C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Class XI Admissions: Sale of Prospectus
Chaos as schools run out of stock
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Panic and confusion marked the first day of the prospectus-cum-admission forms sale at the five city government schools today with the stock being sold out within hours.

The government model senior secondary schools located in Sectors 10, 23, 32 and Mani Majra and the Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, which were provided around 3,500 prospectus for Class XI admission on the first day, ran out of stock as all the prospectus were sold out by 11 am.

Though the school authorities kept on assuring the parents of arranging more prospectus, anxious parents ran from centre to centre and then entered into heated arguments with the authorities who seemed clueless.

The parents entered into an argument with the principal at the Mani Majra Model School as the authorities allegedly failed to provide them information about the time required by them to get the prospectus.

“Parents were waiting outside schools an hour before the sale started. There was a long queue here and when our turn came, they told us that the forms have been sold out. The authorities had no clue as to when they would get the fresh stock and asked us to wait. We waited for about two-and-a-half hours and when we tried to reason out with the authorities, they misbehaved with us,” said Harish Singh, a parent waiting outside the GMSSS, Mani Majra.

Similar spats were witnessed in other schools too. However, the school authorities held the education department responsible for the situation. “They did not provide uniform and optimum number of prospectus to the schools. When we apprised them of the situation, the department took over two hours to provide more prospectus and it became difficult for us to deal with parents who lost patience and started misbehaving with us,” said a principal of one of the schools.

The education department, meanwhile, was able to provide more prospectuses after 1:30 pm and claimed that all was well.

“The sale process went on smoothly. Yes, the schools ran out of stock but we provided the prospectuses immediately. It happened because we got more than expected number of people on the very first day,” claimed district education officer Chanchal Singh.

4,500 forms sold

Students seem to be making beeline for admissions to government schools this year as a record over 4,500 prospectus were sold on the first day. According to experts, this can be credited to CGPA goof-up by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which has left admissions in private schools to the discretion of the school authorities.

“The private schools are picking and choosing the candidates and there is no transparency in their system. Many meritorious students have failed to make it to the school or stream of their choice so they have turned to government schools now as their process promises transparency,” claimed a senior official of the CBSE.

Preference list

The admission form of government schools has made a provision for students to draw a preference list of about 15 schools with their respective streams. Each school and stream has been allocated a special code. Students need to fill their CGPA details while the non-CBSE ones have to put in their percentages, which will be converted into CGPA for counselling.



ICSE students cry foul
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The decision of city CBSE schools to do away with the “best of five” policy and convert the percentage of the ICSE students into the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) for Class XI admissions has left hundreds of students harried.

In what comes across as the long speculated fallout of the CGPA system introduced in the CBSE Class X from this year, the students who have secured high percentage in ICSE (Class X) are figuring nowhere in the merit list of city schools.

Unlike the preceding years, these schools are refusing to calculate the student’s aggregate percentage using the scores of the best five subject out of a total of seven. On the contrary, they are taking the students score in English, Hindi, Maths, Social Sciences and Science to calculate the overall percentage, which is eventually, converted into CGPA, thereby reducing their merit.

“Our students study seven subjects out of which they are evaluated for admissions. But from this year, the CBSE schools have made there own law of taking prescribed five subjects into consideration. ICSE never believed in the CGPA system and so never went in for it but now these schools are converting percentages into CGPA, thereby reducing the merit of students.

The CBSE needs to ensure that things are set right or no student would opt for ICSE in Class X as a result of such unjust attitude,” said a principal of one of the ICSE schools in the city.

“My child secured 87.5 per cent in the ICSE, which meant that his CGPA would have been around 9.2. When I went for admission to one of the schools in Sector 27, they calculated his percentage on the basis of five subjects, which they chose and reduced the score to 81 per cent or a CGPA of 8. He was not given the science stream. Is it justified?” questioned one of the parents.

