C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Robbers open fire in bid to loot bank
Injure woman employee; flee without cash
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 17
Three armed robbers made an attempt to loot a bank in Phase XI here today after holding its employees hostage. They also opened fire and injured a woman employee before fleeing.

The robbers failed to take away cash from the bank despite spending more than an hour on the premises.

The injured employee was admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, with head injuries, who was later shifted to Fortis Hospital, Mohali, against medical advice. Another employee sustained minor injuries. Four employees of the bank, including the deputy branch manager, were held hostage in the basement of the building with their hands tied.

According to reports, three masked men entered the Bank of Maharsahtra branch in Phase XI this morning while two kept waiting outside the bank in a white Tata Safari which had a fake registration number. One of them carried a bag and all of them were speaking in Punjabi.

It is reported that one of the robbers dropped his mobile phone in the bank, which was handed over to the police and was being monitored.

Sources said that as per the Panchkula CCTV footage available with the police, it is suspected that two of the three robbers were linked to the strikes at a bank and a jewellery shop in Panchkula some time back. However, the branch had not installed CCTV cameras on its premises despite repeated requests by the police.

According to reports, as soon as the bank opened at around 8.30 am, three armed persons entered the building overpowering the employees who had reached there to clean the premises before the bank started functioning at 10 am. Their hands were tied and were taken to the basement of the building.

It is reported that while one of the robbers remained in the basement, two others stationed themselves in the main hall. As the employees started reaching the bank, they were taken to the basement at gunpoint.

It is reported that when Parvinder Kaur, cashier-cum-clerk, entered the bank and was taken hostage, she started screaming after which the robbers fired a shot which hit her in the skull. Another employee, Jatinder, told The Tribune at GMCH-32 that the robbers hit him with a rod and held him hostage at the basement.

Deputy branch manager Baldev said he reached the bank around 9.45 am when the robbers were still in the building. Narrating the incident, he said they overpowered him and took him to the basement where three other employees - Phulwinder, Ranjit Singh (gunman) and a Class IV employee - were taken hostage. He said the robbers fled immediately after firing a gunshot. He said when they came upstairs, they saw Parvinder Kaur bleeding profusely.

Vineet, a sub-staff member, said the robbers had asked the employees to hand over their mobile phones and even got the alarm system disconnected.

SSP Jatinder Singh Aulakh said the registration number on the Tata Safari was that of a Desire car belonging to a resident of Bhago Majra. The robbers did not tamper the strong room, added the SSP.

The SSP, however, denied reports that any mobile phone belonging to the robbers was with the police. He said the bank managements in the town had been asked time and again to install CCTV cameras on their premises. He said a police personnel had visited Bank of Maharsahtra three days back and made a request to install CCTV cameras.

n Three armed robbers enter Bank of Maharashtra branch at 8.30 am
n Overpower employees who had reached there to clean the premises
n As the employees started reaching the bank, they were taken hostage at the basement of the building at gunpoint
n When Parvinder Kaur, cashier-cum-clerk, was taken hostage, she started screaming, after which the robbers fired a shot which hit her in the skull
n The robbers panicked and fled
n The bank did not have CCTV cameras



Nari Niketan Rape Case
Docs’ panel leaves MTP decision on court
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
In a significant move that could even have bearing on the ongoing investigations in the Nari Niketan rape case, the expert body of PGI doctors, formed on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has apparently left the final decision on the medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) of the victim on the court.

While none of the doctors on the panel was willing to comment on the findings, when contacted the UT Additional District and Sessions Judge Raj Rahul Garg, member-cum-coordinator of the expert group, said she had sent her report to the High Court. Even though she, too, refused to say anything further, the fact that a report has been sent to the High Court indicates that the expert group had not arrived at any decision on the MTP since the High Court had asked for the matter to be placed again before them on July 1 only if the victim had opposed the abortion.

In its order on June 9, a division bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Augustine George Masih had ruled: “If the expert body forms a bona fide opinion that the pregnancy needs to be medically terminated in the best interest of the victim, we direct the administration to admit the victim in the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.” The order further stated that in case the committee recommends abortion, but the victim opposes it, the matter will again be placed in front of the Punjab and Haryana High Court before July 1.

The expert committee comprised Dr Vaneeta Jain (gynaecologist), Dr Awasthi (psychiatrist), Dr Savita Jain (internal medicine) and Dr Meenu (paediatrician).

