C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


DAV College-10 headless again?
Ailing principal reluctant to take charge
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
DAV College, Sector 10, is without a principal yet again. A week after the suspension of its former principal, BC Josan, the management appointed Prof Shashi Gupta as principal, but he has expressed his inability to execute the functions of a principal due to health reasons.

In a fax sent to the DAV management committee, Professor Gupta has requested it to relieve him of the charge of principal and allow him to proceed on leave as he has not been keeping good health.

The request comes as a blow to the college, which has for eight-long months had two principals, with Josan heading the administrative affairs and Gupta the financial. The difference of opinion between the two principals and Josan’s tussle with the management adversely affected college security, academics, staff coordination, youth fest and even admissions.

“Professor Gupta has not been too well. He has made a request, but no decision has been taken so far. Even if he goes, it will not be a major problem as we will get a new principal. Why create a fuss? Though it has come as a shock to us because after almost eight months, the college environment had started to have some semblance of normalcy and things were getting streamlined, but heavens have not fallen,” said a management committee member from Delhi.

The college ended up having two principals in September 2010 after the management suspended Josan for his alleged corrupt ways and appointed Shashi K Gupta as the principal. Josan moved court and got permission to stay as the “administrative” principal while financial powers were handed over to Gupta.

It was only last month that the court upheld Josan’s suspension and directed Panjab University to release appropriate orders and Gupta became the official principal of the college.



PGI emergency burdened with referral cases
Over 200 cases come every day; 300% bed occupancy
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The already overburdened emergency of the PGIMER witnesses an additional rush of an average of 250 patients from various parts of the region, putting extra work pressure on the hospital staff struggling with a 300 per cent bed occupancy.

As witnessed in the case of Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Ahluwalia, who had to be rushed to the PGI from Fatehgarh Sahib, in a majority of cases, the patients are not even administered first aid in time, leading to fatal complications.

Though big hopes are being pinned on the new trauma centre, as per the authorities, it may not be of much help in the face of ill-equipped primary and special care hospitals in the periphery and the city.

“It is trying with virtually no support from special care hospitals in the region. What will the new trauma centre do? It will also be filled like the emergency. We have been expanding the infrastructure, but there is a corresponding increase in patients. How will it function? We are out here to serve patients. But hospitals must justify turning away patients and referring them to the PGI. How can an accident or trauma patient be sent to the PGI without even being given first aid or making attempts to stop bleeding? We need a PGI-like institute in each state to deal with this rush. Nothing short of it will do,” said Dr Amod Gupta, Dean Academics at the PGI.

Patient audit a solution?

Dr KK Talwar, former Director of the PGI, had written letters to the health authorities of Haryana, Punjab and UT, asking them to undertake an audit of their institutions and ask doctors to justify cases being referred to the PGI. He had also devised an extensive plan to train state doctors in dealing with trauma cases. Though the plan was “accepted”, it never took off. “A doctor should have a valid reason to refer a patient to the PGI. We may soon audit our own emergency to find which state sends the maximum referrals and what kind of cases are frequently sent here,” Dr Amod Gupta, Dean Academics, PGI, said.



UT fails to land grant for fire service upgrade
Did not submit mandatory fire audit report to home ministry
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
While the neighbouring state of Haryana has managed a special grant of Rs 100 crore from the home affairs ministry to upgrade the state’s fire fighting services, the UT administration has failed to get even a single penny. This is because it did not submit the ‘fire audit report,’ which is a mandatory requirement to receive a financial grant under the National Disaster Management Scheme.

The city’s fire department has been without a chief fire officer for the past few years and continues to run under a makeshift arrangement which varies from time to time under different temporary heads.

In November 2009 the home ministry sent a communication to the chief secretaries of all states as well as the local self-government secretaries in union territories asking them to submit a detailed report on their existing and future requirements of fire fighting infrastructure and manpower. An audit of the existing infrastructure and future needs by a specialized company or consultant was specified as the prerequisite for sanctioning the grant.

