C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cloud over OBC quota in PU
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
A recent affidavit filed by the home ministry in the Punjab and Haryana High Court claiming that Panjab University is “not a centrally funded educational institution” has put a question mark on the admissions of OBC students from next year.

The affidavit, filed during the proceedings of a case pertaining to the enhancement of the retirement age of PU teachers from 60 to 62 years, contradicts the earlier stand of the HRD ministry which had enforced a 27 per cent quota in phases for the OBC in the university on the grounds that it was centrally funded. The contradictory stand has landed the PU authorities in a “catch-22 “ situation as they are not sure whether they will implement the second phase of the OBC quota.

Apparently, the HRD ministry has also asked the university to submit a utilisation certificate for Rs 5 crore that PU had received to create the infrastructure and other facilities for the new seats.

The VC said, “We are yet to receive any orders on the implementation of the quota next year. Whatever will be the orders, we will follow that. About the utilisation certificate, we will submit that”.

The HRD ministry had sent a letter to PU early this year directing it to reserve seats for OBC candidates. Consequently, the university received the first instalment of Rs 5 crore from the ministry.

The admissions were also made in different departments to fill the created seats and to start with, 7 per cent seats were created for the current academic year. This was to be followed by another 7 per cent in the session 2009-2010 and still another 13 per cent in 2010-2011, taking the total reservations to 27 per cent.

However, this entire equation seems to have changed after the MHA’s affidavit on the basis of which the High Court declined a bunch of petitions filed by teachers seeking the enhancement of the retirement age from 60 to 62 years or 65 years as was the case of central universities. The teachers had raised the issue of OBC quota seats in support of their claims for treatment on a par with the centrally funded institutions.

The university is under the direct control of the MHA and not the MHRD as is the case with the other central universities or institutes. So the High Court directed the MHA to clear the stand with regard to the status of the university by filing an affidavit in the court. Resultantly, there were meetings held between officials of the MHA and the MHRD in Delhi wherein representatives of Punjab and Chandigarh and also the university participated.

Finally, contrary to the instructions of the MHRD, the MHA stated in the court that PU was neither a central university nor is a centrally funded educational institution.

The likely fallout of the MHA’s stand could thus mean that the university would be under no obligation to implement the OBC quota. However, it remains to be seen that how the MHRD is going to handle the issue of funding the university for the students who have already been admitted in this category in the current year and will take two to five years to finish their respective courses.



Meltdown, not for CITCO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
In the time of recession when the austerity is the buzz word for the corporate sector, the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) is all set to dole out more concessions in the form of enhanced discounts to the babus and head of departments in the administration. And this, is despite the fact that the corporation is yet to realise payments worth over a crore of rupees from different wings of the administration.

Bigwigs in the administration, including bureaucrats and the HoDs, who were hitherto entitled to 40 per cent discount in all CITCO hotels and other outlets, will now get 50 per cent off on their meals.

The list of the beneficiaries of CITCO’s largesse include all IAS, IPS, PCS and HCS officers, the chief architect and chief engineer, Chandigarh Administration, and accountant generals, Punjab and Haryana, besides ex-managing director, CITCO. Officials of CITCO also confirmed that this discount bonanza would rest with the officers till the time they hold their post in Chandigarh.

The move has obviously not gone down well with the CITCO staff who resent the fact that while the big shots are entitled to these privileges, they do not get any discounts on their bills despite working for the organisation. “We are given negligible discounts that too only if we organise a private party in the hotels. Otherwise, we were never offered discount cards on regular basis as the officers are being given”, they said.

The staff, sources say, is only entitled for just 10 per cent discount in Sector 10 Mountview Hotel, 15 per cent in Sector 17 Hotel Shivalikview and 25 per cent discount in Sector 24 Hotel Parkview. This discount will be offered only on food items mentioned in the party menus and the “special occasion” has to be in the “blood relation” of the employee.

