C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Monkeys play spoilsport for bride
Attacked thrice, hires langurs to keep tormentors at bay on wedding day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
For 39-year-old Amita Singh, the excitement of the preparations for her wedding, which took place today, was coupled with a nightmare. For, she braved monkey attacks at her residence in Sector 9 thrice ahead of her wedding.

As the wedding was to take place at her residence, she had to hire langurs from Sector 15 to ensure that at least her guests remained safe. Terror ruled her mind throughout the wedding celebrations since sitting out in the open has become a nightmare for her.

On March 23, she, along with her fiance, was attacked by a group of around five monkeys while they were sitting in the lawns. On March 17, a monkey had attacked her in the courtyard while she was drying her clothes.

In another attack last month, Amita got hurt while trying to save her 72-year-old aunt, who was attacked by a monkey. "We are not even safe at our home. These monkeys have created terror. The problem has been existing for the past 15 years. Why doesn't the Administration do something about it?" asked Amita.

While in the latest attack, Amita escaped injury, she had to get vaccination for injuries on her back in both the earlier attacks.

She had to spend more time visiting a hospital than a beauty parlour while preparing for the wedding. "I had to go all the way to Mohali for the vaccination and follow-up treatment several times during the past two months," Amita said.

The situation is no different for other residents in the area. Residents of northern sectors, including Sectors 8, 9, 10, 11, 18, 26, 27 and 28, have been complaining about the monkey menace for long. They said they avoided venturing out in the morning and late evening hours.


In case of monkey-related problems in the city, residents can dial 4639999, a round-the-clock helpline set up by the Forest and Wildlife Department


UT Forest Conservator Santosh Kumar said, "The problem is that we cannot kill monkeys. We can at best catch the monkeys and leave them in Nepli forest or Kansal."

500 cases of monkey bite

Nearly 500 cases of monkey bite were reported from the city last year. According to the records available at the civil dispensary in Sector 19, the dedicated dispensary for vaccination, the number of cases had touched 500 in November 2012.

Admn has three langurs

At present, the Administration has only three langurs, Manu, Mangal and Udham, to tackle monkeys. The UT Forest and Wildlife Department pays ~7,500 each to trainers of these langurs. In all, the department pays ~2,70,000 to trainers annually


The control of monkeys and the management of langurs comes under the ambit of the Chandigarh Administration. The municipal corporation does not have any arrangement to handle this problem. I will personally approach the Forest Conservator and seek his assistance in case we receive any complaints
— Raj Bala Malik, area councillor



Mansa Devi temple to have zigzag railings
Step aimed at checking long queues
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Workers clean the floor at the entrance to the Mansa Devi temple in Panchkula.
Workers clean the floor at the entrance to the Mansa Devi temple in Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, March 31
Come Navratras and devotees at the Mansa Devi temple will not have to face the hassle of standing in long queues as a provision for zigzag railings is being made by the authorities to accommodate four times more devotees at a given time.

The nine-day Navratra festival will begin on April 11. Work on setting up zigzag railings has already started.

With thousands of devotees thronging the shrine during the Navratras, the authorities decided to set up zigzag railings for their convenience. Earlier, devotees had to spend hours standing in long queues to pay obeisance. Sometimes brawls took place among devotees over jumping of queues.

“During the Navratras, long queues of devotees are seen in the temple. The zigzag railings will help accommodate 40 devotees in a space which earlier used to house 10,” said DP Dattana, chief executive officer of the Mansa Devi Shrine Board.

The new provision will help devotees stand under a shed instead of standing out in the sun.

“It will save the devotees' time, who take hours to pay obeisance, and will give them a psychological feeling that they are near the sanctum sanctorum,” the official said.

“It takes around six hours just to reach the main entrance of the temple during the Navratras. This is a nice initiative as waiting in long queues used to be really tiring,” said Nandita Sharma, a devotee who had come to the shrine. 

Night vision cameras to be installed

  • Ten additional IP night vision cameras will be installed on the temple premises, including the parking area, during the Navratras to keep a check on crime. As many as 32 CCTV cameras have already been installed on the temple premises
  • Four plasma screens will be installed, apart from the five already installed. The screens will display pictures of the Goddess and parts of the temple
  • Ten barbers will be hired by the shrine for the mundanghat area to assist people to completing the mundan ceremony of their children
  • A special medical camp for women will be held near the main entrance of the temple



Woman's gold bangles snatched in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Reema Bhalla (left) & Ajit Ahluwalia
Reema Bhalla (left) & Ajit Ahluwalia, who were targeted by snatchers

Panchkula, March 31
After being taken for a ride with a hoax snatching call, the Panchkula police received a major blow when it got to know that two snatching incidents had taken place in the township.

