C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI Impasse
No let-up yet
Strike extended by 2 days; 6 technicians get notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Three days into the strike by medical technologist, the PGI management got cracking today and served notice to six technicians who were under probation period. The Medical Technologists’ Association (MTA), on the other hand, decided to extend its strike till Saturday.

The six have been asked to explain their conduct for participating in the strike within two days.

This, even as 10 technicians joined their work at the microbiology and virology department.

Deputy director (administration) A.K. Gupta confirmed that the notice had been served on the protesting technicians.

“We will see their response to our notice, failing which we will have to take disciplinary action,” he said. If they do not join work immediately, their services will be terminated, he added.

On the extension of the strike period till Saturday, MTA general secretary Ashwani Munjal said: “We will not go back to work. Our protest and struggle will continue, no matter what the consequences are.”

Interestingly, some workers alleged that the call for mass casual leave by the MTA was the brainchild of Munjal. “He has called for mass casual leave for his personal gain. He wants to pressure the administration to withdraw the chargesheet filed against him in September, 2007,” said R.K. Kainchi, former president, MTA.

Meanwhile, the PGI authorities have made necessary arrangements to deal with the exigency arising out of the extension of strike by two more days — Friday and Saturday. “We will ensure that patient care services were provided in essential areas during the next two days,” said Gupta.

The Chandigarh administration has also assured all necessary help to the premiere institute during the strike period.

PGI director Dr K.K. Talwar has declared the strike illegal saying all genuine demands made by technicians have been met and rest of the issues of payment and patient care allowances are already being pursued.

“We are trying to resolve the matter at our own level but we can’t give written assurance as the matter is not under me,” he said.

GMCH-32 and GMSH-16 technicians will continue to extend their support to the strike during the next two days.



HC notice to PGI director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Taking up a public interest litigation against striking PGI technologists, Justice A.K. Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the institute’s director for April 21.

The petition by advocate-cum-Janata Party’s local unit president Ajay Jagga follows two deaths in as many days due to non-availability of ventilators allegedly because of the strike.

The petition was filed this morning. Keeping in view the urgency of the matter, it was fixed for today and placed before Justice Mittal, holding court during the vacations.

In his petition against the Union of India, the PGI and other respondents, Jagga sought directions to the institute to initiate action against on-strike technologists.

Directions to the technologists’ association for returning to work were also sought.

He contended a premium institute like the PGI had been virtually reduced to non-performing hospital in the absence of technologists.

He said the doctors were not in a position to carry on with their duties effectively as tests like blood and urine, besides X ray, etc. were performed by the technologists.

Going into the background of the matter, Jagga said the technicians/technologists went on “illegal strike” on April 15.

The next day a news report appeared on the death of a patient due to lack of ventilator support.

Again on April 17, another patient reportedly died because of the same reason. A copy of news report carried in these columns was annexed in an attempt to substantiate the contention.

Jagga added that the petition was being filed to ensure the joining of the technicians/technologists and for initiation of strict action, under the law, against them.

He added that the institute was duty-bound to ensure the provision of medical services in accordance with Sections 12 and 13 of the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Act, 1966.

Otherwise also, it was the duty of the respondent to ensure the provision of essential services, which was the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Lack of medical facility was directly hitting the personal liberty of an individual and the PGI was duty-bound to initiate action against the striking employees under the National Security Act, 1980, he said.



Speaking Out
‘Strike of inconvenience’

Patients and their attendants have been at the receiving end due to the ongoing strike by PGI medical technologists. Talking to Arun Sharma, they share their views on the manner in which the authorities have handled the strike and suggest ways of driving home the point to agitating technologists.

Strike is not the ultimate solution to any problem. There are many alternative ways of airing grievances. They can wear black badges and hold protest march. This method of protest is illegal. They should understand the plight of patients.

— Inder Pal Kaur, Mohali

We have already waited for two hours to get an X ray test done and haven’t had any luck so far. Authorities should realise that timely attention to the grievances of staff is essential to prevent such situations from arising. The strike should be called off at the earliest.

— Kedar Sharma, Shimla

Technologists must find some other way of airing their grievances, as strike causes inconvenience to patients. In no case should technologists be allowed to hold strikes and if they insist, they should be dealt with sternly.

