C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Tribune Exclusive
Burail jail to go hi-tech
To have biometric fingerprint devices, tyre blaster obstacles
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Prison security is set to acquire new dimensions at the Burail model jail with the authorities proposing more technology-oriented solutions. The jail will be equipped with latest gadgets that will revamp the archaic security system. The jail authorities have already sent a proposal to the administration to provide biometric fingerprint devices, tyre blaster obstacles and other security equipments.

“The biometric system will help in keeping a record of all the inmates, including undertrials and prisoners, on computer. The scanner will verify the identity of a person coming in and going out of the jail. At present, we manually verify the identity of a person and it is not an infallible system. The chances of human error will reduce as a database will be recorded in computers about the person along with his fingerprints,” a jail official told TNS.

About the tyre blasters, the official said an electronic barricade would be installed at the main entry gate. If anyone tries to force his way or crash his vehicle into the barricades to escape from jail, sharp spikes installed at a distance (connected to the electronic barricade) would automatically rise from the tarmac surface of the road and puncture the tyres, thus disabling the vehicle to move further, he said.

A senior jail official said they would renovate the meeting room of the jail making it more spacious.

It would also have telephones and CCTV cameras to keep a record of the information passed to the inmates. “We will replace the existing grill with glass, preventing trafficking of any articles. We will also provide telephone sets so the persons across the glass can interact with each other and if required, a record can also be maintained of their conversation,” he added.

Deputy Jail Superintendent Amardeep Singh said they had also demanded sophisticated weapons and two horses for patrolling around of the boundary walls of the jail. “A rivulet passes besides the boundary wall of the jail, which is not suitable for motorised vehicles. We have also asked the authorities to provide a 500-kv generator set to ensure uninterrupted power supply,” he said.



Board exams dampen IPL fever
Akash Ghai/Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 11
The initial excitement that generally grips residents before any international cricketing event, is evidently missing not only in the city but also at the PCA stadium here, venue of the five Indian Premier League T-20 matches. With less than 48 hours to go before the first match between the local team, Kings XI, and the Delhi Daredevils kicks off the thrill is perceptibly absent among cricket buffs here.

The major reason for this apathetic attitude might be the ongoing board examinations in schools, which have kept students and their parents as well busy of late.

Earlier, three to four days before international matches - especially ODIs - were scheduled to begin, huge crowds could be seen thronging stadiums to procure complimentary passes or tickets. Long lines in front of the PCA gates were a common sight. However, the mad rush for tickets is evidently been missing this time for the forthcoming T-20 match, scheduled to be held on March 13 under floodlights. During its visit today to the stadium The Tribune team found only security personnel, labourers and officials of the organising team there.

Things were no different at the Sector 16 stadium, where the presence of ace cricketers like Yuvraj Singh, Kumar Sangakkara, Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth failed to attract fans to the Kings XI practice match held today afternoon. Though the organizers ensured security guards were stationed at the gates, the latter appeared relaxed as only a handful of youngsters turned up inside the stadium.

“A possible reason for the absence of fans could be the board examinations under way. However, we are certain the stadium would be full to capacity during the match”, said an official of the Kings XI team, claiming they had sold over 70 per cent of the tickets for the first match.

On the other hand, Dhruv Agnihotri, a class IX student and an ardent fan of the game, said, “The organisers should have taken into reckoning the school exams schedule before finalising the tournament dates. No parents will allow their children to watch the matches during these days”.

Expressing a similar view, another student, Jyotsana Sharma, said, “The examinations have ruined the thrill of the tournament”.

Meanwhile, all the members of Delhi team, except Varinder Sehwag, Ashish Nehra and Gautam Gambhir, arrived in the city and had a practice session at the PCA stadium in the evening.



IPL Matches
PCA’s delight, residents’ agony
Tribune News Service

1,400 cops deployed

For the peaceful conduct of IPL matches, the police has deployed around 1,400 cops in and around the PCA stadium.

Giving details of the security arrangements, officials said a security drill had already been done. A foolproof security arrangement has also been put in place.

Several quick reaction teams have been deputed in case of exigency. Traffic on the roads leading to the stadium from Chandigarh, Phase X, Phase VIII and Sector 67 would be diverted.

