C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Callous attitude of cops, hospital to fore
Cyclist hit by scooter succumbs to injuries
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The death of a 60-year-old man riding a bicycle, who was seriously injured in a road accident yesterday, once again revealed the manner in which the police and hospitals function in dealing with such incidents.

Narrating the ordeal, the victim’s son Karfew Singh told TNS that the doctors treating his father told him around 4.30 pm that his father Sukhal Praja Pati had died. The police was informed and a woman police officer came to inquire about the death. She found his father was breathing and when the doctors were informed about the matter, they put him on artificial respiratory system, and kept him unattended for hours in an isolated corner in the emergency ward. Till late night, the listless body of his father kept lying there, with the doctors waiting for a neuro-surgeon to declare the status of his father’s condition, as other doctors were saying informally that he had died.

The investigating officers, instead of recording the statement of the victim’s son at the PGI where his father was battling for his life, took him to the Palsora police post.

Sukhal Praja Pati, who ran a roadside eating joint in front of the PGI, died at PGI today after battling for his life for 24 hours. He was critically injured after he was hit by a scooter (registration no: PB 65J 1465) being driven by a woman on the road dividing Sectors 55 and 56 on Monday evening. The accident occurred near his home in Sector 56.

The police’s action is in contradiction with the Supreme Court’s observation in a 1989 criminal writ petition. The court had said: “Treatment of an (accident) victim should not be delayed till the police arrives at the accident scene or till legal formalities are completed. All hospitals and doctors are required to provide immediate medical aid in all cases, whether medico-legal or not”.

In this case the account of events narrated by the deceased’s son, Kerfew Nath, on whose complaint the police filed a case of rash and negligent driving, pointed toward the “callous” attitude of the cops. The investigating officers took him from PGI, where he was looking after his critically injured father, to the Palsora police post to record his statement.

“Though doctors had just conducted a CT scan on my father, the cops told me to immediately accompany them to the police post. I had to leave my critically injured father in the care of my relatives”, Nath told TNS.

The victim kept on bleeding profusely throughout the night which, coupled with a severe head injury, eventually snuffed out his life.

Nath further claimed following the mishap some onlookers had prevented the scooterist who had knocked down his father from fleeing the scene and even handed him over to the cops. “The police, on the other hand, said the woman fled from the accident scene”, he added.

“I was following my father on a scooter when the accident occurred at around 5 pm. A recklessly driven scooter rammed into my father’s bicycle from the rear, following which he fell down on the road. He suffered severe head injuries beside other multiple injuries. He began bleeding profusely and the police was immediately informed about the incident”, Nath stated.

A PCR ambulance rushed his father to the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16 where, judging the seriousness of his condition, the doctors referred him to PGI.

The victim died at PGI around 4:30 pm today. He is survived by his wife, a son and four daughters. Two of his daughters are unmarried while his 24-year-old son is working as an electrician. Before starting his roadside eating joint Pati was pulling a rickshaw to earn a living.

Sector 39 police station SHO inspector Janak Rana said the female scooterist, identified as Payal, 18, a resident of Sector 2 in Mundi Kharar, was arrested. However, she was later released on bail.



Court orders status quo
Land acquisition for Mullanpur residential urban estate
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Nearly four months after a notification was issued under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act declaring that approximately 420 acres in Mohali district were required for the Mullanpur residential urban estate, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the maintenance of status quo.

It means the existing situation will continue, and the residents putting up in the area will not be displaced. The directions by the Division Bench of Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice Augustine George Masih came on a petition filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Chopra by 121 residents of Mullanpur and adjoining villages.

They had claimed that the notifications for acquiring land in Mullanpur, Ratwara, Ferozepur, Bharonjian and Devinagar villages were “illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional and against the policy of the Government of India”.

In their petitions, the residents asked for quashing the notification dated November 10, 2009, issued under Section 4 for acquiring 447.34 acres for “alleged public purpose of establishing a residential urban estate in Mohali district”; and notification dated May 10 issued under Section 6 declaring that 419.95 acres was needed for the urban estate.

Directions were also sought for quashing notification issued in December 2008 by the State of Punjab, vide which the final master plan for Mullanpur was notified.

The petitioners contended: “It is an open secret that the State of Punjab is going through a phase of financial crises and, as such, amidst such a situation, the capacity and credibility of the state government to execute a project of such a mega stature becomes highly doubtful”.

