C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dons trash PTU policy; want academic audit 
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Kharar, July 25
Dons today trashed Punjab Technical University’s (PTU) policy of giving independent charge to private engineering colleges and not governing them. They have now called for an overhaul of the education system and sought academic audit and quality control to make the examination system of the university transparent, he said. 

RP Singh, former in charge of distance education cell of the PTU, said such lapses were common in private institutes, which usually never verified the credentials of a candidate. Every director or principal of the affiliated college was a member of the academic council of the PTU. 

The council was governed by a subordinate legislation of the state government. “Such incompetent people reach the statutory body and ruin the education network,” he said, adding that the university should make it mandatory to check the credentials of candidates. PU senator Mukesh Arora, who has been a VC nominee during teachers’ selection, said it was common to find PTU affiliated institutes working from above a barber’s shop. “MBA students of the university are not even taken for the six-month training. I know companies and industries that specifically mention that PTU MBA students are not allowed to even put up their biodata for training purposes,” he added. 

Commenting on the inci dent wherein the principal of an engineering college got the position on a fake certificate, Dr SK Salwan, former VC of the PTU, who resigned in April last year, said: “The institute should have crosschecked his credentials. It is a major offence for a man at the level of a principal to do such a thing.” He called for serious and immediate reforms in the PTU’s approach to maintain quality of education in more than 149 institutes affiliated to it. “Standards should be set so high that no one dared to breach them,” said Salwan, part of a core team of scientists credited with developing the state-of-the-art integrated guided missiles under the leadership of former President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

Dr SP Singh, former VC of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, said AICTE norms were being flouted. “There is a paucity of PhD teachers and that too in engineering. Incompetent people take advantage of this shortage and manage things. In private institutes, money plays a big role and with no regulatory or controlling authority, it’s open to all,” he claimed.

Dr KN Pathak, former VC of Panjab University, said the PTU should device a method where degrees of newly appointed people were checked. “Even at the PU there was a professor who worked on a fake degree. The university discovered it only after he retired. Though the PU has a system to check certificates of candidates, the PTU has not introduced any such system,” he said.



Morni Robbery
Cops don’t buy Sofat’s claims
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 25
The needle of suspicion in the Morni robbery and shooting case has turned towards the complainant, Dr Sumit Sofat. Police sources said circumstantial evidence did not corroborate his statement.

Now wary, Sofat had stopped taking phone calls made by the police. He also failed to turn up when asked to come to Panchkula as the accused family of Ramesh Pashan was to appear before the police for questioning.

Sofat, who runs an infertility centre at Ludhiana, had lodged a complaint that he was robbed of Rs 33 lakh at Morni and accused Ramesh Pashan and his two sons of the crime. He had alleged that with the help of their driver and two others, they had attacked him. While his driver sustained bullet injuries in the chest, the accused took away Rs 33 lakh lying in his Tata Safari.

The accused had been booked under Sections 395 and 397, IPC, for dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt. Both parties had a dispute over a piece of land. Sofat was facing criminal charges for allegedly using forged documents in order to grab a 1,200-yard prime land belonging to Pashan. The Pashans denied the allegations and claimed that Sofat had hatched a conspiracy following his arrest on their complaint last year. They presented photographs and a CD containing footages that proved they were present at a club in Ludhiana on that day for the ring ceremony of one of his sons. They also submitted receipts and bills pertaining to the club expenses, besides affidavits of relatives, claiming that the Pashans were at Ludhiana on the day of the crime.

Moreover, the statement of the injured driver, Nelson, recorded by the police contradicted Sofat claims. The statements of Sofat and the driver on the number of attackers and the direction of the attack did not match. The driver denied having any knowledge about the presence of a bag containing money, the sources said. Sofat also failed to prove that he was carrying that kind of money with him. The police also did not find any marks on the vehicle that could support Sofat’s claims that the assailants, who were travelling in a Scorpio, hit his SUV before firing upon them.

The police was also surprised that Sofat, who was allegedly the target of the assailants, did not receive any injury while two bullets were pumped in the chest of his driver. And this when the attackers had sufficient time to locate the bag in the SUV and flee.



Youth takes on the khap might
Amit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
With the dissemination of education and increasing opportunities of interaction among youngsters, a healthy concept of inter-caste marriages has evolved, but some sections of society, in the name of traditions and culture, find it hard to adjust to this phenomenon.