The traffic diversions on the roads leading to the stadium would be lifted once the match begins. But the road opposite the stadium would remain closed throughout the day. Officials said parking lots had been earmarked.

Mohali, March 11
Residents living in the vicinity of the PCA stadium are being made to suffer for entertaining those visiting the stadium to witness Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.

Two days before the league matches, the organisers have parked trucks with diesel generators in front of the houses behind the stadium. The generators would be used during the matches.

“Whenever there is match, our lives become hell. There is a lot of noise pollution,” said Anil, who lives near the stadium. The worst affected are those living immediately behind the stadium.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand said it had not been brought to his knowledge earlier. “I will ask the SDM concerned for a report,” he added.

Around eight generator sets have been positioned near the residential area. An official of the event management company at the site said the generator sets were noise and pollution free. He, however, could not explain why the generator sets had been put up near to the houses.

Area residents have been demanding shifting of the stadium outside the populated area of the city.



City to get H1N1 vaccine
Will be administered to health workers initially

Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Frontline healthcare workers in the city will be the first ones to get swine flu vaccines from next week as the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has directed the UT administration to vaccinate all those who are dealing with infected patients directly.

Confirming the move, UT nodal officer for swine flu HC Gera told The Tribune that the first consignment of 10,800 doses of vaccines would arrive on Monday after which they will start vaccinating the first line health workers. A written communication to the effect has already been received from the Union health ministry.

“The vaccines will be given to all government hospitals, including the PGI, the GMCH-32, and the GMSH-16, for administering to all frontline health workers, including doctors and paramedics, who are at high risk and come in direct contact with H1N1 patients. UT health workers will also be administered the vaccine as they are also involved in the entire process,” added Gera.

The ministry was more concerned about the safety of the vaccine and it was checked twice - first for seven days and then for 21 days. The 1.5 million doses of vaccines imported by the government from Sanofi Pasteur have passed the safety test. The trials took place in Kalavati Saran Hospital in Delhi and Bharatiya Vidyapith in Pune and the vaccines were found to be safe.

Even though the UT health department is commencing the vaccination process, experts, however, say that no vaccine is 100 per cent safe for everyone. People with allergies to eggs, for example, can't take flu vaccines because eggs are involved in the manufacturing process, they say.

According to experts: “We didn't want it to cause side-effects like the Guillain-Barri syndrome (GBS) - a rare disease in which the body damages its own nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. The company will, however, continue to check the vaccine's immunogenecity results, which will come within six weeks.”

Meanwhile, India's indigenous H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available by April 15 and could cost between Rs 80 and Rs 100. As per the data available, H1N1 has spread in 210 countries. In India, it has infected over 29,710 people and killed 1,376. While, 336 positive cases of H1N1 were reported from Punjab Haryana Himachal, and Chandigarh, 63 deaths have been reported so far.



Jain priest ends life; family suspects foul play
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 11
Tension prevailed in the town after the 61-year-old head priest of the Jain temple here allegedly committed suicide in Pabhat village in the early hours of the morning. The police beefed up the security outside the temple following the incident.

According to a police official, the priest, Ajay Muni, set himself on fire and was taken to the Dera Bassi Civil Hospital, where he was declared brought dead. His family members have, however, disputed the police’s claim and said they suspected “foul play” in his death. They have demanded a probe.

The police stated another priest, Jatinder Muni, who had been staying with him at the temple for the past three months, said he heard loud shrieks at about 1:30 am and saw Ajay warding off flames that had engulfed him.

“When I rushed to douse the flames the doors were bolted from the outside. I immediately called out to two helpers, Sunny and Chandan, who were sleeping on the first floor. Ajay had presumably used the diesel of the power generator to commit suicide”, Jatinder told the cops.

According to sources, Ajay was suffering from depression for the past few days. They said Dr Ramesh Kumar, who runs a clinic near the temple, had called a meeting with migrant workers, in which a senior Congress party leader was also present, in a room of the temple.

“The meeting’s agenda was to elect their own councillor. When the matter came to the villagers’ notice they objected and questioned Ajay for giving the temple room keys to Kumar for the meeting”, the sources added.

The sources further said the matter was resolved later after Ajay told the villagers he had given the keys to the doctor to hold a meeting relating to a ‘jagaran’ and denied it had any political overtones. They added the villagers had earlier also asked Ajay to “vacate the temple and move it to another place”.