Sources, meanwhile claimed that during examination, the victim was specifically asked by the doctors if she wanted to keep the child and she had nodded her head in agreement. Sources claimed that question was asked in Hindi “baccha rakhna hai kya”.

While it could not be ascertained when the report was sent to the court, Garg’s directive to the Director Principal GMCH Sector 32, Dr Raj Bahadur, on June 11 assumes significance as she had categorically stated in it that the MTP is not to be carried out as yet. It may be mentioned that the girl was examined by the expert committee a day prior to the directive.

The June 11 directive (copy available with The Tribune) states “The expert body is required to answer several vital issues mentioned in the aforesaid order. I believe for answering the question, medical examination, including test of victim, have to take place. For the time being, her pregnancy is not to be terminated.” The directive also has hand written noting that “garbpath nahin hona hai. Aapne victim ka garbpath nahin karna hai. Apne victim ka garbpath nahin hone dena hain” (abortion is not to be conducted. You do not have to go in for abortion. You are not to allow the abortion).

While one would have to wait for the court’s decision on the MTP, the police investigations, which are now hinging on the DNA test of the foetus, could get delayed if the abortion is not conducted, feel officials.

Meanwhile, the police today collected the DNA samples of five other persons. The DNA tests were conducted at the Sector 16 Government Multi Specialty Hospital and will be sent to the CFSL. The police said all were the employees of Nari Niketan and Aashray. The police sources said that there was the possibility of more persons’ samples to be collected.



Admn fails to initiate action against accused
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Even five days after the arrest of Kamla and Jamuna Kumar in connection with the rape of a mentally challenged girl at Nari Niketan, the UT administration has not initiated any departmental action against them.

According to Rule 4 (2)(a) of the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970, “A government employee shall be deemed to have been placed under suspension with effect the date of his detention, if he is detained in custody whether on a criminal charge or otherwise for a period exceeding more than 48 hours.”

However, the department is yet to take action against the two, who were arrested by the SIT on June 12.

When contacted, Home Secretary Ram Niwas admitted that no action had been initiated yet. “As the matter is sub judice and investigations are on, the administration cannot take action against the accused,” he said.

However, service lawyer R.K. Chopra said: “The administration is bound to suspend those in custody and it’s illegal not to do so.

As per the provisions of the service rules, the administration is supposed to take action against those arrested and cannot work against the provision.”

It is pertinent to mention here that Kamla and Jamuna Kumar were appointed on contract while another accused in the case, Bhupinder Singh, was a permanent employee. Incidentally, Bhupinder was dismissed from service the next day of registration of case against him.



Admn nod to radio autos for city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The administration has finalised and officially notified the terms and conditions for introducing the first ever 24X7 “radio auto” service in the city. The proposed “pink” coloured autos, that are what the operators have chosen to differentiate it from others, would be at your doorstep for Rs 10 for first kilometer and Rs 5 for every subsequent kilometer during the day time.

Since, auto-rickshaws come the contract carriage category, modalities are being finalised to get their registration numbers “reserved.” As per the Chandigarh motor vehicle norms the STA would register these vehicles. These eco-friendly LPG/CNG-driven autos would have an electronic display unit showing the word “hired” or “vacant”. These would also be equipped with the global positioning system and connected with GSM/CDMA/landline network. The operators would have their own control rooms, which remain in constant touch with the auto drivers throughout the day.

But, during late evening hours (between 10 pm and 6 am) 25 per cent extra over and above the fare would be charged. However, the operators won’t take waiting charges up to 40 minutes but Rs 10 extra would levied between 41 minutes to an hour and Rs 10 for ever subsequent waiting time thereof. Similarly there nothing would be charged for luggage up to 20 kg, but Rs 2 per article (suitcase) above 20 kg would be charged.

This service would be available on a call by dialing the four-digit number or by hiring them from their designated locations or by stopping them on the road itself.

While confirming this, home secretary-cum-secretary (transport) Ram Niwas said this would be the safest mode of transport for women and children during odd hours. “With GPS system, the vehicle’s movement could be kept under watch. This would also help in breaking the monopoly of auto drivers who ask for “undue fares”.

The State Transport Authority (STA) would keep a tab on functioning and compliance of various terms and conditions laid down for the auto rickshaw operators.

These vehicles would have electronic fare metre on its front panel, besides the first aid box and fire extinguishers. “ Operating firms would be liable for ensuring that the drivers have valid driving licence, behave well with customers and wear proper uniform”, said Vandana Disodia, STA secretary.



