C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Review conversion rates, ministry to admn
‘Faulty’ policy cost admn Rs 3.73 cr
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Chandigarh administration has incurred losses to the tune of Rs 3.73 crore on account of not reviewing conversion rates for projects in the Industrial Area.

The UT also lost more than Rs 1.58 crore on account of delay in payments of those who had applied for conversion. The ministry of home affairs(MHA) in its report on the special audit of Chandigarh has asked the UT to review the questionable cases and initiate appropriate action.

The administration has already ended the conversion policy in the Industrial Area. A senior officer said: “I cannot say what can be done now. The policy has already ended and the conversions were allowed at the rates specified earlier. We will have to seek a legal opinion into the matter and see if any enhancement is possible now.”

The audit has pointed out that “the rate of conversion fee for industrial sites during 2006, 2007 and 2008 were kept the same as in 2005. As per the policy, the rate of conversion fee was to be worked out from the average price of auction of commercial sites fetched in the last three years.

“As such, the rate of conversion fee for 2006 worked out to Rs 21,126; Rs 26,152 for 2007; and Rs 41,743 for 2008. The rate of conversion fee were not revised and the rate fixed for 2005 was applied for conversion granted in the years 2006, 2007 and 2008.”

The report said as a result of the wrong payment of conversion fee by land allottees, there had been a loss to the government exchequer and all cases needed to be reviewed by the administration.

The detailed report has pointed out a loss of Rs 3.73 crore from 46 sites in the Industrial Area. The report said there had been 92 instances of delay of payment that caused a loss of Rs 1.58 crore.



Nari Niketan Rape
UT to rear victim, baby
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Chandigarh Administration today assured the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it would look after the Nari Niketan rape victim’s child, right after birth till marriage.The administration even undertook to make arrangements for the child’s job and marriage.

In an affidavit placed before the Special Division Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Augustine George Masih, the administration, through its counsel Anupam Gupta, said it would look after the victim and child on a permanent and abiding basis, while taking care of the necessary expenditure.

The mother and child would be provided medical and nursing care. They would be housed at Ashraya or any other institute run by the administration and provided with healthy and nutritious food, along with adequate clothing. Psychiatry and psychological help too would be provided and child would be educated till maturity. Afterwards, the child would be provided with a job depending upon qualifications.

The counsel also placed on record two letters dated October 4 and 10 by convener of the Disabled Rights Group Javed Abidi to the Administrator. It was stated that Abidi had appeared before the Supreme Court as National Trust team member. But the letters were more an exercise in publicity, mongering and public relations than anything else.

The UT had earlier objected to the assistance package offered by National Trust (for welfare of persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation & multiple disabilities) for the victim.

In a letter to UT administrator Gen SF Rodrigues (Retd), Abidi had stated the assistance package was not meant for the administration, but for the rape victim. “How can the administration refuse any aid being offered to the girl?” Abidi had questioned, adding that a corpus of Rs 8 lakh accompanied by an insurance policy of Rs 1 lakh could be utilised for future needs of the child. By refusing, the administration was depriving the woman a better standard of life.



DPI sidelined unofficially
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigrah, October 12
Even though the UT administration is still officially waiting for the police report to decide the fate of Samwartak Singh, DPI (S), it has already bid “unofficial adieu” to him.

Though the DPI, who came under the scanner following allegations of him having been in touch with the prime accused in the cash-for-job scam, continues to hold the charge, but according to sources, his work has already been “distributed” among his colleagues.

If the buzz around the administration is to be believed, important files pertaining to the portfolio of tourism, which is being held by Samwartak Singh, are being sent to Sunil Bhatia, CGM, Citco, and Sandeep Kumar, CEO of the Chandigarh Housing Board.

On the school front, while the department is already mulling handing over the charge to Vandana Disodia, director of the STA, the files are being diverted to her and others like Abhishek Dev.

