C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


4 teachers killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 3
Four teachers were killed while 11 others were seriously injured when the maxi cab they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck on the Panchkula-Barwala road near Nada Sahib village here today.

According to eyewitnesses, the cab, which was meant for 10 passengers, was going at a high speed when it met with the accident at 7.30 am.

The deceased have been identified as Mukta Sharma, Sunita, Santosh and Usha. While Mukta was a principal at Government Senior Secondary School, Hangoli, Sunita was a teacher at Piarewala. Santosh and Usha were employed at Khatoli village school.

The teachers who were injured included a guest teacher at Government Middle School, Bhood, Mona; Meenakshi, Government Middle School, Tabbar; Anjali, Government Middle School, Tabbar; Aarti Verma, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Raipur Rani; Namita Mittal and Jatinder Mohini, Government Senior Secondary School; Sunita Chaudhari, Government Middle School, Kheri, Neeraj Bala, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Barwala; Jasbir, guest lecturer, Parwala; Gayatri, Government Middle School, Hangoli, and Krishna Devi, Government Middle School, Tabbar. The cab driver, Ajay, a resident of Raipur Rani, was also injured seriously.

The accident site was splattered with blood and many injured were lying outside the cab while others were trapped in the mangled remains of the vehicle. It took at least half an hour to extricate the body of Mukta, who was sitting on the front seat. The driver could come out only when a crane reached the spot and pulled the front portion of the cab to make space for the injured to come out.

According to the police, Sunita, a resident of Chandigarh boarded the cab from Sector 19 while 14 others boarded the cab from Panchkula. The driver lost control over the vehicle near newly opened Chandimandir police station and collided with the truck.

The policemen present at the police station immediately rushed the victims to the Civil Hospital, Sector 6, from where eight of the injured with multiple fractures were referred to the PGI. However, two of them, including Santosh and Usha, succumbed to their injuries before they could reach the PGI.

However, the district police waking up from its slumber against overloading of passengers in maxi cabs challaned more than 20 vehicles till late evening.

Haryana Governor Dr A.R. Kidwai, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan and education minister Mange Ram Gupta have expressed shock on the tragic accident.



Moving coffins
Arun Sharma

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 3
Apart from today’s accident that was caused by an overloaded maxi cab, nine lives were lost about eight months ago when a maxi cab rammed into a tree. The vehicle was carrying 26 passengers at the time of the mishap.

Similarly, three persons were killed and 10 injured when a maxi cab collided with a truck in Panipat last year.

Keeping profit in mind, owners of maxi cabs have turned the vehicles into moving coffins. Overloaded cabs are a common sight on state highways and are going unchecked.

“There is a huge rush of passengers on the Panchkula-Naraingarh road in the morning as hundreds of teachers and students travel on this route.

“Though the number of passengers has increased manifold, there is no improvement in bus service,” Chaman Kaushik, a lecturer at Government Senior Secondary School, Barwala, said.

Another teacher from Bhairali, Kanwar Vikram Singh, said: “If long route buses let students of colleges board the buses, it could lessen the problem.”


Ambulances not used to shift injured
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 3
The accident has revealed the lack of coordination between various wings of the administration.

Due to poor coordination between the health and police authorities, the three ambulances lying with the Civil Hospital could not be used to take the injured to hospital.

We were not told about the mishap and the ambulances could not be pressed into service

— Civil surgeon

We did not ask for ambulance from the hospital keeping in view a bitter experience in the past

— Police

Shifting a person with fractures in an improper manner can aggravate the condition of the patient, said Dr Sudhir Gupta, head of department (orthopaedics) at the GMCH, Chandigarh.

Paramedics were trained to shift the injured in a proper manner and give immediate treatment like controlling blood loss. The injured in this case, however, were shifted by the police and passersby in police vehicles.

The civil surgeon, Dr Kamla Singh, said, “We were not informed about the mishap by anyone and the ambulances could not be pressed into service.”

“We did not ask for ambulance from the hospital and preferred to shift the injured on our own, keeping in view a bitter experience in the past,” a police official said on the condition of anonymity.

“Whenever we asked for an ambulance in the past, it took an unreasonably long time to reach the spot,” he said.

Two victims had died on their way to the PGI after they were referred from the hospital.