They added due to “close proximity to the Union Territory, Chandigarh, and its location, the land sought to be acquired at present is having a market value of Rs 10 crore per acre. Accordingly, the acquisition of more than 419 acres, apart from putting unbearable burden on the state exchequer, may bring the state government on the verge of bankruptcy and, thus, would be opposed to the public interest and policy”.

They further added: “The project of such a kind was bound to linger on for many years, especially keeping in view the circumstances and the crises through which the state government is passing. In fact, the government wants to kill two birds with one stone in as much as on one side, the petitioners and other land owners are sought to be dispossessed of their valuable land without paying the actual price of the same and thereby deprive them of their only source of income and on the other side, the companies are sought to be helped to take full advantage at the cost of the petitioners-landowners”.



Rape victim’s granny moves court for abortion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
While the UT administration is yet to take a decision on whether to allow medical termination of pregnancy of a 13-year-old girl who was allegedly raped, the latter’s grandmother has moved an application in the court of additional chief judicial magistrate Anshul Berry requesting the court to direct the police to have the abortion conducted. The girl was an inmate of Snehalaya, a home for destitute children in the city.

The court has now issued a notice to the administration for filing a reply to plea. The victim’s grandmother, Laxmi, also sought the court’s permission for preservation of the aborted child’s foetus to conduct a DNA test on the rape suspect.

Submitting the application, counsel Raj Kishore stated in the petition that Laxmi was the victim’s “natural guardian”. It was further stated that the petitioner was a poor woman and, as she had virtually no financial resources, she was unable to take care of the victim as well as the latter’s minor brother.

Laxmi further stated in the application she was suffering from various ailments and her financial condition was not sound enough to have the abortion conducted on the victim on her own.

The application further said the victim was not physically fit to deliver a child as she was a minor, and if the foetus would not be aborted in 20 weeks from the date of pregnancy then it would be harmful for the health of both the victim and her baby.

The matter came to light when the victim returned to Snehalaya from her grandmother’s home in Bapu Dham Colony. A medical examination was conducted and she was found three months’ pregnant. The police later arrested one Om Prakash, the son of the Laxmi’s landlord, on August 31.


Sept 1: Suspect Om Prakash booked for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl, an inmate of Snehalaya

Sept 2: Prakash remanded to judicial custody

Sept 7: Victim’s grandmother moves application in district court requesting medical termination of victim’s pregnancy



Close call for AI passengers at city airport
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The 153 passengers aboard the Air India Mumbai-Delhi-Chandigarh flight narrowly escaped a disaster at the city’s airport today when an eagle got entangled in the front undercarriage of the aircraft that had landed safely earlier and was taxiing towards the terminal building. However, none of the passengers was hurt.

Eyewitnesses said the bird apparently came under the front wheel after the plane had slowed down and was about to stop. But once the bird got caught up in the wheel it damaged some of the wires on it, preventing the plane from moving further. The passengers had to wait before the plane had to be towed towards the terminal before they could alight.

The plane could not take off for the return flight as it would take some time to fix its front undercarriage.

Comedian Jaspal Bhatti, who was also on the plane, told The Tribune none of the passengers became panicky about what had happened to the plane as it had already landed safely.

“However they had put up with the inconvenience of having to remain seated in the plane for over half an hour. The plane’s engines were also reportedly shut down”, he added.

Sources close to the airline said the aircraft could not take off for on its return journey to Delhi-Mumbai due to a technical snag. “The bird's blood got splattered on the plane's front wheel”, they added.



Hoax caller tracked
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 7
After two days of effort, cops of the police control room (PCR) today finally tracked down the hoax bomb caller, Pawan Pandey, a resident of Badmajra village.

He had made the call at the PCR from a stolen mobile handset and had used a SIM card issued from Bihar.

The caller was tracked down after he made some calls to her Patiala-based relative. A few days ago Pandey, who seems to mentally disturbed, had come from his native place in Bihar. Soon after coming, he suffered a fit and was admitted to the Government Multi Specialty Hopsital (GMSH), Sector 16. At the hospital, he stole the mobile handset of Vinod Kumar, who was attending on his wife there.

Using the SIM card, issued in the name of his Darbanga-based sister who works with Tata, he made the call to the PCR.

On September 5, he had made the call to the PCR, threatening to blow up Balongi, Badmajra and Mohali, as the police had “implicated” his brother in a false case. Pandey is not employed and is said to be dependent on his family. Today also he suffered fits and was admitted to the Government Civil Hospital in Phase 6 here.