UT home secretary-cum-secretary of local self- government Ram Niwas said as the municipal corporation had not submitted the fire audit report till date, the administration had not been able to avail of any grant from the home ministry.

Sources close to the UT administration said despite a formal communication to the civic body in 2009 no work had been done on ground. This was despite the fact that the home affairs ministry had sent several reminders to the administration. As the city’s fire department did not have any technical and financial experts, the report had to be formulated by a specialized company or consultant.

The Administration had asked the fire department to prepare a detailed report of the existing vehicles, number of fire stations and staff in the department along with the requirement for the same.

Sources in the corporation said the process of preparing a fire audit report was yet to commence as the authorities had not allotted the work to any consultant or company. Tenders had been issued on at least three separate occasions.

Grant to states

Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura have received 100 per cent grant. Punjab, too, has managed to get a grant of Rs 4.37 crore.



Housing consumers at receiving end
Builders appealing against forum’s orders
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Scores of consumers who managed to get relief from the district forum for a delay in possession of promised plots or apartments in colonies developed by real estate firms are still making the rounds of the commission’s office.

In order to have an excuse for delaying implementation of the forum order, the firms file appeals and revisions in the commission against the lower forum’s order, increasing the ordeal of consumers who have invested their lifetime savings to own a house.

If the consumer wins his case in the district forum, a real estate company files an appeal with the State Commission where, after revision before the national commission in New Delhi, would be the natural outcome. While the appeals are a formality and routine for real estate firms, it is the consumer who suffers because of the high expenses, both legal and that of travelling, as well as the inconvenience involved in defending an appeal.

The passage of time works to the advantage of the companies, as by this time their projects concerned get completed and then the matter has to be compromised in view of the changed circumstances. Thus the consumer becomes a victim of the delay in the process of law.

“As it is, it isn’t easy to win a case against big companies, as they have various kinds of saving and immunity clauses inbuilt in their elaborate agreements. Such clauses include those relating to place of jurisdiction and arbitration clauses, apart from one-sided arbitrary provisions, which the consumer has no choice but to sign”, points out Vishal Dewan, a corporate lawyer.

“The implementation of the orders is invariably stayed in appeal or revision by the National Commission while admitting the appeal. Thereafter, an admitted appeal takes almost three years to come up for final hearing before the National Commission”, said Pankaj Chandgothia, president of the Consumer Courts Bar Association.

An analysis of data since January 2011 reveals the major defaulters in the real estate category are Parsvnath (with over 24 cases being filed), Shalimar Estates (11 cases), Emaar MGF (14 cases), Silver City (8 cases), Unitech (5 cases). The Chandigarh Housing Board, Taneja Developers, PH Houses and Pearls Buildwell are also in the consumer dock.

“The builder in fact uses the consumer’s money to build his project as most of the installments are charged in advance and the commitment of delivery is always shrouded in vague language. When the money gets stuck, the hapless consumer often prefer not to enter into a legal battle for fear of losing his money entirely”, says Rakesh Gupta, a businessman, undergoing similar problems.

Recently a family residing in Sector 8, Chandigarh, won three cases at the District Forum, but the respondent - Silver City - appealed to the State Commission, where after revision before the National Commission will be the natural outcome. The family had booked three units way back in 2006-2007, with not much hope of getting them in sight in the near future.



Revised power tariff effective from July 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
City residents will be burdened by a steep hike in electricity tariff from July 16 with domestic consumers having to pay between 27 to 31 per cent more and commercial users an additional 22 per cent.

Even though the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) revised the charges from April 1 this year, the UT administration has decided to implement the revised tariff with effect from July 16. However, a decision on recovery of bill arrears from April 1 to July16, 2011 will be taken separately, official sources said on Wednesday.

This is the first increase in electricity rates since June 30, 2005. The electricity department has projected an estimated revenue shortfall of Rs 351.66 crore for fiscal 2011-12. Acting on various provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003, including holding a public hearing on May 6, the JERC passed the tariff order on July 16.