The recent incident where 22-year-old Ved Pal Mor was lynched in the presence of the police for marrying a woman of the same “gotra” (sub-caste), has evoked sharp reactions.

“This amounts to barbarism, which a cultured society cannot accept. It is disgusting that in this age such regressive things are happening in my state. The incident is a grim reminder of how fractured our notion of India being a progressive society is,” Ruchika Chauhan, a PU student from Haryana, says.

“I have seen khap panchayats operating in my village, but they have become irrelevant. With their refusal to change with the times, they are threatening social harmony. They need to be countered with a heavy hand,” says Avantika Kadian, a research scholar.

“They have been playing a constructive role in the affairs of a village as far as problems like infighting within a group, problem of drinking or other such problems are concerned. The problem arises when they encroach on the personal space of an individual,” says Suhdev Kundu of the Indian National Students Organisation.

“Though the Constitution guarantees us basic rights for a decent existence, these panchayats are bent on destroying the social fabric by forcing their will on others. The youth must come forward and defy their writ openly,” says Puneet Yadav, another student.

With the khaps executing their will by taking law in their hands, the clash between tradition and law is becoming more pronounced. “There is a wide gap between our legislature and traditional beliefs. We had thought that values enshrined in the Constitution would trickle down to the grassroots, but unfortunately that has not happened,” avers Prof Akshay Kumar of the department of English, PU.

“Social progress does not come automatically with economic progress. In our society, customary laws play a dominant role in an individual’s life. Democratic rights must prevail over any kind of pressure,” Prof Manjeet Singh of the department of sociology says.

Can’t politicians do something? “Lack of will on the part of successive governments has emboldened khap panchayats. Political parties won’t do anything to upset their votebank,” claims a dejected Richa Gehlot.

The youth has dual responsibility as it is caught in the genesis of the problem and also its solution. “The youth has the advantage of education. They can help percolate this knowledge to the grassroots, which would help people accept the changing realities,” says Kuldeep Choudhary, president of the Haryana Students Association of the university. Ravneet Sandhu, a psychologist, is of the view that a change has to be incorporated in the attitude of a particular section of society towards this social evil. The mob tendency needs to be urgently addressed and refresher courses can be introduced in rural areas on the changing socio-economic environment. We hope that beginning is made.



Degree fake
Tribune News Service

Kharar, July 25
Lucknow University has declared the PhD certificate of Col Amar Jit Singh (retd), former principal of Sachdeva Engineering College for Girls, as fake. The Tribune had sent his degree to the university. “We have scrutinised the certificate and it is fake. The signatures of the VC, AS Brar, are also fake,” Prof Surendra Kumar Dwivedi, director of the Institute of Publication and Public Relation of the university, said.

Even the VC had taken strict notice of the fake certificate. “We would take up the matter very soon,” he said. “For technical courses, there is a separate university named UP Technical University. This certificate is an eye opener for us as well. The culprit should be booked for fraud,” he added. Meanwhile, despite the fact that Amar Jit Singh resigned from the post two days ago, the website of the college still mentions him as the principal and also contains his photograph. Sources said he had worked as manager of the Mohali Club, Sector 65, for a year. Officials at the club said he had left about a year ago to join as principal of the college. 



Corporal Punishment
Tardy probe: Admn under pressure?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The city administration has seemed to come under pressure from vested interests to go slow on the enquiry in the corporal punishment case against a teacher of St John’s High School, Sector 26.

Though the administration denies succumbing to any sort of influence, reliable sources said the city’s who’s who and even politicians were mounting pressure on the administration to put cap on the enquiry since the reputation of the school was at stake in the case.

Since day one, the school has been shying away from the enquiry as the authorities refused to collect the letter sent by the administration informing them about the enquiry officer’s visit to the school. Later, the school relented and accepted the letter following insistence from the administration.

However, making the administration’s stand clear to deliver justice and stating that the ruling of the Supreme Court against corporal punishment would be honoured, Home-cum-Education Secretary Ram Niwas said, “We are determined to conduct a fair enquiry into the matter and justice will be delivered. We have received the video recording of the classmates of the child narrating the entire incident and the official deputed for the enquiry is very honest.”

