C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CTU strike brings city to a halt
Commuters bear the brunt; auto-rickshaw drivers make a quick buck
Tribune News Service

Buses parked haphazardly at the ISBT, Sector 17, during the strike
Buses parked haphazardly at the ISBT, Sector 17, during the strike. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

A visually challanged person being helped by a CTU driver during  a strike by the CTU Workers Union
A visually challanged person being helped by a CTU driver during a strike by the CTU Workers Union. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 10
Hundreds of commuters across the city were at the receiving end today as the CTU Workers Union observed a six-hour strike, bringing the public transport system in the city to a grinding halt.

Over 300 buses, operating on local routes and suburban routes on the periphery of the city, remained off the road from 10 am to 4 pm and were parked at the ISBT, Sector 17. The worst affected were schoolchildren and patients at the PGI, the GMSH, Sector 16, and the GMCH, Sector 32, who were allegedly fleeced by auto-rickshaw operators.

This was the second pen-down strike by the CTU Workers Union during the past 20 days and the third in the past nine months on the issue of adding a new fleet of buses on the local routes. Union leaders blamed UT officials, including KK Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, for allegedly derailing the process of adding buses to the CTU fleet.

Unmindful of the inconvenience caused to the commuters, CTU leaders addressed a gathering at the ISBT, Sector 17, as passengers waited helplessly for the strike to end.

One of the harried commuters, Rakesh, a visually challenged person from Pinjore, had a tough time reaching Sector 15 due to the strike. He was helped by Kuldeep, a CTU driver, to board an auto-rickshaw outside the ISBT.

Kulwati, who had to go to Mani Majra along with his three children, had to pay Rs 100 to travel from the ISBT to Mani Majra. "Due to the strike, I had to pick my children from Government School in Sector 22 and hire an auto to reach Hallo Majra," said Manjit Kaur.

A group of students of Government School, Sector 22, had to pay Rs 30 each to reach the ISBT, Sector 43, by an auto-rickshaw. At the ISBT, Sector 43, auto operators allegedly charged up to five times the usual fare from commuters, who had no option but to travel by autos. A number of auto operators from Panchkula and Mohali shifted their operations to the city for the day in a bid to make a quick buck.

From patients and their attendants, auto-operators were charging anything between Rs 70 and Rs 100 to reach the GMCH from the ISBT, Sector 17.

"Not only did the commuters face harassment, the CTU must have suffered a considerable loss. The Administration should have made alternative arrangements," said Anchal Sharma, who had to go from the Sector 17 to the ISBT, Sector 43.

Technical flaws in low-floor buses

There are technical flaws the low-floor buses. Anupama's death had raised questions over the safety of the rear-engine buses that have the passenger door ahead of the rear wheels. There have been instances where commuters have got injured while trying to board buses due to this. The CTU Workers Union has been demanding that the door should behind the rear wheels of the buses, as was the case earlier.

What triggered the strike

The CTU Workers Union has alleged that UT officials are not buying new buses despite the fact that the number of condemned buses in the ageing fleet of the CTU is increasing. Contradicting the claims of the union, a senior CTU official said tenders were floated several times, but bus manufacturers were not agreeing to the terms and conditions.

Union gives ultimatum

The union has served a 15-day ultimatum on the authorities to decide on the issue failing which it would go on a one-day strike.



Safai workers’ stir hits sanitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Members of the Sweepers Union today did not allow vehicles of the municipal corporation to lift garbage from various parts of the city to press the authorities to consider their demands.

The union members began their strike at 6 am, but called it off around noon after they were assured by MC officials that their demands would be considered.

The union members gathered in front of the MC store in the Industrial Area and did not allow the garbage-lifting vehicles to start their operations this morning.

Union president Krishan Kumar Chadha said they were demanding the regularisation of services of 134 daily wage sweepers.

MC Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta said they convinced the union members that the MC was concerned about their demands and the regularisation matter was pending with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Following the assurance, the union resumed its services and started lifting garbage from the city, he said.

Due to the strike today, only 200 tonnes of garbage was dumped in the garbage processing plant in Dadu Majra. On a normal day, around 250 tonnes of garbage is collected by the MC staff and dumped in the plant.



Season nearing end, students yet to get summer uniform
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
In a brazen example of wastage of public money, thousands of students of UT government schools are getting their summer school uniform at the fag end of the season. The procurement of summer uniform has been delayed in a majority of the 106 UT government schools.