The sources added the power tariffs for small, medium, large, public lighting and bulk supply have been hiked from Rs 3.36 per unit to Rs 4.10 per unit - a 22 per cent rise. The maximum percentage tariff increase (about 52 per cent) has been effected in case of temporary power supply for which the rates have been hiked from Rs 3.36 to Rs 5.10 per unit.

Under the revised power tariff there would be no fixed tariff for domestic consumers.



P’kula MC wakes up to issue notices after 2 yrs
1,100 units get them in first phase
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
Waking up from deep slumber, the Panchkula Municipal Council (MC) has finally started sending notices to both commercial and industrial units to recover property tax from them, which it had forgotten to collect for the years 2009-10 and 2010-11.

The MC has issued notices to 1,100 out of 4,936 units that figure on the list. The remainder of the 3,836 units are expected to be served notices over the next week.

With the collection of property tax from these units, the MC expects to become richer by Rs 12 crore.

The post of MC president was under litigation for the last two years. In May, Ravinder Rawal was re-appointed MC president.

There was another legal tangle regarding the status of the Panchkula MC. It had started off as a municipal council and was later converted into a corporation only for the decision to be quashed by the High Court and then converted back into a council.

But in these two years, the MC staff and the district administration, which was looking after the MC, forgot to send notices and collect property tax from these units.

MC president Ravinder Rawal said they had compiled the data about the number of units that had not deposited the taxes. The MC staff was then directed to prepare notices in the name of each unit.

He said in the first phase, they had sent notices to 1,100 units and in the coming days, they would be issuing notices to the remaining units. All commercial units would be brought under the tax net, he said.

Regarding the issuance of notices to units functioning from the land belonging to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), Rawal said though the units were operating from HUDA land, public roads were being used to reach it. Also streetlights and other facilities were being used, which the MC was providing them. Hence, the council had the right to charge them property tax.

In the financial year 2007-08, the MC authorities had collected Rs 3.96 crore as revenue from property tax. In the financial year 2008-09, the MC had earned Rs 3.3 crore from property tax in Panchkula.


Admn tightens noose around school buses
Not to pick up and drop students outside school premises
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
City schools have been asked not to park school buses outside the boundary wall at the time of picking up or dropping students.

As the traffic regulation case came up for hearing, UT Secretary Transport Authority Mahavir Kaushik informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the decision in an affidavit.

Kaushik told the court that all institutions have been asked to park their buses inside the school boundary wall and not pick up or drop the students outside.

The affidavit also stated to ensure safety to the students, school buses more than 15 years old were not permitted to ply on the roads.

The Chandigarh Police has also been directed to challan and impound vehicles not confirming to the specifications. The affidavit added that the Chandigarh Administration was not running its own school buses. But, some of the government schools had entered into an agreement with private bus operators.

Taking cognisance of stuffing school children in transport vehicles, the High Court has already opened a new chapter of safety by directing the Chandigarh Administration to set down rules for regulating the number of students that can be ferried in rickshaws and three-wheelers. Similar directions have also been issued to the states of Punjab and Haryana.

Justice Rajive Bhalla of the High Court only recently observed: “It has been brought to the notice of this court that cycle rickshaws and three-wheelers that transport school children, more often than not, are overloaded and on occasions more than a dozen children are seen sitting in the cycle rickshaws and three wheelers”.

Making it clear that the “safety of the children is of paramount importance”, Justice Bhalla said the issue “cannot be left in the hands of the mercenary schools and mercenary transporters”.

3 students hurt as school bus rams into tree

Three students were injured when the school bus ferrying them rammed into a tree near the Sector 26 grain market on Wednesday morning. The bus was on its way to Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 18, when the mishap took place. Sources said the brakes of the bus failed resulting in the mishap. A PCR vehicle rushed the children to hospital where they were discharged after first aid. The police reached the school for investigation, but since there was no complaint, no action was taken against the driver. According to eyewitnesses, some vendors at the grain market also had a narrow escape.



Encroachments removed in Colony No. 4
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The enforcement department of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today vacated around three acre of land from encroachers in Colony Number 4 under a special anti-encroachment drive.

