C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT schools get RTE directives sans Patil’s nod
Sumedha Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, January 2
While the UT District Education Officer has already begun issuing instructions to city private schools for the implementation of various postulates of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009), the draft rules are yet to reach UT Administrator Shivraj Patil for his approval.

According to a highly placed administration official, the draft rules or guidelines have not been approved so far either by the Advisor or the Administrator. “The education department has formed the rules but they have not been approved as yet. The Act may have been notified in the country but our local draft rules are yet to be given a final nod. As per information provided by the education department they are still being deliberated upon,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Reacting to the ongoing tiff between private schools and the UT Education department over the conditions laid down in the Act, the official concerned said, “ Its not just in UT but everywhere in country. Confusion continues to haunt the ACT and even MHRD officials, who are unclear about various postulates. What is creating trouble between the Education department and city schools is the fact that each claims to be an expert on the Act. They need to solve their queries amicably,” he said.

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Ram Niwas, District Education Officer Chanchal Singh and DPI (S) PK Sharma failed to answer to repeated phone calls made to them. An official of the education department said, “ As far as the rules are concerned the deliberations are on but we are forced to issue instructions. The private schools will go ahead with admissions and complete them without accommodating provisions of the Right To Education Act. Once the admissions are over, we will be left helpless so we want relevant postulates to be incorporated now.”

Ready to implement but clarity a must

— HS Mamik, president, Independent Schools AssnIt is a misconception that private schools are against implementation of the RTE. We welcome the Act but want it to be implemented in the right way to ensure that there is no last -minute confusion because in that case students will be the key sufferers. We have certain questions, which need to be answered by an expert on the Act. We have requested the UT to get an expert from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development or any other relevant agency.

— HS Mamik, president, Independent Schools Assn

— Kavita Das, principal, St John’s SchoolWe are all excited about the implementation of the Right To Education Act but we would like the UT Administration to clarify theimplementation procedure in case of minority schools. We have already sought an explanation from the Administration but are yet to receive an answer. As far as the government schools are concerned the Act can only be a success if it is implemented perfectly in government schools.

— Kavita Das, principal, St John’s School

— Reema Dewan, principal, DPS SchoolWe all need to have a positive approach towards the Act. A few more meetings and deliberations will be of great help in clearing all doubts. Its not mandatory but getting proper experts will make things more smooth.

— Reema Dewan, principal, DPS School

— DS Bedi, principal, Shivalik Public SchoolCurrently, independent schools have temporary affiliation and recognition which extend to a maximum period of five years. How can we hire permanent teachers or make admissions? We are ready to implement the Act but want a clarification on the temporary recognition issue. The best way to implement the Act is to make the government schools ‘fit’ to implement it.

— DS Bedi, principal, Shivalik Public School

parents ignored

While the RTE is being zealously deliberated upon by the city administration officials, lawyers, school principals and even social activists UT has failed to include the key stake holders, the parents, who are missing from these discussions. Parents continue to be a confused lot and are anxious over the implications of the Act.

“Neither the administration nor private schools have tried to include us. We don’t know what does our child gain or loose if this Act comes in to force. Nursery admissions have been delayed in all schools and their fate continues to be indecisive. With draw of lots coming in will criteria like neighbourhood or sibling fizzle out? There are many instances where child labourers have not been mapped and the ‘poorest of the poor’ still stands unaware of this Act. We have no say in these deliberations while every section of society seems to have an active participation.”

— Gurjeet Singh, president of a city based Parent’s Teacher Association.

Reacting to objections raised by city private schools on an activist and a lawyer being included in the RTE deliberation committee this is what Hemant Goswami and Pankaj Chandgotia had to say.

I am not just an RTI Activist but have been working for good governance for the past 20 years. I am an educationist as I have served as governor-director of a rural school (dedicated to students belonging to EWS category) in Himachal Pradesh for 13 years. I have put two writs on the same issue in court.

— Hemant Goswami, Burning Brains Society

I am not a representative of the administration. I am independent consultant the very fact the administration has included a person like me, who has filed a case against it shows its transparency and openness. Some other member may be here for a personal agenda but I am here for the public interest.

— Pankaj Chandgotia, Lawyer



Mullanpur may be the third satellite township
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Mohali, January 2
Mohali and Panchkula could soon lose their status of being the only satellite townships of Chandigarh. The open land in Chandigarh’s periphery is set to shrink further with the upcoming Mullanpur township that has been planned on about 6,123 hectares of land within a 2-km drive from PGI.

As a result, Chandigarh’s periphery in the northwest is all set to change adding to the Union Territory’s urban decay and burden on infrastructure.

