C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Lopsided Rehab Scheme
Oustees shoot off missive to PM
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
When it comes to double standard on rehabilitation of slum dwellers vis-a-vis the original inhabitants of the city, nobody can match the city administration. While the administration goes overboard in rehabilitating over 25,000 slum dwellers who have encroached on prime land worth crores, the original inhabitants of the city, whose land was acquired for the setting up of Chandigarh, continue to get a raw deal even after decades.

Tired with the apathetic attitude of the administration towards their demands, the original inhabitants, under the banner of the Pind Wsao Society, have shot off a representation to the PM and local MP and minister for parliamentary affairs and water resources to intervene in the matter and ensure “fair play, equality and justice”.

The affected persons -- mostly poor and illiterate -- of 11 villages whose land was acquired for the second phase of the city, alleged that they were not rehabilitated on the pattern of 17 villages where land was acquired for the first phase of the Capital Project (1950-1966).

This was despite the fact that they had been declared as oustees by the administration at the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the representation claimed.

“The authorities should come forward and work out a holistic solution to rehabilitate the genuine and aggrieved oustees in a spirit of fair play and justice,” the representation stated.

Demanding a special package, it highlighted that while migrants who had encroached on government land were being rehabilitated, the genuine beneficiaries were being denied their share.

The administration’s “lopsided” rehabilitation has come under repeated attack as a large number of beneficiaries of the earlier schemes had allegedly sold off their dwelling units and again encroached on government land to avail the benefits of the ongoing rehabilitation schemes.



Order to demolish Punjab Police mess
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The city administration has ordered the demolition of the Punjab Gentleman Officers (GO) mess where the Punjab DGP, PS Gill, is staying at present. Assistant estate officer Hargunjit Kaur, while holding the temporary constructions carried out by the Punjab Police in Sector 1 as illegal, has sought police protection from the UT SSP to demolish the mess.

The Punjab Police occupies around 5 acres behind the Punjab and Haryana civil secretariat at Sector 1.

The Punjab DGP has not got any official accommodation yet because none is reserved for the DGP in the UT as of now.

According to a survey by the UT estate office, the Punjab Police has constructed 37 temporary buildings in the area, which include office structures for the 82nd and 85th battalions.

These structures were built nearly 15 years ago. Besides this, the Punjab Police built a luxurious mess in the area in 2001. According to sources, more than Rs 60 lakh was spent on these structures.

In a related development, the UT finance department has written to the Punjab Police that it could file an appeal against the order of the estate office before the UT Administrator.

Sources said the Punjab Police had been occupying the area on the plea that the helipad earmarked for the Punjab CM was behind the area.

It had maintained that this was a high-security area and needed a strong force round the clock to take care of any exigency that might arise.



Those with connections get PU hostel room first
Neha Miglani

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
In a typical example of the hardships faced by students at Panjab University, MSc (first year) scholars whose names figure at the top of the waiting list for hostel rooms are still waiting for their turn even after six months while others who had the right connections were able to get accommodation.

Such is the extent to which PU senators and syndics pull strings and exert pressure on the university administration to get their personal work done that a common student, who has no “approach” is left to depend on luck.

These students of the mathematics department submitted a complaint to the vice chancellor today, narrating how numerous visits to the concerned office to get a hostel room proved futile. The letter (a copy of which is in the possession of the Chandigarh Tribune) also mentions the apathy of a female employee at the dean of students welfare’s office, who reportedly told the students bluntly since the latter did not have any “approach” she would first entertain the “special cases”.

The letter also mentioned they were “ordinary” students who had “no approach” and pleaded for “justice” from the vice chancellor.

The students found it a tough job to even hand over the letter at the vice chancellor’s office due to the reluctance of the staff to accept it in the VC’s absence.

Later, in presence of this reporter, a student went around the vice chancellor’s office on Friday afternoon frantically trying to submit the letter. Finally it caught the attention of the VC’s officer on special duty.

Earlier, when these students (who have come from Bathinda, Kotkapura, Ludhiana and other towns to study here) had gone to a student council member to seek help, they were again told the “special cases” would be dealt with first.

Expressing disbelief over his staff’s attitude, the dean of students welfare said: “We allot rooms according to the requirement that is communicated to us by the respective departments. All the cases are dealt with. We had even framed new rules under which permission is readily granted to any student who agrees to share a hostel room. The case of the MSc (first year) math students is a matter of grave concern and we’ll look into it”.