One of the temple members said on condition of anonymity Ajay had been in a state of depression for the past four days because of this issue.

A relative of the deceased said, “He (Ajay) could not have committed suicide. The police should thoroughly investigate the matter and take strict action against those behind his death.”

Dera Bassi DSP JS Khaira said seeing the sensitiveness of the situation heavy security had been deployed in the area to avoid any kind of untoward incident.

“During preliminary investigations it was found the deceased was suffering from diabetes and heart disease and was also depressed for the past several months. This may be the principle reason behind this extreme step. Inquest proceedings have been initiated in the matter”, Khaira added.

Hailing from Delhi, Ajay had been staying in the temple since 1993.



Now, kidney removal procedure through belly button
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Removal of kidney through a single incision in the belly button may sound strange, but doctors at the PGI have successfully removed kidneys of six patients through this procedure since November 2009.

The procedure - natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery - for removal of a donor’s kidney through navel was first used in 2008 in the US and it was implemented in the department of transplant surgery at the PGI in November 2009.

The advantages of using the single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) technique is that no scar would be visible, less pain and fast recovery, which the conventional procedures lack. The donors, who have undergone this procedure, include four females and two males, in the age group of 28-45 years.

“This procedure has been used on lean and thin donors and on a donor weighing over 100 kilograms,” said Dr Ashish Sharma of the transplant surgery department, PGI.

Head of the transplant surgery department, PGI, Prof Mukut Minz said the response to the new method of the kidney removal had been encouraging with significant reduction in the post-operative pain.

“The department has been using the traditional laparoscopic method for the last six years. Earlier, the donors used to be operated with four keyhole incisions and one separate six cm incision for taking out the kidney. However, with this new method, only a single two-inch incision is used, which remains hidden in the umbilicus,” said Dr Ashish Sharma.

According to experts, it is hoped that with the reduction in post-operative pain and an invisible scar, many more persons would volunteer to donate kidneys to their loved ones. “It is hoped that the department would be able to receive more kidney donors in the near future,” said Dr Sharma.


SDM offices to be linked up with RLA-17
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
After launching the software ‘Vahan’ last year, the Registration and Licensing Authority, Chandigarh, is all set to expedite the process of registering and licensing primarily at the office of the SDM (east) and the SDM (south).

Soon, both offices will be linked up with the RLA, Sector 17, to facilitate data entry through ‘Vahan’ at the respective offices.

Currently, vehicles are passed and files are accepted only to be brought back to the Sector-17 office for data entry, which takes a lot of time and requires employees from the two offices to bring the files physically for data entry.

With the connectivity of the two offices, that time will be saved and transactions will be expedited.

The department has already bought the required software and hardware necessary for the new setup at an estimated cost of Rs 6 lakh. In a few weeks, the same will be up and running, bring relief to residents living in the southern and eastern sectors, respectively.

Four new counters will come up after the setup — two at the RLA office, Sector 17, and one each at the SDM (south) and SDM (east) office — for public convenience.

Also, for the said linkup, trained manpower is already in place. Confirming this, RLA (registering and Licensing Authority) Prena Puri said: “Ground work has been done. We have made the purchases of hardware and software according to the requirement and the same will be implemented within a couple of weeks. Once the data entry starts here, it will result in faster transactions and the time period of the delivery of documents will greatly be reduce.”

As of now, the Sector 17 office of RLA caters to the residents of Sectors 1 to 6, 8 to 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, Dhanas, Kaimbwala, Sarangpur, Khuda Lahora, Khuda Jasu, Khuda Alisher. Similarly, the SDM (south) office caters to Sectors 32 to 46, 49, 52, 53, 55, 56, 61 Burail, Nizampur, Kajheri, Attawa, Dadu Majra, Shahpur, Maloya, Buterala, Badheri and Palsora, while the SDM (east) office caters to Sectors 7, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 47, 48, Industrial Area Phases-I and II, Mani Majra, Kishangarh, Mauli Jagran, Bair Majra, Karsan Hallo Majra, Behlana, Jhumru, Air Field, Colony No. 4, Raipur Khurd, Dariya, Bhagwanpur, Railway Colony, Indira Colony, Raipur Kalan and Modern Complex.

