C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Woman murdered in Sector 42
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Relatives of Shashi Sharma (inset) at her house in Sector 42, Chandigarh
Relatives of Shashi Sharma (inset) at her house in Sector 42, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, January 17
A widow, Shashi Sharma, living alone on the second floor at house number 1066 in Sector 42 here, was found murdered this evening. The incident came to light when her servant Manglu, who worked at her shop, Sharma Cement Store in the same sector, came to her residence and found the main door locked.

He informed Parveen Sharma, a resident of Sector 15 and niece of the victim, that her aunt did not come to her shop till 3 pm today.

She immediately informed her husband, Subhash Chander, who first enquired about her from relatives living in sectors nearby whether Shashi visited them today.

Subhash said at the site this evening that after finding a response in the negative from relatives, he reached Shashi’s rented accommodation along with Manglu and asked the owner of the house about her.

He told him that he did not know anything about her and last saw her around 8 pm when she returned from the Subzi Mandi in the same sector.

Subhash then sought permission to climb to the second floor by scaling the first-floor wall on the rear courtyard of the house. He was first surprised to see the back door open.

He then saw the victim lying in a pool of blood and immediately informed the police. The police arrived on the spot along with forensic and medical experts, besides a sniffer dog.

Police officials broke the lock and found the room ransacked. They sent the body for post-mortem examination. Subhash said the woman had been living in the same house for the past about seven years.

Her husband had died about 14 years ago and the couple did not have any children. SSP SS Srivastava reached the spot. After gaining first-hand information, he said the main motive behind the crime seemed robbery.

The woman’s purse was found open and the cupboard in the room was found ransacked. The killer had had not touched the earrings and other ornaments worn by the victim.

He said the killer murdered her by slitting her throat with some sharp-edged weapon. After committing the crime, he locked the door from the outside. The involvement of some person known to the victim could not be ruled out.



Minorities support Sister Sebastina
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
People from different religions gathered to express solidarity with Sister Sebastina, principal of the Sacred Heart High School, Sector 26, during a prayer meeting at the Christ the King Cathedral, Sector 19, here today.

Former students and their parents, Muslim families and representatives of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee joined hands with the Catholic association to support the Shimla-Chandigarh diocese.

The people present also initiated a signature campaign to support Sister Sebastina, with the notice board reading ‘We express solidarity with Sister Sebastina’.

A number of students of the school from classes VI to X were present at the prayer meeting to support their principal and flocked to sign the banner. Even as teachers of the school refrained from commenting on the matter and dispersed when this correspondent approached them, the young girls spoke to mediapersons about their school and the Ruchika Girhotra case.

“Why are we forgetting that the real culprit is someone else? Why are the government and the administration saving the real culprit? This is not justice. Our school is being dragged into the controversy,” said Parul, a class IX student. Natasha, Ibaadat and Ravjot, who signed the banner to support their principal, echoed similar sentiments.

Arshnoor of class IX said, “We express our sympathy with Ruchika’s family. But we have firm faith that the school did not do anything wrong. Despite repeated attempts, Ruchika’s family did not respond for a six months during that time.” In addition, students of the St Stephen’s School also participated in the meeting in their school uniforms.

Father Thomas Anchanikal, spokesperson of the diocese, said, “We do not know how to protect an innocent person. Sister Sebastina is innocent. We will not move from our stand of no action against her on the administration’s advice.”

Prayers were offered for Sister Sebastina and members of the school staff. Fifteen policemen were present on duty outside the cathedral today.

“We strongly condemn the attacks on Indians in Australia. The Shimla-Chandigarh diocese joins the Sikh community in condemning the attacks on their people in Australia. We appeal to the Indian government to take adequate steps with the Australian government to avoid such incidents,” said a press note released during the prayer meeting.
Prayers were also offered for people in power and the media. “We pray that the people in power and at important positions safeguard human dignity. We also pray for press and television channels that they many play a role in connecting people universally in the bond of brotherhood,” said Father Thomas.
Former students of the school pointed out to the media achievements that never got published. “Tremendous work has been done by Sister Sebastina for the blind, orphans and slum children. She will be remembered for starting classes in Hindi medium for slum children before it was made mandatory to educate them,” said Pragya, a former student.
“It is the callousness on the part of the administration if it bothers minorities. The foundation of the Sikh community lies on protecting the cause of those being troubled in an unfair manner. We express our solidarity with the Catholic association,” said Gurnaam Singh Sandhu of the Chandigarh SGPC.