Crime Watch
Basic policing requires stimulus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Discrepancies in basic policing ail the Chandigarh Police. Almost half of the cases registered in the past year pertain to thefts, a majority of which are motor vehicle thefts and burglaries, which indicate the deterioration in basic policing and vigilance.

Also, the incidents of group clashes, stabbings over minor issues, especially in slums, and the emergence of goons indulging in extortion are reflecting poorly on the functioning of the police.

Last week, a group of goons stabbed to death a vegetable vendor when he failed to meet their extortion demand. Violence among students, resulting in brawls in and outside educational institutions is also fast becoming a matter of concern for the police.

A study of cases registered in 2009 reveal that out of the total of 4,111 cases, 1,972 pertain to theft and burglary. As many as 1,117 cases of vehicle theft, 614 of other thefts and 241 cases of burglary were reported, which is over 47 per cent of the cases registered during the period.

The figures do not include 129 cases of rioting and hurt, 221 cases of snatching, 245 cases under the Excise Act and 71 cases of drug trafficking.

These crimes indicate the presence of organised gangs and anti-social elements and pointed towards the poor information gathering system of the police. A spate of theft was reported in certain parts of the city last year, including Industrial Area, with residents expressing dissatisfaction over policing.

Recently, a man on a black scooter committed several snatchings in a single day and got past nakas across the city. He is yet to be nabbed.

“If the beat staff discharges its duties and keeps a watch on anti-social elements, including history-sheeters, in the area, it would help in curbing crime,” a police officer stated.

Even the UT IGP, Pradeep Kumar Srivastva, who joined today said the police should evoke fear in the minds of criminals.

The SSP, SS Srivastva, has blamed it on lack of proper patrolling by the beat staff and shortage of manpower. He said the police was taking several measures to improve policing and they were planning to equip every police post in the city with a Gypsy to increase mobility.

Recruits of the IRB were undergoing training and would join the police force in September. “Things will improve when we introduce an eight-hour shift for the beat staff. Recruitment would also help in segregating investigation from law and order duties, which affects normal policing,” he said.



Chandigarh-Ludhiana Rail Link
Land acquisition delays work
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Even a decade after its commencement, the completion of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link appears to be a distant dream. Railway authorities attribute the delay to problems in land acquisition for the Morinda section. “The major hurdle is land acquisition,” said an official of the construction wing.

Paving way for a direct rail link to Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar via Morinda and Sirhind, installation of power lines on the Chandigarh-Morinda rail section is complete. The rail link will provide respite to passengers till it is replaced by the Chandigarh-Ludhiana line, expected to be ready by the end of 2011.

Once it is operational, Amritsar will be four-and-a-half hours away from Chandigarh. By road, it takes around six hours to reach Amritsar from Chandigarh.

“Electrification of the link between Chandigarh and Morinda is complete. And the process to get a sanction of the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) has been initiated,” Ambala Divisional Railway Deputy Chief Engineer Dinesh Sharma told TNS.

“The Northern Railways has already agreed in-principle to start operations between Chandigarh and Amritsar through this link. After the CRS sanction, a train between these two cities will start,” he added.

Citing fund constraints, he said the work on doubling the track between Chandigarh and Ambala could not be taken up immediately. He, however, admitted that there was heavy congestion on the section, which connects the region to Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Una in Himachal Pradesh. “I know the route is congested, but there has been a spurt in demand at various places and the available funds have to be distributed to different sections,” Sharma added.

"We started working on the link in 1999-2000 and by the end of 2006, 45 km stretch till Morinda was ready. But after that, many problems regarding land acquisition and other operational hiccups in the project delayed the work," he said.

He said it would take at least five years for the Chandigarh railway station to be converted into a world-class establishment. “As the project is to be studied with a comprehensive outlook, taking into account several factors including mode, finance model and other facilities, it will take at least five years for the station to take shape,” added Sharma.

He said the much-awaited direct rail connectivity from Chandigarh to Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar, which was expected to be operational from December last year, has hit a roadblock. The fate of the link depends upon the sanction of 33 railway posts for the maintenance of the Chandigarh-Morinda section.

