C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City keen on heritage status, but doesn’t have list
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Renowned foreign auction houses have raked in millions through the auction of Chandigarh’s “heritage” items in the recent years. However, back home, confusion reigns supreme about what constitutes heritage as the UT Administration does not have an official list of heritage items.

Though it had made feeble attempts to stop the recent auctions by Bonhams and Artcurial, efforts to have a well-defined list of heritage items have come to a naught, giving a blow to Chandigarh’s claims for getting UNESCO’s world heritage status.

“The outcry about Chandigarh’s heritage being auctioned abroad is absurd. Broken furniture or moulds for bas-relief sculptures or any other item must have found its way to auction houses abroad when it was disposed of unwittingly by the bureaucracy and it certainly cannot be classified as city’s heritage,” Dr SS Bhatti, a former principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, claimed.

At the receiving end of the media criticism in the backdrop of the February 16 auction, the UT Administration had constituted a committee under Chief Architect Sumit Kaur to document the city’s heritage. However, the committee is yet finalise the
list, though Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar claimed that the list would be presented by the committee at its next meeting.

Recently, three furniture pieces designed by Chandigarh creator Le Corbusier’s cousin Pierre Jeanneret had fetched £10,560 at Bonhams auction, reviving concerns about the sale of Chandigarh’s heritage abroad. Earlier, a library table made of teak designed by Pierre Jeanneret had sold for $144,000; a manhole cover was sold for $21,600 and a painted cedar and teak drawing table was auctioned for $156,000.

Dr Bhatti claimed that nobody had bothered to define what constituted Chandigarh’s heritage. It was only recently that the ministry of home affairs had also constituted a committee to suggest ways to identify and preserve Chandigarh’s heritage. At a meeting with the Administrator, the committee advocated a holistic approach by treating Chandigarh as a single unit for the preservation of its heritage.

The administration had formed three groups for the task of suggesting a comprehensive plan of action for heritage preservation.

While one group was entrusted with the task of identifying heritage buildings and suggest steps for their preservation, another group was to suggest measures to preserve the buildings in a scientific manner. The third group was to suggest steps to be taken in cases of violations and suggest a legislative mechanism to deal with this.



Charles, Camilla to visit city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh\Fatehgarh Sahib, October 1
The UK royal couple, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Bowles Parker, will be visiting the city and its neighbouring areas on October 4.

While Prince Charles will be visiting Fatehgarh Sahib, Camilla is expected to visit the Society for Rehabilitation of the Mentally Challenged (SOREM), besides a couple of other institutions.

Promilla Chandermohan, president of SOREM, said: “She is coming on a personal visit and no formal function will be organised on the occasion.”

Prince Charles is expected to arrive at Hansali village in Fatehgarh Sahib on October 4. Sources said this would be his second visit to Fatehgarh Sahib. He had visited Bhatmajra village of the district in 2006. He had given tips on organic farming and was keen to meet villagers.



Admn transfers key depts to MC
Pradeep Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, October 1
The Chandigarh Administration today formally empowered the MC by issuing a notification for the transfer of key departments to the civic body.

The transfer of important departments, including primary education, primary healthcare, roads, open spaces and all gardens to the MC is going to be a double-edged sword for the Congress-dominated corporation.

While the Congress would like to showcase it as a “major achievement” ahead of the MC elections next year, acute shortage of staff could pose a challenge to come to the expectations of people. Also, recruitment, specially for departments of health, education and horticulture, is not going to be a smooth affair in the backdrop of the infighting among councillors and officials.

On the flip side, the cash-rich MC does not have to worry about resources in the wake of the administration proposing to transfer financial powers to it. However, the creation of the infrastructure and maintenance of the existing infrastructure is going to be an uphill task.

Meanwhile, the Administration has decided to provide temporary relief to the MC faced with staff shortage. Till March 31, 2011, the MC can avail off the services of the existing administration staff.



Drug Racket
Charges framed against Saji Mohan
Tribune News Service

Saji Mohan, NCB ex-Director
Saji Mohan, NCB ex-Director 

Chandigarh, October 1
Additional District and Sessions Judge Lalit Batra today framed charges against former NCB Director Saji Mohan for pilfering, transporting and possessing drugs. After much speculation on when the controversial IPS officer will depose before the court, he was brought here from Central Jail in Mumbai today.

