C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Conversion policy for traders amended
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Bonanza is in store for the industrialists in the Industrial Area here. In a major relief to the industrialists aiming at turning the industrial area into a happening place, the Administration today amended its conversion policy.

Under the new scheme, "The Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity/Services in Industrial Area, Phase I and II, Chandiharh (Amendment) Scheme 2008", a notification for which was issued by the finance secretary, the administration has done away with 15-year embargo for sale and transfer of property in the industrial area.The industrialists going in for sale of property before mandatory 15 years will not have to pay the "unearned profits" to the administration, sources said here.

"Where such a transfer had already taken place for any site/building before the expiry of 15 years and the lessee of that site had opted to convert their building under the 2005 conversion policy, the condition of 15 years will not apply even if the transfer had already taken place," the notification said.

Earlier, the allottees were barred from selling off their commercial property before 15 years. If they sold their property before 15 years, they had to pay hefty "unearned profit" amounting to several lakh of rupees. For instance, for 1 kanal plot this amount worked out to about Rs 40 lakh.

The decision will provide a major relief to the GPA holders, who will be able to secure loans for their projects in the industrial area, the industrialists highlighted. "Taken at the initiative of the UT Administrator SF Rodrigues, the decision would go a long in converting the industrial area into an institutional zone bringing in more commercial activity, including shopping malls and offices of the MNCs,” MPS Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association told The Tribune here.

In fact, under 2005 conversion policy, there was provision for exemption from the payment of “unearned profits” for the plot owners going for conversion of their plots in the industrial area. However, the Estate Office reportedly put its foot down and objected to this decision. And now overruling the Estate Office, the finance department amended the policy paving the way for relief to the entrepreneurs.

A senior official said the decision had set right an anomaly. When the allottees had already paid the conversion charges, there was no point in paying the “unearned profit”, the official added.

What does it mean

The industrialists can sell property before mandatory 15 years now and they will not have to pay the "unearned profits" to the administration

The fallout

The decision will go a long way in converting the industrial area into an institutional zone bringing in shopping malls and offices of the MNCs



Wrong Admission
Syndicate’s functioning under cloud
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
A day after the Chandigah Tribune reported the alleged misuse of the Panjab University Syndicate, it was found that admission of the girl student to the Department of Computer Science and Applications was just a tip of the iceberg. Surprisingly, such a serious matter was not even on the list of items in the agenda. To top it all, the issue did not even find a mention in the current agenda. A mere reference was made on the issue at the end of the meeting and the matter was approved immediately.

What comes, as a shock, to most of the academicians in the university is the manner in which the Syndicate is functioning, so much so that it puts a question mark on its authority and integrity.

Vice-chancellor of the university said, “There are many issues which are brought by the syndics on the floor of the house and it is not possible for me to put my foot down on certain issues. He, however, admitted that the issue was merely discussed and was not in the agenda but he maintained that it was not unlawful or against the rules.” The matter was agreed upon keeping in view the governments’ initiative to give a chance to one and all to study under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.

Akhtar Mahmood, one of the syndics expressing surprise over the matter, said the matter was never a part of the agenda. If it was discussed in the last minute and then made a decision, its not the proper way of conducting the meeting. “Although I was not there when it was being discussed but it should be questioned at the next meeting. It was not even raised at the meeting”, he said.

However, Prof Naval Kishore, dean, students’ welfare, who is also a syndic and who had made the reference at the meeting, refused to comment on the matter.

G K Chatrath, senior Syndicate member, however, said there was no violation in the decision. “If a proposal was made and it was accepted by the house, there is nothing wrong with it”, he asserted.

Ashok Goyal, another syndic, while talking about the issue, said no such decision was taken at the meeting, as there was no such item on the agenda. However if something had happened in my absence, I cannot comment on that.



Biker killed in accident
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
A youth Mahesh, riding a motorcycle, died and his pillion rider injured when the two were reportedly hit by a speeding truck at the Sector 3 roundabout here late tonight. The truck driver, who was later found to be under the influence of liquor, fled from the spot but was later arrested

The mishap occurred at around 11 pm when at least two youths on a motorcycle (RJ 14 -49M 2685) reportedly hit by a mini truck (CH03E 9584) on the Sector 3 roundabout. According to the police, three helmets were recovered from the site of the accident and the police was yet to identify the injured .