“Initially, he was just moved out of the recruitment committee, but now with the Home Secretary having decided to keep him away from all policy-effecting decisions, the work has officially been diverted,” one of the officials revealed.

Prior to this, the administration had appointed IAS officers Sandeep Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Abhishek Dev and Prerna Puri as key observers of the recruitment process, the result of which would be declared by October 15.



Tribune Impact
2 officials suspended
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 12
The Punjab forest department has suspended two forest officials for dereliction of duty in checking the levelling of hillocks bought by “outsiders” on the periphery of Chandigarh.

The action was taken after the Conservator of Forest (Hills), Harbhajan Singh, submitted a report on the violations when it was highlighted in these columns yesterday.

Land owners had been levelling hillocks in anticipation of land prices going up after the de-listed forest land was denotified from the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA). Such cases had come to light at Jyanti Majri, Gurdha, Perch and Karondewala villages.

Jatinder Sharma, Chief Conservator of Forest, said prima facie it appeared to be a violation and two officials, Satwant Singh, a forester, and Surinder Pal, forest guard, had been suspended. A detailed inquiry would reveal the facts.

Sources said the violators were levelling forest land contiguous to the de-listed land so that they could encroach on more land which is not bona fide agricultural land.

“The de-lisiting had been done on the condition that this land would be used for only bona fide agricultural and related activities to sustain the livelihood of the owner. Commercial use of this land had been banned by the Central government. On the basis of the relief, a strategy was being worked out, wherein it would be checked if beneficiaries had damaged genuine forest cover,” an official said.



Key posts in fire dept vacant
Who is supervising arrangements?
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Who is going to supervise the special arrangements made by the fire and emergency service department during the festival session when all key posts are lying vacant?

Not only the chief fire officer, but also all four posts of regular station fire officer at the seven fire stations of the city have been lying vacant for a long time.

The corporation has made temporary arrangements for managing technically qualified posts of the fire department rather than recruiting regular employees for sanctioned posts.

The corporation had asked for a panel from Haryana, Punjab and Himachal several times, but the MC failed to get a suitable officer for the post. So, the authorities were forced to give the charge to the MC additional commissioner rather than appointing a technically qualified person.

Sources said no application had been received from these states as the grades fixed by the MC were less compared to these states. Besides, there was no post of chief fire officer in the region and if an applicant came on deputation, he would get remunerations below his own grade.

Similarly, the posts of four station fire officer have also been lying vacant and are either being handled by deputationists or additional charge has been given.

The sources said sub-fire officer ML Sharma was appointed station fire officer in 1999. He came on deputation from the Chandigarh State Agriculture Marketing Board and had been getting extension of six months until now. For two other posts of sub-fire officers, additional charge had been given to the station fire officers and one post was lying vacant.

The sources informed that the department had imparted training to its own employees in the recent past so as to make them eligible for promotion, but they had not been considered for promotion despite the posts lying vacant. There were seven fire stations, for which only four posts of station fire officer had been sanctioned.

It raises questions on the necessity of wasting money and imparting training to employees when they were not to be considered for promotion and why the extension was given again and again when eligible staff was already available.

MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria had stated last year that if eligible employees were available, no outsider would be considered for these posts. He had said there was no department in the MC where an outsider had been appointed when the internal staff was qualified.

When contacted, he said they had invited a panel from the states to get more options as they were not getting applications from this region.



Wing Cmdr’s son run over by train
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Sidhant Kumar Sharma, son of Wing Commander Sunil Sharma, was found dead under mysterious circumstances on the elevated track near 3 BRD here early this morning.

The bicycle and the bag of the 16-year-old victim, a student of Kendriya Vidyalaya 3 BRD, were found near the track.

In the absence of any suicide note, the police is yet to establish if it was a suicide or an accidental death. The police handed over the body to the family later in the evening after a postmortem.

Sources in the government railway police said some eyewitnesses, who refused to come on record, said the victim was sitting near the track and jumped in front of the Jan Shatabdi around 7.30 am. He was dragged to a distance of about a kilometre. He was in school uniform.