While some schools managed to distribute the summer uniform among students earlier this month, a number of schools have not been able to do so "due to pending technical issues".

Chandigarh Tribune randomly surveyed 10 government schools in the city -- Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, Government Senior Secondary School, Mauli Jagran, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, Government Model High School, Sector 34, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 40, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 38, and Government High School, Hallo Majra.

Of these, while Government Model High School, Sector 34, and Government High School, Hallo Majra, distributed the summer uniform last month-end, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 40, distributed the summer uniform last week only. It appears students of the remaining schools will get the summer uniform during the winters.

Prem Joshi, Principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, said the schools were not to be blamed for the delay in the supply of the uniform. Under the new procurement system, the Education Department had made government schools responsible for their own purchase, which consumed a lot of time.

In February this year, the department moved from the centralised to the de-centralised system, making government schools responsible for the purchase of the school uniform with a set of financial guidelines.

However, the system floundered because of a poor response from suppliers due to the price ceiling.

Even though government schools placed their supply order in May, a Mumbai-based supplier, Alok Industries, which had the supply order of 80 of the 106 government schools, delayed the delivery of the uniform, which arrived by the end of August.

The school uniform could not be distributed because quality clearance through a lab test report was required under the government guidelines and most schools could not get their lab test clearance on time. Many schools are still awaiting it.

Principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, Ravi Ram Kaur said her school submitted the uniform sample to a government laboratory in Ludhiana in September, but its report was still awaited. "Though the delay is unfortunate, under the norms, we can’t distribute the school uniform without the quality clearance," she said.

RTE activist Pankaj Chandgothia said there was no use supplying the summer uniform to children when the season was almost over. “It is not only a violation of the Right to Education Act, but a bizarre wastage of public resources,” he said.

Several heads of government schools have demanded a review of the current procurement system. They say the department should allow cluster-wise procurement rather than individually directing each government school to procure its own uniform. Chandigarh schools are divided into 20 cluster zones.

The department is yet to take action against Mumbai-based uniform supplier Alok Industries, which not only delayed the supply of the school uniform to government schools but also submitted a false undertaking at the time of procuring the supply order from the schools.

Winter school uniform

Even though government schools have begun the process of procuring the winter school uniform, it is not expected to be completed on time. A school head said on condition of anonymity that the distribution of the winter school uniform was not expected before the end of December or the first week of January since none of the schools had placed their orders.



Now, civic body’s sanitation panel to go on study tour
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
With the women empowerment committee and a group of 13 councillors, including the Mayor, all set to go to Gujarat on a study tour, it is now the turn of members of the sanitation committee to go on a study tour.

In the name of checking the functioning of small road-sweeping machines, which can be used to clean back lanes, the members of the sanitation committee today decided to visit cities where road-sweeping machines are doing well.

At a meeting of the sanitation committee, chaired by Harphool Kalyan, the matter regarding cleaning the back lanes of houses was discussed. The committee was of the opinion that members should visit cities where small road-sweeping machines are being used for cleaning back lanes. The committee members decided that they will shortlist some cities for the purpose of the visit.

The members also suggested that dry leaves should be removed from road gullies by the sanitation wing. The committee approved the agenda item regarding procurement of "gur" for sweepers, who clean sewerage lines in the city.

BJP-SAD take U-turn

Earlier, BJP-SAD councillors were opposed to the study tours and had termed these as wasteful expenditure. The councillors had raised questions over the study tours at MC meetings. However, BJP-SAD councillors Arun Sood, Saurabh Joshi, Davesh Moudgil, Rajesh Kumar Gupta, Des Raj Gupta, Heera Negi, Asha Jaswal, Rajinder Rattu, Harjinder Kaur and Malkiat Singh are now all set to leave on a study tour of Gujarat. Sources said the BJP-SAD councillors had agreed for the study tour since they wanted to meet BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who would attend a seminar to be attended by these councillors.

Cong councillors to praise Modi’s projects

While senior Congress leaders are criticising Modi’s development model in Gujarat, Cngress councillors, including Mayor Subhash Chawla, Deputy Mayor Satish Kainth, Pardeep Chhabra, Darshan Garg, Harphool Kalyan, Sat Parkash Aggarwal, Poonam Sharma and Sheela Devi, are visiting Gujarat only to praise Modi’s model.