The entire operational process of this direct link depends upon the commissioning of the Chandigarh-Morinda rail section. He said the direct rail from Chandigarh to Amritsar was to take off once the electrification of the Chandigarh-Morinda section was commissioned. Although the construction and electrical work on this section had been completed in November last year, it is waiting sanctioning from the CRS, he added.



New sanitation system raises stink
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Garbage dumped on a slip road in Sector 7 of Panchkula on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, February 5
Four days after the sanitation system in the town was handed over to the municipal councillors, the arrangement has led to the controversy over the unjustified ration of manpower in different wards.

As foul smell emanates from the heaps of garbage at many parts of the town, VK Sood, the senior BJP leader and councillor from ward No. 4, has written to the executive officer of the municipal council, sending copies of letter to the Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, and financial commissioner, local bodies, raising a question over the “inadequate” manpower in his ward.

The lifting and disposal of garbage in the town had been handed over to the ward committees in the town on February 1. Earlier, these responsibilities were looked after by a contractor of the council.

Now, 18 employees were deputed for every ward and amount against their salaries would be handed over to the ward committees. The step was taken to strengthen the ward councillors and bringing more transparency in the system.

Earlier, it was alleged that it was difficult to keep a check on the people deputed by the contractor. Moreover, apprehensions were raised that many of the people instead of working in the field were deputed at the residences of influential people.

In case of the visit of a VVIP in the town, majority of the manpower involved in the sanitation system was diverted to the area to be visited by the VVIP leaving other parts of the town to suffer.

However, in order to end all such controversies it was decided that the ward committees headed by respective councillors were formed and handed over the responsibility of keeping the area clean.

The scheme, however, seemed to have boomeranged in ward No. 4 where tonnes of garbage was not only dumped on the side of a main road, it was scattered over a slip road blocking the way to the green belt of Sector 7.

A visit to the spot on road separating Sectors 7 and 6 near Command Hospital showed that the people employed by the ward committee were dumping the garbage, leaving it behind for rag pickers to scatter it on the road.

Though ward committee is also responsible of disposal of the garbage out of town, no such arrangements were seen in the area.

The spot itself had been converted into a dumping ground, said Harish Gupta, a resident of Sector 7. On the request of local residents the municipal council had removed a garbage container from the spot as it was an eyesore at the entry point of the town from this side, he said.

The things, however, turned from bad to worse as the sweepers were not directed to dump the garbage in the open, he added.

The councillor of ward No 4, however, blamed it on the unjustified deployment of sweepers in his area.

Though ward No. 4 consisted of the entire area of Sector 6 and a big portion of Sector 7, only 18 employees were deputed to clean the ward, he said. On the other hand many other sectors, including Sector 15, had got 54 sweepers as it had three councillors against ward numbers 13, 14 and 15. Similar was the case with Sector 4. The sector which was divided in ward numbers 22, 23 and 24 was being looked after by 54 sweepers, he claimed.

While the EO, municipal council, could not be contacted, Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav said it was just the beginning of the new system and problems, if at all, in it would be noticed and arrangements would be made to the satisfaction of the public.



Cops question bodyguards of Ranjit Bajaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
While investigating the role of Ranjit Bajaj in the brawl at hotel North Park, the district police has questioned two persons allegedly found involved with him in a similar case at a discotheque in Chandigarh on August 28 last year. However, both of them were let free after Gurmohan Singh Bedi, the complainant, said they were not the ones who attacked him.

Both the former accomplices of Bajaj had told the police that they had left him immediately and returned to their villages after a police case was made against them following the scuffle outside a discotheque in Sector 26.

It was on the night of January 29 when the Panchkula Police, on the complaint of Gurmohan Singh Bedi, son of Justice MMS Bedi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, booked Bajaj for attempt to murder.

Gurmohan, who suffered injuries on the nose, lips and a finger, alleged that Ranjit attacked him outside hotel North Park on the occasion of a party organised by the SJOBA (St John Old Boys Association).

After the party got over around 1.30 am, he along with his two friends -- Amarbir and Nitin -- went to the parking of the hotel when the wheel of Bajaj’s car hit his foot. Irked over his objection, two persons accompanying Bajaj assaulted him with butts of guns, after which Bajaj also joined them.

The police inquiries with the eyewitnesses though confirmed that Gurmohan was thrashed by Ranjit and his accomplices, no one had confirmed that whether the accused were carrying firearms, said sources.

