C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


I-T dept employee brutally murdered
Another injured in daring assault
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
A 32-year-old contractual employee with the income tax department, Varinder Saini, alias Goldy, was brutally murdered with sharp-edged weapons in a busy street of Shahi Majra village, Mohali, late this evening.

Soon after the incident, panic gripped the village as people ran for cover. There was no police official present at the scene. Varinder’s friend Sohanlal (22), alias Sonu, who was standing alongside the victim was also seriously injured in the attack.

In his statement to the police, Sohanlal identified Preet, Sheru, both of Palsora, and Nindi of Lakhnour behind the attack. A few months ago, Varinder had been attacked by the same group. He had later thrashed some members of the rival group after which a compromise was reached at a police station.

Varinder, who had a one-year-old daughter and was a resident of Sector 22, Chandigarh, had gone to meet his friend Sohanlal at Shahi Majra village and both were standing near a juice shop when motorcycle-borne assailants, at least eight in number, attacked them.

As the assailants attacked Sohanlal, Varinder tried to escape by hiding in the bathroom of a chemist shop, Seth Medicos.

However, the assailants overpowered him and attacked him with swords and other weapons before pulling him out on the street.

The assailants stabbed him in the lower abdominal several times. Both were taken to the Civil Hospital, Phase VI, from where they were referred to the PGI’s emergency ward, Chandigarh.

While Varinder succumbed to his injuries at the PGI, the other was battling for life.

Sources in the police said Sohanlal had a criminal record and his family had been repeatedly told by the police authorities to dissuade him from indulging in unlawful activities. The police is conducting raids to arrest the suspects.

Collection agent murder case cracked

Mohali: The police has tracked down the assailants behind the murder of Kumbhra-based collection agent Ashwani, who had gone missing on May 28. The body of the collection agent, who worked for a Chandigarh-based firm, was found near Ropar on Wednesday. Sources in the police said on the basis of the statements of victim’s family members, the police started a surveillance to trace the mobile handset of Ashwani. P4



UT education dept under scanner again
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
“Once bitten twice shy” seems to have become the latest mantra of the UT education department. At the receiving end of the allegations of favouritism in the ongoing teachers’ recruitment scam, the department seems to have come up with a weird idea of keeping every development under wraps, obviously to escape media scrutiny.

In fact, eyebrows are being raised at the manner in which 19 candidates for social studies masters post were called for interview in a secretive manner today. Instead of putting up the list on the official website, the department called the candidates through phone. “I was asked to attend the interview at the GMSSS-16 today with clear instructions that this information should not be passed on to anybody else, specially the media,” one of the interviewees claimed.

After the allegations of favouritism that the merit list had been tampered with, the department had invited representations from the “unsatisfied” candidates, who had alleged malpractices in the preparation of the merit list. Eighteen out of the 19 candidates, who appeared for the interview today, had represented their cases to the department earlier.

Denying the allegations, DPI (Schools) Sunil Bhatia claimed that “intimation letters” were sent to the candidates a few weeks back. “It is not mandatory that all information regarding the recruitment process should be uploaded on the website”, he said when asked why this result was not displayed on the website.

The lid on the education scam was blown off when the department had put up the list on the website late last year. The displayed list on the website had revealed the selection of “less meritorious” candidates over the deserving ones.



Property buyers hope to benefit from govt decision
Reduction in external development charges, licence fee for colonisers
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
The decision of the Punjab Government to reduce the external development charges (EDCs) and licence fee for the promoters and colonisers of the housing projects in Chandigarh’s periphery has fired the imagination of thousands of investors and end-users.

Now, property buyers are hoping that the promoters would pass on the benefits announced by the government to them and refund the already-paid excess charges.

Though a number of promoters of mega projects and other colonisers in Chandigarh’s periphery have been defaulting on the payment of external development charges (EDCs), the government, while trying to appease the promoters and colonisers by reducing the EDCs and licence fee, has also tried to take a populist measure by announcing that the colonisers would pass on the benefits to the investors and end-users.