One of the injured died on way to General Hospital, Sector 16, while the other is said to be in a critical condition. According to doctors on emergency duty, the identity of the two was still not certain. The police claimed that after the accident, the truck was found parked outside a wine shop in Mani Majra. The driver said to be from Daddu Majra was also found lying in the shop in a drunk state. "He is not even in a state to tell his name," said a police source

The police post at General Hospital remained inaccessible through the night. Repeated calls at the police post elicited no response 



The ghosts didn’t have a chance
AIDS control team enters the building only after path
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
If the staff of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society (PSACS) had their way, perhaps they would have not liked to shift to their new office in Prayaas, Sector 38. Reason - the place is believed to be haunted; it has not been occupied in many years.

So when they moved into the new premises this morning, they were not alone. By their side was the Holy Guru Granth Sahib, brought in from Sector 38 gurdwara, located closeby. A granthi also came along to “purge the place of evil”. At the end of the “path” of Shri Sukhmani Sahib, he said: “Now there is no reason for anyone to fear; Guru Sahib has blessed the place and rid it of all profanity.”

The religious offering continued for an hour and was attended by doctors from various components of AIDS control programme, including antiretroviral therapy and blood safety. Assistant project director PSACS Dr N.M. Sharma, however, said the “path” had nothing to do with anyone’s fears or haunting. “It had been planned well in advance because we were moving to a new office. It is a normal practice,” he said.

But sources say otherwise, adding that ghost stories about the place had been bothering the staff which insisted on having a religious offering for good omen. News also is that two of the class IV employees of the PSACS on duty in the new premises last night, today told their authorities that they had experienced a haunting last night.

Rupinder Singh and Birinder Singh reportedly heard strange noises when they were sleeping on the fourth floor, where the new PSACS office is located. Today their representative Surmukh Singh from PSACS even brought the issue to the notice of project director PSACS T.R. Sarangal, who had come visiting.

It is further learnt that both men at the new building last night have asked their authorities if they could be allowed to stand guard on the ground floor instead of the fourth floor. Meanwhile, labourers at work in the building admitted they had heard ghost stories about the place, but these, they said, had more to do with the fact that the place is deserted. “It’s all psychological,” they said.



Recorded opinion can be disclosed, says CIC
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Central Information Commissioner (CIC) has ruled that opinions behind administrative decisions can be disclosed to information seekers if the same have been recorded on files.

It was persistently being held by various information officers that opinions and reasons could not be disclosed. The Right to Information (RTI) Act provides that reasons shall be recorded by all public authorities in all decisions taken in their official capacity.

Acting upon an appeal filed before the commission by an employee of the Ordnance Factory Cell, Banshi Dhar, against the Ministry of Defence, CIC Wajahat Habibullah, last week held that Section 2 (j) of the RTI Act allows for accessibility to any information, which is held by or under the control of any public authority.

The defence ministry had declined to reveal information to the appellant on a query about the proceedings of a departmental meeting concerned with his promotion and merger of certain posts. The ministry had maintained that the query was not covered by relevant clauses of the RTI Act.

An appeal filed by the appellant before the first appellate authority was dismissed. The CIC held that it was incorrect on the part of the ministry’s information officer (CPIO), Alok Perti to claim that certain information sought by the appellant was incorrect.

The CIC also observed that the first appellate authority, P.K. Rastogi, additional secretary in the ministry, had failed to apply his mind while deciding the appeal. Instead of addressing the information sought by Dhar in his original application, he only addressed Dhar’s observations made in his appeal on the manner in which the application was disposed off by the CPIO.

Setting aside earlier orders of the CPIO and appellate authority, the CIC has directed the ministry to release the relevant information to the appellant within fifteen days free of cost.



Army dental unit observes first Corps Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Army Dental Corps celebrated its 67th Corps Day at the Command Military Dental Centre (CMDC), Chandimandir today.

The Corps Day was celebrated for the first time after it was upgraded to the level of a corps headed by a Lieutenant-General.

