C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rodgriues-Mehra Slugfest
Adviser’s court not held for weeks
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The ongoing slugfest between UT administrator SF Rodrigues and his adviser Pradip Mehra over the controversial mega projects is having an adverse fallout on the routine work of the administration.

Even as the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) conducts an inquiry into the controversial mega projects, resulting in the stalling of the projects, people have started feeling the pinch of the fallout. A direct result has been the virtual “suspension” of Mehra’s Wednesday court for entertaining revision petitions exercising his quasi-judicial powers.

It is learnt that the court has not been held for at least a couple of months, inconveniencing the public. Aggrieved property owners, whose properties had reportedly been resumed by either the estate office or the Chandigarh Housing Board appeal before the adviser in anticipation of relief.

An allottee, on the condition of anonymity, alleged that he had been moving from pillar to post for the hearing of his revision petition, but to no avail. The reported tussle between the top functionaries of the administration should not be allowed to affect the working of the administration, he said.

Claiming that the working of the court had not been suspended, Mehra conceded that he had not been able to hold it for the past few weeks. Sources, however, claimed that this was the result of the tug of war between Rodrigues and Mehra.

Recently, the UT senior standing counsel had summoned records of granting relief to owners of the resumed properties by Mehra. Deciding cases related to resumed properties has become a Gordian’s knot for Mehra in the backdrop of his decisions being under scanner from various quarters, the sources stated. Mehra, who crossed swords with Rodrigues over the latter’s pet mega projects, was in the eye of the storm recently following reports that he had granted relief on certain resumed “prime properties”.

However, it was later found that all advisers had condoned the delay in the filing of the revision petitions and extended deadlines for depositing the paltry forfeiture amounts with the administration for the release of the resumed properties. It was argued that such orders were routine and should be seen in the right perspective.



All’s not well at city tubewells
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

A deserted tubewell in Chandigarh
A deserted tubewell in Chandigarh. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 4
After the recent eye-opener wherein an MC tubewell operator turned out to be the chairman of a gurdwara trust involved in encroachment controversy, startling facts have come to light at the way tubewells are being run in the city. In fact, a reality check on some of the tubewells under the MC revealed that all is not fine with these and there is more than meets the eye.

The tubewell next to Santsar Gurdwara, where the Baba was posted, is not an isolated case, for there are many tube-wells in the city where all sorts of activities take place on the government land.

Recently, the centre government had given a grant of Rs 2 crore to the MC to set up SCADA centre for monitoring tubewells.

From the centre, information can be sought on how much water has been supplied, at what time the supply started and closed, etc. However, it cannot tell who is operating a particular tubewell.

A random survey of tube-wells under the MC by The Tribune revealed that these places had virtually become a centre of illegal activity.

Some tubewells given to private contractors are entirely at their mercy. While, ideally three persons man a tubewell, contractors are making do with only one operator, who stays there round the clock unlike other tubewells where three operators work in shifts.

To top it all, the contractor pays them a meagre sum of around Rs 2,000.

Consequently, some of the operators have further sublet the work and are engaged in other means of earning livelihood such as washing cars in the locality, etc.

Surprisingly, an operator at a tubewell in Dhanas is running a full-fledged religious service on the premises.

People residing nearby confirm that on the day of community lunch services, the operator even dons a “baba” look and wears a “chola” (robe).

Even one of the tubewells has lent an illegal electricity connection to a nearby dhaba. It’s surprising that officials have failed to notice inflated bills of that tubewell.

Also, some tubewells near the Haryana border supply water to illegal service stations and even farmhouses situated nearby in lieu of money. While some tube-wells were unmanned and many had encroachments on the premises.

An MC official said the MC had no policy for transferring these operators. There was no consolidated data of these employees to keep a check on their activity, said an official.



Hospital Fire
Infant at PGI dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
After battling for life for four days, a 15-day-old boy, who was seriously injured in the January 31 Rajindra Hospital fire, died at the PGI’s Advance Paediatric Centre today.

The baby was admitted to the emergency after being referred by doctors at Rajindra Hospital. Later, he was shifted to the neonatal intensive care unit of the PGI after its condition started deteriorating.

