C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI strike called off after 10 days
Employees can’t endanger patients’ lives: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
After 10 days of no work and two “resultant” deaths, the medical technologists of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) today called off the strike with immediate effect.

An announcement to this effect was made before a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Jaswant Singh, this afternoon.

The announcement came soon after the Bench made it clear that the employees had no business to go on strike and to endanger the lives of the patients requiring urgent medical attention.

The observation in this regard was made in the open courtroom after senior counsel Satya Pal Jain said there was a need to resolve the grievances of the striking employees.

The Chief Justice made it clear that he was not inclined to listen to the grievances of the striking employees as long as the strike was on.

He also indicated that it would be perfectly within the right of authorities concerned to invoke the provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), unless the strike was called off unconditionally.

The court could also issue directions to the strikers to resume work, the Bench observed, while Satya Pal Jain consulted the striking employees present in the court.

He returned to convey the decision to call off the strike forthwith in sync with the court observations.

As the issue of 12 ad hoc employees, whose services had been done away with, was raised in the court, the Bench said their case would be taken up on May 12, the next date of hearing.

The association had resorted to strike in support of the demands for better salaries and service benefits, including patient-care allowance.

The PGI management, in its reply, had reiterated that all local demands had been conceded. The remaining had been referred to the Union Government.

The matter was still being pursued, despite initial rejection of the demands like patient-care allowance.

In his petition against the Union of India, the PGI and other respondents, advocate Ajay Jagga had earlier sought directions to the institute to initiate action against the 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 a non-performing hospital in the absence of technologists.

Elaborating, he said the doctors were just not in a position to carry on with their duties effectively as the tests like blood and urine, besides X-rays and other tasks, were performed by the technologists.

Bone of contention

Even after having called off the strike, the general secretary of the Medical Technologists Association stated that technologists would not do the work that had accumulated in the lab during the strike days.

He said if the PGI authorities asked them to do the pending work, then they would request them to withdraw the condition of “no work, no pay”, which had been imposed during the strike.

Otherwise they would approach the High Court because this was injustice. On the other hand, deputy director, administration, PGI, AK Gupta said the technologists were supposed to do the work, as they were associated with the department.



SHO suspended in ‘fake’ certificate case
Tribune News Service

Inspector Ram Gopal
Inspector Ram Gopal

Chandigarh, April 24
The UT inspector-general of police (IGP) today placed under suspension inspector Ram Gopal, the SHO of the Sector 3 police station, and ordered a departmental inquiry in connection with the alleged fake Yoga certificate submitted by him for promotion.

Confirming the development, the UT SSP SS Srivastva told The Tribune that the inspector, Ram Gopal, had been transferred to the police lines with immediate effect by the IGP after placing him under suspension on the basis of an inquiry conducted by the deputy superintendent of police (CID), Satbir Singh, on April 21.

When asked about the further course of action, the SSP stated that action would be taken on the basis of the outcome of the departmental inquiry.

He added that the entire case would be thoroughly examined and all aspects of the allegations levelled against him would be verified before initiating further action.

Seventeen sub-inspectors of the Chandigarh police, affected by the promotion of Ram Gopal, were agog with speculation over the action taken by the senior officials on the basis of the inquiry conducted by DSP Satbir Singh holding Ram Gopal “guilty”. Rumours were rife that senior officials were delaying the matter to favour Ram Gopal.

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had asked the UT administration to inquire into the authenticity of the Yoga certificate awarded to Ram Gopal on the basis of which he got a promotion.

The CAT had pronounced the order last year after 17 sub-inspectors lodged a complaint against Ram Gopal, challenging the authenticity of the certificate.

During the course of the hearings, the CAT called Bal Mukand Singh, who was declared world champion at the 6th World Yoga Meet, held in Geneva.

The certificate given to Ram Gopal was of teaching at the world level. Both the certificates were in Italian language.

The CAT demanded the original certificate awarded to Bal Mukand for comparison and found that his certificate had his photograph on it along with his signatures while Ram Gopal’s certificate did not have his signatures and photograph.

