C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Morinda couple killed in Oz
Tribune News Service

Morinda, April 30
A Morinda-based couple got killed in a road accident in Australia on April 21. The family at Morinda, however, came to know about the tragedy last night.

Harinder Singh (32) and his wife Prabhjot Kaur had moved to Australia almost one year and seven months ago. Harinder married Prabhjot five years back who had already been staying at Australia

His father Ajaib Singh said the accident took place in Perth city when the couple’s car collided with a truck. The couple’s two-year-old son Gurkirat Singh had been staying with his grandparents at Morinda. Ajaib Singh had retired from the education department and Harinder was his only son.

The family resides on the old Bassi road area. The couple had immigrated to Australia on student visa and had been doing part time jobs there.

On April 21, when they were returning from their jobs around 11.30 pm, a truck collided with their car in its bid to overtake another vehicle.

The family has appealed the Punjab government to help them in bringing bodies of their son and daughter-in-law back to India. Local leaders are trying that the bodies be brought to India on the Punjab government’s expenses.



Youth crashes car into railing, dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Reckless driving claimed the life of a 24-year-old computer engineer, Abhishek Pathania, a resident of Una. He reportedly crashed his speeding car into the railing on the road separating Sectors 22 and 23 in the wee hours of today. Two other occupants of the car escaped with minor injuries.

The police said the accident occurred around 1 am when the driver crashed the car after losing control over the vehicle. He was coming from a petrol station in Sector 22. The impact of the collision was so powerful that the car broke the railing and crossed over to the other side of the road before overturning.

The SHO of the Sector 17 police station, inspector Jaswinder Singh, said Abhishek suffered severe head injury while his friends Vivek Soni and a girl escaped with minor njuries.

A PCR vehicle took Abhishek to the PGI where he was declared brought dead.

Abhishek was staying in Sector 23 and was doing his MBA from a Delhi institute. He had come to the city to meet his friends. His father, Amarjit Pathania, broke down, cursing himself for allowing his son to go to Chandigarh. “He was expected to return on Thursday morning, but he stayed back,” he lamented.



North Park Fiasco
Murder accused gets 7-year jail
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 30
Two years after a Mohali youth was shot at allegedly by the goons hired by an event organisers to “tackle” him at a late night party at Hotel North Park, a local court has sentenced the main accused, Germanjit Singh, for 7-year imprisonment, along with a fine of Rs 2,000, for attempt to murder and under the Arms Act.

Another accused in the case Navittampal has also to serve a sentence of one year with a fine of Rs 500 under Section 307 (for voluntarily causing hurt) and the Arms Act. Seven other accused in the case -- Rajiv Arora, Pankaj, Saraansh, Arun Arora, Vishal Sharma, Chander Shekhar and Ajay Kumar - were acquitted by the court.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ritu Garg, convicted both Germanjit and Navittam in the morning.

It was on the intervening night of May 3 and 4, 2008, when a youth of Phase X, Mohali, was seriously injured in a late night party brawl at North Park resort.

While the accused fled the spot immediately after the incident, the injured, identified as Harkirat Singh (23), was admitted at GMCH, Chandigarh.

The management of Element Club had organised the party. The assailants attacked Harkirat Singh with sharp edged weapons, after the party was over in the wee hours, injuring him seriously before firing at him. The victim received four bullet injuries in the abdomen and legs with wounds on forehead and arms.

Harpreet, a friend of Harkirat, also suffered injuries in the attack. The police found three empty cartridges of .32 calibre revolver on the spot. Though the police inquired the staff of the resort and organisers of the party, nothing concrete could be found.

The mystery over the assailants, in fact, was solved by sheer chance when residents of Balongi, near Mohali, got hold of two young boys when they were trying to surreptitiously enter a house. They were thought to be thieves and the police was called.

The two, Chander Shekhar, alias Pandit, and Bhupinder Singh, revealed that they were members of a professional gang headed by Germanjit Singh, which was called to North Park by the event organisers to “tackle” Harkirat.

