C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


2,715 POs and counting
Their number has witnessed a 100% rise in the last six years
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The UT police’s list of accused on the run - proclaimed offenders (POs) - is on a high with as many as 2,715 accused registered in police records so far. The number of proclaimed offenders has witnessed a 100 per cent rise in the last six years. On an average, the police arrests 18 to 20 POs every month, but the same number and even more is also added each year in the police records.

There were 2,649 POs at the end of 2013 and the police had arrested 262 of these last year while another 122 were arrested in 2012. Even then, the figure of POs has swelled considerably.

There were 840 POs at the end of 2006, their number went up to 1,217 at the end of 2007 and there were 1,824 POs in 2009.

The Sector-17 police station tops the list of POs with total of 445 accused at large in various criminal cases. Next in line is the Sector-34 police station with 352 proclaimed offenders in its jurisdiction.

Some of these offenders are absconding for more than 15 years. A large number of POs are wanted in cheque bounce and cheating cases. A huge percentage of these POs are wanted in cases related to cheating, forgery, theft, robbery, gambling and under the Excise Act. A number of these have jumped bail in major cases and thus have been declared POs by the court.

The prime accused in the Tanishq dacoity case of 2011, Paras Soni, had escaped while he was in custody of the Punjab Police while the case has been decided in January this year against the remaining nine accused, the prime accused Paras is still on the run.

Similarly, the UT police was also flayed after an accused in the sensational Dimpy murder case of 2006 - Jaswinder Singh, alias Rocky - was also on the run as he jumped bail in the court and was arrested last year by the Punjab Police. He was, however, acquitted in the case later on.



Link with AAP costs Savita Bhatti dear
Traffic police drop her late husband’s name from brand ambassadors’ list
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Late Jaspal Bhatti is no longer the brand ambassador of the Chandigarh Traffic Police. Reason: Savita Bhatti’s association with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). After she decided to contest the elections, the Chandigarh Traffic Police withdrew Jaspal Bhatti’s name as their brand ambassador.

The information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that Manish Chaudhary, SSP (Traffic), UT, on March 3 - two days after Savita Bhatti was declared the AAP candidate- passed an order to discontinue with the name of Jaspal Bhatti as the brand ambassador of the traffic police.

The order copy of which was sent to RP Upadhyaya, IG, Chandigarh, Savita Bhatti and her son Jasraj Bhatti, mentioned, “It has come to light that Savita Bhatti has joined AAP and is the candidate for the upcoming elections”.

The order further mentioned, “The police are required to act and look absolutely impartial and non-political in their functioning during the elections, therefore, it will be objectionable if late Jaspal Bhatti was continued as the ambassador of the Chandigarh Traffic Police.”

On March 9, Savita Bhatti decided to opt out of the fray and on March 13, she sent an e-mail to AAP leaders in Delhi, including Manish Sisodia, mentioning that she was withdrawing her membership from AAP.

It was on March 19 Savita wrote to Upadhyaya informing him about the withdrawal of her name from the political party and requested the Chandigarh Traffic Police to re-appoint her late husband as their brand ambassador. The IG had mentioned that the matter should be discussed after the Lok Sabha elections were over.

Jaspal Bhatti was declared as the brand ambassador of the Chandigarh Traffic Police on his death anniversary, falling on October 25, 2013. He was announced as the ambassador for all campaigns of the UT traffic police for the next one year.

His name should not have been discontinued: RTI activist

“I have failed to understand what prompted the Chandigarh Traffic Police to discontinue with the late comedian as the brand ambassador. It was due to Jaspal Bhatti’s contributions towards the society as an individual that he was made the brand ambassador,” said RTI activist RK Garg. He had sought the information from the UT police under the RTI Act.


March 1: Savita Bhatti declared as AAP candidate

March 3: Chandigarh Traffic Police decides to drop the name of late Jaspal Bhatti from the list of brand ambassadors.

March 9: Savita opts out of the fray.

March 20: Savita writes to IGP, Chandigarh, informing him about her withdrawal from AAP and requesting that Jaspal Bhatti be re-appointed as the ambassador.



Panchkula administration goofs voter turnout details
Mentions data wrongly on Haryana CEO’s website
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

The data mentioned on the website of the Haryana Chief Electoral Officer still shows the least turnout; and (right) Form 17(C) shows the actual turnout.

