C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Welfare, GMCH officials differ over place of crime
Rape victim subjected to several medical tests & questioning
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Blood-stained sheet found at Nari Niketan

In what comes as a twist to the ongoing controversy surrounding the rape at Nari Niketan and lends credence to the rape theory, the UT SSP, SS Srivastava, has disclosed that a bedsheet stained with blood and semen has been seized from a storeroom at Nari Niketan. The bedsheet has been sent for forensic examination, the SSP added. This would come as a setback to the stand of the Director, Social Welfare, that the girl was probably raped at Aashray and not Nari Niketan.

Chandigarh, May 29
The rape of the teenaged mentally challenged girl at Nari Niketan has brought to the fore the mistrust prevailing among officials of the Chandigarh administration.

Officials of the Social Welfare Department, who supervise the functioning of Nari Niketan, and the GMCH 32, which looks after the working of Aashray where the victim was later shifted, have locked horns over the place of occurrence of the crime. The result of this logjam has been that the victim has been subjected to at least half a dozen medical and clinical tests and endless interrogation.

According to sources, the girl’s pregnancy was initially confirmed by a urine test on May 16. It was reconfirmed by a medical board on May 18 and on the basis of the victim’s statement made to a social worker, a case was registered by the police and the accused, Bhupinder Singh, was arrested.

Her claims were reportedly disputed by the Director, Social Welfare, Amandeep Kaur, who insisted that the rape was not committed at Nari Niketan but at Aashray where she was shifted on March 13. To establish the age of foetus, an ultrasound test was conducted at the GMCH-32, apparently when the girl was admitted to the hospital because of abdominal pain, which confirmed that she was at least nine-week pregnant. This indicated that the rape was committed at Nari Niketan.

The sources who were privy to a high-profile meeting held last week to discuss the case revealed that Amandeep Kaur minced no words in casting aspersions over the veracity of the GMCH ultrasound on the grounds that it could well have been manipulated to save Aashray. On her insistence, the sources said, another test was conducted at the Government Hospital at Sector 16 and it too confirmed her pregnancy of nine weeks.

The victim was again subjected to a test by a medical board at the GMCH on May 25, which concluded that she was only a case of “mild” mental retardation. The board comprised a psychologist, a special educator and a psychiatrist.

While officials of the Home Department and the police have been publicly claiming that the girl’s statement cannot be taken for granted because of her mental state and also as she in not “coherent”, almost everyone who matters has questioned her. And she has stuck to her statement.

Those who have questioned her besides the investigating officer include Home Secretary Ram Niwas, the SSP, SS Shrivastava, Amandeep Kaur, GMCH Director Raj Bahadur and senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta. When contacted, Ram Niwas demanded a questionnaire in writing.

Meanwhile, the petition filed by the UT administration, seeking permission for the medical termination of pregnancy of the victim, is slated to come up for hearing in the High Court tomorrow.



Rape at Raj Bhawan
Accused get 10-year RI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Describing the offence of police personnel in the Haryana Raj Bhawan rape case as one that has shaken the conscience of society, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ravi Kumar Sondhi, has sentenced two Haryana police cops and an electrician to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 14,000 on the accused, Vijendra Singh, constable Dinesh Kumar and Ravi.

Handing out the orders, Sondhi observed that in the present case, the court was dealing with some unscrupulous police officials who, being members of the elite commando force meant to protect persons under high security such as the Governor, had not only ravished the victim, a helpless woman coming back after earning her livelihood at odd hours, but also tried to hoodwink the system by winning her over with money and muscle power.

They had made a mockery of law. The nature of the crime amounted to moral delinquency, which shook the conscience of society and further shook the already crumbling faith in the police force.



Rain brings relief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Residents got some relief from the heat today as thundershowers in the evening brought the temperature down. The met department has said the sudden change in the weather was due to a cyclonic storm and western disturbance in north Rajasthan.

The met department has forecast thundershowers in the coming days as monsoon is near. The city recorded a minimum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 37 degrees Celsius today. Partly cloudy sky and thundershowers are expected.

According to Met Director Chattar Singh, this year in the pre-monsoon season, which is from March to May, the city has recorded rain below the average of 35.9 mm.



Fear keeps babus off foreign junkets
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Strange but true. No UT official undertook a foreign jaunt during the last financial year. The controversy over extravagant expenditure amounting to about Rs 50 lakh on the jaunts of senior UT officials last year seems to have had the desired effect with no official undertaking foreign trips.

Call it embarrassment on account of media trial or recession, UT officials have preferred to cool their heels in India rather than follow in the footsteps of predecessors who undertook foreign visits at the drop of the hat.

Information procured under the RTI by RK Garg, who blew the lid off such foreign jaunts last year, showed that during the past 17 months, only former CITCO chief general manager Amit Talwar had undertaken a tour costing the administration Rs 1,74,784.