— Shalini Khanna, Chandigarh

Medical technologists’ work is sepcialised and they should refrain from going on strike. Strike affects collection and processing work in laboratories. They mustn’t forget that the ultimate objective of their profession is to serve patients.

— Navtej Singh , Gurdaspur

Health professionals have a responsible role to play in society and going on strike serves no purpose. Strike can threaten the lives of patients who need immediate medical care. The authorities and workers should resolve the issue through discussion.

— Shalini Sharma, Shimla



2 labourers crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 17
Two labourers were killed and as many were injured when marble slabs fell on them at Barwala, near here, today.

The labourers were unloading the slabs from a truck when the incident happened.

The deceased were identified as Raja Ram (19) and Sanjay (21), hailing from Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, respectively.

The injured - Sajju and Baloo - were discharged after being given first aid at a Barwala hospital.

According to Kishori Lal, a relative of Raja Ram, the labourers were working at the site of Government College building at Barwala.

Around 11 am, as soon as the labourers began unloading marble slabs from the truck, dozens of slabs fell on them.

While the others were able escape the falling slabs, Raja Ram and Sanjay were crushed to death under the slabs.

It took around 30 labourers over half an hour to recover the bodies of the victims. The labour was employed by a local contractor.

The contractor, Ashok, when contacted, said he was not at the scene when the incident happened.

The police has registered a case and started inquest proceedings.



Fake Doc Case
Two bank officials, lawyer booked
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 17
The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked two officials of a nationalized bank and lawyer of the bank for conniving with “fake” doctor Sandip Sharma, the owner of Shubham Hospital, who defrauded the bank to the tune of Rs 1 crore.

The accused officials were identified as Punjab and Sind Bank’s (Panchkula) chief manager and manager Ratinder Singh Chopra and S.K. Gupta, respectively. The lawyer has been identified as S.K. Gilhotra.

The Panchkula police on a complaint of civil surgeon, Panchkula, had sealed Shubham Hospital, Sector 20, after raiding the hospital on January 30. Its owner Sandip Sharma managed to flee.

The civil surgeon in her complaint alleged that Sandip Sharma was running the hospital claiming that he was an ophthalmologist while he had no such degree with him. The police later arrested him.

During interrogation, Sandip Sharma revealed the names of some officials whom he bribed to get the loans on forged documents.

The investigating officials have detected some discrepancies in the documents of a few banks that extended huge loans to the accused.

Sandip took loans worth around Rs 5 crore from different banks in Panchkula, Chandigarh and Ambala.

He borrowed around Rs 2 crore from a branch of Punjab National Bank in Chandigarh to buy a Pajero SUV and a flat in Sector 20, Panchkula.

He hypothecated the same flat to Oriental Bank of Commerce, Mani Majra, against a loan of Rs 40 lakh.

While Sandip sold the flat to someone else, both banks claimed there right on the flat.

He also borrowed Rs 1 crore from a bank in Sector 16, Panchkula.

Another bank in same sector provided him an overdraft of Rs 66 lakh. A bank in Sector 20 gave him loan of Rs 9 lakh.

Sandip told the investigating team that he bribed a bank manager with Rs 2 lakh to get a loan.

In a particular case, the verification of property of Sandip was done in May by an advocate of bank, while the accused had applied for the loan one month later, i.e. in June.

The property was hypothecated to the bank against the loan. 



CBI raids 60 shops at grain market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
To check the price rise of essential commodities, the district administration today conducted raids on 60 shops of wholesale merchants in the fruit and grain market.

Not ruling out the possibility of hoarding, officials in the raiding teams said the exact position would be known after the scrutiny of the record seized.

Raids were conducted on the instructions of the Centre to check hoarding of essential commodities like wheat grain, pulses and other edible commodities.

Confirming the raids, food and supplies director RK Rao said the food control order that imposed ceiling on the stocking of wheat grain and pulses was already enforced in the city.

In the raids, which started in the evening, three teams led by food and supplies joint director Shurbuir Singh verified the stock record of the establishments.

Though no confrontation between the raiding teams and shopkeepers was reported, a number of merchants closed their shutters on hearing about the raid.



Kendriya Vidyalayas to come up in all varsities
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
To fill the communication gap between the schools and higher education institutes and to maintain a bridge between the two under the 11th plan, the ministry of human resources and development will be establishing Kendriya Vidyalayas on the university campuses across the country.