The body was mutilated beyond recognition and someone informed the police, which identified the victim from his school diary in the bag. The police called up the principal, who confirmed that he was a Class XI student of the school and was absent.

The investigating official, ASI Urmila Devi, said the train driver informed the station master, who in turn sounded the GRP. She said they were still to record the statement of the driver to find out what had happened.

The body was shifted to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, where the victim’s father, accompanied by Air Force officials, reached and was in a state of shock. His statement could not be recorded.

The GRP has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.


CITU to protest price rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
As many as nine trade unions have joined hands to hold a nationwide protest against privatisation, unemployment and price rise on October 28, said CITU national president MK Pandhe here today.

Speaking to mediapersons at the 6th Conference of All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers, Pandhe said the trade unions would wage a war against unemployment, price rise, privatisation, contractual system and retrenchments.

The conference also elected a 21-member central executive committee with Neelima Maitra as the president, Hem Lata the general secretary and Saroj the treasurer. Pandhe also released a book “Scaling new heights” containing details of ICDS projects and anganwadi movement on the occasion. 



Two more swine flu cases in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
One more person among those whose samples were taken on Saturday tested positive for swine flu yesterday.

With this, the number of persons affected reached 49. The patient was a doctor with the PGI’s psychiatry department.

According to health officials, she had come in contact with the doctor who was tested positive for H1N1 virus on Saturday.

With the detection of these two cases, the number of PGI doctors having tested positive for H1N1 reached six. Health officials said members of the victim’s family had been quarantined at home.

Meanwhile, one more suspected case of swine flu was reported yesterday.

The patient was a 33-year-old woman from Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh.

She was admitted to the PGI. Her samples had been sent for laboratory test, said health officials.



Shobha yatra taken out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Thousands of devotees participated in a shobha yatra organised by the Shirdi Sai Samaj here recently.

The idol of Sai Baba was placed in a decorated chariot, which was pulled by devotees.

The devotees danced and played dandia to the tune of devotional songs. The procession, which started from Sector 29, culminated near the Sector 34 furniture market after passing through various parts of the city, including Sectors 30, 20 and 21.



Dalits’ body threatens to intensify stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The National Conference of Dalit Organisations yesterday decided to intensify its stir if the union government failed to immediately resolve various issues with regard to discrepancies in reservation of SC/ST/OBC seats in various departments.

Their leader V.R. Tisavar said the Chandigarh Administration and the union government were not serious in fulfilling demands such as issuing SC/OBC certificates to students.

He said in spite of clear court orders, the Secretary, Social Welfare, Chandigarh Administration, had sought clarifications from the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, whether the backlog identified prior to the introduction of new instructions regarding the post-based roster with effect from July 2, 1997, was to be carried forward or eliminated.

Tisavar said officials of the Chandigarh Administration had assured them that they would take up the matter with the union government whenever they decided to intensify their stir.

However, he rued that this had been happening for the past 15 years, with no government coming forward to solve their problems.



Le Corbusier’s Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Chandigarh College of Architecture celebrated the Le Corbusier’s Day on the college premises here recently.

Prof SK Gupta, principal of the college, welcomed guests, speakers, architects, students and professionals on the occasion. Balbir Verma, former president, Indian Institute of Architects, appealed to students to believe in themselves.

Architect and town planner Christopher Charles Benninger delivered the Le Corbusier memorial lecture “The modern project and the challenge”. The function concluded with an audio-visual presentation by architect Benninger, in which he elaborated the methodology and evolution of the design of the Capitol Complex of Bhutan.



Experts for abolition of death penalty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
A seminar on World Day Against Death Penalty was organised at Law Bhawan, Sector 37, here recently.

Justice K.S. Grewal (retd) and human rights activist Dr Usha Ramanathan were the 
key speakers.