This is in sharp contrast to previous years when former Home Secretary Krishan Mohan reportedly splurged Rs 19 lakh on four visits abroad. While former Director Public Relations and Director Tourism Vivek Atray’s visits cost the administration Rs 16 lakh, former Finance Secretary SK Sandhu spent about Rs 9.5 lakh and former CITCO managing director JS Bir about Rs 4 lakh on these tours.

Information Technology Director Manjit Brar also made a three-day visit to the USA which cost the exchequer Rs 1 lakh.

This had raked a controversy with questions being raised on the utility of the visits undertaken by officials, mostly with their families. Since all officials, except Manjit Brar, are no longer part of the administration, the benefit of their “rich experience” during study tours and foreign visits is being questioned.

In a recent communication to the administration, the ministry of home affairs also asked for details on foreign trips. In 2008, the CBI had written to the UT Chief Vigilance Officer, asking him to apprise it of all facts pertaining to the matter.


Building Misuse
Admn mulls rolling back hike in fine
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
After wielding a stick on those on the wrong side of law by increasing the penalty for “misusing” their premises, the UT administration is now mulling to roll back the hike in fine for the same.

A proposal in this regard was formulated today and is likely to be finalised shortly.

Confirming this, Deputy Commissioner RK Rao said: “We are going to review the penalty. Though the amount has not been finalised as yet, we are going to rationalise the amount.”

Earlier, the administration had asked the occupants to either do away with the practice of misusing the premises within a period of two months or be ready to pay a penalty amount to be calculated at Rs 500 per sq ft of the misused area every month.

Notice period not less than 15 days, after making amendment to the Chandigarh Estate Rules 2007, would be applicable to commercial, industrial and residential premises only if put to any “commercial” use. In case the occupier and the lessee were two different parties, charges for misuse would be recoverable from the occupier first and then the lessee.

Misuse charges would continue to be charged till the misuse continued or the transferee/occupier held the possession of site or building. For delay in misuse payment, further interest would be charged at the rate of 1.5 per cent for each month of delay.

Prior to this, the misuse charges of residential/institutional premises were Rs 50 per sq yd if less than 25 per cent of site or covered area of building misused and Rs 100 per sq yd if more than 25 per cent of site or covered area of building is misused.

In case of commercial premises, Rs 20 per sq ft was penalised for misuse on ground floor, Rs 10 per sq ft on upper floor or on basement and Rs 40 for misusing the open areas.

Also, it was notified earlier that it would be determined that the if misuse was on part of the occupier, the aforesaid charges would be recovered from the occupier only.

In case of non-payment of the charges by the occupier, the same would be recovered as arrears of land revenue.



‘Pilot project’ on back burner
CCTVs still elude city parking lots
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Knee jerk reaction, followed by a string of ambitious proposals and then forgetting about them seems to be the way with the Chandigarh administration. Stung by the daring Wednesday robbery, the UT administration is now going all out to install CCTVs at entry points of the city but has apparently forgotten about its proposal to install monitoring equipment at important parking lots of the city.

The proposal, which was mooted after a series of bomb blasts that rocked North India last year, is far from being implemented.

So far, only one CCTV camera has been installed in Sector-35 parking lot and that too has been out of order for some time.

A visit to the parking lot, which was dubbed as a “pilot project” of the MC, by the TNS revealed the dismal state of the proposal.

The CCTV box was being used as a bin to stock old newspapers and the room where the monitor was kept presented a sorry picture.

An employee at the parking lot said the camera had not been working for the past one week as the wires that connect the camera with main monitor had been stolen.

The camera was last checked on the day of installation and after that no one had visited the parking lot to check it. The corporation authorities had issued directions on August 1, 2008 to parking contractors to install CCTVs in four parking lots - at Sectors 17, 35 C, 9 and Sukhna Lake - as part of a pilot project. The move was to see the utility of CCTV in proper management of parking of vehicles. Sources in the corporation said in the fresh contract, the corporation had added a clause to the terms and conditions asking contractors to install CCTVs in their parking lots.

But, so far not even a single camera had been installed in parking lots.

The sources said the authorities had assured contractors of installing poles in the parking lots on which the latter were to install CCTVs. However, work had not started yet.

Sources said streetlight poles could be used for installing CCTVs in parking lots to save money of the corporation. Additional Commissioner TPS Phoolka said a meeting of contractors was convened yesterday and a warning was issued to them to comply with the directives on installing CCTVs by June 10. Otherwise, heavy fine would be imposed on them, he added.



Admn-run buses may ferry govt schoolkids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Students of model senior secondary schools boarding administration-run buses, arranged especially for them, every morning to reach their schools and vice-versa in the afternoon will soon be a reality. If all goes as planned by the UT administration, the city may witness this scenario once schools reopen after the summer break. And the city will be the first one in the country to do so.

The administration is fast-tracking the move to introduce state bus service for government schools.

A proposal, outlining broad contours of the proposed bus service, christened “micro school escort”, has already been sent by the State Transport Authority (STA) to the Home Secretary for approval.