A Yoga organisation’s head had also issued a certificate claiming that Ram Gopal’s certificate was genuine.

The tribunal had directed the IGP and the home secretary to examine this matter minutely and find if the promotion was obtained by submitting wrong facts.

It was learnt that Ram Gopal joined the UT police as ASI in March 1991 against a general quota seat and was last on the merit list of seven successful candidates.

Ram Gopal had gone to Italy to attend a private Yoga competition at his own expense in October 1997. He was not sponsored by the administration or any other sports organisation. 



Transparency on Agenda
108 district courts employees reshuffled
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
In an attempt to bring transparency in the working of the judiciary, the district and sessions judge, K.K. Garg, today re-shuffled the staff by transferring 108 employees of the court.

It is probably the first time in the history of the district courts that a large number of employees have been re-shuffled. Meanwhile, not a single employee of the sessions court was asked to move to another court, the reason for which cannot be ascertained.

Interestingly, the orders to re-shuffle the court staff have been passed following an inspection that was carried out by a high court judge, Justice Pramod Kohli.

The sessions judge ordered two or three employees of each court to shift to another court.

There is no apparent reason for shifting of the staff at such a large scale, confirmed the authorities concerned. It was added that such transfers were a regular practice.

As soon as the re-shuffle orders were received, the employees at the court were observed standing in clusters in the corridors of the district courts. The court staff and judicial officers were busy discussing the pros and cons of the transfers at such a large scale.

The transfer orders mentioned that these transfers had been made in the interest of administrative welfare.

Commenting on the transfers, advocate Rabindra Pandit said, “Such transfers are a routine affair and they do not impact the judiciary.”

Another advocate Harish Bhardwaj said, “Such transfers do not make a major difference as, for example, a reader has been sent from one court to the other.”



Sachin has quiet b’day in city
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar had a quiet birthday in the city today. He arrived in the late evening at Hotel Shivalik View.

Immediately after his arrival, Sachin went straight to his room, where his wife Anjali Tendulkar was waiting to celebrate the 35th birthday of her husband.

The chartered flight, on which Sachin along with the other members of Mumbai Indians was coming, got delayed and landed in the city around 7.25 pm instead
of 6 pm.

According to hotel sources, the couple cut the cake in the room and also ordered for champagne to mark the day.

Earlier, the hotel management made an arrangement to celebrate the occasion with Sachin. But following the mess, created by mediapersons and the fans at the hotel’s lobby, Sachin decided to avoid the crowds and went straight to his room.

“We have sent the cake to his room as his birthday present. The couple also told us that they would have dinner in the room only”, said a hotel employee.

Earlier, the security persons, present at the hotel, faced a tough time, as there was a great jostling among the mediapersons as well as the fans to have a glimpse of the most sought- after cricketer.

The mismanagement and the “misconduct” of the people also caused irritation to the star cricketer, who later declined to talk to anyone.

Even the efforts of extending a traditional welcome to the Birthday Boy and their most prestigious guest by the hotel people went haywire due to the chaos.

“I want to wish my idol happy birthday besides clicking a photo with him but the rush has messed up all my planning”, said 10-year-old Ankita.

Meanwhile, the other members of Mumbai Indian teams including Harbhajan Singh, Sanath Jayasuriya, Shaun Pollock and Ashish Nehra also reached with their team around 7.45 pm at the hotel.

Harbhajan Singh, who was seen going to a renowned eating joint along with Ashish Nehra to have dinner, said he did not know whether there Sachin’s party was on or not.



All for the sake of a job
BP promotes sales at the cost of salesmen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Panchkula, April 24
Ignoring the interests of employees at its retail outlets, Bharat Petroleum has initiated a 'customer building exercise', wherein driveway salesmen are forced to stand in the sweltering heat for hours, just to usher in the customers.

Irrespective of the maximum temperatures in the region touching 40 degrees, the public sector oil major has posted two employees at the entrance and exit of their outlets in the tricity, just to smile at the customers, greet them with folded hands, and welcome them to the petrol pump.

