C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Garbage Unit
Contractor loses Rs 1.16-cr guarantee money
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The municipal corporation today forfeited the bank guarantee, amounting to over Rs 1.16 crore, deposited as performance security by Jai Prakash Associates Ltd, which has set up a garbage processing unit in Dadumajra, for failing to make the plant fully operational in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement. It said this was done by invoking clause 5.1 of the pact signed with the civic body.

Sources close to the firm said on condition of anonymity it plans to pull out of the contract to run the plant.

Company officials claimed they had fulfilled all the recommendations of various MC committees well in time, which were set up at periodical intervals to monitor the plant’s functioning. They expressed surprise at the civic body’s move at this juncture.

On the other hand, MC officials stated the decision to forfeit the firm’s bank guarantee had been taken after they found the plant could not improve upon various impediments and defects brought to their notice from time to time. These included garbage not being processed fully to its final stage of RDF formation, thereby resulting in a huge quantity of organic waste that was being disposed of at the dumping site as inert or rejects, they said.

Further, the company had failed to install the complete equipment and was unable to check emission of foul smell from the plant, the MC officials added.

The officials said the plant’s management had been told to install complete equipment and necessary devices for controlling emission of foul smell, as agreed upon by the company in the contract. The firm had also been asked to process the garbage till its final stage as to formation of RDF, they added.

MC commissioner Roshan Sunkaria said the plant’s performance had not been satisfactory as per the terms of the agreement.

“The company was asked to extend the validity period of its bank guarantee but refused to do so. The firm’s management never took any initiative in this regard. A number of committees, set up by the MC and the pollution board to look into the plant’s performance, did not found its operation satisfactory. If the company doesn’t rectify the faults on time, action would be taken against it as per the agreement”, Sunkaria added.

The company’s representative, RD Sharma, said it had yet to receive any official communication about the forfeiture of its bank guarantee.

“As soon as we get it we will take appropriate action on it. According to the agreement’s clauses if the plant stops due to a technical, mechanical and electrical defect, the municipal corporation could impose a penalty of Rs 15,000 per day for 16 to 21 days and Rs 25,000 per day for 22 to 30 days, with the maximum penalty up to Rs 3.5 lakh. In case the faults remained for over 30 days the MC could cancel the contract”, Sharma stated.



Home ministry pulls up UT over conversion fee
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Claim on forest cover rejected

The report dismissed the administration’s claim that the forest and tree cover in the union territory had risen from 23.5% in 2003 to 35.7% in 2007, saying the case was otherwise. Quoting a Forest Survey of India (FSI) report, ‘India-State of Forest Report -2009’, the ministry said forest and tree cover in Chandigarh was 24.56%. “The FSI report clearly mentions ‘there is no change in the forest cover and its density as compared to previous assessments," the ministry added.

Chandigarh, March 17
After facing allegations of bending rules in allotting land to major firms at the IT Park here, the UT administration’s controversial industrial conversion policy has come under the home affairs ministry’s scanner.

"As a result of wrong payment of conversion fee by land allottees the government exchequer has incurred losses and the Chandigarh administration needs to review the cases”, the ministry said in a special audit report in response to the UT administration.

Alleging there were several instances of delay in receipt of conversion fees resulting in loss of interest, the report demanded initiation of “appropriate action” to ensure there was no loss to the exchequer.

Rates of conversion from industrial to commercial use in the city’s industrial area are governed by the ‘Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activities/Services in Industrial Area, Phase I and II, Chandigarh Scheme, 2005’.

The rate of conversion fee to be paid by the applicant was fixed at 50% of the average price of commercial sites fetched in the auctions held during the past three years. The fee was to be further reduced in the backdrop of the locational disadvantage of the sites in phases I and II of the Industrial Area.

The conversion policy also provided for a 10% concession to whose applicants who applied for conversion within one year of the scheme’s notification and 5% concession to those applying one year after up to March 17, 2007.