The enforcement team removed around 60 temporary huts in the colony. Officials said a private company had also encroached upon the MC land. The MC team seized five truckloads of material during the drive. After vacating the land, Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach directed the executive engineer concerned to fence the vacant land near the plots in industrial area and Colony No 4.

The drive was carried out jointly by engineering wing and enforcement wing of MC peacefully under the assistance of enforcement inspector Kashmira Singh along with supporting staff of enforcement wing.



Confusion prevails over fastening of HSRP
STA to fix number plates, RLA to register vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Even as the UT Administration has decided that the fastening of high security registration plates (HSRP) of commercial vehicles would be done by the State Transport Authority (STA), it is in a fix as how the process would be carried out as the vehicles are registered with the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA).

As per the government notification, registration certificate would be given to the vehicle owner only after registration plates are fastened and the vehicle is found fit to ply on road.

RLA sources said that though the RLA would be registering the vehicles, the owners of commercial vehicles would have to get their registration plates fastened in the presence of STA officials before receiving their registration certificates from the RLA.

The STA has now decided to clarify with the RLA about its role in fastening the registration plates of commercial vehicles. STA secretary Mahavir Kaushik said the All-India tourist vehicles are registered with the STA. However, all the other commercial vehicles are registered with the RLA, he added.

“As per the notification, the STA is responsible for fastening HSRP in commercial vehicles. However, it’s not clear how the fastening of number plates getting registered at the RLA will be done by the STA,” Kaushik said.



Social taboos laid bare
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, August 3
Art lovers were treated to yet another classic play “Jeevit aur Mrit” presented by Samvaad theatre group as part of the ongoing Festival of Guru Rabindranath Tagore’s works at the Tagore Theatre.

The play, though simple in content, style and expression, but complex in the depth of meaning, bared many social taboos, gender disparity and male chauvinism prevalent in society. After a mundane beginning, the play gradually attained a meaningful pace under the direction of accomplished actor Kuldeep Sharma.



Bovine menace endangers lives of Mohali residents
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, August 3
The problem of stray cattle continues to haunt residents of Mohali even when a number of persons have lost their lives due to accidents caused by animals moving about freely in various parts of the town.

Herds of cattle can be seen moving about on roads and even in parks with the Municipal Corporation failing to check the menace. The problem is more acute in the developing sectors and in areas which are close to villages falling in the town.

Apart from leading to accidents, the stray cattle dirty the roads with their dung. Complaints have also been received that open green spaces and parks are damaged by these animals.

Sukhminder Singh Barnala, former municipal councillor, said today that despite claims of the civic body, residents had failed to get any respite from the problem of stray animals. He said he could not pass through a road last night while coming back from his office as animals had blocked the road.

He said in Phase XI he mostly saw cows moving about, which were not stray. Their owners left them to graze on their own when they stopped giving milk.

He said residents often complained that green areas adjoining their houses were damaged by these animals. The fencing done by them to protect the maintained areas were removed by PUDA many years ago. He said he had taken a few photographs of animals sitting in green belts to show these to the authorities concerned.

Former councillor and a resident of Phase IIIB2, Kuljit Singh Bedi, said the situation had become worse after the elected body was dissolved in January this year.

He said according to figures he had gathered last year under the RTI Act, the civic body was able to catch only 426 animals during a period ranging for over sixteen months.

The executive officer, Vijay Kumar Gupta, said the civic body had one cattle-catcher van and a team of five employees was deployed to catch stray animals. He claimed that on an average five animals were caught daily. The animals once caught were kept for some days in the pound and if no claimant came during that period, they were left far away from the town.



Simran Murder Case
Victim’s father demands speedy probe
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
In the three-month-old Simran murder case, the Panchkula Police has not only failed to recover Simran’s mobile phone, but is also unsuccessful to trace her black cocker spaniel dog. Seeking a speedy probe in this case, Simran’s father Rakesh Kundra has now submitted a complaint before the Haryana DGP and the Chief Secretary.

Kundra said he had written in the complaint letter that police was conducting the probe at a very slow speed. He said in the coming week 90 days would be completed since the arrest of Tanmay, but cops had still not filed the charge sheet.

