Town planners housed in dingy building
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
It is a dingy, dilapidated building in which the futuristic planning for the whole town is prepared. The district town planning department, situated in the narrow lanes right on the back of Narindra Cinema, gives an impression of an old, abandoned building.

The windows of the building of the district’s important advisory department are broken. The signboard has most of the letters erased leaving the passersby completely baffled.

The building requires immediate renovation. But that is not possible, tell the 16 odd employees. “The two-storey building was taken by the department on rent from a Nairobi-based NRI in the early 1970s. The rent of the building which would have otherwise been more than Rs 60,000, going by the space and location, is barely Rs 950. We cannot even take a single room anywhere in this amount. So, the department seniors have been telling us to continue to manage from here,” they reveal.

There are different compartments within, some old furniture, dusty files stacked in racks and maps hanging on the walls that have rather lost clarity due to dust and cracks in the sheets. The town planning office also rather seems to be technically one of the most backward one. A few computer systems in the office are meant only to solve the typing problem. There is no internet connection and the use of advanced software systems for drawing or storing soft copies of the maps of different areas is completely ruled out.

Since there is no internet connection, the minute details of the scape of the city and its suburbs, which can be easily noted down from the office using Google Earth or verifying the handmade maps with the satellite images, is also not possible.

The department also lags behind due to extreme staff shortage. There are three sanctioned posts of assistant town planner, all lying vacant. The technical staff comprises only six persons, while the rest 10 include clerks and other staff.

The employees rued that all those posts that had gone vacant due to retirement of staff were not being filled due to which they suffered from tremendous work pressure.

“Map designing needs extensive field work, visits to various government departments to know their plans and needs, holding discussions with residents for taking their suggestions and incorporating the same in the master plans,” they said.

The town planning officer, Manjit Singh, when contacted, admitted problems due to staff shortage and inadequate infrastructure. He said he had apprised senior officials of the problem.



No To English Test
DGSE cracks whip on defiant teachers
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
The school education department has decided to issue notices to 375 teachers who refused to appear in the “certificate course in teaching of English” test being conducted by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) to hone their skills. The teachers have drawn sharp criticism from the education officials.

On the first day of the examination held on September 15 at the local Government Senior Secondary School, Ladowali Road, only 12 teachers appeared in the exam. Even yesterday too a few teachers appeared in the examination and many of them gave blank answer sheets. The next two exams are scheduled for September 19 and 22. Talking to The Tribune over phone, director-general, school education (DGSE), Krishan Kumar said, “Keeping in mind the irresponsible behaviour of the teachers we have decided to seek written information from them. One of the central university, IGNOU, started these certificate courses in various subjects all over the country. The teachers have wasted the precious government money spent on this course. And now they would be held accountable for not appearing in the exams,” he said.

He added that the teachers would have to give a valid reason for not sitting in the exams. “The teachers are trying to avoid hard work. The social science teachers voluntarily filled the forms with an initiative to upgrade their English language skills. It is sad to see that the course, which started off very well in other parts of the country, has failed miserably here. All this has actually happened due to lackadaisical attitude of the teachers concerned,” maintained Krishan Kumar.

Though the teachers maintain that the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) authorities failed to deliver the course material well in time but the officials have something else to say. District education officer (secondary) Harinder Sahni said, “There is no doubt that the teachers received the date sheet four days back on September 11, but the course study material was handed well in time and they cannot deny this. And even if there was a problem they could have contacted us.” The issue came to fore when a group of teachers, including the members of Sarkari School Sikhiya Bachao Adhyapak Manch, staged a dharna on September 15. 



Happy days are here at last
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
With the decision of the cantonment board to finally initiate development work in Bhoor Mandi, the residents of the area have heaved a sigh of relief. As the area has always remained clogged with dirt and grime, the news has virtually rekindled the spirits of the Bhoor Mandi area residents.

It has been more than 50 years since the residents were witnessing problems pertaining to blocked sewage, drains and heaps of garbage everywhere. The first of its kind initiative to develop the area includes the linking of the Bhoor Mandi sewerage with that of the municipal corporation, Jalandhar.

Talking to The Tribune, cantonment board CEO Sumitra Mishra said, “We are waiting for the funds for this purpose. We are quite hopeful that this time the project would definitely kick off smoothly as the cantonment MLA, Jagbir Brar, is showing keen interest in the development of the area,” she said.