A hoax call was made that a snatching had taken place in Sector 19, Panchkula, while the snatchings took place in Sector 9 and Sector 12 today.

The police suspects that the hoax call was made to divert its attention.

Reema Bhalla, one of the victims who was targeted in Sector 9, was lucky as her chain fell in her hands after it was snatched. In Sector 12, Ajit, a former Deputy Director with the Haryana Education Department, was targeted when she was standing outside her house.

The snatching incidents took place after a call was received at the police control room that a snatching incident had taken place in Sector 19, Panchkula.

"In the morning, a call was made at the control room that a snatching incident had taken place in Sector 19.

When we rushed to the spot, the caller said his friend's chain had been snatched. When his friend was asked, he said someone else's chain was snatched. It was a hoax call," said Inspector Surinder Kumar, SHO of the Sector 20 police station here.

Later, the police received two calls that two snatching incidents had taken place in the town.

Bhalla was standing outside her house when two unidentified youths came on a bike and snatched her gold chain. Luckily, the chain fell in Bhalla's hands as the youths tried to flee in a hurry.

Ajit Ahluwalia, a resident of Sector 12, Panchkula, was standing outside her house when two youths came on a bike and snatched gold bangles from her hands. The police has registered a case at the Sector 5 police station.

While Reema Bhalla is the daughter-in-law of a former Haryana minister, Ajit Ahluwalia is a former Deputy Director, Haryana Education Department. 



Sector 21 youngsters see red in green
Say only playground in their area being converted into a park
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The city does not seem to have much to offer to gully players. They are often made to face the authorities' wrath for playing in green belts.

A group of youngsters residing in Sector 21 today staged a novel protest by playing on the road against the conversion of the only ground in their area into a green belt.

The group, comprising 25 members, said they had been playing football, cricket and volleyball in the ground for the past many years, but it was now being converted into a green belt and they had been left with no place to play.

“This has been our playground for several years. The municipal corporation is now converting it into a green belt. We are not against green belts, but there should be a ground to play. Children will now start playing on the road, which will pose a risk to their lives,” said Amaninder Pal Singh, one of the protesters.

“We had been playing here for long. We had constructed a cemented pitch and had erected football and volleyball poles on the ground. All our efforts have been wasted as the area is being converted into a green belt” said Navreet Brar, another protester. The issue regarding lack of proper playgrounds has been raised several times. During the municipal corporation elections in December 2011, the BJP and the Congress had promised that an indoor stadium would be set up in each ward, jobs would be provided to sportspersons and world-class sports facilities would be provided in the city, but nothing has been done as yet.

“A project pertaining to playgrounds for youngsters is lying pending with the Chief Architect. Although youngsters want the project cleared as early as possible, residents are reportedly opposing the project. They want playgrounds away from residential areas. We have to look into all aspects before framing a policy or clearing a project,” said Mayor Subhash Chawla.


Now, thieves target park railings in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
It's not just houses, but iron railings in parks are also among thieves' targets. While a theft of iron railings was reported in Sector 35 (A), residents of Sector 27 complained that a group of women were seen trying to steal iron railings in a park.

Dr Sujata Grover, a resident of Sector 35 (A), stated park railings in her sector had been stolen twice in the past 10 days. "Around a week ago, almost five railings went missing from the park opposite house number 301. We even lodged a complaint with the police. During the night of March 28, a portion of the railings again went missing," Grover said.

"It's surprising. How can someone steal so many railings and transport them out of the sector without anyone noticing him," the residents of the sector said.

Grover said on March 30, they again informed the police about the theft of railings. "I feel that night patrolling should be stepped up to catch the thieves and save the city parks," she said.

In another incident, Jagdish Chand Manjha, a resident of house number 2099, Sector 27-C, in a complaint to the police, stated that around three unidentified women tried to steal iron railings from the park near his house on Sunday.

The women fled the scene after the residents of the area noticed them stealing the railings.

A case has been registered at the Sector 26 police station.



CHB to build 2-room tenements at Maloya
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
As the Chandigarh Administration is all set to allot 8,100 one-room tenements at Dhanas under a slum rehabilitation scheme, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has decided to go ahead with the construction of around 12,544 two-room tenements at Maloya.

Officials in the board said once the 8,100 one-room tenements are allotted to the beneficiaries at Dhanas, the board would start the process to construct the remaining dwelling units. The total number of units is 25,727.

Recently, the Centre has approved the revised estimates worth Rs 1022 crore to complete the construction of 25,727 dwelling units. The initial cost of around Rs 800 crore has jumped to Rs 1,040 crore due to change in design from one-room tenement to two-room tenement. These flats are to be constructed in two phases, 3,648 in one phase and 8,896 in another at Maloya.