So, even as it is impossible for any person to stand under the sun in this harsh weather, these employees continue to bear this hardship - all for a meagre daily earning of Rs 117.

So even as the hapless employees continue to 'smile and serve', Bharat Petroleum (BP) officials say that the idea behind this exercise is to ensure a quick service to the customers.

The company officials contend that 'they are very concerned about their employees', but say that it is not as hard for the employees as they do this duty only in two- three hour shifts, and that BP is the best pay master amongst all oil companies in the region.

Officials also maintain that they have issued clear instructions to the labour contractors that after each shift in the sun, the employees be provided with glucose and water.

"We are the best pay masters amongst the oil companies and also make provident fund accounts and ESI accounts for these employees," said the company's assistant manager, sales.

Asked if this initiative had impacted sales, the officials remain evasive, but say that at least it creates a good impression on their customers.

The company, however, has not thought of making arrangements for canopies to protect these employees from the severe heat.

But employees at the BP outlets in Sector 21 here and in Industrial Area, Panchkula, have a different tale to tell.

Requesting anonymity, they rue that these harsh shifts continue for five to six hours, and no one can refuse to say no.

"Last week, I suffered from dehydration after this duty, but even then I was not exempted and was forced to continue with the duty. Since we are poor and need the job, we cannot afford to argue or resent," says an employee, adding that no glucose is ever provided to them.

Isn't it surprising that on one side public sector undertakings like BP spend crores of rupees each year in the name of corporate social responsibility, they remain insensitive to employees at their retail outlets.



Major parties to contest market committee poll
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The prestige of the three mainline political parties - the Congress, the BJP and the BSP - is at stake in the market committee elections scheduled to be held on April 28.

In fact, the outcome of the elections would give a moral victory to the parties in the run up to the next Lok Sabha elections.

Although elections are not held on party symbols, the entry of senior political leaders, Davinder Singh Babla(Congress), Des Raj Gupta (BJP) and Digvijay Kapoor (BSP), in the fray for the two posts from the arthiyas category, has made the election a political battlefield.

As many as nine directors are elected from different categories, who then
elect the chairman.

In fact, minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal and former union minister Harmohan Dhawan have already started lobbying for their proteges to ensure their win. The BJP is also reportedly campaigning for Gupta, a veteran of the grain market politics.

The grain market, with a budget of crores of rupees, is an influential body and the political parties try every trick in the trade to control it by getting their candidate elected as the chairman.

And if the past experience is any indication, the bitter fight is in the offing for the post of chairman.

An impressive show in the market committee polls can prove to be a morale booster for the party cadre in the run-up to the next Lok Sabha elections, said observers.

While five members are elected from the producers category, one is elected from the ‘paledars’.

The cooperative societies elect one director. Meanwhile, eight candidates are in fray from the producers’ category and three from the ‘paledars’ category.

As many as two candidates will fight it out for the lone post of director from the cooperative societies.



ITI union protests privatisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Members of the Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) Employees and Students Union, Punjab, today carried out a protest march towards the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Sector 31, against privatisation and embezzlement of funds being released under the World Bank Schemes.

Protesters, including members of the union, five students’ organisations and Punjab Mulazim Sangarsah Committee, assembled in front of The Tribune building this afternoon and carried out a rally before marching toward the CII and burnt an effigy of the regional director.

They were expressing resentment over public-private paternities under the privatisation policy, rampant corruption prevailing in the department and demanded implementation of demands already agreed by authorities.

The irate members of the various organisations were also alleging that the minister of the department concerned had backtracked from his promises made to them.

They alleged that the minister had announced in Phagwara on March 29 this year that he was against privatisation of ITI and it would not be allowed. He had also assured that the demands of the employees would be met within a month.

In a memorandum submitted to the Premier Minister of India, Chief Minister of Punjab, director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and director general employment and training, New Delhi, the members have demanded an inquiry into the disbursement of a grant of Rs 440 crore released by the World Bank.

They alleged that out of the huge amount, the department had only spent Rs 25.75 crore for construction and authorities concerned were not giving details of rest of the funds.