STA secretary Vandana Disodia said: “I have sent the proposal to the Home Secretary. Once okayed, the service will be launched some time in July when schools reopen after the summer vacation. We had sent letters to 19 government model senior secondary schools all over Chandigarh, asking them to make their students exercise the option. Some schools have responded with a large number of students opting for the bus service, while lists from others are awaited.”

The schools that have responded along with the number of students opting for the service are: GMSSS Sector 47-D (251); GMSSS, Sector 46 D (86); GMSSS, Sector 21(268); GMSSS, Sector 23-A (182); GMSSS, Sector 16 (115); and MHC Mani Majra (36); GMSSS, Sector 32 (92); GMSSS, Sector 35 (250); and GMSSS, Sector 10 (80).

The bus service will cover the tricity of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali on the pattern of the auto-rickshaw service for which an agreement has already been signed with the Punjab Government.

Once the home department gives the nod, the STA will call expression of interest from willing parties for running the bus services; these can be an individual or a private bus company. An agreement will be signed among the STA, principals of schools and bus operators.

Disodia stated that the fare structure would be worked out after a meeting with operators. Private schools are presently charging around Rs 500 as bus fare from each student per month. “Since it is a facilitation scheme and not a revenue generation exercise, we do not want to put extra burden on parents. Though yet to be fixed, the fare for the bus service will be nominal and less than what is being charged by private bus operators,” she added.



Tricity Pact
Admn plans radio taxis, LPG autos
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
To streamline the public transport service between Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, the Chandigarh administration has drafted a plan to run around 1,200 AC and non-AC radio taxis and 1,500 LPG autorickshaws soon.

It has been agreed upon with Haryana and Punjab transport departments to introduce 200 AC taxis and equal number of non-AC taxis. The taxis would be white with the insignia of the open hand. The AC cab service at Rs 15 per km is already on schedule, while the non-AC service at Rs 8 per km is going to start soon.

Secretary, State Transport Authority, Vandana Disodia, said everything had been finalised and the service would be started in a day or two. As soon as they got the draft policy, permission would be given to non-AC cabs.

A decision in this regard has also been taken at a meeting attended by the State Transport Commissioner, Haryana, the Director Transport, Chandigarh, and the GM of Haryana Roadways to countersign the permits of autorickshaws.

The number of autorickshaws to be countersigned by the respective states and the UT has been fixed at 500 each. The administration also plans to introduce radio autorickshaw service, wherein dialling a four-digit number would bring eco-friendly autorickshaws, fitted with the GPS system, on your doorstep for Rs 5 per km. The Centre has given its nod for 100 AC Volvo buses and 60 non-AC buses for Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Government Transport Workers Union yesterday protested against the administration’s move of entering into an agreement with neighbouring states. Raj Kumar, general secretary of the union, said the administration had shown discrepancies while signing the agreement with the Haryana government.

“As per the agreement with Punjab, no state-owned bus would ply on the Chandigarh route beyond the ISBT-17 or ISBT-43. But Haryana buses have been allowed to ply on city routes,” he said.



Robbery: CCTV drive leaves motorists stranded
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur/Chandigarh, May 29
A drive by the Chandigarh police to record CCTV footage of vehicles entering the city from Zirakpur today spelled chaos on the highway.

The sweltering heat made the matters worse for commuters who were stuck in a three-hour-long traffic jam, which extended up to the Zirakpur flyover.

Policemen had heated arguments with travellers who were eager to reach their destinations. A number of ambulances were also caught up in the jam, leaving patients to their fate.

The movement of traffic from Chandigarh to Zirakpur and from Panchkula to Chandigarh was also affected due to the jam. Trucks also lined up along the highway at Zirakpur, thus adding to the chaos.

SS Jogi, a resident of Chandigarh, said road users should not be subjected to harassment. “A couple of robberies and you bring traffic to a grinding halt to curb crime,” he added.

They lamented that instead of putting up separate CCTV cameras for different lanes, the police restricted traffic to a single lane.

Traffic policemen manning the checkpoint at the Chandigarh border expressed helplessness as the CCTV installed at the border could only record slow-moving traffic.

“Due to this, barricades had been put up so that traffic movement slowed down. We have instructions to do so,” he added.

“I have to go pick my wife from the Sector-43 bus stand where she has been waiting for almost two hours,” said Sushil Kumar, a resident of Zirakpur, who was stuck on the Zirakpur flyover.

Interestingly, when The Tribune lensman started clicking pictures of the snarl-up, policemen moved the barricade to ease the flow of traffic.

On the condition of anonymity, a policeman said cameras would not solve the problem.



Experts explore viability of technical textile
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
With government support, India can hope to be the next hub for manufacturing and consumption of technical textiles. This was discussed during a CII’s international conference-cum-exposition on technical textiles - The Sunrise Industry - organised at CII northern region headquarters here today.