It needs to be seen whether the promoters of the projects pass on the benefit to hundreds of old investors and end users. In most of the cases, the promoters have not included EDCs in the cost of a plot and have been charging it separately.

In the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) region, there were around 10 mega projects by major realtors and another 88 housing projects under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA). Sources in GMADA disclose that citing global recession in the past, a number of promoters had been either delaying or defaulting on the payments, running into crores of rupees. The promoters had also been stating that the government fee was also on the higher side.

Sources in the real estate industry reveal that a benefit of 5 to 10 per cent in offer price would be passed on to the investors. The present rates offered by the promoters varied between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12000 per sq yard. Unofficially, some of the successful builders are selling the residential plots for as high as Rs 20,000 per sq yard.

In case of projects handled by GMADA, the EDCs for residential projects had been reduced from the existing Rs 36.95 lakh an acre to Rs 33 lakh an acre and for commercial projects, the EDCs had been reduced from the existing Rs 130.47 to Rs 115 lakh per acre. Similarly, the licence fee for residential projects had been reduced from existing Rs 4 lakh an acre to Rs 3.50 per acre and for commercial projects, it had been reduced from Rs 200 lakh an acre to Rs 150 lakh an acre.

Officials in GMADA said though the Punjab Council of Ministers had announced the benefits, the official notification had yet not been issued. Ethically, the promoters who are separately charging EDCs need to reduce the charges and who have already charged should refund the proportionate amount.

President of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association India and the National Real Estate Development Council, Kulwant Singh, said the concession would mean a great relief to the colonisers. Regarding the concession to be passed on to the end users, he said the issue would be sorted out at a meeting of the association to be held soon.

Got a complaint?

Investors or end-users having a complaint or grievance against any coloniser can approach the confederation office in Sector 70, Mohali. Assuring quick redress of complaints, the confederation office-bearers claimed that not a single complaint had been received at the association’s office so far.



Microchip in your dog to settle ownership dispute
Arun Sharma/Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 19
Pet lovers in the region now have reasons to cheer. The Pet Animal Medical Centre-cum-Teaching Hospital, Sector 3, set up by Haryana Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department, is all set to start micro-chipping of pet dogs at a cost of mere Rs 250.

Till now, only the Kennel Club of India was doing it for the dogs registered with it in the region. The in charge of the centre, Dr M R Singla, said it would help in sorting out the problems of dispute over the ownership of dogs in case of theft.

The centre, which was inaugurated last year, is having the facilities, including OPD, Emergency services, indoor operation theatre, laboratory, breeding facility, training of pets, grooming parlour and hostel services for pets, along with international course on pet practices for veterinarians.

Explaining the need of micro-chipping, Dr Singla said it was noticed that the theft of small and costly dogs in many parts of country was on the rise. Though people seldom reported such thefts to the police, they try to trace them by contacting veterinarians, informing them about the theft of their dog and requesting them to inform them in case such a dog is brought to the clinic in future.

Many times the dispute ownership could not be sorted out as ill-trained dogs fail to respond properly to the commands of the claimants, said Dr Singla, adding that under such circumstances, the microchip would be of great help.

A microchip, bearing an identity number, would be injected in the thoracic region of the dog and the owner would be provided with a sticker from the centre having the same identity number of the microchip.

A record of the dog registered against the microchip would be stored in the computer at the centre and as soon as a scanner is put on the neck of the dog, the number of the microchip would appear on the screen, which could be matched with the details of the dog stored in the computer.


Death, illness of person
‘Resumption of plots due to non-construction unjustified’
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the resumption of plots due to non-construction would be unjustified in “hard cases where the constructions might not have become possible, such as death of a person or illness”.

The ruling came 21 years after the Chandigarh Administration’s action of resuming a property due to non-construction was challenged. Justice K. Kannan of the high court has ruled that the “extreme step” was unwarranted, more so when the administration was aware of the difficulties allottees could face.

Allowing the petition filed way back in 1989, Justice Kannan directed the setting aside of the resumption orders and asked the petitioners to “complete the construction in accordance with law”.