The news of their son’s death came as a shock to his parents Lakhbir and Simranjit who were hoping for his recovery. Talking to The Tribune, Lakhbir, a security guard at Punjabi University Patiala, blamed the state government for his child’s death. Despite an assurance, the government failed to provide money for his son’s treatment at the PGI, he said.

He rued that his son lost the life for want of medicine as he was unable to bear its cost. “Somehow, I could manage to spend Rs 20,000 for the delivery at the Patiala hospital, but PGI doctors prescribed medicines worth Rs 30,000, which was beyond my reach,” he said.

The doctors, however, stated that the chances of survival of the infant were bleak as his condition was very critical and his recovery was impossible.



Alternative exit missing at discotheques
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
In case of a major fire, city discotheques, a majority of which are being run in basements, would prove to be a virtual inferno.

These discotheques have installed fire-fighting equipment, but in the absence of any alternative exit, revellers may pay a heavy price in case of a fire.

Building bylaws prohibit any “inhabitable” use of the basement until it has another stairway as an alternative escape route. But in the absence of strict implementation of the bylaws, the mandatory provisions of the fire Act are not observed in totality.

Madan Lal Sharma, station fire officer said: “It is dangerous to have no alternative exit route, especially in the basement, besides fire-fighting equipment like extinguishers, sprinklers and exit sign boards. The discotheques should either be closed or the administration should revise the building plans of SCOs housing these.”

Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar admitted that there were flaws in urban rules. “It is a cause of concern. I will asks the assistant estate officer to investigate the matter on priority,” he said.

Though the administration had recently suspended the activities at a discotheque at Sector 8 on similar grounds, such violations are rampant at other discotheques.

A random survey revealed that sofas or bar chairs made of highly inflammable material posed danger, particularly due to rampant smoking inside. To make things worse, some discotheques even organise fire-juggling theme parties on special occasions.

Estate office officials, preferring anonymity, said notices for the misuse of premises were regularly issued to violators. “As most of these discotheques are being run by influential people, they manage to get relaxation from the administration on one pretext or the other. This was the reason that most discotheques get away and there is no eviction or sealing,” the officials added.



Teachers new Net hate icons
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The teacher-taught relationship is a love-hate game, but city students have gone a step ahead in creating a special space on the Net to criticise their “hate icons” or educators.

A visit to Orkut reveals that not less than a dozen communities have been created and joined by a large number of students. It aims at giving vent to anger against teachers, institutions or heads of department.

The move that can be seen as localisation of the wave of leading hate communities like Ekta Kapoor (76,468), Himesh Reshamiya (33,137), Shah Rukh Khan (11,179), Greg Chappell (7,659), Musharraf (1,362) and Amitabh Bachchan (1,410).

“This professor of ours is not only haughty, but also insults us. We cannot say anything on the campus, so we get together on the Net and voice our feelings,” a community moderator revealed.

“This thing is getting really popular as we get to say what we wish and without any fear. The comments are not intended to change anything, but we are at least able to abuse the person to our heart’s content,” said another.

While most communities may be an ideal way to express common dislikes in a humorous manner, recently objections have been raised over some communities for hurting sentiments of people. Social networking sites are also trying to come up with new methods to prevent the abuse of such communities.

A strong discussion was initiated on making comments a ground for defamation after the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) demanded a ban on the community “I Hate Dogs” for discussing violent ideas to kill dogs.

However, it has failed to perturb Net users who have found a unique way to express themselves by commenting on their subject of hate.


Mohali substation to be shifted to Majitha
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 4
Ignoring Mohali’s development, the main transformer of a nearly complete 220 kV grid substation in Sector 80 here is reportedly being shifted to the Majitha area in Punjab allegedly in a bid to woo voters there.

It is reported that the Majitha area was being given priority for development works as top guns of the ruling SAD were likely to contest elections from there. As the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is short of big transformers, a 100 MVA transformer from the local grid substation is being shifted to that grid. As many as 40 drums of oil used in transformers had been transported to the Majitha area from the Sector 80 substation yesterday.