The celebrations were attended by Lt-Gen A. N. Aul, Chief of Staff, Western Command, and other senior officers of the Western Command, Air Force, government and civilian dental institutions, besides retired dental officers.

Brig K. Ravishankar, Commandant, CMDC, gave an overview of the corps and apprised senior officers about the recent achievements of the centre. He said recently the CMDC had been adjudged as the best dental centre.

Army Dental Corps is a relatively young corps of Army. It was on February 1, 1941, that eight civilian dental surgeons were granted the King’s Emergency Commission in the newly-formed dental branch of the then Indian Medical Service. The Corps has undergone sea changes ever since then. Presently, the corps has over 500 dental officers and is headed by Lt-Gen Paramjit Singh.

The officers and men of the corps are also deployed with UN peacekeeping forces in Cambodia, Somalia, Ruwanda and Angola. In addition, officers are also being sent to the Sultanante of Oman on deputation. Dental teams also visit Nepal and Bhutan at regular intervals to provide treatment and training. The corps also provides dental and specialist treatment to the troops engaged in various counter insurgency operations.

The Command Military Dental Centre (Western Command) is one of the oldest dental centres dating back to March 1948. For the last few years the dental centre has grown in all aspects. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and is in the process of obtaining more advanced equipment. New specialist dental treatment block has been built which houses four additional dental surgery clinics and waiting rooms for patients.



Oriental Insurance told to pay Rs 19-lakh compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The UT State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed Oriental Insurance Company Limited, Panchkula, to pay a compensation of Rs 19.54 lakh along with interest of 12 per cent per annum to Rishab Refractories Limited of Patiala.

The commission mentioned in the order that an interest of 12 per cent per annum would be applicable on the compensation amount after the date of submission of survey report from August 4, 2005. The insurance firm was asked to pay Rs 3,100 as litigation costs.

The company stated that they have been purchasing stock and raw material, semi-finished and finished goods that were insured with the firm from time to time. The company got its stock worth Rs 1 crore insured with the company.

The petitioner averred that on the August 2, 2004, night there was heavy rain in the area-highest in the past 47 years. It rained continuously for 48 hours, which damaged the goods of the company. The company complained about it to the police and a DDR was registered.

The insurance firm on getting the intimation letter from the company appointed a surveyor to investigate the matter. The surveyor visited the factory premises and prepared the list of insured items, which were not affected by the rain, valuing around Rs 20.6 lakh. The company estimated the loss to be Rs 80.74 lakh. As there was delay in finalisation of the claim, the company served them a legal notice in February 2005. Later, the petitioner got a reply from the insurance firm stating that the surveyor had assessed the damage to the tune of Rs 6.77 lakh.

In the reply, the insurance firm denied there being any delay on their part in settling the claim. The insurance firm stated that there was a delay due to the “non-cooperative approach” of the petitioner.

The commission, headed by K.C. Gupta, observed: “The insurance firm has been deficient in providing service to the company and they are entitled to full indemnification of the loss suffered by it along with compensation for deficiency in service. Based on the analysis, the commission partly allows the claim.”



Tribune Bureau chief bereaved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana/Chandigarh, February 1
Mehtab Kaur (94), mother of The Tribune Bureau chief Prabhjot Singh, passed away here today after a brief illness.

She is survived by nine sons and two daughters. The cremation will take place on Sunday at 4 pm at the Model Town cremation ground here.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda expressed grief over the death. Badal expressed sympathy with members of the bereaved family.

Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and president, Shiromani Akali Dal, also condoled the death of Mehtab Kaur.

Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for water supply, sanitation, information and public relations and environment, Punjab, along with Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, a former minister, and Paramjit Singh Sidhwan, political secretary to Sukhbir Singh Badal, today visited the house of the bereaved family.

Harcharan Bains, advisor to Punjab Chief Minister, D.S. Jaspal, principal secretary, and Tejveer Singh, director, Information and Public Relations Department, also mourned the death of Mehtab Kaur.

Haryana chief parliamentary secretary Dharambir Singh, media adviser to the Haryana Chief Minister Sunderpal Singh and director, Public Relations and Cultural Affairs Department, K.K. Khandelwal also expressed sorrow.

