C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Duty evasion of Rs 22 cr by firms unearthed
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Chandigarh (I) commissionerate of central excise department has detected evasion of central excise duty worth Rs 22.19 crore, involving alleged misuse of central value added tax (CENVAT) credit by Philips Electronics India Ltd, Chandigarh.

In another case the department has also detected evasion of Rs 10 crore for nonpayment of National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) by TVS Motors, Solan. The firm was reportedly not paying NCCD for the past two years on the ground its plant was located in the excise exempted state.

Chandigarh (I) commissioner HK Thakur told The Tribune Philips Electronics India was utilising CENVAT credit of duty paid on inputs and services to which the company was not entitled. “The firm has been indulging in similar activity in Vadodara too, and thus a case was registered there also on the basis of information supplied from here”, he added.

Thakur stated the company deposited Rs 4 crore after it was issued a ‘show cause’ notice of Rs 22.19 crore.

On the evasion of NCCD by TVS Motors, officials said a notice would be issued after investigations were completed as the “assessee” had approached a central ministry for availing the benefit of area-based exemption. It is pertinent to mention that NCCD is levied for a specific purpose of meeting the expenditure in account of national calamities.

In the case of TVS Motors, NCCD has been levied vide the Finance Act, 2001, whereas the area based exemption for the state of Himachal Pradesh was issued in 2003, which was clearly reflecting there was no such intention to extend the area based exemption scheme to NCCD.

Central Excise (Chandigarh zone) chief commissioner PK Sirohi said CENVAT credit had become a major area of misuse and the route for evasion of duty. Other major cases of misutilisation of CENVAT credit included a case of Rs 1.4 crore against SC Johnson, Baddi, Rs 1.1 crore against Synergy Telecommunication, Nalagarh and Rs 4 crore against BSNL, Simla.

Giving details of tax evasion found during the audit, Thakur said the Chandigarh (I) commissionerate had detected many cases involving evasion of central excise duty and service tax of over Rs 85.5 crore in FY2010-11. Of this amount Rs 60.74 crore evasion was detected in the case of central excise and Rs 24.76 crore in service tax, with Rs 8.12 crore having already been recovered on the spot.

In the last financial year tax evasion of Rs 9.67 crore detected in case of central excise and Rs 13.22 crore in service tax and spot recovery was about Rs 5 crore.



Delay in work on multi-level parking projects
Architecture dept yet to wake up from slumber
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Mooted projects which never took off

2005: Two multi-level parkings approved in Sector 17 near Taj and Bank Square

2007: Multi-level parking in Mani Majra

2008: Multi-level parking approved in Sector 34

Chandigarh, October 8
The lackadaisical attitude of the architecture department of the Chandigarh administration is responsible for the delay in the construction of all multi-level parking projects in the city proposed by the Chandigarh municipal corporation in the past more than three years.

As a result, out of the six proposed multi-level parking projects, only drawing of a single parking lot has been approved till date, while the drawing of another parking project located in Sector 17 near Gurudev Studio is in the pipeline.

Records of the municipal corporation reveal that in 2005, a proposal was mooted at the finance and contract committee meeting for the construction of four multi-level parking lots in Sector 17, including near Sahib Singh, in front of Taj Hotel, near Bank Square and near Gurudev Studio.

After this, a survey was got conducted about the increase of vehicles in the city and on the basis of its report, the house committee decided that initially the work on a single parking lot should be taken up in Sector 17 and on the basis of its success, three more parking lots would be constructed. Besides, multi-level parkings for Sector 34 and Mani Majra were also approved, but their drawings are yet to be approved.

MC Chief Engineer SS Bidda stated that as and when the UT architecture department approves the drawing of the Gurudev Studio parking lot, its work will commence. He said the construction work would not be outsourced and done by the MC engineering department at its own level to avoid any delay.

According to the proposal, the MC is planning to construct underground parking facility for 1,000 cars in this parking lot.

The pilot project of the parking near Sahib Singh in Sector 17, which was approved in 2007 and sent to the UT chief architect for approval, has yet to commence as the architecture department gave the green light after more than three years.

The STYM company contractor to whom the work was allotted by the MC backed out of the project on the plea that the cost of the project had increased manifold during this period. The company clearly stated that it was not feasible for it to commence the project at that juncture at the same cost.

Senior officials of the MC stated that they had already earmarked the budget estimates of second multi-level parking. Expressing their helplessness in the completion of this project this year, the officials said that in a majority of cases, the architecture department of the administration took more than a year to approve the drawings of the proposal.