In all, the owners had paid just over Rs 640 for a 2-kanal plot in 1954. In the petition against the Adviser to the UT Administrator and other respondents, Avtar Singh, through his legal heirs, had challenged the resumption and its confirmation orders.

Taking up the matter, Justice Kannan asserted: “The city develops through settlement of persons and construction of houses and if only people had purchased property to retain them as sites, there could be no scope for development of the city itself.”

“There may be hard cases where the constructions might not have become possible, such as death of a person or illness. Both these events happened with the petitioner, his father died and he himself was reported to have suffered a heart attack.”

“The legal heirs were strewn about in various parts in India and abroad and consequently, the transfer of ownership could not be obtained from all the legal heirs of the father in favour of one of the co-owners.”

“The counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner, Chetan Mittal, states without obtaining transfer of the heirship from other co-owners, it was impossible for the petitioner to put up the construction, since the rules themselves do not provide for the sanction of building plans in the absence of transfer of shares from a deceased person to a legal heir.”

“It was not as if the administration was not aware of any difficulties that an allottee could face and there has been reasonable resilience in its policy in granting periodical extensions for construction.”

Justice Kannan asserted: This court has held in several cases that the order of resumption shall be the last resort and adequate opportunities must be granted to set right the violations where they existed or provide for opportunity to put up constructions.

“Having regard to the peculiar facts and circumstances, I find merit in the contention that the inability to put up the construction had been due to unusual circumstances beyond the control of the petitioners and therefore, the extreme step of resumption would not be justified.”

“The petitioners shall abide by the relevant rules and regulations relating to the payment of extension charges and any other charges that may become payable to secure valid right to the property.”



Father's Day
Deserted fathers speak for kids’ rights
Spend time with those at Mother Teresa Home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Child Rights Initiative for Share Parenting (CRISP) in association with the Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), whose members happens to be deserted fathers and elderly citizens got together and shared their love and affection with the mentally challenged children at Mother Teresa Home, Sector 23, on the occasion of Father's Day, here, today.

Though, the members offered to adopt children, but the authorities refused to oblize them. However, they were allowed to spend some time with the children. The members of the organisation are now in favour single parenting. Here in our country the system and society at large is still based on a patriarchal mindset which considers fathers incapable of nurturing children which is incorrect. Men are as capable as women to be caregivers and bring up children in a normal way. Even if the woman (mother) assumes that the man is not a good husband, it is out of place to say he is not also a good father for the children until there is strong evidence against him, said Arun Kumar, a deserted father, who till now have not seen his son, who is one-and-a-half-year old.

There is no law requiring a normal father to keep away from his child, during divorce proceedings. The child has the unquestionable right to acquire love and care from both father and the mother, said Vikas Kapur, coordinator of the organisation.

It is an NGO and was formed in 2008 at Bangalore. It speaks up for the rights of the children to remain connected with and enjoy the love of both natural parents being divorced or separated. At first, it takes almost a year or two to get the rights to visit, which is again just a formality. The father is given an hour or two to spend with his child, which ultimately is of no use, said Tejinder Singh, a member from Rajpura, who came to seek some love at Mother Teresa Home.

Ramandeep of Chandigarh narrates the same story. I have been granted permission to meet my daughter every third Sunday of month and I have not been allowed to her to my home for the past several years, he said.

Kids from broken families are:

  • 14 times more likely to commit rape
  • 5 times more likely to commit suicide
  • 20 times more likely to end up in prison
  • 10 times more likely to take drugs
  • 32 times more likely to run away from home
  • 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
  • 9 times more likely to drop out of school
  • 9 times more likely to end up in a state operated institution 



3 short plays staged
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, June 19
Whenever performing on a stage, the slum child prodigies never believe themselves to be the sons of a lesser God. This became amply perceptible, as 30 slum child artistes trained by noted director Zulfiqar Khan of the Theatre Age Group presented three short plays under the aegis of North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) at the Kalagram open air theatre here yesterday.