The Punjab Information and Public Relations Officers Welfare Association condoled the death of Mehtab Kaur.

A condolence meeting of the staff of district Public Relations Office was held under the chairmanship of Darshan Singh, DPRO, at Mini Secretariat.



Switch on geysers at night: Admin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Chandigarh Administration today asked the residents to switch on their storage-water geysers during the night so that the power load during morning hours could be minimised. The Administration has also asked that unnecessary use of room heaters could be avoided in morning hours. 

The storage geysers have an automatic cut-off device and they shut down when water is heated, hence there is no wastage of power.



Banks vie to open ATMs at railway station
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Banks in the region are making their presence felt at the Chandigarh railway station. With two banks already having opened their ATMs outside the railway station, six other banks are also opening their ATMs here.

While the State Bank of Patiala and Punjab National Bank have already opened their ATMs, Union Bank of India opened its ATM this evening. Sources informed The Tribune that Bank of Baroda, Indian Overseas Bank, United Commercial Bank and Dena Bank are all set to open their ATMs before the end of this financial year. Canara Bank has set up its kiosk on the Panchkula-end of the station, and this ATM will be inaugurated shortly.

The idea is not just to make it convenient for the public visiting the station, but also to get maximum publicity - thanks to the location of these ATMs. With these banks getting space inside the railway station, or on the exit road of the station, their visibility is noticed by thousands of people visiting the station every day.

Bankers agree that they do not foresee much business at these ATMs. They are skeptical whether these ATMs would require frequent replenishing of cash . “But after the Indian Railways cleared the proposal to allow banks to set up ATMs at 52 railway stations across the country, banks in the city are now vying with each other to make their presence felt at the railway station. Though the public will get a facility to withdraw money immediately, the banks stand to gain wide publicity because of the large number of people frequenting the station daily,” said a senior banker, requesting anonymity.

The sources said as part of the agreement with Indian Railways, all banks who set up their ATMs are supposed to provide e-ticketing service in their kiosks. This includes internet ticketing, monthly and quarterly season ticketing, PRS ticketing and UTS ticketing. However, till date none of the three operational bank ATMs are offering this service as they have not been connected to the main server of the Indian Railways. But these banks, as well as Canara Bank, have already made provision for starting this service in their ATM kiosks. 



HR workers oppose privatisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Haryana Roadways Workers Union has threatened to start an agitation on the proposed privatisation policy of the state government.

Reacting to the news, published in a Hindi daily, press spokesman of the union Lal Chand Kasana alleged that Haryana Roadways minister M R Gupta had promised at a meeting with the union delegation on December 12 last year that there would be no recruitment of drivers and conductors from private agencies. “But now the minister has broken his promise by giving permission to recruit staff from three private agencies”, said Kasana while referring to the news item, published in the Hindi daily.

“We will call an emergency meeting of the union workers to protest against the government move. Besides, protests will be held at every depot from February 6 to 29”, said Kasana. 



‘Withdraw sale clause in GPA for relatives’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha today demanded the withdrawal of the sale clause in the general power of attorney (GPA) for blood relations attracting a stamp duty of 1.5 per cent.

In a representation to the UT Administrator, Chaman Lal Sharma and Amarjit Singh Sethi, president and general secretary, respectively, termed the clause as "unjustified" since within family several old persons were unable to visit govenment offices and give their GPAs to their relatives property transactions.



Respite for director, Military Farms
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Central Administrative Tribune (CAT) today directed the Military Secretary’s branch, Army Headquarters, New Delhi, not to disturb Kashmira Singh, director, Military Farms, Western Command, from his post for two weeks.

The Army Headquarters had issued orders in January to another Army officer to join the said post though the applicant was supposed to retire on April 30 this year.

Kashmira Singh stated that an Army officer, Lt Col N.R. Kulkarni, was appointed to his post. Kulkarni was working at Military Farm Central Command (Farms), Lucknow. The applicant pointed out that the authorities concerned can appoint people to the post of director, Military Farms, under civilian quota as well. Kashmira Singh stated that posting and promotion of officials from the civilian and military quotas was under the Quarter Master in New Delhi and Military Secretary’s branch respectively.

