Thursday, October 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


IT task force to keep tab on computer institutes
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The UT Administration has set up an IT education task force to keep an eye on the functioning of a large number of computer education institutes in the city.

There have been several complaints from the public about alleged duping of students by some of the institutes, lack of standardisation of courses offered by them, absence of uniformity in the fee structure and unqualified faculty. The task force will go round these institutes to make a check to ensure that the students are not shortchanged in any manner.

The task force consists of DPI(Colleges), DPI(Schools), Director, Technical Education, Director, Information Technology and Head of Computer Sciences, Panjab University. Chandigarh which has emerged as the biggest IT education centre this side of Delhi in recent years. But it appears to have fallen on bad days now.

The downturn in the IT software industry over the past one year or so and closure of a couple of big computer education institutes like Zap and Wintech has led to a steep fall in the number of students taking courses at computer education institutes in the city. From a peak of about 30,000, the number of students has now declined to about 7,000. There are about 350 computer education institutes in the Chandigarh-Panchkula-SAS Nagar area but most of them have turned sick.

Only about one-fourth of them are able to break even while barely 5% to 6% can turn in some sort of profit. A cutthroat competition among the computer education institutes to attract an ever-shrinking number of students has led many among them to cut corners.

“Right now, there is a free-for-all among the computer education institutes. False claims of employment and placement after the courses are made. Many of them just offer old wine in new bottles”, say Mr R.P. Singh and Mr S.K.Arora, president and general secretary of the newly formed Chandigarh Computer Education Institutes Association. Mr Singh and Mr Arora, who run a computer education institute in Sector 21, allege that “many institutes are just giving fancy names to old courses and trying to dupe the students.”

There is no standardisation of computer courses. Nor is there a uniformity in the fee structure. “The same course can be had for a fee ranging between Rs 2,000 to Rs 12,000 depending on the overhead expenses being incurred by the computer education institute. Different permutations and combinations of modules are tried to create new courses. In many cases, brand name and royalty which has to be paid by the franchisee to the parent company pushes up the cost, even though there is no difference in the content of the course offered by another much cheaper institute,” they say. There is also the problem of unqualified faculty at these institutes. There is no proper counselling of students.

“All this is giving a bad name to the computer education institutes”, says Mr Singh and Mr Arora. “Therefore, we have decided to form a Chandigarh Computer Education Institutes Association. A large number of computer education institutes have either become members or are in the process of doing so. Our main objective would be to standardise the courses, bring about uniformity in the fee structure and have qualified faculty and a centralised counselling for the students so that they know where to go for the kind of education they want”.

The association is also approaching the Chandigarh police to maintain a liaison with it so that complaints against computer education institutes are resolved quickly, if and when they are received.


Sector 50 cooperative societies to be relocated
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
In a move which will supposedly benefit some cooperative group housing societies, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to hold a fresh draw of lots to relocate some of the societies to new areas in Sector 49 which were originally scheduled to be allotted land in Sector 50.

As everything was being finalised to issue allotment letters to societies, the Administration has realised that a large part of the earmarked area in Sector 50 was low lying and prone to water accumulation. About 17 acres of land is available in Sector 49 and some of the societies will be shifted there to save them from being allotted land in Sector 50.

A letter dispatched by the Estate Officer, Mr M. Ramsekhar, to all societies has asked office-bearers of the respective societies to attend a meeting followed by a draw of lots to decide matter pertaining to the relocation of some of the cooperative group house building societies from Sector 50 to 49 on October 29.

A total of 25 cooperative societies were collectively allotted about 72 acres of land for its members in Sector 50 (south of Sector 45) and they deposited Rs 9 crore as first installment towards land costs. But no area was demarcated specifically for any society. The move will actually benefit the group housing societies, Mr Ramsekhar claimed. Anyone among the societies could have been allotted the low-lying area but the new area of about 17 acres in Sector 49 is better placed, he added.

About 900 middle-class families of the city are members of these societies. The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is scheduled to allot land to a total of 57 cooperative societies for the construction of multi-storey flats. The price of the land is Rs 2,850 per square yard and 136 acres spread across sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51 are to be allotted in total.

However, interestingly, the matter which was so far being dealt with by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), will now be dealt with by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, who is also the Estate Officer. The same official had also conducted the draw of lots held for the first time in December 2000.

Several members of societies have raised loans from their own resources, banks and their offices and some have even dipped into their respective funds and a delay will mean a loss for them.