Similarly, they alleged that the funds released by the central government for the advance vocational training scheme (AVTS) were embezzled owing to which the scheme was dropped before being launch.

The authorities had squandered the funds in purchasing substandard machines for the ATVS and department maintenance cell, they alleged.

They further alleged that money sanctioned for making the department hi-tech was also not utilised.



Tribune Impact
Encroachers face the axe
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Instructions from the Raj Bhawan have forced the authorities concerned to spare a thought for mushrooming encroachments in Sector 17, a place notorious as an encroachers' paradise.

Almost three weeks after The Tribune highlighted the ever-increasing encroachments in Sector 17, authorities have removed certain encroachments from the plaza area much to relief of the traders and passersby.

Left of themselves various agencies involved in keeping an eye on illegal squatters would have dragged their feet on the removal of these encroachments.

However, instructions from UT administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) to the municipal corporation of Chandigarh, the Estate Office and the police seemed to have spurred these agencies into action.

Over the past couple of days, the police have been keeping a strict vigil
on the encroachers.

On April 4 this year, The Tribune had reported that mushrooming encroachments near the civic body's headquarters in the commercial hub of the city was giving sleepless nights to the corporation.

Besides disrupting the passage of pedestrians in corridors and the plaza area, encroachments are proving to be virtual blots on the face of the commercial centre.

The encroachers were hand in glove with the enforcement staff and the police, as a majority of the illegal vendors were tipped off in advance with the result that it proved to be a futile exercise, alleged shopkeepers.

This was despite the fact that Mayor Pardeep Chhabra, who also represents Sector 17, had said that strict action would be taken against encroachers on the government land.

Meanwhile, the shopkeepers demanded that with a view tackle the encroachment menace, the administration should invoke Section 188 of the IPC under which the encroachers could be booked for violating prohibitory orders.



‘Plastics are a boon if used properly’
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Plastic could do miracles in providing resources to people if utilised in a proper manner but it could prove to be a disaster if there is no control in its management. O.P. Ratra, director of Plastic Chintak, a Delhi-based NGO, said this here today while delivering a lecture on plastics to students in Chandigarh.

Ratra claimed that the environmentalists all over the world have created a misconception among the people that plastic should be prohibited as it has dreadful effects on our eco-system. He said these NGO’s were not presenting a true picture before the public.

He added that plastic could only affect our eco-system or environment if the plastic garbage was not suitably managed at the dumping grounds.

“Most of the NGOs and environmentalists favour a ban on plastics in the country, but if we go by the figures India produces 42 million tonnes of urban solid waste out of which only six per cent is plastic. Whereas an advanced country like Japan which produces 50 million tones of solid waste, contains 19 percent of plastic waste, which they are utilising for generating electricity in their country,” said Ratra.

Referring to the Chandigarh administration’s notification to make Chandigarh a plastic free city, he expressed surprise at the administration’s move to a impose ban on plastic on the plea that it is non-biodegradable but they have failed to mention that it could be recycled and used in a better manner.

Ratra said there is no doubt that if there is mismanagement of plastic wastes it could adversely effect our environment. “We are facing the problem of plastic in the country, as the municipal bodies do not manage garbage properly. Plastics are a boon if used properly,” he said.

“It is an irony that we are using plastic bags for storing blood to be used in the time of emergency. Oxygen masks, syringes and many other important items are also of plastic, but still we oppose it,” said Ratra.

Meanwhile, vice-president of Youth Technical Training Society, Bonny Sodhi, whose organisation arranged a painting competition on the theme ‘If Used Properly, Plastic are Our Friends’ said they are creating awareness among children that if used properly, plastics don’t harm our environment.



Insurance firm asked to pay Rs one lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission asked the National Insurance Company to pay Rs one lakh as damages to a resident of Manimajra, here today. The insurance firm was also directed to pay Rs 90,000 as compensation.

The complainant Jagan Nath said he had got his car insured from the firm in 1999. However, it was stolen from Delhi where he had gone for some personal work.