Emphasising that death penalty had already been abolished in 139 nations and that India, too, should do away with the penalty, Justice Grewal said it was high time that laws should be framed to stop the killing of people. He asserted that death penalty violated the basic right to life.

“It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. An execution, just like torture, involves a deliberate assault on a prisoner,” he said.

Families of prisoners who had been awarded death penalty were also invited, wherein they expressed their concerns on the issue.

It was stated that no prisoner awarded death penalty had been executed after 2004 and prior to that, the last execution was carried out in 1994 in the country.

The track record showed that India was moving towards a state that was not in favour of death penalty, said a speaker.



‘Mahabharata wisdom still relevant’
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Forgiveness as a virtue has ended many crises and can be extended to personal lives as well, said leading management guru Gurcharan Das on his book ‘The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma’ at the CII here this evening.

To substantiate his argument, the author quoted extensively from the “Mahabharata”, on which his work is largely based, and linked it to the present times. He said: “In Mahabharata, for example, Yudhishtra forgave Dhritrashtra after the war to end the black past. Similarly, in South Africa, the public, led by Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, erased a dark chapter from their lives to usher in peace. They forgave their past.”

The author has thoroughly studied the epic in order to understand ‘why be good?’ He is also the author of “India Unbound”, “A Fine Family” and “Three English Plays”, besides several other writings.

Explaining his work, Das said, “I have chosen the epic as the subject for my book because I was convinced with its relevance to contemporary life. The meaning of ‘dharma’ is different in different contexts and this is shown by the epic in different situations.” The book narrates an incident which is followed by the author’s explanation about the situation and its implication.

Justice (retd) SS Sodhi, a former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, introduced the speaker. Dr BN Goswamy, a distinguished art historian, gave the concluding remarks at the talk organised by the British Library.



Imbibing love for photography
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
In a unique way to introduce kids to the art of photography, Aayush Goel, a Punjab-based photographer, in collaboration with the National Art Gallery and Museum, Sector 10, has decided to take his ongoing National Mobile Photography Exhibition to city based schools and colleges.

Initiating the round with a visit to the Strawberry Fields School, Sector 26, Gurukul, Sector 20, Panchkula, and MCM DAV College, Sector 36, the exhibition will be held at SD College and GCG 11 tomorrow. The exhibition is on till October 14. The unique initiative, taken under the patronage of the National Art Gallery and Museum, has around 54 works of this photographer installed in a mobile van.

“It is ironic that photography is one form of art that is yet to create its niche among the student community. I decided to put my work on a mobile van and take it to students so that they can realise that photography is not just meant to click birthdays or holidays, but to capture moments and present your vision to the world,” says Aayush.



PUTA honours 60 retired teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) today honoured at least 60 retired teachers at a function at the English auditorium on the campus.At least 102 teachers who had retired this year were invited to the function, in addition to other faculty members.

After a long-pending demand of a ceremony for those teachers, the PUTA had taken the initiative to honour them.

The teachers were invited to speak on the occasion and they praised the efforts of the association. They recalled old days on the campus and shared their experiences.

Prof A.J. Julka, who offered Rs 1.25 lakh for the Mohan Lal Tiwana fellowship to PUTA, said commercialisation diluted the academic standards of any institute. “I served the university for 40 years, of which four years were as a student and 36 years as a teacher,” he added.

Prof Suman Beri said, “I served the PU for 43 years and was not mentally prepared to retire, but as time passed by, I realised that I had parted from the university.”

She emphasised on quality research by the university and advised PUTA to honour those Fellows who had done commendable work in the field of research.

Prof R.N. Vashisht advised all teachers present that retirement should be taken as fun and should not be regretted.

Prof Indu Banga said PUTA and the PU management should treat teachers alike. “They should be supported, appreciated and respected and censored when need be, but the issues should not be politicised,” she added.

Prof A.K. Agarwal demanded the formation of a forum for teachers to discuss national and international issues.

He also raised the need to have a newsletter of the university, through which all information could reach different departments and achievements highlighted.