The plays written and directed by Zulfiqar Khan, an alumnus of PU Indian theatre department, impressed audience with their potent thematic content and good acting spells. While the play “Birbal-Akbar” was a crisp satire on corruption and “Polydon” spelt humour, the last play “Griffat” bared the psyche of an innocent son neglected by his rich parents, deeply involved into their business interests. Bereft of the parental love and care, the son had no option except to find solace in the drugs.

Actors Raman Kumar, Sahil and Rajat led the cast in all plays. NZCC director DS Saroya disclosed that a series of cultural activities had been planned for the current year.



DC donates Rs 1 lakh for special kids
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 19
The Rainbow Society of Patiala organised a programme for special children under the chairmanship of Nancy Ghuman, society president, to polish the hidden talent of the special children at the Indoor Hall of Thapar College, in which about 70 special children participated.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Deepinder Singh, Patiala, was the chief guest, whereas municipal corporation Commissioner Manjeet Singh Narang presided over the function.

Society advisor, Dr Darshan Singh Ghuman, welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries. He also highlighted other activities and achievements of the society.

The participants showed their talent in the form of bhangra, giddha, summi, jindwa, painting, music, judo, taek won do, acting and gymnastics. They have been learning since 15 days at Delhi Public School, Vaani Public School and Crunch Gym, Officers Colony, under the chairmanship of Nancy Ghuman.

A fashion show was also presented. The exhibition of paintings and cards made by these special children was the main attraction of the programme.

DC Deepinder Singh has announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the Rainbow Society and also promised to give every possible help to these children. MS Narang also gave Rs 10,000, Red Cross Society secretary Channi Walia, Col Manjeet Singh, security officer, Thapar College, Patiala, gave Rs 5,000 each for the welfare of the society.

In the end of the function, a prize distribution function was also organised. Some of the participants were also shortlisted by the society to compete in the national-level dance and drama competition, which is to be started from June 21 at Shimla.



Cong celebrates Rahul’s birthday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Enthusiasm marked the birthday celebrations of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi here today. At a function organised at Sector 22 here today, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Bansal lauded the services of Nehru-Gandhi family to the nation.

The Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress celebrated Rahul Gandhi’s birthday by distributing fruits among the inmates of Chandi Kushth Ashram. The youth Congress activists led by senior youth Congress leaders, including HS Lucky and Gurpreet Gapi cut a cake at Sector 19.



Collection agent murder case cracked
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
The police has tracked down the assailants behind the murder of Kumbhra-based collection agent Ashwani, who had gone missing on May 28.

The body of the collection agent, who worked for a Chandigarh-based firm, was found near Ropar on Wednesday.

Sources in the police said on the basis of the statements of victim’s family members, the police started a surveillance to trace the mobile handset of Ashwani.

The call details revealed that the father of one of the suspects, Mandeep, had been using the victim’s mobile handset.

By the time the body was noticed near Ropar, the Mohali and Ropar police had identified the assailants.

A police official said Ashwani used to go to the house of Karamjit Singh, a resident of Anandpur Sahib, for the recovery of loan.

Mandeep, who used to run a cycle repair shop near the house of Karamjit, befriended Ashwani.

Mandeep found that Ashwani often used to carry cash recovered from loanee. On May 28, he hatched a conspiracy along with other assailants to eliminate Ashwani and take the booty.

After recovering the collection money on May 28, when Ashwani was returning home, Mandeep called him up on the pretext of throwing a party.

They had drinks together till late evening. Aswahni was later hit with an iron bar on the head and was thrown into a canal at Ropar.

Mandeep, however, erred by using the mobile handset of the victim, leading to his arrest.



Encroachments to be removed from shamlat
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 19
Taking a serious note of encroachments and violation of building bylaws in and around Zirakpur, the municipal council today directed its enforcement wing to remove all encroachments from shamlat and initiate strict action against violators.

The decision to this effect was taken at the MC meeting chaired by president Narinder Kumar Sharma here.