Panchkula, April 13
The Panchkula Administration has goofed with the details of the voter turnout provided to the Chief Electoral Officer of Haryana. The website of the Chief Electoral Officer of Haryana still shows a poor turnout in some sectors, questioning the calculations.

The administration in its final updating (at 6.17 pm after the polling ended) shows very less voter turnout in two main sectors that actually faired well. It was after residents and other political parties learnt that the data mentioned were wrong that they raised the issue and criticised the administration for such a blunder.

Panchkula Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Gurmeet Singh admitted that it was a mistake and the details would be corrected soon but it was not corrected till 11 pm this evening.

At one of the booths in Sector 7, where it was mentioned that 63 out of 768 people had voted, the actual figures (with Chandigarh Tribune) stated that 482 people had voted. In another booth, which stated 68 out of 702 had voted, it was 478 out of 660. Accordingly, at another booth, the administration stated that 68 out of 1,232 people had voted, when actually 834 people had voted here. The overall turnout of this sector was actually 67.34 per cent instead of 6.81 per cent.

Similarly, where at one of the booths in Sector 6, the administration in its final updating to the CEO (at 6.20 pm after polling ended at 6 pm) stated that 60 voters voted out of 1,274, the actual figures were 767 voters out 1,274 had cast their votes. At another booth in Sector 6, where the administration in its final updating mentioned that 66 people out of 1,084 had voted, the actual figures were 679 out of 1,027 voted. The total number of voters at the booth was also wrongly mentioned. The overall voter turnout of the sector was actually 62.84 instead of 5.81 per cent.

“Instead of feeling proud that we voted in large numbers this time, the wrong data given by the Panchkula administration has actually lowered our morale.

How can the administration be so callous,” said Madhu, a resident of Sector 6, Panchkula.

Vikram Singh, a resident of Sector 7, said, “If one sees the records, it doesn’t appear to be a typo error because the numbers are totally different. Can you rely upon the data given of other villages and sectors?”

“On the election day, we learnt that Panchkula voter turnout was the least out of the nine constituencies in Ambala.

If the actual records would have been mentioned on the website, then Panchkula could have had one of the best turnouts,” said Rishabh Sharma, a resident of sector 7.



PGIMER plans to re-introduce token system at outpatient departments
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

A file photo of registration counters at the PGIMER

Chandigarh, April 13
Everyday rush at the PGIMER’s outpatient departments, touching the 10,000 mark, has compelled the institution to reconsider the old token system. Presently, most patients end up standing in queues to meet the doctors till late afternoon outside the OPDs, without any assurance of whether their turn will come for a checkup on the same day.

A proposal has been mooted to re-introduce the token system by the end of this month. Under the system, after registration, patients will be issued a token number.

The series of token numbers will be displayed outside the respective OPDs on digital notice boards - providing clear time lapse estimation to patients for their turn at the OPDs.

The system existed at the PGIMER but was withdrawn four years ago. Presently, the patients handover their OPD cards to attendants outside the doctors’ room. The sequence of cards remains unknown to the patients.

“Patients have to wait endlessly despite giving their cards to the attendants and on many occasions, many patients lose their cool. The token system will allow them to move around till their turn comes. Also the patient will have a clear assurance when his/her turn will come after countable number of other patients,” said a PGIMER official.

Sources in the PGIMER administration said that the key purpose of the token system was to streamline the patients’ rush at the OPDs. The PGI had withdrawn the system in 2010, inviting criticism from patients.

How the token system works

  • New and follow-up patients will first register at the counters and will be issued a token number.
  • The patients will carry their token number and sit outside their respective consultants’ room.
  • The number will be displayed in the sequence of registrations done outside the doctors’ room.
  • Names of the patients will also be announced when their turn comes.



Hit-and-run case
Accused still on the run
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Even 36 hours after a young civil services’ aspirant died after being hit by a Skoda car, the UT police have failed to arrest the accused driver of the car. The 23-year-old girl, a resident of Mohali, Phase X, was returning home from her coaching classes when the accident occurred late on Friday night. The accused driver of the car, who fled from the spot after leaving the car, has been identified as Satyajot Singh, a resident of Sector 70, Mohali.

Even though he has been booked in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304 A of the IPC, a police team went to arrest the accused, but returned empty handed as the house was locked.

The victim, identified as Sujata Sharma, was critically injured and had later succumbed to her injuries at the GMCH-32 when a recklessly driven car hit her scooter head-on near Vidhan Sabha society in Sector 49. Her father, Pawan Kumar is a peon with the Sector 17 branch of the SBI.

