C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Parties want Lokpal for UT
Say it will help bring transparency in the functioning of the Administration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
With the Lok Sabha passing the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2013, leaders of various political parties have demanded that the provisions of the Bill should also be extended to the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The leaders and some bureaucrats have also demanded that the UT Administrator should be brought under the ambit of the Lokayukta, also referred to as the Citizens’ Ombudsman, an independent body to investigate corruption cases.

Citing cases in which secretary-level officers such as former UT Adviser Lalit Sharma and former UT Home Secretary Krishan Mohan were facing cases of abuse of power and criminal conspiracy under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the party representatives said the Citizens’ Ombudsman would bring an element of accountability in the bureaucracy-heavy Chandigarh Administration.

“It is time the Lokayukta was set up in Chandigarh. All departments and officials of the Chandigarh Administration, including the Administrator, should be under the institution. Since the Ministry of Home Affairs controls the UT, the Centre should extend the institution to the city,” said Satya Pal Jain, a former MP and senior BJP leader.

Since every state had to set up the Lokayukta, it should also be set up in Chandigarh. Some special legal provisions would have to be enacted to extend the provisions of the Bill to Chandigarh, said former Union Railway Minister and MP from Chandigarh Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Anwar-ul-Haq, a local BSP leader, said the Lokayukta should be set up at the earliest. “At the moment, there is no accountability. No UT official listens, and there is no forum to take up complaints of corruption against officials to ensure transparency.”

The local head of the Janta Dal (U), Surinder Bhardwaj, said there was a need for this institution to check corruption. “The UT officials should also be made answerable,” he said. Gurjusjit Singh, local representative of the Aam Aadmi Party, while demanding a Lokpal for the city, said the mechanism of prosecution of government officials who failed to fulfil their duties needed to be defined.

MC fails to follow its citizens’ charter

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation had introduced a citizens’ charter in 2009 under which the civic body was supposed to address various complaints of residents within the stipulated time period. However, the charter is hardly followed by the departments of the MC.



Fog grounds several flights, disrupts rail services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Dense fog crippled the air services from the city with only three flights taking off today, forcing several passengers to reschedule their travel plans. Of the 12 scheduled flights, only three took off from the city airport -- the Jet Airways’ Chandigarh-Mumbai flight, which left at around 4 pm instead of its scheduled time of 11.40 am, and IndiGo’s Chandigarh-Mumbai flights, which took off at 3 pm and 4 pm, respectively, instead of the scheduled time of 12.20 pm and 2.40 pm.

Trains were also affected by the fog with 11 of these running behind schedule.

Over 500 passengers were affected due to the cancellation of the flights. The airport manager said the flights had to be cancelled as the “landing visibility” was reduced to (800-1,000 metres), which was below the permissible limit. Among the flights that were cancelled were Jet Airways’ flights, including Chandigarh-Delhi, Chandigarh-Delhi-Bengaluru and Chandigarh-Jaipur-Ahmedabad, SpiceJet’s Chandigarh-Delhi, GoAir’s Chandigarh-Mumbai and Air India’s Chandigarh-Delhi-Mumbai. According to officials, the situation is likely to remain the same tomorrow.

Meanwhile, railway officials said all long-route trains were running late by two to 13 hours due to dense fog in the region. The morning Shatabdi (12011) was two hours late, while the evening Shatabdi (12005) was delayed by one hour and 15 minutes. The worst hit were long-route trains, including the Unchahar Express, which was delayed by 13 hours, the Chandigarh-Dibrugarh train, which was delayed by two hours and 45 minutes, the Howrah-Kalka train, which was delayed by two and a half hours and the Paschim Express, Lucknow and Jaipur, which were delayed by two hours.

The railway officials said the situation was likely to remain the same as dense fog had been reported from the region. Regular announcements were being made at the station about the delay in the trains for the convenience of the passengers.

Dense fog engulfs city

There was dense fog in the city late on Wednesday evening, reducing visibility considerably. Motorists had a tough time driving on city roads and traffic moved at a snail’s pace. The Met Department has issued a warning that the region is likely to see more fog in the coming days due to which the visibility will be reduced.