Auto dealer in soup for selling old car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The police has booked the deputy general manager (DGM) and two sales executives of Lally Automobiles in Industrial Area, Phase I, on the charges of selling an old accidental Honda City car to a Sector 56-based woman.

Sources in the economic offences wing of the Chandigarh Police said a case of cheating forgery and criminal conspiracy had been registered against Manoj Kaushal and two sales executives, Tariq Khan and Arvind, of Lally Automobiles Private Limited following a complaint by Kamaljit Kaur, a resident of Sector 56, in May this year.

The police said Kamaljit had alleged that she had purchased a Honda City car on October 31, 2009, from the auto dealer for Rs 8 lakh. It was later found that the auto dealer deliberately delivered an old accidental car of February 2009 model.

The cheating was detected on April 21 2010 when the engine oil of the car began leaking and the car was taken for repair to the auto dealer’s service station. When the work manager put the details of the vehicle on the computer, they were shocked to realise that the car was manufactured in February 2009. The record further showed that the car had met with two accidents in April and October last year.

The further scrutiny of records indicated that the auto dealer had availed an insurance claim of over Rs 48,000 for repairing the vehicle. Kamaljit, along with her husband Davinder Singh, confronted the auto dealer asking him to either refund their money or give them a new car, but the latter refused to budge.

Davinder Singh claimed that in an attempt to amicably sort out the issue, the auto dealer emailed him and offered to refund him Rs 7.4 lakh, which he refused demanding full refund of a brand new car. Davinder said he also approached the Honda company which also refused to entertain his complaint. Sources said a local court had directed the police to give a three-day notice prior to the arrest of the accused.



MC asks GMADA to channelise N-choe
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 7
The Municipal Council here has demanded that the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) should channelise the N-choe before handing it over to the civic body for maintenance as the council is short of funds and also lacks adequate infrastructure.

The choe passing through various parts of the town was cleaned by GMADA after The Tribune carried out a campaign highlighting the issue. A sum of Rs 20 lakh was spent on cleaning the choe about three months ago after which the civic body was asked to take over the maintenance work.

Though the council is reluctant to take over the responsibility, the issue will be taken up for discussion in the general house at a meeting to be held this month.

According to an official of the engineering wing of the council, GMADA had called a meeting on May 28, 2009, where the civic body was asked whether it could take over the work of cleaning the choe or not. It was brought to the notice of the GMADA authorities that the council did not have funds or proper infrastructure to take over the responsibility.

On June 29 this year, GMADA sent a letter to the council saying the choe had been cleaned and the responsibility of keeping it clean was that of the civic body.

The council demanded that GMADA should channelise the choe so that the problem of wild growth did not arise.

GMADA officials, however, said choe had already been channelised and the problem of wild growth was due to the accumulation of mud.


Strike halts life in city
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The one-day strike by various trade unions against price rise and privatisation hit normal life in several parts of the city with transport services being severely affected.

Commuters had a harrowing time as buses of the state-run transport corporations, including the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) and the Punjab Roadways, remained off road for the major part of the day.

Both the short and long distance travellers were at the receiving end of as workers of various trade unions staged noisy protests at several places in support of their demands.

Banking services in the tricity were partially hit. Since the strike was limited only to workers and not bank officials, the major impact was on clearing of cheques. Since employees of the State Bank of India refrained from participating in this strike, it was only in a few banks, including the Oriental Bank of Commerce, the Punjab and Sind Bank and the Central Bank, that the impact of strike was visible.

The power supply was normal even as the electricity workers organised several rallies. However, not even a single complaint of maintenance and repair work was attended to during the strike. In the morning, members of the UT Powermen assembled outside their offices and marched towards Sector 18 where a joint rally was organised.

The protesting workers criticised the Central government for its complete failure to control price rise and adopting “anti-employees” and “anti-people policies. They blamed that these policies were being implemented under the pressure of the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO to please the capitalists and monopolists.

Privatisation, outsourcing and contract system are product of these policies. The workers demanded pension scheme, implementation of labour laws, right to strike, compulsory recognitions of unions, national wage policies for electricity workers, implementation of the Social Security Act and fixation of minimum wage of Rs 10,000 for semi-skilled workers.

Meanwhile, the principle of “no work no pay” shall be strictly enforced against the striking employees, official sources added.