The scooter was completely damaged and the victim was lying in a pool of blood when the eyewitness reached there after hearing a loud noise. Sources said the accused was accompanied by some youths who were allegedly drunk. “We went to the accused’s house but it is locked, efforts are on to arrest him” said Inspector Rajesh Shukla, SHO, Sector 34 police station.

Area becoming a haven for rash drivers

A resident of the locality in Sector 49 where the accident occurred said the road near the Vidhan Sabha Society where the mishap occurred has become a haven for rash and drunk drivers with no police presence. The road is plunged in complete darkness with no streetlights and vehicles are often seen racing on the road, said a resident.



Canine owners throw bylaws to the wind?
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Pet owners across the city continue to violate the dog bylaws notified by the Chandigarh Administration as their pets roam about unleashed defecating in public places and residential areas. This puts residents at risk from a sudden attack by these canines.

The local residents rued that pet owners ‘openly’ flouted rules due to the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned.

As per the dog bylaws, the owner should ensure that the pet is leashed while taking it outside. All ‘ferocious’ dogs need to be muzzled and the escort accompanying the pet should carry a stick when venturing out.

However, many pet owners go out with their unleashed dogs and without a stick, putting other pedestrians at risk.

The bylaws further state that the dog owner shall not allow the canine to defecate in public places such as residential areas, green belts, parks, streets, roads, road beams and other common places. In case, the dog defecates at these places, the owner should arrange to get the dog’s excreta removed from the spot.

The law clearly states that the dog owner shall take his pet to defecate in isolated areas, which are not visited by people.

No owner shall allow the dog to defecate near the residences of other persons, including their neighbours.

Meanwhile, Dr Lovelesh Kant Gupta, joint director of animal husbandry and fishery, said, “The pet owners don’t even leash their dogs when they get them to the veterinary dispensary. There have been instances when the animals have bitten our staff. We’ve told the owners several times to leash their pets but to no avail.” “The pet animals openly defecate in the dispensary compound and yet the owners fail to get the excreta removed,” he added.

Though the Municipal Corporation has announced that the issue would be addressed, concrete action is yet to be taken.

Meanwhile, pet owners claimed that there is a dire need to create pet parks in the city.

“Nobody is aware about the pet bylaws. We are only aware about the registration law. I don’t chain my dog for I know about its behaviour,” said Deeparsh, owner of a dog and horse.

Vinod Kumar, owner of a dog and cat, said, “We cannot train our pets to use toilets nor can we chain them. They feel uncomfortable if we leash them.”

Dr PS Bhatti, medical officer of health, Municipal Corporation, said, “For proper implementation of the law, the general public and NGOs should assist the authorities.”

What the law states

  • The dog owner shall apply to the Registration Authority within 30 days from the date the dog completes four months. The authority shall issue a metal token to be attached with the collar to be worn by the dog. A family can keep up to a maximum of two dogs.
  • The dog owner shall not take the pet to Sukhna Lake, Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj, Rock Garden, Leisure Valley, Mini Rose Garden, Fragrance Garden, Terrace Garden, Shivalik Garden and other public places/gardens.
  • A dog owner who violates these bylaws shall be liable to be punished by the Registration Authority with a fine, which may extend up to Rs 500


Day 2: RLA earns Rs 28.83 lakh
254 numbers auctioned; buyers choose numbers similar to house addresses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The second day of the Registration and Licensing Authority’s (RLA) open auction of CH 01 AX series — 0101 to 9999 — drew a huge response from the participants today. As many as 254 vanity numbers were successfully auctioned by the RLA for Rs 28.83 lakh. Keeping up with the spirit of Day One, the participants spent several lakhs of rupees to buy vehicle registration numbers of their choice.

The vehicle registration number of ‘1111’ was bought by Sandeep Arora, a resident of Sector 27, for Rs 1.56 lakh.

The ‘0700’ number attracted the second highest bid of Rs 65,000. The number was bought by Amandeep Singh Bedi, a resident of Sector 10.

While some car owners claimed that the figures they had bid for were their lucky numbers, others preferred to buy these similar to their house addresses.

Jaspal Singh Bassi, a resident of house number 303; Sector 21, bought the number ‘0303.’ Likewise, Vikas Verma, a resident of house number 123, Sector 36, bought ‘1234.’

