C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mohali stopover for IIT
Plan to start operations from July

Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 17
Punjab’s own Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) will start functioning from July this year from a transit campus at Mohali. The Punjab government has proposed two sites here where the prestigious institute can begin operations till a final location is earmarked in the state for the setting up of the institute.

The union ministry of human resource and development had announced the setting up of an IIT in the state in March this year.

The ministry officials have asked for around 700 acre of land in Punjab where the institute will come up.

“The final site for the IIT in Punjab is yet to be finalised. Till then, the ministry has offered to begin operations from July provided they are given enough built-up space,” said Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh.

The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has been asked to shortlist sites in the township where the IIT can start classes after the intake of the first batch of students.

“The ministry has asked for 40,000 to 50,000 sq ft of built-up space for which we have proposed two sites in Mohali to choose from,” said GMADA chief Vivek Pratap Singh.

The two sites proposed by the Punjab government include four floors of the eight-storey Sebiz Infotech building in Sector 67 and an industrial plot site in Phase VIII B here.

The Sebiz Infotech building is the tallest one in Mohali and is fully operational. “We have offered around 45,000 sq ft of space for the IIT,” said Manipal Dhariwal, CEO Sebiz Infotech.

The company has around 1 lakh sq ft facility but the rest of the space is being used by the company for its own operations. The glass and steel building is a landmark in Mohali and was inaugurated a few months ago.

The other site is located in the C type industrial plots in Phase VIII B. Owner Harpal Singh has offered over 50,000 sq ft of space for the IIT.

The owner could not be contacted despite repeated attempts but it is learnt that there is around 1 lakh sq ft of built-up area that can be made available at this site.

A team of Punjab government officers led by principal secretary (technical education) Tejinder Kaur, GMADA chief Vivek Pratap, deputy commissioner SAS Nagar Rahul Bhandari and executive director, Punjab Infotech, R.K. Sangwan visited both sites last week.

“The sites along with the details of the space available and the status of immediate availability have been forwarded to the ministry and we are awaiting a reply,” said Vivek Pratap Singh.

While both sites met the requirements of the ministry, “Sebiz has a limitation of space but it is fully functional and ready to use. The industrial area site is larger but it will take at least three months for the owner to make it ready to use,” said a member of the team who visited the two sites.

Initially, only around 10 to 20 departments will be made functional at its incubation facility here.



Vanishing Sukhna
Too little, too late

Inadequate machinery brought in to remove silt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
Faced with increasing public concern over the drastic reduction in the water level in Sukhna Lake, the Chandigarh administration has pressed into service its inadequate machinery to remove silt from the dry bed of the artificial water body.

Experts, however, term the administration’s effort as a piecemeal one to tackle the serious issue.

After the administration’s failure to engage the heavy machinery required to remove silt, three JCB (including two from the municipal corporation) machines, have been pressed into service to remove silt and dump it near the regulator end of the lake. Since yesterday, the machinery has been working from 6 am to 2 pm. Ironically, the expensive heavy machinery “long boom poclain” is still rusting near the rowing channel at the lake.

The machine was specially acquired to mechanically remove the silt. The machine with its long arm can dig a channel as wide as 25 feet.

The condition of the lake has further worsened. In the past 15 days, since Chandigarh Tribune highlighted the issue, a large area of the lake has turned into a parched land.

With dry spell, the situation is going to deteriorate further. “How much cubic feet of silt can be removed with the limited machinery”, reasoned M.P. Malhotra, a former Haryana chief engineer.

So far, the administration has failed to come out with an action plan to tackle the situation even as the Rs 50-crore desiltation plan is still pending with the Central Government.

Malhotra has suggested that in a field experiment, the lake should be first allowed to be filled during the coming monsoon. The real culprit for Sukhna’s problem has been the paucity of water and not silt.

Ninety per cent of Sukhna’s problem will be solved when its due share of water is made available and the remaining 10 per cent will involve making water silt-free.

But the administration has not reacted to any suggestion put forth by experts, either through media or directly to it.