The court also framed charges against Balwinder Singh, who was the NCB superintendent, J&K Police constables Davinder Pal Singh and Naveen Kumar and a drug peddler, Naseeb Chand. The case was registered against them in 2009. The charges were framed against Saji Mohan under Sections 8, 21, 29, 32-B, 59 (1) and 59 (2) (b) of the NDPS Act.

The court framed charges against Balwinder Singh, Davinder Pal Singh, Naveen Kumar and Naseeb Chand under Sections 8, 21 and 29 of the Act. As per the chargesheet, the then Zonal Director of the NCB had pilfered a 30-kg contraband in 2008 in an unclaimed seizure at the Jammu zonal unit with help of Devinder Singh and Naveen Kumar and also from 13 other unclaimed seizures without any order or authority.

As per the allegations, Saji Mohan mixed slaked lime in the drugs, keeping aside the pure drug for his personal gain.


Davinder Pal Singh disclosed that 30-kg heroin was misappropriated on the direction of Saji Mohan. The heroin was packed in 30 packets in a wooden box and put in a vehicle of the IPS officer. He was given Rs 5,000 as reward by the officer.

Naveen Kumar, attached with the J&K Police, visited Mumbai along with Saji Mohan in October 2008. Saji Mohan gave a bag to a person in a red car. He saw seized heroin in Saji’s office and had mixed lime in the drug. He was given Rs 10,000 by the officer.

Naseeb Chand, a drug peddler, disclosed that he knew Saji Mohan since May 2008. He met him in June 2008 at the NCB’s office, where he was offered Rs 50,000 per kg for the heroin and was given Rs 1,000 for daily expenses. Saji Mohan gave him 10 kg heroin for selling it in the open market, but Naseeb handed it over to customs and excise officials in Amritsar. Naseeb was given Rs 50,000 as reward.


Festival Rush
No room in West Bengal,  UP-bound trains
Railways fail to run special trains
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
With the Railways failing to run special trains from the city, passengers with travel plans to their native places in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal for Diwali and others intending to travel to Bihar for Chhath Puja celebrations are again at the receiving end.

As a result, most of the trains running on these routes either have a long waiting list or there is no room (no booking can be made even on waiting) in some other trains.

Information provided by the railway authorities indicates that in the UP-bound trains like the Unchahar Express and the Sadbhavna Express, the waiting list is more than 200 and 300, respectively. Similarly, the Kalka-Howrah Express has a waiting list of 180. The situation in trains on the Chandigarh-Mumbai and Chandigarh-Chennai route is no better. There is no room in the 2926 Chandigarh-Bandra Paschim Express, whereas the Chandigarh-Dibrugarh (5904) also has a waiting list of 45.

Enquiries made from the railway authorities revealed that no reservation was available in sleeper class in Lucknow-bound trains till November 10.

For the migrant population hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which has a sizeable presence in the city, getting railway reservation to visit their native places for the festivals has become difficult, if not impossible.

“As thousands of migrant workers are waiting to get reservation to visit their native places for the coming festive season, just two trains are inadequate. A majority of passengers will either have to cancel their trip or will have to make other travel plans, which is easier said than done," rued Virender Pandey, who was waiting at the reservation counter to book a ticket for Lucknow.

With no reservation available to intended destinations during the next four weeks, the staff at the reservation counter has to face huge rush and fury of frustrated people while there were reports of certain travel agents and touts offering berths and seats at a premium which were said to have been obtained through dummy booking long time back to make some easy money.

Senior railway officials said running special trains for festivals or other occasions to clear the rush was the prerogative of the Northern Railway headquarters and regular feedback was provided to the authorities on the expected increase in the number of passengers during this season.



Foreign delegates pledge peace in schools
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The sixth day of ongoing youth peace festival was marked by celebration of the spirit of Gandhi Jayanti as the foreign delegates pledged for peace in various city schools.

A new Peace Club at Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, Gurukul Global School, Government Model Senior School, Sector 8, and other nearby locations.

The theme for the day was prevention of AIDS and HIV. Not only various informative posters were put up on the college campus but even a lively forum was held on the topic in the form of quizzes and games.

The day advanced with a cricket tournament amongst various peace delegates, which was organised by the Women Cricket Association and the UT and State AIDS Control Society. Prominent amongst those who graced the evening includes Justice Rajesh Bindal, Dalbir Singh Dhillon, Chairman, Punjab School Education Board, and SK Setia, Additional Director, Census Department, Haryana.