Learning no lesson from its neighbour, Punjab is not only following suit but has gone a step ahead by putting the cart before the horse. Demand of civic amenities such as water and electricity in Mullanpur could further burden the limited resources

Based on the low-density land use projection and population of two lakhs by 2031 in the Mullanpur planning area, the water and electricity demand has been put at 165 million litres per day (MLD) and 790 MW, respectively. Planning for the solid-waste management and transportation network is still a far cry. It has been over a year since roads and provision of adequate water and electricity supplies remain on paper.

GMADA chief administrator VP Singh said, “ Since surveys indicate demand for housing along the Chandigarh-Siswan-Baddi road, we are also coming up with two urban estates. Low-density urbanisation is being done as per the standard norms and infrastructure would also be provided”.

This is despite the fact that going by the eco-fragile nature of the nearby located Shiv1alik Hills, Jurong Ltd, the Singapore-based consultants hired by the state government to plan urbanisation of the periphery, has advised low-density urbanisation and eco- friendly activities.

So far, the approved projects in the pipeline are the 1200-acre Super Mega Mixed Use Integrated Industrial Park by DLF that would have about 6,000 houses for around 80,000 population apart from commercial and institutional pockets, a 126-acre Mega housing project by Greater Punjab Officers Cooperative House Building that would have around 600 houses for a population of 8000, a state-of-the-art hotel along the Chandigarh-Siswan road and mega housing project by Omaxe on about 170 acre of land for 1,100 houses for 16000--- all located within five km radius from PGI Chandigarh. The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is also coming up with an urban estate in 400 acres of land near Mullanpur.

In addition, Punjab cadre civil service officers, including the IAS and IPS have created the IAS and PCS Cooperative House Building Society at Shingariwala village just 2 km from PGI, which is the closest to the Union Territory, is coming up with around 500 houses apart from commercial and institutional pockets.

Buoyed by the rising land rates, touching Rs 3 crore an acre, the area has become a favourite hunting ground for the investors, primarily comprising the bureaucrats, politicians and influential builders’ lobby.

“Acting as a catalyst, at least for the private developers and investors, the opening of the Chandigarh-Baddi road and pending four-lane project of Chandigarh-Mullanpur-Siswan road has pushed up the land prices”, said Arvind Puri, a resident of Mullanpur Garib Dass.

The approved projects in the Mullanpur master plan apart, this township also comprises about 35 illegal farmhouses that have mushroomed unchecked along the Chandigarh-Siswan-Baddi road in the area. Yet, GMADA is not unaware of these constructions. “All the farmhouses that have come up in violation of the Periphery Act have been on the watch list of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA). They not only violate the periphery but also violate provisions of the Forest Act”, said the GMADA additional chief administrator (ACA), Mohali, Balwinder Singh. Yet, little has been done to rectify the situation.

Dimensions of urbanisation

  • Housing has been allowed without putting in place the infrastructure.
  • The privatisation of housing has spelt doom for UT as the promoters do not invest in infrastructure until they see profit.
  • Massive urbanisation towards the northwest periphery will not help Chandigarh, as there will be more burden on education, recreational and health facilities in the UT.
  • 15,000 houses planned in Mullanpur township for a population to 1.50 lakh.
  • All upcoming mega projects in Mullapur planning area are within 8-km distance from the PGI
Mullanpur township is not desirable. It will be another parasite on Chandigarh. When Mohali city has already been extended to 128 sectors and it will take another 50 years to fully urbanise the extended Mohali city, there is no need to open the eco-fragile periphery of Chandigarh.

— Jit Kumar Gupta, vice-chairman of the Indian Institute of Architects

Mullanpur township will suffocate Chandigarh. Punjab is bent on destroying the periphery, as Mullanpur master plan will be third attempt by Punjab to destroy the buffer zone after the New Chandigarh and the Anandgarh project, which were ultimately scrapped.

— Mac Sarin, a former advocate general of Haryana

Master Plan Highlights

In the Mullanpur master plan approved in 2008, a state-of-the-art health village, knowledge village and eco-tourism related activities have been planned on the foothills of Shivalik Hills. Consultants for the project, Jurong Ltd, has proposed recreational facilities like amusement park, spa village, open-air theatres, theme parks and lifestyle hub, including golf course and sports facilities around the seasonal rivulets, passing through the area. All mega projects coming up in the area adhere to the master plan norms. While releasing the master plan for the Mullanpur planning area, the state government while earmarking 6,123 hectares had decided to allocate 5,460 hectares in the first phase and remaining 663.4 hectares in the second phase.

In the industrial zone, only high technology in the form of Science Park, Business Park, R and D Park have been allowed with a permissible FAR of 2.0 and height of 40 m. The entire area has been divided into three zones — between Chandigarh-Mullanpur road and the PLPA area; between Chandigarh-Mullanpur road and proposed express highway from Mohali and Anandpur Sahib; and the third below it.



