C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT-Jaipur Garib Rath brings little cheer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
It will take a few more years before the Indian Railways develops the Chandigarh railway station as a junction for long-distance trains. Reason, the vital rail link between Chandigarh and Ludhiana is behind schedule. Till the rail link is complete, residents will not be able to use long distance trains now running on the Amritsar-Delhi section.

Today’s announcement reaffirms that Chandigarh and its peripheral areas are not on the priority list of the railway minister. However, there was an applause when Lalu Prasad announced a direct tri-weekly Garib Rath between Chandigarh and Jaipur via Rewari and Bhiwani.

JS Bhogal, member of the Zonal Railway User Consultative Committee, said the train should have been extended up to Ajmer Sharif. He was unhappy that there was no announcement for direct trains between the city and major like Mumbai, Banglore and Goa.

The announcement on a special train between Anandpur Sahib and Patna Sahib to Nanded to commemorate the tercentenary celebrations of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Gurta Gaddi would be of little use if the train was not diverted through the city, he said.

R.L. Goel, another member on the committee, said the priority should be to create more infrastructure at the Chandigarh station so that the pending Chandigarh-Ludhiana track was used as alternative route between Ambala and Amritsar.

Residents are irked as there has been no announcement on Sunday Jan Shatabdi. The long- pending demand to increase the frequency of Kerela Sampark Kranti Express has also not been met.

The announcement on running the Chandigarh-Delhi Jan Shatabadi to be extended up to Una has also not been announced. 

About Garib Rath

It is the common man’s air-conditioned train at cheaper fares. The concept was introduced in October, 2006, on the Saharsa-Amritsar route. Since then, “Garib Raths” have been running successfully on the Delhi-Patna, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai sectors. Manufactured either at the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala or Perambur, each “Garib Rath” chair car has 108 seats against 74 in other AC chair car coaches.

Similarly in AC-III sleeper car, the coaches have 72-76 seats against 64 in normal AC coaches. Each “Garib Rath” has 24 coaches.

Sops fine but
safety must

Trains are one of the most unsafe modes of travelling for women, especially in India. May be the government should have included more women bogies on long distance routes instead of concessions. Women RPF personnel should be on board on all major routes.

— Rubina, BSc (III) student P6



Sops okay but safety must: Students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Despite minister for railways Lalu Prasad Yadav’s announcement to offer free monthly season tickets to students in the Railways Budget, it’s security that weighs heavily on the minds of girl students and women.

“Concessions have no meaning for us if the government doesn’t think of providing us security. There have been so many incidents in the past wherein even the people on board didn’t come forward to help. So the priority should be security instead of discounts. Money should be used in making the trains more safe for women by installing emergency alarm system”, said Deepti, MCM DAV College.

“ For a girl, it’s her modesty that concerns her the most and not shelling out extra money to buy tickets. It’s high time, the policy makers think in the direction of ensuring safety for girls”, said Isha, DAV School.

“A safe journey is more important for a female travelling alone than availing discounts. By offering free tickets and concessions, the government is increasing trouble for women some of whom would be tempted to travel on trains despite it being an unsafe mode”, said Vishu, GCG 11.

“Trains are one of the most unsafe modes of travelling for women, especially in India. May be the government should have included more women bogies on long distance routes. said Rubina, B Sc (III) student.

In August, 2002, a young woman was raped on a suburban train in Mumbai

In 2003, NCW and the Maharashtra State Commission for Women jointly inquired into an incident in which a minor girl was raped in a running local train in Mumbai.

On January 24, 2004, a similar situation happened on Chattisgarh Express near Mathura wherein some men tried to molest a young women.

Last year, a DIG tried to molest an IPS officer’s wife and her sister while the duo were travelling on a train in Bihar.



For some porters, there’s no reason to cheer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
84 year-old Sadhu Ram is a porter at the Chandigarh railway station. Lugging loads for the past 35 years, this wrinkled-faced bespectacled man lost another reason to smile this evening.

Waiting for being absorbed in the railways for the last many years, age is fast catching up him and his many other colleagues who are in their fifties.

Tuesday’s announcement of porters being given the status of gangman was applauded with cheers for the railway minister Lalu Yadav. But the celebrations were often punctuated by anxiety of being deprived of the benefit just because of age. Kale Ram, 72, was anxious to know whether he would be given salary benefits equivalent to a gangman, if he was not medically fit.

For the army of men in red, the promotion should enable their children to get the job of a gangman. Kehar Singh, acting president of the porter’s association, said he had being lugging load for the last 50 years and had hardly managed to feed his family.