Short circuit triggers blast at PGI, 2 guards hurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
A major tragedy was averted at the PGI here today when a blast in a 1-foot-deep underground power cable in a faculty parking left two security guards injured and the rear windshield of a car parked in the area damaged here today. Huge flames were seen the parking floor adjacent to Kairon Block (where the PGI Director's office is located) when the blast occurred at 1.35 pm today.

One of the security guards tried to control the flames and sustained burn injuries on his arm in the process, while the jacket of another security guard caught fire, causing minor injuries to him. The blast damaged the windowpanes of cars of two faculty members parked near the blast site.

An ambulance was rushed to the spot and the main power supply of the entire hospital campus was switched off to avoid further damage. While Kairon Block remained without power for over an hour, work suffered in Nehru Hospital for nearly 20 minutes due the incident.

The blast triggered panic in the area and brought the entire campus to a standstill. Five firemen rushed to douse the fire. The Chief Fire Officer, the Chief Security Officer and the PGI Director, Dr YK Chawla, also visited the spot later to take stock of the situation.

The two injured security guards were taken to the Emergency ward and discharged after being given first aid.

Blast occurred near Nehru Hospital

The 120 mm thick underground cable caught fire at a joint that was repaired 15 days ago, reportedly by a private contractor. According to sources, the high-power cable, that ensures supply to the entire Kairon Block, should have been installed at least 2 ft deeper. Water had flown into the cable joint during the watering of plants rooted around the parking lot, which led to a short circuit in the cable.

The incident has raised a big question mark over the functioning of the electricity wing of the PGI. The blast, that took place a few metres away from Nehru Hospital, could have affected hundreds of chronically ill patients admitted to the hospital. Over 300 cars were parked in the area when the blast took place.

PGI's take

The Emergency ward was not affected at all. The power supply to other areas was restored within half an hour of the incident. The cable has been repaired now~

— Manju Wadwalkar, PGI spokesperson



'Substandard' Road Repair
AAP, RTI activists demand CBI investigation
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and RTI activists today demanded a CBI probe into the road recarpeting "scam" in the city. Residents had alleged the use of substandard material in road repair in various parts of the city. An advocate of the the Punjab and Haryana High Court has also written to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) demanding an inquiry into the matter.

Gurjusjit Singh, a local leader of the AAP, demanded a CBI probe to unearth the "nexus between officials and road contractors". He said there was no check on the quality of material being used by the contractors due to which roads in the city were in bad shape. Newly recarpeted roads in Sectors 19, 41 and 44 had been damaged within a few days of the work.

He said the AAP would take up the issue of poor recarpeting of city roads at the highest level.

Advocate-cum-RTI activist HC Arora said the CBI could take suo motu notice of the matter and initiate an inquiry as it was related to corruption. The quality of road recarpeting in the city is poor, which was highlighted in the news recently.

Advocate Ajay Jagga has written to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Union Territory Adviser stating that a complaint sent by a sitting councillor in this regard clearly proved that a thorough probe was required into the matter.

Advocate Jagga said he had also sent a similar representation on June 25 this year in which he had demanded a technical audit and probe.

Councillor had sought Vigilance probe

Following complaints from shopkeepers regarding the use of poor-quality material in the recarpeting of a road in Sector 19, area councillor Mukesh Bassi had submitted a complaint to the Union Territory Adviser-cum-Chief Vigilance Officer demanding a Vigilance inquiry into the matter. The issue was highlighted in these columns recently.



Aadhaar cards
Getting enrolled a tall order for residents
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
For Chandra Kala, a domestic help, it has become a struggle to submit the Aadhaar enrolment form of her younger child at the e-sampark centre of Sector 10 for the past two days. Thrice she visited the e-Sampark Centre along with her four-year-old son Sushant Chandra to get the form deposited, but every time the staff deployed there allotted her a new time for appointment.

Chandra Kala told this correspondent that during every visit, the woman deployed at the e-Sampark Centre told her that the limit for depositing the enrolment forms had been reached for the day. The staff members told her that as per the rules, they were not allowed to receive more than 50 forms a day.

She was asked to visit the centre the next day on all the three occasions.