While on one hand, the CITCO board is enhancing discounts for the officers, its had failed to realise over Rs 1 crore from various departments of the administration. Moves are afoot to almost write off Rs 15.80 lakh after putting this amount under “Bad debt” head. The board of directors, after having delebrations on the issue in today’s meet, formed a committee, reportedly, comprising DC, finance secretary, MD, CITCO, to initiate the matter.

However, the sources disclosed that auditors had calculated a total amount of Rs 1.18 crore till date which the CITCO had to recover. This amount had been spent on different occasions.

Recently, miffed at the dilly-dallying attitude of the sports department to pay the discounted payment of Rs 1,75,295, the CITCO's board of directors had decided to waive the amount.

CITCO had raised a bill of Rs 1,75,295 for the refreshments being served from Hotel Parkview during the practice matches played between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka against Punjab XI at the Sector 16 cricket stadium in October, 2006. The sports department was asking for 47 per cent discount and ultimately the payment agreement failed to get materialsed.

Similarly, the tourism department owes Rs 4.37 lakh; the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) Rs 3.67 lakh; director, Hospitality Rs 2.69 lakh; DPR, Chandigarh Rs 23,700; DPR, Punjab Rs 18,850; UT home secretary office Rs 16,000 and Punjab Excise Department Rs 14,000.

n Concessions to babus go up to 50 pc soon
n It fails to recover Rs 1.18 cr from various departments



Noor Backtracks
Denies relations with Baljinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
In quick turn of events, the famous model and so-called key witness Noor Kataria today turned hostile during the trial of the sensational Anuradha murder case.

Deposing before the additional district and sessions judge, S.K. Aggarwal, Noor denied of having intimate relations with the prime accused, Baljinder Singh Sandhu, and stated that he had never proposed her for marriage.

She further stated that she has never made any statements before the police.

She told the police that she met Baljinder through a common friend and he had proposed her for marriage. Noor made the statement before the police that Baljinder Singh Sandhu alias Talha had assured her that he would take her to America where he would stay with her for six months every year.

Contrary to the statement recorded before the police, Noor today stated in the court that she met Baljinder through a common friend and used to meet him at parties and clubs. The court then declared that Noor had turned hostile as she was retracted from her previous given statement.

Noor was accompanied by her sister Bulbul Kataria. Another witness in the case, the daughter of the deceased Osean, had also come to the court but her statement was not recorded and the case was adjourned to December 15.

Harish, brother of the deceased, also got his statement recorded and was cross-examined. Standing by his earlier statements, Harish stated before the court that his sister Anuradha and Baljinder had strained relations. He added that Baljinder once fired gunshot during arguments with Anuradha in his presence but no one was injured.

Anuradha was killed in her bedroom while her minor children where sleeping in the adjacent bedroom on May 17.



Property dealer dies in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Nitin Saini, 34-year-old motorcyclist, was killed while pillion rider was critically injured when a rashly driven Tata Safari rammed into their motorcycle near sector 8 gurdwara here late tonight.

According to witnesses, the Safari dragged the motorcycle from Sector 8 to an internal road of Sector 9. In the process, the motorcyclist were severely injured.

They were rushed to GMSH-16 where Nitin, financer-cum-property dealer was declared dead while the pillion rider referred to the PGIy.

However, the matter is under investigation till the filing of the report.



Laptop thieves on the prowl
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Laptop thieves are on the prowl in the region. For the past two months, over 600 laptops have been stolen from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

In a similar incident, thieves decamped with 33 laptops from Sprintnetcom in Sector 35 last night.

Renny, manager in the shop, told TNS that the theft came to light around 9:15 am when their next-door shopkeeper found the shutter opened. The main door at the first floor was open and the shop was ransacked. He immediately informed them about the theft and they reached there. The police was informed about the incident, which reached there.

The police pressed forensic experts and dog squad into service, but no vital clues could be gathered from the spot, said a police officer. The SHO of the Sector 36 police station Anokh Singh said a case had been registered in this regard. He added that the carelessness was also a reason behind the theft as the main shutter leading to the first floor shop and its entry door were reportedly open. The locks of the fragile doors of the cabin were broken to commit the theft.