The ministry has written a letter to the University Grants Commission (UGC) to approach the universities for the purpose.

In a letter written to the UGC, the ministry has stated that the expansion programme of Kendriya Vidyalayas should focus on campuses of the institutes of higher learning, universities and other such locations.

The education must act as a bridge between school and higher education as there has been a declining communication between them.

The establishment of Kendriya Vidyalyas in such locations would help in developing an educational complex, which had once been recommended by ‘Kothari Commission’ way back in 1964.

The educational complexes would provide a valuable link between the two important segments of education and create a synergy towards better understanding, states the letter.

The letter further said, the country had moved into the era of universalisation of secondary education and emphasis would be on creating an environment for learning in the vidyalayas, capacity building of the teachers, strengthening of administrative set up, empowerment of mangers, administrators and time bound implementation of programme and policies.

Kendriya Vidylaya Santhanan (Central Schools) is a government body running around 950 schools all over the country.

Welcoming the move, Prof R.C. Sobti said, “Coordination between institutes of primary, secondary and higher education is the need of the hour if we want to match up steps with others globally.”

Panjab University can be an example for others as already there is a primary school on the campus and the university plans to upgrade it in the near future.



Chaos at PGI
Patients told to give fresh samples
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Medical services continued to be disrupted on the third day of the strike by medical technologists here today.

Patients had a harrowing time for some of them had to give fresh blood samples as their original samples had been lost.

Jagjeet Singh from Muktsar had come to the PGI to collect his report but to his surprise he was asked to give the blood sample again as his original sample was lost.

He told the TNS that he had given the blood sample at room No. 4 (where samples for fasting and PP test are collected) on April 3, as the doctor had prescribed some tests, including ECG. The technicians asked him to collect the report in a few days.

Today, a nurse asked him to give a fresh blood sample as the new staff was unable to locate the original sample since it was unaware of the functioning of the counters.

A number of attendants expressed concern over the fate of their relatives’ reports.

Vikas, an attendant, said a staff member had told him that they did not have his wife’s blood report.

He claimed that he had given her blood sample on April 11 but the staff now said they did not have her report. Her treatment would not begin till her report came, he said. The department finally issued a duplicate copy of the report to Vikas.

As emergency and vital services were affected, most patients had to go back without getting their tests done.

The number of patients reporting to OPDs, too, dwindled further. 



FOSWAC members submit memo to finance secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
A delegation of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC) met the state finance secretary today and discussed various demands of the residents.

In a memorandum submitted to the finance secretary, the association has urged the Chandigarh administration to take a decision on various pending demands of the marla houses, canals and cheap houses immediately as it would benefit thousands of residents.

They have also demanded regularisation of need-based additions and alterations in the houses, which did not encroach upon government lands. Besides, immediate end to the issuance of demolition notices till a survey of all violations was done, was also demanded.

Demands for allowing a three feet balcony and 150 feet room in the backyard and removal of zoning restrictions in certain sectors such as Sectors 27 and 28 were also put forward.



MC seeks additional police support
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Lack of adequate security personnel in the Chandigarh municipal corporation is seriously affecting the functioning of the anti-encroachment wing. With the ‘reluctance’ of Chandigarh police to provide additional manpower than the sanctioned strength of 11 policemen, MC authorities are finding it hard to carry out anti-encroachment drives.

A day after joining as MC commissioner, Roshan Sunkaria, known for his anti-encroachment drives in Jalandhar, took up the matter of providing force with the UT SSP S.S. Srivastva.

Sunkaria said the SSP has today assured him that 11 policemen, as sanctioned earlier, would be provided to the MC shortly. Srivastva said policemen for the job had already been selected.

The MC had been demanding more support from the UT police to carry out the anti-encroachment drives effectively as encroachments thrive in markets, villages, colonies and in other parts of the city. However, sources in the MC claimed that the drives were stalled due to the reluctance of the police to provide additional manpower.

MC joint commissioner T.P.S. Phoolka said even as the UT administration had given a go-ahead to demolish illegal constructions in Buterla village, the drive could not be carried out in the absence of adequate police force. Similarly, Mauli Jagran, Badheri, Attawa, Maloya and some colonies, including those in the periphery area, are dotted with encroachments.