Praising Lalu for the announcement, they still are an unhappy lot. We are being deprived of a place to sit and are not given any medical benefit. It is high time that we were owned by the Railways and given some respect, said Kale Ram while waiting for passengers at the entrance to the station.



Chandigarh Ungoverned
Want parking? Look for kerbs
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
In a planned city like Chandigarh, Surinder Singh, a visitor to the Punjab mini secretariat in Sector 9 on Monday, was seen struggling to find a place to park his Wagon R. Exasperated, he parked the car on the kerb and rushed inside the building to get work done.

This is the story of almost every visitor to the secretariat. The Punjab Police headquarters is located nearby. Finding parking space in any government building is a big task. Even worse is ensuring that the parked vehicle is safe. The cars have to be parked on the roadside, with no security or sentry to keep guard.

There is no parking space in front of the two buildings and none was ever properly constructed at the rear. The number of cars in the area on any given day is more than 200. But the Chandigarh administration is yet to provide any parking facilities. There is no space earmarked for the same.

People are forced to use the road kerbs as also the slow carriageway, with the fear of the traffic police towing away the vehicles always on their minds. In another block of office buildings in Sector 9-B on the Jan Marg are located the offices of the Chandigarh administration and the Chandigarh Police. Here, there is parking space with bitumen top, for more than 200 cars and space for two-wheelers too.

Almost all parking spaces at government buildings are inadequate. For example, in Sector 17 finding parking - at the SBI headquarters, the income tax building, Udyog Bhawan, the office of the AGP and the Haryana mini secretariat- is a task in itself.

At the two hotels in Sector 17, The Taj and Shivalikview, visitors struggle to find parking space whenever a party or banquet is hosted. The 30 bays building and the UT estate office are other problem areas.

Mahavir Singh, who works in an office at the 30 bays building, says the administration should construct a semi-basement parking like the one at the PGI. Officials Officials admit that parking is a major problem and areas like those in front of the British Library in Sector 9, KFC in Sector 8 and Fun Republic are areas of concern. 



Cell Rip-off
Smart packages only fleece
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Lured by the seemingly attractive tariff packages announced by various cellphone operators? Think again before you opt for these packages, which allegedly have a lot of hidden costs.

Though cellphone operators in the region vehemently deny that hidden costs are imposed on customers, a number of customers complain that most of the times, no account is given to them about the calls made or SMS sent in accordance with the package.

Rather, they are charged for extra calls or SMS, which the operatiors claim have been made in excess of limit in that particular package.

Customers also allege that the operators hike the charges for SMS on special occasions - be it New Year’s eve or Diwali. Says A. Kumar, a businessman in Mohali: “We are not informed in advance about the hike in tariffs for a particular day. One could just be sending a routine business SMS, for which he is forced to pay extra. Even the one sent for voting on television shows are priced high and most consumers are not informed about it”.

It is alleged that with value-added services (VAS) becoming a major revenue generator for cellphone companies (about 10-15 per cent of revenue is through VAS) , many of the services are being thrust on customers. Most VAS come at a tariff of Rs 2- Rs 10 per call, with a few VAS, like cricket score updates, being charged over Rs 100 for registeration. Though the cellphone operators deny that any of these VAS are being thrust on the consumers, the latter allege that since the GPRS handsets are registered with the cellphone operators, they simply activate the services on these handsets without any demand from the consumers.

Most of the times the method for registration of this service is so designed that customers unknowingly register for these. For example, Jagdeep Kumar, a fruit shop owner in Panchkula, was forced to pay for cricket updates as the promotional SMS delivered on his screen was followed by a simple sentence that asked him to Press 1. Without scrolling down the screen (where the details of the VAS was mentioned) he pressed the number and within a few seconds, he received an SMS from his operator that the service had been activated.

It is also alleged that the service for getting information on monthly bills is not updated for days so as to ensure wider usage by the consumer. It is only towards the end of the month that the operator provides a true picture of the monthly outstanding bill.

Airtel spokesperson said there are no hidden charges for VAS, even in case of call tariff related to VAS, in each promotional message the charges as clearly mentioned. “In automated calls like Cricket Packs, we ask the customer twice for confirmation. Only after explicit confirmation from the customer do we proceed further. To stop spam on cellphone, a ‘national do not call’ registry has been built.”