Harkirat had allegedly misbehaved with some persons at the party. When the bouncers at the party tried to stop Harkirat, he allegedly slapped the bouncers too. Pandit reportedly told the Mohali police that the organisers did not want to create a scene while the party was going on and called one Germanjit Singh and his gang to Panchkula to teach Harkirat a lesson.

Later, the Mohali and Panchkula police had arrested nine persons within a couple of days, but the main accused, Germanjit, could not be arrested till May 13 last year when he surfaced in the election campaign during Lok Sabha polls at Anandpur Sahib.

Cops spotted him while campaigning for a candidate at the Anandpur Sahib constituency and he was under a surveillance of the police for more than one week and was finally nabbed by the police when he visited the Industrial Area, Phase II, of Panchkula on May 13.



Airport City
Plugging of drain to parch farmland
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Matran (Mohali), April 30
The airport city being developed by GMADA here has spelled doom for villagers. Hundreds of acres of agricultural land would be rendered barren as the only source of irrigation in the area — a drain carrying sewage from Chandigarh’s Diggian sewage treatment plant — is being plugged to facilitate the setting up of the urban estate.

Fearing that the flow of sewage could disturb the planning of the 800-acre airport city and keep off investors, GMADA has taken up the issue of plugging the sewage line with the Chandigarh MC.

“This would affect at least 500 families. The government should make alternative irrigation arrangements to protect their livelihood,” Gurpreet Singh of Manauli village stated. GMADA chief administrator VP Singh, however, said he was not aware of the issue. “We would find a solution for landowners. In the coming years, we might provide treated sewage generated from the airport city where we have carved out 4,000 plots,” he said.

A 2-km network of open channels had been built by the UT on the acquired land to carry the effluent to the fields. “For the past 40 years, the sewage has been irrigating over 1,500 acres in Manauli, Matran, Bari, Siau, Paton and other adjoining villages. Drying up of the channels would mean starvation,” Manphool Singh of Bari village said.

There are only a few tube well connections since the subsidised source of irrigation has been available in the area for the past several years. “With acute shortage of electricity, it might not be possible for the PSEB to give tube well connections and the water table is also going down. The government should supply treated sewage to villages,” said Gurlal Singh of Bari.

Sources in GMADA said the revenue department was trying to find if the channels were on land acquired by the UT. GMADA officials said most likely the sewage would flow into a seasonal rivulet at Papri village. Residents said to lay the channels, the UT had acquired land in the villages and paid Rs 25,000 a month to a contractor to clean and maintain the channels up to Chilla and Matran villages.

In a representation to the DC and GMADA, the landowners have demanded an alternative route to carry the sewage should be worked out.

Untreated sewage hardly bothers farmers

Hundreds of landowners have been paying Rs 400 annually to use the sewage to irrigate their fields. “We came to know that the Chandigarh MC is passing off untreated and treated sewage to us, but it does not matter as long as the cheap source of irrigation stays,” Manphool Singh, a farmer, stated. The landowners said to solve the problem of dumping sewage in the N-choe or other drains, the MC and GMADA should sell the tertiary water to farmers and in urban areas and earn revenue. By doing so, canal water could be saved



City tides over power crisis, for now
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Residents of the city have been “empowered” with the UT Administration managing additional power supply to meet the massive shortage in its “legitimate” share out of various sources.

The latest addition is the 9 per cent share (50-70 MW), against the legitimate 5 per cent, out of the unallocated quota of the Centre from tomorrow. Even the 5 per cent had been stopped in November last year and was restored only last week.

The city has a peak hour demand for approximately 340 MW and the UT quota, including the additional supply out of the un-allocated quota of the Centre, is only 275 MW. The administration has managed 30 MW from Jammu and 46 from its power trading agreements with various sources.

The UT was in a slightly uncomfortable situation because the Centre had stopped the UT share of 5 per cent out of its unallocated quota in November. The UT will now get 9 per cent out of the total quota of unallocated power which will vary between 50 and 70 MW.