Thereafter, he got an FIR registered and applied for the claim. But the insurance firm did not issue his claim although he had written several letters to them.

Contesting the complaint, the insurance firm said they never received any complaint from Nath and it was a concocted story.



PIOWA to hold evening bazaar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Punjab IAS Officer’s Wives Association (PIOWA) will organise an evening bazaar from April 25 to 27 in the premises of Vatika School for Deaf and Dumb Children at Sector 19,Chandigarh.

A spokesman of the association said the exhibition is being organized to raise funds for the education of deaf and dumb children.

The main attraction of this bazaar would be art and craft and jewellery from Rajasthan, pottery from Pondichery and traditional collections from Patiala.

The special attraction of this bazaar would be Amritsari ‘kulchas’ and ‘channa’. She said there would be 30 stalls in total.

Out of those one has been allocated to children of the school. Harjeet Kaur Dhindsa, wife of MP Sangrur, will inaugurate the exhibition.



Fire in Sec 17 booth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
A short-circuit resulted in a fire in a booth in Sector 17 bridge market, here this evening. However, due to timely action by authorities, the fire did not spread to the neighbouring booths.

An official in the fire control room disclosed that two fire tenders from sector 11 and 17 fire stations were pressed in to service. Since the shutter of the shop was closed, the firemen faced a lot of difficulty in controlling the blaze.

It is learnt that no precaution had been observed by the owner of shop, Walk Ways. The fire was first noticed by police personnel posted at sector 17 office of the Punjab vigilance.



Mystery shrouds Pinjore resident’s death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 24
Mystery shrouds the death of Gurdarshan Singh (33), a resident of Pinjore. Gurdarshan’s body was brought to the civil hospital by his relatives last night at around 10.30 pm.

The doctors at the hospital declared him brought dead and informed the police and sent the body to mortuary.

Though brother of the deceased told the police that Gurdarshan died due to an accidental fire from his revolver while cleaning the weapon, the police is not ready to believe the statement.

The deceased, a dealer in Hero Honda bikes at Baddi, had a bullet-injury mark on the temple, said a police official.

The police has started inquest proceedings after registering a case under Section 174 of the CrPC.



A futile exercise

In 2007, Chandigarh was declared a smoke-free city. This was certainly a praiseworthy step taken by the administration, if only it had been implemented meticulously.

It seems this declaration remained on paper only as tobacco and its products are available in plenty in every nook and corner of the city. Several roadside vendors sell these freely across the city. There is no dearth of people who buy these products.

There is absolutely no check on these shopkeepers by enforcement agencies, nor on the persons who smoke in the open.

As a matter of fact, so long as tobacco production is not stopped, this menace will continue to plague the city. The administration should make efforts to check this problem.

Banners should be put up at all public places, including hospitals, bus stops, railway stations, parks, market places religious and educational institutions etc along with the amount of fine to be imposed in the event of violation.

Advertisement through media should be made regularly. This will not only help to make the local people aware but also those who visit the city.

Enforcement agencies should start a campaign to catch hold of the culprits. NGOs’ help should be sought to curb this menace.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh



PUTA fast enters 18th day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The joint chain fast of university teachers, students and technical staff asking for a Central status for PU today entered the 18th day.

Today Prof Manju Jaidka, Prof Meena Surjit Singh, Prof Harpreet Pruthi, Prof Pratipha Nagpal and research scholar Paru Kapoor, all from the department of English, sat on the chain fast.

Sham Singh from UIPS and Jasbir Singh from USIC also joined the fast. To give a boost to the agitation, deans of various faculties have offered to sit on the fast on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Panjab University Library Staff Association today held the meeting of the executive and decided to take active part in the ongoing agitation of the JAC.

In a communication to JAC coordinator Neelam Sharma, the president of the association also assured help to the agitating staff, teachers and students.

About JAC expediting the agitation in the coming days, JAC coordinator Prof Manjit Singh quipped: “Of course, we are going to fight to the hilt. So far we have maintained a peaceful form and low profile. It does not prove our weakness, rather it shows our strength.”