At 11.1 °C, City colder than Shimla
Mercury plunges to season’s lowest
Anil Jerath/TNS

Air, rail traffic hit

The Kingfisher Airlines Jammu-Chandigarh flight was delayed by two hours due to bad weather. The flight, which was scheduled to arrive in the city at 12 noon, landed at 2 pm. Similarly, it took off at 2.30 pm instead of 12.30 pm. GoAir Airlines Mumbai-Delhi-Chandigarh flight also landed over two hours behind its scheduled arrival of 11.40 am. It reached here at 1.45 pm. Train between Bandra and Kalka will arrive at city railway station at 1.45 am on Monday as against its scheduled arrival of 4 pm on Sunday. All other trains were on time, Railway sources said.

Chandigarh, January 2
The city was colder than Shimla today as residents shivered in woollens on the weekend. The day temperature level plunged to the season’s lowest at 11.1 degree Celsius (°C), which is 10 degrees below normal. Shimla recorded the maximum of 14 °C today. Even though the city did not witness dense fog, it was the chilly winds blowing across the city that added to the woes of residents.

"Today's day temperature is the season’s lowest. The maximum temperature today is also 10 degrees below normal for this time of the year. Just yesterday, the maximum temperature was 8.2 °C," said a senior meteorological department official.

Despite chilly weather, tourists enjoy boating at Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
Despite chilly weather, tourists enjoy boating at Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Roses in full bloom at Rose Garden, Sector 16, Chandigarh
Roses in full bloom at Rose Garden, Sector 16, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

On January 1, 2004, the maximum temperature was at the lowest at 11.0 °C, said the Met official. Earlier, the city recorded the lowest temperature at 14 °C on December 16, he added.

The department has further asked everyone to prepare for the coming days, as respite from cold for the next two days is unlikely.

"The mornings and late-night hours will now be colder with the minimum temperature likely to hover between six and seven °C tomorrow and on Tuesday respectively," added the official. Even the days will be comparatively colder, as the maximum temperature will also be below normal for the coming two days.

The minimum temperature today settled at 8.6 °C and it is likely to hover around 7 °C for the next two days. The maximum humidity recorded was 94 per cent while the minimum was 78 per cent.

The worst affected were daily wagers, street vendors, and particularly the construction labourers in different parts of the city. They were deprived of their earnings due to bone-chilling cold conditions.

The change in weather did not come as a surprise for the slum dwellers, but they had tough time stopping chilly winds sneaking inside their shanties. As the chill continued unabated, people were seen sitting around bonfires, particularly in the morning and evening hours.

According to the latest weather forecast, a ‘western disturbance’ of moderate intensity lies over north Pakistan and adjoining Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh due to which cold conditions will continue to prevail over most parts of Punjab and Haryana.

The weathermen warned the situation might worsen in the coming days. The condition in other parts of north India is no better. The weatherman predicted that cloudy sky with fog, mist in the morning and chilly winds would continue in the next couple of days.



Four dead as truck rams into Qualis
Tribune News Service

Kharar, January 2
Four persons were killed and four injured as a red-coloured Qualis (CH 03 H 4229) in which they were travelling met with an accident near Todar Majra village this evening. A truck (PB 07 H 6497) coming from Chunni village collided head on with the Qualis killing two of its occupants on the spot.

The injured were rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, where one on the injured died while being treated and other was declared brought dead on arrival.

As per the Majat police post officials, occupants of Qualis are from Dadiana, Lataur, and Bahadurgarh village in Fatehgarh Sahib district. They were returning after attending a marriage ceremony at Chandigarh.

The injured have been identified as Raghubir, Gurpreet and Kuldeep all from Dadiana village of Bassi Pathana tehsil and Kulwinder Singh from Lataur village. One of the deceased has been identified, as Gurdeep Singh from Bahadurgarh village, while the other three remained unidentified. The accident led to chaos on the road and subsequently there was a traffic jam. The police is investing the case.



Primary classes in schools to open on Jan 10
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Primary classes in all city schools will remain closed till January 9, an official communication of the DPI (Schools) said here today. A decision to this regard has been taken in the wake of the bitter winter chill.

The decision will impact all schools scheduled to open tomorrow after the winter break and also those currently having their classes. The decision will be applicable on all government as well as private schools, an official spokesperson said. Classes will now commence on January 10.


Mayor has no time to rest
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Curriculum vitae

1984- Matriculation from New Public School, Sector 18

1985 - Prep from DAV College, Sector 10

1986 - Diploma in mechanical engineering from MCM Polytechnic, Jalandhar

1991 - Joint secretary of the Chandigarh Youth Congress

1993 - General secretary of the Chandigarh Youth Congress

2007 - Senior Deputy Mayor of Chandigarh municipal corporation

Chandigarh, January 2
Mayoral tenure for Ravinder Pal Singh ‘Pali’ is not going to be a cakewalk. Going by the fact that he won the poll only by a margin of one vote, and in case none of his party councillors vote against him, running the House would not be an easy task.

