C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Vehicle Thefts
Cops plan to seal sectors at night
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Police officials check documents of a car in the wake of growing incidents of crime in Sector 22, Chandigarh.
Police officials check documents of a car in the wake of growing incidents of crime in Sector 22, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, November 22
In an attempt to curb rising incidents of motor vehicle thefts, the Chandigarh police is contemplating to extend its sector sealing scheme during nights to the entire city. Even though till October 31 this year 955 vehicles were reported stolen in the city, the sealing of Sector 22 alone helped in reducing the thefts by three times during this period.

The ever-rising number of cases of vehicles lifting is giving sleepless nights to the cops. Though they had managed to bust several local and interstate gangs in the past that has not acted as a deterrent to the thieves. “Vehicle theft is a very lucrative crime that is also easy to commit. Right from lifting vehicles to forging documents to selling them off - the gangs are active at every step, said a senior police officer.

In order to curb the menace UT SSP SS Srivastva had devised a plan last year to seal Sector 22 during nighttime. The police implemented the scheme after meeting the then city mayor and area councilor, Pardeep Chhabra.

The crime statistics for Sector 22 available with the police revealed that 43 vehicles were stolen and four burglaries were reported from January1 to September 21, 2008. However, after the scheme was implemented only one vehicle was stolen and a house was burgled in Sector 22 from September 22 to December 31, 2008. The police sealed the sector from 11 pm to 5 am by setting up 16 pickets, five of them permanent.

Apart from checking vehicles police personnel also conducted patrolling within the sector. “The scheme is nothing out of the way but only another side of basic policing. Had senior police officials earlier deployed their force in such a manner the criminals wouldn’t have found the city so safe for them to get away”, said a Sector 22 resident.

Even as the police continued with the scheme this year 12 vehicles were stolen from the sector with a single incident of theft reported from January 1 till October 31 this year. Moreover, their efforts have also helped in curbing hooliganism near Hotel Aroma, which was fast becoming a hangout for notorious characters and miscreants in the late night hours.

Expressing satisfaction over the scheme’s results, the UT SSP said he would urge the resident welfare association of each sector as well as administration officials to install gates, as is being done in Mohali, at the entry points of every sector to restrict vehicular movement from all its sides. “If followed the scheme would help us in reducing incidents of vehicle lifting and other thefts in the city. I also request vehicle owners to install safety gadgets like steering wheel locks”, said Srivastva.



Students forged identities to take part in youth fest
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
In perhaps the first case of its kind in which students misrepresented their identities in order to participate in a prestigious youth festival, some members of the team who had performed and subsequently won at the recently held PTU Inter-Zonal Youth Festival were later found to have been students of another university.

The matter came to light when the authorities discovered that two students of their eight-member bhangra team had also performed at the youth festival. Details of this serious lapse were revealed during an investigation conducted in the case by PTU officials after receiving a complaint.

“When we got a complaint about two students of Ludhiana’s GGM Khalsa College having performed at our Inter-Zonal youth fest we enquired into the matter. We have taken affidavits from the team members affirming they are bona fide students of our varsity as they claim to be. We have sent all the details to youth welfare department director SM Kant with supportive documents and a CD,” said PTU registrar Nachhatar Singh.

“Though we have yet to receive any communication from PU officials we had taken care students of Guru Nanak Institute of Information & Technology, Ludhiana had performed at our festival and no outsider was there. The PU authorities have to take action at their own level now,” said PTU vice chancellor Rajnish Arora.

The startling case came to light when the same bhangra team that had won the first prize at the youth festival, was also adjudged the best team. An objection was subsequently raised and the results were held back till an inquiry was conducted.

Since the team first competes at the zonal and later at the interzonal level, it is surprising how the PU authorities were unaware of the whole incident throughout the event. The team even kept winning at each level without being caught despite an incharge accompanying them.

When contacted, Kant pleaded ignorance about the entire matter.

When contacted, Inderjeet Singh, former principal of GGM Khalsa College, Ludhiana and now registrar at Guru Nanak Dev University, who had issued the ID cards to the students, said: “This is unfortunately becoming a trend now - these students seek admission on the basis of the class XII certificate and are actually professionals. They seek admission in both universities but are actually permitted to appear for exams in only one of them”.

