities to patients depended on the funds sanctioned by the higher authorities. Recently, Rs 80, 000 was sanctioned which was used to repair the ECG machine and dental equipment besides replacing faulty wiring in a part of the building. An autoclave and a laboratory analyser were also purchased.

She said that ESI patients had been given the cashless facility by the government and they preferred to be referred to private hospitals, which had modern facilities. Regarding the inadequate number of delivery cases, she said she was the lone gynaecologist in the hospital and also performed duties as the SMO in charge of the set-up.

Adequate stocks of medicines were, however, available at the hospital, she added.



Festival rush stretches trains’ waiting lists; reservation stopped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
If your are planning to visit your native places of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal for Diwali and Bihar for the Chhath Pooja celebrations by train, then it will be better to travel by some other mode of transportation. A majority of the special and routine trains to these destinations are already full. In fact, in some of these trains, no reservation is available for more than a month while in others reservation has been suspended till further notice.

According to the railway authorities, the Chandigarh Dibrugarh Express (number 15904) has exhausted the tickets on October 9 and the waiting list has touched the 452 mark. Similar is the situation for the October 30 train. Because of long waiting lists, the authorities have stopped making reservation. For Pashim Express, there is a waiting list for the next one month and no seat is available till Diwali.

Two new trains, Kalka-Shirdi and Nangal Dam-Hazur Sahib Nanded Super-fast Express, which were flagged off last week, also have long waiting lists. For the train to Shirdi, the waiting period is 15 days and for Hazur Sahib Super-fast Express 17 days.

The railway officials admitted that the number of passengers rise manifold during festivals like Navratras, Dussehra, Durga Pooja, Chhath Pooja and Diwali, as a large number of migrant workers travel to their native places to be with their families during the celebrations.

Special Chd-Indore train

The Northern Railway on Wednesday approved the train from Chandigarh to Indore from October 18 to clear the festival rush. The train (number 09304) will leave the city station at 7:10 pm and will have seven trips from October 18 to November 27.

Novel method

A paper has been pasted on the door of an office at the Chandigarh railway station, where each commuter desirous of getting a Tatkal ticket is supposed to write his/her name before the counter opens at 8 am. The method has been reportedly devised by the commuters themselves to ensure that a proper queue is formed and no brawl takes place.



Delay in purchase of new buses
Ministry acts on CTU union’s complaint
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
As the UT babus are taking their own time to purchase new buses for the city’s ageing fleet of the public transport system (PTS), the issue has reached the Union Ministry of Surface Transport and Highways. Acting on a complaint made to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Transport Ministry has been asked to look into the matter. The official, handling the transport section in the ministry, has been enquired about the matter.

Sources in the UT said the issue had surfaced at the ministry level after the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) Worker’s Union made complaints in this regard to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Transport Ministry last month.

The union, who has given a complete six-hour shut down call for tomorrow, has been taking up the issue of urgency of adding new buses to the fleet, with the UT`s top brass. But, the tenders to purchase the buses did not materialise for one or the other reason.

In the complaint, the union has stated that Rs 45-crore fund allocated for the purchase of new buses in 2012-13 against the condemned buses lapsed due to the delay on the part of the UT officials, forcing the commuters to suffer. The buses, which have outlived their life span of eight years, are being passed by the state transport authority (STA), putting to risk the lives of passengers.

Under the current financial year, Rs 113 crore has been allocated under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for the replacement of the old buses. But, the UT officials are extending tenders for the purchase of low-floor buses again and again, the union has alleged.

Statistics speak for themselves

  • From a fleet of 30 buses in 1966 to 468 buses in 2012, an addition of just 438 buses has been made in five decades of the CTU’s existence. The population of the city has grown from 2.5 lakh in 1970 to 12 lakh in 2013.
  • In existence for over five decades, the transport undertaking has a fleet of around 300 buses plying on 275 local and suburban routes. These buses daily cover 47,000 km and ferry 1.83 lakh passengers.
  • Half of the buses in the fleet of 468 buses of the public transport undertaking have either outlived their life span or are nearing their limit of running years.