According to the report, the Chandigarh Housing Board had granted permission for conversion of industrial sites in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The rate of conversion fee applied during these years was the same as that fixed in 2005.

"According to the scheme, the conversion fee rate was to be worked out from the average prices fetched in auctions of commercial sites during the last three years, that is, 2003, 2004 and 2005, for conversion in 2006; those obtained in 2004, 2005, and 2006 for conversion in 2007; and prices fetches in the three preceding years for conversion in 2008.

Taking into account various calculations under the scheme, the rate of conversion fee worked out to be Rs 21,126 (Rs 19,013 in case of 10% conversion for applying within a year of notification for 2006), Rs 26,152 for 2007 and Rs 41,743 for 2008. The conversion fee rates were not revised and the 2005 rate was applied for conversion permitted in 2006,2007 and 2008, causing financial loss to the state exchequer, the home affairs ministry report stated.



SOPU supporter fired upon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Rivalry among PU students once again took an ugly turn when some unknown persons attacked a supporter of a students’ union organisation here tonight.

Police sources said the incident occurred near the YMCA, Sector 11, around 10 pm. The complainant, Gurwinder Singh, a resident of Naya Gaon, claimed that four persons came in a car and fired two shots at his Zen car.

He alleged that he went to the Sector 11 police station for safety. It is unclear if the attack was a result of rivalry among students.

The police said it had started investigation in the case. The complainant seemed to be a supporter of SOPU as stickers of the organisation were pasted on the car, which his friends were seen removing at the police station.

The police also raised doubts on the complaint since no one heard any gunshots. “We have impounded the car and a CFSL team would be called to verify facts,” Sukhvir Rana, SHO, Sector 11 police station, said, adding that a DDR had been lodged.



Ranjit’s bail plea rejected
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 17
The district and sessions judge, SP Singh, today dismissed the bail application of Ranjit Bajaj in an attempt to murder case. Ranjit had applied for bail after he was arrested on March 3 for assaulting Gurmohan Singh Bedi, son of a Punjab and Haryana High Court judge.

The arguments in the case had concluded only yesterday and the public prosecutor had informed the court that Ranjit Bajaj had pointed a pistol at the complainant Gurmohan Singh and also pulled the trigger. The pistol, however, misfired. Gurmohan had alleged this in his supplementary statement as well. He also mentioned some witnesses to substantiate his arguments.

Last week, counsel of Ranjit had contended that the police was not consistent with its findings and kept changing the statement which proved that the allegations levelled against Ranjit were false.

Two women of Chandigarh had also alleged that Bedi under the influence of liquor had passed lewd remarks, following which Ranjit had a scuffle with him. The two also alleged that the police was biased as it had taken no action on their complaint.

Moving against the order, the Bajaj family has decided to file a fresh bail application in the High Court.



IT raid on steel unit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Officials of the income tax department today conducted search and seizure operations on more than seven premises of Modern Steels belonging to the Goyals at several places in Chandigarh and Panchkula today.

This afternoon, simultaneous surveys on at least seven premises were also conducted on premises of a wholesaler in the Sector 26 grain market -- Kulwant Rai Gyanchannd and its sister concern, Wheels Scaffolding in Sector 30, Chandigarh; Vishwas tubes in Sector 26; industrial units in phase VII, Mohali and Panchkula; and Asian Scaffolding near Kurali. “The raids are still on. Details on recoveries are awaited,” the director of income tax (investigation), Pawan Parmar Singh, stated.

According to sources, the team found Rs 80 lakh cash and jewellery worth crores during the raid conducted on Modern Steels, Chandigarh, and its associates, Modern Dairy at Karnal.


Inadequacies during inspection
Manauli de-addiction centre served notice
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 17
The authorities have issued notice to a de-addiction centre at Manauli village, near here, after medical and other facilities were found to be inadequate by an official inspection team.

A four-member team, which inspected the centre run by Faith Foundation on March 15, had found, among other alleged drawbacks and irregularities, that no specialist or MBBS doctor was available at the centre round the clock, no pharmacist was employed and the centre was being run in the basement with poor natural light and ventilation.

