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St John’s Case
School told to terminate teacher’s services
Else criminal case recommended against her
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 29
In an unprecedented move, the UT senior standing counsel has recommended the registration of a criminal case under the Sections 323 and 352 of the IPC against the teacher of St John’s High School, who was accused of corporal punishment, in case the school fails to terminate her services immediately.

In a legal opinion to the administration, Anupam Gupta said the teacher, Reema Talwar, was guilty of “cruel and inhuman behaviour” and “inhumanity of the teacher was compounded by the moral callousness of her denial of use of physical force”.

It elaborated that the video recording of classmates of Akshay Singh, a student of class III, was an “agitated retelling, too natural to doubt” and leaves a permanent impression.

The report highlighted that the range and depth of autonomy enjoyed by the private educational institutions under law do not comprehend the right to brutalise young children.

It also stated that the brutal physical act exceeded all norms of civilised teaching and in spite of confessing, the teacher chose to “fight it out”.

The opinion of the counsel also mentioned the failure of the principal and the school management to take an action till “as late as yesterday, when suspension came after media reports, which reflects a clear failure of leadership”.

In its conclusion, the report said the incident and the manner in which it had been handled by the institution, both call for an “immediate termination” of services of the teacher.

It is suggested that if the school fails to follow the advice, the administration should proceed to take the case to its logical end by directing the registration of a criminal case against the teacher.

Meanwhile, the school authorities could not be contacted for comments when the legal opinion was released.

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City Beautiful’s Ugly face
Sector 8 turning into garbage dump
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Sector 8 here is fast losing its status of being one of the posh sectors of the City Beautiful. It is gradually being converted into another slum-like area, thanks to the indifferent and callous attitude of the Municipal Corporation.

Despite it being one of the oldest sectors, the authorities have failed to construct a single “Sehaj Safai Kender” (SSK), which is used to collect garbage of the whole area. The residents have themselves made temporary arrangements at various places for the collection of garbage. The authorities had allocated land for the construction of one SSK last year, but till date, the B&R department has not started the construction. Even for another proposed SSK, the authorities have yet to finalise the space.

Even the condition of green belts in the area is also in a sorry state of affair, as the corporation has failed to maintain them properly. While visiting a few green belts, it was found that some of the green zones instead of providing a whiff of fresh air to the residents, have been converted into garbage dumps. The parks are surrounded by long grass as during monsoons, nobody bothers to cut them. The MC had never bothered to ameliorate the civic amenities in the sector, say the residents.

A member of the Resident Welfare Association stated that two years ago they had received a letter from the corporation that they were going to clean road gullies of the area before monsoon but till date nobody had turned up for the same. The residents in Sector 8 stated that the authorities adopted indifferent attitude towards the maintenance of these parks. At some places the welfare societies look after and maintain these parks. They added that a majority of the gardeners deployed for the upkeep of the parks spend their time taking care of the lawns in private houses. “Hence they never devote much time for the parks allotted to them.”

According to area councillor Chander Mukhi, the proposal of two SSK were pending with the authorities for more than three years but the work had not started yet. He said he had written to the department concerned a number of times but all in vain. He said it was strange that for routine works the councillors had to make requests to the departments concerned.

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When car robber openly cocked a snook at law
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Making good use of the Life Skill Education Programme (LSEP) taught at his school, a 13-year-old boy escaped from the clutches of a miscreant in the Sector 35 market here recently. However, the brave boy could not stop the robber from taking away his father’s car in which he was sitting in the parking lot.

Sharing his harrowing experience of those minutes, Ayuesh Bajaj of Sector 20-D and a class VIII student of St John’s School, Sector 26, still finds it hard to come to terms with the incident that occurred in Sector 35 on July 24.

The incident has, meanwhile, put the law and order situation under scanner, as robbers and anti-social elements are considering the city as a safe place to carry out their nefarious activities.

Ayuesh was waiting in the Honda City car (CH 03 J 5133), which was parked on the road dividing Sectors 34 and 35, for his father who had gone to buy some sweets from the Sector 35 market.

“I was listening to the music, sitting in c-passenger’s seat when suddenly door of the driver side opened. I thought my father had arrived, but was shocked to see a man wearing a helmet entering my car. I told him to get out, but the man slapped me and turned on the ignition, leaving me stunned,” said Ayuesh.

He further added that before he could raise his voice, the man, appearing to be in his mid-twenties, slapped him again and drove the car. “As the car was picking speed, I mustered courage to jump out of it, which was difficult from the speeding car. The car’s speed was around 30 kmph. I fell on the grass along the road. The driver did not stop and drove towards the Hotel Southend rotary. Suddenly darkness enveloped me, as I stood there stunned for at least three minutes, failing to understand what had happened with me,” narrated Ayuesh.

Ayuesh’s father Rakesh Bajaj said Ayuesh came to him, crying with his sleeper and told him that someone had taken away our car after assaulting him. Shocked, I immediately dialed “100” for police assistance and the attendant, a woman, asked me to hold on and transferred the call to someone else.

“I informed him to flash the message, giving details of the car and my location. After five minutes, a policeman on motorcycle came to me and asked what had happened. I told him that the robbers could be traced, as it was not long he had snatched the car. After 10 minutes, DSP (South) Jaswant Singh Khaira reached there and he contacted his Mohali counterparts, giving details of the car, said Rakesh.

Had the police acted swiftly after getting the information, the robber could have been nabbed within the city limits. The police had registered a case under Section 382 of the Indian Penal Code, but has not been able to trace the car or the robber till now.