“If we go unheard, we will certainly expand our agitation to include all those teachers and students who are all set to jump in but are holding back at the moment as per the directions of the JAC,” said Prof Singh.

When asked about the next mode of agitation, Prof Singh said, “Though the real course of action will be decided by the JAC, but I can say with certainty that the people of Chandigarh will remember this agitation.”

JAC chairman Prof A.S. Ahluwalia said, “On the one hand, the Punjab Chief Minister, after accepting one ‘world-class Central university’ at Amritsar, is asking the Center to upgrade other state universities to Central ones, on the other, he is tight lipped on the status of the mother university - Panjab University. It seems that the Punjab government does not believe in its own proclamations regarding the status of Chandigarh and wants to let this premier institute of India die for want of funds. It is a cruel joke with the center of excellence in higher education and people of the region in general and of Punjab in particular who will never forgive this political blunder of the myopic parties.”



Fire dept inspects schools
Tribune News Service

A staff member at Government Model School, Sector 37, Chandigarh, demonstrates the use of equipment to the fire department officials in Chandigarh on Thursday.
A staff member at Government Model School, Sector 37, Chandigarh, demonstrates the use of equipment to the fire department officials in Chandigarh on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Pardeep Tiwari

Chandigarh, April 24
Fire department of the municipal corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) today carried out an inspection and awareness drive regarding fire safety norms in government as well as private city schools.

A team of fire department officials, along with mayor Pardeep Chhabra, chairman of the fire and emergency services committee M.P.S. Chawla and nominated councillor and member of the committee Brig (retd) Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri conducted drive in the schools.

While the fire department officials conducted inspected the fire safety systems installed in the schools, the mayor and chairman made the school authorities and students aware of fire safety measures.

Chawla told TNS that notices were served to the schools in 2005 to meet the fire safety norms and on Wednesday, the authorities had intimidated the schools that they would conduct an inspection on Thursday.

“The fire engines reach every corner of the city in less than 10 minutes, but the first 10 minutes are very crucial to contain the damage. The awareness drive will continue in the coming days to sensitise people about fire safety,” he added.

The team first went to Vivek High School in Sector 38. The school has a strength of 2,500 students and was opened in 1992. The team found that though the fire equipment was in place and functional, but some classes were being held in the basement of the school, in violation of the norms.

Despite the fact that a notice was served to the school in 2005, nothing has been done to improve the condition. The team also found that sprinklers and hosepipes were not installed in the building.

Later, the team went to Government Model School in Sector 37, where fire safety equipment was installed, but other measures to prevent fire were missing.

The team conducted inspection at St Anes School, Sector 32, but the fire safety system did not work for 20 minutes. The team found that the system was installed only to avoid action against the school.

In the end, the team went to DAV School in Sector 22D, where the staff did not know how to operate the fire safety equipment, putting the lives of the students at risk.



Checking assistants stage protest
Demand more remuneration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Penny woes at Panjab University seem to be unending. After two days of protest by evaluating teachers, it was the turn of checking assistants who took to raising anti-university slogans today demanding more remuneration.

According to sources, at about 5 pm, all checking assistants gathered in front of the administrative block and demanded more remuneration for evaluation.

They demanded that the increase in the payment, as announced by the vice-chancellor a day before, was not enough and demanded that it should be at par with the teachers.

“When the teachers’ remuneration has been increased by 10 per cent, so should be ours,” demanded an assistant.

At present, the checking assistants who sit with the evaluators for the entire session of checking are given 60 paise per answer book.

After yesterday’s announcement by the V-C, it was increased by 30 per cent. But the assistants were demanding Rs 2 for every answer book.

It is pertinent to mention here that evaluating teachers have been staging a walkout for the past two days demanding an increase in the payments per answer book and only yesterday, the V-C had agreed to increase the payment from Rs 8.80 to Rs 9.70 per answer book.

The protesting checking assistants, however, threatened that if their demands were not met, they would stall the work from tomorrow.