CSIR to restructure cadre
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the country’s largest autonomous research and development organisation, is restructuring its common cadre with a view to rejuvenate work culture and scientific innovation.

A circular received by research establishments under the CSIR earlier this month states that a culture of trust, performance, transparency and neutrality promoting performance and guaranteeing outcomes is to be pursued strongly and would be the common foundation for all initiatives being conceptualised and implemented.

The objectives laid out for the restructuring exercise, according to the circular, include institutionalising processes and engineering change that drive operations in a manner that guarantees envisaged outcomes, besides developing new perspectives and programmatic frameworks for accomplishing results that are seen to make a difference to the society.

In addition, the CSIR is submitting a proposal to the Department of Personnel and Department of Expenditure for their endorsement for new posts to be created at all required levels, paving the way for career progression, redefinition of jobs, roles and responsibilities in keeping with the analysis of the requirements in CSIR laboratories.

New posts would be created by surrendering posts at the lower level.

The CSIR would also review all pending departmental promotion committee meetings and where found necessary, these would be held prior to the restructuring exercise for clearing the appropriate number of vacancies.

The promoted Officers would be assigned new roles and responsibilities on the basis of the re-determined strength of the cadre.

The restructuring exercise is to be completed in a month, as mandated by the CSIR director-general. A separate cadre restructuring unit has been set up at the CSIR headquarters for the purpose.



Uma Nath to join Allahabad HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Justice Uma Nath Singh will join as a judge of the Allahabad High Court by July 1, pursuant to his transfer from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The high court registry today received a fax message in this regard. The transfer, cleared by the Union Law Ministry and the President, comes in less than two months after Justice Uma Nath Singh’s forwarded a request to be shifted out.

It is believed Justice Uma Nath Singh had sought transfer from the high court here after taking strong exception to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association’s style of functioning. By doing so, Justice Uma Nath Singh had apparently turned the tables, as the Bar was also seeking his transfer.


Loopholes in CITCO draft rules
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The deferment of Draft Rules, 2009, for promotion policy for CITCO employees in the board meeting held on June 15 seems to be more than just what meets the eye.

For, rather than streamlining the promotions, the set of rules appears tailor-made to benefit a few and smack of adhocism.

Interestingly, while there were no rules at all for promotions for CITCO employees in most of the cadres and consequently many employees still remain on the same post even after putting in as many as two decades, those who did get promoted were handpicked and alleged ‘favourites’.

It took nearly eight months for the rules to take their present shape, but the flaws in it raise questions on the rationale adopted by those who framed them.

Even though the corporation had earlier hired a retired civil servant, Jagpota, to make recommendations for rationalising the workforce and streamline the promotion policy, his advice was not even considered while framing the draft rules 2009. Sources claim that was done as Jagpota’s recommendations could have adversely affected the prospects of those who were currying favours from the management.

Incidentally, Jagpota had stayed on for six months at Hotel Shivalikview for six months and had recommended that promotions should be based on merit, while taking into account the know how and experience in a specific field. His recommendations categorically opposed the mixing of technical and non-technical staff while considering them for promotion.

For instance, for the non-technical post of a bill clerk, promotion should be in his specific non-technical area of expertise, which means finance and accounting and therefore the promotion can be as junior accountant, senior accountant and later on as manager (F&A) finance and accounting.

However, the present rules allow a bill clerk, whose work is primarily to issue receipts and bills, to be promoted to Assistant F&B (food and beverage) Cost Controller and subsequently to a F&B Cost Controller which deals with the consumption of raw materials and other food items, a post which needs a good business sense.

Similarly, for an Assistant Manager (T&T) (tours and travel), Jagpota had recommended promotion in “ministerial” cadre, the present rules allow them to be promoted to F&B Cost Controller. It’s rather questionable that a person with a degree and experience of tours and travel would be expected to do cost controlling in food & beverages department without any expertise of the same.

In another glaring example of favouritism, a senior assistant whose work profile is otherwise general in nature has been allowed for a promotion as a deputy manager only on the basis of the length of his service without considering his qualifications.

This would mean that even if a person is appointed as an in charge of CITCO petrol pump and he gets promoted as deputy manager, he would retain the same post even if he gets transferred to any of the CITCO hotels.