This is not the story of only Chandra Kala; there are a number of other residents who have to return disappointed every day from the e-sampark centres as their enrolment forms are not entertained by the staff.

Residents complain though they turn up at the centre at the stipulated time, the staff members refuse to submit their enrolment forms.

When contacted, the Deputy Director General of the Unique Identification Authority of India, Keshni Anand Arora, said after an inquiry, action would be taken against the officials deployed at the centre for denying the submission of enrolment forms.

The official claimed that around 99 per cent of the city residents had been enrolled under the Aadhaar scheme, so there was hardly any rush at the centres. There was no reason, therefore, for denying the submission of forms, she said.

Keshni Anand Arora said the department would start new enrolment centres at the e-Sampark Centre of Sector 7 besides government schools at Mani Majra, Ram Darbar, Kajheri and Dadu Majra.

She said the enrolment agencies had been directed to deploy more machines in the city, considering the rush at the counters.

During a visit to two e-sampark centres, the staff members told this correspondent that they had been directed not to entertain more than 50 forms a day to avoid making any mistake in the filling of details of the residents.



Great Bombay circus
Artistes no substitute for animals, says crew
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Ring master Babu K Nair caresses an elephant.
Ring master Babu K Nair caresses an elephant.
Pappu, a dwarf, is a big hit at the circus.
Pappu, a dwarf, is a big hit at the circus.

Chandigarh, December 18
It has been over 18 years since the use of wild animals in circus shows was banned across the country. The circus crew, however, still feels that human artistes can never be a substitute for the “talented” animal performers.

“Animals such as sea lions and lions formed the backbone of any circus, and human artistes are no substitute for them. It is often said that animals remain unhappy when they are not in their natural habitat. However, the love and care they used to get at our camps is rarely provided to them even at zoos,” said the ring master, Babu K Nair, who has been in the business for the past 50 years.

Even the visitors, especially children, making a beeline for Great Bombay Circus being held at Mohali come looking for wild animals instead of human performers.

Four-year-old Sadhik, who came to the circus with her grandfather, said she wanted to see lions and horses.

“My teacher had told me in the class that these animals are trained in the circus,” said the disappointed child.

Talking about the response to the circus, organiser Sanjeev said, “Though the public in northern cities, including Chandigarh and Delhi, has been very appreciative and turns up in large numbers, our business has gradually come down by 40 to 50 per cent since animals were banned.”

“Most people still associate circus with animal shows,” he says.

On till January 14

The Great Bombay Circus is being organised at the Dasehra Ground in Phase VIII, Mohali. It will continue to entertain visitors till January 14, 2014. The circus runs three two-hour shows everyday at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm.

With the capacity to accommodate nearly 1,500 persons, the circus offers tickets ranging between Rs 50 and Rs 200. A total of 82 artistes, 27 animals (elephants, dogs, horses and camels) and 20 birds put up the show.

Young couple dedicated to circus Jugglers Poonam and Suraj fell in love while performing as a pair at the circus. The two eventually got married. They say they have dedicated their personal and professional lives to the circus. “Circus is like meditation for both of us. We do not find any task more thrilling than performing in front of the public,” says the duo.

Jeered by near and dear ones, cheered for by strangers

“I used to feel my life had no meaning, as I was different from people around me,” says Pappu Thakur, a dwarf from Bhagalpur, Bihar. He says he was made fun of till he joined the circus. “In the past 19 years, I have realised that I am a vital part of the circus. Others like me can find recognition and respect here,” says Pappu.

A hard taskmaster, but a warm and caring guardian

Jairaj, the man behind the two-hour show that mesmerises everyone, is a polite but strict trainer. Not only has he been a demanding boss, but also a guardian, especially for the women artistes. Under his care, they feel safe miles away from their families. During each camp, Jairaj is approached by at least 20 persons from among the public who want him to train them in gymnastics.

Trainer Jairaj shares a light moment with female circus artistes.

Young couple dedicated to circus

Jugglers Poonam and Suraj fell in love while performing as a pair at the circus. The two eventually got married. They say they have dedicated their personal and professional lives to the circus. “Circus is like meditation for both of us. We do not find any task more thrilling than performing in front of the public,” says the duo.