The officials said during a visit to the city, the Union Urban Minister of Tourism, Housing and Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja, had advised the officials to construct two-room tenements as one room-tenement were too small for families.

The Slum Rehabilitation Scheme was initiated in 2006 under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). According to the norms, 80 per cent of the cost of the project is borne by the Centre and the remaining by the state governments, in this case the UT Administration. 



Open house response
Need for better public transport 

The proposed congestion tax will not bring down the vehicular congestion on the roads of city beautiful. The architect of the city had never thought such a vehicular density in his dream city. The large flow of funds, due to economic growth and certain other factors like real estate boom has given a wider choice of consumerism to people. Besides, people from smaller cities are also migrating to Chandigarh due to better urbanised facilities, better education, state capital etc. Instead of imposing congestion tax, the administration should promote better public transport facilities to narrow down the congestion on roads.

Harjeet Bhandol

Follow Singapore, London in all aspects

Instead of imitating the congestion tax concept from Singapore and London, the UT should follow these two cities in all the aspects, like payment of taxes and user charges. In Singapore 65 per cent of the population uses public transport because it is efficient. The officials of the Chandigarh Administration should for a week use public transport for commuting within the city and on interstate routes by CTU buses, so that they get a first hand feel of the numerous short comings.

Punam Anand, Chandigarh

Congestion tax unjustified

The decision of the Ministry of Urban Development asking the Chandigarh Administration to impose congestion tax in some commercial areas of the city seems to be totally unjustified. Shopping,officials purposes, there are many other reasons why people go into these commercial areas. Many of the government offices are situated in Sector 17 and Sector 9. Instead of imposing congestion tax in heavily commercialised areas, the government should provide more parking lots at the very entrances of these sites in order to ease the traffic congestions. There is no proper remedy for such traffic congestions in any part of this city or even in other cities across the country. The imposition of congestion tax will not deter the vehicle users from going to such commercial sectors. It is rather a reckless decision of the Ministry of Urban Development and should be withdrawn.

R K Kapoor, Chandigarh

Congestion tax not solution

Introducing congestion tax is not the solution to solve traffic parking problem. The Chandigarh Administration did not give proper attention towards the parking arrangements during the beginning. The public is already facing many other types of taxes, including income tax , road tax , sales tax , surcharge on electricity and water charges and house tax etc. The Central Government already provides sufficient grant to the Chandigarh Administration time to time. The administration should utilise the grant properly and avoid introducing congestion tax . It should also construct new parking lots behind the commercial area.

Sumesh Kr Badhwar, Mohali

Tax will solve problem to some extent

Most of the middle class families have more than one car. As a result, they create a congestion on the roads, adding to the woes & problems of the parking lots. The proposed tax will bring down the vehicular congestion, to some extent. The commuters can go for car pooling and use public transport.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Restrict number of cars per household

This tax should not been imposed as it will not reduce congestion. These days cars are status symbol for the larger part of society. They will pay Rs 50 or more for parking, but will not leave their vehicles at home and travel by public transport. Number of cars per household should be restricted. More than that should not be registered.

IPS Anand, Manimajra

Haphazard parking cause of congestion

Commercial areas like Sector 7,8,17,22,26 and 35 have a problem of vehicle parking and traffic congestion either during the evening hours or at the weekends, mainly because government does not ask the parking contractors to get the vehicle park properly. If administration is really worried about traffic problems, then it has to take serious steps. Government employees should commute in common buses instead of their own personal vehicles.

Shishu Paul, Chanidgarh

Congestion tax temporary solution

It is observed that the authorities are always receptive to the ideas of imposing one or the other type of tax and now its congestion tax. There is no doubt that the traffic is growing at an alarming speed in some of the busier commercial areas of the city, but the imposition of congestion tax will solve the malady of traffic congestion and its rather a temporary solution. The administration should come up with apparently vision plan.

NP Manocha, Chandigarh

MC should take other measures

The MC should hold discussions with the residents of the city. A resolution should be passed by the general house for final clearance. The Municipal Corporation should also think of charging congestion tax on vehicles entering the city from punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, which can be collected at the toll plazas.

Municipal Corporation should also plan to implement a number of measures to control the growth in vehicular volume. The MC should introduce a series of measures, including introduction of congestion charges, placing high premium on parking, to check growth of private vehicles in the city.

Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Shift govt offices, educational institutes

Thousands of vehicles come of the adjoining cities and states, that has actually led to congestion on the city roads. Chandigarh has become an education hub and alongside hundreds of institutes and a lot of government offices are located in Sector 17, 22, 34 and 35. The students bring their vehicles from their home-towns also adds to the congestion. The Government should shift private institutes, teaching academies to the out-skirts of Chandigarh and also shift government offices outside the congested area of the city.