The council asked the enforcement wing to carry out an anti-encroachment drive on the Baltana-Panchkula road to remove encroachments in front of shops.

NK Sharma stated that the council had also passed a resolution to set up slaughterhouse at Gazipur village on a two-acre land.

The project report has been sent to veterinary officials for approval.

Sharma said, “We have asked the officials to earmark a proper site on the outskirts of the town for dumping ground and also for the sewerage treatment plant (STP).”

Sharma said the council had also tightened its noose around violators.

The council had also decided to deploy security guards at sand mining areas to stop illegal sand mining, Sharma added.

When contacted, MC president NK Sharma said, “We will take strict action against encroachers.”

He said the new building bylaws had been implemented on the commercial and residential constructions.



Man kills himself after hurting another with axe
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 19
After being booked by the police for critically injuring another person with an axe last evening, a resident of Raipur Rani committed suicide in the wee hours here today.

According to police sources, the deceased, who has been identified as Pala Ram (35), a resident of Munadnagar, Raipur Tani, had animosity with Jarnail, a resident of the same area, for some time.

The two were involved in a brawl last evening during which Pala Ram hit Jarnail with an axe, resulting in grievous injuries to him.

Jarnail was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. The police later booked the accused for assault.

The police sources said after being booked by the police, Pala Ram was terrified of getting arrested.

The police said he apparently visited his house in the wee hours today and did not inform his family about the last night’s incident.

He then hanged himself from the ceiling fan of his room.

In the morning, the family members went to his room and knocked the door. After eliciting no response from him, they broke open the door only to find his body hanging from the ceiling fan. They later informed the police.

The body has been kept at the general hospital, where a post-mortem examination will be conducted tomorrow.



Protest by GMADA applicants
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 19
Members of the Plot Allotment Sangarsh Committee, Sectors 76 and 80, held a rally today against the failure of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to hold a draw of lots for the remaining plots allotted over six years ago.

The protesters raised slogans against GMADA authorities and demanded the holding of draw for the remaining 275 plots within a month, failing which the agitation would be intensified.



Illegal Construction
Notice to erring landlords in MDC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 19
Concerned over the ongoing illegal construction in the Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) area, officials of the municipal corporation today halted the work besides issuing notices to erring house owners.

After receiving the information about the construction of illegal houses, a team of the corporation officials headed by executive officer KK Jain visited the MDC area and asked the house owners to immediately stop the work.

Confirming this, Jain said notices had been issued to erring residents. He said one of the defaulters was Jagir Singh, nambardar of Bhainsa Tibba village. He said the violator was already facing an inquiry into the illegal felling of around 10 trees on a government land.

The officer said Jagir Singh had recently started constructing a building on the same government land bearing khasra No. 166. He said though the construction work was stopped and notice issued, the corporation was contemplating more action against the violator.



Residents demand shifting of dumping ground
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 19
Residents of Sector 25 yesterday demanded the shifting of dumping site from Sector 23 to some other area.

They also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner in this regard.

Satpal Yadav, president, Residents Welfare Association, Sector 25, urged DC Ashima Garg to shift the dumping site to some other place, as the stink was taking toll on the residents’ health.

He alleged that MC officials and Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) were not ready to take accountability for the same.

However, the DC said the administration was trying to identify a site for the dumping ground and hoped to acquire the same shortly. She said the garbage treatment plant in Jhuriwala was under process and the state government was waiting for some clearances from the Ministry of Environment, Government of India.

Yadav said garbage-dumping vehicles of the municipal corporation as well as HUDA had been using the land for throwing garbage for over five years now. He said the vacant land spread over 10 acres, housed litter from the entire township.

He rued that the site had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the situation was likely to worsen with the onset of monsoon. He said not clearing the site might also manifest epidemic in the area.

Yadav said HUDA and the municipal corporation were violating the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which clearly stated that no dumping site could be set up within a 3-km radius of any residential area. He said they had also urged the State Pollution Control Board to initiate action in this regard.