Across sessions, speakers reiterated that with the growing economy, wide range of applications, and growing consumer and industrial demands, technical textile came out as a big opportunity area and an attractive option to invest in.

Carrying the theme of promoting Indian technical textiles in civil engineering, building and construction, healthcare, automobile, agriculture, packaging, sports, shoes and clothing, the conference emphasised the need for creating awareness among the Indian industry on the yet untapped potential of this sector. The objective of maximising its applications in the user sectors and achieving global recognition was well driven during the conference, which further recommended an appropriate policy environment and key interventions as enabling factors for leveraging this huge opportunity. Some of the steps that were recommended to the government to foster the growth of the sector included sustained efforts to increase awareness among consumers about technical textile products and their awareness, establishment of research and development centres, introduction of technical textiles specific courses and specialisations in the curriculum of various technical streams.



Rs 16.3-cr plan to upgrade GMCH
Proposal to start molecular DNA-based diagnosis, MRI facility
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
With the number of patients growing by the day, the UT administration has drawn up a Rs 16.3-crore plan for 2009-10 fiscal to upgrade the facilities at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32.

While Rs 10.3 crore has been provided for completion of construction works, Rs 4 crore will be spent on the purchase of the state-of-art equipment.

Besides, a sum of Rs 2 crore has been released for networking of the hospital.

The GMCH plans to go in for molecular DNA-based diagnosis, which will facilitate treatment of fragile X, muscular dystrophy and thalassaemia.

It also proposes to start the MRI facility, while digital radiography has already been launched in the radiology department.

The GMCH has witness increase in number of patients, both outdoor and indoor. The hospital registered 2, 87,463 patients in 2007-08 and the number swelled to 3, 76,204 in 2008-09.

During 2007-08, the number of registered indoor patients was 31,630, which rose to 34,689 in 2008-09. The number of both minor and major operations also registered a considerable increase. As many as 11,455 major and 13,548 minor operations were conducted in 2008-09 against 766 major and 1,594 minor surgeries during 2007-08.

Director-Principal, GMCH, Dr Raj Bahadur said the upgradation of the existing infrastructure and facilities and induction of latest technology had made the hospital popular. The hospital caters to the health needs of not only Chandigarh residents but also of people from the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

“We must acknowledge that quality healthcare is the fundamental right of the people. There is little doubt that healthcare in Chandigarh is improving by the day and it has made the city hot property from the medical care point of view,” Director, Health Services, UT, Dr M.S. Bains said.



GPA Transfers
Coop societies charging ‘illegal’ fee
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Giving two hoots for Chandigarh administration's general power of attorney (GPA) transfer policy, unscrupulous managements of the cooperative group housing societies are at it again.

In a decision that goes against the cooperative housing movement, certain society managements are allegedly fleecing GPA holders by charging unauthorised fee from them over and above the GPA transfer fee notified by the administration.

Recently, while coming out with a pro-people transfer policy, the administration had fixed a fee of Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000 for Category A, B and C flats. The transfer fee will go to the administration as against substitution fee as per the 2006 substitution policy, which was collected by the society managements.

Since the applications for flat transfer were to be routed through the society managements, the societies were exploiting their position vis-a-vis the GPA holders by "forcing" them to shell out "illegal" charges.

It is learnt that a society in Sector 48-C was asking the GPA holders to pay Rs 30,000 while another society in Sector 48-B was asking for Rs 40,000, depending upon the category of flat to be transferred.

Terming it as "illegal" collection of funds, general secretary of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council Satish C. Sharma had recently shot off a representation to UT Home-cum-Cooperation Secretary Ram Niwas. Following the representation, a meeting of the Cooperative Department was held in which the Register, Cooperative Societies-cum-DC, was asked to be strict with the erring societies.

However, lack of a foolproof monitoring system with the Cooperative Department only encouraged the unscrupulous societies to collect hefty amounts from the GPA holders.

When contacted, Ram Niwas made it clear that the societies could not charge even a single penny apart from the official transfer fee. “Strict action as per the provisions of the Punjab Cooperative Act will be taken against the societies resorting to illegal means to collect money from the members,” he added.



Sec-33 Robbery
Police still groping in dark
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Even after over 72 hours of the sensational robbery at the Sector 33 residence of businessman Lalit Behl, the Chandigarh police is still groping in the dark.

The only clue that the UT Police has managed to lay hands on is spotting of Behl’s Honda Civic car at the Dapper toll plaza. However, that too has proved futile as the CCTV camera footage has failed to identity the accused.

The police investigation seems to have been stuck in operational tangles as no fresh sketches of the accused have been released by the Chandigarh Police.

The two sketches, which the Panchkula police had released and were used by the local police, were not identified by the victims.

Even as the UT Police is working in tandem with their Panchkula and Mohali counterparts, nothing concrete has emerged from the investigations.

SSP S.S. Srivastava claimed that the police had got certain vitals clues and was working on them. He added that they were going to release the sketches and were keeping a track on vehicles.