BS Kohli, Chandigarh

A practical decision

It's a great initiative taken by Ministry of Urban Development to suggest congestion tax in Chandigarh. Imposing this tax, in congested areas is a highly practical decision. This will empower financial resources and will also be useful for further planning, including widening and maintenance of roads, making of multilevel parking, to assist financial source towards upcoming metro project. It should be extended to other areas also. A systemic study to understand why, when, whereto and what for people travel may help in redesigning roads. Likewise the offices etc be shifted to peripheral locations.

Tarsem Bhardwaj, MHC Chandigarh

Re-planning required

With the number of vehicles increasing day by day, traffic congestion has become a routine problem. People have to brave the rush everyday to reach their destinations. To ease the congestion, traffic signals must be installed at all T-points in order to prevent chaos and crashes. The slip roads must be constructed at a considerable distance from the traffic lights so that people do not have to wait for the congestion to clear for taking left turn.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Understand ground realities

The Ministry of Urban Development floated the idea of a congestion charge on private vehicles that are increasingly choking city centres and has advised Chandigarh administration to identify the most congested parts of city and get a proper study done prior to adopting a charging system. The administration without paying little attention is proposing to introduce congestion tax in Sector 7, 8, 17, 22, 26 and 35 which is altogether untenable. Before levying such a tax, we have to study the ground realities of traffic congestion in the city. Besides, community interest will have to take precedence over individual convenience.

S K Khosla, Chandigarh

Need for optimising parking space

Few years ago, this proposal was discussed and turned down by the administration. But now in view of the ever-increasing vehicle population and worsening of traffic congestion in various parts of City, a new urgency has taken place. As Chandigarh has one of the highest density of vehicles in proportion to population in the country, there is a need to optimise the utilisation of parking space. The commercial areas should be given 
special preferences to ease the traffic chaos on the roads.

M L Garg, Chandigarh



School fined for falsely retaining child in Nursery
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A city-based school has been penalised for first admitting an under-aged child to Nursery Class and then retaining him in the same class after one year. The school also allegedly promoted the child to the LKG after consulting the District Education Officer (DEO) in the middle of the session.

Ashiana Public School, Sector 46, has been directed to pay Rs 25,000 to five-year-old complainant Kanav Bhasin on account of admitting him to Nursery Class in the 2009-10 session though he was three-year-old at that time and his parents had approached the school for admission to Pre-Nursery Class.

According to his parents, the school insisted them to admit Kanav to Nursery Class having found him (Kanav) competent and eligible to sit in that class. Later, the parents came to know that Pre-nursery seats had already been filled and that is why, “the opposite party deliberately admitted him to Nursery Class.”

On the contrary, the school, at the end of the session, started complaining that Kanav was “not performing well and therefore needed retention in Nursery Class.”

However, on protest by the complainant's father, “the opposite party (school) promoted him to the LKG for the session 2010-11 and charged Rs 38,650.”

“In the next session, the school again complained of poor performance by Kanav and refused to promote him to the UKG for the session 2012-13. The child was often being confined to a dark room and was also slapped sometimes to deliberately block his progress,” alleged the parents.

The school, on the other hand, stated Kanav's father had filled in a form mentioning the word, “Repeat”, i.e. for continuation in the LKG. The complaint filed by the appellant in the UT Consumer Forum was rejected.

Another application was moved before the State Commission wherein the parents stated that the word, “Repeat” appeared without their initials/signatures. The order of the Consumer Forum was set aside and the school was directed to pay compensation for causing mental agony to the complainant.

“The child was a slow learner. We worked very hard with the child. In three years he could not hold a pencil. But the parents often refuse to accept the fact that their ward is weak,” said Director of the school Lalita Prakash. 



Dr Raj Bahadur gets yet another extension
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
In a move that leaves many questions unanswered, the UT Administration has again extended the tenure of Dr Raj Bahadur as the Director-Principal (DP) of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32.

This despite the fact that Dr Bahadur has already served the institution much beyond the stipulated period. He completed his three-year deputation period from the PGIMER in November 2010. He was then allowed an extension and completed his five-year deputation in November 2012.

The governing body of the PGIMER had decided that its doctors on deputation will not be allowed extension beyond three years. Also, the PGIMER Director, Dr Yogesh Chawla, has written several times to the UT Home Secretary, seeking Dr Bahadur's repatriation.

On March 4, Dr Chawla had again written to Anil Kumar, Home Secretary, seeking Dr Bahadur's repatriation.

This is the 10th extension awarded to him, in view of the delay in the selection of the next incumbent DP. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has scheduled the interview for the selection of the next incumbent on April 4.