“Strict action on the matter should be taken by the PU authorities as well as the respective directors of youth welfare departments so that such incidents aren’t repeated and youth festivals don’t become a platform for commercialisation,” Singh added.

PU vice chancellor RC Sobti was, however, not available for comments.

Meanwhile, on being questioned dean of students welfare Naval Kishore said he was not aware of the case and would enquire into the matter.



SSA projects cry for attention
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Going by the track record of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA), nothing much has been done to benefit the 8,000 city children, who because of several reasons, are yet to be a part of the education system. Over 40 per cent of the SSA funds go back to the Centre, as an unutilised amount.

These children, according to a recently published “out of school report” of the UT education department, have opted out of school or have never gone to school, to earn, beg or baby-sit their younger siblings.

Clearly these kids belong to the stratum where education is yet to gain the status of a necessity and thus, have a rebellious approach towards it.

Most of these kids, from a very young age, not only take to begging and employment as maids or servants, but also eventually consider it as their sole motto and anything that drives them away from it, especially schools, become a virtual enemy.

While the report takes a serious note of all these facts, the action taken report is still awaited and the ground reality is not inspiring either.

Though AIE centres have recorded decent enrolment, there has been hardly any rise. Also a majority of children, who have so far enrolled in these centres, are those who have left studies due to financial reasons. The centres failed to tap the real target, especially beggars.

According to several social workers across the tri-city, it is the lack of initiative on part of SSA officials that has led to it.

“I had approached them with a project of mobile school which will teach these children for a couple of hours at the signals. The project has been successful in some cities of Haryana, but the SSA officials, even after a nod from DPI, rejected it, claiming that they had told the government that all children had access to education in the city,” said an NGO head.

Interestingly, DPI(S) SK Setia had drawn everyone’s attention towards such projects. Besides, he collaborated with several NGOs and came up with an idea of catching them at traffic signals.

These projects did start well, but died a slow death after his exit. However, the DPI(S) could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.



Labourer run over by train
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Vigan Lal, a 28-year-old labourer, was killed when he was hit by a train on the elevated track near Ram Darbar here this afternoon.

The police said it appeared to be an accidental death. Eyewitnesses told the police that the victim was working at a construction site near the track and got frightened on seeing the approaching train. He fell on the track and was run over by the train. The victim, who was married, was from Uttar Pradesh, where his family lived.



Plastic cups back on campus with a vengeance
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
As they say, old habits die hard. A case in point is the ban on plastic glasses and cups inside the lush green Panjab University campus. These glasses have gradually appeared again on shop counters at the Student Centre, the hub of activities on the campus, not only because students prefer them but also because the shopowners find them convenient.

Some of the shops at the Centre have again begun serving tea, lemonade and coffee in plastic cups, though the ever-present thermocol variety continues to rule the roost.

Not just the campus, the gradual return of plastic carry bags can be clearly seen in almost all the city markets. Customers have to carry the purchased items in a paper bag that is offered or at times take them without any carry bag. However, if one insists on it, the shopkeeper will pull out a plastic bag from under the cash counter!

“These plastic cups are more convenient and, unlike those made of glass, they can be taken anywhere in the campus. Besides they are so small as to be hardly noticeable. Even thermocol cups are not preferred as much as these plastic ones are”, said a fourth year UIET student and a coffee lover.

“The fact that they (plastic cups) have now again become available in some shops is the reason why students ask for them. There are many students, staff members or visitors to the campus who consider glasses, which are otherwise readily offered, unhygienic. We don’t know how well they are washed by the shopkeepers, so using plastic cups is a valid excuse for demanding them,” said Natasha, another student.

According to the university authorities, however, no complaint regarding use of plastic cups has yet been received. “It’s not in our knowledge yet, though there is no doubt thermocol cups are being used. If any shop is found bringing plastic bags or cups back in the campus, we will look into the matter,” said dean of students welfare Naval Kishore.



Workshop marks World Diabetes Day
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 22
“Blood pressure and cholesterol levels are more significant to control diabetes than just blood sugar control,” said Dr R Muralidharan, consultant- endocrinology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, while speaking at the workshop organised to observe the World Diabetes Day.

Around 100 patients were invited for the workshop.

Dr Muralidharan discussed about the magnitude of diabetes and the health risks caused by poor control of diabetes and significant protection offered against all diabetic complications by regular monitoring and optimum control of diabetes.