Central guidelines

The national yardstick is that for a population of one lakh there should be 27 buses. By that parameter, there should be around 334 vehicles for the local bus service alone. But in reality, just 224 buses ply on the local routes and these include 90 front-engine buses that have almost outlived their life span. In the last three years, around 140 new buses have been added to the CTU fleet. According to the Central guidelines for the state carriage service, buses completing eight years or doing 5 lakh km have to be condemned. Another one-year extension is given to run these buses.



Experts discuss Beant Singh memorial plan

Chandigarh, October 9
Finally, there is some movement in the construction of a convention centre at the Beant Singh Memorial Complex in Sector 42 here. In 1996, the Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab Government had planned to convert the memorial into a convention centre for cultural activities. Additional 8 acres of land was acquired to construct a ‘saravdharam’ centre, a public library, a media centre, an exhibition hall for visual art, an open-air theatre and an auditorium for performing arts. In all these years, not much development has taken place, except a library whose digitalisation is under process at present. The construction of the media centre also begun recently.

Today, the Department of Culture, Chandigarh Administration, at the Beant Singh Memorial Complex invited local architects, theatre personalities and people having interest in the field of art and culture to share their ideas on the planning of this convention centre. Though not many turned up, officials present there said the construction of the convention centre was taken on a priority basis.

Jasvinder Kaur, Director, Cultural Affairs, UT, said the final designing and the planning for the auditorium for performing arts here at the complex would be over in the next three-four months, for which a special theatre artiste would also be appointed. The construction of other buildings at the convention centre was already going on. The digitalisation of the library would be over by February next year. The media centre would also come up in a year. — TNS



Workshop to focus on protecting minors from access to tobacco
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Tobacco control advocates from across India have converged in Chandigarh to learn from the first smoke-free city of India. While this has given a massive boost to the city's tobacco control efforts in city and across Punjab and also in Himachal Pradesh, the three-day deliberation in the city has raised concerns of growing use of tobacco and the need to step up tobacco control efforts.

The focus of the workshop is to protect non-smokers from the exposure to secondhand smoke and protect minors from accessing tobacco producers. Both these are comprehensively covered in the national tobacco control legislation- the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA). 35 participants from 12 states, comprising of government and non-government organisations attended this workshop and were trained in enforcing the legislation.

"In India, every year more than 1.2 million people die from smoking and many more die from exposure to exposure to its smoke. The enormous challenge of India is that more 5,500 children start tobacco use every day and become lifelong users. More than half of all tobacco users die from diseases caused by its use," informed Dr Sonu Goel, Assistant Professor, PGIMER.

Dr Deepak Bakshi, State Nodal Officer, Chandigarh, said: "Chandigarh has become a pioneer in innovation and enforcement and we have removed hookah bars and are in the process of eliminating electronic cigarettes also."

Dr Rakesh Gupta State Nodal Officer, Punjab, said: "While there may be challenges in implementation, we hope that all states and civil society partners will advance smoke-free implementation as the first step for tobacco control in their districts."

Dr Rana J Singh of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, New Delhi, said: "We work closely with the civil society and state governments in raising public awareness about the harms of tobacco use and provided technical support for the development of a robust smoke-free policy leading to tobacco-free societies."



Theft cases
SSP issues guidelines to police, marriage palace owners
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 9
In wake of back-to-back incidents of purses/bags theft from marriage and other functions by minor children, the Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Gurpreet Singh Bhullar today issued guidelines to police and marriage palaces owners to check such incidents in the area.

SSP Bhullar today directed the heads of all the police stations and police posts to keep tracks on the dates of such functions in their area and intensify patrolling there.

"I have also asked them to initiate taking 'stranger rolls' at such venues to detect unscrupulous elements there and check the persons sitting in the vehicles for no reasons," said SSP Bhullar.

Besides, the SSP has also issued guidelines for owners of marriage palaces, hotels and other such venues. "The owners of such establishments should be asked to alert their private security personnel during the functions and especially check the children, trying to leave the venue with some expensive items," he said.