No work at Central govt offices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Work in various Central government offices and some public sector banks across the city was hit as hundreds of employees joined the one-day nationwide strike called by trade unions to protest against price rise.

Though most residents of the city were aware of the strike, some, who landed up at the public dealing counters of the Central government offices, including the BSNL, had to return disappointed as the strike was virtually complete. People complained that their calls were not attended at the BSNL office.

“We have totally boycotted the work. The Central government must amend its economic policies that is adversely affecting the common man,” Amarjeet Singh, convener of the Joint Action Committee.

“All our 800 employees are on strike. Though we admit that the strike has caused problems, it was necessary to project the resentment against the government for its wrong economic policies,” said Rajiv Sehgal, general secretary of Northern Zone Employees’ Association, Chandigarh division.

Talking to The Tribune, Surinder Pal, general secretary of Coordination Committee of the Central Government Employees’ and state workers, said that all the employees of Central government departments boycotted their work and held demonstrations against their demands.

Addressing the protesters, Bal Krishan, president of Central of Indian Trade Union, said: “The strike was impressive indication of the growing discontent of the Central government employees over the neo-liberal economic policies, which has threatened the job security of the workers.”



Laser fountain
High cost irks councillors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
A delegation of the BJP-SAD and nominated councillors of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today submitted a complaint to the UT Home Secretary against the MC authorities for spending crores on the installation of a mega laser fountain in Sector 17.

The councillors urged the Home Secretary to intervene in the matter and instruct the MC authorities to form an all-party forum with independent experts to review the project.

Referring to a similar project of a laser fountain in Kerala, the councillors said it was installed at a cost of Rs 45 lakh only. They also questioned the MC authorities on the exorbitant cost - Rs 3.75 crore - for setting up the laser fountain.

The letter also stated that similar projects were being executed on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis in Tamil Nadu. They alleged that the terms and conditions drafted for the laser fountain were designed in to favour a particular company.

The councillors suggested the Home Secretary to send a study tour to South, particularly to those states where such laser fountains were installed at a low cost.

They alleged that the ruling party had approved the agenda in the House without tabling any details. They said that earlier a resolution was passed that a demo of the project would be shown to all the councillors before giving approval to the project, but the project was approved in a hush-hush manner.

They also informed the Home Secretary that in the last month’s General House meeting of the MC, the Mayor had told the House that the Home Secretary had objected to the formation of an all-party committee on this issue.



Vehicle registration a tall task for residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Contrary to its claims of speedy delivery of documents pertaining to registration of vehicles, the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) seems to be on sticky ground as applicants are forced to go empty handed.

The situation is bad for those residing in the southern sectors who have to collect their documents from the office of the SDM (South) in Sector 42. It can take anything between two weeks to even a month to get a registration certificate of a new private vehicle.

“I have submitted my file with all documents about three weeks back. The physical verification of my car has also been done. I was told to come on September 3. When I came to collect registration certificate (RC) of my vehicle, I was told to come some other day. This has happened twice,” rued a resident of Sector 41.

This is not the lone case. Everyday, on an average, there are at least two complaints, but officials have their own reasons to give. “We have recently introduced a new software and these are initial problems. We will take care of these delays in future. More counters are in the offing which would enable the department to dispose of files quickly,” said a senior official at the RLA.



Sector welfare body takes MC to task
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) at its meeting here on Sunday expressed its serious concern for the improper functioning of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) as a service provider.

The engineering wing of the MCC, instead of utilising the budgetary allocation to address various problems of the residents, has deposited the unutilised money in the fixed deposit to the extent of Rs 400 crore. The members also rued the decision of the MCC to increase the water tariff to the extent of 30 per cent without augmentation of the water supply to meet the demand of the residents.

The FOSWAC reiterated its earlier demand for starting a crusade against rising cases of corruption, malpractices, adulteration, especially in priority sectors like health and education. As is evident from the report of Comptroller and Auditor General and cases highlighted by the media, the city has become a hub of scams in the light of several serious irregularities detected in renting out chemist shops, canteen, telephone booths and releasing money to NGOs by Director Health Services, equipment, non realization of full money for conversion of land use of industrial sites into commercial activities in industrial area by the Estate Office, irregularities found in the recruitment of teachers by the Education Department , purchase of gymnasium apparatus by the Director (Sports) office and serious cases of irregularities and corruption detected by the CBI in the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration and MCC.