Notably, the MC had repatriated the police personnel after the entire enforcement wing was changed following allegations of ‘rampant’ corruption prevailing in the department.

The police, on the other hand, claimed that they too were facing shortage of staff and were therefore unable to provide extra manpower. The matter had been shuttling between the police and MC for over two months and the MC authorities had givens several representations to the police in this connection. However, they failed to yield any results.

The Chandigarh police send a sub-inspector, two head constables and eight constables on deputation to the MC for a period of three years. Sources said it probably happened for the first time in the history of the corporation, since its inception in 1996, that the anti-encroachment drives had been stalled due to non-availability of police personnel. Authorities were forced to carry out awareness drives under such circumstances, while encroachers are having a field day.



Haryana Board
Kriti tops Class-X exam
Tribune News service

Panchkula, April 17
The district education authorities have a reason to cheer. The results of Class-VIII and X examinations conducted by the Haryana Schools Education Bhiwani Board, which were declared today, have shown that the pass percentage in the district has improved from 63 per cent last year to 78 per cent this year.

Out of 3,710 students, who appeared for the Class-X examination, 2,902 passed the exam. Similarly, 4,346 students passed the Class-VIII examination out of 5,604.

Surprisingly, perusal of the figures released by the district education office, Panchkula, revealed that the number of students appeared in both examinations had reduced drastically in current year. However, the top positions in the district were clinched by girls, particularly from the rural areas. While Kriti Wadhwa from Azad Senior Secondary School, Pinjore, stood first in Class X by scoring 94.8 per cent, Komal Verma and Pushpa Kumari (93 per cent) from Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Barwala, and Sarthak Model School, Sector 12, Panchkula, respectively, shared the second position. Renu (92.8 per cent) of Sarthak Model School, Sector 12, bagged the third position.

In Class VIII, students securing the first three positions scored around 95 per cent marks. Nikita, a student of KVM Senior Secondary School, Raipur Rani, who stood first in the district with 477 marks (95.4 per cent). The second position went to Ritika of New India Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, Panchkula, who scored 476 marks. Rana Dass of JP Gurukul, Pinjore, stood third with 474 marks.



Crime graph on the rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The city has seen a steep rise in incidents of crime during the first quarter of 2008 as compared to the corresponding period last year, forcing the UT IGP S.K. Jain to pull up his force during a meeting held at the police headquarters in Sector 9, here today.

The IGP emphasised on improvements in the force to curb the crime rate as incidents of snatching and motor vehicle thefts have shot up lately.

According to crime statistics data discussed during the meeting, 248 vehicles theft cases were reported against 136 last year, while 69 incidents of snatching took place as against the 28 in 2007. Similarly, 10 cases of attempt to murder were reported as compared to seven during last year. Police have, however, managed to solve eight out of the 10 cases reported. Seven cases of robbery have been reported as against two in 2007.



Sec-45 residents rue lack of facilities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Residents of Sector 45-D have been crying hoarse over lack of basic amenities in the locality and allege that despite numerous complaints authorities concerned have failed to address their demands.

Gopal Shukla, president of Residents’ Welfare Society, Sector 45-D, said 75 per cent of streetlights in the area were dysfunctional due to which four incidents of snatchings had taken place.

Pawan Sharma, general secretary of the society, added that the parks in the locality were also neglected and lot as weeds had grown in them, which has led to breeding of mosquitoes. Besides, there are no benches and swings in them. Rainwater gullies are in dilapidated condition and often get blocked. Roads have not been recarpeted for a long time.

Meanwhile, the resident have contacted the mayor Pardeep Chhabra and the area councillor Vijay Rana and apprised them of the issue. The mayor has assured that the problems would be solved at the earliest, said the representatives of the society.



Students protest removal of nursery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Students of St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, today gathered at the heritage village site in Sector 26 nursery to protest against the move by the Chandigarh administration to shift the nursery and close the heritage village. The students carrying placards voiced concern against the green cover being removed to make way for raising a civil services institute. They demanded that bio-diversity should be conserved at all cost.



Roving snatchers baffle cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Defying the much-touted campaign against snatchers by the local police, four incidents were reported from various parts of the tricity today. This comes close on the heels of three snatching incidents yesterday.

