C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sec 47 mid-day meal centre shut down
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The UT Education Department today shut down the Sector 47-based centralised mid-day meal centre on a permanent basis. The centre, which was responsible for cooking and delivering mid-day meals to over 13,000 students, was found wanting in hygiene and lacked proper arrangements for cooking and storage.

Mid-day meal being cooked in a dingy room at the GMSSS, Sector 47, Chandigarh.
Mid-day meal being cooked in a dingy room at the GMSSS, Sector 47, Chandigarh. A file photo

In July this year, Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the pathetic conditions in which the mid-day meal was being cooked for students.

The mid-day meal centre, run by a private contractor, was being run from four dingy classrooms at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 47. Two of the rooms had no ventilation. There was a demand for the past many years to either close it down or shift it to a hygienic location.

UT Education Secretary VK Singh said the centre was creating problems in the smooth implementation of the central mid-day meal scheme. “In view of a number of complaints against the centre, we have decided to shut it down. Its load will now be shifted to the other three centres looking after the mid-day meal scheme in Chandigarh," he said.

Chandigarh has a centralised system for cooking and delivering mid-day meals to government schools.

Earlier, four central mid-day centres -- the Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, Shivalikview Hotel, Sector 17, and the Sector 47-based outlet -- were responsible for preparing mid-day meals for over 70,000 eligible government students in the city every day.

With the Sector 47 outlet having been shut down, an official said the load of this centre had equally been shifted to the remaining three centres.

A mid-day meal supervisor said these three centres had a good infrastructure to cater to the additional load.

“These days, the mid-day supply is erratic because mid-terms exams are under way in government schools. The exact load of each of these three centres will be known only after the exams (from October 1 onwards),” he said.

Meanwhile, the Education Department is also focusing on decentralising the mid-day meal scheme by opening up separate school-based mid-day meal kitchens in government schools. So far, school-based kitchens are in operation in seven government schools. Three more kitchens are under construction. 



Families battle hard to cope with rising inflation
With price rise taking a toll on household budgets, city residents have been forced to plan for festivals and family functions months in advance while the once humble onion has vanished from their salad plates, reports Ritika Jha Palial 

Chandigarh: There were days when a single-earning hand in a family would manage the expenses of the entire family, while taking up a job was a matter of choice for women. However, the rising inflation has made it more of a necessity for various households in the city to have other members of the family also earn. From the cost of vegetables to that of fuel, price rise has hit the monthly budget of families. Onion has vanished from the salad portion in meals.

Chandigarh Tribune spoke to a few families in the city to know how they have been impacted by the price rise.

Sandeep Kumar Sharma, a city resident, runs a family of five. His father has retired, but his mother has a government job. His wife cannot work for a few years as she needs to look after their three-year-old son.

“We have always been very calculative in our expenses. With both my mother and I earning well, our total monthly income is close to Rs 60,000. Yet, we sometimes find it insufficient,” said Sandeep.

“The cost of vegetables has almost doubled. Earlier, we used to purchase vegetables for the entire week for Rs 500. Now, the cost of onion, garlic and tomato has risen sharply. As far as fruits are concerned, we have to think and plan,” he said.

“Yearly increments hardly mean anything now. There is an equivalent rise in the cost of living. It is just that the cost of living is being somehow balanced out with the increase in income. Forget about huge savings,” Sandeep said.

“For festivals and family functions, we now have to plan months in advance to ensure that our basic budget does not get affected. Suppose we have to attend two weddings in a month; we have to make a choice between the two. You cannot compromise on gifts when you attend a wedding,” Sandeep said.

Earlier, Sandeep used to go home for lunch and spend some time with the family. However, the increase in the fuel prices has forced him to cut down on travel expenses.

Rihana runs a family of five. She, along with her husband and their three children, lives in a rented accommodation in Sector 20.

“I am forced to cut down on my children’s expenses. I ask them not to travel much or share vehicles with friends to save on fuel,” she said.

“When we go out, we plan our route well so that we don't have to travel even 1 km extra to save on fuel.”

“In salads, we have stopped serving onions. Cereals and pulses turn out to be much cheaper and cost-effective. I preferably prepare these and have cut down on vegetable consumption. Basically, we have reduced the consumption of onions,” Rihana said.

Gurcharan Singh, a retired PGI technologist, lives with his wife in Sector 44. Having witnessed the times when onion was priced at Rs 9 a kg (in the early 90s), he is awed by the current cost of vegetables.

“The increasing prices of even basic necessities has made life tough; thinking of any luxury has become a dream now. Inflation is burning a hole in the common man's pocket and days are not far when people having limited sources of income will have to think twice before spending on even the basic necessities,” he said.

(with inputs from Rajinder Nagarkoti)

Gurcharan Singh (64), Gurcharan Singh (64), 
a retired PGI technologist and resident of Sector 44-B 

Total income: Rs 35,000 (pension and rent)
Household expenses
Ration, milk and vegetables: Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per month
Monthly phone bill: Rs 1,500
Savings: Rs 5,000 per month
Fuel expenses: Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000
Expenses on electricity and water: Rs 500 to Rs 1,000
Unexpected expenses: Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000
Sandeep Kumar Sharma Sandeep Kumar Sharma (42), 
works in a foreign currency exchange centre

Total family income: Rs 60,000
Household expenses
Ration: Rs8,000 per month
Milk: Rs 3,500 per month
Vegetables: Rs1,000 per week
Individual expenses: Rs1,500 to 2,000 per head (including phone bills, others)
Savings: Rs 10,000 per month
Fuel expenses on two cars: Rs15,000 to Rs20,000 per month
Medicines, health: Rs 5,000 to 7,000 per month
Expenses on water and electricity: Rs 5,000 to 6,000 bimonthly
Unexpected expenses: Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 
Child’s education: Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000 a month
Rihana (50), 