The team comprising SDM Ravinder Pal Singh Walia, district health officer Dr SP Surila, DSP Swarndeep Singh and a member of an NGO Albel Singh Shyan were dissatisfied with the facilities at the centre.

The centre in-charge has been asked by the SDM to remove all shortcomings noticed by the inspecting team and inform his office in this regard, failing which strict legal action will be initiated against him, including the closure of the centre.

Sources said as per the inspection report, inmates of the de-addiction centre were allegedly given no beds and had to sleep on the floor. Bedding was, however, provided.

The centre had four toilets for the inmates with running water but cleanliness was not satisfactory. Only one open bathroom was available sans privacy.

Doctors allegedly examined the inmates only once a week even when such a facility should have been made available round the clock.

The centre allegedly had no nurse to take care of the inmates and neither did it have any ambulance service.

A counsellor had also allegedly not been provided for helping inmates and their relatives.

Inmates were also not allowed to call their wards frequently. The centre had allegedly failed to maintain its record in a proper way and had not put up any notice board.

The inspection report, however, pointed out that the centre did not indulge in forced admissions and inmates were admitted for treatment by their wards. Also, no complaint had been received about any kind of violence or torture.

Inmates were also not forced to perform any kind of duties, including cooking. Medical treatment was not refused but was given on the basis of doctor’s prescription and whenever requested.

The team also visited two more de-addiction centres — Fateh Foundation in Phase III B 2, which was found locked, and Reality Foundation in Phase X, which had shifted elsewhere.



Garbage Collection
Awry scheme bane of Sector-4 residents
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 17
Even as a new sanitation scheme, being looked after by respective municipal councillors in their wards, is in place, life has become a hell for residents of a colony on the Community Road in Sector 4. Reason: Garbage dumped in the area remains uncleared for days together.

This poses serious health hazard not only to residents but also stray animals that thrive on garbage.

Also, motorists find it hard to manoeuvre their vehicles on the road as the bin is placed adjacent to the road. A bridge connects the area with another sector across the nullah.

Stray animals feed on littered garbage; and (right) garbage collected outside a house in Sector 4, Panchkula
Stray animals feed on littered garbage; and (right) garbage collected outside a house in Sector 4, Panchkula. Photos by writer

Some councillors, including Ravinder Rawal and Naresh Rawal, have already refused to implement the scheme in their respective wards stating that it is unmanageable.

Rajinder Parshad Sharma, a resident, said polythene bags and other waste often got littered in the area due to wind.

The garbage also got collected in nearby houses, creating unhygienic conditions there, he added.

He said overloaded carts collecting garbage often spilled waste on the road as these passed the area to dump the garbage.

Rajinder claimed that residents had brought the matter to the notice of local councillor Jagjit Soi (BJP), who asked them to further contact INLD councillor Seema Chaudhary to resolve the issue.

When she was approached, she assured them of resolving the issue. However, nothing had been done to mitigate their suffering so far.

Another resident, JK Jain, said the chances of spread of dengue or malaria in the area were real as the area was a perfect breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes. He said they couldn’t even open windows for fresh air.

Attempts to contact Soi and Chaudhary proved futile. Even executive officer KK Jain failed to answer his phone.



Land worth Rs 10 cr cleared of encroachment
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 17
Land worth crores of rupees was cleared of encroachment after the enforcement team of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) demolished over 50 jhuggis in Phase I here today.

The operation, which started around 2 pm, went on for over two hours. The dwellers pelted the enforcement team with stones when the operation began, while women abused the staff. Naib tehsildar Sohan Singh received injuries during the operation.

The encroachers were asked to remove their belongings before the operation began.

Around 70 policemen were put on duty for the operation apart from GMADA’s own security men numbering 17.

The team headed by estate officer Balbir Singh stated that land worth over Rs 10 crore was cleared of encroachment during the operation.