Patil to take call on controversial projects
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Shivraj Patil, the new Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator, will decide the fate of the controversial mega-projects, the brainchild of SF Rodrigues.

Patil’s job will become all the more difficult in the backdrop of the mega-projects coming under the scanner of the Centre, particularly the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on account of the alleged irregularities in the allotment of land.

Local MP and Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has been a bitter critic of the way the projects had been pushed by Rodrigues.

They had crossed swords in public over the mega-projects which Bansal termed as impinging on the basic character of the city. The Congress had demanded a CBI inquiry in the ‘mega-scandals’.

The Amusement Park, the Film City, the Medicity and the IT Park Phase III were considered to be the pet projects of Rodrigues.

While the mega-projects came under the scanner of the CVC, the Film City was later scrapped, sparking a war of words between the Chandigarh administration and the promoters, Parsvnath Devlopers Limited.

Patil would be in a Catch-22 situation. While a bureaucratic lobby had been pushing for the projects, those had faced opposition from politicians and the powerful farmers’ lobby.

Being a seasoned politician, Patil would have to do a balancing act by accommodating various opposing pressure groups, keeping in mind the interests of Chandigarh.

“During the last five years, the voice of the democratically elected people was stifled and all decisions were taken by a coterie close to the Raj Bhavan. With a veteran politician at the helm of affairs, we can expect to be heard in the run-up to any major policy decision,” said Pardeep Chabbra, a former Mayor.

Officials also said they expected more say in the decision-making process, which had virtually been monopolised by the Raj Bhavan.

“Whatever the fate of the mega-projects may be, officials and the public can now expect to be a part of the decision-making process,” said a senior official who had been sidelined by Rodrigues.

Since the project files were with the Centre, the administration would wait for inquiry reports from the Centre before deciding on the mega-projects.



2004 Jailbreak
Burail tunnels to be filled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The tunnels used during the Burail jailbreak in 2004 will be filled shortly. A decision in this regard has been taken by the Chandigarh administration following a visit to the jail by Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, official sources said here today.

Of those who had escaped from the jail, the prominent ones included Jagtar Singh Hawara, linked to the assassination of Beant Singh.

The main tunnel had been dug up more than 100 feet by Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bhaura to escape the high-wall prison.

They had been helped by Devi Singh, a murder convict. The Delhi police had later cornered Hawara and Bhaura, but Tara and Devi Singh were still absconding.

Budget estimates had been provided by the engineering department and digging would commence soon. The administration had sought the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s permission for filling the tunnels.

What had made the jailbreak sensational was the manner in which the terrorists managed to dispose of the soil dug up from the tunnels.

The entire work had involved months of digging, which went unnoticed by the authorities. After coming out, the terrorists had crawled approximately 200 feet before scaling the jail walls.



Missing Realtor Sagar Case
Victim’s son reports stalking
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panckula, January 17
Even as the Panchkua police is yet to get any clue in the kidnapping and alleged murder of local realtor Deepak Rai Sagar last year, his son Sameer has complained to the police that he is being followed by some unidentified persons.

Deepak Rai Sagar, a property dealer, was kidnapped from the town on June 1 and finding no trace in the case, the local police had converted it into a murder case.

The police had questioned suspects Rajesh Thapar, a resident of New Delhi, Brijesh Kapoor, a resident of Gurgaon, and Vinay Kumar, a resident of Panchkula, without getting any clue.

The Sagar family had later field a petition in the high court, seeking a CBI inquiry, and the state police was to file a reply in the case before January 22, the next date of hearing.

Sameer stated in his complaint that he had noticed that some persons in a Hyundai Accent car had been following him for the past few days.

On January 12, while he was returning home in Sector 14, Panchkula, from Sector 35, Chandigarh, persons in the car started chasing him. On the way, he halted at Sector 8, Panchkula, but he persons did not stop chasing him, said Sameer.

“The same car was noticed chasing my brother-in-law Karan Taneja the next day from Sector 5, Panchkula, to his home in Sector 12-A,” he added. This was not the only time he was followed by strangers, he said.