Total family income: Rs 25,000 to Rs30,000 
Household expenses
Ration: Rs5,000 per month
Milk: Rs 2,000 per month
Vegetables: Rs 500 per week
Savings: Not regular 
Fuel expenses on two cars: Rs 5,000 per month
Medicines, health: Rs 1,500 (once in two months)
Expenses on water and electricity: Rs 1,500 bimonthly
Unexpected expenses: Rs5,000 
Child’s education: Rs 1,000 a month (government school)
Rent : Rs 7,000 



Property Fraud
Four years on, DC dismisses junior asst
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Four years after a case of fraud pertaining to the sale of an NRI's prime commercial property on forged documents, allegedly involving a former Assistant Estate Officer (AEO) and other officials of the UT estate office, came to light, DC Mohammed Shayin today dismissed a junior assistant from service.

The property, an SCF in Sector 20, was sold without the knowledge of NRI Tara Singh by his attorney Harnek Singh. Apart from the assistant, Narinder Kumar, the name of then Assistant Estate Officer Ashwani Kumar, an HCS-cadre officer, and Superintendent Sant Ram, had also surfaced during a probe conducted by the Administration in 2009. The UT Vigilance Department had registered a case.

While the then UT Estate Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, RK Rao, had suspended the superintendent and the junior assistant, the case of Ashwani Kumar was referred to his parent state for suitable action.

Investigation revealed that the general power of attorney (GPA) was tampered with in connivance with officials of the estate office.

The disciplinary proceedings under the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970, were initiated in March 2011.

The NRI sensed the fraud when he sold the property to Jaswant Singh.

Strangely, the then AEO, on being asked by the Estate Officer to put up a note and explain the entire position, proposed that the superintendent and the dealing assistant may be warned to be careful in the future,” it has been pointed out in the proceedings. The then Estate Officer approved the same on the said note itself and the then AEO at his own level issued the warning letter to the superintendent and the dealing assistant while escaping his own role and responsibility.

“In fact, the said process was simply a well-calculated move to save the skin of all concerned by a person who himself was involved in the issuance of the NOC”, the DC has concluded. 



Thieves strike at former minister Sekhwan’s house
 Decamp with LED, LCD, laptop
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 23
After a theft at Punjab Education Minister Sikandar Singh Maluka’s residence in Sector 39, Chandigarh, last week, miscreants targeted the residence of Maluka’s predecessor Sewa Singh Sekhwan at Sector 71 here.

Sewa Singh Sekhwan, former Education Minister, Punjab, looks at the CCTV footage after a theft at his house in Sector 71, Mohali, on Monday
Sewa Singh Sekhwan, former Education Minister, Punjab, looks at the CCTV footage after a theft at his house in Sector 71, Mohali, on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

The thieves, believed to be two, broke open the locks of Sekhwan's house and decamped with an LED, an LCD and a laptop. The house is used by Sekhwan for his stay occasionally. Sekhwan was away to Gurdaspur at the time of the incident.

Area DSP Rajinder Singh Sohal, who went to the spot, said the matter came to light when Sekhwan returned this morning. “He had left the house on September 21. CCTV footage showed two thieves with their faces covered entering the house after breaking open the locks of the main door of the house last night. As there wasn't much in the house, they took away an LCD, an LED and a laptop from there,” said DSP Sohal, adding that the thieves had also switched off one of the CCTV cameras.

The police has summoned a CFSL team to lift fingerprints and other evidence from the spot. A dog squad has also been called.

Inspector Navinpal Singh Lehal, SHO of the Mataur police station, said a case had been registered.



30-yr-old shopkeeper robbed, sodomised; two arrested
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 23
Two miscreants allegedly sodomised a 30-year-old shopkeeper after robbing him at Nagal village in Chandimandir last night. The victim, a scrap dealer, was sodomised after he refused to part with money. His brother was also present in the shop, but was not targeted by the robbers.
One of the accused, Bunty, being produced in a court in Panchkula on Monday.
One of the accused, Bunty, being produced in a court in Panchkula on Monday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

The police has arrested the two miscreants, Bunty and Laadi. They were produced in court today.

Bunty is a notorious criminal who was out on bail in a robbery case that took place in Panchkula in January.

The SHO of the Chandimandir police station, Inspector Arvind, said a medical examination of the victims had confirmed the crime. The police had registered a case under Sections 392 (robbery), 377(sodomy) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

"Both accused were under the influence of drugs when they committed the crime. After forcing their entry into the shop, they first threatened him at knifepoint and then snatched Rs 10, 000 from him," said Arvind.

He said, "As the shopkeeper tried to resist the robbery bid, in a fit of rage, the two violated him repeatedly and then fled with the cash."

The victim raised the alarm following which people gathered at the spot and informed the Ramgarh police. The victim was taken to the General Hospital.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashwin Shenvi said one of the two accused, Bunty, had a criminal past.



Independent councillor hits out at Mayor over ‘interference’
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Mayor Subhash Chawla, who was earlier targeted not only by the Opposition but Congress councillors as well, this time faced the anger of an Independent councillor. Heated arguments were witnessed between Independent councillor Gurcharan Dass Kala and the Mayor in the Deputy Mayor’s room when Kala alleged that the Mayor was playing politics by interfering in his ward.

Finally, other councillors of the Congress and the BJP, who were also present in the Deputy Mayor’s room, pacified Kala.

