C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fear of Rathore
Ruchika dropped surname in board roster
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
After her alleged expulsion from Sacred Heart School, Ruchika Girhotra got so scared of Rathore’s influence that she did not mention her surname in any of the Punjab School Education Board’s records.

Ruchika, who was in Class X at the time of leaving school, was forced to appear as a private candidate. She got registered with the Punjab board only as Ruchika.

While her father SC Girhotra could not be contacted for comments, her best friend Aradhna said: “Ruchika had lost all courage after she was thrown out of school. Rathore was making things more difficult for her. There used to be so many goons lurking around her house and would stalk her even if she went out to buy bread. She was under much mental pressure and made efforts to hold on to what was left even in academic terms.”

A survey of the gazettes concerned by The Tribune reveals that Ruchika had appeared for Class X boards in March 1991, but could not pass in maths and chemistry. She appeared for a re-examination in September 1991, but her result was delayed by couple of months due to her awards getting late.

Though she was able to pass by a whisker, the fact that it took almost a year for her to clear the boards broke her down. “You know how much a child is bothered about the Class X boards. Though she was an average student, she was enthusiastic to take the boards. Her expulsion before the examination was a major setback for her. Though she switched to Punjab board, she could never really adjust to it. Punjabi always posed a problem and Rathore’s torture was making it more difficult.”



Exit from school “unusual”
Probe report out soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
While the UT administration might take another day to make the report of its fact-finding enquiry against the Sacred Heart School public, it is believed to have collected ample evidence to prove that Ruchika’s exit from the school was “unusual”.

The enquiry committee, which reportedly completed official interrogation today, is now probing the allegations of Ruchika’s father that the school not only succumbed to the pressure of SPS Rathore, but also conspired against her.

SC Girhotra, in a written statement submitted to the administration, has rubbished the claims of the school regarding the non-payment of fee by Ruchika.

According to sources, Girhotra has asserted that though the school accepted delayed quarterly fee with late fee, but in this case, when he went to pay it in August 1990, the school authorities refused to accept it and waited till the next quarter. Not only this, even though Ruchika was regularly attending her classes, she was being marked absent and eventually in September, he was informed about her expulsion by the principal, Sr. Sebastina, who admitted that there was immense pressure from Rathore. However after that, while Rathore cited “moral lapses” on part of Ruchika as the reason for her expulsion, the school cited non-payment of fee as the reason.



Trains delayed, flights cancelled 
Biting cold, icy winds continue to grip city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The city and its adjoining areas in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana reeled under intense cold wave conditions with the mercury plummeting 7 degrees below normal to a minimum of 8.6 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature remained at 14.4 degrees C in the city and hovered between 12.4 and 16.6 degrees C at most places in the region, which was swept by chilly winds and cloudy weather during the day.

A thin layer of fog also engulfed the city skyline in the morning reducing visibility to 500 metres. Meanwhile, all flights from the city remained cancelled for the fifth consecutive day.

Balwinder Singh, an agricultural expert, said the severe cold was conducive for the wheat crop. “Wheat is a crop that requires chilly weather conditions at the growing stage and high temperatures at the time of ripening”, he added.

Though the chilly weather accompanied by a thick blanket of fog has disrupted life, it is proving useful for ‘rabi’ crops - especially wheat and barley - and also fruits such as kinnows. People from other walks of life may be upset by the bone chilling cold and fog but the farming community is upbeat owing to the continuing cold wave in the region.

Farmers in Punjab and Haryana sow wheat varieties drawn from colder regions such as Mexico. Such varieties need low temperatures at the plant growth level and high temperatures at the ripening stage. That is why wheat in Punjab is sown at the time of the onset of the winter season and harvested during midsummer.

The intense cold coupled with intermittent rain on Sunday kept most city residents indoors. There was practically no hustle and bustle in the markets today. While private educational institutions, banks, offices and business establishments remained open, normal activities were affected with relatively fewer people turning up.

According to the weatherman, the cloudy conditions with mist/fog will prevail in the region tomorrow, with chances of slight showers. The met office forecast a further fall in temperature.