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More trouble for Mukherjee panel
After MC, MHA ‘questions’ its formation
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Close on the heels of the Congress-dominated Chandigarh Municipal Corporation rejecting the PK Mukherjee committee formed by the UT administration to review the working of the civic body, the committee has hit another roadblock.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has “rejected” the very composition of the panel formed in the backdrop of the tug-of-war between Mayor Kamlesh and Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria.

Sources said MHA officials’ “annoyance” at the formation of the committee was conveyed to senior UT officials, including Home Secretary Ram Niwas and Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, at a high-level review meeting at New Delhi yesterday.

Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and local MP Pawan Bansal had also taken strong exception to the composition of the committee. Bansal's objections, besides other things, are primarily seen as reasons for the MHA questioning the very formation of the committee.

The MHA officials reportedly desired that a senior official should have associated with the committee as the member-secretary, besides an expert as the member. Apart from nominated councillor PK Mukherjee, the committee had Chandermukhi Sharma, a Congress councillor, Iqbal Singh Sokhi, a former government engineer, and Sanjiv Malik, a businessman, as the members.

The panel was to assess the performance of the corporation during the past five years and the usefulness of the “highly controversial” study tours undertaken during the past five years by councillors and officials. Identifying loopholes in the existing administrative mechanism and suggest ways and means for making implementation of the Punjab Municipal Act more effective were other terms of reference of the committee.

Recommendations regarding expeditious decision-making process on important issues, improving functioning of the corporation, identifying projects adversely affected due to Mayor-Commissioner tussle were the other terms of reference of the committee.

However, before the committee could get down to work, Sharma was virtually forced to resign by the party from the panel. And, there was uproar at the selection of Mukherjee as chairman given his “non-performance” in various other committees of the corporation.

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Morni ‘Robbery’
Police fails to nab Sofat
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 29
A police party dispatched to Ludhiana in search of Sumit Sofat returned empty handed today as he was not in the town. Later, the police got the information that he was in Chandigarh to consult legal experts for applying for anticipatory bail in the court, said sources. The policemen were also deputed in plain clothes at probable places in Chandigarh as well as in Panchkula, but to no avail, said the police.

Sofat, who lodged a complaint with the police stating that he was robbed of Rs 33 lakh by Ramesh Pashan and his sons at Morni hills on Sunday, came under the police scanner as he allegedly cooked up the story.

This was revealed when the Pashan family appeared before the police and produced evidence proving that they were in Ludhiana at the time of the incident. After this, Sofat stopped responding the telephonic calls from the police. This led to suspicion over the role of Sofat in the incident. The driver of Sofat suffered two bullet injuries in his chest in the incident.

Sofat alleged that Ramesh Pashan and his two sons - Vinayak and Abhinav - with the help of their driver Ranjit and two other unidentified persons, attacked him and injured his driver Nelson. He alleged that they took away Rs 33 lakh from his Tata Safari.

Both the parties were already in dispute over a piece of land since 2005, said the police.

The Pashan family, however, claimed that they were busy in solemnising the ring ceremony of Vinayak on the said day. To cement their claims, they presented photographs and a CD of the ring ceremony.

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Rain belies MC claims, hits life in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The heavy showers since last night flooded almost all parts of the city today, dashing the tall claims of the Municipal Corporation that there would be no waterlogging this season.

Municipal Corporation officials have repeatedly gone on record saying that they have made foolproof arrangements to ensure that the city will not face any waterlogging.

However, the morning showers flooded the city and also left an impact in the outer colonies. The sewerage system was totally blocked and the residents had no option except to vent their ire on the corporation officials.

Students particularly had a hard time, when they had to wade through the stranded water for going to their schools in the morning.

Rain brought misery for residents of some pockets in the city as water entered their houses, causing problems. Roads in various parts of the city got flooded and it became difficult for vehicles to pass through easily.

Residents of police line complained that the rainwater entered their houses. They said they had been facing the problem for last many years, but the authorities concerned had not bothered to resolve the problem.

One of the residents said every year, during the rainy season, there was a problem of water-logging. They have approached the authorities, repeatedly to make a proper drainage system for draining of the rainwater, but to no avail. Affected residents have themselves to find out the ways, to stop rainwater from entering their houses.

They said the basic problem was that the authorities concerned had never supervised proper cleaning of the gullies in the colony.

The low-lying areas of the colonies, which are prone to flooding in the monsoons, were worst affected. A resident said, "Monsoon is the season everybody dreads as one is sure of flooded roads and non-functional storm water and drainage system. People in many areas are practically marooned during this season."

The worst affected areas today were Madrasi Colony, adjacent to Bapu Dham Colony, Mauli Jagran, Kajheri rehabilitation and Colony No. 4.

A cross-section of residents, while talking to The Tribune, said the same story repeated every year. They had repeatedly made requests to the authorities and had even pressed their representatives. Every year, false promises were made and the stock answer was that the things would be perfect during the next monsoons.

Sham of Mauli Jagran said in the absence of regular cleaning of storm water drainage, the water got accumulated on the roads and movement of pedestrians and vehicle-owners became difficult in view of the slush.

In addition to this, the roads were in such a bad shape and even brief shower was enough to disrupt normal life.

They met department recorded 122 mm rain today with the maximum temperature of 26.4 degrees Celsius and minimum of 22.4 degrees Celsius.

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Trains run behind schedule
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Many trains were running behind their schedule today, causing inconvenience to passengers. There was water-logging at various places between Chandigarh and Dappar.

The Shatabdi Express arrived almost an hour late and the Himalayan Queen arrived from 40 to 45 minutes late at the Chandigarh railway station.

The Jaipur Express was four hours late, while Janshatabdi arrived 30 minutes late. Chandigarh station superintendent RK Dutta said the situation was back to normal once the rains stopped, so there was nothing to be worried about anymore.