Discussing about the impact of diabetes on the kidney, Dr Sanjeev Mehrotra, senior consultant, urology and renal transplant specialist, gave an insightful presentation on the current scenario of renal transplant.

“It is appalling that there are approximately 2,00,000 cases of permanent kidney failure each year, significant numbers of which are because of diabetes related problems, of which only 4,000 manage to undergo the renal transplants at 50 centres in the country. It is important to understand that despite the legal aspect of undergoing a kidney transplant, there is no comparison between the advantage of a transplant as compared to a dialysis,” he added.

Talking about the harmful impact of diabetes on the eyes, Dr Sandeep Janjua, consultant, ophthalmology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, said, “Diabetes is a multi-system disorder involving the eyes in the form of diabetic retinopathy (DR), which is a leading cause of blindness among the productive age groups.

It has been documented that 20 years after the onset of DM, nearly all patients with Type 1 DM and more than 60 per cent of those with Type II DM will have some degree of retinopathy.

Screening for diabetic retinopathy should be mandatory for all diabetics, as DM is now assuming the form of an epidemic in India,” he added.



A tale of the ‘numberless’ bike

A few days back, I was sitting with certain students at a PU hostel, where I was told that two bikers, who have been snatching purses near the girls’ hostel, are the hottest topic of discussion among girls in the campus.

When asked if they tried to note down the number of the bike, the reply of all three girls, who had faced the situation, puzzled me.

They said it was a ‘numberless’. The seriousness of their expression while describing the incident and, of course, their monetary loss, convinced me. The situation is disappointing as one ponders why these rogues choose to do such tricks inside a temple of knowledge. Moreover, such incidents go unchecked as the girls do not bring the case to the notice of the police or the authorities to avoid hassles.

When the girls ended narrating the incident, I chuckled and jokingly replied, “Since you do not want to report the matter to the police, the two student parties inside the campus, the ABVP and the INSO, which lock horns over who started the women’s front on the campus, should now, first, make it an issue for their party to track down the ‘numberless’ bike.”


People with weak hearts should not read this. There will be no extra national or festive holidays to students and especially to government employees, who usually enjoy long festive seasons every year with the arrival of any festival or any other national holiday.

Next year, all major festivals are falling on Saturday or Sunday. As per next year’s calendar, Republic Day, Holi, Independence Day, Dusshera and Diwali are all falling on Sundays and May Day, Gandhi Jayanti and Christmas will be on Saturdays.

Any Samaritans?

Tribune photo: Vinay MalikTall claims of the Chandigarh administration notwithstanding, the city dots random pictures of beggars on roads and markets at different places. The number goes down or the scene vanishes for some time, once in a while. An old man crawling on the roads is a permanent sight from the past more than a decade. Clad in warm clothes in wake of the cold weather these days, the man can be seen dragging himself. He can be often seen reading a newspaper. He rarely speaks and sparingly spreads his arms seeking alms. Seeing the sorry picture, particularly of the aged, one is forced to think about the role of the administration in particular and of society at large, for intervention and finding them a nest in the sunset of their lives. (See photo)


Teacher-turned-journalist-turned-entrepreneur Dr Anshu Kataria (33) has been honoured with the International Young Entreprenuership Award. The chairman of the Chandigarh-based Aryans Group of Institutes was honoured by Thailand’s Labour Minister Paitoon Kaewthong at the Indo-Thai Friendship conference held at Bangkok recently.

Dr Kataria also a recipient of the special achievement award by the Chandigarh Management Association, besides the Shiksha Bharati Puruskar and the Rashitriya Saraswati Vidya Puruskar.

‘Booked out’

During a chit-chat session with a very senior ‘officer Mehmsahib’, she said someone from our top echeleons was more heavily booked than even Aamir Khan.” I did not create the word Aamir, he uses it very frequently”, she said.

This senior official, who also happens to be the most common chief guest in city functions, when approached by a member of Haryana IAS Wives Welfare Association to give them a ‘date’ to come to one of their functions, was told that he was already ‘booked out’ for the coming three years, but “will try to accommodate them”.

No takers for hockey

How serious are we in promoting our national game hockey can be gauged by the empty seats at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium during the current Nehru Senior Hockey Championship.

Barring a few members from among the organisers and some of the young hockey enthusiasts from the nearby areas, no one bothered to even know what was going on in the stadium.