Yesterday’s rain seems to have added to the woes of city residents as the day temperature continued to remain below normal. Although the night temperature increased a little bit, that did not provide any respite from the numbing cold.

The weather has also taken its toll on rail traffic. Many trains are arriving late in the city late due to the heavy fog on the way. Passengers at the city’s train station have been facing a harrowing time, waiting for hours together on the platforms. Railway officials here said they could not do much about this state of affairs, adding the situation was unpredictable.

Private schools closed till Jan 10

Chandigarh, January 4
Taking note of the chilly weather conditions, the UT education department has asked all private schools to close the primary classes (till Class V) up to January 10.

Though the declaration has rejoiced many, the PTA associations want the relief to be extended to all students and staff alike. “All private school students should be given the relief. The chill is affecting students of secondary and higher classes alike and not giving them holidays on the pretext of completing the syllabus is not justified. The schools can compensate it by taking extra classes later,” the president of a PTA association stated.



Inscol fined Rs 10 lakh for poor service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The District Disputes and Consumer Redressal Forum has directed Inscol Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 34 -- through its managing director along with Dr Jayant Banerjee, medical superintendent, and PS Mann and Alveena Samson, assistant nursing, superintending -- and United India Insurance Company to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to a complainant for causing mental agony and physical harassment since 2005.

The forum has also directed a refund of Rs 1,01,858 incurred by the complainant on her treatment at the hospital.

The forum also instructed the hospital to pay Rs 6,91,095, which the patient spent on treatment at Fortis Hospital and the PGI after deficiency in service at Inscol hospital.

The complainant, Inderjit Arora, a resident of Modern Housing Complex, stated that she was diabetic for the past 10 years. She was admitted to Inscol and was under the supervision of Dr Banerjee. On August 8, 2005, she started shivering and felt pain in her leg. She visited Dr Banerjee’s clinic and some preliminary tests were conducted. She was advised to visit the Prime Diagnostic Centre for procedural tests. The complainant and her son went to the centre and a high resolution harmonic eco cardiography was performed on her. Dr UP Singh, who conducted the cardiography, referred her back to Dr Banerjee, who then asked her to go to Dr Sudhir Saxena. He gave her some medicines and advised immediate hospitalisation, besides D-Dimer test, repeat eco test and Sprial CT chest scan. He again sent her to Dr Banerjee and she was admitted to the ICU at Inscol, where ultrasound and Doppler tests were carried out. However, none of the tests advised by Dr Saxena were carried out to ascertain that she was suffering from pulmonary embolism.

At night, her condition started deteriorating. An injection was recommended and was procured from Sector 38-D for Rs 72,000. The complainant said as per the TPA instruction manual and consumer medicine information, the injection was to be administered only after confirmation of pulmonary embolism by a physician experienced in the use of thrombolytic treatment and at a place with facilities to monitor its use as the side-effects were dangerous.

However, the injection was administered by a person who did not have the requisite qualification. After the injection, her condition further deteriorated and no ventilator was made available to her. As a result, she was shifted to Fortis, where she remained admitted till September 12. She had to spend nearly Rs 8 lakh on her treatment at Fortis.



Admn opposes Babla’s bail plea
Says he continues to act as if he’s above law
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
In a strong-worded reply opposing the bail application of Devinder Singh Babla, the UT administration has gone on the offensive against him.

In its six-page reply by special public prosecutor Anupam Gupta, it has been stated that in view of Babla’s past record of having absconded for over three months and his pivotal role and involvement in the entire criminal transaction that gave rise to the present case, besides his conduct at the time of his admission to jail after being remanded in judicial custody, the concession of bail should be refused to him.

Babla had moved a bail application on January 1, when he was sent to judicial custody. The court had fixed January 4 for hearing the bail plea. However, the court today put off the arguments till January 9.

The prosecution has stated that after absconding and brazenly evading arrest for months, during which the accused stayed at Mumbai, Jaipur, Shirdi, Tirupati and other places, he was compelled to surrender because of the pressure by the new special investigation team. It was only when he realised that his arrest was imminent, did he surrender on December 28.