Upset over the alleged interference by the Mayor in his ward, Kala, who represents Mani Majra, alleged that on Sunday during a function in Mani Majra, the Mayor inaugurated a suggestion box in his ward and also announced that a "darbar" would be held in Mani Majra to solve prople's problems.

Kala asked why the Mayor was not concerned about the problems in his own ward, Dhanas and Sector 25. He wanted to know why he was not holding a darbar in the wards of Congress councillors and why he was not installing suggestion boxes in Chandigarh. He said he supported the Mayor throughout the year, but in the end, the Mayor played politics with him.

On the other hand, the Mayor said an NGO and the Beopar Mandal of Mani Majra had invited him. They had installed a number of suggestion boxes related to different departments and had requested him to inaugurate a box related to the MC. However, when people started highlighting their problems, he had stated that he would take up these problems only with the area councillor. There was a communication gap between Kala and him, he said.

Cong councillor Aggarwal questions ‘secret tour’

At Monday's house meeting, Congress councillor Sat Parkash Aggarwal raised a question that before leaving for the Mumbai tour, the Mayor did not consult other councillors. However, the Mayor said it was not a secret tour and he had discussed the project with officials and some councillors.

Earlier 'attacks' on Mayor

* At a recent meeting of the House, Congress councillor Sat Parkash Aggarwal had questioned the Mayor’s style of functioning

* Congress councillor Mukesh Bassi had written two letters to Subhash Chawla, alleging the Mayor's interference in his ward

* Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra had not attended a programme of the Rose Festival, which was organised in his ward, since his name was missing from the invitation card


gmch sector 32
Chemist shop lying closed for 5 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Patients at Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, continue to face difficulty in finding a chemist shop closer to the emergency, while authorities seem to be totally ignorant of it.

The chemist shop near the emergency has been lying closed for past five months now forcing patients to shuttle between different buildings to find chemists in Block A.

The patients in Block C, staying either in the private room or need to undergo surgeries are forced to walk up to the distant block for finding medicines and surgical items.

A patient, for instance, who has undergone a surgery in the Operation Theatre Complex in C-Block, has to shuttle between Block A and C for purchasing the bandages and medicines required ahead of the surgery. The two blocks are located two extremes of the hospital building.

Authorities, meanwhile, said the price bid will be opening shortly for the shop as tenders quotations have already been received from different bidders.

At present, there are a total of three medical stores at the hospital, all located inside the A-Block. These include two private chemist shops and a Janaushadi Centre. 



Inconsolable Shefali bids adieu to family 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 23
It is like the end of the world for a 24-year-old girl, Shefali, who lost her entire family in an accident that took place in Yamunanagar yesterday. Shefali was in an inconsolable condition. She is working in a private firm in Mumbai and returned home to bid a final adieu to her family. Shefali had returned from Canada a few months back after completing her studies.
Shefali (extreme right) with her family
Shefali (extreme right) with her family. A file photo

"She is left all alone now. Since, Shefali had to go to Canada for her studies; she always felt that she is not spending much time with her family. Now, that she was back, she always wanted to spend more time with her family, so she used to come over on weekends," said a relative.

It was yesterday when in a tragic incident occurred in which three persons of a Panchkula-based family were killed after their car accidentally fell into the hydel link channel in Yamunanagar. The bodies were fished out by a team of divers in a five-hour-long operation.

The victims, residents of Sector 8, Panchkula, identified as Ashok Joshi (55), his wife Shalini Joshi (50) and daughter Somya Joshi (25) were on their way to Panchkula from Hathnikund Barrage when the incident took place. 



Experts deliberate on benefits of probiotics

Chandigarh, September 23
A seminar on "Probiotics and Human Health" was held at the Department of Microbiology, Panjab University, today. It was a UGC-SAP sponsored seminar.

Experts discussed consumption and beneficial effects of probiotics, including enhanced immune response, balancing of colonic microbiota, vaccine adjuvant effect, reduction of faecal enzymes implicated in cancer initiation, treatment of diarrhoea associated with antibiotic therapy, Clostridium difficile induced colitis and preventionof ulcers related to helicobacter pylori.

The experts discussed that the probiotics are also implicated in the reduction of serum cholesterol, the antagonism against food borne pathogens and tooth decay organisms, and amelioration of lactose malabsorption symptoms.

In his talk National Agri Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Mohali, Dr Hariom Yadav said: "There is a correlation between gut microflora and obesity, diabetes."—TNS



ICCW staff hold protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
A massive protest was held by the employees of the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) today against the non-fulfilment of their demands by the UT Social Welfare Department.

General secretary of the Indian Council for Child Welfare Employees Union Bihari Lal said since 1998, the DA of the staff has not been revised by the authorities. He said at present, the employees of the ICCW were only getting 9 per cent DA whereas the UT Administration employees got 72 per cent DA. In fact, the arrears of the revised pay scale approved in 2011 have not been implemented by the authorities, causing great resentment among the staff.

The employees stated that the demand to regularise the contractual staff was raised as there was a shortage of staff in crèches. The records of the department revealed that as many as 15 posts of teacher and 16 posts of helper in the crèches had been lying vacant for the past two years. But, the department has taken no action to fill them even though a number of requests and meetings have been held. There has been no recruitment of staff for the past two years.

The authorities have violated the rules and regulations by revising the retirement age of the class IV employees of the ICCW from 60 to 58 years. The retirement age for class IV employees is 60 years in the country. A number of representations have been made in this regard, but no action has been taken by the head of the department.

