C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


property tax
HC okays existing bylaws
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld the imposition of property tax under the existing bylaws. A Division Bench has also upheld the validity of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (Tax on Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Lands and Buildings) Bylaws, 2003.

The Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, was extended to Chandigarh with effect from May 1994. Subsequently, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (Tax on Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Lands and Buildings) Bylaws, 2003, was promulgated on June 3, 2003.

The rate of tax to be levied on commercial, industrial and institutional lands and buildings in Chandigarh was specified by the Chandigarh Administration in exercise of power under the Act at 3 per cent of the rateable value of such land and building.

In its petition against the UT Administration, the Chandigarh Industries Association challenged these bylaws. Dubbing the bylaws arbitrary, not based on intelligible differentia, and discriminatory, the association had contended that these were also in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The counsel for the petitioners contended that the bylaws in effect sought to make applicable a flat rate ignoring the provision of the Punjab Municipal Act. During the hearing, the Bench took note of the fact that different sectors were placed in different groups. Even in a particular sector, there were different zones. Rates of only ground floor were specified, but there was an adjustment to be made with regard to basement and different floors. Also, each sector was divided into shop-cum-offices, shop-cum-flats, booths, and bay-shops, which fell in different zones in the same Sector.

The counsel for the petitioner, on the other hand, asserted the same may be true, but significance has not been given to classification of building, use of buildings etc. He added while members of petitioner association were using the properties for industrial use, subsequent schemes permitted industrial user to be converted into commercial user. But, the property tax remained the same for all.

Dismissing the petition, the Bench asserted flat rate was not sought to be imposed over a large area. “The city of Chandigarh has been divided into groups and zones. In fact, due care has been taken to see that particular nature of user and particular area will fall within a group or zone depending on their ability to obtain rent….

“In fact, it is a comprehensive and proper methodology to assess the property tax based on the potentiality of the property which in turn is depending on its location and its permissible user…. We are not persuaded by the submissions advanced on behalf of the petitioners that the bylaws are dehors the provisions of the said Act or make any part of the provisions redundant or otiose”.



BDS student ends her life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
In a tragic incident, a 22-year-old BDS student of Dental College, Panjab University, allegedly committed suicide after she failed twice in her examination.

The girl, Ankrita Tripathi, was found hanging from the ceiling fan at her residence in the ITBP Complex of Sector 32. Her father, AC Tripathi, is a Senior Medical Officer with the ITBP,.

She was pursuing second year of BDS from UBS Panjab University at Sector 25. Her semester result was declared today in which she had failed. After the girl got to know of the result, she returned home and took the extreme step. The police said the girl was depressed as she could not clear the exams in four attempts. While she could not clear her exams in the first year, she was admitted to second year on a provisional basis. It was thus the fourth attempt and constant failure in exams had depressed her, the police said.

The girl hung herself with the grill hook in her house at the ITBP Complex.Both her parents were away to Lucknow when the girl committed suicide. The police have initiated inquest proceedings in this regard.



Another illegal slum coming up near Dhanas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Least deterred by last week’s major demolition drive in Colony No.5, slum dwellers are back again and are setting up another illegal slum in the city.

This time, a large track of agricultural land on the outskirts of Dhanas village is being used to raise tenements. The area falls behind the marble market.

Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Shayin said action would be taken against the squatters.

For the last few days, there is flurry of activity as squatters are busy raising kutcha structures with brick and mud. It is learnt that the agricultural land had been rented out to the slum dwellers to raise the structures. The structures were coming behind the Sarangpur botanical garden.

On noticing the illegal activity, a team sent by the Land Acquisition Collector (LAC) had visited the village. Sources reveal that after the demolition of Colony No.5, a number of slum dwellers who could manage flat under the small-flat scheme at Dhanas were setting up their tenements there. Around 50 such structures had already been raised.

The bricks are being brought from the demolished site of Colony No. 5. The squatters were taking advantage of the site where the tenements are coming as it could not be seen from the main road. It is not only Dhanas, illegal tenements were coming up at Kajehri and Mauli Jagran villages.