“At present the cantonment board is waiting for the final approval from the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board for which they require an additional amount of Rs 50 lakh besides Rs 17 lakh which the authorities have already got approved from the state government. “We require a total amount of Rs 71 lakh for this project. Out of this we have already requested the MLA concerned to get us Rs 51 Lakh from the state government for initiating the development work. Apart from this we have also asked the state government through the local MLA for requisite balance funds to undertake the deposit work by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Jalandhar, and also to waive off the sharing cost of the sewer line with the municipal corporation in the interests of the residents,” added Sumitra.

“It has been years since we were living in these hell-like conditions. During the recently concluded cantonment board elections, the candidates kept using the problems of Bhoor Mandi as poll plank. We are actually waiting for the ground work to begin as soon as possible,” said Sali Gram, a resident of the area.

The sewerage system in the Bhoor Mandi and Rama Mandi area was laid more than 15 years ago. But after raising the existing GT Road for four lanning the areas of Bhoor Mandi and Rama Mandi became low by 0.5 m to 1.5 m. This is one reason why the area remains blocked with sewerage water.

The operation and maintenance of the sewerage system is with the cantonment board. The temporary disposal work also met with problems. The sewerage water from temporary disposal work is utilised by the army authorities for broad irrigation but during the rains the sewerage water is not fully utilised thereby causing stagnation in low-lying areas of Bhoor Mandi.



Travel agent arrested for fraud
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
The anti-fraud wing of the district police today arrested a Raipur Peer Vaksh village-based travel agent allegedly for cheating a Nakodar resident on the pretext of sending him to Spain. Three other suspects in the case have absconded.

According to the information, Paramjit Singh was arrested on a complaint of Swaran Singh of Nakodar. The three others, Gurmeet Singh, his wife Kamaljit Kaur and Jeet Ram of Jalandhar, are still at large.

In his complaint, Swaran Singh had alleged that Paramjit Singh, his brother Gurmeet Singh and his wife Kamaljit Kaur along with Jeet Ram of Jalandhar, cheated him of Rs 1.15 lakh.

The suspects allegedly took the money for sending him to Spain two years ago but they neither sent him abroad nor returned his money. Cases under sections of 420 and 506 of the IPC have been registered against them.



‘Fired’ man, daughter allege religious bias
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 18
A Muslim man and his daughter have been dismissed from their respective jobs in a private school here allegedly due to discrimination on the basis of religion.

Residents of Urban Estate here, Mangat Choudhary and his daughter Tasnim, had been working as a lab assistant and a primary teacher, respectively, at St Soldier Divine Public School in Hadiabad here for the past sometime.

In a complaint submitted to the Kapurthala SSP, they alleged that when the school principal came to know that they were Muslims, they were fired. In his complaint, Mangat Choudhary stated that he had been appointed as a lab assistant last year, whereas his daughter Tasnim was selected as a primary teacher in April this year.

Mangat said principal Yashpal Rai Sharma, junior wing in charge Sunanda Aggarwal and science teacher Vaishali came to know after Tasnim’s appointment that Mangat and Tasnim were Muslims.

Following which, they started insulting Mangat Choudhary and Tasnim with a deliberate and malicious intention of hurting their religious feelings. They also started saying that being Muslims, they had no place to work in the school.

At this, they brought the entire matter to the notice of the vice-chairperson of the school, who assured them that the principal and other teachers would not hurt their religious feelings in future but to no avail. They also lodged a complaint with the SHO, Sadar, in this regard but no action was taken against the school principal and other teachers, they added.

Following which, they were dismissed from the school, they alleged. The school principal, Yashpal Rai Sharma, when contacted, denied the allegation that Mangat and Tasnim were removed from their jobs for being Muslims.

Sharma said Mangat and Tasnim had been employed in the school for less than a year. “According to set norms, those employees whose tenure is less than a year are relieved from their jobs before vacations and they are supposed to reapply for their jobs, but both Mangat and his daughter Tasnim did not reapply for their jobs. So they automatically ceased to be employees of the school,” he added.

The principal said, “Mangat’s son Feroze is a friend of Hardeep Singh, who along with Satpal Sharma was removed from accounts department of the school as they were found to have embezzled Rs 40,000.”

Mangat was given job in the school at Hardeep’s recommendation. When the former came to know that Hardeep had been removed from the school, he and his daughter probably thought it better not to reapply for jobs in the same school, he added.

However Hardeep denied that he had embezzled any amount. Had he embezzled money, why the school authorities did not register any FIR against him? he questioned.



Young World
Nidhi gets first prize in poster-making contest
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
A poster-making competition was held at St. Soldier College under the guidance of vice-chairperson Sangeeta Chopra. Surjit Kaur, head of the department of fine arts of the Apeejay College of Fine Arts, and college principal Veenu Dada were the chief guests. Students of B. Arts made posters on female foeticide, environment pollution and domestic violence in water colours. Nidhi stood first, Navdeep Mattu second and Victor Thapa and Deepika stood third. The winners were honoured with gifts and certificates.