Renny said they had closed the shop at 8:30 pm on Tuesday and he was not aware whether the caretaker closed the shutter after the other shops were closed. Computer dealers say that some organised gang is behind these large-scale thefts of computers. The thieves only take away laptops, which are easy to carry and also dispose of.

A local dealer informs TNS that in the past two months, incidents of theft of laptops in a large number are on the rise. Over 20 incidents of thefts of laptops have been reported from Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Yamuna Nagar and other parts in the northern region. It is learnt that these gangs conduct reconnaissance under the garb of customers in shops and target shops which are not equipped with security features like close circuit TV cameras.



CFL lights up Ropar village
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Sante Majra (Kharar), November 26
Sante Majra village has become the first 100 per cent candescend fluoroscent lamp (CFL)-based village in Ropar circle that covers four divisions, including Ropar, Kharar, Anandpur Sahib and Samrala. It has also secured the fifth place in Punjab for complete adoption of CFL.

As many as 980 CFL have replaced the bulbs at various houses of the village, and at 29 tubewells, 58 CFL have been installed. XEN P. S. Bains said every tube well had the permission to install two bulbs.

Five CFL consume power equal to one 100 watt bulb. Under this initiative of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), the department has managed to save whopping 13,816 units of power in a month.

Sarpanch of the village Jasvir Singh said all the 250 households had installed the CFL lamps. "It is indeed a matter of pride for our village to be the first to use CFL 100 percent," he added.

SE Suhinderjit Singh added that the Ropar circle had 22 sub-divisions, and every village from each sub-division would be converted into complete CFL user. The PSEB aims at providing better quality of life at the expense of minimum consumption of power.

So far, villages of Muktsar, Jeetasinghwala in Baghapurana sub-division, Chatar Singhwala in Moga division, a village in Patiala district and Jehangir village in Doraha sub-division have taken up CFL at large scale. Also 1,500 light-points at Golden Temple in Amritsar have been replaced with CFL lamps.


College ‘pays’ for wedding of principal’s daughter
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Marriage on college premises — staff’s right or misuse of power? The debate gains momentum once again with fingers being raised at the marriage of SD College-32 principal’s daughter, which is scheduled for month-end in the college itself. Also, rumours of college resources being used for the day doing rounds have brought the preparations under scanner.

If speculations are to be believed, the ground floor of the girl’s hostel is being evacuated and college students are being made to perform giddha for the ceremony.

Also, some unconfirmed reports suggest that things like decoration lights are being brought in using college funds.

“Yes, we have evacuated the floor but for simple reason that it was a recreation room, which was being utilised for accommodating girls. Now, as we have built two more blocks in the hostel, we are shifting girls there to re-establish the recreation room,” said hostel warden Ajay Sharma.

Meanwhile, college principal A.C. Vaid has rubbished the claims. “This is all nonsense and rubbish. I am being accused of evacuating the hostel for accommodating my guests. On the contrary, I own a three-storey house. I am not using that also, as I have made reservations in various hotels. Being a principal, I stay here on the college premises. So where do I marry my children? It’s not happening for the first time.”

According to director higher education Raji P. Shrivastava, there is no such law that prohibits the use of college premises. “As such, we don’t have any law prohibiting it and anything can be only said once we go through the land agreement,” she said.



Central panel rap for GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Central Information Commission, New Delhi, has rapped Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, for delay in supplying information under the RTI Act to a Sector-27 resident.

In its order, the CIC observed that the delay in providing information, which should have been provided to the applicant within one month, “cannot to be said to be a happy state of affairs”.

On May 17 last year, the applicant, R.K. Garg, had requested for information regarding purchase of medicines for free supply through pharmacy being run in the campus.

In spite of depositing the requisite fee, the information was not supplied, forcing him to file an appeal with the appellate authority on August 20, 2007.

However, the appellate authority observed that the information could not be supplied to the applicant due to some “communication gap”.