Sanjay Kumar, Finance Secretary, said: “As of now, we have managed to get additional power supply from various sources and there should be no problem during the entire season.” Reacting to reports about the ongoing cuts in the Industrial Area, he replied: “The cuts being imposed in the Industrial Area will be done away with and would be imposed only under desperate conditions.”

The office of the secretary (engineering) has forwarded a note regarding self sufficiency in power to the office of the Adviser, sources said here today. The Industrial Area has been witnessing power cuts since the past fortnight. Residents in southern sectors have also suffered unscheduled cuts, even in the middle of the night.

Sanjay Kumar said the southern sectors faced trouble because of comparatively poor infrastructure. Certain transformers developed faults because of overburdening. The new substation at Sector 56 should take care of the problem, he added.



UT suddenly looks more attractive to HCS officers
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The ‘officer crunch’ plaguing the Chandigarh administration is set to be a thing of the past with more Haryana Civil Service officers expected to join the UT following an amendment to the HCS (Executive Branch) Rules, 2008 by the Haryana government.

The city, which HCS officers looked upon as an ‘El Dorado’ in the past, suddenly became an undesirable posting in the past couple of years in the backdrop of the controversy surrounding the ‘mega projects’. With two Haryana cadre officers — Krishan Mohan (IAS) and Vivek Atray (HCS) — embroiled in the row over land allotment for the projects, the HCS officers were wary of coming on deputation to the UT.

Under the new rules the consent of HCS officers for deputation to Chandigarh will not be required. The decision seems to be an upshot of the unwillingness expressed by a large number of HCS officers to be deputed to the city, resulting in UT posts in the Haryana quota remaining vacant.

In fact, several requests from the UT administration to the Haryana government in the past to send panels of officers for deputation have proved futile. There are allegations that the state’s quota is being “diluted” over the years though Punjab has also been crying foul over the same issue.

With Haryana officials “avoiding” Chandigarh, the administration is yet to get replacements for a couple of officers who left the administration during the past few years.

For instance, after public relations & tourism director Vivek Atray went on a sabbatical over a year-and-a-half ago the additional charge of public relations director is being held by Manjit Brar, a PCS officer, with another PCS officer, Amandeep Kaur, handling the charge of tourism director.

Similarly, there had been no replacement for RS Verma, former additional director of Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32, and director of cultural affairs. Even the post of director of public instruction (DPI), which was held by an HCS officer in the past, is being looked after by a PCS officer, Sunil Bhatia.

In Chandigarh several of the HCS officers are holding other charges in addition to their official charges. For instance, industries director Vandana Disodia is holding additional charge of the state transport authority as well as Controller of Weights & Measures.

Another HCS officer, Kamlesh Kumar, posted as assistant commissioner in the municipal corporation, is holding additional charge of cultural affairs director.

A senior official said he hoped the new order would go a long way in restoring the “balance of power” between Punjab and Haryana.

“With the change of guard at Raj Bhavan after Shivraj Patil took over, the working environment in the UT administration seems to have changed for the better and this should be another incentive for HCS officers to come on deputation to the city”, the official added.



First Citizen
Census officials in three-way split
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 30
The Population Census 2011 has caught officials of the Mohali district administration on the wrong foot.

Just a day before the grand exercise is to begin, the census officials were in a fix as to whom to count as the “First Citizen” - the Mohali municipal corporation president, the local Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) or the Mohali Deputy Commissioner.

Apparently confused, the officials have adopted an appease-all policy in overcoming the problem.

Tomorrow, different teams will simultaneously reach the residences of the “First Citizens” - MC president Kulwant Singh, Kharar MLA Balbir Sidhu and Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand.

All said they were not aware about the first house the teams were going to visit.

The MLA, the MC chief and the Deputy Commissioner confirmed that census officials had called up to inform that they would make the first knock at their respective residences to start the population.

It has been a practice to start the census from the residence of the “First Citizen” as it creates awareness about the whole exercise among general public.

Playing down the issue, a census official said several teams had been constituted to start the census operation from the residence of a prominent citizen in their respective area.