Hindi Divas

Manav Sehyog School celebrated Hindi Divas on September 16. Students presented a skit on the present status of the Hindi language in our country.

Phulkari contest

Navjinder Kaur of the Kamla Nehru College for Women, Phagwara, stood second in the phulkari contest organised by the Punjab Kala Parishad Sangeet and Natak Academy at Ramgarhia Girls College, Ludhiana, on September 17. She was given a prize of Rs 2,000.

Story competition

State Public School, Jalandhar Cantonment, organised an inter-house story telling competition for classes I to V and Hindi poem recitation competition for classes VI to IX on September 17. The winners were awarded prizes and certificates.

Varsity toppers

Stuti and Navjot of MCA (FYIC) of Guru Nanak Dev University College, Jalandhar, bagged the first and third positions in the semester IV examinations, respectively.

Academic excellence

Benu Chopra and Nitika Passi of the certificate course in communication skills at the Prem Chand Markanda SD College for Women got the first position in the college. Similarly, Juhi Karwal of advanced diploma in fashion designing also stood first in the college by securing 175 marks out of 200.

Teachers felicitated

Nupur Chopra (head of the department of home science) and Neeru Sharma (head of the department of political science) were awarded the “Dronacharya Samman” by Junior Chamber International (JCI) during the Jaycees week.

Grooming session

KMV College, in association with “Team Break Loose” has been organising a five-day personality development programme since September 16. As many as 90 students from the department of computer science and applications are participating in the workshop. The students would go through mock tests, presentations, group activities, discussions and lecture sessions.

Army awareness

More than 200 engineering students participated in a pre-recruitment rally conducted by the Indian Army at Lovely Professional University. The whole process was divided into three phases, including pre-placement talk where a documentary was shown to the students in which all the aspects of serving armed forces was demonstrated, followed by an interview by officers.



Two snatchers caught, several cases solved
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 18
The police claims to have solved several incidents of snatching purses, chains and mobile phones with the arrest of two snatchers.

In a press note issued here on Monday, DSP Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh stated that a police team, led by ASIs Jagtar Singh and Bhupinder Singh, nabbed the two snatchers after a tip-off at a special check post at Mauli level crossing.

When the two snatchers, Jaswant Rai and Jasvir Mahay of Sagarpur and Saidowal villages, respectively, in neighbouring Jalandhar district were coming on a motorcycle from Mauli village side, the police team signalled them to stop.

Instead of stopping at the check post, they tried to flee but the police team overpowered them.

Two knives, five gold earrings and a mobile phone were recovered from their possession, the press note stated. Their motorcycle was also impounded.

They confessed to have snatched cash, gold jewellery and mobile phones from different persons in Goraya, Noormahal and Phillaur, the DSP stated.

Two FIRs under sections 382 andd 411 of the IPC and 25/54/59 of the Arms Act have been registered against them at Sadar police station.

Three robbers in police net

Phagwara: The police here claimed to have solved several cases of robbery with the arrest of three robbers near the bus stand here on Monday. Stating this in a press note, DSP Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh said a police team led by city SHO A.S. Chahal caught the three Jalandhar-based robbers. They have been identified as Harminder Singh, alias Bugga, Sonu (both of Bhargo Camp locality in Jalandhar) and Shaki Arora of Avtar Nagar. — TNS



St. Soldier swimmer wins two golds
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
Jatinderpal Singh, a student of St. Soldier College, Basti Danishmandan, brought laurels to his institution by bagging gold medals in 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly and the silver medal in 200m individual medlay events in the recently concluded inter-district school swimming championship which was organised at Sports College here last week. College director Anoop Singh Multani said earlier also Jatinder had won a bronze medal in the junior national swimming championship held at Amritsar. The college authorities honoured him. 



Soccer tourney from Sept 20
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
The 31st sub-junior national football championship for the Mir Iqbal Hussain trophy, 2008, would be held at Mahilpur, Hoshiarpur, from September 20 to October 6. As many as 27 state teams of India would take part in the championship. The opening match would be held between Punjab and Pondicherry on September 20 at 9.30 am.

Basketball match

The final match of the Sahodya International Basketball Tournament was played at the courts of MGN Public School, Adarsh Nagar, Jalandhar, on September 12 and 13. As many as 39 teams of boys and girls from Sahodya Schools of Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Nawashahr participated in the tourney. The final basketball match was won by Apeejay School, Jalandhar.



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