“Last month, some unidentified persons followed me in a Tata Sumo from Mani Majra and the SUV did not stop chasing me till I reach my destination in Sector 12,” he added. “On November 6, youths riding three motorcycles intercepted me on the road separating Sectors 11 and 14. I have informed the police regarding all incidents,” he said.

Panchkula’s Superintendent of Police Maneesh Chaudhary, when contacted, said the police had received the complaints and investigations were going on in all aspects of the case.

The police would now seek the custodial interrogation of the suspects as they had already refused to give their nod for a narco-analysis test, he added.


Fog cripples air, rail traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Dense fog once again threw life out of gear in the city. According to the Met department, a thick blanket of fog has engulfed several stations including, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Hisar and Ambala. The visibility was reduced to zero at night, disrupting road, rail and air traffic.

After the normal flight operations at the city airport yesterday, passengers were again at the receiving end, as the Kingfisher Airlines suspended its two flights, while the GoAir and Air India flights were delayed by over two hours. While some passengers were refunded the ticket amount, others were accommodated in other flights.

Although there was a slight increase in the minimum temperature, there was no respite from the fog. While the city recorded the maximum temperature of 19.4 degrees Celsius today against the yesterday’s 20.5, the minimum spurted to 5.6 degree C.

Ambala, Ludhiana and Patiala continued to reel under severe chill, with respective minimum temperatures of 6.5, 6.0 and 6.8 degrees Celsius.

Early morning fog reduced the visibility to just 50 m.

According to the Met department, the city will witness cloudy sky with fog or mist at night. The maximum and minimum temperatures tomorrow will hover between 17 and 7 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Winds blew in the region, as the pale yellow sun, occasionally, peeped through the sky, providing little warmth to people.

Fog also affected the rail traffic, as several trains were running behind schedule. The new Delhi-Chandigarh-Kalka Shatabdi (2011) got late by two hours, the Howrah-Kalka Mail (2311) was delayed by over eight hours, while the New Delhi-Kalka Himalayan Queen arrived late by over two hours.

According to information available with the Northern Railways, the Paschim Express (2925), which runs from Bandra to Chandigarh, was delayed by over three hours.

A thick blanket of fog that suddenly engulfed the region caused inconvenience to commuters, especially those on the national highways.

The Met department has predicted ground frost at isolated places in Haryana and Punjab during the next 48 hours.



Grain Market
Drive over, encroachers back
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Cocking a snook at the authorities, encroachments of “phariwalas” and temporary structures were back in grain market, Sector 26, today, just a day after a massive anti-encroachment drive was carried out there.

Barring a brief sloganeering by “phariwalas” early in the morning, the anti-encroachment drive seemed to have had a little impact on the encroachers. The ‘phariwalas’ were initially asked to put their stalls a little out of the public path. However, by afternoon, they had once again encroached upon the road.

The anti-encroachment drive yesterday was ordered by the Deputy Commissioner in which the estate office had collaborated with the municipal corporation for the ground action.

Over 400 “phariwalas” and at least 10 illegal temporary structures had been removed during the drive.

A member of the market committee said “anti-encroachment drives mean nothing to encroachers because of a missing follow-up action. There have been similar drives in the past. However, encroachers return the very next day”.

A senior official of the MC said: “We do not have adequate staff to deploy at one particular place in the city. As we keep moving to other places to carry out anti-encroachment drives, illegal structures return soon after.”

A survey of the city revealed that encroachments kept returning each time a demolition drive was carried out.



Hospital Construction
Negligence risks lives of patients
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 17
The carelessness of a private health care group while undertaking construction of a multi-specialty hospital within the premises of the Civil Hospital, Phase VI, here under the public-private partnership mode with state government is playing with the lives of patients, especially those admitted at the emergency of the Civil Hospital.

For the multi-specialty hospital, the state government has allotted 3.15 acre to Max Healthcare within the premises of the Civil Hospital. Located close to the emergency of the Civil Hospital, the digging and construction work at the site for the last over one month is resulting in noise and air pollution. No protective measure has been adopted to prevent the dust generated at the site from entering the hospital premises.