Humiliation of envoy
PU students condemn US action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Under the banner of the Lok Awaaz, teachers, students and other activists of Panjab University today staged a protest against humiliation meted out to India’s Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade in the US. Devyani was not only handcuffed in full view of the public on the alleged visa fraud charges but also put through strip and cavity searches at a police station in New York, a procedure which is normally used on criminals.

Reports have also claimed that Devyani was kept in a lockup with common criminals and drug addicts, and all this was done by the US government in the name of following law of the land.

Addressing the gathering, Inder Singh of the All-India Save Education Committee said the action of the US government smacked of not only arrogance but also racial mentality. “If a similar fault was found with any European diplomat, would the US still have acted in the same manner?” he asked.

Prof Manjit Singh, convener of the Lok Awaaz, appreciated the retaliatory action by the Indian Government in refusing to meet the American government officials at the scheduled meetings. He said till the people, who were responsible for showing disrespect to an Indian woman diplomat, tender an apology, the Indian Government should not entertain any obligation towards the American consulate staff in Delhi.

Former registrar of Baba Farid University PL Garg condemned the cavity search conducted on Devyani at the police station. What the strip or cavity search has to do with the alleged visa fraud, he asked.

The Students for Society, Arishdeep, also condemned the arrogance of the US administration and demanded that the Indian Government should make the US accountable for its act.



‘US action against Indian envoy a violation of Vienna Convention’

Though late, India’s stand on the diplomatic stand-off with the US over the humiliation meted out to its Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade has been welcomed by people from different walks of life. They are of the view that India needs to send across a strong signal, not only for diplomats but also for other Indian citizens settled there. 

The US has not handled the issue rightly. Apart from violating the Vienna Convention, it is also a violation of human rights. The issue should have been handled diplomatically. The diplomat was not a threat and it was not an emergency. Basic courtesy should be shown to any diplomat. We need to send a strong signal. India has been a little too liberal.

— PS Sahai, a former diplomat on the faculty of CRRID

I don’t think the Indian Government has overreacted as what the US Government has done is a violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. The US Government should have informed the Indian authorities and taken a decision mutually as the Indian diplomat was entitled to diplomatic immunity. I feel the Indian Government has reciprocated and withdrawn the privileges given to the US diplomats.

— IS Chadha, a former diplomat

India is actually a little late in its reaction on this issue. The government should have reacted on the very day the incident occurred and the Indian dignitary was humiliated in full view of the public. Ironically, the reaction would have been very different in case the victim was an ordinary Indian citizen.

— Deepak Kumar Singh, head, department of political science, PU

The US could not possibly have such a short memory! When Raymond Allen Davis killed two men in Lahore in January 2011, the US Government invoked the Vienna Convention and claimed diplomatic immunity because the killer was an ‘administrative and technical official’ with the US Consulate in Lahore. President Obama asserted: ‘There's a broader principle at stake that I think we have to uphold.’ Where has ‘broader principle' gone in this case? Is this a case of mere duplicity or of sheer arrogance?

— Bhupinder Brar, Professor of political science, PU

India’s strong reaction is due to the undignified way of arresting Dr Devyani Khobragade. The case should have been handled as per the Article 41 (Section 1) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 (Personal Inviolability of Consular Officers), which states: ‘Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority’.

— BS Ghuman, Professor of public administration, PU

Considering Khobragade's case, the right course of action for the United States to follow would have been to declare her persona non grata and request the Indian Mission to tell her she has to leave the country. The current situation will only cause undue interference in the good relations between India and the US which have slowly grown over the last decade and a half. Though this should also come as a wake up call for our Indian missions abroad that the current practice of taking domestic help and paying them a pittance in foreign lands is not only discriminatory but also an old and outdated tradition. If ordinary Indians can move to foreign countries and do their own cooking and cleaning, why not our own diplomats? The present row could have been avoided very easily by both India and the US. I am sure the present scenario will be resolved very soon.

— Nitin Sarin, advocate



Expedite rail reservations at Sector 43 ISBT

The railway reservation counter at the Sector 43 ISBT serves the southern sectors. Usually, this counter is managed by a single employee, who not only takes care of enquiries, but also issues tickets. This leads to unwarranted delay and long queues of ticket seekers. There are no sitting arrangements for the public and visitors have to keep standing all the while.