Spice spokesperson said Spice does not believe in having hidden charges. We believe in making our services more affordable to customers, and giving more value to customers. In this context whenever tariffs are revised, the same are communicated to customers through the website, posters, leaflets and ads. All Spice promotional messages clearly mention the charges applicable for the respective services, and the service is activated only post customer’s affirmation. All customer complaints, including these, are handled by the customer care; one can contact customer care by calling on the helpline (9814012345 for postpaid subscribers and 9814012347 for prepaid subscribers) or walking into a showroom.

Airtel Spokesperson: There are no hidden charges for VAS Spice Spokesperson: Spice does not believe in hidden charges



MC House Meet
Councillors set to get more financial muscle
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

February 26, Chandigarh
Residents can expect more development in their areas with the councillors set to get more financial muscle. The MC proposes a 50 per cent hike in the development fund for elected councilors under the Councillors Ward Development Fund. The mayor will, however, get much more as his fund readies to double.

That’s not all - the MC plans to empower women too. It has already set up a women’s empowerment committee and proposes a Mahila Bhawan in Sector 38, the first by any civic body in India. For this one, the MC is willing to spend Rs 1 crore and another Rs 25 lakh has been set aside for “women’s welfare”.

Upbeat about the proposal, mayor Pradeep Chhabra said technical bids for hiring an architect for early construction of Mahila Bhawan had already been received.

The councillors also stand to gain. Till now, they used to get Rs 20 lakh each for development works. The amount now will be Rs 30 lakh each. The mayor will, however, get Rs 80 lakh - double of what he used to. From this fund, he has the discretion of developing areas across the city.

The hike in the Councillors Ward Development Fund is expected to get the nod in the MC general house meeting tomorrow, wherein Rs 8.6 crore has been earmarked in the corporation budget for 2008-09.

A fund allocation of Rs 5.6 crore had been marked during the current year to improve the look of City Beautiful by giving it better, larger roads, sewerage treatment plants and garbage disposal systems.

Interestingly, the councillor fund has seen a big hike in past years, not essentially in correspondence with development on the ground. The fund was Rs 5 lakh when the elected civic body was formed over a decade ago. "Funds are being hiked on councillors’ demands," said Chhabra, hoping more funds would bring more development.

But while councillors ask for more, old funds await expenditure. Under the councillors fund, only Rs Councillors set to get more
291.27 lakh had been spent till December 2007. 



Army reopens inquiry into tent scam
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
A few days before his move to the Central Command, Lt Gen H.S. Panag, GOC-in-C, Northern Command, ordered that the Court of Inquiry (COI) into the tent scam, the purported issue behind his sudden transfer, be re-opened.

Army sources reveal that the COI summoned 11 witnesses who had deposed before it earlier. One of the witnesses recalled had retired since the earlier proceedings took place a few months ago.

It is learnt that the Army authorities have imposed Army Rule 180 on the witnesses. According to officers, this indicates that they could be held blameworthy for their acts of omission or commission pertaining to procurement of ordnance supplies.

Army Rule 180 is invoked when the character and military reputation of an individual subject to the Army Act is involved. This gives the person the right to make a statement, give evidence or cross-examine witness.

In September last year, General Panag had ordered investigations into allegations of irregularities in purchases made from funds released under the Army Commander’s special financial powers in Jammu and Kashmir.

Tents and other ordnance equipment valued at about Rs 17 crore were purchased from local sources. The purchases pertain to a period when the Army Chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor, was heading the Northern Command.

A board of officers assembled to condemn unusable items in a Field Ordnance Depot and had found surplus items, many of which had a stipulated shelf life.

The value of the items, to be written-off, was significant and the board’s report was put up by the Army Commander. The CoI had indicted a major general and several other officers for the alleged lapses.

Soon after the Army Chief had proposed that General Panag be shifted out from Udhampur-based Northern Command, which has operational responsibility for Jammu and Kashmir, including counter-terrorist operations by the Rashtriya Rifles, to Central Command at Lucknow.

Several other inquiries to investigate into irregularities in procurement of supplies were also initiated by General Panag. Among them was procurement of low weight eggs which resulted in several officers being served show cause notices.

There were widespread speculations that General Panag was being moved out because of inquiries conducted by him.

The Army, however, had denied this, stating that the move was routine and meant to give exposure to other senior officers in counter insurgency environment.



Army medical college to begin courses this year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
A new medical college, Army College of Medical Sciences (ACMS) at New Delhi Cantonment is scheduled to commence its first MBBS course from the next academic session later this year.