Brick prices register 20 pc rise in region
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

A brick-kiln lying closed due to strike by kiln owners in Dera Bassi. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal
A brick-kiln lying closed due to strike by kiln owners in Dera Bassi. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Chandigarh, June 19
The indefinite strike by brick-kiln owners in Punjab and Haryana since June 15 has led to a hike in the rates of bricks, exposing consumers to exploitation. The rates of the bricks in the city and neighbouring Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have shot up from Rs 2,900-3,000 per thousand to about Rs 3,500-3,600 per thousand. The consumers have either postponed their construction plans or are being forced to increase their budgets due to the “unwarranted” escalation in the cost of bricks.

Inquiries by this correspondent revealed that the kiln owners went on strike in protest against the growing influence of mafia on the labour community who are misusing the Bonded Labour Act. They alleged that false complaints were being lodged against them, resulting in heavy monetary loses. Sources said before the kiln owners went on strike, they had produced sufficient amount of bricks, enough to last for a few months. Big brick-kilns in Dera Bassi, Barwala and Lalru belt had a stock of at least 50-60 lakh bricks each. However, the kiln owners, who were already selling the bricks at a profit of Rs 300-400 per thousand bricks, are now reportedly earning a profit of about Rs 700-800 per thousand owing to the strike. Each kiln owner has made a profit of at least Rs 8-10 lakh due to the hike in prices, the sources alleged.

JR Sharma, a kiln owner near Dera Bassi, has, however, justified the strike. He alleged that the inadequate supply of coal was another area of concern, which was resulting in closure of the units. Punjab alone requires 12,000-15,000 tonnes, whereas the government manages the supply of only 5,000 tonnes annually.

The strike has come as an additional blow to those who are either constructing their houses or planning to start the construction, as the prices of building material, including bricks, have already gone up by about 20 per cent.

Brij Bhandari, a resident of Sector 37, who is constructing a house, lamented that the cost of bricks and white sand had shot up and thrown his budget out of gear. “A truck loaded with 4,000 bricks has cost me about Rs 1,700 more since the strike. I purchased the same number of bricks for Rs 12,000 about a fortnight ago,” said Bhandari.

The real estate experts claimed that the construction cost had gone up by over 20 per cent, following the rise in brick and stone dust prices.

PS Bajwa, a realtor in Zirakpur, said the rise in the cost of building material during the last one month had forced his company to begin looking for alternates. “Since we have sold apartments which were free from cost-escalation conditions, we cannot charge the same from customers. Instead, we went for alternate material, such as bricks made of fly ash, which were cheaper but not at a par in quality,” Bajwa said. “Unfortunately, even the cost of such alternates is now increasing,” he added.

Various consumer bodies, including government building contractors and Citizens Welfare Society, have demanded that the government should intervene to check the rise in the brick prices. They alleged that the kiln owners were resorting to monopolistic policies to increase the prices of bricks and exploited the customers.



Class XI Admissions
Students opt for maximum streams
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The golden rule being adopted by hundreds of students to prepare their stream preference list for Class XI admissions is “enlist in maximum number of schools and opt for a wide variety of streams”. This might, however, spoil admission prospects of many.

Going by the latest advice of the UT education department, a student should not only be clear about his or her preferred stream but should also strictly abstain from mentioning the streams just for the sake of filling all 15 columns.

The Class XI admission form demands a school and stream-wise preference list from the students where maximum number of choice is 15. Given this, most of the students are opting for all four streams of the renowned schools just to ensure that they score a seat there. However, according to UT’s district education officer Chanchal Singh this matter is bound to backfire.

“The students are filling the preference list in the most peculiar way. They are taking the school reputation as the key criteria rather than the stream. They choose a school and mention all available streams as the first three choices and then move on to the next. Now if a student wants science he might end up getting arts in the most renowned schools, though he might be eligible for science in some other school,” explained Singh.

According to education department counsellors, the students are doubtful about getting admission in a good school and are thus putting all streams just to ensure they make it somewhere.