Mohali MC set to extend its limits
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 10
The limits of the Mohali Municipal Corporation are all set to be extended for elections to the civic body with the government clearing a proposal in this regard. Thousands of voters will be added when nine residential sectors, which are at present under the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority, will come within the jurisdiction of the corporation once the limits are extended. Two industrial sectors will also be included in the new limits.

Sources said today the government had also issued a preliminary notification in connection with the approval, directing the civic body to invite objections and suggestions from the residents of the areas to be included in the extended limits.

BD Singla, Additional Commissioner (Technical) of the corporation, confirmed that the government had cleared the proposal to extend the limits, and said a letter to this effect was expected at his office tomorrow. After receiving a copy of the notification, advertisements would be issued for inviting objections and suggestions, he added.

It is learnt that the corporation had sent a fresh proposal last month to extend its limits before the civic body poll. Sources said the then Commissioner of the corporation, AK Sinha, had in a letter dated September 13 written to the Secretary, Department of Local Government, Punjab, proposing the inclusion of Sectors 66 to 69, 76 to 80 and industrial Sectors 74 and 75 in the civic body area.

Earlier, Sinha had okayed a proposal on March 22 for extending the corporation limits. According to the proposal, 21 villages were to be included in the extended limits. The proposal was then sent to the government for approval. The authorities concerned later informed the civic body that the proposal had been kept pending as the matter was under government consideration.

Later, in August the Director of the Department of Local Government had written to the Commissioner of the corporation to begin the process of delimitation of wards for election purposes. The Director’s letter did not mention anything about the extension of the limits of the corporation area even when the erstwhile Municipal Council had been upgraded to the level of corporation.

It is learnt that a team of officials set up by the election wing of the directorate along with officials of the civic body carried out a survey of the existing municipal wards. They tried to physically verify the existing limits and also went from door to door to know about house occupants. The work relating to the survey was completed today. The now-dissolved council had 31 wards in the area under its jurisdiction. For the next elections, the civic body will have at least 50 wards because of the upgradation to the status of corporation.



Soon, ATMs to be installed in post offices
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The postal department is mulling over installing automated teller machines (ATMs) in city post offices. "In the first phase, two ATMs will be installed at the Sector 17 general post office and the Sector 19 post office," said officials. A survey team has approved the sites earmarked by the Chandigarh division.

As per records of the postal department, there are 18,000 saving accounts registered with the GPO, Chandigarh. The officials believe the installation of the ATMs will help cut down on the transaction cost. Bishan Singh, senior superintendent post officer, Chandigarh division, said the officials of the department having savings accounts would be able to use the facility which could eventually be used by customers having accounts in other banks. At present, accounts are accessed between 9 am and 4 pm at five counters of the GPO. He said, "Once the facility is in place, the customers need not stand in queues at counters to withdraw cash." He added that the facility would benefit the elderly. The civil and electrical division had completed the work and after receiving funds, the machines would be made operational, he stated.

Last year, the department of posts had announced that it had plans to set up 1,000 ATM centres in post offices across the country to provide better customer services.



474 cancer cases reported since Jan
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
As many 474 new cancer cases have been recorded at 15 institutions, including the PGIMER in city in last nine months. Among these, the number of women was higher with breast and cervix cancer topping the chart in cancer categories.

While the number of new cases in women in city was found to be 272 across these 15 institutions, including the PGIMER, GMCH-32 and private hospitals, the number was 202 in males. Among the total 439 cases, there were 39 deaths also.

The new initiative taken up by the PGIMER in recording cancer registries started in January this year and the project is in initial stage. A joint initiative by the PGIMER and the Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, the project is being run under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“The main objective of this programme is to utilize cancer registry data for cancer control and capacity building of the human resource involved in cancer registries,” said Dr JS Thakur, Additional Professor, School of Public Health, PGIMER, during a workshop organised for deliberating on the role of programme.

In Mohali (Ajitgarh), 301 new cases have been recorded from January till December 2013. Among these, 119 were males and 182 were females, in addition 29 deaths. Data was recorded from a total of 12 institutions in Mohali. As on October 1, the data recorded showed Prostate and Lung cancer topping the chart among males in Chandigarh, while other types included cancer of Lymph Node, Urinary Bladder and Tongue. In Chandigarh women, on the other hand, other than breast cancer and cervix cancer, ovary, gall bladder and lymph node cancers were found.