Some of the veteran hockey players could also be seen during the matches played between the national teams at the venue.

The players have to satisfy their thirst by taking out water from a bucket. Even the teams which have played the first match do not stay back to watch the next match for obvious reasons as they are tired and want to immediately return to their rest rooms.

‘Indigo industry’

Eminent historian and former professor of history at Panjab University Prof Pramod Sangar is set to shed more light on mediaeval Indian history. With that end in mind, he has chosen the hitherto-neglected subject of ‘indigo industry’ of mediaeval India.

In his project, Professor Sangar dwells on how European companies in India were vying with each for the monopoly of the prized commodity(indigo) during the 17th century. The tug-of war between various nations for the control of the indigo trade, poverty of the growing class and the decline of the trade due to a variety of reasons such as weather, over-production and corruption have been dealt with scholarly by the author.


Ever since SK Jain has been promoted from the rank of the inspector-general of police (IGP) to additional director-general of police (ADGP) about two months back, confusion pertaining to his rank persists.

The Chandigarh police addressed their head as DGP whereas the UT administration has refused to accept the same and continues to address Jain as ADGP.

A peculiar situation has arisen between the police and the administration as official letters from Jain to the administration mention his rank as DGP while the administration replies to the ADGP.

During the inauguration of the state-of-the-art police control room (PCR) at the UT Police Headquarters in Sector 9, the situation turned sour.

The police had called senior officials and prominent personalities from the city and other states in the programme, in which the police officials kept on addressing Jain as DGP while the UT administrator addressed him as ADGP, much to the discomfiture of the police in front of the gathering.

Contributed by Neha Miglani, Aarti Kapur, Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Sumedha Sharma, Sanjay Bumbroo, Pradeep Sharma and Ramanjit Singh Sidhu



Expulsion stares Babla in the face
Rodrigues’ continuation gives sleepless nights to Cong
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Expulsion from the membership of the municipal corporation (MC) is staring Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla, on the run in connection with an illegal shed allotment case in the Sector 26 grain market, in the face. In fact, the failure of the UPA government to name the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator had given a fresh cause of worry for the Congress.

Interestingly, the mayor, allegedly on the directions of Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal, had put off the November 20 meeting of the House of the MC. The meeting was expected to take up the leave application of absconding Babla, a close confidant of Bansal. According to the Punjab Municipal Act, as extended to Chandigarh, failure of a councillor to attend three consecutive meetings without approval can attract expulsion.

What the Act says

“If during three successive months, a councillor is without permission of the corporation absent from all meetings, the MCC may declare his seat vacant.” -Section 36(1-A)

Administrator’s powers

“If the government is of the opinion that execution of any resolution of the corporation is in contravention of the Act or is likely to lead to breach of peace or to cause injury or annoyance to the public or any class or body of person, the government may, by order in writing, suspend the execution of such resolution.” — Section 422

Babla last attended the MC meeting in August and he must be present or get his leave sanctioned at the next meeting of the House later this month to save his membership. The continuation of the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator SF Rodrigues in office till a new incumbent takes over is giving sleepless nights to the Congress in the MC. Even if the House approves Babla’s leave, the UT Administrator enjoys vast powers to reject the MC’s resolutions. In view of the war of words between Rodrigues and Bansal, it is unlikely that the former will let the absconding councillor off the hook even if the MC comes to his rescue and passes a resolution in his support.

The slugfest between Rodrigues and Bansal over Babla is well-known. While the Administrator's view is that the law should take ‘its own course’, Bansal has publicly alleged that the Raj Bhavan is behind the ‘framing’ of the councillor. While the Congress may cry hoarse over the framing of Congressmen at Rodrigues’ instance, Babla and Bansal may be legally on a sticky wicket on this issue. Babla faces serious charges and his bail application has been rejected by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Janata Party demands chief commissioner for UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Ajay Jagga, president of the local unit of the Janata Party, today demanded the restoration of the post of chief commissioner for Chandigarh, citing legal problems with regard to the additional charge of UT Administrator to the Punjab Governor. The post of chief commissioner, to be held by a senior bureaucrat, should be revived as the UT Administrator or a non-bureaucrat should be appointed the administrator, designating him as the Lt-Governor, a representationn to the Union Home Minister said.