The arrest of two snatchers on Tuesday failed to deter snatchers from committing the crime, as two youths riding a scooter snatched the gold chain of a Sector-21 resident, Nirmal Jain this morning.

The victim was returning home from morning walk with her husband around 7.30 am.

In the second incident, two youths riding a black motor cycle snatched a gold chain of Anjali, a resident of Mani Majra, while she along with her son was waiting for the school bus at Mani Majra Housing Complex around 8.30 am.

Similarly, a Sector-43 resident Jaswant, in her mid-70s, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that two unidentified youths riding a motor cycle snatched her gold chain from the same Sector around 7.30 am.

Also, Kavita of Sector 14, Panchkula, reported to the police that two unidentified persons snatched her purse from Sector 7 around 11 am and sped away.

Four cases have been registered in this regard.

A police officer told the TNS that the police department was trying to figure out if the snatchers belonged to the city or had come from neighbouring areas. So far they had not been able to match their description with the records of snatchers available with them.

The officer said in most cases the miscreants wore helmets while committing the crime.

This week alone, over 10 incidents of snatching have been reported, while around 85 incidents have been reported in the past four months.

Most incidents have taken place between 7 am and 1 pm.



CPI members protest price rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Chandigarh unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) today took out a procession against the rising prices of essential commodities. The procession, led by Bant Singh Brar, member of the national council of CPI, went through sectors 17 and 22 before reaching the office of the deputy commissioner in sector 17 here.

Devi Dayal Sharma, secretary of the Communist Party of India, said the administration has already closed ration depots and fair price shops. Hence, the common man could not purchase edible grocery on subsidised rates.



Youth Akali president tenders apology to DC
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 17
Internal squabbling among Akali leaders came to the fore today when the newly appointed Youth Akali Dal president Kiranbir Singh Kang ‘apologised’ for the alleged abusive language used by Bubby Badal in a telephone conversation with the SAS Nagar deputy commissioner H.I.S. Grewal.

While Kang stated that he was apologising on behalf of an office bearer of the YAD, Bubby said he was not aware of any such apology. Bubby was not consulted before the apology was tendered.

The SAS Nagar DC had reportedly in a written complaint to the Mohali SSP alleged that Bubby had abused and threatened him over the phone. The SSP R.S. Khatra said he had forwarded the complaint for seeking legal opinion and had not contacted either the DC or Bubby for their statements.

While the DC could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, sources close to the Badal family, disclosed that the conversation between the DC and Bubby centred around the Badal clan in which the relation between Bubby’s family and Parkash Singh Badal’s family also figured. The actual contents of the conversation have been reported by Bubby to the Chief Minister who has taken a serious view of the same. The issue also takes a political colour especially when highly placed sources reported that the DC had recently met Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal alongwith Gurmit Sodhi in Punjab Bhawan, New Delhi.



Sukhna entrance to get a facelift
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Chandigarh College of Architecture will re-do the entrance to the Sukhna Lake. From adding new features to providing an obstacle-free view of the water body, the college in its proposal to the administration has suggested various changes along the walking track.

A presentation of the proposals was given to the UT advisor by the college authorities today. The issue of beautification at the lake has been repeatedly discussed in the weekly meeting of the UT officials.

Sources said among the proposals were giving a facelift to the band stand, increasing the greenery, re-designing of the police post, landscaping the area along the walking track, changing of cement block with paver blocks and underpass from parking to the lake entrance. However, no plans have been announced to clean up the lake.



Wall causes furore among residents

The boundary wall of Army flats society of Sector 44-A is 7-feet tall as against the estate office’s order of around 4.5-feet. This has blocked the outside view and is causing a lot of problems to the residents of this society. This wall was constructed around 20 days back after the society’s president, Kamini Sharma’s approval.

There is no passage leading to the main road too as these have been blocked. Old residents earlier had an access to public transport easily but now there is no access to the main road and they have to walk long distances for reaching the main road.

The president refuses to listen to residents’ complaints and she threatens people of dire consequences if they go against her decision. Due to the 7-feet wall, blind corners have been created which are threats to the lives of the motorists. Twenty-five applications have been sent to the president but to no avail.

I appeal to the concerned authorities to look into the matter and stop the president from violating the rules laid down by the estate office.