The surrender in no way detracts from the gravity of his criminal involvement and brazenness to evade law even after the dismissal of his anticipatory bail application by the High Court on October 6.

It was a travesty of law for the accused to seek bail on the plea that he had surrendered before the investigated agency, the reply stated.

Pointing towards the recovery of a mobile SIM when he was sent to Burail Jail, the reply said: “The recovery of the SIM card affords an eloquent insight into his criminal mindset and machinations, his influence and network of connections and his unceasing, continuing attempts to defy laws and thwart the process of criminal justice system. It is manifest that the accused continues to act as if he is above the law.”


Anu Chatrath

Politics, law, education — All ingrained in one
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Anu Chatrath, who was elected Mayor of the municipal corporation for the second term on Friday, is a rare combination of politics, law and education.

In fact, for the daughter of Gopal Krishan Chatrath, former Batala MLA and senior advocate of Punjab and Haryana High Court, politics is not a new territory, as she is currently the general secretary of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) and has also served as the city Mayor in 2005.

The stamp of the personality of his lawyer-politician-educationist father, a former Punjab Advocate General during Beant Singh regime when terrorism was at its peak, is clearly visible on Anu’s career and personality.

Besides following in the footsteps of her father in the legal profession, she has also inherited Chatrath’s passion for social work and education reforms. She made it to the PU senate from the general constituency after polling the highest number of votes from graduate (alumni) constituency from the Chandigarh area.

However, unlike other lawyer-turned politicians, who use law practice as a springboard for elected public offices, Anu is clear about her priorities in the legal profession.

Anu, who specialises in service law, constitutional law and election-related disputes, aspires to be a judge of the High Court and Supreme Court.

A member of the home minister of India’s advisory council for Chandigarh, Anu had defeated the BJP-SAD alliance’s candidate Harjinder Kaur by a record margin of 25-04 votes in 2005.

However, two years earlier Harjinder Kaur shocked Anu with a one-vote defeat.

This time around, it was a cakewalk for Anu as Harjinder Kaur withdrew from the contest at the eleventh hour sensing defeat.

A law graduate from the PU, Anu is deeply influenced by the French Revolution and India’s freedom struggle. In fact, she has women’s welfare uppermost in her mind and wants women to realise their full potential.



Training course for leading firemen
Fire dept strays from policy
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The Chandigarh fire and emergency department policy of imparting training to its staff through a sub-fire officer course is not being followed strictly, as fire employees shortlisted for the 25th sub-fire officer course do not fulfil the eligibility criteria under the policy.

According to sources, the ministry of home affairs, Nagpur, was currently organising a six-month 25th sub-fire officer course at Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, for which the Chandigarh fire department had selected four firemen.

The department’s sub-fire officer training policy clearly indicates that only leading firemen will be considered eligible for attending such courses, as after the course their case for promotion from the post of leading fireman to sub-fire officer is taken up by the department.

Whenever a fireman has applied for such a course in the past, the authorities have rejected their application on the ground that the course is only for leading firemen of the department under its policy.

However, even the circular released by the department this time to inform employees about the training course does not specify the eligibility criteria for the course.

The sources say the department had in the past sent some firemen for the course after which the candidates attending the course had asked for promotion to the rank of sub-fire officer.

Even some employees had file cases against the department for not promoting them as they had attained the eligibility for promotion after attending the course.

The sources say to prevent such a situation from arising in the future, the department had framed a clear policy of sending only leading firemen to attend the course.

According to the records of the department, around 25 employees have already attended the training programme of sub-fire officers and are in the queue for promotions.

However, questions are being raised on the logic behind sending personnel for training, after incurring lakhs of rupees by the department, when they are not being considered eligible for promotion after the course.

MC additional commissioner-cum-chief fire officer PK Sharma says only leading firemen are eligible for the course and only they should be sent for the training.



First-aid workshop for cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The Chandigarh Traffic Police today organised a first-aid workshop for police personnel as part of the ongoing 21st National Road Safety Week.