PU students’ turn to evaluate teachers
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
The department of laws, Panjab University, is set to turn a new leaf. It is now the turn of students to evaluate their teachers, courtesy a students’ overall evaluation of programme and teaching.

A questionnaire comprising 14 questions was circulated among students. Questions varied from how well the teacher prepared for class to how the teacher communicated. It also asked if the teacher was courteous, strict or indifferent, besides seeking the rating of the overall performance of the teacher.

The questionnaire was distributed in every section of the department and each student got a chance to evaluate the teachers.

To get unbiased and fearless answers, the department ensured that the procedure was carried out only after the results were finalised and recorded.

Anuj, a student, said, “Rating the teachers was a significant gesture that helped us analyse teaching and teachers.”

Another student Rashmi said, “I was not satisfied with the teaching method of a teacher. I was able to mention it in the questionnaire and hopefully, his teaching would improve.”

The chairman of the department, Shashi K. Sharma said, “This would promote transparency and accountability in the department. Teachers will get a chance to introspect with students assessing them. Questions pertaining to syllabus and suggestions by students will go a long way in the improvement of the department.”



No model bus stand, this
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
The ISBT-43, which the Chandigarh administration intends to make a model bus stand, lacks even basic facilities.

Though it caters to thousands of Punjab and Himachal-bound commuters daily, it has no canteen, no cloakroom and no adequate seating and board and lodging arrangements.

In the absence of a canteen, passengers and transport staff of long route buses cannot get meals here. Those who have to catch buses for other stations also face a lot of problems.

The authorities had opened the bus stand for night service routes, besides major Punjab routes in January this year.

“It is ridiculous that the ISBT does not even have a canteen. Outstation passengers are forced to either skip their meals or eat substandard stuff like samosas being sold here.

As there is no cloakroom, we cannot leave the luggage behind and go outside for food,” Deepak Gaud said while waiting for a Himachal-bound bus with his family.

A Punjab roadways driver said, “It has become a routine problem. Many of us have to miss our food in the absence of the canteen. During short routes, we cannot stop the bus to have food.”

Shopkeepers at the ISBT reportedly overcharge for eatables and other things during night hours. “Taking advantage of the situation and in the absence of any check, the shopkeepers overcharge for eatables. If someone argues, they refuse to sell the products,” a driver said.

Also, there are no security arrangements even during the night and because there is no place to stay, passengers have to wait in the open for late night buses.

“There is no boundary wall and with a forest area nearby, the bus stand is not a safe place,” Savita Kumari, a commuter, said.



Rain brings cheer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
A western disturbance in Pakistan brought a change in the weather in the northern areas today. The plains of Punjab and Haryana had rain overnight, bringing cheer as temperature fell in the region. Chandigarh and its adjoining areas experienced intermittent rain and received 3.2 mm of rainfall.

An official of the met department said though rain provided relief to people from rising temperatures, it was harmful for standing wheat and mustard crop. He said weather would be pleasant for the next few days. Karnal was the wettest place in Haryana, recording 5 mm rainfall, followed by Narnaul with 4 mm till this morning.

The weather office has predicted light to moderate rain or thundershowers at many places in Haryana and Punjab during the next 48 hours.

Hailstorm or thunder squall with a speed exceeding 45 km per hour is likely to occur at isolated places in the region.



Immigration rules to ease out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
Immigration rules for certain professionals would soon be easier, with the governments of Canada, Australia and the UK all set to bring in a fresh legislation upon classifying prospective immigrants in terms of their requirements.

According to Lt Col. (retd) B.S. Sandhu, managing director of Worldwide Immigration Consultant Services (WWICS), as of now the immigration process for Canada takes about four to five years. But with the introduction of new rules, time for certain categories will be reduced to about one year.

J.S. Ahluwalia, vice-president of WWICS, said for applying for immigration to the US to set up a family business one has to invest Rs two crore in USA. He said it’s become easier and cheaper to immigrate to the USA owing to a recession in the US economy as price of the dollar is falling. However, he said the recession will not last long and therefore it is the right time to immigrate.

Sandhu informed that Australian government had come out with the dynamic Pathway-D, under which technically qualified trade persons preferably from government recognised institution could reach Australia in a short span of time. The assessment is possible in 90 days and permanent residency papers can be received in about 10-12 months. Similarly, the United Kingdom offers highly skilled migrant programme that has a shorter processing time of 4-6 months for an initial three-year visa.