Trouble for top official

After refusal of Jaspal Singh, a deputy director, rural development department, to cooperate with the Mohali census officials in supplying names of officials who could take part in the census, a strict action has been recommended against him. Sources said the erring official in reply to a notice sent by the census official said the officials posted at the department’s headquarter were not covered. Following this, the Census Commissioner has been requested to take strict action against the deputy director.


‘Indians facing gallows in UAE were tortured’
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Seventeen Indians facing the gallows for killing a Pakistani were tortured in police custody. To make the matter worse, nobody from the Indian Consulate ever visited them.

The startling revelations were made by city-based human rights body before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a petition filed in public interest by Lawyers for Human Rights International through advocate Tejinder Singh Sudan.

The petition, placed before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Jasbir Singh, says: “These 17 Punjabi youth disclosed horrendous tales of torture by the CID branch of the Sharjah police for nine continuous days.”

It says they were subjected to electric shocks and beatings with golf sticks and plastic pipes while being forced to make “confession of the crime”.

The petition adds: They also reported that their religious symbols of Sikhism were degraded…. They also reported humiliation and ill treatment in the jail. The most startling fact was that throughout the police custody and almost till they were convicted, nobody from the Indian Consulate ever visited them.

The petitioner said a fact-finding mission was sent to Sharjah. Its general-secretary Navkiran Singh and another lawyer Gagan Aggarwal represented the organisation.

The lawyers of the 17 youngsters, Mohammad Salman and Bindu Suresh, said the judgment of conviction was delivered on March 29 and the appeal was filed on April 4. Yet, they did not have the judgment’s copy or other records. The team then met Indian prisoners in Sharjah jail for around two hours.

A prisoner said around 50 Punjabi youths were detained in the said jail, besides the 17 youngsters. Seeking directions to the Union of India and other respondents to ensure protection of rights and welfare of its citizens in police or judicial custody whenever any Indian is arrested on a foreign land, advocate Navkiran Singh on the organisation’s behalf added details should also be made available of Indians in police and judicial custody in states of UAE.

Taking up the matter, the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Jasbir Singh issued notice of motion for May 27 to Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Consulate in UAE.



IGP holds inter-state meeting on crime
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
UT inspector-general of police PK Srivastva held an interstate coordination meeting with police officers of adjoining states here on Thursday to discuss crime trends and intelligence sharing. During the meeting, held at the police headquarters in Sector 9, lists of criminals and proclaimed offenders were exchanged.

According to the police, the meeting was organised in the backdrop of the present security situation in the region and recent terrorist incidents in Punjab. Participants underlined the need to share information on this front.

Among those present were the intelligence bureau deputy director, Punjab counterintelligence DIG, UT senior superintendent of police, UT SP (security & traffic), UT SP (operations), Panchkula SP, Mohali SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib SP(D) and Ropar ASP. Representative from the Ambala, Solan, Baddi, Patiala and Ambala GRP were also present. Besides, all UT police subdivisional police officers, the DSP (crime), DSP (communications & PCR) and the head of the Chandigarh police crime branch attended the meeting.

Aside from other matters, issues like crime, criminals and their modus operandi related to property crimes like snatchings, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts, undetected heinous cases and active gangs were also discussed. Emphasis was laid on conducting regular mock drills, verification of information sheets, sharing of information on criminals released daily from jails and joint checking drives and search operations in the tricity.

Issues having interstate ramifications like liquor smuggling, sale of prohibited drugs at chemist shops and varied closing times of liquor vends located on state borders were also discussed.



Tribune Impact
Land Scam: Mohali stays operation of ‘girdawari’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 30
In an alleged land scam involving 600 acres of common village land in Chandigarh’s periphery, the Mohali district administration has stayed the operation of the girdawari (possession papers of the cultivable land) of the land. A handful of persons, including some shareholders in the land, have got the girdawaris changed in their names in connivance with the revenue officials.

Incidentally, large chunks of land located in the five villages -- Bhagindi, Gurdha, Kasauli, Jyanti Majri and Karaundewala -- are closed under relevant section of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA).