It is learnt that after people from industrial units and the nearby village got to know of the adverse developments, they told the PSEB employees that they would not let the authorities concerned take away the transformer from here.

The grid substation in Sector 80 has still not become functional even when the foundation stone of the project was laid nearly three years ago by former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on April 14, 2006. It was announced at that time that the substation would be made functional by the end of the year. The project was kept on a backburner after the SAD-BJP combine came to power in the state.

Sources told The Tribune that a transformer of the Sector 80 substation was earlier shifted to Gobindgarh in July, 2007, and when another transformer was approved for the new substation in Mohali that, too, did not reach the town and instead was sent to Dhuri.

Congress MLA from Kharar Balbir Singh Sidhu has condemned the Punjab government for ignoring Mohali’s development even when it had been making claims to the contrary. He said that he had received about 100 phone calls from people of the area who were being adversely affected by the shifting of the transformer.

He said the grid was about to become functional within this month, but now people were losing all hope of getting proper power supply. He said he failed to understand that why Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh and his son Jasjit Singh, chairman of the Punjab State Cooperative Bank, were acting as mute spectators in this matter even when they kept claiming that they were really concerned about Mohali’s development.

He said there was a speculation that either Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal or former minister Bikram Singh Majithia might contest the elections from the Majitha area. Sidhu appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister to intervene in the matter and stop authorities concerned from taking away the transformer from here to the Majitha area.

The new substation here was to provide uninterrupted power supply to industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors in the area. It was also to act as the receiving end for power from Naptha- Jhakri and other hydro projects in Himachal Pradesh.

Officials of the PSEB, however, declined to comment on the matter.



Governor for online healthcare network
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Advocating the need for increasing the outreach of quality healthcare delivery system to every household of the rural areas and municipal limits, UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues today asked the health department to develop an IT-based online healthcare network to connect the PGI with other super-speciality hospitals in the region for ensuring specialised treatment to the needy patients.

The Administrator inaugurated a health check-up camp at Mauli Jagran organised by the administration with the involvement of NGOs like Sri Guru Granth Sahib Sewa Society and Brig Kataria Healthcare Foundation.

The Administrator and his wife Jean Rodrigues also went around different stands of social welfare activities and interacted with the beneficiaries of various schemes like pension for old, disabled and widows and financial assistance to poor people desirous for setting up their own businesses to earn their livelihood.

Later, he laid the foundation stone of the Block-B of Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26, being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 6.87 crore.

Senior officers who accompanied the Administrator during the visit included Home Secretary Ram Niwas, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, Municipal Corporation Commissioner Roshan Sankaria, Director, Health Services, MS Bains and DPI (schools) Samwartak Singh.



City forgets to observe World Cancer Day
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The city, which rarely let goes the chance of celebrating ‘days’, seems to have failed to take notice of the World Cancer Day today, even though many people in the tricity fall victim to this disease every year.

The city hospitals, which otherwise go all out to celebrate these ‘days’ to create awareness about the diseases they are associated with, did not organise any event to commemorate the day related to cancer, a leading cause of death across the globe. The World Health Organisation had estimated that 84 million people would die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without intervention.

As per the figure available with the radiotherapy department of PGI, about 4,000 new cases of various types of cancer were recorded each year in the out patient department (OPD). The cancer cases are on a steady rise, with cervical, breast and lung cancer accounting for over 30 per cent of the total number of cases, doctors at PGI said.

Experts said PGI witnessed maximum number of breast cancer cases, 25 breast cancer ?cases in a month, and of these, about 12 were from the city ?. “ Looking back, in 2002, there were 600 patients of breast cancer from all over the region at PGI?, but now the number is increasing manifold'' said Dr Arvind Rajwanshi, department of cytology, PGI.

“The PGI has a regional cancer ?centre, but there is a need to accumulate data for different types of cancers?. Since timely detection can prevent cervix and breast cancers, we are also stepping up the awareness drive,” said Dr Rajwanshi.

Dr Vipin Kaushal, medical superintendent, GMCH-32, said, “We do celebrate this day but this time we hav not arranged any event to commemorate this day.” Even, the PGI oncology (especially for cancer patients) department failed to acknowledge this day.