Tarlochan Singh Bhatia, a resident of 3113; Sector 50, bought the number ‘0113.’ Several other buyers purchased numbers similar to their house addresses.

The CH 01 AX series broke the previous record by generating Rs 98.75 lakh through the auction.

Officials said the AX series saw a 41.6 per cent increase from the total amount fetched in the earlier auction of the previous series ‘CH 01 AW’.



‘Hamara number kab ayega?’

Even as Chandigarh broke all previous records of polling, residents in several areas were not satisfied with the slow pace of the election process. In Mauli Jagran, residents told the Election Department officials ‘Isse jaldi number to Mansa Devi mein aa jata hai. Yahan kab aayega hamara number?’

Kudos to the Returning Officer

For a change, the Returning Officer for the Chandigarh Parliamentary constituency, Mohammed Shayin, received kudos for conducting a hi-tech polling process and coming forward to initiate pro-voters initiatives such as pick-and-drop facility for the senior citizens.

Now, request to change exam centre

Waking up from their deep slumber, the private students of the post-graduate courses are now visiting the Controller of Examination office, Panjab University, to get their examination centres changed. Though the students had earlier selected centres located at far-off destinations, they are now finding it inconvenient to go there and take the exams.

AAP effect

“Assi ‘aap’ nu hee vote pavange” (we will vote for you). These words by potential voters confuse the Lok Sabha candidates of all other parties barring the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party). As the word ‘aap’ is used for Arvind Kejriwal’s party, which has rocked the nation’s political scenario, the candidates of other parties and their supporters have to be doubly sure whether the voter is referring to them or the AAP party by saying these words.

No rest please

A few lower-rung police officials of the patrolling party were found taking rest during the election hours. The cops had no inkling that Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashwin Shenvi was tracking their real-time locations on the internet through the special tracking system. A senior police official immediately directed the police personnel to patrol the area.

Extent of rivalry

Amid mounting competition among chemists at the PGIMER, ‘rivalry’ has reached a new level. This is evident from the fact that last week, a chemist videographed the encroachments made by a rival chemist —who had occupied a portion of the corridor with huge cartons — and forwarded the footage to the PGIMER Estate Branch along with a complaint. Sources said that the hospital authorities were mulling to raid the shop of the chemist concerned in the coming days.

Unlucky voters

Many first-time voters were left disappointed when outlets offering discounts closed the offers soon after the election process concluded in Chandigarh. A majority of eating joints and restaurants, which had announced discounts till April 13, closed the offers the very next day of the voting.

Contributed by: Rajmeet Sigh, Rajinder Nagarkoti, Aarti Kapur, Akash Ghai, Ritika Jha Palial, Hina Rohtaki and Deepankar Sharda



Open House response
Grievance redressal: ACR should reflect official’s efficiency

Registration of public grievances and redressing them within a fixed time frame need to be made mandatory. The efficiency or failure of the officer concerned in dealing with the grievance should be recorded in his/her ACR (annual confidential report). In case of delay, the complaint should automatically get transferred to the Administrator or the minister concerned.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Govt officers should serve, not rule

Bureaucracy is the de facto ruler in the democratic India. General public is mistreated, made dependent and harassed to an extent that they become ready to pay bribe for their day-to-day jobs. City residents have to make rounds of the offices, stand in queues and sometimes, hear derogatory remarks also. The bureaucrats need to be made accountable and responsible also if they had been given enormous powers. Their ACRs should reflect how effective they were in the tasks allotted to them. At present, keeping politicians happy seem to be the most-important job of the bureaucracy.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh, Minhas (retd), Mohali

Increase frequency of Administrator's public darbar

Government officers are accountable to people through various grievances redressal systems already in place. The bureaucrats are easily accessible to the common man and grievances can even be lodged online and one gets prompt and accurate replies. Above all, the UT Administrator holds public darbar where city residents can lodge their grievances with him. What is required is the frequency of such darbars should be increased.

Ranju, Chandigarh

Form a panel to resolve issues concerning public

To monitor and resolve public related issues, a panel of retired judges, defence personnel and bureaucrats should be constituted. The UT Administrator should meet the members of the panel on a fortnight basis to know the issues that continue to linger on due to official apathy.