Police sources said that call details were being checked from Shahbad (from where Behl was abducted) to Sector 33.

Meanwhile, sources confirmed that a Honda car, which was found abandoned at Bhabhat in Panchkula, was not related to the incident.



Transparency of MC projects under scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Transparency and accountability of various projects undertaken by the MC today came under the scanner during the general house meeting here today.

There was uproar in the house, when councillor Chandermukhi Sharma pointed out discrepancies in quotations and procedural lapses by MC officials while allotting or executing work.

Commissioner Roshan Sankaria and Chief Engineer SK Bansal could not reply satisfactorily about the inconsistencies. Rebuking officials for not taking the matter seriously, Mayor Kamlesh proposed to form a seven-member all-party committee to look into the matter.

Chandermukhi said cocking a snook at rules, Rs 33,292 was spent on fans and fittings in the cabin of the SE (B&R) and Rs 18,173 on fans for the cabin of XEN (Road-I), Sector 17, even as it’s been years since the proposal for installing two fans at the Sector 8 community centre has been hanging fire.

Also, temporary lights were provided on V-5 roads in Sectors 38, 41, 42, 46 and 34 whereas there was no provision for providing such lightings on V-5 roads. The Chief Engineer tried to evade the issue by saying that the matter was under the scrutiny of the CBI.

He could not pacify the house on various occasions where the type of work was the same, but the tenders had been invited within 15 days. The Mayor assured that all discrepancies would be looked into by the committee and after inquiring from the concerned officers, all queries would be taken up at the next meeting.

The house approved the appointment of government consultants National Building Construction Corporation Ltd (NBCC) for augmentation project worth Rs 171 crore of water supply and sewerage system in Chandigarh under the JNNURM programme. Though objections were raised by certain councillors that since Chandigarh was already facing shortage of water, the project should be on surplus water only.

“We would get water supply from Phases V and VI through the Kajouli waterworks under an agreement with Punjab and a similar project is on the cards for Chandigarh. The MC would have to spare only 10 per cent of the total cost for all projects. We are hiring government agencies to prepare feasibility reports and detailed project reports for submission to the ministry of urban development,” the Commissioner said.

After getting assurance from MC officials that the mandatory basic wages and other perks like EPF and ESI would be taken into account primarily, the Mayor and the house gave the nod to undertake the outsourcing of manpower.

The house approved the widening of V-5 roads in Sectors 22-C, 31-C and D; laying of 25 mm thick SDBC on V-6 road in Sectors 44-B and 32-D; construction of community centres in Sectors 11-B, 22-B and Dadu Majra; and construction of RCC retaining wall near the housing board chowk.



Business contest to boost entrepreneurs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Department of Information Technology, Chandigarh Administration and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) announced a business plan competition created specially for encouraging entrepreneurship.

The STPI and the Indian Angel Network are supporting the business plan competition and will complement the creation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region. This was announced at a press conference yesterday. The goal of the competition is to identify and encourage the creation of export-focused and technology-focused enterprises.

The business plan competition will be held in four stages and the top three teams will be allocated space at the Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Chandigarh, while all participants will get an opportunity to establish contacts with major investors, who could take their ideas to the next level.

All entrepreneurs, including students of business schools, will be eligible to participate in the competition. The winners of the competition will be identified by August 31, 2009, and recognized during e-Revolution 2009.

Outlining the rationale of the competition, Sanjay Kumar, UT Finance-cum-IT Secretary said, “One of the biggest worries of entrepreneurs is how to attract venture capital. On the other hand, the problem that investors face is how to identify and reach out to highly educated and motivated entrepreneurs and get fresh ideas to invest in. The competition will be an ideal platform and meeting ground for them. At the same time, it will help the Chandigarh Administration to identify deserving candidates for the Entrepreneurship Development Centre.”

Manjit Brar, IT director, UT, was also present on the occasion along with others.



Stress laid on promoting Hindi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Town Official Language Implementation Committee, Chandigarh, today held its half-yearly meeting at Kisan Bhawan, Sector 35.

Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, and chairman of the committee P.K. Chopra presided over the meeting. Department heads and senior officers of various Central government offices were present at the meeting. The committee reviewed the progress of implementation of Hindi in the Central government offices at Chandigarh.

On this occasion, the committee decided to hold Hindi essay writing, ‘shabd gyan’, Hindi typing on computer, shorthand and poetry recitation competitions for Central government employees.

The committee also decided to honour Hindi writers working in member offices and head of departments who have done commendable work for progressive use of Hindi in their offices.

Speaking on the occasion, Chopra appealed to the head of departments and senior officials to start small noting in Hindi at their level to encourage their staff. “It is not only our constitutional duty but moral duty too, to do our work in Hindi,” said Chopra. New edition of Shivalika - the annual magazine of TOLIC - was also released on the occasion.



Training camp for NCC shooters begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
As many as 550 NCC cadets from all over Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh are attending the basic marksmanship-cum-talent hunt shooting camp which began at the Patiala ki Rao ranges here.