“Vahan” was launched in October last year after it was successfully launched in Chennai as a pilot project to streamline vehicle registration and licensing.



IT Survey
Unaccounted income of Rs 50 cr unearthed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Surveys conducted by the income tax department in the past 24 hours on leading business houses in Haryana and Chandigarh have unearthed unaccounted income of over Rs 50 crore.

While raids were conducted on Wednesday in Gurgaon on a leading Mapsko builder/liquor trader, surveys were initiated on two business houses in the UT.

Director (investigation), income tax, Pawan Parmar Singh told The Tribune that the disclosure of Rs 42.5 crore from a Gurgaon-based liquor trader came after a daylong searches and surveys conducted at least 23 premises, including commercial and residential, of the company in Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Hisar, Panipat, Ghaziabad and Sirsa.

In UT, while a leading travel agent, Bajaj Travels, surrendered Rs 1.3 crore, land developers Silver City surrendered Rs 5 crore.

Disclosure was a voluntary action by the assessees during a search and survey operation.

Around 120 I-T officials and subordinate staff conducted the search and survey operations at various places. IT sleuth started the search and survey yesterday and continued till today morning.



41 BPL beneficiaries get auto-rickshaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Mayor Anu Chatrath and Municipal Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria handed over LPG auto-rickshaws to 41 BPL beneficiaries at the Sukhna lake parking here today.

Chatrath congratulated the beneficiaries and advised them to be particular in repayment of loan distributed by Punjab National Bank (PNB) and ensure that they saved some money from their income from their new source and keep the money with the bank.

Dr Sunkaria asked them to save their earnings through monthly deposit scheme.

Earlier, the two flagged off LPG auto-rickshaws after handing over keys and documents to the beneficiaries.

MC Joint Commissioner TPS Phoolka said under the Swaran Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) subsidies for LPG auto-rickshaws had been sanctioned to the tune of Rs 57.17 lakh along with a loan of Rs 14.04 lakh by the PNB, Sector 22, Canara Bank, Sector 35, and State Bank of Patiala, Sector 8.

He said according to the fresh guidelines of the SJSRY issued in August, 2009, under urban self-employment component — which promotes and upgrades BPL beneficiaries by getting self-employment through setting up micro-enterprises — and under the component of loan, the limit had been raised to Rs 2 lakh for one project with a subsidy of 25 per cent of the project cost, subject to a maximum of Rs 50,000.

MC project coordinator for SJSRY Bhagat Ram and PNB representative RP Sharma along with other branch managers and beneficiaries of auto loan were also present.



Women’s Quota
MC leads the way
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

The 50 pc quota

Going a step further, the Congress-dominated MC has proposed a 50 per cent quota for women in the civic body. A resolution to this effect was passed when the Congress-led UPA government asked for proposals from urban local bodies to improve their representation in the local bodies with the ultimate aim of empowering women

Chandigarh, March 11
Even as Parliament debates the Women’s Reservation Bill, the fairer sex is already reaping the benefits of the quota in the municipal corporation here. In fact, quota for women in the civic body has resulted in the reservation of two terms of one year for the top post of MC Mayor.

Besides, around one-thirds of the seats in the 26-member elected body are also reserved for women, so much so that nine nominated councillors have three women among them.

“The quota for women in the local civic body has gone a long way in empowering women in the local political arena. In fact, the performance of women councillors and mayors has been no less than their male counterparts,” former Mayor and Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra said.

Chhabra claimed that it was the commitment of the Congress to bring women leaders on the forefront of administrative and political system in the country in general and Chandigarh in particular.

In a city that roughly has around 777 women per 1,000 men, the reservation for women naturally sends a right signal to the male-dominated society, Sujeta Singh, a women rights activist, said.

Moreover, with women becoming more aware of their rights in the backdrop of the Women's Reservation Bill, the quota brings the marginalised sections of society to the mainstream, she added.

Meanwhile, holding of important public offices by women provided them with invaluable training in parliamentary procedures and practices.

This will stand them in good stead when the Bill becomes Act and they have the opportunity to represent people in Parliament.