Election reforms a continuous process: Chawla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
It was an unusual experience for the university fraternity to interact with Navin B. Chawla, election commissioner, who delivered a special lecture on “Election Reforms” at Panjab University here today. Chawla talked about the micro-management of the Election Commission and its gradual improvement with every election. He informed that the commission was planning to initiate steps in vulnerability mapping and of having mobile booths where people did not have to travel distances to cast their vote.

Talking about the magnitude of elections, Chawla said the selection of observers was based on their impeccable integrity and credibility and the objective was to ensure a level playing field for fair elections irrespective of whichever party was contesting. “Over 700 million electors cast their votes at 7,000 polling centres where 10 million security persons and four million officers are deployed in the general elections”, he said.

Talking about the functioning of the commission and its evolution in the past three years, Chawla said initially the Westminster Model was adopted. “As such there are imperfections in every electoral system but soon the initial doubts were laid to rest and the political maturity of a smooth takeover by various governments proved that the electoral process in our country worked well.”

He exhorted the youth above 18 years to cast their votes in every election from their institutes to panchayats to national level. “At present, the national average was around 58 per cent” and he called upon the youth to motivate others to participate so that the percentage of voters goes up.

Chawla informed that the experience of using electronic voting machines had withstood the test of time. “This has resulted in the elimination of bogus voting and booth capturing. The need for updating electoral reforms was something which the commission was alive to. He said in Karnataka they had deleted 5.2 million names and added 1.2 million.

Pradeep Mehra, adviser to the UT administrator, said the election reforms could be viewed as a development issue as the experience of robust democracies abroad had shown that the quality of those who govern improved with more awareness and economic growth. The development dimensions had resulted in the number of negative instances going down.

He also suggested to initiate novel experiments like having electioneering in the end, election in one go instead of phases, provision for advance voting wherever people could not come for voting because of their pre-occupations.

Mehra observed that where getting elected had become a business and parallel money was being used, the possibility of state funding should be explored as was being done in the first world countries.

Satya Pal Jain, fellow and dean, Law Faculty, lamented the indifference and apathy of literates and intellectuals who were responsible for the overall down slide.


  • Mobile booths so that people do not have to travel distances to cast their vote
  • View election reforms as a development issue
  • Electioneering in the end
  • Election in one go instead of phases
  • Provision for advance voting wherever people cannot vote because of pre-occupations



Anganwadi workers hold protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
Anganwadi workers and helpers from across Punjab held a massive protest in front of the office of director Social Security, Women and Child Development, Punjab, Sector 34, here today.

The irate protestors were demanding immediate release of the pay of 1,500 workers, which has been withheld for the past over three months. They also demanded TA and DA, increased rent for owners of the buildings housing the anganwadis and stopping of irregular recruitments.

Led by national secretary Usha Rani, protesters blocked entrance of the office. Suspecting the worst, the director Rakhi Gupta Bhandari escaped from the back door at 2:30 pm to avoid being gheraoed by the protesters.

“First we were called to the office but now she is running away,” said a protester. However, things got normal after intervention of the secretary of the department Harjit Singh, who received their memorandum and assured that the matter will be ‘considered sympathetically’. He also said that a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal would be arranged soon.

Meanwhile, worried by the strength of protesters the local police remained on its toes throughout the day.



MC Development Projects
Info hard to find, rue Hallo Majra residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
Residents of Hallo Majra village rue that the municipal corporation is providing no information regarding development projects to be carried out in the village.

This, when authorities concerned have sought views and suggestions from residents for the same vide a notice on March 20 stating that the information can be obtained from corporation office or from its website. A delegation of village residents led by former sarpanch Sukhjit Singh took up the issue with the corporation commissioner on Tuesday demanding information about development projects and also insisting on exemption from certain building bylaws.

In their representation, they held that under the notice the time limit to submit suggestions was 15 days, however, they could not obtain information from both sources, including website and the corporation office, during the period. They demanded that while carrying out any development project no construction should be demolished or affected in any manner. An assurance by the corporation as well as administration had already been given to villagers. They further took up the issue of areas in the village where provisions of the Capital Project Act, 1952 had not been extended.