Many earlier attempts by GMADA to evict illegal occupants had proved futile because of political intervention.

SDO (buildings) SK Bains said eights kiosks were removed from the area.

Balbir Singh said around one acre had been under illegal occupation of migrants for the past 30 years.

They had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had dismissed the case. The encroachers were served notices but they failed to vacate the area.

GMADA officials had now been asked to fence the area tomorrow.

However, president of the illegal colony Chotte Lal claimed that GMADA had not served any notice on them.

He said they had encroached upon a part of the land for living, while shopkeepers in the vicinity had also encroached upon a large part of the land to run their business. However, GMADA authorities were not taking any action against them.



Faridabad, Palwal lead in PNDT Act violations
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 17
The violators of pre-natal sex determination test (PNDT) Act were more in districts where the ratio of girls against boys was higher than the state average.

Talking with the TNS, financial commissioner (health) Navraj Sandhu today said PNDT cases registered against private hospitals were much higher in Faridabad and Palwal districts as compared to Narnaul, Rewari and Kurukshetra where the ratio of girls was much lower as compared to boys.

She said Faridabad district topped the list with eight PNDT violation cases, followed by Palwal with three.

Sandhu, who was here to preside over a meeting of civil surgeons from various districts of Haryana, said the meeting was held to examine the PNDT cases reported from various parts of the state.

She said a close watch was being kept on private hospitals in Faridabad and Palwal and strict action would be taken against those violating the law.

She added that as per the census of December, 2009, Faridabad and Palwal had 903 and 919 girls against 1,000 boys, respectively, while the overall ratio of girls in the state was 853 against 1,000 boys.

She said the situation had improved considerably as compared to the 2001 census, when there were only 819 girls against 1,000 boys.

She said they were also in the process of creating awareness about the importance of girls in society besides warning them against the dangers of female foeticide, which could create an imbalance in society.

Director general (Health) Narvir Singh, director (health) Dr OP Mittal, deputy director Dr Vandana Gupta and other senior officers of the health department, besides civil surgeons from various districts of Haryana, were among those present at the meeting.



Formation of P’kula municipal corporation notified
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 17
The Haryana government today issued a notification for the formation of municipal corporation for Panchkula besides other six districts in the state.

Confirming this, Mahavir Singh, special secretary, local bodies, said Kalka, Pinjore and some adjoining villages had been included in the Panchkula municipal corporation.

He said the current municipal councils would cease to exist with immediate effect.

However, the decision of the state government has not gone down well with local residents as they think that it would hamper the overall development of not only of Panchkula but its adjoining areas, including Kalka, Pinjore and nearby villages.

Commenting on the issue, Vijay Bansal, a lawyer who unsuccessfully fought on the ticket of the BSP from Kalka, said he could not understand the urgency behind issuing the notification when the matter was pending in the High Court.

He said the government could have taken the step after the case was decided by the court.

He said the next date of hearing in the case was April 5.

Bansal said the motive behind the notification seemed to benefit property dealers in the region who had already bought huge chunks of land in the area.

Also, the problems of residents of Panchkula and Kalka were different and needed to be handled separately.



Northern Railway
Worn-out bedsheets, blankets to go
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
In an effort to provide better services and comfort to passengers, the Northern Railway has decided that all strained and worn-out bedsheets and blankets will soon be removed.

An official said here today that after hearing a lot of complaints, they had decided to replace worn-out and stained blankets and bedsheets with new ones in trains from Delhi. Some blankets and bedsheets were a decade old, he added.

The Northern Railway had given a new annual contract to a laundry based in Noida. The earlier contract with three Delhi-based private laundries was terminated.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune over phone from Delhi, Vivek Sahai, General Manager, Northern Railway, said they had seen a large number of complaints in registers.

He further said the Northern Railway had discarded 20,000 sets of overused and worn-out linen and the number of complaints had been reduced drastically from 100 per month to four.