Also, there is lot of resentment among a section of employees as an assistant manager of F& B section in a hotel was promoted as DGM (F&B) and is now promoted as DGM of the hotel. This has created a ripples effect among others in the same cadre in the hotel.

When contacted, CITCO MD D.K. Tiwari said: “A three-member committee is examining the possibilities of the framed rules. Once the rules are framed, next step would be restructuring the organisation.”

About the loopholes in the rules, he said: “Earlier, when they were being framed, advice from all the employees was sought individually. Once the rules are finalised, we will again seek objections, if any, by the employees and only then, policy would be made.”



To launch packaged drinking water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
After extending its hospitality services to the city residents, the CITCO is now all set to start a new commercial venture. Up next is CITCO’s own brand of packaged drinking water that would be sold soon in the city.

Utilising its 15 marla plot in Industrial Area, where the proposed bottling unit would come up under the private public partnership model.

The idea came aboard not only for CITCO’s own consumption at its hotels and restaurants, but also for commercial purposes as authorities feel that the CITCO as a brand had established itself well in the city and could test waters further in other arenas as well.

Soon the expression of interests (EOI) would be called and those with an experience of handling bottling unit with a turnover of more than five crores would be able to apply.

Once the expression of interests is finalised, work would begin after studying various models. While the marketing and distribution work would be done by the private party, CITCO would lend its name for the packaged drinking water.

Soon the water would be available at all tourist places in the city as well CITCO’s restaurants and hotels.

Confirming this, the CITCO MD, Tiwari, said though the proposal was in its initial stages. But there was lot of scope, CITCO being one of the most popular names in the hospitality industry in city.

Once we get all the models, we would decide about which one to utilise and the work could be started thereafter,” he said.



Closure of Govt Press
Employees call it ill-conceived move
Say govt work not possible outside
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
While the administration has mooted a proposal to do away with some sections of the Sector 18 Government Press, with a plea that it’s draining out funds worth Rs 6 crore annually, whereas its employees debunk the claim and dubbed the move as an “ill-conceived”, as no “study” has been conducted to gauge its pros and cons.

As over 70 per cent of the government’s routine office work is still based on the manual ‘file’ processing method, the move might adversely affect its own printing and stationery requirements, they say.

Reason: the printing on the file covers and wrappers made of craft paper or cloth -lining papers is possible only with the age-old multi-functional “lino machines”, which could only be found at the Government Press.

Whereas, Sanjay Kumar, Finance Secretary, said the aim was to make it leaner, modern department with optimum utilisation of the manpower. This proposal was contemplated, keeping in mind its higher establishment cost, which included workers’ wages, running cost of machinery, electricity and maintenance charges.

“It has been observed that over Rs 6 crore has been calculated as the establishment cost of the press, which compared to its outcome was enormous. The cost of printing job, too, came out to be more comparative to what the private press in the market charge. Moreover, with the decrease in work, over 80 per cent of the press staff were sitting “idle”, he added.

The government’s printing jobs, which is mostly done on thick 270 GSM paper, is possible only on multi-purpose machines like letter press and gesstettner photo printing etc and the absorption of employees most of whom are technically sound. hands. This question still remains unresolved.

A technical staff said,” The government job on modern computer offset printing machines is not possible as the thick sheet would destroy the rubber blanket worth Rs 18,000 instantly, if put to use.

Citing an example, the employee said the High Court had once placed an order with a private printing firm for publishing matter on its file covers and cloth lining wrappings, which was refused later. “The job ultimately came to us as we alone have the required infrastructure to do the job”, he added.

A study has to be conducted by independently by the Centre to gauge the economic feasibility of the firm. One such study was undertaken in 2006 by a team from Delhi. But, till date, no report has been submitted with the administration.



Pressure on authorities to start international flights
Revenue main factor; new terminal yet to be upgraded
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , June 17
The upgradation of the Chandigarh Airport has mounted pressure on the authorities to speedily commence international operations even before the new building could come up.

This would require infrastructural modifications in the existing building.

Despite a few proposals to start international flights by various airlines that never really made any headway, Fly Dubai has emerged as a serious contender. For now, all eyes are set on a meeting between airport authorities and the chief secretary of Punjab scheduled to be held on June 19.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the modalities of the project and explore the possibility of commencement of operations in July itself, sources said.

The ‘revenue’ factor though is prompting the authorities to begin the international operations early despite delay in the new terminal of internal standard.

For ‘Fly Dubai’ it would be a good opportunity to experiment with the passenger traffic before the international operations becomes fully functional in the new building, officials said.