“We do organise a seminar but this year the department has not arranged anything,” Manju Wadwalkar, spokesperson, PGI, said. Moreover, Fortis hospital, Mohali, has not commemorated this day, which usually celebrate all days.



Iron grills catch thieves’ fancy
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 4
Iron grills on medians of city roads have caught the fancy of thieves. After stealing telephone cables and manhole covers, thieves have shifted to nicking iron grills in a bid to make quick buck.

A random survey revealed that a substantial number of iron grills has gone missing from city roads with thefts on the rise in the recent past.

The UT administration has apparently failed to spare a thought for the stolen property. Among the hotspots for thieves are the Madhya Marg and road separating Sectors 34 and 35.

A senior police official said officials of the department concerned had rarely complained to the police about the loss of public property. In the absence of any complaint there is nothing much the police could do, he added.

Mani Majra police station SHO Kehar Singh, said: “Not even a single official of the department concerned had come forward with a complaint to us.”

Police station-36 SHO Anokh Singh, said: “Though we have recovered a few iron grills, we do not know about the ownership of the property of the department concerned and the property is lying in the possession of police.”

Kishore Chand, a senior citizen and a resident of Sector 35, said: “Missing iron grills from key roads are proving to be a hazard to the life of commuters and the menace is still growing. It seems the UT administration is least bothered about the issue.”

UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, said: “I am aware of such incidents and we are planning to change the iron grills (road dividers) with another alternative to keep a check on thefts.”

Soon, iron grills would be replaced, he added.



CM’s cheque to MC goes missing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 4
Mystery surrounds the disappearance of the Rs 3-crore cheque for the Mohali Municipal Council given by the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during sangat darshan for the development of town.

While a councillor owing allegiance to Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Paramjit Singh Kahlon said the cheque was passed on to the executive officer of the civic body. An official of the council said the cheque had so far not been received.

Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu alleged that the cheque had been taken back by the government. The executive officer was not available for comments.

The council was planning to use Rs 3 crore on sinking new tubewells to meet shortage of water and also to carry out maintenance of roads in the town.

Sidhu alleged that the cheque had not been given to the council as the government did not want that Congress leadership of the civic body should take any credit for development work.

He said that SAD leaders kept claiming that they wanted to develop Mohali in the best possible manner, but at the same time allegedly kept obstructing development activity in the town.



Meira tells pvt sector to reserve jobs for SC, ST
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar today called on the private sector to make efforts for job reservation for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The Minister was addressing delegates during a seminar on CSR — Best Practices Meet - organised by CII here today. “The government and public sector provide reservation in jobs for SC and ST, but this kind of protection is absent in the private sector...(in view of the fact that) job opportunities in the private sector have expanded after liberlisation while government departments have been downsizing,” she said.

The Minister said the government was making efforts for the welfare of the youth belonging to the Scheduled Castes and reservation in the private sector is also a part of the National Common Minimum Programme of the UPA. She asked the industry to have a relook at the issue of merit while employing SC and ST youth, considering the discriminatory nature of the society and consequent inequality of opportunities.

“They should be employed across verticals in an organisation - as executives, managerial and technical, ” she added.

She said that though there was opposition for reservation in private sector on the grounds that merit was not considered while making reservations, we must remember that in India, merit is adjudged and determined in an unjust social system. “The captains of industry had agreed on affirmative action by way of scholarship and training. While attempts have been made, they are few and certainly not in proportion to the scale of business in the private sector.”

Meira also asked the Indian corporate sector to seriously think of becoming partner of central and state governments in constructing a stable and sustainable society.



Life of AN-32 engines extended by 1,000 flying hrs
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The IAF is breathing more life into the engines of its trusted workhorse, the AN-32 medium lift tactical aircraft. The technical life of these engines is being increased from 6,000 flying hours to 7,000 flying hours.

Studies on the engine’s life extension, carried out at No. 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here, are almost over and the components involved have been sent to DRDO laboratories in Hyderabad for stress analysis and chemical tests. The process is expected to be complete by February 20, following which the further course of action would be decided.