“The statistics for the year will be compiled in January next year when the exact number of new cases will be known better,” said Dr Thakur.



Father of malnourished girl battles odds for her cornea transplant
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Samriti Chandigarh, October 10
Amid malnutrition emerging as a major cause of blindness in children, 30-year-old Bhopram from Himachal Pradesh has set an example for others in his community by overcoming his difficulties in affording good diet for his 4-year-old daughter, Samriti, who needed cornea transplant but her body could not bear anaesthesia.

Improving her physical strength significantly in past two months, he is now awaiting his daughter's operation at the PGIMER. They are looking for a suitable donor. “When she initially came to us she was extremely weak and had infections. It was a big risk to make her undergo a surgery as her body could hardly bear the Anaestheisia dose,” said Dr Amit Gupta, Associate Professor, PGIMER’s Department of Opthalmology (Eye).

“We receive numerous such cases where children suffer blindness due to malnoursihment-a totally preventable cause. This was one case where the father actually bothered to manage good food for his child and remained quite promising. We are quite confident in operating upon her since her health has improved a lot,” said Dr Gupta.

Bhopram who works as a daily wager in a small district in Himachal first took his daughter for check-up at the PGIMER in August this year. Even as his earnings are limited, he ensures that his daughter gets a proper diet.

“We followed the instructions of the doctors very sincerely. She is a very bright kid. I want her to study in a big school and become a doctor. We have come here with high hopes for her,” said Bhopram.

How malnourishment leads to blindness?

Malnourished children suffer from Keratomalacia. It is an eye disorder that results from deficiency of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is required to maintain specialised epithelia. Vitamin A deficiency results in melting of cornea, leading to blindness.



medical negligence
Probe panel summons victim’s father, doctor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The inquiry committee looking into the alleged case of wrong incision summoned the father of the 21-year-old woman, the doctor who performed the surgery and the staff for recording their statements on October 14.

Allegation of negligence rocked the GMSH-16 when the father of the woman filed a complaint with the Medical Superintendent of the hospital on October 1, alleging that during appendectomy (removal of appendix), his daughter's fallopian tubes were either damaged or removed.

The surgery was performed on June 16. After a few days, her biopsy was conducted that, according to the complainant, revealed that her fallopian tubes were either damaged or removed during the surgery.

The committee headed by Dr KS Bal will start the inquiry on Monday.



Police tightens noose around drunk drivers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The UT traffic police is sending the past record of offenders, along with the challan, to the court. The drive aims at intensifying the police campaign so as to deter drunk drivers from committing the same offence again.

This year, the police has issued as many as 3,693 challans for drunk driving as against 3,647 last year.

A senior traffic police officer said they wanted to inform the court about the past record of the offender so that the Judge might take strict action exercising his discretion.

Challans issued for drunk driving invite a jail term of six months or fine. The court has been punishing offenders found drunk while driving till the rising of the court. "For instance, if a person is challaned thrice for drunk driving, the police shall be sending the details of the previous two challans to the court as well. When the offender goes to the court to get his challan released, the Judge will be knowing how many times in the past he has been challaned for the same offence," said a traffic police officer.



Civic officials told to repair streetlights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The electricity committee of the Municipal Corporation today directed civic officials to make all streetlights functional before Diwali. Members of the committee during a meeting pointed out that most of the streetlights in the city were lying defunct.

Following which, the officials were told to do the needful at the earliest. It was also decided that at least 15 per cent of the material should be stocked for carrying out repair works.



80 teams to compete in ‘Efficycle'
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Beautifully designed prototype three-wheel electric-human powered hybrid vehicles of around 80 teams from various engineering colleges will be testing their mettle during the Panjab University’s event ‘Efficycle’ starting from tomorrow.

Participating for the first time team ‘Effi-Roaders’ from a Indore-based engineering college has also come up with their innovative design, which can go up to a speed of 20 km an hour with a total weight of over 250 kg. To score over other teams, ‘Effi-Roaders’ have conceptualised various features in the vehicle to ensure better performance.

The team comprising Tanmay Jain, Udit Gupta, Ankit Sharma, Sudarshan Gangrade, Yogesh Rodhiya, Vishad Shukla, Vikas Raikwarand and Vishwas Shitup of the Chameli Devi School of Engineering, Indore, are hopeful of making their participation memorable.