Col BS Mathauda (retd), Mohali

Decentralisation of powers needed

Most of the problems that city residents encounter can be addressed by the lower rung officials. However, red tapism and governance deficit on the part of bureaucracy and political system besides obsolete legislations and rules act as stumbling blocks. Consequently, people are suffering badly. Even the Administrator has failed to hold regular durbar to address the grievances of the residents. Moreover, decentralisation of financial and administrative powers for the welfare associations is the need of the hour.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Of what use are the advisory panels?

Although there are two advisory bodies related to Chandigarh, the Union Home Minister's Advisory Committee and the Administrator's Advisory Council, a majority of city residents perhaps don't even know the name of the former as it seldom holds a meeting. As far as the latter is concerned, the official website of the UT shows that it is an over 40-member strong council. However, there is no detail about the meetings conducted or the agenda pursued by the council in the recent past. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs had in its 121st report submitted to the Parliament in August 2006 had strongly recommended that such advisory councils should meet more frequently and the immediate steps needed to be taken by the Union Home Ministry in this direction.

Hemant Kumar, Ambala city

Make top brass accountable

There is a need to constitute a group within the Administrator's Advisory Council to study the rules in Chandigarh for issuing government orders vis-a-vis procedures followed by the Government of India to ensure transparency and make the top brass officers holding important chairs in the Administration accountable. Bureaucrats should be held responsible for government decisions. Ironically, many of them are based on political considerations.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Admn should hold monthly darbar in each sector

What bothers people the most is apathy on the part of officials and rampant corruption. Nothing moves without bribe or 'sifarish'. A system of holding monthly open darbars in each sector, by the DC and the SSP, can prove a great help in addressing public grievances. The local MP should keep in touch with residents and push the bureaucracy towards better efficiency rather than using them for political interests.

Colonel R D Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt

Bureaucracy needs attitudinal change

I believe lack of approachability, red tapism and high headedness are attitudinal reflection of an incompetent, inefficient and corrupt system! Where a DC is not available to the residents, an ADC is too busy to hear out complainants and the Municipal Corporation is in a mess, the residents could be far from satisfied. Let alone the top guns, even secretary-level officers do not even have a system of formally giving appointments to hear out individuals. Their subordinates often tell the complainants that the officer is busy or in a meeting or gone to the Advisor. In my opinion, a politician is the lesser evil and it is the bureaucracy which requires an attitudinal change.

Brig Pradeep Sharma, Chandigarh

Form sector-centric bodies to monitor public welfare works

The city should have periodically-elected and financially-empowered sector-level bodies to oversee and administer matters pertaining to their respective sectors, such as maintenance of roads, street lights, parks and schools. All police stations should have an elected citizens' supervisory and advisory body.

Bal Devinder Cheema, Chandigarh

Set up independent grievance redressal cell

A posting in Chandigarh is a privilege bestowed by a political mentor, who later takes his share of pie from the 'beneficiary' in multiple ways. Since Chandigarh is a UT, it is desirable that crony postings be avoided by the Centre. An independent high-powered grievance removal cell, headed by a retired judge, having a constitutional authority should be set up at Chandigarh to hear the grievances of the residents and ensure their quick redressal besides penalising the official responsible for the lapse.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

Forums tilted towards UT officials

1 I have been fighting cases in the existing forums such as District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum and Permanent Lok Adalat, and noticed that the Benches of such forums always try to favour UT officials. This is because the chairman, president and members of such forums are appointed by the officers in the Chandigarh Administration under a pick & choose policy throwing rules and regulations to the wind.

Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

Accountability should be clearly defined

Chandigarh is perhaps the only city in India where least political interference is noticed and this characteristic makes it different from other cities. Accountability structure is like a pyramid when various administrative and financial powers are delegated by the Administrator. Senior officers in the Administration use these powers to implement various schemes, project, plans and proposals in the public interest. In order to ensure speedy disposal of schemes in hand, the accountability has to be made holistic. Secondly, senior officers should issue clear directions to their subordinates to ensure completion of works within a time frame or face action.

Ravinder Nath, Chandigarh

MP be given administrative powers

Unbridled bureaucracy rules supreme

In a union territory like Chandigarh, the sitting MP must have administrative powers to take action against insensitive departmental heads. He or she must have the authority to write the annual confidential reports of all the secretary-level officers. The step will be effective to bring to book the errant bureaucrats, who scoff at pro-public recommendations made by the MP, and compel them to think twice before opposing pro-public measures. Many proposals for public welfare projects are hanging fire for almost a decade.