Pali has a tough job at his hand as he comes in the last year of the current House. From October onwards the code of conduct would come into force. In a way, he has only 10 months to woo the voters already aware about the anti-incumbency factor.

Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Member of Parliament, had said none of the party workers cross voted. Satya Pal Jain, a former Member of Parliament on the BJP ticket, had said it supported the candidate (JS Kang) who deserted the Congress only to raise its flag against the Congress.

Critics pointed out that there might be fissures in the Congress too. Certain councillors apparently did not carry their mobile phones which were allegedly used to click pictures of their ballot papers to prove to the party later that they had voted for their own party.

While one councillor said he did not know how to operate the camera of the mobile phone, another said he had forgotten his phone at home.

Pali will be faced with getting several works completed as contractors are complaining of inadequate funding. One of the contractors on a multi-level parking recently refused to work saying that he was being given three-year-old rates, which did not make the project feasible for him.

Finances for the MC are a big concern. Interestingly, the administration in the Rs 912 crore budget proposal for the next year has sought a special allowance of Rs 20 crore for the MC, next year.



‘Voter responsible for ballot’s secrecy’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Brig Chandpuri, councillor, who presided over the Mayoral elections yesterday, stated that he had received representation of some political parties that councillors should not be allowed to carry their mobile phones for taking photographs of ballot papers while casting vote. He said accordingly he made an appeal to the members of the House, but most of them resisted.

He said it was not within the powers of the presiding officer to frisk any one during the process of election. The rules on the subject are also silent. Brig Chandpuri said that it was the responsibility of the voter to ensure the secrecy of the ballot paper during casting of vote.

“The announcement of the number of votes secured by one of the candidates was due to human error and was not intentional. It was immediately rectified after it came to the notice,” he said. “Recounting was done to the satisfaction of nominees of both the candidates and before declaration of the final result. I had taken full responsibility of the error and had even apologised to the House for the mistake,” he added.

Brig Chandpuri further stated that, “The allegation appeared in a section of the media that the result was changed under pressure is without substance.” He stated that allegations of this nature were common, particularly when the margin between victory and defeat was as narrow as one vote.



Mohali MC to get Commissioner soon
Tribune News Service

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal interacts with mediapersons at Phase XI in Mohali
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal interacts with mediapersons at Phase XI in Mohali on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, January 2
The Punjab government has set into motion the process to appoint the Commissioner of the newly created Mohali Municipal Corporation. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while interacting with mediapersons here today said that he had already directed the local government department to issue the notification in this.

While conducting a Sangat Darshan programme in Phase XI here, the Chief Minister said that he had already given in principle the approval for setting up of the Municipal Corporation so that Mohali could be developed as a world-class city with ultra modern infrastructure. “We want to showcase Mohali as the reflection of Punjab’s overall development and progress in the field of urbanisation”.

He categorically said that the existing area of the Mohali Municipal Council had been included in the Municipal Corporation area and if the elected representatives of the adjoining towns and villages wished to be included in the upcoming corporation, they would have to pass unanimous resolutions. On being asked whether the sitting councillors would be allowed to complete their term till August, he was non-committal.

The Chief Minister also announced setting up of a committee comprising Chief Administrator, GMADA, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Deputy Commissioner SAS Nagar and Managing Director, Punjab Small Industries Export Corporation (PSIEC), under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary to ensure better coordination among the different agencies for integrated and balanced development of the district besides evolving a time-bound action plan to implement the development agenda.

He also announced that the work on the district administrative complex (DAC) would begin soon. He further pointed out that a budgetary provision for Rs 364 crore had been made to construct 8 district administrative complexes, 23 subdivision/tehsil complexes and 51 sub tehsils complexes in the state within a year.

The CM asked the country and town planning department and the GMADA had been asked to jointly prepare a blueprint to provide basic-civic amenities like drinking water, sewerage and roads in the Jujhar Nagar and Bad Majra colonies.

Foundation stone laid

The Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of Rs. 6.50 crore projects of water supply, sewerage and roads in Sohana village. Later, he also visited the historic memorial being constructed to commemorate the unprecedented sacrifice of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at Chapparchiri village and Maharaja Ranjit Singh preparatory Institute of Military Training in SAS Nagar.



Civic body to get more funds
Tribune News Service

Office of the Mohali Municipal Corporation
Office of the Mohali Municipal Corporation. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, January 2
With Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal formally approving the municipal corporation for Mohali, the cash starved civic body of the town is all set to get additional funds.

Against the present budget of Rs 42.78 crore, the corporation is expected to get three times more budget. A senior bureaucrat would be posted as the Commissioner and the civic body would have more powers compared to the present crippled municipal council.

In the past, development of the town suffered as the Congress-backed ruling group faced opposition from councillors backed by the SAD government. On many occasions the agenda passed by the civic body got stuck in the local government department.