An official said railway officials had been deployed earlier to inspect bed linen after delivery from laundries every day, but the laundries decided to deliver the linen near the departure time. He said officials did not get enough time to inspect linen thoroughly, adding that the laundries usually used to cut corners to maximise profit despite repeated warnings.

The Northern Railway had appointed two officials who were permanently posted at the Noida-based laundry to inspect the quality of washing of bedsheets and other linen.



‘Apni Mandis’
Vendors without slips may be fined Rs 500
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
To streamline the management of temporary ‘apni mandis’, the municipal corporation proposes to take stringent action against encroachers in different sectors of the city. It has been proposed that a fine of Rs 500 be imposed on vendors who do not purchase slips issued by the authorities. This was decided during a meeting of the Apni Mandi and Day Market Committee under the chairmanship of Jagjit Singh Kang.

Members pointed out that a number of complaints had been received about farmers using space at ‘apni mandis’ to sell their material without paying any fee to the authorities.

Officials demanded that enforcement staff be designated at the ‘apni mandis’ with the power to impound ‘rehris’ with material of those who did not have receipts. The committee directed officials of the enforcement wing to deploy teams to check receipts of farmers.

It further decided that slips should be issued on first-come, first-serve basis till by 5 pm and no vendor should be allowed to sit thereafter at the market without a legal slip.

Nominated councillor MPS Chawla suggested electronic weighing machines at the markets to facilitate the public to check the accuracy of the material purchased. The committee approved the allocation of three weighing machines to the officials.

The officials brought to the notice of the committee that residents who lived nearby had lodged complaints with the authorities that vendors caused nuisance and disturbed peace.

The officials accepted that as there was no parking arrangement at ‘apni mandi’ venues, people parked their vehicles haphazardly, causing problems to residents of the area. The committee decided to approach the Chandigarh police for deploying cops to manage traffic and keep a check on suspicious activities.



Evidence sought on police vandalism
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Having been at the receiving end of the media over the damaging of vehicles of protesters during the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) rally on March 5, the city police has gone into a face-saving exercise. Broadening the scope of the inquiry, the police today asked people to share any clue or evidence they had about policemen vandalising the vehicles.

Though the police had been in a damage-control exercise from Day One, widespread coverage of the rampage by the media had left the police finding ways to save face.

Sources said the police had videographed the incident, but their cameramen had apparently avoided capturing their colleagues indulging in the rampage. The footage shown by the media had presented a different version. This left the police with no option but to gather footage from other sources.

HJC supremo Kuldip Bishnoi had alleged that the police damaged hundreds of vehicles of protesters after intercepting them and hit many of them on the head, causing serious injuries, during the cane-charge.

UT IGP PK Srivastva marked an inquiry into the incident to UT SP (Operations and Training) RS Ghumman the same day. After media criticism, the Chandigarh police said it would inquire the matter and take action against guilty policemen.

Some senior officials of the Chandigarh police admitted soon after the incident that lack of coordination among personnel of the Punjab and Haryana police resulted in mismanagement of the force, which went out of control, damaging vehicles of protesters. Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Ghumman said the inquiry was already under way and they were examining the footage and other evidence available to them.

“We have given a public notice so that anyone having evidence in the form of photographs, mobile phone video clippings or anything else should come forward and share the same with the police. It will help us in finding the guilty,” Ghumman said.

Asked if the police would approach HJC leaders to provide details regarding vehicles of supporters damaged, he said it had issued a public notice and anyone could approach him with evidence on phone numbers 2740541 or 2740735 within 10 days.



5 found absent from duty at STA office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The UT vigilance cell today conducted a check at the office of the State Transport Authority (STA) found five employees absent from duty. The vigilance sleuths also seized 21 files to know the reason behind the pendency.

SP (Vigilance) Madhur Verma, along with DSP (Vigilance) Parmod Kumar and other staff members, conducted the check at the office in Sector 18 at 9:11 am and found five employees of subordinate and ministerial staff of the 33 to be absent.