Regarding the complaint lodged by two girls --Henna Singh and Pahul -- against Gurmohan, the SP said both of them were asked to record their statements in this regard, which they did not. This had left the impression that they had nothing to say in this matter. However, the police was investigating into their complaint, he added.



MC senior vice-president, vice-president posts
Election likely to be delayed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 5
Even though the Mohali SDM has been made convener for the elections to the posts of senior vice-president and vice-president of the municipal council, the poll is likely to get delayed once again due to pressure from SAD leaders who will like it at a time which suits their political interests thus depriving councillors of their democratic right.

The executive officer of the civic body had intimated the Mohali Deputy Commissioner through a letter last month that the term for both the posts was expiring on January 30 and elections had to be convened in this regard. Thereafter, the Deputy Commissioner appointed Ravinder Pal Singh Walia as the convener for getting the elections to the two vacant posts conducted.

Councillors were expecting that the date for the elections would be announced by the SDM soon after being made the convener. However, four days have passed but the date had so far not been announced by him which, according to councillors, was an indication that the elections to the two posts were likely to be delayed once again.

The posts of senior vice-president and vice-president, which had become vacant on August 16, 2007, after the one-year term of Rishiv Jain, senior vice-president, and Harmanpreet Singh, vice-president, expired were filled only on January 31 last year when Harmanpreet Singh and Prabhjot Kaur Sodhi were elected senior vice-president and vice-president, respectively.

Kuljit Singh Bedi, councillor from ward No. 27, has threatened to move court if the elections to the two vacant posts were not conducted by February 28.

Bedi, who was instrumental in getting the elections to the two posts conducted last year, in a representation to the Deputy Commissioner stated that annual democratic exercise was earlier delayed for about 18 months without any justification.

The indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned had thrown the democratic norms to the wind. He said elections should be conducted before the expiry of the term so that posts did not remain vacant and councillors could avail their democratic right.



Garbage plant a waste
Aarti Kapur

Tribune News Service

The carcass of a dog at the Dadu Majra garbage plant on Friday. Tribune photo

Chandigarh, February 5
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation may have set an example in the country by installing a garbage-processing plant at Dadu Majra, but the authorities have failed to frame a policy for the segregation of garbage even after more than a year.

The administration had directed the civic body to use bags of specific colour, other than colours meant for bio-medical waste, for the collection of meat waste from different parts of city and transport them in separate vehicle to the bio-methanaiton plant for further processing. The MC had also been directed to inoculate the waste at the dumping ground on daily basis to minimise the foul smell emanating from there.

However, the plant is still receiving waste from slaughterhouses, hotels and vegetable markets on a daily basis. As per the company's record, each dumper collects around eight garbage bins daily and the rest are left following shortage of vehicles with the corporation. Even on the weekend, the plant does not receive sufficient amount of garbage to run it to the optimum level.

The corporation has spent crores on the construction of Sehaj Safai Kendras (SSK) to segregate the garbage before being sent to the plant. However, nothing has been done in this regard till date.

The MC has also set up a biogas plant at a cost of Rs 44 lakh for the disposal of 3 tonnes of animal waste and carcasses per day. It was also envisaged that the plant would generate 100 kw of power.

Last year, whenever the issue of segregation of garbage was raised in the House meetings, MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria and MoH Dr G Diwan had assured that soon the system would be streamlined. However, nothing has been done in this regard.

In August 2009, the Chandigarh administration had constituted a committee to study the functioning of the plant. After the receipt of the committee’s interim report, the administration had issued directions to the company and the MC separately for improving the functioning of the plant.



Threat calls to Mayor
Police identifies accused
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The UT Police claimed to have identified the caller who had threatened the Mayor and her two predecessors over phone yesterday. The police had received informal complaints saying that a man, claiming to be Om Parkash Saini, who is involved in several criminal cases, threatened Mayor Anu Chatrath and former mayors Kamlesh and Pardeep Chhabra over phone.

The caller reportedly threatened them to do some work of one shooter, Ram Parkash Pathan, whose wife lives in Sector 32. He said he would send the woman to the Mayor on Friday and in case she (the Mayor) failed to oblige her, he would eliminate her.

He called Chhabra on her mobile phone six times around 5 pm, but Chhabra did not pick up the phone. He then called former mayor Kamlesh before calling Chatrath. Talking to TNS, SP (City) Madur Verma said the police had identified the caller and efforts were on to trace him. He, however, said the police had not received any formal complaint into the matter so far.