The meeting urged the UT Administrator for appointment of a Lokpal/Lokayukata, bringing the Anti Corruption Act on the pattern of Bihar Special Courts Bill, 2009, forming fast track courts and strengthening the Anti-Corruption Wing and Prosecution Agency of the Administration to tackle the menace of corruption.

The members reiterated their demands to stop the mushrooming of unauthorised colonies in the city and to give a fresh look to the rehabilitation policy to discourage the illegal migration and squatting of more families in the city.



Police Complaints Authority runs into rough weather
AA Siddiqui, a former DGP of Punjab, has expressed his unwillingness to be member of the authority
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The nascent Police Complaints Authority (PCA), aimed at creating a grievance redress system against police high-handedness for the general public, has run into rough weather.

With one of the members of the PCA, AA Siddiqui, a former DGP of Punjab, expressing his unwillingness to be member of the authority, the administration will have to hunt for another suitable candidate to make it work effectively.

Siddiqui had reportedly cited current professional engagements for his decision not to be member of the PCA. On June 23, the UT Home Secretary, through a notification, had constituted the PCA, with Justice NK Aggarwal as chairman and AA Siddiqui and Joyshri Lobo as members for a tenure of three years.

Sources,however, claimed that the conditions imposed for membership such as “the chairperson and members of the PCA shall not engage during their terms in the office in any paid employment outside the duties of the office without permission of the UT Administrator” were largely to be blamed for Siddiqui’s decision.

The Centre had decided to set up PCAs in all union territories to look into allegations of serious misconduct such as death in police custody, grievous hurt, rape or attempt to rape, arrest without due process of law, extortion and land grabbing and house grabbing. It was taken in pursuance of the Supreme Court judgement dated September 22, 2006, on a writ petition filed by former Border Security Force chief Prakash Singh.

Since Chandigarh does not have its own human rights commission and human rights violation complaints are forwarded to the National Human Rights Commission, the PCA was expected to go a long way in redressing grievances of residents.

In the absence of an effective grievance redress system in the police force, the number of complaints against policemen had been on the upswing. A substantial number of aggrieved persons fight shy of complaining to senior police officials for fear of being victimised.



Retired police officials honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Chandigarh Police today organised a welfare function at the multipurpose hall in Police Lines, Sector 26, to honour retired police officials.

UT IGP PK Srivastava handed over the payments, including leave encashment, GPF and welfare fund, to retirees and also awarded them with class-1 commendation certificate along with cash.

During the function, seven policemen, including inspector Sucha Singh of the security wing, head constable Dalbir Singh of the security wing, head constable Dilawar Singh of the PCR, lady constable Sudarshana, constable Tarun Mandal of the ITBP, volunteers Subhash Chander and Suresh Kumar were also awarded with class- I commendation certificate along with cash reward for their work.



Labour Strike
Commuters a harassed lot
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 7
In response to the nationwide labour strike called by various trade unions, banks and employees of the electricity board observed a complete strike here today.

Not even a single bus operated from the local bus stand causing harassment to hundreds of commuters, who were left stranded throughout the day. However, autos and maxi cabs had a field day, as they charged exorbitant rates from passengers. The situation was quite similar in Kalka and other depots as well in the district depot, as the employees observed the complete strike.

Rajni Bhat, a resident of Sector 11, said she had to hire an auto for Chandigarh in the absence of the bus service and they charged Rs 150. Earlier they used to charge Rs 90 only, but due to the strike they had also increased their rates.

Rakesh Garg, an engineering student of Barwala college, said due to the strike of buses, he hired a maxi cab from Majri Chowk in Panchkula, which charged Rs 70, whereas he used to pay only Rs 10.

The public sector banks also observed the strike. ATMs of various banks were non-functional in the city and the people could not withdraw money. However, the private banks worked as usual.

The members of the powermen union also went on the strike protesting against the privatisation of the electricity board. The agitating members said the state government was ignoring interests of the board employees.



Order on Attachment
High drama at LAC office in GMADA
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 7
High drama prevailed at the office of the Land Acquisition Collector (LAC) of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) when an evacuee, Raghbir Singh, got court orders for attachment of the official car of the LAC, 50 ceiling fans, 100 tables, 150 chairs, 10 air conditioners and other office furniture from Ropar Additional Session Judge after the collector failed to pay enhanced land compensation of Rs 32 lakh against the land in Mauli village acquired in 2001 from Sectors 76 to 80.

The officials got some relief when they requested Raghbir Singh to give them some days so that his dues could be cleared.