Three officials were found to be on leave. One employee reported for duty about 15 minutes behind schedule. Four employees remained absent from duty. During inspection, 21 files were randomly procured for thorough checking to know the cause behind their pendency. A detailed report in this regard was being sent to Chief Vigilance Officer Ram Niwas separately. The vigilance wing said such surprise checks would be conducted on a regular basis to bring about efficiency and responsiveness in the administration.



Farmers come in hordes to protest
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Hundreds of farmers from Punjab today started assembling at the rally ground in Sector 25 here to stage an indefinite dharna in support of their demands.

They had been demanding free electricity and water for farmers and a stop to privatisation of sugar mills, besides the quashing of the report of Sukhbir Singh Badal and Manoranjan Kalia.

Members of the Bharti Kisan Union Ikta (Sidhupur) started reaching the venue in the morning in tractor-trolleys and trucks. They put up tents at the ground and began preparing food with the items they brought along with them.

The president of the organisation, Pishora Singh Sidhupur, said they would start the demonstration for their long-pending demands today and intensify it tomorrow.

Sidhupur said the government should take steps to curtail the menace of the stray cattle and wild animals in the state, which had been ruining their crops.

The hike in urea prices, decontrolling of the DPA and increase in petroleum-product prices and bus fares should be reversed immediately, he added. “Due to the irresponsible behaviour of governments, the expenditure on crops has been rising, pushing farmers to the brink of disaster. Farmers in Punjab have been committing suicide as they are unable to support their families,” Sidhupur rued.



‘Upgrade export infrastructure’

Chandigarh, March 17
“Export infrastructure needs to be upgraded to encourage food exports from Punjab”, said Asit Tripathy, chairman, APEDA, during a seminar on Strategies for Promoting Food Exports from Punjab at the PHD House here today. PHD Chamber and APEDA jointly organised the seminar to generate awareness about the potential of Punjab for ushering in a second green revolution, leading the country in agri and food exports and creating a platform for development of a strategy for promotion and expeditious growth of food exports from Punjab.

Tripathy said the farmers in Punjab had already been into commercial farming. There was a need to encourage exports from agri sector now. To boost food exports, the export infrastructure, including sorting and grading lines, packaging facilities, R&D and quality laboratories, should be put in place. — TNS



Ex-servicemen visit Rock Garden
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Inmates of the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC), Mohali, today got a glimpse of “best out of waste” when they were taken to the Rock Garden here today. About 20 ex-servicemen on wheelchairs, accompanied by their family members went around the place that attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Inmates are victims of paraplegia and tetraplegia, who were disabled while in the service. The PRC offers them a way of rehabilitation and provides treatment and vocational training to make them self-sufficient.



10 more tubewells for Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 17
Ten additional tubewells will be sunk in the town to tackle the shortage of water and a community centre will be constructed in Mohali village for the convenience of residents, said chairman of the district planning board NK Sharma here yesterday.

Sharma, who met residents of Phases I and VI in connection with the problems faced by them, said officials would approach residents regarding their problems and elected representatives and office-bearers of welfare bodies would be involved in carrying out development activities in the town.



Mayor visits Sec-32 waterworks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Mayor Anu Chatrath visited the Sector 32 waterworks here recently. She was accompanied by the Chief Architect and councillor Ravinder Singh. The Mayor instructed the officials concerned to submit the plan for the conversion of the existing rooms into e-sampark centres.

The public health wing of the municipal corporation started construction work on a tubewell in the green belt of Sector 21. The tubewell would be commissioned on April 30.



Rs 37-cr grant for education dept
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

SSA Budget

  • Rs 11 crore for building six new schools
  • Rs 90 lakh for promoting inclusive education
  • Special trainers for visually challenged
  • Separate budget for over 8,000 out- of-school children

Chandigarh, March 17
The UT education department has got an impressive budget of Rs 37.30 crore under the aegis of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan for the coming year. Giving a serious thought to lack of space being a major problem in government schools, over Rs 11 crore has been earmarked for building six new schools in the city.

According to SSA officials, the budget aims at strengthening visible infrastructure to improve education quality.