Pooja Srivastav, Chandigarh

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200 students take part in Indo-Swiss friendship quiz
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
To commemorate the 60th jubilee year of the Indo-Swiss Friendship Treaty, the Society for Tourism and Entertainment Promotion, Chandigarh, in association with the Embassy of Switzerland, New Delhi, held quiz and painting competitions at four different schools here today.

More than 200 students from St John's High School, Sector 26, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, participated in the quiz while 125 students took part in the painting competition. The preliminary round of the quiz was held within the schools for the selection of their respective teams for the final round.

The quiz was followed by the painting competition, in which the themes were Switzerland through my eyes and India-Switzerland celebrating their friendship. The best exhibits will be placed in an art exhibition that will be inaugurated by Ambassador Dr Dominique Dreyer, who is visiting the city on April 22. Final round of the friendship quiz will be held on April 22.



Central Status to PU
Chain fast to continue till next week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The chain fast by students, teachers and technical staff of Panjab University to press for the demand of the central status for the university entered the 10th day yesterday when more than 550 persons visited the site and signed the visitors’ register.

The entire faculty of the department of evening studies has offered to sit with the fasting batch of teachers and students till noon tomorrow. Prof A.S. Ahluwalia, chairman, JAC, said by giving consent to the MHRD for fully financing PU, the Punjab government would stand to benefit doubly; it could not only use Rs 16 crore saved from the PU on higher education in the state, it could also save the university with the liberal flow of funds from the centre.

Prof G.S. Gill from the department of geology, Dr Prince Sharma, Dr Vijay Prabha and Dr Deepak K. Rahi, all from the department of microbiology, and Sunil Kumar, a student of the social work department, sat on the fast today.

The JAC, in its meeting held today, decided to continue the fast till the next week. It was also decided to educate public on the importance of the central status for the university by writing articles and dispel misconceptions, if any. Also, the members decided to request the Punjab speaker to call an all-party meeting so that the true stand of different political parties could be made clear to the public.

Teachers from the Hoshiarpur centre of the university today visited the site and invited the JAC leadership to start a similar protest over there. A.S. Sahney, convener, Federation of Trade Unions, Chandigarh, has also offered to participate in the collective protest on the call of the JAC. 



Eligibility criteria bewilders NRI students
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
NRIs wishing to seek admission in various professional courses under the NRI category in Panjab University are groping in the dark, thanks to the confusion regarding eligibility of students applying in this category.

The problem arose after the court scrapped off the NRI sponsored and industry sponsored quota of seats. The issue that stares the authorities in the face are about who is eligible to apply under the NRI category, students who have studied abroad or wards of NRI parents?

NRI seats are available in all the professional courses, including MBA, engineering, LLB, BDS and five-year law. Till last year, most of the departments in the university were following the 15 per cent condition as laid down by the Supreme Court, which stated that the NRI quota seats should be 15 per cent of the total seats that included industry sponsored and NRI sponsored category as well. Many departments had even exceeded the percentage of NRI seats up to 20 per cent. But with the sponsored categories scrapped now, the NRI seats were to be redistributed and that is where the confusion still prevails.

Many students whose parents are NRIs but they themselves are residing in India are under the impression that they can apply in the NRI category as the prospectus of OCET (Other than Common Entrance test), CET (Common Entrance Test) and others do not specify the eligibility criteria for such students.

The UBS (University Business School), which generally sends interview calls to the candidates by this time has not been able to do so as the distribution of seats in the general category and the NRI category has not been done so far leading to confusion in the minds of those applying. Similar uncertainty also prevails in the University Institute of Applied Management Sciences, which is to start from this session.

When contacted, Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, PU, said, “We are only going to accept those NRI students who have studied abroad and the wards of NRI parents will not be accepted. However, he hastened to add that the university is seeking legal opinion on the same and the law of the land will be followed.

As regards the financial loss, he said, seats in the general category are going to be increased as per the demand of each department to make up for it, he added.



Canadian road show for students today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Canam Consultants Limited, an overseas education consultant company, will organise the ‘Canadian Universities and Colleges Road Show 2008’ for students of north India at Hotel Taj tomorrow. The road show is being organised by government-funded colleges and universities in Canada. It would bring together more than 14 universities and colleges, including Centennial College, Fraser International College, George Brown College, Georgian College, Humber College, Kwantlen University College, Memorial University, Seneca College, Simon Fraser University, Sheridan College and Trent University. 