He also demanded that directions should be given to the investigating officer to file the charge sheet at the earliest so that accused could not take the advantage of the slow probe.

However, Panchkula SP Maneesh Chaudhary said they would soon trace Simran’s mobile phone and her dog. Regarding the charge sheet, he said they were preparing it and would soon submit it in the court.

On April 30, Tanmay, the accused in the Simran murder case, visited Simran’s residence in Panchkula. The police said he found her in the company of three youths. After the youths left Tanmay started questioning the victim about them, sources said.

In a fit of rage, he allegedly attacked her and hit her head against the bathroom wall and subsequently strangulated her. Later, he allegedly dumped her body on a vacant plot near Lidhran village on the Jalandhar-Amritsar national highway, sources added.

Tanmay had surrendered before the Panchkula Police on the night of May 13. Simran was a student of International Institute of Fashion Design in Panchkula and stayed in Sector 15 here.

Simran’s father had received a message from her mobile phone, “Papa mujhe bacha lo, meri jaan khatre mein hai” (Father save me, my life is in danger) on May 1. Sources say this message was sent by the accused after killing Simran.



All is not well with Chandigarh jail
Acting CJ finds magistrates not paying heed to law
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
An inspection of the Chandigarh jail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s Acting Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has revealed all is not well.

The magistrates were not found adverting to the prescribed mode of law while sending the undertrials to custody. Some youngsters appeared to be juveniles, but nothing had been done to determine this.

Observing that the situation in the Chandigarh jail is not isolated and may be there in other jails as well, Justice Goel also ordered the matter to be treated as a petition on the judicial side.

The Bench, comprising Justice Goel and Justice AK Mittal, also issued a notice of motion to the states of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The case now stands adjourned till November 30.

Justice Goel observed that: “Inspection of the Chandigarh jail was carried out on July 16 to see the progress of the cases of the undertrials in the background of the directions that all efforts be made to complete the sessions trial, where accused are in custody, within two years and magisterial trial, where the accused are in custody, within six months.

“It was observed that some of the undertrials appeared to be juveniles and necessary steps to determine this aspect were not been taken… the District and Sessions Judge may monitor this aspect and give a report to this court.”

Justice Goel added that: “It was also noticed that the magistrates were not adverting to the mode of law…. In some cases, the power of remand was being exercised beyond 15 days of custody mechanically.

“Under the law, such power can be exercised only on the satisfaction being reached that there were adequate grounds for authorised detention.”

Quoting the law, Justice Goel added as per Section 173 (1), the investigations need to be completed without delay. In case of unnecessary delay, the magistrate may be justified in declining to authorise the detention.

“It was noticed that even in the case of magisterial trials, there was a long delay in completing the investigations…. If the investigation is complete, the court can proceed with the matter and in an appropriate case invoke the provisions of plea bargaining or recording of confession.

“But the delay in investigation without valid justification, when the accused is in custody, may not only be violative of the statutory mandate under the Code of Criminal Procedure, but also under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. This aspect may be required to be dealt with on the judicial side by the way of a PIL,” Justice Goel concluded.



Now, online pension disbursal for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
After commencing projects - “Suvigya” and “Sangam” to streamline its functioning, the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) is now all set to launch its web-enabled pension disbursement system.

The system has been developed to bring in promptness and accuracy, both in disbursement of payments as well as redressal of grievances.

The new system has been named “Ashray”. Under it, defence pensioners will be informed about the details of the pension amount being paid every month by the Defence Pension Disbursing Officers through SMS and e-mail.

This facility will be provided to the defence pensioners, defence civilian pensioners and family pensioners every month. The details of the monthly pension payment will also be available at the CGDA website, www.cgda.nic.in.

Pensioners are required to submit their e-mail addresses and mobile phone numbers to the DPDO from where they draw the pension.



Statue of Lady Justice unveiled at Mohali law institute
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
A 13-feet-tall statue of the Lady Justice, envisioned to project a feeling of peace and justice, was unveiled at the Army Institute of Law (AIL) at Mohali today by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Command Lt Gen SR Ghosh.