President of the employees' union Rekha Sharma said a meeting was held with the Director, Social Welfare Department, on April 9, 2013. The Director assured the union that the demands of the staff would be executed in a time-bound manner. But, the the authorities have failed take any action on their demands, due to which the employees have to take the path of agitation. She said if the authorities failed to take any action on their demands, then the staff would go on two-day strike on October 29 and 30.



PGIMER's psychiatry dept celebrates golden jubilee 

Chandigarh, September 23
The Department of Psychiatry, PGIMER, Chandigarh, continued its celebration of the golden jubilee of the Department with the Silver Jubilee of the Drug De-addiction and Treatment Centre (DDTC) on the second day on Monday.

An International CME on "The Journey from Madness to Mental Health: The Next Fifty Years of Psychiatry" was held in the Lecture Theatre-I of the PGIMER. It was a proud moment for everyone present who was a part to the Department in its journey of 50 glorious years. Esteemed psychiatrist and former head of the department, Prof VK Varma delivered a riveting lecture on remodelling postgraduate psychiatric training in India for the future. The Manoved Digest, the first and only Hindi quarterly dedicated to the issues of mental health also gave away its annual awards for the contributions in mental health. Swadesh Deepak, the renowned writer was given the 'Manoved Prerna Samman' for his courage to share his sufferings in his book "Maine Mandu Nahin Dekha". Professors NN Wig and VK Varma were honoured with the "Manoved Samarpan Samman" for their dedicated service and leadership in the field of psychiatry. The Department of Psychiatry, PGIMER was awarded the "Manoved Seva samman".—TNS



Stamp duty evaders under scanner
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 23
Trouble is in store for those who indulged in large-scale stamp duty evasion while registering property last year. Two world-class firms are now scrutinising the sale deeds registered in 2012-13 in Mohali district to audit the property registration process and detect the loss of revenue.

Sources say the Punjab Government has hired the services of the two top firms to cover five districts which will cost the exchequer about Rs 6 crore.

According to a letter of the Special Secretary, Revenue, the project to assess and survey the sale deeds has been initiated by the Department of Revenue, Punjab, which has selected PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and KPMG to scrutinise the sale deeds at Mohali , Dera Bassi, Majri and Kharar. The well-known firms will also survey the sale deeds at the sub-registrar offices in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala districts.

While PwC will check the sale deeds at the sub-registrar offices of Mohali , Dera Bassi and Majri, KPMG will cover Kharar.

Under the project, the Additional Deputy Commissioners of the districts concerned will be the nodal officers or single point of contact at the district level.

Government employees here are unhappy with the project and are describing it as a mere "fault-finding" exercise which will achieve no worthwhile results. Reports indicate that officials who may have been involved in wrongdoing may not fully cooperate with the staff of the two companies in the work. Sources say the companies have been allowed by the government to hire retired revenue officials for the job.

In Mohali, the project has been rolling for more than a month. The office records are being scanned to prepare CDs, but no original records are allowed to be taken out of the government offices. The deadline for completing the job in this district is December-end.

Sources say the implementation of the project will be stagewise : document scanning and pre-assessment from April 1 , 2012 to March 31, 2013; field surveys; and desk verification. The three stages will be followed by the final assessment.

Interestingly, the field survey team will visit the spot to check whether the records match with the physical and other details of the property in question.

Sources further say under the project the government plans to determine whether the right property registration process has been followed as laid down under various laws and rules . The aims are also to determine the leakage/loss of stamp duty and improve the registration process. 



Skin disorders among girls on rise due to consumption of liquor, say experts
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 23
Several cases of skin disorder in teenage girls due to consumption of liquor are coming up at various skin hospitals in Panchkula. As many as 60 cases of Roscea, Psoriasis, Telogen Effluvium, Urticaria in girls between the age group of 14-19 which the doctors have detected is due to the consumption of liquor.

Last year 1,154 patients had reported skin disorders due to alcohol consumption while till now 2,800 patients have come up with the aggravation of their skin disease out of which 1,043 are young girls.

"Severe redness and papulo-nodular lesions on their faces were the signs of the disease Rosacea. Whenever a patient consumes alcohol the vessels tend to dilate but the essential elastic and collagen fibres in the dermal layer of facial skin prevent them from over dilating thus limiting the blood supply to the face but in Rosacea, these essential elastic and collagen fibres get damaged. The resultant over dilatation of cutaneous vessels supplying the facial skin results in Redness and Rosacea," said Dr Vikas Sharma, chief dermatologist at the National Skin hospital, MDC Sector 5, Panchkula, who received 15 cases this week.

Rajeev Singla, a Sector 15-based dermatologist said, "There has been a considerable rise in such cases. One should strictly avoid the use of alcohol. At it is very harmful."



Protesters tie stray cattle in parking area outside Mohali DC's office
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 23
High drama was witnessed outside the Mohali Deputy Commissioner's office today when the members of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Suraksha Samiti tied over 30 stray cattle in the parking area in front of the office.

The incident occurred in the afternoon, when the members of the organization, led by its president Ramesh sutt, reached the site with the stray cattle and tied them in the parking area in front of the office.

They were protesting against the indifferent attitude of the administration towards stray cattle.

"The administration is doing nothing for these animals. These cattle are being lifted by the smugglers and then slaughtered to earn quick bucks," alleged Dutt.

While demanding proper arrangements for these cows in gaushalas, the members submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu.

Notably, some of the members had caught four persons two days ago, who were taking away 10 cows in a truck at Sector 52. The police later arrested the miscreants later after registering a case against them.



Gian Jyoti Institute signs MoU with SHRM (India)
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 23
Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology (GJIMT) here has signed an MoU with SHRM (India), an offshoot of SHRM (USA), to bring top industry professionals to the campus for student training.