Prof Meera Malik said interests of retired teachers should be kept in mind by PUTA. “We are a part of the same family and family members should be taken care of after retirement,” she added.

Prof Manjit Singh, PUTA president, told the seniors that the values that were prevalent in the system many years back were not found anymore in the wake of commercialisation.

“One has to struggle each day to survive in the university now. Academic excellence is being sacrificed. When one looks at universities across the globe, an intellectual war is going on everywhere,” he added.



P’kula, Kalka go to the polls today
1,500 police personnel deployed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula/Kalka, October 12
The stage is set for the Assembly elections at Panchkula, where more than 2.66 lakh voters will decide the fate of 25 candidates at the constituencies of Panchkula and Kalka tomorrow.

More than 1,500 police personnel have been deployed and EVM machines have been dispatched to the respective polling booths.

According to the DC, Pankaj Yadav, the SDMs of Panchkula and Kalka would supervise the election process with the help of 31 sector magistrates.

The police would remain available at telephone no. 2582100 and another helpline has been started (143623) for Panchkula voters. Kalka voters can call 122433 in case of a query.

At Panchkula, 146 booths, including seven auxiliary booths have been set up while at Kalka, 175 polling booths, four of them auxiliary, have been established.

The Kalka constituency is spread within an area of 70 km comprising Khokhra, Morni, Raipur Rani, Mallah, Mouli, Baghwala, etc. The arrangements for counting votes for both constituencies have been made only at Panchkula.

It is for the first time that the Election Commission has allowed the district administration to install CCTV cameras at counting centres.

Micro observers have been deputed for critical booths in the district as nine polling stations and 17 polling booths were found to be “critical” at Panchkula. Similarly, 11 polling stations and 18 booths have been declared hypersensitive with 11 polling stations and 14 booths sensitive in Kalka.

...Meanwhile, patients suffer

Hundreds of patients at various hospitals of Panchkula district had to face inconvenience due to the election duty of technical staff of the health departments of Kalka, Raipur Rani and Morni. The staff includes radiographers, lab technicians, emergency duty doctors, pharmacists and multipurpose health workers.

Health department sources said due to the election duty, the training of the technical staff was affected.



Tesol told to pay Rs 25,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The District Consumer Disputes and Redressal Forum has directed Tesol India to pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 to a complainant, along with Rs 5,000 as litigation charges. The forum has also directed it to pay the entire amount taken from the complainant as fee.

Complainant Sanjeev Kumar took admission in Tesol programme. He deposited Rs.50,000 as fee. It was further pleaded that the complainant regularly attended the classes and he was awarded certificate by Tesol after successfully completing the course. Thereafter, he visited Tesol many times for getting the job, but they failed to provide any placement to him.

According to the complainant, the policies of the company have nothing to do with the policies of Global Tesol College, Canada, and the company used the logo of Tesol Global College. Global Tesol College mentions job guarantee, fee refund and also of e-mail of successfully placed students.

It was pleaded that the company had failed to divulge the names of the placed students although their brochure mentions the 99 per cent job success rate.

In a written statement, it was pleaded by Tesol that it was never guaranteed to provide any job to the persons undergoing training. They were only to provide employer assistance to the person and it was not charging anything from the person. The fee had been charged for the “Training’s programme teacher of English to speakers of other languages” (Tesol).

It was pleaded that the certificate issued by the company was genuine certificate and was certified by the Govt. of Canada. 



Sweets shop at Daria raided
1 quintal milk powder seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The people with sweet tooth have to think twice before visiting a sweet shop in the region as a team of the health department of Chandigarh has unearthed a sweet factory using semolina (suji), sugar and milk powder, reportedly to be synthetic, in the preparation of burfi here today.

Quintals of burfi was being supplied from the factory located at Daria village to different parts of the country, including Punjab Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and even Bihar, as the price of sweets here was as low as Rs 45 per kilogram.

During mega political events like elections in Bihar, big consignments of burfi used to be exported from here, said sources.