The schools, meanwhile, are considering it as a measure to bring uniformity in admissions. According to them, students of both the boards need to be judged on same subjects. It will be unjust to CBSE students if they get measured on their indicative percentage or CGPA.



Deferred exam leaves USOL students in lurch
PU fine arts dept refuses to lend premises
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Adopting an insensitive attitude, Panjab University’s fine arts department has refused to allow its premises to be used for holding a practical examination of a course run by PU’s University School of Open Learning (USOL), causing harassment to students who arrived on the varsity campus for the exam on Monday.

The practical exam was to be held for the one-year diploma course in photography, a programme that was recently launched by USOL with much fanfare. What has added to the woes of these students, who are mostly professionals, is that their roll numbers have been issued just two days before their theory exam that is scheduled to be held on June 17.

Nearly 35 students enrolled in this diploma course arrived at the PU campus yesterday, only to be told the fine arts department had denied permission for exhibiting their work and that the exam stood postponed. They were required to display five coloured and five black and while pictures they had clicked.

The students learnt that a letter was issued by the PU dean of university instruction, who is currently acting chairman of the fine arts department (arts history & visual arts), to USOL stating the “gallery cannot be made available for the examination and exhibition of art materials”. Upon reaching the fine arts museum this reporter found only three employees were present in the building. The department chairman, Rajinder Bhandari, was on a three-year leave to Canada.

Sources said shortage of teachers and other employees in the fine arts department was one of the reasons behind the refusal. The selection process to fill up vacant posts is currently under way.

When contacted USOL chairperson Neelam Grover said she was “in a meeting”. The dean of university instruction could not be reached for his comments. When PU vice chancellor RC Sobti was eventually contacted, he said: “I’ve discussed the matter with the USOL head and we’re sorting out the matter. If the department was facing any such problem it should have brought it to my notice immediately before postponing the exam”.


I came to Chandigarh on Monday just to appear for my practical exam but learnt it had been put off. When I questioned USOL officials I was told the fine arts department had refused to host the exhibition. The content of the letter sent by the DUI’s office was strange. When I asked about the new date of the exam, no one at USOL knew about it, said a lawyer from Phillaur, Ludhiana who had enrolled for the course.

On the day the practical exam was to be held we were told it had been postponed. The department has now booked the Government Arts Gallery & Museum for the exam, said Vikram, another student.



Octogenarian NRI held for molesting 5-year-old girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The police today arrested an octogenarian NRI for allegedly sexually abusing a five-year-old girl in Sector 37 yesterday.

The police said the accused had been identified as 81-year-old Shivdev Singh, a next-door neighbour of the victim in Sector 37. He had returned from the United States in November.

The SHO of the Sector 39 police station, Janak Rana, said the incident occurred at around 6.30 pm yesterday when the victim, who was playing with other children, went to Shivdev’s Singh house. Shivdev was alone at his house at that time and he allegedly lured the girl indoor while the other children went away.

The accused allegedly molested the child, who somehow managed to escape from his residence. The girl went to her house and narrated the incident to her mother.

The police said the parents of the girl lodged a complaint at the police station this morning. Acting on the complaint, the police arrested the accused and registered a case of molestation under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code against him.

Later in the day, Shivdev was produced before a local court and was released on bail.



Rash driving claims law student’s life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Deepak Pathak, a 21-year-old law student, was killed while his two colleagues were injured when the motorcycle they were riding on rammed into a roadside tree in Sector 44 here this afternoon.

The police said the motorcycle was recklessly being driven and the victims were not wearing helmets. Deepak Pathak was a resident of Sector 44 while the other two have been identified as Deepak, a resident of Sector 24 and Ravinder, a resident of Dadu Majra.

Eyewitnesses told the investigating officials that the mishap occurred when the motorcycle skidded off after applying brakes. The trio fell on the road.

Deepak Pathak was hit on the head and he died on the spot. The injured were rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital where Deepak Pathak was declared brought dead.