They suggested that such public-oriented projects should be approved on a priority basis by the administration, as delay in such projects was adding to the traffic problem in the city.



Misleading rates give jitters to applicants
Aerocity Project turns into a match between coterie of outside realtors and local groups
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 8
Hundreds of applicants for Aerocity are finding themselves in a fix. Caught between outstation realtors and local real estate agents, several applicants are unable to encash their jackpots due to misleading and contradictory selling and buying rates being quoted by the two sections.

While one section is quoting Rs 25,000 per sq yard as the rate for one kanal plot, another is quoting Rs 10,000 per sq yard as the rate for the same size.

In yesterday’s incident of certain real estate agents being duped by their fellows has added to the apprehensions of buyers and sellers.

After receiving messages and phone calls for getting high rates, the successful applicants were in a state of shock when they were flooded with misleading short messaging service (SMSes): “Beware, postpone decisions to buy plots as market is crashing fast and is likely touch an-all-time low, be careful - plots should be bought at lower rates”.

Meanwhile, a GMADA official said: “No one has the right to send any misleading message to buyers and sellers. It’s speculation of certain persons, who are playing with the apprehensions of genuine buyers. It is aimed to create a panic-like situation.”

Interestingly, all messages are intended for buyers. Hundreds of such messages were sent by a group of local real estate agents. “It’s a question of who is controlling the market. Since we offered higher rates, sellers approached us. They also want to control the market by upsetting our business,” said an outstation dealer.

“Both outstation and local dealers are misguiding sellers and buyers. Applicants and buyers must apply their mind and study the market trend,” said a former president of the Mohali Property Consultant Association.

SS Walia, president of the Mohali Property Consultants Association, said it was unfortunate that certain local dealers were sending misleading SMSes. “I will try to send a public message regarding this,” he said.



Court relief for traders
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has come to the rescue of the occupants of a Sector 17 building whose premises were sealed by the UT Estate Office using its “arbitrary power to seal any portion”.

Ordering “de-sealing” of the building, a Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ajay Tewari, termed the reply filed by the Chandigarh Administration as “ totally vague”.

“So far as the show cause notice to Saroj Malik and others, owners of the shop-cum-office (SCO), was concerned, the reply given is also not complete as it has not been stated as to what action has been taken persuant to the said show cause notice,” the order said.

The alleged high-handedness of the EO in sealing the basement of the showroom had sparked off a huge protest from the Sector 17 traders in April/May this year, with traders downing their shutters against “the new provision of sealing of portions of buildings without issuing any prior notice”.

Bowing to the traders’ protest, the UT Administration had provided a temporary relief of 25 days to the shopkeepers on the condition that an undertaking be given by them to remove the violations by then.

Meanwhile, hailing the high court’s decision, spokesman for the Chandigarh Business Council JPS Kalra urged the Chandigarh Administration to formulate “trader-friendly” building bylaws so that such legal complications could be avoided in future.

Earlier, in its reply in the high court, the administration said “the UT Chandigarh is governed by the Central Government and this is part of the central goverment. The show cause notice was issued to Saroj Malik, as there were material violations made by the petitioners, who are occupying the building in question”.

Terming the reply as “vague”, the Bench said “we failed to understand as to how the UT Administration, created by a special statute namely the Punjab Organisation Act, 1966, could be part of the central government”.



Awards conferred on women of substance

Mohali, October 8
There were bureaucrats and police officers; teachers and businesswomen; writers and singers, social workers and educationists, blood donors and artistes— all 21 of them. At a function on Friday contribution of each one of them was acknowledged as they were conferred with ‘Great Woman’ award.

The award function was the 44th such function organised by the Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society, Ludhiana and ‘Nari Shakti Sabhyacharak Manch’, Mohali. The annual function is organised to felicitate accomplished women from different walks of life.

This time the list included Dolly Guleria (singer), Usha R. Sharma (bureaucrat), Kiran Chopra ( Director, Punjab Kesari-Delhi), Navjot Kaur and Kiran Rosy (civil services officers), Saroj Sharma (educationist), Baldeep Kaur (Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner), Raka Ghera (DSP, Mohali), Dr Chetana Veshnavi, Dr. Rama Rattan and Balwinder Kaur (writers), Dr Amarjit Kaur (lecturer), Sharanjit Kaur and Surinder Kaur (business), Dr Minakshi Vashishth (journalist), Kamaljit Kaur (Principal), Jaswant Kaur (blood donor), Meena Sharma (Teacher), Viran Wali (social worker), Bano Pandit and Ramandeep Rimpi (both Artists).