Development was adversely affected as projects got delayed with the opposition, which was in a majority, obstructing the approval of expenditure estimates at council meetings after alleging “discrimination”.

Despite being removed by the local government, the council president Rajinder Singh Rana was reinstated by the Punjab and Haryana High Court after removing Kulwant Singh from the post of the president.

NK Sharma, chairman of the district planning board, said the corporation would mean big relief for the residents. Apart from having enough funds, the corporation would have more powers and would not have to look at GMADA for development works. The corporation would also have more powers to pass layout plans for projects.

Presently, the developed part of Mohali town has an area of 51 sq km. But with the new master plan extending up to 125 sectors, literally touching Banur, the entire area is expected to be included in the municipal corporation.

Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu said the sitting councillors in the municipal council should be allowed to complete their tenure as next elections to the civic body were due in end of 2011. “We are not opposed to the municipal corporation,” he added.

Sources reveal that the SAD leaders were keen on including Balongi and other unauthorised settlements in the corporation as it would save the violators from the provisions of the Periphery Act. In the last few months there has been spurt in the illegal construction activity on the outskirts of Mohali and GMADA has failed to act due to political reasons.



HUDA approves land for graveyard
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 2
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has today approved five bigha land to the Muslim Welfare Society in Sector 28. More than 10,000 Muslims in the city had been demanding for a graveyard for the past 5 to 6 years as they had to visit Chandigarh for the burial.

As per the members of the Muslim Welfare Society (MWS), this much awaited graveyard would be a big relief to the entire Muslim community of the town and its adjoining areas like Morni, Kalka, Kot Billa and Barwala as the site was located near the national highway 73 and was easily approachable for people living in distant areas of the district.

Vice-president of the Muslim Welfare Society, Panchkula, Hazoor Hasan said it was a long pending demand of the community as they had to visit Chandigarh for burial which sometimes led to verbal duel as the people over there asked them to demand their own graveyard in the town.

Ashwani Sharma, estate officer, HUDA, said after getting approval from the government in this regard they had decided to handover the graveyard land to the society.

On an average about six to nine deaths in the community were reported from the town per month and it was a big problem for the kin of the deceased to take the bodies for burial to Chandigarh. According to sources, the demand for the suitable land for the graveyard was pending due to official hassles.

However, a senior HUDA official maintained that there was no delay on their part and he attributed delay in deciding the suitable land so that more and more people in the city and its adjoining areas did not face any problem in burying the deceased.

MH Khan, chairman of the MWS, said that finally their demand had been fulfilled as the HUDA had handed over the possession of land and the site was open for people. He said they were collecting funds for the construction of the boundary wall so that site could be covered properly.

Meanwhile, SK Nayyar, president of the Citizens Welfare Association, Panchkula, said Sector 20 crematorium should be shifted to Sector 3 as the residents of Sector 20 had objected to the setting up of the same in view of the smell emerging during the cremation. He said at present people had to visit Mani Majra crematorium to cremate the bodies.

He said Sector 3 would be suitable for the purpose as it would be close to the Ghaggar and there were no residential buildings in proximity. He said the government should find suitable staff so that people did not face any difficulty in cremating the bodies.



GMCH-32 treats 3.85 lakh patients in 11 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Though Government Medical College and Hospital director principal Dr Raj Bahadur is looking ahead to establish a regional institute of paramedical sciences (RIPS) and MRI, the prime health and medical education institute of the region has already provided an additional infrastructure to facilitate patients.

From January to November 2010, as many as 38,5073 patients were provided medical treatment in the OPDs of the hospital. While over 32,000 patients attended the emergency OPD, a total of 28,241 operations were performed in the past 11 months. “The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has sanctioned Rs 45.56 crore for GMCH-32, Chandigarh, for starting new postgraduate disciplines and increasing seats. Besides, the total number of seats for postgraduate courses (MD/MS) in various specialties has been increased to 15,” said Dr Raj Bahdur.

Similarly, a postgraduate course (DNB) has been started at the hospital administration and ophthalmology.

While a fellowship in the department of paediatrics in the name of IAP Fellowship in Neonatology was started in January 2010 with an annual intake of two seats, the department of general surgery has established the Ksharsutra Therapy Centre with the grant-in-aid from the department of AYUSH, Union Ministry of Health.

It is for the first time that an ayurvedic centre has been opened in an allopathic hospital. The centre aims at providing “Ksharsutra therapy” to cure various ano-rectal problems. Also, both allopathic and ayurvedic doctors are imparted training in “Ksharsutra therapy”.

Display and token systems for registration of patients in the OPD was also started.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has created 41 Group ‘A’ posts for setting up a mental health institute and 93 more posts under various categories. The Chandigarh administration has sent a proposal to the ministry to convert 657 of outsource posts of staff nurses into regular posts.