Issuing appeal to the people, the SSP said that they should also remain alert and should not leave their expensive belongings inattentive.

"Such incidents are surely rife in the area. We would nab the members of this gang soon," said SSP Bhullar. Notably, two minor girls had taken away two purses in different cases, occurred on Sunday and Monday in the town, from such functions. The loss to both the parties is ascertained about Rs 10 lakh.



PU/college notes
PU Prof to speak at global meet

Former head of the Department of Geology Department, Panjab University, and chairman of the Indian Chapter International Association of Geoethics, Prof AD Ahluwalia has been invited to deliver a keynote address on the topic of “mass geoscience awareness and communication could have saved thousands killed in the Himalayan flash floods and Asian Tsunami” at an international conference on geoethics from October 12 to October 18 at Pribram, Czech Republic.

Dr Ahluwalia is of the view that devastation could have been much less if there was an intensive use of remote sensing and grassroots awareness at all levels. Our own SAR technology satellites are capable of monitoring vulnerable areas day and night and even in cloudy conditions. According to Ahluwalia, while flashflood and Tsunami warnings are relayed through SMSes in the USA, the Indians remain ignorant even after disaster and the complete information remains locked up in computers or official reports and seldom reach the common man. “Emphasis should be shifted from post-disaster relief, dead body count and retrieval to pre-emptive protection through timely warnings given in effective and credible manner so that our people take these seriously and save themselves and others”, he said.

Workshop concludes

An audio content development workshop concluded on Wednesday at the University School of Open Learning with new hopes for Panjab University distance learners. Prof SS Pattnaik, head of Educational Television Centre at the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research, Chandigarh, delivered the valedictory address in which he highlighted the significance of technology in revolutioning the audio world. He stressed that the technology had become so learner friendly that the distance learner stands to gain a lot if good quality audio content is prepared.

Heritage festival

On the third day of the Panjab University Youth and Heritage Festival (Zone B) at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, Chandigarh, Prof Naval Kishore, Dean, College Development Council, Panjab University, was the chief guest in the morning session. In his address, he felicitated the students and wished them success in their future endeavours. In the morning session, various events like skit, mime and mimicry were held. In the evening session, Parminder Dhindsa, Finance Minister, Punjab, was the chief guest. He appreciated the efforts of the students and colleges who participated enthusiastically in the festival.

Dandiya fest

MCM sorority came together as one to a fund-raising charity event. A ‘dandiya fest’ was organised by the Rotaract Club of MCM College. This fest was organised at MCM as a special tribute to women power and highlighted the importance of girl child. The event was a unique endeavour to promote culture and humanity on a single platform. Cultural performances enlivened the event. A traditional dance competition was a confluence of different cultures interwoven together in a balanced and invigorating fashion. Melodious songs mesmerised the audience, while exciting games kept their zeal soaring. The festivities received another high with the presence of Punjabi cine celebrities Sherry Mann and Mandy Takhar. The duo entertained and enthralled the audience.

Rotaract Club

The Rotary Club of the Chandigarh Wing has decided to form a Rotaract Club among the NSS volunteers of the Post Graduate Government College, Sector 46, so that the NSS volunteers will get the national and international exposure. Vice-president of the Rotary Club Amanjit Singh, Rotarian S Bali and Dr Anurit Kaur came to the college. Rotaract Club for NSS volunteers was formed, followed by a meeting. — TNS



Scrapping of NEET
Now, medical admission through AIPMT
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Following the Supreme Court’s decision to scrap the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), the older All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) is back for 2014 admission to MBBS and BDS. As per the recent circular issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the entrance exam will be held on May 4, 2014.

However, the 2014 AIPMT is different from its previous year’s version. It will have just a single paper having 180 questions, as opposed to two papers in the older AIPMT. There will be 180 objective-type questions from physics, chemistry and biology.

Mohit Singla, a city-based medial aspirant, said the revised AIPMT was much better. Two papers in the older APIMT were not required as it added only the stress level of students.