The representation said the administration of union territories was covered under Article 239 of the Constitution and they were governed by the President through an administrator to be appointed by him.

The President could appoint the Governor of a state as the administrator of an adjoining union territory, and where a Governor was so appointed, he would exercise his functions as such administrator independently of his council of ministers.

The UT Administrator used to be the chief commissioner till 1983-84 and later, due to the Punjab problem, Governor’s rule was imposed and he was also made the UT Administrator.

In the past one year or so, there had been a slugfest between the Administrator, the Adviser to the UT Administrator and the local MP, resulting into the poor functioning of the administration.

The major issue was that the UT Administrator being the Punjab Governor had so many immunities under the law and the Constitution of India that his decisions could not be challenged in a court of law.

Taking all these issues into account, the party demanded the restoration of the post of chief commissioner for better and transparent administration.



Rehri markets sit on powder keg
Kulwinder Sangha

Shopkeepers ignore fire safety norms by stacking goods in a corridor at the rehri market in Phase 1, Mohali. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, November 22
Rehri markets in the town are highly prone to fire even as the administration has failed to make these safe for shopkeepers, customers and those living in the neighbourhood.

A major fire had destroyed the Janta Rehri Market in Phase IIIB1 over two years ago, reducing the property of shopkeepers to heaps of ashes.

While some shopkeepers who had lost their kiosks in the fire had been allotted permanent booths, others had been asked to temporarily operate from a vacant space in Sector 70.

Those living nearby have reportedly moved court seeking orders restraining the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority from constructing booths in the area, which was got vacated, as the rehri market fire had caused damage to their houses.

Rehri markets are also located in Phases I , IV , VII, X and XI but lacked fire safety measures. The ventilation in the markets is poor and there are no proper exits needed for emergencies.

Loose electrical wiring at various places and lack of facility to store water has made the matters worse.

The situation is pretty grim in the Guru Nanak khokha market, Phase I, which has over 250 shops. The passages between rows of kiosks are narrow and at places obstructed by goods kept by shopkeepers.

Repair work is undertaken in certain kiosks where LPG cyclinders and kerosene are used, adding to the threat of fire.

Another 300 shops are there in the Sahibzada Ajit Singh market in Phase IV. The passages between the kiosks are narrow and the approach to the market is only from the front though the market has a small narrow exit on the rear.

Dhabas and sweets shops are being run from the market. These use LPG cylinders and kerosene, posing a threat to the lives of visitors to the market, which has already suffered a major blaze in the past.

The condition of rehri markets in Phases VII and XI is no better. Though the number of kiosks there is much less, the problem of narrow passages, loose electrical wiring exists.

In fact, nine kiosks of the Phase XI market had been burnt down in a fire that had broken out on March 19.



CRPF to enrol ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will carry out a special recruitment drive to enrol ex-servicemen in its ranks. Junior commissioned officers can join the CRPF as sub-inspectors while other ranks can enrol as constables on contractual basis.

The highlight of the special drive is that the physical, domiciliary and educational qualifications for both categories have been completely waived for veterans, though they should be medically fit and have a clean record, according to a circular issued by the CRPF headquarters.

Further, the selected ex-servicemen shall be entitled to draw their full military pension, along with contractual pay from the CRPF, which works out to be about Rs 17,500 per month for JCOs and Rs 11,500 for others.

Though there would be no written or preliminary examination, candidates would have to appear before special recruitment boards scheduled to be held next month at Jalandhar, Allahabad, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

The government has accorded sanction to 100 posts of sub-inspector and 2,000 posts of constables for ex-servicemen on contractual basis for one year. Selected individuals would be subject to service conditions and regulations as applicable to regular CRPF personnel.



Meeting to discuss virus mutation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
With increasing number of countries, including some in Asia, reporting Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 virus, the UT health department discussed the development and situation arising out it at a meeting on swine flu preparations yesterday. No such case has so far been reported in India.

According to UT health officials, the contention was raised after such cases were reported in different parts of the world, including Japan, Singapore, China, the US, Hong Kong and Canada.

India has so far not reported such a mutation. Even, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has alerted of situations that carried a high risk for the emergence of swine flu virus becoming resistant to Tamiflu.

It states that the risk of resistance to Tamiflu is higher in people who receive it following exposure to a swine flu positive patient and then develop illness despite taking Tamiflu.