Talking to TNS Deepak’s cousin Sunil Dixit said that the trio were coming from the Sector 45 market after getting the motorcycle repaired. Deepak was working as a sales executive with a private company in Sector 38. He was a second semester student of LLB in Bhopal University.



Constable’s post too tempting for PG students
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 15
Blame it on the lack of employment opportunities in the state that a large number of highly qualified girls appeared for the fitness test for the post of constables at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Sector 3 here today.

Girls belonging to the Backward Class, Scheduled Caste and other categories appeared for the physical tests, applications for which were invited in 2008.

Young girls started reaching the stadium with their parents early this morning for the physical test. Some even came from far-off villages like Hisar, Faridabad, Palwal, Rohtak, Yamunanagar and other districts in the state. Most applicants were postgraduate students pursuing LLB, MSc, MA etc. However, the minimum educational qualification was just Class XII.

Anju Bala (BA, BEd), a resident of Kurukshetra, said she wanted to grab whatever job that came her way. “Since my family’s financial position is not so strong, I applied for the post without any second thought. Moreover, there are not much job opportunities coming up,” she added.

Another applicant from Panipat, who did her LLB said: “I want to reduce the burden from my fathers’ shoulders and nothing can beat the kind of security one gets from a government job.”

SP Maneesh Chaudhary, who was supervising the physical tests, said more than 25,000 candidates had applied for the post of female constable under the reserved category.

He said the Police Recruitment Board, Ambala, was conducting the tests for general category and added that the Additional Recruitment Centre, Panchkula, was conducting physical tests for the reserved category only.



Snag delays Shatabdi
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The New Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi Express (2011) arrived late by over an hour-and-a-half at the Chandigarh railway station here this afternoon.

The train, which was supposed to touch the platform at around 11.05 am, came at 12.40 pm. According to railway sources, an overhead wire got entangled with the pantograph (device that draws power from the overhead wire to propel the train) at Mohri, near Ambala, on the Delhi-Ambala rail section, at around 10 am. At least eight trains, including the Amritsar-Delhi Shatabdi Express (2029), came to a halt near the Mohri railway station, where the power cable was snapped in the morning.

The rail traffic on the affected section was restored at 11 am and during the intervening period, several trains remained held up at various places due to a technical snag on both sides of the Ambala railway station.

According to Sudhir Garg, additional divisional railway manager (ADRM), the movement of some trains was affected. Overhead electrical maintenance staff and the EMU maintenance staff rushed to Mohri.

The rest of the trains arrived on time, the ADRM added.

At the Chandigarh railway station, relatives were seen waiting for their near and dear ones in the absence of any information about the delay.

“I have been waiting here since 10.30 am and don’t know when the train will arrive,” stated a harried bank official, who was waiting for the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi.

Meanwhile, passengers on board Shatabdi who arrived in the city stated that they were held up near Ambala for an hour and their train was allowed after the fault was rectified. “We were scared initially as we had a little information of what had happened,” stated Monica Wadhwa, who arrived from Delhi.


Is Medicity project on the roll?
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
After a long hiatus, the UT Administration’s much hyped but ‘shelved’ project, Medicity seems to be on a revival track. While the project has been lying in cold storage for over a year and a half, a special presentation was held today at the Raj Bhawan for UT Administrator-cum-Punjab Governor Shivraj V Patil.

Sources claim that this may be a revival call for the project, which has been gathering dust, for a long time after a PIL was filed by an advocate on the re-location of the project from Raipur Kalan village to IT Park.

A senior UT Administration official, however, added that if at all the project was on a roll, the matter would first be taken to the Advisory Committee.

The UT Administration had decided to re-invite the expression of interest (EoI) for the project at the time when the project was under the scanner of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

Sources claim that the Administrator had expressed interest to know what the project was all about; the quantum of investment to be made; feasibility of the project; and also how it would have benefited the residents of the tricity.

The sources claimed that Special Secretary Health-Cum-Finance Ajoy Sharma made the presentation in the presence of other top functionaries of the UT Administration, including UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas.