Anil Kumar said: "The selection process will take some time. We found it better to continue the same person on the post of Director to avoid an administrative delay. It is a matter of 15-20 days. As soon as the new incumbent comes, we will relieve Dr Bahadur".

Sources pointed out that the administration could have given officiating charge to the seniormost faculty member, going by the protocol.

Dr Raj Bahadur is from the department of orthopaedics, PGI. He had joined the GMCH-32 on deputation from the PGI on December 1, 2007.

Tribunal to decide case on April 1

A senior GMCH doctor has challenged the extensions being given to Dr Raj Bahadur, so far, in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on the grounds that "the latter had exceeded the maximum period of deputation from his parent institution and was given eight extensions without the consensus of the competent authorities". The case is scheduled for final order for Monday (April 1). 



Family made to wait for body
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 31
In yet another shock to the family of Panchkula resident Karna Bahadur, who was shot dead in a shootout by French troops in Central African Republic (CAR), the authorities at the airport refused to release the body raising several objections. The family was made to wait till evening. Karna Bahadur, who hailed from Nepal, had settled with his family in Sector 4, Panchkula.

The body had reached New Delhi Airport in a Saudi Airlines flight at 9 am today. It was not released by the authorities till 5.30 pm, claiming that Bahadur is a national of Nepal and the body should go to that country only.

It was after a communication was received from the Nepal Embassy that Karna Bahadur had been living in Panchkula for the past many years that the body was released.

“Though one of the members of the family had reached the airport at 9 am, the airport authorities were reluctant to release the body, claiming that since he was from Nepal, the body would be sent there only,” said Dr Saroj Aggarwal, who is helping the family.

The family was already facing trouble as the CAR High Commission had refused to transport the body from New Delhi to Panchkula.

Karna Bahadur was going to the Bangui airport in the capital of Central African Republic to catch a flight to India when the troops mistook the vehicles for those of suicide bombers and opened fire. Bahadur was one of the two Indians killed in the incident. 



Policeman hurt in accident

Panchkula, March 31
In a hit-and-run case, a policeman was seriously injured after the PCR vehicle he was driving was hit by a speeding truck at the National Highway 73, near Nada Sahib, Panchkula. The truck driver fled the spot

The constable, who has been identified as Raj Kumar, was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, where his under treatment. He was going to the Chandi Mandir police station when the incident took place.

Commissioner of Police Rajbir Deswal visited the hospital to enquire after the injured. “It was a head-on collision and the truck driver would be nabbed soon," said a police official. — TNS



Experts favour enhanced Indian role in Afghanistan in future
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
In the backdrop of the assessment that post-2014, Afghanistan will face economic, strategic and political challenges after western forces withdraw from there, experts today stressed at enhanced Indian engagement with Afghanistan.

In his presentation on the “Importance of Enhanced Indian Engagement in post-2014 Afghanistan”, Prof Gulshan Sachdeva from the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University said in all the three areas enhanced Indian engagement would help the country meet the difficult challenges during the next few years of its transformation.

He was speaking at the ongoing seminar on “Changing Scenario in South Asia: Leveraging Economic Growth for Collective Prosperity” at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here.

Stating that while western nations are reducing their engagement in Afghanistan, India is preparing for an enhanced role in that country, Prof Sachdeva added that this enhanced role was based on the assessment that international support to Afghanistan will continue much beyond 2014 and there was little scope for any ‘negotiated settlement’ in the near future.

In his presentation on “Making Sense of Afghanistan and the Countdown to 2014”, Dr Satyabrat Sinha from Presidency College, Kolkata, highlighted the current situation in Afghanistan and the challenges and issues of concerns it faced.

He said that post-2014 Afghanistan, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan was expected to endure, but the nature of India’s commitment would change.

Discussing Indian, Russian, Chinese and Pakistani concerns in Afghanistan, he emphasised that the countdown to 2014 worried regional as well as global players and offered the opportunity to work together if they could overcome the lack of trust 
and the classic security dilemma.

Prof Imtiaz Ahmed from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, talked about countering security threats in South Asia. He expressed concern over the increasing dominance 
of statist approach in 
South Asia.

He said that states had used their Orwellian power without taking into account the politics, culture, economy and identity of individuals. States regulated and controlled the life of individuals through 
technology, intelligence and so on.

This, he said, had led all South Asian countries to look for state identity rather than finding any South Asian identity which could bind its people.

In his valedictory address, former foreign secretary Salman Haider said that India must realise it’s responsibilities of cooperating with its neighbours and conversely, India’s rise in the region must not be viewed as a threat by other countries of the region.

He emphasised that security of the region must not be confined to arms, terrorism, etc. but must also focus on broader perspectives. Security deliberations must be comprehensive, focusing on geopolitical, developmental, economic and other environmental issues, he added.