According to UT nodal officer for swine Flu HC Gera, it could be suspected in case of doctors or family members, who had come in contact with swine flu patients.

2 more H1N1 positive cases

With two more persons, including a doctor from the PGI and a student from DAV Public School, Panchkula, testing positive for H1N1 virus today, the total number of confirmed swine flu cases in the city has gone up to 120. 



Environmentalist remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Ecologists and environmentalists across the country are moaning the death of Swaroop Krishna Sharma, environmentalist and founder of the Environment Society of and India (ESI).

Besides his contribution being appreciated and remembered, his work has also become a landmark in the filed of environment science.

In his contribution to the city beautiful, Sharma founded the Environment Society of Chandigarh (ESC) on June 5, 1976, after attending the Stockholm conference in 1972.

He was a champion of environmental issues when the concern of environmental protection was yet to attain importance.

Sharma was also honoured with the Global 500 Laureate Award by the United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP) in 1989.

He was also a recipient of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Award in environmental public health.

His office in Karuna Sadan, Sector 11, helped in maintaining the campus and the newly built complex, which is maintained by the ESI now.



Workshop on export promotion
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 22
The Mohali Industries Association in collaboration with the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) organised a workshop on “Export promotion and documentation” at the MIA Bhawan.

The workshop was organised as part of the ongoing SIDBI initiative being supported by TERI, which focuses on market-based development through various business development services (BDS) providers.

MS Dhillion, joint director, DGFT, Chandigarh, threw light on trade policies applicable for exports. Opinder Singh, assistant director, EEPC, Jalandhar, spoke on various schemes and incentives available for entrepreneurs interested in exports.

Prof RK Wadhwa, IIFT, New Delhi, and SK Pawar, assistant general manager, EXIM Bank, Chandigarh, spoke on the export documentation.



Book fair concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
A three-day book fair concluded at Kendriya Vidyalaya, 3 BRD Air Force Station, Chandigarh, yesterday.

The book fair, which was inaugurated by KVS Chandigarh region education officer Har Gopal, was a big attraction for the students, who were seen going through different books on display.

Principal SK Sharma of the host school was happy at the enthusiasm among the students for the books and was hopeful of holding more such book fairs in future.



Open House!
Independence of private schools needs to be assessed
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

The ongoing controversy of a school teacher of St John’s suspended for promoting pornography has taken a different track - assessing the independence of private schools vis-a-vis the Chandigarh administration.

While the issue moves simultaneously in the courts of the administration, schools and the Minorities Commission, it is yet to be seen who plays the winning shot.

The school constituted an inquiry into the issue of Michalelangelo Francis, an arts teacher, promoting pornography among school kids.

The school did not complete the inquiry report, saying TK Goyal, the complainant, did not cooperate.

The complainant, a PCS officer and father of two, did not think the school would conduct a fair inquiry “because the principal was favouring the teacher” and gave the papers to the administration.

At the same time, an inquiry conducted by the DPI on behalf of the administration indicated that the teacher was guilty, and so was the principal, for shielding him.

At the same time, the school approached the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions in a complaint against the administration for interfering unnecessarily in school affairs.

The commission has asked the administration to be present at the New Delhi office to give its side of the story in the second week of December.

The issue has brought forward certain questions worth a consideration in assessing government control and freedom of private institutions.

Can the administration interfere in the normal functioning of a school which it is not funding at all?

Is the particular school being targeted intentionally because only recently, a teacher was removed from service for allegedly meting out corporal punishment on a student?

It has been written to the commission that “St John’s School is a minority educational institution covered under Article 30 of the Constitution, belonging to the Christian community, with a consequential right to establish and administer the school. A minority institution is entitled to run an educational institution as it thinks fit in accordance with the ideas of how best the interests of the community in general and the institution in particular will be served and is free from external control.”

At the same time, the administration has towed the argument that it had to interfere because the complaint was also filed against the principal and the complainant would not get a fair hearing.

The administration also seems to have a point in arguing that incidents of violence cannot be ignored by the administration.

In case a parent submits an affidavit, claiming unfair behaviour, the administration can take up the matter, particularly in cases which can have criminal connotations.

As a senior officer says, “We do not show any authority over the affairs of unaided private schools. However, we are required to keep certain checks. Minority institutions, for instance, have taken several concessions from the administration, including land. It is our duty to ensure that they are complying with the given conditions for giving them the benefits.”