Immigration to Canada set to become faster: WWICS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
With the incorporation of changes in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by the Canadian Government, immigration process of international students and temporary foreign workers on the basis of categories would become quick and easy.

Lt Col Sandhu of the WWICS said the changes in the Act would directly benefit prospective Indian immigrants, whose cases are in the pipeline for years. A backlog of over 9.25 lakh applications would be cleared soon, he added.

Quoting CIC minister Sandhu said the minister proposed allocation of a whopping $109 million over the next five years to help meet the desired goals envisaged in the budget.

The amount was to be spent on hiring and training more visa officers in various parts of the world, especially in the countries and missions where backlog was overflowing.



Association alleges harassment by DPI(S)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Independent Schools Association has drawn the attention of the UT advisor Pradip Mehra towards the uncertainty and harassment being faced by private schools allegedly at the hands of the DPI (schools), SK Setia.

The association has complained that the DPI was threatening them with strict action. “If all the government schools had been running efficiently, then no child would have come to private schools,” said HS Mamik, spokesperson of the Independent School Association, Chandigarh.

The association had already approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the rule of imposing 15 per cent quota for poor students by the education department. The court has disposed off the writ with a direction to the administration to deal with the representation within reasonable time.

The association has mentioned that schools, affiliated to CBSE and ICSE, after obtaining the NOC from administration were deemed to be recognised. 



An overcoat cost him 22 years
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
An overcoat has cost him 22 years of his life; and his job. Working as a sorting assistant in a post office, Mohan Lal allegedly concealed an overcoat in the bushes outside the office after pulling it out of a parcel. Though his sentence has been reduced by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the period of imprisonment already undergone, Mohan Lal’s conviction orders stand.

The incident dates back to November 1986. The prosecution had claimed that Mohan Lal was seen going out of the office after removing a woman’s overcoat from a parcel. The accused concealed the coat and returned after five to seven minutes.

In an attempt to prove the allegations against the accused, the prosecution examined as many as six witnesses, including senior employees and colleagues, having no motive at all to falsely implicate him in the matter.

As the case came up for hearing before Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia of the High Court, Mohan Lal’s counsel, at the outset, stated he would not be able to assail the conviction orders.

Counsel said the occurrence pertained to 1986; and the petitioner had already suffered protracted trial of 22 years. As such, his sentence should be reduced to the period already undergone. He further submitted the loss of government job had made him realise his fault.

After hearing the arguments in the matter, Justice Ahluwalia ruled: “Since both the courts below have placed implicit reliance on the testimony of witnesses; and have held that the petitioner is guilty of the offence, this Court cannot re-evaluate and re-appreciate the evidence. Furthermore, the counsel has very vehemently stated he will not challenge his conviction".

In his detailed order, the Judge added: “This court cannot loose sight of the fact that in the present case, occurrence pertains to year 1986. About 22 years are going to elapse; and the coat was also recovered within a short duration of 10-15 minutes. Since the petitioner has also lost his job, interest of justice will be fully met in case his sentence is reduced to already undergone. With these observations, the present revision petition is disposed of.”



SI gets 1-yr jail for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
CBI special judge Jagdeep Jain today sentenced a sub-inspector (SI) of estate office Kapil Dev to one-year in jail for demanding bribe. The accused was convicted under Section 7 and 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

On the complaint of Dev Singh Chauhan, a resident of Janta Colony, the Central Bureau of Investigation had laid a trap in 2005 and nabbed the accused. According to the prosecution, the complainant had applied for a plot in lieu of a jhuggi. Dev Singh’s application was rejected and for getting it reviewed he approached the SI.

The accused demanded a bribe of Rs 5,000 for doing his work. The complainant was to pay Rs 2,500 initially in the PWD office in Sector 23. The CBI had laid a trap in the PWD office and the accused was caught red-handed.

Dev Singh’s application was rejected and for getting it reviewed he approached the SI, Kapil Dev. The accused demanded a bribe of Rs 5,000 for obliging him. The complainant was to pay Rs 2,500 initially in the PWD office in Sector 23. The CBI had laid a trap in the PWD office and the accused was caught red-handed.



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