The overhaul line and the life extension project for the AN-32’s AI-20D engine were reviewed by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Marshal Gautam Nayyar, during his inspection visit here today. He was briefed about the ongoing projects by the Air Oficer Commanding 3 BRD, Air Cmde SC Luthra.

Life extension of engines comes close on the heels of a simultaneous project to upgrade the aircraft’s avionics, systems and certain airframe modifications. The AN-32s were inducted in the 80s and are nearing the end of their “calendar” of shelf life. While the calendar life is fast approaching its deadline, the “technical” life, measured in terms of actual usage and deterioration of components, remains. This coupled with issues like availability of spares, the enormity of replacing the fleet and economic considerations has spurred the IAF to go in for life extension of aircraft.

While the IAF is actively involved in customisation of spares, the scope is limited in critical areas like aero-engines. Sources said that that there was not much they could do in this area as major components of engines could not be customised due to technical and flight safety considerations.

The IAF expects that the refurbished AN-32s would continue in service for another about 15 to 20 years. A glass cockpit display, better flight management systems, and other equipment to give the aircraft a multi-role operational edge are key features of the upgrade project. The aircraft’s airframe and the landing gear will also be modified to improve its landing capabilities.

The IAF had carried out a review of the AN-32 aircraft fleet in all eight functional units operating the aircraft to assess the upgrade requirements. The IAF has about 100 AN-32s in service.



Indian cos sued for breach of pact
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Violating the terms and conditions of an agreement entered by Indian companies with a Japanese firm - Sojitz Corporation - has landed the Indian companies in courts.

Three companies of India namely Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited, the State Bank of India and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) were supposed to give a portion of the money that was not paid. Thus the firm filed a civil suit.

The plaintiff company had entered into a contract with the defendant for supply of CDMA infrastructure equipment and related software.

For meeting the supply orders received by Himachal Communications and the MTNL, the first agreement was executed on January 23, 2004, while the second agreement was executed on June 17, 2004. Subsequently the third deal was executed on October 5, 2004, which was followed by the fourth agreement executed on October 31, 2004.

As per the agreement, various equipments were supplied to Himachal Communication that amounted to Rs 113,88,80,349. The Himachal Communication had agreed to receive and deposit the payments made by the MTNL in a separate Escrow account in order to ensure that the payment was made to the plaintiff from money received on account of further supply. In terms of the Escrow agreement the amount deposited into the account was required to be apportioned as 70 per cent of each payment received from the MTNL to the plaintiff and 30 per cent of payment to the Himachal Communications.

The Himachal Communications has failed to obtain the MTNL’s acknowledgement in the manner as was agreed by the company. The Japanese company alleged that the Himachal Communications illegally and breaching the Escrow Agreement failed to deposit the payments received from the MTNL. It was averred that after December 2006 till October 2007 only around Rs 5.3 crore was paid into the Escrow account by the MTNL.



GPA Transfer
Put off managing panel polls: Welfare council
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
In backdrop of the proposal of the city administration to transfer shares in the name of the general power of attorney (GPA) holders in the cooperative house building societies, the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council today demanded postponement of the elections to the managing committees.

The elections to the managing committees were drawing near and these committees had been allegedly dominated by a handful of allottees, who had already sold their flats on the instrument of the GPA.

Now, when the GPA holders are being allowed to transfer the shares on their names, resulting in voting rights to them, it will be desirable that these elections may be deferred for some time so that the process of transfer of the share in the names of the GPA is completed, enabling them to exercise their right to vote. Holding elections as per old norms will be denial of legitimate rights being conferred by the administration, a representation to the registrar of the cooperative societies said.

The RCS is competent under the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961, to postpone the elections in the interests of the societies.



e-sampark centres a hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Over 2 lakh transactions were undertaken at the 10 e-sampark centres in January.

Figures show that residents are making full use of public utility services provided by the department of information technology of the administration through these centres. Since its launch in September 2004, Rs 1,651 crore of government revenue has been collected from 62.74 lakh transactions, a press note said here today.

The purpose of setting up the centres was to create a knowledge-based society through extensive use of IT as a medium for effective interaction between the administration and the public so that exchange of information and access to government departments is speedy and easy.