Despite repeated visits the LAC did not pay the enhanced compensation to the landowner. Around 9 kanal and 18 marla of his land was acquired against a compensation of Rs 8 lakh an acre.

Then the compensation was enhanced to Rs 12 lakh an acre. Later, the high court increased the compensation to Rs 19 lakh an acre. The enhanced compensation and interest amount increased the amount to Rs 32 lakh. Raghbir Singh said officials in the LAC office kept on harassing him and thus he was forced him to approach the court.



Hawala Money Case
IT dept to probe
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 7
A day after the Punjab excise department seized hawala money worth Rs 35 lakh, the case has been handed over to the investigation wing of the income tax department.

An official of the income tax department today visited Mohali to probe the matter. The hawala money has also been handed over to the income tax department.

Excise inspector Harjot Singh said the case fell under the purview of the income tax department. Dinesh Bhai, a resident of Gujarat, who had sent the hawala money, has been asked to explain the source of money.

Last evening, money was seized at a naka near the Phase I barrier here. The excise department had laid the naka for checking smuggling of liquor from Chandigarh.

Two passengers in an auto-rickshaw were found in the possession of a bag containing money.

They were identified as Chetan and Jagnesh, both residents of Gujarat, were going to deliver the hawala money to a contact. They said they were working for Dinesh Bhai.



Recruitment of constables
3,000 turn up for physical test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
As many as 3,000 aspiring constables yesterday turned up for the physical ability test at the Police Lines, Sector 26, to fill 1,200 posts in the Chandigarh Police.

The physical tests included 1,600m race, long jump, high jump and height-chest measurements.

The police said 70 per cent attendance was witnessed on the first day, as around 96,000 candidates had applied for the 1,200 posts.

The police has increased the time duration for males in the 1,600m race. The 1,200 posts include 370 for women. The physical tests will be followed by written tests.



World Nutrition Week
Healthy food items on display
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 7
As part of the World Nutrition Week (September 1-7), an exhibition on various nutritious foods was inaugurated by Ashish Bhatia, regional director, Fortis Healthcare here yesterday.

Enthusiastic response from the public was seen at the exhibition. Apart from stall where dietetics department of Fortis gave free consultations, other stalls included fresh fruits and vegetables. Special offers were available on products at a number of stalls.

Earlier, as part of the World Nutrition Week, a health seminar on “Healthy Eating” was conducted. A quiz on healthy diet was also held on Teacher’s Day.



BSNL extends free SIM scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Punjab circle, has extended the promotional scheme for their mobile subscribers.

According to BSNL official, the free SIM scheme, in which customers were given 2G SIM free of cost, has been extended up to September 30. SIM card will be available at all sale outlets of BSNL, including customer care centres, franchisees, and retailers.

Besides, special scheme of recharge of Rs 110 having talk time of Rs 100 with validity of 365 days and 180 days for lifetime has also been extended up to September 15.



800 examined at health camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
On the occasion of the insurance week celebrations, Life Insurance Company of India, Chandigarh division, held a free health check-up camp at Government High School, Sector 25, here yesterday.

The camp was inaugurated by Raghupal Singh, senior divisional manager, and Sudesh Mittal, head mistress, on the school premises.

The camp evoked tremendous response from about 800 schoolchildren. The children were thoroughly examined and advised treatment by specialists.



Recruitment of SSA teachers outsourced to PU
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
With discrepancies lately having become an inseparable part of all its recruitment drives, the UT Education Department has entrusted the latest recruitment of SSA teachers to Panjab University.

The university has not only conducted the written examination but will also be declaring the final merit list. The entire process is being video graphed and the involvement of UT Education Department is minimalist.

Despite its best efforts, the Education Department failed to ensure transparency in its recently held recruitment drives where several non-meritorious candidates were selected instead of deserving ones. Though the department constituted committees and solved all issues but it was left red faced every time. Finally, having decided against devising any new measures the recruitment has been outsourced to the university.

“We just wanted the entire process to be fair. Soon after the declaration of these posts, all department officials were thronged with recommendations. In the past, several discrepancies have been raised on recruitment process and even the dealing officials. We wanted to put an end to all this and so chose an independent agency. The process has been duly recorded to rule out any doubts,” claimed a senior official of the UT Education Department.