In fact, the Medicity project had literally turned into a battleground between former UT Administrator, Gen (retd) S F Rodrigues and UT Advisor Pradip Mehra with the latter objecting to the valuation of the 45 acre of prime land for the project, costing over Rs 2,000 crore at merely Rs 203.70 crore (upfront project fee price). In fact, the Adviser has also questioned the revenue model of public-private participation vehemently pushed by the then Administrator.

In fact, all mega projects that the UT administration had earlier initiated currently stand shelved after being engulfed in controversies. These projects include the Theme-cum-Amusement Park and Film city.



22 years on, arms ban still in place
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Even though over two decades have elapsed since terrorism raised its ugly head in the region, the UT administration continues to issue prohibitory orders enforcing a ban on people from carrying weapons in public in the city.

Sources close to the deputy commissioner’s office said the orders are issued under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in continuation since 1988, when terrorism in Punjab was at its peak. This restriction is not only affecting all licensed weapon holders in the city, but also visitors including those from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, who risk prosecution if they violate the ban.

In April this year, an editor-in-chief of a Meerut-based newspaper was arrested along with his gunman and two friends on charges of bearing weapons in violation of the prohibitory orders. The incident came to light after they had an altercation with a manager of a discotheque in Sector 9. The journalist later told the police he was unaware of the prohibitory orders in force in the city.

Reacting to this incident, a gun licence holder in the city suggested officials should put up notice boards at the union territory’s entry points informing visitors carrying of weapons was prohibited. “The authorities should also make provisions for keeping weapons at the entry points to avoid undue harassment to those holding valid arms licences”, he pointed out.

Interestingly, the procedure is somewhat convoluted. Prohibitory orders banning public carrying of weapons are issued for a period of 60 days at a time. Thereafter the district magistrate is required to provide a gap of a day or two after which he reissues the orders for a further 60 days.

This process has been in place for the past 22 years generating a considerable amount of paperwork. It also means that during that short window of a day or two between prohibitory orders members of the public are actually able to carry weapons in public, which amounts to a contradiction.

“The issue was informally discussed in the deputy commissioner’s office recently. One opinion expressed was that the very purpose of issuing arms licences to those apprehending a threat to their lives was being defeated since they were restricted to keeping weapons within the four walls of their homes”, said an official in the deputy commissioner’s office.

Citing National Crime Record Bureau figures, Rajesh Kumar, president of local unit of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, said of the 33,428 murder cases registered in India in 2007, 598 murders (that is, 1.7 per cent) were committed by licensed firearms.

Apart from this, 21 per cent of the murders were committed by terrorists in the country, he added.

“The figures clearly indicate most of the heinous crimes are committed by criminals having illegal weapons. There’s no point in barring law abiding licensed arms holders, whose antecedents are confirmed by the police, for carrying weapons, in public on grounds of safety”, said Sharma. “In the wake of rising incidents of terrorist attacks, murders, kidnappings for ransom and highway robberies, the right to bear arms for self-defence should not be restricted”, he added.



Rupture in heart closed in rare procedure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Dr Shiv Bagga working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Cardiology at PGIMER has brought laurels to the institute by performing the rare percutaneous device closure of ruptured sinus of Valsalva aneurysm (RSOV) for the first time in the northern region.

According to the treating physician, this is a rare disease entity in which there is a high -pressure connection between the aorta, which is the main blood-carrying vessel of the heart, and the low-pressure chambers of the heart. Untreated, this leads to intractable heart failure with a high mortality rate.

The usual treatment is surgical therapy, he said. The patient, who is a 21-year-old male, had undergone a previous surgical closure of the defect at the PGI itself. However, on follow up, it was found there was a large residual leak. The complication could have proved detrimental to the patient in case the treatment was delayed.

After thorough discussion with the treating surgeon Dr Anand Misra and the patient’s family, they decided to go ahead with the percutaneous approach, because a re-do surgery carries a high mortality risk. A team of interventional cardiologists led by Bagga performed the procedure, which is technically demanding and requires a high degree of skill, successfully.