As per information, the major difference between the NEET and the AIPMT-2014 is that the AIPMT will be conducted only for the 15 per cent national quota in government medical/ dental colleges all over India for MBBS and BDS.

The NEET was conducted as a single centralised exam for all medical colleges across the India to save the students from the hassle of appearing in multi pre-medical entrance exams. However, the Supreme Court struck NEET down in July this year.

Harsh Mehta, another student, said the NEET was in fact a very good initiative.

“The revised APIMT is welcomed, but the same mad rush of multi entrance exams will again start now. We will have to appear for state Pre-Medical Tests (PMTs), AIIMS entrance exam as well as AIPMT from the next year,” he said.

Dr Arvind Goyal, a city-based biology teacher, said in the revised 2014 AIPMT system, there was a provision that the city medical or dental colleges could voluntarily accept the merit of this test for their own admission rather than conducting their own test. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh could easily go with the AIPMT since they both follow the CBSE’s syllabus of classes XI and XII for their own state PMT, and AIPMT is too based on the CBSE’s syllabus. Before the NEET, medical colleges under the Delhi University scrapped their PMT in 2012 and decided to take students from the merit of the AIPMT, which is possible for the medical colleges of this region too, he said.

Vivek Gulati, city-based physics teacher, said the 2014 AIPMT would be the same as that of the NEET. The 2014 AIPMT syllabus could be downloaded from the MCI's website, he said.



From schools
World Peace Day

The dove-coloured balloons soared in the sky and reverberated the message of love, peace and harmony as World Peace Day was celebrated at Sacred Heart School. It began with schoolchildren forming the symbol of “peace” in the assembly ground amidst cheers, while balloons were released by Rev. Sr. Nisha, principal. It was followed by a number of competitions, declamation and singing of songs. Peace and harmony were the pervasive themes.

National Nutrition Week

National Nutrition week was celebrated at Government High School, Sector 46. A slide show on health and hygiene was shown to students. High-class students gave demo on healthy low fat diet. Vijay Lakhsmi Pandit House also organised an interactive session on moral values. Resource person Brahm Kumari Rajinder quite interestingly gave tips on character building and personality development.

Wildlife Week

Sharda Sarvhitkari Model School, Sector 40, observed Wildlife Week. There was a talk on wildlife by the members of house on duty. The students recited poem on the topic to save animals. The students of classes IX and X participated in collage-making, chart-making and poster-making competitions. All display boards were decorated with charts and posters made by students.

MDAV School-22

Wildlife Conservation Week was celebrated at MDAV School, Sector 22. Students participated in drawing and slogan-writing competitions. They showed concerns about wildlife in the competitions.

Motivational talk

A team from Prajapita Brahma Kumari Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya, Chandigarh Branch, presented its motivational and inspirational talk before the volunteers of NSS Units and Peace Club of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 38. The team members expressed their views on moral values, discipline, time management and stress management followed by a practice of meditation.

Visit to post office

Around 200 students of The British School, Sector 12, Panchkula, visited a post office in Sector 8, Panchkula. Post master Savita Singal welcomed the children and teachers. She explained how letters were collected, segregated, stamped and then stored in pigeon holes for the postmen to collect.

Medical camp

A camp on skin-related diseases was organised at Manav Mangal School, Panchkula. Skin specialist Dr Rajan Gupta conducted the camp and gave valuable prescriptions to children having skin and allergy ailments. Around 300 screened cases were diagnosed and prescribed accordingly. While writing prescriptions he interacted with students and emphasised on regular cleaning and moisturising the skin rather than running after cosmetics. — TNS



52.7% college boys into substance abuse
GMCH study reveals 54% students take alcohol, 27% smoke, 8% chew tobacco
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
A study conducted by medical interns at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, revealed that 52.7 per cent boys in the city colleges were into substance abuse with alcohol turning out to be the most consumed substance.

The study “Prevalence, pattern and familial effects of substance use among the male college students - a North Indian Study” was published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in August this year.