The hospital has purchased a large number of instruments to be installed in the institute. While a Treatment Planning System has been started in the department of radiotherapy, a “High-Dose Rate Brach Therapy” for the department has been purchased in addition to 10 new ventilators for critical care.



Road safety week begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
In a bid to inculcate the culture of road safety among citizens, the Chandigarh Traffic Police celebrated the 22nd Road Safety Week, started at Children Traffic Park, Sector 23, here yesterday.

The event, inaugurated by the UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas, witnessed a blood donation camp and painting competition in which several students from various local schools participated.An exhibition on road safety measures was also held to spread awareness among residents.

The first day of the week witnessed several events, including a drama on road safety and a puppet show. On the second day, a scooter rally of girl students to promote wearing helmets would be organised.

“Road Safety Week”, an awareness campaign, is observed throughout the country every year in the first week of January. The theme of the campaign this time is “Road Safety is a mission, not intermission”. Various departments of the UT administration will be observing the week from January 1 to 7.

The State Transport Authority, UT, Chandigarh, will carry out a proactive enforcement drive during the week to underline the seriousness about safety on roads. An awareness camp will be held on January 3 at Community Centre, Phase-1, Ram Darbar, UT, Chandigarh.

Drivers and conductors of school buses, instructors of driving schools and operators of various Pollution Checking Centres will be sensitised about traffic rules, road safety and pollution control measures. Drivers and conductors of transport vehicles will be made aware about road safety on January 4 and 6 at 11 am at the passing ground, near Kalagram, Housing Board Chowk, Mani Majra.

Besides, enforcement staff of the State Transport Authority will launch a special enforcement drive to check traffic rule violations.



Open House Response
Education system needs complete overhaul

Instead of new acts to attempt revamping the crippled education scenario in the country, the entire system needs to be overhauled. The piecemeal approach will never yield the desired results. In the same light, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE 2009) needs to be reworked.

Over the years, the country has tried many approaches to improve the quality of school education and the latest one is the new Act. Generally, it is the poor quality of education in the government schools that had led to creation of a two-tier system of school education.. Consequently, in the recent past there has been a mushrooming of private schools across the city to mint easy money. They fleece the people with all might under their command by increasing fees and charging exorbitant money like building funds, stationery charges etc. Apart from it they desire the parents to buy uniforms and stationery of their wards from a particular shop where they have the contacts.

The ground for heft fees maintained by certain schools is that they have to pay the salaries to the teachers as per the recommendations of the sixth pay commission. A proper check is missing, on ground, to ensure whether they did so.

Since education plays a vital role in the society, it is the over all scenario of education system which needs to be completely overhauled. Our curricula in government schools are woefully outdated and need revamping with emphasis on skill development and research, besides, innovation, diversification, expansion and quality up gradation in education system. The teachers should be equipped with modern technology and methods to suit the fast changing education scenario and they should be called for revising the curriculum programme. Immediate steps needed to fill the vacant posts in accordance with the teacher student ratio.

Irrespective of reservation of 25 percent as laid down in the new guidelines in accordance with the new Act, no child should be left out to be admitted in schools.

S.K. Khosla,
Sector 40C, Chandigarh

Assured seats for siblings

For LKG, the admission of those boys/girls whose brothers/ sisters are studying in a particular school should be allowed to join the same institution without any of draw of lots. It will be very difficult the parents to drop their kids in different schools in the morning and pick them up, after school hours.

Even the holidays are more than often not same in different schools. The concession of admission to siblings must be allowed for new admissions keeping in view the difficulty of parents. Only for the remaining seats the schools should go ahead with a draw of lots.

Sai Nandika,

Wrong admissions

It is matter of appreciation that the Chandigarh Tribune is covering issues related to admissions in different schools of the city. General public is being adequately informed about the latest developments about implementation of the act.

In addition to your information, I would like to bring to your notice that certain schools of the city are, still, violating the admission norms issued by the Chandigarh Administration under the Right to Education Act.

One of the schools is in Sector 26. The particular said school called the parents as well as small children to face interview and screening for pre-nursery class in the month of November and December. The list of successful candidates was displayed on December 12, 2010. The concerned authorities need to look into the matter and take necessary action, at the earliest.

Requested anonymity

Family considerations need attention

No doubt through RTE everyone has can avail the benefits of the Right of education, but, what about those kids seeking admissions in schools where their elders are studying. I think, without much deliberation, these kids need to be assured seats in the same school by the authorities. There can be a draw of lot for the rest of the kids.

Tejaswan Soni

A timely act

RTE is a good step and should be implemented in letter and spirit to give a fair chance to everyone for admissions in the schools of their choice. Under the existing circumstances, many talented kids do not get the schools of their preference due to selective approach of institutions in picking their students. My son is studying in a public school because he was denied admission in a particular school because of an apparent bias. Draw of lots would give a fair opportunity to everyone.