Mock test for rural students on May 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Centre for Rural Empowerment, PU, will conduct a mock test on May 3 for 10+2 rural students of Punjab who are to appear for medical/engineering entrance tests this year.

Interested candidates can contact and register themselves after paying a sum
of Rs 100 with the principal of the nearest college (out of the list) affiliated to
PU by April 30.

The list of centers include Abohar (DAV College), Badal (Dasmesh College), Chandigarh (Arts Block-I, PU), Dasua (JC DAV College), Fazilka (MR Government College), Ferozepur (GN College), Garshankar (BAM Khalsa College), Hoshiarpur (DAV College), Jagraon (LR DAV College), Jalalabad (GGSDAV College), Khanna (AS College), Ludhiana (SCD Government College), Malout (DAV College), Moga (GN College), Mukerian (S Premanand College), Muktsar (Government College).



Book bank launched for underprivileged kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Bharat Prakarsh Foundation, an NGO established by Neena Singh, former executive vice-president of HDFC Bank, has launched a library and book bank venture for underprivileged children under its project named Udaan.

Neena Singh handed over the first set of 500 books for five schools of Chandigarh to support the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

“The book bank, comprising story, activity and art books, will be placed in government model schools of Sector 36D, 37B, 37D, 38B and 38D, and later, more schools will be provided books for these never-gone-to-school children,” informed Neena Singh.

She informed that the first batch of nearly 200 children in the age group of 6 to 14 years, who had never been to school, were persuaded to study in special classes being run by the foundation in collaboration with the Chandigarh administration, after regular school hours on the school premises of these government model schools. Fifty per cent of them had been admitted into regular schools.

Udaan is a non-government not-for-profit voluntary body registered under the Public Charitable Trust in 2006, and aims at reaching out to these underprivileged children and instilling in them, interest in literacy through modern and innovative training methodologies.



From Schools
Celebrations mark Earth Day
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
It was a day of celebrations at Small Wonders School on the occasion of Earth Day. As the smartly dressed little ones sang and danced to entertain an impressive gathering, the campus reverberated with songs and numbers dedicated to the conservation of ‘Mother Nature’ and earth.

Sandeep Singh, director, Small Wonders, said Earth Day celebration was a deliberate attempt to sensitise the little ones towards bigger concerns.

YPS: Earth Day was observed at Yadavindra Public School yesterday. A special morning assembly was held where an environmental pledge was taken by the staff and students.

Environmental education teacher explained that the earth was being destroyed and if we did not treat her like a mother and take care of her, she would not be a mother to us any more. Principal Dr H.S. Dhillon emphasised on electricity and water conservation.

MILLENIUM SCHOOL: On the occasion of Earth Day yesterday, Millennium School organised a colourful and inspiring even. Students from Classes I to VI participated in an on-the-spot painting competition. A slogan writing competition was also held. Students of Class VI presented a ballet on how the earth is under attack by high levels of pollution.

SHASTRI MODEL: Staff and students of Shastri Model School celebrated World Earth Day in the school yesterday by setting up a medicinal herbal garden. The science teachers of the school Varinder Kaur and Manpreet Singh also gave lectures. Joint director, environment, Dr Satnam Singh Ladhar was the chief guest. He also planted medicinal plants in the school.

AKSIPS: To inculcate love and respect for nature among students, AKSIPS-65 celebrated Earth Day yesterday. The inquisitive tiny tots of pre-primary planted young saplings on the school premises. The primary and secondary students participated in slogan writing competition. AKSIPS-65 director Jasmine Kalra appreciated the efforts put in by the students.

Play: Students of Yadavindra Public School (YPS), here, are staging their annual play “The Mousetrap” today at the St Stephen’s hall, Sector 45, C The two-act play is being directed by Zubin Mehta. The cast includes Aanchal Bajwa, Prabhsahil Singh Chhinna, Guninder Pal Singh, Akshi Chawla, Aseem Sood, Niharika Singh, Manraj Singh, Amrinder Singh, Ankit Saini.