The lake has been declared the 11th wetland of the country. Ever since the rain-fed lake was formed in 1958 by harnessing Kansal, Ghareri and Nepli choes, the lake has been ageing fast.

Experts say the area of lake under water has reduced from 228 hectare metres to 148 hectare metres either due to scanty rain or less flow of water downstream.



Admn mulls rewarding tainted official
Move to appoint XEN Harsh Kumar as SE

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
The Chandigarh administration is planning to reward another officer involved in the infamous K.K. Jerath kickback case.

Even as hearing of the crucial vigilance case is in its final stages in a local court, the engineering department has proposed to appoint a tainted executive engineer (XEN), Harsh Kumar, as a superintending engineer (SE) on ad hoc basis.

The official, who was named in an FIR registered by the vigilance, was reinstated along with a former MC chief engineer, K.B. Sharma.

Sources in the administration said to enable officiating chief engineer S.K. Jaitley to have independent charge of the post, it had been proposed that the vacant post of superintending engineer (SE) be given on ad hoc basis to the XEN.

Currently, the chief engineer holds the additional post of superintending engineer, construction circle-I.

It is learnt that though the file had been cleared at the top level, it has got stuck in the personnel department for vigilance clearance is required before any appointment can be made.

Perhaps this is not the first time that the administration has favoured officials “facing or guilty of corruption charges”.

Former MC chief engineer K.B. Sharma along with Harsh Kumar was reinstated. While Sharma was appointed MC chief engineer on ad hoc basis, the XEN remained in the same position in the administration.

Sources said the administration had been following the practice of reinstating officers facing cases of corruption with only exception of the CBI case involving superintending engineer (SE), electricity operation circle, V.P. Dhingra.

The SE has been highlighting the manner in which the administration has been adopting double standard in reinstating officers facing corruption cases.

In spite of the orders of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), the administration has not reinstated him.

The “strange” procedure of the administration in revoking the suspension orders of officials, even when criminal cases, registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, against them were pending in courts has been highlighted earlier also.



Panic at Rajpura school
Youths burn stationery donated by ‘dera’ men
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 17
Some unidentified persons burnt textbooks and stationery items reportedly donated by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda to poor children of an elementary school here today. The incident took place in the afternoon when followers of the dera arrived at a government school in Partap Colony to donate books, stationery items, including erasers, pencils and textbooks, to students of various classes.

Soon some Sikh activists of the area arrived at the school and snatched the donated material. They even snatched copies and books of students and burnt these in the streets.

Panicked residents stayed indoor, while schoolteachers locked themselves in classes.

The police was informed and a police team headed by the investigating officer reached the spot.

The police recorded the statements of students, teachers and residents.

City police station in charge Bikramjit Singh Brar said at least seven youths entered the school and snatched textbooks and copies from students.

They even tore and burnt those books that had not been donated by dera followers.

The textbooks and other material donated to poor students, however, did not bear any religious comment or reference. The donated material included new notebooks, pencils and erasers, he said.

He added that the school authorities had allowed the dera followers to donate stationery in the school as most of the students studying there belonged to the poor strata.

The investigating officer said the Sikh youths who forcibly entered the school campus created ruckus, resulting in panic in the area.

When the police talked to office-bearers of the dera here, they feigned ignorance over the issue of distributing stationery in the school.

The office-bearers, however, expressed their anguish over the issue and said they should have been taken into confidence before such donations were made.

A case under Sections 356, 380, 435, 201, 148 and 149 of the IPC has been registered against unidentified persons in this connection at the City police station. Efforts were on to identify the miscreants.



Accidental gunshot deaths shooting up: Study
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
A study by Army medical specialists has revealed that deaths due to accidental discharge of weapons are showing a rising trend after 2001. Accident discharge has been listed as the second highest cause of non-enemy action deaths in counter insurgency operations after road accidents.