A police official said the caller had used Delhi’s cell phone number and his tower location revealed that he was in the city when he made the calls. The police was tracing his whereabouts. Inquiries from the service provider from Delhi hinted that the connection was obtained on fictitious identity.

Meanwhile, a police official confirmed that no police team was sent to Ambala jail where Saini was lodged, as the police learnt soon after receiving the information about threatening calls that the same were made from the city.



GMADA forms mechanism for PIO
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 5
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has evolved a new mechanism to make the public information officer (PIO) and assistant public information officers (APIOs) more accountable. The action came after GMADA was pulled up the Punjab Information Commission for delaying supply of information sought under the RTI Act.

In a recent in-house instructions issued by the additional chief administrator (ACA), Mohali, all APIOs have been clearly told that if any information was not provided within 20 days, departmental action would be initiated against the erring official under the Punishment and Appeal Rules. The case would be sent to the chief administrator for necessary action.

To ensure that such applications were dealt on priority, the PIO and the APIOs had been asked to forward the application to the superintendent concerned or the senior assistant on the same day and seek reply within seven days.

To make the APIOs accountable, reasons for delay in providing information by the superintendent concerned would have to be explained to the PIO. Days have been fixed for different officials to deal with RTI applications.

To explain the process, estate officer Balbir Singh has been made the Public Information Officer (PIO) and 15 assistant public information officers (APIOs) have been appointed.



126 TA Battalion turns 50
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Territorial Army’s 126th Infantry Battalion (Jammu and Kashmir Rifles) celebrated its golden jubilee with fervour at Madhopur in Punjab today. A special address was given to the troops by Lt Gen BS Jaswal, Colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles.

Appreciating the achievements of the unit, during peace and in counter insurgency operations, the General lauded the unit for various honours and awards won while serving the nation.

The Colonel also spoke about the role of the unit in the present security situation. He exhorted all ranks for sustained operational readiness in times of operations and natural calamities.

Release of a special commemorative First Day Cover by the Colonel of the Regiment and presentation of the Golden Jubilee Trophy were other highlights. Many serving and retired Army officers, including former commanding officers, functionaries from the police and the civil administration attended the function.

The unit had organised a hot-air ballooning demonstration and a concert by the regimental brass band. Programmes by local artists and Himachali folk singer Karnail Singh Rana were also organised.



New IG vows to make police people-friendly
Tribune News Service

Pradeep Kumar Srivastva
Pradeep Kumar Srivastva

Chandigarh, February 5
Soon after taking up office as the new inspector general of the Chandigarh police, Pradeep Kumar Srivastva underlined the need for inculcating a “people-friendly” attitude in the force.

Talking to reporters at the police headquarters, he said he strongly felt the police should “take care” of law-abiding citizens who should have no hesitation in going to the cops to report their problems. “My area of concern will be to create a people friendly image of the police in the eyes of the public while, at the same time dealing with criminals and anti-social elements with a stern hand”, he stated.

Srivastva said he would make efforts to provide a better work culture and environment to his men to serve city residents in the best possible way. Apart from this, expecting cooperation from the fourth estate, he said "the media plays an important role in bringing out the truth in society, which shows them what is lacking in their efforts”.

UT DIG (headquarters) Mahabir Singh introduced the new IGP to the media with SSP SS Srivastva, SP (traffic) HS Doon, SP (operations) RS Ghumman and SP (city & crime) Madur Verma being present on the occasion.



MC to propose Rs 550-cr budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is expected to have a budget of Rs 550 crore, including plan and non-plan, for the next fiscal, which would be tabled in the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) meeting scheduled for February 10.

Sources say the MC will demand a grant in aid of around Rs 200 crore from the administration for the next financial year.

The authorities have chalked out the plan to generate the expected revenue of around Rs 150 crore from different sources.

According to sources, the MC would allocate Rs 20 crore for development projects of the Industrial Area, Phase II, as the work in Phase I had already been completed. Besides, the projects which would be taken up on priority in the budget include widening of V5 and V6 roads and installation of paver blocks in various sectors of the city, funds for Mahila Bhawan and community centres.

A senior official revealed that it was expected that there would be decrease in the non-plan budget this fiscal but the funds for development works would increase.