He averred that due to lack of co-ordination between the Quarter Master and Military Secretary’s branch in New Delhi this contradictory order was passed. Kashmira Singh opined that due to the orders passed by the headquarters, he would be forced to work under a person much junior to him. The applicant alleged that the post of director, Military Farms, was mentioned vacant by the authorities concerned though he was performing the duties of the said post.

Moreover, there are nine posts of director, Military Farms, out of which seven posts are of military quota and two of civilian quota.

The applicant submitted a representation to the respondents to allow him to retire from service gracefully.



Admin ignoring Punjabi: Mann
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
A protest rally was held to strengthen the ‘Punjabi bachao manch’ for providing certified status to Punjabi language at Plaza, Sector 17, here today.

The movement was started on January 1 with a view to implement the language in Chandigarh. The movement includes writers, intellectuals and members of the Punjabi employees community. Renowned Punjabi comedian Bhagwant Mann today rendered his support to the movement. Schoolchildren lit candles as part of the protest.

Bhagwant Mann said, “It is shameful on the part of the local authorities that are ignoring Punjabi language and giving the English language an official status. Less than a per cent of the city population belongs to the English section.”

Convener of the movement Gurpartap Singh Riar said, “The Chandigarh administration had been ignoring the Punjabi language and if in case, it continues to do the same, the people in association with this movement will hold protest on a large scale.

Chairman of the movement Shargara Singh said, before 1966, Punjabi was the official language. It is sad that the administration was killing the language in the city. General secretary Tarlochan Singh said, “Giving status to Punjabi is our right and it should be the duty of every Punjabi to provide support to this movement.” 



Treat for music lovers from today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 1
The fourth Acharya Brahaspati Sangeet Samaroh will be held at the Law Bhavan auditorium in Sector 37 on February 2 and 3. Festival coordinator Dr Saubhagya Brahspati said the event was being organised under the aegis of Acharya Brahspati Institute in association with Sadbhavna Arts.

The samroh titled ‘Parthma’ will feature all woman maestros, including Dr Kamla Shanker (guitar), Sumiti Ram Mohan (mridangam), M. Shinde Reddy (flute), Ragini (jaltranag) and Sukanya (ghatam). Besides, two pioneering women maestros Shobha Koser (kathak) and Chander Kanta Khosla (sitar) will be honoured.

All are welcome for the evening starting at 6.30 pm.



Medicity: Hunt on for better site
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Even as the Administration has invited expression of interest for its proposed hi-tech medicity, it is reportedly scouting for a better and bigger location on the Chandigarh-Panchkula road for the medicity.

This will have multi-specialty and multi-discipline health care facilities and is one of the prestigious projects of the Administration. Sources in the Administration said the existing location is a 45-acre plot in Raipur Kalan village that is approachable only through the road leading from the railway station or a small road from the Chandigarh-Ambala road. Both approaches are not very good when compared with new possible locations identified close to the Chandigarh-Panchkula road.

Sources in the Administration said the need for a new location was felt as the 45-acre site may not be enough for the extent of interest corporate health care companies are showing. The medicity is an effort of the Administration to spruce up healthcare systems. It will have a modern and multi-disciplinary health care delivery system which provide treatment in different streams of medicines, Ayurveda, homoeopathy, Siddha and Unani, along with a holistic health centre.

The proposed medicity will have a super-speciality hospital-cum-recuperatory centre. A medical college, a dental college, a nursing college and a hospice will also be on this campus.

The idea is to provide healthcare facilities at affordable rate to all sections of population, the UT administration had claimed when it invited proposals from the private sector. For this a charity hospital will also be run. The nursing college which will provide free education to 300 nurses per year.

Besides this, the administration also wants to provide a centre for research in treatment of thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia in this medicity. Since Punjab and Chandigarh have a high incidence of thalassaemia, this will be a boon.

With so many services planned, the site would not have met the requirements of parking, services and other facilities hence the plan to have bigger site, said an official.

The medicity will also propel medical tourism. With health care being very expensive in the developed world several foreigners and NRIs opt to have their treatment and surgeries here. With cardiac problems and cancer being a scourge in this part of the country, the medicity will specialise in cardiology and oncology.