Earth gathered due to digging at the site of a multi-specialty hospital adjoining the emergency; and (right) a man repairs the entrance road of the Government Civil Hospital at Phase VI in Mohali
Earth gathered due to digging at the site of a multi-specialty hospital adjoining the emergency; and (right) a man repairs the entrance road of the Government Civil Hospital at Phase VI in Mohali. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

Apparently due to apathy of the state health authorities and the hospital authorities, the contractor engaged at the site has been conveniently using the single entrance to the Civil Hospital to ferry construction material to the site, resulting in damage to the road and gathering dust due to movement of heavy vehicles close to the hospital emergency. The access to the hospital’s mortuary has also become difficult.

SMO, Civil Hospital, HS Sarang, said the hospital authorities had already told them to use an alternative road. He admitted that dust was bothering the patients. “Even construction of the first floor of the Civil Hospital was creating problems,” he added. When asked about why the healthcare group was not told to make the arrangement ahead of starting the construction activity, he said the project was being monitored at the state level.

Dr Dilpreet Brar, regional director, Max Healthcare, said: “Construction of Max Super Hospital, Mohali, is being undertaken keeping in mind the environmental and existing infrastructure considerations. Taking out public-private partnership in the larger spirit, we would partner with the Government of Punjab to help in building the access road to hospital as well,” she added.

Due to the movement of heavy vehicles, the access roads to the hospital and Government College were badly damaged and are being repaired by the healthcare group. An official of the construction site said permission to open an alternative road to the construction site had been granted and it would be opened soon.



Allottees of Housefed flats demand compensation
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 17
Members of the Housefed Flat Sangarsh Committee, Sector 79, Mohali, have alleged that the construction of 632 flats was being delayed because the required documents were not being handed over to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) by the managing director of the Housefed.

Members of the committee, who met the chairman of the Mohali District Planning Board NK Sharma to help them in this regard, said the managing director, Housefed, Punjab, VK Bansal, was not bothered about the state of mind that the members were going through and had kept the matter only at the correspondence level.

GMADA had allotted two sites to Housefed in 2002 and the possession was handed over on April 28, 2003. The allottees had taken loans from banks to make payments for the flats and were themselves staying in rented accommodations all these years. They demanded that the Housefed should pay a compensation amount ranging between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 8 lakh for deficiency in service to members who had undergone mental and physical harassment, 100 per cent reimbursement of the house rent which allottees had to pay because the flats were not made available to them and an interest on the amount that had been deposited by them with Housefed for the construction of these flats.

They said Sharma discussed the matter with both the agencies and asked them to expedite the work of construction as per the wishes of the Punjab Chief Minister. He assured the members that he would try to get the matter solved in a week’s time after taking it up with the Chief Minister.



City doctor for global orthodontic congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The clinical work “Walk an extra mile for a better smile” by Dr Gautam Munjal, a city-based orthodontist, has been selected for the “Oral Presentation” at the 7th International Orthodontic Congress of the World Federation of Orthodontists (WFO).

Dr Munjal’s paper is one of the five selected for the “Orthodontic Treatment- Finishing and Excellence” session to be held in Sydney, Australia, on February 9.

The organisation, formed with the purpose of advancing the art and science of orthodontics throughout the world, consists of 108 organisations from 104 countries, and the congress is held internationally every 5 years.

In his clinical paper, Dr Munjal has emphasised that a major reason for orthodontic treatment is to overcome psychosocial difficulties due to facial and dental appearance. For overall aesthetics, one has to consider the face in all three planes of space (macro-aesthetics), the smile framework (mini aesthetics) and the teeth (micro-aesthetics).



Book traces rise & fall of LTTE
Tribune News Service

Lost Victory, the Rise and Fall of LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran Chandigarh, January 17
For a large part of the preceding year, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was in the news as a war ravaged the northern part of Sri Lanka - the same battleground where Indian forces got a bloodied nose, jolting the establishment into reality and initiating a deep introspection of the problems affecting the military.

Political, economic and social developments in Sri Lanka are of vital interest to India as they have an impact not only across the Palk Strait but also on the larger geo-political equation in South India. The 30-year old conflict in Sri Lanka as an important bearing on the socio-economic environment in the island nation, which has and will influence its national and international policies.

Retired city-based officer Maj-Gen Raj Mehta has brought out a book - Lost Victory, the Rise and Fall of LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran - that documents and examines the strife that finally resulted in the LTTE being defeated.