“Benefits of SSA has now reached an appreciable number of students, so the emphasis is now on quality. A lot of funds have been allocated to build new school buildings,” said an official.

Another major catch of the budget is earmarking of a whooping Rs 90 lakh for promotion of inclusive education in the city schools.

The authorities seem to have given a serious thought to ailing condition of several projects launched over the years for education of the disabled in the city schools.

Various visually challenged candidates will not only be provided medical help, but also special trainers.

Targeting over 8,000 out-of-school children, separate budget has been allocated for bringing them to AIR centres by providing free books, dresses and motivational counselling.

“We have a large number of students who need to be brought to schools. AIE centres will be strengthened to increase enrollment. Soon we will come up with a new project for motivating the slum kids to join AIE centres,” said a senior official.



Inclusive Education
Not many options for differently abled
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Inclusive education (complete education for disabled students) is still a distant dream in city schools. Despite numerous reforms by the Central agencies, including the HRD Ministry and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the city seems insensitive to the needs of these students.

According to a recent survey by the National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research (NITTTR), Sector 26, it was found that in educational institutes where the required special infrastructure was available, there were no students to avail the facility and vice-versa.

The study, which was conducted by Prof JS Saini of NITTTR, also pointed out that disabled students, including the mentally retarded children and students with multiple disorders, enjoy the least share of inclusive policy for education in city schools.

The study, conducted in 31 government schools and 20 private schools here, reported that out of 42,662 students, there were 176 disabled students.

Number of disabled students enrolled in these schools was negligible (0.41 per cent), as compared to the total number of disabled students in the city, which speaks about the failure of schools in attracting these special students.

Indicating a lop-sided scenario, Prof Saini said: “Schools or institutes that have the desired infrastructure do not have disabled students, whereas the schools which have the students have no infrastructure.”

The data revealed that out of 176 students, 69 were orthopaedically handicapped, which is the largest number, while 59 were blind and suffered from low vision.

Around 21 disabled students were reported to be suffering from mental retardation, while 17 had hearing and speech disability.

When the survey for lift facility in the city schools was observed, it was found that only 50 per cent of the institutes had such a facility.

As per another observation, it was found that the schools, both government and private, lacked training of such teachers who can handle students with disability, besides, other parameters, including transport, allowance, free books to special students, resource room, availability of trained teachers and transport facility for disabled students.

It was also found that the schools, especially government schools were least friendly in this regard.



Unused Computers
CBI raid at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Taking cognizance of a complaint regarding unused computers at Panjab University, the CBI today raided the administrative block. The raid started at around 11 am and lasted for nearly three hours.

On the basis of a complaint that PU computers and CCTV cameras were lying unused since some years, a CBI team arrived to check the situation.

The team also visited the control room to check the working of the CCTV cameras and later went to the department of computer science for verification.

The ongoing process of computerisation on the campus ignited the controversy and a complaint was posted to the CBI. The complainant mentioned that the computers were not being used and were lying unpacked in the administrative block. An official stated that computers purchased in 2004, 2005 and 2006 were scrutinised by the team and later officials demanded the verification of CCTV cameras as well.

However, out of 115 CCTV cameras, 110 were found functional and no lapse was found in the functioning of the computers at the administrative block.



Social science academy for city proposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The second Chandigarh Social Science Congress concluded at Panjab University here today. Prof RC Sobti proposed the setting up of a social science academy for city and also nominated 15 founder members for the proposed academy.

The second day of the congress saw various activities, including poster-making, slogan-writing and quiz competitions, etc.

A panel discussion on “Research Agenda for Social Sciences” was conducted with former Vice-Chancellor MM Puri on the panel.

The panellists included, Prof Gopal Krishan, Prof Emeritus, from department of geography, Prof BS Ghuman from department of public administration, Prof Indu Banga from department of history, Prof MR Khurana from department of economics and Prof Sherry Sabharwal from department of sociology.

Best research paper awards and best event awards were also given.



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