Chandigarh scan
BJP nominates national executive member

Satya Pal Jain, former MP of the city has been nominated as a member of the National Executive Committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party for the 5th term consecutively. His name was included in the list of the party’s National Executive Committee, released by Raj Nath Singh, National President of the BJP. Jain has been the Prabhari of UttraKhand and Himachal Pradesh units of the BJP. He has also been the in charge of the legal cell of the BJP for the last six years.

Drawing competition

Children take part in a drawing competition in the Khuda Lahora Colony on Sunday.
Children take part in a drawing competition in the Khuda Lahora Colony on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari 

More than 300 school children between the age group of 5 to 15 displayed their creativity on paper as they took part in a drawing competition, on the theme of 'Nurture Nature' at Khuda Lahora Colony, today morning. The contest was organised by the Aazaad Foundation in association with Saurabh Joshi, the councillor of ward no 2, to generate awareness about the climate change. Anxious parents flocked around, as the participants got ready to display their drawing and slogan-writing skills. The children were divided into four categories on the basis of their grade (class). Saurabh Joshi said the contest was an attempt to awaken young minds to the importance of conserving the environment. "It is important to catch them young for a healthy future." Addressing the enthusiastic little artists, Amrit Sagar said, "Every child has talent, he only needs the right environment for it to blossom."

Eye check-up camp

The seventh eye operation and check-up camp was held by Gyan Chand Gupta, chairman of the Ashwin Gupta Memorial Educational, Sports and Charitable Trust, in the memory of late Ashwin Gupta at Aggarwal Bhawan, Sector 16, Panchkula. The registration commenced at 8.30 am while the camp was started at 11.00 am. Madan Mohan Mittal, Punjab Health Minister, presided over the function. Gupta stated that all the patients were checked freely. He further stated that the operation of the patients, their lodging, boarding, medicines & spectacle was provided by the trust.

Athletics meet

The House Owners Welfare Society, Phase 5, organised its 11th children athletic meet near the civil dispensary here. As many as 150 children in the age group of 6 to12 years of age, participated in the meet. The children participated in the 50m, 75m, 100m races, skipping races, spoon race, musical chair. Balljit Singh Kumbhra, coordinator, National Minorities Commission Educational Institutions, was the chief guest. Dr Manohar Lal of the government dispensary in Phase 5 and Dr Seema Vahist, in charge of the homeopathic dispensary in Phase 5, were the guest of honour. The chief guest and guest of honour gave away prizes and certificates to the winners .



Resentment among Art College staff
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Replacing awards instituted in the names of prominent artists and art connoisseurs with the names of other artists, which were given during the annual art exhibition, has led to resentment among teachers of the Government College of Art, Sector 10. Three awards conferred in the names of artists, which were started over two decades ago, have been withdrawn and replaced by the college in the names of three other personalities.

Total eight awards were given to students during the 48th Annual Art Exhibition, which was inaugurated on March 8. Works of art executed around the year by students of the college are put on display during the annual art exhibition. Awards for outstanding performance, creative approach and artistic vision are given in the memory of prominent artists and art connoisseurs annually. These awards were introduced in 1990 by the college to encourage the budding artist and provide the right kind of professional and intellectual environment to the students.

DS Kapoor, a former principal of the college and presently, Dean, State Institute of Fine Arts, Rohtak, who has also given a representation regarding this to the UT Administration, said the college had discontinued the Amrita Sher-Gill Award.

“This award was given to a student of painting discipline for the best exhibit during the art exhibition. She was an eminent Indian painter, and today she is considered as an important woman painter of the 20th Century in the country,” Kapoor said.

Kapoor said it was like playing with the cultural heritage of the institution.

The second award was in the name of MS Randhawa. This award was given to a student of graphics discipline for the best exhibit during the art exhibition.

“A passionate art lover, his contribution in reestablishing and development of the Government College of Art in Chandigarh can never be forgotten and replacing the award is not appreciable,” said a faculty member of the college.

Another award in the name of Sujan Singh was also discounted during the annual exhibition. This award is given to a student of foundation course for the best exhibit during the exhibition.

Prem Singh, another former principal of the college, said instituting more awards in the names of artists were welcome. However, the awards already in place on the names of prominent artists should not be withdrawn.

“These were the people whose works were an inspiration for every artist and the awards should continue in their names,” he said.

Despite repeated attempts, Manohar Lal, principal of the college, could not be contacted for comments.

The Amrita Sher-Gill Award has been replaced with the Satish Gujral Award; the MS Randhawa Award has been replaced with the Jagmohan Chopra Award, while the Sujan Singh Award has been replaced with the Sohan Kadri Award. 