The college has been affiliated with Guru Gobind Singh Indraprasth University, Delhi. After completing the course, the candidates will have to join the Army as short service officers in Army’s Medical Corps, according to an official statement.

Established under the aegis of Army Welfare Education Society (AWES). The college is for wards of army personnel, including short service officers who have served the Army for 10 years.

Children of officers from Army Medical and Dental Corps presently serving in the Air Force or Navy but have served the Army for 10 years and are members of Army Officers Benevolent Fund will also be eligible to apply. Wards of Military Nursing Services and Army Postal Service who have served in the Army for ten years are also eligible.

Admissions to 100 seats will be based on a common entrance test (CET) to be conducted by Guru Gobind Indraprasth University. Eligible candidates short listed on the basis of CET marks will be called for counseling at ACMS in July 2008. The Army already has dental and engineering colleges located at Secunderabad and Pune, respectively.



GMADA to allot next lot of plots in Sectors 76 to 80 
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
There is more good news for those who have been waiting for allotment of plots in Sectors 76 to 80 by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA).

The authority is all set to allot the next lot of 1,000 plots among the thousands of letter of intent (LOI) holders who have been waiting for more than six years for these allotments. The first set of 1,542 LOI holders were allotted plots during the three-day draw of lots held in October 2007 almost six years after the scheme was floated.

GMADA chief Vivek Pratap Singh said the next lot of 1,000 plots would be allotted soon for which the dates would be finalised in the days to come.

He confirmed that the file regarding the allotment of another thousand plots had been cleared by the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and had been received at GMADA.

The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) issued letters of intent to 3,931 persons when the residential scheme was floated in 2001. However, during the acquisition of land for the purpose some landowners, opposing the move, had approached courts. Out of the total area of about 1,400 acres that falls in these sectors, around 102 acres is currently under litigation and courts have stayed all activity on these patches of land.

The partial draw of lots has been made possible after GMADA recommended to the government that the areas, which are free of litigation, can be developed and feasible plots be handed over to the allotees.

As many as 2,577 plots in Sectors 77, 78, 79 and 80 were found to be feasible. However, since development works in Sectors 79 and 80 only had been completed, the first phase of draw of lots included only 1,542 sites.

PUDA has collected 10 per cent of the cost price of each plot from the letter of intent holders and also spent over Rs 30 crore on the development of these sectors. The letter of intent holders were, however, allowed to sell the letters and over the years the letters had changed many hands.

The GMADA has issued allotment letters to all those whose names figured in the draw of lots. Majority of the allottees have deposited the rest of the amount on account of the cost of the plot to GMADA. 



MC to hand over parking lots to private parties 
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 26
The Mohali Municipal Council proposes to hand over the work of maintenance and traffic control of the parking lots in the commercial areas of the town to private parties.

The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority has told the civic body through a letter dated February 1 that the maintenance of the parking areas was being handed over to the council.

The council proposes to hand over the work to private parties through open tenders. This would not only help in controlling traffic in the parking lots but would also help the civic body to generate additional revenue. The contractor would be asked to give a coupon to the owner of each vehicle entering the parking area but not charge any fee as was being done in Chandigarh.

The contractor would have to bear the expenditure of maintaining the parking lot. He would be allowed to put up advertisements in the area to generate income but would be asked to deposit licence fee. The proposal is to allot the work to private parties for a period ranging between seven and 10 years.

It has also been suggested that refreshment booths be set up in the market areas for the public and illegally parked rehris and other encroachments be removed from the area.

The proposals would be discussed at a meeting of the council, scheduled to be held on February 29.



Car war takes new turn
Housefed asks district magistrate to pay Rs 56,000 it spent on petrol, repair
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The tug of war between the district magistrate’s office and the Chandigarh State Federation of Coop House Building Societies Limited (Chandigarh Housefed) over the requisition of latter’s official car took a new turn today.

Miffed at the repeated requisition of car, the Chandigarh Housefed has shot off a strong-worded letter to the district magistrate demanding an amount of over Rs 56,000 incurred by it on the car’s petrol, repair and driver’s salary during the period it was at the disposal of the administration.

Taking strong exception to the requisition of the car for the past over five years, Chandigarh Housefed chairman Jai Dev Sharma complained that the requisition seriously affected the functioning of the organisation, including board of directors’ meetings, sanction, disbursement and recovery of loans.

The vehicle was requisitioned by the excise and taxation department from June, 2006, to January, 2007, and the federation had to bear the expenditure on the vehicle, besides expenses on hiring taxis for official work. In fact, recently the car was requisitioned for the additional district and session judge from January 15 to February 15,2008.