Meanwhile, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Neeharika Rai, who has been marked the enquiry by the Education Secretary, is believed to have a clean reputation and is said to be an officer of honest dealing.

Moreover, the tenure of the SDM is nearing end in the city as she has been transferred to Delhi.

On being contacted the parents of the child, Akshay Singh, acknowledged that they were aware of pressures mounting from all quarters to dump the case.

“We have full faith in the administration, the school and the enquiry officer. The administration has assured us that it is committed to its own initiative of zero tolerance to corporal punishment,” said Mandeep Singh, father of Akshay.

Meanwhile, the SDM had recorded the statements of the teacher accused, Reema, who was on substitution in Class III on the day of incident and had allegedly slapped the child several times and humiliated him in the class by asking the children to laugh at him and call him a “D-grade child”.

The enquiry officer also recorded statements of Akshay, his parents and the principal of the school, Kavita Das, and the report will be submitted to the Education Secretary on Monday.


Lack of fire-fighting equipment
Fire dept seals hotel 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The city’s fire and emergency department today sealed two multi-storied buildings in Sector 34 for ignoring its directions regarding fulfilling the fire safety norms.

The fire department’s team first sealed SCO 96-97, which housed an educational institute, courier service office and other private offices. The second building to be sealed was SCO 356-357, which belongs to local BJP leader’s brother, HL Mahajan. It houses a fitness centre, a hotel and offices of a few private companies. Mahajan claimed that the move was unjustified as after the fire department’s notice he had got all fire-fighting equipment installed. He had also through a letter dated June 5 informed the chief fire officer about it. We have after installing all fire-fighting equipment in the building requested the department inspect and then withdraw the notice. Mahajan added that he plans to move the court against the department’s high-handedness.

Those occupying the building objected the sealing drive on a plea that they had already installed the equipment and were waiting for the NOC. They said that they would meet the Home Secretary on Monday for getting their premises opened. While station fire officer S.K.Gosain said the owners of both buildings were warned on numerous occasions about this violations. 



Ajay Goyal launches Lokmantra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
“Chandigarh, the 20th century city can bring about a change in the political as well as the social set up”, opined Ajay Goyal, who fought the last Lok Sabha elections as an Independent candidate from here.

Goyal, who originally hails from Kurukshetra, said today that his aim was to raise real the issues which directly help the masses in changing their vision and brightening their future prospects though a series of initiatives on a platform named “ Lokmantra”. Goyal emphasised on developing the e-governance programme, through website or helpline phones which would help people share their problems and suggestions with their parliamentary representative easily.

“Though I could only pile up 465 votes from here, still my aspirations for the next five years would be to solve the basic problems like unhygienic drinking water, public toilets, pollution, employment, land grabs by mafias etc through democratic way,” he added.

“I am drafting special programmes and would be investing accordingly in fields like education, culture and sports. Besides, eminent personalities in these fields, the young Turks too would also be involved. I will also develop a policy document to replace the Land Acquisition Act 1894,” he added.



Talwars admit to tax evasion?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Tax evasion to the tune of Rs 16 crore has, reportedly, been admitted by the proprietors of Sector 22-based Talwar Jewellers here today. Income tax officials had conducted raids yesterday on at least 12 commercial premises, including houses of the Talwars and their relatives at several places. 

The raids were still on till the filing of the report, but sources confirmed that more tax evasion would come to light. “The final details on the recoveries are still to come and more than enough wealth disproportionate to their disclosed income can come to the fore,” an income tax official stated.



Civic Amenities - V 
This rot won’t go away
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 25
The state of sanitation in Mohali is unsatisfactory with the Municipal Council failing to ensure the daily cleaning of localities.

Heaps of garbage, dry leaves and garden waste can be seen lying in different parts of the town. Garbage can also be seen scattered around collection bins. In the Industrial Area, no containers have been provided for the collection of garbage as locations where these have to be placed have not been identified so far. People dump garbage wherever they feel like.

Even though the Municipal Council claims that garbage is lifted daily, heaps were seen lying yesterday on the road separating Phases II and IV, main road adjoining the mango garden, on the dividing road of Lambian village and Phase VIII, near traffic lights of Phases III B 1 and VII, a green belt in Phase II and market areas of Phases III B 2 and V.