Man alleges attempt to murder
Tribune News Service

Lalru, February 1
Mukesh, a sweetshop owner in Jolly village here, has complained to the police that someone tried to kill him along with his family by causing a blast with his LPG cylinder in his home.

According to the police, Mukesh stated that he found a rope soaked in petrol connected to the kitchen LPG cylinder when he woke up this morning. He added that someone probably jumped into the house by climbing the wall and cut the cylinder pipe. A rope, soaked in petrol, was stuffed into the cut pipe. The rope led to a secluded place near his house. Its one end was semi-burnt. He told the police that it seemed that some one had tried to blast his cylinder but the other end of the rope, which was lighted, snuffed out due to the cold. The matter is being looked into.



Mohali to have women hostel, senior citizens’ home
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 1
Mohali is all set to get its first working women’s hostel and a senior citizens’ home. The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has earmarked almost 2.7 acres of land in Sector 68 for the purpose.

The complex will be constructed by GMADA but handed over to the Red Cross Society to run it. The GMADA has, however, cancelled the allotment of land to the Red Cross Society in Sector 71 for the construction of the Red Cross Bhawan.

This was decided during the meeting of the executive committee members held recently.

Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) had written to the Chief Minister in October 2007 that GMADA should create a facility for working women and senior citizens in Mohali.

“Mohali has, in the past few years, become an attractive destination for industry, trade and commerce. As such, a large number of women have found employment here. It will therefore, be useful to provide proper facilities for their accommodation. Similarly, in a situation where the number of elderly is increasing rapidly, we need to cater to their needs. Similar institutions set up in Chandigarh are rendering valuable service; and the proposed ones at Mohali will be equally beneficial,” wrote the Governor.

Following this, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal wrote to the GMADA chief administrator suggesting that the land in Sector 68 be earmarked for the purpose.

It was also pointed out during the meeting that another piece of 0.81 acres of land in Sector 70 had been allotted to the Red Cross Society for the construction of the Red Cross Bhawan by GMADA in January 2007. The approval for this allotment had been sent to the SAS Nagar deputy commissioner who is the ex-officio secretary of the society but he did not even bother to reply to GMADA. As a result of this, the allotment letter was not issued to the society. Now the GMADA has cancelled the allotment.

During the meeting, it was felt by some members that GMADA should give the land to the Red Cross Society, which can carry out the construction from its own funds. However, after deliberations it was decided that GMADA would construct the complex and lease it out to the society to run and manage. The ownership of the building will remain with GMADA.



Surgeon honoured
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 1
Dr Pankaj Garg, senior surgeon at Fortis Hospital, has won the first prize for his paper presented at the annual surgeons’ conference held recently at Bhubaneswar. His research paper, “Treatment of fistula-in-ano by a new procedure — Anal Fistula Plug”, has been adjudged the best presentation from among a large number of contributions made by surgeons from India and abroad. The conference was attended by over 4,000 surgeons.

The new method — anal fistula plug procedure — discussed in the paper, represents a major advancement in the treatment of anal fistula, a dreaded illness. This minimally invasive technique of treatment has been pioneered by Dr Garg.

His pioneering work in the field of colo-proctology and piles is well known. 



Stop wasting public money

Despite the ban on child labour, a large number of children as young as 8-10 years of age are seen working in dhabas and shops through out the country. While passing the Act, the government has probably forgotten ground realities. How are poor people expected to stop sending their wards to earn for livelihood?

Mostly funds are wasted as is evident from the full- page advertisement given in a newspaper by the Haryana government recently regarding a ban on child labour.

Kulbir Singh, Rajpura

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Closure of Schools
Confusion reigns supreme
Tribune News Service

A student of YPS returns home after declaration of holidays in the junior wing of the school in Mohali on Friday.
A student of YPS returns home after declaration of holidays in the junior wing of the school in Mohali on Friday. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Mohali, February 1
A sudden announcement by the Punjab Chief Minister in Amritsar led to major confusion among schools in Mohali. The Chief Minister had, yesterday, announced that all private and government primary schools be closed for a week due to extreme cold.

The announcement was neither made through the DPI (schools) nor were private school associations consulted before the announcement was made. As a result, schools did not have any time to inform the students about the holidays.