Gandhi ideal to Meyer, Avinchey

Ever since childhood, they always wanted to serve the society and thus Gandhi came as an obvious ideal to Bernie Meyer and Donald Mac Avinchey who are in the city to attend the peace fest and are famous as American Gandhis, thanks to their dhoti look. Though the duo started reading about Gandhi out of curiosity but soon it became a way of life.

“I was impressed by the power of this fragile-looking man who not only aided in getting freedom for a million but actually devised a way of life. The idea of defeating anger and violence with non-violence summarises all schools of thought about ideal way of life,” asserted Meyer.

“His ways are very simple but if adopted in day to day life, they make you a marvellous human being. Following Gandhi is not preaching something but is a journey of self realisation” said Avinchey.



Non-violence day observed

A student dressed up as Mahatma Gandhi sits on a wall of St John's High School, Chandigarh, on the eve of World Anti-Poverty Day on Friday.
A student dressed up as Mahatma Gandhi sits on a wall of St John's High School, Chandigarh, on the eve of World Anti-Poverty Day on Friday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan 

Chandigarh: NSS units of Dev Samaj College of Education, observed the non -violence day on the eve of birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri. Faculty members and Students paid tributes to the great leaders. A charkha spinning competition was also organised to mark the day. Dr Jyoti Khanna, principal of the college, in her address requested the students to carry this rich legacy and heritage of the country.

Visit to Nepal embassy

Students of Golden Bells Public School, Sector 77, Mohali, along with two other schools visited the Embassy of Nepal and interacted with the Nepalese Ambassador Rukma Shumsher Rana. The trip which was organised by Athena Ventures, was aimed at apprising students about Nepal and its culture, tradition and relations with India.The visit concluded with the celebration of Punjab Day at Delhi Haat.


Kendriya Vidyalaya, OCF, Sector 29, witnessed the proceedings and rendered the podium for the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan Regional Level Science Exhibition. The theme of the exhibition was “ Science and Technology for Challenges in Life” with six sub-themes namely bio-diversity, green energy, transport and communication, community and health environment, mathematical modelling, agricultural technology. It showcased blend of new work and latest technologies.

Cleanliness drive

Senior students of Stepping Stones Senior Seccondary School, Sec 37D, have been celebrating the World Tourism week which continued till Friday. The UT Tourism Department allotted Sector 17 Shopping Complex to the school as a part of “Rashriye Dharohar Ke Rakhwale” programme. During the week long celebrations and a host of activities were being organised like conducting quizzes on the landmarks of Chandigarh, interacting with tourists, distributing pamphlets and posters. — TNS



BSNL starts auction of VIP numbers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The state-run telecom company, BSNL, has started auction of VIP and vanity cell phone numbers in Punjab circle today.

The auction will be open for their existing cellular pre-paid and post-paid customers till October 10. Mobile numbers being auctioned are available in five series - 9417, 9463, 9464, 9465 and 9478. The list of VIP/vanity cellular numbers of all series are available on the BSNL Punjab circle website. Choice numbers can also be searched through SMS by sending “LAST space 1 or 2 or up to 8 digit of the number” to 56666.

In order to bid, customers need to first register through SMS, a registration charge of Rs 2 + Rs 50 will be taken. For registration, intending bidder shall send SMS REGVAN10 digit mobile number (for which he/she wants to bid) to 56666.

According to officials, if customer’s bid is highest then it will be confirmed in the back SMS and bid below the minimum reserve price will not be accepted. A bidder can also withdraw or cancel his bid during the bidding period by making a request to call centre at 94171-94176. However, registration fee of Rs 50 will not be refunded to the bidder. 



18 senior citizens honoured
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, October 1
“Keeping up with the age-old social traditions, the youngsters hold the senior citizens in reverence and seek their blessings.” Observed Jagannath Pahadia, Haryana Governor, who was the chief guest at the International Senior Citizens Day celebration function held at GCG-11 here today.

Lauding the welfare activities undertaken by the members of the association, especially for the weak and deprived sections, Pahadia released the association seminar and honoured 18 senior citizens for their commendable contribution in respective fields.