According to Director, SHRM, Rashmi Bhargava, this initiative has been extended for the first time in North India.

JS Bedi, Chairman, GJIMT, said bridging the gap between industry and academia was his prime objective to bring industry professionals to the campus. The facilitation was made to create a platform for students to learn from people working in a real-time environment.



MC meeting or ‘friendly match’ !
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Certain BJP-SAD councillors were upset about the untimely end of the House meeting and they also said the way the meeting ended, it seemed certain BJP councillors played a friendly match with Mayor Subhash Chawla and helped him end the meeting without any discussion on the agendas of their wards.

A councillor said earlier it was decided that questions by councillors and some table agendas would be taken later in the meeting but in the end, the meeting ended suddenly. It was only with the help of some BJP councillors that the Mayor finished the meeting.

SAD councillor Malkiat Singh said there was some conspiracy to block his agenda of encroachment on government land.

Echoing similar views, BJP councillor Heera Negi said when two agendas related to the community centres were discussed, why was her agenda to allow religious functions not taken up for discussion?

Village house tax agenda rejected

The councillors of all the parties rejected the agenda of imposition of commercial property tax on five villages namely Hallo Majra, Kajheri, Palsora, Maloya and Dadu Majra. Councillors demanded that first basic facilities should be provided to the residents of these villages of Chandigarh and then the authorities should impose commercial property tax on the villagers. 


* House reduced the membership charges of the community centres falling in villages and colonies by 50 per cent for members and senior citizens. Now, members will have to pay Rs 500 per annum and senior citizens will have to pay Rs 250 per annum.

* Agenda for the installation of 10 tube wells across the city to meet water shortage approved.

* During the last House meeting, it was decided that only those table agendas will be placed which are emergent in nature but on Monday, the agendas of road repair were tabled and passed as well.

* Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga raised questions on the pattern adopted by MC officials for calling tenders for various projects 



MC double standards exposed during House meeting
 Mumbai tour report placed while Nagpur report gathers dust
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
It seems that the MC adopts double standard when it comes to implementing study tour proposals put forward by two Congress Mayors, Raj Bala Malik and Subhash Chawla, on the same point of garbage disposal in the city.

Subhash ChawlaA report by the six-member committee on the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) based in Nagpur about garbage treatment and disposal in the City Beautiful has been gathering dust since October last year. The report was prepared during the tenure of former Mayor Raj Bala Malik,

But, the report of the five-member committee, headed by Mayor Subhash Chawla, who visited Mumbai this month to study the installation of a bio gas plant for processing waste, was tabled in the form of an agenda for the installation of a similar plant, at the House meeting today.

Raj Bala Malik When this agenda was tabled at the House meeting today, former Mayor Raj Bala Malik said without implementing the report of the Nagpur study tour, how could the authorities finalise the Mumbai tour? She is not against the project but it would have been better had the MC placed the Nagpur report in the House meeting as well, she added.

Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga, who was also part of the Nagpur tour, said NEERI’s proposal was the first step and the bio gas plant, which was decided after the Mumbai tour, was the second step. The authorities should first deal with the garbage in the city and then think of setting up any plant, otherwise the problem of garbage disposal will remain the same, he suggested.

After the councillors' objections, MC Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh said the agenda related to the Nagpur tour would be placew in the next meeting.

Cong councillor takes a U-turn

Interestingly, a Congress councillor, who had earlier opposed Raj Bala Malik’s proposal of Nagpur tour, was part of the five-member committee, which had visited Mumbai. Former Mayor Raj Bala Malik also pointed out in the House that certain councillors had opposed the Nagpur tour. 

Why Mumbai instead of Baddi ?

BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi questioned when a similar biogas plant of one metric ton is running in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, councillors and officials should have first visited Baddi plant and then gone to Mumbai. The MC Commissioner said he would arrange a visit of all the councillors to the Baddi plant.

House approves installation of two biogas plants

After discussions, the MC approved the installation of two bio gas plants of five metric ton each to process hotel, vegetable and horticultural waste. The cost of a plant will be Rs 15-20 lakh per metric ton. The location for these plants will be decided later but officials suggested one plant should be installed at Sector 26 and the other at Sector 16, near Shanti Kunj.



Sanitation a casualty at PGI
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The PGI may boast of providing state-of-the-art health facilities, but when it comes to maintaining cleanliness in the premier institute, it has nothing much to say. The condition of toilets is such that a number of patients have complained to the PGIMER authorities over the past few months.

Repeated complaints have gone unheard. The patients have even given suggestions to the authorities, but still nothing has been done to get the toilets cleaned.

Recently, a patient complained to the PGIMER about the pathetic condition of the toilets in the gynae ward, a copy of which is with Chandigarh Tribune. Another patient wrote to the institution urging the authorities to replace the broken doors of the toilets.

A survey by Chandigarh Tribune revealed that toilets in the the orthopaedic OPD area were in a bad shape. The condition of toilets in the Emergency area was no better. Some of the toilets on the second floor of Nehru Hospital had leaking pipes.

The officials at the institution claim to have taken the complaints seriously and also imposed a heavy penalty on one of the sanitation contractors.

"Our officials conduct checks on a regular basis. Ensuring hygiene is our topmost priority," said PGI's official spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar.



Patil’s public hearing session

Chandigarh, September 23
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Shiv Raj V Patil, listened to three complaints during a public hearing session held at the UT Secretariat here today.

Gulshan Kumar said he was the successful bidder in the auction of one of the liquor vends in Sector 22 and the shop had been allocated to him in August. He had paid the licence fee for the entire financial year. He requested to condone the time and to reduce the licence fee proportionately.