A total of 256 college students (all boys), aged between 19 and 21, from different colleges across the city were interviewed. The use of alcohol was common in 54 per cent students, followed by smoking (27 per cent), tobacco chewing (8 per cent) and others.

In the study, 49 per cent students were found to be using the substance everyday while 23 per cent said they used the substance on a weekly basis.

The study also suggested some lifestyle-related interventions for bringing down the problem. "There is an utmost need to educate and counsel young students regarding harmful effects of substance abuse. Health education may be imparted to schoolchildren. Parents should also be educated on what was the best way to discourage their wards against drugs," the researchers stated. The study was conduced between June and August, 2010. The researchers included medical interns from the Department of Community Medicine, GMCH-32.

Educationists share ways to control problem
In such a case, the head of an institution needs to first get on to some homework. Identifying a deviant behaviour in a student, the head must get all details of his family background and also identify his peer group. Then, before directly speaking to the student, the head must take the parents into confidence and start dissociating him from his active peer group. This is important since students never get into any ill-practice without peer group. In case he is found associated with other students in the same college/institution then each of them should be assessed individually and dissociated. Counselling is the best medicine for individuals when they are in student life. There is no need to push them into de-addiction centres.
Parents must observe the behaviour of their child. They must spend time with him and should not ignore the child at initial stage. They should take the child to a de-addiction centre so that the child can be cured. They should handle him with love and care and accept him. They should help the child in all respects so that he is able to lead a normal life. It is important for a teacher also to observe the behaviour of his or her students and both should join hands and then only a child will get encouragement. Monitoring is a must.
It is very important for both parents and teachers to understand that a college student is grown up enough not be controlled by way of punishment. The student, when identified as an addict to substance abuse, must be dealt with counselling. By the time the student reaches the college level, he becomes an adult and in case he falls prey to substance abuse his addiction will supersede all sorts of punishment. Counselling and affection are only ways to the reformation of such students.



200 selected for industrial training
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 9
Punjab Technical University organised a PTU Industrial Training Fest-II at the Gian Jyoti Institute of Engineering and Technology. More than 1,500 students from all over Punjab participated in the event. The selected students will undergo one-semester training in their respective organisations.

PTU placement officer Navdeepak Sandhu said eight organisations selected around 200 students. The selection process included a written test followed by an interview. This exposure would play a key role when the students entered the industry after the completion of their engineering courses. The students could be offered employment on the basis of their performance in these organisations or in their client companies.

Sandhu said the university aimed at providing the maximum opportunities to its students for selection in industries as trainees, which would enhance their employability. 



Teachers, students honoured

Mohali, October 9
The Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Jhanjeri, organised a prize distribution function. Dr Rajneesh Arora, Vice-Chancellor, PTU, gave away the prizes and certificates to 12 teachers and 63 students.

All teachers who achieved above 90 per cent results in the PTU examinations were given commendation certificates and a cash prize of Rs 5,100 each. The students securing 80 per cent or more marks in the university examinations were given certificates of excellence and cash prizes. Laptops were given to students who topped the merit lists of PTU. Parvinder Kaur Asija became the overall topper of the college. She secured 90 per cent marks in the second semester, BTech (CSE), examination.

Prizes were also given to students for the best performance in debates, declamation contests, dancing, singing and paper reading contests.

Dr Arora said the awards of appreciation motivated students to work harder. — OC



St Kabir to hold play on Oct 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
To celebrate their 40th Founder’s Day, St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, Chandigarh, will present “My Fair Lady”, a gloriously witty, romantic musical play, adapted from Pygmalion by famous playwright Bernard Shaw, at the Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, here on October 12 at 6.45 pm. The show is also open to public.

The play is a grand musical with seven dances and 10 songs.

Choir, dancers and actors have been practicing and working hard for the past three months. The play has been designed and directed by Zubin Mehta, assisted by Jannat Chawla, choreographed by Puneet Jewandah and Akshay Sharma, music by “Paul Brothers” - Paulus Paul and Ovdry Paul. The students of the school will enact the play.



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