The 430-page book is divided into five parts that give an overview of the conflict, including the dramatic death of Prabhakaran, cover the life and times of the supreme, touches upon key aspects of the war and its myriad Eelam complexities, focuses on the Indian intervention in Sri Lanka and finally covers issues of regional diplomacy, war fighting strategies, lessons learnt and the way forward.



Reporters' Diary
Monkeys back in business

Keeping in line with their local migratory pattern, monkeys have found greener pastures for their food and antics in Sector 10 these days. The visiting hours are clearly defined in the morning and evening sessions. Certain residents have been witness to the simian population dawning into their kitchens through open windows and cleaning up their eatables, even covered ones. Neelu, a housewife, pulled her son from the drawing room into the bedroom and locked themselves for nearly half an hour while the visitors had a feast in the drawing room, as eatables were removed from the refrigerator and splattered all over the sofa sets. The monkeys also continue to toy with clothes on the lines, tearing some.

GS Dhillon, a senior citizen, says: “The maid of my neighbour suffered a fracture in the leg a few days ago when she had to run indoor after a monkey swooped down on a plate of eatables she was carrying. There are reports of similar panic reactions in the neighbourhood. We hope the administration gets its quick-action team of ‘langurs’ to save the local population from the ongoing menace”.

Ishwar Singh, deputy conservator forests, says: “The problem keeps repeating itself in different parts of the city. I will have my team of ‘langurs’ deployed at the earliest to scare their simian counterparts and get the area cleared.”

‘Chatur’ idea

When it comes to fans of Aamir’s latest release “Three Idiots”, the CBSE seems not ready to be left behind. Aiming to practice what has been appreciated, all affiliated schools have been asked to become “ideological institutions” rather than grade factories or a rat race ground. They have been categorically asked to encourage innovation and curiosity amongst kids. In addition, the board is also patting its back for introducing “continuous and comprehensive evaluation” (CCE), as one of the senior officials quips: “This evaluation will help us transform many ‘Chatur’s’ into ‘Wangdus’.” Let’s hope all remains well!

— Photo: Manoj MahajanWhen eagles soar

Indian Air Force pilots must have been thrilled flying the biggest helicopter - HI 26 - on trail basis for 45 minutes over Chandigarh last week. Eagles too seemed excited, going by their numbers as the flight was in progress (see the photo).

As the helicopters maneuvered in different directions, most eagles seemed to fly ahead of these, as if guiding the first-timers in the sky. Even people were excited to see the huge helicopters hover over their sectors. They may probably never see an HI 26 from such close quarters again.

Insensitive MC

Even as the Punjab government talks about making Mohali the future city, the state of bus queue shelters remains bad. Thanks to the indifferent attitude of the MC and GMADA authorities, public utility in the city has taken the back seat. Apart from wild growth, bus shelters leak during rains and are full of dirt. Ironically, the MC and GMADA have put up advertisements on shelters to earn revenue. However, the money is not being spent on improvement and renovation of the facility, it seems.

Hostile staff

Panjab University has its own innovative ways of hiding its imperfections. Student council has, since long, been raising the issue of extension of canteens in girls’ hostel Nos. 1 and 2, since both were designed long back. So two days ago, I was in hostel No. 1 along with a senior photojournalist for a story. As we entered the gate, we expected to be stopped and questioned by the security guard. However, nothing like that happened. As we moved further to seek permission to check the canteen, we did not find anybody at the entry point. As I entered the canteen, students and workers bombarded us with complaints regarding the shortage of space. A single canteen, meant to accommodate just 10 girls, caters to 350 girls. The next day when the story appeared in Chandigarh Tribune, hostel’s female staff warned girls who had talking to our team. In such circumstances, curbing the freedom to speech is not the best idea. Speeding the process of extending the canteen, is a brighter one.

Smiling against odds

Hats off to the lady behind former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore. For, she not only symbolises how a woman can be a pillar of strength through the thick and thin life but also exudes poise and grace. Abha Rathore, counsel wife of former top cop, has everyone praising her for her polite demeanour all through the case proceedings until now.

Clad in a silk saree, Abha personifies the picture of an Indian wife as well as a professional.

Always wearing a gentle smile, never ever has she let the media provocations bother her to drift from her usual calm. Her better half is, however, on the contrary.