Soon, UT rickshaws to ferry only two
Civic body approves draft bylaws at the General House meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Soon, a family of four will have to hire two cycle rickshaws when they have to commute within the city. The draft-bylaws for the cycle rickshaws approved today in the General House of the municipal corporation (MC) states that not more than two persons can ride on a cycle rickshaw.

The House also decided that a police officer not below the rank of a head constable would be authorised to issue a challan to the rickshaw-puller for violating various bylaws.

MC Commissioner VP Singh, while introducing the agenda to the House members stated, in the last few years, the infrastructure (cycle tracks) had been developed, but the police did not have the right to challan them to enforce the rules. In the draft plan, the challaning right has also been given to the police.

The draft plan approved by the MC states that a rickshaw-puller need not get his rickshaw registered or take license from the MC and there will be no restriction on the number of rickshaws.

Various house members advocated that the MC should register the rickshaws for free and a specific number allotted to each one of them so that they could be identified.

The local MP, Pawan Kumar Bansal, also stated that the rehris should not be allowed to carry “malba” as they dumped them anywhere in the city.

The Commissioner said that the bylaws would be implemented only in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of the MC. “If need be for the amendments in the byelaws after its implementation, then the house can again discuss the problems and make changes”, The Commissioner said during the house meeting.

The bylaws

  • Not more then two passengers should ride on one cycle rickshaw.
  • Two children under the age of 12 years to be counted as one person and children less then seven years of age will not be counted.
  • A rickshaw-puller should be at least 18 years of age.
  • The rickshaw loading “rehri” must be fitted with a bell, reflectors and rear-view mirror.

Rehri-pullers to get permits

The MC decided to restore the policy of granting permits to rehri-pullers that had been discontinued in 1991. The MC house has decided that the vendors selling various products by moving in sectors will not be allowed to be stationed at a particular point for more then 30 minutes. They will only be allowed to sell the products on internal-roads, including V5 (internal loop roads) and V6 (roads outside houses). The vendors will not be allowed to sell meat products,cigarettes and tobacco items.



sector 26 market
Allegations of ‘hafta wasooli’ false: Cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
A police probe has found no substance in the allegations of “hafta wasooli” or collection of protection charges from the vendors in Sector 26 vegetable market.

A team headed by UT Superintendent of Police (Traffic) was asked by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the previous date of hearing to look into the allegations of “hafta wasooli” or protection charges.

As the case came up for resumed hearing today, a report in a sealed cover was submitted to the High Court. The Bench after opening the report directed the forwarding of the same to the counsel for the petitioner.

The case also saw allegations of delay being levelled against assessment committee of the market committee in submitting its report on the vegetable market. Taking a note of the allegations, the Bench hearing the matter verbally observed that it would be constrained to direct the initiation of criminal proceedings if the report remained elusive even on the next date of hearing.

The amicus curiae or the friend of the court had earlier informed the Bench that there was continuous presence of “rehris” or carts in the market. Photographs on encroachments were also placed before the Bench. The court was also informed that parking inside the market was still being allowed.

Before parting with the case, the High Court had directed the UT Administration to respond to the photographs on encroachments and make clear its stand within two weeks on the new vegetable market in Sector 39.

The High Court on a previous date of hearing had asked the Chandigarh Administration to frame a policy against encroachments in Sector 26 Grain Market. The Division Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Ajay Tewari had also directed the UT Deputy Commissioner, Mohammed Shayin, to proceed against illegal encroachments in accordance with law.

The High Court had also directed the Adviser to immediately convene a meeting for considering the feasibility of setting up another vegetable market in the city.

The Bench had further directed the Chandigarh Administration and the chairman of the market committee to look into the mess existing in the Sector-26 Grain Market. The Bench had verbally observed in the open courtroom that “inspector raj” was required to be abolished; and it was essential to bring about transparency in permitting vegetable hawkers in Sector 26.