The cadets would be trained for various national and international- level shooting tournaments scheduled for this year. The selected cadets will form the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate shooting team.

Col Vikram Datta, commanding officer of No.2 Chandigarh NCC battalion, which is organising the camp, is responsible for training and coaching the shooters. This is the first camp in the series of such training camps being organised this year.

Chandigarh NCC Group has produced national-level shooters. Three girl cadets from Chandigarh — Shikha Dull, Hema KC and Meera Kumari — formed part of the Indian squad for various tournaments in Germany and Pakistan. Col Dharmender Gupta, Group Commander, Chandigarh, said the NCC had purchased state-of-the-art Olympic-level weapons and other support equipment on which the cadets are being trained.

Shooting has been identified as the key result area of the Chandigarh Directorate. Last year the Chandigarh Directorate won the Inter-Directorate Shooting Championship. At the national level, NCC shooters won 13 medals at the All-India Mavlankar Cup Championship and nine medals at the National Shooting Championship held at Kerala.



Medical Technology
CSIO inks pact with Jaipur firm
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
To provide affordable medical diagnostic facility, the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), here signed today an agreement with Jaipur-based public sector company Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL) for technology transfer of portable pulse oximeter.

The equipment would be manufactured by REIL. Primary health centres can be equipped with this indigenously developed low-cost instrument for providing better healthcare services to people in rural areas.

The technology for the equipment was developed by the CSIO in collaboration with Semi-Conductors Limited, Mohali, with funds provided by the Department of Information Technology, New Delhi. The agreement was signed by VP Giridhar, head, business development group, CSIO and SP Singh, assistant general manager, REIL.

Portable pulse oximeter is a primary medical diagnostic instrument to measure the pulse rate and oxygen-saturation level in the blood by non-invasive technique. This enables prompt recognition of hypoxemia, which indicates the deficiency of oxygen in blood. If the oxygen level is below normal, a person is required to be given artificial respiration.

The instrument is immensely useful in monitoring arterial oxygenation in paediatrics, including neonatal units, operation theatres, post-operative recovery wards, trauma wards and emergency wards. Pulse oximetry has been recommended as mandatory when a patient is under anaesthesia. It is also used in monitoring of pulmonary diseases in adults and in investigation of sleep disorders.



Mizoram team visits MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
R Sangliankhuma, chief executive officer of Aizwal municipal council, Mizoram, along with Vanlalsawma, executive officer, visited the municipal corporation office yesterday.

They are here to study major projects and policies implemented by the corporation regarding sanitation, water supply and sewerage disposal, etc.

MC Additional Commissioner PK Sharma gave an introduction on projects and functions of the corporation, water supply, gardens and green belts, etc.



Consumer Courts
Rs 5,000 fine slapped on health drink firm
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed a low-calorie drink manufacturing company, Beverly Beverages and Cadila Healthcare Limited, to pay Rs 5,000 for deficiency in services.

The forum has directed the companies to pay the fine for selling a bottle of health drink contaminated with fungus.

The petitioner, Pawan Kumar Goyal, a resident of Sector 45, had bought some bottles of Sugar Free D’lite, a low calorie health drink.

The complaint said he found foreign particles in one of the bottles. Also, the quantity of the drink in the bottle was also less than usual, he said.

He took the matter with Cadila Healthcare Limited, marketing company of the health drink.

The senior vice-president of the company claimed that such incidents could not happen and offered to deliver a gift hamper containing company’s products.

The petitioner said the regional sales manager of the company approached him asking go easy on the issue as such incidents were a common phenomenon.

In reply, the respondents said the manufacturing of the product was under strict quality control and was carried out under the supervision of experts in the field in compliance with the applicable norms.

It was asserted that the preservative, carbon dioxide, which was added to inhabit growth of microorganisms like mould, could have leaked. Also, the bottle bore August, 2008 as manufacturing date and was not consumed despite the lapse of several months, they contended.

Pronouncing the orders, the forum held: “Beverly Beverages, the manufacturer of the drink, and Cadila Healthcare Limited cannot escape the liability for having sold the article to public if the product is proved to be unhygienic or sub-standard. The arguments forwarded by the company cannot be sustained as the cap on the bottle had not been opened and it is still intact in the same condition in which the bottle was manufactured. Since the bottle was neither used nor opened, the question of it having been not refrigerated after opening did not arise. It has happened due to the manufacturing defect of the bottle used by the company, the cap of which was not air-tight.”



Condom-promotion month
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
To promote the usage of condoms, the State AIDS Control Society, in collaboration with Yuvsatta, an NGO, launched a condom-promotion month, for the first time in Chandigarh, here today.

The society officials distributed 1,000 free packets of condoms. A magic show was also organised with a message of condom promotion and HIV/AIDS awareness.

Speaking on the occasion, Director, State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh, Dr Vanita Gupta said people should use condoms as it not only prevents HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies, but also prevents sexually transmitted diseases.