Following the felicitation, papers were presented on ‘female foeticide’ and ‘empowerment of women’ by Dr Uma Sharma and Harsimran Kaur. Kiran Chopra was the chief guest while the chairman of the Punjab Planning Board, NK Sharma, presided over the function.

Speakers acknowledged that women continue to be discriminated and called upon religious, social and voluntary agencies to get together to save the girl child and empower women. While it was important to change the mindset, they emphasised, it was equally important to punish the violators of the law. — TNS



Make your voice heard, youth urged

Mmasekgoa Masire Mwamba
Mmasekgoa Masire Mwamba

Chandigarh, October 8
Meaningful participation of young people within the society plays an important role in enhancing the basic infrastructure of a nation. This was stated by Deputy Secretary General of Commonwealth Secretariat Mmasekgoa Masire Mwamba, while addressing the delegates during a seminar on “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding” to commemorate the International Year of Youth (August 2010-2011) at Commonwealth Youth Programme Centre at PEC campus here today.

Professor, International Relations, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and member of the Knowledge Commission, Government of India, Dr Amitabh Mattoo asserted the significance of mutual understanding within the global family (nations). Conflicts could be averted by means of peaceful chance and institutional procedures without applying the force. — TNS


Water pipes stolen from CHB flats
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Strange are the ways of the UT administration. On one hand though a sizeable population in the city is living amid inhabitable conditions in slums, on the other small flats constructed under the ambitious slum rehabilitation scheme have not been handed over. This state of affairs conveys a picture of sheer negligence.

Blame it on administrative rigmarole or the lopsided policies of those at the helm of affairs, but the fact is although the flats in Ram Darbar meant for ‘economically weaker sections’ of society have been ready for many months now officials have still not handed over possession to the eligible allottees.

Consequently many of these flats caught the eye of miscreants who have stolen hundreds of cast iron pipes that supply water to the flats. Now the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has lodged a complaint on the matter with the police.

Interestingly, the miscreants did their job right under the nose of cops as the area police post is situated next to the flats.

The flats in question are the same ones for which the officials had handed over the keys to the respective allottees over three months ago and then took the keys back.

Certain allottees who had received the keys and later had to return them were the first ones to have spotted the theft. It was these allottees only who went and apprised the CHB officials about the matter. Following this, the officials got a complaint filed with the police.

Now the allottees are faced with the dilemma of whether the board would complete the fittings after the flats are formally allotted. With the board’s recent declaration of having empty coffers it will be an added burden to put the pipes back in place.

In fact, administration and CHB officials are already engaged in a blame game, holding each other responsible for the delay in handing over the flats.

In fact, this incident is not unusual. A few years ago CHB had constructed special houses for judicial officers in Sector 39. After the officers refused to move in the houses remained vacant for many years. Later, when board officials took note of the condition of these houses, it was found that windowpanes, pipes, taps were stolen from the houses. Not only did the CHB get a case registered with the police but later also hired a guard to keen an eye on the flats.

The same was the case with one-room tenements constructed near the Industrial Area many years ago. The flats remained vacant for almost two decades as the CHB and the UT administration could not reach a consensus on whether to allot them to slumdwellers or industrial workers.



CHB accused of adopting pick-and-choose policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Criticising the recent move of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) warning the residents of CHB flats against violations, the Chandigarh Residents’ Social Welfare Federation in its executive committee meeting held recently, alleged that it is clear indication of a pick-and-choose policy.

The CHB authorities have recently pasted notices in various Sectors, asking residents to remove encroachments on their own or the board will take action that will not only amount to removal of illegal violations, but also invite heavy penalty.

In a statement, president of the federation DS Chahal said there were serious violations throughout the city but the CHB was adopting a pick-and-choose policy by targeting specific sectors.

He said the federation was not in favour of violations, but wants that the need-based changes should be regularised. Instead of adopting a pick-and-choose policy and making some sectors targets.



Draft rules framed to check sale of tobacco products
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
In an attempt to check the selling of tobacco products in the city, the Chandigarh administration has framed the draft of Chandigarh Licensing of Tobacco Trade Rules, 2010, for granting licence. The rules are expected to be notified soon.

As a petition filed in public interest through counsel APS Shegill came up for hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court Division Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ajay Tewari, an affidavit filed by director health services Dr MS Bains was placed before it.