MC House ends on a stormy note
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The General House meeting of the Municipal Corporation ended amid heated arguments today.

BSP councillor Jannat Jahan Ul-Haq said the Congress was a party of thieves and MP Pawan Kumar Bansal was one step ahead of them.

The councillor passed the remarks in the house after she raised the issue of government land being sold in Faida village that falls under her ward. To which Deputy Mayor Satish Kainth replied that a piece of land could not be sold without the involvement of area councillor.

Not even a single agenda item scheduled for discussion could be taken up, except three items.

The meeting was a stormy affair, with the BSP councillor alleging that a Congress worker identified as Mahinder Chaudhary was putting stamps on forms to apply for ration cards, which was wrong as the area councillor had the right to stamp the cards. "Chaudhary said he had been authorised by the MP to stamp the ration cards," she alleged.

In reply to the allegation, the Mayor alleged that he also come across at least 10 such forms in a day, of the residents of his ward which were being stamped by Kishan Lal Jain, a BSP supporter.

Jannat Jahan said government land in her ward was being sold for Rs 80,000 per marla and that the MC should take some action.

The councillors' remarks sparked a controversy after which the SAD-BJP councillors also came in support of Janant Jahan, seeking an apology from the Deputy Mayor. The arguments continued for over 15 minutes.

The situation worsened when Jannat Jahan stated: "Aaapke party (Congress) choro ke party hae and apaka MP maha chor hae."

Bansal did not react to the statement, the Congress councillors demanded an apology from the BSP councillor. Mayor Subhash Chawla adjourned the meeting.


  • On seeing Congress councillors entering into heated arguments during the house, a BJP councillor and the leader of the Opposition, Arun Sood, stated that the Congress councillors wanted to score points in front of their party MP Pawan Kumar Bansal.
  • Ending a row, nominated councillor Surinder Bahga today apologised for the statement he made against other nominated councillors on a TV show. “I deeply regret those words. It was never intentional, just a slip of tongue,” Bagha said in the House.

Agenda items given a miss

  • Purchasing eight generator sets to ensure uninterrupted water supply in the city during power cuts.
  • Exemption of house and property tax on residential houses and plots of serving and retired defence personnel and their families.
  • Re-carpeting of roads in various sectors.

Contractual staff to get more

The MC has decided to raise the wages of the staff, who are working in the civic body through contractors or outsourcing agencies, from ~6,000 to ~10,500.



Opposition targets Bansal

Chandigarh, November 29
The BJP-SAD councillors once again targeted local Member of Parliament (MP) Pawan Kumar Bansal for his statement on women, which he made in the October-31 meeting of the House.

The Opposition councillors also questioned the Mayor's role of adopting double standards when it came to preparing of minutes of the House meeting. He was pointing at the statements of Congress leaders and Opposition councillors.

On October 31, while replying to the BJP queries on the infamous Railgate, the booth scam and the development of the city, MP Pawan Kumar Bansal had made a statement: 'Pichle 15 saalon se maine kisi aur ki aurat ki taraf nahi dekha' (I have not looked at someone else's wife in the past 15 years).

Today, the leader of the Oppostion, Arun Sood, said the Mayor deleted Bansal's statements from the minutes whereas on August 8, when BSP Councillor Jannat Jahan had used expletives, it was highlighted with ****** in the minutes and her entire statement was also recorded.

BJP councillor Heera Negi said as Bansal was not able to reply to queries on the Railgate and the booth scam, he used women as shield. She demanded Bansal's resignation as Member of Parliament for making the statement "against women".

BSP councillor Jannat Jahan said in the last 15 years, Bansal did nothing for the city residents. Therefore, just to save himself from public wrath he made a statement against women.