Around 250 police personnel participated in the workshop conducted by a team of doctors from Fortis Hospital, Mohali, at Traffic Auditorium in Sector 29 here. Besides, the police also organised a workshop for rickshaw-pullers to educate them about traffic rules.

The police distributed 50 blankets, 350 reflectors and 150 caps to rickshaw-pullers. DSP (traffic) Vijay Kumar distributed literature on road safety to participants.



PGI nursing student suicide
Guide, principal accused of harassment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Anshu Mathew, the MSc nursing student at the PGI who committed suicide, had allegedly been facing mental torture at the hands of her guide, who had rejected her synopsis several times.

Members of Anshu’s family and her friends accused her guide and the principal of the National Institute of Nursing Education at the PGI of pushing the victim to take the extreme step.

They gathered at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, here today. The police handed over the body to members of the family after post-mortem examination.

Anshu’s father Thomas Mathew had recorded his statement with the police, alleging that his daughter had been mentally harassed at the hands of her guide.

DSP (Central) Jagbir Singh said the victim’s father, in his statement, accused Anshu’s guide of harassing her. “We will inquire the matter and take action as per the findings”, he said.

Talking to mediapersons, Mathew alleged that Anshu had been undergoing depression after her synopsis were rejected four times by her guide, Dr Sukhwinder Kaur, after she made corrections.

“She was a good student and had worked at a hospital in Delhi before coming here. After she brought the issue to my notice, I told her that I would take up the issue with her principal, but she objected to it, saying it would create more trouble,” Mathew said.

“She was tortured mentally. I do not want any child to face a similar situation and die in this manner,” he said with a heavy heart.

One of the former students at the institute, Sunita Kumari, said they had brought the issue to the notice of the PGI director, but to no avail.

Several students had earlier lodged complaints, alleging harassment at the hands of their guides and the principal.

There were at least three instances of students of the institute attempting to end their lives after failing to cope with the harassment at the hands of the faculty.

“Favouritism and petty politics at the institute had been taking their toll on meritorious students,” alleged another student of the institute.

When approached for comment, PGI director KK Talwar told this correspondent to talk to the public relations officer (PRO) of the PGI on the issue.

Manju Wadwalker, spokesperson of the PGI, said the matter was being investigated by the police and she could not say anything at this stage.

About the complaints against the institution, she asserted that she was not aware of those and would be able to say anything after verifying the complaints tomorrow.



Farmers’ body for action against corrupt officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Members of the Mani Majra Farmers’ Welfare & Environment Protection Society today held an executive body meeting to deliberate on various critical issues pertaining to the administration of the Union Territory, a press release said here today.

Society president HS Johl apprised the members that the ministry of home affairs (MHA) was now absolutely convinced that the present setup of officers and the administrative structure of Chandigarh administration needed to be restructured to ensure a people-centric, transparent, participative and efficient system of governance.

Johl and other members expressed faith in the functioning of the MHA under home minister P Chidambaram and were hopeful that necessary action would be taken against all errant/corrupt officers of Chandigarh administration.

Senior vice-president Col SS Sandhu (retd) criticised the role and functioning of the standing legal counsel who he said had been acting irresponsibly beyond his domain to protect the vested interest of officers and guard the bloated egos of his bosses.

He had the audacity to speak against the central government when recently he termed MHA’s special audit report unprincipled, unprofessional, unfounded and unprecedented, he said.

His biased, unprincipled and coercive approach stood exposed now and necessary action against him from the competent authority was expected soon, he added.

Members expressed hope that the MHA would soon give relief to city’s farmers by releasing the land to farmers/owners in certain cases and enhancing the compensation of the cases (where the possession of land had already been taken over by the government) according to the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy-2007.



Farmers refuse to part with land
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 4
Landowners of Desumajra, Ballomajra and Brialey today refused to part with their land to be acquired by GMADA for mix land use along an upcoming road, proposed to connect Kharar with the Patiala road at Chatt village.

For several months, negotiations have been going on between landowners and GMADA regarding the terms and conditions to acquire the land. The landowners have been demanding that they be allowed to retain their land.