The affidavit said rules have already been forwarded to the Chandigarh tobacco control cell. Their inputs and suggestions have been invited on the same, after which the rules would be notified.

The Burning Brain Society has filed the public interest litigation. The Chandigarh-based NGO had brought to the High Court’s notice that Chandigarh administration had not framed any rules to stop the sale and supply of hukka/sheesha (tobacco products).

The petitioner had asserted during an inspection by the NGO members, it was found that nicotine laced material was easily available in various restaurants.

Dr Bains said as per the raids conducted by their department along with the Chandigarh Police on October 6, no hooka and sheesha bars were found to be running in the city. He added that initially there were two hooka bars, but these had been closed down.



Single-window desk to help taxpayers

Chandigarh, October 8
Kar Sahayta, a single window help desk for providing information to taxpayers, was launched by the Central Excise and Service Tax Commissionerate, Chandigarh (I), here today.

According to Central Excise Commissioner Chandigarh, HK Thakur, the aim of providing single window system to taxpayers was to improve services by providing easy access to information. He said taxpayers could seek information about various rules and procedures pertaining to filing the taxes.

Thakur said Chandigarh (I) Commissionerate area covered the UT and Mandi Gobindgarh.

For those who cannot come to seek answers to the queries, they could write to the desk through e-mail on excisehelpdesk@gmail.com <mailto:excisehelpdesk@gmail.com>. The e-mails would be replied within a week. He said the RTI application could also be filed here. — TNS



Navratra fair begins at Mansa Devi
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 8
About 35,000 devotees converged on the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine on the first day of the Ashwin Navratras to pay obeisance to Goddess Mansa, one of the incarnations of Goddess Durga, here today.

The beat of dhol filled the air and devotees sang bhajans in praise of the goddess even as serpentine queues grew longer with every hour. Carrying parshad, the queue moved ahead at a painfully slow pace though the dholis kept the crowds entertained.

Some devotees put themselves to test to please the goddess. They crawled the entire stretch of the road right up to the shrine, while the public made way for them to pass.

Children played in large parks of the shrine complex while their parents queued up for the langar where a large number of devotees descended after offering their prayers.

Cash to the tune of Rs 5.42 lakh came as offerings, three gold ornaments and 29 silver ornaments were offered by the devotees on the first day of the nine-day Navratra.

Idols at several places on the premises of the Mata Mansa Devi shrine complex were drenched in oil, had vermilion sprinkled all over and flowers at the feet.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his wife, Asha Hooda, were among the first few to pay obeisance at the shrine where they also performed yajna. Haryana’s Minister of State Sukhbir Kataria, local MLA DK Bansal, Assandh MLA Zile Ram Sharma, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Chhatar Singh, and senior officers of the district administration were among those who also paid obeisance at the shrine complex.

The parking area was packed to capacity. The rural folk came in tractors, rehras, trucks, and whatever they had at their disposal. The local bus service also kept its date with the crowd, plying between Mansa Devi and Panchkula and neighbouring Chandigarh, Zirakpur and Mohali at frequent intervals to save them any inconvenience.



Banda Singh memorial to come up at Rs 47 crore
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 8
Thousands of people, including heads of various religious sects from across Punjab, would converge at Chappar Chidi village tomorrow to commemorate the Fateh Divas of the historic battle that saw Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his brave soldiers win over the Mughals at Chappar Chidi almost 300 years ago.

To make tomorrow’s event a historic occasion, the organisers of the event have made elaborate arrangements to welcome the guests. While Punjab’s department of tourism and cultural affairs is hosting the event to lay the foundation stone of the Banda Singh memorial at the site, a religious congregation is also being organised by the Akalis.

Officials in the department of tourism and cultural affairs said the work on the Rs 47-crore ambitious project had been allotted to L and T construction company. The monument at the historic battlefield would have depiction of battle scenes as one of its main attractions.

Planned over 20 acres, a life-size sculpture of Banda Bahadur engaged in the battle with the Mughals would be a key feature of the landmark. The historic significance of the battle would be illustrated through a light-and-sound programme. A committee of experts, led by Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University Jaspal Singh, stressed that the battlefield would more or less be preserved in its old form.

Of the total land that had been acquired at a cost of Rs 1.35 crore an acre, 10 acres each had been identified as ‘chidis’ and ‘tibbas’. The total cost, including the acquisition cost of Rs 27 crore, would be around Rs 47 crore. Architect Reenu Khanna had already been shortlisted to draw the conceptual plan of the memorial.