School buses violate SC norms
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
In the absence of any strict clause on transportation of schoolchildren, the blatant violation of the Supreme Court guidelines on school buses is rampant in the city.

The school authorities also do not shoulder any responsibility of children’s safety. “It is between the transporters and the parents to resolve the issue”, would be their general one-line justification.

The schoolchildren are at the mercy of untrained drivers in the shaky, over-aged and overloaded buses with no first-aid kit, fire extinguishers, horizontal grill on windows, school name or mandatory telephone numbers painted on them etc. Even the rulebook of the Chandigarh Administration is silent on the transportation of schoolchildren.

Today as many as three ‘tourist buses’ were spotted which were illegally running as school buses in the city. A bus (CH-03-N-8383) belonging to Pal Coach Lines was carrying the students of KB DAV-7. Another bus (CH-01- R-5975) was to transport students of DAV-8. A maroon coloured Toyota Qualis (HR-07-F 4039) was also to ferry schoolchildren in Sector 7.

A bus (PB-12-1321) plying through Sectors 46, 47, 33, 32, 31 and another bus (PB-13-J-1785) were having tinted glasses with no school name mentioned on its front. A bus (CH -04-A- 5850) plying between Sector 7 and Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27 and another bus (CH-03-S-9281) did not have mandatory horizontal grill on windows.

All these buses were not painted in prescribed yellow colour and did not have registration numbers with 254 mm wide strip of dark blue paint going all around the body and 178 mm below the windowpanes.

The question is, if the administration can withdraw the recognition of schools for not complying with the reservation for EWS quota then why can’t it revoke their recognition in case they do not take accountability of transporting children?

Operators call off strike

The Chandigarh School Bus Operators Association today called off its strike call for November 27 and November 28, but the issue of installing “speed governors” in the buses did not reach any conclusion.

The administration has deferred its move of limiting the school bus speed limit to 40 km per hour by installing speed governors in the school buses till December 31. Earlier, December 1 had been fixed as deadline for installing this equipment.

Meanwhile, a scrutinising committee comprising Vandana Dasodia, secretary, State Transport Authority (STA); Anil Kumar Sharma, additional secretary, STA; J.S. Cheema, DSP (traffic); Manjit S. Saini and Nirmal Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Chandigarh School Bus Operators Welfare Association, has been constituted to deliberate on the issue.

Essentials for a school bus as ordered by the Supreme Court of India:

l “School Bus” must be written on its back and front
l If it is a hired bus, “On School Duty” should be clearly indicated
l It must have a first-aid box and a fire extinguisher
l The windows must be fitted with horizontal grills
l School name and telephone number must be written on it
l It must have an attendant from the school



Fungal Infections
20-fold increase in cases at PGI
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Medical autopsies conducted at the PGI indicate that around 10 per cent of immuno-compromised patients — suffering from the HIV, leukaemia and other cancers or those who have received transplants — die due to fungal infections.

According to experts, there is an over 20-fold increase in the number of people reporting to the PGI with variety of fugal infections.

Almost 1,000 patients of deep-seated fungal infections are reported every year at the PGI.

Dr Arunaloke Chakraborty from PGI’s department of microbiology, who has spent over two decades studying fungal diseases, said: “There has been a phenomenal increase in the number of people reporting with ‘candidiasis’ (bloodstream infection), ‘aspergillosis’ (infection in the lungs) and ‘cryptococcus’ (fungal infection of brain), which often prove fatal, if detected late.

Cryptococcus is an infection caused due to fungus found in pigeon droppings. The patient contracts it after inhaling air, which has presence of this fungus from the droppings.

While in case of candidiasis, it can occur when medical equipment or devices become contaminated with Candida. The infection may spread throughout the body.

Earlier, one out of 100 healthy individuals was reporting with this infection, but now the numbers have shot up to 50 per cent.

Among immuno-compromised patients, the infection is even more serious — one out of 10 will get it on exposure and are reporting to the institute with symptoms in advanced stages.