The council spends nearly Rs 1.50 crore on sanitation work in the residential area and has hired two contractors in this regard. The town has been divided into four zones and each contractor takes care of sanitation work in two zones.

As per the terms of the agreement the contractors have to get the roads cleaned on a daily basis, but this was not being done.

The work of sanitation in the Industrial Area is done by safai karamcharis of the civic body.

Councillor Kuljit Singh Bedi living in Phase III B 2 said the state of sanitation was very poor in his ward. A garbage collection point in the market area was not only an eyesore for those who came to make purchases, foul smell also made life miserable for those who frequented the Rose Garden and a gurdwara in Phase III B 1.

The ‘apni mandi’ held in his ward also created problems for residents who lived close to that area as rotten vegetables left there were not lifted on a priority basis by employees of the Mandi Board.

Albel Singh Shyan, a social worker living in Phase V, said heaps of garbage could be seen in the area around ITI for Girls and he met council officials on Thursday to get these removed.

President of the Mohali Industries Association BS Anand said repeated requests to the civic body to provide garbage containers in the area over the past two years had proved futile. Maintenance of sanitation had become a problem because people dumped garbage wherever they saw a small heap already lying.



Policemen record false statement
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 25
Role of certain Mohali police officials has come under the scanner for recording false statement to facilitate issuing of a passport by the Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh. On the basis of false verification, a married woman, Jasmine Sandhu, was able to get two passports — one issued by the Regional Passport Office, Gaziabad, and the second from the Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh.

Pointing out the role of the police officials, the husband of the woman, Badan Singh Sandhu, a resident of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, has sought registration of case against police officials who did a wrong verification. He has also served a legal notice to the chief passport officer, New Delhi, Home Secretary, Punjab, and DGP, Punjab Police.

He said his wife, who is in matrimonial dispute with him, did not disclose the pendency of the criminal case against her and also did not give correct address as well as the information about the earlier passport when she applied to the Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh, for issuance of a new passport.

Under the law, she was not entitled to have two passports at the same time. He has sought registration of case under Sections 465, 467, 468, 471, 420 and 120-B of the IPC and under the Passport Act as well.



No breakthrough in missing realtor’s case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 25
More than one and half months after Deepak Rai Saggar, a local property dealer, was kidnapped, the family of the victim has said to have received two letters regarding the whereabouts of the realtor.

The family said in one of the letters a Meerut resident claimed to have seen the car of Saggar. The car was sold to someone, said the letter.

The person who wrote the letter claimed that he saw the car being sold when he had been looking for a car for himself. While he was short of money, the car with the same number plate that of Saggar was purchased by some one else, the letter further said.

Another letter was received from Amla in Madhya Pradesh in which it was claimed that the scribe knew about the whereabouts of Saggar.

Sameer, the son of the kidnapped realtor, further said though both the letters were handed over to the police a week ago, they were not informed about any progress in this direction.

Meanwhile, disappointed over no breakthrough in the case, the family has decided to hold a protest march against the police next week in the town with the help of a property dealer association of tricity.



Dhillon’s sisters, too, join in
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 25
The Congress candidate from Banur, Deepinder Singh Dhillon, completed first phase of campaigning today at Haripur Hinduan, Jolly, Batouli, Juharpur, Nagla, Sanouli, Singhpura, Bhoota, Satabgarh, Dialpura, Jhuggian and Nabha villages.

Seeking support of the voters, he said although Akalis had ruled this region, their contribution in development of the area had never been satisfactory. Other Congress leaders like Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Avtar Singh Barar, Rana KP Singh and Amarjit Singh Samra addressed a series of election meetings.

Dhillon was assisted by his NRI sisters, Nirpjit Virk, Nippi Chhina and Pinki Sandhu, who joined the campaign with him today. They visited Kishanpura village, Adarsh Colony, Singhpura and Saini Vihar. 



Trinamool Cong leader attacked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Shambu Banerjee, a Trinamool Congress leader, in a complaint lodged with the police alleged that a few unidentified persons attacked him with sticks and swords near the Mauli Jagraon police post.

According to the police, the Trinamool Congress leader received a call on his cell phone. As there was some problem with the network coverage he came out his Scorpio to receive the call.

A car screeched to a halt near him. Without any provocation five unidentified persons attacked him with swords and sticks. He sustained injuries and rushed towards home and called the police.