In November last year, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had announced the construction of a memorial dedicated to Banda Singh Bahadur, who won the battle of Sirhind to bring the Mughal rule to an end. The tercentenary of the battle would be celebrated this month.

Among the main elements planned were Fateh Minar, an open-air theatre to conduct the light-and-sound show, an exhibition hall and the original battlefield. Initially, the foundation stone was to be laid in May, but the Chief Minister was keen on laying it after the design was finalised.



Air Force Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
While five aircrafts, including two An-32s, two Dorniers and an Avro, took off from the city airbase to form a spectrum formation flying display during the Air Force Day Parade at Hindon to mark on the 78th Air Force Day, IAF units in Chandigarh paid rich tributes to martyrs today.

Under the leadership of respective Air Force unit commanders at No. 12 Wing, No 3 Base Repair Depot, Air Force High Grounds and Air Force Station, Mullanpur, IAF personnel pledged to rededicate themselves to the nation. Messages from the President, the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister and Chief of the Air Staff were also read out on the occasion.

At the 12 Wing, Air Cmde Rajeev Sachdeva presided over the function and gave away Chief of Air staff appreciation to three IAF personnel, AOC-in-C’s appreciation to seven and AOCs appreciation certificates to 37 persons for their outstanding contribution and devotion to duty.

At the 3 BRD, Air Cmde Ravinder Sharma led the unit in paying rich tributes to martyrs at depot parade ground, and reviewed a ceremonial parade. Similar functions were also organised at all the air force stations in the region.

On the occasion, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal PV Naik decorated Wg Cdr Riju Kochhar of Chandigarh-based 48 Squadron with the Vayu Sena Medal for Gallantry at a an impressive ceremony held at Hindan. In Nov 2008, he was the captain of a An-32 aircraft on a routine mission from Chandigarh to Leh with 38 passengers and four crew members on board. At an altitude of 25,000 feet over the Himalayas, the “check door” caution light came on and moments later, a loud bang was heard which was followed by misting in the cockpit. The main cargo door was observed to be opened and hanging from the port side posing grave danger to the passengers and crew.

Displaying exceptional situational awareness and professional courage, Wg Cdr Kochhar controlled the aircraft, turned towards Chandigarh and flew it with the cargo door partially open for 45 minutes. Despite the cargo door precariously hanging a few inches above the ground, he did not suffer a landing accident. His prompt action, professional courage and presence of mind saved the aircraft as well as 42 lives.



Marathi folk culture comes alive
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, October 8
Yet another genre of folk theatre spectacle of Maharashtra “Tamasha” and folk dance form “Lavani” came alive in the ongoing “Festival of Theatre Traditions” at the Randhawa auditorium here today.

The Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy had ventured to showcase the richness, magnificence and grandeur of Marathi folk cultural traditions, which unfortunately are on the verge of extinction and need patronage for preservation and propagation.

The Raghuveer Khedkar Kantabai Tamasha Mandal, Nasik, staged a musical “Ek Tamasha Sundersa”, depicting its main ingredients of Salaami, a jugalbandi of traditional musical instruments, Ganpati pujan and gaulan, in which prankster, Lord Krishana teases Radha and Gopikas all through entrancing dance spells by female artistes.

All joined to perform “bataoni”, a sequence of humourous dialogues and acting. Director Raghuveer Khedkar led artistes, Vinod Osrikar, Manda Rani, Alka Tai, Baby Tai, Sandha and others.

Another Sangeet Bharicha Tamasha was presented through two theme-based Lavani dancing spells by versatile danseuses, Chhaya Khelgaonkar and Maya Khelgaonkar and others.

The dancers exhibited a grand nimble footwork, body movements and gestures to bring alive the thematic content. Transcending the barriers of Marathi language, the intrusive audience relished the captivating performances.



Socially relevant plays move audience

Chandigarh, October 8
The Mask Theatre in association with North Zone Cultural Centre staged two socially relevant plays at the Kalagram complex here today. Mask Theatre team evolved the script and form of both plays and Ravinder Ravi directed the plays.

The opening play “Bhasmasur”, titled after a contemptuous demon, was informative, educative and suggestive to harness the deadly disease, AIDS.

Similarly, another comedy play, “Laddu da vyah”, juxtaposed the malpractices by medicos and orthodox people encouraging female foeticide and despite being aware of the consequences, there is no change in their mindset. — OC



PU to earmark parking for outsiders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
In a bid to control vehicular traffic on the campus, Panjab University will soon earmark different parking sites for outsiders and also levy parking fee.