“Yes the work has been entrusted to PU. The selections will be made on basis of written exam and there will be no interview. Though the department is not intervening in the process but still it cannot be termed as fallout of any former discrepancy,” claimed DPI (S) PK Sharma.

His claims though come under scanner with the very fact that none of the department official was involved at any stage of recruitment.

Surprisingly the task of ‘keeping an eye’ on final stages of the process was forwarded to Director Higher education Ajoy Sharma who visited the university today.

It may be noted that despite of the Education Department’s desperate efforts to ensure transparency in its recent recruitment drives several discrepancies were reported.



PUTA demands faculty grievances cell
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
In its first demand charter after elections, Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) requested the Vice-Chancellor to create a faculty grievances cell.

At a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti, on Monday, Jaspal Kaur Kaang, PUTA president, urged the Vice-Chancellor to “give re-employment to all the teachers without any pre-conditions.”

The issue of release of remaining arrears was discussed and the Vice-Chancellor was assured that arrears would be released soon. Other issues that were raised by the PUTA president included proper parking space and infrastructure in the PU dental college, promotion scheme for library staff, computer programmers, system managers and dental faculty were also discussed and Vice-Chancellor promised to look into the matter.

Issue of improvement of “Crèche facilities for wards of the Panjab University Employees was also discussed and he agreed to take up the matter with the department concerned.

According to the PUTA members, the Vice-Chancellor promised PUTA that all teaching posts advertised earlier would be filled on priority basis.

Forms and guidelines for new Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) would be finalised soon and interviews for the promotions would be held. He promised that all teachers whose CAS interviews were already over would not be demoted or re-interviewed. Their selection letters would be issued after completion of paper formalities. Maintenance of campus and in particular the south campus was taken up and the Vice-Chancellor said road carpeting would be taken up soon after the monsoon and a new “Modern Children Park” would be set up in Sector 25.



Healthcare mela by PU students

Chandigarh, September 7
Postgraduate students of public health, Institute of Emerging Areas in Science and Technology, Panjab University, organised a “Healthcare mela” at Radhakrishan Sidh Mandir.

Vijay Lakshmi Sharma, co-ordinator, Centre for Public Health, along with faculty members and a team of 35 doctors from various disciplines made this initiative a success. — TNS



1,500 shortlisted for minority scholarship scheme
Last year’s candidates still await benefits
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The UT education department has shortlisted around 1,500 candidates for the Central government’s minority scholarship scheme, notwithstanding the fact that the last year candidates are yet to reap the benefits.

The scholarship scheme, floated last year by the Government of India, was meant to identify the students from classes I to X, who belong to the minority community and have scored above 50 per cent in their terminal examination.

The candidates were supposed to receive Rs 1,000 in addition to the free education. The UT education department had shortlisted 2,027 candidates, out of 3,200 applications received last year.

Though the list was forwarded to the Central government, no funds or scholarship money has been received till date.

Despite the fact that the department has once again called for the applications for the year 2010-2011 and out of 3,013 applicants, 1,539 have been shortlisted, destiny of whose benefits are still under doubt.

“We can’t do much about it. The funds are supposed to come from the Centre to the director, social welfare, from where they will be forwarded to us. The funds did not arrive last year, but we have been asked to re-list the candidates, so we have done it,” said a senior official of the UT education department.

Meanwhile, the scheme has been modified a bit. While earlier the scholarship money used to be handed over directly to the student, it will now be transferred to the bank accounts to be opened by the department.

“We will be opening the bank accounts of the students concerned. Rs 1,000 will be deposited every month in it. The process of opening the accounts will be started soon,” informed an official.



‘Varsity erroneously calculated administrative experience of candidates’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The recruitment of assistant registrars at Panjab University has now caught the attention of a local RTI activist, RK Singla, who claims that the administrative experience of two candidates was erroneously calculated by the university.

Even as university officials are unwilling to comment on any RTI sought by him, claiming it to be just a gimmick to seek favours, he says following his RTI appeal, the university postponed the interviews for the posts of deputy registrar, which were slated for August 21.

The activist claimed that the selections made by the university were for three vacancies of assistant registrar on the basis of the interviews conducted on August 20, but in these, there is a flaw in the required qualification and experience of at least two selected candidates.

He also claimed that of the three candidates selected through an all-India advertisement, two happen to be from within the university and the third, a stenographer grade C, hails from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali.

Singla claims that he has no other experience except that of a stenographer, which has been presented as the “administrative experience” in his application form. Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti was not available for his comments on the issue.



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