“The federation has limited resources as it is meeting its expenditure out of its annual profits. Therefore, it is not possible to bear heavy expenditure on petrol, repair and the salary of the driver,” the letter, a copy of which has been sent to the home secretary, who is also secretary cooperation, said.

The Chandigarh Housefed had already been advised by the LIC, funding agency of the federation, and the audit department to contain the expenditure of the federation. “However, our efforts at controlling the expenditure will be frustrated in the wake of the expenditure on petrol, repair and driver’s salary even for that period when the car was not used by the federation”, Sharma added.



Rear windowpane of car smashed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The law and order situation in the city came under cloud, with incidents of windowpanes of cars parked outside residences being reported continuously from various parts of the city. Just a few days after windowpanes of vehicles parked in Burail were smashed, a Sector 46 resident reported similar incident today.

Devinder Katoch of Sector 46 told TNS that in the morning when he came out to pick up newspaper he found rear windowpane of his Maruti Zen car (CH-01-M-0195) smashed. There was mud splattered in the car and no article was missing from the vehicle.

Katoch said last month also windowpanes of a number of vehicles were smashed in his neighbourhood. “It is exactly after a month and six day, the incident has been repeated gain. As it was earlier, the attitude of the police towards the incident was indifferent. The police has failed to trace the miscreants involved in the incident”, rued Katoch.

He further alleged that he had reported the matter to the police and they came and recorded their statements and went away. “I am not aware what action the police is going to take on my complaint as I have not been given any document. I do not know whether they have registered a case or not on my complaint”.

The SHO of the Sector 34 police station inspector Sudarshan Singh Thakur said he was not aware whether any complaint was lodged.



Fauji Beat
Command Hospital’s emergency restructured

Nothing is worse than a patient losing his or her life due to delay or deficiency in medicare at a hospital. The Command Hospital, Chandimandir, being located close to a highway, gets quite a few accident cases, which need immediate attention and treatment to save their lives. Though civilians are not entitled to treatment in military hospitals but in case of accidents, they are treated the same way as the militarymen. “Four accident cases of civilians, which were brought to the Command Hospital in the past three months, were treated without charging anything from them, says Maj-Gen Charanjit Singh, Commandant of the hospital.

On taking over the Command Hospital in October 2007 Gen Charanjit Singh’s first priority was to streamline the emergency services. Keeping this in view, he restructured the accident and emergency wing of the hospital to provide essential emergency medicare for saving patients’ lives. To avoid repeated shifting of a serious patient from a trolley for investigation and treatment, highly-advanced hydraulic emergency trolleys were procured in which patients can not only be taken anywhere, including the ICU and operating theatre but can also be treated. With restructuring of the emergency services, regular training of doctors and para-medical staff to operate all medical equipment in the emergency room was also started.

The Command Hospital emergency is now fully-geared up to take care of polytrauma, accidents, cardio-vascular, stroke and cancer cases on a war footing.

Abolish cantonment boards

Defence minister A.K. Antony said in New Delhi, on February 13, that the Cantonment Act of 1924, had been amended by the Cantonment Act of 2006 and that elections in the cantonments would be held soon.

Sixty-two cantonments across the country, having military and civil areas, were established during the British regime. The civil areas are managed by the cantonment boards, which are a “colonial legacy”. A civil area had its bazaar and tradesmen such as tailors, barbers, conservancy sweepers, mails, who catered to the needs of military units in the olden days. The present day military units and formations are self-contained in allied services and don’t need any help from the tradesmen and others residing in the civil areas. Most of the modern cantonments called military stations established in the eastern sector and Jammu and Kashmir are without them. Bathinda in Punjab, which is the biggest cantonment in the country, does not have any civil areas.

The population in the civil areas having grown manifold over the years, they need to be administered by the municipal corporations. These corporations should be answerable to the station commanders. The Cantonment boards having become irrelevant should be abolished.

Officers’ trend

“ If we can earn more money and make a better living by leaving the Army, why shouldn’t we do so”, ask many serving officers. Most of them are working towards improving their qualifications to fit into the corporate sector or other more paying jobs. The trend of a large number of officers is to complete 20 years of service to earn their minimum pension and then quit to seek better avenues outside. Some of them like to leave the service without earning their pension. Yet a few is waiting for the outcome of the Sixth Pay Commission. At this rate, what will happens to the officer cadre?