Recently, during the first hearing of the appeal of her husband against the conviction and for suspension of sentence, she along with her husband had to sit and wait in the courtroom. Unruffled by the constant media glare, she kept smiling without uttering a word or even getting irritated.

While the former DGP could not withstand the constant henpecking from the media. So even when Abha was politely talking to a few female journalists about cold weather, former DGP asked her in a rather authoritative way to just concentrate on the case.

Contributed by Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Sumedha Sharma, Aarti Kapur, Rajmeet Singh, Neha Miglani and Smriti Sharma Vasudeva



Potholed road harries residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Residents of Sector 31 are a peeved lot as a portion of a road adjoining the Air Force accommodation has not been repaired for the past several months. The road is riddled with huge potholes.

Stagnant water makes it difficult not only for pedestrians but also those driving their vehicles.

Shivani, a resident, said: “We have brought the matter to the notice of the administration as well our area councillor several times but no action has been taken so far”.

Things get difficult for commuters when it rains, she added.



Tender forms to be available online only

Chandigarh, January 17
A meeting to review the progress made about e-tendering systems was held under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar recently. The e-procurement tendering portal was ready and had been tested by the National Informatics Centre.

It was decided that since all detailed notice inviting tenders above Rs 10 lakh were being uploaded on the Chandigarh administration’s website www.chandigarh.gov.in/tender.gov.in, the supply of forms for these tenders would be stopped immediately to ensure that all bidders visited the website to download tenders. — TNS



PhD Admission
PU yet to form course module
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The anomalies in accepting forms of research scholars, who have cleared the NET exam and aspire to do PhD, at Panjab University has become a bottleneck and is compelling scholars to opt for PhD degree in other universities.

Besides, it has been seven months since the UGC declared its new guidelines for the admission of research scholars, but the university is yet to come up with its module for the six-month foundation course, which was a part of the guidelines.

As per the UGC regulations, all research scholars are required to do this course, which includes elementary knowledge about research methodology.

Now, since the module of the foundation course is yet to come up, the students are being asked to give an undertaking that they would undergo the course, as per the UGC’s guidelines.

The university functionaries now claim that none of the candidates were denied admission, though they agree that the process was on a hold for some time. They also assert that instructions have now been given to the enrolment branch to go ahead with the procedure of accepting candidates.

“The process of accepting forms was on a hold due to formulation of certain guidelines which were to be laid down by the university after the UGC’s direction. The department concerned has now been given directions to move the applications of the candidates,” said Prof AS Ahluwalia, dean, sciences.

While the person in-charge of preparing the outlines of the course at PU maintain that the components of the course have been decided, though the other things are yet to be worked out.

“Ratifications will be made at the upcoming Syndicate meeting on the issues related to PhD,” said Ahluwalia.

The university is also planning to break the course into different components, so that the aspirants can complete the same in parts, instead of doing it in six months.



Open House Response
Evaluators should be made accountable

Starting a debate on the present examination system is an example of constructive journalism. The Panjab University examination is obsolete and redundant. Most of the faculty members are near retirement and they are least interested in improving the examination system. The Panjab University authorities always makes committees to resolve various issues, which never give conclusive decisions.

In the past, so many faculty members were found guilty of faulty evaluation, but no action was taken till date. Evaluators should be made accountable and action should be taken if found guilty. Rather than the present system, the Panjab University should follow the open book examination system. Practical examinations should be given more preference than theory examinations.

The authorities should always consult students for improving the examination system. On the contrary, the PU authorities always take them as granted and never discuss improving the examination system. Much greater co-ordination is needed between student and teachers.

Dr Mohan Singh
PU alumnus

No pick-and-choose

Evaluation assesses the academic and non-academic aspects of education. It measures the qualities of four Hs, head, heart, hand and health, of an individual. Examination assesses only the academic aspect of the individual. The Kothari Commission has rightly observed that evaluation is a continuous process, forms an integral part of the system of education and is intimately related to the educational objective.

To improve the examination system, the job of the paper setter is crucial. This assignment can be undertaken only by experts who have got rich and varied experience in the field of education. The paper setter should know the objectives of teaching the subject and the corresponding objectives of evaluation. At the same time, he should take note of the syllabus covered and should try to cover it fully in the question paper. He should not encourage a process of pick-and-choose.