SC Luthra, Chandigarh



Turncoats can turn tables
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 13
'Aaya Rams, Gaya Rams" will play an important role, particularly for Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal candidates, contesting from Anandpur Sahib Constituency in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In this ‘change of loyalties’ game, Congress seems to have an edge over other political parties. While it has lost Rajbir Singh Paidala to Shiromani Akali Dal, two influential leaders of the BSP have joined Congress party just few days ago. The former BSP leaders, who have joined Congress recently, include Kewal Krishan Chauhan and Arjun Singh Kansal.

On the other hand Padiala, who left the SAD in 2009 to join Congress, came back to the SAD folds.

Chauhan, who belongs to Balachaur, had contested last Lok Sabha elections in 2009 on BSP ticket from the constituency. He managed to garner 1,18,088 votes and ranked third in the tally. As the BSP preferred a new face KS Makhan to Chauhan as its candidate this time, Chauhan jumped on to Congress’ bandwagon after its announcement of fielding Ambika Soni.

Chauhan is said to have a good following in Balachaur and its adjoining area. The other BSP leader Arjun Singh Kansal, who had fought assembly elections in 2012 and got around 21,000 votes, too opted to join Congress. Kansal has large base in Naya Gaon and Mullanpur belt and is well connected to Hindu community.

Padiala, who is said to have a clout in Kharar area, contested assembly poll on SAD-BSP combine ticket in 2002. Though he lost but managed to get around 16,000 votes. Padiala, who is facing murder charges in a 2004 shootout case, left the SAD in 2009 to support Congress. Now, he again came to SAD folds and has been campaigning for SAD candidate Prem Singh Chandumajra.

Apart from that, several local leaders of Congress and SAD have switched over their loyalties at the eleventh hour.

“With Chauhan and Kansal on our side, our party gets more teeth”, said Congress MLA Jagmohan Kang.

Former union minister BS Ramoowalia, a senior Akali leader, said several local leaders of Congress have joined SAD, so there is no question of Congress having any edge over SAD.



Motorcycle rally held to promote voting
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 13
To encourage people to exercise their voting right, the Mohali district authorities held a motorcycle rally today. The rally was flagged off by Mohali additional deputy commissioner-cum-additional district election officer Parveen Thind at Phase 11 and passed through various sectors and phases culminating at Balongi village. ADC Thind said the administration is looking forward to register 85 per cent polling in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“The objective of the rally was to spread awareness among people to vote without any influence and fear”, said Thind. To check the violations of model code of conduct, the general election observer Sanjay Dixit ordered the special teams to remain alert in their respective areas.

“If any person is found violating the model code of conduct then take strict action against him/her immediately and informed the authorities”, said Dixit.

The Mohali district electoral officer-cum- deputy commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu assured the election observer that adequate security arrangements for the D-day (April 30) have been made. He said as many as 6,16,854 voters would
cast their votes in the entire district.

A total of 688 polling booths will be set up in the district and 2,752 polling officers have been deputed. To facilitate the smooth election process at every polling booth, there will be one presiding officer, one alternative presiding officer and two polling officers at the polling booths. The rehearsals of polling officers will begin from April 17.



Anandpur sahib votes 2014
Candidates campaign full throttle
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 13
As the D-day is coming closer, the political parties have intensified their campaign. The SAD candidate Prof. Prem Singh Chandumajra and all of his family members including his wife, two sons and their wives and six-year-old granddaughter are on the field to woo the voters; Ambika Soni was joined by former union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal in her campaign.

Bansal, a candidate of the Congress from Chandigarh, is now free after the elections in UT held on April 10, today accompanied Ambika Soni in her various meetings with voters in Mohali and its periphery. “During his tenure as union railway minister, Bansal has given four trains to Mohali and people here see him with high regard”, claimed Balbir Sidhu, Congress MLA from Mohali.

On the other hand, the SAD-BJP candidate Chandumajra and his relatives are wooing votes here with promises of overall development of the area. “All the pending developmental projects in the area would be taken within two months of the Modi taking over as Prime Minister”, said Chandumajra.

Chandumajra held a rally at Harlalpur village today. Soni has already begun second round of her campaigning and today covered Mohali town and nearby villages including Landran, Mauli Baidwan, Sohana and Jagatpura. AAP candidate HS Shergill along with his supporters is also holding meetings with the voters.



