C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Same place, another fire
41 more jhuggis gone in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 15
As many as 41 jhuggis were gutted in a slum area located near Peer Baba opposite Sector 4 of Mansa Devi Complex here this morning. Even though no loss of life was reported, a cow sustained severe burns and was taken to a veterinary hospital.

More than five fire engines from the Panchkula fire station were pressed into service and it took about three hours to control the fire. The cause of the fire could not be ascertained as most men and women living in the area had gone for work.

The DC, Ashima Garg, and senior administration officials reached the site to supervise the operations. She said an inquiry had been marked to the SDM.

Two brothers, Pramod and Vinod Kumar, who are employed with a firm, claimed that compensation to families whose jhuggis were gutted on Tuesday evening had not gone down well with some families living in the jhuggis nearby. Two groups were having an altercation after the state government announced a compensation of Rs 10,000 each for the affected families.

The fire started from their jhuggis had spread to other jhuggis, they alleged, adding that they left for work at about 8.45 am and after two hours, they learnt about the fire. They said they had received salaries only yesterday and had kept them in a trunk. They also lost school certificates and driver’s licences.



UT blind to illegal godowns
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The construction of huge illegal sheds, designed to serve as godowns, continues unabated at Daria village of the UT near the railway station. The UT has already drafted a plan for a transport area in the specified zone in the village, where illegal structures were demolished recently.

The illegal sheds are not alone because over 100 structures in the area, including certain residential portions, are illegal. The owner of one such structure that is coming up said: “We are sure that our construction will be demolished by the administration very soon. We are only trying to make hay while the sun shines.”

In the area, half a dozen massive godowns using tin sheets are under construction.

Confirming the development, Sanjay Kumar, Finance Secretary, said: “We recently came to know of illegal construction of godowns in the area. The developmental activity, without permission, is a serious offence. The matter is being looked into and action will follow soon.”

The official data has recorded approximately 1,400 godowns at various places in the city. These are located at Hallo Majra, Khuda Jassu, Khuda Lahora, Makhan Majra, Mauli Jagran and Maloya villages.

The UT plans to shift all of them at a common venue with warehousing facilities. The villages near the railway station, including Daria, have a greater concentration of storage houses. The stored material includes medicines, cement, liquor, tiles, electronics, crockery, tent house equipment, eatables, cassettes and foodgrain.

The administration had more than a year ago initiated a move to

appoint a consultant for the project of warehousing in the city. To date, nothing concrete has happened. The move came after the

estate office had shown its inability in handling the warehousing

project on account of inadequate technical knowhow on the matter.

The UT had proposed to keep approximately 65 acres (out of 154 acres) acquired to develop Phase III for the warehousing project. A number of violators of the Periphery Control Act would, naturally, find a place here.

We recently came to know of illegal construction of godowns in the area. The developmental activity, without permission, is a serious offence. The matter is being looked into and action will follow soon.

— Sanjay Kumar, Finance Secretary



PU goes smart with admissions
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
After the introduction of the automation process in the entrance examinations like other common entrance tests (OCET), Panjab University is planning to extend computerisation to the admission process in certain departments this year.

Although the online culture is yet to percolate to the university’s administrative functioning, the department of computer application is working on a proposal to computerise the admissions at the University School of Open Learning (USOL) -- formerly correspondence department.

In addition to this, a module of automation of centralised admissions to BCom this year is also being prepared.

“Certain aspects of admissions are already computerised. In CET and OCET, all data is fed in the system directly through optical mark reader sheets and counselling is done on the basis of these lists,” Prof K Tanlkeshwar, director, computer centre, PU, stated.

“The mindset will change gradually in the university. We often organise training sessions for the staff to get used to new softwares,” he added.

“This would ensure more transparency and human errors committed by manual processing would be reduced,” Amit Bhatia, president of the PUCSC, said.

Stating that this would be a step further after the introduction of the management information system, which compiled relevant data of the PU, the director public relations, Sudhir Kumar, said: “The extension of computerisation to any facet, including admission, would provide a competitive space on the cusp of globalisation and emerging challenges in the domain of higher education.”

“Using the latest technology would have to be facilitated by training, which would be given,” he added.