Meanwhile, permissions have to be sought from the regulatory bodies, before the operations can starts successfully, though vigorous efforts are being made on this front.

“Following the upgradation of our airport we look forward to speedy developments.

As far as the international operations are concerned, we fully support it and want it to start as soon as possible, ” said Sunil Dutt, Joint General Manager, Chandigarh Airport.

“The same shall be done once all the necessary permissions are obtained by the airlines.” he added.

Though the existing building in which the modifications are needed will eventually be demolished, the expenditure would be compensated by the revenue generated from the international flights, according to the sources.

The new terminal is now expected to be ready by October (though its 15 months deadline expires this July) even as the officials boast of the best of infrastructure in the upcoming integrated terminal.

The “typical” structure worth nearly 55 crore, which is spread across 12,500 sq mts, would consist of roofing material from South Africa, revolving doors from Germany, escalators and lifts form China and granite from South India in addition the unique double chord S-curve structure that is coming up.

What had been done

- Service pipelines laid

- Structural work done; building ready

- Imported lifts, escalators procured

- HVAC (heating ventilation and air condition)

- Parking lot ready

What is left now

- Finishing work (includes flooring, etc)

- Space frame work (double cord S-curve space frame that is the unique feature of the terminal)

Features of the new terminal

- Imported roof material from South Africa

- Revolving doors from Germany

- Escalators and glass lifts from China

- Granite form South India

- A special restaurant

- MI room

- Child care room

- Two VIP lounges

- Special toilets for physically-challanged people

Things that delayed the work

- Restricted space (No space for storage of material, limited space for parking cranes, other machines)

- Airway operations were functional along with ongoing construction which eventually caused delay.



Illegal jhuggis: JE suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Taking a serious view of eruption of illegal jhuggis on government land in Sector 25, the Municipal Corporation today suspended a Junior Engineer, Jaswinder Singh, who was found guilty of establishing the illegal occupants and razed over 50 such jhuggis, which came up recently over there.

The Chandigarh Administration has also, reportedly, recommended to instigate criminal proceedings against some other persons, on whose instance, the land was illegally occupied, adjacent to Bhaskar Colony in Sector 25.

The jhuggis, with their original location, were obstructing the construction of a road, which was planned lately. Following this, they shifted to a nearby place.

The officials told that barring three persons, the occupants of the illegal jhuggis had undergone biometric survey, but did not seek any permission for this makeshift arrangement from the administration and the reason was enough to demolish the jhuggis.



Encroachments on Govt Land
Admn to act against bhavans
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The Chandigarh administration has decided to crack a whip against bhavans of various communities in the city.

Taking serious note of the large-scale encroachments on the government land by various bhavans, the UT administration today decided to demolish the encroachments immediately. The enforcement staff of the Chandigarh administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) have been directed to remove the encroachments and report to higher officials at the weekly meeting on encroachments held under Home Secretary Ram Niwas.

Allotted land at the controlled rate by the UT administration, various bhavans are already at the receiving end of the notices, including resumption proceedings, for alleged building violations in their premises.

The action against unauthorised structures made by the bhavans may further land the managements in more trouble. A majority of the bhavans had been indulging in commercial activities, such as holding marriages functions and exhibitions-cum-sales in violation of the allotment rules.

In the previous years, the powerful managements of certain bhavans had successfully blocked action against them on one pretext or the other. With adhocism ruling the roost in the anti-encroachment policy of the administration and the MCC, the encroachments had been on the rise in the recent times, particularly in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.

Sources said strict action would be taken against the enforcement staff as the inspectors concerned would be made accountable for the encroachments under their jurisdictions. Besides, weekly monitoring of encroachments in the city would further act as a deterrent for the staff and the encroachers.

The sources said the action against bhavans was apart from the action taken against the illegal squatters on government land. While migrants from UP and Bihar formed a majority of illegal squatters on the public land, encroachments by the bhavans are apparently at the behest of the educated well-placed persons controlling the managements.



Role of e-governance discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The department of information technology in association with igovernment.in organised a conference on effectively using e-governance here yesterday. The theme of the conference was Government 2.0 — The Road Ahead.

The conference focussed on improving the service delivery system and effective processing of the government for the public. Chairman, PHD Chamber, Satish Bargodia, stressed the need of training for the masses and sensitising bureaucrats for using the e-governance for the benefit of the public. He also highlighted that how e-chaupal had brought out a revolution in agriculture.