Hence, they sought exemption of these areas from the Periphery Control Act. The representatives also sought no development project on 103 bighas of bachat land (shamlat) as the issue was sub judice.

Further, the representatives raised issue of building bylaws citing UT administration’s notification on December 27, 2006 “The Chandigarh administration (erection and re-erection of building), Rules, 2006 for villages under the corporation area.They said rule 6 allowed maximum height of 34 feet for a building, however rule 13 (V) showed that a developer could raise construction up to 72 feet for residential purpose and 58 feet for commercial. They complained that the concession given to developers was arbitrary.

They also sought the old pond area in the village to be made into a park, construction of a senior secondary school and a stadium on 100 acres of government land. MC commissioner (additional charge) Raji P. Shrivastva maintained that she was not aware of the issue as she did not get any representation from villagers.



Hoax calls keep cops guessing
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
Hoax calls are keeping the Chandigarh Police on its toes. At least four such calls have been received in less than a week and the police has failed to trace even a single caller so far. The Mani Majra police was yesterday made to check every guesthouse in the area after a hoax call. The control room received a call in the morning saying that a girl from Himachal had been tied up in a guesthouse by some group.

After searching the entire area, the police realised that it had been fooled. It has located the whereabouts of the caller and has intimated the Himachal Police. On Monday also a hoax caller reported a firing incident in Sector 35. The police searched the area, but no fire was detected. Two more incidents of hoax call were reported a week ago. Someone told the police about the kidnapping of a youth from outside SD School, Sector 32, followed by another incident of hoax call received by the ADGP, Punjab, threatening to blow up his house.

These calls have become a nuisance for the police. S.S. Srivastava, SSP, said they had traced the person involved in today’s incident. Strict action would be taken, which would end this nuisance, he said.



Tribune Impact
GMSH-16 to replace fire extinguishers
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
After The Tribune reported about the slack approach of the Government Multi Speciality Hospital-16 authorities regarding refilling the fire extinguishers on its premises, all expired fire extinguishers have been removed from the hospital. Around 80 fire extinguishers have been sent for refilling.

These extinguishers were not in use since the past few years and were a possible threat to patients and the hospital staff. Some of the dysfunctional extinguishers were at the paediatric OPD, female emergency ward of level 3, male medical ward of level 4 and male emergency ward of level 2.

Meanwhile, medical superintendent Dr Usha Bishnoi said, “We have already moved the file and given instructions to the persons concerned.”



BJP to redress public grievances
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 3
Punjab chief parliamentary secretary Jagdish Sawhney yesterday stated that the BJP had started a special project as part of which BJP MLAs would be available at the doorstep of the public to redress grievances.

The BJP MLA from Batala was addressing mediapersons here yesterday.

Sawhney said he would be available to listen to problems of the people of Mohali every Tuesday and Wednesday at the BJP office here.

Sawhney has been chosen as the incharge of the BJP for the Fatehgarh Sahib parliamentary constituency for the next Lok Sabha elections.



Anomalies galore in pay commission

The defence chiefs met the defence minister to show their anguish and discontentment about the 6th pay commission. There are anomalies galore which need to be corrected. There is extreme shortage of officers in the three services yet enough capable youngsters are not opting for defence as a career.

If not rank, at least give them yearly rise in pay. The 6th pay commission has offered MSP up to the rank of Brigadier why not till the Army Chief?

Can‘t the government provide a separate pay commission for the defence services? Till the government firmly decides on the issue of representation, the administration of the IAS by the IAS will remain only for the IAS. The FAUJI will remain mouth strapped by tradition.

This has to be taken care of if the country needs a strong and a dedicated defence force to guard our borders.

Wg Cdr J.S. Bhalla (retd), Chandigarh

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UBS keeps MBA aspirants on tenterhooks
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
MBA aspirants seeking admission to the UBS, Panjab University, do not know when their wait for admission to one of the top business schools of the region will be over. While the Panjab University authorities continue to sit over the file pertaining to the division of seats in the general category and the NRI category, the students are getting panicky and are thinking of applying for alternative B-schools. Every year, the CAT exam is held in November and the result is declared in January. While most of the business schools have already held interviews and group discussions, the UBS has not sent any letter of call to students.

According to sources, the problem was the result of the scrapping of NRI sponsored and industry sponsored quota seats last year by the court.

After that, the seats had to be redistributed as to how many students were be called and that file was still pending with the university authorities.