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Zirakpur man electrocuted
Residents block NH for over three hours
Tribune News Service


Agitated residents block the Zirakpur-Panchkula Highway on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Zirakpur, July 29
The morning downpour took its toll when a 45-year-old Zirakpur resident was electrocuted while he was trying to save the inverter from rainwater that entered his house.

Meanwhile, the irked residents blocked the Zirakpur-Kalka National Highway for more than three hours, raising slogans against Municipal Council president NK Sharma and the administration for failing to remove encroachments from the nullah that according to them is resulted in waterlogging in that area.

The deceased has been identified as Kamal Sharma, a resident of Bharat Enclave. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. His wife is working in BRS Dental College. His daughters, Shivani (15) is a student of Class X in KB DAV Sector 7, Chandigarh, and Ishani (17) is a medical student of Government Model School, Sector 18, Chandigarh.

According to neighbours, the incident took place when Kamal tried to remove the inverter after water entered his house. Sharma was electrocuted and he fell down on the floor. His two daughters also received electric shocks. After hearing their cries Sunita raised the alarm and called her neighbours.

In a meantime, the neighbours cut off the electricity supply from the transformer and entered the house. They rushed Kamal to the Sector 6 Civil Hospital, Panchkula, where he was declared brought dead.

The body was taken to the Dera Bassi Civil Hospital for post-mortem.

After hearing the news, the residents of Bharat Enclave and Vikas Nagar blocked the national highway for more than three hours. They alleged that Kamal’s life could have been saved if there was proper drainage of rainwater.

Preet Atri, a resident of Bharat Enclave said though the MC had laid the sewerage line, but it was not functional yet. He added that their pleas had fallen on deaf ears.

Another resident Jeevan Garg said that as nullah was blocked and encroached, water enters their houses.

Meanwhile, vehicular traffic was diverted through Dhakoli and Baltana. The blockade was lifted after three hours on the assurance of Dera Bassi SDM Puneet Goyal and DSP JS Khaira.

The SDM said he had called a meeting of patwaris, and officials of the National Highways Authority of India, drainage department, executive officer, Zirakpur, and revenue officer tomorrow. “We would verify the records and strict action would be taken against the violators,” he added.

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Rain makes patients’ condition miserable
Our Correspondent


Rainwater leaks from the roof of a ward at Government Hospital, Mohali; and (below) a sweeper cleans water from the ward on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, July 29
Rain has exposed the poor condition of the Civil Hospital’s building, where leakage began in the female ward here today.

On reaching the hospital, doctors found that the patients in the female ward had been facing a tough time as beds had got wet and there was water on the floor as well. The area had become quite messy.

There was a lot of leakage in the female ward and the nurses’ duty room. The patients were then shifted to vacant rooms adjacent to the labour room. Nurses were also asked to shift to another room.

It is reported that some patients, who were in an advanced stage of recovery, were discharged from the hospital for the fear of some infection, which could crop up due to humid weather. Cleaning of the area went on for most part of the day.

Dr Meena Hardeep Singh , who was in charge of the hospital in the absence of the SMO, said the problem of leakage started because construction work was going on at the first floor-level as the building was being extended.

The contractor was called to the hospital to bring the problem faced by patients to his notice. He had assured that there would be no leakage in the area from tomorrow.

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First Person
The travails of aam aadmi at GMCH-32
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Congress may have hyped the stature of “aam aadmi” with its sloganeering, but being “aam” is nothing but a curse. And perhaps the best place to witness the pains of the “aam aadmi” is government-run hospital, where his sufferings get compounded by callous and nonchalant attitude of staff, be it nurses, doctors or technicians.

Though being a journalist has its advantages vis-à-vis getting access to facilities, which are not that easily accessible to the “aam aadmi”, call it my foolhardiness that I decided to go to the GMCH-32 for my wife’s treatment without “pulling the strings”.

And the 12 harrowing days that I have spent to get a few blood tests done made me realise what the “aam aadmi” goes through everyday.

Neither did I mind standing in the long queues nor did I feel disgusted with the overcrowded and cramped waiting halls. What hit me the most was the indifferent attitude of the staff. The manner in which they treat a majority of the patients is nothing but disgusting. We despise policemen for their rude and rustic behaviour, but believe me, I found the attitude of the staff members similar to it.

It all started on July 17 (Friday) when my wife’s gynaecologist prescribed some tests. The nurse, after giving an unconcerned look at the card, asked her to go to the cash counter and deposit the fee. However, the counter attendant informed her that the time was over and she’ll have to come back the next day.

After waiting patiently in the queue the next day, when our turn came, the attendant informed us that the “details” of the test were not given on the card and we should contact the gynaecology ward nurse, who had incidentally checked the card a day earlier.

Then it was a 40-minute wait for the nurse who was busy elsewhere. And when she finally came, she just handed over the required forms and didn’t even show courtesy of expressing her regrets for the inconvenience caused to us.

I thought to question her but a nudge from my wife that the time was running out for making the payment made me change my mind. I ran down the stairs to the ground floor but the otherwise unpunctual staff showed impeccable punctuality in closing the counter.

Disappointed, I returned home but did return on Monday morning at sharp 7 am. I successfully deposited the fee and went to the lab and patiently waited for my turn. And when it came, the technicians query, “khali pet aye ho? (Have you come empty stomach?),” stumped me, as no one had told us that. “Yeh to doctor ka kaam hai, kal aana”, he said, as he got busy with the next patient.

Another day went waste. I returned again on Tuesday and when my turn came, after a wait for almost one-and-a-half hour, the technician told us that we had to bring a syringe for the blood test. Determined to get the test done, I ran to the chemist shop and bought the Rs-5 syringe and as I was walking back I wondered how worthless the system was. Why couldn’t they charge Rs 170 instead of Rs 165 for the test? Why couldn’t the nurse briefed us properly and saved us from these hassles of running around, I thought.