Surinder Mittal

Adopt draw of lots

In reference to various articles coming up in your newspaper regarding RTE act in various schools, I appreciate the complete details that you people are providing for the general public. I was also one of the participants present at the meeting of Principals that was held in Tagore Theatre recently and I was glad to read that the details that were provided in the newspaper, next day, gave an accurate account of the proceedings.

I fail to understand why schools are showing resistance to the proposed Draw of Lots system for admission to various classes in their school. As a matter of fact, I appreciate the certain schools have commendably begun the exercise and others should do the same.

My son was not given admission in a particular school saying that since I stayed in Panchkula it will be difficult for my son to manage the distances according to the school time requirements. At the same time, I met certain parents who had come from Mohali and were denied the admissions. My question is why were we given the forms for Rs 400 each, in first place when they were not even suited for the admission?

Draw system is actually a fair mean of admission wherein each and every one gets equal chance of winning/losing. One of the Principal asked (during the Principal’s meet at Tagore) as to why parents go for school hunting. I must sadly say that schools themselves were responsible for the exercise. All schools should have a draw of lots on a common day to allow parents for deciding the school of their wards.

A “harassed” parent

Hike in fee needs a check

Admission fees charged by certain schools are very high. It has become very difficult for a single earning hand to pay very high admission fees. This issue needs to be looked into. The admission fees charged by schools need to be verified by the education authorities. This is important in the context that many big schools were charging very nominal fees, at the same time.

Rajesh Bhasin,



Reporters' Diary
Winter-special menus

With winter at its extreme, menus at sweet shops have also been changed. Innovation is the word for the season, as sweet shop owners are introducing special soups, dosas, kathi sandwiches, paneer pakoras and gajar halwa, costing only a few bucks more than the normal menu.

At Doaba Sweets in Sector 30, fresh lime soda has been replaced by black coffee and ginger tea and sandwiches have been replaced by cakes, hot gulab jamuns and gajar halwa.

Jasbir Singh, owner of the shop, said, “During winter, we normally make close to 50 to 100 dosas every day. But the number almost doubles in winter. Everyone prefers a hot sambhar over North Indian subzis. Moreover, this time we have introduced imartis, gajar halwa, hot gulab jamuns, idlis, vadas and dosas, as these attract Gen-next. And if one thinks that these delicacies are only popular among youngsters, think again. These winter treats are savoured by the elderly equally.

MC English

How will one react in case one hears: “I speak, you stop”; “I happy thanks all”; “It’s all said”. Surprised? Well these are not the sentences written incorrectly buy young learners in schools. These are, in fact, used very frequently by certain among our elected councillors in the Chandigarh municipal corporation.

Kudos to UT police

The New Year’s Eve this year was different. Not because of over a dozen new restaurants that were launched in the year 2010, or a number of parties that brought some known and some lesser known names of Bollywood, music and otherwise, but the UT police cops who stood guard outside each party venue to ensure that city residents could enjoy to the fullest. Yes, for one we should all be thankful to those hundreds of cops who were all on roads away from their families when residents of the city were enjoying with friends and family. The mere presence of hundreds of cops on roads acted as a deterrent to hooligans. So, a salute to all those unsung heroes for making the New Year's Eve a memory sans brawls.

State award

Parmdeep Singh Bhabat, president of the Disabled Persons' Welfare Organisation, Punjab, was conferred the state award by the Government of Punjab on the occasion of International Disabled Day at a state-level function organised at Jalandhar recently.

Punjab Cabinet Minister Swarna Ram who was the chief guest gave away the award to Parmdeep Singh Bhabat for working for the welfare of physically challenged, visually impaired, leprosy patients, old-aged, widows and other neglected sections of society.

Bhabat has organised various awareness programmes against AIDS and intoxication among youth. Bhabat works at the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Chandigarh, and works for the welfare of society after office hours or during holidays. He declared that he would use the award money for the welfare works initiated by his organisation.

It was for the first time in the history of Zirakpur that a talent hunt contest for Mr & Ms Zirakpur was organised at a banquet hall recently. Nearly 100 contestants from Zirakpur and surrounding areas participated in the show. Shikha from Mamta enclave was selected Ms Zirakpur and Johnny from Baltana won the title of Mr Zirakpur. Zirakpur MC president NK Sharma was the chief guest who gave the titles to the winners. The winners will get a chance to become a part of Punjabi music albums.

Request turned down

Alcohol can make one to lose his senses. On the New Year’s eve, cops were put on duty at emergency wards of hospitals. When asked, they said many times youths reach here with injured friends and abuse doctors compelling them to give them priority. The cops were right. However, the person using filthy language at one of the hospitals of the city was not a youth this time.

At Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, a person in his forties alighted from his swanky car in front of an emergency ward where his nephew was admitted after sustaining injuries in a late nigh brawl. Unheeding the requests of security guard not to park the car in front of the gate, this gentleman rushed to the room of medical officer where his nephew was being treated. After shaking hand with cops present there obviously known to him, he started rebuking the unidentified assailants with whom his nephew had entered into a scuffle. He, however, stopped immediately after one of the cops whispered in his ears that female doctors were also present there.

Contributed by Anil Jerath, Aarti Kapur, Smriti Sharma Vasudeva, Rajiv Bhatia and Arun Sharma



Workers’ union flays PGI administration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Contract Workers Union has flayed the PGI administration for not following directions of the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner, (Central), Chandigarh. The union said the authorities had failed to pay wages to contractual employees on the pattern of workers recruited directly.

The union claimed that as per the orders, an amount of Rs 50 crore was to be paid to contractual workers.

It was on January 11 last year that the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) had directed the PGI to pay wages to workers engaged under the Contract Labour Act (CLA) on the pattern of wages being paid to workers recruited directly.

The directions, if followed, could have benefited the employees.

The PGI director had challenged the decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in April, 2010.

The operation of award, however, has not been stayed by the court.



Non-practicing allowance
Protest by vets

Mohali, January 2
To protest against the delay in issuing notification regarding grant of non-practicing allowance (NPA) to vets, the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association at its emergency meeting today decided to boycott the January 3 administrative meeting to be held for reviewing the arrangements for the upcoming “National Livestock Championship 2011” at Sri Muktsar Sahib from January 8 to January 12.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of president of the association Dr Ashok Sharma.

Dr Sukhdev Singh, general secretary, Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association, said red-tapism was creating hurdles in the way of implementation of the NPA which was approved by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on October 21.

After a number of protests by vets, the government had decided to grant the NPA to the agitating veterinary doctors as strongly recommended by the Fifth Punjab Pay Commission.

Members of the association also took a serious note of the ongoing unchecked quackery as patronised by the anti-veterinary lobby. — TNS



Objective questions for proficiency test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to depend upon objective questions for its first proficiency test, which was announced last year soon after the decision to make the Class X board examination optional.

The test, to be taken this year, aims at analysing students’ strength and weaknesses to help them decide their streams and will have a combination of multiple choice questions (MCQ) and questions with one word or objective answers.

As per the instructions issued by the board regarding maths and science, though numerical problems will be an essential part of the test, these questions will also be in MCQ form and “Column match questions” in which students will have to match options across two columns. The analytical structure of the test is based around thorough understanding of a subject.

“It’s an experiment and can be extended further based on the response. It’s a more refined form of aptitude test, which will give students a thorough idea of which stream they should opt for,” said a CBSE official from Panchkula. The test will cover the syllabus of both classes IX and X and will provide students a platform other than the board examination to test themselves. Being an optional examination, its scores are not valid for admission, but just to guide students to opt for streams in Class XI.



Bhagat Singh’s philosophy discussed

Panchkula, January 2
A seminar on the “Life and philosophy of martyr Bhagat Singh and their relevance in modern times” was organised by the Democratic Forum at Satluj Public School here today. Prof Dr MM Juneja, who has penned down more than 19 research books on revolutionary freedom fighters, said Bhagat Singh had studied extensively on the lives of various revolutionaries.

He said the martyr had read more than 550 books in two years and provided a philosophical basis to the freedom movement. His vision was different from Mahatma Gandhi as Gandhi wanted freedom from Britishers, but no radical change in the structure of society, whereas Bhagat Singh sought radical structural change in Indian socio-politico-economic structure.

Prof Juneja said that vision of free India cherished by Bhagat Singh and his comrades had attained more importance as the country was plagued with corruption, extreme poverty and sectarianism. He said youngsters could help make the country exploitation free.

Prof DR Chaudhry, a senior journalist and member of the Haryana Administrative Reform Commission, while quoting Arjun Sen Gupta’s report on unorganised sector said around 836 million people in India lived on a per capita consumption of less than Rs 20 a day and this was only because the transfer of power in 1947 was from “white rulers” to “black rulers” and not to the people of the country. He emphasised on the need of of real transformation of the nation on the ideas of Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country. — TNS



Reaching out to differently abled
Tribune New Service

Panchkula, January 2
The students and staff members of SRM Global yesterday celebrated New Year with differently abled girls at “Santavna” at village Bhurewala. The Home run by Christian Missionaries is taking care of 24 differently abled girls from 18 to 35 years.

Students performed various cultural activities such as bhangra, songs, dances etc. The differently abled girls also performed group dance and some short plays. Head girl Madhu was the anchor of the programme, who performed outstandingly. Vinayak Rohilla, engineering student, dressed as Holy Father Pope Alexander VI, whose birthday also falls on January 1 was another major attraction of the celebrations.

He offered refreshments to the inmates. Chief manager Roshan Lal Jindal, director, SRM Global, said differently abled children need respect, care and dignity.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |