C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CBI to seek MoD nod for Nirvikar’s prosecution
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The noose is tightening around the neck of Major Nirvikar Singh, ex-ADC to Gen SF Rodrigues, former Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator, who has been booked in a disproportionate assets case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), with the agency seeking sanction for his prosecution from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Since the former ADC, who is currently on deputation with India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), in New Delhi, is a serving Army officer, the CBI has decided to seek the ministry’s nod to prosecute him.

A local CBI team is already in New Delhi for this purpose to coordinate the future course of action in this regard, sources said here today.

The sources said the team was in touch with top CBI officials, besides officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the MoD, and further action against Nirvikar and members of his family would be taken after consultations with them.

The CBI had recently booked the high-profile Army officer and his mother Kiran Singh and brother Jagrut Singh on charges of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. The accumulated assets owned by them was estimated to be worth Rs 9.32 crore, against their earnings of Rs 2.93 crore.

Nirvikar’s gross earnings between 1995 and 2010 stood at Rs 40.85 lakh. For his mother, the period taken into account was from 1994 to 2010 while for his brother, it was between 2000 and 2010.

In fact, his role in the clearance of controversial mega-projects, considered to be the brainchild of Rodrigues, was also under the CBI scanner.

The role of the zonal headquarters at Chandigarh was all the more important as this office was probing the Film City and Amusement Park projects here.

“Records pertaining to these two projects will come in handy to take the inquiry against Nirvikar to its logical conclusion,” the sources asserted.

Considered Rodrigues’ blue-eyed boy, Nirvikar had virtually operated as a parallel power centre in the administration and reportedly influenced major decisions in the administration, though his post was otherwise ceremonial in nature.

Decisions on the controversial mega-projects, such as the Medicity, the Film City, the Amusement Park and Prideasia were taken, coinciding with the extended tenure of the Army officer at the Raj Bhavan here.

Most of the assets in real estate in Delhi and Gurgaon had been allegedly bought by the accused between 2007 and 2009, when Nirvikar wielded considerable influence here.

It was alleged that at Rodrigues’ instance, Nirvikar was given a two-year extension at the Punjab Raj Bhavan “against Army rules, which clearly stated that the tenure of an ADC would strictly be for two years, following which he would be reverted to his regiment”.

In January 2009, Nirvikar had allegedly “managed” another extension in his deputation from the Army for two years to RAW, being on extra regimental employment for almost six consecutive years, including four years at the Raj Bhavan.



Rs 2 little, too late for poor couple
GMSH apathy forces delivery at counter, newborn dies
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
In a brutal display of indifference, the medical fraternity at the PGI and the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, ignored a mother who had gone into labour, causing instant death of her newborn in front of the OPD counter of the GMSH here today.

Doctors at the PGI had earlier advised the poor couple - Chhotu and Bulbul - to go to the GMSH for a delivery “free of cost”.

However, on reaching there, the GMSH staff made them run from pillar to post to complete the paperwork before admitting the mother.

Bulbul ended up delivering the child at the OPD counter, even as the couple made frantic efforts to arrange a paltry Rs 2 to pay as registration fee at the counter.

Poonam, who was standing in the queue with Bulbul, said an old man standing nearby handed over a Rs 10 note to the couple to make the payment at the counter but even before she could reach there, she delivered the baby, which fell to its death.

Doctors at the GMSH, however, claimed that the baby was stillborn.

The incident sparked off protests by people against the indifferent attitude of the GMSH staff.

Bystanders raised slogans against the UT administration, demanding action against the erring employees.

Chhotu, a labourer, said he along with his family, including two children, had shifted from Patiala two months ago for the treatment of his younger son at the PGI.

The family had been staying out in the open at the PGI. The surgery of his son was due on August 3.

Around 8 am, when Bulbul felt labour pains, he took her to the gynaecology ward of the PGI, he said.

“As I didn’t have any money, doctors at the PGI advised me to go to the GMSH to get the delivery done free of cost. When we reached the labour room of the hospital, the staff there asked us to get a file made from the OPD counter,” said Chhotu.

Even as the mother writhed in pain, the staff at the counter insisted on her coming in the queue, he alleged. Bulbul delivered the baby there itself, resulting in the newborn’s death.

Pyara Singh, an old man from Jalandhar, said he had been staying with Chhotu at the PGI and had accompanied the couple to the PGI’s gynaecology ward before bringing them to the GMSH, as the couple had no idea about the city.

They did not have even a single penny with them and Rs 2 meant for the OPD card at the GMSH were paid by him, he added.

Following protests, the police was deployed at the hospital and the situation was brought under control only after the authorities assured of conducting an inquiry into the incident.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh administration has ordered an inquire into the incident.

Blame Game

Dr Veena Sarna, head of gynaecology department, GMSH, said it was a stillborn baby, which was apparently due to the poor health of the mother. A PGI spokesperson said their labour room was already overburdened and the institute preferred to advise patients without complications to go to nearby hospitals

City’s IMR 28

Chandigarh has an infant mortality rate of 28. According to the figures compiled for the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) plan for 2010-11, the infant mortality rate (IMR) as well as the maternal mortality rate (MMR) were high in the city. The city’s IMR was 28, while the MMR was 44 in 2008-09



Conman blames it on kidneys!
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Swindling gullible people seems to be a way of life for Sohan Lal, a resident of Vikas Nagar at Mauli Jagran here, who has been in and out of jail five times this year for duping people of over Rs 10 lakh in the last one year.

A majority of his victims in nine cases of cheating registered against him over the years are housewives. Sohan Lal, who is in his early forties, lives with his wife and two daughters. He otherwise makes lenses for spectacles.

“He has a bagful of tricks to dupe unsuspecting people and rarely uses the same trick again. He takes the victims out of their houses on one pretext or other and drops them at a distance before returning to the victims’ house to commit theft,” said inspector Bakshish Singh, SHO of the Sector 31 police station.

Giving an account of Sohan Lal’s modus operandi, the SHO said Sohan Lal would first conduct reconnoitring of a house, generally from the lower strata of society, and accumulate information about the family members living there and whether any member of the family was hospitalised.

Going to the house, he would tell the housewife that her relative had sent him to bring her to hospital. He would pretend talking to her relative over the phone, but when the victim would request him to let her talk to the relative, would immediately ‘disconnect’ the line, saying he ran out of balance. Before taking the victim along, he would offer to lock the house, but not do so.

In some cases, he would take his victim along by saying her husband or son had met with an accident, or that he could get a job for her relative, or that a religious institution was giving donations

to poor women. Going to jail had become routine for Sohan Lal, who had already been arrested four times this year, before landing in the police net again on July 16, said police officials.

“The moment his most recent victim, Manju Soni, a resident of Hallo Majra, gave a description of the conman, we produced a policeman bearing resemblance to the suspect. She confirmed the looks, following which a team was sent to arrest Sohan Lal. He was mending his shoe at his residence. Asked if he had done it yet again, he smiled and walk with us,” said a police officer.

Asked reasons for conning people, Sohan Lal claimed that his kidneys had been damaged and he needed money for an operation. He had taken this plea each time he had been caught. The police said he had duped people of over Rs 10 lakh, as per a rough estimate, during the past one year.

He was released from jail on June 14 after being arrested in March. His ‘trademark’ scooter was released on July 11 and he was back in action within a week after getting its possession. He remained in police custody for three days before he was sent to judicial custody yesterday, said a police officer.

Past Record

  • July 16, 2010: Conned Manju Soni, a resident of Hallo Majra, of Rs 3,000, ‘mangalsutra’ and two pairs of earrings
  • March 31, 2010: Robbed Hukmi Devi, a resident of Dadu Majra colony, of a gold chain, a ring and two earrings after making her inhale intoxicants forcibly
  • March 29, 2010: Duped Saroj, a resident of Darua, of cash and jewellery after taking her out of the house on the pretext of getting a government job for her brother
  • March 23, 2010: Cheated Geeta Devi, a resident of Attawa, of Rs 1,800 and gold ornaments after telling her that a temple was giving donations to poor women
  • February 20, 2010: Defrauded Bhupinder Kaur, a resident of Maloya, of Rs 1,000, gold earrings and three nosepins
  • February 9, 2010: Duped Chandrawati, a resident of Sector 38 West, of two ‘mangalsutras’, two gold rings, silver ornaments weighing nine ‘tola’, a pendant and Rs 400
  • July 28, 2009: Cheated Swarna Devi, a resident of Sector 7, of a gold chain, four rings, two tops and Rs 13,000
  • July 12, 2009: Conned Kusum, a resident of Kajheri, of a gold chain, earrings and Rs 4,000
  • July 8, 2009: Snatched earrings of Gian Devi, a resident of Maloya



Deep Slumber
Garden projects sans nurturing
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The UT administration seems not to have learnt any lessons from embarrassment on account of the poor follow-up on much-hyped projects in the past.

Sample this: Union Tourism and Poverty Alleviation Minister Selja inaugurated the Garden of Palms at Sector 42 on May 17. On May 18, some miscreants decamped with the brass plaque, which had the names of senior bureaucrats and the minister.

Now after almost two months, miscreants stole the plaque of the Garden of Conifers at Sector 52. Interestingly, both gardens were inaugurated the same day.

While the tablets from both gardens had already vanished, one could only spot stray cattle and dogs wandering in the area earmarked for the gardens.

In fact, these two incidents were not the only ones. There had been similar incidents in the past as well, wherein anti-social elements had stolen and vandalised public property.

“There have been similar incidents in the past, but officials do not seem to care about public property. After all, it is not their money, but tax-payers’ money that goes down the drain,” said Ramesh Sharma, a resident of Sector 52.

The ground condition also raised a question mark over the haste that the UT administration had shown in the inauguration of the gardens.

“There is nothing in the name of a garden at this place. In fact, the saplings of the conifer trees, planted at the time of inauguration, are also dead. The entire place is covered by wild growth. What was the need to inaugurate it two months in advance if they had no plans to develop it,” said Rashmi, another resident of the area.

The situation at the Garden of Palms was no different, with the area covered with wild bushes and grass and animals straying into the so-called garden area.


MC moots hike in water service charge, tariff
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Based partly on the Delhi Jal Board pattern, the Chandigarh municipal corporation is considering a proposal to impose service charges of Rs 25 on consumers for water connections, a step that will add to the woes of the already harassed city residents.

MC records show there are about 140,000 water connections in the city and the civic body gets about Rs 50 crore every year in water and sewerage charges. If the proposed service charges are introduced the corporation will earn an additional Rs 3.5 crore annually.

MC officials also plan to increase sewerage access charges from almost five per cent to 10 per cent of the water bill, depending on the number of toilet seats in a house.

Both proposals will be tabled for approval at the upcoming MC general house meeting.

Sources close to the administration said the MC was asked at a recent meeting to impose the service charges and raise water tariffs to enable the release of a Rs 60 crore JNNRUM grant. Under economic reforms every civic body that wishes to receive a grant muse impose minimal house tax and service charges, increase water tariffs and install water meters in its city.

It may be mentioned here an MC proposal to hike water tariffs has been pending for over a year. It is estimated the corporation will earn an additional Rs 75 crore every year if the tariffs are raised.

Last year MC officials had sent both proposals to ex-mayor Kamlesh for tabling them in the house, but she did not allow them to be included in the agenda. However, in December she forwarded both proposals to MC committees, making clear the house would consider them only after receiving the panels’ recommendations.



Consumer Courts
Bank told to pay up for harassment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed a branch manager of ICICI Bank to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation to a bank customer for causing him “mental agony.”

Pronouncing the order, the forum held: “The bank has yet not refunded an amount of Rs 8,400 that it illegally withdrew from the customer’s account. Though he complainant approached the bank for the refund no one at the bank heard him, which surely caused him mental agony.”

In his complaint to the forum Swarn Singh Gill, a resident of Patiala, stated he was granted a loan of Rs 55,000 from the said ICICI bank branch manager. The loan was repayable within three years at an interest of 10.5 per cent and the first installment was due on April 5, 2006. However, when he received the details of the loan he was surprised to see the bank was charging an interest of 21.98 per cent, he stated. He said he then decided to repay the entire principal amount and, on the branch manager’s instructions, deposited Rs 58,158 according to the settlement on May 17, 2006.

Surprisingly, the complainant said, he received a letter dated December 3, 2008 from the bank showing an overdue amount of Rs 14,135.

In reply, the bank stated the amount due as on May 17, 2006 towards closure of the loan was Rs 60,968 and, since the aforesaid amount was not paid by the complainant, the bank in exercise of its right of lien adjusted the amount available under another loan amount due under the agreement with the customer.



IAF top official visits High Grounds

Chandigarh, July 21
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, Air Marshal VR Iyer visited the Air Force Station High Grounds here today.

He was accompanied by his wife, Bala Iyer, president, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Regional).

Air Marshal Iyer was briefed by station commander Group Capt S Padegaonkar about the training activities being conducted at the station and various training aids and innovations developed for pilots and maintenance staff. — TNS



65 swanky bus queue shelters soon
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Come Commonwealth Games and the City Beautiful will also be in for a makeover. With hotels being spruced up for guests and taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers learning languages to converse with foreign tourists, the UT administration has finally spared a thought for the old ramshackled bus queue shelters.

For soon, 65 new swanky bus queue shelters are on their way on the lines of Delhi. The design has been picked from the 12 already being used in Delhi and other metro cities.

According to sources, of these, 35 will come up at new sites, while the remaining will replace the existing ones. The proposed bus queue shelters are expected to cost a whopping Rs 9 crore.

However, officials maintain these shelters will be made of stainless steel and will be foolproof to ensure miscreants couldn’t steal any material.

The shelters will also have water tanks along with other basic facilities.

A Delhi-based company has given the design and tenders are expected to be floated soon for construction work.

“We will soon come up with the state-of-the art bus queue shelters, which will provide convenience to the waiting bus passengers. We hope to start work very soon,” said a senior official of the UT administration.

Recently, Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the dilapidated condition of bus queue shelters in the city, providing hardly any convenience to commuters using these.

Not only were these shelters very old, these were devoid of any seating arrangement or bus schedule.

The time table of buses was not displayed at most of the shelters and those that had them were old and hadn’t been updated for years.



Booking Irregularities
Surprise checks by rly officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
In the wake of mass irregularities in the advance booking of railway tickets, especially increasing number of complaints about non-availability of “tatkal booking”, Northern Railways yesterday launched surprise checks at reservation counters throughout the Ambala division to prevent touts from cornering seats.

Web-based IRCTC agents have already been barred from accessing tatkal booking between 8 am and 9 am. The special checks have been launched in all major reservation counters in the division between 7.30 am and 9 am, when there is a huge rush of passengers.

Sources at the Chandigarh railway station said a spate of complaints had been received of bonafide railway passengers not getting reservation in most trains on trunk routes due to summer rush and in many trains, even waiting lists were full.

Similarly, the tatkal reservation, which is available two days before the date of journey, was also beyond the reach of public as the entire tatkal quota was passed on to touts and railway reservation agencies in a clandestine manner by conniving staff.

Touts and unscrupulous elements made hay during this period as bookings for advanced reservation and tatkal began during this hour, a railway official said, adding that the drive had been launched for a fortnight. The IRCTC is also contemplating several other measures to ensure easy accessibility to its portal throughout the day and also fast service.



Check noise pollution near hospital, GMADA told
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 21
In order to check noise pollution near a hospital, the office of the sub-divisional magistrate has directed officials of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) not to give permission for public functions in the ground, which was being used for this purpose earlier.

At a meeting held in the office of Ravinder Pal Singh Walia, SDM, it was pointed out that a number of cultural functions, political rallies and other activities were held close to Cosmo Hospital in Sector 62 here.

The noise generated by these functions caused great inconvenience to patients admitted in the hospital apart from staff members. The hospital had requested the SDM not to allow the holding of such functions in that area.

The matter was brought to the notice of GMADA authorities which gave permission for the use of the land after receiving rent in this regard. GMADA was asked not to give permission for the holding of functions which led to noise pollution in this part of the sector. It was suggested that such functions could be held in an area where Apni Mandi was organised. However, functions where loudspeakers are not used could be held at the earlier venue.

The SDM directed representatives of GMADA and the municipal council to ensure that the area was cleaned after such functions were held.



Non-functional transformer
Chhat farmers demand replacement
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 21
Farmers of Chhat village have been facing inconvenience as the Powercom failed to change the non-functional transformer in their fields. They claimed that repeated representations to the officials concerned had fallen on deaf ears. They have demanded that the transformer should be replaced on priority basis.

Farmers stated that the transformer that supplied power to tubewells in their fields was not working properly from the past few days. They had submitted their complaint to the official concerned many times, but in vain. They claimed that the load at the transformer was not divided properly.

The residents are also demanding the tightening of high-tension electric cables. Jaismer Singh, a resident of Chhat village says, “The high-tension wires have slackened and at some places the wires are also naked.”

Meanwhile, unscheduled power cuts have made the life miserable for residents of Baltana. Jagjivan Singh, a resident of Ward No. 12 said from the past three days there were power breakdowns for at least 20 times in a day. The power supply has even affected the water supply, he added.

However, the Powercom official claimed that efforts were being made to install the new transformer at the village. The official stated that that there were no power cuts in the area. He said the disruption of power could be due to overloading and the problem would be solved soon.



Councillor seeks removal of barricades outside Fortis
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 21
A municipal councillor has requested the police to remove all barricades put outside Fortis Hospital as these were not only an encroachment but also proved to be a traffic hindrance.

In a letter addressed to the SSP, Kuljit Singh Bedi stated that a number of barricades were put up on the road outside Fortis Hospital.

The barricades were put up to stop people from parking their vehicles along the road but these were proving to be a traffic hazard as a part of the road had been encroached upon.

Bedi said neither the police nor the municipal council was removing such encroachments as Fortis was a hospital belonging to influential people. He demanded that these barricades should be removed as all people were equal before law. Copies of the letter were also sent to the president and executive officer of the civic body.



Vet doctors demand regularisation of service
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 21
The Punjab State Veterinary Doctors Association (PSVDA) has demanded regularisation of the services of rural veterinary officers who were employed on a contract basis under zila parishads failing which they will start a non-cooperation movement from July 25.

Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Nitin Gautam, executive member of the PSVDA, said during the first phase of the protest the doctors would boycott the purchase of male calves, cattle insurance and grass-root level camps. In the next phase a total non-cooperation movement would be started which would result in total paralysis of rural veterinary services and the responsibility in this regard would lay with the Punjab government.

Dr Parampal Brar, state press secretary, said an agitation was started on July 12 and as a continuation of the protest a two-hour work down strike was observed yesterday in all hospitals of zila parishads. No work was done between 10 am and 12 noon and animals remained unattended.

Dr Birender Pal Singh from Moga said, “There is a single veterinary college in the state so far, but now the government has converted it into a university. In the days to come four new veterinary colleges will be opened up. Who will provide jobs to the persons who will pass out from these institutes when the government has failed to absorb doctors from only one institute?”

Dr GP Singh, president of the Ropar unit of the association, said that class IV employees of their department were getting a salary of Rs 20,000 while doctors recruited on a contract basis carried home a salary of Rs 15,000 only. Even the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission had not been implemented by the government amounting to exploitation of doctors employed under zila parishads.



Accidental fire injures CRPF personnel

Chandigarh, July 21
A head constable and a constable of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) got injured in a gunshot at the Sector 39 police station when a pistol which was being cleaned accidentally shot off. Both the victims were injured during the incident. The police said the incident occurred when constable Shiv Pal started cleaning a .9 mm pistol and its trigger got pulled accidentally.

The bullet injured both Tara Chand, who was in charge of the weapon-cleaning job, and Shiv Pal. Tara Chand was sitting near Shiv Pal. The bullet first pierced a finger of Shiv Pal and then hit Tara Chand in his thigh. Both of them were taken to the PGI, where their condition was stated to be stable.

A battalion of the CRPF is housed at the first floor of the police station. All the top officials of CRPF visited the spot. — TNS



Traffic Blues
Monsoon clouds city schools
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 21
Come monsoon and traffic havoc in front of various city schools seems to have worsened the situation.

Despite UT administration’s reminders, several private schools have failed to mange the traffic congestion in front of their schools during the morning and afternoon hours.

Numerous cars stay lined up in front of school gates and the cycle/rickshaw bylanes are converted into short-term parking areas for many. With no one to manage the entry or exit of vehicles, traffic jams have become a common site.

The situation gets bad with buses, which stay parked callously on roads.

“What can schools do? We can’t ask parents not to pick or drop their students. Our security guards try to control the parking, but till what extent can this help? It’s the duty of traffic officials to manage the situation. They know the prime spots and can get one or two officials posted there for an hour or so,” claimed a member of the Independent School Association.

While school authorities blame it on the traffic police, the responsibility, according to the Supreme Court’s directives solely lies with them.

According to this directive, for every school it’s mandatory to make traffic control committee comprising teachers as well as senior school students. Their job is to regulate the traffic near schools one hour prior to school timing and one hour after the school hours.

Besides, according to traffic police instructions: “All schools, having parking area inside the boundary walls, shall ensure that children are dropped inside the school by school buses. The educational institution shall control and man the traffic.”

The traffic outside schools is the responsibility of school whenever it’s required we will depute officials. We are even ready to train teachers and school staff, but initiative has to come from schools and parents also must understand. We will soon be training school officials to manage the traffic

HS Doon, SP (traffic and security)



68 aspirants get trade certificates

Chandigarh, July 21
The Chandigarh Scheduled Caste, Backward Classes and Minorities Finance and Development Corporation today organised a certificate distribution ceremony at Aasha Kiran Vocational Training Centre, Sector 46-D.

Director Social Welfare, Samwartak Singh, was the chief guest. A total of 68 candidates were awarded with trade certificates on successful completion of courses, run by the corporation at the Aasha Kiran and the Empowerment Centre, Sector 19.

The corporation has been providing vocational training in various trades like computer software course, cutting and tailoring, dress designing and beauty culture. Samwartak Singh said the aim was to apprise the beneficiaries about various financial schemes. With the financial assistance being provided under these schemes they could set up their own venture at nominal rate of interest. — TNS



‘Exam centre changed for PUSU leader’
Divided over report, students’ unions hold protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) today protested in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office for over one hour.This protest was followed by another major protest by members of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU).

SOPU demanded that the contentious report prepared by a three-member committee on university’s examination branch be made public. The committee was assigned the task of investigating the case in which PUSU leader Simranjit Dhillon allegedly got his examination centre changed to PU regional centre in Muktsar.

While SOPU demanded that the report be made public, PUSU, on the other hand, claimed that the report was biased and they didn’t trust the report submitted by the committee.

PUSU supporters, under the leadership of Simranjit Singh Dhillon, chairman, PUSU, protested against the committee’s investigation.

Dhillon, said: “I have never been called by the committee to put forth my plea and the report has been submitted."

He further said PU authorities never called him in any meeting with the committee members to file a reply.



Semester system for BCom, too
Decision will be taken on July 30
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Panjab University is all set to introduce semester system for Bachelors’ of Commerce (BCom) course in all its affiliated colleges. The titles of the new curriculum have already been approved and a final nod to implement the system in colleges would be discussed at the next meeting of the undergraduate board of studies of commerce on July 30.

According to sources, the decision of board members will be forwarded to the faculty of business management and commerce at Panjab University and then to the academic council. Once approved, BCom will be the first undergraduate course in colleges to have semester system. Till now, the semester system had been introduced in the postgraduate courses by the university only. This was based on the directions of University Grants Commission (UGC), which also extends to the undergraduate courses.

The university officials have asked commerce lecturers from affiliated colleges to participate in designing the syllabi of different semesters in collaboration with the university professors. “Several meetings are being held at various centres in Punjab since one year. The course could cater to the needs of the region and will give the students an option to choose between a pass course and an honours course,” said Karamjit Singh, member of the undergraduate board of studies.

“The curriculum that is being designed will set an example for all colleges in India. It’s a unique syllabi and Panjab University will be quoted by other colleges and Universities for implementing this system in BCom,” said Dinesh Gupta, chairman, University Business School.

The curriculum of BCom, which contains 36 interdisciplinary subjects, will be divided into three components. 60 per cent weightage has been reserved for the core-subjects, which will be related to commerce, 20 per cent weightage to the language related subjects and 20 per cent will be reserved for inter-disciplinary subjects, including choice-based credit system.

Besides, the curriculum would also include personality development, sociological values and fundamentals of sciences.



Applications for MA in disability studies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Panjab University’s department of community education and disability studies has invited applications for admission in MA (I semester).

Students having a graduation degree in any discipline with 50 per cent marks for general category and 45 per cent marks for SC/ST category are eligible.

The last date for application form is July 23 and the second counselling will be held on July 26 in the office of department of community education and disability studies.

The officials have asked the students to bring all original documents for the counselling.

Condolence meeting

A condolence meeting of the faculty and staff members to pay homage to PD Sharma, who died yesterday, will be held on 21 July at 12.50 pm at the university auditorium.



PU Notes
Death mourned

Students, teachers and officials of Panjab University, condoled the sad demise of Prof PD Sharma who passed away on July 17.

At the age of 18, Dr Sharma joined health services, Punjab, as a pharmacist, but as he had great fascination for higher education, in 1970, he joined B Pharmacy course at the university and postgraduated in 1975 with first position. He worked at a couple of pharmaceutical companies in Mumbai and Amritsar before being awarded a national scholarship to study abroad. He joined University of Strathclyde at Glasgow in Great Britain for PhD in October, 1977. After doctorate he returned to India in April, 1981.


The first counselling for admission to BPharma and BSc in anthropology, biochemistry, biophysics, biotechnology, botany, chemistry, geology, mathematics and computing were held on July 17 to 20.

All seats belonging to open and reserve categories (barring a few) were filled on the same day. This time a slight change in the trend for admission to some of the courses was observed. The most preferred subjects were BPharma and biotechnology. Heavy rush was witnessed for basic courses like physics and chemistry.

The demand for admission to anthropology was slightly better than botany and zoology. The second counselling for the above courses will be held in the third week of August, 2010. The exact date will be displayed on the PU website shortly. — TNS



Implementation of CBSE’s guidelines at rural schools
Co-curricular activities still a distant dream
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
While co-curricular activities may form an important part of the CBSE’s new evaluation system for classes IX and X, these activities are yet to find a place at a majority of rural government schools.

In the absence of proper infrastructure, staff and initiative, most of the government schools claim to be incapable to follow guidelines of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation.

The evaluation system has not only replaced percentile with grades but according to it 50 per cent of a student’ s total score grade will depend on his or her performance in extra-curricular or co-scholastic activities. The board has though specified a list of the activities, along with the evaluation parameters, the education department has failed to provide the basic requisites to ensure the implementation of these.

“As per guidelines, we will have to evaluate students according to their performance in co-curricular activities. We do not have a playground, sports equipment and are never made to participate in any thing so how can we conduct any such activity? We will be left with no alternative but to give grades just for the sake of it,” said a principal of a rural school.

“We need to assess living skills and behavioural patterns of a student but with a student-teacher ratio of about 1: 60 do you think it’s feasible? The board should have assessed the condition of schools before recommending such utopian concepts,” questioned another.

The board, however, has a different opinion, as regional director DR Yadav said,” The evaluation system has been drawn to change the facet of education. It is a roadmap to define the requisites of quality education. The onus to provide relevant facilities lies with the local education authorities.”

Recommended co-scholastic parameters of evaluation

  • Thinking, social, emotional skills
  • Attitude towards teachers, schoolmates, programmes, environment
  • Literary creative skills, scientific skills, aesthetic skills and performing art
  • Clubs (eco, health, etc.)
  • Indigenous sports (kho-kho)
  • Scouting and guiding
  • Swimming
  • Gymnastics
  • Yoga
  • Gardening 



Advancement in footprint research
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Dr Kewal Krishan, assistant professor at department of anthropology, Panjab University, delivered a lecture in the International Association for Identification’s (IAI) annual International Educational Conference held from July 11-17 in Spokane, Washington.

Dr Krishan has conducted footprint research on Gujjars of North India. He discussed the issues related to the usefulness of footprints in criminal investigation.

He said that he had devised some of the new individualistic characteristics of the footprints that could be used in tracking criminals. He further discussed interpretation and analysis of establishing relationship of body weight with footprints in criminal cases pertaining to rivalries, homicides, sexual offences especially robberies, thefts, shoplifting, dacoity etc. where the person lifts the bags or gunny bags full of some material and leaves the footprints at crime site.



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