But nevertheless I was happy that finally the tests were over. However, this happiness of mine was short-lived when the technician told me that one of the tests prescribed by the doctors was conducted only on Monday.

As I pen this piece, I wait for Monday i.e. August 3, which will be exactly 15 days since my ordeal started. And incidentally on that day 31 days of the 100-day agenda announced by the union health minister to revamp the health sector would expire. So let’s see what wonders work in the remaining 69 days.

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CITCO employees to get revised scales
Tribune News Service

Chandigah, July 29
The employees of the Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO) have reasons to smile. The corporation decided to implement the revised pay scales according to the Sixth Pay Commission during the Board of Directors (BoDs) meet held today under the chairmanship of UT Home Secretary-cum-Chairman CITCO Ram Niwas today.

The revised scales will be effective from January 1, 2006. Managing Director DK Tiwari said the process would cost over Rs 9.5 crore to the corporation to settle the arrears of the employees, which would be paid in a phased manner over two years.

“It would tentatively be an additional load of around 50 lakh per month to the corporation with the implementation of the new scales. An amount of 5 crore would be disbursed in the first year and the rest would be kept for next year,” he said.

While welcoming the move, the CITCO Employees Union chairman Kashmir Singh said it was a long-pending due of the employees.

The BoD had also approved the CITCO Employees Service Regulation, which will be applicable and regulate appointments and promotions of all categories of posts of CITCO.

According to the new set-up, it has been decided that to facilitate the existing employees, qualification would not be the criterion for the first promotion.

“The decision has been taken to adjust some favourites. Otherwise also, it would be difficult to compete with the stiff competition in the hospitality industry with a bunch of underqualified officials,”, said some employees.

In another decision, the BoDs, after observing the rising cost of processing of food items, service charges and maintenance, decided to raise the tariff to the tune of 10 per cent of all its hotels.

The enhanced rates would be applicable to room rent, banquet hall charges, party charges, food and beverages of restaurants etc.

Meanwhile, one of the non-official directors Surinder Kumar today resigned from the post due to personal reasons. Confirming this, DK Tiwari said, “It was just a one-liner about his quitting decision.”

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UT goes out of way to retain Rao
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Even as the extended tenure of UT Deputy Commissioner (DC) RK Rao ended today, the UT administration seems to be bending over backwards to retain him till his replacement was received from the Centre.

In an apparent violation of rules and regulations, Rao was not relieved even though his two-month extension ended today. The UT move is surprising with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reportedly refusing even short-term extension to the 1991-batch IAS officer from Haryana.

Recently, the Union government had refused one-year extension to Rao despite UT Administrator SF Rodrigues' “strong recommendation” in favour of the “trusted” officer, who is considered close to the Raj Bhavan.

So much so the administrator had even requested the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on phone to let the administration retain Rao for a short time in the backdrop of the Independence Day celebrations.

The four-year tenure of Rao, who had spent a major part of his career in Chandigarh, had ended on May 29. He was allowed to continue for two more months till today as his case for extension was pending with the Central government.

According to sources, the MHA was the competent authority to grant three-month extension to officer and in case of Rao, this has not happened. Last year, former CITCO managing director JS Bir was repatriated to Punjab following the expiry his three-month extension period.

Even former Home Secretary Krishan Mohan, for whose extension the UT administration tried its level best, was also repatriated to Haryana on the day of expiry of his tenure.

The UT had already recommended the name of Faridabad DC Brijendra Singh for UT DC’s post to the Central government.

Saying that Rao had been retained till the Centre clears the name of the new DC, official sources, however, claimed that Rao's retention was according to rules. Rao would be relieved the day the new DC takes charge, sources added.

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NRI Flat
Sangwan says he’s legal occupant; mgmt denies claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The dispute over the NRI Rajesh Goyal’s flat No.1833 in Sector 49, Nirwana Cooperative House Building Society (first), gets curious once again.

Mohinder Singh Sangwan today claimed himself to be the “legal occupant” of flat No. 1833 whereas the management of the society denounced his claim.

Though the matter is still pending for final verdict in the civil court, Sangwan said the police was twisting the facts as he had been granted an anticipatory bail from the High Court.

“I have been “officially authorised” by the society management to get the possession of the flat that I did. Since the matter was in the court, stay has been granted on the occupancy rights of the flat. It is for the court to decide the rightful. Moreover, the police is distorting the facts as I have been granted anticipatory bail from the High Court on June 29,” he said.

Whereas the management of the society today specifically claimed, in written, that the flat No. 1833 (ground floor) was allotted to NRI Rajesh Goyal only and the GPA member of Amrik Singh Garcha, Sangwan, had been illegally occupying this flat.

“It was a self-made allotment letter got signed from me under threat, on the basis of which Sangwan is trying to stake his claim whereas Rajesh Goyal is the legal owner of the said flat. I have withdrawn that letter, too,” Kanwarjeet Singh, the president of the society, said.

The management further claimed that some members of the society were creating confusion by giving distorting versions to hide their illegal acts.

“Actually, the verdict of the court regarding the trespassing act committed by Sangwan is awaited and the matter is subjudice. But, Sangwan wishes to escape from law by creating confusion. The stand of the society is clear that only rightful owners should occupy their flats as per allotment letters instead of “self made” letters that were never issued by the society,” Kanwarjeet added.

Meanwhile, the case is under investigation by the Sector 34 police station.

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Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link by 2011
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Elaborating on the future plans of the Ambala Division of the Northern Railways, Divisional Railway Manager HK Jaggi today interacted with the media at the Press Club during a press conference.