A draw of lots to allot area and sectors to societies was held in December 2000. By July this year, members were asked to pay up 25 per cent of the land cost and also the money for the conversion of the land from leasehold to freehold. Now the CHB is to issue allotment letters and hand over possession to the societies.


PU approves ‘third chance’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
A committee of Panjab University has decided to grant a third chance as a ‘mercy chance’ to students who could not clear their compartment in the earlier two chances allowed by the university.

Reliable sources said that the chance would be given to all eligible candidates who appeared in the concerned examination for the first time in 1996 or later. The decision is seen to benefit, particularly the category of students who have cleared the higher classes but are struck in a peculiar situation due to not being able clear the compartment examination of a lower class.

The committee under the chairmanship of Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, comprised of Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath, Principal B.D. Budhiraja, Dr R.P.S. Josh, Principal P.S. Sangha, Prof R.K. Kakkar, Dr R.D. Anand, Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Ashok Raj Bhandari, the Controller of Examination.

The eligible candidates will have to pay an extra fee of Rs 1000 each for the paper. These candidates will be eligible in January and the December tests of 2002, sources said. The matter, however, needs a formal nod of the university Senate before a final approval.

Earlier, as a part of the golden jubilee celebrations of the university, the university had granted a special chance to candidates who exhausted their two compartment examination chances between 1992 and 1998.

It may be remembered that when the issue had figured in the university Senate, the House was divided on the issue. Leaving aside the supporters of the third chance, certain persons pointed out that two chances were more than sufficient for a candidate to prove his merit. One school of thought said that a candidate should be given unlimited chances. However, he should not be promoted to a higher class till he cleared his compartment.


IAS training ‘obsolete’
Curriculum change on the cards
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Lending credence to the talk of a somewhat “obsolete’’ training programme at the IAS training academy in Mussoorie, its Director, Mr Wajahat Habibullah, hinted at a possible curriculum change ``to keep in tune with changing times’’.

In the city to gauge the response of “new recruits’’ and “experienced training hands’’ of the region, Mr Habibullah went back with suggestions and recommendations, most of them adoption of a more ``practical approach’’.

If the recommendations are an indication of things to come, the thrust on revenue-oriented matters is likely to be reduced considerably and subjects on urban development would replace these in the ``hot seat’’.

Also, greater emphasis on language-training for probationers is under active consideration. In an interaction with Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and new recruits under training in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and UT, it emerged that besides language, the probationers ``demanded’’ greater insight into the culture, ethos and geography of the cadres allotted to them.

Pointing out the yawning difference between district training and UT functioning, the probationers said their training proved “useless’’ in the changed scheme of things. Suggesting that district-level training for all such probationers allotted UTs be carried out in Delhi, others added that all Deputy Commissioners in districts should be “sensitised’’ to encouraging youngsters.

Also, objections were raised about the training imparted in the academy to Deputy Commissioners and SDMs on grounds that the “education did not suffice or equip them’’ to meet the challenges of the job.

This, however, it is learnt, was turned down by the Director, who cited a sea-change in the curriculum as “impossible’’ and said the idea of taking inputs was only to bring about improvements and make the academy training more up-to-date.

Talking of the mind-set of a recruit just out of the academy, probationers from Karnal, Hisar and Chandigarh, said it was felt that a “greenhorn’’ came out with the idea of “showing politicians their place’’ but eventually graduated to giving in to their whims and fancies.

They suggested that during training at the academy, special classes be given on the bureaucrat-politician relationship and an understanding on coordinated effort in district and state-level working between the two be stressed.


Ban recycled polybags in 2 weeks: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Taking a serious view of the menace being caused by polythene bags, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Punjab and Haryana governments to issue a notification within two weeks banning the manufacture and use of recycled bags.

Pronouncing the orders, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, also directed the imposition of ban on the manufacture and use of polythene bags with thickness less than 20 microns. The Bench also directed the governments of both states to “issue public notices in leading Hindi, Punjabi and English newspapers for giving wide publicity to the ban on the manufacture and use of polythene bags falling under the specified category.

“The publicity shall be given within seven days of the issuance of the notification and shall be repeated thrice at intervals of one month each. The governments are also directed to evolve a suitable mechanism and to take appropriate steps for effective implementation of the ban on the manufacture, sale and use of polythene bags under their respective jurisdictions,” the Judges ruled.