Illegal mining goes unchecked
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 4
The illegal and unregulated mining in the district brings huge profits not only to the contractors, but also to local villagers and government officials of the enforcement department.

Despite the fact that the Panchkula deputy commissioner had visited the sites several times and found the people involved in the illegal mining, there was no effective check on those involved in this.

Even when the task force was sent by the DC to raid the mining sites on January 22, the information was leaked to the mafia.

The task force led by Panchkula SDM Ashok Kumar Meena found the machinery and labour was missing from all sites before he reached there.

During the past three months, 12 FIRs were registered against the offenders while the number of challans issued to vehicles involved in ferrying the material illegally was much more, a mining department official said. An FIR was lodged last week when illgeal mining was detected at the Kaimbwala village.

In fact, the contractors of mining in the rivers here were well connected and work under a political clout, an official said. As soon as a contractor involved in the unregulated mining was caught, the officials concerned started getting directions from the top brass, he said.

This is what exactly happened on January 21, when a relative of an INLD leader was booked for alleged unregulated mining. Not only the officials concerned were approached before a case was registered, the politician contacted the

mediapersons seeking favours of not mentioning his name in the reports. It was in late evening when the police registered a case against the accused after dilly-dallying for hours.

“They have their own interests as most of the residents in the villages earn handsome because of mining,” Raminder Singh at Burj Kotian, the crusher zone near here, said.

“Majority of the people have bought tractor trolleys to ferry the material, which not only generated the employment in the area but it also brought the prosperity to many families here,” he added.

This was the reason that villagers here seldom complained against the mining mafia, mining officer Deepak Hooda said.

The revenue generated from mining from Panchkula rivers was around Rs 45 crore.

The mining is allowed here on a permit for one month only since the auction of mines for one year was suspended after the contractors approached the high court against some new norms last year. It led to an uncertainty over the business of the contractor and nobody was ready to set up infrastructure spending huge money for one month only, Deepak added.

The mining department that takes care of 15 rivers in the district is working with a staff of nine persons, including 7 guards. Moreover, two guards were deputed to handle the business at its office, leaving one to take care of three rivers.



Play on female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The Sikh cultural society and the Punjabi movies and theatre academy presented a play titled “Sau Kyun Manda Aaakhiye”. The play was written and directed by Daljeet Singh and was based on the prevailing evil of female foeticide in the society.

The play presented a situation when the world would have women as endangered species, keeping in view the increasing rate of female foeticide.



Measures to curb traffic problems

Chandigarh, February 4
Suggestions for carpeting of roads, adjustment of traffic light points, traffic education measures, parking problems and proper provision of slip roads came up during the 7th meeting of the Central Traffic Advisory Committee (CTAC) held yesterday at the UT police headquarters, Sector 9, Chandigarh.

The meeting was presided over by Inspector General of Police (IGP) SK Jain. UT SSP SS Srivastava, UT SP traffic HS Doon, attended the meeting beside 25 members of the CTAC. — TNS




Misuse of funds

This refers to a report in Chandigarh Tribune, “Even after clean chit, Mehra can’t write ACRs” dated February 4. The Central Vigilance Commission had given a clean chit to Mehra, UT adviser, in an alleged case of misuse of CITCO funds. The complaint was anonymous and was withdrawn later on by the same person. The CVC should not enquire the matter on the basis of factitious complaint.

Annual Confidential Report, a performance evaluation report of a public servant written by his immediate superior, in addition to performance it contains specific observations on the character, conduct and integrity of the officer reported upon. Earlier, it was an open official record, but later it was made secret and finally made confidential.

When Pradip Mehra, the adviser, was given a clean chit he must be given powers to write ACRs of his junior officers working under him. Infact the open fight between the administrator and his adviser on various UT issues was the reason of enquiry.

Karan Garg

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



75 pc nursery aspirants not so lucky
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
With over 100 of city schools having already declared the final list for almost 5,000 nursery seats about 75 per cent of applicants might have to go without admissions.

This year too admissions have proven a testing time for parents as schools received almost 15,000 applications far beyond the number of seats.