Talking about two of the most coveted projects, Chandigarh-Amritsar and Chandigarh-Ludhiana links, the DRM said that both these projects would be possible only when Chanidgarh-Morinda track gets fully electrified, which is expected by August-end.

Replying to a query on completion of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link, the DRM said the track would be complete by 2011.

“Between the link from Morinda to Ludhiana, land acquisition was a problem initially. But just last month all the land has been acquired and the work on the first 20-km stretch had already begun. The total 51-km stretch between Morinda-Ludhiana would soon be ready so the entire 110-km line between Chandigarh and Ludhiana should be working in the next couple of years,” said Jaggi.

Regarding the Chandigarh-Amritsar rail track, he said was a plan for a bypass at New Morinda that would facilitate an engine reversal at Sirhind and also prove fruitful in capturing heavy passenger traffic to Amritsar. If this works successfully, journey from Chandigarh to Amritsar would not take more than four-and-a-half hour, he added.

For the increased demand for parcel traffic with Baddi in Himachal Pradesh coming up as an industrial hub, Jaggi said the division plans to run special parcel trains that might also carry perishable commodities, which were in demand in other states.

The DRM also talked on strengthening of security at the main stations by installing proper entry and exit methods, CCTV cameras and excess baggage checking counters.

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Demand for restoration of Chief Commissioner’s post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Close on the heels of eminent persons writing to the Prime Minister demanding the restoration of the post of Chief Commissioner for Chandigarh, UT employees yesterday supported the demand.

The demand found support at the convention of the UT employees held at the Gandhi Smarak Bhavan in Sector 16 here.

Demanding the restoration of the post of the Chief Commissioner, Rakesh Kumar, convener of the Coordination Committee of Government and MC Employees and Workers, UT Chandigarh, also urged the administration to fulfill various long-pending demands of the UT staff.

It may be recalled that various organisations had batted for the switching over to the Chief Commissioner system. The current system, under which the Punjab Governor was also the UT Administrator, had come under cloud in the wake of certain major recent decisions by the current administrator.

Meanwhile, over 250 representatives of various departments of the UT administration attended the convention. Among other demands of the UT staff were central pay scales, regularisation of daily wage workers and work-charged employees, removal of the 5 per cent ceiling from compensate appointments, filling up of vacant posts in various departments and an end to the privatisation in various departments.

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Meeting of social bodies held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
A meeting of monitoring committee and visitors’ committee of various welfare institutions, like Nari Niketan-26, Ashreya-47, Juvenile Justice Home-25 and Snehalaya at Maloya village, was held under the chairmanship of Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Social Welfare.

The meeting of the committees constituted in compliance of the directions given by the Punjab and Haryana High Court was attended by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), social workers, lawyers, volunteers and doctors.

Members of both the committees were apprised by the chairman that the monitoring committee consisting of three NGOs’ representatives and two directors -- Director Principal, GMCH-32, and Director, Social Welfare-- will be responsible to ensure that the basic amenities are provided to the inmates residing in the above institutes.

The Director, Social Welfare, being member-secretary of the committee, will ensure the visit of the monitoring committee to the institutions at least on a bi-monthly basis or as and when desired by the members.

With regard to the visitors’ committee, the members may visit the institutions individually as well as in small groups as per their convenience.

Any report submitted by a visitor regarding malfunctioning will be acted upon by a competent authority in the department concerned (Director Principal, GMCH-32, in case of Ashreya and Director, Social Welfare, in case of Nari Niketan, Snehalaya and Juvenile Justice Home) within one month from the date of its receipt and if found not feasible, a reasoned decision will be communicated to the visitor concerned within a period of one month from the date of its receipt.

The visitors will also be issued identity cards by the administration.

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Nominated councillors for say in development fund
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
If all goes well, the nominated councillors of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation would be empowered with a Rs 40-lakh fund for city development projects, as per the agenda to be tabled at the house meeting of the corporation.

As per the proposal mooted by the nominated councillors, there should be a provision of funds at the discretion councillors for public projects.

According to the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1972, the nominated councillors have no right to either become a mayor or the chairman of any committee, nor have they any development fund at their disposal for initiating a project.

Sources revealed that earlier a few nominated councillors had approached the administration with the suggestion that the development fund should be at their disposal as given to the elected councillors. They alleged that whenever they want to carry out any development work, they have to look towards area ward councillors or officials for help.

A senior official in the administration said the local government secretary had rejected their proposal on the grounds that the house of the Municipal Corporation should first approve this facility, only then the administration would consider it.

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Registration of Voters
Forms to be accepted in bulk
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 29
Residents of Panchkula, seeking their registration as voters, now can get rid of standing in the long queues to submit their application forms as the district administration has decided to accept the forms in bulk from the Resident Welfare Associations now onwards.

Till now, the applicant was required to submit the forms personally or the forms of a single family could be received by the authorities as per the instructions of the Election Commission.

“As the Election Commission of India relaxing the rules in this regard, has allowed to the Residents Welfare Association to submit the forms in bulk, all such organisations have been asked to avail the opportunity as the assembly elections in the state were due early next year,” said Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav.

In the past, the representatives of various political parties used to approach the Election Commission alleging that the application forms submitted by them on behalf of the residents of their respective constituencies were not entertained by the officials, said Yadav. Now, though the representatives of political parties were not authorised, however, the social organisations like Resident Welfare Associations could submit the forms on behalf of the residents of the locality, he said.

Similarly, the managements of the colleges in the district have been asked to motivate the students, who have attained the age of 18 years on January 1 this year to get them registered as voters, said Yadav.

They were also entitled to collect the filled-up forms from students and filed these with the officials, added the Deputy Commissioner.