Later, he was taken to Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, for treatment. A case has been registered in this regard.



Now, book railway tickets at post office 
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 25
Mohali residents can now book railway tickets at the Phase I post office as the facility of reservation of tickets through passenger reservation system was launched here today.

The ticket reservation counter was inaugurated by Col Prithvi Raj Kumar, chief post master general, Punjab and UT. He said this was the second reservation counter opened in a post office in Punjab, first being in Patiala.

He said by the end of this month 12 post offices in the state would have railway reservation counters. There was a target to set up railway reservation counters in 100 post offices by March 31 next year, he added.

He said the matter of keeping the counter functional even on Sundays was under consideration.

This counter will help to reduce pressure on booking counters in Chandigarh and residents of one part of the town will also not have to go all the way to the railway station in Phase IX, Industrial Area, for booking of tickets.



Property agents meet DC
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 25
A delegation of Mohali Property Consultants Association today met (Regd) the Deputy Commissioner, Prabhjot Singh Mand, to demand registration of the Conveyance Deed at the allotment price to the re-allottees on the pattern of original allottees.

The delegation also discussed issues related to the betterment of Mohali. The Deputy Commissioner gave various suggestions to the delegation like cleanliness drive and tree plantation. 



Placement drive at engg institute
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, July 25
Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology organised a joint placement drive on the campus of the engineering college here yesterday.

Various colleges affiliated to PTU, Jalandhar, were invited. Prof Avtar Singh, chairman, Sri Sukhmani Group of Institutes, and director Kanwaljit Kaur inaugurated the placement drive.

The expert panel led by Varinder Dhavan from ICICI visited the campus for recruiting students of all branches at posts of agency manager along with high pay packages. The company representatives briefed about the profile and future objectives of the organisation and stated that the organisation targets to recruiting students with good managerial and communication skills.

Students from BTech, MBA, MCA, took the preliminary test during the drive. Prof Avtar Singh advised the shortlisted students to pursue their goals with dedication. He encouraged them to plan and organise their careers and enhance job prospects.



From Schools
DPI told to make newspaper reading mandatory
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
As a part of the ongoing campaign of administering Anti- Drug Pledge in all Government Model and Non-Model Schools of Chandigarh, UT Home-cum-Education Secretary Ram Niwas today administered the pledge at Government High School, Sector 24, and Government Girls High School, Sector 25.

Speaking about the fundamental rights and fundamental duties, he stated that it is everyone’s duty to keep the surroundings neat and clean. He further directed DPI (S), Samwartak Singh to make newspaper reading mandatory in the morning assembly of each government school.

He also planted a sapling at Government High School, Sector 24, and at a park in Sector 22-B.

The campaign was launched on July 21, 2009, at Government High School, Sector 7. The campaign is an initiative of the State Institute of Education under the Population Education Project. Nearly 60 Non-Model Schools will be covered in the next five weeks and a pledge will be administered everyday in two schools by the officials of the education department nominated by DPI (s).



Booklet on environment released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Sohanjana Eco Club of he GMSSS, Sector 46, celebrated the tree plantation day on the school premises here today.

A booklet edited by Om Prakash “Voice of the Sohanjana Eco Club” was released on the occasion. The booklet disseminates knowledge on the vital issues of 

Plantation drive

The “Go green campaign” was kept alive by a week-long tree plantation drive at GMSSS, Sector 40-D, with the slogan and poster-making competition held on the school premises here today.

The celebrations were concluded with a prize distribution function at the school and prizes for the events held on the Bio-Diversity Day and the Earth Day were given away by UT Deputy DEO Chanchal Singh here.



Vanmahotsav celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Plantation of saplings, along with an entertainment programme on various environmental issues, marked the Van Mahotsav celebrations in Sacred Heart Convent School, Sector 26, here today. The chief guest Dr Kakoli Biswas, head of the bio-technology department at DAV College, talked about the importance of conserving the environment and planting trees.

She stressed on the involvement of the younger generation in preserving the natural heritage of the earth. Use of plastic was highlighted as a major agent of environmental degradation and the urgent need to ban it was stressed upon. Students of the school participated enthusiastically in various activities, like fancy dress competition, ballet performance and sapling distribution.



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