The second complainant, Arun Mahajan, president, Industries Association of Chandigarh, said the development of the IT and enabled services be allowed in Industrial Area and a policy concerning the same be formulated. The Administrator said an application might be put forward by industrialists, which would be considered.

Labh Singh requested that action should be taken against a trespasser on his property. The officer concerned said the matter was sub judice. — TNS



BJP to consolidate vote bank in colonies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Local leaders, hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, could be calling the shots in shaping the turn of events in the local unit of the BJP.

Former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan, BJP president Rajnath Singh and Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon in Chandigarh on Monday.
Former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan, BJP president Rajnath Singh and Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: manoj mahajan 

Following a closed-door meeting between the BJP chief, Rajnath Singh, and senior BJP leaders, indications have emerged that factionalism plaguing the local unit of the party would be sorted out soon. The BJP chief enquired about the organisational setup in different local units of the party.

The leaders, Satya Pal Jain, a former MP from Chandigarh, Sanjay Tandon, local BJP chief, and Harmohan Dhawan, former Union Minister, are contenders for the Lok Sabha seat from Chandigarh.

Certain local leaders, who are close to Rajnath Singh, during their meeting with him, are learnt to have pointed out that the sizable vote bank in colonies across the city could tilt the victory in favour of the BJP. But, the same was being ignored by the leaders.

The in charge of the Chandigarh unit, Ajay Jamwal, has been asked to consolidate the vote bank in the colonies by roping the leaders from Bihar and UP.

It has been seen that the Congress always had the edge in the colonies. Now, the BJP would try to overcome the disadvantage by fielding a strong candidate.



Anti-encroachment drive picks up in city
 Number of challans in Chandigarh this year has exceeded 2011 figures
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The anti-encroachment drive in Chandigarh seems to be gaining momentum, once again. The revenue collected by the municipal corporation from challaning the violators had dipped by almost 1, 71,000 within a year from 2010, but is showing an upward trend again.

The number of challans this year, too, has exceeded the 2011 figures. Compared to the previous year, the number of challans is just short by 197. With more than three months to go before the year ends, the number is expected to cross the previous year’s figures. The corporation has also recommended enhancement of fine from Rs 500, and a proposal to this effect has already been submitted to the local government. A register of violators, too, is being maintained.

The MC Additional Commissioner also told the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the hearing of a petition on encroachments that it has a strong posse of inspectors and sub-inspectors to deal with the problem.

In an affidavit submitted to the High Court, the Additional Commissioner claimed the corporation had two posts of inspector and 20 posts of sub-inspector, of which 17 are for field duties. It also has 79 workers or labourers to assist the sub-inspectors in removing encroachments.

Giving details of the action against the violators, the additional commissioner said in 2010, as many as 4,236 challans were issued, resulting in a revenue of Rs 9,28,148 lakh. Next year, the number of challans fell to 3,226 and the revenue collection also dipped to Rs 7,56,620.

In 2012, some improvement was witnessed with 3,583 challans being issued and a revenue of Rs 9,21,950 generated. So far this year, the corporation has issued 3,386 challans and pocketed Rs 8,25,850.

Taking up the issue of encroachments in Sector 22, the High Court had earlier asked the MC inspectors to maintain a register of violations. The Bench had also specified that the register should contain not just the names of the violators, but also the number of times they have indulged in infringement and the nature of violations. The Bench also directed the filing of an affidavit giving details of the number of challans for the violations.

The High Court has already made clear its intentions of not only directing the removal of obstructions, but also disciplinary action against officials charged with the duty of removing the intrusions.

The petition has been filed by the Sector 22 Welfare Association. The Bench has observed they were prima facie of the view there were a large number of encroachments/obstructions in the corridors meant for shoppers visiting Sector 22-C and 22-D. As the encroachments had remained unnoticeable to the authorities concerned, they proposed to issue effective directions.

The Bench had added before doing so they would want the corporation to file an affidavit on the strength of the encroachment staff deployed in Sector 22. The MC has also been asked to give the particulars of their designations and nature of duties.

The Judges have also asked the corporation to tell whether the commissioner and the additional commissioner had ever conducted a spot inspection of the markets in the sectors to take stock of the conditions prevailing there.



Class XI
Schools not keen on legal studies
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
CBSE-affiliated private schools in the region are not very receptive to start a legal course in class XI. The CBSE introduced a legal course earlier this year to sensitise the students to the Indian legal system and invited response from private schools that wish to start this course in their schools. But, the response from the schools in Chandigarh is very negligible so far.

CBSE officials said only one school from the city had applied for starting the legal course so far.

In the region, including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and J&K, only 10 schools have applied to opt for this course.

CBSE regional officer RJ Khanderao said the response of the schools from this region was not very encouraging so far. “But, we are hopeful that more schools will turn up once the course will start from the next session,” he said.

He said the legal studies course was to be offered as an elective subject for class XI in CBSE schools. The idea was to sensitise the students to the country’s basic legal system, including the Indian Penal Code, criminal justice system and other aspect of judiciary, so that the students remain in discipline and understand their duties being the citizens of the country.

The course, it is learnt, is already been running as a pilot project in the NCR region, and it will start in schools that have applied for this course from the next session.

Compared to the CBSE’s Panchkula region, the response of other regions is very positive. More than 600 schools from across the country have already applied for this course.

In Chandigarh, however, DAV, Sector 15, is the only school to opt for this course. Rakesh Sachdeva, principal of the school, said: “It is our duty being a citizen of the country to learn about its constitution and the judicial system, and this legal course is a step forward to make our children more responsible towards our society and the country”.