The PGI, which boasts of having the most advanced diagnostic techniques and research on fungal disease in the country, has also identified an increase in the number of patients coming with a form of cryptococcus, aspergillosis and candidiasis fungal infection.

He said: “Sometime back, only a few places in the world were known to have cases of these infections. However, increased number of cases showed that even the PGI had its share of seeing such cases. Now we collect around 500-600 samples of fungal infections here every year,” Chakraborty said.

Doctors at the PGI have traced the source of these infections to a certain level. According to Dr Chakraborty, this had happened due to extensive administration of immuno-suppressive therapies to treat patients with cancer and transplant recipients, AIDS patients and long-term use of steroids and broad-spectrum antibiotics.

However, the magnitude of this problem in the region is not clear, though it is expected to be of high incidences due to hot and humid climate of Southeast Asia, he said.

“With awareness levels on such fungal infections very low, even amongst doctors, incidence of these diseases is going up,” Chakraborty said.

The disease is taking its toll on immuno-compromised patients — HIV positive, patients of various transplants, leukaemia and other cancers.

“The World Health Organisation has designated the department of pulmonary medicine of the PGI as the WHO collaborating centre for the Southeast Asia region,” said Dr S.K. Jindal, head of pulmonary department, during a press conference at the PGI today.

He said the department had now been designated for research and capacity building in chronic respiratory diseases. This designation will further enhance the research and training capabilities of the department both nationally and internationally. Also, this will increase the role of the institute and facilities in the participation of the department faculty in different international activities and collaborations.

Initially, the designation is operative for four years. This will be extended further after review. This designation is in recognition of the major contributions and the pioneer role of the department in research and training in respiratory diseases and respiratory critical care.

He said the department proposed to undertake different research projects on the prevalence, diagnosis, management and prevention of diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Different kinds of training programs for trainees from India and other Southeast Asia region countries (Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kampuchea) will also be undertaken.

Addressing mediapersons, Dr Arunaloke Chakraborty from PGI’s department of microbiology said the WHO recognised the mycology laboratory of the institute as well and had designated the centre as WHO collaborating centre on reference and research and research on fungi of medical importance for four years.

As there are very few diagnostic mycology facilities available, these training program and technical support will help in development of those laboratories. According to figure, only 16 mycology laboratories are available in India.



Ex-servicemen aid for disabled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Zila Sainik Welfare Office, Chandigarh, has decided to provide financial assistance of Rs 500 per month to those ex-servicemen who have suffered 100 per cent disability during their service and have been invalidated from service.

This is the fourth welfare scheme started by the Zila Sainik Welfare Office in the past one year. Earlier, this office had announced financial assistance of Rs 500 per month to visually impaired ex-servicemen and mentally challenged children of ex-servicemen and Rs 1,000 per month to the ex-servicemen undergoing paraplegic treatment/training.

The ex-servicemen who are eligible under these schemes should contact the Zila Sainik Welfare Office, Sector 21-D, Chandigarh (Ph no: 2701947).



Conveyance Deeds
Residents stage protest at GMADA office
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 26
The joint action committee of the All-Residents Welfare Associations of SAS Nagar held a protest outside GMADA office and later staged a dharna outside the office of the deputy commissioner in protest against getting conveyance deeds done at prevalent collector rates and not at allotment prices.

The protesters raised slogans against the authorities concerned and demanded that conveyance deeds be done at allotment rates, as was being followed by neighbouring states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. They said if the demand was not accepted, they would intensify their protest.

The protesters organised a rally from the GMADA office to the deputy commissioner’s office, where they later staged a dharna.

Traffic on the road outside the deputy commissioner’s office came to a standstill when protesters gathered in the area.

Association general secretary Baljit Singh Kumbra said memorandums had earlier been handed over to the chief minister, cooperatives minister, revenue minister, deputy commissioner and GMADA’s chief administrator but no action had so far been taken in this regard.