He adds, “It has been detected that certain private institutes in the city are not adhering to the required conditions. They have been served the due notices and appropriate action will be initiated very soon.”

Certain private unaided institutions refer to the recent steps of the administration in checking anomalies as an arm-twisting exercise.

“I am sorry to say that a number of officers seek benefits from us in different forms, one of which is admission for their favoured ones. In a meeting held recently, we proposed that we should all prepare a list of recommendations from the officers during admissions and circulate the same after admissions conclude,” a director says.

Another issue to catch public attention very soon will be the fee during fresh admissions. Underlining the conditions mentioned in the allotment letters of private schools seeking no aid from the administration, the administration has warned schools against levying any additional fund or increasing the fees “without justification” this time.

Except for those who got the land at concessional rates, others would move the “appropriate authorities” for a “justified” fee hike because they were not given any concessions during their allotments.

It is argued that the standard of education in more than 100 government schools in the city does not match that of top-class private schools, except certain exceptions.

“Everyone knows about the pitiable condition of classroom teaching, classes and results. I hope that it is not being perceived that students there were never slapped. Instead of asking private schools for a quota, why was the administration not committed towards providing better education for children in its schools,” a private school entrepreneur said.

The administration, on its part, argues that when the land has been given at concessional rates with specified seats for the minorities at a particular point of time, how can the institutions back off from their word now?

The special institutions are given concessions because they are perceived to be different from the normal institutions and committed towards the uplift of the lesser privileged.

I think it is not practically possible for private schools to behave independently of government interference.

Private bus operators in local schools had gone in for an indefinite strike in July this year. The impasse was resolved after four days when the administration interfered with a committee to look into their demand.

In any case, the issue of compulsory speed governors in buses could not be handled by schools, independently from the administration.

A teacher with a convent whose son too studies in a convent says, “It is unfortunate that teachers are becoming frequent victims of over-interference by parents of students. The teacher-taught relation is undergoing a change. Pulling up a student, sometimes, is a very important part of human learning.”

At the same time, a parent says, “Certain issues pointed out by the inquiry, particularly pertaining to the vulgar content, needed to be answered by the school once and for all.

Instead of passing judgement on the teacher or the school, in a narrower perspective, perhaps the matter needs a detailed deliberation for preserving the dignity of both private institutions as well as government agencies in delivering correct education.



MBA students visit Lalru spinning mill
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 22
MBA students of the SAS Institute of Information Technology and Research at Mohali visited the Nahar Spinning Mills Limited at Lalru.

This visit was specially organised for at least 50 students majoring in finance and human resources.

In a press note, Prof Girish Jaswal, director-general, SAS Group, said the purpose of the visit was to make students aware of manufacturing processes, export procedures, marketing strategies and finance handling and to have a first-hand experience with the different practical management aspects.

Students visited the processing unit of the company and studied various processes there like grain weaving, spinning, bleaching, dyeing and printing.

Sanjeev Banerjee, senior manager, spoke about the importance of the finance department in a textile company and highlighted the financial aspects to be kept in mind while running such an organisation.

Jaswal further said this interactive, participative and informative visit provided the students with industrial exposure, which would benefit them in the future.

Such industrial visits were a mandatory and important module of the MBA programme and more of those were planned.



Vocational contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
The 18th state-level vocational engineering-based course competition was conducted by the UT education department at Government Senior Secondary School, Mani Majra, this week.

The competitions were conducted in the engineering-based vocational courses.

The AC and refrigeration, automobile technology and structure and fabrication technology teams won the prizes.



Salford varsity admission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
University of Salford will reach out to aspirants of overseas education in the city on November 24 at the local office of a consultant company in Sector 9, a press release said here today.

The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in acoustics, aeronautical engineering, civil engineering, data communications, computing, interactive media, mechanical engineering and physics.



Science exhibition
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 22
A science exhibition was organised at Government College, Sector 1, Panchkula, here recently.

Bajrang Das Garg, chairman, Confed, Haryana, was the chief guest.

Seven departments of the college participated in the exhibition.

The winning model will be exhibited at the inter-district exhibition, which will be held in Ambala.

Winners of the inter-district level will participate in the state-level science exhibition.



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