Association president Brig. Keshav Chandra disclosed the month-long programmes and activities, which included six medical camps, two school functions, the walk for fun and a number of meetings of senior citizens. Nearly 400 citizens attended the function from the city and its neighbourhood.



GMSH staff wear black badges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Protesting over the indictment of their colleagues in the Bulbul case, members of the Joint Action Committee of Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH) wore lack badges today.

The members have also decided to hold a gate meeting next week if their grievances were not redressed. The protesters, including paramedical staff, security guards, ward attendants and sweepers, gathered in front of building housing the office of the Director, health services, at around 12 noon to show their resentment.

The administration was suppressing their agitation, they said, adding that a circular directing them not to use mobile phones while on duty was also not justified.

However, GMSH spokesman Dr MP Singh said none of the employees met the authorities in this regard.



85th Raising Day
‘MNS integral part of armed forces’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Military Nursing Service (MNS) celebrated its 85th Raising Day at Command Hospital, Chandimandir, today.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lt Gen MS Buttar, said that MNS was an integral part of the armed forces with an enduring ability to deliver effective nursing care to the sick and the wounded despite all constraints.

Officers of the MNS have not only served in India but have also played a vital role in the United Nations Peace Keeping Missions abroad by providing high standards of nursing care in the UN missions in Lebanon, Cambodia and Somalia.

The history of MNS, which comprises only women officers, dates back to March 28, 1888, with the arrival of the first batch of 10 qualified British nurses in Bombay, to organise nursing in military hospitals in India. Nurses were enrolled in India for the first time in 1914. On October 1 1926, a permanent nursing service for the Indian troops was formed and was designated as the India Military Nursing Service (IMNS).

The Indian Military Nursing Service was raised by an ordinance in September 1943. The members of the service become commissioned officers in the Military Nursing Service and the MNS stands out as one of the oldest services where women have contributed to provide service to the sick and wounded.



Amidst charges of delay in completion of projects
MC panel clears work worth Rs 2 cr
Aarti Kapur/TNS

Chandigarh, October 1
Even as a lot of hue and cry is being raised over inordinate delay in completion of projects approved by the house one year ago, councillors of the Chandigarh municipal corporation have been approving agendas worth over Rs 1 crore for various projects at monthly meetings of MC committees.

In the latest case, the road committee meeting approved agendas of over Rs 2 crore at its monthly meeting here today. Even during the road committee’s last monthly meeting, its members had approved development agendas worth over Rs 1 crore.

At a recent house meeting, it was decided to convene a special house meeting in which status report of pending projects had to be tabled by the authorities.

This came after a majority of councillors complained that works that were approved by the house around a year ago had not been allotted to the contractor or project had not been started by the contractor concerned.

Records of the corporation confirm that committee chairmen or members never monitor the status of works that they have approved at monthly meetings. It has become a practice for committees to approve agendas, leaving the rest to the house and officials for execution.

Nominated councillor Dr AP Sanwaria had recently stated in the house that out of the budget of Rs 400 crore approved by the house for development works for this year, only Rs 39 crore had been spent in the past six months. He had questioned the logic behind sanctioning fresh agendas when the authorities were unable to complete the work approved earlier.



Roshni honours special achievers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Roshni, a Rajpura-based NGO, celebrated Gandhi Jayanti by honouring lepers’ children and polio victims at the Nevedac Prosthetic Centre, Zirakpur, near here, today.

Dr VJS Vohra, a noted prosthetic consultant, honoured children who were doing nursing course and some polio victims who had become success stories through their hard work with the support of Roshni.

Roshni director Father Thomas, said saintly souls like Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi had one quality in common — they had great concern for the downtrodden, outcaste of society like lepers and disabled.

He said such programmes would continue throughout the year at different places to create awareness among general public.


The Society For Social Health (SOFOSH), Chandigarh, organised a programme at Saheli Angan, a centre for adolescent girls, to celebrate International Day for Older Persons.

Chandigarh social welfare board chairperson Lalit Joshi inaugurated the programme.

She said elderly people were being ignored due to the collaspe of joint family system. She advised young girls to benefit from the experiences of elderly people.

Elderly women along with guests took part in a Punjabi folk dance.

Society director Dr Nareshanand gave details of social welfare schemes for the elderly people and said their volunteers would facilitate them to pursue their pension cases with the social welfare department of the administration.