Punjab Board Class VIII Exam
Sirhind girl 2nd in state
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 15
Harmanjit Kaur was teary eyed when she learnt that she had secured the second position in the Class VIII board examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board.

A student of Baba Zorawar Singh Baba Fateh Singh Senior Secondary School, Fatehgarh Sahib, Harmanjit secured 93.89 per cent. The board declared the merit list of students today.

She said she studied for three hours in the evening and an hour in the morning daily.

“She was consistent and began concentrating since the very first day of the new class,” said Manwinder Kaur, her mother, who is the vice-principal in the same school. Her father, Bikramjit Singh Sidhu, is head of the commerce department at Mata Gujri College.

They said she regularly completed her homework. “We never put pressure on her, but she is interested in reading books and writing. She likes to watch television for an hour or two daily and never missed doing so even during the exams,” they stated.

She has represented Punjab in chess at the national-level in Assam and Andhra Pradesh. She has also won cross-country races.

The principal, RS Bajwa, said Harmanjit was an all rounder and had not taken tuition for any subject.


It was a day of celebrations at the house of Ajay Veer Gill who is also on the merit list. A student of Saheed Bah Taru Singh Model High School, Mohali, Ajay Veer has always been a topper. His father, Jagbir Singh Gill, a teacher at Government Model School, Kurali, said he was excited over the achievement of his son.

Kundra Rani, principal, said it was a proud moment for the school.


Insanitary conditions bane of Sec-68 residents
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 15
Insanitary conditions prevailing in Sector 68 have made the life miserable for area residents who had purchased plots at high prices and then spent lakhs of rupees on constructing houses.

Heaps of debris, cow dung, wild growth, cow dung cakes can be seen lying in the open in a pocket of Sector 68 adjoining Kumbra village.

Repeated requests by residents to GMADA officials to improve the conditions have failed to yield the desired results.

Raghbir Singh, a banker living in the area, said the site earmarked for a park was being used by residents of Kumbra village to keep their cattle during day.

Heaps of cow dung lying in the park site had made the matters worse. He said a few days ago, villagers had dumped a carcass in the vacant area behind their houses.

Residents got to know of it only when foul smell started emanating and had to spend money on their own to get it removed.

He said the association president of the area had met with GMADA officials several times in this regard after which some plantation was done in the park and conditions of the area were improved to some extent. However, after the work came to a standstill villagers again started used the park area for their own use.

Sandeep Sharma, another resident, said when he was constructing the basement of his house, a buffalo from the village fell into it and he had to get it pulled out by requestioning a crane and hiring some labourers.

He said he had purchased his six-marla plot through an open auction three years ago for around Rs 70 lakh. Now he was spending lakhs of rupees on getting the house constructed, but the insanitary conditions prevailing in the area were disheartening.

He said GMADA had been unable to auction certain sites lying vacant opposite his house so far due to the conditions prevailing in the area.



Lohgarh reports more typhoid cases 
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, May 15
Patients showing symptoms of typhoid kept pouring in today at a medical camp despite tall claims made by the administration to check the cause behind the spread of the epidemic in Lohgarh village here. In the medical camp, organised by the district health department, 21 patients arrived today out of whom 10 were showing symptoms of typhoid.

Senior medical officer Dr Rajeev Bhalla, who headed the medical camp, said: “Blood samples are being collected and steps are being taken to test the samples of drinking water.” Several patients with symptoms of dehydration and diarrhoea also revisited the camp for further check ups.

About the testing of water samples taken, the SMO said the samples from various sources were sent for the testing yesterday and the report was expected to come on Monday.

Meanwhile, Suman Bala Lambra, the district general secretary of the Congress, reached Lohgarh village to see the affected patients.

About 200 Lohgarh villagers were diagnosed with one or the other water-borne diseases yesterday out of which 50 were confirmed positive for typhoid.



Rathore trying to ‘influence’ probe
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 15
Terming the reports of the CBI’s likely clean chit to the former DGP of Haryana, which appeared in a section of the press, as farce, Ruchika’s father SC Girhotra alleged that Rathore was trying to influence the investigations in his favour through his links in the investigating agency.