The Lady Justice, the Roman goddess of justice, is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial system. The personification of justice, balancing the scales of truth and fairness dates back to ancient Egypt and the Goddess Maat and later Isis. Her modern iconography, which adorns the courtrooms, conflates the attributes of several goddesses.

The Lady Justice depicts justice as equipped with three symbols; a sword symbolising the court’s coercive power, a human scale weighing competing claims in each hand and a blindfold indicating impartiality.

Students of the AIL presented a cultural programme that includes mono and group-dance performances, a short play titled “The Proposal of Anton Chekhov” and an audio-visual presentation on the history and achievements of the AIL.

Lt Gen Ghosh interacted with the students and felicitated them for their meritorious performance. He also presented the Tata Merit and Abhimanyu scholarships.

The Tata Merit Scholarship was awarded to Deepika Doot, Devrath Singh and Sadhana Rashmi Perumal for securing the first rank in I, II and III year of BA LLB respectively. They got Rs 20,000 each. Tuhina Srivastava, Phaguni Nilesh Lal and Shivika Chaudhary got Rs 10,000 each for securing the second position in I, II and III year respectively. The Abhimanyu Scholarship was given to Mohammad Sohail Ali and Khemender Singh for topping in the Law Entrance Test for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 sessions, respectively.



Tricity scan

Filters presented to winners

The winners of the ‘Read Bapu Dham Contest’ in a cheerful mood in Sector 26, ChandigarhYuvsatta, an NGO, presented Tata Swach water filters to seven winners of a “Read Bapu Dham Contest”. The event is an annual feature.

Bipin Yadav, media chairman of Rotary Club, Panchkula, Krishan Lal, president, Residents Welfare Association, Sector 26, Chandigarh, and Vishal Singla, a social activist, were present.

The winners of the ‘Read Bapu Dham Contest’ in a cheerful mood in Sector 26, Chandigarh. a tribune photograph

Horticulture wing told to remove congress grass

The Environment and City Beautification Committee has directed the horticulture wing of the municipal corporation to remove grass from all parks in the city within one week and table the report in a meeting scheduled for next week. The committee also decided to put up reflective type boards with the MC logo in all parks. It approved Rs 6 lakh for the arrangements to be made for the chrysanthemum.

1 MGD increase in water supply

After installation of five tubewells, including two in Mani Majra and one each in Maloya, Palsora and Sector 45, one MGD supply of water has been increased from this month in the city. The report was tabled in a meeting of the water supply and sewerage disposal committee today. The committee has decided to provide standby arrangements of motors in all tubewells.The committee has directed the officials concerned to speed up the work of provision of fountains.

Teej celebrated

Rattan Group of Institutes, Sector 78, organised a “Teej Utsav-2011” on the college premises on Wednesday. Simranjit Kaur, wife of Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roozam, inaugurated the function. Students of MBA, BBA, BCA, BEd and nursing presented a cultural programme and welcomed “Sawan”. They also presented bhangra, giddha and skits. A “Jago” was also held.

Yoga classes

At Gian Jyoti Global School, Phase II, Mohali, yoga classes are held on a regular basis everyday. In fact, the class is an inseparable part of the everyday time table of students from nursery to Class III. Keeping in mind their age group, students are given simple yoga lessons. tribune reporters



Inquiry marked against maths teacher
Violation of terms & conditions of ex-India leave
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
UT education secretary VK Singh has marked an inquiry against Davinder Kaur, maths mistress in Government Model High School, Sector 36, for allegedly violating the terms and conditions of her ex-India leave sanctioned in 2009.

The decision followed a complaint filed by local RTI activist VB Khanna, who accused the UT education department of felicitating her ‘illegal’ stay abroad, as she was closely related to District Education Officer Chanchal Singh.

According to the complaint, Davinder who proceeded to Canada in July, 2009, was sanctioned leave till October, 2009, and the then education secretary, Ram Niwas, had clearly stated that this leave could not be extended further. She applied for extension twice, but then DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia rejected it. However, she eventually applied for utilising her earned leave from 20-01-10 to 21-04-10 on the pretext of ‘domestic’ affairs even as she was in Canada.