Dr Rajesh Dheer, who was heading the team health department, said the Punjab Police had nabbed a person at Mansa, who was involved in selling burfi allegedly made of synthetic milk powder. The accused during interrogation said he got the burfi from Daria village of Chandigarh.

Following a tip-off from the Punjab Police, the team with the help of local cops raided Mahadev Sweets of Daria village and seized 1 quintal of milk powder quality of which was yet to be ascertained.

Inquiries revealed that the factory was preparing four types of burfi with different proportions of semolina. Burfi with 40 per cent mixture of semolina was beig sold at a price of Rs 45 a kg, while Rs 85 with 10 per cent of semolina in the product. However no khoya was being used to make burfi. 



Badal visits CII Fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Punjab Chief Minister Punjab Parkash Singh Badal today visited the CII Fair here today. Complementing CII for its efforts to promote the industry’s direct reach to consumers, Badal seemed visibly impressed by the wide and distinct array of products on display.

Applauding the huge presence by companies from Pakistan in the International Arcade, Badal was appreciative of the CII initiative of building a bond between the two countries by strengthening trade relations.

Badal spent good time in this arcade and made an extra effort to reach out to each and every exhibitor and interacted with them.

The delicate fabric in all its colours and heavy work and melmoware crockery from Pakistan and Dubai specially attracted the Chief Minister.

He liked the bouquet of handcrafted decorative items from Thailand and Egypt.



Cracker ban in silence zone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
District Magistrate Brijendra Singh has prohibited fireworks or fire crackers in the silence zone between 10 pm and 6 am in the city.

The silence zone comprises Sector 1 (Capital Complex, including the Rajendra Park and the Chandigarh Club), Sector 12, Sector 14 (Panjab University) the entire area around the lake up to 100 metres from the high water mark, and the entire area northeast of Uttar Marg, including Rock Garden and the Lake Club and 100 metres around hospitals, education institutions, courts and religious places.

The order will come into force from zero hours on October 14 and be effective up to November 5. 



28 rounded up in search operation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The in charge of Sector 49 police post carried out a search operation in Colony No 5 here in the wee hours today.

Certain parts of the densely populated colony remained inaccessible to the police as not only Gypsys, but also the motorcycles failed to reach there. He led a posse of around 100 policemen, some of them riding horses, carried out a comb operation to nab the anti-social elements.

The operation was conducted at 3:30 am, in which 28 suspicious persons were rounded up, who were later released after verifying their antecedents. The colony had been dubbed as a safe haven for anti-social elements by residents of the nearby group housing societies, who were demanding a police station for the area.

The police had announced a police post for the area in Sector 49, but the same had been asked to temporarily operate from a CRPF police post in the colony.



Hospital gets global accreditation
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 12
Fortis Hospital, Mohali, recently announced that it had achieved the unique distinction of becoming the only private hospital in the region to be awarded the prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation for all its new departments set up in the last two years.

The JCI had previously granted accreditation to the other functional departments at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, in 2007. The JCI is a US-based accreditation body that sets standards for health care providers all over the world.

In its survey conducted on September 30 and October 1, the JCI assessed the hospital on patient safety, environment of care, infection control practices, patient awareness, staff education and documentation.

Dr Ashish Banerji, services director, said: “The reaffirming of the JCI accreditation would further spur our resolve in providing world-class quality healthcare to our patients.”



Mohali to have traffic advisory panel
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 12
On the pattern of Chandigarh, the Mohali police has initiated the process to constitute a traffic advisory committee for the city.

Apart from giving suggestions to improve the movement of traffic, the committee would coordinate with different departments relating to engineering works.

The SSP, Mohali, GPS Bhullar said it had been seen that various traffic related initiatives taken by the police fail as they require help of the engineering department to carry out repair or modification of road design.

Sharing various public-oriented initiatives being taken by the district police, the SSP, while addressing a press conference, said on the pattern of recently introduced traffic marshal scheme, a proposal to have crime marshals had been mooted.