Since the news was flashed in newspapers only this morning, most school buses had left the schools to pick up students. While some parents, who had read the newspapers by then, chose not to send their children to school, many got up as usual and got their children ready.

At Yadvindra Public School here, parents came like any other day to drop children only to be told that the school had shut down till February 9. The schools buses, which reached the school full of students, were also sent back with teachers on board. “The students who had already reached the school in buses were sent back. The students were back in cases where the parents were home. The rest were brought back and sent home as per the usual timings,” said junior school principal Komal Anand.

Despite the school’s efforts, confusion loomed large with parents even reaching the school to take their wards back.

The rest of the private schools and many government schools, too, had almost all the students reaching the school this morning. While most of the private schools have decided to close the junior wings (Classes nursery to V) from tomorrow till February 9, these schools remained open today.

At Sant Isher School, the junior wing students had already reached the school and spent the day till the closing time when they were sent back with notices that the school would now remain closed till February 9. Similar scenes were witnessed at Manav Mangal Smart School, Lawerance Public School, Saint Xavier’s and Gian Jyoti Public School. These schools have announced closure of the junior wings.

However, some private schools will follow their own schedule. These schools, at their own level, will take decision regarding their closure. Students will also be informed accordingly. 



From Schools & Colleges
Manav Mangal students bag top positions in Olympiad
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 1
Students of Manav Mangal School, Sector 11, made a mark in the 10th National Science Olympiad organised by Science Olympiad Foundation. In Class three category, first eight positions in Panchkula were bagged by the school with Muskan standing first. Others who got first positions include Anmol Rana (Class IV), Rajat Sadana (Class VI), Ayushi Singal (Class VII), and Madhuri (Class IX). Those who secured second position are Abhinava (Class III), Himani Kaul (Class IV), Pulkit (Class VII), and Shailender Pratap (Class IX).

INTRODUCED: The British School, introduced interactive classrooms in the school today. T.R. Sethi, chairman of the school, said the school had adopted interactive classrooms fitted with latest interactive communications devices like interactive note pads andblack boards, overhead projectors and centrally-aligned computers aimed at enhancing the delivery of modern day instruction with the help of graphics, visual photography and electronically aided gadgets.

HOMAGE PAID: Students, entire teaching and non-teaching staff of Gian Jyoti School here observed a two-minute silence at 11 am to pay homage to martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for India ’s freedom.

Dera Bassi
PRIZE DISTRIBUTION: As many as 126 students of Government College were awarded during the annual prize distribution function held here today. Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh was the chief guest and announced a grant of Rs 4 lakh for the computer lab of the college.

SCIENCE CONGRESS: Thapar University, Patiala, will organise the 11th Punjab Science Congress from February 7 to 9 under the aegis of Punjab Academy of Sciences, Punjab. 



Consumer Courts
Surgical firm fined Rs 25,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Manimajra-based Arti Dental and Surgical has been asked to pay Rs 25,000 by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum as compensation for harassment caused by it to a Sector 47-based doctor by supplying him a defective compressor, used in dental chair.

The petitioner, Dr Rupinder Singh, stated that he had purchased a compressor used in a dental chair for water pressure worth Rs 10,000 from the company in August 2005.

He stated that he was assured by the company that the money would be refunded in case of any defect within a year. Singh alleged that in April 2006, as he was attending a patient, the compressor suddenly exploded. The matter was reported to the opposite party which asked him to get it repaired from Panchkula-based Deepak Electricals.

Singh said the equipment was got repaired but in June 2006 air leaked from it, so again he approached the opposite party and got it repaired. In September when the compressor exploded again, Singh asked Arti Dental and Surgical to change the compressor or refund the money but the opposite party turned a deaf ear to the request.

In the reply to the contentions, Arti Dental and Surgical denied having sold the compressor saying they do not deal in such items. They declined to acknowledge that the compressor had exploded saying the manufacturer, dealer, the police or newspapers were not informed.

The forum headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal, holding Arti Dental and Surgical deficient in services, directed them to pay Rs 10,000 as cost of the compressor with directions to the complainant to return the defective compressor. Arti Dental and Surgical have also been asked to pay Rs 1,100 as cost of litigation.



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