Local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, while replying to the Oppostion councillors, said his statement was not against women. In the last more than one month, whenever Bansal had attended the MC House, the Opposition always raised the Railgate and the booth scam. — TNS



NSG’s anti-terror lesson to city
Commandos conduct mock drills at Hotel Taj, Elante Mall, Infosys and hockey stadium
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Those who had a chance to see the National Security Guard (NSG) commandos 'in action' in full combat gear and weaponry late last evening felt that they could breathe easy.

"Their professionalism impressed us," said a guest at Hotel Taj where the commandos conducted a drill.

NSG commandos had been in the city for the past three days for mock drills on anti-terror operation. The drills took place at Elante Mall, Infosys, hockey stadium and Hotel Taj.

Over 300 commandos stormed into the hotel at Sector 17 last night as a part of the three-day coordination-cum-training programme in the city, showcasing their superior weaponry and preparedness in case of a terror attack.

The way the drill was executed, with minimal disturbance caused to guests staying at the hotel, it showed that the force had come a long way, learning from their experiences of the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike. The commandos rescued 'hostages' after a six-hour battle with 'terrorists' in the hotel. The commandos entered the hotel at 9 pm and came out at 3 am after gunning down all 'terrorists' and rescuing 'hostages'.

How the drama unfolded

At 9 pm, the UT police receives a message from the staff of Hotel Taj: "There is a terror attack on the hotel, terrorists have taken some guests hostage, please come and save us immediately.”

The police personnel rushed to the hotel and took positions. Soon after, commandos from the state police and the NSG arrived and became a part of the exercise. The commandos first entered the hotel through the basement and gradually made their way to different floors and rooms where guests were supposedly made hostage by the terrorists. The exercise began with unmanned aerial vehicles scanning the rooms on various floors of the hotel from outside. The NSG also made use of a throw-ball camera and two different types of robotics to scan the images of the rooms before entering.

The commandos arrived with heavy artillery and state-of-the-art weapons. Snipers in black robes took vantage positions and launched an offensive against the terrorists.

Six hours after the operation, the hostages were rescued and terrorists taken into custody, an official said.The commandos were also equipped with laser designators which enabled them to execute operations in pitch darkness. Besides, surveillance radars and portable X-ray machines formed a part of their equipment.

Guests were excited

The hotel authorities had vacated three to four rooms on every floor for the NSG commandos where hostages were to be rescued by commandos. The guests were told in advance about the exercise and were only too excited. “I have never seen such advanced equipment. The commandos were making use of robotics that even climbed stairs. We were not disturbed. Everything was so well-planned,” said one of the guests at the hotel.

UT police mesmerised

A team of the UT police, which was part of the exercise, was mesmerised by the entire weaponry and the way the operation was conducted. "Such high-tech weapons and gadgets are seen only in English movies. We are nowhere near them when it comes to training. The exercise has taught us a lot about coordination. It was a great experience,” said a UT police official.

When the storm broke

Over 300 commandos stormed into the hotel at Sector 17 last night as a part of the three-day coordination-cum-training programme in the city, showcasing their superior weaponry and preparedness in case of a terror attack.



Gram panchayat poll schedule out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The State Election Commission, Chandigarh, today announced the gram panchayat election schedule.

Residents of 12 gram panchayats will cast their vote on December 15.

With the issuance of the notification, the model code of conduct has also come into force in rural areas (from November 29 till the poll result is declared).

Thirteen villages of the UT Administration come under 12 gram panchayats. There are 12 seats of sarpanchas and 132 seats of panches. As per the notification, votes will be polled from 8 am to 5 pm. Election expenditure has been fixed at Rs 30,000. A senior UT official said every nominated candidate should maintain his/her election expenses from the date he/she is nominated till he/she has withdrawn or his/her nomination has been rejected/declaration of result of the election, as the case may be, in the prescribed form and manner and submit the same to the concerned returning officer within a month of the declaration of the result. "Non-filing of the return of election expenses by a candidate will attract penal provisions of relevant laws," he stated.

The schedule

  • November 29: Commencement of filing of nominations
  • December 4: Last date for filing nominations
  • December 5: Scrutiny of nominations
  • December 7: Last date for withdrawal of papers
  • December 15: Date of polling
  • December 17: Date of counting
  • January 6, 2014: The date before which the elections shall be completed reserved sarpanch seats
  • Women: Kishangarh, Kaimbwala and Behlana
  • SC: Raipur Kalan & Makhan Majra
  • SC (women): Khuda Jassu

Villages going to polls

Behlana, Rairpur Khurd, Rairpur Kalan, Makhan Majra, Daria, Mauli Jagran, Kishangarh, Kaimbwala, Khuda Ali Sher, Khuda Jassu, Khuda Lahora, Sarangpur and Dhanas.



Master plan ‘lacks planning’ for periphery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The draft of the Chandigarh Master Plan-2031 is not fit for regulated development on the periphery of the City Beautiful. It is also not in tune with the report of the Town and Country Planning Organisation under the Ministry of Urban Development, which also mentioned about the regional plan for tricity.

It was the objection submitted by advocate Ajay Jagga before the board of inquiry constituted by the UT Administration for hearing the objections/suggestions of the public before finalising the plan.

Jagga stated that as per the TCPO report, the area, which was required to be taken care, was the periphery. Chandigarh was holding 3 per cent, and Punjab 70+ per cent and Haryana 20+ per cent. But shockingly, hardly 25 pages of the CMP-2031 were dedicated to the purpose and the rest was not connected with the main object of the CMP.

He submitted before the board that at the present stage there was no sanctity of the Chandigarh Master Plan-2031. Therefore, it should be put on hold instead of finalising it.

Jagga contended that the report also talks of Chandigarh Inter-State Metropolitan Regional Plan and optimum development of the entire region so that over a period of time the adjoining townships of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh attain such status which was at par with Chandigarh. As such, the draft CMP-2031 was not at all suitable, as it had no reference to these things, and should not be proceeded with.



Drive to check drinking in public at Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 29
Mohali police launched a special drive to check drinking at public places today. Various police teams checked the parking lots of different markets. Several persons, mainly youngsters, were found having liquor in their vehicles.

Mohali SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti said several complaints in this regard were received from the residents as well as the shopkeepers of certain markets. “To check the nuisance, we decided to launch this special drive, which would continue for some days”, said SSP Inder Mohan Singh.

He added that firstly the offenders would be issued warning. “But after that we would start registering cases against the miscreants”, said the SSP. He added that he has also issued orders to check those youngsters who use to sit in the public places without any cause and indulge in anti-social activities.



UT police ask licensing authority to clear the air
Say cannot challan vehicle owners for high security plates under 1988 Act
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The issuance of challans to vehicle owners, who have not affixed high security registration plates (HSRP) has hit a roadblock, with the UT police asking the RLA the section under which challans can be issued to vehicle owners.

Recently, the UT Administration had announced that the UT traffic police would challan vehicles (CHO1AR series) that did not install the HSRP till October 31.

SP (traffic) Maneesh Chaudhary said they had received a letter from the RLA to start challaning vehicle owners. The RLA had also mentioned about the Supreme Court judgement. "But the HSRP is a new thing and the Motor Vehicle Act was implemented in 1988, therefore they cannot not issue challans under the said Act. Anybody can challenge the challan in the court. As they want to be legally correct for issuing challans, they have also demanded a copy of the Supreme Court judgement," he stated.

An official of the RLA said they were trying to procure the orders of the other states under which they were issuing challans to violators. "As soon as they will get the copy of the orders, they will forward the same to the UT police," he stated. The installation of the HSRP on non-transport vehicles is being done in the offices of RLA, Sector 17, SDM (South), Sector 42, SDM (East), Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh.



RLA wants police action against Padam Motors
Writes to police asking them to initiate proceedings against car dealer for using fake stamp
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) has written a letter to the UT police for initiating proceedings against Padam Motors, dealer of Chevrolet and Renault cars, for using a fake seal stamp of the RLA on a temporary registration number issued to a customer.

The letter issued by Kashish Mittal, Registering and Licensing Authority, Chandigarh, to the SHO of the Sector 17 police station read: "Manjit Singh, resident of Sector 8, Chandigarh, has produced a file for the registration of a new Duster having temporary registration certificate number CH23- (T) -1204 issued by M/s Padam (Renault) Motor Pvt. Limited, plot number 174, Industrial Area, Phase II, Chandigarh, showing the fake stamp of the Registering and Licensing Authority, UT, Chandigarh, whereas the said temporary registration has not been stamped and signed by the office and the same has been found to be fake." "You are, therefore, requested to probe the matter thoroughly as to by whom and how M/s Padam (Renault) issued the said unsigned temporary registration number with the fake seal of the office in favour of Manjit Singh (purchaser) and initiate proceedings as per law against the motor dealer. A report in the matter may also be sent to the office within a fortnight," the letter read. Refuting all such allegations, managing director of Padam Motors Amarjeet Singh said it was the RLA that had issued the temporary number not the car dealer. The RLA should first inquire the matter. "They have not used any fake stamp on any paper," he stated.

Show-cause notice to Padam Motors

The RLA has also issued a show-cause notice to Padam Motors, asking why its trade licence should not be cancelled. An employee of Padam Motors has received a copy of the notice.

Rs 21.50-crore penalty for tax evasion

It is not for the first time that Padam Motors is in trouble. On November 16, the UT Excise and Taxation Department had imposed a penalty of ~21.50 crore on Padam Motors for evading value added tax (VAT) while selling cars. Following a tip-off, the department had raided the premises on June 21 this year and seized 187 Chevrolet and 164 Renault cars. Padam Motors has outlets in Punjab and Haryana.



Crafts fair kicks off at Kala Gram
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
A fusion of craftsmanship and art of the Western India marked the beginning of the nine-day National Crafts Mela at the Kala Gram here today.

Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil, who inaugurated the fifth edition of the fair at around 5.30pm today, said the mega event showcasing crafts and cultures of various parts of the country would provide an opportunity to the public, especially youth, to familiarise with the rich cultural heritage of "our composite culture". He visited a number of stalls put up at the venue.

Today's evening unfolded with a cultural event on the theme "Folk music, instruments and folk dances of Western India" wherein more than 125 folk artistes gave a dance performance. In the days to come, the fair will see performances throughout the day followed by a special attraction in the evening showcasing folk dances of the North India.

A total of 300 dancers and 200 artisans will be participating in the nine-day event. Artisans have put up as many as 130 stalls showcasing home décor items, dress material, jewellery, footwears and other products. The stalls will remain open from 10 am to 9 pm.

With the theme 'Western India', focus was laid on showcasing folk traditions, arts and crafts of the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.

The 'mela' will continue till December 7 bringing forth a cultural programme every evening (see box).

The entry is free for kids while adults will have to shell out Rs 15 per ticket.

Photography contest

A photography competition has been introduced this year.

The contest is open to all those above 10 years of age. The theme of the competition is glimpses of Chandigarh craft mela.

The last date for participation is December 6.

Photography enthusiasts can contact the office of the organiser at the Kala Gram.

Cultural evenings at 6

  • November 30: Folk dances of North India
  • December 1: A play "1857 ki kahani Haryana ki zubaani"
  • December 2: Colours and sounds of Haryana
  • December 3: Sufi and folk singing by Ghaji Khan and party
  • December 4: Sufiana music singing and dances
  • December 5: Qawwali programme by Ghulam Qadar Niazi and his group
  • December 6: Celebrating the exuberance of Punjab
  • December 7: Closing ceremony - Grande finale of folk dances of India



Sector 17 losing sheen

Le Corbusier had designed Chandigarh as a ‘living human body’. Sector 17, the city’s commercial hub, was placed by him in the upper part of this body as an ever-throbbing heart, one of the most important human organs. Sadly, an unstable administration, run by babus with zero accountability, has let this organ deteriorate to the extent that it, of late, has lost its glorious past sheen. With garbage strewn, unhygienic eateries infested, zero maintained and chaotically handled parking areas, today’s Sector 17, once called the "Connaught Place of Chandigarh", apparently has lost its past attraction value. No wonder one finds this place deserted even during the festive days. Look at the administration’s wisdom that it has started constructing a multi-level parking area there. Innumerable existing underground parking lots are in a pathetic condition and rush in parking lots are reducing sharply due to the rising popularity of malls that have come up in areas other than this "commercial hub". Besides, the administration constructed, ignoring other "choked-to-death" city roads, an expensive over-bridge here where there is rarely any traffic congestion. Who is responsible for the "all- round dirt" there, putting up of unauthorised hoardings, allowing eateries that block the corridors and parking chaos in the Bank Square and corridors of the Estate Office? On the day Patil laid the foundation stone of a multi-storey parking, I wish someone would have taken him for a brief walk around the nearby GPO.

Balvinder, Chandigarh

Stray animal menace

Nowadays, residents of Mohali are facing a lot of problems due to the stray cattle and dog menace. These stray animals are giving an open invitation to accidents on roads and streets. The government should make a policy and take steps to resolve the issue to provide some relief to the common man.

Achint Singh Bhatia, Mohali



Sikh bodies extend support to Khalsa

Mohali, November 29
Extending their support to Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, who has been sitting on ‘fast unto death’ for past 16 days, leaders of several Sikh bodies announced to sit on fast with him from December 2. Khalsa is sitting on the fast in front of Gurudwara Amb Sahib at Phase 8, demanding release Sikh extremists from various jails across the country.

The Sikh leaders, who have announced their support to Khalsa, included Professor Darshan Singh Khalsa, former jathedar of Akal Takht Sahib, Bhai Satnam Singh, Paonta Sahib, head of Dal Khalsa, Harpal Singh Cheema, executive president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Panj Pradhani), Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad, leader of All India Sikh Students Federation and Kanwar Pal Singh.

Professor Darshan Singh Khalsa said several Sikh youths have crossed the duration of their jail terms are still lodged in jails illegally.

The Sikh leaders of these bodies said they had decided that Panthic personalities would observe hunger strike on Monday from 10 am to 5 pm. They urged the SGPC and DSGPC to come out in support of Gurbakash Singh Khalsa. — TNS



Forum grants relief to Hot Millions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has granted relief to Hot Millions on the issue of serving Diet Coke instead of Diet Pepsi to a consumer. The commission has termed the compensation of Rs 10,000 awarded by the district forum 'high' and and reduced it to Rs 3,000.

Earlier, Kamaljeet Singh of Mani Majra had filed a complaint against a restaurant run by Hot Millions in Sector 26, alleging that they had charged him more for the soft drink and had served Diet Coke instead of Diet Pepsi.

The forum rejected the plea of overcharging as restaurants could charge beyond the printed MRP on account of their services, ambiance and infrastructure cost. It, however, granted compensation of Rs 10,000 for deficiency in serving Diet Coke instead of Diet Pepsi and reduced the compensation.

Hot Millions challenged the order. Pankaj Chandgothia, counsel for Hot Millions, contended that the complainant did not suffer any loss or injury on account of consumption of Diet Coke instead of Diet Pepsi and therefore award of high compensation was illegal.



Four months on, PGI yet to introduce robotic surgery
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The much-hyped robotic surgery, supposed to be highly precise and least invasive, will take at least two more months to start at the PGIMER.

The Department of Urology, which will be first to introduce the technology at the PGIMER, was quick to announce the launch of the project more than a year ago and purchased the robot in August this year. However, it failed to even ensure fulfill the basic requirements at the hospital to run the project before buying it. Ironically, the Rs 20-crore robot has been lying unused for the past four months as the PGIMER needs more space in operation theatres to install the wide set-up for a robotic surgery.