Former director, Information Technology, Chandigarh, Vivek Atray, said the transformation had started but the change was not visible, as desired. The system should be transparent and people-friendly, Vivek added.

Talking about the success of the e-ticketing system adopted by the Railways, he said as it could opt for online services, it would be easier for other departments, too, for adopting the e-governance system. Director of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) Manoj Dutta said overseas universities and educational institutions should be permitted for setting up their campuses in India as was already being done in the business sector.



Contract teachers clean vehicles to mark protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
In a novel way of protest, more than 100 teachers working as contract teachers with the Chandigarh education department cleaned cars and other vehicles near Tribune Chowk against the delay in regularisation of services.

The teachers stated that they were against the Chandigarh administration’s policy of recruiting the teachers.

They agitated that the department was appointing fresh teachers on regular basis rather than considering the regularisation of the contractual employees.

A member of the contract union revealed that they would continue such kind of protests till the administration would not consider their demands.



MC team visits apni mandis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
A team of Municipal Corporation, comprising MPS Chawla, chairman, enforcement committee, and Resham Chand Jakhu, chairman, Apni Mandis, today visited apni mandi sites in Sectors 15 and 40, to check the irregularities prevailing there.

MPS Chawla, while elaborating the findings on apni mandi sites, said, “It has been found that about 40 per cent illegal and unorganised shops were established there. Most of these businesses were being conducted by the unscrupulous elements, selling items that cater to the labour class only.

This caused unnecessary traffic snarls and inconvenience to general public, for whom this apni mandi concept was conceived. Our motive was to have a check on them.”

The area police and the traffic police squad also accompanied the MC team.

Contrary to the basic motive of apni mandis, illegal rehri wallas has cropped up in the apni mandi sites in various parts of the city, selling grocery items, pickles, toy sellers, footwear and daily use items.

The basic aim of conducting apni mandis was to have direct transaction between the farmers and the general consumers for vegetables and fruits, but these places have become more of a business platform for carrying out illegal businesses in connivance with area concerned junior engineers and other lower level officers.



GRP plans to raise bomb disposal, dog units
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
While efforts to equip the Chandigarh railway station with CCTV have come in a little too late, critics have another reason to cheer. For, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has moved a proposal to provide bomb disposal detection squad and sniffer dogs at railway stations. The initiative will cover the local railway station under the scheme.

The railway authorities had invited criticism for spending crores of rupees on facelift of stations but paying no heed to security arrangements especially at Chandigarh, which holds importance owing to its geographical connectivity.

Welcoming the move, divisional railway manager Ambala division, HK Jaggi said: “We currently have sniffer dogs at Saharanpur and Chandigarh will soon get its security apparatus. We welcome the initiative of the GRP in upgrading the security arrangement at stations.”

The GRP officials said once the installation work on the CCTV was completed, the government railway police and the railway authorities would jointly manage the control room.

However, the maintenance of the control room, which consisted of LCD screens meant to keep a check on the movement of passengers and cameras at the station, would be an uphill task for the railway authorities. For one, lack of railway staff would be a major hurdle, they added.

Officials emphasised the need for establishing a bomb detection squad as railways had always been a soft target for terror attacks. The move has given a fillip to the efforts of making the railway stations safe.

Elaborating the need for upgrading security arrangements, IG, Northern Railways, KK Mishra said: “We have moved the proposal since railway stations are a soft target.”

“It will take around two weeks to start CCTV surveillance at the local station,” he added.



Workshop on non-communicable diseases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
A South East Asia regional workshop on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), their prevention and control was held in Chandigarh.

Delegates from the workshop were visiting various initiatives taken by PGIMER in the prevention and control of NCDs in Chandigarh.

The team also visited Government Model High School in Sector 41 to see the school-based initiatives for prevention and control of NCDs.

Dr Paramjyoti, nodal officer, school health programme, briefed various initiatives taken under the school health programme.

Dr T Prabhu Shankar, junior resident from School of Public Health, PGIMER, explained the concept of health promoting schools in Chandigarh and results of the intervention study, which was held in eight schools and which have shown improvement in diet and physical activity patterns of children.



CM leases site to metal cluster
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today agreed to allot a shop-cum-flat in the Industrial Area, Phase I, SAS Nagar, Mohali, on lease to the Mohali Industries’ Association for setting up a common facility centre of Mohali Hi-tech Metal Cluster, first of its kind under the Central micro-small enterprises- Cluster Development Programme.