From 8 per cent of the total accidents in 2001, non-enemy action gunshot wounds rose to 65 per cent in 2005 and 51 per cent in 2006, the study undertaken by three officers, Col M.M. Arora, Lieut-Col J.K. Bhatia and Brig K.V.S. Bhatia and published in the latest issue of the Medical Journal Armed Forces India has reported.

“Battle stress and deliberate self harm may be partly responsible for these accidents as a sizable portion of these were self-inflicted,” the study said. Out of the self inflicted deaths, 58 per cent were less than 25 years of age and 26 per cent between 25-30 years.

To escape from unbearable anguish, change behaviour of others, escape from a situation, show desperation and to get back at others were among other possible motives brought out by the study for accidental gunshot wounds.

Drawing a parallel with the involvement of the US military in counter insurgency operations, the study has stated that similar observations were made in US Army in 2005 when 54 per cent of all suicide victims were less than 25 years old. A chart review of 425 US soldiers deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom-II revealed that 30 per cent had considered killing themselves while 16 per cent had considered killing others.

Pointing out that access to a gun increases the vulnerability to suicide by five times, the study has observed that the present emphasis on rejuvenation and relaxation techniques in troops deployed in CI operations was a step in the right direction.

The study was done at the Regional Trauma Center in north India to evolve combat medical statistics to assess the quantum and nature of non-enemy action fatalities in CI operations and work out preventive measures. The mortal remains of soldiers received at the centre for embalming from January, 1999, to December, 2006, were examined. Fatalities of the 1999-Kargil war, paramilitary forces and deaths due to illness were excluded.

Though annual trend reveals that the number of road accidents was going down, it remained the highest cause of non-enemy action deaths in CI area. This, according to the study, could be due to increased movement of troops and fatigue of drivers.

Emphasis on training weak drivers and enforcement of disciple paid dividends. Though the cargo area of trucks does not meet occupant safety standards, yet trucks remain the major means of transporting troops.

Environmental factors like avalanches and landslides, earthquakes, lightning, high altitude pulmonary oedema and hypothermia were other causes of non-enemy action deaths.

These are a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in the armed forces and account for 28.08 hospital admissions per 1,000 troops annually.



47 DAYS GONE still counting...
Lobbying by bureaucrats

Why such race for the post of the home secretary? There is certainly something more than just gaining work experience as UT’s home secretary. Lobbying by bureaucrats reflects the money involved in it. Due to the policies of bureaucrats, multi-national companies are eyeing Chandigarh as a hot bed for real estate investment. And this is not possible without the intervention of bureaucrats, who come for a short period. It seems that the city has become a grazing ground for bureaucrats.

Subhash Chawla, former MC mayor



Potholes reflect official apathy
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
Dilapidated roads, congress grass, unkempt open areas being used for dumping of debris and parking woes are problems that plague the Sector 34 Commercial Complex.

The internal roads in the commercial complex present a picture of neglect and indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned as the roads have not been repaired or re-carpeted for the past over couple of years, much to the chagrin of the employees, shopkeepers, students and visitors to the complex.

Besides government offices, the complex has a large number of private coaching institutes, offices of multinational companies and showrooms, which attract a large number of people to the area.

A visit to the complex revealed the sorry state of the slip road in the sector along the Sector 34 and 21 dividing road. The stretch of the road is in a dilapidated condition and is full of potholes, some around a foot deep, which pose a grave threat to motorist especially two-wheeler riders. These craters cause congestion and subsequent traffic jams leading to a lot of chaos especially in the morning hours.

Similar is the state of roads leading to parking lots in the entire complex. The open space in the commercial complex opposite the Sector 34 gurdwara is being used as a dumping ground. Besides overgrown congress grass, one can witness the traces of burnt garbage and dry leaves in the area, says Vijay Sharma, a manager with a private firm in the commercial complex.

Sources in the municipal corporation said maintenance of roads is the responsibility of Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), while upkeep of open spaces and road berms is with the MC.