While many of these parents are on tenterhooks making their last efforts the schools say they cant do much. “We have almost 100 seats in both the schools and have received around 300 applications for each school and we cannot admit every child,” said Atul Khanna, director Strawberry School.

“This is a regular feature. Every year the number of applications go up and it’s really bad to say no to wonderful kids but we can’t do much. I have 100 odd seats and got over 300 applications,” asserted Madhu Bahal, principal KB DAV School.

“We have to choose even if we wish to take every child and that’s the most difficult part. Every year we get so many applications almost three times the number of seats and we are helpless,” added Daman Duggal principal Vivek High.

Parents however consider there is much more than limited seats that led to deserving candidate being left out.

“There is no transparency in the system. Every school selects child according to its wish. Most of the time we don’t even know why the child has been left out,” said Reema Singh a software professional.



Panjab University Blunder
Disqualified student admitted to law
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The tall claims of Panjab University authorities of having a foolproof admission system has been exposed with the admission of a student this year in law department, who has been disqualified for two years by the university under the unfair mean case (UMC) last year.

As per the university records, during annual examination in April last year, Jaswinder Singh Jassi, a student of Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Sector 26, was caught red-handed for cheating while appearing in MA (Punjabi) first year exams and a UMC was registered against him. The UMC committee took up his case, and after two hearings, decided in August last year that he should be disqualified for two years, from 2008 to 2010.

As per the admission records of the university, Jaswinder got admission in the law department with the information that his MA (Punjabi) result was awaited and no UMC case had been registered against him in any university.

At present, he is in the second semester of the first year of the law department of the university.

Sources in the UMC department said after the case had been decided in August last year, the information was sent to the student concerned, registration and secrecy branch and examination branch of the university.

Sources said the university had adopted the system to keep a check on the students disqualified by the UMC committee so that they could not take admission in any other course or college. Sources added that a gazette was also sent to other universities to inform them about the disqualified students so that they were not able to get admission in any other college or university.

Sources said the major loophole in the admission system of the university was that there was no procedure of cross-checking the details of the students on the time of the submission of forms. The reason, due to which the student concealed the facts from the authorities, was that there was no screening by the registration and secrecy branch during the admission.

Strangely, no department in the university takes responsibility of such illegal admission. As per UMC branch officials, their role is to inform the student and secrecy and examination branch.

The official of the examination branch said they could only weed out such cases during declaration of results as registration branch cases came into light only at the time of examination forms’ cross-checking.

Jaswinder said after the decision of two-years’ disqualification by the first committee, second committee had been constituted on his appeal, which had given him a clean chit as he was an excellent sportsperson.

But sources in the UMC branch said no second committee had been constituted.

Prof SS Bari said in this case, the university would debar the student and file a criminal case against him for forgery.



PU to spend Rs 1.5 lakh on fire safety
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Panjab University will soon be well equipped with fire-safety equipment as the authorities have decided to install or upgrade all the fire extinguishers on the campus within ten days. In a recently held meeting of the safety and prevention committee of the university, a decision was taken to incur a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh for upgrading the whole of the fire system in the university.

The committee directed to, in next ten days, refill all the installed fire extinguishers, change those expired and install new ones in every new building as per the requirement. The survey has already been conducted by the authorities about the requirement of the new fire extinguishers and replacement of the old ones.



Policy on CAT sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
In a petition before the high court, directions have been sought from the Union government and other respondents to formulate a proper policy on common admission test (CAT) conducted by private institutions offering MBA and diploma courses in management.

Directions have also been sought for quashing the procedure presently adopted by most institutions, which close the date of admissions before conducting the examinations.

After the preliminary hearing, Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta issued notice of motion for March 24 to the Union HRD Ministry through its Secretary, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the University Grants Commission (UGC).



A clarification

Reacting to the news item “student injured in group clash” appeared in these columns on February 2, Pyuesh, today claimed that he was the victim of the crime and not an accused, as was mentioned in the news report.

He alleged that Dinkar Mahajan, Kashish, Abhishek and others assaulted him in Sector 32 on February 2. It was inadvertently published in the news that Pyuesh assaulted Dinkar.



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