The landowners got annoyed when one of them got a notice from GMADA regarding the acquisition of land today. Purshottam, a landowner, said land acquisition officials had called them to the office to hear their objections. “We have now decided that we are not in favour of parting with our land,” landowners said.

The district land fixation committee has been postponing the issue of fixing the rate of the land to be acquired. The MLA, Kharar, Balbir Sidhu, said the government had been fooling the landowners, who had no objection to the acquisition of land for a road at realistic rates, but the 200-ft stretch being acquired for mix land use on either side of the road was not acceptable to them.

He cited high registration rates at Ballomajra, Mauli Baidwan and Desumajra while demanding a higher land compensation rate.



Anti-tobacco drive for labourers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Disabled Persons’ Welfare Organisation, Punjab, organised a camp at Furniture Market, Sector 54, here against the use of tobacco.

NGO president Parmdeep Singh Bhabat told migrant labourers that they earned their living by working hard throughout the day and if a part of it was spent on tobacco products, they would not only lose their health but also compromise with the facilities of their family members.

Forum vice-president Deepak Rohela said nicotine de-addiction was possible.

General secretary Dharampal media secretary Rana Gurcharan Singh and organisational secretary Balbir Singh Babby also expressed their views against the use of tobacco. They said such camps would continue to be organised throughout the year to raise awareness among people about the ill-effects of tobacco.



Meeting on pulse polio drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
A meeting of the state coordination committee was held at the UT secretariat today under the chairmanship of Special Health Secretary Ajoy Sharma.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the municipal corporation, the police, office of the deputy commissioner, social welfare department, the PGI, the GMCH 32 and officials of various other departments of the Chandigarh administration.

The aim was to sensitise as well as convey gratitude to various departments for extending their cooperation for achieving the maximum coverage of children under five years of age during the pulse polio campaign. During the meeting, a presentation about global scenario of polio as well as of India was presented.

In spite of various constraints, the coverage achieved by the health department was appreciated.

The gathering was apprised of the fact that no case of polio had been reported in Chandigarh since 2006.



Braille reading contest at vocational institute
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Amway Opportunity Foundation (AOF) in association with the National Association for the Blind (NAB), organised a Braille reading and computer typing contests for the visually challenged to commemorate Louis Braille Day at Asha Kiran Vocational Institute for differently abled in Sector 46 here today.

The aim is to enable the less-privileged lead a better life and has a special focus on visually challenged.

Keeping its initiatives around its vision, AOF has partnered with the NAB to carry out various activities for the betterment of visually challenged, such as distribution of white canes, providing access to Braille textbooks, vocational training and familiarising them with computers.

Vinod Chadha of the NAB expressed optimism over increased corporate involvement in social issues.



Tracing roots of Gurmukhi 
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 4
The Punjabi Kala Kender, a literary and cultural society formed by the Late Bollywood actor Balraj Sahni in Mumbai, organised a talk by Prof Joginder Singh Kairon on “Digital Roots of Gurmukhi Script” at the Punjab Kala Bhavan here today.

Dr Kairon said: “The Gurmukhi script is based on a combination and permutation of digital and computer language whose basis is 01. Gurumukhi script was created out of a combination of full zeros, half zeros, and vertical or horizontal strokes to shape the letters of its script.”

Supporting his view, Dr Kairon offered references from other languages and illustrations of 35 letters of Gurmukhi script.

Earlier, president of the kender HS Bhatty introduced the former head of Punjabi department at GNDU Dr Joginder Singh Kairon as an academician and author engaged in research projects. Presiding over the programme Dr Surjit Patar, poet, opined that pending authenticity and acceptance of Dr Kairon’s claim by linguistics was, however, easy for children to learn and imbibe the language in visuals and forms as suggested by Kairon.

Prof Rajpal Singh, Dr Gurpal Singh and others participated.



Disburse aid among all riot-hit, says Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator SF Rodrigues, in response to a complaint by one of the 1984 riot victims, today asked the Finance Secretary to disburse financial assistance among all 92 cases of the riot-affected who had got clearance.

Giving a sympathetic hearing to a group of rag-pickers from Sector 56 at the UT Secretariat during the public hearing session, Rodrigues told the Home Secretary to organise a camp shortly and clear the remaining cases of preparing ration cards on the spot.