According to CHB officials the commercial complex was handed over to the department for five years by the administration as the MC was facing financial crunch. After the lapse of the stipulated period the CHB asked the MC to take charge of the roads, but the latter refused insisting that the CHB should re-carpet the roads before handing them over.

CHB officials maintained that they would re-carpet the roads within a fortnight and hand over the same to the MC.



Panchayat Polls
Admn discriminating against Congress, says MLA
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 17
Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu today alleged that the district administration had discriminated against Congress candidates who wanted to file their nominations for the post of panches in the forthcoming panchayat elections in Punjab.

Addressing a press conference here today, Sidhu pointed out that his party workers and candidates had gathered at the nomination filing centre yesterday in the morning but were shunted from one queue to the other. Finally, after 3pm, they were told it was too late and their nomination forms were not accepted.

The MLA had called over 100 persons from nearby villages to his office this morning during the press conference who, he alleged, had not been able to file their nomination papers.

The MLA added that he had lodged a complaint with the Punjab State Election Commission and demanded action against the officials who were on poll duty but helping the ruling party.

Those who failed to file their nomination papers yesterday include Gurjant Singh, Mangat Singh and Ranjit Singh of Godana village, Narmail Singh, Sukhvinder Singh, Kuldeep Kaur of Bharatpur village, Jaswant Singh, Gurjeet Singh, Shingara Singh of Patna village, Amar Singh, Gurdev Singh and Surjeet Singh of Midhe Majra village, Paramjit Kaur of Tangori village and Sohan Singh, Tehal Singh, Jassa Singh of Soe Majra and Avtar Singh, Mann Singh and Lal Singh of Siau village.



MC issues notice for lawn removal
Sectors housing the VIPs exempted
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
The Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) has served notices on residents of 10 sectors, five each from northern and southern parts of the city, asking them to remove the lawns on road berms as the illegally developed lawns on the MC land are a traffic hazard.

However, although MC authorities claim that the sectors were chosen on a random basis following a survey conducted by it, none of the sectors housing the top brass of the UT administration figures in the list. One can witness spruced up gardens and landscaping on public land in the name of beautification, which the MC authorities have conveniently ignored due to reasons best known to them.

Sources in the MC said the northern sectors include 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15, besides the five sectors selected from southern sectors. The authorities asked the residents to remove the railings, hedges raised around the lawns and gardens maintained on the MC land. In some parts of the city, residents have raised the hedges so much that it causes a hindrance which has resulted in many accidents.

These lawns, encroached upon the space left for pedestrians along the roads, also put people to risk as they are forced to use the roads. Moreover, as the internal roads in Sector 7 and 26 have several educational institutes, including schools, the encroachments have resulted in bottlenecks during rush hours.

A senior officer said the sectors were selected on a random basis and the drive would continue in other parts of the city as well. He, however, assured that encroachments would not be allowed in any part of the city. About the response, he informed that after receiving the notices, the department received a large number of calls from residents assuring that they would remove the encroachment on their own.

He added that after giving some time to residents to remove the encroachment, the MC staff would take action against the defaulters.



Bicycle boon for patrol cops
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
With the allotment of bicycles to constables of the Chandigarh police, the patrol staff has become more effective. Earlier, it took a lot of time for a constable to patrol the entire area allotted to him or her. The attendance of the beat staff has also increased due to the move.

According to Sukhdev Singh Bhullar, SHO of Sector 19 police station, patrolling job for the beat staff has now become hassle-free. It will also save a lot of time, he said. Devinder Singh, SHO of Sector 36 police station, said: “Almost half of the problems of the beat staff have been solved. Apart from checking the ruckus within the sector, servant and senior citizen verification is also easier now. Besides intensified patrolling, this will go a long way in improving the fitness of the staff.”

Jagdish, a constable posted in Sector 36 police station, said: “Bicycles can even be taken to congested areas in every sector.”

Even residents of the city are happy by the move. “With bicycles being allotted to the beat staff we are able to feel the presence of police within the sector every time,” said RD. Singh, a resident of Sector 27.