Pritam Bhullar



Cong alleges inclusion of bogus votes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
The District Congress Committee today alleged inclusion of bogus votes in voters lists in several wards of the municipal corporation, including Ward No 24 comprising Sectors 2, 4, Devi Nagar, Majri Chowk and Matu Ram Colony.

In a representation to the Haryana election department, Manisha Kinger, general secretary, alleged that lists had again been prepared in such a way that it is difficult to locate the bogus voters.

Separate portions should have been earmarked showing voters of Sectors 2, 4, Devi Nagar, Majri Chowk and Matu Ram Colony and it would help the candidates of a particular party, she alleged.



Pvt cos’ help sought to beautify Panchkula 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
To enhance and preserve the scenic beauty of Panchkula district, the Haryana government has involved private companies and is also taking many steps for the developmental works.

This was disclosed today by DC Rajinder Kataria while presiding over a meeting of the

members of municipal council (MC) and officers of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). He said it had become necessary for the administration to involve the private companies to have optimum results in making the city and its surroundings beautiful.

He directed the officers of of the MC and HUDA officials to make a list of required works to be done in their respective sectors. He said the related works could be of roads, parks, dividers, round-abouts, dustbins and provision of parking areas. The DC asked the representatives of the private companies to prepare a project to beautify the city. 



Combating exam fear with counsellor’s help
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
With barely three days to go for Class XII board exams, the students are already having sleepless nights and experiencing anxious moments.

In the present times, where the students aim for the stars and there is parental pressure on children to outdo others, examination stress is natural.

This year, Class X examination is starting from March 3 Class XII examinations on March 1. Many students are apprehensive and busy taking last-minute notes and tuitions.

Ankush, a Class X student in a local DAV school, says: “ I have been studying for four hours daily. I have revised my entire syllabus thrice, but the examinations are so unpredictable. One can’t be sure about the questionnaire. So after revising my textbooks, I am now going through the test papers”.

“Heightened emotions during examination are expected. Some enjoy the pressure and perform better than usual.

“However, many feel overwhelmed. The level of stress becomes so great that they cannot concentrate and run the risk of being depressed. These feelings increase closer to exam time”, says a psychologist.

“ I am worried because my performance in the board examinations would determine my career ahead. If I am not able to perform well, I would not be able to get admission in a college of my choice. So, I am constantly stressed about how well I do in exams and cannot wait anymore to start with my exams”, says Anupriya, a Class XII student.

“Mock tests, analysing students’ performance in terms of how well he or she is prepared and then conducting special classes for them is how we try to tackle stress and depression among students due to examination fever”, says Madhu Behl, principal of KBDAV School.

Interestingly, she is the counsellor for CBSE helpline in northern region for the past six years. “ Everyday, I get about 70-80 calls from students. Most of them are panicky about the boards and losing confidence.

We try and give them certain tips to ease them off. Maintaining a positive attitude towards exams, maintaining a study schedule and sticking to it and setting a realistic number of hours for revision each week are some of them. 



Koser awards ceremony on Feb 29
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, February 26
The Pracheen Kala Kendra will present the fourth annual Koser awards at Randhawa Auditorium of Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, on February 29. 

Sarangi maestro Padma Vibhushan Pandit Ram Narayan and Bharatnatyam danseuse Padma Shri Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan will be bestowed with the “Guru Madan Lal Koser - Guru Shobha Koser Award-2008”. Besides Rs 50,000, the award carries a citation, shawl and memento. 



ICICI Bank told to pay Rs 5,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
ICICI Bank has been directed by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum to pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 to a resident of Sector 21 for dishonouring the cheque of petitioner along with Rs 67 as costs of cheque bouncing.

The petitioner, Moti Sagar, stated that he deposited a cheque of Rs 23,678 in Punjab State Cooperative Bank but the cheque was dishonoured by ICICI Bank.

Moti was asked to re-present the cheque. Accordingly, the cheque was re-presented on August 10, 2007, but was again dishonoured with remarks “presenting bank not matched”.

The petitioner then brought the matter of non-payment of cheques to the ICICI Bank manager’s notice. He was assured that the cheque would not be dishonoured again. On depositing the cheque for the third time it was again dishonoured.

As the cheque was dishonoured, Moti was also burdened with cheque returning charges of Rs 67.41 which was deducted by the Punjab State Cooperative Bank from his account.

The bank stated that they were not deficient in rendering service to the petitioner.

The forum headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal stated: “On account of the default by the bank the complainant had to pay the cheque bouncing charges amounting to Rs 67.41. If the amount of Rs 23,278 has not been paid by the bank then it should be released immediately.”