The conduct of examinations should be improved by appointing paper setters in time, decentralising the examination process, admitting candidates to the centre through one main entrance and having spot evaluation at the central place. This job is of the administration, which requires complete accountability and transparency. After the paper setter, the evaluation process is another important area of examination. Teachers should be trained to use evaluation techniques through a network of in-service programmes.

SK Khosla

More interaction

It is true not only of the Punjab University, but of a majority of institutes of higher learning in the country that examination by itself is not enough to ensure admission to professional colleges or employment. Still, examinations are a necessary evil. Even non-serious students devote some time to studies because of the fear of examinations. Instead of abolishing examinations, the need of the hour is to streamline the system, which has degenerated over the past few decades.

It will be in the interests of all concerned if the university implements the recommendation of the UGC to furnish answer sheets to students who doubt results on payment of a nominal fee. This will put an additional responsibility on evaluators to be more vigilant and objective while evaluating answer sheets. Otherwise, they can be taken to court for inept performance. Teachers should involve themselves in more classroom interaction with their students instead of simply delivering prepared lectures. Students should be encouraged to participate in discussions, pose questions and suggest possible answers to queries raised.

Lajpat Rai Garg

Innovative thinking

Examinations, as a tool to gauge the extent and quality of learning by students, are a serious academic affair and an administrative task. The need to revamp the existing examination system appears to have been felt due to a misconception about certain common features of every examination system. While some of the symptoms of ailments affecting the system in this case are of general nature, others are specific. Revamping any examination system requires innovative thinking and not just making flamboyant announcements through loud speeches.

A blow-up for each subject must be given in the published syllabus by the university, indicating the topics which need essentially to be covered. There seems to be a myth with students that examination questions cannot be repeated. The other examination-related problems revolve around the format of question papers, the conduct of examinations, the re-evaluation of answer sheets and the modes of examinations. All of these demand professional ethics of a high order.

Last, a word about the grading system of evaluation is required. The less said about it, the better. With no uniform or consistent criterion, the concept will always remain questionable with all those who have lost faith in the system.

Dr IM Joshi
Former professor of chemistry
Panjab University

Uniform reforms

Sanjeev Singh Bariana has pointed out in his article that marks attained in the university examination is not a passport for easy admission to a professional college or while seeking employment. This statement bares the true picture our youths are exposed to in the present scenario. Introducing reforms or a revamp is usually advocated, but suggestions are more based on personal perceptions. The votaries often fail to cover the subject as a whole.

Over the passage of time, we have seen many reforms introduced in the system. From entrance examinations, semester system and internal assessment to Kapil Sibal advocating doing away with board examinations of classes X and XII have been debated thoroughly. The abolition of board examinations will bring in its wake issues of equivalence and mobility of students. Sibal has earned kudos for his proposals, but it is yet to be put to test.

I still vividly remember how sincerely we used to revise 10 years’ question papers at the time of appearing in the class X examinations. Those were relevant as questions were invariably repeated after a gap. Every reform that was introduced in the system added a burden to the examination branch of the university. Today, the examination branch is genuinely overburdened and its primary function is to conduct examinations.

Not holding examinations for classes X and XII, part-I and part-II of undergraduate classes and part-I of postgraduate classes may mean lifting some load off the examination branch. Monitoring of the final examination by a central agency may be helpful in reducing the requirement of a large work force that merely works for outlining question papers and evaluation and re-evaluation.

Our endeavour should be directed towards a radical change in the system as a whole and our concern should not end by emphasising on a revamp of the examination system. The subject needs a broader perspective for the country and not for a single university. Malpractices continue at almost all universities and in this backdrop, uniform reforms on a national basis are needed.

Satish Chandra Sharma
General secretary
Chandigarh Social Welfare Council

Grading system

The Panjab University should discourage the number system and encourage assessment based on grading real worth. Students note some important questions based on question papers of the preceding few years and guess questions. A number of them do not see their books. Classroom attendance is more for getting roll numbers for final examinations.

In the grading system, teachers will naturally stress on reading, research and personality development. Classrooms are expected to be more interesting and are naturally linked more to helping in professional attempts. The existing education system needs a rethought towards keeping the best of it and incorporating the changes required.

Rashi Srivastava



Focus on trends in pharmacy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), UGC Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS), Panjab University, organised a one-week training and research programme for mid-level teaching faculty under the “UGC Networking Resource Centre for Training and Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences” on “Emerging areas in pharmaceutical sciences”.