PGI Lab attendant to get ‘certification’
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
PGI’s lab attendant Kashmiri Lal finally has a reason to smile. The hospital authorities are now planning to get him a ‘certification’ that will allow him to conduct ECGs - a technician’s job - which he has been performing for quite some time now, albeit in violation of the hospital recruitment norms for such posts.

In a reaction to story carried in these columns yesterday - ‘Untrained staff handle technical jobs’- Dr Yashpal Sharma, in-charge of ECG wing, said, “He has been doing the job for past several years and we have never received any complaint about his work. We will recommend his case in a meeting soon so that he can get the necessary certification to do his job,” he added. Dr Sharma said there was no harm in promoting Lal as it was done 14 years back.

However, his intentions may not seem to work smoothly on the ground if one looks at the fate of those 11 ad-hoc junior technicians who were promoted 14 years ago. Although promoted, they are still ad-hoc employees and a case challenging their elevation by the Medical Technologist Association is pending in the High Court.



Special drive to nab traffic violators
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
The city traffic cops conducted a special drive to discourage violators of rules, here today. Over 30 police personnel along with 10 vehicles including interceptors, cranes and recovery vans were deputed under the supervision of DSP (Traffic) J.S. Cheema, to set up nakas at various points in the city.

During the first leg of the drive, from 8 am to 10 am, roaming nakas were set up at all city inlet points to check overloading in private transporters including three-wheelers.

“In the second leg, we started around 11 am from Sector 29 and passed through Sector 30, 20, 21, 22, 23, 36, 42, Colony no. 5, 45, 46, 49 and 50 to culminate at 2 p m,” said Cheema.

In the evening, the special drive was continued till 8.30 pm. “Over 250 violators were challaned today during the special drive,” said Cheema.



17-yr-old student goes missing
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 17
Sahil (17), a resident of Phase X, here, went missing this morning.

According to the police, Sahil shifted to Mohali with his parents two days ago from Chandigarh. Sahil is a Class XII student and is preparing for his entrance examinations.

Police sources added that Sahil left home this morning to go for his coaching classes in Chandigarh. He was on his Kinetic scooter. However, he neither reached the coaching centre nor came back home. His mother Simmi informed the police. The boy’s father Vijay Pal is a bank employee.



Non-availability of forms

Aspirants of the PTU CET are facing a lot of inconvenience due to non-availability of forms. As per the advertisement published in The Tribune on May 4, the last date for submission of forms is May 31.

We are inquiring for the forms from various stations like Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Ropar since May 12. But all this was of no avail. On May 16, my father's colleague personally went to the PTU campus, Ladowali Road, Jalandhar, but instead of form, he got a rude reply: "No more forms today. Come tomorrow, just leave now.” Suitable steps should be taken to save people from harassment.

Nitin, Ropar

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



Nanotechnology institute to start from Oct
Chitleen K Sethi

Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 17
The Institute of Nano-science and Technology here will be functional from October this year. The institute to be established by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, at the Knowledge City here, will however, begin its operations from a transit campus building in Mohali town.

The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has decided to hand over the vacant Habitat Centre building in Phase X to the DST to set up its campus. The secretary, DST, Government of India Dr T Ramaswami said, “We are looking at the possibility of making the institute functional by October this year. We are scouting for the staff right now.” The institute will have research as its main focus and to begin with, PhD courses will be offered to the students.

The institute (earlier called the National Institute of Nanotechnoloy) will be established on 35 acre in the Knowledge City campus in Sector 81 here.

“The reason the name was changed as the word ‘national’ tends to limit the scope of the institute,” said Ramaswami said.

The Knowledge City spread across 365 acre will house the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), the National Agro Biotech Institute, a Biotech park complete with a bio-processing unit and a management institute.

The IISER began functioning from a makeshift campus in Sector 26, Chandigarh, and has the first batch of MSc and PhD programme already underway. “Unlike IISER, where the focus is on education, our main attention would go to research,” said ramaswami.