Earlier, Kamaljeet Saini, senior volunteer, welcomed the chief guest. Lalit Joshi later presented gifts to senior citizens prepared by girls of Saheli Angan.



Tourism Police launched again
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Can a project to facilitate tourists be launched twice in a span of about two years? The answer may be no, but the Chandigarh administration has performed this feat by launching the Tourism Police.

The Tourism Police which was launched by the then UT Administrator SF Rodrigues on the World Tourism Day on September 27, 2008, was again launched by UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas and IGP PK Srivastava - a development which only highlights of the dearth of ideas to promote tourism in the city.

The re-launching of the Tourism Police has put an official seal on the failure of the earlier police authorities. Under the earlier project, the Tourism Police underwent training at the Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management a few days back. The training programme sponsored by the Department of Tourism, Chandigarh administration, trained around 100 police personnel in four batches of 25 each.

The main objective of forming such tourism squad was to promote safe tourism in the city. Since Chandigarh is the epicentre of three states (Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh), such type of special squad was required for the city, it was claimed then.

However, in the last two years, effectiveness of the Tourism Police is anybody’s guess. In fact, like the other tourism promotion initiatives of the Chandigarh Police, nothing much was heard about the Tourism Police.

Surprisingly, today’s press note provides no new information about the special police than its earlier avatar. The Tourism Police can be identified with blue trousers and light blue jackets with the Tourism Police inscribed on it. It shall be stationed at vantage places and tourist spots like Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Shopping Plaza-17, railway station, airport, ISBT-17 and 43, it added.



Finance company told to pay compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed Vijay, branch head, UAE Exchange and Financial Services Ltd, to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation to the complainant.

The forum also directed the company to refund Rs 12,010 to the complainant.

The complainant, Pritam Kaur, a resident of Fatehgarh Sahib, stated that she wanted to visit her son who was staying in Italy.

So, she approached Star Immigration Consultant from Morinda, who arranged a return ticket for her for a sum of Rs 39,505. The said return ticket was confirmed for December 24, 2008. Due to some personal reasons, the complainant could not undertake the journey on December 24, 2008. Therefore, she approached UAE Exchange and Financial Services Ltd.

The officials of the company asked the complainant to deposit a sum of Rs 12,010 as re-booking charges. Finding no other alternative, the complainant deposited a sum of Rs 12,010/- with UAE Exchange Financial Services on December 18, 2008.

According to the complainant, officials of UAE Financial Services did not issue any receipt regarding payment of Rs 12,010 till January 21, 2009.

After the payment of Rs 12,010, another return ticket was issued to her for her journey on January 4, 2009. On January 4, 2009, she reached Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi at 9.50 am. Her departure card was also prepared on the same day. According to the complainant, when she was ready to board the flight, employees of Luftansa Airlines stopped her from boarding the flight on the ground that she had not paid the extension charges. The complainant tried to convince them that she had already paid a sum of Rs 12,010 as extension charges. However, the employees of the airlines did not allow her to board the flight. So, the complainant was forced to pay 200 Euro (Rs.13,950) as extension charges at the counter. In the meantime, the flight took off. The complainant was issued a new ticket for her journey on January 5, 2009. According to the complainant, she had to spend the whole night in Delhi. She had to hire accommodation at exorbitant rates and had to pay taxi charges. She also suffered mental agony and physical harassment, as she was not allowed to undertake the journey on January 4, 2010, for which confirmed ticket had already been issued to her.

In its reply, the company stated that it had arranged a return ticket for the complainant from the authorised IATA Agent i.e. Akbar Travels of India Ltd, first floor, Midas Corporate Park, 37, GT road, Jalandhar, Punjab, and the journey was to be undertaken on December 24, 2008. The company admitted that the complainant had paid Rs.12,010 as extension charges.



150 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The department of transfusion medicine, PGIMER, organised two blood donation camps on the occasion of the National Voluntary Blood Donation Day here today.

While one camp was held at the blood donation centre, PGIMER the other was held at IDBI Bank, Zirakpur branch. More than 150 voluntary blood donors came forward to donate blood.

All the donors were given mementos, certificates and pens. Among the regular voluntary blood donors who donated blood were Charanjit Singh (178 donations), Ved Parkash Makkar (87), Ramesh Kohli (39), L Ganeshan (34). Balwant Singh and Jaswant Kaur each donated blood for the 66th time. 