Judge babies in natural way

The Rose Prince and Rose Princess competitions at the Rose Festival drew huge response. The babies who received the titles surely deserved to win. But in my opinion, the mode of judging the babies wasn't fair. They should have been judged in a natural way.

Children, accompanied by one of their parents, were asked to do something or the other in different enclosures made for the purpose.

All kids feel shy or hesitate to speak when they encounter strangers for the first time. They should be given some time before they are judged.

I think the participants should be divided into small groups comprising four to five kids and allowed to interact with each other without the interference of elders even the judges. This would surely bring out actual smartness of the kids. I hope the administration will devise a natural way to judge kids in such competitions.

Kulbir Kaur, Mohali

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PU to start school system for better coordination
Departments under each school will have common rules 
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
With the objective of achieving better coordination among different departments, Panjab University is soon going to introduce school system. Under this system, various departments under a particular school will have common rules and regulations. Besides, the system will optimise the utilisation of manpower and infrastructure and facilitate a coordinated purchase of equipment.

Prof Daljit Singh of the department of chemical engineering and technology and dean faculty of engineering and technology said, “This is the first-of-its-kind effort in the university even though the system is existent in many neighbouring universities. The DCET and UIET have already been working in coordination informally for the past three years. The aim is to promote interdisciplinary and collaborative programmes.”

Each school will have a coordinator selected on the basis of seniority who would address any issue concerning departments under that particular school.

There would be eight schools - ‘school of social sciences’, ‘school of physical sciences’, ‘school of basic biological sciences’, ‘school of medical and biomedical sciences’, ‘school of business management’, ‘school of engineering sciences’, ‘school of legal studies’ and ‘school of languages’.

A brainchild of vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti, the proposal has already got an approval from the senate in principle and it would be discussed in detail at the syndicate meet for a formal nod.

Professor Sobti said, “This was the first thing on my agenda. Once implemented, the system would ensure greater interaction and smooth functioning in the departments. Moreover, many a time, there are costly equipments in the departments and if they are maintained single-handedly, these can be used for long.”

Though experts predict teething problems for the ‘schools’, yet that is only to be seen once the system kick starts.



From Schools & Colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The department of computer applications of Government College for Girls, Sector 11, organised TECH ZEAL-2008, a kaleidoscope of inter-college competitions. The fest was inaugurated by Dr Anu Gupta, chairperson, department of computer science, Panjab University. Students from various city colleges took part. Paper presentation on '4G Mobiles' was highly informative as participants threw light on the future trends in the mobile technology. Choreography and skits presented by the participating teams were highly appreciated. Chandigarh mayor Pardeep Chhabra graced the prize giving ceremony.

Film screened: A movie named “A Beautiful Mind” was shown to the students of the department of mathematics and economics of Government College, Sector 46, on Tuesday. The movie was chosen because it relates to a mathematician and Nobel laureate Dr John Nash.

Talk on stress management: DAV College, Sector 10, organised a talk on stress management in collaboration with ‘Isha Foundation’ on Tuesday. The videotaped message from Sadhguru was played for the audience in which he spoke about various ways to overcome stress.

Blood donation: Government College, Sector 46, organised a blood donation camp in collaboration with the PGI on Tuesday. Principal of the college Dr K.S. Saluja inaugurated the camp. As many as 90 students and staff members donated blood.

Incentives: With an aim to motivate students to take up vocational courses, the education department is planning to give incentives to the students opting for vocational courses or stream from Class XI. A proposal in this regard has been submitted by DPI (S) S.K. Setia to Krishna Mohan, education secretary of the Chandigarh administration. The education department is also planning to start the counselling of students immediately after their matric examination are over.



GCA alumni organise exhibition
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 26
Panjab University vice chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti inaugurated an exhibition at the fine arts museum of the university today. The exhibition was organised by alumni of Government College of Arts (GCA). Paintings depicting social issues like female foeticide and drug addiction, advertisements, folk art and culture and portraits of famous personalities found display.

Abstract art dominated the exhibition where one could also see the work related to advertising art, magazine press layout, sculpture, print making, graphics and digital art.

Pieces of art, as old as of 1950s and as young as of 2008, were the striking feature of the exhibition.

Scintillating colours like red and orange were prominent. “These colours always appeal to the eyes and signify development of art and culture. They are also the symbol of celebration”, says president of the Kala Maitri Association.

An eye-catching piece named Sanjhi described the folk art of Punjab.