If you are stranded, seek towing facility
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Chandigarh Police has so far provided towing facility to 21-stranded motorists in the city since it had begun providing towing facility since May 6.

The police said the towing facility was provided to the vehicles found stranded on the roads during late night hours from 10 pm to 6 am or during the day time and in rains. Motorists can avail this facility by dialing Police help line Numbers 100, 1090 and 1073 and a police control room (PCR) vehicle will reach the harried motorist to assist him.



Driver robbed of Bolero, Rs 7,400
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 15
Four unidentified persons took away Bolero jeep after robbing its driver, Irshad resident of Prateek Nagar in Dehradun, at Raipur Rani, late last night.

Irshad, in his complaint to the police, said four youths had hired his Bolero jeep no UK-074-2581 for Chandigarh from Rishikesh and had agreed to pay Rs 4,500. He said they forcibly took off his clothes after robbing him of Rs 7,400, and threw him in bushes at Kheri village near Raipur Rani.

He claimed the accused also took away his driving license and identity card before escaping.

Irshad said after reaching bus stop he woke up Ansari, Jabir, Annis and Kamil, who were sleeping outside the shop of Latif Ansari. These persons provided him clothes and boarded a truck for Raipur Rani. They described the whole incident to ASI Gurdev Singh, who flashed the message to the Police Control Room from his wireless. Special Nakas were laid by the Mauli and Ramgarh Police Station in charge to nab the culprits.

He further informed the police that the accused had meals at community kitchen in gurdwara Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh.

He alleged that the accused also took liquor in the vehicle after purchasing mineral water bottle from a roadside dhaba at Bhurewala village.

Thereafter the accused tried to kill him and let him off when he told them that he has small children, he alleged.

The police teams have been sent in different directions, including Paonta Sahib and Rishikesh, but the police was not able to find the accused till the filing of the report.



Strict action against slaughter house owner
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 15
In connection with the case of cruelty to animals registered against the owner of a makeshift slaughter house near Jagatpura village, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) have demanded jail for the suspect.

Appreciating the police for acting against the suspect, Gulshan, a spokesman of the FIAPO said Gulshan and his workers had been resorting to first breaking the neck of chickens, then crushing them with their feet followed by hitting them against the wall and finally leaving them to die in a cage.



Just one student in merit list
...But a good show by Mohali schools
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 15
Government Senior Secondary School, Kharar, has not only produced a topper in the class X results, but has achieved 100 per cent pass percentage in the board results declared by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) yesterday.

Government schools in rural areas have recorded over 80 per cent pass percentage.

With the overall pass percentage of 81.07 per cent, the district which otherwise faired poorly in the state-level merit list has bagged the fifth position compared to the pass percentage (74.57) secured by government schools in Ludhiana.

An analysis of the performance of government schools reveals that of the total 82 schools, most have been able to secure 80 per cent and above pass percentage. On the contrary, the schools near the urban areas or along the state highways have faired poorly.

Government School, Majat, has secured 28.20 per cent pass percentage and Government High School, Boothgarh, has secured 30.13 per cent pass percentage. Another school near the upcoming international airport, Government High School, Dharamgarh, has secured 57.57 per cent pass percentage.

Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Mullanpur, and Government Senior Secondary School, Mullanpur Garib Dass, have the pass percentage of 86.48 and 73.33 per cent, respectively. The pass percentage of Government Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B1, is 79.23 percent.

n With the overall pass percentage of 81.07 per cent, government schools in Mohali have faired better than Ludhiana schools with the pass percentage of 74.57 per cent.

n Most of the government schools have a pass percentage of around 80 per cent



Snake scare at PU hostel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
A six feet long snake at the boys hostel No.3 on Panjab University campus triggered panic for more than two hours today.

On spotting the snake, students informed the hostel authorities and a fire brigade was pressed into service.