Those involved in social service or ex-servicemen would be involved to help the police in checking day-to-day crime. The modalities were being worked out in consultation with the district administration, he said. The role of traffic marshals would be strengthened and they would be more actively involved in traffic checking.

On the issue of measures being taken to check theft of vehicles, he said the Mohali police had decided to host a meeting of the SSP of the neighbouring districts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

This would enable the police to share information about stolen vehicle and other heinous crimes.

GPS Bhullar further said efforts were being made to strengthen the traffic wing and the PCR. More aggressive patrolling in the past few days had already started yielding results as thefts of vehicles had gone down.

Servant verification must

The district administration has made servant verification must. To facilitate filing of information, the police was trying to put the verification form on the website. An arrangement was being worked out to ensure that those filing the information could send the information through e-mail or fax it to the control room.



Poor workmanship by contractor
GMADA forfeits Rs 25 lakh security deposit
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 12
Following poor workmanship by the contractor, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has forfeited the security deposit of Rs 25 lakh for carrying out repair work on the road leading from the UT boundary to end of Sectors 71 and 72.

GMADA had undertaken a prestigious project of widening and strengthening the sectors separating roads of Sectors 53/54, 59/60 and 71/72 at a cost of Rs 5.07 crore. The work on the road measuring about 3.5 km had commenced on December 13, 2007, and was completed on April 2.

The contractor who had executed the work was earlier issued a show cause notice and now officials linked with the project have recommended that the contractor should be debarred from getting any new contract from GMADA for a period of two years.

It is learnt that GMADA had now decided to get repair work done on the cracks that had developed at various points on the road, especially in the area near the Ivy Hospital in Sector 71.

The total area on the sector-separating road that would be given “crack treatment” was about 500 metres. It had also been decided to get the potholes filled by providing a bitumen layer and material on such patches on the road would be laid according to weight and not by thickness levels. The area of the “hungry spaces” that would be provided bitumen layer was about 9,000 sq mt.

The estimates for both the works had been prepared by GMADA and soon tenders would be called for the repair work, which was most likely to start next month. The works would be executed at a cost of about Rs 14 lakh and this amount would be utilised from the security deposit of Rs 25 lakh of the contractor, which has been forfeited by GMADA.

Major shortcomings in the work were noticed during an inspection of the project by Lt-Gen BS Dhaliwal (retd), adviser (technical) to the Punjab Chief Minister, in April. In fact, he had stated in his report that the “work executed has totally failed” and “most of the work requires to be redone”. Extracts from his inspection report were published in the Chandigarh Tribune on July 23.



Seminar on terrorism, Naxalism at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
A seminar on “Terrorism and Naxalism: Role and Responsibility of Media at Present Time” was held at the Golden Jubilee Hall at Panjab University here recently.

The seminar was organised by the Panjab University Campus Students Council and the Progressive Teachers Democratic Front (PU).

The event was organised on the 75th birth anniversary of the late Narender Mohan, a former Rajya Sabha member and veteran journalist.

Union Minister for Parliamentary affairs Pawan Kumar Bansal was the chief guest.

Opinions and reactions came from various speakers in the seminar, who said it was the time of information and technique and the media had an important role to play.

Former Union Minister S.S. Dhindsa said the opposition should not criticise the government but should appreciate its efforts. “Those who had been nurturing terrorism were on the verge of destruction now,” Dhindsa added.

CPI leader Joginder Dayal said, “Terrorism and Naxalism are two separate issues. Terrorism is a global one, while Naxalism is a regional issue.”

He said scientific thought was needed to curb terrorism and Naxalism.



Principals apprised of new education policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Reacting to the prevalent confusion among educators from the tricity over the recently announced education policy, the CBSE, in collaboration with the Independent Schools Association, organised a regional principals’ meet at the Shivalik School in Mohali today.Principals from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Chandigarh attended the meet, which was aimed at encouraging educators to become agents of change.

CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi and education officer Dr Sadhna Parasher apprised the principals of the new techniques of evaluation, including the grading system and abolishing the board examinations in class X.

“Since the policy was announced, we were confused on how to implement the postulates. The meet has, to a large extent, cleared the air. The CBSE representative elaborated upon not only the goals to be achieved through policy, but also practical ways to achieve those,” said D.S. Bedi of the Independent Schools Association.

Classes IX and X would award grades instead of marks this year, wherein the understanding of a particular subject would have a weightage of 20 per cent, result of learning 40 per cent and teacher’s assessment of performance in scholastic, co-scholastic and sports activities 40 per cent.

As far as the class X board examinations were concerned, those would be abolished in 2011, but registration would be mandatory in classes IX and XI to ensure that nobody skipped classes.

Schools would have in-house examinations in classes IX and X based on question banks provided by the CBSE.

As far as the current session was concerned, board exams would be conducted, but students would be awarded grades. The board would try to institute aptitude tests.

A detailed workshop would be held later this month to give teachers from the tricity hands-on training in the new evaluation system.



Stone of Education City laid
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
At a time when the Chandigarh Administration is receiving criticism from various quarters regarding the alleged irregularities in the mega projects, the administration has something to cheer about.The state-of-the-art Education City at the Sarangpur institutional area today moved a step towards realisation with the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) laying the foundation stone of the project.

The UT top brass, including Administrator SF Rodrigues, reiterated the administration's commitment to make the Education City a reality to provide world-class education to students. Dr Rajan Saxena, NMIMS Vice-Chancellor, was also present.

In fact, the Education City was the only mega project which remained away from the ambit of the Central Vigilance Commission, which is now probing other mega projects, including the Medicity, the Film City and Amusement Park and the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park.

Recently, a dispute over the revised lease agreement threatened to derail the Education City with one of the parties, Thapar University, reportedly having second thoughts on setting up its campus.

The project was envisioned by the Chandigarh Administration with a view to establishing world-class educational institutions in Sarangpur village to turn the city into a major education hub of North India.

Recently, two of the eight paties--Shri Vile Parle Kelvani Mandal, Mumbai, and the Chitkara Educational Trust, Chandigarh, signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the administration.

Official sources claimed that the foundation stone of by the NMIMS had put the Education City on right track and other selected parties should follow suit. This should send a right signal to investors that Chadnigarh was still the favoured destination for setting up educational institutions and IT firms, a senior official said.

Earlier, in the wake of the controversies surrounding the mega projects, the investors were wary of initiating major projects in the city. A majority of the investors had put the projects on hold till the ongoing CVC inquiry into the mega projects was completed.



Sobti absent
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Panjab University Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof R.C. Sobti was conspicuous by his absence during the awards ceremony for retired teachers organised by Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) here today.

The ceremony was organised to honour 102 teachers who had retired in the past one year and for whom no formal farewell was given earlier.

At least 58 of them had retired following High Court orders. The VC had retired this year as a teacher from the university and had received benefits of retirement, but later got extension as VC.

After the awards were distributed and the retired teachers shared their experiences, one of the speakers raised a point that the PUTA should consider inviting the VC, the Dean University Instructions and the Registrar the next time.

Insiders revealed that the PUTA wanted to avoid heated arguments in case any teacher objected to the presence of the VC as these teachers had been forced to leave the university.

“We have respect for the VC and the ceremony was organised after an year-long demand for such a function for the teachers,” said Akshaya Kumar, general secretary of the PUTA. Stating that the issue should not be blown up unnecessarily, the general secretary added that the association had its own following and it was not meant to project a separate power lobby.

“It is just to highlight the fact that that the PUTA has its own distinct mandate,” he added. The VC, when contacted, refused to comment on the matter. Issues of re-employment and extension were discussed. Retired teachers stressed the need to have a forum of their own and said they should be treated as a part of the university.



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