As a result, the students and their parents are uncertain about the fate of their careers and are having sleepless nights. “The UBS is my first preference but I have already got calls from two business schools in Delhi. I want to join the UBS but if the interview is not held soon I will be forced to join in Delhi”, said Ankush, an MBA aspirant from Patiala with 95 percentile.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the department, Dr S.C. Vaidya, has put in his papers on health grounds, which may further add to administrative uncertainty in the department. Dr Vaidya said, “The file had not come to me till I last attended office and I was unaware about further details in the matter.” The officiating chairman was, however, not available for comments.

The vice-chancellor, Prof R.C. Sobti, said the matter comes under the preview of the dean university instructions and when the latter was contacted he said that he did not know about the matter.

The UBS is my first preference but I have already got calls from two business schools in Delhi. I want to join the UBS but if the interview is not held soon I will be forced to join in Delhi. — Ankush, an MBA aspirant



From Schools & Colleges
Meritorious students honoured
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 3
Students of Vidya Niketan High School, Phase I, who had brought laurels to the school, were honoured in a special function here. Social activist Anita Sharma was the chief guest. Principal Jyoti Sharma read out the annual report. The school has achieved 100 per cent pass percentage with all first divisions in Class V board examinations.

Convocation: The 6th annual convocation of Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi, will be held on April 7. Around 250 students of BTech will be given degrees. Minister for technical education and industrial training Chawdhary Swarna Ram will be the chief guest.

Conference: On the second day of World Punjabi Conference, the first session was presided over by M.S. Batth, chairman, Doaba Group of Colleges. He said each Indian and NRI family had to preserve Punjabiyat by imparting values of Punjabi culture to their progeny. He took up the case of drug abuse among the youth of Punjab in particular and the globe in general. He drew attention of the audience to chip in their efforts to eradicate this menace.

Craft study: Students of the textile design course at Northern Indian Institute of Fashion Technology (NIIFT) undertook a craft study. Students did an extensive study of crafts of a particular region/state of the country and then documented it. Students visited different regions of Tamilnadu, where they covered various crafts like Kancheevaram sarees, vena making, Tanjore paintings, pin craft, cheributti saree, stone carving, basket making, laquerware, arni silk saree, wood carving, candle making, lungi making, Bhavani carpets etc.

Martyrdom day: Dr IT Business School, near Banur, organised martyrdom day of Saheed Bhagat Singh. Dr Jagmohan Singh, nephew of Saheed Bhagat Singh, interacted with students.


Unveiled: A mathematics instruction concept for interactive learning and teaching of maths at primary level, 'BEAM-Be A Mathematician', developed by The British School, was unveiled at a function held on the school campus here today. “The project is all set to catapult the level of mathematics learning amongst the students to an all-time high,” said Geetika Sethi, director, TBS, while introducing the concept.



Administrator inaugurates school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
To upgrade and modernise the educational infrastructure, the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Chandigarh, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) today inaugurated a three-storeyed building of Government Model High School at Mauli Jagran.

Around 1,000 students can be accommodated in the school, being equipped with modern supportive infrastructure having 19 classrooms and five other special rooms for staff, science lab, office room and canteen.

Giving instructions, Gen Rodrigues asked the authorities to develop the open spaces in the complex and ensure full utilisation of the infrastructural facilities.

On the occasion, Gen Rodrigues also announced the launching of a programme on moral values and civic duties in education shortly with the aim of making our students good citizens and good human beings besides making them academically sound.

The administrator said it is constructing modern buildings of 16 high and higher secondary schools.

Sanjay Kumar, finance-cum-education secretary and DPI (Schools) S.K. Setia were also present at the occasion.



Tiny tots get warm welcome
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
The new entrants were in for a unique rather traditional welcome at Kundan International School here today with a special Shala Pravesh Sanskar ceremony.

The ceremony, which derives its connotation from ancient Hindu tradition to mark the beginning of a student into the cycle of education, was performed amidst the chanting of hymns during the Havana.

Speaking on the occasion, M.P. Gupta, chairman of the school said as per ancient Indian belief system, 16 kinds of ‘sanskars’ or virtues define the holy entry of an individual into various stages of life during his lifetime. Prof K.N. Pathak, former vice-chancellor, Panjab University, was prominent among the present.



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