A pastel painting by Vinay Wadhera on the Pandas of Haridwar also made its presence felt amongst other paintings.

An oil painting of Nek Chand (creator of Rock Garden) by R.M. Singh was also the centre of attraction.

The exhibition will be on till March 2.



Reservation Private schools inspected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
A team from the education department inspected various private schools of the city to see whether the schools followed the prescribed 15 per cent reservation of seats for the economically weaker sections of society.

The schools that were inspected included Bhawan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, KBDAV, Sector 7, Shishu Niketan Public School, Sector 43, Baptist School, Sector 45, St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, and Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 45.

UT home secretary said the administration would ensure that no school violated the prescribed guidelines and due share was given to the economically weaker sections.

The home secretary affirmed that the reservation was not found to be sufficient by the department officials in some schools and was much less than the required percentage. Moreover, there was no reservation in pre-nursery and nursery and the affidavit regarding the income of the school was not available.

As per the report submitted, Baptist School had no information regarding the 15 per cent reservation, whereas in St Stephen’s-45, full record was not available.

Meanwhile, the authorities of Bhawan Vidyalaya said nobody was found eligible for the quota. However, Ajit Karam Singh International Public School was found to be fulfilling all requisite conditions for the reorganisation of the school. 



From Schools
Gurukul students’ date with stars
Tribune News Service
Students of The Gurukul, Sector 20, Panchkula, and Tribune Mitra Vihar, Madanpura, gaze at the stars in a mobile planetarium on Tuesday
Students of The Gurukul, Sector 20, Panchkula, and Tribune Mitra Vihar, Madanpura, gaze at the stars in a mobile planetarium on Tuesday. —Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Panchkula, February 26
Students and the teachers of The Gurukul, Sector 20, and Tribune Mitra Vihar, Madanpura, had a wonderful time gazing at the stars in the mobile digital planetarium brought to the school by Leo Planetaria here today. The planetarium, which was set up in a dome-shaped structure with a cylindrical projector inside, was as intriguing as the astronomical facts disclosed by the instructor. He captivated the students by showing them constellations and explaining to them the logic behind the zodiac signs.

FAREWELL PARTY: A farewell party was orgainsed in Shastri Model School, Phase 1, by students of Classes IX and X to bid adieu to seniors. A Sukhmani Sahib ‘path’ was also arranged to have blessings of the Almighty. After kirtan, students presented a colourful and traditional programme involving gidda and bhangra. Mohinder Singh, secretary, and Ram Lal Sewak, manager, bid farewell to the students.

PICNIC: Tiny tots of the local Small Wonders School visited Silvi Park in Phase X here today as part of a picnic programme, organised by the school. Hundreds of play class and nursery kids thronged the lush green Silvi Park in Phase X along with their teachers who let the kids have a free play. 



10-year jail for robbery bid, trespass
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Ravinder Singh was today awarded 10-year imprisonment by additional district and sessions judge Raj Shekar Attri for robbery bid and house trespass. According to prosecution, Ravinder Singh, a Kurukshetra resident, was caught red-handed when he tried to commit robbery in the house of Major Gurnam Singh. The complainant, Major Gurnam Singh, resident of Sector 33, had gone SAS Nagar and in his absence the accused had trespassed into house with intention of committing robbery.

ELECTIONS: Three advocates file nominations for the coming District Bar association elections. Returning officer Harsh Tandon said, "We have received two nominations for the post of vice-president while one nomination for the post of executive member was file today."

The election scheduled to be held on March 14, 2008, for which the candidates can file their nominations between February 25 and February 27 and the candidates will be allowed to withdraw nominations by February 29, 2008.



Trip to Berlin
UT to send new man
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
It’s now official. None of the frequent foreign travellers - UT home secretary Krishan Mohan and director Tourism Vivek Atray - are going to represent Chandigarh at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin this year. These officers have on one occasion each in the past, attended ITB, Berlin on the behalf of Chandigarh administration.

But this time, the UT administration has decided to send Amit Talwar, chief general manager, CITCO, to ITB Berlin, where his managing director J.S. Bir had gone in March, 2006, with home secretary Krishan Mohan.

Last year in March, Vivek Atray, director tourism had represented Chandigarh in ITB, Berlin. About this year’s travel, Atray told The Tribune, “I personally recommended the name of Talwar for travel to ITB, Berlin this year.”

The Tribune had earlier highlighted the frequent foreign travels by some senior officers and the expenditure incurred by them on those visits. 



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