Instituting more awards in the names of artists were welcome. However, the awards already in place on the names of prominent artists should not be withdrawn.
— Prem Singh, former principal, Government College of Art, Sector 10 



NCERT books take a hit as private publishers thrive
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
With attractive cover, colourful pictures and descriptive matter, books of private publishers have almost wiped out NCERT books from school bags, especially in the elementary classes.

The sale of books for the next academic session is rampant in the city. As surveyed by The Tribune, books by private publishers rule the roost from class I to class VIII.

As per information, the market is flooded with more than 500 publishers today and what has made the matter complex is the way different schools are opting for different publishers, thereby tossing up the uniformity of the syllabus.

“This is the biggest affect of the rise of publishing industry that books and syllabus of one school is different from that of another,” said Rakesh Sachdeva, city-based CBSE counsellor.

Although NCERT books are made mandatory for schools from class VI onwards, there is hardly any school that is following these directions in totality.

Rajinder Kaur, a parent from Sector 26, said the schools were referring NCERT books only from class IX onwards.

Schools on the other hand have their own reasons to choose private publishers.

Lalita Parkash, director of Ashiana Public school, Sector 46, said: “Content is good in NCERT books. Although they come up with lots of mistakes, we don’t mind using them. But, the biggest issue with them is that students don’t get these books on time”.

“Last year, we had to change one book for class VIII, as it was not available even in the beginning of the session,” she said.

Geetika Sethi, principal of The British School, Panchkula, said: “They diligently follow NCERT books for class IX and class X but not for other classes because the books of private publishers are in proper format and incorporate the changes proposed by the CBSE”.

As far as private publishers are concerned, they are trying to outdo each other by bringing out books with attractive cover, bigger page size, etc.

“The competition has become tough in the past two-three years. Due to which, every publisher is trying its level best to impress schools with different tactics,” said a marketing executive of a Delhi-based private publishing company.

The NCERT on the other hand is not keeping up with the pace. A local distributor said the CBSE in the recent past had introduced several features in the overall curriculum of schools.

“This is where private publishers manage to affect the sale of NCERT books. Books of private publishers are up-to-date editions as per the CBSE pattern. But on the other hand, the NCERT is revising the same old editions,” he said.

“Books on moral sciences, value education, general knowledge, English writing and drawing are also not published by the NCERT. They need to keep pace with the present-day changes,” said a teacher.

However, a senior government official said NCERT books have got almost all updates what pivate publishers were offering.



Degrees conferred on 600 students

Ropar, March 31
Over 600 graduate and postgraduate students were awarded degrees at the annual convocation of Rayat Bahra, Ropar campus, here yesterday. Sameer Goel, senior manager, Infosys Technologies, delivered the convocation address and congratulated the students.

The students were awarded degrees in BTech, MTech, MBA, BBA, BCA, BPharma and MPharma.

Sunita Singh, co-founder and director, National Entrepreneurship Network, honoured the meritorious students. — TNS



Poor show by city students in CBSE assessment test
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Stop rote learning in schools now! This saying has again been reaffirmed after the city students delivered a poor performance in the recent “Problem Solving Assessment” (PSA) test of the Central Board of School Education (CBSE).

The test, which was held for the first time in February this year for class IX students, was aimed at assessing the students’ comprehending ability to process and interpret the “bookish” knowledge as also their on-the-spot decision-making skills.

However, if the result gives any indication, both government as well as private school students faltered in their reasoning and application skills in the test.

In comparison to private schools, government schools had rather dismal performance. Out of approximately 6,000 class IX government school students, over 80 per cent scored an average 30 per cent marks. Many students also scored between 10 per cent and 15 per cent marks.

The average figure was found somewhere between 50 per cent and 60 per cent in private schools, which had about nearly 4,000 class IX students appearing for the test. The test, which would be counted towards formative Assessment 4 (FA 4) component, evaluated the students’ performance out of the 10-point scale.

“The result shows that the schools now really need to reconstruct their approach towards teaching methodology. It can’t only be rote learning now,” said Kavita Das, principal of St John’s High school, whose students scored an average of 60 per cent marks. She said: “This test was all about the application of knowledge gathered from the books. I am hopeful students will do well next year.”

A government school head said the students were clueless about the test, since it happened for the first time.

“The format of the paper and the questions asked were different from what we generally study in the class,” said Abhishek, a student.

As it is learnt, the test was held in respective schools, but its evaluation was done by the CBSE.

Problem  Solving Assessment

Three Papers

PSA comprised of three papers - quantitative reasoning, qualitative reasoning and language conventions. Qualitative domain of PSA was based on humanities, arts and social sciences, while quantitative domain was based on mathematics and science reasoning. In language conventions, skills were tested both in Hindi and English subjects. 