He said the Punjab government had issued a letter in June in which it was stated that conveyance deeds could be done at allotment prices but later the order was withdrawn. GMADA had issued a public notice in August stating that conveyance deeds were to be done within three months after which plots would be resumed. This had created a lot of resentment among the allottees. 



Rape at Command Hospital
No third person involved: Police
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 26
The Panchkula police today clarified that there was no third accused in the airman’s wife rape at the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir.

Panchkula’s superintendent of police Sandip Khirwar said: “Naik Hottam Singh and naik Iftikhar Khan were the only two accused who perpetrated the crime.” Earlier, it was reported that Raja, an unidentified person, had videographed the incident.

“In fact, Hottam Singh had threatened the victim against disclosing the incident to anyone, lest her video should be made public,” said Khirwar.

Hottam Singh had told the woman that the entire incident had been filmed by Raja. However, the victim did not see anyone take her pictures and she stated this to the police in her complaint. The police today took both accused to their residence and office and carried out search.

During the search, the police found their mobile phones. However, the police is yet to recover the clothes that Hottam Singh was wearing at the time of crime.

The police had yesterday arrested two army personnel - naik Hottam Singh and naik Iftikhar Khan - for raping a patient at the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, after which the local court remanded them in two-day police custody.



Doctor for heart valve repair
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 26
Complicated heart valve repair surgeries on two young patients were conducted by chief cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr Amit Chandra at Prime Heart and Vascular Institute in Sector 69 here.

Addressing a press conference here today, Chandra said that mitral valve repair surgery to treat regurgitation (leakage) or stenosis (narrowing) of the mitral valve was rarely done because of the precision involved and in most cases the diseased valve was replaced by implanting an artificial valve.

Valve repair had numerous advantages over valve replacement since it had improved long-term survival rate, reduced risk of stroke, and freedom from long-term treatment and dependence on blood thinners, explained Chandra.

Sanjay (16) from Chandigarh and Harpreet (21) from here had undergone valvuloplasty at the Prime Heart Institute and both the surgeries had been successful, added the doctor.

He said valve replacement normally required regular blood tests and a lifelong dependence on blood thinning medicines which could lead to complications, including excessive bleeding during accident and even clotting of the valve.



Sports facilities cry for attention at govt schools
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Chandigarh Administration’s move to raise the sports paraphernalia of the city government schools apparently ends up as a “non-starter.”

The education department had carried out a survey about the sports infrastructure a year back and had identified the schools, which needed proper upkeep and maintenance of grounds.

Nevertheless, to encourage the upkeep of the sports grounds the department had announced a cash prize for the schools for maintaining grounds.

However, after that inspection the department didn’t bother to relook the schools even after the lapse of over a year. “We have been busy with the school games and camps this year and till January we have no time for the inspection,” justified assistant sports organiser, H.S. Brar.

“I think this was a good initiative by the department and after the inspection, the schools had approached us to recheck their premises. I fail to understand why the department do not pay attention to this grave issue,” said a senior official of the education department on the condition of anonymity.

A random survey of the schools by The Tribune team revealed that the inspection did have some effect on the schools but still there is a long way to go.

The sports infrastructure of almost all the government schools baring a few is in a mess.

The Government Senior Secondary School-23, which boasts to have the biggest compound area of all the schools, has lots of weed around the ground besides the basketball court, which is in dilapidated condition and is full of grass.

The condition of the basketball court and hockey ground at Government Model Senior Secondary School-19 was even worst. The swings of the school got damaged because the tress had fallen on them, apparently, due to wind about 10 days ago, but principal, Sanjay Kumar Walia seems to be least bothered.

A visit to other government schools, including GSSS-20, GMS-20 and GMSSS-8, too shows a picture of neglect. The common problem all the schools have is of big weed grown in their grounds.



German’s rape accused hospitalised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
One of the crime accused in the rape of a German girl, Sukhwinder, alias Sukhi, was admitted to the Government MultiSpeciality Hospital-16 after he complained of high fever here today. The doctor later diagnosed him with “chicken pox”.