“What has perturbed many is the fact that while she had been away for two years, the school authorities kept marking her present. She got her earned leave cleared saying she was in Hoshiarpur, but she is currently in Canada. The education secretary has promised to verify the facts soon ,” said VB Khanna.

While District Education Office Chanchal Singh could not be contacted for his comments, a senior official claimed that accusations were baseless and the DEO had always been unbiased in execution of his duties.



Academic session begins on PEC campus
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Following a two-day orientation programme, where newcomers were told about various activities, clubs and rules of the institute, studies formally kick started at PEC University of Technology today.

While certain students of BE (electronics) stream were found running from pillar to post locating classrooms, despite having a time-table, however, a few were seen waiting for their NSS class in the evening.

When quizzed about ragging in hostels or classrooms, most students of the first year batch said they were not bullied by their seniors.

“We were amazed by the manner in which seniors have been helping us out. Even in the hostel, they have been guiding us really well,” said Srishti, a first year student at PEC. Commenting on following a casual dress code in the college, Shruti said, “Most students preparing for competitive exams had been regular at coaching classes than school. So the monotony of school uniform was broken. However, the feeling is nice and refreshing.”

Amrita, another BE (electronics) first semester student said, “Since we had an orientation session in the past two days, we got a chance to explore eating joints on the campus.”

Students added that despite having a time-table, it was hard to locate classrooms. “Since the classes were not held in our department, we had to face a harrowing time. While searching classes, we also got late in three lectures, but teachers were generous on the first day to permit us to enter the class,” said another first year student.



PU increases BCom seats by 10 per cent
Counselling opened to all
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The decision of Panjab University (PU) to increase BCom seats by 10 per cent in affiliated colleges has elated students as the counselling for the seats has been opened to all. Initially the university authorities had mulled restricting it for those who had not applied so far or anomaly cases, but it later decided to give every student a fair chance.

“The seats are being increased and we thought that those who could not make it to their preferred colleges earlier, could give it another try now.

A student will be free to apply manually or online. We are still to take a final decision though. The counselling will be manual, but transparent,” said the Dean University Instructions.

There will be an increase of about 15 seats in SD College (Sector 32), DAV College (Sector 10), MCM DAV (Sector 36) and Sri Guru Gobind Singh College (Sector 26) and 10 seats for the remaining colleges. However, several PU faculty members have questioned the need for online counselling. “Why spend so much time on online counselling when eventually everything has to be manual? Colleges had been demanding an increase in seats for long, but the Vice-Chancellor chose to do so only after the admissions are over,” said a faculty member.

‘Teaching days will be hit’

UT government colleges have been left perturbed over the new admission schedule which will hamper the completion of the required teaching days. “As per norms, we are required to complete 180 teaching days. It is a tough task due to the exam schedule and now this. Even if 25 per cent of students re-apply besides new ones, we will get busy with the admissions once again,” a faculty member remarked.



Road safety week observed in college

Chandigarh: The Traffic Awareness and Road Safety Society of Post Graduate Government College, Sector 46, Chandigarh, will observe a road safety week on the college campus. Dr Shamlata, principal of the college, motivated students to wear helmets.

Programme for freshers

The Science Society of Post Graduate Government College For Girls-11, Chandigarh, organised an orientation programme for freshers on Wednesday. Harvinder Kaur, head of the physics department, welcomed freshers and motivated them to actively participate in co-curricular activities. Newcomers were acquainted with the infrastructure, rules and regulations of the college. Around 500 students attended the programme. Meanwhile, Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, held a function to welcome freshers. The programme began with a “Shabad Kirtan”. Principal Dr Charanjeet Kaur Sohi urged students to follow the path of self-righteousness.

PU to conduct re-appear exams in Aug, Sept

Following constant protests by student parties, especially by Panjab University Student Union (PUSU), Panjab University has agreed to conduct re-appear examinations in August and September. Students of science streams have hailed the decision. — TNS



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