Health notes
Blood donation camp

Dera Sacha Sauda organised a blood donation camp all over the country, including in the city, on Saturday. The Chandigarh Block of Dera Sacha Sauda also organised the camp at the Community Centre, Sector 21, here. More than 600 persons from across the tricity donated blood.

Biennial conference

The two-day 4th Biennial Conference of the Gastrointestinal Infection Society of India, GISICON 2014, concluded at Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32, here on Saturday. The conference focused on the infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract of the human body.

Annual meeting

The annual meeting of the Obstetric and Gynecological Society of Northern India and a workshop on Endoscopy in Gynecology organised at the PGIMER, Chandigarh, concluded on Sunday. The event was organised by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, PGIMER, under the aegis of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India. Over 200 delegates from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh attended the meeting. — TNS



Obesity can cause depression: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
“Even as the incidence of obesity is found to be as high in men as in women, criticism in social circle has been pouring in more women to the PGIMER for weight-loss surgeries,” said experts. Addressing a gathering during a public lecture at the PGIMER, Dr Sandeep Grover from the Department of Psychiatry said obesity could cause depression. Also, overeating was common in people who were under stress.

According to experts from the Department of Surgery, out of a total of 44 obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) at the PGIMER in the past three years, 34 were women.

“After failing to find hope of weight loss and having a complex, obese persons opt for surgeries,” said Dr Rajesh Gupta. “But ensuring a healthy lifestyle is a must despite undergoing surgeries,” he said.

During the lecture, doctors from various other specialties said: “Obesity leads to several other problems and prevention in the form of diet control and exercise is the best”.

Justice Hemant Gupta also attended the lecture.



Tricity scan

The Property Consultants Association (PCA), Chandigarh, representing its 220 property consultants, unanimously elected Rajesh Walia as its new president at a meeting on Sunday. Walia has been associated with the PCA, Chandigarh, since 1992 and has served the post of the chairman twice. He will soon announce his executive body.

Admn flayed

A meeting of the owners and drivers of the Tricity Autorickshaw Union (LPG), affiliated with the Janata Dal United, was held in Sector 20 here on Sunday. It was addressed by JDU candidate Surinder Bhardwaj. Bhardwaj condemned the dual and dubious policies of the Chandigarh Administration. He said the administration was still under the pressure of the diesel auto mafia, which was being sheltered by the nexus of a few disgruntled officials of the traffic police and Congress leaders who openly come to their rescue. — TNS



More avenues for medical aspirants
Govt plans to establish more institutions, upgrade the existing ones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The countdown for the medical entrance test has already begun. With the All-India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Test (AIPMT) round the corner, i.e. on May 4, Chandigarh Tribune looks at the avenues available for medical aspirants across the country. Under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), the government has decided to set up six AIIMS-like institutions and upgrade 58 medical institutes in the country.

Under the PMSSY, the proposed institutions will come up in Bihar (Patna), Chhattisgarh (Raipur), Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal), Orissa (Bhubaneswar), Rajasthan (Jodhpur) and Uttaranchal (Rishikesh) at an estimated cost of Rs 840 crore per institution.

According to the information available, each of these six institutions will have a 960-bedded hospital and a medical college. They will have 100 undergraduate seats, besides facilities for imparting PG/doctoral courses in various disciplines largely based on the Medical Council of India (MCI) norms and also nursing colleges conforming to the Nursing Council norms.

Under the PMSSY, upgradation of the institutes will be done in three phases. In the first phase, 13 colleges will be upgraded. These institution include Government Medical College, Jammu; Government Medical College, Srinagar; from the northern region; and other southern and central colleges. Initially, the estimated outlay for the upgradation was Rs 120 crore per institution, of which Rs 100 crore was to be borne by the Central government and the remaining by the respective state governments. In view of the cost escalation, the outlay now has been revised to Rs 150 crore per institution, with Rs 125 crore as the share of the Central government. Both northern institutes have already been upgraded.

In the second phase, six colleges are to be upgraded. Among them from the northern region include Pandit BD Sharma Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak; Government Medical College, Tanda; and Government Medical College, Amritsar. The work for the upgradtion of these institutes has already started.

In the third phase, 39 medical colleges are to be upgraded. Among those include Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla; and Government Medical College, Patiala.

While welcoming the government’s move, Dr Arvind Goyal, a gynaecologist and a local Pre-Medical Test (PMT) trainer, said: “The upgradation of many of our ailing medical colleges was long overdue. Infusing such huge funds into these colleges will give them a new lease of life and improve the infrastructure and academic standards tremendously.”