Coordinator of Yuvsatta Parmod Sharma said: “During the campaign, our volunteers will hold a special one-to-one session, street plays, condom mela, poster exhibitions, film and magic shows.”



5-day theatre fest kicks off
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 29
A five-day TFT summer theatre festival organised by the Theatre for Theatre institute commenced with the staging of a Hindi play “Chehrey” to a scant audience at the Inderdhanush auditorium here today.

The festival supported by the department of information and public relations, Oscar Institute of Art, was inaugurated by IAS KK Khandelwal.

A classic play “Chehrey” written by playwright Dr Shanker Shesh is a powerful satire on the hypocrisy and perfidy prevalent in the society.



On residents’ wish list…
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
With the new government taking charge, city’s who’s who is batting for a more accountable, accessible, transparent and democratic system of governance for Chandigarh, which many feel can only be achieved by restoring the Chief Commissioner System of governance.

Considering the inaccessibility of those at the helm of affairs, a major deterrent to the city’s development and also a cause of many arbitrary decisions, most of them feel that the current system is nothing but a one-way traffic wherein directives are issued and eventually imposed, leaving no scope for the citizen participation or feedback.

The controversies over the mega projects have perturbed many and they feel that these could have been avoidable had there been a master plan for the city’s development.

“There is a dire need for a master plan for the tricity and one exclusively for Chandigarh. The master plan for this city should be formulated in accordance with character and the spirit as was conceived by Le Corbusier,” said former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court Justice S.S. Sodhi.

No project should be taken up till the master plan is finalised. “The administration must involve the citizens of the city before finalising such a document as increased public involvement is the best way to make city more developed.”

“We need to revert to good old system of the Chief Commissioner as it was the most democratic set up that involved citizens in decision making, thereby ensuring the best for the city. Today, arbitrary decisions are being taken and the so-called development is nothing but haphazard .The new government needs to put a stop to all this and initiate revival of balanced approached and accountable policies,” said Mac Sarin, senior advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court.

H.S. Mamik, chairman, Independent School Association, said: “The city needs overall development in every aspect. May it be education, infrastructure and even environment. This is only possible when citizens are able to access the decision makers with their views and expectations. This kind of democracy and accessibility is absent today and the Chief Commissioner system is the best way to bring the much-needed transparency in the administration.”

Other than the overall system of Governance, it’s the style of land utilisation here that according to M.N. Sharma, former Chief Architect, UT, needs attention. “Look around what is happening. A couple of officers are taking decisions and the city is losing its flavour. The current administration overlooked the Periphery Control Act for the projects and we all can see the result. A large number of people are still staying in slums and a well-planned rehabilitation policy is required to deal with this problem of increasing number of slums in city. But most important is the issue of de-silting of Sukhna Lake.”

Another architect Jaspreet Takhar says: “The new government should provide a pro-active, progressive, transparent, and people-centric governance for all. The new government should work for Chandigarh’s long-term good and implement a 25-year master plan, a regional plan, and an annual development plan.”

Meanwhile, Neelam Maan Singh, an eminent theatre personality and RC Sobti, Panjab University Vice-Chancellor said the city should be converted into a cultural and education hub.

“I think the new government should come up with the policies that boost the level of education,” said Sobti, while Neelam Maan Singh concludes saying, “We need an overall development. Transparent and accountable governance, better public transport, lesser slums and most important cultural development of the city.”



Speaking Out
Racial Attack

With increase in incidents of violence against Indian students abroad, a question arises whether governments of the world are fulfilling their duties properly. Our staff correspondent Gagan K Teja speaks to few students and parents to find out their views about the recent incident in Australia and what they think about studying abroad and the steps the government must take for the safety of foreign students.

This is the worst thing that can happen to a foreign student in any country. Our parents spend a huge amount of money for our foreign education, but if students are so insecure, what is the point of studying abroad. I started BSc nursing with an aim to settle abroad as this is believed to be one of the very good career options, but after these incidents I am really confused now.
— Manpreet Kaur

I am shocked with this tragic incident. Time and again Indians have been targeted and nothing is being done about it. I think the Australian government should take some strict measures to check such incidents in future.

— Surinder Singh Randhawa

I strongly condemn this incident. This is highly irresponsible for any government if they cannot ensure the safety of their residents. They are charging 10 times more fees from these foreign students and are still unable to look after them carefully. The Indian government must intervene in this incident and bring the culprits to book.

— Rajinder Kaur
I find these continuous attacks shocking as my elder brother is also doing automobile engineering from Melbourne University. We are all scared after hearing the news and my mother has even told my brother to come back. This is the reaction of almost everyone in our locality.

— Harpreet Singh

This incident has totally changed my perspective about foreign countries. What is the point shifting to other countries where there is no surety of life? These days youth is moving abroad and thus the problem of brain drain. I am sure this incident would be an eye opener for our students and they would rather study and serve in our country.