In another complaint, a widow told him that a man had forcefully captured her jhuggi.

On this, he directed DIG Mahavir Singh to immediately take strict action against such anti-social elements.

Another widow said her husband had died during service and pressure was being exerted on her to vacate the government accommodation.

The Finance Secretary told her to come to his office.

Responding to the problems of the handicapped, Rodrigues asked the Home Secretary and the Finance Secretary to distribute 150 booths constructed for them.



Time limit for scrutiny extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The Chandigarh administration has decided to scrutinise those VAT returns for 2005-06 which could not be scrutinised earlier. According to an order issued by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Excise and Taxation Commissioner, the returns for the period from December 15, 2005, to March 31, 2006, could not be scrutinised and assessed due to inadequate resources, including manpower, within the stipulated timeframe.

The time limit for finalising the cases for the assessment year 2005-06 had been extended to protect the government revenue. The period has been extended by one year upto November 20, 2010, for all pending assessment cases for the assessment year 2005-06 in respect of all taxable or registered persons.

According to Sub-section 4 of Section 29 of the Punjab Value Added Tax Act, 2005, as extended to the union territory, the returns of all taxable or registered persons needed to be scrutinised and wherever required, assessments had to be framed within a period of three years after the date when the annual statement was filed or due to be filed, whichever was later. The assessment was now allowed to be framed not later than four years from the date when the annual statement was filed or was due to be filed, whichever was later, according to a press note.



Private companies to maintain parks from April 1
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 4
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has planned to hand over big parks in the town to private companies for maintenance to enable it to shift its focus to the development of parks in the upcoming sectors.

The terms and conditions for the maintenance of these old parks, measuring over 8 acre, are being drawn up by the authorities and interested parties are likely to be invited next month through tenders to undertake the work.

A GMADA official says the terms and conditions will cover every aspect of maintenance. The parks to be handed over to private parties are Neighbourhood Park, Sector 67; City Park, Sector 68; Neighbourhood Park, Sector 70; Kargil Park, Sector 71; and Leisure Valley, Sector 62. The work will be privatised from April 1.

If the maintenance work is found satisfactory, GMADA may invite private companies to put up advertisements in these parks to earn revenue so that these parks become self-financing as far as maintenance is concerned.

The paraphernalia engaged in the maintenance of these parks will be shifted to the upcoming sectors so that development activity can be carried out there. As many as 7,000 saplings have already been planted along roads in the new Sectors 79 and 80. There is also a plan to develop parks in some pockets of the new sectors which have a thicker population.

Sixty parks in the town are being maintained by residents’ welfare associations. It is reported that some more such organisations have shown interest in maintaining parks in their respective areas at their own level. Welfare associations are being paid by GMADA at the rate of Rs 1.30 per sq metre per month as maintenance charges.

Green belts in Sectors 54, 55, 56, 60, 61, 63 and 64 and “triangles” at the entry points from Chandigarh are being handed over to the municipal council for maintenance. Correspondence in this regard is going on between both the agencies.

Meanwhile, both GMADA and the civic body are worried over the increasing number of thefts in public parks. The theft of path lights and metal grilles from parks has been going on for quite some time, but the thieves have now started targeting even fountains installed in green belts.

This has become a matter of concern for the civic body. The council authorities had requested the police to nab the culprits but failed to get any response in this regard.



Goods worth lakhs gutted at NRI’s house
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 4
Household goods worth lakhs of rupees and important documents of Kalyan Singh, an NRI, were gutted in a fire that broke out today at Sharma Estate in Lohgarh village here. Kalyan’s wife was living with her two children.

The NRI has been residing in Italy for 20 years. He constructed this house for his wife and children two years back. The family members claimed that 25-tola gold jewellery went missing in the fire incident.

Dera Bassi fire officer BS Sandhu stated that they were investigating the matter and the exact cause of fire was yet to be ascertained.