Seeking OBC quota, Jats threaten to disrupt C’wealth Games
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Seeking OBC reservation, members of the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Arakshan Samiti (ABJASS) today warned the Central and state governments to extend the reservation quota to the community failing which they would disrupt the Commonwealth Games in October. They also threatened to cut the national Capital from rest of the country by blocking the national highways, railways, fuel, gas and water supplies.

The members of the Jat community from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of India assembled at the Rally Ground in Sector 25 here and launched a demonstration.

Insisting for inclusion of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims of the Jat community in the reservation quota, the leadership flayed the political parties for dividing the community on lines of caste and religion. Launching the ‘Chandigarh Declaration’, they announced to wage a straightforward battle against the government to take back their rights.

The representatives of the Samiti said respective Central and state governments had been denying the community the OBC status since 1993. Since the community belonged to rural peasantry class, the governments had been deceiving them for over 19 years and now they had decided not to allow this anymore.

National president of the Samiti Yashpal Malik said the members would launch a warning week if the government failed to move after the ultimatum. They would cut Delhi from the rest of the country during the week and they would also launch “Arakhshan Rath Yatra” from Golden Temple, Amritsar.

Yashpal further said they would raise a ‘Jat Arakshan Sena’ taking members from Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims to conduct the agitation in a peaceful and democratic manner. Prem Singh Chandumajra along with Shiromani Akali Dal leaders arrived at the venue and took memorandum from the Samiti leaders while a senior officer of the Haryana government received it.

The members said they had launched a march toward the Sonia Gandhi’s residence on February 8 following which a meeting was held next day with Social Welfare and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik, who did not give any concrete assurance to them. They had given an ultimatum to the government till March 10 to meet their demand, failing which they staged the demonstration today.



Medical Equipment
New tax regime spells doom for manufactures
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
It is a double whammy for domestic life-saving medical equipment manufacturers.With the Budget 2010 making imports cheaper and imposing an excise duty of 10 per cent on domestic manufacturers pushing up their costs, the survival of the domestic medical equipment manufacturers is at stake.

Since the new tax regime has come into force with effect from February 28, the manufacturers will not be able to supply the life-saving medical equipment at old price seriously affecting the operations of the medical companies, according to Suresh Sharma, managing director of the Allengers Medical Equipment Private Limited.

Before the recent Budget, the central excise duty on life saving medical equipment like C-arm image intensifiers, mammography, lithotriptor and cathlab was zero per cent. In fact, this was part of government’s commitment to provide better medical facilities as cheaper rates as per the 2006 notification.

However, in the recent Budget, the government had amended the 2006 notification bringing the life-saving medical equipment in the new excise duty regime.

“Since a majority of domestic medical equipment manufacturers are in small scale sector, the hike in excise duty will deal a severe blow to the indigenous industry,” he asserted.

With the corporate sector already passing through recession, the new taxes will result in loss of jobs and revenue to the state governments in the form of VAT and other taxes.

Meanwhile, in a representation to the Finance Minister, the manufacturers has alleged that the cheap import will result in the loss of precious foreign exchange. In case of after sales service, which these products need frequently, the foreign suppliers charge heavily resulting in the outflow of the more foreign exchange.

The domestic manufacturers are generating employment for the local people and it meets the objective of social responsibility of the government.

Since the prices of medical products from all over the world are high, the foreign manufacturers will sell costly machines which the normal hospitals in small towns cannot afford. Even if they are able to buy the machines once, they will not be able afford the costly after sales service hampering medical services, the representation added.



Librarian accused of sexual harassment; probe ordered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
Panchkula deputy commissioner Pankaj Yadav today asked city magistrate Ritu Chaudhary to conduct an inquiry into a complaint filed by a first-year BA student of Government College, Sector 1 accusing the college librarian of sexually harassing her. DSP Iqbal Kaur would also be conducting a police probe into the incident, he added.

The student’s parents along with some youngsters allegedly manhandled the librarian, Inder Kaushik, on the college campus today morning, accusing the latter of sexual harassment. The girl’s relatives also roughed up some college lecuturers who came to his rescue.

According to her complaint, the girl stated Kaushik took her identity card into his possession on Tuesday after he accused her of sitting in the library with an outsider. When she demanded her ID card the next day in the morning Kaushik asked her to meet him in the afternoon, she alleged, saying, “When I met him he asked me what I could do for him”.