— Gagan Bawa



CBSE Results
Poor show by govt schools
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
If the recent Class X and XII CBSE results are any indication, the government schools in the city have yet again affirmed their status as non-performers.

With pass percentage at 65.02 per cent for Class X, as against 66.69 per cent last year, and 84.16 per cent for Class XII, as against 85.09 percent last year, it seems that the so-called proposals of the UT Education department to improve the functioning of some of its schools have remained only on papers.

Though, records may indicate only a decline of one per cent in the over all pass percentage of Class XII vis-à-vis last year, the downside is more than ten per cent in model schools. The situation is worse in non-model schools where the decline is upto 30 per cent.

According to the CBSE records, the pass percentage of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Karsan, which was 78.87 per cent last year has come down to 57.05 per cent.

Similarly, last year, the pass percentage of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, was 76. 82, which has declined to 63.19 per cent.

As per the data, last year the pass percentage of Government Model Senior Secondary Schools, Sector 46, was 85.01, which has come down to 73 per cent. Similarly, the pass percentage of Government Model Senior Secondary Schools, Sector 21, has come down to 75 per cent, which was 86.40 per cent last year. Even the pass percentage of Government Model Senior Secondary Schools, Sector 32, which was 81.46 per cent last year, have come down to 72.80 per cent.

Similarly for Class X, about 12 non-model schools, this year, could not score more than 50 per cent of pass percentage. Around 14 schools were able to touch the graph of 30 to 40 pass percentage and two have not even scored 29 pass percentage.

Strangely, the education department, every year, focuses on the periphery schools for improving their results but no improvement had been achieved in the pass percentage of schools till date.

Sources stated that last year the department had framed certain guidelines, which if taken care of, could have checked the decline in pass percentage. As per the directions of the department, a monthly report of results was to be submitted by the schools.

Sources stated that the pass percentage of Class X of non-model schools was just 45.73 per cent, which could have been improved if timely steps were taken by the school authorities.

DPI Samwartak Singh, however, stated that the department had asked all schools authorities to submit a class-wise detail report of the results, so that they could fix the problem of bad results.



PU panel to check medical certificates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
To tackle the problem of producing fake medical certificates by students, Panjab University is all set to constitute a panel of doctors to be headed by universities chief medical officer to check their authenticity.

The evaluation will be done at the end of each academic year.

According to Naval Kishore, DSW, “The panel will ensure that no student is able to escape the shortage of attendance by using medial certificates.”



CET: Mohali boy gets 2nd rank
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 29
City boy bagged second position in the Common Entrance Test (CET) conducted by Punjab Technical University. Akshay Chawla, a resident of Sector 70, Mohali, secured 107 marks out of 120. It was a double bonanza for Akshay who earlier secured 93.2 per cent in the non-medical stream in Class 10+2 board result.

His father is a computer engineer in a government job. Akshay (17) aims at joining IIT. The boy is said to be related to a senior BJP leader in Punjab.



Garments exhibition by education dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Education department has organised an exhibition-cum-sale of garments and hand painted, block and screen printed linen, dupattas and other items prepared by vocational course students at Panchayat Bhawan, Sector 18, here. Jean Rodrigues, wife of UT Administrator, inaugurated the exhibition.

The items displayed at the exhibition have been prepared by the students in 45 days as part of the on-the-job training (after 10+2 examination) held at a school workshop.

The exhibition is a platform for students of various vocational courses to hone their skills and come face-to-face with customers.

To instill competitive spirit in students and to bring out innovative streak in teachers, the department awarded prizes to the schools. The prizes were given by the chief guest. Ram Niwas, home-cum-education secretary and Samwartak Singh DPI were also present.



Science courses withdrawn at P’kula college
Students to move HC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 29
Agitated over the decision of the education department that has closed down science courses at Government Girls College in Sector 14 for the past two years, students have decided to move court.

As many as 34 students enrolled for BSc and biotechnology classes have been advised to shift to Government College at Sector 1.

The students said they had approached the Deputy Director, College Education, yesterday and he confirmed that the courses were being shifted to the other college. He told them that the step was being taken as the number of students required for the course were less.

The students are in a quandary as they got admission at the girl’s college and now they were being forced to study in a co-educational college.

The worst was that there has been no formal communication in this regard till date. “The courses were withdrawn and no information had

been given to us. The wishes of students was not taken into consideration. A number of students would not be willing to shift to a co-ed college,” a student said.

She said it was for this reason that the students had decided to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court, challenging the decision taken by the education department.

“A large number of students in the college are from rural areas, who took admission here only because it was a girl’s college,” another student said.

The authorities said the decision was taken due to the rationalisation of facilities available for students in the two colleges.

“There were only a few students for the course in the college and there was no logic in continuing the classes as there was scope of shifting them to the other college in the same town,” said Jyoti Arora, who was the Commissioner, Higher Education, till yesterday. This would also result in the better utilisation of infrastructure, she added.



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