Surinder Rana, an uncle of Kalyan Singh, said Meenu Rana, wife of Kalyan, went to meet her relatives at Samoli village in Barwala last evening along with her two children. He said they got information about the fire around 4 am by neighbours. He immediately rushed to the scene from Chandigarh.

According to the neighbours, they immediately called fire brigade after seeing the smoke coming out of the house. The fire brigade reached the spot within 15 minutes and the fire was brought under control in around two hours.

However, one of the residents alleged that he was trying the fire emergency number 101 from the particular place, but the call connected to Chandigarh fire brigade station, which had given him the contact number of Dera Bassi Fire Brigade station.

Meenu Rana said the household items, including furniture, fridge, cooler, AC and garments, were gutted in the fire. She also suspected that a theft of the jewellery took place before the house was set on fire by some miscreants. She had submitted a complaint to the police about theft.



PUTA opposes online attendance
Seeks discussion on teachers’ evaluation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
In its executive meeting, PUTA deliberated over the issues of online attendance and teachers’ evaluation here today. A press release issued by Dr Akshaya Kumar, secretary, said: “It was resolved that online attendance must not be made mandatory on the campus. However, departments that opt for it may be allowed to do so.”

In the debate, it emerged that it would burden the teachers with maintaining attendance record of both online and regular register.

The release said the existing system to maintain students’ attendance record was enough. The shortage of attendance was periodically displayed on notice boards, and students, even otherwise, could crosscheck about the status of their attendance-record from the teacher concerned.

On the issue of teachers’ evaluation by the students, the members wanted a rigorous debate before it is pushed through. PUTA resolution on the issue reads: “Teachers’ evaluation is a noble concept, however, it is not an authentic way of evaluating the merits and capabilities of a teacher. It has been pointed 
out that parameters and intentions of the issue were not clear and it needed to be debated upon. Hence, PUTA is not in favour of the move.”

The members felt that existing mechanism for the redressal of students’ grievances were adequate and there was no need to complicate the matter. However, PUTA would strongly resist any move if it is done in haste and without the necessary debate involving all concerned.



PUTA chief honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Prof NS Mann, a former fellow of Panjab University, president of the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) and chairman of the Physical Education Department, has been conferred the ‘Lifetime Award in Sports Psychology for 2008-2009’ by the Sports Psychology Association of India.

He has been awarded for his ‘outstanding and meritorious services’ to the profession of physical education and sports psychology in India as a teacher and sports scientist of international repute.

Prof Mann was awarded at the International Congress on Sports Psychology held at Laxmibai National University of Physical Education, Gwalior, in December last year



100 percentile for city girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Shruti Sood, a BCom final-year student of the GGDSD College, Sector 32, has won laurels by securing 100 percentile in the management aptitude test (MAT) prelims.

Being speculated as the all-India MAT topper, Shruti is not just elated, but exited to contest for the next level, that is, group discussion.

“I was expecting a decent score, but this 100 percentile amazed me as well. I had made up my mind to do MBA since I was in Class XII and proceeded accordingly. I am looking forward to CAT, but will like to secure admission to the IILM at Greater Noida,” she said.

MAT is one of the prestigious examinations for MBA entrance. It is conducted four times a year, with the MAT in December being the most popular with students. Around 250 institutes across India, including some government universities, accept MAT scores.

Students who could not appear for the examination in December could appear in February next, the notification for which would be out soon.

Meanwhile, Pranav Jaswal and Ankit Garg, students of the PEC university here, secured the 11th rank and the 19th rank, respectively, in the JMET, which was held in November last.



Placement drive at Chandigarh colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Outline Systems, a US-based multinational company in a state-level joint campus recruitment drive at Chandigarh Group of Colleges (CGC), Gharuan Campus, for graduate students of Punjab selected 15 students.

The graduates (BCA, BSc, BCom, BA) along with MBA 2009 batch were eligible for the recruitment process.

Students from various colleges participated in the drive. The students underwent rigorous selection process comprising written test and interview. While interacting with students, the company officials said the company was having it offices in US - Illinois, Texas, Virginia and New Jersey while in India the company is operating from Gurgaon and Chandigarh.

They further added that those selected would join company as process analyst at Chandigarh branch.



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