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand said after staying the proceedings of the revenue documents, the Kharar Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), being the quasi-judicial authority in the matter, had requested that further inquiry into the case be handed over to another official. Few days ago the gram panchayat of Bhagindi village has in its representation to the DC alleged that out of total 600 acres of common village land, 300 acres of Bhangindi village had been illegally transferred in the girdawari documents.

Demanding cancellation of the girdawari done by the niab tehsildar, Majri, Ropinder Singh Manku, the residents of the village also met the MLA, Morinda, Ujjagar Singh Wadali. The gram panchayat has filed an appeal with the Kharar SDM.It had been stated that despite the niab tehsildar being requested not to allow the girdawari without calling residents of the village who are in possession of the land, the change in names of those in possession were changed.

As per the laid down procedure, the revenue officials have to physically verify the possession of land and inform all stakeholders before changing the entries.



Panchkula administration gears up for Census
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 30
More than 1,000 enumerators have been pressed into the house-listing procedure starting from May 1 and the district administration hopes to complete the first phase of Census-2011 without any hiccups.

Deputy Commissioner Ashima Garg would be visiting General VP Malik, former Chief of the Army Staff, who is residing in Sector 6 here, making him the first candidate for the Census.

Stating this to the media here today Ritu Choudhary, sub divisional magistrate, said: “We have trained the enumerators who are teachers from private and government schools for the first phase of Census and each enumerator will have to cover around 150 houses in a span of 45 days. About 160 supervisors have also been appointed to oversee the exercise and 10 per cent staff has been kept in reserve as well and the staff has been provided with stationery and other necessary things.”

Chaudhary said the district has been divided into 1,022 census blocks and an equal number of enumerators have been appointed for the task. She said the district had been divided into five zones, Panchkula Municipal Corporation, Panchkula Tehsil, Kalka Tehsil, Kalka MC and Pinjore MC. HMT Pinjore has also been converted into a ‘special charge’ for Census and enumerators had been asked to visit the houses before and after office hours so that no house was left unlisted, she added.

Talking about the slums in the township, Choudhary said that they too would be included in the house count under kuccha houses.

Enumeration begins in Zirakpur

Zirakpur: Enumeration for Census 2011 will begin in Zirakpur from tomorrow and it would continue up to June 15. The official appointed for census said the wards were divided into 220 blocks in which enumerators as well as 32 supervisors had been assigned the duties at block and village level.

The official said, “We will start the process from tomorrow with municipal council president Narinder Kumar Sharma.” He said census officials would visit residences all across the town to collect information about residents and also collect data about housing amenities and assets for assessing the conditions in human settlements.



Water samples fail test
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 30
In a shocking revelation by the health department, water samples collected from various parts of the city have failed quality test.

As per the department sources, the authorities concerned fail to add chlorine to the water being supplied to various arts of the city. A doctor living in Sector 6 here said he had been from fever for the last one week. He said his daughter too had suffered from paratyphie-A and took about three weeks to recover. He claimed that chlorine was not being mixed in water on regular basis as the employees of the company, which has been awarded the contract, were not performing their job properly.

District health officer Dr Jagmal Singh was not available for comments.

Refuting the allegations, AK Aggarwal, superintendent engineer, public health, said a joint committee comprising officials from the public health and district health department regularly monitor the plants where the chlorine was being mixed. However, he agreed that one out of the nine or 10 samples collected from various parts of the city occasionally failed the test.

SK Nayyar, president, Citizens’ Welfare Association, Panchkula, said he had brought the matter to the notice of Deputy Commissioner Ashima Garg. He rued that despite repeated request, nothing has been done.



‘Night of January 16’ keeps suspense alive
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 30
Absolute silence pervaded the Tagore Theatre for two hours, as the receptive audience watched an action-packed courtroom drama in an English play “Night of January 16” enacted to perfection by student artistes of Yadavindra Public School here today.

The original play, a fictional depiction of a murder mystery written by Russian playwright Ayn Rand, was immaculately directed by young thespian Zubin Mehta with certain aberrations in the script.