In their detailed order, the Judges observed: “On September 10, the court had directed the Chandigarh Administration to issue appropriate notification or orders banning the manufacture and use of polythene bags of less than 20 micron thickness, along with recycled bags. Today, advocates Rajan Gupta and Dr M.S. Rahi have brought to our notice that in pursuance of the directions, the Chandigarh Administration has issued the orders on September 22 and the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee has initiated steps necessary for the implementation thereof.”

They further observed: “Counsel appearing for the parties state that the ban can not be made effective in Chandigarh unless the manufacture of such bags in the states of Punjab and Haryana is also banned. We have considered the submission of counsel and find it appropriate to accept the same because the manufacture and the use of such bags is becoming a great health hazard for the population of both states, along with Chandigarh residents”.

Fixing November 20 as the next date, the Judges concluded: “On the next date of hearing, the court will take up the issue relating to the discharge of industrial effluents and sewage into rivers, rivulets and elsewhere in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh”. 


Goyal, Ajaib Singh may make it to Senate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Mr Ashok Goyal and Dr Ajaib Singh have emerged as the faces which are most likely make it to the Panjab University Senate in the graduates constituency. On the third day of counting today most of the time was spent in adjusting the surplus votes of the three among the five candidates who were declared elected yesterday.

A total of 1864 was declared surplus from the votes of the top vote securer Mr Sanjiv Kumar Bandlish. Out of his votes 2575 were unexhausted which were to be distributed among the remaining unqualified candidates. As many as 2225 votes were found exhausted. Adding votes of the surplus quota of Mr Bandlish, Mr Ashok Goyal emerged as the top-most contender with a figure of 2746 votes. Dr Ajaib Singh who earlier topped the list with his 2535 votes now has a total of 2693 votes. After adjusting the surplus votes of Principal Jeevan, the figures of Mr Goyal stood at 2772; Dr Ajaib Singh at 2702; and Mr Ranveer Pratap Asija at 2324.

Apart from Mr Bandlish, those who have already made it to the Senate include Principal R.C.Jeevan, Principal Subash Chander Marriya, Mr Rajender Bhandari and Mr Mukesh Arora.

The counting of surplus votes of Principal Jeevan started late in the evening. The surplus votes of Principal Marriya were expected to be adjusted later in the evening.

Among the top contenders Mr Dhirender Kumar Tayal who had 1534 votes bagged 120 more from the first surplus quota; Mr Pawan Valecha who had 1823 polls gained another130; and Mr Ranveer Pratap Asija who stood at 1979 votes polled 119.

Some other names in the reckoning are Mr Paramjit Pammi, Dr R.N. Sharma, Mr Ashok Sachdev, and Mr Hardaljit Gosal.

The final figures show a total polling of 55,554. As many as 8585 votes were declared invalid. This figure was realised after a recounting of the earlier declared invalid votes was done and 719 votes were found valid. The final quota of votes for qualifying for the house was re-fixed at 2936. The earlier commuted was 2907.


Linear accelerator for GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
A linear accelerator machine used for the treatment of patients suffering from cancer is being provided to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, by the Government of India.

Prof S.B.S. Mann, Director-Principal, GMCH, said here today that the institute had received a letter in this regard from Dr Rao, Senior Director, Ministry of Information and Technology. Prof Mann said that the machine was an indigenous one manufactured by “Sameer” and such a machine was installed at the PGI, Chandigarh, in 1991. The cost of the machine was Rs 2.5 crore. However, the government was providing it to the GMCH free of cost.

As regards installation, Prof Mann said that the machine had to arrive from Mumbai and it was expected that patients suffering from cancer would start getting treatment here within the next two months.


Devotees offer prayers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 24
Week-long fasts came to an end for devotees today as they offered prayers to goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati on the occasion of Mahaashtami. Ashtami puja was also performed and parshad was distributed among the kanjaks. Functions and kirtans were also organised at different temples in the city.

For the young maidens, it was nothing less than a feast day. Clad in cheerful clothes, they could be seen going from one house to the other with plates tightly clutched in their hands. Most of them, particularly those belonging to the colonies and slums, found the experience of being “blessed with so much of honour exhilarating”.

Since early morning, they were in great demand. Neighbours could be heard shouting for them over the boundary walls. Inside the houses, their feet were washed. Excitement broke loose among them every time gifts or money was given to them.