Also, there are no display boards—manual or electronic—to display the basic information about trains, such as train number, destination code of the railway station and the fare besides the availability of tickets. This, too, causes delays in the procurement of tickets, as a lot of time goes into responding to the enquiries before issuing tickets.

The authorities must look into this sorry state of affairs. Manual or electronic display boards, carrying basic information to help the visitors in filling their forms, should be installed. This will save the time of both the official issuing tickets and the general public. Sitting arrangements should also be made for the convenience of the public.

Dr Rajeev Kumar, Chandigarh

MHC sans security

The Modern Housing Complex, a flagship mini-township created by the Chadigarh Housing Board in early 1990s in the close proximity of Mani Majra, is inhabited mostly by the middle and higher income group residents.

Almost all the households avail themselves of the services of domestic helps, car drivers, electricians, plumbers and mechanics. These workers are quite familiar with every nook and corner of the residents' premises.

Over the years, the number of cars in the complex, like elsewhere in Chandigarh, has increased manifold. Residents, mostly, park their cars at farther distances from their homes. Burglaries and car thefts in the complex have become the order of the day. The local police is at loss to apprehend and deal with the criminals who frequent the locality during the daytime and identify the vulnerable targets. Security gates were set up at the five entry and exit points of this complex around five years ago by the UT Administration.

In the absence of any staff to man these gates, these have been rendered useless. To ensure safety of the parked cars inside the complex, the authorities concerned should install CCTV cameras at these gates, so that the footage could help the police in catching the vehicle thieves and prevent such incidents in future.

SC Luthra, MHC, Mani Majra



Thieves make merry in Dy Mayor’s car
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 18
In a surprise, Panchkula Deputy Mayor Sunil Talwar’s SUV, which was stolen in the November end, was found abandoned near Dhakoli, Punjab. Though everything in the vehicle was in place, empty liquor bottles, food stuff and cigarettes found in the vehicle indicated that the thieves used it just for ‘merrymaking’.

It was Talwar’s second car that was stolen from outside his residence in Sector 15, Panchkula. A few days before, thieves had decamped with his Indica car.

Talwar’s Tata Safari was noticed by a resident of Dhakoli and he contacted the Deputy Mayor on locating his number from the documents in the car.

“The car was left open. Some of my papers were in the car, which helped the Dhakoli resident in reaching me on phone. Later, I informed the Panchkula police,” said Talwar.

He added, “When I reached there, I saw empty liquor bottles, food stuff, and cigarettes in the car. Since the car was driven for just 150 km, it indicated that the thieves used it only for merry-making.”

The police found the accessories in the SUV in tact.

This is the second incident where a luxury car was left abandoned a few days after it was stolen. A similar incident involving a Porsche car was reported in Panchkula a few years ago.

Though a CCTV captured miscreants committing the crime, the police could not make a breakthrough. The CCTV grab showed two youths coming in a separate car at 1.05 am. While one stepped out, opened the SUV and drove it away, the other followed him in the car they had come in.

The Station House Officer of Sector 14 police station Inspector Dalip Kumar said, “We are working on certain clues as the miscreants left empty liquor bottles and other things in the vehicle. It seems that the vehicle was driven locally as indicated by the distance it covered in all these days. We are yet to arrest the accused.”



Sukhna cycletrack
Admn to launch park-and-ride facility
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The route from the Sukhna Lake to the Sector 16 Stadium is going to be the first cycle track on which the UT Administration is planning to introduce the park-and-ride facility, under which residents will be provided cycles on rent to commute between the two destinations. The facility will help ease traffic on the city roads.

The facility has been planned under a cycle-sharing scheme, for which the Ministry of Urban Development and Planning will provide financial assistance.

Sources said while the facility had been proposed for different parts of the city, initially, it would be introduced on this particular route. “We want to initially start the service between Sukhna Lake and Sector 16 as the stretch covers tourist destinations, including the Rock Garden and Rose Garden and then further leads to various parts of the city,” said an official.