Disclosing this here today, an official spokesperson said a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Mohali Industries’ Association led by its president BS Anand with the Chief Minister.

Badal asked SS Channy, principal secretary industries, to bring a detailed agenda for the allotment of the site to the metal cluster in the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.

The project of Mohali Hi-tech Metal Cluster has a great significance for competitiveness and growth of bath fittings’ industry of Punjab in general and Mohali in particular. The Government of India had already approved the diagnostic study and sanctioned Rs 9 lakh for soft interventions.



Residents irked over erratic water supply
Charge authorities of supplying muddy water
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 17
Residents of Phase XI staged a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here today in protest against the inadequate supply of water in the area.

The residents gathered near the Bassi Theatre in Phase II from where they walked to the DC’s office in Phase I carrying placards. They raised slogans against the Punjab government and later sat on 

President Kulwant Singh Kler, Samaj Bhalai Sanstha, Phase XI, said the residents were not only getting inadequate supply but also water supplied was muddy and not clear to drink.

He said those living on the first floor and above were the worst affected as the pressure of water was low for the past quite sometime.

He said a memorandum was handed over to the DC, who then called the SDO of the public health department and asked him to solve the problem of muddy water in the area.



Housing complex inaugurated at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
With a view to meet the housing needs of the employees of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues today inaugurated a housing complex with 64 Type-III houses in the PGI residential complex.

Constructed by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) on a plot area of 5,120 square metre, each unit covers an area of 80 square metre and has a living room, balcony, lobby, bath, kitchen and other support facilities. All houses have a RCC-framed structure and flooring work with kota stone tiles. Accompanied by Chairman of the (CHB) Mohanjit

Singh, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, Director of the PGIMER Dr K.K. Talwar and other senior faculty members, Rodrigues went around the complex and inspected the facilities provided in each housing unit. He asked the PGI management to create an infrastructure for recreational facilities for the PGI employees and their families.



Trekking team returns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The Trekking Club of the Punjab Mandi Board today returned after visiting Chandertal Lake, base of Baralacha Peer Panchal in the Spiti Valley (HP).

General secretary of the club, Inderjit Premi, said the team started on June 12 from Chandigarh and completed the trek within four days, which usually took seven days.

This was for the first time that the track had heavy snow on the peaks in June. In spite of snowfall and snow, the team managed to complete the trek safely and successfully.



Office-bearers elected
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 17
State drug controller Ram Mohan Sharma, Panchkula, and Asian gold medallist Ram Kishore have been elected as president and general secretary, respectively, of District Masters’ Athletics Association, here.

Other office-bearers are:

Senior vice-president: Dr Parveen Kumar Sethi; vice-presidents: Ajay Jain and Raj Kapoor; joint secretary: Shashi Sharma; finance secretary: Shyam Lal; technical adviser: Sanjay Ryat; executive members: Rajinder Kumar, GS Saukhla, Pardeep Kumar and Raj Kumar.



Sale of forms for lecturers’ post
Colleges fail to submit money in govt account
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
When it comes to learning from the past experiences, the UT administration is surely not the one opting for it.

Even after the stark revelation of the alleged “mismanagement” of processing fee collected last year from the sale of forms for the post of lecturers in arts and science colleges, the modus operandi, this time, surely makes one foresee the same fate for this year’s collection also.

It may be noted that over lakhs of rupees have been collected this year from the sale of forms for the post of contractual lecturers at the rate of Rs 300 each, but reportedly none of the colleges had so far submitted the money in any government account, mandatory for any kind of collection.

“It is strange that though the document sought under the RTI revealed that because last year’s collection was not submitted in any government account, the colleges spent it arbitrarily and did not even file form 16, they have not cared to ask them to do so,” said VB Khanna, an RTI activist.

It is not only the account, but also the entire interview process that has educed huge resentment among the lecturer fraternity.

If their views are anything to go by, then the fact that instead of inviting applications through a centralised form, the department in order “maintained” that its collection had made them fill separate forms for the colleges.

Also, while for most of the subjects, the interviews could have been held at one venue by one committee, thereby saving loads of money spent on organisation, they being held in various colleges is perturbing the applicants different venues.