These parking sites will be given on contract basis. Besides, separate parking lots will be earmarked for university students, teaching and non-teaching staff.

The recommendations form the part of a report submitted by a recently constituted committee.

It was suggested that the university will undertake a comprehensive survey of the vehicular traffic in terms of inflow/outflow, which would be conducted by a team of researchers.

The survey will deal with aspects like current parking capacity of different parking slots and their occupancy and also the type of vehicles parked on regular basis.

It has also been recommended that hostellers, who are discouraged from using vehicles on the campus, must be given a special preference in future.

The committee has also cited that the importance of the promised free shuttle service within the campus (Sector- 14 and 25) with optimum stoppages.

Among other measures, it has been suggested that the parking slot at gate no.1 should be used immediately and outside vehicles coming through this gate should be stopped and asked to park their vehicles there.

Besides, it has also been held that no vehicle should be allowed to be parked on the main road from the PGI to the bank and gate no 2 and 3.

Committee members feel that special tow away zones should also be earmarked.



East Asia Summit
PU VC to deliver speech in China
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Panjab University Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti has been invited to deliver speech as a distinguished guest on the opening ceremony of the East Asia Higher Education Cooperation Forum Summit to be held at Kunming in China from October 13 to 15.

Sobti is the only Vice-Chancellor to represent the country in the forum. He has received an invitation today to present his valued views, ideas and aspects of planning for conducting educational cooperation and exchanges under the East Asia framework. About 130 renowned educationists are participating in the forum from China, ASEAN countries, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India, besides some other parts of the sub-continent.



Need to provide skill-based education system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Emphasising on the need to provide a skill-based education system rather than degree-based system to solve the problem of educated unemployed, Dr SS Mantha, chairman, AICTE, delivered a lecture during a seminar on “Education reforms: Role of regulatory bodies” organised by PHD Chamber at PHD House.

“All stakeholders should work together for the education system to improve,” said Dr Mantha and further added that AICTE does not recognise distance education, though it has allowed double shift in the educational institutes. He said the aim should be to get eligible people into higher education. Dr Mantha said higher education was undergoing metamorphosis throughout the world, especially in this side of the world where the gross enrollment ratio (GER) was less, as compared to countries like the US, which had 60 per cent of GER.

Earlier while welcoming the chief guest, Dr Anshu Kataria, convener, education sub-committee, PHD Chamber, said it was high time that the corporate entry be allowed to the education sector as well since education had grown up to be an industry by now.

“Research and innovation is the epitome of knowledge acquisition towards academic excellence. The embodiment of quality in research, innovation and academia in practices and values ensures the supremacy of a nation,” said Dalip Sharma, regional director, PHD Chamber, adding that, “The need of the hour is not just for individuals to have strong conceptual knowledge, but also strong application capabilities.”



Remote-sensing course

Chandigarh, October 8
The centre for advanced study in geography, Panjab University, has invited candidates to join basic courses in remote sensing, GIS and GPS through distance learning. Krishna Mohan, chairperson of the geography department of the university, said the fifth course in the series would start from this month.

The course is designed for a total 60 hours and it is structured into four modules. — TNS



RTI activist accuses PU of denying information

Chandigarh, October 8
RK Singla, an RTI activist, has again alleged Panjab University (PU) of denying information. Singla claims that attempt was made by PU to conceal information about a case of the University Business School, where he claims that paper setting for a particular subject “Strategic management” code No 601 initially set up for November 2004 exam was used for November 2005 exam.

AK Bhandari, Controller of Examinations, from whom the RTI was sought, replied that “the issue is to be taken to the Senate and reply can only be given after its consideration by the governing body.”

To his allegations, PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti replied, “The university cannot unfold details of a case when the final decision in the matter is pending before the Senate, which is slated to hold meeting within a few days. Without the final verdict and consent of the highest governing body of the university, the Senate, how can we give out the information?”

PU’s senior functionaries dismissed the allegations and said the activist was levelling the allegations without knowing the rulebook and calendar of the university. — TNS



Adithi crowned Miss Fresher

Panchkula, October 8
Shashikant and Adithi Gour of Mechanical Engineering and CSE, respectively, were selected as Mr and Miss Fresher, during the fresher’s party organised at Panchkula Engineering College, Mouli, near Barwala today.

More than 600 students were present during the programme and the students presented cultural programme and a fashion show. — TNS



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