Official sources said the Engineering and the Architecture Department had been asked to identify the bottlenecks on the route. The cycle track is in place on the entire stretch except the road behind the Secretariat and the one between the Matka Chowk and the Sector 16 roundabout. The track is also missing on the one side of the Uttar Marg.

It has been planned that bicycles will be provided on a nominal rent, for which commuters would have to give their names and addresses at a cycle rental point and leave the bicycles at the other centres set up by the administration.

The Municipal Corporation maintains the bicycle tracks will be asked to revamp the tracks on the required areas.

How to rent a cycle

Tourists can rent bicycles at the Sukhna Lake and after covering various tourist spots, including the Rock Garden and the Rose Garden, they can drop the bicycles at the cycle rental point in Sector 16.



Folk festival
Italian dancers cast a spell
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 18
The fifth Chandigarh International Folk Festival was held today at Chandigarh University, Gharuan, in association with the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council. Folk dancers and musicians from Italy gave scintillating performances in front of jam-packed audience of students.

Artistes of the Italian band “Almorama” comprising Ciromontanari, Simona Gatto, Massi Miliano De Salvatore and Angelo Urso presented musical fusion “Parathayo” with traditional instruments of Italy. Traditional folk dance blended with folk music was presented by the Italian band and dancers Maya Monoca Devi and Valentina Manuchi cast a magical spell on the audience.

The bhangra and gidha teams of Chandigarh University showcased the Punjabi traditional front of the show that fascinated the foreign visitors.

While interacting with the audience, the team of artistes from Italy led by Maya Monoca Devi said: “I have gathered inspiration from the classical Indian arts, and blended it with the Italian tradition to create a new fusion form of dance.”

Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chancellor, Chandigarh University, said the folk festival proved to be a unique platform to interact and infuse global multi-culturism among the students.



Probe indicts cops in tipsy girl case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
A fact finding probe into the lapses made by the police while dealing with a drunk girl has indicted a woman head constable besides a sub-inspector. The two have been indicted for not adopting set procedure while dealing with the girl. A departmental probe was recommended against SI Ramesh Kumar and HC Amarjeet Kaur.

The fact finding report was marked after a tipsy girl was taken to the Sector 3 police station instead of the nearby hospital—Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16—in the wee hours of December 14.

The police said the fact finding probe revealed that the police personnel wasted over 45 minutes making unnecessary enquiries about the whereabouts of the drunk girl at the Sector 8/18 roundabout. When the girl failed to give any reply, they took her to the police station, sources said.

The girl had gone to a discotheque in Sector 8, and was made to leave the premises by bouncers after she got completely drunk around 1.45 pm.

The police said the report had been submitted to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Sukhchain Singh Gill, and recommendations related to discotheques would be referred to the Excise Department and DC office.



Health notes
Ex-PGI nephrologist joins Max Hospital

Max Super Speciality Hospital (MSSH), Mohali, on Monday announced the appointment of Dr Vinay Sakhuja as Director Nephrology and Transplant Medicine at the MSSH, Mohali. Prior to his appointment, Dr Sakhuja had been working with the PGIMER, Chandigarh, since 1993 as Professor and Head, Department of Nephrology. Dr Sakhuja is a DM (Nephrology) from the PGIMER, Chandigarh, and also an FRCP (London).

All-India meet

An all-India meet on “Innovation in Health care: Doctors as Designers” organised by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), in Mumbai was attended by more than 50 participants from different parts of the country. These included doctors, industrialists, entrepreneurs, innovators and students. Dr Ashit Syngle, consultant of rhematology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, said: “The most common cause of death in many patients suffering from rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing arthritis is cardiovascular disease.”

Blankets donated

Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra organised a charitable camp for the poor and needy and distributed 1,000 blankets among dwellers of slum areas near Chandigarh at Saketri, Nayagaon, Sector 38 and at Panchkula. — TNS



Mohali MC to set up shelter for stray dogs
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 18
The Municipal Corporation here plans to set up a shelter for stray dogs for which a meeting will be held with NGOs for inviting suggestions in this regard. Proper vaccination, sterilisation and taking care of stray dogs are on the priority list of the civic body.