Denying the allegations, Kaushik said he had only objected to the girl meeting an outsider in the library. “The girl was with a boy in the college when I asked both to show their ID cards, following which the girl showed me her card. The boy, however, failed to prove his identity and left the college premises. The girl was asked to bring her parents while I kept her ID card with me”, he said.

Following the incident the cops took Kaushik to the police station while the girl’s relatives met Yadav, who ordered an inquiry into the incident.

When contacted, college principal RC Goyal said he was on leave today and could not comment on the matter till he looked into it. “However, though I was in the college till 4 pm yesterday no one complained to me regarding the incident”, he added.



Defence body: Withdraw hike in prices of fuel
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 11
The Defence Accounts Pensioners Welfare Association has demanded a roll back in the prices of petroleum products as such a hike is adversely affecting the ‘aam admi’ who has already been hit by steep rise in the prices of essential commodities.

The association urged the Central Government to immediately withdraw the hike in the prices of petroleum products and also control the prices of all commodities in order to give relief to common man. Food inflation had risen to 17.87 per cent for the week ending on February 20.

Jagtar Singh, president of the association, said that 39 security gates installed in various parts of Mohali about four months ago had failed to provide any security to residents as no watchmen had been deployed to man these gates defeating the very purpose for which these had been put up.

Residents, especially senior citizens, stood vulnerable to criminal elements. There was also a need to put up security gates in Sectors 66 to 69, which were still with the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority.

He requested the DC to intervene in the matter and ensure that security was taken care of by the authorities concerned. A memorandum was handed over to the chairman of the District Planning Board, who also happened to be the president of the Zirakpur civic body. The Zirakpur Municipal Council had now cleared a budget of Rs 23.6 crore for the next financial year, which was quite encouraging.



Awareness programme on consultancy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
North India Technical Consultancy Organisation (NITCON), a public sector industrial, technical and management consultancy organisation and a joint venture of all-India financial institutions, state-level financial institutions and nationalised banks, organised an awareness programme for public sector banks, financial institutions and chartered accountants here today.

Balbir Singh, chief consultant of the organisation, said the aim was to create awareness and understanding on issues relating to consultancy for the client organisations, and promote the uses of consulting services, outsourcing.

Interacting with senior officials of the public sector banks, financial institutions, government departments and chartered accountants, he said NITCON had been organising such programmes to render low-cost consulting services to small/medium scale entrepreneurs (SMEs).

“We are responsive to tips on proper estimation, on how to utilise resources and qualities in achieving one’s goals,” he added.

He said the success rate of such programmes conducted by NITCON was 60 to 65 per cent.

The programme was useful for those dealing in tendering process or engagement of consultants, he added.

He also talked about the various entrepreneurship programmes conducted by NITCON.

Consultants also touched upon project report formulation.

They also shared their views with the officials during the programme.

Other than the chief consultant, experts from other organisations also delivered lectures during the programme.



FCI employees seek wage revision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
On a call given by the national committee of the Bharatiya Khadya Nigam Karamchari Sangh (BKNKS), employees of the Food Corporation of India staged a daylong dharna outside their district office in Sector 40 today.

The protesting employees insisted for early wage revision and other related demands pending with the Union Food Ministry since November 2009. The wage revision of Category III and IV employees had been forwarded to the Union Food Ministry after approval of the board of directors of the FCI in the shape of MoU in November 2009. The same was signed between the union and the FCI management.

However, it is still pending with the ministry, they rued.



GMADA: Owners must raise structure on plots by Oct 31
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 11
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has given last chance to the owners of at least 900, residential and commercial plots, in developed sectors to raise structure on their plots by October 31, 2010.

Estate Officer, Balbir Singh , said all plots identified are in the developed sectors and this would be their last chance to get extension to construct structures on their plots. Following this, resumption proceedings would be initiated against the erring plot holders.

Under the breather, the GMADA has finalised a policy, which allows owners of such plots in the urban estate to begin construction by October 31. The authority has set August 30 as the deadline for submitting building plans.

Former president of Mohali Property Dealers’ Association Shalinder Anand said the decision would benefit hundreds of plot owners who could not begin construction due to varied reasons.



Inflated Bills
Consumers body flays PSEB for harassing residents
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 11
The Consumers Protection Federation has criticised the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for harassing residents of Phase V and other areas by issuing power bills on an average basis, which were on the higher side.