Protagonist Bjorn Faulkner has swindled millions of dollars from investors and was later caught in a financial stringency and bankruptcy. On the night of January 16, Karen Andre and Bjorn are in a penthouse at the top of Faulkner Building in New York when Faulkner falls to death. His secretary Karen Andre is placed on trial on charges of having murdered Faulkner. She is being prosecuted in a lively courtroom drama with Nancy Lee Faulkner, who married Faulkner shortly after the 10 million dollar loan, bringing alive some melodramatic situations. The purpose of the play was to decide if the death was a suicide or murder and jurors from the audience to give the last verdict.

The play could rightly be termed as a director’s play as it is rather impossible for student actors to imbibe the diverse characters with matured observation and enliven the complex murder mystery investigative story with élan.

Amarinder Singh (Flint), Guninder Singh (Steven), Sahira (Karen Andre), Kanwar Suraj (Inspector Sweeny), Meghna (Ms Magda), Jasmine (Nancy), Seomin Oh (S Jangquist), Chitwan Deep Singh (Lawrence Regan), besides others were picture of confidence with eloquent stage movements and brilliance of dialogue delivery. The functional set needs appreciation.

Principal, Dr Harish Dhillon honoured director Zubin Mehta and student artistes for the wonderful performance.



Industrial Area Murder
Another accused held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The police today arrested Rajesh Kumar alias Goldy, a resident of Daria village, for his alleged involvement in murder of a 19-year-old Bihari migrant labourer, Pintu, who was stabbed to death in Daria village on April 24.

The SHO of the Industrial Area Police Station, Dilsher Singh Chandel, said Rajesh was arrested on receipt of information from Daria village this evening. He will be produced in a local court and sent to police remand.

Meanwhile, the court has remanded Deepak, who was arrested yesterday, to one day of police custody.

The police had registered a case of murder and common intension on a complaint lodged by Hardeep Singh, a resident of Daria village. Pintu, an auto-rickshaw driver was seriously injured in the assault and was rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32, where he was declared brought dead.



Kurali resident approaches DGP
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 30
A Kurali resident, Swaran Singh, has questioned the approach of the Mohali police in investigating a case of fraud and cheating against a Chandigarh-based family.

In a representation to the Director-General of Police (DGP), Punjab, the complainant has stated that despite registration of a case of cheating and fraud against Ashani Kumar, Vijay Laxmi, Rashmi and Piyush, the Kharar police had failed to arrest the suspects.

The suspects had taken Rs 5 lakh from him on the pretext of arranging a visa for Canada for him.

He further alleged that instead of investigating the case in a proper manner, Vijay Laxmi, one of the suspects, was being helped by a dilly-dallying probe in the case.

After Vijay Laxmi claimed that her signatures of a receipt had been forged by Swaran Singh, the police called her to get her signatures matched. But she had failed to appear twice before the police.

Her house was found locked and she was untraceable. Besides, the police failed to add the provisions of the Immigration Act in the FIR, he added. The case is now being handled by the SP (detective), Mohali, Varinder Pal.



Theft cases on the rise in Zirakpur
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 30
Despite the claims of round-the-clock patrolling by the police, theft cases are on the rise in Zirakpur. In the past week, more than five cases of theft have been reported. In Dayalpura village, thieves decamped with cash and mobile phone sets from a shop on Thursday night. The owner of the shop, Anil Kumar, said he got a call from his neighbour on Friday morning and he informed that the locks of his shop were broken.

After this, he immediately rushed to the shop and found that the shop was ransacked. He claimed Rs 30,000 and around 6 mobile sets were missing from the counter. He informed the police about the theft.

In another theft, Anup Walia, a resident of MS Enclave, reported to the police that he had gone to Gaziabad along with his family and when he returned on April 25, he found the lock of the main gate was broken. While entering the house, he found the house was ransacked and all the belongings were scattered. He claimed that the thieves had decamped with silver jewellery and handy cams. A case has been registered.