GMADA chief Vivek Pratap Singh said 125 acre of land in the Knowledge City will soon be transferred to IISER so that construction of the institute can begin. He added that another 35 acre would be handed over to the nanotechnology institute. “By the end of this year, the first set of buildings in the sector will be visible,” he said.

DST is keen to begin its operations and had been pressing the Punjab government to grant space for a transit camp. Earlier, it was being considered that the Mahatama Gandhi Institute of Public Administration, where the IISER transit campus is located would be able to spare space for the nanotechnology institute.

“But IISER wants some of that space so it has been decided that the brand new habitat centre building be given to them to begin their operations,” Singh said.

The habitat centre building has been lying constructed for almost a year now but not put to use. “Other than the institute, the building also has facilities to house its staff,” Singh said.



Manipur students join relay fast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
Prof A.S. Ahluwalia and Manjit Singh, chairman and coordinator of the Joint Action Committee, respectively, called on Balram Das Tandon, former BJP president, Punjab, and had a detailed discussion with him on the issue of the central university status for Panjab University today. He assured that he would talk to the functionaries of the Punjab Government in this regard. He said a large number of present political leaders of the state were alumni of the university and it was their moral obligation to take care of the problems, if any, faced by the university.

Meanwhile, a contingent of 17 students from Manipur today took over the command on the 41st day of the relay fast to demand the central status for the university. There are around 700 Manipur students studying in Chandigarh at present, out of which, around 100 are on the PU campus. When asked that why are they enthusiastic to participate in the agitation for the central university, Lillie, a research scholar from the department of sociology, said most of the students of the North East came from the under-developed region of India and could not afford the rising cost of education in Chandigarh. In case, the trend of mobilising university’s financial resources at the cost of students went unchecked, the dreams of thousands of students from the poor sections would be shattered in no time. “Institutions of higher education in Chandigarh are a big attraction for the students from the North East as most of them have tribal origin and cannot afford the exorbitant expenses on quality education at other places,” said Damudor, a research scholar from the department of geography.

Students and research scholars from different departments, who sat on the fast today were S. Binodkumar Singh, defense and strategic studies, N. Inaoba Singh, anthropology, Laishram Dineshour Meitei, political science, M. Sangeeta Devi, Aihca, N. Bobby Singh, L. Gandhi Singh, M. Damudor Singh, Ksh. Bankim Kumar Singh, all from geography, K. Milan Kumar Sharma, earth science, R.K. Herojeet, Centre for Environment Science, Yumlembam Khogan Singh, Haobam Nomita Devi, M. Lilee Devi, Lamabam Sonia Devi, Sonia Khomdram, all from sociology, Cherish Sonia Devi, physical education and N. Jasma from English department. Dr Anju Rao, department of botany, represented the teachers.



Tampering with answer sheets
Records of education board examined
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Mohali, May 17
The special crime cell of the Chandigarh Police today examined the records of Punjab School Education Board, following the arrest of two persons who were involved in tampering the social studies answer sheets of class X on Thursday morning.

Sources in the police department said the records available with the board were incomplete, while some important documents were also missing. The police department also shot a letter to the education board regarding re-checking of the answer sheets and has asked for a reply as to how the answer sheets were given to Anju Bansal, a private school teacher, who is the wife of the arrested accused arrested. The board, however, failed to answer why Anju was given possession of the answer sheets, which was not only illegal but also regarded as a criminal offence.

Anju Bansal, the wife of Jagdeep Bansal, a teacher in Khalsa School, failed to join the investigations while officials in charge of the answer sheets failed to answer certain question during the investigation.

The accused, Jagdeep Bansal, the assistant controller in audit branch, Punjab School Education Board, and Navneet Kaur, clerk in the accounts branch, were arrested yesterday.



Sobti to attend NASA conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
In a rare honour for Panjab University and the entire region, vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti has been nominated by the UGC (University Grants Commission) to attend a three-day conference-cum-workshop at NASA, Washington. He is among the four vice-chancellors, who have been selected by the UGC. The other three include vice-chancellors of Hyderabad University, Pune University and Patna University. The team will be led by vice-chairman of the UGC Prof Moolchand Sharma.