Five shops gutted in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Booths that were damaged in a fire at Sector 11, Panchkula, on Friday.
Booths that were damaged in a fire at Sector 11, Panchkula, on Friday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, October 1
Five shops in the booth market of Sector 11 were gutted in fire here late last night. The reason behind the incident is reported to be a short circuit. Goods worth over Rs 3 lakh had been gutted, said the shopkeepers.

According to fire brigade officials, they got information at 1 am regarding the fire in the market. Following this three fire tenders were pressed into service and the fire was controlled.

The shops, which got destroyed, included two shops of television repair, one dry cleaner, one cycle repair shop and a grocery shop.



Illegal change in ownership
Another case of land possession surfaces
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 1
Few months after the Mohali district administration cancelled the illegal change in ownership of 600 acres of eco-fragile Shivalik Hills in Chandigarh’s periphery, yet another case of change of ownership in the revenue documents in Jyanti Majri block has come to light.

The Kharar SDM had cancelled the girdawari (possession papers of the land) in May. The land is spread over 1,500 acres of common village land in Majri block comprising of five villages -- Bhagindi, Gurdha, Kasauli, Jyanti Majri and Karaundewala.

Now, another similar case has come to light in Bhangindi village. After illegally getting the ownership changed in the land possession documents, the beneficiary, Makhan Singh, started cutting wild growth to claim possession over the land. To protest against the anomaly, members of gram panchayats of the villages staged a protest in the area.

On the complaint of the villagers, the forest department had issued damage report of 42 trees against Makhan Singh. The range officer said a complaint had been forwarded to the police and revenue officials for suitable action against the violators.



Congress protests ‘bogus’ FIR
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 1
Congress workers, led by senior Congress leader and former Punjab minister Jagmohan Singh Kang, today staged a protest against the Punjab government and the district administration for allegedly lodging a bogus FIR against the principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Jaswinder Kaur, Khizrabad village, PT teacher Babu Singh, sarpanch Rajwinder Kaur and panch Rana Kushal Pal, with the allegation of theft of wood.

Addressing the gathering, Kang alleged that the said case of theft of wood had been lodged at the behest of MLA Ujjagar Singh Badali and local Akali leaders who did not see eye to eye with the Congress dominated panchayat of the village.

He alleged that during the past nearly four years the MLA had not given this village a single penny for development as he was incensed with the panchayat.

He clarified that a meeting of the PTA was held on September 23 in which a resolution was passed to prune the trees and PT master Babu Singh was deputed to get the job done.



Admn staff go on strike
Residents at receiving end
Tribune News Service

Employees at Mohali District Administrative Complex protest in support of their demands on Friday.
Employees at Mohali District Administrative Complex protest in support of their demands on Friday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, October 1
It was a day of harassment for residents of Mohali. Not only routes were diverted on account of ongoing five-day Test match at the PCA Stadium, but visitors at district administrative complex were also harassed as the clerical and revenue staff went on strike in support of their demands.

While the entire police force was deputed in and around the PCA Stadium and to provide security cover to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who appeared at the Mohali district courts in connection with disproportionate assets case, people visiting the District Administrative Complex returned empty handed on finding the striking employees missing from their seats.

The staff at the District Administrative Complex was protesting against the change in qualification criteria for typists. The strike was a part of a state-wide protest by the employees.

Meanwhile, there was a strict police arrangement as a part of the three-tier security cover at the PCA. CCTV cameras had been installed at all entry gates and other key locations in the stadium.

The road linking Chandigarh with SAS Nagar had been blocked at the Silvi Park roundabout. Traffic moving towards the stadium had been diverted at the lights in front of Punjab State Education Board office in Phase VIII and Sectors 49-50 roundabout (towards Chandigarh).



Dumping of Garbage
Pollution control board serves notice on MC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 1
The protests of Sector 23 residents over dumping of garbage near their homes have apparently started yielding results.

Regional office of Haryana State Pollution Control Board, (HSPCB) has served a show-cause notice upon Panchkula municipal corporation under Section 4 of the Municipal Solid Waste (management and handling) Rules, 2000, saying the dumping on the site was illegal as no permission was obtained by the corporation in this regard.