Uma Shankar Gupta, Commissioner of the corporation, said arranging funds and land for setting up a dog shelter should not be a problem for the corporation. The civic body would now have adequate funds and spending Rs 1 crore or Rs 2 crore on the setting up this special facility would not be a big deal. Residents who had been suffering from the menace of stray dogs would be relieved and the stray dogs, too, would be well kept.

He said that efforts were being made to involve an NGO, which was dedicated to the work to taking care of stray dogs, as it was not possible for the civic body to solve the problem on its own. The corporation did not have adequate and committed staff to tackle the problem of stray dogs.

Gupta said a meeting with the NGOs involved in such work had been fixed for tomorrow.

He said dog bylaws had also been framed under which the registration of pet dogs had been made compulsory. A dog shelter was also needed as there was no place available with the corporation to keep pet dogs which were found wandering or were lost.



From schools
Energy Conservation Day

The “Lotus” Eco-Club of GMSSS-20 celebrated National Energy Conservation Day. Principal Nirmal Singh and vice-principal Ranjana Khosla motivated students to adopt energy-saving tips in their daily life. A series of activities, including assembly talk by teachers and students, poem recitation, art out-of-waste and poster-making competitions, were organised on the school premises. The aim of the activities was to create awareness among students to conserve energy in form of electricity, fuel and gas.

Visit to church

In an attempt to make children understand the importance of different religions and inculcate the spirit of religious harmony and charity in them, RIMT World School organised a visit for the students to Christ King Church, Sector 19, Chandigarh. Children of Classes II and III visited the church. They offered prayers by lighting candles. The serene and peaceful atmosphere of the church was a welcome change for the students.

Student brings laurels

Japneet Singh, a Class VIII student of Saupin's School, Sector 32, brought laurels to the school by winning first prize in the athletics (U-14) heats of speedstar-2 held at Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkula. Nearly 3,000 students participated in this event under various categories. Japneet Singh will now go to Mumbai where he will compete with 11 athletes from across the country. PT Usha is the brand ambassador for speedstar.

Mathematics olympiad

International Mathematics Olympiad was held at ACNP Senior Secondary School, Zirakpur. More than 150 students participated in the event. The overwhelming participation of the students dismissed the myth that the students have a fear for mathematics. After the olympiad, the students were in abundance and joy as they expected good results.

Annual function

Scholars Public School, Mauli Barwala, celebrated its third annual function “SPANDAN-2013”. Chief guest Ashwani Kumar, Tehshildar, Panchkula district, gave an auspicious beginning to the programme by lightning the ceremonial lamp, which was followed by Ganesha Vandna. The children present a string of mesmerising performances, including circus show, English play, historical era, puppet dance, bhangra and many more. The function witnessed 100 per cent participation by all students from Pre-Nursery to Class IX.

Flower arrangement activity

The students of Playgroup to UKG were taught to arrange flowers in the vase. The tiny tots made beautiful floral arrangements that could be clearly seen in the bouquets made by them under the guidance of their teachers.

Documentary showcased

AKSIPS School, Sector 65, Mohali, showcased its annual production “AAKHIR KYON??”, a documentary on ‘She Fire’-women empowerment, at the Tagore Theatre with great zeal and rigour. Brigadier Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri, a recipient of the Mahavir Chakra and the Vishist Seva Medal, presided over the function. Dr GK Nanda, president, Women and Child Welfare Association, Mohali, was the guest of honour for the event. The event started with the lighting of the auspicious lamp by the chief guest. The documentary began with the world of a girl foetus in the mother’s womb imagining a happy and wonderful world outside but unfortunately was subjected to all the insecurities from the second she was born. The mesmerising and life-like amalgamation of dance and drama showcased the stark realities of our society. — TNS



SSA teachers launch letter-posting drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Teachers Welfare Association (SSATWA) has launched a letter-posting campaign against HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju and five senior officials of the Ministry of Human Resource and Development here.

A request letter has been signed by more than 1,100 Junior Basic and Trained Graduate teachers. Besides the HRD Minister, the letters have been addressed to MHRD Secretary Rajarshi Bhattacharya, Additional Secretary Vrinda Sarup, Director Meenakshi Jolly, Under Secretary Jyoti Pahwa and Under Secretary Lakshmi Chand Mehra. Every JBT and TGT teacher working under the SSA in government schools signed six letters in which they have requested all the minister and the officials to look into the long-pending issue of regularisation of SSA teachers and providing approval or sanction to 1,390 posts. The proposal was sent by the Education Department, Chandigarh Administration, on June 17 2013.