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CRPF Chandigarh Range DIG promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Amarjeet Singh Sidhu, Deputy Inspector General, Central Reserve Police Force, Chandigarh Range, has been promoted as Inspector General of Police and posted to Jammu. He will take over his new appointment next week.

Sidhu was “pipped” with his new rank badges by RS Gill, Director General of Police, Punjab, today.

As nodal officer, Sidhu had supervised the induction and deployment of central forces during the recent Parliamentary elections. He is a veteran of anti-militant operations, having served in Punjab as SP Operations during the height of terrorism.

He was also instrumental in building and modernising the Police Recruits Training Centre at Jahan Khelan near Hoshiarpur, where 25,000 constabulary has been trained over the past six years. He is a recipient of Police Medal or Meritorious Services, The Director General’s Golden Disc and three Director General’s Commendations.

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RTI Act
Housefed ‘fails’ to provide info
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 29
Housefed, Punjab, has declined to provide information under the Right to Information Act, alleged Housefed Flat Sangharsh Committee, Sector 79, Mohali.

Naresh Kumar Trehan , president of the committee, said here today that members of the committee condemn the Housefed for not providing information demanded by an allottee under the RTI, 2005, even when the department had appointed a public information officer in this regard.

He said that Housefed had carried out a demand survey in 2003 for providing super deluxe flats at concessional rates in Sector 79, which got a good response. A draw of lots was held on March 3, 2004, and 632 persons were given allotment letters, but the construction of flats had not started so far even when the allottees had deposited big amounts after taking loans from banks.

Trehan said that the allottees were being told by the Housefed authorities that approval from GMADA was required to carry out construction, which was not being given.

The Chief Administrator, GMADA, however, told them that he had no objection for giving such an approval. It had not been made clear as to who was responsible for the delay in the construction work even when allottees were waiting for houses for the past six years, he said.

Naresh Kumar Trehan added that the Housefed Flat Sangharsh Committee would stage a dharna outside the office of the Housefed.

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UT BJP chief trains guns on Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
There is total anarchy in the functioning of the Congress-ruled Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, alleged UT BJP chief Kamla Sharma while talking to mediapersons here today.

Sharma said that it was strange that Mayor Kamlesh was giving excuses that development work in the city had come to a standstill due to strained relations with the officials. “It seems the Mayor has taken the clue from senior Congressmen and Member of Parliament not to do anything and pretend that she is helpless,” she said, adding that the SAD-BJP combine had shown fruitful results in the similar circumstances when they were at the helm of affairs in the MC.

Regarding enhancing of the powers of the councillors and the Mayor under the Municipal Act, the SAD-BJP combine feels that during the five years’ Congress rule at the Centre, the councillors has not taken any interest on the issue, but now when the term of the MC was at the fag end, they are talking of more powers by amending the Act, she added.

After the results of the Parlimentary elections, the citizens of Chandigarh have received many shocks, including increased demolition activities, rise in number of notices from the housing board, pathetic condition in some of the housing board areas and worst ever situation of power and water supply, said the UT BJP chief.

Another surprise that the Congress has in store is the imposition of property tax, which may be implemented in the very near future, she alleged.

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Haryana DSP gets ‘bossy’
‘Thrashes’ attendant at parking lot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
A Haryana Police officer allegedly created a scene at the parking lot of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today afternoon when an attendant stopped him for making a wrong entry.

According to sources, a DSP posted in the vigilance department, Karnal, who was travelling in a Tata Sumo, tried to force his way into the parking lot through the no entry point. When an attendant prevented him from entering, the driver, at the behest of the DSP, tried to run over him. The DSP came out of his vehicle and reportedly thrashed the attendant.

An advocate intervened and an altercation ensued between him and the DSP. When the situation become tense, more advocates gathered at the spot and the matter was reported to the police.

Sources said the DSP began pleading that he was suffering from palpitation of heart and tendered an apology to the attendant and the advocates.

The police has recorded a daily diary report into the incident. However, the SHO of the Sector 3 police station said the issue was amicably resolved after both the parties reached a compromise.

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Cops’ new move blocks traffic
Dissuade commuters from taking turns at rotaries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Traffic moved at a snail’s pace on Madhya Marg here this afternoon when the traffic police experimented with an idea by dissuading commuters from taking turns at certain rotaries on the busy road.

A number of vehicles were stranded in the jam, as confusion prevailed among motorists while the cops prevented them from taking turns from rotaries, including Grain Markets, Sector 26 and 8.

The jams prevailed from 1.30 to 2.30 pm while the police was trying out the new concept to ease congestions and traffic jams on the busy road, especially during school hours in the afternoon.

A traffic police officer said it was noticed during peak traffic hours that slow moving vehicles like rickshaws or horse carts while taking turn took long that led to traffic jams at the rotaries. “In case the idea turns out to be beneficial, the police will dissuade the commuters from taking turns at rotaries to reduce traffic snarls,” an official said.

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Non-Functional Lift
Boarders seek XENs’ suspension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
If the promises of Panjab University authorities made to the members of SOPU, protesting in front of the vice-chancellor’s residence are to go by, XENs are in a major trouble.

The students protested against the non-functional lift of hostel No. six and demanded an immediate suspension of XENs given the fact that they were guilty of delaying the construction of hostel.

According to Birender Dhillon, president, SOPU, “We will not let the university to follow double standards.If it can suspend students, then officials guilty of shirking their duties, too, should be punished.”

“The hostels are not ready and lift is not working. We have made several complaints, but no action has been taken hitherto. The authorities have promised an action tomorrow morning,” he added.

The protestors claimed to continue the protest tomorrow morning in front of the vice-chancellor’s office and sit on dharna s till the time XENs are not punished.