Cloudy sky in next 24 hrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Weathermen have predicted cloudy sky or thunder development for residents of the city in the next 24 hours.

After the approaching of western disturbances, weather is likely to be cloudy and the adjoining areas of Punjab and Haryana might have light to moderate rain in the next 24 hours, the weathermen predicted here today. The city recorded a maximum temperature at 23.8 degree Celsius while the minimum was 8.8 degree Celsius today.

As far as the weather conditions during the last two to three days are concerned, the region experienced the maximum temperature at around 21 to 23.8 degree Celsius while minimum ranged from 6.1 to 8.8 degree Celsius, the weathermen said.

One should not keep winter clothes aside because temperature may witness a fall during this period, they added while highlighting the possibility of light to moderate rain in many places of the region.

Icy winds from northern hills continued to sweep the city throughout the day today, therefore neutralising the warmth of the sun.



Inspection at 2 fair price shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
As part of the drive to check the distribution of essential commodities, a surprise inspection was conducted by officials of the department of food and supplies, UT administration, here today.

During the inspection, two fair price shops — Amrit Karyana Store and Happy Karyana Store — located in colony No.5 were checked.

In the absence of display of proper rate and stock boards outside these shops and discrepancies in record maintenance, cases under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 were registered against the erring fair price shops. It was further decided that regular drives would be carried out to ensure proper distribution of commodities to the BPL/AAY cardholders in future.



Candlelit vigil in memory of road mishap victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
A candlelit vigil was organised in memory of road accident victims at a rotary in Sector 3 here. Family members of the accident victims and members of a road safety NGO, Arrivesafe, organised the vigil in memory of a three-year-old accident victims.

Every year a lot of people are killed in the road accidents at places, which are considered as the accident-prone areas due to improper location of the rotaries.

The engineering department should make adequate arrangements for making proper rotaries, which can maintain the traffic on the roads leading to fewer chances of accidents.

Common man can also play their role by bringing forward such spots if any in their notice so that they can also be marked for the changes to be made in them, said one of the participants.



Devanagar MC team visits city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
A 35-member team of elected representatives and officials of the Devanagar Municipal Corporation visited the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today to study taxation and finance system, auditing system, planning and management.

The team visited here to refresh their knowledge on taxation and finance system being adopted by the Chandigarh MC.

Mayor Anu Chatrath welcomed the delegation at the UT guesthouse. MC Additional Commissioner PK Sharma gave a brief introduction regarding various projects of the corporation, the finance system, urban planning and architecture.

Others who were present on the occasion included Bhupinder Singh, Senior Deputy Mayor, Sheela Devi, Deputy Mayor, SK Bansal, chief engineer and councillors and officials of the MC.



Pulse polio drive from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The UT health department will organise a three-day pulse polio immunisation campaign from February 7.

According to information, the first day of the activity would be conducted only on the designated booths in the areas, followed by house-to-house activity for the next two days on February 8 and 9.

UT health officials have urged the residents to cooperate and bring positive results to the efforts being put in by the Chandigarh administration in conducting this round of pulse polio.



Sufi singers regale audience
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 5
Sufi singers from Rajasthan led by Jaisalmer-based Ustad Sahkur Khan regaled the audience at the Randhawa auditorium here today.

The Sufiana music soiree organised by the Punjabi Sahit Akademy, Ludhiana, and Information and Public Relations department, Haryana, commenced on a Sufiana note with mystical songs of Baba Bulleh Shah.

Barkat Khan rendered “Mein vaadi jaan ve” before child prodigies Qurban Ali and Latif Khan presented “Rabba hun ki kariye”.

On audience request, artistes geared up to sing romantic “Nimbuda”, boisterous “Dama dam mast” and concluding mystical number “Chhap Tilak”.



Justice Nirmaljit Kaur bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Iqbal Kaur, 84, the mother of Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, breathed here last this morning. She was admitted to the PGI on January 31, after suffering from an asthmatic attack.

She is survived by three sons — Col JP Singh, Col RPS Mahal (general manager, Pawan Hans), and HPS Mahal (Denmark) — grandchildren and great grandchildren. She belonged to “old Chief's Jat Sikh family of Killa Kathgarh, tehsil Balachaur, now in Nawanshahar.”

The cremation was attended by sitting and retired Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and other dignitaries.



Accountability in selection proposed
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 5
On teachers’ selection pattern in private colleges, the Punjab School Education Board has proposed an accountable selection process for teachers.