The concept of robotic surgery is already being used optimally in some of the other super-specialty hospitals in the country, including the AIIMS, New Delhi. Still, the PGIMER failed to do the necessary homework before procuring the equipment.

Sources said the present size of the operation theatres at the PGIMER would not be able to match the requirements for an ideal robotic surgery and modalities were being worked out for the purpose.

Dr SK Singh, professor at the Department of Urology, said, “We want optimal utilisation of the robot by other departments of the PGIMER also. We are setting up a robotic centre near the ICU in the Nehru Hospital that will comprise two operation theatres. We are hoping to start the robotic surgeries in the next two months.”

About the robot

A robot takes away the risk of trembling of surgeon's hands while operating on a patient and also helps in ensuring quick control of bleeding and precision while cutting of tissues.

The system can be used for heart surgery, for ENT-related problems or any surgeries over a limited portion.

In the current available system, only disposable arms are available. The material costs Rs 1 lakh. A separate set of arms is to be used for each surgery. The PGI is yet to decide the cost per surgery. The system is currently being used at AIIMS where the patients have to pay a nominal fee for the surgery.



A first — MBA in health
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
The Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Architecture (NIHEA) at the PGI, the first in South-East Asia, will offer MBA degrees in health and facility planning & design and healthcare engineering and management.

These were recommended by the All-India Board of Management Studies (All-India Council of Technical Education) to the Secretary Medical Education and Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr VM Katoch, and forwarded to the PGI Director, Dr YK Chawla.

The board also suggested that in the first year, the subject of general MBA with some reference to the special nature of the two areas should be covered. In the second year, the two programmes should focus on their specialisations (health and facility planning & design and healthcare engineering and management).The Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (in September this year), directed the PGI to seek approval from the academic council and start the admission process for the NIHEA.

The agenda will now be placed before PGI's Academic Committee.

Purpose of the courses

These will develop professional capabilities to plan, design, intergrate and manage healthcare infrastructure projects in respect of engineering centric decisions. The institute will produce 'health facility engineering managers' and 'health facility planners or designers'.

The mind behind concept

Dr JC Mehta, former engineer, PGI hospital, had first proposed the concept of such an institute in1981. He, however, expressed resentment over the delay in initiation of the course to date, 'despite all necessities being in place', while speaking to Chandigarh Tribune. "It was approved in principle in 2007. I fail to understand the reason behind the delay in starting the course when the PGI has such a qualified faculty in vivid specialities, the building of school of public health is ready for running the Healthcare Engineering Institute and there is 100 per cent funding available from the Centre," he said.



PU syndicate elections
Fresh faces likely to be in the fray
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
With the Panjab University Syndicate elections approaching, all groups are reportedly looking for new faces to contest for seats in six faculties.

Meetings are going on among all the four major groups, namely Satya Pal Jain, Ashok Goyal, Prof GK Chatrath and the DAV College groups, to zero in on fresh candidates from their respective lobbies.

Sources in the university revealed that it was expected that out of 15 members, who are to be fielded for elections, about 10 of them will be new faces.

All the four groups are still mulling over the panel for the four faculties.

If sources are to be believed, only a few old faces, including Ashok Goyal and Prof Gopal Krishan Chatrath, will be in the fray this year.

Wishing anonymity, a member of the Chatrath group revealed that claimants outnumber the seats on which the group wants to fight election. Interestingly, everybody in the Chatrath group wants to contest the syndicate elections. As a result, it is still not clear as to who will fight the election and for which seat.

Even the alliance between the groups was yet to be decided. However, it is for sure that new faces will be fielded for as many departments as possible.

A member of the DAV group revealed they followed the norm of giving every member of the group a chance to fight elections on rotational basis. The member further disclosed that all the candidates from the group would be new to the system.

Members of the Jain group are also holding in-House meetings to finalise from which faculty they are going to fight the election, so that they could then decide their candidates.

The Goyal group was also in the process of finalising fresh faces to be fielded in the elections, a member of the group revealed.



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