Sukhwinder Singh, involved in the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault of a German tourist, had surrendered before a local court on October 1.

The 20-year-old German tourist was allegedly abducted by six youths from outside Hotel Taj where she had gone with a friend and her husband for a cup of coffee on September 28. When she came out of the hotel for smoking in its parking zone, six youths waiting in a Scorpio pulled her inside the car and allegedly abducted her. They then took her to an Ambala village where they allegedly raped her. 



Cycle workers’ union gives memo to mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Members of the Footpath Cycle Workers’ Union submitted a memorandum to MC mayor Pardeep Chabra here on Monday.

They have demanded issuance of licence to 2,274 footpath workers, allotment of booths and implementation of all other pending decisions.

The workers also requested the higher authorities to look into the matter of the poor. “We have been earning money for the past 35 years from the business but officers continue to harass us,” they said.



Pollution check centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The state transport authority has started its first pollution check centre at Sukhna Automobiles, Sector 28 C, with effect from November 11.

The centre will issue pollution under control certificate for all types of diesel-run vehicles at Rs 35 per vehicle along with the photograph of the vehicle. The centre will function from 9 am to 6 pm every day except Sundays.



Slump in real estate

With reference to a report “Global meltdown not for CHB” the private builders have announced a number of schemes to sell their flats but global meltdown has failed to draw the attention of the investors for such schemes.

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) had conducted a draw for a total of 1976 flats for Sector 63 self-financing schemes. The flat allottees are not happy to get these flats due to negative sentiments in real estate, high rate of interest and exorbitant cost.

The allottees will have to pay more for other charges under the self-financing scheme. The price can still vary depending on the actual cost of the flats.

The basic object of the CHB to provide affordable houses for middle class seems far away. The administration appears to earn profits from the needy persons. Even the builders have reduced the rates of the flats in metros. They have also assured the finance minister to reduce the prices in coming months.

The mega housing project of the CHB in the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park has received a poor response since they could sell only a few apartments due to high cost of the apartments. The developers have failed to deposit Rs 200 crore till due date to slump in the real estate.

The CHB should thus consider the interest of middle class and act accordingly.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh

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PU Scuffle
3 students rusticated from hostel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
A day after a scuffle that took place between two groups of students at Panjab University’s hostel No. 7, the university authorities today swung into action and rusticated three students of the UIET from the hostel.

According to sources, a minor argument between the students took an ugly turn when a group of students of the UIET indulged in a scuffle with students of geography department at hostel No 7 on Monday.

According to sources, it all started on Sunday when a group of students from the UIET allegedly came to the hostel in an inebriated condition and got into an argument with some students of the geography department at the hostel. Both sides indulged in verbal argument.

However, the next night the same group of students came again and picked an argument with the other group and allegedly thrashed some of them.



DAV defies UT orders, hires 20 teachers
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Giving hoots to the orders issued by the UT Administration for the removal of 11 surplus teachers, DAV-Sector 8, authorities have not only failed to comply with it but have also reportedly gone ahead with appointing 20 more temporary teachers since last year.

In a letter issued last year to the DAV management by the then DPI (S) S.K. Setia the ‘controversial’ appointment of the current principal Vibha Ray was approved as one time settlement subjected to the fulfillment of 13 conditions failing which this approval would be inoperative without prior notice.

Taking the cognisance of the report submitted in April last year by an inspection committee, the administration considered the removal of these surplus teachers, as one of the conditions. The administration also directed the management to submit the salary of these teachers in GIA account, as it failed to intimidate administration on the status of so many surplus posts. However, those at helm of matters have failed to do so.

“We are aware of this but we have not removed anybody and have neither made the requisite deposit in the GIA fund. The authorities have so far employed more than 20 temporary teachers and their salary is being drawn from our academic excellence fund collected from students which was originally PTA fund but was later renamed.” revealed a school official.