“We are very much excited to start this course from the next year in the school and help our students learn the basics of our country,” she said.



Leaving course midway to cost PGI junior docs dear
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Resigning from the PGI in the middle of a course is going to cost doctors dear. The institute has increased the penalty on junior residents leaving the course midway. Every junior resident will have to pay Rs 75,000 as penalty, up from the existing Rs 50,000, on tendering resignation within six months of joining the course.

The penalty for leaving the course after two years has been increased from Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 2,25,000.

The prospectus for the session January 2014 issued on Saturday stated: “The junior residents will be on the contract service for a period of three years, and will be required to execute an agreement. Any candidate who joins MD/MS/MHA course and leaves the said course in midway, the penalty will be imposed (see box).”

The PGI has been struggling with a shortage of staff, while the number of patients, both inside the emergency as well as in the OPDs, has been consistently on the rise.

Owing to the shortage of staff, the institute has been finding it hard to improve patient care. A proposal to increase the penalty was mooted in the last meeting of the Standing Academic Committee of the PGI a few months ago. Finalising the proposal, the increased penalty will now come into effect from the MD/MS/MHA session starting in January 2014.



construction of girls’ hostel
PUCSC to hold meetings with contractors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) President Chandan Rana said, "The council will hold regular meetings with the contractors involved in construction of the Girls' Hostel Number 9. The contractors had specified November 30 as deadline for completion.

"If the work is not completed with the time frame, the council members will not hesitate to stage dharna outside executive engineer's office," said Rana.

PUCSC Secretary Dr Abha said, "The biggest problem today is unavailability of girls' hostel seats and it will be sorted only when construction work is finished. Once the hostel seats of Girls' Hostel Number 9 are allocated, the problem of girls' hostel will be sorted out."

Also, in the meeting it was decided that washrooms in the student centre will be renovated. The Executive engineer horticulture was also present in the meeting and it was decided that area besides the road leading from Gate No 1 to Boys Hostel No 2 will be further beautified. The CME ended with a discussion on setting the agenda for the future of psychiatry. The alumni of the Department expressed their gratitude towards the current Head of the Department, Prof. Savita Malhotra and her team for organising the event on this auspicious occasion. It was a memorable homecoming for the protégées of the Department who promised all possible help to the Department for continuing its excellent work and maintains its steady growth. The alumni parted on a sentimental note, wishing to meet again in the near future.



Govt teachers submit memo to DPI (S)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
A 21-member delegation of the Government Teachers’ Union met DPI (S) Dr Kamlesh Kumar and submitted a memorandum with the list of their demands. The association demanded revision in the recruitment rules asking for one-time promotion to all cadres of teachers on the basis of teaching experience and qualification.

They also asked for the regularisation of SSA teachers working under the SSA Society, pay scale for principal/headmaster/headmistress as per the Supreme Court and CAT orders and promotion order of JBT, nursery, drawing, PTI teachers, work experience, tabla instructors, senior lab attendants, etc., with immediate effect to minimise the loss of study in high schools.

The delegation also apprised the DPI (S) of the immediate issues being faced by the teachers.

Dr Vinod Sharma, president of the union, said the DPI (S) gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured early solution to the problem of the teachers. 



Department holds back transfer of 108 SSA teachers
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The UT Education Department today held back its last week's order to transfer 108 SSA teachers. The decision was taken after some SSA teachers met DPI (s) Kamlesh Kumar and requested him to reconsider their transfer order on the ground that their transfer was erratic. Officials said the matter was put under review by the DPI (s) today and the fresh transfer orders would be reissued soon after due consideration.

Among those who were issued transfer orders were 70 Trained Graduate Teachers and 38 Junior Basis Teachers.

Officials said those named in the transfer list were all surplus in their respective schools and they were transferred to those schools where there was a shortage of teachers.

“The list is held back for now, but it will be issued again after due consideration,” said an official.

However, several SSA teachers are agitated over their frequent transfers. A JBT teacher said he was transferred last year also, and this year, too, the department gave him transfer orders.

“Just because they are contractual teachers, they are often made scapegoat. Regular teachers are staying for over 10 years in government schools, but the department has yet not initiated their transfers,” he said.

Some teachers were relieved on Saturday by the respective schools, and there is still confusion whether they will be able to join back their original school after the today’s decision or not.

Most of the teachers also demanded the proper implementation of the transfer policy of the UT that allows the compulsory transfer only after 10 years' of stay in a government school. It is five years in the case of school principal/head/ headmistress.



Four-day theatre fest kicks off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Four-day theatre festival of the North Zone Cultural Centre began today with the classic romantic tragedy “Romeo Juliet” performed beautifully at the Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, here.

The play was performed in the shape of a mime. Directed by Partho Bandhopadhyay, the play saw the intense performances by Punjabi University’s Theatre and Television Department actors. The play was designed by Gagandeep.

Tomorrow, another play, Karmawali, written by Kashmiri Lal Zakir would be staged. The play is directed by Sunita Dhir and Gurcharan Singh. The play revolves around the life of a woman in the backdrop of the Partition of India. 



Strive for excellence, students urged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (IIChE), Chandigarh Student Chapter, in association with the Dr SS Bhatnagar University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), Panjab University, today organised a talk on the topic “What Industry Wants From You”.

Vijay Seth, managing director, Sakata Inx Ltd, delivered the lecture. He apprised the students of the job opportunities available for chemical engineering in the industry and deliberated on the requirement of the industry. Based on his practical experience, he gave tips to the students and motivated them to strive for excellence.