“Now, we are paying Rs 300 for every single college we apply to. If an applicant has to apply for same subject in four colleges, he has to shell out around Rs 1,200. Moreover, it gets really inconvenient to appear for interviews at various places, while the administration can easily adopt the pattern of various universities where interviews for maximum subjects is taken by one centralised committee and college is allotted, based on preference and merit,” said one of the applicants.

Meanwhile, DK Tiwari said the system was followed every year and it had been approved long time back.



Pass Percentage Issue
CBSE to act tough against pvt schools
Plans to introduce foreign languages from next session
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The CBSE is all set to take stern action against private educational institutions that are violating the norms of considering 33 per cent as pass percentage rather than fixing their own pass percentage. This was discussed at its governing body meeting that was held under the chairmanship of its secretary Vinet Joshi.

Members stated that they had received complaints in their respective states that private schools were fixing their own pass percentage for internal examinations. A few school managements had fixed 40 per cent as their pass percentage in Classes VIII, IX and X. In case students are unable to score 40 per cent, they are placed in compartment and given another chance to clear the paper. If the student is unable to clear that paper, the management forces them to leave the school.

They suggested that the CBSE should issue guidelines to private schools to adhere to the rules and follow the norms. Sources revealed that the CBSE would soon issue guidelines to all private schools.

One of the members even objected to the private schools starting Class XI session prior the declaration of Class X results that is mandatory as per CBSE norms.

A few members suggested that as most of the states were facing water shortage, it should be made mandatory for the schools to have rainwater-harvesting plants in their institutions to deal with this problem.

They even decided to introduce green school concept in all educational institutions affiliated to the CBSE. The proposal was also mooted to prepare students for the international conference on environment, which is going to be held in Brazil.

The members also suggested that a few foreign languages should be introduced in the CBSE affiliated schools and its syllabus and posting of the staff should also be ensured. Plans are afoot to introduce Koreans, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese languages in the schools from the next session.



Promotion of Hindi, Punjabi teachers
Confusion reigns supreme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The proposed promotion of Sanskrit, Hindi and Punjabi teachers to the posts of headmaster by the education department has educed huge confusion in teaching fraternity as the Government Teachers’ Union has raised objection on the claims of their parallel body, the Coordination Committee of Teachers.

Claiming that the committee had no locus standii and was thus not competent to object to the promotions, the union members have justified these promotions in accordance to the Punjab Service Rules, 1992.

The union, in a written representation submitted to The Tribune, has claimed that the pay scale of the afore mentioned categories was much higher than those of vocational categories.

According to the representation, the language teachers enjoying higher scales were granted promotion by amending the existing rules, moreover, those belonging vocational category, teachers got placed in masters’ seniority list, but being junior most in gradation list, they could not be promoted further.

They also stated that a JBT teacher, after generating higher qualifications, could be promoted as masters or mistress, but not headmasters come what may.

It may be noted that the coordination committee of teachers, through its written representation addressed to DPI (S), had claimed these proposed promotions, being extension of lopsided benefit to a particular category.



Student bodies set up help desks
Gaurav Sharma

Chandigarh, June 17
With the commencement of academic session 2009-10, Panjab University’s students’ parties have geared up not only to help out the applicants with providing information about the university and courses available but also to encourage them to cast their vote in the forthcoming students’ elections.

The parties seem to be trying every bit to invoke the episode of recent general election, which witnessed massive turnout of voters in Chandigarh.

According to Birender Dhillon, president, SOPU, low voter turnout ails the university and to bring about expected changes in the university, participation of the students should be boosted.

“Our main purpose is to help and reach out to a large number of students by helping them with admission process and giving information about the courses available in the university. This year we are urging newcomers to take part in the process of the student representation and election. They don’t necessarily need to align with any party but must cast their vote to voice their needs and expectations.”

Even his arch rival Simranjeet Dhillon, PUSU, agrees with him on the point. “We are not only trying to help them with admission but also wish to encourage them to contribute their bit in students’ representative elections to bring about desirable changes in the university,” he asserts.

Nitin Goyal, president, NSUI, considers voting important given the fact that the students’ representatives should participate in all major decision-making committees.

It may be noted most of the groups have already set up their desks near the State Bank of India’s fee counter in the campus.

Rajbir Singh Padiala, senior Congress leader, inaugurated the PUSU’s help desk today while Ravneet Singh Bittu, Member Parliament and president of Punjab Youth Congress, inaugurated the NSUI’s help desk yesterday.

Even the SOPU has made its desk operational though it is yet to be formally inaugurated.



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