Mahaashtami celebrations were also held at Kalibari temple in Sector 47. Puja was held at 8 am with Chandipath at 8.30 am. It was followed by Pushpanjali at 10 a.m. Prasad was distributed among all the devotees. Mahabhog took place at 1.30 p.m. In the evening, Arati and cultural programme were also held at the temple. Navrartras, it may be added, come twice in a year when the season changes in March and October.


Widow’s ‘battle’ with PUDA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh October 24
After running from pillar to post over the transfer deeds of a flat purchased by her husband, the widow of a battle casualty of Operation Vijay is now waging another battle to get the excess amount charged by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) refunded.

Maj R.S. Kaushal, who was boarded out of the Army in July 2000 after prolonged hospitalisation with 100 per cent disability, had purchased a flat in Sector 48, Mohali, from a private party. Thereafter, he applied to PUDA for the transfer of the flat in his name.

The Ex-Services Grievances Cell has now taken up her case with PUDA authorities and has written to the vice chairman, Mr S.K. Dubey, highlighting the problems and seeking redressal.

After completing the relevant documents, he made repeated rounds of the PUDA offices but without any success. He died in April, 2001. Thereafter his widow, Mrs Kanta Kaushal, started the same uphill task and after a lot of hassles managed to get the transfer document from PUDA. The deceased Major and later his widow had repeatedly been told by PUDA officials that the document had been despatched by registered post, though it never actually reached them.

Thereafter, followed another battle. She discovered that PUDA had wrongly charged them Rs 49,000 in excess while finalising the accounts. She has been approaching PUDA for the past three months and has submitted all legal documents and the required affidavits as are being demanded by the dealing clerks. Despite the refund having being cleared by the officer concerned, the payment continues to hang fire.

While alleging that the entire administrative system has failed to redress the grievances of residents, the cell as requested PUDA authorities to bring in some accountability in its office functioning.


Virk refutes media report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Member-Secretary of the Haryana State Legal Services Authority, Mr R.S. Virk, today said that the news report published in the issue of The Tribune on October 21 was incorrect.

The news item said that a number of cases could not be taken up due to the inability of the District Legal Services Authority of Panchkula to call the parties involved in the Lok Adalat.

In a statement Mr Virk said the case files of these showed that these cases had been adjourned on previous dates to October 20 either in the presence of the party or on the request of the council. He maintained that as many as 23 matters of motor vehicles accidents, besides seven Hindu Marriage cases, apart from five cases of maintenance under Section 125 Cr PC and six cases of bank loans at pre-litigative stage, including a civil appeal (wherein the parties had been litigating for the past 24 years), were settled during this Lok Adalat.

He added that far lesser number of such cases were ordinarily decided in a whole month by one officer in view of pre-occupation of judges with other important matters.

He claimed that the total figure of the number of these cases and other matters settled at the Panchkula Lok Adalat held on October 20 came to 302. He said that a Lok Adalat is essentially based on persuading the disputing parties to settle their differences with mutual consent. No compromise could be arrived if either of the parties does not agree.

Mr Virk maintained that it was not necessary for a High Court judge to be present at every Lok Adalat. They do visit Lok Adalats as and when possible.

He said Mr Justice V.K. Bali has visited Kaithal, Karnal, Yamunanagar, Rohtak, Panchkula, Ambala, Jind, Hisar and Kurukshetra during the current year. He is scheduled to visit some more districts in the remaining two months of the year.


50 points identified for speed limit boards
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 23
The local traffic police has identified at least 50 points in the town where there was a requirement to display the speed limits for different category of vehicles. The display boards of the notified speed limits at most of the points were either damaged or missing.

The police has written to the SAS Nagar Municipal Council to display the speed limits on different roads. After holding discussions with a private party to put up display boards, the officials of the local civic body were also being consulted.

Ms Kalpana D. Nayak, Assistant Superintendent of Police, said since it was the responsibility of the civic body to display the boards, the private advertisers had been asked to get in touch with the officials of the Municipal Council. For bearing cost of the illuminated speed limit boards, the advertisers would be allowed to sell an earmarked space for advertisement.

The traffic police had identified all the main roads leading to the town from Chandigarh and Kharar and the internal roads for putting the speed limit boards on both sides. A police official said that depending upon the volume of traffic being handled by a particular road, the local administration had already notified the speed limits — varying between 30 and 65 kmph.

The boards of no overtaking zones were also being displayed.


N.K. Nanda clarifies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) kicked off its campaign with a claim that Mr N.K. Nanda, senior vice-president of the Chandigarh Vikas Party (CVP), has joined it despite Mr Nanda being a member of the Congress.