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Fuel adulteration alleged
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 29
Car owners had to go through a lot of harassment when their vehicles broke down as soon as they left a petrol station in Sector 2 after getting their cars fuelled today.

They alleged that adulteration in the fuel led to the fault in their cars, while the management of the station refuted the allegations, saying leakage in the pipeline had led to seepage of rainwater into the storing tank.

While the samples of fuel were lifted by the food and supplies department, the management of company-owned outlet agreed to compensate the affected owners by getting the vehicles repaired following the police and mediapersons reached the spot. The police authorities said three car owners approached them to lodge complaint against the petrol station.

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Need to strengthen health labs: Doc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
For strengthening the disease surveillance at district public health laboratories in Punjab, Haryana, Uttrakhand and Chandigarh, the PGI organised a workshop on “Laboratory Training on Communicable Diseases of Outbreak Potential”.

It was inaugurated by Prof Meera Sharma, head of the Medical Microbiology Department. Dr Ritu Chauhan, expert from the WHO, India, outlined various steps of rolling out the operational research activity of involving regional reference laboratories like the PGI.

Dr Manish Kakkar, public health specialist from PHFI, Delhi, said DPHLs had to be an integral part of epidemiological surveillance to ensure the effectiveness of public health action.

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Drive against encroachers from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
At the weekly review meeting held today under the chairmanship of UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas regarding removal of unauthorised structures and encroachments on government land, it was reported that despite several warnings and public notices, encroachments in the parks and road berms in terms of tents by security personnels have not been removed.

Most of these tents are in front of the houses of government officials. It was decided to carry out a special drive in Sector 18 and 19, by the Municipal Corporation on July 31. Subsequently, all the sectors in Chandigarh will be covered under the drive.

The Chandigarh Housing Board will also start the demolition drive to remove the illegal constructions on July 31.

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Admn decision on quota

Chandigarh, July 29
The Chandigarh Administration has decided that no reservation for recruitment to any post or promotion to any post for the Scheduled Tribes will be provided under the Chandigarh Administration.

This decision has been taken as no presidential order has been issued under Article 342(1) of the Constitution notifying any community as the Scheduled Tribes in respect of Union Territory, Chandigarh, according to a press note. — TNS

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EDUCATION
 

Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan
Audit reveals misuse of funds at GMHS-20
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Society, UT, has come across several instances of suspected fund embezzlement and financial irregularities worth Rs 5 lakh during a special audit of SSA accounts of GMHS, Sector 20, for the period 2003-04 to 2006-07.

The authorities in a letter issued to the school principal have asked her to submit her comments within 15 days on the observations of the audit conducted on May 29, which revealed the irregularities.

As per the audit notes attached with the letter, during 2005-06, an expenditure of Rs 21,118 was incurred on the purchase of stationery items and payment of salary of a TGT had been found to fall under the suspected embezzlement.

According to the note, “An expenditure incurred against funds can’t be treated as legitimate unless it is supported by a proper cash memo or other authentic documentary evidence. In the absence of relevant vouchers/supporting documents, the expenditure falls under the suspected embezzlement and thus needs justification.”

Similarly, according to the note, the scrutiny of the cash book entries for the same period revealed that an amount of Rs 1,26,635 has been spent without the sanction of a competent authority. It has also been observed that neither the connected cash memos were available on record nor any voucher number was assigned to them.

The school has also been found guilty of spending on inadmissible items of work as Rs 15,130 were reportedly spent on beauty parlour not withstanding the fact that the principal was not competent to incur this fund at one go and interestingly no funds were released for this purpose from the SSA.

The expenditure during the same period on items like hair dyer and sanitary items and sunmica has also been found irregular.

Similarly, for 2004-05, the unestablished expenditure of Rs 13,679 had been found where though the entry was made to the cash book but no vouchers or bills could be procured. An entry of the expenditure of Rs 21,700 has been found to be a case of suspected embezzlement in the absence of mandatory cash memos or documentary evidences.

Other purchases like a cushion chair, ceiling fans, etc. have been declared cases of irregular incurring of the expenditure during this period.

According to this note, though the expenditure of Rs 1,70,934 has been incurred in 2006-2007 but the audit could not be conducted for want of relevant vouchers for this.

When contacted principal Usha Kiran said, “Yes, I got the letter but I was not the principal during 2003-04 and 2004-05, so I forwarded it to ex-principal Anil Sharma and even sent two reminders. I will file my reply once I get his communication.”

Meanwhile, despite repeated efforts Anil Sharma could not be contacted for his comments.

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From Schools
Quiz contest at Ashmah school
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 29
Students of Ashmah International School participated in a brainstorming quiz competition, which was a blend of curriculum and general knowledge questions, here yesterday.

The questions were based on multiple-choice pattern where students were required to select the correct answer. The questions were related to topics like environment, present leadership, social relationships, simple arithmetic and everyday scientific phenomenon.

There were four students in each team from each class. Principal Roopinder Ghuman said the competition was organised to inculcate the concept of healthy group functioning and lending a helping hand to each other.

Parents’ day

The parents’ day was celebrated with great enthusiasm at Small Wonders School here yesterday. Tiny tots recited “Gayatri Mantra” and “Mool Mantra Ek Onkar”. The children presented performance on “God bless mummy, daddy.” The students also presented dances and recited poems. Director Sandeep Singh said the school aimed not only at imparting quality education to the students but also laid emphasis on their overall development.

Block inaugurated

Saupin’s School wore a festive look here yesterday as Ignatius Loyola Ivan Mascarenhas, bishop of Shimla and Chandigarh diocese, inaugurated the new extension block of the school.