The snake, by this time, had climbed a tree close to the hostel and the fire department employees splashed water on it. When after much effort, the snake fell on the ground, it was caught by a snake charmer.

Yesterday, nearly a dozen crows were found dead in the park and dense bushy area adjoining the hostel.

PU employees stated that the crows were lying at the same place for more than 24 hours.



Musical tributes paid to Surinder Kaur
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, June 15
The larger than life image of Punjabi melody queen Surinder Kaur conjured up in the minds of her admirers and music lovers, as the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademy paid musical tributes to the legend on her fourth death anniversary at the Randhawa Auditorium here today.

Around 15 well-known female singers doled out Punjabi melodies immortalised by legend Surinder Kaur in a programme “Teri Yaad aayee ae” directed by well-known music director Varinder Bachan.

The title song, “Teri yaad…” versatile Poonam Rajput set the melodic pace for evergreen romance. While Jaspreet Jassal impressed with “Jutti kasoori”, the most sought-after differently-abled Tejaswani Sharma captured the agony of a beloved in “Chann kithan gujari…” and was given a standing ovation.

Similarly, Amannpreet Kaur, too, created a magic as also Chitra Bakshi in yet another romantic song Ikk teri akhh kasni. Besides Ishmeet Kaur, Pushpinder , Anchal and Shivani attempted top emulate the Nightingale in their respective songs. Shivani paired up with Neelam and Renu for a group song and later with Ishmit in the concluding song “ Kala Doria ”.

Earlier, Dr Kuldip Tiwana, secretary, PSNA, welcomed chief guest Gulzar Sandu, former Editor Punjabi Tribune, and guest of honour Dolly Guleria, daughter of Surinder Kaur.



Youths snatch Rs 50,000

Zirakpur, June 15
Two scooter-borne youths snatched Rs 50,000 from a woman, resident of Dhakoli, here this afternoon. The police has identified one of the suspects as Rajinder Kumar, resident of Mauli Jagran.

According to the sources, the victim, Rajwinder Kaur, had withdrawn money from Punjab National Bank at the Zirakpur-Patiala Highway and kept the money in a polythene bag.

While she was returning home, along with her mother in a rickshaw and reached near Verka booth, two scooter-borne youths snatched the polythene containing Rs 50,000. Zirakpur SHO Yogiraj said the police team had been sent to the spot. He claimed, in a preliminary investigation, it was revealed that Rajinder Kumar was following the victim from the bank. — TNS



Suspension of PEC students
Management being dictatorial: Students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Five students of PEC University of Technology, who were suspended by the PEC management last week, today expressed resentment and protested against the decision of the PEC authorities in a press conference.

The students have been suspended from the college for the academic session 2010-2011 and also from the PEC hostels.

The students alleged that they had been suspended for raising their voice against the injustice meted out to the college employees and mess workers.

“To avoid further trouble, the authorities have found a convenient way of suppressing the revolt by suspending us,” said a student.

These students belong to the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA), a youth body formed by certain students of PEC.

Another student said, “Those students whose pictures appeared in a newspaper and who raised their concern over the plight of mess workers were categorically targeted and suspended by the DSW.”

The students mentioned in a press release that the PEC management followed dictatorial methods to suppress anybody who dared to exposes the undemocratic and corrupt elements in PEC.”

Amrinder, Aman, Akash, Virrat and Pardeep, who have just appeared in the fourth semester exam, have been suspended on the grounds of “disciplinary action.” The PEC authorities, in a letter issued by the chairman of Student Affairs Committee on June 9 stated that the students were found “actively involved in the process of inciting the employees of hostels to go on strike.”

Sawinder Singh, president of the Revolutionary Youth Association, said the attitude of PEC management was anti-dalit and anti-minority and that the PEC authorities knew that two among the five students were dalits. He added that the PEC management targeted the students for celebrating Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom day and for expressing concern over the delayed justice to Godhra victims. The students said they were seeking judicial intervention in the case.



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