The matter turns graver, as according to the department record, the number of filled teaching posts is 73 for 2,097 students, sources revealed actual number of teachers being 77. There are also speculations of the recent audit report declaring more than 20 teaching posts surplus.

“I will look into the matter and if anybody is violating norms I will take a strict action.” Said Samwartak Singh DPI (S) UT.

Meanwhile, principal Vibha Ray was unavailable to give her side of the story.



Saupin’s fee hike: Parents, teachers at loggerheads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The authorities of Saupin’s School, Sector 32, and parents are at loggerheads over the proposed fee hike by the former.

In an executive committee meeting of PTA, principal, A.B.S Sidhu proposed a 15 per cent hike in monthly fee increasing annual fee by Rs 900. The move according to the principal was necessary to meet the overall deficit of Rs 50 lakh due to high salary of teachers and other expenses.

Parents however, out rightly opposed and rejected the proposal claiming that school has been increasing fee by almost 26 per cent every year since 2003.

They even claimed that out of Rs 160 lakh collected so far under various heads only Rs 75 lakh is refundable without interest while schools earns an annual interest on the entire amount.

While principal has further called the meeting of general body to amicably discuss the issue, some parents even claimed of school pressurising their kids to get approval from parents.



Fellowship to NIPER scientist
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 26
Dr Prati Pal Singh, professor, department of pharmacology and toxicology, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), has been elected a fellow of the Association of Microbiologists of India (FAMI) for his outstanding research contributions in the area of pathogenesis, biotechnology, chemotherapy and immunology of parasitic and microbial diseases.

Dr Singh, a postgraduate scholar from University of Lucknow, completed his PhD from Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow. Later, he did his post-doctoral research at Stanford University Medical Centre, USA. After joining NIPER as an associate professor in 1997, he initiated research programmes in the field of microbial diseases.

Dr Singh has got published more than 72 research papers in international research journals. Presently, he is editor-in-chief of Journal of parasitic diseases.



Workshop on road safety
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
As many as 500 students of the Government College for Girls, Sector 42, attended a road safety awareness workshop organised by the Chandigarh Traffic Police on college campus, here, today.

The police gave away prizes to three students, Devinder Kaur of BA-III, Jaskamal Kaur of BA-II and Jaskiran of BA-III, for wearing safety helmets while have been rewarded for wearing regular safety helmet while riding two-wheelers.

The UT SP (Traffic) H.S. Doon, DSP (Traffic) J.S. Cheema and other police officers were present. The police distributed pamphlets on roads safety awareness among the students and sensitised them for obeying traffic rules and regulations. A road safety exhibition was also organised.



PU asked to refund student’s tuition fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked Panjab University to refund tuition fees amount to the tune of Rs 1,10,274 to a student, Shallu Garg.

Shallu had taken admission in the department of biochemistry in MscI (Hons) under the industry-sponsored seat for the session 2006-07, but surrendered the seat within 15 days.

A resident of Patiala, Shallu Garg, stated in the petition that the classes for the course started from July 2006 and she had taken admission in the second week of September, 2006. Thereafter, she got herself admitted in M.Sc.I (Anatomy) at Government Medical College, Patiala, and requested the authorities concerned to refund the fees but it was not refunded.

The university argued that the petitioner had applied for refund of fees after the stipulated period of ten days within which, the application for refund of fees was to be made.

The forum held that retaining the fees was, by itself, a deficiency in service and an unfair trade practice.

The forum also said the university was entitled only to deduct 10 per cent of the tuition fees, which was Rs 12,252 as per the administrative charges.



Placement drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
In a placement drive Money Matter Inc, one of the India's largest distributors of financial products, selected 18 final year students of BCom, BBA, BCA, BSc (IT), BSc Biotechnology etc of GGDSD College, Sector 32, as senior executives. They kept another 13 final year graduation students on hold for another round of interviews for their final selection.

Tributes: Moti Ram Arya Sr. Sec. Model School observed the 12th death anniversary of its founder president Hardyal Mahajan, by organising several competitions on the school premises.



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