The bishop after reading Psalms and Litany of the saints led the prayer of dedication before inaugurating the administrative block. He also blessed children by sprinkling holy water on them. He applauded the access to technology, which enhanced the educational experience for the students.

‘Monsoon masti’

To celebrate the onset of monsoon, St Soldier Convent School here organised a “Monsoon masti” week for the pre-primary section of the school.

The downpour of activities began with “Monsoon feast”. The children brought the monsoon delicacies like pakoras, kheer, puras, gulgulas in their tiffins and came to the school dressed in green. The students of nursery and KG made paper boats to prepare for the “Puddle play”.

This was followed by recitation/ singing competition on the theme “Rain”. The week concluded with a fancy dress competition, in which tiny tots cat walked, dressed up as fruits, vegetables, animals or insects, which were found in the rainy season.

‘Pentathon’ at Manav Mangal

An inter-house competition “Penthathon” was organised at Manav Mangal Smart School here.

The competition consisted of five events clubbed together. The events were, “What’s the good word? dumb charades, seminar, turncoat and radio play writing.”

While the senior children of the school showcased their talent through “Penthathon”, the kids from pre-nursery to KG participated in “page to stage English recitation competition”.

The children of classes I and II participated in the fancy dress competition and dressed themselves as aliens and planets as the theme was “Spacce”.

Director Sanjay Sardana said such events not only helped in enhancing the talent of the children but also taught them the spirit of teamwork.

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Guest Lecture Assault Case
Teachers demand inquiry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The government union teachers have today expressed resentment over slapping of a guest teacher of GMSSS-35 by outsiders two days back quoting that it has hurt the “teachers dignity”.

Though the teacher has refused to take any action against the youngsters, the teaching fraternity has expressed its concern and disappointment on the issue to the DPI today.

The teachers demanded an FIR to be lodged and the outsiders would be nabbed and punished.

Meanwhile, an emergency meeting of contractual teachers was held today to discuss the latest situation and termed the incident as unfortunate.

The teachers also demanded a high-level inquiry into the issue and seek restoration of Karamjeet Singh, a teacher of GMSSS-47, who was terminated for punishing students who were not in proper uniform.

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NTT Test
Applicants denied roll numbers
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 29
Over 10 teachers returned disappointed from GMSSS, Sector 21-A, today where the roll numbers for the written test of NTT was to be issued.

The candidates were declared “ineligible” on the ground that their NTT training certificates were not verifiable as the criteria for the exam included a two-year diploma and the candidates had a one-year diploma.

“My career has been ruined. I have passed the NTT in 2007 with 81 per cent marks and now I am not even allowed to sit in the exam,” rued Rajbeer Kaur, a 26-year-old applicant.

“The DPI office staff here has told us that nearly 90 per cent of the applicants were refused roll numbers today since they had one-year diploma. Today is the last date and we are completely helpless. At least we should have been told in advance,” said Sohani Devi, another applicant.

However, the DPI (S) was not available for comments.

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Nepal-India Quiz
26 schools confirm participation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
In an attempt of its first kind, a Nepal-India friendship quiz is being organised in Chandigarh. Addressing mediapersons today, first secretary, Embassy of Nepal, DB Oli said, “The purpose of this quiz is not only to test the participant’s knowledge but also to increase it. We are sure that the quiz will encourage the students of the tricity to know more about Nepal.”

More than 30 schools are participating in the quiz from in and around Chandigarh. One team of two students from each school will compete at the regional and semifinal levels to reach the final level, which will be held on August 30 at the Government Museum Auditorium, Sector 10, Chandigarh.

The first two winning teams will get a fully-paid trip to Nepal along with one of their teachers. The first, second and third position winners would get a cash prize of Rs 10,000, Rs 7,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively. Chief project coordinator Reema Gahrana told more than 26 schools had already confirmed their participation.

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Ramgarh students plant saplings

Panchkula, July 29
As a part of the plantation drive, students and staff members of Government Senior Secondary School, Ramgarh, planted saplings on the school premises today.

The saplings would be planted in other areas of Ramgarh as well, the school principal said.

Kanwar Amitabh Chandel, an international tennis player and Asian Athletic Champion, inaugurated the drive by planting a sapling at the school. Hari Singh Nalwa, former MP, also participated in the campaign.

Similarly, members of Lions Club, Chandigarh, along with students of JPA Toddlers World School, Sector 10, planted 35 saplings on the school premises. — TNS

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PU topper complains to DUI on result

Chandigarh, July 29
In a written complaint to the DUI, Simran Kaur, a student of MA-II in the Department of French, has accused her teachers of exhibiting biased behaviour by granting her less marks in various subjects. She has also been given a zero in an internal assessment of one of the subjects.

Simran said she was the only student in the department who completed MA-I during 2008-2009 and was also a Panjab University gold medallist of BA French (Hons) during 2007-2008, thus, this result was unacceptable.

According to her, she had attended all classes and submitted the projects in time. Hence, her internal assessment marks were very less and a zero in one of the translation examinations brought the score card under scanner. — TNS

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6 UIET students suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The six UIET students involved in a brawl at hostel no. 7, Panjab University, yesterday have been suspended for two weeks.

Four members of SOPU, including Gaurav, Lovi, Harin and Mansa, allegedly thrashed Deepak, a member of PUSU in the hostel on Monday night.

In order to settle scores, PUSU members cornered Guarav the following morning, who reportedly hid in the warden’s room, and called police. Though both the parties entered into a written compromise at the police station, but after a meeting, the varsity suspended them for indulging in violence on the campus.

Confirming the suspension, DSW Naval Kishore said: “They have been suspended from the department and hostels. We can’t take this kind of nuisance on the campus.”

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