Dr Goyal said if properly implemented it would prove to be a boon for the students as well as the patients. It would also give a boost to the public health sector.

He said the Medical Council of India (MCI) had recently rejected the proposals of many government medical colleges, including the Government Medical College, Patiala, to start MD/MS courses or to increase the number of MD/MS seats. Now, this scheme will help these institutions to increase their student intake capacity at the MBBS and the MD level.

“Also upgradation of medical colleges in the northern region will help in sharing the ever increasing burden on the PGIMER, Chandigarh,” he said.



From schools
Baisakhi celebrated

Mohali: Sherwood Convent School celebrated Baisakhi. The school also observed Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Jayanti on its campus. Students from different classes delivered speeches on the importance of Baisakhi and contributions of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar to the development of the country. The students also performed bhangra, giddha and sang folk songs. Archbishop Jonathan Ansar from Metropolitan Bishop and Julian Alexander from YMCA-Ambala also visited the school and gave their blessings to the teachers, staff and students.

The Holy Wonders School

The month of Baisakh was welcomed with fervour at The Holy Wonders School. Children were dressed up in colourful traditional Punjabi attires. The school also celebrated Baisakhi. The celebrations began with the recitation of shabad. The students enacted a drama on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. A fancy dress competition was also organised on the occasion. Later, a quiz competition related to the rich history of Sikhism was also held. Prem Jeet Grover, principal of the school, said: “April 13 marks the beginning of new Samvat year. Our Indian calendar begins from this day. Traditionally, farmers start wheat harvesting on Baisakhi”.

Gem Public School

Baisakhi was celebrated with fervour and enthusiasm at Gem Public School, Phase 3-B2. The school premises wore a festive look. Children were dressed up in traditional Punjabi attires. They danced to the tunes of Punjabi songs. A fancy dress competition was also organised. “Punjabi Gabru” and “Punjabi Mutyar” titles were given to Gurman Singh and Japleen Kaur, respectively. Principal of the school Veena Bakshi congratulated everyone and wished them a prosperous year ahead.

Doon International School

Doon International School, Sector 69, wore a festive look for the Baisakhi celebrations. The festival was celebrated with gusto and enthusiasm by the kindergarten students. The students were made familiar with the rich culture of Punjab. A Baisakhi corner was prepared where phulkari, charkha, chatti and chhajj were displayed. The children were told about the importance of the festival through speeches. The students danced to the beats of dhol. — TNS



450 students attend Canadian education fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
As many as 25 Canadian institutes of higher learning came together under the banner of “Study in Canada Mega Education Fair & Admissions Workshop 2014”, which took place here today. The fair was organised by Charms Education & Immigration Services Private Limited. Over 450 students took part in the event.

Jessica Wrightson of Camosun College said: “We are offering as many as 150 programmes in engineering, business, hospitality, practical nursing, dental hygiene, environment studies and visual art. The advantage of studying at Camosun is that our teaching methodology is practical-oriented. We are giving a 50 per cent waiver on the application fee.”

“The fair helped students in knowing about the courses offered by varied Canadian higher education institutes. There are many new age courses on offer and information on these was shared with the students,” said a representative.

Manish Paitka, CEO, Charms Education & Immigration Services Private Limited, said: “We got a good response. Prospective students had a lively interaction with the Canadian representatives. Many of them have registered for different courses. Our company will provide admission and visa guidance to them.”



IBM ties up with Chandigarh varsity
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 13
IBM (NYSE:IBM) has collaborated with Chandigarh University to set up an IBM Software Lab for Emerging Technologies in its Mohali campus. The lab would be of a great help to students and faculty members to master advanced information technology (IT) skills.

The university authorities claimed that following the collaboration, they would launch four new programmes at the undergraduate (computer science engineering) and graduate (business management) level with specialisation in cloud computing, big data and analytics and security using IBM software and technology.

Satnam Singh Sandhu, chancellor, Chandigarh University, said the university’s association with IBM was a win-win situation for both partners as well as students.

“One of the biggest challenges faced by companies while recruiting new staff is lack of exposure. IBM Software Lab for Emerging Technologies will equip the students with the latest technology know-how while the industry will get the trained professionals as soon they (students of these courses) will pass out,” said Sandhu.



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