He gave valuable insights as to how the students may excel in the industry and prove to be successful engineers. Vijay Seth is an alumnus of the institute. Earlier, the function began with a welcome address by Prof Emeritus, Dr SS Bhatnagar, UICET, and the chairman, IIChE-Chandigarh Regional Centre, Prof SK Sharma. It was presided over by the president, IIChE, Prof VK Rattan. Executive members of the IIChE were among the invitees.

The function ended with a vote of thanks by Dr Anupama Thakur, event coordinator and an executive member of the IIChE. A large number of students also participated in the function. 



Swami Vivekananda remembered 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
As part of 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, Ramkrishna Mission Ashram, Chandigarh, organised a symposium on “Swami Vivekananda and Nari Shakti” today. Besides lectures and devotional songs, an all-women essay competition was also the part of the symposium.

As many as 71 undergraduate girls from different colleges took part in the competition. Swami Suviranandaji Maharaj, Assistant Secretary, Ramkrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, presided over the function and gave away prizes to the awardees.

The students from undergraduate colleges participated in the essay competition on the subject “Swami Vivekananda and Nari Shakti.”

Mudita Kohli from Government College for Girls, Sector 42, bagged the first prize. Surneet Kaur from MCM College, Sector 36; and Shivani Gupta from Government College of Commerce and Business Administration, Sector 42, won the second prize. Manju of Punjab University; Nitika Garg from Government College, Sector 20; and Loveleen Chaudhary of DAV, Sector 10, shared the third prize.



CBSE-i accreditation for Panchkula school
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 23
Hansraj Public School, Sector 6, Panchkula, secured the much-coveted CBSE-i (International) accreditation by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). A high-level CBSE team had visited the school last month and judged it on various parameters.

Only a few days ago, the school was adjudged No. 1 in Haryana for its unique teaching technology and learning environment in a nationwide survey by the Education World.

The team found the school a perfect destination to showcase this prestigious learning option being offered by the CBSE for the students of the region.

“The school had been among the first ones to provide smart classrooms to its students. Its most important strength is considered to be its strong information technology networking and its reprographic wing,” said Jaya Bhardwaj, principal of the school.

“The CBSE-i accreditation is an attempt to create a congenial educational environment worldwide for the benefit of students who want to pursue their studies abroad. The school will, hence, adopt entirely new curriculum suitable to global needs,” said the principal.

Jaya Bhardwaj said the school had been in touch with the advanced educational system practiced globally and had made it available to its students for the past about four years. The school will soon throw an option to the parents who want their wards to learn according to the international standards.



From schools
Rhyme Day function

Rhyme Day function was held at Sunshine Meadows Play School in Sector 35, Chandigarh, on Monday. The tiny tots aged between 3 years and 5 years put up a grand show of singing and dancing. All kids performed wholeheartedly and energetically. They recited rhymes, along with actions, and danced to the rhythm of foot-tapping music. All parents felt elated watching their little ones on the stage. The audience was in splits when the children enacted the rhyme “Chubby Little Snowman”.

International Day of Peace

To mark International Day of Peace, Ryan International School, Chandigarh, organised a peace rally at the Court Palm Society, Zirakpur. Students of classes II-III visited the society with placards and doves spreading peace, love and affection all over. They interacted with the people and conveyed the message of making the earth a loving place to live. The students gifted saplings to the people at the society and created a lively atmosphere.

Govt Model Sr Sec School-38

Various activities were organised to celebrate International Day of Peace at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 38 (West). Various competitions like elocution contest, essay writing and singing patriotic songs were organised in order to spread awareness about the importance of international peace and harmony among the students. An interactive session was also organised, followed by a plantation drive on the school campus.

Gurukul Global School, Mani Majra

Over 100 students of Gurukul Global School, Mani Majra, Chandigarh, and Yuvsatta volunteers stood in the evening at the Sector 17 Plaza carrying candles and wearing dresses of different nationalities and religions, giving the message of world peace, non-violence and promotion of human rights. Aruna Bhardwaj, principal of the school, said the students gave the message of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, which means that whole world is one family and all killings, crimes and war should stop immediately.

Student brings laurels

Rajkamal, a student of The Scholars Pubic School, got a silver medal in the “fencing” competition, which was held at Jind in Haryana earlier this month. He has also been selected for the national-level competition. Chairman of the school RK Singla and principal Beenu Malhotra congratulated both Rajkamal and his coach Raman Rana for bringing laurels to the school. - TNS



PU Notes
Interview schedules

The Department of Political Science, Panjab University, has announced the interview schedule for MPhil candidates. All the qualified candidates, who have submitted their application forms for admission to the Department of Political Science, have been advised to appear for the interview on September 24 at 11 am in the Chairperson’s room. They have been asked to bring their original documents at the time of the interview.

Department of Economics

The Department of Economics, PU, has announced the interview schedule for PhD candidates. The provisional merit list for PhD of the department will be displayed at the department notice board on September 30. The interview for the PhD course will be held on October 1 at 11 am in the Department of Economics, Arts Block No. 3, PU. All students have been advised to bring all original documents and certificates at the time of the interview.

Deaths mourned

Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover has expressed condolence over the demise of the former University Librarian, Panjab University Library, AR Sethi, who passed away on September 20. Sethi served as the University Librarian from 1995 to 2005. Prof Grover recalled his services to the university.

AC Joshi Library staff also held a condolence meeting to condole his demise. The staff recalled his services in transforming the image of the library during his tenure and his dedication to profession.

In a separate condolence message, Prof Grover has condoled the demise of the mother of former Registrar, Panjab University, Prof SS Bari (Chemistry). The cremation was held on Monday morning at Mohali cremation ground. - TNS



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