Gulshan Rai, resident of Dashmesh Nagar Colony, reported to the police that he parked his car outside his house. He claimed that the next day he found that his car was missing. A case has been registered. The police official stated that they would bust the gang of burglars shortly. “We have increased the night patrolling in the area and instructed the patrolling teams to vigil on the suspicious persons in the area”, the police official added.



Goods worth lakhs reduced to ashes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Goods worth lakhs were gutted in a fire that broke out on the second floor of a SCO in Sector 7 here today.

According to preliminary reports, the fire broke out following a short circuit in one of the air-conditioners installed in the office of Amity Agencies owned by Surinder Singh.

Fire brigade personnel had a tough time carrying out the fire-fighting operation as no safe passage was provided on the second floor and thick smoke had engulfed all the building.

It was around 5.30 am when the police got the information about the fire. Immediately one fire tender was sent from Sector 17 and another rushed from Industrial Area, Phase I. A hydraulic platform-cum-turntable ladder was requisitioned from the Mani Majra fire station.



A clarification

Reacting to the report “Task force asks varsity to clarify declaration” published in Chandigarh Tribune on April 29, Panjab University has denied receipt of any official communication from the MHRD with regard to the university lacking in “transparency in the administrative, academic and human resources matter”. The university also denied any recommendation for a panel to streamline all issues.



Education dept wants colleges to enlist plans, budget
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
In a bid to render uniformity and transparency in development endeavours being undertaken by various city government colleges, the UT’s higher education department has asked all city government colleges to not only enlist their academic and infrastructural achievement in the last academic session but also to put forth needs, plans and proposed budget for the coming year.

Amongst other purposes cited for the series of power-point presentations, which started in the government colleges yesterday, one of the major issues being cited is to streamline utilisation of funds.

“We want them to prioritise their needs. There have been instances where while the students need furniture, the colleges went into revamp principal rooms or auditoriums. We have categorically told them to analyse their academic and infrastructure condition viz-a-viz available funds and to put forth their plans and budget to achieve the vision postulated cited by us,” said director higher education, Ajoy Sharma.

The colleges in their presentations are elaborating upon the efforts made towards computerisation, ICT classrooms, hostel upgradation, department infrastructure, libraries and innovative plans, etc.

“The vision document has reached all colleges. One of the most interesting part is innovation where the colleges are proposing innovative techniques of revamping education. These not only include teaching methodologies but also things like students’ internships, students exchange programmes, teacher study tours, etc. We have also encouraged them to come out with ideas pertaining to the modernisation of the classrooms to make teaching tech savvy,” added Ajoy.

According to official sources, the presentations are being coupled with a word of caution regarding the utilisation of funds, especially the students’ funds. “In past there have been cases when the principals used funds at their whims and fancies and that was the reason why the colleges stood at different pedestal. With this exercise we wish to know what kind and amount of funds do they have and where are they being used,” said a department official.



Self-financed Courses
Students’ council submits memos to VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Raising a concern over the alleged neglect and indifferent attitude of Panjab University towards the recently introduced self-financed courses, the Panjab University Student Council in collaboration with the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) has submitted a series of memorandums to the Vice-Chancellor enlisting the needs of these courses.

Claiming staff crunch to be a major issue of concern, the students have asked the authorities to deal with it before the next session, failing which no classes will be allowed.

“The university lures the students to these courses by making big promises, but the reality is that it has failed to arrange specialised faculty. Most of the departments ail from the staff crunch and whenever the issue is brought up, the university promises to mend things soon. If the problem is not solved in this session, we will not allow them to hold any classes,” said Amit Bhatia, president Panjab University Student Council.

The students have also demanded an immediate upgradation of infrastructure in these departments, which involves updating libraries, immediate repair of furniture and lights installed in classrooms.

“Good infrastructure forms an indispensable part of education but they don’t seem to understand the point. The indifferent attitude of the authorities will lead to huge resentment amongst the students so we have urged them to sort all these issues at the earliest,” added Harsh Vardhan Singh Jhinjha, SOPU president.

The students have also demanded provisions for submissions of fee of these courses in installments.



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