Arvind Rana, president of the SSATWA, said: "Through 600 letters and 200 colourful envelopes, more than 1,100 teachers have requested the HRD Minister to intervene in the matter and provide approval to 1,390 posts of JBT and TGT teachers already working under the SSA, Chandigarh".



PU notes
PU prof is member of world research group

Panjab University Professor Raj Pal Sharma has become a member of four-nation international research group to work on Italian-funded international project on “Molecular Magnets”. Presently, Professor Sharma is working as a re-employed teacher in the Chemistry Department of the university. The research group consists of researchers from India, Italy, Poland and Spain. The project presents a wide interest and is considered important as the magnetic compounds (photo switchable molecular compounds) may be applied in future information storage and display devices.

ASPA founder fellow

Panjab University junior research fellow (JRF) Mohammad Sohail Dhillon has been selected as one of the founder fellows by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), United States. Mohammad Sohail Dhillon is pursuing his PhD under the supervision of Professor BS Ghuman in the Department of Public Administration. As a founder fellow of the ASPA, Mohammad Sohail Dhillon will attend the 2014 annual conference of the ASPA at the Washington DC from March 14 to March 18, 2014. He will present his subject matter paper titled, revamping delivery of public services in India: A case study of Indian State of Punjab with special reference to Punjab Right to Service Act, 2011.Ishu Gupta

Semester topper

Ishu Gupta, a final-year student of the Master of Education of the University School of Open Learning (USOL), Panjab University, topped in semester in 2013. As per the record of the university gazette, she secured 978 marks out of 1,200 in the final-year semester. — TNS



Students submit memorandum to PU VC
Demand extension of last date for filling forms for 93 posts of Assistant Professor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Panjab University Campus Students Union (PUCSU) today submitted a memorandum to Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover to extend the last date for filling the form for the 93 posts of assistant professors as there are certain anomalies in the information provided for filling the form for the posts.

PUCSC president Chandan Rana said many research scholars (PhD ongoing/PhD completed) had approached them as there are various points which were not clearly provided on the website. The candidates were running from pillar to post to get their issues cleared.

He said the candidates had misconception that when the minimum eligibility for the post was MSc+Net, then why the marks of graduation were considered. If the academic curriculum of the candidate to be considered, then add the marks of Classes X and XII also as per the pattern of Central universities.

He said it had become a routine practice of the university to provide incomplete information on the website every time.



Parents made aware of CBSE-I curricula

Panchkula, December 18
A three-day comprehensive orientation workshop concluded today at Hansraj Public School, Sector 6, Panchkula. It was held to familiarise parents with the objectives behind introducing CBSE-I, which is an internationally benchmarked curriculum, so that they can make well-informed deliberate decision about the admission of their wards. The school authorities said there was an overwhelming response from the parents of students of Classes KG, I and II. The parents clarified all apprehensions and doubts about the CBSE-I.

Jaya Bhardwaj, principal of the school, made the parents aware of the vision and mission of the CBSE-I curricula, which is going to be implemented from the academic session 2014-2015. The admission forms will be available on December 20 from 9 am to 1 pm on the school. The parents were told about the infrastructure, facilities, curriculum and the methodology which will be followed for teaching the curriculum of CBSE-I. — TNS



Hallmark students to compete in global robotics contest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 18
A group of young scientists of Hallmark Public School, Panchkula, is gearing up to compete against 70 countries across the globe in the First Lego League (FLL) robotics contest, which is a part of the International Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programme based in Manchester.

The students have been given the project of “Nature’s Fury”. Using robotics, the students will be completing 10 tasks on a laid out inhabited area, which will first have to be created by using Lego blocks. They are required to complete each activity in 2.5 minutes.

The missions in the project include positioning an evacuation sign; clearing an airplane’s runway from debris; landing a cargo plane safely on a runway; relocating structures; distributing basic supplies to people in need, etc, with the help of Robots, said principal Kavita Wadhwa.



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