The course focused on recent trends in diverse pharmaceutical disciplines delivered to 20 teachers selected from different pharmacy institutions from across the country.

Eminent scientists and experts from varied industrial houses, academic and research institutions talked on topics ranging from nanomedicine, pharmacokinetics, animal modeling, drug design, intellectual property, UPLC and drug regulatory affairs.

The resource faculty included Prof RSR Murthy, Prof RK Maheshwari, Dr Shivprakash, Dr N Ganesh, Dr Velpandian, Dr Parikshit Bansal, Dr Sanyog Jain, Dr JN Verma, Madan Dhiman, Vikas Vohra and Girdhari Lal.

The in-house faculty members of UIPS such as Prof BS Bhoop, Prof AR Rao, Prof PD Sharma, Dr Kanwaljit Chopra, Dr Anil Kumar and Dr Shishu also participated and presented lectures on various pharmaceutical topics.

Pharmacy Prof Emeritus Harkishan Singh inaugurated the course on January 11, while Prof RSR Murthy was the guest of honour.

The programme was concluded today by Prof Karan Vasisht, chairman, UIPS. The programme was co-ordinated by Prof OP Katare and Prof Renu Chadha.



Child-related issues discussed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 17
Every child is unique and comparison between peers sometimes could prove counter productive, so there was a dire need to recognise unique traits in every child. This was stated by Dr Amit Sen, child and adolescent psychiatrist, here today.

Dr Sen during “Ru-ba-ru”, an interaction programme at The Gurukul, Sector 20, said: “There is a need to celebrate differences among kids.”

The parents got an opportunity to interact and discuss various child-related issues with experts.

Ritu Kumar, an educationist and curriculum expert from New Delhi, emphasised that early childcare and education was the most crucial programme for any school. She told the parents that 0 to 6 year was the most important phase in a child’s life, as he had to make adjustments during this period.

She warned against over parenting and advocated unconditional love for children while imparting education.

Experts were of the opinion that the best way of handling situation, especially with hyper active aggressive children was to involve them in different activities and channelise their energies.

The programme was followed by a question-hour session.



Seminar on green buildings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, in collaboration with the Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), organised a one-day symposium here today.

Addressing the meet, Vinay Parelkar, president of the IIA, said the world energy scenario showed that buildings and construction consumed the major share of the global energy. Thus, introduction to sustainable building design measures can make an important contribution to minimise the energy crisis. Buildings can be designed on passive heating and cooling concepts.

Surinder Bahga, chairman of the Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter of IIA, in his keynote address, claimed that a green building uses less energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste and was healthier as compared to a standard building.



Dharna by computer teachers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 17
Computer teachers working on a contractual basis with the Punjab education department, today staged a dharna and blocked the main road dividing Phase VII and Phase VIII here.

They raised slogans against the state government.

These teachers, who had come to appear in the test for substitute teachers at Government Senior School in Phase III-B1, refused to take the test and took out a rally.

They alleged that they had been working since 2006 and were getting a fixed salary, which ranged between Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000.



Osteoporosis camp at Saupin’s School
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 17
Osteoporosis detection camp was organised at Saupin’s School here today. Bone detection tests were carried out free of cost for management, staff members and supporting staff members on the school premises.

There were no osteoporosis reported, but a few of them diagnosed as osteopenic were counselled and explained about the disorder.

The camp was headed by Dr Rohit Sahani from Simply Health Plus, who gave advice on proper medication and diet required to prevent the disease.



Emphasis on energy conservation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The NSS Wing of Government College, Sector 46, organised a lecture on petroleum and energy conservation in the college seminar room as a part of the campaign on “Petroleum and energy conservation”.

The lecture was given by Amit Sharma, joint director, Petroleum Conservation and Research Association, Government of India.

Dr JS Raghu, principal and Gurjit Kaur, vice-principal of the college also attended the lecture.

Geetanjali and Gobind Sethi, programme officers, conducted an interactive session with students.



PU closed today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The Panjab University (PU) and its affiliated colleges and regional centres will remain closed tomorrow due to the death of CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu. All examinations and meetings will be held as per schedule, according to the PU registrar.

Schools will remain open as no notice has been received in this regard, said the district education officer.



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