Calculation of marks

PSA comprised of 60 questions of 90 marks. If a student got 40 out of 90, then its 10 per cent i.e., 4.4 out of 10-point scale (divided by 9) that would be reflected in overall grades. 

Class XI result still awaited

This test was also held for class XI students but the result is yet to be announced. 



Dept's decision to charge fee from girl students of classes IX-XII opposed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 31
 “The Education Department's decision to charge fee from girl students studying in classes IX-XII from the new academic session will be nothing less than a blow to the less privileged families here,” said the Government Teachers Union here today.

Flaying the decision, Karnail Singh Sandhu, state president of the union, said with this decision thousands of poor girl students would be left with no other option but to leave their studies midway.

“Now, girl students in the senior classes will have to pay between Rs 600 and Rs 780 per annum in addition to the computer fee and experiment funds,” said Sandhu.

He said with this decision, the government was running away from its promise made in the election manifesto to provide free school education to girl students of the state just after one year.

According to the recent decision by the Education Department, the fee of girl students would be on a par with the boys.

While demanding the state government to take back the decision immediately, the union said the government should check the lavish expenditure on security arrangements and other facilities to ministers, parliamentary secretaries and bureaucrats.

“If the government will not revert the decision with immediate effect, we will launch a statewide mass movement with the help of the people,” said union members.



Class IX students jittery
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The poor performance in the PSA test has left class IX students jittery. The fact that the same score of the PSA test will be carried in the Formative Assessment-4 (FA-4) of class X also, the students apprehend that it could affect their overall CGPA in the board exams.

Rihan, a class IX student, said: “I did not perform well this time. I am bit tensed because the same scores will be carried for my class X assessment in FA-4.”

CBSE officials said: “Students need not to worry since they will have the option to improve their PSA score in class X”.

“If applied for improvement, the students can sit for the test in the next 2013-14 session and it will be the best score that will be reflected in the final grades of class X,” said an official.

Rakesh Sachdeva, CBSE counsellor, and principal of DAV, Sector 15, said there was no doubt that PSA was designed to improve generic and higher-order thinking skills, but the marks obtained in the PSA test should not affect the academic performance of students. The board should give a separate PSA grade to the students.

Another principal said since the board had not provided any separate timetable or periods for teaching or practice of PSA in schools, it made difficult for them to prepare the students for the test. Moreover, there was no specific syllabus for it.



Over 300 NIPER students take out silent march
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 31
Continuing their protest, students of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) held a march here today morning.

Around 300 students, wearing a mouth gag, started their march from the institute, and passing over the main road they reached Fortis Hospital.

"The march was held to press for our demands. We wanted to know the reasons behind sacking two professors. Besides, there are several other issues related to the students that need immediate address,” said the students.

This is the fourth day of the students’ protest. The problem started on Thursday evening when the management of the institute sacked Professor Prikshit Bansal, following which the students had come out of their hostel rooms and sat on a dharna in front of the main entrance of the institute.

The students of the institute have also formed a 10-member committee to discuss the things with the management.

The committee had also prepared a list of their long-pending issues, which would be discussed with the management tomorrow, said a member of the committee.



Online submission of applications on at full swing

Chandigarh, March 31
Online submission of applications for the fourth edition of the Central Teachers’ Eligibility Test (CTET) is going on at full swing. The exam is scheduled this year on July 28. The CBSE has made online submission mandatory for all applicants.

As per information, the last date to submit online applications is April 16.

After successful online registration, candidates are required to take a printout of the computer-generated confirmation page having registration number on it and send the same to the CBSE office in New Delhi. The last date of submitting the confirmation page to the CBSE office is April 22.

Thousands of students from the Chandigarh region appeared for this exam on the last three occasions. As far as passing percentage is concerned, it has remained poor so far. More than 92 per cent teachers flunked the exam in the second edition, while its maiden exam in 2011 saw more than 85 per cent teachers failing to clear the exam. The result was more or less same last year, too.

The CTET, as it learnt, is mandatory for any teacher who wants to join a government-aided CBSE school and applicable to schools run by the Centre such as Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and those managed by the administration of Union Territories.

Recently, Chandigarh considered only CTET candidates for the appointment of its contractual TGTs and JBTs.

A CBSE official said they were expecting good response of applicants. Last exam had seen 20 per cent rise in applications.

The candidates can check their application status on June 15. Online corrections in particulars were allowed from June 16 to June 27. — TNS

Central Teachers’  Eligibility Test

Tips For candidates

  • Candidate must ensure before dispatching the confirmation page that he/she has signed the confirmation page at the specified place along with his recent passport size photograph.
  • The confirmation page will be rejected if it is not sent through registered/speed post



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