Swapnil Bhurat, faculty adviser, is accompanying the team. Narrating the salient features of the vehicle, team captain Tanmay said they had designed a vehicle that gives a better performance, and ensures the safety of the driver and co-passenger.

“We have designed a combined brake system that is connected with all three wheels and on sudden braking, wheels will stop, which will add more safety to the vehicle. Usually, vehicles have single braking system,” he said. Adding to safety are the seat belts installed in the vehicle for both passengers.

Team KASP of Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad, is also participating for the first time in the event, organised by the PU. The team has designed the vehicle with a ‘belt-drive mechanism’ that gives the control on the steering on the one side of the vehicles.

The team members include Shivang Sharma, Mayank Garg, Avinash Kumar, Nazish Amam, Rahul Sachdeva, Rishab Kumar and Shivam Mishra.

Their vehicle also has seat belts installed and maximum bars have been used to ensure safety of passengers in case the vehicle overturns. The vehicle can go up to a speed of 20 km per hour with a total weight of around 300 kg (including vehicle).

The three-day event 'SAENIS Efficycle’13' at UIET from October 11 to 13, with the theme ‘Prove the Potential’ will set the stage for young engineers to get motivated towards energy efficient and environment-friendly hybrid mobility solutions. The winning team takes home a prize money of Rs 1 lakh. Team 64 named GS Racers is an all-girl team from Shri Govindram Seksaria Institute Of technology and Science, Indore. These girls are all set to give a tough competition to others.



Le Corbusier remembered

Mohali, October 10
To pay tributes to Le Corbusier on his 125th birth anniversary, the Indo Global College of Architecture organised a Corbu-Fest on its campus here. Competitions related to architectural design, photography, study of global cities and models of iconic buildings were held on the occasion.

Some spot events, including 'walk on the brick', ‘human pyramid', ‘jewellery design’, 'green poster, arm painting, mouth painting, creative story telling and burning paper, were also organised to test spontaneity of students in various situations. Suhkdev Kumar Singla, chairman of the college, exhorted the students to take inspiration from Le Corbusier, who designed Chandigarh city in the 20th Century and transformed and revolutionised the architectural face of the North India. — TNS



150 students take part in contests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Over 150 students of 60 schools of the tricity participated in poetry recitation and declamation contests, organsied by the Lions Club, Chandigarh, at Lions Vocational Training Centre in Sector 30, here.

Sushil Kapoor, president of the club, the contest was opened to boys and girls from Classes VIII to XII participated in the competition.

Vivek Atray, IAS, who was the chief guest, gave away the individual prizes and the trophies to the winners.

The results:


Consolation prizes:

1 Gaganjit Kaur 2 Garima Khanna (St. Anees School).

1st: Yashika Nair (76 pts), St Xavier School.

2nd: Smriti Nayar (70 pts), Sacred Heart School.

3rd: Swapnil (68 pts), Moti Ram Arya School.

Team Running Trophy: St Xavier, Sector 45, (136 pts).

Poem Recitation:

Consolation prizes:

1 Himani (Shishu Niketan, Sector 22) 2 Richa Dimri (St Xavier)

1st: Hanima Grewal (Carmel Convent, Sector 9).

2nd: Preet Kanwal (Shivalik Public School).

3rd: Puneet (St Stephens School)

Running trophy: Shivalik Public School, Mohali.



College bags overall trophy

DAV College, Sector 10, won the overall trophy in the Panjab University Zonal Youth Festival (Zone A). The hard work put in by teachers, participants and students paid well when the result was announced. The prizes won by the college in various items includes first prize in folk song, folk orchestra, folk orchestra individual, folk instruments, mime, drama, drama individual, elocution, kali singing, kali individual, vaar singing, cross stitch, general dance, giddha individual, bhangra and bhangra individual.

Students perform during the PU Youth Festival (Zone B) at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Women in Sector 26 on Thursday
Students perform during the PU Youth Festival (Zone B) at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Women in Sector 26 on Thursday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Youth fest

Parvinder Singh Pruthi, Chief Commissioner, Customs, was the chief guest in the morning session on the last day of the Panjab University Youth and Heritage Festival (Zone B) held at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, In his address, he felicitated students and wished them success in their future endeavours.

In the morning session, various events like classical dances and general group dances were held. — TNS



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