The proposal will follow the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the payment of minimum basic pay to private school teachers on par with government school teachers.

The board has proposed that a representative of the board should be a part of the selection process of teachers by private teachers. The proposal would also verify the balance sheet and evolve a system for grade revision.

A system to receive complaints from teachers on non-payment of minimum wages would also be evolved, the sources added.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of the committee, constituted to implement the orders of the HC regarding paying of minimum wages to teachers. Chairman of the board, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, said no decision had been taken so far.

The committee comprises of members of the Recognised and Affiliated Schools Association (RASA), teachers, representative of the Punjab Labour Department, representative of DPI (S) and board chairman. Another committee meeting would be held soon.

The teachers’ representatives have demanded the following basic scales for different categories - ETT (Rs 5,000), TGT (Rs 6,500), TGT (science) Rs 7,000, PGT (Rs 7,500), PGT (science) Rs 8,000, headmaster (Rs 9,000) and principal (Rs 10,000).

RASA representatives were ready to pay Rs 4,500 to ETT teachers, TGT Rs 5,250, PGT Rs 6,000, headmaster Rs 8,000 and principal Rs 9,000. The chairman even proposed Rs 4,700 for ETT teachers, Rs 5,500 for TGT teachers, Rs 6,400 for PGT teachers, Rs 8,000 for headmaster and Rs 10,000 for principals. 



Education Reforms
CBSE question bank for schools
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) will be providing a CD of question papers for Class IX to all its affiliated schools by February 20.

As per a recent circular to schools, the board will provide question paper banks for English Communicative, English Language and Literature, Hindi-A, Hindi-B, mathematics, science, social science and communicative Sanskrit.

It has also directed the schools to conduct the examination in all subjects for Class IX using these question papers from February to March.

For other subjects/languages, the schools will administer their own question paper based on the sample question paper available on the CBSE's website and will design the date sheet for Class IX examination.

As per the plan, the board will be sending eight CDs and each will contain a number of question papers with one of the question papers allotted to each school. The board will also provide a password either through SMS, e-mail or through telephone.

The circular directs the schools to take out requisite number of printouts of question papers after receiving the password in each subject.

The move is one of the earlier decided steps under the board’s Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) and examination reforms scheme.

Though the format sounds exciting, but it has raised concerns among principals and one of them said: “I think this system has a huge risk of paper leak.”



Show-cause notice to Sacred Heart
Mum’s the word

Chandigarh, February 5
While CBSE claims to have already issued a show-cause notice to Sacred Heart School in Ruchika Girhotra’s case, the school authorities still express ignorance.

The notice reportedly asks school that why it should not be disaffiliated after being found guilty of singling out Ruchika and expelling her under an apparent pressure from SPS Rathotre?

However, the vicar-general and spokesperson for the Chandigarh-Shimla diocese Father Thomas Anchanikal asserted: “I have spoken to the school principal and no written communication from CBSE has been received so far. I only read about it in newspapers and have no idea from where the media got the information. If we get any such notice we will reply.”

Meanwhile, even the regional office of CBSE has chosen to stay mum on the issue. It may be noted that the CBSE, after an intervention from the MHRD, had asked Sacred Heart School to reply on UT administration’s report on expelling Ruchika Girhotra a month after being molested by the former DGP of Haryana Police SPS Rathore. — TNS



Building bridges across barriers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The sociology department of Government College for Girls, Sector 11, in collaboration with the Foreign Students’ Association of the college organised a function “Building Bridges Across Barriers” here today.

The event was a cultural bonanza to showcase the culture and tradition of Afghanistan.

Dr Nirupama Luthra, head of sociology department highlighted the significance of such activities in bridging the cultures.

Dr Anita Kaushal, in charge of the association inspired the students to learn from the rich culture of other countries and make them aware of Indian traditions and heritage.

The power point presentation on the culture and tradition of Afghanistan gave an insight into the lifestyle of the Afghani people. Students also presented a song “Mera desh, mera mulk”.

A play was performed which gave a glimpse of the present condition in Afghanistan. Afghani students also presented colourful folk dances, which were thoroughly enjoyed and applauded by the audience. Handicrafts of Afghanistan and pictures depicting natural beauty and currency of the country were also displayed.

A show of traditional attires and Afghanistan cuisine was a treat to eyes.



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