Elect MC president, V-P through secret ballot: HC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 24
Acting on a petition filed by Panchkula municipal council’s former president Seema Chaudhary, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today reiterated the need for conducting the election of the president and vice-president through secret ballot.

This is in line with an undertaking given to the court by Panchkula sub-divisional officer (civil) Virender Dahiya.

The directions were issued by the Division Bench of Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary after preliminary hearing on the petition.

The Bench, while reminding the authorities about the undertaking given to the court for conducting elections through secret ballot, also issued notices for May 15 to the state of Haryana, Panchkula deputy commissioner Panchkula SDO (civil) and Virender Dahiya by name.

Re-elected to the council in the recently concluded general elections, Seema Chaudhary had earlier prayed for directions to the authorities concerned to hold the election of the president and vice-president through secret ballot by using the ballot paper only as provided in the Haryana Municipal Act-1973.

She also asked for the directions to hold the elections in the presence of a High Court observer. In this context, she referred to a past incident when holding the office of the president in March 2005, she had to face a no-confidence motion.



Admn demands power to create new posts
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The administration here has demanded more powers to create new posts, in the absence which UT officials are virtually finding their hands tied to their backs.

This is not only delaying work but also hampering routine functioning. Due to the limited powers delegated by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the controlling ministry for the UT’s, the administration is facing difficulty in implementing a number of major high cost projects in the city.

Similarly, for creating posts the proposals are to be cleared by officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Pursuing proposals and to get clearances, UT officials have to make needless trips and follow-ups which adds to the red tape.

A demand for delegation of more powers to the UT officials was today made before the visiting members of the Administrative Reforms Commission at the UT guesthouse.

Members of the Commission were in the city to listen to the demands of UT and other neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

Among the members of the commission present were Vineeta Rai, member secretary, V. Ramachandran, member, and S.S. Kalro, member. The UT officials showcased various initiatives on administrative reforms taken by them.

Sources said the officials pointed out the need to revise the financial powers of the UT administrator. At the moment, the maximum limit that the UT administrator can sanction for any major project is only Rs 10 crore.

The limit was increased only a few years back from Rs 5 crore. The financial powers are delegated under Rule 21 of the Delegation of Financial Powers Rules 1978.

Similarly, the UT has no powers to create posts in the health department, engineering department and police. There is an urgent need to increase the powers because the project costs had gone up considerably during the recent past.

Major projects hanging fire in the Union Territory is the desilting of the Sukhna Lake, various issues of the engineering department, funds for the district court complex, the metro rail, major hospital projects, besides developing other infrastructure.

The administration was also contemplating to fund projects like the metro and underpasses through public-private partnership.

UT’s problem

Even the most insignificant of work requires clearance from MHA. Even the administrator, who is also the Governor of Punjab, cannot add staff and create posts where urgently required.

This causes a lot of delay, as MHA officials at Delhi cannot understand the importance of local issues.



Niwas recommended for home secy’s post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
In a communication to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Chandigarh administration has recommended the name of Ram Niwas, a 1985 batch Haryana-cadre IAS officer, for the post of UT home secretary.

The selection has been made after screening the past record of the officials. The Centre had recently rejected the panel of Haryana IAS officers for the post of UT home secretary on account of intense lobbying by at least two of the aspirants.

Subsequently, a fresh panel of Haryana cadre IAS officers including, Ram Niwas, Roop Ram Jowel, Anil Kumar and Ram Pal Chander had been forwarded to the administration by the Haryana Government.

At present, the charge of the home secretary is with the finance secretary
Sanjay Kumar.



Councillors to take oath amidst tight security
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 24
Expecting a high drama during the oath-taking ceremony of 31 municipal councillors, the district police has planned to make elaborate security arrangements at the venue here tomorrow.

More than 35 police officials will remain deputed in and around the SDM office where the the ceremony is scheduled to be held at 11 am tomorrow.

In fact, the tension is expected to prevail between Congress and Indian Natianal Lok Dal councillors and their supporters over the issue of Gautam Prasad, a councillor from ward No. 27, who after winning the election on the INLD ticket joined the Congress.



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