President of the federation PS Virdi wrote a letter to the Chairman of the PSEB, HS Brar, stating that the bills on an average basis were sent by the PSEB to residents of Phase V and other areas on February 23, which had created a lot of resentment among power consumers.

They had been burdened financially as the amounts mentioned in the bills were on the higher side. It had been mentioned in the bills that the meter reading had not been taken

This had happened because of the irresponsible attitude of the authorities concerned. Consumers were not bothered about the functioning of the department and only wanted proper bills well in time.

He urged the chairman to personally intervene in the matter and recommend action against the authorities concerned.



Pending recruitment cases fume contractual teachers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Resentment continues to prevail among contractual teachers with regard to pending recruitment cases of permanent faculty in the city government colleges for the past three years.

Encumbrances at the level of central agencies coupled with the sluggishness of the UT administration have worsen the situation. Despite stipulation of requirement of regular faculty in various government colleges under the Five Year Plan draft of the UT administration, there have been no recruitments through the UPSC since 2006. While officials have claimed that they had been attending various meetings for the past few months to speed up the process, yet the snail pace of recruitments has disheartened hundreds of teachers who have to undergo interviews every year for getting their contracts renewed.

The contractual teachers, on additional posts, have kept their demands before the UT administration. “Cases are pending with the HRD Ministry,” said DHE Ajoy Sharma.


The recruitments are to be done in 60:40 ratio, where 60 per cent teachers are appointed through the UPSC and 40 per cent are on deputation from Punjab and Haryana. The UT administration has sanctioned hundreds of additional posts to deal with the workload in colleges. But these lecturers, who have been recruited as per the UGC norms, are paid for eight months and are relieved at the time of examination. Presently, there are about 418 contractual teachers.


After the UT administration forwards the cases to the HRD Ministry for approval, budget for the same is allotted and subsequently the UPSC is approached by the administration to conduct the exam for recruitment.

According to the UT education department officials, the Union Public Service Commission has to clear the recruitment rules first. The hitch at the UPSC level is due to the extra workload, as several states queue up for recruitments.

Whose rules are followed?

The administration follows the UGC norms for grading lecturers. But when it comes to giving allowances to lecturers, the UGC guidelines are not followed. The recruitments are done through he UPSC, while Panjab University conducts examination. Both the UGC and PU have clearly discouraged the deployment of contractual lecturers.


Lecturers are not considered for the post after they attain the age of 35. Contractual teachers have urged the authorities to do away with the age restriction. They have demanded extension of their contract for more than one year.



Pre-nursery, nursery admission forms
Schools receive good response
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The sale of pre-nursery and nursery admission forms started today at all government schools. Even as slight ripples were created over the demand of attested photocopies of certificates, the schools received a good response.

The UT administration in violation of its own orders passed in 2007 had asked for the attested photocopies of date of birth and residence proof.

However, when it was brought to the notice of Home Secretary Ram Niwas by a local activist RK Garg, he immediately issued a clarification to all schools, which stated that parents were required to submit self-attested documents only.

“As per press releases, circulars and guidelines issued by the administration, the requirement of attested certificates have been discontinued since 2007, however, despite the fact, the authorities demanded the same,” said Garg.

DEO Chanchal has clearly sated that the forms could be taken from any school, but would be submitted at schools of respective sectors.



Scholarship for Indian students
Chhavi Garg

Chandigarh, March 11
The British Council has decided to confer the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scholarship award on Indian students who want to pursue postgraduate programmes abroad.

Eight Indian students will be selected through a special exam. The exam will have two levels. In the first level, students will have to write an essay and the selected candidates from the first level will be called in for the face-to-face presentations. The competition will be open only to students who are enrolled with the British Council. The scholarship award will be of Rs 3 lakh.

“The scholarship aims at providing students with international educational opportunities,” said Kevin McLaven, secretary, educational services, British High Commission. He said minimum of 6.5 bands would be required by a student.

When asked about the High Commission’s orders to deny visas to North Indians, Kevin said the problem arose due to fake applications from students of some dubious colleges. IELTS is the English language test that is accepted by over 125 countries. It is also a reliable measure of English proficiency. The British Council will be launching the award in three other countries.



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