The notice said the corporation had not applied for authorisation for 2010-11 under the rules to the board and disposing of solid waste in low lying areas of the town without segregation, processing and treatment was violation of rules. The corporation even has not furnished annual return under the MSW Rules 2000 for the last two years, said the notice.

The residents of Sector 23 had been up in arms over dumping of garbage in open area near their homes and took out several processions to raise the issue. The complaints were lodged with the authorities at district as well as state level. The residents also caught hold of many people involved in dumping the garbage on site and handed them over to the police, but to no avail.

In an inspection report submitted with the chairman, HSPCB, the regional office of the board has stated that it has been observed that complaint made by the residents of Sector 23 was genuine and true.

Every day 20 trucks loaded with municipal solid waste dumped garbage at the dumping ground from various sectors of Panchkula. Stray animals such as cows, buffaloes, dogs and pigs gather there in search of food and the place had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Being the site adjacent to the Ghaggar, it was also pollution of the river, said the report.

Panchkula municipal corporation executive officer OP Sihag, when contacted, said remedial steps were being taken to redress the complaints of residents.



Zirakpur MC to spend Rs. 2 crore on roads
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 1
The Zirakpur municipal council would spend Rs 2 crore to repair the roads of different localities in the area. The repairing work of the roads would start from next week for which tender would be called soon.

Many roads in the town are in a bad condition. Deep potholes on the internal roads of the residential colonies have become nightmare for residents. The Pabhat godown area roads are in deplorable conditions that urgently call for repair. Similarly, potholes and cracks have developed on Baltana-Chandigarh road.

A large number of residents have demanded that the roads be repaired before the starting of festival season.

District planning chairman and Zirakpur MC president Narinder Kumar Sharma confirmed that the repair work of the roads would start from next week. The council would repair all roads of the town besides laying new roads in Pabhat village.



‘UGC add-on courses need to be reviewed’
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The status of ambitious “career oriented programmes” (COP’s) offered by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to 33 Panjab University affiliated colleges, has now been reduced to a routine “pass course”.

Following the declaration of results for these COPs a week ago, which are popularly known as the add-on courses, an overall dismal picture has surfaced with increase in the number of absentees and a lopsided overall pass percentage.

In the colleges that offer these certificate courses for the first year, diploma for the second year and advanced diploma for the third year students, the students have passed by minimal margins and in other cases students opted for the courses, but did not appear in the examination.

In one such private college, only one student managed to pass the exam in the first year batch, while 12 others were absent. In the same batch, result of four students is awaited.

“The centres of examinations for the add-on courses are too less compared to the number of students. Why would a student bother to go and give only one exam in another city, while exams for other degrees are taking place in his own college? Interest for add-on courses in government colleges is on the decline. In private colleges, it is mandatory for students to get enrolled in these courses since the college earn out of them. These courses can flourish if the colleges are given autonomy to handle them,” said a faculty member of a reputed affiliated college.

Other educationists opined that the courses, which were meant to facilitate job opportunities for students, now have outlived their utility due to lack of autonomy with colleges. University functionaries, on the other hand, admit that the courses need a serious introspection, keeping in mind the objective for which they were started.

An analysis of the results for certificate courses offered in the first year of graduation that were declared on September 22 revealed that certain add-on courses had no takers at all. For instance, out of all affiliated colleges, only one student opted for “soft skills” add-on course 
in bachelors of commerce, first year batch. This happened despite the emphasis being given to “soft skills” training in university departments and business schools.

“The add-on courses in affiliated colleges needs to be re-looked and reviewed again and aspects related 
to students and colleges need to taken into consideration. The courses must serve the purpose for which they were incepted,” said Naval Kishore, the new Dean, College Development Council (DCDC), Panjab University. 



PU Briefs
Change in date for filing nominations

Chandigarh: The byelection for fellow, Panjab University, from the constituency of heads of the affiliated arts colleges will be held on November 18. The last date for receipt of nomination forms is October 11 up to 3pm and not November 11.

Counselling from Oct 5

The first round of counselling for centralised admissions in M.Ed. Regular 2010-11 for the Department of Education, Colleges of Education in Punjab and Chandigarh, affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh, will be held from October 5 to 9, 2010 from 9.00 am onwards in the Law Auditorium, Panjab University. The candidates can submit the required documents, if any, in the office of the Department of Life Long Learning and Extension, PU, Chandigarh, up to 4pm by October 3, 2010.



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