The District Congress Committee, Urban-II, workers’ conference was made out to be a rejoining function of Mr Nanda where the CTCC president, Mr B.B. Bahl, welcomed him to the party.

Mr Nanda in his brief speech, however, said he joined the Congress along with Mr Harmohan Dhawan and never quit it.

He told Chandigarh Tribune that he neither left the party along with Mr Dhawan nor was he expelled from the party.

The Congress attempt to show Mr Dhawan’s party losing cadres and popularity seemed part of a strategy to minimise the CVP’s damage inflicting potential to the Congress in the Municipal Corporation elections.


20 school buses challaned
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 24
The local traffic police challaned at least 20 school buses for various violations of the Motor Vehicles Act during the past three days. In some cases the drivers of the buses were not in the prescribed uniform and in some cases the vehicles were being plied without the mandatory route permit.


Villager injured in attack
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 24
A Khuda Ali Sher village resident, Mr Kundan Singh, reported to the police that Balbir Singh, alias Lalli, a resident of the same village, attacked him with a ‘kassi’ here yesterday. The alleged attack caused injuries to the complainant and he was admitted to the PGI.

A case of attempt to murder has been registered.

Another city resident, Mr Sagir Ahmed, also reported to the police that five Maruti car (PB-10-7977) borne youths assaulted and threatened him in Burail here yesterday. The complainant sustained injuries.

Meanwhile, a case was registered against three to four persons for assaulting and causing injuries to Mr Gurmit Singh, a Sector 15 resident. The said attack took place at a tubewell in Sector 25 on October 19.

Breach of trust: A case of a criminal breach of the trust was registered against the owner of a paid parking lot at the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 17, on a complaint of Mr Ravinder Pal Kalra, a resident of Sector 40, here. Mr Kalra reported that he had parked his car in the parking lot and when he came back to take his vehicle yesterday, three ATM cards, one petro card, some other documents, audio cassettes and a mobile phone were missing from the car.

Scooter theft: Mr R.K. Bhatia, a resident of Sector 20, Panchkula, reported to the police that his scooter (UP-52-A-5734) was stolen from Sector 17 here yesterday. A case of theft has been registered.


Case against sender(s) of anthrax letter
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 24
The police has registered the first case under Section 506 of the IPC for criminal intimidation against an anonymous sender or senders of the “anthrax laced” letter to the city Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur. The letter read: “This contains anthrax. You are dead. Bin Laden”.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Administration, after its meeting here today, assured residents that there was no need to panic and those who were creating terror through “anthrax laced” letters would be punished. “Fingerprints on such letters will be lifted and examined to know who is guilty,” the Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, said here today.

The police registered the case today on the basis of a complaint lodged by Mr Gulshan Girdhar, Personal Assistant of the city Mayor.

According to Mr Baldev Singh, Superintendent of Police, the letter allegedly contained anthrax germs. However, it did not contain any powder. The letter was opened by the Mayor’s PA.

At a meeting of the Administration today, the Home Secretary was accompanied by doctors and police officials. Doctors assured the Home Secretary that they were ready to meet the threat.

According to a senior police official, the Inspector General of Police said at the meeting that whoever had sent the letter could receive upto seven years of imprisonment under various Sections of the IPC.


Booked for intimidating
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The police here today booked a rehriwala in Bijwara for alleged criminal intimidation and assaulting a public servant to obstruct him from performing his duty.

A case under Sections 332, 353 and 506 of the IPC was registered on the complaint of the Municipal Corporation Enforcement Inspector, Mr Kali Ram. Mr Rejendra Prasad Pathak runs a shoe shop in Bijwara.

He was asked yesterday to remove his encroachment and when Mr Kali Ram went to remove it today, he allegedly threatened him and indulged in stone pelting.


Another prize for Sangam Industries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Sangam Industries, the Chandigarh-based manufacturers of Marigold brand of geysers, room coolers, airconditioners, heat pillars and water heaters, has introduced window AC with remote control and unique heating system. It is also getting set to market ceiling fans next summer.

Winner of the Intercity Award of Excellence and the Quality Systems Award, Sangam Industries has also bagged the first prize for the best display of their stall at the recently concluded Chandikrit-2001. Mr S.P. Singh, Managing Director, CITCO, awarded the trophy to Mr Dinesh Kakkar, executive director, Sangam Industries.

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