The theme of the conference, to be held from May 26-28, is “Interaction between Leaders of Higher Education in International Arena”.

“It’s a lifetime opportunity to share my views at an international forum where there are going to be education leaders from across the globe. I am privileged to be representing my country and particularly my university,” said an elated Professor Sobti.



300 get jobs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
Jetking at their Chandigarh centre in Sector 34 organised a two-day mega job fair that concluded today. Twelve leading IT companies like Wipro, HCL Comnet, Access Infotech, Reliance, Sysnet, Spectra, Esys Technologies, ICICI etc. had come under one roof.

As many as 300 students out of approximately 1000 ex-students and present ones got jobs with different companies.



Candidates sent by employment exchange
Trained apprentices to be preferred for job: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a significant judgement, has held though it is not obligatory for an employer to provide a regular job to the trainees, it is equally incumbent on him to give preference to a trained apprentice over direct recruits.

The ruling by a high court Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Mohinder Pal comes on a bunch of petitions filed by the Chandigarh Administration and selected candidates in the engineering department, the appointment of whom was set aside by the Central Administrative Tribunal on March 6, 2002.

The high court also reversed the Tribunal’s orders and held: “The administration has spent time, money and energy on the trainees, to train them in the trades prevalent in the administration.

“Therefore, such training cannot be permitted to go waste. If the preference is not given to such apprentices, it will not be utilising manpower trained by the administration”.

The Bench also held: “If the employer chooses to employ the apprentices by giving preference to them, who have undergone training from the employer, the same satisfies the requirement of a constitutional scheme of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.”

In September 1999, the Chandigarh Administration had accorded sanction to the engagement of 39 apprentices in the Engineering Department. Out of the total, two posts were meant for apprentices in mechanical engineering and three in civil engineering in the Public Health Wing of the administration.

The apprentices completed their training in December 2000. As the matter reached the tribunal following the filing of an application it was found that the appointments were in violation of the recruitment rules.

The Tribunal did not record a definite finding regarding the selected candidates, but still inferred “one cannot rule out the possibility of undue favour extended to the selected candidates, who have been appointed without advertising the posts”.

Taking up the petitions against the Tribunal’s orders, the court held: “In the present case, the appointment has been given to the apprentices without any public advertisement….

“The recommendation of the employment exchange is a valid source of employment. Once the candidates have been recommended for apprenticeship by the employment exchange the argument that there was no public notice before making appointment is not tenable.

“In the present case, the apprentices were recommended by the employment exchange and have been absorbed against the available vacancies….”

The Judges also held: “The age of the apprentice can be relaxed and the training institute is required to maintain a list of the persons trained year-wise, and the persons trained earlier have to be treated as senior to the persons trained later.”

Before parting with the judgement, the Bench held: “We are of the opinion that the order passed by the learned Tribunal is not sustainable. Consequently, the present writ petitions are allowed and the order passed by the Tribunal is set aside.”



Consumer Forum
Frivolous complaints on the rise
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
While on one hand awareness of consumer rights seems to have risen among city residents, on the other, there are few who use it as a tool to claim compensation through frivolous petitions. Even the Consumer Protection Act, formulated for the welfare of consumers, is misused at times.

There are around eight to nine frivolous complaints that are disposed by the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission every month. The president of UT Commission Justice K.C. Gupta said, “People have become aware about their rights as a consumer, but it has definitely led to a rise in frivolous complaints. All we can do is to impose a fine of a few thousands on them in order to curtail such complaints.”

According to sources, in one month there are 70 to 80 cases disposed by UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. Out of the number of cases disposed about eight to nine are false complaints. Ashok Sharma Nabhewala, a resident of Sector 45, was fined Rs 5,000 for filing one such complaint in November.

In another such case the forum told slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on Rajesh Kumar for filing a frivolous complaint.



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