Addressing the media here today, Girhotra said after reading the media reports he had contacted DIG Satish Golcha in this regard who told him that investigations in the three cases filed by the family members were yet to be completed. He said the investigating officer also told him that there was no move to cancel the challan filed against Rathore.

The CBI is probing the fresh cases registered by the Haryana police against Rathore and others in the Ruchika molestation case. The first case has been registered under various sections of the IPC, accusing Rathore of abetment to suicide while in two other cases filed by Ruchika’s father SC Girhotra and her brother Ashu, have charged Rathore with attempt to murder, wrongful confinement and forging of Ruchika’s postmortem report.

Coming down heavily on Rathore for using his contacts in the premier investigating agency, Girhotra said he and his family members had full faith on the CBI. He alleged that Rathore was using his links in the CBI to get such stories planted in certain print media to divert the attention of media and the general public.

Girhotra said there were sufficient incriminating documents against Rathore for abetment to suicide by Ruchika, who was only 14-year-old at that time. “We had been fighting a legal battle against Rathore for the past 20 years and would continue to do so to take the case to its logical end,” said Girhotra.



Sweetshops raided
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The UT health department raided sweetshops in the wee hours of today to check adulteration of sweets and cheese.

The raids were conducted in different parts of the city, including Chandigarh Sweets, Jai Ma Sweets, Agarwal Sweets and Jai Hanuman Sweets in Industrial Area, Phase I and Sarua and 16 samples of sweets and cheese were collected.

Health officials said: “After getting complaints from CBI officials about food products, a team was formed to raid the shops and collect samples. We will send the samples for testing and a report will be received after one month.”



230 examined at camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Senior Citizens Welfare Association, Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, in collaboration with Fortis Hospital, Mohali, organised a free heart check-up camp at the Community Centre Duplex here yesterday.

Dr GS Kalra, director, cardiology unit, Fortis Hospital, interacted with the elderly patients at a cardiac camp.

He said regular heart check ups helped diagnose heart ailments after the age of 60.

He also spoke at length about the need to keep blood pressure under control, as hypertension directly affected the heart.

More than 230 patients attended the camp and were provided free consultation by Fortis Hospital, Mohali. Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri was the chief guest on the occasion.

“Prevention should be the first priority, as in today’s technical age, heart ailments are common,” said Dr Kalra.



Declaration of making Class X boards optional
CBSE lands in tight spot
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
In addition to the ongoing controversy over the forthcoming Class XI admissions, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has landed up in a tight spot over its declaration of making Class X boards optional from this academic session.

The board had announced that the Class X exams would now be optional rather than mandatory. The board though has failed to work out the modalities leaving thousands of students and corresponding schools authorities in an utter state of confusion.

“We have already started our session for Class X. The board had announced that the Class X exams will be optional from this year, but has till date not updated us on how to deal with the students who would opt for it. I don’t know whether their evaluation will follow a different pattern? Will they be appearing as private candidates or school will have to make registration arrangements for them? The CBSE fails to do anything beyond making declarations. First they announced that the boards are abolished now, they get a circular saying they are optional,” claimed HS Mamik, president Independent School Association.

It may be noted that Kabil Sibal amongst much fanfare had announced the abolition of the Class X Boards. However, within a month all schools up to Class X forwarded their queries about the procedure to be followed by them to aid migration of their students in Class XI. The ministry asked all such schools to update themselves up to Class XII from this year, but with both schools and CBSE pleading it to be impossible, decided to settle down by making it optional.

“We will have no choice but to appear for the boards, as we will have to shift to some other school after Class X. Though we know the boards are optional, till date we have no clue that whether the school will make arrangements for us or we will have to appear on our own,” claimed a student of St John’s School, Sector 26.

The situation is far from better for their counterparts studying in the schools up to Class XII, as a parent revealed, “Earlier a child would have an option of shifting his school in Class XI, but now the schools are discouraging kids from taking the boards so that they can retain them on their conditions. We wanted to ask them this but they rudely asked us to go to the CBSE and clarify things. In the war of schools and CBSE, its students who loose.”

The boards will be optional but modalities are yet to be worked out. We will do it and inform everybody — DR Yadav, regional director, CBSE



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