“This CGPA confusion has made the students insecure. Most of the students are worried of not getting the admissions so are mentioning all streams in their preference lists. We suggest that the students decided on one or two streams and then enlist 15 schools on priority basis after taking their cut offs into consideration,” said one of the counsellors.



Help desks result in brawls among student parties
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Ideally installed to address queries of students at the time of admission, the help desks set up by the student organisations at Panjab University have often resulted in ugly brawls among rival student parties in the past.

The allegation levelled by the Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) at an all-party meeting of the student organisations yesterday against Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) of “forging” the identity of Himachal Pradesh Students’ Association (HPSA) to acquire more space for the help desks is just a partial indication of such clashes.

In 2007, Harpreet Multani of SOPU and certain members of PUSU present at the help desks entered into a heated argument, which eventually resulted in a major scuffle causing an embarrassment for PU authorities during the admission season.

The effort that was aimed at helping the students eventually resulted in a serious row between the student leaders. During the same academic session, a major incident of violence took place, in which Multani and seven other students were booked for stabbing a student at the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), who was appearing in an exam.

Several such incidents that began with a minor tussle at the help desks ultimately ended in violent incidents on the campus. The PU authorities, which were earlier working on a formula to do away with the help desks, have now adopted a different strategy to resolve the issue.

The university had mooted the idea of setting up its own help desk in the middle of the help desks of the student parties. For this purpose, they have even offered research scholars Rs 200 to help the students during the admission time. Till last year, the official counter of PU used to be inside the Aruna Ranjit Chandra Hall. Whether PU’s plan to combat the brawls at the help desk works out, remains to be seen. The help desks will be installed in the university from Tuesday onwards.



NRI seats have few takers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Figure this out: only four applicants turned up yesterday for the 17 seats reserved under the NRI quota at the counselling session at Panjab University’s prestigious University Business School (UBS). In 2008 for the same number of seats, two NRI candidates came while last year there was only one applicant!

There are now very few genuine applicants for seats under the NRI quota, which used to be popularly known as a “back-door entry” to various PU departments. As against hundreds of candidates who used to line up to seek admission in UBS through NRI “sponsorship”, the numbers have fallen drastically in recent years and only a handful of applicants eventually show up.

Despite a decrease in the number of NRI seats at UBS from 51 in 2007 to 17 this year, they still do not get filled up. The number of seats in MBA (general) has been reduced from 33 to 9, in MBA (international business) and in MBA (human resource) from nine to four.

The stringent rules imposed by PU have ensured NRI “sponsored” seats are now filled up by only genuine NRI candidates. At the same time the manner in which students who could afford the expenses earlier sought admission in the university has been exposed. Previously, for admission in this quota, all one needed to do was “show” he or she was “sponsored” by some Indian relative or friend residing abroad.

Three years after the varsity has made changes in the procedure of admitting students through the NRI quota, only genuine candidates now apply for the NRI seats, said UBS officials.

Panjab University had earlier introduced self-finance courses to make up for the revenue loss from NRI seats, since the fee charged from NRI sponsored candidates was considerably more than those charged from ‘general category’ students. Now with funds generously flowing into the varsity the departments do not feel the heat, say officials.

“The NRI seats were the most favoured option for students in the past since it was convenient to get admission. But with the enforcement of strict rules by PU, only genuine NRIs apply. Since the university is now flush with funds there is no loss of revenue at all,” said Dinesh Gupta, chairman of the University Business School.



Career counselling session for students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 19
Government Mohindra College, Patiala, organised a career counselling session in collaboration with Punjabi University, Patiala, in the college campus here today.

College principal, Dr Sudeep Bhangoo, welcomed the guest speakers. More than 500 students from various schools of Patiala attended the session.

Dr SS Rekhi interacted with the students on various options available in the higher education for the students of arts stream. Prof Ambika Beri guided the students opting science courses.

Prof Inderjit Singh of Bikram College of Commerce highlighted various options available for commerce students. NSS coordinator Paramveer Singh presided over the session.

Camp organiser Dr Jaswinder Singh Gill explained the idea of organising the counselling session.



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